July 27, 2014

8 Weeks Pregnant

This week I've had a head cold and forgotten how much being unwell while pregnant knocked me around (as well as caring for an extremely active 3 year-old!).

I've started to get my head more around the idea of becoming a twin parent. It's scary, really scary. I've had feelings of ungratefulness, of despair, of loss (of the pregnancy I thought I might have had), but also incredible awe at what my body is doing.

Already I am starting to get a little bump that is visible in the mornings and highly obvious by the end of the day. I look like I did at 15-16 weeks pregnant with Rowan, and I'm only 8 weeks! I have plenty of stretching/pulling pangs but they're not cramping so I'm okay with that. Little reminders like that 'stitch' feeling when I twist or stand up too fast remind me that the muscles are growing and round ligament pain will probably become a reality sooner rather than later.

8 week twin bump

We have our first appointment with the obstetrician next Monday (I'll be 9.5 weeks then), he was the same doctor who I saw with my previous pregnancy and he is well-known for being hands off and a supporter of natural birth. From what I know of him, he will support a natural twin birth (providing that the first baby is head-down towards the end of pregnancy). So hopefully after discussion we get the clearance to at least try for this option. Natural birth with little intervention is important to me and I am proud that Rowan's birth was exactly what I wanted. I understand that this time around might be a little different and with time, I think I'll be okay if that's what it comes to.

It floors me that in as little as 4-5 weeks we might know whether these babies are boys or girls. I'm very interested in knowing at the moment, whereas before becoming pregnant I was adamant about waiting until the birth! How times change... 

July 19, 2014

7 Weeks... it's TWINS!

Yesterday we discovered at our first ultrasound that there are in fact TWO babies on the way!
On the trip  home from the scan Matt and I started discussing the logistics of not being able to fit three child/baby seats across the back of our car and what that would most likely mean for our family (I don't like driving huge cars/4WDs), double prams, and will we ever get any sleep again after the babies are born?!
However, it's all so far away (and yet.... it isn't!) and as we're both thinkers (as opposed to do-ers) it's time to start talking about it. Then there's the fun part of coming up with extra baby names (squee!) and deciding such things as finding out the sex of the babies before they're born. We were leaning towards waiting until birth to find out had there been one baby, but now that there's two we'll probably find out for practicality reasons. Not that I'm displeased with that, unconsciously I think I probably wanted to know anyway.
Three children when both Matt and I saw our family with two? If this all works out, we are definitely done now!!
So here is what we know so far:
  • The babies are identical
  • Our single embryo split into two before it implanted into my uterus (basically a 48-hour window between the embryo being thawed and implantation beginning)
  • Each baby has their own amniotic sac (a VERY good thing, I'm so relieved!)
  • The babies share a placenta (so there is a potential risk of twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome developing, worst case scenario)
  • My due date is still in early March, but it's likely that they could come in Jan/Feb, depending on how everything goes (scary...)
  • I'll be monitored more closely because of the twin pregnancy, mostly through ultrasounds (which could be as often as every 2-3 weeks)
  • This will make one heck of a pregnancy scrapbook!
When it was all sinking in yesterday (put it this way, Matt's initial responses to the ultrasound technician telling us that the embryo had split and there were two babies was a loud "OH SHIT!", and I could barely say a word except for muttering "TWO! ..... TWO! ..... TWO!"), my best friend gave me a good laugh. She said that the weakest of our embryos (as I called it, this one took 6 days to get to the 5-day blastocyst stage suitable for freezing) thought "I'll show them..." and went above and beyond the call.
And indeed it did! It also made me realise that this little one decided upon the stealthy 'divide and conquer' approach to survive, so now I have dubbed their collective tummy name as 'The Overlords'. No peas in a pod around here, that's for sure!
(and it's amused me today because I can throw random comments into the conversation such as "the overlords are hungry" and "the mission for uterine domination continues". Ahh, small things :P)
So here they are, meet the Overlords, both measuring at 6w5d (Rowan always measured two days smaller also).
In the picture, you can see one yolk sac in front of the other (the circles in the middle), with a baby at the top and bottom.

July 4, 2014

5 Weeks Pregnant

After using the last of our four frozen embryos (from 2010), a very straightforward transfer followed and the wait to the pregnancy blood test begun. 

There were a few things we did differently this time which may or may not have contributed to finally getting that elusive implantation:

  • Acupuncture (immediately before and following the embryo transfer)
  • Progesterone support (400mg pessary, twice daily)
  • Dilatation & curettage (D&C) in the month prior to our transfer cycle 
  • Herbal support from my naturopath (I have a post-transfer mix that I take 3 times daily)
  • Keeping a consistent body temperature (no super-hot showers or very cold foods/drinks for 5 days following the transfer; blastocysts are temperature-sensitive)
  • Taking it easy (no heavy lifting)
I'd like to hope that one or several of these things tipped the scale in our favour (or simply, that what we thought was our least strong embryo - left until last - was the one that actually came through for us). 

I am on progesterone support for rest of the first trimester and while it's a bit yucky, if it means a healthy pregnancy for the next couple of months then I will gladly continue it.

I found out about this pregnancy at 6dp5dt, I had a temperature shift (37.3C from 36.8C) following a day of mild cramping (I put this down to implantation in hindsight) and woke up in the middle of the night with a rapidly beating heart and sense of something being 'different' in my body. This intuition was pretty much how I realised I was pregnant with our son (now aged 3) so immediately recognised it. I got up and took a test... and sure enough it was positive!

This wasn't the original in-the-middle-of-the-night test, but
instead one I took the next day to confirm BFP.

Normally I wouldn't test so early during a FET cycle but the signs were too strong for me to ignore. I am sensitive to HCG and have a strong sense of what's going on in my own body. In our other (unsuccessful) transfers, there haven't been any moments like this, just continued failed cycles after 5, 6 or 7 days post-transfer (another reason I pushed our IVF specialist for progesterone, following self-research). 

I have had two blood tests recently - one at 10dp5dt (15DPO) and another at 16dp5dt (21DPO). The first came back with HCG=198 / Progesterone=128. The second showed HCG=1600 / Progesterone=100. I have one more blood test in a week's time, and then our first ultrasound (!!) booked for 7w0d to confirm sac and heartbeat etc.

In the meantime I'm continuing to parent our three year-old son while starting to get hit with tiredness (hello Nana nap!), queasiness in the afternoon and growing breasts (I'm small up top to begin with so changes there are generally pretty obvious). I've taken a 'beginning' belly picture but won't post it just yet until I've got something to compare it to - last pregnancy I took pictures weekly but this time I think I'll do it every two weeks (or at least in the earlier stages).

My due date is March 5th, 2015 (two days shy of my 33rd birthday). :)