Wednesday, September 13, 2017

We've Been Growing Something Else This Summer

There's been a lot of talk lately about all the things that I've been growing in my garden lately, but we've been growing something else that's even more exciting!!

Our 9-week ultrasound in early August!

This has been the hardest news for me to keep and the main reason why my posts have been pretty sparse this summer. When something so big and life-changing is happening, it's hard to come up with ideas of what to talk about that don't reveal your news. But we wanted to wait until we were in the 2nd trimester to share our news more broadly.

I want to start by saying that we feel so incredibly lucky to have gotten pregnant the first month of trying. I have so many women in my life who have struggled with infertility so I fully expected it to take a long time for us to get pregnant. My heart goes out to anyone who reads this post and feels a pang of sadness because of their difficulty or inability to get pregnant.

I borrowed some Q and A questions from Anne of Fannetastic Food's first trimester recap and will be answering them below.

But first, a bit of a warning:  some of these answers might go into "TMI" territory. But I wanted to be transparent and honest about what the first trimester has been like for me. I feel like I've read a lot of pregnancy announcement posts and a lot of them focus on the excitement of finding out you are expecting - which makes complete sense because it is an exciting time! But the emotion that stands out in my mind from the first trimester is anxiety, and probably due to some things that were going on with my body. I'm a more anxious person in general so maybe I am a complete outlier in feeling the way I felt. But maybe someone else will read this post and it will resonate with them, or they will think back on it when they find out they are pregnant some day and will know someone that they can reach out to if they feel the way I did.

How far along are you?

I am 15 weeks along today!

What's the official due date?

March 7, 2018!

Are you showing at all?

Not really. I'll tallish (5'7") and I have a long torso so I am really not showing yet. Some days I feel bloated by the end of the day but for the most part I look pretty normal. I'm still wearing my regular work clothes although I did have to pack away pants/skirts that had absolutely no give/lycra in the waist. I need a little bit of stretch since my tummy seems to expand at the end of the day.

How did you tell Phil?

There was no pomp and circumstance to it at all, really, but that is just who we are as a couple.  I had been feeling off that week and told him that if I didn't get my cycle by the weekend, I was going to take a pregnancy test. We had gone to brunch with friends on a Saturday morning and when I got home, I just felt off so I went into the bathroom and decided to take a test (I had purchased one earlier in the week). I didn't tell him I was going to take a pregnancy test as I was so sure it was going to come back negative. I walked out of the bathroom and showed him the positive pregnancy test. He was in complete disbelief and had me get another pregnancy test because he did not believe it! I told him there aren't false positives when it comes to pregnancy tests, but agreed to take another one and sure enough, it showed that I was pregnant.

How did you tell your family?

We went to the lake for a weekend in mid-July around when I was 7 weeks along. I put the picture below in a card and said - "Shhhhh! It's a secret!"

Phil's mom had come down to the lake with us that weekend but Phil wanted to hold off on telling her as she has the hardest time keeping a secret and it was very early in the pregnancy. I wanted to tell my parents early because I wanted their prayers and good thoughts - plus they knew we were going to start trying in June and I figured they were going to guess I was pregnant since I wasn't drinking any wine or coffee.

We told Phil's mom the weekend after our first prenatal appointment, when I was about 9 weeks along. She said she was going to have the hardest time not telling people so Phil was right about waiting a bit to tell her!

Will you find out the sex of the baby?

I feel really strongly about not finding out as I think it will be fun to be surprised. But Phil really wants to find out, so we are kind of at odds on this decision right now. We had genetic testing done around 10 weeks (which came back clear - hooray!) but I did not have them run the test to determine the sex of the baby. I think/hope Phil is going to concede on finding out. As a compromise I said we can find out with our next one if we have a second child. But we still have weekly debates about it and if he still feels strongly about it when the 18 week ultrasound rolls around (I'm having my anatomy scan a bit early), I might have the ultrasound tech or doctor put the sex in an envelop for him and only he will find out. I know it is not optimal for one person to know and the other not to, but he feels such a STRONG desire to know the sex. Plus he is the ultimate secret keeper so I am confident he won't tell me what the sex is. We'll see what happens over the next 3-4 weeks.

How have you been feeling? 

This is where I will get into "TMI" territory. Overall, I have been very lucky as I have only had minor nausea and it comes and goes. I threw up once the week after I found out and it happened at the worst time - I was walking home from the grocery store along a busy street and had to throw up into my bag of groceries!  I am glad that was just a fluke and not a trend for the pregnancy.

There  have been 2 things that have made the first trimester challenging:  having something called a "subchorionic hemorrhage" (SCH) and managing my RA.

An SCH is bleeding that occurs where the placenta develops/attaches. Apparently it happens in 25% of pregnancies, so is very common, but I have yet to personally meet someone that had this. Because of the SCH, I had nearly daily bleeding for about 4 weeks during the first trimester. Having spotting or bleeding when you are pregnant is pretty terrifying because you tend to assume you are going to have a miscarriage. 90% of the time the SCH will go away, but 10% of the time it can prevent the placenta from attaching and you will then miscarry. So I was really anxious for a good part of the first trimester. The bleeding finally stopped around 11 weeks, which was a huge relief. Around this time I started to finally trust that everything was going to be ok and I wouldn't miscarry.

Managing my RA has also been challenging as I had to go off my weekly Enbrel injection and reduce another medication when I found out I was pregnant. For many women, their RA goes into remission when they are pregnant but that has not been the case for me yet. I had 4 flares in late July/early August, which is a lot for me. I've had 4 steroid injections into various joints and have been on steroids for the better part of the last month. Being on steroids when pregnant is not ideal so I have also worried a lot about what the steroids and these flares are doing to the baby. An OBGYN friend of mine said that the baby is probably bopping around, completely unaware of my flares. I hope and pray that is the case. My rheumatologist has told me that it's better to be on steroids, especially at the low dose I am on, than to be flaring. But I still worry about some of the remote risks associated with steroids. I did recently talk to another woman who was on steroids during her first trimester and she had a healthy baby boy so that was a huge relief. I know it's anecdotal evidence but it's just reassuring to know someone who was on a similar treatment and went on to have a healthy pregnancy. At my last prenatal appointment, my OB decided to send me to a perinatal specialist (specialist in high risk pregnancies) around the 18 week mark to discuss the management of my RA. I will also get a level 2 ultrasound to ensure that the steroids haven't impacted the development of the baby. I will feel so much better after this appointment.

How have you been sleeping?

My sleep has been pretty good, aside from the fact that I often get up 3-4 times a night to go to the bathroom. I did not realize this would start SO early! I've heard that it will get better in the second trimester so I am looking forward to that! A lot of women talk about getting 10 or more hours of sleep a night during the first trimester but that has so not been the case for me. I'm lucky to get 8 hours of sleep a night and can only think of one time that I slept for 10 hours. But sleep does not come easily for me so I am not terribly surprised that I'm not sleeping better.

Have you had any aversions or cravings?

I haven't had any cravings. I have had aversions to coffee, chocolate and sweets, though, which isn't the worst thing honestly! The aversion to coffee was one thing that tipped me off to the fact that I might be pregnant as it is NOT like me to be turned off by coffee. I also had a minor aversion to eating salads early in the trimester as salads/veggies just didn't sound good but that went away and I've been eating like I normally would.

What have you been doing for exercise?

Honestly, very little. The doctor told me that vigorous exercise could increase the bleeding from the SCH so she suggested I take it easy and stick to walks. So that is pretty much all I have been doing. I had stopped running before the SCH came on as I was having some cramping (which is apparently very normal in the first trimester) and running while having cramping made me too paranoid. And then with all my RA flares, I've had to take it easy. I did do about 20 miles of hiking on our camping trip, but besides that I've been taking it very easy. I'm hoping to add some strength training back once I'm confident that the RA flare is gone for good. I'm fairly certain that I won't be running during the pregnancy. I know some women are able to do this through most of their pregnancy but I haven't ran since mid-July so I don't know that I'm going to want to get back into running in the midst of being pregnant.

How have you been feeling emotionally?

Honestly, the first trimester has been a really anxious period for me. The RA flares have been really hard on me as they make me worry more about what is going on with the baby. Additionally, my rheumatologist had suggested that I do a pre-conception consultation with a perinatal specialist in June to talk about how my RA will impact my pregnancy. The doctor I saw in June gave me such a stern talking to about the high risk of miscarriages. So when we got our positive pregnancy test, all I could think about was his lecture about not getting excited. In hindsight, I kind of wish I hadn't seen that doctor - or that I had seen one with better bed-side manner. And then when the bleeding started around 7 weeks I felt even more anxious.

However, once the bleeding stopped, we shifted to feeling more excitement and anticipation! We also started to tell more of our close friends and sharing the news has made it more real and exciting and like this is actually going to happen!!


Whew - if you've made it through this long post then congratulations!!!

I feel like the tone of this post is not super positive. I don't want anyone to think that we aren't over-the-moon excited about this pregnancy - we really are! It's been hard to have such a terrible time with my RA and to introduce risks to the baby as a result .And I wanted to be honest about what the first trimester was like for me.

That said, I'm happy that we have moved into a period where the chance of a miscarriage is extremely low and we can start to share the news more broadly! And if my RA would behave then I would really have nothing to complain about!  I haven't had a flare in nearly 2 weeks so my fingers are crossed that my RA is going to behave going forward!

Luckily the anxiety I felt for the bulk of the first trimester has mostly dissipated, besides those lurking fears about steroid use, and I'm feeling positive and excited! I've also learned to stay off google and to avoid pregnancy forums. I can see how the pregnancy forums are great for some people but they are not a good fit for me as you are bound to encounter sad stories or misinformation. But it's definitely one of those - "you do you" things as some women love being able to interact with others who are going through the same thing. I still have work to do on managing my anxiety so I plan to get regular prenatal massages as I know those will feel good and be so relaxing.


Vivian said...

Wonderful news! I'm so happy for you and Phil!

missris said...

I had suspected as much! I am over the moon happy for you two! I am also an anxious person so I can totally relate with how this might be anxiety inducing given your RA--you poor thing. I've been thinking about you guys and hoping this was in the works behind the scenes :) YAY I'M THRILLED FOR YOU!!!

Marlys said...

Of course, your Dad & I are over-the-moon excited to have another grandchild, as they are the reward for being parents! They are the frosting on the cake of life! I could go on and on, but it is so exciting to be adding to the family.
I pray for you everyday, and hope you are in remission with your RA now. In a few weeks, you should start feeling some movement and that will also make you feel "more pregnant"! Quickening is such a joy, even though little "Maui" has been jumping around in you for quite some time now! That's my nickname for the little one, in case anyone is wondering! I know it happened in June, but pretty close to the Honeymoon!

Jeanie said...

Totally thrilled and over the moon! I really understand your anxiety with the RA and meds and that SCH would have scared the crap out of me. I can see why you are delaying running or anything too strenuous; makes perfect sense. I hope the remission falls into place soon as that has to be so tough. But I also know you two are up to the task. (Well, in that case, you with Phil's good moral support!). I bet if Phil finds out he won't SAY a word but I'm guessing his behavior/purchases/choices might give a hint. Unless he's REAL good!

a/k/a Nadine said...

Congrats! What happy news!

Charbelle said...

AAAHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!!!!! It's fun doing that all over again ;)

So so so so happy for you and I'm thankful and prayerful that there will be no more RA flares! Prayers for healthy the rest of the pregnancy! I admire you, I would HAVE to know the sex! I think Phil's need to know likely comes from being such a planner!

I can't wait to give you actual hugs!!!!

San said...

FAAAANTASTIC news, Lisa. I am so beyond excited for you and Phil! What a gift. I hope that the RA flares won't cause any more problems and that you can enjoy this pregnancy! <3

Betsy Enger said...

Congratulations Lisa! I'm so happy for you and will keep you in my prayers.

Abby said...

I am sooooooo happy to read this beautiful, amazing post! I've been waiting for this Post 😉

I pray the worst of your RA symptoms and bleeding and all the other not-so-great news is passed and now you can just focus on being pregnant and finding some inner-peace! Prenatal massages sounds like a wonderful idea!!

Love you!

J and A said...

Oh my gosh!!! This is amazing news! I am so thrilled for you!! I so hope you have no more RA issues and you are smooth sailing through now. I don't think the anxiety ever goes away really, even when the babies come! Just my opinion! ha ha But enjoy every moment as much as you can, it goes by so fast and is really an incredible thing.

Nora said...

So happy to see this news out here :) Thanks for sharing all of it with us- the good, the anxiety, the struggles, the nitty gritty. It's so important to be real and honest. <3

Carolina John said...

CONGRATULATIONS!! I'm so glad the news is finally out there. And I am so excited for you both. But, I'm with Phil here - strongly recommend finding out the gender of the baby. Without knowing, you end up getting lots of green and yellow presents, you have no idea how to decorate the nursery or do any of the prep work. We thought we were having a boy for some reason, then when the ultrasound said girl it completely changed our approach and preparations.

Still so happy! love & prayers for your growing family.

Leigh said...

So excited for you and Phil! Congratulations again :) so glad the bleeding has stopped and that everything is looking good with the baby :)

Katelin said...

Congratulations! So so exciting!

Gracie said...

What wonderful news! Congratulations to you and Phil, and I hope things ease as your pregnancy progresses.

Stevie said...

Congratulations! So excited for you!!! I had an inkling that you might be pregnant - in a few of your recent posts you talked about being nauseous and really tired ;-)

I hope you're able to get the RA flares under control so you can enjoy the rest of your pregnancy. Excited to hear more updates as you get further along. Congrats again, such wonderful news!

Amber said...

So so so happy for you, Lisa!!! I cannot wait to hug you in person and to someday met your little bundle!! Love you!

Amber said...

Soooo happy and excited for you guys! And also yay for the news becoming public this week!! I definitely had a very shitty first trimester as well but it was more typical pregnancy stuff as I wouldn't consider your SCH and RA flares "typical" I was just super tired and super nauseous and puked quite a bit. Now that I'm further removed from the first trimester it actually wasn't THAT bad in hindsight, but it felt quite horrible at the time and like time went sooooo slowly! And yes, the anxiety during pregnancy thing is not something that's talked about as much. I definitely don't consider myself a very anxious person in general, but I had a lot of anxiety during my pregnancy. That's really subsided as I get further along and feel baby move more and more, but prior to my 22 week anatomy scan I was quite anxious about things going wrong.

Stephany said...

I can't even BEGIN to explain how happy I am for you! I know how much you have prayed for a baby and it warms my heart to know you're going to get to experience being a mom. I *do* hope your RA clears up, though. That sounds AWFUL to deal with. The first trimester is a difficult one on its own, but to add RA flares to the mix? Not cool!

Nicole said...

Hooray!! How exciting for you and Phil! I hope your second and third trimesters are smooth sailing and you are done with your RA flares. Wishing you all the best during this very exciting time!!

Another Day said...

Awesome news!! I suspected this when you posted about nausea the other day. Congratulations to you and Phil and your future family member. I love your blog and I'm also in the second trimester of pregnancy right now so it'll be fun to follow along. Please keep us posted on how it's going and how you're feeling!

Rosie said...

Dave and I are so very happy for you and Phil....what a blessing to get pregnant so quickly...God is good....

Café Moka said...

Congratulations! How exciting!
I know a lot of women that are struggling with infertility but I also know many women who got pregnant the first month trying (like my 2 sisters-in-law).

I hope your RA clears up!

katielookingforward said...

CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! I love reading pregnancy posts, so feel free to post as many TMI things as you like!

Shoshanah said...

I just saw your post on Facebook so I had to come hear and leave you a comment too! I'm so, so excited for you guys! Congratulations!! I don't think I ever posted, since people think it's crazy, but that's exactly what we did with the gender. Both times I never knew, but the boy found out at the anatomy ultrasound. So if that's what's you really want, it can be done successfully!

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

I love this post! I was looking forward to reading this :-) That is amazing that you got pregnant so quickly; you truly are lucky! I am with you on the finding-out-the-sex debate. I definitely would not want to know until that moment, because I'd want the "It's a ________" excitement.

Sorry to hear about the bleeding, and the vomiting into the grocery bag. Ha - I would have just puked on the sidewalk/street. You are a very thoughtful person to puke into the bag of groceries!

Lauren @ Sassy Molassy said...

So exciting! I love reading more about your first trimester and such. I can't imagine how scary having bleeding would be during the first trimester, but glad it has gone away. That is funny that Phil wants to know so bad the sex of the baby. I knew I didn't want to find out (and probably won't want to the next time we have a baby either), but Pete probably would have liked to. I just knew that a surprise like that wouldn't come around very often in a lifetime. Also, beyond decorating a nursery and buying specific colored baby clothes, I didn't see a need really. And I preferred having more gender neutral things anyway. During our 20 week ultrasound, I will say that we had to look away probably 50% of the time. The ultrasound tech was really good about saying okay, turn away now and such when she would go over the area that might give something away. :) Anyway, so excited for you guys. And I hope the flares go away soon for you.