anxiety, family, IVF, outdoors, pregnancy, single mom by choice, SMC

how it feels

It’s a sleepy Saturday night. I went on a gorgeous 5+ mile hike today with my friend C in the hills north of Mt. Tam–more exercise than I’ve had in weeks. Afterward, I had high hopes that I would come home and be wildly productive in my apartment but have only managed to nap, eat a box of mac and cheese, get halfway through making soup, and watch a West Wing episode. I am so low energy. I think it’s curtains for tonight, I’m on my way to bed after this post.

I’m not yet feeling licensed to be overjoyed and also not completely drowning in fear but somewhere in the middle, somewhere in the process of gradual acceptance and gratitude for each day. It’s natural to be cautious and realistic and also have moments of bursting joy. I also know, objectively and scientifically, that my stats are great and this is most likely a go.

I visualized the heartbeat scene so many times beforehand–either way, I would obviously burst into tears. But when it happened I was quite simply flooded with so many emotions that I was almost incoherent. As I waited on the table for Dr. T. to come back into the exam room, I tried to breathe and calm myself but some tears escaped early. He came in and the next thing I knew he was saying, “there’s a heartbeat!” and I registered that these were the magic words I was dying to hear and pushed myself up on my elbow to survey the screen full of abstract shapes while he pointed out the flicker (so so so tiny). Then I don’t know what happened but I laid back down and put my hand on my forehead and he asked if I was going to hyperventilate. I said I didn’t think so.

In the follow-up conversation, my sister caught everything important that the doctor said and I remembered almost none of it, That’s why it’s really important to have someone with you at these and all emotional doctor’s appointments–how are you supposed to track data when your world was just hanging in the balance and somehow didn’t come crashing down?

So when people texted me afterward about the joy of seeing the heartbeat, I responded that my predominant emotion was relief. I also saw the beginning of the second embryo’s gestational sac with nothing inside it so there was a moment of loss even in the joy and relief and overwhelm…also a sense that I narrowly missed both the heartbreak of putting only the one that wouldn’t have worked, and also the double-joy and double-anxiety of having twins. Mixed with immense gratitude and love for the fighting spirit of my embryo with a strong heartbeat and perfect measurement.

Tomorrow I will be 7 weeks. Babycenter says it’s the size a blueberry now and all the organs are forming, the beginnings of hands and feet and eyes. It’s truly hard to comprehend, in the way that it’s hard to comprehend the universe going on forever. And of course I just hope that it’s all happening as it should.

Pregnancy symptoms are in effect. On Monday after work, I was reading on the bus when all of a sudden I had to promptly get off at the next stop to get fresh air and walk. So far, the nausea hasn’t gotten too bad and is just a signal that I need to eat–of course I had always heard this from friends and it’s kind of fascinating to feel this unique hunger/nausea (although not pleasant). I may be honing in on a specific craving as today I noticed I had pizza for breakfast, grilled cheese for lunch, and mac and cheese for dinner. Bread and cheese anyone?

Beyond that, I’m just going to bed early, not exercising much at all besides walking, munching on snacks throughout the day, and feeling pretty incapable of doing anything else besides work. Sometimes I accuse myself of using this as an excuse to be lazy, but when I find myself dry heaving or falling asleep at 6pm while getting dressed to go on a walk, I know I’m really not making this stuff up. My body is trying to grow a human. Thanks to Dr. B for giving me permission to prioritize rest over exercise and also to eat whatever sounds good rather than trying too hard to be healthy.

On the other hand, I really REALLY want to get my place in order and if anyone wants to come over and help me hang pictures and/or organize my closet, you are welcome anytime and will be given ice cream.



4 thoughts on “how it feels”

  1. I have been reading your blog for a long time now, but haven’t commented. (At least not in months and months). I am SO OVER THE MOON happy for you. I am ecstatic that this little bean has a heartbeat. And in less than a year, will have a smile when looking at his/her mama’s face. Beautiful.

    The first trimester sucks! I was a slug. Work and then walked the dog (quickly) and zonked out most evenings by 8pm.

  2. The bread and cheese and 6pm sleep sounds like this pregnancy is a go! I can totally relate to this post (about 10 months ago ;-)). Remember–even though you’re not showing, this is the period where the fetus is growing the fastest–literally hundreds of thousands of cell divisions a day. There’s a reason you’re hungry and sleepy! Indulge yourself! Those cells need glucose, hence the carb craving and those growing bones will need calcium (cheese). Can’t wait to see your place when I get back!

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