They Say Every Pregnancy is Different 🤷‍♀️

You might think after you get pregnant that fertility treatment ends. Nope. It’s pills and shots and pills and shots and ultrasounds and did I mention pills and shots? Most of it continues through the 1st trimester.

We’ve had unseasonably warm weather so I was out mowing the lawn then complaining to Kyle about the lawnmower handle jabbing into my stomach bruises. I’ve debated whether to share this picture; but this is what my belly has looked like for the past 3 months. 😩

Speaking of belly… I have heard many people say with a 2nd pregnancy you get bigger faster and, yikes, did all my pants get tight quickly! I’ve been super sleepy but otherwise feeling pretty good.

At 6 weeks I had some bleeding and called the doctor – they wanted to see me right away so I went in and the Dr said at just 6 weeks it would be unlikely to detect a heartbeat but she could see if there was an embryo in there still. She did an ultrasound and found no infection or hemorrhaging and saw a clear heartbeat! Whew. She instructed me to take it easy until my next ultrasound which was scheduled only 10 days later.

Well 10 days later we learned a fun fact: twins can be missed on an ultrasound then discovered on the next. That’s right. TWINS!!! Kyle said he wasn’t surprised – I think I knew it too – but reality is sinking in *gasping for air* and I feel 50% excited and 50% about to barf at all times.

You can see in the ultrasound it looks like 2 peas growing in 2 pods which means both of the embryos that were implanted “took” so they’re fraternal, not identical, twins. So cool! 👶👶

Here are our little Twilsons

I almost forgot to tell you!

We’ve had a busy little week. Kyle got invited to speak at a conference in Santa Fe and left this morning + I officially accepted (and the board approved this morning) a fuller-time position on staff at church. So between packing, airport transport, writing a 2-week notice (that I haven’t submitted yet) to end my orthodontic career…plus ordering more prescriptions and scheduling ultrasounds…I almost forgot to tell you all in the blog world that I’m officially pregnant! 

I didn’t think you’d all want to see another picture of something I peed on so instead of a positive test I thought I’d add a picture of Calvin playing with Mamma’s “medicine”.  This is what happens when you leave for 45 seconds to change a load of laundry with a 16-month old during fertility treatment! *head slap emoji* At least all the lids are still on!

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Liming with my Husband

How it possible I was in this place only a WEEK ago?! I’m trying to remember the details – the sunlight, the sand, the temperature…what was it like??

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Another whirlwind trip to Barbados has come and gone but this time I brought a pretty great carry on that was notably absent from my last 2 trips: Kyle! Keith and Cindy took an entire week off to drive through a blizzard and stay with Calvin so we got the treat of a kid-free-vacation which means we could do whatever we wanted for 5 whole days!

After an overnight layover in Trinidad we landed in Barbados at 9am and got to work having FUN! We got a free upgrade to luxury model on our rental car (it pays to be chatty/nice in Barbados!) we headed straight to the ocean. We drove to Crane Beach and explored the island a little then ended the day with a (practically private) catamaran tour on the Silver Moon = Super Nice Boat! (https://silvermoonbarbados.com/catamaran-fleet/) with only 12 people on our boat we had an amazing 5 hours snorkeling a ship wreck, swimming with sea turtles, eating – so much eating – and drinking and bathing in the sun.

 

 

Friday morning I had a quick appointment with Anna for a lining check *perfect and ready for transfer* then spent the morning eating, drinking, exploring with Kyle. In the afternoon we went back for the whole reason (well … the MAIN reason) we come to Barbados. A baby! It was really special for me to have Kyle in the room during my 30-second appointment and to get to see our little blastocysts flash on the ultrasound screen together. I changed out of my hospital gown, laid on the bed for 10 minutes, then back to vacation. It’s just that quick, crazy, and exciting. Here are the first baby pics:

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We had a great breakfast on the beach near Oistin’s on Saturday morning and took a photo together on the beach I took a photo on last time I was there when I was VERY newly pregnant with Calvin. 🙂 We spent the day “liming” as the Bajans call it (to lime is the hang out: Sitting under the lime tree / nothing more demanding to do than squeeze some limes)  relaxing and beaching – more eating and drinking of course – and just hanging out which is really such a treat! Nobody asked me for, “Snack, Mamma, Snack?” LOL!

Before we headed to the airport we walked down the wooden boardwalk that runs along a long stretch of beach and came across this art instillation featuring local businesses. I recognized the logo of the family holding hands before I realized what the words said and just said a thankful prayer for finding this place that’s given us such a beautiful family  it an artistic way.  Our treatment and journey hasn’t been exactly pieced together like many families but I think it’s so beautiful to see these pieces, people, sacrifices and colors collected into a work of art that is our BFC family!

 

 

We set back to Trinidad Saturday that night then spent the next day in Houston, TX on a 12 hour layover. By that time I think we were both ready to just get home and see our little dude but we filled the day quickly with eating and drinking (sensing a pattern?). We were introduced to kolaches which apparently everyone in Houston knows about and has been holding out on the rest of the country – yumm! I plan to attempt, and fail miserably, at recreating them soon. We spent several hours at the NASA Space Center where I lost my ID and napped through what I’m sure was an informative presentation on the upcoming Mars expedition.  It was kind of breathtaking to see a real shuttle and imagine life on the space station.

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The weather in Portland was a bit different than island life. We were not dressed for 20 degree snow and sleet and it took us over 3 hours to get home. I tried desperately to wake Calvin up but he wasn’t interested. Our week since has been pretty normal aside from the instructions I have not to lift anything over 15 pounds (which has made for some creative parenting, diaper changes, chores, etc) and now we wait just a THREE more days until our official test date on the 20th! We’ll keep you posted.

 

Here’s a pic of Calvin and his Valentine’s Day pancake because he’s just so dang cute we need another one!

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Time Flies When You’re Fertile

They say childhood flies by – But they’re probably not referring to my promise to keep updating our little blog through my pregnancy and I then I just slept through most of it haha. But, Holy Cow, a YEAR ago we announced our pregnancy here??  It seemed like a good anniversary to post an annual review.

I really had such a wonderful pregnancy. I know so many women can’t wait for it to be over but I loved the feeling of a special connection within myself all day, I loved the stretchy pants! Heck I did even mind taking my blood sugar and the insulin injections when I had Gestational Diabetes…I mean only ONE shot a day? Child’s play!

Belly Roll

 

We had a Fetus Fiesta in September complete with burrito bar, tequila tasting, and hilarious games (“Is she in labor or a horror movie?”). We couldn’t believe how many people who showed up to our back yard to celebrate our little one. Two of my favorite things were the 50/50 raffle for guessing the Gender-Predictor old wives tales (the old wives were as wrong as me) and our “guest book” which was the onsie we brought Calvin home from the hospital in: covered in love and best wishes from our friends and family! ❤

Group Shot

We were shocked how many family, friends and medical professionals were stressed out that we kept the sex a surprise. But we didn’t get any of those other surprise moments in our pregnancy journey so we had to have at least one. And what a surprise HE turned out to be! I was 100% sure he was a girl inside me and when Dr. O’Rourke said he was a boy I said, “Are you sure? Are you messing with me?”

Calvin Newborn

He is such a HAPPY baby and has brought so much joy to our family. It seems like every day he’s doing something new and adorable-er than the day before. I know we’ll have hard  days like all parents, but I have to say the silver lining that infertility has given us is that there is joy in the long nights and the spit up and the crying for no reason. That crying is music to my ears and when I’m exhausted I take a moment to thank God for giving us this miracle to wear us out.

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Now that he’s here – and a quarter of a year old as yesterday – it’s hard to imagine there was a time I wanted to give up on fertility treatment. I don’t think that we would have ever gone back for a second round if we had done our IVF in the States. I just can’t imagine my life now without him in it!

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I kind of can’t even believe just a year ago when I thought we wouldn’t go back for more once we had one kid… What was I thinking? These things are awesome! Being a mom is so fun and watching Kyle become a father has made me love even more as being a dad has shown me sides to him I’d never seen before. I like it’s so much I just might blog about it more than once a year! 😉

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Week 8

We had our first ultrasound this past week.  They said that everything looks normal/as it should.  Here is the first look of “baby peanut” as coined by the ultrasound tech.

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You can see the heart beating on the screen, so that was really cool to see.  They said everything looks normal/as it should be at this point.  I think the only two things they look at at this point is the rate of the heartbeat and the size.  They did confirm that there is just one.  We had two implanted, but there are no twins.

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If you speak fertility-treatment-message-board like I (embarrassed to admit) do, that title stands for 5 days past 5-day frozen embryo transfer = big fat positive! Don’t feel bad if you didn’t get it. I asked Kyle what he thought it stood for and he answered, “5 double phytoplankton 5 double fat ectoplankton Transformers = Berry Flevenson and Pakes” So you probably were closer than him?

Today is of course 12 days past our transfer and the official testing day. I had read on the aforementioned message boards that some women got a positive as early as day 5…since that was Kyle’s 35th birthday I decided to be a cheater and take a test knowing it wouldn’t be positive but how cool would it be if it was? Well a tiny little pink line showed up so we’ve been secretly celebrating for the past week – And yes – lying to all of you who asked me if I knew yet.

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Does getting a positive home test a week early indicate multiples?? We shall see! It can be an indication of that but, of course, no way to know until a doctor can detect such things.

I was too ashamed to admit to our doctor in Barbados what a crazy pregnancy test lady I turned out to be so we are telling them today just like all of you. From here I will start to see a doctor in Eugene. In addition, Dr. Corona in Barbados will continue treatment (and prescriptions!) from afar through the 1st trimester.

Of course we are ELATED and if I never step foot on Barbados sand again that’s just peachy keen. (Weeeeellll maybe a visit in the distant future.  It is pretty great.)

I am down to 3 injections a day now and those will continue through (at least) the first trimester along with this giant handful of pills.  IVF pregnancies have a 15%-25% miscarriage rate depending whose statistics you believe, so the idea all all these meds is to make me STAY pregnant.

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We will keep updating the blog throughout the pregnancy. Man it feels good to type that! It’s been so great sharing with our close friends and family and we think it will be a fun way to continue our journey with you all.

3rd Trip’s the Charm?

 

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What a busy few days! I left work on Wednesday and started my looong trip back to Barbados for another try at our transfer.

My travel seemed to go as my travel goes…As they were checking me in at the Eugene airport their entire computer system shut down so I got a handwritten boarding pass and bag tag which was a first for me and everyone that works there. I threw up on 2 of my 4 flights due to my medications. The worst was when I had the window seat and an elderly couple I had to rush out of their seats 4 times and filled all the bags in our row (and one from the row in front of me) waiting for them to shuffle out so I could run for the bathroom. Of course I felt extra terrible and tried to get them to switch Seats with me. Fran (we got well acquainted) insisted the window helps and looked through all her ‘old lady pills’ in her purse for something to help me. 😂 After flying from home to Seattle to Charlotte to Miami (which closed due to fog upon our arrival…Circled the airport for 90 minutes) I was more than happy with my decision to have a long layover in Miami to get some air and stretch my legs!
I spent several hours on Thursday in Miami and decided to do a walking food tour of Little Havana. My Uber driver escaped from Cuba 10 years ago and has worked 3 jobs to get his wife, son and daughter here. He proudly showed me photos of his family and his daughter’s quinceanera in November. He told me he didn’t see her from age 7 to 13 years because he was working here but all he wanted was for her live her life where she would be allowed to think and say anything she wants and be given a chance for an education and a free life. The first stop on my food tour was hosted by an artist’s studio who was imprisoned for years after being caught escaping Cuba. The moment he was released he tried again. I don’t know if I’ve felt more patriotic than I did at the end of this tour. Meeting so many people who’ve suffered and sacrificed for a chance at a life in the US was an unexpected and really special time.
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Then the food!! There were about 15 people on the tour – Even a family from Eugene who I shamelessly tried to sell braces to – we all made fast friends and the food and the culture was amazing. I got to try to strongest coffee on the planet Cubans drink called Colada. A full serving is the size of those single-serve creamers and my heart was racing afterward! I tried fried plantains, empanadas, coffee, pressed sugar cane water, guava pastries, and authentic cubano sandwich, ice cream and fresh Mojitos at The Ball and Chain with live music on the stage where great artists like Billie Holiday, Chet Baker and Duke Ellington once played. We watched hand rolled cigars be made and a game at the famous Domino Park. These guys wouldn’t let me play. They said “You are not old enough!” And it’s true. They have a sign posted: Players 55 and older only.

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I arrived here about midnight last night. My handwritten luggage tag even got my bag here! I went on a wild taxi ride and got to my hotel only to find out they’d overbooked and put me in a place about 15 minutes in the wrong direction. The place I ended up has a beautiful private pool with a terrace over a cliff where I had a breakfast of leftover plane snacks while I watched the waves crash. I headed to the clinic at 8 for my scan which was declared perfect and was told they’d thaw the embryos and to come back at 2. I took a photo on my way out so you could all see what a doctor’s office looks like in the Caribbean.

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I spend the day in the ocean, had a great lunch and an even better nap in my lounge chair under the umbrella.
I headed back and spent about half an hour in the waiting room so naturally I struck up a conversation with whoever was around. I met Martean from Canada who had her 1st IVF here today…After 4 unsuccessful attempts at home. Another woman, like me, had an unsuccessful IVF in November and is back for the 2nd try today. It’s sad to hear other people’s disappointments and see their desperation to have a family. We all exchanged emails and wished each other the best but I couldn’t help thinking, statistically, only one of is going to get good news in two weeks. Hearing their stories didn’t really make me feel and more of less hopeful for me and Kyle but it’s hard to see people suffer with something that seems it should be a simple part of life.
So – the whole point of this blog – I went in for my transfer and it went great. They zoomed in on the ultrasound and I got to watch the embryos go right in. It looked like two little white marbles rolling down a ramp and plopped right in. Hopefully my little marbles and attaching and duplicating right now! You can see the tiny white line circled on this ultrasound. That’s them side by side.
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I took a bus to a beach spot and walked in the sand then back to my hotel relaxing, watching the sunset and downloading Netflix shows for my voyage home in the morning. I’ll spend another day in Miami tomorrow. I plan to explore the Wynwood Walls. I should get home late Saturday night. So it’s been another quick trip but has been rich in connecting with strangers, relaxing and hoping for the future.
12 days til test day! I’ll be back then with hopefully a happy report of a productive weekend! (Or reproductive weekend as my coworker said it)
If you’ve actually read all this I’m impressed and you should get an award or something. Thanks everyone for your support, your well wishes,  checking in with me and Kyle and your prayers!