Sometimes all you need is a break

It’s been a while since I’ve given an IVF update – but I’m back! Taking a few months off from IVF was truly what I needed. The time off from doctors appointments, injections, medication allergies and other side effects restored my energy and focus. I spent the first few months of my IVF break continuing to focus on my personal health and fitness, while also finishing my personal training certification and making headway toward my new career path. 

By the end of January 2022, I received my personal training certification and began figuring out my next steps to jumpstart this new career adventure. I started increasing my protein intake and I was making headway with my own health and fitness goals as well. I felt better than ever and was not yet ready to return to the world of IVF. I felt like I was slowly feeling like myself again and I needed a little more time before possibly diving back in.

During our break from IVF, we continued tracking my cycle and using ovulation tests to maximize our chances of getting pregnant. We didn’t expect anything to come from this, given the odds of us conceiving without IVF, but there was no reason not to try everything we could! 

On March 3rd, I decided to take a pregnancy test. It was about time for my period to start so I wasn’t even late but for whatever reason I decided to test. We had plenty of pregnancy tests lying around so why not. As I waited for the pregnancy test to show ‘not pregnant,’ I mentally prepared myself. I had seen those words many times before and I knew to expect it. I was ready.

As I looked down and read ‘Pregnant,’ my mouth dropped wide open and I immediately felt shaky. What?! I was floored. I stood there, alone in my bathroom at 7am while Ilan was asleep, looking at the test and then at myself in the mirror. Back and forth. Trying to make sense of what was happening. I didn’t believe it. I stood there for a few minutes and eventually decided to wake Ilan up so that I wasn’t experiencing this alone.

I woke him up with a gentle yet confused sounding, “hey babe… (his head lifts)…I’m pregnant?” His face lit up as he exclaimed, “what?!” and I showed him the positive pregnancy test. We tested a second time to be sure. We sat on the bed for about an hour, I was still mostly just in shock while he was both surprised and ecstatic. Not that I wasn’t happy, but shock really took the lead here for me.

No matter how much time, effort, money and hope that we put into family planning, especially with multiple rounds of IVF, learning that I was actually pregnant – without IVF and after a failed embryo transfer – was shocking. We simply didn’t expect it to happen this way.

My emotions soon shifted to anxiety once I started to process the reality of being pregnant because we were only 3.5 weeks, super early, and we wouldn’t know if it was a viable pregnancy until a month later. Knowing that we had a higher risk of complications due to my egg quality, and I’d already been through the trauma of cancer, my response was more fear-based than anything else. 

We decided not to tell anyone yet, as we didn’t quite believe it ourselves and we didn’t want to have to manage others’ expectations before we knew if it was viable. We wanted our loved ones to be able to feel unadulterated joy and excitement when we told them and did not want to have to dilute that with managed expectations.

So, we waited. And while we waited, we kind of didn’t think about it much ourselves. I think it was our way of protecting ourselves as we truly didn’t expect this to work out in our favor. It’s a little sad, but with how things have gone for us, we were guarded. Miscarriage is quite common, despite how little people talk about it, and we wanted at least some confirmation of a viable pregnancy before getting too excited.

So, after a month had passed, we finally had our first doctor appointment. We were anxious but ready to see how things were going. We started with a transvaginal ultrasound to check the location of the embryo (still technically called an embryo at this stage), yolk sac and heart rate. Good news all around – the embryo was where it should be, the yolk sac looked good and had no indication of potential miscarriage at this point and the heart rate was good! We met with the doctor afterward and all in all, we had a viable pregnancy at this point. Wow. Immediate relief flooded over us. We were one step closer and maybe, just maybe, this would work out! 

We started to feel hopeful and knew that with each passing doctor appointment, we’d likely feel better and better. Our next appointment wouldn’t be for another month, so we decided that this news was good enough for us to finally tell our families. We waited until we were in-person with our families at various points over the following weeks to share the news and it was really special. We made a cute little box for them to open and it was a big hit. Our families are elated to have their first grandchild on the way and we are getting more and more excited as the days go by. I am hopeful that fear will continue to move toward the backseat as the pregnancy progresses and all of our positive emotions continue to move forward.

Thank you for joining us along this journey so far. This was a long time coming and while I don’t plan to turn this into a parenting blog, I will continue to post occasional updates throughout pregnancy until birth, and likely sporadic family updates thereafter – so keep an eye out for those! At whatever point in the future we decide to try for a second child, I’ll definitely continue with blogging that part of our fertility journey too, wherever it may lead. Still rising!

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