We’re Pregnant: The Delivery

Immediately after being told that my waters had broken, the on-call doctor said “you’re having a baby this weekend.”

I was admitted to L&D right away since my waters had already been broken for 24 hours and contractions hadn’t started yet. The risk of infection becomes exponential once your waters rupture, so the doctor informed me that 1) they would put me on fetal monitoring overnight and hope contractions started on their own and 2) that they would induce with pitocin the following morning if contractions hadn’t started progressing on their own. They also refused to check my cervix to see how dilated I was for fear of further increasing the risk of infection; they would only do a manual check once I was in active labor.

With that news Kevin ran home to grab our hospital bag, which I had diligently put together several weeks prior when I my cervix started shortening. While he did that I sent off a flurry of work emails to close out some loose ends and officially start my maternity leave. When Kevin got back we settled in for the night, watching the Penn State vs. Wisconsin game (Penn State won!) and trying to get some rest. We went through our birth plan with our night nurse just in case things got moving soon. We wanted a natural, unmedicated birth, with the only intervention on our list of possibilities being nitrous oxide. We asked for as few interruptions from the nurses as possible, for delayed umbilical cord clamping, and for skin-to-skin time after birth if the baby’s condition allowed. Around midnight I was still wired for sound so I accepted the nurse’s offer to take an Ambien, with hopes that I’d get some sleep before active labor started.


By 8:00 AM the next morning no noticeable contractions had started, though the fetal monitor did pick up on some small, consistent ones throughout the early morning hours. Kevin and I were sent out walking. We roamed the hallways of the hospital for an hour and a half. No progression. At 10:00 AM I got my first dose of pitocin. I was wary about being induced medicinally but the clock was ticking and they really didn’t want me pregnant much longer. They started the pitocin drip at a “1,” assuring me that it would be a very slow increase until contractions started, then they would stop the increase. The maximum dosage they would go to was 20. Every hour they increased the drip by 1-2 points. All afternoon I sniffed jasmine essential oil and had Kevin massage reflexology points on my feet – both homeopathic methods known to induce labor. No cigar. By mid-afternoon I was still feeling next to nothing, so the doctor gave me permission to eat small amounts of food at a time so I wouldn’t get too famished. 


By 5:00 PM, the pitocin was at a 16, and I still wasn’t feeling much of anything. It really felt as though active labor was eons away. I called the nurse and asked to be put on wireless fetal monitoring so I could walk around. Kevin and I zoomed in circles around the L&D hallways with my wheeled IV pole that I named Luigi (after the little Italian car in Disney’s Cars) in tow, giving me a constant pitocin drip. After an hour I decided to order dinner since contractions hadn’t started. Kevin left the hospital to take care of our dog, Boomer, and I called my Mom to touch base while I ate in my L&D room. By the time I was finished and Kevin got back it was closing in on 7:00 PM. “Let’s walk again,” I said, and we proceeded to wheel around L&D again. 


We completed two laps around the floor and then, boom. Contraction. It felt like a really terrible menstrual cramp, but more sustained. I almost had to stop walking. It lasted about 40 seconds. “Let’s keep going.” One more lap and then, contraction again. We pushed through 2 more laps with one contraction hitting around the same place each time. I was too uncomfortable to walk anymore. We made our way back to our L&D room, where another contraction hit. Kevin asked, “Do you want to lay down?” “No. That sounds awful.” “Ok.” I stood, clutching Luigi and swaying purposefully through each contraction. I asked Kevin to come support my back. I leaned back into him during the worst of the contractions. This went on for about 45 minutes. My feet were tired, but the thought of laying down was still preposterous to me, so I asked for an exercise ball. I got down on my knees and leaned my forearms over the ball. I had Kevin sprinkle some lavender essential oil (which helps you to relax & stay calm) onto a washcloth for me, which I wound up clutching throughout the rest of labor. During most contractions I would fan the washcloth in front of my face and breathe in the lavender. It was amazing how helpful it was. 


After 20 minutes or so on the ball I wanted to stand again. When I stood up I got nauseous, so I stood, leaning over the sink in the room, just in case. I continued swaying through contractions that were now lasting close to two minutes and were only separated by 30-40 seconds of rest. During a particularly long contraction I threw up my dinner but surprisingly felt much better. Leaning over the counter felt good, so I stayed put, and during each subsequent contraction I grounded down into a squat and had Kevin push with his full body weight against my lower back. This position greatly reduced the back labor pain. At around 2 hours into active labor, I had two back-to-back contractions so intense my vision blurred. “I need nitrous oxide right now,” I announced. Kevin knew I wouldn’t ask for it if I didn’t absolutely need it. He sprinted out to get the nurse. By the time they rolled the nitrous into the room and got it set up beside the bed nearly 15 more minutes had passed. In the middle of another vision-blurring contraction I stumbled across the room towards the bed. “Nitrous tends to make a lot of people nauseous or dizzy so you need to be beside the bed to use it” the nurse gently told me. You have to self-administer nitrous oxide, so I grabbed the mask and shoved it against my nose and mouth and inhaled way too deeply. I almost fell over I got so dizzy, so I had to lay down which I absolutely despised. I layed on my left side and reoriented myself with a peanut shaped exercise ball between my legs to take pressure off of my back. I tried using nitrous for the following two contractions and found I needed to inhale a lot less. It didn’t take away the pain, but I found it did help clear (or blur!) my headspace just enough that I was ever so slightly more relaxed during contractions. Then, all of sudden…I felt it. “I need to push.” “Now?” the nurse asked. “Now.” 

The nurse’s eyes got super wide. My cervix dilation hadn’t been measured all day due to the infection risk, but they’d planned on measuring at some point during labor so they’d have a ballpark on timing. My nurse took a quick measurement, then frantically called over her shoulder to the second nurse, hovering in the back of the room, “She’s at 9 pushing 10, station 1. Go get the doctor, NOW!” 

The next ten minutes were a blur as the contractions continued almost constantly. Then, the doctor whirled into the room, snapping gloves onto her hands as she positioned herself at the foot of my bed. I was still laying on my left side, clutching the bed rail. The nurses coaxed me onto my back and the doctor broke away the lower part of the bed. Kevin was on my right, a nurse was on my left, and both of them grabbed a leg. The doctor gazed steadily into my eyes from above her surgical mask. “Moriah, on your next contraction I need you to push.” I nodded. 

With each contraction I held the nitrous oxide mask up to my face and took one breath, then I’d drop the mask and grab around the outsides of my legs, supporting some of my weight, while Kevin and my nurse helped. After a few pushes I could feel baby boy’s head crowning. Between contractions the doctor asked, “would you like to reach down and feel his head?” “NO!” I exclaimed, to which my nurse laughed. “Well that’s a definitive answer. Some women find it motivating. Some don’t.” Yeah, I was definitely in the no-thank-you camp. 

With each push from then on out, the pain of the contractions wasn’t the worst part – the proverbial ring of fire was. I’m not going to explain it here, but Google “ring of fire in labor” if you want to know more. In between each of these doozies, Kevin said that I was quite chatty and kept making everyone laugh with my ridiculous commentary. A few choice things I said include: “man, giving birth is not glamorous!” and “I’m REALLY glad we took childbirth classes.” and “Can someone get me a mint? I need a mint.” After about a dozen of these contractions the doctor looked at me and with her calm command said, “Moriah, you need to push past the pain.” I knew what she was saying. On the next push, even after the contraction had ended, I kept going, screaming all the while. I felt this massive release and a sudden gush, and before I could fully take in what was happening, Berkeley Ford Royer was in the room with us, crying spiritedly. It was totally surreal.

The doctor looked up at the clock and started the one minute countdown for delayed cord clamping, and at the one minute mark turned to Kevin and asked if he’d like to cut the cord. “Sure!” (In hindsight it’s crazy to both of us that Kevin was right in the middle of all of the action. He’s normally not the best with blood and intense stimulation, but he was in the zone with me. We labored together, and he was THE best labor partner in the whole wide world.) He took the scissors and cut the cord, then Berkeley was passed off to the Nurse Practioner and NICU nurse who had come into the room with a warmer while I was pushing. They began doing his vital checks and APGAR scoring while the doctor tended to me. 


Little did I know at the time, but after Berkeley was born I began hemorrhaging. The doctor worked quickly with my L&D nurse by her side and it took almost 45 minutes to stop the bleeding, which included the doctor going elbow deep into my uterus, doing uterine compressions from the inside and out, giving me several doses of medication to stop the bleeding, and several gentle tugs on the umbilical cord before I finally birthed the placenta. They were still working on me when Berkeley was whisked off to the NICU. I sent Kevin with him. Once the doctor was satisfied that the worst of my bleeding was over I was started on IV fluids and brought a wrap, chips, apple, and at my request, a cranberry juice & gingerale cocktail. I remember that I was violently shaking all over. “It’s the hormones” my nurse told me as she wrapped me in warm blankets and hung a second bag of IV fluids. Once the fluids were drained and I had eaten I was finally able to stand (with assistance) and make my way to the bathroom. After I passed the first-pee-post-labor test, I was put in a wheelchair and taken to the NICU to properly meet my sweet baby boy. 

We’re Pregnant: Second and Third Trimester

The second trimester of my first pregnancy went by fairly quickly. I didn’t feel very pregnant during this time…I had a ton of energy and just felt GOOD. My belly started showing around week 14 and I really popped at week 17. Fruit and milk continued to top the list of cravings. 

At our 18 week ultrasound we found out we were having a baby BOY!


The end of the second and all of the third trimester came with some aches and pains, most notably hip and lower back pain that was aggravated by two main things – long days working on my feet and chores at home that involved frequent bending and standing (e.g. cleaning the bathrooms and floors). Reflux/ heartburn showed up at the start of the third trimester too. Fortunately it only reared its ugly head with obviously acidic or fatty foods like tomatoes, citrus, and chili. Since I could almost always anticipate it and manage it with Tums I couldn’t complain too much. 

Due to my unicornuate uterus I had a few more growth scans scheduled that a standard pregnancy beginning in the third trimester. At my 30 week ultrasound (which actually happened at 29 weeks), they discovered that my cervix had started to shorten. Up until that point it had been between the normal 3-4 cm, but at 29 weeks it had already shortened to 2.3 cm. My doctor didn’t express any concern since I was in the third trimester, but scheduled a follow-up scan for 31 weeks. At that appointment, my cervix had gone down to 1.4 cm and was fluctuating as low as 0.9 cm. I was diagnosed with a “dynamic cervix” and put on modified bedrest. Modified bedrest is pretty loosy goosey, so without any definitive parameters I basically just stopped exercising and tried to take it easy (though, anyone who knows me would be able to tell you that me ‘taking it easy’ is not really a thing that happens.) 

Baby boy’s head was also sitting LOW – low enough that they couldn’t even get a head circumference measurement with the ultrasound wand pressed directly against my pubic bone – so from that point forward I was told I’d have weekly scans to monitor my cervix and baby’s growth. At week 32, my cervix was now hovering at no more than 9 mm. I was told that this could mean I could go into labor as soon as the next day or go as far as full term but that it was a complete crapshoot. I needed to seriously honor bedrest at least until the 34 week mark, which is the magical number at which most OB’s won’t stop labor since outcomes are so good from that point forward. 

Fortunately, my 32nd week of pregnancy coincided with Thanksgiving and I had already earmarked most of that week for vacation time as my parents and sister were coming into town from Virginia. I spent most of that week on the couch and my sweet Mama cooked up the Thanksgiving menu that I had planned. Mama and my sister threw me my baby shower the Saturday after Thanksgiving and my in-laws surprised us by flying out from Pennsylvania to be with us too. It was the best baby shower ever.

The Monday after all of the holiday festivities I had my 33 week appointment and was told my cervix had again shortened…to a mere 6 mm. Since my cervix was now nonexistent, I rearranged work plans to primarily work from home that week and crossed my fingers that I’d make it to 34 weeks. I hadn’t had any Braxton Hicks contractions or signs of labor at all though, so I was optimistic that I’d make it to at least 35…if not 36 or 37 weeks. 

Well, lo and behold, the following Friday, at 33 weeks and 5 days gestation, I started leaking clear fluid and filled 3 Maxi pads back to back in the span of an hour. In the moment I was perfectly convinced that Baby Boy was just jumping up and down on my very full bladder. It wasn’t until the the following afternoon that I started worrying about whether I should have gotten swabbed to make sure the fluid I’d leaked wasn’t amniotic fluid. So on Saturday, December 3rd just after dinner, my sweet husband Kevin drove me to Labor & Delivery (since the OB’s office wasn’t open) to get tested. I’ll never forget that it was just as the Penn State vs. Wisconsin game was starting and I felt terrible that he was missing it – Kev’s Alma Mater is Penn State and hubs is a diehard football fan. Fortunately L&D wasn’t busy and I was promptly swabbed. 

When the test came back ten minutes later, we were told that I was being admitted right away. My water had broken.

Long Weekend: 3 Perfect Days in Crested Butte

Crested Butte, CO. It’s a gem of a place with a quaint and bustling historic downtown, fun restaurants, amazing hiking and skiing, phenomenal views, great camping, and even a handful of pristine lakes for swimming, kayaking, and paddle boarding. 

When I got pregnant this spring we decided we needed to load up our summer and fall with low-key, local trips and activities, and CB was at the top of the list. Though Kevin and I have lived in Colorado for over five years we somehow just now got around to spending time in CB. Let me tell you, it won’t be our last trip there! We had some ideas of what we wanted to do there but got great recommendations from locals throughout our stay as well. 

While there are a hundred possible ways to spend three perfect days in Crested Butte, the time that Kev and I spent there in mid-July hit on a little bit of everything this subalpine Colorado town has to offer.

Day 1: Drive, Set up Camp, Dinner in Town

Drive from Denver to Crested Butte [3 hr, 50 min – without traffic.] Kev and I left town around 9:30 AM on a Friday. We stopped in Buena Vista for lunch (BV is the perfect halfway point between Denver and CB) at a fun place downtown called House Rock Kitchen. In true Colorado fashion, the menu items range from the healthiest of dishes (think kale salad) to heartier burgers and fries. Kev and I opted to get variations on their signature menu item, House Bowls. I got the BBQ bowl with pulled pork and Kevin got the Greek bowl with chicken. I recommend both. 


After eating at the restaurant’s modern, shaded outdoor patio we strolled down Main Street and stopped into a number of the local shops, including Deerhammer Distilling Company. As a diehard whiskey fan, I found my pregnant self a little disappointed that we couldn’t sidle up to the bar for one of my favorite local whiskeys on the rocks. Since we already had a bottle of both their single malt whiskey and whitewater whiskey in our liquor cabinet at home (don’t judge), we decided to purchase a bottle of their other spirit – gin. It will wait patiently on the shelf for 7 more months until this baby’s done cooking.


The second half of the drive was a lot slower, thanks in majority to the insane number of campers and RV’s dominating the primarily one-lane road. Once we finally got into the vicinity of Crested Butte it was already approaching 4:00 PM and we turned our efforts to finding a campsite. The first place on our list of zones to check out was the first-come, first-serve Cement Creek Campground. The name leaves a lot to be desired, but be forgiving of it because it is a great campground. We pulled in and the site host informed us that three other families had just packed up and hauled off that morning. We never get that lucky! We chose campsite #9, and I’m 100% positive it was the best site in the whole campground. From where you park your car, it’s a 50 pace walk into the campsite, which I loved – it was completely tucked away from the road amidst towering pine trees and wildflowers, and the far side of it nestled up against a bustling mountain creek. Totally serene. Besides vault toilets and a dumpster there are no other amenities, but the camping tent pads at the sites and the fire rings are in great shape. And, at just 12 minutes outside of downtown Crested Butte, it was a breeze to get to and from.

After we paid our $14/night fee and set up camp we were pushing 5 o’clock and starting to get hungry. We’d strategically planned to eat in town for our first night (I figured after a couple of nights of camping our disheveled hair and essence of campfire might not make us the most presentable patrons) so we zipped over to town and meandered the downtown area for some good grub. Despite the fact that we’d been in the car almost all day we were starving, so we popped into the local pizza place, Secret Stash, for a massive pie and salads. The decor is a cool, funky Indian/Buddhist/Hindu/Egyptian/Middle Eastern conglomeration with sheer canopies and curtains hung all over the restaurant. Try to snag a booth if you can. We attempted to walk off part of dinner by checking out all of the local shops afterwards, then drove back to the campground and called it a night.


Day 2: Hiking, Wildflower Spotting, & Paddleboarding

We started day two with some homemade breakfast tacos at our campsite, then packed up sandwiches, fruit, and snacks for the day. On our way out of camp we caught the site host, who recommended hiking on Gothic Mountain and paddleboarding at Lost Lake or Lake Irwin, both off of Kebler Pass. Perfect. We followed her instructions to a local paddleboard rental shop in town. After discovering that all of the paddle boards had been rented out for the first half of the day (there is definitely a limited supply of paddle boards in town, so either plan to reserve them the day before or be an early morning patron). We were told a lot of boards start coming back in between 1-2 PM, so Kev and I drove the short 15 minute drive to the trailhead on Gothic Mountain to spend our morning hiking. 

Being pregnant, there’s a general rule that you shouldn’t over-exert yourself above 10,000 feet. Since we were over 11,000 we decided not to hike the trail with any sort of vigor or speed, but rather to soak in the sights as we climbed and spend more of our time spotting wildflowers. Geeky as all get out, I know, but it was ridiculously fun. We have this awesome wildflower book that we’d brought with us and we thumbed through it over the course of our entire hike. In our weekend at Crested Butte we identified over 25 different wildflowers. The most prevalent ones included Fairly Trumpets, Nodding Sunflowers, Mule Ears, Silvery Lupine, Bluebells, Avens, and Cow Parsnip.


After wildflower spotting all morning we lunched on sandwiches and fruit we’d brought with us and drove back into town to pick up paddleboards. The little rental shop was still out so we were tipped off to try the tiny shop adjacent to the True Value hardware shop down the street which rents out a handful of paddleboards. They had one large, two-person board available for the afternoon so we snatched it up and headed back up the road 20 minutes to Lake Irwin. We were amazed at how gorgeous and large the mountaintop lake was. After lathering up with sunscreen we hit the water for a couple of hours, sometimes paddling and sometimes just floating. It was serene. The water was cold (I’m guessing low 50’s) but that didn’t stop all of the kids spending their day at the lake from jumping off of rocks into the mountain water. There were fishermen and picnic-ers scattered along the lake’s edges, a couple of paddle boats and a dozen paddle boarders or so dotting the lake. There were a few sweet lake houses bustling with families and kiddos too. I’m not sure if they’re available for rent but I’ve mentally earmarked that spot for a potential future family vacation. 

Once we were sunned out we dropped the paddleboard back off and made our way back to camp. We wound down the day cooking Dutch oven chicken and rice over the fire at our campsite, then hung out long enough to watch all of the stars make their way into the night sky.

Day 3: Coffee, Farmer’s Marketing, More Hiking & Wildflower Hunting

After our leisurely Sunday morning wake-up (we slept in until 8 AM!) Kevin needed to get a little work done so we rolled into town and snuggled into a corner table a First Ascent Coffee Roasters with almond croissants, fresh squeezed orange juice, and one decaf latte for the pregnant lady! We were pleasantly surprised to find the town’s Farmer’s Market getting rolling, so we made a point to meander the stalls once Kev was done working. There were local artists and artisans, fresh produce, and baked goods galore. We didn’t find any treasures worth taking home with us, but it was the perfect way to spend Sunday morning. 


We ate a picnic lunch in a local park afterwards, snoozed in the sun for a little while, then asked a local to recommend a short hike for us. Just ten minutes out of town, we hit up a short (but VERY vertical) 1/4 mile hike whose name unfortunately escapes me. At the top of the short climb was yet another gorgeous mountain lake. As this one is only accessible by foot, there were only a few fishers and swimmers dotting the water’s edge. The water here was a little warmer (we were close to 750′ lower in elevation compared to the day before) so Kevin took advantage of the pristine water and did a little swimming.


By the time we were done playing at the lake and hiking back down the steep mountain, we were pushing late afternoon and we decided our last evening would be best spent with some leisure time at our campground. We made our way back to Cement Creek where we had one of my favorite dinners of all time – chili & cornbread. I’d premade everything for this meal before we left home, so all we had to do was whip out the camping stove and reheat our grub. We built a roaring fire and made s’mores later in the evening, enjoying another sky packed full of stars that night. The next morning, we packed up & headed home early. Three days in CB left us relaxed, well-fed, and our sense of adventure fulfilled. We can’t wait to go back!

Oh! And we saw some moose near the top of Cottonwood Pass on our way home.

Final Thoughts

There are really two times of year I would recommend going to Crested Butte (especially if you won’t have the chance to go multiple times): the month of July or during prime ski season (January-March). In July, Crested Butte’s renowned Wildflower Festival kicks off in the middle of the month, and in the weeks surrounding that festival the mountainsides, roadsides, and hiking trails are really showing off their Colorado color. During the height of ski season you’re nixing the hiking, water activities, and camping, but obviously this is the time to come to take advantage of the great skiing and cozy restaurants in town.

We’re Pregnant: First Trimester Symptoms

Everyone has different pregnancy symptoms, but I wanted to document mine (in true Type A personality style) so I can (hopefully) be better prepared for what to experience in future pregnancies.

Before BFP: Nothing noticeable.

Within days of BFP: I noticed I was quite a bit more hungry. I was LOADING my plate at each meal and still getting hunger pangs in between meals. In the back of my mind I knew I wasn’t “supposed” to need any extra calories during the first trimester, but the hunger was SO real I couldn’t ignore it. I just listened to my body.

Cravings: None. Aversions: None

Week 5: In addition to being more hungry, I started to get super drowsy between 3-5 PM to the point that I had to take naps a couple of times during that week. 

Cravings: Bananas, beef, and Doritos – which I eat maybe once every two years. So strange! Aversions: Chicken. Barf.

Week 6: My reproductive endocrinologist recommended that I start taking a Crinone (progesterone) supplement after I got blood work back on Week 5, Day 4 that indicated, despite my very high beta hCG (18,000!!!), my progesterone was at 17. Everything I’ve read indicates that normal progesterone levels in the first tri are from 10-29 ng/mL but I guess my RE didn’t want to take any chances. He apparently likes it “over 20.” After this conversation and frankly, being pressured into using it, I started the Crinone…and my symptoms got really wacky. Breast tenderness started within 48 hours, and my insatiable hunger turned into queasiness throughout the day – it’s a gross feeling of being simultaneously starving despite the facts that basically all foods make me nauseous. I got sick twice during week 6. The daytime tiredness hasn’t been as bad, but I’m ready for bed by 9 PM.

Cravings: Beef, Doritos, lemonade. Aversions: Chicken. It just sounded slimy and awful.

Week 7: Nausea in the evenings & tiredness are par for the course. I wake up nauseated too, but have found that I can manage that by drinking a massive glass of chocolate milk right before bed. We had our first ultrasound this week (7w3d) and saw the little flickering heart beat (156 bpm) on the screen. Oh my goodness!

Cravings: Fruit. Chocolate milk. Aversions: Chicken, veggies.

Week 8: Almost identical to week 7, though the nausea on two days this week were really bad. One day I barely got off the couch after work and was in bed by 8 PM. I have discovered that if I take my prenatal vitamins at night just before bed I can stave off some of the evening nausea (I’ve always taken my vitamins right after getting home from work and think this regimen is a causal factor of the evening nausea). I’ve also started bloating pretty significantly throughout the day and by nightfall I have a hilarious little belly. It goes away by the morning, but it’s a fun teaser of what I’ll look like once I actually start showing.

Cravings: Fruit – ALL the fruit!! My cravings have also been slightly more sweet than salty this week, I think in part because I’ve realized that my nausea is partially caused by low blood sugar. I’ve had a couple of donuts this week when I hit a bad slump, and that sugar content picks me up almost instantly….I’ll try not to make a habit of that. Watered down juices and Gatorade are also staples. Chocolate milk every night. Aversions: Chicken and veggies still suck but I can manage them if they’re prepared well.

Week 9: My nausea has improved significantly. I woke up on the first day of week 9 and was amazed at how good I felt. I don’t know if it’s because my hormones are leveling out since the placenta should start taking over this week or if I have just gotten into a really good groove with food and timing, but I’ll take it! I still have to eat immediately after getting out of bed to avoid getting super nauseous and eat every two hours or so all day long, but as long as I do that I’m golden. Towards the end of the week I also started getting my energy back (knock on wood!) The last half of this week I got just 8 hours of sleep each night and woke up refreshed and ready to rev all day. I hope this keeps up. I had another ultrasound this week (9w5d) and we got to hear the heartbeat (170 bpm) for the first time!! The baby also has more of a defined shape now – you can distinctly see its head, body, and paddle-like hands and feet.

Cravings: Fruit, fruit, fruit. Bananas, cherries, strawberries, pineapple, and nectarines are my faves. Sweets are pretty tasty too. I may or may not have consumed an entire bag of peanut butter M&M’s throughout this week. Whoops. Milk hits the spot too. I’m averaging a little over a gallon a week by myself. Aversions: Pretty  much gone, praise the Lord! I had chicken twice this week and have upped my veggie game significantly.

Week 10: Zero nausea to speak of. If 3 weeks of morning sickness is really all I had to endure, I know I have it pretty good. I do still have to eat regularly every few hours in order to avoid feeling really crummy. I got one headache this week – the first memorable one all pregnancy. I think I got it because I didn’t take care to eat regularly enough that day. My workouts lagged weeks 6-9 due to nausea but I’m getting back into my normal routine which really helps with my energy levels.

Cravings: Fruit. Milk. Aversions: Nothing crazy, but certain veggies don’t taste good at all. Bell peppers specifically. Weird!

Week 11: One random morning of nausea. I ate a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast and could not keep it down. After I got sick I felt 100% better. I’m postulating that my hormones might be readjusting with the placenta fully taking over? I am also weaning off of my Crinone medication this week. I’ll take it every other days this week and stop it completely at the start of week 12. I am so excited for that!! We had our 12 week ultrasound this week too (11w3d) and heard the heartbeat again (170 bpm!)  It was my first belly ultrasound (as opposed to transvaginal) and Kev & I were so amazed at how much this little baby has developed in just two weeks. His/her little hands and feet are no longer webbed and baby’s face has a distinct nose. Baby was super duper active during the ultrasound; kicking, punching, rolling, and somersaulting the whole time. Everything looks healthy and we are so excited! Apparently I’ve gained 8 pounds so far, which is well above to 0-5 pound weight gain anticipated during the first trimester, but overall I feel really good about the foods I’ve put in my body and my activity levels, so I’m not going to obsess over this.

Cravings: Nothing particular, though fruit and milk continue to be my favorite things. Aversions: Certain veggies at certain times. This week, zucchini and squash tasted great one day and made me gag the next. 

Week 12: Like week 11, I had one random morning of nausea, again after eating oatmeal for breakfast. I felt a little worse throughout the day after that bout but was back to normal the next day. On Day 6 of this week I had just a touch of clearish pink spotting on Saturday morning. I would have missed it if I hadn’t looked at the tissue. I knew that the cervix has a tendency to get a little irritated moving into the second trimester and that can cause very minor spotting, but I called the on-call Doctor at my OB (it was a Saturday) just for peace of mind. She was beyond unconcerned and told me to just keep an eye on it. I saw nothing after that so I’m not going to spend any time dwelling on it. Also notable this week – my pants are a bit uncomfortable now. I can’t button a couple of my favorite pairs so have taken to looping a hair tie through the button hole and around the button. It works great…but I’ll need to upgrade to maternity pants soon! I’m not showing yet, per say, but my waist has definitely thickened. By the end of each day I’m still bloating, which definitely gives me a small but distinctly baby-looking bump. 

Cravings & Aversions: Same as week 11.

Week 13: Heading into week 13 I feel pretty darn good. I bought my first pair of maternity shorts at the end of week 12 and am making good use of them in week 13. Oh my gosh are they comfortable. Kevin and I spent the end of week 12/start of week 13 on a long weekend trip in Crested Butte camping, paddle boarding on Lake Irwin, and doing light hiking around Mt. Gothic (elevations are around & above 10,000 feet here so we had to take it easy). We spent a lot of time on our hikes identifying wildflowers since this area of Colorado is known for its vast and diverse wildflower growth. The Crested Butte Wildflower Festival officially begins on Monday (the day we leave) so we were here at a perfect time to identify a ton of gorgeous flowers. My new favorites are Fairy Trumpets. They dot the subalpine hillsides here and add flecks of red to the vastly yellow and green landscape.

Cravings: Nothing new to report here, people. Fruit & milk are the best. Aversions: Same as weeks 11-12.

S’mores Cookies

I had a hankering for s’mores a couple of weeks ago but the weather wasn’t ideal for making a fire that night, so I made these suckers instead. 

I trolled Pinterest for some inspiration and wound up adapting the recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction. Guys, these were decadent. The next time I make them I’m going to make them smaller because it was actually hard for me to eat a whole cookie as they were so chock full of goodness. And that’s saying something, considering I can typically put away, like, 6 cookies in a sitting. Don’t judge me.

Anyways, we always made s’mores with Reese’s cups growing up so my version of a s’mores cookie would of course include morsels of this amazing candy. (Early in his military career Dad was a Survival Instructor in the U.S. Air Force and he was the king of fireside recipes. As far as I’m concerned the Reese’s s’more is his invention. In fact, I didn’t know until high school that “most people” make s’mores with Hershey’s bars. Um, how basic is that?)

Enough jabbering. S’mores craving? Make these.



Reese’s Cup S’mores Cookies

Ingredients

This recipe is designed for high altitude baking. Double the amount of baking soda & granulated sugar if you’re making this near sea level.

2 1/4 c flour (I use Hungarian High Altitude flour)

1/2 t baking soda

1.5 t cornstarch

1/2 t salt

3/4 unsalted butter (1.5 sticks) softened

3/4 c light brown sugar

1/4 c granulated sugar

2 large eggs

2 t vanilla extract

1/2 c crushed graham cracker crumbs

S’mores Topping

1/2 c semisweet chocolate chips

1/2 c mini marshmallows (or a handful of large ones, cut into quarters)

2-3 Reese’s cups, roughly chopped

Instructions

1) In a large bowl, beat the butter until smooth. Beat in sugars, egg, and vanilla. 

2) Add baking soda, cornstarch, and salt. Mix thoroughly.

3) Beat flour in slowly, 1/4-1/2 c at a time. 

4) Fold in graham cracker crumbs.

5) Place bowl of dough in the freezer for 20 minutes while prepping your toppings.

6) Chop each Reeses’ cup into roughly 6-8 pieces each. Set up an assembly station with Reese’s, chocolate chips, and marshmallows. 

7) Preheat oven to 325 F. Line 2 baking sheets with silicone cookie sheets or grease well with nonstick cooking spray.

8) Use a large or small cookie scoop (I used a large Pampered Chef one, but will definitely use a small scoop next time since these cookies are so dang decadent) & scoop cookies onto sheets, spacing about one scoops’ width between each cookie.

9) If baking large cookies, bake 12 minutes. If small cookies, 7 minutes. Remove cookies from the oven and gently press your Reese’s, chocolate chips, and marshmallow toppings into each one. If desired, you can sprinkle some extra graham cracker crumbs on top. Place cookies back in the oven for 2-3 minutes, broiling for the last 30-60 seconds if you want authentic roasty toasty marshmallows.

10) Remove from the oven, wait as many minutes (or seconds) as you can stand, then serve these bad boys with milk or vanilla bean ice cream.


I hope you enjoy!!

*Disclaimer: I am not sponsored or endorsed by any brands or products mentioned above. I simply use and recommend what I love.




We’re Pregnant: How I Told My Husband

There are whole articles online dedicated to sharing ideas about how to tell your husband that you’re pregnant. Believe me, I read all of them in hopes of finding something memorable and meaningful, but I was at a loss. Most were way too cheesy for my taste (for example, put a literal bun in your literal oven and have your husband check the oven when he gets home from work. No. Just no.) Others were lackluster (put your positive pregnancy test in a gift box. No. I’m not putting a stick I peed on in a gift box. There was also the slight complication that I was going to be traveling for work on the day I could test, and since we had an IUI my husband knew the exact date I was supposed to test. I couldn’t get away with waiting, nor would I have been able to contain myself for four days until I saw him next.

So, I decided to do something unique to us. Since the IUI, Kevin had taken (totally of his own accord) to asking me “is there a jellybean in there!?” It was the cutest thing. So I decided to play off of that theme. You know those giant jars of jelly beans that Costco sells? I bought one. I liked the idea of the dramatic effect of Kevin unwrapping a huge container of jelly beans instead of a tiny personal-sized bag… though I guarantee you that we’re going to have stale leftover jelly beans in our pantry for the next five years. #worthit

Anyways, I wrapped up the giant jar of jelly beans and stuck them in the what-would-be nursery closet, which I knew Kevin would have no reason to get into unless I asked him to. I figured, if I didn’t get a BFP that week, I could quietly hide the wrapped bag elsewhere until I needed it.

Well, after I got my BFP on Monday morning I had to travel from Virginia to Texas for work and spent the afternoon and evening with my colleagues, doing everything in my power to contain this little secret that I couldn’t share yet. When I was finally able to retire to my room, I remembered that Kevin had a volleyball game on Monday night and he was right in the middle of it. Shoot. I had to wait until almost 11 PM Texas time to reach him. It was an excruciating wait!

I texted him around the time I figured he’d be getting home from volleyball and asked if I could FaceTime him. I knew he’d know that something was up because we NEVER FaceTime, let alone communicate with great frequency when I’m traveling for business. As luck would have it, my connection was poor and so the video feed of me was frozen for our whole call. This enabled me to record Kevin’s reaction on my phone (I was FaceTiming from my iPad) without him being suspicious. I’m so glad I captured that moment on video.

After a few minutes of chit-chat, I told Kevin that I thought I’d left something I intended to bring to Texas in the nursery closet. 

This was how the conversation went:

Kev: “What am I looking for again?”

Me: “Um, it’s in a wrapped bag on the shelf. Do you see it?”

Kev: “I think so. Does the bag have leaves on it?”

Me: “Yep – you know what, why don’t you just go ahead and open it.”

Kev: “Is it for me?”

Me: I totally should have said YES but I didn’t have this scripted, so I said, “Well, I meant to bring it to Texas!”

Kevin proceeded to untie a bow I had on the bag and pulled out a massive container of jelly beans.

Kev: “It’s JELLY BEANS! …What does this mean!? …..Is there a jelly bean?”

Me: (giggling) “Maybe!” (I still needed to get blood work done to confirm so I didn’t want to be too affirmative just yet.)

Kev: “Maybe???”

Me: “All signs point to yes! You figured that out fast!” 

Kev: “Well I was wondering! I didn’t know if it was good or bad that I hadn’t heard from you today. …Oh wow, that’s awesome babe” Kevin lifted the container of jelly beans up close beside his face so I could see them in the FaceTime screen. Grinning, he said, “There’s a lot of colors in here. I’m not sure which one ours will be!”

Me: Laughter.

Yes, it was definitely still corny, but it played on a little theme that was personal to us. Kevin got it right away. The rest of the FaceTime call he had a goofy ear-to-ear grin on his face. It was really sweet.

Fertility Tests: BFP!!!

Well, IUI #1 was four weeks ago, and since then I’ve been slammed with work projects, traveled back east for my brother’s college graduation, traveled to Texas for business and a long weekend, and in the midst of all of that, got my first ever BFP!! If you’re not a native to infertility talk, BFP stands for Big Fat Positive. I am so excited to say that I am PREGNANT!

After the IUI, I did my very best to keep my mind off of the process by keeping busy with work. The travel plans I had sprinkled in took up part of the two week wait which was really nice, though I was nervous about the potential stress and fatigue that the travel would have on my body. 

With the Pregnyl shots I had to take on days 3, 6, and 9 post IUI, I couldn’t take a pregnancy test without getting a false positive until 8 days after the last shot left my system. If you don’t know me, I’m not exactly a patient person. I really didn’t think I could wait 8 days without knowing, and I was going to be traveling on the date I could officially test so didn’t have the option of getting beta blood work done earlier, so I decided to do something really unconventional: I tested the Pregnyl (hCG) out of my system by taking a pregnancy test every day starting from the day after my last Pregnyl shot. (Don’t worry, I just used the cheap Wondfo test strips that cost $1 each.) My theory was that if the test line got lighter each day, it was the Pregnyl leaving my system, but that if it got darker each day it would mean my own body was making hCG, which would mean I’d gotten pregnant.

Well, my theory worked. The test line actually stayed the same for the first several days after my last shot, and on the day that I was “due” to test (the day after Mother’s Day!) my test line got darker. Significantly darker. It’s so funny because I’d never seen double lines on a pregnancy test before this little experiment, and since I knew I’d be seeing double lines in the first few days after my last Pregnyl shot, seeing a “real” positive after all of that was extremely surreal. Almost unbelievable. The funny thing is that I was in my childhood home the Monday morning I got my BFP, as that was the weekend I’d flown to Virginia for my brother’s college graduation. I was up at 5 AM that Monday to head straight to Texas for a work trip. I couldn’t believe it. Yet, I knew it was true. I was in such shock that I told my family (who was aware of the whole situation) that I needed to re-test on Tuesday to be sure. I wanted to be cautiously optimistic I guess!?

Well, I definitely had a twinkle in my eye the whole way to Texas. I had this sweet little secret and not even my husband knew about it yet! Well, after almost four hours on a plan I got to Texas and immediately blabbed to my roommate (one of my best friends and sweet coworkers, Jamie) and tried to wrap my head around the situation. Since I was going to be in Texas the rest of the week and couldn’t wait to tell Kevin the news, I’d already devised a plan before I left Colorado to tell him I was pregnant (I just had a feeling I’d get a BFP – I can’t explain it!) so now I just had to set that plan in motion after Monday’s work activities wrapped up. But that reveal will get it’s own blog post! 

I also plan to document weekly changes in terms of symptoms, food aversions/cravings, body changes, doctor’s appointments, emotions, and anything else that seems relevant at the time. I am so excited and overjoyed to be pregnant, and am praying fervently every day that this pregnancy is uneventful, that both me and this sweet little baby stay healthy, and that this chapter is a blessed time.

The Infertility Rollercoaster

Any woman actively trying to conceive, and especially women who have been trying for a long time, will tell you that the two week wait (TWW) is the longest two weeks of their lives. And the TWW seems to get longer with each passing month! While this concept might seem strange, obsessive, or trivial to women who had no problems conceiving or to women who don’t want or aren’t ready for children of their own, I think every woman should learn a little bit about what this struggle looks like. Maybe it will make you more grateful for your crazy kiddos, or maybe it will encourage you to know that there are a lot of other women out there who know exactly what you’re going through, even if it feels like no one around you does.

So many people don’t know what it looks like or feels like to experience infertility or trouble conceiving. It is emotionally taxing. Every month that a second line doesn’t show up on a pregnancy test or that your period starts, it is absolutely devastating. At a minimum, it means another month of charting temperatures, checking your cervical fluid, and timing sex. For many, many others, it means scheduling multiple doctors appointments every few days throughout your cycle, including multiple blood draws, ultrasounds, trips to Walgreens to pick up prescriptions, phone calls with fertility pharmacies to order more trigger shots and hCG, crunching numbers to make sure your budget can handle all of the procedures that have to happen that month (since your insurance doesn’t typically cover fertility treatments), and ohbytheway you’re still trying to do LIFE in the midst of all of this – working, grocery shopping, cooking (and incessantly trying to eat only good, whole, nutritious foods to make sure that you’re priming you’re body in case THIS is finally your month), running errands, keeping up with the house, etc. 

It’s really exhausting, and your life starts to feel like it revolves around trying to get pregnant. THEN, on top of that, even some of your closest confidants who know of your struggles continue to tell you to “Just relax. I’m sure it will happen soon.” I’m sorry, but that advice sucks. Relaxing is not possible when you’re charting everything from your temperature to which vitamins you ingested that day, and trying to squeeze in yet another transvaginal ultrasound between afternoon work meetings. It is stressful. I will caveat this by saying that, even amidst the craziness, there are still widely varying degrees of just how much you get into a tizzy over the process. I try my hardest to err on the side of “oh yeah, we’re just enjoying the moment and it’ll happen when it happens,” but I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you that while I’m saying this my subconscious is like I don’t know if I can handle this anymore. I might seem as cool as a cucumber, but really I’m just externally psyching myself up in a self-guided attempt to provide willful, mental support to my system. I’m placebo-ing myself. It does help, but no matter how casual someone may seem about their infertility, it is not casual. It is all-consuming. 

Getting back to the actual two week wait, after you’ve made sure to time the proverbial Baby Dance (BD) correctly, you anxiously tick of the days of your luteal phase, taking your temperature every morning and hoping that it stays up (your post-ovulatory temps should be roughly 0.5-1 degree F higher than your pre-ovulatory temps). The day that it dips signals your period is coming, and the hope and excitement of each preceding day is wretchedly dashed when that temperature drops. But, there’s a nagging voice in your head that it’s not over til it’s over and you hope that maybe the batteries in your thermometer are dying or that the low temp was just a fluke and that it’ll spike back up the next day. It’s not until “Aunt Flow” arrives that every shred of hope fades. And when that happens, for me, it’s usually followed by one really sad, really hard day. Crying, feelings of inferiority, hopelessness about every becoming a parent. It’s awful. By the time your period is over and you’re ramping back up for ovulation and trying again, the despair turns back into hope and anticipation. It’s really amazing how resilient our minds and bodies are to having our hopes dashed so often, especially one as big as conceiving, but anyone who’s experienced infertility knows this cycle of hope and despair is so, so true. It’s the most ridiculous emotional rollercoaster I’ve ever ridden, and not one I would ever willingly ride.

There’s been a lot of blog posts written on ‘how to keep yourself busy during the two week wait’ and ‘how to cope when everyone seems to be getting pregnant except for you’ and ‘what to say to someone going through infertility’ but I’m not putting this post out into the universe as a means to guide your though infertility or how to deal with a loved one who is. This is just a post to share how women going through it feel in hopes that perhaps it inspires a little empathy or compassion.

In some ways, I truly am grateful that I’m experiencing difficulties conceiving, because it has thrown into very sharp relief just how precious the miracle of life is. It has also helped me focus more intently on who I want to be as a parent and how Kevin and I want to raise our kids. Unrelated to child-rearing, infertility has especially helped me with my pride. It has stripped me of it. Infertility has made me humble in ways I never have been. We’re always told not to take things for granted, but that phrase becomes so much more powerful when one of the most biological processes and biggest desires of your heart isn’t workout out for you. When I decided to start vocalizing the fact that we were having trouble conceiving, I thought I’d only tell my closest friends and family members, but the longer this process takes, the more open I’m becoming. Not because I feel the need to tell the world a sob story, but because I want to share the process to help others cope, understand, and yes, even to help find some clarity and light throughout the journey.

I still want to be a mother more than anything in the world, and I know that my time is coming. 

Exercise During the Two Week Wait

I had my first IUI last Sunday and was given the following written list of instructions (verbatim) to follow during the Two Week Wait:

  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine 
  • Avoid sun bathing, saunas, hot tubs, and long hot baths 
  • Try to keep heart rate at or below 140, recreational walking, swimming, and biking are okay. Avoid water submersion day of IUI. 
  • Intercourse is okay, encouraged on day of and day after IUI 
  • Tylenol products are okay. Do not use Ibuprofen. 
  • Please check with your physician before taking prescribed medication. 

While this is the general list of suggested guidelines for any woman trying to conceive (TTC), there are pretty stark dividing lines in many womens’ stance on some of these issues. Some women will tell you it’s okay to “drink til it’s pink” (referring to getting a + pregnancy test) on the alcohol and caffeine issue, while others would staunchly support abstaining from both substances while TTC. Regarding keeping your HR below 140, some women will say to take it easy, others will spout off all of the research about how exercise during pregnancy has a whole slew of health benefits. I’m not here to debate whatever your position is, but just keep in mind that what is acceptable or practical for each woman during her two week wait is bound to vary to a certain degree.

While nothing about this listed was surprising to me, there was one bullet point on the list that I personally took issue with: keeping my HR below 140. There are several schools of thought as to what level of exertion you should or shouldn’t reach during pregnancy, but the one that makes most sense to me is that you shouldn’t exert yourself to a level that you can’t speak. Sprint and power training that maximizes your heart rate and takes you into the anaerobic zone (like track or spin bike sprints, box jumps, and 1 rep max power lifting) should be avoided – understood. But, seeing as how I work out 1) regularly and 2) vigorously, I can workout with my heart rate in the 160’s and continue to talk, albeit with some breathiness between phrases. This is the level where I like to work out. Power walking and light resistance workouts don’t really do it for me.

So, I felt like I was in a dilemma: do I modify my favorite workouts to keep my heart rate under 140 or do I buck doctor’s orders and work out at the threshold where I’m comfortable (in order to maintain both my sanity and my sense of wellbeing)?

I weighed the pros and cons and set up some rules of thumb [for ME, not as a general rule] that I’m sharing simply for some perspective as to how you can think about some of the choices that you make during your two week wait.

  • Working out is my BEST form of stress release. It gives me energy, endorphins, and calms my mind and adrenaline levels. If I felt like I couldn’t exercise it would stress me out even more. 
  • My body is USED to exercising so I imagine that it will be harder on my system from a stress and anxiety perspective to curb it altogether. 
  • Increasing your heart rate increases your blood flow. Since I have a unicornuate uterus, my acupuncturist is all about helping to increase blood flow through my body, as increased blood flow to the uterus can help build a nice rich lining. Intuitively, this makes a lot of sense. 

Based on these factors, I set up these parameters for myself:

  • Wear a heart rate monitor (with my Garmin watch) while I work out. 
  • If my heart rate exceeds 160 bpm, throttle back until it drops to the 140’s. 
  • Generally try to stay between 130-150 bpm.  
  • Don’t lift too heavy (excessive strain) and no sprint (anaerobic) workouts. 
  • Take one extra rest day per week or whenever my body feels tired. 

Writing this list made me so incredibly happy and helped take some of the stress of this TWW. I found a great way to keep my exercise routine but take it down a couple of notches from my normal pace, simultaneously giving my body the stress relief, rest, and blood flow it would need to potentially support a pregnancy. 
Keep in mind that I am not a medical professional, so you should not by any means use this list as a means to justify how you should exercise during the two week wait/ while pregnant.

However, DO remember that every body is different and needs to be treated differently in order to maximize its wellness. If you need help defining what this looks like for you, talk to your doctor or to a trained professional who specializes in prenatal exercise and nutrition.

Fertility Tests: IUI #1

This past Saturday I had my CD12 ultrasound. With my left unicornuate uterus, we were praying we’d see a large follicle on my left ovary, otherwise this cycle would be a bust. I told the ultrasound tech our situation and she said, “well, then let’s look at the right ovary first!” She found an 11mm follicle on that side, then panned to the left and I’m pretty sure I held my breath until she announced, “you have a juicy 19mm follicle on your left ovary!” YES! (A follicle over 17mm is considered mature; 20mm is the sweet spot.) She checked my lining next. It only measured at 6.5mm, and while they typically want to see a minimum of an 8mm lining to trigger for an IUI, she looked around a bit longer and told me that my lining was healthy and multi-layered so she didn’t see a reason not to proceed.

I was then escorted to a consult room and greeted by two nurses who got right to the point in telling me that we could go ahead and trigger, then come back in the following morning at 8:30 to do the IUI. I was totally shocked because in my pre-IUI consultation I was told that I’d probably be triggering on Saturday night & having the IUI done first thing Monday morning. Moving everything up a day was great as it meant we could do the IUI on Sunday morning and have the rest of the day to relax. 

Per doctor’s orders, I’d brought my trigger shot to the office with me that morning (I triggered with Ovidrel, which is an hCG shot that causes your body to ovulate), and one of the nurses administered it into my stomach and sent us on our merry way.

Within just a few hours of the trigger shot & throughout the rest of Saturday I felt some mild cramping, predominantly on my left side, so I was anxious to see if my BBT (basal body temperature) would shoot up on Sunday morning. If it did, it would indicate that I had ovulated at some point on Saturday; if it didn’t, it would mean I hadn’t ovulated just yet. On Sunday morning my temperature hadn’t spiked yet, which I was VERY excited about: this meant that I hadn’t ovulated yet so by the time we would do the IUI at 9:30, we’d be within just a few hours of ovulation and it would be perfectly timed. So far, so good.

We were back at the fertility specialist by 8:30 on Sunday morning, and Kevin was whisked off to provide a sperm sample. After the sperm was collected it was sent off to the lab for a sperm wash. This process involves the sperm sample going through a centrifuge with a special medium that distills the best (most motile) sperm. We knew from two previous sperm analyses that Kevin’s sperm count and mobility were great, but that his morphology was ‘borderline’ so we were interested to see what the sperm sample that day yielded. The sperm wash took about 40 minutes, so as that was getting wrapped up in the lab Kevin and I were sent to a consult room where we had to sign some waivers for the IUI procedure.

The nurse doing the procedure was one of the gals we’d seen the day before and she was so fantastic. She told us Kevin’s raw sperm sample yield 300 million sperm and 60% motility. After the sperm wash we had 45 million sperm and 87% motility to play with – excellent results. Unfortunately, we were told they didn’t test morphology during the sperm wash, but even if Kevin’s morphology had stayed at the borderline 3% threshold that would still give us 3 million viable sperm.

From there, things moved fast. The nurse drew up the sperm sample into a thin, flexible catheter that was probably 14″ long. While laying down with my feet in stirrups, the nurse efficiently inserted a speculum then followed it with the catheter. I could feel it pass through my cervix and she gently prodded it until it hit the top of my uterus, then plunged in the sample and we were done. The whole thing took MAYBE 10 seconds and wasn’t painful at all…a stark contrast to the painful HSG I’d had done the month prior. Praise the Lord!

From there, the nurse tilted the medical table I was laying on up so that my hips were elevated. She set a timer for 12 minutes and told me to lay there for at least that long. I wound up laying down for 20 minutes total. Before we left the nurse told us that some cramping over the next 3-5 days was totally normal, as was some light spotting. She said that basically the only thing that wasn’t normal was heavy, period-like bleeding. 

We rented a couple of movies and watched one mid-day and one in the evening. I spent the afternoon lounging and napping while Kevin cleaned up and mowed the backyard – he is just the best. It felt good to take it easy. I didn’t experience any spotting but I did have some mild cramping off and on throughout the evening.

The next morning, I went to my amazing fertility acupuncturist (she was able to squeeze me in, and I was so grateful since I was a little concerned about my 6.5mm uterine lining.) She worked specifically on my lining during the session and reminded me that it’ll take at least 3 days, but probably longer (6-12 days is typical) for implantation to happen, so we still have a little time to beef things up before the hopefully-fertilized egg nestles into my uterine lining.

So, what’s next?! I was prescribed some luteal phase support in the form of 1mL Pregnyl shots. On days 3, 6, and 9 post-IUI I’ll inject 1mL of Pregnyl into my abdomen. Pregnyl is hCG – the ‘pregnancy hormone’ – and by putting it into my system it will encourage my body to produce a steady supply of progesterone to support implantation. Since hCG is the pregnancy hormone detected in home pregnancy tests, I have to wait until 8 days after my final Pregnyl shot to do a pregnancy test as it will take that long for the synthetic hCG to finally leave my system; if I were to test before then I’d get a false positive. 

This is going to be the longest two week wait of my life, guaranteed. But, I’m feeling super energetic, hopeful, and happy. I’m praying a lot and listening to my body. I’m ready to be pregnant, and I’m praying hard that God is ready for me to be, too. Kevin keeps saying that he thinks there’s “a little jellybean in there” and I have a sneaking suspicion that he is right.