Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The First Trimester

Oh, HEY THERE.  I know you guys thought I forgot about the blog and all of you who rooted and prayed and crossed fingers for us during our IVF journey.   More than a few people have suggested that it was time for an update, but I felt kind of weird.  I mean, pregnancy is pregnancy, right?  For that reason, this may be a tad dull compared to the science-fictiony world of IVF treatments previously discussed here, but a little reflection and documentation never hurt anybody.

The first trimester went smoothly.  We saw the babes 3 times on ultrasound, and each time their heartbeats looked strong and they were growing just a smidge ahead of schedule (twins tend to do that).  I didn't really have morning sickness, but I could still smell a foul odor from about a mile away and even the thought of something gross could send me hurling for what felt like hours.  Overall, pretty lucky in the stomach/nausea department.  The fatigue, though, OH THE FATIGUE.  I felt like I was trudging through wet concrete, carrying suitcases full of iron.  It was overwhelming just to walk from my car to my classroom.  I took several naps in my car in between errands and classes.  This led to a total abstention from cooking and housework, and Jake joyfully picked up the slack.  Speaking of iron, I craved beef and steak constantly as I was building my two placentas.  Carby foods held no sway over me unless they were somehow a delivery system for more meat.  Let's see, there's been half a dozen nosebleeds, pregnancy induced rhinitis (stuffy/runny/sneezy nose), cramps, mega heartburn, breathlessness, constant peeing, insatiable thirst, round ligament pain (pinch-y little pains around the groin as your uterus grows away from it), and very heavy, sore breasts.  Other than all that, pregnancy is delightful!  Hah!

My body is changing so fast.  I've been in maternity pants since week 8 and have had ligament pain (usually a blessing of the third trimester) since week 10.  Twin mamas are advised to put on more weight, obviously, but also encouraged to put in on earlier.  The recommendation often repeated is 20 pounds by 20 weeks (so long as you were a normal, healthy weight before).  That's clearly more weight than the babies alone need, so I'm storing it in all kinds of attractive places like my rear, thighs, and upper arms.  The theory is that you'll need those stores once your stomach is too compressed to keep packing in the food later, and twin babies need major nourishment toward the end since they're usually born many weeks early.  Also, breastfeeding two babies at once demands CRAZY calories, often more than an exhausted mother has time to consume.  All this makes sense logically, and I'm dutifully putting on exactly what's recommended...but deep inside I'm freaking out.  Those of you who know me well know that I've always struggled with my weight, and only about 3 years ago I was officially obese.  However, I lost 70 pounds through Weight Watchers and jogging, and though I'll never be skinny, I've eeked into a healthy weight range.  That was a hard-won victory over food addiction and genes, so packing on these "storage" pounds is emotional territory for me.  So know...tell me I'm pretty.

Emotions are running high anyways with all these hormones.  Did you know each placenta makes it's own dose of estrogen, progesterone, etc?  So, I've got double everything. Sheesh.  Plus, I also stopped taking my anti-depressant shortly before beginning IVF.  I've been on and off it since high school, and at this point in my life, it's easier just to stay on them preventatively to keep me stable.  But, I'm not comfortable subjecting my babies to that drug, so for now, I'm just relying on a healthy diet, exercise, meditation, and journaling.  Most of the time, I'm fine, but there are days when I'm trapped in a funk of disinterest, malaise, and generalized pessimism.  It's as if my brain goes, "Nope, can't feel good today.  Seratonin tank on empty."  Prenatal yoga, which I couldn't start until the second trimester, is helping BIG TIME.

Man, this ended up being long.  Guess I shouldn't have waited so long to sum up three entire months!