I cannot tell you how many times Krystal said, “Screw the party, I want to know now.” But we held out till our Gender Reveal as hard as it might of been on our patience.
Since we found out extremely close to the Holidays we decided to go for a winter theme, with Penguins! Most of my inspiration came from Pinterst of course.
One would think around Christmas time, there would be Penguins everywhere. Nope! I think I covered every store looking for anything Penguin-esk. Thankfully the prep came around the beginning of my second trimester so I had a new found energy and was anxious to get back into my crafting. I decorated the chalkboards and painted the penguin jars for our diaper raffles and name suggestions. I was actually able to find a free diaper raffle ticket online too!
As much as I’d like to take credit for this idea myself, I can’t. However, I can take credit for the research that went behind making it “explode.” This website gave me step by step instructions. Finding hazmat chemicals was a different task, that I will say earned some respect from my students as I was on the phone with a scientific supply store.
As you can see from the lack of pictures, I was not feeling myself throughout the entirety of the first trimester. These were probably the only three days in 3 months that I put on make-up…not an exaggeration I promise. (Countdown Calendar from BATZkids Milestone Blankets.)
6 Weeks: We had our first ultrasound on Sept. 17th at our fertility clinic in San Antonio. We couldn’t really see much, but we did hear a heartbeat which is probably the most reassuring sound I’ve heard in my life. This was out last appointment at the clinic and we are officially graduated! The nausea has become constant although thankfully no vomiting yet. I am also beyond tired and it takes every ounce of energy to just function at work. I have begun taking a nap during lunch and a nap before rehearsals and I am still in bed by 8:00p.m.
At this point we decided to tell our family, because we were so excited but also because it was getting harder to hide the nausea and blame it on the injections. We found a special way to tell each of them (most of which came from Etsy).
Diana (Krystal’s Mom) always the cowboy fan we used these cool beer labels.
The Sampsons we told with these lottery tickets. (let me tell you Mama Sampson did not see that coming.)
9 weeks: At 9 weeks were were able to go to our OBGYN in Corpus and have another ultrasound. Its amazing how much the baby grows in just a few short weeks. I heard on a TED talk the other day that if the baby grew at this rate the whole pregnancy it would weigh one ton. Yikes! It looked like a gummy bear. At this point I am still on my daily progesterone injections and the lumps and bruises have only gotten worse. I only have 6 more days left and most of them fall where I have to give them to myself. URGG! Needless to say I am so ready to be done shooting up in public restrooms or being not being able to walk afterwards because my ass hurts too much to move. In addition, to the injections I am in full fledged morning sickness mode. All I want is the blandest food possible; I think I am surviving on saltines, apples, and popcorn (the only things I haven’t thrown up yet).
Around this time we decided to tell my students because it was getting harder to explain away the naps, frequent bathroom breaks to throw-up, and respirator I wore while painting. Our fall show was “Odd Couple” (female version) and towards the end there an, “I’m pregnant!” line. Salena and I thought we would change it to “O’Brien’s pregnant” and see how the kids responded. (Just another teaching moment to ‘active listening’ while acting on stage.) It took a minute to sink in but their reactions were pretty priceless. I wish I could post the video here.
12 weeks: We had our third ultrasound and doctors visit today. At this visit they measured the nuchal thickness of the fetus along with my blood work for risk of down syndrome, trisomy 18 & 13, and other chromosomal abnormalities. All (THANKFULLY) came back within normal ranges. My doctor found that I had also lost two pounds since my last visit and put me one two medications to help with the morning sickness. Let me just tell you those are miracle drugs. I feel like a new person!
To sum up the first trimester was rough, from not eating, exhaustion and morning sickness I had energy for absolutely nothing and for those who know my personality can get why this part I really struggle with. But I hear that after the first trimester energy starts to come back as well as an appetite, so fingers crossed!
First Trimester Must Haves: Peppermint candies, Naps, Burts Bees Mama Bee Belly Butter (gotta start early to prevent those stretch marks, Airplane vomit bags (stolen out of each seat on my travels), Sprite, and Sea-Bands,
First Trimester Reading: A very quick read. I recommend reading later in the trimester, simply because it was more relate-able for me at that point. After each chapter, I wanted to say, “Preach!” while also laughing out loud.
You may be wondering what TWW stands for, it is an acronym for “Two Week Wait.” It is the amount of time you have to wait after the transfer to find out if the embryo stuck and if the pregnancy is viable. Our wait was more like a week and a half, but that was long enough because patience is not mine or Kyrstal’s strong suit, well mostly its just not mine.
The first few days were filled with McDonald’s fries and pineapples, both of which (supposedly) help that embryo become sticky. Our doctor told me to resume normal activity so there was no bed rest or limitations thankfully.
Day 4 post Transfer: The lumps have begun. After about 2 weeks of PIO its official I have bruises, and one not so fun lump on my bum. I also have a nice little heat rash from sitting on a heating pad for multiple hours. I am already counting down the days to be done with these daily injections.
Day 6 post Transfer: I haven’t really had any side effects from the PIO or transfer that I can tell. I’m very tired, but I think that has more to do with trying to lower my caffeine intake than anything. Heating pads and my massager are still my BFF and my favorite time of night is when it’s time for a (non -sexual) butt massage from my wife.
Day 7 post Transfer: I know all the books say not to and that you can get a false positive but we couldn’t help it so today we bought a pregnancy test. It wasn’t a clear positive but there was an ever so faint second line to help us not give up hope…. the waiting game continues.
And of course nothing is official without a t-shirt from Etsy to commemorate the occasion. Shop: Benny & Ray
The following weekend after the transfer was Labor Day weekend, we spent it at Lake Medina with family and friends. Everyone pestered us on whether we were “knocked-up” or not, none of them knowing we had already done the transfer and were anxious ourselves to know the answer to that question.
Day 10 post Transfer: Monday when we got home we couldn’t bear it anymore and took a second pregnancy test. Within seconds that double pink line showed up strong and bright as a positive pregnancy test. I’m not gonna lie we were excited, but we tried to keep our excitement contained since the surge in progesterone (of which I was still taking daily injections) can often cause a false positive.
Day 11 post Transfer: Tuesday, September 4, I went and had my first blood test done and wore a pineapple shirt for good luck. Later that afternoon we got a call confirming we were pregnant with HCG levels of 533. AHHHHHH
We went back for more blood work that Friday and confirmed we were still pregnant. Our HCG levels had almost tripled at above 1800. That embryo had found its new home!
Since technically the pregnancy calendar starts on the last day of your last period technically at the end of the two week wait we were 4 weeks pregnant!
* HCG is a hormone produced by the placenta during and after implantation.
(Somehow we lost the one in 18 between the car and the office) oops!
My transfer was scheduled for 11:15 and they told me to arrive with a full bladder. They, unfortunately, were short 2 nurses and didn’t end up starting till about 12:30.
I. Had. To. Pee. So. Bad.
Apparently it’s not a form of torture but allows for a better view of the uterus. When you see the video all the black on the screen is fluid is how full my bladder was. No joke I peed for over a solid minute afterwards.
I, of course, wore my good luck socks from pkvPrint on Etsy.
Our embryologist came and showed us the embryo we were going to transfer and said it was beautiful! She was also an Aggie so I feel like that is a good luck charm. Right?
Our embryo was a little stubborn and didn’t want to come out of the tube the first time so it took two goes, but maybe that means it’s sticky?
Here is the ultrasound if you focus on the right side you can see the tub and the deposit of the embryo and poof it’s done!
They did have to up my progesterone injections from 1 ml to 2 ml due to a slightly low level but other than that everything went beautifully.
Here is a picture of our beautiful embryo and it’s first home. P.U.P.O. Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise.
So as you may have guessed, there were a lot of steps after Krystal’s Egg Retrieval and before that positive pregnancy test; allow me to recap.
Day 9 – Things are going super smooth for me. I am on my 9th day of Estrogen and haven’t really noticed any changes aside from a horrible case of back-acne. At my baseline ultrasound my uterine lining was super thin. Which is to be expected after stopping birth control 3 days before; so now to make it thicker for ideal implantation.
Day 12 – We stopped in San Antonio today on our way to move Ally into her dorm at Texas A&M. My ultrasound looked great, my uterine lining measured 13 instead of the 7 on Day 9. So that means we are on schedule for the transfer.
Day 13 – Progesterone injections are no joke. Krystal chickened out on my first injection at 8 a.m. so her Dad had to do it for me. I would have given it to myself, and then she yelled, “No don’t do it!” SMH, What am I suppose to do with her? She was able to give me my evening dose and wasn’t half bad at it. Luckily she has plenty of time to improve her skills. Between my injection and the other prescriptions I need to take the alarms on my phone are excessive.
Day 16 – So I have come up with a routine for the injections.
Put the vial of progesterone & oil in my bra for about 30 minutes to warm it up a bit. You would think since it is already at room temperature it wouldn’t make a difference, but wow! It makes a huge difference from being able to feel every bit going in to barely at all.
Put an ice pack on the appropriate ass cheek for about 3-5 minutes.
Organization: ($12.49) The goal before Embryo Transfer is to increase the thickness of the uterine lining. Because of this there are all sort of pills that I have to take throughout the day in order to stimulate lining growth. A simple Monday – Friday pill organizer was just not going to cut it. After turning to Amazon, I found this, which has been an absolute life saver and has made taking pill multiple times a day hassle-free. I also got a little plastic tote box to organize all my syringes, needles, and prescription bottles so they didn’t take over the
2. Prenatal Vitamins: ($13.99) Have you seen the crazy horse pills that get stuck in your throat and leave a yucky taste in your mouth? They are truly miserable and expensive. These are my favorite!! You only take 2 gummies a day (compared to Smarty Pants where you take 6) and they taste actually pretty delicious. You can find them at a multitude of store, but most notably Target, Amazon, Walgreens, CVS. Check here for other stores that offer this brand. Krystal takes the Women’s Multi and Balanced Belly with great results.
3. A Truly Epic Butt Massage: ($9.99) With PIO (progesterone in oil injections) comes lumps, bruises, and heat rash. Sometimes you just need Wifey to get a little elbow grease and massage the heck out of your ass. Our nurse recommend a tennis ball, however trying to sneakily massage your butt with a ball without the dogs seeing and thinking its “play time” is an impossible feat. This was a cheap alternative that goes everywhere with me (also found on Amazon). Harper still gets jealous of the attention I’m getting so lays on my back and paws Krystal in the face. Just can’t win.
4. Toasted Buns: Along with a massager for those lovely lumps and bruises a heating pad does wonders to loosen up the muscles and toast them to perfection for the massager.
5. Lucky Socks: ($25.00): You know what they say warm feet means a warm uterus and that’s just what we want! These socks helped us commemorate the occasion and keep our feet warm. They are from pkvPrint on Etsy.
6. Good Ole H2O: ($0.00) For a normal individual your daily water intake should be half your body weight in ounces. This increases to about 100oz a day or more once you become pregnant. I don’t know about you but after so much water, I need a little flavor in my life. I found a 50oz infuser water bottle that I keep in the fridge and just refill my smaller water bottle. I’ve used combinations like cucumber/lemon and strawberry/blueberry. I also like to drink an ice cold Topo Chico Mineral Water with a slice of fresh lime in it when I get home. I just sit and reminisce about drinking an ice cold beer. Things like IBC Root Beer, Sprite and Lemonade are also my go-to since that don’t have caffeine but add a little flavor to my life.
7. Gifts for your wonderful Fertility Team: ($13.99) I don’t know about you, but our fertility team at Aspire Fertility (formally RMA of Texas) were the absolute best. Our doctor, our nurse, the doctor’s medical assistant were always willing to answer countless e-mail with questions in them, some even at 4:00 a.m. They have and continue to hold our hands through this emotional and stressful process and we couldn’t have done it without their support. I got these adorable name badge reels from mandag433 on Etsy.
8. An Adult Coloring Book to relieve that stress: ($12.99) Sometimes it focus on infertility but all the pages are humorous and do their job to take your mind off the raging hormones and relieve just a little bit of stress. I got mine on Amazon, follow this link.
Shortly after starting the POI my lips became super chapped, I realized as a side effect of dehydration, so I got this little gadget from Ulla to remind me to drink water.
9. A shirt to commemorate Transfer Day & the TWW. I couldn’t resist this one from Benny and Ray on Etsy. I haven’t decided if I should wear it to the tranfer when we have it or wear it for good luck when I get blood drawn two weeks after.
10. Stickers to keep your life in order. For those of you that don’t know I am a planner type person. I budget every year for my planner and when it comes in, it is like Christmas. With IVF there are so many appointments, numbers and important dates to remember that I got cute stickers to brighten up my planner and also make all those IVF appointments stand out. I love all of Frannie Lamb Stickers so I used a bunch of hers to mix and match, but if you are looking for a sticker pack specific to IVF try out these at Calime Create Stickers & Printables.
The month of May was pure chaos… well really it was just the last 15 days. We decided a several months ago to move into my Father-in-law’s rental house when our lease was up. It needed some TLC, so we decided to take posession a few weeks before we needed to be out of our townhome.
Our days were pretty much: Work. Do projects. Eat. Crash. Repeat. But after 10 days and allofourparents and family pitching in to push us past the finish line we are finally all settled in a house that feels like our own. I’ve included some before and after pictures below. Count how many times you can spot Harper, she made it a point to be in almost every picture.
(Hopefully soon-to-be) Nursery
Guest & Living Room
If you guessed 4, you are right!! Harper was in 4 pictures.
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With the craziness of remodeling, moving, traveling and everything else the summer and start of the school year brings Krystal and I haven’t had much quality time together let alone a real deal date night. Planning a date night that doesn’t take a lot of effort but feels spontaneous is always challenging; especially for two type A people who want everything line out for them and no anxiety as to what needs to be prepared. Inevitably we end up having a “date night” going to dinner coming home and watching Netflix and going to bed early.
“Get Date Box” has been perfect for us to share quality time together with little to no planning and still do something that isn’t in our normal routine or even something we would think to do.
It starts with a card of everything you will need that doesn’t come in the box, “date prep.” For this date it included a cake pan, 3/4 cup of water, mixing bowl. You get the idea.
As a little preview it gives you a card as what is in the box and each date night comes with a booklet step by step. These dates can be as long or as short as you desire. They include conversation starts and a Spotify playlist to really take the pressure off.
This specific box came with cake pops to make and a canvas to paint.
After sticking the cake mix in the oven, we prepped our canvas to paint then shaped the cake pops, then b
ack to painting till they were ready to chow down on. (Harper/Sebastian loves living the cake batter off our hands)
The paints and paint brushes weren’t the best quality but for the price you really can’t beat all that it includes especially if it’s hassle-free. Of course you can’t give Krystal and I the full spectrum of the rainbow and expect us to not do some pride themed art. I think it’s perfect for my office.
I have been very pleased with the company as far as being same sex friendly and really encourage this if you are bad about planning quality time or just want something different in your dates. Go to Get Date Box and see all their subscription options AND if you want half off your first box use code 2MOMS50
As we get more boxes and have more of a variety of dates, I’ll share with you all our exciting activities!
Our doctors words before Krystal’s egg retrieval were, “Madi you are going to feel awesome in the next few weeks, Krystal…. you’ll feel a little less than awesome.” Oh how true these words were.
Krystal seemed to be having a hard time bouncing back from the retrieval; between the nausea, bloating, dizziness, and vomiting she was just not in a great place. we called our (amazing) nurse and she had Krystal come up to San Antonio the next day at which point they diagnosed her with OHSS which is Ovarian Hyper Stimulation Syndrome.
Before the follicles were removed Krystal’s ovaries measured about 7 cm, after you would think they got smaller right? Well her’s are now about 8 cm and one is right under the center of her rib cage. The cause of this is fluid build-up. My poor wife has been on a low liquid, high sodium diet while she monitors her liquid output and wobbles around like she is four months pregnant because of the bloating. Monday marked one week since the retrieval so we are hoping that in about another week she will start feeling normal again.
On the flip side 10 of our embryos were successfully frozen!