13 Week Update – Hello Second Trimester

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A few months ago when we were in Vegas for IVF, I told W that I wanted to get a Pandora dice charm for my bracelet. He insisted that I shouldn’t because, “What if it doesn’t work or what if you need 2 (ha)”? Well, Las Vegas came and went and no dice! W left the day before Mother’s Day for Finland and didn’t say anything to me before he left (except for jokingly pulling a few bags out of the car and saying “Happy Mother’s Day”! It was dry cleaning.) I know I’m still baking but I must admit that I was a bit disappointed. I didn’t say anything because I knew I was just being sensitive. He got back at night, later in the week. He told me that he had gotten me a Mother’s Day present. I was half asleep and didn’t think much of it, maybe some dirty dry cleaning this time? He gave me a little box wrapped in pretty paper with “Van Der Burgh Chocolaad” on it. I thought that they must be the world’s smallest truffles. I said I’d try them the next day but he said he wanted one before he went to bed so I opened it up and it was a Pandora box with my TWO dice charms! He had remembered and gotten them at a stop in England. What a sweet guy! I think I’ll keep him.

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In other news, I received and assembled the stroller! I have the car seat attachments and car seats still in boxes but I couldn’t resist playing! I made myself feel better by telling myself that I needed to assemble it in case anything was damaged during shipping. I can’t wait to have two little somethings to put in there! Of course, my husband HAD to have the black on black. No silver frames for that daddy! We opted for the Baby Jogger City Select after much research and many recommendations.

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Above all else, the highlight of the week was seeing our little peaches on ultrasound at our first trimester voluntary genetic screening. Everything measured perfectly! Baby A was sucking on it’s hand the entire time. Baby B was also active, pushing against the sac. We were also able to see Baby B moving its little mouth and swallowing fluid. They are so precious and I can’t believe how much they grow between sneak peeks!

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I’m going to skip the long weekly questionnaire since most of the answers remain the same in these weeks. I’m excited to be able to say that I’m in my second trimester!! I still feel huge and growing every day. I have had an awful head cold/sinus infection this week and had to miss 2 days of work. I wasn’t able to take anything for it so it was especially fun. I’m starting to feel a little better now. Other symptoms remain the same with headaches being my number one complaint. Looking forward to feeling some consistent movement in the next few weeks. Next official US scheduled for June 9th. ImageImageImageWeek13-11

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12 Week Update

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     We’ve had a pretty uneventful week in a good way. I might be a little controlling and overzealous, but I’ve started preparing things early! This week we ordered the stroller, car seats and cribs and I bought two adorable bouncy seats! I decided that I should start doing things while I have the energy and then maybe I’ll be able to coast through the last part of pregnancy without stressing (yeah, right).

   I had an appointment today. Good news: I GET TO STOP PROGESTERONE! After 70+ intramuscular injections of progesterone alone, I’m OVER it! I must admit that I’m a little nervous to stop it, but Dr. C says if the placentas aren’t doing their jobs by now, progesterone supplementation isn’t going to help.

   Still no lifting anything more than 10lbs. I was made aware that this restriction would remain throughout pregnancy. (Say what?!? How do people with kids live?) I have a feeling this is one of the restrictions that doesn’t get followed well. I am being careful. My mom told me today that my purse was too heavy. I think I responded with something like, “??????!!!!!#####*******”.

   Also during Dr. C’s Debbie Downer speech, she told me that I couldn’t go to Singapore later this month. At first she was on the fence about it. She asked me why I was going and I told her to tag along with my husband and lay on the beach. She didn’t like that answer. She said that if it wasn’t vitally important to go, she’d tell me no. She says textbook says yes but she and the money, time, blood, sweat and tears it’s taken to get here says NO.

   I was concerned with how big my belly had gotten and continues to get daily. She said, “I’m not sure if you’re aware how pregnancy works. There’s actually something growing in there and with you- it’s two!” Funny, funny! She didn’t sympathize with my size concerns, needless to say. She says I’m right on track and measuring 20 weeks. Yikes!

  Precautionary genetic ultrasound (nuchal translucency screening) on Friday since we are having twins, and it was IVF. As always, I’m looking forward to seeing our little plums.

How far along: 12 weeks and 4 days today.

Maternity clothes: A mixture. Maternity pants, for sure.Still wearing non-maternity skirts, dresses, etc.

Stretch marks: Not yet. Itchy though!

Sleep: Sleeping pretty well! Still only up 1-2 times. 

Best moment of this week: Getting to spend time with W and getting the OK to stop progesterone!

Miss anything: Still the same. Exercise, being able to lift things, alcohol, **Jimmy Johns**, cold lunch meat in general, bleu cheese and caffeine. 

Movement: Not yet! I can feel hard lumps where they are laying and I swear I’ve felt a couple of flutters, but nothing consistent.

Food cravings: Not really.

Anything making you queasy or sick: Not eating enough, or quickly enough!

Have you started to show yet: Ohhh yes.

Genders: Too early to find out.

Happy or moody most of the time: Happy! Happy! Happy!

Looking forward to: Our next official ultrasound on 5/16!

Symptoms: Same as the last update: Exhaustion, some heartburn, and headaches. Just a tiny bit queasy off and on. I wouldn’t call it morning sickness though. I find that I’m able to eat less and less without feeling completely stuffed. Lots of grazing days in my future!

11 Week Update

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   I’ve told some girls that I feel like I might eventually give birth to two fully grown adults by the time this is over! I’m over 1/3 of the way through this pregnancy and I’m looking every bit of it! I’ve been doing pretty well since the last update. I’ve started working back in the Neonatal ICU on nights and my body just isn’t what it used to be. It’s been going good but I’m exhausted by the end of the shift. The unit is brand new and beautiful and the team of girls that work there couldn’t be nicer or more welcoming. I’ll always miss my Alabama NICU girls though!

   Daddy finally got to see the (more baby looking) gummy bears wiggling all around on ultrasound! They moved a little and were being very chill when the US tech gave them a quick jiggle with the US wand – they woke up and started moving around again! We are loving watching the videos about the weekly development. It’s truly amazing how quickly every detail is put into place. Here’s a link to the video if you’re interested.

http://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/video/pregnancy-week-11.aspx

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How far along: 11 weeks and 4 days today.

Maternity clothes: I gave in! I bought maternity leggings, capris and scrub pants and my belly said, “Ahhhhhhhh!”. Other than that it’s been non-maternity skirts and dresses!

Stretch marks: Not yet. Itchy though!

Sleep: Much better than previous weeks. I’m usually only up 1-2 times a night now. Loving my new body pillow.

Best moment of this week: Having W back in town and getting to share my aches and pains with him!

Miss anything: Still the same..Exercise, being able to lift things, alcohol, Jimmy Johns, cold lunch meat in general, bleu cheese and caffeine. 

Movement: Not yet!

Food cravings: Not really.

Anything making you queasy or sick: Saprinos pepperoni calzone at work at 2am apparently! Besides that, I still haven’t REALLY been sick. Just a little queasy off and on. I think it may be dehydration related too. Trying to stay on top of my water intake! 

Have you started to show yet: Oh yes, whatever it may be.

Genders: Too early to find out.

Happy or moody most of the time: Happy!

Looking forward to: Always the next appointment and our next official ultrasound on 5/16!

Symptoms: Exhaustion, some heartburn, and headaches. Just a tiny bit queasy off and on. I wouldn’t call it morning sickness though. I find that I’m able to eat less and less without feeling completely stuffed. Lots of grazing days in my future!

Ultrasound 9 weeks 6 days

Just a quick update since I had an OB appointment today! I talked about how big I felt in my last post but was relieved when the nurse told me today that I had only gained 3 pounds so far. I think I feel so big because I had gained back about 10 pounds over the holidays. I let myself fall off the exercise wagon, went straight to IVF, got pregnant and now I’m on physical restrictions! The appointment went well. We did a quick scan and the babies looked great! Both of their heartbeats were exactly the same at 167 beats per minute! Baby A was very active and waving at us. Baby B was pretty chill with not as much movement. My mom said that Baby A must be a girl since it was so animated! I can’t wait until we find out genders so I can stop using “it”! We did a little necessary shopping for some maternity pants after my appointment. My jeans with the rubber band weren’t quite working anymore! As much as I’d love to wear scrubs daily, I suppose I should get dressed on my days off. Here are some cute pictures of the little gummy bears!

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9 Week Update

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I know it’s been a bit since my last post. I didn’t feel like there was anything eventful to post but I decided if I kept putting it off, I’d regret not being able to look back at these weeks! My friend, fluid, has gone away since I last posted. It has been replaced by it’s good friend blabies bump. (This is what I’m calling my belly. Bloating+babies = blabies). I have been so self-concious about the way I look but for the past couple of days, I have stopped trying to squeeze into my jeans and I’ve just embraced the blabies bump. I decided if I rub it enough maybe people will just think I’m pregnant! So here’s the update:

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How far along: 9 weeks and 3 days today.

Maternity clothes: Not yet. I’ve been wearing lots of leggins, stretchy skinny jeans, tunic tops and dresses. I have used the handy dandy rubber band a couple of times!!

Stretch marks: Not yet. 

Sleep: What’s that? Still getting up to potty between 2-5 times a night. 

Best moment of this week: Embracing the bump, whatever it may be and “rolling” with it! (no pun intended) and hearing one of the little heartbeats on the home doppler. 

Miss anything: Exercise, being able to lift things, alcohol, Jimmy Johns, cold lunch meat in general, bleu cheese and caffeine. 

Movement: Not yet!

Food cravings: Random things, but nothing so strongly that I’ve had to go get it. Salty over sweet right now. 

Anything making you queasy or sick: Not really. A bit if I have an empty stomach. 

Have you started to show yet: Yes, whatever it may be.

Genders: Too early to find out.

Happy or moody most of the time: Happy most of the time but I have my moments. I think my husband would say those moments are quite enough!

Looking forward to: My appointment on Wednesday and our next official ultrasound on 5/16!

Symptoms: Exhaustion, some heartburn, and headaches. I have experienced some weird smelling related things as well. For instance, I’m convinced that all of the toilet paper in our house smells like movie theater nachos with jalapeños. I’ve been lucky as far as not having nausea/vomiting. The only time I get a little queasy is when I need to eat something. 

Correction: BabIES on Board

   That’s right! We had our first ultrasound and official OB appointment today and we are having TWINS! We are totally in shock but very excited. They are measuring exactly spot on at 6 weeks 5 days. Baby A had a heart rate of 137, Baby B had a heat rate of 124. They are in separate sacs and we were told that everything looks great!

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   I’ve still been feeling pretty darn good. I don’t start working again until next Monday so my routine has been something like:

  • 1am- bathroom
  • 3am- bathroom
  • 4:30 am- bathroom, then eat apple sauce so I don’t wake up queazy from an empty stomach.
  • 8am(ish) roll out of bed. Eat.
  • 10am- go back to bed. 
  • Rest of the day: Eat (small meals), sleep, repeat. 

   Other than extreme exhaustion, I really haven’t felt that bad. I know it’s still early and it will probably hit me like a ton of bricks soon but for now..I’m knocking on wood. I’ve had some heartburn which is a new experience for me but it hasn’t gotten to the point where I’ve even had to take anything. 

   I thought I’d get this shiny packet at my appointment today with all of the Do’s and Don’ts and when to expect what.. What I got was my doctor (who I love) walking in saying “Congrats! Any questions?”.. Umm… Yes, about 478 of them. Where shall I begin? My instructions were literally: continue meds, next appointment in 3 weeks, cook lunch meat before eating it, NO caffeine until 12 weeks, still no lifting anything over 10lbs. Good thing I know where to supplement my curiosities! She said with twins I can expect to have appointments about every 3 weeks and weekly monitoring starting between 28-32 weeks. 

   This.is.so.surreal……………

Immunologic Info and (last) Treatment

I had my last intralipid infusion last Thursday! This topic has been weighing heavily on my heart to share with you all.

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I feel that this is a common problem that is overlooked by a majority of RE’s who just don’t understand or know the latest research available. If you have unexplained infertility, endometriosis, history of chemical pregnancies or failed IUI/IVF cycles- please read these articles and advocate for yourselves. Ask your RE for immunologic testing or get a second opinion! The articles and webinar listed link to my RE’s page. I’m not saying to use my RE (although he IS amazing and I would totally recommend him) but he’s always available to do skype consultations no matter where you live. He’s one of the guys leading this amazing research and is very knowledgeable! It’s worth looking into!
Here’s a quick version of what his nurse said to me about NK cells when I found out they came back abnormal..
“Your Natural Killer cells did come back as abnormal. Allow me to explain what this means and what we are going to do to counteract these.
Natural Killer cells are a normal part of everyone’s immune system. They are what patrol our bodies trying to keep foreign things out of our bodies. Some people have Natural Killer cells that are a little more aggressive. In normal life, this is usually a good thing. Maybe they don’t get sick as often, or if a bad cold is going around it won’t hit them as hard. Natural Killers don’t realize there is a difference between embryos and germs though. They just see something is foreign and doesn’t belong and end up trying to keep the embryo from implanting inside the uterus. Dr. Sher has found that doing an Intralipids Infusion can help to calm these aggressive Natural Killer cells down to allow embryos a chance to implant inside the uterus. There would be an infusion prior to starting the monitoring process. After the embryo transfer if you are confirmed pregnant, there would be a second infusion done.
There are no side effects to the Intralipids Infusion as long as you are not allergic to egg or soy.”

Now go watch this webinar, read these articles and get informed!!!

Immunologic Causes of Infertility and IVF Failure Webinar

Autoimmune Implantation Dysfunction Article

IVIG & Intralipid Therapy in IVF: Interpreting Natural Killer Cell Activity for Diagnosis and Treatment Article

5 weeks + 1 day

   I know it’s been a bit since I’ve posted so I thought I’d give an update. As I said before, my OHSS came back after I found out I was pregnant. I had been pretty uncomfortable and I felt that it was getting worse on Sunday. I called my OB and my RE’s offices on Monday to find out a if there’s anything I should be doing differently, anything I should be looking out for and when I should be concerned about my symptoms. I had been having some moderate discomfort and shortness of breath. I wasn’t able to eat or drink much because it felt like there was no room for it to go. My belly was huge and I had gained 10+ lbs. in a fairly short amount of time. After much back and forth between the physicians, it was decided that I should be admitted to the hospital overnight for observation and to have some tests run. (I thought this was unnecessary. I gave myself the better safe than sorry and at least I would get some answers pep talk.) I had a chest X-ray, labs and an ultrasound to measure the free fluid. **Of course this happens when W is in Finland again for work! He always misses the exciting stuff. Thank God my mom was here to drive me around, keep me company and take care of me!

   The OB on call came to talk to me the following morning and confirmed that I did have moderate OHSS with free fluid. Chest X-ray and labs looked good. She recommended bed rest as much as possible and to drown myself in Gatorade and that eventually it would self resolve and I would start peeing off the fluid. I had been having these awful cramps specifically in the middle of my upper quadrants and the US confirmed that I had some perihepatic ascites. Hopefully that was the culprit! Here’s a timeline of belly pictures..

This was during the beginning of my IVF cycle on meds…

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This was the day of my egg retrieval, swollen from all of the follicles that had grown!

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This was a couple of days after my retrieval when the OHSS started to kick in the first time!

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This was the day I decided to call the office and see how big I was supposed to let this belly get because that’s a whole lot of fluid!!

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This was taken during my night in the hospital. Ouch!

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   After coming home from the hospital on Tuesday, my mom stocked my fridge with Gatorade (Thanks, Mom!!!) and left me to rest. I have had two wonderful bed rest buddies. This is one of them. She’s my old gal, Gigi!

 

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   I had a follow up appointment with the nurse practitioner at my OB’s office on Thursday. She just happens to be my lovely cousin without whom I’d be a mess right now. She answers my crazy questions and calms my nerves! My belly had improved, and labs looked good! She ordered one more beta and it was right on track! First U/S and official OB appointment still set for April 2nd. 

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Okay, now to the fun stuff…..

Official Due Date: November 20, 2014

How far along: 5 weeks + 1 day

Total weight gain: SO funny! About 10lbs. of fluid, which I hope my body rids itself of before I really start gaining!

Maternity clothes: Thanks to the fluid, lots of non-maternity leggings and long shirts.

Sleep: Was cramping a lot last week in the middle of the night and waking up between 3-5am daily. Cramps are better, sleep is better between potty breaks but I’m still waking up early!

Best moment of this week: Seeing my beta hcG doing what it should!!

Miss anything: Exercising, lifting things, and most of all, hot bubble baths.

Food cravings: No crazy craving or aversions yet. My appetite is returning as my belly goes down.

Anything making you queasy or sick: Not consistently. I feel sick some mornings if I don’t eat something quickly enough.

Have you started to show yet: Just my 10lbs. of fluid!

Happy or moody most of the time: I feel happy! I’ve only had a few emotional moments and it was mostly around being scared about the hospital and not having my husband there.

Looking forward to: W coming home next week and our first US to see how many there are and a little heartbeat(s)!!!!

Baby on Board

We’re pregnant!!!!!! It’s still very, very early and there’s lots of milestones to meet but I feel like many of you were keeping track of dates and I couldn’t leave you hanging!

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I must admit I’m that girl who (this time only) ordered 25 tests online and started testing at 4dp5dt to make sure the trigger shot was out of my system. (If it was still there, it would have given a false positive as it’s the same hormone that your body makes during pregnancy.) When at 6dp5dt I still saw nothing, I started to get down even though that’s very early for a positive test sometimes. I had a second interview on Monday for a NICU position I had applied for after moving back so I gathered myself up and went. Before I was getting ready to leave I peeked at the test again and something looked different about it.. Not a faint line necessarily but something that made me go, “hmm..”. When I ordered the tests, it said on the website they could detect hcG amounts as low as 20. When I read the paperwork with the tests it said 50! I wasn’t very happy. I stopped after my interview (which went well) to buy some more sensitive tests and decided that I would test again the following morning.
Well, since I’m so incredibly patient..I was on the phone with my cousin who is a women’s health nurse practitioner and had to use the restroom. Since we aren’t very close and and are really shy (KIDDING) I of course do the yucky thing and go while I’m on the phone with her. I mean, the box of tests is just sitting there. There’s three in there. “Just PEE on me already”, it was screaming. So not expecting much, I pee on it as it demands. As soon as it started reading across the screen, one line.. two lines! Cue the hysterics! She didn’t know I had taken it and kept saying, “What’s wrong?? What’s going on?”. I was finally able to let out in some form of English, “I’m pregnant!”. We cried, we freaked out, we laughed. It was then that I decided I couldn’t just tell my husband over the phone..
W had been in Finland and wasn’t going to be back for another 3 days!! Could I wait that long?! I felt that since everything we’d done so far had been so planned, payed for, and scientific that I wanted to be in control of something! I decided that I would get a “Baby on Board” sign and put it in the back window of my car so that he’d see it putting his bags in when I picked him up from the airport. I thought it would be fun to have a photographer capture the moment but since it was very last minute, I wasn’t able to find one. It just so happens that my sister is a photographer! Of course, that meant I had to tell her early.
I gave her a belated Happy Birthday Aunt card and signed it from us and Baby(ies) Oliver! My mom and grandma were also there when I gave it to her. Everyone was thrilled and we planned our airport adventure.
It was difficult to pretend like I didn’t know anything when I talked to W in those few days. I told him that I had stopped testing because I wanted him to be here regardless of what the outcome was for support and he said he understood but also said, “I just want to know now!!”.
We arrived to the airport a few minutes early and got the sign in place and my sister got ready to hide while I went inside to get him. I didn’t make it to the gate so I met him at the baggage claim. I had said that my dad wanted us to go to dinner to give him a reason for changing into fresh clothes after 20 hours of flying. He was a bit short with me and while he was happy to see me, he just seemed strange. I chalked it up to being exhausted from traveling. We talked about my first appointment and that I didn’t have results yet because they wouldn’t let us know until after they saw a double in my numbers on Friday. He accepted my explanation but said he couldn’t believe I hadn’t tested and again, that he was anxious to know.
We walked towards the car and I text my sister to give her a heads up. As we were walking and nearing the car W said, “I thought for sure you’d show up with a tee shirt or a Baby on Board Sign”. Oh man! So I said “Hmm.. Sorry”, and when we reached the car in a few feet I said “like that one??”! It took him a few seconds to process what was going on. He said, “Are you serious? You know? Since when?” I told him I had known since Monday. He was giving me a hard time for holding out on him but I think he definitely appreciated the moment and the thought that went into it. It was beautiful!
When we got in the car, he admitted that’s why he had been so aloof in the airport. He had imagined finding out when he got back and when I collected him and didn’t say much other than the usual greetings, he was disappointed. Poor guy!

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We did end up meeting my dad and his wife for dinner. I had purchased a tumbler cup that had lots of words including “World’s Best Grandpa” on it. I had filled it with ice water and brought it in with us. A bit after ordering I said, “Hey dad, do you like my new cup? I just got it.” He put his glasses on and was reading all the words around it such as, “awesome, cool, wonderful”.. I pointed to the bold words about grandpa and then it clicked! What a great moment! Tears and hugs all around!
Now for the scientific stuff.. My first beta hcG on Wednesday was 160. My beta hcG today was 259. That’s a doubling time of about 60 hours. At this stage they want to see it double every 31-72 hours. So for now, we are on track! As I said, there’s still things that could go wrong and there’s still milestones we need to meet. I have my first OB appointment on 4/2 where we should be able to see how many there are and heartbeats!
I feel like I know the exact moment that the hcG really started surging through my body. If you’ll recall, I had a bit of OHSS (big bloated belly picture) after my retrieval. They said if I was pregnant, it would most likely come back when my body started producing hcG. Sunday night, I had this awful cramp that woke me up. I ended up going back to sleep but when I woke up, the bloat that had subsided was back with a vengeance! That was another thing that peaked my curiosity about the sensitivity of the tests!
So far, the worst thing is the cramping and fullness/bloating. I can hardly fit into anything that’s not stretchy. I look like I’m about 20ish weeks pregnant and have gained about 7-8 lbs. of fluid! It’s difficult to sleep at night and I’ve been averaging about 3-4 hours which doesn’t help with the exhaustion! I’ve only felt nauseous once and it was because of an empty stomach. My hips are sore from my nightly progesterone injections but I keep telling myself that it’s all worth it!
Oh yeah- I got the job! I’ll be working part time nights in the Neonatal ICU at a beautiful facility right by my house. It will be great to get back to my babies. My brain has been turning to mush! I should start the first part of April.

Thank you so much to everyone who has been checking in on me. You mean more than you will ever know- all of you! Thank you in advance for the continued prayers. We are so fortunate to have such a great support system of family, friends and all of you lovely ladies in this online community!

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…yeah right!

...yeah right!

One of my wonderful friends posted this on FB today and I thought it was appropriate for all of us IVF-ers! It’s so much easier said than done, trying to match symptom for symptom! 4dp5dt and it is dragggggginnnnggg! Starting to get nervous. Giving myself pep talks multiple times a day!