After three years, multiple IVF cycles, a devastating miscarriage, and countless setbacks … Aela’s road to motherhood has been anything but easy. Follow her story on Babble and don’t miss the latest chapter in her journey below.
I hadn’t thought much about what it would be like to be pregnant after the loss of my twins two years ago. I’ve spent so much time trying to get pregnant, that I never considered what might come after that positive test.
Well, I’m now 9 weeks in and it just hit me: I’m terrified.
From 3 weeks and 5 days pregnant until 8 weeks, I felt so outrageously uncomfortable from the ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) that I really wasn’t able to focus on being pregnant at all. It took everything I had to simply manage my comfort, and even then, I wasn’t comfortable at all.
Everything was difficult — sleeping, sitting, walking (and by walking, I mean taking the few steps from the bedroom to the bathroom to the kitchen), showering, going to the bathroom, eating. These were just about the only tasks I could manage. I was put on modified bed rest for two weeks, and slowly returned to work. But I was overall pretty incapacitated.
Between my 7th and 8th week, I began to feel better. My bloating had gone down significantly and I lost 15 of the 18 pounds I gained in water weight. I could bend slightly in the shower to shave my legs. I could sleep slightly reclined instead of sitting straight up. It didn’t hurt nearly as much to walk. I could begin to twist from my midsection again. Overall, the OHSS was leaving me and I wasn’t fully uncomfortable for the first time in nearly 5 weeks.
You’d think that the reprieve would be welcomed. But now that I’m not preoccupied with feeling awful, the reality of being pregnant has set in. With this new absence of discomfort, I can focus on my pregnancy symptoms — which aren’t many. Some nausea, being extra tired, sore boobs, some food aversions/cravings. These symptoms pale in comparison to what I’d been feeling previously, and I think I’ve somehow managed to associate feeling awful with being pregnant — even though those were specifically OHSS symptoms and not pregnancy symptoms.
Right now, my pregnancy seems pretty mild. And when you go from feeling 100% awful all of the time for weeks, to feeling 99% good, it throws you.
I started to worry that a loss of my symptoms meant something was wrong with my pregnancy. No one knows how long OHSS lasts during pregnancy (anywhere from 5 weeks to 14 weeks), and it’s different for each woman. It’s such a rare side effect of IVF to begin with that very little is even known about it.
And, like always, Google searches didn’t help. At all.
I spent about 3-4 days obsessing about having a miscarriage. I’d check my toilet tissue after going to the bathroom, waiting — expecting — to see blood. I’d squeeze my boobs daily to see if they were still as sore And I spent way too much time online searching for information that truly doesn’t exist — because, how can it? This is my pregnancy, and so many elements of it make it unique: IVF, OHSS, over 35, previous 2nd trimester miscarriage.
I keep telling myself that I have no reason to be anything but confident about this pregnancy. But I told myself the same thing last time and my water broke at 17 weeks. I told myself that again when my wife got pregnant (there’s no reason to be anything but confident about her pregnancy) yet she miscarried at 12 weeks after the baby never developed a heartbeat.
I’ve been so preoccupied with getting pregnant, and then so preoccupied with managing my discomfort from the OHSS, that I hadn’t stopped to think what it would be like to be pregnant after loss.
I’m amazed my IVF finally worked. It’s been nice to receive so many well wishes from friends, readers, and family. But if I’m telling the truth, I’m scared.
I have moments of excitement and, of course, joy. But there’s a hesitance in each of these good emotions I feel. I’m more reserved and less inclined to let myself be completely happy. I hate to even say that, after everything we’ve been through to get here, after everything I know so many women struggle with to get to this point. But it’s the truth.
It’s certainly not that I’m unhappy about this pregnancy. That’s not it at all. But my happiness is mixed with lots of anxiety about the outcome, and fear that I will lose this baby too.
I hold on to the fact that we saw a strong heartbeat at 6 weeks, and that image helps calm my nerves a bit. I’ve also started meditating again, which eases my fears to a degree. But I just can’t shake this worry, which only makes me more upset. After everything we’ve been through, I should be able to enjoy this pregnancy — but I’m starting to wonder if that’s even possible.More On