Gender Reveal and First Trimester Update
We couldn’t be more excited to be growing our little family by adding a baby BOY expected in November! And despite the scowl on her face in these photos, Layla is so excited to be the best big sister!
Finding Out the Gender
Since we went through IVF to conceive this baby and did genetic testing on our embryos, our clinic knew the gender of the embryo we transferred. At our embryo transfer we had the doctor write down the gender on a note card and seal the envelope. We wanted to have the ability to look at the gender whenever we felt it was right.
I would have loved to have had a gender reveal party, but given that we are self-isolating and restricted due to the pandemic, we knew it wasn’t going to be in the cards.
We decided that we would open the envelope on our anniversary, which just so happened to be the day after we graduated from the fertility clinic at 9 weeks. It was the sweetest way to celebrate our anniversary under quarantine!
Were you Surprised?
Sort of! I was going back and forth about the gender, I think deep down because I wasn’t feeling that sick I knew it was a boy. Walter, on the other hand, was convinced it was a girl and was very surprised by the reveal! Neither of us had a gender preference through, when you go through infertility all you want is a healthy baby!
First Trimester Recap
I’m 15 weeks today, so I thought it would be a good time to share a recap of the first trimester. I always love reading other blogger’s trimester recaps so I wanted to share in case anyone is interested and also for myself to have to look back on!
Given that this pregnancy kicked off with an embryo transfer at the end of February I felt all 13 weeks of the first trimester which made it very long! Many women don’t know they are pregnant until 5 or 6 weeks and while our pregnancy was not confirmed until the 4th week I already very much had pregnancy on the brain and was symptom spotting, worrying, etc…
We found out our beta blood test was positive on March 6th, which was 11 day post 5 day embryo transfer (essentially 16 days post ovulation in a spontaneous pregnancy). My beta came back at 765, which is high for that early on. We were elated given the high number and it provided a small amount of relief, but what really mattered was the repeat blood test 3 days later to make sure the beta at least doubled… it did! It actually increased by more than 5 times and came back at 3979! Of course, at this point I started googling whether or not your beta can be “too high” and had myself convinced that the embryo had split in half and we were having identical twins, ha!
At 5 weeks 6 days we got to go for our first early ultrasound and saw ONE teeny tiny baby with a strong heartbeat! After that ultrasound I allowed myself to feel some amount of reserved excitement and it started to feel real-ish!
(ultrasound at 5 weeks 6 days)
Pregnancy During a Global Pandemic
I don’t want to dwell on this too much because there is nothing going on in the world, not even a pandemic, that can steal away the joy I feel to finally have a healthy pregnancy. BUT it is a really weird time to be pregnant. As soon as our pregnancy was confirmed, so too was the looming pandemic. At first, like many, I thought it wouldn’t be that big of a deal and would probably clear up sometime during my second trimester. I rather enjoyed the first few weeks of “down time” since I wasn’t feeling up to doing much anyway.
But then things changed… Walter stopped being allowed to come to my doctors appointments and simply going to the grocery store started causing fear and anxiety. I get sad thinking about the possibility that we may not be able to see my family at all this entire pregnancy and I have a slew of fears about delivering this baby into our world in it’s current state. But babies have been born into worse conditions, and in a time when so many are suffering physically, emotionally and financially we are just grateful to be healthy and employed.
Lack of Motivation – I felt so incredibly unmotivated from about weeks 5 – 10, you may have noticed blog recipes seriously slowed down, and doing any of my other work or life tasks seemed like a major chore.
Nausea – Luckily, to date, I still have not thrown up, but from 6 weeks on-the-dot until about 10/11 weeks each morning at 7:30am (regardless of the time I woke up), I would feel really nauseous. I would eat a handful of saltines and drink gingerale and that would help settle my stomach. Most of the rest of the day I would feel a dull nausea that would occasionally worsen around dinnertime, but overall it wasn’t too terrible.
Tiredness – I felt really run down during the first few weeks and my bedtime moved even earlier than it was before, ha! The tired feeling really hit at the end of the day around dinnertime, I wouldn’t call it exhaustion, just more tired than usual.
Constipation – TMI I know… all I will say is that I combat this terrible pregnancy symptom with Fiber One Bars which seemed to help some.
Bloat – I felt really bloated, but I think it was due to the progesterone shots I was taking everyday up until week 10 because once I stopped those the bloat calmed down.
Strange Dreams – This has been on-going and it is my favorite symptom! My nights are very exciting with the strangest dreams that I actually remember for a little while after waking up. So far none have been nightmares and since we aren’t allowed to go anywhere right now at least I can travel in my dreams, ha!
Insomnia – I fall asleep with no issue at all, but when I get up to pee sometime between 2am-4am I then can’t fall back to sleep until 5am. Once I do fall asleep I sleep until 6:30/7am and it’s the best sleep of my whole night. This was pretty consistent from weeks 8-11, but now only happens once or twice a week which is nice change!
Cravings / Food Aversions
I felt an aversion to food as a whole in general. I don’t really know how to explain it, I was hungry, but not, and wanted to eat everything and nothing all at once. Being in this really strange place with food makes food blogging/food photography as a career especially difficult. Sorry for the slow down in food content and for the kind of weird line up of recipes, I’m doing the best I can and feel like I’m getting to a better place where I actually feel excited about testing recipes again, yay!
Specific, strong aversions included chicken and all leftovers… I would make something and eat it, but then not be able to even think about eating it again as leftovers.
Basically, if a 5 year old would like it then I would like it too!
Sour Candy – especially Sour Patch Kids.
Popsicles – especially Sour Patch Kids popsicles, hahaha!
Pitas – I ate SO many pitas!
Greek Salad – For a week or 2 only Greek food sounded good.
Ice Cream – I always crave ice cream, now I just have a really good excuse!
Apples – Something about the crunch made apples really appealing.
(12 week ultrasound)
Running is usually my main form of exercise, but I stopped running in the days leading up to our embryo transfer. I took it pretty easy during the 2 week wait and then once the pregnancy was confirmed I resumed daily walks/hikes. I don’t feel comfortable running while pregnant, I’m sure it would be fine, but it’s my preference to walk instead of run. I usually walk about an hour a day. Around 6 weeks I added 3-4 high rep, low weight Bodypump workouts from LesMills On Demand, it’s an online subscription and you get access to a variety of workouts from all the LesMills programs. Its a great, inexpensive option for at home workouts and they are currently offering a 14-day free trail subscription if you are interested in checking it out!
I’m hoping to keep up with this exercise routine throughout the pregnancy because physically I’m feeling really good, but we will see what happens!
Favorite First Trimester Products
Preggy Pop Drops – These saved me during the weeks I was feeling nauseous. They are sour hard candies specifically designed/marketed for relieving morning sickness. The effect is immediate, though not super long lasting. They were great to have on hand for the moments I was feeling especially bad.
Burt’s Bees Belly Butter – I figured there’s no harm in starting the belly butter early and ordered this cream from Burt’s Bees Mama Bee Collection at around 6 weeks. I have been putting it on when I get out of the shower and especially love that it is fragrance free!
Lululemon Align Leggings – I live in these leggings, this was the case even before pregnancy, but now being pregnant and living in self-isolation I rarely take them off! I have had them for about a year and a half and they are one of the best purchases of my life. There is no other way to describe them except that they feel like butter. They mold to your body and fit snug, but not tight and do not dig in anywhere, they are magic and worth every penny of their hefty price tag. They are very stretchy, so I am hoping I can continue wearing them well into this pregnancy!
Aerie Fleece – The counterpart to my quarantine uniform is this Aerie Cloud Sherpa Pullover, it’s super soft, warm, but not too hot, and so comfortable! I have it in the basketweave color and the hot pink (which I don’t think they are currently carrying).
Amazon Workout Leggings – These leggings are Lululemon Align dupes! They are much more affordable and have a really comfortable high waist. The material is more suitable for workouts than the thin material of the align leggings, so these are what I have been wearing to workout in, oh, and they have pockets which is just the best!
I took the above photo at 12 weeks and the below photo at 10 weeks. Still today at 15 weeks I don’t have a noticeable bump. I mean, I can tell a difference, but if you saw me in normal clothes you wouldn’t notice. I can feel it coming though and I can’t wait to be sporting a real baby bump soon!
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I have been following your blog about food and your pregnancy. You are a brave person for telling your story. It has opened my eyes to how lovely it is to have a baby boy. You will love it!
Aww thank you!