Sunday, January 25, 2015

Belly Pics and a Bumpdate Weeks 4-16

I thought I would post some belly pics and notes about how the first 16 weeks have been going.  Another blog I read did a weekly bumpdate (update on the bump) so I'm going to borrow that term even though I can already see the eye rolling, especially from Jan.  When I told Jake about posting pictures and how things are going each week he thought I was kidding until he saw that I was actually posting about it and calling it that!  But I know they both love me!

Weeks 4-5, October 26th-November 4th, 2014
I feel like I look awful in these pictures but I am still posting them.  Maybe it was because my hair was kinda curled or the lighting but I wish I had better week 4 pics :).

How I am feeling:  I felt pretty normal when I found out I was pregnant. I didn't really have many symptoms while we were in Italy for that first week and a half.  I was tired but we were also on our feet a lot.  I felt a little blah a few times and I was worried about eating food while we were gone.  You aren't supposed to have deli meat or food that is sitting out for hours (like street food and sandwiches) which were super popular on our trip and hard to stay away from, especially since Jake's parents didn't know.
Size of the Baby: Apple Seed, 0.13 inches, less than 0.04 oz
What is the Baby up to this Week: The embryo is dividing into three layers of cells.  The top layer will be the central nervous system, the middle layer is the circulatory system and the bottom layer are the lungs, intestines, thyroid and other major internal organs.
Best Moment this Week: Finding out we were PREGNANT!
Food Cravings: Nope
Most Looking Forward To: Seeing the heartbeat on the ultrasound (and the trip to Italy to help keep my mind off having to wait 3 weeks until we could see it).
Thankful for: Getting pregnant again and that we had the chance to do IVF
Milestones: Actually getting pregnant!
Weight Gain/Loss: I gained about a pound while we were gone which is actually pretty impressive considering the amount of gelato I consumed :). (+1 lb total)
Clothing: Regular Clothes
Sleep: Fine
Movement: Nope
Gender: We are not going to find out!  When people hear that we aren't finding out they either love it or hate it.  Pretty strong opinions both ways.  (I have a feeling this is only the beginning of telling people things about the baby and them having strong opinions about it.)  I have always wanted it to be a surprise and especially since it took quite a bit of work to get pregnant it makes me want the surprise even more.  Jake said he would find out if it was up to him (which, let's face it, it really isn't).  I think it is funny that I don't want to find out and he does.  I am a planner and he is spontaneous but with this we are the opposite.  Jake's friend Dave thinks it is so crazy that I don't want to find out and can't believe I'm actually going to be adventurous with this part of my life :).

Week 6: November 5th-November 11th, 2014
For some reason we don't have a picture from this week.  Maybe we were still recovering from our trip to Italy.

How I am feeling: Felt more blah this week.  I didn't really want to think about food.  At times I felt hungry but food didn't sound very good.  Felt kinda bloated and hot.
Size of the Baby: Pea, 0.25 inches long, less than 0.04 oz
What is the Baby up to this Week: The baby will triple in size.  Eyes and ears are becoming more developed.  The heart is starting to pump blood.
Best Moment this Week: 
Food Cravings: Wanted protein like nuts, cottage cheese, cheese, and yogurt.
Most Looking Forward To: The ultrasound on November 14th.
Thankful for: No miscarriage signs.
Weight Gain/Loss: Stayed the Same (+1 lbs total)
Clothing: Regular Clothes
Sleep: Started to get tired earlier in the evenings.
Movement: Nope
Gender: It is a surprise!

Week 7: November 12th-November 18th, 2014
We took two pictures this week because the day I wore the dress I had what I'm going to refer to as a "food baby" :).  So the picture in the pink top was more accurate but I forgot to retake a picture with the blueberry representing the baby's size that week.

How I am feeling: TIRED!  I am exhausted by the end of the day and I usually fell asleep on the couch around 8-8:30 which might be normal to some people but it isn't for me.  Food was hard this week.  I'm super sensitive to smells but most of them don't go over very well.  I might feel hungry but once I smell the food or taste it I am done with it.  Bland foods are most appetizing but not very nutritious.  I started getting a little bit of a head cold.  Surprisingly, I was not nauseous at all while working out which made being lazy and skipping my workout hard.  I was exhausted but I knew if I worked out I had a guarantee 45 minutes to an hour of relief from the nausea.  My gag reflex is at an all time high.  I didn't throw up but I was afraid I would especially when brushing my teeth.
Size of the Baby: Blueberry, 0.51 inches, less than 0.04 oz
What is the Baby up to this Week:  The baby's brain is becoming more complex and the face is becoming more defined.  Tiny arms, legs, hands and feet are also just beginning to bud.
Best Moment this Week: Seeing the heartbeat!  We had a follow up ultrasound at our IVF clinic and we got to see the heartbeat.  Most of our appointment was in Swedish because the particular doctor we saw that day likes making us speak or at least listen in Swedish plus she was training someone.  I usually don't mind her speaking in Swedish, I mean we did get free IVF we could at least speak the language, but for this appointment I was really nervous and just wanted to make sure we had a heartbeat.  Thankfully we knew what we didn't want to see from the last one so when we saw something this time we knew it was better. I told Jan, Kelli, Emily and Jami I was pregnant this week over Skype and it was awesome!  We were going to tell our parents but we had to postpone until next week.
Food Cravings: Bland foods and protein
What I Miss: Cookie dough :)
Most Looking Forward To: Telling friends and family and making it past 12 weeks!
Thankful for: A beating heart!
Weight Gain/Loss: About the same or maybe down a pound since food isn't really tasting good and I wasn't craving sweets. (0 lbs total)
Clothing: Normal Clothes
Sleep: Still good but the head cold that started made it a little more challenging.
Movement: Nope
Gender: It is a surprise!

Week 8: November 19th-November, 25th
Jake thought my scarf needed to move for the up close fruit picture and this is where it ended up.

How I am feeling: Feeling nauseous and food doesn't taste good or sound good.  I usually feel good until 10 am and then I start feeling nauseous until late in the evening.  Jake was out of town for work this week which meant I could eat blah food and go to sleep as early as I wanted.  It was awesome!  Felt bigger on November 25th and like my stomach muscles started relaxing.  One night this week I made dinner, took one bite and then ended up on the couch.  It just didn't taste good and I didn't feel good.  Still not nauseous when working out but my workouts are pretty lame since I'm exhausted.  I'm trying to keep my heart rate below 140 which is pretty hard.  Starting to think chewing gum might help me feel less nauseous since I chew gum when I work out but I'm not sure it always makes things better.  I've also noticed that I have a bad taste in my mouth after eating which makes me want to brush my teeth but that usually causes me to gag so it is a hard cycle to get out of.
Size of the Baby: Raspberry, 0.63 inches, 0.04 oz
What is the Baby up to this Week: The baby's head is proportionally larger than the rest of the body and the ears and eyelids are developing.  Fingers and toes are developing from the arm and leg buds which now have distinguished wrists and elbows that can even flex.  The baby's heart rate is around 150 beats per minute
Best Moment this Week: Telling our parents the exciting news over Skype and then watching the recordings again just to relive it :).
Most Looking Forward To: Making it to 12 weeks with a healthy baby so we can share our news.
Thankful for: Jake taking great care of me when I felt sick.
Milestones: We had our first midwife appointment this week.  In Sweden, your prenatal care is done by midwives unless there is a complication and then you will see an OB.  The midwife who does your prenatal care does not deliver your baby.  A couple months before you are due you register at a the hospital you want to give birth at and then when you are in labor you call to make sure they have room and if they don't they will send you somewhere else.  Once you arrive to give birth you will get whichever midwife is working that day unless there is a complication and then you'll have an OB taking care of you.  It is different than the US but I know lots of friends who weren't delivered by their doctor so I'm not all that worried about having someone I don't know deliver the baby.  Our first prenatal appointment was on Monday, November 24th.  We went over our medical history, family history and she asked if we had any questions.  She didn't listen to the baby or even confirm the pregnancy but since I had a paper from our IVF clinic telling our due date she didn't really need to.  They took my blood and I gave a urine sample to check for protein.  My next appointment isn't until February 9th when I'm almost 20 weeks.  We are not in Kansas anymore!
Weight Gain/Loss: Still under by about a pound since food isn't really going well. (-1 lbs total)
Clothing: Normal clothes
Sleep: Sleeping has been a little difficult since I had a head cold and was congested but I am still falling asleep really early.
Movement: Nope
Gender: It is a surprise!

Week 9: November 26th-December 2nd, 2014

How I am feeling: Eating is still a struggle.  I made dinner several times this week and then I don't want to eat it.  We had Thanksgiving dinner and then I struggled to enjoy it which wasn't fun.  Gag reflex is at an all time high but I still haven't thrown up.  I've noticed my body takes a while to digest food so I have to be careful not to eat too quickly or lay down too soon after eating.  I have started to have to pee more and usually wake up in the middle of the night and have to go.  I used to think people early in their pregnancy were just crazy thinking they had to pee more because surely the baby isn't taking up that much room yet.  It turns out the blood flow to your uterus increases quite a bit to support the baby and that causes you to have to pee, not because a baby is taking up space.
Size of the Baby: Grape, 0.9 inches, 0.07 oz
What is the Baby up to this Week:  The embryonic tail disappears.  The hands and feet look a lot less like paddles and have more formed fingers and toes.  The eyes are fully developed but are covered by eyelids which are fused shut for the next 16 weeks or so.
Best Moment this Week: We started talking about names this week and it is starting to sink in more.  Jake was saying this week how we should have had a kid when we were in college because then we'd have an 8-10 year old and maybe it would have worked faster.  This is hilarious considering how long it took to convince him to let us start trying in the first place.  Plus, I'm not sure college would have been easy with a baby and we wouldn't have the jobs or lifestyle we have today if we had done that.
Food Cravings: Peanuts,  cheese, mashed potatoes and stuffing leftovers tasted good but Jake left the fridge cracked open during the day which made me worried about eating the leftover turkey.
What I Miss: I miss home.  Thinking about having a baby is making me miss my friends and family a lot.  I want to talk about the baby and shop for the baby and be home to do that but I know I'll be home for Christmas soon.
Most Looking Forward To: Telling friends and family, starting to feel better and get a little belly instead of just looking bloated :).
Thankful for: Morning sickness to help reassure me that things are still healthy.  I asked Emily if I could borrow some of her maternity clothes and she said yes!
Weight Gain/Loss: Down another pound (-2 lbs total)
Clothing: Normal Clothes
Sleep: Better since the head cold is starting to go away.
Movement: Nope
Gender: It is a surprise!

Week 10: December 3rd-December 9th, 2014
I realize black may not be the best color to see a bump but I like wearing colored pants :).  Also, this week the baby is supposed to be the size of a prune but we couldn't find one at the store so Jake made a piece of fudge the size of a baby.  Parenting which him is definitely going to be creative and full of adventure.

How I am feeling: Had a few days of relief from my head cold and then it moved to my chest.  Lots of coughing and gagging and I threw up twice.  I stayed home from school Monday through Thursday which is SO unlike me but being sick and pregnant knocked me out.  You can't really take medicine when you are pregnant especially before 12 weeks so I had to just drink lots of water and try to rest.  I had a low grade fever one night and called the health care line just to see what they suggested since a high fever can be fatal to the baby at this point but after some Tylenol it went down.
Size of the Baby: Prune (or a piece of fudge the correct size), 1.2 inches, 0.14 oz
What is the Baby up to this Week:  This week marks the beginning of a critical period when all the vital organs have formed and are beginning to function.  The baby is also growing tiny nails on the fingers and toes as well as tiny buds for teeth.
Best Moment this Week: 
Food Cravings: 
What I Miss: 
Most Looking Forward To: Not having a head cold or cough anymore.
Thankful for: Being able to take off work and having coworkers cover without having to make lesson plans since it was theme week at school.  Jake did a great job of taking care of me and making sure I was resting, drinking lots of water and not feeling guilty about taking off work.
Weight Gain/Loss: None (Still at -2 lbs total)
Clothing: Normal Clothes
Sleep: Not good.  Really stuffed up and wanted to use nasal spray.  Eventually used it sparingly a couple of nights just to get some relief.
Movement: Nope
Gender: It is a surprise!

Week 11: December 10th-16th, 2014
Apparently I like the purple pants and black shirt combo!  Also, there might be a hint of a bigger bump this week.

How I am feeling: Still getting over my cold.  Didn't feel very nauseous with my cold but once that got better the "morning sickness" came back more.  Lots of coughing and blowing my nose.
Size of the Baby: Lime, 1.6 inches, 0.25 oz
What is the Baby up to this Week: This week the baby is developed enough to be called a fetus.  The most critical part of the baby's organ system development is over.  The baby will grow very rapidly and will double in size by next week.  The ears are moving to the side of the head and the reproductive organs are becoming more distinguished.
Best Moment this Week: 
Food Cravings: 
What I Miss: 
Most Looking Forward To: Our 12 week ultrasound is on Friday, December 19th and then we fly home on the 21st!  We get to tell our family and friends in person!
Thankful for: 
Weight Gain/Loss: None (Still at -2 lbs total)
Clothing: Normal Clothes
Sleep: Sleeping improved as breathing through my nose improved.
Movement: Nope
Gender: It is a surprise!

Week 12: December 17th-23rd, 2015
The fruit this week was supposed to be a plum but it was making me frustrated that all the fruit comparisons are a lot wider and heavier than the baby so the only thing it shows is the length.  We decided to find a chili pepper that matched the length and would be closer to the weight of the baby.

How I am feeling: Haven't been getting up in the middle of the night to pee which stresses me out because it makes me think something is wrong with the baby (this happened right before we found out about the miscarriage the first time).  We had an ultrasound this week at the same clinic we went to this summer when it wasn't a positive experience but thankfully this time we had a great technician and everything looked perfect she said!  I started feel less nauseous and not quite as tired about two days before we flew back to Kansas for Christmas.
Size of the Baby: Plum (or a chili pepper), 2.1 inches, 0.49 oz
What is the Baby up to this Week: The features on the baby's face are becoming more defined.  The eyes have moved towards the front of the face and then chin and nose have taken more shape.  The baby's tiny fingernails are now well formed on fingers that will soon be able to open and close.  In the baby's brain, synapses are rapidly growing.
Best Moment this Week: The 12 week ultrasound and being home!  We got to see the baby for a long time (15 minutes or so) at our ultrasound.  Jake actually went to the wrong clinic so he was 15 minutes late but they let us wait until he got there to start the appointment.  We also got to hear the heartbeat for the first time.  I also made an appointment with my OBGYN in KC and had an ultrasound done there because I didn't realize they would do one in Sweden.  My friend Jan went with me to the ultrasound and it was a lot of fun.  It was so strange seeing the baby moving all around and yet not feeling a thing.  We got to see both sides of the brain at the ultrasound in Stockholm as well as the heart and lots of other body parts.  We were able to start telling our friends and family in person which was awesome!
Food Cravings: Mi Ranchito since I can finally have it!  I have also been wanting some sour candy.
What I Miss: Nothin'!
Most Looking Forward To: Seeing all of our friends this week and telling them about the baby.  Hanging out with my roommates and getting advice from them.  Going through Emily's maternity clothes!
Thankful for: Feeling better and less tired.  Being able to tell friends and family in person and eat food without feeling nauseous.
Weight Gain/Loss: None (Still at -2 lbs total)
Clothing: Normal Clothes
Sleep: Great since it was in our huge queen size bed at our house in Kansas!
Movement: Nope
Gender: It is a surprise!

Week 13: December 24th-December 30th, 2014
No official belly bump pic this week but this is on the 24th which is when I was 13 weeks pregnant.
You can't see my bump but I love these girls and their kiddos.  Can't wait to add one more to this bunch!

How I am feeling: Not really nauseous at all or as tired even considering the jet lag and nonstop activities since we landed.  I started waking up with a few headaches.
Size of the Baby: Peach, 2.9 inches, 0.81 oz
What is the Baby up to this Week: Up until now the baby's head has been proportionally larger than the rest of the body but around this time the baby's body will start to catch up to the size of the head.  The baby is able to move and flex the arms and legs, but I won't be able to feel the movement until later.
Best Moment this Week: Seeing my roommates and my Rex friends.  I had a great time catching up with my roommates this week.
Food Cravings: All my favorite foods that I can't get in Stockholm (Mi Ranchito, Pizza Hut, Little Caesars, Taco Shop, Iron Horse, etc).
What I Miss: 
Most Looking Forward To: Continuing to see all of our friends and family!
Thankful for: Friends who go out of their way during their busy Christmas schedule to hang out with us.  I know it isn't always easy to fit us in but it sure makes me feel loved!
Weight Gain/Loss: Didn't weigh myself at home but I tried hard not to over indulge even though the food I was eating wasn't very healthy.
Clothing: Normal Clothes
Sleep: Great!  Queen size beds are awesome!  Beds that don't roll to the middle are even more awesome!
Movement: Nope
Gender: It is a surprise!

Week 14: December 31st-January 6th, 2015
Didn't take an official belly bump picture this week but I didn't get to watch the K-State football game at a regular time with some awesome friends!  I was SO excited!

How I am feeling: Pretty good.  Still getting headaches and I thought I felt the baby move but it is really early.  Felt like popping popcorn or gas (isn't pregnancy glamorous).  Felt and saw a pretty big bulge in my stomach when I laid on the couch one night which freaked me out.  The baby must have been turning or something.
Size of the Baby: Lemon, 3.4 inches, 1.5 oz
What is the Baby up to this Week: The baby's well-defined face can also make expressions like a squint or a frown.  Some babies may even start growing hair on the head or on the face, such as eyebrows.  If the baby is a girl her eggs will have already developed inside her ovaries (how crazy is that!).  If I am having a boy, his prostate gland is developing.
Best Moment this Week: Possibly feeling the baby move.  Seeing the rest of our friends before we flew back to Stockholm.  Jake came home with some sour candy since I had mentioned I had wanted some before we went home for Christmas.  It was really thoughtful.
Food Cravings: Sour Candy
What I Miss: 
Most Looking Forward To: 
Thankful for: A great time at home when I felt good and not tired. A safe trip back to Stockholm.
Weight Gain/Loss: Didn't weigh myself this week.
Clothing: Still in normal clothes.
Sleep: Good but worried about having to start figuring out how to not sleep on my back.
Movement: I think so . . .  felt like popcorn popping and I only felt it a few times when I was sitting down.
Gender: It is a surprise!

Week 15: January 7th-January 13th, 2015

How I am feeling: Haven't had headaches and I'm not nauseous.  My normal eating habits are back and I'm starting to want to eat sweets again.
Size of the Baby: Orange, 4.0 inches, 2.5 oz
What is the Baby up to this Week: The hair on the baby's head is growing.  Around the body, there's still fine hair (lanugo) to protect against being constantly exposed to the amniotic fluid.  The baby's skin is thin and nearly translucent.  Some babies may even be starting to suck their thumb around this time.
Best Moment this Week:  I felt the baby move!  It wasn't a big movement but it was enough to be sure that it was the baby and not just gas.  Made the news Facebook official!  Jake thought I should have titled the blog "Knocked Up by a Needle" since we did IVF.  I told the staff at school I was pregnant which was a lot of fun.  I think I underestimated how much fun it will be to have other people see my belly grow other than just Jake.
Food Cravings: Kind of wanting salty things.  Sweets sound good but afterwards they leave a bad taste in my mouth.
What I Miss: Cookie Dough (I'm guessing this will continue until I give birth and can eat a spoonful again.)
Most Looking Forward To: Really feeling the baby move to see if these other feels are actually the baby.  Getting a bigger bump and the 19 week ultrasound.
Thankful for: The news not being spoiled before I could share and being able to tell others about our struggle to hopefully encourage them.
Weight Gain/Loss: Up 1 pound this week (-1 pounds from my total starting weight)
Clothing: Still wearing normal clothes but I did do the hair tie trick with my pants while I was watching a movie this weekend just to be a little more comfortable.
Sleep: Good
Movement: On January 13th after dinner without a doubt I felt the baby move.  It was awesome!
Gender: It is a surprise!

Week 16: January 14th-January 20th, 2015
I felt like I officially had a bump this week.  I was also 4 months pregnant and could wear my awesome new shirt from Angela!

How I am feeling: I feel great!  Feeling the baby move is awesome and reassuring.
Size of the Baby: Avocado, 4.6 inches, 3.5 oz
What is the Baby up to this Week: This week the baby's limbs are much more developed, legs and arms are longer and are becoming more controlled in movement.  The baby's skeletal system is developing more as calcium is deposited onto the bones.  Over the next couple of weeks the baby's weight will double.
Best Moment this Week: I felt lots of movement on January 19th.  On my way to school on January 16th, I was thinking about how the baby mostly moves at night when I'm sitting down and I usually don't feel it in the morning.  I was thinking that was a good thing since I like to sleep in but then less than two minutes later I felt four distinct kicks or elbows saying "yeah right mom, that isn't going to happen."  Maybe sleeping in is wishful thinking but the kicks sure bring a smile to my face.  Jake is reading a baby book and loving it.  He is learning all about how to swaddle babies and calm them down.  I posted about our struggle to get pregnant and got lots of encouraging comments and messages from others who are also walking down that hard road but hopefully they felt encouraged.  We also did some stroller shopping over the weekend!
Food Cravings: Sour candy
What I Miss: 
Most Looking Forward To: Our 19 week ultrasound.
Thankful for: Sharing about our struggle and getting so many encouraging comments.  Also, talking with several people about their struggles and hopefully encouraging them along the way.
Weight Gain/Loss: Up one pound so now back to where I started at the beginning of the pregnancy.
Clothing: Used the hair tie trick and the belly belt (pants expander that my mom bought me) this week.
Sleep: Figuring out how to sleep with the maternity pillow and still leave room in the bed for Jake :).
Movement: Yep!  Still mostly when I'm sitting down but it is more consistent now!
Gender: It is a surprise!

Hope you enjoyed reading our weekly updates.  I'm hoping to post every couple of week so there shouldn't be so much to read next time.

Friday, January 23, 2015

How We Shared Our Exciting News

Thanks for all the encouragement about sharing such personal details about our journey.  I thought about chickening out but I'm thankful I didn't.  I do want to say, it wasn't my intention to make anyone feel guilty or to make you try to figure out if they said something to us over the last two and a half years.  My goal was just to bring awareness to the often casual question that gets thrown around.  It is hard even sometimes for me to not ask people about having kids.  The rule I usually try to stick to is if the other person brings up kids then they probably feel comfortable talking about it.  But if they don't have kids and they don't bring it up then I try not to ask about their future plans.  So, no worries and now on to the exciting post!

We had such a great time telling family and friends that we are having a baby. We were able to tell most people in person over the two weeks while we were home.  I thought it would be fun to write down how we shared and the different reactions so I can remember.  This post is long but I wanted to remember the details because it was so special to me!  I put headings if you want to skim :).
When we started thinking about how to tell family and friends I found the "Finally" shirt.  There were lots of cute pregnancy announcement shirts and there were several that were Christmassy which would have worked but when I saw the "Finally!" I laughed out loud and thought, "Yep! That is the one!"  I liked it for a few reasons.  The obvious one being that it took us a while and I was excited to finally be pregnant.  I also wanted it because after about a year of trying I was really worried that once we told people they would respond with "it's about time" or "took you long enough" or something else not very sensitive before they knew that we struggled.  I didn't want to hear those comments or get upset about them but I also didn't want other people to say them and then realize they just stuck their foot in their mouth.  So the shirt kind of worked as a way to say "yeah we realize it took a while" without having to give all the details at once.  Plus, I realized after just telling people without the shirt that it is awkward to just blurt it out and the shirt was a fun way to sneak it in to the conversation.

Here is how we shared our exciting news!
Telling Jake the First Time
The first time we did IVF, I tested on the morning of June 20th before we left for Nyköping for midsummer and to celebrate our 6th wedding anniversary.  I vividly remember praying hard before taking the test that no matter what it said I would trust God's plan.  I had prayed that same prayer before every test over the last 24 months.  The IVF clinic gives you a pregnancy test they want you to use so I used that one along with a cheap one I had as a backup that I was familiar with.  I barely had time to finish the first test and start the next one by the time the first one said positive.  I couldn't believe I was pregnant!  I had taken and failed that test so many times and I did the same thing that morning I had all the other mornings and yet the test result was different.  I decided to keep my mouth shut until we got to Nyköping for a picnic lunch and then I would tell Jake.  I had a cute Star Wars Heroes board book I bought at my school book fair two years ago that I had been hiding (and lugging around) waiting until I could give it to him to tell him we were pregnant.  I gave that to him this summer and we both teared up and just hugged.  We were finally pregnant and had no clue what to do next.  It was such a cool and surreal moment.

We always take an anniversary picture with the number of years on my fingers (we might have to get creative when I run out of fingers) like my mom did with us growing up on the first day of school.  Here Jake was pointing to my belly since we just found out I was pregnant.  This picture makes me sad but I'm thankful for the new life growing inside me and to share the ups and down with this guy.

 Telling Angela and Lisa 
After telling Jake I called Angela to tell her and we just giggled about all the crazy things I'd email her about now that I was pregnant.  The next week during a fika with Lisa I told her that we were pregnant by giving her a thank you card for picking up "my grandparents" aka Jake's parents when they arrived in Stockholm and I signed the card Baby Janzen.  She hugged me which was great because neither of us are huggers but that was a hugging moment (and I was worried for a while she would be one of the only people I'd tell in person because of the timing of when we would be home).  She then pulled out a gift that she bought for the baby.  She was going to just carry it around with her until I told her the exciting news.  She was obviously hoping for the best!

Telling Jake the Second Time
For our second IVF round, I took the test on October 26th.  (If you didn't read Our Journey to Parenthood blog I found out I miscarried the first baby around 7 weeks and then had a d & c after my body failed to fully miscarry it.)  I tested the same way the first time where I used the IVF clinic test and a backup one and it turned positive pretty quickly again this time.  Jake knew the test date at one point but he has a horrible memory so he didn't remember the day I was supposed to test which was fine because then I could surprise him.  I tried to think of a cute way to tell Jake but honestly I just wanted to tell him and then to make it to the first ultrasound and see that beating heart.  Then I could let myself get truly excited.  After I took the test I pretty much just walked out and told him.  He was surprised and then we walked back into the bathroom and looked at the sticks.  Romantic and cute huh?  Not the way I had planned to tell him (because after 2.5 years you can come up with some fun ways) but I was still guarding my heart from the first miscarriage.  We did celebrate quite a bit after the follow up sonogram with hamburgers and a cookie dough milkshake :).

Telling Angela and Lisa the Second Time
Angela heard the good news right after Jake.  I called her and told her just like I did the first time.  We usually just email each other so she should know by now that if I'm calling it is probably good news! It was fun being able to tell someone.   Later that day, we went over to Lisa's to hang out and we told Lisa and Jimmy.  Lisa (my friend in Sweden who recently moved to Hong Kong and isn't my friend anymore . . . just kidding, but seriously?)   Lisa has heard more about infertility and IVF over our fika dates than she probably cares about so she got to find out early!  Jake just casually mentioned it in the conversation while Lisa was in the kitchen so it was fun to see her try to figure out if it meant what she thought it did.  I never thought I would tell people that early we were pregnant but those girls have been there every step of the way so they got the inside scoop.  After that we decided not to tell anyone else until after our follow up ultrasound.

After the Ultrasound
Two days after finding out I was pregnant we went to Italy with Jake's parents for 8 days.  It was hard not to tell them but also kind of fun to have a secret.  We had to wait about three weeks after my pregnancy test before the follow up ultrasound.  Once we saw the heart beating I couldn't wait to tell Jan, my roommates and our parents.  We always Skype with my parents on Sunday night and Jake's parents on Monday night so we decided to tell them during a normal Skype time to not tip them off which meant Jan and the roommates got to find out first!

Jan and My Roommates
Thankfully I got to do a video chat with all four of them to tell them to exciting news.  I called Jan first since she wasn't working and could Skype with me.  I told her Jake got me an early birthday present (my birthday is July 5th and the baby is due July 1st) and then I held up a onesie that Lisa gave me that says "Made in Sweden".

Kelli was able to Skype with me the next morning and I told her the same way.  I tried telling Emily on that Saturday as well but she was busy getting ready for Wes' third birthday party so we Skyped on Sunday.  Jami was attending the birthday party which meant I couldn't tell her until Sunday as well because if she knew and Emily didn't know and she saw Emily it would be hard not to say anything.  On Sunday, I Skyped with Emily but her in laws were in the room with her which put a small kink in my plans.  I love her in-laws. Dennis and Suz are great but I didn't think they should know before my parents :) or at least I didn't want to tell them before my parents. I have no idea what they heard after I hung up.  So when they went to lay Wes down for a nap I told Emily I had something exciting to tell her but she couldn't make too much noise because it was a secret.  I held up the onesie and she started silent cheering.  Then I called Jami and told her about my early birthday present.  Jami was about a week away from giving birth to her second child so it was fun catching up before a big life change for both of us.
Our Parents
We were planning on telling our parents that same weekend but Jake had a work trip on Monday so we had to move our Skype time with his parents. His mom had a busy weekend so she was just going to skip it this week.  Normally, that wouldn't be a big deal but we were HAVING A BABY and we can't just tell his dad and not his mom during our Skype call.  Plus, my parents live about 5 minutes from Jake's parent and our moms see each other at the store and throughout the week for other random things so I knew I couldn't tell my mom and then wait a week before telling his.  We ended up waiting a week before we could tell our parents.  It was a LONG week.

The next weekend we had our normal video chats.  We decided to record telling our parents which I am really thankful we did.  We told my parents first since we Skype with them on Sundays.  After about five minutes into the call I told them Jake got me an early birthday present and then held up the onesie.  It was so fun to see their reactions.  My mom kept asking if my dad knew what that meant and then the next thing I know she takes a bite of food like it was no big deal (we usually eat during lunch time).  But as soon as she took that bite things started sinking in and then the tears came.  I have rewatched that video several times and I cry every time.  I am not a crier (even during this pregnancy I haven't been very emotional).
 In shock. (Also, I think Lisa wanted to be a part of me telling my family and friends which is why she gave me this onesie, it worked!  Smart girl.)
I love the way my mom is looking at my dad here.
We told Jake's parents the next day, a Monday, during our normal weekly chat.  Their wedding anniversary is July 1st, which is our due date, so we told them we decided to get them an anniversary gift this year.  We also recorded their reactions which was fun.

I like this one of Ken looking at Janet too.
We swore both sets of parents to secrecy until we were home for Christmas.  We wanted to tell our siblings as well but since all of them have kids who are old enough to know what it means if we say I'm pregnant and we wanted to wait until passed the 12 week point before telling them.

Annie, Jake's Sister
We told Jake's sister over Google Hangout because we were seeing her pretty late into our trip back and we were afraid the news would leak out on Facebook and we didn't want that to happen.  Jake has been doing some painting and so he was showing Annie and Andrew some pictures and then the last one he showed them was our ultrasound picture.  We had our 12 week ultrasound that day so we had a great picture to show and confirmation that things were still going well.  We also recorded them.  I think Andrew wasn't quite sure what to think but once his dad got home he shared the good news so I think he is excited.

Liz, One of Jake's Best Friends at Work
Jake didn't tell many people about our struggle to get pregnant but he did tell Liz.  I really like Liz.  She is great and fun to hang out with.  Plus her husband is also awesome!  Jake called Liz to talk, which they do pretty regularly since we've moved, but he put her on speaker phone so I could hear her reaction.  She was SO excited!  She wanted to run up and down the halls screaming the good news but she had to wait ;).  She told her husband Jon and then he messaged me on Facebook saying congrats which was fun!

The Breakfast Club
A group of friends from my last school is lovingly referred to as the Breakfast Club because occasionally we were . . . possibly . . . the misfits but we all loved each other.  The night we landed in KC Amy picked us up from the airport and then we headed over to Nikki's to hangout.  We told Amy before getting to Nikki's which was fun.  Jake recorded her and in typical Amy fashion it would need to be edited before posting on here but it was exactly what I thought she would say and it just made me smile.  She was so surprised.  She was the first person I got to tell who had NO idea we were trying and that was awesome!

The plan at Nikki's was to tell them I wanted an update picture but Jake would take it and instead of taking a picture he would take a video.  During the video he said, "1, 2, Kara's Pregnant" . . . . and then there was a LONG pause.  I finally said 3 because no one was saying anything.  Nikki started freaking out and Chris was confused as to why the camera didn't flash and then he realized fully what Jake said.  It was awesome!

I have the video but this is the picture we took afterwards because I did want a new one for my board in our apartment.
Aaron and Lindsay
We had a get together with some of Jake's coworkers on the 22nd but we couldn't tell them I was pregnant yet because my brother didn't know.  My brother and Jake work at the same company so I was worried the news would spread and my brother would find out at work.  Thankfully, my parents were in town and we were able to go to dinner together.  I got to wear my "Finally" shirt for the first time and I was pumped!  I carefully put on a scarf and a cardigan before heading to their house.  I showed my parents the shirt ahead of time but made sure my niece didn't see it because we were afraid she would be able to read what it said.  Shortly after Aaron and Lindsay got home I took off my scarf and just waited it out.  I thought I caught Lindsay taking a glance in my direction but then she didn't say anything.  Next thing I know she is standing directly in front of me asking, "Am I the only one who hasn't seen Kara's shirt yet?"  I reply with, "I don't think Aaron has." Aaron looks and then they both congratulated us, with hugs.  Like I said before, I am not a hugger and I can't remember the last time my brother hugged me (Lindsay had hugged me the night before) but it really meant a lot.  Lindsay then asked Avery, my niece who is 4 and will be 5 in February, if she knew what my shirt said.  Avery replies with, "Finally?"  I was shocked.  That is a hard word for some of my previous 3rd graders! Then Lindsay asked if she knew what happens sometimes to girls in their stomach area and that is when Avery figured out I was having a baby.  I wish we would have filmed that but I didn't want to tip off Aaron and Lindsay.  Then we had dinner at Mi Ranchito!  I can't think of a better way to celebrate!
Holding Connor for the first time and hiding a big secret behind that scarf!
Grandpa Lindeblad and Uncle Bob
We drove home on Christmas Eve and celebrated Christmas like we always do with Jake's side of the family that night.  Before dinner we read a passage for advent and the scripture that night was Isaiah 9:6, "For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."  Jake's mom thought Jake could read it and after saying "For unto us a child is born" he would then say, "Actually, unto Kara and me a child will be born."  I thought it was clever.
Robbie & Missy
We told Robbie and Missy our exciting news on Christmas morning.  We were hanging out at my parent's house and the kids opened a toy each to play with that day and then Jake and I exchanged a gift as our way of telling them.  Jake's present to me had something to do with a baby which would tell them I was pregnant but I didn't know what the gift was so it was a fun surprise for all of us :).  He gave me a Finnish baby box.  In Finland, as an incentive to get prenatal care they give you a box of baby clothes and supplies for free if you go to a doctor within the first 3 or 4 months of your pregnancy.  The box itself can be used as a crib because it comes with a mattress.  Having babies sleep in a box seemed strange but infant mortality went down significantly after they introduced the boxes.  We can't get one for free but there are some companies that make them to sell so he gave me that and we just need to order one.  We are actually thinking about using the box as the crib for a while since we will only be here a few months before moving back and we don't have a lot of space.  So I opened my gift and that is how Robbie and Missy found out!

Kevin, Gwen and Jon
The day after Christmas we had lunch with Kevin, his wife Gwen and Jon at Saigon in Wichita.  We decided to go with the Finally shirt again this time and Kevin did not miss a beat.  He was the quickest to spot the shirt and figure it out, out of all the times we used it.  I tried to wait until our food arrived to make it seem like I was trying to avoid getting food on my scarf.  Blake, one of Jake's other good friends, and his wife had a baby that morning so they obviously couldn't come but their news gave us a little bit of a scare.  The day before our lunch get together, Jake got a group text because Ashley went into labor but the first text that came through was Kevin's which said "Congrats, we are so excited for you two."  Shortly after Blake's came through saying Ashley was in labor but for a few minutes we thought someone spilled our beans.  At lunch right when Jon sat down he said something about a new baby and I panicked again until I realized he meant Blake and Ashley's new baby.  Times are changing for this group of boys that is for sure!

Knox Cousins
The cousin's on Jake's Dad's side of the family always get together on December 26th.  I really wanted to go this year to hang out and tell them our exciting news but we just couldn't make it down there.  We decided to Skype so we could at least see them (and so I could see their reactions).  They were almost hanging up on me when I told them I had an ornament even though I couldn't be there for the annual ornament exchange.  Then I held up a snowman ornament of a couple and the girl had the word baby with an arrow pointing to her stomach.  They were so excited and I thought it was a clever way to share and a fun keepsake to have.

Aunt Susan and Uncle John
My Aunt Susan and Uncle John stopped by for a visit on the 29th.  We had fun catching up.  I changed into my Finally shirt about 20 minutes before I left for dinner but decided to just walk through the living room without my scarf on to see if they noticed.  My aunt picked up on it right away.  "Finally? Finally?  Are you guys having a baby?" and then she started tearing up.  It was so sweet. 

Rex Friends
Whenever I would travel back to Wichita even when I lived in Olathe I tried to get together with a few friends I taught with at Rex Elementary.  I taught there my first two years and loved it.  Now when we are back from Sweden we have still been able to get together for our traditional Old Chicago dinner.  I wore the finally shirt again and I timed it a little too late :).  I feel awkward just taking off my scarf right away because it seems like I'm not that interested in what they are doing which isn't true but this time I should have done it sooner.  Chris started asking me what my plans were when we moved back about getting a teaching position so I lied and said I would be looking for a job and probably moving back before Jake so I could start the school year on time.  And then I took my scarf off.  They were excited but Chris didn't believe anything I said for the rest of the night.  I had a great time hanging out with Chris, Haleigh and Amber.  Amber is pregnant with her fourth (and probably last) baby and I'm pregnant with my first so it is fun being pregnant together!  She has already been giving me great advice!

Jake's Coworkers
We had two happy hours with Jake's coworkers while we were back.  We didn't tell them the news at the first one so that my brother didn't accidentally find out at work but we did share the news at the second one.  Jake told several people at work that day before the happy hour but I wanted to tell Christina, Dave's wife, so I could see her reaction.  They knew we had been trying for a while and Dave has actually been to Stockholm twice for work and both times we went on a trip with him.  We went to Amsterdam in November 2013 and then this September we went to Northern Ireland.  I had just had the transfer done before our trip to Northern Ireland but we didn't know if I was pregnant.  If you read the post then you might remember I fell asleep at one of the pubs which should have been a huge clue for me because I typically do not fall asleep in random places, especially public.  Once Christina made it to the happy hour I asked her, "Did Dave know you were pregnant before he went to Northern Ireland with us because we didn't know I was pregnant until we got back?"  Christina and I are about a week and a half apart which is fun.  They were really excited for us.  And Liz was excited that she could FINALLY talk about it and congratulate us in person!

Brad and Victoria
I've known Brad since middle school and then Jake met him in high school and roomed with him in college until Jake and I got married and I kicked Brad out of the house :).  Brad's wife Victoria is awesome!  We both just love her!  I've realized in life that you can pick your friends but you can't pick their spouse (let's face it, most of us have had that thought before) but I couldn't pick a better match for Brad.  I just can't wait until we can go on another trip together so Victoria and I can lay on the beach while the boys go do crazy adventurous things (guess the kids with be with grandparents).  We had a little New Years Eve get together with some close friends but Brad and Victoria were the only ones that we hadn't met up with yet so they didn't know we were pregnant.  I didn't want to wear the shirt but we also couldn't figure out a fun way to tell them.  Jake said he just told people at work the day before so we could just tell them.  Boys.  Telling people you are pregnant can be kind of awkward and out of the blue if you don't lead up to it.  We did what I referred to in an earlier post as the band-aid method.

Some people pull off a band-aid really slowly and others just rip it off.  I pull slowly and Jake rips.  We just ripped it off with Brad and Victoria.  I walked over to them when they were feeding Zion and said, "So, we are pregnant."  It definitely caught them off guard.  But my favorite part was when one of them asked for the details and Jake said something along the lines of, "We are due July 1st, it took us 2 and a half years and we eventually got pregnant through IVF, we are having the baby in Sweden, Kara feels better now and we aren't finding out the sex."  I started cracking up.  Talk about information overload!

Erin - Our former roommate . . . who says she likes me more than Jake :)
We had lunch with Erin McGonigle on New Year's Day at Iron Horse.  We thought it would be fun to tell her by asking her a doctor question since she is the chief resident in her program.  When we were ordering at Iron Horse I asked her, "Can you have crab rangoon if you are pregnant?"  She said, "Yes." So I turned to Jake and said, "Okay good, well then let's get some."  She got so excited and started tearing up.  It was awesome!

My Cousin Holly
Holly and I are about 6 months apart and have always been pretty close even though we only see each other about once a year.  I was really excited to call her and tell her.  She is planning a trip to visit us this May so I thought I'd tell her that the plans for them to visit have changed a little bit.  We were planning on them being in Stockholm for a few days and then going to another country with them but I told her I couldn't go anywhere with them because I'll be super pregnant by then.  She was so excited for us.  It was really fun talking to her about it.  I was planning on calling her mom the next day to tell her.

My Aunt Carmen & My Cousin Sydney
Carmen actually called me before I was able to call her.  She started talking about the trip to see us so it was perfect to just slip in the same line about being too pregnant to travel.  My cousin Sydney walked by Carmen shortly after that so then I told her the same thing :).

My Aunt Sharon
I wasn't able to get together with my Aunt Sharon or her family so I called her to tell her the news.  I told her I had just finished doing some browsing at Babies r Us because we were pregnant.  She was excited and thankful to not find out about it on Facebook :).

Gardner Friends
When I'm back I try to get together with my Gardner Elementary friends if possible but it is hard with so many busy schedules.  Three lucky people got to find out in person that we were pregnant.  We met at Austin's for dinner the night before flying back to Stockholm.  Chris, his family and Nikki already knew we were pregnant but Donna, (Jenny) Becker and Monica didn't.  After catching up for a few minutes one of them asked me to tell them a story so I took off my scarf and they all screamed!  It was great!  They were the last group of friends we told in person and I had a lot of fun catching up with them.
The one that showed up on Facebook that night.
 The fun one that had to wait for the Facebook official post!

If you read through all of those stories you are a rock star!  I am SO thankful we were able to share our exciting news in person with so many friends and family members.  I was maybe a little too worried about our news getting out on Facebook before I announced it.  We told people pretty slowly over two weeks instead of all at once and I didn't want close friends or family to find out on Facebook but we didn't have any spoilers!

I am working on a post with belly pictures and how I've been feeling so far so check back for that.  Plus I still need to finish the Venice post!  So much happening and so little time!  That is okay, I hear when the baby comes I'll have lots of free time . . .

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Our Journey to Parenthood

First of all, thank you for all the love, support and well wishes over the last week.  We feel extremely blessed to be on our way to parenthood and to have such great friends and family supporting us even when we live thousands of miles away.

If you read about our exciting news then you know it took us longer to get pregnant than my perfect plan :).  Even though the journey was hard and I'm thankful we are not on that part of it anymore it will still be worth it if at least one person is encouraged by hearing our story.  Jake and I grew so much over the last two and a half years individually, as a couple and in our relationships with God.  Our relationships with friends and family were strengthened as they encouraged us and prayed for us.  I pray that you would be encouraged reading about what we went through and what we learned along the way.

Before you read our story just know that this is the story that God has written for us.  If you are in similar shoes know that your story most likely won't look like our story.  It took me a long time to figure that out.  There were so many times over the last several years that I would hear/read about a couple who struggled to get pregnant but then finally got pregnant after x, y or z (praying until their heart was content to not have kids, giving it all over to God, going on vacation, stopping meds for a month, having it taking 14 months, etc) and then I thought if it worked for them surely it will work for us.  What I finally realized is that those were their stories and ours will be different.  Just know that God might not ask you to move to Sweden just so He can use your experience with IVF as a way to share how God is working in your life.

I started to make a cliff notes version and even that one was long :).  If you don't really care about the details at least consider reading the paragraphs at the end of this post. I tried to make it brief but this was the best I could do.  I thought the IVF process was really interesting so I'll probably write a longer post about that with more details but here is what we have been through the last 2.5 years.
  • Summer 2012 - We started trying to get pregnant.  
  • January 2013 - I saw my doctor because at this point I had been taking my temperature daily and using ovulation kits and I knew I was ovulating but it wasn't working.  Jake and I both did testing and everything came back great which was awesome and frustrating.  I told my friend Angela we were struggling and she has been my rock, encourager and comedian the last two and a half years.  I do not know how I would have made it through all of this without her hilarious emails support!
  • February-March 2013 - We tried Clomid to get my cycles more regular which would help predict when ovulated since my cycles did vary some.  It didn't work. I handled the medication just fine without weird side effects and there was a small chance of multiples which Jake thought would be awesome.  He is insane!
  • April-May 2013 - Took a break from meds because I was just frustrated that we were "fine" and yet not pregnant. (In April, Jake mentioned over gchat that his company wanted us to move to Sweden. I brought this up with my obgyn and she mentioned that fertility treatments are typically cheaper in other countries.  At some point around this time I told my roommates and Jan we had been trying and that it wasn't working so that they could be praying for us.)
  • June 2013 - Went back to my obgyn and tried Femara (a different fertility med).  Visited Stockholm, Sweden for 10 days to see if we could live there for a year.
  • July 2013 - Had an ultrasound to check my ovaries and they looked good. Got another dose of Femara in case we found out we weren't pregnant this month while we were in California on vacation and I needed to start the next dose.  Did another round of Femara.  At the end of the month I had the HSG test done where they shoot dye into your Fallopian tubes to see if they are open.  My body did not handle this test very well and it was really painful for me.  The pain and how your body reacts can vary from person to person but the results were normal, again, and my tubes were open.  I was thankful for every "normal" test results but it was hard to get help when they couldn't find anything wrong.
  • August 2013 - Moved to Stockholm, Sweden and hoped that the 3rd round of Femara would work.  We found out shortly after moving that I wasn't pregnant which meant I had to find a new doctor in Sweden . . . while not knowing the language or where to start looking.  I met Lisa and at our second fika date she told me she was pregnant.  Of course she was pregnant because why wouldn't my one friend in a new country be pregnant.  It was hard to hear at first but she was awesome through all of our treatments and I am so thankful I had her support over the last year and a half.  
  • Side note: While calling multiple doctors and clinics to try to find a doctor, I learned that fertility treatments are significantly cheaper here than in the US.  If you go through a private clinic it is about $4000 for IVF, plus a shorter wait time than the public clinic.  Through the public clinic you can get 3 full rounds of IVF plus 5 frozen embryo transfers for free if you are under the age of 40, have been trying for a year and don't have any kids.  I started to possibly figure out why God moved us to Sweden . . . (although I'll explain later that I don't think God needed IVF to get us pregnant but I still think He is using it to help others learn about Him.)
  • October/November 2013 - Met with obgyn in Sweden.  She wanted to run more tests to confirm there wasn't an issue.  Jake and I were both tested again and everything came back great except I didn't have immunity to rubella.  Rubella immunity doesn't affect fertility but it is important to have it before getting pregnant.  Our doctor suggested I get the booster shot.  After getting the shot you shouldn't get pregnant for 1-3 months (different recommendations depending on what you read) which isn't what you tell someone who has been trying to get pregnant for 16 months.  She suggested we get on the public IVF waiting list.  She didn't recommend us trying IUI first because we knew that I ovulated and that Jake's sperm were great, which are typically two reasons why they suggest trying an IUI.  The IVF waiting list can be 6-12 months long but after 3 months you can call the "care guarantee" number and get moved to a private clinic but the public clinic still pays for your procedures.
  • December 2013 - We told our parents and Jake's sister that we had been trying to get pregnant for about 18 months and that it wasn't working and there wasn't a medical reason at this point explaining why it wasn't working.  We told them we were going to get on the IVF waiting list.  We also told them that we wouldn't be giving updates on when we were doing IVF so we could still try to keep things a surprise, to help keep the pressure off us and because talking about it was draining.
  • February 2014 - Got the letter saying we are on the waiting list but since it had been 3 months I called the care guarantee number and we were moved to the shorter list.
  • March 2014 - Had an appointment with the IVF clinic in Stockholm.  They looked over our test results which were great.  (Jake and our male doctor had a little moment when they talked about his test results.  Let's just say the doctor bragged about his little swimmers for about 5 minutes before I thought "okay, that's great, but how do I get pregnant?" Boys.)  We could try my next cycle but we would be in the US so we had to wait until we were back. I got the rubella booster shot since it would be about 2 months before we started IVF.
  • May 2014 - We started our first IVF cycle. Over the course of 9 days Jake had to give me 15 shots in my stomach to let more than one egg mature, make sure the eggs stayed put and then the last shot releasing my eggs for egg retrieval.  Our egg retrieval was the day Jake's parents landed in Stockholm.  We had been alone, in a different country, for 280 days but on this day we had guests.  God is funny sometimes.  Thankfully, Lisa picked them up from the airport bus and brought them to our apartment while I had the procedure done.  They were able to retrieve 9 eggs and 8 were successfully fertilized.
  • June 2014 - 3 days after the egg retrieval they transferred one embryo.  There is a law here that they only transfer one at a time.  I started taking progesterone tables three times a day (which are horrible and way worse than the shots, in my opinion) until we could take a pregnancy test 18 LONG days later (and about 4 days after Jake's parents flew home).  They didn't know we were doing the IVF cycle at this time.  On June 20th (1 day before our 6th wedding anniversary), we found out I was pregnant!  I couldn't believe it.  I had taken and failed at least 24 months worth of pregnancy tests and yet somehow this one had a different answer. (I actually took several more than 24 tests because who only tests just once a month? . . .What if you took it too early or you are one of those people who ends up in the ER 9 months pregnant because you still get your period and didn't know you were pregnant.  Infertility makes you crazy.) 
  • July 2014 - We had a follow up ultrasound with our IVF clinic to check on the progress of the baby and to make sure there was just one.  At the appointment they couldn't find a heartbeat and they couldn't really see the baby.  We had to go to another office for follow up ultrasounds because our IVF clinic shuts down the whole month of July (along with most businesses in Sweden). We waited two long weeks before the follow up appointment only to find an empty sac.  No baby and definitely no heartbeat.  I had miscarried but my body apparently missed it because I wasn't showing any signs of a miscarriage. I was given the choice to take some medicine or wait it out, so I waited about a week to see if it would happen naturally.  Nothing happened.  I went in for another ultrasound to check and then took Cytotec.  A follow up ultrasound showed that not all of it had passed.  I did another round of Cytotec and made an appointment for a d & c.  Waiting for my body to miscarry a baby I had prayed for and longed for, for over two years was the hardest thing I had to do in the last two and a half years.  Remember my summer struggles blog?  Well, this definitely played a huge roll in my struggle this summer.  
  • August 2014 - The morning of my d & c they checked to see if the second round of Cytotec worked and it didn't so I had the d & c (about 3 days before I went on a bike trip across Gotland - maybe not the smartest idea but the doctors said it was okay).  
  • September 2014 - After my cycle started naturally, I called the IVF clinic and we started the second round of IVF.  We had 5 frozen embryos that made it to the blastocyst stage (where the two cell embryo from day 1 grows into hundreds of cells by day 5) which meant they could be frozen to possibly use in the future.  So this round I didn't have to do all the shots or the egg retrieval.  
  • October 2014 - I had two ultrasounds to figure out when I would naturally ovulate and Jake had to give me one shot.  We transferred the frozen embryo on October 13th and I took progesterone tablets again but this time only twice a day. On October 26th, 13 days after the transfer I took a test and it was POSITIVE! (Two days after finding out we were pregnant we went to Italy with Jake's parents for 8 days but didn't tell them because we were waiting until it was confirmed at the follow up ultrasound.)
  • November 2014 - November 14th we had the follow up ultrasound and we saw the heartbeat!!!
Along the way there were a few triggers that usually caused some hard days.  When we first started trying I naively thought we'd be pregnant by Christmas so when Christmas rolled around and we weren't pregnant it was hard.  Then I told myself well surely by next Christmas I'll either be pregnant or maybe even have a newborn.  That next Christmas came and went and still we weren't pregnant.  This Christmas was so much fun because we got to tell our family and friends the exciting news and we got a few baby gifts :).  Another silly trigger was going to the dentist.  I know, how does the dentist cause a meltdown but when you only visit every six months surely we could get pregnant within the next six months, right?  I told myself that every time and each time my appointment rolled around I was greeted with the harsh reality that I wasn't pregnant.  Another trigger was my birthday.  I knew I had to get pregnant before October or so in order to have the baby before my next birthday.  For some reason it was really hard to be a year older by the time I would have a baby.  I am due 4 days before my birthday and you know what?  If I have the baby after my birthday it will be awesome because I will have a baby!  All these triggers don't actually matter when you finally get pregnant.  You are just so thankful to be pregnant.  I wish I would have tried harder to not let these triggers effect me so much but it was hard.

Our decision to do IVF wasn't quick or easy.  I have wanted to be a mom for as long as I can remember.  I had more baby dolls growing up than any little girl needed.  I always thought I would get pregnant quickly and maybe if another friend couldn't get pregnant then I could be her surrogate.  I had thought about if I would ever do IVF and I kind of always thought of it as a last resort so when we were presented with the option I wasn't ready to admit that we were at that last resort.  After praying about it a lot we finally decided to give it a try.  We had been struggling with no real reason and then after trusting God we moved to a country where they offer free IVF.  Seems like God's hands were all over this.  I truly felt at peace about it because I felt like IVF wasn't going to get us pregnant, God was going to make it happen.  He didn't need IVF for me to get pregnant but maybe he would use it for His glory.  I still believe that we could have gotten pregnant without it but for some reason God wanted to use IVF and this whole journey as part of our story.

Moving to Sweden was a bigger blessing than I ever could have imagined.  At first it was nice to just get away from the constant questions from friends, family and even acquaintances about when we were having kids.  When we met new people here they would ask if we had kids but once we said no they dropped it which was really refreshing.  All of the traveling we have been able to do also helped keep our minds off of the monthly emotional roller coaster of another negative pregnancy test.  Plus, had we gotten pregnant according to my perfect plan we probably wouldn't have moved to Sweden with a newborn or been able to do all the traveling we have done.  Last but not least, the fact that we were able to do IVF for free is unbelievable.  We feel so blessed and fortunate.  We know others who did IVF and they spent between $12,000-20,000 for one try.  It felt like such a weight lifted off our shoulders to not have to think about paying for a second round of IVF while we were still healing emotionally and physically from the miscarriage.  (If you are thinking about doing IVF, I know of a great fertility clinic with better prices than the US and you can stay in our guest apartment!)

Jake has been awesome through all of this.  The first 8 months or so he was not worried at all but after that he started to get a little frustrated as well that it was taking so long.  He was so supportive and understanding each month that it didn't happen and would just hold me while I cried.  When we started going to appointments in Stockholm he went to more than his fair share.  There were a few appointments I went to on my own because I knew I didn't need him but he was there every step of the IVF process and the miscarriage.  He got pretty good at giving me shots in the stomach and even played the "Shots" song a couple of times before giving me shots to get me pumped up.  When we started on this journey to parenthood he was on board but terrified.  Since it took us a while to get pregnant he is pretty much over being terrified and is just ready to play with our kid.  He has been reading baby books and talks about all the fun things he can't wait to do with our kid which is so fun to hear!  I can't wait for the three of us to be a team and to figure out this parenting thing with him.

Some might wonder why I am sharing so many details about what we went through.  Infertility is lonely.  Not many people talk about it and yet once you are walking that path you start hearing/reading more and more stories about couples who have struggled.  The more I have opened up the more people have shared their struggles and I just feel like it shouldn't be so lonely.  Whether you will walk this path or someone you know will I hope knowing about our story will help you be more understanding and help make infertility less lonely.  I still think that it is okay to not share with others if you are trying to get pregnant and to keep things to yourselves if you want it to be a surprise but it would be nice to feel less alone knowing that others have struggled as well.

I also hope to raise awareness that getting pregnant isn't easy for everyone and talking to people about when they are having kids isn't the casual conversation so many turn it into.  It feels like as soon as you start dating then the "when are you getting married" questions start and then even as early as your wedding day is when some feel it is appropriate to ask "when are you having kids."  You never know what others are going through so hopefully being more aware of the struggle for some will help you be more sensitive in the future and think before you ask a couple without kids when they will be having kids.

If you have any questions about treatments we tried, medicine or anything else I am basically an open book.  During our struggle, I didn't want to share too much with too many people because talking about it was exhausting.  There were friends that I am very close to that I choose not to tell about our struggle because I wanted to know that when I was with them there was no chance the topic would come up.  I also wanted them to be genuinely surprised when we did tell them the news.  But now I'm ready to use our story in any way that might help or encourage someone.

Thanks again for praying for us while we enjoy this pregnancy until we can hold our little baby this summer!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Adding One More to #janzensinsweden this Summer!

I have mentally written this post a million times so here goes . . . I AM PREGNANT!
Our road to parenthood was much longer than my perfect plan but my prayer over the last almost two and a half years was "God, help me to trust that your plan is better than my plan."

(If you are reading this through tears because someone is yet again announcing a pregnancy that you so desperately want just know that I am praying for you.  I don't know how many announcements I have read through tear filled eyes and a lump in my throat.  I do know that God has a plan and that even though it is hard his plan is better than your plan.  Through this journey I really feel like God has been asking me to be open about our experience so I can possibly help or encourage someone else going through a similar experience longing for a baby and yet getting a negative test month after month.   If you are reading this with that lump in your throat and want to talk please email, call or send me a Facebook message.  I would love to pray for you by name and try to encourage you.  I'm also hoping to at least raise awareness that infertility is hard and sometimes you have no idea what people are going through so maybe try not to be one of those people who casually asks others when they are having kids.  There were days when my answer wouldn't have been very kind had it not been really filtered.)

We had a blast at home telling our family and friends the awesome news.  Both sets of our parents knew around 8 and a half weeks but we swore them to secrecy.  My roommates and one of my best friends also knew before we came home but we told everyone else at Christmas or over Skype right before coming home for Christmas.  It was fun to come up with different ways of sharing the great news.  I'm hoping to blog about all of the ways we told people and fun reactions later.

It was so hard keeping this secret.  I knew before we started trying to get pregnant that I didn't want to tell people we were trying.  I wanted it to be a surprise and for me telling people you are trying to get pregnant is awkward (because we all know what that means) and then there is extra pressure if it takes a while, which it did.  Well, after things took a little longer than we anticipated I told a few of my close girlfriends so they could be praying for us and because it was hard to keep up the facade that we weren't trying.  Once things really started to drag out we told our parents last December that we had been trying for about 18 months and that we were going to get on the IVF waiting list (and ended up getting pregnant through IVF) in Stockholm but that we didn't want to talk about it and wouldn't be giving updates because we still wanted it to be a surprise.  So, after all the secrecy and then waiting to make it past the 12 week mark it seems so strange to be telling people because it has been so hush hush.  But I can't wait for my belly to grow enough that it is obvious that I am pregnant!  (Not sure I'm looking forward to the waddling stage . . .)

We told one of our sets of friends over break using what I like to call the Band-aid method.  Some people pull off a band-aid really slowly and others just rip it off.  I pull slowly and Jake rips.  We just ripped it off with them.  I walked over to them when they were at our house and said, "So, we are pregnant."  It definitely caught them off guard.  But my favorite part was when one of them asked for the details and Jake said something along the lines of, "We are due July 1st, it took us 2 and a half years and we eventually got pregnant through IVF, we are having the baby in Sweden, Kara feels better now and we aren't finding out the sex."  I started cracking up.  Talk about information overload!

I am planning on writing more about our struggle to get pregnant with a few more details so I can remember our journey but also to help anyone else who might be in our shoes.  Infertility is hard. Mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausting and so many of us just keep it to ourselves. (There is a part of me that wishes I would have been brave enough to open up sooner but the more people that knew the higher chance I had of being asked about it and sometimes I just didn't want to be asked how things were going.)

I am SO thankful that I eventually opened up to a close friend from college (who I've become so much closer to over the last two years because when you talk about peeing on a stick and how your ovaries are doing you tend to grow closer) and then to my roommates and one of my best friends.  I do not know how I would have made it through the last two years without these girls.  Jake has been amazing, of course, but these girls and their prayers have meant the world to me.  If you are struggling to get pregnant and haven't told anyone I would highly suggest telling at least one person.  Find someone you can confide in and trust.  I found it especially helpful when they can help you to laugh at yourself because things will get ridiculous at times and you will definitely need a few good laughs to make it through.

Here are a few pictures from our 12 week ultrasound and a few belly bump pictures even though the bump isn't really very obvious at this point :).
 This was from our 12 week ultrasound in Sweden.
The two white rectangles are jaw bones and the five dots right above the chest are fingers!
 I can't believe I have a baby in my belly! 
Our first family photo!
 12 weeks but not much of a bump.  Thankfully the baby is measuring right on track during the ultrasound so I don't have to worry about that :).
  We've been taking belly pics most weeks with the correct fruit but it is misleading because the fruit is way heavier than the baby and wider.  So this 12 week picture we found something that was the correct length (6 cm long or about 2.5 inches) but wasn't as big as the suggested plum.
And then this happened when I was home over break and shopping with my mom.  We were giggling so much!

If you prayed for us throughout this journey (even if I didn't know about it because you weren't supposed to tell me that you knew :) - I'm guessing there might be a few of you) thank you from the bottom of my heart.  We would love to continue to be covered in prayer throughout our pregnancy.  So far things are going well but we would be so grateful for the prayers.  I cannot wait to hold this little baby in my arms and meet whoever God had planned for me from the beginning.  I am sure he/she will be well worth the wait!
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