The two week wait.
Following the embryo transfer procedure is the two week wait, which seemed like a lifetime! You’ve no idea what’s going on after all those weeks of daily injections, scans and blood tests. The best way to get through this anxious and exciting period it is to stay busy. Fill your dairy, catch up with friends. Friends who ideally you are happy to share the journey details with. There is a lot of debate about who to tell and when to share your news but as a single person it is more important to have the support from early on in the decision-making process. I took myself and my sister away for a short break to Cornwall for some windy winter walks and hot chocolates in all the dog friendly cafes dotted along the coastline. It was the perfect way to pass the time.
Hormones and morning sickness.
I was given further hormones to continue with – this time progesterone in the form of a pessary to administer three times a day. Much easier than the injections. I am not 100% sure if this is what triggered the morning sickness period for me, but it certainly had coincidental timing when the sickness eventually stopped six weeks later and I had come off the pessaries. No one warns you that morning sickness can in fact be all day sickness! For me there was no physical vomiting involved just an all-day lingering brewing feeling. At first, I had no idea how to manage this. The advice online varies and the success of the advice you take depends on which food aversions you experience along the way. Eating regularly and as soon as I woke up helped. Mints, but not mint tea, helped in-between meals and when travelling in the car. Nesquik banana milk shake helped settle my stomach. This was at a point I had switched back to cow’s milk rather than my usual oat milk for a brief period – a temporary food aversion. That and tomatoes. For a girl who loves Italian food that was a tough one!
I woke up regularly hungry in the early hours of the morning throughout the morning sickness period too. It helped to take over night oats to bed or a banana to save having to get up and make anything half asleep. Although I still managed to wake up and find oats in my hair the next day. Not having to be fully awake to snack has its pros and cons. The midnight feasts helped hold off the sickness in the morning sometimes too. It was worse when I was left hungry for too long.
For some reason when I started the IVF cycle, I decided to quit the gym and take it easy. I’ve no idea way I suddenly thought exercise would be something to avoid for this round of fertility treatment. For the previous IUI rounds I continued with two or three gym sessions per week throughout. Quitting went against all the information online recommending continuing as normal. But something inside was telling me to slow down. I was still active what with dogs to walk daily and I was keen to join pregnancy Pilates and similar gentle fitness classes as it seemed more sensible to have a routine tailored to safer movements. (None of these you can join before your 12-week scan though).
Whether or not slowing down contributed to the success of the treatment I’ll never know. Much like having quit my day job for the sake of being less stressed could have been a factor. I’ll never know. On both counts it just felt right.
A week or so after I had stopped the progesterone pessaries and had a sudden relief of morning sickness, I started spotting. Only very tiny amounts. But enough to trigger a lot of worry that something was wrong. And of course, the online advice ranged from this being a normal symptom which should cause no concern, to this being a serious concern and an ultrasound scan should be booked asap. I called my midwife only to be told she wasn’t available for another four days and I should call the maternity ward. But I hadn’t been referred to the maternity ward quite yet so when I did speak to them, they had no record of me and offered no further help.
I had no choice but to book a private scan to put my mind at ease. This cost me around £75 and amazingly I was able to get a same day appointment on a Sunday. The sonographer was a delight, and I was immediately reassured by a wriggly little image on a big screen. The sonographer proceeded with some basic checks. I couldn’t have been happier to see my little baby in human form after having only seen a small nugget with a heartbeat at the early viability scan with the fertility clinic about a month before. The money spent was well worth the peace of mind and the spotting stopped a few days later.
The first trimester was easy when it came to clothes, I just ordered the jean extenders and the belly band – https://amzn.eu/d/3zNDUNp
Since you’re just starting to feel bloated rather than accommodating any obvious bump, these items lasted a good couple of months. It wasn’t until about 18 weeks I started ordering maternity jeans online and got quite frustrated that they were all designed for the later part of pregnancy – the big bump stage. “Just get some leggings an oversized dresses” was the general advise. But for a daily dog walk I needed something warm to see me through the December to February frosts. It’s a shame no retail shops these days have a maternity section so you can try things on. They only refer you to the online options. Which just has returns faff written all over it, and upsizing on regular clothes leaves you with unflattering baggy bum issues.
Then it dawned on me, the classic dungaree would do the job. Or so I thought! Even these seem to be tailored towards the later stages of pregnancy. The one brand I found who put the most thought into the design of the garment was George by ASDA. These have adjustable buttons on both side as well as elastic at the back. It’s a shame the material wasn’t thicker, but leggings underneath worked a treat. I found mine on ebay but here is the link to the George listing. https://direct.asda.com/george/women/maternity-clothes/maternity-jeans/maternity-mid-wash-denim-dungarees/GEM875774,default,pd.html
I called into every charity shop in town only to be told “we don’t really get maternity clothes”. This was surprising since they have such a short life. I had hoped not to have to spend money on new clothes. There were a few bargains from Next. I had an account and could spread the cost and try them on with their easy returns policy. Order delivered to store, try them on instore and return if required with the refund being applied to the account before the charge is even applied. Here’s one of my favourite purchases for a casual or formal winters occasion – https://www2.next.co.uk/style/ls326287/k15192#k15192