Yesterday marked the 21-week mark, meaning we are officially past the half-way point in this journey. It's really sort of crazy to think about it in this way.
On the one hand, we are absolutely in no way prepared to bring home a baby, physically or mentally. I have gotten a gift of swaddling blankets from my sister and this is the only real baby item we possess. My 90-year-old great aunt also did give us her Burger King Kid's Meal toy, an animal-ears headband, this past week for the baby - very sweet but not entirely practical.
Nineteen weeks ago, we were in the middle of IVF. I was in the hospital from bleeding complications, in severe pain, and worried that this would impact our chances of successful implantation. This is really becoming a distant memory. The emotional pain of these struggles has dulled. I will never forget and it will always be a part of our journey, but it is no longer the first thing I think about when people comment on the pregnancy.
In another nineteen weeks, give or take, we will hopefully be parents to a healthy baby girl. Our lives will be forever changed. I don't feel entirely prepared for this, but then I don't think that anyone can be entirely prepared for this. When you go to a foreign country for the first time, you can read about the history and culture and learn the language, but this won't entirely brace you for the engulfing sights and sounds and smells of this new place that are so different from what you are accustomed to.
When people ask how I've been feeling, I usually answer, "Good, except for the days I'm not." This pretty much sums things up. Most days I feel 90% healthy. I am chronically congested and always sound like I'm getting over a cold, but this doesn't impact me much. I get out of breath a easier than normal and have noticed being less flexible when getting dressed or performing activities that involve touching my toes, but again this hasn't had a huge impact.
Then there are the days that I am incapacitated. There are the days when the heartburn is so bad that I can't talk and it feels like my esophagus is about to catch on fire. On these days I can't sleep or eat much and everything hurts from my chest upwards. Then there are the days that I become so exhausted that I've fallen asleep with my head on my desk, get worried about driving home from work safely, and generally feel like my whole body is weighted down, with sore muscles, and the general feeling that I've been hit by a Mac truck. Luckily, these days are not the norm and generally I don't have much to complain about.
I have also noticed that my feet are starting to swell, which I am still trying to blame on the hot weather, and that I will occasionally have some very mild leaking of colostrum. It's all very sexy. My belly is now very noticeable and I am wearing 90% maternity clothes, especially when leaving the house. I am up about 14 pounds, which is more then I was hoping and on the higher end of what is recommended, but some of this is due to a week-long vacation and all the eating that goes along with that.
There are days when I feel more confident about feeling the baby, but sometimes these feelings are still so similar to bowel/intestinal movements that it's hard to decipher. They're also not very frequent, which doesn't help. Last night, C tried to hear the heartbeat with his stethoscope but was unsuccessful. The websites said that you might be able to hear it with a stethoscope by 20 weeks so we knew it could be too early.
So... halfway between infertility treatments and bringing home baby. Slowly making this mental transition, as my body continues to change and our baby girl continues to grow and develop. Life moves on.