I keep saying I feel like I’ve been pregnant for a really long time while simultaneously time is flying by. I am six months pregnant, and haven’t provided many updates about this pregnancy thus far. There is a great deal of anxiety and superstition that accompanies pregnancy especially pregnancy after fertility treatments. I want to share for others who are curious about pregnancy after IVF and also for myself as a record so I don’t forget some of these details one day.
I had the 20 week anatomy scan a few weeks ago. There were no significant findings that would warrant extra ultrasounds or monitoring, however, my doctor made me aware of my eligibility for a fetal echocardiogram. Due to the fact that we conceived via IVF, he gave me the option of getting a fetal echocardiogram usually performed around 22 weeks gestation. It was explained to me that it is an extra screening of baby’s heart. There are reports that IVF babies have an increased risk of congenital abnormalities including cardiac anomalies. My doctor left it up to me whether I wanted this extra screening or not.
I opted to get the fetal echocardiogram and I am happy I did. For me, it was another chance to see baby up close. The ultrasound lasted a long time (well over an hour), but that might be because the ultrasound technician re-measured and checked everything again (limbs, head, major organs, etc.). At one point, I almost fell asleep. I also got impatient toward the end only because it was a long time to lie on your back without moving and my back was starting to hurt. The ultrasound itself is not painful in any way. Here is another link to a resource about the fetal echocardiogram test and what is involved with the test.
I have gained about 11 pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight. My body and energy levels feel as if I’ve gained 20+ pounds. I am walking slower and the pregnancy “waddle” is setting in. I know it’s probably not a good idea to compare pregnancies, but a few weeks ago, I was shocked at how different this pregnancy is from my first. My belly is a lot bigger and feels heavier than it did with my first pregnancy.
I have had to give myself a few pep talks. Every pregnancy is different. I am almost eight years older than I was with my first pregnancy. I have to give myself all the grace I can possibly muster. It hasn’t been easy, but a positive outlook seems to help when everything feels overwhelming.
I still have nausea daily, but it is well managed with medication. I have days where I don’t feel well. All I can do on those days is rest. My first pregnancy taught me that it is in fact possible to have nausea for nine/ten months straight. So I’m not holding my breath that it will go away any time soon.
I get drowsy and tired easily. It is one of the side effects of my medication. I noticed that my energy levels were particularly low this week. I’m really hoping to regain a little energy since we still have several weeks to go!
I’ve also experienced quite a bit of round ligament pain and cramping. It feels like baby had a growth spurt this week.
I crave soda (especially Diet Coke) and candy! When I’m not pregnant I don’t have a sweet tooth. For the past few months, I can’t get enough of sour and chewy candies.
I don’t really have any aversions since the first trimester when I was disgusted by almost every type of food!
Vaccine or No Vaccine?
I’ve been vacillating between getting the vaccine while pregnant or waiting until after I give birth. I’ve spoken with my OB-GYN and a maternal fetal medicine physician. My mom also consulted with our long time family physician back in LA. Additionally, I’ve done a lot of my own research about the vaccine and pregnancy.
All medical professionals agree that I can and should get the vaccine while pregnant. I think I was most influenced by the high risk pregnancy physician I spoke to as she has had direct experiences with pregnant women with Covid. Pregnant women are at higher risk for getting sicker and developing complications from Covid. She was forthcoming about the fact that she has dealt with the most dire and complicated cases in pregnant mothers with Covid. She has treated very sick mothers, premature births, and fatalities. We also briefly talked about the studies showing that it’s possible to pass on Covid antibodies to your newborn baby through the placenta and breast milk. She felt I should get the vaccine and get it as soon as possible (I am in my second trimester). She made the point that waiting until the third trimester would probably just mean I’m bigger and more uncomfortable and having to deal with vaccine side effects on top of all of that.
I feel confident that I have gathered as much information as possible to make an informed decision. Of course there is risk with getting the vaccine while pregnant, because there are no long term studies yet. Also, no two individuals have the same health history and background. The vaccine should be considered on a case by case basis. If you are currently pregnant, please speak with your doctor about your individual risk factors and getting the vaccine during pregnancy.