It’s hard to believe I am already over 8 weeks pregnant! Babies and Mama are both still doing great. Here’s a brief recap of our last month!
October 5th – Beta (Results) day: I did not test before my lab appointment, and truly did not think I was pregnant. I felt too darn good. I talked with the nurses about what the timeline would be like for starting another cycle then headed off to join the crazy Gilmore Girls fans to wait in line for 2.5+ hours to grab coffee at “Luke’s”. The call came in and I sent it to voicemail. I was perfectly happy being in my little not-knowing bubble. While I got a cup of coffee, I didn’t drink it just in case, but was fairly confident this cycle was a big fat negative (BFN).
When Josh got home from work that night we finally sat down at the kitchen table, said a prayer, put the voicemail on speaker and listened. As soon as I heard our doctors voice, I began to smile, as it was so excited. Our first beta came back at 164 and they wanted to see it above 50. I think Josh and I were both in shock. We just sat there grinning at each other, finally hugging, then praying, then laughing. It was absolutely surreal, yet we had this call before and were cautiously hopeful.
October 7th – Repeat Beta day: Now we needed to wait and make sure our beta levels were increasing. Clinics ideally want to see numbers double in 48 hours, although the acceptable doubling time range is 48 – 72 hours. We nervously waited for our call, and when it came in, she shared our numbers went up but didn’t quite double. It was at a 60 hour doubling rate, having gone up 85% in the last 48 hours. While this news was still good, it wasn’t the solid doubling time we hoped for to feel a bit safer. We were asked to come back on the 9th.
October 9th – Repeat Beta day: Same results, different day. 60 hour doubling rate, having gone up 85% in the last 48 hours. She was still very positive and hopeful, going up is great and it was well within range. But I do have to say, Josh and I were a little nervous. We were asked to give it 4 more days and come back on the 13th.
October 13th – Repeat Beta day (and surprise ultrasound): I woke up early to go in for my lab work and didn’t feel great. I started having some sharp and random cramping on one side of my ovaries that took my breath away and began coming pretty consistently. I drove to the clinic slightly hunched over and worried. Could this be an ectopic pregnancy?
I talked to our nurse right away who confirmed this pain sounded suspiciously similar to an ectopic pregnancy. She asked questions about whether I had eaten this morning and such, then got my lab work drawn and went to grab the doctor. Within minutes I had a great team of physicians and practitioners standing around me on an ultrasound table, trying to determine if an embryo implanted outside of my uterus. While Josh was at work waiting to hear if I would need to be rushed to surgery, I was on the table praying. No one at this point knew we were pregnant and I was so worried about how this might end.
The doctor warned me that at exactly 5 weeks + 1 day, it was unlikely we would be able to see anything but fluid, however once she started looking, she quickly found a sac in my uterus – with a fetal pole and yolk sac! There were tears (me) and shrieks (them) as they oohhhed and ahhhhed about how great this baby looked. I was completely floored, the only time I had seen a sac on the screen was our second pregnancy and the sac was empty. This was a surreal moment and I wished so badly Josh could be there.
But the joy quickly turned to continued investigation to find out where the second embryo had implanted, if it had. After checking my tubes and ovaries, and seeing nothing, they went back to my utereus where …. Baby #2 was! Cue my messy tears at this moment! (I will forever be grateful for the kindness of the OB Intern who grabbed me Kleenex and squeezed my hand.) Baby B also looked great, showing a yolk sac and a fetal pole – both awesome signs of development, especially that early. They chalked the pain up to a growing uterus and possibly some pressure on my ovaries on my many cysts. But, I left that lab appointment that day with some BIG news – we were having TWINS!
I raced to my car to call Josh who was awaiting a call, anticipating bad news and instead, I got to share the joyous news with him! It was an unbelievably surreal phone call. PRAISE GOD!
(Oh and my lab work came back this day showing a skyrocketed beta number, number doubling in only 40 hours, even better than the optimal 48 hours. Babies were showing off at this point!).
October 15th – sharing the news with our families: At this point, no one knew anything. We hadn’t said a word and our families were respecting our request for privacy. But now with our beta levels at a comfortable level and our TWIN ultrasound in hand, we started popping in and surprising our families. It took a lot of sneaky coordination, especially since they were likely already suspicious, but with some good fibbing, we caught them all off guard! YAY!
(And yes, to those wondering, this PSL was indeed a PSC (Pumpkin spice crème – sans espresso since decaf is a no-no for me still).
Sister did not know at this point. I preordered our drinks through the app. :)
I will have to share these stories in a more detailed blog later on, but telling my parents + sister, Josh’s parents, Josh’s brother, sister-in-law and kiddos, and Josh’s grandma in person was THE BEST. We were able to Skype surprise my grandparents and aunt and uncle and cousins back in Illinois that day as well and it was so much fun! These precious memories will stay burned in my brain forever!!
a sneak peek at the way we told my parents and sister.
Our nieces are so excited for their new baby cousins! TWO of them!
October 19th – the great bleed:
4 special generations of Ritchie’s!
I started feeling tired very quickly, although that was my only pregnancy symptom. I spent the majority of the day in bed, napping on and off. Around dinner time, we decided that instead of making dinner, we would go out and grab a bite to eat. Around 4, I started to get ready, showering, then laid down in bed for a minute. Suddenly I felt this big gush and it felt like I wet myself. I looked down to see so much blood. I quickly called Josh and told him to come home from work, then ran to the bathroom, getting blood everywhere and was terrified. I quickly called our after-hour clinic phone and left a voicemail, which said they would call back in the next hour. The specific details of the bleeding is too much to go into, but it was awful and scary and I thought for sure we lost the babies. The only comfort I had was that I had no pain or cramping, both of which had occurred while bleeding in my past miscarriages. The blood was so heavy and red and horrible. We weren’t sure if we should go to the ER, as there would be nothing they could really do at this point. We waited for the nurse to call us back. After many questions and triaging, we decided to wait this out at home and see if it got heavier or if cramping would start. I began chugging water and lying on my left side, checking in with the nurse throughout the night. Our doctor took the phone after 9 and was on-call, ready to meet us at an ER if anything should change. Finally around 10, the bleeding seemed to be slowing down a bit. As traumatic as this night was, I truly felt like God was circling us and providing us peace that whatever happened, we would be okay. We didn’t tell anyone, as talking about it seemed too real and we didn’t want anyone else to worry. We knew people were praying for us going into our heartbeat ultrasound the next day so we prayed and prayed and prayed.
This verse played in my head on repeat: Psalm 112:7 “They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the LORD.”
October 20th – heartbeat appointment: The next day, my bleeding had nearly tapered off, which was a relief. Josh was incredibly optimistic going into our heartbeat appointment (in his words a “8 ½ out of 10” while I was about a 2.) As I laid on the table, I closed my eyes and waited. And within the next 5 seconds we heard her say she saw our two great looking babies with heartbeats! PRAISE THE LORD! We got to see the heartbeats waves this time, not quite yet hearing them, but seeing those precious waves were amazing.
Our measurements looked perfect and the babies hearts were both right at 112 bpm. We cried and sighed tears of relief. They then showed me the bleeding was caused from a subchorionic hemorrhage (SCH) located in my uterus, right between the two babies. While this only happens in about 1% of all pregnancies, it is more common in IVF pregnancies, occurring in about 50% of cases. Our doctor and team felt hopeful that with bed rest and care, this SCH could heal itself without causing harm to the babies. We simply need it to get smaller, not bigger. There is a slight increased chance of miscarriage with an SCH (3-4%). The risk comes that if it grows, it can cause the placenta to pull away from the uterine wall and bleed out everything in the uterus. Guess what? We are claiming victory that this will not be our story! So bed rest it is. Our doctor warned us that this gushing bleeding moment might happen again so to be prepared.
October 24th – ultrasound appointment: After a full weekend of bedrest (think bed -> bathroom -> bed), we went back in to see if the SCH has changed in size at all. It did. It went from being more round in shape to more oval, shortening up its height but growing slightly in width. We were told to continue bed rest and come back in a week. During this appointment we got to HEAR both babies heartbeats! Praise GOD!
October 30th – gender reveal: Thanks to the technologies of IVF, we were able to find out the genders of our babies early! Our clinic did not know the genders prior to transfer and we were all so excited to find out! We gathered our family and a few close friends together for a great reveal! It was so nice to be around PEOPLE after being on bed rest for nearly 2 weeks, haha! While I was on my feet just a short time, we got to pop our balloons and share the news …. A BOY AND A GIRL!
The Aunties surprised us with these amazing t-shirts! Theses kiddos have the two best aunties ever!!!!!! <3
A precious captured moment between Josh and his mom
Beyond grateful for the best family to come out and celebrate this day with us!
A special thanks to two of my best friends for coming out and celebrating with us, capturing moments on picture and video! So thankful for these two!
October 31st – ultrasound appointment:
Josh and his best friend Ricky, who helped take pictures and video for us!
After another week of bed rest, we went back and saw our growing little babies! They were both the size of blueberries, measuring over a half inch, with heartbeats in the 150’s. They are starting to look more and more like babies already, and only at 7 ½ weeks! Our hearts are so full.
The bleed remained the same size – not growing, praise God! I am continuing on bed rest. Thankfully I have had no more gushing-bleeding episodes since the 19th. However, I have spotted a bit but it’s been a great comfort knowing the why and hasn’t created any fear in my heart. As crazy as it sounds, this SCH has almost been a blessing to my scared, post-miscarriage heart. I have always associated bleeding with miscarriage, but now the source of my bleeding has this pesky like name – SCH – and it’s not as scary. God seems to really know us so personally. I no longer fear going to the bathroom in the same way I have in past pregnancies.
So now, here I sit today, 8 1/2 weeks pregnant (I graduate weeks on Wednesday) and feeling very bloated and tired, but otherwise incredibly content and happy. We have been blessed with some great friends and family who have stepped up to help us during bed rest – bringing meals, running errands, planning our gender reveal party, and such. The impact this community around me has had on our hearts can’t be expressed in words. We are SO grateful.
We still have a long ways to go but we feel such peace. Peace that God is with us, peace that these are our babies, peace that He hears prayers, sees hearts, and knows us intimately. Peace that He is greater than uterine bleeds and lab results. He is GOD.
Our next appointment is Monday and we would love your continued prayers, especially for healing for the SCH and continued development of the babies.
This blog will still remain and I promise it won’t be all about pregnancy. I’ll continue to share my favorite things, what I am learning, stories and such. Bump or no bump, I am still me and here to walk these roads of life with you. :)
A gigantic thank you to each and every one of you who left comments, sent emails, and reached out to celebrate with us. We are beyond grateful for the love and support and pray each day that our story gives you HOPE that miracles do happen! God is good!