Our Pregnancy Journey!
Well, its been a while since I last posted anything on here, but if you have been following along with me on any of my social media accounts you’ve probably seen that we are expecting a baby!!! Which is the main reason I have been a little MIA on all platforms lately. We are so over the moon about this news and keep asking each other if we are living in a dream because it still doesn’t feel real!
Since finding out that we are pregnant, I quickly began to feel not too fantastic and really suffered through most of my first trimester and the beginning of my second with extreme nausea. Food became extremely unappealing and uninspiring, which made it really hard to get through the day eating anything other than toast, not to mention create any new recipes or want to interact much with anyone on social media. We are now at 37(!) weeks, and I am happy to say that I have had a pretty easy third trimester. Some aches and pains but no nausea which I am so incredibly grateful for! My intention has been to eventually share as much of our pregnancy journey as I can with all of you, because it really has been that…a journey. One piece of my story that I have yet to really share since beginning Nutritiously Natalie is that of fertility. Kyle and I both feel extremely blessed to be growing this little human of ours right now and haven’t taken one moment of it for granted, because we are well aware that it may have never been our reality.
I will never forget the moment that doctors told me there was a big chance that I would not be able to have children. It was right after they told me that I would be losing all of my hair, which seemed incredibly insignificant after this next fact was brought to my attention. I had just been diagnosed with leukemia a day or so before when we were told that there would be no time for freezing my eggs. I was too sick and needed to begin chemotherapy treatment ASAP. Those first few days in the hospital were hazy and I honestly don’t remember much. I do remember that moment, though, and looking to my husband, then back at the doctors and saying that as long as I could grow old with Kyle, that was all that mattered to me. I knew that we would figure out the rest when the time came, but I needed to get myself healthy again.
So I began my five-month long treatment, and I tried to keep the reality of possibly never being able to have my own biological child in the far back of my mind. I think the thing that bothered me the most about it was not being able to give a baby to Kyle. I felt so much guilt that I was taking that from him. That it was my fault for getting sick somehow. We were only newlyweds at the time of my diagnoses so the dream of having a child was what we felt would be one of our “next steps,” and I struggled with this a lot during that time and for years following. But Kyle was always there to remind me that we would be parents one day, somehow, and that he would be happy with whatever way children entered into our lives.
For a long time after my treatment was over, I battled (and still sometimes do) with anxiety over my life-changing trauma. The thought of trying to become pregnant, let alone actually caring for a child, was way too much for me. Some days I felt more ready than others, but when we began to get constant pressure about when we would start a family of our own, I knew that I still was truly not physically or mentally ready. I also still did not know at this point if I would even be able to conceive after undergoing so many intense rounds of chemotherapy. It wasn’t until I reached almost three years of being cancer-free that I finally felt ready to at least try.
Another piece of the puzzle that I haven’t talked about, is that during my treatment my cycle got extremely messed up and I was placed on two(!) birth control pills per day when I was in the hospital to prevent me from having a period. After my treatment was over, I went back to taking one pill per day but was hesitant to go off of the hormone, so I continued to take it for those first three years. (I need to stress here that I know personally how terrible hormonal birth control can be. I also know personally that you can create the same hormonal balance with proper food and lifestyle choices.) I made the decision at the time to stay on the pill strictly out of fear. Fear that I would get pregnant, fear that because it worked well with my treatment I would need to stay on it to stay healthy. This all plays into the anxiety I was struggling with over things that I shared with only very few people in my life. After going off of the pill, it took me exactly eight months to get my period back. For a while, I thought maybe it was never going to come back. That chemo had taken it from me. We did all of sorts of tests and my doctors kept assuring me that I needed to give it more time, but I was starting to get nervous.
During this period (or lack thereof), I also read the book Woman Code by Alisa Vitti and began supplementing with the herb Vitex, and adding Red Maca Powder to my morning smoothies (I will do another post on this in the future because I think they made a HUGE difference in not only my period returning but also regulating my cycle once it had). After my period finally made its comeback, we did a little more testing (I can’t remember exactly what for) and I tried not to stress too much about why I had yet to become pregnant, and focus more on making sure my body was physically ready to carry a baby. I also gained about five pounds throughout this entire process which I truly believe was extremely important in regulating my cycle and eventually helping me to become pregnant. I tried doing my best to track my cycles and read my basal body temperature, but I was always left super confused and frustrated. It wasn’t until about six months after my period arrived that I ordered myself an Ava Fertility Bracelet.
If you have yet to hear about this technology based fertility tracking method and are looking to conceive (or even not to conceive), I truly believe that my Ava bracelet was worth every penny and was the main reason we got pregnant when we did. Ava tracks your sleeping patterns, physiological stress levels, skin temperature and resting pulse rate which helped me better understand my body and cycle, therefore, giving me the best chance at conceiving in the most natural, hormone-free way possible!
During the three months after ordering the Ava bracelet, Kyle and I began talking about adoption. We had talked about it very seriously in the past and knew that it was something we would absolutely do if we were unable to have our own biological children. We were so ready at this point to grow our family, and the constant pressure of trying to get pregnant for the past year and a half had started to get to me. The week before we found out that we are pregnant, I called a local adoption agency through our church and got their voicemail. The funny thing was, their mailbox was full so I couldn’t leave a message. And for some reason, I never called back.
Ok, now to finding out that we are going to have a baby! It was the week of July 4th, and one of my best friends was in town from California. We had a busy couple of days together exploring Montana, celebrating the Fourth, and hiking in Glacier National Park. I realized at some point that I was a few days late, however, that had been my norm the last couple months so I didn’t give it much thought. The only thing that was different this time was that I had this weird pulling or stretching sensation(?) that wasn’t exactly a cramp, but also was unlike anything else I had felt before either. I decided I would wait to investigate until after Sofia left. That Friday night, I drove her to the airport and eventually met up with Kyle and a few friends at a local brewery. I decided a beer sounded appetizing (which isn’t exactly my thing) and drank about a quarter of what was in my glass before realizing that I all of a sudden did not feel so great. I then turned to my girlfriend and told her so, and she responded with “Are you pregnant?”
The next morning, Kyle left the house before I even got out of bed to go on an incredibly long and intense hike in the park which meant he would be out of cell service for the entire day (talk about timing!). As soon as I woke up, I bolted to the bathroom and grabbed an unwrapped pregnancy test (I had taken plenty of these at this point, all with negative results) and anxiously waited to see how many lines would appear in the window. With almost complete certainty that I would yield the same negative results as I had in the past, I picked up that test and could not believe my eyes when a faint second line appeared next to the one that I was so used to seeing on its own. OH MY GOSH. I must have said this one thousand times out loud. To myself, to God, to Killa. I can’t even put into words the feeling I felt when I saw not one, but TWO lines appear on that stick for the very first time.
I kept this news to myself and somehow played it cool enough to meet my dad for breakfast. Later that day, I went to the store to buy more pregnancy tests just to make absolutely sure I really was pregnant, and after taking a total of 7 (lol) positive tests, I began counting down the minutes for Kyle to get home so I could share our dream-come-true news. I decided I would hide the tests in the top drawer of his bathroom vanity, because I knew the first thing he would do when he got home was take a shower and at some point open that drawer. I waited just outside the door and when I knew he was about to open it, I popped my head in so I could see his face. I get teary-eyed thinking about Kyle’s reaction. We have been together since we are so young, and have had to endure so many challenges that most young couples never have to face. But this was one of those moments that felt like life was making up to us for all of it. It is a moment that will forever be ingrained in my mind.
I still can’t believe that we are just weeks away from baby’s arrival! Time felt like it was moving slow at first (especially those first couple months where each day began and ended with me getting sick), and now it feels like it won’t slow down. I will try to get a couple more blog posts done before baby comes to share things like my pregnancy cravings, the foods I have and haven’t been eating, the supplements I am taking, my prenatal skincare routine, and which birthing method we are planning on following. Oh and we aren’t finding out what we are having for those of you wondering if you missed that part. We have always said that we would want to wait, and are so excited to still have that ultimate surprise to look forward to!
Well, that was a long one! If you are still reading this, thank you. It took me a while to get the words down, but I really wanted to share this piece of our story with all of you. And if you are currently on your own pregnancy journey, I pray that this post gives you the little piece of hope that maybe you were looking for to keep going.