Did your jaw just drop with that blog post title? Yep, ours too! I am officially 17 weeks pregnant and we’re expecting our second child this October.
I know what you’re thinking…”What? When? How?” We have lots to catch up on, so let’s get to the goods.
Let’s Back Up…
As most of you know, our journey to welcome Rory into our lives was quite the process, with three hard years of IVF and fertility treatments. Finn and I experienced a devastating miscarriage, as well as two more chemical pregnancies throughout that time period. I actually documented our entire IVF and infertility journey through video and it really gives you a good behind-the-scenes look at the daily struggles, constant pain, and emotional toll that this process puts on a couple. You can watch the video below or over on Youtube here.
But, as you know, it eventually worked out for us and we welcomed Rory into our lives in April of 2020! So every shot, every tear, and every moment spent waiting for her was absolutely worth it.
Our Original “Timeline” for Baby #2
Our doctors pretty much said that our chances of ever getting pregnant without assistance were slim to none. I have PCOS and I don’t ovulate naturally, plus I don’t get regular periods. Finn also has male factor infertility, which was why our reproductive endocrinologist pushed us to go straight to IVF.
Over those years of fertility treatments, we found that my body was able to get pregnant with the help of science, but it wasn’t able to stay pregnant on its own. Every time we put an embryo in, it would stick around for a while but eventually, my body would “fight” it and I would lose the baby. Finally, I sought the help of a reproductive immunologist, Dr. Kwak Kim, and with her protocol to tame my immune system and weekly monitoring throughout pregnancy, I was able to deliver a healthy baby!
While we always dreamed of expanding our family with more children, we have just felt so happy over the past year with Rory. We were so grateful to finally hold a baby in our arms and we never spent much time thinking about what came next and if we would welcome a second child any time soon.
We told each other that we would have the conversation of diving back into fertility treatments once Rory turned one. Then we could maybe head back to our doctors for workups and potentially do another IVF retrieval and transfer in the fall of 2021. It took us three years to have Rory, so we didn’t want to wait too long if it would take us years to have a second child.
What Really Happened
Last fall, I visited my OB for my annual checkup and she asked me what birth control we were using. I kinda laughed in her face and said it would take a miracle to ever get us pregnant the old-fashioned way. At that time, I probably had one normal period since giving birth to Rory and I certainly wasn’t getting one regularly.
Fast forward to February, and I just felt a little off. One Saturday morning, Finn brought Rory into bed with us for some morning snuggles and when I rolled over to cuddle her I felt a weird pain in my pelvis. It reminded me of the pains I had early on with my pregnancy with Rory, but I kinda shrugged it off. There was no possible way I could be pregnant.
Later that day, I was running errands and on a whim decided to buy a pregnancy test. I didn’t even buy one of the “nice” ones. Instead, I just got a cheap box of ovulation strips that had one pregnancy test and thought, “Well I’ll get this box, and then I can use the strips to see if I even ovulate.”
I got home and didn’t tell Finn about it because I thought it was silly and I didn’t want to get his hopes up for nothing. I took the pregnancy test, saw it was positive, and thought, “I must have done this wrong. There is no possible way I can be pregnant.”
I immediately called Finn up to our room and said hesitantly, “I might be pregnant, but I think I peed on the stick wrong.” He was shocked but had a big grin on his face. I told him to not get his hopes up and to go to the store and buy the most expensive pregnancy tests he could find. He returned with an arm full of tests; I drank lots of water; and test after test said the same words PREGNANT.
I can’t even tell you the shock that we experienced that weekend. I think we were in utter disbelief. How could this happen? We were excited but extremely cautious. Until I saw an actual baby on an ultrasound, I just couldn’t really believe that it was real.
I called both my OB and Dr. Kwak Kim first thing that Monday morning and they were able to get me in right away. We did an ultrasound and sure enough, there was a baby with a strong heartbeat looking back at me. I cried tears of joy. They said I was about six weeks along and everything was looking good so far.
This was back in February, and to be honest, we’re still pretty shocked that we were able to get pregnant without assistance!
Baby Finn #2 – Answering Questions
So there’s the story of how we found out…but I’m sure you still have lots of questions. Let’s dive into some of those…
When are you due?
My due date is October 16th. I’m about 17 weeks along right now.
Are you still on lots of meds and seeing the doctor?
Yes. Even though this is a natural pregnancy, I’m still at high-risk, due to my history. I’ve seen my reproductive immunologist, weekly, throughout this entire pregnancy and I will continue to do so until birth. As for meds, I’m on even more medications than I was with Rory. I have two shots a day (into my belly and butt…I’m one big purple bruise), a weekly shot into my arm, steroids, estrogen, thyroid meds, progesterone, and a whole cocktail of vitamins. We tweak my meds based on my weekly blood results and I’m hopeful that I can wean off some of them as my pregnancy progresses. However, I will be on blood thinners until six weeks postpartum, just as I was with Rory.
Is it a boy or a girl?
It’s a boy! I did blood work around 10 weeks and we found out it was a boy a few weeks later. We were, of course, thrilled with any news of a healthy baby and we can’t wait to meet our son.
How is Rory taking the news?
Ha, she has no idea what’s in store for her. Her favorite words are “baby” and “brother” and she is obsessed with her baby dolls, so there’s that. We show her the ultrasound pictures and point to my belly and she knows that those mean “baby.” As for much more than that, she is just a bit too young to really grasp the concept.
But we know that she is going to be the best big sister ever. I can’t wait to see her love on her little brother.
When did you tell your family & friends?
The day after I took the pregnancy test, I called my best friend, Bridget, because I was just bursting with the news and had to tell someone. Then, the moment I got home from my first ultrasound I immediately told my mom. (I took a video and will post it to Instagram stories at some point. She is just dumbfounded when we show her the ultrasound!) Over the course of the next few weeks, we told most of our family and really close friends.
Everyone’s reaction was the same…complete and utter shock. And we can’t blame them! We were shocked too. Everyone immediately followed up with “We didn’t know that you had started IVF again,” to which we would tell them it happened without assistance, and again…more shock! It’s been a whirlwind of a few months for our entire family, to say the least!
Has it been hard to keep this pregnancy a secret?
Yes, mostly because my stomach got big fast! I felt like I didn’t really show with Rory until around 20 weeks or so. But wow, this time my belly was loud and proud by 12 weeks. Our baby boy is measuring big and about a week ahead, so there’s that. But I also think you just show faster with second pregnancies. My body literally just did this a year ago, so it knew how to grow and expand right away!
I’ve been trying hard to hide my baby bump on Instagram stories (strategically placed pillows, text covering specific belly shots) and I’m happy that I no longer have to keep it a secret!
How are you feeling physically and emotionally?
Physically, I now feel great. I was lucky to have a pretty easy pregnancy with Rory and this one has followed suit. I was a bit tired during my first trimester and would try to sneak naps in whenever possible. It was sometimes hard to tell if I was tired because of the pregnancy or because I was running after a one-year-old. I also found that I didn’t have much motivation to work, which is very unlike me.
Emotionally, it’s been tough. I’m not gonna lie. When going through the infertility treatments, I was in a really dark and anxious place. The last year, being off meds and not seeing the doctor every week, was amazing! I felt like a normal person and I enjoyed every second of just being a normal mom to Rory. But suddenly, I was thrust back into this world of anxiety and fear over losing another baby and I didn’t have any time to mentally prepare myself. It’s gotten better as my pregnancy has progressed, however, there is still fear and anxiety lingering over me. I shared more about anxiety and pregnancy in this blog post.
Are you planning another babymoon?
Yes! We loved our babymoon to Palm Springs last year, but this time around we’re heading to Scottsdale, Arizona. This will be our first time without Rory and we’re looking forward to some time together to reconnect and relax. We’re both fully vaccinated, so we feel comfortable traveling, following the current CDC guidelines. I can’t wait to spend time at the pool drinking mocktails and taking naps!
How did you become pregnant without assistance?
We really do not know and my doctors don’t have any good answers either. Perhaps my body figured out what to do on its own since giving birth? Maybe we were less stressed since we weren’t trying and that helped? We really don’t have any good answers as to why it finally worked for us and we likely never will. But I do want you to read the next paragraph as I find it really important…
Please Read This: If you take anything away from this post, I want it to be this. When I was going through infertility treatments, I never ever found it helpful for someone to tell me the story of their cousin’s/friend’s/wife who miraculously got pregnant on her own after years of IVF. I know those stories are out there, and now I am living proof of them, but it was NOT HELPFUL while actively going through medical treatments. That is not the way to support someone going through fertility treatments. They are giving their mind, body, and soul to give the IUI or IVF process their all. Hearing a story about someone getting pregnant spontaneously is not supportive and I doubt it’s what they want to hear. So I know you may be tempted to use my story as encouragement or motivation for someone to spontaneously get pregnant or maybe not need IVF for their second child, but I don’t consider that to be a supportive move. Please keep this in mind as it can be really insensitive to the infertility warriors out there. And if you need more tips to help someone going through infertility, this post dives into what to say and what not to say, along with ideas to show you care.
What’s your maternity leave plan?
Rory came four weeks early and luckily, I had prepped my work ahead of time, so it wasn’t a big deal when I went into labor and had to suddenly leave my business unattended. I ended up taking about six weeks off from posting, but I probably got back to doing some computer work after four weeks or so. (I was jonesing for some mental stimulation!)
This time around, I’m going to put less pressure on myself to dive back in. The baby will be arriving during Q4 which is a big time for my business as many brands are looking to use up their marketing budgets for the fiscal year. So, that’s something I’ll keep in mind because it does impact my business. My guess is things will be quiet around here once I have the baby and on through the end of the year, and then I’ll be raring to go come January 2022! I do, however, still plan to produce a gift guide because it really is one of my favorite things for the holiday season. I can do tons of prep work ahead of time with my graphic designer so it will still launch in November.
How will you handle two under two?
Ha! Such a good question. We know it will be a lot, but we’re also so thrilled that we’ll have two kids so close in age. This isn’t something we thought was even possible for our family, so we’re so grateful that it’s going to be a reality for our kids. We’ll be leaning on our support network for help once our son arrives and we’re so lucky to have parents and siblings who are always eager to support us in any way. It takes a village!
To The Infertility Warriors Out There
And to my infertility warriors out there, I see you. I know what it’s like to read of someone’s pregnancy announcement and feel happy for them and sad for yourself all at the same time. I didn’t know if I would ever become a mom and I’m sure many of you are feeling the same way. This is a difficult journey and you’re a badass for taking one step forward every day. Keep fighting for that family you so desperately want. In one way or another, you will be a mom. And I totally understand if you need to stop following for a little bit. (No offense taken. I’ve certainly done it.) Focus on doing and reading things that lift you up!
I can’t tell you how excited I was to tell my blogging family about this big news. It’s felt weird keeping it from you all these months and I can finally feel a weight lifted off my shoulders, knowing that this community is in on our little secret! Thank you for supporting our little family all of these years. We are so honored to share our lives with you here and we look forward to giving you glimpses into life as a family of four.
To all the moms out there, have a wonderful Mother’s Day this weekend. I know I’ll be cuddling my Rory girl and daydreaming about our son. LOVE YOU GUYS!Casey
*All photos by the very talented @bridgetmatkovich