32 Week Appointment and Growth Scan

I didn’t write a second trimester update, as I actually felt fantastic. My energy took a while to come back after the first trimester, and it never hit “pre pregnancy baseline,” but all the other symptoms of the first trimester faded away. I got to experience life as a “normal” person, with a normal body, having a normal pregnancy. Honestly, I haven’t felt that healthy in years!

At 23 weeks, we got to have our anatomy scan, which is an hour long ultrasound where they check out every part of baby to make sure everything is growing and forming as it should. Bee is totally perfect! During the anatomy scan, we noticed the umbilical cord was inserting in the side of the placenta instead of in the middle, so I was scheduled to come back at 32 weeks for a growth scan. Sometimes, when the cord inserts in the side, it can get kinked or compressed and inhibit baby’s growth, so we wanted to make sure Bee stayed on track.

Profile picture from the anatomy scan!
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Chronic Illness Pregnancy: First Trimester

After three years, three months, and eight days of waiting, hoping, and praying… WE GOT OUR FIRST POSITIVE PREGNANCY TEST! Somehow, in all that time, we’d never gotten a positive. To learn more about what it took us to get to this point, check out the “Infertility” category on my blog, and read my previous post about our InvoCell/IUI cycle. While we were obviously quite happy, infertility robs you of the blissful ignorance many first time parents get to enjoy at the beginning of their pregnancy. Even if you haven’t ever personally experienced loss, you become acutely aware of when and how everything can go horribly wrong. Infertility is also extremely traumatic, and that trauma can cause you to subconsciously protect yourself by disconnecting you from the experience.

This post has taken me quite a while to write, because I was extremely dissociated from my pregnancy until very recently (I am 22 weeks pregnant while writing this). It felt like I was watching a very detailed vlog of someone else’s pregnancy, not that everything was happening to me. It’s a very weird thing to explain, but the people who have had the misfortune of dealing with infertility all have seemed to understand exactly what I’m talking about. It’s like a constant “when is this all going to go wrong” sensation, mixed with a lucid dream.

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InvoCell, IUI #7, and Results

Last time I wrote, we were just about to start InvoCell. As is usual for life, especially mine, things didn’t go quite as we planned, so let’s get caught up.

In “InvoCell Full Steam Ahead,” I talk in more detail about the tests that were required before we moved on to the actual InvoCell process, and the results of those tests. I’ll do a brief overview again, as a refresher, but please read the previous post for the details! Since we were at a new clinic for InvoCell (only one clinic in Colorado does the procedure), and since it had been almost a year since we’d last done any treatments, we had to do a bunch of testing before starting the stimulation medications. It was a little frustrating, but after we got the results, I was very grateful to have done them!

Waiting to have my SIS & TET performed
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InvoCell: Full Steam Ahead

When things happen in the infertility world, they tend to happen all at once or very slowly, with almost no in-between at all. Right now, we’re in the “happen all at once” area, after a whole lot of “nothing going on.” All the way back in November 2019, we stopped treatments due to other health issues deciding they needed priority. We never did figure out what those other health issues were caused by, but they resolved themselves enough that I could live life again. In July 2020, we decided we were ready to move forward with fertility treatments, and had decided to pursue InvoCell. Unfortunately, InvoCell required us to leave the clinic we absolutely love for a different clinic in Colorado.

Graphic showing InvoCell culture device and retention device.
InvoCell Device, from InvoCell’s Website

We had our initial consult with the new clinic on August 5th. Initial impressions weren’t fantastic, but I understand the doctor’s personality better now and while she’s not warm and fuzzy, she’s nice and understanding and knowledgeable. They’re our only option for InvoCell in the state of Colorado, and I trust them to do it!

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Infertility in 2020 and Next Steps

I haven’t written about infertility, in detail, on my blog since I did my “catch up” posts in February 2019 (one, two, three). I did do a quick summary of 2019 in these two posts (one, two), which includes a quick rundown of when we did what in regards to infertility, as well as what else happened in our life that year.

In 2019, we started fertility treatments with a clinic we really love. It’s a small, two doctor clinic, and it feels very welcoming and loving. Based on all of the tests, I should have conceived with the IUIs (intrauterine insemination, or artificial insemination), so we’re not sure why I have been unable to get pregnant. In 2019, we tried for 9 cycles. Those nine cycles included: three rounds of Clomid with two IUIs, three rounds of letrozole with three IUIs, two cycles cancelled before medication due to “functional cysts,” and one non-medicated cycle trying. Before 2019, we had done two unmonitored cycles with Clomid, an unmedicated IUI, and a cycle with progesterone after ovulation only. We started trying to conceive in July 2017, and I started preparing my body in 2016. It’s been a long road, and it’s not over yet.

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The Surreal Reality of Everyone Living Like You

The world is weird right now. Rightly so. There’s never been anything like this. The world has shut down.

Everyone seems to be getting serious cabin fever due to the lockdowns, the shelter-in-place orders, the social distancing. Initially, I was confused by this. Then it hit me: everyone lives a dramatically different life than I do.

October 11, 2017: Lizz in a blue Vogmask
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Safe, DIY Hand Sanitizer

I’ve been seeing a lot of DIY hand sanitizer recipes lately, thanks to the novel coronavirus (covid-19). Unfortunately, a lot of the DIY recipes leave you with a product that is less than the CDC recommended 60% alcohol. I want to share why and how that happens, and give you a basic recipe to make your own hand sanitizer that follows the CDC guidelines.

First, it’s important to understand what your bottle of rubbing alcohol is: a bottle of 100% isopropyl alcohol and water. “Wait, my bottle says 70% rubbing alcohol!” I assure you, it’s still 100% alcohol mixed with water. Imagine an empty bottle, now put pure (100%) alcohol into the bottle, but only fill it halfway. Now fill the bottle the rest of the way with distilled water. You now have 50% rubbing alcohol because the solution (two or more things mixed together is a solution) is made up of 50% isopropyl alcohol and 50% water.

Red is 100% isopropyl alchol, blue is water, purple is 50% rubbing alcohol.
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Gluten Free Piña Colada Muffins

When Dan and I moved in to our first apartment, I raided my mom’s recipe box. There were a lot of recipes I’d never seen before, and hadn’t been made in at least 21 years. One of the long-forgotten recipes was for these piña colada muffins! They quickly became a staple in our house, but we didn’t know about my gluten sensitivity. When we discovered I was gluten sensitive, these (and many other recipes) got filed away for “later.”

Then, just the other day, I decided I wanted to give them a try! Several recipes I’ve converted to gluten free taste like the gluten free flour, and I was hoping these particular muffins might have enough flavor to disguise it. They do! These muffins have the exact taste and texture we remember, but none of the gluten! Now, on to the recipe!

These muffins are packed full of flavor and have an excellent texture: not soggy and not too dry!
Click Here for Recipe!

Let’s Catch Up: 2019 Review, part two

My first 2019 review got longer than anticipated, so I divided the year in half. Be sure to check out the first half of 2019 in this post.

Both summaries include links to my Instagram posts (where I’ve remained active) for further details, when they’re available. A few items, especially in part one, also include links to blog posts. All links below are to my own material.

Now, without further ado, let’s get to the summary! This post starts with July 2019:

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Let’s Catch Up: 2019 Review, part one

April 2019 was the last time I was consistent on my blog, and a lot has happened since then. I got burned out and overwhelmed, so I needed to take a break from blogging. My life has continued to burn me out and overwhelm me, but from a blogging perspective I’m feeling more like myself again!

To help catch everyone up on life’s happenings, I wanted to do a summary of 2019. No matter how “quick” I try to make these, they always end up long. This post will be January through June, and part two will be up next week. These summaries will include links to my Instagram posts (where I’ve remained active) for further details, when they’re available. A few items, especially earlier in 2019, will also include links to blog posts. All links in this article are to my own material.

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