Thursday, November 8, 2012

It's True.. I'M PREGNANT!!!!

After trying for quite some time, Alki and I are happy to say we are PREGNANT!!
Jennifer Stano, 7 weeks pregnant here

This Is Our Journey.

When Alki and I got engaged in 2009 we didn't use anything to protect against getting pregnant. We were both in love and happy and knew that if it happened it was meant to be, basically leaving it in  God and a higher powers hands. Really, Alki wanted to have a baby since the day we first met, but I am more traditional in that sense and like the stages in life. I wanted to be engaged and then get married and then look forward to starting a family, I've always been that way, so after our wedding in May 2011 we have been trying to conceive. No, I wasn't watching my watch and running to the bedroom to bang like a crazy woman, but I did download an app on my iPhone that helped me keep track of when my menstrual cycle would begin and end and about when I would start to ovulate. We tried that for over  a year and then when nothing happened, not even a close call in our 3.5 years together, we started to wonder if something was wrong. I told myself I would wait till I was 28 years old ( which will be Feb 2013 ) to go to a Dr and start the process of finding out what the "problem" was, but when I found out my close friend and co-worker Jill, (some of you may know her from Have Faith Swimgerie) was pregnant it really put some fire under my ass to see "why not me". I always left me getting pregnant to God and a higher power, believing it would happen when it was meant to happen, but if there is a problem, no matter how long you wait, you'll  never conceive...
The love of my life.

Alki and I were out to dinner  that week discussing how exciting it was for Jill and Chris to be expecting a baby and out of nowhere Alki asked me  "so when are you going to go to the Dr ?" Just him asking me that made me really excited and nervous all at the same time knowing he was anxious to start a family.  The next day I called up Southern California Reproductive Center which is a fertility center down the street from our house and made an appointment with Dr. Mark Surrey. A few of my friends have gone to this center and were super happy, and now I was ready to see what was going on with me.



Alki and I went in and met with Dr. Surrey. He was super nice and explained everything to us. They immediately started to do blood tests on both Alki and I, an internal ultrasound and took measurements of god knows what inside...I think my Follicles. I happened to go in at the perfect time- Day 2 of my cycle, and they were able to monitor my cycle, my hormones and my levels and see how I "developed".  For those of you who don't know- day 1 in your cycle is the day you get your period, so I went to the Dr the day after and it was perfect timing because I didn't have to wait and entire month to get tests done.
Follicles that when big enough release an egg.

Picture of an Internal or Transvaginal ultrasound


After days and days in and out of the Dr's and being poked and pinched, they decided they wanted to book me in for a procedure called  Hysterosalpingogram aka HSG. HSG is an X-ray procedure performed to determine whether the fallopian tubes are open and to see if the shape of the uterine cavity is normal. HSG is an outpatient procedure done when your period has ended but before you start to ovulate. Doesn't sound so bad right ? Well, during this procedure the Dr has to put a cannula or catheter  into your cervix and then through that they push a liquid into your uterus and watch live on the X-ray machine to see if the "dye" gets stuck or flows freely through your fallopian tubes.


My room at SCRC

 My HSG Procedure Day- I was laying down in the room by myself as you would for a regular pap, the Dr came in, got me ready and then started to push the catheter into my cervix when all I hear him say is "it won't go in, its getting stuck". Now, the feeling is like a severe cramp in your uterus and hearing him say "it won't go in" freaked me out so much that the room began to get dark, I started to get hot, and all I remember saying to him and the nurse was " IM GOING TO PASS OUT"!
BOOM! Out for the count, butt ass naked, spread eagle , laying down with a catheter stuck in my cervix. Done!
I wake up to the nurse holding smelling salts in my face and an open door or nurses peeking in to see if everything was ok and the Dr holding my legs straight up in the air to force blood to my head.
Who passes out laying down anyway LOL.
I was sweating my ass off and completely forgot where I was. When I came to my senses I apologized and asked if the catheter was still in my cervix, the Dr said "yes", so I told him to proceed and that I was fine.
LOL I swear this happened, you can't make this shit up.
So finally I feel the dye going in, it gave me a slight cramp but at this point nothing I couldn't handle, and I watched the monitor along with my Dr and nurse. As the dye traveled through  he explained what was going on. I saw the dye go through one side, then the other but then on one side it began to gather once it left my fallopian tube.  Then he explains how my uterus looked a bit "abnormal" by the looks of this test and explained how I will have to get an MRI at a different facility to get a clear view of my uterus and its shape.
Mine looked more like a heart when it should look like a triangle to give you a visual.

A picture from an Xray machine showing the dye in the Uterus and spilling out of the Fallopian tubes.

Me, before I passed out. See the X-ray machine above my belly..

Breakfast the next day. Basically what my Uterus looked like... A Heart <3

So that Saturday Alki took me to a place near the house where they performed my MRI. This is a 30 minute procedure where an IV was put in my arm and in the last portion of the MRI contrast dye was pushed into my body so they can get a clear view of my uterus and its shape to see if there are any problems. The MRI didn't bother me even though it was SO loud. Alki was in the room and actually fell asleep lol. Having the IV in my arm for 30 minutes and having to hold it straight above my head  the entire time was horrible however. Not to mention when they started to push the dye through the IV into my arm, OMG, it felt like a stream of water down my arm like a running faucet. It was the grossest feeling ever BUT,  the results came back just fine and we were onto the next stage of our journey.
Picture of the MRI machine I was in for 30 minutes.

Now it was Alki's turn to get looked at. The first day we went to the Dr's Alki gave blood to check his levels which all came back fine, but now it was time to test the baby makers!!! So , off Alki went all on his own to the Dr's to give a semen sample for a semen analysis. I totally thought he was the one that was going to be  "the problem" because he is a vegetarian and I have read that soy can decrease your sperm count by millions (which is not proven btw), BUT funny enough, all of his tests came back perfect :( which meant the "problem" was me.


Somewhere along the way the Dr prescribed me a pill called Clomid  which I took for 5 days. "Clomiphene aka Clomid  is used to induce ovulation (egg production) in women who do not produce ova (eggs) but wish to become pregnant (infertility). Clomiphene is in a class of medications called ovulatory stimulants. It works similarly to estrogen, a female hormone that causes eggs to develop in the ovaries and be released." Later on in my cycle for 3 days I had a shot injected into my stomach called Bravelle. "Bravelle is used to stimulate egg maturation, and for multiple follicular development in women who are able to produce and release eggs (ovulate)."  They couldn't diagnose me with anything as this was my first month and cycle going to them, however, every time I went in to the Dr's and they did an internal ultrasound they would measure my follicles which once mature would release an egg... and apparently I was slow at maturing. Maybe it's because I workout so much and produce more testosterone than estrogen .. Who knows. All I do know is my menstrual cycle was every 35-40 days instead of the normal 28 days which can come from being underweight or exercising a lot. This may or may not have played a part in me having trouble conceiving.
Clomid tablets I was on for 5 days.

The Bravelle shot I had injected for 3 consecutive days.

Now since Alki's results came back good, and I was responding great to the medicine they gave me to help me mature and develop normally, they gave us a task- we had to " have relations" as they said and then within an hr I had to make my way to the Dr's where they would swab the inside of my "area" and see under a microscope if the sperm can swim freely through me. Basically making sure we can conceive naturally without having to do artificial insemination. We found out  we could conceive naturally so now it was all game.
Dr. Surrey suggested doing artificial insemination to ensure a better result but Alki and I talked it over and felt that it seemed a little "desperate" for us. This was our first month going to the Fertility Center and we really just wanted to diagnose the problem, not actually force a pregnancy. So we chose to give it a try the old natural way and see how it goes.

They gave me one last shot in the stomach called HCG. "HCG helps in the follicle maturation process and triggers the release of mature eggs from the follicles. Generally you will be given a medication to induce ovulation prior to taking the trigger shot. Medications like Clomid or HMG will help your ovaries to develop follicles for ovulation. The HCG trigger shot will then assist in the final maturation process and ensure that the mature eggs are released from your follicles."  I know this sounds like so much but really they just helped me with what would naturally happen in a normal ovulating  and developing woman.
I think the is the first stage for most woman experiencing problems conceiving. You start here and the last stage if no success I believe would be IVF- In Vitro Fertilization.

The family that does the kissy face together, stays together ;) LOL

Alki and I then "practiced" naturally for the next few days as we normally would since I was for sure ovulating. Sperm can live in your body for approximately 4 to 5 days, and the egg can live for 24 to 48 hours after being released. You are most fertile on the day before and the day of ovulation and so far we had a good chance of conceiving!! It was an exciting and nervous feeling thinking that "this could be it". The Dr's told us to test in 2 weeks from the day I got the HCG shot and then if I did not conceive they would start the process over and be able to monitor to see whats not happening properly.  Its really crazy how many things need to go just right for you to conceive. It makes you think about all those 16 and pregnant girls getting preggers left and right and then the tons of grown and married woman having trouble trying to start a family. Go figure.
This could be it!
So the Sunday before I was suppose to take a home pregnancy test I woke up with a full bladder and said, "let me just take a test and see." I got out of bed, made my way to the bathroom, grabbed a First Response test and did my thing. I placed it down on the counter kinda thinking it would be like every other time I thought I was pregnant and saw the negative line- but NO, this time there were 2 lines. One of them was SUPER light but  definitely there!!! I ran out of the bathroom sliding across the floor and slamming into the wall and yelled to alki who was still in bed " OMG I THINK IM PREGNANT" !!!! Alki jumped out of bed, grabbed his glasses and took the test out of my hand. At this point I was shaking with excitement. He held it up to the light and hearing him confirm there was 2 lines was the best thing I ever heard. Some of you may understand what that feels like. Not being able to start a family and just wishing, and fantasizing of the day you get a positive sign on a test. Well, my moment came and it was one I'll never forget. I immediately called my mom who was on vacation in Italy and told her very calmly that " I took a test and there was 2 lines and I think I may be pregnant". I know she wanted to scream with excitement but she stayed calm, having gone through trouble getting pregnant with me, she knew how sometimes these tests could be wrong and how devastated I would be if I really wasn't pregnant. She told me to get a blood test at the Doctors to confirm .  So I called up Dr. Surrey's office which is open 7 days a week, yes even on Sundays and they told me to come right in. Alki and I were so excited we "had relations" to celebrate LOL, got dressed and headed to the Dr's. They again did an internal ultrasound, said everything looked good so far and then took my blood and told me I would get the results the next day, I was so so excited. The Dr told me he though this process would be easy for me because I was young, in shape, healthy, I don't drink, I don't smoke...
I kept my fingers crossed it was true.
My actually test. The First Home pregnancy Test I took that came up POSITIVE!!! 
After we finished at The Reproductive Center (SCRC) Alki and I went to the Beverly Hills hotel for our regular Sunday Morning breakfast. I downed so many glasses of water so I could take more tests later on when I got home. I had previously purchased 6 different tests just waiting for this moment. As soon as we got home I ran to the bathroom- peed into a disposable coffee cup and stuck 4 tests into it all at once. I wanted to make SURE this was for real.. Ive heard of false negatives, but false positives??? I don't think thats even possible.  Sure enough every single test came up POSITIVE!!!!
My tests that I took later that day confirming I was PREGNANT!!!! SO EXCITED

The next day I anxiously awaited the phone call from Dr. Surrey to confirm I was pregnant. I was in the car taking my girl friend Katherine to a Dr check up for her fresh boob job when my phone went off.
" Hi Jennifer, this is so and so at SCRC and we just wanted to let you know we got a strong positive on your pregnancy test so you are indeed pregnant, and we want to start you on prenatal vitamins right away ".... The best news of my life.

These are the CitraNatal Assure Prenatal Vitamins I take every night.

I always told myself I was going to wait to buy the  'What to Expect When Expecting' book for when I found out I was pregnant, and the day Dr. Surrey confirmed I was, Alki took me to the book shop in Beverly Hills and bought me my first pregnancy book.  Ive been reading it everyday and it has really taught me so much.
What to Expect When Expecting... I couldn't wait for this moment.





My First Signs
The first signs of pregnancy for me was extreme tiredness, all I wanted to do was sleep. My nipples were super sensitive, and my skin started to break out like never before.  I also started to feel a difference in my lower abdomen while doing regular ab exercises I would normally do. I remember working out my with trainer Lauren Kern and telling her " something just doesn't feel right, can we do a different exercise". I didn't think I would feel or see changes as fast as I did- but I am VERY in tune with my body. I also noticed I was sweating at the gym a lot more and getting really hot at night while I was sleeping.
First signs of being pregnant- My skin got much worse than this


So, now I am 2 months pregnant. I know I know, your " not suppose" to tell people you're preggers till the 2nd trimester (12 weeks) because its still high risk that something could go wrong, but the truth is- you can go full term and deliver a still born baby. Alki and I are so excited and I really wanted to share the experience with you. Far more pregnancies go through than miscarry and if it happened, something was not right and it was meant to happen.  I go weekly for blood work and ultrasounds and everything is "excellent" according to my Dr. Im young, Im healthy and I know I'll be just fine.
Me at 6 weeks. Call it whatever you want, but its baby related, so to me its my BABY BUMP!


Currently
2 months preggers and I'm already feeling and seeing the changes in my body for weeks now. I'm feeling extremely tired. My boobs have been swollen for weeks already and have gotten bigger which scares me because I've  had so many complications with my implants and the center of my cleavage lifting away from my breastbone, aka Symmastia. But , I'm staying positive and wearing wireless bras which are way more comfortable yet supportive. I also bought a medical bra called The Thong Bra which help hold down the center of your cleavage and also supports your breast. I also have had cold like symptoms and have been sneezing for the past 3 weeks. I have read this is also a symptom of pregnancy. I get Hot and Cold flashes all throughout the day. I have what they call "pregnancy brain" , like Bridal Brain, where you're forgetful. I'm sure there is more lol.
My boobs are growing so fast and so sore its already starting to create a problem with the center of my cleavage. This is why I had repeated breast augs- was to fix the Symmastia. After I'm done breast feeding I will probably have to have another breast aug to fix the problem and I am also going to downsize my implant size. I want more children and I do not want to go through this every time. Plus, Im over the whole "bigger is always better", that applies to certain things only ;)
www.thongbra.com
NOT ME. This is what the thongbra looks like.

I know it doesn't look like much, But there is a clear difference from my mid-section before being pregnant and now.
Sure I'm bloated but my Uterus is also the size of my fist at this point. My jeans are all tight around my ass and stomach and I have been living in leggings. These are all common feelings and symptoms during your first trimester...So much is changing so fast.
How Has Being Pregnant Changed My Life So Far.
Being pregnant has changed a lot in my life so far. I can't eat sushi which I LOVE, and I already don't eat meat- so I find myself struggling to find yummy protein foods. I also mentally am not used to eating as much as I should. My BMI is already underweight , and Im used to eating clean and working out 5 days a week. Just weeks ago I was down to 111 lbs and at 5'6 size 00 in jeans, thats pretty tiny. So getting myself to eat pasta, pizza, rice, cheese, bread- everything Im not use to eating has been a challenge but Im doing it all in moderation and know its for the good of my baby.
Me, just a few weeks before we started the whole baby process.

A Whole New World

I was told by a lady in Wholefoods that your body absorbs 65% of what you put in it... That made me really think about everything I was using, my shampoo, my condition, my lotion, nose spray, eye drops, tooth paste, lotion, perfume.... I went completely natural. I've taken all of the products I used on my face, hair and body, put it in a box and put it under my sink. I went to whole foods and bought all new organic and clean products. My motto is- if you're not sure, don't use it. Even my morning teas that I used to drink say "consult a Dr before drinking", or not to drink at all. So when in doubt, Im avoiding it.  I have even taken time off from the gym. Even though my trainer Lauren Kern is certified to train pregnant woman, I just feel better waiting till I'm a little further along. I know this may be extreme but I have waited so long to start a family with Alki and this makes me feel good and at peace.

I keep Saltine crackers next to my bed because I have been suffering with insomnia for some reason. I read that its a symptom of pregnancy and some people suffer from it while others don't, but like clockwork every night 3am I am wide awake and starving. So I grab a few crackers, down some water and try to go back to sleep. I have also been drink warm/hot Milk right before I go to bed. Its helps me relax and sort of helps me sleep better. I also wake up every few hours to pee which is something every pregnant woman will complain about lol. 

I went to the store, A Pea in a Pod,  and bought these lotions and oils for my boobs and belly so I don't get stretch marks. Everyone on instagram and all of my friends who have had babies told me to start right away so your body absorbs the lotions and oils and will help it stretch and prevent stretch marks. So I have my morning and nightly regimen and I love that. I also bought a body pillow because I normally sleep with pillows in-between in legs anyway because my knees are bony and this one was 30% off at Pea in a Pod ! Alki tried it one night and loved it so I went out and bought him one as well and now we both sleep with pregnancy body pillows LOL.

I haven't done my nails since I found out I was pregnant either. I had to peel off my gel manicure because I didn't want to sit with acid tone to take them off and I haven't applied any tanning lotions to my skin. I may start to do regular manicures once I'm in my second trimester, but I am going to look for nail polish with less harsh chemicals.

Natural Products I'm Using Now
Juice Beauty from Whole Foods

All from Whole Foods. Toms tooth paste, Desert Essence mouthwash and new tooth brush.

Honey Girl Facial Cleanser- all natural ingredients from Whole Foods.


Witch Hazel from Riteaid

Juice Beaty moisturizer and Herbal Aloe Force, The Skin Gel from Whole Foods.

All natural eye drops and nose spray from Whole Foods


Juice Beauty, Green Apple Peel face mask

All natural body lotion by John Masters Body care from Whole Foods

Mama Mio Boob Tube and Tummy Rub from Pea in a Pod.

Egyptian Magic from Whole Foods.

Cocoa Butter soap, from a friend. 

No more gels for me, Jason Tea Tree Nail Saver to help keep my nails strong, from Whole Foods.

All natural Crystal Essence Mineral Deodorant Ive been using for months from Whole Foods.

Argan Oil I bought at Riteaid, is amazing in your hair!!! I apply a quarter size amount to damp hair and then blow dry.

Mane N' Tail, Hair Strengthener- I spray only on the ends and it helps keep them strong as Im trying to grow my hair out.

All Natural Shampoo and conditioner, Ive been using for months and LOVE it, the best I have ever used.
Jason Volumizing Lavender from Whole Foods.

After I wash with soap I always use a body wash.
Lemongrass Body wash and John Masters Body wash.
Cocoa Butter Formula and Bio-Oil for my belly and body.


This coming Wednesday I go back to SCRC to see Dr. Surrey for my 9 week Ultrasound and I cannot wait to see and hear the baby's heart beat. Dr. Surrey told me "next week is a big week" and Im super excited to see how the baby is doing and how much it has grown from 2 weeks ago.

It makes me really excited and happy on a different level seeing how excited Alki is about being pregnant. He gets into bed and rubs my belly and tells me how its a miracle and how this is "our baby". He's so gentle, emotional and excited, its a side of him that reminds me why we fell in love and being able to share this gift with the man that I love, and having it be 50 me 50 him is one of the most amazing feelings in the world. I am truly so grateful for this blessing.



What Baby Names Do We Have Picked Out.
I'm looking forward to finding out what the baby is and we already have the names all picked out. I think the Doctors can tell as early as 13 weeks but can't confirm till 15 or 16 weeks I believe. I will definitely be finding out and it will be right around Christmas time :) What a great present!

I have always LOVED names that end is vowels, especially A's.
If the baby is a girl- which I hope it is because my husband already has 2 boys and I think it would be so special for him to have a little girl- her name will be Gianna and we will call her Gia for short, very Italian I know ;)

If the baby is a boy it will be named- Nikolas after my father and his middle name will be Alkiviades after Alki, and we will call him Niko for short. Greek :)

Of course we just want a happy and healthy baby at the end of the day but its still fun to think and dream about your baby :)

Alki and I have decided to have the baby in London so it will have dual citizenship. We have decided to move to London for the year starting December of this year for multiple reasons, so being pregnant now actually worked out perfect! We already have a house there and will split out time between London, Switzerland and Greece after the baby is born. Im looking forward to having a break from LA and being able to bond better with Alki's side of the family, including his boys who live in London with their mother. They are so excited to have another sibling on the way and it's important to me for them to be and feel involved. We are keeping our house and cars and everything here in California and will be back next year.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Its very personal but we are very excited and I will try to do weekly updates with pictures and news. Any advice Moms or Mommies to be can share with me is greatly appreciated.

Next week Ill do an update with a new Ultrasound pic and compare the past few weeks :)
xoxo
Jennifer

PS- someone made a comment about my quote where I say "Future Milf" and criticizing me for calling myself that. To me, its not a bad thing. Just because I will be a mom does not mean I will not be sexy, desirable, or let myself go. If you don't consider yourself a Milf, thats fine. But I am a future Milf and look forward to the day where I can officially say I AM A MILF!!!!!!!!!!! Ill even sport the T-shirt. Stop taking yourself and life so seriously,Smile and have a little fun!

A little baby bump poking through :)

Having A Little Fun
Me trying the ring test 

Like I said above, My good friend and employee at Have Faith Swimgerie , Jill, is also pregnant. She is 2 months ahead of me and we are so excited to be pregnant together. She has had a rough 4 months with morning sickness so I went to visit her a few times in Orange County. We decided to try this old wives method of predicting the gender of your baby, the " Ring Test " pictured above. Its just fun trying all these different things and having fun with it. We will see in a few more weeks what Im having.  Link to the ring test - Ring Test Forum , How To !