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IVF couple: Baby's heart beating on ultrasound is a glorious sight

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By Jessica Menkhausen

In September, as part of our #BornTODAY series, Jessica Menkhausen and Derek Manion, did an in vitro fertilization treatment live on TODAY. First Jessica had her eggs harvested at St. Luke’s Hospital in St. Louis, Mo. Following that, Manion’s sperm was injected into Menkhausen’s eggs in a petri dish and implanted into Menkhausen. In October, the couple shared the news that they are pregnant. Menkhausen is chronicling her pregnancy in TODAY Moms.

We are eight weeks into our pregnancy, and our latest, greatest news is that during our confirmation ultrasound, we got to see our baby’s glorious heart beating! Being able to actually see our little bundle of joy was an indescribably wonderful feeling.

Jessica Menkhausen and Derek ManionToday

The ultrasound was performed by Dr. Sherman Silber, director of the Infertility Center of St. Louis, who has been with us every step of the way through our IVF experience. Dr. Silber’s part is completed now that he has confirmed the pregnancy, and our next step is to make an appointment with an obstetrics and gynecology doctor.

When my fiancée, Derek Manion, and I began this journey, we were both really hoping for twins. We dreamed about the excitement of chasing around two babies. Derek is a soccer fanatic and wanted two little players on the field.  

We found out that only one egg was implanted into my uterus, so we only have one baby. A small part of me may have been disappointed for a quick second, but that was quickly replaced by the excitement of seeing our baby’s heartbeat. Friends and family have jokingly tried to console me by reminding me one baby means half the diaper expense, half the clothes expense, and half the formula expense. Either way, we feel truly blessed to have been fortunate enough to work with Dr. Silber and to finally be pregnant.

Jessica is two months pregnant.Today

Still in my first trimester, I have been feeling extremely tired, more exhausted than I’ve ever felt. For almost eight years now I have been used to a hectic 60-hour work week schedule, whether it was working full-time and going to school at night, or working full-time during the day and teaching part-time at night. I used to hate taking naps because I felt like I was wasting time, but now I look forward to my three to four naps every Saturday and Sunday. A friend of mine keeps telling me during the second trimester I will have a surge of energy. Not to doubt her, but I’ll believe it when I feel it.

My appetite has increased as well. If I do not eat every few hours I start to get headaches. I am sure I have gained weight, namely because all my clothes are fitting very snugly. However I have not been on a scale to confirm that. I think normal weight gain during a pregnancy is 30 to 35 pounds, but since this may be the only time I get to experience pregnancy, I am not going to worry myself about gaining too much.

I have not purchased any maternity clothes yet, but I will need to soon since I am down to two pairs of business slacks that still fit. According to my Baby Center pregnancy app, the baby is the size of a lima bean during week eight. However the size increase of my belly tells a different story. No matter, my stretchy elastic waist pajama pants still fit and they are the coziest anyway.