The Real Pregnancy 101

Well, I can’t hold out any longer. I’ve been dying to post, but I’ve held back for a few reasons, the strongest being that I felt like I should. Now, though, I want to talk about it, because I have questions, I have comments, and you online friends have always been a source of support.

It appears that I’m officially pregnant.

As you can see, I’m still having trouble…with those words. In fact, the entire first 24 hours after finding out “officially” after my first beta, I couldn’t even say the words, “I’m pregnant”. Instead, I smiled and gave a thumbs-up to my husband, and told my father on the phone, “I’ve officially been impregnated.” Who says that?? But even still, it’s hard for me to accept. Even when I got my BFP on a home pregnancy test last Thursday morning and every day after that, I didn’t actually believe it, and had to keep that little secret in totally. Then, when the call came in regarding my beta, I was alone in my house, cleaning the walls of dust (just had our floors redone and we were “moving back in”), I said thank you to the nice nurse, with little to no emotion in my voice, hung up the phone, and kept cleaning the walls. No crying, no screaming, no jumping for joy. I think it was denial. Luckily, my husband and family reacted appropriately, making up for my lack of a reaction. It’s not that I wasn’t excited or happy, but you just…get to this place with infertility, and I guess my emotions were all – dulled. And that moment was no different. It was hard to accept that I was deserving of this new thing – which sounds ridiculous. I think I was in a place where I was realizing I was going to have infertility issues for who knows how much longer.

preggo test

 

Beta #1 – 166

Beta #2 – 338

So, it’s doubled, and now I have to wait until Monday for the next test, with my first ultrasound not coming until after the new year, when I’m 7.5 weeks in.

But a disclaimer, before I continue. I’d say 90% of the bloggers I follow, you all either have kids now or are pregnant. And every time one of you became pregnant, you so kindly said something in your post about how hard you know it is for those of us who weren’t pregnant and how we didn’t need to keep reading your blog if we didn’t want to. And I appreciated those comments, though every time I understood. So I’m adding the same comment – I do understand the dreaded feeling of “ugh, there’s another one”. I get it. Like I said, I think I was one of the last of my little circle of bloggers so most of you have been there before me. But it doesn’t mean it doesn’t still hurt. And judging by the fact that I still am not running around, being that newly-pregnant hyper obnoxious person, I’d say I really do get it. I’m not sure what I’ll do with the blog regarding being pregnant, but as always, please don’t feel like you need to continue following my posts or anything like that. Just like everyone else, I do totally understand, because it’s not fair. And if you are my friend “in real life”, I’d be forever grateful if you’d keep it to yourself for a while and not share, until this really settles in and I feel more comfortable with it.

So everything at this point looks good. But I’m super nervous, unsure of the whole thing, and I have no idea what I’m doing. As I’ve said to a few people, I feel like – I got inducted into this secret club. Which is great, and I’m totally happy about it, but it’s just that I didn’t really think I’d get in, and I didn’t prepare myself, and now I’m the newbie trying to figure this all out and write my entry speech.

There’s this other thing on my brain too. As the days go by and I slowly allow myself to feel some happiness and excitement, I am realizing that in the last year and a half, I totally changed! Like I said, my emotions were dulled I think and I guess I’ve been walking around in a haze. And now that true happiness is starting to find its way to me again, I’m attempting to recall what I used to be like, and what I used to feel like. I didn’t realize until now how different I’ve become, and I do miss the old me. I think over the coming months I’ll start to go back to my old self, as long as everything progresses like it should.

Okay, now, one of the reasons I did want to tell my blog readers soon is because I already have questions. Nothing major, of course. But like, okay:

–         PIO shots have all of a sudden started to suck. They don’t hurt, but they are now causing those lumps under my skin, which now is turning into itchy hives. Just a giant hive on each side. Which, with my chronic autoimmune hive issue, I guess I’m not surprised, but still. Anyone else?

–         Dry freaking skin! No acne here – but everything itches. My legs, my back, my stomach (stupid glue leftovers from estrogen patches) and of course my butt where the shots were. God, I’m itchy.

–         My gums – are slightly swollen and sensitive. Went to the dentist today = not pleasant.

–         Rapid blood sugar decline. Nothing I can’t handle, but like all of a sudden, holy God, I’m hungry/going to die if I don’t eat something RIGHT NOW. And a little snack later, I’m good. Or the other night, we had a late night dinner (and by late, I mean 6:30) at my husband’s parents’, and before the meal I felt shaky, cold, crappy, horrible. I ate, face got flushed, and felt like a million bucks.

But mark my words – these are not complaints. Not even CLOSE. I’ll take absolutely anything that comes my way, as long as my little zygote is safe. But I am worried – I do have autoimmune issues of course, the hives and whatnot, and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. In the past few days I’ve contacted all of my doctors. I need to be checked, now, immediately, by my thyroid doctor, allergist, etc. just to make sure all my ducks are in a row.

But are all of those things I mentioned common? Has anyone experienced any of them?

As the time progresses, I just know I’m going to want to check all the things going on with me, with you guys. Because you know better than I do.

Until next time, I am now excited and happy. So much so that it hurts, a lot, when I think about what could happen between now and 40 weeks, which I’m trying not to do. I forgot how badly I wanted this, and now that it’s here, I am begging for it to stay.

 

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6dp5dt and this just got real.

Not that I haven’t taken any of this seriously all along. But this is different, and I’m wary.

Here’s the thing: I have never had a problem sharing this infertility journey I’ve been on. I have actually enjoyed talking about what I have gone through and the support “in real life” has been great (and of course here as well). After all, between the crazy bloating and showing up late to work many days in a row, I appreciate the fact that I’ve been able to explain why, and tell the truth.

But now, I am getting veryyy close to finding out if my first IVF cycle will be a bust or the best thing ever. The stakes seem higher than my other TWW’s, and like I said, I’m taking this seriously. So far, my real life friends want to know everything, as they have all along. And all of a sudden, I’m looking ahead to this weekend (my beta is Saturday) and I – I’m not sure I want to share my results.

It’s not that I want to keep my pregnancy a secret from my friends, if I was lucky enough to receive good news. That’s not it at all. I’ve always said I would share my pregnancy with anyone I’d be glad for their support if something bad happened. So it’s not like I’m saying I want to keep it to myself. But…I would like to tell everyone the good or bad news on my own time. No matter the results, I’m not sure when I want to share. I might want the support immediately, after the weekend, a week later, or a month. And I’m afraid everyone will be asking me the results, and lying isn’t something I’m capable of doing, so I would have to tell them sooner than I want to.

The truth is – I don’t want to disappoint anyone. If it’s negative, I’ll be upset enough as is, and so many people have been rooting for me. I don’t want to be the bearer of bad news. And if it’s good news, I wish I could keep it inside for a few weeks, just until it’s absolutely positive. Just until I can say those words without having a panic attack. I’m jumping the gun, of course.

So, in a nutshell, if you’ve been following all of this and we tend to talk about it in real life often, don’t take it personally when I kindly ask you now not to ask me my results. I promise I will tell you, and soon, but I just don’t want to feel like I need to share right away. This is different than how I normally am and I know that, and for all I know I’ll march into work Monday morning with something to say. But I’m not sure. I’m protecting myself, I think. From my own feelings, which I would have to face if I shared it with others. So let’s all pretend this isn’t happening, okay? And when I have something I want to tell you and get your support about, I promise I’ll open up.

And of course, thank you to all of my kind friends who do take the time to ask me and show their support. I guess this is really a good post to have to write.

So that’s that. I guess I’m a little nervous. It’s my understanding that the PIO shots (which are really no big deal) cause pregnancy symptoms, so I’ve been ignoring my sore boobs (like to the touch, but I’ve had that before) and daily minor cramping… which I haven’t had in the past, and the fact that I keep smelling things no one else is smelling (never had that before but wouldn’t it be too early?). Yes, two embryos were put in, but they were a little behind in development, not hatching or anything. Some days I wake up and think, “there’s no way on earth this worked” and I think about my next cycle, and other days I believe it’s true, all day long. No rhyme or reason. I’m holding out on POASing, though I make no promises as to how long that will last. Do Lupron triggers stay in your system a while like Ovidrel does?

Oh, and out of the remaining 12 embryos we had…1 was frozen. 1, when if we have to go another round, we would want to put in two. Very disappointing. But one step at a time, I guess.

1dp5dt

I wanted to let everyone know that the ET happened, hopefully successfully. I was concerned we were going to have to fight the doctor to put two embryos in, as I make lots of eggs and I’m young. But – and not sure if this is a good thing – he actually recommended two when we got there. It appeared that our two best embryos were in the “early blastocyst” stage…and so he wanted two. Which of course we were fine with…but…you know, I’m a little worried. Not panicking, but after comparing my embryo pics to those on websites showing the stages of a blastocyst, mine appear not even a letter grade yet. And I don’t know much about blastocysts, but I’m pretty sure those embies weren’t cooked yet. Or maybe over-cooked for a day 5 transfer.

I guess what it comes down to is, I’ve been on modified bed rest since yesterday afternoon and I’m going a bit stir-crazy. Nothing to do but sit and take my dr’s recommendation to put in 2 as a bad thing. I wanted the perfect scenario. But how naive, because nothing in this process has been perfect. Far from it.

When I started my fertility treatments, never in a million years did I think it would go on this long. I just knew Clomid would be my saving grace, as it has worked for so many people. Six rounds of Clomid later, three with ovulation, and my pride and strength took a hit. Three IUI’s later, the last with Follistim, and I was truly surprised, and ready for IVF. IVF #1 was cancelled a few days before retrieval. IVF #2 got me a retrieval, a two-embryo early blastocyst transfer on day 5, and here I am in possibly the most torturous TWW yet. We don’t even know if there are any to freeze yet. The rest of the 15 yesterday were even farther behind than the two they put in, and I didn’t get a call today. My diagnosis is “anovulation” aka who knows, but if this doesn’t work and nothing else has come even close, I find myself wondering if there’s more to the story, which is concerning.

It’s just not a good time to be laying down non-stop right now, as my house is under major construction and I’m not helping my husband with any of it. I picked up my 25-pound dog by accident today (forgot) and hope I didn’t pull something and bump those traveling embryos. This “do-nothing” thing sucks. I’ve been super crampy most of the day and starting the symptom search seems like a bad idea. If implantation doesn’t occur for a few more days, why is the bed-rest no longer in effect after tomorrow?

I guess there’s just a lot to worry about. I hate that TWW.

Transfer Day

Thank you for all of your encouraging words! I’ve been kind of MIA lately but you helped me feel excited. And I suppose I have good reason for that, because my first IVF transfer is tomorrow. And yes, we made it to a Day 5 transfer, which really made me happy. With hopefully 15 embryos, but I will happily take 1 or 2.

I don’t know what to expect, but all of a sudden I feel calm. I think I’m keeping myself from getting worked up, but it’s just this other part of my day tomorrow. No big deal. I’m thinking more about my sub plans for school than the actual procedure itself! No matter that this is the closest I will ever have gotten to getting pregnant.

But if it works, it’s going to be a very big deal. If it doesn’t, well, I just hope I have something to freeze.

And we’ve got eggs!!

Can I first just say – it has been so long, so very long since I was happy about anything in my life related to pregnancy (or lack thereof). It has been such gloom and doom, and other than the 4 times I’ve been in the TWW (the last time was back in July) and had some hope, there has been no reason to stop and be happy about what has happened to me. I’ll never be happy that I was dealt these cards. But today, I’m thanking modern-day science and my insurance company. Not to mention my doctor.

It’s the day after retrieval. The surgery went smoothly – I was nervous right up until I went in, and then was just like, “Let’s just do this”. I had a great nap, and when I woke up I was wishing it went on for longer. I had minor cramping, really not much at all, and no bleeding. I was tired all day long, and treated myself to an afternoon nap, with unlimited amounts of Powerade zero (fighting off any OHSS that might come my way) and some tasty Cheetos. And I thought about those eggs. 21 in all. Yes, 21! My first reaction was actually “that’s it?” because I thought I had like 40 in there. But I soon realized that the more I have out, the greater risk for OHSS, not to mention possibly more pain. So I am happy with that number.

And I waited to blog my update because I wanted to hear from the nurse today. I just did.

Out of 21 taken out, 18 were mature and ICSI was done on them. Out of those 18, 15 fertilized. 15!! That’s good, right? I mean, it seems like a good start.

And now the questions. What happens to them in the next few days? They start to become multi-celled, I think? What do they need to do to become a day 5 transfer instead of a day 3?

And my other big question: what about those dreaded PIO shots? They start tonight and I am not looking forward to it. The nurse drew the circles on my butt- not very attractive. Here’s what I’m thinking so far:

-lay down on my stomach
-warm up oil beforehand (some online said they put it in hot water. Too much?)
-after the shot, massage the spot for a while
-then, apply heat to the spot for at least 10 minutes.

How off am I? Any tips? Besides dreading the shots, I’m officially excited, and I haven’t let myself feel that in a long time. It’s a very dangerous game to play, but I can’t really help it right now. Please, let there be an embryo or two to transfer in a few days. Until then, those 15 hanging out in their petri dishes will keep my mind occupied!

Just kidding- IVF retrieval is a go.

I hate how infertility puts you through the ringer. It’s so up and down. I just got the call from the nurse – estrogen was 3098 today, exactly where they want it to be. Yesterday’s massive estrogen drop was some sort of fluke, and I guess they are going to re-run that test. I triggered with Lupron last night. Retrieval is tomorrow.

If only I had known that yesterday. Yesterday, when I was told this cycle would most likely be cancelled, and then I had to go to my in-laws’ and pretend everything was fine, which I sucked at doing, by the way. I am the worst liar. I was miserable. And since every holiday at N’s aunt’s is an invitation for teenage mothers to burst in (non family members), I wasn’t at all surprised when this couple no older than maybe 22 came in with their beautiful infant. Their happy “oops”. I was such a wreck, I literally camped out in a different room and fought back tears. I mean, of all days. Then, when N’s cousin started to hand the baby to him, I quickly plotted my escape route to the bathroom. Luckily, he didn’t hold the baby. I just hate how infertility has done this to me. When in my entire life have I ever tried planning escape routes to avoid children? I work with them for a living! But there it was. I was anti-social, quiet, and serious. On Thanksgiving. Not my finest hour, and I may owe the family an apology. But let’s face it- this hasn’t been my finest year. I’m just not myself, and it sucks.

Now I’m a wreck in a different way. This last minute change of plans has me all turned around. I’m nervous!! Not for anything in particular I guess, but nervous for surgery, for the pain, for the meds (no hives, please), for the quality of my eggs, for my husband. For OHSS. I’m just nervous. What a perfect time to be doing construction on our house.

So here we are. I’m feeling that kind of sick like when you’re nervous, and am having trouble eating much. Sleeping tonight should be interesting as well. But unless something weird happens, I’ll be at my RE’s tomorrow morning at 8:30, with retrieval at 9:15. It is finally here.

Preparing for cancellation #2

Happy Thanksgiving. I’m here for an update, one that I thought was going to be a good one and now I’m worried it’s very bad.

I’ve been taking follistim since voting day. They started slowly this time, so my estrogen didn’t get too high too fast and then plummet, like it did last time. And everything was going so well. My follicles are numerous and huge, estrogen was rising properly…tonight’s my trigger shot. Last time I never made it to this point. My retrieval is scheduled for Saturday morning. If I go.

I’m as bloated as could be, I’m finally at this point, this is finally happening, and then I just got the call that my estrogen dropped. From 1828 two days ago to 750. This is bad. The nurse said to still take my trigger shot tonight, and then come in for bloodwork tomorrow. If it has dropped again, then they are cancelling the cycle. A day before retrieval. For the second time. And since my estrogen was the issue in IVF #1, leading to that cancellation, I just have this feeling that it’s over. And I don’t understand. What is this estrogen issue? Why would my estrogen drop when it’s supposed to rise? How do the doctors fix that? I’ve never heard of this.

And it’s upsetting. Yes, I’ll be “grateful” to find out the true cause of my problem – “undiagnosed” can only get you so far (though today’s nurse dropped the PCOS title, and I thought, “finally”.) but maybe it’s something more than PCOS. So, okay, maybe that’s why I haven’t gotten pregnant on my own, and 6 rounds of Clomid and 3 IUI’s didn’t work, and my first IVF was cancelled. And maybe my second. But what can be done about that? And here I’m frantically googling how to raise it myself, in one day. Drink a lot of water? Eat more Thanksgiving turkey? Did it drop because I did something? I was kind of sick the past few days – low fever and a cold, and only drank broth, ate bananas and pretzels. Did I miss out on a key vitamin that I could now consume mass quantities of to fix this by tomorrow morning? I just hate that this is so out of my control. I mean, I realize this whole process has been out of my control, but I’m so close. I just feel like – two IVF’s cancelled and I don’t even want to do this. I do want to do this, but not if it keeps messing me up like this. I go through all the motions and follow all the rules. I’m just pissed. And on some level I hate complaining on this blog, because I don’t want the pity vote, especially from people who know me in real life. I don’t want to be the person you feel bad for. I’m so sick of that. And since I never blog anymore, I’m not sure how many people even see this. But if you do, and you have any experience with this, do you know what the deal is?

I’m upset, I’m pissed, and now I have to go to Thanksgiving dinner pretending everything is going fine.