...and all seems well as far as we know. We are in a bit of a no man's land as far as this pregnancy goes. Our next ultrasound is one week from tomorrow and in the meantime it is what my RE called "auto pilot." I've never been on auto pilot before where a pregnancy was concerned. I have always been the blood draw/monitoring/scary spotting/impending doom type in the past. Not quite sure what to do with myself during the waiting other than to try to keep at bay thoughts of bad things. In my line of work I have access to ultrasound and I know a few techs who would be happy to take a look for me...as one was kind enough to do right before my last ectopic was diagnosed. It is difficult to sit quietly and not plead for a favor right now. However, I know the most prudent thing to do is wait (I hate the "w" word) until January 4th and let the RE see what he sees. Husband is adamant about this, too. At least the holidays have kept me somewhat occupied. We were with my family over Christmas, 16 of us in total, at my parents' house. Save my youngest sister, no one is any the wiser about our situation. I'm starting to feel rather yucky rather frequently, but thankfully nothing obvious while we were there. At my last appointment my acupuncturist told me that in her experience a high progesterone level tends to mask some of the early pg symptoms. I'm crossing my fingers that this is the case for me. I'm not a puker at all - it has been close to 13 years (I keep track) since I last threw up - so I'm also hoping this helps predispose me to NOT getting sick in that way. Food is a little iffy right now. Sugar doesn't appeal to me and I have a major sweet tooth. I passed on all manner of Christmas goodies. I guess these are the things in which I am strangely taking comfort in the absence of any concrete evidence that things are progressing as we hope they are. One day at a time. I hope everyone had a lovely holiday! Happy new year in advance!
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Our first ultrasound appointment was yesterday. RE was very frank about the fact that we "wouldn't see much" this early (about 5 weeks 1 day). We were really just there to make sure our embryo hadn't gone for a swim up one of my tubes. Yes folks, IVF isn't a sure fire remedy to avoid ectopic pregnancy. Thankfully we saw a gestational sac right in the middle of my uterus. It apparently contained the beginnings of a yolk sac, etc. RE didn't spend too much time on it other than to measure it and tell us that it looks to be an appropriate size. He spent much more time on my ovaries which are still large - the size of cheap grapefruit or expensive oranges according to him - and some free fluid adjacent to one of them. We were told it could take another month for them to shrink down again. They drew a progesterone level and I am waiting to hear the results and further instructions for shots. RE thinks my ovaries are probably cranking out quite a bit of progesterone on their own so we may be getting a shot reprieve sooner than later. Our next ultrasound is scheduled for 1/4/08, which seems like a lifetime away. At that point if we are lucky enough to see a heartbeat we will be released to our OB. As of now I am feeling fine...maybe a little queasy here and there but nothing that really gets my attention. The staff at RE's office was smiley and congratulatory toward us and while we appreciated the sentiment, husband and I are realists and battle worn skeptics so we are uncomfortable with unbridled happiness or excitement at this point. I'm sure (if things continue to progress) it will take a good long while before we can let ourselves feel positive emotions about this pregnancy. However, we definitely feel fortunate to have gotten to this milestone, and more than a few sighs of relief were breathed and thankful prayers were said when our appointment was over.
***update: my progesterone was greater than 60 so we are to cut back on the shots to every other day. Yay!
Friday, December 14, 2007
One of the curses of the infertile, and certainly anyone who has experienced pregnancy loss too, is the inability to trust or believe that a pregnancy will ultimately work out. I am living this curse right now. I am so happy to have had a successful IVF cycle, and I have more reason to be optimistic about this pregnancy than I ever have in the past. We have a known good quality embryo, my numbers look good, and I haven’t had any spotting (I hesitate to even type this for fear of speaking too soon). These are all encouraging signs. At the same time, I am a six-times-bitten individual and when you have had the proverbial rug yanked out from under you that many times it takes the hugest leap of faith to even entertain the thought that we may have a healthy, lasting pregnancy this time. I consider myself a faithful person. I know God is the captain of this ship and the outcome of this is definitely not in my control. I am praying that things work out for this little one. One of my favorite movie quotes is from Rudy: “praying is something we do in our time…the answers come in God’s time.” I hope this is THE time. I have been experiencing cramping off and on. It seems to be more noticeable the last day or so. I don’t know what to make of it. I think cramping can be normal in early pregnancy as things get situated in there. I have also known cramping to be the beginning of the end for a few of my pregnancies. The fear of it makes me want to rest and not move. Then I tell myself that if this pregnancy is healthy and destined to continue, a walk through the skyway (Minnesota winter) to grab lunch isn’t going to be its undoing. I am finally getting over an eye virus, which at first appeared to be pink eye but was re-diagnosed by my ophthalmologist when it didn’t respond to the drops provided by my family practice doctor. We are going to visit husband’s family this weekend in the Milwaukee, WI area. If we are lucky and things continue to progress, we won’t be sharing our news with anyone until a lot further down the road. Our families and friends have been through too much heartbreak with us to make them sweat things out yet again. It would be so amazing to announce an impending grandchild/niece or nephew when we can be reasonably confident that it will come to fruition. Plus, it is easier to not have to talk about things now if we don’t want to. So this weekend we will be mum. We are having the traditional Italian Christmas Eve feast early, as we won’t be with them on the day, and I hope no eyebrows are raised when I politely decline any wine. Knowing me and our issues as many years as they have, though, I don’t believe they will go there. In closing, I will do my absolute best to stay calm and think positively for the next few days. I so badly want to make it to the ultrasound on Tuesday with hope intact. It would be a huge milestone for us.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
We finally got the results of our second beta. Today we are at 353. Relieved and thrilled are both understatements. We know there is a LONG road ahead but we are happy to be on the journey. They aren't having me come back on Friday, for which I am thankful. In past pregnancies we have never had good news from a third beta. I am not superstitious, but I think I will do better to just relax and trust that things can be different this time instead of fretting over phone calls and numbers. There is nothing I can do about it anyway so in and out I breathe. Our ultrasound will be on Tuesday afternoon. I know there won't be a chance of seeing much, but something, anything in my uterus would be cause for happiness. And a milestone we haven't before reached.
Monday, December 10, 2007
I just received the call from my RE. I am officially pregnant, with a beta hCG of 157. The sound you are probably hearing right now is me exhaling. Try as I might to remain calm today, I have been on pins and needles since the band-aid went on my arm. We repeat the beta on Wednesday, with an ultrasound to follow next week because of my history of ectopics. My estrogen was on the high side so I am to discontinue my patches. My progesterone was also high so I had the choice to cut back on the injection amount or switch to suppositories. I opted to stick with the shots because if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Thanks to everyone for their comments and support. I so appreciate it! Now I'm off to repeat my latest mantra: "just relax, your body can do this."
Saturday, December 8, 2007
...and a new pee stick. I am amazed to be reporting that this one appears positive. The faint line of yesterday that I whole-heartedly discounted may have been something after all. Today's showed up more quickly and is definitely darker...visible without squinting or turning the test toward the gamma ray producing mega wattage bathroom light fixture bulbs. I am stunned. When I told husband he hit me with the classic Dumb and Dumber line "so you're saying there's a chance." I guess we do have a chance after all. A very long way to go, yes, but a glimmer of hope nonetheless.
Friday, December 7, 2007
I prevailed in the HPT argument, which is to say that I talked husband into a compromise. We tramped through the snow and cold to CVS and bought a box of my preferred FRER, with the understanding that I would use one first thing this morning. I awoke at about 3:00AM with the urge to go so the deed was done. Like so many other times, no matter how long I gave it my best "please line show up" stare, nothing happened. It was negative. I am 6dp5dt or 11dpo today. I crawled back into bed and waited for my pulse to return to normal and my breathing to slow. I am a realist, but the tantalizing knowledge of a great quality blastocyst in my uterus had my hope receptors firing. I thought this time might be different/good/real. Husband didn't wake up and I finally reclaimed sleep after a lengthy conversation with my rational self about how we will have more chances, life will go on, and how I am thankful for so many things in our lives. When husband woke up I gave him the news. He dug the stick out of the garbage and declared that he saw a faint line. Faint is being awfully generous - it is definitely an evaporation "line." So I am at work today and though thoroughly disappointed and sad, I also feel at peace. As I said in my last post, I prefer knowing to not knowing. Now we will move forward again into more of the great unknown.
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Yesterday husband had to talk me down. I was driving home from work and I casually mentioned that I was planning to make a stop at Target for some essentials...shampoo, deodorant, HPTs. He immediately and strenuously objected, much to my suprise. I am 5dp5dt today, or 10 dpo. If there was something to see, I think I could have seen it this morning. He was having none of it. He wants to wait until Saturday. Now I'm not a pee stick freak. I have had my fair share of run-ins with them, but in all the time that we have been trying and with our multiple losses, it has been inevitable. So here I sit, 3 1/2 days away from my beta (I would say 4 days but it is early on Monday morning ;)and I am itching to know. That is the type of person I am. Be it good news or bad, I like to be let off the hook. Husband admitted that he, on the other hand, prefers the ignorant "bliss" of not knowing for as long as possible. How or why he thinks this is pleasant I don't know. He is so NOT ready to know, in fact, that he volunteered to make my Target run for me. He even bought me the mascara I needed (with cell phone guidance provided by me, of course). I am currently bargaining with him that since I wanted to test today and he wants to test on Saturday, that tomorrow is a perfect compromise. He said we'll talk about it tonight. :) I have acupuncture after work so I will most likely be in a very zen and "come what may" mindset for at least a few hours. Then the battle of wills will likely be on again.
Monday, December 3, 2007
OHSS symptoms thankfully did not make an appearance and we were able to transfer on Saturday morning. One blastocyst was transferred and according to the RE who did the procedure, all went as planned. Having never done this before, we were in awe of the whole process. I am fairly convinced that my valium was a placebo as I swear I felt no different on it than I normally do. I may have been a TAD more relaxed but nothing notable. I admit I was sort of looking forward to a nice hazy calm settling over me during the procedure and for several hours after. No dice. We drove home in the first stage of a pretty big snowstorm. It was a good thing we got out of there when we did. As it was, we saw some cars in the ditch. I took up residence on the couch and let husband bring me food and beverages. My 48 hours of "bed rest" is officially up so I am catching up on a few things. I feel like I've been out of commission forever because I have been laying low since the retrieval. It feels nice to be up and around and at least visualizing being productive. As for frozen embryos, at the time of tranfer there were four other blastocysts that they were planning to freeze. They were going to look again on Sunday and freeze any additional blasts. We haven't heard the final number yet. I've been kind of crampy both yesterday and today which is most likely a side effect of the progesterone. The shots are going amazingly well for how unfamiliar with and nervous about the whole process husband was. So we wait. I still need to schedule my beta, which will be on 12/10. If I know me, I will probably sneak a HPT on Friday or Saturday. Until then, just feeling fortunate that we have made it this far.