Tuesday, May 29, 2012

7-week ultrasound: mark another one off the list

Another hurdle, that is.

Today we had our 7-week ultrasound. And things are wonderful!

Based on my date of conception (thank you, IVF, for the specificity), today I am 7w1d pregnant. My little spawn is quite the overachiever, however, and measured 7w4d, with a heart rate of 144 bpm.

The ultrasound tech said that everything looked great. She said that at this point, they like to see a heart rate over 100, but really prefer it to be 120-180. I fall within that range, so that makes me happy.

A couple other things that make me happy:

At my 7w ultrasound during my first pregnancy, baby was measuring a couple days behind, with a heart rate of 130 bpm. Given today's numbers, I'm feeling really positive about this pregnancy.

Basically anything different and better than last time around is reassuring to me.

Next week, I will have another ultrasound. I won't be going to my normal doctor's office, however. We will be at the beach, so I've scheduled an ultrasound at a fertility clinic there. It's about an hour drive from where we are staying, but it works out fine because Buster wants to drive around and look for fireworks anyway. So, we'll have a break from the sun for a day and hope the good news streak continues while on vacation.

And finally, here's a picture of our baby (it's a photo of a photo, so I apologize if it's not the best quality):

7w1d ultrasound; measuring 7w4d

It doesn't show much, but you can see where the tech measured from crown to rump. I'm hoping for a nice improvement on size next week :)

Monday, May 28, 2012

the ghosts of pregnancy past

I'm not sure how I will get any sleep tonight.

Tomorrow morning at 9:30 a.m. is my first ultrasound of this pregnancy. Today I am exactly 7 weeks pregnant.

I wish I could write about how excited I am for tomorrow. How I am so certain we are going to have good news. How I can't wait to see my baby on the screen.

But that would all be bullshit.

I'm scared to death.

I will be back in the ultrasound room where we got the news that our first pregnancy was no longer viable.

That room haunts me. I can still hear the voice of the ultrasound tech telling me that she couldn't find a heartbeat. The ghosts of pregnancy past.

Will these ghosts ever leave me? I know I'm early in my current pregnancy. Perhaps if things move along swimmingly, and I make it to the second trimester, to the third trimester, maybe then? Or maybe their presence will slowly start to ebb away, but never completely disappear?

I really, really hope I have good news to post tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

FET #3: Beta #4 (23dp6dt/29dpo/6w1d)

I've been a shitty blogger, I know.

I haven't had much to talk about. Plus, work has been crazy. And weekends have been busy.

Today I had my fourth and final beta. I really wasn't too concerned about the number, as I've been experiencing some pretty gnarly evening sickness. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy to have symptoms and happy to know that things are most likely going well, but it does leave me with little to no motivation to do anything other than walk around like a zombie.

My blood work results from today are as follows:
  • Beta - 32,961 (doubling time of 70 hours)
  • Estrogen - 689
  • Progesterone - 26.6
Overall, I'm quite pleased with those numbers. I do wish my progesterone was a tad higher, but that's only because I've seen some women who have had much higher numbers than what I've got. But, according to this site, my progesterone level should fall between 9 and 47 during the first trimester. Well, I'm there. So I should probably stop needlessly worrying, right?

My first ultrasound is in one week's time. I'm nervous and excited. I will be 7w1d.

Because of the clinical trial I'm in, I will have one ultrasound a week for three consecutive weeks. This means that my 8-week ultrasound falls during my beach vacation. And because I'm in a clinical trial, they really would prefer me not skip this ultrasound.

So, tomorrow I will be calling some clinics and hospitals near the beach to see if any of them will accept me. Although there is part of me that is happy I won't be missing an ultrasound, there is another part of me that is absolutely terrified that I'll get bad news on my vacation.

Only time will tell.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

FET #3: Beta #3 (16dp6dt/22dpo/5w1d)

Due to the fact that I have felt like absolute dog shit today, I had a good feeling my number would be nice and high.

And I was right!

My beta today is 6,298! That is a doubling time of 33.39 hours.

I am so happy and so relieved.

My other hormone levels are as follows:
  • Estrogen - 642
  • Progesterone - > 20

So, all is well!

I go in for another beta next week. Then in two weeks from today, I will have my first ultrasound.

I just hope I continue to feel like dog shit, and things keep progressing the way they should. I don't think I could handle another disappointment.

And for fun, here is my FINAL (I promise) pee stick! I like peeing on sticks on the days I have betas, because it's helpful when people want to compare. So here is today's stick:

Sunday, May 13, 2012

out of the mouths of husbands

I was going to write a somewhat Anti-Mothers-Day post today.

After all, I'm not a mother. I've never been a mother on Mothers Day. Yes, I may currently be pregnant, but it doesn't feel real. Not this early. Not yet. I know what can go horribly wrong, and I know it can happen to me.

So I'm NOT celebrating this Mothers Day as a mother. I will celebrate it as a daughter and a daughter-in-law and a granddaughter and a granddaughter-in-law.

But not as a mother.

This morning, after waking up at 6:15 a.m. and being unable to fall back asleep, I spent some time perusing my favorite TTC/Pregnancy forums. In an attempt to respond to someone's question, I pulled up my post on my first ultrasound from last time I was pregnant.

As it happens sometimes, I spent the next 30 minutes re-reading my blog posts from that time period. One after another. The good, then the bad, and the definitely ugly.

Not quite how I envisioned spending this morning.

I didn't cry, though. But it was a sobering experience. It left me feeling just here. And that's all.

Soon after, Buster woke up. Buster is typically super cranky every morning. He gets easily annoyed by my "pep" in the mornings, so I have to be careful not to "talk too much" prior to 10 a.m.

He will wake up, make his coffee, smoke his morning cigarette, then settle in to catch up on the news and the blogs he follows. All the while ignoring me in the process (which I've come to accept!).

This morning, however, he came into the office and kissed me on the forehead. This is a rare occurrence. Super rare. Like spotting an endangered species in the wild.

He then said,

"Happy Mothers Day, baby."

Cue my tears.

I'm still refusing to celebrate Mothers Day as a mother, but I'm happy to let him celebrate for me.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

FET #3: Beta #2 results

Got the call!

My second beta is....


That's a 35.45 hour doubling time. I'm so happy!

One more hurdle down, a million more to go!

I go in for another beta on Tuesday.

FET #3: 10dp6dt

I went in for my blood draw for beta #2 this morning at 8 a.m. Hopefully my clinic calls me early again!

And as I know these posts may be getting tiresome, this is most likely my last of this nature. I find it beneficial to document the early days. Not only for me, but for others who are going through IVF as well!

Symptom check:
Same ol', same ol'.

Feeling queasy often. Yesterday on my drive home from work, I felt incredibly car-sick. Like I was ready to puke. And I really enjoyed it.

Last night I couldn't sleep. I'm not sure if it's insomnia from the Dexamethasone or what. I take that at 6 a.m., so I wouldn't think it would keep me up all night 16 hours later... but who knows?

And finally, I'm waking up to pee in the night a couple times.

Pee stick check:
My final stick was used this morning. I refuse to spend any more money on tests, since I have betas scheduled. I saw my line progress, and I'm happy with it.

Last night's test (sorry for the poor quality, it was taken with my phone):

And this morning's test:

And another of this morning's tests, shown with 8dp and 6dp, for progression's sake:

I will, of course, update when I get the results from beta #2!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

FET #3: 9dp6dt

Last night Buster and I had a wonderful evening. Because of the good beta news, I was in a super great mood. It's been a while since I've been in a super great mood. It's amazing how much better Buster and I get along when I'm in a good mood.

We've been watching the first season of Downton Abbey. I love it! We have one more episode to watch, then on to season 2. I hope it's on OnDemand or Netflix streaming...

Symptom check:
Still having the queasy feeling. And I'm also waking at least once in the night to pee.

Pee stick check:
You will all be happy to know that I'm nearing the end of my obsessive peeing on sticks. I have two FRERs left, and I will not be purchasing any further tests. I will test in the morning before my beta appointment, and maybe the next morning. Or maybe tonight. We shall see.

Here are the past couple days of SMU sticks:

Looks like I'm close to (or just) beating the control line! I'm happy there seems to be some progression, even if it is ever so slight. But I am also ready to stop obsessing. After tomorrow's beta, I will hopefully feel much better and a bit more confident.

I go in at 8:00 a.m. for my blood draw, but my clinic won't be calling me until the afternoon with my results. I will, of course, keep you all posted!

Monday, May 7, 2012

FET #3: Beta #1

Heard from my clinic, and my first beta (on 8dp6dt) is...


I'm so happy with this number. I think it's a great starting point, and it's got me quite hopeful! My first beta at 7dp6dt during FET #1 was 24. So yeah, this is a bit better... ;)

My clinic told me once that they like to see over 25 on 7dp6dt. I'd imagine that would mean they'd like to see over 50 on 8dp6dt, to keep up with the normal 48 hour doubling time.

In other related news, my progesterone is greater than 20 and my E2 is 478.

I go in for a repeat beta on Wednesday. I'm really hoping for 250+!

Also, I start back on the Lovenox tonight. Fun, fun! But, I'll gladly play pincushion if I get a baby at the end of this!

Thank you all for your support. <3

FET #3: 8dp6dt (beta day!)

First, thank you all so much for putting up with me. And supporting me. This community never ceases to amaze me.

I went in for my blood draw at 8:00 a.m. My clinic will call me with the results this afternoon at some point. Hopefully sooner rather than later!

But, I'm not necessarily nervous about this first beta. Sure, I want it to be super high and lovely, but I'm more concerned about the next beta. As we all know, the doubling is what matters!

Symptom check:
Not much so far today. Feeling a bit queasy, and just a bit off. The pre-headache has thankfully vanished.

Pee stick check:
My sticks this morning look pretty good. Still not really darker than that pesky 6dp6dt stick, but getting close! And I think today's is darker than yesterday's.

And a shot of just the past two days:

I kind of want to be done peeing on sticks...

Sunday, May 6, 2012

FET #3: 7dp6dt

I planned on doing a "part two" post last night, but never got around to it. Our air conditioning is still down, and when it's 83 degrees inside, I don't want to do anything!

Also, because it's so hot in the house, it's incredibly difficult to get a long hold with no fluids. I peed in a cup three different times last night before I finally dipped a stick. The pee I ended up using was still a light yellow, but it was too late to try for another hold.

Unfortunately, the stick didn't look too good. Sure, it was a nice line. But it was way lighter than the earlier sticks. So I went to bed feeling a bit down.

This morning, both my FMU and SMU were darker than the previous night's stick, but not darker than yesterday's darkest test.

Yes, I realize I sound crazy.

I don't want to worry. I really don't. But it's impossibly hard not to. I want to be naive and blindingly optimistic. I really do. But I can't.

Symptom check:
A headache started knocking on my brain last night before bed. I hoped overnight it would go away, but that nagging "pre-headache" feeling was still there when I woke up.

I also had a lot of queasiness today. To the point that the queasiness coupled with the headache has made me feel super hungover all day. And I believe this to be a promising sign.

Pee stick check:
I pretty much said all I wanted to about pee sticks up above, so I'll just post the stick:

I was really hoping it would be darker. But, I can see that the test from this morning does not have as much dye as the one from the day before. It was from a new box, and I'm hoping that has something to do with it. It is still a really pretty stick, and so much darker than my first pregnancy's 7dp6dt stick.

And since Kelly asked, I will post my sticks from my first FET, the one that kind of worked:
FET #1 back in November 2011
And finally, I did pee again tonight. Again with diluted pee. And it's MUCH darker than last night's diluted-pee stick. That's good, right? I'm crazy and worrying for nothing, right??


11 hours until beta!


Saturday, May 5, 2012

FET #3: 6dp6dt, part one

Symptom check:
I'm not sure if the insomnia I experienced last night had anything to do with the meds I'm on, my rising hCG, or the fact that our A/C is broken. Either way, I slept like shit! But I did get super sleepy early, and went to bed at 9:30. That's right. Friday night fun!

I also peed three times over the night.

And right now, I have a bit of that slight queasiness happening.

Pee stick check:
Because I woke up and peed several times over the course of the night, my first pee stick of the day actually looks amazing! No more FMU for me!

Friday, May 4, 2012

FET #3: 5dp6dt

Sorry for such a concise post, but our air conditioner isn't working and it's 83 degrees in our house. I'm taking my ice water and heading outside!

Symptom check:
I woke up this morning with a strange sensitivity in my teeth. I never have any teeth issues, so this has been odd. Of course I googled, and most people have the bleeding gums symptom, but fewer have sensitive teeth. It might just be a coincidence.

This afternoon, my slight queasiness reappeared. It seems to hit at about the same time every afternoon. And I'm loving it.

Pee stick check:
I really, really shouldn't test with FMU any longer. And here is why:

This is what I saw this morning. The line was still  there, and really not a bad looking line. But way lighter than last night's.

And here is tonight's test:

Helllooooo, gorgeous!

And to be thorough, here are all of my tests so far:

Happy weekend! :)

Was I convincing?

I talk a big game.

"I'm not going to test until Saturday. I have the willpower of a monk."

Yeah, that was utter bullshit. Who am I kidding? I'm weak.

You can see where this is going, right?

I tested last night.

Before I reveal last night's test, we are going to play the comparison game. I'm going to post the pictures of my 4dp6dt PM test from my last two FET cycles, and then last night's tests, just for fun. Ready?

FET #1, 4dp6dt:

From my most successful cycle to date.

FET #2, 4dp6dt:

From what I believe was a "chemical" cycle.

And, the moment you all have (or haven't!) been waiting for...

FET #3, 4dp6dt:

So, I'm feeling a bit hopeful at this point! It's the darkest line I've ever had at this point. I'm taking that for a good sign.

Even though I promised my dear friend Aub that I would hold off on testing this morning with FMU, I did it anyway. She and I both know that my FMU sucks. My PM sticks are always better, and often times my PM stick from one night will be darker than the FMU stick from the next day. This morning was no exception.

I had a really nice line this morning, don't get me wrong. But it wasn't as dark as last night's. Which I fully expected. So I'm not worried or stressed about it. That's just my body, behaving normally. My test from this morning (5dp6dt) was darker than any previous 5dp6dt FMU tests, though, so I feel satisfied with that. Unfortunately I don't have pictures to share quite yet, as I didn't get a chance to upload them before leaving for work.

I will pee again tonight, and post pics then. I'm hoping tonight's test is just as pretty as last night's.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

FET #3: 4dp6dt

So in case you hadn't noticed, I'm taking a bit of a different approach this time around. I'm doing my best to not obsess. And surprisingly, I'm doing pretty well.

I never thought I'd be the one to hold off on testing, to try not to obsess. Who cares either way, right? Obsessing has always been a great way to pass the time for me.

Well, after so much disappointment in the realm of baby-making, something's gotta give. So this time I'm trying to protect my heart a bit.

My plan remains to test on Saturday evening. After my dear friend's baby shower. That will be 6dp6dt, and if this FET worked, I will get at least a hint of a line by that point.

Symptom check:
Just because I'm not obsessing, that doesn't mean I can't post my symptoms, right? (Does that last sentence contain a triple negative??)

Since last night, I've been having these intermittent pangs. They aren't really cramps. I think it might be that "burrowing" or "digging in" feeling that some ladies say they experience. It is here briefly and then goes. I'm doing a piss-poor job of describing it, but hopefully you get the idea. It's always on the same side (the right side), down kind of near my ovary. I'm hoping it's a good sign.

Other than that, I'm not really having any symptoms of note. I was hoping the whole peeing-in-middle-of-the-night thing would start up soon. And I really don't know if it has. Last night, Buster barged in the bedroom at 1:00 a.m. with Kelsey in tow. Apparently Kelsey had the shits and Buster put her in the tub to wash off her back "feathers". So I woke up to help and peed while I was up. Hopefully tonight I'll wake up on my own with the need to pee.


2 days until testing!

4 days until beta!


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

FET #3: the details

I spent the weekend alone in New York City.

And it was lovely!

My friend (who is in the clinical trial with me... and she's pregnant!) drove in to the city and met me for dinner the first night I was in town. She lives close to the city, so I asked her to pick the restaurant. She chose this quaint little Italian place, and was it ever delicious! I got a goat cheese and beet salad to start with, followed by short ribs and braised cabbage. I also had a glass of Prosecco. My thinking was that I won't be able to enjoy any alcohol for the next year, so I might as well indulge while I can!

Image courtesy of Gallo Nero.
We had a lovely evening. We checked out a couple boutiques, some grocery stores (the grocery stores in NYC intrigue me), and then headed back to where I was staying so she could pee (she is pregnant, remember?!). We chatted for quite a while, and then she headed home. It was really wonderful spending time with her!

Dessert display case at a grocery store in Manhattan.
One of the more amusing sights we encountered....

The next morning, I headed to the clinic around 8:00 a.m. My transfer was scheduled for 9:00, and they ask you to arrive an hour early. To my surprise, they actually called me back around 8:30 a.m.

Typically, the nurses there aren't overly receptive to my small talk. I'm overly polite and friendly. I stand out like a sore thumb in NYC because of this. Yet even with all the rebuffs I've gotten in the past, I still try to have polite conversation with whoever is around me. I'm a masochist, remember?

This time, the nurse was incredibly sweet. As she took me back to the operating room (after I had on the GORGEOUS pink robe and blue booties, with matching hairnet), I mentioned that this was my third transfer. She instantly looked sad for me, and told me she was sorry. I appreciated her sentiment. We also discussed her home country, and how she misses it. Soon after, the doctor and embryologist come in.

This was my first experience with "The Wizard". Yes, that is what they call this doctor. My first two transfers were done by his colleague, Dr W. Don't get me wrong, Dr W was quite nice, but not incredibly personable. The Wizard is a different story. He came in, friendly and chatty. He told me that this is going to be the one, and that we were close before.

I mentioned that the first time it worked, but I suffered a miscarriage. He asked me if I had testing done to know what caused the miscarriage, and I informed him of the diagnosis of Monosomy X. He proceeded to tell me that it was bad luck, and this time it's going to work.

While he was prepping, he asked where I was from, and what I do. I told him I'm a graphic designer. He smiled, and asked what I thought of the clinic's logo. I told him I really liked it, and I thought it was peaceful and pleasant. He apparently helped design it. I told him maybe he's in the wrong profession (I'm always cracking jokes, ya know?). He laughed.

Then he got down to business. After the dildo cam was inserted, he turned the ultrasound monitor so I could see what was happening. He pointed out the catheter, and explained to me that he was navigating his way to the uterus. Dr W never did this for me. Needless to say, I was very appreciative.

The Wizard really took his time navigating. Finally, he got to where he wanted to be and injected the embryo. I saw the little white fuzz of a dot on the screen. It was really wonderful.

And then we were done. He told me he doesn't want to see me again, and I told him the same. We laughed. On his way out, he said maybe I could train him in graphic design. Laughing, I said perhaps he should be training me. He then said we could swap, he'd train me in embryo transfer, and I could train him in design. Sounds like a great deal for me, right?

During the procedure, he told me several times that my lining looked great (whew). And he also told me that my embryo looked great, almost as good as me. Flattery gets you EVERYWHERE, Wizard. Thank you.

And here we have #3:

Like #1 and #2 before it, #3 is a 6-day blast.

After resting for a half an hour, I headed back to my place. I packed up, and headed to the hotel I was staying at that night. It was a lovely 3 1/2-star hotel in Times Square. Excellent location! Too bad my only goal for the day was to rest!

I did ask the bellhops at the hotel if they could recommend a good restaurant for lunch. I was craving something a bit exotic, and they recommended a Thai restaurant close by. It was the best meal I had this weekend. I ordered Pork pad Thai, and wow. I was not disappointed.

Pork pad Thai

It may not look that exciting, but it was beyond amazing. I ate every last bite. And because I was having a "me" weekend, I ordered dessert: Thai Pumpkin Coconut Custard. It was quite yummy, but I have a thing with textures. And so custard may not have been the best bet. I still ate half of it!

Thai pumpkin coconut custard

On my way back to the hotel, I stopped and watched some street performers breakdancing and flipping. I hadn't seen street performers in NYC on any of my trips thus far, so that was fun.

I headed back to the hotel smiling and feeling wonderful about my day.

I holed up in my hotel room for the remainder of the day and night. I texted some friends, played Scramble With Friends with Buster, and read my Kindle. It was relaxing. I ordered pizza delivery for dinner:

That was the small! I felt bad letting so much go to waste, but they didn't deliver pizza by the slice. I also ordered a piece of New York Cheescake:

Oops, I forgot to take a picture before I took a bite...
Both were good, but not great.

The next morning, I hit up breakfast in the hotel restaurant, and took my time. My flight didn't depart until 3:00 p.m., so I had quite a lot of time to kill. I ended up going to the airport super early and just lounging. I listened to my IVF Meditation track on my iPod, which was nice.

I made it home safely around 6:30 p.m. last night.

All in all, it was a wonderful weekend. I thought I would be lonelier on my own, but it really wasn't too bad. It was a nice, relaxing trip.

My beta is scheduled for Monday the 7th. As you all are aware, I test early and often. At least I usually do.

For some reason, however, I don't feel the urge to test this time. I know I"m only 2dp6dt, and it's so early. But I have no desire to test out the hCG booster shot. We'll see how I feel on a day-to-day (hour-to-hour?) basis, but for right now, I'm perfectly content with not testing.
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