7dp5dt and it’s unofficial!!

Up until last night, I was feeling NO symptoms whatsoever, which I thought was strange considering all the progesterone I’m on. I normally get some sore boobs, nausea, bloating as part of my PMS, so was expecting at least one of those things. Then last night, I had to get up TWICE to pee. I’ve become used to getting up once since starting the injections, but definitely not twice. So when I realized at 5:30am it had been 4 hours since I last went to the bathroom, I figured why not, break out the Wondfo… 5 minutes later, I had my first squinter!! Which of course doesn’t photograph well, or appear obvious to my hubby, who I told by hanging a special onesie on his towel while he was working out in our garage this morning (we’re both known for our pull-up capabilities in our usual workouts). His expected response – a casual “Nice!” and “let’s wait and see for the blood test”. Sigh… men! I messaged my sister with a solarized-effect picture to make the line appear more obvious, and she gave me a much more enthusiastic response 🙂 As did my endocrinologist, who promptly added a T3 to the TSH lab that I’m getting drawn on Thursday. I was tempted to ask for a beta, but decided just to wait until the Saturday draw for it.

Of course, when I came home, I couldn’t resist the urge to POAS again, if only to see if I could get a more obvious line on a FRER that my hubby couldn’t miss. I got my wish 🙂 But yes, if you know me in real life, please keep this on the down-low – we’re planning to tell our parents after the first ultrasound, which should be in 2-3 weeks. Fingers crossed that these baby/ies stick!!

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The rationing of pee sticks on 6dp5dt

Contents of the test basket in my bathroom cabinet yesterday:

  • 1 Clearblue Digital Ovulation test
  • 1 Wondfo pregnancy test
  • 3 First Response Early Result pregnancy tests

Any guesses as to the contents after this morning? I’ll get to that at the end of this post, but first, some background…

Once upon a time, long before I had an inkling we would have trouble getting pregnant, I wasted many a hard-earned dollar on the Tesla of pregnancy tests – the holy FRER. I cringe to think of the money I wasted, even when purchased for cheaper on Amazon. After those first naive months, I switched over to the most popular internet cheapie – the Wondfo. I mean come on – 20 tests for the same price as a box of 3 FRER’s? No-brainer, right? And I used those guys sparingly – I still had a few laying around after over a year, since once I started BBT charting, I accepted the futility of testing before the end of my usual luteal phase. But then the end of my last 2ww on Clomid approached, and I realized my hopeful test date would be falling while traveling internationally – and damn it if I didn’t want to be absolutely certain of a result – positive or negative! So I ordered that box of 3 FRER’s, and took the tests with me abroad, to remain unused once my period slowly but unfailingly made its appearance.

With ovulation tests, I traveled in the opposite direction. I started with the Wondfo, and it worked reliably for me, until my first cycle on Clomid, when I didn’t get a positive test until the day after I seemed to ovulate based on ultrasound, symptoms, and temperature dip. Then I started to mistrust it, when I really should have blamed the Clomid – Wondfo hadn’t failed me in predicting ovulation for over a year until that point. I begrudgingly bought what the NP recommended in the first place, the Clearblue Digital Ovulation Test – a whopping $1.80 a test! And guess what – I found they were consistent with the Wondfo. Anyways, I used those suckers sparingly, and ended up with a few extra when we started IVF, so I used a couple to test out my HCG trigger last week. Because yes, it’s not going to be as sensitive as a pregnancy test, but since HCG and LH are almost identical, OPKs can pick up on HCG in your urine.

So if you had an OPK, a Wondfo HCG test, and 3 FRER’s, what would you do if you suddenly woke up at 4am on 6dp5dt, unable to get back to sleep because you needed to pee? The smart answer would have been to just pee and go back to sleep, but you guessed it – I grabbed that last Clearblue Ovulation test and peed on it, knowing that if it was negative I wouldn’t be heartbroken. And no, I wasn’t greeted with a smiley face, but at least I was able to get back to sleep peacefully until my alarm went off.

If this happens again tomorrow morning, I feel like I could sacrifice the Wondfo, but if it’s negative, I don’t know that I could use the 3 FRER’s in the following days, Tune in tomorrow for more POAS adventures, and start placing your bets on on whether I succumb to buying HPTs at Dollar Tree, which is oh so conveniently located halfway between my home and office!

5dp5dt and keeping myself occupied

After staying low-key the past couple weekends, I’m pretty wiped after this one. I still attended the walk I’d fundraised for yesterday to show support for my patient’s family, but didn’t walk, per my RE’s and acupuncturist’s very strong recommendations against it. My friend met up with me there and we ate breakfast together. This same friend dealt with infertility over a decade ago, and ultimately she and her husband divorced after several unsuccessful rounds of IVF. It was great to talk with somebody who’s gone through all this, who understood all the crazy emotions I’m feeling right now during this seemingly endless 2ww.

Afterwards, I indulged in a sample sale of yoga clothes, and scored some great deals! Funny story while I was there – I’d found a top that seemed like it would fit me, though I couldn’t find a size tag anywhere. I showed it to an employee who said it was a small – something told me she was off and I decided to try it on regardless (I’m a solid medium now with workout clothes). Lo and behold, it fit quite well, and had adjustable shirring in front so you could make it shorter or longer. As I pulled off the tank and looked at it again, I noticed printing on the inside neckline “Beyond … the bump”. It was a maternity top! I almost freaked out, but decided what the heck, pregnant or not, it fit nicely and was super comfortable, and even better I bought it for 80% off! I’ll take it as another good omen 🙂

In the evening, we went on a double date with a friends to an outdoor concert. These friends have some idea of what we’re dealing with, but being younger, unmarried, and nowhere near ready to have kids, didn’t know any specifics. During intermission, the girl asked me how things were going, and I explained IVF and where we were at in the process. She was definitely confused and asked if I was pregnant or not then. I responded until proven otherwise.

Today I attended a bridal shower at one of those places were you pick a ceramic piece and paint it before they glaze and fire it for you to pick up later. Most everybody else picked plates and bowls, while I went for a small owl. Did I secretly hope this would be the first decor piece for a future nursery? Of course, but I do have a thing for owls anyways. I’m excited to see how it turns out. It was fun to catch up with the others there, and definitely helped the day go by faster.

As much as I can’t believe I’m back to a full work week tomorrow, it should be good to keep my mind off of things. 6 days until beta!

The great testing debate starts on 2dp5dt

OK, it took me FOREVER to understand that bit of code up there when I first started seeing it on infertility blogs. For those not familiar, that means “2 days past 5-day transfer”, meaning I’m now exactly halfway through my 2ww of this IVF cycle. Except my beta isn’t scheduled for another 9 days, or 11dp5dt! Boooo… I think my RE does this to avoid excessive blood draws. Here is my dilemma – do I test earlier at home, with the one Wondfo and 3 FRER’s I still have in my bathroom cabinet? I haven’t tested in ages, mainly because my temperatures and luteal phases easily told me that my period was coming, even on the Clomid cycles. Those are out the window now since I’m on supplemental progesterone. And yes, I am solidly in the camp that the shots are better than the suppositories. I’m so irritated down there right now 😦

If I decide to test at home, when?? I’m supposed to have my TSH rechecked next Thursday (9dp5dt), and am tempted to ask my endocrinologist to add a beta then if I get a positive home test. She’s actually encouraging me to take a HPT before the beta so that I can immediately increase my levothyroxine dose to support the pregnancy.

And here’s another thing – my hubby asked if I could attend a dinner that same Thursday with his colleagues and their spouses. He’s been at this job for 7 months now, and I really haven’t met any of his team yet. They’ve been trying to schedule this for months, but it’s understandably tough to coordinate 5 couples’ schedules. If I test that morning and it’s negative, I can’t imagine being very good dinner company. At the same time, I’ve let infertility rule my life and my schedule for so long, and I know my hubby was frustrated when I initially hesitated. So after talking about it with my massage therapist, who I saw today for a pregnancy-style session, I’m leaning towards not testing until the next morning.

So torn!!

Good omens

My goal is to stay positive this 2ww, which is easier said than done when I’m banned from ALL exercise until I get my beta! That’s right, not even restorative yoga 😦 So time to focus on the good timing of yesterday’s transfer:

1. The morning after a supermoon, and Mid-Autumn Festival, definitely important in Asian cultures.
2. Birthday of my old friend and med school classmate, who is vocal about the role of IVF in conceiving her beautiful children.
3. The day before my hubby’s birthday.

He unfortunately has to work today, but was able to spend time with me yesterday, bringing me food and anything else I needed while I was stuck on the couch. No matter what happens this cycle or with future ones, he is the best partner in life I could dream of! He won’t read this, but I still want to wish my best friend a very happy birthday!!

Blast-babies have checked in!

After a full-moon-crazy clinic yesterday, I was happy to come home and celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival quietly with the hubby with some moon cakes. What better way to prepare for transfer? Of course, I woke up 2 hours before I needed to and couldn’t get back to sleep.

My acupuncturist had warned me about long wait times for transfers at my RE’s office. Despite a crazy busy morning where they had 2 egg retrievals before my transfer, I was whisked back for my pre-transfer acupuncture treatment right on time, and thank goodness I’d popped the Valium just before we got there. The RE followed soon after, saying they would be transferring the 2 best blastocysts, and had 4 left to freeze! He said the remaining 16 embryos showed fragmenting and are not viable. More on that later… The transfer itself went very smoothly, starting off with a vaginal wash. They then used a trans-abdominal ultrasound probe to visualize my uterus as the catheter went in. Once again, I’m amazed at how little I feel with these procedures in the hands of a true expert! Once he was satisfied with catheter placement, he called the embryologist in, who gave him the vial containing our 2 blast-babies, and in they went! The acupuncturist returned to give me another treatment, and I passed out for probably another half hour while my hubby sat close by, busying himself on his laptop.

Finally, the embryologist came in to show us pictures and explain the numbers. At 24 hours after retrieval, 20 out of 23 eggs had fertilized, 5 by ICSI and the remainder by regular IVF – impressive considering sperm morphology was our issue, but counts have always been great so I guess there were enough in the sample that managed to do their thing. By later that day, 2 more had actually fertilized though I don’t think those made it very far. He wanted to make sure I wasn’t disappointed by so many not being viable, explaining that for a woman 35-37 years old, they expect 30% of the embryos to make it to the 5-day blastocyst stage. So at 6 out of 20 (or 22 if you count the late fertilizers), we were right on track. I forgot to ask what the breakdown was of ICSI vs. IVF in our 6 keepers, but honestly it doesn’t matter to me at this point. I just want at least one of these guys to make themselves at home for the next 37 weeks!

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Blast-babies starting to hatch!

It was also really interesting to compare to the pictures of the 4 less highly-graded but still good blasts that will be frozen, as well as the 16 that didn’t make it. I’m happy he gave us pictures of all of them to keep.

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4 blastocysts to be put on ice 

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16 non-viable embryos – mostly fragmented, looks like one didn’t start dividing

Isn’t science amazing?? I don’t know how I’m going to survive until my beta 11 days away! That’s 2 days after I anticipated 😦 I do have a few FRER tests at home, so we’ll see if I have the guts to test next week. I’ve already made sure the HCG trigger is out of my system with the last of the ovulation tests I had (might as well put them to some use). I’m also supposed to re-test my thyroid next week, so am debating whether it’s worth asking the endocrinologist to add a beta to that, you know, in case I need to bump up my levothyroxine dose 🙂 I’m now 6 hours through my 36 hours of bedrest, and trying not to go crazy from boredom. Books and TV just aren’t appealing to me right now – I’m thinking a nap may be in order! I’ve also been restricted from exercise for 10 days, though I think yin yoga should be OK. Need that and meditation to keep me going through the rest of this 2ww!

Back out on the water

I first tried SUP yoga on my birthday weekend last year. I’d stand-up paddled a few times before, and thought yoga on the board looked like a fun challenge. I loved it from my first class, and continued to go out regularly for several months until it got too chilly to risk falling into the cold water. Between my work schedule and the weather, I hadn’t been out for over 4 months until today. It was the perfect morning – clear skies, temperature in the 60s, just enough wind to make paddling out of the harbor a challenging exercise in balance, but no whitecaps on the waves. I amazed myself by not falling during the ocean paddling part, even while staying on my feet instead of going to my knees on the way back – I was fully expecting to given how long it’s been but it felt like I hadn’t been away from the water at all. During the yoga portion, I quickly remembered why I enjoy yoga on the water so much more than traditional classes – the gentle rocking, the sun and the breeze, sounds of boaters and birds. All of these “distractions” actually help me to focus inwards more easily.

It was a great escape from my 2-week wait, and only after a nice relaxing nap after class did I realize I’m already 10dpo. Planning to take my temperatures each morning again starting tomorrow. I did pee on a stick at 8dpo and the HCG trigger is already out of my system, so we’ll see when I feel like doing it again…

Radio silence

After visiting my acupuncturist this morning, I’ve decided to do my best to not think about pregnancy the rest of this 2-week wait. That means stepping away from the basal body thermometer, and just keeping myself busy and happy. I will also not be posting much for a while, though I plan to continue to check in and read people’s updates. Good luck to all you ladies out there! I’m about to take a glorious nap on this beautiful day 🙂

8dpo and impatient

I thought being busy at work would get me through this particular 2-week wait more quickly, but I’m having a tough time focusing and getting my work done. My progesterone 7 days past ovulation came back at a good level, confirming ovulation, so now it’s just counting down the days until I decide to take a test at home. Not sure how long I’ll hold out…