Pertinent article on NPR

A good friend of mine texted me this article on NPR today. Very pertinent since we were just talking about our dilemma about what to do with our 4 remaining embryos. I do wish we had considered this problem more before we went through IVF, but at the same time, I don’t know how much that would have changed what we did. Even with all the close monitoring, my RE was surprised by how many eggs he retrieved.

After IVF, Some Struggle With What To Do With Leftover Embryos

Reblog: “My Infertility Story: Questions You Should Ask in Life Decision-Making | Eye For Elegance”

I was about to go to bed last night when a friend’s Facebook post caught my eye. I had no idea she was struggling also, and I applaud her bravery in being so open about her struggles. Sometimes I wonder how I can be so open with some friends, but but hold back with everybody else. Perhaps if my parents had shown more acceptance of infertility treatments, but who knows… Maybe I’ll tell them one day what it took to conceive C.

http://eyeforelegance.com/2015/09/14/my-infertility-ivf-story-questions-you-should-ask-in-life-decision-making/

Random thoughts at almost 5 weeks

  • It is weird to feel and look less pregnant than I did around the time of egg retrieval, but I hear this is the norm with IVF. I have been really good about not peeing on any more sticks, if only because I’m out of them, but that Dollar Tree is awfully tempting on the way to work…
  • My only consistent symptom right now is waking up STARVING, and then proceeding to eat every 3 hours the rest of the day. Some nausea re-appeared only after I took my prenatals today, but I think it was mainly because I didn’t drink enough water with it.
  • Along the lines of thinking positive, I went ahead and scheduled my OB prenatal intake for 6 weeks, 2 days before the first ultrasound. It’s just meeting with the nurse, who gives a lot of reading material on how things at our clinic work and testing I’ll need, and she’ll schedule my first appointment with the actual OB at that time. From what I’ve heard, my RE will follow me through the 1st trimester.
  • I was so excited to “exercise” today, even if it was just yin yoga! The teacher basically told me to pay attention to my body, and be especially careful not to go past my prior range in stretches. No inversions during first trimester either. I have a gentle yoga class on Thursday, and will be back to rooftop yoga Saturday. So excited to be moving again!
  • Though I’ve been too scared to return to the water for SUP. I’m pretty sure my acupuncturist will say absolutely not until 2nd trimester (as would my very Chinese mom). Darn Chinese medicine…
  • We’ve decided to tell our parents right after the first ultrasound. We scheduled a dinner with hubby’s mom, grandmother, and aunt for that evening, and I’ve bought a bib that says “I ❤ Grandma” that I plan to present to her in a gift bag. Hubby says he’s pretty sure she’ll pass out from shock. She has NO idea we’ve even been trying, and seems to figure that our pets keep us busy enough.
  • I’ll be calling my parents, not sure if right after the ultrasound or waiting until the next day for my usual Sunday call.
  • I will admit that hubby’s job has worried me a bit with how he’ll balance being a dad and his very busy position. I know that it’s crazy right now while he’s still building his team, but one thing that makes me happier is that he recently asked his boss about working from home one day a week, to help him catch up on work he gets distracted from at the office with tons of meetings, as well as to accompany me to as many appointments as possible. He told his boss that we’d had trouble conceiving, and his boss said he completely understood. Whew! I am still going to miss him like crazy when he’s on a work trip for 10 days next month – will be self-injecting that progesterone whether I like it or not.

Beta #2 on 11dp5dt

The RE’s nurse just called to congratulate me on being pregnant, with a beta level of 269! Technically this should have been the first and only beta, but since I cheated and had one done on 8dp5dt, I was able to use the nifty calculator some of you ladies have referenced in the past:

hcg

I’m doubling right on track, which is a big relief! So here’s the kicker – I couldn’t plug in 13 days past ovulation for my first number so my green line should be shifted to the left by one day. This tool says that the max level for 16 days past ovulation (which is what I am today) is 223, so I’m just above that threshold – except nowhere on this website does it say how they came up with these numbers. And numbers are all over the map for singleton and twin pregnancies on Betabase. We’ll find out how many I’m carrying in 2 weeks!

I was hoping to get some more decluttering and organizing done this weekend, but napping is sounding much more desirable. Starting at 4:30 this morning, I woke up 3 times to pee. I need to cut back on drinking water in the evenings now.

The last pee sticks, my crazy thyroid, and symptoms

I peed on a stick for hopefully the last time ever yesterday night. These are all the pregnancy tests I had at home, and I refuse to spend a cent more since money has been flying out of my wallet much too rapidly for my taste. And we know it won’t get better when a kid (or two) arrives!

2014-09-19 18.19.52

I admit the 8dp5dt test did freak me out a little because it actually seemed lighter than 7dpfdt – but that was the same day my beta was 100, and I realized even though it was almost a 4-hour hold, I’d been pounding water leading up to it due to an A/C outage at work. Yesterday’s 9dp5dt line was much more satisfying 🙂

I wish my thyroid was more cooperative right now. I’d finally come back down to 75 mcg of Levothyroxine daily throughout my IVF cycle, after a max dose of 112 mcg while taking Clomid several months ago. As soon as I got the positive test 3 days ago, my endocrinologist told me to increase to 100 mcg daily, and we checked my labs. My TSH jumped from 1.4 to 2.48 in just a month, probably helped along near the end by the pregnancy. Strangely enough, my free T4 was a tad high at 1.6, and total T3 was normal at 97. Now I’m back up to 112 mcg and we’re rechecking in 2 weeks. So much for a break from the blood draws, but it will be worth it to make sure I carry the little one(s) to term.

Early fatigue was definitely hitting me yesterday at our dinner out with the hubby’s coworkers. I slept all the way home, and promptly went to bed at 10:15. Today I tried to make sure that my stomach was never too empty or too full, and that seems to help keep the nausea away. Work wasn’t too bad, but my back definitely started to ache more by end of day, and after coming home all I want to do is lay on the couch with my feet up. My 3 colleagues now all know, since they’ve been affected by my being in and out for the IVF, and I wanted to give them a heads-up since the first trimester could be dicey given all the risk factors.

I did email my RE yesterday to confess about my first beta, and I was getting nervous that I’d offended him because it was taking him longer than usual to respond. He finally emailed back this morning, and said what great news it was, to continue the Progesterone and Aspirin (through first trimester), and stop the Medrol (which I already did). Tomorrow I’m heading in at 8am to get my blood drawn, since I need to take my car in for service after that. I should be able to schedule my ultrasound in 2 weeks then as well. My next question for the RE will be when I can finally exercise again. I’m missing yoga and SUP, and want to take advantage while it’s still warm enough! I spoke with my aerial teacher, and I can even do relaxation flying yoga with modifications – I feel like this would help relieve some of my aches and pains, so this makes me very happy!

A confession, and so it begins – 4 weeks today!

I have to fess up – I had my beta tested yesterday, 3 days before the RE is checking it. Due to a last-minute clinic cancellation yesterday afternoon, I decided to go ahead and have my thyroid tests done so I wouldn’t have to drive on my day off today for the blood draw. It suddenly came to me I could have a beta added… so I did. An even 100 at 8dp5dt! This is really happening! The nice thing is, this means I won’t need another blood draw after Saturday, since my RE only orders more if it’s <100. My veins will be thankful – yesterday was a little tough until the more experienced phlebotomist took over.

I’m really trying hard not to get ahead of myself, but it’s difficult when I am actually starting to feel pregnant now. I woke up this morning with some mild but persistent nausea. I’m sure eating a little first thing in the morning would help, but I’m not supposed to eat for at least 30-60 minutes after taking my thyroid medicine. I found some ginger drops I’d bought for traveling a few months ago, and sucking on one definitely helped. Now to search for my acupressure wristbands.

2014-09-18 08.08.39

Sleeping is definitely getting more difficult since I’m a back-sleeper, and now get a weird pulling sensation in my lower left abdomen. I have no idea if this has to do with my uterus that tilts slightly to the left or what. But it’s uncomfortable enough that I indulged myself by buying the much-lauded Snoogle. And I’m already loving it, as I lay back on it in the coiled-up configuration with my feet on the couch…. ahhhhh…

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!!

2014-09-16 18.08.09

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!