Indeed pregnant, for now

When did I write last?  I feel like a lot has happened since…

I called a doctor here in Cedar Falls Tuesday afternoon and they scheduled HCG blood tests.  The first was done Wednesday at I think 22DPO.  Hard to tell this time since it not being IVF and my cycles a little all over the place.  I’m assuming ovulation was cycle day 14 and estimating my last period started on September 16th.  So at 22DPO my level was 499, and today, at 24DPO it was 614.  In comparison, with Nora my level was 189 at 14DPO and 448 48 hours later at 16DPO.  The HCG value should double to indicate a viable pregnancy, and since it didn’t, I’m guessing the end is in sight.  The office here in Cedar Falls wants me to come in Monday for another blood test.  I’m not thinking too positive at this point though.

Yesterday while I was in Iowa City for Nora’s appointments I had a chance to meet with my OB there and they did an ultrasound.  They estimated me at 5 weeks and therefore we saw what we expected on ultrasound, basically a black circle, as it’s too early to see anything else.  They scheduled a repeat ultrasound for 10 days out to check for a heartbeat.

My main reason in meeting with my Iowa City OB though was to decide where I would seek care should this pregnancy proceed.  Or future pregnancies for that matter.  I was a little discouraged by my OB’s advice.  Basically she said she could not recommend any providers in Cedar Falls who she would trust to follow a high risk pregnancy of mine given my history.  Some of her main points include:

  • No providers in CF (Cedar Falls) are accustomed to checking cervical length, which I’ll need weekly beginning at 16 weeks or maybe even earlier.
  • No providers in CF have enough experience, in her opinion, in placing a cervical cerclage.  In fact, only two providers in Iowa City place them.
  • The providers in CF will only deliver at 37 weeks or later, otherwise patients are flown to Iowa City.  Same goes for the babies, the flight team comes to pick them up a birth and transport to Iowa City’s NICU.  Just not equipped here to handle such small babies.

Shared care was mentioned, meaning perhaps some visits could be handled in CF.  I would definitely be put on weekly Makena injections, and perhaps those could be given in Cedar Falls at an office here.  Most visits though would need to be in Iowa City, including the delivery.

For now though, I’m guessing there isn’t much to consider for care…  I’m not hopeful this pregnancy is viable.  Easy come easy go?  I’ll update on Monday and let you know my HCG level and plan going forward.

15dpo

Still scared as hell that tomorrow’s beta won’t double… But this made me feel a little better, 2-3 weeks pregnant! And I’m now convinced the darkness of the line on first response is bogus, as it looks lighter than when I got 1-2 weeks on the ClearBlue. Wish me luck tomorrow!

IMG_0795.JPG

Beta #1 Results

If you read my post from earlier today you know I called my clinic and asked if I could come today (14dpo) for my beta, instead of tomorrow as it was originally scheduled.  So at 10:30am this morning my blood was drawn by a very nice women around my age.  We chatted about how she’s been trying for seven years to get pregnant and thinks perhaps it’s time she saw her doctor for some assistance.  Wow, she is way more patient then me!

Maybe an hour later I received an email that I had a new message in MyChart, a new test result, my hcg level.  Beta #1 at 14dpo was 189.  I was honestly shocked to see the number, hoping for 100, but never guessing it would be that high.  A wave of calm passed over me, but it was short-lived.  I didn’t see the results of my progesterone or estrogen levels posted, so I figured they would be relieved in the usual way through the patient information line, so like any inpatient IVF patient, I began calling the 800 number every 10-15 minutes.

Finally at 2:30pm this afternoon there was a new message posted by one of the nurses.  She confirmed my beta of 189 and passed along results of my hormones levels as well.  I wasn’t too concerned about my progesterone level since I inject 50mg each evening; that level was 58 compared to last cycle of 52.  If you remember, last cycle we transferred two 3-day embryos, found ourselves pregnant with one, but weren’t able to find a heartbeat at our 7w6d ultrasound, with our embryo measuring just 6w6d at that point.

My estrogen level today was 584 compared to 74 last cycle.  My first question to the nurse, why the much, much higher level this pregnancy, as I was expecting it to be low again.  The nurse explained that your estrogen level early in pregnancy is a good indicator of the strength of the pregnancy.  She said that they supplement if the level is low to help the pregnancy along, but that needing to supplement is never a good thing.  Wow…  I really wish they would have explained this to me back in May when I got my first positive.  While it obviously wouldn’t have been happy news, it might have prepared me a bit better for what was to come, my miscarriage.

So here is a little recap of my IVF cycles, if you find yourself at all interested 🙂

Due date is June 1st as based on the date of my egg retrieval, and first ultrasound is scheduled for the morning of October 13th, three weeks from now, at which point I’ll be 7 weeks pregnant.  Hopefully I’m not getting ahead of myself, as I obviously still need to see a healthy doubling beta Wednesday morning.  Ultimately though, looking back on my first pregnancy, I’m feeling a lot more confident this time around.

As far as symptoms and such, the majority are a result of the progesterone injections, the sore, slightly enlarged breasts, peeing more often than usual, maybe a little extra heartburn, but I have issues with acid reflux as it is.  I noticed today that the palms of my hands and underside of my fingers are incredibly dry.  As in, almost peeling.  I’ve heard progesterone can cause dry skin, but this seems a little extreme!  As for the light spotting I was experiencing, the nurse confirmed with me again that as long as it’s light and brown in color I should be okay.  Thankfully though, I think most of that has come to an end, for now anyway.

As confident as I’m feeling, I’m still scared as hell for Wednesday’s beta #2 results.  If I’ve learned anything from this process, it’s that months of planning and years of dreaming can all disappear in the blink of an eye.

That Patient…

I am officially that patient. You know, the one who calls and emails and bothers their doctors and nurses.

Yesterday morning when I woke I was all worried about the numbness and tingling around my PIO injection sites. So I hopped on my MyChart app on my phone and emailed my clinic, from my bed. Got to love that! A nurse responded quite quickly saying there wasn’t much that can be done but that I shouldn’t worry, the numbness and tingling should go away but could take a while.

Then I got out of bed and went to the bathroom. And saw the light, brown spotting. While still sitting on the toilet (TMI?) I emailed the nurse back and asked about the spotting. Later yesterday afternoon she wrote back and told me not to worry too much about the spotting, as they don’t get too excited about brown, light spotting.

So I made it to today. This morning, 14dpo, my HPT looked darker than yesterday, but I’m still spotting. Still light brown in color, and light, but still. And did I mention that yesterday’s test actually looked lighter than the day before? Eric keeps telling me those tests aren’t exact, but we all know how comforted that made me feel. Comparing 12dpo to this morning though, today was definitely darker, although the week’s estimator test still displayed 1-2 weeks pregnant this morning. Somehow I was hoping for 2-3… although if I remember correctly, 1-2 weeks on those tests is anyway from 5-300 or so.

So being that patient, I called the IVF clinic maybe an hour ago and asked if my first beta could be drawn today instead of tomorrow. Today is 14dpo, I mean, haven’t they made me wait long enough???

Actually, I had another reason in mind for not wanting to wait again day, fear of a low estrogen level. Last cycle when my first beta was drawn they determined that both my progesterone (considering I was already on supplements) and my estrogen were low. I was told to immediately start estrogen pills twice daily. Knowing that history I inquired this time if I could start estrogen on transfer day when I started the progesterone, but my doctor assured me there was no reason. Well, I don’t know, but something tells me my level is low, and I figure the sooner I start supplements the better… I should know my levels soon.

Prayers for a strong first beta, despite my continued spotting. I’ll update once I have the results!

1-2 weeks

I woke at 3:30am this morning and the first thought that popped into my head was, you need to go pee on a stick (POAS). In my defense though, Eric was on-call last night and his pager went off countless times, so being that I waited until the 3:30am page to POAS is pretty amazing of me, if I do say so myself.

The line on the First Response was no darker today than yesterday, so I didn’t bother taking a picture. Should I be alarmed it’s no darker at 11dpo than at 10dpo? I did receive a bit of reassurance from the Clearblue digital with weeks estimator, as it proudly displayed 1-2 weeks pregnant! I’m making a note to buy more of each over the weekend. Obviously I underestimated the number of sticks required this cycle.

We made it to Friday, and I can’t even begin to tell you how happy that makes me. The past two weeks have been filled with emotional ups and downs. Although I guess this rollercoaster is far from over. The positive test is certainly comforting but just the first of many hurdles. My first beta is Tuesday morning, and if the line doesn’t get darker over the weekend I’m really going to worry. Even if Tuesday’s beta is good, it will need to be repeated Thursday morning. And pending a good result there, my first ultrasound will be scheduled. And we all know how that ended everything last cycle. Terrified doesn’t really begin to explain how I feel every time I think about having to wait several weeks, wondering if a heartbeat will be found this time. How will I get through those weeks?

Yesterday was my first therapy session in several weeks due to my provider’s schedule. I think she had a conference out-of-town last week, and the week before that my boss had scheduled a meeting at the same time as my appointment. Funny how when I need the time to vent and recollect my thoughts the most, my therapist isn’t available… Yesterday’s session made up for lost time though, as I filled her in on the details of the past several weeks, the retrieval, my tears over the fertilization report, our transfer, and then more sadness over the frozen embryo report. I spent most of our 50 minutes expressing concerns over the lack of communication I feel exists between IVF patients, myself included, and my clinic, which is housed in the same facility as my therapist’s office. Having been a patient in this facility herself, my therapist agreed, the medical care we receive is exceptional, the communication is inexcusable at times.

During my recap of the past several weeks I found myself centering on a few key thoughts and feelings, one being my need to follow the rules, to not ask questions, to not make more work for my nurses and doctors, to not stand out, etc. My therapist must have noticed it as well, because toward the end of our session she asked me if not calling the embryologist to question the condition of my embryos caused me more or less stress in the end. My first thought was less, because I didn’t want to bother the embryologist, I didn’t want to request more information than they would normally provide any other patient, I didn’t want to stand out as the patient that called with countless questions… Those would have caused me more stress. And while all of that is true, maybe the reason was more based in fear. Did I not want to know more? Was it easier to use my own imagination, to picture all going well, or all not going well, because that was more comfortable for me? But how could having less information make me feel more comfortable? Because that is what I’m used to…? My therapist asked me to spend some time before our next meeting trying to answer some of these questions. So far though, I’m still in the dark.

Work is still a thorn in my side. My boss is out until the end of the month, and while I originally thought this would be a nice break to catch up on emails and process month-end entries at my own pace, so far, that’s not the case. I’ve found myself with quite random requests, which I assume are tasks she handles, but thus, in her absence, some have fallen on my shoulders. I certainly don’t mind taking on additional work, as I was worried about boredom slipping in, but the complete lack of knowledge I have regarding these tasks has just caused more anxiety. Perhaps I have the wrong personality for this role, as while I’m open to learning, I expect a certain level of training, and to be honest, training is lacking in this department. I don’t feel confident that when I go to my boss I’ll receive a correct, easy to understand answer, or even a justified point in the right direction. Staring at my computer screens all day, in awe of how to solve problems, is rather disheartening. I’ll admit, knowing I’m leaving in 9 months probably isn’t helping my motivation, but this all just feels too difficult at times. My therapist again suggested tying to go part-time. She thinks it would take some stress off me, allowing me more time to handle everything at home since Eric’s schedule doesn’t afford him much time to help. And then there is moving in 9 months, which is looking more toward building a new home that purchasing preexisting. Doesn’t building out-of-town require trips to the building site? How would I manage that while working full-time? And more IVF appointments if this cycle isn’t successful… Or OB appointments if it is, as both require more time off work… And rental property… The list of obligations just seems to go on and on. I’m scared of staying here full-time while managing all these issues, but also scared to investigate part-time further. Scared of what agenda my boss would have in mind… Scared of Eric thinking I wasn’t pulling my weight by only working part-time when he’s working the equivalent of more than two full-time jobs… Is a different job altogether the answer? Who would hire me knowing I’m moving out-of-town in 9 months?

On a brighter, happier note, does anyone have any fun plans for this weekend? Tomorrow I think I’m heading to an outlet mall with a friend who I haven’t seen in FOREVER. Should be fun to catch up! Sunday might be laundry and cleaning as usual. Seems like such a waste of a weekend day. When does everyone else do laundry and clean???

To close I feel I should acknowledge several blog awards I’ve received lately. There is always a ping of pride when I see my website listed on another’s page. I’m really in awe that so many read my words, that so many find themselves in my stories, that common ground… That said though, in the past I’ve refrained from completing the next steps in blog awards. Not because I don’t feel honored, I truly do, but more because completing those posts feels like one more obligation… I want this space to be a place I come to when my mind needs an outlet, not one in which I feel compelled to write on certain topics. I truly hope those who nominated me understand I really am grateful for including me. Thank you!

<2

Beta this morning was <2 which means I am officially no longer pregnant!!!  No more weekly betas!  You’d think I’d be in a great mood…  And I am happy about the test results, but I have so many other things weighing on my mind, hard to focus on the good right now.  It really doesn’t help that it’s year-end and work is crazy busy!

The nurse who passed along my results today assured me my case will be discussed tomorrow at the RE group’s weekly team meeting.  And then Wednesday afternoon is my appointment to set a plan for our next IVF cycle!!!  Which reminds me, how am I going to sneak away from work for that, since we’re so busy right now??!!  A huge part of me is seriously excited to move on, or at least have a plan in place to move on.  But the other part of me is terribly overwhelmed and anxious.  I remember the difficulty, but physically and emotionally, of our previous IVF cycle, not to mention the time off work required.  So much to organize, the waiting, the hoping…  It takes a lot out of a person.

My OvaCue Fertility Monitor arrived on Saturday, but I wasn’t home to sign for it.  I really feel like the USPS needs a new system.  If I’d known I had to sign for the darn thing, I would have been home! Who even sends packages through the USPS anymore anyway???  I’ll get to that later, but for the time being, let me piss off all of you infertiles….

I was googling reviews of this monitor and of course, it’s all over the most popular baby making sites.  For the most part, the reviews are all really good.  The only real complaint I’ve come across is the price, but heck, I’ve wasted more on a purse.  Anyway, the reviews were all similar, you know, people claiming to have been trying to get pregnant FOREVER and then they buy this monitor and all the sudden they find themselves pregnant.  Here’s what I think about that…

SINCE YOU HAD ONLY BEEN TRYING FOR 4 MONTHS, YOU’RE NOT INFERTILE, THE MONITOR ISN’T THAT MAGICAL!!

Okay, glad I got that off my chest…  I’d like to point out though, that I don’t except this monitor to get me pregnant, I’m actually just more curious about the readings it provides, maybe I can discover something about my cycles that has been missed in the past.

Speaking of the monitor, I need a personal assistant.  Or perhaps I need to quit my job, either one really.  I seriously don’t understand how people who work full-time, me included, get anything done!  I mean, really, I leave for work at 7am, and arrive home around 6pm, which didn’t include a workout today.  Don’t even get me started, I know I suck, and I had pokey stix for dinner, deal with it.  Here are just a few of the tasks I currently need my non-existent personal attendant to manage…

  • Pick up fertility monitor @ post office – Yes, someone has to sign for it, therefore it’s sitting at the post office for the time being, and for God only knows how long, as their hours are M-F 9am-4:30pm and S 9am-11am.  So I guess it’ll be next Saturday, although I already have other plans that day.  Do people really take off work to get their mail???
  • Arrange and give entry access for property cleaning – I listed some rental property for sale with a realtor, but it needs to be thoroughly cleaned and I’m not up for that, so planning to hire someone.  Last I checked, though, cleaning services don’t work on Saturday or Sundays, and they won’t even come without first providing me an in-person estimate.  That’s two days off work!  Ugh.
  • Replace/repair garbage disposal @ rental property – Again, I don’t even know who can do this, much less when I’m free for them to do it!
  • Order, arrange, and give entry access for screen door install on personal property – I’ll probably just give up on this one, as it’s another day I’d have to take off work, but I have wanted a screen door on our home since we moved in several years ago.
  • Plan our August vacation – It’s almost August and I still haven’t found the time to sit down and actually plan something with Eric.  He and I so rarely have free time which coincides with one another….
  • Make arrangements with realtor to visit and place offer on new personal residence – this one seems self-explanatory, but here goes….  Our realtor claims the owners of the home in Cedar Falls Eric and I like are willing to close next May, so we need to get our butt in gear and make an offer.

Making this list reminds me, I didn’t make a list of my questions for our appointment on Wednesday….  I best go do that now!

WTF Appointment Scheduled!!

Another day, another…  How much do I make?  And how much did I spend at Java House today?  I often wonder if I’d have more money if I didn’t work.  Just a thought!

One new development in baby-making-land, for lack of a better term.  For the past month my mind has been racing with questions relating to our past IVF cycle.  I’ve heard many of you speak of your WTF appointment, but I’ve never had such, not with any of our failed IUIs either.  So I decided today I was going to call and request such an appointment.  Of course, I referred to it as a consult.

I dialed, got Ann, the lady who always checks me in and out, explained how I’d like to schedule a consult, explained I had questions and wanted to understand how and when we can move forward with our next attempts at creating a tiny mix of Eric and me.  Why I thought this was just something they would schedule, I don’t know, I mean, I am a current patient.  But no, Ann informed me a nurse would have to review my chart and give me a call back to discuss.  I was annoyed, but okay.

Later Jennifer, one of the nurses I really like, called back.  I had given the clinic my work number, so of course, others were probably close enough to hear, and thus I was hoping it would be a quick conversation, free of symptom review.  I mean, who wants to explain their bleeding pattern for coworkers to hear?

Jennifer reiterated that we still need to wait for my beta to register less than 3 before we can move ahead with anything, which I completely understand.  I guess there is a huge part of me though that expects it to be zero on Monday at my next lab visit, my reason for wanting to know and plan next steps now.  Jennifer said she actually believed as well that my beta will be zero on Monday, but I was still getting the impression she was pushing me off, as if she didn’t really want to schedule me my much needed WTF appointment. 

Jennifer went on to explain that if my results on Monday are zero, the team of specialists will discuss my case at their weekly team meeting on Tuesday to decide how we proceed.  I expressed my own concerns, letting Jennifer know that I understand the physicians need to discuss my case, but I want to discuss it too.  Then she asked if I’d gotten a period yet.  Um…  I said no, since I was at work, and it is true, I don’t believe I’ve gotten a period yet, but there is certainly more to the story, exactly why I want to talk to an actual doctor, in person!  I was not about to explain to Jennifer that while my bleeding had stopped way back when, when I called to make the first beta appointment, it started up maybe five days after that, and hasn’t stopped since.  But how does one code that for discussion at work???  And even if I had stopped bleeding for good back then, how would I have gotten another period already?  It’s only been 34 days since I took those awful pills.

Then, the best part of the conversation, or worst, depending on how you look at it…  Jennifer said as long as I get a period between July 11th and September 4th I can be included in the next uptime for IVF.  Um…  They told me I needed three normal periods!!!  To which she said, oh, well, we will have to discuss that I guess.

So, I’m confused, and a little pissy.  I’m trying to plan a life here, and grow a human, and they can’t even get their stories straight??  Now granted, I have complete faith in my team of specialists, but I’ll admit, sometimes the communication is a bit sucky.

So long story short, my WTF appointment is a week from tomorrow.  I have lots of questions in my head, but obviously need to get them all down on paper, since I’m only 50% sure Eric will be able to join me with such short notice.  Question to those of you who have been through a miscarriage and/or failed IVF cycle, what questions should I make sure to ask?

7 More Months of Waiting???

When it rains, it pours, literally.  It’s been raining for days, check out the pictures of my backyard.  I give it another couple of hours until the lovely creek in my backyard becomes a not so lovely creek in my basement.

Flood of 2014 021

Flood of 2014 024

Received my repeat beta level this afternoon, 42 now, down from 118 a week ago.  So down, but seriously not down as much as I’d hoped.  So you guessed it, another level next Monday, July 7th.  And still alternating between spotting and a light period.  This is seriously no fun.

After I received my results today I did some math in my head…

I read online that one can expect a period from roughly 4-7 weeks after a 0 beta is determined.  Then, I need 3 regular periods before we can even start the next IVF cycle, which lets assume takes a good 2-3 months until I could reasonably expect to get a positive pregnancy test.  That’s assuming I would get pregnant with the next cycle, which has only like a 45% chance.  And I’d still have to consider the clinic’s downtimes, as they don’t start cycles just any old day or week.

So, say my level gets down to zero in 2 more weeks, then say 5 weeks to get my 1st period, then 9 more to get 2 more periods, then 3 months for an IVF cycle including the TWW.  That’s what… 28 weeks, or roughly 7 freaking months from now??  How am I supposed to wait that long??  That’s almost enough time to grow an entire human, and yet I’ll still be just pregnant at that point, if that!

So question, those of you who have lived through a miscarriage and continued with an IVF cycle, did your clinics make you wait through 3 normal periods?  Isn’t there any way I can speed up this process???  Maybe I do need to borrow someone else’s womb…  Oh wait, we’d still need to get my eggs, so that doesn’t actually speed up this process.  Damn, this totally sucks.

And with that, I might as well just go to bed.  Did I mention I got a spray tan today?  And that it poured.  And whatever is in the spray tan tastes especially lovely to my Kona.  I wonder if there’s a way to blend the lick marks on my legs…