Thursday, 31 July 2014

One

One gestational sac.

One embryo.

One teensy, tiny, fluttering heartbeat.

One VERY relieved pregnant lady.

One super happy RE.

One RE's assistant who needs her clock cleaned for being an idiot, communicating poorly and causing unnecessary worry.

Oh, screw it.  I'm in a good mood today.  I'll let her off the hook.

One absolutely awesome group of strangers from the internet who remind me every day that I'm not alone, that there's a ton of people rooting for us, and that no matter how crazy I get, they're here for me.

And finally, one picture to sum up how I feel right now.


Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Beta #2: Bag of nerves

"The doctor would like you to come in for an ultrasound at 8:30 tomorrow morning."

Not exactly the way you want your RE's secretary to start the call with your second beta results.

My second beta came back at "just under 26,000".  I didn't get the exact number.  Now, here's the ironic part.  I had been all concerned that my betas were too high and that I might be having a molar pregnancy.  But apparently now my beta didn't increase enough for my RE's comfort.

What.  The.  Everloving.  Fuck.

Now, let's just start with the fact that everything I've found online tells me that once your beta HCG levels hit 6000 or more, your doubling time can drop to over 96 hours.  It sucks that I don't have the exact number from today, but even if we go with a very conservative 25,500 that still gives me the best possible doubling time of 107 hours.  Which is not that far above 96 hours.  Which I would actually feel kind of fine with otherwise.

It's the fucking urgency to get me in tomorrow morning that's killing me.  The secretary bumbled around with all kinds of reasons like "well, we didn't do your transfer so we don't know exactly what they transferred and when they transferred it and you didn't do your beta on the normal day so she doesn't have a good baseline to compare it to and she just wants to have a look."  I call bullshit on that, though, because I've already told them we did a 5 day single embryo transfer on July 9th, so they should know damn well that today I'm supposed to be 5w5d.  And a beta of 26,000 is still well above average for today.

I also have no idea what they're going to be able to see tomorrow at 5w6d, but the last thing I want (well, OK, the second last thing after dead/no baby) is "well, we can see something but we're not sure what it is so you have to torture yourself wait all weekend and come back next week."

I just wish one of my goddamn tests would come back normal.  Just one.  Now my stomach's in a knot of anxiety (which isn't good for whatever baby may/may not be inside me) and I just want to cry and go to sleep and have it be tomorrow morning and get this over with.

I'll update tomorrow when I can.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Too much of a good thing?

Sorry to leave you all in suspense after my last post.  I won't drag things out.  So far, so good.  I'm still pregnant.  VERY pregnant, in fact.

After my BFP we flew to Vancouver for my friend's wedding, where I did a piss poor job of hiding the fact that I wasn't drinking.  Turns out that if you're planning to lie about drinking gin and tonics, you'd probably better make sure the bar is actually serving gin.  Otherwise people will demand to know where you got it and you'll be forced to admit that it's actually just club soda with a lime in it.

Best movie ever!

Fortunately for me the person who caught me is a discreet friend, and I was able to get away with just explaining that we were doing IVF treatment without having to disclose the results.  Thank goodness for people who have no idea about ART timelines!

My original plan was to wait almost a week before testing again, but of course paranoia got the better of me and I peed again the day after the wedding (11dp5dt), which was three days after the first test.  To my delight, the line was darker and in fact was starting to eclipse the control line.  After that I was able to relax a bit, and M and I decided to let our moms in on the news.  We obviously cautioned them to wait for the results of a blood test before getting too excited.

On the second last day of our trip, I called my RE's clinic and was happy to learn that they had no problem scheduling me for a beta when we got back.  To make sure I wasn't going to be disappointed (and to quell the crazy voice inside my head that kept telling me I had no symptoms so hence I wasn't really pregnant), I peed again on 16dp5dt.

It was the weirdest test result I've ever seen.  There was virtually no control line at all.  All the dye got sucked up by the test line.  It looked like my chemical pregnancy pee stick, but in reverse.

I think I broke it.

Hilariously, when you're as pessimistic as I am you don't think "OMG look how pregnant I am!".  Instead you think, "Shit, I must have gotten a defective test.  What if they accidentally reversed the strip and I'm having another CP??"

Fortunately I didn't have long to wait.   This morning (19dp5dt, or 5w3d) I had my first beta.  The results were pretty shocking.

18,689.

Yeah.  That's high.  Really freaking high, and to be honest it's scaring me more than a little bit.  My RE's office didn't seem concerned, but then again they seemed to assume I'd done a double embryo transfer and were surprised when I told them we'd transferred a single.  I asked them if there was such a thing as beta HCG numbers being too high, and they said no.  But Betabase is telling me that it's high even for triplets, and Dr. Google is frightening me with tales of molar pregnancies.  That would just be, like, the worst possible shitty icing on the infertility cake, so I'm doing my best to put it out of my mind for now.  A dose of reassurance from everyone's favourite infertile Ob/Gyn practitioner Jane Allen has helped immensely.  Molar pregnancies are extremely rare, and I know it's far more likely that I have either a very healthy singleton or quite possibly a set of identical twins bubbling away in there.  If it's the latter, it makes me even more happy that we did a single transfer!  I have a follow-up beta on Wednesday, and then they'll schedule me for an ultrasound at 7 weeks.

Oh, and my RE's secretary mentioned that I should get an OB referral from my family doctor and start thinking about which hospital I want to give birth at.  Yeah, OK, lady.  One step at a time here!

Thursday, 17 July 2014

20 seconds

Well, I managed to hold out until this morning.  8dp5dt.  I woke up at 5:30 in the morning and thought to myself:


I went to the bathroom, peed, and then did something I never do.  I watched the test.  Normally I turn that shit over, set my phone alarm and walk away.  This time I sort of figured that it might ease the blow if I just watched it the whole time rather than mentally torturing myself until the big reveal at 3 minutes.  

It took 20 seconds.

So, yeah.  This happened.

I want to be excited, but as I'm sure many of you know the experience of a prior chemical pregnancy kind of ruins that for you.  I guess we could say I'm cautiously optimistic?  The line is clearly much darker than it was for my CP, when I also tested at 8dp5dt.  No squinting or lamp light required.  Honestly, you could have knocked me over with a feather.  I had several crying spells yesterday because I've been so convinced that this didn't work.  I just somehow felt like I knew I wasn't pregnant.  The total lack of any discernable symptoms hasn't helped.

So what's the plan?  We leave for Vancouver early tomorrow, and my clinic doesn't do betas on Friday anyway ('cause no one gets pregnant on Fridays, duh).  I'm thinking that I'll bring my remaining test and take it somewhere around 14dp5dt, when the Czech clinic recommends testing.  If the line's still looking good I'll call my clinic and try to schedule a beta for when we get back.  It's still up in the air whether they'll do that for me at all, though.  Recall how unhelpful they've been with me getting meds and ultrasound monitoring because I'm not technically cycling with them or one of their "official" partner clinics.  I'm hoping the tune changes with an actual pregnancy though, since I'd be covered by OHIP again and hence them getting paid is no longer an issue.

Oh yeah, one last thing.  Last night just before bed I thought I glimpsed a teensy tinge of pink when I wiped.  I did the TP detective thing (including sticking my finger up there) but couldn't figure out if it was coming from me or possibly a slight discoloration from the progesterone suppositories.  This morning before I tested there was some very slight brown when I wiped.  I figure it's a bit late for implantation bleeding but I know spotting is super common, so I'm not freaking out yet.  But it's definitely contributing to tempering my expectations.

Now I just need to come up with a plausible excuse as to why I'm not drinking at the wedding this weekend!

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Testing dilemmas

To pee or not to pee, that is the question.

For the record, I hate POASing.  For an infertility veteran (yes I think I've earned the right to call myself this by now) I've peed on a remarkably small number of sticks.  One after my first IVF, three during my chemical pregnancy, and one waaaaaay back when I first went off the pill and my period didn't come back.  Five times.  I can literally count the number of pee sticks I've used in my life on one hand.

I'm usually a strong believer in waiting until at least 8 or 9 days past transfer to pee on anything.  The idea of squinting and tearing a test apart in search of a second line just seems like it would only make my anxiety over testing even worse.  I'll take a clear positive or negative, thank you very much.

Except this time I'm fighting really hard not to pee early.  Today is 6dp5dt, and I very nearly tested yesterday afternoon on the basis of a lot of Googling and forum chats where people got faint positives as early as 5dp5dt.  Part of me just feels like, if this worked and it's a healthy pregnancy, there has got to be a detectable (though small) amount of HCG in my system by now.  The only thing stopping me is the crippling fear of finding out that it didn't work.  Because, my friends, as usual The Little Voice has reared its ugly head and is telling me that this whole thing is a bust.

Fitting, don't you think?

Here's the added wrinkle this time: on Friday M and I leave town again to go to Vancouver for a friend's wedding.  We decided to take advantage of the fact that we're flying out west to tack on a few days of vacation, so we've booked a cottage and are planning on doing some more surf lessons since we had such a blast in Mexico last year.

So the dilemma is that if I test before the wedding and it's negative, I'm going to be pretty damn depressed for our whole trip.  On the plus side, I can drink my face off at the wedding and get in the hot tub at the cottage.  And do I honestly think that I can wait until our vacation is over to test?  That will be something like 17dp5dt.  I'll go insane well before then.  Or M will kill me because I'm really annoying to be around right now.

The other snag is that, because I didn't do this cycle through my Toronto clinic, there's no beta date in my future.  I've thought about calling them up if I get a positive HPT and I'm pretty sure they'll book one for me, but I obviously can't do that if I'm in Vancouver.  So I could get a positive pee stick but then have absolutely no idea how pregnant I am or if I'm staying that way this time.  I'd basically just have to wait until I got home and go for a blood test like a ... gasp ... normal fertile woman.

Eep!

I don't know what to do.  Tell me what to do, internet!!

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Czech-ing out

I can't believe it's over already.  Today was our last day in Prague.  In the wee hours of the morning we'll be heading to the airport and back to Toronto.  I can't help but feel a little melancholy.  We've had such a wonderful time here, above and beyond how well our donor egg cycle has gone so far.  I was a little worried before we came that, if I didn't wind up pregnant, I'd feel like we had wasted our time and money in coming here.  But we've had such an amazing vacation on top of things that I know that even in the face of a BFN, that won't be the case.  We needed this.  We deserved this.

We took it easy the day of the transfer and stayed at the hotel, apart from a quick jaunt to a nearby restaurant for dinner.  The next day we headed to the National Gallery of Prague to check out its exhibits of 19th and 20th century Czech and European art.  Imagine how I felt when we walked in the front door and this was the very first thing we saw:



There was no placard or anything nearby (these were in the lobby) to tell us who the artist was or what the piece was titled, but its meaning was obvious.  I'd love to take it as a sign of some kind, but then again we all know I don't believe in that sort of stuff.  Right?

One of the other really cool things we did was take a dinner cruise on the Vltava River at sunset.  There was a small band playing jazz and swing while we ate, and the only thing that would have made the meal better would have been if I could have had wine.  Sad trombone.  It also gave us an opportunity to take some awesome nighttime photos of the city from the river.



What can I say, I like me some dramatic moon shots.

As of right now I'm 3dp5dt and feeling nada.  Not like I ever do, or even should.  I know that.  I'm also trying really hard not to think about how I'm going to be feeling a week from now, because every time I even remotely contemplate peeing on a stick my heart starts to pound and my stomach clenches and I want to crawl into bed and curl into a ball.

If only I could stay here for the rest of my two week wait.  I think that might help.  Oh well.  At least I'll be seeing this little face pretty soon:

Missed this guy!

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

And now for something completely different

Today we transferred one hatching blastocyst graded 5AA.  We have four more blasts in the freezer.  FOUR!

Never had one of these pics to post before!!

We arrived at the clinic well in advance of our noon transfer time and had a quick meeting with the embryologist, who filled us in on our blasts.  In addition to the one we transferred, we had another top quality hatching blast and three more worthy of freezing.  For someone who's constantly been worried about having ONE left to transfer, five blasts seems like an embarrassment of riches.

The transfer went smoothly, although the one down side was that they didn't allow M in the room during the procedure.  I got to see our blast on a TV screen in the procedure room before the embryologist loaded it up, then the catheter went in and I saw the familiar but always breathtaking flash of light appear inside my uterus.  Mentally, I thanked the donor again and welcomed our embryo home.

The nurse wheeled me into the recovery room, where I was the only patient.  I lay in the quiet, darkened room, closed my eyes and tried my best to communicate with the tiny little ball of cells inside me.  I told it how much it was wanted.  I sent it mental images of its grandparents, its cousin, and M.  I wished he could be there with me, but the nurse had already left and I had no way to get him without getting up myself.  I just lay there and tried to send relaxing, calming, implant-y thoughts.  After about half an hour, I got up and got dressed, then M and I came back to the hotel where we've spent the afternoon chilling out and watching TV.

I want so much to believe that this time things will be different.  So far it has been.  Everything about this cycle has so completely exceeded my expectations that it almost feels like it has to work.  And when you have obvious egg quality issues like me, it's hard not to fall into the trap of thinking that you've fixed the problem by using donor eggs and therefore success is guaranteed.  It's not.  Far from it.  I've read enough of your donor egg stories to know that most definitely isn't the case.  The odds are better, sure, but they're still not even close to 100%.  I'm trying my best to be prepared for that.

And yet, I want to enjoy this optimism.  Because there's a reason to!  We transferred a top quality donor blastocyst made from 27 year old eggs today.  Also, while I don't put a whole lot of stock in this stuff, I've had so many people tell me that they have a really good feeling about this cycle.  That this is the one that will stick.  I want to believe that they know something I don't.  I want to believe they're right!