Now that I’m 21 weeks pregnant, I’m feeling that it’s time to go public with the fertiliy posts I’ve been keeping private for the last few months. So, all of a sudden there’s a bunch of “new” stuff here to read. They’re all under the “kid stuff” tag. Enjoy.
First ultrasound today, at 6 weeks and 2 days according to my RE, and we very clearly have TWO gestational sacs and TWO yolk sacs and TWO embryos and TWO happily flickering heart beats.
Gods help us. This is going to be one hell of a ride.
Wednesday’s beta came back with a whopping 1246, and Friday’s 2887. That means my doubling time is about 39.6 hours. A good, healthy rate.
My RE’s nurse (here) said that my progesterone, which tested at 8.7 on Wednesday was lower than they like (they prefer around 15), but it wasn’t cause for real concern. The Florida clinic also weren’t worried about it, and from poking around the web, it seems fairly common for women who take Crinone to test low on the blood draw but have higher levels in the uterus, where it’s actually needed.
Trying not to speculate on how high the betas are. My head will explode if my ultrasound on the 14th shows twins.
Tomorrow’s my first beta test, so of course I’m overanalyzing every little thing. I’m feeling a bit bloaty, and a bit moody, neither of which means a damned thing, but I keep wanting them to. 🙂
I’m also wondering now if, even if we get the BFP (big fat positive) we’re looking for, exactly what comes next. My RE here was cool with ordering my betas for me, as long as I’m planning on having her “follow” me from here on out, which would be ideal so that’s what I told her staff. But, really, I’m not sure how much of a hand the RE in Florida is going to want in my monitoring through the first trimester. After all, this is his success rate we’re dealing with, as well as my pregnancy. Well, I’m going with what I’d prefer as of now, since he never specified, and we’ll switch gears if we have to.
The specialty pharmacy I’m using for some of my meds sends out an email newsletter, and I’m a bit flummoxed by the one I got that’s full of tips on how to avoid other people’s children during the holidays.
I mean, I understand that seeing children can be a reminder that you don’t have any of your own. I do. I’ve been trying to get pregnant for over 7 years now, and when your teenage nephews are having kids while you can’t, it’s more than frustrating.
But I still want to hold other people’s babies. I still want to make faces at other people’s toddlers. I walk through the baby section when I’m in a department store and gush over the cute clothes and the bright toys. I have a (currently secret) Pinterest board filled with links to geeky baby things and ideas for decorating nurseries.
I don’t THINK I’m that much more optimistic than the others out there. I’m fully cognizant of the fact that it might not happen for us (though I think our odds are pretty good, all things considered). Maybe it’s that I’m older than the vast majority of them, and my life has been pretty darned alright so far without kids, so deep down I know that it won’t be the end of the universe if it doesn’t happen. Or maybe it’s that a lot of these potential parents grew up in the ‘instant gratification’ generation, and I’m afraid they may never have been taught how to handle disappointment or frustration, so running into something they can’t have just breaks them into bitty pieces.
Three days until my first beta test (that’s a qualitative hCG test, for those of you not up on fertility jargon). I’m still cruising the fertility boards for information, and I’m completely gobsmacked over the number of women out there who are torturing themselves by using home pregnancy tests during their two week wait. HPTs are notorious for giving both false positives and false negatives this early in pregnancy, and they’re all talking about this fact, but they’re all still taking the damned tests! Waiting is bad enough; why put yourself on a rollercoaster like that as well?
With all this time on my hands while I’m on bedrest today, I’m doing a lot of toodling around the interwebs, and I’m finding that there’s a surprising amount of disagreement among fertility specialists as to what’s really necessary as far as activity restrictions right after an embryo transfer.
My RE told me that the bedrest is largely for my peace of mind — so I won’t later beat myself up for not being cautious enough if we don’t get implantation this round. And, wow, he wasn’t kidding when he said that others have different opinions. I’m reading discussions on fertility support boards, and some women are told to stay in bed a lot longer than I was — some of them as long as 2 weeks, until the first pregnancy test. Others are being told to take it easy the day of the transfer but have the okay to resume normal activity the next day. One or two REs out there are saying the rest really doesn’t affect implantation rates, and getting up after a few minutes and going on with your day should be perfectly fine.
Sexual activity after embryo transfer is also apparently something that REs vary wildly about. I’ve been told no intercourse for a week, mainly on the grounds that anything inserted vaginally (aside from my twice-daily Crinone gel) ups the chance of an infection. But I’m reading about women who’ve been told that they should avoid orgasms until the fetal heartbeat can be detected on ultrasound — that’s six weeks into gestation! Eek!
I’m currently ensconced in a cozy little motel room a stone’s throw from the beach, officially on bed rest straight through tomorrow and under orders to use my ab muscles as little as humanly possible. (My gods, it’s amazing what you use your abs for!)
Transfer was a little after noon. They thawed the 10 frozen embryos in our selected donor batch four days ago, and 9 of them were still growing as of this morning. There were 2 blastocysts, one that looked really good to the embryologist, and another that was malformed, and a bunch of morulas that looked good, too. After a discussion with both the embryologist and the reproductive endocrinologist, we decided to go with their recommendation to transfer the good blastocyst and the best morula. They were willing to add the malformed blastocyst if we wanted because, really, this is not an exact science and no one knows whether it would have been okay anyway, but it would have raised our odds of ending up with twins (maybe even triplets!) and if it turned out to be nonviable later on, it raised the odds of carrying a sibling off with it in miscarriage.
So, now begins the wait. A couple of days of bedrest. A week of reduced activity (no lifting, no pushing). Continue my hormone treatments. And on January 2, the first pregnancy test.
Had an ultrasound on Wednesday morning, along with blood drawn to test hormone levels. The uterine lining is apparently not quite where they want it, so I’m now using 2 Vivelle estradiol patches every 2 days, on top of the oral estradiol I’ve been taking for more than a week.
And getting the patches was an adventure in itself. The clinic called the prescription in to the specialty mail-order pharmacy that I got my Lupron from (Village), and they called me Wednesday night to say that it might be simpler to use my usual pharmacy; since Vivelle is commonly used for hormone replacement therapy, most pharmacies carry it. They told me it wouldn’t be a big deal to to transfer the prescription to the CVS across the street from my office.
I spent half the next morning calling first CVS and then Village and then CVS again, trying to figure out who needed to do what to get the prescription where it needed to be, and when it finally arrived at CVS at 11am, they told me they were out of stock. “We can get it for tomorrow,” they said. Which didn’t do me a whole lot of good, seeing as I should have started it the night before. They instead found another local CVS who did have it in stock and transfer the prescription over there. It was just a few blocks away, and right on the same trolley line as my office, so I figured it would take me 30 minutes, tops, to go and get it. Unfortunately, a fatal collision between a bicycle and a semi directly across from my office that morning was still roped off, and the trolleys were all kinds of messed up because of it, so I ended up spending my whole lunch hour retrieving the patches. Done, and administered before 2pm. Only 20 hours or so late.
In the meanwhile, the clinic told us they want another ultrasound early next week to check my progress again. When, on Wednesday afternoon, they told Andy it should be Monday, he asked them if Tuesday would be okay, as he’s out of town until sometime Monday afternoon, and they said fine. The folks at the clinic where my ultrasounds are being done then somehow received orders for Monday anyway and then on Thursday called Andy’s cell phone (the one number I have no access to of the 4 they have on file, and the one that’s all but useless during his work hours since he gets no reception at all inside his office) to say so. By the time we got the message and I called them back on Friday morning, they’d received a second set of orders for Tuesday and were thoroughly confused.
My Gods. This fertility thing is like planning the invasion of Normandy.
Oh, the Lupron headache died off after a few days, maybe because the dosage went down. But now I’m feeling bloated and emotional, like a really bad premenstrual stretch. Joy.