Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Still Growing Strong!

Today I am 5 weeks 2 days pregnant, and the beta for the day was 4538! I'm so excited that this little bean is growing so well, and I am so hopeful that we will see a perfect little sac, fetal pole, and heartbeat at the ultrasound next week! As I think I keep saying, I still cannot believe this might really be happening for us.

We are currently in the process of renovating our house. We have to start picking the paints soon, and I am eagerly looking forward to decorating the baby's room. I'll probably have to pick a gender-neutral color since we will have to paint the nursery long before we will know if we are having a boy or a girl. I am currently thinking either blue or green, since both of those colors would make a great background for other decorations that would work for either a boy or a girl.

Monday, April 28, 2008

The results are in . . . .

Today I am five weeks pregnant. Unbelievable! I went to the doctor for Beta #2, and the good news is that we have doubling!! The beta came back at 1809 today. So far, this little bean is hanging in there. I cannot even begin to explain the relief that washed over me when I heard the number. I go back for my final beta on Wednesday, then next week is picture day!!

For those of us who struggle with infertility, I think every step of the process is tempered with fear . . . we are so accustomed to bad news that we continue to wait for the "other shoe to drop." We distance ourselves from the joy a bit to prepare for the elusive "bad news" that we somehow believe is inevitably on the way. Rather than every cloud has a silver lining, I think some of us feel that every rainbow has a cloud (or a thunderstorm) lurking nearby.

Little by little, I am slowly starting to let down my guard and experience this joy. I am finally getting accustomed to saying the words . . . "I'm pregnant." In fact, I walk around saying it quite often the past two days. I told the radio this morning. Don't worry, it didn't answer back. I am certain I have now told the dog about 100 times (she mostly just looks bored when I share my news). I believe I also told the mirror. I am thrilled to say the person in the mirror smiled back at the news!

I'm so ready to start buying maternity clothes, and picking out furniture for the baby's room, but . . . again, the fear controls. I am afraid of making too many plans before we see a heartbeat.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Uh oh . . . spotting

Everyone always says spotting is "normal" in early pregnancy, but I'm spotting today, and I'm scared. My symptoms have been much less today, and now the spotting . . . I just hope this isn't the beginning of the end. I think pregnancy takes nerves of steel, and I'm not sure I have nerves of steel.

It is a long wait until my beta results tomorrow afternoon.

Let the worrying begin!

Why is it that every time I sneeze, I worry that I will either sneeze the baby out or crush it? Such a silly thought . . . but it has been plaguing me since the day of transfer (and of course I spent most of the 2ww sick, coughing, and sneezing). I wonder if sneezing will ever become less worrisome?

So this morning I woke up early because I had to go to the bathroom. It seems I can't go more than a few hours without peeing! I walked the dog, and by the time I came back, I was completely nauseated . . . I was SURE I was going to throw up. I think I'm going to have quite a run with morning sickness. Luckily, I got some food in my system, and I am feeling better now.

You would think feeling better is good news, right? Wrong!! Today, I'm not nearly as sore and crampy as yesterday, and my breasts are really not nearly as tender as they have been . . . so of course, I'm worried! Funny how every little thing makes me worry that something is wrong. I hope this feeling subsides after the next 2 betas and the ultrasound.

I was on the phone with my mother a little earlier. She asked if there was anything interesting going on, and I wanted to shout, "I'M PREGNANT!!!" I hope she doesn't guess anything until we tell them next week. So far, I have managed to keep it fairly quiet, but I did spill the beans to the dog. I have to say, she did not seem particularly interested, though, and was more concerned that I was delaying feeding her because of this news.

DH & I are having trouble agreeing on whom we should tell and when. Neither one of us wants to tell anyone before the first ultrasound. I would like to share with my parents, brother, and sister-in-law once we see a heartbeat on the ultrasound. DH, however, is so superstitious - he keeps asking if we can wait to tell everyone until after the baby is born!! I told him he should decide when we tell his family, and I'll decide about mine and we'll wait for everyone else until after the first trimester.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

I still can't believe it!

So . . . today I'm 4 weeks 5 days pregnant. My due date is December 29, 2008. I can't believe it is still true! I woke up again and took my last FRER (still positive) and I tried out the new FR Digital Gold just so I could see the "+YES." Now I have to try and relax and believe it will all be okay. I want this so much . . . I'm just so excited and hope this little baby sticks!

Last night I went to my friend's house to finish decorating cookies for a fundraiser. I was cramping and so sore, but I didn't want to give her any sense that I might be pregnant. I sure hope all the cramping is normal! I'm DYING to tell my parents, but DH & I agreed to wait until after the first ultrasound on May 6. I'm thinking of telling them on Mother's Day and giving them a "pregnancy belly" cake that says something like Expecting new arrival on 12/29. DH is worried other people will see, and he isn't sure if he wants to tell my brother and sister-in-law yet (they'll be celebrating Mother's Day with us) because he won't be telling his brothers until June.

I just hope my betas double on Monday and Wednesday and that we see a heartbeat (or heartbeats) on May 6!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Stunned and Crying!

I’m stunned . . . . . . . . shocked, and crying. I just truly can’t believe it. I finally got a call from the nurse’s office, and my beta is . . . . . . . . .


All the tests had been positive right along. I was so worried they weren't for real with the boosters, and I’ve been so afraid of something going wrong. I wasn’t ready to believe it could be true yet. The tests were getting darker beginning about 12 DPO, but at 17 DPO the tests were lighter, so I freaked out that I was pregnant and miscarrying. I was so freaked that I went out and got ANOTHER package of FRER and peed on that, too. That test looked darker, but I'd never really POAS in the afternoon before.

So, here you go . . . pardon some of the shadows, and the older tests are turning yellow (ick!) These are the FRER from 9dp3dt (12 DPO) until this morning. The first test was 3 days after my last booster shot. Thursday morning's test was DEFINITELY lighter than Wednesday, so I was freaking out.

These are the FRRR (Rapid Result test) which is supposed to have a higher sensitivity. I'm not sure the lines have looked any different from the FRER or that they show up any faster, though – probably the same exact test!

And this is the test I took Thursday afternoon after running back out:

And this is my test from Friday morning:

And for the first time ever, I took a CBE Digital:

Sorry for going crazy with all the pics. I’m just stunned . . . after everything that went wrong with this IVF, I just can’t believe it. I’m not out of the woods yet, but I know it is *POSSIBLE* for me to get pregnant!

Monday, April 21, 2008

My TTC Journey

We've been trying since June 2007 to have a baby. First, I was worried that my PCOS would cause some issues. My first month, however, was "picture perfect" - I ovulated on day 15, and my period arrived as scheduled on Day 30 - a textbook cycle. I was not upset that my period arrived - we were specifically NOT trying to get pregnant that first month . . . if I knew then that it was going to be so tough, I am certain we would not have worked so hard at trying to avoid that month! Things started to change over the next few months. In July, I did not ovulate until day 19, and my cycle stretched to 32 days. I was also experiencing a lot of spotting. In August, things got even wackier - I ovulated on day 23 and I had a 37 day cycle. As my cycles got longer and longer, I decided it was time for a bit of intervention. In September 2007, we tried a month of Clomid. It worked well, but again, I did not ovulate until day 25 and I had a 39 day cycle. That month, however, we discovered DH had a motility issue with his sperm.

I was SHOCKED - it never occurred to me that there would be an issue for DH. DH quit biking and started taking vitamins. We thought we would move ahead by trying an IUI in October. Well, at my Day 3 u/s, we got another nasty surprise . . . a big fibroid in my uterus! I guess I kind of suspected something was going on - I had been having a ton of spotting, and I was hemorrhaging and passing huge clots the day before my u/s, so I knew something was wrong. In late October, I had a hysteroscopy and the fibroid removed. I was on a month of estrogen and progesterone supplements to rebuild my lining.

IUI #1
On November 22, 2007, we were given the all-clear to resume TTC!! I took Clomid CD 3-7, and then did a shot of Follistim on CD 9. I went in for my u/s on CD 11 . . . . and it wasn't enough. My follicles just weren't getting there. We did another shot of Follistim on CD 11, and still no go. Then more Follistim from CD 13-17, and I finally triggered on CD 18 with 3 possible follicles. IUI day . . . DH's count had improved as had his motility, but his forward progression was LOUSY! Once again . . . nothing but BFNs.

Break Cycle
We decided to try again in January. On January 1, 2008, I went to my u/s. My cycle was canceled because I had 2 giant cysts on my ovaries. So . . . back to birth control pills! After 3 weeks on pills, the cysts resolved, and I was cleared to TTC again.

We tried IUI #2 in February 2008. This time, all injectibles, since my doctor thought that maybe the Clomid was hurting me more than it was helping. I responded incredibly well to the meds . . . until the weekend doctor screwed my medicines up (he reduced them too low) and everything stopped growing. We saved the cycle, but on IUI day, I only had 1 follicle. DH's count was decent and motility and forward progression were better . . . but not good enough. Once again, nothing but BFNs. When AF arrived, I was pretty crushed, but we decided to move ahead to IVF and just stop wasting time.

March 1, 2008, I began birth control pills for our IVF cycle. We decided to try the "shared risk" program. Basically, shared risk cost about the same as 2 IVF cycles, and for that money, we would be allowed to try up to 6 times to get pregnant and have a live birth. If we failed to have a live birth within 6 attempts, we would be able to get a 100% refund. We figured that if we did pay-as-you-go, we'd be trying forever, but paying for a multi-cycle package would maybe guarantee that elusive BFP on cycle #1! In essence, we saw it as an insurance policy, in case of failure or miscarriage. So, once again, I went back on birth control pills on March 1, 2008, and I started Lupron shots on March 19, 2008. On March 25, I went in for my Lupron evaluation - everything looked great! I had only 22 follicles (a nice low number for me). Then . . . the phone call came. My estrogen was at 72, and they liked it below 50. They told me to stay on Lupron for 3 more days, and come back for more bloodwork. On March 28, 2008, my estrogen dropped to 53, and I was given the all-clear to start stims!

I went in for monitoring 3 days later. There were 11 follicles. I was soo disappointed - I really thought all 22 would be in action. But, I figured that more could grow later, and 11 was an okay start. Two days later, I returned for more monitoring - this time, the news was not so good. Only 5 of the follicles seemed to be growing, and 2 or 3 of them were ahead of the others. The doctor discussed cancellation (and converting to IUI) with us. We were just crushed - I couldn't believe this was happening. I mean - I'm supposed to be an over-responder, not an under-responder! The doctor raised my Follistim dose, and told me to come back in two days. That day, I was meeting my mom, and I could not stop crying. I was so tempted to tell her everything that was going on, but I also wanted to be able to surprise her like a "normal" couple that is not dealing with infertility. I thought it was one of the few joys I could save for myself, but doing that cost me something, too.

Over the next two days, I tried EVERY old wives tale I could find to make the follicles grow. I had DH do a follicle dance (I figured if Native Americans can do a rain dance to bring the rain, DH should do a follicle dance to grow the follicles - and wonderful man that he is, he decided he'd do some crazy naked dance while singing a made-up song about follicles growing!), and I soaked my feet in hot water every night, then wrapped them in a heating pad, and I ate whatever foods I read could help - anything that didn't seem too insane, I did. Two days later . . . I went back to the RE for more monitoring! This time, my follicles grew unbelievably! We had at least 7-9 follicles that were ready for trigger, with another 2-4 just behind them. Well, my doctor said "Nes Gadol Haya Po" which translates into a great miracle happened here! For those of you who are not Jewish, his line was a reference to the holiday Chanukah, during which we often use the phrase "A great miracle happened there" to describe the events of the holiday. DH & I laughed, and we were saved from cancellation! He decided to have me stim one more day and trigger the next day (April 5, 2008). Egg retrieval was scheduled for April 7, 2008.

On ER day, we got 9 eggs. I was a bit disappointed - I was hoping for 12 or 13. Only 7 of those were mature, and 6 fertilized, but only 4 were growing normally. I was devastated - I was sure they wouldn't survive to transfer. We ended up doing a three day transfer instead of a five day transfer because we were so worried about the embryos. One was growing really well, but the other 3 were a bit slow (I kept telling DH they took after him!)

On April 10, 2008, we went to the clinic for embryo transfer. The RE suggested we transfer 3 embryos. We had one great embryo (8 cells), and then 2 others that were behind (5 cell and 4 cell). The RE said the 8 cell gave us a 35% chance, another 10% for the 5 cell, and only 5% for the 4 cell. The final embryo that we did not transfer was only 3 cells, and we decided to let it grow and see what happened. Here are the 3 beautiful embryos we transferred:
Two days later, I came down with a horrible case of bronchitis. I had to take antibiotics and prednisone, and I was sure that any remote chance we had of getting pregnant was gone. The 2ww was HORRIBLE. I was testing daily to watch my hcg trigger (and booster shots) disappear. As the days stretched on, the lines stayed. I was pretty crampy, had some spotting, and had terrible indigestion, but just could not believe I would ever be pregnant. Every day, DH would ask the results of the pregnancy test, and I would answer "not negative yet."