When will it feel safe to celebrate?

We got the call today that our 2nd beta level was 491.  Forty-eight hours prior it was 245, so it almost exactly doubled.  The nurse said they hope for it to double by the 2nd or 3rd day and was very happy it doubled in 2 days.  I will continue with my estrogen and proestrogen routine and will come in for a pregnancy ultrasound on December 14th, which is 4 weeks after transfer (so I will be 6 weeks, 4 days).  She also said she was sending me some early pregnancy information in the mail.  My beta doubled.  This is good news.  Why don’t I feel excited?  I definitely feel happy, but there is no excitement at all.  B and I have had very short conversations to the effect of…we will need to discuss childcare options or we will need to make a list of things we need.  We’ve been waiting to have these detailed conversations, but it just doesn’t feel right yet.  It doesn’t feel like we can count on the first two positive betas as an indication of pregnancy.  Will it feel real after the first ultrasound?  Will it feel real when we have our first appointment with an OB?  Btw we don’t have one yet, but the nurse said she could give us a couple names when we go in for the ultrasound.  She said OB’s will not schedule appointments with us until we have been let go from the RE anyway.

When a fertile goes in for a blood test to verify pregnancy, is she automatically asked to come back 2 days later to see if the beta level is rising?  Or is one positive number enough?

At 4 weeks, 3 days I no longer fit into my work pants.  My pants had been getting tighter all through the IVF process, but I could still get away with keeping the top button opened and just wearing a longer shirt to cover.  Thankfully, I did buy 1 new pair of work pants in a size 6 (my other pants are all size 4’s) with a gift card I got for my birthday (I know…not an exciting birthday purchase…work clothes AND going up a size!).  Sunday night, the night before we found out the first beta level, I literally had to take my yoga pants off to sleep b/c they were hurting my stomach too much.  That has gotten a bit better, but all week I have been feeling discomfort in my lower abdomen.  At first it was making me nervous that I had an ectopic, but it’s been more discomfort than pain and I haven’t had any other symptom.  I also read somewhere that you don’t feel symptoms of an ectopic until 7-8 weeks along…is that true?  Either way, as for right now, I have a very full feeling and almost feel like there is some weird movement…like stretching?  It’s hard to describe, but I’ve read other blogs that mention a stretching feeling at this point in time.  The other thing is that I am completely exhausted.  I think this is mostly from the stress of everything.

I just want to be able to have excited about being pregnant.  When will it feel safe to do so?  When will it feel like not only are we pregnant, but this is our take home baby?

ps- I started this post last night, but then fell asleep at 8:30pm, so I finished it up this morning.

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Beta = 245

I know.  I can’t believe it myself.  I’m actually still a bit in shock…although every time B looks at me he says, “you’re so happy!”.  So it must be sinking in subconsciously.  I have had a bad feeling all day.  I went to the blood test today and wrote a note for the nurses to call B with the results.  I just could not bear to hear another negative.  I went into work, but ended up leaving just before lunch time.  I couldn’t focus and I was having “cramp-ish like pains” in my abdomen.  I wasn’t sure if it was real or just me feeling yucky in general.  Either way, I just wanted to be home and in comfy clothes.  (I couldn’t button my work pants today.)

I went home and cried in B’s arms.  I was terrified of more bad news.  What would we do if it was negative?  How would we deal?  Would I have a complete breakdown and fall apart?  How would we survive another negative.  So I got it together and B and I watched last night’s episodes of Dexter and Homeland to distract ourselves.  With about 10 minutes left in the 2nd show, B got the call and the nurse said, “Congratulations!  You are pregnant!”.  He had a big smile on his face, we hugged, and I started crying into his chest. I wrote down 2 questions for him to ask if it was yes: 1) What was the beta level?; and 2) When do I go in for the next blood test.  The answers were 245 and Wednesday.

I know we are not out of the woods by any means, but I am super grateful that after 1 year and 11 months of trying, WE ARE PREGNANT.  And I am going to allow myself to feel good about it :)

Thanksgiving At Home

This year B and I decided we were not going to travel and we were not going to spend time with family on Thanksgiving.  B actually had Thanksgiving day (and night) off, which is extremely rare.  However, with going through this last cycle and trying to keep up with things at work and life in general, we were/are both exhausted.  It also seemed exhausted dealing with the, “why aren’t you drinking” and “when are you two going to have a baby” comments from extended family.  You would think intuitively people would pick up on the fact that we told people TWO FREAKING YEARS AGO that we were “trying” to have a baby and the fact that we don’t might possibly mean that something is wrong and be sensitive about the topic.  Whether people are just not that smart or they are just too wrapped up in their own lives to notice, it is just too much for us to handle…me in particular.

B doesn’t seem as bothered by these things.  I think this is because 1) He’s pretty quiet and keeps to himself in general so as to avoid chatting it up with people; and 2) Nothing is different with him physically.  I’m the one that changes my drinking/eating habits (i.e. no caffeine, alcohol, raw foods, etc).  I’m the one that feels and looks bloated due to the IVF meds.  I’m the one that feels crampy and sometime nauseous from the progesterone.  I’m the one who constantly has the prometrium dripping down into my underwear.  All of these things contribute to me not wanting to be around people.  And this is all on top of the most difficult thing to deal with of all…not having a very pregnant belly to give us the promise of a baby or a baby to share the holidays with.  I just don’t feel like celebrating much of anything when the one thing we want most we can’t have (for the moment at least) and it’s possible we may never have.

Staying home for Thanksgiving was a good move this year.  I feel pretty proud of us for making a decision that is protective of us and our feelings.  We had a great day.  We took a couple walks with C, made a nice meal that we ate on our wedding china, I made turkey soup, and we were able to just relax.  We watched TV, spent time just talking, playing with C, and got to wear comfy clothes all day long.  It was great.  Of course it was impossible to keep thoughts of whether this cycle would be successful or not out of my mind, but at least I was in the comfort of my own home and felt comfortable enough letting the tears flow.  There were a few moments in which we commented about hopefully having a baby this time next year.

Zero to Freeze and What Constitutes a Cycle?

I wasn’t even bothered by the phone call I received today.  We had 5 low quality embryos that the lab was going to culture on day 3.  Of course they would not make it to Day 5 if they were looking so poor on day 3.  But then I took that thought a step further, which is if our current cycle fails, we will need to do another fresh cycle.  Does this mean my body needs to take some time off first?  Or can we go straight into another cycle?  And an even bigger question…what constitutes a “cycle”?  And is the definition of “cycle” different for insurance purposes vs. statistics for IVF working?  So here are my questions to wise-women I know in blogland…

1) My insurance has approved “3 cycles” of IVF.  Does this mean 3 fresh cycles?…meaning I’m on stimulation meds and both retrieval and transfer procedures occur.  Or does a cycle mean anytime an embryo is transferred into my uterus?  I’ve had 1 Fresh IVF cycle and 1 FET (a blast that came from this fresh cycle) and now I am on my 2nd Fresh IVF cycle…so is this my 2nd cycle (counts fresh cycles only) or is this my 3rd cycle (3 separate transfer procedures)?  If this is my 3rd cycle…where do we go from here if it fails?  Is it common to resubmit to the insurance company to see if they will cover more cycles?  Is it common that they will actual cover more cycles than originally approved?  What guides this decision?

2) I have the same questions about what constitutes a cycle.  But now I’m wondering about statistics.  I’ve read that if IVF is going to be a successful intervention, it is most likely to happen within 3 cycles.  Is a “cycle” defined differently here than it is for insurance companies?  If this is our 3rd cycle…what does that mean for us?  Is this the end of the IVF road for us?  The nurse at the transfer procedure told us that based on my responses to both fresh cycles they would be changing my protocol next time…but will there be a next time?  If medically they suggest we go through with another fresh cycle (would be our 3rd fresh cycle) will we be on our own in paying for it?

I started writing this post with a simple question…so I thought.  The more I wrote, the more questions seemed to come up.  There is so much that I don’t know.  I think I will give the insurance coordinator a call tomorrow to get those questions answered.  And then I will call the nurses to ask about our statistical chances of IVF working if we were to go through with another cycle.  I feel knowing the answers to these questions will help me if we do get bad news again.  If this cycle fails it will be heart-wrenching…but if I know it’s not the end of the line for us, both financially and medically it will take a bit of the edge off.  I also want to ask the nurses about what happens if we get a positive.  Will the want me to come in for another blood test…when will that occur?  At least there will be a plan in place no matter what news we get.  I am literally willing it to be positive!  I don’t know if I could take another failed cycle (whatever a cycle may be).

And a side note….I have been AWFUL to B lately.  I am incredibly irritable and he is taking the brunt of it.  Literally everything he does bothers me and I just snap.  I have constant cramping from the progesterone and my boobs are incredibly sore!  I’ve been going to sleep between 8:30 and 9pm every night and am just exhausted.  Last night, we went out to dinner with friends and I had to take a 2 hour nap before we went out just so I could stay out until 10pm.  I’m pathetic :(

Anxiety Provoking Transfer

I decided to go to work today and then leave once I knew the transfer was definitely going to happen today.  For my first IVF transfer, they called me at 7:30am.  Today, I didn’t hear anything by 9am so I called them.  I got a call back at 9:20am saying that I would be transferring today and we would need to be there at 10:40am.  This sent me into a panic.  I work 40 minutes from home and we are 20 minutes from the hospital.  That did not give me much time to get my stuff and get out of there and then go home to change, pee, take the valium and get on the road again.  When were they planning on calling me?  I was not pleased!  Then while on the phone with the lab tech she was not very informative.  All she said was we would be transferring 2.  Luckily, I am on top of things and asked for specifics.  How many of the 9 that were fertilized made it to today?  7  How many are top quality? 0 (Huge gasp by me) Why are you recommending to transfer 2 and what grade are they?  1 9-cell and 1 7-cell both have fragmentation.  What does that mean?  It means it’s “cloudy” when we look at them under the microscope instead of “clear”.  What about the others?  5 will be cultured out to day 6 and frozen if they survive.

Total freak out on the way to the hospital.  In a panic about being on time.  Upset that we didn’t have any top grade embryos (last time 2 of 5 were top).  And freaking out about transferring 2 embryos.  We did consent to this if we didn’t have any top grade embryos, but I honestly did not think we would get here.  Yes, there were lots of tears on the drive over.

When we got there of course they are behind.  Instead of going in at 11am, we went in at 11:45!!!  Glad we rushed!  And btw, B worked overnight last night and hadn’t slept in 24 hours…he was cheery as well!  Ugh!  We waited so long I actually had to pee a little bit (luckily my bladder was full enough when it was time).  I asked to speak to the IVF nurse on call and Kathy, my 2nd favorite nurse came in.  I wanted to know what she thought about the 2 embryo transfer and the fact that we didn’t have any top graded embryos.    She thought we should go with the 2 and that lots of women get pregnant with the quality embryos we have, as well as only 4 and 5 cell embryos.  She said they go with the statistics, but you never know.  She also said that if we move on to another cycle, they will probably recommend going back on the Menapur for stims, but not with the Luteul Lupron.  After she left the room, B and I looked at each other and both said let’s go with 2.

So there is no turning back now.  Although we want 2 children, we prefer to have them 1 at a time.  However, at this point, we just want a child…if that means taking the chance of having twins, we are totally for it.  We have been ready for our family to expand for 2 years now.  B, C, and I are a family, but we desperately want children.  We’ve had 2 failed cycles, so we felt this was the right time to take the chance on two.  And so now we wait…

Fertilization Report

Well not what I was expecting, but not a bad report.  So of the 17 eggs retrieved, 13 were mature and received ICSI, and of those 9 fertilized.  I wasn’t expecting our total # to go down by 1/2, but 9 is still a good number.  I’m looking forward to Thursday when we find out how many are still multiplying and what quality each embryo is.  If there are at least 4 high quality embryos, we will do a 5 day transfer.  The nurse said at this point it could go either way.  Today I started the Vivelle patches (2), which I need to switch every other day and the promethium (3 tables per day).  Now we have a short wait until Thursday to see what we are doing.

17 Mature Eggs

First of all, thank you so much to all the ladies that have given me positive thoughts and support in response to my last few posts.  It feels so good to read those comments and feel like I’m being thought of by others as we go through this.

Retrieval went perfectly.  I LOVED the new RN that was there to get me set-up and get the IV started.  She was super nice and both B and I connected with her.  She also has the same last name of my favorite aunt!  I couldn’t help but think that has to mean something :) Afterwards, I was able to wake up fairly quickly.  I was awake after only being back in the room for 10 minutes, but it probably took another 10 for me to open my eyes.  Apparently I asked B about how the Splooge Room went again, but this time it was in front of the nurse!  He said she pretended she didn’t hear..ha!  I sat up, had some crackers and ginger ale, and went to the bathroom.  Then we were ready to go.  We got the report that they retrieved 17 eggs (woohoo!) and would be getting the fertilization report tomorrow.  Right now I’m feeling pretty good…still a bit woozy, but good.  I have very mild cramping and not so much cramping…I can just feel it down there (if that makes any sense at all).  I haven’t needed to take any pain meds at this point.  I have acupuncture this afternoon, but otherwise I’m just hanging out on the couch with C.  B is sleeping b/c he worked last night.

I’m feeling pretty positive about a 5 day transfer.  I need 4 high quality embryos in order to do a day 5.  Last time 2 of the 4 were high quality, so I’m optimistic about this time around. Everyone was very pleased with the number 17.  In the end, it only takes one to implant, but having a high number like that does give you a certain sense of comfort.  I’m excited to get the call tomorrow with the fert report!