Sunday, March 30, 2008

Second U/S on Wednesday...

I can survive the next 60 hours, right? I did pretty well this weekend. Kept myself busy - slept - didn't obsess! The fact that I'm feeling (and looking) more bloated is helping. And my boobs seem more consistently veiny to me. No morning sickness though. No constipation. And the boob thing actually might just be my imagination. But I'm hanging in there.

60 hours to next ultrasound. I can do it. And we WILL see a heartbeat. We will.

Friday, March 28, 2008


Not much to report really. Had some more low back pain and crampiness in the wee hours of Thursday morning and pretty much throughout the day Thursday. I have read that the low back pain actually IS common - and can be caused by rising levels of progesterone which actually soften the discs and ligaments in your low back area. How weird is that?!? Anyway - I started feeling better Thursday night and seem to feel better this morning as well. I've decided the cramping incidents must be some kind of uterine growth spurts - a rush of hormones that makes my uterus decide to stretch and feel crampy.

So I'm trying not to worry. My biggest fear is some type of bleeding - especially given that I'm on Lovenox and baby aspirin. But I have to believe they've actually helped me get this far. So far, no spotting, nothing like that. So that continues to be a very good thing. More later ... :-)

Monday, March 24, 2008

More Sobbing, A Second Beta & An Ultrasound

I think this will be a short entry .. I’m just kind of tired but I’m good – I’m happy. For today. After getting myself all worked up again last night – in anticipation of today’s 5 week ultrasound and my second beta (SIX DAYS AFTER MY FIRST ONE – MOST RE’S DO THEM EVERY COUPLE OF DAYS BUT OH NO .. NOT MY RE) anyway – I didn’t die from hyperventilating and somehow I made to the RE’s office today. I nervously joked with the phlebotomist, “oh, that blood DEFINITELY looks like it has a higher HCG content,” .. she jokingly agreed. I tried to calm down. Then it was time for the ultrasound. I tried to breathe. The tech moved the wand .. I could hear her also clicking away on her keyboard .. measurements and such. Finally .. she said, “OK, there is one sac in your uterus.” Then she went and got my husband – brought him back to u/s room – and showed both of us the sac on the screen. It was just a black blob – but it looked pretty good to me! (I did feel a little pang that there was only one. But just a little pang. One healthy baby would be pretty darn amazing. It’s just that we’ll probably only do this once. But it’s OK. It’s MORE than OK.)

After that – we talked to a nurse – she explained that the sac was all they were looking for today since it’s so early. And that they’d like to see me back in 10 days for another ultrasound.

An hour and a half after we left – she called with the results of my beta – 3061! With a doubling time of 48 hours .. a perfectly acceptable beta for today would have been 1400. So 3061 is excellent.

I still have no symptoms. The cramping I wrote about the other day has not returned. Now I just have pings and pangs. My boobs are small and not particularly veiny. I don’t feel unusually tired (and it was in large part the lack of symptoms that had me sobbing again last night. That coupled with me taking my temp yesterday evening and it being LOW.) I give up on pregnancy symptoms. The black blob, or rather, sac in my uterus – and today’s big fat beta indicate that I am pregnant – and the pregnancy IS progressing.

So I’ll try to relax. I won’t succeed, but I’ll try.

And I’ll wait for my boobs to get bigger. And for me to feel like barfing.

10 days to the next ultrasound. We may even see a heartbeat. That would be really cool.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


The thing about cramping in early pregnancy – is that you don’t really know if it’s “good.” Sure, everyone tells you “it’s normal. I had period-like cramps for days/weeks/months. It’s your hormones. It’s your uterus stretching. You’re doing great!”

And you want so desperately to believe them … these women that have been there and KNOW.

But unlike morning sickness – which everyone equates with a healthy pregnancy for the most part … cramping is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, if it’s a normal pregnancy symptom and you’ve been trying for SO long to get pregnant (and stay pregnant), hey, bring it on! Great! Pregnancy related symptoms – step right up! Happy to see ya! Sit down and stay a while!

But with cramping … which feels EXACTLY like period cramping … there is this nasty little voice that tries to loudly whisper in your ear, “Something is WRONG! That’s why you’re CRAMPING! You are so SCREWED!”

It’s hard not to listen. Especially given that my lower back hurts too. A google search of “lower back pain, early pregnancy” suggests that rising progesterone levels can have something to do with lower back pain in early pregnancy. OK google. If you say so. You better be right. Oh, and a google search on “cramping, early pregnancy” takes you to an article that suggests “cramping might not be a sign of miscarriage.” Oh – it MIGHT not be, you say? Gee thanks. That’s just terrific.

I have no spotting whatsoever. I have no bleeding. My toilet paper remains as white as the driven snow. And so I offer up a fervent prayer.

Please let it stay that way. Please let this be OK. Please let me have this.

I’m home from work today. I just feel crappy. So I’m taking it easy. I don’t want to wish time away … but I wouldn’t mind fast-forwarding just a few weeks. Just to get over this hump.

I have another blood test and a very early ultrasound on Monday. It can’t get here fast enough.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


After a horrible morning - much of which was spent with me sobbing so hard I could barely breathe - it turns out my beta today at 15dpiui is 173. That's a great number. But let me back up ...

I peed on my fifth FRER this morning - and it was - lighter. But with each passing day - the line should get darker, right? The more HCG building up in your body, the more in your pee, HPT lines should get darker. Well, turns out that's more theoretical than factual. And I *know* that .. because I've seen other people post that the home tests only show if you're pregnant or not - not HOW pregnant you are, and not to base anything on how dark or not dark the line is.

But everybody does. And so, like everybody, I did too. And so when that faint line came up (and oh it took its time showing up at all) - I lost my mind. Started crying - and couldn't stop. Forced myself to go lay down (it was still very early) and tried to calm down. Then I got up and got ready and went for my blood draw - crying in the car on the way to the clinic. I stopped when I got there because I didn't want people to think I was nuts and also because I knew I was going to run into a new friend who just found out about her pregnancy too (she's a week ahead of me and found out today it's TWINS!!) anyway - I didn't want to be a big downer or burst into tears talking to her in the waiting room. So I held it together .. got my blood drawn .. they said they'd call later - and I got in my car in the parking lot and SOBBED. Hysterically. Like those crazy gulping can't breathe sobs. I was so sure it was over.

Somehow - I pulled myself together and drove home. Took a digital. "Pregnant" popped up pretty fast. I analyzed whether it popped up fast *enough*. Cried some more. Hugged the two onesies I bought over the weekend. I felt so broken.

Just after noon - the clinic called. To tell me I was pregnant (and I could only think, yeah, I know, but HOW PREGNANT?) And then they told me how pregnant. HCG level of 173 pregnant (average for 16dpo is 150 - I'm only 15dpo - so 173 is great.)

I am still calming down. After such an emotional morning - I am wiped out. I am so happy about the 173. Now it just has to stay high - and get higher. They're not bringing me back in for SIX days. Most clinics bring you back after a first beta within 2 - 3 days. But not my clinic. But I'm OK. As long as I'm not spotting or bleeding, I'm OK. (Pity my husband if that happens. That would be BAD even though it can be normal in early pregnancy. I don't care. I don't need the stress. No spotting.)

So I go back Monday for a second beta and an ultrasound to make sure the grain of rice is where it's supposed to be - in my uterus and not stuck in a fallopian tube.

No more home pregnancy tests. I'm done. Cold turkey. I swear.

So, yeah. 173. I can live with that. That works. Deep breaths...

Monday, March 17, 2008


Yep. I appear to be - pregnant. Haven't had bloodwork yet ... that's tomorrow. But after a FRER (First Response Early Result pregnancy test) negative on Friday at 11dpiui .. I got an almost too faint to see with the naked eye FRER positive at 12dpiui … another very, very faint but slightly darker positive at 13dpiui and also a digital positive at 13dpiui. Tested again this morning - 14dpiui - another positive. That makes 4 positives. And today's line was ever so slightly darker too. Although none of my lines come close to being "dark". And I know ... a line's a line ... and I always have rolled my eyes at women who post about being nervous about their faint positives. Now I'm one of them. Oops.

DH and I are happy – but feel very guarded. Cautiously optimistic. I didn’t even tell him after the ghostly faint first positive – I waited until I got another one Sunday morning (at 5:15 a.m.)

Here's how I told him: while I was still in the bathroom, right after I tested, I taped a quote bubble to my tummy. I had cut it out and written on in green sharpie marker the night before - and hidden it in the vanity. Here's what it said:

“Hi Daddy! I can’t wait to meet you! I’m due November 24, 2008. PS – Mommy is pregnant!"

Then I grabbed the digital that said “pregnant” and I went into the pitch black bedroom and said:

“J .. I think I have a weird rash on my belly.”

J, “Yeah?”

Me, “Can you turn on the light and look at it?”

J, “OK.” (Turning on light and then reading quote bubble out loud.) “No way!! Really?”

Me, “Really!” kiss kiss kiss! "Look!" (at the digital that said "pregnant".)

And then I reached under the bed and pulled out two little onesies I bought Saturday afternoon (first time I’ve EVER bought something for “my” baby. I wanted to do it as a positive, have faith act after seeing that first ghostly faint positive) and I danced them around the bed. It was SO DORKY .. but it was fun and we laughed. We’re dorks.

But our happiness was guarded - and still is.

I’d like to be able to laugh and shout from the rooftops – but for now – we’re just smiling (but it’s one of those nervous smiles) and hoping for a good beta number on Tuesday. I don’t have any spotting – so we’re taking that as a good sign for us … as our last IUI BFP ended in a chemical and I was already spotting and then flat out bleeding by the time I saw a BFP at 13dpiui. Hopefully this time will continue to be very, very different. I had some definite twinging cramping going on over the weekend – nothing major and really no cramping today – and my boobs look maybe slightly veinier than usual – not much though. So really not much at all in the way of “symptoms.”

If you follow this blog - you know this was our third and final IUI (and our MOST expensive cycle ever. Around 4000 dollars due to much more monitoring than usual.) Moving on to IVF would have been a real financial hardship for us … so if this pregnancy sticks … well hell, this kid is already saving me money!

I have learned so much from this process – but perhaps the most important thing I’ve learned is BE YOUR OWN ADVOCATE. Ask questions. Do your own research. Do not just mildly follow everything your RE tells you to do. Yes, you want a doctor you can trust – but remember – they have hundreds and hundreds of other patients. You are the only one who is 100 percent solely concerned with YOU … so trust yourself. Follow your instincts, and trust your gut.

This may sound corny – but I truly feel that I was guided this cycle – “told” when to speak up, and what questions to ask. And I believe it’s why I’m pregnant. And on that note – here is what I did this cycle:

- Per my request – did 2 back to back IUI’s at 12 and 36 hours post trigger – instead of just one at 36 hours
- Per my request – aimed for a goal of four mature follies at time of trigger – with a lead at 19mm or above
- Per my request - added ganirelix during stims to suppress one giant follie I had that had jumped ahead of the others and wanted to ovulate too soon
- Ate pineapple – fresh fruit plus some of the core – every night for five night starting night of second IUI
- Progesterone suppositories – 50mg/once a day starting night of second IUI. Am now up to 100mg/day (per my request.. I’m very request-y with my doctor..)
- Drank Welch’s purple grape juice – not every day but a good bit.
- Drank apple juice with a little wheatgrass powder mixed in pretty much every day during stims and in 2WW. Sometimes I also mix in a little Spirulina (another super green food.)
- Lovenox injections starting 1dpiui (had to “argue” this one too .. many docs don’t like to start patients until after BFP or even heartbeat – I believe due to my two clotting disorders I need the Lovenox sooner and both hemo and RE said OK.)
- Took pnv, foltex, baby aspirin, fish oil capsule & one extra 400 mcg folic supplement every day (have been on this regimen for several months.)
- Acupuncture once/week (have been going for about a year – I definitely think it helped.)
- Rested on table 20 minutes after each IUI – and came home after second IUI and took a one hour nap before going into work that day (and then regretted going to work at all because I was so crampy that day.)
- Oh – and I was completely, completely stressed out the entire cycle – it was emotionally, mentally & financially grueling. So much for “relaxing”!

For now .. I’m taking it one day at a time. I so want to be excited and over the moon – and a little part of me is – but unfortunately that’s one more thing IF robs us of ... our innocence. But it’s OK. For now – I feel very, very lucky and very hopeful.

BFP. Wow.

First beta results tomorrow. I'm hoping for at least a 50. We'll see. I'll post when I know. Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Fortune Cookie

As I unwrapped a fortune cookie today - leftover from yesterday's Chinese take-out - I thought to myself, "I hope it says 'You Will Find Out You Are Pregnant Very Soon'." And then I laughed, because my fortune cookies usually say "Wisdom Is In Soul" or something REALLY non-specific like that.

And then I pulled my fortune out and it said:

"Good news of a long-awaited event will arrive soon."

And my eyes welled up with tears.

Please let it be the news I hope it is.

I'm 8dpiui ... hopeful, nervous & scared.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

A Little Update

After IUI's on Sunday and Monday morning - around 9:30am each morning - I started having some SIGNIFICANT cramping, bloating & pressure Monday afternoon beginning around noon. I thought for sure I was headed into OHSS land ... although my E2 Saturday morning before trigger Saturday night was just over 1000 which isn't typically OHSS land ... but I was FEELING it so I was worried. It continued all day .. to the point where a co-worker asked me if I was limping as I walked .. painfully .. down the hall. "Er .. no," I said. "My stomach is bothering me.." It hurt to pee. In that - I had to press on my stomach/pelvic area as I peed .. because it was so crampy.

I got home from work around 8:30pm. I walked up the stairs to my front door and noticed an old newspaper on my front lawn and decided, stupidly, to go pick it up. My front lawn is hilly - and it had been raining all day. (You can see where this is going.) I walked toward the paper ... and then ... SLIP! FALL! SPLAT! In a pile of black mud. I sat there .. stunned .. still feel horribly crampy and wondering if I had just ruptured a ovary. Then I see a friggin' neighbor walking down the street with his two dogs .. staring at me. He had to think I was some weird drunk alcoholic who had just fallen in her front yard .. in the dark .. in the rain .. into a sea of mud.

I couldn't get up. I was so sore and crampy .. I could not get up. The black mud pit was sucking me down. So I grabbed my cell phone and called my husband - who was inside the house. "I fell," I whimpered. "In the front yard. I can't get up. I need you to help me."

He rushed out out the front door and saw me sprawled in the mud. As he walked toward me the neighbor (who was now standing across the street staring at me. I tried to pretend I was gardening.) Anyway - his two dogs started growling at my husband - who was now trying to pick me up and failing as I plopped back into the mud. Finally - he got a good grip and hoisted me up. Although I was half crying - we both started laughing - it was so fucking ridiculous.

He helped me inside. And I actually felt kind of better - who knows? Maybe I popped a swollen ovary back into place.

Anyway - I took it easy for the rest of the night - and by around 10pm was feeling decidedly better. I got to bed around midnight and felt really good when I woke up ... so I can only assume the crazy cramping, pressure and bloating was what it feels like to ovulate four or five eggs at once - including one GIANT one. And if that's the case - it means our IUI timing was great. So I hope that IS what it was. It's a pretty reasonable assumption to think it was. Let's hope. And let's hope I'm pregnant ... with no more than two babies ... We'll see. I'm 2dpiui. It's gonna be a looooooong 2WW.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

IUI #3

OK .. I haven't even been able to blog about this cycle up until now. It's been so stressful - and I have been so frantic - I just couldn't even bring myself to write about what was happening. But now - it's ALMOST over - so I can. I just got the call to trigger tonight at 9:30pm .. and I will have back to back IUI's - the first one on Sunday morning at 9:30am .. the second on Monday morning at 9am.

Basically - today's instructions to trigger come after my 10th dose of follistim (a record for me) - with the 11th hour addition this past Wednesday of ganirelix to suppress one giant egg that REALLY wanted to be liberated from its follicular shell. Yesterday's follie check revealed:
a 23mm (considered out of the picture/not healthy anymore by my RE at this point due to its enormity) a 17, two 14's and an 11.

For those wondering why a 23 is "too big" - it is only because I'm on injectables, during a natural or a clomid only cycle - a 23 would be great. But on injectables, apparently once you get over 22-ish .. it becomes less likely that the egg inside the follicle is still "good".

The bad thing about yesterday was that my E2 dropped ... from 799 on Thursday ... to 681 on Friday morning. I spent all day Friday (and Friday night) scouring the internet to try and figure this out - because RE nurse really had no explanation for me - and what I found is that Ganirelix not only suppresses LH so you don't ovulate on your own - it also suppresses E2. And most RE's will up your stim dose accordingly. My RE actually wanted to decrease my stim dose .. but we did not end up doing that (I'm a cantankerous patient and argue with everything I don't agree with) and actually bumped it up - and as of this morning - my E2 is 1071! So it came right back up. Whew!

Based on yesterday's scan, although I did not have one today (thank God - as this IUI cycle has already been incredibly expensive) ... I'm hoping the 17 has turned into an 18/19 .. and the 14's are around 16. Which means I'm triggering tonight with at least three mature follies - and possibly four. I'm not writing that huge one totally off. There is a chance it's still viable - the chances are just somewhat reduced that it is.

Although last night was my 10th dose which seemed like A LOT to me - I think 7 - 10 nights of stims is average -- so 10 isn't insane - although I am so glad to be DONE. And done with the ganirelix too .. that's kind of a thicker needle - and the liquid is a little irritating once injected. Oh -- and that was another dilemma -- they instructed me to take the ganirelix this morning even though we knew I'd be triggering tonight. I didn't want to because that seemed dumb - why would I take it on trigger day? AND - the package insert says to take it up UNTIL the day of HCG trigger (not up to and INCLUDING day of HCG trigger.) I compromised. And did half an injection at 6am this morning. I told you I'm a bad patient. But I don't care if I start to surge today - I'm triggering tonight anyway and my first IUI is in the morning. So I don't WANT my follies to be suppressed anymore. I need to just let it go and shut up about it though.

We're also setting records with how much this IUI cycle is costing us out of pocket - I estimated $2500 ... it's closer to $4000. Oh my God, even typing that makes me want to faint. It's taking a big, UNEXPECTED bite out of our fertility budget, that's for sure. It's painful to think those dollars might be better directed at IVF. But .. I have to just let that go too. There was no way to know on CD 3 - a week and a half ago Wednesday - that this cycle was going to be so nuts and so expensive. I have never had more than 3 ultrasounds and 3, maybe 4 blood draws in one cycle and this is my FOURTH injectables cycle (third IUI, first injectable cycle was TI.) But it is what it is. I'd like to think I've been put through the wringer on this one - physically, emotionally and financially - because it's going to .... work. We'll see. I feel like we have a shot.

Although I have one more injection tonight - HCG trigger shot ... I'm looking forward to then having a few nights off from injections! But I'll have to start Lovenox early next week - 1dpiui will be Tuesday night. So I guess that's when I'll start.

So that's my story. It's always something. This journey is not for the timid or the faint of heart .. that is for SURE.

Hope all who read this are doing well. I'll keep you posted, of course. And keep me posted on how YOU'RE doing too. :-)