May 25, 2010

It's Not Over, After All

Not yet, anyway. But it's not good, either.

Beta #5 was drawn yesterday to make sure that my levels were going down. Last Wednesday, beta #4 was 45. Yesterday it was 188. That's a doubling time of 58 hours - not great, but definitely within the 48-72 hour doubling window.

I freaked out when RE's nurse told me, and I asked if it was possible that we stopped the meds too early on what could still be a potentially viable pregnancy. She said no, RE still thinks it's a non-viable pregnancy and that it may be ectopic.

My last pregnancy implanted in my uterus right next to one of my tubes; at first, the obstetric radiologist thought it was in the part of the tube closest to the uterus. So I went for an ultrasound this afternoon to see if it was possible to get any sense of where the pregnancy might be.

The ultrasound didn't show anything; given my levels, it's probably too soon for anything to be visible. But the doctor reviewing the ultrasound kind of confirmed what I was concerned about - when he came in to tell me what he thought of the images, he said "It's too early to tell whether this is a viable pregnancy or not."

I said, "Well, at this point I hope it's not, because I was told to stop my meds 5 days ago." At which he started backpedaling and saying "Well, it's very likely this isn't viable, I'm sure they know what they're doing."

But now, if this isn't definitively determined to be ectopic, I will always wonder if I should have kept going with the meds.

Beta #6 will be on Friday, unless I bust a tube before then...

May 19, 2010

It's Officially Over

Today's beta was 45, so it was only up 2 from Monday. No big surprise there.

The nurse didn't say much, other than that she had thought this cycle would work for us. Yeah, well, REs, nurses, and financial coordinators have been thinking that for seven years.

I scheduled a follow up with RE for tomorrow afternoon, and I also asked the nurse to have the surrogacy coordinator call me. We will probably try one more time with me if we can, but I have a feeling it's time to start looking for a uterus to borrow.

Thank you all for the support and kind words.

Oh, and I thought of Upside #11 while I was in the shower this morning - no more having to scrub my skin raw to get the sticky estrogen patch residue off.

Oh, and one more thing. My mother is not speaking to me. Instead of just simply saying "I'm so sorry, I wish there was something I could do", she started a conversation with me this morning that began with "Aside from you and R, I'm the one most impacted by all this. This is really upsetting to me, and I'm really hurting because of this, too..." (This, after last Friday she implied that perhaps we're not having any luck because we're not praying enough or not praying correctly.)

After she said that this morning, I told her I didn't want to talk about it, but she kept pushing. Finally I just had to walk away while she was still talking to me, so now she says she's just not going to talk to me any more. Ever again.

Fine by me. She's been diagnosed by a psychologist (who she saw) as having narcissistic personality disorder, and another one (mine, who hasn't seen her but has heard the stories) also suggested it was NPD without me mentioning she'd already been diagnosed as such. So I know that part of it is just who she is, but frankly, I don't have the energy to even care.

There is Blood

Perhaps I shouldn't have said in my last post that there hasn't been "even a speck of spotting"...

I got up at 1:30 this morning to go to the bathroom. I wiped. I totally did not expect blood. I gasped, because there it was - and not just a speck, either. It looks like the beginning of CD1, and there was even a little bit in the toilet, along with a tiny little clot.

Please don't say lots of women spot or bleed during early pregnancy. I know, because I'm one of them. And every single time, it has marked the beginning of the end.

I'm sitting on the floor of my closet typing this, so that I don't disturb R. I want to throw myself on the ground and cry, wail, have a tantrum, but the emotion won't come. I'm numb inside - there have been a few tears, but no sobbing.

We've failed. At the place that is supposed to be the holy grail. At the place that is supposed to be our last (and best) shot.

I was going to get up early, go to a lab near my office, then go in to work for most of the day. Instead, I will be showing up at a lab near my house, without even showering first, and attempt not to cry during the draw. (I didn't even tell you guys about how I completely lost it during Saturday's draw when the phlebotomy tech started complaining about how she was tired of being pregnant and is annoyed that she still has five more months to go. I will be going to a different location today.)

Then I will come back home, get on an 8 a.m. call for a big, very visible project that I was assigned yesterday, and then cancel the rest of my meetings for the day and await the call with the number, probably while downing copious amounts of sugary desserts alternating with fried foods.

But, because hope is a **tch this way, this time I will not take off the patches or skip any doses until I'm told to. Because, you know, maybe just maybe the number will still be good. Ha.

May 18, 2010

Less Than 24 Hours 'til Beta #4 Results Are In

Tomorrow (Wednesday) morning is beta #4. We'll see how it goes. I'm trying to be hopeful, but I've gotten so good at building a wall of defenses against the pain that I've actually seriously kind of forgotten how to be hopeful.

But I haven't had even a speck of spotting, and I've continued to have a lot of aching types of feelings that I hope means the placenta has kicked into gear and is growing at a rate that will translate into a strong rise in hcg.

I'm going to leave the office to work from home tomorrow afternoon as soon as I can, so hopefully I will be home when the call comes and I won't have to wait until the day ends. I'll post as soon as I can.

May 17, 2010

Officially in Beta Hell

After Saturday's freakout, I managed to find a very Zen place yesterday. Today, I was even hopeful and somewhat optimistic, which is rather impressive for me.

But today's number was only 43 - it didn't double this time, it only increased by 67%. Which I know is technically still within the "normal" range for rate of increase, but I think it's worrisome that I went from a 133% increase all the way down to 67%.

I'm supposed to get another beta on Wednesday, and progesterone retested in about a week (assuming I make it that far).

I'm not feeling good about this. (Shocking, I know.) Particularly since I found this study that says "Patients with slow rising beta-hCG levels should not be given an optimistic prognosis even if viability is demonstrated at eight weeks."

So apparently, we could go along for another couple of months and still not have a good outcome. But then again, I already knew that, because it's happened before. It's just that if this is not going to end well, I'd at least rather it end now instead of two months from now...

May 15, 2010

Um, I Spoke Too Soon

Crap crap crap crap crap.

I hadn't gotten a call by 4:45 p.m. Denver time, so I called the clinic. They hadn't received any results from the lab. I explained that I was there before the doors were opened and was among the first 10 people to be drawn. So the nurse called the lab to track down my results.


Yea, hurray, it more than doubled. Except that I had taken off the estrogen patches and hadn't done any of my morning meds.

I was too scared and mortified to confess this, so I didn't ask her what I should do. R and I were out with some friends, so I made up an excuse to have him take me home right way. Then I took all the pills and slapped some more patches on. Tonight is the night I would have had to swap them out anyway, so hopefully the vast majority of the estrogen from those patches was already in my system.

And then I panicked over the progesterone. The insert that came with it said if you miss a dose, just take it as soon as you remember, but don't take more than you normally would in one day. It didn't say anything about if it's close to your next dose, just skip it and resume your normal dosing schedule. So I took two - the one I missed this morning, and the one that I would normally be taking mid-day.

Then I laid down in bed and started frantically Go.ogling "forgot progesterone IVF", and about half of what I read said don't double up on the dose.

So then I panicked in the opposite direction and tried to, ahem, remove one of them. It turns out that once you stick those little suckers in there, it's pretty much impossible to get them back out. Especially if some time (the 15 minutes I spent searching online) has passed and they've started to dissolve.

So now I am just completely freaked out all the way around. And if this fails now, I will feel like this is why and it's all my fault. And hope has risen again. In fact, when the nurse called me to tell me she was waiting for the lab to call her back, she said, "I looked up your results, and you were at 11. A lot of times FETs have lower numbers, so I don't think this is over yet by any means." She was definitely a lot more optimistic than the nurse on Thursday. She said they will want me to keep getting draws every other day until the number is at least above 100.

So, lesson learned: No matter how faint the second line is, hell, even if there is no second line, and even if all your bloating goes away and you wake up feeling like you're not pregnant, and you've been around this mountain 5 times already, don't stop taking your meds until you get the official word.

It's (Unofficially) Over

I took another test this morning. The line was even more faint than the one I made my mom look at Wed. night. The only surprise in that was I didn't think it was possible to be even more faint and yet still visible, but it was.

My best guess is it will be a 4. Anyone else want to take bets on the number? Sadly, I have no good prize to offer - only bags full of needles, meds, and other shot-related supplies. And lots of hard earned, painful wisdom to share.

Speaking of wisdom (or in this case, the lack thereof), after I saw that pathetic line, I took off the estrogen patches, didn't bother to cram in another suppository, and skipped the es.tra.ce and folic acid pills. I even got a caramel mocha Fra.ppu.cino on the way to the lab. Who cares about the caffeine at this point?

On the off chance there is anyone here who is still relatively new to this process (unlikely - my story probably scares all those types off as soon as they read my profile and realize this hell can last for the better part of a decade or more): don't do what I've done. Wait until you get the official results first.

But once you've gone through five losses, you pretty much know the trip around the mountain by heart, so at that point you can be stupid and stop your meds early and not worry about whether you've just screwed up your chances, because you know you haven't.

Hell, if I was the type who drank, I'd probably have looked for a place I could stop and pound a few back on the way to the lab. (Though come to think of it, if I did that, that's probably the time fate would stick its tongue out at me and give me a tripling beta...)

Instead, as I type this, I'm sitting in a beach chair (i.e. my butt 2 inches off the ground) in an asphalt parking lot with the sun beating down on me (the line begins to form an hour before the lab opens), waiting for someone to jab me so that a complete stranger can call me in a few hours to tell me what I already's over.

May 13, 2010

Looking on the Bright Side

You'd think by now I'd be prepared for this kind of news. I spent a few minutes freaking out one of our dogs by holding onto her and sobbing into her fur coat. The poor thing usually sticks right by me, but by the time that was over, she fled with a rather confused and wildly panicked look in her eyes.

And then, since I figure there will be plenty of time for a wailing, whiny, self-pitying post soon enough if the situation doesn't improve, I decided to focus on the bright side for now.

So here's my Top 10 List of the Upsides to This Ending in Miscarriage. (Keeping in mind that the difference between "bright side" and "dark humor" is a very fine - or should I say faint? - line at this point...)

Without further ado:

10. I can pick things up without first having to contemplate whether they weigh less than 10 pounds.

9. The ugly yellow-purple telltale Lo.venox blotches on my stomach should disappear in, oh, two or three months.

8. I can be kind of weird about numbers, in a slightly OCD way. This would be m/c number 6 - a nice, even number. An even half dozen.

7. I can blow my nose without R worrying about me using stomach muscles.

6. I can focus on losing more weight, to reduce my risk of pre-eclampsia and hopefully be able to stay under 200 pounds even at full term. Funny the things I worry about when I can't even manage to stay pregnant for 5 minutes, much less 5 months...

5. I can take a second class this summer, because if I'm not incubating, it doesn't matter so much if I spend 12 weeks doing nothing but working, sleeping, and studying. Though I don't know if I could also cram any sort of meaningful weight loss in, so that may merit additional consideration.

4. The dry spell is over. (Even if I wasn't all messy with suppository goo, there's no way we risk sex while I'm incubating.)

3. Caffeine, here I come. Frappucinos, Pepsi, Cherry Coke, and chocolate. Lots and lots of chocolate. Actually, I got a head start on this one - there is a pan of brownies cooling on the counter as I type.

2. I will be able to fit into all those clothes I just bought for longer than the next two months. (Well, I suppose this depends on how much chocolate from Upside #3 is involved...)

1. It's an excuse to get dressed up and go out somewhere where I can wear the sexy, strappy shoes I will rarely have an occasion to wear. Because nothing says celebration like yet another miscarriage.

(Mo, perhaps there's a postcard somewhere in that last sentiment?)

Beta #1 is in

And it's a whopping 11. Should be at least 50. Progesterone is 6.8, should be a minimum of 6.0, so at the low end of normal. So clearly not good.

The nurse did say that they have had a few cases of numbers this low progressing, but she wasn't overly encouraging either - they expect my numbers to be lower by Saturday. I'm to stay on the meds and retest then.

So the wait continues. And if this doesn't work, we are one step away from being asked to do gestational surrogacy. Anyone know where I can find a money tree?

No News Yet, But a Thank You

Just wanted to say a quick thank you to all of you for holding my hand and keeping me company during these last few days. The 2ww is always a challenging time, but you're making me laugh and smile. In no particular order:

Silver, you're cracking me up. Thank you for leaving nothing uncrossed!

Mrs. LC, nope, no pictures. It's matter of getting your nose right down to it (to the point of smelling the pee) before you can see it. I'd need a $3,000 camera with a super macro lens to have even a remote chance of capturing the faintness of those lines, so I didn't even try. Although if I found a pink Sha.rpie and drew it in there a bit darker, maybe I'd feel better about it? :-)

Mrs. Spock and Sue, thank you for the encouraging stories.

Nic, thank you for continuing to check in on me after all this time. For those of you who don't know Nic, she and I began this horrible journey around the same time several years ago. She was one of my very first blogger friends, and although she has now had success twice over, she still continues to keep tabs on me. I've been meaning to post a comment on your blog to thank you for that, but I realized it's password protected. I'll check my e-mail in box to see if I have the password.

Mara, I'm sorry this wasn't the month. Pee sticks are evil, but yet somehow it's impossible to stay away from them, isn't it?

Mo, Polly, and Anna, thank you for thinking of me.

Hopefully there will be some real news to follow soon. So far, I am getting very little actual work accomplished today...

Testing, Round 3

The alternate title to this post is "Pregnant, Not Pregnant, Pregnant, Not Pregnant..." (Think plucking petals off a daisy.)

Our bathroom countertop looks like a science experiment gone mad at the moment. There are four test sticks there at this point. The first is the one I posted about last night (it was a brand name Fi.rst Res.ponse).

The second is one of the E..P .T.'s digitals that R brought home yesterday. I did it right before bed and was then too lazy to tromp all the way downstairs to log on and post about it. (I've tried posting from my Bla.ckbe.rry but apparently my particular version isn't supported.) Anyway, it was very mean and said "Not pregnant".

This morning I did one of each again before heading off for the blood draw. The FR once again had a very faint second line, although it was slighly less faint than last night's line. So at least it seems to be moving in the right direction. And the other one still said "Not pregnant".

So my guess is that my beta is somewhere above 15 and below 50, because the FR is supposed to be sensitive in the 15-25 range, and the other one's sensitivity starts at 50.

The wait for the call begins...

May 12, 2010

Testing, Round 2

Sorry for the quietness yesterday. I was too afraid to test for fear of getting the same results, so I decided to wait at least until today. And then when I got home last night, I was so tired I wound up taking a nap for a couple hours, got up for dinner, and then went back to bed fairly soon after that.

I started having period-like aching and minor cramping that began yesterday afternoon and happened again this afternoon. And I started having a very, very tiny amount of light brown spotting today as well.

So, I decided I might as well face the inevitable when I got home from work tonight. I did the test, spent a couple minutes crying, and then began the obsessive watch for the second line.

And it was barely there. I mean, barely barely. At first I wasn't really sure, but then it got ever so slightly darker as a couple more minutes passed. Finally I was confident enough to call R and tell him to buy a different brand on the way home. (Preferably one that says "pregnant" or "not pregnant" so that we don't have to interpret.)

Then I couldn't wait any longer - I had to have someone else verify that I wasn't just imagining things. So I took the stick downstairs and made my 75-year-old mother sit right next to a lamp. At first she kept saying she didn't see a second line, but then she held it up under the lampshade, right next to the bulb, and as she kept turning her wrist to different angles, finally she saw it.

By this time, more than 10 minutes had passed, so I was afraid that maybe we were seeing a false positive. So I went into the garage to dig Monday's tests out of the bottom of the garbage can. (I didn't tell anyone but you guys that I took those - especially not R.) We examined both of those, and even after 2 days neither of them had a second line.

So I think it really is a second line.

However, now I'm concerned (I wouldn't be me if I wasn't concerned about something) that the line isn't dark enough to result in a beta of 50 by tomorrow. And I'm concerned about the period-like aching, cramping, and spotting.

But really, there's nothing I can do except wait and see what happens. And pray. Although I have to admit, for the last few years, it's been painful to pray. So any prayers you care to offer up on my behalf would be more than welcome, because I am seriously out of practice.

I will post again later if I do a second test tonight. (I didn't think ahead to collect anything in a cup, so after I called R and asked him to pick up more tests on his way home, it occurred to me that I will have to wait until my bladder fills again.)

I'm working from home tomorrow because I didn't want to be at the office when the call comes, so I will be able to log on and post once I get the call.

May 10, 2010

I Caved

And it wasn't pretty. Saved some FMU from this morning and tested it when I got home tonight. BFN.

Thought maybe it was just that saving it (in the fridge) affected it somehow, so decided to test fresh. BFN again.

I know it's not totally over, there's still a chance that it could turn up BFP later this week. But if it's supposed to be at 50 on Thursday, that means it's supposed to be at 25 by tomorrow morning, which means it should be at least around 20 at this point.

And that, I would think, should definitely show up on a test. It was a FRED, not a dollar store one, and I've gotten a faint line on a FRED before and had a beta drawn a couple hours later that turned out to be 5...

May 09, 2010

Slowly Going Crazy

We're at the half way point of the 2ww. So far, it's gone like this:

First 24 hours after transfer (Tues. night to Wed. afternoon) - Doubting it worked because there wasn't any implantation spotting in the first 24 hours like there was in my other two FETs that ended with BFPs.

Later Wednesday afternoon - Started to feel some very slight pinching sensations, hope started to rise a little bit.

Thursday morning - Nauseous, hope in full bloom.

Thursday afternoon/night - Nausea went away (to be expected, even if it was m/s it's usually only a few hours per day for me), but no more pinching sensations or other symptoms. Also don't seem to be particularly bloated. Hope fades.

Friday - No symptoms at all (other than the sore boobs I've had since starting the estrogen, so those don't count because that symptom existed pre-transfer). Really feeling like it didn't work.

Friday night - Totally nauseous again, but not sure if it was just that dinner didn't agree with me (though it seemed fine when I was eating) or if it was something more.

Saturday morning - Still very nauseous, probably just an issue with dinner, but a little hope still crept in.

Saturday late morning to early evening - More pinching feelings that are a little stronger, as well as some slight tugging feelings. Hope blooms anew. And then I think I've detected a bit of bloating. Yea!

This morning - Got a Mother's Day eCard from someone who knows I don't have kids and knows that we've struggled to have them - WTF?? (She doesn't know we're currently cycling.) Oh well, it's not someone I see regularly, so I'm just going to delete it from my inbox and ignore it. I'd probably be a lot more upset if I wasn't in a hopeful place. Had more pinching feelings during the night, and bloating still seems to be there. Yea again!

And speaking of hopeful places, I'm debating when to POAS. I'd be tempted to do it tomorrow morning (6dp5dt), but I have a meeting first thing in the morning and it includes some people I don't normally work with, so I don't want to go into that meeting in tears if there isn't a second line. Ditto for Tuesday, because I have an even earlier meeting (7 a.m.) that day.

So I may be forced by circumstances to wait until the day before beta to test. I always test - I'm one of those people who doesn't want to have the news broken to me by a nurse. I think part of it's a control thing; there's so little in this process we get to control that darn it, I'm not going to let someone else control when I get to find out if it worked or not. Plus, it just seems like such a personal thing to hear from someone who doesn't know me that well. And, when I've gotten bad news test results in the past, I generally tear up and can barely whisper, much less talk, and then it's just awkward and uncomfortable all the way around.

So there. Those are my excuses for POAS, and I'm sticking to them (no pun intended, really). :-)

May 06, 2010

Positively Hopeless or Hopelessly Positive?

It is the beginning of May, and R and I are sitting in the middle of a winter wonderland.

I think I mentioned previously that we were going to spend the latter part of our Denver trip in a condo in ski country. We got here early this evening. The condo is comfortable and cozy, with a fireplace and picture windows that look out onto the ski slopes and a forest of pine trees that are dusted in snow. Tiny snowflakes are drifting ever-so-gently to the ground.

This is just what I need to try to maintain some semblance of sanity until next week’s beta.

I spent the first 24 hours convinced the cycle didn’t work because I haven’t seen any implantation spotting. However, I did start to feel a little bit of minor pinchy type of pains yesterday, so then I began to think that maybe implantation is starting to happen after all. So far, the pains have continued off and on. More off than on, and I wish they were sharper like the implantation pains I’ve had with past pregnancies, but still, I’ll take ’em.

Then, this morning, I woke up feeling nauseous, almost to the point of throwing up, and it lasted for a few hours. I know it sounds ridiculously early to be morning sickness, but then I spent the morning Googling to see if anyone else has ever had morning sickness that early, and some women swear that they have. And I’m not one to have a lot of nausea in general unless it’s morning sickness or food poisoning.

I have had morning sickness pretty early in some of my past pregnancies (sometimes between 7 and 14 dpo), so I’m hoping it’s not totally out of the question. And it’s following the pattern of the other rounds of morning sickness I’ve had – it strikes in the morning, then goes away after a few hours. We’ll see what happens tomorrow morning.

R has been on my case because I tend to be very cautious in how I speak about this attempt – I say things like “Assuming we get to the second trimester…” or “We’ll see what next week’s beta shows”, and he thinks I should speak more confidently.

So then this morning after the nausea, I got all excited and told him, “Hopefully this is a good sign!” To which he responded, “I said ‘Be positive’, not ‘Have hope’!”

I’m not exactly sure how one is supposed to be positive without hope. Apparently, neither is he, because he couldn’t give me a good answer to that...

May 05, 2010


The transfer went well yesterday. We transferred one blast that was 100% reexpanded and starting to hatch.

The transfer itself was surprisingly fast (to us, anyway). Our former RE tended to take a lot more time and also showed us where they were in my uterus on the monitor.

But the upside to yesterday was that my leg cramps, which always happen during transfer, weren't very bad. (During one of our previous transfers at our first IVF clinic, they were so bad that after the embryos were in, I had to have that RE hold one leg straight up and R hold the other one. Talk about embarrassing...)

So now I'm hanging out in bed, and R is obsessively monitoring every move I make. Last night he told me not to blow my nose because it involves using stomach muscles.

Speaking of being obsessive, R isn't the only one. I'm trying not to, but failing miserably at obsessing over implantation spotting. Or more precisely, the lack of it.

I know, I know, it doesn't always happen. It didn't happen in my first two pgs, but then again I wasn't on Lo.venox then either. But out of the four transfers we've done in the past, it did happen both times on the two that resulted in BFPs. The first time, it happened the morning after transfer. The second time, it was around midnight the night of transfer. Just a tiny little bit of light pink, just once each cycle, when I went to the bathroom.

But this time, nada so far. And I'm on 80ml of Lov instead of 40, so I'm bleeding a bit more in general.

It's going to be a long 8 days until beta. We're heading to a condo in the mountains tomorrow, so at least we will have pretty scenery to distract us until Sunday night when we head home. And then, knowing me, I will break out the sticks on Tuesday morning. Or Monday if I'm really impatient... :-)

May 04, 2010

Transfer Time

We're heading to the clinic for the transfer in about 45 minutes. We decided to transfer 1, unless the first one doesn't look good upon thaw, in which case they'll thaw another one and then we will transfer both.

I had been strongly leaning toward 1 anyway, and then when a nurse called on Sunday with my instructions, I told her that we wanted to do 1 but I wanted to confirm with RE that he didn't feel strongly about transferring 2. She said given my age and the high percentage of normals we had, their standard is now to transfer 1 in those kinds of cases. (Apparently this is a change that took place a couple of months ago; before that, the standard was 2.)

So that gave me the final bit of peace I needed to go forward with one. A ridiculous amount of shopping over the weekend - mostly for clothes I hopefully won't fit into in 2 months and sexy, strappy black high heel shoes I never have an occasion to wear - helped relax me, too... :-)