Surreal

Today was a BIG day…giant day. Ultrasound #1.

It’s been a tough week. I had some spotting and cramping last week – Monday, Thursday and Friday. The spotting was fairly minor – was really just there when I wiped, but it was bright red at times and that, along with some fairly moderate cramping, had me beside myself with worry. The nurses at CCRM talked me off the ledge on more than one occasion, reassuring me that both spotting and cramping (and, yes, even together) are very, very common in IVF pregnancies. I wish that had been enough to put my mind at ease but it wasn’t – Friday was a bad, bad day. CCRM had me start an antibiotic Friday as well – just in case. The way the nurse explained it was that if something could get out (i.e. blood), then there was a possibility of infection getting in, so better to be safe.

Luckily the spotting tapered off Friday evening but I then got a wicked headache that lasted until end of day Saturday. Nausea started Saturday as well, which weirdly enough made me feel better – Nausea is a good sign, right?

Anyhow, no more spotting since Friday (knock on wood), still have some mild cramping coming and going and I’m definitely nauseous. I haven’t thrown up yet but have felt nauseous on and off since Saturday (which I’m not complaining about one tiny bit – it’s somehow reassuring).

I had my levels checked Friday as well and am still struggling a bit with my P4, although Dr. M isn’t terribly concerned. I’m already on suppositories 4/day as well as 1 cc of PIO daily so they don’t want to increase it any further. I’m trying not to worry about it and just trust in my doctor.

And now, finally, the BIG news of the day. Today’s ultrasound went great – there is one, beautifully breathtaking bean inside ladies! According to the ultrasound tech, our little bean is doing great – measuring in at 6.6 mm with a heartbeat of 121 bpm – unbelievable. I am in shock. The tech said that s(he) is measuring a day ahead at 6w4d gestational age. Very emotional day for me. Aside from a few tears, I held it together in the ultrasound room but when we got to the car, let me tell you the flood gates burst. So happy, so relieved….in awe.

Still not out of the woods…don’t know that I will ever truly feel ‘safe’ after what we’ve been through but today things are looking good.

This ride is NOT for the faint of heart…

Well ladies…it’s been a crazy couple of weeks full of highs and lows, and as I sit down to write this…I.am.exhausted.

Let me start by saying that I have been sporadically checking in on all of you over the past couple of weeks and I will get caught up on all of your happenings very soon but you have never been far from my thoughts. I did manage to hear the news that Sunflower got a BFP and let me just say how incredibly happy I am for her. Yay!!!

As for me, we had a lovely time in Denver. We made a little holiday of it and really enjoyed ourselves. Sadly, we were down there right after the Aurora shootings – so incredibly sad.

We stayed at the Element this time. We usually stay at Staybridge in DTC but the prices were through the roof this time so we went with the Element. We really enjoyed it for the most part except for a couple of minor issues. The thing we missed most about Staybridge was the people, who we found much friendlier.

TRANSFER DAY (July 25) The day started off a bit rough. I’d been pretty calm leading up to the big day but that morning I was a ball of nerves. We got a call from one of the embryologists early in the morning confirming that we were unthawing two embies. A couple of hours later she called back – just as we were heading out to CCRM – to let us know that one our little guys didn’t make it. She asked if she could unthaw our other CCS normal and we said of course. Although I wasn’t totally shocked that our little 6BB didn’t make it (Dr. M had advised me during our post-CCS results chat that the 6’s could be quite delicate due to the fact that they had already hatched), I was taken aback by how sad I was for our little bean. I had a little 10-15 minute breakdown and then pulled myself together and tried to focus on our other two embies.

The transfer itself went great. Acupuncture was super relaxing, my bladder was beyond full (so yes I had the joy of using a bed pan), embies looked great…all and all couldn’t have gone better. Dr. M gave me a big hug before she left (which caused a very strong emotional reaction – I was so choked up I wasn’t able to get the words out to properly thank her). And we were on our way.

Bedrest was not so much fun. I have back issues and after two days in bed, my back was a hot mess but thankfully it was OK once I was able to get back to moving around.

We stopped by CCRM once more on our way out of town to double check my levels as my E2 was a bit low transfer day. Flight home was good (although our luggage didn’t arrive until the next day) and then the hardest part of all of this…the dreaded TWW.

I kept a list of symptoms just in case anyone is like me and obsessively scours other people’s blogs looking for signs and symptoms during the TWW.

1dp5dt
Didn’t notice much other than very faint pms’y cramps – very, very minor though. Sore back but due to bedrest.

2dp5dt
More crampy today. Mild lower back cramping as well.

4dp5dt
Not much in terms of symptoms today. Feeling really good actually.

5dp5dt
Feeling good. Back is a bit sore. Minor cramping, twinges. Bbs are a bit tender.

6dp5dt
Crampy today. Wiped after peeing and slight pink/peach colour on tissue (nervous). Sore bbs.

7dp5dt
Sore bbs overnight. Lower back ache. Cramping overnight (very nervous).  Still crampy but seems to have let up slightly. Mild nausea (not even sure I would call it nausea, but something?). Some red on tissue in evening when I wiped, then later brown.

8dp5dt
Cramping much less. A little brown spotting (very minor). One episode of red again on tissue when I wiped (STOP IT!!).

BETA DAY (August 3) NERVOUS as I’ve ever been – in my whole life. Bad experience at the lab. The same tech who drew my E2 three weeks earlier and had no problem faxing to CCRM, today decided faxing the results to CCRM and not to my primary physician here was against their policy. Nice. After a meltdown in which I explained that my doctor here who co-wrote the requisition was not in the office and that I needed the results sent to CCRM TODAY and with K on the verge of losing his marbles, she finally conceded. Thanks – just what I needed right now, more stress. Ugg. Oh and to top it off, friends of ours showed up at the lab with their eight month old twins in the midst of all of this (and we have not told a sole about this transfer – luckily they came in at the tail end of it so no one was the wiser).

Results – it’s positive ladies. I am preggo. That feels very, very scary to write but as of this moment (and hopefully for the next nine months, I am actually pregnant). My beta today was 180 (I think that’s a good number). The only worry today is my P4 which has gone down and is currently below where they want it to be. The nurse advised me to increase my progesterone suppositories to four times a day and I also asked to be on PIO, which she agreed to (I’m sure she thinks I’m a total whack-a-doodle obsesso) so I’ll add that in every second day (was a bit of a nightmare to track down but thankfully my good friend Iveta from Little Diiorio had given me some from her cycle). So, hopefully that will do the trick. I’ll get my levels checked again Sunday (although the P4 results won’t likely be back until Tuesday – it’s a long weekend here) and hopefully everything will be where it should be at that point.

I am feeling a bit of PTSD and although I am happy beyond words, I am guarded and cautious. A natural reaction, I believe, to everything we have been through over the past six years. I so hope this works. I want this more than anything I have ever wanted in my life.

Oh, and in case any of you are wondering, yes, I did cave at 7dp5dt and took an HPT. I had absolutely no intention of doing testing before beta day but with all of the cramping and then the minor spotting, I was literally going insane and so I figured I had to do it and it was positive. I took three more just to make sure 😉

I promise to be more regular in posting going forward. I felt bad not updating all of you but I just needed to step away from blogging during this process. I appreciate all of your support more than words can express and I just hope beyond hope, that everything continues to progress well. I need it to.

Lots of love ladies and I will post again soon.

Hello!

Hello ladies! It has been a LONG time since I’ve posted. No real reason, except that I haven’t had a ton going on and I’ve been trying to keep a promise to myself to not obsess over all things IF-related. It’s been going well. (I have been following you ALL faithfully, however!)


Hmm, so what’s new…what’s new? 


Well, I finally started my Depot Lupron treatment this week. I had my first injection on Tuesday. Not much to report in terms of side effects so far. I hope it’s this easy the entire two months but I know it’s still really early. A gal can dream though, right?!


I received my FET calendar yesterday. Looks like transfer will be sometime around the end of July so still awhile to go. I’m OK with waiting though. We’ve waited this long, what’s a few more months. Plus, I’ve been really watching my diet lately and hope to drop a few pounds before transfer. I want to be in the best possible shape when I’m reunited with my precious embies so a few extra months is OK by me.


One thing that is causing me to lose a little sleep is this whole antihistamine protocol. I think I talked about it in my last post and some of you addressed it, but I still don’t know what to do. I’m not worried at all about the possibility of weight gain (which I talked about in my last post) but I can’t stop thinking about Dr. M’s warnings of possible birth defects. She did say that they have not seen any cases of this at CCRM but that there have been reported cases of birth defects (she specifically mentioned cleft palate) in babies born to moms on prednisone. I know that the dosage for the antihistamine protocol is low but it still has K and I worried and wondering what to do.


There are pros and cons obviously. The only con is the issue mentioned above. The pro is obviously that there is a belief that it may help the body to not reject the embryo. The main reasons that I asked Dr. M about it (she didn’t bring it up, I did) and am considering it are that:


1. I’ve miscarried before. Now we don’t know anything about the causes of that miscarriage. It could have been due to a chromosomal abnormality in the fetus, could have had to do with my hydrosalpinx…who knows.


2. Another CCRM patient stated that Dr. M advised her to try the antihistamine protocol for her second FET because the first (of a chromosomally normal embie) was unsuccessful and she had felt cramping throughout her entire TWW, beginning basically right after transfer. I’ve experienced this in the past after transfers – cramping beginning basically right away and lasting throughout the TWW.


I know the decision ultimately comes down to least regrets. Which decision will lead to the least regrets but that’s the problem…I don’t know.

Regroup

We had our regroup with Dr. M last night. It went well, nothing earth-shattering. It was mostly just me asking her questions as we had already discussed the cycle when she called with the CCS results a couple of weeks ago.


One of the things I asked her about because I’ve been hearing a lot about it recently was the antihistamine protocol for FET. She said that they’ve been using it for a couple of years now and that she usually recommends it for women who have had several nice looking blasts transferred with no success. She said that there weren’t any reasons not to do it in the sense that it wouldn’t decrease the chance of success. If anything, it would help. The only downfall to using it are the side effects from the pred.nisone. It can cause weight gain (which I don’t need…in fact I’m trying to drop some weight before my FET so don’t need any steroids making me gain it right back). The other thing is that she said that there have been some cases of cleft-palate with babies born to women on prednisone. She said that they have not seen any cases at CCRM, however, and she also said that she weans her patients off of it very early on (around six weeks) where some physicians keep there patients on it a lot longer. So I haven’t decided what we’ll do – she said it was up to me.


Other than that…not much. She said that the sonoHSG report she received looked great and that the area in question on my ultrasound was very likely an endometrial fold, which is nothing to be concerned about. She also said it could have been a polyp that was shed with my cycle. Either way, she wasn’t concerned. She recommended transferring two blasts, so I think that’s likely what we’ll do.


That’s really about it. I ordered my Depot Lupron this week. I still haven’t decided if I’ll start this month or next. I still have a bit of time to decide. I’m a little nervous about the injection itself. I saw my GP this week and asked her if she could do the injection for me. She said yes but she also said she would need to read up on it as she hadn’t administered many of them and she remembered they were a bit finicky. This makes me a bit nervous for some reason…

Happy!

Well ladies…I have some good news.


Dr. M just called about a half an hour ago with our CCS results. I can’t say that I’ve been a ball of nerves waiting this time because it’s only been a WEEK since we received our day six report. For some reason I had a feeling we would get our results quickly this time and boy did we!


I have to say this cycle has been very different from our last. Every single step of our Spring cycle was nerve-wracking – stimulation, retrieval, fertilization report, day six report and then waiting the four weeks for our CCS results. 


This time was different. I’m not going to say that it’s been completely smooth sailing – I had a massive meltdown on the tarmac waiting for our flight home (which I attributed to a major hormone crash) but for the most part I have felt a sense of peace and general calmness about this cycle. I have tried my best to stay in the moment and to not obsess over every single step of the process and somehow…it worked.


So just to give you a brief re-cap of this cycle since I’ve kept you in the dark for so long (I’m sorry!). We had 21 eggs retrieved, 16 were mature and ICSI’d and of those 5 fertilized normally. We were definitely surprised by the low fertilization rate and there were a few tense days waiting for the day six report but we just kept reminding ourselves that it was just a number and all that mattered was getting a CCS normal embryo in the end. We were pleasantly surprised to hear on day six that all five of our embies had made it! One was biopsied and frozen on day five (4AA) and the other four on day six (2/3, 6BB, 4BB and 3BC). So even though we had started out with so many more in the Spring cycle (14 normally fertilized), we ended up with one more going for CCS testing this round (demonstrating yet again…numbers are just numbers ladies – try not to get too hung up on them)


When I saw the famous 303 area code on the phone tonight, I wasn’t surprised for some reason (again – it’s only been ONE week!). I promptly answered and Dr. M cheerily asked how I was doing. Shockingly, I wasn’t nervous at all and so we made some small talk for a couple of minutes and then she said, “Jennifer, I have some good news for you. I have your CCS results.” And then she told me we have TWO CCS normal embies from this batch!! I am THRILLED. Our normals are our day five 4AA and our day six 6BB. She sounded genuinely excited for us and said she was very happy and very optimistic with the results. She said that you can’t get better than a 4AA and that it was of such good quality that it has an even higher success rate than the standard 60-65% per CCS normal blast. She said that it was really great news. The 6BB is also good quality – the only issue being that it has already hatched so it is more delicate than the others. So she said the plan for transfer will be the 4AA from this cycle and the 3BB from the June cycle. I can’t believe this news – I feel like all of the waiting and delays and surgeries and treatments have all gotten us to this point and I am beyond grateful to have found CCRM. I know we still have a long road ahead of us but we are closer than we’ve ever been.


So what’s next? I have a sonoHSG at my old clinic on Monday to check out an irregularity that was detected in my lining on my monitoring ultrasounds in Denver. Dr. M said it could just be an endometrial fold but it could also be a polyp. She said that the massive amounts of estrogen I’ve been on can make strange things grow in there. If it’s a polyp, it will need to come out but we’ll cross that bridge when we know for sure. After we get this issue figured out, it’s two months of Depot Lupron to treat my absent Beta-3 Integrin and then prepping for FET!


Slowly but surely we’re getting closer! I’m so glad we did a second retrieval.