7.5 Week Scan

We have a heartbeat! BIG sigh of relief.  Yesterday was our last 2-hour drive to the clinic and visit with the RE.  We were told we had “graduated” to the regular OBGYN now, but to keep in touch. Kind of bittersweet.  I told our doctor that IVF was a pleasant surprise.  After 5 long, painful years of infertility, the actual treatment was a breeze for us.  I know we are lucky.

Every couple’s infertility journey and diagnosis is different.  As a male-factor couple, our toughest moments were spurred by marital dynamics and deciding what to do.  Not to mention that one doctor that told us we were basically sterile, prompting us to tell all our family and friends to back off with the “when are you going to have a baby” questions because all iotas of hope were lost.  Adoption was a disaster.  The unsolicited advice and comments infuriating.  But actually seeking treatment?  Straightforward.

We are extremely blessed that on our first IVF round of with ICSI we transferred one embryo and we have a beating heart!  Oddly the doctor saw another sac in there too – he can only speculate that the embryo split and there were identical twins, only one stopped developing very early on.  I have a follow up scan in a few days to see what the regular OBGYN has to say.

At just shy of 8 weeks I am feeling all the glorious nausea and food aversions and exhaustion that I’ve heard about.  I’m learning to manage it, but my main concern is gaining too much weight.  I know it sounds superficial, but I am not a small girl to begin with and want nothing more than to give this baby a healthy start in life.  Unfortunately, due to the months of hormones, surgery, pregnancy, exercise restrictions and wayward appetite, I have already gained 10 lbs.  I am usually a healthy eater but suddenly can’t stomach the thought of fruits or vegetables.  All I want is bread and butter about 8 times a day.  I am still exercising (although embarrassingly out of breath all the time) and trying to just let my body have what it needs at this point.

It’s such a small complaint, though. I am pregnant.  My body is growing a baby.  If I have to look like a cow doing it I will gladly take it, because for years there I wasn’t sure this day would come.

We told my mom and my sisters yesterday, and there was celebrating.  I still selfishly feel uncomfortable talking about it; is that odd?  All along infertility, especially my husband’s sperm count, has been an awkward thing to discuss with anyone by Ryan or the doctor.  With all the questions that come our way I half feel like saying “back off! none of your business! I am pregnant and done talking about it.”

But I remind myself this isn’t all about me; this is God’s work and His glory working through me.  I have not enjoyed one moment of my marital reproductive life being laid out for open discussion, but I am trying to humble myself and just let it happen.  If this is how God wants to show His power and His goodness and His there-ness, then ok.  I’d better step back and not get in the way.  We aren’t out of the woods yet, I know the worry and concern is only just beginning.  Still, no matter what happens tomorrow, I feel incredibly blessed to have made it to today.

“Every good and perfect gift comes from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17

 

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Beta #2

Beta #2, drawn on 8/21/17, was 590.  An excellent rise!  My progesterone and estradiol levels were also looking good, so I was told to stop taking Estrace, but to continue the progesterone 3X a day.  So it will be an existence of panty liners, vaginal suppositories, and no sex until our ultrasound on 9/11.

To say we are excited is the understatement of the year.  We are in pure disbelief and quite frankly wondering how we got here.  I mean, we know painfully well what we did to get here, but after suffering through 5 long years of infertility, saying “I’m pregnant” seems unnatural, but unbelievably welcome, on every level.

We are cautious though.  That scan on 9/11 will hopefully show a heartbeat, and I’m not breathing easily until then.  We haven’t told anyone we even did a cycle so definitely no one knows we were successful.  I don’t even want to think about telling people until I see a heartbeat.

However I am not cautious in every way – I bought a couple baby items online today.  I couldn’t help myself.  I hope I didn’t jinx it.

I don’t remember enough to thank God, to try to humbly divert any excitement or gratitude His way.  I’m not sure why He chose to lead us through the valley for years on end before executing a textbook, straightforward IVF cycle resulting in 10 frozen embryos and a pregnancy.  But I am THANKFUL, and taking it day by day, and trying to put my trust in him.

 

90

My beta came back 90!!

“Just what we are looking for” the nurse said.

Ryan and I are doing happy dances across town, me at work getting nothing done, he at home supposedly changing electrical outlets (but really telling the cats they will be big sisters).

I go back Monday for another Beta, and we both know we need to be cautiously excited at this point.  We are still not out of the woods – just treading lightly on the right trajectory.

Praise God! Thank you, Jesus, for science, for modern medicine, for Your timing, for a husband who will walk through this with me, through the downs and the ups.  We will wait until Monday.

8dp5dt – tomorrow is beta day

I will not be surprised if my beta comes back negative, not pregnant at all.  I feel entirely too normal and recovered from the stress of the ER/ET. The fact that I am energetic and have a good appetite is literally the only symptom (or lack thereof) that causes me to lean on the side of “not pregnant,” but it’s a pretty big reason.

I could be pregnant, though.  My boobs are sore.  I haven’t been sleeping well.  I have mild cramping but no bleeding or spotting.  And 8 days ago, I did have a perfect 5 day blastocyst implanted in my uterus.  So it’s possible.

I decided I don’t want to take a home pregnancy test.  If it’s negative, I will probably lie to myself and think maybe it’s just not sensitive enough and the blood test might still come back positive.  I don’t want to drag myself through any more emotional turmoil; I just want to know.

Ryan is bummed; asking me day to day how I feel, and being all disappointed when I say “fine.”  Tomorrow if we get bad news, at least we will hear from the clinic soon about dates and steps for the next transfer.  So I’ll be up early, to the lab by 7:00 am and eagerly awaiting my results all day long.

6dp5dt

6 days post 5 day transfer.

Number of pregnancy tests taken: 2.  Results both times: Negative.  We took the first 2dp5dt (that’s right – 2 days – pathetic I know, but Ryan talked me into it) and the second 5dp5dt.  What do the negatives mean?  Maybe nothing.  Maybe I am pregnant but just not far along enough yet for the test to detect the HCG.

But maybe I’m not pregnant at all.  Ryan and I both came out of the transfer feeling optimistic and agreeing that our guts were telling us YES this is going to WORK.  But slowly we both are changing our minds.  The biggest indication that I may not be pregnant is that I’m feeling great.  The moderate OHSS symptoms disappeared in a day or two, and my body feels totally back to normal.  If I were experiencing very early pregnancy, shouldn’t I be feeling kind of crappy?

I have had mild, sporadic cramping, which is consistent with how I normally feel a week before I start my period.  My boobs have also been really sore, but that might be the progesterone and estrogen I’m taking.  No spotting or bleeding.  A little emotional, but then again I’m taking hormones and possibly premenstrual.

Today is Monday, I need to make it to Thursday for the blood draw.

Transfer

Today we transferred a “beautiful” 5 day blast.  There are 6 others that will be frozen, possibly a couple more depending on how they look tomorrow.

In a nutshell, the last few days have been uncomfortable.

I expected the recovery from the retrieval to be quick; I went to work the day after, but was in so much pain by noon that I came home on my lunch break and laid on the couch.  Couldn’t eat or drink, just waited for the throbbing in my head and ovaries and the distended stomach to subside.  The cramping eventually went away, but not the feeling of fullness or bloating.  I can’t take a deep breath or eat a big meal; there simply is no room in my torso.

Today the doctor confirmed my ailments and said I am borderline overstimulated.  He gave us the option of freezing the embryos and coming back later for a transfer after my body recovered.  If we did a fresh transfer and it lead to pregnancy, I was at risk of my symptoms getting worse before they get better.

Well after confirming that a fetus would not be harmed by my over stimulation, I said let’s TRANSFER! I am here, I am anxious, let’s do this!!

So we did – hooray!  I am told to eat a “high protein and Gatorade diet” which is as odd as it sounds.  Salt, meat, Gatorade and not much else will help drain the fluids in my body.  I am told to avoid fruits and vegetables and dairy, which is torture for me and also counterintuitive to a healthy pregnancy diet, but it’s only until my symptoms improve. My blood test date is 8/17.

The final interesting piece of news today was when we spoke with the embryologist about Ryan’s sperm.  Ryan produced a fresh sample the day of the retrieval with a count of 2.5M – better than his frozen sample back in May that he dieted months to prepare for.  The lab saw no bent necks, no cause for concern, and did not have to use the frozen sample at all.  The embryologist had no idea whatsoever what could have been going on 2 years ago when our IVF cycle was canceled.  The embryologist laughed and said “clearly you fertilize just fine!”  They told us again what healthy looking embryos we have – and a lot!

Today I feel so blessed.  I thank God,  I praise Him for science and for His timing and for healthy embryos.  We have a successful cycle behind us – and now we wait!

 

Egg Retrieval

We did the retrieval yesterday  – CD 12.  Are you ready for this?  They got 29 eggs, 26 mature.  They call me a “high responder.” Today I will hear how many fertilized.

Of course my body performing well was expected.  As far as we know, no issues there.  Ryan produced a fresh sample and the miraculous news was the Doctor told us “the sample looked good, you probably won’t need the frozen back up.”  WHAT?! Ryan worked so hard to get that beautiful sample frozen, and in the last few months he has not been careful AT ALL about diet or lifestyle habits.  We’ll see.

It was quick; we arrived at the clinic at 7:30 a.m., left by 10:00 a.m. and went home to watch movies and pet our cats.  All day I had pain, but not terrible – similar to period cramps but not quite.

It feels so good to have the bulk of the work behind us, and everything now is in God’s hands – as well as the embryologist’s. I’ve felt bloated and stuffed full of eggs since I started doing injections, and still feel like I did 2,000 transverse abdominal sit ups.  I am looking forward to being able to resume exercise and feel better, and I’m alllmost there.  I am taking next week off work (I ended up telling my boss I am having “minor surgery,” but gave no specifics) and am SO looking forward to a break, a transfer, and low stress.  I told my boss I’d be “on call” this week for blood work and consultations, and fortunately he was out of town for part of the time so didn’t realize how much I was gone.   Again, I’m glad to have the burden of coordinating time off behind me as well.

We did it.  We did an IVF cycle.

We are both happy.  Ryan tells me he’s excited.  He used to stress and hate that sample room so much, but lately he’s resigned himself to it and started to see nothing but humor in the situation.  For this reason he was a giggly mess while sitting with me in recovery, recounting his experience, and the nurses told us that was a good sign.  “So many couples come in here stressed and worried.”  We’ve definitely been that couple before, and will be again, but yesterday we were lighthearted.

Will those sperm have bent necks, and will they fertilize?  The doctors say it should be successful.  We will hear about it today.

UPDATE: Of the 26 mature, 19 were fertilized.  They say this is above average.  Holy Cow! Ryan’s sperm came through! We will hear more on Monday regarding how many made it to day 5.  Transfer day set for Tuesday.