early pregnancy · IVF with donor eggs

5 Weeks and Not Much Going On

This is when I freak out because I’m not feeling anything different, I’m not getting blood work updates, and I have to wait another 9 days before my ultrasound to make sure there is in fact a living baby with a heartbeat in my stomach. I’ve started feeling a little bit of nausea, but haven’t been sick yet. I also had a little bit of brown spotting on Saturday morning, which completely freaked me out even know I know that brown spotting is nothing to worry about and is completely normal in pregnancy. Brown blood means old blood…this is my mantra lately. I haven’t had any more spotting per say, but there has been a brownish tinge on the toilet paper when I wipe. Again, I’m trying not to freak out, but that’s easier said than done. I haven’t seen any since Monday morning, and I did take another pregnancy test yesterday morning and the line was still super dark and came up immediately. So I am feeling more at peace, but so ready for next week!

My ultrasound is scheduled for September 28. I am counting down the days because I know once I see and hear that heartbeat I will feel so much better about things. Making the appointment for the ultrasound was quite the headache! I called my OB’s office and asked to speak to his nurse. I knew I would need to talk directly to her because otherwise they wouldn’t schedule me for an ultrasound this early and I needed to explain to her that I had an order for it from the fertility clinic. Our conversation went something like this:

Me: Hi, I just finished and IVF cycle at a clinic in San Diego and I am pregnant! The clinic has sent an order for me to have an ultrasound.

Nurse: (interrupts) Have you had blood work done to verify that you’re pregnant? We usually  just have you do blood work and don’t do ultrasounds this early because you’re probably not going to see anything. You MAY see a sac or a fetal pole, but probably not.

Me: Yes, I had a HCG blood test done on Monday and another done on Wednesday. My numbers looked great and doubled. The order is for September 27 -two weeks from now

Nurse: Okay. When was the date of your last period?

Me: Well, I could tell you that but it wouldn’t do much good. Since I did an IVF cycle, my period was a while ago and they have finagled my cycle to work with the transfer date. But I can tell you the transfer date…

Nurse: Okay when was that?

Me: It was September 1, and it was a 5 day embryo. I think I am about 4 weeks 3 days.

Nurse: Well, no, that puts you at 3 weeks 4 days.

Me: I think you may be using my transfer date as the ovulation date, which isn’t correct because ovulation would have been 5 days before transfer, if we were treating this as a normal….oh never mind. Okay, can I get an appointment for the ultrasound?

Nurse: We don’t have anything available for the 27th. I can get you in on the 28th.

Me: Fine. That’s just fine.

Nurse: Do you want to see the doctor, too?

Me: Yes! (so that I can talk to someone who is actually intelligent enough to understand what I have been through)

Ugh! I swear every time I talk to her I want to pull my hair out! I know there are wonderful nurses out there…AMAZING nurses! But the two that I have dealt with (in San Diego and with my OB’s office) just about drive me insane. It’s a good thing I like my OB, but you better believe I plan on telling him the issues I have had with his staff. I get that not everyone understands an IVF cycle, but if you work in an OBGYN office, you really should have some basic understanding of it. Right? Maybe I’m just being too sensitive right now.

 

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early pregnancy · IVF with donor eggs

Updates and What’s to Come

UPDATE: We got the progesterone level and it was 79.9. This seems rather high to me, but everything I’ve read online says that high progesterone levels are not anything to be concerned about.

Also, I received the orders from Hilary to schedule my first ultrasound on September 27! The sad part about this is Ryan will be on a work trip that whole week so he will have to miss it. We will figure out a way to facetime or something so he can listen in. Of course the pessimist in me is worried that we’re going to get bad news and he won’t be here, but I’m trying to push that thought out of my head. There is no reason to believe that this little nugget isn’t happy as can be in there right now, so I have to keep that in mind.

I went to the pharmacy yesterday to pick up my refills on estrodiol and progesterone, and had quite the experience. First of all, the pharmacist asked me if I was pregnant, to which I happily nodded my head but tried to do so in a way that my daughter in the backseat couldn’t see me (we obviously haven’t told her yet). Then she said, “well you shouldn’t be taking this high of a dosage of estrogen while you’re pregnant,” (ugh, shut up lady!) to which I had to respond and explain that I did an IVF cycle and it’s been ordered that I take it by the doctors at the fertility clinic who know I am pregnant. Anyway, she wouldn’t give it to me until I double checked with my nurse. So I emailed Hilary, who told me that since my body isn’t producing estrogen on its own, it is perfectly safe and necessary for me to be taking the estrodiol tablets. So now I have to go back and pick up that prescription this afternoon.

But there’s more! She said that the progesterone in oil is back ordered until October 14, and I looked at her like “you have got to be kidding me” but asked if any other Walgreens would have it to which she replied that no, it’s back ordered.  Gee, thanks lady. Luckily I called the CVS in town and they had some in stock. So then I had to get Hilary to call in my progesterone to the CVS. Hilary seriously got around 15 emails from me yesterday.

Oh yeah, I also don’t have to go back for any more blood work? Is this normal after IVF? As I mentioned before, when I was pregnant with Anadine I had to get my progesterone and estrodiol levels checked weekly. But Hilary says that I won’t need any more checks. So my question is, when will the know to start weening me off? If anyone has any insight to this, please let me know in the comments.

So now it’s the countdown to the ultrasound. Two weeks seems so far away, but I have plenty to do to keep me busy between now and then.

 

early pregnancy · IVF with donor eggs

Repeat Blood Work

I love that my husband works in a place where he can get the nurses to break into my account and get the results of my blood work so that I don’t have to wait to hear from San Diego. Especially since the lab apparently never faxed my results to SDFC on Monday and I had to send Hilary an email with them. So to update on Monday, we did get my progesterone level, which was 65.5, which I’m assuming is good. I think I remember that CCRM wanted it above 40 at some point in my last pregnancy, and Hilary just said everything looked good, so I’ll go with it.

So I went back in early this morning to check both levels again. The rule of thumb is that it’s supposed to double every 48-72 hours. It was exactly 48 hours since I last had it checked and my HCG is 584.9, which is more than doubled from the 283.2 that it was on Monday. Hooray!

They haven’t recorded my progesterone levels yet, and SDFC hasn’t even opened yet, so now I’ll just wait to hear from them to see what our next steps are. At this point with CCRM they wanted me to schedule an appointment for a 6 week ultrasound to check for the heartbeat. That’s the part I’m most anxious for. Once I hear that heartbeat I’ll breathe a sigh of relief that this is really  happening. I’ll still be nervous, of course, but it will definitely feel more real.

I’ve been especially nervous the last few days because whatever “symptoms” I had before have kind of subsided. Or maybe I’ve just gotten more used to them. Or maybe my body is just used to the progesterone and estrogen I’m taking. I still feel little twinges every once in a while, but it’s not a constant dull ache like it was before. I’m not feeling nauseous like I was with my first pregnancy, although I can’t really remember when that actually started – maybe 5 weeks? While I’m glad to not be nauseous, it was always pretty reassuring when I was throwing up that I actually was pregnant. This is just the tough part I guess – when I don’t feel or look pregnant, so I sometimes forget that I am.

On another note, I can’t seem to figure out how to create a new page in the blog that will act as a blog, so for now I’m going to keep updating normally. I’ll try to be sensitive to those who may be still in the trenches, but count this as a trigger warning that I will be talking about pregnancy and babies in the future. I appreciate the comment on my last post that said reading about pregnancy and mothering of donor egg babies actually helped me with my decision to use donor eggs, so hopefully that rings true with others.

Speaking of which, ever since transfer I have honestly forgotten (for the most part) that this baby was made with donor eggs. It was like as soon as I saw that little embryo on the screen going into my uterus, I felt this instant connection…more so even than I did with Anadine. And then when I saw the positive pregnancy test, I was so elated to have this chance to bring another life into the world, to experience pregnancy again, and to give Anadine a sibling, that the realization that this embryo was made with a donor egg didn’t cross my mind. There are no regrets! I love this little baby with all my heart and all my soul, and he’s only a blob of cells right now. I couldn’t be happier or more at peace with my decision.

IVF with donor eggs

Test Results

I figured I would go ahead and post in here because I know several of you are probably waiting on these results (almost) as much as I am. I went to get my blood drawn this morning at 7:30 and told them I needed same day results. Of course that means I not only have to wait for them to do the labs, but then they have to send the results to San Diego, and then I have to wait for someone over there to find it in their heart to get in touch with me – oh and don’t forget that they are 2 hours behind us. So as I write this at 12:30 central time, they are probably only on their second cup of coffee over there.

The good news is, that I was able to go get my blood drawn at the clinic where the hubs works, so the lab people were nice enough to send over the results when they got them. Last I heard from them, they still didn’t have my progesterone levels so that may be why I haven’t heard from San Diego yet. But we did get the most important number, my HCG (the pregnancy hormone) number. Anything over a 5 is pregnant.

Am I driving you crazy yet? I know, I’m just making you wait longer, but I can’t help myself. Anyway, my HCG was 283! I am officially pregnant. Woohoo! To put it into perspective, my first HCG when I was pregnant with Anadine was 72. This feels like such a big number compared to that. According to what I can find on Google, the normal range for a singleton pregnancy at 4 weeks is between 5 and 426, so I am definitely in that range. Also every pregnancy is different, and this little guy hopefully is just nuzzled in there extra well.

And now for my confession…I’ve actually known for a couple of days. I’ve taken three tests, one a day for the last three days, and I have watched the line get darker and darker. I was shocked when I saw a pretty dark line 6 days past transfer. I was gearing myself for not seeing anything because I thought it would be too early, but low and behold it was there! I remember my first test with Anadine, which was 10 days past transfer, (although it was a three day transfer not five, so that makes a difference) looked negative unless I held it in the light just right. This one was a very definite positive.

We have just been beside ourselves. Of course now we wait and make sure the number doubles by Wednesday. As long as it doubles every 48-72 hours, we know the pregnancy is progressing normally.

So now some orders of business:

  1. If you know me in the real world, please don’t tell anyone who isn’t following this blog. There are several people who know we were doing IVF, but many people don’t and we don’t want to leak the secret until the end of the first trimester when we are more in the clear.
  2. I don’t want to stop blogging, as I know some of you will want pregnancy updates. But I also don’t want my success to be in the faces of people who may  not be able to handle it when all they’re looking for is DE IVF support. So I am going to create a new page within this blog where you can go to get the pregnancy stuff. I’ll post here every once in a while with things that cross my mind pertaining to IVF or DE IVF, but I don’t want whatever I write about pregnancy or mommy-hood to be a trigger for those who are still in the trenches of trying to make that baby.

I will update on Wednesday with my hopefully doubling HCG numbers. If I can figure out how to create a blog within a blog by then, it will be over on that page.

Thanks for all of the prayers and support. I am cautiously optimistic at this point, so keep the prayers coming!

 

IVF with donor eggs

Annoyances, Aches, and Waiting

Okay, so first I have to tell what happened (the annoyance). I don’t know if I’m at fault. I’m sure I’m at a little bit of fault, but I’m choosing to blame Nurse Hilary (yep, she strikes again!) So I have been taking the Progesterone (PIO) shots for almost two weeks. When I picked up the vials, needles, and syringes from the pharmacy, it all came in a big bag and had no instructions whatsoever. But I thought, I can do this. I’ve done it before (7 years ago, but whatever). So I watched a few YouTube videos to make sure I was doing the injections in the right place, and I read information about tricks to make them less painful. In all of the videos I watched, the girls showed drawing up the medicine with one needle and then switching to the other needle for the injection. So that’s what I’ve been doing – the needle that was already attached to the syringe is the needle I used to draw up the medicine, then I switched to the other needle to inject. I never thought to pay much attention to the size of the needles or the difference in them at all- they both looked big and daunting so why did it matter? Right?!

Well, Ryan’s sister came into town the other night. She’s a nurse, so she was curious to see how the shots were going and I was happy to get her feedback on if we were doing everything right. She looked at the injection needle and basically screamed “that’s an 18 gauge needle! There is no way I would EVER let anyone stick that thing in me! Something must be wrong!” She told me that she saves the 18 gauge needles for patients who are sedated or so sick that they can’t get any other needles in. She told me that a 22 gauge needle would be much more appropriate. Well, sure enough, the other needle was a 22 gauge needle. And sure enough, I googled “what size needle for PIO injections” and everything that came up said to use a 22 gauge needle. So I emailed nurse Hilary and she verified that yes, I have been doing it wrong. The 18 gauge needle is for drawing up the medicine and the 22 gauge is for injection. So, yeah, I feel like an idiot for not checking in about all of that two weeks ago, but I also feel so incredibly angry that I was not given these instructions to begin with. Why wouldn’t they give me instructions on how to do the injection?! Luckily, she said that it won’t affect anything – except for my poor butt that is covered in lumps and bruises from the gigantic needles I’ve been inserting. I mean, no wonder I was having such a hard time with them! We used the 22 gauge last night and it was SO MUCH BETTER! Don’t get me wrong, it still wasn’t fun, but it was a breeze compared to what I’d been dealing with!

Okay, so symptom watch (the aches). First of all, I have to say that I don’t really believe in having symptoms this early. I think it’s so hard to tell what are possible pregnancy symptoms, and what are aches and pains associated with the hormones I am putting into my body. But I know that most of you reading this want to know what I’m feeling like. You want to know if there is any sign of this working or not working. All I can say is I feel achy…all over. But I’ve been feeling that way ever since I started the estrogen, and it’s only intensified with the progesterone. I will say that the tugging feeling I had in my uterus has shifted more to a crampy feeling. I remember having this same feeling when I was pregnant before, but hell I have this feeling every time I’m about to start my period, too! It’s all just meant to drive you crazy, and there is no making sense of any of it.

Other things I’m feeling…

  1. Big boobs/sore boobs
  2. Bloating – oh the bloating! I kept seeing myself in window reflections yesterday and thinking, well I sure do LOOK pregnant! UGH! Oh and then there’s the constipation! (Sorry, TMI)
  3. Tired! Not as tired as I remember being at around 6-7 weeks pregnant, but I have fallen asleep every afternoon when I get home from work
  4. Emotional – I’m crying over everything! Anadine has her first loose tooth and I’ve cried every time I’ve looked at it.
  5. Peeing all the time – ever since I started the Progesterone I have gotten up at around 2:00 every morning needing to pee so badly. This started before transfer, so I don’t know that it’s anything other than the progesterone. That’s not something I remember from last time though.

And then there’s the final part of my title – the waiting! Oh the waiting! The waiting is so so so hard. I am so tempted to test, but so afraid of the result. I also know that it’s probably way too early anyway, and I am terrified of seeing that one line. So I wait. While I wait I am doing a meditation called “visualizing pregnancy” every day, I am trying my hardest not to think about it while also making sure I don’t do anything I’m not supposed to do – no submerging in water, no sex, no lifting anything over 20 lbs, no exercising… When all I really want is some yoga and a hot bath. But it’s all worth it if this worked.

Finally, I have to say – the biggest symptom of all, probably the only thing I can really go on is this – I do feel like it worked. I’ve been afraid to voice that out loud, but I feel like I owe it to all of you. I have a good feeling about this. I don’t know why – maybe just intuition? I sure hope I’m right!

IVF with donor eggs

Transfer

So sorry it has taken me so long to give an update. I could say I’ve been super busy, but 36 hours of bed rest is not super busy. I think I was just having a great time being able to have conversations with the hubs without being interrupted by, well, life.

We landed in San Diego Thursday afternoon. We ate a delicious lunch at an Irish pub and then headed to the beach to watch the sunset. It was beautiful! We had to climb down this cliff to get to the beach. It seriously was so cool and the perfect way to relax before the big day.

Transfer went off without a hitch. We ate a huge breakfast and then arrived at the clinic at 10:00. It was so surreal to finally be there. I had acupuncture (so relaxing!) and then it was the big moment!

The embryologist came in and let us know that our embryo survived the thaw well, was rated “good, good” before freezing and was still rated the same after the thaw. Here’s a picture of our hatching blastocyst!

It was pretty cool because we could watch on a screen as the embryologist sucked the embryo into the syringe (is that what they use?) and the whole time she was talking through and intercom to our nurse in our room. Then, before we knew it, the embryologist was walking in the room, there was some transferring of stuff between her and the doctor, and then we watched on the ultrasound screen as the embryo was transferred into my uterus. We even got a picture of that part! Where you see the little white lines and the arrow is where the embryo is!

Then it was acupuncture again and then back to the hotel for some bed rest.

Saturday afternoon we went to the hotel pool (no swimming for me, but at least had a change of scenery) and then we strolled to a place to have dinner. Sunday we went to the movies at a fancy movie theater- the kind with the big, comfy recliners and a waitress. Then we went to the cove to see the sea lions on the beach.

So cool!

We flew back home yesterday and I am finding the wait so hard! But I’m also terrified of the day that we find out if this worked or not. I know it’s weird, but I had a sudden attachment to this little embryo as soon as they transferred it. It probably has something to do with the meditation they had playing during acupuncture–bonding with your embryo kind of stuff–but I will be absolutely devastated if this doesn’t work. Up until this point I was prepared for bad news, and now I’m just not prepared at all. So for now, I’m as pregnant as I’m going to be, so I’ll just live in the moment. Right? That’s about all I can do for now.

Beta test is scheduled for Monday. I’m not going to mention it if I test early. I haven’t decided if I’m going to or not, but that will be between me and my husband. It’s about the only chance we have to keep the secret, so we’re going to take it. Hopefully there will be a secret to keep!

IVF with donor eggs

Holy PIO Shots, Batman!

Okay, these shots suck. They don’t just suck when the needle is going in, or when the medicine is going in…the pain simply stays around for who knows how long (to be determined because the shot I got last night still hurts!) Ryan just gave me my second shot and I’m trying not to be a big baby about it, but I’m totally sulking on the couch while my bum burns and throbs as I google “tricks to make pio shots better.”

So I’m going to try heating up the oil, icing the injection shot before, heating pad after, and massaging the area to avoid lumps forming. Yep, I’m pulling all the stops tomorrow to see if it helps. I’m usually not a huge wimp, but the thought of doing this every day for possibly 10-12 more weeks (if I end up pregnant) makes me want to, well…it makes me want to cry. Because that’s all I seem to be doing lately. I cry at commercials, the book I’m reading, sweet moments between students. Man, I’m just one big, hormonal basket case.

It’s all worth it…it’s all worth it…it is most definitely all worth it!

IVF with donor eggs

Lining Check #2

I went back to Dr. Isaacs on Friday morning to have my final lining check before transfer and everything still looks good! My lining is still measuring 10mm, so it hasn’t thickened since last week, but no one seems worried about that. I guess it’s in the good range (above 7) and is still showing the triple layers, so everyone on the medical end is happy. I guess I’ll be happy, too! 😊 I got tickled at Dr. Isaacs because he kept the “wand” in there extra long this time amazed at being able to see the contractions my uterus was having on the screen. He said usually the contractions aren’t strong enough to see on the ultrasound screen. You could see it moving, kind of like water. It was pretty interesting and completely explained the weird stretching feeling I have had for the past several days. Let’s just say I have been very aware that I have a uterus! He said once I start the progesterone, those contractions will subside and make my lining sticky and comfortable for my little embryo.

Speaking of progesterone, I start those shots today! Eek! I’ll do them every day from now until my pregnancy test, and then will continue through the first trimester if it’s positive. Last time I used suppositories for the progesterone. With my first failed IVF I used the shots, but only did them for about a week. I remember them being pretty terrible, but it’s all worth it. That was also 7 years ago, and I’ve gotten a good bit tougher since then. 😉

So this is really happening. I have so many mixed emotions right now- excitement, fear, complete shock! It’s amazing to think that two weeks from now I’ll know if I’m pregnant. It’s also terrifying that two weeks from now I may find out I’m not. I’m worried about letting everyone down. I’m worried about losing our one boy embryo. I’m so scared this just isn’t going to work.

And then I have the other emotions around if it does work. I’ll be elated, of course, But then I’m going through these fears about starting over with an infant, losing time with my five year old, and everything else that I am so aware of that changes once a new member of the family is added. When I was doing all of this with baby number 1, I was just ready to be a mom. Now I’m more prepared, but more aware. It’s just really hitting me that my life could completely change in two weeks. Of course for the better in so many ways…more ways than for the worse! But I am getting nervous about what I may lose. I picked up my sweet girl the other day and realized this may be the last week in a while that I’ll be allowed to pick her up (no heavy lifting after transfer) and I got a little weepy. Maybe that’s just the estrogen I’m taking though. Ha!

Anyway, it’s happening and I’m getting myself ready. I’m trying to get everything in order for my mom to come watch Anadine while we’re gone, and also trying to make sure things are set for when we come back. She starts dance classes that Tuesday we come back and I need to buy her dance shoes for it. I also need to get lesson plans written for my sub and for the week we come back. I need as little to do that week as possible! We fly out to San Diego on Thursday morning and transfer will be Friday. Ready or not, here it comes!

IVF with donor eggs

Lining Check

I drove over to Jackson last night for my 8:00 appointment this morning. I had the ultrasound and Dr. Isaacs said “wow that is one beautiful endometrium!” It kind of made me giggle. He measure the lining and he said “yep, no matter how I measure it, it’s going to be above average.” Just what I like to hear, doc!

I received a phone call from them later to tell me that they had gotten my lab results on my estrogen, but probably wouldn’t get my progesterone numbers until Monday. They wanted to let me know just in case San Diego called me.

I just receive an email from San Diego and she said that everything looked good with my report. She didn’t even mention the lack of progesterone. She said that my lining measured 10mm and had a trilaminar appearance. I of course googled this to make sure, and Dr Google says that most clinics want your lining to be above 8mm and want the trilaminar appearance. Whoop! Now I wonder, have I reached this too soon? My worries in past cycles have always revolved around eggs and embryos, I’ve never paid much attention to the transfer part. I’ve also always done a fresh, day 3 transfer, so there hasn’t been a whole lot of time for me to worry about it anyway.

In other news, I woke up yesterday with a UTI. Because, you know, I don’t have anything else going on in my female parts, so let’s just add some burning during urination to the mix. Ugh! Luckily, I’ve started my antibiotics and things are feeling better. The nurse in San Diego said this shouldn’t affect my cycle and I’ll be well done with the antibiotics and it will all be cleared up (hopefully) by transfer day. So now there’s just one more pill to add to my daily pill reminder box.

Speaking of which, I’m to continue with my two estrogen pills in the am and two in the pm. Nothing else added to the regimen just yet. I’ll go back for an ultrasound next Friday. San Diego wants me to snap a picture of the ultrasound screen with my phone and email it to them. This makes me think they’re not actually getting the ultrasound pictures from Dr Isaacs. That makes me a little angry. What am I paying $300 per ultrasound for?!

IVF with donor eggs

FET is a GO!

Well, I stopped birth control on Tuesday (hallelujah!) and went in for my baseline ultrasound and blood work on Thursday. All looked good! We are a go!

I started estrogen tablets yesterday. I take two in the morning and two at night. They also have me taking a prenatal vitamin, 2 mg of folic acid in the morning and another 2mg at night, and baby aspirin…I feel like I'm swallowing pills constantly! I've been taking everything except the estrogen for a few months, so this feeling isn't new, just thought I'd mention it.

So far, I haven't noticed any major side effects from the estrogen. I'm moody, stressed, crampy, and tired, but all of that can be attributed to me starting my period today. I'm glad to see my period. They said to expect it when I stopped birth control, but I was only getting spotting. I feel like my uterus is prepping to build a new, fresh lining now. Out with the old, in with the new! Sorry, that may be TMI!

I'll go in for another ultrasound and blood work appointment next Friday. Praying that everything keeps doing what it's supposed to!