The pudding club

It’s been almost a week since I was on here…that’s not like me.  I have been hiding from the world a little bit.  It’s been a really hard week to get through.  My first scan looming over my head.  Would there be a baby?  Would there be a heartbeat?  I’ve had lots of lovely messages wishing me luck – but all I wanted to do was curl up and sleep, avoid polite conversation, time to fly.

Thursday morning I felt numb to the world.  Fortunately I was busy at work so the afternoon appointment came around quickly.  Chris met me at the clinic, he was already there in the waiting room, patiently waiting for me. I felt sick to my stomach.  This was it!  We didn’t have to wait long before we were called back.  The nurse took my vitals (weight and blood pressure), then we went into the ultrasound room together.  I sat up on the bed and before I had to time to wonder more about the possibilities my doctor walked in.  I don’t really remember what she said to me, but like I had been all week I’d had enough with the small talk.

As soon as the ultrasound wand was in me we could see my extremely hyper stimulated ovaries….I had many huge follicles still – like two times the size of the ones I am used to seeing during stimulation phase.  My doctor exclaimed my ‘hyper’ situation, and I said, yes, I have been feeling them 😦 And then she found a sac, zoomed in and there was a little blob on the screen!  I was holding my breath as she found the heart beat – and there it was 144 beats per minute (BPM).  I just cried.  She measured the size of it and it was measuring 2 days behind at 7 weeks 2 days, I was technically 7 weeks 4 days, but she said that was close enough!

As I sobbed, Chris asked what happens next and my Doctor said we now graduate to my OBGYN!  Oh…I don’t have one since we moved to the US and went straight from our family doctor to the fertility clinic.  Then Chris said we need to find one near our new house…to which I corrected him and he said – “no, we got the house today!”  I couldn’t believe it, he was telling me right there that we got the house we wanted and he had the call from our realtor an hour or so before the appointment.  Cue even more tears from me and excited happy doctors & nurse in the room.  What a day for good big news.  I hugged my doctor and nurse and thanked them with tears running down my face!  It was surreal as I walked out into the waiting room with my face red from tears, I am sure people couldn’t tell if it was good or bad news I just received!!  And that was it…we left our clinic realising we wouldn’t be back too soon.

Finally I’m in the pudding club – for real! I’ve been in a bit of shock, but I am embracing the pregnancy now.  I believe it is happening.  This is our time.  We have even agreed to give the blob a nickname – Rocky – our little fighter.  It also looked a bit rock like on the scan 😉

I realised I needed to find an OBGYN quick that works with the hospital we wanted to give birth at, so I did my research and made my first pre-natal appointment in the ‘normal’ world.  My first appointment and next scan will be at 10w2d – a little later than they like, but it was the earliest they could fit me in.  I’ve also been allowed to switch to progesterone oral capsules (but taken transvaginally) – these little things cost over $380 for 1 month’s worth!  Completely different to the progesterone in oil which cost only about $90!!! But I am sure it will be worth it so I don’t have to inject myself whilst travelling again (I’m off to Turkey tomorrow – not looking forward to this trip at all).

This week has been such an emotional roller coaster – and yet on the face of it, it has been easy…we have no complications.  Just when we thought this was the end…

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The Enhanced 2 Week Wait

It’s kind of like I’ve received my invite to join the pudding club, I’ve completed my application, I’ve done my best to fill everything out correctly, I’ve been thanked for my application and told I will be welcomed, subject to approval!  But there is a pause….no one is communicating with me, my doubts are creeping in.  May be they found something in my application that they don’t like.  May be I won’t be joining the pudding club after all.  This period of waiting is what I am calling the “Enhanced Two Week Wait”.

During this period of time, it doesn’t take much to make me stop and think about what might be.  And when I think about what might be I briefly hold in the tears.  Sometimes it’s tears of sadness and other times it’s tears of relief and happiness. 

With the sadness I think what might happen if we look at the screen and there is no fetal pole or no heartbeat.  I won’t be able to hold those tears back.  The immense sadness will wash right through me.  I  won’t be able to not think about the injections, the pain from the OHSS, the tiredness, the surprising love for someone I have never met….all for nothing.  It will be for nothing with a cruel ending that results in a horrible painful bloody mess.  It will all have been for nothing. 

And then sometimes I’m on the brink of tears of relief and happiness.  With the happiness I think what might happen if we look at the screen and there it is…wobbling around in there – only just the size of a grape, unknowing as to how much it is loved and wanted to be held in our arms.  I will feel relief that it was all worth it; that I am proud of ourselves sticking to the path on this rocky journey. 

I will keep these little thoughts in the back of my mind that will continue to creep every single time I feel a pain in my uterus for the next week, reminding me something is going on down there.  Just 5 more days and one of these opposite realities will come to fruition.

I am just over half way into this ‘enhanced 2 week wait’, and there is absolutely nothing I can do but patiently wait.  It’s been a tough first week being away from Chris in a country where there is a 6 hour time zone difference…picking up the phone to talk has been challenging with the nature of our work, it doesn’t help.  I’m becoming a pro at giving myself these progesterone injections, I even gave myself an injection without icing the area first.  It turns out that it just stings a little bit afterwards so it wasn’t too bad pain wise.

I have had sporadic pregnancy symptoms, which doesn’t fill me with confidence, but I know that this is the case for many women who go onto have successful pregnancies.  I just can’t help but err to the side of negativity. 

Symptoms:

Peeing a lot.  I have been on this plane for just 4 hours and have been to the toilet 7 times already. Boobs.  They don’t like being touched or leaned on (i.e. lying on my front is painful!!) Sorry Chris, no boob touching just yet!! 😉

Nausea.  I have had only a couple of instances of being on the verge of puking, but these were easily resolved as soon as I got some food in me! 

Tiredness.  It has been a hard week with work and travelling to Europe I’ve had little opportunity to catch up on my sleep so I am constantly yawning.  I have even set my alarm a couple of times this week for 10-15 minute PKs (Power Kips). 

Period type pains.  These pains don’t last very long maybe a minute or two and come randomly in waves.

Actually listing out all these symptoms makes me realise that perhaps I am a bit more pregnant than I really thought I was!  In addition to this I am still suffering from OHSS albeit a lot less.  Twisting my torso around or bending down/reaching up still is painful.  😦

I hate to wish my time away in this life, but I really wish it was Thursday already!

Unable to adult today

I woke up really early this morning-like 4AM early!! I wanted it to be Wednesday already! I wanted it to be our second beta day so we would have at least an inkling whether this pregnancy is viable or not. I was anxious and felt numb…this feeling continued throughout the day. It was a feeling of indifference towards life. 

Somehow I drove myself to the clinic. I got out of the car and realised I had no recollection of driving there or what route I took!!  

The nurse could tell I was anxious. And she was right, I was!! I wasn’t up for even the small talk today. 

I simply could not adult today.

I decided to work from home in the afternoon just in case it was bad news. We learned this from our first IVF cycle when I was at work when I received the call saying it was not a viable pregnancy- we were naive and didn’t expect it!! But this time the nurse called with good news. She gave me my hCG level – 2871. Chris and I had checked before hand what would be a good figure to be doubling nicely and that was 2300, so I breathed a sigh of relief, trying to hold back the tears. She told me my estimated due date – 1st Jan 2017 and to come back for an ultrasound from 16th May with my doctor. 


As soon as I got off the phone I burst into tears. It wasn’t tears of happiness or tears of sadness, but a bit of tears of relief and tears of fear of loss – the fall seems greater now. I hugged Chris, he couldn’t quite understand what all my tears meant, but he just hugged me. I know it should be a happy time, but it really didn’t feel like it. This is what infertility does to a woman. Insecurity hides in all sorts of places.

I am grateful to make it past stage 2! I am hopeful enough that I have now reinstalled the pregnancy tracker app I briefly used before. I am even going to go out tomorrow to buy a couple of new bras because I no longer fit into my current ones. So don’t get me wrong, I am quietly happy. We both are! It’s just not easy-I know many of my fellow bloggers will get that, but I’m not so sure my friends and family will understand so easily.

My symptoms have mostly been tiredness and constant yawning! At the weekend I had to have sleep in the car whilst Chris waited patiently with me before we headed into a museum, and then Sunday I had almost a 2 hour sleep in the afternoon! I’ve found it rather challenging to stay awake at work this week! But a friend told me about a privacy room at work that maybe I could use to go have a quick 20 minute snooze during the day. My OHSS is getting slightly better but I’m still very tender under my ribs/upper abdomen area, twisting or moving too quickly isn’t fun, and the bloat hasn’t reduced yet. When I look down I can barely see my lady bits (so I get a sneak preview of what it will be like woth pregnant belly!!!)

I am preparing to travel back to Belgium on Friday – flying via Amsterdam this time because American are still not running direct flights to Brussels airport from the US. I’m a little relieved about this because I’m not too keen on seeing that place again just yet. This will be a longer trip then my previous ones to DC so it will be 9 days in a row of thise evil progesterone injections to give myself 😭 I’m not looking forward to that!!! But hopefully this trip will make time fly by quicker so it will hurry up and be time for my ultrasound!


(These pictures are titled “progesterone by candlelight”!!! The power went out, so we made do! It was actually quite challenging)

IVF Diary Vol III: 29 Apr 16 – Stage 1 complete

Medication(s) administered and dosage(s). 13DP5DT (13 days past 5 Day Transfer)  Prove time! PM Progesterone in Oil 1ml Intra-muscular injection, vivelle dot estrogen patches 0.1mg x2.

Medical procedures undertaken. Beta hCG blood test – AKA THE PREGNANCY TEST!

Any results?  We are pregnant! Last night I got back from DC, Chris was already at home, I asked him – “Are you ready to do this?”.  He nodded nervously.  So we went to the toilet together and I peed on the stick, turning it the wrong way round so I couldn’t see the window.  I left it on the counter top for a minute or so, and we turned it over together.  2 lines!  Woohoo!!! Except it was kind of a weird experience.  It wasn’t quite like last time when I was really excited.  It was like….OK, this is a good step forward….but now we have to wait and see what my levels come back tomorrow.

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the test line was darker than the control line!

Today the doctor called with my results (it wasn’t my doctor who called) – he is a straight talking kind of man.  There is absolutely no beating around the bush with him, he tells it like it is (he gave me the news that our first pregnancy was not viable and he was pretty blunt with us).  He said he had positive news!  OK I like positive news! He then mumbled something about my hCG levels, I asked him to repeat what he said because he wasn’t clear (he has a foreign accent), he said it was a nice high level that they like to see of 485!  My progesterone and estrogen levels were good too.  When I got of the phone I was a little disappointed, I was hoping for a little higher being 13DP5DT….but then after a while I reminded myself that this first number doesn’t matter so much (it’s higher than last time so that’s good!), it will be the next number that tells us the likelihood of this pregnancy having a chance!

What are my symptoms?  So I have pretty much been certain I am pregnant since the return of my OHSS symptoms earlier this week.  My belly sticks out ridiculously – I have put on 7″ round my belly.  The area beneath my ribs and belly button are painful if I bend over, or try to get in and out of bed.  I am feeling nauseous – not sure if that is pregnancy related or OHSS related. I couldn’t eat more than 5 spoonfuls of my porridge this morning.  I have had lots of sharp pains.  I’ve also had period type pains.  I have an unquenchable thirst.  I am peeing about 30 times a day.

How do I feel today? I am excited to be moving onto the next stage!  But having some reflections back to IVF cycle 1.  We lived in this ignorant bliss for 5 days last time.  This time is a whole lot different.  We are definitely in a better position than cycle 1 so I am trying to keep positive, it’s just hard not to think about what happened to my body last time we saw those two pink lines.

 What’s next? Wednesday is beta #2! Is it Wednesday yet?

The Final Countdown!!! 

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*Notes.  I take First Response Reproductive Health multi vitamin gummies (pre-natal), 5mg Melatonin at bed time and CoQ10 200mg gummies, and  Pur-absorb iron supplements daily.  NSTR = Nothing Significant To Report.

IVF DIARY VOL I: 18-20 Aug 2015

IVF_Diary_Vol1Medication(s) administered and dosage(s).  Progesterone 1ml, vivelle dot estrogen patches 0.1mg x2.

Medical procedures undertaken. Beta pregnancy test.

How do I feel today? I have written a separate post about this today as I felt that my feelings should be captured in their own space.  To sum that post up…I’m cautiously optimistic.

What are my symptoms? Sharp pains, sore back and I can feel the nausea coming.

How does Chris feel today?  He too is cautiously optimistic too and has an occasional outburst of tears welling up. I love how he shares his feelings with me openly and honestly.

Any results? Maybe I should have put this one higher up.  Yes – I am pregnant according to my beta test.  I don’t know my hCG levels yet, my phone is playing up so I can’t access them at the moment.  But I know that the doctor is not concerned about them. Yey 🙂

What’s next?  Second Beta test scheduled for Tuesday next week.

Weight. Holding at a reasonable level.

Waist.  Getting smaller!!  But not for long, hopefully.

Boobs. Getting bigger!!

Hours of Sunshine 🙂 I got some last holiday sun yesterday as it was my mum’s last day in Virginia, so we headed to the beach for some dolphin watching.

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This concludes Vol 1 of my IVF diary and this will be my last ‘diary entry’ (Of course I am blogging still – duh!!).  It has been a roller coaster of emotions, I have learned a lot.  I will share my ‘lessons learned’ of this cycle later this week.  But overall, it’s not a bad note to end on 🙂

*Notes.  I take First Response Reproductive Health multi vitamin gummies (pre-natal) and CoQ10 200mg gummies daily.  NSTR = Nothing Significant To Report.

What is cautiously optimistic?

What do people mean when they say they are cautiously optimistic?  According to the Macmillan dictionary it is defined as:

Hopeful about something, but recognising the problems involved.

I think to describes nicely how I have felt about trying to conceive since we decided to make the leap towards becoming parents.

I also like this image – they say a picture paints a thousand words.  Sometimes it has felt like there is a storm out there and our umbrella is going to be whipped away, but most of the time it is just like this picture.

Optimism

Cautious optimism represented by an image

But for me – this picture paints accurately what cautious optimism looks like for me right now…

Two pink lines

Two pink lines

Yes, my dear friends, this is my blue sky approaching!  I took a pregnancy test the night before my beta blood test.  I was very spontaneous about it.  Chris came home from work, he sat down and said “So…injection or test first?”.  He threw me off guard because I had been so good at not thinking about using a home pregnancy test, it was just a surprise he said it so nonchalantly.  I laughed nervously and exclaimed…”No!  Don’t be silly you have to wait!”.  And to that, I decided spontaneously to dash upstairs and pee on the one first response home pregnancy test I had left in a drawer.  It took seconds for that second pink line to appear, it appeared before I even had a chance to put it down on the work surface.  Well that was not what I was expecting!  So I left it next to the sharps box for Chris to see when he would start preparing my injection for the evening.  I dashed back downstairs (it had only been 2 minutes) Chris had no clue what I had just done.  And so we started the ritual of the progesterone injection.  We went upstairs with everything needed and I lay down on the bed as if preparing myself for the injection….when Chris shouted out from the bathroom – “hey there is a pregnancy test here??” in a very confused manner.  After a second or two of blank face, he almost cried, hugged and kissed me.  We talked about how it was not guaranteed and we will find out the next day if this was for real or not.  So we decided not to tell my poor mum who was downstairs at the time – oblivious to what was going on!!!

The next morning, my mum and I went to the clinic for my beta blood test.  The nurse asked me if I had taken a test yet…I looked at her and smiled…and the nurse said ‘yey!!!’.  I was busted – mum had overheard the nurse ask….so I had to tell her what had happened the night before!

And so I waited for the phone call from my doctor.  When I saw the number pop up on my phone I took a big breathe.  It was actually not my doctor but one of the other doctors who had been doing my ultrasounds.  I answered and she said “So….do you feel pregnant?”  (What a weird way to start a phone call!!!)  I said “maaaaaaybe…..” nervously wondering if this was a cruel joke!  And she said “Yes! Yes you are pregnant!!!  Your numbers are great…..you need to keep taking the progesterone and estrogen…we probably want to see you again next week for another test….blah blah blah” (-is all I heard after that!) So that was that.

We are pregnant!

Can I put my umbrella away yet?  Of course not.  Some people may read this and think I am ungrateful or maybe even conceited, but they probably are people who do not understand what infertility can do to the mind.  I’m not sure at what point in this process I will take ‘Congratulations’ with a smile.  Please understand that I appreciate your kind thoughts and sentiment, I know you are really excited for us….just don’t worry if I don’t respond with an excited smile.  Getting a positive pregnancy result after IVF is an awesome step in the right direction, I feel so lucky that we have got this far, but I can’t get excited about having a baby just yet.

I am cautiously optimistic about this exciting step…I’m just hoping it isn’t a false summit.