FET #2 : Beta #2 : 12dp5dt

My beta result today was 13, so it’s definitely another chemical pregnancy. Honestly, I’m a little relieved, because I’ve done enough googling to know that a beta of 22 10dp5dt is likely to end in miscarriage somewhere along the line, despite the fact that everyone knows a friend of a friend who had a beta of 5 and delivered a perfectly healthy baby 9 months later. It’s easier to have it end now than later.

On the flip side, it’s going to take some time for me to grieve the loss of my last embryo of my preferred gender. My reasons/feelings for this gender preference are deeply ingrained and I feel like the illusion that I would have the option to choose through IVF has only given me a lot more time to dwell on and solidify these feelings.  My doctor, C (my husband) and my best friend all thought I should put the embryo of my preferred gender in, and I don’t blame them. My instinct was to put in the embryo of my not-preferred gender to avoid this heartbreak. But I felt like the choice was too hard to make, and my therapist suggested I ask C to help me choose. He felt that if I wanted gender A, I should put in gender A and hope for the best. Well I did and it didn’t work out and it’s going to be a lot for me to process.

I’ve decided I’m going to take a break for a couple of cycles — and plan for a transfer in May. I have a lot of reasons for this :

  1. I need to process the gender stuff and really step back until I can truly appreciate and desire a child of any gender.
  2. Financially, we need a break. We are still paying off a loan from last year, and we can’t afford to do a $5,000 transfer every month.
  3. We’re going to a wedding in Arizona at the end of March, which would occur during my 2-week wait if I did a transfer in March.
  4. I will be crazy busy at work for much of March/April, because I’m covering for 2 different people who are going out of town for 2 weeks each.
  5. If I did a transfer in April and it was successful, the estimated due date of the baby would be around the end of December and I really, really, really don’t want my baby to have a birthday so close to the holidays.
  6. Even though I’m doing natural transfers with only an HCG trigger, I want to give my body a few cycles off from all this baby-making stuff.
  7. I want to meet with my doctor and figure out what we can change in the protocol next time, and give myself space for testing and whatnot.

Ugh, a wait….but it feels right I guess.

 

FET #2: Beta : 10dp5dt

Well, another one bites the dust. I went into my blood-draw feeling VERY optimistic, because I had 4 days of FRER line progression and a digital positive HPT test from Saturday. But my beta was only 22.  This news really caught me off guard. It didn’t even come from my regular nurse, because it’s a holiday. The fill-in nurse told me that she’s seen some people with betas this low go onto viable pregnancies, but I really don’t think that’s happening. I’m pretty sure I’m on the downswing.

It feels so strange that I went straight into IVF for genetic testing of a disease that has nothing to do with fertility….and now I am questioning my fertility. I don’t get it. I passed all the tests. And yet, my body takes perfectly good embryos and destroys them.

Also, just a little icing on the cake, this embryo was the last of the embryos that are of my preferred gender.  It really doesn’t feel like this will ever work, so I don’t know if that really even matters. But it feels like a double loss.

FET#2: 5dp5dt

Oh boy, I’m really fighting the urge to do an HPT, even though I said I wouldn’t before my first beta. I’m halfway to the finish line, but there’s no way I can make make it 5 more days without trying out a test! Why, why, why? It was really traumatic for me last time, but I still can’t stop myself.

Yesterday I walked to a dollar store on my lunch break and stood in front of the cheap pregnancy tests and pondered buying a bunch. I knew that it was too early to test with a dollar store HPT, because the HCG threshold is much higher than the FRERs I used before. Still, I almost went for it, but then I walked out of the store empty-handed. I felt really proud of myself for not caving, even standing right in front of the tests.

Then I came home and someone from a message board group I’m in told me that she got FRERs on Amazon – 3 for $12 – and I couldn’t resist – I popped on over to Amazon and ordered a 3-pack. (Last time around, I paid $40 for 4 of these at my local drug store – such a rip off!) Fortunately, they won’t arrive until tomorrow, so the earliest I’ll be able to test is Friday morning – 7dp5dt….which is exactly when I started testing last cycle.

I wish that I had the willpower to wait until at least Saturday, so that if it’s negative, I could just cry at home all weekend. I saw my therapist today and she validated my reasoning for wanting to test over the weekend, rather than waiting to hear from the clinic on Monday afternoon after my official beta. C would rather I waited, to avoid a false positive or negative, but hey MY BODY MY CHOICE!

I’ve been feeling a lot of light cramping in my uterus area on and off for the past 5 days. I don’t remember this much consistent cramping last time. I hope this is a good sign. I haven’t noticed any implantation bleeding. I have lots of heartburn and lower back ache as well, but I assume that’s from the progesterone supplements. Last night I woke up feeling really hot at 4:30am and then I had insomnia and couldn’t go back to sleep, which is what happened to me last time. I’m guessing that’s also progesterone (and anxiety) related.

I keep getting a little excited and then try to suppress it….but it’s getting harder each day to suppress that feeling.

 

FET#2: Transfer Day

Yesterday was my transfer. I don’t care if I’m more jaded this time. I kind of loved knowing how it would all go down and having low expectations. It’s just easier that way. This time I drank exactly the right amount of water, so that my bladder was full but not too full. I enjoyed every minute of my time on diazepam. My embryo thawed well and was already hatching (more on that below). The transfer was quick and easy. Then I insisted that C drive me to get a double scoop ice cream cone which I devoured before coming home and plunking on the couch to watch television. So no complaints.

A note about embryo hatching: My clinic does assisted hatching on all embryos. At my last transfer, I was disappointed because my embryo looked like a perfect circle and wasn’t really visually “hatching.”  I was in a message board group for another people doing transfers around the same time as me and it seemed like all the photos that people posted showed that their embryos were visually coming out of their shells a lot more than mine. They all congratulated each other on this and I just sulked. So, this time around I saw that my embryo was visually hatching a lot more than last time and I asked the embryologist about it. She said that it happened because my transfer was later in the day (2:30 pm this time vs. 11:00am last time), so it just had longer to do it’s thing outside my body. So essentially how far along it’s hatching just depends on the timing of one’s transfer. I really feel like I solved a great mystery here. I decided not to go back and point this out to the message board folks.

A note about baths: When the nurse was giving me post-transfer instructions, I asked her if I was allowed to take baths. She said that it was okay as long as the water wasn’t too hot. This answer was THRILLING to me. Giving up alcohol? Easy. Giving up baths? Torture! I am a bath addict. I take baths every single night about 10 out of 12 months of the year. I know that you are not supposed to take baths when you are pregnant, so last time I stopped baths cold turkey from the day of the transfer to the day of my final beta. I’m not sure how much I’m going to like a 98-degree bath, but it’s better than nothing.

I’m really going to try to lay off the home pregnancy tests this time – they caused me so much anxiety last time around. But….we’ll see if I can make it 10 days.

 

FET#2: CD14

I went in for my appointment today and my lining was 8.4mm!!! My follicle was at 20.6mm and I still hadn’t ovulated, which means there are potentially a few more hours for the lining to thicken up a little bit more. Anyways, my transfer is officially scheduled for February 10. It will be on a Friday afternoon, which is a transfer slot bingo in my book. It won’t be suspicious that I’m leaving work early on a Friday and then I will get 2 full days to rest. And I’m definitely looking forward to some diazepam.

FET#2 : CD12 + CD13

Yesterday I went in for my CD12 follicle and lining check. My biggest follicle was 16.2mm, but my lining hadn’t increased much and was hovering around 6.5mm. My doctor casually mentioned at the end of my visit that if my LH surged and my lining didn’t get to 8mm, then my transfer would be cancelled. I then had to sign the embryo thaw paperwork with my husband, which felt pretty dumb, since my cycle might be cancelled. My nurse called later with the blood work. My E2 went up to 220 but my LH was only 11.65, so no surge yet. My nurse said that it was possible that my lining could increase 1-2mm over night, but that it didn’t seem likely since my lining didn’t change between days 10 and 12 of my cycle.

I went home and cried a lot. A lot!

Then this morning I went in for another appointment. My biggest follicle was 18.5mm and my lining had gone up to 7.5mm! The doctor (weekend doctor – different than my regular doctor) said that if we could get another day in before I ovulated, then my lining would have a chance to increase a little more. She said that if I ovulated before tomorrow, she would still consider doing a transfer, depending on what my regular doctor thought.

Then she asked me if I had been eating enough calories and I said yes. (I never diet and I eat a variety of healthy and “unhealthy” foods. Nothing has changed during the IVF process.) She told me that thin people have a harder time getting a thick lining. Wait – what?! Why didn’t anyone tell me this before? I am thin (not underweight), but no one at the clinic has ever said that my weight would be an issue. I don’t really understand, because lots of thin people get pregnant all the time. It makes me feel like I actually shouldn’t worry about my lining being too thin, because it’s the right thickness for my body size. The doctor told me to go home and rest and “eat some ice cream,” which is a wonderful prescription.

Anyway, when I got home from the appointment and told C everything, he said that he didn’t think we should do the transfer. That made me start crying (reoccuring theme in my life!). Then I made myself a big breakfast and watched a movie waiting for the results. My E2 was 438 (holy cow!) and my LH was 22. So my LH is surging but hopefully not peaking. The nurse told me to do an HCG trigger shot at 3pm and to come back in tomorrow for another follicle and lining check. I am hoping that my follicle will stay in my ovary for just a little big longer.

 

FET#2 : CD 10

I’m in a better place than last week. It’s the upswing of my cycle, and I can’t believe we’re going to transfer another embryo in less than 2 weeks! It’s really happening so quickly. I don’t feel as dark about it as last week, but I wouldn’t say I’m excited either. I had my CD10 appointment today to check on my follicles and uterine lining. Here are my stats compared with CD10 last transfer cycle:

FET#1 Biggest Follicle = 10.6mm — FET#2 Biggest Follicle = 12.2mm

FET#1 E2 = 40 –FET#2 E2 = 106

FET#1 LH = no data (7.95 on CD12) — FET#2 LH = 9.31

FET#1 Uterine Lining = no data — FET#2 Uterine Lining = 6mm

What I’ve surmised from this data is that my cycle is not going to be as long this time, so I definitely think I’ll be ovulating sooner than CD17 this time. On the one hand, I’m glad that my cycle is getting back to it’s normal pre-IVF length, because hopefully my hormones are getting back on track. On the other hand, I feel that a shorter follicular phase means that my lining will have less time to thicken up. On the other other hand, last time my lining didn’t really change much once it got close to 8mm. Why didn’t all my herbs and potions (juice, tea, vitamins) magically give me a 10mm lining?! Of course, my doctor didn’t seem worried. She said she wouldn’t expect it to be at 8mm this early.

Also, my doctor wanted to know about my hobbies and suggested if I liked writing I should try blogging. My doctor is cool and blogs for BuzzFeed, so she’s on another level, blog-wise. I told her that I already have an IVF blog and she asked if she could have the link. I told her no, because I feel like it would be really embarrassing to have my doctor know all my thoughts on the process. Then she asked if she could see it when “this is all over,” and I told her maybe. That comment gave me a little hope that this process might actually work one time.