My hcg level today (10dp5dt) was 29, so *big surprise* I’m having my fourth chemical pregnancy.
Yesterday was my fourth embryo transfer. I worked in the morning and then had my transfer at 2:00. I took both Valiums that were prescribed, and was feeling pretty great by the time of the transfer. My clinic always offers warm blankets for procedures, so I got to cozy up under those while being drugged up. For the first time, I didn’t overfill my bladder. I drank about half of what they suggest, and my bladder was full. I asked the technician that was checking my bladder if she would measure my uterine lining, which I’ve never had checked on transfer day. She said that it might be a slightly inflated number, because my bladder was full, and then told me that it was 10mm. When she left the room, my husband said the number on the screen was actually 10.9mm, so I am quite pleased. That is surely much higher than it’s ever been during a natural transfer cycle.
The technician, nurse and embryologist were all no-nonsense in delivering their spiels to me, which I was very happy about, because I’m sick of the peppy, positive attitudes of the clinicians I’ve had in the past at my clinic. The photo of my embryo showed it partially hatching, but I don’t know how much of a difference that makes. The embryology camera wasn’t working, so we couldn’t see the close up of our embryo being sucked up the tube. I’ve already seen the process three times before, and I didn’t even care about not seeing it. The doctor stuck it in me, and then I got to go home in my Valium-induced state. We stopped and picked up a fried vegetarian chicken sandwich and sweet potato fries on the way home. I went home and chowed those down while watching some frivolous teen movie on Netflix. After that I passed out for 4 hours! I woke up and ate a small dinner of roasted brussels sprouts and blueberry kefir, then went back to bed. All in all, it was an ideal transfer day.
I’m having a fairly quiet weekend. I went on an easy, flat 3-mile walk today, but I don’t plan to do any other exercise this weekend. I’ll be back to biking on Monday. I haven’t felt any cramping or twitching, so of course I already think it didn’t work. I’ve already got embryo-failure plans if it doesn’t work: go to an expensive restaurant for a 3-course meal with wine pairing for my birthday at the end of the month and go to San Francisco during Pride weekend to party it up with a bunch of my gay friends at the end of June. It’s nice to have things to look forward to in case the transfer doesn’t work out.
I had my second lining check today. My lining was 8.4mm, which is exactly what it’s always been during my natural cycles. I assume it would get thicker if we left it another week, but my doctor said if it’s 8mm or thicker, then it’s good to go. However, with my natural cycles, I had my lining checked right at ovulation, so it was peaking. With this medicated cycle, I’ll stay on my high dose of estrogen (4 patches) until Monday, when I drop down to two patches a day. My doctor only does medicated transfers on Friday, so I won’t start the progesterone in oil shots until Sunday. This means that the lining has a few more days to thicken. I’m know that I’m really fixated on the lining, but it seems so important! My transfer is scheduled for Friday, May 11.
Moving kept me very busy over the last weekend. I can get really OCD about cleaning and spent most of two whole days cleaning my old apartment. I’m still worn out from it, but fortunately we hired movers to move everything to our new place. I have some more unpacking/organizing/setting up to do, so that should keep me busy for a while. Our new apartment is such an incredible upgrade, but without our art and rugs and stuff set up, it feels pretty sterile. I have my own bathroom now with a nice, deep tub and I’m getting in as many baths as possible before the transfer. Also, it’s fun cooking in a big, beautiful kitchen. Hopefully the novelty of the new apartment will carry me through at least May 21 aka Doomsday aka the pregnancy blood test.
I had a lining check this morning. Unfortunately, my lining was only 6.5mm, so I have to add at least another week to my cycle calendar. This means that my transfer is tentatively scheduled for May 11, rather than May 4. I don’t mind the added time so much as the disappointment that a medicated cycle didn’t magically make my lining thicker than usual. I guess that the nice thing is that unlike the natural cycle we can wait it out and see if it gets thicker. My doctor was concerned that maybe I wasn’t absorbing enough estrogen from the patches, and said that I might need to add in an oral estradiol pill or vaginal suppository. She said that my estrogen would like to see my level to be over 300.
I mulled this over today, and I started to wonder if the hot baths I’ve been taking every night were leeching the estrogen out of the patches. When I first started the patches, C asked if I was allowed to take baths. No one had told me that I couldn’t take baths, but when I googled whether baths were “allowed,” the internet came back to me with conflicting information. So I emailed my nurse and she said that baths don’t effect the patches. Still, I’d been wondering and wondering. Well, I got my estrogen results back, so now I feel confident that baths do not effect the absorption rate.
My estrogen was 637!
Well, what the heck?! When I did natural cycles, my lining always peaked around 8mm and my estrogen peaked around 350-500. So if my estrogen is even higher than usual, why isn’t my lining thicker? Or at least the same? I’ve emailed my nurse about this and am awaiting her reply.
Back to the transfer date….May 11 is better for me. I have a work event that I was going to have to miss on May 5 if I did the transfer on May 4, and it makes me look good at work if I show up to this event. Also, it will only be the second weekend after moving, so I will probably still be unpacking and setting things up. And lastly, if I did a May 4 transfer, I would definitely start testing around May 13, which is Mother’s Day. Seeing a negative test on Mother’s Day would be way too emotional for me. It’s already hard enough to be both motherless and childless on that day – no need to add an HPT to the mix!
I feel like I have so little to blog about during this medicated cycle. Everything is going great….I guess? In my natural cycle, I was going in every 1-2 days for checks, so I knew the status. It’s strange to just be hoping that the medication (and my body) is doing what it’s supposed to be doing. Despite the ambiguity, it’s actually been easier to not dwell on the IVF stuff. I still haven’t had any side effects from the Lupron, and I’ve continued to administer my own shots daily. I’m up to 4 estrogen patches now, and the main side effects have been sleeping great and feeling frisky. My skin is also looking fabulous. So I’m actually rather enjoying the hormone regime so far. My next appointment is on Tuesday, and I’m a little nervous, but hoping that my lining looks extra thick and that I haven’t somehow ovulated through the medication this cycle.
In other news, C and I are moving into a new apartment on Saturday. All the packing and preparations have been great for keeping my mind off of the transfer. I love moving (really!), and I’m definitely more excited to move than to do another transfer. When I actually think about the transfer, I feel a bit of dread, because after the transfer time will pass soooooooo slowly. I will obsess over symptoms and lack of symptoms and HPTs. I will not be able to focus on anything else. And then it’s a lot of anticipation and disappointment. But I’d still rather take the chance than not try at all.
Today was my suppression check to make sure Lupron has zapped away all of my hormones. Everything looked good. Estrogen is low. I’ve been on a .5mg does of Lupron for 8 days. Honestly, best IVF drug I’ve been on so far. No side effects that I’ve noticed at all, except lack of sex drive. *shrug* I was a little scared to go on Lupron, because someone on a message board told me to google “Lupron deaths,” and for some reason I actually did that. So death….but it’s IVF, you know? Of course I would risk death for the chance to have a child. I’ve also been giving myself the shots since day 3. I can’t believe how easy and painless it is (with ice) to give the shots to myself! Tomorrow I start applying estrogen patches.
I have to go visit my husband’s family this weekend, and I’m hoping they will not ask me when I’m going to get pregnant. We’re all staying in a vacation house, and I guess I’m going to try to hide the Lupron in the fridge. I have no desire to tell anyone when I’m doing a transfer cycle anymore, since it always just ends in disappointment.
Well, I’m finally doing it. After 3 failed natural transfer protocols, I’m going to try a medicated protocol. And the calendar of meds – O.M.G. It’s crazy!! The meds just go on for weeks and weeks and weeks! I know this is what almost everyone else does, but it just seems like so much effort and sacrifice compared to a natural cycle. But I can’t see how a natural transfer will ever work for me. I responded REALLY well to the egg retrieval protocols, so I’m hoping that this new protocol will give me an amazingly thick lining.
Here’s my protocol:
Birth Control: March 19-April 6
Lupron: April 3-April 28 (maybe a little longer)
Estrogen patches: April 11-….
Progesterone in oil: April 30-….
Estimated transfer: May 4
Coincidentally, May 4 was the due date for my naturally conceived baby. So I imagine I will be getting a little emotional about that.
I have a goal to learn how to give myself the Lupron shots to myself, in case my husband has to go out of town for work. (Also, I think it will be a self-esteem booster to learn a new skill.) I told him that he absolutely can’t go out of town when I’m doing the PIO shots, because there’s no way I’m learning to give myself an intramuscular injection into my own back. If any of you are giving yourselves the PIO shots, then holy cow, I’m so, so impressed!
Also, this will be my first time ordering a bunch of meds with fertility meds coverage through my insurance, so I’m pretty excited to see what is covered.
My HCG level today was 10, so I’m having another chemical pregnancy. I’m 3 for 3 now.
I took a half day from work, so I could be at home to cry when I got the results. I can’t even cry, because this is what I thought would happen. This is what always happens.
I have my beta today. I did not do an HPT yesterday or today. My beta blood draw is in an hour. I started getting bad menstrual cramps last night and this morning, as this is when my period would be due if I wasn’t on progesterone. I can’t remember if I had this bad of cramping during either of my other transfers or my natural pregnancy, so I was googling up a storm in bed this morning. I decided to check in on the news instead, and that was when I found out.
Stephen Hawking died today at age 76.
I immediately started crying, because it reminded me of my own impending death. It reminded me why I am doing IVF. It reminded me that one day I will also get ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), and I doubt that I will be so lucky to live to be 76. My mom died at age 60. Her sister died at age 61. I have an aunt with the gene who has made it to 69 with no symptoms. I’ve read that in familiar cases, it generally comes a little earlier for the next generation. Stephen Hawking died, and I am reminded that there is no cure for ALS. Even if you are a brilliant, rich, white man, it will still take you.
Today I am reminded of death. Can I please be reminded of life?
Let me rehash the last 5 days:
4dp5dt (Thur): I woke up feeling a bit lighter (emotionally) than the night before. I started to think that things are different this time. I had a polyp removed and my uterus was in great shape. I also chose an embryo from a different retrieval (#1) than I did with the other two FETs (taken from retrieval #2). And my embryo was almost fully hatched when they put it in – the picture was beautiful! My last two embryos didn’t really looked hatched even though the clinic did assisted hatching. I also had some light cramping and thought things were looking up.
5dp5dt (Fri): More light cramping. All day I kept saying, “I am not going to test until tomorrow morning. It’s too early. Nope – no testing today! It’s not FMU!” But I couldn’t help myself. I stopped drinking liquids after 1, and then when I got home at 5, I thought well I’ve done the 4-hour hold and I have internet cheapies so why not? So I tested. And nothing. About 10 minutes after the test, I had what could truly be called a “squinter.” It was there, but was it really there?
6dp5dt (Sat): I had insomnia and couldn’t fall asleep until 2am. I woke up at 6am and did another HPT. Again, still negative until around 10 minutes when it was incredibly faint, but actually visible, unlike yesterday’s squinter. I started googling “evap lines” and after finding an article that convinced me that colored evap lines aren’t a real thing, I started to get a little hopeful. (side note: I used internet cheapie HPTs a lot when I tried to get pregnant naturally and when I wasn’t pregnant there wasn’t even a trace of a line hours later – I pulled many out of the trash can to check.) After it dried, I compared it to the day before, and it was definitely more visible than the day before. I also woke up with a terrible red, bumpy rash on the outside of my lady bits, presumably from the progesterone suppositories I’ve been using. I don’t know why this happened this time, but never before. I guess it’s important to keep it VERY clean & dry down there – I don’t think that biking the day before helped. I learned that a frozen Amy’s burrito makes an amazing ice pack for this sort of thing.
7dp5dt (Sun): I took 2 benadryl before bed to help with the rash and insomnia. I slept for a whopping 7 hours (my norm is 8.5-9). I got up and did another HPT. This time it still took 10 minutes to show up and was very very faint, but not quite as faint as the day before. I was getting a little excited. I spent basically all day googling pictures of Wondfo progression lines, and I decided that it was fine that my lines were so light – Wondfos are notoriously light. So long as it was darker the next day, everything was fine.
8dp5dt (Mon): Just call me the Queen of Chemicals. My line was almost identical to the day before, if not lighter. And the line *still* took 10 minutes. I am hopeless again. I googled “chemical pregnancy Wondfo” and, yes, the pictures of the tests look just like mine. I cried a little, because WHY ISN’T THIS WORKING?! I had been hiding my POAS addiction from my husband, but I told him this morning that I’ll likely have a chemical pregnancy again. Everywhere on message boards, people say that if you get a light Wondfo, you should run out and buy a FRER to test on. But you know what – I’ve refused to buy a FRER since my last FET. When I was trying naturally, I only used internet cheapies. And I got a pretty obvious positive test on an internet cheapie at 14dpo when I got pregnant naturally. Also, I had positive FRERs when I did both of my last FETs – they turned out to be chemical anyways, so why waste the money?
As of now, I’m not taking any more tests. It’s just going to upset me more. My beta is on Wednesday. I’m going to assume that it’s over. I’ve already decided I’m taking a half day so I can be home to cry when I get the results in the afternoon.