FET#3: 3dp5dt

I’m really not on the blogging bandwagon anymore. I think it’s because I feel completely hopeless about an FET ever working for me. It was fun to blog when I thought something would actually happen, but I just feel so resigned already. I had a polyp removed during my February 1 hysteroscopy, but other than that my natural transfer protocol is basically the same as it’s ever been. But great hormones + a “good enough” lining (8.5mm) + a PGS-tested embryo ≠ pregnancy. I’m obsessed with googling symptoms and then reading about other people’s symptoms and then feeling bad that I don’t have any symptoms. I haven’t had much twinging or cramping at all. I just feel sluggish and nauseas from the progesterone suppositories. I hate that as crummy as I feel now, I’m going to feel even more defeated when this doesn’t work. The one thing that I don’t have to worry about anymore is the cost, since I have amazing IVF coverage now. Before this cycle started I had some hope, since I got pregnant naturally last year, but what if I can *only* get pregnant naturally, and IVF never works?

A Year in Review or Whatever Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger

It’s been so hard to sit down and write this post.

After the two failed transfers in Jan/Feb, I decided that I couldn’t keep doing the same thing. I wanted some control over my life. I wanted to know if I could get pregnant naturally. So after 7 years of using some form of birth control, C and I decided to try sex without it, and….I didn’t get pregnant. We tried in March, April, May – and nothing. I had a polyp removed from my uterus in May. We tried in June – and nothing.

We had a two-week trip planned in September, and I decided that I definitely did not want to get pregnant before the trip. So for July and August I *sort of* tried not to have sex around ovulation. But I had tried so hard for 4 months, that I figured it was hopeless. Meanwhile, C got a job at a new company that has stellar IVF benefits (no infertility required). I was ready to go on my fun trip to Europe and then dive back into IVF in October.

C and I were going on a shorter trip with his mom the last week of August. A few days before the trip I took a pregnancy test and it was negative. I woke up really early the morning of our trip and did a pregnancy test just to be sure. And two lines showed up. I freaked out. I said “Oh fuck oh fuck oh fuck,” then I started crying. I was not excited. I was scared of what I had done and what was to come.

A couple of weeks later we had our trip to New York/Denmark/Greece (weeks 6-8 of my pregnancy). I was nauseas all day, every day of the trip. I was tired. It was very difficult, and I did not get a prescription for anti-nausea medicine until I came back home. I kept my excitement at bay, because I knew that I was going to do genetic testing, and that there was a 50% chance of the baby being affected.

I thought that I would be able to do CVS testing at 10 weeks. I could not do it until 12 weeks. C was out of town for work, and my friend came with me to the CVS test. It was painful, but not terrible and it was over quick (although we spent hours waiting). Prior to the test I had to get the nuchal translucency ultrasound, which took about an hour. I didn’t want to see the screen at all. The woman doing the ultrasound didn’t understand why I didn’t want to see the baby, and she kept pointing out all its perfect body parts. I didn’t want to see what the baby looked like, but I accidentally did see it. I accidentally saw its perfect, tiny nose.

I thought that it would take 2 weeks to get results, but it took 4 weeks because they had to culture the sample. The lab also lost my blood sample, so I had to rush to have my blood drawn again. Then I was told that the CVS and blood samples would have to be sent to another lab. There were a lot of mishaps, so I thought there was another mishap when I listened to the message from my genetic counselor. It turned out they had been able to get the results. The result was that the baby was affected. I was 16 weeks pregnant when I got this news.

I got the call on my lunch break at work and no one was around me. I froze. I texted C. He told me to come straight home. It was the weekend before Thanksgiving. He handled all the calls to the abortion clinic. I didn’t want to get an abortion. I didn’t even want to get the results of the genetic testing. I was hoping that they would lose the results and I could just say “fuck it” and keep the baby. But they didn’t lose the results. And C really wanted me to get an abortion, because that was always part of the plan.

The abortion was scheduled for two days – the first to have dilators inserted into my cervix. After that, I was in the most excruciating pain I’ve ever felt. Once the oxycodone kicked in, I was more relaxed. They also gave me some sort of drugs in an IV the next day, when I had the actual “evacuation.” Afterwards, I felt at peace. C & I went out to lunch and I ate a big meal. C & I took the whole week of Thanksgiving off and stayed home, which was really nice. The day after the procedure, I wasn’t in pain so I didn’t take any oxycodone. That was the worst day emotionally, and it tapered off after that. I was actually really happy for the next couple of weeks – something to do with my hormones maybe. But also, it was nice to feel like myself again.

I met with my IVF doctor in early December. She told me that I couldn’t do another transfer until my third cycle. I got my first period 33 days after the procedure, which is pretty good. I was told it could take up to 8 weeks! My doctor wants me to do a saline sonogram during my next cycle, then do a transfer the cycle after that. I’ll have to decide whether to do a medicated or natural transfer cycle, but more on that later.

So that was my year. I wasn’t pregnant. Then I was. And now I’m not again.

 

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.