The tyranny of waiting

Sometimes IVF just seems like some kind of evil test of patience. You are constantly waiting for something new to give you peace of mind, and yet rarely is this even possible.

So here I am with a positive blood test and a bunch of (faintly) positive HPTs and yet I’m still worried about whether there is an embryo growing inside of me. Hubby is vastly more positive than I am – perhaps he is able to see more changes in me than I can see in myself. He reassures me daily (who am I kidding, about 100 x a day) that everything is going fine and this one will stick.  He also likes to inspect and then tell me my boobs are growing, which is probably the biggest advantage of all of this for him.

Tomorrow is blood test number two and I think I’m actually more nervous for this one than I was for the first one. I love those of you who have shared your stories of having HCG levels less than my first reading of 80 – this gives me great confidence.  And anyway, the last pregnancy that ended in miscarriage got past this point perfectly well so there is no reason to think I have a specific issue at this stage of pregnancy (or at all, but who knows).

The previous embryo did have a higher HCG at this point, but also when they transferred it  into me it had already started to hatch out of its shell.  The one I have now was still in its shell when it was transferred so maybe it’s a bit slower to progress than its mate.

What I’m hoping for tomorrow is some kind of brilliant HCG score that shows normal progress and no greater need to worry than is standard this early in pregnancy. I’ve had practically no pregnancy symptoms so far apart from slightly larger boobs, increased thirst and minor fatigue. I so wish I had written down my symptoms last time so that I could compare notes on when I started to feel differently. I remember at some point I got extremely tired but maybe it was further along than I am now and I’m just being impatient for “real” symptoms to kick in.

Last time I had no morning sickness which worried me hugely. I’ve read in a number of places that morning sickness is a positive sign (though it might not feel like it). I also take after my mother in all things gynaecological and she was gruesomely sick with her pregnancies so this was also a warning sign to me when I felt fine.  Weird as this sounds, I am looking for the morning sickness as some kind of reflection that everything is going okay. I must be the only woman in the world wanting this!

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A tiny bit crazy

I have undoubtedly gone a tiny bit crazy the past two days since receiving my positive blood test from the doctor. I have not had the “normal” reaction to a positive pregnancy test because I am just not confident that it’s going to stick this time.

My second test is Monday and it cannot come fast enough for me; I am even wishing away the weekend! Every few minutes I find myself searching for more symptoms to see if I am more pregnant. My theory is that if my HCG level is growing, my symptoms should increase too. I must have checked my boobs about 100 times in the past 48 hours to try and assess if they are larger and/or more tender. My decision this morning is that they are definitely larger and more sore and this thrills me.

Hubby and I agreed that we would do another POAS test this morning to see if the line had gotten darker, so I went off and bought another double pack of home pregnancy tests. I rotate which pharmacy I got to for the tests each time so that none of the pharmacy people realise I am testing so many times!  Haha! This also means I seem to get different brands of test each time which is annoying.

In any case, armed with a new pack of tests yesterday after work I decided to do a fresh test.  This was not a good idea. All the experts say to POAS first thing in the morning, but I was not waiting for that.  And the result was still a positive test but the line was so weak you almost have to squint at it to see it.  This made me panic more that my HCG level is not going up.  But of course urine tests are far from foolproof with the HCG showing up weaker in urine than blood.

I have done another test this morning though (of course, because now I’m addicted to doing them) and the line is a lot stronger than yesterday evening’s and I think the strongest line I have seen so far (still not bold though, dammit!).  See for yourself here.

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My period is due today so I guess if everything goes to plan the line should get darker from now.  Please make this one stick!

Last night we went out with some family members for dinner and I was in the awkward situation of wondering how I was going to dodge the wine-drinking issue. This is relatively easy if you don’t drink wine regularly, but as I am well-known for liking a glass of wine to suddenly decline is a bold signal that SOMETHING IS UP. And of course, my family-in-law are all Mediterranean and so they are OBSESSED with babies and cannot fathom why I have not yet produced an heir (or multiple heirs) at the ancient age of 37.

Hubby and I had an excellent plan that if any wine found its way to my glass that he would just drink it.  Great idea.  Except that he wasn’t sitting next to me at dinner.  Hmmmm.  So when the wine was ordered it didn’t make it into my glass by some wonderful twist of fate so I filled my glass with water so it was thus impossible. But no success.  Soon it was spied that there was no wine so a big hullabaloo ensured to make sure I got some wine. I first claimed I preferred white wine (the wine ordered was red) so – against my pleas – hubby’s aunty ordered me a glass of white wine that turned up in front of me and then she stared at me waiting to drink it.

SUPER AWKWARD!

Of course I did not drink it (I’m paranoid enough at the moment – I won’t even drink water out of the tap, much less alcohol FFS!) so then there were multiple eyebrows raised. Then, to top it off, the other aunty (who is the sweetest woman alive and means no one harm) then muttered something about me not having any children and that she is praying for me.  Great.

It was at that point that I thought I wanted the world to swallow me up.

So while no one said anything in particular about my non-wine drinking, for sure it was clocked.  Ugh.  Why can nothing be private?!

 

The results are in!

The blood test result is a positive, which was not such a surprise after yesterday’s exciting POAS exercise.  So this means I am officially pregnant! Yay!

But strangely I’m not as euphoric as yesterday or as much as you would expect for someone who has just learned she is pregnant, and also that IVF has succeeded.

Why?

I am just so scared.

Last time when I got a positive test back I was so shocked and thrilled and all the things you’re meant to be. I cracked on through the first few weeks and didn’t even think of “the other options”, but then there was the miscarriage.

Even though the two pregnancies are TOTALLY NOT RELATED and there’s NO REASON for me to think this one is going to end the same way, I am so scared it will.

My HCG level today was at 80 which is well within the standard category, but I remember last time I was more than 100 at this point. Even though the doctor told me more than once that 80 is a good number, I still have to go back in on Monday for another test to make sure it has multiplied many times over in the intervening days.  So the waiting and the wondering doesn’t stop here!

I have to keep telling myself that if this was a normal/non-IVF pregnancy I wouldn’t even know I was pregnant by now as my period is not due for another couple of days. So I wouldn’t even have done a POAS test until later this weekend.  And if everything goes as it should then my HCG level should be much higher by then.

Hubby has been very comforting and has been telling me to stop being so nutso and just enjoy the moment. We’ve agreed that we will do another POAS test on Saturday in the hope that the line will be darker, thus signifying higher HCG levels.

I’ve done a lot of online searching this afternoon and there’s various examples showing a reading of 80 to be perfectly fine as long as the reading goes up a lot over the next few days. Somewhere I read also said that sometimes male babies show a lower reading at the start and then catch up later. I’ve no idea if that is true, but it’s an interesting theory.

So for now it’s more of the same – resting, trying not to stress (ha!) and eating well.

Please let this baby be a keeper.

 

 

To P or not to P…

To POAS or not to POAS, that was the question.

It was the question until I answered it with a big, fat, hell yeah that I couldn’t wait anymore and I was just going to POAS in advance of tomorrow’s blood test.

Well here you go.  Decide for yourself:

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While very faint and not as bold as the test window, that is a line.  That is a line in the POSITIVE box!  I have never been so delighted to see a pink line in my entire life!

Full disclosure here: I did this test at 7.30pm, which is not exactly optimal for testing.  I fully plan to do another test first thing in the morning to see if I can get a bit more of a bold line.

I am SO DELIGHTED that I am positively skipping around the house!  Bring on the blood test tomorrow!

 

Coincidental?

Today after work I went to have my eyebrows waxed. Given that I am not allowed to do fun things like go running, or to the gym, or drink wine at the moment, I suddenly have found all these extra hours in the day. (As a side note, I am now starting to wonder what the hell non-exercising people do with all their spare time?!)

You would think waxing your eyebrows would be a pretty uncontroversial move? Well, I’m here to tell you that even though I’ve waxed my eyebrows 700,000 times over the years and it’s been done by the same lady for the past five years, today for the first time EVER I have developed huge welts on my skin where it was waxed.

WHAT?!

I mean, I’m sure it will go down soon and I will survive, but right now I’m quite a fright!  A quick little Google showed me that apparently if you’re pregnant you need to be careful with waxing as your skin is extra sensitive and prone to reactions!!  WOW!

Also, my one lovely cystic acne spot that I was celebrating yesterday has been joined by two friends so half of my face now looks like angry teenager skin and the other half looks like my waxing lady attacked me with a hot hair curler tool. Usually my cystic acne is caused by hormonal fluctuations so I am hoping I have a whole bunch of pregnancy hormones responsible for messing up my face right now.

I cannot help but think this cannot ALL be coincidental, can it?!  Sure I could have imagined a few of these symptoms, but some of them have been way too strong to be coincidences.

So tempted to POAS.  Can I hold out until Thursday?!

 

The fragility of hope

It was back to work for me today after four days off last week.  I was actually quite pleased to go back as I was becoming increasingly restless towards the end of last week and work was a welcome distraction.

My boss knows my situation and she is really encouraging, but she doesn’t always remember the details, including how long it is before you find out results.  So she bounded into work this morning giving me a secret thumbs up sign and seemed a bit disappointed when I just shrugged my shoulders. She is a big pusher of the power of positivity and keeps reminding me to believe that this one will work. It’s nice having someone so positive around, although sometimes I am afraid to be as positive as she suggests.

Following my various theorising on symptoms, I continue to have no cramps despite still taking the pessaries, so I am still feeling confident that the cramps I had which peaked on Saturday were implantation cramps. Please let this not just be my imagination!

Today I have felt pretty good actually, apart from the giant, cystic acne spot that I have on my cheek. There’s no hiding this bad boy! Thankfully it’s only one spot, but cystic acne for me is 99% down to some kind of hormonal fluctuation.  For possibly the only time in my life I’ve been celebrating a giant spot!

Other potentially relevant symptoms (or potentially not) have been increased thirst (I drank nearly 3 litres before 4pm today) and fatigue.  I’ve felt quite wiped out from about 2pm today, although I did go to bed a bit late last night so I am not entirely sure if I’m willing to claim that one as a symptom today.

I have so far not POAS, but I’m still in a quandary about that one. I am increasingly leading towards waiting, but there’s still 3 days until Thursday so maybe I’ll weaken before then.  Until now it’s all good until it’s not. Fingers, toes, hairs, and eyes crossed!

Definitely maybe

Ok, I’m going to be frank here. I’ve had a lot of symptoms the past few days and I’m starting to wonder, hope and dream that they are signs that this little embryo transfer has worked.

Here is the evidence thus far:

  • On-and-off cramping since Thursday, culminating yesterday in a day full of cramps that were so bad last night I couldn’t sleep. Cramps in my front, cramps in my back, but definitely cramps. This was NOT my imagination. The cramps are not really the same as period pain, but are more like something is trying to make a space down there and is having some challenges.
  • I fully recognise that the progesterone I am so daintily providing to my body up my lady parts each day can cause cramps and other symptoms, so why the hell didn’t I get ANY symptoms for the 3 days before the transfer that I was also using the progesterone pessaries.  And why did I wake up today to have zero cramps even though I’m still taking the pessaries?
  • Most of yesterday I just felt lousy.  Kind of like a bad hangover.  Nothing specific that I could pinpoint, but just not right. An afternoon nap yesterday was non-negotiable.
  • This morning, I spent a few hours again feeling not great.  I would characterise this as similar to what I get after a few too many wines the night previous, i.e. low-level nausea and a mildly dizzy sensation that doesn’t stop you doing anything but it’s much nicer to have a good sit-down.

For the previous FET which was positive (until miscarriage) I also had quite substantial back pain for about 24 hours at around the same stage of the process. After the fresh transfer (negative) I had no symptoms. I remember this clearly because all of my online searches were looking for examples of others who had no symptoms but went on to have a positive test (there’s loads, but clearly I wasn’t one of them).

Based on this (admittedly dubious) analysis, I’m starting to feel a bit more positive that this might have worked. I have also bloated up BEAUTIFULLY over the past few days and my boobs are substantially bigger (v likely related to the progesterone that one) so I really hope there is good justification for feeling so gross.

My blood test is due for Thursday and I’m currently playing mind games with myself as to whether I should consider a POAS test before that. Before the blood test for the fresh transfer I did POAS the day before the test and it came back negative. To be completely fair though, I was testing myself at that point because I’d lost faith that it had worked because I had no symptoms. The negative test made me so super-depressed in advance of getting the bad news that I swore never to do one again.

During the last FET I kept to my word and I didn’t POAS, but instead waited for the blood test results.  Until the day before I really thought it would be positive and then I had some kind of crisis of confidence where I doubted myself. I ended up going for the blood test and sobbing to the nurse that it was pointless because it would be negative and also to my boss at work. It was positive.

So what do I do?  Do I hold tight for the blood test on Thursday?  Or do I do a home test and (potentially) get a sneak peek in advance of Thursday?

I took the dandelion photo here on a walk on Friday and thought to add it as dandelion can be a symbol of life. While to you it might seem to be an unimpressive weed, I liked a description that I read that said  it is”… nearly impossible to remove because of its spectacularly strong roots. Then, when it goes to seed, it is suddenly beautiful, fluffy and white, standing proudly above the grass and weeds. But then finally, one strong wind and its beautiful geometry is gone.”

I feel like the dandelion today.

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