Show me the numbers!

My blood test was this morning and I went in feeling good after yesterday’s positive home test and all your wonderful comments to me over the past 24 hours. 

But you don’t care about that. You want to know my numbers!!

The magic number is 176!!

This is entirely normal for 14 days past ovulation and 9dp5dt. It is also the highest number I’ve had for the beta test. Pregnancy one was 120, pregnancy 2 was 80 (ugh). 

Please let this one be my baby!!

🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀

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Hellooo potatoes!

Potatoes. Probably not your usual early pregnancy symptom for most people, but for me yesterday’s sudden and intense desire for potatoes was a very welcome sign! 

In my first pregnancy I could not get enough of potatoes in all forms so this was good news for me. I was starving in general yesterday and this is also very strange for me so I knew something was up. 

In my previous pregnancies I have known before test day that I was pregnant by the way my body was (mis)behaving and so I was pretty confident something was going on as of yesterday. 
I know some people enjoy the surprise reveal of the blood test results but the one time I held out for them I nearly had a nervous breakdown on test day. Now I make sure I do a home pregnancy test beforehand so I have a general idea of what to expect. 

So of course I tested this morning!! And the result was a faint but visible line showing a positive!! 🎉🎉🎉

As I have shown twice before with my miscarriages, while this is good news, it is far from a solid win for us. The next step is the blood test to make sure my numbers are viable. If they are (fingers crossed) then we have to make sure it sticks. 

But for now, we are happy!! 🍀

The Phantom of the Uterus

….. is there.

Inside my mind!

One for the fans of show tunes there!

The Phantom of the Uterus is in full session right now at 6dp5dt. I have symptoms galore and I’m not sure which are my imagination, which are the result of the medications, and which might (might) represent a potential BFP. I am sharing these “symptoms” here merely as a record of my observations and of course if I get a BFN at the end of this week you can all laugh at me for my vivid imagination.

Boobs

Yesterday I was quite confident my boobs were bigger. Husband came home yesterday (yay!) and was required to do a full visual and feeling test to assess their growth or lack of (he gets all the good jobs!!). He confirmed that he too believes them to be bigger – and was incredulous that I was doubting it. This morning I woke up and they feel even bigger and more sore which I’m delighted about. This is probably the best bit of all of this for the husband as my usually micro-sized boobs grow to be quite a lovely size and shape. Of course they usually get really sore at a certain point and then he can’t touch them so he has to enjoy them while he can! Haha!

Fatigue/sleep

I have felt a tiny bit more tired than normal, but nothing like previously when I had BFPs. This could be for several reasons, one of which being there is no BFP (not the option I’m going for), but most likely is because I am taking 16mg of Prednisolone and from all reports that gives you a lot more pep in your step than you might otherwise have. I did go to bed a little earlier than normal last night at 10:30pm, but I was then WIDE AWAKE and ready to party at 5am this morning, which is great except there was no one who wanted to party at that hour with me. I also needed a 5am toilet visit which has previously been a sign of BFP, but maybe this is just because I went to bed a little earlier than usual. Hmmm….

Bloating/cramps

I am very bloated (eeewww) and I seem to be having low level cramps on and off almost constantly. I think I’m a tiny bit more hungry than usual too, but I’m not sure if that’s just because I’m back in the office this week and being in an office usually makes me crave the munchies. 

Husband is convinced the transfer has worked and is expecting a BFP. I am afraid he is a little over confident but don’t want to ruin his buzz as he is in charge of positivity in our partnership. But I bought a double-pack pregnancy test yesterday so that we can test before the blood test on Friday. I know some people like the element of surprise, but for me I like to have a sense of what to expect in advance of the ominous call with the blood test results.  No testing before Thursday though. 

Please, please let this little one stick!

Gimme some cheese!

Today is 4dp5dt and I am floating about in that special kind of mental hell solely reserved for the 2WW. I have no idea if this has worked and it’s driving me crazy!

So what symptoms or “ghost symptoms” do I have?

Since Friday I have had a very, very sore back but the reality of that now seems to be that I actually do have a sore back.  I’ve got a reoccurring thing with my back which is not serious, but I think that’s what’s happening now, rather than implantation pain.  However, occasionally today I have felt some feelings that might be a little like period pain, but I am afraid I am imagining it.  Also, as my back is so sore I feel that any other pain would be almost unnoticeable in comparison.  After my last transfer, it was day 4 when I got very noticeable implantation pain so I am a bit worried that I haven’t been feeling the same things as last time. Maybe that’s a good thing though as we all know how last time turned out. 😦

Overall today I feel a bit lousy.  Nothing really serious, but that kind of weird feeling you get before you come down with a cold.  Your throat is a bit scratchy, you’ve got a bit of a headache, maybe you’re a bit hot and then a bit cold. However, I am also feeling freaking miserable and I’ve been home alone now for 4 days (husband is abroad with work – great timing) and I think I’m losing my mind.  Can losing your mind give you a headache? (I’m sure the answer is yes, by the way)

I am a bit tired today, but not sleepy.  I am wondering if this down to our nice friends the steroids? Normally progesterone makes me super snoozy, but this time round I’ve barely noticed its impact. I can’t say I have insomnia either (one of the reported side effects of steroids) though I will confess to waking quite early the past few days.  Both times when I was pregnant I also found I would wake up very early, but again, I don’t want to read anything much into this. I’m also really into eating cheese today and I don’t each much cheese generally.

Finally, I’ve got a couple of small, blind pimples that have popped up in the past 24 hours and I think my boobs are microscopically bigger, but I can’t be sure.  All of these (ghost) symptoms could mean nothing or something.  Arrgggggh!

This weekend has been such a downer in general with my husband away and I’ve felt so incredibly lonely. One of the drawbacks of living away from your own country is that in times like this when you just want a good friend to come over and watch movies with you there is no one to turn to – not to mention someone help you do the grocery shopping (helloooo lifting!!).  My best friend back home has been sending me encouraging text messages of support but she is really my only support beyond my (currently absent) husband.  I might have underestimated how hard it was to go through the 2WW without him here…

And just to stab me in heart a tiny bit more, someone I know well and who knows my IVF situation (I will not describe them in any more detail for fear of identification) very kindly called me last night to ask how I was doing.  We had a nice chat, she asked me what I was doing today and when I said my schedule was pretty open she invited me to lunch with her and some others. I accepted the invitation and she said she would call me in the morning to arrange the details.

The morning came.  No phone call.  Of course I could have called her, but as the invitation came from her it seemed a bit pathetic for me to go chasing after her to check she still wanted me to come. At about midday I see on Facebook that she’s posted selfies at lunch – that’s the lunch she had invited me to go to but didn’t tell me where it was or when. Might have been nice to hold off on the selfies don’t you think?!

It wasn’t so much the lunch itself, but rather the rejection that struck me right in the core of my heart. So I went grocery shopping at lunchtime instead and bought cheese.  I think I might actually be looking forward to going to work tomorrow as a distraction!

 

 

Maximum deja vu

Do you believe in signs? These days I am not sure what I believe in but I am having a serious case of deja vu today. On this day, 9th November, in 2015 I had my first FET.  It resulted in my first pregnancy and my first miscarriage.

Today, 9th November, I had my third FET. How freaky is my body that I can manage to schedule my embryo transfers on precisely the same day one year later?!  I am obviously hoping with all of my heart that the result from this transfer is a whole lot more successful than one year ago!

I am usually interested in what other people do as part of their preparation for an embryo transfer, but I’m pretty sure that I do not make a good case study today. Traditionally you’re meant to be well-rested when you arrive at the clinic. Well… I got up this morning at 3.30am to watch the US election results (I’m Europe-based). I am fairly certain that having half a night’s sleep is not the textbook preparation!  That said, following the elections was part of my job, but I also really enjoyed watching the results unfold so it help me to feel excited and positive (if a bit tired).

I requested to have my transfer at 3pm (given my doctor is trying excessively to please me right now, he did not deny me this) and I carefully structured my working day so that I would be free from 1pm. This gave me plenty of time to go for my pre-transfer acupuncture session, and make it to the clinic on time.

All went pretty smoothly, although the embryologist tried AGAIN to give me two embryos to transfer. I definitely do not want twins so we declined this option for the third time.  I was annoyed though because they didn’t ask me before they defrosted my embryos, which meant they had to refreeze the spare one. I can’t help but think embryos are like chicken – once you defrost chicken once you can’t refreeze it again without risking something bad happening.

Hubby was excellent today – held my hand throughout the procedure (he doesn’t usually do that) and told me he was feeling really positive about this one.  While we were waiting for the regulated 20 minutes after the transfer we were chatting about all the names we were not giving to our magical embryo child. I was wearing a t-shirt with “Brooklyn” written across my chest and joked that if the embryo baby is a boy we will have to name it Brooklyn.  However, hubby over-ruled this as apparently Brooklyn is banned as a name (not that I like it) because of the Beckhams’ son! Haha! Then there was a large debate about other celebrities’ baby names and whether they too would be ruled out based on the same protocol.

Afterward the transfer and the much-needed wee, it was back for some more acupuncture and then home, which is where I am now. I am feeling absolutely no different whatsoever so I have no idea if it’s worked.  I am tired, but I’ve had half a night’s sleep, and run about a lot today so that would make me tired on an average day!  The next few days are going to be comparatively very quiet as we await testing day on Friday next week.

Please let this one be in it for the long run….

Reflections on the 2ww

As there is not much to update on my progress today (more bloating, bigger boobs), I thought I would instead reflect upon the steps that I took during the two week wait (2ww) after my embryo transfer. I also wanted to touch on fresh versus frozen (FET) embryo transfer as I’ve seen some comments about these here and there.

My first embryo transfer was done last September and it was a fresh transfer. I went ahead with this against my doctor’s advice, who said usually he gets better results with frozen transfers.  I thought having to wait out one more cycle before I could do my first transfer was just too long to wait and so I nagged him and, voila, fresh cycle transfer.

He had warned me that because my hormone levels were quite high from the stimulation that sometimes it is better to wait for a FET.  I did not listen. I wish I had.  Long story short, the fresh transfer was not successful and I feel like I wasted one of my highest ranking embryos (they rate them in a way that I can only imagine must be like they do diamonds).

Then I had my first FET in early November, it was successful and then at nearly 9 weeks (the week before Christmas) they found there was no heartbeat. So then I had a D&C and drank a lot of wine over the next few weeks.  Then I had to wait out a few cycles so that my lining was all comfy and nice for a baby to live in, and here we are.

My latest FET was done on Tuesday 5 April, so I guess that is day 0. In the lead up to the transfer day I did ease back on exercise, stopping gym workouts the week previously and just doing some yoga and easy runs in the days before.  I also did a couple of sessions of acupuncture for the first time in my life.  I can’t say that I was a natural with the acupuncture but I wanted to make sure that all bases were covered this time.  And I’d had a really stressful March with a huge international work trip I’d been organising so I needed to chill out massively to get myself all ready to accept the embryo.

On transfer day I had one acupuncture session in the morning at 11am before the transfer at 1.30pm, and another straight afterwards. The transfer itself was fairly straightforward, I stayed laying down for about 20 minutes, and then I drove myself off to the acupuncture place which was about 10 minutes drive away.

After that, it was straight home to the sofa for the afternoon. I had taken the day off work and the remainder of the week too so I didn’t do much but play on my laptop and watch some TV.

The plan was meant to be that my husband would take care of the dinners and tidying for the first couple of days after transfer, but hey that didn’t work out exactly as planned.  Instead on the evening of the transfer we had a big row, there were tears and I cooked dinner, eating it about 10.30pm. I believe this is what the books tell you not to do!

But I did eat some pineapple (core included) and some brazil nuts (I ate 5 brazil nuts a day throughout) – both of these seem to be urban myths but I wasn’t taking any chances. I also only drank and continue to drink bottled water, as someone else told me that you never know what’s in the public drinking water, including hormones. I only drank room temperature water, and the occasional rooibos herbal tea. No caffeine at all. This was brutal on me as I love a good cup of (proper) tea. You would think I miss the wine more, but actually it’s the tea I miss.

Wednesday (day 1 after transfer) I did practically nothing.  I lay on the sofa, did some washing, pretended to be doing fertility-enhancing yoga stretches, and pottered around the house. I also made dinner that night (hubby’s promises seemed to have evaporated into thin air). I had some discomfort in my belly since the transfer day but I wouldn’t necessarily call it cramping.

Thursday (day 2) I was going bananas at home, so I took myself off to the Mall for a couple of hours. Here I had a decaf coffee at a coffee shop that I know removes the caffeine using the  Swiss water process which does not add nasty chemicals to the coffee like other decaf processes do.  I also bought a pair of shoes. That definitely helped!

By Thursday I started to notice that I had low level cramps that were unspecific in their location – they seemed to be in my front and my back simultaneous.  They were irritating, not severe. On Thursday I did a bunch of light housework and I checked my work email because the not checking it was more stressful that checking it.

Friday (day 3) it was much of the same.  I did a tiny bit of work from home but mainly just pottered around the house and took myself for a gentle walk in the park for an hour or so. I did have cramps still and thought that a walk would help to loosen the back pain.

Saturday  (day 4) I was done with staying home.  I had full scale cramps, I felt weird, a bit dizzy and tired. Just not quite right. We went for lunch at a small town about 45 minutes drive away. I was starving! I was also really uncomfortable sitting at the table. In the afternoon I was super tired and had a nap on the sofa.  By then the cramps had intensified and later that night I wasn’t able to sleep for hours because the cramping was so annoying. If I had had this pain with my period I would have taken painkillers (obviously I didn’t, but rather I just complained a lot!) .  I believe this was the day that my embryo was implanting.

Sunday (day 5) I felt mainly fine other than feeling a bit fuzzy in the morning like I had a mild hangover.  I had no cramps. No real specific symptoms.  I can’t even remember what we did that day, which was how truly unremarkable it was.

Monday (day 6) I went back to work. I was starting to wonder at this point if something was up as on this day I grew a massive cystic acne spot.  Actually I still have the remains of the bastard as it won’t go away. Cystic acne for me is a sign of hormonal imbalances and it was one of the biggest positive indicators for me. I also started to get really thirsty from this day and I noticed the skin on my hands went really, really dry for no good reason.

Tuesday (day 7) I went to have my eyebrows waxed after work and had the most huge reaction ever to it.  It hurt like hell (very unusual) and so I searched online to find your skin is more sensitive when pregnant.  I was pretty sure at this point that the result was positive. My big spot on my face was also joined by 2 more spots on this day (smaller, but still mean).  I think it was around this point I noticed my boobs were microscopically bigger.

Wednesday (day 8) I was convinced by this stage I was pregnant and told hubby that if I wasn’t I was going to look really stupid for all the imaginary symptoms I’d been having. We went for a walk around the park together in the evening and bought a pregnancy test on the way home. That was the day we got a very faint line on the test and I was the most happy I have been this year!

Thursday (day 9) was blood test day! I was really chilled about this as I knew it was positive, but was hoping for a strong HCG number.  By this day my boobs were slightly larger, but not sore. The test was 80 and I wasn’t happy with it, but at least it proved I had not imagined my symptoms.

So would I do anything differently if I have to go through this again?  Not really, although I’d probably skip the fighting with the husband and have lower expectations that he would actually cook dinner.

Top tips:

  • Take some time off work around the transfer if you can
  • Luxuriate on the sofa for as long as you can stand it, but do move around a bit too to keep your circulation going
  • Eat well, regularly and freshly
  • Eat the pineapple and brazil nuts if you want to.  It doesn’t hurt.
  • Drink LOADS of water
  • Check how they make your coffee decaf or stick to naturally caffeine free drinks
  • Don’t get too caught up in worrying if you have fight with your other half (or whoever).  Mine was quite stressful and it didn’t seem to have any impact on anything

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:

FullSizeRender

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!