My triplet reality and other updates

First of all, thank you to every single one of you who took the time to comment/like my last post. Your support through this journey has been a big source of happiness ūüôā

This post however has been really difficult for me to write, hence why it’s been so long since I’ve posted. I forced myself to write because I wanted to document my journey and these early days, but the truth is I am fearful, and being with my thoughts, writing out my thoughts or heaven forbid talking about them outloud, make my fears more real. So I avoid them..

But here goes:

Once the glitter and excitement of seeing a heartbeat had settled, I started to see my reality for what it was. I was carrying identical twins and a non-identical triplet, which I learned was actually not a good situation. Although it was very early days still, they said that if the pregnancy were to progress as is, in order to give us a real chance at successfully carrying a baby/babies to term, we would likely be advised to reduce the identical twins because they were showing to share the same placenta and the same amniotic fluid at the time of the first ultrasound. These types of twin pregnancies only have a 50-60% chance of making it because there are so many things that can go wrong (chord wrapping around baby, one baby taking all the nutrients etc), and the identical twins would put our healthy singleton at further risk. This was a cruel, cruel situation to be faced with after having gone through infertility for so many years. My triplet pregnancy weighed heavily on me and I didn’t feel like I could enjoy or celebrate it.

7 WEEK ULTRASOUND – AND THEN THERE WERE TWO

We went in for our 7 week ultrasound last Friday and my husband saw the heartbeats for the first time! We saw the tiny heartbeat of baby A, then saw Baby B…and although we saw Baby C, his little heart had stopped beating the day of our 6 week ultrasound. Everyone who knew of our situation/file at the clinic was saying how the body just knows best what to do. Baby C was one of the identical twins. With our new reality, I am carrying fraternal twins which is considered the safest of all twin pregnancies. It’s bitter sweet news, but news that will allow us to proceed with this pregnancy without having to make any difficult decisions.¬†

Once I was done the ultrasound I was sitting in the waiting room to see our doctor. The technician had my file opened and was whispering with one of the other technicians while they pointed at some findings on my file. They looked concerned.

BLOOD CLOT AND BED REST

Turns out they were discussing my subchorionic hemorrhage (SCH). Basically I have a blood clot that could threaten the entire pregnancy! What disturbed me the most was how my RE gave me no hope that this was going to turn out okay. He prescribed me pelvic rest or bed rest as much as I can for the week and even wrote me a note so I wouldn’t have to go into work until I see him again this Friday. He basically said, we’ll have to wait and see and that was that. From what I’ve read, I have a 50/50 chance at getting through this successfully. I thought I was out of the woods after seeing heartbeats, but I’ve learned first hand how things can change by the day in the early days of pregnancy.¬†

Most people discover they have an SCH when they start to have spotting/massive bleeding. Luckily I have had neither. The hope is that the blood clot will absorb and we’ll see it get smaller or disappear on this Friday’s ultrasound. Upon discovery of the clot, I was promptly taken off the 5000iu of Fragmin (injectable blood thinner), but I am continuing the low dose aspirin, likely to prevent any further clots.¬†

NEXT ULTRASOUND 

My next ultrasound is in two days when I’ll be 8 weeks pregnant. I am praying for a miracle.¬†

First ultrasound

Today is the beginning of a long weekend and my first ultrasound is not scheduled for another four days. According to the their schedule I should be 5 weeks 6 days today. I worked myself up into a panic this morning because I seriously have none of the usual symptoms. I’ve been subscribed to daily email feeds which track your progress and I’ve been reading all about how I should be feeling, the usual suspects like fatigue, nausea, breast tenderness. I know I’ve blogged about the lack of symptoms in just about every post, and yes, I am grateful that I’m not hugging the toilet, but seriously, after getting this far, the last thing I want is history to repeat itself with a miscarriage. I needed some reassurance, so I texted some friends and asked about their experiences and even went as far as peeing on another stick at 6AM. This actually made things worse because the line was lighter than it was the last time I took it which was over a week ago. I worked myself into such a panic, I decided to hell with waiting, I was marching over to the clinic 4 days early. I needed to know SOMETHING. Anything!!

My husband was in bed at 9:30 when I resolved to head out, and he thought I was being crazy and wouldn’t get out of bed to accommodate my lunacy. Fine, so I went myself.

I guess because most people are enjoying their long weekend, I didn’t have to wait for my ultrasound. They called my number right away and I sat there waiting, I was sweating, face beet red, and I was hyperventilating! This is the exact same feeling I had the last time I was waiting for my second beta after my first IVF, when I was hoping it would double, but didn’t.

The ultrasound technician went quietly to work. I saw two black sacs immediately, but things didn’t register until she started typing “TWIN A”…oh my word. Is this really happening to me? I kept thinking that I wished my Mr. was here holding my hand and experiencing this magical moment for himself. There were two little dots in the sac and I was a bit confused so I was consulting dr. Google typing in “6 week twin ultrasound” on my phone while half naked with a doppler up in Queen Victoria.

In the middle of the ultrasound, she asked me who my doctor was. Uh oh. This is NOT a good sign I thought. I’ve read plenty of times that this is when they call in the doctor to give you the bad news. So I held my breath until the end.

What she ended up telling me next shook my world upside down.

As of today, I am measuring 6 weeks 2 days and they can see a singleton AND identical twins!

I have no family history of twins, and identical twins are completely a random event anyway, so it came as a complete surprise. We transferred three 5 day blasts, so triplets were always a possibility, but this means two out of the three blasts took, and one split! Apparently the chances of identical twins with 5 day transfers are under 4.5%!Image

I called my husband immediately and told him he had to come right away. I didn’t say I had the ultrasound already so I could share the news in person. When he arrived, i showed him the ultrasound pics and the relief and joy between us was tangible.

My usual RE is on holiday so I saw someone else. He explained a few things to us:

  • We are completely out of the chemical pregnancy zone, in a chemical pregnancy you don’t see even a sac (YAY!)
  • Chemical pregnancies are mainly caused my chromosomal problems, and there are no indications of that right now
  • Based on my history, he thinks my four previous chemical pregnancies were chromosomal…for a long time, I just couldn’t believe this, but I do¬†believe this more than ever now
  • Identical twins carry higher risk for mother and baby than fraternal twins
  • It’s still very early to make any conclusions
  • We’d likely have to perform selective reduction and they may have to reduce the twins because it’s the higher risk
  • Selective reduction would be performed between 10-12 weeks
  • At 6 weeks 2 days, they want to see the heart beat between 100 and 170, anything above 100 he said was really good. Our three heartbeats were 103, 110 and 103
  • It’s possible that the twins just look like they’re in one sac right now, and we’ll get a clearer picture of three sacs on our next ultrasound (but looking at the video I took, it really looks like one sac)

The meeting with the RE was a bit of a sobering event as he explained all of the many risks.

But the overwhelming feeling I have right now as I type this post is relief.

Regardless of what happens from here, IVF worked for us. This in itself gives me tremendous relief. We would have put our life savings on the line and gone to the ends of the earth to have a baby, biological or not (there was a point where was I was researching donor eggs, surrogacy and adoption). The fact that it got us this far is a miracle to me. Our many stints with chemical pregnancies were likely chromosomal which was really no failure of my own.

We’re further along today than we’ve ever been before.

I CAN get pregnant and I AM Pregnant.

What a milestone.

Thank you God.

Amen.

**Sorry for the long-winded post, this all happened a few hours ago and I am still in bewilderment that this is all happening**

IVF #2 – 17dp5dt Beta #4

I go back and forth between feeling like this pregnancy is the one that’s going to make it, and then feeling like the other shoe’s about to drop. It’s been no way to live, but each increasing beta gives me more and more hope that I’ve somehow conquered whatever it was that was holding me back from remaining pregnant in the past.

Ladies, I’m so happy to share with you that my beta doubled again, and at 17d5dt, it is nearly 12,000. I hope this gives you hope that IT CAN HAPPEN. Your past losses don’t define your next cycle!

DPT5DT     Beta   Doubling Time

7dp5dt       175

9dp5dt       472     33.5 hrs

13dp5dt ¬† ¬†2,873 ¬† 46.11 hrs (This is the day when you’d normally get your period if you were on a 30 day cycle)

17dp5dt   11,997  46.56 hrs

Image
A faint HPT does not mean a faint hCG level

Going into this cycle, I knew I wanted to test like a maniac. I am glad that I took the home pregnancy tests early because it wasimportant for me to know whether I was having a chemical. What I wasn’t prepared for was that the darkness/faintness of the line doesn’t necessarily correlate to the levels of hCG! If you look at the lines here and map them against my beta, you’ll see what I mean.
The purple sticks have a 10miu sensitivity and the blue ones are 25miu in sensitivity. Some days I tested using both just to see how the line would show up on the less sensitive test. (If you’re a regular follower, I know I’m repeating myself. I wanted to post the picture of the full progression now that I’m done peeing on a stick and want to provide context to anyone who didn’t read my previous posts).

Multiples?

Even though my beta numbers seem high, I’ve been scouring the forums and betabase.info and find that high numbers can still mean a singleton. When I went into the clinic on Friday to see the RE, he was really happy with the way my betas were progressing and said that you can’t tell from beta numbers how many are in there and that I’d have to wait for my ultrasound to confirm. This seems contrary to what I’ve read from other people’s experience with their REs who at least would suggest there may be multiples if they’re betas are higher than “x”.

What my RE did say was that because we transferred three blastocysts, there would be a chance that we’d have to perform selective reduction if all three took because I would be too high-risk. This would be a cruel turn of events, but I simply can not imagine 3 taking, I would be amazed even if I saw one heartbeat on my next ultrasound.

I also asked whether I was out of the chemical pregnancy territory that’s plagued me in the past. Based on my numbers he emphatically said absolutely. At hCG levels over 6000, they should be able to see a gestational sac, a milestone which I’ve never hit before.

So Tuesday Feb 18th is the date set for my first ultrasound where we’ll find out how things are progressing and how many are in there.

Still normal!

What I still find fascinating is that even at 5 weeks pregnant and the high levels hCG surging through my blood stream I still feel NORMAL! Yes, I do feel the need to get up and pee every two hours in the night, but all the usual early pregnancy symptoms you hear and read about are non-existant for me. No fatigue, sore boobs, or nausea. This tells me that all the time I spent during my two week wait looking out for symptoms of pregnancy and feeling gutted and depressed when there were none, was a waste of my energy where I could have spent just being good to myself.

Here are a few other things that I fretted about after transfer that had no effect on implantation:

  • I got up abruptly from the table right after transfer, squeezing my lower abs/uterus as I willed myself to become vertical
  • After 50 minutes of lying down, I couldn’t take it anymore, I had to go #2… and I had to push (go in the morning before you fill up on the full bladder! It’s nearly impossible to go #2 without emptying your full bladder before transfer).
  • Instead of taking a cab, I walked around after my transfer as a form of transportation in -30C/-22F temps, to the acupuncture clinic that was a block away from the clinic, back from the bus to home etc. (I had felt so bad for spontaneously dropping $4,000 on PGS that morning on 3 embryos, I felt I should walk instead spend the money on a cab).
  • My bedroom is on the third floor, so every time I needed something from the kitchen I would walk up and down the stairs, and I did this several times a day
  • At 4dp5dt I started an intense unrelenting dry cough that sucked every bit of air out of me every time I coughed

Hopefully you won’t have to go #2 after transfer, or develop a hacking cough, but if you do, no need to worry ūüôā

My therapist’s best advice

IVF #1 was fraught with Anxiety (with a capital A!). I spent all waking moments googling every single question that would pop into my head related to success, implantation, symptoms etc. I was fully alert, on edge, worried, and in problem solving mode every second of the day. I didn’t want history to repeat itself, so before heading into IVF #2, I asked my therapist what it meant to be positive. Should I mentally be believing that all the stars were aligned and it was going to work?

What she said was blissfully simple.

She said to nurture yourself.

Between all the fertility monitoring, supplements 3 times a day, acupuncture appointments, remember to be good to yourself for the sake of being good to yourself.

I did this by treating ourselves to a nice dinner before transfer, getting my nails done, and lighting a beeswax candle just to name a few.

That’s all for now!

I wish you all a blissful Sunday and hope you can find some time to nurture yourself today!

IVF #2 – 13dp5dt Beta #3

I went in on Monday for beta #3, this should have been my first beta blood draw since my clinic’s standard timeline is to have your first beta the day before you hit 4 weeks pregnancy.¬†

I was at work when I got the call and I nearly fell off my chair when she told me my beta was 2873.

I am in awe and wonder…is this really happening to me? The girl with such little hope that she was reading a book on surrogacy during the two week wait? (The book was amazing, I will write a post about it soon).

The nurse said that even though my numbers are strong, a chemical pregnancy is still possible. This frightens me, but I am choosing not to live in fear (even though it may not always come naturally 100% of the time). I have waited too long for this moment, I don’t want to look back and regret not enjoying the experience.

Random note on pickled goods
I thought this was just a pregnancy joke, but I’ve learned first hand the power of the pickle. I am devouring anything sour these days. Ketchup chip cravings, picked beets, picked radishes. I have had them all in the past few days in large quantities!¬†