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! 

 

5dp5dt & 6dp5dt – pregnancy test results

This email to a friend pretty much summarizes what I was thinking on Saturday which was 4 days past 5 day transfer, I was incredibly anxious, stressed and restless:

I am doing okay (read: totally NOT okay)…today is 4 days past 5 day transfer. The last time I did IVF and was pregnant for a few days, I did feel some pulling and pressure in my uterus for 5 days after transfer. I could just feel that something magical was happening, that life was happening inside. I don’t feel anything this time around. My boobs feel absolutely normal. I know it may be too early to tell anything since my body hasn’t started producing the pregnancy hormone on its own yet. Since we transferred 3 blastocysts, the odds should be on my side that implantation of at least one of them will occur since getting pregnant has never really been my problem, but I can’t help but feel, oh I don’t know, sad that I don’t feel anything yet. I really hope I start vomiting real soon so it can ease my mind. I’ve never experienced morning sickness before and I am looking forward to it like you wouldn’t believe. 

So that night, I decided it was time to break out the home pregnancy test. I laid it out the night before so I wouldn’t wake my husband in the morning while I tested. 

I have been peeing extremely frequently, like getting up 2-3 times a night, so at midnight, I decided it was go time. 

5dp5dt pregnancy test result: Faint positive. 

My husband heard me in the washroom and asked what I was doing. I told him I was just testing, and he didn’t even ask me what the result was until the next morning! When I told him it was a positive, I said it in a really flat-tone, no hugging, no cheers, just “it was positive”, and he didn’t say anything. Well he wanted to make sure that I took a cab home from acupuncture the day of transfer. But that’s how it goes when you’ve gone through the roller coaster of recurrent chemical pregnancies. You’re scared to be happy  because the fall from happiness is too great a jump. The positive pregnancy test at least put my mind at ease and I was less restless for the day. I stayed in bed and watched the Titanic, the longest movie I could think of. It’s been 17 years since I last watched that in the theatres, and I was surprised at how good it is even to this day! 

Later in the day at 5dp5dt I started to feel these 10 second episodes/waves of period-like cramps, complete with lower back pain. 

The last time I did IVF I thought I’d rather have a BFN than suffer another loss. Well we ended up having another chemical pregnancy, but this time I am thankful for the opportunity at a pregnancy. Our PGS results show that I don’t have a glaring chromosomal problem that would render the majority of our blasts abnormal. So this means if this IVF fails due to another chemical, we’d be ready to move on from my uterus. I am learning more and more about surrogacy these days.

6dp5dt pregnancy test result: faint but darker positive

I’ve been keeping my pregnancy tests in the spare bedroom hidden away from my husband. Every so often I peek in on them as if they’re my sleeping children. 

I emailed the clinic to tell them about the positive result and the fact that I’d like my thyroid retested tomorrow. I figure if I miscarry, I’d like to know what my thyroid level was during the critical time. I know this may all sound very pessimistic, but I feel like I’m being my own advocate, this is the info I wish I had  during my first IVF and more information is better than less information. 

They responded and said that I could get my first beta done at the same time. 

Please, please, please…let this be the one that makes it. 

 

 

PGS Results and symptoms post transfer

PGS for recurrent miscarriage

4 out of 4 of my pregnancies have resulted chemical pregnancies. Each and every time I see a positive pregnancy test, I think THIS IS IT, and each and every time it has resulted in crushing disappointment. So we shelled out the $4,000 to have PGS done on the 3 blastocysts we did not transfer in this round of IVF, and the results are in:

2 normal with 23 pairs of chromosomes
1 abnormal (also good to know!): duplication of chromosome 12 and 22

The two that were normal are now frozen, and through PGS we found out that there is 1 boy and 1 girl! 

Symptoms post transfer

The following day after transfer, I came down with this awful sinus cold which I still have today. I’m stuffed up and sound like I’m speaking through my nose. I have a headache which I’ve always had with my pregnancies, but I can’t tell if it’s the sinus cold or a real symptom. Could it be pregnancy rhinitis? I find you can google any symptom and find that it’s pregnancy related, so I’m not sure how reliable this is.

In my last round of IVF, a just knew I was pregnant. In the very early days past transfer, I could feel cramping, and a pulling sensation in my uterus. I even got implantation spotting 36 hours past the transfer which looked like transparent peony-pink watercolour. This time around, I have zero spotting, and zero sensations in my uterus. I’m trying not to think too much about it since some people are pregnant even with twins and don’t have any symptoms until much later. 

 

 

 

IVF#2 Transfer Day

Having coffee on a day that really requires no more stimulus should have been a no brainer. Even if it was decaf.

A part of the nerve-wracking experience of waking up on transfer day is that you never really know how many “made it”.

I learned that in IVF #1 that while I had 8 survivors on day 5, none of them had made it quite yet to the blastocyst stage, so they transferred the two best looking ones at the time, and went to day 6 on the ones remaining. I ended up having only 1 blastocyst to freeze –a grade 1AA. My golden egg.

So yesterday was transfer day, I had to go in to see the RE during cycle monitoring hours to discuss in advance of the transfer whether we’d be moving forward with PGS. In my head I thought it was never going to happen because my fertilization results up to day 3 were exactly the same as my first round of IVF, and as you see above, you know how that went down. Imagine my shock and awe when he told me that we had 5 blastocysts!

I was hoping that the hundreds of dollars spent on supplements every month would pay off, and I think it did! It is said you need to be on the supplements for 90 days for it to make a difference in your cycle, here’s what I’ve been taking:

600 mgs of ubiquinol which is the active form of Coq10 for cell energy (started 4 months ago)
PQQ for cell energy (started 2 months ago)
DHEA for egg quality (started 2 months ago)

RE was strongly recommending we do PGS, and yes it did make sense with the 5 blasts we had, but I really was ready to do transfer, instead of waiting to day 6 for them to have the results. So I suggested we go ahead with day 5 transfer and do PGS on the remaining so if we need to do a frozen transfer in the future, we’d know which ones to put in. We also got onto the topic of my golden egg which was already frozen. Then he suggested something that floored me. He suggested that we transfer the golden egg in too.

Did I just hear what I think I heard?

RE suggested that based on my history, he thinks that we could transfer 3 BLASTOCYSTS. Um, let me think about that for half20140121_132128 a second. YES. YES. and YES!!!

I felt great about the game plan and was so excited as I left the office and headed to my acupuncture appt. Until I called my husband. He was upset and thought it was a waste of money to perform the pre-implantation genetic screening on blastocysts we weren’t implanting and asked me to cancel it immediately. This took me for a spin. I DESPISE discord and it set panic, regret and anxiety for the remainder of the day. I usually fall asleep at acupuncture, but my eyes were wide open the entire time. By the time Mr. came to the clinic for the transfer, he was a bit more level headed especially when I told him how upset I was, he apologized and told me not to worry about it, but I still feel a bit bad 😦

The transfer of the three blastocysts went on without a hitch. It’s amazing how quick the process is, I think it took all of 15 seconds, it was like a pap smear without any of the discomfort.

I lay down for an hour while listening to my guided meditation which I am so thankful I have. It’s a peaceful time which I’ve come to look forward to.

Less Than Optimal Thyroid Again
Without anyone having definitely told me why I’ve been having repeat miscarriages, my hunch is the thyroid (my mom and aunt also have hypothyroidism so it runs in the genes). My thyroid results came back yesterday elevated at 3.2, which was what it was prior to being on the medication. How does that happen? Just last week it was at the optimal range of 2.1 (optimal being 1.0 – 2.0). The RE suggested I double up on the dosage. I’m glad we caught this in the nick of time because in the past, my miscarriages have always coincided with a thyroid of 3.2 or higher.

Symptoms
I’ve been having dinner-like meals and portions at odd times in the day to satisfy my extreme hunger which started last week. A second dinner at 2:00am? Sure why not? Third dinner at 5:30? Yes please! My days are beginning to play out like an italian wedding.

The bloating which I had after retrieval is 100% gone, and I’m back to my usual weight.

Puppy pregnancy meter
Oh my word. How does he know??? The shih tzu knew!!!

As soon as I lay on the bed when I got home, he leaned all his weight against me and was all snuggly (this is NOT his usual self). Then at night time he slept by my uterus the entire night! This is so strange. I’ve had the HCG trigger shot in me since last week and he didn’t seem to care much about that, but as soon as the babies are inside, he’s become my little uterus protector. Ugh, I love him so much.

Today’s distraction
I wanted one day to laze around horizontally, so I’ll be heading over to a friend’s house today for some company.

That’s all for now.

Hope everyone has a wonderful day!

Transfer day tomorrow and baselining the puppy pregnancy meter

With 8 eggs fertilized after day 1, there was a chance that I would have been called in for a day 3 transfer. Luckily, I was told that we’d be waiting to go to blastocyst which is…TOMORROW! I think I have at least 6 embryos left as of day 3 (the nurse didn’t know how to read the report, so it’s a guess).

Depending on the number remaining tomorrow morning, we’ll be deciding whether to move ahead with the pre-genetic screening. I’ll be heading to acupuncture pre and post transfer.

The progesterone has been good to me so far. Besides the sore boobs and bum, it’s not much to speak about.

I’ll be doing a few things differently this time around during the two week wait:

  • I have decided that I will be pregnancy testing like a maniac -I won’t be holding myself back like I tried to last time (I found some cheap ones online that can detect as little as 5 units of Hcg)
  • I will be shutting down my left side brain, or at least keeping it busy and occupied, this is the side that thinks it needs to google and throughly research every single question that pops up in my mind
  • To do this, I’ve downloaded lots of e-books so that my mind is occupied
  • Instead of googling about fertility stuff, I’ll be researching and planning out a 5 day juice detox which is my plan B if IVF 2 doesn’t go as planned
  • Distractions –and lots of it. I plan on working throughout the two weeks, this is something new that I didn’t do last time.

Baselining the shih-tzu pregnancy meter

If you were following IVF 1, you’d know that my shih tzu told me that I was pregnant before any test or anyone else did. He is usually in his own little world, but for the handful of days I was pregnant, he would cuddle up right beside me andphoto-25 lean against me at every opportunity. He stopped being that way when my HCG dropped and hasn’t been that way since. I just wanted to note that, a baseline of sorts. We’ll see what the shih tzu has to say in the coming weeks.  🙂

This photo is of him in all his glory. Check out those teeth!

2 days past egg retrieval update

Egg retrieval day went well although I had cramps, spotting and was so bloated I gained 10 pounds! 

They got 17 eggs, 10 which were mature enough to perform ICSI on. I got a call yesterday that 8 fertilized. 

So far, this is a carbon copy of IVF #1. I am hoping that the supplements I started taking in Sept and October have kicked in and will make the difference in having a pregnancy that sticks around for nine months or so!

Thank you to each and every one of you who took the time to weigh in on the PGS, and/or offer your support. It really helped give me perspective and peace of mind. It’s amazing that I have support from people who really “get it”. I remember a time when going through this process was a very lonely one.

We ended up signing the consent forms for PGS, if we have enough blasts, we’re going to go ahead with it.

Anger management needed

I don’t know if it’s the drop in estrogen post ovulation (2 days before egg retrieval it was already at an astounding 13,000!) but I have been feeling rather RAGEY! it’s not a good feeling. I hope it passes and I become normal again. I can’t remember this happening on IVF #1, but I have read the drop in estrogen after ovulation can trigger mood swings…and I thought mood swings were just with PMS. God help my poor husband!

Progesterone in oil
One of things we changed up for IVF #2 was to do the once a day progesterone in oil injections, Imagerather than the 4x a day suppositories. I am loving it so far! No more messy underwear, or waking up at midnight and 6 am. I was really afraid that it was going to hurt badly after hearing so many horror stories. I am using the progesterone that has the thinner oil (not sesame), so I really can’t even feel a thing! The needle gauge I’m using is 25 so it’s really thin. It was a great decision to make the switch.

Photo: Mr. nurse preparing the first PIO injection and a curious (and very cute) shih tzu watching.

And now we wait

I’ll be getting an update on the embryos tomorrow. If all goes well, we’ll be doing a day 5 transfer on Tuesday!

On the last transfer day of IVF #1, I really regret not having the Mr. bring his camera/phone with him into the transfer room. The RE pulls up live images of the blasts on to a large TV screen and you can take the first photos of your babies! We won’t be forgetting this time around. 🙂 

 

IVF CD 12 – Retrieval day and decisions

Today is retrieval day! I am fasting this morning in preparation for the anesthesia. 

Boobs have been tender for a couple of days now and the night sweats continue. Glorious 🙂

We know that we’ll be moving ahead with ICSI, but if we have enough eggs, we may do a split to see how the ICSI batch fare compared to the natural fertilization in the petri dish. Last time we had 10 eggs, so RE thought it best to do 100% ICSI and we got 80% fertilization which he was happy with. 

Pre-genetic screening for recurrent pregnancy loss
I’m trying to decide whether to have pre-genetic screening done (PGS), this is where IVF can really benefit us and get to the bottom of our history of chemical pregnancies. PGS is where they biopsy the blastocyst and check for all 46 chromosomes. With my history of chemical pregnancies, the RE is suggesting that we do this. I’m a bit weary of how the process may affect the blasts, and whether we’d come out with anything conclusive from it. I was sitting in the waiting room and there was a woman who had done IVF 5 times and transferred normal blasts but still did not get pregnant. I’m not sure what to think. If this were a $1500 decision, it would be easier, but the screening costs an extra $3500. In my mind, there’s no reason that Mr. and I should have any major chromosomal issues that should warrant this testing, so if we were to spend the money, I’d rather save it to go towards another fresh round of IVF. I say that right now, but I’m really just on the fence, my decision goes back and forth by the minute. If anyone has any strong opinions/success stories on this, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Hope everyone has a good day!