Rambles 

Here we are at 15 weeks tomorrow. I still have a hard time believing that it is real and I wonder when the reality will start sinking in. Luckily I have been able to find baby on the home doppler I bought and so when I have an anxious moment I just tune into my little one’s heart beating away…it’s enormously reassuring.  

In terms of treatment I have weaned myself off the prednisone over the last week. I think I managed the withdrawal process ok although I did feel exceptionally tired, which I put down to part pregnancy and part prednisone withdrawal. On a side note, it is advised that you not go on prednisone if you have a fungal infection anywhere on your body…who knew?! Unfortunately for me I had a fungal rash on my face prior to falling pregnant which I was treating but has just got worse and worse….lovely. Apparently this is because your immune system is too suppressed by the prdnisone to fight off the infection effectively. I’m hoping that now that I’m off the prednisone I can treat this rash for good….it’ll be nice to NOT have a rash on my face!  

On the topic of appearances, I decided not to colour my hair during the first trimester on the advise of my RE. I do have quite a few greys and dark hair.. making the greys noticeable. I’ve felt slightly self conscious about this and so was very glad to finally get my hair done this last week…having my roots done and a good trim has really made me feel more myself. Now if only that rash would go away. 

One or two people have commented on what they think is an emerging bump. Interestingly I’ve felt very self conscious about this too, which is strange as I wasn’t expecting to feel that way. I think the attention on my body is just about bit overwhelming! I personally think I look the same but it’s hard to tell as the weight I’ve gained over the course of ivf has made me look pregnant for about two years now! I’m looking forward to being able to distinguish between fat and baby…hopefully soon.

Yesterday I wondered around some baby stores for the first time. Again, I had a slightly unexpected reaction…a feeling of being completely overwhelmed and not even knowing how one would start getting everything ready and making choices..slowly would be my guess!?? I eventually picked up two cute and warm onsies but ended up putting them back and grabbing a toasted sandwich and cup of tea instead. Three years ago, we had, had a full year of medicated cycles and were onto our third and final IUI. We had the IUI done on my birthday and I felt so strongly that the stars and universe had aligned and that this was our time, that I bought this little onesie… 

I’m afraid I don’t know how to rotate it but I’m sure you can read at an angle! My naivete and optimisim is obvious and when I see this onesie I feel slightly foolish, but also quite sad. The reality would turn out to be so much harder and longer than I ever expected. In a strange twist of timing, this year we’ll be finding out our baby’s gender the day after my birthday…the stars and the universe have finally aligned. Anyway, I think these feelings are making shopping currently too difficult and I’ll just have to wait until I’m in a different place.  

On that note, I have a younger cousin who is also pregnant. She’s two weeks ahead of me and her baby shower is already organised and we have received a spreadsheet of an exhaustive list of baby items to buy from. I was really taken aback. Firstly, I didn’t realise that this is what one does for a baby shower. I always thought you just chose a gift you felt inclined to buy, rather than working off a registry.  Secondly, I’m only two weeks behind her but there is no way I would even be able to start a list, let alone one that is so comprehensive…right down to ear buds and nail clippers. On the upside I might use her list later on to help guide me, lol. 

Our next scan is in two weeks time and we really hope baby will cooperate so that we can find out the gender.  I’m really excited for this.  A brief poll of the family suggests that 90% of us (including my husband and myself), believe baby is a girl…I guess we all have a 50% chance of being right!! 

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9 weeks 5 days

To say I was nervous about our scan yesterday would be a gross under statement. I slept poorly the night before and had a really bad headache – part estrogen, part stress I think. I’m not used to good news and scans have their own particular trauma that I seem to relive every single time. The few minutes between getting onto the table and waiting for the doctor to come into the room have to be the worst by far. My heart pounds and I feel sick to my stomach. My head is filled with memories of past experiences… ‘I’m sorry but there’s been no growth, there’s no heartbeat’. My husband and I tend to hold each other and I know that he prays while I take deep breathes and try to still my racing heart. Yesterday was no different, except that simultaneously, there was a part of me that could imagine a different outcome. Could picture a tiny baby with a big head and a strong heartbeat. Could imagine the sigh of relief and the wonder of a new life.

Immediately as the doctor inserted the wand he said ‘baby’s fine’. I breathed an enormous sigh of relief and he laughed, saying he felt exactly the same. My husband grabbed my phone to take a video and he just kept saying thank you, thank you. We’ve never seen an actual baby before and it was truly magical. Baby was measuring two days ahead at 10 weeks exactly and has a heartbeat of 159bpm.

After the scan we went through to consult with the doctor as this would be our last appointment with him. This in itself is hard to believe after three years of treatment with him. For the first time ever he was confident in our little one saying that all good things come to those who wait, and that we had waited more than most. He told us to bring the baby to show him and to include him on the birth announcement list. I literally couldn’t believe that we were having this conversation. I also went to say goodbye to our nurse who has been a great support through this whole journey and has replied to untold emails with untold questions, with great patience. She hugged me and wished us well and also asked to be kept updated.

So now, I have been told to come off my hormones – the daily progesterone injections and the estrogen. Whilst I am excited in a sense as I think my headaches will improve, I am also terrified. There is a part of me that just wants to continue doing what we have been doing until we have this baby in our arms. I’m so afraid that stopping anything could halt the wonderful progress that we have been making. But my doctor assured me that at this stage the placenta is producing more progesterone than we could ever artificially provide my body with and that staying on it would be purely for my psychological benefit. I’m actually not opposed to the placebo effect but I decided to trust my doctor on this one – I know he would not do anything at this stage to jeopardize this pregnancy. For now I will remain on the clexane and the prednisone, weaning myself off the prednisone slowly once we hit 12 weeks. He felt we could come off the clexane at 12 weeks but I would prefer to stay on it for longer  – there is no risk to the baby and it would provide enormous peace of mind. My doctor firmly believes that it was the 2 months of lucron prior to transfer as well as the clexane that were the deal breakers this time and I’m inclined to agree.

We have an appointment with a regular OB on the 25th January at the hospital where we would like to deliver. My doctor has written a referral letter and we have some basic details of our donor (age and blood group) to hand over. Interestingly, my doctor asked if we would be telling our OB about the donor eggs. I hadn’t even considered NOT telling her, as it seems medically relevant. At 38, they will treat this pregnancy very differently to how they will knowing that the eggs are 23 year old eggs. Apparently some women choose not to tell their doctor – to each their own I guess, but I firmly believe knowledge is power and so my new doc will definitely be getting this information.

SO the next challenge is to find a place of peace and hope while we wait for the next scan in two and a half weeks. This will not be easy, but I’m going to do my best.

5 weeks today… written 1 December.

So here we are again. My third pregnancy. So far I have fallen pregnant 100% of the time that we have done an embryo transfer. Impressive hey? I just wish I was as good at sustaining a pregnancy and really hope that this third time is the charm.

Today I had my second intrallipid infusion. This sounds crazy but it was reasonably pleasant. They gave me a bed to lie down in, wrapped me up in a lovely soft blanket and put a hot water bottle on my arm to ease the discomfort. I felt so cosy and comfortable that I ended up falling asleep! Meanwhile the poor lady opposite me was crying in pain from the same procedure…I guess I was lucky?! I’m not too sure when the next one will be or whether or not there will be a next one but I’ll speak to my doctor soon to gain clarity. 

Today my mouth is a lot better after taking the prednisone and I hope the 10mg the doctor put me on is sufficient.  I really feel like keeping this pregnancy is a battle that I have to fight with everything I’ve got and I have to listen to my body and intuition. 

On that note, I’m  continuing to follow my gut when it comes to my health and body. I’ve  continued taking baby aspirin despite being told that I could stop yesterday. Last year I miscarried days after stopping the aspirin and with my mthfr  (undiagnosed at that time), I’ve always suspected a blood clot caused the pregnancy to end as we tested the baby and it was 100% healthy and normal. So, I will be staying on the aspirin and will continue with the clexane (which is still hurting like a bitch!). The other thing I did which was met with some disapproval by my doctor was that I self tested my progesterone. I just ticked it off on the blood order form when I went to have my beta done. It was on the low side, which my doc explained was due to the protocol I had been on… lucron as well as the fact that the pessaries cause progesterone to be absorbed directly to the uterus and so testing progesterone in the blood is not an accurate reflection. Regardless, my doc switched me to injectable progesterone which I feel more comfortable with, although my stomach is really starting to take strain with all the injections. 

Last night my husband said the sweetest thing to me. He thanked me for all the hard work I’ve put into this journey, how much I have fought to understand my body and all the painful procedures I’ve been through in order to be in an optimal state for pregnancy. He thanked me and expressed his pride in me. It was sweet to hear and I felt very validated. 

 

Dreaming…written 29 November.

Today I have been feeling optimistic. We’re doing things so differently this pregnancy: we’re using clexane and intrallipid infusions; I know about my mthfr mutations and so am on the right supplements and I have cleansed my body of mercury which could have had a detrimental impact on a developing baby. We know so much more than we did during our last two pregnancies and I hope and pray that this is what we need in order to actually carry a pregnancy to term. 

In my optimism I’ve done some dreaming. I didn’t think I would do this as I have lost so much faith in happy outcomes, but I couldn’t help myself. I know this means that if everything crashes I’ll probably fall even harder… but then I think, what if it doesn’t crash? I want to enjoy this pregnancy and I defininitely don’t want to spend it feeling anxious and scared. 

So I downloaded a pregnancy app. It says that I am 4 weeks 5 days pregnant and the baby is the size of a poppy seed. I also did some browsing of nursery furniture online. Years ago my sister in law very generously gave us her used cot and compactum.  It’s very nice but not what I would choose for myself. It’s also been sitting in our garage for years and somehow feels cursed. But mostly, after all these years I really want to enjoy every aspect of pregnancy, including choosing my own style of nursery furniture. I found a gorgeous eco friendly cot made out of bamboo, that also converts into a toddler bed once the baby outgrows the cot. It’s simple and modern and elegant. I also looked at some beautiful linen and I have some fun ideas in mind. It was so much fun to dream and to imagine finally having a baby.

I also downloaded this, which is very useful…

I can’t belive we could be out of the first trimester by the end of January and I’m hoping that the holidays helps these early weeks pass more quickly. I know this dreaming is dangerous but I figure it’s not going to affect the outcome and instead of bathing my developing baby in cortisol and adrenaline (stress hormones), it will provide a better environment for the fragile nervous system that is busy growing. We’re having a third beta done tomorrow, another intrallipid infusion on Thursday and the first scan is booked for 15 December. Grow baby grow!

Beta number 3…written 30 November.  

1043. A doubling time of 33 hours and another small milestone crossed. Today I suddenly realised that my mouth was sore and that it had been sore since yesterday. I have an autoimmune disorder called lichen planus that affects my tongue and throat. I freaked out a little and posted on a secret Facebook group of well informed ladies who have all dealt with immune issues and pregnancy. They all felt I should be on prednisone. Now I had actually asked my doctor about prednisone prior to transfer and he had said that there is no research to back its usage. Anyway, I asked him again today and he agreed to prescribe it for me, which I am grateful for…. I’ve learnt to follow my gut and to advocate for myself and will not sit with any feelings of regret over being too shy to speak up. So I have taken 10mg of prednisone and sincerely hope this is enough to suppress any immune response that might be occurring. Tomorrow I have my second intrallipid infusion, which although not fun, is not too bad provided I charge my kindle and eat before I go. 

I hate HPT’S… written 26 November.

These were my HPT’S at 11dp5dt. First beta on 11dp5dt came in at 157 and second beta today was 383, which is a doubling time of 37 hours. So I processed a lot of emotion last week for seemingly no reason. Only time will tell whether or not this third pregnancy is the one that ends in a take home baby. I so hope so. 

Hpt craziness…written 25 November. 

I’m driving myself absolutely  bonkers and sincerely wish I had never started this crazy hpt journey… what was I thinking???!!! Yesterday there was virtually no line…but it was my third or fourth pee of the day. This is today’s … third pee of the day as there was a fault with the test I used with my first urine (the control line didn’t even show up). BUT, the line didn’t show up immediately which freaked me out despite the fact that the test explicitly says to wait 5 minutes. Tomorrow I’m doing my first beta so hopefully this craziness will end soon. If I have slow rising betas again then I’m well and truly done. No more. 

I think we’re out…written 23 November.

As I said I would yesterday, I tested again this morning using first urine. There is a line but it’s super faint… more faint than yesterday. 

I know it’s early at only 8dp5dt but I think we’re out. I will now try to wait until Saturday to test again. What I want more than anything is black  or white… a clear negative or a clear positive. I don’t know if my soul can handle the trauma of slow rising betas, concerns around ectopic and Morula pregnancies.

How  do I feel? Today, I feel somewhat relieved. I’m not sure this will sustain and it’s very possible that the relief is just a way of defending against complete despair…who knows? Only time will tell. I am determined not to let this swallow me up and drown me though.  I’m beyond tired of being depressed and hopeless and of my life revolving around infertility. It’s time to stop. 

7dp5dt…written Tuesday 22 November.

Last transfer I tested at 7dp5dt by mistake. Well, not that I accidentally unwrapped a home pregnancy test and pee’d on it, more that I didn’t intend to, and did it in a very impulsive way. Regardless, the point is that I got a positive at 7dp5dt. Whilst I was planning on waiting until Saturday, my mom arrives tomorrow for 3 nights and I suddenly felt I wanted to know before she came. I woke up this morning with a bee in my bonnet and decided to test. The problem is I had already got up to do a pee an hour previously and so I knew my urine was very diluted. Nevertheless, I ploughed on.

After a minute the control line had shown up and there was nothing on the test line. Feeling pretty upset, I threw it away. About ten minutes later I decided to check just to be sure and so I fished it out of the bin…. and this is what it looked like:

By now I had left it a while and was worried that maybe the line was only there because it had been sitting. So next pee, I did another one, and got this:

Both very faint, but both there. But I am so irritated with myself. Because now I’m comparing…. to my previous 7 day positive test (last photo), which was a bit darker as well as to some fellow ladies who have also tested on day 7 and got a darker line. Grrrr…. I swore I wouldn’t do this! What is WRONG with me?? Anyway, now that I’ve started I won’t be able to stop. I plan on testing again tomorrow morning with first urine and hope that it will be somewhat darker and more reassuring. I also have the dilemma of whether or not to confess to my Husband!

The clexane battle continues… this is my stomach after last night’s injections!

Pretty hey!?

6dp5dt…written Monday 22 November.

This morning I had a completely mad moment. I’m currently on 2, 200ml uterogestane pessaries twice a day. I inserted my morning dose at 6.30 as normal. At 7.30, I went to put on a panty liner, but instead of doing that, I inserted two more pessaries… what the hell??!!! I tried to reverse it but ya… you can’t. I emailed my doctor and apparently it’s impossible to overdose on uterogestane and there’s no need to worry about it. This afternoon I had some light pink spotting and I was concerned that it was due to the uterogestane but the doc reassures me that it’s not and hopes that it is implantation bleeding.

Today I am feeling really tired despite having a good night’s sleep. My breasts are are bit tender and I am slightly queezy…but this could well be the double dose of progesterone. I’ve been having a few twinges in my uterus and am hoping those are good signs. Emotionally I’m doing OK, feeling pretty calm and peaceful. I hold onto the mental image of cells dividing and multiplying in a natural and healthy way… I love this image and it helps me to stay calm.

Last transfer I home tested on 7dp5dt and got a positive. However this time I’m planning on doing a home test on Saturday, which will be 11dp5dt. Our official beta is on Monday but I want to be at home with my husband and have a bit of time to process the result, so the weekend is better timing. I discussed this plan with my naturopath today and she supports it. If I get a positive on Saturday, she will send me the blood forms for a beta test. This means that if it is positive, Mondays test through the clinic will help us ascertain whether or not it is doubling… less waiting, yay!

Socialising is a bit tricky at the moment. I normally love my wine and so the fact that I’m not drinking is a bit of a red herring. Also, a lot of people have been asking me directly what our next step is and when we are doing it. I’m a terrible liar and have had to be very vague around the details and I’m not sure how convincing I’ve been! Oh well, whatever…this is really the least of my worries right now.