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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12w3d and meeting our gynae for the first time

Today was the big day when we met the doctor who will deliver our baby and we had the NT scan. I had been feeling very anxious prior to this appointment. In fact I have been in a weird space….anxious, slightly down and depressed, emotionally flat and very tired. I tried to describe it to my therapist and I guess it’s a case of having held myself together for the first trimester reasonably well but as we reached the end suddenly feeling as though my coping resources were wearing pretty thin and just feeling exhausted by the whole thing. You know that pressure cooker feeling when a big cry might be just what you need? That’s been me.

So going into this appointment wasn’t easy. I slept badly and woke up at 4.30am with a headache. Fortunately I fell asleep for another hour later on and so felt a bit better by the time we left the house. Unfortunately when we got to the appointment we were told that there had been an unexpected delivery (2…as it turns out…sisters!!!!), and the doc was running an hour late. So we waited and waited and waited some more….isn’t that one of the defining experiences of infertility though? The endless wait. Eventually we were called in and of course there was a lot of information that she needed to gather. The doctor seems nice…a slightly quirky sense of humour that I didn’t always get, but an essentially nice person who seems to know what she’s doing. She also seemed familiar with my protocol and was quite happy for me to stay on clexane for the rest of the pregnancy, up until 6 weeks post partum. This was a relief as I assumed I’d have some convincing to do. Finally it came time for the scan. The whole time we were talking and planning I wanted to say ‘well of course this is all irrelevant if my baby has died’. Isn’t it awful that, that’s my thought process…but there it is, that’s just the reality.

But my baby hadn’t died! There he or she was in all its splendid glory, snuggled in my womb sucking his or her thumb. The epitome of cuteness. All the measurements were good and we will hopefully get our risk profile by Monday. I’m not too concerned as the donor eggs are 23 years old and so our risk should be reasonably low. 

So that’s the good news for today. It still feels totally and utterly surreal …after 4 years of struggle and pain we may finally take our baby home in 6 short months. 

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.

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!

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!?

Pregnancy so far

Has been absolutely bloody awful. Of course this will hopefully change in a matter of minutes when we have our scan on Monday. I’m sincerely hoping that if we see that we have a healthy pregnancy and that despite the bleeding all is well, then maybe, very tentatively, I might be able to start enjoying it. But for now, what with the bleeding and extreme worry combined with feeling absolutely exhausted, I am not having the time of my life. It might be fair to say that I am finding it somewhat traumatic with flashbacks of our miscarriage last year making a regular appearance and the calm I had found prior to transfer disappearing in the wind (or down the toilet in my case). Whilst I am longing for the reassurance of Monday’s scan I am also absolutely dreading it and literally feel sick thinking about it. Last year we had regular awful scans with slow progress until we finally got the news that there was no heartbeat and it was game over. Half of me is expecting this again on Monday… Cause it’s me, I seem to fall on the wrong side of statistics and have never really received good news. And then a small part of me can almost picture a good scan with a lovely strong heartbeat. As usual, only time will tell… Not a fun waiting game.

Spotting and freaking out

Last week Wednesday I had a tiny bit of spotting. Of course I panicked and phoned my clinic. The nurse talked me down and reassuranced me that everything was fine and that 30% of women spot in pregnancy. I couldn’t help being fed up with this… I always seem to fall on the wrong side of statistics!  Yesterday we flew to Cape Town and met up with friends for lunch. The setting was beautiful but instead of enjoying it, I was in an absolute state of panic as I went to the bathroom and there was what I would consider a lot of red blood for a pregnant lady. Not like I would get on my period, but almost. I called my clinic and asked if I should see a doctor or try and have a scan. They felt that going for a scan would make my anxiety worse as at 5w3d’s there wouldn’t be much to see and that would be worse. Again she said that it can be normal and to try and take it easy (physically). The spotting stopped towards the evening but there has been a small amount again this morning. Has anyone else had this experience???