Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!

I had a very enjoyable week last week, keeping mostly to myself and staying mostly in my pajamas. On Christmas night I slept for a whopping TWELVE hours. I don't nap much, even when victim of pregnancy sleepiness, but it's easy for me to go to bed early and wake up late.

These last several days have seen the beginning of round ligament pain. I've been getting little jabbing pains (that are mostly just uncomfortable) down close to my pubic bone. My friend who is 10 days further along than I am said that she thinks she's felt her baby moving, but I haven't felt anything like that yet. Other than that, these first couple weeks of the second trimester have been pretty uneventful. The spotting that I had stopped two weeks (almost to the day) after it started, which was a relief, and I find myself looking at my belly in the mirror every day, mentally measuring it.

This morning I made an appointment for our anatomy ultrasound! I kept telling people we'd not know until February, and in my brain it was mid-February, but it's on January 30th at 11am. As soon as I hung up with the imaging lab I got kind of giddy - I can't believe we're going to find out in a month! It'll be just another thing to make everything seem more real ('cause I still have to pinch myself every once in awhile). I'm kind of hoping for a girl, because it seems like a girl would be easier for me (and we have a name picked out), but of course we won't be disappointed either way. Boys are fun too.

It's New Year's Eve already. Traditionally on New Year's Day I start to feel energized and creative and motivated to work on projects - usually my little crochet business - but I'm not feeling like that this year. I'm pretty content knowing that I just need to continue to work on baking this little bun and looking forward to what will likely be one of the most challenging years and also most awesome ones of my life. I can't wait.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Whatever you celebrate, however you celebrate it, and whoever you celebrate it with, may your holiday(s) be peaceful and cozy.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Pineapple Express

It has been pouring rain all day today. We had been planning on missing this Pineapple Express by driving to Cory's sister's house in Texas, but most of the family caught the flu a couple of days ago so we decided to play it safe for Grass-fed's sake and stay home. (We also didn't want them to have to host people when they felt icky!) So with five days until Christmas, our plans have totally changed and now I have things on my to-do list that should have been done weeks ago had we planned on staying here. I need to decorate, and plan a Christmas dinner, and get some presents for Dad and his wife, who are coming down to visit on Thursday.

I'm glad that it's been so gross outside, actually, After the hormone-fest of the last couple of days, and all the stress of being behind at work, it feels pretty nice to just putter around the house today. I've spent a lot of time mostly horizontal, punctuated by a shower and lunch-making (grilled cheese and tomato soup, of course - I mean, look at it out there!). I feel bad for the pup, who would rather be out playing fetch, but the kitties are quite happy to be cuddly and warm and lazy with me.

We may yet get a Christmas tree tonight, but that remains to be seen. Cory's napping and I'm really enjoying this bathrobe...

Friday, December 19, 2014

Happy Babby

OB appointments in the morning are the best. No waiting around!

I woke up this morning way happier than yesterday. It probably had something to do with me going to bed at 7:30 last night. I wasn't nervous at all; just happy to be going to see the doctor and hear the baby.

After a weigh-in and a blood pressure check, the doctor came in and talked to me a little about the spotting. She wasn't worried at all, even though it's been happening for two weeks. She also gave me some reading materials for mental and emotional health during pregnancy, 'cause Cory told her about yesterday's meltdown and how concerned he was about it. She told me to get some more exercise and rest, and not to worry too much about it unless it starts affecting work and personal relationships.

Then we got down to business: the Doppler! It took her a little while longer to find the heartbeat than last time, but eventually there it was. We heard a little static partway through, and the doctor said "that was movement!" I was happy to hear that - I hadn't seen any movement on any of our ultrasounds besides the heart flickering, so I'm happy to know it's squirming around in there.

Then I came to work and mistyped a message to my friend that it was a happy babby. But I like it, so it will be a babby for awhile. (Even though I'm not the first person to type it that way - Yahoo Answers denizens got there first!)

Thursday, December 18, 2014

13 hours until the doc!

Tomorrow morning's OB appointment can't come soon enough. I shouldn't be counting on it to make me feel better, but there it is. Today was one of those hormonal moody days that I'd rather not repeat anytime soon. I hate that this blog has become a "let's complain about how I had another meltdown again" blog - but things are supposed to calm down in the 2nd trimester and I really hope that's true, for the sake of the blog. :)

I'll be back tomorrow with an update.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Dread

Last night, I made the mistake of Googling miscarriages (or rather, how many days do people spot before a miscarriage). I had honorable intentions, I was hoping to see something that reassured me, but it backfired. I got too cocky; the last several times I've Googled it's been reassuring.

I tend to get my freak outs at night, right before bed. I think it's exacerbated by being tired. But I'm always just fine the next day. Except for this morning.

Last night, I dreamed (among other absurd things) that I discovered the spotting was turning red. The rest of my dreams were normal except for this pervading sense of dread. I kept checking on myself in the dream: do I feel pregnant still? I can't tell! Does that mean I'm having a miscarriage? And then this morning the dread has persisted.

Why do I do this to myself? I can review the conversations I've had with multiple doctors in my mind, the ones that said I shouldn't worry unless it's large amounts of blood and agonizing cramps. The danger of miscarriage is very very low now. See, here's the heartbeat, it sounds just fine, even though I was spotting before the Doppler. But I can refute all of those things in my head. And even the little logical part of me that's left, saying "you're being stupid. Wouldn't you rather be content? Quit overanalyzing and being dramatic" is getting the smackdown.

Friday is my next OB appointment. Hopefully I can keep myself from going nuts until then, and hopefully another Doppler will smooth all this stupid annoying dread.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Bodies are Weird.

Still spotting. I'd almost rather have had just a big gush of it than a week of such light spotting. I still get teensy little "ack!" moments when I see that it's not finished yet, but at least I'm not super worried about it anymore.

I was thinking, though, how after all the reading I've done about what's going on in there, after all of the doctors and the gadgets and the drugs, it's still a really weird feeling to not know what's going on inside of my body but at the same time to be so keenly aware of the overall thing that's happening. I mean, it's not like I know what's going on when I get a phantom ache, but that's over in a second. For this, though - it's so strange to hear a separate heartbeat inside of me. And to not know what is going on, and to have to rely on external tools and symptoms (so far) to figure it out - and that things that should sound bad (like bleeding) can be common and OK. Weird stuff.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Blood Pressure Check-In

I was nervous this morning, even though logically I knew that everything was going to be OK. But I had a few little spells of nervousness wash over me this morning anyway.

We were called back (Cory tagged along because I was going to ask for a Doppler to ease my mind about the bleeding) and the nurse took my blood pressure. It was 112/60 - lovely! She couldn't do my Doppler, though, so she went away for a moment and came back to say that one of the midwives was going to come in since I'm only 12 weeks along, and show the triage nurse how to do it (she had never done it on patients under 17 weeks). She had me bend my legs, and the nurse asked her why she did it, and she explained that it tilts the uterus so that it's easier to find the heartbeat. Not that I've researched how to more easily find the heartbeat, but I was happy to know that I would have been able to answer the nurse correctly if she'd have asked me, heh. It took a moment (as it usually does with a Doppler) to find the heartbeat, but after a few seconds there it was. The midwife said it sounded around 150-155. Phew.

So everything is hunky-dory! And to top it all off, last night was my last dose of progesterone! Today is a good day.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Morning

I had a mini-freakout right before I fell asleep, which I could have predicted. For some reason, getting into bed at night I usually have hormone-y feelings that usually turn out to be of the sad or negative variety. So last night was in keeping with routine, even though I actually had a reason (sorta) to worry.

I checked for more bleeding with every middle-of-the-night bathroom break I took (of which there were more than usual) and checked again this morning and it's just a little light brown spotting now. Hopefully it will go away completely by the end of the day. My weekend activities were low-key anyway, so taking it easy will be a cinch.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Blood

About an hour ago I felt something I haven't felt in awhile, and so I ran off to the restroom to check - and sure enough, it was a little gush of bright red blood. I didn't have my OB's number with me at work, so I called the hospital's main number and asked to be connected. After a moment or two of confusion, I realized the switchboard gave me the wrong clinic's number, so I took a deep breath and went home.

At home I checked again and am now just spotting a little bit, but I called the doctor anyway. The on-call was someone I hadn't met yet, and he wasn't particularly helpful. "I'll check your blood type to see if you're RH- and if you are I'll call you back and tell you to get a shot. Otherwise, you're 12 weeks along so your miscarriage risk is low; though if you miscarriage there's nothing you can do about it. Call us back if the bleeding increases." Thanks, knowing there's nothing I can do about it is very comforting. I did tell him I was going in for a blood pressure check on Monday and asked if I could request a doppler check while I was there and he said of course. So I'll do that, just to make myself feel a little more confident.

I'm also reading the dreaded internet to see what people say. Of course there's the little risk of miscarriage sprinkled in the postings, but most people are saying they bled a bit and everything was fine. I don't have any cramping, though my uterus feels heavy and taut and I have a little twinging.

The doctor never called back (or at least hasn't yet and it's been 10 minutes) so I'm guessing I don't have the RH- issue. So I'm going to have some tea and lie on the couch and breathe a little.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Ahh.

I love the early part of a long weekend, where I can see more than one full day of nothing stretched out in front of me. Ahh, it's great.

Thanksgiving was quiet but nice. My cousin's two girls were the life of the party, as all kids are during family events. The younger one (8 months I think) bounced around in her little bouncer-saucer thing and smiled a lot, and the older one (3 years) named our fetus Grass-fed. Not sure where she came up with that, not even her parents know. It was pretty funny.

Cory is still deathly ill with the flu (respiratory, not tummy). He didn't work at all this week, couldn't make it to Thanksgiving, and was only up for two hours before he gave up and went back upstairs. I'm so glad I haven't gotten it, but I hate when he's sick. Hopefully he'll feel good enough to help me put Christmas lights up this weekend.

In other news, today is my first two-tablet day as I start weaning off of the progesterone suppositories! Yay! Only ten days now and then I'll be completely off all fertility drugs. I counted the rest of my stock the other day and realized that I was short THREE tablets. I really wasn't excited about going all the way back up to Portland for just three pills so I took a chance and asked my Oregon Infertility Facebook group if anyone had any extras, and someone from Eugene happens to have several tablets that she's going to mail to me! And she doesn't even want anything for them! I'll have to think of a nice thank-you.

Also, based on the due date that my OB gave me, I had to adjust how far along I actually am: 11 weeks tomorrow instead of yesterday. Doesn't make too much of a difference but this has felt like an extra long week as a result.

It's windy and raining and miserable outside today (i.e. normal Oregon weather for November) and the dog is staring at me because he wants me to throw the ball for him and he doesn't care if the rain is falling sideways and pelting the windows. Boo. Let's see how long I can put him off (and thus stay in my pajamas and under this blanket)...

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving Eve!

Today I had my quick blood pressure check. It turned into being away from work for almost two hours. (That sounds so ominous! But it wasn't.)

The nurse ushered me into a room and did the first check. It was higher than last time: 128 over 96. But I'd just driven across town in lunch hour traffic and rushed up the stairs, not to mention my previous hypertension, so I wasn't surprised. The nurse said she'd grab the on-call doc but that she was with someone at the moment so it'd be a few minutes. So I pulled out my book and settled in.

Almost half an hour later, the nurse came back, apologized, and tried another check. 130 over 92. Boo. So she excused herself and five minutes later a doctor came in to chat. She said I needed to go back on meds, and asked me a little about my previous blood pressure issues. I asked what this was going to mean for pre-eclampsia and she said that they'll just be monitoring me extra closely in the future. I'll likely have to go in twice a week at the end of my pregnancy, which I'm taking to mean I might be induced if things start to look worse. Guess I'd better have a hospital bag ready once those bi-weekly checks start!

I'm super unexcited about this turn of events. But I'm thankful that they caught it immediately and that they'll be watching everything closely.

In other news, one of the symptoms I'm noticing lately is a lowered immune system. I've had a cold for several days now, with a nose that gets stuffy at night especially, and now that I'm starting to feel like I'm getting over it my throat is starting to feel sick. I hope it ends up being nothing, or at least waits until after the holiday weekend. We have food to eat and Christmas lights to put up! Cory has been sick too - I'm pretty sure he has the flu and I'm so happy that I got the shot when I did. Phew.

To all my American friends, I hope you have a peaceful, calm Thanksgiving and you get to spend it with just the right people. :)

Friday, November 21, 2014

First OB Visit!

I woke up this morning from a nightmare in which my sister was shot twice in the back and was clinging to me in terrible pain and every time I tried calling 911 my phone would ask if I wanted to add 911 to my contacts instead.

Anyway, the day has gone much better than that! I had my first OB visit. The first thing that was awesome is that we got to the clinic in five minutes instead of 90. I'm pretty happy to not have to go to Portland for stuff anymore!

We were ushered into a room, I answered questions about my medical history, they took a urine sample (with very strict instructions because the specimens have been contaminated lately, apparently, and they don't know why), did a pelvic and breast exam, gave me a flu shot (ow), took about eight vials of blood for routine first-trimester testing, and we got to see the baby again!



It's amazing how much these things can grow in just four days. Now it looks like a little pig, I think, or bear. The pictures aren't fantastic; we got better views on the screen. I think it's better for the doc to measure them down the back, so we have back view photos instead of side views. We got to hear the heartbeat too; getting a little faster every time we check!

The not-so-good news, though, is that my blood pressure is already a little high for their taste. The nurse tested me at the beginning of the appointment, switched arms, said hmm a lot, tested me again at the end, refilled the cuff a couple of times, and then had me schedule a quick blood-pressure-test appointment for next week. I bet you anything I'll be on blood pressure meds for this pregnancy. Bah.

I also got some nice reassurance from the doctor - she was asking about symptoms and I told her I really didn't have a ton, no nausea and not super tired in particular, and it was enough that I was sometimes worried that something was fishy, but she reminded me that I've been pumped full of hormones and none of my cycle was normal, so it makes sense that I won't have the same kind of symptoms. It kinda reinforced my wish that there was a pregnancy book out there for IVF patients, that included little reminders like that.

So after next week's blood pressure test, I have another appointment scheduled for 12/19, at which point I'll be totally off all artificial hormones! This kind of waiting is so much better than the IVF waiting. This is awesome.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Goodbye, ORM!

Today we had our final ultrasound at ORM. The baby is getting big!

The heartbeat was... 172 I think. The doc said it sounded good, and we got to hear it twice. I think the baby looks like a frog now. Not sure what angle this is so I can't tell which appendages are poking out.

After a quick blood draw, I took one last look around the waiting room and we were out of there! We're finally finished with ORM! I can hardly believe we've made it to this point!

In other news, I got my last piece of protocol, to wean me off of the hormones. I'll be done with shots on Friday, and the suppositories by December 7th! Woohoo!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Week Between

There really isn't a lot to write about when you're in your first trimester and it's going smoothly and you have no terrible symptoms (besides the obvious, unreasonable and overplayed worry that an easy pregnancy equals a likely miscarriage). Luckily, I haven't been super worried lately, aside from a few pangs of doubt.

I met my mom at Ikea today, so we could look at cribs and dressers and other random baby-related things. I didn't buy anything but we found the crib that I'll likely get later. Mom kinda went crazy and bought a half-dozen stuffed animals and toys too, which I have to figure out where to put at some point. The nursery is quite small (around 9' x 10') and with a crib and dresser and glider chair in there, there's not a ton of space left for much else.

Symptoms are still minimal - sore chest at night, usually, though not enough to wake me up, just enough to be slightly annoying when I do wake up for the first minute or two. More thirsty than usual, which is leading to more peeing than usual. My normal portion sizes are too big and I feel overly full - I need to adjust down. Twinge-y here and there. Slightly more tired than usual, but I don't feel like the life is sucked out of me or anything. Hard to know how sensitive my nose is, because the dog seems to have fleas and is scratching a lot, and I think I'm allergic to him when he's scratching dander into the air all night, so my nose is stuffy most of the time. Still no nausea, no aversions, not much in the way of cravings (unless you count "I feel like x for dinner" which I don't). Still bloated from the progesterone, and the other day in the shower I pressed on my lower abdomen (just above my pubic bone) and it felt much more firm than usual - I'm assuming that's the uterus starting to swell.

Less than a week now until the next ultrasound. Hopefully at that appointment they'll start having me wean off of the injectables and suppositories. I had to refill the Endometrin prescription today; just two-weeks-worth was over $300. I'm ready to stop paying for all the drugs and driving three hours round trip to get them!

Oh yes - also, I spotted again last Thursday afternoon. It was mostly gone by evening, but I reluctantly decided to skip yoga and just take it easy. After it was mostly finished, I had an hour or two of really slight cramping again, and by the next morning when I called the nurse about refilling the Endometrin I mentioned it even though I knew what they were going to say about it. I took it better than the first time I saw the spotting - it ended up being on a high-emotion day so there were tears but it didn't lead to a meltdown like last time. Instead, I just skipped yoga, drank a lot of water, and tried not to worry. I'm also finding that the wait between ultrasounds is much easier this time around. I'm sure it was because the nurse was confident about how things were looking this time (compared to the doctor being pretty concerned the week before), but it's nice not to feel stressed out about it, since I know that the time between ultrasounds will be longer as soon as I leave ORM.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

OB, Shots, and Other Things

I think I'm coming down from my high of Monday. To keep it going, I called and made my first OB appointment for the Friday after my last ultrasound at ORM. I spent a day or two thinking about which of two midwives I wanted (there's five at the hospital I think), and in the end I just had to go with whoever had an availability. I need to get used to that - back before we knew we had infertility issues, I was sure I'd have a home birth with a midwife. And for five years I concentrated more on how to get pregnant than how to get the baby out, and never did any further research on births. Now I need to get used to the fact that I can't choose who's going to catch the baby - it'll just be the luck of the draw.

Cory is in Orlando this week for work. I took him to the airport at 3am on Monday, and am picking him up on Saturday. In the meantime, I'm driving half an hour each way to visit my aunt every evening, who is giving me my progesterone and delestrogen shots. I figured she'd be a good candidate because she gives herself insulin shots, and she was - she did a good job last night, I barely felt it. We went out to dessert afterwards, and the baby got its first gift - a cute stuffed yeti for the nursery! (I'm going with retro camping/woodlandy decor with lots of bright colors and some yeti/Bigfoot thrown in.)

It's kinda hard being away from Cory right now. I just want to be around him so we can enjoy feeling like normal people again - for almost six months we've been on pins and needles. He's pretty excited; he took the ultrasound picture with him and he told me today that he wants to buy something for the baby while he's in Florida - so sweet. I love seeing him excited.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Followup Ultrasound

Last night I had an anxiety nightmare that involved someone trying to get rid of his children and then breaking into our house and I couldn't find a phone to call 911. I woke up at 4am and had a hard time getting back to sleep.

The ride up to ORM was slow. Traffic was pretty bad and Cory did a good time distracting me by talking about other things, but every once in awhile I noticed that every muscle in my body was tensed and I had to deliberately take a breath and release them.

We were fifteen minutes early even though traffic was slow (we left an hour earlier than we need to, just in case of traffic), and we didn't have to wait long at all for a room. I got up on the table and the nurse came in to check me out (our doctor is out of the state at a Men Having Babies conference).

I had a feeling it was going to be good news as soon as I saw the ultrasound - the baby had definitely grown! The nurse immediately pointed to the screen and said "there's the heartbeat. We'll see if we can hear it in a sec, after I measure it." It measured I think 6 weeks 3 days, which is still behind a week but it's growing and that's what's important! Then we got to hear the heartbeat. It's 123 bpm, which is a teensy bit slow for the gestational age is but it fits with how it's growing and she wasn't concerned. I had a few happy tears when I heard the pumping on the Doppler. The nurse actually said she was checking my chart and wasn't sure why my doctor had scheduled a second ultrasound so quickly after the first, which I took to mean that the baby looked great. Then she asked who I was going to use as an OB. I wanted to say "uh, I had to make sure this baby was going to stick before I started thinking about an OB!" but I just told her I'd figure that out by the time I came back in two weeks for what I think will be our last ultrasound before we graduate.

Then I had another quick blood test (I have yet to hear about results but hopefully they will say I can start weaning myself off of the hormones) and the phlebotomist gave me a book (Pregnancy 411 - looks like a What To Expect-style book) and an ultrasound photo that showed the heartbeat as well, and we were on our way.

We practically floated back home. I think I had a big stupid grin on my face at the grocery store too. I feel so relieved, and am ready to let myself plan with abandon now. No more being worried for a little while. I'm just going to enjoy this right now.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Saturday

Today went by quickly.

We had our last choir rehearsal this morning, in preparation for tomorrow's concert. Before I left, I passed two big dark brown clots/tissue, which kind of freaked me out, but the nurse never said anything about clots being a concern and they weren't red and I wasn't feeling any cramping anymore, so I continued on with my day. That's not to say that I didn't have a hard time concentrating during the first half of rehearsal, but the spotting slowed way down after that and is almost completely gone now. (I did Google the symptoms and didn't get very happy results but I chalked that up to to The Reason You Shouldn't Google Symptoms.)

After rehearsal, I picked up Cory and we went to lunch (I felt like having a hamburger) and got his hair cut and grabbed a couple of groceries, and when we got home I took a two-plus hour nap. That was a surprise - I was a little yawn-y all morning but when we got home I couldn't keep my eyes open.

Just two more days and we can see if we have a growing baby in there. I was about to say I'll feel so much better afterwards but I'm learning not to say that anymore. :)

Happy Halloween!



We didn't do much of anything for Halloween night (we were Scrooges and turned off the porch light and hid in the house watching It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and ended the night ducking out for a pumpkin pie Blizzard) but we did dress up for work! Well, I did - Cory had a big project that was due so he telecommuted. But he threw his costume on after work to take pictures with me!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Spotting

And now I'm cramping a bit, and spotting. Pink last night just before I went to bed, brown this morning. More than just a teensy spot on the tissue but not quite what I'd consider a light period day. (Maybe an extra light one.) Seeing it last night was the catalyst for an epic meltdown (which was probably fueled by hormones but felt more like it was fueled by rage and despair) - my eyes are still swollen this morning.

I called the nurse this morning and she said it can be pretty common. She told me to stay hydrated and take it easy this weekend, and to call them if the spotting turned into bright red blood. I also read up a little last night and this morning on what others have experienced and most people who said they were spotting said it ended up being OK. Of course, not ALL people said it ended up being OK. Somewhere else, I read that if you see a heartbeat between 7 and 11 weeks, you have a 90% chance of success. That's pretty good odds, but I saw it at 6.5 weeks and it was measuring behind so I have no idea if I should be in that 90% group. And when you're worried and hormonal, 10% failure is a pretty big number.

It's Halloween. I ended up not really feeling like handing out candy, so I think I'm going to bring the skeleton inside when I get home from work, turn the porch light off and veg in front of a Halloween movie.

I just checked and the spotting seems to be slowing. (The cramping feels about the same - on and off, not as painful as period cramps.) I hope it's slowing for good.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Quiet in body, frenetic in soul

Waiting, waiting, waiting. Most of the time it's not bad, but I can feel my shoulder muscles tensing as we approach our next ultrasound and every time Cory hugs me I get teary. I keep thinking "next time we get results, I'll feel so much better!" but we keep getting thrown curveballs and I never feel as content as I thought I would. I feel like this blog has turned into a stress-fest, and I feel bad about that.

I continue to overthink any symptoms I have, don't have, or imagine, turning everything into a checklist - when was the last time my chest was sore? How many times have I peed today and is that more than usual because I'm pregnant or because I happened to drink more water than usual? Is that nausea? Nope. Was that twinge because of the pregnancy or because of the drugs and how long has it been since I had the last twinge? It's maddening but I can't stop.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Little Blobholm



Thought I'd share the ultrasound photo from yesterday, even though there's not much to see. The black round thing is the sac, and the oval with the measurement is the fetus (measuring the fetal pole). From this angle you can't see the yolk. Or the heartbeat flicker; it's too bad photos can't show that! I was 6w 5d yesterday and you can see the fetus measured at 5w 6d - so not quite a week behind.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Nothing is ever definitive.

This morning I woke up with some cramping, jumped in the shower, jumped in the car in the darkness, and headed up for our 6.5-week ultrasound.

First, I had a blood draw to check estradiol and progesterone levels. Then after a super short wait (one of the great things about this clinic is that they tend to be ahead of schedule and I never feel rushed), the doctor was ready for the scan.

The sac (just one - no twins) was the right size for six-and-a-half weeks, and he showed us the yolk. And then he had a hard time finding the fetus. He had to fiddle around for several seconds to get it to show itself. The fetal pole measured behind, he said, and the doppler couldn't pick up the heartbeat, but he showed us the flicker of the heart on the screen so we know it's alive. He said that it's consistent with just being a young fetus (which I take to mean that it likely implanted late, and my low hCG levels corroborate that) but just to be sure he wants me to go back in next Monday and make sure it's growing. A lot can happen in just a few days, he said. He also asked his nurse to add an hCG test to my blood test, just to be sure everything looked OK.

I spent the drive home processing. I was driving, so I didn't have a chance to frantically Google what the outcome could be; I just had to be alone with my brain for awhile. We stopped by the house on the way back to work and I immediately jumped on the internet and found some forums withe people asking the same thing. And in the first several forums I read, I didn't find anyone who said it's terrible news. People said sometimes FETs take longer to implant and as such end up measuring behind for the first several weeks (which I knew already, due to my research about the low hCG levels - and could be why I'm not getting morning sickness yet - I'm just assuming though) and then they catch up after that. The only time it was bad was when there was no fetal pole and no flicker, both of which we saw. So I'm not giving up hope.

Later, the clinic called and told me my progesterone and estradiol levels looked good, but when I asked about the hCG, the nurse said "oh! It was never ordered, but we can check it really quickly and call you back!" And after an hour they called with 9059 - they said that looks fine too.

I have daydreamed about this first ultrasound for years. I played it over in my head, how I'd cry a couple of happy tears at the sound of the heartbeat and Cory and I would skip off hand-in-hand to buy a crib afterwards (or whatever) - but because the doctor was so guarded and I couldn't hear the heartbeat, I didn't get to enjoy the little flicker on the screen. I'm not blaming the doctor of course, but I wish I'd spent another second or two being happy about it. I feel like I can't catch a break in this pregnancy yet; I thought I'd get a definitive "yay, you're pregnant, bye!" or something. Not sure why - I think even with normal natural first pregnancies you don't necessarily get that.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Ready for the Ultrasound

I must say, I've handled these past couple of weeks better than I thought I would. I've had my moments, including a good cry-fest yesterday, but for the most part things have been fine. A little too fine, I think sometimes - my symptoms have ebbed quite a bit and that's always in the back of my mind, but I've noticed things here and there. No nausea yet, though the past three nights in a row I've felt kind of off when I went to bed, and I'm wondering if that's the beginning of it. I've talked to a few people in the past several days who said that they didn't even know anything was happening until at least week 7, so I'm just going to be patient and let the ultrasound tell me definitively, instead of obsessing over anything I feel (or think I feel, or don't feel).

The ultrasound is tomorrow at 8:45. I'm glad it's in the morning; waiting for results all day isn't much fun. We'll see how many babies we're dealing with, and see if they have good strong heartbeats. Hopefully if all goes well I'll get an ultrasound photo to share.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Hormones Galore!

I'm still not feeling tons of pregnancy symptoms (my chest is sometimes sore - like last night it woke me up briefly - and sometimes not. I have a few twinges here and there but they've seemed to decrease a little in the past several days. I'm tired only sometimes.) but the biggest one I'm dealing with is mood swings. They are completely crazy. Here are a few examples from the last few days:

1. I cried when I heard a song the other night because one of the words in the lyrics was "baby"
2. I cried when I heard the bluegrass mass my choir is going to be performing in a week and a half because I really don't like it (it's too country)
3. I cried when I started thinking about how we're going to deal with visitations immediately after the birth (divorced grandparents, etc)

But the biggest reason I've been crying is because of not feeling tons of pregnancy symptoms yet and as the ultrasound approaches I get more and more concerned. But only sometimes. Yesterday, and a few nights ago, I was way more freaked out. Today (so far) I'm content and confident. I know that at just under 6 weeks I'm not going to feel much, and not feeling things isn't indicative of anything.

I think what's going on is that my brain notices that I'm emotional, and it tries to find a logical (mostly) reason why I'm emotional. And as a result, I sometimes have a hard time distinguishing between what's a real worry and what's just hormones. So I have to remind myself: Everyone experiences pregnancy differently. Especially during EARLY pregnancy. Your hormones are talking too loudly. Everything is great. Take a deep breath.

I honestly never thought I would be this much of a worrier. I'm annoying even myself!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

5 Weeks

Everything is still so surreal. I think a lot of the reason is that I still don't have super definitive symptoms. Still a bit twinge-y, and the progesterone made me purchase some prune juice, but other than that (and being a little tired, and pretty tender-chested) I'm feeling normal. I read that this week our tenants are the size of sesame seeds now, and it's fun visualizing them in there all cozy and warm and itsy-bitsy.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Beta #3

I woke up this morning relatively content, but then everything kinda crashed and burned. I got to the lab and the lady that took my blood on Monday (who didn't say more than two words to me at that point, and who bruised my arm) was at the front desk. She said they didn't have a copy of the order (even though ORM said they'd faxed it last Friday and again on Monday), so I had to go in to work, wait for ORM to open, call and ask for another order to be faxed and also asked for an emailed copy so I could send it in. I'm glad that I did, because when I got back to the lab (and waited for several minutes for the front desk lady to finish chatting with her friend), she said she still hadn't gotten a fax. I told her they were going to call her and verify the fax number and she said "well, they didn't call me!" all indignantly.

Ugh. So after that morning, my anxiety got the better of me and I had a rough day. Actually, now that I've had time to process it more I think a lot of it was influenced by all the hormones having a dance party in my body. Lunch was especially hard because I didn't have to keep it together for work.

Compounding my impatience to hear the news was the fact that I needed to get up to Portland to the pharmacy and pick up the rest of my order - I had only one sharp left for the progesterone - but I needed to know if I was still pregnant so that I didn't have to drop another $400 if I wasn't. So I called ORM at 3:20 and asked if I could hear the news. No dice - the nurse that could tell me the news was talking to another patient, but the nurse I talked to said she would call me back as soon as she was done. So I went home, because I didn't want to be at work if it was bad news, and I wanted a head start on the pharmacy.

The nurse didn't call until 4:30 this time. And the news: my beta has more than doubled, to 161.8! The nurse sounded happy, and there were no "stay cautiously optimistic" and "it's appropriate but we're not bouncing off the walls" comments. Whee!

We have an ultrasound scheduled for October 27th, at 6.5 weeks. And hopefully for at least most of the time between, I hope I'm as content and relieved as I am right now.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Heh.

Every time I see FET written anywhere, or I mention something about my FET, the first thing I think of is "feline embryo transfer." I have no idea why.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Beta #2

The nurse called me about 1:15 - much better than last Friday! It was also lucky timing because I was sitting in the car with Cory so we both got to hear.

The nurse said that their threshold for a second beta is 40, and I'm at 56.22. She said it's appropriate, but they're not jumping off the walls or anything. I swear she said "not appropriate" and thought that was it, but Cory heard her say it was OK and the nurse reiterated when I asked. She could also tell that I wasn't thrilled about the number, and she told me to be positive, that it's good news, just not "jumping off the walls" good.

I thought that this call was going to give me a definitive feeling of relief, but it really didn't at all, probably because it was lower than I expected. I try not to compare myself to other betas but when I see them in the hundreds and I'm not even to 60... I'm still super worried. I feel like I'm walking across a slippery log over a river, and I got out past the bank but now if I fall it'll be into the water - it feels like there's so much more at stake now that I've gotten this far. I suppose I'll never stop being worried, but I was at least hoping for being content for a little while.

I don't know if these are symptoms, because I'm second-guessing everything now and who knows if it's pregnancy-related or hormone-related or whatever, but I'll list them out anyway without all that extra commentary that's running through my head and telling me I'm wrong and these are not symptoms:

* Still twinge-y. I don't notice it if I'm busy with other things, I have to listen to my body and be still for awhile, but they're there.
* It also sometimes feels like my uterus is hard. And sometimes when I sneeze or cough or stretch funny it twangs my uterus. Ow.
* My lower back is tired. Not necessarily sore, but tired.
* I'm tired too, even though I got plenty of sleep last night.
* Not "sore" breasts, per se, but sensitive - can't put much pressure on them or move them too much (like going down the stairs without a bra) or it hurts. I don't need a sports bra to sleep in or anything, they're not that bad.
* My skin is starting to break out just a teensy bit.

My homework for the next two days is to be positive and enjoy the fact that my beta doubled.

#Microblog Monday

Today is beta #2. I wasn't nervous until this morning, when the line for today's test wasn't darker than yesterday's. I read that doesn't necessarily mean anything but of course now I'm super worried. Guess we'll know for sure by the end of the day.



Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Line is Darker

This morning, for the second morning in a row as soon as I was coherent enough I smiled and thought-shouted "I'M PREGNANT!" I have to say it to myself just to try it on 'cause it still sounds so weird. But then every once in awhile I have to catch myself and say "it's not a sure thing yet, remember. Be cautious."

Still, I'm pretty optimistic. The line on today's test was darker than yesterday's test.



I'm still just so tickled that I can pee on a stick and see two lines. I think I bought a pregnancy test once, years ago when we were starting the TTC process, so it's not like I have boxes of one-liners that I've collected over the years. But still, it's a nice way to start my day. :)

I made a boo-boo yesterday. I was supposed to start the progesterone suppositories, which I did, but I thought I was taking one every evening and I actually was supposed to take three a day. So I had to catch myself up yesterday evening - luckily the instructions said that would be OK. I also didn't realize that the box I received from the doctor on transfer day was just a sample box that would get me through only two days. So I have to call tomorrow first thing and ask for a prescription. Hopefully my local pharmacy can fill it for me; otherwise it will be a drive to Portland for me tomorrow.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Day After

What a great evening I had yesterday. :) Not only did I get the great news about our beta, but my cat, who had run away two nights ago, came home! I thought for sure we'd never see him again - he's a very skittish guy.

I decided in order to mitigate the worry over my beta not doubling like it should, I would get some home tests and monitor over the weekend. That way I can watch the line and be ready if it starts to fade.

A friend of mine found a website that I wanted to share with any of you who happen to be in the same boat as me: The Betabase. I've seen some other lists of betas in various forums, but this one has way more data and is in a nice format. And that helps, because after looking at one forum's list of betas they had zero people who had numbers as low as me in the twins category and I thought maybe one of our blasts might not have made it. But now I know not to come to any conclusions yet (though really I know I shouldn't come to ANY conclusion until the ultrasound).

It doesn't feel real yet. That's probably good since I need to remind myself to stay cautious.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Cautiously Optimistic

I made it until 3:45 until I couldn't take it anymore and called ORM with my heart pounding. I was on hold for five minutes until the machine picked up, so I hung up. I tried again 10 minutes later with the same result. And then at 4:15 I finally got the call.

I can't believe I get to write this.

It worked. I'm pregnant.

My beta is really low, though. They like to see between 20 and 50 at my clinic, and my level was 20. She said that could be because implantation happened later than expected, or that it'll be a chemical pregnancy. So she told me not to go announcing it to the world, but I should be cautiously optimistic.

Everything else looks OK; my estrogen level is 532 and they like to see it above 500; so we're continuing with the schedule for my meds.

Of course, as soon as I got off the phone and told Cory I started looking for other people online who had similar experiences with low HCG and normal pregnancies. I read that with FETs, it can take longer for implantation to happen; and also for some reason day-5 blastocysts can show lower HCG than day-3. I also read that with levels that low it might be bad news - including one person I know personally who had her beta awhile back and it was 21, and her pregnancy ended. So we're not out of the woods yet. But I certainly do feel cautiously optimistic.

The Final Seconds

Last night our skittish, raised-from-feral-kitten sweet black cat bolted out the front door right as we were getting ready to go to bed. He hasn't been outside since we got him a couple of years ago. We spent half an hour calling for him and wandering around with flashlights but couldn't find him. I've called him a few times this morning but no dice. I hope he comes home on his own. We live a block away from the highway and I really really hope he doesn't get hit.

I was third in line at the lab this morning, and waited for less than five minutes to be called. Now I'm home, waiting for The Call. I've crocheted, watched YouTube videos, worked on my Halloween costume, baked a cake, wiped down the cupboards and fridge and stove and dishwasher and counters, emptied and refilled the dishwasher, taken out the recycling, wiped down the doors... and it's only 11. I'm not expecting to hear anything until after lunch, but every time I look at the clock my stomach flips. I kind of feel like I'm watching a car hurtling towards me, in the final seconds before it wipes me out, when everything goes in slow motion. I'm frozen in this spot but I keep wishing I could step out of the way, to stop the thriller and watch a comedy instead, I didn't want kids this badly, I want kids so badly, this sucks - like my life of the last seven weeks of this FET process, the last five months of being a patient at ORM, and the last five years of being infertile is flashing before my eyes.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Day 7

Here we are, the last night before D-Day.

It got harder and harder to concentrate today. I was optimistic and then terrified, then optimistic and then terrified. I went to yoga tonight and as soon as I took off my glasses to meditate there were tears. I barely held it together for the rest of the class, but a hug from the teacher afterwards made me fall apart, and now I'm just ready to go to bed.

Still spotting. Still optimistic. Still terrified.

Nurse Call

I called the nurse first thing this morning to inquire about the spotting. One of the first things she asked was if I'd had intercourse (which could have irritated the cervix) and of course I said no, since they told us not to until after the blood test. She said pretty much what I've read: it could be implantation spotting or it could be "leftover" blood draining out (I'm not sure if that means it would have been from irritation around the transfer time, but that's what I'm assuming). She told me to drink Gatorade for hydration and electrolytes, and that we'd know more tomorrow after the blood test. Oh, and to call again if the color changes or the flow increases or the cramping increases.

I'm really hoping it's implantation spotting. I had crazy dreams last night that all had this overlaying feeling of contentment, likely because I read about the possibility that it's implantation spotting about two seconds before I went to sleep.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Update

I'm spotting. It was light pink. Looks different from my usual pre-period spotting. I immediately googled and got the spectrum of its bad news to it's good news. Light cramping now too, but they feel almost like a dull ache, not like my usual cramping. I don't remember spotting or cramping with the last two tries. I'll check again in the morning and call the nurse.

Day 6

I spent most of the day still in the meh state, and distracted myself easily with work, but in the afternoon I got a little emotional again. Still feeling twinge-y today, including one sharp pain right in the center down around my uterus that lasted a split second, but not sure if it has anything to do with anything besides progesterone. (If anyone has any insight, please share your twinge-y experiences!) I kinda feel like emotionally I've settled into a good routine of being OK as I wait, for the most part (though I still daydream about what the phone call will be like and my stomach turns when I run through the bad news option).

A friend asked me to try to explain the twinges and I'll include them here for posterity: they kinda feel like a tiny pinching inside my lower abdomen somewhere, like a teensy little muscle tightening. They happen on both sides and sometimes in the middle, and they kind of ebb and flow - I might feel several of them on the 20-minute drive in to work or just one or two all afternoon. Except for the big sharp one, that just was a sharp pain that felt totally different than the twinges. I don't remember feeling them the last two times, but I'm trying hard not to chalk it up to a pregnancy symptom because who knows. It might be a result of a different dosage of hormones or something. But of course right now I'm reading so much into any little thing. It's like when you're in middle school or high school and you have a crush on someone you keep analyzing every look, every smile, every conversation to see if you can figure out if they like you back. Except there's way more on the line so the analyzing is way more crazy-making.

Two more days.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Day 5

Today I woke up feeling completely and utterly meh. It's like inside my head I've decided I'm probably not pregnant, and I don't feel anything physically or emotionally. I remember feeling this way during my first FET wait, and it was negative, but then again I felt completely confident during the fresh cycle with the same result. Partway through the afternoon I thought maybe I feel this way because it's just intuition, that somehow I just know it didn't work. But I told Cory about it and he said it's just one of those days where I'm handling it better than other days. I hope he's right. I'm the kind of person who plays scenarios over and over in my head, and on the drive home I was imagining what it might be like if the nurse called with good news, so he's probably right.

I kinda wish I had a counselor to talk to, someone with a lot of objective experience in how people handle stressful situations like this, just so they can reassure me that this stuff is normal. It has to be normal. Brains and hormones are so frustrating, and you'd think that for someone who tries to be so in tune with my body that I'd be able to be more in tune with my brain.

Three more days.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Day 4

Today was a mixed bag. I woke up from that dream this morning so content. An hour later, in the car on the way to work, I was a weepy mess. Most of the morning, I felt OK, then in the afternoon I had a panicky few moments when I frantically Googled how early a home pregnancy test. Now I'm OK again. Phew, this is one bumpy roller coaster.

In other news, I've felt twinge-y all day. Not sure if it means anything, or if it was like digesting or something. I can't tell. I almost don't want to mention it 'cause I don't want to sound silly if it's nothing.

Four more days.

#Microblog Monday

Last night I dreamed lots of random things, but the one constant through it all was that I had found out without the blood test that I was pregnant. There was no excitement or worry about the future, just contentment that I knew.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Day 3

Another quiet(isn) day.

In the morning we met Cory's aunt and uncle for breakfast. On the way I listened really hard for symptoms, but thankfully that urge went away after that. I spent most of the day vegging, again, but spent an hour or two shopping for fabric for my Halloween costume (unsuccessfully) and looking at Target's Halloween decorations. (Blah. They used to have fun stuff.) I came home with a bag of bones, and then after dinner I put together the porch.



Not such great photos, but you get the idea. The web is a little more bare-bones than I usually do, but my normal routine is the cheap stretchy bag-of-webs that, as soon as I get them looking nice, the wind ruins. So we'll see how this one holds up this year.

Keeping busy is helping. During a quiet moment I thought "I really don't want to know one way or the other. I would rather just not know. That'll be easier."

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Day 2

I did much better keeping myself away from Google today - I only searched whether it was estrogen or progesterone that made one extra sensitive to smells, as I could smell Cory opening his bottle of bourbon in the other room earlier, and I could smell cat breath when Dexter yawned a few minutes ago. Somewhere in that search I read that it takes 9 days until you can trust that symptoms are a part of pregnancy, not a part of the drugs, and while I'm not sure if that's totally true it was a good reminder not to be that concerned yet.

I took it really really easy today - almost like yesterday's prescribed bed rest but upright a little more (they told me not to go more than 45 degrees yesterday so I stayed pretty flat, today I'm more reclining than lying) and moving around a teensy bit more as well. We were supposed to visit for Friday night dinner with Cory's aunt and uncle who are in town, but we rescheduled for breakfast tomorrow morning and I should be fine doing that - but after that will likely be more rest. I might as well, it's the weekend.

I had a conversation with a friend this afternoon about how my Uncertainty Insanity is looking for "omens" in things. I told her that I checked the forecast today and it's sunny all week until Friday, when it starts raining for a couple of days. Rain = tears = I'll find out Friday I'm not pregnant. She said "It's Oregon, it always rains and you love the rain. So clearly it'll be good news." She knows just how to talk to my crazy. :)

Friday, October 3, 2014

Day 1

I woke up pretty content today... But I made a classic rookie mistake and let bed rest boredom take me to Google, where I looked up "IVF 2ww symptoms", immediately read "implantation spotting the first day!", noted my lack of implantation spotting, and got all sad. So dumb. I know everyone is different and searches like that are useless.

Cory had to go into work in the morning, but was home by lunch. It's been nice having him here. This weekend I hope to work at a friend's garage sale and take it easy. And also distract myself. 7 days until the test. I can do this.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

A Little Pregnant

Transfer day! Eep!

I went to work for a couple of hours this morning, and was happy to see that it was pretty quiet. At 10 we started heading up to Portland, making sure we had plenty of time so we wouldn't feel rushed, which was really nice because we were able to spend about half an hour sitting outside a coffee shop and people-watching. (The people-watching is so much better in a big city than in my little town!) (I noticed ankle boots are super popular this fall. Heh.)

We went up to the waiting room 15 minutes early, and I was surprised that they ushered us back almost immediately. They gave us a little room with a bed and a chair and a window, and I changed into a gown and some paper slippers (over my lucky socks!) and started working on my liter bottle of water.



After I'd had 2/3 of my water, a nurse came in and did a quick ultrasound to see if my bladder was full enough, and it was completely empty. She suggested I try to walk around a little to get things moving, so I spent the next several minutes wearing a rut on the floor, back and forth the three paces it took from corner to corner of the room. It felt nice to get some of my nervous energy out.

Then the embryologist came in with a Valium for me and chatted about the morning she had with our potential babies. We had two straws of two embryos each. The first one that they thawed looked dark and grainy - not good at all. So they thawed the second one (our last two embryos) and they looked great, and they were ready to transfer. I asked why the first two might not survive, and she said they never know; it could be that they just weren't strong enough to survive the freeze, or that the external environment wasn't optimal. At any rate, after she left I spent a few more minutes letting that sink in - this is our last chance with this original set of embryos, and if we have to try again it has to be from scratch - the expensive kind of scratch.

A second ultrasound about 15 minutes later revealed a still-empty bladder, so I had to drink another 12 ounces of water. (I told her at that point that I knew my bladder was just a little slow - this has happened twice before - but she gave more water to me anyway.) After that, I started to feel my bladder starting to fill up and I knew it wouldn't be long now. I'm pretty sure that as my bladder took its time, though, my neighbor in the next room had her transfer time switched with mine. Sorry, doc.

A third ultrasound revealed a nice full bladder, so I waited another couple of minutes for the doctor to be ready and then they wheeled me into the transfer room. The bed they had was really cool - the middle drops out and the edges raise up and have pockets for your feet. That way you don't have to move hardly at all, and can stay flat the whole time. Anyway, the doctor inserted a speculum, cleaned the cervical mucus off my cervix, did a quick practice transfer, and then did the real transfer. As soon as the embryologist checked to make sure the embryo straw was empty, he gave me... not sure, an Endometrin (I think?) suppository, and then they put the bed back together and wheeled me back into my little room, where Cory was waiting. It was barely 10 minutes (I'm sure more like 5) for the whole thing.

Back in the room, I kind of surprised myself with the tears. I'm trying to remember the last time this happened, and I think I had maybe one tear the first time and nothing the second time. This time - I don't know, it was a combination of letting out some of the nervousness from the last few days, and knowing that this is a huge big deal because we're getting older, and these are the last embryos we have.

I had to wait for a little over half an hour, still lying flat, and I made it about halfway before I needed to use a bedpan. I was really hoping I wouldn't have to, but I tell you, you might as well be comfortable while lying in bed for half an hour after a transfer. I'm sure I said this last time, but it is REALLY hard to pee lying down.

After my lying-in period, the nurse came back in and gave us some more progesterone suppositories for use after a positive pregnancy test, and told me what to do for bed rest for the next two days. I was surprised about the length - at OHSU they only requested being still and quiet for the rest of the day after the transfer. But I'm not complaining, I'm happy to do anything I can to help these little guys along.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Calm

My extreme nervousness has been replaced with a blanket of calm draped over a little niggling feeling of restlessness. I much prefer it this way. This morning I thought to myself "why are you nervous about transfer day? It's just five minutes of stirrups and then sitting and waiting for a week. Better to be nervous about the blood test next Friday." And then the nervousness was gone. (Well, not gone, I can see it up ahead, ready to pounce on me next week.)

Progesterone shots are still going fine, though I'm bleeding a little after them. Might be because of the low-dose aspirin. I'm back on the antibiotics this week, which upset my stomach in the mornings if I don't take them with food, but it only took one morning without breakfast for me to remember. The steroids don't make me feel any different, just dehydrated. Tomorrow is the last day for both antibiotics and steroids.

I've been trying harder to look forward with hope and positivity. It's hard, since I don't want to crash and burn if the news is bad. But I'm trying to allow myself to think past a positive test and into the near future after that. I wish it was all about making plans to go baby shopping and paint the nursery, but it's more "will the beta double? Should I wait to tell people until I'm sure, even though a lot of people already know when the test is?" Jeez, infertility really ruins our attitudes, doesn't it? :)

I wanted to say, too, that I'm so happy to have all the support here from all of you. It's valuable to have support from family and friends who don't know what it's like to be infertile, and extra special to have support from family and friends who do. I like to imagine you're woven into my calm blanket.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Make Your Own Rules Diet Review

Two days until the transfer! Every day I get more and more nervous - today I've wanted to cry a few times, though I suspect being injected full of hormones has something to do with it too.

On days like these I'm really happy to be able to do a little bit of yoga, just to center myself and focus on something besides being nervous. I'm not sure how much I've talked about my yoga practice here - long story short, I went to classes for about a year when I first moved here, and then took an eight-or-so-year break, and maybe a year and a half ago I started again. The catalyst for restarting my yoga practice was a keynote speech about yoga and fertility by Tara Stiles.

Though I take weekly classes taught by a fantastic local teacher, I sometimes follow along with Tara's flows at home via YouTube or DVD, and I really like her philosophy of making yoga accessible and relatable to everyone. And now she's taking that yoga philosophy and applying it to a more holistic approach in her new book Make Your Own Rules Diet.

I think "diet" is actually misleading, because it really isn't a diet book. It's more of a lifestyle guide than anything else, with an end result of you trusting your intuition and listening to your body in order to make good healthy choices for your body and your soul.

Tara breaks the book down into three areas of focus: the mat, the cushion, and the kitchen. The mat section details some easy asanas (positions) and provides a couple of flows. The cushion section takes you through meditation. And the kitchen, of course, is all about simple vegan recipes.

I played with two recipes from this book in the past few days, and am excited to purchase the book so that I can play with even more. I love that the recipes are so easy - a lot of vegan recipes that I see in cookbooks rely on fancy ingredients that I don't really have on hand, and I'm not a natural vegan so the quickest way to my heart is to show me how easy it can be.

The first recipe I tried was the Roasted Acorn Squash Soup. It has only six ingredients: acorn squash (I tried yellow this time), onion, olive oil, red pepper, water and almond milk. Super simple, and now we have dinner for the next couple of days (because I doubled the recipe)! One thing I will say about these recipes is that they're so simple that they could use a little dressing up with spices - I used some red pepper flakes and cracked black pepper for a little bite.

The second recipe I tried was the Healthy Frosty. Now if you're a frequent Wendy's customer and is the kind of person who likes dipping their fries into their Frosty, you will notice that this is not a faithful reproduction. But I kind of like it better! Again, only 7 ingredients, and the addition of cinnamon really gives this smoothie the flavor boost that it needs. Also, blended frozen bananas are awesome. So awesome, that I made this smoothie and immediately drank it, leaving no time for a photo. Oops.

There are also a couple of schedules that you can follow if you want to try the yoga-meditation-eating philosophy for a week or a month.

Anyway, if you're interested in taking a peek at the book, you can do that and more at Tara's website. I highly recommend yoga and meditation especially for those of you who are dealing with the stress and uncertainty that comes with infertility. It helps me immensely.

Monday, September 29, 2014

We're a go!

Not that I had any thought that we might not be able to make it to transfer day because of my estradiol or progesterone levels, but the nurse called today from this morning's test and let me know that we're good to go, and they'd see me on Thursday.

I hung up the phone and immediately felt more nervous than I have in a really long time. Please please please work this time.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Preparing to Thaw the Embies

I was going to call the nurse today because nobody called me with the results of my estradiol test, but before I could, the embryologist called to ask how many embryos we wanted to transfer. I told her two. She said that if one of them doesn't survive the thaw, they'll thaw the other two and then refreeze one. That's pretty cool that they can refreeze!

Anyway, after I spoke with the embryologist, she transferred me over to the nurse so I could get the estradiol number. She said I was at 556, which is pretty normal, and reiterated that my lining was fine, and told me to stay with the same dose of delestrogen. She also confirmed that yes, I should be injecting the progesterone in the same area as the delestrogen.

Only a week until the transfer now! Eep.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Lining Update and a Harvest!

I was just outside cleaning up the back yard. It's supposed to rain tomorrow and was pretty gray today so I could put it off no longer; I did the final mowing of the dry weeds in the dry lawn, chopped down the hops, pulled up last year's leeks and kale, raked the fallen pears, and picked four figs off my tree! They're the first figs I've gotten and they were great.





I also harvested my first pumpkin! There's another one that's about as big as both my fists, still growing away - hopefully it matures by Halloween.

And not more than two minutes after I finished and flopped down on the couch, I could hear it raining outside. Was that good timing or what!

Anyway, I had my endometrium ultrasound and an estrogen level (blood) check this afternoon. I was too late in the day for the results of the blood draw to come in, so I'm sure I'll be called about that tomorrow. The doctor had kind of a hard time measuring my uterus as it was in a weird position(?), but I heard him call out 7.6mm and either 8 or 9. The nurse who called me this evening seemed to think that was kind of thin (I have no idea what's optimal) but pending the results of the blood test she just asked me to stay at my normal dose of delestrogen for today. I'll start the progesterone on Friday, and then re-start the antibiotics and start a steroid on Saturday in preparation for next Thursday's transfer.

#Microblog Monday

Happy Fall!

I'll be back this evening to update you on the ultrasound and blood test I'm having this afternoon. :)

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Quick Check-in

I think I'm finally mostly recovered from last weekend's Shrewsbury Faire! (Except for a cold, but that's another story.)

For those who don't know, I am the soprano in a small local renaissance-themed music group. The group has been around for 19 years, and five years ago I started with them as a pinch-hitter when their soprano quit at the last possible second before Shrewsbury. Literally the last possible second: I got the call on Thursday night, arrived on Friday night after work, sang through all the songs by headlamp, and performed on Saturday morning. Thank goodness I haven't had to experience the same nervousness since that weekend. :) Anyway, since then we've purchased a period tent so we can camp in the faire itself, and we have added small skits and new music to our repertoire, and expanded the faires that we perform at to three.

Shrewsbury this year was HOT. Fun, but HOT. I guess it's hot every year, especially when you're running around in full elizabethan garb in the sun, but this year was no exception. We performed well and then collapsed in the shade of our tent and sat there wilting the rest of the time, drinking water and sweating it straight back out.

Cory came out on Friday night to give me my first shot of delestrogen, which went very smoothly, and the rest of the weekend went by in a blur. This week did too; work is pretty busy and I got some overtime, which is nice. It's supposed to be 90 again today, but there's rain and mid-60s in the forecast which I'm excited about, and I can feel and see and smell the fall in the air. The pear trees still have some pears hanging on but the leaves are already starting to drop. And now I'm starting to think about HALLOWEEN! My favorite holiday! I need to start working on costumes and decorations. I usually wait until October 1, but I have a few crochet projects coming down the pike and I'm worried I'm not going to get them all done in time. So today I'm spending some time with a hook and stitch dictionary for awhile, and some time on the internet looking for some costume patterns. Ah, fall, how I adore you.

Monday, September 15, 2014

#Microblog Monday

This evening I received my second shot of delestrogen, and I have to say - Cory is a whiz at giving shots. I'm pretty lucky. :)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Blood Test & Injection Training

This morning we woke up briiiiight and early to go to a 7am appointment. (Cory actually woke me up from a Portlandia-related dream I was having at 2:30am, by accidentally slamming the garage door; but I got up at 4:45 and we left at 5:30.) Note to self: leave a little earlier next time, we got there with about three minutes to spare because of rush hour traffic.

I have to say, I love the phlebotomist at ORM. She's really sweet, but the best part is that the needle doesn't even sting when it goes in. (I don't really have needle issues, but I can tell when someone knows what they're doing!)

After my 30-second blood draw (and a pink camo bandage), we told the phlebotomist we also had an injection training scheduled, and after several minutes she came back to tell us it wasn't ever scheduled but she would find us someone. It ended up being someone from the third-party reproduction unit, and she was awesome to chat with.

So Cory will be giving me delestrogen and progesterone in ethyl olate. He played with the needle a little bit to get a feel for it again (it's been three years), and the delestrogen is pretty thick and goopy. But the nurse had a good pointer for us and also some good news!

Tip: If you are receiving intramuscular injections, you're supposed to not tense the muscle that the needle is going in. The nurse said she used to just tell people to put their weight on the other leg, but she found that if you actually put your leg up on a chair or a drawer, you can't tense the muscle of that leg, and the needle will go in more easily that way.

Good News: ORM at least is using a new form of progesterone - instead of progesterone in oil, it's now progesterone in ethyl olate. That makes the required needle smaller, and the liquid itself much thinner and easier to inject. And it won't leave sore lumps in your butt! I was happy to hear that after only three years they were able to fix one of the most unpleasant parts of injections!

After we got our training and our handouts, the nurse drew circles on my ham hocks with a Sharpie so Cory knows where to poke. (I'm assuming they'll do that for the progesterone when I go back in two weeks.)

After our appointment, we had some breakfast and stopped by an RV dealership for a moment, so Cory could try out a teardrop trailer. We've been thinking about purchasing one, but Cory is so tall I was worried he wouldn't fit. Turns out he's not 100% comfortable but he says it'll work for a few nights at a time. So now we just need to figure out where to buy, and how much we can afford!

The office just called and let me know the results of the blood test - I'm nice and repressed, so we're a go for this cycle! I have good feelings about this cycle, now that the polyp and extra tissue is gone. (Of course, any time I say that out loud, I think "crap, I've just jinxed myself!")

Monday, September 8, 2014

I'm such an adult.

I had a frustrating day today. Work was especially busy, and... well, I went off birth control on Friday, and didn't realize until this afternoon that that's probably the biggest reason for my mood.

This evening while I was picking up some groceries, I also grabbed a bottle of stainless steel cleaner. I have lived in this house for THREE YEARS and I have never cleaned my refrigerator with stainless steel cleaner. (I've just used soap and water and it has looked "fine.") So I spent three minutes wiping the fridge down with the cleaner and it made my entire day much better. I keep looking over and admiring its gleaming shininess. Heh.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

September Dots

* I can't believe it's September already.
* Last night was my final night for the birth control pill, with three left in the pack. Phew, I was worried I was going to have to buy another pack just for one or two pills.
* I'm still avoiding dairy as I take the doxycycline. It's hard to avoid dairy. As a result, I'm not avoiding all dairy - I've had some small amounts of butter and milk in baked things but I try to make sure it's not in that window of 2 hours before to 2 hours after I take the pill.
* My friend went up to Seattle to get fitted for her radiation apparatus. I saw her on Thursday (and brought her a hat to wear on her soon-to-be-bald head) and she was doing pretty well, though that's not always the case.
* Last night there was a 100-acre brush fire on Timberhill in north Corvallis. We were in town until right after the firefighters were called in and we didn't notice it even though we were right there. When we got home we heard about it so we ventured back out to see it. We ended up meeting a coworker across from the tennis club and watching the flames. It was pretty scary - I think there might have been one condo that was damaged this morning but it sounds like they may have saved almost all of the houses up there. Cory got some good photos - if you're friends with me on Facebook you'll see 'em.
* Tomorrow is my singing group's long rehearsal for the Shrewsbury Faire which is next weekend. One of our members wrote a play and we've been working to memorize it in a very short time. I'm really worried about it because I feel like I'm not in the right head space to memorize - and as Queen Elizabeth I have the most lines of anyone. So I'll spend some time working on that today.
* It's supposed to be in the upper 90s today and all I want to do is go to the beach. But Cory is working and I have to memorize stuff. Bah.
* I didn't take a shower after being in the smoke last night. I can smell the smoke in my hair. I think it's time to go take care of that.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Long Weekend

This post was written yesterday, and for some reason it showed up on Feedly but never showed up on Blogger, so I'm reposting it! Sorry about that!

I'm writing this from the little bed in my mom's spare room, where I'm enjoying a lazy early morning watching the sun come up and feeling the cool morning air from the open window that is my headboard.

I had a very nice few days here in the high desert. I brought my grandma with me and we have mostly just stuck around the house, chatting and eating good food and enjoying each other's company. Linus came too, and yesterday he and I went to Wild Ride, a new brewery in town, with my cousin who lived with me for a short time a couple of years ago and now lives over here. Wild Ride doesn't serve any food, but it was dog friendly and even the other visitors were super dog friendly - the lady at the table next to us cuddled with Linus for quite awhile. I definitely recommend it if you are ever in central Oregon with a dog and require a beer.

The IPA was hers, and the bourbon porter was mine. I thoroughly enjoyed what will be my last beer in awhile.

So as of today I'm off alcohol, caffeine and dairy. The dairy is because the doxycycline I started this morning doesn't play nice with dairy, but that will only be for the next couple of weeks. Hopefully the others will be for about nine months longer. :)

We go home today, Grandma and I, and then I will probably go visit my friend for an hour or two if she's up for it. Tomorrow she leaves for treatment in Seattle and I may not see her for awhile.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Update on my Friend, Ultrasound Results

Today was a rough day. Bad news first. In the morning, we found out that my friend's brain tumor is a grade four, basically the worst possible news. I'm glad we were able to leave in the late morning to go to our appointment, because it was pretty difficult being at work with so many sad people. And I'm a sympathetic crier, so I spent a bit of time hiding so I could keep it together. The prognosis isn't good, but she's young and strong and is going to give it a good fight; and she's super positive about it all so I'm resolved to be that way too.

At about lunchtime, Cory and I headed up to Portland. We parked and walked a block to Little Big Burger and had some comfort food, and then headed up to the appointment. We didn't have to do the mock transfer or the doppler because they'd gotten all the info they needed last time, so all we were doing now was making sure everything looked good.

And it did! Everything is healed nicely, and the walls of the uterine cavity are nice and smooth. For a second I saw a little white dot in the cavity and said "oh no, is that another polyp?!" but the doctor said "nope, that's the tip of the catheter" and wiggled it for me. Phew.

With that done, we spoke to the nurse for 30 seconds (she was pregnant; I wonder if it's hard to be pregnant while working at a fertility clinic), had no real questions about the protocol, and then we were off to the pharmacy.

Strohecker's Pharmacy is contracted by ORM, and is apparently "the Northwest's #1 Fertility Pharmacy." So I was expecting a super nice, big cushy pharmacy - but it was in a grocery store! That was a bit of a surprise. They had me wait for fifteen minutes while they got it together, and then we paid our $660 and were on our way.

Side note: for anyone who is planning on using Springstone to finance their treatments, know that though the interest is lower, they will only pay for the direct services that your clinic provides. For us, it's covering the blood draws, the exams, and anything that we do at ORM's office. But the hysteroscopy and the medications, because they aren't ORM, were not covered. There is another company that ORM recommends as well (I can't remember the name and I have no experience with them so I won't mention them) that has a higher interest rate but they basically give you the money and then you can pay whoever you need. I think that might be a better option for a lot of people, especially if they contract out for their prescriptions. (ORM could have done my hysteroscopy, but I opted to do it with an in-network doctor so that insurance could cover it. And while it was still a hit to the wallet, it could have been worse - and part of my insurance package reimburses 3/4 of my $1000 deductible so that definitely helps.)

So it was a day of a lot of ups and downs, and I'm happy it's over. And on Monday I begin the next step in the protocol - we're finally moving!

Mock/Dopp Today!

We're heading up to Portland this afternoon to see if the polyp and extra tissue they found during the last saline sonohysterogram is looking good, and check the blood flow to the uterus and do a mock transfer. I wasn't worried until this morning, but now I have irrational fears that the doctor that performed the hysteroscopy missed something or misunderstood what needed to happen. Logically I know that can't be the case, she's a doctor and she saw the ultrasound and knew what needed to go.

I'll update this evening!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Perspective

My closest work friend is in the hospital awaiting a biopsy of her brain tumor that was found on Sunday. She's doing OK, the tumor hasn't spread anywhere else that they can see with a CAT scan, and though it's inoperable due to the shape and proximity to her thalamus, she's in good spirits and I've spent several hours in the past couple of days with her, joking around and helping distract her. Send some happy and healthy vibes out into the world if you get a chance.

On my way down to my car in the elevator today, after she and I hung out for a bit, I met a brand-new baby girl leaving the hospital for the first time. She was tiny and all squinty from the light of the elevator, and I told her parents they did a good job, and then practically ran out of the elevator.

Hospitals are odd places. One building holds so much energy - the energy of those trying to keep spirits up while they wait to hear test results; the energy of new lives coming into the world, the energy of lives leaving bodies. It can be kind of overwhelming to think about.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Protocol Details, and Bills!

Those of you who are not so interested in medications 'n' such, feel free to skip. (After all, I normally skip other people's protocol posts, since I don't have a ton of control - and don't want a ton of control - over the ones my doc gives to me.) But there are some who are interested, I'm sure, so here goes!

I start birth control tomorrow.

On 9/1 I start twice-daily doxycycline (an antibiotic), prenatals (which I'm currently taking), and 81mg of aspirin. I take those for a week with the birth control, and then I'm off birth control.

I finish the doxycycline after 10 days, and then two days later I start delestrogen injections on Mondays and Fridays for the next almost three weeks.

On 9/26, I start taking progesterone in oil (PIO), and the day after that I start Medrol (a steroid, which ORM has had luck with increasing the odds of the pregnancy taking).

10/2 is transfer day, and I stop taking the Medrol at that point, and continuing on with PIO, prenatals and aspirin.

10/10 is the pregnancy test. And if all goes well (ihopeihopeihope), then I'll start taking three capsules of Endometrin (progesterone) vaginally, daily.

The pharmacy called me this afternoon to let me know that they got the order from ORM. I was a little surprised, because ORM didn't call the pharmacy last time. Maybe it's just because the saline sonohysterogram is just a formality now, everything should be good. I told them to wait to fill it until I actually have the sonohysterogram, just in case, but I think I might call tomorrow and ask if they'll just have it ready by that day and I can go pick it up after the appointment (they're in Portland). I also need to ask if they'll bill ORM so that ORM can use my loan. (They'd better!)

I also got my final bills from the hysteroscopy in the mail. I need to pay the $1347.40 that I put on my credit card on the day of the surgery, and pay the anesthesiologist $524, and the clinic another $4.18 (an adjustment from the original payment on the day of the surgery). Because I had the surgery at my local clinic, I can't use my loan for it, so this is all out-of-pocket. Ugh. Luckily I have enough to cover it, I'll just have to be careful for the next little bit.

Here we go again.

I feel like half of my blog posts are about having to be patient and wait, and the other half are titled something like "here we go again!"

This weekend we went to the wedding of Cory's best friend. It was a very nice party and it was great to be a part of it and meet all the family and close friends and get to know them. I think I cried twice during the short ceremony - I love watching people so in love with each other finally seal that commitment. I also enjoyed Cory making his toast - he was nervous about it for a long time but he nailed it!

This weekend also marked day 1 of my (quite short - 23 day!) post-hysteroscopy cycle. Of course it happened on a Sunday, which normally would have had me panicky to not be able to talk to the nurse IMMEDIATELY, but I've been through enough of these now that it wasn't a big deal. I called this morning and scheduled the mock transfer/doppler/saline sonohysterogram appointment for next Thursday.

I just got the schedule for the next seven weeks, starting on 8/31 - and now I'm all kinds of nervous.

Monday, August 4, 2014

The Slow Boat

Three years ago next week, a college friend read a post I made on Facebook about our infertility struggles and messaged me, telling me how she empathized with us - as a recently-divorced woman in her mid-thirties she was worried that she wouldn't find someone to start a family with before she couldn't physically have babies any more.

Today, she and her new husband are welcoming their son into the world.

Sometimes it's hard to be in the slow boat, especially when you're overtaken by boats you thought were equally slow - no matter how happy you are that their boats made it safely to the dock.

...And now I will go write "comparison is the thief of joy" on the blackboard 50 times.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

One Week Post-Surgery

The first week of recovery is in the books. There's not much to tell; everything is fine. No pain or tenderness or spotting or anything. The doctor left me a message on Saturday (while I was working the renaissance faire) to say that they'd sent the polyp in for testing and found it was benign. I had forgotten they were going to test it, but it's nice to know there was nothing wrong with it.

One more week of pelvic rest, then two more weeks of additional healing and then I'll be ready to try again. I hope all these detours get us closer to where we want to be.

Monday, July 21, 2014

All Scraped: The Play-by-Play

Yay, it's over!
Beware, it's long and there's lots of surgery-related detail below.

After my last post, I hung around at home for a little bit, changed out of my pajamas into some other pajamas (heh), and we went to the surgery center at about 8:30. I signed a bunch of paperwork and paid the part that insurance won't cover. And then I sat down in the waiting room for a bit.

Because I was the second case, I didn't have to wait in the lobby for very long. I just had time to try to pee a little (still don't know why I was so worried about a catheter!) and sit for a minute, and then I was called back to a big room with little alcoves along the walls with beds in them. Cory stayed in the waiting room while I changed into the giant paper gown (no lucky socks, but they were in my bag under my bed the whole time so they still count) and they hooked me up to the machines for a baseline, and then the nurse went to get him because it was going to be awhile. I ended up waiting probably for a little over an hour in the bed. The thermometer she used on me was awesome - it was like a little roller ball that she rolled over my forehead and down my neck for about two seconds. She also asked if I was anxious and I said yes, but then realized she meant in general, not right that second, so I had to correct myself. Heh.

Also around that time they started me on my IV. That was the worst part of the whole thing. I flinched big time when the catheter went into my vein - I could feel it very well and the nurse had to ask if I was OK and tell me to breathe. Once she got it taped, it took probably 10-15 minutes before it stopped feeling icky. She also asked if I wanted a heater, which I declined but it probably would have been better if I'd accepted because I was already tense from the IV and then I was more tense from being cold. Oh well.

At around 10, the anesthesiologist came to talk to me. She asked me some of the same questions and then gave me an idea of what to expect. "I'll give you a sedative on the way in, and then the OR will be bright and cold, and there will be a lot of bustling around you for about a minute, and then you'll be asleep." Another nurse asked me some of the same questions again (they're nothing if not thorough!) and then I felt a weird burn-y bubbly sensation in the IV and the anesthesiologist said "I'm giving you your sedative!" I said "I know, I can tell!" And then they put up my little side rails and took my glasses and wheeled me into the OR.

They put me up against the very narrow table and asked me to scootch over to it and lie down. The nurse started putting the leg compression wraps on and the anesthesiologist gave me an oxygen mask, and someone gave me a little table to put my elbow on (the bed was that narrow - about the width of my body without my arms), and then the anesthesiologist said "OK, I'm giving you the anesthesia now. Good night!" I thought "ooh, I'm going to count down from ten and see how far I can get before I'm out." I got to seven. :D

Two seconds later, I was waking up from a very comfortable sleep. (Or it was comfortable until I realized I was cramping.) It felt like a lot of mornings when I stay up too late and have to be awake the next morning for work, kind of going in and out of sleep. A nurse noticed when I started stirring and she grabbed Cory and brought him back from the waiting room. She unhooked me from the leg things and took the blood pressure cuff off and those sticky pad things off my chest, and let me go to the bathroom, which I did with no problem. It burned a little, not sure if it was from a catheter or just from the surgery area being inflamed, and there was a bit of watery blood too; I'm assuming it was thinned with the stuff they put into my uterus to inflate it. They gave me some water (my throat was super dry because they blew oxygen down it - no tube or anything) and let me get dressed and go home. I probably could have walked to the car but riding in the wheelchair is the best part so I did that instead.

And then Cory drove me home and I went straight up to bed and slept for about two hours. When I woke up I had some lunch and changed out of the mesh underwear into my own (which felt awesome), and took another nap or two.

I haven't had any pain meds as of yet, but I might take one right before bed. I have some mild cramps but they only just started. No nausea or anything either, which the nurse warned about. I think I'm in good enough shape to go to work tomorrow (which was the plan).

Next steps are "total pelvic rest" (i.e. nothing in the vagina and no baths or hot tubs) for two weeks, and then I call ORM with my next cycle after a month. My immediate next cycle should happen probably on Friday, which means the cycle I'd call them with would be in almost exactly a month, so this timing is actually working pretty well I think. (Unless they say "nope, the NEXT next cycle, in TWO months!")


Just after waking up.