my Self

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Fort St John, BC, Canada
My husband, David, and I had been trying to have a baby since November of 2007. After 'letting things happen', we got the amazing news that we were pregnant in June of 2008. Sadly, that pregnancy ended at 9 weeks with a natural miscarriage. After two more chemical pregnancies, we turned to fertility treatments in 2009. That decision was a disaster, with lousy medical care and poor monitoring. In December of 2009, we made the huge decision to move onto IVF. Things fell into place like magic and we began treatment on January 15, 2010. After a blighted ovum in March, we did a successful FET in June, only to endure another blighted ovum in July. We kept up and underwent another IVF in September/October of 2010 with the arrival of our son, Brogan in July of 2011! After our lovely success (finally) we decided to undertake yet another IVF treatment and hope for a sibling for our little red headed boy. Well... so far it's worked. Our story continues below!

Thursday, February 25, 2010


How I despise the waiting game.  It's getting really, really old.  In no way do I feel connected to this pregnancy.  I have a hard time saying it's a pregnancy.  I can't fathom it ending up with a baby.  I've learned, I suppose, after months of negative tests, high hopes, failure, bleeding and endless needles and medications, to contain any real hope and have learned to live comfortably, if not happily, in the 'unpregnant but wanting' sad group of women.

I've been quite anxious about this..... pregnancy.  It's hard to even admit that.  It seems that perhaps my miscarriage and the months of trying has played a harder hand on my heart that I have been willing to admit.  Because this fear, this unsettled-ness is real.  I'm pulling all my tricks out of my sleeve - distracting myself, pampering with long baths, good books, lots of sleep and socializing.  I'm eating healthy, watching favoite shows, and getting a somewhat reasonable amount of work done.  I'm thinking positively all I can.  I could move mountains with this positve polly-anna brain.  But it lasts about ten minutes before those mountains come rushing back, towering tall over me and blocking out the sun, and reason.

Almost all the women who I shared the January/February IVF cycle with have had early ultrasounds, and a vast majority are happily expecting, stating heart rates, posting cute little blob ultrasound photos, starting to get over the sheer shock of the positive test and really sink into the fact that they are healthily pregnant.  The other few women have pretty much accepted the losses, are licking thier wounds, but moving already onto the next cycle.  What I'm trying to say is they have answers.  They know what's going on.

But I am in limbo.  My numbers, while low, are rising well and are 'acceptable' and seem 'promising'.  I got a last beta this morning and of course, can't get the results until tomorrow morning.  I am highly suspect that the nurse at the medical clinic didn't think they were good so she wouldn't tell me, but I am also highly prone to paranoia at this point, and it's not unusual for the results to not be in until the next day, so I'm really waiting to see about that one.  (see, waiting again...) 

My courage fed by a few comments about how it was unthinkable that I am being made to wait two and a half weeks (notice the wait word again), and my own growing anxiety about a blighted ovum, or a poorly developing embryo, I called my clinic and pretty much begged for an early ultrasound.  They relented and ordered our local lab to fit me in.  I went into the lab at 2:45.  There are two techs that I've seen throughout the last 7 months of tests and ultrasounds.  One is in her early 40's, she's kind, she lets me see the screen, and she tells me just enough to confirm what I already know.  The other is in her mid twenties, and seems to be there to put in her time so she can move onto a bigger and better thing.

Of course, I got the younger one.  She started off by asking why I was there at 5 weeks, 6 days for a 7 week viability scan.  I said there was nothing wrong, but I wanted a little piece of mind, that this was for my mental, if not physical health.  She said, "you'll leave here with more questions than answers", and said that there is 'never' anything to see on such an early scan.  She said I would not see a heartbeat, nor much of anything. 

I asked if we were doing a transvaginal ultrasound.  I know that they are the standard, and the only way to get any detail at this early stage. 

"Transabdominal ultrasound cannot reliably diagnose pregnancies that are < 6 weeks' gestation. Transvaginal ultrasound, by contrast, can detect pregnancies earlier, at approximately 4 ½ to 5 weeks' gestation. Prompt diagnosis made possible by TVU can, therefore, result in earlier treatment."

She said she didn't see any reason to do one, and she was not going to 'disturb' anything by doing a vaginal ultrasound.  I thought to myself... 'disturb?'  What's she going to do, come at me at a run, using stabbing motions, with no lube on the thing?  I felt ridiculous and foolish for being there.  I was being chastised by a young woman who might have training on an ultrasound machine, but whom I figure I could pretty much take on any field regarding business, sex, relationships, intelligence, motherhood, and yeah, even pregnancy. 

She did an abdominal ultrasound.  Which, was pretty much a clear sign that she was humoring me, but not well enough for it to be done in a nice way.  She was obviously humoring me.  She was insultingly quick.  The moment she put the ultrasound thingy to my stomach, the little black blog jumped onto the screen.  That's the gestational sac.  It looked ominously dark and empty, but I also know enough to know that she can't see worth a fuck with an abdominal ultrasound, so I wasn't really concerned.  To be honest, I think she was surprised to see it.  She took three quick still shots, measured them, and said I could clean off the gunk and I was good to go.  Then she left. 

I think, from what I saw on the screen, before she noticed me looking, and turned it off, that the sac measured about 12 mm x 3.5 mm.  I think that's about normal for where I am.  There was nothing else to see, I wasn't surprised or even disapointed.  I do think that seeing that sac did make things a bit more real for me.  I think.. that if I'd had a nice, compassionate person to do the ultrasound, one who gave a crap about her patient, that I might have seen a little yolk sac.  But I didn't.  And I know when my battle is lost.  I know that young brat is the closest I'll get to some answers, and knowing that I did all I could do, I feel a sense of acceptance in what will be, already is.

Tommorrow I see my new family doctor.  I've heard good things.  I'm hopeful that my beta will be somewhat decent.  I'm hoping he says my ultrasound was somewhat normal.  I'm waiting for anything. 


Monday, February 22, 2010

Still On Track

This is a chart showing my beta results from 12days past ovulation (when we did the egg retrieval and they were actually fertiized in the lab) to 21days past ovulation.  As you can see, we are dreadfully exactly on track!  It's really pretty stunning how much variance there is between those little dotted lines.. several thousand, actually.  And we seem to be falling right in the middle of it all.  Terms such as 'normal' and 'acceptable' abound! 

Okay so while part of me is jealous of all the huge climbing betas and outragous symptoms that some of my other ivf comrades are experiencing, I must stop and remind myself from time to time of the alternative.  Would I like it if my betas were grazing that bottom dotted line in the diagram above?  Are there not hundreds, or thousands of women who would kill for my beta numbers?  Okay.. gratitude check!  I am extremely hopeful and thankful for the awesome numbers our little maybe-baby is producing.

What am I worried about?  David asked me that last night and a lot of things went through my mind.  I think honestly that pregnant women should be disallowed to use the internet so they can't google every symptom, and every possible phrasing of such symptom.  If I were to go by what the doctors say, I'd believe everything was just peachy!  And... honestly.. chances are, it is. 

I am seeing a new doctor on Friday.  I'm getting another beta on Thursday and hopefully it keeps rising nicely (although it is expected to slow down as the weeks go by).  In about four weeks we'll be past the biggest hurdles and should be enjoying a lovely, normal pregnancy. 

If you are saying to yourself.. hmmmm... she's nervous... she's obsessing.... she should just relax....  You are bang on right.  And I am getting better each day.  With each 'normal' test, every eventless day, I feel the stress and worry melt away.  I am finding things to distract myself.  Tomorrow I am going to a movie with my son's girlfriend, and in the morning, I am going house hunting with my son.  The day after, I am starting my scrapbooking.  As a bit of a stupid thing, I am going to start thinking about doing birth announcements - making them each by hand.  I know it's early, but I somehow want to do something real to balance my worry and doubt.  And if this baby is to be, it's going to have all the magic, security and love that I have to offer.  That includes precious, hand made birth announcements. 

Friday, February 19, 2010


While I'm used to the idea of being pregnant, I just can't wrap my brain around having a baby.  To me, the two don't seem to be different things.  I am doing everything I can to prevent a connection between me and the 'maybe-baby' growing inside me.  Once we see a heartbeat, then I can let myself start to believe a little bit.  Our chances of a live birth rise to nearly 90% after a heartbeat is detected.

My ultrasound was scheduled for March 18th, but I actually called the ultrasound lab and asked them to move it ahead.  I told the booking lady that I just can't go another two weeks not knowing if this is a pregnancy or not.  She's seen me come in for nearly a year for ultrasounds, for testing, for IUI's and I think she really took pity on me.  My ultrasound was moved up to March 9th.  Only 18 more days....

This is a neat chart where I got to see where my values are for my beta tests.  David is sure we're having twins, but I don't think the numbers are high enough, but I've been seeing a few twin pregnancies with numbers even lower than mine.  Who knows...

I was a bit worried about lack of symptoms, but I'm not anymore.  They come and go daily.  From round ligament pain, deep in my lower right abdomen/groin area, lower back ache, to very sore breasts to exhaustion and moodiness, I feel pretty crappy on a physical and mental level.  And I am really comforted and enjoying every moment of it. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Nothing Much To Report...

Took another hpt.  It's beyond concern now and has turned to just pure contentment to see the still darkening line.  I got a call from my clinic today and I am booked for an ultrasound on March 18th - at my eight week mark.  I had hoped for sooner, but that's when it is, so that's when I take it.  I would really like to have a couple more betas done and am considering asking my clinic to order at least two more just for my peace of mind.   I'm not sure yet.

Signs:  Some real sore boobs - coming and going with that, and my lower back is really sore.  That's a result of the ligaments loosening in order to accomidate soon to be expanding uterus.  Amazing how the body starts to prepare itself for pregnancy.  I might have been a tad bitchy this morning but took it out on some seriously overdue accounts at the store and spared the girls who work for me!

Monday, February 15, 2010

I'm Pregnant!!!

Today's Beta - 272.

I was pretty nervous.  Okay.  So nervous I wasn't even talking about it.  I was pretending to not be nervous.  I was hopeful, because of all the symptoms (and about $100 bucks worth of ever darkening pregnancy tests), but I was still nervous.  The clinic was not enthused with Friday's results, and wanted to see at least 150 for a beta today.  David and I went out to our favorite pub for lunch, and I had planned on calling the clinic around 3 p.m.  I kept checking my iPhone for the time,which seemed to be going backwards.  When the phone rang at a little after 1:30, it was as if my stomach dropped out of me.  I could hear the nurse's smile when she said my beta was 272.  I literally cried with relief.  David was just smiling his patient, slow smile. 

The nurse said it was a fantastic number, great climb from Friday and she was going to book my first ultrasound for my seventh week.

A good hcg count (the hormone from being pregnant) will double every 48 hours.  Our count is doubling every 30.7 hours.  It's awesome to finally have something solid to go on.  There is still the big ultrasound in about two and a half weeks, but I'm pretty confident that there'll be a baby at the end of all this.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Addiction Continues

First some news.  David is home for two entire days.  It's so awesome to have him home for a little while.  It's the first time we've both been home since the first week in January.   All he could talk about when I got home was getting the back deck finished off (still needs rails), working on the landscaping, and putting in an outdoor fireplace, then the bathrooms will be remodeled, and new flooring throughout the house.  He said "this is so you can enjoy being pregnant this summer and not worry about anything else".  Although my heart just bursts when he does things like that, I also really want this baby more than anything for him, as well as me. 

So I get to spend Valentine's Day with my Valentine... and he'll be here on Monday for our third beta test.  That will be nice to have him here with me to get the news.  

And of course, I tested again today.  I had to pee really badly and got the test at Walmart.  Couldn't wait so I went and used the bathroom there.  I was secretly scared today because I hadn't had as many symptoms this morning (I do now!) and some how dreading the test.. sure it would fade in slowly and be fainter than yesterday's.  Man was I ever WRONG. 

The test line came in faster than the control line, and it was just as dark (before it dried) as the control line.  Wow.  Beyond my expectations!!

Cut and Paste IVF Information!

This morning I had a burst of energy and after a couple hours of cleaning the house, with my youngest son, who is 19, helping out tremendously (thanks Jerry!), I decided that I was having a pretty symptom-less day.  I've got a few twinges here and there, and some mild back pain, but I slept well last night - the first in about three nights, and so of course, I figure.. what's up? 

After the housecleaning, I was tired, so I sat down to do some googling about pregnancy and ivf and found this gem in another blog A Beautiful Day.  I'm pretty sure the author won't mind if I cut and paste her wonderful words of wisdom....

When IVF Works: Things the RE Doesn't Tell You

Okay IVF girls, here's the scoop as I learned it today from the doc himself. Forget the googling, forget the note-taking, forget the comparing. Just'll feel better. Promise.

Many of the following tidbits may apply to "regular" pregnancies as well, but the focus is for IVFers.

1) symptoms waning/fading:

Contrary to several sources on the internet citing that a pregnant woman who suddenly loses symptoms during the first trimester should be very concerned about an impending miscarriage, none of us in fact need be concerned. At the onset of pregnancy when the initial hormone levels begin rising, the body reacts a certain way. As it settles down, feeling better is just that- your body adjusting appropriately and becoming used to the hormones. Throughout a normal pregnancy symptoms will come and go without warning. A healthy body will strive toward homeostasis and it's best that your body feel good - you'll eat and rest more and the fetus reaps the benefits. Symptoms may be reassuring, but they are overrated and pretty much serve just to make a pregnant woman miserable. Your symptoms can be non-existent while your beta is tripling. There is no correlation between the hcg and symptoms. Having symptoms does not make one woman "more pregnant" than another.

2) IVFer symptoms waning: At the onset of your pregnancy, your body was still coping with supernatural amounts of follistim, lupron, fading hcg, rising hcg and copious amounts of progesterone. Many IVF women become sick upon a positive beta, especially if they have some mild hyperstim going on along with it. I was bedridden for 4 days because my body's chemicals were raging. These weren't symptoms of pregnancy; these were symptoms of my body coping with an incredible hormone surge. My hyperstim was too mild to cause the sickness...that was all about ODing on hormones. This, I found out today, is very COMMON. Many women will overreact to the hormones initially, feeling very pregnant at the onset - bloated, nauseous, crampy, etc. When that goes away you're just feeling better. That's it. It doesn't mean you're no longer as pregnant as you were in the beginning.

3) but this isn't like my last pregnancy:

No two are the same, stop comparing, it's fruitless.

4) the hubbub about hcg:

HCG is only important at the first and second beta. The first level should be high enough to suggest viability (my clinic uses over 50) and the second should demonstrate a good increase. There is no magic number which ensures viability and conversely, a 51 should not cause alarm. After that, beta numbers mean little, if anything. Because the range of "normal" is so huge and individual pregnancies create hcg at varying rates throughout the first trimester, they can't (and aren't) relied on for anything but additional data to help assess situations. They serve as a benchmark. Interesting: a dropping beta does not always mean a miscarriage. My RE says he's seen all sorts of crazy hcg levels come in and lots of successful pregnancies come out of levels that other, less experienced reproductive people write off as doomed.

4) Ultrasound benchmarks are just benchmarks. Mother Nature will do things in her own way, in her own good time. Yes, there are limitations and at some point you have to make a determination as to the viability of a pregnancy. But just because someone sees a heartbeat at 5w5d and you don't, that doesn't mean your embie won't show the week after with a solid heartbeat and great measurements. It doesn't mean your embie growth is lagging or "behind." It means it's doing things in its own time and can be just as viable and healthy as the super-embie whose teeth came in at 7w. And, oh yeah - hard as it is, as freaked out as you may be, don't encourage an early ultrasound unless something is really wrong. You'll just do what I did today: push the issue for clarity and instead raise more questions.

5) Spotting:

IVFers SPOT. You should probably expect to spot. A normal IVF pregnancy will spot. This is because the endometrium is so plump and cushy now and then bits of blood and tissue will squeeze out. It's actually, ironically, a good sign - means your endo is one darn happy place for baby. Of course spotting is not always good and should be monitored. But normal pregnancies secret all sorts of colors of fluids at given times and that doesn't mean it's time to call the fat lady from her dressing room. Generally, pink/brown/beige, watery or mucousy - it's all okay, in moderation of course.

Friday, February 12, 2010

I'm Pregnant.

Due Date:  October 21st, 2010

Beta 54.2  Doubling time of 36.8 Hours

Day 14*
Beta range & Number of Pregnancies in this range

2 - 3 (4)
3 - 6 (1)
6 - 11 (11)
11 - 20 (50)
20 - 36 (105)
36 - 64 (297) <---- that's where I am
64 - 115 (606)
115 - 205 (707)
205 - 367 (343)
367 - 655 (45)
655 - 1169 (2)
1169 - 2087 (1) Visit this site - it's AWESOME!

To celebrate I tested again! HaHa!  The test line showed up as fast as the control line, and while it's not AS dark as the control, it's obviously darker than yesterday's.  I wasn't anxious about testing and was confident that the results would be good.  It feels GREAT to feel some real solid hope!

I'm not sleeping... my back is aching and so do my boobs at night.  It actually wakes me up, and I turn and turn and turn.  My mind is also excited and happy and so I lay in bed, alone and awake, and think.  I'll bet I've had ten hours sleep in the last two days.  I'm going to bed early tonight!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

More Promising News

The beta yesterday was 23.2.  Not great, not horrible.  Just a little below average, but not much.  I wasn't really disapointed, and when I found out my clinic said they wanted a beta of at least 50 (two days from the first beta) I felt pretty good.

I hardly slept last night.  My back was hurting, my boobs were hurting.  I was rolling around like a hotdog all night turning from side to back to side to front over and over.  I would wake up for two hours at a time.  I am, right now, exhausted.  But I am loving every moment of it.  I don't care if I don't sleep for nine months.  There's something growing deep inside me, something David and I (and a whole team of scientists) made.   Again, I know this can drop out from underneath me, I remind myself of that every day, but I'm starting to have a bit more confidence with each ache, pain and test.

Speaking of which.  I have so many symptoms today that I wasn't the least bit surprised to get this this afternoon!

Yeah, I think it's a wee bit darker, don't you???!!! 
***Note:  My beta was actually 23.2 - I think the lab gave me the wrong number..

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Crazy Lady Test Update!

Hi Everyone!!  I am optimistically in a good mood.  My test lines are not getting super dark super fast, but I've seen and read way, way too many stories of lines coming in nice and steady to be freaked out.  Yes, I'd love for the tests to be stronger, but most women don't get bfp (big fat positives) this early after an IVF cycle, so I am just going to be happy and content with these tests.  I almost think today's evening test is really super close to yesterday's to be honest, but as long as they are darker over a two day span (which they are!) then I'm at peace.  And besides, I took a digital (clear blue) yesterday and it was negative - you can see what the one from today says - that was pretty awesome.

I went to get my beta (blood test) today and the doctor seemed irritated with me - I don't care for her that much, to be honest, and am not sure if I'll keep seeing her for prenatal and delivery.  She didn't seem to have any compassion for me, and just said to call back late tomorrow morning to get the results.  I know they're at her office now - I called the lab and they said they were in the system.  Sigh.  I can wait.  I anticipate my beta will be somewhere around 30, based on how light the lines are - but we'll see.  At least we get the second beta on Friday so I can spend the weekend either licking my wounds or celebrating a new pregnancy.

I bounce from 'realizing' I'm pregnant to giving myself huge reality checks.  I really anticipate the tests because it's about the only thing that "yes, I'm still pregnant".  I don't have a test in the house now, I won't test in the morning.  I *might* be compelled to test again tomorrow evening, and if I feel like it, I will.  But tomorrow morning I get the first beta number, and then Friday I get the second.  I'm so nervous I have actual butterflies. 

I rationalize the light lines this way: 

If the very first teeny line was on 9DPO was about a 7 (I had a test like that and my beta that day was a 6), then on 11DPO the most we could expect would be a 14.  Then today, at 12DPO, it would only be around 21 or so.  By tomorrow, it will be 35ish, and then around 40 or 50 on Friday.  These are early, early numbers and I hope I don't sound as anxious as I am.  ;)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I'm Pregnant (?)

I can't bring myself to actually say it without the question mark at the end.  But I am warming up to the thought! David is totally confident - he has been since we started the whole IVF thing!

I was told by a well meaning woman on a forum that I was not allowed to test anymore.  Honestly, it really bothered me!  I mean... I've been so supportive... so patient (well, most of the time) and these tests, this positive moment, might be the highlight of this entire cycle.  I know that the world can drop out from underneath me in a split second.

But back to my compulsive testing!  I love getting the positive tests.  They make me feel good.  And if they start to fade, they will make me feel prepared.  I don't smoke, I don't drink, I don't use recreational drugs, I don't frequent bars, I don't gamble, I don't sleep around.  So when it's time, and I get to test and see what, to me, is the equilivant of a million dollar jackpot, just let me be... you know...let me dream a little!

As you can see from the picture below... the second test I took today, less than 12 hours after the first one.. has an ever darker line!  OMG!! Honestly, I am tiny bit freaked out at how fast the line is coming in.... I know I wanted twins, but it's a little scary to think about actually getting them!  Most of the women I talked to never got positive test results this early.  My blood test (beta) on Friday, will tell me some important things, like how strong the pregnancy is at this time.   We'll do a second test on Monday, to see how fast the hcg hormone is building in my body.  That will be so comforting, but until then, I will test and test and test.  Even David is supportive because I think he likes the reassurance as well.  We've just lost so much through this journey, had so many disapointments, so many 'try again's'.

It's really nice to think that I'm Pregnant(?)!

Oh, and lots of ladies are asking about my symptoms. 
A little bit emotional - cried this morning when David called me, for no good reason.
My boobs are aching, and well, the nips are extremely ITCHY
I have had small bouts of heartburn
My lower back aches
Some minor cramping/pulling/twinges
Tiny bits of nausea, closer to being 'motion sickness'
And joy.

Because I Have Compulsive Tendencies..

I tested again.  I woke up at 4:30 am after a solid resolve to not use another test so soon after the last one, marched straight to the bathroom and happily indulged in my addiction to pee on something that will cause an intense emotional reaction. 

I am not usually given to compulsive behaviors, except where this is concerned.  I have waited until my period was due to test and been shocked at seeing a negative test.  Floored... all the symptoms were there!  I was sure I was pregnant!  My mind had convinced my body to produce intense bouts of nausea, boob tenderness and other obviously pregnant symptoms.  I've learned to test is to have a constant reality check performed daily. 

I've learned that testing helps me process things slowly, whether they are welcome things or unwelcome things.  I like to keep my finger on the pulse of my... uterus. 

Anyhow, as I lay in bed this morning, quickly giving up the previous evening's proud resolve to resist the stick... I told myself all sorts of things... "I need to know if I'm pregnant so I'll know if I need to keep taking it easy," and "If I test in the morning, with lousy, diluted pee, and it's positive then I'll know it's a real sign to be hopeful," and of course "If I test now, and it's blank and ugly, I can still convince myself the previous lines were just the trigger, and still have hope."

So I tested.  The line started coming up within about two minutes (were I didn't have to squint).  It didn't flash across the window as the moisture passed over it, like when you're really pregnant, but it did start to slowly fade in.  I took it to the bedroom and switched on the lamp.  I turned the television on and told myself over and over that it would just be a teeny light line, no darker than the day before and a sure sign that the trigger was lingering impossibly long...or that it would be another chemical pregnancy, with lines never getting truly dark... (and that possibility is always there).

But whenever I glanced over to the nightstand, even in the dim light, I could see a line. No bright light, squinting, drying of test needed here... there was a line. 

Okay, we can't deny the lines are getting darker.  If you compare today's am test to yesterday's am test it's a lot darker..

So I'm going to be optimistic.  I'm not going to officially say "I'm pregnant" to myself or David or my mom  until I get a decent beta.  That's on Friday.  But until then, I'm going to be hopeful - I think I have a valid excuse!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Another Day of Tests.... WTF??

This is the day the trigger is supposed to be out 100%... I can still see a teeny line.. Can you?

There is still a shadow of a line, but you can only see it on the screen if I mess around with the photo and tweak it.  This is with evening sample - very concentrated... LOL  Sorry.. TMI?

Do you see it?  It's pink and faint, but it's there.   It was with first morning sample and VERY diluted... and this showed up within 3 minutes (sooner, but it was at the three minute mark that I confirmed my eyes were not going spinny on me).

And yeah... I had to do another one to prove that it was still getting darker... and it is.  Okay.  So I might be a freak and am totally asking for a huge letdown if that line goes away.. but there are not too many hopeful moments in this journey, so I'm gonna just kind of enjoy this while it lasts.

I know it's too early to test!  I know this would drive some people insane, but it helps me STAY sane!   Okay, so it's not going as I thought.  I thought we'd have total stark white lines at this point.  I know this might somehow be the trigger.  I know I may not be the least bit pregnant.  I know this and trust me, after all we've been through and as long as we've been trying, I know it could all be in my head.  I remind myself of how slim our chances are about every ten minutes. 

I am a notorious horrible fmu tester.  Even when I had good afternoon bfp's before, I had nearly nothing for lines in the mornings.  I never test in the  morning.  Well except for this morning....  I tested and that line came up right away - within three minutes, anyhow...  So WTF???  I am sure I'm too early to be getting positive tests.  The ten and eleven day tests were so damn light that I was shocked to see anything on the day twelve test. 

I know people are worried that this is the trigger and am just getting my hopes up.  They might be correct... but I like getting my hopes up, and so far...... I've survived the fall every time.  I appreciate the gentle 'reminders' to keep my feet on the ground, but with so few moments of hope and optimism, maybe just let me have some enjoyment of a great big old "maybe"?  ;-) 

Besides - if this is a big old ugly bust, I like to get that through my head SLOWLY.... so that I can digest it, occupy myself with all the other wonderful things I have in my life, pamper myself, and be fully aware of what is coming..... NOT in one big moment of supreme moment of realization that I once again failed.  Ya know?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Testing Out the Trigger? 11 Days Past

Signs (real - but maybe progesterone related)
-Sore Breasts
-Lower Backache
-Emotional at times
-Twinges in Lower Abdomen

I tested yesterday and there was a barely visible line, so I fully expected today's test to be stark blank nothing.  I guess there is still some residue hcg in my system because I got this:

Everything says the trigger should be out by 10 days after the trigger - but then everything also says I can't get a positive pregnancy test until at least 5 or 6 days past the transfer (I'm only at 4).

I'm really apathetic about this test.  I fully realize it could and most likely is the trigger.  I would be more comforted with a stark white test so I could know that a future line is an actual positive.  Granted, this test is very, very faint, but it's there and it's about the same (darker if I am being stupidly optimistic) as the one the day before.  But I'm not going to be stupidly optimistic, so I'll just say it's very very faint and leave it at that. 

And a huge thank you to all the ladies who are following my blog - your comments mean the world and I am sure that your kind thoughts and positive comments are making this part of the journey bearable!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Testing Out the Trigger - 9DPT (9 Days Past Trigger)

Friday, Feb 5, 2010

Here's my first test.  No big deal, really.  For those of you without 'pregnancy eyes' there is a second line, which means there is hcg still in my system. 

I am 9 days past the hcg trigger shot.  HCG is the hormone that we inject to make my body ovulate.  It's the exact same hormone that baby makes when he implants and begins to grow. 

The trigger will make a positive pregnancy test for about 10 days after you take it.

I have choosen to 'test out the trigger' which means I will test until:
  • The line goes away and does not come back (which means I did not stay pregnant)
  • The line goes away and then comes back (which means I did stay pregnant)
  • The line never goes away and gets darker (which means I did stay pregnant)
The line appeared right away, which was a little surprising.  I thought it might be gone at this stage - they say one day for every 1,000 IU of hcg.  I took 10,000 IU of hcg, so it should be completely gone by tomorrow.

This is a holding time.  This is a waiting time.  This is the time when fate is already written but not revealed.  It's a time of patience.  It's the first time that I actually have some.  You'd think that three whole weeks of baby this and embryo that would have me so strung out I'd be trembling with anticipation.  I'm not. 

I spent time on my trip with my sister, who simply amazed me with her love and gratitude she has for life, and a strength that humbles me to my knees.  She is fighting cancer. So for me to spend one moment whining about my life, or mourning something I don't have, would make a mockery of what my sister is so bravely enduring.  Okay, that's bullshit.  She's not brave.  She's terrified.  She's enduring because she has to.  The bravery comes as a big old mask she throws on for her husband and children.  Ok, Ok.. I don't want to print her story without permission.

I am at peace with what happens with this maybe-pregnancy.  We were able to get  four babies-on-ice (frozen embryos) when we were old we might not get any.  We have three grade 4BB and one grade 6BB (the six indicates that the embryo has already hatched!).  That's great news!!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

All Done!

It's all in my..... hands (uterus) now... 

Everything was pretty textbook today.  The only thing we are not sure of is if we'll have any blasts good enough to freeze.  We had two amazing blastocysts that were grade 4AB (4AA is the best) that we transferred withouot a hitch.

Here are some samples of 5 Day Blastocysts:

Best Possible Blastocyst - Graded 4AA

The mass in the lower part of the blast is what eventually becomes a squirmy, demanding, perfect infant.  The little 'clumps' along the inner wall becomes the placenta... the stuff in the middle becomes the fluid surrounding the baby!  Neat, huh?

Next Best Possible Blastocyst - Graded 4AB
We had two of these!!!

Not Quite As Good - But Still A Possibility - Graded 4BB

And this is the next stage - hatching!  The upper part emerges and now is ready to implant on the uterine wall.  Hopefully that's going on right now.

I started out the morning with an acupuncture treatment.  Very proud that I am getting around the city with no stress and no GPS!  Then I began drinking water to fill my bladder and headed over to the clinic.  Let me say that I do not do 'full bladder' very well.  Having had kids many, many years ago and being of 'advanced maternal age', when I have to pee, I have to pee.  There is no waiting, no stopping, or else. 

So I might have been a little preoccupied when I was put onto the table again, legs again in stirrups, and a ultrasound tech pushing on my bladder while the cool air flowed allllll around...... and the doctor was threading the catherator.  Okay, I was very preoccupied.  Want to make time stand still?  Imagine being pretty sure you are going to pee on a doctor, and all the various scenarios that might take place as a result.  I mean, would he jump back and send our embryos flying across the room?  Would he quietly endure it, mumble something about how he thought he should have been a vet, and leave to change into new scrubs?

After what seemed like an hour, but was only five minutes, he announced that he was completely happy with the transfer and we were done.  Oh yes now I could pee!  I wasn't too worried about the newly transferred embryos, I wanted a toilet.  It was then that I was gently and firmly reminded that I was to lay flat on my back for 15 minutes.  So I did.  And it was a very, very long 15 minutes.  It went on FOREVER. 

If we end up pregnant, I will remind future child of what I went through in order for him to not end up in the drainpipe.   Okay, so the embroys would not actually fall out.  I am being dramatic.  They just want the little guys to 'settle' onto the wall of the uterus.

I'm back at the room.  I had a good lunch and a good nap.  I would love some fresh air and a walk.  That's out of the question although I will most likely open the door to the room and let the cool, wet air fill my little home away from home. 

I don't feel any different.  Maybe a little different, but nothing really drastic.  From what I understand, the blasts were just about to hatch, and once that happens, they implant fairly soon.  If they DO implant, I can expect pregnancy signs in about three to seven days.  My beta is on Feb 12th, which is kind of cruel, because that's a Friday, and I 'might' get the results on the same day.  But I am not even going to pretend that I won't be testing daily until then.  I'll know before the blood test if I'm pregnant or not.  Besides, I can always call Dr. You Know Who in Fort St John and he'll be happy to tell me.

Day Four Morulas

Sorry for no update yesterday.  Unlike Day 3 when I was really lethargic and tired and still recovering from Egg Retrieval, yesterday was blissfully busy for me. 

As I'm sitting here in bed, too early to get ready (I'd end up just sitting on the couch, all dressed and expectant, waiting for time to pass) I thought I'd post yesterdays progress report.

First I should say that I slept horribly last night.  My back has been hurting more and more and I'm not sure if it's the bed or the progesterone.  I also had many, many vivid dreams.  The last one of which my childhood best friend was sitting outside, surrounded by her four young children.  Her older sister was nursing a newborn.  I wanted to tell them that I would be pregnant in the morning, but when I went to explain, I just knew they would never understand, and besides, what if it only lasted a couple weeks?  I kept my mouth shut and thankfully woke up to the alarm.

Okay, yesterday's update:  We have three stragglers now instead of two.  This saddens me a little more than it should, I can contribute that to the hormones I am taking.... right?  I just can't help but feel an emotional attachment to those little masses of cells, growing in a high tech incubator in a warm lab.  I wonder if they play them music?  I mean music helps plants, right?  Maybe I'll suggest that to the doctor.

I keep getting off track.

There are three embryos that are not doing well.  They can catch up, but it's not in the odds that they will.  On a nicer, more heartwarming note, there are twelve that are doing great.  They have all progressed to the morula stage, which is from ten to thirty cells. 

Eight are in the advanced morula stage with too many cells to easily count, and four were in the countable ten cell range.  Six of our morulas are 'very good' quality and six of them are in the 'average' quality.  These are very good results according to the lab techs. 

Ideally, we want the embryos to progress to blastocysts by day five (today).  Those have the highest rates of implantation. 

I'm nervous.  I'm wishing I weren't alone.  This is a really emotional time and I am really far away from everyone I love.  I'm not one to be 'taken care of' but I am not supposed to be driving, lifting, etc.. and I am here by my self.  I need to get two weeks worth of luggage home. 

How about this.  How about we stop the belly aching and whining and use our resources to deal with it!  And I am the one who wanted to do this sooner rather than later to avoid being pregnant at Christmas,  so this is the balance I am going to have to accept.  I know the feelings of self-pity are more hormone induced than anything.  I'm strong and this is a great, wonderful chance that I'm getting.  Gratitude, gratitude, gratitude!

Our embryos  were around these stages yesterday:

Monday, February 1, 2010

Embryos - Day 3

So far so good!  All 15 embryos are dividing and growing, and the clinic is very happy with the progress.  Here's the boring (to everyone but David and I!) details.

14 made it to 8 cell
1 made it to 7 cell

These are what our embryos look like today..

2 are Grade 4 - that's poor quality
8 are Grade 3 - that's average quality
5 are Grade 2 - that's very good quality

The clinic is happy with Grades 1, 2 and 3 and have great success with these quality eggs.

We will have two embryos transferred at 10:30 Wednesday.  Then I take it easy for a day and fly home on Thursday.  I can't wait to get home and see the shop and my kids and the dog and the cat and mom and everyone!

Blogger Award - Thanks Beckie!

What a nice way to greet a rainy Monday - with a nonimation from Beckie at Beckie's Infertility Journey  for the Beautiful Blogger Award! Beckie is a funny, smart writer whose courage and humor always makes me feel that I'd love to share a long lunch with her and really get to know her in person.  I wish her and her 'dude' all the best in their path to parenthood - stop by and see how she's feeling today, she also has a cool contest going on where you can actually win things. Thank you for the nomination, Beckie!!

My duties as a nonimated Beautiful Blogger Award are as follows:
- Thank the person who nominated me and copy the award in my blog

- Link the person who nominated me for this award
- Share seven interesting things about myself
- Nominate seven fellow bloggers and add the links to their blogs

Interesting Things About Me:
1. My parents owned a lodge-truck stop on the very top of a mountain on the Alaska Highway.  (No I wasn't raised in Alaska - we were still in the heart of Canada).  It was very isolated as far as neighbors, but we were exposed to thousands of people, from all over the world in any given week as a result of the Highway, and I loved growing up there!  I was home schooled until grade 10 - and also loved that experience.

2.  One of my favorite things in the world is cooking.  I can get lost in a market and you'd think spices were illegal street drugs if you saw how excited I got over them.

3.  I am the youngest girl and seventh of eight children.  Including my two sons there are 23 grandchildren (so I have 21 nieces and nephews) and I am a great aunty something like 17 times over (we lose count).  There are currently four new great nieces or nephews brewing in belly buddies as we speak. 

4.  I own and operate a busy custom embroidery shop in Fort St John, BC.  We also do custom hoodies, t-shirts and onesies - it's fun and I love it!

5.  My mom and my husband are my best friends.

6.  I met David on Lavalife.  I met my mom in a hospital room in Dawson Creek, BC.

7.  I used to work as a professional sports photographer.  I photographed amature sports and sold the photos to parents and participants.  I did that for five years, and photographed all over the province.  Everything from dance to bmx to rodeo to baseball... and from five year olds to the Canadian National Championships.

I would love to nominate:

Sonja at On (In)Fertile Ground
B-Mom at A Path To Motherhood

Monika at knocked up knocked down

Tracy at Our Infertility Journey

'Just Me' at Toes Need Sand

Dawn at Can You Imagine?

Read At Your Own Risk

Have a wonderful Monday!!  Embie Update will be posted this morning....