Tuesday, March 31, 2015

and the fourth beta is...


(I know. My jaw almost hit the ground.)

For those of you who like numbers, that's a doubling time of 49.64 hours. Well within normal ranges.

Another milestone achieved.

I didn't find this out until almost 3 p.m., right before I had a conference call. I had back-to-back calls pretty much from the time I got back from the u/s appointment up until 5:30 (no joke), so that's why it's taken me so long to update.

As for the ultrasound, it revealed one gestational sac with a yolk sac, everything measuring perfectly. The tech said it was slightly early to see a fetal pole and that we should see the heartbeat next week. We go back on Monday.

We didn't get to see Dr. Smiles, who was getting ready to go away on vacation. Instead, we saw his PA. She didn't bat an eyelash when I mentioned the brown spotting, just put me on restrictions: no exercise, no sex, no overexertion of any kind until I have four consecutive days of no spotting. She said it's perfectly normal (which I knew, but logic and emotion don't always hang out together now do they?). If I see red, she said, she wants to hear about it, but otherwise, don't give it a second thought.

So I'm pregnant. I AM PREGNANT. Like, REALLY, TRULY pregnant. I don't even feel the knee-jerk reaction to add "for now," which was pretty much the ONLY thing I said last time around, after that bad second beta.

It's crazy that there's only one little one in there. According to Beta Base we're now in the sky-high zone for a singleton but still in the median for twins. Maybe I'm just growing a little overachiever in there. That would so be my kid.

I think once we see the heartbeat, I will feel even better. This time, when they tell me that seeing the heartbeat means a less than 5% chance of miscarriage, I might even believe it.

running the numbers.

This morning I go back to Posh Clinic for our first ultrasound and more blood work. Because I am a crazy person, I spent some time plugging numbers into a doubling calculator so that I could know what I'm looking for today: a number between 7,867 (doubling time: 72 hours) and 17,665 (doubling time: 48 hours).

As for the u/s itself, I know I should see the yolk sac and fetal pole, as I will be 5w5d, but it's unlikely that we'll see a heartbeat, as you usually can't until at least 5w6d.

Right now I'm just hoping I see SOMETHING. Yesterday I had cramping like the kind I get at the start of my period. Front cramps, not lower back ones, which is different from anything that happened last cycle. And my smidgeon of brown-tinged mucus became more of a smudge - not in my undies, only when I wiped, and always brown, but still. It reminded me of CD1, right before I started to get full flow. And it was totally freaking me out (still is, to be honest).

I have so much anxiety about this appointment. Of course I do. The day of my first u/s the last time around was the day that I got my first bad beta, the one with a doubling time of 110 hours. The one that made me cry for hours. The first hint that I would become a member of the miscarriage club.

Mr. Hope is going with me. He is a ball of nerves, too. All I can hope is that we are wasting energy on this anxiety stuff. That the ultrasound reveals at least one healthy little jellybean, with all of the genetic material she needs to help her become our take-home baby.

Guess we'll find out soon enough.

Monday, March 30, 2015

my rollercoaster-y weekend with Mini-Hope.

Let me start by saying that our visit with Mini-Hope wasn't nearly as awful as I'd been anticipating fearing. In fact, it was pretty calm the first night/next morning. She ran some errands with us, didn't jockey for junk food, and was - dare I say it? - almost delightful.

And then around 3 p.m., when I was sending her off to see a movie with her dad, the first temper tantrum happened. It was a minor one - she wanted to bring her headphones so she could listen to music in the literally five-minute drive to the theater, and I said no, it's a short drive, just talk to your dad. That got arms crossed, feet stomping, and a big ol' pout, but it was fleeting, because then they were off and I had a few minutes to breathe (and rest - yep, still exhausted, still needing naps).

When they got back, it was later than expected and I was trying to get dinner on the table. They had tickets to a play that night and we were bringing the daughter of a friend who's around Mini-Hope's age. The friend's daughter arrived and that's when Mini-Hope started showing off, making snarky comments toward me and her dad, being difficult about the food on her plate. Meanwhile, friend's daughter is eating everything and declaring, "This is so delicious!" and not in an Eddie Haskell-y kind of way, either.

So, really, she was kind of underscoring Mini-Hope's bad behavior without even realizing she was doing it.

After dinner, I ship the three of them off, and see as Mini-Hope refuses to sit in the front seat with her dad. She wants to sit in the backseat so she can play on her phone. I personally do not believe that girls her age need or should even have smartphones, but I lost that battle. Her mom wanted to be the hero, so she was.

I spent the night apart from them but we arrived home at the same time. Mr. Hope confessed that he let Mini-Hope get dessert after the play, even though we'd gone for ice cream earlier in the day. He said, "I couldn't say no! All of the other kids were doing it!" To which Mini-Hope turned to me and gave me the smuggest little grin you can possibly imagine. Her mistake? Letting Mr. Hope see it, too.

It was one of those moments - my eyes open in horror as I realize what teenagerdom is going to bring me with this kid, and Mr. Hope's horror in realizing just how bratty Mini-Hope can be. He said, "Don't you dare, Mini-Hope! I saw that look. You wipe that look from your face right this second." Busted!

So okay, that was gratifying. And to be honest, this was the worst of things. I mean, after we went into the house, I ended up cleaning up the kitchen by myself (Mr. Hope was in the bathroom, Mini-Hope slack-jawed in front of the TV). The next day we discovered that she doesn't have any chores at home, nor does she earn an allowance. I told her that if she came to stay with us for a week this summer, she'd have chores but at the end of the week she'd earn an allowance, because that's how things work at our place. She seemed amenable to that.

And then our weekend got cut short because Mini-Hope's mom decided she wanted to get the hand off done as soon as possible, even though we'd planned to decorate Easter Eggs before taking her back. So that kind of sucked. But overall it was a decent visit. I mean, the kid is 10; of course there are going to be flashes of brat. That's what happens with kids her age.

Honestly, the biggest problem this weekend was my inability to stay awake for more than a few hours at a time. I'm seriously exhausted.

I've also been spotting a little. I hesitate to even call it spotting because really, it's just a smidge of that brown-tinged mucus, and it's only in the morning and only when I wipe. I'm starting to think it's my cervix being irritated by the suppositories, just because it's only happening in the AM. But of course every morning I get totally freaked out by it. And then the heartburn flares up and I chew a couple of Tums and that's that.

Tomorrow's the big day. I'm not going to lie - I'm scared. I just want the u/s over with. I want to know this embryo has everything it needs to become a baby. And then I want to know that my numbers are good so I can exhale a little more deeply.

I want to know that I'm okay. That this jellybean is okay.

T&Ps appreciated.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

the tragedy of an addiction to POAS.

Let me start by saying that I know I'm crazy. I know this. I've never said anything different.

I bought one final box of FRER. I ordered it from Amazon, the day of my strong beta, when I used my last one. It arrived on Thursday and come Friday morning, I peed on it. Well, peed into the cup and dipped it, but you get my drift.

It looked very similar to the last one I'd taken, three days prior. Too similar. I had a moment of OH SHIT, IT'S OVER, I'M NOT DOUBLING PROPERLY. This was compounded by the smidge of brown-tinged cervical mucus I saw when I wiped. When I say smidge, I mean it was the width of the tip of a Sharpie marker. Seriously small. But it was enough to make my stomach clench.

I spent the day busy at an offsite meeting for work. When I did think about the tinge of cervical mucus or the FRER that seemingly stopped darkening, I tried to tell myself that I could be panicking over nothing. For one thing, my cramps were of the implantation variety, coupled with the pressure above my groin. I had heartburn like a mofo. My nips were super sensitive. Etc. I yelled at myself for peeing on something and ending what had been three solid days of Nofreakout. For an anxiety-ridden person like myself, three days of Nofreakout is a big deal. So, why did I have to ruin it? Why couldn't I just revel in the land of Nofreakout? 

When I came home I posted to another super-secret Facebook group that's focused on infertility and anxiety/depression. I confessed what I'd done and was instantly reassured by the Captain, a veteran of infertility and embryo adoption who is always there for someone in need. She'd been in the same place I was - knowing she was pregnant but still POAS for reassurance. Like me, there was a time a few weeks in where she thought if she took a test, the test line would be strong enough to steal all of the dye from the control line. Like me, she didn't get a test like that, and like me, she too thought it was over. (It wasn't. In fact, that's the cycle that gave her and her husband their precious daughter.)

The Captain told me to stop peeing on things. The tests can mess with your head. I knew she was right, but it was kind of like when you know you want to start eating healthy but have a full box of Oreos in the cabinet. You can either throw them away, give them to someone else, or hurry up and eat them to get them out of the house so you aren't tempted anymore. 

I'm sure you can guess which option I typically choose.

So, yes. At 5 p.m. to peed in a cup and dipped the FRER and was surprised and relieved to see that the test line did indeed steal almost all of the dye from the control line, even after I'd been pounding water all day.

The one on the top is with FMU. The one on the bottom was taken with diluted pee late in the afternoon.

Here's what I think: I think my hCG levels have gotten to that weird point where the chemical sensors are getting confused. So really diluted urine gave me what I was looking for, but concentrated urine did not.

I have one FRER left. I'm not going to use it. I've decided I'm going to hold on to it to remind me that I need to STOP PEEING ON THINGS. Today, I am pregnant. Nothing has happened that would lead me to believe that this pregnancy is doomed like the last one. I need to stop looking for tragedy where none has occurred.

The only real tragedy is my POAS addiction. It ends up adding to my fear and robbing me of my joy. So, I'm stepping away from the sticks. 

I'm ready to move on.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

my first IComLeavWe.

Today marks the end of my first-ever IComLeavWe. The name IComLeavWe stands for International Comment Leaving Week, and it's organized each month over at Stirrup Queens. The whole point is to encourage bloggers to comment on the things that other bloggers are writing. I have to admit, I've been lax in this aspect; there are a few blogs I read regularly and I do leave comments on them, but my blogosphere under the infertility umbrella has been way skimpier than I'd like.

IComLeavWe doesn't take a massive amount of time, either. Each morning I would go down the list of participating blogs and see what new posts had appeared. I left comments on the ones that I wanted to comment on. Genuine comments, not a quickie "Great post!" just to satisfy my 5-a-day quota. In addition to 5 new comments each day, you're also supposed to return one comment on your own blog. I try to return every comment on my blog so that wasn't a big deal either.

Like I said, it doesn't take a lot of time. I'd do most of my commenting in the morning, which is also when I usually blog. The only time it got tough is when the women who'd signed up weren't writing new posts. One participant didn't update her blog once during the week. I was grateful to the women who updated regularly, as it made it easier to find things that I wanted to comment on.

You aren't limited to commenting on IComLeavWe participants' blogs either. There were a couple of days where some of the comments I counted were on the blogs I read regularly, like Chronicles of an AdoptionTiggy's Den, and My Violet Thoughts....

What I liked most about IComLeavWe is that it introduced me to new blogs - blogs that I now have on my reading list. So that was cool. And it introduced my blog to some new folks, which is also cool. So, after just a single week of making an effort to read/comment on new blogs, my blogosphere has expanded. Time well spent, in my opinion.

I signed up for the April IComLeavWe as soon as it opened. I think I'm going to try to keep up with it for a while!

Thursday, March 26, 2015


Baby's size: Sesame seed.

Next appointment: March 31st

Total weight gain: I've actually lost a pound. Go figure.

Exercise: Is something I should be doing but am not so far. Next week I'm going to start taking the dog for a long walk when I get home from work. The weather's gotten nice enough.

Sleep: Averaging 8 hours a day, which is about an hour more than normal. More on the weekends.

Food cravings: Nothing I wasn't craving before I got pregnant - cabbage, black pepper popcorn, peanut butter.

Symptoms: Hardly any. I still get some lower back soreness and pressure above my groin. Heartburn pretty regularly. Boobs only intermittently tender, and even then it's more my nips. Mostly I'm tired. Very, very tired.

What I'm loving: The fact that I feel comfortable enough with this pregnancy to even write a Week 5 update (thanks, strong beta!). I haven't even peed on anything since Tuesday! Also: the new root cover I purchased on Amazon. ColorWow is like eyeshadow for your hair, and it covers my grays up perfectly.

What I'm looking forward to: Our first ultrasound. I'm pretty sure there's only one jellybean growing in there, but you never know.

Best moment this week: That super-high third beta. It's not a guarantee that everything is okay, but I cleared a hurdle that I didn't last time. I literally couldn't stop shaking for hours.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

and the third beta is...


You guys, I can't stop shaking. And smiling.

Mr. Hope's reaction? "OMG TWINS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

According to Betabase, my hCG level is somewhat high for a singleton and right in line for a twin pregnancy. My E2 and P4 are slightly lower than last time, just by a smidge, but are still in a good range.

On the ride to Posh Clinic, I was listening to Taylor Swift (don't judge). I had to fast-forward through the song "Out of the Woods," because the chorus goes, "Are we out of the woods yet? Are we out of the woods yet? Are we out of the woods." I listened to it a lot during my last pregnancy, just because I've been listening to Taylor Swift practically nonstop this winter (again, don't judge), but it felt really applicable to our beta hell.

So I hit fast-forward and landed on the song "Stay, Stay, Stay," which is this adorable country-flavored little ditty that Mr. Hope and I both love (remember what I said about not judging?) . I was singing along with it, smiling, but when I got to the chorus - "And I said, 'Stay, stay, stay. I've been lovin' you for quite some time, time, time...'" I started crying. All I could think was, "Please, baby, stay. Please stay."

(Keep in mind that I am hormonal right now. Pregnant, remember?)

Blood work and ultrasound are scheduled for next Tuesday. I'm sure I will have anxiety freak-outs any minute now, but right this second?

Shaking. Smiling. And feeling so incredibly grateful.

moment of truth.

I was probably more nervous about this morning's FRER than I have been about almost anything so far post-transfer. In part, because Kyla at Three Quarters Full posted a picture of her FRER yesterday, when she had a beta of 679. Literally ONE point from where I need to be in order to be doubling appropriately.

Now, I know all pee sticks are different, even from the same brand. But it's kind of like when you're making a recipe - you know your dish won't turn out EXACTLY like the picture, but you want it to look pretty close.

So I dipped the FRER and right away the test line was screaming red, even before anything hit the control line. I exhaled a little. Ten minutes later, I could see that the test line was brick red, super-dark, and the control line looked smudgey, and had more of a cherry color.

I took the stick back to my desk to look at Kyla's again. It's very close. If anything, my test line might be a little darker and my control line a little lighter. Obviously I can't look at two lines on a stick and translate that into a specific beta, but I went back and looked at the pictures from last cycle. I know that my beta was 508 on 12dp5dt and 1461 at 19dp5dt. I didn't take a test at 19dp5dt last cycle, because I'd moved on to every other day, but I did take one at 18dp5dt, and it looks similar to the one I took today.

Ergo, I do not think I will get a nasty surprise at today's beta. I think I will be scheduling my first ultrasound for next week.

In other news, Precious Pup needs to go back to the vet due to a small, smooth cyst on his front right paw that he keeps chewing at. This in addition to the fun post-op stuff he's still got going on. My poor little furbaby. I just want him to be healthy and happy for a few more years. Ideally five or six. I don't mean to be greedy but this dog is my heart. This morning, I woke up with him tucked between Mr. Hope and me, and he had one paw draped over my arm, NBD. It was the cutest thing.

And remember how my car totally crapped out at Posh Clinic on Friday? The repairs were going to run us a whopping $2,000. Not cool, car. I asked about a trade-in value and the dealership offered us a decent one. We'd still owe on the loan but if I put the money I would've spent in repairs on the loan instead, it doesn't leave all that much to roll over into a new loan. It's kind of like buying a car without a down payment. Another option is a short-term lease, like a year, just to get us out of the money pit. We're going back tonight to get me into something.

I'd taken today off from work thinking it would give me time to catch up on some things, but the universe has totally conspired against me. Now I'm leaving the house at my normal time, only it's to get Mr. Hope to work so that I can have the car today. Then it's the long drive to Posh Clinic for my third (and hopefully last!) beta, then back home to pick up PP for his vet appointment. Then I've got to get PP home and might have an hour before I have to leave to go get Mr. Hope so that we can go to the accountant's together to get our taxes done. Not sure how long that's going to take, but we'll need to grab at least a snack before we go to the car dealership because they never get you out in less than 2.5 to 3 hours.

Even so, I'll try to find a few minutes later today to update after I get my beta results. They usually don't call until the afternoon, but that should be between the vet appointment and the tax appointment. Fingers crossed!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

all the small things.

Still peeing on things. Of course I am. This is only my second pregnancy and #1 didn't end so well. I capitulate. I am powerless over my need to pee on things. So, I do.

But today was the tipping point. The test line got darker than the control line. This is what I love. I love watching the progression, and I love it when there's so much hCG in my system that the test line sucks up all the dye. 

I am sick. I know this. 

I am okay with it.

Finally broke out my remaining Clearblue Digital. Pregnant 2-3, it tells me. I'm glad I waited. Last time it was Pregnant 1-2. At least it's something new.

WHO AM I? Seriously. Sick.

Last night, even before the PIO shot, my boobs were really tender and my nips hypersensitive. Y'all know how I love my symptoms. There's still a little light cramping and pressure over my groin area. That's my big "tell." The chin zits are gone but that's one symptom I don't mind seeing go away. 

Last night Mr. Hope and I went out to dinner with Fig and her husband. It was the first time our spouses had met. Double dating with other couples is a new thing for Mr. Hope and me. But we like it. It's nice for Mr. Hope to socialize with people who aren't on their computers. Plus, it's always nice to have an excuse to put on a skirt and go out to dinner. We are such homebodies, Mr. Hope and I. 

So we went out to dinner at a restaurant I love and had this amazing meal and good conversation and lots of laughs, and then I came home and got shot up with progesterone and passed out on the couch within the hour. Such is my glamorous life.

I am doing a decent job of not obsessing about the pregnancy. But last night, before I crashed out on the couch, I had this weird compulsion to Google "miscarriage 8 weeks." A lot of women post pictures of their miscarriage. I was horrified when I stared my own miscarriage in the face, but for whatever reason I find this odd comfort in looking at pictures of these tiny, gummy bear-shaped embryos. It's only the second time I've done this - looked at those pictures - and I know I should be horrified and want to look away but I don't. Is this acceptance? I can't explain it.

What I do know is that I was looking at these pictures on my iPad when Mr. Hope was in the bathroom, and when he came out I closed my browser window faster than if I'd been looking at porn. So there must be some shame there on my part. Right? Something to discuss with Quirky when I see her next.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

and the second beta is...


Cycle Buddy had guessed it was going to be 172. I can't believe how close she was!

Other good news: estradiol is up to 146 and progesterone is up to 18.8. Blondie (aka Nurse Barbie) sounded genuinely excited for me this time and not, you know, like I was a total crackpot who needed to be handled with care.

To throw some more numbers at you, this beta shows a doubling time of 31.7 hours. Well within the 48-hour range.

I was supposed to go back on Monday for my third beta, but decided to push it to Tuesday since I'm taking that day off from work. I ran the numbers in a beta calculator and to stay within the nice, comfy 48-hour window, it will need to be about 678. If I reach or surpass that number by Tuesday, I'll have my first ultrasound the following week.

And because I'm me, yesterday had to be an Adventure of Epic Proportions. There is something about my car that doesn't like the trip to Posh Clinic. Last year, we blew out a tire on a pothole. Wrecked the rim and everything. Then there was the car accident on the way to an ultrasound. And yesterday, on the ride there, I got a warning light to service my power steering and power train system.

I called the dealership right after my ultrasound to see if I needed to have the car towed or if I could drive it back. It's a 34-mile drive, so I didn't want to risk anything. They didn't want to say, but after I said, "I am accepting full responsibility and releasing you of liability. In your expert opinion, can I drive it or do I need a tow?" she said, "You can drive it."

Okay then.

Only, when I tried to pull out of my parallel parking spot, I discovered that the power steering was gone. It wasn't working period. I popped the hood. It had plenty of fluid. This was something more serious. Fantastic!

I called AAA. They said the wait time was 75 minutes. In the snow.

I wanted to cry.

But, as luck would have it, the tow guy showed up within 8 minutes. He loaded my car onto a flatbed and deposited us both at the dealership, where I was greeted by a coworker picking up some equipment that I had in my car and the BFF, who drove me home.

Okay, so maybe it wasn't an EPIC journey home. But it took long enough. If my car hadn't crapped out I would've been home by 10:45. As it stood, I didn't get there until 12:30. And lost half a day's work to boot.

So, I'm going back on Tuesday, and between now and then, my goal is to focus on the freelance project, pulling everything together for the accountant, and keeping myself busy in general. Next weekend we have Mini-Hope and I'm not looking forward to it. For one thing, I'm going to have to put in a lot of time on the freelance project. For another, I have to hide all evidence of this pregnancy and lie about the shot I take once a night (I've told her it's for my psoriasis).

But lastly, the biggest issue is this: Most of the time the kid drives me nuts. I didn't raise her, and I don't approve of the way she's been raised. She's spoiled. Bratty. She's not always nice to Precious Pup. Her grandmother has given her massive food issues, so the kid sneak-eats when we're sleeping and begs for more food (particularly junk) when we're awake. It is a constant battle. Plus, she just turns into a zombie in front of the TV. Like, for hours.

I have spent years trying to forge a relationship with this kid. Sometimes she loves me. Most of the time she just tries to manipulate me. I don't go for it; her dad does. I am the Mean One Who Says No.

God, I sound like a horrible bitch, don't I? I don't mean to. Dealing with Mini-Hope just wears me out, and at a time when I don't have any energy to begin with, I'm kind of dreading that.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

the sweetest things.

Last night, I pulled Precious Pup into my lap to comb out his muzzle. Since switching him to wet food, he's become more prone to getting bits stuck in his beard. Normally, he shakes and tries to run away whenever I comb him, no matter how gentle I am. But last night? He sat there patiently, staring up at me with his big, soft eyes.

When I put the comb down, he didn't run off or expect a treat. He just kind of melted into me. His body was pressed against my belly; his head rested on my breast. He just kept looking at me and doing his sleepy blink-blink thing. I could feel his heart beating against my belly and I couldn't stop smiling.

I'd like to think that he was saying hi to the tiny human(s) growing inside of me.

I'm probably making more out of this than there actually is, but PP is definitely different around me when I'm pregnant. He does a lot more lap-sitting, a lot more cuddling. Two days ago I was lying on the couch and he draped himself across me, his head nestling just under my chin.

I love it when he's like this. And I love to think that maybe he'll stick around long enough for Mr. Hope's and my tiny human(s) to have memories of him, too.

two months and four weeks.

Two months ago today, I miscarried Nugget. Her heart had stopped a little over a week before this, or so we're guessing. The violent way in which the miscarriage happened has scarred me in ways I can't even begin to articulate. When I think about what happened, the scenes play out in my head like something from a movie. Once you see it, it can't be unseen.

Today, I am four weeks pregnant. At 9dp5dt and using the new, non-bobo box of FRER tests, I am getting a strong pinkish-red line. A line that comes up immediately, even before the dye has reached the control line. I don't even have to hold my breath; it's just there.

Yesterday there were cramps - the good kind. I had these with Nugget; they were lingering implantation cramps as she continued to snuggle in. I like having cramps. I would kill to get morning sickness. I rejoice when my boobs are tender. I don't even mind the ugly chin zits. These signs that I am still pregnant - that there is a tiny life or lives growing inside of me - I need these things. They help keep the crazy at bay.

Can we talk about that for a second? Not my crazy, but the one or two tiny lives thing. I have always said I'd be okay with one. I was an only child. As a kid I wished I'd had a sibling - a built-in playmate - but you know, I turned out okayish nonethless. Financially, one is easier to handle. Space-wise, one is better. Stress-wise, one is probably more ideal.


I often joke that the Holy Grail of the IF world is boy/girl twins. It's like the fertility jackpot. An insta-family. Twins would scare me on several different levels, not the least of which is the toll they'd take on my body. But I would be lying if I didn't say that sometimes Mr. Hope and I fantasize about the B/G twins scenario.

FETs are notorious for being slow starters, yet I got my first positive pee stick at 5dp5dt, a full day earlier than I did last time. I got a shadowy squinter the day before that. So I was kind of hoping this might mean twins. My beta of 35 points more toward singleton, though.

Honestly? Just one would be fine. One healthy little take-home baby.

There are so many hurdles left to clear. The next is my second beta tomorrow. Then I will likely be back at the clinic on Monday or Tuesday for another blood draw. Then it's the first ultrasound, then the second, and so on, and so forth.

For now, I'm trying to take it one day at a time.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

eff you, FRER!

This morning's test was definitely lighter than yesterday's. Like, by a lot.

I told Mr. Hope that it was lighter and said, "Looks like it's a chemical." Then we hugged in the kitchen and I said, "I can't believe we have to start over again." Starting over means working with the UnproRepro to find new embies. Will we have to tweak the protocol? Should we? Why is my progesterone so low?


Something niggled at my brain, though. What if it had been a bad box? What if the issue wasn't what was growing inside of me, but the test itself?

Yes, FRER tests are expensive. My sanity is worth more. I broke into box number three and dipped. Within two minutes, it was already darker than yesterday's test. Here, take a look:

This is the three of them together. The top is from yesterday's box. The bottom is from the new box (my third box of FRER, if you're keeping track of those things). 

And, just for shits and giggles, here are the two test from today. It's worth noting that the bottom one is way wetter than the top one, and yet still significantly darker.

I'm totally going to email the company and see if I can get a free box of tests out of this. I mean, with all the money I've given them over the years, the least they can do is replace a clunker batch, right?

UPDATE, 3/26: I got an email back from Church & Dwight, the company that produces FRERs. They're refunding me for the bad box I got! Thumbs up to them for taking a loyal customer's complaint seriously.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

and the first beta is...


The NP (not Fave NP, but this young little blonde who always makes me feel dumb) said that this was "appropriate" for where I am. I checked out some online charts (because that's what Agonies do, yo) and it seems just under the  median for Beta Base (47). I'm trying not to stress too much, because last time I had a great first beta (in the 500s!) and we all know how that turned out. This time, I'm more concerned with appropriate doubling times.

Getting the beta drawn wasn't easy. When I asked Blondie to run it, she said, "Do we usually run the hCG this early?"

I said, "No, but I've been getting positive pregnancy tests and if you don't run it I'm going to make myself crazy staring at lines."

"There's a reason we don't run them this early," she said. "Because it's too early to really tell anything."

I told her I wanted to run it again on Friday and that I'd still come in for my OTD on Monday. "I just need to know," I said. "I need data. I was in beta hell for weeks last time."

She grudgingly agreed, but wouldn't let me schedule the Friday appointment. "Let's see what the physician advises."

I kind of wanted to flip her the bird.

When she called with the results, it was in a voice dripping with condescension. Keep in mind that this girl has be at least a decade younger than me and probably has the eggs of a teenager. She's young and fit and pretty enough to be a catalog model.

"We're not going to bring you back until Monday," she informs me.

"I'd really like to run it again on Friday," I said, "to see if it's doubling appropriately. I can get it drawn at a local lab if you like."

"Hold on."

When she gets back on the line, she says, "We can bring you in, but I want you to understand that if it's not going well, there's nothing we can do. There's no medicine we can give you to fix it."

"I know that," I said, in a semi-snappy voice. "If it's bad news, then I can prepare. I just want to know."


She booked me for Friday at 9:45 a.m.

I'm proud of myself for insisting on the second beta. I wish I'd stood up for myself more the previous pregnancy.

I am a little worried about my hormone levels. My estradiol was 117 (I think) and my progesterone was 11.5. Both seemed low to me but Blondie wasn't concerned. Even so, I'm upping my progesterone tonight to 1.5 cc. That's what the prescription was written for, but the clinic told me to do 1 cc and I'd already self-upped to 1.25.

I'm also on the suppositories, so that might be why they're not concerned - those supposedly don't show up in the blood work.

It would be fantastic if I could relax just a little, and enjoy these early days of pregnancy. I doubt that's happening, but you know - it's nice to dream.

out of my hands.

I feel a little sick.

Yesterday, I told Cycle Buddy, "I'm scared but also wondering if I just need to fake it until I make it. Like, instead of dreading miscarriage - which is what I did the first time around, even before my first bad beta - I'm going to operate under the assumption that this baby is going to make it. Or babies, as the case may be. (Could I be so lucky? I don't know)."

The answer? Not fucking likely. 

Full disclosure: Today's FRER is from a new box , which means a new dye lot. The control line on this one is way less vibrant of those from the last pack. But.

Today's line is lighter. And if not fully lighter, it's at the very least a similar intensity to the one I took yesterday. Definitely a lot lighter than my test from 7dp5dt last time around.

Even if they agree to do the beta draw today, I won't have definitive answers until I get the second beta drawn. With my work schedule, that won't be until Friday unless they let me get it drawn at a local lab.

Yesterday I actually felt pregnant. I was getting hot flashes at work. My energy level crashed around 2:30. I left work a full 15 minutes early so I could take a nap. I hardly ever leave work early. I almost never nap.

I dumped my FMU so that I couldn't waste another test from the other new box I have. I'll just have to wait until tomorrow, to see if another test from the same lot grows any darker.

This sucks on so many levels, I don't even have the words.

UPDATE: I may have been hasty. As the stick dries, the bottom one starts to get a wee bit darker. Not enough to make my racing heart slow, but enough that I don't feel a thousand percent doom and gloom right now.

Here's hoping they run my hCG today.

Monday, March 16, 2015


Went to bed earlier than usual last night. Kind of like a kid on Christmas Eve - "The earlier I go to bed, the quicker Santa can get here and bring me my presents!" Only in this case, the present would be a darker FRER (hopefully).

Seven and a half hours later, Santa came to town:

Yesterday's test was so light that I only texted pictures to three people: the BFF, Gumbo, and Cycle Buddy (the woman in my FB group who transferred the day before I did and is also pregnant). But today's was clear enough that I felt comfortable sharing it with a few of my IF friends, too.

It feels both real and not real. I have been "officially" pregnant for what? Two days? My mind runs through the possibilities. Chemical. Blighted ovum. Early miscarriage. Etc.

Tomorrow I have my mid-2WW hormone level check and I'm going to see if they'll run the first beta just so I don't have to be all panicky between now and next Monday, when my OTD is. My second pack of FRER arrived Saturday and I have a third on the way (don't judge). Even though I know I'll be peeing on things between now and then I still want to see a strong beta - and, more importantly - a properly doubling beta.

This is the next big hurdle. The first major milestone I missed last time around.

The good news is that I'm not really obsessing (yet). Yesterday I blew off half the stuff on my to-do list BUT it was so I could rest after a marathon grocery shopping session (three stores, all of which were jam-packed with people).

This, I suppose, is my top goal for the next few weeks. To take it easy. To rest when I need to. To not stress the eff out, no matter what else is going on in my life - including the looming deadline for my freelance project. Everything will get done when it gets done, and nothing is life or death except this baby burrowing in for what I hope will be a long, long haul.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

the fertility detective.

I feel like I've spent the last 48 hours playing Agony Vagina, PI. Gathering evidence for my case to prove that yes, there is indeed a bun in my oven.

Exhibit A: Woke up yesterday with greasy hair. It usually takes four days of no shampooing to get hair that greasy. It had only been two.

Exhibit B: During my shower, I lost like four strands of hair vs. the normal small, rodent-sized clump I typically clear out of the drain. This happened when I was pregnant with Nugget, too.

Exhibit C: While I was watching TV with Mr. Hope yesterday, my head in his lap, I passed out cold in an instant. In the middle of the day. When I woke up, I didn't even realize I'd been a sleep until the plot of the show didn't make any sense. Time I'd been dozing? 34 minutes.

Et cetera.

I managed to stay busy most of the day. Busy is good. Busy keeps me from obsessing over symptoms that may or may not be there.

And then last night, the BFF came over for dinner and we talked until 1:30 in the morning. We talked about EVERYTHING - work, life, her kids, the kid I hope I'll one day have. The subject of fertility came into the conversation so many times, in so many different ways. Like, we started talking about GMOs and if maybe they have anything to do with the uptick in infertility in recent decades. (My theory: it has more to do with chemicals, like the kind found in plastic.)

Side note: I fully believe that in the next 10 to 50 years, scientists will discover a way to help women like me - women with DOR - regrow an ovary with a whole crop of fresh eggs. Or something similar that has the same results. "I was just born a decade or two too soon," I told her.

After the umpteenth discussion about IF, I said, "Oh my god, I'm so sorry. You've had to spend so much of the last four years hearing me talk about my vagina. It can't have been fun for you - me working my way through all of the stages of grief."

She laughed. Then she said, "It's more like I want you to be happy, so when you get good news and good things are happening, I'm happy, too, and when you get sad news or sad things are happening, I'm sad, too."

In the early days of my diagnosis, the BFF was one of the only people I wanted to talk to about what was happening, but she was also one of the people who managed to say the wrong thing 50% of the time. It hurt. It was never intentional on her part - I know this - but outside of my husband, this is the one person who I really needed to "get it." I needed her to be there for me in ways she wasn't able.

It took a lot of therapy on my part, and a little of me coaching her a bit - "When you say things like X, it makes me feel Y" - but eventually it all worked out. Now she's one of the biggest sources of support I have. And I'm so glad that I have her in my corner.


So I spent most of Saturday playing fertility detective. This morning I woke up after 6 hours of sleep (Mr. Hope snored me awake). I had to pee pretty badly, so I got out the cup and dipped the stick and nothing happened.


I put the stick on the side of the sink and reminded myself that it was still really early, and that I had until 8dp5dt to start to panic. A minute went by. I looked at the stick again. Still white, but is there maybe a shadow developing?

I reminded myself that you're supposed to wait three minutes for a reason. Duh.

And then I saw it. It's so pale, only trained infertiles would recognize it. A second line with only a whisper of pink to it. Seriously, it gives new meaning to the term "super-faint positive."

But it's there.

Today, I am pregnant.

It's weird; I don't feel the unfettered joy I did the first time around. Maybe because this time, I know how a positive pee stick can end.

(Of course, it could be because I don't have photographic evidence yet. I took a pic but it looks more like a fuzzy gray shadow right now, even though in person it's clearly got a pink tint. P.S., I sent the pic to a woman in my FB group who transferred the day before I did and who got a BFP at 4dp5dt and she totally saw it. Infertiles, man. We've got eagle eyes for this shit.)

My goal for the next few days is to not freak out. To not obsess. I need to make my grocery list. Pull together the docs I need for the accountant. Work on the freelance project.

Breathe in, breathe out.


Saturday, March 14, 2015

I peed.

Of course I peed. That is what infertiles do: we pee on things.

At 4dp5dt, it's BFN. Or a super-pale shadowy line that would never photograph in a million years and could possibly be an indent.

Or, you know, just plain BFN.

I have mixed emotions about this. On the one hand, I didn't expect to get a positive before at least 6dp5dt, because that's when I got my positive the last time. On the other, after all of that cramping and pressure yesterday, I started to get a little cocky thinking that this cycle worked.

What if I was wrong?

What if the cramping was from the embryos knocking on the door and my uterus saying NO, GO AWAY, YOU ARE NOT THE BABIES WE ARE LOOKING FOR?

I have two more FRER in my possession and three more en route. So I will pee again tomorrow, and again on Monday, and probably ever day up until 8 or 9 days past transfer, at which point if I'm still pulling negatives I'd likely call it. Or, if I've started pulling positives, will continue to pee up until beta and beyond.

Because that's what infertiles do: we pee on things. And not just any things.

We pee on things we pay for.

Friday, March 13, 2015

to pee or not too pee...

...that is the question.

Despite all of my negative nelly-ness, Things Are Happening. I recognize the symptoms. The constant, dull, AF-type cramps in my lower back. The pressure over my groin area. Occasional twinges. Ridiculous thirst, no matter how much water I drink. The ginormous under-the-skin chin zit that appeared in what seemed like an instant.

This is what I told Mr. Hope: "I can't tell you if it's viable, but I'm pretty sure I'm pregnant."

There. I said it. The thing I wasn't planning on saying for fear that I would jinx things or end up feeling foolish if I was wrong. The mild cramping I felt the day of transfer? Could've been from the catheter. The implantation pinches I felt 1dp5dt? Could've been anything, really, including wishful thinking.

But this? Today? It's been constant from the time I woke up. Lots of pressure, lots of cramping. A weird headache. Exhaustion. Heartburn. Some of that could be from the progesterone. Not all of it.

A woman in my FB group POAS today and got a faint positive at 4dp5dt. I was thinking I would wait until Sunday. After all, I didn't get my BFP last cycle until 6dp5dt, and the embies we transferred this time were more compacted than those.

But now I don't know. Now I kind of want to POAS tomorrow.

I already bought a three pack of FRER. They arrived earlier this week. I ordered a slightly cheaper three pack that takes longer to ship at the same time, so they should be coming soon. So I have 6 FRER and two digis (one FR, one CB) at the ready.

To pee or not to be?

I can't decide.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

transfer day mishaps and more.

I'm not someone who puts a whole lot of stock in bad omens. That said, it's not like I don't recognize them, either.

We left for our transfer about five minutes later than I wanted to, which is to say: not really late at all. But we started to hit traffic pretty early on. Thick traffic. Traffic that made my GPS tell me we were going to be 6 minutes late, then 8, then 10. I tried not to stress. I cranked up the volume on the audiobook I've been listening to. It was Gone Girl. Not the most uplifting choice, but still.

When we finally emerged from the traffic, which had been caused by road construction, Mr. Hope was so engrossed in the audiobook that he was driving about 10 miles an hour slower than he normally does. Which is to say: really fucking slow. At times, he was doing less than 60 on a 55 mph stretch of road. While we were running late. 

I said, "I should've just driven."

He said, "Maybe you should have."

It was a little tense.

When we get to the clinic, we wait. Long enough for all the pre-transfer water I pounded to start to build up in a semi-painful way. Eventually they call us back and we go over the post-transfer meds instructions with the nurse. Next, the embryologist comes in.

She hands us the picture of our two embies and right away I know something is off. The one on the left is kind of uggo. There looks like there's fragmentation and the cells don't seem very uniform. The one on the right looks a little better but it still doesn't look like the two we transferred last time.

The embryologist starts telling me that the embryos are still quite compacted and that they'll continue to expand in my uterus. Then she says, "Any questions?" 

She hasn't mentioned grades. So, I ask about them.

The uggo is a B-. The other is a B.

I am confused. The embryo we had leftover from last cycle was an A when it was frozen. What happened? Which is which?

It's the uggo that used to be my A. The one on the right is the new donor's. I find out that it had been frozen in 2010. 

I ask about variances in grading. Most of the women in my FB group get grades like 5AA or 3AB. She explains that my clinic grades them differently, that they characterize the trophectoderm (the outer cells that eventually form the placenta) as "fair" or "good," and not with a letter. Then she says (sounding mildly annoyed), "The only reason I gave that a B- is because some of the cells look damaged from the thaw."

"But it's still viable or we wouldn't transfer it," she tells me. "Any other questions?"

I feel like I should note that even though she seems mildly annoyed and/or uncomfortable, she's not unkind. She is the second embryologist I've meet who seems like she just doesn't like talking to people. She's probably an introvert, as am I, and is sitting in this cramped conference room thinking, "Can I just get back to my little lab now, please?"

At any rate, here's what I am thinking:

  • Last time we transferred two Bs.
  • I got pregnant with a B.
  • I miscarried with a B.
  • I cannot deal with another miscarriage.
  • This cycle isn't going to work.
  • Why do I know all of these people who get A embryos and I keep getting Bs?
  • Do I need to get my embryos from some other place?
  • Is it time to switch clinics?
  • How much money will that cost?
  • I can keep hemorrhaging money.
  • Will we ever be successful?
  • Will I ever have my baby?

These thoughts all occur inside of the thirty seconds it takes from me leaving the conference room and going into the changing room to put on my hospital gown. There was a quick kiss to Mr. Hope in the middle, too.

(Later, when researching embryo grading on Google, I read several things that say Grade AA embryos are extremely rare. Yet, I know SO many women who've transferred them. I think, "Could this be a case of grade inflation? Are their clinics grading on a curve?" I don't know the answer, but it does make me wonder.) 

Inside the changing room, I see that they haven't pulled the larger size gown for me. I say something to the nurse. She goes to look for one but they don't have any. They've always had them in the past so I'm confused. She says, "Just put this one on and you can wrap yourself in the blanket." 

I say, "Really? That's so humiliating!"

She says, "No, it's not. I'm the only one back here today."

I clarify: "It's going to be really uncomfortable."

"I know," she says. "I'm sorry." Then she eyes up my t-shirt. It's one of Mr. Hope's that I decided to wear on a whim, so it's baggy and long. "Just wear your t-shirt," she says. "And wrap the towel around your waist."

This is a good compromise. After I get my hairnet on I take a selfie and send it to Mr. Hope. 

In the room, there is more waiting. We're now about 20 minutes behind schedule. I have to pee badly. The nurse asks if I want to let a little out. I say no, then change my mind. She gives me a cup with a line drawn on it and tells me I can't let out more than that amount. I end up letting out half of what she tells me I can let out, feel like I can handle the remaining pressure, and go back onto the table.

Finally, Dr. Smiles arrives. He doesn't seem as cheerful as he normally does. I think, "Is he unhappy with the quality of my embryos, too?" 

He puts in the wrong speculum. See, I always require the long, skinny speculum, not the standard one. The first transfer I had, I told him this. The second transfer, I reminded him and he barked, "I know what kind of speculum you use!" So on the third transfer, I didn't remind him and he used the right one. This time? No. And it hurt. 

I hear him ripping open the package for the right speculum. Then he inserts it but it hurts a little. It's stabby. It hadn't hurt the two transfers prior. I wince and he tells me to settle my bottom. I'm trying. There is some crankage and that hurts too. I feel the catheter. I haven't felt the catheter the past two transfers. What is happening?

He starts to pull the speculum out and I feel relieved. Then the nurse says, "He's got to reposition it, so he can get a better view."

I say, "Are you kidding me? Really?"

The nurse says, "I know, I'm sorry. He needs to use a stiffer catheter, too."

I say, "Jesus Christ, okay."

Dr. Smiles cuts in, "I'm right here, ladies. I may be dumb, but I'm not deaf."

This is him joking. He has a dry wit. It makes me laugh. 

I tell the nurse I might need a bedpan after. There's a lot of pressure and pushing on my bladder throughout all of this. I don't know if I'm going to make it. I ask if anyone's ever peed during the procedure. 

"It happens," the nurse says. "Not often, but every once in a while."

I promise Dr. Smiles I won't pee on him. "Thanks for that," he says in his trademark deadpan way of his.

He finishes up and leaves and the nurse tells me to lay on the table for 15 minutes. She asks if I need the bedpan. I say, "I'm going to try to tough it out." She tells me she'll check on me in a few.

When she comes back, I say, "How much longer?" 

"Nine minutes."

"Okay," I say. "I can wait nine minutes."

It is excruciating.

I start to pull my legs off the stirrups right at the nine-minute mark. Then the nurse comes back and I run across the hall to the bathroom to let it out. 

I'm feeling kind of numb as I get dressed. Nothing had gone right, or at the very least, right enough. In my head, I start mentally preparing for the next cycle.

I am convinced there will be a next cycle.

As Mr. Hope and I walk back to the car, I tell him that I do not feel confident in the least. I lay out my reasons why. I tell him about the transfer mishaps. 

I say, "What are we going to do?"

It's a somber ride home. 

When we get to the house, I immediately start making the Indian-spiced lentil soup that I refer to as implantation soup. Only, the lentils don't get tender enough, so it cooks forever. Finally hunger wins out. I think I darken the spices too much. The soup looks weird. It doesn't taste like it did the last time.

Another thing that didn't go right.

I check out a website that offers embryos. There's a set still available that was available in September. I've kind of had my eye on them. There are a lot of embryos in the set. The features match up. Why hasn't anyone claimed them? The donors are Jewish. That could be a black mark against them in the Christian-dominated field of embryo adoption. Also, they've been accumulating storage fees for years and they want money. It's probably a lot of money. I close the page.

I update my FB group. I update my friends. I feel flat. I feel defeated.

So, this is where I am. Terrified I won't get pregnant. Terrified I will and face another miscarriage. Terrified that I will never get my take-home baby.

I want to be hopeful. I want to be positive. Yesterday afternoon, when I felt a series of twinges that were like the implantation cramps I got last time around, I emailed Mr. Hope to let him know. He wrote back, "Maybe they'll stick around after all!"


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

mistakes, I've made a few...

Something you should know about me: I am med compliant. I always have been. If a doctor tells me I need to be on something, I take it. The only exception to this is if the doctor tells me to take something and it doesn't do good things to me, like a blood pressure medicine I got put on more than a decade ago that left me with a constant tickle in my throat, as if I'd always just swallowed a hair.

But my point is, I take my  meds and I take my vitamins like the good girl that I am. I even have a really elaborate old-lady pill calls that I dutifully fill with said meds and vitamins each Sunday afternoon, so I can keep track of what I'm taking and when.

So it doesn't make sense to me that I have so many issues with the fertility meds. When it comes to them, I screw up a lot. It's not because I don't want to be taking them, or because I disagree with what I'm being given - though I did get really pissed at a nurse on the phone yesterday, who insists my treatment plan calls for 1 cc of PIO every other day and not every day. It's honestly fueled by sheer forgetfulness. 

See, the meds I mess up the most are the ones I'm supposed to take right before bed. I don't go to bed at the exact same time every night. If i'm really exhausted, I'll turn in by 10 or 10:30. If I'm not, I'll push it another 30 to 60 minutes. How careful I am about my pre-bedtime routine often depends on how loud and insistent my inner monologue is. It wasn't so many years ago I required an anti-anxiety medication to be able to shut that inner monologue down. Now I can mostly manage on my own, though I did spend a few weeks post-miscarriage on the ol' Klonopin, trying to get some quality sleep.


Last cycle I missed a few doses of the progesterone suppository. Usually, when this would happen, I'd bolt out of bed with a gasp, either in the middle of the night or first thing in the morning, and shove that puppy up inside me as quick as can be. I'd get so angry with myself. YOU HAVE ONE JOB RIGHT NOW, AGONY: KEEPING THAT BABY ALIVE AND HEALTHY.

This cycle, I've fucked up so many things I'm almost ashamed to admit them here. There was the day I had an appointment at Posh Clinic and completely forgot to take my Lupron in the AM. I didn't end up shooting up that day until almost noon, four hours late. I spent a week thinking I'd ovulate through the drug.

There was the day I discovered an Estrace tablet on my kitchen table and didn't even know which dose I'd missed. When they had me start shoving the Estrace up my lady businees, I forgot exactly twice and was convinced I was going to lose my lining.

I didn't start my doxycycline the right day because I didn't realize until the evening of the day I was supposed to start that the nurses had forgotten to order it for me. I had to page Dr. Eyeore on a Sunday and have him call it into the pharmacy. This turned out to be not catastrophic, since I ended up pushing my transfer back a day, but still. 

The day I was supposed to start my Medrol dose pack, I forgot until dinnertime. So I was already four pills behind. I ended up slamming them two at a time in about a six-hour period. 

Quirky would say that this is understandable. That I am under an enormous amount of pressure with my job, with the freelance project deadline, etc. and that it's only natural that I would make some mistakes. Some being the operative word. I've made more than "some." I've made a ton.

Which brings us to this morning, when the alarm went off and I woke up with a weird pounding in my head. I think to myself, "This reminds me of the headaches I got when I stopped the prednisone."

Cut to me bolting upright with an "oh, fuck!" 

Yep. Forgot my bedtime does of Medrol. Which means I also forgot my bedtime does of Estrace. The nurse told me not to take any Estrace before my transfer, only after, so by the time I'm allowed to take it, I will have gone almost 15 hours between doses. 

I took one Medrol first thing and will likely take another before transfer, even though I'm really only supposed to take one this AM and will be allowed to take a 20 MG tablet of prednisone afterward. I already packed the Estrace and prednisone in my purse and will take that as soon as I'm able. I also packed my Lovenox and an alcohol wipe because typically I do that shot in the AM, too.

I'm trying not to panic. My lining was "gorgeous." My hormone levels were perfect as of last week. I have one Grade A embryo and one Grade B embryo ready to transfer. At least, that's what they were graded at the time of freezing. I won't know what they are now until the embryologist shows us the little picture just before transfer.

This transfer - I need it to work. I mean, I know we all need every ART procedure to work. But as I said to Mr. Hope the other night, "I've never failed at something for four straight years and kept going." I want a baby so badly - to add a tiny human to our family full of love - and at the same time, I don't know how many more cycles I have left in me. I've had three failed IUIs. Two failed IVFs. One miscarriage.

I know women who've lost so much more. Who've been through so much more. I don't know how they do it. 

People often tell me that I am stronger than I think. I kind of want to cry bullshit. I'm pretty sure I know exactly how strong I am. Which is to say: strong, but not unbreakable. 

Today, after transfer, we'll either head straight home or stop for a protein-rich restaurant meal, depending on how hungry we are. Then we'll come home and watch some comedies. At some point, I'll make the lentil soup I ate a bunch of times last transfer, when I was sick. It has coconut milk and turmeric in it and I jokingly referred to it as "implantation soup," because it was warm and comforting and full of anti-inflammatory ingredients. I won't do any day job work, but I will have to put in a little time on the freelance project (nothing stressful). And Mr. Hope and I may take the dog for a short walk, because I no longer heed the doctor's advice about 24 hours of bed rest (it just doesn't make sense to me).

Tomorrow I'm back to work, and the day after that I leave for my work trip. It's a lot. I'm not going to lie. I thought about packing for said trip last night, because packing tends to stress me out, but ran out of time. Also I still have yet to prep the decks for my three presentations, though I'm going to be recycling parts from previous presos so it hopefully it won't be as heinous as I fear.

Maybe this will all be a good lesson in learning how to manage my stress. A girl can hope.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

where I've been, part 2.

Let's not bury the lede here:

I am in a cycle. Not only that, I'm literally three days from my first FET. More on that in a bit.

But first, here's how I got here. Let's do the elevator version.

2/3: First post-miscarriage follow-up at Posh Clinic. This is the appointment where Dr. Smiles says my uterus never looked like it was pregnant.

2/10: Return a week later to confirm ovulation. Yep, I ovulated. Am told to start Lupron the next day and return for baseline after I get my period.

2/11: Start Lupron, 5 units in the AM and 5 units in the PM.

2/18: CD1. 

2/20: Baseline appointment. Everything looks as it should. Lupron reduced to 5 units in the AM only. 

2/21: Start estrace, 2 mg three times a day (2 by mouth, 1 by vag). 

3/1: Am convinced that I ovulated through the Lupron due to ovulation-type pains and gushes of cervical mucus. Also, have not returned to EZ Diet as previously planned, so additionally convinced that I have blown the whole cycle.

3/3: Lining check. I did not ovulate. Lining is a fluffy 11.8 with a triple stripe. Fave NP calls it "gorgeous." Decide to do transfer 3/10 due to work obligations on 3/9. New meds protocol issued; today is last dose of Lupron (yay!).

3/5: Still taking the estrace 3x/day, but all by mouth. Add in 1 ml of PIO and 1 progesterone suppository in the PM. Will continue suppository each night but PIO currently every other night. My butt is happy but my head is all, SHOULDN'T WE BE TAKING THIS EVERY DAY? 

So that brings us up to speed.

What is NOT in the elevator version is all of the anxiety I've been feeling about this cycle. Despite best intentions I have not gotten off white flour/sugar. I didn't even quit caffeine until 3/5, and that's mostly because I used my last caffeinated Keurig pod on 3/4. I haven't worked out since 2/8, after I pulled that thing in my thigh. I didn't even eat my half of avocado yesterday.

Because of these things I've been grappling with feeling like this cycle is doomed to fail. I wrote in my FB support group: 
There is a part of me that says I'm being ridiculous, that my body has shown us the issue is more likely embryo quality than my inability to carry a child, but how do you know? You do know what actually helped last time around and what is just old wives' tale/voodoo/wishful thinking/placebo affect? HOW DO YOU KNOW?
Quirky says that this is all about control and my need to have it. That research and empirical evidence show us time and again that what we eat has little impact on our ability to get pregnant. "How else can you explain heroin addicts that get pregnant and carry babies to term?" she says. And I get it, I do. But I am an overweight woman. I'm actually 15 lbs. up from my last cycle due to the post-miscarriage depression eating, aforementioned lack of working out, and the Lupron/estrace double whammy. 

Yesterday I wrote in an email, "If I get pregnant from this cycle it will be a miracle."

It doesn't help that there's so much going on right now. Work is insane. I've been pulling 45/50 hour weeks and still not digging out from under. The past two weeks I've struggled to keep up pace on the freelance project for which I've already received an extension. 

Plus, I have three presentations to prep for a conference that I need to drive to literally two days after my transfer. Last night I realized I might not have a ton of control over my meals since I'll have an almost four-hour car ride down and back and will be at the mercy of hotel food and whatever's nearby said hotel. It's only 36 hours but those could be super-crucial hours for all we know. The day after I get back will be 4dp5dt and likely the first time I will POAS. (I've already ordered two three-packs of FRER, but skipped the Wondfos this time around because they gave me so much freaking anxiety.)

And yet I'm pressing forward. I'm in it. I've been in it. I suffered through the Lupron. I returned to the pain that is PIO. I took 3/10 off from work and cleared my schedule accordingly. If I don't do the transfer this cycle, I'll just be prolonging the anxiety, not alleviating it.

Wish me luck.