Pregnant, but not really …


Yesterday was my first beta.  I got the call from the clinic a few hours after my blood draw to let me know that my hCG level was a 13.9 mIU/mL, which is low. Like, really low.  I know that <5 mIU/mL  is considered ‘not pregnant’ and anything above 25 mIU/mL is ‘pregnant’. Honestly, I’m not even sure why they are considering me pregnant as my hCG seems to be floating in an indeterminate stage, but the nurse said that they want me to continue taking my medicines (prednisone, baby aspirin, endometrin, estrace, and PIO shots) and will bring me back in two days for another blood draw to see if the numbers have gone up.  While Daddy Graham and I have not given up hope completely that we have a late implanting embryo, we are also realistic in that this is looking like a chemical pregnancy.

During the two week wait, I had a multitude of symptoms.  I felt the strangest tugging sensation behind my belly button that traveled down to the top of my pubic bone.  Cramps that were distinctly different from normal period cramps.  I knew something was going on, I just wasn’t sure what. In the days preceding the beta, I cop to taking some home pregnancy tests so that I could have some sense of where I stood.  Daddy Graham and I had a long discussion about how they were not the end-all-be-all of pregnancy indication, and I tried not to put too much stake in them. Faint positives each and every time, but the lines never grew darker as the days went by.


Truthfully, while I am sad, I am also feeling alright about the situation.  We knew that this process was not going to be easy, and that odds aren’t necessarily in your favor with IVF and FET (though much greater than other infertility interventions).  We will not be deterred by an unsuccessful cycle, as we are committed to trying again.  Before Daddy Graham and I began this process, we both agreed that having a child would make our lives wonderful but we are not incomplete as a family without children.

We are now #PUPO!!


Pregnant (until proven otherwise)!

Yesterday’s frozen embryo transfer (FET) went off without a hitch.  I arrived at the fertility clinic at around 9:30 for my first of two scheduled acupuncture appointments (before and after the FET).  The spa-like atmosphere was incredibly relaxing, as I was feeling jangly with nervous excitement.  Unbeknownst to me, I would be wearing the spa robe for the entirety of the day, so there was no need to wear a cute dress (a dress being my appointment attire of choice, as I just have to hitch it up and drop my undies for the table rather than dealing with pants or jeans, etc.).  I had never had acupuncture before, and I’m not sure exactly what my expectations were, but it neither over- or underwhelmed me.  No lightning bolts of pent up chi that were set free just a nice, calm room with a warm blanket for me to bliss out in before the procedure.  For the pre-FET treatment, I had a needle placed in my skull, one on my forehead, one on left hand between my thumb and forefinger, and the rest were centered around my belly button.  After all of the blood draws and self-administered needles, these I was completely oblivious to. I laid there with the needles in for a half hour before having the needles removed and taken to the FET room.


I was given a lovely net bonnet and warm blanket, and Daddy Graham was brought in fully suited up in surgery scrubs.   Unfortunately, my veins were not complying with the blood draw, so after a few painful, digging attempts, it was decided that we would get my blood after the transfer.  The transfer itself was relatively quick and painless.  Daddy Graham and I were laughing afterwards at the fact that there was no need to be worried about him and an unsightly vantage point of my lady bits in full speculum-ed glory, as it would end up all hanging out in the open anyway.  You really lose any sense of modesty through this process. It didn’t really appear to faze Daddy Graham so, in turn, it didn’t faze me either.  The doctor came in and shared the first picture of Baby Graham with us, and told us that we were transferring a 5BB single embryo.  He reiterated not to get too hung up on the grading system, but that it looked lovely and was a strong candidate for a successful transfer.  We were also happy to find out that they only had to thaw out one for this transfer, and that we still have seven in reserve.


Once the speculum was in place and the doctor was able to locate my uterus underneath my (very full) bladder using ultrasound, a catheter was thread through my vagina and cervix and into my uterus.  After the correct placement was determined, the embryo was brought in and verified from embryology, and into my uterus it went.  After the doctor removed the catheter, he froze the ultrasound screen and pointed out the little speck that was Baby Graham!  It is hard to fathom that it one split second I went from being not pregnant to, for all intents and purposes, pregnant.  Amazing.


After I laid on my back for fifteen minutes and my blood was successfully drawn, I was taken back upstairs to the spa for my second acupuncture treatment.  This time, all of the needles were placed along the tops of my lower legs and my feet.  I once again was told to relax (which I tried to do, but I was too excited and overwhelmed with feelings of gratitude).  After the needles were removed, I was able to change into my regular clothes and head home.

I was given instructions to continue all of my prescription protocols (estradiol suppositories, progesterone suppositories, PIO shots, pre-natal vitamins, baby aspirin, prednisone, and tacrolimus) and that I come in for my first beta on August 18.  As it turns out, Daddy Graham and I are away that day, so we had to schedule the beta for August 21. I wonder if I will really be able to resist POAS for that long a time – we shall see.

I am definitely scrutinizing every little change I feel in my body, and trying to determine if the feeling is a pregnancy feeling or not.  I am trying to back off Google, as I know that it will only drive me crazy and that each woman’s pregnancy experience is different from the next. Before I left for the transfer, my mom gave me a huge hug and said something along the lines of “after today your life will never be the same”.  These words have been echoing in my head since yesterday – what a momentous and incredible opportunity to be fully present in the process of creating Baby Graham!

In the meantime, which us luck and sticky baby dust! Stick, Baby Graham, stick!

FET Day Has Been Set!


Yesterday’s appointment brought the news that we are all set for a frozen embryo transfer on August 9! My lining measured in at 9.31, my estradiol at 987 pg/mL, and both of my ovaries have returned to normal size. Daddy Graham and I are beyond excited (and nervous) to begin this next chapter.  While we prepare mentally and physically for what’s to come, we are busying ourselves with the practical day to day matters, foremost is the lengthy prescription protocol we are currently in the midst of:

Continued (through Wednesday, August 9):

  • Estradiol tablets (2x day), inserted vaginally (to help grow my endometrium lining and keep it thick)
  • Prednisone (2x day) (low dose steroid to help combat inflammation, which is detrimental to implantation)
  • low dose aspirin (1x day) (to help improve blood flow)
  • pre-natal vitamins (which has been on-going since we started this process)

New (beginning Friday, August 4):

  • Cleocin Vaginal Ovules (1x day from Fri-Sun) (vaginal antibiotic in preparation for FET)
  • Progesterone In Oil (the dreaded PIO!) (1x day intramuscularly) (to thicken the uterine lining and prepare the body to support the embryo, so the embryo will successfully implant and grow)
  • Endometrin suppositories (1x day from Sat-Wed) (see PIO – same purpose; my clinic uses a combo of progesterone supplements for a FET)
  • Prograf (Tacrolimus) (2x day from Mon-Wed) (used to decrease the likelihood of the body rejecting the FET)

Whew – also, Daddy Graham and I decided that we would go forward with the three additional treatments I described in the last post: hCG uterine wash and intralipids transfusion (both scheduled for Monday) and acupuncture before and after the FET.

The question that is weighing heavy on our minds right now is how many embryos to transfer – one or two.  There are a lot of considerations that are going in to this decision, with the understanding that Daddy Graham and I will most likely only go through the whole IVF process once.  We actually had always spoken about transferring two – but the NP at my last appointment strongly recommended we go with only one, which left me in a bit of a quandary. On the one hand, two embryos and the possibility of twins is thrilling (siblings! forever playmates!) and on the other, terrifying (greater pregnancy risk! financially overwhelming! the possibility of – gulp – triplets or quads).  When I have envisioned being pregnant, it has always been with one baby – but the chance of having two children and doubling the love is ever-attractive.

Our plan has been that, once my maternity leave is over (fingers crossed I will have enough time saved for 12 weeks), I will return to work and Daddy Graham will stay home with the kiddo(s). We decided on this as my job is well-established and well-paying and Daddy Graham is looking to switch careers.  In fact, during this process, Daddy Graham has been applying to graduate school to become a PA.  A notoriously cutthroat competition for few spots left Daddy Graham feeling like it may be a distant possibility, but today we found out he has progressed to the interview stage!  Having Daddy Graham in school with a little one has now also become intermixed into our decision-making process.  ALL GOOD THINGS!

Wish us luck and babydust!