Pregnant, but not really …

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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.

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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!!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

The Wait

 

the wait

I keep refreshing my browser, thinking that the lab results will miraculously appear… even though I know that the office will call in roughly an hour.  I’m impatient and the pendulum keeps swinging between optimism and trying to temper my expectations so as to not be too disappointed should we find out that this round didn’t result in a pregnancy.

Here is a snippet of my mind’s conversation:

“I don’t feel pregnant.”

“How would you know what pregnancy feels like?  You’ve never been pregnant!”

“What if I’m not pregnant …”

“What IF YOU ARE?”

“Why am I craving donut holes?”

Etc.

Schrödinger’s Uterus

Ok, so not exactly.  Copenhagen Interpretation Uterus doesn’t have the same ring to it.  For those of you who are asking, “what in the world is she talking about?”, let me (briefly) explain…

Schrödinger was a physicist who created a thought experiment involving a cat placed in a box.  The Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum mechanics would say that, until someone opens the box and observes what actually happened to the cat, it is impossible to predict what happened to the cat… that is, the cat could be in all possible states simultaneously.   (Schrödinger actually thought this was nonsense, and had created the thought experiment to show exactly that).

Anywhooo, what does this have to do with my uterus, you might wonder and why is she talking about physics so early in the morning?

IMG_4244Well, I’m currently in the state of limbo where I could be pregnant, I could not be pregnant, and both are equally possible.  I won’t know definitively until Monday’s blood test (or the arrival of an unwelcome period), and until then I’m … both.  I was telling Daddy Graham last night that a teeny party of me does not want to find out on Monday because it bursts the hazy state where all things are possible.

The 2WW

I’m currently in the last week of the dreaded two week wait (or 2WW, according to the blogs) – the wait between ovulation and being able to find out if everything you’ve done up to this point has worked …

After my last ultrasound showed a nearly-mature follicle in the left ovary (it was 17.5 mm), the RN instructed me to administer the trigger shot the following morning (a Friday).  For those worried about the trigger shot, and having to administer a shot to yourself, rest assured.  It wasn’t bad at all. In fact, I had to give it myself twice, as I realized after the first round that I hadn’t sucked up all of the HSG.

And thus commenced the timing part of our timed intercourse cycle – we were given explicit instructions as to which days we needed to get it on (24, 48, and 72 hours post trigger shot).  I’d like to say that we did exactly that, but we, ahem, made a 12, 24, and 36 hour tour of the bedroom instead.  While I normally do not buck any medical advice, especially when it comes to this process, one of the sessions was to occur after I started the endometrin suppositories and, well, who wants to have sex when you are dealing with a vaginal suppository?  Not me.  I’m pretty sure Daddy Graham would say the same.

During these two weeks, I’ve felt every symptom imaginable – nausea, dizziness, mood swings, tender breasts, cramps, even light spotting on what could have been implantation day (~6 days post-ovulation).  I’ve had dreams where I am pregnant, dreams where I am definitively not.  Listening to my body is difficult when it is currently an unreliable narrator. Only time will tell.

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My mom, c. 1981 – pregnant with my younger brother