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Monthly Archives: March 2016

Meds madhouse

So I am 7 weeks pregnant today and I’ve been taking the following meds throughout my FET cycle:

  • Prenatal vitamin
  • Estradiol pills – 2mg AM and 2mg PM
  • Progesterone in oil shots – 2 CCs, PM
  • Low dose Aspirin – 1 pil, PM
  • Vivelle (Estradiol) patch – 1 every other day

Over the last week I have had my levels checked a couple of times. When I went in on Monday for my ultrasound, I showed my nurse the ridiculous rashes that the patch has been leaving – they are red, angry, raised, and itchy, and they stick around for like 2 weeks no matter where I put them. I guess I should have brought this up sooner because she was basically like, “you’re definitely allergic to the adhesive and we’re going to take you off of those.”

After getting my initial results, they decided they couldn’t just take me off the patch and not replace it, so they had me switch my PM Estradiol dose to be taken vaginally instead of orally. That’s right, I now get to shove 2 little blue pills up my vagina “as far as I can go” every evening. Has anyone else done this? Anyway I though it was weird that they weren’t increasing my dose at all (given that they were taking me off the patch and my numbers were slightly low at 453), but they assured me that changing the delivery method would be enough, and that apparently it absorbs better vaginally.

(Side note: my progesterone was 31 even though I’m on a double dose of progesterone in oil. I know 31 is fine but I expected it to be higher? Whatever, I’m just supposed to keep on keeping on with that one.)

Well I repeated the blood tests today, and wouldn’t you know? My estradiol went up to 1,008! Even though technically the amount of estradiol I am taking in went down and all I changed was what hole I put the pills in, it more than doubled. Crazy talk. Fascinating.

Anyone else have a similar med protocol? My RE is going to talk to me about when I can start to wean at my next visit (April 5 – at 8 weeks 4 days), which I’m nervous about. But at least I don’t have to endure those little sticky rectangular devils anymore. And I’m getting marginally less itchy as the days go by. Phew.

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7 weeks

OK so last week’s update was a little late and this feels too soon, but I’m 7 weeks today so … may as well get on track.

How far along? 7 weeks

Baby is the size of: a raspberry

Total weight gain/loss: About the same but I’m not really paying attention

Maternity clothes: Still rocking the Betabrand dress pant yoga pants – they’re the actual best. Seriously. Tell me if you want a referral.

Coming out of the baby closet status: We are headed for some in-law time this weekend, and will be telling Em’s mom in person. She bought one of those “the best moms get promoted to grandma” signs that we’re going to give her.

Have you started to show yet? Nope. Still bloated from the meds though.

Sleep: Sleep has been fine. I’m a little more tired that usual but not waking up to pee yet 🙂

Best moment this week: Since our first ultrasound was technically this week, that’s still my favorite moment. I’ve been enjoying this whole pregnancy thing a lot more since I got to see with my own eyes that there’s a little guy in there with a heartbeat and everything.

Miss Anything? Wine

Movement: nope

Food cravings: Not really.

Anything making you queasy or sick? No real aversions, but I’ve been having major heartburn so acidic foods (like a caprese salad that I had for lunch a couple of times last week) are not making me very excited.

Symptoms: All of my “symptoms” are super minimal and I am certain that I wouldn’t notice them if I wasn’t looking. That said, here they are: fatigue (going to bed early, wanting naps), heartburn (every day), and peeing kind of a lot (but also being thirsty all the damn time).

Purchases: Nada.

Looking forward to: The weekend! Oh, about the pregnancy? I’m getting excited to have my 8 week ultrasound and then tell my siblings.

6 weeks

There is a tiny human growing inside of me. It is actually in there. Holy shit you guys. 

I’m going to take a stab at doing a templated update thing. Haven’t decided if I want to long term or not so y’all tell me? Here goes …

How far along? 6 weeks 3 days

Baby is the size of: a chocolate chip? Maine blueberry? 

Total weight gain/loss: About the same but I’m not really paying attention 

Maternity clothes: Obviously not. BUT since starting IVF meds (aka entering the land of the eternal bloat), I’ve been mostly wearing Betabrand’s dress pant yoga pants. Every day. They’re amazing. I have 5 pairs. I will refer you if you want some (then we both get $15 off). 

Coming out of the baby closet status: Way back at the beginning of our TTC process, we had a plan. No one knows until we have a confirmed heartbeat, and then only immediate family and best friends. Everyone else after the 1st trimester. Lol, then we were infertile and a lot more people got into that “in the know” inner circle. 

We decided to tell parents and BFFs who were in the know re: our IVF cycle pretty quickly. At this point, we’ve told my parents (via FaceTime – it was so awesome to see their reactions. This is their first grandbaby and they are so excited for us), Em’s dad, BFFs who are also pregnant/8 days ahead of us/also did FET, my best friend, and 3 of my best work friends. We are telling Em’s mom in person this weekend since we are traveling to Philly to spend Easter with her. I plan to tell my siblings (all 3 at once via Google Hangout ideally) after the 8 week ultrasound? Ugh, long answer, sorry. TL;DR – parents and BFFs know, everyone else can wait. 

Have you started to show yet? Nope. Still bloated from the meds though.

Sleep: I’m generally more tired – going to bed earlier and napping occasionally. Right now I’m ready to hit the hay and it’s exactly 7:45. 

Best moment this week: Baby’s first ultrasound today! It was amazing and such a relief to see the little dude and his/her little heartbeat. Long useless story, but our doctor was in California last week on vacation and I got a call/voicemail at 11pm last night that her flight was canceled because of the snow storm (don’t even get me started on how I had to scrape off my car on March 21st) and that they’d call to reschedule. Cue the panic because I barely made it through the weekend waiting for this ultrasound. Anyway, when I called this morning to reschedule they told me to come in anyway and that I’d see the nurse after instead of my RE. Phew. 

So we had our first ultrasound and everything looks good! It’s making things feel so much more real for me. Here are the stats:

  • Crown to Rump measurement: 5.8mm
  • Measuring at: 6 weeks 3 days (right on target!)
  • Heartbeat: 116 bpm

 

They printed pics fand gave them to us in this adorable “Baby’s First Pictures” envelope!


Love how the tech labeled the baby. Lest we lose track.

   

Miss Anything? Wine

Movement: nope

Food cravings: Not really. I really wanted avocado? So maybe that?

Anything making you queasy or sick? Not really. Kind of the thought of sweet things. 

Symptoms: Honestly, not really. Today more than any other day I’ve had some “nausea,” but in a really low key way. Just kind of excessive salivation and low grade nausea. Helped by eating something. My breasts are only minimally tender (my nurse today said this is because my body has already absorbed the progesterone or something?). Today I peed like every hour but I also drank a lot of water. I’m thirsty all the time, that’s maybe a symptom? And fatigue. But they’re all sometimes and they’re all really nothing to write home about.

Purchases: Nothing. Not ready for that yet. Em did buy new tires, and she basically begged the sales guy to upsell her to the most expensive ones because “precious cargo,” so perhaps that counts.

Looking forward to: Another ultrasound in 2 weeks and getting to the point where we can share the good news.

So, hey, that was an enjoyable exercise. Other updates from today’s ultrasound/appointment:

  • I’m probably allergic/sensitive to the adhesive on the damn estrogen patches. Duh, I could have told you that. They leave rashes for over a week and itch like hell. I did bloodwork today to see how my estrogen absorption is. I may get to stop te patch and up the pills (or potentially take the pills vaginally? Which seems weird). I’ll find out tomorrow
  • They’re also testing my progesterone just to see, which I’m glad about. 
  • I’m allowed to have orgasms again, praise the lord.
  • I made another ultrasound appointment for April 5th, at which point I will be 8 weeks 4 days. I’ll get to see my RE then too (barring another freak snow storm), and will then “graduate” to my regular OB/GYN.
  • I haven’t chosen an OB/GYN yet so I should probably get on that. 

I’m trying my best to enjoy early pregnancy instead of worrying it all away. Today’s ultrasound is helping. I’m getting pretty excited. Out little guy is due November 11, 2016! 

Beta #3

My final HCG numbers are in, and looking good! To review:

  • 3/7 (12dp5dt) – 306
  • 3/9 (14dp5dt) – 622
  • 3/11 (16dp5dt) – 1,828

My first 2 betas had a doubling time of 46.9 hours, and between the second two the doubling time sped up to 30.86 hours.

Is that weird that it sped up so much? Zero complaints on it rising higher than expected of course. Just curiosity.

I’m hopeful that this excellent number will erase some of my doubts while I wait a week and change for my first ultrasound.

In other news, I am 5 weeks pregnant today. Ah! No real symptoms. Boob pain comes and goes (and I absolutely do keep squeezing them throughout the day to ascertain how sore they are), there’s some gassiness going on, and I am generally going to sleep earlier and peeing more. Of course, if I wasn’t looking for those things none of them are significant / symptom-y enough to mean anything.

OH, so some fun (/sarcasm) things about my medication regimen … Aside from the fact that the progesterone is making me bloated and moody … I have a couple of new things to add to the “ugh” list:

  • My estrogen patch is all of a sudden irritating my skin. So now I have these weird, rectangular rashes on my upper ass/lower back that itch like hell. Great
  • (Side note: I asked about this today on the phone and they decided this a good time to tell me that they can go pretty much anywhere that isn’t bony – so I can stick them up higher on my belly or something if I want. I was only putting them on my lower back because I believed the choices to be either there or on my lower belly, and when I tried the belly my pants always screwed it up.)
  • Last night’s PIO shot graced my wife and I with the infamous geyser of blood upon withdrawal of the needle. I remember reading about someone else experiencing this recently and I can’t for the life of me recall who it was. So, whoever it was, I feel ya. Em was horrified of course. She was worried something went terribly wrong. The internet tells me that she probably passed through or nicked a vein on the way in (the nurse confirmed this theory today, BTW). So no big deal. But it was weird and also ended up hurting a lot more than usual. And, wouldn’t ya know, there was the illusive welt that everyone talks about but I had yet to experience.
  • All of my Estrace pills are breaking into bits on their own in the pill case. This is very annoying because the very last thing I want to do every morning and evening is tiny little puzzles so that I know I’m taking 2 whole pills worth of estrogen.
  • That was all but it just felt rift to have 5 bullets, so …

On a non-pregnancy-related note, my little sister (who has been living in Boston for the last 8 months) is moving to Prague this weekend and I’m super bummed to see her go. I grew up in the Cleveland, OH area, and moved to Boston for college 10+ years ago. I never really looked (or moved) back, despite having a pretty close relationship with my family. My parents are still in Ohio and 2 of my siblings live in Philly. My youngest sister finished college in Chicago a year ago and moved to Boston for a job, which is now moving her to Prague (how cool, right?!). As awesome as that is for her, it has been so great for me to have family near by for the last 8 months. I’ve never really had that since moving here, and it has been really special. I’m super sad to see her go, and I know that Em is too. She might be back this summer for a month or so but who knows. I’m looking forward to soaking up some little sister time tomorrow before we drive her to the airport and see her off. I hope that this wasn’t the last time we get to experience living in close proximity to my family. It’s really a joy and I’ve been thinking about how wonderful it is even more now that I’m pregnant (holy shit, I’m pregnant).

Happy Friday!

Things that make this feel real

So I’ve been having a hard time with this pregnancy-after-infertility thing. It is really hard to just happily accept that I’m pregnant without constantly looking over my shoulder for someone who is going to run up and shout “April fools!” or something awful like that.

BUT I am really working on it and, little by little, I’m actually starting to feel like this might be real. God I hope it stays real.

Things that have made me feel that feeling in the last couple of days:

  • Today’s beta showing a normal doubling time.
  • Telling my mom and dad via FaceTime last night (man, that was really awesome. They are so happy)
  • Telling our best friends, who made that same phone call to us only a week ago.
  • Thinking about experiencing each stage of pregnancy with my best friend. And maternity leave!
  • Talking about money and daycare and nursery things with Em, and freaking out a little but also feeling excited.
  • Having 2 colleagues announce their pregnancies this week and not feeling that awful sinking feeling that I’ve become accustomed to over the past 2 years, instead feeling excited for them and excited for me.

I’m still kind of waiting for the other shoe to drop, but those feelings are happening less frequently, and I’m spending a lot of time smiling to myself at my desk or in the car, just thinking about how, at least right this second, I am pregnant.

Beta #2

I woke up early and trudged into the lab to wait in line with the old people this morning again for HCG beta #2. A nurse just called with my results and the number is … (drumroll) … 622.

Beta #1 was 306
Beta #2 is 622

That’s a doubling time (according to the internet) of 46.9 hours.

My initial reaction was that it seemed a little slow, but most places I’ve looked online (ugh, get off Google, Katie) say that under 1200, betas typically double every 31-72 hours. So I guess it’s good!

One more test on Friday and then I get a whole week “off” before my ultrasound/RE appointment on 3/21.

Beta is in

My first beta is officially in: 306. I actually can’t remember if she said 306 or 307 but obviously that’s neither here nor there.

Our nurse (Tracy) called with the news and said that the numbers were “really good,” though when I’ve looked it up it looks solidly average/a tad below average because I’m technically 12dp5dt today, which makes me around 17dpo.

Regardless, I’m totally nitpicking and I am trying to let it sink in that I’m pregnant. 306 is a solidly pregnant HCG level.

They didn’t check my progesterone and I asked why not/if they were going to. My nurse said she’d ask my RE but that they usually don’t test progesterone until the first visit with the doc, which is going to be between 6 and 7 weeks. I’m wondering if I should push to have my progesterone drawn on Wednesday when I go back for a repeat HCG beta. She said that when they test progesterone that they’d “just be seeing what they’ve prescribed,” but my concern would be that it’s not all absorbing? I don’t know, obviously it’s not my specialty to know these things, but if I was on PIO before and my numbers came in a little low I guess it just makes sense to me that they would repeat the test after upping the dose. Plus I know that women with PCOS can have low progesterone which leads to an increase in miscarriages. I logically know that the fact that I’m on a relatively high dose of progesterone via injection should cover me there. So I guess I’m not really anxious about it, just confused about when they choose to check levels and why.

The office just called and scheduled my first ultrasound and consult with the RE for 3/21, at which point I believe I will be 6 weeks 3 days (by my calculations/given the date of transfer – obviously that could be off if it implanted late or something). That early should I expect to be able to see a heartbeat?

I realized I have no idea what to expect moving forward – how often I will get ultrasounds with the RE, when they will likely “graduate” me to my OB, whether I’m considered high risk because of IVF, what type of testing to expect … So many changes. And right when I was getting into the swing of things with the TTC process…

Obviously I’m happy to roll with these particular changes. I’m excited to see what comes even though I’m currently in full-on denial/self preservation mode. I’m trying really hard to let that go (which is so much harder than I thought it would be) and just be excited that I’m pregnant. I’m trying to remind myself that being pessimistic now will not make it any easier down the line if something happens. As I’m sure most of you know/can guess, transitioning from infertility to pregnancy is really difficult. After so many negatives, so many calls telling me that I’m not pregnant, it’s just kind of hard to believe. I mourn a little for the loss of what would likely have been total innocence/excitement had I gotten pregnant without going through everything we’ve been through. But that is not my story and was never my journey.

Anyway, that was a long post to just say that my beta came back and is 306ish at 12dp5dt.

 

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