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Beta 5

Another very quick update just for numbers. I had blood drawn today not only for my HCG but also other labs (not even sure what the other labs are, but the nurse had said just to make sure I’m doing okay otherwise – I think there was a complete blood count in there?). Per the nurse’s report today, my “other labs” numbers are all normal. My HCG still had an appropriate rise but is still lower than they would typically see at this stage. Why is that even a thing? If the HCG has been within the normal range (albeit low) from the start, and has risen within an appropriate time period, why is the number looking so abnormal? Anyway my HCG was 800 today. I’m supposedly 5 weeks 4 days pregnant at this point. Last cycle, the pregnancy I miscarried, my HCG was 1200 at 5 weeks 3 days, which was the day I miscarried. Even then I knew that THAT number was much lower than they wanted to see. This most recent test gives me a doubling rate of 62 hours, so it slowed down a bit again.

I’m wishing there was a little more clarity here. This is a bummer of a place to be in. They’re having me come back for another blood draw on Thursday morning. I believe the reason for that is that they like to test your HCG until it is at 1000. I have an ultrasound scheduled for first thing Friday morning. Whatever happens, we are going to see Tatiana Maslany in a show off Broadway on Friday night and I’m really pumped about that. We’re bringing Riley with us into the city and got a hotel suite for the night. My cousin is going to hang with Riley and put her down (hence the suite – she’ll be able to stay up and read or watch TV or whatever while Riley sleeps in the other room) while we have dinner and go to the show. I’m looking forward to it.

Anyway, here’s a recap for anyone keeping track at home.

  • 11dp5dt (16dpo) – 78
  • 13dp5dt (18dpo) – 134
  • 15dp5dt (5 weeks) – 239
  • 17dp5dt (5 weeks 2 days) – 471
  • 19dp5dt (5 weeks 4 days) – 800
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Beta #2

My HCG today is 134. That’s a doubling time of 61 hours. Not exactly what I was hoping for but also not out of the game. I feel like I’m playing a borderline game over here … I’ve read a couple of studies that basically stated that 74 is the cut off for what you would want to see at 11 days past a frozen embryo transfer. Mine was 78. Also I know they are looking for the number to double every 31-72 hours but I also know that most people would see those numbers at least double in 48 hours. The nurses have reported my numbers in a positive way each time – saying it’s a good number or a good rise. Today when I probed further, she said it was okay and we’re just going to keep an eye on it. I guess it feels like just a slightly more fragile pregnancy.

Overall, my initial emotion when I got the phone call today was relief. I’m still in the game, the numbers aren’t trending downward (which I feared), and they are still “in normal limits.” I go back again on Friday, and I’m guessing they’ll keep having me come back every other day until I get to at least 1,000 so they can schedule an ultrasound.

I’m still hopeful and also still nervous – my anxiety of low-ish/lower than expected numbers is all mixed in with my anxiety about my last pregnancy and everything we went through with the miscarriage and weird betas. I’m still pregnant and still having a hard time being excited about it. That said, despite all of the mitigating circumstances, I am pretty sure I felt the exact same way the first time around during my perfectly normal pregnancy with Riley. I’ll just be here biting my fingernails until Friday. Here’s hoping for some better news 🙂

Onto the next

A quick update to share that I am finally heading toward my frozen transfer this month. Today is day 7. I’ve been taking estradiol (2mg orally in the AM and 2mg vaginally in the PM) and low dose aspirin since day 1. My estradiol protocol is a little weird because I have an adhesive allergy (discovered during my last FET cycle) so can’t do the patches. Despite the progesterone in oil shortage, I finally got my hands on some and have it ready to go for next week. FET is scheduled for 5/31!

On a separate note, I’m looking for a new prenatal vitamin. I read some new research that correlates unmetabolized folic acid at birth with development of food allergies (similar correlation with tongue ties – which my daughter also had at birth). This led me to a theory that perhaps my body doesn’t metabolize folic acid well. I know that correlation doesn’t equal causation, and that there’s no way to know what caused Riley’s allergies, but I figured this was something I could do to possibly help. And I can’t see how it would hurt. So anyway, I’m wondering if any of y’all out in the inter webs have a prenatal vitamin that either doesn’t have folic acid (and know of a separate natural folate supplement), or know of a prenatal with natural folate instead of folic acid? I asked my OB and the nurse replied saying that since the study was small and hasn’t been replicated they can’t change their recommendations 🙄 … I can’t see how taking methylfolate instead of folic acid is a total change in plan of care! But what do I know? Anyway if anyone knows of such a thing I’d appreciate suggestions. For now, I’m still taking my regular prenatal. Anyway, happy Thursday! And happy food allergy awareness week! If you haven’t thought about food allergies recently, I’d love to hear you thinking about it now. I’ve been trying to do a little social media education on my Facebook, asking folks to be thoughtful food allergy citizens by doing things like cleaning hands (and kids’ hands) after eating before touching public things like playgrounds, thinking about what kinds of snacks are brought to public places like playgrounds, etc. I hope it helps just one or two people make the world a little safer for folks with severe allergies!

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.

 

9dp5dt

 

  • That’s getting darker right? Like I’m still pregnant? (Those words don’t feel real to me)
  • I’m dying inside having to wait for Monday for my blood test. What beta numbers should I expect at 12dp5dt? 
  • Also do I have to wait til Monday to find out when the orgasm moratorium is lifted. Because, really. 
  • I never thought I’d be the kind of person who takes a test every day and saves them to compare. No judgement, just didn’t think I’d do it. Then I did. And I’m not sorry. 
  • Is it too early to download a pregnancy app?  

Are hiccups a good sign?

Are hiccups a good sign?

My Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) was today! I totally meant to post beforehand you guys, I just got really bad at blogging and also at adulting.

So if you haven’t been following along at home – we did a fresh cycle back in December, which was unsuccessful, and ended up with 1 embryo that was good enough to freeze, rated 4AA (which is really good! good job little guy!). I’ve been on a drug protocol since starting my period this month (on February 4th) of escalating Estrogen (via Estrace pills and eventually also a patch), Baby Aspirin, and have been doing Progesterone In Oil (PIO) shots since Thursday. You guys, I used to swallow pills 1 by 1, isn’t that hilarious? It would take me 10 minutes every morning and night if I did that now …

fet meds

Nightly meds: Metformin, Estrace, and Baby Aspirin

Quick aside re: the PIO shots … Em has managed to totally avoid all interaction with needles throughout this process. That means she was not in the room for any of the 8 trigger shots during our medicated IUI cycles, or ANY of my 3 shots/day during stims in November/December. This didn’t really bother me because she is very supportive but just doesn’t like needles and doesn’t understand why I would “do that to myself” (even though she does, of course, understand why I was doing that to myself). Anyway, all of those shots were subcutaneous (for n00bs: that means they go in your belly with a tiny skinny needle because they just need to get into the fat to absorb). PIO is an intramuscular shot, so it needed to go into my ass with a huge giant long needle. And I can’t see my ass, so she had to do it. I have to give her credit but she pretty much cried after the first 2. By last night she seemed almost blasĂ© about it. Although she does keep asking if I can just back up into it so she doesn’t have to jab me …

I was pretty nervous about the PIO because I kept reading about welts and burning and soreness and such. I’m actually kind of worried that it isn’t going in or something? Because I haven’t had any welts (the nurse wanted to check if we were doing it in the right spot today and was like “… I can’t see where you did it?”) or soreness. Maybe a little burning on the way in. I’ve been icing for like a minute or two before doing the shot, and massaging the injection site afterward with a paper towel. I get a tiny bit of bleeding each time. So I don’t know … hopefully we’re doing it right. They drew bloods for a progesterone level check today so I guess we’ll find out.

Okay back to business … so we had our FET of our only embryo today around noon. You have to have a full bladder for the transfer (which was the worst during the fresh cycle because everything down there was so sore … so even a partially full bladder was actually super painful), and I apparently am adequately hydrated so after drinking the recommended 2-3 cups of water (I didn’t even have the full 2) I was about to wet myself. I asked them to let me let a little bit out while waiting because you have to sit there and wait your turn for an hour, and they let me, but then I seemed to fill up again within 2 minutes. When I finally went back and they put the ultrasound on to check how full I was, the nurse was like, “Are you comfortable? You can go pee for like 15 seconds and still be fine …” which was obviously an angel speaking.

We got a little picture of our little embaby. This was a picture post-thaw and they said it looked perfect (they probably say that to all the girls). Here’s hoping that this is finally our turn and that all of the stars have aligned.

embaby 2

Mommies’ little blastocyst

I took the whole day off work and now I’m sitting at home under a blanket, watching the rain, and relaxing (well, trying my best to relax). I had thought about trying acupuncture again but ended up deciding against it. I think I ruled it out as something that would be helpful for me a year or so ago after I had been doing it for 3/4 of a year’s worth of IUIs without any noticeable change.

My test date is apparently 3/7, which is 12dp5dt. What the hell?! I’ve never heard of anyone waiting that long. I thought that 9dp5dt was pretty standard. I’m like 110% sure I’ll do a HPT before that but grr. Anyone else’s clinic wait that long to test after a 5dt? Oh, another important question: has anyone else been told to avoid orgasm until their pregnancy test?! That’s another one I wasn’t prepared for. I remember reading it after my retrieval and assuming it was because of the surgery business. And also it hurt too much to thinking about that anyway. I didn’t think I’d have to go another 12 days … would have had a different last couple of nights if I knew, that’s for sure … Sigh.

Anyway, now I have the hiccups and they won’t go away! I’m usually pretty good at vanquishing hiccups with breath holding or water or trying to remember what I wore yesterday. These are some stubborn-ass hiccups. It’s probably a sign, right?

FET is a-go-go

It’s on like Donkey Kong.

My period took her damn time showing up so we are pushing right up against my insurance approval deadline, but it looks like everything is going to work out. FET is currently scheduled for February 24th if all things go to plan.

My protocol:

  • Estradiol 1mg 2x/day days 1-5
  • Estradiol 2mg 2x/day starting today (day 6)
  • I forget if/how much the Estradiol goes up after that …
  • Baby aspirin/low-dose aspirin (81mg) 1x/day
  • Progesterone in Oil (oh joy) starting around day 15 I believe

I’m currently waiting for Caremark/UPS to get their shit together and get me my PIO shots so that I have them at home. I’m glad I get anal and order meds early because they were scheduled to show up on Friday, but UPS apparently didn’t deliver because of the snow. (We had a snow storm in Boston on Friday, and then another one yesterday). It’s a weekday delivery so it sat in a warehouse over the weekend and was then supposed to be delivered yesterday, but we had a “snow storm” (this time everyone was being a pussy – it was just snow, not a storm, and the roads were fine) but the PIO didn’t arrive so I’m guessing UPS called in another “emergency.” I’m kind of worried that the meds will be bad because they’re sitting in weird temperatures so I’ll have to figure out what to do about that if I ever get the damn shots.

You warm-climate folks can shut it but for anyone up north – have you had any issues with meds freezing while they are waiting for you to bring them inside? The lady on the phone at Caremark fertility pharmacy told me that PIO is a room temperature med and that it shouldn’t be frozen. Giving them a major benefit of the doubt that it didn’t sit in below-freezing temperatures in a warehouse all weekend, if it gets delivered today it’s going to sit in some snow on my porch in 20 degree weather … is that going to be an issue? Ugh.

Has anyone else had a similar FET protocol? Baby aspirin opinions?

In other news, I’ve read 4 lesbian fiction novels in the last week. And I did some Kindle math and have read like 130 in the last year. Please send help. Or send money so I can just read about lesbians falling in love/fighting crime/being part of conspiracies/doing it/whatever else all day long and not have to go to work.

Happy February, y’all.

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