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Beta 6

Who gets 6 betas?!?!

Well, today was my 6th. And … drumroll … my hcg is 1914. Per all of the internet beta calculators, that’s a 38 hour doubling time. Which is very much faster than 65 hours or whatever my last one was. I know I’m not out of the woods (are you ever out of the woods? Do you ever get the “out of the woods” feeling after infertility and miscarriage?), but that number is really reassuring. I guess I’ll see if it means anything tomorrow morning bright and early at my first ultrasound. Tomorrow I’ll be exactly 6 weeks. Fingers crossed …

After tomorrow’s ultrasound we are piling in the car to go to NYC. I’m excited to see Mary Page Marlowe and mostly excited to see Tatiana Maslany (any other Orphan Black super fans out there??) and hopefully get to meet her at the stage door. Ahh! I hope we head into that car ride with good news.

Here’s a beta hcg recap (for the very last time I truly hope):

  • 11dp5dt (16dpo) – 78
  • 13dp5dt (18dpo) – 134
  • 15dp5dt (5 weeks/20dpo) – 239
  • 17dp5dt (5 weeks 2 days) – 471
  • 19dp5dt (5 weeks 4 days) – 800
  • 21dp5dt (5 weeks 6 days) – 1914
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Betas 3 and 4

I haven’t had much time to write. Thursday night we ended up in the ER (then admitted) because Riley had some trouble breathing (breathing fast, neck and sternum retracting, grunting on the exhale, a little wheezing) in the setting of a virus. She’s doing much better and we were discharged after less than 24 hours, which is awesome. But we’ve been a little under water over here.

Anyway, quick update re my ever perplexing betas.

Recap/update:

  • 11dp5dt (16dpo) – 78
  • 13dp5dt (18dpo) – 134
  • 15dp5dt (20dpo) – 239
  • 17dp5dt (22dpo) – 471

Those doubling times are slowish, but all technically within normal limits (less than 72 hrs), and have increased slightly each time (went from 61.5 hrs to 57.5 hrs to 50 hrs). That said, they’re all totally lower than what is normally expected.

Today, my nurse said that everything is still within normal but that they’re a little concerned about the lower numbers. The plan is for another blood test Tuesday, then ultrasound on Thursday or Friday.

My only “symptoms” thus far are sore boobs (obvi because progesterone to the max) and a decreased appetite. The appetite thing is significant enough to feel like a real symptom. I’ll keep updating here as the week progresses. For now, I’m going to play Mr. Potato Head with my kid. Happy Sunday 🙂

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 🙂

Beta HCG #1

I just got the phone call with my first hcg level for this pregnancy. The number is 78. I KNOW that that number indicates pregnancy, and I hate that my heart sank a little when I heard it. I am trying to not be such an anxious ball of human – whatever happens is going to happen – but my first beta with the pregnancy that is now my living child was 306. To be fair, I do think it was a day later (12dp5dt as opposed to today, which is 11dp5dt). I’m also comparing this to my most recent cycle/pregnancy that resulted in a miscarriage. At 12dp5dt, my beta was 127. You guys, I honestly know I need to quit it with the comparing. Why am I even doing that?!

Positive signs: I have not had any cramping or bleeding. I also have totally been noticing early pregnancy symptoms, which is probably weird/maybe I’m just seeing what I want to see … but my appetite is way down, I have zero desire to be anywhere near red meat, and I’ve been falling asleep much earlier than usual. I know it’s a little early to be feeling those things, but I felt them with this most recent pregnancy this early as well. Maybe it’s just how my body reacts to hcg? Possible negative signs: The number is a little low (but maybe it’s not and that’s just my perception – I’m not a doctor). Also, the progesterone support could be maintaining a pregnancy that may not have continued naturally in a different world where I didn’t do IVF.

So, for the next day and a half I will be twiddling my thumbs and trying not to be an anxious ball of human. I appreciate any good vibes y’all have to spare. And any stories from the trenches with similar beta hcg numbers! Happy Monday.

 

53%

I went in for my second beta this morning, and fully expected the numbers to be dropping given how much heavy bleeding I’ve been experiencing. In fact, the number increased, albeit slower than is typical for a normal pregnancy (which makes sense, given how unlikely a normal pregnancy is at this point). They reminded me that my Monday beta was 127. Today’s was 199. That’s a 53% increase in 48 hours. I’m pretty sure the guideline is for doubling every 48-72 hours, with at least a 60% increase over 48 hours. Basically it’s more uncertainty (with a healthy dose of nope). In the meantime, I’ve been bleeding since Saturday, and bleeding heavily since Monday. Today is less heavy, but Monday and Tuesday were VERY heavy, and it’s been dark red bleeding with clots the whole time (sorry for the TMI). All of that said, I am still getting the fun early pregnancy side effects like heightened sense of smell, very minor nausea (the thought of beef made me retch today), and major exhaustion.

So I’m just hanging out, continuing to consider this a miscarriage/chemical pregnancy, and waiting for the numbers to drop so that I can move onto the next. I’m not doing anything to sabotage the outside chance that things may turn around and this may become a viable pregnancy, though the chances are so so low. I’m honestly not feeling as awful about this as I thought I would. Disappointed perhaps, but in the same vein of the disappointment I felt each time an IUI or that first IVF didn’t work. I haven’t cried. I AM frustrated at the not knowing, and anxious to be able to get to the next steps (which I can’t do until my HCG is below 5).

Blah! OK to end on a positive note – Riley started a new daycare on Monday and seems to really like it. At her old daycare, she came home every single day with a rash and “allergy shiners.” So far this week she has looked awesome, which just reinforces my perception that she was just a little allergic to her old daycare (detergent, pets, mold … something like that). Our doggo came through surgery well, though we are waiting to hear on the biopsy still. But she’s finally seeming more like her self (barking at the mailman and all those good things). Also, I love my kid so much I can’t even handle it sometimes. The biggest difference between TTC the first time vs. this time around is that I have my beautiful bundle of awesome that I can go home and snuggle. It makes it easier to not fixate on all of this and keeps the bigger picture in perspective. I know that I couldn’t have had that perspective the first time around, and am grateful to have it now.

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!

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.

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