Telling Jane the news

Last week, I got two more betas. Here’s a summary:

Date/time DPO Beta-HCG Doubling time
Fri 3/17 10:30 am 13 66 mIU/mL  
Mon 3/20 11:30 am 16 370 mIU/mL 26 h
Wed 3/22 10:30 am 18 791 mIU/mL 43 h
Fri 3/24 12:30 pm 20 2165 mIU/mL 34 h

 

Everything looks good, so now we wait for my first ultrasound on Friday afternoon (at 5 weeks, 6 days past IUI).

As if it were a sign from Jane, the wildflowers (whose seeds we had as a takeaway from her funeral), which had previously been ravaged by caterpillars and drought, just bloomed for the first time last week.

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On Saturday, the three of us (C, C. Samuel, and I) went to visit Jane. My mom had suggested that lilacs would be lovely at this time of year, and she was right.

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C. Samuel also picked out an anemone to give her.

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We told her again how much we love her, assured her that no other baby could ever take her place in our hearts, and, as if to convince her, C. Samuel left her a few of his goldfish crackers.

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Blogiversary, beta update, and winter cuteness

After I posted our news on Friday, I got notified by WordPress that it was the four-year anniversary of my blog. That makes it five years – give or take – from when C and I first started trying to conceive!

That went by fast – sort of.

I feel a little bit sorry for that little newlywed me, who actually argued with my dashing new husband about when to start trying…so we could. Time. My. Maternity. Leave.

Obama

Mr. Obama finds my naive ideas about family planning hilarious!

But early pregnancy loss, life-threatening motor vehicle injury, crushing infertility diagnosis, and stillbirth notwithstanding, I still can’t help but focus on the positive.

  • I married a wonderful man who doesn’t have a self-pitying bone in his body.
  • We have a gorgeous son.
  • We have amazing friends and family who have supported us through everything.
  • Contrary to the predictions of three different REs, I have managed to get pregnant four times.

 

So while things have not quite gone according to plan, I’m proud of where we’ve come in the last five years, and hopeful for what the next five will bring!

 

***

For those of you who are counting, my beta came back today at 370 mIU/mL. That corresponds to a doubling time of about 33 hours.

doubling time

Looks really good!

histogram 2

I take another test on Wednesday.

***

Lastly, for your viewing pleasure, here are some sweet pics of C. Samuel from our ski trip to Park City over my Spring Break:

Look who has nicer ski gear than me!

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Enjoying the view from the lift.

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C. Samuel wanted to hold our hands while skiing. ❤

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Relaxing in the hot tub after a long day!

Bulletproof

My blog is semi-private; I try not to use names or give overtly self-identifying information, but I’ve also shared the blog with many friends and family ‘IRL’. This means that I sometimes have to make difficult decisions about what and when to share things on the blog…

Like when we find out that we’re pregnant.

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On Tuesday (10 dpo), I decided to take a pregnancy test. No line. Or maybe a whiff of a line. Could easily be residual trigger shot.

On Wednesday (11 dpo), same thing. Maybe a bigger whiff. Or maybe I was deluding myself.

On Thursday (12 dpo), same. Definitely not pregnant. But when I set it next to the previous two, and squint at it, I kind of see a line. I tell C. “Hey, we’re probably not pregnant, but there’s a whiff of a line. Pretty sure it should be darker at 12 dpo. It’s probably nothing, but I thought you should know.”

On Friday (13 dpo), there is a very faint line. Darker than the previous line, but lighter than I think it “should” be. I decide to use one of the expensive First Response tests. There is definitely a line. At work, I decide to email the nurse practitioner and Dr. Y to see if I should do the blood test a day early. Both reply and say I should.

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10 dpo (top) through 14 dpo (bottom)

In between afternoon meetings, I drive to Kaiser for a blood draw. Juan-the-phlebotomist draws my blood and explains that a courier will come and deliver my sample to the nearby hospital for testing, and I should get results in 2-3 hours. After drawing my blood, he lines the tape with a piece of gauze for pain-free removal later, and folds the tape into a little tab to make it easy to pull off. On my way out, I tell the receptionist that Juan is the absolute best phlebotomist I’ve ever had. I return to work and to my meetings.

After my meeting, I check my email and see that there is a new test result. My HCG is 66 mIU/mL. I check on betabase.info. It’s slightly below the median value for 13 dpo, but well within the expected range. I click on a link and discover for the first time that betabase has histograms of beta values for each day past ovulation! My beta value is comfortably in the middle of the distribution.

histogram

So, we’re pregnant.

Conventional wisdom says that we should wait to tell people, but how long?

  • Until we get a few beta values and see that the doubling rate looks reassuring? 
  • Until we see a heartbeat?
  • Until we get a ‘normal’ genetic test result?
  • Until we pass the first trimester?

 

We know better than most that none of those things are a guarantee of a healthy baby at the end. So do we wait until the baby’s out? Probably not practical.

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I thought of a scene from an episode of Speechless. (If you haven’t seen this show, go watch it on Hulu, or abc.go. It’s adorable – like Malcolm in the Middle with a special needs kid.)

Speechless

In the scene, the dad on the show (his name is Jimmy) is explaining to his middle son why he doesn’t care what other people think, and says that after getting the news that his oldest son will never walk and do other stuff, and then making it through and seeing that same son grow into an incredibly cool person…he’s kind of like, what’s the worst that can happen? Here’s the full scene:

 

I feel kind of like Jimmy. If we tell everybody we’re pregnant after the first pregnancy test, what’s the worst that can happen? We lose the baby and have to tell everybody our sad news?

Yeah, and?

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At this point, we’ve shared awful news with our friends and coworkers and family and bloggy friends. We (and they) survived.

We’re bulletproof.

Progesterone, 4 years later

The IUI went as planned on Saturday, and today I went in for a blood progesterone test. It came back at 15.1 ng/mL, not as high as my highest value back in April 2013, but well within the normal range. Yay!


I wrote about progesterone back then, so I won’t go into detail about it here. However, I did notice a significant packaging change since last time:


I like that the new packaging allows me to pack just the 6 suppositories I need for tomorrow’s trip to Park City. Now if I can just figure out how to keep it on the DL while sharing a fridge with all C’s residency buddies and their kids… (Not that I’m embarrassed about infertility; I just think it might be a tad awkward to explain that the bullet-shaped things next to their kids’ string cheese are going to go up my hoo-ha…)

Oh, and another fun fact: I recently learned that my trans friend takes progesterone as part of her hormone therapy. In each 28-day cycle, she takes 200 mg of oral progesterone on cycle days 14-23 (along with an injection of estradiol every two weeks). Yet another unexpected human connection, brought to me courtesy of infertility!

A bit of good news

Seven months after we lost Jane, it appears that my cycles have normalized somewhat, and we are on track for our first properly-timed natural cycle IUI. (Second IUI overall since Jane.)

Here’s a TMI TTC timeline:

Cycle start Notes Positive OPK Cycle length Ovulation?
July 24 Delivered Jane n/a 11 weeks ?
October  7 1st period postpartum CD8 and CD16 (!) 26 days In Europe, tried ourselves
November 2   CD24 35 days In Texas, tried ourselves
December 7   CD35 46 days IUI after positive OPK
January 22 CD15 26 days C out of town; office closed for holiday
February 17 Trigger Friday (CD15) ? This Saturday?

 

Our plan was to do as many natural cycle IUIs as Kaiser would let us get away with, but our travel plans got in the way twice, and my cycles got progressively longer and more difficult to anticipate (leading me to wonder if this is what perimenopause looks like…)

After a couple of disappointing mid-cycle ultrasounds, the nurse practitioner at Kaiser volunteered that I could call as soon as I got a ‘high’ or ‘peak’ reading on my advanced OPK, and she would squeeze me in to take a look. That’s how the IUI went down in early January (the day after an ‘oops’ positive OPK and same-day sonogram showing a mature follicle). And then Presidents’ Day went and mucked up the February cycle…

 

All that to say that this cycle things appear to be on-track:

  • On Sunday (CD10), I got a ‘high’ reading on my OPK.
  • I called Monday and got an appointment for a mid-cycle ultrasound today (CD13).
  • On ultrasound today, I had not one, but two nice-looking 16 mm follicles (one on each side).
  • My uterine lining looked “great” (9-10 mm?).

Since the clinic isn’t open Sunday, we scheduled an IUI for Saturday morning, with plans to trigger on Friday.

Wish me luck!