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!

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Tired

Thank you all so much for your kind response to my news. I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to provide an update. Lest you think ‘No news is bad news’, I’ll spoil the punchline by telling you that all is well (as far as we know).

I hate to use a lame pregnancy excuse, but I am so tired that I can barely keep up with my work responsibilities, which is why working on a blog post has been out-of-the-question…

Suffice it to say that I am having some pregnancy symptoms:

  • Extreme exhaustion (coupled with difficulty sleeping…awesome!)
  • Moodiness (poor C has been dealing with some serious crankiness, punctuated by tearing up every morning during some story on the Today show…)
  • Acne (enormous, sore, pressurized zits…possibly worse than when I was a teenager)
  • Constipation (‘nuff said)
  • Unsettled stomach (I wouldn’t call it nausea per se, but more an uncomfortable feeling and general lack of enthusiasm for food)

As those of you who have miscarried can appreciate, I’m actually grateful for every symptom. (I had very few and very mild symptoms last time…) But nonetheless, it feels like all I do is work, sleep, and go to appointments (acupuncture or RE’s office)…

Here are some pictures to fill out this post:

ImagePhoto from the black-tie wedding in Chicago where we made a baby! (Well, an embryo anyway. Doesn’t C look handsome in a tux?)

ImageEating a Chicago Dog at Wrigley Field with my buddy R. (Meanwhile, my little embryo was on its way to becoming a blastocyst…)

Image“Umm. Wake up, C! Wanna hear something weird?!…”

ImageWhen my temperature didn’t drop by 10,11,12 dpo, I thought something was up. Then when it did drop at 15 dpo, I. FREAKED. OUT!

ImageBut I kept going in for blood tests, and my betas looked good…

ImageWhen I got to work the day of the ultrasound, I found these from my thoughtful colleague K! Notice the graduated cylinder ‘vase’.

ImagePrayed a lot to St. Gerard, and wore my lucky socks to the first ultrasound appointment. By my estimate, baby should be ~ 5 weeks 5 days old…

C and I were blown away to see this. “Baby Lou” (as my mom has taken to calling it in her nightly prayers) measured 5 weeks 6 days, with a steady heartbeat! (You can see the yolk sac ~6 seconds.)

This was HUGE news for us. Last time, we learned at our 8 week ultrasound that the baby was only measuring 5 weeks 5 days (no heartbeat). I miscarried naturally about a week later. That one extra day means that we’ve at least made it farther than last time.

And we’ve got a heartbeat.

We know that we are still so far from out of the woods, but we’ve decided to be hopeful. I even went out and bought another copy of The Belly Book to stick our ultrasound pics in.

And now, we wait.

Fortunately, a ‘perk’ of being an IF patient with Kaiser is that I get weekly ultrasounds until I ‘graduate’ to the OB (~9 weeks). So we’ll do it again on Friday (6w6d)…

A funny thing happened on the way to Colorado…

But first, I want to apologize for the radio silence. It started because I was so busy with the start of the school year…

  • We traveled to Chicago Labor Day weekend (8/31-9/2) for a good friend’s wedding. (I got my positive OPK there, so, once again, our plans for natural cycle IUI were foiled…)
  • Fall classes started that Wednesday (9/4).
  • My promotion portfolio was due Friday (9/6).
  • Then on Saturday (9/7), I flew to Indianapolis for a whirlwind trip the American Chemical Society meeting.
  • Then back Monday (9/9) to teach the second week of classes…

And then on Friday (9/13), I found myself…

a little bit.

pregnant.

 

 

As most of you know, I’ve been diagnosed with diminished ovarian reserve (AMH 0.19, FSH 13). I was a poor responder in both menopur + IUI and low-stim + IVF cycles. We were told by three different doctors that our chances of success with my eggs were slim.

We spent the last couple months doing (well, intending to do…) natural cycle IUI and taking a laundry list of supplements in the hope that they might improve egg quality, in preparation for a ‘last ditch’ high-stim IVF cycle at CCRM.

We had our CCRM phone consult a couple weeks ago, and scheduled our one day workup for this coming Tuesday (9/24).

As most of you also know, I’m a religious BBT charter. As a result, I know that I have a short luteal phase (usually only 10 days or so). When I got to 11, 12, 13dpo without a temperature drop (and noticed that my boobs were almost filling the cups of my bra…), I started to hope. Then a week ago Friday, I caved and used an old home pregnancy test I had lying around.

It was positive.

I called Dr. Y’s office and the advice nurse ordered a blood test.

  • Beta #1 (at 13dpo) was 110.

Then on Saturday, the spotting started. Red at first, then brown. On Sunday my BBT dropped half a degree and we just knew that we were miscarrying again. That morning I also realized that I had somehow FORGOTTEN to use the progesterone suppositories that the nurse told me to use when I called on Friday!! (You have no idea how completely out of character it is for me to ‘forget’ instructions from my healthcare provider…especially about something this important!!!) So I cried in bed for over an hour on Sunday, reading and rereading supportive comments on the online forum for my local Resolve support group, sure that I had killed our miracle baby with my thoughtlessness.

 

But I went in on Monday for Beta#2.

  • Beta #2 (at 16dpo) was 380.

I continued spotting for six days, but I kept going in for blood tests.

  • Beta #3 (at 18dpo) was 980.
  • Beta #4 (at 21dpo) was 3512.

Thankfully, the spotting seems to have stopped for now.

 

 

So now I’m feeling a bunch of things:

1) Elated. This is what we’ve been praying for the past 19 months. What we paid about $12K for so far, with nothing to show for it. What we were prepared to shell out another $25-30K more for at CCRM… And somehow we hit the jackpot ‘the old-fashioned way’?!

2) Terrified. Last time we got a BFP (nearly a year and a half ago), we miscarried at 9 weeks after seeing no heartbeat at our 8 week ultrasound. We were sad, but that was just the start of our infertility journey. At the time we were so sure that we would be pregnant again in a month or two. We’ve had a roller coaster year of infertility, a DOR diagnosis, a life-threatening injury, and two failed ART cycles since then. I can only imagine what a miscarriage would be like now that we know what is at stake… We are so far from out of the woods, and I’m really scared.

3) Embarrassed. I know it sounds really stupid, but I feel like a big fat infertility fraud. Like all the wonderful people I’ve met through this journey will resent me. (I could hardly blame them, as I’ve resented my share of pregnant women.) I feel bad for even saying that I feel this way. I’m sure you’re all like “Boo hoo for the poor pregnant girl.” But it’s weird. Infertility has become a part of my identity somehow. If this pregnancy sticks, does that part of me just die?

 

 

So we canceled the trip to Colorado. (Well, for fear of jinxing it, I waited until Beta #2, and used the word “postpone” rather than “cancel” when I called CCRM…)

Our first ultrasound is on Friday.

We are cautiously hopeful…

*******

To our friends IRL, I’m sorry that you’re hearing our news for the first time like this. Given our history and how early it is in the pregnancy (just 5 weeks today), we’re not ready to share far and wide yet… But I didn’t want to leave you hanging! C & I would appreciate your discretion for now.