My betas with Alex

Seems to me that this pregnancy is looking very similar to Alex’s betas.

These are Alex’s number:
11dpo 12
15dpo 51
18dpo 196
21dpo 1300
25 dpo 6100
29dpo 16,000

This pregnancy:
13 dpo 35
15 dpo 78
20 dpo 972

By tomorrow I should be at 1400 or so.

Waiting

I gave blood and now will probably have to wait for the results. I’m already feeling very bad for my nurse – she’ll have to call me with bad news. When she called me last week to tell me that the beta had doubled I joked with her that I was beginning to associate bad things with her phone calls. You know, I could be wrong about this – but consider the evidence:

Since I found out I was pregnant I’ve been peeing constantly and feeling rather nauseated. On Saturday I woke up and both of those feelings had gone away. My uterus feels a bit soft now, whereas one week ago it was a bit hard. I have a back ache – this is pretty common in pregnancy but combined with the other symptoms (or lack of) I’d say it is not a good sign for me. I just don’t feel pregnant anymore.

I have SOME evidence to the contrary – I have had a few spells of nausea and my breasts still hurt (ish).

I just have a bad feeling and I’m usually right about these things.

15 dpo

So the beta HCG rose to 78. More than doubled by 8 points. I’m happy. Sure a lot could go wrong but we are off to a decent start. I bought about 100 dollars worth of pregnancy tests – much to my husband’s chagrin. They weren’t a total waste of money, though – I was able to see the progression and the darkening of the second line which told me that the HCG was indeed increasing – and that saved a lot of tears and agony (I’ll post a photo of them soon for all those who search for such things).

I’m still exhausted and hungry all the time but I can manage that – the idea that IVF and all its trapping might be a thing of the past just seems too good to be true!

I had a wonderful conversation with Dr. Schoolcraft yesterday. I’ll post more about that later – for now, I’m going to try to take a nap.

Thanks for checking in – still kinda shocked that some 50 – 100 of you actually read a blog that deals with news about my boobs and ovaries.

14 dpo

The torture is never ending.

Last night I peed on another stick. Line came up after a minute or so slightly darker than the previous day. When I spoke to the nurse she told me that an HPT would be show a light line with a beta level of 35. The line was indeed light. At 4:30am I tested again – right after I peed on the stick I noticed the blood. Not a lot but definitely red – by 7am it had turned to brown. Implantation bleeding? I had that with Alex so wouldn’t be surprising.

I peed on yet another stick while talking to my friend John. Yes, he is one of THOSE kinds of friends. A good one. He proved to be a lucky charm – the line was instantly darker – in fact, it is the same color as the control. So something is either growing or trying to grow.

My consult with Dr. Schoolcraft is tonight.

So it goes like this

I tested on Friday at 10 dpo.  The test was super faint.  I used a First Response Early Result – last time I had a super faint HPT at 10 dpo (also on a Friday) my beta hcg was 12.  By Tuesday my level had reached 51 and pregnancy resulted in my son.  Today my beta was at 35 which would mean we want to see anything above 65 or so on Wednesday.

I can’t beta hell.  It could go either way.  When I woke up this morning it felt like my breasts weren’t as heavy and I still felt nauseated but not as much as I had the day before.  I could be wrong – but I haven’t been so far.

I have a consult with Dr. Schoolcraft tomorrow from CCRM in Colorado.  I’ll just focus my energy on the next cycle and hopefully be pleasantly surprised with this one.

how to become a janitor

Honestly – how do search terms like this lead one to my blog?

I feel like a janitor – I often look like a janitor but there is no information here that will help you become a janitor (a good one anyway).

I gave blood today.  I felt ill the entire time.

I should have a beta hcg number this afternoon – which I will promptly post.  Either way I will stress – if it is too low I am going to think that something is on its way out.  If it is too high – I’m going to stress about high order multiples.

In all honesty, I’m starting to feel like this cycle won’t work – simply because it cannot be this easy..

IVF #4

While I wait to pee on a stick…perhaps now is a good time to tell you about failures 4, 5 and 6!  Because I cannot wait to spread the cheer!

IVF #4 started in late April – just after my 40th birthday.  About a year previous, when I was 9 months post partum, our RE recommended that we begin IVF asap.  We were in the middle of a move to another city (Atlanta) and the timing was not great.  We did a number of tests to ensure that my FSH was still low (and indicator or ovarian reserve) and was told that the number was around 7.  My highest reading to date by then had been 5 but anything under 10 is considered normal.  We figured a few more months wouldn’t hurt and we’d definitely need time to get settled in our new town before adding another pregnancy/child.  Nevermind the fact that we added a labrador retriever puppy to the mix – (I had no idea that a dog could be more work than a baby but I, um, know that now!)

We agreed in April to begin treatments with an RE in Atlanta who formerly practiced at Cornell (the number 2 clinic in the nation).  Dr. S is a nice guy – young, matter of fact.  He changed around my meds – which, in hindsight, I should have questioned.  So much of this process is a crap shoot and the medication protocol is by far the most important factor, in my opinion.  We went from a tried and true protocol to the crash and burn protocol.  I had 13 follicles with 5 eggs in them.  Of those 5 eggs, only 3 of them fertilized.  We put all of them back in on day 2.  Normally IVFers will put the embryos back in the uterus on day 3 – and if they are growing well and there is a large enough quantity of embryos – waiting until day 5 (blastocyst cycle).  Our RE called us the day after our fertilization report on Day 1 and said that based on the look of the embryos, he wanted to get them in sooner rather than later.  This concerned me.

On the day of embryo transfer I was given a percoset and told to arrive with a full bladder.  I was very excited when I entered the room where they tranfer the embryos to see a large digital photo of our three embryos.  They all looked good to me – even number of cells, little fragmentation – they looked perfect, in fact.  When I quizzed the embryologist he told me that “it doesn’t get better than this”.  The embryos were transferred and I went home to rest.  My mother was visiting and helped a great deal with my son – I was instructed not to pick him up for 2 weeks which is almost an impossible feat.  I was convinced that the cycle did not work – no symptoms other than feeling extremely exhausted (but that was likely the cause of the massive amounts of progesterone I was injecting into my body).  Around 9 days past ovulation I was eating a salad.  I took a bite of onion and suddenly felt the urge to vomit, I was cold and clammy and nearly fainted.  C looked at me wide eyed and said, “well, this is a good sign”.  He was right – the next day I took a test and it was positive.  Suddenly I started to feel every symptom – I was tired, cranky, blue veins all over my breasts, crazy dreams, hot flashes….  The next day every symptom was gone.  I rushed in to the doctor’s office for an early blood test.  Two hours later I got a call telling me that my beta level was 50.  I was definitely pregnant.  Exactly (and I do not exaggerate) 30 seconds later I started to bleed…and I mean bleed.

30 seconds of happiness and hope!  That was all this cycle could give me.  The next few days I spent in bed, hoping that the bleeding would stop.  I had another blood test a day later and…the level of HCG was going down.  A chemical pregnancy.  Something implanted and then died.  Probably a chromosomal abnormality – who knows.

I was going to jump right back into another cycle but this chemical hung around – for a month!  The levels would not go down.  Just when my RE was going to schedule a D&C – the levels started to drop.

And that, my friends, was that.

IVF #3 continued..the peeing on sticks begins

Where was I?  I got a faintly positive HPT….I wanted to be hopeful but unfortunately this was not the first time I’d been fooled. 

In November 2005, I was on my second cycle using clomid.  I’d given up on this cycle about a day or so after the doctor injected C’s washed sperm.  The follicles have to be a certain size before the administration of HCG (which tells them to mature and release from my ovary).  The idiots at my old clinic let my lead follicle (the boss of my ovary) mature to almost 3.0 – way too mature and thus completely useless.  I didn’t even bother with the progesterone suppositories – just gave right up and vowed never to go to that crappy clinic again. 

When it came time for me to pee on a stick, my Swiss co-worker urged me on.  He said, “I just know you are pregnant”.  I thought that was very odd and set out to prove him wrong.  Imagine my surprise when the HPT showed a positive sign.  I came out of the bathroom, told my co-worker that his intuition was right…and a small crowd appeared congratulating me.  My boss quickly pulled me into his office and closed the door- “Don’t say anything.  It is too soon and you are likely to be disappointed”.    Of course I didn’t listen.  I quickly called my husband, his parents, my own parents and then put a calendar pop up reminder saying “end of first trimester” on a random date 3 months in the future.  Of course all pregnancy test following were negative and so was the blood test three days later.  A chemical pregnancy.  Imagine the happiness my calendar reminder gave me by announcing “End of first trimester” right smack dab in the middle of my first failed IVF. 

Back to the cycle at hand – May 26, 2006…I did what any sensible POASer would do – I headed to my RE’s office for a blood test.  The blood test measures the level of HCG (Human chorionic gonadotropin) – which is given off by the developing embryo when it attaches itself to the lining of the uterus.  Most HPT measure levels above 50.  The test I took measures levels as low as 25….the one that I used must have been extra sensitive.  My level at 11 days past ovulation was 12.  My doctor looked concerned when he told me and so was I.  Most women on my message board going through IVF had levels of HCG that were 50 – 200 by this time.  I had a measly 12.   We headed upstate to our house in Pawling that weekend.  Some friends from Ohio were coming to visit.  That was promising to be a much needed distraction.

At the same time, my cat Poofie had taken a turn for the worst.  This cat was given to me by my grandmother as a graduation gift from college.  He was a strange cat who seemed to both love and hate me.  He didn’t have the greatest life, poor thing – I lived for years in an apartment the size of a large bathroom with his brother Ted.  Poofie did, however, love my husband.  He lost the use of his legs and we had decided to spend one last weekend with him in Pawling before putting him to sleep.  I was pretty down in the dumps about it but tried to focus on the little miracle inside me..hoping it might decide to stay around.  I promised I would wait until Tuesday’s blood test and not use the 10 remaining HPTs in my purse…but I broke down.  The test was still positive but fainter than before.  I keep peeing on sticks all weekend and watched them become fainter and fainter.  I knew what this meant.  Another chemical pregnancy.  I was devastated and morose.  My husband tried to comfort me but there was no use.  

I tried hard to focus on Poofie’s last few days on this earth and the guests at our house Adam and Shauna..they had been together for a few years, recently had a child and when the subject of marriage came up at the dinner table, I pounced on Adam.  Poor guy.  I had a heck of a time convincing C to marry me and felt great sympathy for Shauna who seemed to wonder what was taking Adam so long!  I basically grilled him – enjoying him squirm in his seat as I reminded him that Shauna had given him a child and that he was being dishonorable to both his daughter and to Shauna by not marrying her that instant!  I kept up my attack until much to the shock of everyone he stood up at the table, pulled a ring out of his pocket and knelt by Shauna’s side.  She began crying and I, of course, shut my mouth!  It was such a surreal moment – I couldn’t believe it was happening right there before our eyes!  Adam had planned to ask Shauna but couldn’t find the right moment and when I started in, he couldn’t bear it anymore.  He had lugged a huge backpack of quarters with him to NYC, cashed them in and bought a beautiful ring in the diamond district.

This made our weekend happier – and I felt bad that my misery seemed to cast a shadow on such a special moment.  I took time to be by myself and meditate.  I began to fall asleep when I suddenly had a huge feeling of deja vu and a sudden knowing.  “You will have three children so stop crying and live your life”.  It was by far one of the strangest things I’ve ever “known”…that is the only way to describe it.  I held on to that and have continued to do so throughout all the hard times and all the disappointments.  

I got up from my rest and joined the group.  Tests were all 100% negative and decided a glass of wine was in order…only I didn’t stop at a glass.  I drank an entire bottle and then in my infinite wisdom, popped an ambien.

The mood at our house greatly improved as we celebrated Shauna and Adam’s engagement…yes, I did wake up with a huge hangover and a splitting headache.  It had been a long time since I’d indulged in a “Judy Garland” night as my friend Sandy and I used to call them…

Tuesday was my official beta HCG test but I was convinced it was over – on to Cornell, a new RE and hopefully a chance to have a child.