Betas

Well, my FET was officially a success (so far), as confirmed by bloodwork this past Thursday. At 9dp5dt, my beta came in at 233.  This is by far the best beta I’ve ever had.  In my previous 3 chemical pregnancies, I never really even got out of the teens for my first betas.  For my blighted ovum,  I was at 86 at 16dpo.  I was thrilled for a few hours, but then anxiety set in.  One strong beta didn’t mean much, I told myself.  I started to get a horrible gut feeling that the number would drop for the second blood draw and that would be that.

I got my second blood draw Saturday morning and was a wreck all day waiting for the results. I sat at my kitchen table for hours, staring at my phone, not even able to move. Finally, by late afternoon I got the call that my numbers at 11dp5dt had increased to 599 – Just about a 36 hour doubling time, which is great.

Since getting that news yesterday I’ve started to feel a little more confident, but I am still terrified. I believe the odds of this working out are pretty good, but after three years of falling on the wrong side of the statistics (recurrent losses…a loss with a PGS normal embryo…etc.), I am conditioned to believe that I will always be that one in a million who gets a bad hand.

I have felt so much more anxiety in the past few days than I ever thought I would.  I always believed the past three years that once I got great looking betas I would just “know” it was a good pregnancy and could relax.  That is not the case at all.  I am terrified that I am going to end up blindsided and something bad will happen. After everything I have been through in this journey, it feels impossible to believe that all of a sudden I woke up one day, my transfer was successful, and I am really truly finally pregnant.

I have one more beta scheduled for next Friday, 5 days away. It is going to be a really tough week but I think the best I can do is keep myself preoccupied and just try the best I can to relax.  These 5 days are going to pass no matter what, so I might as well not torture myself in the meantime.

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7dp5dt

I meant to document more throughout this FET and it completely fell by the wayside.  I think I maybe have been too nervous to document another failure.

My transfer day was really special.  My doctor was not scheduled to do any transfers that day, but he wanted to do ours so he made a special exception.  I keep joking with my husband about being VIP’s there. He says its not exactly the place he wants to be a VIP, but I feel like at least it makes things more pleasant!

Anyway.  The day after transfer I lounged most of the day, and my husband gave me a sweet card and got my favorite foods. Basically every day since then has been an emotional rollercoaster of me thinking it worked one second, then convinced it didn’t the next second.

Originally I had planned to take a home pregnancy test only the morning of my blood test, but this morning (7dp5dt, 2 days before beta), I changed my mind. I could not wait any longer.  The second my husband left for work, I took the one and only test we have in the house.

If I did not have the history that I do of multiple miscarriages (including a PGS normal embryo!), then I think I would have been happy with the result this morning. It was a solid line, and certainly much better of a line than I’ve ever had this early on.  And I did feel elated, for the briefest second.  Then immediately I started worrying again that this will turn out to be another chemical pregnancy like my first FET. And now I’ve basically been paralyzed with fear all morning.  I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to take another test tomorrow.  What if everything is fine but the test doesnt look any darker? I’ll spend the whole day having a meltdown. I think I might just want to live in ignorant and hopeful bliss until I get my blood results.

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FET #3 has begun

After delaying this FET twice earlier in the year, somehow it is already time to get it started. Two weeks ago I started Lupron and had my endometrial scratch done (ouch), and last week was my baseline appointment.

The transfer is set for June 7th. Almost exactly one year after my beta for my first transfer, which ended in a chemical pregnancy. For almost every medicated/IVF cycle I’ve had in the past three years, I’ve looked for signs that the universe would align and I’d finally get pregnant with my take-home baby. Surely I would have thought that my transfer being on almost the exact date of my beta last year was some kind of sign. But, I no longer believe in signs. Or any kind of infertility serendipity.  It just is what it is.

I have mixed feelings about this cycle. I certainly don’t have the excitement and hope that I felt with my first FET last year, because I know realistically now the odds of it working are slim.  I’m sure there is still a tiny shred of hope deep down inside me somewhere, otherwise why would I still be doing this? I mostly feel dread and anxiety. Infertility is so much easier when you are between treatments and just living with the dull ache of childlessness day to day. The acute pain of facing another failed treatment is so much harder, and that is what fills me with dread.

As always, we have a plan for what we will do next should this transfer fail, which always helps me  feel a little better.

 

New FET Timeline

So, my FET is pushed back an extra month.  This is by design on my end.

I realized shortly after my last post that the revised timeline after the endo scratch timing snafu would have me transferring in late May.  After giving it some thought, I decided I was not comfortable with this timeline, as I have debilitating seasonal allergies every May. Logically I know there is probably nothing legitimate to support this thought process, but I have fears that transferring at the height of my allergy attack would cause some type of immune reaction that would kill my embryos. I just don’t want to do anything that would cause me to think “what if”, if the transfer fails.

So, I decided to tack on an extra month of birth control for a tentative June transfer. Next week I start the last pack of birth control and will touch base with my doctor to reschedule the endometrial scratch, and determine a time frame to get back on Lupron (goody!) for FET prep.

In the meantime I’ve decided I have had enough of being bloated, lazy and depressed.  So I’ve revamped my diet (no more Ben & Jerry’s!) and started a workout program. I am a couple weeks in and can already see slight progress in my body. Even better, I feel healthier and happier than I have in months!

Delayed.

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My FET is officially delayed.  I have spent the last month on a combination of birth control + Lupron (pure hell, in my opinion), only for CD1 to arrive 3 days before my scheduled endometrial scratch.  I cannot do the scratch once a new cycle starts as its too late by that point, so now I have to start the entire thing over again.  Another 3 weeks of birth control, then add back in Satan’s juice – I’m sorry, I mean Lupron – and go in mid-April for the scratch, take two.

I am not devastated or anything by the delay itself because frankly I am in no rush to face what I assume will be another failed transfer.  However, I have really been suffering on this bcp/Lupron combination – It has made me so damn FAT and bloated. Not to mention depressed. Like, catatonic depressed.  I think I barely spoke last week, I mostly just cried.  And I usually handle side effects pretty well.

Anyway, now it’s looking like my transfer will be sometime in May, assuming there are no more roadblocks.  At the end of the day I am fine waiting longer and struggling some more with the meds if at least means I won’t blame myself for skipping the scratch or doing it at the wrong time if/when this next transfer fails.

Obviously I am in a very negative and pessimistic place right now, so maybe I’ll make use of this extra time by trying to regain a small shred of optimism.

 

PGS Results

I wasn’t expecting my PGS results until next week, but I received a call yesterday with the news.

I should preface this by saying that I am a numbers-oriented person, and so when my first IVF cycle resulted in 50% normal embryos, I assumed that would be a stable proportion for cycles to follow. By that logic, I was excited, as I expected somewhere around 9-10 of my embryos to be normal.

So, the results I got yesterday were a little shocking.  Out of 19 embryos biopsied, only 4 came back normal. How could this have happened?  I am only 29, I should have had more than 20% of my tested embryos come back normal.

Also unsettling was the news that 5 embryos had no diagnosis, or were inconclusive. When I started the IVF/PGS journey last year I was told it was very rare to get no diagnosis on your embryos. So how in the world did another 25% of this one batch come back inconclusive?

I have had a lot of mixed feelings about these results.  Last cycle I was thrilled to have 3 normals.  On the other hand, I never dreamed I would transfer them all without success. So, this time around I know that 4 may not be enough to get a baby.  It also makes me worried that there is a deeper problem with my eggs/embryos that will prevent them from ever producing a healthy pregnancy.

For now, the plan is to move forward with transferring 1 embryo next month.  We will save 2 of the 4 for a surrogate in case we get to that point. Before transferring the 4th embryo, we will probably do another retrieval and re-test the inconclusive embryos at that time in hopes of banking a few more. These plans could change, but it feels like the most conservative route at this time.  Of course my hope is that a miracle happens and next month I find out I am finally pregnant with my take-home baby, but my expectations are also fairly low after all that has happened in the past 2.5 years.

 

IVF # 2 Update and FET Plans

The past week has flown by as I’ve recovered from the retrieval and awaited next steps.

The day after the retrieval, we received an excellent fertilization report: Of the  27 eggs retrieved, 24 were mature, and 23 of those fertilized successfully with ICSI. Much better number and percentage than cycle 1! I am not sure whether it is because the egg quality was better, or just pure luck, but I am pleased with those results.

Within a week after the retrieval, we received more good news: 13 of our embryos made it to blast on day 5, and another 3 on day 6, for a total of 19 embryos biopsied for PGS and frozen! I couldn’t believe it. The results were so radically different from my first cycle, when only 6 embryos made it to blast, and most of those were day 6’s.

Now we have to cross the final hurdle (for this portion of the process), and wait for the PGS results. I am very scared that this is where I’ll lose all my embryos and find out that only one or two were normal.  I would be elated to have several normal embryos to work with because it would really take the pressure off to not have to do a retrieval again any time soon, or maybe never again.

Because we are doing Next Generation Sequencing, the results won’t come in as fast as the regular array CGH results did. I was told I would have the results by the 18th, so it could be another long 12 days!

In the meantime, I have started the beginning phase of the FET protocol. I am currently on birth control, and will start Lupron at the end of next week. Currently we are looking at a mid-April transfer.  (Assuming I have at least 1 to transfer!) I am not nearly as eager to get the transfer moving as I was for our first FET. Back then I thought it was just a matter of getting the embryo into me and poof, I’d be pregnant. But, unfortunately now I know better, and I know that my odds of having success next transfer aren’t great. All the more reason I am hoping I have many embryos to keep trying with!