Reappearing Through the Fog

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First off let me apologize for becoming one of those bloggers who gets pregnant and disappears off the face of the earth, so not my intent. Quite the opposite in fact, I have so much on my mind I’ve been waiting for a good time to get it all out, instead of just posting a rushed update (which in hindsight, I probably should have thrown something out there for those who remembered my first ultrasound was this past Friday). We finished our vacation in Hawaii and flew home last Tuesday, J had caught a cold early on in the trip but I managed not to catch it from him…until about 4 days before we came home. So by the time we did fly home, I was a snotty, congested mess. I called off sick for what would have been my first two days back at work, but by Friday I knew I would have to get up for my ultrasound appointment and just suck it up and go to work after.

The morning of our ultrasound, I still wasn’t feeling great but the extreme pressure in my ears had finally popped. I got in the shower but started to feel a bit off, turns out Poppet (this is our baby’s nickname, I’ll explain later) decided the day of the ultrasound was as good as any for me to start experiencing morning sickness. I was trying to drink water to fill my bladder for the ultrasound, but couldn’t keep it down, so I desperately drank piping hot mint tea on the way to the appointment in hopes of quelling my nausea and that my tiny bladder would fill quickly.

The waiting room was empty, (as opposed to the first time I was there, making the appointment, when it was full of pregnant women) on account of our very early appointment. We didn’t wait long and we were called back by the ultrasound tech. She had me hop up on the table, and there was a seat for J behind me. She asked me my LMP, and I told her I thought it was Nov. 27, but that it didn’t really matter because I am an IVF pregnancy (which she then noted on my info up on the screen). So she asked my due date instead, which my clinic gave me as Sept. 2. She got down to business straight away and squeezed the jelly onto my stomach. It felt strange to have an abdominal ultrasound, rather than vaginal. The only other time I’ve had an external (as opposed to internal) ultrasound was when they did my embryo transfer so it was an interesting deja vu.

As soon as she placed the ultrasound tool on my stomach she noted that my bladder was not full at all. I apologized and told her I’d been sick that morning and had a hard time drinking the recommended amount of water. She told me she would have to do a vaginal ultrasound, and asked me if I was familiar with them. I had to laugh, and told her I was extremely familiar, which she noted, of course I would be. She left the room to get the “probe” and let me get into a state of undress. When she came back in, she prepped the wand and then handed it to me under the sheet and asked me to insert it…This was very odd and I even gave her a startled, “Me?”. She told me, I would know best what was comfortable better than her. Well ok, fair enough. She was also very tactful and kept the sheet covering me the entire time. A lot different from my experiences with probings of an infertility nature.

As she moved the wand around, I could immediately see my uterus (a fair bit bigger than before!) and in it a little blob, and before she could even point it out, I could see a little flashing in the centre of the blob. There was the heartbeat I’d been desperate for. After wanding around a little bit longer, she focused on the heartbeat for a moment, pointed it out, and for a few short seconds a sound filled the room. The most amazing thing I had ever heard, our baby’s heartbeat, strong and fast at 163 BPM. The tears flowed freely and slid into my hairline, since I was laying on my back.

After taking several pictures, and measurements, pointing out the head and the rump (which was all sort of indistinguishable as it was curled up into a tiny ball) the tech left the room to let me redressed. When she came back she put some pictures on our USB (that we were told to bring) and printed us a single photo. J and I hugged, and kissed, basking in the surreal-ness of the whole experience. There was actually something in there, something with a heartbeat.

The whole time since our positive and rising betas, and especially since my episode of bleeding in Hawaii, I’ve had a hard time really believing or wrapping my head around the fact that there truly was a living thing in my uterus. None of it was tangible enough for me, I need visual proof to allow me to believe. Plus I was terrified of something going wrong, and finding out at the ultrasound like, feeling like some sort of fool for believing things were actually progressing how they should. I’d been behaving like a pregnant person, but I still felt like a fraud until that little flashing blip came into view on the screen.

Since then, I’ve had one person ask me if I was planning on having kids (an acquaintances mother, whom I hadn’t seen in a while), and I gave the same answer I always do, “eventually”. I had to cancel the appointment I had to get my wisdom teeth removed. I made it knowing full well (and hoping) that I may be pregnant, but I didn’t want to put off making the appointment just in case I jinxed myself by counting on getting pregnant. When I called they asked if I’d like to reschedule, which I declined, and told the receptionist that I was pregnant so wouldn’t be able to reschedule for a while. A girl I went to high school with had a baby recently (unplanned pregnancy with someone she ended the relationship with before she even knew she was pregnant), and it still rubbed me the wrong way. I see pregnancy announcements on Facebook, and pregnant people in real life and I still cringe. It’s a built-in reflex that will probably take a while to fade out.

As terrible as it may sound, I waited to start filling out my pregnancy journal until the day we had our ultrasound. I didn’t want to have that ripped from my hands before we had really any gotten anywhere concrete. I am still cautious about what’s around every corner, but the ultrasound did good things to my scarred soul.

The symptoms that I so desperately wished for while in Hawaii, still wondering about the contents of my uterus have made themselves known. I’ve had a few episodes of vomiting, and I don’t feel the greatest in the morning. I am tired a lot, and breast tenderness shows up with a vengeance around bed time. I have a few food aversions, but mostly I just crave fresh things, lots of fruits, and vegetables. Apples are my favourite. My cravings lend to a healthy diet, though sometimes at lunch when I don’t know what I want I come back to work with a random bag of groceries because I just couldn’t decide. My forehead is as angry as ever, flaring up in full on acne, the one consistent since about a week after the transfer. But I am happy, elated, scared and hesitant. One step at a time, and 8 weeks tomorrow. Thank you all for the love and support. I’m here, I’m back, and I’m not planning on disappearing anytime soon.

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The Follow Up

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Once I received my positive beta numbers I was sent into a tizzy with the next steps I needed to manage. After speaking with my clinic, the nurse advised me that I needed to get in for my next beta (that she couldn’t send me for), as well as a 7 week ultrasound (which she couldn’t book for me). My clinic has had their hand slapped by Big Brother (the Governmental overseeing body) and is no longer allowed to do any prenatal monitoring as they are specifically a fertility clinic and not an OB/GYN. So, the clinic advised me to contact my family doctor to order my next beta and arrange an ultrasound.

I don’t like my family doctor (she was very flippant and dismissive when I came to her after a year of trying to conceive), plus she only works 2 days a week and her location is no longer convenient to me as she is in a suburb of the city I currently live in (I used to live in said ‘burb, funny how I moved out of the ‘burbs and into the city to start a family). I don’t trust her to give me the care and attention I crave, since being under the watchful eye of the clinic. I’ll admit my fertility clinic is far from perfect but I know the people, the routines, what is expected of me and what I can expect from them. All of this prenatal stuff is new to me, and I’m struggling. My GP is away until Jan. 6 and her office was unwilling to help me, so I went to a walk in clinic.

A walk in clinic at Christmas time (well anytime really) is never a place I want to be spending my evening, because I know I will be trapped there for hours of unending boredom. I wasn’t wrong about that as I endured listening to the most odd couple pair of nurses manning the counter for 2 hours, before I finally got moved to an exam room, where I sat for another half hour. I feel badly for the doctors in walk in clinics. Most people are not super happy after they’ve been left to wait for several hours while generally feeling unwell so I tried to be patient.

When he finally came in, he asked what he could do for me. I explained that I was newly pregnant as a result of IVF and my clinic needed to pass me off to a doctor, but that I didn’t have one to be passed off to. I told him my clinic wanted me to have another beta done, and that I needed to be referred to an OB. There was supposed to be a fax sent to the walk in clinic with instructions from my clinic but there was some confusion and it went to the wrong clinic (that was my fault) and the clinic it went to shredded it, so I couldn’t even get it forwarded to the correct place. So I did my best to just ask for what I thought I needed. Once the doctor grasped my convoluted situation, he offered his congratulations, took my blood pressure, and checked my throat and lungs. He offered me some pearls of wisdom for pregnancy including (but not limited to); “no crazy sex, try to avoid potholes (so as not to jolt myself too hard), no heavy lifting, and don’t let myself get too physically or mentally exhausted”. Thank you for the vague, generic advice…

Afterwards he ushered me into his office to ask about my medical history, get me a bunch of requisitions and refer me to an OB. As he began filling out my medical history, he asked “why I had to do IVF, as I’m only 27” (his words). I gave him a sort of vague answer, concerns on my husband’s side of things. He asked how long we tried before IVF and I told him a little over a year naturally, then 3 IUI’s then IVF. He then asked me what an IUI was, I am not shitting you. I answered his questions, he gave me a requisition for an early pregnancy work up, my next beta, an ultrasound and a referral to an OB. Not only that, he asked me if there was an OB in particular that I wanted. Seeing as I had just spent two hours sitting in a waiting room, of course I had done some searching on rate my MD. The doctor I chose didn’t have the highest ratings, but she is at the same hospital as my clinic (which I very much wanted) and a lot of complaints with the doctor actually had to do with her staff so I think it will be fine. I appreciate that he gave me a choice.

I spoke to my clinic the day after I went to the walk in clinic and told her what transpired, and that I just asked the doctor for everything I needed and got him to refer me to an OB. She told me I did so good, not having had any of the paperwork from the clinic with me, so I’m glad that all worked out. She advised me to do my beta next week to see that it is over 1000, rather than just checking to see if it was doubling (since I only had the one requisition for another beta). She told me to book my ultrasound for the week of Jan. 11, we get home from Hawaii on Jan. 13 so I will have to miss a bit of work right after returning from holidays, but I don’t care. Though the clinic can’t monitor me anymore, the nurse is sending me a requisition for my nuchal translucency testing to complete between weeks 11 – 13 and referring it back to my OB (now that I have one). She told me I can stop progesterone at 10 weeks, but I am hoping I can see my OB before then so I can chat to the doctor about it, as I don’t want to just stop on my own.

The whole situation is still so surreal. Having a conversation with the walk in clinic doctor about my pregnancy just seemed so far-fetched. I toggle between trying not to get too excited, and my mind being blown. I feel a little like I am back in that naive spot of when I first started TTC. I’m a pro at infertility now, but I don’t know how to handle this whole pregnancy situation. J is so so excited. I sort of want him to take the enthusiasm down a notch, but really, can I blame him? I’m terrified of something bad happening, but if I try to remain stoic, is it really going to hurt any less if something does go wrong? If this had happened naturally I would have thrown myself into pregnancy books, and researching everything I could right from day one, but now I am hesitant and reserved. I will probably wait until at least having our 7 week ultrasound before I do much of anything. No sense in getting ahead of myself. I am going to enjoy this time, but take it day by day.

And on that note, Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

I Can’t Even Make This Sh*t Up

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I swear infertility is stalking me now, permeating every part of my life, even those areas I thought were safe. Last night I joined J at his boss’s house for their department Christmas get together, just a small gathering with around 10 or so people. Almost none of these people have children (actually come to think of it, I don’t know if any of them do…), so there were no kids around. Just a group of adults having a nice evening together. When I arrived they were just starting to play a murder/mystery game, one of those things where everyone gets a character and there are scripted interactions,  to lead your through and at the end you have to guess who is the murderer (kind of like a real life version of clue).

Throughout the game there are clues to add suspicion to some of the characters. Well one of the clues happened to be a prescription for fertility medication that one of the characters, “Tara”, had taken to get pregnant by her fiance’s twin brother. (I know, it was a weird game). It was funny because the fake prescription even had legit instructions on it like, take from cycle days 3 – 7…ect. But, the weirdest part, is that my dear hubby was playing the character of Tara’s fiance, who was unable to get her pregnant, which is why she was sleeping with his brother. So. Strange. When we got home later that night I mentioned to J how weird it was, and that as soon as the clue mentioned fertility meds, and the instructions did he not immediately think, oh Clomid!

Seriously, it was like a weird omen or something, because today is CD1, and I start Clomid on Monday. So, just as I suspected our cycle of “not trying” did not magically get us pregnant. As Lindsey at Awaiting Autumn says, it’s going to be a “Clomid Christmas”. Luckily last time I took Clomid it didn’t send me for a loop or anything, but I did have a lot of headaches. How fun for me over Christmas. Naaaawt! 

So I called the clinic today to book my IUI appointments for Jan. 2, 3, and 4. I have to use OPK’s and I only go in the day after I get a positive. I spoke to the nurse about in what situation would I have follice monitoring, and she said only when you are on injectables do they do that, and then the Dr. will trigger ovulation, and book your IUI for the appropriate day. I asked at what point do they recommend this, as I am only using Clomid and OPK’s at this point. She said usually they do 3 unmonitored cycles, and then move to something else (ie. injectables, IVF, whatever). Which is sort of what the Dr. M said, is that we would try 3 cycles just with Clomid (the stats for success decline drastically after 3 cycles of IUI) and then go from there. He didn’t say what would come after those 3 cycles, but I don’t really want to find out. I said to the nurse that using injectables probably gives a better chance as it is more accurate then? She said it is more accurate in pinpointing ovulation, because it is triggered and then they know how many follies we’re working with as well. She said that I could talk to the nurse and possibly my Dr. about doing that for my 3rd try (if we get to that point).

So I am glad I asked, and am taking charge. If we are setting a limit on ourselves to take an extended break from TTC to pursue other things in our lives after the 3rd cycle then I want to know that we gave it our best shot. Even though I am scared sh*tless about having to use injectables (and the possibility of multiples, dear gawd help me if that happens). So we’ll see where that goes. I know it is pessimistic to be thinking past the cycle I just started but I’ve got to think about these things, so I can stay on top of it all.

Also, interesting side note; I asked the nurse about how to count my CD if my period starts very late in the day/overnight (like it did this time) and she said if it starts after 4pm, the next day of full flow is your CD1. Good to know! On to cycle #20…

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