Symptoms

My next assignment is the seven week ultrasound on February 3. Until then, I’m just playing the waiting game…

“Oh, the waiting game sucks, let’s play Hungry Hungry Hippos.” ~ Homer J. Simpson

Meanwhile I have my symptoms to keep me company and wonder if they’re from an actual healthy pregnancy, from the progesterone, or from my wacked-out thyroid levels.

Symptom 1: Sore and enlarged chestal area. I feel like my boobs have shin splints.

Symptom 2: Sudden-onset exhaustion. Sometimes, apropos of nothing, I feel like an animal control officer just tranq-darted me in the ass. Yet when I try to nap, I often feel too wired to sleep.

Symptom 3: Fuzzy brain. Um… Wait, what were we talking about?

Symptom 4: Occasional mild nausea. Of course I have had a spot of this during many non-productive two-week waits, so there could be a psychosomatic element.

Symptom 5: Laser-nose. It can even predict the future. I once smelled my cat’s poop before he even pooped. (Or maybe he just let out a little gas on his way into the restroom…)

Symptom 6: Bottomless stomach. I am ravenously hungry almost all the time. I only quit eating because I run out of food or because I can feel my belly is physically uncomfortably full. It’s annoying having to wait a few hours so I can eat again.

Symptom 7: Vivid dreams. This is probably the progesterone more than anything (it tends to begin as soon as I start the progesterone, when I can’t possibly be pregnant yet). But it’s fun. And sometimes scary. But I’ve never minded scary dreams. The relief when you wake up is so awesome. The best dream so far was singing Bohemian Rhapsody with Freddie Mercury. What an (imaginary) honor!

Symptom 8: A crazy kind of energy that seems to resonate between my sacral chakra (womb) and my throat chakra. I don’t know to what extent chakras are really “things,” but they do describe certain body areas (like handy geographical markers) and some feelings and issues that seem to go with those areas.

Anyway, the energy is always there, some times stronger than others, and it can take an act of will to just let it be and go on with my day. It makes it much easier for me to feel overwhelmed / irritable if I’m not careful. I have tried meditating on it, but the energy is so strong that when I try to fall into it, my body kind of shakes and I snap out of the meditation.

So I’m stuck with this powerful energy I can’t quite access. It’s kind of intimidating. And also kind of amazing. I’m not sure what to do with it other than try to honor it and keep trying with the meditation. Lord knows I need to get back into my practice on a consistent basis. This is a nice kick in the root chakra.

(Oh yeah, and I crave wine all the time. Sometimes red, sometimes white. So far I have not indulged.)

All of this comes and goes, stronger sometimes and weaker others. I try not to obsess, because I’ve had really strong symptoms before, and it turned out to be nothing. (Mostly during my last own-egg FET, when I had most of these symptoms and was SURE I was pregnant. Nope.)

And, of course, every woman is different. Some people have no symptoms at all until the babies start coming out.

So take it all with a grain of salt. Just trying to pass the time here…

Fourth Beta Also Fine

They had me do another beta today even though I didn’t want the stress of it. I was too tired to argue. Thankfully it jumped from 253 to 546, which is a 43 hour doubling time.

We hung this beta result and the last up on our refrigerator as if they were our kids’ school projects that we were proud of. Right next to actual drawings by my first-grader pen pal in Louisiana, Makaylajazleen. She really loves pikols (pickles).

(Can you tell how hungry we are for kids?)

So basically my numbers have been dodging and weaving a bit, but the overall thrust is within normal parameters. In fact, if you plug them into the hCG calculator over at BabyMed, I’m trending right along the “average” line. (If you throw out either the first or the second number, there’s no problem at all.)

I am so done with these betas — all the stress cannot be good for an embryo (or two) trying to (hopefully) burrow in and develop!

The numbers still aren’t spectacular, but they seem… fine. Hopefully.

In any case, I’m so grateful to still be in this.

Still in the Game

So, my beta should have been around 182 today for a healthy doubling time of 48 hours. Waiting those 48 hours has not been fun. It’s tough not to know whether to mourn or rejoice. You just feel suspended in a void of dread. Chances were, it would not be good news.

Nonetheless, my pregnancy symptoms decided to ramp themselves up over the past two days, which was either hopeful or cruel. It could have just been all the progesterone I’ve been pumping myself with. After all, I had really strong pregnancy symptoms after my last FET, and it was a straight-up negative.

So in kind of a daze I went for my blood draw, then waited three hours until they called, then drove back to the lab, feeling like I was driving to my own execution. Just thinking how much I’d love to see it at 200 — how much that would put my mind at ease.

And… they handed the paper over… and I looked, my heart about to burst from the strain…

And it was 253. I laughed.

“That’s a really good number,” I said. It means a doubling time of 32 hours.

The nurse (who had drawn my blood three times in the past week and watched me crumple when I got my second beta number) said, “We like to make you smile.”

And for once, I got to call my husband with happy news.

So, we’re back in the game. Not out of the woods — it could be a blighted ovum or ectopic. But there’s also a good chance it might be just fine. (Maybe two embryos implanted, and only one made it.)

Back to the wait, probably for an ultrasound next time… but with a lot more hope in my heart.

It’s funny — most people who get positive pregnancy tests don’t test their beta numbers, and I’m not entirely sure why they tell us to do it when we do assisted reproduction. It’s not like it’s all that predictive. I had fantastic numbers during my previous pregnancy, and it was a blighted ovum. Others have great numbers and find out it’s ectopic. Still others have terrible numbers and end up with a perfectly healthy baby or two.

I really wish this time I hadn’t done it at all. I’d still be in the anxious wait for the ultrasound, but without those two awful pessimistic stressful days in between. I could have just enjoyed this time.

Anyhow. Thanks for being there through it all!

Not Good News

My beta on Friday was 52, and it should double every 48-72 hours, which means that by Monday a robust pregnancy should have been 150 or so.

It’s only 91. That corresponds to a doubling time of almost 90 hours.

I’d guess there’s about an 85% chance this will be an early miscarriage.

A minority of babies just don’t follow textbook patterns. And it is possible that two implanted and one fell away, and that’s the reason for the janky numbers. But 52 wasn’t that high in the first place, so…

I’m feeling pretty defeated on this one.

The clinic called much earlier in the day this time (I was told they do that when it’s bad news), and they told me to keep taking medications and test again in 48 hours.

EDIT: Actually, for the doubling time to be 72 hours (which is also considered normal), the number only had to be 106. So I’m not insanely far off, and sometimes the numbers just do weird things and no one knows why. But I’m definitely well below average, and there’s definitely an excellent chance this will fade into nothing. But some chance it won’t. Nothing to do but wait and see, and keep jabbing my ass in the meantime.

Harriet and Ozzie

Meet the (potential) kids:

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Both are grade 2 early blastocysts. (Grade 1 is the best, and the embryologist said he’s a harsh grader, and there’s no diffrence in success rate between grade 1 and grad 2 embryos. Makes you wonder why they put the pressure of a grade on a kid that young at all! 😛 )

Waiting for the weekend to pass so I can see if one or both is still around. It’s cold/rainy/icy here, so we’re hunkering down. Making a big pot of Thai chili ginger chicken soup helped pass some of the time. Feeling a bit nauseated (though it seems early for that) but still hungry all the time!

I think Harriet looks like the sun, and Ozzie has Albert Einstein hair.

 

First Beta: 52 at 13dpo (8dp5dt)

It is early to test, and anything over 30 is considered pregnant, so… I suppose I am officially pregnant.

It’s not a knock-your-socks-off-definitely-twins kind of number, but within the (wide) normal range, a bit below average. Everyone says it’s not the number that matters as much as how it rises — doubling every two days. (One woman I know on Facebook who had twins had a lower number than me on 13dpo. But most have had higher.) Second beta will be on Monday to find out how things are progressing, or if they are.

I feel a bit bad because I should be jumping through the rafters (and a part of me is), but I feel more like a deer in headlights. Like this could go away at any moment. Like this is just a trick to get me excited and then pull the rug out from under me. Because that’s the only experience I know.

For most people, at some point, things are different. Wouldn’t it be nice if this is that point for us?

It’s gonna be a very long weekend. I’ll try to fill it with good things (including homemade ginger chicken soup).

Breathing and hoping…

Waiting for First Beta

I just got the call from the lab that my beta number is in, but I have to wait for my clinic to call and tell me what it is.

Last night the line was a little darker, so that’s a good sign. Hopefully.

And I spoke with the clinic (earlier), my endocrinologist, and my RE about the thyroid issue, and they all said about the same thing: Increase your dose to 100 and retest in a month. Here’s hoping it will be enough.

I know it’s crucial when it gets to the fetal stage, around 9 weeks, and I’ve been trying to figure out if it matters as much in the embryonic stage. So far I haven’t found a good answer. But I lost my last (chromosomally normal) pregnancy in the embryonic stage when I had a high TSH. No way to know if that was a key reason it was lost, but you can perhaps understand my worry.

Hoping for a good number today.