When I last blogged about this whole “situation”, it was the day before our beta.
Thursday morning, June 30, I’d taken a HPT and gotten a big fat no, went back to bed and wept in my husbands arms. That afternoon we started talking possibilities, as I wanted to make sure we were looking at every type of option, including the following:
- End the chapter, do no more IVF, and wait for our Ethiopia referral… and go be married people for the next 2-3 years, something we’ve not gotten to do. After all, during our first year of marriage it was all about his immigration to the US, getting gainful employment once his work authorization arrived, and finishing up treatment for a medical condition he had battled for years. We could travel abroad, get our mortgage paid off, and just BE.
- Save up for the domestic adoption of an infant ($28,000-33,000). With waits at a mere 15-18 months compared to the 3-4 year estimate made by our (to put it nicely) brusque program manager (who, along with the agency owners, have so far chosen to blatantly ignore our email requesting they correct their details about our requirements), this would take a massive effort on our part and require withdrawal from Ethiopia where we’ve put down $18K already, but would be a viable option.
- Return to DEIVF after a 3 month break and keep transferring two at a time until they’re gone, if need be (up to $8,000). After all, we have 8 blastocysts still in the freezer and our transfers with these frozen embryos are the most economical option beyond doing nothing. I need a break no matter what, so we’d take the rest of the summer off, then do another transfer in October.
- Find a new donor in Spain where the cost is about 1/3 of what it is here, and take a DEIVF vacation to test the waters in a new way.
While it drove my husband a little batty to talk about potential logistics, for me it felt like a way to take charge of our family planning when most of what we deal with is well beyond our control. I wanted to make sure if we got a no, and I went into an emotional tailspin, that we’d have already addressed the “what next?” question…in an objective way.
Then this happened.
“One extra HPT, it’s 10PM and I got a BFN this morning…let’s use it up.”
That’s what I said to myself, and this picture above is what I got. No squinting needed, but I did yell at my husband to come take a look and indeedy, that’s a faint pink line. I giggled nervously, then got right onto Google to find out if that could be taken seriously. Then we went to bed, and by 5:30am I was wide awake, staring at the ceiling.
And just to make sure, I got out the final stick, and again the faint line appeared. Dan did my PIO shot, and I took off for the clinic downtown, a 15 minute drive, to have my blood drawn.
Nothing like trying to get it over and done with early. 90 minutes later, I finally pulled back into the driveway. Due to a sudden massive police action going on to find a very, very bad man, two of the major bridges going into downtown were totally closed, right at rush hour. Fortunately with my native knowledge of the city, I found a back way to get there via a bridge no one was using, and made it in and out, with a promise of a call by noon.
Well, not exactly noon it turned out. We were pretty optimistic because of the HPT but hell, anything’s possible when it comes to this process.
“I Have Good News for You, Aimee”
My doc calls around 1:30 I think and immediately can’t hear me talking…so it’s this “hello? can you hear me?” back and forth and I waited for him to call back. Bahhh!!
Yep, he confirmed that I’m pregnant. No seriously, for real, he said I’m pregnant!! My HCG at 8dp5dt is at 50, which he said is great, and he also checked my progesterone levels at the same time which he said is very very good.
Today, 12dp5dt, I went in for my 2nd beta (see why I was holding my breath to do another blog post?) and he said everything looks great! As over 4 days he hoped they’d quadruple from 50, they more than did and are at 270. Wheeeee!!!
So July 21st is our first ultrasound. In the meantime, I’ll then continue on my existing Delestrogen and PIO intramuscular shots to keep everything going for the next 12 weeks.
As per the earlier picture, I continued to take pregnancy tests until this morning, that’s how cynical I was about this actually being true. Plus looking for the 2nd line to darken gives me hope that my HCG is increasing, so I did one on Sunday morning and it was definitely more…definite?
Please let this work. There is only a wee bit of exhaling right now. This is good news, but a only the first steps. I’ve been at this too long to breathe any relief. I smile, I hope, but as I’ve seen for so many of my compadres out there, the words “chemical” and “miscarriage” lurk close by. I’ve never had a BFP, this is the first, so all I can do now is dream a little, hope a lot, and see what the next test says. Is it really a BFP this early? I feel like, as many who’ve wandered into this territory, it’s not a BFP til you get past the first trimester, or even until you hold that baby in your arms.
These are the top three things I’ve been dealing with in the second week after the transfer (after the first week was truly, scarily uneventful):
- Inner belly button twinges – totally gross. I had a few of these during cycle 3 and this time they’re much more intense. You know how nasty it is if someone pokes inside your belly button? Yeah, that’s about how fun these are.
- Consistent low level nausea – but hell, I’m used to nausea from these drugs, for the past year (minus the break in late fall 2015) I’ve been on ’em over 2 IUIs and 4 DEIVFs, so I’m not exactly trippin’. During DEIVF cycle #1 I barfed like crazy pre-transfer, so a little nausea is not jumping out at me.
- Having to pee a thousand times a day. After turning 40 I went from practically a ‘camel’, if you know what I mean, to more normal levels, but now it’s just silly how often I’m going.
Oh and know what I learned? Only 30% of women actually have implantation spotting (source). Boy did I obsess on that particular symptom not coming up during all these cycles!!
Everything else is shit I’m used to from all this time on the drugs – tired, loopy, sore bum, etc. I can see why many say that IVF is great training for pregnancy as far as the side effects go – it’s like, “Whoop-dee-doo, I’m sick to my stomach. Big fuckin’ deal. Toughen up you wussies, do you know what the Infertile Tribe of Women have gone through?!” And yeah, there will be new and exciting things to happen to my body but I gotta say, the practice I did during Cycle 4 to maintain my zen (and forgive myself when I fell off the Zen Wagon into crazy-pants-land) really is keeping me calm.
But I must say? Waiting for the results of the 2nd beta was actually MORE stressful than the first…my heart was beating out of my chest!!!
Let’s hope this uterus hangs on to this poppy seed sized alien thing inside of me!!
Gratitude…and Paying it Forward
I am grateful for my BFP. But I can’t say I’m brimming with confidence. How can I be? We have shared the news with our mums and care providers, but otherwise until we get that first ultrasound’s vote of confidence, we’re not shouting it from the rooftops, you know? And even then, the first 12 weeks as we all know that’s when literally anything can happen. I’ve seen so many of my fellow women go through this only to experience tremendous pain. I could be back here in a new shade of grief next week or next month. I don’t know this.
But I shall not live in fear. All I will do right now is keep on keepin’ on, focusing on the zen, staying positive, and continuing to take care of my self and my life. My back has improved to about 70% I’d say, so I’m hoping to get back on my bike after we get back from our little Puget Island getaway, and from there, who knows??
One thing I do know is that there will be much Paying It Forward to do should we be fortunate enough to have a healthy, successful pregnancy and birth. I would truly feel like a pathetic sack if I didn’t do a goddamn thing to help other women who are going through this.
It can be incredibly fucking hard to get (and stay) pregnant. Some of us have fucked ovaries, fallopian tubes, uteruses, or even all of the above. Some of us ran out of eggs while watching others our age have no problem. Some of us have same sex partners so automatically have to use a donor or surrogate. Some of us have male partners with fertility issues. Some of us have clean bills of health yet still zip, zero, nada. Some of us will try IVF ten times, some of us can’t even afford an IUI. Some will succeed. Some will not. Some will spend five years or more trying to conceive, others will be told at the start of their journey that they’re fucked without donor eggs (and then even with those can watch that “slam dunk” promise turn into what they then call “a numbers game”), some will run out of money after the first try and find their only option, if it is viable for them and they qualify, is to foster/adopt an older child through the DHS system (which here in Oregon is an agency with so many disasters, abuse cases, poor oversight, and financial bungling that thousands of kids are getting even more screwed than they already were coming into the system…they were the first people we consulted and told us if we got pregnant or wanted to adopt internationally that it would be a ‘red flag’ to them because they require a year between kids coming into the home – even though they just reported a case on the news where two longtime Oregon foster parents had over FIFTY kids over a 10 year period in their home and were busted for meth use, physical abuse, and overall neglect).
To pay it forward, we’re considering a few ideas, one big one being making a significant donation to the Baby Quest Foundation, who provides grants to those unable to afford the cost of IVF (the RESOLVE website has a number of others by the way, in case anyone is interested in either applying for one or donating to them). My husband and I were insanely fortunate to have the combination of savings and credit card limits that paid for our treatments, none of which were covered by insurance (out of pocket we spent approximately $25K for 2 IUIs and 4 DEIVFs), and I know that just a 5 years ago – before I started my company – IVF never could have been considered. PS – Our remaining embryos will be donated to science, since STEM cell research can help so many.
One thing I won’t do? I will never tell someone struggling that, because it finally happened for me (hoping this is actually true for me), it means they should “never give up” and that “it’s only a matter of time, it will happen.” There is a lot of bullshit wishy washy dreamy talk online about baby dust and embabies and other terms that turn my stomach, with the extra bonus nausea from some that their “God” decides who gets pregnant instead of physiology/science or who has five miscarriages, or that if you simply Never Stop Trying (no matter what it does to your checkbook or relationship) your dream will come true of becoming a parent. I will always keep it fucking real.
We all gotta do what’s best for our own situations and give our emotional support -whether we’d do it ourselves or not- the women (and men) who are still on the battlefield.
And for today? Like the Grey’s Anatomy ladies say…I’m gonna dance it out.