Entry #82: Two Plus One

What If…?

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.

Ben VAUTIER -Is It Possible

“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.

Whoa…

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.

Inside the belly button twinges? About as comfortable as back in the 90s when I had my bb pierced! (I took it out about 10 years ago)

Inner belly button twinges? About as comfortable as back in the 90s when I had my bb pierced and nearly passed out getting poked right there 🙂

Current Symptoms

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!!

pay-it-forwardGratitude…and Paying it Forward

“No matter how good their intentions or how well they’ve been coached, people who haven’t gone through it themselves can’t fully comprehend how a piece of you dies with every failed IVF, every miscarriage, every fucking pee stick that only shows one line.  Unless they’ve fought on the front lines of the fertility wars themselves, they just can’t understand the fortitude required to put on your armor and march bravely into battle after facing defeat time and time and time again.  There’s just no substitute for experience.”
“Even though it feels that way at times, we are NOT alone. We are barren and we are legion. We are the sisterhood of the obstreperous uterus and we shall overcome.”
Gratitude is more than just thanking for the two lines. It’s going beyond that and showing your thanks through giving back. If this works, I’ll cross over to the other side of the fence and then be focused on ensuring a healthy pregnancy, a natural childbirth here at home, and the great unknown of Becoming A Parent. People will stop following my blog, as I have with most others after they announce their BFP (well, all except the rad Baby Science Project, who with her wit and no-nonsense attitude has managed to keep me on as a reader even though she’s now at that nearly-ready-to-pop stage in her twin pregnancy).

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.

education-hipster-teacher-funny-when-in-doubt-dance-it-out-quotes1

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  One thought on “Entry #82: Two Plus One

  1. mamajo23
    July 5, 2016 at 3:49 pm

    This is amazing. I have been thinking about you and so happy for this news!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. July 5, 2016 at 3:58 pm

    Congratulations!! I have been following your story and this is AWESOME news!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. July 5, 2016 at 4:09 pm

    Brilliant news to wake up to here! I have been stalking! Congratulations x

    Liked by 1 person

  4. July 5, 2016 at 4:10 pm

    OMG! I’m so excited for you! I’ve been refreshing my blog feed every few hours just to see of you posted something. And at 4:30am Here I get this awesome news👏🏻👏🏻😊😘 congratulations!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. July 5, 2016 at 4:26 pm

    Holy shit congratulations!! Amazing news. You have been such a wonderful support around here for me and I’m sure countless others going through this process and you always have such fantastic and insightful comments and suggestions for everyone. I’m so happy that you have finally gotten a positive!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. girlwithagolddress
    July 5, 2016 at 4:44 pm

    Congratulations! Without actually knowing you, I know how much you (and your Dan) have sacrificed for this moment… enjoy it!! And thanks for keeping it real!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. July 5, 2016 at 4:53 pm

    Aww, yay! Congratulations! I hope so much that it continues to go well for you!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. July 5, 2016 at 5:27 pm

    This is so amazing!!!! Sending you so many good thoughts as you grow your little one!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. July 5, 2016 at 8:18 pm

    I’m sooooooo happy for you! I’ve been wondering and i was starting to think it was bad news because i hadn’t heard (and then i thought it might be good news because i hadn’t heard). This is awesome news!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. July 5, 2016 at 8:57 pm

    Amazing news!!! Hoping for a smooth healthy 9 months for you. I think each BFP deserves a celebration, as does each milestone of pregnancy. Who knows what will happen so we should celebrate the good when we can!! *hugs*

    Liked by 1 person

  11. July 5, 2016 at 10:59 pm

    I am so bloody pleased for you! Really, really awesome. Now….step away from the HPTs and just take care of yourself. Nothing you can do about the next few weeks so try not to obsess and get stressed. I know this is almost impossible but really, it’s just weeks of unnecessary self-torture! You are pregnant. Pregnant!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • July 6, 2016 at 6:28 am

      Yep, HPTs are done and we’re on holiday to celebrate!

      Like

  12. July 5, 2016 at 11:47 pm

    Soooo happy for you!!! Yay eco-mama! xxxx

    Liked by 1 person

  13. July 6, 2016 at 12:15 am

    Wow! Really pleased for you both. Congratulations.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. myrainbowdream
    July 6, 2016 at 2:05 am

    OMG! This is the best news!!!! Here’s to a happy and healthy 9 months. As stressful and scary as it is getting past the first goals, try hard to enjoy every moment of the experience as sewingbutterfly said we should celebrate the good when we can (I for one never regret having the joy). This has giving me hope as I start off on my DEIVF #2 (day 3 of down reg jabs). I will be eagerly following your blog still, I do not run away at the sight of a bfp but yes I totally get that some do. Big smile on my face! Sending hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • July 6, 2016 at 6:33 am

      Thanks so much! One blogger I read had a “4th time’s a charm” moment like me which is what helped keep my chin up near the end. This stuff is so hard, keep up the self care, it’s what’s kept me (kinda) sane 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  15. July 6, 2016 at 4:34 am

    Very exciting news to hear!!!! Here’s hoping your time to your first scan goes quickly for you!!! And even then the worry doesn’t stop there. This is definitely not the easiest part!! Hang in there 😊

    BTW- I’m totally with you on your last bit about keeping it real!! I’m not much of a baby dust kind of person. Science got us here mostly, and I think some added random luck too that not even the doctors can explain!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. July 6, 2016 at 4:55 am

    Yay! Welcome to the enhanced 2 week wait. Once you see that heartbeat, I’m sure like I did on Monday, you’ll feel more reassured. Oh I’m absolutely thrilled for you. It’s always when you think you’ve reached your absolute limits and you can’t take any more that things finally work out!
    On a side note – I’m glad I’m not the only one who had the weird, yuky tummy button pulling feeling and no implantation spotting.
    Congratulations! Xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  17. July 6, 2016 at 5:49 am

    Such great news–I’m so happy for you and your husband! I just went in for my beta this morning and I’m waiting for the call myself. Hopefully it’s a positive for us both and that things just keep on going smoothly!!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. July 6, 2016 at 5:56 am

    I am so bloody well pleased for you. What excellent news! I know you’ll be full of worry and ‘what ifs’ over the next few weeks but please stay away from the HPTs. They will drive you mad and tell you nothing. Just enjoy being pregnant and let nature do its thing. Super, smashing, brilliant news!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. July 6, 2016 at 7:05 am

    Amazing news! So happy for you. The next couple of weeks will be tough until you get to the scan but the betas are great so hope you can take heart from that and keep relatively calm and relaxed (hahaha – I should take my own advice sometimes!). x

    Liked by 1 person

    • July 6, 2016 at 7:14 am

      Thanks! For some reason I am pretty chill now that I’ve had the second beta…but I know the last days pre-US will be a lil wacky mentally!!

      Like

  20. July 6, 2016 at 7:31 am

    So so pleased for you, I have everything crossed xx

    Liked by 1 person

  21. July 6, 2016 at 7:38 am

    oh wow, what a nice surprise! Congratulations! It must feel so unreal right now. I hope baby sticks!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. July 6, 2016 at 8:32 am

    This made my morning! 😁😁😁😁

    Liked by 1 person

  23. wehrdi
    July 6, 2016 at 9:06 am

    COMGRATULATIONS!!!!! Your first BFP- that’s huge!!! I will be thinking of you guys and hoping and willing that all goes well and you get to just experience a healthy pregnancy with your little one squalling in tot arms in nine months.
    But no matter what- this is a major victory and super dance-worthy!!
    CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. smallftprints
    July 6, 2016 at 10:02 am

    Yay, Yay, YAAAYYYYYY!!! I am so happy for you! I know that there is a long road ahead but that path can’t be walked without this first wonderful step. I am thrilled for you both and will continue to send positive energy your way. CONGRATS to you both!!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  25. July 6, 2016 at 2:45 pm

    Wow congratulations!! I’d been checking over the past few days and suspected as much as you haven’t updated recently. Wow first ultrasound next! What a milestone! I’ve never made it that far. Wishing you all the luck in the world. XXX

    Liked by 1 person

  26. July 7, 2016 at 7:34 am

    This is so exciting! Very happy for you. Looking forward to updates. Congratulations!! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  27. July 7, 2016 at 7:43 pm

    Yes!!! I am so happy for you!! Congrats to you and your hubby! ♥

    Liked by 1 person

  28. July 8, 2016 at 6:33 am

    OH MY GOODNESS. I am so happy for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. July 10, 2016 at 9:32 pm

    Oh wow that’s fantastic news for you! Congratulations!

    Liked by 1 person

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