Thursday, September 30, 2010

7 weeks, 3 days

I had another ultrasound and appointment with my RE this morning.  Based on last week's conversation with the RE, I thought I was 7 weeks, 0 days today.  She told me that I'm 7 weeks, 3 days today.  Sigh.  Somehow the 3 days that went missing last week came back today.  My RE says its all very confusing and the dating depends on whatever "wheel" they are using.  I think it depends on whether they consider me 2 weeks pregnant on the day we transferred a 3-day embryo or 2 weeks, 3 days pregnant on the day we transferred a 3-day embryo.  She also revised my due date to be May 16.

The good news is that the pregnancy is still looking good.  The fetus measured in at 7 weeks, 1 day and the heart rate was 153.

The bad news is that the subchorionic hematoma is still there and has gotten longer (although not wider).  It is a sliver of blood that separates roughly 35% of the gestational sac from the uterus.  That means that 65% of the gestation sac still has a tight hold on the uterus.  Right now, my RE still considers the hematoma to be "small" and given that I haven't seen bright red blood in over a week, she thinks the situation is stable.  But she's still not comfortable releasing me to the regular OB/GYN yet.  She wants to see me again in 1 week so that she can assess the hematoma again.  And while she didn't put me back on bed rest, she re-asserted that I should really be taking it easy.  We *really* don't want this SCH to grow.  I'm currently cautiously optimistic that everything will work out fine.

In other news, my work pants no longer fit me.  I guess it's true that you start showing earlier after your first pregnancy.  I thought I would last longer than 7 weeks, but nope.  I have some pants with an adjustable waist and I'll be wearing only those from now on (until I'm big enough for maternity pants).

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Q&A Chain Letter

VV, one of my blogging buddies who can be found here, tagged me for a Q&A chain letter.  I wish I knew her real name because I'd rather not refer to her as "Venting Vagina"!  But she's remaining anonymous on her blog (which I totally respect).  This is the first time that I've ever been tagged for anything and so it's exciting - a new foray in the blogosphere!!  So here goes:

(1) What is your dream occupation?

When I was little, I always thought that I would be a veterinarian.  I loved animals, but my mom told me that we couldn't have any pets because she suffered from bad allergies.  I graduated from college with a biology major and afterwards, kept trying to decide on the right profession.  I still thought about becoming a veterinarian and even took some prerequisite courses at a local college.  I volunteered at the local animal shelter and began fostering cats.  I ended up fostering a momma kitty and her litter of 5 kittens.  Because I had so many cats at once, I didn't really get attached to any of them.  But then it came time to return the kittens to be spayed or neutered and adopted out.  One of the five kittens - the runt of the litter - was still too small to be spayed.  So I ended up re-fostering just her and of course, got totally and completely attached.  So I ended up adopting her and now, at almost 13 years of age, she remains my one pet.  To get back to the point of this answer...I realized pretty quickly after adopting my cat that I didn't want to be a veterinarian.  I just wanted a pet!  So now, I'm a lawyer.  Go figure.

(2) What is the best dish that you can cook?

I make a pretty yummy jewish version of chicken lo mein.  I also make a mean Mandel bread.  Both are recipes that I stole from my mother.

(3) Have you ever been mentioned in the newspaper? What for?

I swam competitively from age 5 through 18.  I was often mentioned in the local newspaper with respect to swim team events.

(4) What’s the worst and/or most memorable job you’ve ever had?

And now we're back to the animal theme.  Because I wanted to be a veterinarian growing up, when I was in high school, I got a job as a kennel worker at the local vet.  My responsibilities included cleaning cages, taking dogs out to go to the bathroom, pooping scoop from the yard, vacuuming and mopping.  It was one of the most physically demanding jobs I have ever had and I remember my feet aching so badly I almost cried.  This job is extraordinarily memorable for the following reasons:  (a) It was the first job I ever had; (b) I got fired from the job (which is a whole other story!); (c) I cried while overhearing a man saying goodbye to his golden retriever, who was being euthanized, and then cried again in frustration when I had to put the very large dog into a body bag; and (d) I got to play with a pet squirrel, which lived at the vet permanently.

(5) When you were a teenager, at what age did you envision yourself getting married? How old were you in reality when you got married?

I can't remember when I thought I would be married.  But I think I figured I would meet someone in college and marry them right after college.  That didn't happen.  My college sweetheart, who I dated for 3 years and lived with for 1 year, broke my heart and dumped me just months after we graduated.  After many many MANY years of being single (and going on many many MANY horrendous dates), I met my husband when I was 30.  We got married when I was 33.

This isn't part of the question but I thought I would write it anyway.  I was single for so many years and spent so many lonely hours alone.  After college, I didn't live close to my family and I didn't have many friends (because I was living where I didn't grow up or go to school).  And I found it difficult to make new friends. I was LONELY.  When I was going through my IVF, I remember thinking that it would suck to never be able to have a biological child with my husband. But I also remember thinking that it would have sucked even worse to never have met my husband. I will NEVER take it for granted that my husband is in my life. 

(6) What’s your most hated household chore? what’s your favorite?

I don't like cleaning the toilets.  Wiping my husband's urine and pubic hairs off the toilet totally grosses me out (and now I'm sure I've grossed you all out!)  I like vacuuming.  Everything looks so much cleaner after vacuuming.

(7) What’s your earliest memory?

I have the memory of a flea.  I can't remember shit.  There are YEARS missing from my life.  But, I do remember playing with the desk that was in my room.  The table top lifted up and you could put things inside.  I was probably 5 years old.

This was fun!  Good trip down memory lane.  :-)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Good News

I had another ultrasound today and received some good news.  The fetus is growing and measured at 6 weeks, 1 day.  (As an aside, I'm TOTALLY confused as to how far along I am in this pregnancy.  I thought I was 6 weeks, 4 days based on being 2 weeks, 3 days pregnant on the day of transfer, but my doctor told me that I'm only 6 weeks, 1 day today.)  The heartbeat measured at 117 bpm (up from the 108 bpm measured 3 days ago). 

The hematoma is still there, but it has gotten smaller over the past 3 days.  Given this, and the fact that I haven't seen any bleeding in 48 hours, my doctor told me that I no longer needed to be on bed rest.  She told me to take it easy, but I can carry on with every day activities and can go back to work on Monday.  Hooray!  I am crossing my fingers that I don't have to go on bed rest again because man, I'm just not cut out for it.  I'm so happy that I'll be able to play with my son again.  18 month old boys do not want to hang out on the couch with their lame mothers (unless, of course, Elmo is on TV).

The doctor also mentioned that she hopes to get me off the progesterone supplementation as soon as possible.  She has never seen an allergic reaction this bad.  Usually, switching a patient from the shots to the suppositories relieves the symptoms/hypersensitivity reaction.  I hope that when I stop all progesterone supplementation, the hives will go away.  If they don't, then I've got bigger issues and will have to go back to the allergist to determine what I might be allergic to.  My RE still isn't convinced that I'm allergic to progesterone itself, but time will tell.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Still bleeding

After lying around all day yesterday, I didn't have any additional bleeding - not even brown spotting.  So I felt good about that.  Unfortunately, this morning, when I woke up and went to the bathroom, I discovered bright red blood (about 1 cc) in my underwear.  I also saw a small clot in the toilet (sorry if that is TMI).  I've also been slightly crampy.  Because my doctor told me that I needed to notify her whenever I saw red blood, I called and left a message this morning.  I'm still waiting for a call back.  I'm not sure what she is going to want to do.  There isn't much she can do.  I suppose she can do another ultrasound, but it's not going to change any outcome I have (and frankly, I don't want to find out that the subchorionic hematoma (SCH) grew).  I fear that this will turn into a miscarriage.  I fear that I won't miscarry now, but will miscarry later on in the pregnancy.  I fear that I will have pre-term labor before the fetus is viable (since pre-term labor is more often associated with subchorionic hematomas).  I fear that I'm going to be on bed rest for a long period of time with nothing to show for it in the end.  This sucks.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Bleeding at 6 weeks, 1 day

I woke up this morning and my panties were soaked with blood.  I wiped and could see bright red blood on the toilet paper.  Damn.  It seems to have stopped for the moment, but I'm very very scared.  I know that many women bleed during early pregnancy and do not miscarry.  But I also know that bleeding can be a sign of miscarriage.  I'm trying not to jump to the worst conclusion, but I'm terrified I will miscarry.  I'm hoping that this is just a result of the ultrasound I had on Friday or maybe I stuck the progesterone suppository up too far last night and irritated my cervix?  Sigh.  I will call the doctor this morning once the office opens and see what they want to do.


I went to work this morning and left a message for my RE's nurse to call me back because I was bleeding.  I was at work for all of 30 minutes this morning when the nurse called me back and told me to come into the office to be examined ASAP.  So I drove the 40 miles back to the RE's office, which is close to my house.  Thankfully, they took me right away without any waiting.  The good news is that the pregnancy is still viable.  And at 6 weeks, 1 day, we saw a little heartbeat (measuring at 108 bpm) and a fetal pole.  The bad news is that I have a subchorionic hemorrhage, which explains the bleeding.  Because my RE thinks this pregnancy is viable, she wants me on bed rest for the remainder of the week and she put me back on the IM progesterone shots for extra support.  The progesterone suppositories won't work well if there is vaginal bleeding.  If there are no other bleeding episodes, I can go back to work on Monday.  If I see bright red blood at any time, I'm supposed to call my RE and be monitored again.

Between the hives (which continue unabated) and the bleeding, I've had a rough start to this pregnancy.  Hopefully, it is not a sign of things to come.  For now, I will focus on the positives.  So cool to see that little heartbeat this morning!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

5.5 weeks

Shorty - September 17, 2010 - 5.5 weeks
I had my first ultrasound yesterday, at 5.5 weeks.  There isn't that much to see this early on, but they confirmed that the pregnancy is in the uterus (and not ectopic).  We were also able to see the gestational sac, and most importantly, the yolk sac (labeled "YS" in the second picture).  I return for a second ultrasound on the 30th, at which point we should see the fetal pole and heart beat.  I'm starting to breathe a little bit easier, but I'm still nervous that something will go wrong.  My RE told me that my due date is May 18, which will be a really nice time of year in New England.

I am continuing to suffer from hives all over my body.  I took some Benadryl last night with the hope of getting some better rest.  And I upped the ante this morning and took a Zyrtec instead of a Claritin with the hopes that it will offer better relief.  All 3 anti-histamines are class B drugs and my RE told me they were safe to take.  

My RE disagrees with the allergist I saw.  She does not believe that I'm allergic to progesterone.  She thinks that I'm having a reaction to the IM progesterone shots (in ethyl oleate) and will feel better once that leaves my system (roughly 2 weeks after the last shot).  She switched me to the Crinone suppository and told me that this is the least-reactive form of progesterone.  So I'm crossing my fingers that my RE is right and my allergist is wrong.  If my RE is right, I should start feeling a bit better sometime mid-next week.  If the hives don't go away in the next 10 days or so, we'll know the allergist was right.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Good News (Beta #3) and Bad News

What do you want to read first?  Good news or bad news?  Good news?  Okay - here goes.

My beta went from 328 on 17 dpo to 2740 on 21 dpo.  Hooray!  My progesterone levels remained consistent and high at 56.  Hooray!  And after 3 days of taking an increased dosage of Estrace, my estrogen went up from 80 to 173.  Hooray! (although the RE still wants to see it up near 250).

But now, here's the bad news.  I saw the allergist this afternoon to try and understand why I have been experiencing full body hives for the past 12 days.  And based on everything (including increased eosinophil levels), he is 99% convinced that I'm allergic to the external progesterone that I'm receiving in order to support this pregnancy.  Seriously?!?!?  Awesome.  I'm allergic to the one major drug that I need to take in order to avoid miscarriage.  He said that it doesn't matter if I take the progesterone via shots or by suppository.  It's not the way the progesterone is being delivered, it's the progesterone itself.

So of course I asked him why I didn't have this problem when I was pregnant with Ian or during the last failed FET or, for that matter, during the first 10 days after starting the PIO shots for this FET.  He said that allergies often develop after multiple exposures and so the fact that I didn't have reactions before doesn't mean I'm not having a reaction now.  This makes a lot of sense to me.  I took a full course of the antibiotic Bactrum twice and when taking it a third time, I had an immediate allergic reaction.

He ruled out food allergy and cat allergy because my symptoms are not consistent with those types of allergies.  He said he could do a test to determine if I am allergic to progesterone (after ordering a special kit), but there are quite a few problems with this.  First, I could easily have a false positive to the test because my skin is so hyper-reactive at the moment.  Second, even if the test showed that I did, in fact, have an allergy to progesterone, it's not like I can stop taking the drug!

So given that I have to continue the progesterone shots, he suggested that I take Claritin every day since I told him that it alleviated 80% of the symptoms.  Claritin is a class B drug and there have even been some small clinical studies in pregnant women showing that it is safe when taken during the first trimester.  I HATE that I have to take a drug during my first trimester.  But I don't see any other choice.  I cannot live without taking an anti-histamine.  I didn't sleep last night due to itching.  And I hardly got any work done today because of the hives.  It's really unbelievably awful.

I'm just crossing my fingers and hoping and praying that when we stop the progesterone shots, the hives will go away.  I'm sure my RE won't want to take me off the progesterone, but I sent her an e-mail anyway just to ask if there is any other approach that can be taken.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Worrying Never Stops

Even though I have been through one very healthy pregnancy and even though I have one very healthy child, I worry about this pregnancy.  It's very hard not to.  The hives threw me for a loop.  I worry about the effect the allergic reaction had on the fetus.  And I hate that I had to take benadryl and claritin during the pregnancy (despite the fact that my doctor said it was safe to do so).  The good news is that the hives seemed to have calmed down.  I have been anti-histamine free for roughly 12 hours now and so far so good.  My skin is still sensitive and if I scratch, I turn BRIGHT red and have some autographism, but the hives don't show up.  Given that it's about 1 week since I last took the Endometrin, it could very well be that I had an allergic reaction to that drug.  My RE said that it could take up to 10 days for the hives to go away as the drug clears out of my system.

The bad news is that my doctor also tested my estrogen levels this past Thursday and I got a random call from the nurse yesterday telling me that my estrogen levels are very low (80) and should be much higher at this point in the game.  She seemed worried.  So now I'm taking 2 mg Estrace 3x daily (instead of 2x daily).  But what does it mean to have low estrogen post FET-transfer and post-BFP?  What effect does that have on the pregnancy?  I can't find anything on the internet about this because REs do not seem to test estrogen and progesterone levels post-transfer.  The nurse didn't offer any information about why my estrogen levels could be low or what effect that could have on the fetus/pregnancy.  Sigh.

My 3rd beta is Monday and they'll be retesting my estrogen and progesterone levels then too.  And then we have the first ultrasound next Friday!  

I had a dream last night about the ultrasound.  The news in the dream wasn't good.  They said that the fetus was measuring behind and that the whole sac and yolk pole looked compressed and blunted on the ends.  I have no idea if that's even something that can happen, but obviously my unconscious brain thinks it can happen!  Anyway, when I woke up, I was very relieved that it was just a bad dream.  I am going to try my best to shut my worries off and just enjoy the BFP moments that I'm having now.  What will be will be.

About 10 minutes after I posted this blog, the hives came back in full force on my back, legs, hands, and ears.  I'm back on claritin.  Darnit!  I'm SO itchy and uncomfortable.  I guess I'll really need that allergist appointment on Monday.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Beta #2: Sigh of Relief

My beta went from 147 to 328 in 48 hours.  Phew. 

The doctor also checked my progesterone level (because I was having a tiny amount of brown spotting) and it was almost 56, which is perfect.  The next step is a third (and hopefully last) beta on Monday to show that my number is >1000.  Then we get to move on to an ultrasound to see if the yolk sac and fetal pole are present (and hopefully to see a heartbeat)!

Go Shortie!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Diagnosis: Hives

I spent 2 hours last night at urgent care.  I had to wait a bit because the doctor was running late and then I had to wait for the results of blood work.  My CBC and liver enzyme tests came back normal, but I had high levels of eosinophils, a type of white blood cell.  High levels of eosinophils are indicative of an allergic reaction.  So I am, in fact, having hives on my skin from an allergic reaction.  The doctor told me that claritin and benadryl are both safe to take during pregnancy and so I've been using those to alleviate symptoms.  But when the drugs wear off, the hives come back.

I don't know how long these hives are going to last.  I think I may be allergic to Endometrin (the progesterone suppositories) because I started them last Tuesday night and the hives started on Thursday morning.  But I stopped taking the suppositories on Saturday morning and switched back to the progesterone shots.  So why am I still having an allergic reaction?!  I would have thought that the hives would have subsided by now if they were due to an allergic reaction to the Endometrin.  So I'm still trying to get some answers from the doctor I saw at urgent care.  Is it reasonable to think that I'm still having a reaction to the Endometrin even though I stopped taking it on Saturday?  If so, how long can I expect to have this reaction?  And if the hives continue, then what?  Then it means it's not the Endometrin and I have an allergy to something else in my environment.  So do I need to see an allergist or pregnancy specialist?

I'm really worried that something is wrong with this pregnancy.  I have the irrational fear that I'm allergic to this baby and my body is rejecting it.  I hope that is not the case.  I'm having my second beta tomorrow and I'm crossing my fingers that the number increases appropriately.  My doctor is also going to test my estrogen and progesterone levels because I'm having some brown spotting.  The RE says this is not normal (despite me reading many many blogs of women who have brown spotting (or even bleeding!) and go on to have normal pregnancies).  I'm nervous.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Beta Results Are In

I got my 15 dpo beta done today and it was 147!  Woo-hoo!  My 16 dpo beta with my son was 164 and and so I'm feeling very positive about my current number.

Unfortunately, I'm still suffering terribly from hives. I have them on my scalp, neck and arms at the moment.  My RE said that it cannot be from pregnancy (despite what the Internet said) and she recommended that I be evaluated by an internist.  So I have an appointment at 5:30 pm today to see someone about the hives.  If it is from taking the Endometrin suppositories, apparently it might take 10 days to clear out of my system.  Who knows if I'll ever have an explanation as to why I have the hives.  I just want them gone!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Itchy but Happy

This picture is courtesy of my husband.  I have such a hard time taking pictures of these pee sticks.  I took about 20 pictures and most were crap.  They're usually blurry or have odd shadows.  My husband took 1 picture and this is it.  He manages to do most things better than me (which is always a bit frustrating).  :-)

It looks like I'm still on the right track.  The lines are getting just a little bit darker/more focused each day.  My beta is tomorrow and I look forward to hearing good news!

In the meantime, I'm popping benadryl every 3-4 hours to try and keep these hives under control.  It is not a pregnancy symptom I truly understand, but I will take it any day over nausea or a BFN.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Hives. I got 'em.

I'm itchy.  And red.  And bumpy. The picture of my leg says it all.  According to Dr. Google, hives are not uncommon in early pregnancy due to changing hormones.  Hrm.  I didn't get them with my first pregnancy.  But then again, my boobs aren't sore at the moment and they were KILLING me when I was pregnant with Ian.  So I guess each pregnancy is different.  I'm so happy to be pregnant that I'll take this symptom with a smile on my face.  But I'm also planning to smear on some anti-histamine lotion with an even bigger smile.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

9dp3dt (12 dpo)

Phew.  My test is still positive.  This time I was able to wait until 3:30 am to POAS.  I was not only hoping to see another BFP this morning, but I was also hoping that the line would be a bit darker.  I think that it is darker (although subtly).  I will be very happy when my beta HCG confirms these results on Tuesday.

All of my extra luck goes out to R who is still waiting for her BFP.  I hope this is IT for you!

Friday, September 3, 2010

HOLY SHIT BFP!!!!!! (11dpo)

Holy moly.  I couldn't sleep.  It's 2:15 am.  I had to POAS.  I couldn't wait anymore.  Did the heart palpitations that started Sunday (6dpo) and the uterine twinges that started Wednesday (9dpo) mean something?  Did I just imagine yesterday (10 dpo) that my hunger pains were mixed with slight nausea?  Was I really hungry for lunch at 10 am or just making that up?  Oh my god - all real real real!  The + line on my FRER test came up quickly.  It's faint, but it is definitely there.

I guess that 6AF embryos are our good luck charm.  Ian was a 6AF and now we have a BFP from a 6AF embryo.  I CANNOT believe it worked.  I guess this means you can get pregnant without having sore boobs.  Mine were so unbelievably sore when I was pregnant with Ian and so I just assumed that without that incredibly powerful symptom, I wasn't pregnant.  But of course, since then, I've had 1 baby and breast fed for 1 year so my sisters probably changed a lot.  I'm SO SO SO glad to be proved wrong.

Shortie, I truly hope that you stick.  You almost didn't make it to freeze because you were only a 5AF, but then you divided at the last minute.  I see that you'll be a determined one.  :-)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Here I am, still not feeling it.  Most of my days are spent knowing with 99% certainty that I'm not pregnant.  The rest of the time, I think, "Was that a twinge in my uterus?" or "Do all of these heart palpitations, which I had during my first pregnancy, mean something?" or "Am I this bloated because I'm pregnant or is that just from the burrito I ate at lunch?"  Sigh.  I HATE this.  At least I'll POAS on Friday and know one way or the other, except I'll even second-guess that because hey, a BFN a 11 dpo doesn't necessarily mean I won't have a BFP at 12 dpo, right?  Have I mentioned that I HATE this?

I would LOVE to be proved wrong and actually have a BFP at the end of this FET #2.  But I've already planned the next steps for when I get that BFN.  I told my doctor that I don't want to bother with the one remaining frozen embryo and that I'd like to do a fresh cycle.  And I asked if I could start the suppression phase when I got my period at the end of this FET #2 and she said yes, which is awesome news.  I love not having down-time in between cycles.  So the next step includes my husband giving a sperm sample on Friday so that my RE can submit for IVF insurance approval on the day I get my negative beta.  They can't submit for approval before that negative beta so let's hope that we get the approval before my stimulation phase.  Apparently, it could take 2-3 weeks to get the approval.  And I already have my IVF pre-op appointment scheduled for September 21.  So I've got all of my ducks lined up in a row, which will make the BFN that much easier to swallow.

In the meantime, I've had to switch from doing 2 cc progesterone shots 1x per night to using vaginal suppositories 3x a day.  My butt was getting quite numb from the shots.  In addition, my skin was turning a bit red and is actually still quite painful to touch.  It hurts where my pants/shorts touch my skin and it even hurts to lean back in my chair.  The oddest part of all of this is that the skin sensitivity isn't where I got my shots.  It's closer to my hip bones and spine.  Weird, right?