Sunday, November 29, 2015

IVF Diary - Barely Pregnant

It's three days since I was told the "mixed news" that I'm pregnant but with a very low HCG value of 28. I had the idea of taking a home pregnancy test to see if the second line would get darker. On Friday I tested and had a faint but visible line. This morning I tested again and this time the second line was barely visible at all - instead of getting darker, it was even fainter! You probably can't even make out the second line in the pic below. 

Surely the line should be getting darker since the HCG value should be increasing each day so I have already started trying to prepare myself emotionally for the worst. Maybe this might not be our time. However, later I was googling and I read that home pregnancy tests are not very accurate for measuring HCG levels. They can tell if you are pregnant or not but not how pregnant. Some forums I read said that the line can even appear darker or lighter depending on time of day or how dehydrated you are. The only really accurate test is a blood test. I'll have to keep waiting until late next week for that. 

So much waiting. I just want to know if this pregnancy is viable or not! I don't have any symptoms yet either, just possibly sleepiness and an increased appetite. So right now I feel barely pregnant, like this pregnancy is hanging on by a thread. Bring on Thursday so I can have more an idea of what's going on! In the meantime I've been trying to send positive energy to the baby and praying that he or she is a little fighter.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

IVF Diary - Mixed news

Before work on Thursday I went to the clinic and did a blood test and was told I would receive a phone call between 1 and 2pm later that same day. I had taken a half day off from the office so that I could be at home for the news and have some space and time to process it, good or bad.

Waiting by the phone was tortuous and 2pm came and went and still no call. I tried phoning the clinic only to get their answering machine. I gave it a little more time and then was about to go and do a home pregnancy test when the call finally came. The doctor's asked me to confirm my name and date of birth and then said the news was mixed..

I'm pregnant but my HCG hormone level is very low, only 28, which could indicate an imminent miscarriage. They scheduled me an appointment for a week's time for an ultrasound though I might not still be pregnant by then, will have to just wait and see.

I was totally confused and in shock after the phone call. I'd been expecting and preparing myself for either a clear yes or no, good news or bad new, not mixed! After googling more information on what HCG values are normal, it seems that having a low one might not be so bad if the levels start increasing dramatically over the coming few days (though anything under 100 is considered low for an initial value). It's just too soon to tell basically.

Later that day I started feeling happy and more positive and decided I'm going to enjoy being pregnant for as long as I can. At this stage it's so early and it could really go either way but I'm cautiously optimistic!

Monday, November 23, 2015

IVF Diary - Schröndinger's Baby

Right now I'm reminded of Schröndiger's cat.

I could be pregnant and have a baby already growing inside me or it could be over already but I won't find out for several more days. Time is passing by really slowly. I just want to know already! Although if it's bad news, a negative result, then maybe I'm actually not in a hurry to know...

I'm starting to get anxious, a positive result would just be the first hurdle, I'm sure I would be nervous getting through each stage as the risk of miscarriage after IVF is higher than normal.

I don't feel particularly pregnant which is a little disappointing though it's still very early days. I just feel normal. Well apart from the sore throat I have and feeling run down which could also just be a side effect from the hormones. I keep wondering how my little snowflakes are getting on. Have they implanted or not? Potentially I could end up having twins if both embryos stick around. According to my doctor there is a one in five chance! 

It would be devastating to get a negative result. I'm worried that I might have done something wrong. I could have eaten healthier the past week. And maybe I should have rested more and not let myself get this cold. I was telling the GerMann some of this stuff and he said that I haven't done anything wrong and if it doesn't work, it's not my fault and not to blame myself. Thought that was sweet of him to say. 

How do other people survive this waiting?!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

IVF Diary - two week waiting

I've heard it said before that worst part of the IVF process is the waiting to find out if it has worked or not. Certainly time seems to be moving much slower than normal for me as I countdown the days until my appointment at the clinic for the results.

Two days ago I had some cramps, which could have been from the embryos implanting, though it also could have just been something I ate! Apart from that I haven't noticed any potential pregnancy symptoms at all. This morning I woke up feeling very run down, like a cold is coming on. I'm not surprised as there have been a LOT of bugs ground around lately and yesterday a guy near me on the train kept coughing!

I started worrying then immediately and feeling cross that I let myself catch a cold as maybe my body will now decide that it needs to focus on fighting the cold and this isn't the month for me to get pregnant. On the other hand, I was googling post transfer symptoms and some girls experienced cold-like symptoms or even caught a cold as apparently when the embryo implants it makes the immune system a bit weaker and it's normal to come down with something then. So I'm hopeful that I'm still in the game...

Nearly one week down in the two week wait. Another week to go!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

IVF Diary - embryos on board

The transfer could not have gone better. Both embryos are doing great and according to the doctor are "schön" (lovely/beautiful) and 8-cell which means they are growing well. The transfer was completely painless and afterwards I just relaxed for awhile at the clinic. I was also feeling really happy and hopeful. It's so exciting knowing that I'm currently carrying the embryos which could potentially grow into one or even two babies! I was so excited I texted several friends letting them know even though I realise it's probably not a good idea to tell that many people since I don't want everyone to be asking me the result in a few weeks time but I couldn't help it!

The rest of the day today I went for a walk, had a nice lunch with the GerMann and just had a relaxing day. I have to keep taking the progesterone tablets and give myself two more HCG hormone shots, one two days and the other six days post transfer. The HCG hormone is the same one your body produces when you are pregnant which is why if you take an early home pregnancy test you might get a false positive when it's still in your system and therefore they say it's better to wait the full two weeks until the blood test to get an accurate result. The waiting game begins...

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

IVF Diary - the phonecall

Well they don't compare IVF to an emotional rollercoaster for nothing! This morning I was more or less waiting by the phone for the call from the clinic to let me know how my eggs were getting on. I started fearing the worst, for instance, what if neither fertilize which would mean I wouldn't have any to transfer? That can actually happen.

Finally they called and I was told that BOTH eggs fertilized! I was so happy I burst into tears. It could also be that I'm extra hormonal at the moment, but I'm delighted to think that we have two embryos growing right now after the disappointment yesterday.

So now I just have to hope that our little snowflakes survive a few more days until I have the transfer. This whole process is really taking it out of me and I'm not quite half way yet! From now onwards I have to take progesterone tablets, three times a day, roughly every eight hours, and tomorrow I have to give myself another shot of the HCG hormone. Apart from all the emotions today, physically I feel fine after the egg retrieval procedure and have been just been trying to take it easy.

Monday, November 9, 2015

IVF Diary - the egg retrieval

For anyone who doesn't know the basics of how IVF works, it normally goes as follows; the woman takes hormones for around two weeks to stimulate her ovaries in order to produce a lot of eggs. After this there is an egg retrieval procedure, usually done under general anaesthetic, when the eggs are removed. On the same day the man provides his sample. The eggs and sperm are then put into a petri dish together and left overnight to see how many fertilize and become viable embryos. Several days later one or more of the embryos are then placed into the womb and then all you can do is wait and hope that at least one of them implants and becomes a viable pregnancy.

I was feeling very nervous about the the egg retrieval procedure, especially the few minutes right beforehand. The nurse told me to think of a nice place like a beach and then when the doctor put the anesthetic into my arm I remember thinking, "I'm still awake, don't start yet!" but then starting to feel drowsy very quickly afterwards until I was out completely.

The next thing I recall it was over and I felt like I had been woken from a very deep slumber and I still felt very sleepy and could barely keep my eyes open. The nurses helped me back to the recovery area where I dozed for the next hour or so on and off while on an IV drip. I remember feeling quite shivery at one stage and I needed several blankets to keep warm. Also my blood pressure went really low so the nurse gave me an injection into the IV in order to kick start my circulation. After that I began to feel more and more awake.

The GerMan and I waited until the doctor was able to see us again for another ultrasound to make sure everything looked ok after the op. It was then I was finally able to find out how many eggs were retrieved. Of the six follicles four were empty so the doctor only ended up getting two eggs which as you can imagine was very disappointing. Two eggs doesn't give us great odds (I read somewhere recently that fifteen is the ideal number to lead to a live birth), and I definitely won't have any extra embryos to freeze for any future attempts.

I was told not to give up hope, though, as quality matters much more than quantity. The doctor has seen some women with as many as forty eggs from a single retrieval who don't end up getting pregnant and others with only a single egg who you just never know really. The clinic will phone me tomorrow to let me know whether the two eggs fertilize or not. It's going to be totally nerve wracking waiting for that call, I can tell you!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

IVF Diary - day twelve

The second ultrasound appointment went fine. This time I had a different doctor and I asked what it means to have six follicles and how many eggs I can expect at the retrieval. She explained that follicles can have either one egg in them or none at all, so I could end up with 6 eggs or maybe only 3. I do have a few smaller follicles starting to grow which is promising and could mean more eggs, although they might not be big enough by the time of the egg retrieval.

I had to keep giving myself the hormones for three more mornings so altogether it's been twelve days of injections and then this evening at exactly 10pm I had to do the HCG trigger shot. The trigger shot brings on ovulation 36 hours later. Monday morning I'll have the egg retrieval procedure and the embryo transfer will probably be three days later.

Physically I feel fine at the moment. A little bit bloated and tired but no more stomach cramps. Another good thing is I would definitely say that the injections have gotten a lot easier. The first few days I found them a real struggle and it would be on my mind a lot, but now I just do it and it's not fun obviously but it's not the worst either.

Since I already know that I might not get that many eggs I'm prepared for that. I'm really hoping that the other follicles will grow by then though. And then the next thing will be praying that lots of eggs fertilize and keep growing over the subsequent three days so that I have one or two to transfer. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

IVF Diary - the first ultrasound

When I had my first ultrasound since starting the hormone treatment I found out that I have six follicles growing (three on each side) but they only measure 1.3cm and they need to be over 2 so I need to do an extra three days of injections. The doctor didn't seem to have any issue with me only having six but I'm disappointed. Six follicles doesn't seem like a lot especially when I was hoping for 8-12 eggs. Also during the information evening at the clinic we were told that they would only freeze extra embryos if they have at least 5 good quality ones which means it's already looking a little unlikely that I might have any extras to freeze for the future.

My worry is that if we only end up with a few embryos and then I don't get pregnant this month, since let's face it there's a 70% chance it won't work, and if we don't have any frozen embryos to use then I would have to do a second full round of ivf again. And right now I'm just finding it all hard going, and I'm only one week into it the process! I would definitely take a several months long break afterwards before being able to face the idea of a second round.

Oh well... Six eggs is better than none I suppose, I should probably look on the bright side and try to stop worrying so much! Easier said than done of course. I've another appointment at the clinic tomorrow for my next ultrasound so I'll find out then if any more follicles have grown in the meantime. 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

IVF Diary - the first few days

Tomorrow I go back to the fertility clinic for an appointment. I'm dying to find out how everything is looking, for instance how many follicles are growing. If you have too many then you are in danger to getting hyper ovarian syndrome which sounds really awful. But too few eggs gives you a lower chance of IVF working and less potential embryos leftover to freeze which is also not great! Obviously I really hope this works for me so that I don't have to do several rounds of IVF however if this attempt were to fail and I had some extra frozen embryos then at least I could do a second round without having to go through all the injections and egg retrieval procedure again which would be a lot easier to handle.

I have six days of injections behind me now. This morning the pergoveris burned a bit going in again and was very unpleasant. I've been warming the bottles up with my hands a little first as maybe the fact they were in fridge and therefore cold, is the reason it was burning. I tried that the past two days and it seemed to be helping as the mixture didn't hurt going in. All in all I would say the injections have been getting easier. That said, it's still the least fun part of my day and my stomach feels like a pin cushion!

Yesterday I had some stomach cramps and felt bloated and uncomfortable, probably since my ovaries are starting to grow to produce lots of follicles. I was out in town with some friends but wasn't able to stay out too long. Once I got home I put a hot water bottle on my stomach and changed into comfortable tracksuit bottoms and then I felt better. Apart from the cramps which come and go I've been feeling mostly fine though, no nausea or any other bad side effects so far.

Will let you know how tomorrow goes. Let's hope everything is looking good!