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After the end

The professional pregnancy test was no different than the store brand home test.

I tried my best — and am continuing to fail — at being big about it. But, you know one foot in front of the other and all that.

A few days after the negative result Peanut and I headed to New York state to visit my grandmother, Peanut’s great grandmother. I think my grandmother enjoyed our visit and Peanut enjoyed the  carousel museum. We say Niagara Falls too, but it was hot and I was crampy and the line for the Maid of the Mist was long so Peanut was mad we didn’t get to ride the boat, but she did get a cute Snoopy shirt.

I got back into the gym. I had gained five pounds over the summer. My work clothes still fits, but it is tight. So I need to at least fit back into my work pants. I’m thinking about taking classes at Pure Barre. One of my co-workers teaches there and she loves it (and has lost a lot of weight too).

I went back to work.The institute days were hard. People wanted to talk about their kids. Some wanted to — in the most good humored way — complain about having multiple children which made me sad/mad. And the news of who was newly pregnant, who is on maternity leave, etc. I had one whole conversation where someone I don’t normally see repeatedly asked about my oldest child and referenced my first maternity leave. But all the time when people asked about my family, I heard over and over the phrase — so you just have the one.

I have set to work de-infertility treatmenting the house. I cleaned out all of my meds and dropped what I could at the drop box at the pharmacy. I am working on the sharps disposal. I am going to pack out my favorite pieces of baby clothes to give to Peanut when she has kids, and give the maternity clothes and other baby clothes to Goodwill. It is such a process and all one the patient. After cancer care a service came to my house within hours of the final chemo being disconnected and took the sharps and hazmat containers. The evidence of chemo was wiped away in hours. The evidence of infertility has taken over a week already to remove.

I guess that shows how infertility isn’t really treated like an illness. What other major medical experience would doctors send you home to inject yourself and no way to dispose of hazardous materials? Nothing else.

But I see the other side too. Infertility treatment isn’t cancer treatment. When you fail as a cancer patient, you die. When you fail as infertility patient, you live without your dream for a few decades (or sometimes less) and then you die.

 

All but done

Because I am a glutton for punishment, I took another home pregnancy test, and then another this morning — day 10.

Both were negative.

Which I guess is good. Bloke’s job requires travel and one of the offices he has to travel to is in Mexico City and while he argues that he is inside the whole time with limited access to mosquitoes carrying Zika, I’m not sure doctors would have been 100 percent supportive of the trips. We also needed to go visit my nephew who lives in coastal Texas and while there have been no cases of Zika there, I feel like the location would again not be a place doctors are 100 percent on board with.

And also as I was looking at the schedule with back to school and all it would be hard to take time off for doctor appointments.

And then there is the fact that my cancer could come back. Statistically speaking, more likely than getting pregnant (even more so, since I am not pregnant now). After a cancer diagnosis, you can’t get life insurance so the life insurance I had at diagnosis is all I can ever have. So while most people would increase their life insurance with each kid, I don’t have that option. So maybe it is better to not have to split that money between kids. And if something were to happen to both Bloke and I, it is easier to find guardians for one child than someone who can take on two or three.

Although I suppose you can make the argument that a sibling would be a nice thing for a child growing up without one or both parents.

But it is what it is. And I’m lucky, most of what my life is, is not all that bad.

During my other cycles I have kind of prided myself on the fact that I haven’t taken a home pregnancy test. I didn’t plan on taking on this time either, but while I was driving on Thursday, I was suddenly overcome with the desire to take the test.

I needed to return a top to Target and I was seized witht he thought that since I was stopping there anyway, I could just pick up a pregnancy test.

I talked myself out of it. I had peanut with me. She would either not notice what I was buying or ask a million questions about what I was buying. And I would feel weird buying just that and I didn’t really need to spend money on anything else. But the big thing that put a hold on the purchase was that I remembered there might already be a pregnancy test at home.

And there was.

There was one drug-store brand pregnancy test left in a three pack that must have been purchased last September or October.

So I Googled how soon you could take a pregnancy test — today is 7 days — and the consensus seemed like you could start 5 days after transfer (not from any medical sites, doctors all say to wait). I figured I should wait until Saturday morning, but I woke up at 4:30 a.m. with my heart racing. And so I tested.

It was negative.

When I looked at the test after the sun came up I could tell where the line should have showed up, but I’m not sure if that is how the test looks or of that is a super faint line.

But really, it was negative.

I read until my heart rate calmed down. I went back to bed and had a dream that the hormones for FET while failing to produce a baby, had produced breast milk and the lack of a baby to nurse said milk was causing me considerable pain so out of desperation  I had Peanut — as her 4-year-old self  — nurse. I woke up sad. While I am sad I won’t get to nurse any more babies, I don’t think I want to nurse a 4-year-old Peanut either. (Not that it is really an option at this point anyway.)

I know technically speaking that it is still early. I could be pregnant and a home test in another day or two or three or the blood draw on Monday could show something different. But I did kind of give up the pregnancy idea as the day wore on. I cleaned the downstairs and cooked for a book club meeting at my house tonight and I might not have cleaned so much or stood int eh kitchen so long. I gently picked up peanut a few times.

And this is why doctor’s tell you not to test. But, if the negative is correct, I’m glad I tested. I was pretty confident I was pregnant pre-testing, so I will keep up with the meds, but at least I am not so confident — now I can picture the nurse calling with a negative result which is probably healthy.

 

5 days post transfer

So if either (or both) of the embryos implanted, it has happened by now.

Bloke asked if I could tell anything, but it is hard with IVF or FET cycles since you are barraging your body with synthetic pregnancy hormones it is hard to tell what is a possible pregnancy symptom and what it a hormone side affect.

So there are the occasional twinges in my abdomen, but those could be anything really. My chest is bigger and more tender, but while it has gotten worse (or maybe worse is the wrong word, more intense, maybe?) — I was having that before the transfer. Yesterday I had a few moments of lightheartedness which has been an early pregnancy symptom in my other pregnancy so maybe, or maybe it is just really hot outside and I didn’t drink enough water.

But all of this could be moot. A positive pregnancy test is just the next step. It doesn’t mean there will be a pregnancy or live birth. There are lost of hurdles to jump before we can hope for that.

In the meantime, Peanut offered the most heartbreaking version of “Will you never be able to pick me up again?” That made me question everything, but at this point there would be nothing to be gained by picking her up so I sat down on the floor and let her climb into my lap for a cuddle and just hoped that she wouldn’t be scared for life.

Adventures in paranoia

During my “bed rest” or as my doctor describes it — being boring — I was watching a TLC show called Untold Tales of the ER. The show features re-enactments of crazy events in the ER (which I have no doubt there are many).

Usually the show jumps around between three stories and the episode I happened to be watching features 1. A woman who tested positive for hepatitis, but really didn’t have hepatitis she had a heart condition that released the same thing the hepatitis test tests for. 2. A teenager who was suffering from an ectopic pregnancy, but refused to admit she was sexually active and made it difficult for the ER doc, to get a gynecological surgeon to take the case. And 3. a hypochondriac — although the show actually used the term munchausen syndrome. She was refusing to be discharged and would run away and find other in the hospital to feel sorry for her and berate her nurse.

Clearly this selection of patients was startling to me.

1. Patient #1 had a false positive for hepatitis. I had a false positive for hepatitis. My hepatitis reaction test was negative, but the thing in your blood that the basic test tests for, is the same thing I tested positive for. And I had this weird heartburn thing and then my arm hurt — I kind of thought it was a panic attack, because I’ve had it before, but what if I have some heart condition that is making me look like I have hepatitis?

2. Patient #2 I think ectopic pregnancies are less likely in IVF and FET cycles because the embryo is places directly into the uterus, but still, I’m still sitting around hoping that embryos implant. Now I am worrying they implant in the uterus … and nowhere else.

3. Patient #3 Every time I have a medical question. Every time I have to call a nurse or page a doctor. Every time a medical professional tells me something opposite of another medical professional and I have to ask I feel like this is how they look at me and for that reason I won’t ask if my hepatitis test was because of an underlying heart condition or if the cramps my stomach are because of an ectopic pregnancy. Well the ectopic pregnancy they would catch with an early ultrasound anyway, so at least that is one less thing to worry about.

 

 

Me plus 10 to 12 cells

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Yesterday was the embryo transfer and everything seemed to go well.

I arrived with a full bladder per the scheduler’s instructions. A really full bladder. A painfully full bladder. So I tried to hold it, but the pain, oh the pain. So about fifteen minutes after my appointment time I asked the front desk if there was a delay, could I go to the bathroom and fill my bladder again. They checked. No, they would be ready for me in five minutes.

So five, maybe ten, minutes later I’m back in the transfer room, crossing my legs, dancing a little. The nurse asked if I would like to partially empty my bladder. I declined her offer thinking peeing a little would only make it worse, but as the minutes ticked by — the nurses discussing pizza toppings for their lunch order outside my door — I finally had to take her up on it. It turns out, partially emptying your bladder means peeing like 8 ounces.

And after I peed like 8 ounces (they give you a drinking cup to measure the pee you have expelled) I felt much better, but the ultrasound tech told me I could empty another half a cup before the procedure. Which lead Bloke and I to question the holding capacity of the human bladder. (It can hold about 16 ounces of urine comfortably). Unfortunately, there was no cell reception in the transfer room — you know and the signs saying not to use your cell phone in the transfer area. So we had to just think about it.

And from there things went a usual. The embryologist came in and confirmed my name and birth date. The doctor came in and we discussed my weekend plans — Bloke really wanted me to go to his family reunion out of state, so I agreed, but only if the doctor thought it was okay. The doctor did not okay with it (which did not surprise me, but it did surprise Bloke). Then they transferred the embryos, and I was able to pee.

So Bloke and I spent the afternoon watching a movie (45 years) and now I am hanging out, watching bad TV while Bloke and Peanut are at the reunion. In my board state I turned to Google to try and see what is going on in my body and found an great post on Bubbles and Bumps listing the implantation scehdule for 3 and 5 day transfers.

According to the schedule, today the blastocyst begin to hatch out of its shell and tomorrow and Monday is the beginning of implantation. Implantation should be complete by Wednesday.

So lets go little embryos. (Aren’t they cute!)

Transfer tomorrow

So it seems like everything is set for transfer tomorrow. The IVF scheduler called with a transfer time and only advised me to arrive with a full bladder. She reminded me the bit about the full bladder a few times.

She didn’t say anything about the Hepatitis B or C or whatever. I didn’t get the impression that she was a nurse, more of a scheduler so I didn’t ask. I did e-mail my nurse on Monday to confirm they had enough blood from Friday’s draw to run the test and she confirmed that they did and said they would call on Thursday with the results. I didn’t hear anything from my nurse or any other medical professional at the office. Just come with a full bladder.

I also got another bill for the baseline ultrasound and blood work. This one was labeled past due. So I called the billing department on Monday. They called back on Tuesday, but I missed the call. I called back on Wednesday and they did not call back. I called again and talked to the right person who agreed that I shouldn’t have been billed. That I owed no money. She asked if I was sure it wasn’t a statement showing my credit. Yes, I was sure. She said she didn’t know why I was getting bills — the computer just sends them, she said. For no reason apparently.

So I went about getting ready. I cleaned the house. Vacuumed, dusted, cleaned the smudges of finger paint/food/dirt off the walls. Made the stainless steal appliances shine and even put that citric smelling stuff in the garbage disposal. I’m not sure if this helps any with embryo implantation, but it is always nice to be in a clean house and not looking at dirt might help me relax.

Plus, on Wednesday my in-laws told Bloke they are staying here Friday night (which of course isn’t ideal as they don’t know about the whole transfer and them being here might make that harder to hide). But I also needed to clean for them — well at least the bathrooms and the guest room.

So tomorrow we will hope for the best — with a full bladder.