I think I’m — maybe — pregnant…

Tested this evening on two separate stick tests. Cheap-o and First Response. Now am 15 days post trigger. Both came back, well…

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Holy shit. I still won’t know if this is real until mid next week — and then I have to get through tons of miscarriage risk. But between the obvious nausea and waking up early and crazy dreams, I feel like this might be legit.

Which is good… because I just got another bill in the mail for $1300 for a blood test the RE had me take. I can’t keep up with all the bills… we’ve now spent $5500 on this infertility stuff, and that’s long before IVF. Really, really, really hope I’m pregnant so I can start putting money towards my kid’s college fund and diapers and crib and such vs spending every last cent on trying to get pregnant.

That said — now, I’m starting to get (very) concerned about multiples. I know it’s crazy to go from thinking I might never have kids to worries about multiples (all while still not knowing if I’m actually pregnant) BUT it’s quite possible I conceived twins… given I had two mature eggs. I’m a little concerned about twins for all the obvious reasons — but I did have this dream as a child to have twins and given I’m going to be almost 35 when giving birth and I want at least two kids, twins would be ok (as long as they’re healthy and I’m healthy, etc – and once I get over freaking out about how to handle TWO babies at once.) But, any more and… I don’t know how I’d react to that. There were other smaller follicles but the doctor made it clear the risk was twins, not more. Stranger things have happened, though, according to what I’ve read on the internet…

For such a strong reaction this early on (the nausea, the headaches at implantation, the very dark lines at CD 28 and 15 days post trigger, only 13 post ovulation… I feel like something is up. First pregnancy so I have no idea… but, I do know I’m not supposed to be feeling morning sickness until week eight!)

Well, I’ll know I’m pregnant or not next week… but I won’t know if it’s twins until January. Oy gavult. This is so stressful! I know I shouldn’t worry about it until we get there, but… the risk is real. Oh, life, you’re so strange…

Happy Birthday to Me?

Well, it’s my 34th birthday. I never expected to be 34 – and any expectation I had of myself being 34 definitely included driving around a gaggle of children in the backseat of a beautifully-fugly minivan. Given I’m now a walking biological clock – and I want at least two kids — I know it’s now or never.

The trigger shot MAY still be in my system. I originally planned to take my first post-trigger pee-on-a-stick test today. I’m using the cheapies right now, so they could also be off. But I’ve tried them plenty of times before and they always show up w/ no line (except the one time I tested two days after trigger, just to confirm they worked at all.) So, the fact that they keep showing lines is promising. The line did get lighter last night and today it’s definitely there but faded. No “BFP” as they say (Big Fat Positive – who comes up with these terms?)

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Chart is looking good… but temp spike this am could be due to all the eating and drinking at Thanksgiving last night! Tomorrow will be the real test… if I DID ovulate on the 10th of November, today is 14 days post ovulation and AF (Aunt Flo) should come tomorrow. Even though my body has a mind of her own, I seem to be fairly consistent in the 14 day Luteal Phase, and bleeding promptly on day 15. (Without the medicine Femera I apparently ovulate too late, if at all – but if I have the temp spikes I’ll see AF there, shiny her happy red face, 15 days later.)

As far as how good this could look right now… this is looking very good. That doesn’t mean that a) the trigger shot is still in my system (though the line definitely got darker from two tests three days ago so I think that’s unlikely) OR b) it could be a chemical pregnancy (my current concern) which means that it didn’t actually stick properly or 3) it could eventually be a miscarriage, which is so common with women who have PCOS. In short, even though it’s my birthday, I’m still trying not to get my hopes up!

This weekend (and Monday) will tell all. If my period isn’t here by Monday am, I know something’s up. I’m going to take my first blood test at 6:30 on Monday morning. Originally the doctor said I could take my first blood test today BUT they aren’t open today or on the weekend, of course, so I’m waiting until Monday. That makes sense anyway, since by Monday either I have started my period or… I’m probably at least somewhat pregnant.

Happy Birthday to me?

 

Cycle 2: CD 19 – Should I Be Hopeful?

Trying really hard not to get my hopes up. So far this whole TTC with PCOS thing has been brought to you by believing I probably can’t have kids. But I have a feeling (and a tiny hint of data) that this cycle may be different. And, why wouldn’t it be? I get to take my first pregnancy test on my 34th birthday.

Why do I think I might be pregnant? Well, I haven’t had any implementation bleeding yet, but apparently not all women get that. My BBT chart leads me to think this could be the cycle for BFP. It also could just be my body freaking out after being shot up with HCG a week ago and releasing a bunch of eggs. I’ll find out fairly soon.

I’ve read a bit about triphasic charts when you are pregnant… your temp starts low, it goes up after you ovulate, and then, after implementation it goes up again if you have the right amount of progesterone to stay pregnant. Two days ago, which was 6-7 days post ovulation, I had a dip in my temps (down to 97.3) and then it went back up. That’s either a fluke, or a good sign. It seems a little early to be an implementation dip (I triggered on CD 11, which means I likely didn’t ovulate until CD 13 — but with the trigger shot and what I was feeling I wonder if I released a little early. It’s apparently possible 24 hours after trigger but usually around 36.)

So far, my chart looks like this:

CD 11: trigger (9pm)
CD 12 (0 DPO): slight temp rise and strong ov. feels (97.3)
CD 13 (1 DPO): very strong rise (98.0)
CD 14 (2 DPO): remains strong rise (98.1)
CD 15 (3 DPO): possible corpes luteum dip  (97.4)
CD 16 (4 DPO): up again
CD 17 (5 DPO): slight drop
CD 18 (6 DPO): major drop – too early for implantation??? (97.3)
CD 19 (7 DPO): up again
CD 20 (8 DPO): possible triphasic shift (98.3)
CD 21 (9 DPO): tbd
CD 22 (10 DPO): tbd
CD 23 (11 DPO): tbd
CD 24 (12 DPO): tbd
CD 25 (13 DPO): tbd
CD 26 (14 DPO): — * 34th birthday
CD 27 (15 DPO): tbd
CD 28 (16 DPO): tbd

So – I think the CD6 drop was too early to be an implementation dip. The only thing that I think could have happened is that I somehow ovulated before the trigger shot (my follicles seem to grow really fast on Femera, as the doc told me to trigger the next night when I had one at 19 and one at 17) at my CD10 ultrasound.) There was a slight temp rise (from 97.0 baseline to 97.3) on morning of Trigger shot, then the next day it shot up to 98.0, so ovulation happened somewhere in there.)

Right now, all there is to do is wait. I was a little defeatist the other day when my temp dropped so significantly, but it’s a relief to see it bump back up. I’ve hit 98.3 in prior cycles in post ovulation, so it’s not strange for me, but according to temps this cycle it could be the start of the triphasic shift. Or it could be meaningless.

My BBT test times are a bit all over the place this cycle too — so it’s not 100% accurate. And I had one night of horrible sleep. But I’m hoping there’s something to it.

If we get pregnant this cycle, it would be amazing. It would mean not having to worry about spending $30,000-$100,000 on IVF treatments. So – we could buy that new couch we’ve been wanting…  and a crib. 🙂

 

Cycle 2, CD 12: Day After Trigger Shot

This Femera + Trigger Shot cycle has been similar to the one I did last spring at the other clinic, with the exception of my Trigger Shot being bumped up a day. Last time I triggered on CD 12 and this time my RE told me to trigger on the evening on CD 11.

I understand so little of the logic behind any of this, but I think some clinics are more risk-averse regarding multiples. This clinic certainly is (they only implant one embryo at a time for IVF) so perhaps they wanted to trigger sooner than later, in case other follicles caught up and released. My doctor did clearly state that I have a chance of twins since I had two large-ish follicles.

Interestingly, my body reacted to the cycle almost identically as it did to my last Femera cycle — one fast-growing, large follicle on the left side (that I can definitely feel) and a couple of medium and small sized ones on the right. The one on the left grew from 15 mm to 19mm in between my CD 8 and CD 10 appointment, so I guess it’s safe to assume that it was about 21-23mm when I triggered the night of CD11. Who knows what the others were, if any in the right ovary were ready to release.

Right now I’m massively thirsty and I feel a lot of action in both of my ovaries. They are very sore and bloated. I am looking forward to ovulating so this discomfort can go away… unless, of course, I do get pregnant from this cycle – and there will be more discomfort, but at least it will be for a good reason. 🙂

I’m not getting my hopes up but I know there’s a possibility I will get pregnant this cycle. I’ll find out in a few weeks one way or another. If I am not pregnant, I’ll likely let my body have a natural cycle which will take us through the remainder of the year, and start trying medicated again in January.

For the record, the cost of this cycle was $960 ($800 ultrasounds and bloodwork, $150 trigger shot, $10 femera), bringing the total costs of infertility treatment to date to $3745.50.

The Potential Costs of IVF…

Although I’m still hopeful that I’ll get pregnant with less invasive and expensive means, I have to be realistic that we may have to resort to IVF in order to have a kid (or, at least, any faint hope of having a kid.) IVF, i.e., “In-Vitro Fertilization,” is a fairly common practice nowadays. When I tell people that I’m having trouble getting pregnant, everyone  jumps to share with me how they know “so and so” who got pregnant with IVF. Simple.

In many cases, these friends of friends lived in a state where IVF is covered by insurance. They mention their friend had to “pay a lot,” but don’t realize that “a lot” is actually co-pays and deductibles, which is still a lot, but it’s not the a lot a lot that is what IVF costs without any infertility coverage, which is the case for most women/couples in America. (Only Massachusetts, New Jersey, Maryland, Connecticut and Illinois require insurance coverage of IVF — elsewhere it’s up to your company if and what they want to cover, which is usually nothing unless you work for Facebook or Google or a giant bank.)

The average cost of a “fresh cycle” of IVF in the US is $12,000-$16,000. Think that’s a lot of money? That doesn’t include any of the medication required  (that’s an extra $3000-$5000+), or optional add ons, such as embryo biopsy and screening. If you get enough eggs out in round one, they can be frozen (and fertilized), for an annual fee, and then frozen cycles later are a little cheaper, at $3000-$5000+ per cycle, plus medications and the optional costs.

According to AdvancedFertility.com, IVF with preimplantation genetic testing (with meds) and a subsequent frozen embryo transfer usually costs about $17,000 – $25,000 in the US.

For women under 35, there is a 47.5% chance that $25,000 will amount to a child. There’s more than a 50% chance that you won’t get pregnant, and that $25,000 will be out the door, never to be seen again. When you turn 35, your chances of live birth decrease slightly to 39.6%. After you turn 38, those go down much more to 28%.

It’s a strange industry — medical clinics set up to give you hope, but also provide a realism in how you’re throwing substantial money at something that may not work, not to mention that if you do have a kid you really need that money to feed, clothe and shelter it. As a woman gets older, the clock is ticking, and suddenly money seems less important than just giving it all you’ve got to have a child. Maybe it won’t work, and maybe you’ll be $100k poorer for it, but at least you’ll know you tried.

Or, perhaps, you move to a state where they cover a cycle or two of IVF.

Not Pregnant, Not Surprised.

When there were two beautiful properly-sized follicles on my first ultrasound post starting Femera, I had this surge of optimism in my mind that I maybe would be lucky and this try would take. I knew, scientifically, that even in the perfect setup odds of getting pregnant any cycle are less than 1-in-5, so I *shouldn’t* get my hopes up… but odds are still odds, and they’re not impossible.

When I felt cramps in my ovaries and could almost feel my eggs releasing, I thought maybe they were the ones. When I had a strange cramping sensation a few days before I was supposed to get my period, I thought maybe something took… but then a few days later, in unfortunate perfect timing, came the standard setup of cramps and bleeding. No dice.

Due to travels this summer, it’s going to be challenging to find time to try another cycle that works for the doctors and my husband and I. It’s hard to time these things since my period is so irregular anyway, and I need to be available for an ultrasound on the 9th day of my cycle along with the 11th day, and to be able to complete triggering and the following required acts for the few days following. This time I’m traveling internationally so I have to skip this cycle. Each missed cycle feels like a lost roll of the dice – will I look back in a few years and wish I just never left my area until I managed to get pregnant?

I’m not doing myself any favors by being out of town so much — I’m pretty much committed to traveling through October and then heads down and really focusing on getting pregnant (since I’ll be 34 somehow in November.) Thirty-four will be the year when I’ll be stabbing myself with tons of hormones, spending my savings on IVF, and maybe, if I’m lucky, being able to enjoy the wonders of pregnancy and having a child. My doctor says I need 2 more tries with the Femera and Trigger shot alone before we do anything else (though I can opt for a tube test to make sure they aren’t blocked… which I’ll have to do before IUI or IVF… but everything I’ve read about that test makes me cringe (sounds painful) so I’m avoiding… so far we know my (major) problem is that I don’t ovulate, and Femera seemed to “Fix” that, so maybe that’s all that needs to be fixed. Why believe something else is wrong with me for no reason other than being completely unlucky?

So I haven’t written here in a while because I was hoping if I didn’t think about it or write about it I’d be pregnant. That didn’t work. I’m not. On to cycle two… eventually…

 

First HCG Shot: How it Felt and the TWW

Last night, I had to – for the first time in my life – self-inject a drug into myself. I realize that diabetics and others have to do this regularly, and it’s not that big of a deal, but I let my fear-of-needles take a hold of me, which led to an hour-or-so panic attack and my poor husband trying to help me calm down, accomplished only by a shot of whiskey and finally getting up the guts to poke my stomach fat with the needle, injecting 1cc of HCG and water mix to “trigger” ovulation.

Admittedly, it wasn’t that painful – the injection itself didn’t hurt (I guess it’s a good thing I have so much fat) and it was only slightly uncomfortable when my husband helped me inject the substance – and then it was over. There was slight soreness at the site of the injection, but mostly I just felt a little dizzy and warm for a few minutes – I’m not sure if that was the medication or me just breathing for the first time in an hour.

The process of setting up the injections wasn’t that hard — we had a vial of water and one of powder, and we had to mix 1cc of water into the powder vial and shake it for 30 seconds, then the mixture was ready to be stabbed injected into my body.

As per doctor’s orders, we are to have TI twice this week, once after the injection and once two days later for the the best chance of insemination. I really wonder if this will work — there are so many variables that have to be right to get pregnant, it’s amazing anyone ever does. Now we enter the “TWW” – two week wait – and see if anything stuck. I don’t expect to get pregnant this cycle, though it could happen.