Thursday, 27 May 2010

6w2d: Waiting to see the heartbeat

If I am pregnant, then I am 6 weeks and 2 days today. The brown spotting seems to have gone away for the moment, which is great. Five days until the ultrasound. My husband keeps on reminding me that I must still be pregnant because I haven't had my period. But what if I had my period without noticing, or it's ectopic, or I reabsorbed it like a rabbit?

The ultrasound is scheduled for Tuesday. My IVF intake appointment is scheduled for Monday. I still haven't cancelled my IVF intake appointment. I will do this today, and hope that it doesn't jinx me.

My stomach is churning this morning. Morning sickness or anxiety?

Saturday, 22 May 2010

5w4d: Not not pregnant?

Still another ten days to go until the ultrasound. I really do not feel pregnant at all. I know a lot of women feel like this around this stage, but I also know that a lot of non-pregnant women feel non-pregnant, too. I like to think that my breasts are a little sore and my appetite is a little off, but that might all be psychosomatic. A few days ago my abdomen felt like I had done too many sit-ups, but that sensation has also disappeared.

Still, no red spotting and no cramping. I'm going to take this as a good sign.

I am so impatient to see the scan. Is there something inside me, or is this just going to be a sad little line on my history bar?

If it were up to me, I would be measuring my blood hCG daily and searching for a gestational sac. I am not very good at not-knowing how things are going inside of me.

Monday, 17 May 2010

20dpo: Beta #1

Well, the lines on the pregnancy tests have been getting darker and darker. The one this morning was almost as dark as the control line. So I figured it was time to bite the bullet.

I rocked up to my fertility clinic as soon as it opened. As quietly as I could, I explained to the receptionist that I didn't have an appointment, but I had gotten a positive result on a home pregnancy test. She told me that it was probably too early, and I should just wait until my Beta appointment. I told her that I was in between treatments. She looked surprised, but booked me in.

About ten minutes later they called me in for the blood test. Funny how now I can now calmly watch them poke a needle into me and collect a vial of blood. The nurse asked me if this was a pregnancy test, and I told her yes. She asked me what I felt about it, and I told her the home urine test came back positive. She smiled, and asked me if I had used IUI or IVF. I sheepishly told her that I was on a break between treatments, and that I had just had sex. She immediately began quizzing me about symptoms: nausea, sore breasts, etc. When I told her that I didn't really feel any different, I could see the doubt in her eyes.

I am sure we were both thinking the same thing: Hysterical pregnancy

Then I had a day of work to get through. I knew that they would call me between noon and 5pm. I called my phone a few times to make sure it was working (then freaked out 5 minutes later at seeing a missed call on my screen). I set myself up in a meeting room for the afternoon, segregated from our open-plan office. At this stage, I need a beta of at least 111.

Noon. No phone call.

1pm. No phone call.

2pm. No phone call.

3pm. No phone call. Give 30 minute presentation in 17 minutes and scoot everyone away.

4pm. No phone call.

4:15. Call the clinic. My beta is:


They wash their hands of me and give me an appointment with gynecology/ obstetrics next door on the 1st of June for an ultrasound. The nurse starts asking me who I have picked to monitor my pregnancy, and I tell her that I haven't even started thinking about it.

I still can't believe that I am pregnant. I am so happy. So thankful.

Friday, 14 May 2010

17dpo: Not darker. Not lighter.

What does the "1-2" on the Digital Pregnancy Test I showed yesterday mean? No, not the number of babies. It is the estimated weeks since conception - either "1-2" or "3-4", based on whether both strips inside the test change colour, or just the super-sensitive one.

Well, according to my computer this line has gone from a density of 42% to 44%. I guess we'll just have to see what the weekend brings.

I would really like to have a baby in January, though.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Break cycle: 16dpo: BFP

I have over 25 IU/L of HCG in my urine. It's not due to a trigger shot. I guess that means I'm pregnant.

I was going to enjoy this break before IVF. To not worry about trying to conceive and just appreciate all the wonderful things I had in my life. I did not renew my VIP Fertility Friend membership. I was going to go back to my lifestyle when I was back on the pill. In fact, I would have gone back on the pill but my RE said that 40 days is the maximum length of time for their long IVF protocol. So my new crazy lifestyle included:
  • Drinking three glasses of wine a week
  • Sleeping with the electric blanket on
  • Skipping my pre-natal vitamins
  • Skipping my omega-3 capsules
  • Drinking coffee
  • Drinking tea
  • Eating McDonalds
I kept an eye on my temperatures because my ovulation date fluctuates wildly, and I wanted to know when my period arrives.

But when it reached 14 days past ovulation, and my temperature was still high, I was puzzled. I looked back at my chart, and my thermal shift was very clear. Is it crazy to take a pregnancy test? Yes, I thought, but, no, 14 days post ovulation is a perfectly normal time to test. So I pulled out a Digital Test, glad it would give me a definitive answer. This way I would know that it was safe to drink at my friend's birthday party that evening.

But three minutes later, it said

Of course, not having the VIP Fertility Friend membership, it took me a few minutes to find somewhere that would calculate my due date. Due date. How odd.

I started to shake, and quickly wrote out a little card for my husband saying "I am pregnant. I am due January 18 2011.". He took forever to get out of the shower, but when I gave him the card he said "Wow." then "1-2 babies?" and then pointed out that they should have a small advantage due to their date of birth, as a child born at the beginning of the year is slightly more mature than their peers. Which is one of the reasons why I love my husband very much.

But I had yet to see those two pink lines. How dark was this second line? I went to the pharmacy and asked for four "tests de grossesses", because they keep them behind the counter here. The guy gave me a strange look. "Four?", but slowly opened up a new box and handed them over.

All night I dreamed that I was taking that test, but I could never see the result, and ended up going through hundreds of sticks. Finally, it was 6am. I took the test.

It is faint. But it is there.

Now I need to wait until tomorrow.

Last time I was pregnant it lasted for 19 days post ovulation. The line never got darker.

Is this going to be another chemical pregnancy? Or is this one going to stick?

Sunday, 2 May 2010

What if...

  • What if IVF was available and accessible and cheap for all of those who needed it?
  • What if we could reduce the rates of stillbirth and premature birth in IVF patients?
  • What if we could achieve both of these goals and decrease the burden on the healthcare system?

What if IVF didn't cost US$12,000 per attempt? What if it was available to all patients in need, without needing to sacrifice a chunk of their wealth to gamble on a few blastocysts?

In many countries, double embryo transfer is routinely performed to increase the success rate and to decrease the financial impact on patients. Around one third of double embryo transfers result in twins and higher order multiples.

However, the burden of multiples is great - on the babies, the mother's body, their parents, and the health care system. It seems unfair that a woman who spends so much emotional and material wealth on achieving a pregnancy should have to face higher rates of misfortune compared to a fertile woman.

In Belgium, the cost to the healthcare system for each singleton up to three months old is 3,400 euro. The cost to the healthcare system for each twin child up to the age of three months is 13,000 euro.

The cost to the Belgian healthcare system for a single IVF/ICSI cycle is 2,426 euro.

In European countries such as Finland, Sweden, Norway, and Belgium, IVF is available to all patients under the universal health care scheme. However, in women under 36 in their first or second IVF attempt, only a single embryo may be transferred. The mean pregnancy rate after single embryo transfer is now around 34% with 1% twins, compared to 35% with double embryo transfer with 33% multiple pregnancies.

This permits the Belgian healthcare system to offer six IVF cycles (technically six oocyte retrievals) to every woman who needs it, reduce the rates of pregnancy complications, and reduce the overall healthcare budget.

It is not only compassionate to offer IVF to all patients in need, it is also financially prudent. What if all countries could recognise this?

Gerris J, De Sutter P, De Neubourg D, Van Royen E, Vander Elst J, Mangelschots K, Vercruyssen M, Kok P, Elseviers M, Annemans L, Pauwels P, Dhont M. A real-life prospective health economic study of elective single embryo transfer versus two-embryo transfer in first IVF/ICSI cycles. Hum Reprod. 2004 Apr;19(4):917-23.

Gerris JM. Hum Reprod Update. 2005 Mar-Apr;11(2):105-21. Epub 2004 Oct 28.
Single embryo transfer and IVF/ICSI outcome: a balanced appraisal.
Hum Reprod Update. 2005 Mar-Apr;11(2):105-21.

This post is part of Mel's Project IF, supported by RESOLVE for National Infertility Awareness Week.