If you want to skip the part where I tell you the results and read the story leading up to it, just start with October 2017 over here to the right ---> in the blog archives. And read up from there.
If you want to skip the little story and know how it turned out, Just stay here.
Well I have thought about this blog entry many, many times. How am I going to word it? Well I don't have an outlined plan so it will be all messed up and full of grammatical errors to piss Mike off. I type how I speak/think- mmmkay?
So let's talk about post-transfer. Now I KNOW it is much too early to feel anything or have symptoms. But I do know, when you have a 5 day transfer (embryo was grown out 5 days before freeze) that it will implant in 1-3 days post-transfer. Later than day and into the next I described what felt like a grapefruit in my uterus. It was heavy, and almost a tugging feeling. Of course I had many physical symptoms from the progesterone that can all be wrapped into pregnancy symptoms. Let me break some stuff down so we are all on the same page. Some of you may already know but I don't like to make anyone feel dumb either.
5DT= 5 day transfer, embryo is five days old
#DP= days post transfer
5DP 5DT= 10 DPO or 10 days past ovulation in real life
6DP 5DT=11 DPO
Still with me here?
SO typically when a woman is expecting her period she is on cycle day 28. If her period doesn't come and she takes a test, and it's positive, she is 4 weeks pregnant.
So back to what I was saying above. 1-3 days past transfer, should be implantation. Now it can happen that an embryo implants late. But after it is implanted, by 72 hrs, it is producing HcG (pregnancy hormone). In my brain, by 5 or 6 post-transfer I should be getting even a faint line. And of course I googled everything and watched a billion FET and IVF transfer pregnancy test videos. So I was feeling this heaviness and lots of cramping. This to me was all a good sign because nothing else changed. I was already on the progesterone for a few days so I knew this had to be the embryo. Transfer was on Tuesday, and by Friday I felt nothing. I still took that as being okay. And I had a hard time with implantation pain with Sloan, but just wanted to remind myself that every pregnancy is different.
I actually started to test at 4DP 5DT and KNEW that was crazy early. That would be 9 days post ovulation in real life, which like nobody get positives that early. I had a course on the weekend and I thought I shouldn't test because if it was negative, then I wouldn't be able to hold it together. Well on 4DP it was stark white negative (tested anyways). That was okay, it was still too early.
Somewhere on the Saturday I just started to check-out. I feel like deep down I was really starting to turn all my positive thoughts into negative ones. The amount of Estrogen I was on could bring down a horse. I have been tired for a month. All day, every day and nothing relieved it. I wasn't myself. I wasn't interested in work, Sloan or even Mike. I felt totally checked out and separated from my body. I got back into the clinic in July. It is now November, That is a long time to be in the process. Not to mention, I have now been on two forms of Estrogen for a month and added Progesterone injections. I got into bed the Saturday night after the course and I just sobbed. I was really overwhelmed with all the emotions and fears I had pushed down. I almost didn't want the transfer to happen. Because then I would have a for sure yes or no. When it was frozen and just an idea, it was easier to cope with, I have just been on these hormones for so long and the anticipation was building up. Somewhere in the middle of the night, with a headache from crying, I knew I wasn't completing my course the next day. I didn't go and spent the majority of the day in bed, crying. My mind was spinning. I wasn't even on this planet.
I woke up, and with Mike still sleeping, I did another test at 5DP 5DT or 10 days past ovulation. I knew deep down that if I didn't get a faint line today, I was out. And I just knew in my heart that the embryo didn't take. I would continue to test Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday,
And there it was. I remember how quick it came up positive when I was pregnant with Sloan. I would go back to the trash hours later and check it again. I would hold the test up to the window, in the sun, and squint to see if I could see something. I got the same result, day after day. Nothing was there, and I was not pregnant.
I feel like I cannot put into words exactly how I felt. I was in this dark, weird place that only someone would know if they have been here. I know I have not lost a baby. I know I have not miscarried. But I do know I have lost.
I have waited for this embryo for 3 years. I have dreamt about what it would be like to carry them. I wondered if they would look like Sloan and be a boy, or a girl. We always visualized two girls, but I always felt this was probably a boy. All these things we will never know. I am glad we did get to meet. We got to see the embryo alive and I got to have him or her for a short while. I did always feel I wouldn't get lucky twice and this transfer wouldn't work. A part of my heart was prepared for it. I actually thought I would be way more relaxed about the news. I used to tell others and myself "I already have a perfect little girl, it's okay if it doesn't work, we have her" which is all completely true. It's hard to say without sounding selfish for wanting another. We just always thought we would have two. And we deserve two, don't we? Can't we be like everyone else? I am always reminded that I have Sloan by people. Which I thank whoever is listening, every single day. But because I have fertility issues, I just stop and accept that? I want to grow the family we always visualized. We have to try. It's a very uneasy feeling to not have any control over your own future and how you build your family. You feel totally helpless. The how, the when, and all the other details lay in the hands of doctors and chance for us.
(Off topic) One thing I will note is that I have been surrounded by a lot of loss this year. Weather it's people I know, friends of friends etc. And I am talking from a few weeks gestation to full-term. I lost a cluster of cells. But it was our cluster of cells. I told a friend that it wasn't the same. She assured me that it mattered, it was our "baby". And I just cannot imagine the hurt in women and men's lives who have lost an embryo(s), a fetus, infant or child. I'm going off topic a little bit here. And I don't think it's just happening more, I think we are talking about it more. And that was a large reason why I am so open, and started a blog. The more we can talk about infertility or loss, the more we can help each other and get through. I know this isn't my "fault" but you feel this incredible weight of knowing it's because of you. You never really rid the guilt of knowing you aren't getting pregnant because of your body. If you know someone struggling, just be there for them. Forget all the "I hear so and so did this...or if you give up gluten....have you tried acupuncture?" Just ask what you can do for them. Just be an open door and a shoulder to cry on. Bring them a damn casserole, with all the gluten! Don't forget the ice-cream. You don't have to have the perfect thing to say. If you are struggling or have suffered loss, I see you. I hear you. Nothing fills the space in your heart that's meant for a child or children. I have said it before, just please don't give up. And if you are comfortable, tell people. Please open the lines of communication to allow someone to be your support team. It makes a world of difference the people around you know and can support you.
Unfortunately I already had visualized how I would announce. I already brought home this incredible vintage wooden bassinet I found on Kijiji. Don't say it, I know it's presumptuous of me. But I was being hopeful and positive. So I was putting all the positive vibes out there. We didn't tell family or even close friends this time, so I was thinking how I would tell them all. I think that was going to be my favourite part, the look on grandparents faces. We could have surprised our family for Christmas. We never got any of the normal things everyone else gets when they are pregnant. This baby would also have come within a week of Sloan's Birthday.
Funny, we transferred Sloan November 8th, 2014. We Transferred "fro-bro" November 7th 2017. Just worked out that way.
I've had a few days to cry in bed. I have had a little while to accept that I won't be expecting a baby next summer. I have told some friends, co-workers and family that we did transfer. I feel some relief. I just want to move forward. I can't sit and dwell. I have to find the silver lining or the reason. I annoy Mike all the time when something doesn't work out and I say "all things happen for a reason, universe has different plans" and he hates it, haha.
I do believe it will happen, just at another time. There is a reason for it. May all be bullshit but it helps me get through.
Here is where the story takes a serious turn, you ready?
SO I met with my doctor on Friday November 17th, and had blood work while I was there. We talked about the next step and I had told her that right up until the appointment, I had tested negative. She didn't have the results but told me to stay on the hormones until I get the official "okay". We decided to take a break over the next 6-8 months. With a blocked tube, high ovaries and no natural ovulation, I am fighting a serious battle. I want out of the infertility bubble for a little while. We also both agreed, that I should use this time to work on myself, and lose some weight. I wasn't offended- she is right. This can improve my egg quality and MAYBE be able to bring my high ovaries down if I have less adipose tissue/inflammation etc. So I went home, got groceries, signed up for yoga and ordered new workout gear. My mind was shifted into a new perspective. I was supposed to get a call the next day, but after I called them I was told to call back Monday as it wasn't on my chart.
To my surprise, I get a call around noon on Monday. "Miss Abbott, you have a beta level of 57. This is extremely low for this stage but you will need to come back today for more blood work". Wait, WHAT. How is this even possible? I was testing dead negative up until. And I know <5 is not pregnant, and >5 is technically pregnant. You need to be at least 25 for a First Response to pick it up. But 57 is LOW for how far along I am supposed to be. So this means, either the embryo magically implanted over a week late, or implanted and has slowly been growing and giving off HCG. So I rush to the clinic and do blood work and totally freaking out. I immediately google "low HCG transfer, successful pregnancies" and see tons of stories of women with low numbers and healthy babies. My headspace was messed up. I had already mourned this loss. What does this mean now? Well, on my way home to wait on the results, I grabbed two tests at the store. I immediately came home and yelled for a cup. I dipped the tests and let Mike look, I couldn't do it. I frantically paced around the house as the 3 minutes seemed like 3 hours. He went to the bathroom and picked them up. He asked "how many lines is positive?" like he doesn't know. He brings them out, with the window covered with his hands. He turns them around and...
You should have seen the look on Mike's face. He totally lit up and did that laugh-smile-cry thing. I know this game, and I know deep in my heart that 57 at this stage, is not good. This would be a unicorn baby that it implanted THIS late and has low HCG.
The nurse calls and says "your level is only 133, it did double in 72 hours but still extremely low, we will repeat in 3 days".
So now I have 3 days ahead of freaking out. And to add it it, shortly after my call I started spotting. It would come and go and spotting can be good or bad when it comes to early pregnancy. So the following days were like this:
So, on the morning of my beta blood work, I got this:
The nurse called and said "your HCG level has gone down to 29, stop all your medication and wait for your cycle to start". And that was it.
At this point, I have told myself, Mike, girls at work (they had to know)- that I was okay. And that was the truth. I had already dealt with this loss. But being completely honest....
I am fucking devastated. To put it politely.
I find comfort in the fact that it did stick at some point, even for a little while. And technically I got to carry him or her for a little while too.
In closing, I could never do it without my support system (Mike), I love you very much. Thank-you to my best friend Alex, for listening and coming to be my injection buddy. Thank-You to my cheering squad at work, you ladies make working a better place. We didn't tell family/friends this time, not because we didn't want to, we just wanted this time to be private. We still love you all. And to my found friend via Instagram, who I will call "Boston"- you know who you are. Im glad we had our IVF girls together 3 years ago, and we transferred a day apart this time. You have no idea how helpful you have been for me. You helped me through a lot of tears. I appreciate all the late nights, kind words and keeping it real with me. Im here to root you on! I am so happy it was at least one of us this time.
This chapter is closed, but the story isn't over. It's all a part of our journey.
We love you fro-bro,