The rest of the story

Oh, this hurts. It HURTS. I don’t even know who I’m writing this to … I haven’t posted in so long that I don’t imagine anyone reads anymore, and I imagine almost everyone who did knows at this point.

But maybe I have to tell the story, or it’s like it never happened. And it did happen.

I started to bleed on Saturday, September 7. I was, as you can read in the previous post, absolutely devastated. I spent the rest of the day sobbing in my bed after the boys’ soccer game (which I cried through and hoped people thought I had bad allergies.) I had terrible, scary thoughts. I was hysterical. So much worse than my negatives with IVF #1 – and IVF #1 was awful. 

DH and I agreed by Sunday afternoon – never again. Never, ever again. Dr. R. said there was no point in trying a third time when there was nothing to fix, and I never wanted to do something again that made me feel the way I did that day. Our family was complete.

On Monday the 9th, I went to my blood draw so I could get off all the meds. I stay on them like a good patient until I’m told to get off (mostly because I cannot abide spending all these thousands of dollars and then ignoring instructions.) I had a 7:40 appointment. I cried through my draw.

At around 1, during my school day, I noted a missed call from the clinic. I can read voice mails on my phone, so I peeked quick … “Patricia, we have your bloodwork. Please call when you can.” or something along those lines. And I was so mad. Insult to injury. I have to CALL you now? Just say, “It’s negative” on the voice mail so I can move on. JESUS.

I called. My favorite receptionist answered. “How are you?” she asked. “Terrible,” I answered. “I’m calling to get my negative. Please let’s get this over with.” My favorite nurse came on the phone. “Congratulations … it’s positive!” she said.

What?

“I’m bleeding,” I told her. “I’ve been bleeding since 10 days past transfer, just like last time.” “That can be normal,” she said. “Looks like you’re pregnant … come in Wednesday for a repeat draw.” 

My number was so low at 12dp5dt. 48.5. My progesterone was 9.65. But I took a pregnancy test the next morning. And that line was real. It got darker the next day.

On Wednesday, 14dp5dt, it JUST doubled … to 99.8. My progesterone had fallen to 8.62.

That day the bleeding went from spotting to BLEEDING. Red, bright red, needing-a-constant pad. And I knew, with every beat of my heart, that this wasn’t right. So stressed, so terrified … so desperately, desperately wanting and hopeful. My nurse told me to be “cautiously optimistic” but that things could go either way. I was scheduled for another draw on Monday the 16th.

On Friday, the second line on the test was darker still. Almost as dark as the control line, but not quite.

That weekend, I started passing clots the size of half my palm (sorry, that’s so disgusting, but I don’t know how else to explain it.) I cried every day, as I had since September 7. I got my blood draw and went to work, somehow able to pull it together for my students as I had done every day before.

When I called after school that day, it had gone up again … to 488. My progesterone had now fallen to 5.6.

Let me interject and assure you that I had been on progesterone suppositories (Endometrin) since my egg retrieval on 8/23. Vaginal suppositories don’t show up in the blood, as the progesterone goes right to the uterus rather than through your bloodstream. My nurse said, “Dr. R. is happy with your HCG. That said, this is likely not a healthy pregnancy” (gee, do you think?) “but I’m not giving up and neither are you. Get here by 4 – we’re putting you on twice daily progesterone in oil injections along with the suppositories. I’ve saved 4 babies this way!” 

I didn’t ask how many didn’t make it anyway, though I was thinking it.

PIO injections suck. They hurt. This is news to no one. DH was wonderful about giving them to me, and I did my best not to complain (much). 

Once I got to 488, they said they wouldn’t see me for another week, when I’d be 6w3d and ready for an ultrasound. 

That might have been the longest week in history. The bleeding only got worse, even with the injections. My outer hips/ass swelled up and were so sore and bruised from the injections. I was terrified and miserable … and my not-very-strong-in-the-first-place symptoms continued to fade as the week progressed. 

On Thursday, I saw something on my pad that seemed to resemble a little tiny sac. And the sobbing and hysteria reached new heights. I knew (again) that it was over. On Sunday night, I took another pregnancy test, knowing my HCG had dropped and the second line would have gotten lighter.

It did. In fact, the test was almost negative. Even though I knew better, I was heartbroken (again.)

I took another one the next morning, hoping I’d been wrong. Same almost-negative result.

It was with a heavy heart that I drove to my ultrasound. 

And once again, hope came back. Why? WHY? Dr. R. saw “a gestational sac with a fetus inside.” 

Hardly daring to hope, I said, “But I’m sure it’s not the right size.” 

He said, “Actually, it’s measuring exactly the right size.” 

I said, “I can’t believe this. You must be magic.” He laughed and said, “As far as I’m concerned, all of this is magic.” 

But he was concerned about my ongoing bleeding and my reported much-lighter tests. They drew my blood with a promise I’d have results the next morning. My nurse even told me she’d come into work early so she could call me before I started teaching. The plan? If the numbers were bad, go off all meds. If the number was okay, repeat draw on Wednesday morning. If they were bad after that, again, go off all meds. If they were okay on the repeat draw, schedule another ultrasound for a week later, 7w3d. 

I drove home with new hope.

But I got my bad news at 7:19 the next morning, as I drove the boys to school and myself to work … my HCG had plummeted to 11.6. Pregnancy over, get off all your meds, hopefully the sac will just be absorbed by your body, want to schedule your consult? 

I pulled it together, scheduled the consult, dropped the boys off, cried on my drive along I-88, and managed to teach all day without a hitch.

Every day has been so very hard, not just since last Tuesday, but since the last time I posted. I’m not okay yet, and I wanted so badly to be okay.  I continue to cry every day … less than I did at first, though. May 16 would have been an awesome day. 

Side note: I am STILL BLEEDING. It’s been 3 weeks and 4 days. I assume I’ll run out of iron at some point? Craptastic. All of this is craptastic. Just when I thought nothing could suck more than an IVF negative.

Dearest little baby K, 

I’m sorry I didn’t tell your story here before now. You were real, and you were so incredibly wanted, and I miss you so much. Daddy misses you. Nana and Papa and Grandma and Grandpa and all your aunts and uncles miss you too. If Matt and Ryan had known about you, they would have LOVED.YOU. I love you. I always will. 

xoxo Mama

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Spotting started, right on schedule

10dp5dt … just like last time.

I want to tear throats out. I am so angry. I am so.fucking.angry. I hate everyone in the whole world. Everyone. I don’t want my husband’s comfort this time. I don’t want my friends’. I don’t even really want my boys’. 

I want to cease to exist. I want to run away. Leave me alone. Forget I exist. Maybe it will come true.

Nothing to freeze

I cried all afternoon. Into the evening. I got into that negative head space – “these embryos must be as messed up as the others.” In all fairness, I cried at lunchtime too. My new job is HARD. So hard. I’m so effing tired. Today everything sucks. I think I have a hot date with my crapass meditation CD.

Two more home.

Two blastocysts transferred today, one an expanded blast and one an early blast. The (so sweet) embryologist told me they even looked a little better than our last embies. Two more will be cultured until tomorrow for possible freezing (fingers crossed!) They are also early blasts, so hopefully they’ll perform and be frozen with their little ice ice baby sibling.

Blood pregnancy test (aka beta) scheduled for 7:40 on September 9. I’m so swamped with work I suspect the wait will be quicker this time. 

Six.

Fertilization report is in.

I had 18 eggs. 11 of those were mature. Of those 11, 6 fertilized and are (please God) healthfully dividing on their merry little way.

I’m sort of bummed, honestly. I did hope that more eggs = more embryos, but we are actually starting out with one fewer than cycle #1. Again, whatever happens will happen, but I am not doing this shit again, and DH agrees. 

Such an awful little experiment, this IVF. Unless it works. Then I bet it’s spectacular. 

Bad timing … I haz it.

Y’all, my body hurts. HURTS. They are not playing when they say “you may return to work 24 hours after retrieval.”

Except that I returned to work 2 hours after retrieval, which is almost the same thing. I couldn’t stand the idea of missing Meet the Teacher … especially if for some Godawful reason our embryos suck and we have to do a 3-day transfer. ‘Cause a 3-day transfer would be Monday, THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL. Deep breaths; I cannot even worry about that right now.

Retrieval wasn’t quite as smooth this time. The nurse anesthetist this time was really nasty and couldn’t apparently get over my weight. She diagnosed both DH and I with sleep apnea while we were chatting. Wait, seriously? I get why you’d be worried about the possibility of sleep apnea in the person you’re about to put to sleep, but you can lay off the person you’re NOT treating. Seriously WTF. I think her judgmental attitude just set me up to feel extra anxious. 

In any case, when I woke up, I HURT. There was no giggly chattiness like last time; it was just ow ow ow ow to the nth power. I started to get scared that it wouldn’t be better in time to go back to school, but thanks to my new bestie Toradol, the pain did subside enough for me to get back. 

We got 18 eggs (yay!). No idea how many mature. The bad news was that DH’s sample was so bad that they asked him to produce a second time as they couldn’t even find enough live ones for ICSI (in this case, just the 18 – eeek.) After the second sample (way to get after it, baby!), they let us leave, saying they could find some swimmers this time. Worst case scenario, he has a frozen sample there they could thaw and use.  Praying for a good fert report.

I made it through Meet the Teacher in an appropriately charming manner, fell asleep as DH was driving us home, and then slept on the couch ’til almost 6, and it’s going to be an early bedtime tonight.

You have no idea how badly I wish I didn’t have to go into my classroom this weekend …