Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Second Ultrasound

U/S from 12/19/16: Heartbeat (178 bpm) seen,
small SCH superior to (above) fetus; measuring at 8 weeks, 2 days; 
CRL: 17.8 mm, Yolk Sac: 3.7 mm; SCH: 2.2 x 0.7 x 1.9 CM
Yesterday we had our second U/S (at 8 weeks, 2 days). The tech found the baby instantly and we could see the heart beating away (at 178 bpm). The fetus is starting to resemble a baby and we could see the limb buds developing, our little gummy bear. :) The tech showed us the head, and the black circle where the brain is developing. She also showed us the umbilical cord.

It's amazing how much Baby Nelson has grown in just over a week. S/he is still relatively small (the size of a raspberry), but is still bigger than the last U/S (the size of a blueberry)!

The SCH is still there, and is actually a little larger than it was last time. I'm waiting to hear back from my doctor to see if he is at all concerned. If everything looks good, it's possible that he will officially release me into the care of my OB/GYN tomorrow!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Update - Part 2

On the afternoon of 11/30/16, I was sitting in my colleague's office and I started getting sharp abdominal (period-like) cramps. I didn't think much of it, as I had had occasional cramping here and there. When I got home a couple hours later, I was devastated to see blood. I knew that spotting was ok, but this to me seemed to be way more than spotting. With shaking hands, I texted David: "I think I'm having a miscarriage." He thought I was just worrying, and told me not to worry, but all I could manage to get out was "No. You need to come home now." The on-call nurse at the fertility clinic was very kind and asked me how much blood I saw, what it looked like, and said that I should try to schedule an U/S with the OBGYN in the morning. She said if I felt like I couldn't relax, I could go to the ER, but that they may or may not have the means to do much. I decided I couldn't wait, and as soon as David got home, we immediately drove to the ER.

When I was waiting to be triaged, I realized I had left some notes (my medication information) at home, so David kindly went back home to retrieve them (as well as my injection). I had just been triaged when he returned. My coworker was so kind and came to see me while I was waiting. I was not expecting to see her, and immediately burst into tears when she gave me a hug. It meant so much to me to know that she cared about me and my well-being. Not long after, I was called back to a hospital bed where the nurse took down my information, took my vitals, and inserted an IV catheter into my arm to draw blood. Awhile later, the doctor came in and spoke to me. By this time, it was nearly 10pm. He ordered an ultrasound. The U/S technician wheeled me away and first did an abdominal U/S and then a transvaginal U/S. It was killing me because I couldn't see the screen, and she didn't say what she saw or what she was taking measurements of. When I got back to the hospital bed, I was so tired, and got a little bit of sleep. A little bit after midnight, the doctor came back in and told me that the cause of my bleed was from a small subchorionic hematoma (SCH), which was one of the better things I could have hoped for. He said that they were able to see the fetal pole and a yolk sac, but no heartbeat, which was ok, since it was still early. He said I was measuring at exactly 5 weeks, 6 days gestation (2 days more than I was expecting). I was just so glad to hear that I hadn't miscarried, and that the baby was developing as expected. My first U/S was not scheduled until 12/8/16, so it was great news to hear this. My HCG had also increased to 9,177 which was more good news. While the SCH was (and is) scary to me, I know it's something that happens more often with IVF patients, and I know that it is something that can often times resolve on its own. However, a SCH could possibly cause the placenta to separate from the uterine wall, and may be linked to an elevated risk of miscarriage and pre-term labor...so I was advised to be cautiously optimistic. The doctor told me to take it easy for the next few days and try to get into the OBGYN for another U/S. We were at the ER for 6+ hours that night!

After speaking to the OBGYN office the next day, we decided to keep my U/S appointment scheduled for 12/8/16. I took the day off and rested the entire weekend. On Monday, I went back to work (cautiously) and made a point to sit down, take the elevator, and rest as much as I could. Thankfully, this week was Reading Week (and next week is Finals), so my schedule has allowed for me to take it pretty easy.

U/S from 12/8/16: Fetal pole, yolk sac, & heartbeat (132 bpm) seen,
small SCH superior to (above) fetus; measuring at 6 weeks, 5 days; 

CRL: 7.6 mm, Yolk Sac: 2.1 mm; SCH: 1.3 x 0.4 x 1.2 CM
Yesterday (12/8/16), the entire day dragged as I waited for my U/S appointment at 2:40pm. When it was finally time, David met me in the waiting room. We were then led back to the U/S technician's office where I gave her a brief history of our IVF story as well as the ER visit. I was so nervous when she started the U/S. What if there's no heartbeat? What if the baby stopped developing? What if there's no baby and just an empty sac? What if the SCH has gotten bigger? What if I've miscarried? Every possible thought ran through my head. I got nervous when David stood up to look at the screen, and suddenly, the tech turned it to show us, and she said "There's the heartbeat." 

I was immediately flooded with an overwhelming amount of emotions and started crying. I wasn't even expecting to see the heartbeat flicker, and here it was beating away at 132 beats per minute, right in the expected range! She showed us the womb, the fetal pole, and the yolk sac. It was an amazing site and I'm still on cloud nine thinking about it!

Our next U/S is scheduled for Monday, 12/19/16. I will be finished with the semester by then, and if it's good news, hopefully my doctor will release me into the care of my OBGYN! I have my first prenatal appointment scheduled for 12/28/16. David and I told his family the good news today (Sunday, 12/11/16). It was bittersweet, as we were planning to drive up to Coeur d'Alene, ID this year to celebrate Christmas in a beautiful rented lake house. However, with it being so early in the pregnancy, and now with the higher risks attributed to the SCH, it is best for us to stay in town should anything go wrong. We were bummed to break the news that we couldn't join them for Christmas after all, but we were also so excited to share the news that we're pregnant!

Update - Part 1

It has been a month since my transfer and boy, has it been a whirlwind!

My transfer (on Thursday, 11/10/16) went well. I went to my acupuncture appointment beforehand, suffered through the discomfort of a full bladder during the transfer, went to my follow up acupuncture appointment, and then went home and rested. While I took things pretty easy last time, I was even more "lazy" this time around and stayed in bed (or lied on the couch) for essentially the entire time I was at home (Thursday-Monday). I even switched my flight to a day later to give myself an extra day. I ate pineapple core, walnuts and Brazil nuts, drank pomegranate juice, and kept my feet warm. I was extra careful to sleep on my back only, and then eventually started sleeping on my sides as well. 
Embryo (5 days)

On Tuesday, 11/15/16, I flew back home. David met me at the airport, and as soon as we got my luggage, we hopped in the car and stopped in a random parking lot so he could give me my Progesterone injection. The next day, I went back to work. I had 2 days of work that week, and thankfully, only 1 the next (since it was the week of Thanksgiving). I tried to use automatic doors and take the elevator as much as I possibly could. We spent Thanksgiving with friends, but other than that, I laid low and tried to use as little energy/strength as possible.

I had every intention of not doing a HPT, but on the evening of Friday, 11/18/16 (8dp5dt), David (forgot) and playfully smacked me on my butt, which immediately made me start freaking out. I gave in to my anxieties and took a cheap dollar store test, fully expecting it to be negative...except a faint second line finally appeared after the full 5 minute wait! At first, I thought it was a phantom line, and I read and re-read the instructions. After the wait time, it was clear that while light, there was definitely a second line! I called him into the bathroom and asked him what he saw. I think his reply was something like, "I'm going to be very cautious before believing anything." All the anxieties, fear, and worry, immediately rushed away. I could not believe it!

The next day, and the next day, and the next day, I took several more dollar store tests. I checked to see if the second line was still there and if it was getting darker. I even splurged and got a First Response Early Result test, and the second line was darker than the control line.

What was so weird was that during my 2ww, I did not have many symptoms at all, if any. The first transfer, I had headaches, cramping, heartburn, nausea...this time around, I had a couple headaches that I attributed to the injections...but a few days before taking the HPT, I remember sleeping with my hands on my abdomen, and I felt pregnant. Of course, I dismissed the idea, since I didn't know what it felt like to be pregnant. 

Finding out I was pregnant was the most amazing feeling in the world, but it sucked because the only person I could share it with was David. We didn't want to share it with anyone else until I had passed all my beta tests and possibly even heard the heartbeat. My first beta was scheduled for the day before Thanksgiving, so we thought it would be perfect to tell my parents (who were visiting my brother) on Thanksgiving day. I was so nervous on the day of the beta (11/23/16), but was so excited when my nurse called me. She said, "Congratulations. You're pregnant!" and told me that my HCG level was at 665.7, which was higher than I had expected. My second beta was scheduled for the day after Thanksgiving, 11/25/16, and the number rose to 1,690. The third was that following Monday, 11/28/16, and it was 6,013!

I thought that getting a positive on a HPT would make everything super easy from there on out, but I was so wrong. With IVF, you are faced with so many hurdles during the entire process, and no sooner do you make it over one, that you are faced with ten more. The doctor wants to see your betas rise (preferably by 65%) with each test. After that, you are scheduled for ultrasounds at 6-7 weeks and then again at 8-9 weeks. He expects to see major milestones in development such as a fetal pole and yolk sac, and a heartbeat, before he is comfortable enough to release you into the care of your OBGYN. After each of these tests, I would be relieved to receive good results, but then start worrying about what would happen next. 

To be continued...