Mochi, Are You In There? 10DP5DT

Hells ya, you are!

Today’s beta: 354.68!

  
 We just got the call minutes ago, and I thought I’d share the good news ASAP since y’all have been such good cheerleaders!

DW’s beta HCG levels during previous transfers have been super low- like 30-ish, so an HCG this high definitely means that something is different this time! 

I’m so glad that we have her on a more aggressive protocol. 

We are super excited, but still protecting ourselves emotionally. She has a repeat beta on Wednesday, so keep them fingers and toes (and paws) crossed for us! 

Mochi: 8DP5DT

Symptoms this past week:

DW hasn’t really had any cramping like she did after her previous two embryo transfers. She also hasn’t had the nausea or “sick feeling” she has had previously either. She has noticed however, a weird metallic taste in her mouth, that doesn’t go away with brushing her teeth or drinking water. 

We’ve been on pins and needles for the last day or so because DW started having some spotting on our last day at the cottage (6DP5DT). The pink/brown spotting continued (7DP5DT) and increased a bit in volume, so we were worried that it might not be just implantation bleeding. 

Last night, we both cried, as the bleeding became more red, as her two miscarriages started off with spotting that progressed to full-on bleeding despite being on large doses of Endometrin and prometrium. I’ve always found this weird because my body seems to respond differently. For me, the Endometrin and Prometrium have always staved off any uterine shedding until 3 days of withdrawal. Of course, that was with my 4IUI and freezer-burnt embryo transfer BFN’s. But every single time, with every one of her BFP’s, she’s had this kind of bleeding. Having experienced the terror of a subchorionic hematoma, I can sympathize with her feelings of dread and terror going to the bathroom for a pee or a poop. 

Anyways, finally, she testing this morning: 

 
We are cautiously optimistic since she has always gotten a BFP after a transfer. We just need her body to welcome and nourish little Mochi so that he/she will stick around. Hopefully, the plethora of meds that we’ve got her on makes the difference!

Beta on Monday and second beta on Wednesday!!!
Thanks for your continued love and prayers!

29 Weeks Pregnant

Thank you for all of your supportive comments last week. Sorry for the delay in responding, we don’t really get cell signal at the cottage. It’s kind of an exercise in disconnecting, which is good for us, but also is challenging because I love reading all of your posts and comments. 

We’re home from the cottage now, which was a bit less relaxing than we had hoped for. We’re having the deck replaced this summer, and the construction guys picked our week to work everyday, starting at 7am. I’m not an early riser, so it was particularly painful being woken up by drilling, sawing, and hammering. The workers worked all day, so we didn’t get a break from the noise until about 4pm each day. Not quite the peaceful getaway we were hoping for, but look how great the deck looks now:

 In progress:

  Almost done:

 We spent some time on the dock and in the lake, though the temperatures were a bit lower this week. 

  
  
  
We also had a fire in the evening one night, and played a few rounds of Monopoly Deal.  
  
  
Pregnancy-wise, things are starting to get really uncomfortable:

– I can’t seem to find a comfortable way to sit anywhere

– I’m getting up 6-8 times a night to pee, I think because Dumplin’s cozying up to my bladder so I can’t fully empty it in any one go

– My sleep sucks because I’m constantly needing to flip sides that I’m lying on (due to sore hips), and rolling over is very difficult. I get tangled up in the Snoogle, so I’m using an old flattened body pillow, which seems to help more right now

– Dumplin’, our sweet boy, is preferentially active at night. He’s giving knees and elbows, having weird super fast (startle reflex?) tap dances, and practicing his strong kicks throughout the night. Lord help us if this is indicative of what his sleep cycles will be like outside of the womb!

– I’m having weird moments of strong nausea again (even though I’m on Diclectin still!), and overall, my caloric intake has reduced because I am not as into food these days

– my body has broken out in pimples, just like during late in my first trimester- on my face, on my back… Seriously deep cystic acne too. *TMI warnjng* One finally came to a head last night, and my dermatologist (aka DW) attempted to “drain” it. The damn thing shot pus past the medicine cabinet and over her shoulder, past the door, and onto the wall. The second round of draining (yes, this was a two-for-one-special), a large noodle-like pus nugget shot up in a perfect parabolic arc and landed higher up on my back. Seriously, it looked like a broken piece of dry ramen noodle. Domo arigato Mister Dumplin’ for the extra androgens. 

– I haven’t been exercising this week (because we’ve been at the cottage), but when I take walks with the dogs, I’m getting a weird stabbing pain through my cervix. My guess is that our little man’s head is grinding up against it? Anyone else have cervix pain like this too? What was it from? I’m planning to hit the weights again tomorrow, so we’ll see how that goes. 

I did Dumplin’ a solid today, and got my TDAP vaccine (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis). I know that the U.S. is seriously pushing it to combat rising rates of infant mortality due to Whooping Cough, but the practice of immunizing pregnant women during 3rd trimester is not common here in Canada. In any case, my family doctor was willing to administer it. Now my arm hurts, which won’t bode well for the gym tomorrow lol.

Despite my complaining, I’m still loving pregnancy and this little boy growing inside of me. I’ve speed-read through a couple of birth and labour books that I borrowed from the the library, and am forming an idea of what I want our birth plan to be. I’m also starting a  Hypnobirthing book generously gifted to me by a wonderful fellow blogger

As for DW, we haven’t POASed yet, but plan to soon. Fingers and toes and dog paws crossed that we get good news! Her beta is on Monday. Stay tuned!

Embryo Transfer #6: Welcome Home Mochi

Two days ago, on a beautiful Friday morning, DW and I headed to the fertility clinic for her single blastocyst transfer. She’s been on a long list of meds for this cycle, in the hopes that it will combat whatever has been causing her recurrent miscarriages, and maximize little Mochi’s chances of a successful implantation and growth:

Since day 15 of her cycle, she’s been on: 

– 4mg Estrace 

– 3 x 100mg Endometrin (suppositories), 300mg Prometrium (orally)

– 20 mg prednisone

– 5000IU Fragmin injections

– 25 mcg + 6.25 mcg Synthroid

– 1800 mg Omega 3 Fish Oils (3:2 of EPA:DHA)

– 400IU vitamin E

– 300 mg vitamin B6

– 4000IU vitamin D

– 100mg zinc

– Pregvit Folic 5 multivitamin

The clinic was running really late that day, as they seemed to have the RE (who is an OB) booked with OB-GYN patients in addition to his regular fertility patients. DW’s transfer didn’t happen until about 1.5 hours after she was scheduled. But as usual, the transfer went smoothly, with no pain or discomfort at all (she has a very friendly cervix, as opposed to my angry s-shaped cervix). 

 Little Mochi in DW’s uterus:  
Now, in case you’re not familiar with the deliciousness that are Mochi, they are a Japanese dessert made of an outer sweet glutinous rice layer, and then usually a flavoured filling. DW loves Mochi, particularly the Taro flavour.

Many flavours of Mochi:   
(Above image from:  http://blog.wagashi-net.de/category/wagashi-sweets/mochi-wagashi/)

After our transfer, we headed to one of our favourite Korean restaurants for lunch. For the past couple of days, we’ve been chilling at home, trying to get DW not to do chores or yard work. It’s hard for her, since she’s such a busy body! 

Tonight, we’re heading to the cottage for a week of lakeside relaxation. See ya when we get back on Friday! 

Fingers, toes, and your dog’s pads crossed for good news in a week! Please keep us and Little Mochi in your thoughts and prayers. Thank you friends!

Now That’s a Big Dumplin’! And DW’s Transfer Date!

  
(Photo from: http://www.boozyburbs.com/2012/10/18/brand-new-mandu-factory-northvale-nj/)

Today we went downtown for our 28 week biophysical profile ultrasound at Mt. Sinai. I’m only 27 weeks 5 days, but close enough. Not everyone has this ultrasound, but after our scary NT scare at 12 weeks (thank goodness everything turned out okay), we get all sorts of fun precautionary appointments. Seriously though, we love the extra opportunities to see Dumplin’, and what he’s up to in there. The reassurance that all is good is also very nice. And like I’ve mentioned before, the peeps over at Mt. Sinai are da bomb and might be getting an Edible Arrangement from us. 

The ultrasound itself was actually really short in duration. Previous ultrasounds at 14 weeks and 18 weeks were about 45 minutes, we saw lots of stuff, and were given a pretty good commentary by the ultrasound tech. Today however, it was 8 minutes, and the guy doing it barely said two words. I guess he’s not a morning person? 

Pro Tip: Bring a hand mirror to your ultrasound appointments- so you can watch and see baby as they’re doing the scan! This is what we’ve been doing.

We got to see Dumplin’s positioning- he is already head down, right by my cervix, which is 3.4 cm right now. His face is looking at the left side of my back, and his legs are tucked near my far right ribs. Which is exactly the position that I predicted! When I feel movement, it’s usually strong kicks near my right ribs, and punches near the bottom of my left belly. Sometimes I feel both at the same time. I also rarely feel what feels like bubbles or popcorn popping near my cervix. I’m guessing that that might be hiccups?

Anyway the specialist said that at this point, there’s less space so Dumplin’ is unlikely to change position. So I’m really happy that he’s already setting himself up in a good birth position.

Functionally, he scored an 8/8 on his Biophysical tests- amniotic fluid, fetal movement, fetal tone, fetal breathing. Mommies are very happy about this!

The blood pressure in his umbilical artery is perfect, and my placental integrity is a grade 1 (best).

Size-wise, little Dumplin’ ain’t so little. His head is measuring 30 weeks, his legs are measuring 29 weeks, and overall, he’s measuring 1 week and 1 day ahead. He weighs 1260 grams = 2lbs 13oz, which puts him at the 80th percentile for his gestational age. 

I’m sorry if I’m boasting too much. We’re just so relieved that all is good with our little man. Ultrasounds have been kind of traumatic for us after all of the fertility treatments, sad miscarriages, and horrific NT scans. To have a “perfectly normal” scan is something to be celebrated!

So yeah, that’s one big Dumplin’!

——————————————————-

In other news, DW’s started her daily regime of 27 pills (13 different drugs/vitamins) + 1 injection, and FRIDAY IS TRANSFER DAY!!! We are nervous and excited about it, and I’ve been giving her “spa” treatments everyday- massages and acupuncture on alternating days. We are begging the universe for some good vibes.

Pregnancy update to follow in a few days… 

Embryo Transfer #6: Frustrations

So DW is on cycle day 9 today of her FET cycle. So far, she’s had blood work and ultrasounds done during her previous cycle, and during this treatment cycle on day 3, and her next will be on day 12 (Friday). We have been with this clinic since 2012, and it really hasn’t been feasible for us to change clinics because of all the monitoring that needs to be done before work. This clinic has 4 locations, which makes them fairly convenient for us, since we work in two different cities. However, our relationship with them isn’t without significant frustration…. 

I’ve had time to cool off about it, so I will just casually list off the ridiculousness and incompetences that we’ve had to deal with:

1. Nonsense: When DW went in for her monitoring last cycle, they kept insisting that I had to come in to update my bloodwork since she hadn’t been active for almost a year. I suspect that this must be protocol for heterosexual couples, but we’re a same-sex couple, and my blood work has nothing to do with DW’s FET or the status of our embryos. Plus, the nurses know who I am (I mean, 3 years, 4IUI’s, 2IVF’s, 5 transfers, and 50 grand later, they better know who we are!), so logically, why do they need my blood? We argued with them for a while, and all they said was that they needed updated bloodwork because the embryos came from me (still doesn’t make sense!). Anyways, we just keep ignoring their requests because I ain’t getting poked to satisfy their stupidity and inability to critically think.

2. Inconsistencies: So on her last cycle and during this cycle, DW had elevated prolactin on her both of her day 3 blood draws. They told her that anything over 30 (don’t remember the units) was elevated and then made her repeat her prolactin bloodwork the next day while fasting (in fact her day 3s were also done fasting coincidentally), and her repeat levels were normal (29) for her monitoring cycle and 39 for her treatment cycle. They then said that the normal range was 40 or less, and that her prolactin values were fine. WTF? How did the normal range change from 30 to 40? This nurse has made major mistakes in the past and I’ve argued incessantly with her but it just makes her even more unwilling to check her facts. Also, I know that high prolactin can affect implantation, and have read that other RE’s consider normal as 25 or less, and ladies with anything higher are put on bromocriptine or Dostinex to bring it down before transfer. Sadly, there’s nothing we can do about this because this nurse is not very open to other opinions and the RE is very uninvolved in checking levels it seems. 

3. Incompetences: so my endocrinologist (who is awesome, and I trust very much) says that TSH should be less than 2 preconception, and when I was trying to get pregnant, she vigilantly had my blood TSH, T3 and T4 levels checked monthly to keep me under 2. Last cycle, DW’s TSH was 3.8, and the damn fertility clinic seemed to think this was fine. I argued with them about it, and apparently my RE seems to believe that a TSH under 4 is acceptable. I’m so upset about this because for our 4IUI’s with me, my TSH was around 3.9 and my endocrinologist (looking back at old bloodwork print offs that I demanded from the fertility clinic) thought it was unacceptably high. I’m frustrated that the fertility clinic doesn’t seem to prioritize optimal hormonal levels, but instead is just happy with us trying under suboptimal conditions, wasting sperm, wasting embryos, wasting time and money. I feel so strongly about this that after her day 3 bloodwork last cycle, we “unofficially” started DW on 25mcg of Synthroid from my stash. In one month, that brought her TSH down from 3.8 to 2.8, so we added another 12.5mcg daily = 27.5 mcg daily to hopefully bring it down a touch more. Frustratingly, the fertility clinic only checks her TSH once in a cycle, so we have to just keep our fingers crossed that her levels are hovering around 2 or less. I’m also a big stressed because I’m still taking Synthroid and my stash of pills isn’t large enough to be supplying both of us until my next refill is eligible. But my priority is giving her body enough thyroid hormone to support a pregnancy. It just sucks to have to be so clandestine about it. We’re also doing the same thing with her and prednisone. 

I know I’m a bit over analytical about all of this baby-making, but DW has suffered 2 miscarriages of 4 of our best day 5 blastocysts. Despite their “investigations” the clinic has not been able to identify any reason for her losses. They have demonstrated inconsistencies, incompetencies, and don’t seem to critically think about our unique circumstances, but rather treat everyone with the same “cookie cutter” approach. Changing clinics at this point is pointless, since most clinics around here function very similarly (what’s the incentive in improving when you’ve got a 3-6 month wait list of patients?). So basically, our approach is to just go ahead with the transfer, hoping that by lowering her TSH her prolactin might balance out too, and that the autoimmune meds help deal with the unexplained RPL. As I mentioned before, this is DW’s last go at it. She took a year off after her last loss to be ready to face this juncture again. We hope that it works, because I can’t even imagine the heartbreak if it doesn’t. 

If you have any experience with prolactin or TSH levels, I’d love to hear from you. 

As usual, your support is invaluable to us. 

Embryo Transfer #6: Cycle Day 1

DW got her period today, making today her cycle day 1 (CD1). She has been suffering from menstrual cramps, and has been enjoying the mama cloth (cloth pads) that I have sewn from scraps of flannel and bamboo fleece left over from making Dumplin’s cloth diapers. 

She called into the nurses line at the fertility clinic this morning, and has to do bloodwork and a full-bladder ultrasound on Wednesday (CD3). 

Here we go again!

In other news, we went into the hospital today for our pre-admission registration. The appointment lasted about 15 minutes, and involved an interview with a nurse. We were hoping for a tour of L&D, but instead were directed to an “online video tour” ugh. We were handed a package of reading material and sent on our way. The hospital is an older one, and is small compared to the newer hospitals. We have the option of paying for a private post-partum room (which we will request when it’s time), for which they only have 7 in total. Not much else to report about it though. I’m just excited to get these little things done.

Pregnancy update to come later this week 🙂 

Happy Monday everyone!