Thanksgiving Travels and Week 6

We spent a long week in California for a cousin’s wedding on the 21st and then stayed through Thanksgiving. It was good to get away, but it was also a long time to be away from home and our dogs.

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While we were there, we visited Morro Bay for a few days, just to get a little ocean time. We also ran a 5K Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving. We visited the gym a few times, and ran/walked outside a couple of times. Other than exercise, we ate, chatted with family, caught up with a few friends, did a little shopping, and watched a few Christmas movies. It was pretty low-key, but enjoyable.

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Week six of pregnancy arrived with a few small symptoms, but nothing major. I’m currently 6w, 4d. To be honest, it feels like being a toddler. I’m cranky or irritable at least once a day for no real reason. I get desperately hungry in a matter of seconds, but then nothing sounds appealing. I can fall asleep anywhere. I can eat a regular meal, then feel too full/queasy immediately afterward, like I haven’t learned how to regulate my own eating. I want to be close/cuddle, but within minutes I don’t want anything touching me. I fall asleep quickly, but then I wake up several times each night, which is very unusual for me.

On the whole, I’m grateful not to be having morning sickness, though I do get a faint whiff of nausea sometimes during the day, especially if I go too long without eating. I’ve had the energy to exercise most days, but I also need a short nap most afternoons. I am eating eggs and peanut butter like crazy (not together). I seriously can’t get enough of them. I didn’t know pregnancy cravings came so early. I’ve also had cravings for huge green salads, oranges, and chocolate.

My biggest burden is the mental/emotional strain of hoping and wondering. I assume everything is going well down there, because my body isn’t giving me any signs that it’s not, but it’s still unnerving to have no idea. I know early complications are so, so common, so I’m trying to stay grounded, yet optimistic. It’s also been surprisingly challenging finding a work load at the gym that is manageable, yet challenging. I don’t want to overdo it, but I don’t enjoy feeling like I’m just going through the motions. I also don’t want to start packing on weight because I’m doing less than I was before, yet eating about the same. Blah.

Week 7 is creeping up on us. Every single morning I re-count the days and bask in being one day closer to the end of the first trimester. I’m also looking forward to our first prenatal appointment, which will be four weeks from today. I don’t know if they will do an ultrasound or just Doppler, but I’m sure it will be interesting and enlightening.

I’m enjoying reading everyone’s updates – so many new ultrasound profiles and mamas nearing the end of the wait! As always, I love seeing the photos of the little ones who have been here for years.

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Second Beta and Belly Shots

Beta 2: 2698 (20 DPO)
Thyroid: 2.68

The beta is doubling quickly – 27.91 hours. I don’t really know what that means, but I’m taking it as good news. The bad news is that my thyroid is slightly elevated. The nurse is going to call back later today to let me know if we’re going to do anything about it or just monitor it.

On Tuesday, my wife and I shared this exchange:
Me: On Thursday, I need you to start taking my belly shots.Her: Why?
Me: Because that is when the weeks turn over.
Her: But why do we have to take photos of it?
Me: For fun. To see the growth.
Her: Huh. I’m not going to do that when I’m pregnant.

Needless to say, I did not recruit her to take them this morning (Week 5). I resorted to the bathroom mirror. I felt awkward and silly, maybe because I don’t even take photos in swimsuits, let alone of myself. I also couldn’t figure out whether to smile or not…at myself. I still have a little bit of bloating, but not as much as earlier this week. It’s obviously about 4 months too early for any signs of pregnancy, but I’m keeping it as a baseline. Without further ado:mms_img1370992687

I kind of love my dog looking at me in this one like, “WTF are you doing, mommy?” She was waiting for her walk…

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As far as symptoms, I don’t have many to report. The very active pinching/pulling that occurred during 17 DPO has passed. Yesterday evening I got a sharp pulling sensation slightly on my right side below my abdomen. I’m assuming it’s my uterus stretching a bit. No nausea, thankfully. I have been EXHAUSTED by 8:00 p.m. every night, and I’m having to pee in the middle of the night, which is unusual for me. I’ve also been famished, which is the progesterone. I get really hungry before my period every month, when my progesterone is high, so it’s a familiar feeling. I’m really trying to resist eating everything in sight, for obvious reasons.

First Beta

HCG: 819
Progesterone: 86

That might seem high, but remember that it was drawn at noon on 18 DPO. While betas in the 100-400 range are more common, they are being drawn earlier, because those women were wise and brave enough to take an HPT at 14 or 15 DPO.

After looking at betabase, it appears as though it’s a little high for one baby, but it would be low for two. I’m pretty sure there is just one in there. Having the blood draw at noon means that really it was 18.5 dpo, right? So being a little high for one would be expected.

I have my second beta today around noon. I’m optimistic that the hcg will be 1600+.

Mostly I’m glad that the possibility of triplets seems to be ruled out…though beta hcg is never 100% reliable.

Holy. Shi*.

Well, your crossed fingers and toes paid off, friends. We got a BFP. The story is not a particularly exciting one, but I’m going to write it for my own benefit, because I think I’ll like reflecting on it in the future.

We had the strange evap line of 11 DPO, and I figured that we were out for the cycle. All of my pre-period signs were very normal, and I had absolutely no hints of a big change. Last month clomid made my luteal phase short, so I expected my period to arrive on 13 or 14 DPO. As you know from my last post, it did not. After 14 DPO passed, I figured that clomid had extended my luteal phase this time, because my nurse warned me that the changing hormones would cause my cycle to be wonky. I was curious Friday, but I didn’t have any more HPT’s. I was so confident on Wednesday and Thursday that AF was about to show, I didn’t go out and buy more. So, I used a cheapie OPK strip just to see what happened. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. It was FMU, so I figured that if there was ANY HCG floating around, it would at least give me a hint on the strip, but no. At that point, I was positive we were out. AF didn’t arrive on Friday (15 DPO), but I still felt completely normal. I started hoping that AF would WAIT to show until Monday, because we are going to be traveling in the next two weeks. If AF showed at her normal time, it meant we would have to take the cycle off. So, I found the silver lining in the negative OPK – my period might be late enough that we could squeeze a try into late November. I spent a lot of time hoping that she would hold off just another two days.

On Saturday, I woke up and googled on my phone “negative OPK positive HPT” and read that many women had gotten negative test results on an OPK, but still got positive HPT’s. I found that promising, but dismissed it as eternal optimism. I showered and imagined that if the cycle had worked, we could tell our families around Christmas, and that would be fun. Next I went to brunch with my grandma. On the way home, with no sign of anything reproductive, I decided to buy a HPT for Monday, in case my period still hadn’t come. I didn’t even remotely expect it to be positive, but I knew that if AF had not shown Monday, I would want to call the clinic and ask them what was up with my luteal phase being SO long. I knew that they would ask if I’d tested, and I didn’t want to say, “uh…no.” I planned to say, “Yeah, I tested this morning, and it was negative.” I took the tests home and stashed them in the bathroom. Later that afternoon, we went to a women’s basketball game. I was so positive that this cycle hadn’t worked, I ate a bag of that really gross buttery popcorn and a Dr. Pepper. In fact, when I was ordering it, it never even crossed my mind that maybe I should not, just in case. Now, I want to tell you that we are very clean and healthy eaters. I think my wife was a little disgusted with my splurge, but she ate a few kernels herself. I get that “treat” about once every six months or so, usually at the movie theater. Otherwise, we really never drink soda, and we rarely eat artificial foods like that delicious “butter.” As we left the game, which was crowded with obnoxious children hopped up on sugar and adrenaline, my wife made a comment about not being very inspired to have children if this is what it looks like. She was kidding – there has never been a day that we considered not having kids, but the statement was later ironic.

On the drive home, she asked if my period had ever started. I let her know that it had not, but that I truly did not think this cycle had worked, because I had zero signs of success. I then went on to explain to her how it was lucky my period was late and that if it would miraculously wait just two more days, we could try again next cycle, because our travel would be over in time for insemination. I could tell in her voice that she was nodding along and didn’t believe anything I was saying. Maybe her doubt caused me to do it, or maybe I just wanted to prove myself right, but when we got home, I went straight to the bathroom to pee out all that Dr. Pepper, and I opened the test.

As the fluid creeped across the test, the horizontal line was visible, and then the vertical line started to blur. I was angry at the stupid test for showing me an evap line like that and I knew it was faulty. My brain could literally not compute the possibility that the vertical line was positive. I said to my wife, “Hey, come in here a minute.” I asked her what she thought it meant, and she said, “that’s positive.” I still couldn’t believe her. I was staring at an obviously positive test, which showed up in seconds, and I kept telling her that she was wrong and asking her to look at it again. Brains are weird.mms_img1662099895

A few clinging hugs, a lot of me saying “I just don’t believe it!” and many smiles later, and we started to process that we have moved onto the next step of this journey. We were scheduled to meet some friends at a brewery in fifteen minutes, so we hopped on our bikes and enjoyed what was probably the happiest bike ride of my life. I was on Cloud 9. It was surreal. I drank kombucha while they tasted beers. They politely did not ask why. After we got home, I started feeling pinging, pulling, and hot spots in my lower abdomen. It was actually quite comforting to finally have some physical signal that my body was actually doing what the test said it was. Having had several close friends experience early miscarriages, I am keenly aware that one BFP does not mean we are out of the woods, so feeling signs of pregnancy, even uncomfortable ones, gives me some comfort.

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I lamented the popcorn and Dr. Pepper the rest of the evening, wondering if I’d poisoned this tiny seed. I googled how much caffeine is in Dr. Pepper (not that much, thankfully) and tried to put my Rational Pants back on. I immediately increased my water intake and started planning how to maximize fresh, whole foods in our upcoming week’s menu. If TTC didn’t make me crazy, getting through this pregnancy in one piece will. And if that doesn’t do it, having a kid obviously will be the downfall of my sanity.

Thank you all so, so much for your well-wishes at the end of last week. I have a bit of survivor’s guilt, because I know the pain of waiting so well. I really, really hope that those of you still waiting for the BFP are right behind me. Keep at it, and stay positive!

CD 0, 14DPO, or 4 weeks pregnant?

I’m sitting in the awful limbo land at the tail end of the TWW. I have a bad track record of AF showing up just minutes after I post an update from limbo land, so maybe I shouldn’t be writing at all.

This TWW has gone relatively quickly, with very minimal symptoms – real or imagined. I used HPT’s on the mornings of 8, 9, 10, and 11DPO. The tests on 8, 9, and 10 were clearly negative. On 11DPO, I thought I could see a bit of a line when I held the test up so that the bathroom light shined through from the back. I left the test while I walked the dogs, and when I got back, I’m relatively sure I had an evap line. At the time, I was positive that I willed myself to see SOMETHING, when really there was nothing there. I (stupidly) looked at the test later in the day, and the evap line was very clear, thin, and off-centered. Google tells me that is most likely evap and not a very faint positive.

Knowing the statistics of negative tests 11DPO, I knew we were probably out for this cycle. I was pretty disappointed, but I’ve been preparing to emotionally move on. 11, 12, and 13DPO passed without incident. It’s 14DPO, and AF could show up at any time. Last month she arrived on 13DPO, so I kind of expected her yesterday. This month I had an extra follicle, meaning an extra corpus luteum releasing progesterone after ovulation, so it’s likely that the extra progesterone extended my luteal phase a bit, right?

I have absolutely zero symptoms of anything. I don’t feel AF coming (though I could have sworn I did on 10/11DPO). My boobs are no longer swollen and tender, as they were (and usually are) 8/9/10/11 DPO. I have no noticeable activity in my lower abdomen. Smell, stomach, and head all feel very normal. I have a sore throat, but so does my wife, and the cold has been making the rounds in my office.

Everyone logical out there will say “TEST AGAIN.” And I agree, that makes sense. I just don’t want to. I don’t want to see another negative. I would prefer to receive the news in the form of my period, rather than one lonely line. If I make it through today and tomorrow without AF, I’ll consider testing Saturday morning, which will be 16DPO.

Please keep your fingers crossed that I have good news to share on Monday!

6DPO

The days have been ticking by, and I’m not experiencing any symptoms (phantom or real) yet. I can tell my progesterone is elevated, just by knowing my body and its cycles. I keep hoping for some clear signal from the uterus that an egg implanted, but she has not complied yet.

My wife and I are considering testing out the rest of the cycle. As I’ve written before, I don’t like testing, because a snowy-white negative crushes my hope. I like to hang on to that last tiny sliver of optimism until AF shows up, at which time I can focus my energy on the next cycle. However, I think it would somehow make my wife feel more involved to test each morning. I am guessing that she feels like I get to “know” first, because I know when my period is coming. With this method, we’d both have a pretty clear idea of what is going on. So, tonight, we’ll probably go pick up a handful of sticks to pee on. It also seems like a bit of a financial waste, but at this point, what’s another 30 bucks or so, right?

In other news, we went to a friend’s baby shower last Sunday, and we’re hosting a cousin’s baby shower on the upcoming Sunday. I don’t at all begrudge these two (hetero) mommas, but it has become a little difficult knowing how easily some people get pregnant. I’m very, very excited to meet these new babies. I just wish it felt like we were making progress toward meeting our own baby, instead of just spinning our wheels. I’ve adopted the mantra that “it’s going to work, it just takes an unknown amount of repetition.” Considering that all of my tests (AMH, FSH, estrogen, progesterone, thyroid) are normal, my uterus makes good linings and my ovaries make plenty of eggs, my tubes are clear, my BMI is under 25, our sperm vials have come with 30+ million swimmers and 50% motility, my cycles are normal, and I get plenty of rest, hydration, and nutrition…it’s bound to happen sooner or later, right?