I’m outing myself. Seems like every time I write about a pregnancy, it’s about having been pregnant, rather than being pregnant, and this is my effort to make this time as different as possible. So yes, I’m pregnant. Not very, but as far as I know, still pregnant. I really do hope this one will be different, but I cannot help but hedge my bets a bit. We have already told those (or asked those we told to pass it on) we’d tell if it did go the way of the others, so I see no reason not to write about it. Is that odd, that we already told people? I love the idea of waiting until 12 weeks or so to tell anyone, but…it just doesn’t seem at all practical with my history. Miscarriages destroy me. I can’t hide that. If I am going to have to explain another misfortune (let’s hope not), I would much rather only have to tell that it’s over and not have to start from the happy beginning part that would no longer be any fun at all to talk about. This may be insane reasoning, but it is what it is and we’re going with it. So if you know me in real life but have not yet heard this, I’m sorry, and sssshhhhhhhhh, mkay?
I was going to subject you to a lovely photo illustration of A Small Selection of the Large Number of Things on Which I Have Peed, but frankly I can’t be arsed to go get the camera. If I do that I’d be too tempted to take a “belly” pic, too. All it really would be at this point is a picture of how bloated I am (thanks, Clo.mid!), and I honestly don’t know if or when I want to start doing that, or if I’ll share any of them if I do. It feels like tempting fate, even though I don’t really believe things work that way. I have not been able to bring myself to throw away the HPTs. Only once I had two positive HPTs could I bring myself to throw away the OPK strips. I will admit to marveling at how faint the line is on the first one, how the second is a little darker, and the third almost as dark as the control line. I even still have the last negative, and I’m definitely tempted to buy more to try to reassure myself that it’s still getting darker while waiting for the next beta. So, yes, onto the numbers and timelines and minutiae I can obsess over to attempt to feel like I’ve got a smidgen of control over the situation.
Clo.mid (50 mg) CDs 3-7 (9/24 – 9/28). Yes, I took a “fertility” drug, even though I’ve never had a problem getting pregnant. The theory behind this being a good idea is murky and probably kind of boring, but if you’d like to hear it, just ask and I’ll do my best. Also, I KNOW. But the next person to utter the word twins or the next in that series gets a swift kick to the teeth. Another lovely idea in theory, but I’m trying to keep the panic to a minimum here.
Start OPK testing CD10 (10/1). Get a half-maybe-sorta positive 10/4 (CD13) (well, the first half of the line is as dark as the control line…WHAT DOES THAT MEAN??), keep testing, get clear positives CDs 10/4, 10/5, and 10/6 (CDs 15-17). Have lots of sex (I’m sorry, as much as I’ve appreciated the the support and information I’ve found on the fertility forums, the term baby dancing makes me want to claw my own eyes out…and probably yours, too) all that week and continue to ruminate that detecting an LH surge with an OPK doesn’t confirm ovulation, only predicts it, and doesn’t guarantee squat. Get extremely annoyed that my RE didn’t seem to even consider monitoring this cycle with bloodwork or ultrasounds. Curse the slow-as-molasses passage of time and current impossibility of time travel (I’m super patient). POAS twice knowing full well that it’s waaaayyy too early to get a positive, even if we have conceived. Convince myself that the very “busy uterus” feelings (not quite cramps but more than just twinges…so weird) I keep having have to mean something. Commence boob squishing and poking, searching for soreness.
Feel like an evil genius for remembering that while the RE didn’t schedule a 21-day P4 blood draw, I do have the order left over from the testing cycle earlier this year in which I didn’t ever detect an LH surge, and thus never used the order. Hahah!! It is not dated in any way, and I’m pretty damned sure that when the lab reports the results to the RE’s office, not a damn person is going to check whether they were expecting them or not (I like my RE and all the nurses, but I get the distinct feeling of being a second-class citizen in comparison to those paying for IVF or even IUI). Figure that CD22 (10/13) is the best compromise for 7 days after positive OPK, since I still can’t decide whether that first half-line positive counts or not…also hoping that getting the blood drawn on Thursday might mean I’d get the results on Friday and at least go into the weekend knowing whether or not I actually ovulated. Nope. No call Friday. Don’t dare to call and ask lest they figure out that the test wasn’t even actually ordered for this cycle. POAS Friday night, negative. Exercise extreme restraint and manage to refrain from buying more sticks…didn’t test again all weekend. Mind you, this is stupid early, CD24-25. Get the call Monday afternoon – P4 on CD22 was 16! For a medicated cycle they want to see at least 15. Feels like getting a D on a test you thought you’d fail, but at least I ovulated, as far as I can tell. Wonder how much longer I really have to wait to expect an accurate result from an HPT. Despair at my utter lack of patience and continue mashing the hell out of my boobs in an effort to discern whether they’re sore. Buy more HPTs on the way home from work, test again that night….
Barely visible, but there is definitely a second line! Inject my first dose of heparin. Pinch myself. Be a little shocked that I don’t feel nearly as panicked as I thought I would. Test again in the morning…a tiny bit darker, but not much. Call to get a beta scheduled, go for the draw, get the call that afternoon. hCG is 41, which is in the right range for being only 3w5d. P4 is 30.59, way better than the 20 I had at the first beta last November. They want it to be 20 or higher, but of course I’d already started using the Promet.rium I had from last time the night before anyway. Can’t hurt, right? Who needs actual medical advice when there’s Dr. Google and thousands of other women who have been in your shoes already? I’m also continuing the miniscule dose of predni.sone even though the ‘script said “until positive pregnancy test.” The nurse I scheduled the beta with said she’d check with the RE, but never said anything else about it and after the first result she said “keep doing what you’re doing.” I may get in trouble for this later, but I am convinced (thanks again, Dr. Google) that 2.5 mg a day is not risky (some women with previous losses take 20 mg a day). If it’s helped me get this far by suppressing my adrenal gland and/or my immune system, I’m not ready to call this one firmly “stuck” enough to go cold turkey. I’ll also continue the met as long as they’ll let me. Anyway. Next beta gets scheduled for Thursday, four weeks exactly. Get the call that afternoon, having kept fingers painfully crossed for hCG of at least 82 (66 would have technically passed but had me panicking big time)….121.7! Yeah, that’s almost tripling.
P4 increased to 36.5, still good. Only disappointing number is that they want to wait a WHOLE WEEK for another blood draw. I know that’s reasonable, as early on as it is, but I don’t think my patience is going to make it. I will end up buying more HPTs to obsess over line darkness comparisons. I am weak and desperate for reassurance. Every time I convince myself my boobs are less sore or I’ve failed to notice as many twinges…I wonder, is it over? Having had no spotting is definitely reassuring, but in reality the progesterone might hold that off even if it had ended. All I can do is try to only obsess over the actual information at hand and try to resist conjecture. The next beta will only be at five weeks, so I’m guessing it’ll be at least another whole week after that before I can expect an ultrasound. Gulp. While I can’t wait to get to that point, I can’t help but also dread it, as it can be so…ambiguous.
Overall, I feel less anxious and panicked than I thought I would, and I’m trying to keep that up. I feel stupidly lucky that the Clo.mid worked the very first cycle. RPL is a very awkward subset of infertility. Women who have been through cycle after cycle after cycle of higher-order medications and IUIs and IVFs without a positive test might not even consider someone like me to be infertile, having gotten pregnant more than once while not trying/not preventing, and even once on the Pill, for crying out loud. I could understand their reasoning, except the end result is the same – no baby. Someone who’s never had a positive test might even envy a miscarriage for at least having been able to get pregnant (words that are no comfort for anyone who’s miscarried), and some RPLers might well wish they’d never gotten pregnant at all. There are no winners in the Pain Olympics. I frankly cannot make a real, solid, cognitive connection to a positive pregnancy test actually leading to a real, live, breathing child. It’s like my brain has been conditioned to not even associate the two. I am hopeful yet scolding myself for getting my hopes up. You can tell I’m not the biggest believer in positive thinking. Not that I think a negative attitude would help, but…I guess I’m aiming for somewhere near neutral. Cautiously optimistic, a phrase I’ve used and heard so much it’s lost any real meaning to me. Just glad to not be constantly flat out freaking out. I won’t deny a few (okay, probably several) breakdowns where I just have to say out loud how scary this is for me. But I like to think I get back fairly quickly to a baseline of positive (but cautious, of course) anticipation, rather than a baseline of low-grade panic and gripping anxiety. One day at a time…sometimes five seconds at a time. Hoping that my next task can be convincing myself that I won’t be a total farce to contemplate and maybe even actually sign up for some prenatal yoga classes. A modest goal, I think. I hope.