I spoke to soon

I have this stupid superstitious worry about blogging while pregnant. As if typing that I had a successful IVF cycle will tempt fate and bring on bad news. This is probably the reason behind the 3+ months of radio silence on my blog last September 22nd – January 5th.

Well, thanks universe, for reinforcing my stupid superstitions. Today, I woke up bleeding and cramping like the first day of my period. It was like a bad dream. A bad dream that just happened to have occurred on the EXACT FREAKING SAME DAY as last year. Seriously. Last year, at just about 6 weeks pregnant, I started bleeding and cramping out of nowhere. I was convinced I was miscarrying. Instead, the emergency ultrasound revealed a tiny speck of a baby measuring 5w6d and a little flickering heartbeat. Unfortunately 3 weeks and 3 excellent ultrasounds later, we suddenly lost the pregnancy.

Fast forward to today. I am just about 6 weeks pregnant. Bleeding & cramping began out of nowhere. I was convinced I was miscarrying. Then the bleeding slowed down and I started to realize that AT BEST I was going to reenter the same stupid limbo I know so well. Answers? HA. I need a giant poster that says “We have NO FUCKING IDEA.” Unexplained infertility? Check. Unexplained Miscarriage? Check. Unexplained IVF failure? Check. Unexplained Bleeding in Pregnancy? Check.

As I’ve mentioned before, infertility can feel like a decidedly less humorous version of the movie, Groundhog Day. Pregnancy after infertility and miscarriage apparently also follows this rule.  At least this time, I started bleeding at home instead of at work. Other than that, it was like reliving October 14th 2015 all over again.

The same exam room. The same ultrasound results. The doctor saying how excellent the ultrasound looked and telling me not to worry. The call from the nurse with hormone levels that she says are great but that I will continue to nitpick and fret over every day.

I know I should be happy. I know I should be thankful. But I am running out of things to hold onto to convince myself that this pregnancy is different.  The bleed just seems like too much of a coincidence, too strange.

I was almost angry at the doctor for being so enthusiastically positive.  I feel like she was looking at me like, “Hello!?! What is wrong with you? This is amazing news. This is your baby.” And all I felt was frustration and a giant lack of trust.  Everyone told me it was going to be okay last time. And it most definitely wasn’t. Detachment is my only protection. It’s like the doctors are taking away my only armor and leaving me vulnerable to the loss I’m so dreading.

I keep closing myself off and avoiding any emotional connection with this pregnancy. When I started to bleed, I said a little prayer to the universe that if a miscarriage was inevitable, to please let it happen quickly instead of drawing it out over weeks and weeks.

I still have my appointment with the adoption counselor this Saturday. I made the appointment over a month ago and purposely scheduled it a few weeks after my BETA blood draw.  Over the summer, Alex and I decided that this FET would be our last (for now). Adoption has been on the table for a while.  In fact, I’ve been antsy to move on to that new path for months. But, we both agreed on one more FET with a PGS normal embryo. So we did that. And thanks to a series of delays, we transferred in September instead of the summer. Hence the plan to immediately jump on the adoption thing if FET #3 was a bust.

As we all know,  FET #3 wasn’t a bust. But my regular therapist has encouraged me to keep the adoption counselor appointment anyway.  Essentially, the counselor is a 3rd party who specializes in counseling couples through various aspects of the adoption process. She will help us identify agencies or attorneys that will be the best fit for us and get us started on the process. We figured we could at least start the paperwork while waiting for a more definitive outcome for this pregnancy.  This way, If god forbid I did miscarry, I could throw myself immediately into the adoption application process.  You can’t actually complete an application or start a home study if you are pursuing fertility treatments (or pregnant). Most agencies, for obvious reasons, want you to be fully committed and able to adopt before entering the pool. BUT – I strongly feel that even if this pregnancy results in a healthy baby in June, I may very well want to pursue adoption in the future. So, I think it is good to familiarize ourselves with the process regardless.

So, that’s the ridiculous emotional limbo I’m living in right now. I know I am pessimistic about my body’s ability to carry a pregnancy to term. I can’t help it – no one can know until we have a successful pregnancy. My fear is actually pretty normal and rational. BUT – I have complete, unshakeable faith that I will become a mom.  I know that our child is out there somewhere, and we will make our way to her (or him). That is something worthy of hanging my hope on.

FET #3 Results

FET #3 worked – I’m pregnant. I’m shocked and incredibly grateful to have made it this far a second time. I know how lucky I am.

But I’m also scared. Every single day. I’ve been sitting on this news for two weeks now, because even typing it feels like I’m tempting fate. I’ve been here before – pregnant after an FET. And it didn’t end well.

I know this time is different. Every pregnancy is unique, and one loss does not necessarily indicate future problems. But it sure is hard to remind yourself of this when the memories overwhelm you. The timing of this pregnancy is exactly-to-the-freaking-dayidentical to my first FET pregnancy: September 22nd transfer, October 1st BETA.  Every milestone will align exactly with my first pregnancy. There are certain dates and numbers that are ingrained in my mind: my first bleed at 6 weeks, every HCG & progesterone level from that point forward, and the miscarriage at 9 weeks.  The other day, my best friend casually asked me if I knew a due date yet, and I freaked out. I gave her some round-about-answer. Of course I know what my due date would be. It would be exactly the same as it was last year. But I can’t go there yet. I need to stay in the here and now, because I am painfully aware of how uncertain the future can be.

So, before I get too deep into my own anxieties, let’s return to the logical and optimistic version of things.

Today, I’m 5 weeks and 4 days pregnant.

How did I find out?

I wish I could say I am one of those reasonable, grounded women who wait patiently for their BETAs and resist the magnetic pull of the home pregnancy test. That was my plan – really, it was.  After the fiasco that was early testing in FET #2, I swore that we would wait to test. And then we had our embryo transfer and I lost my damn mind.

I got my first, faint BFP at 4dp5dt. I am ashamed of myself. I really am.

If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results, then I  am nuts.  I tested that early during FET#2 and got a whole lot of negatives and heartbreak. But somehow, I rationalized doing it again. For the record, I still think that testing early is a bad idea.  It doesn’t really tell you anything in the end, even if you are lucky enough to get a positive.You just don’t know what your  HCG level is going to be on BETA day.

So, I got a faint line at 4dp5dt. I retested again at 5 and 6 days post transfer, and the line darkened. At that point I stopped testing and waited the remaining 3 days for my BETA.  I was afraid to believe I was actually pregnant. Instead, Alex and I just kind of went “Well, that’s a good sign” and avoided the p-word until we had our BETA results.

Infertility and miscarriage will do that to you. In fact, I think I avoided referring to myself as “pregnant” until we received the results of our second BETA.

BETA Results & Beyond:

BETA #1 at 9dp5dt was 179.

BETA #2 at 11dp5dt was 477.

I know those are great numbers. But that little voice in my head says, you had great doubling times last year.  I’ve spent the past week + 2 days trying to stifle that voice. Spoiler alert: I haven’t managed it yet. In fact, yesterday night I convinced myself that I had an ectopic pregnancy (spoiler alert: I don’t).

Today was my first ultrasound at 5 weeks 4 days. We saw the sac and yolk.  Everything was right on target.  But still, the voice in my head whispered you’ve been here before but it still ended in loss. The doctor filling in for my regular RE this morning was SO NICE. He enthusiastically explained everything (of which there isn’t much at 5w4d) and went out of his way to stress that these were great results.  I tried to muster up equal enthusiasm and react like a normal human being, even though inside I’m maintaining cautious detachment and holding my breath until 10 weeks.

I know I am lucky to make it this far. And I will try to focus on the fact that I am pregnant today. Who knows what tomorrow will bring. I have every right to be afraid and even pessimistic. But, today I am pregnant and I am thankful.