After a bit of confusion with an AF that started and then stopped, I finally started my medication for FET2 on 28th February. The clinic wanted me to start on Cycle Day 1 but my AF started and then stopped and on their advice I waited until CD2 for a better flow to be established. I had already started taking the 75mg of baby aspirin that the clinic had prescribed me but they said that was ok, a day or two extra would not matter. The purpose of the aspirin was to prevent any blood clotting and act as an anti-inflammatory. I started my 4 tablets or 8mg of Fematab (like Prognyova) nightly. On day 12 I attended the clinic for a scan which showed the lining had grown to 8.6mm. A blood test was also taken and I was told I would get the result of this in a phonecall that afternoon. If all was well, my transfer would be scheduled. As I was down to have assisted hatching, I was given a prescription for an antibiotic which would be taken once daily for 3 days before transfer to prevent any infection from the procedure.
That afternoon the call came and all was well. The following weekend was a bank holiday and national feast day, St Patrick’s Day so my transfer was scheduled for Wednesday 20th of March, some 8 days after my scan. I was told to start the Crinone Progesterone gel on the previous Friday, 5 days before transfer, one in the morning and one in the evening. I was told to start the antibiotic on the Sunday before transfer and continue until the night before transfer. I was to continue the Fematab and Aspirin as before. The Crinone gel was not to be taken on the morning of transfer.
I had the week off work so organised myself to have healthy food on hand and a dinner that would be simple for my husband to prepare on transfer day. I had pre-booked a hotel break that weekend by coincidence so we went along and enjoyed it, though I was, of course, not drinking. I had booked a facial too and explained to the therapist about my situation and asked to have a treatment appropriate for pregnancy. She took this on board and advised that she would be careful of the massage element of the treatment. I enjoyed the downtime in the relaxation room afterwards. It made a change from running around the place at work which happened before my previous FET in December. Again, as happened with my last cycle, a couple of days before transfer my allergies flared up and I could not stop sneezing!
On the afternoon before the transfer I attended for a pre-transfer acupuncture session, apparently it is fine to have the pre-transfer session up to 24 hours before the transfer. I went home that evening and tried to relax.
On transfer day we went to the clinic for our 12 noon appointment. I was a little nervous as I hoped that our last 2 embryos had thawed. I had opted not to receive a phonecall if they had not. My doctor met us at the clinic and advised that both embryos had thawed but she said there was a new culture available called ‘embryo glue’ that might give a 10% increased chance of implantation. The only thing was that this would push our transfer out to 4pm as the embryos needed to be cultured in it for 4 hours. We decided to take this option and took ourselves off to wander around Dublin for the afternoon, it was not really worth our while going home and coming back. The doctor had given me a prescription for Prednisolone to take (5x5mg per day for 2 weeks, then gradually reducing over 2 weeks) and I collected the prescription. This steroid is given to reduce any inflammation and hopefully give the embryos a better chance to attach. I rang my acupuncturist as I needed to reschedule the post-transfer acupuncture to about 5pm. Unfortunately he was unable to do it himself due to a teaching commitment elsewhere but made arrangements for his girlfriend who is also an acupuncturist and familiar with the points used for the session, to come and do the treatment instead.
We returned at 4 for the transfer and I was brought into the smaller transfer room along with my husband. Our doctor actually came in to do the transfer herself. A nurse helped me get set up and an embryologist came in to confirm our identities and to provide information about our embryos. Both blastocysts had thawed and one had started to expand itself so assisted hatching was not performed on that one but was on the other embryo. A scan was done (across the tummy) and the speculum was inserted. The doctor asked if I had ever been diagnosed with endometriosis- not sure why she asked this unless she saw the bit of scar tissue that had been seen at the first transfer. The embryologist checked our identities again. The catheter was inserted and then the embryos were passed into the womb. Both my husband and I got a clear view of the bright white blob entering the uterus on the screen. The old excitement returned. Maybe these would be the ones to stay!
The doctor stayed for a few moments to answer any questions and said to start on the Prednisolone that night. The nurse remained on to go through the other medications, advise when to do the home pregnancy test (16 days after transfer) and gave other general advice. This advice included avoiding alcohol and caffeine, soft cheeses, swimming and baths, lifting and hoovering. After another 10 minutes or so I got up and left and we made our way to the acupuncture appointment, with me swallowing the 5 steroid tablets on the way in the car. The acupuncture session was relaxing. After this I went home, got into bed and took my delayed Crinone gel while my husband made dinner (fish). After dinner I went back to bed and listened to some post transfer relaxation recordings.
I had booked some days off work and spent them relaxing, reading and watching tv. I rested in bed a good deal but did get up and potter about also. I had home made soups defrosted so that feeding myself while my husband was at work would not be taxing. I was in pretty good form the first few days as I felt that this transfer had gone the best of all 3, I had practically no cramping at all. I felt a few twinges now and then and some bloating but nothing in particular. As the days moved on though, my old fear from my previous two failed cycles returned and I got more paranoid that the cycle had failed. I kept looking for spotting but there was none. The weekend was easier as my husband was there to distract me. By the following Tuesday I went back to work and it was almost a welcome distraction. On the following Wednesday I attended an adoption information meeting. I went back to work again then and travelled to my father’s house for the Easter weekend which was also a welcome distraction. It was nice to enjoy some time in the country and catch up with my nephews. My time was occupied with getting replacement flowers for my mother’s grave which we placed there before Mass on Easter Sunday. I felt very emotional and stressed on Easter Sunday, the whole loss of Mum was hitting me hard and I was utterly convinced that the cycle had failed. I tackled an Easter egg with gusto in the afternoon and made up my mind that I had had enough of this and would test in the morning, at this stage the not knowing was becoming worse than knowing. I knew I could not live like this until the following Friday (16dp5dt).
After a restless night (and a dream that I got a positive) I got up on Easter Monday morning at about 6am and lined up an internet cheapie test and a First Response one, got my little pot ready and produced my sample. I dipped the cheapie test first and saw it soak through highlighting the control line. I thought to myself, here we go again. I left it aside and dipped the First Response and left it to develop. I looked at the cheapie and did a double take as I saw the beginnings of a second line. I looked across at the First Response and saw a second line appearing on that. I was totally floored. I have never had a positive test. I thought can this be real. After a moment I went back to the bedroom.
Me: Are you awake?
Me: Are you awake???
Him: Huh, yeah, what?
Me: There’s 2 lines.
Me: There’s 2 lines!!!!
Whereupon he leapt up and went in to consult the tests and said yes he could see the two lines.
We stood there not knowing quite how to react. I had not expected this after nothing but failure. I said in the end that this is great news but we must not get too excited, we don’t know anything yet, the risks are so high of losing it. My husband went back to sleep for a time but that was the end of sleep for me.
This was 12dp5dt and I was not to notify the clinic until 16dp5dt, the following Friday. Over the next few days I proceeded to repeat the tests each morning, usually around 4am as I could not sleep properly at all. Each test came up positive. I tried a Clear Blue Digital with conception indicator on the Wednesday (14dp5dt) and it came up with Pregnant, 2-3 weeks. It was so nice to see it in words. I rang the clinic that day and told them, they accepted it as a cautious positive but said repeat the test on Friday anyway. HCG can show up and a woman can still miscarry, they gloomily advised. My clinic don’t do pregnancy blood tests so I decided to ring my GP and request one, which was scheduled for the Friday morning.
By the time Friday came around I was tired from the several nights of broken sleep. I did a cheapie test and a Clear Blue Digital which had the same result as Wednesday. My GP appointment was early so I went there before work. The GP seemed as shocked as me when I told her. She was very cautious about it in view of my age and treatment although said she did have a baby at 41 herself (not her first and not with ivf). She understood my need for the reassurance with blood tests so did the test but said the result may not be back until Monday. She said she would do a second one later in the week to see how the levels were rising. She pointed out that HCG results are not an exact science and greatly vary from woman to woman. However, we might like to see a reasonably high number for now. I said the clinic would scan me in 3 weeks. We agreed to proceed with caution, do the bloods and see how things are after another week before making any further plans regarding referrals to obstetricians etc. As I was, and still am, finding it hard to believe the positive, this suited me fine.
After the appointment I rang the clinic and informed them of the result. They booked me in for a scan for 3 weeks (26th April)- it seems so far away! I pray I make it and that there is something to see. I also had to call to the clinic that afternoon to collect another prescription for my Fematab (estrogen) and Crinone (progesterone) medications as I will be staying on these for another month, as well as baby aspirin. I will be phasing out my steroid over the coming fortnight and am slightly worried about that.
I have not had very many symptoms. I had quite a bit of cramping, a bit like period cramping, some shooting pains and aches, bloating, constipation, a bit gassy and a heavy feeling after eating sometimes. No reactions to smells, food aversions, sickness or sore breasts so far. The cramps sometimes worry me but there is no spotting or bleeding at present, touch wood, so I hope it is normal. As I have never been pregnant before, I don’t know what is normal and I am very scared.
I am still very afraid that it is not real or lasting but am trying to keep positive. Every day I see with no bleeding I count as a bonus. I fear miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy greatly. I worry that the embryo is ok. This will be a very long and anxious 3 weeks to the scan. I am sure that day, if I make it that far, will be utterly nervewracking. I suppose no matter what happens I should take it as positive that I managed to get a positive test, that my body can become pregnant, as I was beginning to doubt this. I still have my plans b and c in reserve if needed but I so desperately hope they are not for the moment and that maybe I can keep this little miracle.
I allowed myself to download one phone app with a pregnancy tracker which puts me now at 5 weeks and 2 days. So scary and such a long way to go. All I can do now is take one day at a time and wait. Yes even more waiting!!! And more fear. I have stepped away from the pregnancy tests for the moment, though maybe I will take one or 2 next week.
I turn 41 next week and all I want is for this little one to stick with me. I have waited such a long long time….
Your thoughts and prayers are so very welcome and appreciated. I have never been so scared.