Wednesday, February 29, 2012

20dp5dt blood work results in

My Gosh the local clinic kept me waiting a long time to get these! Usually they call around 1pm...It's 5pm now...I figured for sure it was because they didn't want to have to make such a depressing call...

But anyway...

Beta HCG = 12,362

Progesterone = 70.7

Estrogen = 1,185

So, I think we are still in the running. Beta is slowing, but still going up. And I think at this point, the going up is what matters the most (I believe it typically slows by this point). Let me know if I'm right about that.

Ultrasound is set for Friday morning (gulp). There better be a yolk sac there!

So, you'd never guess it, but even always-expecting-bad-news Mo is a little bit, just a little bit reassured.

Friday and then next week's ultrasounds will be the big tests.

But this is all I could hope for for now.

Big exhale over here.

Thanks for your thoughts and support.


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20dp5dt update + CB indicator test is the devil

Remember the scare I had with the Clearblue indicator test? Well...I tested again with it right after I got back my hcg level of 7,681. I followed the instructions explicitly...And the damn thing still said 2-3 weeks pregnant!! It is thereby proven to be a piece of garbage, created only to make pregnant women even more neurotic than they already are. So lessons learned? Don't trust this indicator test (perhaps why it is not available for sale in the U.S.?) or at least don't trust it when it's February and your stick expired in September. Just wanted to share. That was the last of those in my possession, so they won't be messing with my head again.

Such wonderful info. If only it were accurate.

I'm still laid up in bed with this nasty chest cough and low-grade fever. This can't be good for the pregnancy, but then again my hopes for this pregnancy are waning by the hour. Still feeling basically...nothing. No bleeding, no cramping, no anything.

I crawled into the RE's office today for another progesterone level to see if it's come up now that I'm taking 1.5 cc PIO/day + 3-4 suppositories a day. And the phlebotomist wouldn't listen that that's all I wanted drawn! Instead she ordered estrogen, progesterone, and HCG. Ugh. I don't really want to know the HCG level again. I figure if it's good it won't really reassure me, and if it's bad (which I expect), it will just cause me extra and earlier onset of despair. But she kept saying, "That's what they've been ordering, so that's what I'm going to order." Little does she know that the "they" in question is actually just little 'ole me. I figured I shouldn't clarify that point, though, lest I get myself into trouble.

So, that's all for now. I'm in bed, all tucked in, Moxie at my side. Trying to work on a powerpoint presentation for a workshop series I'm in charge of between naps.

I'm expecting (bad) news from the nurse in a couple of hours.

We shall see...trying not to stress.

But honestly? I hate this.


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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Off to see the wizard

Today I woke up sicker than stink. Remember that cold I thought I was coming down with? Well, it's here: fever, chest  cough, malaise. Awesome. I'm spending the day in bed with Moxie curled up beside me.

Around noon, I went in to see the miscarriage wizard, aka the reproductive immunologist. Strange choice on my part, since I'm so ambivalent about him, but I'm grasping at straws here. I would see anyone who has some ideas on what I could maybe do to salvage this pregnancy.

Here's what the wizard did and suggested:
  • He drew buckets of blood to check my NK cell functioning, my TH1:TH2 ratio, and my clotting ability (b/c of the Lovenox). Results pending.
  • He wants me to up my prednisone to 20 mg (from 10mg).
  • He also wants me to do 4 endometrin suppositories instead of 3, in addition to the 1.5cc of progesterone in ethyl oleate daily.
  • He wants me to increase the Lovenox to 60mg (from 40mg). I'll think about it. Additional Lovenox makes me nervous. I don't want to add intracranial hemorrhage to my problem list, you know?

He also did a transvaginal ultrasound but couldn't seem to figure out how to zoom in very much (sigh). There is one gestational sac, looked oblong to me (worrisome, but he said it didn't matter). Didn't see a yolk sac, but as I said, his zooming ability seemed impaired, and these are small things we're talking about here. It's still fairly early - 5 weeks, 3 days.

I have another ultrasound lined up with my local RE on Friday. My RE is very good at zooming. So we'll see what we see. There really should be at least a yolk sac by then. I will also check the progesterone level again tomorrow and hopefully it will be bumped back up. Don't know if I'll check the hcg again. Not sure I want to know what the level is.

I'll be honest. I'm not very hopeful about this. I'm no longer cramping and am now feeling basically nothing in my uterus. I find myself starting to mull over what's next for us, but then I catch myself and try to just come back here for now. It's not over 'til it's over. And this really isn't over yet. Still...I guess I'm trying to prepare myself. We've been here so many times before.

Thank you so so much for your good-outcomes-with-low-progesterone stories and for your comments in general. I can't tell you how much they have helped to read. And re-read. And re-read again. So thank you.

More [cough] soon.


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Monday, February 27, 2012

18dp5dt blood work results are back...and I'm in trouble

Blood work results are back.

Beta HCG looks fine at 7,681.

Estrogen also looks fine at 844.

Progesterone though is a problem. It has dropped to 11.5. Down from 38.68 at its highest and 28.2 on Friday. It should be above 20 at a minimum, since I am on the PIO.

My local clinic suggested maybe there was a lab error, but based on my strong menstrual-type cramping, I'm doubtful (based on how I feel, I can't believe I'm not bleeding, but I just checked and I am not...yet...).

The Denver clinic is being very aggressive. I will go up to 1.5cc of progesterone daily + 3x/day suppositories (I've been on 1cc every other day + 3x/day endometrin suppositories).

I also put a call in to my reproductive immunologist. Not that I put a whole lot of stock in what he says, but I'll give anything a shot at this point to try to hold on to this pregnancy.

I have a really bad feeling about this. I hope I'm wrong.


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18dp5dt reassurance beta drawn

Thank you so much for your thoughts and comments. To clarify from my last post, although freaking out, I didn't remain in that full-fledged panic all day long, but I did feel very skeptical and not very sure of things. Truth is, still feeling that way. Still feeling like something is wrong, like this pregnancy is probably over.

What's new this pregnancy is that I'm not angsting over that in the same way I used to most of the time. The success or failure of this pregnancy is not really in my control, and most of the time I get that. So if my intuition is right and things have taken a major downturn, I'm not responsible for that. I'll be sad, OK, I'll be heartbroken, but there's nothing I can do to keep this pregnancy going beyond what I am already doing. There are other moments when the crazy creeps in, where I think that if I just do something, some unnamable thing I can't quite grasp or conceptualize, that I can keep this baby alive. I try to keep those to mere moments and not let the crazy take over longer stretches of the day. But it's there sometimes, and it is definitely a major theme in my dreams.

I did pee on the hospital test again early this morning (I know, I know, you told me not to, but I didn't listen). It looks a little darker to both me and Will. I steered clear of the remaining Clearblue indicator test (thinking that test is the devil!). And then I went in to the local RE this morning for a beta, progesterone, and estrogen check. I'm looking for the beta number to have gone up from Friday's value, but beyond that, I realize it's a crapshoot at this point. The number may not double, and if it doesn't, I'm not going to freak out if I can help it. I'm so convinced that the number has dropped, that if it has gone up in any substantial way, I think I'll cry tears of gratitude.

If things turn out to be hanging in ok, it will also be very useful ammunition to use against my anxiety for the next time I think something terrible has happened. You, know, like, say tomorrow when I'm sure that the embryo has died again.

Unfortunately in the past, I have always been right when I think it is pregnancy doomsday. So the evidence on that side of things weighs heavy and adds to the crazy. It would be novel and great to be wrong about this for once!

Either way, for now I'm just trying to just "ride the wave" as some of you suggested, "breathe" as others suggested, and not jump to any conclusions about things. Time will tell and there is nothing I can do to change the outcome at this time.

I'm trying to accept the unknown and stay in the middle place of uncertainty for now. That is the only thing that is real and true at this moment in time.

Thanks so much for your thoughts. Really. They helped pull me back off of the ledge.

And check back - I'll be updating this post later today when the results come in. I'll try to figure out how to add to this post in a way that shows up on Google Reader, but not sure how to do that. So Google Reader people may have to manually check back in. Sorry.

You guys are wonderful. And so, so appreciated. Thank you for hanging in there with us.

Fingers crossed.


p.s. I have indigestion this morning along with the hiccups. Those are pregnancy symptoms, maybe, aren't they?

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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Not feeling it

I woke up this morning scared. Not sure why, just was.

Peed on a stick with what I'd saved up from my middle of the night pee. Test came up very positive.

Discarded the rest of that pee. Then had the brilliant idea to pee again on a Clearblue pregnancy indicator test (I'd bought some of these when I was traveling internationally and was fearing - correctly - that I was losing pregnancy #6).

The indicator test came up that I was 2-3 weeks post conception (so 4-5 weeks pregnant). Except that I'm over 5 weeks now (so test should say "3+" in the window). And my beta is supposedly very high.

Cue major freak out.

  • I had acupuncture yesterday and the acupuncturist put a heat lamp two feet above my abdomen for part of the session. Must have cooked the baby. Baby is dead.
  • My throat is a teensie, weensie bit scratchy. And I sneezed twice yesterday. Because I think I'm coming down with a cold. Maybe. A cold that has killed the baby. Obviously.
  • I had some french fries at brunch yesterday that were fried in oil that was also used for other breaded foods. So not totally gluten-free. Traces of gluten killed the baby.
  • I also had a burger, sans bun, at the same restaurant yesterday. It was pink in the middle, but I didn't send it back. Probably caught toxoplasmosis from the burger. Killed baby. All in less than 24 hours. Amazing, really.
  • I haven't been feeling much of anything the past day. No cramping, no pulling. Not feeling it because baby is dead. 
  • Is my nausea less? Possibly. It must be because baby is dead.
  • When I lie very still, I don't "feel" a connection between myself and the embryo. It "feels like" that connection is gone. Doesn't matter that I hadn't been aware of feeling a connection before - it is gone now. Gone because baby is dead.
  • I just "feel like" the pregnancy is over. So it must be. Baby is dead.
My powers of reasoning are astounding, aren't they? 

Never mind that I just got awesome beta results back on Friday.

Never mind that I didn't use first-morning urine on the indicator test (or I did, but had peed not that long before in the cup for the pregnancy test, urine which I then - GAH!- discarded). 

Never mind that the other pee test I used this AM seems just as dark as always. 

Never mind that when I checked the Clearblue indicator test box, the test expired in September. 

Never mind that it is just too early and there is no way to know, even though I "think" I know.

It absolutely stinks to be a recurrent miscarrier, a habitual aborter. 

I cannot be consoled. Cannot be reassured.

I want to just put myself into a coma until I can see a heartbeat. Why did I ever attempt to get pregnant again?

How could it be over (in my mind at least) so quickly?



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Saturday, February 25, 2012

A saturday in the life, plus HCG chart

I went for a super relaxing acupuncture session this morning and then to brunch with Will and a friend of ours and her young daughter. Remember the friend I had mentioned who was so ill with cancer, so out of the blue? He did much better and hung in much longer than anyone expected, but sadly he passed away a month ago. We were out with his wife ("widow" just seems like the wrong word at our age) and daughter. They are doing amazingly well, both of them. We are trying to see a lot of them. Till they get sick of us, even. OK, maybe not this, but we want to make sure we continue to surround and support our friend and her child as much as we can.

I had a nice afternoon nap (so tired lately) and now need to rally and catch up with a bunch of my medical record charting. Bah! Luckily, I can do it from home. Will is on call at the hospital, so it is just me and my boxer Moxie solo tonight.

In addition to tired, my appetite is a little off. The cramping is now coming and going (and when it goes, I get scared). Breasts are somewhat sore, but mostly not killing me. I'm thirsty. I pee constantly.

I decided to try to make a graphical representation of the betas so far, from 9dp5dt to yesterday, which was 15dp5dt (see below). Looks reassuringly nice and strong. The number doesn't look THAT high, does it? You guys really think it might be twins? That would be ok, but please please please no more than that. I'm thinking numbers like these could just be a solidly implanting singleton, which would be absolutely 100% fine with us. (My preference, as I worry about the increased chance of complications with twins. And triplets? GAH. Way too nerve wracking. Don't even get me started.)

Hoping things are still going strong in there. I have contemplated cutting off the front of my stomach and replacing it with plastic (BPA-free, of course) so I can check on things more directly when I get nervous. Which would only be three to five times a day. Holding off on this great idea for now.

Small prayer to the universe, hand on belly: please stick around, please be ok, please stick around.


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Friday, February 24, 2012

4w6d beta hcg (15dp5dt)

I snuck in for another beta HCG this morning, just to check on things, since I haven't had any bloodwork done since Monday...

I didn't realize how scared I was until 1pm rolled around, 2pm, and still no call.

I called the local RE's office and left a message, asking for the results.

Which thankfully just came.

Beta level 15dp5dt = 3,032
Progesterone = 28.2

Doubling time of 35.22 hours overall. Phew!! We are still doubling!

Things are still on track. One step at a time. One day at a time.

I just scheduled a first ultrasound for a week from today, when I will be 5 weeks, 6 days. Hoping to see a yolk sac and maybe a fetal pole by then. Heartbeat would be a bonus, but I know it will still be early.

For this moment, happy!!


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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Cramptastic at 4w5d

Still here. Still pregnant as far as I know. Still trying to hang on to the edges of my sanity and just be in the moment, here in the uncertainty of very early pregnancy.

I wanted to ask about your experiences of cramping in pregnancy, because I'm not sure what to make of it. I am so, so crampy. Not ALL the time, but pretty much (1) whenever I have to move around much, like walk around my med school campus or stand to give a lecture, or (2) whenever I feel stressed (which unfortunately is much of the time at work lately), or (3) just at random other times.

Usually, it's a little uterine-y. Sort of like menstrual cramps, but not exactly. Last week it was often left-sided and not in my uterus, which I thought meant I was having an ectopic, but tried to tell myself was probably the corpus luteum forming. Other times, I have to admit, though, I thought it was because I am carrying the 2012 version of Rosemary's Baby, and it was the sharpened Satan claws of this baby digging into my flesh (I try not to dwell on that image). But that was last week.

This week, it's more straight-up uterine-ish. But it is happening A Lot. And it scares me that when I have to walk 10 blocks to a meeting or rush between work events or stand to give a lecture that I start cramping, sometimes heavily. Is this normal? Is it dangerous? If I start cramping does that mean I need to stop what I'm doing and cancel the lecture I'm giving or the meeting I'm heading to? Or can I just ignore it? I'm trying to cut back, really I am, but this is really hard to do when I'm in charge of certain projects and no one knows I'm pregnant yet.

Maybe I just need to embrace my uterus and become better friends with it?

Seeking your thoughts and experiences on early pregnancy cramping and how worrisome a sign this. No spotting since that one time, btw. Which is a really good thing. That would have me going bonkers. As it is, I'm luckily only half-bonkers.

So please chime in and let me know - did you cramp a lot during your early first trimester? What did your Drs say about it? Any advice on how to make it stop...or maybe I don't want it to stop? Gah! Help!

Some of you have also asked about what's coming up in terms of betas and ultrasound. And the answer is...we aren't sure. I think the Denver clinic wants an ultrasound around 6w3d or 6w5d or something like that, but it is unlikely we will hold out that long. We are talking about maybe having at least one more beta drawn soonish (maybe tomorrow?) but are thinking we will try to wait to do an ultrasound until we can expect to at least see a yolk sac, if not more (toward the end of next week, I think). It's tricky. I'd love to check on things daily, on the one hand, but on the other, I know that the more betas we draw, the more we check things in general, the more likely we'll eventually see the number bobble or see something inconclusive on the u/s and have to go through that mindfuck, which might or might not mean anything. Also, when I really think about it, I don't think another good beta or an u/s of the gestational sac sans yolk sac will make me feel super reassured for very long. The reality of the matter is, it is so early. We know from hard experience that things can look great and then go all to hell in a matter of days. So riding the wave here a bit and trying to let time pass.

But the cramping. The Cramping! Any thoughts?


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