Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Immune testing and IVIG #3

Thank you for all of your encouragement and support. I really, REALLY, appreciate it. It was so reassuring to see the little embryo waving about yesterday. Seemed definitely there - maybe it's sinking in that I'm pregnant, finally. That only took 8 and a half weeks! I succeeded again with self-administering the PIO injection last night and Ms. Moxie has had her twice daily constitutionals (dog walker is taking her for the third one)...so I'm making it through the week as a pregnant solo dog parent so far.

I have been lightly spotting again since last night, damn it all...which has me feeling keyed up and anxious about things. It's light. More a pink/brown tinge than anything...but still. I wish it would stop, already! I try to tell myself it's no big deal, but it scares me, and I realize that's maybe sillly, because it is really very little. But I don't want to have any spotting or blood at all! None, I tell you!

In other not-so-exciting news, at 5pm today, a nurse is coming to my apartment to administer IVIG treatment #3.

Blech. Just thinking about it makes me nauseated and tired. I'm chugging water right now, as a matter of fact, because that supposedly helps prevent the pounding headache/migraine I had the first time I did it (although I drank gallons of water then too, so who knows...).

Like last treatment, I'll be doing this infusion in my home, reclining in my comfy bed, which hopefully will make it less onerous. And although I'm really not sure if it is helping or not, I would do anything to keep this pregnancy afloat.

I went back to the reproductive immunologist at the end of February and had some of the immune markers redrawn to see if they were improving with the IVIG/ prednisone/ lovenox triumvirate.

And things look decidedly better...but according to the doctor, not quite normal yet. Hence this third treatment.

Apparently, my natural killer cells are much better, but my %CD3, which is one part of the natural killer cell assay, is still elevated at 86.7 (upper limit of normal is 85...I'd say close enough...but he disagreed).

My TNF-alpha levels, which are part of the TH1:TH2 ratio reproductive immunologists love to look at is also slightly elevated at 31.6 (upper limit of normal is 30.6...again, I'd say normal enough, but he begs to differ).

So a third IVIG treatment it is. I am hoping it is the last. I hate the side effects, and I really hate the $3,000 price tag, especially since the research evidence doesn't compel me.

Here's hoping this does the trick and I am all done with these treatments after this. I'm feeling pregnant enough to feel like I'm definitely putting the two of us through this, this time. Sorry embryo! I hope this stuff doesn't make you feel as yucky as it makes me feel! And I'm hoping it helps you stick around for the long haul. Please.

Just to help motivate me (and hopefully not give me nightmares!!), here's a picture of a natural killer cell supposedly destroying an embryo. This is what we are trying to prevent. Hopefully it's working!! (or it's not even a real issue...either one is acceptable to me...).

Yo, NK cells! Get away from my embryo!!!


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  1. Good luck wit the IVIG! Hope the headache stays away. And I really, really wish that any and all spotting would disappear. Still thinkin' about you Mo and praying for the best!

  2. Good luck today Mo! I hope you don't feel too bad after the IVIG treatment.

  3. I hope the IVIG treatment doesn't bring on the headache for you this time and helps baby keep sticking around!

  4. Sucks to be doing IVIG on your own. So glad you're still feeling pregnant, and I hope that the treatment won't be as bad this time. Very very glad to hear that you're improving under the treatment!

  5. Ugh that sounds awful. Sorry you have to go through all this. But it will be worth it if embryo decides to stick around!

    I wouldn't worry too much about the bleeding, my friend had some spotting around 7 - 8 weeks and she thought she was having a miscarriage, her baby turns 1 in July :)

  6. that picture is SO disturbing!
    i guess that now that your embryo has arm and leg buds, it can do its part to fight off the nk cells- rocky-style. :)

    i really hope this 3rd treatment will knock those levels right down to where the doctor wants to see you at. and that maybe it won't make you feel so gross.

    you're doing great, mo! i am a broken record saying so- but, one day at a time...

    get some rest, let the treatment do its thing, and before you know it, you'll be right as rain, enjoying this ridiculously warm waether.

    thanks for the update!

  7. I am late in running errands but something told me to check my reader real quick in case there was an update from Mo and your graciously obliged.

    So glad all continues to be well (spotting notwithstanding, but you now know that you can spot and have a thriving pregnancy).

    Good luck with the IVIG..you are a trooper!

    (FWIW, you are exactly as far along as a friend of mine with a naturally conceived pregnancy (I know, what's that, right?) and she has been spotting all along, too (which she didn't do with her first pregnancy and since she began telling folks she was pregnant at 4 weeks this time, now feels a bit precarious but I did see her 8 wk u/s image on her fridge when I was over there yesterday). All this to say, it happens to non-ART women, too.

  8. You know, my motto through this entire last pregnancy was "No regrets of inaction" (which happened to be a topic I did research on as an undergrad.) If it meant hospitalizing myself overnight for a blood pressure scare, so be it. If it meant doing a 36th week of 17P shots when our doctor told us we could stop at 35, OK. I just wanted to be able to look back and say that we did every damned thing under the sun to help this along. We might have gone down, but we were going down swinging, not looking.

    All this by way of saying the IVIG infusions sound like they suck, and I am so sorry you are having to do them, but I am a firm believer in there being something to the doing. So glad that you have this beautiful, wiggly new sprout to do it for.

  9. I really wish I didn't look at that picture, animated or not. *shiver* Damn the spotting, already! Can't things just calm down for you already? I'm glad the shots are going well and that Moxie is getting her walks. I'm sorry that you have to take another infusion but I guess it's all in the name of saving that embryo, right? I hope you don't get a migraine this time so I'm wishing you luck on that front. Keep on keepin' on...you are doing great!

  10. I'm so hopeful for you Mo, your little one HAS to stay in there. Sorry you have to go through all this though but I am keeping everything crossed that it will do the trick. Can't wait for the months to go by quick and see you succeed.

  11. Glad that things are looking good so far. Hope the treatment goes well. Sending many good thoughts and prayers your way!

  12. Friggin spotting!
    No matter how "normal" this is you have had experience that proved otherwise so I'm sure you are beside yourself. That being said I have had spotting with each pregnancy and one of them resulted in a little boy who woke me this morning with tons of baby chatter. All the signs are meaningless at this point. As long as those ultrasounds continue to look good just shrug your shoulders and keep going. You're a major trooper for getting the dreaded IVIG! Keep hangin in there!

  13. Man, you are really going through the ringer with all of the meds and treatments - but it totally makes sense. If there's a chance it helps, totally worth it. But ugh, hopefully you get through it okay and don't feel too crummy. I'm glad the pregnancy is starting to sink in!

  14. Fucking spotting. Sorry you have to see it, even though (I hope!) you're feeling more confident that it really isn't anything to worry about.

    Hoping the IVIG treatment doesn't suck as much as it has in the past, but really glad you're doing it. It just seems to make sense in a totally non-scientific, you do everything you can think of to do, kind of way. And that photo is terrifying. Thank you for sharing THAT little nightmare image with us!

    And you're a rock star with the PIO & the pu, btw. (Though I'd never tell my Boy, I thought PIO was less painful when I gave to myself, too. I just liked the moral support of not being the ONLY one having to stress about sticking needles into flesh...)

    Hoping for a non head-achy, uneventful week for you, my dear. When is Will back? Saturday? I hope you two have some fun celebration planned.

  15. Ugh! on the spotting. Thinking of you and hope the IVIG isn't awful tonight. Hope you have someone to walk Moxie tonight. Can the IVIG nurse give you your PIO shot while she's there? Big hug!

  16. I hope the treatment goes well for you. And I am secreting away the spotting!

  17. Sending positive vibrations your way!!! Hang in there Mo, one day at a time and we're all here for you ;)

  18. Beat it NK Cell!!!

    They had talked about IVIG with me too. Although I chickened out and stopped after pg #5. You are so brave. I find I read your posts and wonder if I could somehow muster up the strength to go another round...

    But alas I have other 'priorities'. As will you, sounds like things are still looking good. And that is great news. I'm curious to hear how the IVIG is working, like you, the research I found, was kind of all over the place. But we will do whatever we have to do for our little embies.

    So strong. You are so so strong.

    Amazed by you with every post and step you take.

    Perseverance will pay off!

  19. Sorry that you're having to deal with another IVIG, but I so hope that you will be able to stop it soon! And that damned spotting-- GAH! I'm so sorry that you're having to deal with it, but at least you know that your wonderful OB is able to sneak you in for a reassurance scan... I <3 her for you. I hope that Will gets back soon and that you're able to take it easy.

  20. bon courage for ivig.

    watch what the RIs call "normal" -- they like to use +/- 1 std deviation as normal range!

  21. Hope your infusion was better this time. I have done intralipids for activated NK cells, but I'm with you, I don't know what to think about the RPL theories.

    So sorry to hear that the spotting is still giving you worries. Try to hang in there!

  22. So glad your little embryo is doing well and that your appointment was good news. I think about you often and even give Jeff updates so he can send prayers too. Praying for continued positive appointments, a healthy embryo growing and a smooth treatment!

  23. I'm glad yesterday's ultrasound was reassuring. Regarding the light pink/brown spotting - are you using progesterone suppositories as well? If so, that could be irritating the vaginal lining and causing the bleeding you're describing. Running it under water very quickly before inserting it can help reduce the irritation and therefore the bleeding.

    Also, the fact that you are seeing an embryo with a heartbeat and appropriate fetal developmental signs (i.e. the limb buds) while you're having bleeding/spotting is another sign that the cause of the bleeding/spotting may be different than the causes in your previous pregnancies and not a sign of doom. I know so well how hard it is not to equate bleeding with impending doom, but Alexa is living proof that somehow, sometimes, it's not.

    Keep breathing deep and taking one day at a time. This phase is really cool to see in ultrasound. I remember going in every week (or twice a week) and being amazed at what had developed in those few days.

    Please know I'm thinking of you and checking in on you even if I'm not commenting as much right now. I am so hoping that you have the same outcome for pregnancy #7 that we did. I still can't believe it - it still doesn't feel real.

  24. I am so with you about no blood! (Is that really too much to ask for?!) Thanks for commenting on my panicked blogs earlier. I hope the treatment went well.

  25. These treatments are gnarly. You are so brave!

  26. Thinking of you -- hope the IVIg went as smoothly as can be hoped.

  27. Rock on, sister! I sorta seem to recall that not all my IVIG infusions produced the same effects. Like I got that headache once or twice, but not the third time? Sometimes the benadryl they gave me to take with it would chill me out in a pleasant way as well.

    No matter what, it is always a bit odd having a nurse come to your house to give an infusion. Mine would hook the bottle onto a coat hanger and stick it on a cupboard door over my head... and I'd think wow, $3K for this?

    LOVE the image, by the way. I had never seen a visual of that. "NK cell activity" is always such a vague concept to me, yet I spend so much time/effort fighting it.

    Sending lots of super-good implanting -happy baby vibes your way.

  28. Good luck with everything, here's hoping!


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