Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Trying to read the tea leaves

Bear with me, folks. I realize this is tedious to anyone but me.

This morning, I used one of two precious remaining HPTs today, just to see where things are at.

And it's not looking very hopeful to me.

But not an obvious definitive no either.

Here's this morning's test.

It does not look discernibly darker to me than the last one.

If anything it looks perhaps lighter? But hard to tell.

Also for comparison, here's an hpt from failed pregnancy #6, at approximately the same dates. So THAT looks markedly different.

It's not over until it's over, but boy it's looking kind of over to me.


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  1. Oh god, I hate the crazy-makin' HPT tests!

    Looking at those pix, I honestly can't see much difference, but I wouldn't really expect to at this point, right? It certainly isn't lighter than the control line, and from my monitor, it looks wicked dark, not sure it could, actually, GET any darker. Which is a good thing.

    Whether that translates into a baby in 8 mos. is anyone's guess, but Mo, this aint over yet. Your body's totally pumping out HPT, which is all these tests are really good for telling you. I totally understand being so nervous about all this that everything feels like a portent--god, I'm just in knots on your behalf over here, an I remember too well what it feels like on your end!--but don't give up hope unless you have to.

    Thinking of you & yours, and wishing for the best baby-filled outcome to all this.

  2. I have no information on the prognosis of the pregnancy be ause my crystal ball is broken but you are DEFINITELY out of the linear range of that test given your last hcg was over 3000. Even the fancy semi quantitative poas years are only linear to maaaaybe 3500 (ref: In other words, it's not going to get any darker and it might start getting lighter because you've exceeded its capacity!

  3. I see how the other one was darker and all, I'm just not sure you can tell anything one way or the other from a test that's out of linear range. So yeah- could be fine, could be not fine, I don't know that you can tell! So frustrating.

  4. Having gone through infertility hell myself, including IVF, donor egg, etc., etc., I intend this in the gentlest way possible: I do not see how the pee-stick could look any darker. I mean, they reach a maximum after awhile, after which they just CAN'T get any darker. Yours looks as good as it gets. If this is any reassurance at all, when I was about four months along with my younger son (FET), I found an unused test in the cupboard and peed on it just for the hell of it, since he was my absolute last chance baby. It looked about like yours does above, with a test line somewhat darker than the control line. We are all keeping everything crossed for you, and I can't wait for your next ultrasound for more--and, I hope, reassuring--information.

  5. Hey, Mo. I'm the first to admit using HPTs irregularly, shall we say. But there's really no way to know what's going on other than the fact that you have a great deal of HCG in your system...

    Anyway you can beg yourself into an ultrasound? You're over seven weeks, and even with the possibilities that FETs grow slower you should know more than you did last week from a scan.

    I'm sorry this isn't easier. Wishing for the best for you.

  6. I know this is so hard Mo, I would be peeing on sticks like 2-3 times a day in your shoes! Cause I am just crazy like that ;)

    That said, it looks crazy dark to me. Do you think you are at the point it just will not continue to darken? I know with my pregnancies mine just finally got as dark as it could and then it just seemed to plateau.

    Hang in there!

  7. After you get above a certain HCG concentration (as dark as the control line), higher levels of HCG will actually produce lighter lines--I think---or atleast, it can't get any darker after you max out.

    HCG tests are only useful in first 10 days or so after a positive pee test :(

  8. It's not tedious. I've been there. Lots of us have been there. Our brains take us to crazy places when we are in pregnancy limbo hell.

    All I can tell you is my personal experience from peeing on WAY too many sticks through the course of 7 pregnancies. (4 in a row of which were miscarriages.) I two pregnancies where the test line kept getting crazy dark - my 4th miscarriage and my 2nd successful pregnancy. With my 3rd successful pregnancy, the test line never got much darker than the control (even after we saw a heartbeat) and I was convinced the pregnancy was doomed.

    You know these tests are highly variable. I know you know it. It's so hard when we have nothing else to do but sit and wait. I don't blame you at all for trying to read the tea leaves - I've done it so many times myself. But I don't think your out of the game yet Mo. Hugs.

    Any chance you can get your ultrasound bumped to Friday?

  9. This is called the hook effect, I had it with both my pregnancies. If you dilute your urine with water you will actually get a darker test! There is no way your lines would be getting lighter at this point with your hcg levels, no matter what!

  10. I agree with the others who've mentioned the "hook effect" as well as the darkness of the line beyond a certain point. If I makes you feel any better, I took a home test that was supposed to measure the level of hcG in the urine. In this case, I was only supposed to see one line -- if I saw two, that meant the hcG was below a certain level (I wish I could remember the threshold -- it was definitely a high number). I did see only one line, but I freaked out (unfortunately the instructions in the box didn't match the instructions online, so I spent the better part of a morning trying to figure out what was the most current). I really believe at a certain point the darkness of the line doesn't matter, and it can actually start to appear lighter even with a sky-high hcG. I COMPLETELY understand where your headspace is at right now, and you need to guard your heart. Just know we are cheering you on and have faith that this is a take-home baby for you, even if your heart and head tells you otherwise. I saw my baby's heartbeat at 6w5d. I certainly think you'd be able to see something at an u/s!! Thinking of you!

  11. I wouldn't count on those HPTs at this point. Hang in there…..

  12. I know you know that any attempt to discern the progression of an early pregnancy by the darkness of the test vs. control line of an HPT is crazy making.

    I do not want this angst for you and highly encourage you to get in for an ultrasound on Friday, if you can. You have not reported any spotting or bleeding or cramping none of which would spell doom but would certainly be more in line with a failing pregnancy than the results of an HPT this far in.

    I think you are 7w3d today so by 7w5d on Friday you will see whatever it is you are going to see on Monday.

    I totally get wanting to hang in til Monday, but try not to torture yourself in the meantime. Your peace of mind is important to this developing embryo.

  13. After looking at the HPT from a previous pregnancy, I totally understand why this test would leave you feeling uneasy. I stopped peeing on sticks after beta day because I felt they only added to my anxiety, so I have no personal experience with seeing how dark a line can get. Obviously you have HCG in your system, but I don't think you can trust the color of the line to tell you how much. Do you have a beta scheduled this week?

  14. Oh. And I've never used the purple test you have, but my FRER looked like your 12,000+ one did when my beta was only at 1951, so yeah, I think it varies a LOT!

  15. I feel your fear. It resonates in my bones with my past fears. All you can do right now is keep breathing in and then out deeply and carefully and not too fast. What is simply is and you simply do not know what is and pee tests are not crystal balls. It is normal and reasonable and understandable to be afraid. And you are showing us all so much courage and thank you for that. Without people telling their fears the rest of us think we are alone with fear. We are not. You are not. Good wishes.

  16. Oh Mo, I wish I could just give you a big hug and keep you good and distracted until the 5th. Actually maybe until you reach viability at 24 weeks. This is all so hard! I really think you are still in the game. I know right, who am I, I have never even been pregnant... But I have a good feeling about this one. HUGS!!

  17. I so wish this wait could be easier for you but I know how hard it is. I don't have any predictions because I've been where you are several times and had it go either way. I really really hope this works out for you and that your next ultrasound is perfect. Hang in there.

  18. Um, wait -- what? I clicked over expecting to find -- well, who knew? Maybe disaster, blood, cramping, the whole 9 yards, and maybe not disaster, which as we know (when we are in a calm and uninvested space, which you of course are not, as how could you possibly be?), involves not much at this stage except massive uncertainty and a desire for time to pass without horrible things having happened (yet). And what I see is definitely the latter. I mean, no, unfortunately that doesn't mean horrible things won't yet happen, as much as we all wish we could tell you it did. But Mo -- everything I have seen so far, and certainly including that pee stick, looks, well, good to me -- really, it does. So. Deep breath. Hang in there. Do whatever you can to distract yourself and find bits of joy. Still hoping for you.

    (For the record, I used pee sticks the one time I was pregnant just because I enjoyed seeing 2 lines, and I'm not sure they EVER looked that dark. My ladybug onesie's now lying in bed reviewing his numerous Star Wars books because he can't wait for the new movie.)

  19. I remember I used to line my HPT's up like little soldiers waiting for battle. I compared them, cried over them, believed it was over. I had 6 miscarriages and the trauma from the whole IVF process, 2ww, frustration over always feeling fear instead of joy. It was an agonizing lonely time.
    However, when I became pregnant after a DE cycle-I realized no amount of protecting my heart would make a loss easier. Whether my heart was in it and I believed it would work and did not or tried to distance myself to make the inevitable easier--It hurt the same. The loss was no less painful either way. I started to try and acknowledge my feelings. I feel so afraid and out of control and desperate to not lose this baby. I allowed myself to experience the tears of not knowing. I truly think pain comes from resisting the emotions. I had to just be. Because a loss would hurt. No matter what I did to protect my heart.
    Some days I was excited and some days I was neurotic and peeing on my soldiers, writing for my own beta, and even putting an ultrasound probe on my own belly.
    I am thinking about you and hope with each passing day you experience excitement.
    The PTSD of recurrent pregnancy loss and IVF's really takes a toll on us.

  20. Oh, Mo. I'm sorry this is so tough.

    Obviously this is just my perspective, but here's how I see it: You need information. You have a long, painful history, and you need information to cope. That's not good, it's not bad, it's not right, it's not wrong, it just is.

    And in the absence of more specific information (i.e. ultrasound, blood HCG), you're attempting to get it by comparing pee stick lines. And driving yourself crazy in the process. That's not helping you, and it's not helping the peanut either. (Not saying it's hurting the peanut at all, just that it's not helping anything.)

    So if I were you, I'd insist on ultrasounds and/or bloodwork as often as you need them until you get to the point where you feel like you need them less. Even if that means every day. I'm totally serious about this. When I was pregnant with Miss A and completely freaking out around 8w, my peri offered daily ultrasounds for as long as necessary. (I chose to stick to 2 per week and did that for 3 weeks before going back to weekly, but it was hugely helpful to my sanity to know that if I started to have a bad freak-out moment, I could just call them and come in that same day.)

    Frequent ultrasounds/tests may not give you a definitive answer about the outcome at this point, but they will give you the knowledge of "There's still uncertainty today, and I'll get to find out again tomorrow (or in 2 days, etc.) if there's any more information." Again, all JMO, but I vote for pushing for something that gives you more specific information.

    Hoping, hoping, hoping for you and the peanut.

    1. I just wanted to say that this is the best comment ever, Rebecca. You win the Internet today.

  21. Hey Mo, I agree with you that the test doesn't look the same as the one from #6. That said, it doesn't really definitively tell you anything because even if it looked the same as #6, that one did fail, so maybe we don't want it to look the same??? And it is feasible you would not quite be to 12k beta range yet given your last beta was 3500. Also, urinary hcg level is more volatile than blood levels and dye concentration in the test is volatile and may be different than it was over a year ago when they made the pee stick for #6. I agree you should try to request an ultrasound and beta for tomorrow. It will have been a week and I think the results would likely be highly telling. That way you don't just stress all weekend and in the event of a poor outcome you have the weekend to start processing it instead of being mid week. I am hoping for you and wishing you continued emotional strength to face whatever comes next.

  22. I'd like to weigh in as someone who hasn't gone through all of this but I agree with the other commenter who said you should insist on having an U/S before the weekend. I have 3 children, had them in my early 20's and with my 3rd, the pee stick was so light I couldn't even tell it was positive and I was already 2 or 3 weeks late. I divorced and re-married and tried getting pregnant at 40, I had 2 chemical pregnancies. The pee stick was SO dark that it didn't even occur to me I wouldn't have a successful pregnancy. With the 2nd chemical preg, I took the test that morning and it was dark as can be yet I started my period that evening. So I wouldn't give them too much credence. I opted not to do fertility treatments and my 2nd husband, who has no kids of his own, is perfectly fine with it but I have SO much admiration for those of you who go through all this. Will be sending lots of good thoughts your way that your little peanut hangs in there! Hugs!

  23. Ugh how unfair that this wait has stretched out so agonizingly for you! :(. I agree with the commenters saying get an u/s before the weekend. Another weekend is so long to bear this burden and if you get good news you'll have a weekend to be happy and if it's not good news you have a weekend to yourself before having to go back to work ...

  24. I'm just so sorry you're in this place of horrible un-knowing again. It's not fair.

  25. Just stopping by to tell you I'm thinking about you. Hugs!

  26. Sci check is right "After you get above a certain HCG concentration (as dark as the control line), higher levels of HCG will actually produce lighter lines" so I would not consider this to be reliable. Hugs.

  27. Mo!
    Saturday- you made it thru the week and now just a couple days and at the very least, you will have even more clarity, which at this point is an act of mercy on you, you have waited so long in such a difficult mindset.
    I hope you are feeling physically well, and can enjoy the weekend with your family.
    Obviously all of your online friends and peers are hoping the best for you...
    no matter what the scan reveals.
    thinking of you.


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