Saturday, October 30, 2010

A panicky idiot

That is what ONE loss makes out of you. Seriously.

First let me start out with the best news I've had all week: my anti-cardiolipin antibody levels have dropped from the 'maybe-something-to-worry-about' zone to the 'its negative' zone! The bad news- I think my doctors are going to collectively put a hit out on me before this is over because, boy, I might just end up being the patient from hell.  Now I'm wondering whether I should get the risks for thrombophilia (factor V Leiden, MTHFR) etc investigated. There is not really a good medical reason to do this, except that it will make me sleep easier at night.

My first ultrasound is at 6 weeks and 5 days, which is November 10th.  As far as first trimester TLC goes, I'm very tempted to make them see me *almost* every week. The good thing is I've already run this by them and they didn't even blink. I'm debating paying 160 bucks out of pocket and going to an RE for an even earlier ultrasound (maybe 5 weeks and 5 days) which is just plain silly, especially given that I might go into a panic if they see no heartbeat that early. Plus, why waste the money when I can have a u/s for the cost of a copay in a week's time? But still, I'm so tempted.

I want to relax and go into the the 'nothing-bad-can-possibly-happen-because-everything-looks-so-gosh-darned-good' mindset I had in my first pregnancy but that is just not going to happen. I'm trying to curb some of my more drastic impulses though, wish me luck!

In the meantime, 'Turbulence' is continuing to earn her nickname- I skipped out on my customary glass of yogurt before I went to bed last time- she woke me up at 3 am with the most horrific hunger pangs ever. Its like feed me NOW or I'll make you pay. Had to stumble out to get that glass of yogurt- my 4th time up last night!! And I'm enjoying every second of it, in a weird, perverse way :-)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

bloodwork part 1

The best idea I ever had was to start a blog during this process. When you get results back, you WANT to share, but who really is willing to listen? Nobody other than you guys and I love you all for it!

18 DPO beta- 1702 (last time was 2500 at 19 DPO, so sounds about the same)

See the  betabase link for that day.

The rest is horribly technical but I'm sad to say too many of the people reading will actually be able to interpret these values easily,  oh for those days of blissful ignorance.

TSH- 0.4!! (nosedived from 2.86- its quite a dive down, but I guess I'm not hyperthyroid yet)
T4- 10.5 (close to upper limit of the normal range)
Lupus anti-coagulant DRVVT test ratio is 1.07- the same down to the decimal point as last time 5 weeks ago! You are considered positive for Lupus anti-coagulant (scary stuff highly likely to kill your baby) if your ratio is 1.2 or above, from this lab.

If I were a betting woman, I'd say the cardiolipin IgG value will come back as the same, which will probably get me put on aspirin. God knows what any of this means anymore.

I told my mother I was pregnant (I can never keep anything from her long) and she was 'not surprised'. She kept telling me not to be negative- man, I have to say, the pressure to 'stay positive' is itself stress inducing.

Monday, October 25, 2010


I need to start this post with the confession that I am quite unable to give my babies cute nicknames, only wacky ones. Sorry, my little ones. My first baby got stick with the moniker 'Bighead' at the second ultrasound when I was utterly struck by how huge his head was compared to the rest of him. This new one- well read on.

This post is about all my darkest feelings. As I continue to feel more of this new pregnancy every day (nausea, heartburn, uterine cramps), there is a part of me that is happy and hopeful but there is this sick, dark place inside me waiting for the Sword of Damocles to drop again, for me to go to an ultrasound and find out its all over all over again.

A huge part of this fear is because I have no idea what went wrong. Often when babies are lost its a case of slow doubling or low betas, when chromosomal abnormalities are discovered or at least, strongly suspected. My last pregnancy was not like that. My first baby ( poor little Bighead) was a champion to start off with. His betas were off-the-charts, unbelievably good and they doubled perfectly. His chromosomes were beautifully normal.  You cannot ask for a better start to any pregnancy, and yet, he was dead probably at the 10 week mark. Everything suggests to him being fine, that it was something else that went wrong. How can you box at shadows?  I'm hopeful yes, but there also lives this horrible place inside of me which is just mentally steeling itself for the worst.  I cannot shake it off, no matter how I try. Its almost like a defense mechanism, that horrifying news will be better tolerated if its anticipated. That of course is a load of crock, nothing can soften the blow if it comes at you again.

All of this fear is made worse by the fact that they DID find something wrong with me. If its just thyroid, then that, I think can be easily dealt with.  But then there are also the anti-cardiolipin antibodies. I had my consult with the perinatologist, and the verdict (which I had also come to) is to retest for them. If the repeat value comes back even at the slightly elevated, neither-here-nor-there value,  they start me on aspirin. Now, all the studies suggest that aspirin by itself possibly is not enough in case there is a real clotting problem. But my levels are not high enough to justify heparin, and moreover, giving somebody heparin when they don't need it is inviting trouble, you can have a bleed beneath the placenta which can itself result in pregnancy loss or you could end up in a potentially dangerous situation yourself. I will give blood to test for TSH and the dreaded cardiolipin IgG value this week.

I just need to genuinely believe that this will work, that my new baby (named 'Turbulence' because of the fact that she is tiny but already causing quite a bit of it,) will be ok.  She, like her older brother, is a strong, healthy baby.  I NEED to believe that my body will allow her to make it..I just don't know how. The proof is in the pudding, and I haven't seen the darned thing yet!

So everybody, put your hands together and pray for 'Turbulence'!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Bloodwork Results

To cut a long story short, I had my test for beta and progesterone yesterday, which is 15 DPO- beta is 457 and progesterone is at 46.9.  Both levels look fine, a quick check on the betabase for my day was very reassuring. My beta in the first pregnancy was probably a tad bit higher (17 DPO was 1180) , and my progesterone was a touch lower (42 ng/ml at 17 DPO), but all of it looks good overall.

The best part about this pregnancy so far is the difference in BBT charts from the last time.

The last time, at 12 DPO, inexplicably, my temperature started to plummet, coming down to the pre-ovulatory range in 2 days and staying there. When that happened, that fertility friend software actually removed the green line indicating pregnancy.  I still have no idea why this happened- I had checked progesterone and that was fine, and the pregnancy progressed normally for maybe another 5 weeks.

This time, my luteal phase chart looks completely different and my temperatures have stayed in the peak luteal range!  Such a little thing, but so nice to see. I'm also not cold like I was the last time. Your body is supposed to turn into an incubator during pregnancy, and its nice to see that happen!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Drive-by posting

First, thank you all for your kind words. I'm thinking of all of you in the 2ww, and waiting and hoping for you. It has been a crazy week, I have long experiments everyday and I'm packing to move this Friday, so I just have time for a quick update.

The RE's policy is that the blood beta is determined in a single draw at 17 DPO, which will be on Sunday. So I have to wait. The thing that is keeping me sane is the the urine HPTs are steadily and clearly getting stronger, clearly in a 24 hour period and without doubt in a 48 hour one. Shannon's point that these are too crude to be accurate definitely stands, but its reassuring to see the darkening nonetheless.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


I wish this process did not have the nasty habit of taking you up to the stratosphere one minute and smashing you down to the ground the next- its been a super eventful 2 days, in other words.

Day 10 was when I got my BFP the last time. So I start testing, and past 10 in the morning, I start getting the faintest of tantalizing smudges on my test. I'm excited, but am waiting for a clear line to be sure. I wake up early this morning, expect the 'concentrated' first morning urine to give me a clear test- and nada. I freak out, but pee again 5 minutes later, and test this- super faint but distinct line! Holy schmoley I'm pregnant! Then comes the afternoon where I have my consult with my perinatologist. I request a urine test, because as you know, we all have a sick love affair with peeing into cups.  The nurse comes in after my consult is done and tells me indignantly (like I'm a crazy person who likes to invent fake pregnancies) that the urine test was negative (!!!) I leave in a daze, go to work, shut it all out for a few hours. I break down on the way home though- I'm so utterly sick of crying while driving; I've done it far too many times this year.

I get back home- take another of my cheap internet sticks- get a faint, but clear line again. By this time, I'm utterly sick of ambiguous results, so I run to the drugstore and spent 40 bucks on TWO brands of pregnancy tests (Clearblue digital and First Response)- see results!! I AM knocked up, as of now. I guess OTC tests are more sensitive than the machines the department of reproductive medicine at UCSD has-but I'm so mad at them for putting me through this nonetheless.

I'm frankly nervous about the beta increases, mostly because I've been spoilt from the last time- my first baby just LIT up the tests, and the early doubling increases were clear enough to catch even with the cheap sticks, even in a timeframe of 12 hours (!!) He was above the 95th percentile of the betabase results for any given day that we tested blood betas;Based on the earliest results (especially the increases) this little one is not like that, but I guess a detectable beta by day 10 is nothing to scoff at. I'll be honest- scary thoughts like chemical- or worse, ectopic are going through my head. I need to get the blood tests done- and the blood draws begin. More about what my perinatologist said in another post.

This should have been an utterly happy day for me- and I am kind of there now, but I'm pretty darned shaken.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Confessions of a POAS addict

Be warned- this is an orgy of TMI.

The 2ww has the potential to be biggest, most evil tease ever.  How many people out there have had 'symptoms' up the wazoo only to be visited by Aunt Flo in a few days? The last time I went through this, I  was perfectly fine till 3 days past ovulation, when I started feeling chills, nausea, sore boobs and quite a bit of CM. My symptoms were kind enough to work in concert, I'd poke at my chest to make sure it was till sore and the nausea would come up- bliss. If you ever catch a woman playing with her own chest- she is probably not a nut or a pervert, she is just in the 2ww. All of these 'symptoms' turned me into a gibbering google junkie and drove me to start testing from 5 DPO!! Nobody, not even Octumom, could have had a positive that early. Thankfully, I had purchased super cheap but good sticks off the internet which allowed me to indulge in my twice daily ritual with no dent in my walletBy the morning of the 10th day, I'd lost all hope but I still kept going only to be caught completely by surprise by a clear BFP that very evening.

This time- I have some of the 'symptoms' back- I've got the boobs that feel like they are going to burst out of their skin and Torquemada came back from hell just to create some very painful clamps for them, I've got the crazy and plentiful CM, I've even got the nausea. I'm missing the 'implantation' cramps, or atleast the biggest wave is due tomorrow and I'll be pretty darned unhappy if they don't show. I've been POASing exactly like the last time and nothing yet- its only 7DPO and I'm be terrified if I actually got a BFP this early.

I still know that despite all of this, its possible this cycle may not have worked. Its a very unusual one for me and clearly estrogen and progesterone are high and having  a party inside of me but that does not necessarily translate to pregnancy. If  its a BFN, it just translates to a very unusual cycle (not good, I like the fact that my reproductive system is normally as as predictable and efficient as a German-designed instrument), but what can ya do.

All I can say is, thank god for sensitive internet cheapies; I've got 50 of them in my bathroom and I'm going through them rapidly!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The usual 2WW madness

I''d forgotten how angst-ridden they are and how they turn you into a google junkie.  Everytime, the 'symptoms' you get are going to be different. This time there is something definately eyebrow- raising happening, and this is kind of gross, so if you are not a TTC veteran (which would make you utterly comfortable with discussions involving bodily fluids), stop reading now.

On 2 and 3 days DPO, I got tons of egg white cervical mucous (!!!).  Today, I used the clear-blue easy fertility monitor because I was curious about my estrogen levels, and it registered high fertility = high estrogen! I usually don't get much CM at this point, though in the last 2WW, it was decidedly more that usual and creamy, but not the egg-white kind and definitely not such abundant floods. One thing is for sure, my lining is probably approaching La-Z-Boy plushness given the floods of estrogen.  I'm slightly concerned that I have a cyst but I don't know how high your estrogen levels have to be before the doctors start looking for one. There is also the tantalizing observation floating through message boards that women who get pregnant can sometimes notice more fertile quality CM in the 2ww. Having found no scientific page stating the same, I think it just might be 2ww urban legend.

So I've googled the same query in about 15 different ways, posted the question about whether this is even normal on every message board I can find , asked my RE too, and have heard back from nobody, which of course whets my desire to know so much more. 

I recently told one of my friends about Plan B and the fact that I'd had an insemination that very morning. She is all seriousness turns to me and says, 'Doesn't that mean that you will find out in two days?' Bless her- wish she was right!

Saturday, October 9, 2010


I'm home early today and have nothing to do, so I decided to write a blog post. This stuff is addictive I tell you- soon I'll be one of those poeple who cannot shut up about themselves...ACK!!!!

The reason I'm home is I had a mucocele (trapped salivary gland in my mouth) cut off today. I now  have a lipful of stitches that stick out like whiskers, I look like Angelina Jolie gone wrong and I'm on a-don't-eat-anything-you-need-to-chew diet. So I had a ginormous glass of home-made creamy yogurt for lunch and dessert is going to be this---------->
In TTC-related news, I woke up this morning and my temps had not shot up like I was expecting them to. So I panic and fall back on the doctor's plan of going in for an ultrasound today to decide if I need a 2nd insemination.  Turns out I did ovulate yesterday, they could see the start of the corpus luteum.  As soon as the doctor and the nurse see the lining, they say in unison- 'beautiful!', but I  freak out a little when the doctor measures it at 8.5 mm instead of 9.. how could it have shrunk? They then assure paranoid little me that different operators can come up with different numbers (yesterday I had the head honcho and today I had the junior partner). But still, I was concerned that it had not grown between yesterday and today- I'm obsessed with size apparently. I want to be a 12, but I'm only 8.5-9. I wanted my follicle to be a 21, instead its only 17. Boo hoo.

As you could probably tell, I'm angry with myself- why the obsession with numbers and patterns, with all the resultant anxious overanalysing?? Why the wish to be 'perfect', especially when you cannot identify what are the factors that lead to successful creation of a baby in 9 months? This road may be long drawn and twisty, and if i don't just let go and let nature take whatever course its determined to, I'm going to end up in a self-created hell.

Its quite annoying when you can clearly identify all the issues with the way your brain and personality function, but cannot fix any of them. I'm trying though. Every time my idiot brain tries to come up with a new worry-inducing permutation and combination, I've been repeating to myself  'Let go and let god' like a mantra.
Lets hope it works.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

And its a green light!

My doctor looked at my insides this morning, and my lining was what he described as 'great' at just over 9 mm. Its also triple stripe. Since I've had a lining of 14 mm at 2 DPO in a similar cycle, I was initially not as enthusiastic, but I'm definitely bowing to his superior judgment. Also I'm not sure if the lining continues to thicken for the next few days- anybody know the answer to this one, holler!

Usually I've gotten the impression that my right ovary produces the dominant follicle. This time, its the left one in play with a 17 mm follicle.  The right had one at 14 mm.  So all of this looks adequate, even if developed under less than stellar conditions (by my usual standards).

The swimmers are thawing as we speak. I could not sleep last night when confronted with the enormity of what I am about to do.  I'm not half as afraid of a BFN as I am of going through another loss, this time because of a 'bad' egg.  As somebody pointed out, it is an utter fool's errand to try to micromanage this process, and waiting for that perfect cycle seems pointless because no matter what, you CANNOT accurately calculate the odds of something even the experts barely understand.

So, although I'm agnostic, I'm praying very hard as we speak!

UPDATE: The deed is done!  Let the egg pillage begin!  I feel so much more relaxed with things now once the die is cast.

Note: Lesson learned from comparing this insemination to the last- make sure your RE rewashed your sperm even if it is already 'IUI-ready'! The last time I was curled up in a fetal position cramping horribly after my IUI , and I suspected that was because the sperm still had trace amounts of semen components such as prostaglandins in them because my lazy ass RE did not bother rewashing. With my new RE, of course it was re-washed and I'm utterly comfortable. What a difference a good RE makes!

A less than perfect egg??

First, I have to apologize for this is a horribly technical post.

I can safely say that I'm very attuned to my cycles, so much so that I've recognized that they fall into one of two patterns (ovulation either on day 16 or day 20) based on my day 3 temperatures. Based on which pattern is in play, I will know  what day ovulation will happen, what day post-surge my temperature will rise, I can even somewhat predict what my BBT will be on any particular day, its that spookily accurate.

What is important for egg maturation? Well, lots and lots of estrogen. Now, in addition to charting temperatures and monitoring cervical mucous like the KGB, I also use the clear blue easy fertility monitor. Once you switch to high fertility, it means your estrogen levels have shot into the stratosphere.

So the point of this post is: I started my surge today, and based on a) cervical mucous and b) estrogen levels (from the clear blue easy fertility monitor) that this is a a cycle where I've had the least days of high fertility( ie high estrogen) ever.

If you compare this cycle to the last time I had this cycle pattern, I had 4 more days of high fertility + 2 days of peak fertility. In this one, I've gone directly to peak, and this is scaring the crap out of me.

I explained all of this to my nurse, who actually understood what I was talking about right away. So I asked to have an ultrasound tommorow to see how things look, and if that is good, ONLY then thaw the sperm. We put this plan to my RE and he agreed that it was the most sensible thing to do.

This is such a huge gamble. This has to be MY worst cycle, but if you compare it to the average woman's, its probably still decent. God only knows what determines egg quality, and how these things differ among different people.  I feel like a poker player going all in on a substandard hand, but its just too hard to wait any more.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Its such an insidious, irrational thing.  With my first try, I was afraid of nothing, I was normal.  I drank (about 10 days before insemination), I just started taking prenatals just a little before and I honestly don't think any of it made a difference. I just lived without fear, without analyzing every little action and that was invaluable.

I'm hopefully now only days away from my next insemination, and what a change there is.  I'm second guessing so many things.  Drinking is utterly out now though I don't honestly think a single drink would harm me at all.  It doesn't end there.  My friends are going to go sit in the hot tub this week; during the 2ww this is less advisable, but before?!?  Should be no issues, right?  Nonetheless, I am not going to do it just because there is the vague and ungrounded fear that it may hurt my chances in some way.  They are also going to get facials done this week.  I'm vetoing that one because I don't know what chemical gunk will be in the creams and treatments the person uses, and I'm certainly not going to make her provide a product list before. I turned down sushi because I'd be avoiding most seafood because of fears of mercury.  I'm just so sick of saying no to so many things, but cannot recapture the way I was before. If abstaining from these makes me sleep a little easier at night, then so be it.  But I'm also so annoyed with this irrationality.  Life is not meant to be lived in such a manner, and parenting is very uncomfortable if you are afraid of what might be lurking in every shadow. I wish there was something that somebody could say that could reassure me that all of these things are still ok- if you can, give it your best shot!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Versatile Blogger Award

S at Ticking Clock, Nell at Skatingontheedgeofmadness and The Baby Chase Project have kindly nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award.

S has a super-cool profession, she is a federal agent and is a young (like moi) SMC-in-the-making who writes a funny and engaging blog that has made me laugh out loud quite a few times. Nell is a very caring person who works as a teacher. She sounds like she is great with children, she would make a wonderful mother.  'The Baby Chase project' is a recent entry into the blogsphere.  This is written by a physician who has just begun her TTC journey as well. She sounds like a sensible and brave person and I love how scientific and matter of fact she is. All of these women are remarkable. It goes without saying that you have to be an utterly brave and determined person to set out on this path, at whatever age and whatever walk of life.

This award comes with certain rules

•thank and link back to the person nice enough to give you the award
•share seven things about yourself
•pass the award along to seven other bloggers who you think are fabulous
•contact the bloggers you chose and let them know about the award

And here go 7 utterly random facts about me.

1)I was an entirely sunny, happy and perfect baby (according to mommy), except at mealtimes where I was literally the world's most reluctant eater. Horror stories abound in that department and I'm praying its not a hereditary trait!

2)I'm a bookworm. I cut my teeth on Enid Blytons (the best children's books ever) at age 5 and I've read probably well over a 1000 books between then and now. Favorite Author- Diana Gabaldon!

3)I'm horribly stubborn. My mother's affectionate nickname for me was 'katte' in Tamil, which is my native tongue. This translates to 'donkey' :)

4)One side of my body is an entire inch shorter than the other.

5)I'm horribly klutzy at most sports, but get me in the water and I'm suddenly coordinated (pic of me snorkelling in the Maldives)

6)I've got a major sweet tooth. My favorite breakfast on a lazy Sunday morning is a quart of Haagen-dazs and my coffee most closely resembles sugar syrup.

7)I'm an anglophile, especially when it come to television. I love everything ever made by Masterpiece Theater. LOVE all the Jane Austen productions and think the best television ever produced was the Pride and Prejudice version with Colin Firth in the lead *sigh*

About which blogs to nominate, its really hard to pick just 7!  Everybody setting out on the path to be a parent immediately earns your admiration and all these women have gone though so much and are so supportive- I feel like every TTC blog I've ever read should be up here. But still, here goes.
1 The Pause
2 With all my heart
3 Missconceived
4 Chasing Rainbows
5 The Baby Chase Project
6 Single Mom to be
7 Single Infertile Female