life, love, and maybe babies

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Pregnancy Symptoms Post: AKA I Didn't Have Any

I like to believe I'm a smart gal when it comes to my body. After all, I've had it for 33 years. For example, I know that when a particular part of my hand starts to ache, I'm destined for a cold or stomach bug. When my big toe pops a lot, I'm super dehydrated. When my right side feels funky and twinges, ovulation is just around the corner.

With all of my expert knowledge surrounding my body and its weird signals, I was confident that when I finally became pregnant, I would KNOW it. After all, for 48+ months, I documented every cramp, hiccup, sore breast and frequent pee I experienced. And for 48+ months, no pregnancy resulted.

To me, the logical assumption was that the month when a BFP did finally appear, I'd already be well aware of it. I read countless articles online, I asked friends, I asked seemed everyone knew they were pregnant the second it happened. I would hear the stories and think, this is what will happen for me. 

But it didn't. Because it doesn't work that way for everyone. In the spirit of speaking up for those of us who didn't see any signs they were pregnant, here are my top "I knew I was preggers" stories that I call total and complete BS on. (And some of them aren't BS, but can be misleading for those of us who symptom spot every second of the day.) 

1) The Psychic:  Hell yes, I knew. I felt it happen, I swear to God. I was laying there after, ya know, we did it, and I just knew. I can't explain it. 

Why you may not have it: Sorry, Miss Cleo. You can't explain why you knew because you flat out didn't know. No one does. Besides, implantation (which is possible to feel) doesn't happen until several days past ovulation. What you felt was likely indigestion from the lasagna you ate. 

Could it still be a sign I'm pregnant? Doubtful. However, hindsight is 20/20. After getting that plus test, you look back and remember allllll the times you even remotely suspected that it finally happened. Maybe on the night you and your Hubs got sideways you did have a little extra twinge of hope. That's believable. But no, no one feels conception happen the moment the egg meets the sperm. So don't get discouraged if you didn't "feel it."

2) The Boob Whisperer: Oh, I knew because my boobs were KILLING ME. Like, I could not even put a shirt on. Seriously, if your boobs hurt, that's the number one sign. 

Why you may not have it: Okay, this one is legit up to a point. A lot of women feel tenderness in their tata's and their nipples. But here's the thing - so do women that are PMS'ing. In addition, for those of us that are taking progesterone and patches and injections, those medications can also cause breast tenderness. It can go either way. And also, some women experience no pain in their breasts. Mother Nature can be such a crafty little bee-otch.

Could it still be a sign I'm pregnant? Yes, of course it could. Looking back (remember that whole "hindsight is 20/20 thing"), my little ladies were more sore than my average period. But nothing that made me feel like I AM TOTES PREGNANT. So don't freak if your boobies are just averagely sore - you still might be getting a plus sign.

3. The Sleeping Beauty: Oh girl, I was so tired I couldn't even climb a flight of stairs without passing out. I just wanted to sleep, sleep, sleep, sleep. I'm usually so active and full of energy! So I totally knew when I was that exhausted.

Why you may not have it: Trying to get pregnant is an exhausting proposition in and of itself, especially if you've been trying for awhile. Feeling out of energy is a sign of stress and frustration just as much as PMS or pregnancy can be. 

Could it still be a sign I'm pregnant? Absolutely. If you are pregnant, your body is starting to go through some major changes and that can wear you down. But it isn't the same for every person. For me, I felt a little tired (again, looking back), but certainly not exhausted to the point where I could barely function. Don't wig out if you aren't falling asleep during your morning commute. 

4. The Happy Cramper: I had these weird cramps a few days after I ovulated. They felt kind of like a weird pulling in my stomach. Way different from cramps. I knew that was implantation happening.

Why you may not have it: Personal opinion? I think implantation cramps are impossible to decipher from PMS cramps. Trust me, I just went through it. Now yes, everyone is different, but you have to remember that every one of the people telling you these stories are those that are looking back after they've experienced it. A math test makes way more sense if you have the answers right in front of you, right? Yes, it's true that many women feel implantation. It's also true that many women don't. Unfortunately, there's no way of telling which camp you'll fall into.

Could it still be a sign I'm pregnant? Yup. And this is what I want to shout from the rooftops. Everyone is different. Some women feel cramps, some feel zilch. If every women could tell she was pregnant immediately, we wouldn't have amazingly awful shows like "I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant."

5. The Spotty McSpotterton: I had a little spotting a few days after ovulation. Just a little faint pink after I wiped. I knew it was implantation and I was pregnant!!!

Why you may not have it: Implantation spotting is a real thing. But it doesn't happen to everyone. I asked 10 friends who had experienced pregnancy if they ever spotted prior to a positive test. Two of them had. The other eight laughed at me.

Could it still be a sign I'm pregnant? Most definitely. Implantation spotting is a very tell tale sign that something is going on in there. However, that doesn't mean you should give up and throw yourself off a cliff if you don't experience it. Remember my 2 out of 10 friends. And myself! I never spotted. Not once. And I got a positive result.

The moral to this entire post should be glaringly obvious. Everyone experiences the days up to their positive pregnancy test differently. Think about how different all of us are. Tall, short, skinny, athletic, overweight, underweight, blonde, brunette - the list goes on. Do you really think we'll all feel the same effects when we get pregnant? No way.

As someone who relies on the internet to blog and connect, I don't want to discourage you from checking your symptoms against those on pregnancy threads. Just do it with the understanding that looking for symptoms that aren't there can be a real downer. Believe me, I experienced it. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I truly thought I would know when it happened because I assumed it would be so different from all the other failed months. But it wasn't. It was like any other month...except with a positive test at the end.

Even today, as I write this, I still have very few symptoms (let's hope I can keep that going for 8 more months). Could I be a weird case? Yeah, I could. But I think you'll find that a lot of people who had 'symptoms' of pregnancy didn't really realize that's what they were until after they found out they were pregnant.

So hang in there, my two week wait friend. Don't despair because your boobs aren't on fire or you aren't peeing every 38 seconds. If it's happening, it's happening and no amount of worrying is going to make it happen any faster. Hang tight and breathe in and out. You'll know soon enough and if you get a positive, we'll all be here cheering for you.

XOXO, friends!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Coming Up Positive: The Story of My (finally) Positive Pregnancy Test

You know that age old saying, that when you wait for something for so long and it finally arrives, you'll have a total brain meltdown and won't be able to function for a bit?

No? No one's heard that one? Probably because it only exists for weirdos like me.

I've waited four years to write this post. Four agonizing, emotional, stressful, infuriating years. I imagined in my head how the whole thing would go. I imagined that the road ending in a positive pregnancy test would be all rainbows and unicorns. Hubs and I would find out together, side by side, hands tightly clasped together. The words "you're pregnant" would come through the phone, sending us into a celebration that could only be described as a mix between joyous and beautiful, psychotic and sort of scary. And then I would hop onto my beloved blog and share my story in an endless stream of thought provoking and poignant poetry that would make even the most doubtful of infertile's alive with hope.

It totally didn't happen that way.

Here's what happened:

We had our 5 day transfer on January 6, 2015. It went by the book. All was well, and I totally made it through like a champ. Okay, that's not true. I actually cried a lot because I was completely freaking out that it wouldn't work. But then the doctor gave me this amazing thing called Valium and I got all sorts of okay. 

Anyhoos, it all went great. We took pictures of the embryo hatching (which I will save for just us because...I don't know, it feels weird to post it). We left shortly after and went straight back to our hotel, proceeding to live out the next two ordered days of bed rest by watching two straight seasons of Game of Thrones.

(If this baby comes out with a weirdo English accent and a sword, we know who to blame.)

During the bed rest, I didn't feel any different. I thought I might feel some tugging or something but no...not a thing. Subsequently, after we returned home, I also felt nothing (remember this post?) and started to worry that it didn't work.

And I mean, I really worried. I just knew it didn't take.

I couldn't concentrate at work. I couldn't sleep. One reason I was so sure was because I KNOW MY BODY, DAMMIT. And I felt no different than any other time before. In fact, I was so sure of our imminent IVF failure that I brazenly told Hubs that if the result turned out to be positive, I would declare that from that day forth, I would leave all decisions concerning my own health to be decided by him and him alone because I was a cotton headed ninny-muggins.

He accepted the terms really quickly.

So, despite all my lovely Twitter friends and blog buddies assuring me that all would be well, I continued to be a Debbie Downer. The Thursday morning of the blood test arrived and I headed to the doc. As the nurse took my blood she said, "Today's the big day, eh? I hope I see you here in a few more days to test your HCG levels again!" I wanted to take the blood draw needle and shove it in her eye.

I left the doc's office still feeling dejected and pissed off. The nurse would send my results to my doc in Colorado, and then Colorado would be calling me sometime between 1:00 and 5:00 with my surely negative results. Whatevs.

Then something happened. At around 1:15, I got a weird twinge in my gut that I'd never felt before. Also, I had a spell of tiredness that had me considering pulling into a Wal-Mart parking lot to take a quick nap. What was this??? I'd heard that these could be early signs of pregnancy. But couldn't they also be PMS? Surely they were PMS, because I wasn't pregnant. I knew deep down in the catacombs of my vagina that no baby was being made in my womb. 

But a teeny, tiny ray of hope began to break through my gloomy outlook. Maybe the blood results had a small change of being positive after all.

The rest of the day passed and soon it was 4:45. Hubs and I were at my stepdaughter's basketball game when I heard the special ring of Colorado on my phone. This was it. We were about to find out. Hubs and I ran out to the lobby of the middle school gym to take the call.

Bad reception.

The nurse said something I couldn't understand. I ran out into the parking lot and, out of breath, asked her to repeat herself.

" we'll need soon as possible."

Feckety feck feck feck. I knew it. Negative. I asked her to please repeat the last part so I could know what to do next.

"I'm so sorry, Kim, but we still don't have the results from your local doctor yet. So we'll need to get the results faxed over from them as soon as possible. It's almost 5:00 your time, so if you can get them sent in the next 15 minutes, that'd be great."

A-ha! I was down, but not out. I speed dialed my local doc and got no answer. They tend not to check their voicemail after 4:30, so I knew I was in for a long night of waiting. Awesome.

That night crawled by. Hubs said no news was good news at this point, while I proceeded to make up a load of insane-crazy scenarios as to why the results hadn't arrived in Colorado. I'll spare you the crazy for another day.

It was a sleepless night.

The following morning, Hubs kissed me goodbye as he left for work. He reminded me to a) think positive and b) remember to conference him into the phone call when Colorado called with the results so we could hear together. That way, if the test was negative, we had each other to get through it.

I won't lie, I really thought about going to my bathroom vanity and pulling out the last pregnancy test I had and pee on it before anyone called. But I restrained myself.

At around 8:15, I figured it was safe to take a shower. It was still 7:15 in Colorado, and the clinic wasn't open yet for them to call. I hopped into the shower and got all shampooey, trying to wash the negative vibes away. And then the phone rang. 

I didn't even rinse the shampoo out of my hair. I just turned off the water, got out of the shower and grabbed my phone, water and suds dripping off of my completely nekkid body. I looked at the caller ID. It was my local clinic, where I had the blood draw. WTF? Why were they calling? I decided it must be to tell me they had just faxed the results over to Colorado.

"Hello?" I said, a stream of shampoo sliding into my mouth. Mmmm. Soapy.

"Hi, Kim, this is Mel over at the clinic and I'm just calling to tell you that your positive test has been sent over to your Colorado clinic. Your HCG levels were 225 and look great and..."

I have no real recollection of idea what she was even saying. I couldn't think. I couldn't process. Did she say positive?

"Wait, I...uh," I stammered, gripping the phone with a Kung Fu grip so I wouldn't dare drop it.  "I just, uh, sounded like you said my test was positive. Is that...I mean, did I hear you right?"

"Yes!" Mel said joyously, completely unaware she'd just changed my life with one word. "Congratulations! Your Colorado doctor will likely want to order you another blood test on Monday to make sure the levels are doubling, so we'll wait to hear from them. So we'll talk soon! Congrats again. Bye bye!"

I remember as I heard the line go dead, I raised my eyes to see myself standing there in my bathroom, soaking wet and naked as the day I was born. I took a deep breath and said aloud the words that were streaming across my brain like a sports ticker. "I'm pregnant." At that moment, all the energy left my body and I shriveled into a ball on the floor. Huge, gulping sobs of relief and emotion and disbelief came pouring out of me in a way I can't quite describe, even now. I have to think I went quite insane for a moment because I was so happy and yet sad and yet scared and confused. My body wasn't really sure what to do with itself. 

I had done it. I had endured painful tests, inquisitive friends, needle after needle, medication after medication, negative pregnancy tests, low bank accounts, low estrogen counts, high estrogen counts, high follicle counts, potential OHHS, delays, more delays, airplane flights, bad hotel food, arguments, make-ups, deaths in the family, births in the family...and it all led to here. For me and Hubs, our time was no longer "someday", out there in nowhere land. It was finally here.

Moments later, my hands trembling, I called Hubs at work. When I heard his voice, I could barely even speak. Later he would tell me he thought the news was bad because I was crying so hard. Ultimately he heard through my incoherent blubber that we were pregnant and just said softly, "I knew it, babe."  Yes, we were both disappointed that we weren't able to hear the call together as we'd planned, but infertility has done a great job of reminding us what happens when you attempt to plan any part of life.

After I finished my shower, the jaded part of me was still in a state of disbelief, and I decided a home pregnancy test was the only way to be sure I hadn't just dreamed this whole phone/shower scenario. I drank about a gallon of water and waited until I was sure I had to pee. I went to my bathroom vanity and dug through the maze of tampons and panty liners, looking for the one pregnancy test I knew I had left. Where the hell was it? I had it RIGHT HERE. And then I remembered. I actually didn't have any left. I used the last one on purpose last month so I wouldn't be tempted to test after the transfer.

Mother eff.

I hopped in my car with water dripping down my back and drove to the grocery store. I bought two pregnancy tests and some dog food (I can't neglect my current babies, right?) and headed home as fast as I could. The test took less than 30 seconds to display the result.

   Clear Blue don't lie, honey.

So there it is, bloggies. In living color. I am pregnant. After four years of stopping and starting, giving up and and then gearing up, crying hard and then crying harder, it has all come to this. On or around September 24th, I will (God/Buddah/Allah/Tom Cruise willing) become a mother.

I realize how lucky I am. There are so many infertile's in this world that are on their 3rd, 4th, maybe even 5th IVF cycle. There are women who have had multiple miscarriages or invasive and painful surgeries to even have the hope that they can carry a child. There are those who won't ever have the financial ability to even attempt infertility treatments. I am a very fortunate gal and I am thankful all the way to my friends and family for their support in getting me to this point.

For now, I am happier than I have ever been, and I think I have to let that soak in. Relish it. As I tell my friends, I am happy with a small helping of cautiousness on the side. I know this is just the beginning of a very long journey. It could all end tomorrow. After all, I've never been pregnant before, and statistically, miscarriage is always a possibility. But if the two week wait taught me anything, it taught me that when it comes to this pregnancy stuff...I really don't know jack.

And yes, Hubs was quick to remind me that he gets to make all medical decisions for me going forward and I am, indeed, the most cottonest of the cotton headed ninny-muggins. 

And he'll never let me forget it, either.


Monday, January 12, 2015

Hurry up and wait...

The transfer is done, and it went well. And now we wait. In fairness, I knew the two week wait was going to be hard. 

I had no idea it would be this hard.

I've been through this twice before with IUI. You go in, you do the thing, you leave and you wait. And wait. And wait some more. The two week wait inevitably comes complete with a massive uptick in Facebook pregnancy announcements and pregnancy test commercials promising a positive result "6 days sooner!" 

With IUI, I felt the stress a little less. Yes, I looked into my symptoms more than I should have. But somehow I knew it wasn't going to work and that was okay. We could always move onto IVF.

IVF is different. Financially it's stressful, sure, but it's everything else. The emotional toll of it. The medication and injections. The mood swings. The uncertainty. But more than anything else, the unavoidable realization that this is the end of the road. If IVF doesn't work, where do we go from there? There's no "next step", other than to just try, try again.

(And if I had Kim Kardashians bank account, trying again and again would be the obvious choice.)

When we had our transfer last Tuesday, I felt so, so hopeful. We saw the embryo hatch and everything went beautifully. (PS, peeing in a bed pan is THE WORST.) The Valium was a huge help in calming me and my stressed out uterus. Hubs was amazing during the next two days of bed rest, keeping me calm and in the damn bed when all I wanted to do was get out and go shopping.

(Denver has amazing shopping, ya'll.)

After the two days passed and we returned home, I immediately broke the cardinal rule of the two week wait. I started Googling pregnancy symptoms and when I was supposed to experience them. Technically, because we did a 5 day transfer, I only have to wait for 9 days before testing, so not even a full two weeks.

According to Google and 257 complete strangers, I should have started exhibiting symptoms on Friday or Saturday at latest.

And I have nothing.

Not a peep. Not a twinge.

(Well, that's not true. On 2 days past transfer, I woke up with what felt like the beginning of my period-type cramps. Discouraging.)

Hubs tells me I'm being too negative. And trust me, I know I am. I know that staying positive is important and your body can sense when you're being less than optimistic. I know the power of positive thinking. But, at the same time, I just can't help it.


As my doctor said once, the good news is I have 14 amazing embryos to pick from. Hubs swimmers are great. My uterine lining is fantastic. I'm young (ish), healthy and I have a fantastic set of boobs.

(He didn't say that, but I feel it necessary to list among the positives.)

The bad news is...the doc doesn't have a clue as to why I haven't gotten pregnant yet. Which begs the question, if IVF doesn't work, what's wrong that's preventing it?

My fear is that we will have exhausted all the possibilities of what to fix and will be left with just a big question: why can't I get pregnant?

I know, I know. I'm so far down a road that hasn't even been built yet. But it's impossible not to go down. 

Especially because I feel NOTHING.

Two of my very good friends are less than 14 weeks pregnant and they both shared with me that their number one symptom was feeling exhausted. But I'm not exhausted. I'm not even kind of tired. I feel great and completely normal and I will be 7 days past 5 day transfer tomorrow.

Needless to say, I'm anxiously awaiting Thursday so I can have my blood draw and find out for sure. At least then the waiting and the torture will be over and we can decide our next steps, whether that be preparing for a baby or preparing to try again.

I'll keep you all posted. If I haven't had a heart attack before then.


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