Early Pregnancy Symptoms and Big Fat Positives
BFP after 8 months!
I am a 34 year woman in a same sex marriage and we've been TTC since December. My insurance only covers interventions after 6 attempts and each attempt only is counted as valid by insurance if it's done in the clinic by a doctor, which means it has to use sperm purchased from an FDA compliant sperm bank (read: $$$). We're very lucky to live near the largest LGBT health center in the world and have access to a great AI clinic there. We initially purchased 4 vials of sperm from our first choice of donor in December for about $4k, and proceeded with unmedicated, unmonitored IUIs. I tend to ovulate CD10-12 and my acupuncturist was certain this was the problem. This cycle I ovulated on CD10 and was successful!
After 4 unsuccessful rounds (trying acupunture, maca, red raspberry, pineapple, etc) we couldn't bring ourselves to spend more on frozen donor semen when the success rate is so low. At that point we switched to home inseminations with a known donor which was an intense and well-researched decision made only after talking with several attorneys, doctors, and parents who used known donors, not to mention soul searching. At this point I also saw an RE and had an initial screen - everything came back normal. After our first unsuccessful cycle with the known donor, she started me in crinone and letrozole (femara) although it was too late to start femara for the second known-donor cycle. Three cycles of home inseminations were unsuccessful and we realized that since I am an assistant principal, we should get back to IUIs so that we could qualify for IVF and then do egg retrieval during summer vacation rather than in the chaos of my September back-to-school schedule. SO...we moved on to a MUCH cheaper sperm bank and purchased the last two vials of a donor who seemed fine but who we did MUCH, MUCH less reading about than we had done before (we drove ourselves insane over the decision at first and this time truly just went with our gut).
It truly could not have been a more awkward timeline: Our IUI was 90 minutes after my school ended for the summer, and it is next to Fenway Park where there was a game that day, so traffic was insane and parking was impossible. I took an uber from my school to the clinic and of course, a parent of one of my students was my driver, and she couldn't understand why I wasn't going out to celebrate the end of the year with my colleagues. I made up a story about squeezing in a dr appt before a trip, etc. 48 hours after the IUI was our wedding reception (we eloped a while ago but held a party for our families) for which our primary vendor no-showed making us find table rentals 4 hours before the party, and about 24 hours after the IUI SCOTUS validated marriage equality nationally. Needless to say it was stressful, emotional, and overall a wild ride for about 72 hours afterward. This was our first cycle after giving up on acupuncture, stopping a lot of the herbs and supplements, and generally not abiding by most of the TTC "shoulds" and recommendations. 6DPO/IUI we left for our honeymoon in Italy...the rest I'll explain daily:
CD3-7 Took 2.5 mg Letrozole
0DPO - IUI was stressful, we had family arriving in the evening and were short on time, the doctor was running an hour late, etc. She recommended using a heating pad on my abdomen before the procedure "to get things going" - this had never been recommended before but we thought "why not?" and did it. After the IUI I had intense cramping - I'd never had even the slightest cramping before and this was really strong and painful. We got stuck in Red Sox traffic after and barely made it home in time to greet the family that was arriving.
1DPO - Temp increased to my coverline, so symptoms. SCOTUS ruling came that afternoon, we had a lot to celebrate, including that my partner won't have to adopt our own child now!
2DPO - Wedding reception day, vendor no showed, extremely stressful, no symptoms, temp up higher, started crinone. Pulled something in my hip while dancing, hard to walk by the end of the night
3DPO - Temp up higher again, had intense O pain. Hip pain from the night before is excruciating, stairs are almost impossible. I have a history of lower back problems and it's often bad during PMS but this was strange, and much earlier than normal.
4DPO - No show vendor says she'll only refund 25% of our money, high stress day. Temp back down closer to cover line, I assume the stress has made this cycle an obvious failure.
5DPO - Temp back up again, a little broken out, no major symptoms. Had a very stiff neck.
6DPO - Napped twice, couldn't seem to wake up. Constipated. At midnight we boarded our LONG flight to Italy (we flew to Istanbul and had a 6 hour layover and then flew on to Rome). My partner regretted taking the aisle seat as I got up to pee a lot and at one point hastily climbed over her in a rush to get to the bathroom feeling like I was about to throw up, but I didn't. During the flight and layover I was able to nod off at any moment I was sitting still which is very unlike me.
7DPO - Travel day, very sleepy. Constipation gone, diarrhea instead.
8DPO- Didn't temp. Hip pain was intense. Stiff neck feels better. Diarrhea.
9DPO - We went to the beach and I had a ton of watery discharge and temp was back down near cover line, in hindsight I think this could have been implementation. Got extremely winded while climbing ten zillion stairs in Positano. Diarrhea.
10DPO - Temp below coverline, totally confused. Long drive this day, no symptoms.
11DPO - O pain, hip pain, breasts are tender
12DPO - Flew back to Rome from Sicily, a long day. No symptoms.
13DPO- Saw a bit of brown spotting mixed in with crinone, which happened with each failed cycle, so I assume I'll stop crinone the next day.
14DPO - Tested with FMU only thinking it was to justify stopping crinone, marked "negative pregnancy test" in my app out of habit. I went to the kitchen of our little studio in Rome and made us cuppuccini and felt some watery discharge (sorry, TMI) so I ran back to the bathroom and was utterly shocked to see a faint second line on the test. I swore really loudly and spent the rest of the day googling "false positive pregnancy test" because I just couldn't believe it. We pulled a Bridget Jones and bought another pregnancy test from a pharmacy in Rome with the help of a lot of hilarious gesturing.
15DPO - Tested with FMU with two different tests, both positive and darker. Nipples became very sore, developed a rash called "golfer's vasculitis" on my ankles from stomping around Rome in a heatwave.
16DPO - Nipples sore, overall tired and thirsty, but we were out walking all over Rome in 95 degree weather. O pain is returning.
17DPO - Very emotional on flight home, certain there was a terrorist on our flight since a man had refused to gate check the tons of luggage he had on board and was wearing a huge Canada Goose down jacket in 95 degree weather and he ran away from the airline staff, wept and wept that they weren't taking him off the flight and that we were clearly all going to die (I know, crazy). Also totally nauseated by the smell of airplane food (more than it is usually nauseating).
18DPO - HPT with FMU positive again, went in for BETA first thing in the am and got results (568) in the afternoon. Also had TSH checked since it had been borderline before, it was elevated so I am starting medication for that. Jet lagged and exhausted, nipples still sore. Some foods turned me off but no real nausea. Felt a little spacey and dizzy, and generally feel like my brain won't come out of vacation mode, I can't spell and seem really out of it, generally I am sharp as a tack and ten steps ahead of the game. Went to bed at 7pm and slept until 6 am.
What was different this cycle:
2nd cycle of letrozole, 2.5 mg CD3-7
3rd cycle on crinone
Used a new donor
Ate (and drank) a lot more then I usually do (I'm 5'2" and tend to eat like a bird to avoid weight gain since I'm so short and small)
Symptom-wise, truly this was as typical a cycle as all the failed ones were. Each cycle we'd symptom spot and hyper-analyze, and this cycle was not remarkable or symptomatically more different that any other cycle had been. My last cycle the crinone made me extremely constipated for about a week which of course I though meant I was pregnant, this time after a day of constipation diarrhea kicked in, which I knew could be a sign of pregnancy but I chalked it up to travel, different water and food, etc. This was the only IUI that cause pain and cramping afterward, I have no idea if that is significant, but I assumed it was not auspicious at the time.
The most significant things this cycle were, I think:
1- my work schedule ending (I wake at 5 and work from 7 until somewhere between 4 and 9 pm depending on the day), school was over the day of the IUI this time.
2- travel, rest and being unconcerned with day to day things, including temping and supplements, etc.
3- eating a lot
I basically did everything wrong this cycle, I drank a lot of wine, had more coffee than usual, ate a ton of prosciutto and salami and strange cheeses, I didn't temp, didn't drink as much water as I should have, walked for hours and hours in extreme heat and humidity, drove for ten hour stretches on crazy Italian highways and the hair-raising Amalfi Drive... basically I just enjoyed life to the extreme. So we had a little stowaway on our trip! I am cautiously hopeful that with the crinone and thyroid medication I'm adding today that this will stick and remain a healthy, long pregnancy! Of all the amazing photos we took, the ones of the positive tests are the ones I've stared at the longest.