Early Pregnancy Symptoms and Big Fat Positives
BFP on First Round of Injectables (With Only One Mature Follicle!)
I will start my post like everyone else: I have been lurking for months and have never posted on a board in my life, but I swore I would when I got a BFP! All of the stories on this website were invaluable in this frustrating and scary infertility process. I finally got my official BFP at 13 DPO, in my fourth IUI cycle (the first IUI using injectables). Before getting into my BFP cycle, here’s a little history—it was so helpful reading about similar cases when I was constantly googling around for “people like me” who had succeeded. I am 33, as is DH. I am healthy and in good shape. I have always had irregular cycles, definitely not true PCOS according to all indicators, but somewhere on the PCOS/hypothalamic amenorrhea spectrum (likely caused by the 30 miles a week I was running!) I went off BCP in May 2011. I didn’t get my period until July 2011 (65-day cycle). I then started acupuncture once a week. In August 2011, we didn’t start trying, but we weren’t preventing; unfortunately, we totally missed the next time I ovulated in late August (a 56-day cycle). We then started getting more serious with OPK’s, etc. in October so that we didn’t miss another one of my rare ovulations (I highly recommend Clear Blue digital OPK, the 20-pack for $30 on Amazon). I didn’t ovulate again until late November, and we timed it perfectly, but BFN. I then went to my OB/GYN in January 2012 for two monitored Clomid/timed intercourse cycles, before moving on to an RE in March 2012 and getting more serious. Below is a (long) summary of my 7 cycles of trying, with more specific details about the final cycle that worked.
Clomid/timed intercourse round 1: lowest dose of Clomid (50 mg) for 5 days, started mid-cycle with no withdrawal bleed first. Triggered a mature 20mm follicle on “day 10” with 6mm lining on trigger day. Timed intercourse (with Pre-Seed) day of trigger and next day: BFN.
Clomid/timed intercourse (disastrous) round 2: started 50mg of Clomid on CD2 for 5 days. No mature follicles at CD9 scan, so 100mg for 3 days; still nothing ready, so 150mg for 3 days. Finally ready to trigger an 18mm follicle (also had a 16mm) on CD 27! Lining killed by so much Clomid, only 3.8mm at trigger. Timed intercourse day of trigger and day after: BFN.
March 2012, on to the RE for all the testing! Discovered TSH level of 3 (needs to be under 2.5). Started 25mg of Levothyroxine every day to get thyroid under control (thereafter TSH was around 1-1.5 at the start of every subsequent cycle). Good day 3 FSH numbers (usually in the 5’s and 6’s on CD2 or 3). DH’s numbers all good except morphology, which was only 3% (4% is the lowest range of normal). Tubes clear in HSG, but discovered that I have an arcuate uterus (confirmed by MRI). Told arcuate (heart-shaped) is a normal variant. Of course, I worried about my uterus and DH’s morphology, despite RE saying not to worry!
First Femara/IUI cycle in April 2012: 5mg of Femara. 2 mature follicles (they were 27mm and 24mm right before my IUI) that ovulated on their own on CD14 or 15 without a trigger shot. 9mm lining on the day of IUI (no word if triple striped). Back-to-back IUI’s on the morning OPK turned positive (CD14) and morning after (CD15). 20m post-wash sperm count for first IUI and 10m post-wash for second IUI: BFN! As with all the IUI’s below, we also BD’ed the night of the IUI and the morning after.
Second Femara/IUI cycle in May 2012: 7.5mg of Femara. 2 mature follicles (20mm and 22mm right before my IUI) that ovulated on CD 16 on their own without a trigger shot. 6.5mm lining on the day of IUI (triple striped). One IUI day after OPK turned positive. A measly 3.9m sperm post-wash: BFN (obviously). *Here I learned that I should not BD every other day from CD10 until the day of the IUI (not sure why I decided to do so). I had depleted DH!*
At this point, I started incorporating my “eastern medicine tricks” into the routine. I changed acupuncturists and started going 2x a week (prior acupuncturist was kind of negative about western treatments and my chances b/c of my thinner lining. Goodbye, negativity!) Also started fertility yoga 1 time a week and doing the yoga “legs up against the wall” every night for 15 minutes (trying to direct blood flow to uterus for thicker lining). Occasionally had red raspberry leaf tea in follicular phase and ate a lot of strawberries for my lining (acupuncturist’s advice). I did more elliptical than my 3-mile jogs.
Third Femara/IUI cycle in June 2012: 7.5mg of Femara. 2 mature follicles that sprouted very quickly maybe b/c of the changes noted above. I had 20mm and 18mm follicles at my first scan on CD 10 and a 6mm triple-striped lining. I triggered w/ Ovidrel on the night of CD 11 and had one IUI on the morning of CD 13 (also BD’ed on CD 10). DH had his best sperm count yet: 23m. We BD’ed the night of IUI and morning and night after. BFN!! Heaviest period ever, though, so maybe all of the “eastern medicine tricks” above made my lining thicker (didn’t do a scan on the morning of the IUI so I don’t know).
Sick of BFN’s and hoping to make more than 2 follicles for a better chance = time for injectables! RE worried that I would over-stimulate b/c I always have a good amount of antral follicles at my baseline and was responding more quickly to Femara. I was put on the lowest dose of Menopur (75iu).
In addition to all of my “eastern medicine tricks” above, I started daily meditation. I bought the Circle and Bloom IUI and IVF Mind + Body program. I LOVED it (put it on my iPhone and listened to it 1-2 times a day, usually after work and at night before bed). It was worth the $70. I also kept telling myself that we had now been BD’ing unprotected for almost a year: I was ready to get preggers and my body could do it. That said, I was my usual negative self at many points during my BFP cycle, so, while you should be positive because I think the mind-body connection is real, don’t worry too much if a bad attitude creeps in—that’s natural b/c it’s very hard to be positive when doing infertility treatments!
1st Injecrable/IUI cycle in July 2012, which led to my BFP:
• CD2 – CD 5: One shot of 75iu of Menopur every night (learned that it helped to ice the injection site before giving myself the shot in the stomach).
• CD 6 follicle scan: one lead follicle of 13.5mm and 4 others in the 10-12 range (plus a ton of smaller ones less than 10mm).
• CD6 – CD 8: continued 75iu of Menopur every night.
• CD 8 follicle scan: lead follicle at 16mm and the others still 10-12; devastated that I am probably going to have only one mature follicle after all these shots. RE says it only takes one, but I don’t believe her (2 on Femara did nothing for me!) Lining at 6.3 and not triple stripe. BD for the first time of cycle (3.5 days before IUI).
• CD 9: last shot of 75iu of Menopur (8th and final night of shots).
• CD 10: It’s official, only one mature follicle that is 20mm (others are 10-13mm) and lining only 6.5 (but now triple-stripe). But the one follicle looked strong (E2 level of 265). For the first time, RE gives my Vivelle Dot patches to try to “fluff up” lining before IUI. I am to wear one patch, changed every other day, through my Beta test. Gave myself the Ovidrel shot that night on CD 10.
• CD 12: IUI, with DH’s best count yet of 24m (we had only BD’ed on the night of CD 8). Ultrasound right before IUI showed that estrogen patches had worked: 8mm lining (although RE indicated that it might still be 6.5mm in some parts of the lining, it was hard to tell with my full bladder; I, of course, worried and hoped my little embryo would try implanting in the 8mm part). The mature follicle was up to 25mm right before the IUI, and it looked like it had already started to ovulate (this was 36 hours after trigger). Lining was no longer triple stripe and there was a little follicular fluid in my ovary.
• BD’ed night of IUI on CD 12 and morning of CD 13. For the first time, I did not jog 3 miles 4-5 times in my TWW, I only did the elliptical (and I did it every day from 3DPO through my BFP for 45 minutes a day; I could make it to fertility yoga those weeks b/c of work). In addition to daily Circle and Bloom meditation, I ate pineapple core (cut a whole pineapple into 5 pieces, including core; ate one piece per day in a smoothie, starting the day of the IUI through 4 DPO). I also took a powder called Bao Chan Wu You Fang (1 tsp in a shot glass of water every night from 2DPO onward right before bed). I was nervous about this powder that my acupuncturist gave me, but, hey, I think it might have worked! I started progesterone suppositories (1 per day) from 1 DPO onward and continued Vivelle Dot patches every other day. TWW:
• 1-4DPO: nothing unusual, but crampy on and off (light, but more frequent than usual). I thought the added estrogen and progesterone supplements might have been to blame.
• 5 DPO: bbs very, very sore when I woke up. Thereafter it was just my nipples. But then again, I thought the estrogen/progesterone supplements might be to blame
• 5DPO-10DPO: nothing too unusual for a TWW (maybe even less than in failed cycles). I had light cramping here and there, as I always do before AF. I also had my usual joint pains that I get before AF (sore wrists, shins, hip joints, etc. on and off). The only unusual thing was my left thumb was really killing by 8DPO in additional to my wrists. Is it the supplements?
• 10 and 11DPO: both nights I felt a real pinching sensation, for about 15 minutes each time. Implantation? Or again just the supplements? On 11DPO, I had a tiny (size of a pea) bit of brown blood come out. OMG, is AF on her way early, despite the added progesterone? (I usually spot brownish blood 12 or 13DPO and then AF starts). That night I had to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night (strange for me).
• 12DPO: Light cramping here and there, joint pain here and there and feeling EXACTLY like AF is on her way. Nipples sore and sometimes bbs sore, but not always. Got a few more tiny specs of brown blood. Am convinced that AF is on her way, despite the progesterone supplements. Just in case, I took one of my digital Clearblue OPK tests around noon after drinking a huge water bottle. I assume it will be negative, but it was positive (what? Am I pregnant? I know you can use an OPK as a HPT).
• 13DPO took a FRER at 3:30am (during one of my now nightly trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night). I intended to wait until the morning, but I couldn’t resist. It was positive almost right away, though the pregnancy line was lighter than the control line.
• 14DPO took another FRER at 1:30am and the line was darker. That morning of 14DPO I had my first beta. It was 215! Beta’s on track from there. It’s still very early, but I hope it sticks. I am still on the Vivelle Dot estrogen patches (one patch, changed twice a week) and progesterone (one vaginal supplements per day). RE thinks I’ll be done with the estrogen and progesterone by week 9.
Thanks for reading about my year-long saga to my BFP! I hope this description will reassure someone in a similar circumstance—as all of your stories did for me!