Early Pregnancy Symptoms and Big Fat Positives
BFP with hydrosalpinx and severe OHSS
I’m writing this as living proof that there is hope for all of us to get pregnant, as impossible as it may seem. Hopefully, my story will give you ladies a bit of light and positivity.
Warning: Extremely long post incoming!
DH and I have been trying to get preggers for 5 years. We have gone to 4 gynaecologists, and none of them ever suggested a full set of tests to make sure we don’t have any issues. Instead, they tried all the different kinds of drugs including 9 months of clomid which really ruined my mental and physical state of my body. We didn’t know better then, and even turned to fortune telling, religion, traditional chinese medicine, everything that gave us a bit of hope.
We didn’t know what was the issue but the BFNs every month was really getting to me. I honestly thought that I’m one of those women that could never get a BFP on a HPT, and can only rely on blood tests, which I have done on several occasions and obviously it led to a sad BFN.
Finally, we tried IUI. DH and I took leave and everything just for the procedure, and at the procedure table, the doctor could not get the catheter through my cervix and told me I have a pin-hole cervix, so it wasn’t successful at all. But I found out later from my IVF journey that I actually don’t have a pin-hole cervix and that the gynae previously just doesn’t have the skill.
That was the last straw for us. We went on a trip to Europe and took a break. When we got back, I told DH that we should go to a specialist. He agreed and on our very first appointment with the director of IVF at a local public hospital, we got an array of tests that we were supposed to do before seeing her again to be able to discuss next steps.
That’s when we found out that I have a moderate hydrosalpinx in my left tube. I was devastated when the doctor told us that IVF is the only way.
I have always blamed my stress for all the BFNs we’ve had and I thought of quitting my job to focus on getting pregnant. But thank God that I have the most amazing boss and she let me take sporadic breaks with no specific dates.
So we went on the waiting list for our first IVF treatment. Waited for 3 months and it finally came.
I honestly feel that IVF is an incredible act of love as we signed up for pain to have a bit of chance that normal people already possess to get pregnant. In our case, hydrosalpinx lowers that chance further by about 50%.
Alas, the stims started. Daily painful injections where the liquid stings as it entered. Tapered needles where the tip of the needle is slightly curved, like a torture tool. I’m sure DH felt the pain as he administered them for me. And then there were the painful blood tests.
One thing about me is that I am extremely terrified of needles and my threshold of pain is almost sub zero but this journey has forced me to push many boundaries. In my mind, I kept thinking of the child that we are going to have and I just bit down and overcome them one by one. I am seriously amazed at my progression.
Then the egg retrieval day came. I was already bloating horribly from all the stims but no one told me what was really going to happen. They told me that I’d feel uncomfortable, and that I will have slight bloating and nausea but it will go away.
This is true for the ladies that went for the same procedure after me. When I woke up from the anaesthesia, I could not move and the pain from my ovaries was super intense. 4 ladies who got wheeled out after me had changed and walked out of the recovery area, as if nothing happened. 2 hours passed and I still could not get up and the nurses would not release me until I have passed urine, which was extremely painful.
That was when the nurse told me that they have extracted 26 eggs from me and that I might need to take this really expensive medication to prevent OHSS from happening as I am at high risk for it. OHSS is Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome. I didn’t think that this OHSS is anything that bad but now that I am in the midst of severe OHSS, I do not wish my worst enemy to get it. It is seriously nothing I have ever encountered.
Eventually, I did pass urine after forcing myself to drink a few cups of milo and I have never felt this level of achievement from such a simple task.
From this point on, the real nightmare started. I could not sleep lying down flat on my back or on my sides because it caused excruciating pain. I have to sleep sitting upright. My back was hunched when I tried to walk. Well, I wouldn’t call it walking. My belly looked like it was 5 months pregnant. Just drinking or eating a little makes me feel really full and tight and my lungs felt like there are at my throat. I was severely constipated and I could not even try as a little pressure down there caused pain. I also could not sleep well at night due to being so uncomfortable. I have gotten OHSS and I didn’t know then.
I called the hospital and the nurses said as long as I can eat, I am fine, so I didn’t think anything of it and just took all these suffering in. I mean, if it is normal, there’s nothing I can do right? This mindset has kept me going.
But my condition deteriorated, and I had a feeling the embryo transfer is going to be postponed to the next cycle. We both thought that no way we can go ahead with it as I am in constant pain.
On the day of the embryo transfer, they made me take a blood test to check if I have OHSS (which is actually just to check if my blood is thick or thin). The results were normal and the doctor went ahead with the transfer. We were shocked but the doctor said I don’t have OHSS based on the blood test.
And so we went ahead with it. It was a magical moment despite the excruciating pain as my ovaries are still painfully large. A simple painless procedure was horrible to me. But as we saw the little bean in my cervix, we just felt this overwhelming feeling of love. I had teary eyes and felt really happy.
They gave us a photo of our little bean too and I was staring at it on the way home, gleaming. I felt that no pain could fight my love and determination to have a healthy sticky bean.
The next few days was okay, just the normal extreme bloating that never went away, constipation, sleepless nights but nothing worse. But things started going downhill after.
My tummy felt like it was going to explode, and then one night, I had this really severe nausea and vomitting. Now come to think of it, I think this is called the “OHSS late onset”, usually happens when the embryo implants. I could not sleep the whole night and literally felt like dying was much easier. The next day, DH brought me to the hospital and they admitted me for 2 days as I’ve got mild OHSS.
They monitored my fluid intake and output and released me 2 days later because as much as they didn’t do anything, I felt like there is no need to be in the hospital and that I could monitor it at home.
So everything didn’t get worse until 5 days later. I started to have difficulty in breathing and it was really tight in the chest. My stomach was seriously going to explode. We went back to the hospital again and this time, they diagnosed me as severe OHSS and scheduled me for a paracentesis. Unlike a lot of the ladies here who did it vaginally, they left a tap in my stomach and drained 1.8 litres daily so that there isn’t a drastic change which could lead to other stuff. My blood was also very thick and they gave me this painful blood thinner injection everyday.
I was in the hospital for a week. They put me in IV drip because I wasn’t drinking or eating much. I have this severe nausea that stopped anything from going into my body. My veins collapsed a few times as the IV caused the hand and vein to bloat up and they kept switching hands till ran out of places to poke and eventually went for the vein at my wrist joint.
At this point, I already resigned to fate. But having OHSS did give me hope that I might just be pregnant as it is usually a good indicator that I am producing HCG.
And I was right. My beta was 74 and I wasn’t due for my blood test until a week later, which it rose up to 644 on blood test day. I was over the moon and felt that all these suffering are nothing as compared to being blessed with a miracle.
On the day on my discharge, my belly has gone down to looking like 4 months pregnant but the fluid has gone to other body parts like my lower back, my thighs, my calves, ankles, feet, left arm and my labia. Yes, my labia. It was horrible and I look like a deformed marshmallow man right out of a horror movie. Those areas are painfully enlarged and I had to be wheeled out of the hospital and into the carpark. The journey of walking from our carpark right up to the lift and up to our house took a really long time. I was hunched back, walking in small slow steps and each step hurt.
Once we got home and I went for a shower was when it hit me. I looked at myself in the mirror and I broke down. I look like a monster. DH came in and hugged me and said that he still love me the same and that we will go through this together. And that we are pregnant. And then I remembered that I’m pregnant. It made things alot easier.
So now I’m almost 6 weeks pregnant, still looking like a monster, still feeling horrible, still unable to walk normally and sleep normally. But if you’d ask me if I will choose to go through these again, I definitely will.
My first fetal scan will be on the 5th of August. My doctor did specifically lowered my stims to avoid OHSS and she insisted on only transferring one day-4 blastocyst so she is quite shocked that I got severe OHSS in the end and suspects that maybe the embryo split into two! But in any case I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a little sticky bean (or two).
So all in all, I think we are extremely blessed with a miracle since I am still a high risk pregnancy with a moderate hydrosalpinx that could still possibly harm the little bean.
As much as it isn’t easy with the severe OHSS that might just last the whole of first trimester, or even up till 5 months (read online about this lady who recovered only after 5 months), we didn’t expect to get pregnant on the first try.
So ladies with hydrosalpinx, don’t give up! The doctor insisted that we go through a round of IVF without doing anything to the hydrosalpinx as there are mixed studies that clipping the tube might or might not be a good solution so don’t give up hope!
I do apologise for this long post but hope that it will help someone! Baby dust to all!