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Early Pregnancy Symptoms and Big Fat Positives

First BPF ever at age 40 thanks to IVF-FET

Hi everyone! Some of you may know me already. I'm Adventurer from the TTC boards. I started my journey a little over a year ago when I had just turned 39. I had never been pregnant (but also never tried). Since I met my DF later in life, we decided to go straight to a fertility clinic to get (me) checked out due to my age. It's a good thing I did because my first AMH done to assess ovarian reserve put me in the low fertility category (not that I was that surprised given my age). It was 12.7 pmol/L (in Canadian units) and 1.8 pg/ml (in American units). I had a total of 7 antral follicles, 4 on my right ovary and 3 on my left ovary. My initial FSH was 8.3 so in normal range. My day 3 LH and other tests were within normal except for my TSH which was a bit high at 5.43 so my RE put me on a very low dose of thyroid supplementation which corrected me to between 1.0-2.0. DF's SA was normal with 5% normal morphology (greater than 4% is considered fine). In the interests of time and maximizing chances, we decided to proceed straight to IVF.

Since my SHG revealed a polyp, I underwent a hysterscopic polypectomy. My RE insisted we wait 2 months before doing IVF so we did an IUI with few expectations since this is not the way to manage a 39 year old with slightly diminished ovarian reserve! But we thought, what the heck - you never know. Well, it turned out as expected - BFN. So on to IVF.

IVF Cycle #1 for a freeze all was in February of this year and the results were ok. FSH had climbed to 11.1 which is borderline high meaning I was edging towards premenopause faster than initially believed. On an antagonist protocol with 225 units Gonal F and 75 units Menopur, we got 7 eggs retrieved, 5 fertilized by ICSI and 4 blasts which were biopsied for PGS and were a disaster because we only got results on one out of 4! The one was abnormal. What a waste of $$ but I will not discuss this part further.

IVF Cycle #2 was in April and by this time I had been on vitamins and supplements including DHEA, ubiquinol, vit B6, vit D, vit E and royal jelly for at least a month. Plus, in mid March I began doing weekly acupuncture for the first time and starting drinking Chinese medicinal tea. I swear the acupuncture made a difference because my antral follicle count for April cycle was 16 (8 on right and 8 on left)!!! I couldn't believe it. Again on antagonist protocol (this time I insisted on starting Cetrotide on same day as stims even knowing it may slow growth) using 300 units Gonal F and 37.5 units Menopur, we got 19 eggs, 16 mature, 13 fertilized and 5 blasts for freezing. No transfer. We did not opt for the PGS this time.

IVF cycle #3 was in June and AFC count was 12 (6 on both sides). I had asked for my AMH to be repeated fearing that 2 IVF cycles would have depleted my egg supply but to my astonishment it came back in the normal range, almost double my initial AMH: 23.4 pmol/L or 3.3 ng/ml!! I almost entirely credit this to acupuncture but that's just my feeling. I'm sure the vitamins and supplements helped too, particularly vit. D. On the same protocol as in April, we got 16 eggs, 14 mature, 10 fertilized and 4 blasts frozen. No transfer again. They triggered me a day too late and I lost at least 2 of my leader follies (those eggs degenerated).

By this time, my plan was to do 4 IVF cycles and then start transferring and then saying that's all she wrote. For our last IVF cycle, we decided to try Dr. Sher's agonist/antagonist conversion protocol despite my decent AMH and after consultation with him, he agreed. So in August, we flew to Las Vegas for a couple weeks to do this protocol. Most of the stims were done at home and then we flew to Vegas for stim day 8. I couldn't believe the response (and the lack of monitoring - they didn't even do FSH, LH, progesterone at ANY time during the cycle!). Unlike my local clinic, Dr. Sher saw me at day 9 stims and I was told I would not need any more monitoring and that I would be triggering the day after!? This approach was completely new to me. Anyhow, I kept the faith and did exactly what I was told. I became a believer when I was promptly awoken out of anesthesia when I heard that I got 33 eggs!!! Wha???? 25 mature??? (2 more matured in the dish) 22 fertilized with ICSI and we got a whopping 12 blasts! I was in disbelief. Well at day 5 we transferred 2 grade 2 blastocysts (according to Dr. Sher's clinic, grade 1 and grade 2 blasts have the same pregnancy rate. Anyhow, that cycle turned out negative as both my betas were <1. I was disappointed but buoyed by the fact that I had an unbelievable 10 snowbabies and this time we could do PGS with a RELIABLE LAB which was experienced during PGS biopsies. Please note that this is KEY. We did something called metaphase comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) which is different than the array CGH which is much more common. Our biopsies had to be sent to urky and we waited a month for results. But it was worth it because we got 5 normals! Err, one was transferred during the August cycle and it did absolutely nada but at least we had 4 left! I was over the moon but terrified still knowing that our normal embryo failed to implant.

Fast forward to November when I returned to Vegas for my frozen embryo transfer. So much easier than a fresh cycle! We transferred on November 14 a single grade 2 day 5 embryo and lo and behold, at 5dp5dt PM, I got my very first BFP of my life!! At 40!!

It's still very early days yet. Today, I'm 4 weeks 3 days pregnant so definitely far from being out of the woods. But my 8dp5dt beta was 134 while yesterday's 10dp5dt was 383. Nice and solid betas so I'm about as happy as I can let myself be right now! :) I have to wait till 7 weeks for my first ultrasound and then my second one will be at 10 weeks if I'm lucky enough to make it that far!

I consider myself very lucky to have gotten a BFP with my second transfer (first FET) but the PGS definitely helped prevent putting back blasts which would have never taken regardless. I am hoping to spread as much baby dust around as possible and ask for sticky vibes for this precious IVF miracle.

If you've read until the end, then I salute you LOL! Tons and tons of baby dust to all TTC!

PS. I think I'll post about my TWW in a comment since this was so long already!

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Comments

Thankyou so much for your post and for all the information you took yhe time to provide. I pray your lityle one has sticky hands and feet :)

Wishing you all the best on your pregnancy journey. 

Reapage and mamabear1 - thank you so much!!! <3  Reapage, all the best for your upcoming IVF cycle!

So I said that I would post about my 2ww symptoms.  But this will be short because I didn't really have many.  I guess my point is that you can absolutely be pregnant with strong betas and get hardly any symptoms at all.  I think my most noticeable symptom was (TMI) flatulence and burping.  But I didn't say to myself, well I'm burping and farting, I must be pregnant lol!  Also I was (again TMI), queefing a lot. I was worried this meant that my cervix was open and that this would cause the baby not to take.  I don't think this was a symptom though.  I had been taking estrogen/progesterone suppositories and that is probably the explanation.

I had very, very mild heartburn (if you can even call it that) and the very occasional it-lasts-a-second-and-it's-gone minimal cramps.  In other words, nothing I could hang my hat on.  I started to think it didn't work because I was hoping for more symptoms like obvious implantation cramping, increased CM, but nope.  To my surprise and shock, I got my BFP.

In the end, no matter how you slice it, the 2ww is brutal.  Torture even, especially if you've had fertility treatment.  The truth is you get through it any way you can, by testing, by not testing, by symptom spotting, by not symptom spotting.  None of it really matters except to get you through this anxiety-provoking period.

Hello all. This must be an American Site as I dont understand most of the abbreviations? Is there a place to look to check what they mean? I am in the UK.

I am 41 and just started my first stimulation on Gonal and Menopur. All the doses seem to be different for everyone on here. I have been prescribed 300 GONAL in the morning and 150 Menopur at night.

Is this normal or high? Does anyone know?

The first night I could not sleep because I had pulling pinching pains in my right ovary. The doc said to go down to 150 GONAL. Is this too low?

Has anyone else had these kind of tweaks and pulls in their ovaries when starting stimulation?

Appreciate insights as everyone seems very up on it all here. CNS

Hi CN: Good luck on your stims! It's hard to determine what the right dosage is because you need a lot of info: AMH, FSH, antral follicle count (AFC). And it's completely normal to have tinges during stimulation, especially if a lot of follicles are cooking! I did not have many symptoms during stims until my 4th IVF cycle - but I got 33 eggs that cycle so that explains it.

I've just got back from arleta and I can't begin to find words that will express how wonderful they were. Their package is exactly what it says on the website. They treated us with respect and made us feel special. Tom was unconditionally supportive and informative. The efforts he went to make us feel comfortable and welcome was priceless. The apartments they provide are super comfy and central to Prague. Tom went over and above his duties to accommodate us. Dr dolezal is a sweety, warm, friendly and reassuring. The quality of service from arleta is beyond any experience we've had in the UK. I'm in my second day of my two week wait and so I don't know if I'm pregnant. No matter what my results are I would wholeheartedly recommend Arleta over and above any other clinic in the world. If you want the personal, honest and supportive IVF journey then do check out Arleta. There's a totem pole in the arleta garden which Dr Dolezal made himself for the arleta annual children's party. Each year they have a different theme and this year it's a zoo. All the staff will be dressed as animals. I mention this because Arleta is more than a IVF factory it's a community and family centred place that values it's staff and clients, past and present. Choosing the right clinic is daunting and a huge risk with a cost. So I took that risk and was overwhelmed with my experience. It's all a personal choice but I would suggest you give Tom a ring at arleta before choosing any other clinic. He's not a salesman but an understanding , informative support who will do his upmost to make your IVF journey comfortable.

That is fantastic news! Congrats. would you mind letting me know what clinic you were at?
Also, sounds like you really took control of your IVF. Well done.

Hi you mentioned you were on DHEA, vitamin D, vitamin E, coqu10 and others. Could you share what milligrams you were taking of each. My AMA is very low and I was prescribed some of the same supplements but I don't think I have correct milligrams. I would like to compare since my doctor didn't specify milligrams. Thank you

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