I’m back! And I’m on the hunt for advice…

You know those bitches who disappear from their blog for a few months and then suddenly come back and they’re pregnant?

Yeah, sorry about that. Because I’m pregnant.

Seriously though I need some huge advice. I am freaking out and I don’t really know what to think or do. I suppose I should give you guys a quick recap before I get into the questions. That’s only polite.

First of all I want to explain the reason I left my blog. I never stopped thinking about you all, but I made a personal decision that was best for my relationship with my husband. We went through a rocky patch after my sixth cycle of IVF failed and he admitted during a disagreement one evening that he hated that I felt I was able to vent my true feelings on the internet but not to him. I was upset with him for thinking such a thing, but also desperate to mend our shaky marriage. So he made a request that I temporarily suspend my blog until such a time when our relationship was more stable, and I reluctantly obliged.

After that our relationship quickly improved (though I’m sure it had nothing to do with my lack of blogging, and more to do with the fact we both started seeing our therapists more regularly) and I would often think about returning here, but things have been very busy and I just never found the time.  

I am currently in my eighth cycle of IVF. You guys missed me moving to a new doctor, my entire seventh IVF cycle, another major laparoscopy where heaps of endo was removed, a D&C, more tubal studies, and another round of needle diathermy for my PCOS. Told you it’s been busy around here!

My new doctor is awesome, and so different to my last doctor. He swears a lot, which took a little getting used to. He said it was “fucked up” (his words, not mine) that a 27 year old had failed six cycles of IVF and no one seemed to really care or think I was important. He said decent fertility doctors would pay more attention to me because of my circumstances, rather than ignoring me to focus on older patients.

He took me on as a challenge, and even did my laparoscopy with no out of pocket expenses (even waived his surgical assistant’s fees) because he wanted to get me as healthy as possible as cheaply as possible. And because no young women should have to suffer what I’ve suffered through, and he wanted to make my life better. Just like that! Last time I had a laparoscopy it cost us around $5000 out of pocket so the saving was ridiculously massive. It was like falling in love all over again, except you know, not in a romantic kind of way…because he’s old…and I love my husband…

This doctor uses much more radical treatment methods, and pays close attention to studies coming out of Europe. He believes in throwing the book at IVF, rather than taking the ‘softly, softly’ approach that most IVF doctors in Melbourne seem to take. For example I was up to my sixth cycle and still wasn’t allowed to use embryo glue at my old clinic in case it resulted in twins! I mean honestly!

My previous doctor also kept refusing to test me for MTHFR gene mutations. She kept insisting I didn’t have it and the test was pointless and would cost us thousands out of pocket. I asked my new doctor and he said “sure go right ahead if you want to get tested I’ll write you a pathology request.” And guess what? The test only cost $65 out of pocket. And guess what else? I am a homozygous carrier of the MTHFR mutation. SURPRISE SURPRISE!!! I cried so much when I found out, because I’m so sure that fact at least contributed to my previous two pregnancy losses. Now I take blood thinners, and I feel better not only about the fact my treatment is more successfully managed but also hopeful this will lessen my chances of thrombosis in the future.

During my seventh cycle of IVF I experienced a fun new thing which I can add to my long list of fun new things. It’s called Empty Follicle Syndrome and it’s extremely rare in young women. Doc estimated I would have approximately 30 eggs picked up (he was deliberately overstimulating me to pick up as many eggs as possible, and then triggered me with Synarel instead of Ovidrel in order to prevent OHSS – I told you his protocols are more radical). But on egg retrieval day I only had seven eggs in the 30+ follicles.

When the doctor found out he didn’t dismiss it as “just something that happens sometimes” like my old doctor would have. Instead, he said “Well this is shit. Really shit. I’m really sorry. If we don’t get any fertilized eggs we will figure something out I promise. And I hope to God you have embryos on day five because I don’t want to deal with your wrath if you don’t.” It made me feel like he actually cared. I appreciated that.

In my eighth cycle we had some success and ended up transferring one perfect hatching AA graded blastocyst, with one lower quality blast tucked away in the freezer. Obviously we didn’t need assisted hatching, but we did use embryo glue.

And now we get to the part of the blog post where I ask y’all questions so please pay attention.

Last Monday (3dp5dt) I had a temperature spike and a tiny bit of pink spotting, which I thought might have been implantation bleeding. Then throughout the week I had bad headaches and ran a low grade fever but my boobs weren’t sore even though I constantly poked them. Last Friday I started cramping so I took a home pregnancy test and got a super super strong positive. Honestly I’ve never seen a pregnancy test turn so dark so quickly. Then on Saturday I had pink spotting in the morning and a small amount of red spotting in the evening followed by awful cramping. I was sure I was getting my period.

But on Monday (10dp5dt) I had my first beta test and my level came back at 330. I was ridiculously shocked to pull such a high number so early, particularly because in both my other pregnancies my levels were always so low. Not to mention the cramping and bleeding.

Two days later (yesterday) they did a follow-up blood test and I was so depressed and anxious. I was completely 100% convinced my numbers weren’t going to double so I went down to the supermarket on my lunch break at work to buy chocolate to console myself. As I was coming out of the supermarket, the nurse rang to tell me that my hcg at 12dp5dt was 805. I asked her to repeat that number like 6 times. “Sorry did you say 805? Can you just confirm 805? My number? For me? 805?”

The nurse said usually patients get numbers between 100 and 200 at 12dp5dt. So my numbers are pretty high and my doubling time was 36.14 hours which is also super fast am I correct? Like it’s the fast end of the normal range? She said my pregnancy seems strong and healthy. But come on. This is me. Things don’t go right for me. This can’t actually be happening for me.

My first thought was “Oh my god they’ve both implanted” and then I remembered we only transferred the one embryo, and put the other one into storage. So then I looked up identical twins and saw that the second embryo usually implants between days 10-14. Immediately I recalled the second lot of spotting I had on the weekend, which was 8dp5dt or technically 13dpo. So are identical twins a possibility? I guess so. My hcg levels don’t seem high enough for twins, but seem very high for a singleton.

All day today I have had a strong pain on my right side. It’s about 2.5 inches to the right of my belly button, but much further down near my pubic bone. It’s sort of a consistent twinging pain. Sometimes it’s on my left side, and sometimes in the middle, but mostly it’s on my right side. And now I am freaking out. I called the nurse and she said maybe it’s ligaments stretching but why is it mostly on one side?? Like I mean constantly twinging on my right side and occassionally mirrored on my left. The pain never leaves my right side.

So here are the questions:

1. For the IVF ladies who have had success…what were your hcg levels like in early pregnancy?

2. When my last pregnancy wasn’t located in the uterus, my hcg numbers were much lower than average and kept fluctuating up and down. Can I still have an ectopic pregnancy if my levels are higher than average and doubling nicely?

3. What does ectopic pain feel like?

4. Is this cramping normal? In women who have PCOS did the cysts on your ovaries react to the hcg increases and cause you pain? Could it be my ovary I am feeling?

5. If I have higher hcg levels with fast doubling times, does that mean I am more likely to have a normal healthy pregnancy, or is the actual number irrelevant?

6. I have an appointment with my doctor on Monday (I will be 5 weeks, 1 day pregnant) should I push for a scan or would it be pointless this early on because it’ll be too early to see anything?

I really can’t believe I’ve been away for months and now I’m coming back and asking for advice. Like, how selfish am I!

I really truly need assistance to calm down here. I know you all probably think I am overreacting, and I most likely am. But I feel like I deserve this one. Eight cycles of IVF is enough for anyone and it’s my 28th birthday on Monday. Please oh please can’t I just have a baby this time? 

Thanks in advance for your advice ladies.

 Sadie xx

p.s sorry for any spelling or grammar mistakes in this post – I didn’t have time to edit it I just wanted to get my post out there!

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34 thoughts on “I’m back! And I’m on the hunt for advice…

  1. I can’t answer your questions but u just wanted to say congratulations! I’ve been thinking about you in your absence and hoping and wishing that things were going well

    • Thank you!!! I’ve been thinking about you too! I just caught up on your blog I’m glad to see you’re doing so much better now you’ve left your job and are making plans to move forward with TTC. xx

  2. OMG miss Sadie you certainly have been a busy bee! I’m so glad you resurfaced and totally understand why you disappeared. Your relationship is paramount so glad you are putting hubby and you first.
    Second, holy crap girl, congratulations! I can’t answer all your questions but what I do know is that for our only “successful” pregnancy (so far) my pregnancy tests were crazy strong, unlike the previous 6. This one was different. I also felt what I thought were ectopic cramps around your timing in the same area. I was freaking and ended up getting a scan at 5w4d. All it did was locate the embie in the uterus but that was what I needed to know. The cramps eventually stopped or moved around a bit. You may have trouble finding someone to scan you that early because most refuse until after 6w but as soon as you start talking about ectopic this and that they should jump at the opportunity. From my knowledge the high hcg numbers mean it’s connected a lot quicker and usually this is a sign that things are golden and stable with the embie. If you fear ectopic in any way I should speak to your doc ASAP. Better safe than sorry. I have a feeling though that this one is different. Can’t wait to hear more. Will be waiting with bated breath xxx

    • You have no idea how much your comment calmed both me AND my husband. It’s a relief to know you went through something similar and it turned out ok. The nurse said I should push for a scan at my appointment on Monday just so we can rule out ectopic but I really really hope this is the one for us!!!

  3. Congrats!!! This is great! I’m so glad you found a new doctor that’s awesome! I always thought your other doctor was just an ass. Great news though, hopefully you’ll keep us updated.

    • Thanks! Since being at my new clinic I have reaaaaally noticed the difference in care. My old doctor was so awful I can’t believe I stuck it out with her for 4 cycles.

  4. Sadie! I am SO happy for you and thrilled that you are pregnant! I didn’t ever do IVF (got referred but the month before got pregnant naturally) – but when I did conceive I got a faint BFP at 12dpo, and then much stronger 14dpo and so on. In terms of cramps I had sharp pains on one side and then would have a little bit in the middle and on the other side like you. But mainly one side. Still get pains now at 15 weeks and my baby is fine. I seriously wouldn’t worry about twinges. I have heard ectopic is seriously painful on just one side. I know you think that you are always out of luck and that is fair enough but try and remember that ONLY 1-2% of pregnancies are ectopic, and yours is really strong because of your numbers so in my opinion that means it’s even more unlikely that it’s settled in the tube. The strong numbers reflect on a pregnancy that is settling in your uterus and giving off the right level of hormones I think. All though I am not a doctor…just my opinion. Please don’t leave us hanging for so long next time!! Your blog is my favourite!! xxx

  5. Wow!!! Just wow, so excited and hopeful for you on this one. It really seems different, and different has to be good. Honestly, ectopic seems really unlikely to me, but if they’ll let you get a scan at 5 weeks I say go for it. Anything that gives you peace of mind is worth it. I’m pretty sure I’ve had pains like that too, and I have no clue what they are (in fact I’ve had lots of unidentifiable pains that just serve to freak me out) but I wouldn’t assume it means anything at this piont. This early part will be awful and terrifying, but it will get better :). Fingers very much crossed, it’s definitely your turn :).

  6. Congratulations!!!

    I think I might be able to answer a few of those questions. As for the twins thing (I’ve been pregnant with twins twice) my beta numbers were always on the high end of normal. Having said that, I know of two ladies who both carried multiples who started off with really really low betas. As a result, HCG #s don’t always paint a clear picture.

    As for the ectopic. Are you having more BW done for your #s? Usually slowly rising betas, persistent spotting and pain are indicative of an ectopic. Keep an eye out for shoulder pain too. If you have any of those symptoms call your doctor okay?

    Best of luck!

  7. CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WOW, your new doctor sounds incredible. I’m so glad you’ve had such a positive experience with him so far. I wish you the best of luck with your upcoming ultrasound, it will be exciting to find out if you’re having more than 1! I’ve read about women who have high betas like that and end up with only 1, but it’s totally possible that you have identical twins brewing. Also happy to hear that your marriage is doing much better!!!!!!!! Lots of positive things happening for you!

  8. Congratulations!! When I got pregnant with my successful FET, they didn’t tell me my first HCG number, just that it was a “nice, strong number.” I always thought I must have written it down wrong, but my second reading at 12dp5dt was 2281. I only transferred one, am only pregnant with one, and all has been good and healthy. I had a lot of spotting between weeks 5-7 and was terrified the whole time. I was able to get scans each of those weeks to ease my worries, even if it was just seeing that things were normal for that stage. Hang in there, day by day, it will get easier not to worry so much! I’m so happy for you.

  9. Goodness you’ve been busy! Your doctor sounds like exactly what you need and I’m so so so happy that you’ve found him.

    The only question I can answer is number 5. I think that in the grand scheme of things, your actual HCG numbers are irrelevant, the most important thing is that they’re doubling. As an example, when I had my betas drawn, they were in the thousands while my friend’s were in the hundreds. Guess who’s pregnant with twins (hint, not me.) So the whole “higher beta numbers mean twins” thing isn’t necessarily true.

    I think that asking for a scan at your next appointment could be helpful just to rule out an ectopic, but only if you think you can go to it knowing that you won’t get upset if you don’t see anything. You don’t want to cause yourself more stress by worrying that you didn’t see anything on the screen because it’s too early.

    My fingers are crossed in hopes that this pregnancy is the one and everything continues to go well. I can’t wait to read your next update!

  10. Congratulations! Wonderful news! To answer a few of your questions: my beta at 9dp5dt was 152; at 11dp5dt it was 348. We only transferred one embryo but don’t know yet whether it’s one or two! (I assume one.) I also had pain on one side at around 5w and my doctor said that the rising hcg was probably making my OHSS flare up again and causing ovary pain. That made sense to me–my pain felt a lot like the pain I got during the last couple days of stimming. I have PCOS too and was moderately hyperstimulated. Good luck!!

    • Thanks that’s very interesting to know! I have a suspicion my pain is in my right ovary maybe I have cysts playing up. I can live with a painful ovary that would be a great outcome for me!

  11. i couldn’t believe it when i saw your little profile pic in the corner of this post!!! welcome back. i’ve thought of you often over the last few months. i CANNOT believe what you’ve been through! i am so so so happy for you! yay – pregnant 🙂 YAY swearing dr.! i like this guy already hahaha. your numbers are so good. i wouldn’t even think of ectopic. honestly. i’ve had two ectopics and a blighted ovum and the numbers barely got over 100 by second betas. welcome back again! wishing the best for this pregnancy (and you.)

      • at one point in the first cycle I had extreme sharp pain. it’s felt like it was on the right but the ectopic ended up on the left. I feel pain differently then others though I think because at 8 weeks it was about to tours rupture and I felt nothing. the dr. couldn’t believe it.

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