Tag Archive | blood test

Anti-D, Anti-Everything

Last week Shirley, one of the nurses at the clinic, phoned me and told me that I had to come in at 7am the next morning for a blood test and an anti-D injection.

For those who aren’t aware, Rhesus Immune Globulin (anti-d) is an injection that is used to prevent the immunological condition Rhesus disease. I need to get these injections because I am Rhesus negative but around 85% of the population is Rhesus positive, including my husband. When I am pregnant there’s a high chance my baby is also Rhesus positive like Doug, because most people are Rhesus positive and my babies already have a Rhesus positive parent. You all with me so far?

When the baby is on it’s way out of my body (either during miscarriage or labour – if I ever make it that far in a pregnancy!) there is a risk that a small number of the baby’s red blood cells can leak into my blood stream, allowing my body to develop antibodies against anything Rhesus positive entering my body in the future. If left untreated, during subsequent pregnancies if my baby is once again Rhesus positive my body may use those antibodies to attack and ‘remove’ it (yay!). Otherwise it can still cause lots of long-term problems for the baby including anaemia and jaundice. And nobody wants that. So basically I need to get an injection of anti-D to prevent this happening every time I miscarry and also at 28 weeks and 34 weeks pregnant (again, if I ever get that far in a pregnancy…).

The anti-d injection is produced from the blood of Australian Red Cross donors. I always find it fascinating when I’m injected with other people’s blood. Does that make me a weirdo? I know blood products from donors are also used to assist fertilization of eggs during IVF cycles and I’m also fascinated by that. I wonder if those donors have any idea they’re helping to create life rather than save life. When I imagine donating blood I see it going towards saving a car crash victim who is rushed into the hospital with an amputated leg and is bleeding out and close to death. I can see doctors running around the room and intubating the patient and shouting orders to each other. And I can hear the theme song to the television show ER. And I can see Doctor Green and Doctor Weaver, and definitely Doctor Ross. Oh hello, Doctor Ross. I have a fever would you like to do a full body examination? Oh…sorry…I think I just steered you all into one of my fantasies…

Back to the anti-d.

When I lost my first pregnancy in April I was with a large and impersonal clinic with unimpressive levels of patient care. I was never offered the anti-d injection, even though it should have been mandatory. Luckily when I was tested at my new clinic they found that Nemo’s blood cells had very kindly avoided my blood stream as he vacated the premises and I hadn’t developed anti-bodies. But I’d completely forgotten this time around that I would need an injection and was unpleasantly surprised to receive the phone call from the nurse.

Not only did I have to come in at 7am, I had to get another huge intra-muscular needle in my thigh. Why is it always in the damn thigh lately? And why always in the muscle? Give a girl a break.

After terminating the ectopic pregnancy I was looking forward to resting in the weeks coming up to Christmas. I was looking forward to not having to be up at the hospital most mornings before work for tests or scans or appointments or injections. I was trying to see the positive side to losing my little Peanut and/or Butters. But no! The inconveniences continued!

Five minutes after receiving the bad news, my phone rang again.

“Hi Sadie, it’s just Shirley again.” said the voice on the other end of the line. “We’ve changed our minds. Can you come in tomorrow at 7am for the blood test and then 7am the following day for the anti-d shot.”

Ugh. Seriously? Two days in a row? Just my luck.

“If the blood test comes back negative do I still need to get the shot?” I asked hopefully.

“Yes.” Shirley replied sternly. “And don’t forget the day after that you need to come in here for your first follow-up blood test following the methotrexate.”

Well…..damn. Apparently you can’t sleep in when you’re going through IVF, you can’t sleep in when you’re pregnant and you can’t sleep in when you’ve lost a pregnancy. You just can’t sleep in. At least not if you’re me. And I am me.

To be fair, the anti-d shot itself wasn’t too bad. It certainly wasn’t anywhere near as painful as the methotrexate. It sort of just felt like a regular FSH injection, except with a much bigger needle. I’m glad I had it done. Now I don’t have to worry about anything else going wrong next time we go through a cycle. Because let’s face it, not too much else can really go wrong for me at this point.

Now I’m just waiting for my next follow-up appointment with Doctor Vacation. Sorry, wait. I meant to say with Doctor B when she comes back from yet another holiday abroad. That will happen in the first week of December.

Now that everything is out of the way for this cycle, I can simply be “anti-everything” and just take a break from all the infertility stuff. At least for another couple of weeks. It feels so nice to just be away from it all. I can focus on other things now! I might even be able to catch up with a couple of friends for coffee and not bore them with fertility treatment talk. And I might even drink actual caffeinated coffee. I’m wild!

I can’t believe how positive I am being at the moment. I actually feel a little bit like a real human being!

You guys, I give it a week tops until I am back on here complaining about some other crisis or drama in my life.

A week.


What is my body doing?

Latest blood test results show my hcg level has risen to 57.

So now we’ve had 35, 18, 25 and 57. That last level is a big jump and actually doubled in 72 hours. Well…great.

I’ve had a full (albeit very light) period, I’ve been off crinone for 8 days, I’ve gone back onto metformin and the medications that regulate my pituitary gland, I’ve stopped drinking 2.5L of water a day, I don’t have sore boobs anymore, I don’t have headaches or a heightened sense of smell anymore.

I do have pretty much constant nausea and constipation. Most importantly I’m still having consistent pains on my right side, where I imagine my right ovary is sitting.

Is my doctor concerned?

No, no she is not.

She says there’s still no need to come in to see her until my scheduled appointment Thursday afternoon.

My mother is now freaking out and convinced I am viably pregnant even though I have explained why that’s not the case at least 10 times.

My husband is away until Saturday night. Would be nice to have him around just at the moment.

Nothing I can do except wait until Thursday now.

Righteo. Great. Good times.

Enter the fat lady.

Beta result this morning was 18.

Brown bleeding is still extremely light, but the nurse expects I will start my period properly towards the end of the week when my level drops below 5.

I will get another blood test on Thursday to make sure my levels are still dropping.

My husband is driving now to pick me up from work. I don’t want to be here today.

My sister-in-law had bleeding pretty consistently throughout both her first and second trimesters and now she’s holding her healthy baby. That’s what I kept telling myself as I tried to sleep last night. But I don’t know why I thought I would be that lucky. Shit doesn’t come that easy for people like me.

What the heck did I do in a past life to deserve this? Was I Stalin? I was, wasn’t I?

I might not be having a baby but at least I’ve still got a sense of humour…….

And my beta result is….

This morning I made sure I was at the pathology clinic at 6.50am, so I was first in line when the doors opened at 7am. I could have visited the clinic close to my home, but instead I chose to drive an extra half an hour so that I could get my blood drawn at the clinic with the pathology lab attached that processes the tests. A pathologist had informed me I would get my results quicker if I had my test done there, which made logical sense.

While I was waiting for the doors to open, I checked facebook. Even though we had informed my sister-in-law that today was our big test day, she had still thoughtfully posted “Feeling so blessed to wake up at 4am this morning to feed my gorgeous new baby. There is seriously no better way to start your day and nothing I would rather be doing. How good is it to be a mum!” and it was sitting right there at the top of my newsfeed.

Utterly. Appalled.

Thankfully the doors opened soon afterwards and I was able to push my husband’s sister to the back of my mind and focus on my blood test.

I hoped to receive the result by midday, but alas that wasn’t the case. The paperwork on my desk assured me I would receive my results by 2pm at the latest, so what followed was the absolute slowest two hours of my entire life. I literally watched the clock for two hours.

What’s the time now? 12.15pm. What’s the time now? 12.16pm. What’s the time now? Still 12.16pm. Wait…….now it’s 12.17pm.

Then the clock struck two. And I looked at my phone. And it didn’t ring.

“What the devil!” said I.

So I sat on my hands and I kept waiting. That is, I kept waiting until 8 minutes past 2, when I had decided that I would not be waiting anymore and prompty phoned my fertility clinic.

It was then that I was informed by one of the nurses that the pathology lab was running behind schedule and my results had been delayed. Oh hey, you know what would have been courteous? IF YOU HAD PHONED ME EARLIER TO LET ME KNOW OF THE DELAY, YOU ASSHAT.

Just after 3pm my phone rang again, and I jumped up from my desk at work (super productive here in my office today, by the way…) and ran into the corridor to take the call so my colleagues couldn’t eavesdrop.

My beta result? 35.

The nurse is extremely pessimistic about my chances here, particularly given I saw my first positive on a test 4 days ago. My numbers should be much higher by now. The nurse seems to think this pregnancy is following the exact course of my last pregnancy, and I lost that one at 5 weeks 3 days.

The worst news of all is that I can’t have another blood draw until Saturday morning, and then won’t receive the results until Monday. I have to wait 5 whole days for someone to confirm I am no longer pregnant. How fun is this weekend going to be!!

I almost sobbed on the phone asking the nurse if there’s anything I can do to stop this pregnancy from going anywhere. She said no. I asked if I should be getting my estrogen and progesterone levels checked. She said no. She said there’s nothing I can do and I just need to wait for Monday then speak to my doctor.

I wish I could have a stiff drink, but I don’t even get that as a consolation prize just yet.

And now we wait.


Pre-beta insanity

You guys, I think I am legit going insane.

I know my beta is only 16 hours away, and I know I was cautioned by many of you not to read too much into pee stick results, but I just can’t take this anymore! My head is about to explode! The rational side of my brain knows this is silly, but the rational side of my brain is no longer in the drivers seat.

Late last night I decided on a whim to do another pregnancy test, as you do. It must have been almost 11pm. I hadn’t been to the bathroom since maybe 7pm but I had drunk 2.5 litres of water during the day so I was expecting nothing much to show up in the result window. I was shocked to get a much stronger positive than that morning. I was super happy, thinking maybe it wasn’t a chemical after all. But when I tested this morning at 7am the line was faded again! How can that be??

You can see in this photo the stark difference between the test I took last night and the test this morning…


But then I compared the test I took yesterday morning to the test this morning and it is nearly identical in strength (or lack of strength more like it) to the test this morning…


Is it possible that my evening urine has a stronger concentration of pregnancy hormone? Was the test from last night just a test that had too much dye? I am mindful that on Sunday I tested negative in the morning then received my first positive that night. Shouldn’t the tests be getting darker in the morning?? Not darker in the evening??

Also, my breasts aren’t very sore anymore. They’re still a little sore but I don’t wake up from pain if I roll over in the night anymore. Is that bad??

But on the other hand my sense of smell has lost the plot. Every little smell is getting right up my nose and making me feel ill. And this morning I had to rush to the bathroom and vomit for the first time. I have definitely felt queasy the past few days. Those are all good signs, am I right?

I know I just need to keep calm until my test tomorrow. But that’s easier said than done! I have lost the ability to keep calm.

Any pee stick experts out there care to analyse my tests and put me out of my misery?? Failing that, can anyone lend me a couple of Valium? Ha…ha…

Off and racing. Maybe?

The past few days have passed by in an incredible blur. Don’t read anything into that though, I’m pretty sure it’s just because I’m coming down off 24 days of FSH injections and my brain has turned to porridge.

On Friday morning I went back to see Doctor B and had another scan. My follicle was still in tact, and a healthy 18.7mm. I really couldn’t believe the little bugger had managed to do exactly what it was supposed to do, and hold off on rupturing until it was big enough for the egg inside to be considered pregnancy viable. My body never does what it is supposed to. My body is highly skilled at doing exactly what it isn’t supposed to do.

Doctor B was also extremely impressed with my endometrium, which apparently couldn’t get any healthier or better looking. In fact, she told me she was just as surprised as I was at how good everything was looking. I’m really not accustomed to good news like that and didn’t know what to think.

We then looked over my most recent blood test results, which saw my LH levels were rising but I wasn’t quite surging yet. She predicted I would begin the surge that day, and ovulate the following day. Just to be sure, I was told to have another blood draw that morning.

“What do you make of all this?” I asked the doctor, desperately needing clarity, and someone in a position of authority to tell me straight that I shouldn’t get my hopes up.

“You know Sadie sometimes these things just happen and modern medicine can’t explain them.” she said with a shrug. “To be honest, everything is just coming together this cycle. Your follicle looks perfect, your uterus looks perfect, your hormones are finally doing what they should. I really would be shocked if you didn’t end up pregnant in a few weeks.”

As sweet and amazing and hopeful that all sounds, let me tell you, it was not something I needed to hear.

I’d already had a medical professional tell me something similar earlier in the week. Flo, the head nurse at the clinic, had looked over my blood test results and predicted this would be my “one-in-a-million cycle” that would give me my baby. Hearing my doctor – one of the most respected fertility doctors in the state of Victoria and the director of the whole fertility clinic – tell me that she also predicted I would get pregnant sent my brain racing off into uncontrollable directions.

This was supposed to be a casual punt at pregnancy. My body is very much against me in this – just look at the facts. This is the first time in my entire life I have ever ovulated, I have one blocked tube (potentially two), severe endometriosis and adenomyosis as well as hyperprolactinemia. And to top it all off my husband has morphology problems. The chances of this actually working are clearly, based on my medical conditions, extremely extremely extremely low.

I knew that our chances were virtually non-existent when we switched this cycle from IVF to ovulation induction. The plan was always to give this a crack merely to pass the time before our next IVF cycle begins. This was never supposed to be a miracle, or a magic bullet to motherhood. And I understood that. I was calm and rational about it all. I had no expectations. That’s not to say I was completely hopeless and thought we were wasting our time, I was simply excited at the idea of experiencing ovulation and moving in a positive direction towards achieving our dream of having a child.

Instead, I left the doctor’s office on a high, went straight to get my blood drawn, then practically floated into the office to finish off my working week. I had lost control of my thinking. The rational had slipped into irrational. I was going to get pregnant. I knew I was. It was practically a sure thing. The doctor said so! THE DOCTOR SAID SO!

The first insane thing I did was calculate my due date, based on ovulation occurring the following day. 25 April 2014. Anzac day!! How cute would it be to have a little Anzac baby! I thought. I wonder what suitably Aussie names I can come up with…

Then I took the crazy a step further and penned a cute little letter ON BEHALF OF MY CHILD to my parents and Doug’s parents. A surprise I could send in the post once we had our first ultrasound done, accompanying a photo from the scan. I imagined the looks on their faces when they read the letter. Hi Nanna! I’m only a little bean now, but I look forward to meeting you next April!

I received the results of my blood test about 3pm that afternoon from Rebecca, one of the other nurses at the clinic. She’s nice, but not as nice as Flo.

“Hi Sadie,” she said when I answered the phone. “Good news! You’re surging now, so you’ll ovulate tomorrow. You won’t need a trigger shot, your body is doing this the natural way.”

Oh my god I’m surging! I thought. This is it! I’m going to experience ovulation!

“What do I do?” I practically shrieked.

“Um….well, you and your husband…” Rebecca started awkwardly.

“No no, I understand what to do now!” I cut her off. “I mean what do I do in two weeks? I’m used to doing things the IVF way.”

“Well in two weeks you need to take a pregnancy test…” she said, as if this were obvious, which of course it was.

“And if it’s negative?” I asked, biting my lip.

“Call us straight away and we’ll prepare your medication pack for your next cycle of IVF.” she replied.

“And if it’s positive?” I asked insistently.

“Well…….you’ll be pregnant?”

Oh. Right.

That night, Doug and I attempted another “moon landing” and thankfully we were successful. It was perfect timing. Afterwards I was lying in bed with my hips under two pillows letting gravity help the little swimmers on their way, when I looked over at him and grinned.

“You’re going to be a great daddy.” I cooed.

“Um what?” he asked, gawking at me. “Sadie I don’t think getting so excited about this cycle is a good idea…..”

Nevertheless, I fell asleep with my head filled with happy baby thoughts and my butt still propped up under the pillows. I woke up awkwardly in the same position 9 hours later.

I also woke up to a terrible pulsating pain on my lower left side. It was excruciating and so bad it was sending spirals of pain all the way down my left leg. I could barely stand up. For a few minutes I thought maybe I had appendicitis, the pain was that bad. A quick consultation with Doctor Google told me that when you ovulate there’s a possibility that existing cysts on the ovaries can react badly to the hormone surge and cause a lot of pain. That made sense. I had a lot of cysts, particularly on my left ovary.

I just wasn’t sure if that meant I’d ovulated already, or my LH was still surging and that’s what was causing my cysts to react so strongly. Does the terrible pain come before or after actual ovulation? I’d love to hear from any other PCOS gals who ovulate. When does the bad pain happen for you? I just don’t know if my ovulation happened prior to, during, or after the pain.

Assuming ovulation had taken place, I suggested Doug and I have sex again on Saturday night. We were told to leave it at least 48 hours between each act of intercourse, but if the egg had already been released there was a full stock of Friday night sperm already waiting for the egg, and the Saturday night swimmers would just be a bonus. If we waited another 24 hours, the egg would already be gone and sex would be pointless (other than…for enjoyment…purposes).

I have vaginismus, so sex is usually painful, but what I experienced last night was a whole other world of pain. Every thrust, every movement, every second, it felt like someone was driving a dagger into my left ovary. I honestly thought it was going to kill me. Doug picked up the pain on my face almost straight away and it was all over. He can’t ever enjoy himself even if he possibly suspects I’m hurting (sometimes I’m not and his worries ruin it for both of us, but it’s sweet he’s so caring).

I told Doug not to worry about it, as we’d already done our job the night before. But he didn’t want to leave any doubt in either of our minds that there was anything else we could have done to help the process, so the syringe and I had our third date for the week.

I think I need to send the syringe flowers in the new few days. That’s customary, right? It’s been a while since I’ve been on the dating scene…

Today I have been extremely fatigued most of the day, but as I said before, that’s almost certainly caused by my body detoxing from the FSH. The pain in my ovaries has almost completely gone today, though I have felt a few sharp twinges on both sides. I’m going to assume (probably naively) that I ovulated yesterday. So I guess that makes today 1DPO.

Let the waiting game begin.

UPDATE:I went to the bathroom about an hour after I posted this, and noticed I had a lot of EWCM. I haven’t had a huge amount over the past few days. Does this mean I haven’t ovulated yet??? I’m new to this so I have no idea. Can you still have EWCM the day after ovulation or does it disappear straight away???

Swinging tubes & merry-go-rounds

Yesterday afternoon I was sitting at my desk at work, minding my own business, when I was hit with the most intense cramping in my abdomen, predominantly on my left side. It was bad enough that I had to double over.

Can I just say, I know a little something about cramps? My first ever period at the age of 13 was heavy for 18 days straight and so painful I experienced fainting and vomiting. By the time of my first fertility surgery, just after my 24th birthday, I already had stage four endometriosis in every possible place. It was particularly bad in my bladder and bowels, where it is rarest. Needless to say, pain and I are pretty tight.

So when I say I had bad cramping yesterday, I had bad cramping yesterday.

And this panicked me for a couple of reasons….

Firstly, the cup and syringe job the night before hadn’t exactly been successful. I have huge amounts of admiration for the gals who inseminate themselves, but it wasn’t something I’d ever considered doing myself so it wasn’t something I’d ever researched or thought about.

Doug did his part just fine, patted me on the head, laughed at me, then went to cook dinner. I ended up being so nervous I inseminated myself a little too quickly, and even though I had my hips under two pillows a fair bit spilled back out almost immediately.

To cut a really icky story short, I had absolutely no confidence that enough sperm was sitting there waiting for our egg and if I was indeed ovulating we would almost certainly miss our chance. Given it takes around 40 hours for a male to restock sperm, and Doug already has some morphology problems, even if we had sex last night (24 hours after the syringe debacle) fertilization almost certainly wouldn’t have happened.

And secondly, our one dominant follicle wasn’t 18mm in size yet, and if I was indeed ovulating there was a good change the egg wouldn’t be pregnancy viable.

I dashed outside where my colleagues couldn’t hear me and phoned Flo the nurse at the clinic for advice. Thankfully, she was very kind and sympathetic. She understood that I’ve never gone through ovulation before, so I don’t know what to expect.

She checked the computer to see if the results of the blood test I had first thing yesterday morning were available, and luckily they were. Flo put my mind at ease, telling me that my results showed my LH was not surging in the morning. Even if I’d begun to surge in the afternoon it meant I would still be ok for the following 24 hours and we could catch the egg. She advised I keep my appointment with Doctor B, which was scheduled for 8.45am this morning, and go from there.

Despite Flo’s kind assurances, last night was extremely tense for me and I didn’t sleep very well. I was completely paranoid and also really weepy. I don’t know how women go through this every month. There’s no way that level of pain and discomfort was normal. I can’t imagine ever wanting to have sex while I was feeling so awful. If that’s what all women go through every month I’m surprised the human race is surviving.

This morning when I arrived at the clinic at 8.30 Doctor B was already waiting for me in the waiting room. I really, really like her. She’s so sweet and puts me at ease. I honestly believe she has my best interests at heart when she makes decisions. My previous fertility specialist had his cheque book at heart when he made decisions….

Straight away we went through to the back room and started my scan. Sure enough, my follicle was still sitting there completely in tact in my left ovary. I breathed a huge sigh of relief. All the panic yesterday had been for nothing.

“Ok let’s see,” Doctor B said, measuring the follicle. “We have a little way to go still Sadie. The follicle is 15.1mm.”

A small scrap of hope and joy, then suddenly it was all snatched away from me. My stomach dropped.

“15.1??” I gasped.

The follicle was shrinking. It was all over.

Doctor B read the emotion on my face and grimaced. “What was it the other day?”

“15.5!” I said. “It’s a bad follicle!”

“Ok,” Doctor B said calmly. “Let’s check again.”

Once more she measured the follicle. Left and right, up and down. 16.9mm. Just to be sure, she repeated the process twice more. 16.9mm. 16.9mm.

“It’s ok Sadie you don’t have a bad follicle, just a bad doctor.” she laughed.

Once again, I breathed a massive sigh of relief. The follicle had grown. It was just growing at a glacial pace.

“Your blood work actually shows your hormones are all over the place.  Hopefully you should have your LH surge tomorrow or Friday.” Doctor B said as we finished up the scan. “Get another blood test tomorrow, and if you’re not surging then we’ll scan you again Friday then maybe trigger ovulation for you.”

“Ok.” I agreed. “Sounds like a plan.”

“Now let’s hope your unblocked tube picks up the egg and not your blocked tube.” she said. “If your blocked tube swings around to meet the egg that will be unfortunate.”

What in the what?!

So today I learned that fallopian tubes aren’t solidly attached to ovaries. They are attracted to eggs and can flip around to pick up from either ovary, though the right tube will pick up from the right ovary approximately 95% of the time and the same goes for the left ovary and left tube. I had no idea about this. Did you girls all know about this?! Just one more thing for me to worry about…..

After I left the doctor’s office I was waiting out the front for the receptionist to total up my bill for the morning’s visit when Flo appeared. She came and sat down next to me on the bench and asked to see my blood results.

“My goodness you know you’re a very unique young lady.” she said. “We’ve never seen anyone react quite like you have. To go from 34 eggs at pick up last time, to mimicking a normal cycle this time and ovulating for the first time ever? You’re just so unpredictable!”

I felt like there was a glitch in the Matrix or somthing. These were almost the exact words the head nurse at my last clinic had told me, right before I left. You’re so unique Sadie and we’ve learned so much from you.

I don’t want to be unique. I want to be text book. I want to be wham, bam, thank you ma’am pregnant and having babies.

At least I feel supported at this new clinic. I’m getting the blood tests I need, they’re monitoring my dodgy hormones, they’re scanning me every second day, they’re paying attention. This is what I so desperately needed at my last clinic.

Do you know that from before I started my first cycle of IVF, right through to egg pick up, OHSS and then an FET the only time I ever had a blood test at my old clinic was on my beta day? And even then they only checked for pregnancy they didn’t check my hormones. I feel so strongly that had I had even ONE proper blood test they would have seen my estrogen and progesterone levels were all wrong, and they could have corrected those problems before I lost my last pregnancy. Maybe I’d still be pregnant.

“You know what I think?” Flo said, placing a comforting hand on my knee. “This is your one perfect moment. The first time you’ve ever had a proper, normal cycle. This will be your miracle, one in a million ovulation and you’ll get pregnant.”

Then, my brain exploded.


Ok I’m only kidding (…or am I??). I know she meant well, but honestly a fertility nurse should know better than to give that kind of hope to an infertile.

Tonight we have sex on the menu again. Real sex this time. I’m not going to risk syringe failure again. Then I’ll just have to wait until my blood test tomorrow to find out if my LH is surging, or if we’re staying on this merry-go-round for another few days.

As always, I’ll keep you updated…..