Tag Archive | pregnancy test

We need to talk about toothpaste

Look I’ve just noticed that for the past few weeks a whole lot of people are reaching my blog when they search for information about an alleged toothpaste pregnancy test.

First of all I have zero idea how y’all are finding my blog through such a search because I’ve never written anything about using toothpaste. Nor will I ever.

Except for this post. I’m writing about it in this post. But this post doesn’t count!

Secondly I didn’t even know what a toothpaste pregnancy test was. I honestly had to google it.

Now that I know what it is…can I just say…it is silly.

The toothpaste pregnancy test looks about as accurate as using Drano or baking soda and mixing it with pee to determine the gender of your unborn child.

In other words not accurate at all! And frankly quite stupid.

Toothpaste isn’t designed to test for pregnancy, it’s designed to keep your pearly whites cavity free and your mouth smelling minty fresh.

For the love of God toothpaste isn’t meant to be peed on. Ladies…step away from the toothpaste if you feel the urge to pee.

Unless you want your urine cavity free and smelling minty fresh, in which case please proceed.

You guys realise you can just go to a dollar store and buy a cheapie pregnancy test that’s going to be substantially more accurate than toothpaste.

That may mean you get a proper result sooner, and access medical care earlier in your pregnancy which benefits both you and your baby in the long run.

So that’s it.

A public service announcement from Sadie.

Toothpaste and urine both go on sticks – but different sticks.

Keep toothpaste for toothbrushes and pee for pregnancy tests.

And stay classy mmmkay.

Sadie xx

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Go home and wait to miscarry

It was the morning after the night before.

I had driven back to Paradise after my positive pregnancy test, completely in shock and also sort of numb. I honestly didn’t know what to think or how to feel.

Focusing on the road stretched out in front of me, I mentally calculated timeframes.

The month of May was when we transitioned away from condoms. We’d only had unprotected sex once in May, but it was the week before I’d started my period.

We’d had unprotected sex twice at the start of June and several times right before I got my period. Never in the middle of the month.

In July, James had taken on a month long construction labourer contract back in the city so we hadn’t seen much of each other and only had sex sparingly. Maybe a few times right before I got my period.

In August, we started in a good place emotionally and had sex basically every night for the first two weeks. Then the arguing escalated and we’d had sex maybe once more before calling quits on our relationship.

August.

Had I conceived in August?

Had I conceived the very first month I’d had unprotected sex around the time a woman normally ovulated?

I mean…as far as every doctor had told me I didn’t even ovulate. And if I did miraculously ovulate, my tubes were too blocked for the egg to get through. And if the egg did get through a tube my endometriosis and high prolactin levels would kill off the embryo.

No pregnancy. No way. No how.

And yet…the little FRER stick tucked into my handbag said differently.

The first thing I did when I arrived back in Paradise was call to make an appointment with a local doctor. Thankfully, he said he could fit me in right when the clinic opened at 8.30am.

The clinic was next to a supermarket, so while I was waiting for 8.30am to roll around I went and bought a Clearblue Digital with a conception indicator. I figured it would give me a more accurate indication of what was actually going on, particularly as I’d used late evening urine with the original test.

Almost as soon as my urine hit the stick, the digital screen lit up with Pregnant: 3+.

Suddenly I began to question even my own timelines. Could I have conceived back in June or July and just continued to have menstrual bleeding? I’d definitely heard of it happening before.

Then I started making a mental list of all the non-pregnancy friendly things I’d done in the past month….

  • I had ridden my bicycle to work every day.
  • I’d guzzled green tea to try and lose some weight before summer arrived.
  • I’d had some alcoholic beverages the week before. Me! Someone who hadn’t drunk alcohol in years even while unsuccessfully trying to conceive! And ironically I had consumed alcohol whilst pregnant.
  • Ohhh I had taken Isaac to the theme park and ridden the rollercoaster all day. That couldn’t be good…

Finally the clinic opened and the doctor ushered me into his consultation room. I explained that I was unexpectedly pregnant, and gave a brief history of my infertility.

“Wait…” he started incredulously. “You asked a different doctor for the contraceptive pill and he’d told you not to bother? That is…super negligent. Really bad. I can’t believe it!”

It was the first time it had occurred to me how stupid that previous doctor had actually been. No one is ever one hundred percent guaranteed not to fall pregnant naturally unless they’re missing their womb, both tubes or ovaries. Sure my chances of not falling pregnant were 99.99% but that still wasn’t a guarantee.

The doctor ordered beta hcg blood work just to confirm I was actually pregnant. He put a rush on the test and told me he’d phone me in the afternoon.

Whilst having my blood drawn, I explained my situation to the phlebotomist. She was a young girl, maybe 23 or 24, with long blonde hair. She rocked back on her heels in shock.

“Get fucked!” she gasped. “No way! Get fucked! That’s amazing!”

Well…um…yep…that was definitely a concise way to sum up my situation.

I went home in a daze and sat in the kitchen waiting for my phone to ring. I felt like I had been transported back to the old days of waiting for the fertility clinic to call with embryo fertilization reports or hcg results.

“Why do you look so miserable?” asked James, coming into the kitchen to make himself lunch. “And why do you have medical tape on your arm like you’ve had a blood test?”

In that moment I instantly decided now was not the time to tell James what was happening. He had made it very clear right from the beginning that his son was enough for him and he didn’t want any more children. Not to mention the fact we’d broken up and he was currently looking for a new home to rent.

“I have the flu…” I muttered.

Thankfully he didn’t question me further, and chose to go back to watching television.

Finally the phone rang. It was the call I had been waiting for.

“Hi Sadie,” said the doctor. “Your hcg result was very positive. Your level is 5500. I’m going to suggest you’re at least 6 weeks along. But given your previous history, I need you to get an ultrasound as soon as possible so we can rule out an ectopic ok?”

I agreed. Of course I agreed. I was both scared and excited.

But I was also so confused. Was this actually going to happen? Was I actually going to have a baby? With a man I didn’t love? Where was my husband? Why couldn’t this have happened a year ago?

I remembered back to the hundreds – or maybe even thousands – of times that I’d prayed and wished and begged to have a baby. Maybe this was my own fault. Maybe I hadn’t been specific enough.

Do you remember that Brendan Fraser movie Bedazzled where the devil (played by Liz Hurley) grants him three wishes in exchange for his soul? And he wishes to be rich and powerful, with his girl crush Frances O’Connor as his wife? The devil grants his wish and makes Frances O’Connor his wife, except it turns out she hates him and is cheating on him? Because whilst making the wish he didn’t ask for her to love him only to be married to him.

Do you get what I’m trying to say here? Maybe instead of just wishing for a baby I needed to wish for a baby with my husband. This whole thing was happening in such a messed up way because I hadn’t been careful enough in my wishing.

Two agonising days later, it was finally time to get my scan done at the clinic.

Once again, I explained my history to the sonographer and told her that I’d probably had hundreds of pelvic ultrasounds so I would know what I was looking at. She seemed quite stunned by that.

After I got undressed and sat up on the table, she placed the ultrasound wand on my pelvis, pressing down onto my overfull bladder.

My eyes were keenly glued to the screen across the room. Looking…waiting…

She moved the wand left and right, digging further into my bladder.

Blank. The screen was blank.

“There’s no gestational sac.” I said matter-of-factly.

I’d been pregnant several times before and knew this drill too well. Pregnancies didn’t go well for me. This was the expected outcome. I was in comfortable territory. I knew the deal. I could cope with this. Right. Okay. I was going to be 29 years old with 5 pregnancy losses under my belt. Fine.

“We’d better get you to empty your bladder and do an internal scan.” the sonographer said. “With levels at 5500 two days ago and the uterus empty, we need to check your tubes immediately.”

As soon as the internal scan began, a small sac popped up on the screen smack bang in the middle of my uterus.

“You see that?” the sonographer asked.

“Yeah I see it.” I nodded. “I don’t see a yolk sac or a fetal pole though.”

“No.” she agreed. “The sac is very small and it looks like it’s empty.”

She called a doctor into the room, who confirmed her diagnosis.

“I’m really sorry.” he said. “My best guess is that this is a blighted ovum. With your levels as high as they are, we really should see something bigger than this. My advice is to go home and wait to miscarry.”

“Okay.” I said calmly. “And what if I don’t start bleeding?”

“If you haven’t started bleeding within a week, I’ll need to schedule you an emergency appointment to see one of the best obstetricians at the private hospital.” said the doctor. “He deals with complicated cases like yours. You will probably need a d&c.”

That night, I was sitting in the living room watching tv with James when his phone rang.

It was his sister, Sharon. She and I were friends, and it was in fact at her Halloween party where I’d met James in 2014.

“Hey James put me onto speaker phone!” I heard her shout down the phone.

As soon as he complied with her request and placed the phone on the coffee table between us, she started shrieking excitedly.

“Guess what James! Guess what Sadie!” she screamed. “We’re having a baby! We’re pregnant! I’m going to be a mummy!”

My heart dropped into my stomach. It was the jolt of emotion that I badly needed to knock me out of my numb stupor.

Sharon’s child would have been my child’s cousin. They would have been the same age. Grown up together. Been best friends. Sharon and I would have gone through our pregnancies together.

As soon as she hung up, the flood gates opened. I just cried and cried and cried.

James, assuming I was upset because I am infertile, came and sat beside me and quietly hugged me. He kept telling me over and over that it was all right to be sad about the fact Sharon was pregnant and I couldn’t have kids. He kept telling me it wasn’t my fault.

I just couldn’t tell him the truth.

That I was mourning for another lost dream. Another hope dashed. Another failure. Another chance at happiness.

All I had to do now was make it through the next week.

At the end of a week I would have a more clear understanding of my future.

By that time, I’d either have miscarried already or I would be on my way to see the obstetrician who could give me some real answers.

Little did I know, it would be the longest week of my life…

To be continued! Hoorayyyyyy……

 

 

 

 

 

 

Being invisible

Last night after work I drove to the supermarket and stocked up on enough FRER and Clear Blue digitals to see me through to Monday. I know they say you can’t see a miscarriage on pee sticks, but I did last time and I’m confident I will again. Maybe that’s just the crazy talking…

The cashier who served me was a young girl, probably 18 at the most. As she scanned each box of tests through the register she openly gawked at me. She couldn’t have looked more horrified if I’d turned up to the store completely naked. I felt like a massive idiot and knew my face was burning bright red from shame.

And then of course this morning I decided not to bother even testing, so my embarrassment was for nought.

I didn’t really see the point in wasting a test. I did test last night, and it showed a solid positive, as I have come to expect with evening urine. I was sure if I tested with first morning urine I would just get that same faded second line I have seen all week in the morning. No darker or lighter each morning, just a lingering display of something I know won’t come to fruition.

I hardly slept last night. I actually ended up taking my dog Arnold into the spare room and curling up on the bed with him because my tossing and turning was disturbing my husband. I go through periods of feeling incredibly hopeless and beaten down, but mostly I just feel numb. What if this happens to me every time I get to embryo transfer? What if I get pregnant every time then lose the embryo before I even get to see it on an ultrasound? My doctor says chemical pregnancies don’t count for anything. Will none of my “children” ever count?

My sister-in-law Jess really isn’t helping my mental state at the moment, either. Did I mention after her baby was born I went out shopping and even though it broke my heart (and my bank) I spent over 2 hours and $175 buying her a whole swag of adorable baby clothing. I purchased things I would dress my own child in. I thought of my own children as I sorted through the racks. I wanted to show her I was happy for her, and was able to see past my own misfortunes to support her. Because she lives 8 hours away I then spent an hour individually wrapping each tiny outfit in pink tissue paper and thoughtfully wrote a card wishing her family every happiness, then posted them out to her.

Yesterday I received a text message from my mother-in-law, who is staying with Jess for a while to help with the baby. It said “How cute are those clothes you sent out!”

That was it. No thank you from anyone. No acknowledgement from Jess whatsoever. I didn’t even know they had received the gifts. It’s like I don’t even exist.

And both those women know exactly what I am going through. Doug called his mother and told her about our beta result. I understand maybe it’s hard to know what to say to me, but there’s no need to completely ignore me! How is it going to help me if my family starts to stigmatize me? I didn’t expect Jess to pick up the phone and talk to me for hours about how I feel or what I’m going through. I know this is a joyful time for her. All I expected was a text message that said “thank you for the gift.” Honestly, that’s it. But I’m not even worth that much apparently.

My husband’s father is so sweet and supportive, but his mother and sister just treat me like I’m a thorn in their sides.

It hurts me because I used to be very close to Jess before we found out I was infertile. I was a bridesmaid at her wedding and I used to spend so much time with her. I really felt like she was my sister and that she would always have my back. How very wrong I was! And to make matters worse she herself has suffered from mental health issues (anxiety and depression) most of her life and I’ve always been very supportive of her and tried to help her as much as I could. So for her to turn her back on me in my time of need is doubly hard to bear.

I was hoping to be able to talk over my feelings with my new counselor, but my appointment for today has just been postponed two weeks. Just my luck!! So I’ve deactivated my Facebook account in the meantime so at least I won’t have to be bombarded with any more photos of my new niece or hear Jess talk about how perfect her life is.

Sorry for this rambling post. I can only assume you’ll see more of these as I make my way closer to Monday….

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.

Again.

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…

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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…

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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…

Good news, bad news.

Is this actually happening to me again?

Yesterday I saw strong positives on two home pregnancy tests. The trigger was definitely out of my system because I tested it out last week. You can’t imagine my level of excitement.

This morning I tested with three tests. The line is barely visible on two of them and the third test is negative.

This is another chemical pregnancy isn’t it? Am I watching this one fade out so quickly?

My doctor keeps telling me I have one of the best uterus linings she has ever seen. But is it not sticky enough? Or something? Does it smell bad? Is it not as cool as the other uteruses and my embryos don’t want to hang out with it?

Last night I went to sleep dreaming about having a baby to hold in July. This morning I think that dream was just a nightmare.

This is why the doctors tell you not to test early. This right here. Ugh why do we do this to ourselves?

Stranger than fiction

You remember that movie ‘Stranger than Fiction’ where Will Ferrell plays an IRS auditor who can hear narration in his head, and it turns out he is the subject of a novel Emma Thompson is writing that’s all being translated into real life? I feel like that’s happening to me right now.

Well, I’m not hearing narration in my head. I’m not that crazy yet. But I do feel like I’m part of someone’s novel and I can’t escape from the stupid plot. My life is too bizarre right now to be anything other than a work of fiction. Did I mention I’m a character in a novel about early pregnancy symptoms? You see, I seem to be afflicted with pretty much every early pregnancy symptom conceivable at the moment.

Sore breasts? Yes. Fatigue? Definitely. Nausea? Yeah, got that. Headaches? Every day. Dull cramping? All the time. Gassy? Uh huh. Bloated? You know it. Backache? Yep. Achy legs and hips, moodiness, runny nose, vivid dreams, food aversion, upset tummy? I’ve got them all!

Pretty much the only things I don’t have right now are creamy cervical mucus (I still have heaps of clear, watery mucus) and a positive pregnancy test. And the thing is, I am extremely doubtful I’m ever going to see either of those things. At least not in this cycle.

You remember how in the movie it turns out Emma Thompson intended for her protagonist to die in her novel, thus Will Ferrell was also fated to die? I’m pretty confident at the end of my novel it will turn out that all these symptoms I’m experiencing mean nothing because I’m not pregnant. My body is just playing one huge, cruel joke on me. I’m not that girl who has a multitude of serious medical problems and ends up magically falling pregnant. I’m not that lucky.

To make matters worse, we’ve realized I can’t start my next IVF cycle in a week’s time, as was originally planned. It’s something we should have known before now, but the truth has only just dawned on us.

About six months ago Doug and I agreed to a long weekend in the Barossa Valley with his boss and her husband. The Barossa Valley is about an hour northeast of Adelaide in South Australia. It’s a beautiful part of the world, and also where a large proportion of Australia’s wines are produced. We’ve been looking forward to the trip for months. I’ve never actually been to the Barossa, and I haven’t had any vacation time from work since 2009 because I’ve been using all my leave to attend medical appointments and recover from surgeries. I desperately need time away. I desperately need a few days off work that doesn’t involve pain, sickness or hospitals.

But here’s the problem. We will be leaving on Wednesday 28th August and returning on Sunday 1st September. Assuming I get my period this weekend, that will put us at cycle day 11 or 12 when we go away. Anyone going through IVF will understand how critical those few days are. A normal IVF cycle involves a trigger shot late on day 14, and egg pick up on day 16. Even though I’ll be back home in Melbourne for day 16 of my cycle, they can’t trigger me on day 14 without scanning my ovaries first to confirm my follicles are ready. Thus, I can’t do IVF in August. It’s just not possible.

The frustrating thing is, I’ve never had one of those text book normal IVF cycles. My first cycle I was triggered on day 17 and had egg pick up on day 19. My second cycle, I injected for 24 days and ended up not even getting to egg pick up. There’s nothing to indicate I’ll have a normal cycle this time either. But there’s no way the doctor will allow me to go without a scan between day 11 and day 15.

This was supposed to be a win/win month for us. We would either end up miraculously pregnant after I ovulated for the first time ever, or we would dive head first into our third fresh IVF cycle. Yet somehow, as usual, nothing goes to plan in our world and August is going to be a lose/lose month. There will be no one-in-a-million pregnancy and there will be no IVF. I can’t believe I’m so unlucky even my first vacation of any description in five years is contributing to my problems.

I know it’s only a month to wait. I know September isn’t so far away. I know in the grand scheme of things a month doesn’t really matter. But I’m still so supremely frustrated. I’m sick to death of treading water. I’m sick of waiting for it to be my turn for something good to happen. I’m sick of life passing me by. I’m sick of hearing about my sister-in-law and her amazing, awesome, fantastic, easy pregnancy. I don’t want to be injecting myself with hormones when her baby is born. I just won’t cope.

I know what you’re all going to say: Calm down Sadie, relax, take a deep breath. You’re only nine days past ovulation. You don’t know for sure you’re not pregnant yet.

Rationally, I know that’s all true. But I’m not rational right now. I think my hormones are getting the better of me tonight and I can’t help feeling this way. I just want to curl up in a ball and weep. I think the only thing that will cure this is a good night’s sleep.

For now I have Pitch Perfect in the dvd player, a cup of caffeine-free tea warming my belly, my little snuggle-bug puppy curled up in my lap and my husband keeping a watchful eye on me. There’s not much more that can help me tonight.

Tomorrow will be a better day.