Saturday, July 19, 2014

In Which Calliope Has a Baby In Her Belly

"Mommy, I have a baby in my belly! Look, my belly is growing!"

"Wow, Calliope. I see your belly is getting bigger!"

"Mommy, do you have a baby in your belly, too?"

"I don't know, lovey. I hope so."

The background story is that I did a fresh IVF cycle this past month. The RE started me on a small dose of medications, and after a few days, started to reduce them even more. Soon after, I started to feel sick. I mentioned it to the nurse at the RE's office (there with both Calliope and my niece in tow) and was promptly put on bed rest.

After a few days of rest, I felt much better. But my RE opted for a Lupron-only trigger -- with any HCG in my system, I was at high risk of developing Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS), since I had it before (and ended up hospitalized). I was also put on a restricted salt diet and told to measure my fluid intake and urine output.

My retrieval was on a Friday, July 4th. One summer camp friend slept over the night before and another picked me up that morning at 5:30 am. We got to the Long Island branch of the RE office in record time.

I woke up as I was being wheeled out of the OR and lay on the gurney in the recovery area for quite a while but never saw the RE that operated on me, so finally asked the nurses, "So how many did I get?"

The nurses glanced at each other then flipped open my chart, "Um, seventy-two, I think."

"Seventy-two? That can't be right." (I had fifty-two in my last IVF cycle, 3.5 years ago, and that was on higher doses of medications.)

"We'll go check."

A few minutes later, they were back and confirmed, "Yes, seventy-two. That's almost a record for us! We had one woman with eighty-nine."


So I left with a prescription for Dostinex, to help reduce my odds of developing OHSS. Even though there shouldn't have been any risk with the Lupron trigger, my RE was very concerned.

That first night, my belly was swollen and taut like a drum. I called the nurses' hotline just to check in, but luckily I didn't have any pain, and in the following days, the swelling gradually went down and my energy levels gradually normalized. No exercise, though -- strictly prohibited, a hardship for my endorphin-addicted self.

Of those 72 eggs, 41 were mature and 36 fertilized. Those 36 were popped into the incubator to grow until day five.

On day five, only two were emerging blastocysts and able to be biopsied for PGS. Those two biopsies were rushed to the PGS lab and the rest of my blasts were slipped back into the incubator for one more day to grow.

That night, I was freaking out, wondering what I would do if neither of the two were good. Would I put in an untested blast? Just wait a month? Oh, how I was loathe to wait.

Thankfully, the next morning as I was driving back to the clinic for my transfer, still waiting for the new, I got the call. One blast, a female, passed PGS.

I hung up the phone and laughed and cried simultaneously.

That little female got transferred an hour later, after an ultrasound to prove that my ovaries were healthy enough to withstand the procedure -- still swollen, but no free fluid in my abdomen, phew!

It was a horrible wait. The worst. After two failed frozen transfers in the period while my mother was dying, I was convinced this couldn't work.

The beta was yesterday, Friday. I was sure it was negative because I hadn't felt pregnant. Plus, of course, all my home pregnancy tests were negative.

Well, mostly. One of the early response tests was negative when I glanced at it after two minutes -- it said to read it between two and ten minutes later. An hour later, I came back to throw it away and noticed it was faintly positive. So I tested again. It was again faintly positive, but not until eleven minutes.

I had a false positive once when I was trying to conceive Calliope, and I think it was just an evaporation line. So I wasn't about to get my hopes up. I thought there was maybe a 1% chance I was pregnant.

Off I went to my beta, already scheming about the conversation I would have with my RE about what we could possibly do differently to increase my chances with the next transfer.

I got a call that afternoon from the nurse. Telling me that my beta was eight.


I started to get choked up as I asked, "so that means it's not viable, right?"

"Well, we can't say. We have to watch it and see what happens. Continue your medications for now and go back for another beta on Monday."

I sent off the email I had previously drafted to my RE, asking about plans for next transfer... but with an added message about the beta.

He wrote back that I should be "neither up nor down." And advised me that for next cycle, in addition to adding antibiotics and steroids to the mix (also baby aspirin -- he forgot that it seems to make my stomach bleed, based on worsening stomach pain and a brand new anemia), to work on finding a way to manage stress and "find my zen." He also said, "It might not happen as quickly this time, but this will happen!"

I was annoyed, for a minute, when I got his message. But after that first minute, I thought, "You know what, he's right. I've been way to stressed and miserable. Feeling so sure that this wouldn't work from even before the transfer."

And so, I've decided to choose hope.

I'm going to believe him that this will happen.

So for now, I'm hanging on in hopes that my little girl will hang on also. And if not this time, than next time. It will work.

And today, the more sensitive of the home pregnancy tests was positive at six minutes. So for now, I'm still pregnant. And hoping for -- and believing in -- miracles.

Can you see it? That ever so faint line? 


  1. Saying prayers and sending good vibes!

  2. Oh wow! Sending prayers, really hope she hangs on for the long journey!!

  3. Sending positive vibes, I say give hope a chance :)

  4. Sticky baby dust headed your way! So exciting!!!

  5. Hoping for you & your girl. Sending good thoughts

  6. Wow...72 eggs and 1 ended up at the finish line?! That shows us all what we are really up against. Hoping this one sticks and grows!

  7. Praying for this little one to keep on keepin' on.