I've got sac

In a shocking turn of events, I have today procured an ultrasound and seen with my very own eyes the gestational sac that will hopefully contain a properly forming Enid or Bertrand. Luckily, there is not a sac for each of them, as twins were not on my agenda. Of course had I seen an Enid sac and a Bertrand sac I would have been happy, but at the same time bloody terrified. I am glad the sac contains something more...palatable soon, as to be quite honest, the word "sac" just makes me think of a veiny, hairy pair of testicles and I don't need that image frequently haunting me thank you very much.

You may wonder how the ultrasound happened, given the past week's difficulty in getting much of anything out of anyone in the medical establishment. No, it was a real ultrasound, not an illicit procedure occuring in my kitchen incorporating rudimentary tools fashioned out of various utensils. Here is the secret--it all comes down to my astounding stupidity.

For all the obsessing I have done since the start of the IVF cycle, it seems that I am nonetheless capable of forgetting major information, such as when my retrieval took place. The retrieval was of course not that long ago, yet somehow I already managed to get the dates muddled up. I had calculated my current stage as 6w0d as of today, based on the retrieval taking place on 18 November. A small look at the calendar or a glance at my blog would have clarified that I am in fact a complete simpleton and that the retrieval occurred on 22 November. So rather than being just at 6 weeks, I am in fact at 5w3d. Yes, I am an imbecile.

Let us pretend for just a moment that this rather significant event did not yet dawn on me. As I mentioned in my previous post, I enlisted my mom to find out if I could get a scan locally whilst in the States*. She arranged one for me, stating that I would only need a prescription/letter from WHYBAML. I emailed WHYBAML, who said I could collect the letter from him today after 2pm. When I went to his office, he sat down with me, asked me when the retrieval was, and said that as I was at 6 weeks, we could do a scan now. Never before have I been so anxious to drop my trousers for a man. This despite the fact that it has been a good lunar month since I shaved my legs, and at least a few weeks since I tended the garden. Some may not have accumulated much hair during this period, but as a woman with PCOS I'm like a fucking Yeti after a mere two days of not shaving. It ain't pretty.

WHYBAML said the sac looked great, and that he anticipated a heartbeat would be visible by the time I had my scan in the States next Thursday. Fast forward to post-ultrasound time spent lounging in his office smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee, when he realised that my retrieval was on the 22nd. I felt like a complete airhead as it was, and even more so when he said he would not have done the scan had he realised I was not yet at 6 weeks. He said that regardless, Bertrand/Enid's house was all the more impressive being 4 days behind the stage he initially thought it was.

Before we left, WHYBAML said congratulations a few times, as well as saying "Well done" twice. The whole idea of "well done" makes me laugh, as if this is a test I studied really hard for and consequently got a high grade. My role in this whole process was minimal. All I did was swear off coffee and have long needles stuck up my cootch. Just another day at the office really.

This is the end of the road for me and WHYBAML assuming Enid/Bertrand progresses normally. After I get back from my holiday I am in the hopefully capable hands of the NHS. WHYBAML specified, like the good little doctor that he is, that he would like to know how things go. He shook my hand warmly, and gave me one last pat on the back. He's nice like that. Godspeed WHYBAML. What a long, strange trip it has been.

*I have been quoted the bargain basement price of $160 for the transvaginal ultrasound next week. Here I was fearful of it being $500+, so this is a huge relief.


Neither here nor there

Move along people, nothing to see here. We may have a possible beta (202) from last Friday's blood draw - 14dp3dt - but then again, it could just be part of a phone number, a random lab tech's favourite digits, or a blood sample categorisation number. Who knows? I know the woman at the GP's office doesn't.

I phoned up the GP on Tuesday to see if my results were in yet. Herein is the abridged transcript:

Me: Hi, this is Ms Pru, I'm calling to check on results of my blood test.

Ignorant bitchslut from hell: What kind of blood test?

Me: Beta/hcg

Her: Uh...yeah. Let me look...oh. Oh. Hmmm...yeah, it's uh, positive for pregnancy.

Me: Oooook...is there a number included?

Her: :::incredulously:::: What kind of number?

Me: I don't know, that's why I'm asking. Hopefully a high one, a beta.

Her: I don't know what that is, but there is a 202 or something on the form.

Me: Do you think that could be it?

Her: I have absolutely no idea. Does that sound like what you're looking for?

Me: Uh, maybe.

Her: So anyway, it's positive for pregnancy. Is that everything?

Me: It appears that way, yes. Thank you.

It's so easy in their world, isn't it? You pee on some sticks that say you're pregnant, a blood test says you're pregnant and that's it. I'm a freak for wanting to get a rough idea of viability.

After this debacle, I called WHYBAML's office. I spoke to his lovely practice nurse, who in comparison to IBSFH was an absolute dream despite not telling me what I wanted to hear. I was hoping to squeeze a scan in before I left for the States on Sunday, as we will then be away until 2 January. If this whole thing is to be believed, I am 5w5d today, which I know is a push for a scan which would be at the very latest, 6 weeks, but I thought I'd try. No dice. I would have to wait until I get back, and probably wouldn't get one until 4 or 5 January at the very earliest. That didn't go down well in Pruland because it is hard enough being in limbo now, let alone all the way to 8 weeks and some days without a scan.

This is where it gets tricky. I have had to draft in my Mom, which means I had to make with the "pregnancy" announcement last night on the phone. My Mom never takes no for an answer, so I thought she'd be the perfect person to try and get me a scan while I'm in the States, despite not being a patient of any local clinic. I feel evil getting my Mom to do my dirty work, but she seems content given the circumstances. I hope it works out in our favour. I can't imagine not being able to see anything until 8 1/2 weeks. Does anyone happen to know if my plan is feasible? I have attempted to block out all memories of the US healthcare system, so I have no idea if I'm asking for the moon on a stick (I have no idea what that means, but I like it).

Meanwhile, in a world consumed with doubt and self-pity, I'm trying to keep The Dude from being too optimistic. I have explained to him that this could all go tits up in a moment's notice, but he's just too damn excited. It makes me sad really, knowing how desperately he has wanted this to happen. I'm hopeful that either Bertrand or Enid (this is the non-slow embryo) hang on and develop into one of those real live baby things I've heard so much about. If it does, I'll have to tell him to stop calling it Embryo Fred, because Bertrand and Enid are far more fetching names for embryos.

Moving right along, I want to thank everyone for all the fantastic and supporting comments you have left lately. When I say that I don't know what I'd do without all of you, I mean it from the very bottom of my selfish, canary-loving heart. I would certainly lose my way without the infertile brethren contingent. That said, I would like to apologise for not commenting on many blogs as of late, or for that matter, much ever. I'm a really dull commenter and feel tremendously inadequate when so many of you are beautifully eloquent and say such heartfelt things. I can generally only muster a, "Uhh...durrr...I'm....duhhh...sorry to hear you're upset." before shuffling off to read more blogs. Rest assured I am reading, and often many posts make me cry like the poor excuse for a bitter cynic that I am.



IVF messageboards are baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad news. I have just spent some time on some and I am now convinced that I have a chemical pregnancy, blighted ovum, or otherwise something else very negative indeed.

I had some blood taken yesterday which will hopefully yield a beta result if one is even noted to be passed on to me. Of course, the results are not expected to be available until Wednesday at the very earliest. Fanfuckingtastic. I know betas don't necessarily rule out the things that can go wrong prior to the first ultrasound, but I just wanted brief respite from constant worry. If I get to the point of ultrasound, it will not be until at least the first week of January as I am away on holiday until then. Waiting, waiting, and more waiting.

I'll admit it, I'm jealous too. Everyone else always gets lovely betas just after a few positive HPTs, so they know where they stand. I'm in a miserable state of limbo at the moment and I hate it. That happiness was as fleeting as I predicted it would be. Throughout four years of infertility I struggled with not being "normal", and to a certain extent I thought, well, hoped that would change if I got pregnant. It doesn't take long to realise that things will never be normal. I do not have the luxury of a positive pregnancy test or four materialising into a healthy baby nine months later without worry and obsession ruling the duration of that time.

Can't I just go to sleep for a few weeks and wake up right before my ultrasound? :::sigh:::


Beta, schmeta!

In case anyone is particularly concerned about my beta results, let me just say that you and I will be waiting awhile. Say, a week or so. Maybe. Perhaps there will be no beta, just a simple "Yes, for now you are pregnant." or "No, it's over before it ever really began." Who knows? The healthcare system here is not so bothered about women like me, and they make the assumption that two lines equal a healthy baby nine months later. Oh, if such fairy tales were true...

The story is this - my clinic is in London, which is about 2 hours from me. In order to get to the clinic, I need to take a day off work, drive to a place outside London, park, take a train, then take the Tube. After my transfer the clinic gave me a form which clearly ticks the box marked "Beta HCG (Blood)". The assumption was that all of their patients must live in London, and hence it must be simple for them to have blood drawn and analysed. I stupidly believed that this would be easily obtained from my local hospital, which, thanks to an email to WHYBAML, I learned only does urine tests. I do not need this, as I have already peed on four of my own.

Oh, you can get a standard blood test. You just have to call your GP, have them write a form consenting for your blood to be let, and then you're good to go. Or are you? The blood may be taken, but I am not entirely sure if they give you an actual beta number. If they do, it takes about a week if not more to get it. I spoke to my GP at great length today, trying to maintain composure whilst insisting that I get this test done. She was sympathetic and asked me to go in tomorrow to have some blood taken, and I believe the insinuation was that I would come out of it all with a beta. Maybe. In a week. Or two.

I don't want this to turn into a flame war on the UK health care system. Aside from this, I have no complaints. We never had to pay $500 here for the privilege of waiting in the ER for 4 hours and an aspirin as we have in the States. I can go to the doctor here if I'm sick without worrying how I'm going to come up with the $200-$250 it would cost back home without insurance. Part of me thinks that perhaps not coddling patients so much is a good thing. After all, don't all these betas just cause people more worry?

Regardless of how long this takes, I'm relieved to have it sorted. Last night I was agonising over it, debating who I would call and how I could find out if they even do betas here. This morning The Dude called me at work to talk about it and I started crying at my desk. I tried to push all of my hair into my face to disguise the sobbing, but I think the incessant sniffling and choked "yeah, I'll be fine"-type things I was muttering to The Dude gave it away to my co-workers. After I hung up the phone I ran down the hallway to the bathroom, locked myself in a stall and cried for 15 minutes. Tonight I realised that this is the first time I have cried at work during all of this infertility stuff, and it's when things *might* finally be looking up! I didn't cry after all of the negative tests. I didn't cry when I was on some severe mood-altering shit during my IUIs. Yet here I am with potential good news for once and what do I do but break down at work. Leave it to me to do it the wrong way round.

On a somewhat related note, I learned that husbands cannot be trusted to purchase pregnancy tests. After the distress pregnancy test number 2 caused with its I'm-kinda-there-but-kinda-not-just-to-fuck-with-your-head second line, I sent The Dude out to get more for me to pee on. He came back with these completely antiquated tests straight out of the early 20th century, or else left over from some high school chemistry lab in the 1950s. I don't know if any of you connoisseurs are familiar with these fossils, but they are composed of a little stick, like litmus paper, which you dip into a plastic container of your urine. You have to leave the little litmus thing in the container (but only up the the line!!) for up to 10 minutes. Do not let the litmus slide into the urine and past the line, because well...who knows what will happen then. I dread to think. You might get four lines, and wouldn't that be even more baffling?

Husbands can, however, surprise you. They may not be able to pick out the right pregnancy test to calm your frazzled nerves, but they are occasionally capable of having moments when it is realised how invested he is in all of this too. The Dude spent some of his drive to work yesterday working out the probability that all four tests could be wrong. I'm not talking a basic calculation taking into account the accuracy rates of the tests, but a full-on, brain-busting precise measurement of how unlikely it would be that all of them are inaccurate. Needless to say it's a large number. I can't count higher than 100, so I won't go in to details. Now I'm just waiting for the detailed, colour-coded chart to be drawn up.


Floating on seas of disbelief

Or, to go the route of the crude and unimaginative...well fuck me.

There once was a test, peed on by a girl at 10dp3dt. The girl looked at the test after a minute and decided that the second window, was, like all the others that came before, a stark and offensive white. The girl sighed, rolled her eyes, and sat on the toilet pondering how to tell her husband that this too had failed. She got up, went to put the test in the bin that had seen many of these white sticks in its short time, and realised that there was a second line. The girl felt her stomach rising up through her throat, believing that in any minute it would fade to white.

She ran up the stairs to tell the boy, waving the test and saying, "oh my god" over and over again. The boy grabbed it, peered at the stick and shouted, "I don't know how to read one of these things!" The girl frantically explained that he was clearly a fucking idiot, and that two lines meant something good. Something never anticipated. The boy hugged the girl tightly and proceeded to lecture the girl on fully cleaning off the stick after urination. He is nothing if not practical.

The girl spent all of 11dp3dt pretending to work, but internally agonising over ectopics, chemical pregnancies, miscarriages and dodgy pregnancy tests. The boy spent his day shaking and avoiding all emails from the girl lest they contain bad news. The girl got home and wasted no time peeing on another stick. The line was evident, but lighter than the day before. The girl and the boy panic. Perhaps it is all an illusion. Perhaps the joy and excitement will be over before it really began.

They wonder how they will make it to the blood test on Friday. If they make it to that point and it is good news, they will worry about the first ultrasound to see if there is life inside that crazy, mixed up body. They don't know what they would do if there was not. They do know, however, that the unimaginable bliss seeing the two lines for the first time in 4 years of trying, and those 30 seconds of shock, amazement and joy made all of that agony go away, if only for a moment.


Diary of an obsessive panty checker

In the past couple of days I have been pushing my bladder to breaking point because I have been too fearful to see what lurks below. How is it that I have convinced myself that if I don't look, blood won't be there? Intellectually I am well aware that if I am bleeding, I am bleeding. There is no amount of looking-in-the-panties aversion that will make it go away. Every slight twinge or subtle cramp-like feeling is evaluated and ordained as the start of my period.

I was telling The Dude last night that it's the element of surprise that I can't handle. If it was just the matter of a negative or positive test on a certain day, I could deal with the outcome much better. The idea that at any moment this could all come crashing down on me is terrifying. My clinic doesn't want me to have a blood test until Friday, exactly two weeks post transfer. Pfft. I'm a well-travelled infertile people, there ain't no way I'm waiting to test until that point! Surely they are aware of our incessant need to test. Assuming my period does not arrive before Tuesday, I plan on practicing the ancient infertile art of peeing on a stick on that day. I'm crossing my fingers and praying to the god of canaries that there is no bleeding or spotting before that point.

On a much lighter and significantly less sanguine note, I eagerly look forward to hearing how the Midwestern gathering of infertiles knees up went yesterday. I'm hoping my Cheese Wife didn't drink too many mojitos and get her tits out, thus embarrassing herself, my Innard Twin, and a few other notable luminaries.