I’d rather vomit, please.

Today is the first day I actually feel pregnant. I freaked out on Mr. Malaprop this morning when he woke me up too early because he was having a computer issue he wanted me to fix. Then, when he (justifiably) got angry at me for stomping around and yelling, I burst into tears and decided he was going to leave me and I would have to crawl back to my parents’ house in New England, pregnant and alone. At that point he realized I was being hormonal, and hugged me and petted me until I calmed down. Now I am at work, feeling subdued and embarrassed. And pregnant.

Honestly, I’d prefer morning sickness to mood swings. But given my moody history, I suppose I should have anticipated this.

And the winner is . . .

Me!

The blood test was Friday morning. The clinic called at 2:30 pm. My HCG beta was 1106. I am pregnant.

No, wait, let me re-phrase that:

I AM PREGNANT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We find out on Friday whether we’re carrying twins.

Now if only someone could fast forward the next two months, so I could stop panicking about the possibility of miscarriage.

Doctor knows best.

I haven’t had occasion to discuss this yet here, but I have a big issue with the over-medicalization of women’s bodies, pregnancy, and birth. I know this sounds odd – even to me – considering all the medical madness I’m going through in order to get pregnant. But I firmly believe that women need to thoroughly educate themselves, and advocate for themselves in situations where doctors and other medical professionals tend to charge forward without explaining or asking permission.

I mention this mainly to contextualize something an anesthesiologist said to me yesterday (in a non-medical setting).

“Epidurals are great because they numb you from the waist down, so instead of sweating and screaming in pain you can cooperate with the doctors and do what you’re told.”

I bit my tongue – had to, because the man’s a client at my law firm – but seriously? Do what you’re told?

Oh! (ss)

Ha ha! Nice one, universe.

At the end of a scheduling phone call to the clinic, it occurred to me to mention the incredible bloating and discomfort. “Oh!” said the study coordinator, grabbing a calendar and counting rapidly. “That’s very exciting!”

Not the word I was expecting, I thought. Out loud I asked, “Really? Why?”

“Because it means you’re probably hyperstimulating.”

“Um, isn’t that a bad thing?”

“Well, yes, but since your symptoms didn’t start until almost a week after your embryo transfer, it might very well mean you’re pregnant.”

Apparently, OHSS is caused by HCG, the pregnancy hormone. Some women who get it, get it from the HCG trigger shot they give right before you ovulate. But other women develop it when their own bodies begin producing HCG in pregnancy.

I asked cautiously, “Should I get excited? Because I don’t want to get excited if I’m going to be wrong.”

“I think you can get excited.”

So, don’t tell anyone. But I’m excited.

I am also drinking three liters of Gatorade and water each day in order to prevent myself from popping or going into organ failure or something unpleasant like that.

Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome

I might pop.

I can only assume that my current state is related to either 1) the IVF, 2) pregnancy, or 3) having somehow unknowingly swallowed a whole pumpkin, stem and all.

Which is to say, I have been gassy and bloated for the last four days or so. Beyond anything I’ve ever experienced. It hurts to take a deep breath, it hurts to walk or sit or move in any way, and it hurts to roll over in my sleep. I have, of course, decided that this means I’m pregnant (though I have not completely ruled out the pumpkin theory). So I called my mother to ask her opinion.

My mother didn’t figure out that she was pregnant with me until she was six months along. Any time I’ve asked her about (possible) pregnancy symptoms, she’s shrugged and said she didn’t have any symptoms other than heartburn. But when I mentioned the Bloat, she got a little excited. As it turns out, gas and bloat similar to what I’m experiencing are what finally got her to go to a doctor. Who misdiagnosed her as having an ulcer, but that’s not the point. The point is, woo hoo! Maybe.

Update: Internet says gas and bloating are caused by increased progesterone levels.  I’m taking 600 mg of progesterone suppositories daily.  So much for the pregnancy symptom theory.

The two week wait blows.

Today is day 6 of 14.  That is all.

Seven Dwarves of IVF

Achey

Bloaty

Crampy

Moody

Hungry

Whiney

Snoozy

I tried to illustrate them, but I wasn’t very successful.

I am a blue-ribbon hen.

Twenty. I produced twenty eggs. I have been told this is good.

Having been told we should be at the clinic by 11:30am for my 12pm retrieval, we arrived at at 11am. And sat. And waited. And read Us Weekly, because although I had brought What’s the Matter With Kansas, my attention span just wasn’t up for it. Eventually they called Mr. Malaprop into the Pr0n Room, and took me into the procedure room. The anesthetic made the ceiling start to spin, and then I was out. When I woke up, everything hurt. A lot. I remember the doctor patting my leg and saying, “we got twenty eggs!”

“Is that good?” I asked weakly.

“That’s great,” he said. “We’ll call you tomorrow to let you know how many fertilized.” He patted my leg again and left.

Mr. Malaprop came in and held my hand while I lay there, whining softly, until a nurse came in. “I can hear you from way out there! You sound like a cat! I’d better give you some Darvoset.” Fortunately, I was awake enough to fend that off (see below entry about how Darvoset = codeine = puking), so I got some tylenol instead.

After a while, they had me sit up, legs dangling over the edge of the table. This was fine until it suddenly wasn’t, and I knew I was about to pass out. I lay back down. The same nurse who had laughed at my feline whining now brought me apple juice, which made things a little better. I sat up again after about fifteen minutes, and then Mr. Malaprop helped me to get dressed and a nurse wheeled me down to our car.

When I got home, I turned on The Princess Bride, and fell asleep sometime around the Pit of Despair. The rest of the day was spent drifting in and out of sleep, in and out of pain. I ate some toast, took my pills, and tried to drink a lot of water, but the pressure of a swollen bladder on my very tender ovaries was moderately excruciating.

Today I am back at work, though still very tender. I am trying not to jiggle around too much.

And the doctor just called! Because I am lazy, I will just copy another chat session with my friend C.

me: I laid twenty (20) eggs! I just talked to the doctor, and fifteen of the fertilized, but of those, three were abnormal (2 sperm got in), so we’re left with twelve.
Which is, apparently, a whole lot
and because there are so many, he’s going to wait to transfer them until they’re at the blastocyst stage, on Saturday
Because we’ll probably lose some between embryo and blastocyst
Then he’s going to transfer two.
YAY!!!!!!!!!!!1
I am closer to pregnant than I ever have been
c: that’s an insane number of eggs
me: I was pretty pleased
c: [who donated eggs when we were in college] I’m apparently super fertile and I think the most I ever came up with was like, 13
me: I was extra-motivated
c: 😉
me: go me! go me!
c: are the other ones frozen?
me: They will be. I think he’s going to grow them all out to blastocysts – the ones that make it – insert two, and freeze the rest.
c: what happens when two sperm get into one egg?
me: I’m not sure what happens, but I imagine it’s an XYY problem
according to the intarwebs – “Successful fertilization requires not only that a sperm and egg fuse, but that not more than one sperm fuses with the egg. Fertilization by more than one sperm – polyspermy – almost inevitably leads to early embryonic death.”
c: polyspermy is a good word
I hope the unpolyspermied eeggs are sitting in your freezer next to the spoogesicles.
what’s a blastocyst?
me: according to the intarwebs again

A blastocyst is an embryo that has developed for five to seven days after fertilization. At this point the embryo has two different cell types and a central cavity. It has just started to differentiate. The surface cells, called the trophectoderm, will become the placenta, and the inner cells, called the inner cell mass, will become the fetus. A healthy blastocyst should begin hatching from its outer shell, called the zona pellucida by the end of the sixth day. Within about 24 hours after hatching, it should begin to implant into the lining of the mother’s uterus.

Also! Bonus!

Transferring blastocysts following IVF also provides another benefit – reduction of the possibility of multiple pregnancy. Some 2 or 3-day-old embryos do not have the capacity to become high quality blastocysts and a viable pregnancy. However, on day two or three of culture we do not have reliable methods to determine which embryos will be viable long-term. By culturing embryos to the blastocyst stage we have more opportunity to choose the most competent ones for transfer. We can then transfer fewer embryos and obtain high pregnancy rates with less risk for high order (triplets or higher) multiple pregnancy.

Where I’m at.

I’ve been stabbing myself in the stomach for nine days now, and in the thigh for five. The Ganirelix, which is the thigh-stabby, ovulation-preventing med, gives me a hive around the injection site for an hour or so. No big deal. The Follistim just makes me bruised – I look like I have been repeatedly bitten in the stomach by a small, angry snake. Either the Citra-Cal, the Folplex, or both are giving me indigestion. One or all of the above drugs are making me incredibly sleepy.

Saturday night, at 1am (Sunday morning for sticklers), I’m supposed to get the HCG shot. I’m hoping I can get a friend to do it, since I don’t feel super-comfortable with stabbing myself where I can’t see. I’d ask my husband to do it, but it would be terribly inconvenient to have him faint after putting the needle in, leaving me with half an ampule of medication dangling from my buttock. Plus he might hit his head when he fell, and be totally useless for babying me after the egg retrieval.

The egg retrieval, which is scheduled for Monday, should be the fun part. I’m looking forward to the Valium, though I’m a little apprehensive about the anesthetic. I don’t think vomiting will be much fun right after having my vagina impaled with a big-ass(pirating) needle. I will return to work on Tuesday, when I will endeavor to update y’all (all you thousands of people who read this thing) on how it went.