Thursday, June 9, 2016

Our FET...What I Did, Didn't Do, and Why

Hey y' by now you know that we are pregnant.  If you don't...see this post HERE for my first beta results.  I am still in shock about it and very cautious to post a sign in my office at work...but since my TTC journey has been on public record since we began medical treatments, it's only fair that you know the good, the bad and the ugly.  This, thankfully, is part of the GOOD!

This was NINE YEARS in the making.  It took a long time to get to this part, so if you're just starting on your journey, know that for takes years.  Don't throw in the towel after a year or two or even three.  This is a marathon, not a sprint and for some, it's a double or triple marathon.  I don't want to discourage you, in fact, I want to encourage be patient in this wait.  To find comfort in the fact that there are many women just like you who are struggling and waiting for the same blessing.  Use this time wisely, get to know your spouse, spend time with family.  Do not let infertility rule your life because it can take over!

This blog post is dedicated to my TTC Sisters, the ones I laugh with, cry with, support and hold dear to my heart.  I wanted to take a moment and note what we did this cycle.  I've had several questions about what we did and why we did it so I thought, hey, let's BLOG about it!

First of all, let's address the FET.  That's Frozen Embryo Transfer.  Why frozen?  Why not fresh?  Did we want to try fresh?  What made us decide to skip that option?

I went with my doctor on this (Mark Trolice at Fertility CARE).  I call him Dr. Mark.  Now, Dr. Mark has been in this game a long time and is double board certified in his field.  He has gone through infertility with his wife and they are the proud parents of an adopted daughter.  He is kind, he listens and he knows his business.  So when he suggested that we skip a fresh and go with frozen, I agreed.

You see, our lady bits are under heavy medication and surveillance during stims (that's the shots and patches and medications you take while forcing your ovaries to mass produce eggs).  This causes swelling, hormone imbalance, and even sometimes longer time to return to "normal".  Starting at "normal" for an embryo transfer is what Dr. Mark believes leads to a successful cycle.  For this reason, he recommends a frozen transfer.  Now I'm not saying he wouldn't have done a fresh cycle.  But we wanted the best case scenario for our embryo.  Somehow implanting an embryo in an area that that swollen and shot up with hormones didn't feel like the right time for us.  So, together with Dr. Mark, we decided a frozen transfer.  And for us, it was a good decision.  I can't say that it will work for you, or even say that it is BETTER than a fresh cycle.  I can only share what we did that produced a BFP in the end.  It's really up to you to decide what is best for your family.  But my non-medical, I didn't go to college for this, I only had a BFP opinion is....take a break, give your lady bits time to chill and get back to normal, and do a frozen transfer.

What did we do after embryo transfer?  Was it bed rest or back to work?  Why?

The jury is ALL OVER THE BOARD on this one so again, I went with what Dr. Mark ordered which was back to work.  The day of transfer I was given a Valium, so let's just say things were a bit of a blur and I spent the rest of the day and night post-transfer in bed asleep, even snoring according to the man behind the sample, Daddy Bun.  SUREEEE, where is the video of this alleged snoring hmm??  There is no video?  Well then IT DIDN'T HAPPEN!!

But the next day it was back to work for me.  Here's the thought process behind that decision.  First of all, I work in an office so my job isn't filled with a lot of heavy lifting.  Post transfer you want to be sure there is blood flowing down to the lady bits and the best way to do that is to MOVE AROUND.  Now, I know there are doctors out there who demand bed rest, so I asked about this and the advice to me was to resume normal activities as soon as possible.  Dr. Mark, in his infinite baby creating wisdom, agreed that the best thing to keep blood flowing through your body is to keep moving.  He also added that most pregnant women don't undergo special bed rest restrictions and still become pregnant...I agreed.  This put the decision to rest for us.

Did I do the Pomegranate Juice and Pineapple Core?  Warm socks?  Lukewarm drinks?  What was the post-transfer routine for the TWW? 

This is still hotly debated.  There are women who do these things and get pregnant.  There are women who do these things and don't get pregnant.  To me, that says it's more about the woman, not the rituals the woman completes.  I bought Pom juice and pineapple with the full intent of following the rituals for the simple fact that these things do not hurt your chances to conceive.  Do they help?  I can't say for sure.  There just isn't any medical statistic that shows it works.  Did I do them for five days?  No, I did them for three days.  I don't like Pom juice so it was difficult to choke that down.  I love pineapple but we went to the grocery store and my pineapple was pushed to the back of the fridge and sometimes for this girl, out of sight...out of mind.

I didn't follow the warm socks routine but a few days that my feet were actually cold.  You see I'm in central Florida and cold...well it just doesn't happen much here.  So if my feet felt cold, I put on my fuzzy slippers.  If not, I didn't bother.

How about the lukewarm drinks?  What is the deal with that?  You see, they say an embryo wants to be warm and cozy and if you're drinking cold drinks the blood rushes to your stomach instead of your uterus...and where does Dr. Mark want the blood flowing?  To your lady bits!  I followed this strictly during all three failed IUI's.  For this transfer, I drank what I wanted at whatever temperature I wanted.  Now, for my water, I don't really care for ice cold water.  So I didn't mind pouring my Brita water into a cup with no ice and we keep that on the counter.  But the Pom juice I drank for a few days, that was cold.  The drinks in a restaurant at lunch, they were cold.

What didn't I do post transfer?  

I didn't swim in the pool and y' was HOT!!  I didn't take a bath (but I did shower, don't worry I didn't run around all stinky).  I didn't go out on our boat due to rough waters and a bumpy ride.  I skipped the sweets and the high carb foods.  I didn't do any heavy lifting and I limited what I did carry to about ten pounds.  I skipped all alcohol and drugs (whatttt, no drugs?? Yes y'all, just say no).  Oh and I stayed off the trampoline...OK fine I don't even have a trampoline.  But they say things can causes the embryo to detach from your lady bits and I didn't want that so it was no rough housing or wresting with the nieces and nephews for this girl.

Did I pee on a stick?  Why?  Why not?  How to avoid it?

No, I didn't pee on a stick.  The reason is I wanted to enjoy the PUPO (Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise) status.  They say it takes up to 7 days post transfer for a pregnancy to show up, now if you're peeing on a stick on day 4, 5, and 6 and it's negative, what is going to happen?  You're going to be upset, you're going to think it didn't work, you're going to psyche yourself out of your pregnancy.  I didn't want to feel that way.  So I waited until just before our beta to test and I used a fancy digital test.  How do you avoid it?  DO NOT GO TO THE STORE.  Seriously, the temptation is too great for me so I have to avoid the stores that sell the tests.  Otherwise I'll buy them.  Sure, it was tempting and I wanted to know, but I also didn't want to know so I just went with the safe routine and drove past the store!!

When did we do the beta?        

A beta is a blood test to determine if you're pregnant.  Let me share some quick beta facts before moving on.

HCG is human chorionic gonadotropin which is not fun to say so we call it HCG. It's the hormone we want to see in a pregnancy test.  These levels generally double every 48-72 hours.  Most pregnancies double within 72 hours which is why some doctors wait three days to perform a second beta.  A "normal" HCG is very difficult to determine so they have come up with an average that you can follow.  A lower beta at the beginning can still produce a health baby!  That is an important fact.    

Different clinics perform beta testing on different days.  This is why you see a vast difference in beta numbers.  It is important to consider the number of days past transfer that a beta is completed before you compare your beta to an average or to some number you see on a social media site.  A lot of people thought my beta was extremely high, when it was really just an average number.  That is based on the days past transfer (DPT)

Now, my first beta was completed at 13 days past 5 day transfer (typically seen as 13dp5dt).  We transferred a 5 day embryo.  This makes my beta numbers showing at 18dp5dt.  So I was beta tested at 18dp5dt.  Here is a chart I used to check my HCG levels against the average.  I highlighted my date of beta.  My first beta was 556.  This is right on point with 18dp5dt.


So lets do some math!  Oh yay, a math lesson from No Bun!  If you transferred a 5 day embryo and tested on day 9, you're looking for the lowest number on this chart which is 14.  Your beta should be between 17 and 119 with an average of about 48.  Now, imagine you're comparing that to mine...but we tested on different see how this can look?  Yea, you don't want to compare betas unless you know exactly when the transfer was completed and what day they tested.

THIS IS IMPORTANT!  Beta numbers are compared all the time between TTC Sisters and I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to check the days before you go comparing side by side notes with your friend!

When will I change my name from "nobunintheoven" and what will it be?

HA!  This was a popular question and comment on my Instagram account.  I am currently "nobunintheoven".  I started my Instagram in October of last year and everyone knows me as "nobun".  Part of me wants to change my name, but part of me ties that to my identity.  It's who I's what I'm known as.  I can't say for sure that I will or won't change my Instagram name.  For now, I'll remain "nobun" and if I decide to change that, I will surely make it known!

What will it be?  I've toyed with a few names, lilbunintheoven, mammasgotabunintheoven, mrsbunintheoven, ladybunintheoven, bunintheoven and even mammabun.  I just don't know, the possibilities can be endless when you build your name around an oven!  dontovercookthebunintheoven seems a bit long I won't do that one!

EDITED TO ADD....SYMPTOMS!!!  What about symptoms while waiting for beta?  

Oh my heck, thanks the gorgeous Ari who reminded me I missed the all important symptoms during the TWW!  I really only had ONE SYMPTOM which was sore bewbies.  Y'all they hurt all over.  Now I've experienced soreness before my cycle began but this was different.  This was soreness all around, not just the sides like my usual cycle.  This was not soreness from grabbing them to check if they were sore (yes we are ALL guilty of this).  This hurt to sit in a bra, I needed bra extenders kind of sore.  This was different than all my prior IUI's.  And this was really the only symptom that I've noticed even to this day *currently week 5*

So I'm certainly not discounting the people who have a vast array of symptoms during the just didn't happen for me.  So keep in mind, a symptom, or lack of symptoms is not a good indicator of whether it worked!  Thanks again Ari for the reminder!

Do you have a question about my transfer that I didn't cover?  Do you know someone who could benefit from this information?  SHARE it on Pinterest or Facebook or just email the link to someone you know!  I think this is important information to share!  Thanks so much for following along on my journey.  I'll be adding a new Page to this blog called Our Pregnancy Journey.  I'll be documenting our progress, how it goes and photos.  As always, I'll be on Instagram to share a kind word or a funny photo of the journey along the way.

Thanks for reading, thanks for putting up with me and thanks for being a part of our journey to baby bun!