Pregnancy Update

“She’s convinced she could hold back a glacier; but she couldn’t keep baby alive. Doubting if there’s a woman in there somewhere…” ~ Tori Amos

I don’t know what to say. I wish this was a happier update.

Some background (the quick and dirty kind)…After transfer of two 5-day old Grade 1 hatching blasts on February 2nd, we had a hectic, whirlwind ride getting home. It felt good to be back in our own house, sleeping in our own bed. And, contrary to doctor’s orders, I started peeing on a stick 4 days past transfer. At 5 days past 5 day transfer (5dp5dt…what would have been 10 dpo or days past ovulation), I got my first positive HPT (home pregnancy test) on a First Response. I kept testing over the next several days (much to my husband’s chagrin…in his words, “Babe, don’t bankrupt us by peeing on too many sticks.”). My first beta hCG on 12dp5dt was 58; the second on 14dp5dt was 112. We thought we were looking good. I was pregnant!!

Then we went for my first transvaginal ultrasound at 6 weeks, 2 days (6+2). We saw one small, empty-looking sac that measured 5+3. I asked the RE who was following me here stateside, “Shouldn’t we see a yolk sac? Or a fetal pole?” She could only say, “We should. This isn’t good. I’d give you about a 90% chance of miscarrying, but come back in a week to confirm.” She was in our room for all of about 5 minutes. Then she pulled out the ultrasound wand, handed me some tissue, laughed about something, and left. My husband and I were left in stunned silence, unable to move. We didn’t know what just happened. We had so many questions, but she was already gone. Eventually we both started crying, and just held each other. I got dressed and we left, vowing to NEVER return to that doctor again.

I did two things from there. First, I called the OB clinic at Boulder Foothills Community Hospital and made an appointment to see Dr. Diane Christopher (she specializes in high risk pregnancy). I would see her at 8+5. The second thing I did was start googling “empty sac 6 weeks.” I learned that what the first doctor was trying to say was that it looked like I had a blighted ovum. Apparently, this type of miscarriage happens often, even with IVF (by often, I mean if one is going to miscarry, this type is seen quite a bit.). I also found a blog posting called “When a Blighted Ovum is not a Blighted Ovum.” It basically talked about how, up until almost 9 weeks, a woman was told repeatedly that she had a blighted ovum and would miscarry. She refused medical management and she refused to schedule a D&C (dilation and curettage…the surgical removal of tissue and baby from the uterus after a miscarriage.). Then, at nearly 9 weeks, her baby suddenly showed up on the ultrasound. She now has a happy, healthy daughter that she would have essentially aborted had she listened to her doctor’s advice. There are so many other stories of misdiagnosed miscarriages; my husband and I had hope again. Reading these stories is basically how we got through the next two weeks until my appointment with Dr. Christopher.

At my appointment, DH and I were nervous. Dr. Christopher came in, we gave her some history, and she set me up for an ultrasound. Unfortunately, the news was the same. My gestational sac had grown larger, but it was still empty. Dr. Christopher tried vaginal, then abdominal, then vaginal again with the ultrasound equipment to try and see something. She said, “I’m so sorry. I really would expect to see more with you this far along.” Unlike our last appointment, she sat down with us and explained why she thought this was a miscarriage, what it meant, what she should see, etc. She answered our questions. And, without us asking, she mentioned that she would like to see me one more time at 10 weeks “to be 110% sure” before even discussing our options for management, and that I should keep taking my hormones until then. I will be forever grateful to her for that final peace of mind.

We go in on this Wednesday for that final appointment. I also went ahead and scheduled a D&C for this upcoming Friday. I don’t want to delay getting through this. The last time I miscarried, it took almost 2 weeks for me to start bleeding, and then I bled for about 10 days. It was incredibly emotional and painful. I was a walking train wreck. I don’t want to prolong the process and go through that again.

I’m not sure where we will go from here. For us, we have 2 options. Spend ~$3,000 for me to go back to Brno for FET (frozen embryo transfer). We have 1 x 6-day Grade 2 expanding blastocyst. With that, we run the risk of the embryo not surviving thaw.

Or, we can save up another $8-10,000 (I say $8k on the low end, because we now know our way around the city, and how to save even more money) for a second full DE IVF cycle. I emailed the English coordinator – Eva Kopecna – and found out that our donor will come in for a second donation. Eva will let us know when she comes in, and then we will pay to reserve this second set of eggs until we could afford to go back. With this, we run the risk that it will be another year+ before we can go back.

Each way has its own risk, and we will have to decide what to do. I do find it necessary to say that without Reprofit, DE IVF wouldn’t even be an option for us. At a cost of $43,000 for ONE DE cycle locally (that includes meds, ICSI, and cryopreservation of remaining embryos…if your insurance won’t cover the initial workup, add about $5,000), we never would have been able to go through the first cycle, much less consider a second. But I know that either way, we will keep trying, and we WILL have our baby. To give up hope would be to give up completely, and we aren’t ready to do that.

So what does our current situation mean for my blog? There are several more topics I have half finished right now…some about Czech and our thoughts on the clinic (that will be coming up next), some about Fragile X, some about getting pregnant with low AMH or as a FX carrier. And, eventually, about my (or our) trip back to Reprofit. I have every intention of posting newborn pics of our Reprofit baby on this blog one day!

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