One week ago today, we officially became PUPO with one of the two embryos that were donated to us thanks to the amazing miracle of embryo adoption! I still can’t believe that this is our story. 2019 was a crazy year filled with so many emotions and changes to our journey. We started the year pursuing domestic infant adoption, and before we knew it, the tables were turned to embryo adoption. Now here we are! It’s 2020 and we are one week after the transfer (or in IVF talk: 7dp5dt) and just TWO days from finding out if the baby decided to stick around.
Symptoms with a frozen embryo transfer are totally subjective. Most symptoms after the transfer are caused by the hormone therapy, which in my case means progesterone in oil (PIO) injections and estradiol (estrogen) patches. When progesterone rises in the body, it causes pregnancy-like symptoms. I’ve experienced this time and time again in my journey with infertility treatments. So many times I was convinced I was pregnant when I was not. I’m trying to not symptom spot too much, but every once in a while when I feel a little cramp, I find myself wondering, “is that you little baby, snuggling in tight? Or just my hormones talking?”
But because people want to know how I’m feeling and what I’m feeling, I figured I’d go ahead and document those symptoms, in spite of what could be causing them:
- Waves of exhaustion. I could just fall asleep no matter where I’m at, any time of day.
- Decreased appetite. I’m struggling to eat more than just really small snacks every few hours right now. In fact, to be honest, I’ve unintentionally lost about 5 lbs in the last couple of weeks…
- Blood sugar instable. I think I finally found a way to make this work for me, but it’s been a struggle. I’ve nearly fainted coming out of the shower in the morning because of this, and this is even after having something to bring my levels up.
- Nausea. This started the day before the transfer, to be honest. I bought sea bands on transfer day to help with this one. Again, definitely not pregnancy-related, all hormone therapy!
- Middle of the night bathroom time. I get up in the middle of the night to pee now, usually at either 1 AM or 3 AM. This started around the time implantation should have been completed so this one could be pregnancy related!
- Insatiable thirst. I crave water so deeply, yet I never seem to be able to quench my thirst.
- Tender breasts. Speaks for itself. ALL progesterone related!
- Hair falling out. Since starting my thyroid medicine, this problem decreased significantly, but since starting the estrogen patches, this has unfortunately picked up a lot. 🙁
- Sensitive. I’m emotionally sensitive right now, but this started with the PIO injections. I cry a lot easier.
- Dead brain. I’ve started sharing on Instagram my dumb brain moments. My brain is not working right. They call it “pregnancy brain” but this is caused by the extra estrogen and progesterone FOR SURE!
- Cramping. After the transfer and through the dates of implantation, I did feel mild cramping, which gave me some hope that the baby is snuggling in there.
Helping Baby Stick
In order to hopefully help this baby stick around, I’ve continued acupuncture and am making sure I consume all the things that I mentioned in my post on how I’m preparing my body for this journey. I’m being diligent. I love this baby and his/her genetic sibling so much. I’ll do anything to help him/her stay within the womb until mid-October.
Here is a reminder of the timeline:
- Day 1: TRANSFER DAY! The blastocyst (the stage of development the embryo is in on day 5) begins to hatch out of its shell. We agreed to “assisted hatching” so when the embryo was transferred, this process had already begun!
- Days 2-3: The blastocyst begins to attach itself to the uterus, beginning implantation. I received acupuncture on day 3.
- Day 4: Implantation continues.
- Day 5: Implantation is complete. Cells that eventually become the BABY and placenta have begun to develop!
- Day 6: HCG starts to enter the bloodstream. Some people see a positive urine pregnancy test starting now! I received acupuncture on this day.
- Days 7-8: Fetal development continues and HCG continues to rise. TODAY is day 8 (7 days past transfer) and I am getting acupuncture!
- Day 9: Levels of HCG are now high enough to detect pregnancy via a blood test!
PIO Problems: FEVER!
As soon as I started the PIO injections, I started having problems. Everyone talks about the lumpy backside and the pains, but no one fully prepared me for the reaction I’ve had. In the beginning, I was getting a “fever feeling” in the later afternoons/early evenings, complete with fatigue and body aches. These phantom fevers arrived like clockwork every single evening. On day 8 of the injections (a Friday night), my face got really flushed and I could just tell I was burning up, and that it was possible that this wasn’t a phantom fever, but a real one. I checked my temperature and it was 101! I immediately called the after-hours line for my clinic and talked to the on-call doctor, who reassured me that everything should be okay, but that I needed to keep my temperature below 100 as much as possible using Tylenol.
Let me add right here that I had zero symptoms suggesting I could be sick… no cough, no runny nose (just the normal allergies I’ve had since forever), no sore throat, literally nothing. Just a fever.
On day 11 of injections (Monday morning), I got a call from my nurse to talk through everything that was going on, and to see if I was still struggling. I confirmed that I was still having the fevers, only at night, with no other symptoms. It was determined that they were spawning from a sensitivity to the progesterone injections but if I can just wait it out a little bit longer, I can switch from PIO injections to oral meds and vaginal suppositories after a positive pregnancy beta! Glory hallelujah! So in the meantime, I fight the fevers with Tylenol when they hit each night. Next time I do a transfer, we’ll use a different oil to see if I tolerate the absorption better. But at this point, we’re so close to the finish line, I know I can just finish up!
Two Days Until BETA!
Two days until our first beta. If it’s positive, I will need to get my repeat beta three days later to make sure my HCG is rising appropriately. So far, I’ve handled the wait just fine! I think I’ve been so distracted with trying to heal from these injections and just manage life that I haven’t had a chance to think about it. I don’t feel nervous or insecure about it. I feel just fine. We will know the results on Friday afternoon, but please do not text or message me and ask if I have them yet, because that will spawn anxiety. I promise to share when I can, and as I mentioned in my last post, I may not say anything publicly until the second beta results are in. I haven’t decided. Family and close friends will be told the same day after we process the results, whatever they are. 🙂 But if I’m being real with you: I do feel pregnant. I will be very surprised if the embryo did not survive…