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A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Fertility Clinic... - Elizabeth Unexplained
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A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Fertility Clinic...
So when last we left the saga of my reproductive life, I was waiting to do “The Clomid Challenge” which is not a clever marketing campaign but a hoop the insurance companies make you jump through before they’ll approve you for an IVF cycle after you turn 40.

I spent Friday June 10th frantically trying to get my meds. The prescription had been sent to the wrong pharmacy, then the right pharmacy didn’t get the fax, and finally I had to figure out what insurance covered prescription drugs. It was helpfully NOT listed on the benefits web page, and while generic Clomid is so cheap it doesn’t really matter, I wanted the pharmacy to have the correct information before I started burning through $300 worth of Menopur a day. I perhaps didn’t need to rush so frantically, but I had this terrifying thought of my period coming a few days early on Friday night and not having my drugs on hand for Sunday.

As it turns out I need not have worried. My period was not early. Nor was it on time, which would have been the middle of the following week. My period has always had error bars on it of a couple of days, so this was not a stunner either. Warren encouraged me to test. We had “bought a lottery ticket” as my euphemism goes, but the chance of winning the Mega Millions is one in 175,000,000 and I estimated my chances of a natural pregnancy to be somewhere in the same ballpark. I told Warren I would test on Monday, June 20th, a full 35 days since the start of my LMP. In my experience from the dark days of 2004 and 2005 nothing brings on my period faster and more reliably than peeing on a home pregnancy test. It was like magic. I’d breakdown and test and within an hour I’d be bleeding. Monday was perfect because if I started my period on Monday I wouldn’t have to go in for blood work on a weekend, thereby avoiding extra hassle.

All through the distracting weekend of Margaret’s birthday there was no blood, so first thing Monday morning while my kids slept off their overstimulation I went a peed on a stick in order to release the floodgates on the tidal wave of blood that experience has taught me must surely follow. Instead I saw something that I have never seen before – a positive home pregnancy test. (In case you’re wondering, I never did home tests during my IVF cycles. Repeated negative experiences with them in ’04 and ’05 have left me a touch superstitious about the things.) Naturally the first thing I did was check the expiration date on the box, but supposedly the test was still good. I made Warren check the test, but he thought it looked positive too.

My plan was to call the fertility clinic right after I handed the kids over to Hongmei. I was just coming back upstairs from doing that when the fertility clinic called me. It was a bit surreal. They were calling me because my primary care doctor had emailed them over the weekend about the mammogram that I never took, and she wanted that done before I cycled. (My PCP means well, but I think she just really wasn’t listening when I explained to her last winter that I felt I didn’t need a mammogram at 40 given my family history, and besides, I was still nursing Duncan and planned to keep nursing him for as long as I possibly could.) So there the clinic was, having been harassed into calling me about getting a mammogram before I started my Clomid, and I had to break in with, “About that…”

Naturally the clinic people were excited, and wanted me to come in for a blood test. I put that off until Tuesday the 21 because at that point I was running pretty late and I still needed to get gas on my way to work. The initial beta came back as 2831, and the second beta two days later was 4697. The clinic was happy to have me come in for an ultrasound, which we did this past Tuesday. The tech was really great. She measured the fetal pole at 2mm crown to rump and even found a heartbeat. Based on the ultrasound measurement my due date is February 24, 2012. We’ll be going back on Tuesday, July 12th for a follow up ultrasound since it is all very early and tentative, but for now I am cautiously thrilled.
13 comments or Leave a comment
firstfrost From: firstfrost Date: June 30th, 2011 11:35 pm (UTC) (Link)


Awesome! Er, cautiously awesome! (There must be some sort of analogy I can make to all those statistical claims about being Arcane decreasing fertility being clearly untrue...)
fredrickegerman From: fredrickegerman Date: July 1st, 2011 12:43 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Wow!

Why was I thinking the same thing?

I think it's Edrick's job to wish you best of Luck. :-)
psychohist From: psychohist Date: July 1st, 2011 04:16 am (UTC) (Link)
I thought your primary care physician agreed to leave the mammogram until you stopped breast feeding, which hasn't happened yet.
greyautumnrain From: greyautumnrain Date: July 1st, 2011 01:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
She did, but then she keeps getting other people to nag me to get it done. I think she doesn't believe that I am still breastfeeding.
From: readsalot Date: July 3rd, 2011 11:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
Maybe you should just go in and demonstrate?

Also, congratulations!
astra_nomer From: astra_nomer Date: July 1st, 2011 12:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
That's just wonderful!! Best wishes and happy gestating!!
chenoameg From: chenoameg Date: July 1st, 2011 01:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
enugent From: enugent Date: July 1st, 2011 05:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh my goodness! That's wonderful!! Congratulations!
psychohist From: psychohist Date: July 1st, 2011 07:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
Of course, we've had three embryos reach this point, and only have two children to show for it, so it's far from a sure thing yet.
outerjenise From: outerjenise Date: July 3rd, 2011 02:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's a whole different ball game when you implant naturally. Chances of an IVF pregnancy making it to term: 1 in 3. Chances of a natural pregnancy NOT making it to term: 1 in 4. Which is not to say that you shouldn't watch out for that 25% possibility.

I had a very similar experience. After my second miscarriage, I had one period, then decided to try just one more time. And waited for my next period. And waited. Now, back then, my periods had very LARGE error bars. They were 2-7 weeks apart. So I finally threw up my hands and went in to the fertility clinic. They did the standard just-in-case pregnancy test, and LO! BABY!
psychohist From: psychohist Date: July 4th, 2011 01:58 am (UTC) (Link)
That sounds like it was a nice surprise!

I think the IVF 1 in 3 chance is the chance of an IVF cycle making it to pregnancy, or perhaps to a live baby. Once one is pregnant on IVF - defined as seeing a heartbeat - I believe chances improve quite a bit, and are comparable to a natural pregnancy.

However, those statistics are based on the population at large. I guess I'm currently estimating miscarriage chances at 1 in 3 rather than 1 in 4 based on our personal experience. Of course, there are a bunch of confounders - this embryo isn't the smaller of twins, as we suspect Margaret's disappearing twin was, which is a plus, Elizabeth is older now, which is a minus, and while we think the improved fertility is due to three years on the paleo diet, who knows what effect that had on keeping a pregnancy unassisted by drugs - so 1 in 3 and 1 in 4 are probably about the same thing.

So yes, we're optimistic, but cautious about it because even a 75% chance would be far from a sure thing.
outerjenise From: outerjenise Date: July 3rd, 2011 02:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
remcat From: remcat Date: July 6th, 2011 05:55 am (UTC) (Link)
Well hey! Congrats!
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