A mini comparison

I realized last week, when I was blathering on about how much more or less positive my pregnancy tests were/are, that I could simply show you guys. It never occurred to me, but yes, I do still have all the pictures. (I do delete all of the negative ovulation test pictures, lol, but I like having the pics of the positive pregnancy tests.) So! It’s time for a little comparison post!

Below, we have my very first positive pregnancy test:

It was taken at 11 DPO. It’s faint, but there, and the line would progressively get darker. (I seem to have shown remarkable strength and only tested two additional times, once with the same type of test to see the line progression about two weeks later and once with a digital. Though perhaps I simply deleted the rest of the evidence.)

Below, we have the positive pregnancy test from my miscarriage:

It was taken at 8 DPO. EIGHT DAYS PAST OVULATION. Do you see what I mean now? There’s just no way my hCG levels should have been that high at eight days past ovulation, what would be, at best, one to three days after implantation. Most resources say that implantation occurs 7-10 days after ovulation, so you do the math. For further comparison, a test I took Sunday, at 13 DPO, looks very similar.

Below, we have the first positive test from my current pregnancy:

It was taken at 10 DPO. It’s super, super faint, but there (especially in person). Also, notice how it’s lighter than that first pic up there, the one from my first pregnancy at 11 DPO? That made me really happy.

Thanks for being my sounding board. Lining them up like this really does highlight how incredible that January test was, for whatever reason. Let’s just say that I’m happy my current tests follow my healthy first pregnancy much more closely. Here’s to some happy thoughts that this little bean sticks around!

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Please bear with me

… as we dissect the minute details of my menstrual cycle. It’s basically a compulsion at this point, since I had a miscarriage last time. I keep comparing my cycles, where I am now versus last time, and I finally decided to put it out on “paper.”

Here, ladies and gentlemen, is the calendar from my miscarriage cycle:

And here is the current calendar:

I know it seems anal retentive to lay it all out like this, but I think it’s really helpful. For instance, I realized that the day I started spotting in January (otherwise known in my head as the day after my Well Woman’s exam) was CD 30 or, more importantly, 13 days after ovulation (DPO = days past ovulation). 13 DPO was yesterday, for this cycle, so yay! I’ve already passed one milestone of sorts. This layout also makes it clear that I miscarried 17 days past ovulation last time, which is this Thursday. Another hurdle to get through.

I can’t say why exactly it makes me feel better to know I’ve already passed the point in which I started spotting (which is honestly probably truly the day the miscarriage began), but it does. Because it was hazy in my brain (was I 4 weeks along? 5 weeks? how many days was I pregnant again?), it makes me happy, in a way, to see that I never reached 5 weeks. (5 weeks along is about 21 DPO, just in case you were wondering. I know, I know, there’s so many variables to keep track of.)

Anyway, I like having it all laid out in front of me.


Obviously I’m still pregnant. I have no worrisome symptoms to report at this point. The fading breast tenderness that I worried about last week has come back with a vengeance. I definitely don’t remember having this level of tenderness when I was pregnant with the dumpling. In fact, I recall feeling distinctly normal in the early weeks, though the fatigue set in pretty quickly. I will be very interested in comparing these two pregnancies – assuming that this little bean sticks around.

(And yes, I feel like I’ll make that caveat nearly every single time I write. Again, it’s a compulsion. Though my archives tell me I had it last time too, so perhaps it’s just a Belle thing.)

Looking at the calendar, I’m actually thinking about delaying my first OB visit until the beginning of May, when I’ll be almost 8 weeks* along. My doctor always does an ultrasound the first visit (yes – even at that one from 4 weeks precisely). I had originally planned to just delay until I’m at least 5 weeks along – no point in going to see him if I’m going to miscarry early again. However, it got me thinking about what my ultrasound looked like last time, at 6w3d – a blueberry. And while we were able to confirm a heartbeat at that point via the tiny, pixelated flickering, it would be kind of nice to wait until the point where you can hear the heartbeat and the fetus looks less blueberry-ish and more baby-ish. Like I said, I’m definitely not calling until after I pass the 5 week mark, so my resolve may fade by then as I anticipate getting a look, any look, at the baby. We’ll see.

Also, you’ll notice an asterisk up there by 8 weeks. I already have a due date conundrum on my hands. If you plug my LMP into a due date calculator that doesn’t take cycle length into account (which is likely what my doctor’s office will do), it says I’m 5w1d along, with a due date of December 8th. However, I ovulated on CD 23, a full week behind the “average” cycle. When you plug that information into a due date calculator, I’m 4w1d, with a due date of December 16th. Now, I know due dates aren’t an exact science, but it does feel a little odd to not know exactly how far along I am, especially since all of the pregnancy apps break it down day-by-day.

Speaking of apps, I used two with my last pregnancy: Ovia Pregnancy and BabyCenter. I plan to use them again this time, but I realized TODAY that they don’t number the days the same and I’m not sure I can deal with that dissonance. For instance, Ovia Pregnancy calls the first day of the week 4w0d and goes 4w1d, 2d, 3d, 4d, 5d, 6d, 5w0d. BabyCenter on the other hand, calls the first day of the week 4w1d and goes 4w2d, 3d, 4d, 5d, 6d, 7d, 5w1d. I… don’t know how I missed this last time. I really hope, for my own sanity, that it was a software update by one of them because how did I go 38 weeks of heavy usage last time without noticing?! Luckily, I don’t think I’ll be as obsessive about checking them this time around. Plus, it’s not like I know precisely how far I am either, so what’s a day +/-?

And suddenly there were two… part 3

Or is this more like 2.5? I’m not really sure, but you probably know where I’m going already…

Weekend intuition confirmed: I’m pregnant.

It’s very faint. Luffy missed the lines on both tests, though I can’t hold that against him because yeah, it’s super faint. But! I’m really comfortable with that, almost pleased with it. The results are fainter than my positive test with the Dumpling (a test which was taken two days later, cycle-wise).

I didn’t ever really mention it, but after I wrote about being sure my dates were off or something as the explanation for the strong positive at such an early date, I stumbled onto another theory: the high hCG level was an indicator for the miscarriage. High hCG could be an indicator of lots of things, including multiples (which OMG) or fetal abnormalities (like the egg missing genetic material or an egg that was fertilized by two sperm). Now, I know I can’t scientifically or precisely say how high my levels were, but I can say that eight days after ovulation (with the day of the positive ovulation test being day 0), my levels were high enough to produce a no-questions-asked result on a test with a threshold of 25 mIU/mL. Eight days! Then, I got a positive result on a digital test five full days before my expected period. The digitals aren’t as sensitive and mine in particular only detects about 60% of pregnancies at that point (according to their website anyway, which isn’t always the best of resources).

So what I’m saying is that while it’s definitely possible I just had my dates wrong, my levels were far too high for that. Even adjusting the dates back a bit, my hCG levels were high. And while it could have been nothing, it also just might possibly have been an indicator of the un-viability of the pregnancy.

All that said, I’m very happy with my squinter at T-4 days until my expected period. Now I’ll just keep some happy thoughts in my head to hope that this little bean sticks around. Happy thoughts!

Intuition: Confused

I’m currently in what might possibly be my last two-week-wait for several months. As I mentioned previously, if we don’t conceive this month, we’ll wait – eh maybe 5-6 months – before trying again. For reasons.

Anyway, since I seemed to be able to tell last time and the time before, I’ve been monitoring my body like a hawk watches prey. And honestly, it’s just left me confused more than anything.

For instance, this past weekend? I was sure – sure – I was pregnant. My boobs were painfully tender and full. Taking off my bra hurt, putting a shirt on hurt. Squishing them hurt. They felt heavy and full. They fit classic description of early pregnancy boobs to a T. Along with the sore boobs, came the twinges and tweaks from the uterus-area, just like last time. Plus, Luffy and I went to see a movie on Sunday morning and not one, but TWO trailers had me in tears. And I don’t mean a single graceful tear at a particularly music-swelling, emotional moment – I mean a hot, sobbing mess. (If you’re curious, the trailers were for Breakthrough and A Dog’s Journey. You may want to make sure your tissues are nearby.) So, two sore boobs + numerous uterine twinges + two tear ducts at the ready = one very positively pregnant Belle. I just had to be!

But today? Today I’m not so sure. The sore boobs have resided. Finding and re-watching those trailers did not bring on the waterworks. My womb doesn’t have that purposeful feeling I talked about last time. I took a pregnancy test this morning even though I swore to myself that this time I wouldn’t. It’s the same day, cycle-wise, that I had my positive pregnancy test with my January pregnancy. I told myself that I shouldn’t test again so early. It’s far too early. And hadn’t I been concerned last time that such a pronounced positive result that early on was a sign for the miscarriage? That my hCG numbers shouldn’t have been so high and thus was a sign that the pregnancy was ill-fated? Hadn’t I cursed myself for testing so early last time? And what did I do? I tested early again. It was starkly negative and now I’m, of course, worried about that even though IT’S WAY TOO EARLY TO WORRY BELLE.

[Could you do me a favor? Could you shout that line at your screen for me? Or even just mutter it? Recite it in your head a few times? I think I need the reinforcement, thanks.]

Luffy asked me for my intuition’s thoughts this morning, since we’d been pretty much operating under the assumption that I am pregnant all weekend. I told him that I just don’t know. We’ll have to wait and see.

Line Eye

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Seriously y’all, nothing makes me feel crazier than the amount of second-guessing I do when looking at my ovulation tests. You would think it would be easy. If the two lines are equal, it’s positive. If the test line is lighter than the control, it’s negative. Simple as that! But here’s a little glimpse of what I go through every morning:

One-one-thousand
Two-one-thousand
Three-one-thousand

Meticulously lays stick on flat surface, careful not to touch anything.

Starts three minute timer on phone.

[Goes about business, studiously ignoring the test, lest I bias the results by trying to interpret too early.]

Timer goes off.

Ok! Let’s take a look at those lines! Yesterday’s was negative. BUT. I think it was less negative than the day before. Maybe.

It’s positive! 

Maybe.

It’s actually kind of streak-y.

And the control line isn’t even the same darkness from top-to-bottom.

Maybe I should wait another minute or so.

After all, the window is 3-5 minutes.

It is really humid this morning. The test probably can’t dry adequately in three minutes.

However, if I look at this one at 5 minutes, I can’t really compare it to my results from yesterday because I looked at that one at 3 minutes.

Which would completely invalidate my comparison.

Probably.

Maybe I should take a second test. See if it’s less streak-y.

Ok nope, on second look this is negative too. But! I think it’s almost a positive.

Does that mean that tomorrow will be the day?!

[Pulls up photo from December’s positive ovulation test.]

Oh wait. Well this looks nothing like that.

Guess I’ll be waiting.


Honestly it’s enough to make me yearn for the empty circle/smiley face results of the expensive ovulation tests. But then my body laughs at me because – did you see the quantity? 10. I would have already gone through those, in just this month’s testing. And I haven’t ovulated yet. $25 literally down the drain. I’ll stick with my cheapies, thanks.

Telling the Parents

I told my parents the big news last night. I was trying to wait until Sunday, when I envisioned video calling them via the power of iPads and joyously telling them the news. But, as I kept building the moment up, I kept feeling like it was going to be a bust. I do this often, where I’ll build up a hope or wish or moment and romanticize it to pieces and then I have to take the sledgehammer of reality to it to make sure my dreams aren’t crushed. Anyway, while I thought of excited pronouncements and whoops of joy, I also thought of missed connections and my parents not being together when I called (which would lead to the awkward and highly suspicious nevermind, I’ll call you back). Plus, you know, I was really, really excited since, so far, Luffy had been the only person to get to tell anyone that I was pregnant. Not fair.

So! Back to last night…. I called my mom first, right after exercise like I normally do. I had a set up already in my head. You see, I received my first shipment of champagne from Chandon on Wednesday and knew she’d be excited about it (what can I say? we both love champagne). I was hoping she’d fall right into my plan and she did.

“Oh!” she said when I told her I’d gotten the shipment, “have you gotten to have any yet?”

“Well,” I told her, “that’s the thing – I can’t have any for a while because I’m pregnant.”

……… then there was surprised silence on the other end of the line while I giggled like a four-year-old. But then! She wanted to know all the details. How long we had known and how we found out and the due date and oh how funny that the baby’s due so close to our birthdays and how she’ll have to get all of her tax returns done early just in case the baby comes early (she prepares tax returns for a living and October 15th is the corporate return due date). She was so excited and so happy. Over the moon. She’s known about the troubles that we’ve had getting pregnant and she, like us, sort of assumed we’d be headed to a fertility specialist soon. I promised to keep her updated and then told her I needed to call dad because I didn’t want him to feel left out.

Let’s pause for a second to talk about expectations. My mom reacted pretty much exactly as I thought she would. Happy and excited and in shock. I figured my dad would be happy, but you know, not HAPPY. After all, it’s his daughter giving him news on the state of her uterus. (Plus, he pretty much has to know now that I’m no longer a virgin, which squick.)

So then I called my dad. He didn’t answer his phone, but I left him a voicemail telling him to call me back because I had news. He did, about five minutes later, and I could tell by his voice that he was stressed and tired and frustrated. He travels for business and he had just been dropped off by a shuttle at the hotel so he could take a red-eye home the next morning. He sounded exhausted but told me he called me back hoping I had news that would cheer him up a bit.

“Well,” I told him, “I do have good news – I’m pregnant.”

Please refer to the paragraph above on my expectations of how my dad was going to react. Pardon the ineffectiveness of the English language here: I thought my dad was going to react like this – Happy! – and this is how my dad actually reacted – HAPPY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (breath) !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

He was ecstatic. He couldn’t contain his excitement. He went from literally zero (and feeling crappy to boot) all the up to a 15 (on a scale from 0 to 10, mind you). He adorably wanted to know if it was too early to know if it was a boy or girl (I told him we haven’t even heard the heartbeat yet) and then delighted to know the baby is due on Halloween (he suggested we name the baby Boo or Casper …. noted) and he promised he would do anything necessary, move heaven and earth, to ensure that he would be available when the baby was born and then he told me that he, and mom he was sure, are happily awaiting their grand-baby.

So sweet. And again, I had no idea he’d be so excited, so positively thrilled.

To keep the ball rolling, I called my brother (also because I didn’t want him to find out secondhand and think WTH man!). He was at home, alone as his girlfriend was still at work, eating dinner. Just like with dad, I told him I had news and told him I’m pregnant. He too was flabbergasted and muttered sputterings of “bwuh??” and “whuh??” before finally proclaiming excitement. He, also adorably, wanted to know how I’d found out – did I like pee on something? (Lololol – yes I peed on something – I have been peeing on something for damn near every day for the past year and a half this time it was just extra special pee) He too was so happy and excited. He couldn’t wait to tell his girlfriend.

The whole evening left me feeling high and energetic. It was so much fun telling everyone – even over “just” the phone. I caught everyone by total surprise and it was glorious. Of course, I immediately panicked a bit with the ohnoes!!! when I remembered that I still have a long way to go before we can breathe the sigh of lowered-chance-of-miscarriage relief. (You know I used one of those leftover pregnancy tests this morning too, just to make sure, again.) But still, I made everyone’s day and it was so wonderful to finally tell my family: I’m pregnant.

5w and mounting excitement

So the rug has not been pulled out from underneath us yet. We still have a long way to go, but we’re starting to get more excited. We told our closest friends – the ones that have been rooting for us since the beginning of our journey – over the weekend. My plan was to wait to tell our parents until we hear the heartbeat, but Luffy was just too excited to hold it in when we saw his parents for lunch on Sunday. This has made me incredibly excited to tell my own parents, but I’m also still a little nervous about letting everyone down.

Even though my chances of miscarriage are still fairly high (relative to my odds during the later half of the pregnancy), we’re still choosing to tell our closest friends and family. Our decision is partly out of sheer excitement, but also because these people would be our support if something should happen. I would definitely turn to my mother, who’s been there before, and I don’t think it would hurt her any more or less to celebrate our pregnancy and then find out I’ve lost the baby later as opposed to just learning I’m pregnant with news of a miscarriage.

Also, despite my most Pinterest-worthy aspirations of cute ways to tell people, our excitement is getting the better of us. We’re just blurting out the news left and right. I had planned to travel to my hometown to tell my parents in person, but timing difficulties means I either have to do it now, like this weekend, or I have to put it off until late April, which boo. So I’ve downgraded to telling my parents via video chat, probably this weekend. BUT I’ve had several moments today where I envision, again, just blurting out the news to my mom tonight when I call her after exercise. All casual like. Weather’s good here and oh by the way I’m pregnant – NBD. Pros to that are that she knows now!! Cons are that I miss seeing her reaction, but I’m already not going to get to see her in person to receive a much needed hug, so I may not be as concerned with this.

Fatigue has hit me like a ton of bricks. Yesterday, Luffy and I went to lunch at his parents’ house and then went to see a movie (Deadpool – hilarious, I highly recommend for those of you who are cool with foul language and over-the-top fight scene carnage) with friends. I was absolutely exhausted by the time we made it home around 5:30. I perked up a bit to help with dinner but then was basically asleep on the couch by 9pm. Luffy sent me to bed shortly thereafter, but I slept fitfully with lots of dreams and wakefulness.

On the positive side though, it’s only taken me a full week to go ahead and say it: I’m pregnant.

(!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! times infinity)