Barren Advice: A Follow-Up

July 21, 2008

A big part of the impetus for finally starting a blog is that I was the anonymous question-asker for Barren Advice Nine on my favorite infertility blog, Stirrup Queens and Sperm Palace Jesters.

The advice from Mel (a.k.a. Lollipop) and all of the commenters was truly helpful, and their genuine shows of support were truly heart-warming (“comments are the new hug” in action). I wanted to be able to repay the favor, at least in part, with a report on how it turned out. In a Dear Abby type of advice column, we never find out what happens. Mel says:

No really, the beauty of a blog advice column is that you get to weigh in with your two cents too.

But another beauty of a blog advice column is, or should be, that because the advice is for a member of the blog community, you get to see how the advice fared and hear the rest of the story. If Ann Landers gives very good or very bad advice, no one ever knows because there is no follow-up. Mel would never give bad advice, but I still think she and everyone else deserve to know what happened.

If you haven’t already, you should read Barren Advice Nine before reading the rest of this post. I will wait………

Okay. Thanks for coming back. So, here’s what happened. In addition to the main issue, I will include some other issues that arose in case they help anyone else faced with a similar situation.

The Barren Advice consensus was very clear that I should test on my own, so I decided to listen to the wisdom of the group and pee on a stick.

Egg retrieval was on 6/11. Beta was scheduled for 6/25, but because I was out of town it was rescheduled for 7/1. POAS date would reasonably have been around 6/25; if I tested a day early like I sometimes have in the past (so that a negative test wasn’t really negative, at least not yet) POAS date would have been 6/24.

I didn’t end up testing until 6/28.

There were several reasons:

  • I was occupied with family stuff or other obligations almost all day every day and couldn’t make it to the store to buy a pregnancy test.
  • When I finally did have some time to go to the store, I realized that I would have to walk back into the house with the test. To maintain my secret from family members, I might have to hide the test under my shirt or something. Even for a secretive liar like I have become thanks to IF, hiding something under my shirt was too much duplicity for me to handle.
  • I didn’t entirely want to know the result. This whole time, dealing with dozens of natural cycles and 8 assisted cycles that didn’t work out, IVF has been the fall-back, the fail-safe. Disappointment after disapppointment was horrible, but still manageable, because there was always something that would definitely work if it came to that. The idea that this IVF cycle, and by extension possibly all IVF cycles, could fail, was too scary to face, at least for a few days.
  • My logic was this: “If I test and it’s negative, it’s negative. If I don’t test, it may still be positive.” Okay, I realize that’s not actually logical. I was less concerned with actually getting a positive, and more focused on dealing with the negative result that I thought was likely.

One of the commenters, Kathy V, offered the additional advice to be careful not to leave the pee stick lying around or throw it away. This advice was appreciated though unnecessary, since this isn’t the first time I’ve had to hide a pee stick. This time, the new twist was that I was on progesterone suppositories that had to stay refrigerated. Refrigerators are very public places, and it was out of the question to leave my meds for everyone to see (even though I took off the labels, I couldn’t risk questions or worse, having someone throw them away). In the house where I spent most of that week, and where I would have tested if I’d been on schedule, there actually is a second refrigerator in the basement. Still, I couldn’t risk having my meds discovered if someone went to the second fridge for a spare bottle of wine or carton of milk.

My solution was to use ice packs inside a cooler bag hidden in my luggage, and to rotate the ice packs from the freezer every 12 hours or so. If the medication were truly temperature sensitive, ice packs would not keep it cold enough, but for the progesterone they did the job. One suggestion for anyone else who may need to use ice packs for this purpose: find ice packs without leaks or condensation. The packs that came with my medication from the pharmacy didn’t have a problem, but the regular packs that the family uses for lunches released so much moisture through condensation that the progesterone got all wet. Yuck.

Oh, I didn’t give you the pregnancy result, did I? Yeah, well, long story short, I was but now I’m not.

When I finally got around to testing, it was a BFP. By that point, I had started getting a bit nauseous so I had a clue that it might be positive. My husband, who is usually as patient as I am, had been pestering me to test several times a day by then. Yet at the time of the actual test, we had a comedy of errors. I stupidly decided to pee in a bathroom with no toilet paper, so I got to sit on the toilet and stare at my BFP for over 10 minutes until DH finally happened to walk by and I could ask him to bring me a roll. He did, then before I could tell him the news, he immediately disappeared (he has no interest in watching me go to the bathroom) to a room occupied by others. I went to that room, quietly asked him to join me in the bathroom, and showed him the stick. He said, “I’m not familiar with those sticks. Is two lines good?” Yes.

He was happy, then increasingly thrilled as the days went on. I, surprisingly, was not. So much for grabbing happiness where I can. The first couple of days, I was guarded and didn’t believe that the BFP would stick around. Even though I was experiencing continued and increasing nausea, I wanted two beta results to really trust the pregnancy. I was also spotting a bit, though I didn’t take this as an indication.

By the third day, I had gotten over my reservations enough to start conversations with DH about planning for the pregnancy, baby stuff, and keepsakes I wanted to buy now so that the child would have them as an adult. Later that day I started bleeding more.

The next day, my first beta. The number sounded low to me, but the nurse said it was fine.

Two days later, my beta hadn’t changed. I knew something was wrong when I heard the doctor’s voice on the phone instead of the nurse’s. I wasn’t sad, though, because I was too busy with other stuff.

I wasn’t sad for over a week. And then one day it hit me. Halfway back now.

The heavy period the doctor promised never actually came. All of the bleeding occurred when I was still “pregnant,” and by the time of the second beta I’d stopped spotting altogether.

Back to the drawing board, IVF #2. Next time I’ll try to stay at home during the 2WW so that I can get my beta as scheduled. Not that it made any difference in the outcome, but I don’t think all of this secrecy is good for my karma — or my sanity.

Thanks for reading and for being interested in what happened. And, another big thanks to Mel and all of the Stirrup Queens who helped me out.


5 Responses to “Barren Advice: A Follow-Up”

  1. Arpee Says:


    Congratulations on your new blog! You’ve got a cool, simple theme.

    Anyhow, I was a bit secretive about my IF, too, though I let some of my close friends and family into it. I felt that they could listen to a certain extent but not to the lengths that I could keep them hostage :). I started my blog early June and it was both 1) cathartic and 2) a way to organize the clutter that has passed since we started TTC 4 years ago and continue to do so to this moment.

    We go in for our 1st IUI in about an hour!!!

    Have fun in your blog and in your journey towards th “baby smiling in the backseat”!!!

  2. Nicole Says:

    Hi there.

    I found you through IComLeavWe. I just wanted to say that I am sorry for your loss and can totally relate to all of the needed secrecy around family members and the mind games/baggage around POAS.

    Best wishes!

  3. Mel Says:

    Oh, sweetie, I’m so sorry about the roller coaster. How cruel to see the positive and then the loss so soon after. Just thinking about you and sending good thoughts (and support!) for IVF #2.

  4. Kymberli Says:

    I found you through IComLeavWe. I also recently had an early m/c that began with poor betas. I’m sending lots of good thoughts for IVF#2.

  5. emilythehopeless Says:

    oh i’m so very sorry {hugs}

    visiting from ICLW

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