How to get through Beta Limbo

It’s been two weeks since my 1st beta from my 1st IVF cycle. I can tell you this waiting game hasn’t been easy.

Here’s what I recommend to help you get through Beta Limbo:

Keep yourself occupied

I am on pelvic rest which means NO exercise, lifting or sexual activity. My RE recommends doing the bare minimum daily.

It can be challenging to keep your mind occupied when your ass is glued to the couch. Find some easy tasks to occupy yourself.

Here are a few things I did:

  • Made two burlap wreaths inspired by Pinterest
  • Started online Christmas shopping
  • Enjoyed Netflix marathons. You can watch ENTIRE seasons of shows on Netflix. This will eat up many hours of your time.
  • Meditated
  • Coloured Mandalas
  • Wrote in my journal
  • Invited close friends over for a visit
  • Ordered take-out via delivery J
  • Enjoyed stillness in nature. I sat under the tree in my backyard. You don’t have to go far to get outside.
  • GOT OUT OF THE HOUSE! I went to the bookstore, picked up a few groceries, and went to lunch with a few fertility friends. Just because you are going through a hard time, doesn’t mean you have to be a hermit. Quick, effortless outings can easily take your mind off what’s going on at home.

If you find yourself loosing focus and feeling anxious, I highly recommend breathing exercises and meditation. I also used some essential oils to help ease my tension.

Limit your time on Google

I know realistically you are NOT going to completely avoid Google. Everyone faced with infertility knows the power of the Google.

If you have to give into the urge to search the internet, I recommend a small dose of realistic, sad stories combined with many, many successful ones. I’m not saying this to give you false hope. I’m saying this because you don’t have much left in Beta limbo except hope. Feed it. Let it grow.

I wish that your story will be the next miracle I stumble upon online.

Allow yourself to feel

I’ve lived the past 2 weeks in increments of 48 hours waiting for my next blood draw with uncertainty, fear, hope and many, many prayers.

My betas continue to very slowly rise, but I have grieved for this child. Some days, I can barely hold it together. Other days, I’m fine as if I’m regular not pregnant Lindsey. And then, I even get excited. I dream and hope and wish for a positive outcome. I visualize my baby in my arms. I feel happiness.

Don’t hold in your emotion. Hide in the washroom where there’s a steady supply of snot wipes. Put a few Kleenex in your purse for those spontaneous outbursts while driving home, or after being stuck in line between two pregnant ladies at the book store (True story).

Go with the ebb and flow. Be gentle with yourself.

If you can’t be gentle with yourself, you can blame it on the hormones. 🙂

Lean on those who support you the most

I’m not sure if it’s because people think we are hiding out to announce our pregnancy or if they are just afraid of catching me in one of my emotional moments, but I can sure tell you that many of my friends and family have disappeared since we got home.

Toss ‘em aside. You have bigger worries on your mind. Those who don’t care to support you don’t deserve your attention or time.

Show gratitude for the ones who are there for you.

These are the people who show up unannounced for a visit when you are wearing two-day old stinky sweats, a greasy pony tail, and  “obviously been crying” red eyes. They don’t care about your appearance; they just want to know HOW you are doing.

These are the friends, who may be miles and time zones away, but still send a “Thinking of you” message each morning on testing days.

These are the people who send flowers, not because they have to, but because they know you love fresh flowers. This act of kindness brightens a dark and uncertain future.

These are the women who have never met you personally, but anxiously wait for your blog update knowing that you may need their sympathy. They have been in your place before. They understand the heartache and the fear.

This is your support circle. These people are your cheering squad, your shoulders to cry on and your ultimate strength when Beta Limbo becomes unbearable. Don’t try to do this alone. Lean on those who support you.

Be your own advocate

Even though I trust the professional expertise of my RE and the nurses, I have read way too many misdiagnosed miscarriage stories (courtesy of Google) to have them tell me that my pregnancy will not be viable without proof.

Stand up for yourself. Ask for validation by getting another blood draw or ultrasound.

I’m not saying to ignore what the doctor says. I’m just saying we all have the right to a validating test, a second opinion, or an opportunity to think about it.

Make those difficult decisions when you are ready to. Consult your partner and ensure you get their opinion and blessing.

Trust your instincts. Do what’s best for you and your baby.

I believe that a miscarriage plan is much like a birth plan. You can hope for a natural occurrence, but when the time comes, you may have to accept medical intervention if necessary.

And if that time doesn’t come, you are a miracle! Share your story and give hope to others.

Don’t forget to laugh

My husband and I were laying in bed the other morning. He said something funny and I couldn’t stop laughing. I also couldn’t remember the last time I had laughed. Wow. That’s not like me.

Beta limbo is scary and emotionally draining. Don’t let it completely engulf you. Find those simple pleasures that bring joy into your life – even if it’s just for a moment.

Best of luck to you in your 2WW or Beta Limbo. I send you baby dust, love and light. ❤

Advertisements

Beta #5: facing the inevitable

Today’s beta was 323.

This week we went from 193 to 291 to 323.

Not good. No doubling there. 

My nurse said ideally 1 of 2 scenarios will occur:

  1. My body’s HCG will naturally start to decrease bringing with it a natural miscarriage
  2. My betas will continue to slowly rise indicating an Ectopic pregnancy

She also said I could stop my meds today or stay on them until Monday when I do my next blood draw.

Initially, I was against this concept. Why would I stop by meds if I’m not 100% positive that my baby is gone? My levels haven’t dropped. They are increasing!

I went to Mr. Google looking for that last sliver of hope. I typed in “Misdiagnosed miscarriages”, then “low and slow rising beta successful pregnancy“.

Each scenario had one common denominator: the betas may not have doubled, but they consistently rose and the increase tended to get greater in size between betas – unlike my decrease. 

Lindsey – it’s time to be realistic here. 

I might stop by meds tonight. My ass could use the break. My husband thinks I should stay on them until Monday.

Emotionally, I’m doing alright. I grieved quite a bit last week when we got our initial beta counts. I was positive they were too low to be viable, but somewhere along the line the universe decided to give me hope.

Misguided? Misdirected? Or just plain beautiful?

How is hope ever a bad thing?

Well…

In this case, it prolongs the inevitable.

And it’s time to face it.

My baby is not going to survive.

*cue the water works* 

If you had asked me this morning, I would have told you I would have done anything and everything to prolong this pregnancy until I could go for an ultrasound. I needed that ultimate proof.

But now, I don’t want it to continue any longer than it has to if my baby isn’t going to be healthy and safe in my arms at the end of it. It’s weird to know my baby is inside me now, but that she won’t be for much longer.

What do you do when faced with a miscarriage diagnosis?

I can hardly believe I have to ask that question.

Having a bad day? Watch this

This video speaks so much truth for anyone on their fertility journey.

Warning: cute newborn shot at 5:20. If your bad day means baby photos may set you over the edge, I suggest you stop the video at 5:19. 

Now, take a deep breath, press play and listen… 

 

Planning for the unplanned

This fertility journey has taught me one thing above all others: planning doesn’t always go as planned.

I’ve always been a planner. I had wedding magazines before I was engaged, and baby books before we were married. I find it extremely satisfying to take a vision from my head and turn it into reality. Wedding planning, home renovating, baby making… it all excites me.

I initially wanted to start trying to conceive right after we got married in September 2011. My husband wanted to wait a year.

So, we did.

A year later, we started trying.

At first, I hoped to get pregnant when we were on vacation for my brother’s wedding.

Then, I hoped to be pregnant to tell my parents at Christmas.

As the months passed by, each major “maybe I’ll be pregnant” milestone faded quickly into the shadows of the situation: I am not going to be able to plan the conception of our baby.

And now, two years later, we are still waiting.

This afternoon, we found out that we need to replace both our furnace and our gas fireplace. My initial reaction was OMG I was NOT planning for this. My hubby kindly reminded me that you can’t plan for all of the twists and turns that life takes.

On Thursday, I have my HSG test. This is one of the last tests to rule out any probable causes of female infertility. It also gives us a higher chance of conceiving for the next 3 months (BEST NEWS EVER!).

Next Tuesday, I start follicle monitoring with my fertility specialist. I’ll have cleared out tubes and a doctor’s opinion on when ovulation will occur. It’s prime time!

I can’t plan what the next month will bring, but I can focus on the most positive outcomes. Because we’re done waiting. We’re ready for you baby – new furnace and all. 🙂

The baby waiting game

Meriam-Webster defines wait as:

wait \ verb \ˈwāt\

: to stay in a place until an expected event happens, until someone arrives, until it is your turn to do something, etc.

: to not do something until something else happens

: to remain in a state in which you expect or hope that something will happen soon

12 months? 14 Months? 24 Months? How about my whole frickin’ life!!!

Waiting.

For.

My.

Baby.

Tomorrow, we have our first appointment with the fertility specialist. It’s been 4.5 months of waiting to get in.

Patience is a virtue. I feel as if I’ve perfected it, but really the waiting game isn’t about perfecting anything except the ability to let go.

Let go of the:

  • Stupid people asking stupid questions
  • Symptom checking
  • Pressure
  • Schedule
  • Hurt
  • Why me?
  • Disappointment and tears every time your period arrives

And instead, look forward to the:

  • Positive test
  • Excitement
  • Belly
  • Baby room decorating
  • Birth planning
  • Anticipation
  • First look
  • First touch
  • First cry

Look forward to spending the rest of your life loving your child, this individual soul who chose you and whose tiny body was conceived from love.

Look forward to the future. It will happen. And I am looking forward to when it does. *sigh* 

The brighter side of trying to conceive

I’m laughing so hard I’m crying. Because It’s true. Trying to have a baby is not easy for everyone.  I can relate to more of these reasons to laugh at infertility than I ever thought I would.

Here’s a few that I enjoyed reading:

In response to every family member or acquaintance (because my friends sure as hell know what I’m going through) who has said, “Do you and your hubby plan on having kids?” or “When are you going to start trying?” or “It looks good on you!”.  The answers are “YES, YES, and YES I know.”

Pay attention! The answer to the first question is obvious. I’ve always planned on having my own family. I’ve considered myself “Auntie” to all of my friend’s kids for the past 10 years and love nothing more than participating in their lives. “Little Johnny needs his diaper changed? Sure I’ll do it! I could use the practise (for MY future babies! DUH!)”

When it is our time to be blessed with a little one, my husband and I will be amazing parents. Although this fertility journey is trying at times, it has brought us closer together, strengthening our weaknesses and building an even stronger emotional connection. I’m a better person than I was when this journey first started and I wouldn’t go back and change it if I could. I believe that everything happens for a reason. This extra waiting time has been a period of growth so that we can welcome our baby into an even more loving, nurturing, and supportive environment.

To all of those people who ask the questions that every trying to conceive couple dreads, I thank you for caring. We’ve been trying for long enough that I definitely could have birthed one, if not two kids by now.  So maybe next time instead of asking ARE you trying, you should ask HOW is it going? I’d be more than willing to share all the wonderful details with you. 😀

*A big thank you to Naomi over at 99 Reasons to Laugh. You seriously made my day!