Thursday, 1 June 2017

Side Effects or Symptoms?

Bo and Luke have now been on board for a full week and despite my assertions before the transfer that I wouldn't be symptom spotting at all, thankyouverymuch. I can't really help myself.

There are a few reasons why this is a pretty stupid idea.

Firstly, as many websites tell you, most 'normal' women wouldn't be aware of the fact that they are pregnant at this stage. I'm the equivalent of 12 days post ovulation and the majority of women don't become aware of the fact that they're pregnant until they miss a period which probably wouldn't be happening for another few days. Plus many of the symptoms of early pregnancy are pretty similar to an impending period which just confuse things even further.

Secondly, an oft-shared table (amongst IVFers) shows what happens on each day post embryo transfer. hCG, the hormone secreted by the growing embryo, doesn't start entering your bloodstream until roughly six days after transfer; possibly earlier if it's hatching at the time of transfer, obviously later if it's a late implanter. If that was going to give you pregnancy symptoms, you'd need to wait a couple of days at least for there to be enough in your system to give you anything.

And thirdly, it's a sharp upswing in your progesterone levels which gives you most of the common early pregnancy symptoms, so when you're taking copious amounts of progesterone you have no way of knowing whether the things you're experiencing are pregnancy related or merely a side effect of your meds.

I tried to make a mental note of the side effects I was experiencing before the transfer. I had a touch of insomnia which seems to have vanished, presumably because I'm also suffering from extreme tiredness now (also a side effect of the progesterone). I did notice I was peeing a little more as well shortly after starting the meds which I noted mainly because that, along with the insomnia, were my main symptoms when I was pregnant with the twins.

Now I'm still peeing a lot, but I have no idea whether that's simply because there's more progesterone in my system now, or because there's someone else inhabiting my body. Or perhaps it's because I'm drinking about twice as much as I normally would. That's because I'm feeling a lot more thirsty than usual. Dry mouth/increased sense of thirst can be a sign of early pregnancy, but it's also a side effect of progesterone.

Recently I've been experiencing some crazy bloating. I don't know if I didn't notice it immediately after transfer because I spent the long weekend wearing pyjamas which are rather generous around the middle, but this week I've discovered that by the afternoon at work I have to undo my work trousers. Failure to do this results in them cutting into my rapidly expanding belly and makes me feel very uncomfortable and ill.

Mr Click actually took one look at my massive belly and announced that I must be pregnant because I'm so big there must be someone in there!

Bloating can be an early pregnancy symptom. And why? Because progesterone can slow down the gut, causing a build up of gas and constipation (among other delights). And what am I taking? Progesterone, of course.

Each morning I'm back to slightly more normal proportions but by lunch time I'm puffing up again. I'm guessing this is because my slow digestive tract is getting several hours as I sleep to get things dealt with, then I wake up in the morning, start filling myself up again and by lunch I've hit saturation point again.

Other possible symptoms/side effects?

Well, I'm getting a touch of nausea, again that's another side effect of the progesterone that I'm on. That seems to be worse when I'm feeling hungry though the other night I drank a cup of peppermint tea before bed and was convinced I was about to throw up. It passed after a few minutes and it hasn't been back since.

And then there was a touch of spotting as well. Last year's frozen embryo transfer failed five days after the transfer and that began with some spotting first thing in the morning, so you can imagine how my heart sank when I got a couple of little spots on Tuesday morning (exactly five days after our transfer). I've had it a few more times since then, though nowhere near as heavy as last year's spotting (which very quickly developed into a full on period).

If you Google it, there are boards full of women who had 'implantation spotting' and went on to deliver a perfect baby, along with plenty of women who didn't. But even this could be caused by the progesterone. Since one of the drugs I'm on is in pessary form, it could be irritating my cervix and causing these little episodes.

And so you can see why all of this is sort of madness inducing. Obviously the only way to know for sure is to wait for the test, which gives me plenty more time to analyse these things a little more!


  1. You need to get your focus on something else, like right now. You're going to make yourself crazy with all this second guessing.


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