Warning: There are photos of pregnancy tests in this post.
I’m going to backtrack a bit since I haven’t provided any updates since our Frozen Egg Transfer (FET) at the end of October. I know how important it is to read others’ experiences when you are going through all the waiting periods of IVF (and there is A LOT of waiting). We’ve done four IVF cycles and four transfers, and each one has involved a massive amount of googling and reading blogs and websites. While I wouldn’t recommend googling for sanity’s sake, I know that it’s basically inevitable when you are cycling.
I wrote down some notes about my symptoms in the days following our transfer. Please note that symptoms vary and some experience no symptoms leading up to the beta blood test. Also, it is hard (pretty much impossible) to separate which symptoms are from the embryo implanting, and which are from the medications you take post-transfer. I was on estrogen patches (switched them every other day) and progesterone suppositories 3x per day.
1dp5dt: mild cramping from the transfer
2dp5dt: one sided cramping on my left side
3dp5dt: more cramping, mostly left side but also right
4dp5dt: cramping, bloating
5dp5dt: cramping, bloating (first positive test)
7dp5dt: exhaustion, bloating, and some light nausea (second positive test)
There are a lot of opinions about whether to take an at-home test or not, and if you do, when to test. With each of my IVF cycles, I always tested at home. I just can’t wait it out until the blood test! I normally use First Response Early Result Pregnancy Test. I found it to be the most reliable when testing early.
This time around I tested early at 5 days past the transfer. If memory serves me correctly, I think I tested around day 7 or 8 with past cycles. I read this post from Reddit and found it to be really helpful when deciding when to test.
At 5 days past a 5 day transfer, I decided to break the seal and test. L and I talked about it ahead of time. We knew we were in a bit of a grey area with testing, but couldn’t wait another day. After peeing and waiting a couple of minutes, there was a faint line. Here’s a (crappy) picture I didn’t plan to share. It was just for documenting purposes.
After testing at 5dp5dt, I tested every day after that until the blood test at my clinic on 10dp5dt. I wouldn’t recommend comparing the darkness of the lines every day, but, of course, I did it any way and caused myself major panic.
I had a scare a few days later (8dp5dt) when I took a morning test. Previous to 8dp5dt, I had taken all tests in the evening. I got the bright idea to try to test in the morning, and apparently the concentration of hCG in my urine was significantly less in the morning.
Here’s what my tests looked like. This is the perfect example of how you can’t expect perfect line progression with these tests. It’s a head trip.
Beta blood results
I had my blood drawn at 10dp5dt and a follow-up draw at 12dp5dt. The results of those tests are below. We felt great about these beta levels which was a change from past cycles where they started out much lower. With K my 10dp5dt hCG level was in the 60’s or 70’s. With my chemical pregnancy, my level started off in the 80’s or so and then fell.
The higher hCG levels brought some peace of mind, and also a queasy stomach much earlier than I expected! But, we were very excited at the prospect that this cycle worked.