Infertility stories

Pregnancy symptoms

During our four unsuccessful ICSI treatments and six unsuccessful IVFs, we always wanted to know what K's pregnancy symptoms would be; but we never even got that far. On the seventh IVF this changed; and though symptoms vary from person to person, I hope this list proves helpful. You'll also find on this page some of the reasons why we think it might have happened for us this last time.

15 eggs, all fertilised with ICSI, all grade As. This was the first cycle in which we had used ICSI; all the others were 'normal' IVFs. The embryo transfer went smoothly, as it always has.
The two-week waiting period prior to the pregnancy test: K had all the usual negative signs of a failed cycle: initial breast tenderness followed by complete loss of it, and slight spotting a few days before the test. She had no classic positive symptoms at all: some uterine spasms 7 days after transfer might have indicated an implantation; but this had happened before, with no meaningful outcome... So it was a surprise when the urine pregnancy test was a half-positive, and the subsequent blood test revealed an HcG level of 47.
The spotting continued (old blood), and there was still no significant breast tenderness. However, K was tired and had several afternoon naps—unusual for her. She also had some abdominal pain, and a craving for night-time snacks. The blood test at the end of this week showed an HcG level of 1027, confirming the pregnancy (the figure is supposed to double every couple of days).
Still no significant breast tenderness, but K experienced slight ovarian pain and the first hint of mild nausea. The uterine discomfort continued (not period cramps, a different sensation) and the tiredness also persisted for a while, before declining towards the end of the week. The midnight feasts waned, too.
The scan at the start of this week revealed twins; but on the same day K had some bleeding and cramping, resulting in a medium amount of red blood which lasted all day, followed by spotting and old blood during the night. We panicked, we felt the cycle had failed: K went on bedrest. The next day she felt a little nauseous, but the sickness disappeared the day after. A second scan three days after the first revealed both foetal heartbeats, and also a 'wound' where Tuesday's bleeding had occurred: it did not seem to have affected either twin. Breast tenderness increased, 'restless leg' appeared, there was some slight breast enlargement, and more uterine discomfort (not cramping). Strong nausea by the end of this week. Cravings for junk food.
Increasing nausea accompanied by hunger, breast pain (persistent from now on); and continuing restless leg. The nausea was spread throughout the day, but the daytime naps stopped. The scan at the end of this week showed that only one twin had survived. Nothing (no symptoms, no feeling) had given us a clue of when or why this might have happened; we were simply unaware. The surviving foetus also looked a little small, not as large as comparable scans on the web. K's belly was growing a little larger, but it was barely noticeable.
Retching from the start of this week, getting gradually worse and accompanied by severe dizziness on a couple of occasions. Regular three-times-a-morning retches continued until the end of the week.
Sickness even worse, up to four times a day, with a brief break between lunchtime and evening. The scan at the end of this week was fine, and showed a 3-4cm foetus (normal), a heartbeat, teeth, arms and legs; and our baby moved. We were officially discharged from the IVF unit and put into mainstream gynaecological care. K's belly was now noticeably larger.
Sickness at its height: up to six times a day, and continuing into the night. No more restless leg. By the end of the 12th week, the nausea was at its most severe: all day, all night, with an accompanying loss of appetite.
Retching declined in frequency, with a few lapses, until by the start of week 18 it was occurring only once every few days... And that's it. By now K looked and felt pregnant; but the thing we had always believed—that you could tell in the first weeks after the transfer, or at least before week 6—turned out not to be true. Some people know early in a cycle; we didn't.


And why did it happen this time...?

Our infertility was unexplained, and the reasons why it suddenly ended are just as mysterious; a combination of science and superstition. From a scientific angle, it looks like immune therapy, aspirin, and zinc might have helped; but the other factors were just as important to us. In the end we might simply, finally, have just got lucky... Anyway, this is what we think: