5 Weeks

I’m still pregnant. I’m also finally beginning to feel human again after the egg retrieval. The doctors were so concerned about OHSS, going so far as to prescribe medication to avoid it, that I think I must have had mild symptoms, just not concerning enough to postpone transfer. The nurse hinted at as much, when she told me that my blood work indicated “no risk of severe OHSS symptoms.” All of my research shows that, while symptoms typically fade within a week, if you manage to get pregnant, they can linger for several.

My retrieval was on election day, exactly three weeks ago and my ovaries have only now seemed to return to their normal size. My abdomen doesn’t ache as much, though I’ve had to bite the bullet and purchase some $15 maternity jeans off Amazon, The daily progesterone shots leave my stomach less swollen than the retrieval, but still far too much so for my size 10 skinny jeans. I imagine the swelling is unlikely to go down, as long as I’m getting the shots, which is until week 10. After that, it’s likely I’ll start to show soon… even though I’m already making an effort not to look pregnant.

I’ve been in this awful Venn Diagram intersection for the last few weeks, experiencing the above post-IVF retrieval symptoms, while also discovering what can only be early pregnancy symptoms. They literally cannot be psychosomatic or shared with progesterone side-effects, like nausea and headache. The night before last, I literally woke up at 1:00 and could not go back to sleep for two hours, because my legs were so restless and due to the smell of Jake’s deodorant. It was overpowering, even with a blanket over my face and made me nauseous and my head hurt. I finally had to sleep on the couch, just to get a few more hours and washed everything on the bed the next morning. Last night, I woke up with horrible heartburn, which I’ve never had in my life and lay in bed for an hour trying to go back to sleep, before Googling remedies and getting up for a glass of milk. When I woke again, propped on two pillows, my head was pounding, which I’d still attribute largely to the progesterone.

The dreams, though… I know very little about pregnancy, as I stopped researching it when I found out Jake and I would have to do IVF. I probably know less about babies, for the same reason. Why stoke the fever? I had to Google it, but apparently strange dreams are a frequent side-effect of early pregnancy and I suppose it’s a relief that I don’t have some kind of brain parasite. I’ve always been a vivid and often even lucid dreamer, but these are like Stephen King/Nick Cutter material. I can rarely remember them, often because I don’t want to, but they also wake me up at night and I struggle to go back to sleep, because I don’t want to return to the bizarre images. It’s exhausting.

All in all, as far as I can tell, these are all good signs. Early pregnancy symptoms often signal a strong and viable pregnancy, which we won’t be able to clarify for another two weeks, when I have my first transvaginal ultrasound. So, here’s hoping, I’m still pregnant in two weeks.