Saturday, March 17, 2012

Why Symptoms are a Bunch of Bull

I haven't even started my 2WW, yet I could be convinced I was pregnant if I didn't otherwise know. After my last two transfers I was on symptoms watch during this period. What have I learned by doing this? That you can have all of the classic early pregnancy symptoms and not be pregnant. In fact, I think I had more "symptoms" the cycle I didn't get implantation than the one I did. And currently, I have a ton of "symptoms" despite having zero chance of being pregnant. 

Let's recap:
Transfer #1 (T1)- frozen transfer of 4 day 3 embryos. I didn't get implantation.
Transfer #2 (T2)- fresh transfer of 2 day 5 embryos. I had implantation that resulted in a chemical pregnancy. 
Currently (C)- Awaiting a transfer on Monday of day 5/6 embryos (not sure how many yet)

Currently I am on estrogen (orally 3x's/day) and progesterone (vaginally 2x's/day). 

I looked online at common early pregnancy symptoms so let's see:

Cramping: C-Yup. I've noticed this more since starting the progesterone on Friday. No embryos in there to implant yet, but still a symptom I'm currently experiencing. Also present with T1 and T2.

Breast tenderness: C-Not yet but I'm sure in the next few days. Again, progesterone related. This always appears within a few days of starting progesterone. Big time both with T1 and T2. 

Fatigue: C-Nope. When I did PIO (T1) and my progesterone levels were really high I was the most tired of any cycle. Not with T2. 

Nausea: C-Nope. Again, after T1 was when I had this symptom the most. Not after T2. 

Bloating: All cycles. Thanks hormones!

Constipation or Diarrhea: C-Nope. This was BAD after T2 and not present after T1. 

Headaches: C-Yes. None in the past few days but when I first started estrogen (first week or so) I had a headache pretty much every day. After T1 and T2 I had headaches. Headaches generally accompany rising or falling hormones for me. Both times my pregnancies didn't work out I had headaches for about a week straight leading up to the bad news. 

Backache: C-No, but lots after T2. I also had a lot of backaches the week before my period started after T2. 

Spotting: None ever.

Increased basal body temperature: I don't keep track. I did when I was first TTC, but it was a real pain and seemed too inconsistent. Not for me. 

Darker areolas: Never

Vaginal Discharge: Does crinone discharge count? Hard to tell when you are on vaginal suppositories. 

Mood swings: Ummmm.... all the time?

Frequent Trips to the bathroom: C-Yes. Last night I got up 3 times to pee. I did drink a bit of wine last night, but since starting the Crinone I have definitely noticed this. Didn't have this after T1 but did with 2. 

Heightened sense of smell: All cycles. 

Food Aversions: C-No. Didn't after T1 but did a little after T2 (dark meat of chicken). 

Increased thirst: Not really something I've ever noticed. 

So what can be learned from this long-winded post? That "symptoms" are a result of the hormones that I take, not an actual pregnancy. I've decided in the past few days leading up to transfer #3 that I don't believe in symptoms. Maybe if I were a normal fertile trying to get pregnant they would mean something. But, I take a ton of hormones that mimic all of the same symptoms. For this transfer I'm not going to be on symptom watch because symptoms are a bunch of bull.  


  1. I agree! Thanks for reminding me of this. When i do my ivf in July I'm going to tell myself its all the hormones and try not to worry about symptoms. It will drive you crazy. I know for sure if i was a pregnant fertile I'd know i was pregnant, but all those hormones are awful during treatments. Smells like bull to me too!

    All the luck in the world on monday! :)

  2. Haha! Yes, I totally agree. I was CONVINCED I was pregnant this cycle, based on all the symptoms above. I'm not. Of course, I had all the same symptoms before when I did get PG -- except for that cycle when I was PG but had no symptoms. Quite the mind-game, isn't it?

    Best of luck to you at transfer and beyond.


  3. I agree. On my IVF #2 I actually had morning sickness but it was a failed cycle! I had so much hope that cycle due to 'symptoms' as I was throwing up! I now do not read into any symptoms due to the drugs that I take. X

    1. P.S. good luck for your transfer! X

  4. My doc cautioned me that all of the hormones especially progesterone mimics pregnancy symptoms do I wasn't surprised. I didn't think it would have been as bad as they are but hey it's only my first round so I wasn't sure what to expect. But I definitely wasn't surprised by having any symptoms.

  5. Haha, yes, I agree for sure! I haven't thought twice about the crazy "symptoms" I have this 2ww. 500 mg/day of progesterone will do that, regardless of the outcome. Sigh. Best of luck to you on Monday!

  6. This is true. I thuoght I was preggers a bunch when I was trying to concieve naturally (without PIO) based on symptoms...I was never pregnant.
    It's either in our heads or a result of the meds.

  7. So true.... hormones are a nightmare and make it impossible to tell what on earth is going on :( Thinking of you for your transfer xoxo

  8. I've done 8 cycles of IVF, and I've gotten pregnant on 5 of those. (only 2 stuck). By now, I can tell the difference between prog. induced symptoms and pregnancy symptoms hands down. BUT that's because I have pregnancy and non pregnancy cycles to compare. Unfortunately, I have the same pregnancy symptoms no matter if it's a chemical or ends up in a miscarriage, so what difference does it make? I need 'crappy embryo' detector symptoms instead ;)

  9. I completely agree!!!! I remember, the night before testing positive with Alex, I had a complete mental break down because I felt completely normal and was SURE that I couldn't be pregnant! The next day I got a dark, fat second line! And....basically, if it weren't for ultrasounds and blood work, I probably wouldn't have known I was pregnant for the first 20 was an easy pregnancy-most of it!

    So don't worry about symptoms. And if you do get pregnant this cycle *fingers crossed* don't worry if you feel completely normal-it doesn't mean that there is something wrong with the pregnancy!

    So excited for you!

  10. This post is right on. Oh, I think back on the agony of each month that went by when I'd be convinced that I had symptoms and they turned out to be nothing (at least nothing pregnancy-related.) I finally got my BFP two months ago, and I had no symptoms until I was about a week late. Go figure.

    I think a lot of the "expert" websites have you believe that pregnancy-related symptoms start earlier than they do. Everyone is different and some women get them pretty early, but on the whole I think it takes longer for symptoms to develop than they make people believe. Ugh, it makes me crazy all over again just thinking about the hours I spent obsessing over whether I could be pregnant because I had bloating or cramping or headaches or whatever. It is so hard.

    Hang in there! I have hope for you experiencing REAL, honest to goodness symptoms soon (but maybe not until be after your BFP). :-)