IVF Take 3

Three weeks ago we started on the journey yet again. I had mixed uneasy feelings going into this round due to our miscarriage at the end of the year. However, I tried to remain positive about the road ahead.

The weeks leading up were very stressful due to work and drama surrounding getting our medications due to a change in my work insurance carrier. After weeks of following up and escalation, I finally received my medications five days before we started stimulation. Work continued to be stressful as I am attempting to transition out of a role and the leader of that group was not too accepting of my transition. I was feeling I was already fighting many battles before my body even began to try to produce healthy follicles and embryos.

Stimulation Day 1 came and all went well. We went for our first monitoring ultrasound and I was responding well to stims with eight measurable (greater than 10mm in diameter) follicles on the right, three measurable in the left and 19 less than between my two ovaries. We continued with the same dosage and made an appointment to check again in two days. We went back for our second monitoring appointment and my body was responding well with the following follicle numbers:

  • Right: 
  • 15
  • 17
  • 13.5
  • 15.5
  • 13.5
  • 16.5
  • 17.5
  • 11
  • 17
  • 12.5
  • 10
  • 15.5
  • 12.5
  • 13.5
  • 10 less than
  • Left 
  • 17.5
  • 11.5
  • 14.5
  • 10.5
  • 14.5
  • 13
  • 11.5
  • 8 less than

Our RE was out of the office but had instructed the team that she wanted to push my body so that we could get as many follicles as possible with greater chances for more embryos to biopsy for pre-genetic screening. The team made the decision to keep our same dosage and for me to return the next day. We returned and got the following updated numbers:

  • Right:
  • 18
  • 15.5
  • 15.5
  • 13.5
  • 11
  • 19
  • 12
  • 11
  • 20.5
  • 15
  • 16.5
  • 13
  • 18.5
  • 18
  • 11
  • 5 less than
  • left:
  • 17
  • 15.5
  • 13.5
  • 16.5
  • 12.5
  • 16.5
  • 20
  • 11.5
  • 8 less than

Still progressing well, they advise I again stay with the same dose and return for what would probably be our last monitoring visit prior to trigger. We went in the next morning and our numbers were looking great and very similar to our previous cycle.  

  • Right: 
  • 17
  • 20
  • 17.5
  • 14.5
  • 13
  • 13.5
  • 16
  • 17.5
  • 18.5
  • 21.5
  • 13
  • 23
  • 16
  • 14
  • 13.5
  • 17.5
  • 12
  • 4 less than
  • left:
  • 17.5
  • 12.5
  • 15.5
  • 18.5
  • 12.5
  • 14
  • 13
  • 13
  • 23.5
  • 19
  • 15.5
  • 4 less than 

My Estradiol levels were nicely increasing but not spiking as they had with our previous cycle, so they gave us the green light to trigger and schedule the retrieval for that following Tuesday morning.  

The day before the retrieval the pain really began to set in and it was getting uncomfortable to sit or lay down. I woke up the morning of the retrieval and felt as I did with our previous cycle. I had pushed through nine days of IVF stimulation medications to hopefully grow healthy beautiful follicles that will fertilize and grow into beautiful 5-day embryos. Last year we had not previously keep the same dosage throughout to get over 20 follicles growing and ready for retrieval. Last year, I had no idea what to expect and had never experienced the pain that I felt that morning. Last year I was so upset that we were not going to be able to proceed with the next step of a fresh transfer and that we would have to freeze all of the embryos due to my high Estradiol levels. This year, I knew that a freeze all was expected due to the genetic testing.

The RE on call came into our room prior to the retrieval and was like you have been a patient here for a while, it is time for us to get you a lot of eggs and get you pregnant. No kidding dude! The retrieval went well and he was able to retrieve 23 follicles. I was in a lot of pain, but tried to keep reminding myself that it was all worth it to get our good number of embryos for biopsy.

We received the fertilization update the next day that of the 23 follicles, 15 of them were mature and 13 had fertilized. Woohoo 13 was a great number to start with. We still had to make it over the hurdle of Day 3 growth and Day 5 blastocyst stage before our embryos could be biopsied and sent off for testing.  

We got the Day 3 call and we still had a dozen embryos growing. We decided to celebrate over the weekend and wait for the Day 5 call. Day 5 came and the news was not as great as we had hoped, only one embryo had made it to the biopsy stage and we had five that were still growing, so we had lost six.  

Today the office called back to give us final numbers and unfortunately only two embryos were able to be biopsied. So after 23 we only have two to test to see if genetically my embryos are normal.

I am beyond disappointed. I feel like our window to parenthood is diminishing and that our miracle baby may not be in our cards after all. I know it only takes one embryo but based on the growth rate of our embryos I am not feeling very positive. In addition to top it all off, once I finally started to feel better from the retrieval, Aunt Flow has shown up in full force.
Now we will wait to find out the results and if this will be the end to our journey….

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Life Update

Sorry I have been MIA. After our failed FET in April, I was feeling very alone and isolated, even by the infertility community, so I needed to take some time for personal reflection away from the “noise.”
Then life got super busy…before we knew it was June. We decided to sell our home. Another birthday crept up and we spent it at the beach just the two of us. Then off to Boston for work and a weekend in NYC to visit friends and celebrate Pride…let’s just say it was a busy June.July we spent getting our home ready to sell. Who knew you could accumulate so much crap in 10 years. It felt great to declutter our life and get rid of the bad and old.

We were convinced that with the changes made that we would for sure be changing our luck in the infertility department. 

We went in for our third FET on July 20th. Let’s say that the transfer was a comedy of errors by far. Our clinic has had a lot of turn over with the front desk and nursing staff, so the new people do not know us or my history. A nurse called the day before to confirm and remind me to show up with a full bladder, I had to remind her that I was going to be sedated and thus would not have a full bladder since I couldn’t eat or drink after midnight. Then we get to the clinic the next morning to check in and the front desk representative makes me give a urine sample. 🙄 We get back to the prep room and the anesthesiologist had to put in my IV. Which he promptly put in my hand. Ouch! Where is the nurse!?! Then our RE comes by to tell us that they had to thaw three of our embabies to get two viable ones for transfer (so now we are down to four), so we lost one…I wanted to cry but held it together. Then she asked if my bladder was full and I told her no since they made me give a urine sample. She just shook her head and walked out the room to go fuss someone out. The clinic had given the front desk instructions to make sure they got urine samples for a hysterscopy procedure, not a transfer! She came back and said they were ready but the med tech was not around, so I had to carry my own IV bag as I walked back to the procedure room. All Heather and I could do was shake our head at the disfunction of the day. 
They do the procedure and bring me back to the room after waking me up. Our RE told Heather all went well with the transfer but that I woke up in the middle of the procedure and I was feisty. Umm what happened? What does that mean? I don’t remember waking up so who knows what I did when I woke up on the table 😰.
Since I tend to be quite stressed, I took off the week of the transfer. I spent the days before the transfer focused on getting things done around the house to get it ready for listing at the end of the month. Then I had two week days and the weekend off after our transfer. Heather took my work laptop and hid it and I removed all of my work emails from my phone, so I would not be tempted or frustrated with work.  
The day before the transfer I had a massage which was great. Then I had acupuncture the night of transfer day and 2 days after, so needless to say I was feeling good about my relaxation and low stress levels surrounding this transfer.
I went back to work the Monday after and our Associate Director immediately told me how much they missed me and she appreciates all that I do, since she had to deal with my frustrating/difficult clients while I was out. That evening our realtor came by to take pictures of our house and told us that we did a great job getting it ready and that it looked great and she was pretty sure it would sell fast. That was a big weight lifted as I had a complete progesterone emotional breakdown the night before worried that we would not be ready to list the house.
Throughout the nine days post transfer, I felt cramping, slight nausea and breast tenderness. As always deep down I was trying to remain positive and that I was growing two lives. Last Friday, we both decided to work from home and headed off to our blood test at 9am. We asked the medical tech to remind the fellow (our clinic is part of a teaching hospital and has fellows) that when they call with the results, if I do not answer that they need to leave the message on my voicemail so that Heather and I can listen to it together. She said she would try to remind them. We tell the front desk specialist the same thing when we check out and she looks at us like we are aliens. Ugh incompetence. So on the way home, I sent an email to my RE and asked that she remind the fellow to leave a message. 
Around 1:30, my cell phone rings…Heather and I both hold our breath and answer the phone. It is one of the fellows that we don’t particularly care for and she was like should I tell you now or call back and leave a message. Immediately we knew it was not…good news. I told her please tell us now and she said unfortunately your test was negative.  
NEGATIVE!!! AGAIN?!? I immediately shut down and tried not to burst into tears. I had an acupuncture appointment and needed to calm myself to drive to the appointment. I went to acupuncture and told my acupuncturist the bad news. She was pissed off, upset and frustrated for us as well.  
Since Friday, I am have been trying to concentrate on our house selling and not be in the infertility space. We listed our house last Thursday and had a showing that day. Since then we have a number of showings but no offers yet. Let’s hope the offer comes soon…we need some good news bad!

The time is almost here….

It is CD23 and we are less than five days from transfer day!!!! It feels like so much time has passed since we got back on the infertility horse back in January.  Our lining check was  Thursday and my lining is at 9.2. Most protocols want your lining to be at least 7mm, so my body is definitely responding well to the Estradiol (makes the hormone emotional roller coaster all worth it).
This week has been a little better, not sure if it is because my hormone levels are leveling out and my body is getting use to the estradiol, or because we are so close to transfer day, but I had no breakdowns this week, yea!! 

Work has not improved. I was really stressed this week as I had to give a training to our group, on top of trying to keep up with just everyday workload.  I really want to get everything done before I am out for our transfer and then gone for a week at a conference, but I am trying to accept that I can only do what I can and the rest will have to wait.

Yesterday I had my last acupuncture before I am PUPO (Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise).  Crazy to think that this time next week, I will be PUPO.  While I wanted to have acupuncture right before my transfer, I will not be able to since I will be sedated for the transfer.  So after much discussion with my acupunturist, we will do post transfer treatment in the afternoon after the sedation has worn off. 

We went on double date with one of the wife’s coworkers last night to see one of our favorite local bands, Delta Rae. Two years ago, my wife and some our NYC friends attended Farm Aid in Raleigh.  It was a day filled with great music for a great cause.  It was at this festival that we fell in love with Delta Rae and then to find out they were from Durham, it was music love. If you have never heard of them, check them out!!  
  
It was a great show last night, but definitely feeling the late night after having to get up early for fertility meds. I will be spending the day planning out things that we need to get done in the next few days so I can rest my body and get ready for our baby!

Trying to be patient and find the positive…

  
I so feel like this dog this week…we are so close with our embryos waiting for us, yet so far away….

It has been a trying week to say the least with some disappointment we were not expecting.

So this past weekend, we went to the farmer’s market and a food truck rodeo.  These events which you would not think should bother me, always seem to get me choked up.  There are families everywhere with their little babies all snuggled in their carries and pregnant woman galore.  My wife and I sat down at a picnic table to eat a taco and of course there was this sweet lesbian couple with their beautiful little girl playing near us.  It just brought back all of my emotions of why not us, when will it be our turn.

Work has been incredibly busy so my stress level has increased.  I was nervous about having to cancel a business trip that I was suppose to go on early March due to our expected transfer.  My boss and management were more than understanding and found someone to go in my place, but I hate to feel like I am not doing my job because of our IVF schedule.

To make matters worst with that schedule, I reached out to our clinic’s IVF nurses to get an update on our schedule since our RE was going to discuss the plan with them after we talk two weeks ago.  Come to find out, I was confused. Here I was thinking that when CD1 came in the next week that I would be starting meds and we would be within the 40 day window of seeing our beautiful embryos again. NO! You are wrong, don’t collect $200, don’t pass go! The nurse explained to me that they want to do a saline sonogram around CD5-12 to make sure no scar tissue has developed since my transfer last year, and then they are going to repeat the endometrial injury and cervical dilation around CD25 since the one I had before Christmas would have no benefit now.  She also explained that they want to do these procedure BEFORE I start meds.  Here I was thinking that they would do this while I was on FET meds. So I will have these procedures done with my Feb cycle and then start meds in March if everything is good, and transfer will most likely be early April.

Needless to say I am a little disappointed because now I feel like we wasted a cycle after I came off stimulation meds last month. I also feel like crap because I cancelled that busy trip thinking our transfer would happen that week and now it is not.  We are trying to stay positive and busy, but it is really difficult.

This weekend we started a major declutter of the house that we will do over the next few weeks and then have a garage sale to hopefully get ready for baby. I am trying to take the additional forced time as a sign that we need to make room for a baby since we have never really made room previously, we always figured we would do it once we got a BFP.

What are others thoughts about preparing a baby room/buying things for a child before you are pregnant?

Trying to pass the time…

So Monday was my wife’s birthday and our follow up with our RE to talk about the FET plan.  The birthday was good but I think my wife was a little disappointed due to the snowy/ice weather and not getting to see family or friends.  The good present that she did get was that our frozen embryos look great.  Out of the eight, four are close to hatching and most are a grade A or B, so that seems promising.

We still do not know our exact transfer date yet as we have to wait to see when my cycle starts.  Our RE does want us to do another saline sonogram on CD5 to make sure my cervix and uterus are clear and ready for our embroys.  If that comes back clean, then we will do another endometrial biopsy/scrap and cervical dilation around Cycle Day 13 to make sure my body is ready to receive our embroys. We will still do my transfer under sedation since my cervix is tricky, so looks like Feb/Mar will have quite a few sedation induced take it easy days.

We talked about the decision to implant one or two embryos.  Our RE is leaning towards two but warned us that it does increase our chances of multiples.  Not only twins, but possibly triplets or quadruplets if one or both embryos were to split.  We are leaning towards taking our chances and implanting two.  Yes that makes me nervous about the financial aspect of two kids,but we will cross that bridge if we get there.

Waiting is getting to be more and more unbearable.  I know that we need to cherish the time and moments we have together, but I think my wife and are both starting to get impatient waiting for us to complete this cycle and knowing whether we are still in the infertility category or moving on to pregnancy stage.

I have been trying to stay busy by reading and doing a few things around the house.  I finished two infertility books this month that I would recommend to any that are on this journey.  

  
How are you ladies passing the time?

In limbo…

  

So in limbo is “in a state of neglect; in a state of oblivion; in an indefinite state; on hold.”  My wife hates when I say that we are in IVF limbo, but that is how I feel.  Like we are on hold stuck in between two doors.  We have exited the door of getting my eggs ready for retrieval and fertilization, but yet quite not ready to enter the door to transfer our embryos to their home.

Yesterday I finished a great book on infertility and the TTC process, “Waiting for Daisy” by Peggy Orenstein, I highly recommend it for all of us on this journey.  This was the first book out of the many I have read that truly captured the emotional feelings of trying to have a child.  Hope, excitement, disappointment, dispare, hope again and then all over again.

I think that is why I feel like we are in limbo because I don’t know if I should be excited or disappointed.  I see other TTC sisters who are in the two week wait or getting ready to transfer and my little green friend pops out to say hello.  Not that I don’t want things to go well for them, but I am jealous that I am not experiencing the excitement of our embryos inside of me.  It is a crappy feeling to know what you need to do next but can’t go down that path due to a long road block.  I know that I just need to be patient and allow my body to recover, but my patience is wearing thin.

Let’s hope I feel better tomorrow after the date/plan is laid out with our RE or this is going to be a long 30-45 days…