Thursday, July 31, 2014

Lucky #7

Just when E and I thought IVF couldn't get even more stressful, we are thrown into the world of PGS testing.

We opted for a fresh 6 day transfer with PGS testing for a few reasons. We liked the idea of not waiting an additional 2 months and fresh worked before.  My RE suspects there could be something we're not getting right during my FET cycles so he was also keen on doing a fresh transfer. With 14 embryos still growing on day 3, E and I were still confident in going forward with PGS.

Then, the afternoon of day 5 came and I got the devastating phone call that only 2 embryos were able to be biopsied at that point.  I was crushed! I thought for sure we'd have at least 3 or maybe 4. In fact, 4 was my mental cut-off. With 4 embryos to be tested, I thought our odds of having at least 1 normal to transfer would be maximized. You see, my RE thinks the reason all my FETs didn't work is because I have great "looking" blasts but I've really got a higher percentage of abnormal ones for a person my age. The average for my age group is 50% normal, but if my chances are necessarily decreased to say 30% normal - then how in the heck would 2 embryos yield me at least one to transfer? It wouldn't, and we were crushed Monday afternoon.  We were told there were others that might be tested the next day, but that meant no fresh transfer.

Tuesday, we were expecting the RE to call between 7am-8:30am with the results - transfer scheduled for 9:45 am with 9:15 am arrival. That's what the nurse explained. We needed to get C into day care, so at 7:30 am and no news, we headed that direction. I hopped out, and dropped C off about 8 am - still no phone call. What gives!?! All morning, our hearts were pounding. I didn't dare leave my phone long enough to use the restroom. 

In order to make it to the clinic on time, we had to depart for the clinic still not knowing our embryos' results. With ever minute that passed on the clock, my pulse seemed to race faster and faster. Neither E nor I said very much to each other until I broke the silence.  The closer we got to the clinic, the more hopeful I was getting that the transfer would happen. E said he felt the same.  8:40 am came and went and still nothing. At that point, I emailed my nurse and received a message back right away. Results are expected momentarily, RE will call soon. CRAP.

A few minutes later, we arrived at the clinic parking lot. We sat, in silence again. I was certain we were going to head home. We just aren't the lucky people in all of this.  I began to drink my water in order to have a full bladder for transfer. I didn't want to start too early because I was certain I'd just be sitting in traffic with a full bladder for no reason.  By 8:50 am and no call, I drank. We sat there looking at the minutes tick by.  How awful would it be to have to sign in, go into the waiting room and then walk right out? Surely there could be nothing worse for us in that moment.

How did we manage to do this to ourselves? Add yet another level of stress to our already heavy hearts. Knowing we had to be in the clinic at 9:15 am, we waited until 9:17 am just to be sure. Still, nothing.  E and I headed in, up the elevator and into the waiting room. My face was so hot and I swear my heart was in my throat.

9:20 am - phone rings! Oh crap - where are we going to take this call in private?  E and I get up from the waiting room and head towards the elevators. Thankfully no one is there. It's the RE, results are in.  We have 1 normal and 1 abnormal (trisomy 18). My body is shaking. I can barely hear anything he says other than "sorry for the drama with these PGS fresh day 6 transfers" and "your embryo is perfect and I'm hopeful."  We hung up the phone and I started to cry.  There was just so much emotion built up that I had to let it out somehow. E tried to calm me down but I needed a few. 

We returned to the waiting room and were called back after about 10 mins. Transfer went as planned and the RE doing the procedure explained more about my embryo - top quality XBAA - lucky embryo #7.  The embryo was already hatched when we transferred. This RE was a little rougher than some of the other REs but I handled it. It was my 8th transfer after all. 

Tuesday was exhausting but we're feeling better now. We found out 2 more embryos were biopsied and we'll get those results back in 7-10 days. No idea why they take longer with those...likely because they can. 

So I'm PUPO and scared to death I'm going to kill this little embryo. He (we don't know the gender because my clinic doesn't allow it, but I'm sure it's a boy) is so loved already.  We are ready for this to be it. We've worked so hard this past year, but I'm simply exhausted. This was our 5th treatment since trying for #2.  We're getting close to our limit for treatments.  Money, time, emotions are all depleted at this point.  

Beta is August 11th and I will try not to test until next Friday if we can. I feel a lot more pressure for this to work knowing that we have a normal embryo.  Taking it one day at a time.  To be exact, we're 2dp6dt :).

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Brain Dump Update

Because time has been playing nasty tricks on me - either the days fly by or the minutes feel like years, I haven't had a moment to sort out what's been going on these last 6 days.  While I know I owe you more details than this, here goes a quick brain dump with promises of more eloquent (yeah right) explanations:

  • Recovery from the egg retrieval SUCKED! I am finally feeling better 6 days later but I was in bed for the weekend because I could barely walk I was so sore. Bloated, constipated, and I could barely eat anything without immediately feeling full - the works. 
  • There definitely was a egg donor in the "room" next to me during retrieval. And I can only imagine from the extremely immature rants, raves, comments etc. coming out of that room she was there to make some cash and not doing this out of the kindness of her heart as she exclaimed, "This sh*t hurts." And my favorite, "I didn't sign up for this!" Some of us don't have a choice!     
  • I look 4 months pregnant from all the bloating. I gained 5 pounds of water weight in the 3 days past retrieval and thankfully the pounds are going down but my stomach is still huge. It's super embarrassing and I'm running out of dresses to wear.
  • We had 14 embryos growing on day 3...but on day 5 we received the devastating news that only 2 were expanded blasts and ready to be biopsied and tested. Things were looking BAD.
  • Last minute news came in - one normal embryo. Transfer is a "go" so now I'm PUPO.  Shocked, really but happy and terrified all at the same time.
  • Happily resting and doing work while my little living normal blast runs around the house with no pants on.  We are blessed.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Eggs are OUT!

I survived egg retrieval yesterday - 26 eggs and still waiting on the fertilization report. I'm expecting to have a pretty big drop off like we did last time.

In the 2 hours before retrieval I was in so much pain - back pain, bloating, cramping. Actually, it was worse than the labor pains I felt with C.  Considering I didn't get past 3cm dilated and never needed an epidural to deal with those contractions, I guess I wasn't in "real" labor but this pain was bad. When they finally came to walk me into the operating room, I practically ran in there and jumped on the table, disregarding my instructions to repeat my SS# and date of birth. Hhaha I had to apologize for my lack of listening and the nurse even commented that it was OK and it just seemed like I was eager to go. She was right. I woke up groggy and in some pain. I asked for meds and was given them shortly - Lord it felt better. I spent most of the day in bed with Vicodin as my cramps were bad and I was sore.

I'm still really sore today but I'm at work...trying not to move. Chugging Gatorade and protein. I can barely get anything down though as I still feel full and look pretty bloated. I am so hoping this goes away in a day or 2. I'm peeing clear pee though which is good and haven't gained weight, but keeping a close eye on any OHSS symptoms.

All I keep thinking about is transfer and the PGS results but E keeps reminding me we need to take it one day at a time. And he's right. There will be no transfer if we don't get a good fertilization. Fingers crossed.

Oh and we did have some good news Tuesday night - E got the job he's been interviewing for. We are thrilled and he's very excited so we're 1 for 2 this summer. Now hoping for that BFP to complete the deal.

UPDATE: 14 mature eggs and all 14 fertilized! Still in a bit of shock, but I know the #s will go down as we go along.  Please, please let one of these be my baby.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Charades, Sign Language and High Fives

In need of a light post today after the drama of my birthday evening. For those keeping track - I actually triggered last night for a retrieval tomorrow at the crack of dawn. After a circus of phone calls, cursing, tears and thank yous we were able to find day care for C starting at 5am as I am scheduled for the FIRST appointment tomorrow and need to be at the clinic at 6am, an hour before day care even opens. WTF!

C will be 18 months old on Thursday. I can hardly believe it, but each day, I can't wait to see what's next with our little boy. I love scooping him up from his crib with his messy hair as he asks for his "mo-mo" (milk). At last we have turned a corner on the "daddy-phase" and finally mommy has a fighting chance now for some really really great snuggling.

His language skills are getting better and better each day.  He now, quite easily can repeat a new word back to me so E and I must be more careful with our language.  As C is learning to use words more frequently, so too have the tantrums begun.  He gets frustrated easily when E and I can't quite understand what he's saying over and over again.  He know sign language for "more," "please," "all done," and "thank you" but for that last one it's more like he's blowing a kiss. For the words we don't understand, we resort to asking 100 questions as C's good at "yes" and "no" but sometimes we just can't get it. Then the screaming, red face and refusal to move part ensues. Strangely, these tantrums don't really bother me that much. I know it's C's way of letting it all out when mommy and daddy can't figure it out.

The other day when C was repeating "donner" "donner" about 10 times he had a meltdown because neither E nor I had a clue. We tried everything we could think of to try and elicit a "yes" answer. It wasn't until the next morning when E triumphantly walks into the bedroom exclaiming he's solved the "donner" mystery.  Seriously, I think he felt like a champion for figuring out C wanted to hear "Old McDonald."  Go figure! But we take all of our parenting successes seriously. 

18 months - what a milestone and it just keeps getting better. E and I feel so lucky that IVF worked for us and are so nervous about this go round.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Still Stimming!!!!!

OMG - I'm so freaking full right now and I'm on day 11. Pretty sure I'll go one more day as I have a bunch of follicles still in the 16 range but the largest is 21 so we're getting close. They just upped my dose of Menopur last night.  Trying desperately not to think about feeling this way until a Thursday egg retrieval but that's looking more and more like the plan.

Oh and today, I'm 33. I have so much on my mind these days that I really could have skipped right over it. My parents were in town and of course wanted to celebrate - so we did. I'll celebrate when E gets this job (interview #4 today!) and we see those 2 lines. I'm breaking open a whole case of Veuve if these things happen. Course I'll only be able to smell it, but I won't care in the least.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Tortoise or the Hare?

So I've been doing a little more research about rising E2 levels during stimulated IVF and found out some very interesting things. I might not be a slow starter after's just that this is what a more normal or optimal E2 rise is supposed to look like.

I went in for US/BW yesterday morning and there were 5 measurable follicles - with an average size of about 11. Good, right? Yes. Then I expected my E2 levels to be somewhere in the 600 range because that's where they were last IVF - nope, nope, nope. I am at 341.  Gosh that seems low but in truth, an E2 level that doubles every 2 days is exactly what we're looking for. So when my E2 shot up from 185 to 605 to 1632 and then the next day to 2996 to 4100 (on trigger day) that wasn't necessarily the best or even optimal stimulation.  Many REs wont trigger you unless your E2 is under 4,000 so I was right on the cusp.  I still stand on my thoughts that I almost overstimmed at that 4100 mark - but of course, in the end we were successful.  BUT it's likely why none of my other embryos were. 

So here we are at the half way mark and I'm cautiously optimistic we'll end up more in the optimal stimulation range and be able to trigger with that full dose of HCG.  Back tomorrow morning for US and BW.  This weekend will be filled with monitoring appointments, BBQs and my 33rd birthday is Monday. I'm sure the time will fly, just can't help be nervous for how this all will turn out.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Stims Day 5 - A Slow Start

Yesterday, I had my first monitoring appointment and it all went well. The nurse was pleased that a few more follicles popped up over the weekend bringing the count to 20+ but they were all still too small to be measured at this point.  I got my blood results later that evening and my E2 was only at 168 so I've been instructed to stay on the current dose of stims but discontinue the Lupron. I'm super excited not to be doing 3 shots every day, but a teeny bit nervous.

I'm sure the reason I'm discontinuing the Lupron is because my RE thought that after 3 days of stims, my E2 would be higher.  Last IVF, after 3 days of stims at 150 Gonal-F and 75 Menopur my E2 was at 185. I was then instructed to up my meds to 225 for the subsequent 5 days. So I can see the difference and am glad we're not upping stims just yet - simply eliminating the suppression drugs for now. 

I guess when I was worried about starting on 225 Gonal F, I should have trusted my doc. I'm 2 years older now and I guess my ovaries need a little more of a push this time.  Just hoping they don't need a huge shove.  I am hopeful though because last cycle, I felt I was on the border of OHSS. This time, maybe we'll do a bit better on that front because I really want to trigger with the full dose of HCG. HCG really helps the eggs mature better at trigger time and I feel like the 1/2 dose I did for the last IVF might have been the reason why we only got 1 embryo that worked.  I would love to have fewer, better quality eggs this go round and not be pushed to the limit like last time.  Of course, last time worked so what do I know.

We're still undecided on the PGS. I'm trying to put it out of my head until after retrieval.  I go back in tomorrow for blood work and US and I'm crossing my fingers that we have some good measurable follicles in there and my E2 is up.

E has a HUGE interview today in NYC. I am so nervous about it I can barely think. It's actually 5 interviews back to back and I probably won't hear from him till sometime this afternoon. It's going to be a long day.  

Thursday, July 10, 2014

We're Back

From vacation that is and the awesome escape from all things IVF. We had such a wonderful trip - yes a bit exhausting getting there. I swear, I'm coming up with a new work out video called "Traveling with Toddlers."  OMG - I must have lost 2 pounds on the outbound journey with all the lifting, bending, carrying, chasing etc. that I did at the airport.  C was a very good kiddo on the plane and my bag of tricks seemed to work really well.

We spent our days on the beach, at the pool, at the park, eating out and did manage to make it to Disneyland. It was so amazing to see my niece's face when the characters from "Frozen" started down the parade route. They might as well have been (insert popular tween boy band) they way she was jumping up and down. C even seemed to get into the parade - a giant float with a singing lion on it.  Yup, this kiddo is now a huge fan of the "Lion King."  He attempted to follow the float down the parade route. Thankfully, my quick reaction stopped him before there was an incident.  We did manage to get in some relaxing during the trip too. It was just wonderful to take a break from the regular stresses of life.

But alas, we're back!  I've been on Lupron about a week and tomorrow I go in for my check. If all is well, I'll start stims tomorrow evening. I can hardly believe it really. I never never wanted to believe we'd have to do another fresh cycle. In some ways, I'm still in disbelief.

I did spend a portion of vacation arguing with the insurance company to get on their horse and approve my cycle. Oh and then after they approve the cycle (which took some time because my clinic didn't send the paperwork fast enough), a separate entity has to approve the meds. Oh and then after that, you can call another number to place your order and then your meds will come next day.  I basically had to call every other day to make sure this process was moving along and had I not, I'm positive I'd still be waiting for the approval. But looking on the bright side, we're squared away and I'm so thankful to have some coverage this time around. It's saving us so much money.  We're still not decided about the PGS testing but at least I feel like we'd have the money to test because we're saving so much on the cycle and the meds.  

So here we are, crossing fingers, toes, elbows, knees everything - hoping this is the real shot. I am so nervous that this will not work. I have so much hope for it. I finally feel like we're really in the game again since FET #1 and even FET #2. For #s 3 and 4, I really felt hopeless and was simply going through the motions. I am so scared that this cycle will not work. I'm not sure how I'll cope with it really. 

We need some good news in this family.  E has a third interview for a company next week so, while it seems greedy, we're hoping we'll get 2 things we've been waiting for this July.