Monday, August 4, 2014

Baby steps

I made our hotel reservation for next week's appointment with Dr. KK, 10 more days!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Breaking Radio Silence

I'll admit that I might be the world's worst blogger.  

The last few months have been an emotional roller coaster and I had to step away for awhile.  I needed some time off just to put the pieces back together.  Now that I am back, let's see if I can give a brief update on what's been going on the last few months.

I'll start with our donor cycle, which was a complete disappointment.  We started with high hopes having 6 day 2 and 3 blasts on ice.  Unfortunately of the 6 day 2, one made it to morula by day 5.  We made the decision to thaw our blasts as well and 2 survived the thaw.  We decided to transfer all three.  The cycle was a bust and we were left with nothing to freeze (which we should be used to by now).

In late May/early June we came across the opportunity to have a private donation of someone's leftover frozen eggs.  Unfortunately what seemed like a great opportunity also fell apart and we were back to square one yet again.

Not knowing how to proceed, Travis and I were forced to take a hard look at our options and we decided to make some changes.  First we are consulting with Dr. KK a Reproductive Immunologist.  We want to make sure that there is nothing on the immune side that is preventing us from conceiving.  Our consult is in 11 days.  The second change we made was switching REs, as our previous RE seems to have given up on us (I understood him not recommending us cycling again, but even when I brought up third party options he seemed to push us to go elsewhere). This might have been the best move we've made.  We love our new RE (same clinic) and she had some great ideas for protocol changes if we wanted to try another IVF cycle and is more than willing to work with our RI.  She was also on board with us doing all of the testing that my last RE scoffed at.  We had our blood drawn for DQ alpha match testing, and plan on doing karyotyping and SCSA testing on DH's swimmers.  Hopefully between that testing and our immune testing with the RI, we can either find or rule out any issues that we may have.  Right now we are looking at November/December for our 4th IVF cycle.  I'm ready to get back into the swing of treatments!

Monday, May 5, 2014

CD 17 a Two days until transfer

Two days until we meet our snowflakes.  I'm oddly pretty calm about everything which is strange for me.  With all of my IVF transfers I was super anxious in the days before transfer, not surprising given our poor quality embryos.  I was usually just praying for something to transfer.  I'm also usually anxious about traveling.  I am always worrying about forgetting something important, not having the right clothing, having car trouble, or missing our flight.  I am just not overly anxious.  Sure I'll probably double check that I have my meds, the itinerary, my phone, etc. a hundred times, but that's normal right? :)

I also feel like I should be anxious since they thawed our day 6 embryos and are growing them to blast.  They don't call with updates so we won't know how many made it until our transfer.  Oddly I'm not worried.  I am just keeping my FX that they are growing and that a few will make it to blast.

It's all still a little surreal.  With my IVF cycles there was so much to worry about.  Baselines, injections, follicle scans, E2 levels, lining checks, ER, fert reports, day 3 reports, making it to transfer, will we get any frosties...  This FET has been so simple compared to all of that.  It doesn't really feel like we are cycling, except for my sore butt from the PIO, it's a dose of reality. :)

Thursday, May 1, 2014

CD 13 Lining Check

I officially suck at blogging.

Anyway today was CD 13 the day of my lining check.  It has been a crazy day.  First Thursday is apparently my local RE's late day, so the earliest appointment I could get was 10:00 am.  I get there and the office is pretty busy.  I finally get called back for my u/s and my lining looks perfect, 10.2 mm (donor clinic looks for at least 7 mm) and triple striped.  Now all I need is my blood work.  I couldn't get it done before my appointment because my RE's office has the order and of course the lab is a little busy after my appointment, but I get everything taken care of by 11:00am.  Now the wait begins.

At 2:00 PM (in the middle of a meeting of course) I get a call from my donor clinic.  They don't have my monitoring.  They ask me to have them fax my u/s results so they can at least make sure they are ok.  I call my clinic and they just got my blood work back, but they are pretty busy.  I let them know that I really need the results faxed soon since the other clinic closes at 4:00  pm EST, which is in an hour.

I spend the next hour nervously watching my phone.  At a few minutes after 3:00 pm (4:00 eastern) I get a call from my donor clinic RE.  We are good to transfer!  I start PIO and antibiotics tonight.  The plan is to thaw my 6 day 2 embryos and grow them to blast and transfer two of them.  If we don't get two blasts we'll thaw our 3 blasts and re freeze any extras.  He said that on average 1 in 3 make it to blast, so hopefully we'll get at least 2 out if our 6 day 2 embryos.  I think our donor couple had a better than average blast rate from the half of the embryos they grew to blast, so I have my fingers crossed that we might get more than 2.

I finalized our travel arrangements this evening.  We are flying out Tuesday morning and flying home on Thursday.  I can't believe how quickly this process has went.  I should be PUPO this time next week, crazy.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

CD 2

Happy Easter everyone!

So I suck at blogging.

A little recap of the last few weeks.  We had our psych eval and it went well and we got our forms notarized and mailed back in.  My period showed up yesterday and I started estrace (estrogen) for our donor embryo FET.  My lining check should be in 11 days and my transfer will hopefully be in 16 days.

I've also been working on a blog for NIAW and made my first post today.  I wanted somewhere to share information about IF, but I am not ready to share everything about our IF journey with my friends and family.  So I decided to create a new blog.  Here it is for anyone who is interested:

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Donor Embryo FET Progress and NIAW

So we made more progress in our donor embryo FET cycle, our Psych Evaluation is scheduled! I finally heard back from the psychologist this afternoon. This was our last big step to complete before we could cycle. My last steps are getting our forms notarized and sent back and filling my prescriptions (I guess we still have to pay for the cycle too). I am planning on marking getting my prescription filled off the list tomorrow. I have to mail out some jamberry nail wraps to some of my IF online friends and there is a post office across from the specialty pharmacy. Two birds one stone!

I also decided to start a new project for NIAW. I am creating a blog just to post info about infertility. Right now I am working on posts around Resolves theme for NIAW, "Resolve to Know More..." I'll post a link when I get some more finished. I am hoping to share this new blog on facebook for NIAW. More to come later.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Random thoughts on Donor Embryos and Infertility

I mentioned in previous posts that I've been seeing a therapist that specializes in infertility, which has been super helpful.  It's forced me to talk about my feelings about infertility, most of which I have been burying for the last 6 months or so.

One of the things I mentioned in my last appointment was that I realized the other day that I won't have those moments where I blame my child's bad behavior on my husband's DNA.  I always imagined our children taking after me or my husband, but genetically our children won't.  My therapist asked me if it made me sad, which is hard to answer.  I think any person would be lying if they said it doesn't make them a little sad to give up the genetic ties to their children.  Mostly though, it's just a weird thought, not sad, just strange.

The other thing that I realized the other day is that our donors are around the same age as my mother. The embryos have been frozen for 12 years.  If we do get pregnant, our child/ren will have genetic siblings that are 13 and 18 years older.

I have found some silver linings to infertility.  My favorite occurred to me when I was listening to a coworker talk about trying to explain to her young child where babies came from.  I've got it easy.   I'll just tell my child that I went to the doctor and he put a baby in my belly.  Honesty is the best policy, right?

Thursday, March 27, 2014

It's been awhile...

Ok, I suck at blogging.  So here is a quick recap of the last 4 weeks:

After our 2nd opinion consult, I had my first appointment with my counselor that specializes in infertility.  She's great.  She really understands the emotions tied to infertility and pregnancy loss because she's been through it.  She went through fertility treatments to conceive her son and conceived her daughter after her first IVF cycle.  She was pregnant with twins from IVF, but her son was stillborn.  It's been great for me to explore my feelings about infertility, especially now that we are taking a new path to parenthood.  I've also realized how bad my anxiety has been the last few months and we have been working on ways to deal with it.

On the treatment front, we have moved ahead with the donor embryo program through FI.RM.  The program is a closed donation program and does not require a home study.  Because of this we have been able to move forward quickly.  My consult went well and I already had all of the prerequisite medical tests completed.  We were able to go through their profiles and got our first choice in donors.  We are now the proud parents of 9 snowflakes!

In some ways picking a donor was difficult, but in other ways it was easy.  Emotionally we were both drawn to the same couple, they had the physical characteristics we were looking for and their personalities/interests seemed similar to ours.  The bonus was that they had 3 blasts and 6 day 2 embryos to donate.  The reservations we had were that the genetic mother (GM) was 38 when the embryos were created and she was adopted so we don't have a family history for her.  She also had a few health problems, but it's hard to tell if they are genetic with no family history.  We went with our gut and chose them as our donors.  The nurse coordinator thought that they were still a good choice despite the mother's age since their IF issues were MFI and they were successful with their first transfer.

Our last step before we can cycle is to do our psych evaluation.  I received our forms yesterday, filled them our, and I am sending them back to the psychologist today.  Once she gets them back we can schedule our evaluation.  Once this is done, we should be ready to cycle.  I should be starting meds in about 3 weeks and our transfer should be in about 5 weeks.

Throw in a business trip to the UK and it's been a busy 4 weeks.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Second Opinion Consult

So I had my second opinion consult with RMA yesterday.  I really liked Dr. M he knew how to balance being nice and being straight forward, not everyone can do this.

So he had me go through all of of treatment so far and he asked questions about each of my IVF cycles and here is his opinion:

First he thinks we have an egg quality issue (duh) and maybe a slight sperm issue as well (my husband's last SA showed 3% morph).  His big concern is the egg issue since a good egg can fix bad sperm, but if you have a bad egg it doesn't matter how much good sperm you have you'll end up with poor quality embryos.  He also disagreed with all of my protocols.  He thinks Lupron and BCP suppressed me too much, he thinks the increase in stims for IVF #3 was a waste (he said studies show that anything over 450 IU of FSH can't be absorbed, so you just make expensive urine),  he thinks that the ratio of FSH:LH was wrong (he say you need 3:1, mine was more like 10:1), he also thinks that I may have been triggered a day too late and that I may have had post mature eggs and that caused some embryo quality issues,  and he thinks Intralipids were a waste and there was no point to testing for worrying about autoimmune when we don't even know if we were transferring normal embryos.

His recommendation for treatment is antagonist protocol with estrogen priming with no BCP.  He also recommended a freeze all cycle since we often have slow growing embryos.  He feels that the uterus and embryo get out of sync, especially with slow growing embryos and that it is better to wait and do a frozen transfer than to transfer fresh with suboptimal conditions.  He also recommended genetic testing for our embryos.  He also sent a list of tests that he recommended we have done, including karyotyping, which my RE shot down the idea every time I brought it up.

It is amazing to me that two different clinics can both have great success rates and radically different approaches to IVF.  Unfortunately we won't be able to afford IVF with RMA, if money was no object I would definitely consider cycling there.  The program seems top notch and I think if anything was going to work after our failed cycles, it would be their approach

We did decide to move forward with donor embryos and I am really excited.  My consult with FI.RM is on Monday and I should be able to get the ball rolling after that.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

It feel like it's been forever...

So it feels like it's been a long time since I posted, but it's only been 5 days.  Maybe it's because I feel like we've taken giant steps forward in the last few days.  I have all of my consults scheduled and they start this week.  Here's my infertility appointments schedule for the next few weeks, I swear I don't have this many appointments when I am in cycle.

Sunday February 23rd: IVF Seminar at my clinic (they raffle off a free cycle)
Wednesday February 26th: Consult with RMA NJ
Thursday February 27th: First therapy appointment with a counselor who specializes in infertility
Monday March 3rd: Consult with FIRM about their donor embryo program
Tuesday March 18th: Consult with CCRM (thinking about canceling this appointment)

We've pretty much decided that we will cycle with RMA if we can afford it (pretty much might come down to us getting in to a clinical trial), otherwise we will move on to donor embryos with FIRM.  DH is excited about moving on to donor embryos, he's been hooked on the idea since we began talking about third party reproduction alternatives back in November.

Honestly I am excited about the option too, but it took me a little longer to get there.  When we first learned that IVF #3 was a BFN, my initial reaction was "I want to cycle again."  I think it came from a mixture of fear and disappointment.  Moving on to other options means trying something new which brings on fear of the unknown.  I know how to do IVF, in fact I am good at it (just not the getting pregnant part).  Donor Embryos involves a FET and travel to a new clinic, both of which I've never done.  My initial reaction was about me wanting to stay in my comfort zone.  I think the other part of my reaction came from the disappointment of our failed cycle.  I was really hopeful this last cycle, much more than the previous cycle.  I really thought it was going to work for us and finding out it didn't was a hard blow.  All I could think about was how close I felt we got and that with one more cycle we might be able to find success.  Once I took some time to calm down and look into all our options and take a hard look at our finances, I knew that we needed to make some hard decisions.  We have the money for one last cycle, but if it failed we will be forced into a financial break.  Or we could look into other more affordable options, like embryo adoption or embryo donation.  I think once I realized this our answer was clear.  I want to be a mom and I want to experience pregnancy and I was willing to go with the option that has the greatest chance of making that happen.  With embryo donation we could afford multiple attempts even with the cost of travel.  Honestly now that I have had time to get used to the idea, I am excited.  I feel like we are on the right path now.

We are also very lucky to have supportive families.  Both of our parents support our decision to pursue donor embryos.  My parents have even offered to give us money to help pay for our airfare.  DH's mom just told him that you have to do what you have to do.  She reminded him that she adopted his brother and she loves him just as much as she loves DH.  They have always offered to help us no matter what path we chose (IVF, egg or sperm donors, embryo adoption or donor embryos, or even traditional adoption).

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The hard part of infertility

So everyone thinks the hard part of infertility is giving yourself shots, or dealing with the side effects of hormones, or having to go through invasive/embarrassing procedures.  To me all of that is the easy part.  Stabbing myself in the stomach with a needle multiple times a day (or letting DH stab me in he ass with a needle), easy peasy.  Hot flashes, headaches, mood swings, heart burn, all a piece of cake.  Dates with the vag cam, letting a doctor stick a giant needle up my vagina to suck eggs out of my follicles, letting the doct stick a catheter up my cervix while I try not to piss myself because of my full bladder, and generally spending most of my appointments with my feet in stirrups and lady bits exposed, no big deal.

Right now is the hard part.  Waiting for appointments, not knowing exactly what the future holds.  Not knowing exactly what the next step is.  This is hard for me.  The worst part is knowing that it will possibly be the end of March before we finish our consults and make a finalized plan for our next steps. I am a planner.  I need a plan or I just feel lost, like we are just stuck not moving forward.

I am trying to relax and just focus on the next appointment.  Right now I need to finish up my RMA paperwork and get it all emailed in.  Then next Sunday is my clinic's IVF seminar and I hope to get to  ask the head RE her thoughts on our situation and maybe schedule a consultation with her.  Then the 26th is my phone consult with RMA.  That along with work ought to keep me occupied until the end of the month.  You would think 2.5 years of TTC would have taught me some patience.  Yeah, not so much.

Friday, February 14, 2014

WTF Appointment

Ok, so I have been waiting to write this post because I needed time to let things sink in, time to process it all.  I have always been quick to react emotionally to our WTF appointments, partly I blame the residual hormones and partly I blame my emotional personality.  I didn't want to write this post in my over emotional state, which I think was a good choice I feel like I've had time to settle down and think about what is important to me and it has really helped give me some clarity.

Let me start with our WTF appointment, which didn't go exactly as I thought it would.  I went in fully prepared for my RE to bring up donors again, but he didn't.  His current recommendation is that we get some second opinion consults.  He recommended CCRM.  He thinks that it would be a good idea to have another set of eyes look at our case and maybe they could come up with something he hasn't thought of.  I brought up another clinic that I had looked at previously, when we were considering getting some second opinions, RMA NJ.  I have always liked this clinic and besides having great success rates, they do a lot of clinical research studies, which besides advancing ART techniques, could save us some money if we qualify for a trial.  My RE thought that RMA was also a great clinic and encouraged me to get a consult from them too.  So today I have a consultation set up with Dr. Molinaro at RMA NJ on Feb. 26th and a consultation set up with Dr. Schoolcraft at CCRM on March 18th.

We did talk a little about additional testing and my RE was willing to do sperm DNA fragmentation assay for DH, even though he doesn't think this is an issue.  I know that most cases of high DNA fragmentation present with other MFI factors, but I feel like this is important to rule out if we decide to move on to donor eggs.  I would hate to spend money on a DE cycle only to have a similar outcome because DH has a DNA fragmentation issue.  My RE also seems to not be in favor genetic testing for us, although he is ok with genetic testing of the embryos.  His reasoning is that we can't change our DNA, so we should focus on finding the best normal embryo.  I understand his argument, but also feel like genetic testing could help us decide which treatment option is right for us.  If we found out that due to some genetic issues, we make a higher than normal number of abnormal embryos, and combined with the fact that we don't make a lot of embryos,  would point towards moving on to donors.

In addition to looking into RMA NJ and CCRM, I have also printed some info on the NEDC or National Embryo Donation Center in Knoxville, TN.  They run an Embryo Adoption program that has great successs rates.  They do require a home study, like a regular adoption, so it would involve a little more paperwork, but overall is much more reasonably priced than another fresh IVF.  I also left a message with FIRM about their embryo donation program.  They do anonymous donation, so no home study required.  The price is extremely reasonable, so I am interested in talking to the program director about this program.

DH and I have done a lot of talking and have come up with a tentative plan.  We are going ahead with the consults, but as of right now don't plan on cycling at CCRM.  The cost is just too high  and if the cycle failed, we would be forced into a financial break.  I've also heard some women are turned off by the clinic, it is a big clinic and I think some feel lost in the shuffle.  Cycling at RMA is a possibility, depending on cost.  We will have to wait and see how the consult goes and what kind of plan the RE comes up with.  If we decide not to cycle with RMA, our plan is to look into embryo donation through FIRM.  The program seems to have short waiting times and is reasonably priced.  While I don't want financial concerns to decide our course of treatment, I also want to be able to afford to raise any child we might have.  To do this, I can't spend every last penny I have on treatments.  If FIRM falls through, we will probably look at the NEDC.  Right now this feels like the right plan for us.  Honestly I am excited about our plan.  It feels great to have an idea how you will move forward, even if it not how you originally planned it.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Mini Breakdown

So last night I had a mini breakdown.  I had a really good morning, but by the afternoon I could feel the emotion welling up.  I kept fighting it off, determined to make it through work.  Then what I had been dreading happened, my coworker asked if I had any news.  This was the exact reason I didn't tell her about IVF #1 and 2, she's the type of person that asks for updates.  As soon as I got back to work after my ET, she asked how things went.  When I told her it went well, she talked non stop about how happy she was for me and how she new what she would get me as a present.  I kept reminding her that it hadn't worked yet and that IVF isn't a sure thing, but she is naive.

Anyway, I am getting ready to leave and she asks how everything was going.  I try to avoid the topic and tell her I'm fine.  She then pushes the topic and asks if I have any good news.  I just say no, that it didn't work.  It was like she couldn't believe it.  I have to explain that even under perfect situation, the success rate is only about 50%.  She had thought since I had taken time off for my blood work that it must have been good news.  I had to explain that they do blood work on everyone.  I started to lose it right there at work, but was able to get to my car before the real tears started.

It was like I had been successfully burying all of my feelings about this cycle and having to say out loud that it didn't work was a trigger for all of these emotions to start flooding in.  I sobbed when I got home.  I told DH that I just don't want to go to our WTF appointment if the doctor is going to give me bad news.  I know it sounds stupid, but I just don't want to hear any more bad news.  I am at my limit of bad news.  I hate knowing what my RE is going to say, he was ready for us to look into donors last cycle.  I am just having a hard time accepting this.  Every IVF cycle we have done has gotten better, I feel like we are so close to success that I shouldn't give up yet.  My big fear though is wasting more money cycling again with my own eggs only to have another failed cycle.  I just don't know how many more failed cycles I can get through.  I'm not ready to give up, but it need to make sure we have a good chance at success.  I don't have the money or energy to waste on cycles doomed to fail.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Beta #2 is a BFN

No surprise here, beta #2 is negative.  My normal nurse wasn't the one to call me and this nurse asked if I had been given instructions.  I told her I hadn't, but it wasn't my first failed cycle.  Time to stop progesterone, wean off the steroids, and make a follow up with my doc.

Good news is that I was able to get an appointment this week with my RE.  My WTf appointment is scheduled for Thursday.  I am glad that my doc is quick to see you after a failed cycle.  I know some women need time to grieve a BFN, before moving on, but I am not one of them.  I am a planner.  I won't feel better until I have my plan for our next steps, whatever those may be.

Now it's time to come up with what I want to talk to my RE about.

Friday, February 7, 2014

It's the little things...

So today overall is a much better day than yesterday.  Only a few tears on the way home from work, which means I made it about 20 hours tear free.  Major accomplishment.  Seriously though, I will be happy to be off the progesterone, I feel like an emotional crazy woman at times.

So back to the title of my post.  Sometimes the little things make me happy.  I've been a crazy woman when it comes to tracking our medical expenses and organizing our receipts for our taxes.  When I say crazy, I mean full out certifiable nut job.  We are talking keeping multiple spreadsheets tracking expenses (FSA and claimable expenses, it also breaks out between IF and non-IF expenses for my own curiosity), organizing receipts (with insurance EOB for expenses covered by insurance) into a binder (complete with plastic page covers).  The receipts are sectioned off by service provider, since my RE and clinic both provided me with financial ledgers, which are included in the binder.  I'm usually not this organized, but when things stress me out I go overboard with organization, it gives me a sense of control.  Anyway when I was organizing everything, I realized I was missing my statements from the clinic for my October cycle.  There was one statement for my cycle balance and one for my anesthesia bill.  Of course this was the one statement that I didn't make a copy of (I copied August's bill).  I had the non detailed receipts, copies of the checks, and my financial ledger (doesn't include anesthesia though it's a third party service), so I wasn't too worried about it, but it was driving me insane that it was missing.  I am so happy that I found it today tucked in a purse that I was carrying in October.  Woohoo! Knowing that all of our documents are officially in order makes me so happy.  Now I just need to call an accountant and make an appointment to have our taxes done!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

8dp5dt beta day

I took one last FRER this morning another stark white negative.

I got to the lab as soon as they opened to have my blood drawn.  I have one decent vein in my right arm (deep, but a good vein) and the girl couldn't hit it.  She ended up drawing from my hand.  Fortunately the lab was quick to process my blood work and I got a call from my nurse about 2 hours later letting me know that it was negative, beta was < 2.  It's recommended that I stay on my meds until after my second beta on Monday.  I plan on doing so unless I run out of PIO in my vial.  I am not opening a brand new vial for  a BFN.

After Monday's beta, I will be given new instructions.  I know exactly what they will be though, discontinue progesterone, wean off the dexamethasone, and make an appointment with my RE.  Honestly, I love my RE, but I am dreading this appointment.  He was ready for us to move on to other options after IVF #2, it was a second opinion from another RE that gave us our plan for IVF #3.

I am a mix of emotions right now.  Part of me really wants to cycle again, even though I originally said that this was our last cycle with my eggs.  This cycle was so much better than the last two (except for the outcome, obviously) and I feel like we  could have a real chance at this working for us, but it's a lot of money to possibly throw away on something that so far hasn't worked.  Another part of me feels like maybe I've become obsessed with fertility treatments, almost addicted if you will.  I've been doing treatments pretty much non-stop since last April and what if my desire to do another cycle is less about me thinking it will actually work, and more about me just being able to do something?  My sister has offered repeatedly to donate eggs, but the idea makes me upset.  Not because my children won't be biologically mine, but because I want to do the injections, go to the monitoring appointments, have the egg retrieval.  I want to be able to do it, not watch someone else go through what I couldn't do.

The option that is becoming more appealing to me right now (other than cycling again with my eggs) is embryo adoption.  My clinic gave us info on the NEDC and I really like them and their success rates are fantastic.  From what I can tell it would cost less than half of what another cycle with my eggs would cost.  I've also looked into embryo donation through FIRM, but their success rates according to SART worry me.  They are extremely affordable though, their costs are about half of the NEDC and they don't require a home study.  I have also looked at frozen donor eggs through RBA.  A cycle costs $16,000 which is cheap for donor eggs, but you only get 6 eggs.  They do have a guaranteed take home baby plan though (for $30,000), where you get 5 cycles (plus any FETs) and if you don't have a live birth you get your money back (only about half I think, you end up paying $3,000 per cycle).

It's a lot to think about right now.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


FRER is still stark white.  I know people will say it's early and that I need to wait for tomorrow's beta before I can call this cycle a bust, but I know in my heart that this cycle is over.  DH won't give up hope until we get the beta results, so I have to pretend that I also have hope.  I can't continue to hope for something that is clearly not going to happen.  It will be bad enough getting the negative beta call knowing that it is coming.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


FRER is still negative.  DH is still so hopeful, but I am starting to accept that it looks like this cycle might be a bust.  Beta is in two days.

Monday, February 3, 2014


Well because I have no willpower and my husband is a pee pusher I tested with a FRER even after my wondfo was stark white.  What do you know, a BFN.  I know that 5dp5dt would be super early for a BFP, but I was hoping maybe we would be lucky and get a squinter.  Nope stark white, even with my fantastic line eye, I can't imagine a second line for this test.  I guess on the bright side I know my trigger is out.  I just don't have a great feeling for this cycle.  I was so positive going into it and so positive after transfer, but the last few days I've felt less positive.  At least I will know for certain the outcome of the cycle in 3 more days.  Good or bad the waiting will be over.

Sunday, February 2, 2014


After driving myself crazy with squinter lines while testing out my trigger for IVF #2, I told myself I wasn't going to go through that again with IVF #3.  Yet here I am.  I have no willpower.

So I decided like any normal woman going through IVF that I needed to test out my trigger, just so I could be 100% certain that when I test for real that any line I see is a real positive.  So the day of transfer I start testing each morning with wondfos to make sure my trigger is out.  Yesterday at 3dp5dt I had what looks like a negative wondfo, but decided to test again this morning to verify that my trigger was indeed out.  My test this morning has what might be a super faint barely there line.  This line could be a few things, an evap (it was super hard to see until the test dried), what's left of my trigger, completely imaginary (I have been known to have line eye, the ability to see lines where there really aren't any), or the start of a BFP.  There is not much to do but to wait and keep testing.  I will probably test again tomorrow with another wondfo.  Tomorrow is 5dp5dt and 12 days past my trigger, I am pretty confident that if I get a line tomorrow that it is a real BFP and not my trigger.  I promised myself that I would wait until 6dp5dt (Tuesday) to take a FRER and I am going to try to stick to this plan.

I haven't had much in the way of symptoms.  Maybe a little cramping and I've been completely exhausted, but all can be blamed on the progesterone.  Beta is Thursday I am just praying for a nice strong beta this time.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Transfer Complete!

I am back from our transfer and it couldn't have went better.  If you remember from my previous post my clinic grades embryos on a scale of 1-3 with 1 being the best and 3 being the worst.  They found no difference in pregnancy rates between grade 1 and grade 2 blasts.

 We transferred one grade 1 expanded blast and one grade 2 early blast.  I am officially PUPO!  The downside is that it looks like once again we will have nothing to freeze, but I am not going to worry about that right now.

The great part of a day 5 transfer is that you are almost halfway through the 2WW by the time you transfer.  Beta is in 8 days, but I imagine I will test before that.  That is if I can remember to test out my trigger.  I keep forgetting until after I have already peed in the morning.

Here is a pic of our little blasts.  A friend of mine thought the top blast looks like it might be hatching, which is a great sign.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Day 28 of IVF #3

Tomorrow is transfer day.  I am scheduled for transfer at 12:30pm, which means  I have to empty my bladder at 11:30 and then start drinking a liter of water.  A full bladder is definitely the worst part of the transfer.

I won't get anymore updates on my embryos until we make it to the clinic.  They only call on day 5 if the transfer is canceled or if they have to push you back to day 6 to give your embryos an extra day.  So for the next 16.5 hours I will be willing my phone not to ring!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Day 3 Report is in

Well I got the call with our Day 3 report and while it wasn't as great as our fert report, it wasn't terrible either.

My clinic gives embryos a grade of 1-3 based on the amount of fragmentation.  Grade 1=no fragmentation, Grade2= minimal fragmentation, and Grade 3= significant fragmentation.  Fragmentation is when pieces of the cell break off as the cells divide which can be a sign of a poor quality embryo, but not always.  There is no difference in success rates from a grade 1 or a grade 2 embryo.  They also look at the number of cells an embryo has on day 3.  A normally growing embryo has 6-10 cells on day 3.  More or less cells is a sign that the embryo isn't growing correctly and is likely aneuploid, or has a chromosomal issue.

My 8 embryos were graded as follows:

3 Grade 2- two 7 cell and one 8 cell
5 Grade 3- one 4 cell, two 7 cell, and two 8 cell

It's a little disappointing to have so many grade 3 embryos, but I know from experience that an embryo's grade can improve from day 3 to day 5.  Last cycle we only had grade 2 and grade 3 embryos, but ended up with a grade 1 early blast to transfer on day 5.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Fert Report is in...

We had 8 retrieved, 8 mature, and 8 fertilized normally!  That's a 100% fert rate!

This is such amazing news for us.  Our fert rates have never been stellar, especially considering we used ICSI on all of our cycles.  Our first IVF we had a 60% fert rate (6R 5M 3F) and it was slightly better for IVF #2 at 71% (8R 7M 5F).  Having 8 embryos to work with is such a blessing.

Now the long wait begins for our Day 3 embryo report on Monday.

Day 25 of IVF #3 Retrieval and Waiting for Fert Report

Yesterday was my ER and in my anesthesial and Valium induced fog, I forgot to post how it went.  The procedure went smoothly and we got 8 eggs, the same number we got last cycle.  I won't lie there were a few tears of disappointment.  I had really hoped that the increased stims and more follicles at my monitoring appointments meant that we would get a few more eggs.  The good news is that my RE thought that they all looked great.  Also I keep reminding myself that we had 8 retrieved last time and made it to transfer, so we can do it again this time.

Right now I am waiting for my clinic to call with out fert report.  They will be able to tell us how many were mature and how many fertilized.  Last cycle we had 8R/7M/5F and ended up with one early blast on day 5.  I am keeping my fingers crossed that we end up with more mature and more fertilized this cycle.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Day 22 of IVF #3 Trigger Day

I am triggering tonight at 10:30 pm for retrieval at 10:00 am on Friday.  I also start clindomycin suppositories tonight, loads of fun.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Day 21 of IVF #3 Monitoring Appointment #2

I had my second monitoring appointment today and my follies seem to be growing nicely.  The majority of my follicles are between 15 and 17mm, but I did have a few that are still at 13mm.  My lead follie on the right was up to 19mm today and the big surprise was that my largest follie on my lazy left ovary grew from 16mm to 20mm in 24 hours!  I have 3 decent size follies on the left and maybe 8-10 on the right (I lost count, so this is an estimate).  Hopefully this means that we will be able to retrieve a good number of eggs at retrieval.

I was given instructions to stim tonight and I will trigger tomorrow for retrieval on Friday.  They will call tomorrow with my time to trigger and my time for my ER on Friday.  I officially took my last (hopefully forever!) injection of follistim and menopur just minutes ago.  It's really bittersweet.  I've spent so much of the last 15 months doing infertility treatments or planning for treatment cycles.  I haven't put much thought into what it will be like to be done with treatments to be on the it her side of infertility.

This cycle feels different though, I can't explain it, but it feels good, it feels right.  I spent so much of the last two cycles nervous and terrified of the cycle failing.  This cycle, for some reason, I'm not nervous or scared (or at least not right now).  I am also nowhere near as stressed as I was the last two cycles, despite both DH and I being really busy at work.  Maybe it's just because this is our third round of IVF and I am an old hat at this stuff, but I would like to think that this is a sign that this is our cycle.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Day 20 of IVF #3 First Monitoring Appointment

Today was my first monitoring appointment and I think it went well.  I had 16 measurable follicles, 12 on the right and 4 on the left (apparently my left ovary is mostly for decoration).  About 4-6 of the follies are still pretty small (10-11 mm), but hopefully at least some of them have time to catch up.  Right now the cycle looks better than last cycle, I think I had 10-12 follies (including the small ones) at this point last cycle.

According to the RE, I am about a half a day ahead of last cycle since my lead follicle is at 17 mm and last cycle it was 16 mm at this point.  I go in for more monitoring tomorrow morning, but I think I am still on track for trigger on Wednesday and retrieval on Friday.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Day 19 of IVF #3

Not much to update, still stimming away.  I did realize today how much meds I've wasted the last 2 cycles.  My clinic has always told me to save my extra follistim (overfill in the vials) and if I end up stimming longer than average, I can use the overfill for my last dose.  In both of my last 2 cycles, I never needed the extra and it expires 28 days after opening it.  This time I pulled the overfill into an insulin syringe and then injected it back into the vial I have been injecting out of the last two days.  I probably got around 300 IU out of the overfill of two 900 IU vials.  If I stim the same number of days as last time, I might end up with an extra 300 IU cartridge that I won't even need to open!

Anyway, tomorrow is the big day (or the first big day in a series of big days).  It's my first monitoring appointment.  I'll get to finally see what's going on with my ovaries.  The bad part about this being IVF #3 is that in my head I keep comparing this cycle to my previous two.  Am I feeling more in my ovaries this cycle?  Am I more bloated?  I think I feel my left ovary more than I did last cycle, maybe that's a sign that I am actually going to have some follies on it this cycle.  I can drive myself crazy if I don't make myself stop.

The other elephant in the room is that my RE had told us we could cancel the cycle if we aren't seeing the response we want.  I just don't know if I could make the decision to cancel.  I feel like I am all in at this point, it's now or never.  Since I think we have pretty much decided that this is the last cycle we are doing with my eggs, I think we will see this cycle through.  I really hope that we get more eggs this cycle.  My goal in my head is 10 eggs.  This probably means I am going to need 12-15 decent sized follies, so I really need my left ovary to play this cycle!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Day 18 of IVF #3

Day 18 and more stims.  I forgot to post yesterday, but my Intralipid infusion went well.  It only took two sticks to get the IV in.  However my hand is still bruised and a bit swollen today.

I actually did something I normally don't do, I chatted with another patient.  The girl that was getting her infusion the same time as me was also getting Intralipids.  It turns out that she was pregnant with twins from her first her first round of IVF that she did in Barbados.  She was completely shocked to find out they were having twins because her betas indicated only a small chance of her pregnancy being viable, her beta doubling times were much longer than the 72 hour minimum that doctors like to see.  I'm taking her story as a sign that miracles do happen.

Also the nurse that was doing my Intralipid infusion was pregnant.  She was acting as a gestational carrier for her niece and nephew.  It took them two rounds of IVF to get pregnant.

Infertility can be so isolating, that I often forget that there are other people out there whose lives are touched by infertility.  I'm taking both of these stories as signs of hope for our cycle.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Day 16 of IVF #3

I forgot to post yesterday, but I am chugging along on stims.  Yesterday I dropped my follistim down to 375 IU and added 37.5 units (half a vial) of menopur.

Tomorrow is my Intralipid infusion.  The infusion center I am using is about 45 minutes away and they are calling for possible snow tonight.  I have no idea how long it is going to take me to get there if I have to deal with snow on top of rush hour traffic.  Good news is that it looks like I don't have the same idiot nurse as last time, so hopefully all goes smoothly.

Current Meds:


Ubiquinol (advanced active CoQ10) 300mg
L-Arginine 2000mg
DHA 200mg
Vitamin C 500mg
Myo Inositol 3g (directions say 2 3g doses daily, but I usually forget the 2nd dose)
Prenatal Vitamin w/DHA
Melatonin 3g

IVF Meds

Ganirelix 125mcg (1/2 syringe)
Dexamethasone .75mg
Folic Acid 1mg
375 IU Follistim
37.5 units of Menopur

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Day 14 of IVF #3 and WTH Husband?!

Day 2 of stims, nothing new to report.

So I am pretty sure that DH must really like giving me a shot in the butt.  This is the second day in a row that he has asked if he needs to give me a shot today.  Again today I had to explain that Progesterone injections don't start until after egg retrieval.  I am pretty sure I remembering him asking the same thing with IVF #2.  I wonder if I should start to worry...

Monday, January 13, 2014

Day 13 of IVF #3

Today I started stims.  I didn't realize it, but I am on a high enough dose of follistim that I had to do two injections because the pen doesn't go that high.

I also had someone ask if I was pregnant today,  I told her no that I was just fat.  I had been hoping that my weight gain wasn't that noticeable, but I guess it is.  On top of this I am still dealing with hot flashes, night sweats, heart burn, and headaches.   Fertility drugs are so much fun.

Current Meds:


Ubiquinol (advanced active CoQ10) 300mg
L-Arginine 2000mg
DHA 200mg
Vitamin C 500mg
Myo Inositol 3g (directions say 2 3g doses daily, but I usually forget the 2nd dose)
Prenatal Vitamin w/DHA
Melatonin 3g

IVF Meds

Ganirelix 125mcg (1/2 syringe)

Dexamethasone .75mg
Folic Acid 1mg
525 IU Follistim

Saturday, January 11, 2014


I am pretty sure that I must have the stomach virus that my nephew had a couple of days ago or I ate something bad yesterday.  I am afraid to get too far away from the bathroom.  Not exactly the best time for this crap (Pun intended, let's just say I haven't thrown up).

This is putting a dent in the productive Saturday I had planned.  I have managed to get the dishwasher loaded, bed made, fold a load of laundry, and put another load on to wash.  I might be able to get the floors swept and mopped, but I think I am going to have to skip my trip to Walmart and the grocery store.  Maybe I can talk DH into running my errands for me...

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Day 9 of IVF #3 Baseline U/S and Blood Work

Well, today was my baseline u/s and blood work and it went ok. I didn't have any cysts, so that's good, but I am still waiting to start my period. The RE thinks it should be soon based on my u/s. I hope she is right because I don't want any delays. I am scheduled to start stims on Monday.

 I also had to get my blood drawn for E2 (estradiol) levels. My clinic recently switched labs that they used so this was the first time I had ever been to this lab. The lady that drew my blood was terrible. I am pretty sure that she hit a nerve while digging around for my vein. I thought I was going to pass out and I never feel sick getting my blood drawn.

 It probably didn't help that today was my first day of ganirelix and I feel completely lousy. I have had hot flashes all morning and just feel terrible. I just want to go home and go to bed.

Current Meds:

Ubiquinol (advanced active CoQ10) 300mg
L-Arginine 2000mg
DHA 200mg
Vitamin C 500mg
Myo Inositol 3g (directions say 2 3g doses daily, but I usually forget the 2nd dose)
Prenatal Vitamin w/DHA
Melatonin 3g

IVF Meds

Ganirelix 125mcg (1/2 syringe)
Dexamethasone .75mg

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Day 8 of IVF #3 and random musings

Today is day 8 of IVF #3 and my last day of Lupron!  Tomorrow is my baseline u/s and E2 blood work.  i woke up this morning with some light spotting, so I thought "great my period is just in time for my baseline."  Nope, 14 hours later spotting has pretty much stopped.  Unless my period shows up overnight, I doubt my lining is going to be thin tomorrow.

So far my side effects haven't been too bad.  I haven't had the headaches and hot flashes that I have had during the last two cycles and my insomnia hasn't been nearly as bad.  My worst side effects have been heartburn and acid reflux.  I also have had some night sweats.  My big concern is starting ganirelix tomorrow.  Last cycle I had terrible heartburn when I was on ganirelix and since I have already been dealing within heartburn, I worry about how I am going to feel tomorrow.

I was thinking about what the hardest part of infertility is.  When I tell people about our IVF cycles and exactly what it entails, I usually hear, "Wow, I could never give myself all of those shots."  If I mention the side effects from the meds, I hear about how crazy the meds are.  But it's not the injections or side effects that are hard.  Injections are easy and the side effects are temporary.  It's the not knowing if we will be successful.  I could do IVF 10 or 20 times if I knew that we would eventually get pregnant (and I had the money to pay for it).  It's also the coming to terms with the fact that we have to pay tens of thousands of dollars, for what most people get for free.  It's watching my friends from high school who got married over the summer announce their pregnancies and realizing that I have been doing infertility treatments longer than they tried to get pregnant.  It's realizing that a friend from college has gotten pregnant, had a baby and gotten pregnant again in the time we have been trying to conceive.  It's realizing just how far I've pulled away from my friends over the last 2+ years.

It's not that I am mad that they got pregnant quickly.  I am honestly happy for them.  I hate infertility and I would never wish it on anyone.  It's just that I am sad for me and getting impatient.  I feel like I have waited long enough.  I need this cycle to work.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Day 6 of IVF #3

Not much to update, except I stopped BCPs.  My period should be here in a few days and my baseline u/s and E2 blood work is Thursday.

Current Meds:

Ubiquinol (advanced active CoQ10) 300mg
L-Arginine 2000mg
DHA 200mg
Vitamin C 500mg
Myo Inositol 3g (directions say 2 3g doses daily, but I usually forget the 2nd dose)
Prenatal Vitamin w/DHA
Melatonin 3g

IVF Meds
Lupron 5 units
Dexamethasone .75mg

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Day 4 of IVF #3

Today is Day 4 of Lupron and tomorrow is my last BCP! Yay!  Then it's just waiting for my period and baseline u/s and blood work on Thursday.

So DH and I had discussed that we needed to get our house cleaned up and organized since we both are going to be so busy the next few weeks (me - IVF, project deadline at work, and a full schedule of meetings with our UK office and DH just found out his boss needs Quadruple bypass surgery so he'll be extra busy at work as well).  I spent the entire day cleaning our kitchen, organizing our pantry and cabinets, doing dishes, sweeping, mopping, putting away laundry, and organizing our linen closet (which now can actually hold linens!).  Tomorrow's list is taking down the Christmas tree, straightening up the living room, and cleaning the bathroom.

In addition to my cleaning tirade, I also had to make a winter storm preparation shopping trip this morning, to prepare for the 8-12 inches of snow that is supposed to come tonight and tomorrow.  It's a good thing I went early, people were posting pics on Facebook of the stores later in the day and they were crazy!  The lines looked like the day after thanksgiving.  I picked up a few groceries and some gloves and a thermal shirt for DH and a stocking hat for me.  I think we are prepared, bring on the snow.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Day 3 of IVF #3

Today is day 3 of IVF #3 and the rest of my meds arrived today.  Here's a picture of my current med/supplement stash:

I can't believe how quickly this cycle is going.  I feel like I just started BCPs and now I am already doing injections and getting ready for my baseline u/s and blood work on Thursday.  So far things are going smoothly this cycle.  I haven't had any bruising from the injections.  My first cycle my stomach was a bruised mess and last cycle I just had a few bruises.  I wonder if it might be because I have a little more padding for the subQ injections?  

The side effects haven't been too bad yet this cycle.  So far the insomnia has stayed away (Thank Goodness!), but I have been having night sweats something fierce.  it was so bad last night that I had to change the sheets this morning, because I felt so gross.  I also have been super hungry (Thank you steroids) and have had a little heartburn.  The real test will be starting ganirelix next week.  I felt horrible when I started it last cycle.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

One shot down...

Hopefully a lot more to go!

I did my first Lupron injection for IVF #3 this morning and took my first dose of dexamethasone (steroid).  Lupron is probably my favorite injectable med because it is so easy.  The doses are super small and you use a tiny insulin syringe/needle.  Dexamethasone is my least favorite med (I even like PIO better than dex!).  I blame dex for my insomnia and weight gain.

For those that wonder what my daily med routine looks like, here is what I am currently taking:

Ubiquinol (advanced active CoQ10) 300mg
L-Arginine 2000mg
DHA 200mg
Vitamin C 500mg
Myo Inositol 3g (directions say 2 3g doses daily, but I usually forget the 2nd dose)
Prenatal Vitamin w/DHA
Melatonin 3g

IVF Meds
Lupron 10 units
Dexamethasone .75mg
Birth Control Pill