IVF

72 Hours

We have less then 72 hours before results from our first beta come in. I am nervous and scared for a variety of reasons. I wish that I was already off work for the holidays, it’s hard to concentrate and teach when I am obsessing over ever twinge, tug, or lack there of. I cannot POAS sine I had a booster hcg shot this weekend. But it may be just as well, how could I possibly work with results on either end.

Here’s to the dreadful 2 week wait!

-R

Categories: Frozen Embryo Transfer, Infertility, IVF, Transfer | 4 Comments

Kinship

The past month I’ve found myself watching “Giuliana and Bill“.  And usually as I watch, trying to choke back tears, I wonder why it is I subject myself to a show that reminds me of our struggles, our loss, and brings to the surface a range of emotions that I’m not hormonally equipped to deal with.

I don’t know for certain, but I think it’s because I feel an affinity, a kinship, to this couple.  I understand the pain, disappointment, hope, and love that they have shared (this is also true of my friends who have/continue to struggle and those who share their stories via blogs like mine).  It is hard to put into words, but there is a connection weaved through struggle that binds those of us who struggle with infertility.

Their struggles remind me that I am not alone and that I am stronger than I believe myself to be.

Their success gives me hope.

And as odd as this may sound, I was excited to see that they were having a baby.  A couple I never met, who has faced so many struggles, is finally able to hold their dream in arm gives me cause to smile.  It is uncomfortable to see others struggle, and my thoughts and prayers begin to include others who trudge down the same road I am traveling.  So hearing somebody who has been through the muck finally has good news allows a little weight to lift from my heart.  And it doesn’t matter if I know them or not.

What bothers me each and every time I watch the show is how unfair infertility really is.  It does not discriminate, affecting all races and socioeconomic levels.  And while Giuliana and Bill would have the financial means to undergo as many trials as age and science allow, a huge portion of those who need ART are not in a financial place to do so.  Dreams die because money inhibits moving forward.  We were lucky to have family and friends willing to help out financially.  But even so, our credit cards have been hit and our savings depleted.  If this round does not work, I am not sure when we will be able to try again.  It is not fair that this human right has been taken from us, and in an attempt to take it back we have to pay an astronomical price.  There is no haggling, no deals.  Those with the ability to answer our prayers hold the purse strings.  I hope that someday I am able to do something to help others in this position; provide the chance to try to build their families.

I am grateful that Giuliana and Bill have shared their story with the world.  Unfortunately, struggling with infertility is often a silent and isolated struggle.  I know first hand that the more you speak about it the easier (for lack of a better word) it gets.  For bringing awareness to the struggles those of us with infertility face, thank you Giuliana and Bill.  You will forever hold a special place in my heart for bringing this struggle front and center.  Maybe someday, with people like you, me, and all those who speak out, we  can change things so that everybody is given the opportunity to have the family they dream of.

-R

Categories: Emotions, Frozen Embryo Transfer, Infertility, IVF | 2 Comments

Catch 22

Most days I wake up and find it hard to crawl out of bed.  My energy is zapped even before my feet hit the floor.  Really, my only motivation for getting out of bed is the biological urge to use the restroom.   I pray my thyroid takes to this new dosage of synthroid soon.

On top of being zapped, I’m bloated, retaining water, and starting to find that my nerves are beginning to unfurl.  Every time I think about the possibilities that December 11th could bring I feel my heart flutter with hope only to crash at the memory of disappointment.   I go round and round with myself.   Some moments I’m so excited and convinced that our time is now, while others find me second-guessing the decision to spend so much money on something that isn’t going to work.  I hate putting that “negativity” out in the open for fear that those emotions will manifest into reality.  Yet, in the same breath I am afraid to voice my excitement and hope for fear of pressing my luck.

A Catch 22.  Around I go – hoping, praying, crying, fearing, dreaming.

-R

Categories: Frozen Embryo Transfer, Infertility, IVF | Leave a comment

Regrouping

The past two weeks have felt like four.  It’s hard to move forward when you don’t have any answers, and the one thing that I prayed would happen eluded me again.

Today was our meeting with the RE regarding our failed IVF and next steps, and hopefully some answers to a few questions.  I had no idea what to expect.

Our RE came in and reviewed our files with us and explained his thoughts on our cycle, concerns, and what is necessary for our next step.  Overall, the RE felt optimistic about our odds feels confident that our biological family is waiting in the cryo tanks.  But in order to get our baby, there are a few more hurdles to overcome.

1.  Improve Quality of Uterus Lining – Although my lining measured at 15.6 at the time of transfer previous tests could possibly point to cause for concern.  So today we started towards our first hurdle by having an ultrasound and reviewing photos taken in May of my uterus.  There was a note of a ridge or pocket in my uterus in May but the RE who did the procedure did not seem concerned.  Today the RE suggested we perform a curettage.  This is a scrapping of the lining in hopes of removing the ridge/pocket and allowing a new stronger, lining to build.  The curettage is scheduled for 10/10/12.  I will then be on estrogen for 21 days to help rebuild a strong, healthy lining.

2. Lupus Anticoagulant Returns – Although the hematologist felt that the Lupus Anticoagulant was not a concern, our RE feels that it very well could still be an issue.  As I posted before, lupus anticoagulant can be difficult to diagnose as its markers in your blood can come and go.  So, we will move forward as if I have lupus anticoagulant and go on Lovenox the day after transfer through 2nd rise in HCG.

3.  Prednisone – This is a corticosteroid and is used in IVF or FETs to help my body accept the embryos.

4. FET – After the curettage and building of my lining we will move forward with a frozen embryo transfer.  My body will be in a better place with no OHSS or the stress from the IVF, my lining will be strong and healthy, and the new protocol of medications will help increase our chances.  We will be able to transfer two embryos close to Christmas.

So, although today (not to mention the past month) was emotional we have regrouped and now have a few potential answers and a plan to help increase our chances.

-R

Categories: Frozen Embryo Transfer, Infertility, Infertility Testing, IVF, Lupus Anti Coagulant, Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) | 2 Comments

Legislation Threatens IVF

This year in Colorado (as well as several other states) there will be legislation/initiatives/ballots…whatever you want to call them…that threaten an infertile couples ability to use assisted reproduction (read IVF and/or IUI) to build their families.  I understand that “personhood” is a touchy subject and there is a wide range of beliefs on the subject.  But for somebody who suffers from infertility, and only wants to bring life into the world, the idea that assisted reproduction is illegal scares me.

If this legislation passes REs and embryologist could be held criminally responsible for ALL embryos that fail to develop or implant (even though those same embryos would have failed to develop in utero).  Regulations on the number of follicles to be fertilized could be put into place.  And for people like my husband and I, our dreams will never have another chance to be fulfilled.

Please see RESOLVES position on the Personhood Legislation and do your research.  If you love somebody who suffers from infertility consider voting this legislation down.  I’m not saying we all have to agree on the definition of personhood, but every person should be given the opportunity to build their family through any means necessary.  Without assisted reproduction some 4 million babies would never have been brought into this world.

-R

Categories: Infertility, IVF, Personhood, RESOLVE | 1 Comment

I Wasn’t Prepared

Days have passed and still it doesn’t seem real.

A little over 2 weeks ago I was so excited to see two faint pink lines that I thought for certain my life was finally turning directions.  A few days later the positive line wasn’t getting any darker and my gut told me something was wrong.  Nearly a week after the first positive the news of our inevitable early pregnancy loss was given while I was driving home.   This pregnancy was not viable.  Likely due to an abnormality that stopped its development days after implanting.  And no matter how much my gut told me something was wrong, I wasn’t ready to hear it.  I am still not ready to hear it.

I dream that the tests were wrong and that in a little less than 8 months this bad dream will end.  But, today I began to spot.  My period will arrive within the next day or two and with it that life that once grew inside, even for such a short period of time, will be lost…gone forever.

My heart is heavy and my desire to do anything is gone.  It’s hard to get out of bed in the morning, to go to work, to eat, to pretend my dream hasn’t been stolen.  There are a million “What-Ifs” running through my head.  And I often find myself on the verge of tears…and most of the time I’m unable to stop them.

Mornings are particularly difficult for me.  I have a constant reminder of our loss when I wake to the lack of progesterone injections.  And it’s hard for me to think of anything other than what could have been.

This lot in life I’ve been handed is wildly unfair.  Loss is difficult for all women, whether they deal with infertility or not.  But for women who do not have the issues my husband and I do, trying again can happen whenever you are ready.  That is not the case for us.  In order for us to try we will have to come up with another $6,000 and go through 6-8 weeks of preparations and procedures for one shot at a frozen embryo transfer (thank God I had plenty of embryos we could freeze for later use).  And as with this last cycle, no guarantee.

I’m in a weird place, and not sure how long it will take to grieve.  I’m not ready for phone calls.  It’s too hard to talk.

I realize there is potential for life in my frozen embryos.  And I’m thankful for that.  But that doesn’t mean I don’t need time to work through the one situation I wasn’t prepared for…pregnancy with no baby in the end.

-R

Categories: Early Pregnancy Loss, Emotions, Infertility, IVF, My History | Tags: , , | 6 Comments

Progesterone Woe’s

The two-week wait is dreadful.

Every twinge and cramp has you thinking in extremes.  Implantation vs. premenstrual cramping?  Emotions run high.  And every single day you question if this whole journey has worked and how you will cope if it hasn’t.

Blood work continues.  Hormone levels are measured.  And sometimes you get a call like the one I received this afternoon.  Unfortunately my progesterone levels have dropped DRAMATICALLY since our transfer.  And when I say dramatically I mean by over 150 points.  Granted, my levels were extremely high at the time of transfer, but they are now below 20 and I should be at twenty or higher.

The game plan is to increase my dosage of progesterone and do a recheck on Thursday.

The excitement of our stellar embryos now leading to low progesterone has knocked the wind out of my sails.  What once was cautious optimism is now replaced with fear.  I know that we can deal with the progesterone levels via medication.  But what caused this to happen?  Does it matter?

I pray my progesterone woe’s will not continue and on Thursday I get not only good news regarding that level, but also a positive result on the HCG Beta test.

-R

Categories: Emotions, Infertility, IVF | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Transfer

August 7, 2012

The morning arrived with yet another injection of progesterone. There is a bit of a learning curve here, but despite sleepy eyes and nerves, my husband has yet to miss. His concern for giving the injection properly helps calm my fears. I know I’m in good hands even though the shots themselves suck.

A little after 9 we grabbed our things and headed out for the planned transfer with the realization that we may not be able to go through with it. Before a decision could be made a few tests needed to be completed. Ultrasounds indicated that I do have mild ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome (OHSS). The medication given to help prevent did it’s job and allowed my body time to begin healing. The RE agreed to allow transfer but would allow only one embryo to be transferred. When we started this journey I wanted to transfer two. I’m paying a lot of money and putting in a lot of time and emotion into something that was (and continues to be) unpredictable and in turn wanted the best odds of having at least ONE baby come from it.

I’ve had a lot of time to think about transferring only one. And it scares me. What if the wrong embryo was transferred? What if it doesn’t stick? What if we have to go through this again? Transferring only one scares me more than the complications of two. But I understand the decision and don’t want to put myself, and potentially my baby, at risk. So with a little relief that we could continue with a fresh transfer, we headed downstairs to prep for the big moment.

A decade of dreams found themselves at pause in the handful of moments the embryologist shared the positive outcome of our embryo development. In that instant I was unable to hold back tears of joy and anticipation. So much in my life has come down to the single, perfect embryo selected for transfer and my resolve found representation through tears. One perfect 5-day blast (rated 5AA) was to be transferred within the hour. And with it, the hopes of a new journey.

This microscopic grouping of cells holds within it the potential to build our family. And although it was nurtured in a lab, nothing but love went into making it.

-R

Categories: Emotions, ICSI, Infertility, IVF, OHSS, Procedures, Transfer | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

On The Eve of Transfer

The past few days have moved quickly.

Progress on my fertilized eggs has not been reported.  I could have called but decided there was nothing I could do with the information today and the possibilities of it being different by tomorrow allowed me reason to just let it go.  There is nothing I can do at this point to help those embryos develop in the lab, that’s what I’ve paid the embryologist to do.  It’s funny how something so complex as building a life in a test-tube has little impact on what worries me.  I’m not at all concerned with the embryologist and her ability to do what they can to ensure healthy embryos.  And honestly, they only have limited control.

What finds place in my heart for worry is the possibility of OHSS and cancellation of our transfer.  I understand the reasoning behind cancellations.  It doesn’t make it an easy pill to swallow.  So, tomorrow we drive down to the clinic for a 10:00 urine sample and ultrasound to check on my hyper-stimulation.  Those two tests will determine the next step.  If all looks good then we move forward with the transfer.  If not, cancellation will be ordered.  This decision would bring with it uncertain emotions, additional weeks of waiting, re-prepping of my body, and an additional 5K bill.

So on the eve of our pending transfer I pray that the gallons of gatorade, piles of pills, dozen’s of needles, and rest will lead to our planned transfer and a positive pregnancy.

-R

Categories: Emotions, Infertility, IVF, My History, OHSS | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Egg Retrieval

Yesterday proved harder than I had imagined.

We arrived a little more than a half-hour early as traffic was better than we anticipated.  Around 8 AM we meet with the anesthesiologist and went over the risks of being put under.  Fifteen minutes later we were escorted into a recovery room.  I was given the orders to change into the standard hospital dressing gown and was walked into the retrieval room.  The anesthesiologist had a hard time getting the IV into my hand.  OUCH!!!  A few minutes later the RE came in, they strapped my legs into place, my head became heavy, and the next thing I remember was waking up in the recovery room with Joe, crying.  It is amazing the wave of emotions that come with this journey.  Nobody will ever be able to comprehend all that I feel.  And it is difficult to explain.  In that moment in the recovery room I felt blessed to be with somebody willing to undergo such a challenge.

A few minutes later the embryologist came in and shared that retrieved 24 eggs and 20 were mature.  She said they looked like “A” grade eggs but would know more once they fertilized via ICSI (this is when they actually inject one sperm into the egg).  Everything looked good but they shared concerns of OHSS and sent me home with a care sheet on when I should call.  They also explained that we may not be able to transfer this cycle if we do end up with mod/severe OHSS, and if we do transfer we may only be able to transfer one embryo if I have mild OHSS.

We were on our way home by 10.

Throughout the day I experienced lots of pressure and cramping in my lower back and belly and nausea.  I was in and out of sleep all day and struggled to get comfortable.  The pain brought with it fear that I was moving in the direction of OHSS.  I’m afraid of postponing, afraid of the health risks, afraid of not transferring the right embryos.  Just afraid.

I woke up this morning to more cramping.  Notably better than yesterday, but cramping all the same.  I hear from others this is normal and I shouldn’t count myself out of this cycle just yet.  But this journey has been tedious, speed-bump after speed-bump.  I pray for a positive outcome and think positively as often as I find myself thinking in the negative.   So when I got the call from the embryologist this morning that 17 of my eggs had fertilized I was thrilled.  Maybe things have finally turned in my direction.  As the day has progressed I am feeling better, have more energy, and less cramping.   I’m not out of the woods yet, but I believe I’m on my way!

-R

Categories: Emotions, Follicle Count, ICSI, Infertility, IVF, OHSS | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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