Another curve ball on the journey to baby

As we all know too well, this fertility journey can be unpredictable. 

We had our 1st monitoring appointment at the clinic today. Turns out, I’m responding VERY well to the drugs. I expected the opposite since my AMH count showed I was low fertility and therefore considered as diminished ovarian reserve. I wish I had said more as I had a hunch I would stimulate better than they expected. 

My follicle count is 29 – 18 on the left, 11 on the right. 

The downside is my estrogen is WAY TOO HIGH and rapidly increasing. 

On CD1, I started out with an estradiol count of 183. 

On CD6 (Monday), my estradiol was 3703. 

On CD8 (today), my estradiol is 5980. 

This puts me at high risk of Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS). The clinic has advised that we do a freeze all cycle and return in 2 months for a FET. 

Sad face

This is my “I’m disappointed” face

Although this is disappointing, I know that my health and safety is not worth the risk of transferring (even with a CD8 lining of 9.6 mm). 

I’m still praying for a miracle (meaning rapidly declining estrogen levels). Since that’s highly unlikely, we are just hoping for a successful retrieval with a few high grade, beautiful embryos on ice awaiting our return. 

I’m going back tomorrow morning for another blood test and ultrasound. My RE thinks the retrieval will be Sunday. 

Right now, my biggest side effects are bloat, swollen ovaries and slow walking due to swollen ovaries. I’m still getting tired easily if I do too much. My husband is pretty adamant that I take care of myself (meaning I’m not getting many opportunities to go shopping. haha) I’m actually feeling really emotionally stable. This taking things one step at a time is really helping. 

As much as we received some unexpected news today, I am still grateful that we have a good chance at quite a few eggs. 

I’m also grateful for: 

  • Gluten-free chocolate cupcakes – a must-have after today’s news. MMMMMmmmmmm good
  • The dog park beside the ocean at the end of our street which my husband drives me to
  • Maxi dresses to hide the bloat
Maxi dresses and an ocean-side dog park = best things ever

Maxi dresses and an ocean-side dog park = best things ever

For those of you who have been through similar scenarios:

  • What do you recommend to prepare for retrieval?
  • Is there anything I can do now to decrease my chances of OHSS?
  • What other advice do you have about OHSS? 
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66 thoughts on “Another curve ball on the journey to baby

  1. Sorry to hear about the roadblock. 😦 Hoping you get a bunch of good strong follies… And remember when you’ve waited this long, 2 months longer for your take home baby is SO WORTH IT!!! (But I also know this doesn’t erase the disappointment). Take care of yourself!

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  2. Boo 😦 I wondered what would happen if you overstimulated. I wasn’t sure how it would work since you are out of province, but obviously they can’t just overlook that and do a fresh transfer anyways. My Dr. wants his clinic to go to freeze all for all IVF cycles as he feels it yields better results, letting your body recover, and the embies that make it through freeze and thaw will be of the best quality.

    Sorry for the shitty setback, and that you’ll have to go back out to Victoria, but it will be for the best. At this point, I don’t think there is anything you can do to prevent your estrogen levels from going too high, but you won’t necessarily get OHSS. My E2 levels were over 20,000 by the end! If there is that much estrogen in your system is can inhibit implantation.

    But I didn’t get OHSS. I just took it easy after retrieval, drank lots of gatorade and coconut water, and kept up with protein. Even now, before retrieval, stay hydrated! Take care of yourself, wishing you all the best for your retrieval!

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      • This will sound bad but I’m so glad that you mentioned you went through this too. I had forgotten but I find it reassuring to go back and read everyone else’s stories. Especially since it wasn’t too bad for you, I have hope it can be the same for me.

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      • CD1 should be right around the corner, arriving next week. I don’t start meds until CD21 of that cycle, and then I should get my period again at the beginning of Oct. and the actual transfer should be around the third week of Oct. It’s a bit of a long process.

        I’m glad you are able to take this in stride, and hopefully such a great response will make up for the delay!

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  3. Sorry to hear about the possibility of delaying your transfer, but wow! those are some fantastic numbers on your follicle count! hope something magical happens in the next day or so though that can still make this happen this cycle 🙂 If not, I know traveling back for an FET is not ideal, but it will give your body a chance to balance out before then, and maybe that will be the best thing for you and those embies. Hang in there hon. That follicle count is great news!

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  4. It is so frustrating to wait but that follicle count is amazing. So glad you are responding so well. I have low AMH and always had so few follicles and eggs to work with. Glad you have so many!

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  5. I’m not sure if this would be appropriate in your case, but I took DIM, vitamin B6, and primrose oil to help balance out estrogen levels when I got a cyst after a treatment. I don’t know if this would interfere with anything else you are doing though!

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  6. Lots of follicles! That’s awesome! I’m sorry about the bad news, though. I hope you get lots of good eggs. Thinking of you and wishing you all the best! ❤

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  7. With regard to the delay, I know it’s disappointing, but having done both fresh and frozen transfers — frozen is easier. Fresh cycles really take it out of you (pun intended) so having a chance to heal and get those hormones under control will make a huge difference.

    As for the OHSS, like previous posters have said — LOTS of Gatorade (no water!), lots of protein and salt. I ate a lot of bacon cheeseburgers. Healthy? No, but very effective.

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  8. I know this is disappointing – I went through the same thing except it was my progesterone that spiked at the last minute – I found out the day of the retrieval that I would have to do the FET. The good news is that OHSS clears faster with AF and that there are starting to be more and more studies showing that they are getting better results with FET because they simulate hormone levels similar to what they normally are. Nevertheless – the extra time, super disappointing – but it sounds like you already (and have had for some time) the right mindset about doing what is right for you and the little ones. Hope for some great eggs and subsequent embryos! Keeping you in my thoughts and sending lots of light and love ❤

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  9. You responded just to how I did for the injecibles. What was your dosage again? I started out at 150 on menopur and follistim. On day 3 of taking those two drugs my estradiol level went from below 100 at my baseline ultrasound to 700 and something. My doctor promptly cut my meds in half and was able to get my estradiol to a more manageable level. I say this because it seems like they may have waited too long to test estradiol after your baseline. I wonder if closer monitoring and adjusting dosages would have helped keep your estradiol level in check? Just curious based on my own IVF experience. I know every clinic seems to be a bit different but might be a good question to ask if needed. It’s a bummer you’ll have to wait two more months but it’s good to know the doctor is looking out for you and your health.

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    • I agree. It’s one of those things where I wonder if I was here (instead of remote) from the very start of the cycle if they would have caught it. Guess it didn’t help that Mondays blood work was delayed 24 hours in getting the results. Such is life I guess. Can dwell on the what ifs. I’m actually on 225 follistim (puregon) and 75 Repronex

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  10. Ugh! So sorry to hear of your setback! Make sure you steer clear if water and drink boatloads of Gatorade and v8juice. I got OHSS and was drinking water not realizing it was making it worse. Once I made the switch everything got better. :). I also ate nothing but chicken noodle soup. The more sodium the better 🙂

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  11. That’s a fantastic follicle count! I’m sure the delay is disappointing, but their is research to show that embryos transferred from a frozen cycle actually have a better chance to implant. The delay stinks, but wonderful news overall! Take it east and keep positive 🙂

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  12. I’m sorry to hear that you’ll have to do a freeze all and wait some more, but I’m VERY happy to hear how well you’ve responded to the medication. I hope very seriously that you don’t develop OHSS! How are you feeling? I think the things you can do to decrease your chances of OHSS are avoid drinking water (I know, seems counter intuitive)…..only drink Gatorade, V8, Propel, etc, and eat as much protein as possible. Good luck girl!!!!!!!!!

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  13. My levels were pretty close to yours and in the end, even with being given meds to try and prevent OHSS, my estrogen still was well over 20,000 by retrieval. I did get OHSS, according the text book it wasn’t even really bad, but it had me out of commission with a trip to the ER for 5 days. I know it feels counter intuitive at this point, and you know this, a FET is the safest way to go. OHSS is even worse when you’re pregnant. And to be honest, I had some very strong hormonal feels when I got home without being PUPO. Just a heads up. Dr H is a big advocate of FET’s and their rising statistics 🙂 You must be feeling soooo full right now (I had 17 and felt like a blimp!)

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    • Yes, I know it’s for the best. They also saw some fluid in my uterus this morning so dr. G said freeze all is definitely the way to go. I’m actually feeling ok. It’s usually worse after I’ve been on my feet and at the end of the day. I’m definitely not walking too fast at all.

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  14. Crap! And wow! That’s a lot of follicles! That stinks that you have to worry about OHSS (because there isn’t already enough stress with IVF as it is!) but a FET has the same success rates as a fresh from what I’ve read (since we are doing frozen this cycle). Hoping everything works out well. My doctor told me to eat a lot of protein and drink a ton of Gatorade to curtail OHSS when I first started stimming. You’re in my thoughts

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  15. I’m terribly sorry for this setback, but I truly hope you have lots of wonderful frozen embryos to do some FETs (for more than one child, if you want). I never had OHSS, but I do remember the bloating and sloooow painful waddling. Take it easy!

    It was said to me that the first IVF is more of an exploratory round. We all hope it works the first time round, but everyone reacts to the meds differently, so they have to find out how your body reacts to be able to tailor it better for you.

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  16. Leave it to the universe to remind us that we have no control over anything, right? I’m so sorry you’re looking at OHSS, but your follicle count is amazing! I hear you on the maxi dresses, too! I’m wearing a maxi skirt today because I’m so bloated and sore… no way I was going to force my tummy into a zipper. My best suggestions for you at the moment for post-retrieval are a) stool softeners–colace, or metamucil or something, b) fluids, and c) heating pad (lifesaver). Also drugs. Take the drugs. They gave me tylenol with codeine and I took it every 4 hours like clock work yesterday.

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  17. So sorry about your delay! I am sure that must be super-disappointing for you! But thankfully, it’s just temporary and nothing is wrong in a big way! I believe everything happens for a reason, and I’m sure it will be great for your body to bounce back and get ready for those embryos! PPraying you get a great number of beautiful embryos to freeze!!! xoxo

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  18. Hi, I found your blog through Kate’s blog. I just wanted to echo what everyone else was saying–first, holy crap follicles! What an amazing number! And second, I’m sorry you have to delay. When you’ve already waited so long, another two months feels like eons. I have heard the same thing the others said, though, that frozen transfers are better than fresh because the body has time to rest. Take care of yourself and good luck on your retrieval!

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  19. How exciting! I had the pleasure of having OHSS with my first cycle and my E2 was only 4000. So, with that said anticipate it. OHSS doesn’t start until AFTER the egg retrieval. You experience something called third spacing (yes this is a nurse talking) where the fluid leaves your blood system and goes into your belly, where you’ve had the procedure. This is very common after other surgeries as well, however we just call it third spacing…as this is particular to a procedure and hormones it has it’s own special name. Please, please, please minimize all water intake as that will make OHSS much worse. With vascular depletion as I described above, you may have very low blood pressure, so you need to do things help push fluids back into their cells, that means SALT. So Elisha and many others here are absolutely right, V8 (has lots of salt) and Gatorade or sport drinks for the other electrolytes you will need. Eat proteins, as that helps your body heal and make new cells.

    Remember the symptoms should you get OHSS will start a day or 2 after the procedure, so start the drinking of the V8/sport drinks right after the procedure, and this may help prevent some of the third spacing. Even if you feel like you’re peeing all the time keep drinking throughout the day. You may want to weigh yourself everyday, if you gain more than a few pounds/1-2kg…call the doctor. You’re belly may start to look like your pregnant, that’s ok as long as you’re still able keep eating and drink and pain is tolerable. I actually starting tunnel vision because my blood pressure probably dropped, at that point my physician wanted to bring me to the ER and start IV fluids, but the stubborn nurse (me) said…let me chug thus liter of Gatorade first and see if that helps…it did. So I did avoid any ER visits, but I had to be very diligent. After a few days, I stopped looking pregnant and felt much better. Honestly, I don’t think I could have handled an embryo transfer with all that going on in my belly and I was relieved that I did an FET instead.

    Best of Luck! I’ll be thinking of you this weekend and saying a prayer! Sorry that was so long, feel free to email if you have any questions!

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