Relief, oh sweet relief – Fertilization Report – Day 2-3

Well, yesterday was NOT a good day for me. I woke up nauseous and ended up puking in the afternoon. My nurse suggested I take Gravol to help with the nausea. She think it was from all the meds and the whole process just catching up to me. My ovaries were also so sore and I was extremely constipated. I tried a Senokat-S before bed and it did nothing to relieve my backed-up rear end. 

We went into the clinic today for a check up. My ovaries are still swollen but there’s no fluid in my abdomen. Dr. H told me to buy some glycerine suppositories to relieve my constipation. Let me tell you – those suppositories work miracles! I am feeling SO MUCH BETTER. The constipation must have been putting extra pressure on my ovaries, because they aren’t as sore either since I finally had a bowel movement. 

He also wants me to continue sticking to the OHSS diet, but I am allowed a little bit of Gingerale if my stomach is bothering me. I’ve started eating a few more fruits and vegetables too. I can’t handle feeling like crap from high protein/high salt foods. It’s kinda ironic that I spent months eating healthy only to be told to eat crap to prevent getting really sick. Why do so many aspects of (in)fertility have to be so contradictory?  

We are on track for a Friday transfer. Right now, we currently have 12 embryos. Our clinic grades them on a 20 point scale with 19-20 being rare. We have 9-18s and 3-17s. We expect a few to drop off before Friday but it’s nice to know we have some high quality embryos to chose from. 

I’m looking forward to the transfer and to getting home. When you are sick, there’s nothing that compares to your own bed. I also really miss my fur babies. 

I did get a nice surprise in the mail today. My best friend mailed a package to our rental apartment that contained a beautiful rose quartz sphere, some foot soaks and CHIHUAHUA socks!!! Seriously, I never know where she finds these amazing items.
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Note to MLACS: I will wear your socks to my first ultrasound. After going through all this, I am telling you there will be ultrasounds. 🙂 

One thing that I’ve learned throughout this process is that I have the utmost respect for any woman who has been down this IVF path – especially more than once. IVF is hard physically, emotionally and spiritually. People don’t realize that you are having legit surgery and putting tons of foreign drugs into your body with the hope of creating an embryo, getting pregnant and then maintaining that pregnancy. For us, it doesn’t end with a positive pee stick. 

I feel fortunate that this cycle has not been much of an emotional roller coaster for me, but I have been feeling it since retrieval. In the clinic this morning, I started crying while reading one of those “This is how we made you via IVF” books for children. I just truly hope that our (in)feritility journey is close to an end. I can’t wait to one day read that book to my children because I’m damn proud of everything I’ve gone through to get them here. And I know my husband and I will appreciate them even more because of it. 

Fertilization Report – Day 1

The embryologist called this morning. Out of our 29 retrieved eggs, 13 fertilized. 

Our protocol was half IVF, half ISCI. 

9 fertilized via ISCI

4 fertilized via regular IVF

There were a few immature eggs in the mix and 1 abnormal egg that she tossed aside. 

The embryologist mentioned that she thinks motility may have been an issue. She also said that they leave the regular IVF for another day to see if there are any late fertilizers. 

I was feeling really good this morning, but now I’m a bit sore especially when I pee or fart. TMI? Oh come on! There’s no TMI with fertility treatments. 

I’m seriously going to pick up a stool softener tomorrow as I’m backed up and I think that may be contributing to the soreness. Yes, yes, I know you all told me to do this beforehand. 

Today, I started a new medication regime to prepare for transfer: 

  • Estrace – 2 pills 2x day
  • Prometrium – 1 pill orally 2x day
  • 1 Progeterone in Oil (PIO) shot every morning until 9 weeks (my husband kindly reminded me 55 more shots to go!)

I’m still taking Doxycyline and Dostinex until they run out. 

We are aiming for a 5 day transfer.

Here’s hoping the rest of the weeks continues to go smoothly. 

Preparing for egg retrieval

All systems are a go: my egg retrieval is scheduled for this Sunday August 31 at 8:30 am. 

Today, Dr. H measured 23 follicles total between the range of 12.9-19.5 mm with the majority being in the 16-18mm range. Ouchie. My poor ovaries. 

Yesterday’s count was 31 follicles! I’m thinking he just didn’t count the smaller ones today or maybe a few dropped off. 

Dr. H gave me a small glimmer of hope that we may transfer, but it would depend on my embryo quality and if I’m showing an signs of OHSS.  I asked the nurse after he left the room what she thought and she said it’s highly unlikely. He wouldn’t want to risk it especially with us being from out of town. Sorry, I should clarify: the freeze-all cycle came from Dr. G, but Dr H runs the show at our clinic. Dr. H has not given me a definite yet as to whether or not if will be a freeze-all cycle. At this point, we understand that it’s highly likely to be a freeze-all. Wow how many times did I say freeze-all in that paragraph? Hope that made sense folks. 

We are still taking things one step at a time. We know that we won’t know for sure until mid-next week. 

In the past three days, my estrogen has gone from 5980 to 7670 to 9775. I wouldn’t say this has been much of a sleep-in vacation. We’ve been at the clinic for 7:30 am for two days in a row and will be again tomorrow for another blood draw. 

Tonight, I am triggering at 9:30 pm with 2 mg of Suprefact. The Suprefact is given instead of HCG to help prevent OHSS. I’m also starting Dostinex tonight which is also supposed to help prevent OHSS (Dani – is this what you had?). Tomorrow morning, I start the antibiotic Doxycycline twice a day.

In Canada, we aren’t completely out for our retrieval, just consciously sedated. Did any of you ladies bring an iPod or something in with you to listen to? My clinic said I could, but I had never really considered it. Thought it might make sense to listen to a meditation, but then again, I might want to listen to what’s going on. Insatiably curious, clearly. 🙂 

I’ve got Gatorade on the go and plenty for afterwards. 

Countdown is on… 

Any other tips to prepare for retrieval? 

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? 

Reflections after Day 1 of stims

My first night stimming for IVF was fairly easy and not much of a deal at all. 

Here’s a few reflections from my experience: 

  • Those instructional videos really helped. My meds also came with decent hand-outs. 
  • My hands are too little (or I’m just too clumsy) to be able to pinch my skin, hold the Puregon pen and somehow twist the end down to release the meds. I think I’ve talked hubby into doing this part for me, even though last night he “hid” downstairs and “pretended” he didn’t notice I was doing my shots. :/ 
  • Slow insertion works best. (For some odd reason, I find this one humourous. hehe
  • Don’t throw all assumed left over pieces into your sharps container until you ensure that they aren’t needed any more. I may have tossed the cover for my puregon needle in without removing it. It wasn’t too difficult to fish it out, but I assume it will be MUCH harder once that container fills up.
  • I’ve decided I like Repronex better than Puregon since it’s less shots. My Puregon dosage is 225 IU. The cartridges come in either 300 IU or 600 IU. This means some nights I’ll have to switch cartridges and do 2 injections of Puregon to get my full dosage. Really? Couldn’t you make the cartridges MUCH bigger or come in more of a variety of sizes? 
  • The Repronex didn’t burn much until AFTER. Solution: Curl up on the couch and catch a few shows on Netflix. Stretch out that belly, so it doesn’t rub or touch much. It goes away not too long after. I haven’t experienced any welts… yet. 
Overall verdict: slow down, follow the steps, pull up your big girl panties and just get’er done.
Besides, it will all be worth it in the end. *fingers-crossed*

All systems are a go: IVF stimming begins tonight

I just received an email from my nurse saying that my blood work and ultrasound results are good.

We can start stimming tonight! 

I’m not even on hormones and this almost made me cry! I’m just so excited to get the ball rollin’. 

As I mentioned in My IVF Protocol, I’m starting off with 225 IU of Puregon and 75 IU of Repronex. 

Since we are remote, our clinic gave me the following instructional videos to watch: 

I can also call my nurse directly tonight if I have any questions. Yes, this is one thing I love about our clinic. It’s very personal and someone is ALWAYS available to help you. 

I’ve heard that it helps to ice before the Repronex. 

Do any of you IVF experts have any other injection advice? 

 

My meds have arrived

Do you think the CanadaPost delivery lady thought I was a quack or a criminal when I said ”Thanks I’ve been waiting for this one, almost $5000 worth of drugs” ?

My injectable meds arrived yesterday morning. I drove all the way to work,  checked the tracking and noticed it had JUST been updated from a Monday delivery to Friday. So, I packed up and went back home. I won’t deny it. I prefer working from home on Fridays.

Here’s my loot: Puregon, Repronex and Orgalutron with needles and sharps container.

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And here’s my Puregon chillin’ out (literally) in the fridge:

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Oh, and that $4500 was only for what you see. It doesn’t include the rest of my meds.

5 days til injections start. 11 days til we fly out.

Shit’s gettin’ real.