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Transfer and 3WW

Of the 4 fertilized eggs, three formed pretty strong embryos. We had 2 8-celled embryos, symmetrical with minimal fragmentation. We also had 1 7 celled-embryo, with similar qualities. The most stressful part of the transfer was that they said they recommended transferring all 3 embryos, based on the number of eggs retrieved and my age (37). Now, our doctor practically had us chant “We will transfer 2 embryos.” She never mentioned transferring 3 so we were shocked. She did explain that if we ended up with 3 (there is a slight risk of identical twins with assisted hatching) that they would recommend selective reduction, since triplets are so high risk. My husband was definite that we only wanted to do 2. I was more tentative, because they said there was only a small risk of triplets and I just wanted it to work. However, I agreed with him that we do not want to have to do selective reduction. When they heard that our doctor had recommended transferring two, they said they thought that was sensible, especially because this was our first transfer and the quality was so good. But then they said they didn’t know if they could freeze the 3rd embryo, since assisted hatching was done. We asked them to find out, since we didn’t want to just let it go. Apparently, they could freeze, and after that the process was seamless.

I had a very strong reaction to the hormones, however, sleeping 10-12 hours a night for several nights. I also had a lot of bloating, and had to take Thursday as a sick day because I was so exhausted and had a low grade fever. That helped a lot! I feel much better now – just a little tired and bloated. My fingers are crossed — I really want these embryos to implant and become the children we will raise!

Our testing date was supposed to be 3/30 or 3/31, but it’s going to be 4/5 because I’m going to be out of the country for several days next week. This is a little frustrating, but I realized that last time I took Crinone and was not pregnant, my period came right on time. The last time I took Crinone and was pregnant, my period did not come. That might be a bit of a hint . . .

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IVF

The IVF process has been different from what I expected. I don’t know what I expected. There are so many steps and at each step you have great hopes and fears. My steps:

Monitoring
The monitoring process was fairly easy. I went in 3 times and was at the same dosage of medicine the whole time. The only hard thing was that I thought I would have more than 7/8 follicles. Or if I had that many, that they would stim me more. While my left ovary has been productive in the past, this month I only had 1 follicle from there. The other one wasn’t harvested. I was at a medium dose I guess (300 Gonal-F) while suppressed by Lupron (5). But I thought they’d wait until I had more eggs. I guess my estrogen levels were rising and existing eggs seemed mature, so they triggered me. I hope it works!

Retrieval
My retrieval was quite the process. We had to drive into the city in rush hour, and as soon as we got to the unit, they separated me from my husband. I wasn’t expecting that. I then met with lots of people – doctors, nurses, fellows, all asking questions and checking things. Everyone was nice, but I was relieved when my husband joined me! He stayed with me until they took me to the OR. The only hitch beforehand was that I had bruised at my best injection site at my first monitoring appointment (doh!) and she actually had to use my hand. But it wasn’t bad.

In the OR was fine, expect that the IVs were VERY uncomfortable until I was put under. When I woke up, I felt crampy, but that’s it. I never needed any pain meds. However, I had trouble taking deep breaths, so they ended up giving me an EKG (which was fine!) and then a nebulizer. They decided it was a response to the sedation and not an allergic reaction (thank goodness!).

Fertilization
Of the 7 eggs harvested, 4 fertilized. We did not do ICSI. They had told me 70% was average, and this was 55% but the nurses assured me it was “great!”. I thought we were going to get an update on them the next day, but we didn’t. Now my nightmare is that we’ll show up at our appointment today and there won’t be any to put in. I’m hoping they are all thriving!

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Post-mock transfer

The mock transfer went really well. The doctor met with us, and explained that the chemical pregnancy meant that we were now even more likely to give birth to a child at some point. The mock transfer itself was quick and painless – faster and easier than an IUI. Luckily, she said that mine would be an easy transfer. I’d read that easy transfers are more likely to be successful, so I was really glad.

We met with the nurse and went over all of the paperwork. We signed all of our consents (we had read them aloud at the kitchen table last week, so we knew what we would do).

We also discussed the calendar. We are planning to go to Montreal at the end of March for a professional conference and mini-vacation, and wanted to know if this was possible. It look like it will probably be fine, unless my ovaries don’t respond well. I may miss my pregnancy test, but that just means that I will have to take the medicine for longer – and maybe come back early.

Overall, a good start! Tomorrow I’m in there at 7AM for my baseline bloodwork and ultrasound – and I’m really hoping it’s a go!

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Mock Transfer

Heading to the doctor’s . . . excited, nervous! We have a few questions about the process we hope to get answered. Mostly, we just want everything to go smoothly so we can have our babies!!!

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Back on track

Update: We had a chemical pregnancy in our last IUI cycle. We are now beginning an IVF cycle.

I am on Lupron Day 8. I have a mock transfer scheduled with my doctor for Thursday (in 2 days). Friday is my baseline bloodwork.

What a journey! Our last cycle was an incredible experience – I had 1 follicle that developed so fast that they had to trigger me very early. We put very little hope into that cycle – but then came a positive pregnancy test! I was so sure it would be negative that I asked them to call my husband, and not me. It was positive, but my beta was very low (20). They like to see 100, but explained that what was really important was that our numbers doubled. Sadly, they remained the same. We were devastated. However, this overachieving egg was not ready to let go and my numbers bumped up (30) and up (36) – but not high enough to make it a viable pregnancy. They began to worry that it was ectopic – I even had to have a pregnant woman’s ultrasound (not in the RE’s office – one with the goo on your tummy and the wand). Thankfully, my period came and my numbers started to drop. We will always love the brave and determined embryo that made us parents, even as we look forward to meeting the child(ren) that we will raise.

Now we are looking forward to an IVF cycle that we hope will bring us our children. The doctor has already explained that she plans to put two in – and we are hoping that both will grow and develop. I am getting excited, even though I am nervous. We’re back on track!

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Infertility becomes chronic

Unfortunately, my last injectible cycle was not successful. This cycle, I started off at a very low dose (75 ui of gonal-f) but unfortunately, this resulted in only one very speedy very big follicle. I had an IUI on Day 10 of my cycle. The chances of this working, with just one follicle, are not high but are not zero.

I’ve realized that I’ve passed into chronic infertility. I am becoming used to it. I now know the lingo. I am learning the questions to ask. It is feeling more routine. I feel constantly that I’m on the verge of becoming a mother, and on the verge of realizing that I will never become a mother.

At times, I love hearing about and seeing my friend’s children. I pray for my friends when I hear they are in labor; I rejoice in the births of their healthy babies. At other times, I feel alienation when hearing about these milestones. Sometimes, I enjoy playing with these babies. At other times, I barely see them even when we’re in the same room. My reactions are not predictable. At times, I am in a horrible mood and a baby on my shoulder brightens my day. Other times, I feel fine, but then don’t want anything to do with this cheerful proud mother’s little one.

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5th night of injections

I had my first ultrasound after starting 112.5 iu of Gonal-F this morning before work. I had 3 lead follicles, but they were a little small so I just took 75 iu of Gonal-F tonight. Tomorrow’s another ultrasound and more bloodwork. Crossed fingers! I think that 3 follicles is good. From what I can tell online, they like to see 3 or 4. My big fear was that my body wouldn’t respond to the hormones, so I’m really happy that my doctor seems pleased with my response. I really hope this works!

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