Two Years and Counting

Transfer update
February 26, 2009, 3:41 pm
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I haven’t taken the time to update, but we don’t have any bad news. Actually, everything has gone really well. The transfer was yesterday. After all the painful injections and the retrieval, the transfer was a breeze! To back up a bit, we found out that 12 eggs fertilized, like I posted before, and the next day they told us that 7 embryos made it to the stage they wanted them to, and 5 were lagging behind a bit, but they’d keep looking at all of them in case any of those 5 continued to grow. The next day, Monday, we found out that 10 were now at the appropriate state and were continuing to grow! THey don’t look in on the embryos on the 4th day, so we didn’t hear anything on Tuesday. The transfer was yesterday, Wednesday. When we got there, my bladder wasn’t full enough, even though I had gulped down a 20 oz bottle of water, so the nurse had me drink some more. In that time, while I was drinking more, Dr H had to go in with another patient, so we ended up waiting almost an hour for her, with me in the gown and lovely hair net, and M in his hair net, gown, and thing covering his mouth. Once all that water hit my bladder, the nurse told me to “let some out” because I’d need to be able to stay on the table for at least another 30 minutes, waiting for Dr H and then for 15 minutes after the transfer. So I did that, and finally Dr H came in. She was great, really encouraging and excited. We finally got a report on our embryos–we had a nice, big, plump one to transfer, and 3 or 4 more that were a bit smaller, but that she expected to be to the big, plump stage by today, and then they’d be frozen. She said she was really pleased with us and our embryos, told M he did a “great job,” generally made us feel like all this had been worth it! Although, our expectations are appropriately low, or at least mine are–M is doing a little better at the optimism!

During the actual transfer, I couldn’t see the screen at all, although M got to watch it all. It was done before we knew it, and she said to just lie there and relax. Oh, she also asked if we were ok with prayer (you’re kidding, right?) and asked if she could pray with us. I was like, Um, yes please! She and the sweet nurse grabbed our hands and Dr H prayed for us. It was really nice. THey wheeled me back out of the procedure room and I waited the 15 minutes there. Then they let me get up and get dressed, and we left. Sort of surreal, the whole process. I remember thinking in the procedure room, “This is so weird!” I don’t know why–I was so thankful to have made it to transfer day, that we had a great embryo to transfer, that everyone had been so wonderful and kind to us, and everything else, but still, it was just weird! And to have a photo of our embryo–hello sci fi! My mom (who drove up yesterday to keep me company) said she was thinking of the verse where Go says “I saw your unformed body in your mother’s womb” and we laughed a little thinking, well we’ve seen it too!

I spent most of yesterday on the couch and am taking it easy still today, although we did get out for a short walk with my dog and went to lunch. I was tired of sitting on the couch doing nothing!

I’m so thankful that this entire process has been so much easier than I thought it would be. The drugs haven’t had an effect on my emotions at all and I’ve really felt such a calmness throughout. Even now, while we’re in the dreaded wait, I still feel calm. I’m not anxious. We even have to wait an extra two days after my blood test before we find out the result. My test is next Friday and M has to go out of town that morning. So I’m going to ask the nurse to leave me a message and M and I will listen to the message together on Sunday when he gets home.

Anyway, the hardest part of it all has been these darn progesterone injections. They hurt so badly, I’m hobbling around like an old woman! Janet, the IVF coordinator, got me a prescription for projesterone in a thinner oil, and said that should not hurt as bad. I just am so incredibly sore. She mentioned to me that since I’m fairly small and don’t have much extra padding back there, they might hurt me a bit more, and she wasn’t kidding. Even at night when I’m asleep, I basically wake up everytime I need to change positions because I can’t just flip over. Anyway, I probably shouldn’t go on about it–I’m sure everyone who uses this stuff hurts too!

**Update. Janet just called and said we have 4 embryos frozen!


Fertilization Report
February 21, 2009, 5:30 pm
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We got word this morning that of the 15 eggs they retrieved, 13 were mature, and 12 fertilized! I didn’t expect that at all. Now, of course, like I told M, that doesn’t mean all that much, because the number will go down, and could go way down. I have a friend who did IVF and started out with something crazy like 19 eggs, and after waiting the 5 days, ended up with only 1 embryo, period. Granted, they got Pregnant on that one embryo, but still. Having twelve embryos right now is a great number to start with, but I know it’ll go down. They’ll call tomorrow morning and let me know how many divided. (Like I told my mom, it’s good that the number will go down some–I sure don’t want to end up with 12 embryos!)

I’ve had some weird stomach and back pains today. I’m sure it’s all normal. I don’t typically deal with feeling bloated, so I’m not sure if this is what it feels like, but my stomach just has felt tight and uncomfortable all day. And I do feel a bit of pain in the general area of my ovaries, so I know those are still somewhat swollen. My back pain I think is from the phenergan shot they gae me in my hip yesterday. I’m thinking she may have hit a nerve. This morning, M and I met a friend for breakfast, then sat out side in the sun for a while. Then I went to a library book sale for an hour and a half or so. I promptly hit the couch when I got home and slept for probably 2 hours. Maybe that’s leftover from the medicines they gave me yesterday?

Anyway, to clarify about being awake during the retrieval yesterday–I was awake, but definitely out of it. I remember being in there and what went on in general, but I didn’t feel a thing. I do remember telling my doctor about another doctor that my family knows who knows her. I’d been meaning to tell her about him for months, but kept forgetting. Why I chose to tell her about when I was probably babbling  and slurring, I have no idea. I think I was trying to sound more lucid than I really was!

ER Report
February 20, 2009, 6:07 pm
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So, the trigger shot I was so nervous about a couple of days ago? M did so great! It felt just like it did when the nurse gave it to me over the summer–which is to day, I felt it go in, but it didn’t hurt that bad, and the medicine going in wasn’t that bad either. A little soreness in teh general area afterwards. I was so happy it wasn’t worse! Yesterday was a good day of running around, keeping my mind off today. I had a long breakfast with a friend, met another friend for lunch, and had another out of town friend stop by in the afternoon.

Today was ER day. It was scheduled for 8:30 and we were to arrive at 7:30. They called me back promptly and said M could come with me, which surprised us. So they led us back to a back room and I changed into a lovely open-in-the-back gown and meshy hair net and socks. We had some time to just sit and read and “relax” before things started. THe nurse back there was so sweet. She was with me before, during and after, and she said she’d be there for the transfer too. She started an IV and about 20 minutes before the retrieval started, they gave me some “happy juice” as they call it. They wheeled me about 15 feet into another room, and Dr H was there. I was happy she was the one to do the retrieval. Once I was in there, there was about 10 minutes of getting things ready, then they started. I was surprised I never went to sleep. I was awake for the whole thing, but just kind of loopy. I remember Dr H saying, “Ok, we have 6!” I asked, “Six?” thinking, ‘Wait a minute, I had 16 follicles!’ She was like, “Oh no 6 is good. I always want at least 6, so this is good.” I was not quite with it enough to process that enough to  think anything other than, “Hm, weird.” But then the number kept going up, and she ended with 15. I think that’s a good number!

The process  took only 15 minutes or so, then they wheeled me back out to where M was waiting, and I sat there very still so I could figure out if I was nauseated or not. I was pretty sick after the laparoscopy–anesthesia doesn’t agree with me very well. This time, it was not near as bad. They gave me something for nausea, so I was able to make it out with only getting a little sick! The car ride home was rough, but once I got home I felt much better. I promptly crashed on the couch for a couple of hours, then woke up and had breakfast at about noon.

So, that’s where we are. It’s been a lazy day. I have some slight cramping, and I have a weird pain in my back on the right side, the same side where they gave me the shot for the nausea medicine. Other than that, I feel ok. This morning was the first day I’ve actually had some pain from my ovaries, but I guess the retrieval allowed the pain to subside, and it doesn’t hurt as bad any more. They’ll call me in the morning with a fertilization report. Hopefully some good things will happen over night!

Retrieval Friday
February 18, 2009, 10:15 am
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So, the nurse ended up calling me on Monday and said I didn’t need to come in Tuesday morning because she didn’t think the follicles would be ready yet, and for me to come in this morning (Wedneday). I’ve been a tad concerned about these little follicles since they seemed to be growing slower than they should. No one told me it was a problem, everyone said, “They’re growing and that’s good,” but as usual, I try to read between the lines and see what they’re not saying. Anyway, I went in this morning partly expecting them to say they still hadn’t grown enough. The nurse did the ultrasound and said they wanted at least 2 follicles at 1.8 cm or larger. I do in fact have 2, maybe 3, follicles at 1.8. The rest are between 1.4 and 1.7. She said they want the rest to be in that range. She wasn’t effusive in her discussion of the size, but said they’re good enough for a retrieval on Friday. I’m just going to go with that and hope that the eggs that are a bit smaller will be able to mature.  

So, she gave me the instructions for the next couple of days. We’ll do the HCG trigger tonight, tomorrow I eat a light dinner, and drink 16 oz of water before I go to bed. That’ll be a fun night of getting up to go to the bathroom! My bladder seems to get smaller at night, even when I don’t drink that much water before bed. They’ll call me later today and tell me the time for the trigger and what time I need to be in the office Friday. I’m a little nervous about M giving me the trigger shot. It’ll be our first IM injection, the first of many, since I’ll be starting the progesterone after the transfer. I may ask him to practice on an orange or something first! He says he’ll be fine, but I think this takes a bit more finesse than the sub Q ones do.

I think I was expecting to be in some pain by now. Maybe that’s partly why I’ve been a little concerned–because I just haven’t been hurting. I’m feeling a little discomfort today, but it’s not pain. I’m continuing to pray that things continue to go smoothly and that God will give us strength for whatever comes on Friday and in the days after.

Another day, another ultrasound
February 16, 2009, 10:32 am
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I went in this morning for my stim day 9 ultrasound and bloodwork. The nurse said my lining looked “beautiful” (the acupuncture doctor will be so pleased!) and the follicles have grown, but “still have some growing to do.” I’m not sure what that really means, except that the nurse said I didn’t need to be concerned, that they are growing and that’s good news. Maybe my follicles are just slow responders. She said my largest on the left side is 1.6 and the largest on the right is 1.5. Today the count was 8 follicles on each side, although those numbers have fluctuated from 6-8 depending on the nurse doing the u/s. This one thinks I’ll be starting cetrotide tonight, but the IVF coordinator will call to confirm, and that the retrieval will probably be Friday. They originally gave me a window of three days for when the retrieval could be, and Friday is the last day in that window. So, it makes me feel good that at least we’re in the window. I did have to go back by the pharmacy to pick up more supplies–needles and syringes–because I was about to run out.

Stephanie, you mentioned in your comment that since they didn’t put me on Lupron,  maybe they already knew what meds I’d need due to my IUIs…but I didn’t do any meds when I did IUIs. They were all natural cycles. Maybe there was something else that made them think I didn’t need to be on Lupron. Who knows?

I’m still feeling pretty good. I’m a tad more tender in the lower areas of my belly, but it’s not painful. I guess I need to be somewhat careful since they ovaries are a bit larger, but I’m planning on going for my regular walk later today and am not really concerned about any twisting of ovaries or anything. I don’t think mine are big enough for that to be a problem.

I go back in tomorrow morning early for another check…while it’s sort of annoying to have to go so often, I feel like I’m being well taken care of. I like that they’re checking everything so often to make sure we’re on the right track. That keeps me from complaining about the $3 every time I leave the hospital parking garage and the constant treks through the garage, and up and down elevators with all the pregnant women going for their ultrasounds…quite different from the ultrasounds I’m having to do!

Day 6 of stim meds
February 13, 2009, 4:15 pm
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I went in to the clinic yesterday for an u/s and b/w to make sure things were looking ok. I had 12 follicles in all, and all were less than 1 cm, which basically means they weren’t measureable. My estrogen level was 175 and progesterone was .3. Really, I don’t know what that means, except that the nurses said it was all fine. I’m going back in tomorrow (Saturday) for another check, and to see if it’s ok to add another drug to the mix…cetrotide. Again, I don’t know what this drug does that’s different from the follistim and menopur, but I suppose it does something! M and I start taking an antibiotic on Sunday. So far, I still feel totally normal. I asked the nurse if that in itself was normal and she said yes. She said if I had come in on day 5 of the injections and said I felt really bad or bloated or whatever, that would have been a problem. She said most people come in on day 9 or 10 and say “Ok, I know something’s happening because I feel pretty bloated.” I’ll just enjoy continuing to feel normal for now!

Also, I noticed several days ago that Lupron wasn’t in my bag of meds, and I called the IVF coordinator to check on that. I’ve heard most other people who’ve done IVF talk about Lupron, so I just assumed I’d be taking it. She said I’m on a regimen that doesn’t involve Lupron. I know the process is different for everyone, so I suppose for whatever reason, that’s just something I don’t need. I’ve heard it gives people bad headaches, so I’m thankful I’m not taking it.

I went to acupuncture right after that appt yesterday morning. I’d forgotten to get the measurement of my lining, and Dr Ivey wasn’t too happy with me. She always likes numbers so she’ll know how well what she’s doing is working. I’m under strict orders to get the measurement when I go tomorrow.

That’s about it for now. M and I are going to dinner tomorow night for V Day. We always go to the same restaurant, and tomorrow will be our 5th Valentine’s Day at this restaurant. For those of you in Birmingham, or if you ever visit Birmingham, it’s called Standard Bistro and it’s out in Mt Laurel. It is fantastic. I’ve never eaten anything there that wasn’t absolutely wonderful. It’s more pricey than we usually spend on dinner, but we only go once a year, and it’s a treat. Hope you all have a nice weekend!

Quick Update
February 11, 2009, 9:10 am
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Well, I’ve survived the first 3 nights of injections. Not too bad, really, although the stuff stings more going in than I thought it would. I tried icing the area last night, but I think it actually made it a little worse, so I’ll skip the ice tonight. Tonight we reduce the amount of follistim, and I go in for bloodwork and an ultrasound tomorrow. I don’t feel any different at all, so I hope this stuff is doing what it’s supposed to do!