Wednesday, April 30, 2008

IVF#1 - Fertilization Report

Well I've been bawling my head off for that last 2 hrs and finally got enough strength to post. Out of the 10, only 4 were mature, they ICSI'd all 4 and only 2 fertilized. I won't know until tomorrow if they have survived. I am a total mess. I'm trying to remain positive and not be ungrateful as it could be worse, but I'm soooooo scared right now as my chances have just dropped significantly. If you believe in prayer, please say a prayer for us that our 2 little embies survive. I didn't realize how much I loved my embies already until I lost 8 of them. I think they triggered me too early due to my high E2 levels. If our embies make it, we will be transferring on Fri.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

IVF#1 - Egg Retrieval

Hello everyone! I just woke up from my 3rd coma, gotta love those post-anesthesia naps!

Everything went really well today. I signed a bunch of paperwork, basically signed my life away. They gave me an IV and then wheeled me into the operating room. Don't remember anything after that. I woke up feeling fine, but my upper thigh was killing me, felt like someone sucker punched me. The nurse took a look and found an injection site and said that must of been where they gave me a shot of demarol while I was out. About 10 mins later, I felt crampy and was having a few sharp pains. The nurse gave me a pain killer, so I'm feeling fine so far, with an occasional sharp pain. We'll see how I feel when all the pain meds wear off. Overall it was a piece of cake and everyone was extremely nice.

The embryologist came in and said the retrieval lasted 20 mins and they retrieved 10 eggs. Hubby was guessing 20 and I was guessing 15, so lower than expected but still very happy. They said they were only expecting 7-8 and were very happy with 10. I'm baffled as to why my estradiol was so high with only 10 eggs.

Kerry's semen analysis was 40 mil total with 3% motility, they said they had about 1 mil motile to work with. Hopefully they can find 10 good sperm out of that. Kerry wanted to make sure I report to all of you that he's doing well too and survived his "procedure"! LOL

They ICSI'd the eggs today. That stands for intra-cytoplasma sperm injection. Tomorrow I'll receive a fertilization report to let me know how many successfully fertilzed. I'm on pins and needles till tomorrow!

Tonight is my first progesterone injection! I'll let you know how it goes. I'm more nervous about that than the retrieval.

IVF#1 - Progesterone!

It's progesterone time! The top syringe is for drawing up the thick oil, it's much bigger that it appears here in this pic. The bottom syringe contains the smaller needle for injection.

Here are the targets that the clinic drew on my booty.

So my clinic tells us to watch the progesterone injection video on their website to review how to give it. We watch it and as soon as they dart the needle in, I yell "Oh God!" and about fall off the bed. Advice for you future IVFers, just have your hubby watch the video, you don't want to see it. I numbed with Lidocaine for 2 hrs and iced for 15 mins. I lean over the bed, hubby touches the area and I flip out, jump up and tell him to get the needle away from me. My face starts heating up and I'm in total panic mode. Now hubby is terrified because he doesn't want to hurt me. I lay on the bed and he practices hitting the area with the needle cap still on. Then I bury my face and tell him to just get it over with. Next thing I know, his hand leaves the area and I look at him having no clue if he still needs to give the injection or is done. He was done, and I didn't feel a thing! All that panic for nothing! Now I just need my heart to stop racing.

On another note, the pain meds wore off a couple of hours ago and I'm feeling quite achy and walking around like an old lady. I'm like one level away from taking that pain pill, but I'm not much of a pill popper, so I'm going to try and tough it out. But if you saw my dining room table, you would think I have a major drug problem. Hey, weren't we just saying that maybe if we chew bcps and shoot up, we'd get pregnant? I wonder if this counts?

Monday, April 28, 2008

IVF#1 - Day Before Egg Retrieval

I had an estradiol blood draw today and the results are in, 6867!!!! Holy Cow!!! The nurse said hopefully that means that the follies they saw on Saturday that were on the small side have grown nicely. I am deliriously exhausted, maybe it's from the hcg trigger. If this is what pg women mean by exhaustion, yikes. I tried to call my mom to give her the results and I dialed my social security number.

The dreaded progesterone shot starts tomorrow night.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

IVF#1 - Trigger Day

Today is my hcg trigger shot. This will cause my follicles to fully mature, be capable of fertilization and ovulate in 36 hrs. They will surgically retrieve the eggs at 35 hrs. It blows my mind how scientific this is, that it would be very rare for anyone to ovulate one hr earlier and the cycle to be a complete bust. They assured me they have only seen this happen once in their several years of practice. I just did the injection at exactly 10p. It was the best injection ever, didn't feel a thing. This was my 39th injection and officially completes my sub-q injections in my belly. Next is the dreaded progestrone injections!

I'm still feeling achy in my ovary area, but it's really not too bad. I am very bloated and look 3 months pg.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

IVF#1 - FSH Day 8 Monitoring

Ok, here's the results of today's appt:

E2: 4245 (Yikes!!! This is only 20 hrs and 1 reduced FSH injection later!)
Lining: 11.6mm (Great!)
Right Ovary: 10.3, 12.5, 13.4, 13.9, 16.2, 16.7, 3<10mm
Left Ovary: 14.2, 15.7, 16.1, 16.2, 16.2
Developing Follicles: 11

The plan is:
Saturday evening/Sunday morning: Take my reduced dosage injections.
Sunday 10p: Trigger with one Ovidrel injection.
Monday: E2 blood draw.
Tuesday 9a: EGG RETRIEVAL!!!! with Dr. Hill (the founder of the clinic)

Today is the first day I've really felt my ovaries hurt. They are getting achy and I'm really needing to slow down. I'm enjoying every minute of it, it's just me and my 11 potential children.

I've never been so excited about surgery, lol... come on, put me out already!

Friday, April 25, 2008

IVF#1 - FSH Day 7 Monitoring

Today's Day 7 results:

E2: 3428 (Yikes!!! Really high!)
Lining: 10.5mm
Right Ovary: 11, 11.5, 11.5, 12.5, 13.5, 14, 14
Left Ovary: 12, 12, 12.5, 16.5, 3<10mm
Developing Follicles: 11 (Wahoo!!!)

They decided to lower my FSH dosage this time from 600iu to 300iu. I think they are a little nervous about my E2 level. I have another monitoring visit tomorrow morning @ 8am. From there they will decide when to trigger me. Oh my gosh, oh my gosh!!!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

IVF#1 - FSH Day 5 Monitoring

Let me start by saying with a huge sigh of relief, I am NOT cancelled!!!!

Here are my results:
E2 (estradiol): 1640 (pretty high)
Lining: 9.3mm Trilayer (they want > 8)
Right Ovary: 8x11, 8x11, 10x12, 5 less than 10mm
Left Ovary: 8x12, 8x13, 10x11, 10x12, 3 less than 10mm

So I have 7 developing follicles all about the same size and they are thrilled with this considering my high FSH and low antral follicle count. I have 8 less than 10mm that may or may not catch up. Seems my cyst didn't cause any problems.

They said my E2 is on the high side and that I'll have some risk of ovarian hysterstimulation syndrome (OHSS), but they feel that I may never respond this well again and they want to keep me going to the end. I'm to stay on the same max dosage, I thought for sure they would lower it some.

I just ordered my remaining meds which was another $1,251.

My next monitoring visit is Fri, then possibly another one Sat. Depending on how things are going, they may trigger me Sat/Sun and do egg retrieval on Mon/Tue. OMG!

I am just so darn happy right now! Let me tell you, the first monitoring visit is terrifying as you have no clue how you're doing and if you'll get to continue. Glad to have that behind me.

Here's my dart board (and I'm only half way done):

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

IVF#1 - I'm Brave!

Nothing much to report other than I finally gave myself all 4 injections yesterday and I'm about to give 2 more this morning. I did it, I did it, I did it!!!! I found a method that works quite well, though it sounds really weird. I point the needle toward my stomach and do a darting motion several times until I accidently go too far and it's in. Crazy huh! Whatever works. Oh, btw, don't go above the belly button, ouch!

Last night after my last injection, I started feeling nauseous and like I was going to pass out. I had to lay down on the dining room floor immediately. It passed after 5 mins. Other than that along with some bloating, I really feel quite normal. I really thought I would be a hormonal mess with all these hormones, but I feel normal. Not sure if that is a good sign or not, I hope so.

Tomorrow is the big day, or shall I say one of them. First monitoring visit! I'm terrified of getting cancelled as I would have done all these shots for nothing and would be out $3000. But that's not going to happen, it's going to be good news!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

IVF#1 - FSH Day 1

Today I add in the FSH (Bravelle) and LH (Menopur) while continuing the lupron, so that's 4 injections a day. These will stimulate my ovaries to produce multiple follicles while the lupron keeps me from ovulating.

This is one dose worth for a total of 300iu.

I prepared well for these injections. I let the lidocaine sit on each side of my stomach for 1.5 hrs and then iced right before. Hubby said he'd be down in 5 mins to give them to me. I wanted to surprise him and have them done by time he came down, but chickened out. I'm determined to do it myself again. I now can't believe how brave I was on the first one. Well, I'm so happy to report that today was a good injection day!!! Lupron was first and I didn't feel anything until the very last bit of liquid, and it still wasn't too bad. Next was the FSH/LH. I was a little nervous and held my breath because the needle is a little bigger and the amount of liquid is quite a bit more. It was a piece of cake, didn't feel anything!!!! I don't know if it was the massive numbing I did, but I'm just so happy and soooo relieved!

Friday, April 18, 2008

IVF#1 - Beehive in a Bottle!

Last night (my 2nd injection) was awful! I just couldn’t do it, I held the needle there for about 5-10 mins until I was traumatized over it. I don’t know if it was because I didn’t use the numbing cream or what, but I just could not inject it. Kerry insisted on doing it for me and it took me a little bit to allow him to because I was so worked up over it. I closed my eyes and turned the radio on. I didn’t feel the needle but once he started pushing the liquid in, it was bad, felt like I walked into a beehive. Then he tried to rub my belly with his hand and I about came unglued as it stung so bad. I cried and didn’t sleep well. I hate Lupron and I got at least 11 more days of it. I wonder if I'm having a reaction to it as I don't see others experiencing near as much pain. Bring on the wimp cream!

This morning, I put the wimp cream on my upper arm and Kerry injected for me an hour later. The needle was fine, but again, the stinging was so bad!!! I didn't think I would be feeling this through the lidocaine. I feel like the lidocaine only numbs the surface. I had blood running down my arm with this one.

So much for this getting easier! I'm so NOT brave! I just keep telling myself, it will all be worth it in the end!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

IVF#1 - Let the Injections Begin!

My meds have arrived!!! Welcome to my pharmacy. These are all going in ME??? There's more to come, this is only 3/4 of it. God help my poor husband who's about to endure a very hormonal wife.
Today I start 20 units of microdose lupron 2x/day. Nicknamed "menopause in a bottle". It literally shuts you down and puts you in menopause so they can take complete control of your reproductive hormone system. It also keeps you from ovulating when they start stimulating you.

Would you like to see my first injection??? Here ya go! I had no prep or practice time as my meds had just arrived and I needed to get it injected asap, so you'll see that I take a minute to figure things out. I cheated and used numbing ointment, or wimp cream as my husband says. Tonight's injection will be without so I can prove to hubby that I'm not a wimp. Judging by my technique, I'm quite confident that my calling was NOT a nurse.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

IVF#1 - Suppression Check

Our visit started off with a blood draw for estradiol. I've really come a long way with my needle phobia, I did so good!

Next was the intra-vaginal u/s. My uterine lining was 5.8, a little more than they wanted, but ok considering I haven't started my period yet. I had a 12mm cyst on my right ovary, which could delay/cancel me, but I had to wait for the IVF nurse to discuss it with me. Next was the history and physical, passed that with flying colors. We discussed the cyst and she said it most likely won't be a problem, but we'll have to wait for the estradiol level to know how to proceed. It needs to be below 50 to be suppressed. Anything above that and I probably have a functioning cyst that will cause problems and will cancel me.

Next was the trial embryo transfer where they thread a catheter through your cervix and to the top of your uterus. It wasn't too bad, but I did say ouch a few times, it was a crampy feeling. She measured the depth at 6.5 cm. I'm relieved it's over and then she goes, I always check this twice, so in it goes again, ugh. It was way more scary than painful. This trial is to make sure there will be no problems during the real deal and to know how deep to go.

The lab director came in and showed us some really cool photos of eggs and explained the entire egg/sperm/embryo process. At my age, they will transfer 3 embryos if I have to do a day 3 transfer and 2 if I make it to a day 5 transfer, which is the goal.

The IVF nurse came back in and taught me how to prepare the meds for injection. They set me up with a voice mailbox and told me to go home and check it later for my estradiol level and how to proceed.

So I left having no clue if I was going to start, be delayed or be cancelled. I start reading about cysts on the internet, big mistake! This had me panicking with things like, you have 50% more chance of failure with IVF if you go into it with a cyst. The cyst can really take control and mess up everything the meds are trying to do. I start preparing my mind to be cancelled and convince myself it's for the best because if I'm going to be cancelled, now is the time, not after I'm way into it.

I finally get my voice message and my estradiol is 23!!! The IVF nurse talked to Dr. Hill (the founder of the clinic) and he doesn't think the cyst will be a problem since my estradiol is low. Errr, time to switch gears, OMG, I'm still on. I call to discuss my fears and she said that there is a chance that the cyst could cause problems, but there's a bigger probability that it won't. So I'm going for it and I can't help but be terrified that it will become a road block for me. I feel like I'm already starting with something against me.

Next was time to order the meds asap because my first injection is Thur morning, OMG! Let the emotional roller coaster begin!

Monday, April 14, 2008

IVF#1 - BCP Complete

I finished my 2 weeks of bcp last night. The pill made me really hungry, so I did gain a few pounds. The 2 weeks flew by and if everything stays on track, the process is about to go into high gear very soon. Tomorrow I go in for suppression check. This is the visit where they do a complete history and physical, baseline bloodwork, trial embryo transfer and an intra-vaginal u/s to make sure the ovaries are quiet and suppressed. IVF is full of milestones where you're trying to not get cancelled. Tomorrow is my first milestone, I hope I'm ready to start and not told, let's try again next month. Wish me luck!

A little bit about suppression for those who are unfamiliar with this process. Every cycle, our ovaries recruit so many follicles and one will become dominant and suppress all others so that you release only one egg at each ovulation. With IVF, they want multiple eggs to be able to give you a better chance of success. Therefore, allowing a dominant follicle to start is a bad thing as it will not allow any other follicles to mature. The other thing is that you want all of your eggs to mature at the same time and rate. This is where bcp and lupron come in. The bcp quiets your ovaries, prevents a dominant follicle and hopefully gets rid of any cysts. The lupron continues this process and also prevents ovulation before egg retrieval.

People with high FSH are at risk of being over-suppressed, meaning the stimulation drugs won't be able to kick the ovaries back into high gear. Originally they were putting me on 3 weeks of bcp, and I suggested 2 for fear of being over-suppressed. I hope that was the right decision for me. We'll see!

Today is my annual pap, so I'll be getting lots of speculum action today and tomorrow, oh yippee!
Stay tuned, I'll post my suppression check results tomorrow.

Friday, April 4, 2008

IVF#1 - Payment

Today I mailed off payment to the clinic... $10,250... ouch!!! It would be one thing if that was for a guaranteed pregnancy, but unfortunately, that's just for a "chance".

Well on the bright side, I was told it would be around $20k, and so far I'm thinking more like $14k! Funny how I started thinking, wow, we're getting a deal!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

IVF#1 - Drugs

Metro Drugs called me as they rec'd my script from the clinic. I'll be on the following: Azithromycin, Medrol, Tetracycline, Microdose Lupron, 60 vials of Bravelle, 20 vials of Menopur, Ovidrel HCG and Progesterone. So I'll be on just a few drugs this cycle... all for only
$3,468.58. Yikes!!!