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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Fertilization Results

The nurse just called and let me preface this by saying that I am in complete shock... Out of 18 retrieved eggs, 17 fertilized! I guess J's little guys weren't as lazy as we thought! Now, all 17 may not continue to grow. The embryologist will observe them closely and decide on the best, most advanced embryos to transfer, depending on how many we decide to put back. Any surplus embryos that are not transferred, will be frozen for later use. There only 3 states in the U.S. with a law mandating that unused embryos from IVF must be frozen and cannot be discarded. Our state is one of them, thankfully. The nurse said she will call me back in 2 days with further progress.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Egg Retrieval Day

This morning was my egg retrieval. J collected his sample at home and then we got right in the car and headed for the IVF Lab at our Fertility Clinic. Our clinic is roughly 45 minutes away and we had to get J's specimen there within an hour so we were trying to beat the traffic. When we arrived, they asked some questions, we signed some papers, I got changed into my gown and they started the IV drip. About 10 minutes later, I walked into the OR and they had me lay on the table. They asked me if I wanted another blanket because I was cold. I said, "yes," and by the time they were covering me with it, I was out! I woke up what seemed to be about 5 minutes later. In reality, it was about 30. I started to come to my senses and they told me the news.... THEY GOT 18 EGGS! That's right...18 eggs and they all looked great, "grade A," Dr. D said. That was double what we expected!
The nurse administered my first Progesterone-in-Oil (PIO) injection and showed J how to do it since he will be administering them daily from now on. As far as pain, I experienced a great deal of cramping and some spotting as well but that was to be expected. They will call me tomorrow to let me know how many eggs have fertilized! My embryo transfer is scheduled for Saturday.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Cycle Day 12-Egg Retrieval Scheduled!

This morning's appointment went great! I have 7-8 dominant follicles ranging in size from 17x17mm to 20x20mm. My lining was over 9 mm which is great. Dr. D and the nurse both said everything looks great! So, I was instructed to take my Ovidrel (hCG trigger shot) tonight at exactly 9:30pm. My egg retrieval will be Monday morning at 9:30am. I have to arrive at 8:00am. They will use IV sedatives and pain killers to put me under what they call, "conscious sedation." Using an trans-vaginal, ultra-sound guided needle, they will go into my ovaries and aspirate all the follicles. That same morning, J will "collect" a "specimen," in which they will wash to find the best little swimmers. They will then perform the ICSI procedure (Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection) in which they will inject a single sperm into a single egg. They will do this with however many good sperm they are able to locate. I will then go home and begin a plethora of new medications as listed below. Thankfully only 1 of them is an injection. However, it is an intra-muscular injection which has to be given in the buttocks. I am least excited about this! The following day they will call us to let us know how many eggs fertilized and continue to grow. The embryo transfer will most likely be 5 days later.

Tetracycline (Antibiotic)- 4x daily
Medrol (Prednisone)- 2x daily for 4 days
Baby Asprin- 1x daily
Estrodial (Estrogen Supplement)- 2x daily for 14 days
Progesterone in Oil (Injection)- 1x daily through 6 weeks of pregnancy

I have a feeling in my stomach that I don't know how to describe. It's sort of like butterflies but not really. It's excitement and utter joy mixed with nervousness and anxiety. We've been trying to conceive for over 2 years now, 1 year of which was done with fertility treatments. This IVF has been a long time coming now. So, why does it feel like this is all happening so fast? It's simply overwhelming! I cannot believe this is it! It's really happening. God has been so good to us and has blessed us beyond measure.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Cycle Day 11

Today's largest follicles measured at 17x19 and the smallest are measuring 9x9. My uterine lining is looking nice and thick as well. I don't yet have word on when the retrieval will be, but it's looking like Monday or Tuesday. It's approaching quickly! I'll most likely go back in tomorrow morning and will then have word on when to administer the trigger shot and therefore I'll know when my retrieval will be. The nurse today said, due to the good size off all the follicles, the Dr. should be able to get all of them out. Sometimes, however, not all the follicles contain eggs. So, we will see, but as for now it's looking very promising!

I had to sign a ton of papers today; consents, authorizations, on and on... I felt like we were buying a house all over again! Geeesh!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Cycle Day 9

Today's ultra-sound showed about 16 follicles, the largest measuring 13x13. From here on, they should begin to grow 1-2 mm/day. I'm doing okay overall. However, yesterday I suffered my 3rd vomit-inducing migraine headache in the past week and a half. I asked the nurse today and she said that can definitely be a result of the meds and the fact that my hormones are all over the place. She said it should get better as my estrogen levels continue to go up. It's looking like I should be ready for our egg retrieval around Sunday/Monday. I'll know more when I go back in on Friday and will post then!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Cycle Day 4

Today is CD4, Day 3 of Stims. Ultrasound today showed lots of little follicles growing.... 6 on the right and about 10 on the left. They are pretty small still since I've only been on meds for a short time. I go back in Monday. Also had labs today, most came back fine but my TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) is up again. It was 4.3. They'd like it to be between 1-2. I've been battling this Hypo-Thyroid junk for about 4 years now. We'll re-check that Monday too and send the blood out for a full Thyroid panel. Hoping it doesn't mean anything negative!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Meant to Be

It's really happening. After trying, waiting, push-backs, set-backs, and everything in between, our IVF is really happening. Yesterday, was CD 2 (Cycle Day 2) and my first day of stims (Stimulation Medications.) I've been doing the Lupron medication myself for a week now. J got a new job working construction and has been leaving at 5am. I chose to inject myself rather than have to wake up that early on my Summer break! It's actually not that bad. Starting yesterday, it went from 1 injection a day to 3 a day. The plan will be adjusted based on how I respond to the meds, but as of now, I plan to be on the stims for about 10 days. Then, I will stop the stims and administer my HCG trigger shot (this is done to give the final push and trigger ovulation.) 36 hours after the trigger, I will go in for my egg retrieval.

As I learn more about this process, I realize that though it meticulously scientific, it is also completely miraculous. Yes, we have the help of advanced medications and some of the best doctors out there, but, it is all up to God. Over the past couple weeks, we have received more and more signs that this is the right path for us. This is how we are meant to become parents. I found myself saying that it is amazing the way things are just falling into place. But, I just discovered, they are not "falling into place." They have been intentionally put into place by a much higher power. We are so blessed and so thankful.

I plan to update more often now that we're in the thick of things. I will be going in for regular ultrasounds and lab work and will continue to post updates. Tomorrow is my next appointment to see how I've been responding after my first 2 days of stims. Wish us luck...or as we say in the TTC-community, "baby-dust!"

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

...And Away WE GO!

Well, today was my 1st Lupron injection. I went into the clinic for the nurse to do the 1st one, but J will administer the rest. I will take this injection each morning until my egg retrieval. In 2 days, I will take the last birth control pill of the pack and will expect menses to begin shortly thereafter. When it does, I go in for ultrasound and labs and as long as we get the "all-clear" then we are a go.

On another note, a lot has happened since my last post. For a moment, J and I thought our IVF would have to be put on hold for a while when we discovered the cost for the medications were triple what we had anticipated. However, we then learned about an amazing program that provides 1-month of free meds to fertility patients with no insurance coverage for fertility and who meet certain income guidelines. We applied and were accepted. Not all the meds were free however, but it did proved the Gonal-F and Ovidrel, which helped out greatly! We ended up having to pay only $800 for over $3,000 worth of medications! This program is called the Compassionate Care Program through EMD Serono Fertility Lifelines. I highly recommend looking into this program.

On a less happy note, we got the results back today from J's semen analysis and they were not great. He had 10.8 million sperm (20 is considered "normal") and had 88% motility (this was actually good news since 50-60% is considered "normal".) The big shocker was that out of 100 sperm, only 2 had "normal heads." This is not good news. They want at least half to have normal heads. So, our doctor says we will definitely need to use ICSI (Intro-cytoplasmic Sperm Injection...when a single sperm is directly injected into an egg rather than letting the sperm fertilize the egg on it's own.) This will increase our chances of success.