Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Head Spins

My head is spinning and my mind is racing.  It's been a whirlwind since returning from vacation (yesterday) (more on our awesome vacation later, though!) and I'm in a complete daze.  You might ask what could have possibly happened in a matter of a little more than 24 hours for me to feel completely zombie-like and unable to process any information?  Well... Not only did I return home to AF's arrival (seriously, as if returning home from vacation isn't sad enough - this was just enough to put me over the edge.  Devastated is an understatement as to how I felt yesterday.  It's times like these that I get mad at myself for having so much hope...), but we also had our long-awaited phone consult with Dr. S from CCRM (!!!!!) last night.

I was sure to take notes as we listened to what Dr. S had to say and I'm literally writing this blog post by transcribing last night's many scribbles (since my brain is pretty much dysfunctional right now, I'm hoping my notes will help me to better structure this post and relay what we learned!)... so bare with me... After spending about 5-10 minutes explaining my "saga" (as Dr. S put it), here's what I learned, should we choose to move forward with IVF treatment at CCRM:

* (Perhaps most importantly) They would check to see if there is a missing genetic status of my eggs/embryos.  Hopefully, genetically, my eggs/embryos will be normal.  I did ask Dr. S if there is a correlation between high FSH and genetically poor eggs/embryos.  Unfortunately, he said that yes, there is a correlation between the two.  And while I wouldn't want this to be the case - perhaps this would at least be able to tell us some more about why my prior two IVF's didn't work, even with what seemed to be two very good (or at least just good) quality embryos that were transferred both times.
* They would be very aggressive with my stimulation protocol to hopefully stimulate more follicle growth (this is what my local/current RE is trying to do with each IVF cycle as well, and while I do truly, truly believe that my local/current RE is doing all she can - something told me that perhaps CCRM would be more aggressive?).
* I would start pre-cycle supplements (I need to find out what type of supplements I would be on!) during the month that we visit Colorado for our one day work-up (ODW).
* 1 month prior to my IVF cycle, I would start testosterone priming (I need to read up on this!)
* Most likely, my IVF cycle would include both injectibles as well as clomid (interestingly enough, this is the same protocol that my local RE said she would suggest trying next) along with an antagonist to keep me from ovulating early.
* We would need to head out to Colorado for the ODW some time between day 5 and 13 of my cycle.  I will be restricted from caffeine for 3 days prior to the ODW (I don't think I've had any caffeine in months!) and will be given an order to take home with me for day 2 or 3 blood work that will need to be frozen and sent back to CCRM so that the results can be read in their lab.

The most significant (to me) points that I took away from our call are:

1.  When asked what he thought my chances are (based on my age and FSH) of conceiving with the help of an IVF cycle, Dr. S said that he would guess (without seeing me) that I had a 25% chance with IVF (each time) of becoming pregnant (normal women my age would have about a 70% chance of becoming pregnant with IVF, so there is a fairly large variance here in the percentages of success).
2. When asked if Dr. S has treated patients with "issues" such as mine, he told me that about 2/3 of his patients are from out of state who also have high FSH and/or low AMH.

So.... first off, I'm actually pretty pleased with a (guesstimate) 25% chance of conceiving with IVF.  That's 1 out of 4 tries, people.  I've already done two... that must mean that a successful cycle is just around the corner, right?!  And secondly, I was so happy to hear that CCRM and Dr. S treat women with issues such as mine on a regular basis.  He said CCRM would in no way turn me away based on my FSH (this is actually contrary to much of what I've read in on-line forums, etc.). 

He also said though (and I knew this would be coming, so I was prepared for it), that with donor eggs, my chances of conceiving would be more like 70%-80%.  I explained that at our current age of (only) 30, we're not ready to throw the towel in on my own eggs yet, to which he responded that as long as we know that we would have this as an option by means of having a baby at least up until I'm 40. 

Lots to think about... Lots of reasons why my head is still spinning and why my mind is still racing.  Lots of money (I'm waiting for the gal from the financing office to call me with exact-ish numbers, but I've heard about $5,000 for the ODW and close to $30,000 for the IVF cycle - not including flights and accommodations while staying in CO)... And unfortunately, no guarantees.  That's the only thing holding me back from all of this.  It's not the money.  I know we will find a way to pay for our very stubborn baby if he/she ends up being a product of CCRM.  My biggest fear is that after all of this I still won't be pregnant.  But we believe it's a risk that we have to be willing to take.  We truly believe with all of our heart and soul that our very stubborn future baby will be worth every.single.penny/flight/shot/etc., etc., etc.

So with all of that being said, after hanging up with Dr. S last night, tears immediately fell from my eyes and streamed down my face (I think partly from the sadness of even having to deal with all of this, and partly from the confusion and mind racing that already engulfed my brain).  I looked at my husband and through my tears, together, we were able to map out what we think will be our next steps:  I have 1 month left of herbs/acupuncture.  As of now, I'll continue the acupuncture twice weekly through my next IVF cycle, which will most likely be in October (with my local RE).  In the meantime, I'm hoping to be able to schedule our ODW at CCRM at the end of September (which will be the beginning of my next cycle) for some time in late October/early November...

Phew... I think that's it.  Now I'm off to indulge in this delicious lemon cookie that I bought today during lunch to try to put a smile on my devastated face after learning yesterday that I'm still baby-less for yet another month (all the while dreaming of being back under these beautiful palm trees in the Coronado sunshine)...

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