Monday, October 29, 2012

Secret Cycle IVF #3 - the details

Today marks one week since we learned that our secret cycle IVF #3 failed.  Saying that, writing that and seeing that still brings tears to my eyes and leaves me somewhat numb.  As I've mentioned in previous posts, none of this gets easier as time passes.  The hurt, pain, fear and worry is magnified after every unsuccessful month/cycle.  I could write a novel about the emotions one deals with because of infertility, but I want to focus this post on the details of my third IVF and how it all came about... And why we had so much more hope this time...

I had mentioned that my acupuncturist wanted me to add another month of herbs to my initial three month plan...  After a lot of tossing and turning over this, I decided to go ahead and do a fourth month, until one day I had a very strong feeling that I wanted to do another cycle of IVF.  My husband and I spoke about it and we decided that we would go ahead with our third IVF, but this time we weren't going to tell anyone about our plan.  No one at all.  I wanted to move forward with an IVF cycle without having to report anything back to anyone.  In my mind, I thought that this would be less stressful.  I thought that perhaps it would allow me to focus less on every blood draw and ultrasound result... and truthfully, it did.

For secret cycle IVF #3, I was on the Clomid-Antagonist protocol (interestingly enough, this is the protocol that Dr S. said he would put me on should we choose to do a cycle at CCRM). 
  • September 25th was CD1 (cycle day 1).
  • I started taking 100 mg of Clomid on September 27th.  My last dose of Clomid was on October 1st (CD3 through CD7).
  • I added Follistim injections (450 iu) on September 28th (CD4).  My last injection of Follistim was on October 5th (CD11).
  • I added the Ganirelix injection (this is the antagonist shot that prevents early ovulation) on October 3rd (CD9).  My last injection of Ganirelix was on October 5th (CD11).
To my complete surprise on Friday, October 5th, my doctor told me that she expected that my retrieval would be on Monday, October 8th.  October 8th was CD14.  A few things to note about this:
  1. Prior to any of my infertility treatment, when using OPK's, I would always get a smiley face detecting an LH surge on or around CD14.
  2. For my other two IVF's, my egg retrievals were on CD19 and CD18, respectively.  I had always thought that this seemed "off" based on my OPK LH surge results.
My doctor needed me to come in the following day though, Saturday, October 6th, for one last blood draw and ultrasound.  This is when secret cycle IVF #3 became a little less secretive.  My husband and I had been planning to visit my parents in CT that weekend, but with us having to cancel our plans at the very last minute, we decided to just fill them in on what had been going on...

My sister also pretty much knew what was going on.  At the end of September we were at a wedding together.  I was doing my Follistim injections at the time (which have to be refrigerated) (another reason why IVF patients prefer to remain at home and are unsocial during a cycle) so I had to stuff my clutch purse with ice packs to keep my medicine cold.  Also stuffed inside of my clutch were the essentials: mints, lip gloss, etc.  Throughout the night, my sister randomly asked to use my lip gloss - each time I would give it to her, she'd remark that it was so cold and finally, I think she put two and two together...

After my appointment on Saturday, October 6th, it was confirmed that my egg retrieval would be at 9 a.m. on Monday the 8th.  I was instructed to take my trigger shot Saturday night at 8 p.m.  We were worried going into the egg retrieval.  My doctor was the RE that was scheduled for that day's surgery, which we were thrilled about.  She met with us prior to the procedure and let us know that there were really only two follicles that she would be focusing on.  This cycle was no different from the other two in the fact that I did not produce a large number of follicles (thanks, FSH.  I HATE you, I really do!).  I, so badly, wanted more than four eggs this time, but after our talk with my doctor prior to my retrieval, I was nervous and didn't know what to expect...

So... when the nurse reported to us that my doctor had retrieved SIX EGGS, we were ecstatic.  We had SUCH a good feeling about this cycle!  We were sent home with instructions to start the PIO injections that evening.  In addition, I was instructed to start Endometrin (suppositories - gross - since my IUI cycles, I always requested the PIO injection instead of the Endo - the injection is so painful, but is much preferred (in my opinion at least) over the suppositories!) twice a day.  I ALSO was instructed to wear a Vivelle estrogen patch starting the morning of my transfer.  We were very pleased with the additional steps that we were instructed to take this time post retrieval/transfer.  We were so optimistic that these additions would give us our miracle baby.

The next day we learned that, of my six eggs, three fertilized.  Truthfully, I had hoped for more than three embryos so that we'd have a chance of freezing at least one, but we still felt like we were ahead of the game at this point.  We had one more embryo this time than we had the last two times!

On October 11th, I had a day three embryo transfer.  We transferred ALL THREE embryos and the doctor told us that she thought these were the best looking embryos that we've ever had.  The embryos were graded as such:  one grade A/B 8 cell, one grade B 7 cell and one grade B 6 cell.  Again, we were ecstatic.  I immediately felt connected to my little babies (I stopped referring to them as embies and called them my babies).  I even named them - all of them.  I just had so much more hope this time.  I put myself on bed rest that day when I got home and stayed in bed for the next two days after that.  I was not going to let anything get in the way of my beloved babies implanting in my uterus. 
My husband and I prayed together nightly for at least one of our babies to make it - We would have been thrilled if two of them made it - And we would have been beyond blessed if all three of them had made it - Really, we weren't concerned about the potential for multiples. 

I didn't record every symptom, twinge, flicker, cramp and flutter that I felt during the 2ww this time - I didn't want to obsess over it - I chose to be positive this time.  I chose to believe that I was pregnant.  I chose to trust in God and to let my Faith carry me through the excruciating 11 days of the unknown following my transfer. 

Sadly, you know how this cycle ended.  Thinking back on my positivity is very difficult for me.  I'm not a positive person by nature (something that I, admittedly, would like to change about myself), but this time, I really believed in mind over matter.  And this time, I guess I learned that it doesn't really matter if I'm positive or negative - Positivity won't fix my high FSH.  Positivity won't make me become fertile.  Positivity won't make me a Mom.

...Praying for my doctor today.  I'm praying that she is lead to another plan for us.  A plan that will work.  I'm praying that she still has hope for us... so that we can still have hope for ourselves...

1 comment:

Elena @ baby Ridley bump said...

Hey girl, I know you and I have talked before, I can't remember what about, but I came across this post when Googling Clomid antagonist protocols and I saw that you cycle was negative, but wondered how you felt about that protocol. What ended up being successful for you? I think if I remember correct your twins are via IVF but your daughter was naturally conceived. We were headed down the DEIVF with a friend from Georiga and the doc down there seems to think that since I'm such a good responder we need to try a different protocol. I don't know many who have done this. Congrats on your beautiful girl!!

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