Friday, July 30, 2010

This Time

So, it's been 4 days since my egg retrieval, and we still have 18 embryos. They are all developing normally. Hanging in there. This is exciting because tomorrow, transfer day, they will get to pick the best out of a large number of great embryos. When I partially fill my bladder for them to come in and transfer the embryo(s) (not sure if it's 1 or 2 yet) - I will know that those ones are the ones that have the best chance. Partially full. Nothing like that one time... I've learned my lesson.

I am still battling with a bad cough from my bout with bronchitis - so I will spend today with the humidifier to see if I can break it up some more. I can't completely get rid of it by tomorrow, but perhaps I can lessen the strength. Keep my body calm for that little embryo to stick.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Day 1 Post Egg Retrieval

d1pER as the blogs normally say. Takes me too long to decode that.

Great news - all 24 of the eggs retrieved were mature. All fertilized, but only 18 fertilized normally. They don't invest in eggs that show 2 nuclei or look the least bit out of the ordinary. So, 18 it is! Still a great number!

Tomorrow I will talk to my nurse and she'll tell me the quality and if we'll be doing a day 3 transfer or a day 5 transfer. In the mean time, I sit back and think about my 18 potentials. :)

And the pain today is so much better than last go 'round - I feel like I can be at least a bit functional. I'll still take it easy - but hooray for a quick recovery!

Monday, July 26, 2010

I'm An Accountant

Retrieval Day is always exciting and hectic. We were scheduled to be there at 9:30 for a retrieval at 11am. G and I have to take along a "sample" from home, and they say to make sure you get it to them within 2 hours. So, we secured the sample, (which, Mom M, magically happens). I'm only sharing this because of the rest of the day. So, we leave our place just before 8am, having to make the trek all the way up to their main office. Because of traffic this takes us over an hour, and we arrive about 10 minutes before our scheduled arrival time.

The whole way up there I have the sample nestled between my legs to keep it warm. In order to walk it in, I put it in a pocket of my purse.

9:30: Scheduled time of arrival. Still in waiting room. Sample in purse. G is playing game on phone. I am twitching.

9:40: Still in waiting room. This is the moment that the 2 hour limit is up on our sample. I whisper to the sample to hang in there. G keeps looking at his watch and staring at the brown paper bag poking through the top of my purse.

9:41: My twitch leads me to the reception desk, where I mention our time limit and give the best "I have sperm in my purse and it's very awkward" look.

9:45: They finally take us back. The area they have for prep looks very much like an ER Triage, lots of areas with curtains. They drop off paperwork for me to fill out, my beautiful pink gown (open in back), my foot booties, and a hair net. G is now holding his sample. They say they will call the lab to come pick it up.

10:00: I am completely changed (minus the hair cap thingy, I save that for last minute). The anesthesiologist arrives to hook up my IV. For the record, that numbing needle hurts. He also gives me meds through my IV to "dry up my secretions" since I have that cough and "extra secretions" that go with it. He calms my fears by saying they've been doing a lot of this lately. G is still holding his sample. 2h 20m.

10:30: Nurses come in to complete paperwork they gave me earlier. We mention that we still have our sample. I know they know what they're doing - but Please. Take. Sperm. Away.

10:35: Doctor comes in to introduce himself. He has the best skin I have ever seen on a doctor. We talk about assisted hatching, and ICSI - both procedures that we didn't need previously, but he had to go over them anyways. This is the last time I see him today, as I am already knocked out before he enters the surgery room.

10:40: LAB shows up. Takes sample. Big sigh of relief. We didn't hear anything about it, so we assume that everything was fine and they didn't all jump ship. We joke that if there's a problem, G could just use the urine sample cups in ample supply in the bathroom to produce a new one. It's at this point that lots of things are funny. Twitch.

A last bathroom break with IV tag along later, and I'm walking into the surgery room and G is led to the waiting area. They will bring him back after they wheel me back to my curtained area.

I think I mentioned this before, but there is music in this room. Rock music today. I took this as a good sign. There are also about 4 nurses and the anesthesiologist. He's carrying my IV bag.

Nurse 1 is in charge of untying the back of my gown and getting me strapped into the table. They put you up in these super-stirrups at your knees, and your legs are literally at a 90 degree angle. Then they put a thick strap across your shins. I asked how many people try to escape the table. They laugh. I'm kind of serious.

At this point the anesthesia guy puts a mask on my face. That's all I remember. Last time I don't remember anything until much later in the recovery area. Today, I remember being wheeled back with the mask on my face and coughing really badly. Which, by the way, REALLY HURTS when they have just poked a needle through your uterus.

The whole thing lasted 25 minutes - much faster than before. I started to worry because they said if I started coughing during surgery, they'd stop. I was awake at this point, not nearly as groggy as the last IVF retrieval.
The nurse asked how I was feeling. I was feeling very "with it" and so I told her "I feel good. I could do your taxes."

I can NOT do her taxes.

She went to go get G, and I think she truly enjoyed telling him my comment. I try to explain myself, but I am so hoarse and still a big groggy - I just laugh it off.

In about 15-20 minutes I have been given pain meds through IV, extra strength tylenol (which I asked for again, but then remembered I already had it), had my IV taken out, and was on my sobriety walk. They make you walk a bit before they will let you go to make sure you're not going to fall on your face when you leave. Also because of nausea and all that jazz.

I was good to go, so I got dressed and we left. We were in the car around 12. MUCH faster than last time!

I am at home, resting, it's totally uncomfortable, but I am pleasantly surprised with how much LESS pain I am in this time.

And, the good (great) news: They retrieved 24 eggs!

Tomorrow we will hear about quality and how many fertilized. I can't wait :)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Night Before Retrieval

This past week I was battling bronchitis. I was on the Z-pack (a 5 day stint) to get rid of the worst of it. I wasn't expecting to lose the cough right away... after all, they said it would take a while, but perhaps I was expecting a lot less coughing than what I have now. Tomorrow is my retrieval (more on this in a minute), where they put me under. Randomly, G says "I hope they don't have to intubate!" WHAT? He really got my mind reeling with this one. What if I'm under and I have to cough? What if I can't cough? Will I choke? Oh my. Luckily, my Dr. has known about my bronchitis, and I'm sure they'll hear my cough, and I'm going to ask if it will be okay. This seems so silly to be worrying about, but I suppose you never know. And, at least it has kept my mind off of the pain afterwards (I experienced quite a bit of pain after my first retrieval). My cough and I will go in tomorrow and see :)

Retrieval is planned for 11am tomorrow - we have to report by 9:30. This protocol had me trigger with Lupron - which puts the brakes on ovary production and will hopefully keep my ovaries in check in the after shock of the retrieval. Yesterday my estrogen was at 3,523 - so it looks like it's hopeful that they will retrieve almost all that they measured - 17-20. About half from the count that I thought they had - but we'll have to just wait and see tomorrow for the final count.

Today I had to go in for bloodwork only - and the message they left later simply said that all of my levels look perfect.

Perfect for tomorrow. Let's hope that everything else goes perfectly.

C'mon little follicles :) Hang in there!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Feeling of Being This Close



Like I'm carrying a sack of rocks around in my uterus. This morning was another monitoring appointment, and it took forever. Forever because they were measuring ALL of these follicles! Hooray!

The nurse measured 8 on the right ovary - the largest at 19mm - and counted an additional 7 over 10mm. There were also about 4 under 10mm. That's a total of 19. In ONE ovary. The other ovary was just as great - measured another 8, counted an additional 10 over 10mm, and then there were about 3 under. Lost count? That's 40 follicles.

Now, I'm not expected that 40 will be our retrieval number - but Dr. B was no kidding when she said "I know I can get more eggs out of you!"

I asked for a few images of the ovaries (well, actually, I asked if I could take a picture of the screen and they offered the print outs - with a little hesitation on if that was allowed or not). So, here are my bad photos of the screen shot print outs. I will scan them and repost later if they turn out better that way. :)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Loaded Up

I'm part of the "Daily Club" now - which means I go every morning for monitoring - blood work and ultrasound. Today I had Dr. G (another doctor at the office), and one of the nurses doing my ultrasound. As they looked at the screen, they began talking about tomatoes growing in their garden at home. I will take this as a compliment that my eggs look almost ripe and ready to pluck. Right?!

The list of measurable follicles is up to about 10 now - this means that they are over 10mm. The lead is about 15mm, and they trickle down to about 12 or so. GREAT news. Plus, there are a bunch of follicles in there that are "under" - meaning under 10mm and they don't measure them, just count how many there are.

Needless to say, my ovaries are feeling very full. Walking feels a little strange. And we want those things to keep growing, so the fullness will become more obvious.

Also - yesterday my estrogen was close to 1500 - a nice jump up from the day before. They say it should be about 200 for every mature follicle, so we want that number to grow!

*Insert mental image of someone carrying a huge, overstuffed, fragile load*

Monday, July 19, 2010

Day 7

Another monitoring appt this morning. My E2 level is 546, and I'm up to 12 & 7 (or more) follicles. G thinks that's it's actually 12 and 12, but I don't want to get my hopes up. Next time I am going to ask them for a print out of the image because it's so cool to look at - an ovary full of follicles. It really just looks like crowd of bubbles all squished together. If bubbles could be fertilized and implanted, that is.

I also ran into a friend at the Dr. today - which was great. It's one thing to talk about what you're going through with someone, but then to actually see them gives you this odd sense of comfort. No, we are not alone.

AND another friend had an appointment today, as well, but at a different office. Unfortunately for her, she ran into a student and father from our work. She said it well when she said that you can't pretend you are there for something "usual," that just being there tells at least part of the story for a person.

I have another monitoring appointment on Wednesday - we're on the every-2-days thing already.

Dosing has also changed, trying to slow things down a bit, perhaps...

Gonal-F will be reduced to 150iu (my dosage for IVF #1), but Menopur will remain the same.

Getting close.

Interesting hiccup - I managed to contract brochitis. Again. I need to get over this quickly and take another visit to the acupuncturist. She hates bronchitis. I think she will stick me in the lungs to get my Qi moving. (ha!). I think of her often, hearing her voice as I talk to myself (in my head so I don't sound crazy) to calm myself down, relax my breathing (cough) - and just to generally chill. I also recreated a lunch I saw her eating. So she's also my walking recipe box.

Until Wednesday!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Twinkles of My Ovaries

My bathroom is overrun with meds. Must be that time again!

Today is the fourth day of my 2nd IVF cycle. So I have been on injections for 3 days. I am currently on 225iu of Gonal-F, and 75iu of Menopur. For the record, the 1st IVF was 150iu of Gonal-F (same of Menopur). Today was my first monitoring appointment since starting the meds. My estrogen is over 100, and there are 12 follicles so far - (8 on the left, 5 on the right).

I go back on Monday morning to continue the monitoring. I forgot how involved the IVF was - I've been spoiled with the FET cycles thrown in there. I am hoping that the estrogen doesn't continue to rise so quickly - it would put me at a higher risk of hyperstimulation - what they call OHSS.

I was also not on Lupron at the beginning of the cycle this time, they are using the Lupron as my trigger, so I will be taking that 2 days before my retrieval.

Updates will keep on coming! See you Monday!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Protocol?

My RE (well, really, my nurse) mails home my protocol before my cycle is due to begin. I read over it, and then I put those dates in my calendar on the computer (the one I look at EVERY DAY). Well, this time the protocol arrived right as I was due out of town - so apparently I only put in the "big" dates - the ones that involved my uterus: retrieval, transfer, ultrasound.

The others, such as blood work - didn't make it on the calendar. No big deal, I wasn't worried, we've done this so much that I know to call on day 1, appt on day 3, etc... Easy as pie.

Well, apparently - this new protocol changed not only the meds, but also the timing. So, when Tuesday rolled around (day 1) and I called the doc - my nurse asked why they hadn't seen me on Saturday.

Hm... you mean the day I slept in and had absolutely nothing to do?

Long story short - I screwed up. I missed an apparently critical appt called "Pre-IVF evaluation" blood work and ultrasound. The same blood work that would give me the big OKAY to start meds on time. Which, by the way, was yesterday.

So, I beg my nurse (bless her heart) to please ask the doctor if we can go ahead and start OR SOMETHING so that I'm not pushing this back another month (and right when I am due back at work). Some discussion with the doctor and they say that they can't make a decision until they see me and get my blood, etc.

It's not like I have a cycle on my own when off meds, so I'm thinking this won't really be a problem. So, I went in today to have the ultrasound and blood work. I haven't gotten "the call" yet - but Dr. B said she expected me to be able to start the meds today with no problems.

Thank you, Dr. B. I can't believe I blew the start of the cycle - this is what my summer was for! But, it looks as though all will be right in the world... just waiting for the confirmation call. I will update the protocol and add meds/amounts after I find out if i'm starting today!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Rocket Scientist

I only have a few more days left on the BC pills. I have not noticed any side effects this time, which is a relief. I'm always careful to at least pretend that there's not more crazy in the house, but sometimes those pills invite it - and it catches me off guard. But, this time, like I said - everything has been good.

I have had the luxury of spending the last few days reading up on some info about increasing egg quality and overall success. While my last retrieval granted us high quality eggs, I want to be sure the level of quality is maintained or increased.

G and I also had our annual infectious diseases screening - simple blood drawn from both of us. Poor G came out of that room with medical tape wrapped halfway around his arm (just to hold down the cotton ball from where they took blood). I told him he'd better rip that off asap - the longer you leave it on, the harder it is to take off. Me, on the other hand, came out with a Dora the Explorer bandaid that was not that much bigger than the actual cotton ball.

Next Friday I have my annual meeting with my Ob/Gyn. I can't believe we've already been doing this for a year. My uterus must be waiting for the rocket scientist embryo.

Dear Uterus,

Healthy will do.

Love, Us.