5

And then there were…

  
I feel like I must be dreaming to have ten embryos on ice. Thank you everyone who sent good thoughts and prayers our way. We’ve been in complete utter shock all day and I couldn’t stop crying when I found out. 

Thank you thank you thank you! β€οΈπŸŽ‰

4

Blast off πŸš€

Up until Thursday evening Matt & I really hadn’t worried too much about how many frozen embryos we would have. Probably because we assumed with 15 fertilized we would have at least one and we we’re also busy dealing with my OHSS.

Thursday evening we started to get nervous about Friday’s call. We were in bed and talked about how we would feel at each number of eggs frozen. We both ultimately agreed that at the very least- we would be happy with one. We had never reached day 5 blastocysts before, and if we had one strong embryo make it there- that would be enough for us. Of course we hoped for more!

So Friday morning I hopped out of bed at 5 am for work and I prayed the whole way in my car. Then I got to my desk where I sat my phone in front of me and stared it at like I was 16 year old girl again waiting for a guy to call.

The clinic usually calls around 8 am but 8 am came and went. Matt was texting me constantly “did they call?!” I didn’t want to call them and you can’t call the embryologist directly so I just sat there waiting…thinking…maybe no news is good news? Or…maybe none made it and they are all playing hot potato over who is going to call the crazy girl!

I got a phone call from my friend Tiffany and of course 2 minutes in the clinic called! I ended my call with my friend and the embryologist said he had good news:

We had two perfect embryos already make it to freeze this morning and seven were still growing. I was in shock, what did this mean, it’s day 5, what are these 7 doing? Apparently when the lab knows you are doing a FET they let the embryos grow a little longer.They are called “early blasts.” He said things looked great, so two for now and probably a few tomorrow. I said ok, and called Matt who was sounded so relieved. We were happy with two so far- we would be able to transfer something!

I was a little disappointed, I mean the drop off from IVF is always crazy to me. 30 eggs retrieved-15 fertilized-two frozen today. But I tried to be optimistic and greatful as I had never been at this stage before.

I left work early and on my way home I saw that the clinic was calling again. I answered and it was Dr Stephens! She told me the embryologist came back and said 3 were ready to be added to freeze and we were now up to 5! I immediately started bawling in my car. She told me she was so happy for us and was so excited she wanted to call and tell me personally. I thanked her for the awesome protocol I felt she did, and I told her I believed all the supplements I had taken really helped & she agreed.

  
 
We talked about my OHSS and about her plan for my FET. I will taking one cycle off to let my body heal and then do an FET in April. I know it seems like a long time away but I am really happy to have the one month to get my body ready for transfer! 

Anyways, Matt and I are over the moon over having five strong, healthy, embryos! We have enough for a transfer and then some! Also, we still have 4 early blasts we have not heard back from the lab about yet- so there is a possibility we could get more. But as of right now, in this moment- we are beyond happy that we are here. 

  
Last night at a wedding in Nevada City ❀️

4

OHSS is kicking my ass

I knew once I started producing a lot of follicles that I was going to be experiencing Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) I didn’t get it with my last egg retrieval and I had 15 eggs collected that time. I was very lucky and after a day or two was back to normal.

OHSS is when your follicles that are stimulated during retrieval have had the ultrasound needle remove the egg, fill up with fluid after. Your ovaries become very swollen and engorged with fluid and it is very, very uncomfortable.

This is a picture with normal ovaries on the left, the one on the right is what I am currently experiencing:

  
My symptoms include very swollen and bloated abdomen (I’ve gained 7lbs in 2 days, all most likely fluid) I am extremely sore and any sudden movement is excruciating. I can only sleep on my back because my side is too painful. I can’t stand up straight, and I have to walk super slow everywhere. 

I’ve spoken with a nurse the last two days and what I’m going through is very normal and just an unfortunate side effect of removing a lot of eggs at retrieval. Most I can do is stay very very hydrated and rest. I went back to work today and I think it was not a good idea. I was super uncomfortable and because I was working, I know I didn’t drink as much as I could. I did end up telling my boss about IVF and he told me whatever I needed for this, which I am thankful for, and will prob take tomorrow off.

We are still eagerly awaiting the results from Friday, and praying so hard for a good number. Please pray for us! We appreciate every single text message and cards and love being sent our way! Hopefully this OHSS will get better in a few days! 

πŸ’‹πŸ’‹πŸ’‹

4

I like my eggs fertilized!

Yesterday was our egg retrieval and things went great. We had to get to the clinic bright & early at 7 am, where I was promptly brought back to the surgical wing. I changed into the hospital gown and put on my lucky socks that Matt had bought me for this IVF over the summer: 

  You know I am obsessed with elephants and the parachutes remind us of storks πŸ’• 

  Before being brought back to the surgical wing

I was not nervous at all before retrieval. I spoke extensively with my nurse Sue, and the anesthiologist Claude about the procedure. Dr Andreyko came by and said you have a LoT of follicles, but remember not every follicle contains an egg, but I’m going to do my best to get them all! Also the embryologist came by and remembered us from last cycle. She is very nice and said hopefully this cycle is different, but having 30 follicles is a good start.

Matt went off to do his thing and I walked into the operating room with my IV.

“Let’s do this!” Is what I said exactly, probably a little loopy from what Claude had given me. I got on the table and that’s the last i remember. 

I woke to my nurse and Matt telling me that we had 30 eggs retrieved! I cried, because that’s what I always do waking up from anesthesia but I was so happy and relieved.  

 

After drinking some Gatorade and water and proving I could pee we were sent on our way! We spent all day resting and Matt was a saint taking care of me. I have to drink a LOT of fluids and be careful, since I am at risk for OHSS. 

This morning I woke up at 3,4,5 & 6 am. I am off work but I was so nervous about getting the call from the embryologist to see how they fertilized and how many were mature. Last IVF I had 15 retrieved, 7 were mature, and 6 fertilized. I needed to hear better results.

Well I got the call and out of 30 eggs, 26 were mature & 15 fertilized!! I prayed all morning that I would at least get double digits fertilized and I got my wish! The embryologist said that things looked much better from last IVF and she said she couldn’t tell for sure yet, but that these embryos looked better quality than my last ones.

I of course, asked her how lol. 

She said that there are two nuclei cells inside an embryo. One is from the egg and one from the Sperm. She said last IVF my embryos were sort of grainy and they could not see the nuclei much. She said these embryos are clear and you can see the nuclei very clearly! I was so happy to hear that, I really wanted to hear that my eggs were better this time, and so far- so good.

My embryos will be put away and will not be looked at until Friday, and that’s when we will get the call to see how many make it to freeze. We know we will lose some, I am hoping we just get something to transfer. Any embryos that make it to day 5 are strong and healthy and that’s what is most important.

I am feeling good and relieved. Any continued prayers and good thoughts our way this week would be SO appreciated! It’s going to be a long week.

❀️

3

Trigger Time! (Finally!!!)

Today is CD 12 and I am finally ready to trigger! I woke up this morning ready to take my last Centrotide shot (the one I’ve done every morning at 5:30 am so I don’t ovulate) I opened the fridge to get it…and it wasn’t there. I was confused. I mix the shot at night and store it in the fridge so it’s ready to go at 5:30 but nope, wasn’t there.

I looked to my right at my kitchen table, and there it was. Que panic. This specific shot is not to be left out, it must be refrigerated. I must have mixed it before bed and being the hormonal, scatterbrained mess that I am, just left it. 

Stupid. 

I immediately took the room temp shot and left for work so I wouldn’t be late. As I drove, dread and doubt (my favs) set in. What if the shot I took was toxic? What if it had gone bad and I purposely contaminated my eggs? What if it doesn’t do its job and I OVULATE THIRTY FUCKING EGGS?!??? 

Soooo I called my clinic, which was of course closed, but if it’s an emergency, the operator will call the on call nurse. They basically said they would see me at 9:45 am and we could go over mixing my shots then. Hello?! I already mixed and injected a possible toxic medicine into my ovaries!! Matt advised me not to lose my shit until I spoke with the clinic. Yeah, okay. I was sure I had just compromised my entire cycle.

I got to the clinic where I had my blood drawn again, and I weeped to the nurse over what I had done. She said it was probably fine but I should talk to my Dr.  When Dr Stephens came in I was a mess and bless my doctors heart- told me it was fine. It wouldn’t hurt me, but they would give me an extra dose just in case. When she started my ultrasound she even joked with me “see they’re all still there!” 

All 30 of my follicles are there and GOOD 2 GO. I don’t think I ever saw my follicles as large as I did today. But it took her forever to count and measure them all, and she told me she thinks we will get a lot of eggs and a better chance this time.

  
My ovaries are so large at this point that they are touching (uuggghhhhh) and I am cleared for trigger tonight and retrieval on Sunday. I was so happy that I didn’t cost myself this cycle by using the Meds left out. I am also happy for retrieval because I am so uncomfortable. I thanked Dr S and said goodbye, sad that I wouldn’t see her again for awhile. She isn’t working Sunday, so Dr A will be doing my retrieval.

 I know it’s obvious I like my dr a lot, but I think when going through IVF it is super important to like and trust who is taking care of you. Matt & I feel very lucky that person for us is Dr Stephens!
 (Do you like how old wand-y is photo bombing the picture? Nice touch, Matt πŸ˜‰)

So that’s it, it’s go time! I trigger tonight, one shot of which my sister has to give me because Matt will be at work, so that’s scary πŸ™‚ I will have another update after retrieval- please wish us luck for a good count and fertilization rate!!! 

xox

1

❄️Frozen❄️

Yesterday I got on my clinics patient portal to check to see what time my appointment would be today, since I have them every other day I had forgotten.  After getting on the portal I saw that I could check my lab results from each time I go in for blood work. I didn’t do that last IVF cycle, I wasn’t even sure that was possible.

I wished I never would have looked.

I looked at my estrogen and saw 1180, which didn’t surprise me, as I knew it was a little high, since they hadn’t upped my meds that day. Then I looked at my progesterone- 1.6 and my heart sank. I knew from IVF#1 that if your progesterone reached 2.0, you would have to do an all freeze cycle, since if your prog rises that high before retrieval, your body is more than likely to not keep the pregnancy, since the timing is off. It wasn’t a 2.0 yet, but it was dangerously close, and knowing I was still a few days away from retrieval, I knew it was likely to reach 2.0 before then.

So, after reading this information I did what I have been told time and time and time again by my Dr’s, my husband and family and friends NOT to do:

I started Googling. It’s an addiction, okay?! If I don’t feel 100% completely in the know, I lose my shit. Well, after going online, I lost my shit anyways. I sat at my cubicle and held back tears as my IVF failure flashed before my eyes. The familiar pang in my stomach got worse and worse and I sat there trying to figure out 1) what the fuck I  was going to do and 2) how to keep my cool in front of co workers who have NO IDEA I am going through this. I almost wished they did. Somehow I made it to my car where I cried all the way home and then when I walked through the door, I was exhausted from having to keep it all in and I passed out.

When I woke up today I had an epiphany. My egg quality today is going to be my egg quality no matter if I do a fresh transfer or a frozen one. The only difference would be that if I had to do a frozen transfer, and my egg quality is still bad, I wont have anything to transfer at all. But does it matter if my embryos are bad? I don’t think so.

Cut to this morning, I had my appointment with Dr Stephens, and she rounded up all my follicles (28 now) and measured them (all anywhere from 12-16). I of course expressed my extreme concern for a frozen transfer. She listened to me and answered all my questions and basically told me that there are pro’s and con’s of both a fresh and a frozen transfer. The pro’s of me having a frozen transfer? She said if my blood work came back at 2.0 or higher, we would be able to up my meds without fear of rising progesterone, and the smaller follicles I have would have time to catch up. She told me of a lot of studies right now that say that frozen cycles are better because your body has a chance to calm down from being pumped full of hormones.  some clinics in the country will ONLY do frozen transfers now and their pregnancy rates are higher.

However, both Dr. Stephens and I know the risk of the frozen transfer for me. If I would of had a freeze all cycle last time, I would of had nothing to freeze, as none of my embryos made it 5 days past retrieval. Neither of us want that to happen. She said she plans on monitoring me every day until retrieval, and we will just take it day by day. I felt better leaving the clinic, or maybe just defeated. The worst thing about going through IVF is the constant rollercoaster of emotions that you have to endure. Being all hopped on hormones does not make it easier- I feel like a crazy person.

I got back to the office today and waited like an even crazier person for my blood results to post on the portal (yes, I know- ridiculous) and lo and behold: my progesterone is 2.33 today.

I see Dr Stephens again tomorrow and I know we will discuss freezing my embryos after retrieval. At this point, I know I have done my best and that there isn’t anything I can do but hope for the best. Hope that every effort I have put in motion to change my egg quality has paid off over the last eight months, and that I am left with something to freeze. At some point during an IVF cycle you have to let it go and today- I reached that point.

Please send me positive thoughts and prayers my way. I am hanging in there, and trust me I am staying off Google…for now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4

2nd ultrasound updateΒ 

This morning I went in for ultrasound #2. In comparison to last IVF, i can honestly say that stims haven’t affected me too much physically. Last time, I remember by cd3 I was very swollen and uncomfortable and this time around I didn’t feel that way- even though I am growing more eggs.

Until today. 

Today I woke up and felt that familiar “full” feeling and I thought here we go! So I was interested to see what the ultrasound would show. My clinic was slammed today so my appointment took forever. Blood work, back to the waiting room. Then to the exam room where a nurse told me it would be another 15 minute wait because they were doing a transfer. Hello?! I have a job, people. At this point I had been gone for an hour already from work. I told her this and she went and talked to Dr Andreyko who said she would be right in. 

*Side Note* I realize now, how lucky I was to be working from home 1st IVF. I had told my boss that I was going through IVF and would need some time off and he generously responded with “whatever you need, do not worry about it.” So I came and went as I pleased and just made my ultrasound appointments for 7-8 am in the morning so that it didn’t disrupt my work schedule. Retrieval and transfer I used vacation time. 

This time around is different. My job is new and I have yet to feel comfortable enough to tell my boss I am going through IVF. Now I know that he would be more than understanding and accommodating, but I just can’t do it. He’s been great about my “dr’s appointments” and he knows I am going through a medical issue but that’s where it ends. Also, unlike my old job, none of my co workers know about my infertility. I work with a lot of men and it just never comes up. I kind of like that work is the one place where people don’t know. 

Anyway- back to the ultrasound. It was extremely uncomfortable. Dr A found 12 follicles on my right and 14 on my left. They are all a teeny bit smaller than they should be, so I was told to expect my Meds to increase in dosage. But this would all depend on my blood work to see how my estrogen is rising. Matt asked when we should expect retrieval and she said this weekend. I was concerned about my 26 follicles being behind in size but she said they weren’t too behind (they are 10-11 mm, should be 12-13) and that they have all week to grow.

I was told to start Centrotide (the shot that keeps your body from naturally ovulating) and to expect a call later. When my nurse called later I was sitting at my desk and she told me to stay with the 225iu of Gonal F- which is not an increase to what I have been doing. I didn’t even ask, but know that my estrogen must be too high to get an increase in Meds. See That’s the thing about having lots of eggs: yeah it’s great and all but each eggs produces estrogen, and if my estrogen is too high, it really messes with things. 

Last IVF my progesterone got a little high and they said if it stayed high I would have to do an all-freeze cycle. Good thing I didn’t have to otherwise I would of never of had anything to transfer. Your embryos have to be a certain quality and reach day 5 blasts to freeze- none of which I had last time. So yeah, you could say I am kind of worried. I have another ultrasound Wednesday and hopefully I will get some reassurance from Dr Stephens.

Other than all that πŸ‘†πŸΌI am doing good, and staying stress free. What am I doing to stay stress free you ask? 

1. Essential oils. I am new to the EO bandwagon but have always wanted to try them. My friend Tiffany (who is due with her 1st.. tomorrow!) loves EO’s & was sweet enough to send a few to me and I die for these oils! I’ve only been using them three days and I feel less stressed and have slept amazingly. I add a few drops to my bath, and rub them on my neck, feet and wrists. Love!

  
2. Books. I love to read and there is nothing more relaxing than a good celebrity memoir. Here’s what I have picked up from the Library: 

  
   
 
Other than that I am trying to walk daily and will start incorporating Yoga this week too. One day at a time!!! Please wish me luck everything stays on track! I will update again on Wednesday.

πŸ’‹πŸ’‹πŸ’‹

5

Stims in the cityΒ 

This week Matt & I went to San Fransisco for our friends’ wedding. We were excited but I knew that I would have to give myself my injections in our hotel and I had never done my shots anywhere but home. Nevertheless I packed up my Meds in a to go bag and figured I could hack it just fine. 

I did one shot while talking to two of my best friends while we we’re getting ready in my hotel room for our girls dinner and of course hit a capillary and got this fun bruise almost immediately 

  
Cute.

I have been feeling pretty good the last few days and was very happy I was able to enjoy the wedding and hanging out with all my friends from college, even if I had to be sober Sally all weekend 😊

   
    

  
No wine for me πŸ˜– lol 

Unfortunately we had a 11:45 am ultrasound this morning so we left SF @ 8:30, picked up our pups at Matts’ parents house and hauled ass back to Sacramento. I was bummed to leave the city but very happy to see Dr Stephens, who I had not seen since May. And also to see how many eggies I was producing. 

Once my blood draw was over we went back to the exam room and Dr Stepens came in and we got right away to the ultrasound. She was very surprised to see that I was growing SO many more eggs than last IVF. I currently (on Day 5!!) have 13 eggs on my right ovary and 10-11+ on my left 😳 I was shocked too. That’s ten more eggs than I had last cycle at this point. Dr Stephens said she thinks all the supplements I have been taking must have done something because this was different! 

Now it’s very good at this point to have so many eggs but we still need to make sure my hormone levels stay steady, which is why my blood is always drawn at appointments. She said based on today’s results how everything is looking and I’ll either come in Monday or Tuesday for another scan. Retrieval should be next weekend. 

This is all happening very fast and I am excited but also trying to stay neutral- we all know that this part is usually good, it’s after retrieval when it goes downhill, but hopefully Dr Stephens protocol gives me more eggs this time around- and so far so good!

  
Here is a shot of my ultrasound. Those black dots are little eggs. So imagine 24+ just taking up a bunch of room in my ovaries. The bloating has begun! 

New update soon.

XoX

6

Stims Day 1

IVFx2 has officially started! Cycle day 1 started yesterday and my baseline ultrasound was moved up to today! All happens pretty fast, but alas, I am used to this by now. 

I was instructed to bring one of my shots so that I could do it right then at the clinic if I was cleared at baseline. I made the 30 minute trip on my lunch and met Matt there at 11:00 am. We were joking around being led back to the exam rooms- just like old times! πŸ˜‚ I was examined by Dr Andreyko (who I swear was supposed to retire like, a year ago?) and she said my uterus looked good to go! 

I met with my new nurse coordinator and she brought Matt & I in a little room where she briskly went over my schedule for the next week and a half. 2 shots a day, one in the am and one at night. My dosages are doubled from IVF1. Yikes. Hopefully I get lots of cooperative and healthy eggs going! She was like ok let’s do your shot now, she asked if I needed help. Ha. Please, lady. I do these shots in my sleep. I stood up and promptly stuck myself with the medicine. I did have to go back to work after all! 

I got home tonight and started the second shot which is a little harder and I couldn’t help but feel a little excited. I felt just a glimmer of hope. I stared at all the beautiful cards I had received the last few weeks and read the kind words written by my sweet friends and I felt very encouraged πŸ’œ 

  
 
Let’s hope I stay this positive and jolly the next two-three weeks! 

  

4

In pursuit of baby

Today I took my last birth control pill, people. That means that in a few days Aunt Flow will arrive, and this IVF cycle will officially begin. I am tentatively scheduled for a ultrasound to make sure my uterus is good to go next week and then I’ll start doing injections again. I received my big ass box of Meds today, too.  I was filled with delight and anxiety upon sifting through the thousands of dollars worth of medicine and needles that is supposed to help me get Baby Allen on board. 

A big part of me can’t believe I am really going through with this again. I feel extremely blessed that Matt and I were able to pull this together a second time I know a lot of people couldn’t do this. At the same time I am trying to push aside any lingering doubt I have about starting IVF again and just move forward. 

I know I said months ago that I wasn’t going to go back to acupuncture. Well once I started my new job and started looking through my insurance I saw that acupuncture was partly covered. Of course going to the fertility acupuncturist wasn’t going to be covered, only if I went to a normal one who treated people for headaches, pain, etc. I started looking online and found an acupuncturist near me who had great reviews and had won the KCRA 2013,2014 &2015 Best list for acupuncture. I called her up and explained my situation. She was so nice and said she would treat me and that we would just bill my insurance for back pain!

I am stoked and it is only costing me $30 a session! I started back with acupuncture today and it was so relaxing I forgot how much I enjoyed it. Before the session I answered  a bunch of questions, looking at my tongue and taking my pulse she told me that I needed to include warmer foods in my diet to help with circulating chi through my body. This was told to me by my last acupuncturist too. Since I am always cold it should help with my circulation, so I’m really going to work on that for the next few weeks. 

After getting my full fertility story she said that it sounds like I had gone to great lengths to make positive changes in my fertility  and at this point I really need to focus on my emotional well being, because she said she could tell I was very stressed. I fought back tears when she said this and I told her I was trying the best I could, but that stress & infertility kind of go hand in hand. I don’t really know what it’s like to not stress at this point. 

I workout regularly, and that does help a lot. I read, I color in my adult coloring book (it is amazing how much that thing calms me), and now acupuncture weekly. I hope this will help me to relax in the coming weeks! If anyone has any suggestions on how to relax or what you do to relax I am all ears! 😊

So, that’s where I am at with IVFx2! Please everyone wish me luck that my ultrasound check goes well next week. As soon as injections begin I plan on updating daily! 

Have a great weekend! ❀️