Monday, October 31, 2011

Egg Retrieval

It’s finally here -- today is my egg retrieval surgery!

Although things are not perfect, we can’t help but be excited. Today my eggs will be fertilized with Dave’s sperm and our embryo’s will be given life! We have no idea how many eggs will be in there, how many will be mature, and how many will fertilize... but no matter how disappointing it is that we won’t travel home with an embryo inside of us – our future baby could be created today! Just the thought of that is the best feeling ever. And our hopes are back up, higher than ever! Waiting, praying, and hoping that this is the day we make another miracle.

Cooper is proof that it only takes one. That it is really is possible. And that maybe, just maybe we will be blessed again.

I’m thinking of my mom today, praying for her strength, and knowing that she is watching over me, with me always.

I love you mom. Stay with me, and help our little embryo’s fertilize and grow...

A Scary E2 Halloween - Day 12

The nurse called with my Day 12 lab results, which now put my E2 over 10,000!

P4- 8.3
LH- 60.9

I'm extremely bloated, fatigued, sore tummy, and generally feeling terrible.

Surgery is set for tomorrow at 11:00am and they cannot get these eggs out soon enough.

I'm trying to stay up for sweet little Cooper, I don't want him to see me worried and sick. And I also promised him a Halloween party in the room, which I'm bound and determined to deliver on. BUt it's going to be hard to do based on how I'm currently feeling.

I'm worried about tomorrow but also relieved that it's finally here. I have no idea what condition my eggs will be in with an E2 level this high. I'm worried I've overcooked them and I'm worried many will be post mature and unusable. Mostly, I'm looking forward to getting the medication that will hopefully bring my E2 down and avoid hospitalization.

And I hope they can recover this cycle in the lab.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Triggering Tonight /Fresh Cycle Canceled

Well. It’s happened. Our fresh cycle has been canceled.

As with everything in life, some things are just out of our control. Some things just don't go the way we plan or want them to. And we’re left disappointed, discouraged, and wondering whether there was anything we could have done to get a different outcome. It’s certainly not over yet, and there is always still hope, but I can’t help but feel like the outcome is already sealed.

The nurse called with our numbers today and my E2 is still through the roof, even after night of coasting, about a million bottles of electrolyte water and salty foods. In fact it didn’t come down at all. It went up:

E2 – At a whopping 7794
P4 – 0.76
LH – 2.5

I’m feeling physically awful and with my E2 this high, a fresh transfer would most certainly result in hospiltization and serious complications if I was to become pregnant. So the doctor has decided upon the following course of action:

- I will trigger tonight (with LH, not HCG) to keep my E2 from climbing. Instead of one big IM shot, it will consist of two LH shots 12 hours apart. One at midnight tonight and one at noon tomorrow)

- I will have my egg retrieval surgery at Tuesday morning at 11 am.

- They will fertilize as per normal with ICSI, but instead of transferring back, they will freeze our embryos. And we will do a transfer at a later date. Which means another cycle prep, more money on drugs, and another trip back out to Denver.

We’ll have to wait and see how our embryos look after the first few days as to whether they will freeze on day 3 or day 5. We’ve only ever had embryo’s live to day 5 (made blasts)once, out of all our cycles so we’re not sure how or when they will decide to freeze. Also, our embryos are so sensitive and they never look very strong, so we are very worried that they will not survive the freeze and thaw process. Luckily the lab uses vitrification to freeze which has the highest freeze and thaw survival rates possible.

I’m trying to hang onto hope that Dr. Schoolcraft is the best and this lab is the best and they know what they are doing. So if they have a chance of survival anywhere, it’s here at CCRM.

Right now we’re tying to stay focused, get ready to trigger tonight, and continue to keep me hydrated to avoid severe OHSS.

After our surgery, I’ll recover for a day or two and then we’ll be booking our tickets home early.

And once again I'm reminded that much of life is out of our control. And Whatever will be will be...

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Some Bad News on Day 9

Just got the call from the nurse expecting to get the go-ahead to trigger tonight... but unfortunately that's not what happened.

My E2 has skyrocketed up to 6500 (from 2700 two days ago) which now puts me at risk for hyperstimulation, and puts the fresh transfer cycle at risk. If my E2 stays this high, they will still do egg retrieval and fertilize the mature eggs, then freeze the embryos at day 3 or 5, and we'll need to do a frozen transfer in a month or two.
Not continuing with the fresh transfer and all the associated drugs is the best path to avoiding OHSS (which can be very severe), so the frozen transfer would be the safest, though less than ideal path.

My follicles looked good today - had 18 that were measured, all in the 15 to 22 mm range (all likely mature). But I'm upset with myself for accepting the "no monitoring" break that I got yesterday - I was happy not to have the blood test, but I knew I should have insisted on getting the test, then maybe we could have made the change to avoid the high E2.

So now I'm "coasting" tonight... still taking the Cetrotide and the Dexamethasone, but no stims tonight, then more monitoring tomorrow. Hopefully my E2 will have come back down to acceptable levels without the stimulation drugs tonight.

I'm feeling very rough too - very full in the ovaries and just generally feeling rotten, always on the verge of barfing. Glad I'm not stimming tonight, but wish I was triggering.

Day 9:
Right Ovary - 11 to 15 follicles
Left Ovary - 7 to 11 follicles
Largest = 22mm
Average = 17mm
E2 = 6518; P4 = 1.5; LH = 5.5

I'm just hoping I can avoid having to go to the hosptial and that my eggs don't overmature by coasting for a day longer. Not to mention, I'm crossing every finger I have that we can proceed with a fresh transfer. A frozen transfer is almost certainly the death of hope for us, considering our history.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Dr. Schoolcraft, aka. miracle worker

Cooper got to meet Dr. Schoolcraft yesterday. And he said, "thank you for making me Dr. Schoolcraft." He he he. Okay, so we coached him beforehand, but it was pretty cute to hear a little two year old come out with it. We got a quick picture of them together, and then whisked him out of the room (with grandpa) so Dave and I could sit down for our regroup with Dr. Miracleworker. We wanted to discuss our cycle, ask some questions, and talk about our estimated trigger date. Last cycle we had 28 eggs exracted and only 14 mature, so about a 50% maturity rate, which was lower than our usual 80%. So we wanted to ask him about this and find out his plan for triggering me this time around. We also wanted to request John Stevens as our embryologist if he is working the day of our retreival, since he is also a minor celebrity in our home.

Based on our results, Dr. Schoolcraft is going for the slow cook this time and hoping to trigger me on Saturday. It could change, based on how I continue to respond, but so far things are looking good.

Day 7 Ultrasound and Bloodwork Results:
Right Ovary - 10 to 14 follicles
Left Ovary - 9 follicles
Largest = 16mm
Average = 12mm
E2 = 2077; P4 = .43; LH = 4

Day 8 Ultrasound and Bloodwork Results
Right Ovary: 10 follicles
Left Ovary: 7 follicles
Largest = 16
Average = 13.5
E2 = 2755; P4 = .5; LH = 3

I also did my IVF physical and prepped for retrieval today.

From Day 7 to Day 8, my follicles and E2 did not grow very much. I was actually fairly surprised! So today, Dr. Schoolcraft kept me on the same lower dose tonight, is not going to bother monitoring me tomorrow, and wants the same dose again tomorrow night. Then back for Day 10 monitoring on Saturday -- my estimated trigger date!

I'm starting to feel really really yucky, completely exhausted, and full! Basically, I'm ready to be done. But I still have a few more days to go. I've been urged to drink as much water as I can and get enough rest so I don't hyperstimulate like last time. So that's what I'm doing.

Onward and Upward. Come on follies, let's do this thing!

PS -- Did I mention it went from 85 degrees and sunny to a winterwonderland here in Denver?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Here at CCRM! Day 5 Monitoring

Dave, myself, Cooper and my dad arrived in Denver yesterday afternoon and got settled in our hotel, a 2 bedroom suite at the Denver Marriot Tech Center. Not bad. Then we went out to Red Rock Park to explore a little, which was great. The sun was shining, the sky was blue, and it was a perfect Denver day, reminding us that good things happen here in the Mile High City. It felt great to be back, especially with our little miracle this time.

Today we went in for our Day 5 Monitoring at CCRM. It was so fun to show up at the building and take a picture in front of it with Cooper. I've been wanting to do this since the day he was born so that one day he will have a picture of the place he was created! It's such a different feeling being back, with our baby, and knowing that we are blessed beyond belief. And it gives us so much hope for another one, since this is the place it all happened.

Next, Cooper and my dad went to the playground, while Dave and I went in for monitoring. It felt great to be back in the building and we were excited to get our ultra sound and see what my follices are doing.

Stats as follows:

7 on the Left Side - The top follicle's measure 11.6, 11, 9.4, 9.3, 9, 8
10 Right Side - The top follicle's measure 9.5, 9, 9, 9, 9, 8.5, 8

So far so good, and you never know, there could be a few that were hiding and didn't get counted. It's also really great news that most of them are all growing at around the same rates. Things are really moving along. Come on follicles. Grow, grow, grow!

My blood results were as follows: E2 was 968, LH was 2.6, and P4 was 0.21. And the nurse let me know that they were decreasing my dose of stims by half. And starting cetrotide tomorrow in order to make sure I don't ovulate.

For the first five days, I took 2 viles of menopur and 150 units of Gonal F. Tonight I will decrease my dose to one vial of menopur and 75 units of Gonal F. Tomorrow night will be the same, but will include Cetrotide.

After our appointment, we all took advantage of the amazing weather (80 degrees and sunny) and took a drive to Estes Park. It was a great afternoon. We saw two herds of elk, Cooper got to wear some energy off on a hike at Rocky Mountain National Park. And we saw some great scenery with a fun lunch out. All in all, it was a long but fun day.

But now I'm pooped, so after my needles tonight, I'll probably just head to bed myself. I'm starting to feel a little yucky, so I'm trying to be sure to drink my electrolytes every day so that I don't end up in the hospital again like last time. But we won't think about that. Good thoughts only.

Here's to a great first day in Denver and all those little follies growing inside me!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Suppression Check -- All Systems Go!

Today we drove to London for our suppression check. It was like falling back into an old familiar pattern.

Arm out for blood draw. Check.
Pants off for wand up my you know what. Check.
Ah, the joys of un-natural conception.

The good news is that I passed my suppression check on my first go-round this time. Always a stressful and not so successful moment for me. But today is was easy sailing, clear skies head, all systems go. Which means I start my stims tomorrow and fly to Denver on Sunday.

Wow! This is all finally really happening!

Today’s stats are as follows:

Estrogen – 284 What they like to see – Less than 50. Not so great, obviously I’ve way high, but not surprising as I’ve been doing estrogen priming. But still, a little concerning to me as I like to start off on a better foot. The nurse hopes it will drop quickly now that I’ve gone off it. My last cycle in Denver had me starting at and E2 of 20, which was pretty much perfect.

Progesterone – 0.6 What they like to see – Less than 1. Right on target! My last cycle in Denver had me at 0.2, which was also good.

So far this cycle, I have 13 resting antralfollicles on right, 6 on the left for a total of 18. Not bad, not great. My left always gives me less, but I was hoping for a little more than 6, since this is such a numbers game for us. But still, nothing to sniff at either and anything can happen once I start stims tomorrow. It’s still anybody’s game. Just as a comparison, my last cycle in Denver I started with a resting count of 21 and by the time retrieval came, they were able to harvest around 28.

So for three years later, I have to say this report ain't too shabby. And at least I passed my suppression check on the first go round this time as opposed to three takes on my last cycle and about a million on my cycle before that, which they ultimately canceled.
We are headed in the right direction. Denver bound. Tickets booked. Hotel booked. Rental car all ready to go.

Mile High city, ready or not -- here we come!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

These Are the Moments

I started my needles a few days ago.

Normally this would have been cause to rally the national guard. But this time, thanks to all the hard work with my needle phobia, I was able to take the shots without so much as a tear, a panic attack, or even the feeling of fainting. For anyone who has ever had a needle phobia, you know that this is huge. In fact, this is the feeling, on the other side of fear, on the other side of the mountain, on the decent downward where you realize it really is possible to do the impossible. I can say for sure that I have conquered a phobia that has plagued me my whole life, a phobia that I didn’t really believe that no matter how much work, how much energy, how many times I tried, I would ever fully succeed. Yet here I am, once again, proof – that staying the course, putting one foot in front of the next, and never giving up, really does pay off.

This morning I woke up to two things: My period. And my two men (one big and one little) standing at the kitchen counter cooking pancakes together. This sight melted my heart and reminds me why I am at this again. Why anyone who hasn’t been as lucky as me, should keep trying, doing whatever they can. Because these are the moments. The moments that it’s all about. The moments that remind us to stay the course, put one foot in front of the next, and never give up.

I want another baby. There. I said it out loud. I have been keeping that little tidbit inside. Trying to just view this as another cycle. Trying to see it as no big deal. But it is a big deal. The first thing I wanted to do when I saw Dave and Cooper cooking pancake together was pick up the phone and call my mom. Tell her how blessed I feel. Share my joy with someone who would share it with me. But I can’t phone her, I can’t share my happiness and joys and blessings with my mom. But I know she would be looking down, smiling, proud of me for all that I have accomplished. And that she is with me. In me. In Cooper. And hopefully, in a new little life – maybe even a daughter – that will hopefully fill this home with even more love and joy.

Hello AF. I’m ready.