Wednesday, September 26, 2007

9/26 1st Beta

Sunday was a day that both J and I were really discouraged at this whole thing. I was counting on myself being a multiple IVF'er. Over a lovely brunch in Atlanta, we talked generally about ideas for future plans. WH only cycles 3/x a year, with the next being Jan & then April. Huge chance he'd be deployed in Jan, & if that's even a possibility they won't let you on the list. So it looked like further ART attempts would be a while out. But in the meantime, start adoption paperwork. We DO want to use our frozen embryo, but FET's are twice the cost of IVF and with just 1 frozen, we don't feel like it's really giving it a good shot. Anyway.....

However, after a discouraging day Sunday, Monday I saw the faintest of faint positives. I almost didn't believe it. Never seen that before! I was... optimistic, and scared. Tuesday, perhaps a little lighter line, but still a line. Pink, too, coming up within 10 minutes. Remaining there. I've seen an evap line in the past, but never this. I was actually eager to go to the beta blood draw, since I originally thought I'd be just "getting it over with."

This morning, faint positive, but darker than before. More clear. The Quantitative beta HCG (thank God I know the difference between qualitative and quantitative, b/c the doc almost messed that up) was a huge hassle that took 2 hours to complete. WH gave me an order for it, but the hospital said it didn't have a diagnosis on it. I drove to base and got a doc to put a diagnosis on it and sign it. Then the hospital said the doctor's signiature wasn't legibile enough & I needed to know his first name (which I didn't! Doctor/Major is all I knew!). Finally they made a call & got that.

So I waited, and 1:12 Dr. A called from WH. Told me (real straight faced) I had a positive beta, and to repeat Friday, and when they got the results he'd order a 6-8 wk ultrasound. "We'll see if this is viable" was his words. No congratulations. Did so much for my already nervous/cautious optimism. However, for now I am pregnant. I have gotten farther than ever before. So I'll take that for what it is and give thanks for That! Dr. A is such a crank anyway, I didn't want him to make the call. Maybe Dr. J will call me Friday, he's the nice one. Or Dr. N. (BTW, 13dp3dt beta= 56.4)

J is flying all day and fobidden me from telling anyone but my married sister. My EDD is 6/3/08, right between her girls' birthdays (6/6/04, 5/20/06).

With all my family drama I can't wait to give Mom & Dad the good news. They're leaving Friday-Sunday to bring my grandparents back from CO to live in a home near them. They're overwhelmed w/ their workloads and "damage control" so I feel it's sort of God's way of shining a little happiness and optimism into our lives.

I do not want to take one day for granted, and I don't want to write the end of God's story. He could take this baby (babies?) away from us now, but He still would have done something for us that He's previously withheld. So I want to be thankful and grateful, yet hold this with an open hand and heart.

Honestly, my thoughts are "I don't deserve this." I tear up thinking of all your ladies on here with multiple failed IVFs. With even one failed IVF. If I had not gotten a + beta, I know I'd struggle with feeling like "I don't deserve this, Lord." Either way, his sharp pruning or his gentle nurturing, it's not deserved, because it's not about me, it's about His character, which is the same yesterday, today, and forever. But for now, my heart aches for those hurting, still waiting, perahps a bit despondant. I KNOW THIS FEELING. I am crying now. How I wish we could all be joyful and through this together.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Embryo Quality???

Ok so I skimmed over my fertilization/embryo one-page report after Transfer, but never looked very close.

Also, I just re-read my HCG trigger dose.

I have concerns about both in terms of the doctor's communication. The HCG I think was done wrong (I got a 2500 dose rather than 5000). The embryo thing, I think they just didn't communicate as well as I'd have liked.

Can you guys give me thoughts?

HCG trigger: My Estradiol level at Day 10 of meds came back at 4944. I had a follicle over 21mm & ones close behind, which was the cutoff for trigger. The dr said b/c I had such a high E2 level, he didn't want me on the whole HCG dose just so the smaller follicles wouldn't catch up & me possibly overstim. Fair. However, the regular 10,000 does instruction paper says:
Mix 1 ML water w/ powder. Draw 1 ML mix into needle. Inject 1ML.
My dr scratched out & wrote:
Mix 2 ML water w/ powder. Draw 1 ML mix into needle. Inject 1ML.
Now do the math. I doubled the water & then injected half. By doing both I got 2500 HCG (when he clearly wrote & told me 5000). Right? Shouldn't he have said mix 1 ML water & inject 1/2 ML? Or have you guys done this & it's right?

Embryo Fertilization: We were told we had 17 eggs retrieved, 15 mature, 8 fertilized (1 latecomer). Maybe the dr DID mutter something about others than fertilized & wouldn't have been normal, it was hard to hear. My sheet says:
7 fertilized w/ 2 pronuclei
1 fertilized w/ 1 pronuclei (don't know which one that was)
3 fertilized w/ 3 pronuclei (multinucleation, I think this is called)

So honestly we got a better fert rate than I thought (11 out of 15), but just some abnormal embryos, i.e. non viable. Isn't that interesting? Has anyone else gotten this? I don't know if this is good or bad, 3 sounds like a lot to have an extra pronuclei, therefore a whole extra set of chromosomes. Bad eggs? Not a clue! Who knows something?

And no I'm not upset or even worried. Just interesting! If there's a next time, I'm totally reading this stuff ahead of time (not like they gave me a chance too, I got the paper as I left ET!)

IVF #1 - Freeze Report & Thoughts

Well, in this TWW time, I have been trying to spend quite moments pondering the many things I have to be grateful for in this ICF cycle. Yes, I had some disappointments, but I have things to be grateful for!!! We got to retrieval and had a good nubmer of eggs! No OHSS! We got to transfer with a good nubmer of embryos! And one precious little one made it to blastocyst stage and is now cryopreserved! I have much to be grateful for.

Honestly, after reading a lot of blogs I imagined IVF as this huge deal. I imagined it so emotionally and physically draining I'd only ever want to do it once or twice. But honestly? For me, it was like an IUI - with more appointments. Retrieval was a breeze (although putting on a gown and getting an IV made it seem like it wouldn't be). I will admit that up until Transfer, I was ready to say it was the same emotional investment as an IUI. BUT... Getting the report on our embryos (that we only had 8, that the best growing was only 6 cell, that they were all B grade but no A's), that was emotionally hard. I cried, because I did not anticipate anything other than a few prefect ones (silly, yes)! And then knowing of those 6 left, only 1 kept growing - a bit sad. So, yes, the emotional investment is bigger. But not unweighty.

This TWW has been amazingly easy. I bought a bunch of HPT's before IVF and planned on testing every day from transfer on (to watch the trigger go out). However, I didn't have them with me in San Antonio. When I got back, I tested as 3dp3dt and got a -. But until then? I didn't test until this morning (neg). I just haven't felt the need to know every second what's up. If I'm pregnant, I am. If I'm not, God is still good and this was just His plan. I don't think it serves me any to obsess about symptoms and what's a "line." Now I plan on testing probaly tomorrow, or Sunday, a few more times until my beta (Wednesday), so that I can be prepared and not have to have a doctor deliver me the news.

So, here's just a hello & that I'm alive. But I'd like to leave with this awesome quote from Polishing God's Monuments, a book I can't recommend enough. Love it!

"Christian common sense should also remind us that divine revelation is always a far more reliable barometer of reality than our personal perceptions. Don’t always be awash in how things seem; anchor your faith on how divine revelation days they are. With that adjustment, one can trust his goodness even when God may not seem to be good; one can trust he is acting in character even when he may not seem to be measuring up to his own revealed profile; one can trust his power even when is seems he is weak; one can trust his faithfulness even when it seems he is not being faithful.
Is that bind faith? No, not at all. It is humble faith. But doesn’t that seem like gullibility? No, it is patience – with a biblical memory.
That was Job. Did the faith of a poor tormented soul ever look as misplaced as his stubborn faith? He was frustrated out of his mind and bewildered to the bone, yes, but in the end unyielding, “Though he slay me, yet I will trust in him!” (Job 13:15). Then, finally- after forever it must have seemed – the Lord intervened and vindicated Job’s trust, restoring his fortunes greater than before. What a historical monument for any confused by the inscrutable ways of God.

"Patience with a biblical memory" - what a great way to say that! More later.

Friday, September 14, 2007

IVF #1 - Transfer

Well, as you all knew, on Wednesday (24 hours after Retrieval), we received a call from WH stating of the 17 eggs they got, 13 were mature (this is common to have immature ones in the group). Of those 13, 7 fertilized. Our next report was this morning.

When we went in for the Transfer this morning, we were told one extra embryo fertilized late, so we had 8 now. However, none of them were perfect quality (meaning, no fragmentation in the cells). No one agrees upon a grading scale/method, but WH uses A-D, A being no fragmentation, B minor fragmentation, etc. D's rarely make it I think, because they're severely fragmented. Anyway, all of ours were B's.

They also look for them to be 7-8 cells on Day 3 (Transfer Day). We didn't have any with that many, but we had a 6-cell, 3 5-cells, 2 4-cells, and 2 3-cells. The 3-cells they do not expect to keep growing. Whatever is still growing on Sunday will be frozen. It may be all, may be none, we don't know. We were offered a chance to transfer 3 (highly unusual considering my age!), but considering that we had no perfect embryos I guess they thought it worth offering. We chose to only transfer the 6-cell and a 5-cell, simply because we did not think we could honestly pray for a triplet pregnancy/babies.

I AM a little discouraged, given my age and our "unexplained" status, that we didn't get anything better. But the Lord has been in control and it remains that way. Thank you so much for all your love and prayers. No matter what, I get a blood test on 9/26 to determine the outcome of all this. So until then just pray for the survival of these two embryos inside me. J flys home tomorrow, I fly home Monday. I'm resting a lot until then. :)

I've only done two of the Progersterone in Oil shots. I have to do this 2 weeks if not pregnant, 7 weeks if pregnant. The first was a breeze... the 2nd, I think I hit my sciatic nerve, because I woke up at 4 in intense pain and could not sleep after an hour w/o Tylenol! So I've got to get better at that.

If you want to see actual pictures of what I'm talking about with cells and fragmentation, just click the pages below.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

IVF #1 - Fertilization Report

WH called today & gave us our report.... Of the 17 eggs they retrieved, 13 were mature. That means 4 were not mature/large enough to have eggs in them. Of those 13 mature, 7 fertilized - over half!

We're (again) grateful to have gotten to this point.

Friday morning at 10 we'll go in for the transfer of the two best looking embryos. We're praying that all of them keep growing strong. Not all usually do, but all that are still growing by Sunday (5 day old embryos, at the blastocyst stage) will be frozen. We continue to ask for you prayers for these embryos to grow strong and well... all of them, if the Lord wills!

Thank you for all your comments! It's been SO BUSY being here in San Antonio trying to visit old friends and do funb stuff in the area, I've rarely been on the computer more than 5-10 minutes at a time. But once I get home (early next week) I'll start reading/commenting more faithfully.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

IVF #1 - Retrieval!

Retrieval was this morning at 10:15. Showed up at 7:30 & did some prep. I was totallly awake for it, remember everything (which I liked)! Mildly painful, right now I'm pretty comfortable resting at home with J (with Dunkin Donuts he got me)! I didn't even feel like I needed any painkiller, but thought it would make me feel a bit better, so I took Tylenol w/Codine. Bad move, made me nauseous (I told them I was allergic to hydrocodone & I guess I don't do well w/codine either).

They got 17 eggs!!!!! We are so blessed and happy at the news, and I'm especially delighted to feel so good. THANK YOU for all your prayers, well wishes, thoughts, they have been answered and have meant so much. I don't know WHAT the future holds, but we look forward to tomorrow. I know some or all may not fertilize, since we're unexplained, so I try to hold this lightly.

We'll receive a fertilization report tomorrow. More update then. If some fertilize, tomorrow night I do my first PIO shot.

Monday, September 10, 2007

IVF #1 - 9 Days of Meds - Ultrasound #4

Went in yesterday morning for my blood work and ultrasound and got good news!

Lining: 10.6
Left: 18.3, 18.0, 17.9, 17.4, 17.1, 17.0, 16.5, 16.4, 16.1, 15.6, 15.2, 12.3, 12.0 (13 total)
Right: 20.6, 19.0, 18.8, 18.6, 15.0, 13.2, 12.0 (7 total)

Because there's one over 20mm, we did 5,000 HCG trigger shot last night & retrieval is scheduled for 10:15 Tuesday morning! My Estradiol level was 4944 (lots of growing eggs in there)!!! I did my last Ganirilex and 37.5 iu of Follistim Sunday morning.

J flew out Saturday and gets to be here until next Saturday! It is such an emotional and physical strength for me to have him here. So Tueday is Big Day #1. I consider Wednesday (fertilization day) as Big Day #2, and Friday (transfer day) as Big Day #3.

Lots of drugs to start on tomorrow night. My first PIO, I'm curious how bad it'll be. I did the IM trigger w/o icing the area wonder if I can do that too?

Can't wait for my first big day..... Thank you ALL for checking in!

Friday, September 7, 2007

IVF #1 - 6 Days of Meds - Ultrasound #3

My newest update contains info from yesterday's appt. Today I started Ganirilex. I get seen again Sunday, and J comes in tomorrow. We were finally able to get him cleared to miss a week's worth of training (if needed). That was a huge relief. A ticket was a little under $500, but at first they looked to be $700+, so that sound not too bad. So, now, I am measuring:

Thursday Scan, Day 7 on meds (scans before 7th dose)
Left: 5 at 10mm, 3 at 11mm, 2 at 12mm, 4 less than 10mm (14 total)
Right: 2 at 12mm, 1 at 11mm, 1 at 10mm, few less than 10mm (4+ total)
Lining: 12.1

Stupid right ovary. Seriously, it upsets me how much different they are in production. Perhaps when we go in Sunday that'll be trigger day. If it isn't, I'll come in Monday & every day until the time, I think. Retrieval is 36 hours after trigger, I think.

Yesterday was a tough day emotionally and physically. The waiting and being without J has been tough. Not having a doctor who even cares about you is tough. Being told you'll get called back & not is tough. And waking up at 4am to get a decent nubmer at the clinic sucks. I wake up multiple times at night, afraid I've missed my alarm. I hate it. I picked up 2 dozen Krispy Kremes and took them to my appt Thursday, as a goodwill gesture. It made me feel good about myself even if the service there is crappy. I got about 2 1/2 minutes w/the doctor, enough for him to measure the follies & give me ganirelix. He said he didn't know what time the doc would do Sunday scans, so I'd get a call. Over 19 hours later, NO CALL. I left a message. Why is my favorite doc TDY?!?!??! I wish I were in Group 3 so I'd have him somtimes, since he comes back next week (I'm in group 2. Group 3 just had baseline yesterday). Oh well though!

In addition to that, the dear friend I'm staying with here went through 4 years of IF, conceived her 2 yr old on IVF, and was waiting to do a FET til next spring. She got preg outta the blue, 9 wks ago. Went in to date the baby's age, was told it was 6 wks old. Next few weeks had terribly hyper-emesis, went to hospital for fluids, etc. Last weekend (between my 2 trips out) she started spotting/cramping. Went in Tuesday (while I'm at WH) for ultrasound. I got home 1st, she walks in crying, "We lost the baby." Devastating! I hurt so bad for her!!! She had the D&C the next day (missed miscarriage), but after what IF takes you though, then to get preg & lose it like that - so hard to take! She is handling it wonderfully, trusting in God's grace. But it leaves me scared of getting preg with possibilities like that! I already see myself crazily needing doubling betas and ultrasounds every week.... Worrying. And I don't want to.

IN ADDITION, today my sister called crying b/c someone very close to us (can't tell who) has been addicted to cocaine & binging on alcohol & spent ALL of someone else's life savings (half a million!). Someone who they trusted. Everyone did. I can't even convey how NOT like this person this is. They were stable, reliable, Godly, etc. I've been crying off/on all day, going between anger, hurt, questioning, numbness. My parents will take on 100% of fixing all this, financially/physically/otherwise. My mom is inconsolable. There's so much to fix (like letting insurance lapse for months!). It's heartbreaking. I want to throw up as I write this. So, we grieve. And yet I can't even be near those I love to get or give an actual hug.

What a week. IVF pales in comparison to these things, but I am living in it right now, so I push forward. But this all feels so wrong. When someone you trust hurts you so bad, you feel like you can't trust anyone. And you feel like where is God. I know a lot of answers, so I don't exactly need them (my husband tried to comfort me with "wise words" and I ended up feeling resentful he wouldn't just cry with me). But we're so far down in this well I can't even see daylight. Please invervene, Lord. A lot of questions remain unanswered. J says I don't need answers. So I keep praying... a lot.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

IVF #1 - 4 Days of Meds - Ultrasound #2

So, after a terrific weekend in GA, I got back to San Antonio Monday night. Went in for my Tuesday appt and even though I arrived at 5:30 I wasn't the 1st! By the time all the ladies arrived for scans, there were about 20! It was ridiculous! I'm so glad I went early, that would have been such a hassle waiting around.

I got Dr. A, who's fine. In & out in like 3 minutes. I think he was impressed I didn't seem anxious/worried or have tons of questions. (that'll come later!). (& for what it's worth, there are only 4 docs at WH so I'm not silly enough to actually use their real initials, the letters I use stand for something to me. Not creative enough to use actual nicknames.)

So, Tuesday's scan, after 4 days of meds (150IU Follistim in am, 15cc HCG in pm) (taken on Day 5 before my morning dose) revealed:
Left: 12 less than 10mm, largest 7.8
Right: 4 less than 10mm, 10.2, 12
Endometrium: 6.7

I'm shocked my right is outgrowing my left, this has never happened. The aspirated cyst had fluid around it, but they said it was ok.

After my labs came back , they called & told me on Day 6 (tomorrow), take my Follistim down to 125IU. Guess my E2 is a bit high? So that works for me. My stomach is a bit sore around the injection sites, because I've done 2 on my right and 8 on my left - beacuse the 1st HCG on the right bruised badly! The soreness makes it hard to pinch the skin for th injection. Oh & I figured out Follistim hurts less than Gonal-f.

I scheduled my 1st IVF Accupuncture. I'll have 5 appts, the first will be 5-9 days pre-retrieval. Curious if I can stand it! This is all the update for today, thanks for coming by!!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Baseline Result for IVF #1

I could not think of leaving you out of my updates, even though it's busy here w/ 5 guests in the house for Labor Day weekend! However, I'd love to tell how the appt went Thursday.

Remember, I flew from GA to TX on Wed for a Thurs appt, and planned on flying out Thurs afternoon after the appt back to GA, & return Mon night to TX for the Tuesday morn next appt. Then I'd stay there 2 weeks or whatever it took for stims, ER, ET, and any further follow-up. Yes, not as cost-effective, but I'm already going to be apart from my husband a long time as it is, and we'd planned on having friends over Labor Day Weekend. I figured this schedule was worth the cost/hassle. And no matter if I had something that forced me to stay in TX this weekend, I'd stay because of course IVF comes first. That was my mindset.

I woke at 4:00, left at 5:00 and arrived at the clinic at 5:30. Got nice & settled in to wait for the clinic to open at 6:30. For those unfamiliar with how WH does morning monitorings, see this post. Except the lab no longer keeps the ticket outside! So I have to try to get my ultrasound number and then hope I don't get a bad nubmer at the lab. :( Bleh.

I didn't know which doc I'd get for ultrasound, but I got my fav, a treat for this particular day!!! Because guess who had a cyst the first time in her life? Yep. Measuring 20x30mm, it was on the border of needing aspriation. I assume the 26 days of Ortho Novum 1/35 didn't do its job. (I hardly even got a period, too.) I hated being on BCP's anyway, especially since had my normal cycle run its course, I'd have started bleeding the SAME DAY as when I did on BCP's. Sheesh. The dr was so nice (gave me a hug hello when he saw me!). He was doing the ultrasound, and started on the Right, looked around a few seconds, and then sadly mumbled, "Oh Sweetheart, what's this?" He told me the cyst was small enough I might be able to proceed, but when my blood levels came back that would tell whether or not I needed it drained ('m assuming the E2 level would reveal that). He said he would call. He usually gives the feeling that I can take all the time I need to ask questions, but he seemed hurried today. I understood, IVF there is busy.

So, typically I'd have told him I was trying to fly out back to GA later that day, but I wasn't sure they exactly liked me being non driving-distance from the clinic - even though they don't want to see me again until Tuesday morning!!! So I told him if it needed draining no problem. I had to stick around until 10 for the injections/meds class anyway, and figured he would call anytime. Apparently he had a big meeting and wasn't even around to ask personally then (and my blood had been ready since 7 that morning!). I assumed his latency in calling must have meant things were ok. So I proceeded to get a ride to the airport to catch my 1:10 flight. I arrived there 12:20 and still made it to the gate w/time to spare. I did want to make it home on the original plan, but was very concerned to leave the city w/o his call. Sure enough, he calls and tells me the cyst needs draining. I told him I'd be there ASAP. A catch: he wanted me to take valium/percoset for the procedure, as it can be painful. This would prohibit me from driving myself back to the airport. I told him I preferred no meds so I could drive myself... & he ok'ed it (His words: "If you want to Civil War Style it, you can.) So I grabbed the quickest rental car I could get (cheaper than a taxi- I checked!) and headed back to WH.

I had called J & we prayed. I felt such peace about everything that was happened. Not worried about getting to GA that night, not scared about the procedure, not upset. Just peace. Even the gate agent kindly switched my flight to a later one.

I got to WH and was seen immediately. They were all a little amused at my desire for no meds, but got right down to business. Dr. J told me, "You know this room!" It was the same for my hysteroscopy. He said, "I met you here." How the devil does a doctor remember when & where they met you?!?! See why I love him? I'm not a number and a chart, I'm a person. The whole thing was over in about 30 minutes and was actually not very painful, although it was much more uncomfortable modesty-wise than an ultrasound. Not too fun. Another bonus from getting the cyst aspiration: that procedure is the exact same as the IVF Retrieval! That's the only part I was nervous about on this whole IVF (everything else I've experienced before!). Now, I've experienced that too, so nothing to be nervous about. Awesome!

So I jumped up and headed back to the airport. There was a flight leaving for ATL at 3:50 and one at 7:00 - I wanted to make the 3:50, but it was 2:50 as I was leaving. I had to drive 20 minutes, get gas, return the rental car, get a shuttle, get through security (but no bags to check), and make it to the gate - AND I DID!!!! The same gate-guy who switched my flight earlier switched it this time - he even asked if everything worked out ok! I had kind people all over the place. Weather prevented the plane from leaving until 7, but I did get back to GA!

I've never EVER had just one thing after another go so smoothly and so much peace surround my spirit. I don't think a lack of problems grows my faith as much as God's provision when problems arise. (Oh if I'd not had the cyst removed, we'd be out a few hundred dollars and the IVF would have been rescheduled for January.) I know the Lord is answering prayer. I know I can be level-headed often, but last time this happened (in April, on a trip for an IUI) I was so distraught! I felt kicked around and left bruised by it all, and mostly I felt alone. This was different.

My next appointment is Tuesday. I fly back out to SAT Monday evening. I'm eager to see my ovaries' development. They started w/ Right at 10 less than 10mm and Left 14 less than 10mm.

The one bad part: Dr J called me Saturday to make sure I didn't have any bleeding or nausea from the cyst removal. He said something like, "I don't know when I'll see you again. I wish I could do your Retrieval, maybe I'll be back by then." I always feel like I shouldn't ask drs too many personal questions, so I just said "Uh-huh" rather than ask what he meant, where he'd be, or when he'd return! So I know the next 2 week's stuff won't have him involved. I felt like crying the whole day, but now I'l just ready to return and get this done. Still, perhaps he'll be there for Transfer.