IVF recap – FET attempt #1

like the post on my first retrieval, i’m writing most of this in present tense and will publish later.  the prep for the frozen embryo transfer is just as time consuming and more lengthy than the prep for retrieval.  maybe it just feels that way because i’m waiting on a baby g.  we’ve been packing and preparing to move into our new house and to become landlords for our condo, so that has been a wonderful distraction.  i’m thankful our transfer will take place after we are settled into our new house so i don’t have to worry about house stress interfering.  anyway, here goes the recap.

 

hormone evening out: 18 days

you guessed it, birth control pills.  and after 14 days of the pill, daily tummy shots of lupron were added to the mix.  i currently have three more days of the pill left and then i should experience withdrawal bleeding, signifying cycle day 1.  my guess is that it is not a real cycle day 1 as i’ll still be shooting up lupron, which is supposed to suppress me.  during this time, i also filled most of the other prescriptions i will need – estrogen patches, antibiotics, an oral steroid, valium for transfer day, progesterone gel, and a smaller version of the intramuscular needle for the progesterone in oil shot.  i have to wait on ordering progesterone in oil since it only has a shelf life of 30 days.  when giving hubby and i a demo of how he will administer the progesterone shot to my rear end during our FET consult, nurse mary pitied me and gave me an extra prescription for 1″ 25 gauge needles instead of the standard 1 1/2″ 25 gauge.  thank goodness.  i look forward to that daily delight coming my way soon.

regarding symptoms, i’m still dealing with constipation.  if i don’t eat salads twice a day and several servings of fruit, i’m uncomfortable.  although i haven’t weighed myself, i’d venture to guess i’m about 4-5 pounds heavier than when the retrieval process began {edit – this has been confirmed since my original drafting of this section. dang}.  i still don’t fit in my pants.  i’m sure birthdayversary week didn’t help my cause.  but i’m trying not to stress about it too much as hopefully i will have a baby g growing in me soon, which leads to more weight gain, and welcome weight gain at that.

 

more hormone evening out: 3 days of lupron only

this phase was relatively uneventful.  i simply took daily injections of lupron and waited for my menses.

on the constipation front, i’m slowly becoming more regular.  maybe my pants fit a bit better now too.  i’ll be able to tell when i get dressed for work next week – so far this week i’ve been living in workout clothes {stretchy running shorts} since i’ve been off work and we’ve been moving.

 

cycle day 1

it only took 2 days of no birth control pills for a flow requiring protection to appear.  i’m not surprised as i spotted almost the entire time i took the bcps.  cycle day 1 is a friday {4th of july to be exact}, which i’m really thankful for.  this means my cycle day 2 or 3 screening can either be saturday or sunday and i don’t have to worry about going to my RE’s office on a weekday before work.  now that we live in the burbs {vs. our city’s uptown where home, work, and my RE’s office were all centrally located}, i have to factor in a lovely 20-45 minute commute, depending on traffic, to get to work.

 

cycle day 2 screening

you guessed it, internal ultrasound and blood work.  during the ultrasound the RE on duty asked me if i’d been taking birth control pills.  queue mini panic attack.

here were my thoughts: why would you ask me that?  did they not work?  are my ovaries full of cysts leftover from the 25 follicles i had?  did acupuncture not help?  ahh!!!

but instead i said: “yes, i took birth control.  hopefully it did what it was supposed to.”  then his nonchalant response was “yes, it did.”  um, ok, please do not scare me like that again!  you’d think he’d check the notes in my chart for some background info about the current protocol i’m following so he doesn’t have to look at my insides and guess what’s going on.  whatever.

a different nurse mary called later in the day to say that everything looked good to proceed with the next phase of the protocol which consists of a lower dose of lupron and estrogen patches.

switching to a slightly different subject, i’ve had cramps the past few cycles.  this worries me, but i shouldn’t let it.  after my septum was corrected, the ridiculous cramps i experienced every menstrual cycle prior to that point magically disappeared.  i read on the world wide web once {i know, fantastic source} that a septate uterus can cause cramping.  my septum was fixed, so made sense to me that the cramps were gone.  recently, my cramps have started to come back, so naturally my brain wonders if my septum came back.  many months ago, i asked my RE if septums can return.  he said no.  so why do i fret?  i personally think the evil one knows that worry is my weakness, and he wants me to worry.  i’ve seen the results of surgery via a HSG, my RE says i’m good to go, now i just need to relax and trust and pray for worry to go away.

 

estrogen patch build up (& lupron shots still)

on cycle day 2, i applied one patch to my lower abdomen.  it stays there until cycle day 4 when i will change it out for a new patch.  i will keep changing the patch(es) every other day but will add another until i get up to four patches every other day.  i don’t love the spot i picked for the first patch, but i’m committed for another day.  the patch is in the perfect spot for the top of my underwear to get caught on it.  i think i will try placing it an inch or so higher on my body next time.

i’m up to two patches now.  no real side effects, except maybe i’m more emotional.  i cry a lot anyway, so hard to tell.  today i had an acupuncture appointment.  when the receptionist took me back to the treatment room and offered to schedule another appointment, i asked for an appointment on my transfer day, 7/24.  then she informed me my acupuncturist will be out of office that day, and the whole week of my transfer really, but his partner could see me.  super.  queue mini breakdown {again}.  there were tears.  i have no idea how much skill is involved, but i figured it takes some time for an acupuncturist to get to know my body.  i’ve been seeing chuck for over 3 months now.  he helped me through my first egg retrieval, and all i need him to do is see me through to transfer day.  a new acupuncturist on what i argue will be one of the most important days yet is unsettling.  i’m seriously considering calling nurse mary tomorrow to see how much flexibility there is in the timing of the transfer to see if i can reschedule when my acupuncturist will be in town.  guess i will pray about it first.

well, i’m up to 3 patches now.  tonight i will be swapping them out for 4.  thank goodness because there were almost some patch casualties yesterday and this morning.  turns out sweat and patches don’t mix {learned this on my walk/run in 1,000% humidity yesterday}, but showering is ok.  then this morning, i woke up to one of my patches half sticking to my pj pants, half sticking to me.  i just pressed it back on my belly and carried on since they will be changed tonight anyway.

the only noteworthy symptom from estrogen patches is cervical mucus, and lots of it.  kind of gross, but at least i know my body is doing it’s job.

 

checkup 1

i had a mid cycle checkup {ultrasound and blood work} this week.  it was relatively uneventful.  the good news is that the results were great so we are carrying on.

 

last lupron shot

i took my last lupron shot last night.  trading it for a scarier, more painful, but absolutely necessary shot tonight… progesterone in ethyl oleate.  i’m also adding crinone {progesterone gel, not my favorite, but again necessary}, antibiotics, and an oral steroid to my medication routine.  i’m still on estrogen patches – 4 a day now.  hubby’s mom is a nurse, so she’s coming over tonight to teach hubby how to correctly administer the intramuscular progesterone shot to my booty.  woooo!

 

day minus 4 {4 days until FET}

today is day 2 of all my new meds, and they aren’t treating me so nicely {well two of them at least}.  here’s the scoop:

  • doxycycline: antibiotic.  twice a day.  uneventful.
  • crinone: vaginal progesterone gel.  twice a day.  ick!  this stuff gives me funky discharge and makes me itch.  it did this when i used it for both of my IUIs, but i was hopeful this time would be different.  wrong.  upon administering this morning, there was a tiny bit of blood on the applicator afterwards.  um, earth to body, it’s not time to bleed yet!  hopefully my uterus gets the memo.  i tried google researching the different types of progesterone and which ones induce menstruation and which ones don’t.  no real luck there.  all i can do is pray right now.  God knows what i want, and i’m trusting that everything will work out according to His plan.
  • progesterone in ethyl oleate: intramuscular progesterone shot {aka a butt shot}. once a day.  surprisingly uneventful.  mama g {the mother-in-law} is a nurse; she came over and showed hubby how to give the shot last night.  he actually did a good job, but we’ll see how tonight goes.
  • medrol: oral steroid.  once daily at bedtime.  evil.  i took the thing at 9:45 last night, hopped in bed by 10:15, watched maybe 20 minutes of tv, begged hubby to turn the tv off because i was half asleep and drooling on myself, he reluctantly complied, and 15 minutes later i’m wide awake.  and i stayed wide awake until 2:30 am.  what a jerk {the medicine that is}.  i researched this drug a bit since i had some free time in the wee hours of the morning.  turns out a side effect is trouble sleeping.  this should be interesting with the work week coming up.  guess i literally need to take the thing 5 minutes before i intend to fall asleep.  oh, and it starts disintegrating in my mouth before i can get the sucker down.  it leaves a horrible aftertaste that lingers for a while.

it’s just a few hours later, and i take back all of the kind words i said about progesterone in ethyl oleate earlier.  the injection site from last night {right butt muscle} hurts.  then, when hubby tried to administer tonight’s shot in the left butt, things didn’t go so smoothly.  for one, it hurt like heck {didn’t help that he was wiggling the needle around in my skin.  ouch!}.  then, after he removed the needle, a significant amount of the oily medication oozed out.  he wiped it several times and finally put a band-aid on.  then when i got to the bathroom to examine the site, i was greeted with a fully saturated band-aid of oil, an oil spot on my underwear, and an oil spot on my pj pants.  queue mini meltdown number 3.  i ended up speaking with the RE on call, who assured me i got enough progesterone {this was after i cried about it for 20 minutes}.  seriously, no one should have to go through this to have a baby.

 

day minus 3

talked to nurse mary about last night’s shot incident this morning.  she gave me several tips to try to prevent leakage going forward – roll the oil in a heating pad on low for 10 minutes before giving shot, leave needle in skin for 10 seconds, massage skin gently afterwards.  most importantly, mama g came back tonight and the process went off without a hitch.  too bad she’s skipping town in a few days!

i also had acupuncture today.  my acupuncturist thinks i’m in the best shape possible, from his perspective, so that’s good news.

one thing that surprises me is that my boobs aren’t really sore yet.  usually progesterone does that to me.  hope that’s not a bad sign, i’ll find out after blood work tomorrow.

 

day minus 2 & checkup 2

good news!  my hormone levels looked good, so my transfer is still scheduled to take place in two days.

while at my RE’s office, i visited nurse mary.  she examined my shot sites {cleverly marked in black sharpie} and suggested slightly different areas {now marked in orange sharpie}.

mama g came over again tonight.  she supervised hubby giving the shot, and all went well.  let’s hope day minus 4’s shot was a fluke.

 

the big day!

we had a scare the morning of.  upon waking up to urinate, i discovered blood.  fresh blood that was still nice and bright.  eek!  there wasn’t much, but more than day minus 4’s apperance.  i promptly called my RE’s office.  nurse mary called back and asked me to come in right away.  my RE needed to see whether the bleeding was coming from my uterus or cervix before my embryo could be thawed.  so to the office we went, and i had probably the fastest appointment on record with my RE.  he inspected my cervix and then performed an ultrasound for a lining check.  his assessment was that my cervix was oozing from all of the hormones {the crinone}.

so after our morning detour, hubby and i returned home to get a quick workout in and shower before returning to my RE’s office for the transfer.  i popped a valium at 11:30 am, and then we loaded ourselves in the car.  i arrived at my scheduled time of 12 pm for a 12:30 transfer.  i signed some papers and then got to go back to the same pre/post-op area i’d been just 1.5 months earlier for my egg retrieval.  i also got to wear a super fashionable gown again, and hubby got suited up since he could be present for the transfer.  while we waited to be taken back, we prayed together.  here we are, all ready for the big moment:

image

the transfer itself went smoothly.  when we got back to the procedure room, the embryologist came in and told us that our chosen embryo survived freezing and the thaw.  she also gave us two pictures of our embryo {definitely a perk of IVF}.  then, i, again, had to lose all modesty as my legs got strapped in stirrups.  the nurse helping with the procedure ultrasounded my belly from the outside {for once, an external ultrasound} to make sure my bladder was full enough, but not too full.  i tried not to overdo it like i did for the trial transfer.  thankfully, it was just right.  my doctor came in, inserted a speculum, and got everything setup for the transfer.  we got to see our little embryo in its petri dish on a big monitor before the procedure began. the embryologist sucked it into something, brought it to my doctor, then they funneled it to my uterus.  the medical team waited exactly one minute, then removed the catheter.  the embryologist brought it back to her lab to make sure the embryo was no longer in her device and shouted “all clear.”  then my doctor relieved my bladder by draining it with a catheter.  that was an experience, but totally worth it so i didn’t have to think about how bad i had to pee as i rested in recovery for 30 minutes.  after my rest period was up, i went straight to acupuncture, then home to bed rest after that.

i sure hope this time will be a success.  but i know that no matter the outcome, God is in control and He is fulfilling His plan.  a friend sent me this verse the morning of our transfer.  God actually showed me this verse when i was first diagnosed with the septate uterus.  coincidence?  … i think not :)

there are many plans in a man’s heart, nevertheless the Lord’s counsel – that will stand. {Proverbs 19:21}

 

11 day wait

i’m currently waiting for my beta.  i was on the fence about posting this because i didn’t want to jinx myself.  but i realized that was silly.  i will either be pregnant or i won’t.  and if i am pregnant, there is no guarantee i won’t miscarry or that our baby will be alive on this side of Heaven.  only God knows His plan for me, hubby, and baby g.  thank you to my support system for your prayers during this process.  i believe in the power of prayer, and i believe in a sovereign God, through Whom all things are possible.

and this is why you don’t tell your family about your blog.

so you can vent about them.  i love my family dearly, but my big brother decided it would be a good idea to call me while i was at work today.  to share some news.  news that he and my sister-in-law are expecting.  hellooooo dear brother, this is not something you do to your poor sister who can’t get pregnant to save her life.  you made me cry at work {and walking to my car, and on the way home, and the tears keep coming now that i’m here}.  thanks for that.

after crushing my soul, he then proceeded to remind me that i’m doing IVF soon {obviously i don’t give him the full story} and that he’s praying that it works.  at least he’s praying.

i’m happy for the bro and his wife.  they’ve been sans birth control for 1 year and 4 months, so they are due for a bundle of joy.  but my heart aches to be pregnant like them.

my sister-in-law and i always said that we’d love to raise babies together.  here’s to hoping our first frozen embryo transfer will be a success.

all i want right now is some frozen yogurt.  just what i need for my PCOS and 5 extra lbs i’m sporting from shooting up fertility drugs last month.

 

dear Heavenly Father, please consider me and my embryo g this month.  please look on us with favor and bless us.  please help the transfer to be a success, and please help baby g to be healthy and strong.  please grant my heart’s desire, how fun it would be for me and sister-in-law to raise babies together.  if this cycle is not your will, Lord, please continue to grant me strength and peace.  amen.

“it says M-D at the end of my name, not G-O-D”

lately, something cool has been happening at my {in}fertility appointments.  the people i have trusted my care to have been recognizing God.  based on previous experience, this is not typical.  usually doctors give me the stats and move on.  and when something bizarre happens, whether good or bad, they chalk it up to a mystery or luck.

well, at my last cycle day 2 screening {which i have yet to blog about, but it’s coming soon}, the RE on duty asked me if i was going to get pregnant this cycle.  i replied with something like “i hope so, but it’s not up to me.”  to which he replied, “i tell my patients it says M-D at the end of my name, not G-O-D.”  wow!  this was huge!

then at an acupuncture appointment, i shared my anxiety about our future transfer with my acupuncturist.  he started rattling off his 79-80% success rate with transfers, but then looked at me and said “we know Who has the final say though” as he pointed to the sky.

i love that i’m in the care of fellow believers who get it.  no matter what we do for my treatment, at the end of the day, God can allow it to work this time or say ‘not yet’ as he continues to mold and shape me as i wait for Him to reveal His plan.  something about this just gives me peace.

last week i opened the biblegateway app to check the verse of the day.  this is a rare occurrence for me, but every time i open it, i feel like the verse was chosen for me at that point in time.  to meet me where i’m weak and when i need an extra dose of encouragement.  i’ve read this verse everyday since… happy sunday!

ah, Lord God!  behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm.  there is nothing too hard for You.  {Jeremiah 32:17}

book review & giveaway

remember that stack of books my friend gave me on infertility that i promised to read and post reviews on (see here)?  well, 2.5 months later, i’ve finally finished another.  my second read was the daily devotion moments for couples who long for children by ginger garrett.  you may have read a few excerpts from this book on my blog.  having struggled with infertility herself, ginger writes from the heart and beautifully connects many facets of infertility to God’s word.  i found this book so encouraging that i’m going to start it over again.

also, i found this book so encouraging that i want to share it with one of you.  blogging about my {in}fertility journey has connected me to many women out there who are unfortunately fighting the same fight.  my hopes are that i can share this book with someone who needs the extra encouragement, so i’m giving away a new copy.  if you’d like to enter the drawing to win, leave a comment on this post before this sunday, july 13th at 12:00 pm eastern time.  i will connect with the winner via email the week of 7/14.

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amber {yes, that’s me}