I’m back!

Tomorrow it will be a year since we lost Greg. It’s been more than four and a half years since we started on this journey to parenthood. We still have no living children.

In June I had two weeks of abdominal pains, and decided that the answer was to go down to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, where they have the country’s best GI department. I made an appointment for mid-July, but the pain stopped by the end of June, so I cancelled and moved forward with the IVF plan we had made.

My last post was our IVF egg maturation and retrieval schedule. I started Lupron on time, my first shot I forgot the pinch and fast jab instructions and bruised really badly. I can still see it. I was completely exhausted and pretty pissy for all three weeks of injections. After an insane number of transvaginal ultrasounds, (seriously, one day I had to have 2, because the first nurse couldn’t find my left ovary) I had my egg retrieval on July 24th. We got 8 eggs, 7 mature.

About 7 that night, the pain had gotten so bad that anytime I moved I had to scream and cry and hyperventilate a little. My husband took me in to the ER. Hooray! Another transvaginal ultrasound! At least this one I had IV dilaudid first. They found that my right ovary had been hemorrhaging, and was 8 x 10 cm (normal is 2 x 3.5 cm). They put in a large bore IV in case I needed a transfusion, but it took two tries. I stayed overnight and they checked my hemoglobin every three hours. Normal is between 12 and 15 g/100mL. My usual level is 14.5. It bottomed out at 9.3. I was sent home when it started going back up, meaning that the bleeding had stopped. Actually they wanted to discharge me when the falling numbers slowed, but I refused to leave until it went up.

We had gone to the hospital connected to my RE’s office so they could call him and get his input. He didn’t even return the calls and pages until Friday morning. He actually did show up for a few seconds. He emphasized that I had had a little bleeding and it was causing a little pain. I made an appointment to go to the office Saturday morning to have some more blood checks. It took the lab tech there four tries to get blood, bringing my count of needle pokes for Thursday-Saturday to 14.

Four eggs fertilized. On day five, scheduled biopsy day, one had stopped growing and the other three hadn’t grown fast enough. On day 6, the last chance for biopsy, none of the embryos had enough cells to be eligible for biopsy.

The whole thing had failed before we even got any answers.

There was no hope anymore. It was all over.

So, it was another ER trip, this time for suicidal ideation. I couldn’t bear another stint inpatient, so I agreed to partial hospitalization, a three week, six hour a day, five day a week, intense therapy program. It helped.

That’s enough update for now.

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We have a schedule!

We had our consent signing yesterday with the IVF clinic. So many initials and signatures! We had already made decisions on what happens to extra frozen embryos in all the possible scenarios, so it went pretty fast.

The important and and exciting part though was the schedule and protocol. Aetna, our insurance company, has been taking a month to approve pre-authorizations for infertility medications, so we are delayed another month.

I start birth control again on the 15th of June.

Lupron injections start on July 2nd.

Last day of birth control pills July 7th.

Baseline ultrasound July 11th.

Follistim and Menopur start July 14th (my dad’s birthday)

Egg Retrieval sometime around July 25th.

Biopsy 5-6 days after.

PGD results about a week after that.

At least 6 weeks from Egg Retrieval to Frozen Embryo Transfer, if there are any good ones. That’s September 5th-ish. Except they don’t do them the week of Labor Day, so the earliest opportunity is September 8th. Pregnancy tests likely would be 14 and 16 days later.

So, September 24th is the absolute earliest we would know if it worked. There are many earlier steps at which we would know it didn’t work.

I so hope it works.

Phone meeting with PGD people

They wanted to make sure we knew some things. The RE had already told us that they couldn’t distinguish between a balanced translocation like The Dad has and just normal chromosomes.

New info to us, is that on average, people doing PGD for the same reasons as we are have 15-20% normal embryos. On average, people with normal chromosomes doing PGD have 45% normal embryos. 

Not terrific odds, but much lower chances of miscarriage. We are, of course, moving forward, but I’m less sure it’s going to work. We need 9 day 5 blastocysts (statistically) to get 1 normal one. I know that if we test just one it’s possible it will be good, but I’m scared.

I’ve had two acupuncture appointments, and I feel so much better, nausea, digestively. I haven’t needed nearly as many Zofran for the nausea, and there’s only pain if there’s a cat kneading my lower abdomen. He is an excellent acupuncturist. He asks a lot of questions, with follow-ups, he makes sure each needle is comfortable and that I don’t get too cold with my bare feet and bare belly during the relaxation time.

I also started allergy shots last Friday. I have never in my life had such a high level of nasal allergy symptoms. Usually I just have itchy eyelids that peel and get sick easily. But the last two days I have had the runniest nose and a crazy itchy throat, it’s terrible.

Additionally, there’s another health snag, which hopefully is nothing. I have to have a colonoscopy next Wednesday to investigate the bleeding I had last Thursday. There’s been no new blood, so I’m guessing it’s too late to figure out where it came from. So, low fiber Sunday and Monday, liquids only Tuesday and then a whole bunch of Miralax with Gatorade. I am not looking forward to it.  Also no iron containing supplements for 7 days prior. I assume going a week without the prenatal more than two months before my FET is fine.

Why can’t my body just work right? I mean celiac + some other unknown digestive issues, Depression (19 years now), allergies + colds, and not being able to hold on to babies, is a lot of things wrong at 32.

First Visit with the RE

The whole visit took almost 2 hours. A large portion of it was actually with the doctor, which I appreciated. He was great. He really explained everything.

We started with going over our history. He agrees that IVF with PGD is the way to go. He did an ultrasound and everything looked good, then a huge number of blood tests, 9 vials. They’ll call me when those come back. I like the nurses and the lab people and I’ve got a good feeling.

One of the tests is for von Willebrand’s disease. My heavy periods and all the bleeding I had after my wisdom teeth pulled are symptoms of it. If I have that he will want me to see a hematologist before we can start.

I’ve got an appointment with an allergist coming up and an endoscopy to see why I’m nauseous so often. He wants to wait to schedule anything until those are done.

He also told me that I need to lose some weight so that the egg stimulation meds work better. So I will work harder on that.

It looks like we’ll be able to do the cycle on birth control starting the end of April, then the stim and retrieval cycle in June and if we get good embryos, a frozen embryo transfer in July.

All in all, it was very good, and I’m very hopeful.