Sunday, 29 April 2012

Beta #1

Beta results today were 519!  The nurse was very happy about it.  She said "you've worked very hard for this!"  I have to stay on my medications (Progesterone, Estrace, Synthroid, Cabergoline) and go back in two days for a repeat test. 

I am so EXCITED!!!!!  I know I should be more cautious about this, but this is the best news I could have dreamed for.  But I know I need to settle down and not get too worked up.  For example, should I not be worried that the number is too high?  My angel had a first beta of 488 and that was the first sneaking suspicion that there was anything wrong, since high beta COULD indicate Downs.  And in the case of my angel, it did.  However, since I did the PGS testing, I'm not too worried about Downs this time (though I suppose there could be some fluke error in the testing results.  What if they put in the wrong embryo?  When they did the transfer they were saying "put in number 4, right?  Was that the one?..."  So I wondered, did they double check that?)

The support group for donor conception yesterday was very interesting.  I'm glad that I went.  There were a lot of different people there with different backgrounds, but I guess in common was that we all had a major struggle of some sort, so we could all relate to that.  Donor conception is such a new and not very common thing (or at least not very openly talked about), there were many questions and issues raised about it and it was reassuring to know that many people are thinking of the same questions / concerns, and although there aren't often "answers" it was interesting to see how some people had resolved these questions in their minds.  Like about disclosure to the child and to others, anonymity and meeting the donor at age 18, how other family members feel about it, etc.

I talked to one girl at the end who somehow I ended up telling that I terminated (rather than "lost" or "miscarried") and she said she had also terminated her donor egg pregnancy in November and was looking for support.  She said online she had only found religious based stuff, so I told her about the TFMR board and she was happy about that.  I can't imagine how alone she must feel, months after her tx and no support!  And she said she was so shocked because the egg was from a young woman, so they didn't expect any chromosomal problems, but after 22 or so weeks they ended up tx.  That kind of blew me away...  Also, she then signed up to do a new round of donor egg and apparently it has been in the news that the agency CFC (Canadian Fertility Centre?) had a "raid" in February and was closed down.  Some other couple there also said that their cycle was in jeopardy because of that raid, however they were able to move everything to another agency, "Little Miracles", which is apparently still functioning.  I had not heard of any of this before.  So this poor girl, after terminating her donor egg pregnancy, had her second donor egg round messed up from the raid and closure of her agency... she thought that maybe God was telling her not to have a baby or that she was going to give birth to a mass murderer and the universe was trying to stop that from happening!

Another woman had two failed donor egg IVFs and was very upset about it and discouraged.  Another woman, who was single, said her family told her they would disown her if she used donor sperm and had a baby that way, out of wedlock, and they would rather not have any grandchildren at all than that because it would be shameful for the family.  These were definitely tough issues to face.  She said she thinks she's going to do it anyway.

There were single moms there using sperm donors who brought their babies, they were very cute, and couples using sperm donor because the man had no sperm, also women/couples who were planning to use donor egg and/or sperm, in the process of doing it, or had done it. 
Anyway, it was an interesting experience.

Really looking forward to my second beta results.  Mostly I'd like to fast forward to 22 weeks and then I can relax more about the pregnancy.  It will be a nerve-wracking ride in the mean time.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Positive HPT

I can't even believe I'm typing this, but I believe I have a BFP!!!  Yesterday I tested and the line was very faint, but today it looks dark enough to be certain that no, this is not my imagination.  I have not had my beta yet, that is on Sunday.  So I'm hoping this little bean keeps growing properly and I get some good numbers.  I'm afraid to feel too happy, but how can I help it, this is what I have been praying for and waiting and waiting so long for...   DH is not very excited.  He says he doesn't want to get his hopes up too early.  But I guess the absence of being depressed and in total despair from a certain negative is exciting enough.  Right now I feel mainly relief, like a huge weight has been lifted from me.  However, I still plan to go to the regional Donor Conception Support Network meeting tomorrow afternoon, so what can be said of that?  I am keeping my options open, and even if hopefully everything goes fine with this pregnancy, let's face it, I will be 41 before I can try again and with the slim prospects I just went through (10 embryos reduced down to one after testing and/or waiting until day 6) I think it is quite likely that donor eggs are still in my future if we are planning on having more than one.  And if this one doesn't work out, it is a bit of a toss up if I will stick out another round of IVF with PGS, as I had originally thought, or just go to donor eggs.  That is what I was thinking about last weekend, I was really thinking that if for a second time I had genetically "normal" embies that did not stick, I am just not confident it is worth doing it a third time given the price we are paying.  So that made me very sad.  It basically came down to, if I don't see a positive HPT in the next few days, I might have to decide whether I want a genetic child so badly that I am willing to risk running out of money/ time and not have any child, or if I just want to be a mom so badly that I am willing to give up my genetic contribution and have a donor egg.  I don't think I have come to an answer to that question yet.  I just hate having to think of it that way, but this is the reality that I am coming up to.  I have gone over this is my mind a lot and changed my decision again and again.  I have really just not decided, I don't know what would bring me to that certainty.  That's part of the reason I'm still going to the donor meeting, although my prospects for this cycle have suddenly brightened!  I can't help but to think, what if it falls through, I will want to know what to do right away and have my plan in place.  And anyway, I might be doing donor egg in the next few years so I'd like to get more information at the meeting.  It has been quite a week.  It's hard to stay focused at work, and I've hardly been able to sleep at night.  Seeing the two lines today was the most uplifted I've felt in a LOOOOONG time!!!!!!!!!!  Now of course I am terrified that the line will go away, or the beta will not be good or won't double on time, etc.  But at least a positive HPT is a great starting point and one that I have had so much trouble getting to, that I feel like I've already won the race, though I know this is far from true.  Trying to keep an even head about this.  DH is doing a better job than me, I can tell you that.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

One

ONE normal embryo...  those are the results from my PGS testing.  We put it in.  But let me backtrack a bit...

Yesterday was such an exhausting day, mostly emotionally exhausting.  We went in at 12 noon and they didn't get the results until 3pm (it was supposed to be between 12 and 1).  So I was sitting there with a full bladder the whole time wondering what the hell was going on.  When there was still no call by 2:30, we were starving and my bladder was killing me, so we went for lunch across the street and the clinic said they'd call if they heard anything.  I went to the washroom, so annoyed for having to hold it that long, then sure enough they call and when we got back they say "oh, is your bladder full?"  At that point I had figured there was something wrong and maybe the lab in Detroit didn't realize they had to do the results for today or something, so I had lost hope that things were going to go as planned.  However, we were so happy to hear that there was going to be a transfer and they didn't just say, we got the results, they are all abnormal, you can go home now.  So anyway, we had to wait for my stupid bladder to fill up again, and that took about an hour!  I think the rice that I ate at lunch was absorbing all the water that I drank, because they kept checking my bladder on the ultrasound, and it was always empty, even though I had drunk about 3 litres of water and waited half an hour.  I felt sick and I swear I was going to throw up if I had one more sip of water, but the nurse kept saying "drink more!  drink more!" 

We found out there was one normal blast from the 5 day-5 blasts tested, so we put that one in.  It is hard not to be negative about that result, but I suppose it could have been worse.  As angry as I am that I only got one (maybe 2, they sent one more in for biopsy on Day 6) normal embryo, I could have had 0.  And 1 is pretty close to 0, so I was very close to that devastating outcome. 

I am trying to be positive, but all I think about is WHY???  And HOW could this happen, when I had an AFC of 38, 21 mature follicles over 18mm, 12 eggs retrrieved, 10 fertilized, 10 made it to day 5, 5 biopsied on day 5 and 1 biopsied on day 6.... and end up with just ONE????????????????????
And what happened to the 4 other day-6 embryos that they were observing but weren't good enough to be biopsied?  They just ran out of steam, right at the critical moment? 

Dear God, I hope this one survives, because obviously there is NO backup plan.  I don't even want to think about it. 

So far all I have felt is 1) nothing  2) negative thoughts.  So I have no idea how this embryo is going to survive if there is really a mind/body connection, I am really not helping this little guy out at all.  So since all my thoughts are negative and angry, I have to just not think about it at all, I guess.  I have no idea how to be positive, I am just too scared. 

On the bright side, my dr did say that this blast is excellent top quality.  And I don't think she would bullshit about that because last time she told me straight out that the 2 that we put in were not good quality, but they were normal.  So I hope that because it is better quality, it will survive, otherwise, I can't even think about how I will feel about all of this.  I just can't picture going through all this again, it has not been a smooth ride and the last two days I swear I have started having a small twitch on my face from the constant stress of what has been happening with this cycle. 

DH says I should visualize a velcro ball sticking to a glove, or imagine taking a dog for a walk and having burrs stick to his fur.  Those are definitely more useful thoughts than the ones I have been having of doom and gloom!

I'm pretty sure I will not hear about the last biopsied embryo unless I call them and bug them about it.  How can they not figure that I would want to know that right away?  Are there people out there who have embryos biopsied and don't really care about the result?  The chances are slim that it will be normal.  I don't understand how so many of them can be abnormal or poor growers, or both!  WTH!!  I guess that is why I did PGS, I suspected that this was the case, otherwise why the hell would I not be pregnant already after all these years?  I bet my egg quality was crappy even when I was 32. 

Well, that's the long version of my update.  After spending 5 hours in the clinic yesterday (the transfer was at 4:15 and we left right before 5, they actually had to kick us out because they were closing the clinic. )  we were completely wiped out from waiting on eggshells for that long.  I went to bed early and slept for 12 hours after that.  (I didn't go to work this morming, but I will go in this afternoon for that stupid training thing with Chantal).  My nerves are shot, I feel excited, depressed, nervous, angry, hopeless, worried... all at the same time. 

Friday, 13 April 2012

Fertilization report

I got a message today that 10 out of my 12 eggs have fertilized.  That's pretty good.  However, I can't help but to think about last cycle, which ended up being a complete bust, and started out with 9 out of 11 eggs fertilizing.  That's almost the same as this time!  So I am worried.  Very worried.  We'll see what happens over the next 5 days.  I'm praying that my embies keep growing and stay strong right to day 6, which is what we will need if we are doing a transfer this cycle with PGS testing on Day 5.  Please embies, be strong!!!  I will be so disappointed if after all these supplements and vitamins, it still ends up the same as last time, or worse. 

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Retrieval Today

I had my retrieval early this morning.  Everything went well and they got 12 eggs, which we are happy about.  They gave me enough drugs this time and so the downside is that I have hardly any memory of the procedure.  It is a strange feeling to be awake but afterwards I don't remember most of what happened.  Fortunately hubby was there to report to me what went on while I was drugged out.  But it was better than the first IVF when I could feel a lot more of the stabbing and I was more awake.  I felt pretty good after coming home, but very tired.  At lunch time I thought I felt fine and I thought "wow, maybe I could have gone back to work" but then I got so extremely tired, I just passed out for several hours on the couch.  Now I wait for the fertilization report tomorrow.  We are doing ICSI so hopefully we get most of them fertilizing.  I got a call on my cell phone from the clinic today and it was a bit surprising, since I know they are supposed to call tomorrow.  They called to say they made a mistake in billing and they will give me a $400 credit on my account.  I didn't know what she was talking about, but since they were giving money back to me, I said "OK!".  But really I think it's a mistake.  At this point I have paid over $50,000 to that clinic, so $400 back, in error or not, is not even worth getting excited about.  In truth, I was just totally relieved that she wasn't calling to tell me that something had happened to the embryos and they were all dead or missing, or something. 

I wasn't sure if I would need to take tomorrow off or not, since after my first IVF I had so much bloating and pain.  But I really feel fine and I will go back in tomorrow.  Of course I have already gone to the trouble of leaving a full set of supply teacher notes and prepared work, which will now not be needed since I'm going to go in myself.  I have already missed so many days of work this year, mostly half days when I need to go to the clinic in the mornings, my students are quite curious about what is wrong with me! 

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Trigger shot!

Today I took my trigger shot at 8:30 pm.  So the retrieval will be at 7:30 am on Thursday!  Today everything was looking really great.  Lefty had 11 follicles over 18mm and righty had 10 follicles.  The doctor said my lining was looking really good.  I don't feel bloated or anything.  So far the cycle has been the best one yet.  I think this protocol (Estrogen priming/ antagonist) is better for me than the long lupron protocol.  However, the real test is to see what happens next and how many I end up with on Day 5, and after PGS.  It's the quality of the eggs that really counts, and that remains to be seen.  It's making me nervous.  But I"m also excited.  DH and I both started our doxycycline today.  Tomorrow I have acupuncture after school, then before I know it we will be doing the retrieval!

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Day 6 of stims

Today I went to the clinic for a check.  They measured many follicles, but the dr was mainly interested in the 14 follicles that were larger than 9mm.  Hopefully I will get 14 at retrieval, that would be a great number!  She was happy with the lining, she said everything was looking juicy and that the estrogen priming had done its job.  So she changed my dose slightly by raising the Menopur to 150 (up from 75) and she kept the Bravelle the same at 225.  I took a shot of Cetrotide that should last for 3 days.  That is to prevent ovulating prematurely.  They also gave me a one day dose because although I'm coming in on Sunday, I need to take it at exactly 9:15 am (the same time as the other shot) or there will be problems.  So they gave me the meds because on Sundays they run later and I might not get to see a nurse until after that time.  It seems that I will be doing my trigger on about day 11, which is next Tuesday night, and then the retrieval next Thursday, on Day 13.  But it might be off by a day.  It depends on how the follicles develop.  I hope the CoQ10 and DHEA are making a difference this time and helping to improve the quality. 

At work I was a bit peeved because the secretary asked me in the office the other day whether I was pregnant or not, because our VP is convinced that my procedure worked and that I was now pregnant.  I told her, as I had already said when she asked me before, no I am not.  Oh, she said, I just didn't know if you were lying before, because we have a bet and now that I know, I can get myself some money!  WTH?  I didn't know whether to laugh or be insulted, or depressed that the VP thinks I look fat enough to be pregnant.  Oh, and apparently she bases this on when she asked me how I was doing and I said "good" and pointed to my belly.  First of all, I did not point to my belly, I remember her asking how I was and she said I looked great, and I didn't know why she was acting weird.  I think it's so rude to be betting on someone's IVF outcome.  Maybe that was just a joke and they aren't really betting, but still.  I feel a bit betrayed by the secretary because she also has been through IVF and IF and should know better how emotional it all is, especially with a failed cycle and having to report to everyone about the negative outcome.  I feel like I really don't want to tell them about any more cycles, though it's hard to prevent them from finding out since they see my absences and put two and two together.  Though sometimes they are wrong in their assumptions, as in this case. 

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Antagonist protocol started

AF arrived on Thursday late in the evening.  I decided to call Friday Day 1 and go in to the clinic on Day 2.  We got the "other" doctor, but didn't care since we like him better anyway.  It was a good opportunity to ask him if he agreed that the plan for this cycle looked ok.  So we started stims on Saturday since everything looked good.  For my AFC I had 16 follicles on one side and 22 on the other, so that's very good for me.  My estrogen was 52, not sure what that means but the nurse said I was suppressed so we could start the cycle.  My progesterone was 6, which is better than last time when it was 36 to start, and we had to cancel the cycle.  The doctor wants it under 10.  1 or 2 is normal for me, but with the DHEA she says it causes the Progesterone to go up.  But 6 was fine, she said.  I started taking 225iu of Bravelle and 75 iu of Menopur.  Then 2 days later I went in for a check.  That was this morning, Tuesday.  The technician measured 20 follicles between 6 and 9mm.  I'm continuing with the stims.  I go in on Thursday and she said we may do the Cetrotide then, to prevent prematurely ovulating.  I think the stims last for 12 days, then it's the trigger and the retrieval.  I'm excited that things are happening!
I'm taking a lot of supplements and extra vitamins right now.  It's getting to be a lot to manage, but I think it's doing me some good.  Hopefully it helps with improving the egg quality. 

Here's what I'm taking:  (aside from the Bravelle and Menopur)

- DHEA 25mg x 3 per day  (75mg total)
- CoQ10 - 400mg a.m. / 200 mg p.m. (600mg total)
- Synthroid 0.037 mg (1 1/2 pills once a day) - to lower TSH
- Cabergoline 0.25 mg (2 x per week) - to lower prolactin
- Baby Aspirin - 1 pill per day
- Pre-Natal multivitamin
- Folic Acid - 1mg
- Vitamin D - 400 iu (a.m.)
- Vitamin C - 500 mg
- Vitamin E - 200 iu
- Selenium - 50 mcg
- Calcium & Vitamin D - 650mg, 400 iu (p.m.)
- Fish oil - 1.26 g - with Omega 3 - 750 mg, EPA - 375mg, DHA - 250mg x 2 per day
    (total:  Fish oil - 2.52g - with Omega 3 - 1500 mg , EPA - 750 mg, DHA - 500 mg)
- Royal Jelly - 1/4 tsp   (mixed into yogourt)
- Bee Pollen - 1 tsp   (mixed into yogourt)
- Wheat Grass powder - 1 tsp x 2 times a day, mixed with water/ berry juice

Here's what DH is taking:

- FertilAid for Men (multivitamin) x 3 times a day
- Motility Boost x 2 times a day
- CoQ10 - 400 mg
- Fish Oil - 1000 mg - with 180 mg EPA, 120 mg DHA x 2 times per day
  (total:  Fish oil 2g - with EPA - 360 mg , DHA - 240 mg)
- Melatonin - 3 mg (at bedtime)
- L-Arginine - 1mg
- Vitamin C - 500 mg
- Vitamin E - 200 iu
- Royal Jelly - 1/4 tsp (mixed into yogourt)
- Bee Pollen - 1 tsp (mixed into yogourt)
- Maca root powder - 1 tsp per day  (mixed into yogourt)
- Wheat Grass powder- 1 tsp x 2 times a day, mixed with water/ berry juice


Hopefully this stuff will help.