New FET Timeline

So, my FET is pushed back an extra month.  This is by design on my end.

I realized shortly after my last post that the revised timeline after the endo scratch timing snafu would have me transferring in late May.  After giving it some thought, I decided I was not comfortable with this timeline, as I have debilitating seasonal allergies every May. Logically I know there is probably nothing legitimate to support this thought process, but I have fears that transferring at the height of my allergy attack would cause some type of immune reaction that would kill my embryos. I just don’t want to do anything that would cause me to think “what if”, if the transfer fails.

So, I decided to tack on an extra month of birth control for a tentative June transfer. Next week I start the last pack of birth control and will touch base with my doctor to reschedule the endometrial scratch, and determine a time frame to get back on Lupron (goody!) for FET prep.

In the meantime I’ve decided I have had enough of being bloated, lazy and depressed.  So I’ve revamped my diet (no more Ben & Jerry’s!) and started a workout program. I am a couple weeks in and can already see slight progress in my body. Even better, I feel healthier and happier than I have in months!

Delayed.

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My FET is officially delayed.  I have spent the last month on a combination of birth control + Lupron (pure hell, in my opinion), only for CD1 to arrive 3 days before my scheduled endometrial scratch.  I cannot do the scratch once a new cycle starts as its too late by that point, so now I have to start the entire thing over again.  Another 3 weeks of birth control, then add back in Satan’s juice – I’m sorry, I mean Lupron – and go in mid-April for the scratch, take two.

I am not devastated or anything by the delay itself because frankly I am in no rush to face what I assume will be another failed transfer.  However, I have really been suffering on this bcp/Lupron combination – It has made me so damn FAT and bloated. Not to mention depressed. Like, catatonic depressed.  I think I barely spoke last week, I mostly just cried.  And I usually handle side effects pretty well.

Anyway, now it’s looking like my transfer will be sometime in May, assuming there are no more roadblocks.  At the end of the day I am fine waiting longer and struggling some more with the meds if at least means I won’t blame myself for skipping the scratch or doing it at the wrong time if/when this next transfer fails.

Obviously I am in a very negative and pessimistic place right now, so maybe I’ll make use of this extra time by trying to regain a small shred of optimism.

 

PGS Results

I wasn’t expecting my PGS results until next week, but I received a call yesterday with the news.

I should preface this by saying that I am a numbers-oriented person, and so when my first IVF cycle resulted in 50% normal embryos, I assumed that would be a stable proportion for cycles to follow. By that logic, I was excited, as I expected somewhere around 9-10 of my embryos to be normal.

So, the results I got yesterday were a little shocking.  Out of 19 embryos biopsied, only 4 came back normal. How could this have happened?  I am only 29, I should have had more than 20% of my tested embryos come back normal.

Also unsettling was the news that 5 embryos had no diagnosis, or were inconclusive. When I started the IVF/PGS journey last year I was told it was very rare to get no diagnosis on your embryos. So how in the world did another 25% of this one batch come back inconclusive?

I have had a lot of mixed feelings about these results.  Last cycle I was thrilled to have 3 normals.  On the other hand, I never dreamed I would transfer them all without success. So, this time around I know that 4 may not be enough to get a baby.  It also makes me worried that there is a deeper problem with my eggs/embryos that will prevent them from ever producing a healthy pregnancy.

For now, the plan is to move forward with transferring 1 embryo next month.  We will save 2 of the 4 for a surrogate in case we get to that point. Before transferring the 4th embryo, we will probably do another retrieval and re-test the inconclusive embryos at that time in hopes of banking a few more. These plans could change, but it feels like the most conservative route at this time.  Of course my hope is that a miracle happens and next month I find out I am finally pregnant with my take-home baby, but my expectations are also fairly low after all that has happened in the past 2.5 years.

 

IVF # 2 Update and FET Plans

The past week has flown by as I’ve recovered from the retrieval and awaited next steps.

The day after the retrieval, we received an excellent fertilization report: Of the  27 eggs retrieved, 24 were mature, and 23 of those fertilized successfully with ICSI. Much better number and percentage than cycle 1! I am not sure whether it is because the egg quality was better, or just pure luck, but I am pleased with those results.

Within a week after the retrieval, we received more good news: 13 of our embryos made it to blast on day 5, and another 3 on day 6, for a total of 19 embryos biopsied for PGS and frozen! I couldn’t believe it. The results were so radically different from my first cycle, when only 6 embryos made it to blast, and most of those were day 6’s.

Now we have to cross the final hurdle (for this portion of the process), and wait for the PGS results. I am very scared that this is where I’ll lose all my embryos and find out that only one or two were normal.  I would be elated to have several normal embryos to work with because it would really take the pressure off to not have to do a retrieval again any time soon, or maybe never again.

Because we are doing Next Generation Sequencing, the results won’t come in as fast as the regular array CGH results did. I was told I would have the results by the 18th, so it could be another long 12 days!

In the meantime, I have started the beginning phase of the FET protocol. I am currently on birth control, and will start Lupron at the end of next week. Currently we are looking at a mid-April transfer.  (Assuming I have at least 1 to transfer!) I am not nearly as eager to get the transfer moving as I was for our first FET. Back then I thought it was just a matter of getting the embryo into me and poof, I’d be pregnant. But, unfortunately now I know better, and I know that my odds of having success next transfer aren’t great. All the more reason I am hoping I have many embryos to keep trying with!

Retrieval #2 Complete!

This morning was my retrieval for my second fresh IVF cycle and it went pretty smoothly.  I had 27 eggs retrieved, which was almost exactly the same as IVF #1 (28 retrieved). Tomorrow we will get the fertilization report with how many were mature, and of those, how many were successfully fertilized with ICSI.  For my first cycle, I was disappointed with the fertilization rate (just under 60%, or 16 eggs).  I am hoping for a little better this time around as maybe it will give me an extra blast or two by day 5/6.

I absolutely hate this part of the process. Nothing is a sure thing with IVF, so just because last cycle I got 6 blasts doesn’t mean that will be the case this time. I could end up with 2, I could end up with 10. And even after the final blast count, I still have to wait for the PGS results. Since we are doing Next Generation Sequencing as well as the Mitograde test, I am sure it will whittle my batch of “normals” down even more.  We only got 3 normals last cycle, so I really can’t afford to get much less than that. Especially because we wanted to put ideally two aside for a last resort transfer into a gestational carrier, and keep a couple more to transfer back to me.

I know there are so many people out there who don’t even get one to transfer, so ultimately I really still will be grateful even if I just get one.  But it just sucks to have to worry about every single step of this process. Since I have so much trouble getting anything to stick, it would be nice if the part where we gather embryos was a little easier and more fruitful.

So, the countdown is on.  Next Friday we will find out how many blasts were biopsied and frozen.  Then within two weeks after that we should have the PGS results.  I have no idea how I am going to make it through the next 3 weeks.

Stim, monitor, repeat.

I am on day 7 of stims and starting to grow tired and bloated. I almost think the second IVF cycle is harder than the first because you can’t help but compare your progress against the previous cycle.

My e2 has been climbing nicely so far, but I have not had a lot of progress with follicle growth.  For some reason the meds just keep feeding all my tiny follicles without much growth for the bigger ones.

2 days ago, I had 40 follicles just under 10mm.  As of today, I have maybe 3-5 in the 11-13mm range, and EIGHTY tiny ones. You can imagine, with 80+ follicles I already feel ready to burst. This morning’s scan was pretty invasive too, so I’m really feeling beat up.

I looked back at my notes from stim day 7-8 last cycle and had much more progress with follicle growth then, so naturally I have started panicking. I have to return for yet another monitoring appointment Sunday and I am really hoping we start to see some real growth by then.  If I end up getting canceled it won’t be the worst thing in the world because we’ve paid $0 out of pocket. But I don’t want to have to worry now about not being able to produce eggs on top of the RPL issue.

I really am not a whiner at all, but I’m feeling way too overwhelmed today.  I am not in a good place to shoulder the burden of worrying about the yield from this cycle. Not to mention physically I feel pretty crappy.  Work has been really stressful too and really the last thing I need to be worrying about on top of all the stress of IVF.  I need to take this weekend to lay low and relax and hope that I get some better news Sunday.

Still waiting to start IVF #2

Since my last post, I was able to gather my new insurance information and get it over to the financial rep at my RE’s office. She called me back last week with incredible news:  My cycle has been authorized and will be covered by my insurance. I’m still waiting to see exactly what the details are, but based on the letters I received from my provider in the mail, PGS and ICSI may be covered too. It is very possible we will be responsible only for biopsy, shipping and freezing fees, plus my deductible.

I absolutely cannot believe our good fortune. I know how expensive fertility treatments are, and I feel so grateful to have had 1, possibly 2, retrievals and 1 FET covered so far.  Even with all of that coverage, we still spent $20,000 out of pocket last year, so my heart goes out to those who have no coverage whatsoever.

We are fortunate in that we live comfortably and can afford to keep doing IVF even after the insurance coverage runs out, but we also know there is realistic possibility we will be shelling out 6 figures for a gestational carrier at some point, and so we want to minimize all costs as much as possible up until that point, as that will be a life-changing expense.

As for right now, I am about halfway through a 10 day course of Prometrium, so I am expecting I will have my baseline in the next 1.5 to 2 weeks. I did get confirmation today that all of my meds have been ordered, so we are well on our way to starting the cycle. I am definitely not excited, because IVF doesn’t hold that “we’re so close to being pregnant” feeling for me since it has failed a few times already.  But I do also know that it gets me closer than not trying at all, and I am still holding out hope for a miracle.

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