Friday, January 29, 2010

And 7 became 5

Day after ER and I am feeling just fine. Most of the bloating and gas is gone. I'm still taking it easy as I don't have tons of energy.

The clinic called this morning with our fertilisation report aka THE SCARIEST PHONE CALL OFALL TIME.

Out of my 7 eggs, all 7 were mature and 5 of them were successfuly fertilised through ICSI.

I am so happy that all of them were mature. I hope this signals my eggs are good quality.Because we have 5 embryos, this means we are on the cusp and it is still not a done deal that we will transfer on day 5. Can anything be easy just for once??!  So now we wait until tomorrow's scary phone call to let us know if all 5 are still alive and kicking. If we have less than 5, we will proceed with a 3 day transfer (on Sunday). 5 day transfers often enjoy higher pregnancy rates but at the same time, I am so scared that we will lose them by day 5.

Overall this is a good news day considering the number of eggs we had to work with. I want my embabies back home. It feels weird to think about the fact that they are spending the weekend without me. I love them already!

Memories of an egg retrieval

Well yesterday was the big day. Note: I have many big days in this cycle but I count ER day as Big Day #1.  Everything went swimmingly well. We arrived an hour early and were escorted into the back room to change into our scrubs (husband looked hot, I was wearing 2 frumpy gowns but hey it's not a fashion show).

The nurse let me relax in a big recliner until it was time to give me a big injection of sedative in my bum. Within a few minutes Ii was feeling pretty reeelllaaaxxed. They then started me on an IV drip with some kind of other painkiller. It's funny because at the time I felt aware of everything that was happening but looking back on the event yesterday I don't remember most parts in the OR.

I remember watching my follicles drain on the screen. The dark craters were being coloured in with a pencil least that's what it looked like to me in my drug induced state.

I do remember hearing the embryologist in the room shout out 1! 2! 3! Phew we have lift off. We have eggs.
After 15 or 20 minutes I was wheeled back to the comfortable recliner to eat cookies and sip on apple juice until I became lucid.

The final count was 7 eggs. Sadly, I was quite disappointed with the count because the doctors told me they like to get 8-15 for someone my age. They were careful not to overstimulate me and they certainly met their goal. I was sent home to sleep and be taken care of by my nurse husband (who did an excellent job).

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Pulling the trigger.

YES! Today Is Trigger Day. I have enough follicles at the right size, an  endometrial lining that is thick enough and my estrogen levels have been steadily rising.

This is the final injection before my eggs are retrieved in 36 hours time.

No more needles at 7am and 7pm in my belly. No more ultrasounds until THE ultrasound when I can see our beautiful little embryo happily growing inside of me. Positive thoughts, positive thoughts.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Another day, another ultrasound. Day 11 (or day 10 on stims)

Back from yet another ultrasound and bloodtest. I don't even think I am aware of how many follicles I had today. I never got the final count. When the sonographer was ''taking pictures'' of my ovaries I was amazed to see how much they have changed.  I could actually see the distinction between the big craters as I lovingly like to call them. My follicles are growing! Sadly they have not grown quite enough yet.  I have a lead follicle which has grown to 20mm and will be out of the race soon. If we triggered now, I could potentially use him but by the time they do the retreival, he will be too big, or overripe if you will. The trade off, if that I have a bunch of other guys just waiting to grow some more which is why they are keeping me on the stims at least for 1 more day. I guess that is fair. I'll lose one to potentially gain 5 or 6.

back again tomorrow. fingers crossed that I can trigger tomorrow night!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Day 10 Stims

I haven't posted for a few days as I was too annoyed to write on Thursday (Day 7 but only 6 days of stims). It was just one of those days I guess. I had to wait over 2 hours at the clinic, had a loopy ultrasound technician, a nurse who jammed the needle so hard into my vein that I bled for 10 minutes after they drew blood and then I had a jerk on -call doctor.  None of this was helped by the fact that I was freaking out over an interview I had scheduled for the following morning.

So on day 7, the mean doctor told me that I had 3 follicles at 11mm. Much to my annoyance and shock considering I had 23 follicles on day 5. Yes I knew they wouldn't all grow but 3? He even happily pointed  out the small dots on my chart to confirm. 1, 2, 3.

He said that yes, hopefully more would grow. Ideally in an IVF cycle with someone my age they hope to get 8-15 mature follicles. My 3 are nowhere near to being mature so I am to continue on my regular dose of stims for a while.

Fast forward to Saturday (Day 9 or 8 days of stims) and I now have 8 follicles at 11mm. I was feeling much better but still worried about growth. In order to qualify for a 5 day transfer, I need a minimum of 5 fertilised embryos which means that I need more than 5 eggs because inevitably, some eggs will not fertilise properly. They keep saying quality over quantity and are playing it safe.

I am back at the clinic on Day 11 (aka Day 10 of stims) for another check up. Now I have to hope that my 8 eggs have grown much larger than 11mm. In order to trigger me for retrieval I need to have them at 17mm.

Confused yet? So am I!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The first numbers are in

I had my very first ultrasound check up today since starting the stimulation. The purpose was to check on the number of follicles growing in each ovary and to check my blood levels for estrogen.

I am still waiting to get my bloodwork back however the ultrasound result came back with a total of 23 follicles at 9mm (tiny ones). The goal is to stimulate them to 18 mm. Apparently they grow at a rate of 2 mm per day so another 5 days is the estimate for trigger. I feel like 23 is a lot!  I was concerned about too much of a good thing. Overstimulation is dangerous and can be the cause for a clinic to cancel a cycle entirely. I breathed a sigh of relief when  the doctor who reviewed the my results said they were great looking follicles. To me, they looked like miniature dark craters  on the screen but who am I to argue with the professional.

I can hardly wait to go back in on Thursday and see my follicles again.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Top 10 stupid things people say to the infertile couple

Alright, I need to write this post because let's face it, people have said some really stupid things to me over the last 18 months. Sometimes I wonder if people even think before they speak. My husband likes to remind me that I can't hold it against them. They don't understand infertility. They don't know what to say. I know. How about not saying anything at all! In all fairness, he is probably right but it doesn't stop me from remembering their comments and then posting them on here to have a good laugh. And yes these are all things I have been told. I'm sure many women have heard the same.

10. Just relax and you will get pregnant. Mmm.. true.  Stressing out does not improve anything but all the tequila and vacations in the world will not change my husband's sperm count.

9. I know someone who tried and tried for years and couldn't get pregnant, adopted and then BAM all of a sudden she had a natural pregnancy. Of course you know someone. So does my hairdresser and my cleaning lady's ex-husband's cousin. And no she didn't just BAM get pregnant all of a sudden because you just told me she tried and tried for years. Maybe she was cool with conceiving at 39 for the first time, but I'm not.

8. Ugh it sucked we got pregnant the first month. We didn't even get to practice. Giggle.Giggle. You didn't even get to practice? What happened? Did your husband's penis fall off after your conceived? You can't DO IT when you are preggo? Maybe you should have used a condom if you didn't want to conceive.

7. OMG I am getting fat. Yup that's what happens when you get pregnant. Oh I'm sorry you want pity..from me?

6. Being pregnant sucks. You're so lucky. I would kill for a glass of wine. You want to know what sucks? Spending 11 thousand to inject myself daily, harvest my eggs  and then hope to God that one takes when I put it back in because that it the only way I can become a mom. Man am I lucky I can get drunk though!

5. I know he has a low count but you only need one sperm! Actually no, we need millions to get the job done the old fashioned way. We even need millions for insemination.

4. Did you try charting your ovulation? My neighbour's sister tried for 12months and then used ovulation test sticks and conceived the first month. 1) Your neighbour's sister is obviously dumb. 2) Do you really think I am about to blow 11k on the most complicated fertility procedure that exists and not even know if I ovulate?

3.Just wait until you have kids and you'll see. It's not as fun as it seems. They're so much work. Hold the phone! Cancel the cycle! I had no idea kids required patience and hard work. Yuck! What was I thinking?

2. I don't know about all those fertility treatments. Are you sure? You're going to end up with like 6 kids. Yes I am going to be JUST like octomom. Fucking.Idiot.

1. Oh well just think, if it doesn't work, you can just do it again. You bet. Next time we will use your visa ok?

Human Pin Cushion Part 2

I am actually beginning to really enjoy acunpuncture. I have been undergoing treatment for a few months now (minus the time I spent away on my trip). The scary machine that is supposed to make light tapping sensations does just that. The needles that caused a jello like movement in my abdomen no longer hurt. In fact, some treatments have been so relaxing that I have fallen asleep. The room is kept warm with space heaters and at times, individual heaters are placed over my needle pierced stomach. In this January cold, it has become a time I look forward to. I have no responsibilties but to relax. I have used this time to focus on a postive outcome of our IVF cycle and sometimes even allow myself to daydream where I can actaully visualise our baby. I can see the nursery, my beautiful pregnant belly, the joyful moment when we share the news with our family.

I think about IVF all day long but during my acupuncture I get time to think about it without any distractions or negative thoughts. It's just me, a warm room, relaxing music and a whole world of hope.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Grow Eggies Grow!

Woo-hoo I got the green light to start the stimulation phase of my cycle today. I will be taking 150 units of puregon daily for around 10 days. Puregon is a Follicle Stimulating Hormone that will help my ovaries create many follicles with many ripe eggs instead of just one mature egg like I would have in a normal cycle.

I guess this is the exciting (and very scary) part of the treatment. I just have to hope I stimulate well but not too well otherwise my cycle could be cancelled.

I have included a picture of the little puregon pen that could.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

I thought I was over this

After so many months of trying to conceive I thought I would be done with the jealousy of hearing yet ANOTHER pregnancy announcement. They come in all shapes and forms but the one that makes me most annoyed (read: neurotic) are the ones on facebook. It is ridiculous. I actually find myself noticing wall posts or stalking tagged photos of people I went to high school with and haven't seen in years. Does she look fat? Definitely pregnant because she was always so skinny. There is just no way she can be that big and not preggo! Hmm all these people are writing congratulatory messages. Is she pregnant?

I can't even stop myself and I wish I could because it's self torture. This, by the way, is being written as I have just discovered yet another person announcing their pregnancy by means of their 3 month ultrasound as their latest profile picture. So I ask myself, ok maybe they didn't just get pregnant right away either. Not that is matters but it makes me feel better. Nope wrong again. Since facebook contains such trivial information as "Jessie is watching Dancing with the Stars, yippee", you can be sure that the important stuff like wedding photos are also posted. So.. said pregnant person got married in September and is already 3 months pregnant. Let's do the math. Something tells me this person does not even have the word infertile in their vocabulary.

Alright my rant is done for now. I want to be done with jealousy but dammit facebook you make it so hard!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

If I had a million dollars

I'd buy a nice chesterfield or an ottoman? The Bare Naked Ladies may have, but these days it seems all it might get me are a few IVF treatments. That is one of the funniest comments people make (more to come on that subject in another post). They say ''If this one doesn't work, you can always just do another one''.

It's that simple. Do another one. Perhaps I should suggest that they offer me their bank account for payment of the next round.

So far we have spent:

Detailed Semen analysis $220
Karyotype Test for semen $400
IVF consent signing  $200
Antibiotics for baseline ultrasound  $20
Birth Control Pill (weird i know)  $15
IVF cycle $6000
ICSI (the process whereby they inject a single sperm into the egg) $1500
Freezing $300
Suprefact medication $160
Puregon $1200

for a grand total of $ 10015. And not a single penny covered by OHIP.

According to the Ontario Government, only women who have both tubes blocked (a rare event) are covered for up to a maximum of 3 IVF cycles. Under any other circumstance, such as when the male does not produce sperm, no coverage is offered. Despite the fact that 1 in 6 Ontarian couples will struggle with some form of infertility, the Government cannot seem to dig deep into their pockets to change this unfair law.

Currently the Government is reviewing a report released  by the Expert panel on Infertility and Adoption. The panel strongly urges the Government to fund up to 3 IVF cycles for all couples if needed. I have written to my MPP on this issue and I encourage anyone living in Ontario reading this to do the same.

A link to the report can be found here:   Expert Panel on Infertility and Adoption

Until the panel's recommendations are passed, my husband and I will continue to drain our bank accounts as we try so desperately to start a family. I can just imagine future family conversations. Sorry honey you don't get to go to hockey camp. Mommy and Daddy blew $30000 trying to have you and another $20 grand on your sister. Maybe you can grab a stick and peel around the driveway.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Injection fun

Day 2 of my suprefact injection and things are going well. At least I think they are. I haven't grown a 3rd arm or anything yet. I am waiting for these nasty side effects to kick in. The headaches and hot flashes the nurses told me about as they throw my 29 year old ovaries into a menopausal state. The nurse also said some people will not have any side effects. Maybe that will be me!

I am starting to freak out about the process more. Once again not at the process itself but the end result. There is a good chance this will not work. During the daytime I manage to rid my brain of these negative thoughts but before I go to bed, I lie awake thinking that this could be an epic failure.

I guess my rollercoaster continues into 2010.