Infertility · IVF · IVF round 2 · TTC

Just heartbroken.

Since my last post lot has happened. I’ll start from where I left off last time. I went in for a few more scans and they ended up seeing a total of 17 eggs. I knew all of these were not completely mature and they’d end up retrieving less than this but I was so hopeful that we were looking at retrieving a decent amount. I triggered on Friday October 2nd and my egg retrieval was scheduled for Sunday October 4th. We stayed the night in the city on that Saturday and enjoyed an amazing dinner out together.

We woke up Sunday morning and drove to the FCI location in River North. I was so sad that Brandon couldn’t be there with me and I was scared to go under anesthesia without anyone there when I woke up but there was nothing I could do about it and these eggs needed to get out! I signed all the paperwork and waited patiently for it to be my turn. They put me in the room right next to the procedure room so while I waited there I could hear them counting the eggs they were retrieving for someone else.

Before I knew it it was my turn. They led me to the procedure room and the nurses, anesthesiologist, and embryologist all introduced themselves. They placed an IV catheter in my hand and before I knew it I was on a Fentanyl high and couldn’t be happier. Shortly after that they gave me Propofol and the next thing I remembered was waking up in my recovery room. I was on cloud 9 and never felt better. I kept thanking the nurses and telling them how wonderful they were. They reported that 11 eggs were retrieved!

I face timed Brandon in my stupor and told him I was doing great and I’d see him soon. The drugs wore off and as soon as I was able to stand and walk I met Brandon outside and we drove home. Now it was the embryologists turn to work their magic and make some beautiful embryos.

I received a call the following day with our first report: 11 eggs were retrieved, 8 were mature and 4 fertilized.

I was a little disappointed. I was hoping to be working with better numbers but hey it could be worse. I got another call 2 days later and they said we still have 4 embryos growing and my transfer would be Friday October 9th 🥳

We decided to stay in the city again because when someone offers to watch you kid for the night you take them up on that offer. Always. We went to the same restaurant for dinner because it was all I could think about. We walked back to our hotel room, watched the Bears game and went to bed. I was getting knocked up in the morning!

We woke up and got some breakfast and a few hours later I started filling up my bladder. A full bladder changes the angle of the uterus to make the transfer easier. It also helps the doctor visualize the catheter better through abdominal ultrasound. I dreaded this part. I have a very weak bladder and what feels “full” to me probably feels like nothing to other people.

We arrived at my appointment an hour ahead of time as directed. Brandon gave me a kiss at the door and I was off on my own to get pregnant. Do you have any idea how weird it is getting pregnant without your husband in the room? The doctor came in to give me my embryo report and tell me about the one we would be transferring that day. He started the conversation with “well it’s kind of the same thing that happened last time.” My heart sunk. No. Please no. Please don’t tell me all the other embryos stopped growing.

They did.

My heart was shattered. I couldn’t believe this happened again. He could tell I was visibly upset as my eyes immediately began to fill with tears. He told me I still have a good shot. I still had 1 embryo left to transfer. It was graded a 3BB. My heart sunk again. Vivian was a 1AA – literally the best graded embryo you can get. He tried to assure me that this was still a good graded embryo. He told me that earlier that day he had to cancel another girl’s transfer all together because she didn’t have anything to transfer. He also has a patient who has 10 leftover embryos – no one wants 10 babies so now she’ll have to decide what to do with all those.

It put things into perspective. Yes, things could be worse. I was lucky to have something to transfer but I just couldn’t believe I went through all of this again to end up with only 1. If this doesn’t work I have to do this all over again.

I face timed Brandon and told him the news. As I cried he also assured me everything was going to be OK. The nurse came in and asked if I felt like my bladder was full. Umm heck yeah I do. She checked with the ultrasound and said no not even close 😫. She brought me in some more water and I chugged it down. Within minutes the pressure of my full bladder was absolutely horrific. I know that sounds dramatic but I couldn’t stand it. It was extremely painful. I asked them if we could get this done because I wasn’t sure how much longer I could wait.

In about 10 minutes (omg my bladder was going to explode) the room was filled with nurses and my doctor. He placed the catheter up into my uterus and the embryologist came in with my beautiful little embryo.

Immediately after it was done I ran to the bathroom. I think I peed for 5 straight minutes.

The two week wait had officially begun. The worst part of this entire process. I told myself I wouldn’t stress and I’d keep busy. The days were filled with house cleaning, a visit to the pumpkin patch with Viv, I let Viv do my makeup and hair one morning, work, etc. The days were also filled with a lot of stress and wondering. Even though I promised myself I wouldn’t worry and obsess, I did. Some nights I’d be up for hours scared it didn’t work.

Later into the week I started having some light spotting. It was extremely light. Most people probably wouldn’t of even noticed it. I was a little worried but I’ve heard of plenty of success stories where woman spot so I tried not to overthink it (🙄). I didn’t have anything the next 2 days so I was back on the “hey this could of worked” train and feeling hopeful.

That Saturday rolled around and I had to work. The spotting happened again and this time it was definitely noticeable. I cried in the bathroom and decided that I had to test when I got home. I needed to know. I couldn’t sit in this land of limbo anymore.

Immediately after I got home from work I peed on a pregnancy test. I looked at it after just seconds and saw nothing. Not even a faint second line. My heart shattered. Brandon thought I was being ridiculous considering I JUST peed on it but I knew. I knew it was fucking negative. I somehow feel like I knew from the day the embryo was transferred. I had a gut wrenching feeling it wasn’t going to work. I fell to the floor and lost it. I cried my eyes out while Brandon held me. I can’t fucking believe this. I just put my body through hell for nothing. We have no leftover embryos so it’s not like I could even look on the bright side. That’s the most expensive period I’ve ever paid for. I hate my body, I hate that this has to be so hard, and I hate that I can’t make Vivian a big sister.

I laid in bed the rest of the night and Brandon brought me all sorts of treats and goodies. I definitely coped with food that day. I was devastated, depressed and scared of what this means. Are we ever going to be able to have another child? Is Vivian ever going to get to meet her baby brother or sister?

Later in the night we all ate ice cream cones in bed and I forced a smile on my face for my girl.

I went in 2 days later for my official beta test and they called later in the day to confirm it was negative 💔 My nurse said I could start another cycle right away but I can’t. I can’t put my body through it all again. At least not now. I’m scared of how intense the medications made me feel. I didn’t feel like this during my first round of IVF. It’s hard to feel such strong side effects and then not get what you want at the end.

I need time for my body and heart to heal.

Infertility · IVF · IVF round 2 · TTC

Co-No you didn’t

It’s crazy to read my last post and think of everything that has unfolded since March. 2020 has been a legit shit show. Let’s review what has happened since then…

We didn’t go to Disneyland 😭

Covid-19 has led to a global pandemic leaving our country in a state of economical depression, record unemployment, a toilet paper shortage (yeah, still way confused over that one), and an overall state of panic across the world. We contemplated even going through with our IVF cycle in March given the current status of the world. It didn’t matter what we wanted to do because on March 17th hospitals were told to delay elective surgeries. Even if we wanted to go to through to with it, we couldn’t.

So we waited in uncertainty. Unsure when we’d be able to start, unsure if we’d even want to start given everything that was going on.

We received an email from our physician on May 11th stating that they were going to (safely and with precautions) restart IVF treatment for all patients. I was excited to hear the news knowing we weren’t in a state of limbo anymore but there was one precaution that they put in place that put us at a screeching hault.

They were not allowing spouses in for anything meaning I’d be alone at my egg retrieval, the embryo transfer, and any ultrasounds if I get pregnant 💔. I was devastated to hear this. I remember being an emotional wreck at my egg retrieval and the thought of Brandon not being there with me scared me. It also broke my heart to think he couldn’t be there to see the first ultrasound of our baby. So at this point we decided to wait. We were hoping the world was going to get back to normal by the end of the summer 🤣.

We all know that didn’t happen. I think it actually got worse 😫. We came to the decision that no matter what, policy change or not, we were going to start in September.

So as I write this today (September 28th) let me update you where we are.

I started birth control on August 29th. As I’ve mentioned before, this is the first step in my protocol to begin IVF. On September 12th I began Lupron which is the “down regulation” shots that prevents my body from prematurely ovulating during the ovarian stimulation process.

On September 21st I went in for baseline ultrasound and blood work to get the green light to start stims. Everything looked good so I was started on 375 units of Follistim and continued on the Lupron. I was instructed to take these injections for 4 nights and then return back on September 25th for a monitoring scan and blood work. The nurse called later in the day to report that they saw 4 follicles growing on the left and 1 on the right. My stomach dropped. I was hoping they were going to see more. I asked the nurse if those were good numbers and she assured me they were, we still had time for new follicles to emerge. I was instructed to start another injection called Menopur at 150 units. This one stimulates follicle production. I was to decrease the Follistim to 225 units since we added on the Menopur. Again, still continuing with the Lupron. I got off the phone and cried. I think I was just reminded that this is all so real and we’re actually going through with it. Everything happened so perfectly the first time around and I think I was going into it this time thinking it will be the same but it might not be. So I had my moment of panic and moved on. It is what it is. I was told to return Sunday the 27th for another scan. We had to go to their River North location since it fell on a weekend.

We went out the night prior to an Oktoberfest that was held at a local brewery. I decided I was actually going to drink and have a good time. The first time I did IVF I didn’t have a sip of alcohol during the whole process but this time around I’m going easy on myself. I didn’t overindulge by any means – I had a responsibly good time 😊. I had to bring my 3 shots with me and shoot up in the bathroom. I lifted up my dirndl and injected myself 3 times in the belly and returned to my friends and family to continue with the Oktoberfest celebrations.

We woke up Sunday morning and drove to Chicago for our 8:45 appointment. Everyone at that location was so sweet and helpful. The woman doing my ultrasound stated thing were growing “oh so good” and the woman that drew my blood told me a nurse would be calling later with my report.

The nurse called and reported they were now seeing 5 follicles on the left and 8 on the right 😲 13 total!! I almost asked her if she was sure she was talking about the right patient. I couldn’t believe it!! 13!? Helllll yeah!! No wonder I’ve been feeling awfully bloated and crampy.

So that’s up to date on where we stand now. I go in tomorrow morning for another scan. I’m guessing my egg retrieval will fall later in the week. Please cross your fingers and your toes for us!!

IVF

I got follicles on the brain

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Boy the fertility center was packed on Saturday.  I looked around the room at all the different couples in the waiting room.  It was so cool to see people from all walks of life – younger couples, “older” couples (“old” in fertility years.  they say a woman’s success rate goes down dramatically at 35 years), same sex couples, and then us.  We, fortunately, would still fit in that “younger couple” group.  Anyways, there were so many people there.  So many people going through the same journey as we are.  Some just beginning down this infertility road and some probably nearing their end.  It really gave me a sense of normalcy for once.  I’m not alone.  Infertility is so common.  I wanted to go around to each couple or woman and pick their brain and ask them about their story.  Ask them how they got here, ask them how long they’ve been trying.  I wasn’t going for the crazy-lady-look tho so I kept my mouth shut but I wanted so bad to hear someone else’s journey to make me feel reassured we can do this together.

We got to our appointment a little early cuz we didn’t know how long it was going to take to get there and what the parking situation would be.  This was the first monitoring appointment Brandon was able to be at and it was nice having him see what these appointments entail.  They called me back for my ultrasound with a group of other woman.  I told Brandon it felt like we were herding cattle.  We were led to a second waiting room.  A second waiting room?  That’s how big the Chicago office is.  So many people and so many waiting rooms.  Brandon and I sat down and just as I was thinking “gee I wonder how long we’ll have to wait in this room for” I heard the nurse yell “Antonia G”.  Sweet, first in line!

I laid on the exam table with my feet up in the stirrups, a position I’m oh so familiar with, and was introduced once again to my new best friend, the vaginal probe.  Oh, hello old friend good to see you again.

With my nerves pulsing I quickly asked the nurse if she was still seeing 6 follicles on the right side to which she replied “I don’t know dear, I just started”.  :::Ok, calm down Toni.  Give her a chance to do her job:::

So I sat there while she measured and measured and Brandon was watching the screen probably wondering what the hell he was looking at.  When she was done she gave us our numbers.  The moment of truth.

3 on the left and 7 on the right.  10 follies ranging in size from 8.8mm-16.9mm.  A good size follicle for ovulation is 18-24mm.  So while I’m happy with the amount of follicles I’m still praying for them to reach a mature size.  See there’s just so many things to worry about and over analyze!

When my nurse called later she informed us of the ultrasound results again and said that my estrogen was trending good at 649.  “Uhh, ok is that good?”  I asked her.  She said that it was and my last estrogen level was 250.

So me being me I googled “estrogen levels during IVF” as soon as I got off the phone with her.  I read that each mature follicle should be producing an estrogen level of 150-200.

Cue Toni freak-out-mode.  Here are the thoughts running through my head:

  • If each follicle should be producing a level of 200 and I only have 650, does that mean I only really have 3 good follicles in there?
  • Why would my nurse say my estrogen is trending well? 650 sounds like a horrible number now that I’ve asked Dr Google (cue palm to face).
  • This IVF cycle is going to be a bust.  This is all for nothing.  I bet they’re not going to get even 1 good follicle.  My body sucks.  I can’t believe I thought it had potential to do this.
  • I’m definitely gonna have to do 12 more rounds of IVF to get a good number of follicles.

Yeah.  I’m absolutely insane, I know.  Insane is probably an understatement.  Bat shit crazy? Yeah that’s more like it.

After talking myself down from my mental break-down I proceeded with my normal life.  I’ve managed to take my mind off of it (at least until I go in again tomorrow for my next ultrasound/blood work appointment).  Med protocol is the same for now – still 3 shots a night.

Today helped keep my mind occupied on other things.  We had my niece, Lyla’s baby dedication ceremony.  Here’s me feeling pretty and letting my mind be free of IVF worries.  Anyone know where the bathrooms are in this place?

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IVF

Stimlulation Station

February 28, 2017

So I’m currently on Day 5 of taking my stimulation shots to grow all the follicles! I’m on 225 IU of Gonal F and 5 units of Lupron.  It’s been… interesting.  I had a full on mood swing this weekend where I thought Brandon was literally scared of me (once again, poor guy).  This morning I felt absolutely awful with nausea and stomach pains but it wore off through out the day, thank God.  I can definitely feel something going on in my ovaries that’s for sure.  20170228_203217Brandon has been helping me with my shots which makes it nice cuz we can do two at once which kinda makes it feel like it’s just one.   This picture is after work on Monday night.  He likes to give me the Lupron.  These are the things were bonding over now-a-days!

I went in this morning for my first follicle check since starting the stim shots. I have 5 measurable follicles and 12 in the “background” waiting to grow.  Whoah, if I feel swollen now how will I feel when I could potentially have 17 follicles in my ovaries. Huge, I’m guessing.  When my nurse called with my numbers she said things are coming along but my doctor wants to add in Menopur to help increase the number of follicles and help them mature.  The new plan is Lupron 5 units, Gonal F 150 IU, and Menopur 150 IU. 3 shots a night, yay. 20170303_115121

Holy hell does the Menopur sting.  I hate it.  I dread it.

I go back on Thursday, March 2nd for more monitoring to see where things are at.

March 3, 2017

Brandon and I took guesses on how many follicles would show up on my ultrasound yesterday.  He guessed 9, I guessed 8.  I was right, obviously.  Although I wish he was, I’d take 1 more!  I’m happy we have 3 more showing up since my last ultrasound but I’m just getting a little worried that we won’t make it to over 10 by the time retrieval comes.  My nurse said they like to see over 10 but will go in with as little as 4 but that is a very low number.  She assured me that there is still time for growth.  I just need to talk myself down from the anxiety I’m feeling over only having 8 at this point.  I worry way too much, I know.

I’m not experiencing too drastic of side effects right now.  Definitely have a sore tummy tho.  I’m running out of areas on my belly that don’t hurt or aren’t bruised.  This statement has never been so true – the struggle is real.

I’m still doing 3 shots a night and I go in tomorrow for blood work and ultrasound.  Since it’s a Saturday we have to go to the Chicago River North location.   So tomorrow morning we’ll wake up bright and early to head downtown for our appointment at 8:45.  Please, please say there are more pretty little follicles in there!