Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Embryo #4

Got the call today from the Embryologist & I am saddened to say that our 4th little embie arrested overnight so that means no embies to freeze :( On day 3 it was a grade B & just stopped cleaving for whatever reason so of course I can't help but wonder if the 3 embies they transferred will do the same!? I am going to make myself crazy with worry that this might not happen for us.

This waiting is the worst & to think I have 8 more days of it! I am heading to South Dakota for the holiday weekend to spend some time with my family so it will be a nice & much-needed distraction! My sister is the only one out of my family that knows we did IVF so it will be comforting having her there to talk to.

So, with that said, I hope everyone has a wonderful & safe Labor Day weekend!

What's Happening?

So for those of you that are curious, this is what is happening with the embryo after a 3-day transfer:

Day 1: embryo continues to grow & develop, turning from a 6-8 cell embryo into a morula
Day 2: the cells of the morula continue to divide, developing into a blastocyst
Day 3: the blastocyst begins to hatch out of its shell
Day 4: the blastocyst continues to hatch out of its shell & begins to attach itself to the uterus
Day 5: the blastocyst attaches deeper into the uterine lining, beginning implantation
Day 6: implantation continues
Day 7: implantation is complete, cells that will eventually become the placenta & fetus have begun to develop
Day 8: human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) starts to enter the blood stream
Day 9-10: fetal development continues & hCG continues to be secreted
Day 11: levels of hCG are now high enough to detect a pregnancy
The picture above shows the embryo at the time of fertilization to day four after 3-day transfer.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Embryo Transfer

We are back from the ET & all went well. When we got there, they walked us back to the IVF lab where we met with our RE. He went over our embryo status with us & we had 2 8-cell grade A & 2 8-cell grade B embryos.

Grade A: embryos that have round and symmetrical cells, look "textbook" perfect in every way and give high pregnancy rates when transferred.
Grade B: embryos have a small amount of cell fragmentation, but otherwise look relatively normal. A small amount of fragmentation is normal however, and can be expected in most human embryos.

He shared with us the guidelines of how many embryos he transfers in someone my age, the fact that we only had 4 eggs fertilized as well as the success rates. After much discussion, we decided to go ahead & transfer 3 embryos & will hope for the best.

The procedure was similar to having a PAP. They have you lay down & put your legs in the stirrups & then insert the speculum. In the meantime they are looking at your uterus on abdominal US the entire time. The embryologist went to get our embies from the lab & delivered them to our RE in a long catheter. The RE inserted the catheter into my uterus & we watched on the US as he injected our embies. They then took the catheter back to the lab to make sure all the embies had been injected & they had. That was it - easy peasy & took less than 10 min! They then transferred me back to the stretcher & moved me to a room where I laid for 30 min. Then I was able to get up & head home.

We are going to see how our 4th embryo develops & the Embryologist will decide on Wed whether or not it will make it to freeze. We are saying many prayers & crossing our fingers that at least one of these embies stick! Beta is scheduled to be drawn on Sept 10!

*sigh* It's going to be a LONG 11 days!

Fertility Report #3

This is what a perfect-looking 8 celled embryo on day 3 should look like:
Just got the call & all 4 embryos have made it to 8-cell stage so the plan is to go ahead and do the transfer today. The Embryologist said she performed "assisted hatching" to all 4 embryos & from what I have read, this is supposed to increase your chances of implantation.

ET is scheduled for 11am so I will provide an update when we get back! SO very excited...

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Fertility Report #2

The Embryologist called this morning to say that all 4 embryos look good & are cleaving nicely with no conerns. They are at the 4-cell stage & should be looking like this:

The plan is if they all make it to the 8-cell stage by tomorrow morning, then we will go ahead with the transfer at 11am Monday morning. If for some reason they are progressing a little slower than that, then we will let them grow until Wed & will do a 5 day transfer that morning.

I am SO nervous that my little embies will stop cleaving :( I just need to think positive thoughts but that is much easier said than done! Will update with the plan when I hear something tomorrow morning!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Fertility Report #1

Out of the 7 eggs retrieved, 5 were mature & 4 were fertilized by ICSI (as shown below): So incase you are wondering, this is what the embryos should be looking like this morning: Male & female genetic material (DNA) are contained in the 2 pronuclei seen in the center of the photo. Pretty amazing stuff isn't it?!?

Oh - & another pleasant note...
I started the vaginal progesterone suppositories last night. I am taking Endometrin rather than the Prometrium & I get to enjoy these lovely little tablets 3 x's a day!!! I thought since these were "pill-like" rather than "gel-like" that they would be better but I was sadly mistaken.

Instead of my "hoo-hoo" feeling constantly gooey it now feels constantly "wet" & like water is running out of me everytime I stand up. Pleasant visual isn't it?! Sorry if that is TMI! And to think I am going to have to take these all throughout my 1st trimester :(

BUT I am not going to complain because if the end result is a baby then I would shove these little bad boys up my "hoo-hoo" everday for the rest of my life!!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Egg Retrieval

My "lucky" socks

The day has finally arrived. After all the shots, the bloat, the headaches, the mood swings, the bruised belly - it is finally time to do the egg retrieval.

"Transform anxiety into excitement; focus not on the fear of what lies ahead but instead the possibilities you might create."

This is a great quote that I read yesterday & found it to be very inspiring for todays events. Trust me, we were BOTH full of anxiety. Shane was nervous he wouldn't be able to "perform" out of his comfort-zone we call "home" & I was anxious about being under anesthesia & the entire procedure itself.

We arrived at the RE's office around 8am & got checked in. By 8:15am they were taking Shane back to do his "thang" :) Then they took me to the IVF lab where I changed into a gown, made sure to put on my "lucky socks" (picked the pink flowery ones with the lacy ruffle :), signed some paperwork & met with the anesthesiologist. He put in my IV & by the time he was finished Shane had joined me. It was 17 minutes since I last saw him - can you say my husband is a rockstar!? So much for being "shy" - must have been some good visual-aids in that room :) lol

The RE met with the both of us & went over the procedure again & I signed the consent. Next thing I know I was being taken to the procedure room. They got me all hooked up to their monitoring equipment & propped my legs up in the stirrups & then I felt it....the wonderful "high" you get when they slip the feel-good medicine in your IV. 2 minutes later I was out & woke up back in my room with my wonderful husband looking over me. The whole procedure took about 30 min & I was glad it was over with.

I remember these 3 things as I woke up:
- Kenny Chesney was playing in my room on the overhead speaker - he is my absolute favorite country singer & calms me whenever I hear his music.
- They told me they retrieved 7 eggs & I kept saying "lucky #7"!
- I looked down to see that my lucky socks were still on....and they were.

I would like to think that these 3 things are a good sign & it gives me hope that this is all going to work out for us. Tomorrow we get our 1st fertility report so we will see how many eggs were mature & how many fertilized. In the meantime, I'm going to take my pain meds & spend the rest of the day curled up in bed. Other than some moderate cramping, I am feeling pretty good.

Until tomorrow...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Lucky Socks

There are a lot of websites I check everyday & www.thebump.com is one of them. It is a wonderful site full of valuable info & the infertility forum on there has lots of lovely ladies on it who are struggling with infertility themselves.

One of those lovely ladies headed up a "lucky socks" gift exchange which I participated in. A name was selected for us & for that person we were to buy a pair (or two) of "lucky socks" for them to wear to there IUI, egg retrieval &/or embryo transfer. I had a lot of fun picking socks out for my chosen person. She lives in Brooklyn, NY & it just so happens that we are on the same IVF cycle & she is having her egg retrieval tomorrow morning also! So ironic...

I was SO very excited to come home from work today to see my package had been delivered. This is what I found inside:

I got several super cute pairs of pink "lucky" socks, some homemade choc-chip cookies, penguin stickers, some chocolate & an adorable penguin & bulldog card. I LOVE it all - so very thoughtful!

Now I just have to figure out which pair of socks to wear to my ER tomorrow :)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Appt #3

Woo hoo - today was my final monitoring appt on stims! NO MORE SHOTS after tonight :) I am SO excited to get rid of this bloated feeling & all the bruising on my belly!

Today's results:
Estradiol = 886
Uterine lining - 8.8mm
7 follicles measuring 15mm-22mm
Several smaller follicles found that may catch up.

Was given the go ahead to stop the Lupron & trigger tonight with the Ovidrel injection. Egg retrieval is scheduled for 9am Friday morning.

Here we go...

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Appt #2

This morning was my 2nd monitoring appt. Estradiol was 250 so it is climbing whch is good.

I had 2 measurable follicles on each side around 11mm along with 3 smaller ones on each side so a total of 10 right now. Meds will remain the same & they moved my 3rd appt from Tues to Wed morning since I am responding a little slower this time around.

Saying a little prayer that the smaller ones catch up & we will be able to proceed with the IVF after Wednesday's appt! Looking at egg retrieval possibly Friday morning if Wed appt goes well!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Typical Night

This is a typical night in the life of a gal going through IVF. After the shots are all said & done, this is what is left behind to be discarded...Lupron 3 units + Bravelle 300 units + Menopur 75units = OUCH!

Say a little prayer that all these meds will keep my follies growing for tomorrow's appt!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Appt #1

Had my 1st monitoring appt this morning since I have been on the Bravelle. It was a bit disappointing as the US showed only a couple decent sized follicles & a bunch of little ones. My Estradiol was low at 59 also. So my RE asked me to increase my dose of Bravelle from 225 units to 300 units each night & then tomorrow night I start adding the Menopur injection in with the Bravelle to help the follicles grow. Unfortunately, I'm not going to have enough Bravelle to get me through to next week so I need to place another order to the pharmacy :(

My next monitoring appt is Sunday morning. Crossing my fingers that increasing my meds will help those follies grow!!!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Starting Stims

Tonight I start the stimulation meds - also known as "stims" - which is a generic term for "medication administered prior to egg retrieval that is intended to help a woman produce eggs."

I'm a little nervous because these Bravelle shots are a little more involved. I have to mix three different vials of powder with a saline solution using what's called a Q-cap & then I have to give myself not just ONE injection of Bravelle but I have to do an injection of Lupron also.
My poor belly...it is already all bruised up from the Lupron shots. Then later in the week I'm going to have to add a 3rd injection of Menopur. I will be glad when Aug 24th gets here...that is my potential "trigger" date & all these injections will be over with.

At least now I am able to decrease my Lupron dose. These constant headaches are really starting to get to me. Hopefully they won't be as bad on the lower dose of Lupron!?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Baseline appt

My first baseline appt was today. Uterine lining & ovaries all looked good & I got the go ahead from the RE to start my stimulation meds on Sunday evening. I will be doing 2 injections every night (Lupron & Bravelle) & will continue to take the baby aspirin.

I finished the BCP on Tuesday & have been on Lupron injections for 7 days now. Can I just say I HATE Lupron. It makes me feel insanely crazy. I have a constant dull, nagging headache that won't go away - even with Excedrin. I can go from sweet, innocent Heather to crazy, psycho bitch in a matter of 60 seconds - thank you co-workers for putting up with my mood this week. It hasn't been pretty. I feel like I am in a fog & have lost track of where I am going or headed to several times this week. And my emotions are a constant rollercoaster. Any TV show, commercial or situation that is even somewhat touching & I will bust out into tears.

With any luck I will only have 11 more days on Lupron.

Trust me....I am counting down the days!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Lupron Injections

Tonight I start my 1st Lupron injection & will continue these injections nightly for about 2 weeks. Still on the BCP until Tuesday & staying on the baby aspirin indefinitely.

The paperwork I got with the Lupron says: "these side effects may occur while using Lupron: nausea, vomiting, hot flashes, night sweats, severe mood swings, bone pain, swelling of feet & ankles, headaches, difficulty urinating the first few days as your body adjusts to the medication, & reduced sexual desire."
Gee...I can hardly wait!

Watch out Shane..."royal bitch" can & will appear at anytime! At least I can blame it on the meds :)

Thursday, August 5, 2010


My meds arrived today!

Just incase you all are wondering what $2100 of IVF meds looks like...

It's kind of scary to think that all this will be going directly into my body - some orally, some subcutaneously & some vaginally - YIKES!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Moving along

So I am 10 days into taking BCP & a baby aspirin & all is going well. I had my appointment this morning for a saline hysterosonogram. I also dropped off a sample of Shane' swimmers so they could do the 24 hour prep for the ISCI analysis. Needless to say, it's been a busy morning :)

The sonogram went well. The RE injected saline into my uterus & used the "vag cam" to look for any abnormalities (polyps, fibroids, uterine septum). According to our RE, everything looked perfect & healthy. Then he made some measurements so he would know what size catheter to use for the embryo transfer & after that we moved on to look at the ovaries. I had alot of small follicles on the right ovary & a few on the left with no cysts. He said after seeing that, I should have a really good response to the injections - hopefully he is right! He also told me that so far, all the IVF's he did last month have all come back BFP. Now I have no idea how many he did but when he said that, it gave me just a little bit more hope that this will all work out. After about 5 min it was all over with. I had some moderate cramping which was quite uncomfortable but didn't last too long. Thank goodness that part is over with.

Later in the day, Shane & I met with the Embryologist to sign the IVF consents, go over my injections class & all the meds I will be taking. Wow - we haven't signed that many papers since buying our house! I guess there is alot going on with this IVF stuff so we all needed to be on the same page...so to speak.

It was quite fun watching Shane in the injections class. We both got to practice drawing up pretend meds, mixing them & injecting them in a make-shift piece of rubber that was supposed to represent skin. Shane practiced his injection & the nurse & I both laughed at how slow he injected it. She said to Shane "your wife isn't going to let you inject her if you go that slow" :) He was too cute. After going through all the meds I will be mixing & injecting I was a bit overwhelmed. I am going to feel like a drug addict with all these meds I need to take!

The NP was nice enough to give me a free sample of Bravelle (follicle stimulating hormone) & Endometrin (progesterone suppositories) before we left which I was so grateful for since we are paying for all this OOP. Just looked online & that is over $400 in free meds....sweet! I'll take what I can get at this point.
Now that this is all out of the way, all there is left to do is order my meds & start my first injection of Lupron on Saturday. Seems like this process is moving right along....