Sunday, April 19, 2009

Meet Eenie and Meenie

Last Wednesday we had the egg retrieval and got seven mature eggs. I was sedated, so I didn't remember anything at all. After the retrieval, I spent the day at home sleeping. Thursday morning on the way to work, the embryologist called with a report. When he said, "unfortunately" my heart sank. Only two of the seven eggs fertilized. We had planned to name them "Eenie, Meenie, Miney, Moe" so this meant we just had Eenie and Meenie. When I told one of my coworkers, I started to cry, which told me that I was more upset than I realized. I didn't have time to think a lot about it at work though, so I emailed my mom to let her know and dove into work. Mom's reply -- that Eenie and Meenie are survivors -- was encouraging.

That night I reread the paperwork I had signed weeks ago -- a 17-page document that explained the process. You know, you read the stuff ahead of time but until you're living it, it just doesn't all sink in. I read all of the things that could happen to make an IVF cycle unsuccessful and I also did some reading online. There's a clinic in Chicago with lots of good info online. Their site is This reading was all a good reality check. As a result, I was prepared for a call Saturday morning that said not to come in because Eenie and Meenie didn't make it.

I went to the acupuncturist at 8 on Saturday and when I told her I was half-way expecting that call, I could tell she was disappointed with my attitude. She emphatically said that although people think this is hocus-pocus there are studies that show that our energy effects everything going on out there. I thought, "Oh great. So if Eenie and Meenie die, I killed them." Of course I didn't say this to her. I assured her that I'm hopeful as well as aware of the possibilities.

But you know what? The call didn't come!

After my acupuncture treatment I ran home to start drinking 64 oz. of water -- you have to have a full bladder for the transfer -- and to take 4 Advil and one Zanax as prescribed by my doctor. We arrived at the clinic for our 10:15 transfer at 9:45. I was excited but still bracing for the moment of truth when we learned whether it would be Eenie and Meenie or just Eenie. After changing into a gown (and my husband changed into scrubs so he could be in the OR with me) they did a quick ultrasound to see if my bladder was full... It was NOT! So the nurse asked me to keep drinking.

A few minutes later I was ready so we met the embryologist, who gave us a photo of E & M. She explained that they grade the embryos on a scale of 1 to 4. One is excellent and 4 is not good. Both E & M were 3s. She called them average. (Of course I thought, "No embryo of mine is average!!") She said they are both eight cells, which is exactly what they want to see on day 3 (day 3 after retrieval) but they have some fragmentation, which could make it difficult for them to implant.

We watched on the monitor as the doctor inserted the catheter into my uterus and injected E & M in there, too. He pointed out the little white dot on the screen, which was E & M, and then he circled it and printed it out. He said the placement was excellent.

They said -- and things I read on that web site noted above also said -- that they are perfectly viable embryos, even though they are fragmented. So the likelihood is less than if they were not fragmented at all, but the doctor said a twin pregnancy is a possibility.

I went back to the acupuncturist for a second treatment after the transfer and by that time, the Zanax had REALLY kicked in. I was feeling it in my head. My husband took me home afterwards and I laid on the couch the rest of the day. Today I got up and went to church and then to the local museum (for a quick 30-minute jaunt through a famous exhibit that was closing today). After that I had planned to run some errands but was feeling tired. I had a big nap on the couch and have pretty much been laying around since then. I didn't want to overdo it, so I figured since it's the weekend, I may as well take advantage and do all I can to rest up.

I've felt an odd "tightness" in my uterus today. Not exactly cramping. Almost like someone has a string tied to my insides and is pulling it together. It is way too early for any sort of symptoms so I'm thinking this is just an after-effect of something I've subjected my poor body to in recent weeks -- high-powered drugs, a needle through my vagina that sucks the eggs out of my follicles, two acupuncture treatments in one day, the transfer.... Who knows?

I am on progesterone and estrogen and have to occupy myself until next Thursday, April 30, for the results. I'm feeling fairly patient at the moment. I'm just really glad I got to see this cycle through to the end. I was going to be upset if it was cancelled because I would've felt like we didn't get a full shot this go 'round. We're on one of those financing programs where you get three tries (more if you have eggs to freeze) so I want to make the most of each attempt.

I should be able to keep myself pretty busy with work, so hopefully I won't get too emotionally erratic during the next 11 days. Will keep you posted!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Seven days of stimulation shots and counting . . .

On Friday, my doctor said, "I don't think you're going to need 12 days of meds." She saw 7 follicles on one ovary and 2-3 on the other. She seemed pleased, but I'm not sure if she's just one of those people who's always positive and encouraging. Not that I think she'd mislead me into thinking things were good if they weren't. My next ultrasound and bloodwork is tomorrow morning -- Easter Sunday morning. There's a chance they'll trigger me Monday, which means the retrieval would be Tuesday. But I think it will go one more day, at least. I will know more tomorrow.

I am also doing acupuncture. I went this morning. She told me that the day of the transfer, a lot of women -- in an effort to do everything they can -- go for two treatmeants. One before and one after the transfer. Who knows if that makes a difference or not? It would be an extra $270, I know that.

I am trying to stay calm but I feel my anxiety level rising at moments. Work is super-busy right now. I think I'll be glad about that after the transfer when I need to keep myself busy. This next week, I'll just be trying to stay calm.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Stim shots and such

The big box containing $4,000 worth of medication arrived late last week. I started twice a day shots of Lupron on Sunday along with a five day prescription of Letrozole, which I had with each of my five IUIs. I'm also on Dexamethasone every day until retrieval. Then Tuesday I added a shot of 375 units of Follistim, administered with a pen that you dial to get the correct dosage and a shot of one vial of Menopur, which you have to reconstitute before it's ready to inject. Thank goodness for the educational CD that shows you exactly what to do. I'd be lost without it. So that's four shots and two pills a day right now.

So far, no real reactions to the meds, which is good. I'm trying to sleep 7.5 to 8 hours a night, which is wonderful. That doesn't happen that often for me.

I'm excited about the next few weeks, to see what we'll learn. And the possibility seems so real, I can't help but be excited about it. I'm trying to temper those feelings with occasional reality checks... IVF isn't a success on the first try for many people. I've looked at the calendar to speculate when the retrieval and transfer might be and then I've looked ahead 2 weeks. Seems like I'll know if it worked in early May.

I actually asked two of my best friends with small children if either one of them had any baby clothes. It was kind of surreal because that was a first. I've been waiting off and on for like 12 years to get a positive pregnancy test, but I've never seriously thought about hand-me-down clothes from my friends' kids. (I wasn't trying to conceive for 12 years. Not at all. It was off and on -- mostly off -- during my first marriage and then for the past two years.)

It is nice to feel hopeful.