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OK, so maybe not three of a kind, but three in total. I was shocked when we walked into the transfer room this morning and the doctor told us that we had three to transfer this morning. Shocked. I was in no way prepared for that. He handed us a picture of the one blast and two morulas that we would be transferring. I took a quick look and made a comment about how we couldn’t get away from the morulas. He said something that I didn’t really pay attention to, but then mentioned how the blast was a perfect 4AA and looked absolutely great. Having three to transfer with one of them deemed “perfect” definitely lifted my spirits.

Transfer went smoothly for the first time ever, I think mostly because I told them that I wanted them to use the stiffer catheter right off the bat. I laid on the table for a half hour and then off we went.

Let the waiting begin,

Five is all we have, once again. Over the past six months I’ve had 53 eggs sucked out of me, and only 13 of them made it to the next day. That’s not even a 25% fertilization rate. Typical rates are 60%-70%. I’m not even at HALF of what’s typical.

What is wrong with my body? Honestly. I’ve done everything right. I’ve spent thousands of dollars on acupuncture, changed my entire diet and am otherwise a healthy young woman. I’ve never smoked or done drugs and didn’t wait too long to try to have kids. I can’t possibly fathom what I could have done to have made this go any better. Why is my body betraying me like this?

I tried really hard to not set myself up for disappointment, but my reaction to this news clearly shows that I failed at that. I knew that based on the past two cycles that we probably wouldn’t get a whole bunch of embryos, but I still hoped that the five months of DHEA that I’ve been doing along with my diet modifications would have made a slight difference. Apparently not. It was all just a big waste of time, effort and money.

And I know that anything can happen, but right now I’m just not in that frame of mind, so please don’t tell me that things could still work out. I’m well aware of that and know that crazier things have happened, but for right now I just want to mope and complain and whine. This is the same crappy, disappointing news that I’ve gotten every other time and I’m just so sick of it. For once I just wanted it to be good news. GOOD good news. News that brings a smile to my face instead of tears to my eyes.

Don’t I deserve better than this?

I’m so looking forward to this being over and done with so that we can move on. I’m so over all of this and ready to move on.

We got 16 eggs today, which is a number I’m completely happy with. Of course 16 eggs today means absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things. What matters is tomorrow’s phone call, telling us how many fertilized and are growing. This is without a doubt my least favorite part of all of this and I’m absolutely dreading the call. My stomach starts turning even thinking about it.

But it is whatever it is and only time will tell. I hate waiting.

This morning I took my last stim shot ever. I will never again give myself a shot to stimulate my ovaries to make loads of eggs. It’s a strange feeling since IVF has pretty much been my life over the past year. Now we’re at the end of that road, and it’s been interesting for me to look back over the past year and see exactly where we came from and where we’ve been since.

About a year ago we started having serious discussions regarding next steps should our final IUI’s not be successful. I was surprised how quickly Mark was willing to jump on the IVF bandwagon, in fact, he was the one who convinced me that we should do it. I was hemming and hawing over the costs and how we couldn’t afford it and he’s the one who said “Screw it, let’s just do it. It’s only money and we can always make more. Having a family is more important.” His steadfast commitment to the process made it all that much easier for me to say yes to the whole thing. Had he not felt so passionately about going forward with IVF, I’m not sure where we would be now.

To be certain, I never expected us to be where we are now. There are so many women out there who can honestly say that they knew they would have issues trying to conceive, but I’m not one of them. Not once did I ever envision us having problems as I’ve always had regular cycles and I’m still “young.” Even after we started seeing an RE, I really thought it was just a matter of time before we were successful. A bit too optimistic perhaps, but I felt like if we kept trying, eventually it would be our turn. Surely IUI would be as far as we would have to go down the ART road. Maybe in my subconscious I knew it wouldn’t work for us because even as I was certain we would get pregnant from IUI, I was still busy researching IVF, just in case.

When our last IUI wasn’t successful, the transition to IVF was surprisingly easy, given the huge emotional, physical, time and financial commitment that IVF actually is. Mentally I was completely prepared for IVF and to be honest, the physical aspects of IVF have been so much less intensive for me than I ever thought they would be.

So it wasn’t until last week that I realized what a big deal IVF actually is. I was fantasizing about how great it would be to get to tell people if I’m fortunate enough to become pregnant from this cycle. I’m sure that some people will ask if the pregnancy was planned. It’s my initial reaction to want to tell people everything that we had to go through, if for nothing else than to be a resource for someone else who may be going through the same thing. I imagined myself saying “yes, this pregnancy is the result of two and a half years of trying with three rounds of IVF” and as soon as I imagined saying those words, the enormity of everything that we’ve been through hit me.

I think I’ve become so entrenched in the world of infertility and ART that IVF has somehow become normal and unremarkable to me. I talk about IVF as if it’s no big deal, because for the most part it is no big deal to me. It’s my current normal. It’s what we have to deal with in an attempt to get what we want. And I’ve managed to make that so OK inside my head that I don’t even realize what a HUGE deal it actually is. THREE IVF cycles. That’s what we’ll have been through by the time this is all over and done with. And I know that there are loads of women out there who go through so much more and our history is nothing in comparison to many others, but it’s still so very much more than I ever thought we’d have to deal with. And it IS a big deal, no matter what I’ve convinced myself over time. We’ve somehow managed to make it through without too much damage to our marriage and overall well-being and for that I’m very thankful.

As I rode my bike to work this morning with every single bump in the road making me acutely aware of the swollen condition of my ovaries, I realized that this is indeed the end of an era for us. No matter the outcome of this cycle, we are definitely closing a very specific chapter in our lives. It’s been quite a ride for us, with lots of heartache, bad news and pain, but at the same time filled with so many good memories and bonding between us. I have no idea how this chapter will close, but I have great hope for our future regardless. You could even say I’m optimistically hopeful.

Today’s appointment showed that I have a couple of follicles around 17-17.5mm, and my clinic looks for 18mm before scheduling trigger. I told my nurse that I’d really like to hold out for one more day because last time my follicles were around the same size and we triggered anyway. That resulted in 18 retrieved and only 8 mature. I’m hoping that the extra day of stims will make all of the difference. So one more Follistim shot and then I trigger tomorrow night. Retrieval will be Thursday and transfer next Tuesday. Please oh please let this one be the one.

We had our second monitoring appointment today and everything continues to look good. Particularly exciting to me is that my largest follicle is now over 14mm, so I begin my Cetrotide shots tonight. I know, not something that excites most people, but the past two cycles I haven’t started my Cetrotide until Monday night, so this time we’re a day ahead of schedule. At this point, after having two cycles that were pretty much identical in schedule and outcome, any bit of a difference is appreciated. We go back tomorrow for another scan and hopefully can return home tomorrow with retrieval scheduled for later next week.

We are enjoying our time away from home and managed to score a hotel room on the 31st floor of a downtown hotel for super cheap. We’re loving the location and wandering around enjoying the city. It’s a great way to relax and keep everything very mellow. All in all, everything’s going well and I’m feeling optimistic again.

We had our first stim check this morning and everything looked good. The follicles that she measured were all around 8-10mm, and the nurse said that this was the best I’ve ever looked on day 5 of stims. She said that we didn’t even have to worry about being cancelled, which was kind of funny because, strangely enough, the thought hadn’t even crossed my mind. After being cancelled during our first cycle, it was all I could think about at my Friday checks for the past two cycles, but I never even considered it today untill she said something.

So for right now everything looks good and we should be on target for a retrieval late next week. It feels so good to not worry about anything and I’m trying to just go with the flow this time around. So far so good!

Welcome to all those who are stopping by for ICLM! To save you all the hassle of trying to figure out who I am and what my history is, I’ve typed up this spiffy little summary! My husband and I are in our early thirties and we’ve been trying to get pregnant since December of 2006. So far the only potential issue we have found is that I have an elevated FSH, but we knew that age is supposed to trump FSH, so we thought we’d have no problem conceiving. Five Femara with IUI cycles and two RE’s later, we decided to pull out the big guns and move to IVF.

Our first IVF cycle was a long lupron protocol, but the lupron over suppressed me and I was cancelled after four days of stims. The second cycle was supposed to be a micro dose lupron cycle, but I completely messed up my lupron doses and so we converted that cycle to a Cetrotide (antagonist) cycle instead. Retrieval yielded 19 eggs, but only three fertilized with ICSI and we had one blast and one morula to transfer on day five. The RE felt that we just got a “junky batch of eggs.”

The third cycle was a Cetrotide cycle from the start and yielded 18 eggs, but only 8 were mature at retrieval. Of those, five fertilized with ICSI and we were once again left with one blast and one morula on day five. Our RE stated that this batch was of much better quality than the last, but the cycle was still not successful.

We’ve just begun our fourth and final cycle. This is it for us…the end of the road as far as trying to conceive a child that is biologically part of both of us. I don’t hold out much hope that this cycle could end any differently than either of the two previous ones; it’s hard for me to even fathom that it could. But on the plus side, I’ve not given up hope that we will be parents one day. We have other alternatives that we are investigating (more on that to come) and know that someday our baby will find us.

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope that you’ll stick around and ride out this cycle with me!

Let me start by saying that I’d consider myself to be an experienced Repronex user. My first experience with Repronex was quite painful, but I thought I’d figured it all out after that. Turns out I was wrong. Check out the damage I managed to inflict on myself tonight.


See that little pooch sticking out of my belly? Yup…that’s Repronex. It’s just sitting there. Doing nothing. Nothing other than making my belly stick out. Lovely.


These shots were taken about a minute after I finished the injection…you can see a beautiful bruise already developing. So it turns out that I can’t even manage to inject myself without leaving a black and blue knot sticking out of my stomach. It feels like a rock and though it’s painless right now, I’m not convinced that’s how it’s going to feel tomorrow. Here’s hoping that this is just a fluke and not indicative of how the rest of the cycle will go.

Welcome to IVF version 3.5…enjoy your stay.

UPDATE: Just had to share the shiner I’ve developed overnight…isn’t it a beauty? Ah the things we’ll do for a baby.P1000393

So I’ve been pretty quiet lately as there really just isn’t much to say anymore. I’m in the dreaded waiting phase in between cycles and I’m having a really hard time even feeling interested in this upcoming cycle at all. I know that there are a lot of women out there who need three IVF cycles to get pregnant, but it’s still impossible for me to believe that this cycle could possibly have an outcome that is any different than the previous two.

We’re reaching the end of the “biological children” road and while I’ve said before that I’d be perfectly happy with a non-biological child (and I still stand by that), the thought of it makes me sad nonetheless. And if this cycle doesn’t work, then we’re headed into uncharted waters…not having a plan of what to do next. We discussed our options a couple of weeks ago on our way to Easter, but didn’t really come to any conclusions. While it was good to talk through things and I learned some new information from my husband, I still don’t know what’s going to happen if this doesn’t work. But that’s a different subject for a different day, I guess. For now we’ll just continue to wait and hope for the best.

If you’ll recall, during my last phone conversation with my nurse, she mentioned that I shouldn’t be discouraged because my RE has lots of tricks up his sleeve. When she said tricks, I was thinking fancy and unconventional protocols (EPP), co-culture, different med combinations, etc. As it turns out, my RE appears to have no tricks up his sleeve for me for our third and final IVF with this clinic.

Our WTF consult started out as it always has in the past, with him saying how he’s so sorry that things didn’t work out. It’s nice that he cares and expresses that emotion, but it kind of feels a bit hollow at this point. Anyway, he went on to say that I stim great, we just need to get some better results with the embryos. Obviously my concerns are that from 19 and 18 eggs retrieved, we’ve only ever ended up with one blast and one morula on day five. He mentioned that on average 4 out of 5 human eggs are “junk,” so my results aren’t too far from the norm. That stat really shocked me because it just doesn’t really mesh with how I see so many other women’s cycles go (not to mention all of the women who get pregnant the first month they try). But I guess it’s irrelevant, it doesn’t really matter what the stats are, just how things go for us.

So given that I had a good response to the last cycle, he plans to do the exact same antagonist protocol again. I was somewhat disappointed when I heard this because in the back of my mind I was hoping that he’d have some special “high quality” protocol that would be just perfect for me. To hear that we’ll be doing the exact same thing that we’ve already done was kind of a letdown.

OK, so no tricks up his sleeves with the protocol. The tricks must be in the details of the cycle. And here’s where I should give you some info on my doctor. He’s super technical and really seems to know his stuff (as he should for what we’re paying him) and he is very opinionated. If you bring up something that he doesn’t believe is useful in treating infertility, he will let you know, and in no uncertain terms, that he thinks it’s all a bunch of hooey. So without further ado, here’s the list of “tricks” that I came up with that were pretty much all shot down by him.

• Three day transfer – this was shot down since they believe that a five day is really the way to go. Never mind that the uterus is really the best place for those embryos to be while they’re trying to grow up nice and strong. But, in all fairness, I can’t really argue with this one too much since they do have a phenomenal pregnancy rate of 61.8% per transfer for my age group and 90% of their transfer are day five.

• Embryo glue – Many people have mentioned this, and it seems that my clinic already uses this, though I was completely unaware that they did. This is another one of those things that my doctor doesn’t really buy into and he even said that they’re going to discontinue using it in the future because it doesn’t really seem to make a difference in success rates.

• Assisted hatching – I remember from our consult many months ago that he said the clinic only does AH on day three embryos, not on blasts. He said once they get to day five most of them are already starting to hatch on their own, and if they aren’t, the blast can actually be damaged by scoring it at that stage. I knew this, but I thougth I’d question him on it again anyway. He stated that the hole that is made during the ICSI process usually works just like AH does. The blast tends to expand out of that hold just like it would if AH had be performed on the embryo. So I asked him if my two blasts had been hatching when they were transferred and he took a quick look at the photos and said that yes, both of them were starting to hatch. I looked, and for the life of me can’t see anywhere on either of the two blasts where they might have been starting to hatch, but I guess he’s the expert, not me.

• Co-culture – Many women have attributed their eventual success to co-culture, so I thought I’d ask if they even offered it at my clinic. He said that yes they did, but again it’s one of those things that he doesn’t believe actually increases pregnancy rates. He actually told me that it’s a pain in the ass and the lab people hate doing it and it’s more hassle than it’s worth. Wow. Just wow.

• Additional testing – I asked about additional testing like antibodies, thyroid, karyotyping, etc. He said we could if we wanted to, but the results are often hard to interpret and even more difficult to treat. Not sure I really understood this one, but he seems to think that the testing we’ve already done is sufficient. Since this is an area that I really don’t know a whole lot about, and because this testing can be really, really expensive, I was willing to take his half-assed response to this line of questioning as is.

So that’s the list of things that he essentially shot down. Here’s my list of consolation prizes…things he was willing to compromise with me on.

• ICSI – When we originally met with this doctor, he stated that it was possible that Mark could have developed anti-sperm antibodies due to two hernia surgeries. He told us that we could test for it, but if the test came back positive, the way to get around it is to just do ICSI. So to save the time and money involved in testing, he suggested just doing ICSI to avoid the whole issue. OK, fine. That’s what we did the first two times. Now I’ve heard experiences from women who have split their batch of eggs in half and done ICSI on half and let the rest fertilize naturally, and the ones that fertilized naturally have developed better than those that were ICSI’ed. I mentioned this to him and he said that he thinks those situations are ones where the ICSI is just not performed well and that’s what causes the embryos to not do as well. Again my clinic has great success rates, so I’m inclined to think that the embryologists are very skilled at what they do, but I’m still curious. I told him that if we were to get a decent number of eggs, I would like to do ICSI on most, but leave a few out to fertilize naturally just to see what happens. Even with his opinion, he was willing to do this, which makes me feel better. Plus, I’d still really like to know if fertilization is our issue, and this would be a great way to find out.

• P4 follow up – This last cycle I was spotting heavily for a few days before my negative beta. Now I’ve always been a chronic spotter, but I really thought that doing PIO would mean that I wouldn’t spot (and this was true with my first IVF). The fact that I was spotting for 3 days before my beta makes me really wonder if my body has issues absorbing the progesterone. He said he didn’t think that was the case because I’m taking so much progesterone. I asked him if I could have my P4 checked 7 days after retrieval just for my peace of mind. He said sure, that they have their local patients come in for a progesterone check mid-lueteal phase. Ummm…what? Why would you have a different protocol for in town patients versus out of town patients? I know it’s very unlikely that there is anything wrong with my P4 levels, but I still want to know.

• Stim dosages – I mentioned that I was concerned that maybe the stim dose was burning out my eggs and that’s why we were having such quality issues. I told him that I would gladly trade a smaller number of eggs for better eggs if he thought that would help. He said that we could definitely do that and thought it might help. As opposed to the 225 Follistim and 150 Repronex daily, he threw out 150 Follistim and 75 Repronex as options. I’m not sure if that will be my final dose once we actually get around to starting the cycle or not, but it’s on the table at least. On one hand I’m really hoping that this will be the key to better quality, and on the other hand, I’m absolutely terrified that the lower dose won’t work at all and I’ll be cancelled again. I guess I just have to suck it up and hope for the best.

• 3 embryo transfer – For fun, not thinking that he would ever agree since my clinic has what I thought was a strict “only two embryos in women under 35” rule, I asked him if, by some miracle, we ended up with three embryos on day five of this next cycle, if we could transfer them all. The words had barely escaped my mouth and he was already replying “absolutely.” I looked over at Mark and he gave a big smile and a thumbs up to me. Of course having the option to transfer three means nothing if we don’t have three to transfer. Past history would indicate that the chances of getting three are not so hot, but I’m still happy to know that we can do it if we have enough embryos.

When we hung up the phone I turned to Mark and said “well that was horseshit.” It’s not that anything went particularly badly, I guess I was just expecting more than “we’re doing the exact same thing” as his plan. The changes that we’re making are because of my doing, not because he thought it would be best. And part of me isn’t satisfied with his answers to some of the questions, but I honestly don’t have the energy or desire to really push the issues. I really just want this next cycle to be over so that we can move on in some way.

So there. That’s probably a lot more reading than you were expecting on a Thursday. In fact, that’s a lot more typing then I had planned to do. But there it is. Accordingly my fertility signs (which no matter how hard I try, I can’t ignore), I am about half way through my “break” cycle now, so I should be starting BCP’s for our final IVF sometime the week of the 20th. Good times.

Thank you all for your wonderful comments; it’s always nice to know that there are people rooting for you and wishing you the best when you’re feeling down.

My beta was supposed to be either today or tomorrow, but I went for my blood draw on Thursday since I knew I wasn’t pregnant and didn’t want to continue the PIO shots until Monday. My nurse called back in the afternoon and I was going to just let it ring through to voicemail, but Mark said I should pick it up, so I did. As it turns out, I was glad that I did. She was really sweet and said that my beta was negative and I told her that I knew it would be. She said she always holds out hope even if the patient is testing negative. She was very reassuring and told me not to lose hope. She said my doctor has lots of “tricks up his sleeves” and has already been thinking about me and what we will do next. That was a small pick-me-up and definitely helped me to close the book on this cycle and move on emotionally.

So as seems to be our pattern after a failed cycle, we ran away. We decided to head to Indiana where my sister lives and spend some time with her and my parents who were also visiting. We took advantage of the great state forests and parks near her house to do some geocaching and mountain biking, which was a much needed distraction. Being out in the beautiful spring air and getting some exercise was a much needed change of pace.

So where we go from here? It’s a good question. When the nurse called, she told me to schedule our WTF appointment in a couple of weeks to discuss things with the doctor, which I am really looking forward to. I am very interested in what he has to say about this cycle and what his plans are for our next cycle. I am very curious to see what kind of tricks he has in store for us.

This is post 100.

100 posts ago I started this blog filled with optimism that we would soon become parents. 100 posts ago I was sure we were just one diagnostic test away from figuring out what was preventing us from getting pregnant. 100 posts ago I was sure that the next cycle would most definitely be our last cycle.

100 posts later and I feel absolutely no closer to having my one small wish granted. As expected, today’s test was negative.

I’ve often felt more like a casual observer of this cycle than an active participant. I can think of only three times when I actually had a real emotional reaction to something. Once at our first monitoring u/s when I saw how good things looked, again when I felt the disappointment of our fertilization report and once more when I found out that we only had one blast and one morula left at transfer. Other than those instances, I feel like I’ve been on auto-pilot for the rest of this cycle.

Perhaps it’s a self-defense mechanism – to not let myself get emotionally invested in the cycle means much less disappointment if it doesn’t work out. Of course if that was the theory, then it certainly didn’t work. I’m 99% certain that this cycle is a bust due to the recent appearance of spotting and complete lack of symptoms, and for not being too emotionally involved, I’m surprisingly sad. I was really hoping that the better quality of our two embryos this time around would lead to a better outcome, but it appears that is not the case. It seems this cycle will fall by the wayside along with every other cycle that I’ve ever had. Will this ever get any easier?

No, that’s not emergency room, that’s egg retrieval room. I guess it would be more accurately called the egg retrieval waiting room. At my clinic, it’s simply a room that has curtains which allow them to compartmentalize the space down into three smaller private areas. Two of the compartments are larger and seem more for the intended purpose while the third seems more like an afterthought, with the entire space being MAYBE four feet by six feet. About 15 feet away from this room is the actual procedure room where they do the retrievals and transfers.

Anyway, the way things work is once they call you back, they send you off to the bathroom to change into your gown, hat and booties. Once you’re appropriately attired, they set you up in one of these compartments in a comfy recliner, take all of your vitals and get your IV going. Then it’s just a matter of waiting until the woman who was scheduled for retrieval right before you is done and put back into her compartment. Meanwhile, the woman who was scheduled for retrieval before the one who is currently in retrieval is hanging out in the third compartment coming off of the anesthesia in the company of her husband/significant other/whatever. It’s a fine system and it seems to work well for them; patients flowing in and out quite efficiently.

I wasn’t too concerned about egg retrieval during our first IVF, for some reason. Even though I’ve never had surgery before and had no idea what it would be like to be under anesthesia, I really wasn’t worried about it. I generally like to think of myself as a tough cookie and figured that I’d be able to handle whatever came up, so I guess I didn’t put too much effort into worrying about the whole procedure. I was confident that everything would go well and I’d be back to my normal self in a couple of days.

We showed up at our appointed time and were put into the tiny compartment since there were already women in the bigger compartments. The tiny compartment is pretty much right on top of the nurse’s station and directly facing the door to procedure room. So I’m sitting there in my chair with Mark while they take my vitals and get my IVF going feeling pretty good about the whole thing. Then, all of the sudden, I hear moans coming from the other side of the door down the hall. At first they started out as low, sporadic moans. Mark and I exchanged glances upon hearing the low moans, wondering what exactly laid ahead for me. Eventually the moans became increasingly louder, more frequent and more frantic. Now not only did we I exchange glances, but raised eyebrows too and terrible thoughts started racing through my head. I wondered what in the hell was going on in there that was causing this woman so much pain and agony. At points, she would actually be screaming incoherently. I kept glancing at the nurses to see if they were having any reaction to the commotion, trying to get a read on whether this was typical or not. They didn’t give anything away.

Needless to say, I was starting to get nervous. Eventually the screams and moans subsided and the door down the hall opened. The woman was walking right at us on her way to her compartment to recover. I snuck a peek at her and she looked like hell warmed over. The nerves ratcheted up yet another notch.

By this point, the woman who was waiting out her anesthesia in the other compartment was ready to get changed back into her clothes and on her way. She and her husband got up and went into the bathroom and a few minutes later, he came out and told the nurse that his wife was feeling really nauseous. The nurse went off to get something for her and he went back into the bathroom to be with her. A couple seconds later, we can clearly hear her vomiting in the bathroom. Oh good lord. For someone who came into this completely confident and not at all concerned, I was now a bundle of nerves. One woman screaming like her insides were being ripped right out of her, and another throwing up after her procedure where not things I expected to have to deal with.

As it turns out, the second they put that magical medicine into my IV, I couldn’t care less about what had just happened. I felt instantly drunk and everything was fine with the world. I walked down to the procedure room, hopped up on the table, felt them shoving some cotton in my va-jay-jay and the next thing I knew the nurse was telling me I was done. I hopped off the table, back to the waiting area where I had been nicely upgraded to one of the bigger compartments, plopped into the recliner and went to sleep. When I woke next, Mark was there with me.

All told, the retrieval was a breeze. As far as I know, I was not a moaner, though I guess I’d have no way of knowing if I was. I suppose you’d have to ask the woman who went in for retrieval after me. And there was no nausea for me either, which was a definite relief.

My second retrieval was uneventful which was somewhat disappointing. There was one woman already in recovery when we got there and by the sounds of her extremely loud snoring, she seemed to be doing just fine. At least the snoring was mildly entertaining.

Lesson learned: retrieval is no big deal. Of much higher importance is to remember to start taking a stool softener once you trigger. From my experience, the pain of being backed up is FAR worse than the pain from retrieval.

I promised a picture of the two embryos that we transfererred, and here they are.


For your reference, here are last cycle’s embryos.


These definitely look better, right? (Note: even if they don’t look better, just lie to me and tell me they do. I purposely don’t ask what grade my embryos are until AFTER the cycle is over, just so I can continue to believe that they have a fighting chance of implanting and becoming babies someday. It’s my new strategy. I call it the ostrich theory – keep my head in the sand so I’m totally unaware if anything bad is going to happen. So far I like it.)

And here’s why. Today is 2 days after my 5 day transfer, which, if you do the math, equals 7 days after egg retrieval, which is the equivalent of ovulation. So I’m 7 days beyond ovulation today. Given that your typical luteal phase is only two weeks, that means that I’m already half way through my TWW! I really appreciate the lab taking good care of my embryos for nearly five whole days because it means that I don’t have the burden of doing it myself. Those last five days of my cycle are usually the worst and when I start to go stir crazy, so to take those five days out of the equation means that I have pretty good chance of staying sane for the remainder of my TWW.

Only time will tell, of course, but right now waiting one more week to test seems like a piece of cake. Targeted test date: March 18th. Stay tuned.

In other news, I FINALLY found my PIO sweet spot. I got all cocky this time around and didn’t even ask the nurse to mark the shot locations on me after retrieval. I figured that by now I was a pro and didn’t need anyone to draw on me, I would just figure it out. Needless to say, that didn’t happen. While I didn’t inflict any crazy bruises or serious butt muscle pain like last time, they were definitely more painful than I was used to.

I was beginning to get a little ticked off, but I finally remembered the “locating” tips that a couple of women gave me last time and now it seems that I’m back on track. Avoiding the “pulled muscle” pain with PIO is all about finding the right spot, and I was doing my shots a good two inches below where I should have been. Moving up a couple of inches has brought me back to the pain free state that I remember from last time. Hallelujah!

Today was transfer day. My clinic is kind of goofy in that they don’t provide daily updates as to how the embryos are developing. It’s my assumption that they subscribe to the “less handling of the embryos the better” theory, so I’m guessing that they only check them on day 1 for the initial fertilization report and then again to see if it’s necessary to do a three day transfer (90% of their transfers are on day five). Anyway, what that means for us is that we literally have no idea what we have still viable until we get to the clinic on transfer day.

Last time our doctor was there to greet us when they took us back to get prepped and he told us right away that we had one blast and one morula. Well this time around was a bit different. We went back and got prepped and sat in the transfer room for about 10 minutes before the doctor was ready for transfer. All this time we had no idea what we were dealing it. It was a little nerve wracking, though I tried to think positively.

Finally the doctor came in and handed us the photo and said that we had one blast and one morula to transfer. Again. It seems that we just can’t get two embryos to develop at the same rate so that we have two blasts to transfer. After he handed us the photo, he said he’s had more than one set of twins born from a one blast/one morula transfer. I know he said it to temper any disappointment that we were feeling, and it was a small bit of reassurance, but again, I was hoping for better.

I took a peek at the photo, but couldn’t really remember too much what our last ones looked like, so I passed it on to Mark. Right away Mark commented to me that they looked better than last time. I gave him a quizzical look because what in the hell does he know what a good blast/morula should look like? He said “yeah, the morula is nice and round whereas last time it was all curvy like a jelly bean.” Wow. He’s got one stellar memory. I made a mental note to compare when we got home and I could look at our previous embryos.

Ass it turns out, Mark was indeed correct. Our last morula was definitely “jelly bean” shaped whereas our current morula was nice and round. It also appears that our current blast is a little “clearer” which maybe means it’s less fragmented? I’m admittedly not well schooled in knowing what good embryos look should look like, but if it were up to me, I’d say that this blast did look better than the last. I’ll try to post a pic sometime soon so you can all weigh in.

Transfer was a pain in the ass, ahem, CERVIX again. It seems that my cervix has a stupid curve that does not make depositing the embryos too easy. After lots of pressure and pushing on the speculum trying to get the catheter to make the turn in my cervix, the doctor finally switched to a less flexible catheter which worked much easier. (side note: the exact same thing happened last time and he had to switch to the stiffer catheter then too, so shouldn’t he have known this and just started with the stiffer catheter from the get go? I will definitely mention this to him if we ever have to go back for a third round.) (another side note: I never had this problem with IUI’s. Is that because the catheter doesn’t have to go as far into the uterus for an IUI or is my cervix on a tirade of some sort?)

A funny interjection here: someone putting lots of pressure on your cervix is not exactly a fun and pain free experience, so I was squeezing Mark’s hand to try to take my mind off of the incredible uncomfortableness of the procedure. Meanwhile, the second I started squeezing Mark’s hand, he started squeezing mine back. The harder I squeezed his hand, the harder he squeezed mine in return. Ummm…hello? You squeezing MY hand does not help the situation! When the doctor finally gave up on the flexible catheter, I turned to Mark and asked him why in the hell he was squeezing my hand? He said he thought that if he was squeezing my hand that it would distract me from the other pain I was feeling. I literally had to laugh out loud at that! I smiled and thanked him for his effort and let him know that I’d rather be the sole hand squeezer, if that was alright with him. He graciously obliged.

The stiffer catheter was much smoother and the embryos were put into my uterus where I hope they make a nice comfortable home for another 38 weeks or so. (Mini-rant: they were NOT implanted. It drives me crazy when people refer to “implanting” embryos during IVF. It is merely a transfer, nothing is actually burrowed into the lining…the embryos have to do that work themselves. End of rant.) They inverted the table I was on so my legs were higher than my head and there we sat for a half hour playing 20 questions with each other. Nearly all of the subjects of our 20 questions subjects were places or things from our past, mostly from our vacations. It was a cool way to reminisce about all of the great experiences that we’ve shared and as an added bonus it distracted me from my urge to pee all over the table.

Finally we were released and began the long drive home. Mark made me some dinner and I ate my daily dosage of pineapple (yes, the core too). Now it’s all just a waiting game. Please let the time pass quickly!

Thank you all for your support and comments. I apologize for not updating last night, I just wasn’t sure how I felt and I wanted some time to sort through my emotions.

And I guess I’m still not sure how I feel, but I’ve kept you all waiting long enough. Apparently from the 18 that they retrieved, only 8 were mature. This was a huge blow to me. I can’t figure out how more than half of our eggs were immature. Of those eight, five fertilized normally, so that’s what we have to work with.

I felt really bad because after Mark told me that we had five, I put on my pouty face since I was definitely disappointed. He looked at me with a shocked face and couldn’t understand why I was upset with five. “It’s nearly twice as many as last time!” he protested. He told me that he thought that I’d be really happy to have five and pointed out that it could have just as easily been 1 instead.

While all of this is true and I am happy to have five versus the three that we had last time or the one that we could have had this time, I’m also really disappointed. For some reason I had just expected it to be better. He challenged me saying that it WAS better, but I wanted BETTER better. I was so hopeful that the change in meds and the strong start that we had this time would lead to a nice high number of embryos to chose from. I just wanted more than five. I don’t know what number would have made me happy, but five certainly wasn’t it.

Then Mark mentioned how at least this time we would have some to freeze so we could do a FET if this one didn’t work. This is the part where I have to remember that he doesn’t know as much about all of this stuff as I do. I had to gently correct him and let him know that most embryos do not make it to freeze. I know that our clinic has very high standard of what they will freeze and what they won’t, and I personally am not expecting to have any to freeze. Not to mention the fact that they may not all make it to day 6 to be frozen anyway. I’m not sure if he forgot that one of our three embryos from last time kicked off before transfer or not, but I’m sure that in his head, he’s thinking that five minus the two that we will transfer will leave us with three to freeze. I really, really hope that he’s right, but I also know that it’s not realistic.

I guess at this point I’m just frustrated. It feels like such an uphill battle all of the time. All of the sacrifices I’ve made in terms of activities I can’t do, foods I’ve given up, time I’ve taken off of work and money that I’ve spent just seems like such a big waste of time, money and effort at this point. I’m doing absolutely everything that I can to make this work and I just feel like we’re not making any progress.

On the plus side, our doctor did state that the quality looks much better this time than it did last time, which does help a small bit.

But it is what it is, right? Right now I presumably have five embryos growing strong and healthy in the lab just waiting to be tranferred into me to someday become our children. I need to focus on that. Everything will be ok.

I’m sorry to keep you all in suspense regarding the fertilization report, but I’m right there with you. After last IVF’s poor fertilization report, I’ve deferred all important phone calls to my husband so that he can filter out upsetting news so I’m not a wreck at work. As such, I too have no idea how my little eggs did when they hooked up with Mark’s super sperm. I sit here patiently awaiting my wonderful husband’s arrival home from work so we can listen to the message. I am a bundle of nerves!

Our History

Dec 2006 - Started trying to conceive
Summer 2007 - Semen analysis (great), progesterone test (normal)
Dec 2007 - SHG normal
Jan 2008 - 1st RE appointment
Feb - Mar 2008 - Diagnosed with elevated FSH levels, 2 rounds of IUI with 5mg of Femara
Apr - Jun 2008 - Seeing a new RE. 3 rounds of IUI with 12.5mg of Femara, all busts. HSG normal
July 2008 - Moving on to IVF at a new clinic
Aug/Sep 2008 - 1st IVF cycle - cancelled due to poor response
Nov/Dec 2008 - Retry IVF, transferred one blast and one morula, negative beta
Feb/Mar 2009 - 2nd IVF cycle - Antagonist protocol
May 2009 - 3rd and final attempt at IVF - Antagonist protocol
Feb 18th, 2010 - our One Small Wish comes true: Nina Adele is born.

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July 2020