1-day fertilization report – overwhelmed! :)

I received a message from the embryologist while I was at work this morning. He reported that 20 out of the 23 eggs retrieved successfully fertilized!! I wish I had more information than that on whether it was all by ICSI, maturity, etc., but at this point I’m too happy with that amazing fertilization rate to really care ūüôā Now we wait through the weekend to see how they look Monday!

I’m also pleased to report that my hubby has now given me 2 shots of Progesterone successfully! I didn’t even feel the needle going in thanks to diligent icing, and heat afterwards does seem to help. I’m a little sore in the first spot, probably because it’s right next to where I gave myself Novarel on Tuesday, but not bad at all compared to what I anticipated. I twitched a little just before he pushed the needle in the first time, so he was a little hesitant, but having me lay¬†down this morning seemed to help. He says it’s super easy so long as I mark the spot for him with a Sharpie, so we’ll just continue to do that.

I got through work OK today despite clinic being shorthanded both at the front desk and back office. Definitely bloated but felt better than yesterday. I just really need more help with going to the bathroom, heh. Lined up Miralax and glycerin suppositories for now, since I can use them until the transfer. Good thing I have gloves at home. Fun times tonight also with the first progesterone suppository going in ūüėõ

Self-injecting Novarel IM = easier than I expected!

I’d worked myself up a fair amount before the Novarel¬†injection for some reason. Even after attending a gentle yoga class and indulging in a spa pedicure, I couldn’t quite focus on anything else. So imagine my surprise when I hardly felt a thing after the needle pierced my skin. Really, the toughest part of the Novarel was getting all of it to dissolve, it took a few minutes to finally become completely clear!¬†It’s a lyophilized (freeze-dried) medication, so it took me a bit to realize why the RE told me to add 2 mL of diluent¬†to it, then draw out only 1 mL. He still intended me to get the full 10,000 IU dose, the medication just draws up a lot of the water. Too bad progesterone in oil won’t be nearly this nice pain-wise ūüėõ I will cherish my first shot-free day in weeks tomorrow.

In my last post, I forgot to mention one symptom I’ve been having. Super heavy, sore boobs. Wow, and they’re really sensitive too, to where some of my bras are extremely uncomfortable, and even messing around was a little painful! More to look forward to in pregnancy, I suppose?

Day 12 of stims update – schedule is set!

I was waiting to post until I hopefully had my estradiol level back, but I’m sure the RE will respond to my neurotic email tonight, haha. I arrived at his office at 8am sharp, and of course the door was locked. 10 minutes later, the receptionist arrived to find myself and 3 others waiting. I was the first one called back, so he was in very quickly to do the ultrasound – I have a 12.9 mm lining, and 17 follicles pretty evenly split between sides! They ranged from 12mm to 25mm, with only 3 measuring less than 18mm. So he gave me the green light to inject with Novarel 10,000 IU¬†at 7:30pm tonight, and thankfully I didn’t have to worry about buying another bottle of Menopur since I’m done with all stims at this point! We are set for egg retrieval at 6:45am Thursday, and he said it was OK for hubby to produce his sample at home since we live so close. I assume he’d prefer to do that, though at that hour, who knows… My nurse managed to cancel out all my patients for Thursday and next Tuesday, when I should¬†have blastocyst transfer (fingers crossed). Hubby is good to work from home Thursday, and go in late on Tuesday. Here’s how the rest of the cycle is looking:

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¬†As for how I’m feeling, I definitely feel very heavy and full in my lower belly –¬†it makes bending over for long periods of time uncomfortable, so catching up on the mountain of laundry was a little tougher than I expected this past long weekend, but I made some good progress. I did set aside all my clothes that are too small now, in hopes of wearing again in the future, but my closet is more than half empty now.¬†My appetite is decreased too, mainly because eating a lot at once makes me feel more uncomfortable in there. I’ve managed to go to a few yoga classes in the last few days, and felt pretty good other than some modifications when I felt too much pressure on my back or belly. As far as I can tell, I’m not any moodier than usual (I guess I should ask the hubby, HA!). Compared to Clomid, I feel better overall, even though my ovaries are definitely more enlarged. I am a little nervous about giving myself Novarel in the butt¬†in a couple hours since the hubby won’t be home from work yet. But I just gotta suck it up and I’m sure it’ll be fine. Time to review tips¬†from the Stirrup Queens! ūüôā

What the WHAT??

Ladies and a few gentlemen, the RE told me there’s a 99% chance my egg retrieval will happen next THURSDAY! Ha, not at all what I’d anticipated or told work. Oops! At least hubby’s work schedule is light that day so he should have no problem keeping me company. I have 15+ follicles (kind of lost track as he was calling out dimensions), evenly split between both sides. They range from 10 to 17mm, so he pushed the anticipated retrieval date back a day in hopes of letting the small ones catch up. All my medications will stay the same, and I’ll probably need to buy one bottle of Menopur through his office from another patient Tuesday at my next monitoring appointment to get a full dose that evening. My normally very stoic and quiet RE actually smiled and exclaimed “Great response!” just before he left the room –¬†I think that’s the most emotion I’ll get out of him ūüėȬ†Please keep fingers crossed that the Lupron does its job and keeps me from ovulating early.

Other answers to the questions I had for him – he recommended 3 days no-ejaculation prior to retrieval for the hubby, and anticipates 5-day blastocyst transfer. He doesn’t recommend preimplantation genetic diagnosis for us,¬†since studies show lower live pregnancy rate and we have no¬†solid risk factors. Also said that assisted hatching is only¬†done on 3-day embryos, since the blastocyst already has a thinning “shell”.

The waiting room was again interesting,¬†though also informative for me. The 2 women I waited with¬†happen to see OB/GYN’s at the clinic I work for, so it was great¬†to hear them chat about their experiences there (all positive and making me think I may well see the male OB/GYN there, even if all the clinic nurses end up knowing my business). One was 8 weeks along with IVF twins, and her toddler looked familiar to me – who knows if I’ve run into them at work. The other had just gotten a positive pregnancy test after her 1st IVF cycle at age 39, but was waiting for her first HCG level to come back. It had been drawn yesterday, so the receptionist was on the phone with lab pestering them to give her the value. The two were bantering back and forth about how put off they were at first by the RE’s non-bedside manner, but how he’s just great at what he does, along with having the sweetest and technically briliant embryologist. All in all, I am happy I chose this office!

LATE ADD-ON: Oh yes, I hit up Victoria’s Secret to take advantage of their 7 panties/$26.50 sale. You know, since all my underwear is no longer fitting thanks to the addition of 15 pounds. Woohoo! Check out the deal¬†this Labor Day weekend, everybody ūüôā

ANOTHER LATE ADD-ON: Received the insurance check for my first medication shipment, just over 3 weeks after submitting. BANNER DAY!!

I waited 6 hours for THIS to get delivered?!

¬†The pharmacy sent me more Menopur and the progesterone suppositories today. The first time I had a shipment, it arrived by FedEx by 11am. As noon approached, I was getting antsy, especially since I planned to go to a yoga class at 2pm. So I called the pharmacy, and they told me they were using a courier since it was a weekday, and gave me the tracking info.¬†I then called the courier, who promised it would be here by 2pm. At 1:55, I called them again, they said there was no indication it would be late, that it’d be here any minute. At 2, I gave up hope of going to yoga. Finally the courier arrived at 2:09. Quickly ripped into the box and pulled out an insulated pack containing these:

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 Progesterone suppositories or candy? You be the judge.

I can’t believe that I’ll have to use these AND get IM injections. Anybody else luck out like this? And why is there only one applicator? Am I going to have to wash and reuse?? Ewwwww…

S*** people say in the RE’s waiting room

“There are TWO! He said our chances were LOW… but there are TWO in there! How is this possible??”

 РStunned IVF patient whose 2 embryos stuck

“I’m leaving. It’s 10 minutes past my appointment time, and I can’t wait any longer. Please tell Dr. *** to call me afterwards to tell me if he recommends using a surrogate.”

– Frustrated patient (note the RE was running 15 minutes late – not bad in my book!)

“Hi.¬†I’m returning your call about [blah blah blah…]”

– Man on the phone for at least 15 minutes (still on when I was called back)

I was lucky today and finished seeing my patients and closed all my charts with plenty of time to spare. So much time, that even after browsing a nearby dollar store, I was still 40 minutes early for my appointment. So I ended up in the waiting room for almost an hour. Bear in mind, this is a tiny triangle-shaped waiting room, with seating for 10 people tops. You hear everything, especially if you happen to be sitting near the reception desk. I had a hard time keeping a straight face hearing some of these things. And seriously, what is it with carrying on full conversations in public on the phone like that, without even a courtesy whisper? Or I dunno, stepping out in the hallway??

So of course, right after I finished my post yesterday, I went to the bathroom and saw EWCM, which¬†has continued in full force today along with increasing belly fullness. I was very eager to see if the ultrasound would confirm what I was feeling, and it did! 5 follicles on each side, measuring 7-10mm each. The RE¬†didn’t order¬†blood today – whew… still bruised from last week and I have no doubts my estrogen has increased given all the EWCM. He told me¬†I’m responding exactly as he expects. I’m to continue all my meds at their current dosages, and have a¬†follow-up Saturday morning. Unfortunately he couldn’t pin down a retrieval date – still too early. Ugh, work scheduling will be a mess with the 3-day weekend, but not much I can do about it. For those interested, here’s how my Google¬†calendar looks now that I’m further along in the process. Getting closer! Things should¬†start to move more quickly in the next week.

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Oddly quiet in there…

I figured by day 5 of stims I would be feeling something in my belly, but it’s really been very quiet in there until tonight. I was definitely enjoying the break from the Lupron headaches too. Work has been crazy with kids headed back to school, then I enjoyed a beautiful weekend filled with brunches with girlfriends, a concert with the hubby, and SUP yoga – just¬†twice a day I’d work some time in to shoot myself up with meds. No biggie.

I was enjoying an odd lull at work today around 3pm – seemed like some patients weren’t showing, then all of a sudden 7 patients check in within 30 minutes of each other, and by the time I’ve had a chance to finish seeing all of them, I look at the clock and it’s 5:15. CRAP. I need to get some Menopur into me, and drive 15 minutes away to a 5:30 yoga class. Managed to get there 10 minutes late, but the teacher was totally cool. She explained that we were focusing a lot on back strengthening. This sounded like a good idea to me since it’s one of my weak spots, but after class I realized my lower abdomen was feeling a little full. Planning on mostly gentle/restorative yoga from this point on.

Let’s hope this translates to some good action on the ultrasound tomorrow! And hopefully a somewhat¬†firm date for egg retrieval since hubby and I have some crazy work schedule juggling to accomplish next week.

Money talk, and why I’m not in a procedure-oriented specialty

For those interested, I started a page tabulating the costs of IVF¬†so far. I wanted to keep track somewhere, so figured why not here. I’ve found it very interesting to hear the wide range in costs. The lowest I’ve heard is $9K (from the NP who did my last IUI’s – she also used my RE), and the highest I’ve heard is $25K – for one round! My acupuncturist says it can be a total racket with some doctors, who may not be upfront about a certain woman’s chances and will just tack on every possible test and procedure to rake in the money. Scary… I feel confident that my RE won’t rip me off, and though he is a man of few words, he hasn’t made me feel dumb for asking all the crazy questions rolling around in my head. Even so, I’m pretty certain I would not be doing this if I didn’t have insurance covering most of it!

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Wheeeee!! Now the real fun begins!

I’m actually pretty competent¬†at the few procedures I have to perform in my specialty, but there is a reason I could never be a surgeon – I can be a real klutz sometimes, and I stress myself out way more than I like with procedures. I decided to make up the Gonal-f solution last night, so it would be one less thing/needle to worry about this morning – see the contents of one full package in the top left photo.¬†The 2 morning injections of Lupron and Gonal-f went very smoothly as a result (top right photo).

The evening Menopur injection was a hot mess¬†– see bottom left photo. 3 bottles of powder, 1 bottle of diluent… thank goodness for the Q-Cap¬†(bottom right photo),¬†without which I would’ve unintentionally stabbed myself a few times. Of course, I still managed to screw it on the wrong end¬†the first time.¬†Yikes… It also took me a few tries to determine how much¬†force I needed to insert then remove from each bottle. After almost 10 minutes¬†of messing around, I finally had a syringe filled with 225 IU of Menopur in 1 mL of diluent. Popped on the injection needle, carefully pushed out the air bubble, jabbed it in, and¬†HOLY-MOTHER-OF-ALL-THAT-IS-EVIL-THAT-SHIT-STINGS!! I mean, I’d read that it stings, but I still wasn’t expecting THAT much of a burn. I had to bite my lip to keep from screaming/crying out since I was at work. There is no way I’d be able to give myself Menopur at a concert tomorrow, so I’m glad I chose to give it in the early evening to avoid that trauma outside of home and work.

My belly now has quite a collection of tiny red blood spots and small bruises. Only 10 more days of injections to go!

Green light!

My RE’s office called and left a message that my estradiol was good and gave me the green light to start with the stims as planned tomorrow. This was of course not nearly enough information for me, so I emailed him asking for the level, and he replied back “11”. YAY! Nice and suppressed, I should be primed for ovarian stimulation. I was hoping today would be without a headache but as I sit here typing, I can feel the ache starting to creep up the back of my head. Let’s hope some inverting helps that – I’m taking my last aerial class tonight (snuck it in since the stims start tomorrow).

Oh, and this may make me a huge nerd, but who cares¬†because I know I am one – check out¬†how I’m transporting my Menopur and supplies to work:

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My supply box of Menopur vials, Q-caps, syringes, and needles

Holy Lupron headache!

What the… I thought I was in the clear with avoiding the Lupron headache, but nope, after the 9th dose yesterday morning, I got a horrible right-sided occipital headache while having a crappy afternoon at work. Went to sleep hoping it was due to stress, and woke up feeling better, but by noon today, I had a dull ache at both¬†temples that worsened¬†despite taking acetaminophen. Boo… Going to try a cooling patch on my forehead tonight when I go to bed, but unfortunately that would probably not go over well at work.

My ovaries and lining looked nice and quiet, and ready for action this afternoon. Had my blood drawn for an estradiol level, but won’t get it back until tomorrow. Hopefully it’s nice and low, so we can proceed as planned. On Friday, in addition to the morning Lupron, I’m to start Gonal-f 187 IU in the morning and Menopur 225 IU (3 bottles) in the evening. I’ll also start an oral steroid (Medrol 8 mg a day). Sadly, this means 3 daily injections,¬†and I understand that¬†Menopur stings like a #%&*.¬†In order to try and keep my injection time the same every day, I plan to bring the Menopur to work in case I’m stuck late or running errands before heading home. This way I don’t have to worry about what to do at our concert on Saturday – I can just take it before we go.

My next appointment is in a week, and it’ll be the first time we see how exactly I’m responding. Right now, the RE is planning for September 3 for my egg retrieval. Too bad my work scheduler just took me out of clinic on September 2 :/ Emailed her to see what she wants to do. I don’t want to have her drop me in, then risk having to come back out if I respond more quickly than expected.

Thank goodness for the beef broth I made a few weeks ago! For once I actually cooked myself a tasty, nutritious dinner. I used Trader Joe’s mirepoix, white beans, and kale to make a quick minestrone soup. Added a little salt to taste, and it was done in less then 15 minutes! Just forgot to add tomatoes, but will be sure to do so the next time. May also try adding quinoa if I’m feeling up to it. I love quinoa, but haven’t yet mastered how to cook it.