Starting the Process of IVF

ivfLast time I posted, I mentioned that we had decided to move on to IVF to try to get pregnant.  We’d been trying since May 2013, had undergone three IUIs, and now felt really ready to move on to something a bit more intense.  Which, is obviously still the case, as I’m here writing a post on how we’re starting the process.

We had a meeting with the RE a few weeks ago, where he outlined all our options and discussed chances and medicines, costs and procedures.  I left that meeting with a mix of emotions: happy, scared, excited, anxious, uncertain, and probably a few more that I wasn’t even able to really identify at the time.  But, it also felt good to really knuckle down and say, “this is the next step, this is what we’re going to actively do in order to get pregnant.”  I knew my cycle was going to be starting soon, so I planned to call when my cycle started in order to get the initial testing finished up and ready to go.

Some of the testing that needed to be completed prior to starting our IVF cycle was blood work to test for infectious diseases (things like HIV, titers for Chicken Pox and Measles, etc.) as well as blood type and grouping.  In addition, they also check for estrogen, FSH, and AMH levels.  That all needed to be completed somewhere between days 3-5 of my cycle.  I’m incredibly thankful that my RE’s office employs some amazing phlebotomists, because that was a long list of tests and apparently they needed a lot of blood.  Like, 7 vials of it.  Which seems minimal, until you’re the one sitting there with a needle in your arm.  Ugh.  It actually wasn’t bad in the least, very easy with minimal pain, and zero bruising.  These ladies are good, let me tell you.

Along with the blood work, they also wanted to make sure that my uterus looked normal and there weren’t any obstructions or polyps.  They do an SIS to check this, which is a Saline Infusion Sonogram.  Basically, they put a catheter in your uterus, pump in some saline, and use an internal ultrasound wand to look at your uterus to make sure it looks ok.  I was actually pretty concerned about this test, because, frankly, it sounded horrible.  Anything involving the word “catheter” sounds horrible, if you ask me.  I was really shocked (pleasantly so) to realize that it was honestly no big deal.  I had very minimal cramping when they put in the catheter, and after that it just felt like I was peeing myself when they put in the saline.  It was really need to see my uterus as well…all on the ultrasound screen.  I’m a total geek like that, but I find that stuff super interesting!

Needless to say, all the results came back perfectly normal.  We’re still waiting on J’s blood work (which was done earlier this week), but we’re not anticipating any issues there either.  This pretty much took care of all the pre-work for our IVF cycle, so now we’re cleared to go whenever we feel ready.  We’ll have to order our meds and get that sorted out, but we’re still looking to cycle at the beginning of October.  As the time goes by, I’m getting really excited…I really might be pregnant by Halloween!!

Much love,
K.

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IVF: Trying Something New

ivfAfter three failed IUIs, J and I were ready to move on and try something new.  We both agreed to take the summer off from IF treatments, which was one of the best decisions I think we could have made for ourselves.  The past two months have been fantastic…no testing, no charting, no meds, no worry.  We relaxed and just enjoyed our time together, which was exactly what we needed.

Yesterday, I had a consult with my current RE on our next steps with IVF.  Originally, I had planned on two IVF consults; one with my current RE and one with another RE nearby that my friend has had success with.  I went into the appointment with a ton of questions, but also a fair amount of knowledge, thanks to friends who have gone through this before.  My RE was fantastic through the entire appointment…I never felt rushed, he took us through the entire procedure, discussed different protocols and why he felt I’d respond best to specific ones, and answered all my questions.    After speaking with my RE, we spoke with someone from the business team regarding our insurance and costs for the procedures and meds.

After leaving the appointment, J and I agreed that we wouldn’t see the second RE.  I’ve been with my current one for nearly a year, and honestly the only complaint I’ve had thus far is that I’m still not pregnant.  That said, I don’t blame the RE for that one bit, so really…no complaints.  I really like his office staff, the nurses are wonderful, and he’s very kind and nice.  We’re very comfortable with this decision, and I feel like it’s the best one for us as a couple.

So…on to IVF.  I have an appointment next week for blood work and infectious disease testing, so I’ll do an update then on things like protocol and timing.  I’m feeling very (cautiously) optimistic that this might work for us!

Much love,
K.

Enjoying the break.

I am finally in the mindset that this break from TTC is a good thing.  I was worried, after our last BFP, that I’d be chomping at the bit to get started up again.  I was worried that I’d be incapable of just relaxing and letting things come, constantly worrying about “what’s next” and whether we’d ever get pregnant.

I’m happy (relieved, maybe?) to say that I’m in a really good place right now.  I recently accepted a new position in my company, so I’m going to be embarking on a new career path.  It’s actually going back to the area where I worked in Europe (Sales and Marketing) so it’ll be more of a homecoming than anything else.  I think it’ll be really good for me, as I’m comfortable (though still challenged) in the role, and I really enjoy the work.  Plus…international travel is on the horizon!  In the new job, I’ll be traveling to Asia a few times a year, so that’s very exciting for me!

I’m definitely realizing the wisdom in taking this break, however.  I’m in a much better place, mentally, especially knowing the stress that will come with the transition to the new job.  Even though I’m comfortable with the subject area, it’ll still take time to get up to speed on things, and I’m glad I won’t be juggling that ball along with the heavy weight that is infertility treatments and IVF cycles.

So, there are big changes coming up.  I’m excited for them, and ready for the change, but still nervous in my ability to meet the challenges head-on.  I think I got it, but only time will tell.  In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy this time with J as a child-free couple and really embrace our relationship as it is right now…just us.  Hopefully the summer is as fantastic as I’m planning for it to be!

Much love,
K.

IUI #3: Bust

Well, in much the same fashion as the previous two IUIs, this one has failed as well.  It was our Hail Mary IUI prior to IVF anyways, so I didn’t hold out much hope, but there was a small part of me that thought “maybe this will be it!”  So, of course, when it wasn’t, I was devastated again.  This up and down cycle has been the worst…constantly waiting and wondering if now is the time.

So…what’s next, you ask?  Well…IVF looks to be next on our list.  I have a consult with a second RE on August 10th (the earliest I could get in), and I need to call my current RE to let them know this cycle was a bust and see when we can talk next steps with him.  I want to compare the two plans (as well as the costs at the two clinics) to see which one feels like a better fit for us.  IVF is so incredibly expensive, and we really only plan on doing one egg retrieval (ER) so I want to make sure that we give ourselves the best shot possible.  The second consult clinic has a better % for live births following a single IVF, but it’s not significantly higher.  I just really need to sit down and talk with both doctors to see what they feel is best for us, and then we can make a decision on where to move forward.

I honestly never thought we’d be here.  It’s heartbreaking to think about, and yet it also seems like it’s been so many years coming.  We’re well over the 2 year mark of trying to conceive, so I can’t really say I’m surprised that it didn’t work out on its own.  I’m just trying to keep the hope alive that this will work out for us, eventually.

On another note, we have decided to take the summer off from treatments.  I really need to let my body recover after two back-to-back IUIs, and we’d really like to just relax this summer and not worry about driving to the RE every week or so.  We’ve planned a trip to Washington DC for the 4th of July, and I’m planning a few smaller, weekend trips for us throughout the summer.  Plus, working on the house and getting started in some new activities should keep us plenty busy.  I’m looking forward to a relaxing summer…hopefully I come out of it in a much better frame of mind!

Much love,
K.

4DPIUI #3

I’m smack dab in the middle of the dreaded 2 week wait.  IUI #3 went off without a hitch, though J’s numbers were the lowest yet.  I’m not sure if they will ask for a urology consult if this IUI is a bust or not.  It’s still above where they would like to see them for an IUI (10M count, 70% motility, no idea on morphology as they didn’t have the numbers at our IUI), but still the lowest ones they’ve seen for us yet.  Last IUI, the morphology was at 1%, so I’ll be anxious to see what that number is as well.

I’m torn between wanting to be hopeful that this one worked, and wanting to be realistic that it was a bust.  J and I had a long talk about IVF and what that would include this past weekend, and I’m happy to say we at least came to a few conclusions.  Up until now, I’ve been worried about whether we’d go with IVF if IUIs didn’t work, primarily because I was worried J and I would disagree over what to do with unused embryos/eggs.  I am fully open to putting them up for adoption, or donating them to science (as an end resort), but I am not ok with destroying them.  While I know that IUI/IVF are against Catholic doctrine, I’ve been ok with the procedures (from a personal level) because we weren’t destroying “life.”  I feel that, if we had fertilized embryos, I wouldn’t be ok with having them destroyed.  Partly due to my personal beliefs, but also due to the fact that I couldn’t bear to destroy something that so many others need so desperately (just by going through these past two years struggling with infertility and personally knowing so many women with egg quality issues, along with MFI).  I was 100% willing to donate any excess eggs, as well as fertilized embryos, but was worried J wouldn’t be on board.  After talking about it last weekend, I was happy to find out that J is completely ok with adopting out the embryos, and of course the eggs are completely up to me.  It was SUCH a relief to know that this wasn’t going to be something we couldn’t see eye to eye on.

I was determined that, if we couldn’t come to an agreement on the unused eggs and embryos, that would stop our path towards IVF.  I didn’t want to play the odds that we wouldn’t have any leftovers, knowing that we wouldn’t be able to agree on what to do with them.  Luckily, that doesn’t appear to be the case, so now my only reservations with IVF are strictly medical (as opposed to both medical AND moral), and I will speak with my RE about them, when we get to that point.  Talk about a weight off my shoulders!

So…that’s where we are.  4DPIUI, and I can start testing in a week.  Please keep me in your prayers in the hopes that this worked, as that would surely be a miracle!

Much love,
K.

One of those days…

me34Today is just “one of those days.”  You know the kind; from the moment you wake up it just immediately goes to shit and nothing seems to recover after that.  And usually, it’s not even anything major that sets you off!  Just one innocent event in a long line of innocent events, and the next thing you know the camel’s back is decidedly broken, with a tiny ass stick next to it.

Woke up this morning and made the epic mistake of stepping on the scale.  And, it’s not bad…I’ve put on close to 10 pounds in the past few months.  Not the end of the world, and definitely something I can take back off again.  But I just felt like this was the miniscule stick that was going to break me!  I’m unhappy in my job, I can’t get pregnant to save my life, and now we’re in the middle of a Hail Mary IUI before we head firmly down the path of IVF.  For the past year, my body/weight was the one  thing that I felt really confident and happy with!  And that was awesome.  I was healthy, at a good weight for my height/body type, eating really well, inhaling the fruits and veggies and whole foods that are good for you…you name it, I was on it.  And now…even that seems to be failing.

And logically, I know this is all interconnected.  I know that fertility hormones are wreaking havoc on my body, and probably causing some of this weight gain.  I know that I’m drinking more than I used to (though, by no means am I drink a lot).  We’ve been traveling and eating out more, all things that will cause weight gain.  But I just hate that this feels like one more thing I’ve lost control of, in the long list of other things beyond my control.

DH suggested that maybe we take a break from TTC after this last IUI.  I think the idea has merit…a few months to just be us, re-evaluate some of our newly formed habits, and get ourselves in the right frame of mind to start IVF.  I know it’s going to be even more emotional than these IUIs have been, with all the hormones that they’ll be pumping into me, so I want to get myself in a place where I am as relaxed as possible.  I know it won’t be easy, but I think it’s doable.  We’d have to take July off for testing anyways, so I’m thinking starting the testing in August or September, then IVF the month following that (barring any unforeseen problems).  I need to talk with the RE about options and where this will take us anyways, so it might be a good idea to take a few months to recollect ourselves, and sort out the logistics (finances being a big one).

Sigh…it started off as a craptacular day…but I have to remember that I can control how the rest of the day goes.  Hopefully I can turn it around, and enjoy my Friday!  Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Much love,
K.

IUI #3

While on vacation in Key West, we realized that IUI #2 was a bust.  Disappointing, to be sure, but not especially shocking.  After IUI #2, we received word back on DH’s sperm analysis (SA), and the numbers were lower than they were for the first.  What was particularly low was the morphology (~1%), especially compared to the first IUI and his initial SA.  So, needless to say, I wasn’t super hopeful for the 2nd IUI’s success.

After AF started (woohoo…cycle 29), I gave the RE’s office a call to see what we were doing next.  I was worried about DH’s numbers, and whether that would force us to IVF instead of doing a 3rd IUI, but our RE felt that there was still some value in trying the IUI if we wanted.  He definitely gave us the option and said that if we wanted to be more aggressive starting now, he understood that.  J and I both agreed that we wanted to do a 3rd IUI, and we felt that was the best option for us at this point in time.

My protocol is still the same as the last two IUIs.  Femara (5mg, from CD3-CD7), then a monitoring ultrasound on CD13 (if no +OPK prior to that) and then a trigger and IUI the next day.  That’s how it’s worked for the last two…I’d get my +OPK on CD13, go in for a monitoring appointment, everything looked good, so we triggered in the office and came back the next morning.  I anticipate this being the same way (fingers crossed!).  It’s actually fairly good timing, because J leaves for a work trip to India the week after, so we’ll get this in before he leaves.  However, that means I’ll find out if it worked or not while he’s away.  Could be great for a “welcome home” surprise, but will suck if it’s a negative while he’s gone.  Oh well, I’ll handle it either way.

So…here we are…IUI #3.  I really hope this one works and we don’t have to move on to IVF.  I’m feeling like this is our “Hail Mary” prior to IVF, so let’s hope God and luck are on our side!

Much love,
K.