6th Try: IVF #2

After our 3 failed IUI’s, we met with the Dr. and decided to go back to IVF. We were lucky enough to have financial help from our parents, which made the process easier on our wallets. Here we go!!

Start Date: March 14, 2016

Dr Visit:

Our doctor decided to look back and see if there was absolutely anything else that could be hindering our success. He realized, that although my lining has been nice and thick every cycle, it has never been trilaminar, which could improve my chances by %50. He suggests that vaginal viagra could help with that, which I would have to take 4 x day. He says that if my lining is not trilaminar at the time of egg retrieval, then we should do a freeze all cycle, and try a different approach next time. Great, more meds! At this point I’m feeling very discouraged, and feel like my dream is getting farther and farther away.

Short Antagon Protocol and Meds:

Pre-Retrieval Meds:

  • 300iu Gonal F 
  • 150iu Luveris
  • Vaginal Viagra (4 x day)
  • Orgalutran antagonist
  • Ovidrel trigger

Post-Retrieval Meds:

  • Doxycycline (2 x day/7days)
  • Medrol (1 x day/4 days)
  • Dostinex – for OHSS (1 x day/10 days)
  • Baby Aspirin 
  • Vaginal Viagra (4 x day)
  • PIO
  • Estrace (3 x day)

Retrieval:

Retrieval this time was much more painful, due to the fact that I had lots more follicles than last time. Although I was nervous, knowing what I was in for, took away some of the panicky feelings that I had last time. Retrieval was on Good Friday, March 25, so the Dr, as he comes in says “so, can we consider this our Easter egg hunt?” At least he has a sense of humour! Due to the high number of follicles, the procedure took longer than last time, about 20-25 minutes. About halfway through, I was starting to be in a lot of pain, so thankfully the Dr. ordered more meds for me. In the end I had 28 eggs retrieved, which put me at a high risk for developing OHSS. Doctor gave me meds for that, and strict instructions to TAKE IT EASY! Thankfully I have the best hubby in the world, so he took good care of me. 

Now, right before retrieval, I had blood work done. My progesterone levels were much higher than they like them to be, (18, when they like to see <5). Because of that I was told my chances of implantation went down to about %30 instead of %40. Therefore, unless we got 3 or more embryos, we shouldn’t do a transfer. This was not great news, but thankfully with our 28 eggs, we had good hopes that we would get a good number of embryos.

Transfer:

4 days after retrieval, on March 29, I got the call that we had one excellent embryo we were transferring that day, and 3 more that were being frozen that day. There were also about 6-8 more embryos that they were going to culture to blast stage, and then freeze. Transfer went well, feel like a pro at this point, and back home for the dreaded 2ww.

The next day I got the call that we had 3 nice day-5 blasts that were going to be frozen. All in all, that means 6 nice little frosties for us. Not too shabby! Feeling very fortunate about this.

2ww:

During the 2ww I tried my best not to think of anything. At this point, I know that all the symptoms are a result of the drugs I’m taking anyways, so no point symptom spotting. There were a few things that were different though, however didn’t pay much attention to them.

  • Cramping at night, starting about 3-4 days after transfer. Cramping wouldn’t last longer than a minute or so, and only came on a night, which was strange.
  • Lack of sore boobs, which happened every other time on the progesterone.
  • Sore feet……like to the point that it was difficult to stand up…..this could also be from all the weight I’ve put on during this process.
  • Sore bum muscles, like pain under my butt cheeks, which was new and very bizarre.

I chalked up all these symptoms to having super sized ovaries that had not yet healed. Did not think anything of it. 

At 8dp5dt, I took an HPT that came back negative. I figured I was out, but held on to a teeny tiny bit of hope that maybe it was just too early to test. Didn’t have the guts to take another test before beta day.

Beta Day:

Got the call, and was SHOCKED when the nurse told me it was POSITIVE!!!!! This unfortunately however came with a big BUT. My HCG levels were only 46. At 17dpo, they like to see the levels about 100. Anything over 25 is positive, and 46 still falls within the normal range, but the fact that they were low was somewhat of a concern. I was told to come back 3 days later to make sure they have risen. What they are looking for is that they double every 2-3 days. My second beta, 3 days later, HCG was 157! More than tripled! Time to do the happy dance 🙂

Advertisements

3rd, 4th and 5th tries: IUI’s #1, #2, #3

Right before we found out our FET failed, the government decided to completely stop funding the IVF program. IVF costs roughly $10 000/cycle, so we had some very important decisions to make.

Meeting with the Dr:

Our Dr suggested that the reason the 2 tries did not work was due to the poor sperm quality from my husband. He said that from here on out, we are better off using the donor, regardless of which treatment we decided to go with. 

Since I have no major known issues, and IUI was still covered by healthcare, we decided to try 3 of those before going back to IVF. Apparently IUI has an %8-%15 chance of working each cycle, which is roughly the same as a healthy couple our age trying naturally (%15). The %8 is because we were using frozen donor sperm. After 3 IUI’s, your chances go down drastically to %4-%8, so we decided we wouldn’t do more than 3.

The IUI process:

I was doing medicated IUI’s, so although it’s MUCH less invasive than IUI, I still had to give myself injectable medications for 3-4 days before the IUI. I then had to take progesterone afterwards for the 2ww. I was on:

  • 150iu Gonal F x 3 days
  • 75iu Luveris x 3 days
  • Ovidrel Trigger

The IUI’s were super easy. I had to get to the clinic an hour before while they prepare the sperm sample. You need a full bladder for the IUI, so that was honestly the worst and most uncomfortable part of the whole thing. Not so bad at all, all things considering! They shoot you up, and then you lay there on the table for 15 minutes, get dressed, and go home. Easy peasy!

2 weeks later, you take a home pregnancy test. If positive, call the clinic for a blood test, if negative, stop meds and wait for period to start, and start all over again.

For the 3rd IUI I ended up with an ovarian cyst. Although it wasn’t a big deal, it did have to be drained which wasn’t a fun procedure, as well as it being $400. 

Dates:

  • #1: December 2, 2015
  • #2: January 20, 2016
  • #3: February 18, 2016

Results:

Sadly every one of these ended in a devastating negative. 

2nd try: FET #1

After our failed first attempt, we made an appointment to see the Dr to plan our next step. Our Dr suggested I get an immunology workup done, just to make sure I don’t have any cells in my body that might attack an embryo. That test came back abnormal, so the treatment was to do Intralipid therapy. Easy and painless, but $500 a pop. Joy!

Next step: Transfer our remaining frozen embryo.

Meds:

Pre-transfer:

  • Estrace (3 x a day)
  • Intralipids (1 week before transfer, then day of transfer as well)

After Transfer:

  • Estrace (3 x day)
  • PIO (1 x day)

Transfer:

Went smoothly. 1 grade 4BC blastocyst. Didn’t really know what that meant, but was told it was good.

2ww:

Only thing I did differently this time was acupuncture. I started the day of transfer then did it 3 more times over the two week wait. I can’t say that I enjoyed it at all, but I was willing to do anything if it would help!

Beta Day:

Another negative. This one more devastating than the last, as it was really our last possible shot at having a child that was biologically my husbands. Having a hard time picking ourselves up after this.

1st try: IVF #1

September 14, 2015

After all of our testing, we had an appointment to see the Dr. He gave us the results of our tests, and said that our only option right now due to hubby’s azoospermia. Thankfully the government where we live covers 3 fresh IVF cycles, so all we have to pay for is meds. Here’s what the Dr suggests we do:

  • TESA: This is where they take needles and remove testicular tissue to see if there are any swimmers hiding out in there. We are told that about 50% of the time in azoospermia cases, they are able to find some good usable sperm. Because of that, Dr. says that we have to try it, because if we go with a donor right away, we will always wonder “what if”. My husband is not exactly thrilled about the procedure, and is quite nervous. Not sure if he’s more nervous about the needles, or whether or not they will find anything. But he’s willing to give it a try.
  • Donor on back-up: Since there is only a 50% chance of finding anything, we are told to have donor on back-up to use in case. Not worth me going through the whole stimming process and egg retrieval, if there is nothing to fertilize the little eggies. 
  • IVF with ICSI 

Choosing a Donor

After getting the results from the sperm analysis, we already had had the talk about using a donor. Although hubby and I are devastated that he may never be able to have his own biological children, we are both completely ok with using a donor. We start our search for a donor, which is such an odd process! There are these online sperm banks, where you can search by hair colour, eye colour, weight, height, nationality, etc. Once you narrow down your search fields, you click on the donor and get their whole profile. Everything from how far they went in school, and their likes/dislikes, to their complete family and personal medical history. Some even have pictures and a personal essay! I have to say the process was very strange at first, but in the end we chose a donor who we felt matched my husbands physical traits as much as possible, with a nice and clean medical history. We decided to go with an anonymous donor, so all we have is the donor #. We are so incredibly thankful that there are donors out there, who have so generously offered up their help to couples like us. 

Psychologist:

Because we are using a donor, our government requires that we meet with a psychologist first. This is the first time either one of us are talking to a psychologist, and are quite nervous about it. Even though we’ve been told many times that she is not there to “yay” or “nay” our ability to use the donor, we both felt like it was a bit of a test. That being said, the appointment was a bit of a joke. We did everything in our power to try and say the right things so that she writes us a good report to put in our file. Not to say that we lied about anything, not at all!! But……we probably did try a little too hard. Oh well, everything went well and we got the good report! Check!

Meds:

I was on a short antagon protocol, so here were the meds I took:

Before Egg Retrieval: (all injections!!!!)

  • 225iu Bravelle
  • 75iu Menopur
  • Orgalutran (antagonist)
  • Ovidrel (trigger)

After Retrieval: 

  • Doxycycline (2 x day/7 days)
  • Medrol (1 x day/4 days)
  • Estrace (3 x day)
  • Endometrin (3 x day)

I was very nervous about my first injections, took a LOT of strength and bravery to give myself that first shot. Hehe if only I knew how long I’d be doing them for……I’m an old pro now.

Retrieval:

The big day was September 25, 2015. I was SO freaking nervous. I knew it was going to hurt, and pain sucks. My husband went for his TESA first, and he was gone for what seemed like 2 hours, but in reality was about 15 minutes. About half an hour later, we find out that they have found 1 sperm. ONE???? ummm……ok??!! We kind of thought they would find a bunch, or zero…..but one? Poor little guy, he’s supposed to have like a million friends, but he’s been swimming around alone for god knows how long. hehe sigh…….at least one is better than none? I mean…..it only takes one, right? 

Soon it was time for my retrieval. I was ushered into the OR with my husband, where I was promptly put on the bed, and given the 50cc of fentanyl. I have to say, that the fentanyl is some awesome stuff. Immediately I felt calmer. Dr put in the speculum and did the cleaning he had to do. With the ultrasound he was able to see that my left ovary was tucked behind my uterus, which meant that he’d have to go through the uterus to get to it. The nurse gave me an extra 50cc of fentanyl, and away he went. There was swearing….so much swearing, and the pain was unbelievable. I’m surprised my husband still has a hand left! 15 minutes later it was over, and I was wheeled back into the recovery room. I was monitored for about an hour, given a snack, and told I needed to be able to pee before I was allowed to leave. Everything checked out. Embryologist came to tell me they got 13 eggs. All was good, and we were released to go sit at home on the couch all weekend relaxing and taking it easy.

Fertilization Report:

3 days later, on Monday, I got the call from the clinic. We had one good 3-day embryo that we were going to transfer that afternoon, and there were 4 more embryos that looked good, that they were going to culture to blast stage in order to freeze. Yay!! Called my husband, and off we went for the transfer.

Transfer:

So remember, when we left after the retrieval, we were told they only found 1 sperm. We are assuming at this point, that at least one of the embryos are from the donor, but in my excitement of them calling me, I completely forgot to ask! That meant, that as we were in the OR, sitting in gown and scrubs, we had to ask the embryologist the question that made us feel like the trashiest of Maury guests……..”who’s this embryo from?” 

Turns out, that they found more sperm in the tissue after letting it rest, and all the embryos were from my husband.  Apparently that’s a thing. “Ok, Jerry, you go out there and check things out, we’re gonna stay here until we know it’s safe!” Lazy ass sperm! 

2ww:

The 2 week wait was pretty uneventful. Felt every possible pregnancy symptom, which of course was more due to the estrace and progesterone, but still. I was certain it was going to work, I mean we had done everything right, why wouldn’t it work?

Beta Day:

Negative. Devastation sets it. But……at least we have another frozen embryo left. 

 

Getting Started

First of all, welcome! So National Infertility Awareness Week just ended, and it got me thinking. Infertility is such a common problem, however we are all afraid to talk about it. I’m sure we all have our own reasons, but here were mine:

  1. Embarrassment
  2. Fear of people not understanding
  3. Feeling that others would think I was “oversharing”

I’ve found that opening up to people has been so helpful to me, and although many people still say completely inappropriate and hurtful things, the fact that I now have a support system is exactly what I needed.

I decided to start this blog, to share my story with anyone out there who might be going through the same thing, and is looking for support through this journey. This is my first experience with a blog, so bear with me while I learn the ropes!