We received our update from the lab today. Apparently two more eggs matured, so we had a total of 14 mature eggs. They performed ICSI on all 14, and 12 fertilized. The numbers are still disappointing compared to what we were expecting, but I'm glad to have 12 fertilized embryos. As mamajo said in the comments yesterday, 10-15 eggs is considered the sweet spot for quality (thanks for reminding me of that!). So now we just hope that these 12 embryos keep on growing and dividing over he next several days. We will get our next report on Friday, so stay tuned!
Egg retrieval is complete and I just got the call from the lab. They retrieved 18 eggs, 12 of which were mature. I'll be honest, I'm disappointed. I feel terrible that I'm disappointed because I realize 12 mature eggs is a great number. I know so many women who would kill for that many eggs- I was one of them! But when you're paying $9,000 to a donor with a history of having on average 23 mature eggs in her previous cycles, 12 is a disappointing number. I grateful for what we have. I have to find faith that the lab will keep them healthy, they won't be damaged during PGS testing, and that most of them test as PGS normal. I just have this fear that it's going to take us multiple transfers to get pregnant, and I'm afraid we won't have many to work with. This is where I wish I could have the optimism of an infertility newbie- I've just been burned too much and have heard too many bad stories. But I'll try to stay optimistic, and I'll start praying for these 12 eggs to become embryos. That's the next phase. We will get the fertilization report tomorrow.
Our donor went in for a final ultrasound today and everything looks great. They are now predicting that they will retrieve 29 mature eggs. Yep, 29! WHAT?!?! Apparently she must have had some follicles that we’re measuring just under 14 mm (the minimal cutoff for the probability of housing a mature egg) and they must have grown overnight because we went from having 19 to 29 in just a day. I’m just amazed!
Anyway, eggs retrieval is set for Tuesday morning. Ryan is in San Diego now and says it is absolutely beautiful. It felt really weird this morning saying goodbye to him. I mean, he was going to make our embryos–without me. I’m trying not to think too much about the emotions that draws up. It is what it is. And really, it’s okay. It’s what we signed up for, and more than anything I’m just in shock that we are finally to this point! I mean, it’s really happening!
I just wanted to pop in here and give a brief update: Our donor went in today for her third ultrasound/follicle check. They are predicting that they will retrieve 18 mature eggs, and that egg retrieval will be on Tuesday. She will go in tomorrow for one more ultrasound. I’ll keep y’all posted!
So we have kind of been on standby waiting to hear how our donor is doing before making travel plans, and it’s been driving us a little crazy. We received an update on Wednesday, and at that point our donor was showing 30 follicles, 5 of which were 10-14 mm. Our nurse told us then that in previous cycles our donor had egg retrieval on Wednesday, so we were kind of gearing up for Ryan to go out there Tuesday morning and come back Thursday afternoon. We were looking at flights for those days, and just sitting and waiting all day for today’s ultrasound update before actually booking them. There were times that I thought, “to Hell with it” and wanted to book the flights, but something kept telling me to hold off for our update. Thank goodness we did!
So the nurse emailed us today and said that our donor is looking great. She still has 30 follicles showing, 5 are 18-23 mm, and 14 follicles are are over 14 mm. I’m not sure if that means we have a total of 19 follicles measuring over 14 mm, or if the over 14 mm follicles include the first 5 that were mentioned. Either way, they are good numbers and we should have plenty of eggs to work with. I’d be lying though if I didn’t say that 14 total follicles would be a little disappointing considering she has had 21-25 eggs retrieved in her previous cycles. But I hate to be that way, and I’ll obviously be grateful for what we have, regardless.
But the big news is that she said that egg retrieval will most likely be MONDAY! Monday wasn’t even ever on our radar. Our estimated retrieval for the whole time has always been Tuesday – Friday, so Monday seems like such a shock! So we changed everything around and booked his flight for Sunday afternoon and coming back Tuesday night. The nurse said that retrieval will be Tuesday at the very latest, so him coming back on a 6:00 pm flight should cover that possibility.
We also finally got some questions answered on our Wednesday email – most importantly our antibiotics question. Apparently she finally talked to Dr. Kettle, and he said that they used to prescribe antibiotics, but because of new technologies in ICSI, it isn’t necessary anymore. So we feel better about that. She also answered our question about how long Ryan was supposed to abstain from, well, you know, and she said 3-5 days. So that’s kind of the bummer about the egg retrieval being on Monday thing – Ryan thought he has at least another day before abstaining. OOPS! We are right at 3 days prior to retrieval now – sorry that was probably TMI.
So, it’s really happening! All of this waiting, waiting, waiting, and then all of a sudden the past hour has been BUSY!
We also went ahead and booked our flights for our trip for transfer in August. Here’s hoping that I am cleared for going through with it. August 10th is my baseline ultrasound – please pray for no polyps, good hormone levels, etc. It would suck to have to cancel those flights (and of course the transfer)!
So, yeah, next week is going to be full of embryology reports! So Get Ready, Get Set, GO!
PS – I feel like I should also mention the other stuff going on in my life right now, so everyone can understand the additional stress we are under (and so I can remember it down the road – not that I really want to). So, I was in a wreck two days ago. Anadine was in the care with me, too, which made it super scary. We are both fine, thank goodness! But now I’m dealing with insurance, car repair, etc. And my body feels completely beat up. I am so glad I am not doing my portion of the cycle right now. Added hormones and shots would not make things better. But poor Ryan. He did not need the added stress while he is also studying for boards. Plus things are super busy at work for him. I guess no time is a good time, but it hasn’t been easy. I’m just so glad we are okay and he is so supportive.
Our donor went in for her first appointment today for a baseline ultrasound and blood work. I just received the update that everything is a go! They saw 30 resting follicles and she started taking Gonal F today. I wouldn’t even know what 30 follicles looks like on the ultra sound screen. The most I ever saw was 8! The nurse said that typically 70-80% of testing follicles will produce a mature egg. So, of course I did the math. 70% of 30 is 21. Assuming all of those fertilize, and going by the stats that say usually half of embryos test PGS normal, then we could essentially end up with 10, genetically normal embryos. That’s insane!
So now we are on standby. She will go back next Wednesday for a follow up ultrasound. At that point, we may have a better idea of when Ryan needs to go out there. We know it will be around the 18th, but won’t know for sure until we get closer and they see how she’s responding.
Meanwhile, I’ve been back and forth with our nurse trying to get some answers to some questions. So in previous cycles, Ryan has always had to take antibiotics before egg retrieval. It’s just been a part of the protocol at every other clinic. But it wasn’t mentioned in any of our material we got a month ago. When I asked our nurse about it, she said that they don’t do that, but that both of us will be on antibiotics before transfer. Huh? It makes total sense that I would take antibiotics before transfer, but why Ryan? So yesterday I sent her an email asking for clarification. I also asked if he could take antibiotics before egg retrieval, just for our peace of mind. In a previous semen analysis, doctors have seen white blood cells in his semen, indicating infection or enlarged prostate. It’s an easy fix with antibiotics, so especially since he hasn’t had a semen analysis in over a year, we would both just feel more confident with doing everything we can to assure his best sample possible. I also asked if there was anything else he could be doing: multi vitamin, abstinence for a few days prior, etc. We already know the answers to these questions (this ain’t our first rodeo) but the point was that in all of the paper work, Ryan’s part of the process simply was not mentioned. Anyway, her response was that they have never prescribed antibiotics prior to egg retrieval before, the doctor is out of the office this week, and she’s going to have to ask him when he comes back next week. She didn’t even answer my other questions.
So here’s what it all boils down to–I’m about fed up with the communication, or lack therof, at SDFC (or at least with our nurse). I feel like they are completely catering to our donor, and we’re the ones paying the big bucks. I feel so out of sorts about the idea that our potential baby is being made this month, and I have nothing to do with it. When we were using my eggs, I was giving myself shots, going to appointments, etc. Now I’m across the country and waiting on an email to get results. However, Ryan does have something to do with it, and he deserves some attention, instruction, and respect for his part of it. Especially when I ask specific questions, I expect for them to be answered. Oh, I also had to ask her for my orders to send to my clinic for my monitoring in August. You would think that would have been included in the millions of other pages of paperwork she sent me. I haven’t gotten my prescriptions for my meds either. I realize I don’t start for another month, but I’d like to have them in hand so as to avoid a rush with my pharmacy.
I hate to complain. I think it really all stems from feeing out of control and out of touch with the cycle. I’ll focus on the 30 follicles, praying for each one, and continue to ask my questions. And I’ll hope that we get to fill out some sort of survey at the end of this, because they could really use some lessons in patient relations.
Sorry it’s been a while. Blame it on summer vacation- I basically haven’t turned on my laptop in two weeks. And then I remembered I can post from my wordpress app. It’s not quite as effective, or easy, but it will do to give a quick update on things.
So we have our official calendar. I already shared the tentative retrieval dates, but now we have the official treatment plan, complete with medications and instructions. More importantly (only because we didn’t have it before) we have our treatment plan for transfer. So I’ll be starting birth control at the end of July, whenever my period starts, then I’ll go in for my baseline ultrasound on August 8, and if everything looks good, I’ll start estrogen at the point. Then I’ll be monitored once a week to check my uteran lining and when directed, I’ll start the progesterone in oil injections (THE WORST). Assuming all goes as planned, transfer will be September 1st.
Along with these treatment plans, we also got the whole gamut of consent forms: basically the forms we fill out to state what happens to the leftover embryos should we decide not to use them: do we donate them to another couple? Donate them to science? Discard of them? Also, what happens to them if one of us should die? If both of us should die? If we get divorced? Basically all of these questions we don’t want to think about, but have to think about. Welcome to the world of IVF, right? Decisions galore!
So, no, we haven’t filled them out yet. Basically because, well, life. We’ve just been super busy, and finding time to have those difficult conversations is not top priority when the new season of Orange is the New Black has just come out. But they aren’t due until egg retrieval, and for once I’m not freaking out about getting things done. I’m enjoying these last few weeks of not stressing about it. Because July will be filled with news on follicle numbers, embryo quality, and last minute travel plans for Ryan. And then August will be filled with emotions running high from hormones (not to mention beginning of school year crazies).
So for now, I’m just chillin’. I’m doing what I promised myself I would do- I’m enjoying my life as it is right now. And right now, life is good, y’all. That doesn’t mean I don’t think about what’s about to happen, and hope for a completely different scenario this time next year, but for now, I’ll live in the moment.
Side note: I’ve just started listening to the podcast “Matt and Doree’s eggcellent adventure” and I’m loving it. It’s fun to listen to this couple talk about their experience with IVF. They’re upbeat, real, and downright funny. Anyway, if you’re going through the infertility journey, or if you’re not, you may want to give it a listen.
So now my five year old is crying because she wants me to come pat her back so she can fall asleep. It’s a new phase that’s kind of driving me crazy. For real- she has always been the self soother, no crutches to get to sleep (minus the blankie) kind of kid. But hey, live in the moment right? I’ll go give her a few extra cuddles and love this moment in time.
Update: she’s now come out of her room a total of 3 times. I’ll be honest, the isn’t the best moment. (Just kidding!)
Finally! The day has come! We have a calendar. I am not naive, and I know that a million things could happen between now and then that could make all of this change, but for now we have a plan. It’s all happening a little later than I had hoped – and the time that my husband has to be out in San Diego does not work out great for his work or for a yearly vacation that we take, but we have to just deal with it. Our donor couldn’t start any earlier, and Heavens knows I do not want to wait to do this later. So here is our donor’s schedule for egg retrieval:
Last birth control pill: 7/2
Baseline ultrasound: 7/6 or 7/7
Start stimulation medication: 7/7
Follow up ultrasound and blood work: 7/12
Follow up ultrasound and blood work: 7/14
May need to be seen the weekend of 7/15 or 7/16
Follow up ultrasound and blood work: 7/17
Egg retrieval: 7/18-7/21
So there it is. So now we still have to make decisions about PGS testing (whether to do it or not), and schedule flights, hotel, etc. I thought that we all may go out there as a family and make a vacation out of it, but the timing is just bad for that. I will be finishing up getting ready for school stuff, and it’s the week before our week at the Neshoba County Fair (look it up if you don’t know what I’m talking about), so I have cooking and preparations for that. Now the praying starts for no hiccups in the plan.
We have signed the legal documents, our donor and her husband have done the same, and we are officially one step closer than we’ve ever been before!
So now we are ready to get the long awaited calendar. I emailed Nurse Hilary yesterday to make sure she had received the legal clearance letter from the lawyer. She replied back and said she had, and that she had reached out to the donor to see about dates that she’ll be available. Then she’s supposed to let me know when she hears back from her. Except for at the bottom of the email there was a statement that said the SDFC offices will be closed from May 18-May 21, so that means — yep, more waiting.
I just hope the donor has responded to her and she can get things going first thing Monday morning. I am so ready for that calendar. Everything this summer, at least July, is put on hold until we know what we’re doing. And it’s driving me crazy! I have this terrible feeling that something is going to go wrong…maybe the donor won’t be available at all in July. What if this thing has to get pushed even further? I guess all there is to do is hope.
That’s what’s really hard about IVF with donor eggs. When I was doing IVF before, you had to work around schedules of course, and so much depended on your body cooperating. But now, it’s not just my schedule and my body, it’s also about a complete stranger’s body and schedule. And I know when I get an email from the nurse, I am on top of it – I respond within minutes if at all possible. I know that it’s not quite as urgent for the donor. We are completely relying on her, and that’s really tough.
But hopefully I’ll have some news (hopefully good news) at the beginning of next week. Until then, I focus on finishing out the school year with these kiddos. 4 more days until Summer bliss!
Facebook and I have a love/hate relationship, as I’m sure is the case with most people these days. It’s kind of a necessary evil, although I’m sure it’s not really necessary, but I haven’t had enough coffee this morning to find the write adjective there. I love Facebook for the obvious reasons- I love keeping in touch with people, seeing their cute kids, and (let’s be honest) it TOTALLY plays into my
gossipy, nosy, love for information. But I hate the politics unless you agree with my views, and I hate days like yesterday. Days like yesterday just send me into hysterics.
When we were trying to conceive our first baby, I remember Facebook being bad, as it is with everyone dealing with infertility. I remember seeing pregnancy announcements and crying at every single one. Mother’s Day was always hard, of course, but I think yesterday was the worst I’ve ever seen it. Perhaps that’s because I have more friends with kids now? I don’t know, I was pretty old when I had my first kid and I certainly felt like everyone around me was already a mom. I don’t know why it seemed worse yesterday, but it did. Everything was about honoring mom, and I kept scrolling through (because it’s like a train wreck – I knew it was going to make me upset, but I looked anyway) and I kept thinking about how if this is hard for me now, I can’t imagine what it must be like for (insert the name of my friend who is going through infertility, just lost a child, just lost a mother, chose not to be a mother, just had a miscarriage). I have at least one friend who fits into every single one of those categories, and my heart broke for them. I couldn’t help but think about them yesterday and I thought – why are we putting such an emphasis on this day? Sure, let’s honor the mothers out there. They/We deserve it. We work HARD to be good moms, wives, etc. It is the hardest job on the planet – but goodness knows, things got out of control with the doting – it became a competition…
Mother’s Day Facebook competition — whose husband is going to write the sweetest message about his wife and mom of his children? Who is going to get the best Mother’s Day gift? Whose kid is going to write the funniest thing on the “all about mom” page that every kid in every grade of every school writes? Who got to sleep in the latest, got breakfast in bed, got to go to the beach? Who has the cutest family picture with matching clothes? Who went to the nicest restaurant for lunch? Who got the prettiest flowers?
It’s like Valentine’s Day exploded all over again! GROSS!
***TRIGGER WARNING- I’m about to sound like a spoiled brat, and worse, a spoiled brat who has everything she’s ever dreamed of, and for those of you who haven’t yet, please don’t judge me!***
I was bothered, more so than usual by all of this nonsense, because I got none of it (see, here’s when I start to sound like that spoiled brat!) Here’s the thing – I’m not a wine and dine kind of girl. I don’t expect a reservation at the nicest restaurant, I don’t want jewelry, or any other present that isn’t hand made by my kid on Mother’s Day. I don’t need breakfast in bed, or a gushing Facebook post. I asked for one thing – to sleep late. I ask to sleep late 2 days out of the year – my birthday and Mother’s Day. Well, yesterday morning my kid came in the room as she usually does, and my husband turned on a movie for her to watch so that I could go back to sleep. So there I was with my snoring husband on one side of me, my child on the other side of me, and “Wreck it Ralph” playing on the TV. I know I should
lie say that I am just so happy to have a child that crawls into bed with me…and I AM SO INCREDIBLY THANKFUL- believe me, that was what I told myself over and over again for the 2 hours I lay there trying to sleep. I AM THE LUCKIEST GIRL IN THE WORLD. I HAVE EVERYTHING I HAVE EVER ASKED FOR – except for one day to sleep in late. (Side note – I also thanked God for the fact that I have dishes to unload and a dishwasher to unload them from as I was doing that while my husband slept – I was on a serious “woe-is-me” role yesterday!)
So then my daughter asked for breakfast, so I got up and fixed us some breakfast. And when my husband finally woke up 3 hours later, I told him that I would like a do-over next weekend. He honestly looked shocked, like “what do you mean? I didn’t make you get out of bed. I turned a movie on!” and I calmly told him that it doesn’t count and next Sunday I want him to sacrifice his sleep so that I can get mine – because that is what I do every single weekend of the year. And that is just about the most spoiled I have ever sounded, and I think he was genuinely blown away.
I write a lot of this in jest – I’m giggling to myself as I type. I know I am so lucky. Yesterday, waking up early with my 5 year old climbing into bed with me, fixing her breakfast as I do every other day of the year, breathing in her
dirty smell, and feeling her hands wrap around my waist – this beats sleeping in 365 days a year – times a million!
We ate lunch at a pizza buffet (it was my choice – I told you I don’t do fancy), we had a nap, and swam at a friend’s house. It was a typical Sunday afternoon. I never got a sweet Facebook message. I didn’t get any presents, except for what she made me at school, and I spent a lot of time crying. But I wasn’t crying because of what I didn’t get on Mother’s Day. I was crying for what I do have…a house, a husband, and a child that is my very own. And I was crying for those out there who felt much worse than me. Sure, I’d like to be shown a little appreciation more, not just on Mother’s Day, but ALL THE TIME, but welcome to motherhood. That’s what it’s about – a selfless act of love. It’s what I prayed for and finally got. I am beyond blessed in so many ways.
Now, Facebook and I are taking a break from each other. I don’t deserve to feel less appreciated just because other families are more outward with it than mine is. So Facebook and I are breaking up for a bit. Unless, of course, my husband decides to gush on me for doing the laundry on a Monday – then I’ll bask in all the lovely likes and comments from friends I haven’t seen in years and feel better about myself. Until that happens, I’ll find joy in what I have, and that’s good enough.