CCRM · donor egg ivf · donor eggs · estrace · infertility · ivf · ivf grants · ivf loan · lupron · progesterone · San Diego Fertility Center · sdfc

SDFC Phone Consult

We had our phone consult with the donor coordinator (Jenna) at San Diego Fertility Center yesterday afternoon. She was incredibly informative, was ready to answer all of our questions, and really put our minds at ease. I don’t have a single doubt that if we chose to go to SDFC, we would be in the best of hands for completing a donor egg cycle.

She walked through the process with us, detailing each step of a donor egg cycle. We would have to do a trial run cycle, in which I would start estrace (estrogen) when my period began to increase the lining of my uterus. I would have to have 3 total ultrasounds (one baseline and then 2 more at one week apart) to check to make sure my lining was increasing. Throughout that cycle I would increase the estrace gradually to see how my uterus responds. Then I would take progesterone to make my period start, start birth control pills to link up my cycle with my donor’s cycle, then begin to process again to build up my lining to prepare for transfer. Estrace and Progesterone: my two least favorite of the drugs! And then when I actually do the cycle, they will add in lupron (the shot that burns as I remember it!) Ah well, the things we do!

I asked if they had a bank of frozen eggs available. She said that they didn’t really do a lot of donor egg cycles with frozen eggs because the technology hasn’t developed enough to successfully freeze single cells. She said that they are constantly trying to develop new ways to make it more successful, but their thoughts are that using frozen eggs at this juncture does not have enough success for them to promote it. I found this information very helpful since that was one of the things I liked about the Chicago clinic ($15,000 cycle for a frozen donor egg cycle). I remember Dr. Surrey at CCRM saying something similar, so it’s easy to trust her: they have found great success with freezing and thawing embryos, but eggs just don’t have enough cells to keep them viable.

Ryan asked her to explain what should make their clinic stand out above the rest. He explained that we were doing a little bit of shopping around, and while we love their customer service (so to speak) San Diego is certainly not our cheapest option in regards to treatment or travel expenses. She said that they are really the pioneers in donor egg IVF. She said that CCRM is known for their successes in IVF and embryo testing: they have an impeccable lab and are on the front end of developments in IVF treatments and protocols (exactly!). Basically what she said, although not in these exact words, is that SDFC is for donor egg IVF what CCRM is for regular IVF. Their founder started donor egg IVF something like 24 years ago, and the first ever donor egg baby is not 32 years old (I don’t know if those are the exact numbers, but you get the gist). Basically, they’ve been at it for a lot longer than most clinics.

So, right now, they are top on my list and I think Ryan agrees. He was very pleased with the consult yesterday. We both know it will probably be a while though because we have to figure out the money issue. SDFC does have an agency that they partner with a lot who does infertility loans. Jenna is supposed to send me some information on that. I’m also looking into grants some more because now I know that they will accept money from third party lenders (CCRM wouldn’t so I didn’t want to go through the grant process if they wouldn’t accept the money – a lot of grants want to pay directly to the clinic).

I also have to get this polyp removed before we can do anything else. I have an appointment with my new OBGYN on March 22, and we’ll hopefully be able to schedule the removal for soon after. It looks like this is going to be a pretty long process. I would be thrilled if I could get pregnant this summer, but it’s looking more and more like it will be closer to a year from now.

Thanks for hanging in there with me!

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antral follicle count · CCRM · costs · donor eggs · pros and cons · San Diego Fertility · uterus

One Day Work Up Results

Well, we are back from Colorado with a lot to think about. I want to apologize ahead of time for this long post, but there is a lot going on in my head right now. Any feedback is greatly appreciated, especially from anyone out there who has had to make similar decisions.

I didn’t get the clear cut answers I was hoping for, though I didn’t really expect to. I was hoping to go have these remaining tests done, and Dr. Surrey would be able to give me a clear cut yes or no as to whether we could try again with my eggs. He didn’t necessarily do that, but he did make several things pretty clear to us. So here is what we do know post one day work up…

My uterus: We first did an ultra sound to look inside my uterus, check the lining, and check for blood flow with the Doppler. This is also where they did the antral follicle count (more on that in a minute). The lining looked good and thick. She did see a water filled cyst on one of my ovaries, but she said that’s common after ovulation (remember this was cycle day 17 for me, so that makes sense). The blood flow wasn’t great though. It wasn’t terrible by any means, and she said that it may have been caused by the Claritin D that I had been taking all week. She said that if Dr. Surrey was concerned about it he would tell us more at our follow up. He actually never brought it up in our follow up, and we completely forgot to ask. We have another phone follow up with him in a couple of weeks though, and I’ll be sure to remember to ask him about it then. I think that lessening caffeine intake as well as starting acupuncture for the purpose of increasing blood flow to the uterus will greatly improve things. More in regards to my uterus – we also did a hysteroscopy with Dr. Surrey. This was where he looked at my uterus with a scope and also did a trial transfer to see how my uterus will react to the process. All looked good, except I do have a fairly large polyp on my uteran wall. This will obviously have to be removed before transferring an embryo. I’m due for a yearly pap anyway, and Dr. Surrey said that my OBGYN can do it in his office. We’ll just have to get a pathology analysis on the polyp, although Dr. Surrey didn’t think it looked malignant. I’m wondering if this could have caused the abnormal blood flow reading earlier in the day? (I can’t believe we forgot to ask about it!) Dr. Surrey also said he could remove it during an egg retrieval, if we use my own eggs and do a frozen embryo transfer (more on that in a minute, too).

Semen Analysis: I just received a phone call from ccrm (following up about something else) and I asked if any results had come in about the semen analysis. They haven’t gotten the chromatin report yet, but have gotten the basic semen analysis results, which look good. His morphology (the shape of the sperm) is a little low – they like it to be 3 and his was 2, but the nurse didn’t seem concerned with that. I didn’t get any other report about it other than it was normal. I’m not too concerned about it and will wait to get all the details when we have the rest of the results in.

And now, for the EGGS – the big question to be answered: The ultrasound actually showed 10 resting follicles, which was a bit of a shock since 5 years ago we had 9. So that was actually a pleasant surprise. However, we have to be practical and know that just because there are 10 follicles, does not mean I would grow 10 eggs in a cycle. We also have to keep in mind that my FSH is pretty high, indicating poor egg quality. I keep going back to the fact that 5 years ago we retrieved 7 eggs and only 1 of them survived. Those odds just aren’t that great.

What the Good Doc. Said — Dr. Surrey said that it certainly wouldn’t be impossible for us to get pregnant with my eggs, but it wouldn’t be an easy road either. He said he would strongly suggest the CCS testing with a frozen embryo transfer. We didn’t do this last time because we assumed my eggs were healthy, even though I didn’t have a lot of them. Now we know a little more (1 out of 7 survived). So the CCS testing would test all of the embryos made to check for the correct number of chromosomes. Most people I know who have gone to CCRM have done this testing, so it certainly isn’t an unreasonable plan. However, the chances of us ending up with an embryo that a. can make it to the 5 day mark to be able to be tested, survives the testing, and then survives thaw and transfer is minimal. My fear is that we would go through the process and end up without any embryos that tested normal, and we would have paid the 7,000 extra dollars for something that we could find out by just transferring and seeing if the embryo takes (usually non viable embryos do not implant). Of course, that has it’s own trauma associated with it. I would still end up with a failed IVF cycle. Either way, chances of success are slim with my eggs. We have the problem of growing them, first of all, but then most importantly getting a normal, quality embryo is the toughest part. So basically, to finalize Dr. Surrey’s theory, our chances of being successful with IVF using my eggs and CCS testing is at 40-45%. My chances of being successful with donor eggs is 85%. Honestly, I wanted the numbers to be more spread out than that, if we were to decide to go the donor egg route….like I wanted him to tell me I had a 20% chance of success. That would make the decision SO MUCH EASIER!

We also met with a donor egg counselor, which was actually pretty great. I expressed my fears about what others would think about us using donor eggs, including the comment my mom made to me about it. She really reassured me that usually people get over those feelings, especially once the baby is born. Ryan and I talked a lot about it this weekend, too, and decided that we will most definitely not keep it a secret. Talking about my struggles has always been how I cope with infertility, and not talking about it, or hiding a piece of it, would make it seem like I was ashamed of it. If I do end up getting pregnant with a donor egg baby, I would want to make sure I never let that child think I was ashamed of his/her origins. I wouldn’t hide it from the child, so I certainly wouldn’t hide it from family members or friends. My mom and I have a big conversation to have if we end up going this route, and I’m certain everyone will come around. And as the counselor pointed out, if they don’t come around to the idea, then screw ’em!

My/Our thoughts: If this was my prognosis before having Anadine, I’d probably go for it with my own eggs. I would be in the mind frame of wanting to give it my all before trying something else (in fact, that is basically what I did 5 years ago). But now, we really only have this one shot. We simply do not have the money to spend up to $30,000 on an IVF cycle and then (assuming it would fail) spend another $40,000 on a donor egg cycle. I hate to base my final decision on money, but that really is what it boils down to – that and the fact that I really have come to terms with the idea of using donor eggs and I’m okay with it. Ryan and I talked a lot about it over the weekend, and I think we both agree that donor eggs will be the most effective (cost and otherwise) way to go. We haven’t made any final decisions yet, but that’s kind of where we are now.

Here are the pros and cons we came up with:

Pros of using own eggs:
-DNA is the same
-Don’t have to explain to family
-Don’t have to explain to potential child about origins later down the road
-Less expensive (assuming it works)

Cons of using own eggs:
-little chance of success
-injecting all of the hormones into my body (increases cancer risks, etc)
– mental stress – which probably wouldn’t be very helpful for success

Pros of donor eggs:
-more of a sure thing
-easier on my body
-less time consuming as far as the actual cycle goes
-we have more time to prepare because it doesn’t matter that I’m losing more eggs each month
-younger, healthier eggs (less chance of birth defects)
-will most likely have many embryos to work with, or possibly freeze for later children (??) or if it doesn’t work the first time. 

Cons of donor eggs:
-not my DNA
-have to explain to family/future child
-Very expensive!

It’s such a tough decision and we don’t really know how to make it, except to trust our insticts. And both of our instincts tell us to just use donor eggs…because all of those cons (except for the expense of it- more on that though later) don’t matter to us. I’ll still be able to carry the baby, deliver the baby, and love the baby with every ounce of my being. The  fact that he/she doesn’t have my DNA just won’t matter. The pros to using donor eggs are just so much more appealing – especially the idea that we’ll have several embryos to use/choose from/use later. A frozen embryo transfer will be much less expensive than doing an entire cycle, should the first one not work.

Okay, so now to talk about the expense of a donor egg cycle (prepare yourself). If we were to do a donor egg cycle at CCRM (using an anonymous donor), it would cost us close to $40,000, not including travel expenses. In addition to that, CCRM’s current donor list consists of 7 donors, only two of which are Caucasian. A girl in my CCRM Facebook group, who also ended up using donor eggs, told me that I should look into San Diego Fertility Clinic (where she ultimately ended up going and has a beautiful little girl). They have a donor egg guarantee plan that costs $26,278. With the plan you get all the transfers necessary to get pregnant from the batch of embryos created with your donor, and if you don’t get pregnant, you get your money back. I don’t know what this means regarding if you get pregnant on the first transfer, if you still get to freeze the remaining embryos to use at a later time. I also don’t know how their donor database compares to CCRM’s, or if they are as picky as CCRM in accepting donors (one of the reasons CCRM’s list is so short). These are all questions I plan to get answered soon. But I can tell you this, I don’t know if they can tell me much that would justify us spending $20,000 extra to stay at CCRM. That does break my heart a little because I do love CCRM and have a very special place in my heart for it, but business is business and if I use donor eggs, I don’t see the  need to use CCRM for it.

There’s also a fertility clinic in Dallas, which would be pretty convenient, that I’m going to check out. When I googled “best donor egg fertility clinics in the US” the one in Dallas came up as number 1. I don’t know much more about it than that, and I don’t know what they criteria was in choosing it as number 1, but it is something I think is worth looking into. Dallas is only a 4 hour drive from here – talk about cutting down on travel expenses!

So basically both of these other options take away that last con of using donor eggs (the expense of it). Honestly, the $26,000 at SDFC is still less than a regular IVF cycle at CCRM. We are also going to look into fertility grants and possibly setting up a Go Fund Me account. I hate asking for outside help, but it is just SO expensive and insurance companies generally don’t cover any of it. 

So now I have some more questions to get answered. We’ll have a follow up phone consult with Dr. Surrey on the 18th, so I’m making that my deadline to make some final decisions. Time to get going on my homework!

And that’s it — if you made it this far in this post you honestly deserve some sort of medal or something. Thanks for reading (and for your patience). And again, any thoughts are welcome!

CCRM · one day work up

WTF

I mean, why is it that when I need my body to actually behave it doesn’t? I just started my flippin’ period! It’s been 16 days since I last started. I wasn’t due to start again for another 8 days or so. WTF?!?! So what this means…I’m going to assume nothing right now. CCRM says they want you there between days 4-15 for your work up. This will put me out there on day 17. I’m guessing they want it done during the first part of your cycle just in case you’re pregnant. Since that is impossible for me, I’m going to assume it will be okay. I’ll put a call in to the nurse to make sure though. Please be okay! I’ve already booked flights, car rental, and hotel. Not to mention I’ve found a sub for my class for the two days I’ll be out. UGH UGH UGH!! Fingers crossed they don’t want me to change it. Or even better, maybe this is just spotting due to ovulation (even though that’s never happened to me, and I have cramps, and it’s very much like a normal period for me). Sorry if all of this is TMI, I’m just so mad at my body right now!

UPDATE:
I called CCRM and told the nurse what was going on. She said that they could reschedule me for Feb. 2, but it would have to be done by a different doctor. She said she’d have to get that signed off with Dr. Surrey and she’d let me know. I asked her if the reason for the day restrictions were to make sure I wasn’t pregnant, and explained that my tubes are tied and deformed, meaning I absolutely can’t get pregnant. She didn’t really give me an answer, but told me she’d check with Dr. Surrey on all of that. So I had about 45 minutes of freaking out, calling Ryan and crying, panicking about the flight change restrictions, etc. and then she called back. She said we can keep it for the 5th. (*giant sigh of relief!) She said that the one stipulation is that I don’t have unprotected intercourse for that cycle. (HUH?) I asked if that’s true even if my tubes are tied, yada yada yada, and she said yes. So now, how to explain this to the hubby?? I kind of want to call her bluff on that one. I mean, I feel like she’s just repeating what she’s been told without thinking it through. Thoughts?

I’m also still kind of hoping that this is some weird fluke and I’ll stop bleeding by the end of the day. Then I can just chalk it up to ovulation, increased exercise, and stress.  Don’t think I don’t find the irony in the fact that I was just complaining about playing the waiting game with nothing to do or think about!

CCRM · ivf · one day work up

Schedule for the one day work up


Here is the schedule the nurse sent me for our one day work up at CCRM. It’s pretty boring stuff, but if someone is looking at doing a work up out there, it might be nice to see the kind of day you might have. It also helps to see the costs of all the tests. 

Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine & Fertility Labs of Colorado

10290 RidgeGate Circle, Lone Tree, Colorado  80124      (303) 788-8300

Name                  Scheduling Date: 1/6/16          

Doctor for MD appts below: Surrey               Per: Tonie                    Cycle Day 1 (est):

Appointments must be within days 5-13 of your cycle, unless otherwise approved by your physician.

We have scheduled the following appointments for you on: Friday February 5th, 2016

Out of state patients:

We strongly recommend you arrive in Denver the evening prior to your appointments to avoid last minute stress due to a possible flight delay. Denver International Airport is approximately 1 hour of drive time away from CCRM.CCRM strongly suggests that you do not schedule a flight home until 7pm or after.  Due to the number of appointments scheduled as part of your work up, we are not able to reschedule your appointments to accommodate an earlier flight time.

On your appointment day:

Please be sure to pick up a schedule when you check in for your first appointment.  This will assure that any minor appointment time changes are reflected on the schedule you have for the day.

Remember to check in with a receptionist whenever you are ready for your next appointment as scheduled.

Appt.
Time
Test or Consult
Who
Fee
1
6:45
2
7:00
Nurse:  Orientation to IVF at CCRM / required appointment
Couple
Included in pkg.
3
8:30
Baseline
Ultrasound + Doppler
Female
$670
4
9:15
Semen Analysis + Antibody Testing   (ASAB)  (+ culture to be billed by outside lab)
+ Chromatin Assay
Male
*-FLC pymt *
$240* male
$135* female
+ $465 for Chromatin Assay
(blood  draw
with other labs)
+ culture to be billed by outside lab
5
10:00
Fertility Labs of CO
(FLC) Consent Review
Couple
Included in pkg.
6
10:45
Nurse Consultation
Donor Nurse
Couple
Included in pkg.
7
11:30
Hysteroscopy
Female
$725
8
11:45
Regroup
Couple
$119
9
12:00
10
12:30
Nurse – IVF Consult
Shipping Kit:
Y or N
Additional fees apply
GC/C Collection:
Y or N
Couple
Consult included in pkg. Additional shipping kit fee may apply.
11
1:45
Standard or Extended  Workup Labs, Communicable Disease, Genetic Screening Blood Tests
GC/CT DNA urine
Important:
Discuss Genetic Screening Tests with RN prior to blood draw.
Couple
*-FLC pymt. *
Standard:
$415/male
$415/female
Extended:
$1115 /female
$1115/male
Other & Genetic:  As recommended
by your MD
12
2:30
Psychologist – Donor Recipient Consult
Couple
Included in pkg.
13
3:30
Business Office
Couple
14
4:15

* Fertility Labs of Colorado Charges – FLC is contracted with United Health Care insurance onlyat this time.

If you have an insurance plan other than United Health Care, or no infertility benefit with United Health Care, lab testing by FLC will be considered “patient pay” and payment is due at time of service.

We will send claim forms to you upon request for you to submit claim to your insurance if applicable.

Please note: neither CCRM nor FLC accept American Express.

This is the standard/mandatory workup.  Based on your history, your physician may recommend additional testing during your visit which may result in additional fees.  Please contact the Business Office with any financial questions. Please note that if you opt to have genetic testing done, there is a $25.00 Good Start Set-up Fee in addition the fees charged by Good Start Genetics.


Test Requirements & Instructions:

ASAB (Anti-Sperm Antibody Test)2-5 days abstinence prior to test.    

Baseline Scan/Doppler UltrasoundAvoid caffeine (coffee, tea, chocolate, etc.) for 3 days/ 72 hours prior to this ultrasound examination. (Caffeine effects blood flow which is measured by Doppler.)

Hysteroscopy – The hysteroscopy can cause some cramping, similar to menstrual cramps, and you may take 800 mg of ibuprofen 1 hour prior to the procedure.  The procedure should be performed when you have a partially full bladder.

Please note:  No tampons or intercourse or submerging in water for 1 week after the procedure.

Denver, the “Mile High City,” is at 5280 feet. Our altitude is high and our humidity is low.   Please be sure to drink plenty of fluids to feel good and be well-hydrated for your blood draw.

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As for me, I have some questions to ask about some of these tests that I’m scheduled for. I’m wondering that if we’ve already done some of them at our previous work up, will we have to do them again? I know they need to do the ultrasounds and hystoroscopy, to check my uterus and baseline follicle count, but do I really need to be tested for HIV again? I’d like to save as much money as possible, and that along with the genetic testing seems like overkill. We’ve already done all of that, and it all came back negative. I realize it could be possible for someone to contract HIV in five years, but I assure you I have not.

It’s also interesting to see all of the restrictions listed below the schedule. I completely forgot about the abstinence from sex for 72 hours, and the no caffeine thing. No caffeine 5 years ago was a big deal and not fun. No caffeine now may be the death of me. I should probably start weening myself off slowly over the next couple of weeks. My morning coffee is what gets me moving!

In other life news, I have a girls’ trip planned with my college girlfriends and I am SO EXCITED!! It will be a welcomed break and I cannot wait to see all of my friends, some of whom I haven’t seen in years – like maybe 6 years? Crazy! I’ll be honest...the no drinking, no caffeine thing – well, it’s probably going to start after this weekend.Cheers!
CCRM · ivf · one day work up

Endless thoughts

Make the thinking stop! I hate this waiting game. I am a planner – type A, OCD, crazy person, planner. I can’t help it. It’s part of my nature and it’s something I have accepted about myself. It drives Ryan crazy because he is the complete opposite. In fact, our fights usually revolve around me having a plan, time frame to get things done, etc. and him, well, not.

Usually, I am proud of my planning tendencies. I am fairly organized and prepared (well, most of the time). But it’s what makes times like this, in my world of infertility, so excruciatingly painful. I’m ready to plan. I’m ready to know when we’re going to cycle, if we’re going to cycle. I’m ready to start the process of choosing a donor, if we have to choose a donor. But none of that can be planned until we know the answers. So now, all that’s left to do is wonder and make several plans, all of which probably won’t happen the way I plan them, but alas it makes me feel better anyway.

So, all of that is to say that I  have been thinking..a lot. I have been preparing myself for the worst in regards to news we’ll get at the work up in February. Call me a pessimist if you want, but it has become my coping strategy. It dates back to that horrible day I found out my tubes were “blocked.” I went in there with the idea that it may solve our problems, and came out realizing my problems were far worse than I ever anticipated. And then I got my hopes up for that first IVF since I was so young and “only had a tube problem.” After those failures, and finding out I also have an egg problem, I figured out that it’s best to never get my hopes up in regards to my fertility. Expect the worst, pray for something better.

So, that leads me to now – I’m expecting them to say I need to use donor eggs. Actually, that wouldn’t be the worst thing they could tell me. If I’m truly honest, I could think of several things they could tell me that would be far worse – like my uterus is too damaged to ever carry a baby again – but we just simply won’t go there. In fact, I’m just hoping for some clear cut answers. I don’t want to go there and them say “well, you might have a chance with your eggs, but we’re just not sure.” I don’t want to have to make the decision. I either want them to say, “yes, we can do this” or “no, we can’t.”

Okay, I keep getting off track. My whole point of this post is that I am preparing myself for the idea of using donor eggs. I’m trying to get my head wrapped around it, and I’m actually warming up to the idea. I know I won’t love the child any less.  There have been studies that show that a fetus actually acquires genetic tissue from the mother while in the womb. That the bonding that happens in the womb far out ways the genetic material from the egg itself. Using donor eggs would mean a much better shot at being pregnant and having second child. We know that for a fact. It would also, most likely, give us enough embryos to freeze to possibly go for a third child later on, if we so desired. Using donor eggs would mean subjecting myself to fewer hormones, less physical pain (no egg retrieval, bloated ovaries, etc), and less time commitment (daily ultrasounds, etc). So, I’m seeing the pros more than the cons.

But, the big con I do see is this: what will other people think? I don’t mean what they will think of me. I could care less what they think of me. What will they think of my child – the one that I haven’t even conceived yet. Will they compare that child to the biological one that I have? Will they think this child less mine than the one I have? I have already heard comments from some of my family members – who told other family members – and of course it got back to me. They said “I just hope she doesn’t go the donor egg route because that’s just weird.” What a horrible thing to say! What if I do go the donor egg route? Should I take that as you feel awkward around that child? Will you think of him or her as less of your nephew or niece? (yes, it was my brother who apparently said it). I’ll be honest. It kind of breaks my heart to think about it. I think I just won’t tell anyone. But then I wonder, will I be able to keep that kind of secret? This blog is what helps me get my ideas out and feel support from some of you. Will I have to keep it a secret here, too? Should I just not tell anyone?

Sorry for all of the ramblings. This is seriously what has been going on constantly in my head over the last several weeks. And the annoying thing is, I can’t truly answer any of these questions until we get answers ourselves – Feb. 5th. Can it get here already?
CCRM · one day work up

One Day Work Up Scheduled

I finally talked to the nurse yesterday and scheduled our one day work up for February 5th. We’ll fly out there the day before and stay through the weekend. I’m really excited to have this time with Ryan out there because I feel like he missed out so much on the Colorado experience before. When we went to our egg retrieval 4 years ago, we flew out there Thursday night, ODWU on Friday, and flew out Saturday morning. I got a lot of tourist time when I was out there for the IVF cycle, but he only got to come out for the egg retrieval and bed rest part of it. So it will be nice to have a full day to just piddle around. Plus, now that we have Anadine, it’s extra nice to get that time away with each other. She’ll stay with my mom in Jackson while we go out there. AND there’s an IKEA out there now that wasn’t there before. Fun fun! So, I guess until then there won’t be much news to post. But I’m getting excited to get some real answers and know what our next steps are.
CCRM · donor eggs · estradiol · FSH · one day work up

Follow up with Dr. Surrey RE: day three blood results

Before I get too much into what the good doc said, here is information regarding my hormone levels, more specifically compared to my levels in 2011.
FSH levels (determines egg quality and ovarian reserve)
Normal: below 10, Mine in 2011: 9.7, Mine now: 14.4
Estradiol (estrogen levels)
Normal: below 50, Mine in 2011: 78, Mine now: 48
AMH (determines egg quantity)
Normal: 1.8, Mine in 2011: 0.9, Mine now: 0.8
Okay, so the biggest difference is my FSH level. It has risen quite significantly. According to the doc, this obviously isn’t great, but the good news is that my estrogen levels dropped to a normal range. He said something about how the FSH levels and estrogen levels work together and if one is high, you want the other to be low and vice versa…I didn’t really follow and the more research that I do online the more confused I get. From what I can tell, low estrogen levels aren’t a good thing and it just means I’m closer to menopause, but I suppose I’ll trust the doc for now and ask more questions when the time is right. My AMH levels haven’t changed much, which is good, although they are very definitely in a not so great range. Dr. Surrey said that from what he’s looking at right now, I’m not in the range where he’s going to say no way, no how. But, he’s also not fully confident in my chance of success. He said that considering in my last cycle, while it is obviously considered a success, it still wasn’t a great outcome in that I only retrieved 7 eggs, only 5 of those eggs fertilized, and of those 5, only 1 made it. And while we are glad for that 1, it doesn’t necessarily predict great success for another IVF 4 years later.
He then went on to say that there are two more pieces to the puzzle that will really give us a clear picture of what we’re working with: an antral follicle count and a glimpse into my uterus. Both require an ultrasound that they want to perform in Colorado. So then came the news I’ve been waiting for: he wants us to come out for the one day work up. I’m totally okay with that (even kind of excited). I remember feeling so informed after going for the ODWU last time, and I really feel like it would give me peace of mind.
Ryan and I did have a conversation last night about all of this and I shared what we discussed with Dr. Surrey. We are both pretty adamant that we don’t want to go through multiple IVFs to achieve our goal. I simply don’t want to put all those hormones into my body. It’s been shown that they increase chances of ovarian and breast cancer, among other things like making you crazy and fat!! That’s not saying we don’t desperately want another baby, but we’re just more willing to use other means to achieve that goal this time, like using donor eggs. When I mentioned that to Dr. Surrey, he said that using donor eggs would give me about an 80% chance of success, and could even end up being the most cost effective. However, he made it clear that he doesn’t want me to rule out using my own eggs just yet, at least not until we get the missing pieces to the puzzle at the ODWU. He did say that he would make sure we had meetings set up to discuss the donor egg process while we’re out there. It will be much easier to discuss all of these possibilities in person instead of over the phone.
So anyway, now I just wait for the nurse to call and we’ll schedule to go out there. I’m thinking it will end up being towards the beginning of February. It has to be done between cycle days 5-14, so that either means next weekend (eek!) or February. I just don’t think I can get my act together in time for next  weekend. Especially since this go around I have to figure out child care. So, now it’s just the waiting game. In the meantime, I’ll try to get healthy and prepare my body to be poked and prodded. I need to eat healthier, drink less wine at night, and drink lots more water! New year resolutions!!

CCRM · ivf · phone consult

Phone Consultation

Well, we talked to Dr. Surrey last night and it went as expected. We didn’t get a whole lot of information because we can’t really get that information until we have tests done. The good news is (I guess it’s good news) he wants me to go ahead and have blood work done here to determine my hormone levels before we travel all the way out to Colorado. He said last time my FSH levels were normal, but my AMH levels were low. He assumes my levels have gotten worse (obviously), but we just don’t know how much worse. So he wants to figure that out first before we travel for more tests. The way he put it was if he has to give us bad news, he’d rather do it over the phone than making us travel to hear it. That makes sense to me and I’m glad for that. It’s just that he kind of made it pretty clear that he doesn’t expect my levels to be that great, and the chance of bad news is pretty likely. However, I have to remember that when we first went to Colorado for a one day work up, we were going for a donor egg one day work up. Then after they did some of these tests, we got the news that we would be able to try with my own eggs. So I guess I’m just praying for a miracle at this point. And I’m glad for a doctor that doesn’t give me false hope.
The nurse is supposed to call me to give me the directions for getting the blood work done. I have to do it on Cycle Days 2-4, which will probably fall sometime around next weekend. I’m assuming they’ll send me a container, I’ll take it to a lab, get my blood work done, freeze it in my freezer, then send it back to CCRM. So hopefully that means I’ll be getting the results in less than 2 weeks. Now that we’ve started, I’m ready to get the show on the road…or at least know the plans ahead of me. It’s still easier this time around though. I have plenty of things to distract me, and for her I’ll be forever grateful!
CCRM · ivf · trying for baby 2
Wow. It’s been a long time since I have even looked at this blog, let alone written an entry in it. So much has happened in the last three and a half years with our little miracle baby, and we have loved (almost) every minute of it. I’ll be honest…this age (3) has just about killed me. She is such a headstrong (too smart for her own good) child. I keep telling myself that her headstrong personality is what got her here in the first place. Her persistence, even as a little embryo, is what made her “stick” and it’s why she’s here today. I truly believe that. She’s tough, resilient, and also perfect in every way!

So I guess I should mention why I am here, looking at my blog, and posting again for the first time in years. It seems as though we are about to embark on the IVF journey again…well, maybe. We have a phone consultation appointment tonight with Dr. Surrey at CCRM. We’re going straight to the big guns this time. There’s no need to waste our time elsewhere. I don’t expect much from the phone consult. I remember last time it was mainly just a way for them to charge me $300 to tell me I need to come our for a one day work up for them to really determine anything, but it’s gotta be done and so we’ll do it.

The one day work up will really be where we get the answers to my main question: do I need to just use donor eggs this time around? I fully expect for them to say yes, I do. I’m trying to prepare myself for that possibility. And, to be honest, I don’t know what I’ll do at that point. Before Anadine, I was so determined to have a baby that I was willing to do anything it took to get there. Now that I’ve seen what my eggs and Ryan’s sperm can create, I don’t know how I would feel about doing it any other way. But at the same time, I so desperately want Anadine to have a sibling. And y’all, she NEEDS a sibling! ha! So, I just don’t know… I guess we’ll see when we get there.

It’s funny. Even after finding success in getting pregnant, having a beautiful and healthy baby, and raising her to be the fun, spunky, and crazy three year old I hoped for, I still find myself letting my struggles with infertility define me. I really do hate that, but I truly can’t help it. I have found peace with it. I know it’s a part of my life story, and that’s okay. In fact, I feel so much more at peace this time around. It’s not so much a goal that I have to reach this time. It’s more of a decision to just try and see what happens. But it still hurts when people ask if we’ll have more children. I find myself just blurting out “well, we have to do IVF to get pregnant, so when we get $20,000 maybe.” That’s so not fair to that person, I know, but I can’t help it. I just throw up at the mouth sometimes. And now Anadine is asking for a baby brother. I just tell her to pray to God for one, but bless her heart, it takes a little more than that (though, believe me, prayers are being said!)

 I’m excited, but nervous. I just recently started feeling like my body was back to normal. My hormones are finally balanced out, and my weight is back to what it was before we started IVF. And now I’m looking at starting all over again. But, it’s all worth it…I think!
12 weeks · CCRM

I graduated!

I am officially a CCRM graduate! I went in for my weekly blood work on Wednesday and all of my levels looked good, so I am no longer a patient of CCRM and I can begin seeing a regular OB and begin thinking of my pregnancy as “normal.” My nurse sent me a really sweet email Wednesday afternoon telling me how happy she was for me and telling me to be sure to send my birth story and pictures when the time comes. It’s kind of a bitter sweet feeling. I am so glad that I am finished with the weekly blood draws, hormone support medications, and excessive money spent, but it will be kind of tough not having that weekly reassurance that everything is going as it’s supposed to. However, I am 12 weeks as of yesterday so I am beginning to feel more comfortable that this is really happening. We will be making our big announcement (basically that means we’ll be announcing it on Facebook since most of our family and close friends know already) next week after our first official OB appointment. We are hoping that we will be able to have an ultrasound since a. this will be our first appointment with this doctor and b. I will be at just the right time to have the NT scan to check for the possibility of any abnormalities. Since we didn’t do any of the genetic screening on our embryos there is still that possibility, although we have no reason (family history, etc) to believe that everything isn’t okay. It’s still a little scary, but I’m trying to stay positive that everything is okay with our little okra!

I’m still dealing with my night sickness (I feel great in the morning) and still throw up at least every other night. Surely I will start to feel better soon, right? It is great reassurance, as I’ve said, but it would be nice to get a good night’s sleep in before I start getting new reasons to lose sleep. I’m also starting to get a little baby bump and I’m about to have to break down and get some maternity jeans. My jeans still fit, but they certainly aren’t comfortable and I spend most of my day with them unbuttoned. I think most of my bump is mostly the bloat from the constant eating I’ve been doing (the only thing that keeps the nausea at bay) so I have really started trying to snack on carrots and oranges instead of the bagels that tasted so good to me a few weeks ago. I hope none of this comes across as complaining – it is all truly wonderful and I am still amazed that I have this miracle baby inside me. I’m trying to remember every little thing because who knows if I’ll ever be able to experience this again. I just can’t believe I am this blessed!

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