The Catch Up – FET Cycle #6 (pt. 4 of 5)

After our mock cycle, which ended at the start to mid-December, we took a short break over the Christmas Holiday so that we would not be stressed out during that time of year. We were instructed to call the clinic on Jan 2nd to see what our next steps were.

Over the holiday, I did not get a withdrawal bleed from the mock cycle; which, had me quite worried as that had never happened before. Mind you, being that I don’t get a natural cycle, I wasn’t entirely shocked. The timing was awesome considering both of my clinics (the big clinic and my monitoring clinic) were obviously closed the whole time; so I turned to Dr. Google and determined that the likely cause was because I was not taking any progesterone with the mock cycle. When I called them on Jan 2nd, the nurse told me she would talk to the Doctor and get back to me. When she did, she informed me that I was to go in the following Tuesday for an ultrasound and bloods, just to see where I was at.

When I went in the next week, they did a ‘quick’ scan (as quick as they can be when they ALWAYS have difficulty finding my ovaries) and bloods, then proceeded to tell me that they needed my and my husband’s yearly bloodwork to be completed and consent forms to be signed (and witnessed at the clinic) before we could move forward on another cycle. Now, this doesn’t phase me whatsoever; however, my husband has an intense fear of needles – I give myself all of my injections as he doesn’t even like to see it (that being said, he has offered repeatedly to help if needed, I’ve just refused as he’d probably pass out or something HA!). Thankfully, over the years, I seem to have gotten it through to him that he needs to suck it up for his ONCE A YEAR bloodwork, and he only complained minimally. So once we had gotten through those tasks, we were told my scans were fine and I could begin a cycle as soon as the other results were in. I was told to expect to be waiting approx. 2 weeks for the results, which had me a little bit worried as February was a very busy month for us with my husband having numerous kidney stone procedures and appointments.

*Side note on the kidney stones* – folks, I need to admit here that I had assumed my husband’s pain tolerance was rather low, especially since he has been complaining about his kidney stone pain for nearly a year now while waiting for all sorts of various Doctor/Specialist appointments. Turns out I owed him a huge apology. He ended up in the Hospital Emergency Room one night and while we were there, the ER Doctor informed us that two other men were in that evening with kidney stones that measured 0.4cm; however, my husband’s largest (as he has many) was measuring 1.7cm and was completely blocking his ureter. She didn’t know how he had managed to not come in prior to that.

Now, back to the cycle… our bloodwork came back within a week and we were given the go ahead to start an FET cycle. As I do not have a natural cycle, I was told to just pick a day I wanted to start. I picked two days later. So on Friday Jan. 19, I returned to the monitoring clinic and had another scan and round of bloodwork that they were considering CD 3. I heard back that afternoon with the following protocol:

  • Estrace tablets (vaginally) 2mg twice per day for the first 5 days, then increase to 4mg twice per day
  • Estradot Patches 100mg per day
  • Aspirin 81mg/Prenatal vitamin/Vit E/Vit B
  • After 5 days, first intrauterine infusion of Neupogen 300IU, repeated every 3 days (3 infusions total)
  • Five days before transfer, begin taking Endometrin Vaginal Suppositories 100mg three times per day AND Progesterone in Oil 50mg (or 1cc) every other day

I feel the need to share a little about my Neupogen Infusions this time around; actually, to be more precise, my first Neupogen Infusion for this cycle. For my mock cycle, my Doctor was the one who complete all three of my infusions, so when a female Doctor walked in an introduced herself, I was taken aback. THEN, the things that came out of this woman’s mouth had me in shock! As she was getting prepared, she was making small talk and asking me about my previous experience with the infusions. I told her that I had experienced some severe back spasms following my first infusion but had not had any on the susequent treatments. I carried on to tell her that it wasn’t the spasms I was concerned with at that moment, it was the pain of having the catheter forced through my cervix that was giving me some anxiety. She proceeded to tell me that people don’t usually feel the catheter at all and that I must be sensitive. Which she then proceeded to follow up with “you should definitely get yourself an early epidural then if you can’t even handle this!”

I could not believe she had the audacity to say that to me, knowing what field she is working in, and it’s not a fucking guarantee that I’ll ever even make it to that stage!! She then gets busy doing the infusion (which hilariously enough I didn’t actually feel this time) and states “you must be taking estrogen vaginally, looks like a smurf down here!” WHAT!? Keeping in mind my husband and I have actually made numerous jokes about my smurf vagina when I am taking estrogen, this was coming from a medical professional who currently had her face between my legs – and who had already JUST insulted me. I was shocked to say the least. Thankfully, I had two different Doctors for my subsequent Neupogen infusions and I never saw that woman again.

I didn’t have another scan to check my lining until two hours before my third Neupopgen Infusion, so I was a little worried not being monitored more regularly.

The morning of that scan, everything was seeming to go wrong. My drive to the clinic takes approx. 2 hours, depending on traffic and depending on what our crazy Canadian winter happens to be dishing out that day for weather. Thankfully, although it was cold, the snow seemed to be holding off and I made it to my appointment right on time – where I proceeded to wait for over an hour to be called back for my scan. I’m pretty sure they forgot about me, so when I was the last person in the waiting room, I kindly reminded them that I was there. They took me back and had the quick scan, unfortunately the ultrasound technicians that the big clinic don’t tell you what your measurement is, so I had to wait again to speak to a nurse. While I was waiting, I went to the front desk to pay for my Neupogen Infusion. As soon as the payment went throuogh, the nurse came to get me, and informed me that I would need to get a refund. I was so confused, when she got me back to her office, she told me that my lining was at 8mm!!!!! I know this might not seem too crazy for most of you, but 7mm was nearly impossible for me to reach, I had never ever seen 8mm before!

She instructed me that rather than have my third Neupogen infusion, I was to start the progesterone that day, and I would be in on Friday for transfer. I was so happy. I went to get my refund, and then left. As my luck would dictate, I was called by the nurse approx. 10 minutes later and informed that I would need to do the third infusion, as Friday was took booked up for transfers, and they would need to push me to the following Tuesday; therefore, another Neupogen infusion and a delay in starting the progesterone. She asked that I come back the next day for the Neupogen, but I told her I was just around the block, and would return in ten minutes to have it done.

I was told to return the following Sunday to have a Matris Scan completed to check the quality of my lining. The results came back the following day at 7/10, which is standard for me. I was scheduled for my transfer at 12:45 on Tues February 6th.

The transfer went off without a hitch, and I remained on bedrest for three days as per my Doctor’s orders.

Advertisements

FET#3 – Cycle Day 30 (?)

I’ve lost track but I think it’s day 30?! It feels as though a lot has happened since I last made time for this keyboard and posted an update on Cycle Day 8; I think I’m overdue, so I’ll start right where I left off.

On CD 10 I returned to the clinic for another scan and bloods. My lining stuck true to it’s nature and had only grown to 4.3mm. The clinic called that afternoon and instructed me to stay on the same dose of Menopur as planned and return on CD 14 for another check. Well a lot of good that seemed to do, when I returned for a lining check, my measurement was 3.6mm!!!!!! WTF?! I resigned myself to having this cycle cancelled like our fresh cycle had been. I had actually convinced myself two appointments ago that they would call to cancel so this was the deciding factor, I figured. How could it not be?! We had given Menopur a try but let’s face it, my lining was not responding to it and it was time to cut our losses.

When they called that afternoon and the nurse gave me instructions to stop the Menopur, as expected; however, I was a little shocked when she told me to start taking 8mg Estogen (vaginally) per day and start with 100mg Estradot patches every day. Wait, what?! They were continuing my cycle but I just convinced myself it was a last ditch effort before they cancel and waste the whole thing. I did as instructed and was asked to return on CD 21 for another scan and bloods. Let me tell you, my last post talked about the side effects of being a constant blubbery mess; well, that was absolutely caused by the Menopur. The day I stopped taking it, I stopped crying but as the Estrogen entered my body – the bitchiness started – something my husband would agree with lol.

 

Anyway, as I drove to the clinic at 5:50am on CD21, I resigned myself one more time for them cancelling the cycle later that day and went into the scan with ZERO expectations.

Can you imagine my damn surprise when the nurse informed me that my lining was over 7mm! Let me just say this, I DO NOT UNDERSTAND THIS THING WE CALL THE HUMAN BODY. I don’t get how it works but for once mine decided to show up to the fucking party!!! A few tears slipped out as I laid there having the scan done – and at one point the nurse had to tell me to lay my head back down and relax as she couldn’t get a clear picture – ha!

They called me later that day to tell me to continue on the same meds and then the next day I was to take a trigger shot (10,000mg of HCG) “just in case” my bum ovaries had decided to do something while I had been taking the Menopur. Two days after the trigger shot, I started PIO 50mg each evening. Three days after that, I was scheduled for another Matris Scan to check the quality of my lining and I began taking Medrol (a type of prednisone) that I am to be on for 5 days total. The scan results came back the next day and my result was 7 out of 10! Anything over 7 is considered good. Our last cycle, my RE transferred even though my results came back at 6 out of 10 because with my shitty lining, he figured it was the best we were ever going to achieve, so needless to say, I was pretty pumped.

Finally, on CD 29 (?) we went in for our FET #3! They were calling for a huge winter storm in our area throughout the day of our transfer yesterday so we only drove halfway and took the train for the second half of our trip as the highway can get quite messy in bad weather. By some miracle though, the storm didn’t really start until we got back home. Our transfer went off without a hitch this time and for now I am officially PUPO again.

Fingers crossed yet again.

The new plan.

First off, an update since my last post.

My last cycle came to an official end on Dec 31. I took this as a symbol of a fresh start with the new year – see you never fucking again 2016!! Hello 2017!

 I could feel the hormones wear off as the days passed and I got back to the gym a little bit which has helped incredibly with my mental health. That last cycle was a real bitch. I was most affected by side effects from the medication; from feeling the mood swings from hormones to having the skin on my neck blister and peel from the Viagra. It was awful but it’s what we do when we want something oh so much!

So finally, two weeks after starting birth control I made the call to our RE to find out the next step for us to take. As much as I had wanted to know our plan earlier, I needed time. Time to get my hormones levelled out, to get my head straight and to just chill the fuck out. I hadn’t even cried since finding out that our pregnancy was a chemical pregnancy and that it was ending again, I had shoved it all so deep down that although the emotions always seemed to feel right at the surface, they seemed to stay buried.

That changed the day I called the clinic. I had left a message for the receptionist to let her know that we had an early loss (my monitoring is completed at a different clinic in an entirely different city) and I was calling with regards to getting a plan in place for moving forward. She called back the next day looking for clarification and informed me that the last beta she had on my file was only 9 so it wasn’t a chemical nor was it an early miscarriage as 9 is technically a negative result. She went on to say that for it to be a chemical pregnancy, my beta would have needed to have at least gotten into the double digits. I quickly explained to her that my earlier betas HAD gotten into the double digits and that my beta of 9 was the final bloodwork I had completed before stopping meds.

You want to know how she replied? (you really don’t as I know anyone reading this blog is going to find this as awful of a response as I did)

“…Bummer.”

No joke.

She proceeded to ask if I wanted an appointment with the RE or if I just wanted him to write up another protocol and send it over. I quickly tried to ask for an appointment and say goodbye before hanging up as I could barely keep it together. I bawled – a big, heaving, ugly, sobbing cry. My phone immediately starting ringing again and I saw that she was calling back but there was no way I could answer so I let it go to voicemail. Then she called again, right after. I thought maybe she had realized what she had done and was calling to apologize. I listened to the voicemail and it said that she had just gotten a call after we hung up (it must have been her very next call because she was calling me back within 2 minutes) with a cancellation for 930am the next day and was wondering if I could make it as it is in the city 2 hours away. I immediately contacted my boss to take the day off and called her back to take the appointment.

I worked until midnight that night and was rather tired from my big sobfest but was up at 5am the next day to catch the bus, which took me to the train, which got me to the subway system that took me two blocks from the clinic. I made it a half hour early and waited in the waiting room with a number of other patients. I usually have no problem driving to the clinic; however, we had a solid 24+ hours of freezing rain and didn’t want to get my car into an accident on the busy highways.

My RE came out to the waiting room to get me himself and sat with me for over half an hour as we discussed our next plan. He’s amazing and every time I see him, I’m reminded of that. My RE cares about me and that alone means the world to me. He even told me that he wants to get me pregnant because he wants me to get him out of my life as soon as possible. He also told me that I’m a tough project for him – which is par for any kind of medical issues that I’ve had and I always hear this from Doctors; I kind of find it entertaining now, especially since I know he’s working super hard to finish this project. Between the afternoon that I got the last minute cancellation to the next morning at 0930am, my RE had met with the head Embryologist and his team to come up with a new plan for me and get new ideas.

He is still trying to avoid using Neupogen in my cycles so the plan we have moving forward is this:

  • They will be trying to mimic a natural cycle (which I have never had)
  • As I am on BC now, I will continue to take it for the usual 21 days and stop and have a bleed
  • I will call in my CD1
  • On CD3 I will start Menopur 75 units for 11 days (dose may be adjusted based on FSH levels)
  • Somewhere between CD3 – CD6 I will have an Endometrial Scratch done
  • After 11 days on Menopur, he will jack up the dose to 300 units for 3 days
  • I will then take 10,000 units of HCG
  • Three days later I will start on 50mg (1cc) of PIO shots
  • On day four of PIO, I will have another Matris Ultrasound to check the receptivity of my endometrial lining
  • On day four, I will also start 5 days of Medrol (corticosteroid)
  • If my Matris score is between 6-10, on day six of the PIO shots I will have the transfer

I have been fully warned that this may not work as there is no way to know how my endometrial lining will respond to these medications. He was worried that perhaps the Viagra is only creating a cosmetic effect for my lining; therefore, although it is getting thick enough the quality might be suffering. I had suggested the scratch, which he was supportive of, as well as Prednisolone but he was hesitant to us it. He has prescribed a different corticosteroid, Medrol, for the days surrounding the transfer.

Fingers crossed for this upcoming cycle. Let’s hope we’ve found the right steps to make it a successful one!

FET#2 – The night before transfer

I guess I’ll start with yesterday.

I woke up at 4:30am (after working until midnight) to drive into the city to finally have the  Matris Ultrasound completed as I had been on POI shots for 3 days now. I arrived slightly early for my 7:30am appointment but was called in right on time. It was my first time having this test completed but it seemed like any old trans-vaginal ultrasound; I was done and out of there in under 5 minutes it seemed. I was informed that the results would be sent off to somewhere to be analyzed but I should know my results by the next day (today).

So today started like any of those days where we in the infertility world sit waiting by the phone for results to come in. It seemed to take forever but they thankfully called midday (1:30pm) to let me know that I had scored a 6/10 on the Matris scan. Flashback to a shit ton of memories from high school being a mediocre student no matter what I tried. The nurse told me that 6/10 is “the grey area” as they would prefer at least a 7/10 for uterine quality before transferring; however, the Doctor believes it’s the best they’re going to get from me and my unresponsive lining. [Insert significant amount of confidence in my body’s ability to perform as needed,  here – not!] 

Yay for mediocrity!


Tomorrow it is then. Back to the city we go for a transfer at 1:30. I need to arrive 45 minutes early so I can have acupuncture pre and post transfer and then that’s it, I’ll officially be PUPO.

Fingers, toes and lady bits crossed for this to work, everyone!

Update soon. xo

FET Cycle #2

It’s been a month since our last failed cycle. Within the past month, I really haven’t done anything…other than turn 30. My birthday was at the very very end of October, which I always enjoy because I absolutely love Halloween. We had our annual Halloween/my birthday party bash which was a blast. My husband and I dressed up as Lydia and Beetlejuice – home made costumes and all.

Turning 30 was an odd feeling. I feel rather young normally as my husband and most of my closest friends are all approx 5 years older than I am and I usually associate myself with their age rather than my own; meaning, when it actually comes to me thinking about my own age, it’s more of an “oh yeah, I’m only __ years old!”

Most of the time…then again, it’s a whole different ball game when you mix infertility into it all. It’s the only time that my age actually makes me feel down. I’ve actually known about my infertility now for nineteen years(!) if you can believe that; yet, there’s still the same feeling of passing the 30 year old marker. I know that’s still relatively young in the world of infertility but when I have already 1. have bum ovaries 2.surpassed using my own eggs and went straight to donor eggs 3. dealt with an unresponsive lining 4. am having testing done for an unresponsive uterus ….. It’s a lot to deal with.

I certainly didn’t ease my way into the infertility/IVF world – I got thrown straight into the pool wearing a weighted belt and being told to swim; no wonder that some days it feels like I’m barely keeping my head above water. Now with turning 30, it seems like they’ve added another 10lbs to the weight belt, just to see if I can make it. (Realistically though, that extra 10lbs is more likely to be from the emotional eating I’ve been doing lately!!)

So…here we go again…FET cycle #2.

CD1 arrived on Sunday so I called our clinic in the city, as well as our monitoring clinic that we attend closer to home. I am to go in tomorrow (Tuesday) for my baseline ultrasound and blood work; following which, I’m sure they’ll be starting me on my meds as well.

This cycle will be much like our last cycle as they found I responded fairly well to it (with some extra time, my lining was able to get above 7mm prior transfer).

My meds this cycle will be:

  • Estradiol Patch 100mg every 2 days
  • Viagra 4 tab/day (1 every 6 hours) – vaginally – for the first 10 days
  • Estrace 3 tab/day – vaginally – starting once Viagra is done
  • Aspirin 81mg/day
  • Pre-Natal Vitamin
  • Vitamin E 400mg/day
  • Vitamin B Complex 100mg/day

Then starting approx. 7 days prior to transfer:

  • Progesterone in Oil 0.5cc – every evening

Then approx. 3 days prior to transfer:

  • Increase Progesterone in Oil to 1cc – every evening
  • Endometrin Vaginal Suppository – 2x/day

Fingers crossed my lining grows well this cycle as it’s always a struggle. If it does cooperate and grow well, I will be going for a Matris scan in the city approx 3-4 days prior to transfer day.

For those who have not heard of it, a Matris scan is to check the receptivity of the lining to ensure the transfer is being done at an optimal time and to ensure we are not wasting an embryo on a lining that is guaranteed not to accept it. Matris uses proprietary algorithms and specialized technologies to assess and interpret ultrasonographic images taken by the clinic. Using 2- and 3-dimensional techniques, Matris and our team generate insights into endometrial receptivity that cannot be detected in routine clinical practice. Matris uses a scoring system that assigns a numeric score based on what research predicts will be the quality of the endometrial lining at the time of transfer. The higher the Matris score, the higher the probability of pregnancy.

Keeping my fingers crossed that everything we are throwing into this process will help us reach a successful outcome! Will update soon.