The Pause. 

I know I have been MIA for a while, mostly because there hasn’t been anything to say on the TTC front. We’re on a pause. We’re not sure how long this pause will last at the moment as I haven’t even spoken to our RE for a follow up to our last cycle yet. As I’ve previously mentioned, our RE/Nurse/Clinic does not even make a follow up call after final bloodwork of a failed cycle; it’s up to us to make contact. My husband and I still need to sit down and come up with a list of questions to ask when we do call in. I have started one, but need his input to make sure I am not missing anything. In the mean time, we’ve been getting quotes for roofers in our area as our shingles are literally flying off our roof at an alarming rate; the best part is that it has not stopped raining in weeks it seems so if it wasn’t leaking before, it probably is now.  Some days I hate adulting.

 

Following our failed cycle, I chose not to go back on birth control for a bit (something that I have ALWAYS been on as a hormone replacement #bumovaries) to see just what my body might do on it’s own. The answer to that folks is NOTHING. My body chose to do NOTHING on it’s own. I shouldn’t be surprised, but like always I held out a little bit of hope that I might get a natural cycle (without ovulation as I don’t have eggs). Well, thinking back I guess it’s unfair to say that my body did nothing, what it did manage to do was start going through menopause. See, that is why I have been on hormone supplementation since I was 11 years old; my ovaries suck so I have been keeping menopause at bay constantly since then with the use of birth control. Let me tell you, menopausal hot flashes are no joke (I cannot tell you how much jokes about hot flashes/menopause piss me off – if only people knew how shitty it all is…). Not only have i been experiencing hot flashes, but I have also been experiencing dryness *ahem* down there. After not having sex for the six weeks of our cycle, this is not something that is welcomed. So finally, after 36 days, I decided enough is enough and started back on birth control. It’s been a week now and yet I’m still dealing with the hot flashes. I guess patience is a virtue…

 

I have been talking with my close friend about different medications and approaches that we might want to consider moving forward to help with thin lining and implantation issues. She is dealing with very similar situation and has been excellent in the research that she has been doing. I’m guilty in of getting tired of reading the same information over and over again and sometimes take a break from it; whereas she sticks to it and tends to stumble upon new ideas. So my list of questions/suggestions is growing for my RE and I guess I need to get on with booking a follow up appointment with him so we can start working on a plan. A plan that probably won’t be implemented until the end of summer, but we shall see.

 

It’s not easy taking a break, yet at the same time I think it’s necessary. My husband refers to me as a fighter that he, as a coach, keeps putting back into the ring no matter how beat up I get. He feels bad and wishes that there is more he could do. He’s wonderful and it’s good that he makes me step back and breathe every now and then; otherwise, I’d be jumping head first into the next cycle and that might not be best for my mind, body, spirit or wallet.

Sometimes it takes the person you love, not just to pick you back up, but to hold you back from the fight once in a while. 

FET #3 – Cycle Day 3…

Things have started up again. My husband and I chose to wait a couple of extra weeks before starting this FET cycle in order to make sure our heads were on straight before jumping back into the craziness of it all. We chose to do two extra weeks of birth control which wasn’t an issue with my Doctor.

Two days ago, I got my ‘withdrawal bleed’ (the only ever type of period I have experienced as I do not, nor have I ever, cycled naturally). The bleeding has been slightly irregular for me, in the sense that it has been very light flow, and brown in nature after the first night (which actually started around 10pm on Monday). That is until today when things started right up and the flow became heavier and more red. I’m not normally one to have such a slow start to things – and just my luck – on the day of my baseline scan.

As I previously wrote up in a recent post, today I am to start Menopur; which is another first for me. As our protocol for this FET has significantly changed from our last three (two FETs that resulted in chemical pregnancies, one fresh transfer that was cancelled at the very last minute), there are going to be a lot of firsts coming up. The next one being an endometrial scratch. I got the call a few minutes ago that I will be having the scratch done TOMORROW at 11am. I must say, they are great with the advance notice! I will be travelling to the clinic in the big city (where we have our transfers done) for this so I now need to book off from work as it will take most of the day and I was scheduled to work from 8-4. Thankfully, my boss has been great thus far is working my schedule around any appointments that arise.

I am currently waiting for another call, from our other clinic (where our monitoring is done) to let me know all of the instructions surrounding the scratch procedure. I’m not going to lie, I’m a little nervous as a friend has informed me (as has my RE) that it’s going to hurt like bloody murder. Great. My husband has plans out of town; which he’s ready to drop at a moment’s notice to take me if I want – the trouble with that is, I have a very strong resolve to try to keep our lives as normal as possible during all of this as the stress and enormity of it all is always extremely overwhelming. I don’t want this to be our lives. I want there to be more for the both of us through this. His plans out of town are for something that he looks forward to on a yearly basis, all of his friends from near and far are coming for it and I don’t want to take that away from him. He’s offered, and made it very clear that this FET is his main priority right now (have I ever mentioned how damn amazing this man is?! He really is…). Now I just need to let him know if I’ll take him up on his offer; something I’m not even sure of yet.

So I guess I’ll get back to work for now as I’ve been distracted long enough and now my week is going to be shorter than expected already. Hope my instruction phone call comes in soon so I can start making decisions….what to do, what to do?….

FET Cycle #1

So I started this post nearly two weeks ago, as a significant amount of time has passed, it will be a long one that will cover the entire period of time…

So I’m just over a week past CD1 of our first ever FET. I called the clinic last Thursday to call in my CD1 and to let them know I had gotten my period on the previous evening. I was scheduled for a baseline ultrasound and bloods the following morning – thankfully, my day off. At the clinic, the nurse informed me that my lining was currently at 5mm! I see this as being good as last time it was only three. Once I got home; however, I started thinking that since I was still bleeding heavily, it’s most likely that the measurement will go down before my lining starts to build up again.

The nurse called me that afternoon to instruct me to start my medication the next morning. I am to take Viagra 4x/day (vaginally) to help with blood flow to the uterus. I am also wearing an Estrogen patch, 100mg that I replace every 2 days. I am also taking the low dose Aspirin 81mg daily, along with the pre-natal vitamins, Vitamin E and Vitamin B Complex.

I started attending acupuncture appointments again and my acupuncturist has been extremely supportive and caring. She has me going in every 3 days or so and is doing what she can to help blood flow to my uterus in hopes that it will be more responsive this time. She has also been trying to reduce some of the side effects I have been having from the Viagra. Oh my – the nausea has been pretty consistent, along with the headaches and random bouts of becoming very flush.

I had a nine days before my next lining check and it measured at 6.6mm. Again, they called me a few hours after the ultrasound to tell me to continue taking all of the same meds as my Doctor wants my lining to be thicker. I was still struggling with the Viagra side effects pretty badly so I was frustrated that they were extending that one longer than expected. I was asked to return two days later for my next lining check.

I drove the 50 minutes to my monitoring clinic at 6am so that I could return back to work for 8. While I was getting the trans-vaginal ultrasound, the nurse told me that she had two measurements coming in over 7mm, and one measurement even thicker than that. I shed a few tears as I had prepared myself for bad news but hadn’t expected to hear something positive! Unfortunately, she had the other ultrasound tech come in to double check and I could tell something was amiss. She left the room and after I changed, I walked out and found three of them conferring with one another. The first nurse came to me and told me that it seems my lining was only measuring closer to 6mm. I left stunned and headed to work. They then directed me to add Estrace tablets 3x/day and stop taking the Viagra.

Another four days pass before my next check but the nurse had that morning told me my lining was again measuring above 7. I explained what had happened at my previous appointment but she assured me that all of her measurements were coming in thick enough. Afterwards, the called to tell me to start taking my Progesterone in Oil shots (25mg/day) for three days. I was then to increase the POI dose to 50mg and begin taking Endometrine vaginal suppositories 2x/day.

So that was last Saturday. I have been taking all of my meds & vitamins, eating healthy, going to acupuncture, using a heating pad and getting light exercise. I am now sitting here the night before transfer, hoping that tomorrow morning – after driving two hours to the clinic in the city – my lining will actually be thick enough and of good enough quality to follow through with our scheduled transfer. I hope that tomorrow night, I start my two week wait and can be considered PUPO (pregnant until proven otherwise). Fingers crossed….. I’ll let you know.

Wish me luck xo

A little piece of happiness

So the countdown is (sorta) on as we head toward CD1 of our FET#1. I stop bc on Saturday and should be calling in CD1 on either Monday or Tuesday of next week. It’s pretty exciting,  somewhat terrifying but we’ve been waiting since June 18th when our fresh transfer was cancelled to start again – and it’s felt like forever. The summer has been amazing and I have been so ridiculously busy with so many fun weekends I had pre-booked “just in case” our June transfer wasn’t successful – SO happy I did. I’m hoping to post more on my summer shenanigans later this week but I just wanted to show the few people who follow this blog something that made me smile today when  I went out for some “while I still can”  sushi! Fingers crossed it means what I hope it does!!! 

What Polyp?!

I went in for my polyp removal procedure just less than two weeks ago. I took my meds as prescribed leading up to the procedure, didn’t drink fluids or eat for 12.5 hours leading up to my appointment. (The direction was to not eat for 8 hours and not drink for 6; however, due to the timing of my appointment, it ended up being longer as it was already past those timeframes when I woke up in the morning.) My wonderful father drove me into the city for the procedure as my husband was working and I was not allowed to drive after it was completed. I arrived a half hour early as requested and they got me all set up.

The nurse completed all of the pre-removal prep and had me undress my lower half, then sat me in the stirrups. Then I waited – for what felt like an eternity. What a classy way to sit around waiting for someone, lol. I tried to distract myself by listening to the monotonous beeping of the heart rate machine.

Finally, the nurse returned with the Doctor and they started my IV; pumping me full of conscious sedation. I was quite loopy. The procedure itself actually wasn’t too bad, just a little uncomfortable and a few painful twinges. Once he was done, the Doctor informed me that there was no polyp. WHAT?! I had been afraid of this. I sat there in stunned silence, trying to focus my thoughts; however, the meds were making that task rather difficult.

Afterwards, I was brought into recovery for an hour and a half while they replenished my fluids and my loopiness started to subside. When the doctor returned to release me, I asked him about the results. He reiterated that there was no polyp in my uterus and was unable to tell me what two separate Ultrasound Technicians had been seeing. To reassure me, the Doctor brought up the photos of the inside of my uterus and told me to take pictures of the screen to bring to my RE during my follow up.

I was given a prescription for antibiotics and released. The two hour drive home was torture…. I became nauseous about 15 minutes into the drive – right around the time that we were getting onto a major highway that we continued to travel for the next hour and fifteen minutes. Within minutes of getting off the highway, we were able to pull over so I could throw up….Then the pain started. I hadn’t been given the usual pain killer that they prescribe as I am allergic; initially, I had thought that it really hadn’t hurt that bad and I’d be fine. For a few hours I had some pretty severe pain in my uterus. Once I got home, I laid on the couch and used a heating pad to ease the pain until it subsided. I continued to throw up ever half hour until the evening and my husband brought me some deliciously awful fast food to help calm my stomach as it hadn’t been given any food for nearly 19 hours. The next day I felt much better with only some mild cramping.

I waited until the following Monday to follow up with my clinic but work got crazy for a few days and I wasn’t able to call until the Wednesday of last week. I left a message on the answering machine, which informed me that I would receive a return call within 24-48 hours…unfortunately, they are closed Fridays and today is a holiday Monday here. I am hoping to get a call back tomorrow to see if we can proceed with an FET.

I had a bit of. a scare this weekend though – I am still taking BC for the hormone replacement (due to having ovaries that don’t function properly) and for some reason started to bleed. I panicked as I have not yet been given the green light for our FET cycle and couldn’t call the clinic to ask what to do. The last thing I wanted to do was miss this cycle and have to wait another month, since we just waited a month to complete the polyp removal for no polyp. I called in my day 1 just in case – leaving another message on another answering machine. It turns out though that I believe I was just spotting and everything seems to be ok. I did get a call back today from the Day 1 coordinator and she instructed me to follow up with my RE tomorrow when the holiday is over and if it turns out to be more than spotting, we can still move forward on Day 4…so for now I am calmed.

…for now.ed4ae491673209f958560e59083e92fc

One step forward…

After being sent for a(nother) sonohystogram, it has been confirmed that I have a small polyp in my uterine lining. They feel as though it is nothing to be concerned about; however, it will need to be removed before we are able to move forward with another cycle. My RE has put in a referral with a gynecologist  in the city to have this done as soon as possible. I don’t believe there is too much of a healing time after such a procedure so hopefully this won’t delay thing too long. If anyone has experience with this procedure – any and all info would be greatly appreciated!

The other thing my RE has discussed with me is adding Neupogen (white cell growth factor) to our next cycle. He has not used this protocol with a patient yet but some of the other RE’s in his office have done so – all with positive outcomes. Has anyone had any experience with using Neupogen for lining development? How did it affect your lining?

Still no timeframe for our next cycle – man I just want a plan.

IVF Cycle #1 Comes to a screeching halt

Well, after my last post I received a call that afternoon from my Doctor to let me know about my 6mm lining. He offered two options – I could continue as planned, start the progesterone and attend the clinic on Monday (transfer day) and either go through with the transfer at that time or be sent home if my lining was still too thin; OR, I could start the progesterone and go in the next morning (Friday) to the city and have my lining checked at their clinic, rather than the monitoring clinic, and see how things are going. I chose to take the day off work and go into the city to have them complete the lining check.

So Thursday evening I took my first progesterone in oil injection all by myself, went to yoga and then put myself to bed early. My mom came with me to the city the next morning, leaving at 5am so we could be there for my 7:30 appointment. I had the trans-vaginal ultrasound done by a lovely technician and then met with the nurses; who dropped the bomb that my lining was actually only 4mm thick – someone, somewhere had been measuring wrong. I waited a little longer to meet with our Doctor at this point as I knew this meant our plans were about to change.

Sitting down with him, he explained that the measurement could be different due to the angle of the wand or the machine being used; however, what it did tell us was that my lining was still in a range that was too thin for transfer. He offered to either complete the transfer as planned on Monday but flat out told me his gut was telling him that the transfer would be unsuccessful. I trust my Doctor so I took this and we chose to end the cycle right then and there. Our embryos will be frozen once they reach day 5 Blastocysts.

He immediately set out to try making me feel better by starting a new IVF plan for us to move forward; until he began to realize how stumped he was on how we could proceed. You see, I do not have a natural cycle – I never have due to being born with seemingly bum ovaries. As I do not have functioning ovaries, my body does not create it’s own hormones; therefore, I am not contributing any estrogen to the medicated estrogen being added to my body. I am not responding to medication well and I cannot do a natural cycle Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) without a natural cycle.

So back to the drawing board for us as our Doctor consults with other professionals in the IVF world to figure out how to take this f*cked up body of mine and make it do something that it should have been born to do.

I was numb driving home and spent most of my weekend feeling fairly numb with a few breakthrough tears here and there. I feel as though if I let myself breakdown, I might not be able to pull myself back together. I’m angry and ashamed at my body for letting me down yet again, for creating yet another obstacle in this journey where we have already had so many to overcome. I naively thought that our biggest obstacle would be  finding a donor, having our dear friend and donor go through this process so selflessly for us, or possibly a negative pregnancy test or a chemical pregnancy. I did not think my body would have us stalled right in the middle – what if our donor went through all of this just to have my body never respond enough to make it through the rest of this journey?!

I had never let my thoughts journey into the territory of “what if this doesn’t ever work?” I had always stayed strong in my thoughts with the deep rooted believe that one day we would have at least one child in this mini family of ours. I have always joked with my husband that if this doesn’t work I get to adopt countless animals into our home (so far on the list: a pig, a sloth, a monkey, a cow, a few otters, etc.) but I had never contemplated that this might not actually work – and that thought is f*cking terrifying and currently has me chilled to the bone.