IVF Diary Vol II: 23-24 Jan 16

Medication(s) administered and dosage(s). Stimming phase: Days 9 & 10. PM: Saturday AM: cetrotide, Sunday PM: Ovidrel (the trigger!!!).  I did the trigger injection myself and decided to record it and post the video to my personal facebook page #thisiswhatinfertilitylookslike. (the video is at bottom of my blog post :-))

Medical procedures undertaken. Monitoring appointment – ultrasound and blood test.

What are my symptoms?  Tiredness – afternoon naps have been required!!!! Nausea that comes and goes.  Sunday, I have felt a little bit better than I have done over the past few days, but the ovaries are starting to twinge with odd pains here and there :-s These eggs are ready to go!!!

How do I feel today?  Excited.  Nervous.

Any results?  My follicles are looking great.  Randomly, in my right ovary all the follicles look the same size and shape.

“My good English eggs are ready!!!”

(The Dr’s words…not mine!!! Every single time I have seen him he makes a reference to my Englishness)

What’s next? Egg retrieval Monday 0630 AM!!!! Trying to mitigate any potential mild OHSS symptoms like I got from last time.

Weight. I haven’t weighed myself, I need to do this before the surgery so I can monitor OHSS.

Waist. My waist is 6cm larger than the same time last time!!! Whoops!!!

Boobs. NSTR.

Hours of Sunshine 🙂 None.  It’s winter.  It’s cold out there.  Oh and we were like the only city in Virginia to get a pathetic amount of snow, it was mostly rain for us! I am pleased so it hasn’t messed up any of this round of IVF.  I hope other women didn’t face problems with the snow storm who may need to travel from further way.

VB Snow Storm

The snow storm wasn’t quite so apocalyptic as it was in other parts of Virginia!

Fun Activity to keep Dani from going insane. It will be time to relax and recover, so no specific fun activities.  However, I am quite excited to watch Orange is the new black – I have a lot of catching up to do!!!!

*Notes.  I take First Response Reproductive Health multi vitamin gummies (pre-natal) and CoQ10 200mg gummies daily.  NSTR = Nothing Significant To Report.

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IVF Diary Vol II:21-22 Jan 16

Medication(s) administered and dosage(s). Stimming phase: days 7 & 8. PM: Gonal-F 300 iu & Menopur 150 iu.  AM: cetrotide.

Medical procedures undertaken. Monitoring appointment – ultrasound and blood test.

What are my symptoms?  Tiredness – I had to have a 1.5hr snooze in the afternoon because I just couldn’t keep my eyes open!  The headache was just awful yesterday, it was persistent, however, today it has not been so bad. My tummy generally hurts when I bend over.

How do I feel today?  Awesome because I gave myself the menopur injection.  MY FIRST SELF INJECTION!!! That’s right, I have managed to get this far without doing one single injection myself because I have been terrified to do it.  Today I overcame my fear.  Chris got excited because he thought this meant he was getting out of injection duty.  Oh no dear hubby we will go 50-50 from now on with this job!  I like that he is a part of this.  I treated myself with some ice cream as a reward :-p

I played dodgeball last night, I’m not sure how I managed it…I really got into the game, played through any paing and kind of regretted it afterwards, my body is a bit sore today!  But I very much enjoyed it, it’s a social league so it’s not overly competitive  and we have a good laugh.  I have no one to blame but myself for my non-stimming related aches and pains.

Any results?  I am excited because my estradiol results are much higher than last time (but not too high!) this has to be a good thing for more mature eggies!!!! My follicles are also growing evenly i.e. they are all around the same size, which is a bit better than last time too.

What’s next? Tonight is hopefully my night of stims (mostly because I only have one vial of menopur left!), hopefully the final monitoring appt Saturday morning, trigger Saturday eve, then Egg retrieval Monday morning.

Weight. NSTR

Waist.  BLOATED

Boobs. Bigger and squishier.

Hours of Sunshine 🙂 None.  We are in the midst of a snow storm!

Fun Activity to keep Dani from going insane. I went to Michaels and stocked up on wool for two new knitting projects! A kid’s cat scarf, and a cable knit scarf.  I have been practicing cable knit and it’s actually not too difficult.  I probably won’t finish them this weekend, but I will make a good start at them.

cat_scarf

Cat scarf knitting project

cable knit

Cable Knit Scarf Project

160122_IVF2_Follie

*Notes.  I take First Response Reproductive Health multi vitamin gummies (pre-natal) and CoQ10 200mg gummies daily.  NSTR = Nothing Significant To Report.

IVF Diary Vol II: 19-20 Jan 16

Medication(s) administered and dosage(s). Stimming phase: days 5 & 6. Gonal-F 300 iu & Menopur 150 iu.  I started cetrotide this morning, day 6 (20 Jan) – this is the drug that stops me from ovulating prematurely and losing all those eggs!

Medical procedures undertaken. Monitoring appointment – ultrasound and blood test. So for my last appointment there were loads of people in the waiting room – it was like chaos.  This morning, there was no one except little old me.  It made me nervous!  I don’t know why, but it just did – I wondered if I was an odd ball with my cycle.

What are my symptoms? Tiredness – I am struggling to keep my eyes open today.  I went into work after my appointment and this afternoon I taught a 2 hour lesson as part of our staff development training.  I give a highly interactive class with practical tasks, so it is incredibly draining on the brain as the ‘students’ always have lots of challenging questions for me!!!  I am amazed I survived.  At the end, one of the organisers asked me if I was OK, was I tired?  Clearly I looked pretty rough!

I also have a headache.  It is not dehydration because I have hydrated constantly all day, carrying around my water bottle with me.

The bloat…the bloat….the bloat is on fire!  Aghhh!  How many days do I still have left? I’m just over halfway hopefully!  I am currently sat in my fluffy fleecy pyjama bottoms. They feel sooooooo good!

How do I feel today?  Apart from the tiredness thing, I’m feeling not too bad.  I am excited to be on this IVF journey still and haven’t given up hope just yet 🙂

Any results?  I have 6 follicles in the right ovary and 7 in the left, with a few smaller ones hoping to catch up!!! Last time around my right ovary was the dominant one, this time it is the left.  It looks like I am responding well in terms of follicle numbers similar to last time.  Which is good because they collected 9 last time (6 were mature, 4 fertilised) so I am hoping for some more mature eggies this time around!

What’s next? The same injections then monitoring appt on Friday morning.  The Doctor says I am currently looking good for an Egg Retrieval on Monday!

Weight. NSTR

Waist.  slowly growing 😦

Boobs. Slightly bigger.

Hours of Sunshine 🙂 None.  Snow expected soon!

Fun Activity to keep Dani from going insane. Dodgeball season starts tomorrow evening, I am not sure if I will play yet!  I am doubtful.  But I will go along anyway to support the team even if I don’t play.

dodgeball

Rahhhhh – Dodgeball is a great place to let off some steam – But not when you are in the middle of an IVF cycle!!!! :_-(

160120_IVF2_Follie

13 follicles – with a few at 3-4mm left to catch up

*Notes.  I take First Response Reproductive Health multi vitamin gummies (pre-natal) and CoQ10 200mg gummies daily.  NSTR = Nothing Significant To Report.

IVF Diary Vol II: 17-18 Jan 16

Medication(s) administered and dosage(s). Gonal-F 300 iu & Menopur 150 iu.  We tried the injections with me sitting down, Chris preferred giving them to me this way.  It doesn’t make a difference to me either way, they still suck.

Medical procedures undertaken. Monitoring appointment – ultrasound and blood test.  My appointment was at 0830 – I left at around 1000.  There were waaaay too many people in the clinic today for my liking.  Chris came with me because it was a holiday here – Martin Luther King Day, so we were both off work.  That was really nice, especially as we waited for quite some time.

What are my symptoms? Little to report except for starting to feel a little tummy bloat, and a thumping headache.  I bought a new water bottle last week so that I can take water with me everywhere.  I ummed and ahhed between two and decided to buy the bottle that was $5 cheaper.  Got it home and realised it was a piece of crap, can’t put it in the dishwasher and wasn’t BPA free. Bah that’s what I get for being a cheap skate!  Anyway, I’m hoping my headaches are from lack of water (something I can control opposed to if it was being caused by the meds)

How do I feel today?  Feeling pretty good!  I had a lovely weekend not making any decisions.  Chris took me on a surprise date – we went to Dave and Buster’s – a kind of modern day arcade thing with lots of games.  We released our inner kid.  Then afterwards we stopped at Ruby Tuesdays to have a virgin cocktail and share a sundae ice cream.  It was great fun to do something random and just be silly.

Any results?  My uterine lining is looking great.  I have a few follicles, the Dr didn’t count them all, but I’m on track.  I called in for my instructions, and the nurse told me start my cetrotide on Wednesday morning.  This means that I am starting the cetrotide a day later than last time around.  I’m hoping that is a good thing 🙂

What’s next? The same injections on Tuesday, adding the cetrotide injection on Weds morning, then monitoring appointment following that.

Weight. NSTR

Waist.  slowly growing 😦

Boobs. NSTR

Hours of Sunshine 🙂 It snowed yesterday unexpectedly.  It was very random considering the day before had been warm and glorious.  Weather here in Virginia is CRAZY.  They are also talking about 10 -20 inches of snow on the East coast maybe as far down as here on the border of North Carolina, this weekend. So long story short.  I think it is going to be hard for me to get much sunshine this IVF cycle.

Fun Activity to keep Dani from going insane. We discovered that Tuesdays at our local cinema is half price entry and half price food so we will be going to the movies!  I want to see the new Quentin Tarantino film The hateful eight or The Revenant.

*Notes.  I take First Response Reproductive Health multi vitamin gummies (pre-natal) and CoQ10 200mg gummies daily.  NSTR = Nothing Significant To Report.

IVF Diary Vol II: 29 Dec 15 – 3 Jan 16

Medication(s) administered and dosage(s). Ovulation Control Pill (OCP) Reclipsen 0.15MG-30MCG x 1 per day

Medical procedures undertaken. Nil

What are my symptoms? As per last time I took the Birth Control Pills, my period lasted a few days longer and I am still spotting.  It’s no biggy.  Especially as I know now that this is exactly what happened last time.  I also appreciate what some women go through who have more than 3 or 4 days of menstrual bleeding…I feel bad for you ladies!  I consider myself lucky that I don’t bleed for 7 days normally.  Today I had quite a heavy ‘spotting’ and had some sharp pains around my right ovary that I would ordinarily feel around ovulation time.  But a hot water bottle fixed that pain and now all is back to normal.

How do I feel today?  Chilled and relaxed.  That could be something to do with the fact that I have been off work for over a week!  With no travels this festive period, it had been true relaxation, probably more laziness more than anything.  But it’s back to work tomorrow, and despite the unknowns about what the year ahead will look like for me, I feel a bit excited to be starting with a fresh mind, ready for the start of my stim injections 15th Jan!  I am also really pleased I kept a diary from my first cycle….I can look back and read what happened so I have some kind of ‘objective’ truth to what happened.  I think it’s useful because it removes some of my anxieties about what to expect next!

My medication arrived on time…I decided to see how high I could stack up the boxes for this photograph 😉  It looks like a terrifying amount of medication!

ivf2_med pile.jpg

My meds for IVF cycle 2: Gonal-F, menopur, cetrotide, Ovidrel, progesterone in oil (generic), doxycycline

There are a couple more boxes extra compared to last time because they plan on upping the dosages a little.  It was interesting to see the differences in prices in the medication.  Not much, but some of them have gone up a few cents.  And every penny counts.  The lady at Freedom Fertility Pharmacy was very kind to ask if I needed to split my order or wait to the new year for my insurance in case it changed or I had reached my limit.  Fortunately, my insurance limit is ‘lifetime’ rather than a fixed time like every calendar year so it makes things very simple.    (I have also updated my ‘The $$ Lowdown’ page. – counting my blessings I have great insurance coverage for all of this)

Any results? NSTR*.

What’s next? Another week of Birth Control Pills, first baseline appointment is 14th Jan, so it’s all quiet until then.

Weight. I am 10lbs heavier than when I started my first IVF cycle.  Most of that extra weight is from after my miscarriage and Christmas.  I am going to be doing some more exercise, I am not getting too het up about it, I can still fit into my clothes, there are perhaps a few pairs of trousers I won’t be able to wear when it comes to the stimulation phase of IVF!  I will start tracking my weight like last time, but I haven’t bothered with a baseline weight prior to birth control pill.

Waist.  NSTR

Boobs. NSTR

Hours of Sunshine 🙂 For my first IVF cycle I recorded the amount of sunshine I soaked up.  It was summer.  This time, it is the deepest darkest time of winter, so getting sunshine is pretty difficult!  Having said that, we did get out onto the water to see some humpback whales.  The sunshine was glorious although the photo below you can’t quite tell how blue the sky was!

*Notes.  I take First Response Reproductive Health multi vitamin gummies (pre-natal) and CoQ10 200mg gummies daily.  NSTR = Nothing Significant To Report.

whales.jpg

A humpback whale blowing – at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay

IVF DIARY VOL I: 05-06 Aug 2015

IVF_Diary_Vol1b.pngMedication(s) administered and dosage(s).  Progesterone 1ml, vivelle dot estrogen patches 0.1mg x2, colace x1

Medical procedures undertaken. We woke up nice and early for our 7AM appointment.  As we parked up our doctor also parked up, so there was this awkward moment of where I was walking very slowly (still constipated and sore from the egg retrieval) and she clearly had somewhere to be!  Of course Chris had lots of questions for her as he collared her on her way into work about me and my recovery.  Anyway, so we were called upstairs to the IVF surgery room and I was ushered to the same cubicle I was in on Monday.  The nurses immediately noticed I was waddling and I told them about my constipation and bloating.  They were very sympathetic and gave me advice on taking extra colace, prunes, prune juice and apricots to get things moving.  They did not want me straining myself to poo!!!  One nurse said that she sees so many patients like me and doesn’t understand what causes it.  The doctor said it was the progesterone, but I was constipated before I took the progesterone!  After I got changed into my gown and deli hat, I walked back to my cubicle and our doctor was looking over our chart, she said we had 2 beautiful strong embryos, but 2 not so strong that needed to be left in culture for longer to see if they survive to blastocysts on Day 5 for cryopreservation.  And then off she went….there was no discussion.  So I guess we are doing our transfer today then.  I turned to Chris and said is that OK?? And he shook his head in a manner that was like sure why not.

The nurse took my vitals and I started to sip my bottle of water; she warned me not to drink too much because I wouldn’t be able to pee until an hour after the transfer :-s  I drank 3/4s of a bottle of water and that was plenty…in fact probably a little bit too much. Chris got changed into his ‘egg packing factory suit’ – he looked awesome!  He was going to come into the surgical room with me! Brucie bonus!  He was well trained by the nurse on when to take photos of the embryos and where he would sit for the procedure.

IVF1_Chris

Twit-twoo!!!!

IVF1_Both_of_Us

As we were waiting, I overheard the lady in the cubicle next to me begin to cry.  She was going in for her egg retrieval and had just had her Intra-venous drip inserted.  The nurse asked her what was making her sad (I like this nurse, she clearly has much experience with these kind of situations).  The lady said she was afraid of going to sleep.  As the nurse explained the process and how it was just like taking a strong sleeping pill, all I wanted to do was pull back the curtain and giver her the biggest hug ever and tell her it’s OK, it is no where near as bad as general anesthetic and you are going to be just fine – I know it’s scary but it’s going to be easy and won’t hurt.  But of course this is a big no-no, talking to other patients.

After about 30 minutes of waiting I was taken into the surgery room on the trolley (very lazy!!!) and I scooted onto the table.  I put my knees in stirrups this time and I was fully bare and exposed to the world.  Unpleasant.  Chris was sat behind me so he could hold my hand.

The surgery room

The surgery room

The doctor knocked on the embryology lab door to give the go-ahead to get the embryos prepared.  We watched on a TV screen to check that the embryos had our name on the petri-dish and then we saw our two embryos for about 5 seconds!

Our two little 8 cell embryos - AKA HuckleBERRY and HuckleBERINA (because they look like raspberries)

Our two little 8 cell embryos – AKA HuckleBERRY and HuckleBERINA (because they look like raspberries)

They did look pretty good!  They looked nice in shape and symmetry, the doctor was very complimentary about them.  Then two embryologists came into the surgery room, read my wrist band and asked me my name – this is performed by two people so absolutely no mistakes are ever made getting the wrong embryo in the wrong patient!!! The embryologists went away to prepare our embryos.  After this moment, the doctor checked my abdomen, both physically and using an ultrasound (not a transvaginal ultrasound for a change woohoo!!!) except my bladder was full, I was constipated and still sore from the egg retrieval –  I winced the whole way through.  Everything seemed good and he inserted the speculum  and washed out my uterus.  The nurse came and told me that from what she could see on the screen, my ovaries were super enlarged still and I have a mild case Ovarian Hyper stimulation syndrome that will go away soon, I just need to keep up my fluid intake.  Then the doctor knocked again on the embryo lab’s door.  This time the embryologist came in with a soft flexible catheter with the two embryos ready and loaded to be inserted into my uterus.  Using the ultrasound as a guide he inserted the catheter and we ‘watched’ the embryos be ‘puffed’ in by air into my uterus.  I say ‘watched’…I could barely see the screen from the angle I was at.  But I nodded my head not wanting to disappoint him that I missed it.  Before the speculum was removed the catheter was given back to the embryologist just to check under a microscope that the embryos were not still in the catheter.  A few moments later the speculum was removed which was a huge relief, it wasn’t painful, rather very uncomfortable I wanted to pee right there on the table.  I was scooted back onto the trolley and wheeled back to my cubicle where we were told not to go anywhere for 1hr…not even the toilet!!! Eeeek!!

We read a bit and then played a game of crib whilst we waited.   I won!  If I hadn’t have won, I am not sure Chris would have survived the rest of the day.  That made time fly by and then it was time to go!!! We were given a couple of souvenirs…the petri dish our embryos grew in and a little card with the results of our egg retrieval.  Chris took the deli hat too – I think he likes it a bit too much.

IVF1_souvenirs_blank

Souvenirs!!! Petri dish our embryos grew in, report card and a deli hat. Stash!!!!

How do I feel today? I had a terrible night’s sleep dreaming that we would turn up to the clinic with just 1 weak embryo to transfer 😦  But now we have done the transfer I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.  I feel like I can get on with life right now and enjoy this summer!

What are my symptoms? I woke up with similar pains from the egg retrieval, tender, hard bloated stomach (very hard) and constipated.  I was waddling.  When we got home I sent Chris out to get prune juice, prunes and apricots.  The prune juice worked it’s wonders about an hour or so later.  The nurse told me not to strain, so when it was time to go to the toilet I tried my hardest to just let it all come out, but seriously, once it did all come out, it was the BEST feeling.  I am no longer waddling in pain and my stomach is not so hard anymore.  So I think most of my problem with pain was constipation.  I have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (Diarrhea variant) so I am currently sat here with a gurgling tummy, and I am soooo pleased I am back to normal! (Fingers crossed anyway!!)

How does Chris feel today?  Feels good.  He looks forward to this 2 week wait being over. (He is a man of many words :-))

Any results? Two 8 cell embryos transferred and safely inside me – huckleberry and huckleberina because they look like raspberries and Chris always talks about calling his son Huckleberry.  So let’s just say this is a compromise!!  2 other embryos are growing in culture hopefully over the next couple of days, fingers crossed they survive and can be frozen. I’m  Pregnant until proven otherwise.

What’s next?  Enjoy the two week wait.  My mum is visiting so she has been brilliant so far putting up with everything tht is going on, so I’m hoping to take some time off to enjoy some local sights and sounds.  The pregnancy test will be the day my mum flies out in 13 days.

Weight. OK so I think I have actually lost weight, if you account for all the fluid I have taken on and my waist size.  This isn’t surprising considering I have reduced my intake of food because it won’t physically go in!!

Waist.  Still bloated, but hopefully it will improve tonight now I have relieved myself!!!

Boobs. Starting to feel tender from all the hormones!

Hours of Sunshine 🙂 Fat chance!  It’s miserable out. Plus I’m on bed rest so I’m pleased about this fact!

150806_IVF1_Stats

*Notes.  I take First Response Reproductive Health multi vitamin gummies (pre-natal) and CoQ10 200mg gummies daily.  NSTR = Nothing Significant To Report.

IVF DIARY VOL I: 04 Aug 2015

IVF_Diary_Vol1fMedication(s) administered and dosage(s). 

Doxycycline to reduce chance of infection after the egg retrieval.

Acetaminophen/Codeine #3 300/30mg 1 every 4-6hrs as needed for pain – although I took one this morning, I’m afraid this is not helping with my constipation and I don’t think it is helping with the pain, so I’m not taking anymore.

Colace, to help counter my constipation.

Vivelle Dot Patches x2 (Estrogen usually administered to menopausal women).  These are super easy – they stick to my abdomen…now that is something I can do myself!!! I love the fact that they say on the box “Do not use if you are pregnant”. HA!!!

Progesterone in oil – 1mg.  Oh my goodness, this is an intra-muscular injection with a 1.5″ needle. I lay down on the bed on my front.  Using a cool pack I iced my buttock cheek in the top right hand quadrant where Chris injected it.  I hardly felt the needle going in as a result of the ice numbness, but I felt like Chris was pushing really hard so I said he doesn’t need to put pressure on it when it’s in me!  He told me that there was hardly an imprint of the needle on my skin, he wasn’t pushing! I guess that is just how a needle feels going into the muscle!  Afterwards we massaged the area and then I applied a heat pad to the injection area.  Owwww I feel like someone has kicked me in the butt cheek!! It’s really isn’t so bad, but I am not the one adminstering it, so I can look away!!

Medical procedures undertaken. No procedures on me per se, but my mature eggs were “ICSI’d” yesterday afternoon and our fertilised eggs are being looked after by the embryologists so they develop into embryos.

What are my symptoms? I am massively bloated – my waist increased by 4cm and I put on 3lbs despite the fact that I hardly ate anything yesterday.  I am constipated, I poo usually 3 times a day and so far nothing.  I’ve taken some Colace which takes 12-36 hours to work – not soon enough.  My bowels and stomach also hurt whenever I pee and fart.  Farting releases a little bit of the pressure, but does not relieve me!  It hurts when I walk, the pain is not getting any better.  The nurse said I should call tomorrow if the pain continues to worsen or I put on anymore weight because I could be at risk from Ovarian Hyper Stimulation Syndrome.  They would need to do an ultrasound to check how my ovaries are doing.  I really really hope this starts to go away so I can go to work tomorrow plus I want to be better before my transfer.  In the meantime the nurse advised drinking liquids, not just water but juice, gator aid and soup.  Eat small portions….I am soooo hungry, but I can’t physically eat a whole meal right now!!

Day1

Day 1 – pronuclear stage: 1 cell with 2 dots in the middle.  This indicates a normally fertilized egg with each dot representing genetic materials from the mum and the dad.

Any results? This morning I received a phone call from the IVF nurse co-ordinator who gave me an update on egg/embryo status.  When I answered the phone she sounded so somber I thought she was going to tell me it had been a complete failure.  But here is what she told me.  Yesterday they retrieved 9 eggs, 6 were mature, this morning 4 had successfully fertilised, 2 had not, but they may be late developers and so they will call me if they do make it.  If they don’t call, they haven’t made it, and 4 will be the number.  (They didn’t call in the end 😦 ). I won’t get any more updates until I arrive on Thursday for my transfer procedure (3 days). I’m not sure I like the fact that we won’t receive any more updates, but at the same time, what can I do about it if I was told if they are progressing well?  Nothing, so I guess this way it stops us thinking too much about it.

How do I feel today? I am trying to stay positive, I won’t lie that I cried for a very brief while after I got off the phone from the nurse.    I was initially upset that less than 1 in 2 eggs made it through to fertilisation.  I couldn’t help but think how somehow this is my failure.  But I realise this is ridiculous, so I cried for only a minute.

How does Chris feel today? Poor Chris found the intra-muscular injection quite traumatic, I feel really bad.  But he did it!!!  I will let him tell you all about it in a separate post.  He is quite pragmatic about the number of fertilised eggs – 4 today seems like a good number to come away with.  However he feels confused, like me, about whether we should wait for a 5 day transfer.

What’s next?   I am not sure about the 3 versus 5 day transfer.  We do get to discuss things with the doctor on Thursday, but we haven’t talked about it since we started our IVF cycle.  I’ve read a lot about the fact that if an embryo doesn’t make it to blastocyst stage at 5 days then it is unlikely to have ever been a viable pregnancy anyway (I am not sure how they can really know that for sure).  So wouldn’t it be better to let them get to 5 days to see if they survive to blastocyst stage rather than having false hope with a day 3 transfer and waiting two weeks to see it fail;?  This seems like the worst kind of gambling!!!

Weight. I’ve gained 3lbs of whatever over night, it’s not food that’s for sure!!! I’ll keep an eye on it.

Waist.  My waist has bloated 4cm in the last 24hrs, which might not sound like much, but it sure is a significant gain for me over this time period!

Boobs. NSTR.

Hours of Sunshine 🙂 I’m not really allowed in the sun because I am taking doxycycline 😦 but I did sneak in a bit (wearing sun cream of course) this morning and had a slow waddle down to the beach.

150804_IVF1_Stats

*Notes.  I take First Response Reproductive Health multi vitamin gummies (pre-natal) and CoQ10 200mg gummies daily.  NSTR = Nothing Significant To Report.

IVF DIARY VOL I: 02-03 Aug 2015


IVF_Diary_Vol1Medication(s) administered and dosage(s). 
 A whole bunch of anesthesia drugs…who knows what!  And some Acetaminophen/Codeine #3 300/30mg 1 every 4-6hrs as needed for pain.

Medical procedures undertaken. Oocyte (egg) retrieval!  I arrived at the clinic today nice and early for a 7AM start.  No one was in the waiting room, Chris and I literally sat down for 30 secs when we were taken upstairs to the IVF surgery room.  We were number 3 out of 4 for egg retrievals today, so we got to see what the deal was before it was my turn!!  I was immediately shown to my ‘bed’ area, a curtained off area, like in any hospital I guess.  There was a waiting room/small coffee room for partners to wait in, but Chris mostly sat with me.  The nurses I met were bright, bubbly and friendly who seem to love their job, but they seemed constantly busy managing four patients at a time, they did a great job!

I was given a hospital gown and ‘Deli Ham Hat’ i.e. a hair net to put on.  I was allowed to keep my socks on! Yey!!  We waited for about 15 minutes in the bed cubicle with a ‘hot water bottle’ placed on the back of my hands, then the nurse asked Chris to take a seat in the waiting room whilst she put my Intra-Veinous drip in to the back of my hand.  Mostly because the nurse wanted Chris’s seat in order to sit down to do her job!  But also so that she doesn’t need to worry about him passing out when watching.  Clearly this has happened to some poor person in the past!  The nurse apologised for not offering me a numbing cream initially, but I pointed out that another needle really wasn’t going to ruin my day after the past 10 days of injections and needles!!  She did a great job of getting the IV in and I hardly felt it (she told me about my great veins!), although I couldn’t watch her do it and had to look away.  Once I was attached to a the drip she switched it on and I felt a coldness run up my arm.  She went to call Chris back from the waiting room.

As we waited, we heard the other ladies come and go quite quickly.  My doctor popped her head in to say hello.  She is quite eccentrically introverted, so her bedside manner isn’t the greatest!  She asked us how our summer was going, quickly realising where we were, and she said ‘Oh yes, doing IVF, it’s probably quite stressful!’ and then she wondered off.  I wasn’t offended by her, she is lovely, but I am not sure she would be everyone’s cup of tea in this regard.  In fact the first couple up for retrieval had specifically requested for our doctor to do the egg retrieval procedure because they respect her so much.  I am not so sure I would want that.  Not because I don’t trust her, but because I’d rather have the surgeon who does it day in day out!

After 30 minutes or so of waiting it was my turn.  The anesthetist asked me a few questions, I went to try and empty my bladder – there wasn’t much left at this stage – then she injected something into my IV, I started to feel woosy, like I had had a few alcoholic drinks, my words were slurring as they pushed my bed to the theatre room.  They asked me to shuffle onto the operating table, which I just about managed, I put my legs in some stirrups and the anesthetist injected something else. The next thing I knew I was talking to the nurse back in my bed cubicle.  Oh the pain was like my worst period times two, I really wanted to just curl up with a hot water bottle and cry.  For some reason I had started talking to the nurse about my experience of American military hospitals in Kuwait….I have no idea why!  The next thing I knew, I had my eyes open and Chris was holding my hand next to my bed.

During my egg retrieval Chris provided his sperm sample.  All in all, I was in and out in 25 minutes.  After about 15 minutes of recovery I was up walking to the bathroom – slowly!!!  The nurses told me that they thought 9 eggs was the magic number,  Which was incidentally the same number of eggs for the two other ladies before me!!! What are the chances of that?  Chris and I made a bet, I said 9, he said 11.  We find out tomorrow morning how many fertilize successfully.  I was made to sit in a wheelchair and taken to the front door by the nurse where Chris picked me up.  The drive home wasn’t overly comfortable, I felt every bump.  It felt like I was balancing a couple of weights on my ovaries, particularly my right one.

How do I feel today? I’m feeling positive.  I also feel like there is absolutely nothing in my control right now, so there is no point in worrying.  My mum and Chris are taking care of me whilst I take some time out on the sofa.  I really really hope our embryos stay strong to make it to a 5 day transfer because a 3 day transfer would be on Thursday and a few months ago I bought front row tickets to see Cirque Du Soleil for Thursday evening!! Of course if a 3 day transfer is on the cards then I will have to give my ticket to someone else and go another time, just not front row 😦

What are my symptoms? Very tender after the egg retrieval, it feels like I have been punched in the stomach and have weights hanging down from my ovaries so moving slowly is a must!!! Also going to the toilet is quite painful at the moment 😦

How does Chris feel today? He is a soldier.  Chris came up with a couple of funny egg based jokes…e.g. Today I will have my eggs ‘poached’…how do you like them? Over ICSI…. (*sigh, groan).  But he kept us chipper!

Any results? The nurses said they thought we had 9 eggs retrieved, but tomorrow morning we find out how many eggs fertilise.  I’ve finally got all my estradiol results, so I have changed the plot below to show my follicle growth and estradiol together over time.

What’s next?  Apart from finding out how many eggs have fertilised, tomorrow I start taking the estrogen patches and Chris starts injecting the progesterone. Oh crap….not looking forward to that.

Weight. I’ve managed to keep the weight off.  The nurses said after I told them my weight that I’m the kind of person they dislike!  Obviously they were joking 🙂

Waist.  NSTR.

Boobs. NSTR

Hours of Sunshine 🙂 It’s 92F outside and I am stuck inside recovering 😦

150803_IVF1_Stats

150803_IVF1_Follie

*Notes.  I take First Response Reproductive Health multi vitamin gummies (pre-natal) and CoQ10 200mg gummies daily.  NSTR = Nothing Significant To Report.

What does it all mean? Pt 2: Drugs & Hormones

Hormones, hormones, hormones…why am I injecting all these hormones and what do they do??  This is a good question – apart from doing as I am told by the doctor, I thought I should be able to at least answer this question to my friends and family  who ask: What does each drug do and why I am taking it?  So I am going to have to go back to school with this, I hope I am not patronising.  I am sure I could recant all of this from my biology classes if they weren’t almost 20 years ago!!!

There are several ways a doctor can choose to stimulate ovaries for IVF treatment, these are called protocols and they can vary in dosage, type and timings.  My doctor has chosen the antagonist protocol for me.

Back to basics...so let’s take it back to school…there are four major hormones involved in the menstrual cycle: FSH (Follicle-Stimulating Hormone), LH (Luteinizing Hormone), Estrogen and Progesterone.  Today I am going to focus only on the first two weeks of the menstrual cycle, also known as the follicular phase.

During the folliclar phase, in a normal menstrual cycle the following events occur:

  • FSH and LH are released from the brain and travel into the blood to the ovaries.
  • These hormones stimulate 15-20 eggs in the ovaries, each in its own “shell”, called a follicle.
  • These hormones (FSH and LH) also trigger an increase in the production of estrogen.
  • As estrogen levels rise, like a switch, it turns off the production of FSH.  This careful balance of hormones allows the body to limit the number of follicles that mature to just one.

So what does this mean for IVF?  The goal of IVF is to produce as many mature eggs as possible to create conditions for the greatest chance of successful conception, to do this doctors use injectible hormones to control this phase of the mentrual cycle and stimulate the growth and maturation of the eggs, ready to be fertilised.

So we know that FSH stimulates the growth and number of small follicles, for small follicles FSH is the major survival factor that enables them to develop beyond 5mm in diameter and to avoid apoptosis, i.e. the programmed death of a follicle and egg.  In a normal menstrual cycle, multiple small follicles produce inhibin-B to lower FSH levels so that only one follicle will mature.  In an IVF cycle, artificially increased FSH overides the inhibin-B levels and therefore allows multiple follicles to grow and mature.  This is where the drugs Gonal-F and Menopur come in.

Gonal-F is a follitropin alpha medication (also known as a gonadotropin).  It is a synthetic version of the naturally-occurring FSH.  Where as, Menopur (also a gonadotropin), a combination of both FSH and LH, however unlike Gonal-F, Menopur is natural; it is extracted and purified from the urine of post-menopausal women -ummmm nice.  It is believed that a small quantity of LH during ovarian stimulation produces a better result in some patients.  It is for this reason that my doctor prescribes a combination of the natural and synthetic combination of gonadotropins, menopur and gonal-f.

As the gonal-F and menopur start to work, we need to make sure ovulation doesn’t occur prematurely, therefore they use the injectible Cetrotide.  The active substance in cetrotide is cetrorelix, this blocks the natural hormone LHRH (Lutenising hormone releasing hormone).  LHRH controls the production and release of LH which causes ovulation.  The cetrotide stops the production of LH, preventing premature ovulation.  This allows the doctors to carefully control when ovulation will occur.

The trigger injection.  The controlled hormonal stimulation I have described so far usually lasts for about 8-12 days, and dosages vary depending on how the woman responds to the drugs.  This happens all before another drug is injected – Ovidrel.  Ovidrel is the trigger injection containing a synthetic form of the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin – hCG.  There are several brand names for the hCG trigger shot including Ovidrel, Profasi, Pregnyl, and Novarel.  hCG is known as the pregnancy hormone, but it also happens to be molecularly similar to LH. In a natural cycle, LH triggers ovulation. As part of fertility treatment, an injection of hCG is used to trigger the maturation of eggs.  Ovulation usually occurs 36 hours after this trigger injection is given.  In the case of IVF, egg retrieval is carefully timed to collect the eggs just before ovulation, but long enough that the eggs have matured in the body ready to be extracted for fertilisation.

In part 3 I will focus on explaining the second phase of the menstrual cycle which includes the lovely hormones estrogen and progesterone….yippeeee!!!

IVF DIARY VOL I: 01 AUG 2015


IVF_Diary_Vol1a.pngMedication(s) administered and dosage(s).
2 injections: (AM) Cetrotide 0.25mg, (PM) Ovidrel – HcG trigger shot (yippeee!).

Medical procedures undertaken. Ultrasound and Estradiol blood test, Chris came along this time.  The ultrasound was very uncomfortable with all the pressure building up in my ovaries.  Today’s appointment was with one of the senior doctors who I had not yet met.  The ultrasound seemed to be just a brief check that everything was to his satisfaction before he decided when I will trigger – Monday or Tuesday; this time the nurse wasn’t recording the follicles.  The doctor asked me what I was planning on doing this weekend…I said “nothing!!”.  He said he thought that was a good idea, perhaps I could just about manage some shopping (Chris was behind me shaking his head, miming ‘Nooooooo!!’).  But really, I’m not a shopping kind of gal anyway.  He also told me I should drink lots of water or gatorade (2-3 litres) to keep myself hydrated.

How do I feel today? I am super pleased no more menopur or cetrotide injections!!! Those medications are just AWFUL.  Just one injection this evening, and I will be drug free until Monday! I’ll take that 24hr break!

What are my symptoms? I struggled with falling asleep last night because I like to sleep in the ‘recovery position’ and that was almost impossible as my ovaries are very painful.  I even woke up once from the pain.  Today I am still ‘waddling’ and feeling just a little bit sorry for myself.  It’s a pain I have never experienced before.  It is kind of like the pain after being punched in the stomach and been winded (if you know what that feels like!!), I also just feel generally ‘heavy’.  It has been a glorious sunny day, my mum is visiting, we had plans to spend the day on the beach and all I really wanted to was lie on the sofa and watch TV.  Not really like me at all 😦

How does Chris feel today? He is pleased the injections are over (well for now anyway), he is sad that my tummy hurts.  He bought me some flowers to cheer me up today.  He also bought me some cat fishing bait for when I am in bed on monday.  What is cat fishing bait I ask you?  Well it is a roll of crepe paper party streamers…I think his idea was that I can ‘bait’ the cats to sit on the bed with me and keep me company.

Any results? Today the smaller follicles on the left had caught up, but they are now at 16-18mm, which is just where they need to be.  There isn’t an official count, but I know that there are at least 15 follicles in total.  I have nothing to compare it to, so as long as the doctor is pleased I’m pleased!!! I don’t know my estradiol results yet.

What’s next?  Chris will administer the Ovidrel trigger injection at 10PM this evening in time for my egg retrieval procedure on Monday 7AM! Nice and early :-s

Weight. NSTR

Waist.  Despite my little bloating around my ovaries my waist has amazingly stayed the same size throughout the stimulation phase.  I think I am lucky, but I have been good about not eating too much crap despite my cravings.

Boobs. NSTR

Hours of Sunshine 🙂 I managed to get out for a short walk to the beach and around the neighbourhood – about 45 mins to soak up a little bit of sun.

*Notes.  I take First Response Reproductive Health multi vitamin gummies (pre-natal) and CoQ10 200mg gummies daily.  NSTR = Nothing Significant To Report.