IVF Diary Vol III: 03 – 06 Apr 16

Medication(s) administered and dosage(s). Stimming phase: day 6. PM: Gonal-F 375 iu & Menopur 75 iu injections. AM Lupron 0.5mg (5 units) injection

Medical procedures undertaken. Monitoring vaginal ultrasound and Estradiol blood tests check 2! I had a good number of follicles on Day 4 of Stimming…better than my previous 2 rounds, I had 6-7 in each ovary which was better than the 4-5 from the previous rounds.  So that’s good!

What are my symptoms?  The headaches have started 😦  I’m trying to stay hydrated, but I’m not able to shake them.  Also, when I thought I was suffering from a cold – turns out I was suffering from allergies to pollen – potentially the pine pollen.  For those of you unfamiliar with pine pollen, it is luminous yellow and coats everything in the neighbourhood in a fine layer of yellow dust.  Then when it rains it turns the puddles toxic yellow!!!

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Ughhh the pine pollen gets everywhere!!!

today is the first day I’ve been feeling my ovaries – Oh hello ovaries, it’s about time you woke up and reminded me how many follicles we are growing inside of you!!!

How do I feel today? I am feeling much better than my previous post.  I have been off work today.  I’ve caught up on some lovely blogs, I’ve chilled out with a friend and her kids (we also played with St Bernard mountain puppy in a pet shop) and I’ve put together some gratitude boxes for the upcoming yard sale to raise cash for our local infertility support group!  These boxes have some sweet treats and a positive happy quote written inside them.  They are a way to say thank you to those who donated to our group’s cause!  So I’m feeling inspired and positive today 🙂

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Any results?  Estradiol level after 3 days of stimming 380 pg/ml – this is a lot higher than my previous cycles – and correlates with my increase in follicle numbers too (cycle 1 – 173, cycle 2 – 194). Uterine lining is looking food.  Ovaries are stuffed with some nice looking follicles. So all looking good 🙂

What’s next? Tomorrow morning is monitoring appointment check 3!

Weight. I have put on 5lbs since IVF 2. NOT AMUSED.

Waist. AGHHHHHHHH MY TUMMY IS SOOOOOOO BLOATED!!!!!

Boobs. NSTR.

The Final Countdown!!! Over half way there!!!!

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*Notes.  I take First Response Reproductive Health multi vitamin gummies (pre-natal), 5mg Melatonin at bed time and CoQ10 200mg gummies daily.  NSTR = Nothing Significant To Report.

IVF Diary Vol III 21-30 Mar 16

Medication(s) administered and dosage(s). Lupron 0.5mg (10 units) injection AM.

Somehow I have managed to take all my medications at the correct time despite all the time zone changes (Belgium was 5 hours ahead and the UK was four hours ahead at the time). I have taken the Lupron injections in  some strange places, including in the airplane toilet.  I had alarms set on my phone so I could remember to do it because taking the pill and doing the injection were both at random times of the day!  Quite frankly amongst everything that has been going on I am impressed with myself for managing to figure it all out!

Medical procedures undertaken. Nil.

What are my symptoms?  Actually, I haven’t really experienced any symptoms in particular.  I still have a mild upset tummy, it was doing much better before I left for Europe, but I think everything got screwed up after everything with the attack.  I’ve had a few random bouts of tears, but I can’t tell whether they are a result of the hormones or not.  Who knows! I’m kind of getting used to this happening now.

How do I feel today? I went back to work on Tuesday and it wasn’t too bad.  I did have a little bit of a shaking episode after I had recanted to my Brussels story the nth time.  I was just overwhelmed (in a positive way) with how many people told me they are pleased to see me in one piece!!!  I was also overwhelmed with the sheer number of people who actually read my blog post.  People who I have never spoken to at work before had read it and came up to me to tell me how amazing it was…even all the senior bosses had read it.  Basically pretty much everyone I work with now knows about my blog.  I’m pretty sure most people didn’t take much notice of the infertility part of my blog, rather were just interested in the Brussels story, but when my friends and family asked if it was OK to share it, I really had no idea how far it would be shared.

I’m not doing well at sleeping, but I guess that is to be expected…and with the hormones I am not sure how much is contributed by events vs the medications.  So I am a little tired.  But the good news is that I have taken some time off work!  Woohoo!!! Relaxation…chilling…are all that is scheduled for me during the stimulation phase of this cycle! A complete contrast to last time.  I have even discovered a new yoga place that has opened up near my house.  Overall, I am excited that we have another chance at IVF, but a little niggly part of me thinks I shouldn’t get my hopes up because it will be a long way to fall down from this time around.

Any results?  Nil

What’s next? I have my first baseline monitoring appointment tomorrow morning.  Hopefully it will all be go go go for cycle 3! Fingers crossed this Lupron has done its job nicely.

Weight. I still haven’t got on the scales yet!

Waist. NSTR.

Boobs. NSTR.

The Final Countdown!!!

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*Notes.  I take First Response Reproductive Health multi vitamin gummies (pre-natal), 5mg Melatonin at bed time and CoQ10 200mg gummies daily.  NSTR = Nothing Significant To Report.

What’s infertility got to do with a terrorist attack?

I have been surprised at how many people have commented on my apparent levelheadedness during the terrorist attack in Brussels airport.  Although the absolute fear and terror was running through my mind, my actions seemed logical.  I’m surprised, because I just did what I did – and even I am somewhat surprised at my own response.  However, I think that it is all mostly about an element of luck.  Some people have told me, they believe in some kind of divine intervention (I personally do not believe that, whether god exists or not).  The luck was the third suitcase bomb didn’t explode.  The luck was that I wasn’t closer.  The luck was that the terrorists were ill prepared to carry out a more sophisticated attack.  (Apparently, they had been planning more, but for some reason failed to implement it).  The luck was that I was in the right place and it simply wasn’t my time to die.

A friend of mine made a really interesting comment about the difference between a man and woman’s propensity to take risk.  A woman’s appetite to take risk varies with her menstrual period, where as a man’s appetite for risk remains relatively stable.  When a woman is in her ovulatory stage, she is less likely to take risks.  Therefore, hormones surely have a role to play in risk taking.  So what does that mean for a woman who is going through infertility treatment and jacked up with lots of hormones?  Does this mean that a woman’s propensity for risk is heightened or lowered depending on the stage of their treatment, how different would it be compared to if they were in their normal menstrual cycle?

During the attack, I was on Day 12 of the down regulation part of my IVF cycle, preparing for my upcoming stimulation phase.  I had already been experiencing some of the side effects from these drugs (I wrote about them in my previous diary entry here).  The question I have is – had I not been on these drugs would I have reacted differently to the situation?  We will never know the answer, because we will never know what could have been.  But it is an interesting question never-the-less!

I can tell you that the feelings and emotions I have been experiencing after getting caught up in the attack are not dissimilar to how I felt after being told our pregnancy was not viable.  I’ve experienced random crying over what could have been.  Sadness, frustration, anger and numbness – all feelings that have washed over me in the immediate days past these traumatic events.  I never thought I could ever liken an impending pregnancy loss to surviving a terrorist attack.  But I am, and that is simply how I have been feeling over the past couple of days.  I’ve also experienced the overwhelming feeling of love and kindness from friends and family after these events.  And I mean overwhelming to the point where I have been dumbstruck.

I anticipate that I might attend some kind of therapy after experiencing what I did this week.  The question I have is, why haven’t I been so accepting of undertaking therapy for infertility after our loss and constant failure? If these feelings I am experiencing are so similar, perhaps I should have gone to therapy over our infertility sooner? I don’t know, but perhaps I just didn’t realise the intense emotions and trauma infertility slowly piles up upon us.  Or maybe, the reason is because I feel like I have absolutely no control over a terrorist attack, and maybe I *believe* I have some control over my infertility.  I think my perspective might have changed over the past week; I know some of you wonderful ladies have tried therapy for infertility and swear by it.  Going to therapy doesn’t mean I am weak, it means that I am strong, strong enough to recognise that help is there for the taking.


 

For those inclined…a couple of journal articles on risk taking and a woman’s hormonal cycle:

Variations in risk taking behaviour over the menstrual cycle:  http://people.uncw.edu/bruce/hon%20210/pdfs/risk%20taking.pdf

The influence of menstrual cycle and impulsivity and risk taking behaviour:  http://www.ledonline.it/NeuropsychologicalTrends/allegati/NeuropsychologicalTrends_17_Iannello.pdf

 

IVF Diary Vol III 15-20 Mar 16

Medication(s) administered and dosage(s). Ovulation Control Pill (OCP) Reclipsen 0.15MG-30MCG x 1 per day, Lupron 0.5mg (10 units) injection AM.

I started the Lupron injections on Thursday morning.  Although the amount of liquid is tiny and the needle is small, I still freaked out about giving myself the injection.  I tried to do it, but the needle bounced off my skin, so I asked Chris to do it so I could feel how hard it needs to e to pierce the skin. But on Friday, I did the injection myself! It didn’t hurt, I was just slightly hesitant and the needle went in slower than I expected.  Saturday, the needle bumped off my skin again!  I’m sure I will figure it out.  Also, there is barely any blood after these injections so I don’t really need gauze and I can’t tell where I just did the injection which means I am finding it difficult to figure out where to put a plaster over it!  I discovered putting a plaster over the injection site means that I don’t have to remember the next day where I just did my previous injection.

Medical procedures undertaken. Nil.  But – I did have a post op follow up appointment with my Doctor to go over my results from the hysteroscopy.  I knew the biopsy results were good because they come through on my clinic’s app and I am sure she wouldn’t have had told me to start the Birth control pills if there was anything wrong.  However, on the day of the appointment I started to get a bit nervous because I thought if everything was OK, why did she still need to see me?  When I arrived the nurse asked where my husband was?  At first I just joked with her “He’s working – I hope!!!”, but then it dawned on me….should he be here with me because it’s going to be bad news?  I didn’t even think about bringing Chris along.  The nurse did the usual vitals check and took me to the Doctor’s office to wait.  As I was sitting in her office there was one pamphlet on her desk that stuck out – it was about uterine cancer.  My heart started to beat faster!! My head was  racing.  Fortunately the doctor arrived quickly after I sat down.  She cut straight to the chase and said everything looked just fine! Phew.  She took a look at her computer and said that there was just one area of redness of my uterus she had seen on the camera that she thought might be inflammation, but the biopsy did not show any signs of inflammation. So all good!  A very quick appointment, I was in and out in 5 minutes…it was just like being at a doctor’s office in the UK!!!!

What are my symptoms?  I have two symptoms I want to talk about – my upset tummy and my hormones!

At my post op appointment I asked my doctor about my upset tummy.  I told her my diarrhea has been playing up, maybe it’s just my Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) being bad or, is there any chance it could be something related to the hysteroscopy?  The only thing that could cause diarrhea is the cytotec pills I took that ‘softens the cervix’ prior to the surgery.  Maybe it caused a mis-balance of bacteria in my tummy, but it should go away soon.  It wasn’t the most helpful advice I’ve received from a doctor…but as usual not knowing what causes my poorly tummy I am used to.  So I decided to put into practice my knowledge of things to make diarreah go away.  The first is to take some probiotics.  After my appointment I went straight to the shops and looked for a probiotic yoghurt drink.  Now in the UK, there are these little drinks that you can take daily – there are different brands like yakult and actimel, they are very common in the supermarket.  But here in the US, I haven’t ever noticed before until now, they are not common!  I tried looking for a US store that sells Yakult and it’s typical!  The only place nearby is the Commissary!  As a civilian, I am not allowed to shop at the Commissary!! (The Commissary is where the military can buy their groceries at a discount).  Anyway…I did discover something similar in the organic section – Kefir.  Kefir is a fermented milk drink with kefir grains in it.  I wasn’t sure if this would aggravate my upset tummy or the probiotics would do its thing.  There were also some juices with probiotics added, this to my mind didn’t seem the best for my tummy because real fruit juice can make things worse for me.  Anyway either the Kefir has had a positive effect or my tummy is getting better on its own.  The past few days I have returned to normal upset tummy (where I experience diarrhea about once a day rather than 4-6 times a day for the past two weeks!)

My hormones.  I am going to do a separate post on this, but in a nutshell, the Lupron and Birth Control Pills are doing weird things to me.  On Friday evening as I was getting ready to go to the ball (!!!) I was curling my hair and tried to pin it up how I like to.  But for some reason it wasn’t working.  My hair looked awful, I was getting frustrated at it…then I flipped out at my inability to make my hair look half decent.  Like seriously got mad and threw stuff across the room.  I looked in the mirror and I felt nothing, I looked back at myself and felt nothing.  I didn’t feel sexy, I thought I looked hideous.  Chris kept telling me my hair looked lovely down and I should leave it, but I just kept looking at myself and I felt like I was out of my body – I was in somebody else’s body. I felt…..nothing.  It was weird.  I didn’t like it!  Could it be the Lupron doing this to me?

How do I feel today? Chris and I had an evening of sharing our feelings about this IVF cycle.  It got emotional.  We realised we have both been bad at not sharing our feelings, we both made assumptions about things and came to wrong conclusions.  We just didn’t talk enough about what was going to happen this cycle – the changes in my protocol and the uncertainty around dates of key things happening in the cycle like when the Egg Retrieval and transfer might be.  Particularly with the transfer (Day 3 v Day 5).  The difference being that this cycle came around quickly (we both felt unprepared for it), and my period started much earlier than I anticipated.  Because I had been so busy with work, we just hadn’t been keeping the communication lines open…but we re-opened them – that’s good, but it took us a while to figure that out!

Any results?  Other than my post op results being clear!

What’s next? I stop the Birth Control Pills next week and keep the Lupron injections going.  I am off on travels to Europe next week so I have the added issue of figuring out what times to take my pills and injections!  I made a mistake of taking my Birth Control Pills after my dinner, so now in Europe with them being 6 hours ahead at the moment, it means I would need to be taking them at 2AM! Doh!  The Lupron injections won’t be so bad – I can take them at 1PM at lunch time.  I may also have to give myself an injection on the plane as I fly transatlantic!!!! Double doh!

Weight. I still haven’t got on the scales yet!

Waist. NSTR.

Boobs. NSTR.

The Final Countdown!!!

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*Notes.  I take First Response Reproductive Health multi vitamin gummies (pre-natal), 5mg Melatonin at bed time and CoQ10 200mg gummies daily.  NSTR = Nothing Significant To Report.

IVF Diary Vol III begins!

Here we are again.  It’s like deja vu, right?  Seriously, Christmas seemed like ages ago, but somehow IVF round 2 only felt like a week or two ago.  It’s all come around again quickly for us.  I don’t feel quite so ready for it – mentally, my mind has been at work, physically, my body has been at work (hahaha!) what I really mean is – I need to do some exercise!!!

I started my Birth Control Pills on Thursday evening and phoned the nurse who is covering for my nurse whilst she is on leave to schedule in my IVF cycle.  She gave me the important dates and told me she would order my medications.  I put down the phone with dates in my hand, excited…then a little later realised that she hadn’t asked me what meds I had left over from my last cycle! Aghhh!  And it was very late friday afternoon so I knew there was no chance of catching her in time.  Also, I haven’t received notification from the Pharmacy yet that my prescription has arrived with them  and I need my Lupron by Thursday morning!  I am in Washington DC for two days next week, so my only real day to receive by FedEx my giant box of medication goodies in time would be Monday.   Aghhhhhh!!!!! I hate this last minute panic thing!!! I am sure it will all be fine and the script will be with the Pharmacy today.  Zen Dani……Zen.

I had my last alcoholic beverage last night – a wonderful glass or two or red wine. Bye bye alcohol!  Although this cycle has creeped up on me, I am feeling excited.  This is it.  It’s all or nothing now!!!! Wish us luck!!!!! Eeeeeeek….

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IVF cycle 3 Calendar

Chris told me I was too graphic in my last post about my period, so here is a Too Much Information Warning…….!!!! Don’t read past here if you don’t like reading about periods! I’ve been popping the painkillers for my period and surviving OK, the short sharp pains have gone, thankfully, it’s just the typical period pains now.  But I did have something happen to me that I’ve never had before.  I passed a ball of old thick dark black blood about the size of a large grape.  It wasn’t clotty, but thick and sticky, kind of like a truffle!  I got a little freaked out, but then remembered that putting a camera into your uterus and taking a biopsy from the the uterine lining 9 days before your period is probably not a normal every month occurrence; so I should not be surprised my body is doing some weird things.  I have a post-op appointment next week, so I will mention it just to be sure.  (Things I never thought I’d write about and share to the public world – my period!)

Good plan batman

First of all, let me say a big thank you to everyone who showed us support by commenting on my last update.  It has been a really difficult weekend.  Full of emotional roller coasters.  Chris and I have been brought to the edge with our sadness and confusion about our second failed IVF cycle.  I couldn’t reply to your comments without crying.  I am sure some of you who have been there have felt that overwhelmingness.  I read each and everyone one and they mean a lot, so thank you for your support.

Today we had our follow up appointment.  Chris and I prepared for the meeting the only way we know best….by making a list.  We wrote a list of all possible scenarios for ways ahead on this pudding club hunt.  And then we individually wrote down what we felt about each scenario and exchanged our thoughts.  We discussed where there were differences.  It was difficult and emotional to do as we realised that we agree in some situations, but not in others.  It’s OK at this stage that we don’t agree or have the same point of view, but it was bloody hard and we had some very raw and honest conversations.  We used up a few boxes of tissues 🙂  But what was good about this exercise is that we were ready to come to this follow up appointment prepared for whatever the doctor was going to suggest doing next.

When my doctor spoke to me on the phone to tell me the bad news that our IVF cycle had failed she mentioned poor egg quality, I took away bad things from this when I needn’t have.  This was just my doctor’s first impressions report, she hadn’t really looked into my case in detail or reviewed my history.  But this is what she did at today’s appointment.

Our doctor was very positive and believes that our best chance is to try again.  We expected that, but she ruled out egg or embryo donation for us or the necessity for genetic testing.  Our chances are still high more than 50% success.  We will make a couple of minor adaptations to our next cycle with my medication protocol by switching from antagonist protocol to Lupron (Down regulation) protocol.  I am a good responder to stimulation so she believes this may help improve the egg quality.  We will also carefully review our Day 3 v Day 5 transfer options at the time.  I had some excellent Day 3 embryos this time around, similar to my first cycle when I got my positive.  May be my embryos don’t do as well in the culture afterwards.

But before we go into another round of IVF, I need to have a hysteroscopy.  This is a small surgical procedure where the doctor inserts a camera through my cervix to look at my uterus and fallopian tube opening closely to check for any potential damage from my suspected ectopic pregnancy, scarring or inflammation as well as checking for endometriosis and taking a small biopsy for further testing.  So I am scheduled for my procedure in two weeks time!

We have a plan we are both happy with.  I felt a huge relief off my shoulders because our doctor was genuinely positive for our next round of IVF – and we pushed her about it too (well Chris did!!) – there was no BS-ing!   So all things going well after the hysteroscopy, we are looking at an April IVF/ICSI Cycle:-)

Thank you all for sticking with us through this, it has been hard, but you make it all the better!!  XXX

butterfly