Category: IVF Protocol


Like I told you in the beginning, as I finish this IVF journey I may jump around.  Mainly because I will write what I feel at the moment.  I am about to head to bed and I am listening to Oceans by HIllsong United. This song is going to be important to me for the rest of my life because this was my song during my twin cycle.

As you can imagine after 2 failed IVF cycles we were feeling defeated. We still had our son and so we tried to keep things in perspective that he just might be our only one and we were grateful for that.

My husband needed surgery to extract sperm and not just any surgery.  The surgery he needed was going to be a Micro TESE and only a handful of people truly specialized in the surgery.  I went back to find the original article done on this surgery because if we were going to do it, we were going to the best. At this point we had already spent $50k in IVF cycles and had our sweet son to show for it, but two heart breaking failures.

That is when I found Dr. Bruce Gilbert in Great Neck, NY. http://brucegilbertmd.com/micro-tese/

At this point we were ready to drain our financial resources for another child (as this cycle ended up costing a whopping $48K.)  We made an appointment with him, as you can imagine he is booked out far in advance.  But of course getting there would not go smoothly.  Our flight got cancelled and knowing that we did not want to have to reschedule and push our cycle back, we flew in to Maryland, rented a car and drove 4 hours to get to the appointment on time at 8 am.  We were exhausted and that is when we coined our phase, “if this was easy, it wouldn’t be worth it.”

I will go into more details about Mirco-Tese and the Cycle in a different blog but for now I just want to talk about the song.  So during the 5 months, I leaned on God with everything, I mean I could not have walked during this time if it wasn’t for him.  And anytime I started to doubt or feel weary, the song Oceans by Hillsound United would come on geh radio or pandora, and I would think to myself, there is God reminding me again to trust HIM.

Well I go up for the week of ER and transfer, and I am just praying that Oceans would play. I am listening to Hillsong United Pandora station, Christian radio, and NOTHING. The song that I have heard probably a 100 times in the last 6 months in my moments of doubt does not play for me one freaking time. I was so low, and so sad. Because even after transfer as I leaned on HIM, I am asking please give me a sign this worked, give me MY sign. Nothing. After almost 2 weeks of being in New York for ER, Transfer then 4 days of bedrest, I finally am leaving to go back home.  I drive to LGA, and I am thinking well, we did our best, but I don’t think this worked.

Then as I approach the airport, OCEANS PLAYS on chrisitan radio, and ends right as I park the car the rental car to turn it. I burst into tears, the ugly hyperventalating tears. People must have thought something terrible had happened because I could not stop crying. And I KNEW, I KNEW at that moment HE never left and I was pregnant. Then 8.5 months later I gave birth too 2 healthy, beautiful 35 week twins that needed no NICU.

Moral of the story: Never lose hope.

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders

Love and Sticky Dust,

IVFwoes

Back Tracking

Now that I have been through the IVF Process, gotten pregnant, and I am on bed rest that leaves me with a lot of time.  I am going to go backwards and fill in the gaps from June to now.  There are a lot of things I will do differently for my FET transfer.  I plan on doing that once this baby turns 1.  Then we have a huge decision to make and that is if we will ever go through IVF again, I would love to have 4 children and my husband wants to have 3, but it’s a huge decision and expense.  Plus after the HORRIFIC experience my husband had we now know he will also have to have surgery and be put under.  Although this time we would potentially have two children.

Keep checking back I will start tomorrow from the beginning!  Hopefully over the next year I can talk about my journey into motherhood and the decision to start the FET! 

Lots of love!!

IVFwoes

I feel like a bomb that is waiting to go off. 

I had my last date with the magic stick today.  The follicles are looking mighty big!  The doctor is hoping to have anywhere from 25 – 30 eggs.  So keep my ovaries in your prayers.  My estrogen level has elevated, and so I am reducing doses of HCG.  On the other hand I am in pain.  I have gained about 9 lbs in a week and it is showing in my belly. I try to lay flat as much as possible that is the most comfortable position for me.  Walking long distances feels so uncomfortable and I am a stairs girl, and there is no way to walk up and down them at work.  I’m ready for the Egg Retrieval! I am READY, damn it!

However, when I got the call today that my ER was really scheduled for Wednesday, I got nervous and excited all at the same time.  I have stayed pretty positive but today was the first time I experienced being scared.  For a brief second I had a break in the positivity and was thinking of all the things that could go wrong! Then I watched that sweet Pampers Miracle commercial and I realized that I am scared because I want it so bad.  I want the grand prize at the end of this journey so bad.  I want to hold my own baby in my arms, look at my husband and say, “Can you believe we did this, we created this.”  I want to cry in the sonogram room when I hear the heart beat for the first time.  I want to decorate a nursery, and have a baby shower, I want to join the mommy club.  I want to have  hopes and dreams, and look at my child in awe because it’s the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.  I want to see my baby laugh, cry, sleep, spit up, and change loads of dirty diapers.  I want to love our child like there is nothing else in the world that matters.  I want it all. I want to have my husband’s child.  I want it, and for the first time, I realize how nervous and scared I really am, because I realize that in over a week either that dream may or may not come true.

So I feel like the time in ticking on this bomb ready to go off.  I have a huge range of emotions, but most of them are happy, positive and good thoughts.  All I have right now is to stay positive and optimistic.  I already know what the worst could happen is, so why dwell on it?  Infertility sucks, seriously, it sucks bad.  But this is our  journey, this is our struggle, and we can only keep the faith that we will end up with a precious baby by Valentine’s Day!

I choose Hope and I hope you do the same.

In case you wanted to cry too!

Before this whole experience I had an intense fear of needles.  I never looked when people drew my blood.  I would always have to take the time to mentally prepare myself if I was going to get a shot.  I remember my very first acupuncture appointment (back when I was going for asthma) and it was terrifying! I was in so much pain because I could not loosen up my muscles.  I was so scared.  Now needles have become second nature.  I still hesitate when I am taking my morning shot.  But it has become less stressful.  I am going to acupuncture twice a week right now.   I am also going to a chiropractor once a week to help with aligning my hips and all that good stuff.  I do not want to even know what the total cost of all of this will amount too.   This whole process is so expensive and we are over the $10,000 mark.  However we have paid for a lot of our treatments up front, and the only payment left is for ICSI.

I had my sonogram check up today, everything looks good.  I had a little fluid in the endometrial cavity, but that was my period coming to an end. Then I had the weekly blood draw, which I am keeping count of tubes of blood and I am now up to 13.  

I am still excited and very hopefully.  My mom and mom in law are both having a very hard time containing their excitement, especailly since there are only 8 total people who know about our relaitonship with IVF.  So we are all still on team hope.  Dr. T seems very optimistic too.  He said that my ovary functioning test was very high so we should get some really good eggs. The Huz is doing his part too.  He just finished up his antibiotics, and has been eating so healthy it really puts me to shame. He wants his swimmers to be in tip top shape.  He is so supportive and feels guilty about all the shots I have to take, which is very sweet.  Also, The Huz is a man that never dreams, and he told me that he had a dream he was playing with our baby’s curly hair last night.  Precious! 

Anyway, I just wanted to check in.  Also to any military spouse’s Happy Military Spouse Appreciation Day.  I too am an Army wife, and its nice to be recognized!  The Huz has had 2 deployments to Iraq and I am the FRG lead so we know how tough it really is!

Have a positive IVF day!

Daily Shout Outs:

@VeeNora hoping next week your receive you BFP!

@IVFjess praying for you to have peace.  Also praying for positive news!

@Ashann7 hoping you have a wonderful transfer and for lots of stickiness!

@fertilitychick that the adoption process goes smoothly, as a person who conducts home studies, I know the hurry up and wait game is very tiring!

@babywishes25 that everything will go perfect in your IVF! Only positive thoughts to you!

Four days of shots.  I have accidently stuck myself twice and bleed, but I have successfully administered all four shots.  They are actually getting easier.  I just take a deep breath and stick in all the way in.  You HAVE to break the skin. When you just prick the skin, you bleed. I’ve learned this the hard way.  Also the Lupron shot has made me much more efficient about taking my baby aspirin and dexamethasone. I do not like the 7 am wake up that I still have to do on the weekend since that is the time I choose to take my shots.  But Dr. T wanted the Lupron in the mornings and that is right before I leave for work.

Yesterday was the last day I could play Kickball.  It was a good time, and I even scored a run.  Here ensues the beginning of my double life with my friends.  I have yet to tell them that I will not be there for next week’s game.  I cannot play anymore now that I am getting in the thick of things.  It was easy to think of things for work, but friends, they will know something is up, so I have had to become a pathological liar.

I told them I didn’t drink because I was still hung over from drinking a bottle of wine Saturday night at dinner (lie #1, I have not had alcohol or caffeine in 3 months, although I do miss a good Chardonnay.)  I told them that I will stay on first base this week because it’s my area of expertise (lie #2, I’m good at first base but I did not want to play outfield yesterday because if the ball is kicked your way its hits your belly hard, in turn hits your ovaries, not risking that!)  Will you be at next week’s game? Yeah, I think so (lie#3, no I will not be at next week game. I start taking Follistim which will now enlarge my ovaries to the size of softballs, and exercise may increase the risk of one of them turning over and possibly lead to the removal of a tube and an ovary, so hell-to-the-no!)

So here I am lying to everyone, just lie, lie, lie.  I feel like a government agent running a secret mission that has the highest level of security.  No one can get a clearance badge unless they directly talk with the director.  Then I hope I have a bigger secret to keep, at least from work, until I hit my 91st day of employment, which hopefully I’m at about 8 or 9 weeks along.

So anyway, have a wonderful IVF week and here’s to BFPs!

One.

Today was the first shot.

I was so nervous. At first I could not do it, but then I just said, I have too and stuck the needle in.  I feel like, I still feel the prick of the needle, but that is me being silly.  It stung just a little bit when pushing the fluid in, but the needle itself was not as bad as I thought.  Although after taking this shot, I am more terrified of the progesterone shot.  We will see how it goes, but if I want these babies this is what I got to do to get them.  Although, I am thinking, how do you do this over and over?  I have a new respect for those women who have had numerous IVF cycles.  And today is just day one.

Protocol for the next two weeks:

½ tab of Dexamethasone AM
1 baby Aspirin Am
20 u of Lurpon AM 

The Huz
Doxycycline twice daily for 7 days

Have a great IVF day!

So I have this butterfly feeling like its Christmas.  I am not sure if it’s because I took my last birth control pill, or because I have my shot ready to go for tomorrow.  But it feels like tomorrow is such a big day.  The beginning of my first IVF, the Huz is very excited to be starting this process as well.  We are both staying optimistic. We are doing everything we feel is right.  We did not change our eating too drastically, but I am a health and wellness coach, so we just live a healthier lifestyle.   I will be sure to update you daily on my progress, and I have a feeling that the next 3 weeks to retrieval are going to fly by! 

I also think it will be fun to be pregnant with my sister in law and if everything went well for both of us we would only be 8 weeks apart!  At this point all we have is hope, hope, hope.  We will continue to hope, just like a little kid on Christmas hoping for that present they have wanted all year.  It’s the same feeling.  All we can do is hope for the best.  We already know what the worst is, so why constantly think about that.

Today I am working at a hospital and saw the most precious newborn baby boy.  I thought it would have been weird to ask to hold him.  However, I am sure they were creeped out by my intense staring. I can’t wait for the day when the Huz and I get to leave the hospital with our baby. 

So the next 4 -5 weeks, we will dedicate our lives to hope.

I got my box of meds yesterday and was totally overwhelmed! I looked at this box and thought I need to retake my injection class. There were so many needles and medications, I was totally confused! Last night I sat down and laid everything out. I actually read al instructions to the medications. Sadly, this is probably the first time I have ever done this. I feel more comfortable now, and really sorted the box. I am ready for every shot except that progesterone, DANG that needle is really big and very scary. Does it have to be so big, really? Let me know if you have any tips for making it easier.

I still can’t believe that it is here, we have been planning this since January, so I cannot believe how fast this has gone. I am very hopeful and staying that way. Since my cousins passing, I have started getting back on track. I am trying to go to bed at 9:30 every night. I am staying relaxed and slowly re-introducing tasks into my daily life. Still going to acupuncture once a week, and getting a massage every week. Staying clear of processed foods and just being healthy.

Daily Shout-Outs

@jesanholi hoping for a BFP in 10 days!

@VeeNora Hoping those eggs mature! Good Luck on your 3 day transfer!

@FertilityChick Hoping the adoption goes smoothly!

Also please pray for my SIL that is pregnant, she is experiencing bleeding and cramping, so please send out some prayers and positive thoughts her way.

Hoping everyone who is having blood draws this week gets their BFPs, and those who are in the 2ww and have found out they are pregnant, I pray that you all have a peace of mind.

Happy National Infertility Week

I have read many blogs, forums, and posts about the benefits of pineapple during IVF.   Since I started researching IVF I have been sifting through information on the benefits of pineapple.  In pineapple the vitamin bromelian is the active ingredient and is supposedly beneficial for IVF. 

Then my next step was to Wiki it, this is the information I found about Bromelain:

Bromelain is present in all parts of the pineapple plant (Ananas sp.), but the stem is the most common commercial source, presumably because it is readily available after the fruit has been harvested. Pineapples have had a long tradition as a medicinal plant among the natives of South and Central America.

Today, about 90% of meat tenderizer is used in consumer households. Bromelain is sold in a powdered form, which is combined with a marinade, or directly sprinkled on the uncooked meat. The enzyme will penetrate the meat, and by a process called forking, cause the meat to be tender and palatable when cooked. If the enzyme is allowed to work for too long, the meat may become too “mushy” for many consumers’ preferences. Cooked or canned pineapple does not have a tenderizing effect, as the enzymes are heat labile.

Although available in some countries (not the United States) as a product under the name ‘Ananase’, bromelain has no scientifically accepted therapeutic indications as an oral agent. It has a reputation for various uses in folk medicine. First introduced in medical research in 1957, bromelain may work by blocking some proinflammatory metabolites when applied topically. Preliminary research indicates that bromelain may affect migration of neutrophils to sites of acute inflammation.[4] As a potential anti-inflammatory agent, it may be useful for treating arthritis,[5] but has neither been confirmed in human studies for this use nor is it approved with a health claim for such an effect by the Food and Drug Administration or European Food Safety Authority.

So, this is what I take from this, Pineapple is supposed to make the uterus soft, which will make the eggs stick, because bromelain is a meat tenderizer and an anti- inflammatory.   The medication that I did not know about until today Dexamethasone has some similar properties.  It is a steroid and an anti-inflammatory.  I am supposed to be on it for a total of 3 weeks. So I feel that part has been taken care of, through other research I read stated it is supposed to make the uterus sticky, I am not sure how I feel about that.  Anyright, the max amount to eat is supposed to be about one cup of pineapple a day. Then I read a blog by TheIvfGirl about what her Doc had said about pineapple a year ago.

The benefits of pineapple for IVF

by Beth

When I was going through my IVF protocol, my doctor suggested I develop a sweet tooth for PINEAPPLE.  Yes, pineapple!  (I only had pineapple in my cocktails prior to that.  Not kidding.)

Supposedly, eating pineapple starting on the transfer date will increase the chances of a success.  Sticky beans!  Baby dust!

FRESH pineapple.  And the fruit closest to the core.  So you have to crack that thang open and start slicing.

Pineapple is a bromeliad fruit and contains the enzyme that breaks down protein. And there may be some proteins in the uterus inhibiting the embryos from “sticking.”

This could be an old wive’s tale or a myth but I had my fresh pineapple (about a cup a day) and now I am obviously knocked up (swollen ankles!)  My doctor told me there is no concrete proof it works either but it could lend an edge to the whole procedure.

I stored my pineapples on the kitchen counter and NOT in the refrigerator.  Stays fresher.   And I ate it for three days – starting on the transfer date.

My remaining fruit?  Funnily enough, I used it as a meat tenderizer.   Which sorta makes sense as it broke down the protein in the meat.  Which is what might have been happening in my uterus.  Which is probably why, months later, all I want to do is eat cheeseburgers all day.

Hmmmm.

Then the second post I really like is this one and it also talks about Pineapple and Baby Aspirin.

How to have a successful IVF

By bdavis76, eHow User 

So you’re here. First of all, congratulations and I’m sorry. If you’re here, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Getting pregnant is an emotional rollercoaster and if you’re preparing for a successful IVF then you’ve been through quite a rollercoaster already. I’m not going to guarantee you will get pregnant from this IVF, but if you follow these steps you will know you’ve done everything in YOUR power to make it successful. Know that I am praying for you and so are many other people in this world.

1 Acupuncture for pregnancy preparation, once a week for one hour. If you haven’t started acupuncture, I highly recommend it. Realize that acupuncturists are unique individuals but they have a way of understanding your body differently than our doctors. Blood flow is key to creating a healthy womb and that is one area an acupuncturist can help. Make weekly appointments and try to keep it at about the same time and day every week. Talk to your acupuncturist as well. Fill him/ her in on where you are in this journey. You need a confidant who is not too personally involved.

2  No alcohol or caffeine once you start your first shot
It’s better if you wean yourself a couple of months before you start the IVF process, but officially ban alcohol and caffeine from your diet once you’ve started your first shot. Your body needs to prepare for pregnancy, so let it be as healthy as possible.

3 Shots – give your shots consistently, same time every day
The more consistent your shot schedule is the better your body can prepare and use the necessary medicines.

4 Rest – Shoot for 9 hours of sleep a night.  The more rest you get, the more your body can prepare for pregnancy and focus on that.

5  Pineapple – start eating pineapple once you start the Follistim shots (or whichever ovulation inducer you are taking) and continue eating pineapple until you are done with bedrest. Yes, the more pineapple the better. I recommend using it as a dessert for all three meals every single day. It’s healthy and there’s something special in it to help with pregnancy. Not sure what, but it’s magic.

6  Stop exercising – yes, that’s right, I said stop!
You’re body is going through a traumatic event AND it’s preparing to become pregnant. Working out takes that energy to a different place. If you’re dying to do something, walk. No sit ups! No weights! No bouncing! Your ovaries are growing and growing and they can actually become damaged. Protect them! Working out can come back into your life after the baby arrives!

7  Baby aspirin – take one once a day starting the day after retrieval Baby aspirin helps encourage blood flow through your body and specifically to your uterus. Help that home be nice and cozy for that baby (or babies!).

8 Gatorade – start drinking Gatorade on your way home from the egg retrieval and drink it continuously until you get your positive pregnancy test.  Your eggs have been taken, but your ovaries are now filled with blood. You are most likely going to feel some discomfort and maybe even some pain. Gatorade helps reduce that pain and lets your ovaries recover easier. If you have strong cramping pain, drink more Gatorade. Obviously call your doctor too, just to make sure they’re in the loop.

9 REST!!! – Take the entire day off of everything on the day of your retrieval. Even better, that the next day too.
Rest means, laying down watching old movies (and sitcom, Dawson’s Creek and Sex in the City were two of my favorites) and read novels (try to stay away from the pregnancy books right now).

10  Acupuncture – Make an appointment for the morning before transfer.

11 Bring in a relaxing CD to the transfer. Relax and think babies!

12 REST! The minute your doctor transfers the blastocysts into your uterus is the minute that your bedrest starts.  Bedrest means no stairs, no showers, no sitting up (except meal times) and stay on bedrest for four days (transfer day plus three more days). When you are riding home from the doctor, recline your seat all the way back and legs up on the dashboard. Your husband is your servant for these four days. Have a bell next to your bed. Yes, he will get annoyed, but it’s all worth it. The only time you should be standing is when you go to the bathroom. Don’t plan on changing for four days, or change while you’re lying down. If you are dying to brush your teeth, do it while you’re using the bathroom. I recommend watching Juno and Knocked Up with your husband during your bedrest – great bonding movies.

13 No lifting! – Stop lifting anything heavier than a book and don’t start lifting again until after your first trimester.

14 Continue weekly acupuncture through your first trimester.

15 Refuse stress – let your mind relax just like your body!

So after all this advice what to do!  I have decided not to stress.  I am not going to worrying myself over the hundreds and thousands of post of advice on a successful IVF.  I am going to make my own plan, and stick with what works for me.  If the key is to not be stressed, I am not going to stress over taking all the advice.  I made a program that works for me.  I am following my protocol, I already went to acupuncture once a week, so I am going to continue to go.  I get a massage weekly for relaxation, and I try my hardest to each healthy food.  I drink an enormous amount of water every day, and I may have a piece of pineapple if I am craving something sweet.  What I am not going to do is freak out, the key like I said before is to relax and diminish stress.  So I would say, make a plan that works for you and stick with it.  All we can do is hope for the best!

12 days, just 12 more days till the first shot begins. I just got really excited, nervous, and anxious all at the same time!  I just can’t believe that after all these months we are finally here, and in a 7 short weeks I could potentially be pregnant (at my clinic they would make me take out the potential because it infers doubt.)

 I have two infertility nurses that I work with, I will call one Red due to the color of her hair, and the other Boss, because she is the one that bosses me around and tells me what I have to get done or my cycle will be cancelled.

Red called this morning to let me know that all my medications have been ordered.  I will pick up the Oral Medication today from my local CVS and the other items are coming from the Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy in the mail.  I think I got lucky all my medications will be around $2200 when everything is said and done.  My insurance did cover a large portion of it. 

So here is the game plan:

ART class was on March 30th, Red taught this class, she also taught the injections class that was held a month prior, I really like her, she is warm, kind and willing to answer any questions.  She has been an infertility nurse for about 9 years.

 Instructions after ART class- begin taking baby aspirin in the AM and take pre-natal vitamin and DHA everyday anytime.

For babywishes25 and IVF Jess I talked to her this morning about how long I would be on baby aspirin, and she told me my entire pregnancy.  She said get a big bottle, make sure it is not over 81mg, and plan on taking it every morning.

First day of my menstrual cycle was: April 3

Begin Birth Control Pills: April 3

Last dose of BCP: April 28

 I have not been on birth control in about 1.5 years, so the major side effect I experience is extremely tender and swelling breast.  I have already gone up one full size, if this is any indication of what my symptoms will be with pregnancy, I am going to have some big boobs.  Side effects are different for everyone.

April 14-Sonohysterogram and saline ultrasound aka Test Run for Transfer Day (if there was an obstruction i.e. fibroids, closed cervix, etc) they would re-evaluate if you would be able to continue in this cycle or would have to wait till the next cycle so they can clear the obstruction.

April 15– Lab Draw (9 freaking tubes)

April 29 – May 5 – the Huz will be on Doxycycline (this is a precaution to ensure his body is free of any infection.)

April 29 – May 7 – I will take Lupron and Dexamethasone (which I had NO idea what dexamethasone was, and I am still not sure.  I looked it up on RXlist.com and this was the description: Dexamethasone is used to treat conditions such as arthritis, blood/hormone/immune system disorders, allergic reactions, certain skin and eye conditions, breathing problems, certain bowel disorders, and certain cancers. It is also used as a test for an adrenal gland disorder.

This medication is a corticosteroid hormone. It decreases your natural defensive response and reduces symptoms such as swelling and allergic-type reactions. )

I will blog about why I think they have me on this after I talk with the doctor some more this afternoon.

May 8 – 12- add Follistim to the mix, and experience your ovaries grow from the size of Walnuts to Softballs!  Yes, Softballs. At this point you are no longer allowed to exercise.   Due to the risk of your ovary turning over which may cut off blood supply and will result in emergency surgery and possible ovary removal.  Additionally, you are no longer allowed to pick up anything over 10 lbs (I think they were trying to scare me on purpose.)

 Sonograms scheduled for May, 13, 16 and 17

Last blood draw on May 14 to check progress, I am actually out-of-town and had to find a Lab that was willing to page my Doc the results that day.  Boss said if I did not get that in, my cycle would be cancelled! So I had that taken care of immediately!

Possible retrieval days May 18, 19, or 20

Transfer day is typically on the 5th day, some may be on the 6th depending on the development of the blast.  All transfer must be done by the 6th day due to the nutritional changes the embryo will need.  

 At my appointment on May 13, I will receive my last lab draw form and my last calendar but first Beta test should be around June 2nd.

This is the game plan thus far; I will update you all as the day’s progress.  I am excited to be so close!