Saturday, February 2, 2008

Can miracles happen?

We started our second round of IVF in December 2007. I started taking the birth control before we left for Punta Cana and started the stimulation process right after Christmas. During IVF, there is frequent ultrasound (u/s) and bloodwork (b/w) monitoring. I would frequently be at the office in Oakbrook Terrace every day or two for u/s & b/w, occasionally going downtown to the River North office on the weekends for tests.

I felt like the cycle hadn't gone well. The first part of the stimulation seemed to be off schedule, thought my nurse, J.J., didn't seem concerned. The drug protocol was different - it was supposedly for "poor responders". They were trying to get me to produce more follicles, since they'd only gotten two mature eggs the first time. From what I could tell at my u/s appointments, the protocol didn't seem to be working. I went to the River North office on Sunday January 13th for my last b/w & u/s before the retrieval. The nurse told me there only appeared to few a few potentially mature follicles, and gave me the option of canceling the cycle. She seemed pretty sure that I should, but I told her that Ben and I had talked about it, and decided that no matter what, we'd already come this far, we would complete the cycle.

On Tuesday, January 15th, I went in for my egg retrieval. We had no idea what to expect, and honestly, I wasn't feeling very positive. The retrieval went well. I had the same anesthesiologist again - LOVE HIM! After the retrieval, we were told they got five eggs, and one was mature. For a protocol that was supposed to make me produce MORE, I got a worse result!

I wasn't feeling good about the whole thing. When I spoke to the nurse the next day, I asked her if we canceled the cycle now, would it be used against the six attempts our insurance covered. She said it would, so we had no choice but to continue.

My friend Anne had been telling me about this book called "The Secret". The day before my transfer, she gave me a copy of it, and told me that I had to think positively. I started reading the book, not sure I really believed the whole mantra of "thoughts become things", but it had to be worth a shot.

I had the embryo transfer on Friday, January 18th. I told Ben all we could do was hope and think positive thoughts. I had one good looking 8-cell embryo transfered. They had used ICSI - a procedure where one good sperm is cleaned and inserted directly into the egg. They also used assisted hatching - a procedure where a small hole is made in the "shell" of the embryo to allow for easier hatching in order to more easily implant in the uterus. The procedure went well. I made it a habit to repeat to myself on a regular basis "this will work, this will work" and "stick, bean stick" encouraging that little embryo bean to latch onto the wall of my uterus.

Click on image to enlarge

After the transfer, we tried to put it out of our minds and keep busy with other things. The day of the transfer, we went out to lunch at Rock Bottom and saw "Cloverfield" on opening day. We laid pretty low, and I kept busy at work.

In the days leading up to my beta test, I was searching for symptoms of pregnancy. I had this monster zit. I was having problems with IBS. I was feeling tired. But were these things really out of the ordinary? I couldn't be sure. I became very nervous the two days before the beta, not sure what I would do if the test was negative, and running the scenario through my head of if it was positive.

I worried all the time, not just during this cycle, but in general - what would we do if IVF didn't work. I've said before that insurance covers a max of 6 IVF attempts. Well, really they cover four attempts, and add an additional two if pregnancy goes to term in one of the first four tries. If this cycle didn't work, we would take a break and treat whatever might be causing the problem. I may have surgery again to remove any additional endo that may be in there. We may need to start thinking about egg donors, surrogacy, or adoption. These things terrified me, and I wasn't ready to go there just yet.

My beta was scheduled for Wednesday, January 30th. A few of the girls on my IVF message board had betas on or around the same day as me, so that really helped make it to that point. I avoided peeing on a stick, because I couldn't stand the disappointment or the possibility of a false positive. I had my b/w done at 10am by the phlebotomist would I LOVE - she gets me on the first stick almost every time, and is very conscious of the fact that my veins suck. I would expect a call later that day.

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