Friday, September 29, 2006

Today's Wanding

It's FET "natural-medicated" cycle day number 9. Today's vag ultrasound revealed an endometrial thickness of just over 8mm. So looks like we will be doing ok in the thickness department. Tomorrow I increase the Estrace to 2mg 3x day for the next 5 days.

I had quite a few antral follicles, but the ultrasound tech only measured one. I am not sure it would be considered too "dominant". I hope that I will ovulate. Does anyone know at what point in a cycle a follicle makes itself known to look like it's gonna toss out an egg?

[Note: I mean to ask: by what day (average) in the cycle can a dominant follicle usually be detected...]

UPDATE: I think I am now understanding that since I am on the supportive meds (Estrace and will be on progesterone) that it doesn't really matter whether I ovulate or not. If I am anovulatory during this FET cycle, the effect is the same as a cycle when they shut down your ovarian function with Lupron. The meds take the place of what the corpus luteum would do after ovulation.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Starting FET #2

I went in to my RE to discuss the un-success of FET #1. We had a nice, long talk. Guys, he gave me an entire, non-rushed half an hour. He answered all my questions and it just so happens that my period arrived yesterday. (Yay!) So I got scanned and was found to be delightfully free of cysts. (Double yay!) That means...Tomorrow we start FET #2 cycle.

We're doing what I believe to be called a "natural-medicated" cycle. That is, no Lupron, no pituitary supressants. I will be taking only estrace and micronized progesterone and will be monitoring for LH surge of my natural cycle and doing the replacement based on when I ovulate. If I surge too early (before the endometrium is thick enough) they can put me on Ganirelix to suppress ovulation for a few days, but hopefully that won't happen. Also, I suppose it is possible to have an anovulatory cycle, which would result in cancellation for this month, but I think anovulatory cycles are unusual for me. The only time I have documented this is my cycle directly following IVF.

We've got two excellent grade day 5 frozen blasts this time. Last time we were very lucky that all three of our other 5-dayers survived the thaw. We'll simply have to hope for the same luck this time, because we have no backups. You just never know what will happen on the day.

The doc and I also discussed next steps. I always like to work ahead a little because it helps me not get too overly attached to the cycle at hand. He said should we need to go there, he'd like to do our next IVF cycle with less meds. He knows I stim well and says he's got a good protocol for me involving a much less intense drug regimen. All I will say at this point is, sign me up.

I did also ask about whether he thought we could try clomid/IUI's. We never went down that route because he felt it was more expedient and less expensive to go straight to IVF. I have a problem with my right tube (possible scar tissue from appendectomy) which effectively leaves me with only the left side in full function in terms of eggs likely making their way down the tubes. To increase chances in that respect would mean laparoscopy on the right. That, coupled with my propensity for growing cysts (which would mean postponement after postponement) all combines to make IVF the better option. This seems logical to me, though I am sure there could be other opinions.

Hubs and I are pleased to be starting this next FET chance so quickly. As happens to many of us after IF struggles and unsuccessful cycles, we're not too crazily optimistic but are hopeful and measured. I feel calmer and healthier than I have in a long time. I can't explain precisely why, other than the fact that I am growing from this intense and difficult experience and there are opportunities to be had. Meditation and therapy are helping in ways I could not have predicted. And my husband. Oh you guys, my husband. He has been so wonderful and supportive and balanced throughout all of this. I told him today that I am falling more in love with him through all of this. And it's true. Hidden gifts.

Monday, September 18, 2006

FET #1 Officially Negative

Just got the call. Beta was negative. Thanks for all your hopeful support, I really appreciate it, guys. I wish I could report different results. I believe that I will someday do just that. Tell me now all your stories of failure(s) in your past and babies you have now... each of these stories is a gleaming gem for me. What made you not give up? [addendum: I realize that most people with these examples aren't necessarily reading us any more...]

I know this is going to sound strange, but I am ok. Really, truly ok. It seems weird after kinda NOT being ok during certain lengths of time during the past 4 or 5 months (depression/anxiety). I don't wanna speak too soon, but I think all the work I've been doing with therapy and meditation and such is really beginning to take hold. The last couple days since getting the negative HPT at 12 and 13dp5dt could have been extremely dark. But you know what? It doesn't have to be that way.

I am not saying this isn't hard, I'm just saying that the bottom of my stomach is not falling out. I don't feel hopeless or overwhelmed. I can put this behind me. And I can begin right now. The news is painful, but the suffering is optional.

I have an appointment for Friday with the RE to discuss next steps, which I believe will be our second FET. We've got two freezies left - one is excellent quality, the other is just slightly less in grade. After that, if need be, we will try IVF again. But one step at a time.

I am interested in a non-medicated, natural cycle and wonder if my RE will go for it. I am a cyst grower, so we might not be able to do it, but I sure don't like the idea of going on Lupron again. Not so great for me mentally - like many of these drugs.

How long did it take after stopping Estrace and micronized progesterone for your period to come?

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Not lookin' good

I am 12dp5dt. We're still away from home on vacation, and today I jumped into a store, grabbed an e.p.t. and peed. Negative. It was not first morning urine (big glass of juice maybe 3 hours before), but at this point it should not matter. Beta is in 2 days.

I am disapointed but so far doing ok. It's been a weird couple of weeks. Did not feel anything unusual until about 7dp5dt when I started getting very mild cramps and nipples stinging, especially at night. Breasts seemed bigger. No spotting at all, no bleeding.

I had the nipple twinges and mild cramps on and off until about 11dp5dt when those two "symptoms" suddenly stopped. I suppose I still have the occasional twinge, but really, it even seems like my breasts shrunk back down a little.

I had a little wild hope that maybe I was preg with more than one and a multiple was dropping off, therefore causing a drop in symptoms... but now I am pretty sure it's a done deal.

I will test tomorrow morning with first morning urine with the other stick that came in the pack. But tomorrow will be 13dp5dt (equivalent to 18dpo) and I should be obviously positive even on a crap-ass HPT by now. Beta is on Monday AM. At least I will be prepared for the inevitable. Need to make sure there is no ectopic and all that.

The hard thing is that I want to stop taking the progesterone and estrogen so that my period will come. But on the tiniest chance that there is still any hope, I can't really do that until the beta result.

Send your "Negative HPT but positive beta" miracle stories now... but know that I am currently disappointed but hanging strong. If I can remain so, this will be a victory either way.

Monday, September 04, 2006

They're In

Here they are, as named by Hubs: Larry, Moe and Curly...

Today we did the Frozen Embryo Transfer and everything went great. All three of the 5-day embies survived the thaw. Two re-expanded beautifully and the third sort lagged behind but was still viable. So after consultation about stats, we decided to replace all three into Utie, with endometrial lining measuring in at around 11mm which is a fine thickness. Good ol' Utie!

I am on bed rest today (happily typing from bed ; ) Feeling relaxed and as you guys know by now about me, measured and hopeful. Even if we wind up getting a + pregnancy test a couple weeks from now, there will still be many hurdles to jump.

Some good news is that we do have 2 additional frozen blastocysts for another FET attempt later on. This is quite a nice bonus.

The procedure itself today was, dare I say it, rather enjoyable! I did take a Valium (why the hell not?! It resulted in some fine napping this afternoon) and got relaxing acupuncture before and after. I have a challenging retrovrted uterus so my RE had to use a special catheter that basically navigates around a sharp curve in my cervix. He is extremely skilled and there was no problem.

It was really an emotionally intense moment at that time. 6 people in the room total: the doc, me, Hubs, the abdominal ultrasound tech, the embryologist and the nurse practitioner who has been really supportive and helpful. As the embies were transferred in, there was... how do I explain it... well, I am not traditionally religious, but let's just say the spirit of the universe, the spirit of the possibility of new life, was present. More than one person wiped away a tear and uttered his or her own invocation of hope - in a very professional manner. It was perfect.

And in a few days we take off for vacation. Other than not lifting heavy suitcases, I plan to enjoy myself thoroughly and think about all of this as little as possible - for it does not serve any purpose. We're scheduled for the first beta the day after we return - a full 4 days after they normally do it. I don't think I'll pee on a stick prematurely, though I cannot promise.

Oh! and by the way, you know how I am always talking about hormone manipulation (the BCPs, the Lupron, etc) and the effect all of it has on me in terms of depression/anxiety? Well, listen to this - ever since I started on the micronized progesterone vag poppers, I feel like a new person. No joke. The progesterone seems to have literally shaved off any edge of chemical anxiety. I think I just discovered something very valuable. You KNOW i will be seeing a neuro-endocrinologist in the future with some questions!

Will post again around Sept 18 or 19. In the meantime, reading you.