IVF#2: After 11 Days of Stims… Almost There!

I must confess that I’ve been napping lately. After lunch, I fall into some sort of food coma, and nap on the couch with the dog, or retreat to the comfort of our bedroom. I just feel so tired. I’m not sure how much energy goes into growing and developing 32 follicles, but hot damn it’s draining me. And I’m doing pretty much no exercise right now because of the wobbly wobbly going on in my abdomen. I needed assistance from my wife last night to get my underwear on after a shower. I’m sure she loved the view, but when you can’t lift your knee up and balance on one leg because it squishes your ovaries, well, it just sucks.

My breasts and nipples are super sore, and have been for three days now. Looking at my bloodwork, it seems that my LH and progesterone have increased a bit, probably because of all the mature follicles. I have read that increased progesterone levels near trigger can yield a poor prognosis for implantation in a fresh cycle, but if a woman has high follicle counts, these levels are to be expected. I am trying not to think about this too much, lest my anxiety start to soar again.

I have also lost my appetite. I’m hungry, yes, but nothing appeals to me. Our local Costco sells organic free-range whole chickens, so I bought some last week and have been eating them for almost 5 days straight, and am so sick of chicken right now. Everything tastes bland and flavourless to me. Yesterday, I polished off a bag of HardBite chips because I needed to eat, wanted the salt, but didn’t enjoy them that much. Being a person very much ruled by my stomach (and on a whole whack of injectable hormones), you can imagine the kind of existential crisis I am experiencing right now.

Today’s monitoring went well. My favourite phlebotomy nurse took my blood, I joked around lots with the reception ladies, and my favourite ultrasound technician dildo-wanded me. She even printed off a photo of my right ovary because it was pretty:

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I’ve actually begun to find the dildo-wanding rooms to be relaxing. The lights are low, it’s always warm, there’s a place to take off your clothes and lie down. There’s someone else there, but they don’t talk to you. You just lay there in silence. It’s almost meditative. I just focus on breathing in, and breathing out.

Anyways, apparently lazing around all day yesterday was good for my follicle growth. Here are today’s stats:

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As you can see, I have a total of 32 follicles (last year was 36). Of those, 17 are 15mm or larger (last year at trigger there were 18). My estrogen levels from yesterday are higher than those on a comparable day last IVF. I think trigger may be tonight, but I’m waiting to hear from the nurse. If we trigger tonight, egg retrieval will be on Thursday, which will mean a very early appointment (like 4 or 5am), because my RE has a standing OR day on Thursdays at the Hospital (he’s actually an OB-GYN so he does operations every Thursday).

So by the phone I will wait, all day. I will post again if we trigger tonight!

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IVF#2: After 7 Days of Stims

So I’m at that point of bloatedness now where it hurts to pee and poop. My ovaries are each packing in 10 follicles that are on average, a centimetre in diameter each. In the morning, the bloat isn’t so bad, but by the night time, I feel like someone has pumped my belly full of air, creating a very high-pressure system. It hurts to twist or turn too quickly, and rolling over in bed has to be done very carefully. It takes me forever to empty my bladder, because bearing down feels like I’m squishing my ovaries. Pooping, well, you can imagine how difficult pooping is too.

I had monitoring again today, and have a lead follicle at 14mm, so I start coming in daily now for blood work and ultrasound. I hope things progress fast, because my cervix is getting very sensitive to the poking around, I’m running out of veins, and just had to buy another 900IU of Gonal-f and vial of Lupron. These drugs aren’t cheap!

Plus, stimming for 14 days last time nearly killed me- both the wait, but also the amount of monitoring and the OHSS. 36 follicles was just crazy!

So here are today’s stats:

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Those follicles are growing, and more importantly, they are growing all within the same range of sizes. I hope all 20 make it to a good diameter so that they’re all mature. Last time, even though I had 36 follicles, only 19 were mature enough.

What I’m really enjoying right now is comparing my stats from this IVF to those from last year: after 13 days of stims, and after 14 days of stims.

Judging from how things progressed last year, I predict that I’ll be triggering on Tuesday, and retrieving on Thursday. That seems so far away, and a long time feeling so bloated, so of course I’d be thrilled if things progressed quicker this time around.

Another update tomorrow!

Preparing For Embryo Transfer

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(Photo from: http://m.inviafertility.com/uncategorized/drvkarande/top-10-interesting-facts-about-ultrasound-guided-embryo-transfer)

Tomorrow is our embryo transfer! So far, DW has been taking estrace everyday (beginning on day 3 of her cycle- dose decreased from 3 pills a day to 2 pills a day on the day of our retrieval). She has also started her prometrium (3 capsules orally per day) and endometrin (3 vaginal suppositories per day). She’s not particularly enjoying the vaginal suppositories, and is making her way through our stock of maxi pads and panty liners. She is being a good sport though, and in addition to the busyness of work and this drug schedule, she is still taking care of my OHSS ass.

Oh yes, still bloated and in pain. If my stats have not improved by tomorrow, I’m going to insist on having an ultrasound to see how bad my ascites is. Two days ago, a chiro friend of mine and I were playing with my belly, doing the fluid wave test for ascites, which we had learned in clinical diagnosis class back in the day. On day 4 today, my weight continues to climb by just under a pound (now a bit over 3 lbs more than on retrieval day) and my circumference remains the same as yesterday. The nurse called yesterday and implied that perhaps I wasn’t resting enough. All of this resting is driving me insane!

But exciting times are upon us my blogosphere friends. We went for sushi yesterday as one last hurrah for DW (who loves sashimi by the way). We called it the Last Supper.She is also shovelling the driveway right now too because a) I’m in too much pain right now, and b) she is on doctor ordered bed rest for two days after tomorrow.

In preparation for our transfer, I did a nice acupuncture treatment on her this morning (she played an iPhone Settlers of Catan game while her Qi did its thang), and I made her this pineapple-rich smoothy:

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Mamaetmaman’s Pineapple Smoothy (for good implantation)

1/5 of a pineapple, rind trimmed and chopped but core not removed
2 tbsp coconut cream
1.5 cup coconut milk (the thin beverage kind, not the cooking kind)
1 ripe banana

Throw all ingredients into your blender and blend on high until smoothy no longer has fruit chunks in it. If it jams, add more liquid.

For a refreshing change- pre-freeze your pineapple and banana for an icy consistency .

Pour into a large glass and serve with an umbrella!

For even more fun times, double the recipe and make two drinks- add Malibu Black into the NGP’s glass!