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 5 Days of Stims

Just a quickie today, but I wanted to update y’all after today’s monitoring appointment.

Yesterday, I went in for my intralipid infusion, which took about two hours, and involved me being hooked up via IV to a bag of what DW calls the “special mayonnaise”. At $750 a pop, out of pocket, it is also an expensive mayonnaise. I have very few superficial veins, and it took the nurses four tries to tap a live one. They eventually had to go for one in my hand, which hurt a lot, and with the Aspirin that I’m taking, bled a lot afterwards.

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Yesterday, I also noticed globs of egg white cervical mucus, which tells me my estrogen levels are high. Each of the little follicles in my ovaries release estrogen as they mature, contributing to the clusterglobs in my underpants. I anticipate that it is bound to get messier by the day. Lucky for you, I did not take pictures of this, as I might have been tempted to post them.

Today, I ran from appointment to appointment. I had really bad insomnia last night (probably due to high estrogen levels, which messes up my sleep every cycle), and took 50mg of diphenhydramine hydrochloride (Benedryl) at 11pm. Benedryl makes me super groggy and I was laying in bed like a zombie this morning, almost missing my monitoring appointment at the fertility clinic. Over the course of 15 minutes, I managed to shower and dress, set up the crockpot for pulled pork, fry some eggs (sunny side up), butter some gluten-free toast, and make myself a protein shake. I also made it to my appointment only 4 minutes late. Phew!

At the clinic, I had blood work and ultrasound done, which revealed 10 follicles on each side (20 in total!), 4 of which are 10mm or larger. They still have a ways to grow, so I go back in on Friday for my next monitoring.

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I’m happy with this number, and now just want them to grow into big fat juicy follicles. Last IVF, I ended up with 36 follicles, with only 19 being mature. This time, since we are doing a fresh transfer back into me, I hope I am not overstimulated, but still have a good number of mature eggs to make good quality embryos. *Fingers and toes crossed*

After monitoring, I rushed downtown to my acupuncture appointment. I’ve got a whole bunch of herbs that I need to take to increase my kidney yang, as my pulse was a bit slow and weak. I also had an acupuncture treatment, which was nice. My TCM doc is a bit of an odd duck, so it’s always an interesting treatment.

Next update on Friday!

Happiness Cycle Day 13: Intralipids

I’ve got two hours to kill while hooked up to an IV bag of intralipids, so I thought I’d type up a post with my left hand. It’s harder than it seems!

I had a crappy sleep last night, as something’s up with my digestive system. I had the worst bloating and gas, which continued overnight and into the morning (poor DW). My diet is so clean right now, that I have no idea what could be causing it. My colon felt like a balloon that was inflating and reaching its maximum stretching ability. As I lay here hooked up to a bag of mayonnaise, all I wanna do is fart. But because they’re checking my vitals frequently, and I’m in a closed room, I’m trying to hold it in. Unpleasant!

Anyways, I’m happy to be doing the intralipids. It gives me some hope for this FET. While I wish we had two embryos to transfer, that’s nothing I can change. All I can do is give all of my love and hopeful energy into this embryo. The RE finally reviewed all of my immune results and wants to put me on prednisone, fragmen, and baby aspirin, in addition to the estrogen and progesterone that I will be starting someday soon. I’m happy that it seems like we’re finally being taken seriously now. Fingers crossed that our embryo is a good one, and that he/she thrives inside me.

As for the intralipids, today I’m having 100mLs injected into a bag of saline, to create a 20% mixture. Then the mixture is introduced to my bloodstream via IV cannula. I’m glad that I brought a blanket, because I feel so cold not being able to move. I also brought my iPad, a decaf vanilla Earl Grey Tea almond milk latte, and two slices of the paleo banana bread that I made last night. I haven’t been able to do much other than type on my iPhone.

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Once I get a positive beta, there’s another infusion (approx four weeks), and then one more after the six week ultrasound. Each treatment is $750, and out of pocket.

The cannula hurt going into my arm, but is fine now that it’s in. I can’t feel the intralipids at all, though I feel colder than usual overall.

The nurse comes by every 30 minutes to check my temperature, blood pressure, and heart rate,

It’s been about an hour and a half, and I’m almost done:

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Tomorrow I have to go in for monitoring blood work and ultrasound again. Hopefully we will find out when our transfer will be. We also meet with our family doctor, who will hopefully agree that it’s in my best interest to continue being off work until I’m in the right state of mind to deal with those additional stresses. DW has taken the day off tomorrow to support me.

More updates tomorrow!