Posts Tagged ‘IVF’

EmbryoS transfer.

October 6, 2012

Starbuck’s bathrooms: an anonymous, safe place to have explosive nerve related diarrhoea.

Following said sickness (on both our parts, twice on mine), I gently encouraged TMD to drink two large bottles of water, since we knew she needed a full bladder. Holy jesus, this was a mistake. She was okay for awhile. We walked to the clinic, she got into the room, she was taken for an abdominal scan to check if her bladder was full. She changed into her hospital gown and we sat in the private room.

And that, folks, is where she became like that little girl in the Exorcist. She is one crazy, jittery, MEAN motherfucker when she needs to pee. (And Sara, I told her what you said about pre-transfer pee pain, and in her crazy fog of cruelty, she said you had jinxed her. I think she is over it now, though!)

After an eternity of waiting, the nurse, doctor, and embryologist came in. This is where our streak of Win! slowed down. It wasn’t great news. We did have two embryos that were much stronger than the others, but each of these embryos was rated the lowest they could be. No lower exists. C-C, for IVF buffs.

The embryologist strongly urged us to have two embryos transferred given the quality of the embryos, and we agreed. She looked really relieved, which slightly worried me. But obviously chances of pregnancy are greater with two rather than one, especially when neither is a sure thing. She said both were blastocysts and had a good number of cells…and, the best part, were ‘not rock bottom.’ Why, how very reassuring of you.

She did say that because of the number of cells in each, there was still a chance of a twin pregnancy. I was like, ‘But are these less than ideal embryos going to get her pregnant?’ Clearly they were all still obsessed with the twin thing, and she was all,’We’ve seen twin pregnancies from C-C embryos before, haven’t we doctor?’ to which the doctor chuckled and nodded. Okay, dude, whatever.

They are letting the other five embryos develop another twenty four hours, and they will check tomorrow to see if there are any they can freeze. Somehow I doubt it, but fingers crossed anyway. Hell, fingers crossed we won’t need them!

Into theatre. TMD was a real trooper and did well with the transfer, even though she lost feeling in her hands from the nerves. She was fantastic, our two embryo superheroes were transferred, and now we wait.

T minus ten days till the pregnancy test.

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Last minute jitters.

October 6, 2012

Hi. Me. You know what’s fun? Reading stuff like this at 5:30 am.

This is an impossible situation. TMD is terrified of a twin pregnancy, I am terrified of a single embryo transfer not working.

See you on the flip side.

Tomorrow is yet another Big Day in babymaking land.

October 5, 2012

Tomorrow is the big day – embryo transfer. It feels like it has been a very long time coming, and definitely like this cycle of IVF has been going on for a few months. Nuts, that whole ‘time is relative’ thing.

I’m too tired to write a whole lot. Suffice to say all of this stuff is still a no-mention-please on Facebook. And we are possibly verging into territory of even our parents not knowing what may be mentioned here. So mum is the word. Or, y’know, two mums are the word.

Har de har har.

Apparently we aren’t the only ones tomorrow. The nurse jauntily told TMD that we are all told to arrive at 9:30, and then women are taken in order of bladder fullness. How they decide that, I do not know. Her little info sheet did say ‘full/bursting bladder,’ so perhaps whatever woman passes out or goes into shock from one of her internal organs rupturing wins.

I am super tired, though. As soon as we are back in our home parts, I’m picking the kids up from Nana and dropping TMD off there. She’s going to spend the weekend there. And it’s really the least she deserves, but the selfish lady in me is wondering how I will survive all that time on my own, especially as I have been comatose lately. I really, really need my alone time to recharge and I think this weekend and next week may be challenging. Jesus. I hope I wake up in the night if they get up. I despise coffee, but feel it may make an appearance in my life soon..

Too bad we only have decaf everything, as caffeine is bad for your fertility. A trip to the shops may be in order. Or tell me your natural and powerful supplements.

At any rate, you’ll next hear from me tomorrow afternoon, after my gorgeous (and also very tired) wife is officially Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise.

Progress report number three.

October 4, 2012

The question on everyone’s mind seems to be whether or not we are going to freeze embryos. I’ll answer that in a minute.

First of all, an update. TMD just talked to the embryologist for a progress report. Only three embryos are now grade one, with the other four being grade one-two. They vary in the number of cells, from 7 to 11/12. So still pretty damn good, considering they are ‘supposed’ to be eight cells today.

The fearful part of me wonders if all this good news is going to come at a price.

The lab was satisfied that all embryos are developing as they should, so we are going ahead with a Saturday transfer. For those who have questioned why no anaethetist is available Saturdays….I think virtually all egg collections are done Monday morning at this clinic. And most of the embryo transfers probably happen on a Wednesday or Thursday. They normally have four egg collections on a Monday, though we were lucky number five this week. Even with that number of egg collections, we are still scheduled for the first embryo transfer on Saturday, which makes me wonder if we are the only ones. And people normally do not require sedation for embryo transfers, though a good number do request it.

Now, let’s take a moment to salute the super sperm. Those little guys must be from a magical teste for things to be developing as they are.

As far as freezing goes, it is included in the cost of eggsharing IVF (it wasn’t four year ago, and we didn’t have any embryos they could freeze anyway, as they only attempted with ‘perfect’ embryos). Storage is also included for a year.

So if there are embryos they can freeze, they will attempt to do so on Saturday or Sunday. We are going ahead with this, because it would be silly not to. Free freezing and storage also may add to our decision making process regarding one or two embryos.

I know I love twins, but they are fucking hard. However hard you imagine they may be, multiply that by about twenty and you may gain an appreciation of what the first two years with twins are like. The impact on our normal life would be huge, and seriously impact Snort and Coconut. That’s not to say we wouldn’t welcome and love another set of twins, only that things are different this time. It’s not just us to consider, and we already have children.

Again, no decision has been made. There are still serious implications in only transferring one – such as the possibility it won’t work, other embryos won’t freeze, and the cost of frozen embryo transfer itself. It’s not a huge amount, but it is still a good chunk of cash.

So we carry on. Our transfer is Saturday morning at 9:30. And, joy of joys, we get to wear deodorant.

Second fertilisation report.

October 3, 2012

Embryos are ….rated, for want of a better word, on two things: the number of cells, and the fragmentation. The number of cells ideally doubles every day, so by day three you have eight cell embryos.

TMD talked to the lab an hour ago. As of today, we have SIX four cell embryos and one two cell. This means that if they continue growing at a constant rate….please please….tomorrow we will have six eight cell embryos!

When you look at an embryo, it looks like a circle with little circles on the inside. Each of these little circles is a cell. Fragmentation is just what it sounds like; in the best case scenario, there is no fragmentation and the little circles are nice and neat. Fragmentation might look more messy – little extra pieces, etc. Grade one embryos are the highest quality embryos.

As of today, ALL of our embryos are grade one.

Ha ha….I’m four years older, cancel the cycle, things look ropey, FUCK YOU. Those embryos are kick ass, awesome and amazing.

I don’t know what shape our embryos were in on day two four years ago. What I do know is that on day three, we had two eight cell grade one star embryos, a seven cell, and other lower cell embryos. We started with eight, as opposed to this cycle’s seven, and only two kept growing in a ‘perfect’ fashion.

Of course, people get pregnant all the time without eight cell embryos. I have a friend with twins just younger than ours, and they were five and six cells.

Anyway, the nurses had a big talk with TMD. Because these embryos seem to be doing so well, touch wood, they really want to let them get to the next stage of development and do the transfer on Saturday. As I stated before, no sedation is available on the weekend. It’s not my place to talk about TMD and why she wants sedation, but she does. However, she is willing to take one for the team and go for the Saturday transfer. Seriously cross every one of your body parts that it is an easy, pain free procedure for her.

Where we stand now is that the clinic will call in the morning. If the embryos are continuing to develop at the same rate, we are on for a Saturday morning transfer. If not, we will do a transfer tomorrow.

Now the debate hots up in our house. If we have two ‘perfect’ embryos (or more?) at the blastocyst stage, do we transfer one or two?!?

We are lucky we seem to be getting to the point of having that decision to make, but oh what a decision it is.

Just a nice reminder. If you are my friend on Facebook, don’t mention any of this anywhere on my wall. No one knows we are going for anther pregnancy, and we don’t want them to. Thanks.

Fertilisation update and it is AWESOME.

October 2, 2012

All seven have fertilised! This is great. Fantastic. Superb!

The embryologist talked to TMD and said because all eggs have fertilised, we are looking at a transfer on Saturday.

For those who are not IVF buffs, here is a small breakdown.

Eggs get taken out and fertilised that same day. If none of the embryos are looking good, you do a two day transfer because it is better to just get them back in. If you have a couple of frontrunners that look great, but the rest are not so great, you do a day three transfer. If all the embryos are looking awesome, you can do a day five transfer. This gives you an extra couple of days to see how they develop so the strongest embryo/s can be picked. Obviously it also means the embryos are further along and likely to be hatching – the stage at which they would be implanting if they were inside your womb.

Last time we did a day three transfer, but really because that was standard practice at the time. Although, as I have said before, the embryos that developed into our children WERE the frontrunners, so even by today/the new clinic’s standards, we likely would have had a three day transfer anyway.

Now we wait. He said they would call Thursday morning with a decision, which is a trifle complicated what with TMD’s work and all, so we plan to talk to them tomorrow afternoon for another progress report.

I was still a bit worried that all our eggs wouldn’t be mature, some having come out of tiny follicles, so this is truly amazing. We have seven little embryos just doing their thang! Let’s hope they continue to grow, grow, grow.

Thank you all for all the comments. I know it may sound silly, but they are keeping us going. This has all been so stressful, and it has been such a huge support to log in here and read all your words (hi, Liv!), especially as no one aside from our parents knows we are doing IVF in real life. And our parents spend most of their time warning us against twins and worrying about us. You guys are stars.

Now if you’ll excuse me, yesterday’s sedation/the stress-adrenaline is kicking my ass. I slept all day yesterday and all last night, and still woke up tired. My pain levels following egg collection are much less than last time, with no blood.

I guess my fat, old self is KICKING ASS AND TAKING NAMES!

Egg collection part 2, the full story.

October 1, 2012

We woke up at an ungodly hour this morning, which featured TMD needing to insert her first ass pessary. That’s always a nice way to start the day.

We left before the sun had risen, and the total lack of traffic meant we whizzed across the border and into the city. It was nice to be with her. Like a date, except less sexy and more full of worry. We were in the city about an hour early, so we walked along the mostly empty streets as the sun rose. Golden light softened the castle, which was gorgeous, and we counted an unbelievable number of coffee and shoe shops. We also went into one so that I could get what I fondly call ‘ass sick’ in the bathroom.

When we got to the clinic, I found out I was the fifth and final egg collection patient, and there were only four rooms on the surgical floor. So we sat for two and a half hours in the main waiting room, which was oddly fun as uglier and uglier flowers and furniture were being delivered. I started whispering to TMD that I could shoot a documentary there, but I think on reflection no one would want to watch it.

We were finally called upstairs at 10:30, which I thought was cutting it as the collection was scheduled for 11. We went through the normal pre surgery stuff – medical checklists, warnings about surgery, triple checking the ID card that would be used to safeguard the embryos. Then shit got real. We told the nurse we had decided to not proceed with eggsharing. She didn’t bat an eye.

I did say, but we do have the caveat that if somehow more eggs were collected than expected, we will be happy to share. She was very clear there was no way that could happen. I jokingly said, ‘You don’t know. I may be a medical marvel. You do hear about medical miracles!’ She laughed again and reiterated it would not happen. No chance. We already knew that, and were honestly expecting six eggs to be the end result.

The doctor came in and it was pressure city. She told us the fee was an extra six thousand, not the four thousand we came in expecting to pay. Apparently you get the cheaper rate if you try to eggshare and it fails. But if you withdraw, you have to pay for every single thing. The doctor just kept listing fees, and TMD was getting whiter and whiter. I asked the doctor to have someone give us a total, and also leave us alone for a few minutes so we could talk privately.

Well, as TMD pointed out, this was the stuff of medical documentaries. A very tense few minutes of pressured discussion. TMD was very, very upset about the money. You all know we just about break even every month, so spending that much money in one chunk was something we could probably never recover from. I saw her upset and this intense sense of calm came over me. TMD suggested we take the gamble – go ahead with eggsharing, especially since we thought it was very unlikely they would get the minimum of eight eggs necessary. So we would save ourselves money, but take the risk of them getting eight eggs and us therefore only having four.

And you know, I was okay with it. Our priority has to be the children, and spending that much money – Jesus. That’s a lot of living. And we do have the two perfect children for us. If this didn’t work out, I could be happy. I like our family. I’d be disappointed about not having this third child I feel is still missing, but not at the expense of the two we have. And TMD. Her face was so terrible when they kept saying more and more money we would have to pay. I couldn’t do that to her. Could not.

So we took the gamble.

This time, I was conscious throughout the collection. I did have an ass pessary for painkilling, one for antibiotics, IV painkillers, and IV sedation. That shit HURT. Hurt like woah. Let me tell you, needles are not supposed to pierce your vaginal walls. Lucky for me, the anaesthetist was amazing and supportive, and it was all fine.

The doctor is all jamming needles into my ovaries, while the embryologist (named Snort!) called out the number of eggs retrieved. Then he said, ‘Eight.’ The doctor was overjoyed and said, ‘Eight! Existere, did you hear that?’

‘Yes, eight.’ It was what we were not hoping for. At that point I thought, okay, so we will have four eggs. I still felt very calm and accepting.

The it was done and the doctor said, ‘Do you want to know how many we got? THIRTEEN.’ Everyone was whooping and so excited. I was shocked. The doctor explained that all of my small follicles, the ones that had been deemed useless, somehow all had eggs in them.

Medical miracle.

So, folks, there we are. Sitting across that bridge in an incubator we have seven little eggs that were fertilised this afternoon. Tomorrow we will get a call telling us how many actually fertilised and went on to develop. We have used ICSI, which is when a single sperm is injected directly into each egg, rather than just letting the two mix in a petri dish.

The transfer is, all things going well, on Thursday or Saturday. Sedation is not available on weekends, which TMD is terrified about, but as I said right before they started the egg collection, ‘Whatever will be, will be.’ Corny but strangely calming.

This is the outcome we wanted from the start. Enough eggs for us to have a real shot, AND enough for the recipient as well. This is the outcome we were told would not happen.

And yet somehow today, a minor medical miracle has happened, and we got a lucky thirteen eggs in this month of Halloween. Let’s hope our tide of bad luck has turned, and those little babies are doing some hardcore growth and cell division tonight. I TOLD them this was a serious business, and apparently the eggs were listening.

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Egg collection part 1.

October 1, 2012

I am a medical marvel.

More later. Very tired.

Tomorrow is my last day with potential kids inside me. Soon the mantle gets passed to TMD.

September 30, 2012

Tomorrow is the first of several Big Days – the egg collection. Everyone please please cross all fingers and toes.

TMD’s mum is coming over at 5:45 am. We will have all clothes, medications, lunches, etc all laid out for her with written instructions nearby. She has to take Coconut to football – here’s hoping Snort’s coach will let her play, as I know he would love her to and it’s also cruel to expect her to sit on the sidelines and watch. We will offer the price of the session, so we shall see.

TMD and I have to be at the clinic for 8:15. As per last time, a water only shower (ick) and no deodorants, soaps, etc. The collection is at 11. I won’t write till afterwards, once we are back in this country and I am hopefully awake. Last night we reread blog entries (December 08) about my last egg collection, and they have made me nervous. And, of course, my nerves are compounded by worrying about how many mature eggs we will get.

Anyway. Every single step of IVF has been fraught, but in the grand scheme of things the egg collection, fertilisation and development, embryo transfer, and pregnancy test are what really matters. And we have to be due some luck, right?

Right.

IVF tomfoolery.

September 29, 2012

Thank you, thank you. All the generous people who have given us money have not only helped financially, but emotionally. It has boosted me to see your names and know we have people supporting us. Now, I guess you want to know why we suddenly owe the clinic an additional four grand.

I’m still upset and not wanting to get myself more upset, so the brief version is that through a combination of my age (34), BMI (30), and the clinic’s poor monitoring that failed to catch that I needed a higher dose of drugs earlier, we have been told that eggsharing is no longer a given.

I was told I had three options.

One, abandon the cycle. Owe no more money.

Two, pay the four grand and proceed as if eggsharing. If they get enough eggs to share (we need a total of eight), then we give half to the recipient and are refunded the four grand.

Three, pay the four grand and proceed with full IVF, no eggsharing. The nurse told me this was the final price, then the doctor mentioned I’d have to pay for drugs, but she backed off when I said what the nurse said. So, yeah. Hopefully just four grand with this option, well, six in total.

Yikes.

None of these are terrific. Obviously option one is out. Options two and three are virtually the same thing, since I think it is very unlikely they will get enough eggs. I only had eight at 14mm or higher (though a further eight that were smaller, thanks to my pal the drug kerfuffle), and they like to see ten at the final scan. There is likely to be eggs in any woman’s follicles 80-90 percent of the time, so having the ten larger follicles gives them good odds with eggsharing.

I also only had one dose, today, of stimming hormones. I worry because normally there are two doses before the end of this phase….since apparently everyone fucking takes the meds at night, but we were told to take them whenever so chose morning. So I hope those eight will be large enough.

What decision have we come to? At this point, regardless of what a total shit I feel like for doing so, we are proceeding with full IVF. I will have the caveat that if a larger number of eggs than expected are harvested, we will go back to eggsharing. I can’t imagine what this poor woman is going through. She will have had a phone call yesterday explaining that things were not looking fantastic.

But even with eight eggs, knowing I am unlikely to be accepted as an egg sharer in future (unless I get back to my normal weight BMI. I am thirty pounds heavier this time than last.), and knowing we can’t afford another IVF cycle, we have to give ourselves the best chance. So more eggs equals better chance.

Because the other main deliberation has returned to the one embryo transfer versus two embryo transfer. Last time twins felt like a blessing, this time they feel like a risk. I think you all know I’d love another set of twins…would LOVE it…but TMD has very serious and sensible hesitations. She would prefer a single embryo transfer. More eggs mean a better chance to have a really good quality embryo.

Four years ago, only two of our embryos grew to what was considered ‘perfect.’. Snort and Coconut. That was four years ago when I responded well to meds. There is no way to predict the quality of my eggs this time since those hormones were not tested.

This decision is still up in the air. I would still prefer two babies to no baby, which is what we said last time. Only last time we actively hoped for twins, and that isn’t really the case this time. We have clarified that the day of the transfer (probably next Thursday if all goes well, please let it go well, let one fucking thing about this cycle go well!) we will find out beforehand about the quality of embryos. If none are fantastic we may transfer two. If one is fantastic, well, I don’t know. It’s a minor bone of contention between us, but I think ultimately TMD needs to have a large say in this. It’s her body that will doing this. Her lining is apparently ‘triple pattern.’ We are not sure what that means, but apparently it is really, really good.

So I don’t know. Any gentle or thoughtful feedback is welcomed.

Moving on, I take the trigger shot at eleven tonight. We have egg retrieval at eleven on Monday morning, despite my crazy hormonal challenging the doctor as to her decision. Overall I am nowhere as pleased with this clinic as our last. I think we would be looking at a very different outcome were we there. I don’t doubt my age and weight have impacted things, but I also am angry (bitter?) that I had no stimming scan until a week into the process. I’m also not pleased with the way the doctor spoke to me yesterday. But there is nothing to be done about any of these things except move forward.

With your help.

Thank you.

Every little 1.00 is more than part of our bus fare or blood tests. It is just a buoy in hard times. This cycle has been gruelling. I look forward to having the egg collection over and done with, even though I’m so scared we will have only a handful of eggs. I know it only takes one, but I’m a girl who likes to have good odds.

If you want a baby and are putting it off, if you are mid thirties, shit. Get your hormones checked, and think about me. My hormones still say I’m very fertile, and look how this all turned out. Consider single parenthood if you must. Because I have to say that even with the world’s two most loved children, it still hurts immeasurably to think that this is our last chance. When did we get old without earning any money? Ha.

The one good thing is that the trigger shot this time around is just a dial up pen. It’s what it sounds like. A thick pen with a needle on one end and medicine inside, sort of like an epipen. Last time we had to do science experiments with various vials, liquids, mixing meds, etc. It was hard. This one, though I admit I haven’t looked at the pen yet, promises to be yet another tiny subcutaneous injection in my bruised yet gorgeous belly. I hope it doesn’t sting, and I hope it doesn’t give me the tremendously awful stomach pains I had last time around, but either way, this is it.

All going well, my wife will have a baby or two in her body next week, and I hope that/those kid/s cling to her triple pattern. Do you hear that eggs? Cling.

Love to you all, and love to me, because right now I’m trying so hard not to beat myself up and blame myself for ruining everything.