Sunday, December 14, 2014

BFN

Scratch that... BFN this morning on two different tests. Heart. Broken.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

HELP!!

Today is 9sp3dt and I decided to throw caution to the wind and POAS. It was  0230 am and seeing nothing but stark white blankness I tossed the test aside and went back to bed. Got up to pee and saw it lying there 3.5hours later and dudes.... There's a line!!

It's not even a squinter!!!!!

But... 1) It wasn't within the 5min window, 2) I had an HCG Booster shot on Tue. (And I didn't test it out).

Right now I feel cramps coming on...

4days since 2,500 iu booster HCG?  It barely shows up for me when I even trigger. This line is about the same as my trigger test line. :/

Beta not till Fri!!

ETA: this morning was an Internet cheapie and I know that evaps are common. Hubs went and got us an FRER and I tested with a couple drops of 4th MU... Two lines. Clearly.

Clinic says not to get excited till Tues 7 days post hCG booster. Arghhh!!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

4A and 2A

Apparently one of the "watched" embryos did split so we had a 2A this morning unexpectedly to add to our 4A.

This doesn't look good. 4 cells on day 3? Googling success rates has only confirmed my fears that this is the official end for us.. All this bedrest and restrictions feels like a farce.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

We're (quietly) at it again...

Yes. With my own eggs. After the stupendous failure of our "genetic testing cycle" we were exploring donor eggs with great gusto... Until we got the price tag. It's completely outside of what we can afford. Even with insurance covering my portion.

We have all co-pays and deductibles met for 2014 and we decided to squeeze in one last cycle with my own eggs before we call it quits and take a year off to reevaluate things.

It all happened so quickly. I got a call saying, we need you to start stims tomorrow. We're gonna skip the BCP." And we were off to the races. 5 days of stims and my first check up revealed 5 follie already at  14mm!! We had our ER on Monday - 7 eggs. Maturity- 6.

This mornings Fert report was sucky... 3 are definitely not fertilized. 3 others are possibly fertilized, but he doesn't see the poles so he can't be sure. It is POSSIBLE that the poles are disappearing as division is beginning - when he checked there this morning.. So tonight I am in a panic...  I either have 3 or nothing... And it's going to be about 10hours before I find out.

This cycle has been weird from the start and we had soooo hoped that  was a good sign. But today I've felt like really nothing has changed. 3 Fert, 1 day 3, no snugglers,  the end..

Please let me be wrong. PLEASE!!!

If we're lucky enough to have some day 3 embies we're putting them all back.  This is our Hail Mary. Our last ditch effort.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Donor Option

We're back to looking at DE options.  We could try one more time with my eggs and see if we have any blasts to test, but the reality is that, based on our previous cycles, it's highly unlikely that we're going to see success. Mr R is really not happy at work but he's hanging in there for the insurance. The longer this takes, the unhappier he gets. I don't want to continue torturing him. Trying "one more time" with my own eggs is effectively wasting another 2 months and will push our last insurance covered cycle - the one we were planning to use for our de  - I to next year when we're going to have to pay co-pays again.

I've spoken with donor banks. Out of pocket after what insurance company covers - $15,000
I've spoken with frozen egg banks. Insurance won't cover egg purchase. - $14,400
I've spoken with my clinic in-house, fresh donor coordinator - $? (Pending)

I found the PERFECT donor in the frozen bank. She's exactly what I was hoping for! But $14,400 is way outside of what we can afford. Our last hope is our own clinic donor program which is around $17,000 but insurance will cover a large portion of that - or so we've been told.

I am struggling with this....

Our clinic has very limited options.  Four donors with blue eyes. None of them has so much as a wave to their hair. The only one with O blood group has a super high forehead and very thin hair which Mr R has very strong feelings about. I have 2 top choices but the truth is neither of them would have even made the list had I been selecting from a donor bank or frozen bank. I feel like I am settling. Like money is the deciding factor here - it IS -  but I feel guilty/stupid for letting finances dictate the genetics of my future child/ren.  Those I've spoken to about this say I am over analyzing this. A baby is a baby. "You want a child right? So what's the problem." The problem is I don't just want A child... I want MY child and I'm not quite over that yet.

The next part is disclosure...  Mr R doesn't want ANYONE to know we used DE. Not even the child. I don't want anyone to know, but I'd prefer the child knows - maybe not from birth, but eventually. Also, if we want to do things Mr Rs way we HAVE to have a donor blood type O since both he and I are O.  I don't want my child to grow up with the whole "you're not even my real mom" thought in his/her head. I also don't want them to find out by accident as an adult which might cause them great emotional distress and cause them to live a drug addled life on the street.... Or something...  A friend of mine who used DE says she regrets telling her folks because her mom now has Alzheimer's and keeps saying inappropriate things to her twins (now 4 yrs old). Her father makes no effort to see them for birthdays etc because "they're not really my grand kids". Ugh! How heartbreaking!!

As for me... I just cannot let go of a genetic link. I can't wait to hold a baby in my arms and experience all of the joys of motherhood. But I can't yet say that somewhere deep in my heart I don't/won't  long  to look into my baby's eyes and see my own .  And this makes me worry that I may (in a hormonal haze) be resentful of my de child. Ugh... I don't think I am expressing myself well. I want so badly to be comfortable and happy and at peace with DE and if I am not then maybe now is not the right time to do this... But again... Money... Time... And are my fears normal? DE mamas did y'all have any of the same fears/thoughts? I need to commune with other DE mamas I think.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Morulaaaaaaaaaa

I'm soooooooo excited!!!!

Embryologist says this is very good news! He has every expectation that we'll have a blast by morning.

He's going to call late. Only after he does the biopsy and freezes him.

I CANT BELIEVE WE MADE IT!!

Monday, September 15, 2014

1... At 10 cells

We lost the other two as expected. But our one little guy went from 4 to 10 cells yesterday. Embryologist kept telling us that he SHOULD be a morula by today, blast by tomorrow. But I don't even care! The point is that he grew a lot yesterday and it looks like we're still in the game!

It may be day 6 before we can sample and freeze him, but we have a chance that he could make it now!!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

1

Day 3 report... 1 at 4 cells (should be 6-8
today but it's still dividing so that's fine). Other two got to 2 cells and stopped. They'll keep them over night for observation but they don't hold out much hope for them.

One embryo left. 2 - 3 days to go.

He promised to call me on day 4 even though it's not the norm.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Still 3!

Division report shows 3 embryos at two cells each. I know that two cells is good, but I can't help but wish they were 4 cells just to put my mind at ease. 

But no more Debbie downer. We have 3 and they're all still growing on day 2. I am happy with that and hopeful that tomorrow we see 3 at 4-8 cells.

Friday, September 12, 2014

3

So far I'm right....

Already mourning this wasted cycle...

Thursday, September 11, 2014

7

9 follicles. 7 eggs. 5 mature and ICSI'd

Dejavu...

Here's how this plays out from here...

Fert report will say 3 fertilized. 2 not yet but they'll keep them overnight to observe.

Division report will say 3 divided, 1 front runner the other 2 lagging.

Day 3 report will say 2 arrested, 1 still going.

I've never been to day 5 so I don't know if "Solo" will make it that far.

Monday is a LONG way away...

Please do whatever fertility dance, song, prayer you can that I am completely wrong. It will break my heart if we don't have anything to send for PGS testing.

Thank you.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

9... maybe 10...

This is a non-jinxing drive-by post to let you know...

-  Tomorrow is ER
-  My E2 is through the roof (for me) at 1437 (yesterday)
-  We're seeing 9 follies:  21, 20, 19, 18, 17, 16 x 3, 15.  And one at 10mm with 2 days to grow.
-  Nurses and docs are jumping for joy with me.
-  The wait till Monday is going to be excruciating!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Overdue Update

It's been a whirlwind few weeks. We've been out of town on mini vacation last weekend and here we are three days away from ER and I've not updated this blog. The truth is this cycle is going well... SO well and I'm scared to jinx it. 

So here's the update in a quick nutshell. Started stims last Friday. Pulled over on the side of the road enroute to our vacation destination for my first shot because we forgot to do it before we left. The weekend spent with good friends was so awesome that we were repeatedly late for our shots and had to set alarms to remind us. (A far cry from our usual sit-and-watch-the-clock process). While we were away I ate what I wanted, drank with friends and just totally relaxed. Because we were away we didn't get to do our first u/s until day 5 of stims... And.... We had TEN follies responding!!! Two were pretty far behind though. So really just 8. But let's look at past cycles... #1: 3, #2: 4...

Had an updated u/s this morning and it looks like 8 for sure are gonna make it to ER. Largest one at 17mm, but most are hovering around 14mm and my smallest are 11 and 12. With the outside chancers at 8 and 9... So they won't be counted.

ER was scheduled for Wed but we're waiting and extra day to get the 11 and 12 up to above 14.  So I trigger Tues.

Better run... I have a bunch of meds to try and scrounge together to cover me for one extra day!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

All Aboard!




Let's get this train moving... we have some news from RE.  Protocol for our PGS cycles has just been released to my patient portal.  It looks like we'll be doing our baseline appointment on 8/18 and the plan is "Micro Ovidrel Down Reg" which I have never heard of, but I am excited to try it out and see what miracles it might produce for me.  Estimated retrieval week of 9/8.  I won't get my meds list until baseline appointment, and there is nothing about this type of protocol that I can find online.  Has anyone tried something similar?

As I've mentioned before the plan is to do 2 banking cycles for PGS and transfer any normal embryos that we may have come out of that.  If we don't have any "normal" embryos we move into Plan B which is donor eggs and because of all the first-round success with donor eggs I am seeing in blogland I am more and more excited about this which is tempering the amateur genealogist in me who is still mourning a little over the loss of a genetic child.

Toot!  Toot!*  Let's get rolling!!

*That's right... I just tooted...

ETA:  Prescription list is in hand.  More on this tomorrow... I have to actually do some work today.  Ugh...  

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

I think we've found HER...

Was catching up with a good friend yesterday. She asked how things are going with IVF and I gave her the update - we're doing PGS, possibly moving to donor eggs after that, but struggling to find a donor who matches our main requirements.

She immediately started telling me about her cousin who she has always told me looked just like me. She sent me a pic. This girl is gorgeous! Not as tall as me. I don't think she looks LIKE ME perse but she checks most of the boxes. Over 5'7, curly blonde hair, big blue eyes. 

I have some concerns. Firstly she is 19. I don't know that a decision like this is something she's ready for. At 19 I was a child. Secondly she has a full ride at one of the nations top colleges for her musical talent. I would hate to interrupt that in any way. Thirdly, how do I feel about a "known" donor? 

My friend spoke with her briefly by text and explained our situation and asked if she'd ever considered donating eggs. She replied, "If they needed someone I'd be happy to help! How's life otherwise."  So yeah... I dunno if she thinks my friend is serious. Anyway, I gave my friend my donor coordinators email address. Told her to give it some thought and if she feels able to help please contact my DC who can answer questions, etc. I don't want to have direct contact with her until she has thought this over and made decisions about her contact comfort level, etc. What is the protocol on this?? Can anyone advise? Part of me wants to present her with a brochure of our life - who we are and why we'd be great parents and do the hard sell. But again, she's so young and has so much going on and I don't want to be pushy, but am I being too blasé? 

I don't want to get my hopes up, but y'all she is a better match than I could have ever dreamt of!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Post Lap Surgery

Yesterday went well. I checked in to the small surgery center down the road from my RE's office, stood in the beautiful lobby that reeked of eau de old age home and filled out more paperwork. Answered questions about a living will and no, I don't have children.

Went to the back, filled out MORE paperwork answered more questions... No, I don't have kids. Yes, we're trying.

Anasthesiologist assistant came to ask questions. Yes I've had many surgeries in the past. No, I don't have kids.

Waited for them to send Mr R back and listened to the patients around me answering their questions. 3 other women. All of them in for tubal ligation. "Oh God yes we have kids. That ends today!" "Yep, our last one is 2." 

Finally Dr S comes in and I say, "Jeez doc, bad day for the infertiles to be in surgery! Listen to all the mommies talking about their tubals..." He apologized. I try not to be super sensitive about this stuff, but surgery jitters and all the kid questions... I dunno.

They gave me the pre-surgery happy stuff and I don't remember anything until I came around from surgery. Dr S spoke to Mr. R about the findings. Erg... He is awful with that stuff.  Here's what he remembers... 

There wasn't a lot of endo but he removed it all. I had some pre-polyp tissue which was removed and will be sent for biopsy. Mr R thinks he said my ovaries looked "great". He did a D&C and  closed me up. 

I won't hear from him until 8/26 because he is out of the office in 2 weeks when biopsy will be back.

We're still waiting on our protocol. I'm getting mildly impatient to be honest... Hopefully we'll get this soon. Also waiting on my AMH levels.

Next stop was urologist. What a waste of time that was... We waited, finally got in to see him and he said that he doesn't think he can help us. Yup. $50 copay. Rushing through big city traffic right out of surgery, spending 45 excruciatingly painful minutes in waiting room, followed by fighting to keep a clear mind during the consult only to discover that he met with our RE last week on our case and has decided to refer us to "the best" urologist in the country. The father of urological microsurgery. He feels that a standard vasovasectomy is not going to work in our case, and instead we need to do an epididymis-something-something. Basically, we're going to bypass the vas and reconnect directly into the epididymis.  Avoiding sludge. Tubes are slightly thinner, but we have a 50% chance of an acceptable SA using this method. While still sitting in office with Dr B I called (at his insistence) the new doctor, Dr L, trying to get an appointment. Earliest we can get? 9/25... Holy crap! We requested to be contacted if anything earlier opens up. I'll check in in 2 weeks. Don't want them to forget.

That's it. That's all the news we have. Today I am still in a little pain. Mostly stinging around wound sites. A little cramping but nothing even remotely close to my period pain, so I am fine. 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Lap on Monday

Lap is scheduled for Monday and what a logistical nightmare this has turned out to be. Because of the far drive to our clinic and doctors, and Mr R having run out of vacation and sick days, on top of everything else we're also trying to limit the number of trips we make up there. 

So here's Monday's plan:

0845 - Mr R endocrine blood draw

0900 - pick up pre-op packet from RE office

0930 - Check in at surgery center

1030 - Laparoscopy

0130 - Drive time

0330 - Mr R urologist reversal consult

I'll be waiting in the car for his consult which scares me, but we don't have a choice.

So far so good with the timeline. Now we just need to hope that urologist will schedule Mr R for surgery right away. Ideally I'd LOVE it to be on Fri next, but Friday the following week will be okay. (Hoping it's a Friday so he doesn't have to take any days off for recovery).

So that's it. We're off to the races!

Btw... Still haven't received my schedule or meds list. Dr S is still conferring with his colleagues on the best approach. Take that prefab protocol filed under "Over 35, DOR"! Three days in on 21 days of BCPs, so we have time...

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

WTF & Next Steps

Today's appointment went well... I think.  Determined not to forget any questions or things I wanted to cover I prepared a 4 page handout for discussion.  Don't laugh.  Okay laugh. It's ridiculous.  (It even had a page titled "Notes" at the back. I smiled from ear to ear when Dr. S turned to it and started scribbling furiously.  Take that Mr. R! Ohhhh how he laughed at me for that page).

Anyway, I didn't want to waste this time dwelling on the "what went wrong" portion of the program, so I jumped right over that and talked about my insurance cover, what we have left, how we've met all our deductibles for this year and what our next plans are.  I explained my reasons for each step and Dr. S seemed very supportive.

So in order here's what we covered:

1)  Vasectomy reversal.

Dr. S says that based on the low motility we're seeing in the TESE samples he's not expecting miracles to occur here, but he agrees with me that there is no reason for that door to remain shut.  You never know what might happen and also... for future attempts - depending on SA results post-reversal - we'll probably be able to avoid TESE either way since we'll only really need fewer than 8 for ICSI, but it does open the door for wildcard IUI tries in the future since we still have cover for this.  He says to go for it, but do it ASAP.

He has ordered an endocrine panel for Mr. R on Saturday.  We have our consult with urologist on Wed next week and we're HOPING to have surgery the week after.

2)  Laparoscopy.

My reasons for wanting this are threefold.  Firstly, I have mild endo and my last lap was 3 years ago.  I want to know that it's gone and won't be a problem for next transfer, for SURE.  Also, I have dysmenorrhea (ridiculously painful periods with hideously heavy flow) and the last 6 months we've gotten to the point where I literally cannot get out of bed for CD 1 and 2, and I only make it through the day hopped up on 4-600mg of Ibuprofen every 2 hours and by assuming labor positions on my knees and arching my back up and down while sobbing hysterically and rushing to the bathroom every hour.  Yes, I know that's a LOT of ibuprofen, but its better than what my OB prescribed -- hydrocodone, which incidentally doesn't work at all!  I cannot go on like this much longer and it definitely got better for a short while after last lap.  And lastly, I figure a lap may double as an endometrial scratch of sorts.  Dr. S doesn't give much weight to endometrial scratching as being beneficial, but it can't hurt so he has agreed to do a lap for me.

They're scheduling me for lap surgery next week.  Will hear tomorrow what day. This is too far out from transfer cycle to be beneficial as a "scratch" replacement I think. Oh well.

3)  PGS Cycles

So here's where it gets pretty up in the air.  We discussed briefly how we feel about outcomes of the Micro Flare protocol.  We both agree that 6 retrieved, 5 mature is pretty close to the top end of what I can expect in any cycle, it's a pity about the fertilization - though to be fair (standing up for my eggs) 3 fertilized out of 5 mature is not abysmal by any stretch of the imagination. If only they'd all keep growing from there!

I've been reading up on the Agonist/Antagonist Conversion protocol (thanks to an amazing friend on TWW forum) designed by the famous Dr. Scher of Las Vegas.  I added a note about it in my handout - didn't mention the good Dr. Scher at all, just the possibility of considering a protocol that focused on keeping the LH low throughout and giving a max dose of FSH on day 1 & 2 of stims, before exposure to LH.  Dr. S read about this and said, "Ah yes, the Scher Protocol.  We've used this in the past and had moderate success with it, but we haven't used it in a while.  It might work here."  I felt REALLY good about him in that moment.  I am SO glad I switched REs in this clinic.  My last RE had a tendency to pooh-pooh any suggestion I made without even considering it.  Dr. S is going to discuss it with his partners (including my other RE) but he feels that given our time constraints, remember everything has to be done by Dec 31 to avoid extra costs, this might be too long for our time line.

He does believe there is still some wiggle room in my max dose of Follistim.  I cycled on 450 last time, and he says he has gone as high as 600 before.  We're probably going to up me this time.

He mentioned a protocol that they've already been discussing for me called Lupron Overlap -- I've never heard of this before, so anyone with experience on this protocol please let me know.  He wants to give this some more thought.

In order to run with our desired timeline two months spent languishing on BCPs is not going to work, so for the second retrieval cycle he is thinking about letting me start right after AF shows up post retrieval #1 without a break BCP cycle.

I start BCPs for first cycle tonight.  He drew an updated AMH today to see if I have continued to improve (see sidebar). Fingers crossed!

4)  Donor Cycle

Now here's where it gets tricky/confusing/tough to plan and honestly we didn't go into this part in too much detail as we'd already gone 45 minutes over my 30 minute appointment.

Two retrievals will already land us somewhere in mid November before we have PGS results -- and this is of course barring any delays, cysts, needing to delay trigger to allow stragglers to catch up, etc.  I haven't had a troublesome cyst yet, I know I am due one.  And last cycle we delayed trigger by 3 days waiting for my slow-pokes to catch up. 

If we get to November and find that we have no viable embryos for transfer we're going to have to rush into selecting a donor, paperwork, etc.  Nevermind stimming the donor, retrieval, etc.  It doesn't seem likely that we'll be able to transfer before the end of the year.

We're hoping that my insurance will be agreeable to starting the donor process before we get results of PGS.  I am a realist, and I know that of the 2-3 embryos we're sending for testing the odds of even one of them coming back normal is very, very low.  If by some miracle we do get one of the expected three back, I am still hesitant to transfer a singleton.  I know everyone has their preferences, mine is a twin transfer every time.  We are fully prepared for twins, we would welcome a twin pregnancy with incredible joy - we would be equally ecstatic if twin transfer became singleton pregnancy. 

So the hope is that we'll be able to select, sign ,and start a donor in November, for ER in December.  This way, IF we have one normal genetic embryo we can still put two back.  One genetic and one donor and freeze the rest of donor embryos for future FETs at a much more affordable price.

What may end up happening is that we end up doing a transfer in the new year.  We're hoping not to have to do this, but transfer only is a much more affordable price tag.  I am pretty sure though, that a cycle started in 2014 will count towards 2014 benefits, even if it is completed in 2015? I have no idea how that will work...

I need to redouble my efforts to seek out a  donor who matches a reasonable set of requirements and is based in or around the Houston, TX area.

I also need to spend an hour with an insurance rep to go into these details.

So there you have it... This post is pretty much verbal diarrhea I am afraid.  I just have to get it all down on paper before I forget it - especially the donor part of the plan.  Dr. S and I didn't discuss it in much detail because we spent much too long talking about protocol options.  This is what I understood from our conversation, but I am hoping to hear from his nurse tomorrow with a schedule and more clarity on the specifics - as far as we can see them from here.  

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The (Tentative) Plan

We had a chance to sit and talk last night.  Talk about the cover we are so blessed to have, and discuss how we're going to use this to our best advantage before the year is through and we have to start meeting all our deductibles again.  What helped actually was that we had a call from my mother who had just read my text about the insurance coverage and our options.  She had some advice... she always has some advice and it's rarely the same as what I am thinking...  Her advice to us is to forget about trying again with my own eggs.  She feels strongly that my desire for a biological child is "ridiculous" and "frivolous".  Yep... she used those words.  The fact that they will cover a donor cycle means that they're willing to lay out twice as much as what we're asking for the PGS cycle, and we have a MUCH higher chance of success.  She feels that the money would be better spent on a cycle with better odds.    What helped was that while I was explaining our options to her in minute detail so that she could fully understand what our coverage meant -- I am not originally from this country, and our insurance back home is very different.  Mr. R was standing by as I explained each step, and what the cover meant, and how I felt about our options.  I was not able to make my mother see my position on this, but Mr. R heard me loud and clear.  When I hung up he said, "Baby, we're not giving up on your eggs yet.  Let's give it one more try."

We went over his questions about the two options.  We discussed our cover and he reminded me that while we will most likely need 3-4 retrieval cycles for sufficient blasts to PGS, we only have 4 total IVF cycles paid in full -- including our donor cycle.  We've used 1 already. (Our first cycle was a drug trial).  And if we want to try donor eggs we will need to have at least one IVF saved for that.  There is no way on this earth that we will be able to afford the estimated $26,000 it would cost us out of pocket for a donor cycle.  No way. Ever.  That will be our last try.

We came up with a plan... now of course, this will most likely be thrown around/tossed out after our appointment with Dr. S tomorrow, but I wanted to document it all so I can refer to it if needed.

1)  Vasectomy reversal. This is our top priority.
2)  Retrieval #1, day 5, biopsy, freeze blast/s and freeze biopsy material.
3)  Laparoscopy for my endo (rest cycle)
4)  Retrieval #2, day 5, biopsy, freeze blast/s and send both biopsy's for testing.
5)  IF any normal embryos, transfer frosty/ies - if not, plan B.
6)  Donor cycle.  Plan B.
7)  If donor cycle fails we're HOPING that the vasectomy reversal will prove a success and that we will have the option of IUI which we have unlimited cover for.  But there's a chance that post-reversal SA will come back with very poor, unusable results. This is officially Plan C.
8)  If all else fails there's the tiny, teeny, weeny, itsy, bitsy glimmer of a chance for a miracle unassisted pregnancy created the old fashioned way.  Percentage odds are ridiculously low, but you never know what the future will hold and we're going to move forward holding this hope in our hearts.  Plan D.
9)  While we're hoping for the miracle to end all miracles, we may be able to start saving for an out of pocket donor cycle -- maybe in Europe where donor cycles are slightly more affordable, still... I don't imagine that they're cheap -- so we will need a few years to save for this one.  Plan E.

The reality is that we probably will not have any genetically normal embryos.  Heck, we may not even have enough blasts to send for testing after just two retrieval cycles.  In both my past cycles we only had one embryo that appeared to possibly be able to make it to day 5.  Having just 2 to test does not offer great odds, but it's our only and last chance.  I know that I need this to be able to move on with peace in my heart that I gave me eggs every opportunity.

The reality with Plan B is that even with 22 year old eggs one donor cycle may not be enough for a successful pregnancy, but it's all we can afford to do. (Unless we win the lottery, in which case we'll keep trying and trying until we're successful).

Plan C's sober reality is that after almost 16 years his tubes are probably all gunked up and what comes out will be a mess.  But we've done some reading and we've heard that this can improve over time.  (Mr. R has promised to be vigilant about clearing the tubes out often.  lol)  (No, we don't seriously know if that helps, but he's committed to trying.) And yes, I realize that if IVF didn't work, our odds of success with IUI are very low, but I can't help but hope that we might "catch" a genetically normal egg one month.

We know that Plan D is our "Unicorn" plan. But since we're not willing to give up on a child completely, this will always remain on my list. 

Plan E will mean extending our life of "poverty" to quote my mother as we save furiously for the chance at trying another donor cycle somewhere more affordable.  We will see how tired I am when we get to this point.  Honestly, this extreme penny-pinching lifestyle is really starting to grow old after just 2 years and I don't know how much longer Mr. R will be on board for PB on toast 2 nights a week. We'll see.

So there you have it folks!  My game plan for the rest of this year and beyond.  We'll see how much it changes after appointment with Dr. S tomorrow.



Monday, July 28, 2014

Vasectomy Reversal & An Update

We received awesome news last week! Mr. R called the urologist and asked them to check our insurance to make sure that they do not cover vasectomy reversals.  The kind nurse who has done a lot of digging through our insurance for us to discover that TESE was covered said, "We don't ever check with insurance companies for reversals, none of them cover them.  The cost is $5,000 and the best you can hope for is that they MIGHT cover the hospital portion for the surgery.  You will need to call them for this part."

Mr. R dutifully called our insurance and the woman he spoke with said, "Oh no, we definitely don't cover vasectomy reversals, but let me check on the hospital portion..."  She kept him on hold for what felt to him like an eternity before coming back on the line... "Um... so I looked into it and it seems that we WILL cover infertility reversal surgery 100% and since you've met your deductible that's $0 out of pocket."

Infertility reversal??

Mr. R checked with her several times and asked her to double check with a colleague to make certain that this meant vasectomy reversal.  She came back and confirmed that yes, vasectomy reversal is considered "infertility reversal" and yes, we are 100% covered.


Okay, so I am still well aware that the chance of a "natural" pregnancy -- I hate that term... (what's a better way to refer to an unassisted pregnancy?  I guess unassisted pregnancy sounds better already!) We know that the chance of an unassisted pregnancy is very very low... like tiny, miniscule chance, but at least it opens that door for us every month so we're doing it. Urologist consult is next week.

AF showed up yesterday at last.  I stopped progesterone and estrogen supplements on 11dp3dt.  I called it in to the triage line  yesterday and this morning received a call from my cycle nurse who said, "Okay, so you stopped progesterone 9dp5dt"... uhmmm... we didn't do a 5dt, we did 3dt?  "Oh you did? Okay then..."  HOW does my cycle nurse not know this?  Does anyone else ever feel like their cycle planning is all just a prefabricated sheet that they pull out of a filing cabinet under a tab that has your diagnosis?  Like "Over 35, DOR" and out comes a sheet with a basic plan for micro flare lupron.  Ugh... Well we're moving into uncharted territory now... or rather, we're moving into territory rarely charted by this clinic... so my hope is that now I will have to have an even more customized cycle plan.

She didn't sound enthused at the idea of a reversal and thought it was unnecessary, but advised me to discuss with my doctor. That's fine.  I know what they're all going to say, but we're doing this anyway.

She advised me that my RE can do a laparoscopy for me and that there is no need for me to go through my OB GYN for this.  Probably a better idea so that he can time it to match my cycling.  But their surgery facilities are out of network and so we will have to pay for that out of pocket -- whereas my OBGYN surgery is IN network and would be free.  (ALWAYS money isn't it...)   Strike this, see below... just had a call from our finance rep and we're pretty sure that we've met our out of network deductible too at this point, so there won't be any difference cost-wise.  Better then to do the lap with my RE so we can time it in with my cycling.

She says that I will need 6-8 weeks post laparoscopy for my lining to repair enough for transfer... but I mentioned that with banking embryos this was a non-issue, at least for 2-3 retrieval cycles.

She also said that we cannot do back-to-back retrievals as the risk for cysts is increased with the constant stimming.  I would need to do a stim cycle, rest cycle, stim cycle, rest cycle, stim & transfer cycle -- if we have any to transfer. So we're looking at transferring in or around January 2016... maybe.. depending on how much of the PGS stuff is out of pocket and how my 100% insurance coverage for IVF will work with stim-only cycling.  Back to money again... *Sigh*

So that's where we stand right now... will know more after WTF appointment on Wed about how we're going to proceed.  Mr. R has run out of sick/vacation/personal days at work and so he will be taking an early lunch to join us by phone for the consult... it sucks that he can't be there, but it's the best we can do without jeopardizing his crappy job that comes with awesome insurance.

That's another thing... Mr. R accepted this job as he transitioned out of law enforcement and completed studies for a new career.  The work is menial, the hourly wage is deplorably low, his colleagues are (mostly) insufferable... but as we've discovered the insurance kicks butt!  He will need to tough it out a bit longer until we can figure this out.

Just had a call back from my clinic's financial services:

PGS
IVF: We've now met in network deductible so this is free
Facility Fees:  We've met our out of network deductible (though it's not yet reflecting) so this SHOULD be free, but worst case $1,500 for each of us for retrieval and TESE
(PGS requires a medical review and approval on a case by case basis.) 
Biopsy: My clinic fees for biopsy - $2,750
3rd Party Lab:  $3,000-5,000 (Shady Grove Testing in Maryland)

My clinic will require $2,750 biopsy fee paid up front.  I deal directly with 3rd party lab on their costs.

Donor Eggs
IVF Me:  100% cover
Facility: Most likely free, but possibly $1,500
Donor Services (everything including meds):  Verbal confirmation that this is covered 100%.  My clinic requires confirmation in writing.  IF they don't get written confirmation this portion ALONE is $16,000 but it looks like everything for me and Mr. R is covered at this point. We can expect written confirmation or denial in 2-3 weeks.  Our financial rep is submitting the written request today.

Money. Money. Money. Money. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Have You Seen This Girl?


Walking through the grocery store yesterday we passed the Western Union desk covered in fliers and advertisements... Who should I see there but this lovely lady on some information about fraud protection. 

It's freaky because even Mr R said "look! We need HER eggs! She looks just like you." I must admit the resemblance to my 20yr old self is quite uncanny... Give her blue eyes and slightly curlier hair and add about 10lbs and that's me at 20! Same face shape. Same mouth. Same nose. Same puffy eyelids and eye shape. Same dimples even! (Things that weren't on my list!)

We then proceeded to scope out every strawberry-blonde, curly headed woman we passed for possible similarities.  We're calling this game Egg Stalking. Mr R is resolved - should we ever see a good match - to ask her if she has ever considered egg donation. Not sure how I feel about this... Is it even legal to approach people on the street for the purposes of soliciting their eggs? 

Those of you who are reviewing donor banks frequently - please let me know if you see anyone who looks like this. Especially if she's Texas based! 

DE is still our Plan B moving forward, but Mr R is growing more comfortable with the idea every day and since I don't have much hope for even one genetically normal blast to come out of our PGS journey I plan to actively continue researching donors.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

9dp3dt & Next Steps

Here we are again, 9dp3dt and while this time AF hasn't shown up I am still cramping and still BFN on tests so I am calling it.

Plans...

We spent last night discussing DE and all that entails. We even perused one database to check out the options and see how hard it would be to find a lookalike. This is going to sound vain I think... I have really, REALLY curly hair and it's kind of my trademark, people know me for it and I have always dreamed of little ones with heads covered in ringlet curls as mine was. I am also very tall at 6' and it's important to me that my future children have at least a chance of being tall too. (Mr R is 5'10") in one database we managed to find two possible donors with curly hair - though not quite as curly, both were over 5'9. That put my mind at ease. Is it ridiculous that I want to find someone that closely matched? I feel ridiculous being so specific. What do other recipients look for in a "match"?  We talked about it at length but Mr R is adamant that we give my own eggs one last try and because I am not completely sold on DE myself yet I agreed.

So what does that mean for us? Clearly we have a quality issue when it comes to our embryos. Three grade A, zero fragmentation went in but none came out. We've been reading about PGS. I emailed my embryologist last night to get his take on it and it seems he's already brought this up to my doctor. Our only concern is that because of the low number of eggs I produce, and even lower number making it to day 3, we may never have any to test given that our clinic only does Day 5 genetic testing. And an even stronger possibility is that we send my one day 5 embryo for testing  only to find out he's genetically abnormal. I've heard about banking embryos - multiple retrieval cycles, freeze all day 5s and send them for testing. The cost, as you can imagine, is going to be exorbitant and most insurance companies will not pay for PGS so this is going to be out of pocket - to the tune of between $2,500-4,000 per the internets. Then we also have the issue of Mr R needing a fresh TESE with each retrieval and our embryologist saying we'll need 2-4 retrievals to have enough embryos to test.  My mind is spinning. We are not rich people. We live a very modest life. I don't know if we can afford this and it makes me incredibly angry that the only thing standing between me and a possible genetic child is money! We would gladly do 10 retrievals if we could afford it. Our insurance coverage when it comes to banking is questionable and I have my clinics finance people looking into that today. But even with the cover we have each cycle is a minimum of $4,000 out of pocket and at this point we've sold everything we have to sell - we're sharing my old beater car and sitting on camping chairs in our living room. My mother says I am ridiculous to even consider this because financially it will ruin us. It infuriates her that we've spent as much as we have already and says we're living in poverty! I don't feel that we're quite that bad, but I do see her point. When is enough enough? 

We're also discussing a wild card option. Mr R wants a vasectomy reversal. It's now almost 16 years old. We've been told that a reversal at this stage is worthless and that any semen would be unusable. Of course every man likes to think that theirs is the best and strongest and that they will beat the odds. I'm not sure about that, but what I am sure about is at least wanting to have a teeny tiny chance at a miracle. The slightest possibility that one day one perfect sperm cell will meet a genetically normal egg and create a perfect miracle baby. The internet is full of success stories like that - even in cases with DOR. Once the vasectomy reversal is paid for we have unlimited monthly free tries, on top of our embryo banking and genetic testing.

And so... Our decision? Well, we're going to talk about it some more today - Mr R is coming home early to console me and we're going to formulate a plan to take with us to our WTF next Wed. But at this point we think our future looks like this:

1) vasectomy reversal
2) 3 bank retrievals (insurance has 3 cycles left)
3) PGS any day 5 embryos we have
4) laparoscopy for my endo (not necessary but we hear it can help with implantation)
5) transfer normal embryo (2 if we have that many)

And if all of that fails then we can move in to DE with a clear head.

I'd love to find some bloggers who are dealing with old vasectomy reversals and banking for PGS. If you currently follow anyone like this please let me know their URLs. I've learned so much from you all and I know there's a lot I need to learn about these two things.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Transfer

Driving home. I'm sprawled out on the back seat while Mr R is blaring the grunge music we've been playing these embryos from the start.

We're SO glad we pushed for day 3! This morning our embies were one 8A and one 6A and one remained 2A and they're pretty sure he arrested over night but gave us the option to transfer anyway - they would normally leave him another day to see if he does anything before discarding. So as of right now I have three embies on board but chance of triplets just went WAY down. You know what is weird?  I don't make many eggs, and they don't all mature or fertilize but dammit they are all perfect, zero fragmentation embryos every time.


Bed has been set up. Snacks are ready and I have been a DVRing fool this week. I only slept like 2 hours last night so I am ready for bed!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Division Report

We had a call from the embryologist this morning - later than usual which had us a little nervous. He told us that we have 3 embryos. One is 4 cells, and two are 2 cells. He said we're pushing to day 5. 

Wait... What??

We were surprised because the embryologist we spoke with yesterday was very keen to go with day 3.

He explained that since we now have 3 "for sure" embryos he'd be more comfortable with waiting to see which of the 3 make it. 

We explained that we've spent the better part of 24 hours discussing putting 3 back with family and given our specific set of circumstances and our past experience we're ready to go with the 3 we have for a day 3 transfer.

He said that he understands our wanting to tackle this aggressively, but he would advise day 5. His partner - whom we spoke with yesterday - was pushing for day 3. We asked for a little time to discuss further and hung up. 

We frantically called parents and asked for opinions. They were all in agreement... Day 3. We called the embryologist back and we're set. Tomorrow at 0700 we will have all 3 of our embryos returned to me and then the waiting begins. Thanks to HCG booster shots I won't be able to drive myself crazy with POAS. This is a big gamble, but we're ready whatever the outcome. Realistically we know that while we have one strong front runner, the other two are slower and possibly weaker and may not make it. Chances are we could make it to the other side with one or none. Last cycle we had one perfect 8A zero fragmentation embryo and he didn't take. Who knows. We're giving it our all. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Fertilization Report

Had our call at 0730 this morning from the embryologist. Right now, of the 5 mature eggs that were ICSI'd we have one that has for sure fertilized and is starting to divide. Two more they're almost positive are fertilized. Last two aren't showing any signs of fertilization yet, but they'll leave them overnight and check again tomorrow. He says that with testicular biopsy sperm is hard to see polarization (?) I was half asleep for this call so my memory isn't perfect... But that's the issue with the two he THINKS fertilized.

Then he asked how many we plan to put back. Actually it went like this: "How many are you putting back? I mean with your age, previous failed cycle and diagnosis?" In other words, "Surely more than one right?" I replied that we're for sure returning two, and depending on quality we're considering 3. He sounded pleased with this and said that if that is the case, and we only have three that have fertilized then there is no sense in waiting till day 5 as we would only do that to help select the strongest ones. If we plan to put back all that we have then we may aswell go with day 3. 

I dunno why but I have this day 5 thing in my head as a goal. I know that success rates are pretty similar between day 3 and day 5 but I just want to put back a blast and KNOW we're in good shape.

I know that my decision to return 3 may be controversial. We live on land with my in laws and we're surrounded by close family within 2 minutes from our front door I work from home and don't have to work for us to survive. We're equipped for 3 should all 3 take - but we know that's highly unlikely. So now we're seriously considering 3 on day 3. Does anyone have any thoughts on this? Should I push them to day 5? And why? 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

FIVE mature!!

Just had call from embryologist. FIVE of the six were mature and we're ICSI'd. FIVE!!! Oh I hope they all fertilize!!!

SIX!!!!

Thats right folks... With 5 follies I somehow managed 6 eggs! Hoping at least 4 of these are mature. Birthday Fert report tomorrow. Seems there's something to this whole "shoot for the stars" thing!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

T Minus 8 Hours

Well we're at the starting line. Enema done. I cannot believe that I've had to subject my husband to a second round of this. Erg!!! Anyway, as I said... It's done so the doc should have a nice clear view of my follies.

We're off to bed in a few minutes. Our check in time is 6:30am and there's that 1.5hr drive to contend with so we're leaving home at 5am.

Please send us your happy thoughts and vibes for 4 mature eggs. (hey, "shoot for the stars", right?)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Monitoring #5

Went in for our last blood draw this morning. 

Results:

E2: 797
LH: (not posted yet)
P4: (not posted yet)

So it's confirmed... tonight we trigger.  I talked a little yesterday about how this delay has me feeling.  Mostly I am scared that we may have lost our big follie (round here we're now referring to the follies in size order by letters of the alphabet A through E. "Number 21" sounds so impersonal, so 21mm = A, or Allen, or Alice or any name beginning with A, 17mm = B, or Bob or Betty, etc).  I WISH I knew how they were looking today, but I think it's probably best that I don't know.

The last few days I've spent a lot of time talking to them, and singing to them, and eating really well to make them strong - loads of protein shakes, willing them to grow and willing A to quit growing. This part freaks me out because after Thur there is nothing more I can do.  After Thur it's all on them.  They will mature or not mature.  They will fertilize or not fertilize.  They will divide and grow or not. And if any make it to transfer, they will either implant or not implant.  From here on out it's all up to them and it scares the hell out of me!! I am really praying for some miraculous great news and a shock of 4 strong embryos on morning of transfer, but I will be satisfied with 2.  I just want to do better than last cycle.

Was advised by the nurse that we're not the only couple in surgery this time.  There will be one other couple who are ALSO doing TESE and retrieval.  I never see anyone on the blogs talking about TESE, so I guess it will be nice to see another couple who are dealing with the same thing.  Of course she's probably going to be ridiculously normally fertile and like 22 years old with a bumper crop of 20 eggs.... Hey, at least Mr. R all hopped up on Valium might try and behave himself instead of running around flashing his naked butt at the nurses like last time. Seriously... can't take him anywhere!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Monitoring # 4








Monday morning and here I sit in the doc's lobby waiting for my u/s.  I'm bloated to the point that I am running out of pants to wear comfortably... And I am gassy as all hell which pairs wonderfully with the other fab side effect of all this estrogen... Ridiculously high sex drive. This weekend I could barely keep my hands off Mr R! I think it helps to know that after trigger we're going to have to go 3 weeks without. I am a master of the lean-sit, push your hips to the front of the seat and lean back I to the chair back so your lower stomach is almost straightened out. It's super fun when you consider that I am just under 6feet tall and most of that height is legs so I look ridiculous but I don't care. I am super uncomfortable. How? HOW? Do those of you with normal ovaries and 12 large follicles deal with this?? These 4 are too much for me!

Today I plan on noting the sizes as she calls them out. Yesterday when measuring my right side the nurse gave me a measurement of one of the follies around 10, but when I logged in to my portal for the exact measurements it showed nothing on the right. In fact all of yesterday's measurements were "off" so today I am taking notes.

I still have such a positive feeling about this cycle. I find myself driving along and singing to my ovaries and talking to my eggs - willing them to grow. I'm starting to have flashes of images in my head of how my life will look with a baby - something I've never been able to do before. I hope that all this positivity doesn't burn me in the end. But I'm going to go with it. Last cycle I could not have been more negative and look how it played out... 

Phew! This post is already super long... Can you tell I was WAY early for my appointment and no one has blogged this morning so I have nothing to read.

Back from u/s and waiting to hear... My 20 is now a 21, my 17 is still 17, and my 14s are also pretty much unchanged.  And I confirmed... on the right, we're still sitting at just under 11mm... so he's no longer a contender. We MIGHT delay trigger another day, all depends on my blood work.  I am completely okay with whatever decision the doctor makes at this point.  Mr R would prefer to trigger tomorrow, retrieval on Thursday because then he'd get Thu and Fri off (recovery from TESE) before the long weekend.  I just want to trigger whenever we're likely to get the best return on investment.  I was really hoping that my right and the 5th on my left would show up, but now that that seems unlikely and we're looking at 4, with 2 of them probably being immature at retrieval... argh... I dunno....

Portal is not yet updated and I haven't received my instruction call, so I will close this out and add when I know more.

EDIT TO ADD:

FINALLY had the call now.  We trigger tomorrow night.  My E2 is up in the 600s now and my LH is rising so we're out of time.

Follie Measurements: LT: 21.51, 17.81, 14.84, 14.32 RT: 10.88
Endo Thickness:  10.5mm
Bloods:

E2:  623
LH: 2.1
P4: 0.55

Retrieval is now set for Thursday morning. Oh PLEASE let those 14s do something amazing tonight!! (And please don't let the big guy go too far).  I talked earlier today about how positive I was feeling about this cycle.  Suddenly I am freaking out... I feel like we're going to wait too long on the 21mm and lose it, and the 14s will continue to stay put leaving us with just the 17mm in the lab.  One fert, one transfer, BFN.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Monitoring #3

We aren't triggering today.  Let me back up...

It seems that measurements yesterday (or today) were off...  On my right today they don't see any over 10mm, whereas yesterday they saw 2 at 9 and 10.  

On my left it seems the big 20.33mm one from yesterday is now 20.47mm, not much growth over night.  The others are:  17.69, 14.59, 14.26 - so some have shrunk? Or measured differently?  I don't know.  At any rate our doctor feels -- and I agree -- that it's worth waiting for those 14s to catch up a bit so while I could have triggered today, we're going to wait another day and see what we can do with the little'uns.

So we're looking at 4 mature eggs in a best case, but possibly will have to sacrifice the one (I am told that anything over 23 is probably "over-ripe").  I want those 14s over 16mm for best chance at maturity.

Bloods:
E2  414
LH 0.21
P4  0.45


Back for more monitoring tomorrow.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Monitoring #2

Looks like we've got a couple of new friends from the right ovary showing up to play... Maybe... Two more! Okay so they're still pretty small with one hovering around 10mm, but they're there. 

On the left our forerunner is already at 20 (growing about 6mm in two days) with the other 3 following a little behind at  15 and under and 1 more still less than 10mm.

They want me back tomorrow to take another look. The question is... Do we trigger tomorrow and waste all the little ones, or do we sacrifice the big one and trigger on Monday so we can reap the rest in their prime? We'll find out in the morning I guess. :/

Edited to add specific measurements:

Left: 20.33, 15.81, 15.20, 11.67 

Right: 10.16

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Numbers

Finally, 30 minutes before Doctors office closes for the weekend, I get my results...

E2 158
LH 2.9
P4 0.34

Per my (stand-in) nurse my (stand-in) doctor says that these levels are consistent with the number of follies we're seeing and also look like we're going to have some time to stim a bit longer and try to get another straggler or two to catch up with my top 4 follies. 

At this point it really is sounding like we won't trigger until Monday, but I won't really know for sure until Sat monitoring appointment.

Meds will remain unchanged.

OH PLEASE! OH PLEASE! OH PLEASE! Let one or two more catch up!!!

Clearly I'm a Nutjob

Four.  That's all I have.



My right ovary decided to go on vacation.  I had 6 antrals on that side, but not 1 decided to join the party.  Left side had a better response with 4 out of 5 growing, but still... of 11 possibles all I have are 4 at this point.

Sizes:  13, 11, 10 and 9. The 5th is hanging around 6 and COULD still show up for me, but it will be a ways behind the others and probably not mature.  On the right side all 6 are between 4 and 5 and highly unlikely to show up.

Game plan for this weekend is to work on my stress levels, do my fertility yoga for blood flow, guzzle protein shakes and Mr R's big plan is to focus all the shots on my right side... I've explained that this won't make a difference, but I will let him focus on what he thinks will help at this point.

Next monitoring appointment is Saturday, possible trigger on Sunday night, but she says it's likely that we'll wait till Monday to trigger and push the retrieval back a day to Wed 7/9.

Okay, so let's focus on the positives? Last cycle I had 3 follies, 2 on the right which measured 20.52 and 14.87 at retrieval and 1 on the left measuring 14.07 at retrieval.  Only one was mature (obvs the 20.52) and while the other two matured over night, they failed to fertilize and arrested on Day 2. This cycle they are closer in size and it's likely that I will have more than 1 over 18mm at retrieval which means a higher likelihood of 4 MATURE eggs and hopefully then 4 fertilized eggs.

Premature question of the day?
IF we have 4 embryos,

1)  Do we risk going to day 5 and losing some?

2)  And if we have 4 do we still put 3 back? Or do we transfer 2 and save 2?

I need to quit thinking about this.... Meh.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Am I Insane?

Last cycle I was largely unaffected by the stims - aside from the daily headaches and one awful migrine, but we think this was the Lupron.  Other than that, and a little bloating, nothing.  And of the 17 follies I started with, I had only 3 develop, with one of those being a giant leap ahead of the others.

This time is different.  Different meds, different protocol and totally different reaction.  But I am a little concerned that this might all be in my head.  I'm still getting the daily Lupron headaches. But I swear I am feeling bubbling and twinging in my lower abdomen.  I am also...well here it is folks... I am super gassy, peeing constantly and super bloated, but continuously thirsty. Today my hips are hurting, like a LOT.  It's killing me not knowing what's going on in there.  I only had 11 antrals, which really isn't much compared with these ladies who have like 20-40 follies growing, so it's weird to me that I would have this strong of a reaction.  I am sure that this must be in my head. My E2 reading gives nothing away. 

CAN'T WAIT TILL TOMORROW!  I need to see them.  I need to know what's going on in there.




Monday, June 30, 2014

Monitoring #1

Today was my first post-stim start monitoring appointment.  I was excited to see how the follies are looking -- I've had all kinds of weird twinges, bubbling and tenderness in my abdomen this weekend (real or imagined) and I was excited to see what the 11 may look like today.  Turns out this was an E2 only appointment. Bleurgh! :(

I just had the call from the nurse.  E2 was 48.8 today (lower than the 58.6 I had at my last appointment... isn't that stuff supposed to go up when you start stimming?) But she didn't seem to have any issue with that number so I guess nothing to worry about.

Anyway... Per the doc I continue stims as I have been.  225iu Follistim AM and PM. Micro Lupron 20 units AM and PM.  Then on Wed I switch the evening Follistim for 225 Menopur.

Thursday morning I have another monitoring appointment this time with ultrasound.  Phew!  I am hoping that since I hadn't emptied my bladder enough before baseline u/s that there were more follies there than the nurse could see.  Now I am going in there with an empty bladder, and after a week of stims.  Hopeful that a few more might  magically appear!  If not, let's hope that the 11 are growing consistently and all keeping up.



In other news, holy Lupron headaches!! Pounding head all day today and I can't take anything stronger than Tylenol. :( Hope that this time it goes away, but I know from last cycle that these tend to go on for days.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Baseline

All I have today is my antral follicle count which was Rt ovary 6 and Lt ovary 5. Not fabulous but 11 is a decent number and I'll take it. Hoping for 8 eggs at the end of this... You hear me ovaries?? I need 8! (But I'd love it if you shocked the hell out of me with 11.)

Blood results tomorrow.

Lupron begins Thurs. Stims begin Sat.

Game on!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Apology & Update

This has been a rough, ROUGH weekend.  I am sad, depressed is probably more appropriate, stressed out and embarrassed VERY embarrassed.   Not sure how many (if any) of you read my last post, but to those of you who did... well... you will know what has happened and hopefully you will understand why I am feeling this way today.  That post wasn't up for too long, but it was unnecessary and ridiculous and I apologize to those of you who saw it.

I am going to leave that there and move on...

Tomorrow we finally go in for baseline US, bloods, and med walk-through.  After what has felt like months of waiting around taking BCPs by Thursday I should be starting Lupron, and Saturday I should start stimming.  At this point in my last cycle I would have listed all the things that could go wrong between today and first Lupron shot... But I am still trying to keep this a zen cycle and so I will not.  We're moving forward with a positive mindset and looking at tomorrow as the starting gun.  Let's get this train moving!!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

1 Year Blogging

Today is my one year blogging anniversary. Tuesday Mr R will have been at his current job for one year. Meaning he has had this same insurance for a year, and, had we checked back in June of last year we could be writing a very different blog.  Maybe.

This all just occurred to me this morning. I am so mad at myself for not checking sooner. We've always considered his insurance pretty low-rent and had therefore assumed that they wouldn't cover infertility. 

One year blogging still no baby.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Whoops!!!

So you know yesterday I posted a pic of my blister pack of BCPs with one extra missing because I'd already portioned it out into my bowl?  Well I went to take my pills this morning and found that the pill wasn't in my bowl.  A ll others were there. Mr Rs bowl was empty because he dutifully took them last night. Sooooo I think I must have accidentally given him my BCP!

I called the clinic in a panic this morning and they say it's not a big deal and they'll give me one pill to make up for it. Phew!

To be fair, pill serving is an arduous task in our house. Just look at this...

The white bowl is mine, the owl spoonrest is his.

Oh man I have to be more careful!!  He's already taking Chlomid for his sperm.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

IVF #2: First Blood

So here we go... First bloods drawn this morning, first of 20 BCPs in (tomorrows is in my pill box).


I had forgotten how awful it is driving for 2 hours for a 5 minute blood draw appointment. Of course the fact that I was up for the second night in a row with excruciating cramps didn't help my mood. For 3 hours I paced up and down in tears. If this round doesn't work it's definitely time for me to get back in with an OB about my endo. And the best part of today's draw? I got Nurse Butcher. My arch nemesis. I don't honestly know how she keeps her job. I have never had blood drawn by her without leaving with a huge knot and blood blister.



Tuesday, June 3, 2014

We've Got Dates

So apparently they do this by email and not by phone... who knew!



First up 20 long days of BCPs, with an overlapping 10 days of antibiotics and I won't even see Dr S or a single needle until 6/24 when I go in for pre-Lupron u/s, med review, labs, consents, and possibly (because this wasn't noted in my paperwork) Hysterosono and test transfer. Do you have that with every IVF cycle, or just the first?

The Schedule:
6/3 - CD1
6/24 - Baseline appointment
6/26 - Start Lupron
6/28 - Start stims
7/8 - Expected ER
7/11 - My 36th birthday
7/13 - Expected ET

And so you see I will be crossing over into the 36+ bracket next month.  But do not fear.  My ER is on the 8th, so while my uterus will be 36, the eggs will be those of a 35 year old.  *fist pump!*

I am heading back to bed.  I decided to re-watch Sherlock from the very beginning.  Can't focus anyway!

Just Killin' Killin' Time

What to do when your period shows up at last (okay, only a day late) and you've called in to the nurses line as instructed, but no one has called you back?



Well of course you distractedly avoid the enormous pile of work on your desk while you wait for that call...  So far today I have unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher, done two loads of laundry, mopped the floors, watched the entire series of Does this Baby Make Me Look Fat, called RE front desk trying to schedule CD1 appointment myself - I can't, I have to wait for my nurse to call me, and lastly find a new blog template.

Not sure I like it.  It's very orange. It may not stay.



Next I am toying with the idea of hitting Netflix for a little Sherlock, Season 3 action...

Monday, June 2, 2014

Still Waiting...

So today should be CD1, only it's not because the one freaking time I am relying on my always-punctual AF to arrive perfectly on schedule, she doesn't... So now I am left trying to plan out my work week blindly allowing for a possible 5 hour block of missing time so I can get to the RE, do testing and consults and drive the 1.5 hours it takes to get home. Thank God I am now freelancing so my time is more flexible.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

What it Takes

My mind is blown.  After years of trying and saving and desperate pleas to God I am at last standing here with a GIANT box that is filled with the makings of my future baby/ies.



THIS is what it takes for me to have a child...  I don't know whether to laugh or cry. I know this isn't my first cycle, but really, this is the first "REAL" cycle. This is the first time I got to meet the Fedex guy carrying my giant box of meds instead of hanging around the RE's office waiting for labs to determine if I get to return home with the next batch of drugs.  My last cycle was really only Lupron, Gonal F, Ovidrel and Crinone (aside from antibiotics, valium and that blasted enema). We won't order our Lupron until closer to start, so that isn't pictured here.


Here's what is in each pic:
Crinone x 2 boxes
Follistim Cartridges x 4
Menopur Mixing vials
Doxycycline
Prednisone
Diazepam
Estradiol
(And peeking in at top left, my needles)

Here we have:
Meopur vials again
Follistim pen and handy carrying case (boxed)
Syringes
Q caps

And lastly:
- Novarel
- Syringes
- Q caps again
-Alcohol wipes
- Biohazard container

Awesome... making a baby (for me) requires the use of a biohazard container.

Honestly though... This box mostly makes me so ridiculously, incredibly happy!  I didn't think I would EVER make it this far.  We were so sure that we'd never be able to do another cycle if the trial didn't work and yet by the grace of God here I stand with a box full of medication standing on the doorstep of another cycle. We are blessed!  I am grateful.

T minus 11 days till CD1 (hopefully)

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Zulily Fail


Thanks Zulily for getting me so stupendously wrong. I have no idea why, but all I ever seem to get from them are maternity clothes, and baby gear promos and yet I've never purchased from either of these categories... I mean once, back during IVF 1 I did scroll through the baby stuff briefly... That's probably it. Erg

Friday, May 16, 2014

One-Two-Nine-Oh-Nine

Please know that this post is not meant as a gloat... if anything I hope that it will encourage you to sign yesterday's plea for signatures on the petition I shared. 

I've pretty much known I would need ART since 2007, but it was NEVER something I could afford.  Back then I did a little Google research, saw estimates in the tens of thousands for IVF treatment and stopped right there.  With no insurance at the time we had to save up for a teeth cleaning appointment cost of $900 and we could never seem to get that together.  I listened to all the people who kept telling me to relax, it would happen when the time was right.  Besides, with finances being so unpredictable maybe it was sort of best that I wasn't expecting a child.

In 2009 I approached my OB with questions.  She explained that testing me would cost more, but since my husband (at the time) has had a history of smoking pot that he was likely the issue and since his tests were cheaper we should start there. His results were not excellent, not good, but certainly not bad so we were told to move up to an RE as I likely had some things that needed looking at too.  I started saving... then we had a cracked sewer line, then we had to get a newer car, then the foundation cracked and we lost another sewer line, then the bathroom walls started buckling and leaking water... and before I knew it we were $5,000 in credit card debt without a penny in savings. Oh, and then I got divorced.

In Dec 2012, Mr R and I meet with an RE.  We know that we will need to go the ART route since Mr. R has a 14 yr old vasectomy and I know that I likely have issues based on results of 2009 tests.  It is confirmed.  We received our ballpark IVF costs and we go home to start saving.  I should add that two divorces, a move across country and a career ending shoulder surgery for Mr. R meant that financially we were in the toilet already. But at 34 years old I knew my time was running out.  We start saving, we cut everything we can think of, we announce our troubles to family on FB and start begging for help through a crowd-funding website.  We have yard sales, and sell pretty much everything.  You know how much we made? $3,000 of the $15,000 we would need.

September 2013 we hear about a trial that I would qualify for.  It's not entirely free, but with just a little more saving we can cover the out of pocket portion:  $4,500 for the trial, facility fees and for Mr. Rs TESE procedure.  We're elated when our parents offer to make up the difference. We get on the list and wait... 3 long months we wait while the government shutdown puts the study on hold.

You know how the trial went.  It's well documented here.  But after laying down every penny we had in the world for our one shot at IVF we were out of options.  I didn't qualify for a second round of the trial and we were completely out of money. I had reached the end of the road. Until we received a call from Mr. Rs urologist asking us where she should send the refund check to? Huh?  Refund?

Well she accepted our debit card payment for the TESE procedure by phone, but when she submitted it to Mr.Rs insurance company they accepted the claim and paid out.... INSURANCE COMPANY?  I mean, we knew he had insurance with BlueCross but he'd had this insurance before with another employer and they barely paid for anything so we had no clue that they might pay for TESE... but why would they?  I mean it's a fertility procedure.  So Mr. R called them to find out and he discovered that HE HAS FERTILITY COVER!!  They will cover up to 4 IVFcycles. (Lot's more fine print, but the point is... THEY WILL COVER 4 TRIES!!)

Now judge me all you like, but you should know that when this blog began Mr. R and I were not married.... *Shock!* I know... After two nasty divorces we were quite happy to never get married again. Without being married I was stuck on my company crappy insurance, while over there on his side was the Golden Egg of insurance policies!  So yeah, we got married!  It was the two of us and a Judge friend of ours.  We wore blue jeans, it was a Sunday and he married us at his desk in the back of his courthouse in our country town on a Sunday.  I have plans for a proper wedding, but the marriage wasn't too bad. The very next day Mr. R added me to his insurance and we were all set! I called our RE and they checked and yes, she confirmed what Mr. R had been told, 4 cycles IVF, but she wasn't sure about meds.  Meds we could cover... probably.  I have subscribed to all the discount programs.  I've had those cards for ages and we could live on peanut butter and beans and rice for a while till we had enough saved for meds.

Yesterday I called my meds around to pharmacies to get quotes.  For interests sake I asked what the out of pocket would be for each drug... Let me just say that there is a group of VERY wealthy nuns out there somewhere.  Follistim = $1,618 each and I need 4 of them - though I did find much cheaper options for that later in the day.

One of the pharmacies that my nurse had sent the prescription to called me to give me their "after insurance" quote..... My palms were sweating...
Her: "So your doctor says we cannot put through the order for Micro Lupron just yet, you'll need to add $10 for that to the total I am going to give you.  But your order comes to..."
*I held my breath*
"one-two-nine-oh-nine..."
Me: TWELVE THOUSAND?
Her: "No.."
Me (cutting in): One thousand...
Her (cutting in): NO! One hundred twenty nine dollars and nine cents."
Me: *faint!*

Ladies and gentlemen... I am about to do a full IVF cycle for an estimated $2,639.09 total which includes facilities, TESE, and drugs. And the only reason it's so high is because the RE's surgical center is out of network.  I'd like to remind you that my "free" trial cycle cost us $4,500... and I had no say in anything.  I wish that ALL of us had this cover.  It is ridiculous to me how many insurance companies will cover bariatric surgery, but infertility is a no-no.  Something MUST be done about this!

I am over the moon excited, but at the same time I feel sick with guilt because  after 7 years of panicking about the money, I got lucky. Mr R. happens to work for a mostly-male company where I guess they just didn't think about fertility claims?  I don't know how it happened, but my heart aches for all who are having to pay this out of pocket.  Who are having to fight to save the money, before the fight for a take home baby.  Infertility is a medical issue.  Medical insurance should pay for medical issues. We should ALL be covered. It's that simple.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Do This... PLEASE!



I stumbled upon this petition on one of my regular read blogs.  We discovered that we're LUCKY enough to have IVF coverage on my husband's insurance.  We also struggled for years trying to save enough to pay for a cycle out of pocket before we had this insurance.  It is ridiculous that IVF coverage is not mandatory.  RIDICULOUS!  This is a medical condition not some frivolous elective procedure.

Sign the petition here >>

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Catching Up...

It has been a while and a LOT has happened in the last few months... I'll write a better catch up soon, but today I made the call to get the ball rolling again because guess what??? We discovered that Mr. R has IVF coverage through his employer subsidized insurance!!!! We nearly fainted when we found out!

As our previous cycle was part of a study there was no WTF appointment.  It was just over.  I didn't get the minimum 5 eggs necessary for a second trial subsidized attempt, and our beautiful 3 day 8A embryo didn't implant in my "perfect" lining so we were done.  I decided to schedule an appointment myself... The trial was managed by nurses, and we didn't consult with doctors on the process at all, outside of the test transfer, retrieval and transfer.  I decided not to go with Dr. C who was my previous RE, not because I don't like him, but because one of his partners (Dr. S) had done the test transfer and the retrieval and I had really liked working with him.  I felt like he was more invested in the trial cycle and I wanted his take on things.

My gut was right.  I LOVED him.  He's blunt, no-nonsense and to the point and he looked over the charts from the trial and made the same observations I had had.  Namely... The BCP suppression didn't work... (I bled the whole way through). They started me on WAY too low a dose of Lupron and then waited too long for me to reach the magical E2 level before stimming... which was almost impossible for me and many others in this study! And he laughed out loud at the dose of stims they had me on... He says any woman over 35 who walks into his office DOR or no DOR he wouldn't start them on stim dose lower than 450 and there I was for almost 2 weeks on 225!  He isn't shocked that we had such a low number of eggs.  He WAS surprised that our one awesome egg didn't take given the excellent odds, but these things happen.

He has put together a plan for me, a CUSTOM plan.  YAY!! And he is hopeful that we will have a much higher number of eggs given that I started with 15 follies before stimming last time -- he feels that they waited too long to stim and that's why we ended up with just the 3 at retrieval.

I called in today to get my drug list so I can start calling around for prices.

If you have an awesome pharmacy to recommend PLEASE let me know!

Here's what I know about so far...

Microdose Lupron Flare Protocol, 5 Day Transfer with ICSI and Assisted Hatching


1) BCP - NOT Desogen.  We're going to try something else.
2) Doxycycline
3) Microdose Lupron
4)  Follistim
5) Menopur
6) Pregnyl (Trigger)
7) Prednisone
8) Crinone 8% (Bleurgh!)
9) Estrace Oral
10) Pregnyl (HCG Boosters)
11) Valium for retrieval

(Updated list)

If everything goes to schedule (HAH!)  I start BCPs on June 2nd, and projected ER for July 7 with ET on July 11th... my birthday... 

I know NOTHING about Microdose Lupron and it seems counter-intuitive to me to say "I wouldn't start any woman over 35 on Lupron less than 450" but then prescribe me something with the words "micro dose" in the title.  I have to do more reading on this... But I am confused. [Strikethrough because DUH!  I clearly did a total brain shutdown in the post-failed-cycle-IF-avoidance months. Thank you to WhenHowWhy for refreshing my memory/knowledge.]

But first things first... let's shop these prescriptions around and see what the insurance is willing to cover.

 

Monday, March 10, 2014

I'm Out

9dp3dt and it's a BFN with cramps, backache and full flow period. 

I am gutted.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

This isn't "it"

Here we are, 6am on 7dp3dt, BFN.  Yes, I know this is still REALLY early.  I also know that I have an overwhelming feeling that I am not pregnant. I feel it in my gut. The first few days after transfer I felt all sorts of fluttering and bubbling in my belly. I had intense back pain that radiated into my hip joints. I felt something. Since Wed that has all disappeared. All I have now is a faint breast tenderness a lot like what I experience in the days leading up to my period, before the intense endo-fueled cramps start.

I took a tumble at work on Wed. I twisted my ankle and fell to my knees with a jolt. I keep thinking that maybe that's what happened? I mean, my instructions were to not lift anything heavier than a gallon of  milk so I am guessing that a fall to the ground from 6 feet is probably also not great for an embryo trying to implant.

Ugh! This sucks. I know I'm not out till either AF shows up, or I get a negative BETA but I am running seriously low on hope.  

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Winter is Coming

Stark white. Snow white. Nothing.

It's WAY too early. Today is 5dp3dt!! I am crazy to be testing this early. 

At least now we know that yesterday's test was for sure an evap. 

Going to try not to test again till Saturday morning. TRY.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Let the Insanity Commence...

This morning on a whim I took a CVS Early Pregnancy Test. There was SOMETHING... Mr R, who is color blind and has trouble with blues and greens saw nothing. I made the pic b&w and a skinny line was visible even to him. I am sure it was an evap - though the line I saw was in 1min... Now there is a clear blue SKINNY line... I feel it was an evap. But of course now the mania has set it and I need to pee on anything that isn't nailed down!! *Sigh*

Tomorrow morning I have a date with an FRER... Or two... It is still WAY too early to test, but my TWW brain doesn't give a hoot. I am testing and that's that.

Wish me luck please!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

8A


Our lion was 8A this morning and was returned to a uterus with "excellent lining" according to the RE who did the transfer. "There's no reason for this not to work under these conditions," she said.

We could not get assisted hatching because this is a medical trial. We also cannot take any additional folate , B complex or baby aspirin - necessary for my MTHFR - as the trial forbids this. Only once a heartbeat is confirmed can we start additional therapies.

And now we wait...

Friday, February 28, 2014

Division Report

Our two smaller eggs, ( we named them Leo and Hadrian) didn't fertilize and will be discarded this morning.  :(

Our little lion was 2-cell, grade A this morning!!  He says that is his highest grade and he has every confidence that our little lion will be 4-8cell Grade A tomorrow for transfer.

I am sad that he's coming back on his own.  But SO grateful that we have at least one to put back.