38 weeks pregnant

Okay, I’ve left a big gap there.  My last post, I wrote how my IVF cycle was cancelled.  After that cycle, I did another cycle which resulted in the transfer of two top quality day 3 embryos that resulted in an early miscarriage.  This was followed by another cycle which also resulted in the transfer of two top quality day 3 embryos that resulted in a single pregnancy.

I did come on here once since that time and poured out my emotions about being pregnant after such a journey, but somehow I lost it before I posted it.  Definitely not the same as after a natural conception.  With my naturally conceived son, I was excited to go for a scan and see the tiny me.  I learned that it was a boy and excitedly shopped for clothes.  This time, the days preceding my first scans were nerve wrecking.  Every other IVF cycle had failed at one point.  Every cycle I expected the wheels to fall off at some point, and every cycle they did.  That is all I knew.  That is what I expected this time too and that is what I expected the scans to reveal.  ‘There’s one arm, now where’s the other’, the lady says to herself as she probes around.  ‘Great, so that’s what’s wrong’ I think with a sinking heart.  ‘It’s missing an arm!’

I was 38 weeks on Saturday and no missing arms or other abnormalities have been detected.  But somehow I still can’t believe that I will have a live baby.  I went to buy a breast pump a few days ago.  Then I was suddenly filled with a sense of dread that I was jinxing myself.  I would now have a breast pump here as a reminder of the baby that never eventuated.  Just like after each IVF failure, I would have jabs and bruise marks all over my stomach from all the injections that I just hated to stare at and wanted to go away.  They were a reminder of another IVF failure.  And now I was buying a breast pump as a painful reminder that this pregnancy did not eventuate.  The breast pump turned out to be faulty so I didn’t buy it.

On the other hand, I know that I will never be pregnant again.  That I should enjoy every last kick and movement.  That I should write about them so that I can re-read and remember the feeling.  I feel punches and kicks, but I also feel the baby pressing against my abdomen, as though it is out of room and stretching out inside of me.  I was induced with my first and having heard that being induced is five times worse than natural labor, I am keen to avoid a repeat.  Today I have felt sensations lower down in my pelvis, so hopefully that is a good sign that the baby is heading south and preparing for an exit.  But still, I am nervous about watching my due date of 26.03.16 come and go, and then feeling the pressure of counting down being two weeks overdue which is the maximum the hospital will allow before I am induced again.

Even not being induced, I am nervous.  It still won’t be a walk in the park.  The first time ignorance was bliss as I decided not to do any research about what labor would involve and just to trust in the professionals at the hospital when the time came, but this time I know what I am in for.  Granted, on the other side of the coin, being blissfully ignorant turned out to be a very bad thing last time, as I wasn’t aware how blissfully ignorant the staff also were at the hospital, where I was to lie on my back with legs in stirrups, unaware this is the worst position (bar doing a handstand) for the baby to put pressure on the cervix and for gravity to assist with delivery.  Instead when their placement of me was ineffective, I was torn apart with blunt scissors and sutured by the trainee that left my GP taking one look and commenting ‘My goodness, that’s shocking!  Who did this?’  I now have permanent pain.  The hospital was also ignorant on breastfeeding, telling me he doesn’t need to be fed after he’s been born and taking him away from me so I could rest.  Then the next midwife showed her ignorance by not being aware of incorrect attachment as my son was struggling to breathe while he fed with his nose pressing into me.  Instead of correcting the attachment, I was instructed to use one hand to push into my breast tissue to make room for his nose.  Very awkward but I did as instructed.  Then the next midwife shrugging her shoulders when I asked why I had a cyst on my nipple after feeding.  She was another who was unaware of correct attachment, but as she had no clue and it wasn’t hurting, I didn’t pursue the matter.  Then being told ‘we are busy with our own patients’ when I rang up at 11pm asking if I could come in for advice as I started suffering excruciating pain from what I now know to be incorrect attachment.  I tried to plead that I was one of their patients, that I was meant to be there for 48 hours but even left at 24 hours and now just needed 10 minutes back of that time, but the same answer was repeated to me.  So in response to that horrid experience, I have this time gone down the opposite path and have prepared a birth plan that turned out to be so long, I had to summarise it before I handed it in at the hospital so it was simple enough that points would not get skipped as I gave birth while the midwife had to skim through my 20 page plan.  I got it down to 3 pages.  So my knowledge this time means that I will know what to do even if the midwifes don’t.  But I’m still fearful that something will go wrong.  That they will forget my plan and cut the cord before I have had a chance to realise what is going on and before all the stem cells and iron and cancer fighting T cells in the cord have been absorbed by my child.  That they will inject my child with synthetic vitamin K.  That my gaping episiotomy scar will cause issues, or worse still, that they will cut me elsewhere and I will have double the pain and a doubly mutilated who ha.  I still get upset when I think about my first experience and I worry that going through childbirth and being in hospital again will be re-living that horrid experience instead of this one being the empowering experience I want it to be.

So while I should be and want to be enjoying my last few days of pregnancy, they are also a time of nerves for more reasons than the average mother who has not experience what I have.

Adding number 11 to my IVF list

Yep.  IVF 10 has come and gone.  The Dr in charge while my Dr was away recommended cancelling because I only had 3 mature follicles compared to 7 the cycle before so he thinks I can do better.  I was really annoyed.  I know that some cycles I start with 5 follicles others I start with 15-19.  So I asked (or at least tried to before my nurse cut me off) the nurse if I could have a day 2 scan.  Can’t recall exactly what my nurse replied, but I remember clearly that it was with her usual very quick dismissing manner.  So instead, I just start the drugs blindly on day 2, then a scan on day 6 shows it was only a 5 follicle month so I continue injecting up until day 12 when the Dr says not much happening and better to cancel.  Isn’t that crazy?  Now I’ve injected hormones into my body for nothing.  Now I have to take two months of IVF while I wait for my body to recover and while I recommence Aspirin to increase my AFC again.

I spoke to my Dr about this issue in my follow up chat.  She is adding a day 2 scan to my notes so next time this nurse has to arrange it for me like it or not.

I actually stopped DHEA in December after having taken it for nearly two years.  But after this cancellation, I read a paper that summarised all the studies on DHEA, all of which showed only positive outcomes… it increases AFC, it increases peak E2 levels, it increases pregnancy rates, it increases embryo quality and it reduced miscarriage rate.  So I guess I’m kinda glad that I am taking two months off to resume DHEA and allow time for it to take effect.

But now the long wait begins until I can get going again.  Because this is the last IVF I can afford, I am really trying to eat perfect and exercise.  I had a week of grieving the failure of IVF 10, eating buckets of ice cream and whatever other high carb junk I could lay my hands on.  But today is day 4 of eating absolutely perfect.  I have been recording my food in Calorie King and ensuring my protein is above 25% and carbs are beloew 40%, which I have managed each day with flying colours.

Another motivation for losing weight is my hCG levels post trigger.  I wrote in my last blog about how I injected the trigger at an angle in IVF 8 which left me with a red hard sore lump and only 1 mature egg from several mature follicles.  So in IVF 9, I injected as hard as I could and then a minute later, noticed watery blood dripping down my abdomen.  I had my hCG levels tested 12 hours post trigger and they were low at around 160.  I blamed it on the loss of injection in the watery blood.  But this IVF 10, the trigger went to plan and my level 12 hours post was only 148!

I read an article showing that obese women have levels around 150 and non obese around 300.  I have the levels of an obese woman.  I am not obese and my BMI is within the health range (just!).  But I have lots of flab on my tummy, butt, hips and thighs.  So if this article showed less weight equals better trigger results, then that’s one more reason to lose weight.  And it makes sense that if losing weight will improve the absorbtion of the trigger, it will also improve the absorbtion of the FSH medication and get more of that stuff to my ovaries for more eggs.

So today is day 3 of my current cycle.  I have this cycle and next cycle to get trim and terrific before IVF the following cycle.

Gearing up for IVF 10

At the time of my last post of I was in the midst of IVF 8.  I had that one measly egg that did fertilise and actually made it all the way to day 4.  I was al excited and ready to walk out the door for my day 5 transfer when I got a phone call to say that it had arrested when they checked it that morning.

I then dragged myself through another emotional roller coaster with IVF 9.  As I wrote in IVF 8, the trigger injection failed due to me following the clinics instructions to inject at an angle.  So with IVF 9, I made sure I shoved the needle as hard and far in as I possibly could – so much so that after I took the needle out and started putting away the rubbish and used needles, I then looked down and noticed very watery blood dribbling down my abdomen with splashes on the floor!  The blood was watery because it contained all my precious Pregnyl!  Also, before I injected, I lost more drops of the stuff when I pushed the air out of the syringe and accidentally pushed too far.  I had 7 mature follicles but due to another trigger stuff up, only 3 were mature.  Of those 3 two were top quality day 3 embryos.  One was 11 cells and the other was 13 and starting to compact into a morula.  I had them both transferred.  I am convinced one/both of them started implanting as I had a definite physical feeling from day 24 – 28 of my cycle that was not like my usual period cramps and can only describe as a pregnant feeling.  On day 29 I thought to myself ‘mmm, the feeling is more of a period cramp type now’.  Not long after that, there was blood.

The one thing I did differently last cycle was start the Lupron from day 6 of my cycle which is an LH medication.  According to Dr Hope, this mimics what the body naturally does of producing LH as the follicles start to mature.  I have read a study article that showed women whose estrogen levels drop the day after trigger have > 25% reduced chance of pregnancy.  My estrogen levels have dropped every previous cycle that I have had my blood tested.  But not this one.  I was ecstatic about that.  And to have 2 out of 3 eggs turn into top quality embryos further backs that up.  So I am repeating this protocol for IVF number 10.  It seems that if I repeat the same protocol and this time don’t stuff up the trigger, then this time I should have more top quality embryos to work with right?  But just because my E2 levels continued to rise post trigger last IVF, that’s no guarantee the same thing will happen this time even on the same protocol.

Last cycle I had hubby deposit his specimen into a cup at ovulation time and I actually injected the stuff straight into my cervix.  I thought that perhaps bypassing my non fertile mucus producing vagina and getting the sperm straight into the cervix would help.  But I got my period as usual.  So I am now on day 3 of my cycle and planning to start estrogen tablets on day 20 in preparation for IVF number 10 next cycle.

I was doing really well not having this constantly on my mind.  But since my period has arrived and I am now counting down to day 20 of my cycle when I can start estrogen to feel like something is starting to produce my miracle baby, time is moving glacial slow again.

Before my last IVF, I was eating protein bars regularly after reading that the high protein low carb diet increases IVF success.  This time I have been trying to eat more protein from natural sources rather than from protein bars that contain lots of numbers in them.  Also, I have decided to try to avoid soy in the lead up to and during this IVF.  I read that soy reduces fertility in mice.  Also, since I am taking estrogen tablets from day 20 of this cycle, I want them to have their most beneficial effect and don’t want to have soy interfering with that by constantly having estrogen in my system.

I am really struggling financially with all of this.  My credit card is still $3000.00 in debt after the last IVF.  But I don’t have time to wait and pay that off then save again before I embark on IVF 10.  I am 37 now, turning 38 in July.  I have applied to my work to have my long service leave cashed out to me.  When I spoke to the payroll guy, he told me I need to speak to the state manager in order to arrange this.  He did not give me any indication that this was not a possibility and by the way he spoke to me, I thought it was just a matter of going through the procedure.   But when I chased up the state manager after he didn’t respond to my email, he said he has not heard of it being done, nor have the people he has asked.  I then went online to find information for him (to encourage him to arrange this for me in my desperation!), only to find every website saying it is illegal.  He has promised me a response by tomorrow, but now I am expecting it to be declined.  I have spoken to the bank about a loan and they are going to telephone me Thursday to follow up with me.  So I will probably be applying for a loan on Thursday.  It made me think for a split second for the first time that perhaps I should call it quits.  This is ridiculous.  I am already $3000 in debt.  And now I am going further into debt.  What if I end up $8000 in debt at the end of this and still no baby.  But I don’t feel ready to quit yet.  I need to give it 100% before I get too much older.  I don’t want to go through life watching my son grow up alone.

You would think that by investing so much financially into this, and knowing that I can’t afford this again, I would be doing everything I can to make it succeed.  But after the last IVf failure, I haven’t had the same motivation.  I eat mostly healthy but I still binge on junk.  Last night I nearly polished off a box of Shapes.  I am 5 kilos heavier now than when I started my last IVF cycle.  I need to get my act together.  This is stupid.  This is my last chance and I am killing it.

IVF 8 Failure Confirmed

So last post was at day 6 of IVF 8.  I thought it was game over because day 6 showed the decision to increase my medications this cycle to produce more eggs had instead produced 3 follicles growing really hard and fast and over mature for day 6.  I went home in despair and pigged out on Hungry Jacks twice, even once topping up the coke with a good slurp of bourbon.

Well the next scan showed my follicles to be at 10-11mm, not 15-18.  I don’t know how the first lady got it so wrong?  By my last scan, I had 8 follicles that could potentially produce a mature egg.  The two smallest were 11mm which could possibly be immature and the largest one was 24mm which could possibly be over mature.  But 5 perfect sided follicles in between.

I had taken the Pregnyl trigger shot for the first time during IVF 7.  Pregnyl preparation involves having to snap a glass vial open which I was a bit hesitant about.  So I gave hubby the vials and instructions and let him do it.  He handed it to me and I injected it in at 90 degrees just like all the other injections.  But this time, hubby was out so I carefully read the instructions myself which actually said to inject at 45 degrees.  Not what I had done last time but I followed the instructions dutifully.

Well the syringe was very resistant to me pushing on it, it hurt like hell going in and the next day I had a hard very sore lump at the injection site.   The following day at egg collection I had a measly 4 eggs retrieved of which only was was mature.   My only logical explanation is that because the trigger was injected at an angle – and it is already a very short needle, the Pregnyl was delivered into my skin or fat underneath my skin, instead of beneath the skin into my blood stream.   Without the eggs having received the trigger to mature them

Day 7 of IVF 8I

I have spent the last two days with a gut wrenching feeling in my stomach. I find myself breaking down in tears at every time I have a moment to myself.

I went for a day 6 scan yesterday.  Here’s the results
L:  19, 15, 14, 8R:  17, 11 7, 2 x smaller ones
She looked at my left ovary first and as soon as she saw that first big follicle and measured it to be 19mm, I knew it was game over.  Last cycle I had 19 follicles but only 5 mature eggs.  This cycle, the Dr suggested upping the medication to get more growing.  Made sense.  But all that has happened it that it got the few dominant follicles growing really hard and fast instead.

So really, the 19, 15 and 17mm are ready to trigger.  But I know that growing them this hard and fast is bad for egg quality.  They said to keep going and come back Thursday for review.   But I just wish they would have cancelled.  What’s the point?  Are they allowing the bigger ones to over mature and focusing on hoping the 8, 7 and 2 x smaller ones grow?

I know that the first follicles to mature are the ones that contain the best egg.  This makes sense based on the fact that each natural cycle your body picks the strongest couple of follicles to grow.  So even if these smaller ones do grow, they won’t be good quality.  So I am just hoping that Thursday shows that I have over mature follicles and smaller follicles, with nothing available for egg collection so they tell me to cancel.  I don’t want the conundrum of having 2-3 follicles at the right size at day 14 and then having to decide if it is worthwhile going ahead for a measly 2-3 eggs that won’t be the best quality because they weren’t my bodies first choice.  I want the first maturing follicles to be a part of the egg collection.  Last cycle I only had 3 mature follicles at day 14.  They decided to wait until day 16 for egg collection and got two more eggs.  But then when they did ICSI, two eggs broke apart.  The Dr said this happens when they are over mature.  So what was the point in allowing my first maturing eggs/my best eggs, to over mature for the sake of collecting two more inferior eggs.  Would those two eggs have produced my miracle baby?  Would I be pregnant now?  I don’t know.  I do know that I don’t want to repeat that which is what is happening this cycle.

IVF 7 Is Another Fail

I’m kinda getting used to this IVF failure thing now.  I remember the first failure.  I was absolutely devastated.  That devastation wasn’t helped by the negligence of the Dr not looking at both ovaries during EC!  I went back straight away, not being able to handle failure, and needing it fixed right away with a success.  But now I am well into the swing of failure and heartache.  I just stay in this place from one IVF cycle to the next to save me having to fall back down again.

I had 5 mature eggs collected.  This was my personal record.  The previous record was 4 mature eggs after starting with 8 follicles at day 2.  But I have worked hard on myself since then and this time I started with 19.  So I really expected more than 5 and even though 5 is my personal record, it was disappointing considering the 19 start.  My fantastic IVF Dr had suggested adding calcium to the eggs this time when they inject the sperm to up the fertilization rate.  I had never heard of this before but went home and read only promising things about it.  I also opted for HA sperm selection after seeing that on the price list of my IVF clinic.  So when I got the phone call the day after egg collection, the nurses first words were ‘All five eggs were mature…’  That immediately brought a smile to my dial, knowing that they would all fertilize with the assistance of the calcium.  The nurse continues her sentence ‘… one  fertilized’.

I was absolutely gutted.  I was at work when I got the phone call, but later went home and cried.  It felt like it was all over then and there.  I got a call at day 2 that it was at the 4 cell stage.  I got another update on day 3 that it was at 10 cells.  The call on day 4 was to advise that the embryo was still progressing and to book a time for my day 5 transfer.  The call on day 5 as I was preparing to head out the door was to say it had arrested overnight.  Game over.

I came to a discovery after this IVF:

Round 1 and 2:  4 out of 5 eggs fertilise

Round 3 and 4:  2 out of 8 eggs fertilise

I have had 7 attempts at IVF, but only 4 went to egg collection which are included in my statistics here.  The difference is that the first two rounds were on Puregon alone and the last two had the addition of Menopur.   So I feel like I have a glimmer of hope for next IVF if this trend is correct and is a reliable indicator that removing the Menopur next IVF will bring my fertilisation rate up.  But I just keep hitting snags with each IVF.  After each IVF fails, I try to be practical and come up with a solution.  I then head into my next IVF thinking I have solved the problem but something else goes wrong.  So I am not feeling to hopeful about my revelation on what caused my low fertilization rate.  I am just waiting to see what goes wrong next.

I have my appointment with my IVF Dr this Thursday.  I am really wishing it would hurry up and come.  This was my first full cycle with my new clinic.  My old clinic was very poor and gave me no information on egg quality.  I am sure my Dr at this new clinic will have notes from the embryologist.  I am worried that it is going to say my eggs are looking old.  There is nothing I can do to fix that.  So in an ideal world I am wanting to walk out of that appointment, having been told my eggs look fine and she knows what to fix for next IVF.  I want to walk out of there feeling confident about next IVF instead of the sense of dread I have now that this is never going to work.  Until Thursday…

Coping with men during IVF

I only wrote a blog yesterday and I have no new IVF events in the past 24 hours.  But I have exhausted all other avenues to vent my frustrations and I still feel like I have it all built up inside me so here I am blogging again.

My husband is not the cleanest person at the best of times.  I think I have tolerated his laziness but now that it is affecting my dream of holding a baby in my arms, I am at breaking point.  He never cooks a meal, washes the dishes… the list goes on.  He doesn’t do the garden either.  I mow the lawns and weed too.  His weekends are spent doing his own thing.  He enjoys cars – and that’s fine – but the result is a spread of cars and parts not only all through our extra large garage so that nothing else can be stored in there, but has also resulted in cars on our front lawn and parts piled up along the side of the house.  I can’t stand it.  I drive home down our street and others have lovely gardens… and then I arrive at our house and the sinking feeling hits.  The roof on the garage extends over the back of the garage by about a meter.  So it is under this meter of roof that I store my garden equipment to protect it from the rain.  A few days ago, I went to put the law mower away and its spot had been replaced by two heavy garbage bins of car parts.  I could ask Steve to move it and get frustrated and angy as every day passes that doesn’t happen.  It takes two days of me asking for him to put his washing in the laundry let alone him having to walk outside.  So I decide just to deal with it and not let the tension build up within me.  I put them back in the garage myself and also put some parts that have spilled out of the garage onto our back patio pavement.  Last night, hubby comes home in a crappy mood – angry that I have piled his stuff up in the garage.  He says he doesn’t want to talk about it because he is angry and can’t speak normally.  So now that we haven’t been able to have a normal conversation, I too am frustrated.  Why is it that he should be able to have everything his way and pile parts out the front of the house, around the side of the house, lying on the back patio ground and now behind the shed where I keep the garden supplies.  Is it wrong for me to want a clean house that I am happy to live in instead of coming home to a car wrecking yard.

I don’t know how much of this is a frustration that is extended from my IVF frustrations.  Studies indicate that the problem with his sperm can be improved by diet.  I don’t begrudge him having sperm issues that affect my dream.  I am happy to deal with it as a couple.  But I begrudge him not doing a darn thing about it.  His laziness to get up and make himself a healthy breakfast and instead opting to race out of bed 5 minutes before he has to be at work and opting for a morning tea meat pie, before following it with a lunch from McDonalds or red Rooster does my head in.  His laziness that means he has put on 25 kilos in the 8 1/2 years I have known him as I have watched his sperm go from 98% abnormal to 100% abnormal does my head in.  And now he has the audasity to be grumpy towards me for not tolerating his mess all around the front, side and back yard.  How self centred can he be.  Makes me think I am putting up with too much if he is being so self centred to not see that and I need to put my foot down.  Grr, men!

Day 3 of Cycle

Just as predicted in my last post, my period arrived and shattered any hope that one of the three eggs I ovulated would form a natural pregnancy last cycle.  I felt qite depressed even though I know my husband has 100% abnormal sperm and it wold be a miracle if I conceived.  I attended my sisters baby shower, then had an unexpected catch up with hubbys bother and partner who rely on my taxes to raise their child.  It really irritates me that I work so hard trying to save to pay for IVF because I can’t oncieve naturally, while there are those out there who don’t have a job but can conceive naturally expecting the government to pick up the cheque and raise their child by taking money out of my pay cheque.  So it’s fair to say that I have a bit of a grudge against them for falling into this category.  Then hubby’s other brother had his fourth child to the third mother of his children.  I managed to avoid one meeting with them after a quick excuse, and just have to hope I can keep the excuse bank ready until we go away on holidays in just under two weeks time.

We will be visiting hubby’s other brother interstate as part of our holiday who also have a new child.  And while I was saddened when I found out the news that they were expecting, I have never seen a husband so motivated.  His wife was the main breadwinner, but when he found out, he got of his butt and got two jobs to support her.  So I don’t have the same resentful feelings and am happy to see them.  See, I’m not all bitch!

I have my appointment with my IVF doctor in four days time.  I get a bit shy when I sit with a doctor face to face knowing they have studied for years to get where they are, and tell them what I want based on my internet googling.  So I have pre-typed a list which I plan to hand to her so that I don’t get shy and back off from what I want for my next IVF.

What do I want?  Last cycle, I took estrogen from day 20 of the cycle prior to IVF until day 3 of the IVF cycle, which research shows helps co-ordinate the growth of follicles and helps retrieve more eggs from poor responders like myself.  Yet only 3 of 14 responded so I am sure my doctor is thinking that she allowed me to try the estrogen protocol and that was an example of what a failure it was.  But the thing is, I also took Aspirin in the lead up to and during the IVF cycle.  I have since read an article that Aspirin interferes with follicle growth and feel this is the reason the estrogen didn’t work in my case.  I did the estrogen priming in December 13 and got 5 of 8 follicles respond.  This time I took the Aspirin as well and only 3o fo 14 respond.  So I want to try the same again, but this time combining my Dec 13 IVF and my recent IVF.  I will take Aspirin still in the lead up to IVF just as I did for my last IVF.  I then had 14 follicles at day 2 instead of 8 like I did at day 2 of the Dec 13 cycle.  But thime I will stop the Aspirin the cycle prior to IVF and not take it during the IVF stimulating phase, just like I didn’t take it during my Decmeber cycle.  I will stop it the cycle prior to IVF once my body has prepared antral follicles for the IVF cycle.

I am sure I have written about this many times before and I must sound like a broken record.  But this is where I am at now on this journey and it is what is at the forefront of my mind.  Once I get this appointment over with, I will have a sense of relief if I get what I want and will move on to my next concern.

My next concern will be if I even ovulate this cycle so that I can commence IVF next cycle.  So future posts will be filled with details about frantically peeing on sticks and checking my saliva for ferning to know when to stop the Aspirin in the hope that I stop it in time to ovulate naturally. 

We will then be on holidays from around the time of ovulation for two weeks, and I know my period will arrive before I get back.  So the question will be just how many days before I return will my period arrive and will I be able to start IVF the following cycle.  I am going to ask my doctor if I can take some of my drugs away on holidays with me as I just don’t want to wait a day longer than necessary to get this journey over with, let alone another whole cycle.  I am also desperate to see if; and desperately hopeful that Aspirin was in fact the problem last cycle and that I will have more follicles grow next cycle.  But of course, most desperately, I just want to be pregnant.

Hmm, being pregnant.  That sounds like a dream beyond my reach.  I don’t even believe any more than my son was conceived and carried by me. 

I have half an hour left of work and then I am off to my acupuncture appointment.  I feel bad for her.  I keep telling her I am gearing up to do IVF and she spends all this extra effort doing extra points for me, only for it to be cancelled twice in a row.  She tells me she gets excited when it is getting close and she loves a positive outcome because she has had a part in that conception, so I feel like I am letting her down as well.  I don’t know if my IVF doctor has written to her to advise her of the lastest cancelled cycle or if I will be the one to tell her when I get to my appointment. 

The one practical thing that will come out of this appointment is that I will find out my day 13 blood results from last cycle.  I know a study has found that an estrogen (E2) platueau the day after the HCG trigger injection is associated with a > 25% reduction in pregnancy.  I took my trigger on the night of day 12, so I will be curious to see what happened in my case according to my day 13 blood result that I will get today.  I know that my E2 plateaud the day after trigger of my Dec 13 cycle.  I also know that my E2 plateaud already at day 12 of my recently cancelled IVF cycle even before I took the trigger.  The doctor had actually decided to cancel my IVF on day 12 but I went ahead with the trigger anyway.  Mainly because I wanted to make sure I would ovulate to try naturally, but now I am curious to see what would have hapened to my E2 levels and if it would have indicated I was > 25% less likely to have IVF success.   So I took the trigger on day 12 and I then got a blood test the next day.  I am assuming it continued plateauing the next day of day 13 as well.  Since I was not going ahead with IVF egg collection anyway, I decided to take one last Menopur and Puregon injection on day 12 along with the trigger injection.  This is not what the nurse advised me to do if I went ahead with IVF.  I was supposed to forgo the Menopur and Puregon on day 12 and just take the trigger.  But I had read a study where taking one last FSH boost at the same time as the trigger showed only better comes.  So we shall see what it did to my E2 levels.

I looked back at my Dec 13 IVF records at my old clinic.  They actually had me take the Meonpur and Puregon on the same day as the trigger, and still my E2 level plateaud the next day.  So I am sure it will be the same outcome on my day 13 results from last cycle.  We shall see.

Waiting, waiting, waiting

Ugh, today is only cycle day 22.  I have to wait for this cancelled IVF cycle to finish, then wait another whole cycle before I can start IVF again the following cycle.  Every day is dragging on so long.

I have had daydreams that I have fallen pregnant naturally this cycle.  Yes my husband has 100% abnormal sperm, but maybe the supplements have helped.  I woke up this morning to a crampy feeling and thought to myself ‘oh yes, this could be implantation’.  Of course it had nothing to do with the bowel movement that occured an hour or so later!

My periods are usually shorter than 28 days.  In the last three years of tracking, they have been as short as 24 days, a couple at 27 and one at 28.  Perhaps after having three mature follicles this cycle before cancelling IVF instead of just one in a natural cycle, my progesterone will be a bit higher than in my natural cycle and my luteal phase will last a few days longer than usual – just to drag this out even more and raise my hopes up even my that I am miraculously pregnant before my period gives me a hard dose of reality.

Mid July when I start my next IVF cycle seems forever away when I want to be pregnant yesterday.  So perhaps my sudden hopefullness that things will work naturally this cycle is my minds way of coping because it can’t stand the thought of having to wait until July.  Once that daydream is shattered with the arrival of my period, it won’t be so long until day 20 of my cycle when I can start estrogen in preparation for IVF.  But before day 20 comes a big hurdle.  I have to make sure I ovulate as that is a prerequisite for this estrogen priming IVF protocol. 

That seems like an easy task for the average woman.  Not one they even have to think about.  But my body seems to be very helpful at testing my pateince.  It has started going haywire lately and after I read that Aspirin inhibits ovulation, it made perfect sense.  But without Aspirin I only start IVF with 5 follicles as opposed to the 14 follicles I started with last IVF when I took Aspirin in the lead up.  The question is, how long before ovulation do I need to stop the Aspirin in order to ovulate.  And the second question is how do I even know when I am going to ovulate in order to stop the Aspirin.  My cycles are irregular and hence don’t provide any clue about my next cycles ovulation date.  I will be peeing on OPK sticks but I worry that once I get the surge, it means my hormones are already gearing up for ovulation and even if I stop the Aspirin from that day, it may be too late.  So it’s all going to be a bit of a guessing game.  Please co-operate for once body because I can’t stand the wait any longer.

Found reason for last cycle disaster?

In my last post I quoted a study that showed women who took Aspirin had an average of 16.2 eggs retrieved while women who did not have an average of 8.6

I had taken Aspirin in the lead up to and during my last IVF after reading that study.  So I was very disheartened when only 3 of the 14 follicles were mature at day 12.  The doctor cancelled that cycle due to poor response and I felt I had no hope for the future.

However, I have since read another study that puts Aspirin in a different light – and even contradicts the results of the first study.

One website says Aspirin reduces follicle growth

Another actual study showed that women who took Aspirin had an average of 7.4 eggs retreived and those who did not actually got more at an average of 9

https://sites.google.com/site/miscarriageresearch/supplements-and-miscarriage/aspirin

So I have a slightly renewed sense of hope that this could be the reason why my follicles didn’t respond – aspirin is said to reduce follicle growth and a study proves that less eggs are retrieved!  Frustratingly this contradicts the first study I read which I published in my last post that says my egg count will double. 

But I guess I am glad I read that first study because the Aspirin did indeed work in that it increased my starting follicle count from 5-8 to 14-15.  So I need Aspirin in the lead up to IVF and I must stop in before starting IVF once the follicles are already decided for the IVF cycle.  I have no idea at what point of the cycle prior to IVF this is.  It is on my list of questions for my next doctors appointment.

Just trying to stay practical to get through this arduous journey.  I should be feeling a lot more positive than I am right now considering I have found what went wrong and know the solution.  I have even seen first hand when I did the estrogen priming protocol for the first time before I discovered Aspirin, that 5 of 8 of my follicles responded yet last time on the same protocol only 3 of 14 responded.  So it makes sense and I should be feeling hopeful for my next cycle now that I know what went wrong.

But I just don’t feel super optimistic.  This next IVF will now be number 7.  All I know is failure.  I am just waiting to see what goes wrong next time.  So I just want my next IVF attempt to hurry up and come so I can see if stopping the Aspirin does in fact help.  Already this cycle is seeming to take forever.  Today is only CD21 and I still have to wait another whole cycle before I can start IVF again.  I am on holidays for two weeks of next cycle so hopefully that speeds time up.