Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Holy Freaking Shit

We ended up with 14 frozen embryos.  

That means with the 2 that are digging around in my body (and can I just say OH!  I'm having real cramps), we ended up with 16 out of 21 high quality embryos.

I am *only* putting this number on this blog and am telling only one or two friends about this.  Clearly, we are excited, but realize we are going to have several serious choices down then road.

But right now,  hooray!!! Something is going to work out some how!!

(And yes, I do feel guilty for others out there reading the blog who are not getting as good as news.  I am sorry.  I hope my 8 miscarriages allow a little softer feelings directed our way)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


So far, so really, really good.

They transferred 2 blastocysts that were just beginning to hatch.  The doctor said they look "great".  The embryologist said that they were starting to hatch is a good sign that they are going to continue developing.  The hatching thing, in the DE Mommy household, means that the embryos have got their downpayment in their pockets and are looking for a good location to buy their house.  

I am actually not overly stressed right now that things might not work out.  They have already frozen 9 other blastocysts (a number the embryologist called very "unusual" and "good") and it's possible that there are another 2-5 yet that could make the grade for the clinic to freeze them.  

At this point, things seem good.  I'm "taking it easy" for the next three days.  I don't need to be flat on my back, but they'd prefer I stay off my feet, so I am going to.  

I'm already feeling a little crampy.  I hope the little guys have decided the location has a good view and it's time to dig out the foundation.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Didn't See That Coming

For the first time in what seems like a long time, the surprise has brought us good news.

As of yesterday morning, we have 15 fertilized eggs.  As of today, we have *21* fertilized eggs.  Apparently, some of eggs decided to wait a little bit before they got going.  

Yes, that is right.  15/22 yesterday 21/22 today.  I have to be perfectly honest with you:  this is the first time EVER that I think things have a chance to go well.  

Of the 21 embryos that we have now (21!!!),  there are four 5-cell ones rated fair, 16 4-cell ones with 6 good and 10 fair and 1 little 3-celler who is fair and trudging along.

I repeat: Holy Shite.  Maybe, just maybe this is going to work out.

Fertilization Report

We were on the road yesterday and just now got an internet connection.

15 of the mature eggs fertilized. 

They said that was a good number.  We are waiting for the report today which tells us how the eggs are doing and whether the transfer will be tomorrow or on Tuesday.  

Emotionally, I'm doing well.  15 fertilized eggs is good, I know.  I, oddly, remain anxious for each day's update.

The nice thing is that my insomnia is keeping me on east coast time.  So hopefully, the trip back will not require a lot of adjustment.  I remain happy for the little things.  ;-)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Update on Eggs

Well, things are so far looking good. They retrieved 26 eggs and 22 are mature. They are going to call us today and let us know how the ICSI and fertilization rate. They decided to go ahead and fertilize all 22 of them.

This is all good news for us, but I am sad for one important person. Our clinic has a policy of freezing any extra eggs past 20. One reason is: what is a couple going to do with 10 extra embryos after they have twins? With an 80% success rate with fresh embryos and a 70% success rate with FETs, couples in this clinic are probably often faced with this issue. In fact, I came to this clinic because my good friend had 15 frozen unfertilized eggs that she donated to me. I guess because it was so "easy" to get those eggs, I thought it must be a common occurrence. Apparently, having extra eggs to freeze is not all that common.

We wanted to give these extra eggs to a good friend of ours who, as we do, really wants to have a baby. In every, single scenario I've imagined for this cycle, we were going to have extra eggs to give her and she was going to get a "good" chance with these frozen eggs. I felt like we would be paying karma forward.

So I am very happy for us. I think we may actually have a chance with these eggs, although like Summer said, when it's your cycle, you expect the next news to be bad. But I am very sad for our friend. I feel like we promised her something we can't deliver and took back an incredibly precious gift.

I feel like this post sounds sad even though we have some great news. And I'm not sad for us. But I am sad for my friend. And sadness while trying to get pregnant? Well, that's an emotion I'm used to.

Also, my ass hurts like hell. PIO doesn't hurt going in, but my booty is wondering what the hell it ever did to me for me to treat it like that

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Retrieval is Thursday

One weird thing about using an out of state clinic is getting on the airplane and thinking, "Holy crap, we are going to California to get pregnant.  This is a BIG deal."  

Trust me on this one.  

The retrieval is officially on for Thursday.   I went in today for my final uterus review:  it was perfect.  It's nice to hear one's woman parts are doing well and even attractive.  I don't have an estimate of the number of follicles right now, but everyone is very excited about it.  The nurse says "all the boxes are checked" for us to get pregnant.  We are planning on a 5 day transfer on Tuesday.  


I am still not fully convinced this is going to happen.  DE Daddy was late coming home the other day (by about 10 minutes).  I heard some sirens and I thought "well, that's it.  He's dead. That's this cycle's reason why it won't work."  I'm actually a positive person, but with all that's happened, I'm still not convinced about our good luck.

I think I need to go have a glass of wine.  While I can. 

Monday, October 20, 2008

Still Still On!!

It looks like retrieval is going to be on Thursday.  


The donor has between 25 and 30 mature follicles.  She's coming back in tomorrow and I think they will trigger whenever it is so that retrieval will be on Thursday.  I am actually quite relieved because we're flying out on Tuesday and I would rather have a day of wiggle room in case there are problems with the flight.  And please don't let me have just cursed the flight by blogging that.

I also learned that they have a pretty standard protocol that is what Beer's recommends and that my real struggle (?) is going to be getting my regular OB to follow Beer's protocol should I be fortunate to get pregnant.  My OB is pretty progressive, so I'm thinking that will work out, too.

In any case, we're packing up the pharmacy and a few clothes and heading out tomorrow.  I'm hoping the hotel has internet so I can check in and let folks know the status.  I still am not convinced this is going to happen.  We'll see.  And we'll definitely hope!!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Getting Ready

We've spent some time this weekend getting ready for the trip.  I took all the medicine out of the cabinet and put it on the counter so I can pack up the small pharmacy to carry on the plane with me.  I would look like a terrorist with all these syringes if it wasn't for the fact that all I could do is make the pilot get a better uterine lining.  At least if I was doing traditional IVF, I could make him or her ovulate.  

I also went through the boatload of books on my bedside table to clean up a bit.  There, I found the Dr. Beer's book on auto-immunity and pregnancy.  Despite being an academic and an infertile turtle (thus reading everything), I found that book very hard to read and understand.  His web site is not much better.  It doesn't help that he's been dead for quite a while, eh?

Nonetheless, it's been a year and a half since the doc's suspected an auto-immune problem and I started looking through the book.  That's where I discovered that the low dose aspirin/prednisone/heparin (or lovenox) regimine that I am on is pretty much the real standard one.  Beer recommends a couple of other transfusions, but those are quite controversial and my problem, if I have one, does not require that.

I generally am skeptical that I have a problem.  I mostly see this as a "can't hurt and might help" approach.  And then I read about rashes, like the massive excema I had during my last pg and have never had before or since, are good indicators that the body is dealing with some "inflammation" from the pregnancy--a sign of an autoimmune problem.

And then I start to freak.  I am using donor eggs because it's obvious my eggs have gone past their use by date.  However, if I have an auto-immune problem, it doesn't matter whose eggs I'm using, there is still going to be a problem and I could not be able to carry my child(ren) to term.

Here is where 1) I love my clinic and 2) I'm glad I reread the book.  I have emailed the clinic several times asking about this problem:  I don't have the MTHFR mutation (I call it the m*ther f*cker mutation), but the excema is still a sign.  They have apparently done additional research and are now running bi-weekly tests on my blood to see how things are going.  This is exactly the protocol from Beer for auto-immune testing before conception.  

Folks, the clinic actually took my questions and concerns seriously.  Holy Cow.  I don't recall that ever happening before.

I also now know what Beer recommends for both protocol and testing during a pregnancy.  The heparin should last until 34 weeks.  Testing for progesterone among other tests should continue weekly until 12 weeks.  Ultrasounds should occur every 2 weeks after week 6 for the entire pregnancy to see how the placenta and the baby are developing.  I know this is a lot of monitoring.  But if something is going wrong, we need to know soon enough to adjust my meds so I don't lose the baby.

In any case, things don't seem so carefree any more.  I am happy that I am at a place that I trust and who will listen to me.  But I worry about being more of a freak than I originally thought.

Tune in tomorrow when we find out the donor's next follicle count and when she will trigger.  It's getting kind of crazy!!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Still a Go

Our donor went in for her follow up today.  She has 20+ follicles from 8-13mm today with a 500+ Estradiol.    Apparently, that is good. 

Even better, we are fully on.  The FDA tests came back normal.  We are, at this point, planning on going to CA for our retrieval and transfer.

It's on!  

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Testing Continues

I went back in today for my second ultrasound and bloodwork.  My lining is 7 and I do have a triple stripe.  (yay!)

The clinic in San Diego has decided to monitor my blood work more closely this go round, so they are running several different tests including a CBC and other clotting measures (I think).  I'm on the auto-immunie pregnancy protocol despite the fact that I do not have the MTHFR (which I pronouce to myself in quite profane terms) mutation.  Nonetheless, 8 miscarriage and only one for sure we know is genetically caused could be an indication of auto-immune problems.

I've requested their input on what we should do in regards to staying on heparin and prednisone.   love this clinic because they've decided to monitor me every two weeks while I'm on the auto-immune meds.  I *think* that if they see changes after I get pg, they'll keep me on the meds and if they don't, they'll take me off at 12 weeks.  

I'm just speculating here, but since I've never been monitored before while on heparin and I've asked them about using heparin for a limited time or a full time, it makes sense to me. 

Plus as DE Daddy says, more monitoring can't be bad.  

Friday, October 10, 2008

Thirty Freakin' Five

The donor has an antral follicle count of 35.  


35!!!!!  That's amazing!!  That means that before she's had any stimulations, she's got 35 eggs ready to go, vying to be the next one out.


We are pretty excited about that!

Something Weird

Because I like numbers and statistics and large sample sizes to compare, I often spend time that I shouldn't looking at the objective, government statistics on IVF and DE success rates.  The reason I think it's important is that as my colleague said this week, you want to go to the medical clinic that has the best batting average.

Here is the weird part.  I would assume that if a clinic has a really good DE success rate, they should also have a really good IVF success rate or vice versa.  However, the clinic I'm in love with in San Diego, while it has an over 80% success rate in DE (waaay higher than my local clinic).  However, it has a slightly lower success rate with regular IVF than the local clinic.  

Hmmmm.  In the process of writing that paragraph, I just answered my own question.  I know for a fact that the San Diego clinic doesn't turn down anyone whereas the local clinic has a reputation for not offering IVF to people whom they don't think it will work.  

That could explain the differences in regular IVF rates.  I still think the differences in DE rates have to do with lab skill and donor pool.

Well, dang.  I thought I'd found a real conundrum to blog about and really, I'm just wasting time. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Meds Starting

So I started the vivelle estrogen patches yesterday as well as my prednisone and heparin.  The donor doesn't go in for her antral follicle count until the end of the week.  Then we'll be able to compare her Fertile Myrtle follicels to my Fertile Turtle follices (I have 5). 

This was the first time I've found out how many resting follicles I have.  It's actually reassuring. 1) there is something happening in there and 2) that few means that IVF wouldn't work for me.  

It still amazes me how many doctors are willing to go through with traditional IVF for women when their antral follicle count strongly suggests that it won't work.  It makes me cynical wondering about their exact motivation for a procedure that will bring in money for them but in all likelihood will not provide a child to the couple.  I don't like to be cynical, but sometimes I am quite skeptical.

Anyhoo, we hope to get good news this week about our donor's healthy, high follicle count.