Hi, I’m “Auntie Em,” a 29-year-old infertile from the Midwest. I would love it if you’ll follow along with us on our journey as we try for our BFP!
If you’re interested in our back story, here we go…
Summer 2007: Began feeling severe pain starting a few days before my periods. Pain was strong enough to prevent me from sleeping. Husband (who was my boyfriend of two years at the time) convinced me to book an appointment with an OB/GYN. It had been eight years since my last pap smear (!!!!!).
September 2007: Visited OB/GYN. An ultrasound revealed a 13x9cm mass lodged between my ovaries. Tumor marker blood test came back elevated. Immediately referred to gynecologic oncologist on suspicion of ovarian cancer.
October 2007: Gyncologic oncologist performed another ultrasound and an MRI. Determined that mass was too large to be removed laparoscopically and that a laparotomy would be a better surgical option so that staging could take place if ovarian cancer was present.
November 12, 2007: Verticial laparotomy revealed the mass was a cystadenofibroma, a benign tumor lodged between my ovaries. Extensive stage IV endometriosis was present. Proceeded with removal/draining of numerous chocolate cysts and endo lesions, and partial removal of one ovary.
December 2007: Post-op appointment. Gynecologic oncologist recommended BCP until we were ready to TTC and to consult a reproductive endocrinologist as soon as we were ready.
December 21, 2007: Hubby popped the question!
October 2008: Wedding day! I went off BCP during our honeymoon.
November 2008: First local RE appointment (what a great start to married life!). We were told that we could try two IUIs, but our main route to pregnancy would likely be IVF. The RE suggested immediate treatment. She labeled me as a “poor responder” despite good test results and suggested to us that donor eggs might be a more viable route–all before we even attempted to conceive naturally or tried a single fertility treatment! We were heartbroken and panicked. HSG showed my tubes were open.
January 2009: IUI #1 (BFN)
February 2009: IUI #2 (BFN)
April 2009: IVF #1 with microdose lupron protocol. Estradiol on trigger day = 3431. Sixteen eggs retrieved, 14 were mature, 13 fertilized with ICSI. Clinic only performs 5-day transfers, and on Day 4 all but two embryos mysteriously arrested.
May 2009: Transfer of one okay-looking blast and one okay-looking morula. Beta #1 at 8dp5dt = 16. Beta #2 = 23. Beta #3 = 40. Beta #4 = 48. Ultrasound at 6w0d showed nothing in my uterus. Presumed ectopic pregnancy. Methotrexate injections brought HCG levels back to zero.
June 2009: Local RE recommended DE as “the fastest path from Point A to Point B.” Embryologist tells us that almost all embryos were highly fragmented. Neither doctor had any answers as to what went wrong.
July 2009: Phone consult with Dr. Surrey at CCRM. We decided to start saving our pennies to cycle there in 2010.
April 2010: One-Day Workup at CCRM. New endometriomas were visualized on ultrasound. Despite this news, Dr. Surrey seemed very optimistic for us, and all testing came back normal. At home, I was diagnosed by local endocrinologist with Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism. Began taking 50mcg Synthroid/day.
May 2010: Attempted endometrial biopsy to check for beta-3 integrins, but new local RE office mixed up the scheduling. Dr. Surrey decided that I should go through the two-month Depot Lupron treatment after ER regardless just to be safe, given my history of endometriosis. CD 3 bloodwork results are perfect. Dr. Surrey chose the “standard lupron” protocol for us.
July 2010: Started BCPs for attempt #1 of our IVF cycle. Made the “go big or go home” decision to elect CCS testing for our embryos.
August 2010: Cycle canceled due to an estrogen-producing cyst at suppression check. Decided to be monitored until lead follicle is 18mm, and then triggered to induce ovulation.
September 2010: Progesterone check showed that trigger shot did not induce ovulation. Started a prometrium/lupron overlap protocol to induce AF. Finally, this works! Suppression check showed that estradiol is still a little elevated, but Dr. Surrey gave me the green light to start stims.
October 2010: Dr. Minjarez retrieves 24 eggs after nine days of stims. Twenty-two are mature, and 19 fertilize with ICSI. On Day 6, we have six blasts biopsied and vitrified. Five highly-rated blasts are normal. Lone abnormal had Trisomy 2 (an extra copy of the second chromosome). AF arrived 12 days after ER, and on Day 3 I received the first Depot Lupron injection to ensure beta-3 integrins will be present at embryo transfer.
November 13, 2010: Second Depot Lupron injection.
December 10, 2010: Start BCPs for FET prep.
January 13, 2011: Frozen embryo transfer!!!!!
January 22, 2011: Beta #1 = 278!!! (Progesterone 29.7)
January 24, 2011: Beta #2 = 751!!!
January 31, 2011: Beta #3 = 11,050! (Progesterone 28.57, Estrogen 626)
February 9, 2011: First Ultrasound = Two Heartbeats!!!