My CCRM IVF Journey

Our successful journey through IVF #2 at one of the world's top fertility clinics

Archive for the ‘Cancelled IVF Cycle’ Category

Back to Waiting

Posted by auntiem10 on August 16, 2010

It’s been a few days now since our IVF cycle was cancelled. The first 24 hours were terrible because I was so disappointed. My dad and niece were staying with us, and we had a wedding rehearsal and rehearsal dinner to attend, but the tears just kept flowing. I could not make them stop. I cried on the way to the rehearsal dinner, on our way home, after crawling into bed, upon waking up on Saturday. I know it was dumb–it’s not like the world was ending–but I just so felt crushed.

At the wedding on Saturday evening, something came over me and I just kind of started accepting our fate. I watched my amazing hubby stand beside his best friend at the front of the church and thought about how lucky I am to have such an incredible life partner. At the reception, we danced and laughed all night, and I realized that the cancellation is just a small setback. We have a whole lifetime to work on this dream of ours, to welcome a baby into our home, and a couple of months is just a blip of time. Although the road seems so very long right now, there is an end in sight, and we will appreciate the journey even more because it wasn’t easy for us.

Posted in Cancelled IVF Cycle, Struggles | 5 Comments »

Cancelled.

Posted by auntiem10 on August 13, 2010

Friday the 13th was not kind to me this year. My IVF cycle is officially cancelled.

I wasn’t able to update until now because the CCRM nurse didn’t call until I was on my way to a wedding rehearsal after work. My estradiol shot up to 293.4 (from 146.96) since Tuesday. This morning a different u/s tech found a 15mm cyst that had previously been shadowed by the endometrioma. Just based on the u/s, I was bracing myself all day for the cancellation. When it came, I cried big fat tears for a little bit. I was so ready to make that drive, take those shots, swallow those pills, go through surgery. It’s just not to be, I guess, and it’s best to wait until my body is completely ready.

The new plan: wait until Cycle Day 1, and then e-mail CCRM. They’ll put me on BCPs for longer than this last time, and then I’ll start Lupron. Then we’ll “hope” that the cyst has gone away, according to the nurse who called me tonight. We’re looking at more of an Octoberish timeline now, unfortunately. I’m not really sure when to expect AF or anything, so I guess I’ll just try to focus on other stuff for a while. I can’t help thinking that this is never going to happen for us.

Posted in Cancelled IVF Cycle, Struggles | 13 Comments »

Surrey Chat

Posted by auntiem10 on August 12, 2010

Yesterday I requested a quick chat with Dr. Surrey so that I could gauge his take on my high estradiol level. He called at 5:00 p.m. Mountain Time, and we spoke for about 10 minutes. It was a good conversation, and I feel more optimistic!

He said at CCRM, they see these high estradiol levels all the time. It just means that the BCP/Lupron combo hasn’t suppressed me enough yet. I asked him if there is much of a chance that the level will have dropped significantly by tomorrow, and he said sure, they see that all the time. He can’t promise that it will drop, but it is definitely a possibility that we will be given the green light tomorrow to start stims on Saturday.

In the event that the estradiol level is still above their threshold of 50, here is the game plan:

Plan A) If the level is around 60, we will proceed. I’ll start stims on Saturday and travel to Denver on Wednesday.

Plan B) If the level has dropped but is hovering around 80 or so, I’ll stay on Lupron for up to another week, and then get rechecked. This will continue until the level is around 60, and then I’ll start stims the next day.

Plan C) If the level has stayed the same or gone up, I’ll have to go on BCPs for a month, and then start all over with Lupron. He rarely experiences a high estradiol level the month after this treatment, but if it remains high after a month, he will change my protocol from standard Lupron to GnRH antagonist and proceed from there.

I asked how confident he is that the mass seen on u/s is an endometrioma. He said given my history of stage IV endo and multiple nasty endometriomas, he’s of the opinion that if it “looks like a duck and sounds like a duck, it’s probably a duck.” (He has said this phrase to me during each of our conversations, LOL.) It’s slightly possible that it could be a hemorrhagic ovarian cyst, but it is more than likely an endometrioma. He is pleased that it’s actually reduced in size since my ODWU in April. He mentioned that there is probably a functioning corpus luteum somewhere near my ovaries producing estrogen. There is not necessarily a correlation between size and estrogen production when it comes to cysts, so it’s possible that the cyst is invisible on u/s but still producing tons of estrogen.

He doesn’t think surgery is necessary, so we will just see what tomorrow brings. I’m done sulking and will just accept whatever plan we have to follow. : )

Posted in Cancelled IVF Cycle, Dr Surrey | 6 Comments »

On the Books

Posted by auntiem10 on August 11, 2010

This is my 100th post. I had really been hoping that I could announce in this post that I had taken my first stims shots, but it just wasn’t meant to be. I was feeling pretty down in the dumps last night about this delay. Sometimes this road to pregnancy seems so long, it feels like it will never happen. I don’t have a lot of hope that my estradiol level will come down that much before Friday, since it was three times the level it should have been. I’m preparing myself emotionally to be told that I have to wait another month. And instead of heading to Denver on Sunday, I will be sitting at my in-laws’ house for my MIL’s birthday celebration, staring at my SIL’s pregnant belly and trying not to feel bitter.

Yes, today is an ugly day for me emotionally–for that I am sorry. I’m on the books at my local RE’s office for Suppression Check, Take 2 at 9:45 a.m. on Friday the 13th. They’ll redo the ultrasound and the bloodwork, and this time I think the u/s will be performed by the RE. I’m going to ask him for his opinion. If I have to be delayed, I wonder if it would be worth my while to try to have a lap to clear out the endometrioma (and endometriosis) altogether. I wonder how much a lap would set me back in my timeline–I even wonder if Dr. Surrey could possibly do this while I’m in Denver–does anyone know? If the level comes back elevated again Friday, I’m going to insist on speaking with Dr. Surrey ASAP. After all, he is an expert in endometriosis and would probably have the best take on this situation.

I know with IVF, you have to be prepared for delays and setbacks, but I am just so frustrated.

Posted in Cancelled IVF Cycle, Testing | 1 Comment »

Getting Postponed (UPDATED)

Posted by auntiem10 on August 10, 2010

UPDATE: CCRM wants me to have the estradiol level checked again on Friday morning. Their theory is that sometimes after AF, it can take more than a few days for the estradiol level to go down. They feel that the mass on the u/s is an endometrioma, but it’s possible that there could be a small functional cyst behind the endometrioma that is not visible on an u/s. So I’ll stay on Lupron until Friday, and if my E2 level goes down, then I guess I’ll be starting stims on Saturday and will be traveling to Denver next Wednesday. If the level is going down but still elevated, I guess they’ll continue watching it. If the level stays the same or goes up, then we’ll have to wait until next cycle.
——————————————————————————

I just received a call from a nurse at CCRM… my estradiol level is 149.96 when it is supposed to be <50. F*ck. My progesterone level is normal at 0.7 (supposed to be <1).

This morning at my ultrasound, the technician saw the same big mass that has been assumed to be an endometrioma for the past several months. It measured 31mm. There was only one mass today (as opposed to two a couple of weeks ago), so I thought that it was just the endometrioma and was pretty confident that my estradiol level would be within normal limits. Now it appears that the endometrioma may in fact be a functional cyst that is elevating my estradiol level. CCRM hasn’t received my ultrasound images yet, and my nurse is working on getting that info. I guess Dr. Surrey will review the images and decide what to do, but the nurse has already told me that our cycle will almost certainly need to be postponed, perhaps even by an entire month.

I will update later when a final determination is made. I am not happy at all but would rather have all hormones at their optimal level when it comes to this very expensive investment, so I guess I will have to be patient.

Posted in Cancelled IVF Cycle, Testing | 7 Comments »

Figuring Things Out

Posted by auntiem10 on August 9, 2010

Today I was apparently assigned a new nurse, Marsha. She called me at 9:30 a.m. Mountain Time and quickly followed up with an e-mail. We’ve e-mailed back and forth several times today as she figures out where I’m at with everything, and she seems to be really responsive. I definitely feel better about things!

Tonight I’m going back to my neighborhood CVS pharmacy to pick up the Novarel trigger shot, a refill of my pre-natal vitamins, and the Tetracycline (antibiotic) that I’ll begin taking the day of the egg retrieval. I’ll have to take the obligatory meds picture once I have everything!

Tomorrow is the big suppression check, and I’m ready to get the all-clear so I can focus on wrapping up this work week and then packing for Denver!

Posted in Cancelled IVF Cycle | 5 Comments »

Right on Track!

Posted by auntiem10 on August 8, 2010

This morning AF actually showed up, right on schedule! I shouldn’t be surprised since AF’s cooperation is the result of my body being medicated with BCPs, but it does seem like kind of a miracle to me. So far, we are right on track. The next big hurdle: Tuesday’s suppression check. If the cyst is still present, or if my estradiol level is elevated, then we could possibly be delayed. Fingers crossed, please!!!

Posted in Cancelled IVF Cycle, Testing | 5 Comments »

Part-Timer Problems

Posted by auntiem10 on August 7, 2010

Last week I e-mailed my CCRM nurse a couple of times, and she didn’t respond, which I found odd. Last night I received an e-mail from her, in which she told me that as of next week, she’s reducing her workload to part-time. This apparently means she’ll only be working two days per week. Instead of assigning me a new nurse, she just let me know that I can communicate with one of three other nurses for my questions. My heart sank when I read her e-mail. I feel that the potential for miscommunication or slipping through the cracks is much higher when not dealing with a dedicated nurse. I worry that Nurse A will tell Nurse B that she will call me, and then she will get busy and forget. Or that Nurse A will think Nurse B will call me, and Nurse B will think Nurse A will call me, and I won’t get called for dosage instructions. I’ve had a direct line of communication with my (now former) nurse since our ODWU, and it makes me really sad that this is happening literally the week before we start the most crucial part of our IVF cycle. Of course, she is human and I’m sure that is a high stress job, but the timing for me personally could not be worse. Figures!

I sent an e-mail to the general nurse’s inbox, telling them that I have some concerns about this new arrangement. I hate to seem like I don’t trust their ability to communicate with me even though I don’t have a dedicated nurse, but I requested that they assign me a new one so that I feel a little more secure. It’s a big clinic, and mistakes can happen. I’m hoping that they’ll honor my request as a patient and want to make me feel more comfortable, but I am nervous that this won’t happen or that they’ll label me as a “problem” patient. This is stress I don’t need at the moment!

My cousin had her baby this morning at 2am, an 8-lb 13 oz baby girl. They live a few hours away, so I haven’t seen the baby yet, but I suppose we’ll need to make a trip there after Denver is behind us. Story of my life: I am happy for them, but sad for us. I wonder if that feeling will even go away after we are finally successful someday. Hopefully about a year from now, we’ll be welcoming our own bundle(s) of joy into the family!

Posted in Cancelled IVF Cycle, Struggles | 5 Comments »

Bye Bye, BC!

Posted by auntiem10 on August 6, 2010

So, it’s Friday, and I broke up with my little pack of BC today. I told the pack, “It’s not you–it’s me.” I guess we’ll get back together after the egg retrieval and before my first Depot Lupron shot. Now I get to wait for another round of AF, predicted to arrive on Sunday. Isn’t it kind of counterproductive to have so many visits from AF during the time I’m trying to get pregnant?!

Once AF starts, I’ll wait until Cycle Day 1 or 2 to drive to my local RE office for the suppression check (scheduled for Tuesday but AF must arrive first). The objective of this appointment? An u/s tech will perform an ultrasound to rule out cysts, draw my blood to check my estradiol and progesterone levels (stat), and make sure my ovaries are being quiet and cooperative little girls. This is kind of like “The Last Stand” to make sure my body is ready for this IVF cycle. Once I’m given the green light, there’s no turning back! I’ll start packing my suitcase for Denver.

Speaking of Denver–HELLO and GOOD LUCK to my fellow blog friends who are currently in Denver or will be there this weekend!!! I cannot wait to follow along with your cycles and am crossing my fingers right along with you!

The breakthrough bleeding disappeared on Sunday night and hasn’t returned all week, thank goodness. Surprisingly, I’ve had no really negative side effects of Lupron. The only thing I have noticed is that I’ve been welling up over the silliest things. Like yesterday, I was reading an article about Chelsea Clinton’s wedding online while sitting at my desk at work, and I felt my eyes fill up with tears. What the heck?! I had to grab a tissue and dab at my eyes and calm myself down. I had the same sensation while watching an episode of Mad Men last night over something not even remotely sad. But thankfully, I haven’t experienced any real moodiness or headaches. Maybe my excitement over FINALLY getting to move forward with this cycle is trumping all bad physical side effects. : )

We’re at the part in season two of Mad Men during which infertility becomes a huge issue for Pete and Trudy. (We are behind b/c we only just started watching this show but are quickly devouring the episodes.) On the episode we watched last night, Pete’s SA turned out perfectly and Trudy was upset. I knew before she even said anything that she was upset because in her mind, she is beginning to pin their infertility on herself. I know those feelings of guilt and sadness. I don’t know what transpires with this plot line, but for now I am really impressed that such a popular television program would touch such a sensitive subject, and what they’re going through really rings true for me personally. I am SO thankful to live in a time during which crazy technologies like egg retrievals and chromosome testing are available.

I’m rambling and probably sound like I’m bouncing off the walls. It’s a lovely (but hot!) Friday afternoon, I’m down to the single digits in my countdown of leaving for Denver, and the hubby and I are going to a fancy restaurant tomorrow night to toast to great things to come. We’re finally out of limbo after more than a year, and it feels great!

Posted in Cancelled IVF Cycle, Testing | 4 Comments »

Status Quo

Posted by auntiem10 on August 4, 2010

So far this week, I’m just plowing right through my calendar. I printed it out and am crossing off the days with a big X.

Here are the medications I’m currently taking daily as part of my protocol:

Morning
Synthroid (for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis)
BCP

Early Evening
Prenatal
Lupron-10 units

Bedtime
Dexamethasone

I’m having no side effects yet, not even Lupron headaches. I was pretty worried about headaches because I’m prone to migraines, but I’ve felt great so far after the first three injections. Friday will be my last BCP, and I’ll step down to 5 units of Lupron daily next Wednesday (if AF arrives as scheduled on Sunday). I’m only a week away from starting stims!

My brain has been going crazy at nighttime with worries, bringing some serious insomnia and crazy, terrible nightmares. I know it’s pretty normal when the stakes are so high. I keep thinking, what if we end up with barely any blasts and no normals? What if we get a BFN after all of this? What if we have normals and get our hopes up, and then nothing implants? I know that I’m just one of thousands who has had these thoughts going into a cycle at CCRM. Most of us wouldn’t be there if we hadn’t previously lost hope  at a more local clinic.

My old RE’s voice is permanently etched into my brain, informing us that she seriously doubts that I have ANY normal eggs. (She encouraged us, a 27- and 26-year old couple, toward DE after only one IVF cycle b/c of the dismal drop-off of embryos in their lab.) During the day I constantly give myself pep talks, telling myself that CCRM has the success rates to back up their reputation, that the Internet is full of success stories, that my first RE was dead-wrong about everything else. And each afternoon and evening, I feel great about our chances. But at night… those sneaking suspicions roll in like clouds on a summer evening, and I find myself doubting that I’ll ever get that phone call telling me that we’re really, seriously, viably pregnant. I’m afraid I’ll get another call during which a nurse says “Congratulations, you’re pregnant! But… your HCG is only 16, so it’s possibly not viable.” That was one. of. the. worst. days. of. my. life.

We are so in love with each other, so settled in our home, so ready to be parents! Please let there be a light at the end of this tunnel!

Posted in Cancelled IVF Cycle, Struggles | 5 Comments »

T-Minus 13

Posted by auntiem10 on August 2, 2010

It was a crazy weekend, but all of our plans kept me from obsessing too much about our upcoming IVF cycle. Some of my family was in town, and the minute they left, we headed over to my in-laws’ to celebrate DH’s grandma’s 73rd birthday.

My pregnant SIL was at my in-laws’, of course. She has a very thin frame, and I’m pretty sure her belly was looking a bit rounder already. It may have just been her shirt, though. Surprisingly, I didn’t feel devastated about being around her this time. I winced a bit when they referred to my MIL as “Grandma” once or twice, and when they happily discussed who will change diapers, but for the most part, I was okay. I guess the fact that I plunged the Lupron needle in my belly in their bathroom helped me get through it–I know that we’re moving forward, making progress, in our own quest to have a baby. We’re doing everything we can, and that has to be good enough right now.

Regarding my last post, I found out this morning that ICSI is NOT included in the costs of CCS testing. Thanks to everyone who provided feedback. The business office only told me our remaining balance today. I should have asked for the breakdown, but I was in a hurry to get to my next meeting. However, the letter we were originally sent (for a freeze-all cycle) included all of the costs related to the retrieval process–monitoring, bloodwork, nurses’ coordination time, ER costs, ICSI, etc. We just had to add $6850 onto that amount to figure out our final total. My panicked post yesterday was the result of thinking ICSI was not included in the letter we originally received from CCRM. We are definitely near the very tail-end of our budget, so I was glad that I was wrong!

Breakthrough bleeding stopped all day yesterday and then picked up again in the evening. I thought it had stopped completely and stupidly went to my in-laws’ house without an emergency liner. I went into the bathroom to inject the Lupron and realized that I had bled through my khaki shorts. Ugh. I made an excuse and had DH take me to the store, where I bought liners. The stain wasn’t visible to anyone else, thankfully. Crisis avoided–but lesson learned! So far today there has been zero spotting. Hopefully it’s gone for the rest of this week!

The Lupron injection went off without a hitch last night. I nonchalantly walked over to my purse and stuck the syringe (which I had pre-filled right before we left) in my pocket along with an alcohol pad, and then went into the bathroom. I’m not squeamish about sticking my belly, so I was in and out of there in under a minute. I’m due for the next one in 50 minutes!

 This morning I made all of our appointments at CCRM while we’re in Denver, assuming the dates on my calendar stick:

Monday: IVF physical, u/s + b/w, cycle review
Tuesday: u/s + b/w
Wednesday: u/s + b/w
Thursday: u/s + b/w, DH’s back-up freeze
Friday: u/s + b/w, genetic counseling
Saturday: u/s + b/w

Time is moving right along!

Posted in Cancelled IVF Cycle, Chromosome Testing (CCS), Money, Struggles | 4 Comments »

Breakthrough?

Posted by auntiem10 on July 31, 2010

This morning I woke up and immediately felt cramping in my reproductive area. When I went to the bathroom, I discovered that I’m bleeding lightly. It’s light but enough that I need a liner. Has anyone else out there experienced something similar while on BCPs, leading up to IVF? This didn’t happen to me during IVF #1 last year, but I am taking a different brand of BCP this time around.

I’m guessing it’s just breakthrough bleeding. BCPs and I do not get along for some reason–when I take them, I become either a raving lunatic, a weepy mess, or a bleeding machine. (Sorry to anyone with a weak stomach who stumbles across this blog!) I have six BCPs left to take and hope this bleeding doesn’t continue for the duration! If you had a similar experience, did this affect the AF that is supposed to arrive prior to the suppression check? I just e-mailed my nurse but am not sure if she is even in today. I would appreciate your input!

Posted in Cancelled IVF Cycle | 6 Comments »

Seven Down, Seven to Go!

Posted by auntiem10 on July 30, 2010

As of today, I’m halfway done with BCPs. Progress!

I start generic Lupron (Leuprolide Acetate) and Dexamethasone on Sunday. Originally I had planned to pick up the generic Lupron from my neighborhood CVS pharmacy. CVS had to order it through their supplier, and as it turned out, the medication was completely out of stock. They called every CVS within a 100-mile radius and even took the time to call all of their competitors to try to obtain it for me, with zero luck. What a headache! Yesterday my nurse at CCRM ordered it from Freedom, and it’s being delivered today. Miracle of all miracles, my insurance company covers the cost of generic Lupron and also Dexamethasone for only a $10 co-pay each. I was prepared to pay OOP for both, so I was surprised! I have no IF coverage beyond diagnostics, so I didn’t think they would pay any of it.

We have another busy weekend planned. Different family members or friends are staying with us for the next three weeks. Tomorrow my mom, stepdad, and 10-year-old niece (who is visiting from Texas) are staying overnight. Sunday we’ll be attending DH’s grandma’s b-day party at my in-laws’. Next weekend one of my best friends and her 2-year-old daughter are staying with us from Oklahoma, and the weekend after that, we’ll be hosting my dad (visiting from upstate NY) and my 10-year-old niece again for one night. DH’s best friend is getting married that weekend as well, so we have lots on our plate! Tonight we’re going to see a Beatles tribute band–fun!

Posted in Cancelled IVF Cycle | 1 Comment »

I’d Like a Side of CCS with That, Please!

Posted by auntiem10 on July 29, 2010

The hubby and I experienced a mutual realization last night: we aren’t cut out for cycling at CCRM more than once. We have come to peace with the fact that this is our one and only shot. Based on this decision, we e-mailed our nurse last night and asked for approval to add Comprehensive Chromosome Screening (CCS) testing to our protocol.

Edited to add: This will be our last IVF cycle. But if we are lucky enough to have several normals, we will still cycle at CCRM in the future for an FET or two. Just wanted to clarify!

Sure, this will leave our savings account a little threadbare, but we want no regrets. When this cycle is over, we want to move on with our lives, one way or the other. We don’t feel like we can continue doing this to ourselves. I greatly admire you couples out there who have gone through numerous cycles, putting your lives on hold to try to achieve your goal. We feel spent already, and we haven’t even actually cycled yet! We simply feel that it’s unfair to continue pausing our lives, living on the bare minimum in order to save another $20K+ for a third cycle, and putting this kind of strain on ourselves. It’s not for us.

Therefore, we’re throwing everything we can at this cycle. Go big or go home. We were planning to do a freeze-all and do two months of Depot Lupron anyway, so the addition of CCS doesn’t impact our timeline. We’ll likely wait until early 2011 to transfer in order to rebound a little bit financially, but despite that delay, we feel that we’re making the best decision. Hopefully we’ll have some normals at the end of the day, but if not, we’ll save a lot of heartache + cash that would have come from transferring abnormals.

So that is our plan. I should hear from our nurse today about whether Dr. Surrey’s on board. He didn’t recommend CCS for us because we’re young and have normal test results, but we know that youth + normal test results doesn’t always equal good eggs. We did attend the initial genetic counseling appointment at our ODWU in April, so I can’t imagine he would be opposed.

We (Hubby + Me + our Bank Account) feel a lot lighter today! : )

Posted in Cancelled IVF Cycle, Chromosome Testing (CCS) | 8 Comments »

Mission: Evaluate Endo

Posted by auntiem10 on July 28, 2010

This morning I felt deja vu as I drove back to my RE’s office for another ultrasound to evaluate my endometriosis. Another sunny morning, another trip south to the hospital. Rinse and repeat.

The RE himself performed the u/s in order to bypass the confusion that ensued last time because of my scrambled anatomy. Nothing like having an experienced u/s tech scratch her head in confusion last cycle to confirm that my reproductive organs are a freak show! That, my friends, is why we are paying the big bucks for the help of the nation’s best clinic. : )

Good News: The endometrioma, while still present, has only increased in size by a few millimeters. Potentially Bad News: A cyst decided to take up residence near my left ovary. It’s likely that this cyst is leftover from my last cycle. My local RE told me that some clinics would allow me to proceed, knowing that the follicles will grow on stims regardless of the cyst. Other programs would postpone in an effort to get optimal conditions around the ovaries. More Good News: Plenty of follicles were seen.

Hopefully the cyst will disappear by approximately August 10th, when I’m scheduled for the suppression check. The order for August 10th says “Rule Out Cysts,” and I’m not sure if one little cyst would be cause for cancelation. We would obviously very much prefer not to wait another month, but I know that Dr. Surrey will make the best decision for us. Stupid cyst!

Posted in Cancelled IVF Cycle | 2 Comments »

Logistics, Mad Men, and Lupron

Posted by auntiem10 on July 27, 2010

I’m glad to read that I’m in the company of other “Mad Men” fans! Don Draper is yummy! : ) We’re only on episode 10 of season one, so I’m sure we haven’t even gotten to the “meat” of the story yet. I’m pretty sure that soon, my hubby will be pouring himself an old-fashioned and wearing a skinny tie to work. : )

Over the past few days, I have:

  • booked a hotel room for the first part of my stay (when DH arrives on the 20th, we’ll probably move somewhere with a bigger suite)
  • partially paid our cycle fees (I’ll pay the rest when we’re given the all-clear with the suppression check)
  • booked a pet-sitter to stay with our two doggies during the time that my DH is with me in Colorado
  • ordered new food bowls for our doggies that will force them to eat slower (they both eat too fast and inhale their food and then choke on it, which is a constant worry to me and something that was going to cause me stress while a pet-sitter was with them)
  • Figured out from which pharmacy to order my Lupron

Speaking of Lupron, I learned from my nurse that name-brand Lupron is apparently no longer being manufactured. CCRM just orders the generic now, Leuprolide Acetate, which is excellent news for me. Generics are more likely to be covered by insurance companies, and in my case I’ll save over $100 by ordering generically. It’s not much of a financial break with all things considered, but it’s something!

Posted in About Me, Cancelled IVF Cycle, Money | 2 Comments »

Up Next…

Posted by auntiem10 on July 26, 2010

It’s Monday and I’m back at work after a wonderful weekend. The hubby and I had a “Mad Men” marathon (we just recently started watching this show and are currently devouring season one), and we relaxed a lot. The next month or so is going to be pretty hectic for both of us, so this weekend we wanted to lock ourselves in and be alone. It was heavenly. I am lucky to have such a fabulous husband!

I’ve taken three BCPs and have 11 to go. I’ll start Lupron on Sunday–only six days away! On Wednesday, I’m going back to my local RE for yet another visit with the vagcam to measure the endometrioma that is partying in my pelvis. Hopefully it will not have grown substantially since I had it checked last cycle. I assume maybe Dr. Surrey is worried that it may impede the ability of an RE to retrieve my eggs. My fingers are crossed that it won’t pose an issue!

Posted in Cancelled IVF Cycle | 5 Comments »

A New New Calendar

Posted by auntiem10 on July 24, 2010

Last week I had to be a pain in the rear and ask our nurse if she would be willing to move up the dates on our calendar by a couple of days. My DH starts grad school on 8/25, and my tentative ER date was 8/24. Dr. Surrey agreed to move up our tentative ER date to 8/22, and I received my new calendar yesterday afternoon (click to enlarge).

There’s obviously still a chance that I’ll stim longer than expected and he’ll miss his first week of class, but that’s a risk we’re going to have to take. I can’t travel to Denver any earlier because DH’s entire family will be attending his best friend’s wedding on 8/14, and I would be missed (DH is the best man). We’re not telling any friends/family about this IVF, so I don’t want to raise suspicions.

So now I’ll be:

  • starting BCP today
  • starting Lupron a week from tomorrow!
  • starting stims around 8/11
  • traveling to Denver on 8/15

Time is flying now!

Posted in Cancelled IVF Cycle, IVF Calendars | 2 Comments »

BCP Update

Posted by auntiem10 on July 23, 2010

In the Comments section of my last post, a few CCRM patients let me know that Dr. Schoolcraft and the other REs don’t usually allow generic medications, when I mentioned that my local pharmacy gave me Necon 1/35 instead of Ortho Novum as prescribed. I asked my nurse and just received this reply:

With the BCP, the Necon is fine because it is 1/35.”

I just wanted to include this info for future patients. I’m not sure why 1/35 is allowed, but I guess it saves me the hassle of having to go back there and pay for more expensive stuff!

Posted in Cancelled IVF Cycle | Leave a Comment »

Step One!

Posted by auntiem10 on July 23, 2010

With my IVF protocol, step one is taking one birth control pill daily. The purpose of BCPs during an IVF protocol is twofold: you’re partly suppressing the reproductive system and partly fitting into your clinic’s schedule. For my particular protocol (“standard lupron”), the number of birth control pills needed can vary from 12-21, and the final five pills will overlap with Lupron.

My script was for Ortho Novum, but my local CVS pharmacy gave me Necon 1/35. Maybe it’s generic? Either way, I’ll begin taking it on Cycle Day 3, which is Saturday! I know I’m lame for taking pictures of BCPs, but I want to document as much as I can for future CCRMers! : )

 

Posted in Cancelled IVF Cycle | 8 Comments »

Auntie Em, Meet Auntie Flow

Posted by auntiem10 on July 22, 2010

Yes, that’s right–AF showed up last night around 8pm, and today is Cycle Day 1. Finally! I dropped off my BCP prescription at CVS on my way to work (Ortho Novum), and I’ll be all set to start taking them on Saturday. I’m finally getting this party started–yay! Hopefully my little eggies are up to the challenge! : )

Last night I had major insomnia and tossed and turned half the night, stressing about everything. This week, we have kind of felt like the world has been pooping on us. We are both slammed at work, and I’m trying to complete projects that will be due around the time of our Denver trip, along with projects that are due at work sooner.

Last Saturday, we noticed a leak in the ceiling in our guest bathroom, and a roofing expert informed us that we have hail damage and need a new roof ($6,000). An insurance adjuster is coming to our house tomorrow, and our fingers are crossed that our insurance company will cover the cost, leaving us with only the deductible.

Then on Tuesday night, I arrived home from work after a bad storm to find that the Bradford Pear tree in our front yard had been split in half, and 1/2 of the tree had fallen on my DH’s best friend’s truck! (I’ll post a pic or two tonight!) We spent the entire evening and on into the night (in the rain) sawing the fallen tree into small pieces to unearth the truck and pile the brush by the curb. Fun times.

In addition, our 6-month car insurance premium, home warranty, and car registrations are all due imminently. Then we have the matter of the small fortune we owe to CCRM. We’ve had this nice growing cash pile in our savings account for the past year, and it’s going to be painful to spend most of it! So instead of counting sheep last night, all I was seeing were dollar signs. I know what’s best for me right now is to let go, and reassure myself that we’ll still have money leftover in savings even after paying for everything. I need to take things one at a time. Everything will be A-Okay!

Posted in Cancelled IVF Cycle | 5 Comments »

Good News from our Nurse

Posted by auntiem10 on July 20, 2010

Yesterday I e-mailed my nurse, letting her know that AF did not show up as scheduled on 7/18 and asked how the delay may affect our IVF calendar. I received this reply:

We can adjust the number of birth control pills and hopefully not change your calendar at all.  I had you taking 19 birth control pills and we can have you take anywhere between 12-21 birth control pills.  So we have a few days that we can work with and still keep the calendar the same.  Let me know when you get your period and just remember to start the birth control pill on the 3rd day of your period.”

Her response made me feel a lot better. As long as AF shows up within the next week, my calendar won’t have to be rearranged. In the meantime, I’m doing my best not to stress because that’ll only make things worse! In the grand scheme of things, this is only a small setback.

Posted in Cancelled IVF Cycle | 4 Comments »

Waiting Waiting Waiting…

Posted by auntiem10 on July 19, 2010

If my experiences with infertility are a story, then one of the themes of that story is definitely waiting. Today is Cycle Day 35. AF was supposed to be here yesterday, but I’m still waiting on her arrival today. In a way this is a good thing–this delay may enable my husband to attend his first week of grad school, but I am frustrated. Seems like this cycle will never start! We’ve been waiting since May 2009 to do this, and I’m ready to get the ER portion of our cycle over with!

We had such a busy week last week and a very busy weekend, so I’m trying to get caught up today. I will be back again once AF rears her ugly head!

Posted in Cancelled IVF Cycle | 3 Comments »

Short on Time

Posted by auntiem10 on July 15, 2010

I have been short on both time and words this week. I have about four hours left until my big interview, so I have been busy preparing my portfolio and anticipating the questions I may be asked. Also, we have been spending lots of time with family and friends this week. On Tuesday night, I met a friend for dinner. We’ve recently reconnected after spending our childhoods side-by-side, and our meal stretched four hours while we gabbed late into the evening! Yesterday another longtime friend was in town with her family, and tonight my aunt will be in town. Tomorrow my stepmom flies in from upstate NY, and Saturday we are helping two of my cousins move. It’s a crazy week!

I’ve just been trying not to obsess at all about the IVF cycle that is now looming before me. My body is typically uncooperative, and I’m trying not to let stress delay AF if possible. I’m hoping CD 1 will arrive on Sunday after a 33-day cycle. If not, then I’m not sure if each day of delay also means a one-day delay on my calendar, or if my nurse will let me just take less BCPs. Does anyone have experience with a late AF after your nurse has given you a calendar?

Just before AF arrives, I always feel my ovaries “revving up.” I get slight cramps and just an uncomfortable feeling in my pelvic region. That started yesterday afternoon, so perhaps my reproductive system will surprise me and start right on time. We will see!

Posted in About Me, Cancelled IVF Cycle | 3 Comments »

Aftermath!

Posted by auntiem10 on July 12, 2010

Here is the aftermath from The Official 2010 OPK POAS-palooza:

Not a single + in the bunch, but I guess I should have used more than one/day. So annoying. The OPKs are now gone, and today is Cycle Day 28. Surely if I were going to have an LH surge, it would have happened by now. The dates on my calendar are based on AF arriving this coming Sunday. I’ll have to wait and see whether my body cooperates!

Posted in Cancelled IVF Cycle, Testing | 3 Comments »

Update from CCRM Nurse

Posted by auntiem10 on July 8, 2010

I just heard back from my nurse, and it turns out that she should have written “8” for August on my orders instead of “7” for July. On 8/11 (not 7/11), I’ll have a suppression check. On 8/16 (not 7/16), I’ll have my first follicle scan. At some point after AF arrives, I’ll have the endometrioma measured again. Everything makes sense again!

This just goes to show you that even though CCRM has a great reputation and wonderful nurses, mistakes can happen. They are only human, and they are very busy. Make sure to be proactive and ask questions if you feel like things aren’t quite right!

Now, I guess I’m just back to waiting for AF for another couple of weeks. I am glad that I sent an e-mail!

Posted in Cancelled IVF Cycle, Testing | 4 Comments »

Another Day, Another Minus

Posted by auntiem10 on July 8, 2010

Tested on an OPK last night after work… negative. Tested this morning… negative. Test line is the same darkness as yesterday. It’s now Cycle Day 24. I’ve been lining up all used OPKs on my dresser for comparison’s sake, but I threw them all away this morning. I’m sure you are tired of me obsessing, and so am I. I have four left and am going to use them up, but I’m thinking that I missed the + at some point this cycle. My mood is currently feeling as negative as those tests, so I am done with it! (I’m secretly hoping that writing this out will cause the test to be + tomorrow morning!) : )

However, this weekend marks the “official start” of my IVF cycle… I think. I’m a little confused about the timing of the orders my CCRM nurse faxed to my local clinic, since neither appointment actually appears on my calendar. I’m kind of wondering if she is mistaken about dates, but maybe some of you experienced CCRMers will let me know your thoughts? Here is her e-mail detailing what I need to have done in the next week:

On 7/11 you will need to have a U/S to look for cysts and check progesterone and estradiol; on 7/16 you will need to have a U/S to check follicles and progesterone, estradiol and LH.  Let me know if you need anything.”

I guess I understand the timing of the 7/11 appointment, since I had estimated that AF would arrive on 7/18, and this appointment will take place one week before. I assume they want to make sure my progesterone level is <5, indicating that I ovulated?

I definitely don’t understand the timing of the 7/16 appointment. Why would they want to check my follicles, estradiol, LH, etc just a few days before AF is supposed to show? Plus, if AF is going to delay her appearance, then should I have this testing done later in this cycle?

I sent an e-mail this morning to my nurse, telling her that my LH surge is MIA and that I’m not sure what the length of this cycle will be, and asked her to clarify when I need to go in for testing. I also wonder when they will have me go in for yet another ultrasound after AF shows to measure the endometrioma hanging out by my ovaries. The vagcam and I may be getting VERY friendly in the near future! I hope to get some official answers soon, but in the meantime, please let me know your thoughts. Thank you!

Posted in Cancelled IVF Cycle, Testing | 2 Comments »

Happy Independence Day!

Posted by auntiem10 on July 4, 2010

Whew, so far this weekend has been a whirlwind of cooking, entertaining, cleaning, and running errands. Today will be more of the same!

Yesterday we received a letter from CCRM stating our financial obligations for our upcoming cycle. That just made everything all the more “real.” The fees for an IVF Freeze-All w/ICSI cycle include $4910 made payable to CCRM and $8060 made payable to Fertility Laboratories of Colorado (FLC). Anesthesia is an extra $430. We also already paid a $1000 deposit that is not part of the fees listed here. I’m including this info because when I began researching CCRM, I searched endlessly for cycling costs.

Edited to Clarify: The costs listed above represent the charges involved with doing an IVF cycle and freezing all embryos. The amounts listed do not include the transfer fees, chromosome testing (CCS), or medications. I just wanted to make that clear!

I’m still testing negative on OPKs, so I’m wondering if my calendar might need to be readjusted a little bit. We will see. Today is Cycle Day 21, and we had based my calendar on this current cycle lasting 33 days. Usually once I test + on an OPK, AF arrives 14 days later. Since today is CD 21 and I haven’t even tested + on an OPK yet, I’m guessing this cycle will be at least 36 days, if not longer. I’m just trying not to stress about it, since that will probably further postpone AF. The dates on our current calendar meant that my hubby would have to miss his first week of graduate classes, so maybe everything will work out for the best. Maybe my ER will even get pushed closer to Labor Day weekend, in which case I won’t have to take as many vacation days!

Posted in Cancelled IVF Cycle, Money | 3 Comments »

Thyroid Recheck Results

Posted by auntiem10 on June 28, 2010

My local endocrinologist’s office just called with the results of my bloodwork rechecking my thyroid levels, and it’s good news!

TSH = 2.55 (CCRM wants this to be below 3.0)
T4 = 1.28
T3 = 98

All of these levels are within normal limits, so my endocrinologist just wants to keep me on 50 mcg of Synthroid for the foreseeable future. Yay! They did not recheck my TPO level (which was super-high in April), but apparently they don’t need to since I am now controlling my thyroid function with Synthroid.

Considering that my TSH = 4.39 just 2.5 months ago, Synthroid has made a big difference! I definitely feel better going into our IVF cycle with a normal TSH.

Today is Cycle Day 14, and I bought OPKs yesterday so that I can detect my LH surge this cycle. I’m going to start testing on Thursday, Cycle Day 17. Next cycle can’t arrive soon enough!

Posted in Cancelled IVF Cycle, Thyroid Stuff | 2 Comments »

New Calendar!

Posted by auntiem10 on June 23, 2010

My new IVF calendar arrived in my Inbox this morning, and already I feel a sense of excitement brewing. Here it is! (click to enlarge)

I feel like our care is in the best possible hands and that our embryos will be at the best possible lab, so we are doing all we can to attempt a healthy pregnancy. Part of me really wishes that we were adding CCS screening, but Dr. Surrey assured me during both the ODWU and my initial consult that he didn’t feel it was necessary when considering our age (28 and 27) and with the results of my bloodwork. I’m just going along with his advice (he is the expert, after all), but if our cycle fails, I think I will really regret not pushing harder for chromosome testing.

Hopefully AF arrives on time next month so that we can just get the show on the road! My tentative ER date is two months from tomorrow, which does not seem far away!

Today is actually my fourth whole day of consuming ZERO caffeine. Considering that I’m a recovering caffeine addict, this is an achievement. I’m embarrassed to say that I continued to drink a little caffeine throughout IVF #1 and also before our ODWU. I used to get headaches if I failed to properly caffeinate myself, and I would always give in and drink a soda. A few months ago, I began to slowly wean myself from it. First I eliminated my morning coffee (which was pretty easy since it’s been near 100 degrees here lately), and then I started decreasing the amount of diet soda I was drinking. On Sunday, I decided to do a “test run” to see if I could avoid caffeine all day without getting a headache. And I haven’t had a headache or a drop of caffeine since Saturday! I’m also working on reducing sugar in my diet and increasing green leafy veggies. We’ve been eating salads, spinach, broccoli, and green beans galore lately, and I’ve been drinking tons of water. I know it may seem like much, but I could not even remember the last time I went an entire day without any caffeine at all–let alone four days!

Posted in Cancelled IVF Cycle, IVF Calendars | 8 Comments »

Staying Sane

Posted by auntiem10 on June 22, 2010

Thank you all so much over the past few days for visiting this blog or offering words of support. Knowing that I’m not alone in this battle has been tremendously comforting to me. Sorry to have been so whiny over the past few days! I’m pressing the Reset button and trying to make today a better day.

The local RE only saw one endometrioma this morning, which is good news. It’s about 32mm. The images will be sent to Dr. Surrey this afternoon. The local RE suggested that he would not recommend removal, but that the endometrioma could pose an obstruction with retrieving all of the eggs. In cases when it’s unavoidable, he punctures the endometrioma (ouch) to get the rest of the eggs. This would cause me more discomfort, but I’m more concerned with making sure the eggs are retrievable.

Over the last 48 hours, my husband and I talked about how to cheer ourselves up, now that the shock of his brother and SIL’s pregnancy is wearing off. We agree that we need an attitude adjustment! : ) My in-laws host a 4th of July party annually, so it won’t be long until we’re all together again. After mulling it over,  the hubby and I decided to begin our IVF cycle with my next visit from AF in July. We have plenty of money at this point (after a full year of saving!), and my hubby has accrued enough vacation time to be in Denver for a little over a week. We think the excitement of our impending cycle will help us to deal with the pregnancy talk and baby excitement on the 4th of July. When we leave that day, we can tell ourselves that we’ll have just a few more weeks to wait.

Yesterday I informed my nurse that we wanted to start our cycle with my next AF. She’s working on our calendar (I’ll receive it tomorrow), but she already told me that I’ll be starting stims on 8/13, traveling to Denver on 8/17, and my tentative ER date will be 8/24. I decided to add in BCPs after all so that I can shave a week off of my cycle. I’m expecting AF sometime around July 18th, and I think I’m going to try to track my LH surge with OPKs this cycle so we have a better idea of whether AF is going to show up on time next month. I’ll post my new calendar tomorrow when I receive it from my nurse.

With this decision made, I feel quite a bit happier and more excited. This past year of waiting in limbo has seemed endless at times, and to know that the end is in sight is truly wonderful. Although we’re still going to do a freeze-all, two months of Depot Lupron, and then prepare for an FET, at least we’re finally gearing up to cycle! My hope is that this will be our last IVF cycle ever!

Posted in Cancelled IVF Cycle, Testing | 9 Comments »