My CCRM IVF Journey

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

Archive for the ‘Testing’ Category

Treatment Recap Links

Posted by auntiem10 on February 3, 2011

Below I’ve added links to my recaps of the major components of an IVF cycle with CCS testing, Depot Lupron treatment, and an FET. I thought having these links in one spot might provide a clearer picture of what to expect from cycling at CCRM, but you can also click one of the Categories on the right pane of this page to see more.

Our One-Day Work-Up Experience

Instructions for shipping CD 3 bloodwork to CCRM

A recap of all test results, at the ODWU and locally

My IVF calendar

My Egg Retrieval Experience

Our Day 6 Biopsy Report

Our CCS Results

My FET Calendar

My Frozen Embryo Transfer Experience

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Posted in Chromosome Testing (CCS), Egg Retrieval, Embryo Transfer, FET, FET Calendars, IVF Calendars, IVF Take Two, Testing | 8 Comments »

My Estradiol is an Underachiever

Posted by auntiem10 on January 7, 2011

Well, my lining looks great, but my estradiol level is a little low today. The optimal result should be >300, and my level is 216. So tonight after work, I’ll be picking up a new medication called Estrace and taking it orally for an undetermined length of time. However, the good news is that I received the all-clear for our FET next week! Yay!

We also discussed our wishes for the number of embryos to transfer. The plan that my DH and I feel the most comfortable with is this: We want the lab to thaw one embryo the morning of transfer. If it thaws well and looks good, then we will only transfer that one embryo. If it does not thaw well or looks not so great, then we will request that they thaw a second one, and we will transfer both. Yes, we are nervous about twins if we have to resort to this plan, but we are nervous about transferring an embryo that looks bad and ending up with a BFN. I think the first one they will thaw is a Day 5 5AA, so I’m hopeful that it will thaw beautifully and that our eSET wishes will be granted. We won’t transfer two unless the embryologist recommends it based on the way the first embryo looks. My nurse wrote these wishes in my file, and I will also express them to the embryologist the morning of the transfer.

So, Lupron and I have parted ways for now. Tomorrow I’ll start PIO shots, Estrace, Medrol, Tetracycline, and Endometrin. Sunday I will have my blood drawn to check my progesterone. Tuesday I will receive the transfer instructions, including the time of our transfer and which doctor will perform the procedure (I’m assuming Dr. Surrey will unless he has a conflict). Wednesday we will fly out, and Thursday is the transfer!

I’m going to spend this weekend (in between the shots and pills and nerves and planning!) trying to forget about all of this! Tonight we’re hanging out with friends, tomorrow we have lots of errands to run + a house to clean for our petsitter, and Sunday we have playoff football + college basketball to watch. I hope this is my last unpregnant weekend for the next 9 months. : )

Posted in FET, Testing | 18 Comments »

My Uterine Lining is an Overachiever

Posted by auntiem10 on January 7, 2011

So far so good today! I went to my local RE’s office and had my blood drawn, then stripped down for the ultrasound. My lining is 14.5mm! The magic number was >8, so my body definitely overachieved on this result. I asked the u/s tech if your lining can be “too thick,” and she said that my result is perfect. She also pointed out that my lining is triple stripe, so all of this is wonderful news!

My #1 stressor going into this morning’s appointment was the idea of cysts near my ovaries. I’m cyst-prone and figured a cyst might result in a postponement of our FET. This turned out to be a dumb thing to worry about, because the u/s tech told me that they usually don’t care if cysts are present before an FET. In fact, the order CCRM sent did not even instruct my local clinic to check my ovaries. However, the u/s tech checked anyway, and she commented that my ovaries are quiet except for the dumb endometrioma that is still present. So barring any issues with my estradiol level (which I’ll hear about later today), we should be good to go next week!

Posted in FET, Testing | 3 Comments »

First Estradiol Check

Posted by auntiem10 on December 30, 2010

I just found out that my first Estradiol check was 101 today. CCRM was looking for a level of 50 or greater, so I hope this is good and doesn’t mean I have a cyst producing estrogen! The nurse just instructed me to continue with my calendar. Looks like the Vivelle patches must be working! : )

Posted in FET, Testing | 4 Comments »

TWO WEEKS AWAY

Posted by auntiem10 on December 30, 2010

I can’t believe we’ll be transferring an embryo into my uterus two weeks from today! Time is flying and crawling at the same time, if that makes any sense. If I stay busy, it flies. If I focus on it nonstop, it feels like it will never get here. But time is moving along, even if it doesn’t always feel that way. In just 14 days, we’ll be waking up in Denver and preparing for a hugely monumental day in our lives–eeeeeeek!

This morning I headed into my local RE’s office for bloodwork. The results have already been faxed to Denver, so I’m just waiting to hear from a nurse there. (My local clinic won’t release the results to me.) Today they are measuring the level of estradiol in my body to make sure the Vivelle patches are doing their job. From reading others’ blogs, I think we want the level to be greater than 50 today (14 days before transfer). It appears that a level below 50 doesn’t automatically mean cancelation; instead, I believe CCRM will add a medication called Estrace to my regimen. I could be wrong on all of this though; I’ll ask for clarification when a nurse calls me.

Next Friday (I said Thursday in my last entry but was mistaken) is the biggest hurdle standing between us and a 1/13/11 FET: more bloodwork and an ultrasound to rule out cysts and measure my lining. I am cyst-prone, so this next step makes me nervous. However, I started BCPs as I was coming off the Depot Lupron treatment, which means I shouldn’t have had the opportunity to ovulate, so hopefully this will keep any cysts at bay. If everything comes back normal next Friday, I’ll be cleared to stop Lupron and start PIO, Endometrin, Tetracycline, and Medrol next Saturday. I believe they will check my Progesterone level on 1/9/11 to make sure my body is prepared to handle supporting an embryo. And pending a good outcome, we’ll be Denver-bound in just 13 days!

Right now I’m busy preparing for a two-hour trip to see a friend tomorrow morning, a New Year’s Eve party at our house with my in-laws tomorrow night, preparation for the baby shower on Saturday, and the actual event itself on Sunday. I can tell you unequivocally that keeping myself very busy has helped immensely during this long wait. Yes, my life has become one giant countdown, but I’ve tried to stay busy so that I “only” think about it 50 times an hour instead of 100 times an hour. : ) Anything you can do to keep your mind busy on other things will probably help time to pass more quickly!

Posted in FET, Testing | 3 Comments »

The Day Before “The Day”

Posted by auntiem10 on October 2, 2010

We went to CCRM this morning for one last blood draw. The phlebotomist had to stick me twice, because my veins are getting tired. They are testing my HCG level (to make sure the trigger shot absorbed correctly), progesterone, and estradiol. Assuming I receive a call today from the nurse, I don’t plan to ask about my estradiol level. I feel a little anxious about the 4010 level yesterday (although I’ll feel okay about it if a decent number of mature eggs are retrieved tomorrow). I’m feeling considerable pressure in my ovarian region, even more so than yesterday. It doesn’t hurt or anything, but just feels uncomfortable.

Dr. Minjarez will be performing the egg retrieval. I haven’t met her yet, but she was my IRL friend’s doctor, and is a wonderful doctor by all accounts. Even though CCRM’s policy is that we should stay in Denver for one day after retrieval, we are leaving for home right after the retrieval. We probably won’t arrive at our house until 10pm or so, but I will make sure to post about the day’s results after we get home. Thank you so much for checking this blog and supporting us along this journey! It has truly made us feel less alone during this process.

We’re off to Rocky Mountain National Park. Stay tuned for pictures of the past few days–time is getting away from me a bit!

Posted in Dr Minjarez, IVF Take Two, Testing | 9 Comments »

Possible Trigger Tonight!

Posted by auntiem10 on October 1, 2010

It looks like we may end up triggering tonight instead of tomorrow as scheduled! I didn’t get the measurements of all of the follicles, but my nurse told me they expect to retrieve 21-25 eggs. She said on average, 75% of the retrieved eggs are mature. We’ll see if these statistics hold true for us!

We’ll get the official instructions later. I injected one vial of Menopur today, but the nurse thinks I’ll skip Follistim tonight. I will update when we get home from a full day of sightseeing!

Posted in Follicle Scans, IVF Take Two, Testing | 5 Comments »

Back in Stirrups

Posted by auntiem10 on September 30, 2010

This morning we headed in for another ultrasound at CCRM. Today is my eighth day of stims. I wasn’t very happy with the u/s tech today; she didn’t really share any details with me and rushed me right on out of there, ignoring my questions along the way. I mentioned to the nurse that I would appreciate a little more information, and she gave me the report that the nurses receive after the u/s. This document had way more detail.

My left ovary has 6-8 follicles, along with 3 smaller ones that probably won’t make the cut at retrieval. The six that were measured today were 16.5mm, 14.5mm, 14mm, 14mm, 13mm, and 13mm.

My right ovary has 8-12 follicles, with the leading six measuring at 17mm, 17mm, 16.5mm, 15mm, 15mm, and 13mm. Even though it doesn’t matter because we’re doing a freeze-all, my lining is 12mm with a triple stripe pattern. This is good to know for later, when we get closer to the transfer. Everyone seems universally pleased with how everything is going for us. I then had my blood drawn and will receive those results this afternoon.

Then my DH went downstairs to provide his back-up sample, and I headed to the other side of the main lobby to check in for my IVF physical. First they weighed me, and then I was asked about the medications I’m taking. My temperature and blood pressure were recorded, and lastly they pricked my finger to test my iron. Then a nurse practitioner came in and asked me a few more questions about my medical history and then gave me the pre-op instructions. The only appointment lasted about 15 minutes and was no big deal.

Finally, I met up with my DH and we checked in for the genetic counseling session. A counselor named Danielle met with us, and she was fabulous. She was very thorough in her explanation of the process, and she made us feel at ease by getting to know us a little. Their current success rate for euploidy (normal) embryos is in the high 70s/low 80s. She told us that based on their statistics and our age, we can expect about 50% of the fertilized embryos to become blasts, and about 50% of the blasts to be “normal.” Overall, she sounded very optimistic, although she did let us know the risks and the possibilities that things might not go our way. We signed about as much paperwork as we did when we bought our house, and then we were done. She was nice enough to write down a few restaurant recommendations and talked to us about our plans while we’re here. I loved her!

We’re now heading out to grab some lunch and explore downtown Denver. Later this evening, I’ll update with tonight’s dosage instructions. At least from the follicle measurements, it seems like I still have at least a few days to go before triggering, but we’ll see what Dr. Surrey thinks! My calendar lists Saturday as the tentative trigger date, so we’ll see if that sticks. More later!

Posted in Chromosome Testing (CCS), Follicle Scans, IVF Take Two, Testing | 5 Comments »

On the Sixth Day of Stimming

Posted by auntiem10 on September 28, 2010

I went back to CCRM this morning for my second follicle scan and blood draw. The clinic seemed VERY busy today! The personnel were running around like chickens with their heads cut off. The u/s tech saw 12 follicles on my left ovary and at least 11 on my right ovary. Of those, she thinks at least five will definitely be mature on the left, and 11 on the right. She was quick to remind me, though, that more follicles could still catch up as the stimming continues. The largest follicles were 15 and 16mm.

Then I had my blood drawn and am waiting to hear my dosage instructions later today. I also randomly met and chatted with an online friend in the lobby! (Hi, Jen!) : )

My hubby flies in tomorrow! It’s been a little bit neat to just have alone time, but at this point I’m ready for him to get here. The big plans we have so far include a tour of the Denver Mint, a trip to d Bar Desserts for their infamous “Cake and Shake” (we’ve seen every episode of Food Network Challenge, and one of the judges {Keegan Gerhard} owns this establishment), a trip to Rocky Mountain State Park, and probably another trip to the Garden of the Gods. We’ll be taking plenty of pictures, so stay tuned if you want to see more of the Denver area!

Posted in Denver area, Follicle Scans, IVF Take Two, Testing | 4 Comments »

Staying the Same

Posted by auntiem10 on September 26, 2010

Last night I didn’t sleep well–a combination of being away from home and my hubby and my dogs, hearing too many noises around my room, and feeling hot. So after I wrote my last post, I rested in bed and fell into a pretty deep sleep. About 30 minutes ago, the nurse called, and I answered it even though I wasn’t really awake yet. I felt so groggy and spacey, but I managed to comprehend that I’m supposed to stay on the same dose for tonight and tomorrow. My next scan and bloodwork will take place on Tuesday morning.

So on Sunday and Monday, I’ll take: Synthroid, Antibiotic, Prenatal, 2 vials Menopur, 150iu Follistim, 5 units lupron, Antibiotic, Dexamethasone.

I’m choosing not to specifically ask for my estradiol level for this IVF cycle. Last year my estradiol increased dramatically, and it caused me a lot of anxiety. If the nurse volunteers this information, then I’ll report it on here; otherwise, I’m just not going to worry about it.

Posted in Dosage instructions, IVF Take Two, Testing | 3 Comments »

Houston, We Have Liftoff

Posted by auntiem10 on September 21, 2010

Yesterday I rescheduled my suppression check from Wednesday to today, because I couldn’t handle the suspense! And I’ve spent today in tears because I was so confident that we were going to be canceled again based on this morning’s results. I was wrong! I received the call this afternoon that Dr. Surrey has signed off for me to start stims on Thursday… FINALLY!

My local RE performed my u/s this morning, and he found a 15x12mm cyst. He measured my endometrioma, and it appears to have increased in size from 32mm to 39x36mm. I was sure that the 15×12 cyst was the same one from last cycle, the one that had elevated my estradiol level to 293.4 at my last suppression check (when it should have been less than 50). I left with a knot in my belly that refused to untie itself until I got the go-ahead this afternoon. As it turned out, my estradiol level today was only 67, which is still elevated but at least within an acceptable range. CCRM apparently averages out the dimensions of cysts, and since mine was under 15, they aren’t concerned about that either. My body definitely tried to foil this latest attempt at suppression, but it didn’t succeed this time around!

So here’s how the rest of my week will go, from a medical standpoint:

Wednesday: Synthroid, Antibiotic, Prenatal, 10 units Lupron, Antibiotic again, Dexamethasone

Thursday: Synthroid, Antibiotic, Prenatal, 2 vials Menopur,  5 units Lupron, 150 units Follistim, Antibiotic again, Dexamethasone

Friday-Saturday: Same as Thursday

Here we go!!!

Posted in IVF Take Two, Testing | 11 Comments »

Another Delay and Protocol Change

Posted by auntiem10 on September 1, 2010

Ugh, what a day. Progesterone level is only 0.7 (CCRM was looking for 5.0 or greater). Apparently the HCG trigger injection did nothing for me, and I haven’t yet ovulated on CD 25. Now Dr. Surrey wants me to try a “Prometrium/Lupron Overlap” protocol to finally get suppressed and hopefully cyst-free. Tomorrow I’ll start prometrium twice/day for 10 days. On the seventh day of Prometrium, I’ll start lupron. Four to seven days after stopping Prometrium, AF will arrive. Since I’ll already be injecting lupron, I’ll just need to have a suppression check and then can start stims. This change of plans will mean a delay of about 2-3 more weeks. I’ll get a new, very tentative calendar in the next day or so. It will probably change since they can’t really pinpoint when AF will show.

Is my body trying to tell me that all of this isn’t meant to happen? I am starting to wonder. It is clearly NOT wanting to go through with this. I never even let myself get too wrapped up in the thought of a September retrieval, so I am not all that upset–just annoyed and frustrated!

Posted in IVF Take Two, Testing | 7 Comments »

Pinching

Posted by auntiem10 on August 31, 2010

Well, tomorrow is Hurdle #1 of this second attempt at IVF–a progesterone level check. I’m hoping that the HCG trigger shot flushed out the cyst that canceled our first attempt, but something has been bothering me: a pinching sensation near my ovaries. It literally feels as though two fingers are taking a piece of my ovary and giving it a good pinch. The feeling comes and goes, but I’ve been feeling it occasionally for at least a month. Is it the endometrioma, or is it the cyst, refusing to back down and go away? Or am I just a hypochondriac? I will soon find out.

My last AF started on August 8, so that makes tomorrow Cycle Day 25. Even if the trigger shot didn’t do its job for some reason, I should have ovulated by that point in my cycle. CCRM is looking for my progesterone level tomorrow to be greater than 5, indicating that ovulation took place. If tomorrow’s result is good, then I’ll start Lupron either tomorrow or Thursday (my calendar doesn’t specify) and will schedule Hurdle #2 (suppression check) for a week from Friday (9/10). That will be the real test–please, cyst, be gone!

Posted in IVF Take Two, Testing | 3 Comments »

Honey I Shrunk the Egg (UPDATED)

Posted by auntiem10 on August 24, 2010

This is a bizarre day–I’m triggering tonight. Dr. Surrey reviewed this morning’s ultrasound report and decided that:

1) the follicle hasn’t shrunk; today’s dimensions were simply a variance in measurement
2) the reason behind the follicle petering out in growth is because it’s ready to drop

I am slightly dubious about the maturity of the egg (since at its biggest, it was only 16mm), but I’m choosing to have faith. If worse comes to worst, my progesterone will be too low next week, and I’ll just wait until CD 1 to start BCPs. It will extend our wait by a few weeks, but what else is new?  I think I’ve proven by now that I’m the Queen of waiting for IVF cycles. : )

As much as I want to place complete trust in Dr. Surrey and CCRM, blind faith is hard to come by after getting jerked around by our first RE last year. There’s a time to advocate for yourself and a time to trust the doctor, and I feel in this case that I need to trust Dr. Surrey. I need to carry around CCRM’s SART report so that I can look at it whenever I start to doubt their competence. We’re headed to the big-time clinic for this very reason–I really don’t think any other clinic can help us to get pregnant after our dismal drop-off of embryos last year, after our former RE’s declaration that I likely have zero chromosomally normal eggs, and after hearing our former embryologist’s bewildered attitude while reviewing our cycle notes. CCRM is the only place that can make this happen for us, and I must work on trust!

So next week, I’ll have my blood drawn to check my progesterone level. If the result is >5, I get to bypass BCPs altogether and will instead start a few weeks of Lupron, shaving off a few weeks of waiting time in the process. If the result is not >5, I don’t know what happens, but I’m choosing to think positively! This will happen for us this time, gosh darnit!

Tonie is working on our new calendar, so I will be posting that soon. Denver in September, here we come! : )

————————————————————————————-
From earlier today: Still waiting to hear some kind of official word from CCRM, but this morning’s u/s showed that my lead follicle SHRUNK–it only measured about 13-15mm (depending on the angle measured), compared to 16mm last Friday and Sunday morning. The next biggest follicles are only about 8mm. Today is Cycle Day 17, so I really don’t know what’s going on. I’ve asked my apparent new nurse (Tonie) to call me so that I can glean some more info. She replied to let me know that she’ll review the report with Dr. Surrey and will let me know the plan.

Seriously, body–can you not just cooperate for once?! Stay tuned for another update this afternoon.

Posted in IVF Take Two, Testing | 4 Comments »

No Growth

Posted by auntiem10 on August 23, 2010

Sorry I didn’t update over the weekend–we stayed pretty busy. Saturday we went out of town to visit friends and family, and yesterday we were preparing dinner for my in-laws and then entertaining them.

Yesterday morning my u/s showed ZERO growth since Friday. The follicle is still about 16mm, and the u/s tech said she would have expected to see some kind of growth. They also drew blood to test my estradiol, progesterone, and LH levels. For some reason my phone didn’t ring when CCRM called yesterday afternoon, so I just received a voicemail message. The nurse indicated that I’ll need more u/s monitoring this week and asked me to contact them today. I haven’t found out yet when I need to schedule a third u/s this week or what my hormone levels were.

I’m confused about what is being seen on the u/s. Is it a cyst or a lead follicle? On Friday my local u/s tech said I am growing an egg, but wouldn’t it have increased in size a little since Friday? The mass that they were calling a cyst after my suppression check is now what they are measuring as the lead follicle, so I am not sure what is going on. If it is a follicle and not a cyst, then are the BCPs (presumably to shrink the cyst) even necessary, considering that I’ll be triggering this week to force ovulation? I am wondering, if the mass is a lead follicle and not a cyst, if it’s possible to switch to a down-regulation protocol and skip BCPs altogether to speed up our timeline. I sent off an e-mail this morning asking several questions and am waiting for a reply.

I hope everyone else had a great weekend! I’ll have to catch up with all of your blogs this afternoon!

Posted in IVF Take Two, Testing | 2 Comments »

Getting Close

Posted by auntiem10 on August 20, 2010

This morning at my ultrasound, the lead follicle was 15.9mm. A mature follicle grows to about 20mm before ovulation takes place, so my little lead follicle has a little bit of growing left to do. CCRM wants me to have one last ultrasound + some bloodwork on Sunday morning, at which point the follicle should have grown to about 18-20mm. The plan is to inject Novarel (an HCG trigger shot) that same day. Ovulation will occur about 36 hours later, and AF will arrive about two weeks after that. This process will shorten my normal cycle by 7+ days and will allow us to get restarted on this crazy path to pregnancy. : )

I’m estimating that our new calendar will result in a tentative ER date of 10/14/10. Ten has always been my favorite number for some reason, so an ER during the 10th month of the 10th year (of the 2000s) has to be good luck!

Posted in IVF Take Two, Testing | 1 Comment »

Back to the RE Tomorrow

Posted by auntiem10 on August 19, 2010

Early tomorrow morning, I’ll be heading to my RE’s office for an u/s to measure my lead follicle. If it’s about 18mm, I’ll get to use my Novarel HCG trigger shot to force ovulation. If it’s smaller, then I’ll have more monitoring next week until my body is ready for ovulation. Hopefully AF will arrive about two weeks later, which would be right around my DH’s b-day in September. Great, his b-day gift will be coping with an extremely hormonal wife. : )

This weekend we’re taking a day trip to visit my mom, who lives a couple of hours away. She adopted a dog from her local shelter last weekend, so we stocked up on gifts and can’t wait to meet her. The dog (Honey) has been really nervous this week–jumpy and barely eating/drinking–and has been growling at my mom’s cat, but we’re hoping that with time, she’ll settle in to her new digs and accept the kitty. My mom is basically THE biggest pet lover ever and is willing give Honey a lifetime of companionship, but we’re all a little worried about her getting along with the cat. Hopefully it will work out.

This week has been difficult for me because yesterday marks the four-year anniversary of my grandma’s unexpected death. My grandmother was instrumental in my life and was the first family member I would turn to when I needed support or had news to share. She had neck surgery the first week of August 2006 and died in the middle of the night at home a week later. We think she had a brain hemorrhage, but my grandpa refused to do an autopsy. She cried out for him (they were sleeping across the hall from each other so that she could rest and recover), and by the time he got to her, she was gone. They were high school sweethearts and had just celebrated their 50-year wedding anniversary the previous December.  She was only 68 and I was looking forward to spending at least 15 more years with her. It was not meant to be. I think of her daily and miss her terribly.

Enough of my downer attitude. I hope you are all having a great week–the weekend is just around the corner!

Posted in About Me, IVF Take Two, Testing | 3 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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

A Few Good Things…

Posted by auntiem10 on July 7, 2010

A few good things have transpired in the past 24 hours:

  • SIL’s first ultrasound went well yesterday, with one blob exactly where it should be. Despite my own personal sadness, this is good news for the family and I certainly wouldn’t have wanted her and my BIL to have received bad news. We were all a little worried about multiples, since DH and his siblings are triplets (Clomid babies).
  • We received a decent-sized unexpected check yesterday in the mail, the result of a national discrimination settlement with a large national retailer for which DH used to work in college. It’s enough money to cover our hotel expenses in Denver + petsitting fees!
  • OPK may have been a bit darker this morning (still negative though). It could just be that I’m now using a different brand of OPKs (CD 23 and counting, ugh).
  • I have a job interview next Thursday! Even though I have a job that I like, this year’s continuing layoffs and some other factors have compelled me to apply for a small handful of positions elsewhere, and this one sounds promising! However, as always, I am jumping the gun and already stressing about the timing of possibly being offered a new job and going through an IVF cycle. I wouldn’t be able to start until at least the end of August, and what if they don’t want to wait to fill the position?!

That’s all I’ve got for today. : )

Posted in About Me, Testing | 5 Comments »

Hat Tricks

Posted by auntiem10 on July 6, 2010

Another day, another negative OPK. Arrrgh! Today is Cycle Day 22. Another box of OPKs is on my shopping list tonight. It just figures that this cycle would mystify me!

I’ve been thinking the past few days about the different metaphorical hats we wear in life, depending on the people with whom we spend time. With my husband, I can wear my Bitter Infertile Hat. Around my best friend, I wear my Teacher Hat and explain to her (a super-fertile woman with a 6-year-old and 2-year-old twins) the ins and outs of IVF. With my in-laws, I wear my Super-Supportive Hat. Whatever they are going through (even if it pains me), I lend a supportive hand anywhere I can. My true thoughts and feelings are just as valid as everyone else’s, but I hide them so that they won’t see my dark side.

Infertility has brought out a dark side to my personality that I hadn’t even known existed. It has made me jealous, angry, petty, and cynical at times. I don’t want to reveal that ugly side of me. All of you fellow infertiles out there know how difficult it is to plaster on a smile and act happy for a pregnant person when there is a thunderstorm brewing in your heart.

So it was with great trepidation that I drove to my in-laws’ house on Sunday evening, where my newly pregnant sister-in-law awaited. I knew that baby talk would be high on the list of topics, since her first ultrasound is actually today. I decided to show up just before dinner (using the excuse that I was whipping up dessert) in an attempt to head off some of the talk. The first baby comment made in my prescence caused me to stiffen. My husband must have noticed because he gripped my hand, but no one else seemed to catch my reaction. After that initial comment, I steeled myself and managed through the rest of the evening.

After dinner, I found myself alone at the dinner table with my two sisters-in-law. Metaphorically, I put on my Supportive Sister-in-Law Hat and joined the conversation. She mentioned that she had expected the conception of their child to take longer. I felt my stomach drop out as I asked, “If you don’t mind me asking, how long did it take you?” I knew the answer before even asking: their BFP took only one month. She went off BCP in March, and May was their first month of TTC. She actually said, “When I saw the test, I thought: Wow, that was way too easy.” I flinched and all I could think was: Ouch!!!

Now let me just say that my sister-in-law is the sweetest, most patient, and friendliest person alive. I know that she meant no malice with her words and that actually, what she meant semantically was that she’s just waiting for the other shoe to drop. But there is no doubt that her words stung and that I needed to wait a couple of days to type them out.

I am just filled with wonder at how different their experience is from how ours will be (if we even get pregnant). Even when we both experience pregnancy, we’ll be wearing two different Hats. How amazing must it be to feel unguarded enough to announce a pregnancy without at least one ultrasound first? We would never announce anything (except to you, dear blog friends!) without at least a few ultrasounds. How wonderful must it be to already be considering names (which they announced yesterday when asked) or to feel safe enough to already begin clearing out a room for a nursery? We’ll likely not feel comfortable discussing names or talking about a nursery until we are in the second trimester. They have already announced to friends on Facebook and are already attached to the idea of being first-time parents, but why shouldn’t they be? They are wearing the Fertile Hat. They don’t have any reason to think that things won’t work out. How amazing must that be? Wearing my Bitter Infertile Hat has felt a little heavier the past few days, now that I’ve had a glimpse of how great it must be to wear the other hat.

Posted in Struggles, Testing | 5 Comments »

Dr Surrey Update

Posted by auntiem10 on July 1, 2010

Yesterday I heard back from my nurse regarding Dr. Surrey’s feedback after reviewing the digital images of my endometrioma. This is what he said:

Looks like she now only has a single mass down from the three seen here. Let’s just repeat in one cycle.”

This week has been full of good news. My TSH level has been basically cut in half with the help of Synthroid, and no surgery is on the horizon yet (well, except for the egg retrieval!). At the beginning of the next cycle, I’ll go back to my local RE’s office for one more ultrasound to make sure nothing bad is growing in there, and a few days after that, I’ll start BCP!

In other news, today is my 5-year dating anniversary with my wonderful husband! I simply could not ask for a better partner, and I can’t say enough good things about how amazing he is. Despite the struggles we are enduring with infertility, I truly do feel like the luckiest girl alive!

Posted in About Me, Dr Surrey, Testing | 5 Comments »

Just Waiting

Posted by auntiem10 on June 24, 2010

My ultrasound images from Tuesday have been forwarded to Dr. Surrey (he’s apparently out of the office this week) and my thyroid panel recheck bloodwork has been drawn… so today I find myself on Cycle Day 10, just waiting for the next stage of treatment. I’m not anticipating hearing from either doctor’s office until next week, but I’ll be sure to post the results. In the meantime, the work week is winding down, and I can’t wait for the weekend!

About my thyroid recheck… I just wanted to clarify why I’m allowed to move forward with my IVF cycle so soon, considering I had mentioned previously that my local endocrinologist wanted me to have two blood draws over a 12-week span to get my thyroid levels under control. I forgot to mention that during my regroup appointment with Dr. Surrey, he told me that the most important time for normal thyroid levels is during the embryo transfer. This is because thyroid disease can cause problems for the fetus. He told me that as long as I am taking Synthroid and have had one blood draw, he would be comfortable with proceeding with our freeze-all cycle. I just wanted to provide this info for future CCRMers who may have newly discovered thyroid dysfunction!

Posted in Dr Surrey, Testing, Thyroid Stuff | 2 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 »

Waste of Time

Posted by auntiem10 on June 21, 2010

So, I woke up early this morning, drove to my local clinic, and prepared myself for just another in a long line of ultrasounds. My blood pressure was high, which was unusual but maybe no surprise after last night’s news (it was 129/93 I think). The u/s tech came into the room and promptly informed me that she felt this ultrasound would be best performed by the RE himself. He is out of town until tomorrow, so she agreed to just take a look at my innards to see if she could capture some images. She found one endometrioma, which was 3 cm or so (32 mm). She noted that my ovaries have a polycystic appearance. Then she told me that I would have to come back tomorrow for an u/s performed by the RE himself. She just didn’t feel comfortable stating that she had captured all that was going on inside of me. After my laparotomy, my reproductive organs were shifted around (my ovaries are touching, one ovary is partly missing, my uterus is shifted to the left), and she just wasn’t 100% sure that she was looking at the big picture.

What a waste of time. I will be going back in there tomorrow morning at 8:45 for ultrasound #2. Ugh.

Regarding my post last night, I’m trying to find some inner strength to better cope with the news of my SIL’s pregnancy. I was feeling a little better until I read my MIL’s big announcement on Facebook this morning, that she “is so happy she could just burst,” that she “can’t wait,” and that “a new generation is beginning.” Ouch. Then I read my BIL’s announcement, that apparently my SIL surprised him with the news on their second anniversary last Monday.  My hubby arrived home last night, plopped himself down on the couch, and burst into tears. The last time I saw this man cry was last May when the outcome of IVF #1 was declared biochemical. Seeing him cry was the lowest I have felt in a long, long time. I decided to torture myself and prodded him for details once he composed himself. I guess they gave my FIL a framed piece of paper that said “Happy Father’s Day! You’re going to be a Grandpa!” He and my MIL both cried tears of happiness, and the rest of the time was spent talking about baby stuff. Once again, I found myself SOOO thankful that I was not there. Although I feel bad that I wasn’t able to share that moment with his family, I’m 99% sure I would have burst into tears. I definitely feel that someone was looking out for me when I made the decision to skip the celebration and rest instead.

Posted in Struggles, Testing | 6 Comments »

Testing Agenda

Posted by auntiem10 on June 20, 2010

This week I have some testing on my agenda!

Early tomorrow morning, I’ll be driving to my local RE’s office for yet another fateful date with the vagcam. The u/s tech will be measuring the three endometriomas that were found during our ODWU, and the info will be sent to Dr. Surrey electronically for review. Endometriomas, for anyone who may not know, are cysts that are filled with old blood. They are sometimes called “chocolate cysts” because of the color of the fluid contained within them, and they are common in patients with severe endometriosis. An endometrioma is also the only endo indicator that is easily visible on an u/s monitor. Numerous endometriomas were removed or drained during my laparotomy in 2007, and apparently three of them missed my ovaries so much, they decided to rejoin the party. I wonder if it’s possible that the endometriomas could have disappeared? Hopefully no other nefarious things are visualized, and with any luck, the endometriomas will not have grown substantially. Either Dr. Surrey will recommend continuing to monitor them, or he will recommend surgery to remove them. I’m hoping for Option A, clearly.

On Wednesday, I’m going to a draw station to have my thyroid levels rechecked. I’ve been taking 50mcg of Synthroid for six weeks, so it is time to see if my dosage needs to be adjusted. Hopefully my TSH, T3, and T4 will have stabilized. My endocrinologist will review my results and adjust my medication as needed. Then I’ll return six weeks later (around the beginning of August) for one last recheck. At that point, he will clear me for IVF if my levels are normal with medication!

I think many IVFers are happier when we are actually actively doing something instead of just waiting in limbo, and I am no exception!

Posted in Testing | 1 Comment »