IVF #1, aka ‘abnormal eggs, wtf does that mean?’

As promised, here is everything I can remember about our first IVF.

Before I go into it let me just say a few things.  One, I realize how blessed we are to be able to even do IVF, it is a ridiculously expensive process (fuck you insurance companies, legislature/government and resulting lack of coverage for something that is absolutely a medical condition, but I digress).  And so we are lucky to even be in a place financially where it is an option.  The second thing is that I really, stupidly, naively, thought this would work and by work I mean at least get something to freeze for another try.  My normal approach to life is to be fairly realistic/pessimistic about things and then happy when things work out.  I had promised my husband that I would be positive about this and go into it thinking it would work in the hopes of positive thoughts leading to positive outcomes.  Heading along that path, the worst scenario I allowed myself to think would be that the cycle would get canceled or that I would at least get an embryo or two to put in and have a shot at success and have to start over from scratch if it didn’t work.  I know there are tons of stories out there of miserable failure but I didn’t really think/accept I would be one of them (I suppose none of us think that and yet here we are).

Labs on 7/17:

AMH – 2.2 

FSH – 11.7 (up from 8.6 a year earlier)

Estradiol – 65.3

We started our first IVF after doing 1 medicated cycle and 3 IUIs with no luck – with diagnosis of unexplained infertility (see TTC timeline for more info).  Protocol was Long Lupron, so I started BCP in mid July.  And then I remembered why I felt so much better off birth control (my history with birth control pills is a story for another day) – I started to feel bloated, slightly depressed, low energy and just overall bleh.  Did that for about 3 weeks and then started the Lupron.  The shots didn’t hurt so much, but the side effects sucked – headaches, terrible sleep and even more blehness.  Did 20 units of Lupron for 13 days and then went in for my ultrasound to see if I was ready to start stims.

Ready to start stims labs on 8/15:

Estradiol <25

Doctor was concerned about my FSH (should have taken that as the first sign to worry, I didn’t) so decided to have me do Lupron 5 U, Follitism 375 U, and Menopur 75 U during stimming.  So yay, 3 shots a day, Lupron in the morning and stims meds at night – had some fun days at work where I would run home, shoot myself up and then drive back for evening work events.  Menopur burned like a motherfucker but I found that if I mixed it and let it sit for 15 minutes it got slightly better.

Here are my labs during stimming (figured I would post what I can remember in the hopes it helps someone else as I googled a ton for results like mine while going through it).

Stims started on 8/15

8/19 –

Left – 7.2, 8.0, 8.0 (3-4 under 10)

Right – 6.2 (3-4 under 10)

Estradiol – 80.8

 

8/21 –

Left – 6.6, 11.2, 8.9, 10.4, 6.4, 5.5

Right – 7.9, 8.6, 6.7, 7.6, 8.7

Estradiol – 172.6

 

8/23:

Left – 11.4, 13.8, 10.9, 13.6, 9.8, 8.6

Right – 8.6, 10.3, 10.8, 9.9, 5.9

Estradiol – 405.3

 

8/25:

Left – 15.0, 13.2, 16.8, 9.9, 9.7, 10.5, 9.2

Right – 11.9, 16.5, 14, 15.6, 14

Estradiol – 862.9

 

8/26:

Left – 11.6, 18.3, 14, 18.8, 18.4, 12.4, 17.6

Right – 17.0, 18.3, 18.0, 15.6, 12.5, 8.6, 8.4

Estradiol – 1275.4

*So as you can see, numbers doubled mostly and looked fairly decent from what they have told me

**Triggered 8/26 at 11 pm

By the last 3 days I was feeling pretty bloated but in good spirits – the stim drugs actually had me in a pretty good mood, much better than on the lupron and bcp.

Went in for the retrieval on 8/28 and it actually wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be – they got 8 eggs, which seemed decent.  Anesthesia was like a really nice night’s sleep and when I woke up I had a bit of pain but nothing awful.  Proceeded to get in bed, watch Season 1 of Scandal (fabulous fun to watch, by the way) and be waited on by my husband.

All of the next morning I lounged, did laundry and pretty much relaxed, all while having the phone on me at all times.  By around 10 am we hadn’t heard anything and I told my husband to go pick up the front door we had ordered.  So I waited, and in the back of my mind started to feel nervous that there was a bad reason they hadn’t called.  They called at 11:20 – and I knew it was bad when the coordinator asked if I was at home and could talk.  She told me that all of the eggs were abnormal.  They attempted to fertilize 2 of the 6 of them that at least looked OK, but neither was successful.  She also said that they were shocked and not expecting this outcome at all – I proceeded to lose my shit and start crying hysterically.  Not sure what else was said at this point other than me asking how this could have possibly happened when the numbers were pretty decent and why there was no warning.  She was very nice and stayed on the phone with me for a while while I cried and told me that we would get something scheduled with the doctor to get into the details as soon as they could.  At this point I assumed I was totally screwed, that the next option for us would be donor eggs.  Which I’m open to, I just didn’t think we would go from IVF #1 straight to that option without any warning – and the very real prospect of not having biological children threw me under a large bus for a while.  After getting of the phone I proceeded to open a bottle of wine, drink a fair amount of it while texting my husband (who was stuck in traffic) that the news was all bad.  He got home at the same time my amazon box with the pregnancy tests I had ordered arrived – awesome timing, thanks a lot universe.  My coordinator called later that afternoon to say that my Dr had Friday off but would come in to meet with me if I was ready to talk.  I decided to take her up on the offer and do the appointment.  

Met with the doctor, who was also very nice, and said she was shocked as well that this was the outcome.  She spent a lot of time going over the eggs in detail – I really wish I had taped that conversation since now it is a bit of a blur to me, but basically the issue was that the eggs were obviously poor quality.  I think something was said about more than one proto-nuclei or something – again, really wished I had written this down sooner.  To make a long story short (too late), she was of the opinion that it could have been a fluke, or more likely, that my body reacted poorly to the lupron protocol.  She said that the long lupron protocol is typically the starter protocol as it has the best numbers, but that she had seen cases where it went haywire with some people.  Specifically she had one case with a woman who did 3 IVFs at around the time Ganirelix was just being FDA approved, they tried the Antagonist protocol with Ganerelix as a last ditch option – she made better eggs, they put in 3 (per her request as she didn’t think there was a chance in hell it would work) and she has triplets today.  I don’t particularly want triplets, but at least it was comforting to hear that they had seen this before and been successful with a new drug regimen.  She said that I could start the Antagonist protocol right away with my next period or take a cycle off and heal a bit.  When I was in the office I was very much – let’s do this shit immediately, I’m not getting any younger here.  But after thinking about it for a few days I decided that I needed a break – at that time I’d been on some sort of fertility drugs for around 6 months counting the medicated cycle and IUI.  And I was (and still am, that doesn’t go away) sick of living my life according to this schedule of doctors appointments, drugs, and planning for each cycle.  It’s like living life on hold – not being able to plan any vacations, exercise regimens or anything beyond the next 5-10 days.  So I decided to take a cycle off, do a ton of hot yoga (my stress relief which I missed desperately), go out with friends, drink wine, and do whatever the fuck I feel like so I can be a normal human being for the first time in a while. 

So that’s where we are now – I took a month off and we have been ‘trying’ ‘naturally’ this month.  I’m also doing CoQ10, DHEA, acupuncture herbs, and fish oil to try and prepare better.  Unfortunately this cycle has been f’d up as well – I got a positive OPK on day 23 so I assumed I have ovulated (and had the not fun at all timed intercourse for two weeks while waiting to finally ovulate) but my temps are still low.  At this point I am throwing in the towel with testing, temping and TI and going with the assumption that I have ovulated and am on 6DPO.   

So that’s where I am – hoping that by some miracle I am pregnant without medical intervention (doubtful) and throwing caution to the wind and going on my annual girls trip to New Orleans next Friday.  If by some fate I am pregnant (again, please universe that would be fucking fantastic) then I will cancel the girls trip and be happily pregnant.  If not it’s on to boozing it up on bourbon street and starting the dreaded bcp again…

Sorry for the insanely long post, but now we are all caught up.  Will plan to update going forward with a day by day account of my 2WW and all that jazz.

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6 thoughts on “IVF #1, aka ‘abnormal eggs, wtf does that mean?’

  1. Oh man I’m so sorry for this trauma ( I didn’t mean to ‘like’ your post because its pretty horrific stuff you’ve been through but it’s impressive how detailed you are. I hope that things turn around for you, will be watching and hoping xx

  2. Ha, no worries, feel free to like 🙂 I mostly put in all the details to get it all out of my head (so that when I am obsessing about ivf #2 I can compare) and to put it out there if it helps anyone else as they go through this. I’ve read through your story as well and can’t imagine what you have been through either, way worse than my experience to date, I can’t even imagine. I am pulling for you too.

  3. I’m so sorry – that IVF experience sounds completely awful. For what it’s worth, I have a friend who had much improved egg quality when they switched her protocol. I hope that if you don’t get to be one of those lucky people who get pregnant during your break from treatment, then at least your next IVF will go as planned. New Orleans is one of my favorite places in the world – have a great trip and drink ALL of the Pimm’s Cups.

    • Thanks for reaching out to give me some hope. I love hearing stories about people having improved quality with a different protocol. There aren’t a ton out there on the internet for this specific situation so I was starting to believe it was some sort of infertility myth – along the same lines of ‘relax and it will happen’ and all that. And yes to drinking ALL the Pimms Cups and eating ALL the food. I’m definitely looking forward to it!

  4. Oh wow, what a hellish ride! I’m a CCRMer too, since 2012. If you have any questions, feel free to drop me a line. I’m hoping they find some new answers for you.

    findingourwayoutofif at gmail dot com

    • Thank you so much for reaching out, just caught up on your blog as well and huge congrats on the pregnancy. will definitely let you know if/when I have questions (I’m sure that I will). Will be thinking of you on April 3rd!

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