09 December 2010

IVF process (part 3)

Dec 7, 2010
Yesterday morning (Mon, Dec 6th) I woke up with some spotting. As the day wore on, I spotted more. I don't think yesterday can be considered Day 1, but today definitely is.
So, that makes it official, this month is out for me. In fact, this year is out for me.

December 6th is Finnish Independence Day, so everything was closed yesterday. First thing this morning, Tuesday, I called the clinic to see what happens next.

Well, the nurse said nothing can be done this month. I'm assuming because of xmas, and potentially
NYE, being in the way that that will make another round of IVF not possible right now.

I asked about the 4 embryos that they were going to continue to grow... They didn't develope more, so those are gone. 15 eggs were harvested from me and only 2, which didn't stick, made it back to me!

So, seeing that in
Finland they will only do 3 rounds of IVF treatment, I have 2 tries left. IVF = the major hormones to get many eggs, not the actual transfer of those fertilized eggs. (I may potentially have a 4th round of IVF (if needed), I wonder if this round will be considered such a failure that I will still have 3 more goes?). I know I should focus on round 2 instead of jumping so far ahead to round 3 and maybe 4..but right now, thinking and calculating is all I've got.

Anyway, I should be getting the letter in the mail from the clinic soon explaining what happened to the 4 remaining eggs (as if more than "they didn't develop" needs to be said). The letter should also tell me when I can next contact the clinic and when the next step can be taken.

Yesterday when I broke down crying, my DH actually cried with me. He said he's sad to see me so sad. It's the first he's gotten emotional-sad over this whole process. I'm sorry to make him hurt so much. I've got to pull it together and toughen up and stop being so moody-mean to DH.
In addition, now that I've come out on Facebook...well, whatever, I don't really care what FB people (in general, not specific like LIW) think. But I do have some close friends (and family) that know I'm waiting for this Thursday. I just so can't deal with them right now. I know they mean well, but...I just don't wanna! One friend has already texted asking if I can stand the anticipation of waiting for Thursday. I haven't replied yet because my only thoughts are snippy and rude. (I know she'd understand though.)

That's my thoughts for now.

IVF process (part 2)

Nov 15, 2010
Today was a good u/s day! Harvesting will take place in one week!!!!!!

During my last visit, the doctor wasn't too hopeful about my left ovary producing many follicles or at least of much quality. Great news is, not only did my right ovary produce several follicles, my left one did too! Despite the cyst. My endometrial lining is 8 (not sure what exactly that means, but it is more than 5 from the previous visit).

So, I have 6-7 follicles measuring 10-14mm on my right ovary. ~4 11-12mm & ~3 13-15mm follicles on my left ovary. And boy oh, boy, I feel twinges and pangs on my ovaries! Nothing unpleasant (like I had been having last week before the injections), just enough twitchiness to know something is going on. Almost O-like symptoms, but not quite.

I will do 3 more days of Puregon injections (today, Tues & Wed). Then on Thursday morning I go back in for another control u/s, even though they already know they will harvest on Monday, the 22nd. The doctor said they still want to do 2 u/s. *shrug* Ok.

And then next Monday DH and I will go in early for my procedure (harvesting) and DH will give a sample. I've been told the harvesting is quite painful, so we'll see how that goes. And then on Wednesday I'll get 1-2 starts inserted back into me! In addition, on Mon-Wed, I'll be home from work on "sick leave".

I haven't felt this happy and hopeful in ages!

Nov 18, 2010
2nd u/s today to see how the eggies are doing. Not much has changed since Monday.

The endometrium lining is good and follicles are still growing. Since some of the follicles are a bit small, I'll continue with injections today and tomorrow. Saturday will be the O-stimulator injection and a break from needles on Sunday.

Monday we go in at
. DH will give a sample and I'll be harvested. I've been told it will take 15-30minutes for he actual procedure, but we'll be in the office about 2 hours total. I will get some pain killers and antibiotics intravenously. No driving for me for 24 hours. Good thing I'll have 4 days of sick leave (it is paid time off here in Finland) to recover (although, I'm hoping to go to the movies with a friend on Tues).

I've been warned by a co-worker that when his wife had this done, it was painful! So, I'm trying to prepare myself for pain and also try to prove them wrong and that it isn't painful. LOL

And then a week from today will be the reinsertion date.
OMG! After 2.5 years, it might finally be happening.

(In response to what someone said: Yes! What I wouldn't go through to get a LO! Pain? What's that? What am I not going through? This mega amount of hormones is totall kicking my butt. I'm so tired, sometimes a bit nauseous, food doesn't always sound good (totally not me), sensitive skin, heavy feeling ovaries, a couple of bruises from the injections. Thankfully I don't think I'm too moody...or at least not any worse than normal. lol

Harvesting can't be as painful as some birth stories I've heard. Can it? (famous last words) And this won't be that long of a procedure...)

Nov 22, 2010
Today was harvest day!
DH and I were a few minutes late (just after ), but that didn't seem to matter. *phew* The whole thing today only took about 2 hours.

The nurse called us to the waiting area (several beds cordoned off by curtains) and had me strip down below the waist and put on a hospital gown. DH was sent off to give his donation. There was a Paracetamol/Tylenol waiting for me. After I got dressed in my gown, the nurse put an IV in my arm and started the antibiotic drip (because of me having endo). Basic questions were asked of me (any allergies to medication, how long had we been trying, etc) DH came back and we just waited. When the antibiotics were done, the nurse told me to go to the bathroom. And right before the procedure, she told me go again (~), saying that nerves can stop the bladder from emptying fully and if I didn't go a 2nd time, I'd get a catheter. (yikes! No!)

The nurse and I walked to the end of the row of beds into the procedure room. There was the doctor/surgeon and one more lady. They had me get up on a table with stirrups (the type you rest your calf/knees on, not your feet). I got a shot of morphine in my IV (heheh). It went to my head almost immediately.

The doctor put a speculum in me to see what everything looked like and then she gave me a local injection (like at the dentist's) at my uterus opening. That pinched a bit. Then the doctor & nurse got the u/s wand ready. I couldn't quite see what the doctor did to it, but I believe the needle was clamped on to the wand. At least I know they only put one thing inside of me. Then the doctor found my right ovary and started the procedure.

The screen was turned so I could see what was happening. It was quite fascinating. The screen had a line of green dots going across it for the doctor to know the angle of the needle. Once the needle was in position (after a tiny pinch and ouch) and in a follicle "cell"(?), the needle started sucking it up. It was 'funny' to see the fluid being sucked up like in a straw. They told me when they got the first follicle in a tube and I just didn't hear them as I was so focused on the monitor. lol. The right ovary was harvested in no time. On to the left ovary.

The left ovary was a bit more painful! Almost each time the doctor moved the needle to go to another follicle, it pinched! It wasn't nearly as painful as I was expecting, but it sure did hurt. Getting an IUD inserted was much more painful (and I also had less painkillers)!! I "ouched" a few times and breathed deeply. Then all follicles were gathered! The doctor wiped up some blood, checked that there wasn't any extra bleeding going on and I was able to sit up. I sat for a few seconds and the nurse asked how I was doing and if I felt like I could walk back to my bed.

My head felt woozy-funny, but I was able to walk back without any problems. I just felt extremely tired. DH helped me get the blanket over my legs and I asked him what time it was. He answered, but I thought he was being silly and said "B14". After a bit of clarification, he said "a bit before 10".

A few minutes later the nurse came in and gave me some more pain medication in my IV. I laid there half out of it and sleepy for some time. The medication dripped and then the nurse said if I had something to eat with me (they recommended bringing a snack), I could eat it. So I sat up and ate my homemade pizza slices from the night before. *yum* After I had eaten, the nurse saw that I was sitting up and said if I was sitting, I must be well enough to go home.

The nurse went over some last minute details such as: 15 follicles were harvested (we won't know the quality of them or DH's sperm or how many fertilized nicely) and when to come back on Thursday. I got dressed and we walked (me slowly) to the car. DH drove us home and I came upstairs, he walked to work. I got me some more pain killer, tea, played with our younger cat and then crawled into bed to snuggle with our older cat. I tried reading for a bit, but was so exhausted that I closed my eyes at
. I woke up a few times for a sec, but didn't fully wake up until .

I will start taking Lugesteron (progesterone) capsules this evening and then continue with inserting 3 a day (ugh) until my period comes or until the first u/s after a positive test in 2 weeks.

Right now, I am feeling a bit sore, achy and a bit bloated in the stomach area. I will be home on sick leave for 4 days (back at work on Friday just in time for the xmas party). Anything more than gentle walking has been forbidden for the next week.

Now we wait until Thursday.

(In response to what someone said: The process was actually much easier than I thought it would be. And I guess I've been quite lucky to not have too many s/e from the drugs (during the whole process). Ok, sure, I've had pregnancy-like symptoms the last 2 weeks, but nothing I couldn't live with (most of the time, heh).
And I'm so excited and nervous for Thursday. I know already that if this fails, I'm gonna be in tears if I see a BFN or AF after the 2WW. I just feel it in my bones. Sure, I've been sad all the times before, but this time is different..)

Nov 25, 2010
Today was Transfer day! And It went well. :)
We knew on Monday that they harvested 15 eggs. Today we found out the rest of the stats.

Of the 15 eggs harvested, 14 were mature.
Of those 14, 8 fertilized.
Of the 8, something happened (I didn't quite understand) and only 6 continued on.
Of the 6, 2 were transferred to me today.
None were frozen today, but there are 4 embryos that are still growing and have a chance at being frozen in the next few days. I'll get a letter sent to my home with all the info and how many will be (were) frozen.

As for the appointment itself, I was in and out in about 20minutes. It was almost the same as an IUI procedure, except I was told to drink lots of liquid and not go pee before hand. A full bladder helps them to see and position the embryo into the correct position.

I checked in at the 7th floor like normal and the secretary told me to go to the 4th floor. *shock* I'd never been there, but I'm assuming that is where the labs are. As I walked in I saw a friend in the waiting room also. (We didn't really have time to chat as she was called off somewhere almost immediately.) A couple of minutes later, I was called back.

The details I told above were told to me and then I stripped down and headed to the procedure room. A technician (from another room, via a square "window") asked my social security number to make sure they had the right person. I laid back in the stirrups, the cold speculum was put in place. With help from the nurse and an external u/s on my lower abdomen, the doctor inserted the tube-needle thing into place. That pinched! Then the technician from the other room came back with the 2 embryos and the doctor inserted them into place. They had me sit for a sec and then I got dressed and was on my way home.

As I was driving home, an emotional wave hit me. I wasn't expecting it, at least not until 2 weeks from now. I just really really want this to work! I am so tired of waiting. I am also concerned that if this first IVF doesn't work, I won't be able to start the next round until after the new year. That's almost 2 months away!!

Anyway, after a cry and chat with my friend, I felt much better. A few fresh baked cookies and a cute 20mo old little girl doesn't hurt.

So, it's progesterone suppositories for me for the next 2 weeks and we'll see what happens.

Nov 26, 2010
I definitely feel better after my little cry yesterday. It is funny how most everything is released with a cry.

I will do an hpt test on Dec 9th. Although, I am not sure if I can hold out that long. LOL. But I do have only 1 hpt at home, so that might help.. hehe
I have no idea when I'll go back to the doctor. It will all depend on the test. I will at least call the clinic to let them know the result of the test.

IVF process (part 1)

I wrote on my Facebook page a couple of weeks ago the following:
‎2.5 years ago my husband and I decided to try for a baby.
1.5 years ago the doctors suspected I have endometriosis.
1 year ago it was confirmed with surgery.
Now we are undergoing IVF in hopes of finally getting a baby.
It's been a long, difficult road and we're not there yet, but I am no longer worried about others knowing what is going on.

Having said that, here's an account of my IVF journey so far (this too has been posted elsewhere).

Oct 11, 2010
This is going to be a long post...you might want to get a cup of tea/coffee.

I'm officially at the start of the IVF process. And I'm not feeling quite like I thought I'd feel. Don't get me wrong, I'm excited to finally get to this point as nothing else has worked so far. Yet at the same time I am quite sad. It's like "huh, so this is it. My body couldn't do it on its own and now I have to fully rely on treatments to hopefully get me where I want to go." As I drove DH home and then myself to work, I couldn't help but get teary-eyed.

At the appointment first thing was to check how big/small the cyst on my left ovary is and if it looks like any more endo-tissue has formed. Thankfully the cyst is only about 2cm and there is only a tiny bit of blood/tissue.. I think that is how big the cyst has been for a few months now. She said it wouldn't stop us from proceeding forward now. *big sigh of relief*

Next the doctor went through the overall IVF process and then got us started on what we need to do next. We'll be going the "long" route with IVF since I have endo. And because I do have endometriosis (even if I have no outward symptoms at all), this can make IVF more risky than if I didn't have it.

This cycle will play itself out on its own, except at day 21, I'll give myself an inejction (Procren) to basically stop my body's production of hormones for the next 4 weeks. AF should come like normal. She had better keep to her clockwork like schedule! I have my next appointment already set up for the beginning of next month. The doctor will check that the injection is doing its job. Then we'll decide how long I'll do injections of Puregon (stimulates folicles) and also the dosage. I've been using 50iu of Puregon for quite some time now, but this time the dosage will be upped to 150iu to start with. I'll have an u/s every couple of days to see how things are progressing and to change any meds if needed. Then I'll do a trigger injection for O (Pregnyl). Very soon after that will be my harvest date! The doctor said it looks as if week 45 (Nov 8-12) will probably be the week when it will happen. A fews days after my eggs are harvested and DH gives a sample (on the same day), the clinic will let us know when everything looks good and I can go back to have them put in me.

The doctor said that depending on the quality of the embryos, they might put 2 in me (AT MOST!). But they would prefer to only insert one. After that, it'll just be a waiting game.

The doctor also went over the possible side effects. What fun! The first injection might make me mean/moody and possible hot flashes (esp at night) and not being able to sleep too well. The higher dosage of Puregon could give me thrombosis (clots), bloating, swelling, moodiness, among other things. And again, because I have endo and it making the risks a bit higher, there could also be a chance of bleeding from the harvesting procedure. And maybe even infection (because needles will be inserted into my body). So, I'll be given some antibiotics via IV to hopefully prevent infection.

Oh, I can't forget that I need to get some blood tests done before all of this starts. They have to check me for Hep C and whatever other blood born diseases and ilnesses they check for before they can do IVF. DH has already had this done before his 1st SA.

So, I guess that is my appointment in a (big) nutshell.

Oct 18, 2010
I picked up my Procren* injection today. I will inject it one week from today (Oct 25th). It is supposed to stop the production of estrogen and testosterone.

*Procren isn't sold in the USA, but I think Lupron is similar.

(In response to what someone said: I'm not so down on myself this week. Just looking forward to Monday...not necessarily the injection itself, but rather what it means. In a sort of twisted way, I can't wait to see what sort of side effects I might get or not get. lol (Ask me that again if I can't sleep or get hot flashes...))

Oct 26, 2010
Monday Oct 25th, I injected myself with 3.75mg of Procren.

I got home just after , talked to DH, played with the cats and then set about getting ready for the injection.

The plunger needed to be screwed into the syringe. Then I had to carefully push the plunger up part way until the liquid mixed with the powder and the stopper thing reached the blue line. Next I had to carefully and slowly roll the syring back and forth between my hands to mix the liquid and powder. No shaking because it could cause bubbles and no turning the syringe over as we don't want anything to come out ahead of time.

Before getting the syringe ready, I cleaned the area below my bellybutton with the alcohol wipe that was included. Now that it was clean and dry, it was time to give myself the injection. This is always the most difficult part for me..sticking myself with the needle. It isn't that it's painful, the poking of the needle is really only a little prick. (Sometimes the liquid can sting a bit though.) It is more the idea of what I'm going to do..and how big the needle is! So, I stood there staring at the needle and making squirmy faces at it for a minute or so and then took a deep breath and got on with it.

I pinched an inch and then just slowly pressed the Procren into me. It was hard to see when the plunger made it all the way to the bottom. I then waited a few seconds before removing the needle. All done!

I've always given myself my own injections without anyone watching. I don't know if DH would want to help or see what I'm doing. I've just always gone and done it on my own and then shown him the little wound afterward. LOL. I'll have to ask him what he thinks.

I don't know how fast the stuff is supposed to start working. But I do remember being told that the effects would last for about 4 weeks. I did wake up during the night feeling quite hot and sweaty a few times, but that could have just also been that I had cats on my feet and it was warm in the room. And I don't think it effected my sleep..I'm just tired because I got to bed to late. I am a bit sore where I gave the injection, but that is quite normal for me.

Now we're just waiting for AF to arrive and my next appointment on November 2nd (Tuesday). If AF doesn't show by Monday, I need to call the clinic and reschedule the appt. Here's hoping she plays nice and shows up on time (this weekend?!).

Nov 1, 2010
I was saved by my phone alarm! AF showed up just in the nick of time, seriously!
I had my phone alarm set to remind me to call the clinic today at if AF hadn't arrived. Alarm went off and I quickly went to the bathroom and she was there..so were her wicked stepsisters: The Cramps. Thankfully I keep pain killer at work.

On a slightly different topic, but still relating to infertility and my IVF process, I received a letter last week from Kela (Social Insurance Institution/Social Security) stating that I'd surpassed my co-pay amount for medicines this year. So, for the rest of the year any prescription meds I need, I'll only have to pay 1.50€ per prescrip/fill.

Which is pretty cool because I'm going to be taking much higher doses of meds pretty soon and that means I'll need more of it.

I know the prices I'm paying for treatments and meds here in
Finland are not nearly as much as in the USA. And for that I am very thankful to be in Finland. But at the same time, we do pay higher taxes and what not in order to get cheaper health care. It's just different.

I also am pretty sure that if we were in the USA, that my DH would not be willing to pay $12k plus for IVF. Or at least, it would have been much more difficult to get him to this point in treatments.

Nov 2, 2010
I had a good doctor's appointment today. Not the exact results/timeline I was expecting, but doable.

The ultrasound showed that my right ovary is in great shape and clear/clean of any cysts. (That was the one I had the endometriomal cyst removed from a year ago this month.) The left ovary, on the other hand, has a blood filled cyst, most likely the same as what was removed a year ago, but they can't tell for sure unless they operate. It is 2cm. So, the doctor is optimistic about the right side, but not so on the left.

The doctor asked if I would mind waiting one more week before starting the Pregnyl (ovary stimulator) in hopes that this extra time would allow the endometriosis and cyst to calm down. And since it was only a week ago that I took the Procen shot, there is time. It was totally my call whether to start now or wait the week, so I said I'd wait the week. Especially when the doctor said that in her opinion it would hopefully give better results.

So, I start taking Pregnyl next week's Wednesday (10th). I take 200IU per day for 5 days. (That's up from the 50IU I have been taking.) Then on the following Monday (15th), I go back for another u/s to see where things stand.

The doctor says that it looks like we'll harvest the following week (wk 47 / week that starts on the 21st).

Nov 8, 2010
Quick update.
It's been two weeks since my injection of Procen. I don't think I've really had any specific side effects. At least not after my first night of sleeplessness, which I am sure was my own doing.
I have noticed though, that I've had some strange flutterings, cramps or just weirdnesses in my stomach/ovary area during the last two weeks. They haven't been anything constant nor persistent. Although, the last few days, I've been getting a few stronger cramps that hurt quite badly for 30sec-1min, then go away. I've also had a bit of nausea or sick feelings. It's never really any one sort of feeling that I can pinpoint other than I know it isn't pleasant.
I am sure it is just the absence of hormones being produced, so I'm trying not to be concerned, but well, you know.

Tonight was my first injection of Puregon (200IU). I'll be doing this until Sunday and then Monday, 15th, I go back for another u/s to see what my ovaries have produced.

Please send "pretty" and maturing egg thoughts my way.