I think it’s time to fill you in on our journey to conceive #2! I did update my timeline if you are inclined to just jump to the quick and dirty facts. If you like my prose, feel free to stick around.
Em and I like to make big life plans. And our big life plan has always included trying for #2 once Riley was about a year old. In Em’s head, that meant starting the week after her birthday haha. I was on a slightly longer trajectory because I knew it would take some time to wean. I know that some folks choose not to wean before doing IVF, but I needed to do a retrieval (which means lots of drugs), so was just not on board with that plan. It took a little over 2 months to totally wean, and we were done mid-January. Because I’m a procrastinator, I didn’t call my RE until that week, thinking I’d be able to get an appointment within a couple of weeks. Dumb assumption! When I called, they booked me for an appointment on April 28th.
I’m not really particularly good at waiting, so I directly e-mailed my doctor and came just short of begging for a sooner appointment. She wonderfully agreed, and squeezed me in the next week, AND agreed to have me do CD3 blood tests that day (I just happened to get in touch with her on CD3).
I know I mentioned it in my last post, but it bears repeating. This second time around has been so polar opposite to our first attempt to conceive. My day 3 labs all looked good and my RE booked me not only for a consult, but also for all of the other testing I would need to complete in order to submit for insurance approval. So on January 25 (CD11), I had an ultrasound, sonohysterogram (SHG), consultation with my RE, and meds teaching session with her nurse. The SHG was about a billion times more comfortable than the HSG thank goodness. All systems were a go for IVF, so my doctor submitted for insurance approval. If you recall (you probably don’t, so I’ll remind you), my insurance plan covers IVF and fertility related treatment once I prove a diagnosis of infertility. That meant I had to pay out of pocket for all of my treatments (IUI, meds, ultrasound monitoring, lab work) for 12 cycles, which I did. Thus, I qualify as “infertile” and now can have all of the things for free (except not for free because I have a deductible and co-insurance, but for cheap anyway). As you probably also know, insurance companies like to take their sweet ass time and make you sweat it out. I was fairly convinced that they would take about 30 days to respond, which would mean we could proceed with my cycle beginning in late March. But the TTC karma gods smiled on me and BCBS gave me the thumbs up a whole week before CD1 rolled around!
February 20, 2018 was CD1. By then, I had approval for treatment, all of my meds were in the cabinet/fridge, and our sperm was at the clinic. On CD2 I had a baseline ultrasound and got the go ahead to start the IVF stim meds. My protocol this cycle was:
- Gonal-F 300IU in the evening starting CD2
- Menopur 150IU in the evening starting CD2 (this was a change from last time – I believe I did Menopur 150IU but I didn’t start until day 4 or 5)
- Ganirelix pre-filled syringe in the morning starting about a week in (I responded well early, so they had me add in Ganirelix after about 4 or 5 days of stims)
- My LH started rising earlier than expected, so I added an extra Ganirelx twice during the cycle. Once on the day I ended up triggering – they were worried that I was already starting to surge and wanted me to do the extra dose “as soon as I had access to it” (they assumed I was at work – I was actually home so did it right then). Thus leading me to an all-consuming obsession with the worry I would ovulate early and there wouldn’t be any eggs in there at retrieval.
- HCG and Lupron trigger (last time I just did one trigger with Novarel. This time they wanted to add Lupron – my RE said that it would help release any less mature follicles and thus decrease my chance of ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome?)
- When the time came, I ended up just triggering with HCG as they were worried that the Lupron would actually over-do it and make me ovulate too soon.
- Crinone 8% in the morning starting after retrieval
After only 9 days of stims (I think), I had 11 follicles on the left and 13 follicles on the right over 12mm (AKA measurable). There was a good mix of sizes – the biggest were 20 and 21. Because many of them were over 16-17mm, they had me trigger that night on March 1st (which I believe was 2 or 3 days sooner than my original calendar had predicted). I had my egg retrieval on Saturday March 3 (which was also Em’s 33rd birthday. My gift to her was having to get up at the crack of dawn to get to the clinic and then let her take care of me all day). I was so epically disproportionally worried that I had already ovulated and was going to have no eggs at all. My brain latched onto the fact that my LH was high during my last 2 tests and added that to the fact that my cervical fluid had gone from OMG super fertile too much EWCM to pretty much dry once I triggered. Also I was super anxious because I had a REALLY tough recovery last time. Like, weeks of pain and limping. In the end, it went great! My recovery has gone so well. I have no pain at all now, less than a week out. And they got 23 eggs! 23! The nurse whispered it because she didn’t want to upset anyone else in the recovery area. I know not all of the 23 would be mature enough to fertilize but I was really happy with that outcome. Last time I got 12 eggs (from 20 follicles) so I was expecting about the same. We did “natural” fertilization (no ICSI) and ended up with 10 embryos from those 23 eggs. After 5 days, 5 were still contenders. They transferred the best one yesterday (grade 4AB), and ended up being able to freeze 3 others. It’s less than I initially expected but I’m not at all disappointed. I’m happy to have what will hopefully be the option for 2 more pregnancies.
So that’s where we’re at! The state of my uterus is … pregnant until proven otherwise. Official blood test day is March 19 (because 2 weeks from retrieval falls on a weekend). I’ll probably take a home test on Friday March 16. Anyone else on a similar timeline?
I’ll leave you with a pic of the little guy who’s in there now!