I am actually pleasantly surprised. We actually have four follicles growing.
Today is Cycle Day 8, the first monitoring appointment to check on the follicles. I was on 100mg Cl.omid for five days. I kept on telling Bob that I hadn’t felt anything growing. No movement. (Of course, it’s not like I have a baby inside me.) No bloating. And on those five days, I didn’t feel overly crazy or emotional. It was as if I was taking some placebo pills for the heck of it. Apparently Cl.omid is doing its thing. We arrived at 9am at the clinic, which was a little more calm than last Labor Day weekend. I was one of the two patients who showed up at that time. The front desk lady once again asked if I wanted to keep my decision of no anesthesia during retrieval. I confirmed. Why spend an extra $763 if I can tolerate it? I hope I can really tolerate it.
I was a tiny bit nervous. In the waiting room, Bob and I were sitting in this loveseat. He said, Are you nervous? I asked, Do I look nervous? He said, You’re bouncing your legs up and down. I didn’t even realize that. My goal was to have one follicle growing. I know that’s a very meager but realistic goal.
Once again, we found ourselves sitting in the ultrasound room. Me with a sheet covering myself. Bob sitting in this chair with his phone in his hand. I am liking that he now can come to all of my appointments because of his new job in the city. These two doctors walked in. The one in the scrubs was one of the REs of the clinic. The other younger one in her white coat was an intern. Dr. Intern was the one who did the dil.do cam. Lining was 6.5mm trilaminar pattern. On the right there was a 14mm follicle. On the left, there were a clutter of three follicles: 11mm, 9mm, and 9mm. It was nice to finally be able to see the screen this time because Dr. Intern had to turn it towards Dr. Scrubs to take a look. So far so good. Dr. Scrubs told me to just carry on and go back in two days for another follicle check. I once again asked about adding Ganirelix or Cetrotide as my own RE mentioned that he might add it in the end of the cycle. Dr. Scrubs said this protocol does not call for it. We most likely won’t add it. I also asked about the earliest possible retrieval day. It looks like the earliest will be Friday. It all depends on how fast the follicles are growing.
This cycle is very different from what I have experienced. In my previous cycles, fertility meds were used until the day before the trigger shot. Now I feel like I am not doing anything because I am not popping any more Cl.omid pills or poking myself with any needles. I feel like I am idling and waiting for something to happen. It’s just a very different experience. It forces to trust more. This clinic also does not do any bloodwork to check on the estradiol level because we’re not adjusting the medication. So there is no way of knowing if my E2 is rising nicely, like what we did before. I feel like I am in the dark most of the time. Without the ultrasound, it totally feels like we are still waiting to do another cycle.
Dr. Scrubs said that I may not want to go back to work after retrieval if I am given something to take my edge off the process. I don’t quite recall what she said it was, but she said she’d still prefer for me to be driven by someone to and from the retrieval. We can hold off intercourse for about two days before retrieval.
Yesterday was the first time I went back to my leaders meeting for the Bible Study for which I am a leader. Weekly discussion group and weekly leaders training are going to resume this week. So I will become very busy again for several months. Three quarters of the people in this new group of leaders know about our fertility journey. When I wrote down my prayer request, I felt that it was okay to share my request with the other new leaders. So I wrote this: “Pray for the new fertility treatment cycle to go smoothly, and for the scheduling of treatment, work, and bible study to work out”. I passed the prayer request to the leader on my right. She read it and asked if I wanted her to pray it out loud. I said, yeah I thought about it and I like to be open about it. So she prayed out loud for me. I have come a long way with sharing my journey with others. I no longer feel as secretive about my challenges especially if I get prayers in return.
One of the leaders approached me after the meeting was over. She took a break last year from leadership and did not know about all the IVF cycles that we did. I told her a brief version of our journey and how we’re trying to bank some embryos before moving on to other means. She shared a story with me. Her pastor and his wife, both Chinese in their 40s, recently gave birth to a baby girl who is of caucasian descent. I quickly said, Embryo adoption! She said, Yes! I was like… that’s wonderful! This couple had been trying for a long time. They did IVF for many cycles. Nothing worked. They finally adopted embryos and failed a few cycles of that. So they transferred this last embryo and she became a baby! What a great story to share! I sometimes resist stories people tell me about others who are successful with their IVF cycles or adoption. But this story warms my heart. I love how open the pastor and his wife are. And I love how this leader is so happy for them. It makes it easier for me to explain to her about the possibility of donor eggs. The more open we are, the less stigma is attached to infertility and using other means to reach parenthood. One step at a time.
Just like growing follicles. One step at a time. My hope is that more than one egg will be retrieved in the end. As of now, I am content with the direction of the cycle. I am trusting that the Lord has a plan.