April 30, 2011 Married! (Isabelle age 36, Bob age 33)
September 2011 Dr. H, OB/GYN, found many uterine fibroids. Suggested surgical removals if we desired to have any biological children. CD3 FSH = 10.3. (Isabelle age 37, Bob still 33)
October 7, 2011 Abdominal myomectomy to remove fibroids. Over 50 tiny ones removed. Mild endometriosis removed. Ovarian cysts drilled. Six weeks off work. Discovered the importance of abdominal muscles for all things in life.
November and December 2011 Breakout bleeding but no ovulation. Dr. H prescribed clomid to induce ovulation.
December 21, 2012 Ovulation!
January 2012 Given the OK to TTC
January 2012 to June 2012 Charting, OPK, prayers, tears, hormones. BFN all the way.
February 2012 Bob turned 34.
June 2012 Saw Dr. H. CD3 FSH was 10.4. Was told that IVF was our only route. Went home and cried my eyes out. Was determined to prove doctor wrong.
June 2012 Bob’s semen analysis showed okay count (64 mil/ml), questionable motility, questionable morphology. Discouraged.
June 2012 Started Traditional Chinese Medicine for the both of us with Dr. L who is from China. Began the journey of making and drinking stinky Chinese herbs every single day for six months for the both of us.
July 2012 Isabelle turned 38.
September 2012 HSG showed good right tube. Minimal spillage on left which indicated possible adhesion from pelvic surgery. Discouraged. Only one good side.
December 2012 to March 2013 Attended three IVF seminars at nearby clinics. Consulted with four different REs. Conclusion: Try IVF immediately with own eggs. Do not wait.
January 2013 FSH 10.7 (Not on CD3 but 4 days after mid-cycle bleeding), AMH 0.16. Rock bottom for my age. Indicating diminished ovarian reserve. Discontinued Traditional Chinese Medicine with Dr. L.
February 2013 Bob turned 35.
March 2013 Began acupuncture with Dr. K. Love her.
March 27, 2013 In-person consultation with Dr. M. Antral follicle count (AFC): 6.
March 2013 Internet search led to the discovery of natural/mini-IVF for DOR patients or low responders
April 2013 Drove 7 hours to another part of the state for an IVF seminar at a clinic specializing in natural/mini-IVF. Recommendation from Dr. Y: do natural IVF ASAP.
April 2013 Waiting to consult with one last RE (Dr. E) before deciding on which IVF route to take (conventional vs. mini-IVF). FSH jumped to a whopping 18.3! Very discouraged.
May 7, 2013 Consultation with Dr. E. Fell in love with her. AFC: hard to tell as right corpus luteum was blocking the sight of the resting follicles.
May 2013 Decided to pursue one cycle of conventional IVF with Dr. E using high stim (300 IU Menopur and hGH). FSH jumped up some more: 18.7. E2 good. Began Total Fertility, DHEA, Resvoxitrol, melatonin.
May 30, 2013 Baseline appointment showed at least 6 resting follicles. Ultrasound also showed very good ovulation = big corpus luteum cyst = would not be able to start cycle if cyst still existed on cycle day 2. Wait for cycle day 2.
June 4, 2013 Baseline appointment II: ultrasound showed that cyst was still there and shrinking. No-go for IVF for this cycle. Was told to go home and try naturally. To go back a week after ovulation.
June 22, 2013 Baseline appointment for new cycle: Rekka the Cyst is dead! No need for aspiration and will go ahead with the cycle on CD2. Next step: wait for AF to show.
June 29, 2013 AF arrived
June 30, 2013 CD2 bloodwork done. FSH 18, E2 30. Got the approval to start stims. Menopur 300 IU, Omnitrope 25 ml every other day.
July 4, 2013 First monitoring ultrasound. 5 follicles measuring from 8mm to 11mm. Started Ganirelix the next day.
July 6, 2013 Second monitoring ultrasound. 5 follicles measuring from 11mm to 15mm.
July 7, 2013 Third monitoring ultrasound. 5 follicles measuring from 15mm to 18mm.
July 8, 2013 Trigger shot.
July 10, 2013 Egg retrieval. Isabelle turned 39. Four eggs retrieved.
July 11, 2013 Three eggs fertilized via ICSI.
July 12, 2013 One grade-one two-cell embryo. Two not growing.
July 13, 2013 Scheduled day three transfer cancelled. One grade-one four-cell embryo. One two-cell embryo. One not growing.
July 14, 2013 Grade-one embryo became a morula. The other one was eight-cell. Day five transfer as scheduled for next day.
July 15, 2013 Morula remained a morula. Day five transfer cancelled. Crushed.
July 16, 2013 Morula became a day six 2BB blastocyst! Frozen.
July 25, 2013 CD1. Trying things naturally. Didn’t test.
August 20, 2013 Cycle day 1.
August 21, 2013 Started Femara. 2 pills. Threw up at night.
August 22, 2013 Took 1 extra Femara just in case. 2 Femara at night.
Protocol includes 2 Femara for five nights, Omnitrope every other night. Started Menopur 150IU on 5th night.
August 26, 2013 First follicle scan. Four follicles on right. Two tiny ones on left. RE increased Menopur to 4 vials a day for five days.
August 28, 2013 Six follicles on right. Looks like we have one dominant, greed follicle. Two tiny ones on left still.
August 30, 2013 Five follicles on right. Two tiny ones on left not growing.
September 1, 2013 Egg retrieval. Four eggs retrieved. No transfer scheduled as fibroids were discovered.
September 2, 2013 Two eggs fertilized. RE is happy that one mature egg and another immature egg fertilized.
September 3, 2013 One grade one, two-cell. One not dividing
September 4, 2013 One grade three, three-cell. The other one not dividing. Cycle looks like a bust. Heartbroken. Wait for day five to see if there is a miracle.
September 6, 2013 No miracle. Embryo did not further divide. Picking up pieces and have to decide what to do next.
September 19, 2013 Saline Infusion Sonogram finds that the fibroids are NOT in the uterine cavity. All clear to move onto next cycle. Ultrasound shows 4 follicles on each side.
September to November Do not feel like doing IVF. Take a one-month break from all things fertility related.
October 23, 2013 Resume Maya abdominal massage and acupuncture
November 9, 2013 Follicle check on 9 DPO. Apparently Dr. E sees very few follicles. Still decide to proceed with cycle.
November 16, 2013 CD1. IVF #3 begins.
November 17, 2013 CD2 FSH = 19
November 18, 2013 Begin Femara 3 pills a day. Protocol includes 3 Femara for five days. Start Menopur on day 4 of Femara. Omnitrope every other day.
November 23, 2013 First monitoring ultrasound. One lonely follicle measuring 10mm and a couple of other tiny ones.
November 25, 2013 Second monitoring ultrasound. One lonely follicle measuring 14mm. Nothing else is growing. RE gives choices of proceeding with egg retrieval, converting to IUI, or doing timed intercourse. Choose to convert to IUI.
IVF #3 converting to IUI #1
November 27, 2013 Third monitoring ultrasound. One lonely follicle measuring 18mm. No surprises or miracles of other growing follicles.
November 28, 2013 Trigger shot
November 29, 2013 IUI day. Bob does well. Post wash sperm count is 250 million. Motility is 85%. Now if only my egg is good……
December 12, 2013 Impending beta blood draw. Pee stick shows BFN. No blood test needed. Stop all progesterone and baby aspirin.
December, 2013 The 24th month trying for a baby. No baby in sight.
December 16, 2013 CD2. Baseline follicle check. One follicle on right. One gigantic follicular cyst on left. Cannot start IVF #4 as meds may make the cyst grow bigger. Take this month off.
January 14, 2014 CD …. lose count. Finally basal body temperature spikes. Ovulation is in sight.
January 20, 2014 Follicle scan. Cyst is gone! Yay! Two antral follicles on left. Cannot see the right side.
January 26, 2014 CD1!
January 27, 2014 CD2. Start 4 Menopur, Omnitrope every other day.
January 31, 2014 Follicle check 1. 2 small ones on the left. 1 dominant follicle on right, 14mm. Start Cetrotide tonight.
February 3, 2014 Follicle check 2. 3 follicles on right, 20.5 mm, 8mm, and 10mm. 2 follicles on left. 14.5mm, and 11mm. Realistically think that will have one egg at retrieval. Decide to go ahead with the cycle. Lining is 10.5mm. Trilaminar pattern. Trigger shot at night.
February 5, 2014 Egg retrieval. Two eggs.
February 6, 2014 First fertilization report: one normally fertilized egg, one degenerated.
February 7, 2014 Day 2, 2 cell grade 1.
February 8, 2014 Day 3, 4 cell grade 1. Decide to wait until day 5 to let it grow. Will thaw frozen on day 5 as well.
February 10, 2014 Fresh embryo becomes a “very pretty” morula. Frozen blastocyst thaws 100% without fragmentation. Two embryos made 7 months apart, both transferred at noon.
February 11, 2014 Now the real wait begins… Beta #1 on February 18.
February 16, 2014 Bob turns 36. Really want to give him the best birthday present ever.
February 18, 2014 Beta #1 is 21. Low, but pregnant for the first time.
February 20, 2014 Beta #2 is 23. Does not double. Heart totally broken. The saddest day of my life.
February 23, 2014 Bleeding starts. End of pregnancy. No more embryos. Have to go back to square one.
March 2014 Bob lost his job.
April to May 2014 Took a break and visited family in India and Hong Kong. Took a break from acupuncture, supplements, and Mayan Abdominal massage.
June to July 2014 In-person and phone consultations with UCSF Dr. No Nonsense, Dr. Z, Dr. Y in SoCal, and the last doctor in NYC
July 2014 Bob started his new job. Isabelle turned 40 (*GULP*). Isabelle went to her first therapy session with a psychotherapist.
August 2014 IVF #5 was attempted. Baseline appointment: a big ovarian cyst found on right ovary. Cyst was named Ursula. Cycle delayed.
IVF #5, Banking cycle #1
August 31, 2014 AF arrvied
September 1, 2014 Baseline appointment. Ursula the cyst had been killed! Four resting follicles. Instructed to take 100mg of Cl.omid for five days.
September 7, 2014 Four follicles: 14mm, 11mm, 9mm, 9mm. Lining: 6.4mm trilaminar pattern.
September 9, 2014 Follicles grew to 17, 13, 11, 11. Lining was about 7. Was told to use Ganirelix and 150IU Menopur.
September 10, 2014 Monitoring appointment #3: 18mm, 15mm, 13mm, 12mm. Was told to do one more Ganirelix and 150IU Menopur
September 11, 2014 Monitoring appointment #4: 19mm, 16mm, 16mm, 16mm. Was told to do one Ganirelix and trigger at 9pm.
September 13, 2014 Retrieved 4 eggs without anesthesia!
September 14, 2014 All four eggs were mature. Three fertilized!
September 15, 2014 Three embryos: Felicity is four-celled grade one, Gabriel is three-celled grade one, and Harriet is a bit slow at two-celled grade two. All are now in the freezer! Best cycle thus far!
IVF #6, Banking cycle #2
September 29, 2014 AF arrived
September 30, 2014 Baseline appointment. No cysts! Resting follicles: 3 on left, 1 or 2 on right. Instructued to take 100mg of Cl.omid for five days
October 6, 2014 CD8 monitoring appointment: 12mm on right, 7mm, 7mm, 7mm on left. Lining was 6mm.
October 8, 2014 CD10 monitoring appointment: 14mm on right, 9mm, 7mm, 6mm on left. Two Meno.pur and one Ganirelix.
October 9, 2014 CD 11 monitoring appointment: 17mm on right, 10mm, 8mm, 6mm on left. Little ones didn’t catch up much. No drugs for tonight.
October 10, 2014 CD12 monitoring appointment: 18mm on right, 12mm, 10mm, and the small one on left. Lining was 7mm. Trigger at 10:15pm for a 8:15 am retrieval on Sunday.
October 12, 2014 Retrieved 3 eggs!!! Two bonus eggs!
October 13, 2014 Two eggs mature. Two fertilized!
October 14, 2014 Both embryos are now four-celled grade one! Ivan and Jenny joined our family. Now we have five embryos on ice!
IVF #7, Banking cycle #3
October 29, 2014 AF arrived
October 30, 2014 Baseline appointment. No cysts! Resting follicles: 3 on left, 1 on right. Same as last time. Instructed to take 100mg of Cl.omid for five days
November 5, 2014 CD8 monitoring appointment: 3 tiny follicles: 8mm, 6mm, 4mm. Nothing much was growing. Lining was 9.4mm.
November 9, 2014 CD12 monitoring appointment: not much growth. Instructed to wait for phone call from clinic.
November 14, 2014 CD 17 appointment: no growth. Told to return a week later for a scan.
November 21, 2014 CD 24 appointment: 14mm and 8mm on right!
November 23, 2014 CD 26 appointment: 16mm and 13mm on right!
November 24, 2014 CD 27 appointment: 18mm and 14mm, lining 7.7mm. Trigger
November 26, 2014 CD 29: Retrieval. One egg only
November 27, 2014 CD 30: Egg did not fertilize. Crushed
December, 2014 Break from cycling due to UCSF lab closure for the holidays
IVF #8, FET #2, Take 1
December 30, 2014 AF arrived at 5:45pm
December 31, 2014 Counted as CD1
January 1, 2015 CD2 Baseline appointment on New Year’s Day. A gigantic 25mm cyst named “Muriel” was found. Cycle was canceled. Crushed.
January 2, 2015 Surprise! Was told to start Letrozole despite the cyst.
January 7, 2015 CD8 appointment: cyst’s size was 16mm. Lining was 9.5mm. Not much follicle growth. Told to return in a few days for another scan.
January 8, 2015 CD 9: Basal body temperature rose above cover line. Hmmm. Ovulated already?
January 10, 2015 CD11: Lining was 8mm. Cyst has shrunk but not measured. 10mm follicle on right, 12mm and 10mm follicles on left. However, progesterone was 17.1, which meant I did ovulate. What’s up with the follicles?
January 12, 2015 CD 13: Lining was 10.4mm but not trilaminar. 8mm follicle on right, 13mm and 11mm follicles on left. Very confusing. What did this all mean? Played phone tag with Dr. No Nonsense. Was instructed to start 150 iu of Menopur and one Ganirelix. What? Were we going to retrieve in the luteal phase? What about the transfer? Could one transfer in the luteal phase?
January 13, 2015 CD 14: Continued with Menopur and Ganirelix because I could not get a hold of Dr. No Nonsense to discuss logical behind it. Started spotting.
January 14, 2015 CD 15: scan showed 15mm on left, 13mm and 8mm on right. Lining was 12mm. Even more confusing. Spotting continued, which was very peculiar. Finally connected with Dr. NN, who confirmed that a transfer was not possible, and it was up to us to see if we would continue with the cycle and get to retrieval. Decided to gamble and did Menopur and Ganirelix one more day. “Mid-cycle” spotting became heavy.
January 15, 2015 CD 16 had become CD 1 for a new cycle: Basal body temperature fell below cover line. Full flow started. Luteal phase was only 7 days long. What the heck? Scan showed 13mm on left, and 8mm and 8mm follicles on right. The follicles had shrunk. Lining was 10mm. A break was needed for my body to get back to hormonal balance.
January 18, 2015 CD 4: spotted… and basal body temperature showed elevated temperature above cover line. What the heck again? I had ovulated… again.
January 22, 2015 CD 8: basal body temperature went down again and light menstrual flow started. Mini-luteal phase. My body was definitely messed up. Dr. No Nonsense wanted me to go in for a scan. I didn’t feel good about it.
January 23, 2015 Was supposed to go in for a scan. Canceled the appointment and told Dr. NN that I wanted a break.
IVF #8, FET #2, Take 2
February 14, 2015 CD 1
February 15, 2015 CD 2 appointment: What???? Another cyst. 17mm. So disappointing….
February 16, 2015 Bob turned 37
February 17, 2015 CD 4: Dr. No Nonsense and I decided to do a natural cycle, without any medication for stimulation
February 21, 2015 Met with clinic’s staff psychologist to discuss egg donation
February 22, 2015 CD 9 appointment: trilaminar lining at 6.8mm. 13mm follicle/cyst? on left, 10mm on right. A dark structure outside of the ovary measuring at 15mm.
February 24, 2015 CD 11 appointment: trilmainar lining at 7.1mm. 14mm follicle on right, 14mm follicle on left! Wow. Was told to do 150 iu Menopur and one Ganirelix
February 26, 2015 CD 13 appointment: trilaminar lining at 7.8mm. 18mm follicle on right, 15mm on left. Triggered at 9pm.
February 28, 2015 CD 15 Retrieval day: What a huge disappointment. Had ovulated already. Still proceeded with retrieval and no eggs to show for. Converted to IUI. Post-wash 20 million sperm. What else could go wrong??
March 2, 2015 CD 17 Transfer day: intended to thaw three day-two embryos. Due to miscommunication between nurse and embryologist, four embryos were thawed. Decided to thaw the last one. Transferred a total of five day-two embryos.
March 16, 2015 Beta day. BIG. FAT. NEGATIVE. This marked the end of our journey doing IVF with my own eggs. Very very sad.
Egg Donation – The New Era
April 9, 2015 Officially started looking at egg donors. It has been a huge roller coaster
April 29, 2015 Donor coordinator at current clinic confirmed that the donor we were interested in was available for a cycle in July or August. Was told to start getting pre-cycle checklist completed
April 30, 2015 4th wedding anniversary
May 5, 2015 Complete blood count revealed normal results
May 11, 2015 Saline sonogram showed possible scar tissue, which required a hysteroscopy. Met with donor coordinator who said that she couldn’t match us with donor until we complete all the items on the pre-cycle checklist and until the month before donor is available in August. Disappointed.
May 13, 2015 Semen analysis done. Everything is good except for 10% morphology.
June 3, 2015 Hysteroscopy at current clinic privately paid without using insurance. Failed as my cervix was too wide for the water that was pumped inside me to remain in the uterus. Dr. No Nonsense could not proceed without being dangerous. Surgery terminated. Now have to wait for Kaiser to schedule a hysteroscopy with general anesthesia. Can life be more difficult?
To Be Continued…