Our TTC Timeline

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.

IVF #1

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.

Off Cycle

July 25, 2013 CD1.  Trying things naturally.   Didn’t test.

IVF #2

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.

IVF #3

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.

IVF #4

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.

Rest Month

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…

10 thoughts on “Our TTC Timeline

  1. Hi! I just found your blog today. I too have POR! My AFC is usally 7. So we are pretty similar! We did 5 IUIs, the first one ended in m/c, the other 4 were failures. We are doing mini-IVF in St. Louis. I had my first egg retrieval June 14th. They got 5 eggs, 4 were mature enough to fertilize and all 4 did! We now have 3 8-cell & 1 7-cell embryos. We are doing one more retrieval at the end of August, beginning of September before doing a transfer. I would love to chat with you sometime!


    • OH nice! Congrats on having four eggs fertilized. It’s such a big deal in the DOR world. 🙂 Thanks for visiting my very new blog. I hope that your August retrieval goes well and that you’ll get to bank more embies! If you’d like, email me at binkymoongee at gmail. I would love to know what protocol you were on.


  2. Thank you for your blog and your candidness. We are just starting our IVF journey and reading your blog about what you and your husband have gone thru has really helped prepare us. So many feelings and emotions…..


    • Hi Tammy, thanks so much for reading and commenting! It has been quite a roller coaster ride for us…. One thing I learned about this journey is that…. you just don’t know what’s around the corner. So I have been taking it one day at a time. I hope that your journey will go smoothly!


  3. Isabelle, I just read your timeline and wanted to share some encouragement after being in the IF/RPL trenches for almost four years. I had three early first trimester miscarriages after conceiving naturally, but because I was in my late thirties when we started TTC (early 2010), we went to IVF very quickly. I did one cycle at CCRM in 2012 and two cycles at Cornell Weill in 2013 (all frozen). My FSH numbers were around the same as yours, and I had a low AMH (0.3) and very low AFC (4). The cycle at CCRM ended with two aneuploid embryos; we never tested the embryos at Cornell because, as I was gearing up for a dreaded third cycle, I found I was pregnant — and for the first time ever, the pregnancy succeeded, and we had our son in November 2013. So, a few thoughts: 1) AMH is only part of the picture — it really only tells you how well you’ll respond to IVF. If you are still menstruating, you can have a baby. 2) That said, you obviously responded extremely well to the mini-IVF protocol, which is terrific and inspires a lot of hope. 3) If you decide to pursue more IVF elsewhere, I would really recommend Dr. Davis at Cornell, which seems to focus more on DOR patients than CCRM. 4) You may already have heard of these resources, but Julia Indichova’s Fertile Heart program and Circle + Bloom’s meditation tapes can be really helpful. 5) Again, you may well already be aware of this, but electro-acupuncture has been shown to have inexplicably strong positive results for embryo transfer — as evinced by the fact that CCRM (otherwise as allopathic a place as you can imagine) has patients do it routinely.

    I hope none of this sounds prescriptive or presumptuous — it’s just that I have been where you are, struggling to hope and stay focused, and it’s just so hard. Also, my parents’ mother language is Tamil, so I love the name of your blog!

    If you have any questions or if there’s anything I can do to help, please don’t hesitate to let me know. Best of luck and I will be thinking of you!


    • Hi Sandhya,
      Thank you so much for taking the time to write to me about your experience. It’s always nice to hear success stories from fellow DOR ladies. I have looked into many places that work with DOR patients. I did think about all the east coast clinics including Cornell, but logistically it feels very difficult and stressful to coordinate cycling with clinics that are so far away. Back in July when we were trying to make a decision to switch RE/clinic, I was stressed out about the idea of traveling to Life in Irvine, although the clinic is only a 1.5 hour plane ride away. I had self doubts at the time, wondering if I would not be doing my best if I didn’t go to a clinic that “everybody” goes to, since it’s supposed to be the clinic for ladies with high FSH. I struggled with not doing the best, not knowing what “the best” meant. Then my therapist enlightened me and told me that my “best” may not be someone else’s best. It could be the best for me to stick with a local clinic that offers mini-IVF. So that was how I chose, and I feel very at peace with our choice. Emotionally, I am ready to just transfer the embryos that we have and see if we succeed in pregnancy. If not, I am ready to move onto donor eggs. I think it’s a very personal choice and there is no right or wrong. I sometimes wonder if I could even get pregnant with donor eggs, but at other times I feel hopeful. My husband and I did Circle + Bloom for a long time (Yes he did it with me because it was bed time and he loved it!) and then we stopped. I haven’t done the Fertile Heart Program. I have been going to an acupuncturist for a long time. When she wants to stimulate my follicles during a cycle, she uses the electro acupuncture machine. I will talk with her about that for our transfer in the future. Again, thanks so so much for telling your story and making suggestions. Thanks for reaching out, and I hope that you continue to follow my story, hopefully one that will turn into a successful one.


  4. Also, 6) I assume you are doing ICSI as part of IVF, but has anyone given you the supplement protocol for improving MF infertility? We found that it had a substantial impact in just a few months.


  5. Thanks for writing back, Isabelle — and for your gracious patience with what I feel even more acutely in retrospect were potentially intrusive and annoying suggestions. I absolutely agree with your perspective on what constitutes “best” and didn’t mean unwittingly to feed a narrative — too familiar to those of us in the IF/RPL world — that we must constantly be scrutinizing every minute aspect of our lives to make sure it’s optimal at all times. Best of luck and I will definitely be following your story!


  6. Hello! Thanks for the blog comment today, I’ve just come over to check you out. I love your alphabetical naming system, and I wish you all the luck in the world with Lucy! Awesome we are at the same clinic. I love Dr. ML and I am feeling pretty comfortable with the process so far. I really appreciate the offer to ask questions, and I’m sure I will have some! Also, I am at Kai.ser for my regular RE and health care. My RE is in Santa Clara, as was my first IVF consult.

    I’m looking forward to following your story from here on out (and I’ll be backtracking to read your old posts as well). Feel free to contact me for anything since we are in the same area 🙂


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