Even and Steady – Donor’s Follicle Check

You know, because I am a little crazy, I sometimes have this fear that our donor Serena is not doing what she is supposed to be doing, such as forgetting her injections, administering the wrong dose, etc.

But fortunately, that fear only creeps in my head once in a while.  The rest of the time I am quite confident that she diligently does her part correctly.

Today is her first follicle check after four days of stimulation.  Quite amusingly, a few of my friends messaged me this morning asking if today was our donor’s monitoring appointment.

It takes an IVF veteran to know which day the follicle check should fall on.

This morning, I had all sorts of thoughts in my head.  I am not going to list them here, but they were all sorts of things that could go wrong with our donor.  I know, crazy, right?

I guess with this being our last shot, and with our history of getting bad news, I just can’t help it but anticipate the other shoe to drop.  But at the same time, I am quite confident that this will turn out fine.

Can you understand that dichotomy?

I pray for her safety during her drive to Dr. E’s.  I pray for her health and for her eggs to grow well and evenly.

Emotionally I have been doing quite well.  Not too anxious.

This afternoon, Dr. E’s update came with a smiley face in the subject of the email.  It’s always a good thing when your RE writes you with a smiley face.

This is what she reported:

“She looks great.

Estradiol just under 500.

Scan report below
S: no c/o.
em: 6.73mm trilam
RO: 12 total: 10, 11.5, remaining <9
LO: 10 total: 10, 11.5, 10, 11, 10, remaining <9″


Looks like Serena is doing great.  The follicles seem to be growing steadily and evenly.

But me being me, even though Dr. E said that she looked great, I still had to email her and ask if our donor is looking good.

Dr. E’s response?  “I’d say great :)”  Another smiley face.

Well, I will take her word for it!

This is so different from when I was using my own eggs.  When we stimmed for my own eggs, we’d have two follicles, three follicles, or at most five follicles.  This is a whole new ball game.

For this particular cycle, I almost didn’t want to know the details of the stimulation.  But Dr. E included all of that.  I don’t know if it is or is not a good thing to have that knowledge.  I almost just want to hide myself under the blanket until day five or day six of fertilization.

But all in all, it is great news.  So now I can breathe and enjoy my weekend.

Very Last Scan and a Little Freak-Out

Today was the cycle day thirteen scan.  I prayed this morning for God’s will to be done.  I was a little nervous about the lining and was even having dreams that I was having a period instead of a growing lining.  Last night, I consulted with Dr. Goog.le for a little and then stopped because I didn’t want to freak myself out.  Let’s just say that I was freaking out the whole morning not because of the lining.

I mentioned to my friend Jo about the HCG shot that expired in January 2015.  This is something that I could have used a mere 26 days ago and nobody would have said a thing about it because it hadn’t expired.  I had a discussion about it with my acupuncturist before who was told by her RE that it was fine to use expired fertility drugs within six months of expiration.  So I never thought anything about it until Jo was saying that I should be cautious about it and should consult with my own RE.  I emailed my nurse and got the answer that they can’t allow me to use expired medication.  If I were to get a new dose from a local pharmacy today, it would cost $270.  This is something that I could’ve ordered early and paid $110 for.  I remember that my other local friend has a Ovid.rel.  I didn’t know if that and the 10,000IU HCG are the same thing.  So if I could use my friend’s Ovid.rel, then I wouldn’t have to pay so much for the meds last minute.  I had to email my nurse to see if Ovid.rel was okay to use.  I didn’t hear from her until after lunch.  By then, I had already called several pharmacies to check on pricing and shipping to be ready if trigger would be tomorrow instead of today.  Finally, I had heard from my nurse saying that Ovid.rel was okay to use.  I could pick it up from my friend after work if we indeed trigger tonight.  You see, I did all of this in between seeing clients at work.  I was so stressed out that I didn’t even have the time to worry about the scan.  At one point, I stopped myself and told myself that it was okay to pay $270 for a medication if I really need it.  After that, I felt much better and was not stressed out anymore.

I got to my appointment 10 minutes early hoping that I would be seen early like last time.  The lady in front of me went to the bathroom.  The nurse came out three times to call her name and she was still in the bathroom.  They finally connected but it was cutting into my appointment time.  My time was at 1:15pm and I had to be back at work by 2pm to see my clients.  I got called back in quickly but had to wait for the Nurse Practitioner for about five minutes.  Since my mind was still preoccupied by the trigger shot, I was not really too focused on the scan.  NP took a little while to find the lining.  She said it measured 7.7mm.  Then she shifted the view of the scan to find a better view.  She measured that instead and said it was 7.8mm.  I was a little worried about the thickness but she said that anything over 7mm is good.  In fact, she showed me the section of the lining that showed these three very clear stripes.  She told me that two days ago I also had a trilaminar pattern but it wasn’t as defined and “beautiful” as today.  Today she called it “beautiful” a few times.  I don’t know how to judge the beauty of the endometrial lining but I will take her word for it.  She said that that pattern is more important than the thickness.  Plus the lining will continue to grow.  I guess I won’t worry about it until my RE says something otherwise.

At first the follicle on the right side was 17 or 17.5mm.  She measured it one more time pushing on my ovary to get a better view.  She said she really wanted to measure it well but even one mm would make a big difference.  She was very careful and measured it again.  Then she announced that it was 18mm.  This time I got to see the view and saw a nice big round dark circle.  She went on to measure the left side. The follicle was 15mm.  The cyst-like structure outside of the ovary was still the same size.  It seems like the left follicle has been growing slowly, so I don’t know if that affects the egg quality or not, or if there is even an egg.  With the size of the follicles, NP said she would imagine that Dr. No Nonsense would recommend triggering tonight.

I went on to tell the NP how stressed my morning was with the whole trigger shot question.  She told me that the shelf life of the powder form of medication usually lasts a lot longer than liquids.  So she thought that it would be okay to use the expired meds.  But to make sure, she went ahead and asked the attending RE.  It happened to be Dr. Keikoman and he gave his Okay for me to use the trigger shot tonight confirming the NP’s point that powder form should be fine.  Thank you!  I was so relieved after talking to her and getting a reproductive endocrinologist’s confirmation.  I  guess this is the price I pay for going to a big clinic when you can get many different opinions and answers to questions.  This would never happen at the little clinic that I cycled with because Dr. E would have told me yes or no a long time ago.

I was told to wait in the waiting room for the nurse to get my paperwork ready assuming that we would trigger tonight.  The NP would email Dr. NN to confirm trigger.  I waited and was a little worried about going back to work on time.  By the time I was called back in it was 1:45pm.  I signed the usual paperwork and was shown the order typed up by Dr. NN.  I nodded looking at the items such as ICSI and assisted hatching until I saw that the number of embryos transferred was 6.  SIX!?!  I am NOT going to transfer 6 embryos.  The remarks section said something like “one fresh embryo and thaw three frozen embryos and transfer whatever is viable”.  One plus three does not equal six.  Dr. NN did not do the math right.  So I had to explain to the nurse the following: if we make one embryo, we’re thawing three of the best ones to transfer four; if we make two embryos (which became a possibility now), we would thaw two embryos and transfer four; If we make no embryos, we will still thaw three and transfer three, and leave the two other frozen ones to be thaw at the next fresh cycle.  I made sure that she understood before we moved on.

The nurse went on to explain all the instructions for retrieval and transfer.  Beta is going to be on March 17th, which is 15dp2dt.  Wouldn’t I die of waiting??? My last transfer’s beta was on 8dp5dt.  I guess I will either have to request for an early day or I have to POAS.  I’m pretty sure that my period will not come yet if I am still on progesterone.  So either way, I will have to POAS to make sure that I don’t go insane.  Since this is something out of pocket, we’ll have to get my beta done at Kai.ser, my current insurance provider.  I will have to email my OB/GYN that I have never met in person.  Or I can pay out of pocket at a different lab.  So the nurse went on and on about everything.  I looked at the watch and it was already 2pm.  By the time we were done, we were inching towards 2:05pm.  I was already late to get back to work.  She then told me that they needed to do a physical and history.  I really didn’t have time for that so I would go back tomorrow for it.  I ran back to work and was 15 minutes late for my next client.  Oh well.

The nurse later called and confirmed trigger to be tonight at 9pm and retrieval will be on Saturday at 7am.  We will have to arrive at 6:15am and call the IVF room directly since no one will be at the clinic until 7am.  This is really really early but it’s okay.  Transfer will be on Monday.  I will have to book my acupuncture appointments.  It is preferably done before and after transfer.  However, I don’t think my acupuncturist can do it before my transfer so I have to settle for one session after unless I can find someone else to do it.

Friends, this is getting real!  Hopefully this is the very last trigger shot that I will ever need.  I hope that the follicles are doing well and I will continue to do Maya massage self care to help with the follicles and the lining.  I have a Maya massage appointment tomorrow and I had my mom make me bone broth to help with my body as recommended by my acupuncturist at yesterday’s session.  I am doing everything I can do make it happen. The rest is up to God.  Please pray and think very good thoughts for those follicles for them to have mature eggs inside.  Thank you so much!  I will update after our retrieval on Saturday.

Two Follicles

Today is cycle day 11.  Bob couldn’t come to my scan today since it was in the afternoon.   I was flying solo.  My favorite nurse practitioner (NP) was the one who did the scan.  We hadn’t seen each other since November so I was very excited to see that she was the one who did the measurements.  She is always very thorough, more so than most of the REs I have seen there.   Going in, I was feeling a teeny tiny bit nervous, but not overly so.  When I was walking to the clinic from work, I was preparing myself to receive any not-so-good news: lining not growing, one follicle shrinking and disappearing, or whatever crazy things could happen in a cycle.  When I lay down on the table, I couldn’t  see the ultrasound screen due to the angle.  I usually would request to see it.  Today I didn’t even care.  I just let NP do her thing instead of staring at the screen trying to decipher what was on it.  NP was very focused on the screen without talking for quite many seconds.  I didn’t think anything of it, although she reassured me that nothing was wrong.  She just needed to bypass my fibroid in the back in order to take the measurement of the lining.  The lining was still trilaminar, 7.1mm.  I was wondering in my mind if that was good enough, though I realize that this is still early and it has a few more days to do its thing.  She went on to measure the follicles.  Without looking at the screen, I felt very calm.  It is what it is, right?  She first announced that the follicle on the right was 14mm.  Good, I thought.  I didn’t have much expectation for the follicle on the left.  Then she said, 14mm on the left.  Really?  Wow.  I asked if it was the cyst rather than the follicle.  She examined it for a little longer, then she said, It’s definitely a follicle because of its structure.  She then found the third structure that seemed to be outside of the ovary or something like that.  It could be the cyst.  It was 12mm so it’s definitely shrinking.  So guys, we have two follicles measuring the same!  This is so unexpected since it’s a natural cycle with no Letro.zole or Clom.id.  I am very pleased with what my ovaries decided to do.  Since we usually trigger at around 18mm, NP thought that Dr. No Nonsense would want me to wait two more days.  She told me to make an appointment at the front desk for a Thursday appointment.  She would talk to Dr. NN and call me.  I went ahead and made an appointment.  When that was done, I waited for the elevator.  When the elevator door was closing behind me, I heard my name and quickly pressed the “open” button.  NP was yelling out my name for me to go back into the clinic.  She had just emailed Dr. NN who quickly returned her email. She thought that it was better for us to talk in person than for her to call me on the phone.  I was situated in one of the empty ultrasound room when she went back to read her email one more time for the instructions.  Then she returned to tell me that Dr. NN wanted me to inject two vials of Meno.pur and one dose of Ganir.elix.  For those who are not familiar with the meds, Meno.pur is used to help boost the growth of the follicles, and Genir.elix is for holding off ovulation.  I am pleased with what Dr. NN wants to do because I do want to give both follicles a chance to grow.  We are to do this tonight and tomorrow night.  When I return on Thursday, my follicles (or one of them) will most likely grow to about 18mm.  I anticipate the trigger shot to be done Thursday night, egg retrieval on Saturday, and embryo transfer on Monday.

This is the best outcome that I could hope for at today’s appointment.  I didn’t expect two follicles, let alone both of the same size.  Praise the Lord that we have good news today.  I hope to keep the same zen attitude and wait for things to unfold.  This is getting real, friends.  🙂


Today was my cycle day nine scan.  I had no expectation going in.  I didn’t feel nervous or anxious.  I was quite neutral.  We arrived ten minutes early and were pleasantly surprised that we got called back early.  Dr. Keikoman (Bob nicknames all Japanese women Keiko, so a Japanese man naturally becomes Keikoman) greeted us and said, “So, no meds and you’re going for a natural cycle, right?”  Yup.  That’s what we’re trying to do.  First the doctor measured the uterine lining.  He found it and studied it.  I held my breath for a little until he said, “Trilaminar.”  That was such a beautiful word in my ears.  I let out of sigh of relief and said, “Yay!”  Trilminar is what we want.  Praise the Lord!  This definitely gives us a chance of transfer if the lining continues to grow well.  At today’s appointment it was at 6.8mm.  And then Dr. Keikoman examined my left ovary.  I told him that there was a cyst at baseline.  He looked and found a structure that could be either a cyst or a follicle at 13mm.  After he looked some more, he found another dark structure that could be outside of the left ovary measuring 15mm.  The right ovary had a 10mm follicle.  Dr. Keikoman thought that we are looking at possibly two follicles growing.  There is really no way to know if those dark circles are cysts or follicles.  So we’ll wait for the scan on Tuesday to find out more.  But it looks like we’re on the right track with the lining and some follicles.  I will continue to do my castor oil pack to help reduce the cyst and do some Maya massage self care to help the circulation of my abdominal area.

This is the first step in the right direction.  Yay!

A “Cyster” That I Hate

So… Another canceled cycle.  Another cyst.  Or maybe it’s an early recruited follicle.  Nobody knows.

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day.  Tomorrow is Bob’s birthday.  We usually plan an out-of-town trip for Bob’s birthday because it often falls on a holiday weekend.  But because of the possibility of AF’s arrival, we didn’t plan a trip.  My period came at 12:45pm yesterday so I left a message with the answering service for the clinic to contact me for cycle day two appointment.  Bob and I went ahead with our 3pm Thai massage appointment.  I anticipated the clinic to have called me by then.  Nope.  No phone call.  No voicemail.  I called again at 5:30pm.  This time to the nurses station line but I was transferred to the answering service and was told that everyone would’ve left the clinic already.  The answering service lady said she would make sure that my message would get sent to the clinic.  I wasn’t too worried knowing that the clinic is always open on the weekend.  If I can’t get a hold of anyone, I can always show up and ask for an appointment.

Although I wasn’t too worried, it was still an uneasy feeling not being able to plan ahead.  This morning, I called the clinic main number and got the answering service again.  The lady put me on hold to try to connect to the clinic but no one picked up the phone.  About 30 minutes later, I called the nurses station again.  This time someone picked up.  I was told that they were still trying to confirm a couple of things with the doctor and would get back to me.  It took another phone call from me before I was contacted.  I had never had this much trouble getting an appointment on the weekend.  We were supposed to go ride a train today as part of Bob’s birthday celebration festivities.  However, Bob has been under the weather and is still recovering so he opted to take it easy.  Good thing he wanted to relax instead of wanting to go out.  Our 12:45pm appointment made it impossible for us to go anywhere far away.  The nurse on the phone said that the clinic did not get my message and apologized profusely for that.  I like it when people accept responsibility for their faults.  It makes it feel like they care.

We arrived early at 12:35.  No one was there to check anyone in.  I stood there for another ten minutes before someone came back to the front desk.  I was wondering if they would ask me to pay for the ultrasound scans from the previous cancelled cycle.  Nobody asked me for any money.  Phew. We waited for another 30 minutes before being seen.  First the nurse took my vitals.  I hated it that I had to weigh myself and my weight has gone up and up… my current weight is a whole ten pounds heavier than my last conventional IVF cycle one year ago.

Sitting on the table waiting for the doctor to come in, I told Bob that I really just wanted a cycle that is clear cut without any doubt that we can just proceed.  I guess no luck this time, again.  The doctor came in and was trying to find my ovaries.  I had a full bladder because I went to the bathroom right when I checked in and had to wait for a long time before they called me to the back.  She pressed on my right ovary and finally found it.  It was fine with one follicle.  Then she went to look at the left ovary.  She pressed and pressed.  There it was.  A big dark cycle.  A familiar sight that I just hate.  It was measured 19x15mm.  So approximately 17mm.  There was also another follicle on the left.  We went over my history talking about the previous cyst and how Dr. No Nonsense still asked me to take Letro.zole just to see.  So her game plan was that I should check my estradiol to get more information about this cyst-like thing.  Maybe I could still take Letro.zole depending on the result.  So yet again, I got my blood drawn.  I was told to go home and wait for the blood work result and the phone call.

I wasn’t too upset or anything.  At least not like the last time on January 1st when we saw that big cyst and learned that the cycle could be canceled.  I was very upset, went home, and cried like crazy.  This time, I was just a little numb.  Bob and I walked to the elevator and he said,

“You have a ‘cyster’  that is sticking closer to you than a brother.”  This is a reference to Proverbs 18:24, “One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

HAHAHA that totally cracked me up.  My husband is HILARIOUS.  I was laughing so hard in the elevator.  This journey can  really use some humor.

Just now, the same doctor who did the scan called.  She said that the estradiol level is 75.  For any level over 50, they typically would recommend canceling the cycle thinking that I may not respond to the meds.  She said that at this point, it’s hard to know if it’s a cyst or a lead follicle that I recruited way early in the last luteal phase.  Only time can tell.  She recommends doing estrogen priming again after the next ovulation so I don’t start recruiting follicles early.  I asked if I could still start a cycle after my cyst is resolved, because I do grow follicles after a cyst is resolved.  She said that it’s possible.  Just talk to Dr. NN’s care team.  Too bad it’s a holiday weekend so Dr. NN and his nurses won’t be back at work until Tuesday.

So yet another canceled cycle.  We’re in pretty good spirits.  At least I am not too down or crying like a mad woman.  Bob always said that there is a reason why we are delayed and this is a way to exercise our discipline.  But I am just a bit numb.  I just want to get started and I am so ready to get the transfer done.  Why can’t we just have a normal cycle like every other person on the planet?

My dear friend Jane Allen suggested Millicent, Harper, or Hilda for a cyst name.  Whatever its name is, I just want it to go away!  Is that too much to ask for?  UGH.  Or… If it’s not a cyst, but an early follicle, I just want my body to listen to me and STOP growing follicles early.

We just can’t catch a break, can we?  SIGH.

I really need God’s strength and patience for this in order for me to appreciate the big picture and not to get too hung up on the little annoying things that are called “cyst” or “early follicle recruitment”.

IVF #8 never seems to be able to take off.  Next month?  I don’t know.  I really really hope so.

The Most Peculiar Cycle

When it comes to IVF cycles, I am convinced that it’s best to know your body and to be vocal.  Let me tell you why.

After all the crying and then being told to proceed with the cycle, I took 5mg of Letro.zole from cycle day three to cycle day seven.  AF was very short this time.  I only bled for three days.  We baby danced on Sunday.  Then I started spotting again on Tuesday which actually matched my experience with my previous cycles with cysts, that I would usually spot mid-cycle.  I have been doing castor oil pack nightly to help reduce the size of Muriel the Cyst.  When I saw the spotting, I knew that the castor oil pack was doing its thing.

We went back to the clinic for a scan on Wednesday.  Dr. Dry Humor, who did my second retrieval at the current clinic, was the one who was present for my scan.  My lining was 9.5mm and the size of my cyst had reduced from 25mm to 16mm.  Way to go Muriel and castor oil pack!   He didn’t see much follicle growth on either ovaries and told me to return in a few days for another scan.  I didn’t have an expectation of the scan so I didn’t have much feeling or thought about the outcome. I was just glad that the devilish cyst decided to pack her bag and begin her departure.

Out of curiosity, I took my basal body temperature the next morning, which was cycle day 10 according to my own cycle and cycle day 9 according to the clinic.  It was the first time I had temped during this cycle, so I had no way of knowing what my BBT was from cycle day 1 to cycle day 8.  But I was shocked when I saw that it was 98.  98 may not mean anything to others but it often means that I am either sick or I have ovulated.  My cover line is usually around 97.3 and 97.4.  Anything above that usually means ovulation.  Period.  I thought it was a fluke so I asked around.  Some ladies who have experience with Clom.id or Fe.mara told me that sometimes their BBT goes up during and a couple of days after they took the meds.  The next morning, my BBT was 97.6.  Still above my usual cover line.  BBT this morning was 97.7 and was taken an hour before my usual time, so it could have been even higher had I taken the temperature at my regular time.  I was determined to get to the bottom of it.  So I decided to ask for my progesterone level to be checked.

Today is CD 11 (according to the clinic calendar) or CD12 (based on my natural cycle).  Dr. Italian did my scan.  Lining has gone down to 8mm.  The cyst seemed small, although it wasn’t measured.  Then the strangest thing happened.  My right ovary had a 10mm follicle and my left one had a 12mm and a 10mm.  I didn’t expect any follicles because there were none three days ago.  I told the doctor about my elevated basal body temperature and he agreed to check my estradiol level and my progesterone level.  I also reported to him that I had been spotting and was still spotting.  I was instructed to return on Monday to check on the progress of the follicle.  We got my blood work done and left.

The phone call this afternoon confirmed to me that yes, as a patient, we have to be on top of things and know our body.  The progesterone level is 17.1.  Based on this level, it means that I did indeed ovulate.  It’s actually a good progesterone level.  I’m so glad that I checked my basal body temperature and trusted my instinct.  But I don’t know what this all means.  Isn’t it odd for my body to be producing multiple follicles during the luteal phase?  What does that mean for the timing of retrieval (if indeed the follicles continue to grow bigger and bigger for retrieval to happen)?  Or maybe Muriel the Cyst was actually a follicle that began to grow in my last luteal phase and matured in the follicular phase of this cycle, hence the size of 25mm on cycle day 2 (or cycle day 3).   It’s all very puzzling to me.

I asked the nurse who phoned me what this all means.  She did not have an answer for me.  She told me to ask the nurse practitioner that I usually see for my monitoring scan on Monday.  I am so curious to see what Dr. No Nonsense will say about this.  I have heard of women with high FSH who would start to recruit follicles during the luteal phase when the ovaries are supposed to be quiet.  The end result is an early ovulation the following cycle.  I don’t really know how healthy the follicles/eggs may be if they were recruited out of phase.  Do I take birth control pills to sync up my follicular growth with the right phase of my cycle?  This is all so puzzling.

I don’t know how to feel about this.  I guess I will hold off my opinions, feelings, and thoughts until our scan on Monday.  This is the strangest place of unknown I have ever been.  When do I get my period next if I had ovulated early?  When should we do a transfer next?  Will I still get my period fourteen days after ovulation even with follicular growth in the luteal phase?  This is an uncharted territory and I feel like I am lost.

Pray that God will give us clarity and wisdom for directions in the upcoming days and weeks.  It’s hard to wait for God’s timing without being able to predict approximately when things will happen.  This journey requires us to exercise patience and trust.  I am definitely experiencing that right now.

Happy Staycation

Since I have a lot of vacation time, I am taking this whole Thanksgiving week off.  I feel that I am busier than when I go to work. It’s a good kind of busy though.  Let me tell you what I did.

Yesterday was a fun day.  It started out with my scan early in the morning.  We again got there late (wink wink Mr. Bob) for our 8:15 appointment.  And the nurse didn’t call me in until after 9.  I wasn’t very nervous about the delay because I was off from work, although poor Bob actually had to start heading back to work.   I was expecting the usual nurse practitioner but in walked Dr. No Nonsense to the exam room.  I was so surprised because out of the ten plus times that we had done monitoring ultrasound, I had not seen Dr. No Nonsense.  It was good to see him, although he didn’t do the ultrasound himself.  The nurse measured my lining which was 7.7mm.  Hmm… a bit thinner than two days ago.  And it wasn’t trilaminar.  On the right side, she measured the smaller follicles first.  The 13mmer had become 14mm.  The bigger follicle was now at 18mm.  Dr. NN said in a very cheerful voice, “Let’s trigger tonight and get that one egg!”  I am sure he’s saying one egg to cover his behind.  I know we’re all secretly hoping for two eggs.   He also said, “See you at retrieval”.  Wow, I get my own RE to do my retrieval this time?  Maybe this is a lucky cycle.  So I stayed behind to wait for one of the nurses to go over trigger instruction with me while Bob left to go to work.  It’s interesting how every single time I am presented with the pre-anesthesia questionnaire even though I have already told them multiple times that I won’t be using anesthesia.  Every time I have to explain to a new nurse why I don’t need to fill it out.  I was instructed that I’d get a phone call between three and six for the exact time of retrieval.  I confirmed that it is indeed going to be Dr. NN who will do my retrieval.  I inquired about Ganir.elix since I was worried that I’d ovulate prematurely.  The nurse explained that with this protocol they don’t usually do Ganir.elix even though I had used them in the last two cycles.  Since this cycle I wasn’t using any drugs at all, I wouldn’t be using my Ganir.elix.  She said she’d confirm with Dr. NN.

After that, I walked into Starbu.cks to get a nice hot drink for myself.  The sun was shining outside and I was feeling good about being on vacation.  I ordered myself a chestnut and praline latte, which was actually quite tasty.  I was excited because I was going to head over to the other side of the bay for an important date.  What’s better than spending the first day of your staycation with the one and only lovely Jane Allen?  Her office is five minutes away from my chiropractor.  So I suggested having lunch with her before my appointment.  Jane looked wonderful.  Our Japanese meal was excellent.  The conversation was great.  The lunch hour went by very quickly.  Thanks so much for meeting with me and for treating!

My chiropractic visit was as good as usual.  My 78-year-old practitioner asked about our fertility treatment and then expressed his dissatisfaction about his six children because none of them have any kids.  I guess it is tough to be have no grandchildren when you have so many kids yourself.

After the chiro visit, I drove locally to visit with my friend who just had triplets.  Remember the one who got pregnant with triplets after having multiple early losses?  I walked into her house and she was nursing one of the triplets in the living room.  I chatted with her there while she nursed.  Then we went into the family room where the other two babies were sleeping on the couch.  She has to hire full-time help because there is no way for her to take care of all three babies while her husband goes to work.  Since it was 45 minutes before the babies’ meal time, my friend and I had the time to chat for a little bit.  She is exhausted.  She gets at most three hours of sleep.  Her husband has to get up early in the morning to leave at around 6am for work, but he doesn’t sleep well either.  She nurses all of the babies and supplements them with formula.  Imagine nursing three babies multiple times a day, plus pumping as well.  I don’t know when she finds time to do anything else.  I was holding the one who just nursed for about thirty minutes.  He is the singleton.  That’s why he’s the biggest and healthiest one.  The twins are a bit smaller.  One of the twins is barely six pounds.  Considering that he was only 1.5 pounds when he was born at 29 weeks, I would say six pounds is pretty good.  My friend also told me about the C-section, how the first two babies cried loudly but the third one was taken away from her to be rushed to the NICU without crying, how she needed two blood transfusions, and how she needed emergency surgeries due to her bowel displacement and hernia.  We also discussed about having multiples and the whole issue regarding selective reduction.  I didn’t know that but selective reduction wouldn’t be done until 16-week gestation and it would only be done to the identical twins because they were more high risk.  My friend decided to keep all the babies.  Although it is beyond hectic right now, she does not regret her decision.  She kept on saying, It’s so worth it.  Then our conversation got interrupted because the other two babies started waking up and crying.  So everybody was busy changing diapers, feeding the babies, and making more formula.  I can only imagine if she doesn’t have help.  After this visit and having a glimpse of the crazy life of a mom with three babies, I really just want one healthy singleton pregnancy and one child at a time.

It was wonderful to be holding a little baby for thirty minutes though.  🙂 He smelled so good!

My confirmation phone call with the nurse informed me that the retrieval would be on Wednesday at 9am, and the trigger shot should be done at 11pm, 34 hours before retrieval.  And yes.  No Ganir.elix.  Let’s hope that I won’t ovulate on my own……

Today was a great second day of my staycation.  I met up with my high school best friend for coffee.  He came to visit from Chicago.  We sat at a coffee place in downtown for almost two hours, chatting about everything.  I told him all the details about mini-IVF and the ups and downs of all the cycles.  He actually understood what I was talking about.  Then we talked about his life, his work, and his one and only daughter.  I know that he and his wife have been trying for number two for the last couple of years.  He’s not worried though.  He and his wife haven’t really discussed the next steps, i.e. whether to go see a doctor or not.  I feel like because he already has a child, he is not as anxious as I am to get pregnant.  It was just very nice to get together with a long time friend.  After we said good-bye, I walked to the entrance of Bob’s building and sent him a text.  He was very pleasantly surprised to find me downstairs.  I had never been to his office so I wanted to see.  It was so nice to see his work place, meet his coworkers, and watch him do his twice-daily burpees before I left.

I love being in downtown because of the stores and all the shopping I can do.  I had ordered a v-neck cashmere cardigan from this store that would arrive in the mail today.  I wanted to go the physical store to try on a crew-neck one just to see.  I was pleasantly surprised to find a promotion on those sweaters and got a $10 off.  When I got home, I also found the box of sweater that had arrived.  I will look like a Christmas tree as the sweaters are red and green.  When I went to pick up my Val.ium for tomorrow, I went next door to shop for shoes.  Bob had promised to buy me a pair of long boots for Christmas.  And I found a pair!  I remember having a $20 off coupon at home.  So I placed the boots on hold and went back after dinner with Bob to buy them with the $20 off.   Now my big box of boots is sitting on the living room floor where a Christmas tree will stand.  I said to Bob, “We got a Christmas present before we have a Christmas tree!” to which Bob responded, “You bought a Christmas present before Thanksgiving!”

That’s very true.  Happy staycation, happy Thanksgiving, and happy early Christmas!

Oh and happy retrieval tomorrow!

There is Life!

In my ovaries, that is.

I had no expectation for the monitoring scan on Friday.  I hadn’t felt much of any cervical fluids until maybe Thursday night or Friday morning.  I didn’t know what I was going to see at the appointment.  I did have a fleeting fear that my ovaries would be asleep forever and nothing would grow for the rest of my life.  That’s really silly, I know.  But that was a fear that I had for a couple of days.

Imagine my surprise when the nurse practitioner found two follicles on the right ovary.  There was a 14mm and a small 8mm.  Remember this is my natural cycle as the Clo.mid failed to help grow any follicles.  So the follicles come totally from my body, not the meds.  I was surprised that two were visible.  Remember the last cycle we had an 18mm, and 12mm, and a 10mm.  So it seems like if we wait a little bit, the 8mm may actually grow bigger.  The NP reassured me that these weren’t cysts.  She could see some cervical fluid and the thickening lining meant that my estrogen was building up. The NP told me to make an appointment at the front desk for an ultrasound in two days.  She would talk to Dr. No Nonsense and give me a call regarding any instructions for additional medication.

I was out at the front desk making an appointment when the NP came back out and told me that Dr. NN did not want me to take anything.  Just return on Sunday for the scan and if the big follicle is up to 18mm or so, we’d trigger on Sunday night and retrieve on Tuesday.

I was so surprise that there was life in my ovaries!  I totally thought that the wait for the next step would be very long.  I am so grateful for the Lord to show me His power on my body even though I had very little trust.  Before the appointment, I wouldn’t never have imagined that we’d be talking about trigger and retrieval at the appointment!  I was utterly amazed at the turn of the event.

While I was making the appointment, Dr. NN walked into the front desk area.  He waved at me with a smile and pointed at his throat to indicate that he was sick and couldn’t talk.  So I continued with my conversation with the front desk lady when he walked by me and patted on my shoulder twice.  I don’t know.  From the high five to patting on my shoulder.  Dr. NN is more warm than he shows on his face.

Bob was so happy that something was growing!  And it’s okay if we only get one egg and hopefully one embryo.  But we also had hope that the smaller follicle would catch up.

Fast forward to today.  We went in at noon for an ultrasound.  The waiting room was filled with patients.  It did not even seem like a weekend clinic.  After 20 minutes, we got called in.  A real RE did the scan today.  The lining was 8mm and the follicles were immediately visible on the screen.  The bigger one measures 16mm today.  The smaller one measures 13mm!!!  Wow this tiny thing is showing its game and joining the party!  It’s no longer tiny.  I was very surprised that it grew 5mm in two days.  So the lesson is, don’t ever look down on these follicles.  They sometimes surprise you in the biggest way.

I mean, there is a chance that the smaller follicle doesn’t contain an egg.  But there is also a chance that it does.  And we may get two eggs after all without any meds.  Now that’d be the best case scenario for this cycle, which I didn’t dream of having two days ago!  We were told to return tomorrow for one more scan.  Most likely we’ll trigger tomorrow night and have a retrieval on Wednesday.

I am so thankful to be in this position to have hope again that we’ll make some embryos this time.  These past two weeks my patience has really been tested.  And my trust for the Lord has been tested too.  My head knowledge is that I know that the Lord has a plan. But sometimes I let my fear take over.  At this rate, we may retrieve on Wednesday.  If the next cycle progresses normally (meaning no cysts and no delay), we still won’t be able to do a fresh retrieval and transfer before December 21 (when the clinic closes for lab clean up and the move across town).  I can’t help but think that this is the Lord’s way of telling me to take a break from all the meds and start fresh all over again in the New Year’s.  And it’s not necessarily a bad thing.  After pumping myself with hormones for three straight months, it may be time to rest for real.

I really hope that this cycle will result in two more embryos so we can name them Kevin and Lucy.  🙂

Mystery Cycle

Friday was cycle day 17.  We had our fourth scan for this cycle. The three follicles that were visible on cycle day 8 and cycle day 12 were no longer there.  Instead, the nurse practitioner saw two antral follicles on the right side and not much on the left side.  We discussed about whether my FSH for this cycle was too high, hence my body did not get the signal that my ovaries needed to take action.  And the lining was not thick at all, which means that I will not have breakthrough bleeding any time soon.  Basically, my body has not gotten the message that, hey let’s grow a follicle.  It’s still waiting for that cue.

I wasn’t surprised at all, nor was I upset.  I expected this to be the outcome.  Anything can happen at this point.  My body may eventually get the message that we need to start growing a follicle, or my body just wants to shed the lining and start all over.  My NP and I discussed about the need to test my FSH.  I used to test my FSH level every single cycle when I was with Dr. E.  Ever since we switched to UCSF, the protocol doesn’t include testing of any of the hormones.  So I will have to pay extra out of pocket if we test the FSH level.  The NP would discuss with Dr. No Nonsense about the findings of my scan and let me know around lunch time.

It was so nice that Bob was there with me.  About half way through the scan, he extended his hand so I could hold it for the rest of my scan.  I love the silent support that he gave me during that time.

We arrived about ten minutes late as we should’ve left home at least five minutes earlier.  Parking was challenging and took another five minutes.  We checked in and just sat there for a long time while all the ladies in the waiting room got called in one by one.  I was getting a little impatient of the wait.  I was supposed to be seen at 8:15.  We checked in at 8:25.  I was still sitting there at 8:50.  My 9am client  was supposed to be waiting for me at work three blocks away from the clinic.  Good thing I knew that my 9am client’s mom would be okay with me being a little late, but it was still tough for me to sit there and wait.  I called my work and let them know that I would run a little late.  It was at that moment when I saw a lady walk in the clinic.  She was Chinese with long black hair.  I saw her face and I recognized her.  There was a lady that I met on an online forum who also cycles at UCSF.  We emailed each other several times and we almost met up once.  Her gmail messages included her little picture so I kind of knew what she looked like.  I quickly looked her up online on my phone and showed her picture to Bob. Bob wasn’t really sure if it was her.  So I watched her every move trying to figure out if this was really her.  It seemed like she had bumped into someone at the clinic unexpectedly and was excitedly catching up.  Then she checked in and sat down.  At 8:55, I walked to the counter and asked the check-in lady if my scan would be coming up soon since I had to be at work in five minutes.  The check-in lady consulted with the nurse and told me that I’d be seen in five minutes.  I walked past the Chinese lady and gathered up enough courage to go up to her and asked if she was so and so.  And she was!  I am so glad that I had enough guts to go up to a complete stranger and say Hi.  The worst that could happen would be that it wasn’t her.  No biggie.  But it was so much fun that it was her!  We quickly exchanged notes on where we were in our cycles and what she was doing there.  It was so nice to bump into her.  That was when she got called in (even before I did!).  Later I found that there was a chart mix-up as the nurses didn’t get my chart after I was checked in, so they didn’t know that I was sitting there waiting.  Had they seen me at a normal time, I would never have bumped into this online friend.  What a nice coincidence!

Anyhow, I was twenty minutes late for my first client of the day.  But it was okay.  When I got back to my office after my first therapy session, I saw that I had a missed call.  It was my nurse who called to let me know that Dr. No Nonsense wanted to schedule a scan for me next Friday.  I emailed her back and confirmed the time as well as to ask her about my conversation with the NP about checking my FSH.  My nurse responded saying that Dr. NN didn’t want me to do the FSH.  Just come in for a scan.  At lunch time, the NP called me as promised and repeated what Dr. NN said.  This time she explained in more details.  Basically my FSH is most likely high at this point so we’re just waiting for my body to rebound.  There is no need to check my FSH.  Hopefully somehow my body will get the message that it’s about time to grow a follicle and pop an egg.  The NP said that women with high FSH sometimes do not respond to Cl.omid but somehow would grow a couple of follicles on their in the later part of the cycle.  She said she just saw a patient like that earlier on that day.  I was thinking, hey she was talking about my online friend who I had bumped into!  She was trying to do an IUI after taking Cl.omid but it took a really long time for her to grow those follicles.  Now she was at 17mm and 9mm and was waiting for the instruction to trigger.  I hope that my ovaries do the same thing as hers and grow some juicy follicles.

I’m not going to lie.  The wait is tough at times.  I remember right before this cycle started, my fear was that we would have a cyst or AF would delay which would further delay my plan to retrieve in November and do a fresh transfer cycle in December.  I dismissed my fear at that time calling myself silly for worrying about something that had not even happened.  The good thing is, although it is sometimes difficult to wait, I am not depressed, down, or upset.  I am feeling at peace most of the time.  I carry on with my life daily without feeling anxious that things aren’t going my way.  This is truly a blessing to not to be constantly anxious or nervous.  This blessing can only come from God.  So I am thankful for that.  I sometimes think about my plan of transferring in December and I can’t help but think that it’s probably not going to happen.  That will  mark the end of the third year of our TTC years.  And when the transfer actually happens, it’ll most likely be some time in January or February, which marks one year since our last transfer.  When I think about that, sometimes the thoughts are depressing.  Then I have to remind myself of my motto: “Take it one day at a time” and not go too far ahead of myself.  Hopefully my body will solve this mystery very soon.

MicroblogMondays: Tender Moment


After our disappointing scan on Wednesday, Bob and I were cuddling in bed at night chatting about the day.  I made it through the day without crying about the lack of follicle growth.  I closed my eyes when Bob said:

“Imagine in the future when we go to Hong Kong and your dad takes away our baby to show off to relatives and refuses to return the baby to us.”

I immediately had a vivid image in my head: my dad holding our baby who has a head full of black wavy hair, proudly showing baby off to friends with a big smile on his face.

My heart all of a sudden hurt a little.  It ached for this image that felt so far from reality.  I kept my eyes closed.  Suddenly tears started coming down.  Bob’s forehead was tenderly resting on mine.  When he noticed that I was crying, he thought he had said something wrong.  I reassured him that he didn’t say anything wrong.  It was just the right time to shed some tears at that tender moment.  Of the hope that this could become a reality when we push forward.  Of the fear that it would never become a reality.

Bob just held me in his arms and both of us were silent.  As I was feeling his warmth, I felt fortunate that he’s always here for me bearing the weight of the unknown with me and braving through these storms in our fertility journey.

Despite a disappointing cycle, I am still a very lucky woman to have a man who stands by me during the most difficult times.


Yesterday’s scan on cycle day twelve showed very little follicle growth.  I might have been over-suppressed by the estrogen I took before the cycle started.  Three cycles of Clo.mid might have messed up my hormones.  I didn’t cry and didn’t feel overly disappointed.  I kind of expected this outcome.  Jane is right.  These are her wise words: “There are still so many positives; in just 2 cycles, you got 5 embies that were  further and rated better than before.”  It IS such a positive thing.  Imagine not having those embryos.  I don’t know the outcome of this cycle.  But I know that I’ll get through it just like any other disappointing moments in this journey.  We’ll get through it.