Officially Introducing Our Three Possibilities

We waited all day long for THE phone call, little did I know that they don’t usually start calling until between 3pm and 5 pm.  I was mostly eerily calm… but by 3:50, I was getting a bit impatient.  Come on already.  Give me a report!!!

All day I was wondering if we’d be doing a happy dance for three embryos, happy for two embryos, relieved for one embryo, or sad for none.

My secret FB ladies were impatiently waiting.  My friend Jo was impatiently waiting.  My dear friend Jane Allen was impatiently waiting.  All.  Day.  Long.

So I finally called at 3:51pm.  The nurse said they barely started calling people.  But she was willing to give me the results.

So here are the results:

We have….

One four-celled grade one

One three-celled grade one

and One two-celled grade two

Praise the Lord!! We have three embryos still growing!

The nurse said the four-celled grade one is where it should be.  The two other ones are a little behind.

And I said, well, the best I have gotten ever in the previous cycles were two-celled grade one on day two.  I will take ANYTHING that is better that what I had before.

They all go into the freezer.

I am grinning from ear to ear and was doing a happy dance.

I know this is a day two freeze.  I know that they could still change in the future.  But people get pregnant with day two transfers.  My dear friend RR is an excellent example.  She is a happy parent of a very cute little girl.  Result of a day two transfer.

In God, nothing is impossible.  Just like what my hubby said on my birthday.  Life is full of possibilities.

So, let me introduce again: Felicity, Gabriel, and Harriet.  They are all going to be paused in time and hang out in the freezer.  🙂

And Then There Are Three

Just a very short update.

Got a phone call this morning from one of the nurses.  She said all four eggs were mature.  Three fertilized!  We’ll get another phone call tomorrow to see how they are doing and which ones we can freeze.

This is such great news!  After having one to two eggs the last two cycles, I am happy with anything more than that.  Three fertilized eggs is awesome!  I hope that they continue to grow well so that we can put them in the freezer tomorrow.

Still aiming at one good embryo.  But will be super grateful for anything more than that.

We’ll see if we have Felicity, Gabriel, and Harriet, or just Felicity and Gabriel, or just Felicity.  Hopefully they all decide to join the party!

Four is Our Lucky Number

What do you know?  We got four eggs!

Bob had a sore throat last night.  He took some NyQuil and fell asleep fast.  The problem is that, he started snoring in the middle of the night.  It happens whenever he is not feeling well and needs medicine to soothe his symptoms.  I was up at one something waiting for him to stop snoring.  I gently touched him hoping to get him to change position.  No go.  So I shook him a bit and he turned.  But my sleep was interrupted already.  Although I didn’t sleep well, I was in very good spirit.

We left at a decent time and found a street parking spot a block away.  I always have a fall back option: parking at my work.  But it IS three blocks away and I didn’t know how I would feel after the procedure.  We arrived 15 minutes before we were supposed to.  So we sat at the empty waiting room for 15 minutes.  Finally, a very pleasant nurse came to greet us.  I was instructed to go into this changing room and change into a hospital gown, put my own socks on, and put those hospital shoe covers on.  This is very different from my previous experience at the clinic Dr. E used.  Over there they give you disposable gowns, you change into it behind the curtains, and you put all of your clothes in a bag.  Here they give you a locker.  The nurse led me to a spot by the window.  The seat had a heated cushion on the back and I was covered with warm blankets.  This is the view from the seat:

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Unfortunately, it was facing the wall where the clinic stacked all of their big water jugs.  It was almost cruel to be staring at the water when you’re not allowed to drink anything.

Last night I was trying to decide if I should wear Wonder Woman or Bumble Bees.

photo 1

Since I wore Wonder Woman before, I opted for some buzz:

photo 2

Some of my FB secret group friends were dressed in super hero attires with their babies today.  So I am all covered there even if I didn’t wear my Wonder Woman socks.

Bob was there keeping me company.  As usual, he was on his phone:

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I am pretty amazed at the IV insert.  Apparently they don’t leave a needle in you anymore.  It’s a thin plastic tube that stays in your skin.

photo 3The clinic was running a little behind.  I took two Va.lium an hour before the procedure was supposed to start.  This time I didn’t talk nonstop like at my last transfer.  But it really calmed me down and it was reflected in my blood pressure.  The lady before me took about 35 minutes.  By the time they called me in, it was 9am, 15 minutes past my scheduled time.  It was okay though.  My trigger shot was done at 9pm on Thursday.  I believed that my eggs were still there.

Everyone in the operating room was very nice.  They took very very good care of me.  They were oohing and ahhing over my socks.  I was given a ball to squeeze on.  It was apparently donated by one of the patients to give to other patients during an egg retrieval without anesthesia to relieve some anxiety.  Lying there in the dimmed room, I said a prayer for the eggs and for God’s will to be done.  Having two warm blankets on me, I was pretty cozy lying on the table with my legs spread.

Finally, Dr. Turkey (apparently he’s from Turkey and speaks with an accent) came in and was very gentle about everything.  He told me exactly what he was doing.  My bladder was a bit too full for him to see so he had to help me release some urine.  I just don’t know how that was possible.  I hadn’t eaten or drunk anything since midnight last night.  And I went to the bathroom three to four times before the retrieval started.  The nurse gave me antibiotics before the speculum went into the vag.ina and later pushed in fentanyl for me when the needle poked through.  He said that the ovaries actually don’t have a lot of pain receptors.  All the pain came from the vag.ina.  The nurse checked with me constantly on the pain level.  At one point I told her that it was a two.  The left ovaries were emptied out first.  We got all three eggs there.  He then tried the right ovary.  It was apparently swimming around a little and he had to catch it.  (How that was possible, I don’t know either.)  He got the follicle out and handed it over through this channel of plexiglass.  We waited for a few moments before they declared that we got all four eggs!  Throughout the process, I could feel the pulling and tugging.  I could feel the needle going in.  But it really wasn’t bad at all.  I am so so glad that I chose to opt out of anesthesia and saved ourselves some necessary expenses!  Dr. Turkey said that I was bleeding a bit much.  It wasn’t the ovaries.  It was the vag.ina when the probe went in.  He went inside and pushed onto the artery to stop the bleeding.  It took another two to three minutes for it to stop.    All the people in the room kept praising me, calling me a trooper, and said that this procedure couldn’t have gone any better without anesthesia and my manageable pain level.

I came out of the room a little loopy because of the fentanyl.  My abdomen area felt a little heavy.  I was spotting a little bit.  When I sat back down at my window seat, my nurse placed a heating pad wrapped with a blanket on my tummy.  I was given liquid and crackers.  Bob walked in.  I raised my four fingers and he grinned.  He gave his sample without a hitch although he said that the education material was outdated.  I guess it wouldn’t matter right?  Outdated or not, this kind of material all shows the same thing.

The nurse told us that since UCSF built a new building somewhere else in the city, the clinic will be moved there by end of December.  So the clinic will close for two weeks.  I am a bit bummed about it because I have really enjoyed the convenience of the location.  I hope to be able to bank a couple more cycles before the end of the year to take advantage of the current location.

We walked out into the warm sun.  I had to walk slowly because my abdominal area still felt heavy.  Plus Bob was still not feeling too well.  We walked a block to a popular breakfast spot.  There were a ton of people waiting outside.  The list was so long that I shook my head and left.  We walked to our favorite pastry shop and got our favorite Chocolate Banana Almond croissant:

photo 5

I just took a nap for a couple of hours.  My abdomen is still sore.  But I am so so grateful for four eggs!  I hope that they are all mature and will all fertilize.  I will get a phone call tomorrow from a nurse on the fertilization.  On Monday, I’ll be notified of the number of embryos to freeze and their grades.

That’s it!  I am very thankful for a chance to grow some embryos.  This is a very good start after a break for seven months.  Thanks for all the prayers and good thoughts!

Almost Trigger Time

At this morning’s scan, the follicles were 19mm, 16mm, 16mm, and 16mm.

At first the nurse practitioner couldn’t get a very good view of the three follicles on the left (the smaller ones).  The initial measurements were smaller, somewhere around 15 and 14 for two of them.  She found that if she pushed on my left ovary, we could get a better view.  She pushed and pushed and kept on apologizing.  It was making it a bit uncomfortable for me but I really appreciated her diligence in getting a better measurement.  After all the pushing and all the hard work getting the sizes correct, she was satisfied and thrilled to declare the the three smaller ones were all 16.

Look at the three follicles on the left side.  They all clustered together.

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I am actually surprised that my left side has a few follicles.  Usually that’s the lazy side.

Both Bob and I are pleased with the result so far.  We are still aiming at one embryo.  Anything more is a bonus.

I waited and waited.  Nobody called me from the clinic.  I was a bit nervous because I didn’t have any more Ganirelix so I would need someone to call it in for me so I could pick it up right after work.  I finally called the clinic at around 4pm. Apparently the nurses were going down the list to call patients.  It shows you how big this clinic is and how many people they see.  The following are the instructions:

  • Do one Ganirelix between 5 and 6pm tonight (which was impossible as I still didn’t have the meds at 5pm.  The nurse said it was okay to do it by 7pm)
  • Trigger at 9pm tonight
  • Bob needs to ejaculate two to five days before retrieval.  So we’ll have to get busy tonight
  • Show up tomorrow to go over the questionnaire for anesthesia and other consent forms.  What??  What anesthesia?  I told her that I am not using anesthesia.  She said… Oh I didn’t know that.  This was the 5th time I have told someone at that clinic that I am not using anesthesia.  I wonder when they will actually have that down… anyways, I still have to show up tomorrow to sign other forms
  • Retrieval is scheduled for 8:45am on Saturday.  We will have to show up at 8am.  This means I cannot attend the bible study training.  😦

I quickly left work to pick up the Ganirelix once again.  This was the third time this week I have done that.  A very kind reader of my blog sent me an email out of the blue and offered to send me all of her unused meds from her successful IVF cycle.  I am so speechless at her kindness and generosity!  So next cycle I won’t have to scramble to find Ganirelix.  Thank you AC for such a generous gesture.

IVF #5, Banking cycle #1 is about to come to fruition.  I hope that all the hard work does not go to waste.  I can’t wait to see how the eggs are doing!

Gamble

Dare I say that the cycle has been going pretty well?  Did I just jinx myself?

At our second monitoring ultrasound yesterday (CD 10), we still had four follicles growing.  They were 17mm, 13mm, 11mm, and 11mm.  It seems like Cl.omid is doing its thing.  The nurse practitioner said Dr. No Nonsense was out at a seminar but he’d read my ultrasound and decide what to do.  I received a phone call in the afternoon.  The nurse said that Dr. No Nonsense would like me to do a Ganirelix to hold off ovulation and 150 IU of FSH.  I was afraid that it was going to happen this way.  I asked numerous times if we should order Ganirelix or Cetrotide but the nurses kept saying we wouldn’t know until later, and they didn’t want me to spend money on the meds until I had to.  Well, now I was told that I had to but I had no Cetrotide or Ganirelix.  So I had to go to a local pharmacy and paid a lot more money for Ganirelix at the last minute.  I don’t have pure FSH but I have Meno.pur, which is 75IU of FSH and 75IU of LH.  I was really hoping that the doctor would say it was okay to use that.  I was relieved to receive a phone call confirming that Meno.pur was perfectly fine to use so we don’t have to spend more money than necessary.  The tricky thing about getting meds last minute was that I had three clients scheduled in the afternoon and had to go to acupuncture right after work.  It was impossible for me to go pick up the meds before the acupuncture appointment.  Fortunately, my 4pm client’s mom was okay with rescheduling.  My acupuncturist did some electro-acupuncture to help boost the growth of the smaller follicles.

Last night was the first time in seven months that we did injections.  It all felt so familiar:

photo 1

Bob was a pro.  He got the two vials of Meno.pur mixed without any problem within a minute.

photo 2

 

I injected it and then the Ganirelix.  Then we were good to go.  No drama. No fuss.

Today the same nurse practitioner did the scan.  The follicles are now 18mm, 15mm, 13mm, and 12mm.  I thought that we were going to trigger tonight since the lead one is 18 already.  The nurse told me that I’d get a phone call later.  When I was putting on my pants, she knocked and said that Dr. No Nonsense was there and wanted to speak with us.  We entered into another little room and waited for him.  I was happy that he actually gave us some face-to-face time.  He came in with a big smile and said that the little trick that we did yesterday worked and the follicles are growing.  He actually wants us to push them for another day and do Ganirelix and Meno.pur for one more day.  We’ll trigger on Thursday and retrieve on Saturday.  I was a teeny tiny anxious about that because I didn’t want the lead follicle to grow too big before retrieval.  He said he would like to gamble.  I am usually not a gambler.  But, he is the doctor.  He is the expert.  I have to put my trust in him.

I had also been praying for the IVF schedule NOT to interfere with the bible study training schedule on Saturday (which is from 6:55am to 9am).  It would be a bummer to miss training.  But I have to do what I have to do.

So here we are.  I had to pick up another Ganirelix from the local pharmacy and paid more big money for it.  For a price of two of these, I could’ve bought three Cetrotide.  But it’s all for a good cause.  I checked my previous cycle’s stats (thank goodness for having a blog that I wrote down all the details).  Our lead follicle was 20.5 when we triggered.  So I think I am still safe.  We’ll go back for another scan tomorrow morning to find out more about the size.

You know, I am still aiming for one good egg, one good embryo.  Anything more is a bonus.  I think we’ll just keep this attitude.  Everything is in God’s hand.  God is in control and I’ll just sit in the passenger seat for the ride.  I am thankful that a few follicles are growing.  This is way better than what I had imagined.  I believe that God has a perfect number of eggs and a perfect number of embryos planned for us.  I can’t wait to see what that perfect number is.  We’ll find out on Saturday.

So Far So Good

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.  

Random Thoughts

A bunch of random thoughts and things that may or may not have anything to do with infertility.

*****

I started Cl.omid two nights ago.  I was feeling a bit off yesterday.  A bit jittery.  100mg of Cl.omid is considered high dosage for oral meds, especially for ladies with diminished ovarian reserve who have high FSH and are pursuing mini or natural IVF.  Dr. Y said that he’d put me on nothing or at most 25mg of Cl.omid.  Since I am under Dr. No Nonsense’s care, I have to trust him on his protocol.  Other than feeling a bit off and nervous, I haven’t gone too crazy yet.  Good news for Bob.

*****

My cousin got married last October.  His wife just gave birth two days ago.  I found out from people’s congratulatory FB posts that kept popping up on my newsfeed.  My first reaction was to go to my cousin’s page and unfollow him.  Solely for self preservation.

*****

My dear mother called me two nights ago to tell me about my cousin’s baby.  My first thought: “Why the heck do you call me?  Don’t you know that I don’t want to know?”  What I actually said: “I knew already.  I read it on FB.”  We chitchatted for a little.  I clearly did not show any interest in knowing more about this new baby.  We hung up.  My husband then said, “I don’t approve of your relationship with your mother” meaning, “Why did you not tell her that you’d rather not talk about it?”   I think it’s a waste of time to tell my mom not to mention anything about my cousin’s baby.  I don’t think she’ll ever understand so why come clean?

*****

The front desk lady at UCSF at my baseline appointment was trying to collect the fees for a brand new cycle from me.  I was like, Uh no lady, I paid before my previous cycle got cancelled.  It shows how disorganized the clinic could be.

*****

I still can’t talk to my pregnant coworker.  I say Hi.  That’s it.  Not that we were friends to begin with.  But now I can’t even open my mouth to say more than just Hi.  I have no interest in engaging in any sort of conversation with her.

*****

Due to my unacceptable weight gain, I have decided and am determined to stay away from sweets.  I have also decided to go to every single bootcamp class without skipping so I can maintain moderate exercise three times a week.

*****

September 1st marked the beginning of our 33rd month of trying to conceive.  It’s a little tiring to think that some people could have already given birth to one child and be pregnant with/have given birth to another child in a span of 33 months.  I am tired of this.  Bob is tired of this.  Sometimes I just want to move onto donor egg IVF cycle.  I think Bob feels the same way.

*****

It’s very interesting that I am not at all jealous of my pastor’s wife.  She is currently pregnant with her third child.  She is young, in her late 20s.  Her first pregnancy was easy.  Then she tried for two years for her second child.  I don’t blame her for wanting to try for her third child quickly.  I am actually happy that she did not have to wait two more years to conceive number three.  Lately we’ve become better friends and would chat when we see each other at church.  I am sure she does not know about my struggles because I don’t think our pastor, her husband, would’ve shared with her without our prior consent.  I stand next to her at church and have no problem chatting with her with her big belly right in front of my face.  She just posted a few pictures of her maternity shoot with her two children.  Not only did I not hide the photos, I clicked “like” because I truly do like them.  I am so glad I don’t feel envious.

*****

My in-laws are unbelievable people.  Bob talks to them weekly on Sky.pe.  Every week his mother asks for money.  We give them a lump sum every year.  It’s an Asian thing.  I do the same with my mother although not as much money as we give to Bob’s parents.  When Bob lost his job, he informed his parents that he would have to delay giving them money until he finds a new job and starts accumulating the savings again.  Ever since he got a job again, his mother has been pushing for the money to be sent.  Last week there was an earthquake around our area.  My mom called.  My friends called.  Everyone was concerned and relieved that we were okay.  That night Bob talked to his parents.  He told them about the earthquake.  They did not ask him if we were okay.  All his mother asked for was money again.  After the phone call, Bob expressed his frustration with them.  They just don’t show that they care much.  It is so sad.

*****

I wrote the majority of this post yesterday.  I am still feeling sane with Cl.omid.  Definitely good news for Bob.  Hope everyone had a great hump day!