Thursday, October 16, 2008

Cycle 1

MKD and I were fortunate enough to split the work that goes into a complete IVF cycle with each other. We can’t imagine how hard it must be for one woman to do everything that we did combined. So here is an outline of events in case anyone is interested.

MKD began her journey on June 26th. She had 7 Lupron SQ shots, 14 DelEstrogen IM shots, and 22 Progesterone in Oil IM shots, for a total of 43 shots. In between shots, there were 3 monitoring appointments (bloodwork and ultrasound).

I began my journey on June 30th. I had 11 Lupron SQ shots, 12 Menopur and Gonal-F SQ shots (combining them cut down a shot everyday), and 1 HCG Trigger IM shot, for a total of 24 shots. In between shots, there were 8 monitoring appointments (bloodwork and ultrasound). I had a couple of extra monitoring appointments because my follicles were not as big as they wanted them, so I had extra days of stimulation. My estrogen level started at 30 in the beginning and went up to 2029 before my Trigger shot.

My HCG Trigger shot happened in the evening of July 19th. Exactly 36 hours later, I had my retrieval in the morning of July 21st. They harvested 18 eggs, 17 were mature. I was super scared before the surgery, but everything went well for my first time under. I don’t even remember lying on the operating table. The last thing I remember was reciting my social security number while standing up and then all of a sudden, I woke up in the recovery area. The car ride home was excruciating as every little bump or crack in the road sent waves of pain throughout my abdomen.

OHSS was a huge risk for me and I did develop symptoms in the evening of July 22nd. My period didn’t come until July 31st, so OHSS symptoms lasted for more than 10 days. There is no “cure” for OHSS, you just have to ride it out and hope for your period which tends to relieve the symptoms. Given my emetophobia, extreme nausea for all those days non-stop was hell. Coupled with intense pain, bloating, diarrhea, etc. left me couch-ridden for an entire week. I gained 7 pounds even though I wasn’t eating. All the weight was fluid filling my cavities making it difficult to breathe and caused coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. Looking back, I think I had a mild case and really feel bad for those who develop severe OHSS. If that were me, I would want to be put out of my misery as I have not been this sick in a long time. Reading up about OHSS prior to my retrieval was fine as it didn’t seem too bad. But actually having it was a totally different story. I could not do anything but watch tv and that was hard work. My biggest goal each day was to get a shower and I only accomplished this every other day. If we have to do Cycle 2, I will develop OHSS again. At least I will know what hell to expect.

We did a Day 6 Transfer (instead of Day 5) on July 27th since the embryos needed a little more time to reach full blastocyst. We had 3 embryos develop fully, so we transferred one and froze the other two. I saw the entire transfer on the monitor and it was incredible seeing my baby go into my baby’s belly.

Every second of every day after the transfer was spent pondering and analyzing every symptom that may indicate pregnancy. MKD took a home pregnancy test on August 1st. Way too early (we found out later) so it came out negative and depressed her. She did another one on August 7th before our blood pregnancy test and it was positive…barely. The plus sign was like a ghost image. So we ran to the store and got more tests that clearly state “Pregnant” or “Not Pregnant.” This, time, the test was definitely “Pregnant.” We both cried with happiness that the transfer was successful and we were going to have a baby. MKD retested the next day right before her blood pregnancy test. It was still positive and we were elated. After the bad news (see paragraph below), she tested again the day before her 2nd blood pregnancy test. So the total number of home pregnancy tests was 5. On a side note, those home pregnancy tests are expensive!

Twelve days after the transfer, was our first blood pregnancy test. We went into it confident that it was going to come back positive. But MKD's hCG level was 9, and they wanted to see it around 100. For whatever reason, the embryo had stopped growing. They wanted us to come back a few days later for another test to rule out lab error. On August 11th, we did another blood pregnancy test and the results were as expected: negative. We were both crushed and horribly depressed even though we already knew from the last home pregnancy test. This just made everything final and snuffed out hope of things turning around. MKD stopped her medications and we were back to square one. It was a lot to take after everything we went through, counting all the shots, appointments, and stressful days. Months later, I am finally able to post this.
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