blech

I keep meaning to post IVF # 4 – 6 and their stats, etc. You know, just in case someone really wants to hear about my ovarian response to gonadotropins. Actually I learned a lot from reading about other people’s cycles. I probably wouldn’t have my son had I not come across a blog back in 2006 where a woman had zero fertilization of 17 good looking eggs – thanks to her I made sure we did ICSI on each cycle and had good fertilization.

Unfortunately this blog is turning into one long moan and I am sorry to say that there isn’t much I can do about it. I’m not the kind of person who can wait and see. I need to know what I am facing.

So here I am facing a deep dark hole – I am 8 weeks today. Yesterday, at 7 weeks 6 days, the embryo measured 7 weeks exactly – 7.2 days if you use another measurement. I have earned my google MD….and over the past 24 hours I’ve become an expert on reading fetal ultrasounds prior to 9 weeks gestation. So the facts are that I measuring behind – to be precise, the embryo is measuring (the CROWN RUMP LENGTH or CRL) exactly 1cm. This corresponds to a gestational age of 7 weeks exactly (there is a plus or minus of 5 days but….I received this reading from two different techs so I’m going to trust it). Last week I measured 3 days behind and now the gap is widening. This could mean a number of things.

The Bad:

1. Abnormality. Triploidy/other chromosomal abnormality in the embryo seems like a reasonable diagnosis for slow fetal growth.

2. Sac size not growing fast enough to accommodate growing fetus. My sac is measuring 5 weeks 3 days (which translates to 2/3 days ahead of the embryo). I won’t bore you with the minutiae but basically this is a death sentence.
3. Blood flow problems. I have a blood clotting issue. I am on lovenox injections once per day to keep my blood clot free and flowing. Hopefully this is working because these shots are a mother. My legs are bruised and battered and quite frankly, I spend a good deal of my day dreading them. When my husband does the injection it definitely doesn’t hurt as much. I’m such a wimp that I SLOWLY stick the needle into my thigh and then even more slowly inject the fluid. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to giving myself injections.

The good (there are some glimmers of hope here):

1. The embryo is a girl. Read this: The longitudinally collected observations showed that CRL in female fetuses was significantly smaller compared with that in male fetuses
2. Late implanter. Could be – I did have lowish betas and who knows when I actually conceived on an IUI cycle (though I suspect it was within a 24 hour period of November 4th).
3. Tech error. Again, highly unlikely that two techs are going to come up with the same measurements.

So I guess I just have to wait until Monday’s ultrasound. I have to remain hopeful that growth will be consistent and that the heartbeat (154 bpm) will remain strong. The prognosis isn’t good though – from every story I have read of women in the same position…probably 80 percent resulted in miscarriage.

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Consult with Dr. Schoolcraft.

I seriously cannot say enough about this man. I really liked him for so many reason – he came across as not only knowledgeable but genuinely concerned.

Prior to the appointment I had to fill out about 20 pages worth of forms and compile my infertility novella (which is up to about 40 pages – my true file, if I had absolutely everything would probably be twice as large). I wrote him a concise chronological note so that he would not have to sift through all of it which I think he appreciated. He talked at length about his program and answered all of my questions. He told me that the new form of PGD that they are testing is getting unbelievable results. His pregnancy rates for women of all ages is around 70 percent. Even women who are coming to him with repeat miscarriages, horrible egg quality, previous chromosomal abnormal births – these women are having healthy babies! He attributes it to this procedure – they grow your embryos to blast, test them and then freeze them. The process takes a week and that is why the embryo has to be frozen. They test ALL 23 chromosomes – unlike the old PGD (which I had the pleasure of wasting a great deal of money on) which only tested 9 of the most common abnormalities. Once the embryos have been assessed the mother is given estrogen and progesterone to create a healthy environment for the embryo. He believes that this environment is more conducive to pregnancy than a fresh IVF cycle and that is another reason the success rate is so high. Apparently not one embryo has been lost after the freeze. So, I think any woman who wants a kid should just go to Colorado and cycle with CCRM. Their stats are just beyond compare and he gave me such hope. I was quite touched that he repeatedly wished me well on my current pregnancy and said, “we are here if you need us but I really hope we never speak again”. The next day his nurse followed up with a call giving me well wishes and reminded me that they were there for me if I needed them. It felt really wonderful to have this option in the back of my mind – nothing worse than grasping at straws after a failed cycle. I actually owe this current pregnancy to Schoolcraft – his writings (and he reiterated this during our conversation) convinced me to ditch the lupron and go for a low stim for better egg quality. So, thank you Dr. Schoolcraft for being indirectly responsible for what is going on in my uterus at the moment. I also have him to thank for reminding me that I should be on blood thinners (I have a blood clotting factor). I originally thought that baby aspirin would do the trick but, as he says, better safe than sorry. I’m taking lovenox and believe me when I say that this is one nasty drug. It hurts going in and each and ever shot makes a huge purple bruise.

So far so good – I’m feeling sick most of the day, breasts still massive with big blue horrible veins, belly big and bloated..and I’m tired.

Trying to find the energy to post about IVF#4 and IVF#5 – this weekend I must do that.