Sorry for leaving some of you hanging. I had to take a break for a number of reasons.
We got our CGH Microarray results back from the 8 embryos we had on ice (from CCRM and the clinic I go to in NYC – I did IVF #8 there in June which I will update on later – had those four sent out to join the other CCRM four an all were tested) ……..and we have one normal embryo – in fact, it was our only blastocyst and it was a day 6 blastocyst which is a bit behind. The other 7 were massively abnormal, poor things. So, I decided to try another cycle locally to hopefully get a few more embryos to ship out to CCRM and then do another cycle in February….but that was a complete disaster. Microdose lupron, measurable follicle on day 2!!! I stimmed for 6 days and then triggered and converted to an IUI. BFN. No surprise there.
I went on birth control pills right after since I had developed massive cysts….and then decided it was time to go back to CCRM. I’m approaching 42 and I don’t have the luxury of time on my side. I have a good chance with one CGH normal (60%) but I want a GREAT chance which only 2 normal embryos will give me (70 %). Selfish, I know.
For this cycle we did things very differently – I started saizen (human growth hormone) and microdose lupron for two days and then started 300 gonal F and 2 amps of menopur combined with dexamethazone. What a response – the stim was rather fast – 9 days total or so and I produced 11 eggs – 8 of which were mature and fertilized normally. I was shocked as I never respond like this – my very best cycle to date and I think I credit the saizen…. Day 3 and all of them were right on target with one over achiever at 12 cells. Yesterday on day 5 they called to say that they had 3 early blasts and 3 great looking morulas. Somehow between last night and today most of them arrested and I am now left with a grade 5AA blast and a 3AB blast to biopsy. So down to 2. Beats the one I had last time which was thankfully normal.
I don’t know whether to be happy or gear up for IVF #10. I guess I’ll wait for the results (probably by mid Jan) and maybe go back on the pill to suppress all the crazy things my ovaries do after an IVF.
On the emotional front, I’m not feeling so great. Not sure how I am going to be able to handle it if this doesn’t work. I began looking at donor eggs and found one woman whose baby photo looked just like me. But I don’t know if I can do that. I always told myself that it wouldn’t matter – and deep in my heart I know it wouldn’t but I will move heaven and earth to make this happen with my own eggs. I only wish I had found CCRM when I was 40 and not 41.
So there is my update and now we wait…….
I’m in Colorado – just finished all day testing at CCRM. I’ve come away with a huge spiral notebook of things to read, a stack of orders for bloodwork that must be completed, an enormous headache caused, no doubt, by their no caffeine policy, a sore and (sorry TMI alert) bleeding uterus from having a foot long thread inserted into it….and hope, I have hope! I love this place. Never have I seen an operation like it (and I’ve been around). They are indeed everything I thought they would be. Dr. Schoolcraft is a nice guy – I liked him enormously. His nurse Kathy was amazing – spend literally hours talking me through the entire process. They run a tight ship – no waiting around – everything spelled out, scheduled, organized. Wow.
Guess what I found out today? After 6 IVFs and God knows how many times someone has looked into my uterus – Dr. Schoolcraft found scar tissue from a previous D&C – most likely when I was 31 years old and had a blighted ovum. All this time and no one ever said a word about it. Lest you think this might be the result of my last D&C – that is highly unlikely as my RE did suction only. Dr. Schoolcraft suggested that any embryo trying to inplant in this area of my uterus would struggle. I’ll be getting surgery to remove the scar tissue soon – probably back in Atlanta. He also agreed that microarray (genetic testing on the embryo) would be my best shot. He figures that I have an 80% probability of finding a normal embryo….so we are doing it. Forget the IUI – I’m going to wait for my next period (most likely February 27) and then resume estrogen patches 15 days later. I’ll get a period in late March and an egg retrieval around April 8-10th (approximate). There will be other decisions once we know how many eggs we get – but for now we are planning to flash freeze them either at day 3 or day 5. I’ll do a frozen embryo transfer a few months later and then hope, hope, hope.
The bad news is that I had 8 resting follicles (these are the follicles that show up in your ovaries at the beginning of your cycle and serve as a predictor of how many eggs will be retrieved) – this is down from 15 in August. You see – just a few months at the age of 40 can send you off a cliff. Who knows how many I’ll have next month – could go back up but unlikely. Dr. Schoolcraft said that a resting follicle count of 8 will likely correspond plus or minus 2 to my results at retrieval. If I had 10 eggs…mature and fertilized – I’d be the happiest girl in the world. I’m not sure that resting follicles are that predictive in everyone – but they have been for me.
I’m not going to think about the cost – I have a loan for the entire amount ready and waiting for me to access it. This is far more important than anything in our lives right now so its cost is irrelevant for me. One thing that was repeated over and over again – “your eggs are 40 years old”. I get it….time is literally running out. I don’t have a year to make more mistakes – I have months…
I’ll post more later – for now a much needed massage is waiting.
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.
So the beta HCG rose to 78. More than doubled by 8 points. I’m happy. Sure a lot could go wrong but we are off to a decent start. I bought about 100 dollars worth of pregnancy tests – much to my husband’s chagrin. They weren’t a total waste of money, though – I was able to see the progression and the darkening of the second line which told me that the HCG was indeed increasing – and that saved a lot of tears and agony (I’ll post a photo of them soon for all those who search for such things).
I’m still exhausted and hungry all the time but I can manage that – the idea that IVF and all its trapping might be a thing of the past just seems too good to be true!
I had a wonderful conversation with Dr. Schoolcraft yesterday. I’ll post more about that later – for now, I’m going to try to take a nap.
Thanks for checking in – still kinda shocked that some 50 – 100 of you actually read a blog that deals with news about my boobs and ovaries.
I tested on Friday at 10 dpo. The test was super faint. I used a First Response Early Result – last time I had a super faint HPT at 10 dpo (also on a Friday) my beta hcg was 12. By Tuesday my level had reached 51 and pregnancy resulted in my son. Today my beta was at 35 which would mean we want to see anything above 65 or so on Wednesday.
I can’t beta hell. It could go either way. When I woke up this morning it felt like my breasts weren’t as heavy and I still felt nauseated but not as much as I had the day before. I could be wrong – but I haven’t been so far.
I have a consult with Dr. Schoolcraft tomorrow from CCRM in Colorado. I’ll just focus my energy on the next cycle and hopefully be pleasantly surprised with this one.
One hour ago I decided this did not work.
One minute ago convinced that it did.
This is the hardest part for me – between 6 days past ovulation and testing time (probably day 10 because even though I know I should wait until day 12 – I just can’t help myself). I’d like to think optimistically but history has told me that this is a very unwise thing to do. So, I’m planning for the failure and what I will do thereafter – get bunion surgery, get the polyp removed from my uterus, drink a bottle of vodka and have a consult with Dr. Schoolcraft at CCRM in Colorado. He is calling me on the 18th of this month and I’m looking forward to his input. Their stats are just amazing for my age group…and as I approach 41 – there is no time to mess around.