While I wait to pee on a stick…perhaps now is a good time to tell you about failures 4, 5 and 6! Because I cannot wait to spread the cheer!
IVF #4 started in late April – just after my 40th birthday. About a year previous, when I was 9 months post partum, our RE recommended that we begin IVF asap. We were in the middle of a move to another city (Atlanta) and the timing was not great. We did a number of tests to ensure that my FSH was still low (and indicator or ovarian reserve) and was told that the number was around 7. My highest reading to date by then had been 5 but anything under 10 is considered normal. We figured a few more months wouldn’t hurt and we’d definitely need time to get settled in our new town before adding another pregnancy/child. Nevermind the fact that we added a labrador retriever puppy to the mix – (I had no idea that a dog could be more work than a baby but I, um, know that now!)
We agreed in April to begin treatments with an RE in Atlanta who formerly practiced at Cornell (the number 2 clinic in the nation). Dr. S is a nice guy – young, matter of fact. He changed around my meds – which, in hindsight, I should have questioned. So much of this process is a crap shoot and the medication protocol is by far the most important factor, in my opinion. We went from a tried and true protocol to the crash and burn protocol. I had 13 follicles with 5 eggs in them. Of those 5 eggs, only 3 of them fertilized. We put all of them back in on day 2. Normally IVFers will put the embryos back in the uterus on day 3 – and if they are growing well and there is a large enough quantity of embryos – waiting until day 5 (blastocyst cycle). Our RE called us the day after our fertilization report on Day 1 and said that based on the look of the embryos, he wanted to get them in sooner rather than later. This concerned me.
On the day of embryo transfer I was given a percoset and told to arrive with a full bladder. I was very excited when I entered the room where they tranfer the embryos to see a large digital photo of our three embryos. They all looked good to me – even number of cells, little fragmentation – they looked perfect, in fact. When I quizzed the embryologist he told me that “it doesn’t get better than this”. The embryos were transferred and I went home to rest. My mother was visiting and helped a great deal with my son – I was instructed not to pick him up for 2 weeks which is almost an impossible feat. I was convinced that the cycle did not work – no symptoms other than feeling extremely exhausted (but that was likely the cause of the massive amounts of progesterone I was injecting into my body). Around 9 days past ovulation I was eating a salad. I took a bite of onion and suddenly felt the urge to vomit, I was cold and clammy and nearly fainted. C looked at me wide eyed and said, “well, this is a good sign”. He was right – the next day I took a test and it was positive. Suddenly I started to feel every symptom – I was tired, cranky, blue veins all over my breasts, crazy dreams, hot flashes…. The next day every symptom was gone. I rushed in to the doctor’s office for an early blood test. Two hours later I got a call telling me that my beta level was 50. I was definitely pregnant. Exactly (and I do not exaggerate) 30 seconds later I started to bleed…and I mean bleed.
30 seconds of happiness and hope! That was all this cycle could give me. The next few days I spent in bed, hoping that the bleeding would stop. I had another blood test a day later and…the level of HCG was going down. A chemical pregnancy. Something implanted and then died. Probably a chromosomal abnormality – who knows.
I was going to jump right back into another cycle but this chemical hung around – for a month! The levels would not go down. Just when my RE was going to schedule a D&C – the levels started to drop.
And that, my friends, was that.