Failed cycles? Plenty of eggs but crappy results? I bet I know why…

I wish I had written this a long, long time ago but it took a friend cycling to make me realize how important the following information will be for those of you going through IVF, IUI….  Do not ever let your follicles get too big.  My former RE likes to trigger when the cohort (most of the eggs) are measuring 17.  The simple fact is that eggs (especially older eggs) often will not have great outcomes if they get much larger than 22.  Heck, even 20.  If you are doing an IVF cycle and you notice that most of your eggs are in the 18 or 19 range then you should have triggered…plain and simple.  Do the research and see what happens when your follicles get too big…  

When in doubt you need to question.  Try a low dose cycle for the heck of it (you can always convert to an IUI).  I find it interesting that I produced the same amount of eggs on 300 menopur/300 follistim as I did with a 150 menopur/150 follistim – sometimes more isn’t better…in fact, sometimes more is not good at all.  Just a little PSA.

Let me know if any of you have had bad results with large follicles (or the reverse and don’t forget your age!).  Good luck to everyone trying….

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Someone once said….if you keep looking for trouble you are going to find trouble.

Whoever said that is an asshole but true.

So yesterday must have been my 1000th hysteroscopy. I told him that there is no way I will stay awake (like a certain doctor once did to me – hell, I was awake for a d&c with just a little valium and that was not right).

This time the uterus was fine BUT the doctor asked, “so did anyone mention that your uterus has a sort of cliff or a bulge to it”. What? A bulge. So it was explained as more of a septum. After all these tests and laps and hysteroscopies (which isn’t even a word so says my spell check). After all of that. I’m talking 300K.

300K and now I get this.

The good doctor explained that it probably wouldn’t impede any implantation but that it probably was the reason for my preterm labor. He told me I could probably hold twins but not triplets.

Funny. I just want to hold anything.

So I’m in a funny spot, doing the buildup of my lining to see how it will grow. Using the vivelle dots (or strips as I would rather call them) and seeing where all of this goes. I want to put the embryos back in by early October. It is time.

I’m so scared it won’t work and so scared that it will and I’ll lose them. Why can’t I just get pregnant and, well, be like everyone else? It is still a mystery but I’m piecing it together. The completely crazy chromosomal disasters that are most of my embryos take two to tango. I can’t blame that on just me and I am still making normal eggs at age 41 so that is good. The fact that I have two normals on ice is even better but typically they only work with women with a normal uterus. Do I have a normal uterus? I’m not sure anymore.

I do have normal, open fallopian tubes. How nice.

Vivelle Dots.

What the f? Sorry. I’m just stumped. These are not dots. They are sheets of plastic with adhesive and estrogen. What is with the dots thing?

I have one on me. Assuming it is making its way into my bloodstream to get my pathetic lining to grow.

Yep, I nagged good old Dr. S to let me do a mock lining check locally. New doc (who I LOVE) will do a hysteroscopy and I don’t care if I spelled that wrong. It is late and I am so cranky. I digress, so we are going to check out the uterus, make sure there are no more traces of ashermans and that my ovaries look OK and that the lining is developing and then I am putting these embryos back in. I’m in the middle of a secret adventure and I want to share but I can’t – suffice it to say that it is really stressful. Combine that with the fact that my husband’s job fired him. FIRED! He is a Managing Director and they made things up. They actually fired him for poor performance when this guy brought in 12 million dollars last year. But they don’t really know what we have here. The kind of trouble they are about to get in for lying is just amazing. I wish I could elaborate but I can’t. Normally I would like to just walk away from this but not when they essentially prevent my husband from working in the industry he has worked in for 20 years. So, there will be justice. And it is going to be painful for them. The law was broken and we have some proof. Oh do I wish I could just write it all out! But suffice it to say that when I am involved, I make sure that we cross every T and dot every i because I saw this coming.

So my little adventure has to keep us alive.

I’m scared but I know, I truly know that we will succeed.

One day at a time.

Get me through the transfer, let there be another baby and who cares about the rest. The world will open up and we will be happy again. It has been so long. Wow, I’m excited thinking about happy and us in the same sentence.

I do love my family so very much….now I just want to give my son his sibling. It is time.

All day testing

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.