So, we are off and running again. More drugs, more shots, more no-drinking (BLAH), more bruises, more chart to fill out, more morning up-ya-address (as my mom would say) ultrasounds. And, luckily, the day after I started I got to fly to DC and bring my drugs and ish through TSA twice!
Living the dream, taking my medications in the bathroom of Logan airport. Can’t imagine a better Friday night.
Started IVF Cycle #2 last Thursday night. This time, as I mentioned in a previous post, I am doing a microdose flare protocol which is slightly different than the typical plan. There are many different protocols based on the patient’s testing and particular issue. They are all this magical concoction of suppression drugs, stimulating drugs and then trigger. People respond differently, and as my doctor told me, “we learn through every cycle”. Which was her attempt to make me feel like this was simply a learning process and not just utter devastation. Good try, lady.
At the end of our consultation meeting following our first cycle, the doctor gave us two options. She sounded hopeful. Which was nice, because I was in Mach 5 DOOM zone. Even though things went not as planned at all, she said everything on my end worked just fine. Just fine? So you’re telling me this isn’t my fault? Because I’ve been blaming myself for this for over a year and a half at this point. While there wasn’t a particular cause she could point to, she said unequivocally that everything on my end was working exactly as it should and responded well to the meds.
It was the first time in this entire process where I had a slight sigh of relief. It was weird though, because the result was the same. We had no healthy embryos to implant, and that was awful news. But just the thought that this wasn’t my fault was a tiny beacon of light in the midst of everything else shitty.
I responded well to the meds the first time, I had 9 eggs at retrieval. That is a good number, but they’d like 10-15 ideally. Especially in my case, since for a reason unknown at this time, we lose a lot of embryos between day 3 and day 5. When she told me that, it made a lot of sense, because all of my miscarriages have been right about 5 weeks (except the ectopic which was a whole different, long nightmare) which would be day 5-6ish after fertilization. It’s a trend they can’t really explain. It is possible there is some fragmentation coming from the DNA in the sperm, but it may not be that either. So, per usual…it’s a mystery.
So, the goal would be hope for a higher number of eggs, with another high number fertilized, and then a higher number to send to testing resulting in a higher number which test chromosomally normal. With that goal in mind, she gave me the two options. Do the same protocol again, with high dosages which worked last time. Or try this microdose flare, it is a somewhat more aggressive approach that can produce better results but can also have worse side effects. Like over-stimulation which could cause: inflammation that makes you look 8 months pregnant. Just what every woman doing IVF could hope and wish for. LORD. It is typically used on women who are older or whose ovaries didn’t respond well to the traditional stimulation. While mine did respond, this method seemed like it made the most sense to try and get the most eggs possible. We know from science that you will lose things along the way, so the higher number to start, the higher likelihood you have something at the end. Why not try something that could give us a higher number to start with and then hopefully a higher number at the end (anything is higher than 0!)? Plus, I was lucky enough not to have any crazy symptoms the first time. My mood was pretty good, and I didn’t have the exhaustion or bloating people warned me about. So, the doc seemed to think this flare could work.
At this point, I’m like do whatever. Shoot me up with vampire blood if that will work (that’s weird, but it’s the first thing I thought of). But, one week in, still feel ok physically, but the emotions and moods are ALL OVER THE MF-ing PLACE. #SorryKenny. This type of cycle is typically a little slower so I am anxious to see how things start shaping up and how long I have to wait for retrieval again. But it will be soon!
*On a totally unrelated side note, anyone who has been through IVF or witnessed it. I highly recommend you check out the HBO show Friends from College for a hilariously accurate, while also painfully accurate, display of a cycle (episode 4). It made us laugh so hard and also made us (and by us I mean me) sob. My favorite line from the woman having IVF was something like “You don’t know what Ia m going through right now, it’s like having a shitty full time job on top of my shitty full time job.” I actually like my regular job, but still. Keeping track of all this and the pressure to not mess something up is so on point. It is DEAD ON.