I’m angry.

That is how I feel right now. We have one frozen embryo to show for this cycle. I need to start preparing myself for a childfree life and I’m not ready for that.

I’m angry that my husband’s lack of sperm has put us in this position.

I’m angry at the RE for giving me hope with the new protocol.

I’m angry at the lab for waiting until FIVE FUCKING O’CLOCK to call me with the news that they all arrested but 1.

I’m angry at myself for being unable to produce more eggs and more chances.

I’m just really fucking angry.

And…if you’re going to tell me that “It only takes one” – please don’t. I am 100% aware that yes, it only takes one. I want to wallow right now.

Zen has left the building.

Alright, who had day 3 as when I lose my shit? Anyone? Anyone?

Okay, slight exaggeration. But today is the first day I’ve cried and officially begun to lose optimism about IVF #2.

Got the day 3 update and we still have 5 excellent embryos, 1 average, and 3 below average. The other 2 never fertilized so they were discarded. This time last cycle we had 8 excellent and 3 average and we only ended up with 2 blastocysts, both of which were failures. So…basically we’re fucked. If we only have 1 or 2 embryos again on day 5, we’ll opt out of PGS because it isn’t worth the $2,500 to only test 1 or 2. They’ll call again on Tuesday to let me know if any are still worth keeping.

So…the extra $1,000 of meds and the 3 months of vitamins/supplements have done precisely DICK and I can’t fucking handle this right now.

In other news, our 5 year wedding anniversary was yesterday. So…yay!

Go Team Mutants!

So for IVF #1, my husband lovingly referred to our potential embryos as X-men. This time around he’s taken to calling them Mutants and says they might have superpowers since they’re growing in a lab. Yeah. We’re adults.

Egg retrieval went down at SIX AM yesterday morning. I will say again, this being the second time around was so much better than the first time around. I knew what to expect, even had a pleasant conversation with the anesthesiologist as I slowly passed out.

I had the same nurse as I did back in May. A perfectly lovely older lady whose hands shook as she jabbed the IV into my hand. My husband had to fake a coughing fit to cover his laughter. On the drive to the clinic, I had said “Man I hope I don’t have the nurse with the shaky hands again.” As soon as she walked in the room, he started laughing.

I remember nothing of the procedure thank god. I just remember coming to in the operating room as the RE was pulling the speculum out of me. She said I did great and they were counting the eggs. My husband had his date with the cup and after I successfully peed, we were released and home by 8AM. I got a call later than 13 eggs were retrieved, with 12 mature enough to be ICSI’d.

I just got the call a few minutes ago from the embryologist with an update. 9 fertilized normally overnight, and 1 abnormally (discarded). The other 2 are in an unknown status at the moment. They will look at the embryoscope again on day 3 to see if those ended up fertilizing. So at the moment we have between 9-11 embryos. During the first round, only 7 fertilized normally, so Team Mutants already have a leg up on Team X-men.

Pipe down, ovaries.

Seriously. The little shits decided to suddenly shift into overdrive last night.

Yesterday morning I had 8 measurable follicles on the right, 7 on the left. This morning? Freaking 12 on the right and 8 on the left. My E2 levels went from 1616 yesterday to 2105 today. Settle down overachievers (I really really REALLY wanted to use the stupid pun ovary-chievers there, but I’ll settle for a parenthetical note).

I just gave myself my last dose of Follistim and the trigger shot of 5,000 units of HCG and the retrieval is scheduled for SIX FUCKING AM on Thursday morning. Nothing like getting a little light egg harvesting out of the way before you start your day huh?

Still zen-ish. I really really really hope that this cycle goes better for us. I’m cautiously optimistic that we’ll have more eggs to play with this time. Fingers crossed that husband’s sperm gets along with them this time.

Also, I’ve been google stalking infertility boards (as one does). And if I ever use any of the following terms unironically, please just slap me: embies, follies, frosties, baby dance, and baby dust. That is all.

Get these things out of me.

Ugh. This sums up every thought in my brain in a nutshell.

This morning was another blood draw and twat wanding after 8 days of stims. 8 follicles on the right, 7 on the left, ranging from 14-20mm, most averaging about 16-18. Left ovary is showing a trend of always having slightly smaller follicles, so we’re going to do 1 more night of stims tonight and trigger tomorrow night for a Thursday retrieval. My E2 levels were at 1616 this morning, higher than they got during IVF #1. Maybe we’ll get an extra egg out of this. I’m definitely feeling all those dang follicles. I don’t know how the PCOS ladies do this. I have 15 follicles and I feel like shit, yet I read about woman retrieving like 30 eggs…ugh. I’m bloated and uncomfortable. I’m walking really slowly because I swear I feel like my ovaries are porcupines.

Accurate portrayal of my ovaries right now:

1000px-bloat-findingnemo3d

Saturday night was my husband’s company’s Christmas party. It wasn’t actually as bad as I thought. I nursed a single glass of wine all night so no one mentioned the decrease in drinking. I checked with the nurse beforehand and she said it was fine to do most of the injections before we went, as there was some wiggle room with timing on those. The Ganirelix (which keeps me from ovulating) needed to be on a more consistent time from night to night, however. So I brought that one to the restaurant and shot up in the bathroom. IVF Achievement Unlocked!

In optimism news, I’m handling this round MUCH MUCH better than the first. Mentally, physically, and emotionally. Even my husband has noticed. Three days from the egg retrieval and I’ve only cried once (OKAY…in my defense I’m very hormonal and I had ornaments printed with pictures of each of our dogs and they came in and were PERFECT). Keep your fingers cross that this oddly zen thing continues.

 

IVF #2 Stats:

Injections: 27

Blood Draws: 4

Twat Wand Dates: 3

I am very aware of my ovaries right now.

Yup. Exactly what the title says. I had my initial blood draw to check E2 levels on Wednesday, and it was 189. Same time last cycle was 191, so we seemed to be on the same track. She increased my Follistim dosage this time around, but I was also on birth control for an extra week leaving me slightly more suppressed, so I feel like those cancelled each other out.

Starting yesterday, I’ve been incredibly aware of my ovaries. I feel twinges and stretching. And the bloating has begun (hey remember when I was googling IVF sex like 4 days ago? HA!).

I went in for my first ultrasound since starting stims on Sunday and another blood draw. My RE is known for her weird comments while I’m in the stirrups and dammit, she did not let me down today. She had the wand inside me and as soon as the right ovary came into view, she said “Oh my! Things are happening in there aren’t they?!”

NO SHIT, SHERLOCK.

Of course I just chuckled politely and said Yup, and I can feel it.

I’ve got 7 follicles on the right and 6 on the left, all measuring between 12.5 and 14. I get to add Ganirelix to the party tonight to keep me from ovulating all these things. My E2 level came back at 543. Same day the last cycle was 449 so still on target to be about equal to IVF #1. If we get 12 eggs again I would be happy. And HOPEFULLY all these vitamins and supplements plus the Omnitrope will mean they are all fantastic quality.

Meanwhile, my husband’s company Christmas party is tomorrow night. I’m sure I will be a super pleasant person while feeling bloated and being cranky from not drinking. I can’t guarantee I won’t punch someone who asks me if I’m pregnant since I’m not drinking.

Here’s to hoping my next post doesn’t start out with “So I got arrested…”

Thundercats, hooo!

IVF #2 has kicked off with a bang. Or a jab maybe? I dunno. Whatever. It’s started. Baseline blood and sono was the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and all looked fine and dandy. Mr. Oh Just Relax had to tag along to sign all the consent paperwork and also give an updated semen analysis. Numbers are holding steady in the 300-400K range. So YAY that the number has remained constant since his first SA back in January. Hopefully the vitamins and supplements he’s been taking the last few months mean the few little bastards swimming around in there (HIS WORDS by the way) are better quality. OPTIMISM!!!

I’ve been reading back on my old entries from the first cycle and it’s oddly comforting. I was SO out of my element then and it’s nice to have some kind of clue of what to expect over the next 12 days. Last night’s injections went off without a hitch. The addition of Omnitrope was new, plus an increased dosage of Follistim. But other than that…meh. I feel ok, mentally and physically. I’m mentally preparing for the bloating and crankiness that I know is to come, but for now I’m just chilling. Hell, I’m so detached about the whole process right now, I’m doing things like googling “sex during IVF stims” (WHAT?! My doctor doesn’t talk about these things).

Estimated retrieval date is next Thursday, 12/8. Someone remind me to go read this entry again when I’m freaking the fuck about about god knows what that day. I’d like to remember the day I was googling about IVF sex.

 

IVF #2 Stats:

Injections: 3

Blood Draws: 1

Twat Wand Dates: 1

T minus 6 days.

My baseline blood and twat wanding is Wednesday, and then I start stims on Sunday. I’m apprehensive about IVF #2 of course. I feel like I know what to expect this time around, but there’s still just that general air of anxiety hanging around.

$4,800 of medication was delivered last week and it is all sorted and safely stored. We’ve finalized the payment amount for the actual cycle itself and I get to pay that bad boy on Wednesday. How does cycle #2 compare? LET’S SEE SHALL WE?

IVF #1, May 2016. $3,919 of meds as previously discussed. The cycle itself was a fresh transfer. The lump sum payment included all monitoring appointments (blood draw and ultrasounds), the retrieval plus ICSI, and the initial fresh transfer of 1 embryo (the FET we did later in August would be an additional cost at that time). This payment was $12,490. Plus an additional separate fee of $500 paid to the anesthesiologist, who is not employed by my clinic. That brings the total cost to $16,909. Remind me to bitchslap any fertile friend of mine that complains about money.

That brings us to IVF #2. Medication cost is $4,842. Since the first cycle was a miserable failure, we get a 25% of multiple portions of the flat cycle fee. Yay? Blech. The reduced fee for all monitoring appointments, retrieval plus ICSI, freezing of any embryos, plus 1 FET and all the costs associated with the FET (thawing, prepping embryo, etc) comes to $8,468.

Still with me? Now we’ve also decided to go ahead and bite the bullet to possibly opt into PGS diagnostic testing. The clinic charges a flat $2,500 for this, plus $150 per embryo sent to be tested plus $100 shipping. We were extremely hesitant to proceed with this until we confirmed with the financial coordinator that should we only end up with 1 or 2 embryos again, we can opt out of doing the testing. Since the testing itself is basically the price of a FET, it makes zero financial sense to bother shelling out the cash. I’d rather just take my chances and put back 2 embryos. But what if this cycle is more successful and we get, say, 4 embryos? At that point, since my doctor is adamant that she only recommends a single embryo transfer due to my age, it’s cheaper to KNOW if the embryos we’re transferring have a fighting chance. The only catch to this plan, is that should we decide to back out after paying, they will keep $300 as a nonrefundable portion for scheduling and prepping for the procedure and coordinating with the outside lab. We’re ok with this.

So, with the upped medication dosages plus the addition of PGS with required embryscope monitoring, and anesthesia we’re now looking at a grand total for IVF #2 of: $16,779 (plus an unknown number for PGS since we don’t know how many embryos we’ll test, if any). So basically, the discount we get for being failures enabled us to add PGS testing to the party. And if this is our last round with our eggs and sperm, then fuck it. Might as well throw every possibly crutch we’ve got at the problem.

See? I’m counting this a good. I’ve officially reached the fuck it stage of IVF!

Money sucks.

IVF #2 is feeling much more real. Medications have officially been ordered and scheduled for delivery and injections begin on the 27th.

For IVF #1, I stimmed for 9 days before triggering. I did 150iu of Follistim and 150iu of Menopur, then the last 5 days I added Ganirelix, and triggered with 10,000 units of HCG. Total cost of those meds came to $3,919 (yay no infertility insurance coverage!). I had 12 eggs retrieved, all mature, 7 fertilized normally after ICSI (though 4 would later join the party), 2 made it to blast.

This time around, we’re sticking with an antagonist protocol, but she’s upping my daily Follistim dose to 225iu. Same Menopur dosage and still adding in Ganirelix with an HCG trigger. We’re also adding Omnitrope to this cocktail of drugs – otherwise known as HGH, or human growth hormone. She said that this is usually used with *ahem* women of advanced maternal age, OR women considered poor responders to stims…of which I fall into neither category at this point. But she pointed to some studies that suggest the HGH helps more embryos make it through to the blast stage, so sure…what’s another shot to bring to the party?

Total cost with the upped Follistim dosage and plus the new drug? $5,242. Fuuuuuuck IVF is expensive.

We make too much money to qualify for any discount programs (don’t get me started). However, we did qualify for a “member discount” with Walgreens specialty pharmacy where I get all but the Omnitrope. I registered and paid $25 – and in return I got a flat $100 discount per $1,000 spent with that pharmacy – which totaled $400. Not too shabby.

Final meds cost for IVF #2: $4,842. Again: FUUUUUUCK IVF IS EXPENSIVE. Let’s all just hope these extra drugs do some magic voodoo and give us more embryos to work with.

In other news. Today is election day and I just want to drink. As a firmly blue voter in the ocean of red that is Texas…oy. I early voted, so luckily I don’t have to get out today, but I’ll be anxiously watching tonight. A country with a giant angry Cheeto in charge scares me.