Yassy’s note: Stimulated IVF cycle journey

In the previous entry titled “Yassy’s Note:Impossible dream made possible“,I wrote that 12 years ago, I came to the states via marriage and,after spending about 2 years ourselves alone, we started thinking about starting a family. However, doctor has found the toxic fluid for babies in one of the tubes and the other tube was closed , plus I had the wall in heart shaped uterus (bicornate uterus). Therefore, both tubes had to be removed.

 Since my uterus had so little space for the babies to grow, our first doctor told us that our option for our dream of life will be achieved via surrogate program,which runs up 60,000 dollars.

 However, when we went to the fertility clinic to talk about option in detail, we were told that the another doctor could perform the surgery to remove the wall in my uterus so the babies can grow, and that I could carry my own baby via IVF as option.
 
 In the another previous entry titled “Yassy’s Note: One step closer to our IVF journey“,  I wrote what kinds of evaluation tests we went through and how they are performed.

 In the another previous entry titled “Yassy’s note; first step into IVF journey“,  I wrote about how our very first IVF journey has begun.

 In this entry, I would like to write about how our very first stimulated IVF journey went.

Fertility drugs, injection teaching, ovarian monitoring days..

 About 2 weeks prior to the very first stimulated IVF cycle treatment, we have scheduled the injection teaching class so we get to learn how and where and when I would or my husband would give the series of fertility shots to me. This was the day when I thought we would finally start stepping forward to our long waited dream; starting family of our own.

IVF medication picture blog

At the end, I have got this much of fertility drug shots…

These are from 2 round of stimulated IVF cycle,and 2 round of Natural IVF cycle.

The injection teaching, in our case, was done at the clinic and, we learned what medications we will be getting from the fertility drug pharmacy, and how much of each drugs I would be getting as well as the time of the day I give myself a shot each day.

 The clinic has told us to give myself a series of shots of ..

  • Lupron ; one dose each night. It is to be given in either thigh or abdomen. However, the injection site got swollen up in my case.Therefore, I had to take different medication (Synarel) in place of lupron shots.

 The Nurse will tell you when to start the medication, and then, when your cycle has started,you are to call the clinic on day 1 so you can go to clinic on day 2 to get your blood drawn for the cycle day 3 hormone baseline test.

The clinic we went to have patients come early in the morning between 7am-9am for the blood work of all kind as well as all the monitoring work such as sonogram.

  •  Follistim pen; one dose each night unless otherwise noted by physician. It is to be given in either thigh or abdomen.
  • Menopur; One dose each night. It is to be given in either thigh or abdomen
  • HCG; This is the drug you would get shot with 2 days before the egg retrieval day at the specific time.The nurse will schedule the egg retrieval day first and then give you the instruction as to what time exactly you should get HCG shot. This injection will be given in buttocks.
  • Progesterone in sesame oil; This is the shot you will get shot with on the day of egg retrieval. This shot will be given in buttocks.

As you can see,some of the shots are given in the buttocks where you cannot give yourself the shots with, so it was my husband’s duty to do so for me. He was a little nervous about the shots but he did great job.It was not painful at all.

After the injection teaching, we have received the fertility drugs and we have called them up to tell them my cycle has begun. On the cycle day 19, which was August 2010, I have started getting lupron/Synarel along with baby aspirin for 10 days in my case until next cycle begins, each day.

  Then, when the new cycle started, on day 1, you will call your clinic to let them know that your cycle has begun. Usually, they will have you come for the baseline blood test on cycle day 3, and they will instruct you to start getting the series of the fertility drugs you have received.

 On your cycle day 3,4,6,8,10, and 11, you would visit the clinic to get your hormone level monitored via blood test and also you will be checked how your ovaries are responding to the fertility drugs via sonogram.

 Soon, giving myself the series of shot became one of my routine stuff to do each day. It was September ,2010.

 The medication dosage for the each drug would start with the same for everyone at first, but depending on the individual person, the dosage can go higher or lower based upon the blood test you do every so often at the office during the stimulated IVF cycle.

 Since there are variety of shots you would need to give yourself a shot with, the clinic has provided a chart so we can simply fill out the date and dosage to keep track with.I thought it was a good idea.

As you can see, we had to visit the clinic every so often to get my ovaries monitored closely. It was such a tiring days on the conic visit because we had to wake up really early in the morning and drive up to the clinic;90 minutes trip each way.

 By the time we back home, we were zombie and needed a short nap to function. However, every time we go see them and hear that the physician says that there are xx number of follicles are being produced on my ovaries, we got so happy knowing that my ovaries are responding to the drug well and producing the eggs that could make our dream come true.

 Egg retrieval day..

Between the cycle 11-14 days, based on the images that the physician would see, your egg retrieval day will be scheduled.

In our case, the procedure was done via IV sedation at the clinic with recovery time for 1 hour. One hour before the procedure, I was asked to take Valium (diazepam). That medicine made me feel so heavy in body and,I think it worked too good for me. The next cycle we did, I had to take only half dose I got for the first try.

It was the exciting day for both of us. I felt like it was the real start for us,one step forward toward the dream of our own.

On the day of egg retrieval, your husband will provide a sperm sample to fertilize the eggs retrieved.

The doctor has retrieved 11 eggs from me on that day, and 7 eggs out of 11 eggs were fertilized.

Now the real question/challenge for them was whether they could survive the period of 5 days growing in the dish. If the fertilized eggs did not survive the 5 days in the dish, we had no embryos to be transferred into my uterus.

Those 5 days wait was our very first anxious period of time,waiting for the good or bad news to come and see if we can move forward to the next step;embryo transfer. It is especially because you will be getting series of fertility drug shots including the new regime to get your body prepared for the embryo transfer day if things went good while waiting for the news and,that made us both more anxious.

Unfortunately, the fertilized 7 eggs did not make it to the 5th day enough for the doctor to consider it as good quality embryos. Therefore, our very first IVF cycle was stopped right there.

If the fertilized eggs made it to the 5th day, the lab technicians would have selected best looking embryos from the bunch and I would have been moving on to the embryo transfer.

 In the best scenario, if I could move on to the ultrasound guided embryo transfer,then I would have done embryo cryopreservation for some and transfer 1-2 embryos into my uterus hoping for the implantation. Then I would have wait 14 days to get tested for the hormone level via blood test to check if I were a pregnant or not.

As you can see, there are so many waiting time for specific steps/procedures, and you can imagine how disappointed we were when we heard the bad news;the embryos did not make it to the 5th day..

Both of us had strong wish to start our own family so, we have waited a bit to try again but we knew we would try again hoping for the better next time.

2nd stimulated IVF cycle..

Since me and my husband,both had strong wish to try the IVF again hoping to have our own family,we decided that we would keep trying as much possible as we could. It sure was hard financially, but our dream had more strong impression on us and we made our dream as priority.

The spring came, we have decided that we would try another round of stimulated IVF cycle. There is no guarantee that we would be able to have our dream come true with the second try,but we had to try to seek the chance.

Just like our first try with stimulated IVF cycle, we repeated the steps we have done with the first IVF cycle; series of fertility drugs,frequent clinic visits to get my blood drawn for the hormone level,plus sonogram to get my ovaries monitored closely between 7am-9am each time. Since our house was 90 minutes drive away from the clinic and traffic was horrible, every visit made us very tired. Whole IVF cycle had emotional,physical stress altogether.

Now the egg retrieval day came in April 2011. This time, doctor has retrieved 28 eggs. I do not remember how many eggs were fertilized, but at the end, we had only 5 embryos that survived 5th day in the dish.

At this point, we were not sure yet if any of the 5 embryos would come meet us, but “survived the 5th day in the dish” was good enough news for us then since previous fertilized eggs did not make it to the 5th day.

  On the embryo transfer day in the late April 2011,I was nervous and at the same time,I was excited with the hope this might work. I was nervous because I knew that I had to drink lots of water (clinic told us to start drinking  64 oz of water about 2 hours prior to the procedure. ) and had to come to the clinic with full bladder.

  We have decided to transfer 2 embryos that day. It was the fresh embryos. Here is the picture of them.

Transfered Embryo pic Apr 2011 for blog

Our very first embryos to be transferred into my uterus..

  I was worried if I would not burst in the clinic during the procedure. After all, the procedure went ok although my ovaries were responding to the medicine too well and it was swollen a bit and the procedure itself was a little painful.

After the embryo was transferred, I had to rest in the room for about 15 minutes and went home. I was told bed rest for a day,and still keep taking the fertility drugs. Now the long 14 days wait begun till the pregnancy test via blood test.

During the long 14 days wait period, we had to come to the clinic on 4th and 8th day after the egg transfer to get the blood hormone checked. Based on this result,sometimes, doctor would order the adjustment for the drug dosage.

Come May 2011, I went to the clinic for the blood pregnancy test. I was nervous again, but excited to hear the news whether I was a pregnant or not.

I remember that I have received a call from the doctor telling me that my result was not good. I was not a pregnant. You can imagine how sad I was. I remember I kept question myself whether I can really become a pregnant someday, and start the family..

I was really sad to hear the news but on the flip side, we still had 3 embryos left to try. Therefore, we have decided to try again when we can afford to do so. Meanwhile, we have asked the clinic to cryopreserve our embryos for later use.

The next step we could try was via Natural cycle (no fertility drugs) with frozen embryo transfer. This is going to be a little different in the steps to follow.  I am going to explain in the next entry.

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Dec 30, 2014 | 0 | IVF

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