After our FET that just failed, we have been stuck with over a thousand dollars worth of unused meds. It makes me sick to see them so I have stashed them away in my closet for the time being. Throwing them in the trash also makes me somewhat sick considering they were so darn expensive. Yes, I know I could donate them, and as a last resort I am sure I will, but I would like to somehow justify the costs in my mind after spending a small fortune on assisted reproduction the past 6 years, all of which was not covered by insurance at all. Even recouping a small amount for them would be satisfying.
I have 4 boxes of unopened Crinone (quite possibly the most expensive drug on the planet) that do not expire for several years. I also have unopened Progesterone in Oil, DelEstrogen, & Estrace. If a fellow blogger out there needs any of these expensive IVF meds, I would be willing to discount them significantly. Feel free to comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
So far, so good! Nothing really new to report. Mainly, I just feel like blogging so I figure I will record how the past 5 days of this cycle have gone!
Have been eating super healthy everyday, with the exception of a delicious Kit-Kat bar during lunch the other day. Meals have consisted of Quinoa, Garbanzo beans, avocado, sweet potatoes, organic chicken breast, grass fed beef, whole grains, eggs, protein shakes, salads, etc. Will continue to keep this up.
The rapsberry tea I am drinking every day after work is causing me to pee more in the middle of the night than usual. Ugh. I really need to drink it in the mornings, but I dont want to be peeing non-stop while Im teaching either. Since Spring Break starts tomorrow, maybe I will try it out in the mornings and see if it helps. Im peeing about 4 times a night now compared to my usual 2 times. Annoying, but prep for being preggo again I guess!
Circle + Bloom meditation is still going strong. Im now on CD 2, part 4. I have only missed 2 days since suppression started, and I was just too beat to get in the mood for it those nights. The power of the mind is amazing to me. During meditation, I have been able to shrink myself down into a mini size and get into my uterus! Sounds crazy right? Lol. Its part of the program, getting things all perfect in there for baby. I am proud of myself for being able to connect my mind and body so deeply. Pretty cool, and relaxing.
Started Folgard 1x per day this week. I start vaginal viagra (I KNOW… wt*) this Sunday. What woman has to go on viagra? This one! This will boost my lining even more. Anything for baby, right? Anyways, who has been on this before? Hopefully no horror stories? Only on it for 5 days in all so not too bad. Oh, and for various reasons, we decided I will not be doing the Lovenox bloodthinner this cycle. Feeling satisfied with our decision about this.
My in-laws from Ohio will be in for a few days next week during my break. We are looking forward to this, and hubby took a few days off to hang with us. Im hoping to get some Vitamin D at the beach! The summer weather is back, its been hitting the 80’s again everyday, and I need a tan majorly.
Hubby and I started watching that new OJ series on demand. Takes me back to the 90s and watching the live trial. Some of it pisses me off, like how did this guy seriously get off?!? Oh, and John Travolta…dear Lord! What did he do to his face? I cant take it! Anyone else notice this?
Hoping everyone has a blessed week! Will update after Mondays lining check 😊
Today was lining check number 1! Last week at my day 3 ultra, my lining was thin as it should be, measuring 3 mm. We hoped to see it increase by a few millimeters at todays appointment, and the good (actually great) news is that it did!
Lining today measured a solid 5 after 1 week of stims. This may not seem like much to most, but if you have followed for awhile, you might recall lining was a little bit of an issue in the past with our first 2 transfers.
Fresh transfer-lining of a 7
FET 1-lining of a 6 (almost cancelled)
FET 2- lining of a 10(this was on extended stims). Note: I will have an extra week of stims this cycle since it seemed to help the cycle when I got up to a 10.
That being said, we are praying for my lining to be a 7 or 8 next week, and close to a 10 or 11 the following right before transfer and progesterone is started. Last FET it seemed to increase its thickness by 2 mm every week, hopefully thats the case again this time and we will be all set! My RE is like most, and wants to see at least a 7 or better to transfer.
So the plan is to continue legs up the wall, raspberry tea, daily meditation & prayer, estrogen ass shots and oral pills (levels looked good after blood this a.m.) and all other forms of relaxation and healthiness. I told the nurse today I am not used to such positive news during a cycle, and she said maybe its just our time! Sure hope so 💗
I have tried to set a daily (home) routine for this cycle. So far stims days 1-4 have gone like this:
Wake up & make a vanilla flavored protein shake containing acai, maca, pomegranate, bananas, avocado, & almond milk. Sounds like a lot of random stuff mixed together, but its actually really tasty and filling!
Take all oral meds (Estrace, baby aspirin, prenatal)
Do Lupron stomach injection
Today was the first day I cut out coffee!
Cook a healthy dinner
Take a candlelight bubble bath while drinking my raspberry leaf tea (2 cups per night)
Read our couples devotional together
Listen to my Circle + Bloom meditation CD as I put my legs up the wall (fell asleep like this the other night)
Do ass injection (only every 3 days for now). Have 2 down so far. Bled during 2nd one. Ugh.
Tonight I went to acupuncture for the first time during this FET cycle. Ive done it during all our prior cycles. Its a must for me! Ill be going weekly for now. I go to the same lady each time. She goes the extra mile for me, massages my neck and feet, helps me with visualization, and so on. Tonight she asked me if it will be a girl or a boy, and I told her GIRL for sure! She smiled.
Overall, I feel pretty good. Headaches here and there since the estrogen started this week, and some emotional bits too. Hopefully I can keep that under wraps and not fly off the handle completely. I went from being in a menopausal state for months, to the polar opposite. I dont think it helps either that our state testing is in about a week. Kids are stressed to the max and so I am.
Okay ladies! Its time for you to give me all the tips you have on intramuscular injections like PIO and Del Estrogen. I know if anyone has the best kept secrets its you all! Most doctors and nurses havent had those shots injected into their own ass, and although they give valuable tips, they are just not as valuable as yours Im sure. Experience is everything here!
I did notice that my calendar says to do the PIO shots in the a.m. Im not sure why and need to ask. Anyone else had the same? Might be an issue in the morning with mine and hubbys schedule if he has to do them for me. Anyone out there do their own PIO or Del injections? I must admit I did my own ass trigger shot because I hated the idea of someone else doing it for me. Although I pulled it off, it wasnt easy to do by any means.
Until the Lupron Depot shots Ive had the past few months, no one had ever injected me in the butt. Lol. Id much rather do my own shots, but I have a feeling its not going to be possible with these two. Can I do them myself? And what about heat, ice, position, etc.? Please inform!
Keep in mind I have never done either of these two intramuscular injections before (just the trigger) so no info will be silly to me. All will be considered and appreciated. I have only done Crinone with Vivelle/Estrace for my prior 3 transfers. Im thinking I will have my nurse mark the areas to aim for with a marker before I do the first one on my own?
Thanks in advance for taking the time to educate me in this area!
This week has been full of surprises! Right now, I am going to focus on the RE piece, and save the other stuff for later.
We had an appointment with another well-known RE for a 2nd opinion about our IVF and RPL situation this week. Overall, it went extremely well! He spent 3 hours (no joke) going through our records and discussing them.
Before I get into detail, I should first start off by saying that according to ASRM, this clinics success rate for live IVF births is equivalent to the clinic we are at now (about 60% which is quite good if you research clinics across the US).
Here are some of the main points we covered at our consultation:
I need to be tested for Vitamin D deficiency as I have never been. Went and got this done today.
I need to be tested for Celiac Disease. Celiac disease can be linked to recurrent pregnancy loss, but is not on the usual RPL panel work-up & of course, I have not been tested for it yet either. You would think since it is a simple blood test, why wouldn’t my current RE just order it? If I did end up having have Celiac disease, it would require a gluten-free diet. I also got this test done today.
Husband needs to get his testosterone, LH, FSH, Prolactin, etc. run again so we can see if Clomid would be of any use in upping his count. It has been about 5 years since we tested these in him. They were all in normal range before, so using Clomid was not an option (it doesn’t assist with just a low count, there has to be a hormonal imbalance happening too). Got this test done this a.m. as well.
This RE was very impressed with my husbands improvement from pre-varicocele surgery to now, 2 years post surgery. He said our chances of conceiving on our own have gone from a measly 1% to about 15%. And if we got him on Clomid, there would be an even higher chance on our own or via IUI, about 25%. Hey, we will take what we can get here!
At this clinic, we can pick any day for our transfer, as we go along in our cycle. It does not need to be done in advance. This is HUGE to us. Our current clinic only does transfers 1 week out of the month, and hence, they try to control everyone’s cycles with BC and Lupron, picking out the exact transfer date months in advance. I despise this! This clinic does transfers 365 days a year if needed, depending on the woman’s individual body/cycle. Just call on day 1 of your period and off to the races you go!
He would only want to transfer 1 embryo in a future FET. Great news!!! Why do we need to transfer two if I get pregnant with twins every time we transfer two? If we transferred just 1, we would most likely still get pregnant like we did the first time when we transferred 1! Obviously, I do not do very well with twins, and he felt that there is a chance that one twin vanishing could have affected the other making it. Of course, there are lots of times where one vanishes and the other does perfectly fine, but not always. There is no solid way to prove or disprove if losing one twin could have played a role in losing the other.
He would do a non medicated FET like we have been pushing for. Since my cycles are regular, & my lining looks well post surgeries, there is no reason not to. This could involve the use of trigger or not, which we can decide down the road.
He wants to investigate my super high progesterone levels during each pregnancy. Our current RE said my levels are the highest she has ever seen, but also said it wasn’t an issue as far as loss goes; only low progesterone is a cause of RPL. I know that low progesterone can cause loss, but there is something strange about how high these levels are when pregnant. When this RE saw them, he also said they are also the highest he has ever seen. He has been practicing for 30 years. Hmmm…sounds fishy to me. Our last pregnancy my progesterone level was around 300, and we are talking about with my first beta it was this high. First trimester progesterone levels are usually under 80! They stayed consistently high like this too until every loss. I was using Crinone for my progesterone supplementation during each cycle. Obviously, I did not need to be doing the Crinone 2 times per day at $15 per insert for 10 weeks with a progesterone like that. When I mentioned this concern to my current RE when pregnant, she said to keep doing them as I was regardless of how high the levels were. Uh, OK. The new RE said he would like to discuss the levels with his partners at the practice, which we really liked to hear. Never once has my current doctor said she would like to consult with another person about us. 2 minds are better than 1, right??
He wants to perform a mock transfer if we choose to move forward at his clinic, and another Hysteroscopy to be sure my uterus is all clear.
Relocating our embryos will cost us $100 (dirt cheap in the IVF world), it’s a simple form to fill out, and takes about 2 weeks to get done start to finish (both clinics use the same transportation/storage facility which is good). Also, the embryo medium is the same between clinics, they have had several patients transfer back and forth between the 2 before without issues.
He feels our chances of carrying to term are still quite good; I didn’t bother asking for a percentage. He said he has had patients that have carried to term after 3 unexplained IVF losses with no prior children. Hope!!!
He cannot definitively say that the submucosal fibroid caused our last loss. Mainly because we do not even know with certainty that it was there during the pregnancy since the Hysteroscopy that identified it was not performed until 2 months after. We figured this already.
We discussed anti-depressants, and post-partum depression, which due to my situation, I am at high risk for. You would think it would be the opposite, but its not. More to follow on this soon.
Saving the best for last, his practice has a blood and ultrasound monitoring center literally 10 minutes from our house! Almost unreal, right? We are used to traveling about 70 miles per visit.
So, now what? Well, we still have an appointment with another new RE set up for July 22nd. However, we have started to ask ourselves if we should even go for another opinion?? Will it just confuse us even more?
In addition, we have an appointment back at our current RE August 6. I feel like this appointment is almost a last-ditch effort; one last chance to tell us what we can do differently moving forward. Each day though, I wonder if I even want to bother with it. I guess the question is, if we like this new RE’s opinion & experience, should we just make the decision to go there and be done with it? Perhaps more information will just cloud our vision even further.
Earlier this week, I got a positive OPK on day 13 of my cycle (currently in the 2WW!), and set up my lining check for day 15. In case you haven’t been following along, I have a history of thin lining.
In 2 of our 3 prior IVF cycles it wasn’t ideal; our first fresh transfer- barely 7mm, and FET #1-barely 6mm (8mm or > is what we are going for). And that was with estrogen to make it thicker. I took even more estrogen for FET #2 and my lining got up to an 11 finally. But with all that excess estrogen came an absolutely insane woman, fluid, and a fibroid in my uterus that most likely caused a miscarriage.
Since our loss with FET #2, I had to undergo another D & C and Operative Hysteroscopy with my already thin lining. I was not happy about this, but what could we do? Anyways, in June, my first lining check post surgeries measured 5mm. Not horrible, but not great either. Here comes the good news…our most current lining check this week measured 8.4mm! And it had the triple stripe going on! Super exciting news for us!
Why? Mostly because I am currently not taking any estrogen at all. My nurse was even like, “Wow! This is amazing! We had such a hard time getting your lining this thick even on estrogen!” Um, yea exactly why I do not want to be on it again in the future. Or maybe I should say why I won’t be on it again in the future.
We have another lining check (#3) set up for August 6th at our current RE’s office. We also have an IVF chat following the ultrasound to hear what she has to say about the protocol for moving forward. In the meantime, we have 2 appointments set up for July 22nd with 2 different RE’s. Both appointments are for second opinions.
That being said, by the first week of August (will be here before we know it!), we will have made our decision as to where and when we will be transferring our frosties. In the meantime, we will celebrate the little things along the way…like my triple stripe, thick lining!!
Our post-op for my most recent Hysteroscopy was today. We reviewed the positive news and images from last week while I was sober and the hubs was with me.
It worked out that we could also do my first lining check at this appointment since I am on day 12 of my cycle and finally off the pill (woo-hoo!). Although I am on day 12, I haven’t gotten a positive OPK yet, and I started serial testing on day 8. I haven’t taken a OPK in sooo long, that I wasn’t sure if I was doing something wrong or not.
The good news is that I wasn’t doing anything wrong. The ultrasound showed that I have not ovulated yet, and I am producing a good amount of nicely sized follicles on my own (without any meds). As many of you know, I was really nervous I might not be able to do so after all the crap my body has been through the past year and a half. In all honesty, I was scared to death to even get an ultrasound at all because of all the negativity we associate with them now. Let alone one in the same room I was in when I found out our baby had passed away. I was literally feeling sick from my nerves in the waiting room.
Thankfully, God answered our prayers & I still am good in the egg department. My RE guesses I will get a positive OPK by this weekend, which is when my lining will be at its thickest. He also helped me conquer the fear of having an ultrasound done again.
As for my lining today, it measured 5mm. Could be better, but could be a lot worse. Remember, this measurement is un-medicated, after 4 procedures in the past 4 months, with no acupuncture or real exercise routine in place. Since the uterine lining is supposed to grow about 2mm each day, who knows, maybe by ovulation time it could actually be 6 or 7mm. I don’t plan to go back and check again this month though, I will just wait until my positive OPK in July.
Trust me, I know that 5, or even 6 or 7mm is still thin. That is not the point. Here is the point. Today gives us hope that we may be able to get my lining where it needs to be without an excessive amount of estrogen. And hope is a wonderful thing!
We discussed again at our appointment how Estrogen can cause masses in the uterus to grow, and we aren’t willing to risk that given our history. While I understand that many patients never grow a fibroid in response to estrogen, I also know many do. Everyone is different. And we have learned that I am not a by the book patient at all (if such a thing even exists).
When we were on a boat load of estrogen for IVF #1 my lining measured just 7 mm, and IVF #2, barely 6mm. And before any IVF’s, it measured it measured only 3mm at one point. Finally, for IVF #3 it got up to 11mm, but I firmly believe that was in response to how active I was and how much acupuncture I was receiving at the time compared to the other times, not because of the estrogen.
Our RE wholeheartedly agreed that we may not need to do all that estrogen again either. She really seems to believe that time will heal things up down there, and I am happy to hear her going in this direction, even though I wish we weren’t waiting so long. Our ultimate desire is to have things as natural as possible when pursuing our next pregnancy. And if that takes more time, so be it. Prayers for even more growth next cycle please!
What causes Adenomyosis? After we discussed how we plan to get rid of it, that was the next “big” question on my mind.
Here’s what we got:
Damage to the uterine lining
Damage to the uterine lining is a possibility for us. We have had d & c’s done, and every time you do, the lining of the uterus is scraped. I have also had a history of thin lining which goes hand in hand with this.
Estrogen. Too much freaking estrogen. I have been taking synthetic estrogen for 8 out of the past 12 months (1 fresh and 2 frozen cycles). And of course, since I have thin lining, I am prescribed even more estrogen than the average woman in an IVF cycle. This is because estrogen is what causes the uterine lining to thicken. As you can see, it’s totally a catch 22 here. I need estrogen for a thick uterine lining, but excessive estrogen can not only cause Adenomyosis, but feed it.
The last FET we did my estrogen levels were through the roof. I felt like I was on speed the week before the transfer. It was horrible (don’t worry you can’t hyperstimulate like you would with levels like that on a fresh cycle). During a FET, a woman’s estrogen levels are supposed to be close to that of a woman who conceives naturally…mine were quadrupled, but hey, I had my lining of an 11 or 12! And, remember, at the time we didn’t know we were feeding a monster either. So, the question becomes how can we even consider pumping more estrogen into my body during a future cycle, now that we are aware of this new diagnosis? We have two options. Do a “super quick” FET, with estrogen, supposedly not allowing much time for Adenomyoma growth, or do a natural FET with no hormones (aka non-medicated FET). We are all about the latter, therefore I brought it up to our RE. She said she would be willing to try an all natural FET with us. No estrogen patches and pills, no shoving progesterone up my who-ha 3x a day. Just taking our sweet little embryo and transferring into my uterus at the right time. Amen! She warned us that pregnancy rates are not as good for a natural FET, and that a lot more monitoring (blood and ultras) is involved. Pregnancy rates are not as good because your body is not as controlled (more specific details about how a natural FET works coming soon in another post). She said she has had a “few” pregnancies result from a natural FET. I didnt ask for a percentage, because I really dont care what it is anyway. Any success stories from my TTC sisters is welcomed here!!
Let me tell you, I will go in there everyday for an ultrasound and blood if I can stay away from all the damn hormones. And again, we have gotten pregnant every single time we transfer, so the “pregnancy rates aren’t as good” part doesn’t necessarily apply to our situation. We want to stay pregnant.
Another reason this sounds appealing is because I have never had an issue with my progesterone either, in fact, it is always high (ruled out as a cause for our RPL). As far as growing my lining, I feel it can happen without the synthetic estrogen, with God’s help of course (and some yoga, acupuncture, and super foods).
At this point, we just feel like it’s at least worth a shot.
This post will detail our 1st FET (frozen embryo transfer) cycle from the start of medications to the long-awaited transfer day, and subsequent 2WW.
We hope that it will give insight to those who are embarking on the IVF journey, especially a frozen cycle.
We do not claim to be doctors, everything is based solely on our experience.
Lupron-5 units daily, injection into stomach (this is the easiest injection I’ve ever done…honestly, the needle is so tiny you barely feel it). The purpose of Lupron is to stop the ovaries from producing eggs (the complete opposite of what was happening in a fresh cycle!). We did Lupron injections for a total of about a month up until the week prior to transfer. Yes, that’s correct you will be injecting yourself everyday for a month.
Estrace (estrogen)-1 tab 2x per day orally. We continued taking Estrace until the pregnancy test, and if positive, up to 12 weeks.
Vivelle (estrogen) patches-2 patches applied to stomach, apply new patches every other day. We continued the patches until the pregnancy test & if positive, up to 12 weeks. The purpose of all the estrogen is to thicken the uterine lining. I hated the patches-they left what looked like little dirt rings on my stomach which were so hard to get off. And the estrogen is what makes you cray-cray!!!
Prental vitamin/Folic Acid/Baby Aspirin-1 pill each per day.
Crinone (progesterone)-vaginal 2x per day starting 6 days before the transfer, and if positive, up to 12 weeks. A lot of women choose to do progesterone in oil shots during a FET instead of Crinone.
Prometrium (more progesterone)-3x per day orally starting 6 days before the transfer, and is positive up to 12 weeks.
Medrol-1 pill orally every 6 hours starting 4 days before the transfer, and none thereafter.
Doxycycline-orally 2x per day for the 2 days prior to transfer.
Monitoring (blood and ultras):
For this FET, I only went into the office 3 times for blood work and ultrasounds before the actual transfer. This is typical protocol at most practices, which is why people say a FET is way easier than a fresh.
The ultrasound monitoring during a FET is focused solely on the thickness of the uterine lining, which grows from the estrogen being taken. It makes sense then that the blood work is monitoring the estrogen levels. Doctors like to see the lining measuring at least an 8. During our fresh cycle, my lining was only a 7 on transfer day. Not a huge deal at the time, but in hindsight, it could have been a red flag that my lining would be an issue down the road.
The first ultrasound, about 2 weeks before the transfer, showed my lining measuring only a 5. This was OK since I had just started the estrogen and had my period. We assumed by the following week it would be up to about an 8 or so like it should be.
The second ultrasound, a week later, showed that my lining was only measuring a 6. The worst part was that the transfer was just a week away now. I know you might be thinking, “so it still has a week to thicken then!” False. Once the progesterone is added in, the lining no longer thickens; it actually compacts. And remember, the progesterone needs to be added in a week prior to the transfer.
This was a BIG problem. The nurse informed me that she thought we would have to push the transfer date back with my lining being so thin, but the final call would be the doctors. We were not happy with this. Not only was I mad that it was thin and not growing as it was supposed to be in response to the estrogen, I was mad I even had to know what my lining measured at all. I was jealous of the women who never even thought about their uterine lining, let alone what it flipping measured.
The doctor called us later that night. I still recall the conversation as clear as day. She put the ball in our court. We had two options: move forward, or cancel the cycle. I was not interested in postponing it at the time; our date was set for the Friday before school started. I could not miss the first few days of school! Looking back, I see how foolish that was of me to even worry about.
The doctor told us there was a 50% chance (here we go with the percentages again!) of the transfer working with my lining measuring what it was. She also said the fact that I got pregnant on the first transfer was on our side, even though it resulted in a loss.
Then I asked her if she had any other patients who were successful at achieving a pregnancy with a thinner lining like mine. She told me a story about an IVF patient who had a lining of only a 5 and how she went on to deliver a healthy baby. In the moment, this gave us hope. I feel like at times you are really just grasping at straws and will take what you can get.
The last question I asked was probably the most important one of all-would my lining, in any way, cause me to miscarry again. Negative.
Shane & I slept on it, prayed about it, and in the morning decided to move forward with the transfer later that week. Instead of doing acupuncture only once that week, I went 3 times.
I really can’t put into words the way you feel the morning of a transfer; if you have been through it, you know what I’m talking about. It’s surreal to say the least. You are nervous & excited, and part of you feels relief, even if it’s just for that 1 day.
Shane & I had just celebrated our 7 year wedding anniversary 2 weeks earlier, and now we were starting our family together… FINALLY! Before we left the house, we read our daily devotionals together, took Rocket for a walk, & ate a breakfast high in protein just like the doctor ordered.
I learned from IVF #1 how miserable it is to have a full bladder before and during the transfer. This could be because I have been diagnosed with a tiny bladder to begin with, as I have heard other infertiles say it wasn’t that bad at all for them. Either way, I knew there had to be a better way. I spoke with the nurse, and she said they could fill my bladder immediately before they did the transfer. Sounds much better right?! So that is exactly what we did.
The embryologist brought in the picture of the 2 embies (they survived the thaw!!!) and discussed their grade again with us (both 6AA’s, the best they could be). These were the only 6AA’s we had left; we transferred the other 1 on our fresh cycle.
Shane held my hand, the lights were dimmed, with the music was playing (as I said before, my doctor enjoys tunes during transfers). We watched on the screen as my bladder was filled & the doctor gently inserted the catheter.
As soon as it was placed in the right spot, she called for the embryologist to bring our 2 embies in. Remember, this is the longest part, even though in all reality it is maybe 20 seconds. Again, we saw the little white dots, which we prayed were our future babies, being released into my uterus. They looked like shooting stars. And just like a heartbeat, you won’t ever forget it.
The bell rang that Monday morning, and the 2014-2015 school year had begun! If you teach, or have taught, or know someone closely who has, you know that the beginning of the year is just plain BUSY. I couldn’t complain this time, it kept my mind off whether or not our embryos were burrowing into my (thin) lining like so desperately prayed they were. Shane was still super busy at his job too, August in Florida means 60 hour work weeks in the HVAC field.
I think when you are pregnant, you just know you are (especially if you have been trying). At least that’s been my experience. It’s hard to put your finger on it and explain it, it’s just a complete head to toe change that occurs within the body quickly.
That being said, exactly a week after the transfer, I knew I was pregnant again before I even took a test.