Posts Tagged ‘Embryos’

IVF Updates and Egg Retrieval

Monday, August 3rd, 2009

What a weekend! I can say I’ve never had one like it, and hopefully won’t have another. I’m well-rested today and ready to take on what the week ahead looks like. Here’s a look back at the past few days and a look at what we’re looking forward to:

Friday: Can best be summed up here in this IVF Shots Day 18 post. We took the Ovidrel shot at exactly 8p.m., 36 hours prior to egg retrieval. It made me feel very ill, but it seems with an early night to bed I was able to sleep it off. What you didn’t see in that post, because it happened after I published, was my nuclear meltdown. I was sobbing hysterically, almost hyperventilating, and I just kept saying “I’m not ready! I’m not ready! We can’t do this,” and then chattered off a mindless list of the most inane reasons we shouldn’t be having a baby this week. Shelton once again talked me through it and I was fine … and we are most certainly ready … but I think I needed to get that out of my system.

Saturday: The pain from my gigantor ovaries continued. We attended a friend’s daughter’s 3rd birthday party, a little taste of reality and a scrumptious marbled cake! We took it easy for the most part on Saturday, save for a trip the grocery store that I should have sat out because the pain was so bad I considered getting one of those hovaround carts. That night Shelton and I had a picnic in the basement with movies and just relaxed. It was the first “no shot” day we’ve had since July 14, IVF Shots Day One.

Sunday: Egg retrieval day! We woke at 6a.m. to prepare to leave for the surgery center at 6:30. On the way there I joked that being a Sunday morning, it would be funny if they had to unlock the doors to let us in. And guess what? They did! The woman who admitted us was unlocking the doors as we walked up and I thought it was so funny and reminded of how strange (and super early) it was to be there on a Sunday. We were the only people there, and Shelton got the first draw out of the lobby coffee pot. I had a wonderful nurse prep me. She asked how many eggs we were getting and when I told her 17 she gasped and said that’s the most she’d heard all weekend. There had apparently been three retrievals Saturday and three after me on Sunday. Next we had our interview with the anesthesiologist and given a very thorough walk through of how everything would go down in the operating room. Then the star of the show, Dr. T arrived. His constantly calm demeanor is exactly what I needed before going back there. He walked me through the procedure and then gave me his standard instruction – “if you’re usually boss at your house, you’re not today.” Noted.

I was wheeled back to the OR where any shred of modesty I might have had left was quickly taken. Maybe it was too early to make OSU/Poke jokes! After all, they had sharp objects! I was awake for all of the prepping, and where my modesty poured off the table was when I was given a little bath, you know, “down there.” I was never put completely under, but I was still given a strong dose of something and have absolutely no recall after that. The anesthesiology nurse told me that I would have no idea what was going on and for all intents and purposes be out, but I would respond to them if needed – like a “Brandi, please move your leg.”

According to Shelton it only took 40 minutes and I was back in recovery. Dr. T came over to tell me that everything went well and we got all 17 eggs! After about 30 or 40 minutes of coming around Shelton and I headed home where I proceeded to sleep literally all day. I was in quite a bit of pain, and still this morning can’t say I’m exactly comfortable. I never had any spotting, as I was told would happen. I couldn’t eat after midnight Saturday, so by yesterday afternoon I was starving and Shelton kept me well fed.

Yesterday afternoon, after the egg retrieval, the ICSI procedure was done, in which they build the embryos. One sperm in to one egg. So as of this morning, for the first time in mine and Shelton’s marriage … lives, we have embryos. Granted nearly a half-dozen, but we have embryos. And something about that just makes me want to smile! I have to call this morning to see how the ICSI went, how many embryos we actually got, and when they expect to do transfer.

More details can be seen in this post about our embryo transfer and what we hope to be an upcoming pregnancy announcement.

Last night I started my Doxycycline, an antibiotic, and tonight I start those horrific Progesterone shots.

Thanks for all the well wishes this week!

IVF Egg Retrieval, ICSI, Embryo Transfer and Pregnancy Test

Saturday, August 1st, 2009

It seems almost impossible that we’re here. Three years ago we launched this site hoping to raise awareness about infertility, raise some funds for our treatment, and chronicle our experience with infertility and IVF. I feel satisfied that we’ve done all three. I’ve absolutely loved sharing all of this with you, and can say that it has helped me maintain my sanity, as this site has been my virtual therapist.

So what’s next, where do we go from here? A lot of people are asking and so here is the answer – we’re making a baby! Here is the schedule for the next week:

> Sunday 8/2: Egg retrieval. This surgery takes place at the surgery center at 8am and will hopefully yield at least 17 healthy eggs.

> Sunday 8/2: ICSI, or Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection. They will do this on Sunday once the eggs are retrieved and the sperm is thawed. One sperm will be injected into one egg, and then kept for a few days to let those early cellular division stages take place.

> Sunday 8/2: Begin progesterone injections. With the GIANT NEEDLE in my hiney! Begin the doxycycline pills.

> Tuesday 8/4-Friday 8/7: Embryo transfer. At the earliest this will happen Tuesday, at the latest Friday. A catheter will be placed in my uterus and ONE (and only ONE) embryo will be transferred inside. I will not be put under for this, but given something to relax a bit.

> August….? : This is where we’re going to go dark for a few weeks. At this time we do have a blood test scheduled for a pregnancy test. But we’re not saying when it is. Aside from our clinic we are the only people who know when it is, and we’re keeping that way. I always thought I’d likely wait through my first trimester to announce a pregnancy, just to be sure. I’ve really struggled with when the best time would be to make that announcement since we have this site. We’re so grateful to have so many people following our story and such a huge team of cheerleaders crossing fingers, legs and hairs, praying, sending good mojo and dancing the hully-gully! However, Shelton and I want to take some time to let this news be ours. I’m not going to make everyone wait an entire trimester, but I am going to ask that everyone give us a few weeks to be comfortable with the news, whichever way it goes, tell a number of close family and friends, and then we’ll let the world know!

Then know that just like with our IVF, we’re not going to keep any detail quiet. I’ll resume blogging the next nine months and invite all of you to come along as we anxiously await baby Koskie, sure to be the cutest monster anyone has ever met!!!

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Monday, June 29th, 2009

Today I had my sonohystogram. It was the first I’ve seen Dr. T since our IVF consultation last November, and it was definitely a welcome visit. It’s always a welcome visit. I adore Dr. T. In fact, I wish there were some way to make him my all-the-time-everything doctor because I so would. He has a bedside manner unlike any doctor I’ve ever been around. He isn’t patronizing and he doesn’t dumb down information, but he definitely makes it digestible. He makes you feel like you’re the only other patient in the entire building, and while we both know that I’m not, I appreciate having his undivided attention the entire time I’m with him. He calls me kiddo, which I think is sweet. He’s thorough, and honest, kind, and I’ll even go so far as to say pretty good looking, too!

I went in roughly knowing what was happening with this procedure, but not one hundred percent. I’d done my Google homework last night, but the results only yielded information for a hysterosalpingogram, in which they inject dye to investigate the fallopian tubes, uterus and the rest of the hoo-hah business. So while I knew it wasn’t going to be as invasive as that, I wasn’t quite sure what we were doing. He walked in and asked if I had any questions, so I told him I just wanted to be clear about the procedure. Using one of those super cute plastic vagina models (that would make a great paper weight) he explained that they’d run a very thin catheter into my uterus, fill with saline to expand the uterus, and then use a vaginal ultrasound to take a thorough look at my uterus. This is to ensure there are no detrimental surprises the day we do the embryo transfer.

I was told I would be uncomfortable and feel some cramping due to the catheter. It wasn’t until he told me the catheter was in that I realized he’d done it. So that was good. The speculum was one of the most uncomfortable parts, as was the ultrasound probe.

On the screen I could see a teardrop shape and he explained that it was my uterus. The conversation was very reminiscent of the one in which Dr. T told me what beautiful, healthy ovaries I have. He said that I have a “textbook, beautiful uterus.” (I hope he’s never tried to use that as a pick-up line!) So that was great news. The other good news was that typically when Dr. T and I do these little ultrasounds the screen is littered with giant ovarian cysts. I’ve had two surgeries because of these things and a number of years in quite a bit of pain and discomfort. Fortunately, they seem to have disappeared recently and there were no signs of them today. Ovaries looked good, too.

I got the good to go from Dr. T!

We had a discussion about the number of embryos that we’ll transfer. I assured him that we were solid on our decision to only transfer a single embryo. This pleased him, and reassured me that it was the right choice for us for several reasons, primarily being that we’re healthy, we’ll get plenty of good embryos, and we can come back for more.

The rest of the day I had just minor spotting and some slight cramping, but otherwise, this procedure was completely manageable.

Finally, Shelton and I made a brief visit to the lab to have blood drawn. We both had to be screened for Hepatitis B and C and HIV I/II. I had to have ABO and Rh blood typing done as well.

Today’s total was $425 for the sono and $385 for the labs. Plus, I started my second pack of birth control pills today ($26). See our progress and IVF expenses here.

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IVF Class and Our Big Bag of Needles

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

Well, folks, we’ve decided to get a goldfish. They’re like 35 cents, don’t come with any needles, or severe hormone shifts.

It wasn’t ALL that bad, but definitely overwhelming and quite sobering. After spending the past five years talking about it (and talking and talking), the whole thing slapped us in the face today. My stomach rolled over the moment we walked through the doors. During one portion while our coordinator “M” (she’s reading this… hello!) was giving her presentation, I thought I was going to have to leave. Tears started welling in my eyes and I was shaking my leg so hard I thought my sandal was going to fall off. Because rapidly shaking your leg is the cure for public crying.

We took our seat at the tables and there was a pink bag at our place. Shelton got really excited and thought it was a goody bag – full of drug-branded sticky notes, clicky pens and even candy. There was no candy in that bag. It might as well have been a goody bag from a Halloween party at Hansel’s and Gretel’s witch’s house. It was full of NEEDLES!!! Giant needles. Probably the same ones used to give elephants and humpback whales tranquilizers. There it is, my needle phobia (trypanophobia).

I literally shuddered. And used all self-restraint not to ask “M” if we could just get a topical cream or some sort of flavored Dimetapp-style liquid. Give me a pill the size of an Oreo cookie if you must. But needles? Most are tiny, I admit. The ones for Lupron, Gonal F, Menopur all seem to be relatively approachable. I’ll probably cry and throw a fit the first couple of times and then I’ll get over it. That progesterone needle? It’s the one that’s seven and a half feet long. It’s the one I’ll do daily injections with for SIX WEEKS! In my butt. Which will apparently bruise and be sore.

We also learned that despite my constant theory that we’d get ONE DRUG throughout our entire fertility preparedness project, that there will be multiple drugs. Administered BY NEEDLE multiple times a day. The Lupron, Gonal and Menopur will last up to 12 days. The progesterone starts at egg retrieval (Day Zero) and continues through what will hopefully be my sixth week of pregnancy.

The entire three hours did not consist of the needle parade. “M” thoroughly walked us through the ins and outs of this upcoming cycle. There were points where she’d make a little joke and the room would laugh and I would be so thankful. We’re in there with 18 other infertile couples and it felt like the most awkward first day of school. No one looking to their sides, straight ahead. I could feel the class-clown tension between Shelton and I; each of us constantly wanting to make some uninvited wise ass comment. Because we decided to wear our mature adult clothes today, we kept quiet.

She explained that due to the drugs our estrogen level on the day of egg retrieval would be close to 4000. Any other time of ovulation it would be about 300. That is ludicrous. She gently suggested to the husbands that they remember this estrogen spike and act accordingly.

We also heard from one of the clinic’s doctors. She explained some of the risks associated with the drugs, and risks and statistics for multiples. I still REALLY want twins, as in, does Shelton’s opinion count since he doesn’t?? However, since I was wearing my mature adult clothes, the ones that say you can trust me with a newborn baby and that I pay my taxes on time, I decided to hear out the doctor. Because of all the drugs we’re on, the likelihood of multiples skyrockets. I asked if family history of twins plays any role and she said that what we’re doing overrides genetics. Fair enough. So if we implant two embryos, there is a 50% chance we’ll have twins (or more!). If we implant a single embryo, there is a 5% chance will have twins. I felt like Jim Carrey in Dumb & Dumber – “so you’re saying there’s a chance!” It would be the responsible and safe choice to opt for the singleton. After all, I’ve decided we’ll have more than enough embryos to freeze and come back later.

Then we heard from the embryologist, described as our first babysitter. She takes the eggs, and the sperm, and waves her magic wand, or rather pipette, over the petri dishes and builds our little babies. The only concern I had with her was, how do we know my egg didn’t get matched with guy B’s sperm? Before I could ask she more than reassured me that that isn’t going to happen.

Finally, we signed so many forms that I honestly thought someone was going to hand me the keys to a new house. We consented to the IVF, embryo transfer, ICSI, embryo freezing and more. We signed off that the living spouse gets custody of the frozen embryos if one of us should die (I had to promise Shelton I wouldn’t make his “ghost” babies). If we both die then we selected to have our remaining embryos donated to research.

I have to call “M” tomorrow to get my birth control and prenatal vitamin prescriptions filled. I hadn’t even thought about the vitamins. I’m no good, NO GOOD AT ALL, with daily pills. So keep your fingers crossed for me. In college I used to tape my birth control to the bathroom mirror so I wouldn’t forget… maybe I’ll try that again.

Afterward, I made Shelton take me for ice cream. Not because the doctor hurt me, which was always my mom’s rule growing up, but because of the impending promise of pain.image

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Strong Little Embryo

Monday, January 22nd, 2007

I don’t know if there are just more infertility stories in the news recently, or if we are just more aware of them, but we found another wonderful story a few days ago.

It seems a New Orleans couple had frozen embryos at a clinic during 2005’s Hurricane Katrina. The clinic saved the embryos and implanted them in the mother- and recently gave birth to their new baby boy!!! They gave him quite a fitting name- Noah.

Congratulations to the parents and welcome little Noah!

Story Here