IVF cycle one is in full effect! It’s been a busy week of stimulating drugs over here at the MacDonald household. I had my ultrasound and blood work to see how everything is going. Here is the run down of this month so far…
Cd-1: Baseline ultrasound and blood work and period– freaking period. Never can count on her to show when you want her to. You want to be pregnant? BAM comes right on time. You want to bleed so you can start IVF meds? Of COURSE that’s the month you are late. Finally, started my period and got my baseline reading done. I was still in the shedding phase (gag) and so I started stimulation needles (stims) on day 4 instead of day 3 of my cycle.
CD4/Day 1 stims: Started taking Gonal F-225 and Luveris-75. It didn’t really hurt or bruise or bleed. No side effects yet. YAY. Mostly just crazy nerves over actually starting.
Day 2 stims: Gonal-225 and Luveris-75. Still not tender and no bruising but got a LOT of sharp stabby pains on my ovaries this evening. Something is obviously happening.
Day 3 stims: Gonal-225 Luveris-75. Not as lucky with the shots this day, the needles hurt and the meds burned going in. I was having some exhaustion coupled with insomnia, which made for super fun times. This led me to totally freak out in the evening and have a full on panic attack. Long story short, I was convinced that I was going to die from the stim drugs, yeah, panic attacks are fun. Managed to calm myself back down and finally get to sleep.
Day 4 stims: Gonal-225 Luveris-75. Needles were still more sensitive and meds burned again… not sure why. A little tired and a little achy in my abdomen but not too bad. I could still do up my jeans, but I preferred not to. 😉 Starting to feel pretty weepy now, had a few moments where I overreacted and got so sad that I ugly cried. Like sobbing, with sup-sups… Yeah, hormones were kicking in lol.
Day 5 stims: First ultrasound and blood work while stimulating–Only 7 follicles growing. DIS-A-POINTED! To put it another way, they would like to see 12-15 in most people, and if you have 5 or less they will cancel your cycle. It didn’t look likely that we’ll get any more either because they couldn’t see any teeny tiny pin prick ones on the ultrasound. It looked like whatever was available was growing nicely. I had two follicles on my right at 0.9 and 0.9. and five on my left at 0.95, 0.95, 0.8, with two trailing smaller. So, if nothing else, at least they are all around the same size and that’s good. My lining was 0.75. My E2(estrogen) came back at 400 (Canadian) and so they decided to up my meds a bit in hopes of finding any follicles that may be hiding. New meds set as Gonal-300 and Luveris-75 to keep stimulating the eggs to grow and this day I added in Cetrotide-0.25 to prevent ovulation.
Day 6 stims: Gonal F-300 Luveris-75 Cetrotide-0.25… Was my second day of Cetrotide. Feeling pretty good. I’m finally getting used to the needles. I got home from acupuncture with 5 min to go until the shots had to happen. I got everything organized and done on time. I was proud of myself for sure! I wanted to give myself the best possibilities for my next scan (day 7) so I ate lots of protein, drank more water than I have been, heated my abdomen and did acupuncture. I had developed a few small bruises at this point… about 5 small ones. Feeling a little sore but nothing horrible.
Day 7 stims: That’s today! Ultrasound and blood work to check how I am responding to the medicine and how my follicles are developing. This monitoring, ultrasound and blood work, will continue every two days until it is time to harvest the eggs. Today I had two new follicles developing so a grand total of 9 follicles. Three on the right measuring 1.4, 1.1, 0.7 and six on my left measuring 1.7, 1.4, 1.2, 0.7, and two smaller ones that weren’t big enough to measure. I’m glad that I got two new ones as it makes it less likely that they will cancel my cycle but I know that they still have a long way to grow in order to catch up. My lining is looking great at 0.85. I don’t have my E2 levels yet but I’m sure they are still in the normal range. They are going to keep me on the same dose of meds going forward. So Gonal F-300 Luveris-75 and Cetrotide-0.25. Next ultrasound on Sat. Still some growing time left in these puppies.
So, in review, the first week was pretty good. Not as horrible doing the shots as I was expecting. Emotionally it has been interesting. I’m dealing with more anxiety than I thought I would. Every step feels like holding your breath. I’m keeping it in check with meditation, tea with friends, colouring and therapy. So far things are ok. I wish I was responding stronger to the drugs, especially because I am on such a high dose, but with DOR we already knew this was a possibility. I’m glad to be getting close to ten follicles. Not every follicle will contain a usable egg, but I’m feeling ok about our numbers so far. There is a quote from another infertility blog, With Great Expectation, that I want to share with you because it’s the only thing I’ve read about this process that makes sense. This really hit me in the heart and I felt understood:
” Just know that, from the beginning of this process all the way to the end, you will not feel like yourself in any way, shape, or form. For starters, you will feel out of whack physically. You will feel tired on some days, edgy and antsy on others, achy, bloated and fat… [the list could go on.]
And while it’s true that if you’ve been trudging through infertility, you’ve probably already felt emotional and overwhelmed, the emotions that accompany IVF are totally unique. The day you start your IVF cycle, something changes. For me, the emotions I experienced with IVF were far different even from the emotions I experienced with each of our three IUIs, and vastly different from my more natural cycles when we were trying to conceive. They are truly indescribable, and nearly impossible to prepare for.
You will be distracted, and focused constantly on your IVF cycle. You will loose your water bottle, your cell phone, your car keys, your purse, and your temper. You will forget things that used to seem commonplace. In short, you will feel like you are losing your mind.
So give yourself grace during this time.”
I mean, right?! Thank you, Logan! This gives me such comfort. It lets me know I’m not alone. I highly recommend you get to know the rest of her website. Also the rest of her post on IVF is something I think anyone going through this or wondering about the process should read.
As for my cycle, onward! I’ll keep you posted.
*IVF Cycle next post on egg collection here*