Cycling

Blood drawing bruise

Blood drawing bruise

I don’t feel that I can do justice to our baby without talking about how s/he got here.  We used IVF at a local clinic.  In retrospect, the entire month of September was spent cycling.

F began the medications to suppress her hormones in August, and the weekend before Labor Day I got the green light to begin stims.  They were treating me as my own egg donor, so the goal was to obtain as many mature eggs as possible from me. 

One of the reasons we decided to pursue surrogacy was because I supposedly stimulated well.  Obtaining good eggs that made good embryos hadn’t been a problem in the past.  Well, you know what they say about best laid plans. In short, I had the cycle from hell.

bruised stomach

bruised stomach

My ovaries seemed not to want to respond to stims.  The doctor kept upping my dosage until I was on the “Hail Mary” last hurrah level of drugs that they give extremely poor responders.  We had felt smug because we hadn’t had to spend a lot of money on the drugs because we had some leftover.  That smugness soon evaporated as I became on a first-name basis with the specialty pharmacy.

I finally started responding to the drugs after several days and felt cautiously optimistic; then my estrogen dropped, which is never a good sign.  They upped my dosage again, and my hormone levels began to increase again.  Every day I was at the lab in the morning for bloodwork and ultrasound.  My arms soon looked like a junkie’s. 

Fearing cancellation at any moment, I cried constantly.  I couldn’t eat and subsisted on the odd combination of smoothies and salt and vinegar chips (not together).  I was baffled.  Why wasn’t I responding? I felt like I had waited a year only to get to the starting line and find I was out of gas.  If the cycle was cancelled, I would have to wait 2-3 months to try again.

after IV

after IV

Amazingly, I made it to retrieval and had that the day after my birthday.  Happy Birthday to me! They retrieved 21 eggs. Wow.  Three days later we were back in the clinic for transfer.  I had hoped for a 5-day transfer because research shows that at that developmental age, it is easier for the embryologist to pick out the embryos most like to implant (BTW…embryos are transferred; implantation is what you hope they do.  It drives IVFers crazy when it is referred to as “implanting the embryos.”  If doctors were able to implant the embryos, IVF would have better success rates). 

Three embryos we transferred

Three embryos we transferred

Anyway, three-day transfer was what we had, and we transferred three embryos.  I wasn’t sure how much hope I had for the cycle at that point, but at least we had made it to transfer.  There is no chance of a positive outcome if you don’t get that far!

And then we had the LONG 14 days until beta day.  F could test all she wanted, but we agreed that she wouldn’t tell us the outcome until the official beta results were in.  I started feeling a little bit better about the cycle when I found out that we had 5 embryos make it to freeze.  J’s birthday was two days before beta, so we had a low-key celebration and planned to celebrate for real afterwards.  And then came beta day…

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