Thursday, 20 February 2014

Cycle 2 - countdown!

Once again on the birth control pill protocol. I'm just a few days in, and already was compelled to bake a chocolate cake and eat two pieces. So delicious and moist, mmmmm. This is the worst part, looking back at the first cycle. The symptoms I got from the pill were awful and I could not wait to stop. When I had my day 20 scan I was so excited to stop but they pushed me a few extra days on the pill. I learned later that it's because my clinic tries to avoid weekend retrievals. The injections didn't give me migraines or nausea or make me irritable (they did make me bloated and uncomfortable, but it was so close to the end it was all good). So here is my big countdown for now… the countdown to my day 20 scan. After that scan the official decision will be made about what day to stop the pill and away we go!!! Positive attitude, this one WILL work!!!

Wednesday, 12 February 2014


So it seems I'm something of a stress junkie. I think of myself as "thriving" under a certain degree of stress, and my threshold for "too much" stress might be absurdly high. I came to this conclusion when my Reproductive Endocrinologist suggested we not hold the 6-year-old's birthday party so close to transfer day in our upcoming IVF cycle. I wouldn't have thought of that as stressful, so now she's got me rethinking my whole attitude towards stress. Especially since the only candidate cause for my preterm labour 6 years ago is stress - that level of stress. She also suggested that the stress I was under last fall leading into my IVF cycle could have been a factor in my poor quality eggs. Now that stress I recognized as stress. That stress was extreme. That stress made me want to vomit and run away at the same time. For months on end. If I was at home when it happened, I'd go for a run, literally trying to run away from it. It wasn't just stress, I called it full-on panic attacks. So if that is my threshold, I need to rethink my general stress levels.

I thought I was leading a much lower-stress life this winter. Sure it's insanely cold. But my commute time is cut drastically (big stressor), I'm eating well and going to the gym regularly, but I did put in two very long weeks at the end of January, and just now experienced another stressor of the panic attack variety (work stress - pressure to make a commitment I'm trying to postpone). So it's time to make a commitment to my stress-control.

1. Relaxing evenings of watching videos and knitting.
2. Eating bananas - maybe not every day, but aim for it (they tend to run out by mid-week). Bananas are great! I can't say enough good things about bananas. Some people swear by an apple a day, I swear by a banana a day. Although the apple will keep you regular.
3. Get a good night's sleep. I wasn't sleeping well in January, but thanks to chamomile tea, Febreeze, adjusting the temperature in my room, and Benadryl, I'm sleeping much better. I should probably discuss the Benadryl with my doctor.
3. Stick with the gym - daily if possible, but 5 days a week should be good.

And on that note, fuelled by my banana, I really need to sneak off to the gym. My current stressor needs to be run off, and I've been hiding in my office for an hour now but I really need to just sneak out, hopefully unseen by the person whose email triggered this current panic attack grade stress episode.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Cycle 2 has the green light!

The day finally came yesterday for the follow-up, the what-the-heck-went-wrong and the what-next meeting with our Reproductive Endocrinologist.

a) She blames egg quality all the way. Her recommendation, CoQ10! What good luck I have already been taking it, although not at the dose she wants, for a month. Recommendation 2, add growth hormone during the 10 days of injections.

b) She says the sperm we have frozen is fantastic so it's fine if we want to try to use fresh too, they will take the sample on the day and inspect it. But the frozen is still there as back up and we should think of it as top-quality.

c) She still wants to push for day 5 transfer, but transfer 2 if there are 2 to transfer. Transferring on day 3 is a gamble if there are lots of good looking ones as there were with my last cycle, and there is no reliable way to pick the best ones until day 5. When day 3 embryos result in a viable pregnancy, there is no way to know whether or not they would have made it to day 5 in the lab, this is the point that people keep arguing. It's also where I get more conflicting opinions, including from embryologists. So I don't know, we will just have to discuss that question again when we get there.

She's on board with my super-anal-planner schedule I mapped out after I took my basal body temperature to confirm ovulation this cycle. I was worried she wouldn't but she liked it and said absolutely we can work with it. The big unknown will be when my period actually arrives (I've got it pretty well nailed to this weekend) and then after stopping the 3 weeks of birth control pills, when it arrives again (both of which screwed my timing last time). Otherwise, same 10 day injection protocol expected, so my schedule works, and gives an expected retrieval date of March 26!

The growth hormone I was warned is expensive, about $1000. We also agreed we will do ICSI again. So we are planning this cycle to cost $6500 - $5G for the meds and $1500 for ICSI. I've never gone to the casino with a wad of cash that big and been willing to gamble it away, but that is what I'm doing. Round two, and I'm all in because this is the last shot.

We had a long discussion about transferring multiple embryos. My attitude towards this has changed, simply because the circumstances have changed. When I started on this journey, I had visions of frozen embryos that could be used in the future, and that maybe I could get more than one pregnancy out of that one retrieval. Fantasy world. Now that this is really and truly my last go, the reasons I wanted a singleton are irrelevant. I wanted a full-term vaginal birth and to have another go at breastfeeding. I still want this, but one of the reasons was that a second c-section would mean a third would have to be c-section, and a fourth would be very risky. Unicorns and rainbows are more likely to shoot out of my butt than me giving birth a third let alone fourth time. The full-term vaginal birth isn't out of the question for twins, and increasing breastfeeding success will be largely a function of going full-term. Singleton or not, getting to full-term or as close as possible is my goal, and if it means 3 months of bed rest I'll do it. The remote possibility of triplets freaks out my husband, but I figure if I mentally prepare for it, twins would be easy. I've already considered it, and the more I consider it the better prepared I will be. But one step at a time.

First step, period due in a few days and the five week endocrine roller coaster starts again!