Progress!

Ok it’s very very faint but.. that’s a second line! I’d been feeling super exhausted and shitty all last week. Plus tons of breast tenderness. So I was increasingly assuming that the transfer worked. I took a test last week (because I’m an idiot) which was solidly negative but I also knew it was too early. I took another last night because why not. The tests came in packs of two and I was going for a blood test today so no point in using it afterwards.

Today’s number confirmed the results — HCG is a solid 192. We’re now at the testing every two days to make sure doubling time is ok. Still exhausted but at least relieved.

In how life never stops, all this is happening in the background while also (a) A* starting a new daycare (b) in laws visiting (c) A* getting his covid shots (woo!!!!) (d) A* turned 4! It’s been a busy and exciting couple of weeks.

Given the timing with the transfer, we didn’t do much for his birthday other than a small celebration at home. Made a cake that he requested (box cake because I have no energy to do anything more complicated). But all the grandparents were there which was lovely. And there were tons of gifts from all the family, including a big boy bike 🙂

So things are working out, even outside of IVF which is nice. Loving the new place and the neighborhood. A* is a happy kid for the most part, really smart and just nice to listen to. Family’s are all healthy. The basics, all of which are important!

Waiting…

Transfer was last week.

Also, behold the socks! That one was my transfer pair and I wore uterus socks for the retrieval. Sadly none of the doctors/nurses commented on these 😦

Transfer itself went smoothly. Bladder wasn’t quite as full as it should have been so.. not ideal but eventually got there.

Probably the good news of the cycle — 1 embryo transferred and 2 are now frozen! So overall, a successful retrieval!

I’m now in the “ugh, is that a pregnancy symptom or just the hormone side effects” phase. Testing next week and then at least we’ll know.

I’m also worried that I didn’t rest as much as I should have post-transfer. It was an .. intense few days. My in laws flew in from out of the country on the same day as the transfer. So there’s just been a lot going on. I try to rest but its harder some days than others. I’m weirdly relieved that it’s a work day again tbh. At least I can sit and work or plop in bed and work. And distract myself from the week of waiting up ahead.

Retrieval!

Ok, I didn’t mean for that to sound so excited. I _am_ happy and relieved that it’s done. 13 retrieved, 11 mature, 5 fertilized. Not bad counts overall! Hopefully enough continue growing for all this to work. Fresh transfer is scheduled for day 5.

I _hate hate_ fasting so leading up to the retrieval was super stressful. Now there’s not much pain but I’m really bloated today and trying to manage that. No current concerns about OHSS (other than my own over-active paranoia) – just typical super uncomfortable bloating.

Shots begin again today after a respite of a couple of days 😦

Still, even if the cycle isn’t fun at least its going smooth enough.

A few more days to go…

We’re making progress but.. still a bit to go. For a while the right ovary was massively lagging behind the left with only 2 follicles to the left’s 9. Now it’s more like 5 to 12 or something?

I was really nervous yesterday whether this cycle would be a bust (either not enough eggs or hyperstimulation or nothing would fertilize). I’m feeling a bit more confident about all of the above today. There’s 17 potential follicles now. Which seems like a decent number. My estrogen is being watched but nowhere near the real worries about OHSS. As for fertilization — idk. We’ll see. There’s nothing I can do about it now.

I’m just feeling very.. bloated for the last day or so. Something is pushing against something else in my lower back which feels really strange but it’s all expected.

I’ve been distracting myself by making plots this time around as well. Behold my work-in-progress graph. The columns are my previous cycle from 5 years ago (left) compared to this one (right). Each row is the day of the cycle (umm, not really. Technically it’s the first day of ultrasounds so it’s like day 5?). I was mostly trying to build a comparison between last time and this one. I clearly need to clean up the labels and possibly attempt an animated version of this? Perhaps a histogram isn’t the best visualization? I’m working on it! It’s been a few years since I’ve worked in R and it took a bit to just get back in the groove.

My guess is retrieval will be on Saturday. I kinda want to take bets with my husband about it. Dreading.. all of it. I hate fasting. Hate anesthesia. The stuff after that isn’t _fun_ but I have a way easier time with those medications and procedures.

Home stretch!

Halfway through the cycle

I’m at the stage where I’m strongly wondering why I am doing this. I’m achy and miserable. My stomach hurts and is bruised from some of the injections. I’m so so stressed about the whole thing — how my body will take it this time and just whether this is the right choice.

The good — follicles seem to be growing well. I’m a little worried that they’re growing too fast. But as of yesterday, there were.. 3 12’s, an 11, a 10, 5 9’s, an 8 and a dozen or more smaller ones. I’m now on both follistim and menopur (OMG I hate this one. It’s a pain to mix. and for unknown reasons, really painful to administer) and ganirelix. I just want to be done and I’m counting down another.. 5ish days? I know it’s intense even after the retrieval but the retrieval looms in my mind as the biggest thing.

I have a bit of a cold from some allergies but can’t take decongestants. So now, even visiting friends, we’re all wearing masks just in case. Just worn. I’ve avoided posting a ton about the political stuff going on but it’s all so heartbreaking.

Good things happening as well

One massive good thing is we bought a house! It’s our first one and we have no idea what we’re doing but it’s very cool! We ended up doing a bunch of renovations on it and after moving in I’m glad that we spent the money (even though I’m not over the heartburn of all that money going bye-bye).

Toddler A* is getting used to it — we painted part of his room his favorite color so we did a lot to sell the place to him before moving. There are a few playgrounds within a couple of blocks of us and he’s loving that. We didn’t put up baby gates here so he’s having a blast going up and down freely.

It’s a bit bigger but more than that, better designed so all of us have our own space. It’s been really cool being able to design our kitchen from scratch (various reasons but all the appliances were dying and at some point, it was easier and cheaper to gut take everything out and replace than try and rescue some of it). The house is still rather messy as we have that tail end of stuff to unpack and figure out where to put the gloves or the laundry detergent. But it’s also been cool knowing that we could make permanent changes and no landlord will get annoyed at us.

Money-wise, I’m still a bit nervous — a ton went bye-bye between the downpayment and reno. Plus all the moving stuff — movers, some new furnishings, various odds and ends. We are getting some of the blinds replaced because the ones that existed were so grimy, it was triggering my allergies. Had to put up some shelving. Replace some lights. Change the locks. It all adds up. But I think July will finally be the month where we’re not spending a ridiculous amount on the house and we can slow down the fixing up.

We’re pausing a little on work around the house as I go through the retrieval/transfer cycle. And family is visiting for some time in the summer. So as long as it’s usable and ok-enough that works for now.

Overall — it’s been cool and I’m relieved that we bought it before the rates shot up!

IVF #2

At least in my numbering system. We’re officially starting (started?) the second retrieval cycle. As I was taking notes on the meds, I noticed my data from so many years ago and couldn’t help but compare how similar the cycles are but also how different. The meds are largely the same. The planned process is the same. But also, it was 5 years ago. 5 long, mostly joyful, sometimes exhausting years. And I worry a lot about my body’s ability to handle it this time. If this works, I’d be a geriatric pregnancy though still below the age where a ton of testing is highly recommended I think. I worry about my ability to handle sleep deprivation again. Recovery. Pregnancy itself.

The biggest change — worrying about all this with the background of the political events. I’m grateful I live where I do because otherwise, I don’t think I would start the cycle. Is IVF going to be criminalized? Would I be risking death if I get another ectopic that doctors either refuse to treat or delay enough in treatment? What about a miscarriage? What if something else happens and it’s non-viable? What is I develop pre-eclampsia? Or there’s premature labor? I’m grateful to not have to think about the answers to those and heartbroken for everyone who does. I cannot imagine the trauma of having to deal with any of this and then be questioned by law enforcement. I have to imagine woman are deciding to delay or avoid child bearing so they don’t have to deal with these worries either.

So much of life is complex and gray and any of these laws try to make it out to be black and white. What happens in all those cases? No one writing these laws seems to have grappled with the questions of “If I (or my wife/daughter/niece/friend/etc) was in such a situation, what would I do?” They don’t seem to understand that these are common situations. And that the rare ones need even more urgent interventions. Do you let the mother die? Let a rape victim have even more trauma?

I’m heartbroken.

Nope

Transfer failed.

I’ve been distracted myself with all the stuff needed for new house (doing renovations and moving in a month). I promptly started doing some heavy lifting which wasn’t allowed on cycle. And.. am trying not to think of the cycle ahead.

Mostly that’s it. I’m using everything else to distract myself from this cycle — work, tv, new house stuff. Cuddling with A*. Who is almost 4 but still super cuddly. And telling myself that just because this cycle failed doesn’t mean the next one will.

Waiting…

The transfer went well. And now it’s just the waiting to see if it worked. And it is excruciating.

I’m constantly worried about some phantom symptoms that might or might not signal success. I was very bloaty for the first couple of days after the transfer but now not so much. My resting heart rate went up and stayed up since the transfer (not a ton, just 3-4 beats per minute higher). Admittedly (on the doctors advice) I’ve basically been couch potato so I don’t know how that impacts resting heart rate. I have a ton of reflux but thats probably the massive amounts of progesterone I’m on (both PIO and endometrin).

Mostly I’m trying to distract myself with anything else for the next week or so. And I really really hope this works!