I’ve been getting a lot of friends and family reaching out over the last few days, so I figured I better update the world on our frozen embryo transfer (FET) and that process…..
This won’t have the same layout as “First IVF Cycle” since it’s been such a different experience, or I’m numb to it all, either way. I will say that this is starting off MUCH easier than the retrieval and fresh transfer we did in June. The schedule is less intense, very few appointments, and *SO FAR* the injections aren’t as bad either. We currently have 2 freezies (so far they remain unnamed, Petri was just such a perfect nickname) from our first cycle and we are planning on transferring both of them for our best chance at pregnancy.
Started daily injection of Lupron, this is done in the belly, like the meds taken during our fresh IVF cycle. These ones are not painful at all, it’s a much smaller amount and I’m not mixing any of it. It’s just a small bottle I draw from every morning, super easy and uneventful.
Blood work and calendaring appointment at the clinic. Pretty straight forward morning, blood draw and medication schedule. Adding the oral and vaginal Estrace on Friday and stop the birth control. Continue the injections and come back on the 16th for an ultrasound to check the lining of my uterus. Easy peasy. We are tentatively scheduled for our transfer on August 24th.
Start Estrace and it’s stupid. It’s extra stupid because I know I’ll have to do another insert in addition to this one AND progesterone in oil shots as well – which I’ve heard hurt like CRAZY. Ugh, I really shouldn’t complain because this is so far pretty painless, at least in comparison to last time. Not, however, compared to someone who can make a baby via sex. Y’all got it too easy.
Update just for fun. No new news or anything. Keeping on the schedule and my daily dose of oral, vaginal, and injectable medications. Yay….the fun is never ending. Tomorrow will be 3 weeks since I started the shots and I’m still a week and half or so away from our tentative transfer day. Whew, the lack of appointments has been nice, but the routine of this is taking it’s toll. I don’t want this to be a routine, that’s the problem! It’s so nonchalant, everyday type of business. That’s not cool at all. I kind of whined about my shot because it stung a bit (poor site selection on my part) and G walked on by through the bedroom door and just said “Way to be a trooper today!” At least he hasn’t let this become too regular for us and still acknowledging the effort going into this whole process.
A very comfortable and enjoyable ultrasound this morning to check the lining of my uterus. Sounds adorable, right? I love my 6:30am appointment time, but unfortunately that was not available and I settled for the 6:45am slot. I arrived 15 minutes early, because of course I did, that’s what adults do. My very cheery patient coordinator/receptionist tells me it’ll be a bit because there’s someone before me. I wasn’t expecting to go right back there, no big deal, I’m fine waiting until it’s my turn. At 6:37am a woman walks in for her ultrasound. Scheduled at 6:30am. Uh, you’re late, lady. She does not apologize from what I could hear, and then goes to use the restroom before going back for her appointment that is now 10 minutes overdue. This was not the way I wanted my morning to start, waiting on someone who thinks their time is more valuable than everyone else in the room. It’s true that I might have been a little more on edge than normal; an appointment before my work day, extra early rising, traffic, thinking about what follows this ultrasound and our next steps. Still though, that’s rude. Be respectful, and behave like a decent adult. If you’re not early, you’re late. Rant over.
Moving onto the results of ultrasound, everything looks great! Lining is measuring better than expected and we are all set to transfer our two little freezies, embabies, Petri 2 and Petri 3, or whatever we’re calling them – Wednesday, August 24th. New medication schedule will start on the 19th, including the one we’ve all been waiting for: Progesterone in Oil. The nurse drew a circle on both my butt cheeks today so G knows where to inject these bad boys. HA! I’m going to have to laugh, if I don’t, I’ll cry. Definitely going to cry. He’ll probably cry too. G is really, really, really not looking forward to these, he keeps saying that he doesn’t want to cause me pain. I don’t see it as a big deal since I’m used to these daily injections, but it’s super sweet that he’s reluctant to shove a giant needle full of thick hormone oil in my booty muscle. That sounds like real love doesn’t it, folks?! Eh, we’ll both get over it or get used to it I suppose. More to come once that little adventure starts later this week…….
August 19th-August 23rd
Tonight is the night we start the big ol’ PIO shots. G an I prepared by watching YouTube videos on how to draw up the oil and administer the injections. We had a lot of shocked faces, squeals (mostly from me), and a probably a little more anxiety than when we started. The injections are to be done in the evening, so we decided just before bed would be best so I don’t have to get up again after it’s over.
With the clinic nice enough to draw circles on me for reference, it was easy knowing pain and discomfort would be at a minimum in those locations. I had a mini meltdown before he did it, the little alcohol cloth startled me. Oops, I may be a little high strung. G did a great job though, minimal sting, went pretty quickly, not too bad. Of course I still needed to celebrate, little ice cream and support from the fur babies does the trick.
It doesn’t take long for these to get old. While they hurt only a little bit during the actual injection part, it takes a long time to push the oil through the syringe and the next day is rough. Very sore, and I can little knots forming already. We’ve been altering sides to minimize the discomfort, but gave the left side a shot two nights in a row possibly making sleep on my other side easier. That was a mistake. It felt the biggest cramp and largest knot that could ever be. I instantly whined and asked G to massage my butt. That didn’t go over very well and needless to say we went back to alternating sides. We haven’t receive instruction on how long these shots last, but in my research it appears this could be our routine for awhile.
Today is TRANSFER DAY! We got up early, I still had quite the pill and injection routine before the finale at 11am. The worst part of the whole thing is honestly having to fill your bladder. I’m a pretty hydrated person, so it doesn’t take much for me to be full and uncomfortable. Luckily my nurses know this and they are able to cut me off and move everything along quickly. After arriving at 10am, we go over instructions following today and I take a couple Valium. Last time these didn’t “hit me” until a little later, and I recall G reaching for me as I stumble in the parking lot and telling him “I got this, I’ve been drunk before!” Yikes. Let’s not repeat that, as funny as it is, hard pass.
We do a quick little ultrasound to see how everything looks before my doctor and embryologist comes in. One of my absolute favorite nurses is doing the transfer today, so that puts me in a great and positive mood from the start….until she says “we’re transferring something today, but the embryologist will be in to talk to you about everything.” Um, say what?! I immediately felt nervous and disappointed that one of them didn’t make it through the thawing process. My heart is sinking. I’m sure she can see my face change (I’m really not good at hiding my emotions/faces) and she then continues with that she doesn’t know what the status of any of them, and just knows that we’re doing something because otherwise we would have had a call at 7am telling us it’s cancelled. Ok…….still not feeling great. The embryologist comes in, a SUPER sweet woman who gives us a photo of our two little guys/girls and said one is perfect, and the other is nearly perfect. WHAT!? Yes!!!! Obviously they are perfect, why wouldn’t they be? Look at us! Ha, totally kidding, but still beyond excited.
My doctor comes in and we are ready to rock! My doctor is probably one of my favorite human beings ever, she just gets us and is really caring, yet blunt. I know I’m never going to get any runaround with her but will always feel calm. We start the process and it’s a little painful, some discomfort and pinching, but nothing I’m not used to this far into the infertility game. It’s really special to be able to watch on the screen and to have G sitting there with us too. Everyone else has their partner with them when they make a baby, why should we be any different?!
Bing, bang, boom. Done. We won’t know the outcome until after Labor Day. That’s a long time to wait, but what’s a few extra days when you’ve been waiting 5 years. Before we left I ran through a list of questions for my nurse on things to do and things not to do VS what the internet says. Anyone going through this process should know: you don’t need to eat pineapple, you can eat cold and spicy foods, you don’t have to wear socks all the time, you don’t need to stand on your head, blah blah blah. Just be normal, take it easy, don’t go swimming or in a hot tub, but just try to relax and take care of yourself. Now I’m off to color, nap and watch movies, and have some quality “me” time.
***Friends and Family: We will announce our success or loss when we are ready. Last cycle (because I’ve shared so much) resulted in lots of calls, texts, and messages on how things went or if we heard yet. I will tell you when I want you to know. I’m sure it will involve special notice to those close to us, followed by a blog post eventually. Please respect the time we have to ourselves to celebrate or mourn appropriately. Thank you!***
This two week wait (2WW) was actually longer than our first cycle. Last time we had our second beta test and results on day 11. This cycle we had to wait over the long Labor Day weekend to hear if we were going to be parents or back to square one.
We continued the dreaded PIO shots after the transfer and they actually got worse the more we did. No matter the technique or location, it just hurt. My muscles ache every time I sit down or get up. I can’t rest my hands on my hips because of the tenderness. It’s just not fun. The ice pack or heating pad might be the trick to tolerate these a little better. My sister “got” to help out too, giving me my injection when we headed up north for the night with my niece. She was nervous, and got the giggles the night before watching G administer it. All went well, she certainly doesn’t have a future in nursing, but she got the job done.
The time between the transfer and my last blood draw went by much faster. How that’s possible since it was 3 extra days, I’m not sure. I didn’t take as much time off as last cycle, and went at this round with twins a little less stressed and anxious. I enjoyed posting little funnies and photos to pass the time on how *BLANK* help embryos stick. A friend dubbed these #humormakesembryosstick. Not sure it was a trending hashtag or anything, but it made me smile and not worry too much about what my body was or wasn’t doing.
The clinic called G again with the results so I could hear from him when I got home from work. I had been trying to prepare myself since a couple days after the transfer that I was NOT pregnant. I thought it would be easier to build myself up, than tear myself down. I can try to convince myself of something and put that on repeat, but it doesn’t always work that way. I still thought about how fun it would be if both embabies made it, little Boss and Champ, twins and besties. Perfect little family. Then I’d think, nope, not your time. Get ready for another egg retrieval and transfer, but maybe next time we’ll have a decent number and we could get pregnant and then still have some left for siblings down the road. We wouldn’t be that lucky. But we could. Maybe. Definitely not though. Your mind really never stops during the time the transfer is complete and the time you hear those beta results. You flip-flop, go back and forth, up and down EVERY damn minute. For someone who already has an anxious mind, this is torture.
I walked in the door and was greeted by both dogs, waiting in the entryway, cute little furbabies so excited to see me. As I turn the corner, G is waiting and doesn’t look quite as excited. I just look at him and say “No?” He shakes his head and says “No.” Cue the waterworks yet again. We sit and cry and hug and I ugly cry some more. With all my preparation, I’m still never ready for that news. I cannot convince myself that it isn’t my time, and that I didn’t do everything right, and I don’t deserve it. We’ve worked so hard and been through so much, and yet we have to endure another loss like this. We’ll be meeting with our doctor again soon to see if she has any new plans, answers, or a possible explanation for us. Of six eggs and 98 million sperm, we created 3 embryos with a lot of love and a little science. They made it to just about 5 weeks. We will continue to hope and pray and work hard at creating our family and fingers crossed that I’ll be able to carry our little one(s) longer next time. XOXO
I would also like to add a link to a post from July that I’ve found very comforting after our first failed cycle.
I’ve continued to go back to it over and over again to feel normal. During the infertility and IVF process you tend to feel very isolated and alone. Even with so many friends and family supporting us, we’re still on the inside of a sad exclusive club we didn’t want to join. In addition to that, we have experienced loss. I, unfortunately, know a lot of other women and couples who have suffered miscarriage and loss at every stage of pregnancy and beyond. I kind of thought I was alone here as well, in that I compared our failure to others. Mine wasn’t as hard or traumatic as others who were further along in their pregnancy. Maybe this made me naïve to think that when there was someone who had it worse that should make me feel better. Unfortunately, along with my comparing, came others belittling (not purposefully coming from a hurtful place) our loss the way I had done to myself. This changed my direction and perspective on things. While there are most definitely differences in the emotional and physical anguish, that does not change the validity of our grief. “….each week of gestation is not the measurement of love.” The medical definition of miscarriage is the loss of an embryo of fetus before it is able to survive independently. While I do not refer to our “failed IVF cycles” as miscarriages, that IS exactly what they are. Without this formal title I feel like I’m being rushed to get over something that others aren’t accepting of. I didn’t want the infertile, miscarriage, mother-less, and failure labels. The process from each start to each of our unfortunate finishes, has been difficult and devastating without having to call it something. I will continue to work on my own journey, grieve, and grow with the hand we’ve been dealt in the best way I can: with all the bumps, curves, and learning experiences along the way.