Two Weeks In

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Everything continues to go extremely well! I have not really had any side effects to any of the medications.  I am on low doses, but the response is that of a conventional IVF cycle.  We had another sonogram and estrogen check on Friday, September 9th and Sunday, September 11th (they make special exceptions to see IVF patients on the weekend due to how closely everything needs to be monitored).

To recap, last Wednesday, there were 7 follicles.  Friday, we found out there are 10 good follicles that the doctor thinks has the potential to grow large enough to be good candidates for fertilization.  The doctor said the uterine lining still needed to thicken up but didn’t seem too concerned (if isn’t thick enough, they won’t do the transfer that month).  I generally eat pretty healthy, but this made it very real to me.  I began to look online to find what foods nourish the uterus and help it thicken.  Spinach, red meat, chicken liver, yams were some of the foods on the list. I also read that circulation helps a lot and that circulation can be improved with acupuncture, heating pads and keeping the feet warm (so that the body doesn’t have to work to pump as much blood down to the feet which is far from the core).  The doctor said he was fine with me trying any of these methods.

We had another sonogram and estrogen check on Sunday, September 11.  There were still 10 good looking follicles.  The lining was thicker at 7.4 mm, but the doctor would like it to be a minimum of 8 mm.  I read online that 8-11 mm is healthy.  Sunday afternoon I went to Trader Joe’s and found chicken liver pate which ended up not being as bad as I anticipated.  I ate it on a toasted gluten free bagel, and Don tried it with me.  I also took an iron pill, continued to eat healthy and kept my body warm.  We also prayed a lot because we knew that ultimately this was up to God to take care of regardless how much I tried to control my uterine lining on my own.

I also started Cetrotide over the weekend which is an injection that prevents premature ovulation.  The doctor explained it like this:  there are lots of eggs growing, but the body doesn’t realize it’s numerous egg.  The body thinks it’s one giant super egg.  Because of this, the body may try to ovulate prematurely hence the Cetrotide.  Our next appointment is Tuesday.

I also was able to get in to the acupuncturist on Monday, September 12.

Here are some pictures of the chicken liver pate:

 

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One Week In

Thursday, September 8, 2016

We started the IVF process last week with a baseline sonogram and an estrogen check blood draw.  If there had been a cyst or if the estrogen level wasn’t where it needed to be, we would have had to cancel the IVF for this cycle and try again two months (we’ll be traveling next month).  Thankfully, everything looked great, and we were given the go ahead to start the stimulation.

I started Clomid that night which is taken orally.  On the third day of stimulation, we also introduced Menopur which is a subcutaneous injection which means under the skin (on the abdomen).  The injections have been going really well.  It isn’t painful, and we got past the learning curve within a couple nights.  I have also been taking low dose aspirin (ASA) since the start of the stimulation cycle.  We went in for a sonogram check and estrogen blood draw yesterday (Wednesday), and everything looks great.  The estrogen level is right where the doctor wants it to be, and he counted 7 follicles which is great.  They will do the egg retrieval next week (most likely Wednesday), but it could vary by a day.  The doctor will collect all of the eggs, and from that point, it will be determined how many can be fertilized.

Preparing the Injection (click this link to see how to prepare the injection)

 

 

 

One Week In pic 3

Getting Ready

August 26, 2016

Don and I are meeting at the doctor’s office this afternoon to sign consent forms, receive the final calendar for next month and for injection training.  We have been getting ready by reading through everything, preparing more questions to ask and ordering the medications.  I have also been working out more to combat any side effects of weight gain for any of the medications and also so that I can be in the best health possible to conceive.  The first sonogram will be a baseline sonogram and will take place Thursday, September 1.  The day after that, I will begin Clomid which helps the eggs to grow.  Around the same time, Don will begin taking an antibiotic for 10 days (Doxycycline).   This Sunday, August 29th will be my last dose of the OCP (oral contraceptive pill).  I started it 8/12, and the main purpose is to suppress the follicles so they don’t grow.  Later in the cycle, I will take a different medication to help them all grow consistently so that they are all about the same size during retrieval.

I have had mixed emotions about the whole IVF process.  Both Don and I are very excited about this opportunity.  However, I have also been having a little bit of anxiety about the unknowns and uncertainty as well as nervous about following all the directions correctly and making sure I’m not missing any steps.  There have been a lot of other things going on besides the IVF, so in general, there has been a lot of anticipation.  It’s nothing very stressful, but just a lot going on at once.  I have been focusing on trying to get good rest, and Calms Forte has helped me a lot.  Staying on top of organizing all the information from the doctor’s office has helped a lot also.

 

The Dreaded Conversation

August 10, 2016

 

I was not looking forward to telling my boss about the IVF.  It’s such a personal thing anyway, and sometimes talking about feminine and fertility stuff can be awkward, especially with men.  I had gone back and forth if I want to share this information and ultimately decided it was best to just be up front about it.  I knew that he would be very supportive and that it would take a lot of stress off me even though he is flexible and understanding under normal circumstances anyway.  He was actually very interested in the procedure and asking me specifics about the sperm and the egg.  Oh my… anyway, he is excited for us and said not to worry about anything here and to do what I need to do.  I am glad I ended up telling him and fe I am so thankful for my job and the people that I work with.

 

More About IVF and Mild IVF

August 10, 2016

DFW Center for Fertility and IVF is the name of the clinic where Don and I have been working with Dr. Beshay.  It is his own practice, and he is the only doctor.  We like that it’s a small practice because we don’t feel like just a number.  If you are interested, you can read more about Dr. Beshay here:

http://www.dfwfertility.com/about-us/dr-victor-beshay/

To learn more about the IVF process, Dr. Beshay’s clinic has good information at their website at:

http://www.dfwfertility.com/fertility-treatment/in-vitro-fertilization-ivf/

The following article is a quick read and encouraging story about a woman who went through conventional IVF without achieving a pregnancy.  She then learned about mild IVF, tried it, and had a successful pregnancy!

http://www.express.co.uk/life-style/health/223739/I-became-a-mother-thanks-to-mild-IVF

 

 

 

 

IVF Consultation Recap

August 9, 2016

Don and I met with Dr. Beshay yesterday over the lunch hour.  We both really like this doctor and his staff so well.  They are 10 minutes from my office which is great since I’ll be there frequently next month (more on that below).  Dr. Beshay is very patient, and we never feel rushed (we have been working with him since March of 2016).  The office staff is also professional, friendly and great to deal with.  This is so rare! I can’t tell you how many times I have found a doctor that I like but the staff or billing department is terrible to work with.

Dr. Beshay agreed that we are good candidates for mild IVF and that it makes sense to go ahead and move onto this step considering the history of 3 losses, one of those being a ectopic (tubal) pregnancy.  He explained the mild IVF process and all the medications we will taking and why they are necessary (Don will have one medication).  In conventional IVF, strong side effects such as mood swings, hot flashes, etc are quite common.  But since this is not conventional IVF and I’ll be on low doses of everything, he doesn’t expect that I’ll have troublesome side effects.

The IVF cycle will begin with me going on the oral contraceptive pill (OCP) for a few weeks.  The OCP suppresses the follicles where the eggs grow so they can be stimulated with the medications and monitored.  I will then stop the OCP, and a baseline sonogram will be done a few days later in early September, followed by several sonograms the following week for monitoring.  I’ll also be taking medications to prevent premature ovulation, medications to help the egg follicles grow, stimulation medications, antibiotics for a few days and a steroid for a few days.

The egg retrieval will occur about 2 weeks after the baseline sonogram.  It will take about a 20-30 minutes, and I’ll be under anesthesia.  The doctor said that I should take it easy the rest of that day and stay off my feet but that it would be okay to work from home. It’s amazing to hear how they retrieve the eggs and that it’s even possible.  It’s very non-invasive.  The eggs will then be fertilized with Don’s specimen, and 3-6 days later, the embryos will be transferred back into me and placed in the uterus.  There will be no anesthesia needed for this step, but I will still need to stay off my feet the rest of the day.

I will return to the clinic 9 days after the transfer for beta hcg levels to find out if pregnancy has occurred.  If/when it occurs, I will continue medications for 7 more weeks which at this point will be progesterone (injection), estrogen (oral pill) and low dose aspirin and continue under Dr. Beshay’s care.  After the first trimester, I would then transfer to my regular OBGYN/midwife.

After we finished our consultation with the doctor, we met with the nurse, Suzanne, briefly who explained the next steps.  She explained that since our insurance doesn’t cover fertility treatment or medications, we are eligible to apply for discounted medications through two different providers.  We should know in about a week if we are approved to receive a discount, but we doubt we will be since we both work.  We will give it a try though.  Since some of the medications I will be taking will be daily injections, Don and I will be trained (August 26) so we know how to administer ourselves at home. Some of the medications have to come from specialty pharmacies which are mostly mail order, but there is a Walgreen’s about 20 minutes from us that stocks the specialty medication.  Suzanne gave us pricing lists for the pharmacies so that we can figure out which is our preference based on cost and/or convenience.

Overall, we are both very excited to start this journey!  The thing that I am most worried about at this point are the injections, but I know it will be okay.  I have friends that have done the injections, and it’s just a matter of getting used to it.  It will be just be the new normal for a little while.  We are so thankful that there is an alternative to the conventional IVF that only takes the eggs that will be used and that has mild side effects.  I will keep this blog updated throughout the process.

 

 

To Share or Not to Share?

August 5, 2016

Up until this post, Don and I have been somewhat private through the course of our fertility journey.  We have experienced 3 losses, and though we have shared our experiences with others to a certain extent, we have avoided the topic at times or at least not taken advantage of opportunities to discuss it.  Recently, the Lord has been putting it on both of our hearts (separately before we even discussed it together) to be very open about our journey because a testimony is being built.  We want God to receive all the glory once we have our baby (in whichever method He uses), and that’s a lot harder if people don’t know about the struggles in the first place.  All babies are a miracle, but after having the obstacles that we do, we feel like it will glorify the Lord that much more once we do have a baby.  We want to share this journey with our parents, siblings, friends and co-workers if they are interested in the details.  If you have someone close to you that wants to share in this journey with you and us, we encourage you to send them the link to this website.  We feel like having a blog is a great way to communicate what we want to communicate without people hearing information second hand.  It’s a way to update everyone at the same time. We also want to document our journey as it is a testimony that we will look back on and pray also that our journey will encourage others in their faith on their own journeys.  It is also a way for me to gather my thoughts and process everything and collect information.

We hope you will support us on this journey and thank you for your prayers and support!

Love,

Sally & Don