Our FET

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After 5 days of taking all those medications, the day of the transfer arrived…September 10th.

My FET was scheduled for 10:30am.  I had to be there a 1/2 hour before, so we weren’t in a rush.  My husband & I leisurely woke up and got ready.  I had been instructed to do take the Crinone gel in the morning and to have a full bladder.  When we were ready, my husband gave me a blessing, and then we left.

Unfortunately, we locked ourselves out of the house.  My husband didn’t take his keys.  I left my keys in my church bag the day before and forgot to take it out.  He closed the door before I could reach for my keys.  Oops!  Lol.  I couldn’t believe it but it happened.  There wasn’t much we could do, except worry about it later.  I wasn’t going to be worried about that, we had an appointment.  While my husband drove, I called my mom.  She had keys to our place.  So we arranged a time to meet afterwards.  I estimated that we would be done around 11:30 – 12pm.  The plan was for me to call my mom when we left, that way, we would get there around the same time.

We arrived 1/2 hr before and sat in the waiting area.  A few minutes later we were called by my IVF coordinator.  We followed her to her office where she reviewed instructions for the ET.  I disregarded some of the instructions because they were related to pregnancy and would worry about that later.  I didn’t want to assume, neither did I want to feel overwhelmed by possibility.  The instructions were pretty straight forward and to me, quite obvious:

No swimming – for 1 week
Drink lots of fluids – In addition to water, juice and sports drinks
Use stool softener – as needed for constipation
Eat balanced meals
No strenuous activities

You got it, right?  In addition to all the instructions, I still had to take medications…until my IVF coordinator instructed me to stop.  I was taking the Crinone gel, Estrace, aspirin, & PNV.

The instructions also included 2 dates – Sept. 20th & 22nd.  On these dates I was scheduled for blood work only – to see if I was pregnant or not.

After meeting with my IVF coordinator we again sat in the waiting area.  I was called for my blood work and then we went to meet with Dr. F.  He explained the risk for multiple births and we asked questions.  We signed a couple of documents verifying our embryos.  I wanted to cry.  I had been so worried about the embryos.  When as I signed the documents I realized that my prayers had been answered and I felt relieved.  In a previous appointment, I asked Dr. F what the procedure is for thawing the embryos.  He explained that they are taken out one at a time.  If they are not growing, they are discarded and another embryo is taken out.  Knowing that we have 7, I didn’t know how many would be used to get 2 strong embryos.  I hope that makes sense.  As I signed the document, I understood that only 2 of our 7 embryos were thawed for this procedure.  I felt comforted and grateful.

Dr. F showed us 2 pictures of our 2 embryos.  It was SO cool!  The picture on the left were of the frozen embryos and the picture on the right was of the thawed embryos.  It seemed like they were magnified like a million times larger.  The images were huge, especially when you know they’re the size of an ink dot.  I was so intrigued by the pictures.  I thought it was amazing because it was personal.  They were OUR embryos, not the ones you see in a text book.  As I viewed the side-by-side pictures, they looked only slightly different to me.  Dr. F explained that before transferring them they would look somewhere in between both pictures.

After our meeting was done, we followed my IVF coordinator to the OR area.  It’s the same place I had my egg retrieval.  I was in the exact same room too.  We put our hair caps and booties on.  I removed my clothing from the waist down, wrapped myself with the large sheet that was provided.  I opened the curtain and we followed my IVF coordinator into the OR.  My husband sat on a stool (with wheels) and I laid on the bed.  I lifted my legs up to rest on these pole things and then scooted my bottom all the way to the edge of the table.  The poles are like ob/gyn stirrups for back of the knee.  I verified my name and birthday that were on the screen and then my IVF coordinator informed Dr. F that I was ready.

We waited for a while because there was something that Dr. F. needed to take care of.  I think we waited about 15-20 minutes, that’s my guess.  I wasn’t watching the clock.  When he arrived, he talked us through the procedure while getting started.  He put the speculum in and I think, a catheter.  I’m not exactly sure about the catheter.  He told the lady in the Lab that he was ready.  We looked at the screen and saw the 2 embryos.  Dr. F was right, the embryos looked somewhere in between the 2 pictures we saw, except this was LIVE.  We saw them super close and then the view zoomed back until they were tiny.  The catheter came in and sucked up the embryos.  The lady in the Lab brought the catheter to the adjacent door and gave it to Dr. F.  The door has a a little window that can be opened or closed.  It’s quite convenient actually.  Dr. F. took it and sat back down.  It took him a few minutes to insert the catheter.

Once the catheter was in, Dr. F had us turn our eyes to the ultrasound.  He told us that we would see a white line in the uterus and then the embryos would be released.  The embryos were released deep into the uterus, much like where they would be if it were a natural conception.  We saw the white line and that was it.  The embryos were SO tiny, I knew we wouldn’t see them.  That was it!  The catheter and speculum were removed.  Dr. F shook our hands and told us that there was nothing more we could do – let nature take its course.

I switched beds and got rolled to my room.  I laid there for 30 minutes.  Before we left, I emptied my bladder and put my clothes on.  My mom met us at home and we were able to get in.  Lol.  She made chili for us so we ate and then rested for the rest of the day.  It was so nice.

Now it was time to wait…

Next post:  The Next 10 Days

(Not sure if I’m going to post the picture of the embryos.  I have 1 of the 2 pictures we saw.  Thinking about it.)


Our Choice

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Well, so much has transpired since I last wrote.  I was hoping to send this out sooner but that just didn’t happen.  So, here we go!

Deciding what to do was not an easy task.  I felt so much pressure, more than any of the other decisions we’ve had to make during this process.  Largely due to the fact that I didn’t have days, weeks or months to contemplate the pros and cons.  We both knew we needed to make a decision, & fast!

The funny thing is that although we had time, we actually didn’t have that much time to talk about it together.  When my husband arrived home from work, we talked for about 20-30 minutes.  We hadn’t made a decision at that point but we did raise good points about both sides.  By that time I had to go, I had a church activity and didn’t return home until 9pm.  It was late, especially since there was a decision to be made.

I offered to pray.  So we knelt by our couch.  I didn’t know what to say.  Before I prayed I really felt like we needed to go to the Lord with a decision, not to help us with our decision.  I hope that makes sense.  We talked about what we were going to do…what our decision would be.  We needed to be united, not that we weren’t but it was a difficult decision.  We shared our personal thoughts and then made a decision.  I prayed and then we went for a walk.  It was close to 10 ‘o clock at night!  Lol.  We talked more and I felt good about our decision.  I knew we would be ok with whatever happened.

We chose to do the transfer.  There were so many factors to consider.  The one thought that kept coming to me was about risk.  I don’t think of us as risk-takers.  But this decision was a risky one, because we’re closer than we’ve ever been and it’s not a guarantee.  I asked myself (& my husband) if the risk is the same whether we continue with the transfer or wait?  The answer is…YES!  There will always be a risk involved, no matter the time.  Of course, with higher risk there can be greater sorrow or joy.  But there was/is no middle ground with this.  Our decision was final – no exchanges or returns.  Lol.

This decision brought lots of thoughts about choices.  So often, if not always, we are faced with decisions – good, bad, difficult (you get the point) – but we are not in charge of the consequences.  I felt like this decision was definitely one of those things.  We made the decision, knew all the risks connected with it, and we were still willing to live with the consequences.  In this instance, I think, without the risk, there can’t be opportunity for growth.  Of course, that doesn’t make it any easier to bear.

So, with our choice made, I called my IVF coordinator in the morning.  I left a message for her as she was in a meeting.  She returned my call an hour or 2 later.  It just to happened that I was eating breakfast with some friends, celebrating one of their birthdays.  We had a brief conversation because just the day before, when I was there, she gave me an instruction sheet..just in case.  She reminded me about that and then I went back to breakfast, which was delicious!  I knew that meant I had additional medications to take for the next 5 days, starting that day.

Here’s what it actually looks like…

On top is the Crinone Gel, which is progesterone – for vaginal use only.  (I’ll talk more about this later.)  Underneath that are 3 columns – morning, noon, night.  The Crinone Gel is for morning and night.  The blue pills are Estrace, also known as estrogen.  The white pills are Medrol, the yellow pill (L) is baby aspirin, and the brownish pill is Doxycycline – antibiotic, same one used for the egg retrieval.  I had to do this regimen for 5 consecutive days.  If you think this is a lot, it doesn’t include my thyroid medicine and my prenatal vitamin.  Lol.  I spread things out throughout the day so that I wouldn’t be taking more than 1 pill at a time.  I didn’t want to take any chances when it came to the medications.  Actually, I wanted to avoid mixing the medicines.  It didn’t mean that it would, I just wanted consistent medicines rather than a bunch at one time.  Hope I explained that sufficiently.  So I did all this for 5 days, which was September 5th through September 9th.

September 10th was the day – the scheduled dated for our FET.  It was quite the experience!

Next post: FET

 


Day 1

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Welcome back!  It seems like I’ve been on a long hiatus.

Well, with my tentative schedule in hand I was playing the waiting game.  At times waiting can be hard because the outcome affects the FET timing.  According to my calendar, I was supposed to get my period on August 22.

After waiting and wondering, Day 1 arrived…right on schedule.  I was surprised!  I actually thought it would come the day before.  The last time I got off the birth control I got my menses 4 days later.  So, I thought that would happen again…but it didn’t.  I was glad that we were progressing forward.  Of course, things can change between appointments.  I wasn’t totally convinced the FET would be a smooth ride.  I just had a feeling.

Since it was Day 1, I called my IVF coordinator and we scheduled all my appointments and transfer date.  I was still taking 1mg twice a day of Estrace.  I showed a picture of it in my last post.  I knew the dosage and frequency would increase as I got closer to the transfer.  I was scheduled to go in on Days 4, 7, 10, & 14.  I know, it looks like a lot on paper but that’s the commitment you make for a FET.

I was so worried about how my menses would be after not having it for 3 months.  I had my doTerra oil ready to soothe any pain.  I used “solace” and oil for cramps only once!  The first 2 days of my period were fairly light followed by a few days of spotting.  I can’t express how grateful I was to have an uneventful period.  It was great.  I’m sure those of you who’ve ever experienced cramps and/or endometriosis…you know exactly what I mean!  Lol.

Having said that, I went in on Day 4 (8/25) for an ultrasound and blood work.  The lining of the uterus was looking ok but still needed to thicken.  It wasn’t a concern for me because I knew I would be increasing my Estrace, which would help.  I had a bunch of questions in my mind about how the FET would go but I didn’t ask them.  I thought it was more important that I take things one appointment at a time.  It’s easy to get caught up in the “what ifs,” which can cloud your vision of the reality of this process and procedure.  Well, that’s what I think.

Day 7 (8/28) came quickly.  I didn’t have an appointment, I just had to be there for blood work.  That same day, I increased my Estrace to 1 pill (2mg) twice a day.  Basically, I doubled it.  I was also making what seemed like a million cinnamon rolls (9.5 dozen) that day for a camp fundraiser.  I tried my best to time the rising with my drive into town.  It was a good thing I made the dough the day before otherwise there was no way I would’ve finished all the rolls.  It was a blessing that it all worked out…exhausting but accomplished!!

Day 10 (8/31) was my next scheduled appointment.  The increase in the medication helped my lining to thicken and things continued to look good.  The doctor wanted for my lining to have a “triple stripe” or halo.  The thickness was great.  That day I increased my Estrace to 1 pill (2mg) three times a day.  The doctor informed me that I didn’t need to do blood work that day. Yeah!  Also at this appointment the doctor told me he would be putting in the 2 best embryos.  I agreed and left…but my mind was going!  I assumed from the very beginning that 2 embryos would be transferred, I just hadn’t talked with the doctor about it.  It didn’t seem necessary at the time…but now was the time.  I was so excited and yet extremely aware of what that could mean…one baby, twins, miscarriage and more.  The interesting thing is that all those things are always a possibility, there’s no guarantee.  Precision and exactness can also bring risk.  Of course, IVF is not without risk.  I knew those risks before I started.

My next appointment was supposed to be on Day 15 but Dr. F was not going to be in the office that day.  So, I went in on Day 14 (9/4) instead.  I was a little worried going into my appointment.  I thought they might see the bump on my forehead.  Yup, I said bump.  On Labor Day (the day before), my family got together at my brother’s home.  After lunch, in the late afternoon, my husband, nephew, and I decided to go on a bike ride.  We rode around the street and into other parts of the neighborhood.  After riding for about 15 – 20 minutes, I didn’t feel good.  I took a break resting by one of street corners.  I rode a little more and then decided to go in for a drink of water.  As I walked inside, I felt like I wanted to throw up.  I sat down on a chair with my water right in front of me.  I tried to wait out the feeling of throwing up.  I put my elbow on the table, leaned my head on my hand and slowly closed my eyes.  The next thing I know, I’m on the ground.  I fainted!  I heard my nephew calling for my sister-in-law.  I heard my sister-in-law calling me and my husband helped my up.  We estimated that I was on the ground for 15 seconds.  I got reenergized with lots of fruit and water.  I put an ice pack on my head and relaxed for a while.  Then we went out again and rode around the street, taking it easy.  That night I used essential oil.  (I used it for the next 3 days and I was amazed.  No bruise and the pain eliminated!  Yeah!)

Anyhow, a little tangent there!  Lol.

Back to Day 14!  Just like me last appointment, the lining of my uterus looked great, except for one thing…the triple stripe.  Dr. F recommended that we postpone the transfer and try a different regimen to get both the thick lining and triple stripe, thus increasing our chances for success.  We still had the option of continuing with the current FET cycle.  Dr. F made his recommendation and gave us the choice.  Unlike our ICSI decision, I needed to let my IVF coordinator know my answer…the next day.  I called my husband to let him know.  We decided to talk about it after he got home from work.  As I drove home I thought, I knew it.  I knew this cycle couldn’t go without a challenge…and this was it.  Instead of crying, I thought about both options and the risks involved in them.  So much to contemplate…so little time.

It was NOT going to be an easy decision!  Oh dear!

Next post: Our Choice