FET protocol

Here is my protocol for this cycle and probably my last. (I still don’t like that)

The meds:

  • Estrace 2mg twice a day vaginally 
  • Sildenafil 25mg four times a day vaginally
  • Tamoxifen 20mg daily orally – day 3 to 7 only 
  • Estradot patches 200mcg change patches every 3 days 
  • Prenatal vitamins
  • Folic acid
  • Vitamin D & omega 3 daily
  • Vitamin E 800 IU daily

The other stuff:

  • Accupuncture twice a week
  • Drinking red raspberry leaf tea as much as I can. 
  • Cut back on caffeine 
  • Eat well
  • Exercise well 
  • Avoid stress (the hardest right now with work being crazy. But hey maybe if I write it down here it will come true right?)

Generally the same as the last cycle with the exception of doubling my estrace patches and adding tamoxifen. 

The goal lining is 0.65 this time (up from last times 0.6). My personal goal is to get to 0.7. 

Here’s hoping. Lining check on Aug 27. 

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Back in the race…

It is CD 3. 

We are back at it. 

I had my pre- FET prep appointment with the new DR. Go a couple of weeks ago. She was dissapointed that the last cycle didn’t work but it is a 60% chance of success on a good day. So it could just be dumb luck. It could also be my body is just not built for this. So there’s that. 

She said we can start again anytime we wanted. No reason to wait. She also said she would add tamoxifen to the next cycle as it has been shown to help boost lining for some. It can’t hurt at this point. So we are giving it a go. 

The other option she offered was to do an ERA test for this cycle instead is the actual transfer. So that would mean a full mock cycle with all the drugs and side effects etc. And then we would wait another 6 weeks for the results which would show us if my lining is receptive after 5 days of prometrium (which most of the women are).  It would not guarantee an implantation. Nor will it be able to tell me much about how habitable the environment is in my uterus for a growing foetus. Which are my key issues. DH and I discussed this option and we don’t feel it is worth all the effort and expense. 

The dr did say that ERA tests are not normally indicated for my type of patient. But it’s the only thing left. So she would allow me to try if I wanted. I did appreciate that. It is also an out of pocket cost of about $1,000.

 I just don’t feel that the ERA test will be the difference between a successful cycle and an unsuccessful one for me. If I have a strong enough embryo it should implant. My issue is thickness of lining. Not the receptivity. I know that could also be a factor. But those chances are so low at this point. It isn’t logical but it’s just my gut feeling that this test is not what I need right now. 

So we decided if this is our last hurrah. We will trust that the tamoxifen is all we need. And just go for it. If it works great. If not. We are moving on. 

I tried to see if DH would want to try one more time with another donor. But he’s not convinced. I’m also starting to be open to starting the adoption route this year. But only if he agrees to be responsible for all the red tape. I know it sounds selfish. But I’m honestly too busy with work to add on the huge responsibility of home studies and getting the perfect reference letters etc. DH has the next few months off. So he has the time and is more interested in pursuing this. So let’s see. 

For now we are getting into the groove of this cycle. I’m less stressed about the outcome this time for some reason. At least right now. I feel strangely calm. And also more hopeful. Lying at acupuncture yesterday I felt a wave of ‘This is going to work. The lining will be over 0.7 and this one will stick.’

There’s also times when I realize that we will be getting the results of this cycle by the time my sister is ready to deliver baby #2. So that has the potential of being an emotional nightmare. But it is what it is. Can’t dwell on something out of my control at this point. 

The timing is right for us. DH is done with med school. Wrote his last exam yesterday. His results won’t be available for another 6 weeks. Then we will know if he passed,and can make this a career or if he needs to reevaluate his life plan. NBD

And for those keeping track, in about 6 weeks we may also be pregnant.

How’s that for life changing?

WTF

We had our WTF with Dr. Go.

What do you want first? The good news or the bad news? Feel free to choose:

Good News:

Our little frozen embaby is a 4AB!

That is stellar considering it started out as a 1BB. It really picked up steam on the last day and surprised even Dr. Go. That is great news for us as that is a pretty perfect embryo. So our chances are immensely improved on that front.

Also, we can pretty much start our next round whenever we like, except for the bad news…

Bad News:

There really isn’t anything that we can do to improve our chances for the next round. I asked about other tests, but the bottom line is that nothing is proven, and has little chance of actually boosting our chances.

  • Matris/ERA test to check receptivity of lining – this will tell us if I am one of the 10% of the population that has the issue of a different receptivity window than the usual 5 days. However, even when they have done this and implanted based on the ERA results, none of those patients have had a successful pregnancy yet.
  • Natural Killer Cells – this test is widely misunderstood. Apparently it will only test what is in your blood, which is different that the environment in the uterus. So it does not really tell us anything of value with respect to implantation.
  • Thyroid issues – My thyroid has been optimal for the past 2 years. Not likely to be an issue either.

My biggest issues is the thin lining and the fact that we just don’t know how my uterus will respond due to the radiation treatment. With respect to this past failed cycle, my lining was ok at 0.7. But optimal is 0.8 and above, so anytime they see lining below 0.8 already the chances of success are diminished. So that is likely what happened this last cycle. A decent embryo in a not so great uterus.

He did mention that he was discussing with a colleague about a new study had just come out of China that had some success with using Tamoxifen to boost lining. They are looking into it further at the clinic and they might consider adding that to my protocol to see if we can’t get my lining even thicker for the next round. He recommended letting my body go through a few ‘normal’ cycles before trying again.

He also mentioned considering a gestational carrier. I shut that down immediately. It is not a road I wish to go down, and do not feel comfortable doing at all. I honestly feel that the pain I will feel to watch another woman go through something that I should have gone through is going to be too much for me. If it is not meant to be for me then so be it. We are done. And DH feels the same way. We may open the door to adoption at that point. But for now this is it for us. Do or die.

To top it all off, our RE, Dr.Go is leaving this clinic to move to Calgary. Unfortunately I cannot follow him there. He is leaving me in the hands of another Dr. at the clinic (for ease of reference I will continue to call her Dr. Go). He has already discussed my case with her (she was the colleague he discussed Tamoxifen with) and she is familiar with our issues. I am scheduled to meet with her Aug 4 to plan our next cycle.

So the plan is to start up again in August after I have met with the new Dr. Go. I expect to have a CD1 around August 15, so potentially our FET cycle could start in mid August, so a potential transfer in early Sept.

I do have a positive feeling about the next one. If we can boost the lining to even come close to 0.8 then we may have a really solid chance of success with that excellent blast to transfer (see the good news above…).

 

8 years and red marks

It was our 8th anniversary yesterday. We celebrated by going out for ice cream to the place we were supposed to go on DH’s birthday before all the craziness happened. 

It doesn’t seem like much but it was a good day. 

This was the first time DH had been out of the house other than for the hospital or follow up Dr. appointments. So that was a big deal for us. Also it was his first time eating out. Even though it was just ice cream, after two weeks on a purée diet I’m sure it was nice for him to eat anything outside the house. 

He’s finally able to eat semi solids now without any real difficulty. He can walk around without much pain. His pain level was a 4 out of 10 this morning for the first time since going to hospital (it has hovered around 8 for a while now). So he is on the road to recovery. The skin is still raw in places so he has to keep up the wound care and just be careful about infections. But overall he is almost normal and we are both immensely grateful. 

So going out for his favourite ice cream was a perfect anniversary celebration. We aren’t big celebration people so this was just right. 

The funny thing is both sets of parents made a bigger deal of our anniversary than we did. It’s cute that they care so much. 

This morning I decided to wear a dark red lipstick to work. As I was leaving for work, he was still sleeping. I gave him a big kiss on the cheek. I told him to make sure he washed his face when he woke up since it had a nice red smacker on it. He said ok and I left. 

A few hours later he calls me. “I feel better except I have this weird red mark on my left cheek.” I played along. “Do you? Does it hurt?” 

“No. I put some of the ointment on it. Hopefully it will get better.”

I played along a bit longer then I began to realize he was being totally serious and had no idea what it was. I told him to try to rub the mark.

“Oh is it lipstick? …I hate you!”

Apparently he had no memory of me kissing him goodbye this morning. He even showed his parents the new ‘mark’ and still nobody clued in. 

We were both laughing so hard at the stupidity of it all. But poor guy has been so worried about the hives he just assumed it was another skin reaction.  

Suffice to say I will be doing this again soon just for kicks. 

God I love this man to pieces and I am so lucky to have him. 

Daily reminders

BFN’s suck. I know understatement of the year. I already knew it would suck.

But what sucks even more is that the damn daily reminders that hit me from time to time.

I have notoriously difficult veins so the phlebotomist left me with a fun bruise after my beta blood test that is a daily reminder that this cycle failed. Every time I look down I remember our little 1BB that didn’t make it. I miss you 1 BB.

My period came yesterday. It is a heavy one. At least heavy by my premature menopausal standards. I’ve never had to change a pad halfway through the day. Today I am kicking myself for not bringing extra to work. That’s a fun daily reminder of the BFN too. (At least I can take some comfort that this proves the lining really was nice and thick this time around…maybe next time it will be thicker, and maybe even stick?).

Then there is the WTF appointment scheduled for next week.

The daily reminders keep on coming.

Oh yes, and then there is the close family and friends asking how this cycle went. My mom is surprised it didn’t work. IVF is a crap shoot at the best of times, but of course if you are not in the thick of it, I can see how a person would think that it is a guaranteed baby after one round. I mean you have a doctor implanting a growing embryo into a receptive uterus. What could possible go wrong? right?

At the moment I am not sure whenwe are going to start cycle #2. Obviously I want to know what I can about what went wrong with this round so we can address any issues. But I also know that we may never know and the next round will be ask much a crap shoot as this one was. I think if all else is equal I would like to try again sooner to keep the good blood flow momentum going. 

I am also debating whether we will try again after this last embryo is transferred. I hope that we will never have to think about it. But if we do, right now my gut is telling me I want at least 1 more chance. But I also know that this is a crazy expensive thing to spend our money on so perhaps it is not the best for us. And of course DH needs to have a say in this too.

Also focusing on DH’s recovery is pretty stressful right now. He came home this weekend after a full week in the hospital. His skin is starting to grow back but some days it is like two steps forward one step back. Today he is back to the doctor to discuss some open wounds that don’t look like they are healing very fast. He is still on a puree food diet (mouth sores still healing). And his own self esteem has taken quite a beating. It is pretty stressful being so debilitated in such a short time. I am doing my best to help him out and just support him as he recovers. But it is hard to keep his spirits up. Especially now that I am back at work and he has to fend for himself at home. His parents are here for the week helping out but they are more stressed and worried about him that I am not sure that they are much help in keeping him positive.  But I do feel better knowing he has someone looking after him at home while I have to be at work. At least we know he will recover. Even if it feels like such a long road to recovery right now.

So not sure when IVF #2 will happen. Maybe August? I’d like to keep going. Not sure how much motivation or energy I will have if we keep waiting at this point. And I don’t want to wait for too long. Like a bandaid. I want this over with. No more daily reminders. Just the occasional painful ones. 

 

 

BFN

As expected. I’m upset. But also it is what I predicted would happen so I really shouldn’t be so upset. 

Made my WTF appointment for next week. Will likely already have my period by then. So likely won’t start the next round till end of July at the earliest. Depending on what the doc says. 

I think it might be worth doing some more tests to see if there is anything else we can do to boost our chances. Plus it gives DH time to fully recover. 

Hoping our luck turns for the next one. 

When no news is good news?

First things first. Still don’t have my beta results. No news is good news right? 

I went to a lab close to the hospital DH is at to save time this morning. Of course with all that is happening I totally forgot the additional instructions to call the IVF clinic to let them know which blood lab I went to. Oops. 

I literally just got home from the hospital and re-read the instructions for beta day. I left the message at the clinic at 10pm tonight. So much for getting the results quickly. 

So I’m guessing I will get the call at some point tomorrow. 

Still haven’t had a chance to pee on a stick for a couple of days. So it really is anyone’s guess. Still no bleeding. Low back pain persists. But that’s probably the uncomfortable hospital chairs. Almost no cramping anymore. I don’t feel any different at all.

I’m just not feeling hopeful. With all that’s going on, what are the chances this is actually going to work for us? 

 I’m starting to mentally prepare myself for both rounds to not work. Start preparing for being childfree. Unfortunately, I still think it is unfair on DH. He shouldn’t be asked to give up having children just because of me. But I’m just not a person who can go through adoption.  I don’t know why. I just can’t do it. And I don’t know what I can do about it. 

His parents are in town now and asked us lots of questions about the whole process today. IVF is a very foreign concept to them. So the whole egg donor thing is a little too crazy for them to grasp. Not sure they entirely were comfortable with the concept. But it’s not like they have much choice in that matter. DH did most of the talking, but I also tried to mentally prepare them to not expect any grandkids from us. Ever. But I’m not sure they like that idea either. Overall I’m probably turning out to be a pretty dissapoining daughter-in-law.

But now that I think about it, it’s unfair of me to do this to them too. I mean they deserve grandkids don’t they? I guess they already have two (DH’s sisters kids) to dote on. It’s a pretty great deal for those two. Why can’t that just be enough?

So here I am. I can do a lot of things but having children isn’t one of them. And that’s ok for me. Except why does it make me so damn sad? Why am I crying? Why do I feel guilty? Why does it always feel like the whole world just doesn’t get it? 

I feel sick. I just want to curl up into a ball and not talk to anyone. But I have to push on. I need to focus on helping DH recover. I can’t give up just yet. Why is this so damn hard?

Please let no news be good news. Please.