Typically, when I write these kinds of posts I prefer to do it as soon as I can after the event that I'm going to be talking about so that I can capture the raw emotion, but yesterday after my appointment I headed straight for Bloomington, cried all the way there, then regrouped, put on a brave face, and helped my little sis celebrate her milestone. I didn't want to make the evening in any way, about me. It was all about her so here I am a day later, and maybe thinking a little clearer, to talk about our new journey, IVF.
It's amazing how a day can go from being so awesome to so upsetting so quickly. I took a half day at work, went and did some retail therapy, enjoyed a hot ham and cheese from the Hardee's that recently opened, rolled the windows down and enjoyed the 65 degrees and sun that we had. It just seemed like a perfect afternoon. Then I got to my appointment (Joe has been working 12 hour days this week and was not able to get away to join me) and immediately I saw a ton of follicles in my ovaries and I heard the doctor say "this is scary".
Let me back up a bit and say that a few days ago I started noticing some symptoms in my abdominal area. A few different symptoms that I did not have when I used Follistim, but this time using Gonal F, I thought maybe it was just reaction to a different medication even though they are essentially the same thing. I really didn't think too much of it, but I guess I kind of knew in the deep corner of my mind, that this was pain from my ovaries being FULL of follicles.
We counted 22 follicles, all of them over 15mm, the biggest being 22mm. My nurse told me she had never seen that many follicles from such a low dose of medicine in her 12 years. That's a huge number and that's wayyyyy too many for an IUI procedure to be done. For a successful IUI, 1-4 follicles is ideal, if that's the case then you use an injection called Ovidrel, commonly referred to as your "trigger" shot which will cause ovulation. It's much more powerful than your own body's way of causing ovulation so when you have as many follicles as I did this time (and last time with around 15), by triggering ovulation, & even with natural ovulation, there is a very high risk for multiple pregnancies because more than one of those follicles can rupture. So no IUI, no unprotected baby dancing.
Dr. G explained to me the risk of having all of these follies and being over stimulated. It can cause nasty ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome which basically makes you terribly bloated (because plasma is leaking out of your body into your abdomen, yikes!), and painfully uncomfortable. So today I start medication for those symptoms. Then I wait for a period, and on April 30th we will have an ultrasound and an IVF consultation.
I am not afraid of IVF, along the lines of preparing your body for egg retrieval, I will be doing the same thing I am now, injecting myself with a high dose of Gonal F to get lots of follicles. Basically, the reaction I had to the meds was perfect for IVF, but not for IUI. The downside is that they don't do another round of egg retrieval until July. So now we play the waiting game again, for 3 months. We can try naturally over those months to see what happens, but like I told my mom yesterday, I am done holding my breath until I see an embryo attached to my uterus.
This is going to be an entirely new journey for us. It's a new chapter, or even a new book, really. It's never what I thought my road to a baby would lead to, but such is life. I learned long ago the importance of having a plan, but never expecting it to go the way you intended it to. As always, I will be positive and optimistic about this. I have a wonderful friend, Beth who got pregnant her very first IVF round and other friend who is going to be going through IVF in August and we decided we will be in this together. I have amazing support from Joe, my family, and my friends. I've learned a lot about my support group through this entire process and I'm so thankful to those who have been there for us. We are ready for this challenge.
So far, the positives that I can see through all the tears are that I have an awesome response to the FSH in terms of IVF. I will have plenty of good-sized follicles to retrieve which means, hopefully, lots of embryos. The plan is to transfer one, freeze the rest. We will get to really focus on the house and not be stressed with building and expecting a baby at the same time. If I would have the IUI and it worked, we would end up being in a really tight time crunch of getting the house done before the baby would come, now we shouldn't have to worry so much about that. And last, I think we will be able to do the 1000 mile ride to Myrtle Beach and really enjoy a nice trip before things get too crazy.
Right now things are kind of in the air until we have our consultation. I'm glad we have some sort of plan and some idea about what we can expect. I'm so thankful for those ladies who have been brave enough to share their personal stories of successes and failures in blogland because I feel like I already know so much about it and if it wasn't for them, I would be lost and afraid. Moving on, moving forward, and ready for our baby.