Tuesday, March 26, 2013

C'mon Lucky 7!

Today was our "Stim Day 5" ultrasound for our IVF cycle, meaning it's been 5 days since we started the stimulation meds (Gonal F & Menopur). Yep, we've survived 5 whole days of 5 joyous injections per day! After a few tweaks to our routine, I think we've finally got it down! And to all the women who told me "You can't even feel the needles," you are all BIG FAT LIARS! haha! Just kidding. I love you guys. I am just a major wuss I guess, because I can definitely feel those fockers!

I can seriously do without the Menopur most of all. For those of you not familiar with Menopur, it's a purified mixture of FSH and LH that is derived from menopausal women's urine and it burns like a beotch going in! That one brought a couple tears yesterday. Man I hate that one! I told my husband it's only a matter of time before they start making prostate cancer drugs from old men's boogers. Seriously, how do they even discover this stuff??

Now back to today...We had an apt. with Dr. Vaughn to check follicle (egg) growth and adjust meds dosages if necessary. I also gave blood this morning to check my estradiol levels (also used to monitor follicle development).

I think every woman who goes into IVF is scared of one thing and one thing only; That it might not work! There are so many hurdles along the way to even stay in the race and have a shot at getting to the finish line. While we are certainly not out of the woods yet for a successful cycle, today's progress report showed we are indeed moving in the right direction.

I have to first respond to the meds in order to continue on and even have the chance to complete the actual IVF procedure.  Today showed that I am beginning to respond. If you go in for your ultrasounds and bloodwork and you just aren't responding to the meds (not producing enough follicles, etc.) then the whole cycle can be cancelled. There are usually about 5 ultrasounds in an IVF cycle, but more may be needed. Today's apt. was another small hurdle crossed in this process.

Here's how it's looking so far:

right ovary: 7, 6, 5, 5 mm
left ovary: 7, 3, 3 mm
uterine lining: 5.7 mm
estradiol: 267

I won't lie. I would have LOVED for Dr. V to count follicles in the double digits. However, I am content with 7 for now, and more may present themselves later as well. The average number of eggs retrieved during an IVF cycle is 7-12 eggs. There I am at the bottom cusp of "normal" yet again! Definitely not shocked by that.  As tempting as it might be, I am resolved to not compare myself and my own progress with that of other women who might be fortunate enough to have 10 or 15 or more follicles brewing. Besides, 7 happens to be my lucky number. C'mon lucky 7!!

There is such a wide range of response among woman when it comes to IVF. It's only natural for us to think that MORE is always BETTER right? More eggs retrieved means more will probably fertilize, more will make it to a stage where they are good healthy embryos, and there might be more left over to freeze embryos for another cycle later. While that's somewhat logically true, I also know that quantity is not THE only predictor of a successful IVF cycle.  I've read stories of women who have 15+ eggs retrieved, but who do not become pregnant or have any leftover embryos to freeze, just like I have read stories of women who have fewer than 5 eggs retrieved who go on to have healthy happy babies!

For now, I am content with the 7 we are seeing so far. Fingers are crossed that a couple more pop up along the way. I wouldn't be surprised if we see one or two more appear in the left ovary. That has always been my dominant ovary, and even on Femara cycles, I've had an extra follie show up on that side at the last minute. Fingers crossed we'll get a couple more, but if not I will still be content. Now we just need them all to keep growing steadily and within the same size range as we go. My estradiol level was also fine...rising but not too fast, so this is good.

Dr.'s orders are to continue with our current meds schedule:

10 units Microdose Lupron in AM & PM
150 iu Menopur in AM
150 Gonal- F in AM
300 Gonal-F in PM
2 Dexamethasone in PM

I'm also to stop taking baby aspirin on Thursday (one week prior to egg retrieval) so as to prevent any bleeding from the ovaries during surgery. Acupuncture as well on Thursday. Then, back for more bloodwork and another ultrasound to re-asses progress on Friday. Our third ultrasound will most likely be on Easter Sunday or the following Monday. Of course, hubby couldn't let that one slide without making a joke. On the ride home he turns to me and says, "Awesome! I guess we know where we'll be hunting for eggs on Easter!"


  1. Ha ha!! Love your husband's comment :)

    Glad to hear things are moving along with your cycle smoothly!!

    And on another note- I had NO idea that's what menopur is made out of! No wonder it burns!!

  2. Yay for 7 contenders so far, and I think if it ends up being just those 7, that you are still doing great! I totally cracked up about the old man boogers. I would also love to know how they figure out things like using lady urine for stims. So very strange. I feel like I'd be feeling the same way you are about the injections, because I HATE needles and even acupuncture made me anxious about them. I'm looking forward to your next update and praying for good things for you!

  3. Your levels and follicle count seem to be very similar to mine. I was so worried at the beginning and then started my mantra that slow and steady wins the race. I'm a few days ahead of you and will probably have my ER on Friday or Saturday. My husband makes the same jokes about the Easter egg hunt. I just hope we both have our golden egg in there!

    Regarding the Menopur injection. My acupuncturist told me to massage the injection site for a few minutes before putting the needle in and to ice the area afterwards. I've done 11 shots so far following his advice and only felt the burning sensation twice. Maybe this might be worth a try?

    Good luck to you!

  4. Oh yeah, those Menopur shots are horrible, they sting so bad! But what an exciting time this is. I think 7 follicles is great, plenty to make this work. You have proof that you two can make good embryos and that you can get pregnant, now that Lovenox needs to work and fingers crossed that in 9 months you'll have your baby. How exciting!

  5. Oooooh! I am so glad to see that you are moving in the right direction. And hey, don't count my opinion over that of your RE, but something that strikes me as good is that you seem to have a fairly even response between the two sides.

    Come on, lucky 7!

  6. Yay for lucky number 7!! Sounds like you are doing just great. I can't wait to read more updates from you, I am only one day ahead of you (I've been on stims for 6 days)

  7. I think 7 sounds just right!! It is definitely quality over quantity, especially with DOR. I have a very good feeling that this is going to work out just perfect for you! I really do understand on how painful the shots all are and especially as many as you are having to do. You are doing amazing and I am so excited for your true sticky BFP! *hugs*

  8. Oh thank goodness for an update. I've been stalking you all week... I know things are slow until the ultrasounds start. You are off to such a great start Emily! It sounds like you have had a great response so far! YAAAAYYYYY your sticky BFP is on the way!!!!

  9. Yay for 7! Sounds like everything is going really well! I'm so hopeful that this will be it for you!

  10. 7 is a very lucky number with religious roots if you believe in such a thing. How nerve wracking and exciting at the same time. I know more follies = more chances but remember it only takes 1. :) that's what I keep repeating to myself. XOXO. I have a good feeling Emily.

  11. I agree quality over quantity is always best. 7 is a great number and if you had follies pop out of nowhere then you might get a surprise. I'm really excited for you...hoping, wishing this works for you. Your DH's comment cracked me up. Isnt it lovely when after all these emotions one still has a sense of humor?

  12. Glad to hear all is going well so far!! :)

  13. Absolutely loving your attitude and how you and your husband seem to make the very best out of this situation and have as much fun as possible. It's what we do, right?! I think 7 is sounding great. With DOR I would be over the moon with 7!! Quality is most definitely king in this scenario...go for that!! :)

  14. Hahaha, OK, your hubby deserves a good pat on the back for that joke...

    Honestly, your counts are looking great. I ended up with 28 EGGS, which is kind of insane, but on Day 5 my counts were pretty similar to yours. A lot can pop up over the course of the next few days, for sure. But as you say, there is a balance between quality and quantity and most REs will try to find that magic spot right in between.

    Never had to contend with Menopur but it sounds like a biotch! Hopefully this will be the only time you have to endure it...

  15. So glad to see a positive update. I have been thinking of you and praying non-stop that you would have good news to share! Come on lucky number 7! So glad that things are progressing well and you are starting to show response beautifully! Things will move so quickly from here on out!

    As for the Menopur, try icing the injection site just before and just after the shot. I did this religiously and can only remember it burning once.

    Also, your DH is hilarious. I literally just spit my water out as I read the Easter Egg Hunting comment :-) I love the way he and you always seem to keep the mood light and fun in the midst of all this heaviness!


  16. Haha, your husband is hilarious! You two seem like a perfect match, I'm glad you have each other :)

    That's ao exciting that you already have 7 follies! It sounds like you are definitely on the right track. Hopefully this will be it for you and this will be the last time that you have to endure the awful menopur!

  17. OUCH! Menopur is a b*tch. So glad to hear you're responding, though!