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
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!"