Category Archives: IVF progression
Posts dealing with the progression of our IVF journey. Starting when we first discussed it with our doctor.
Another kick in the gonads.
Arriving at the clinic for our WTF meeting I was surprisingly calm. I thought I felt calm. Maybe I’m just emotionally numb by now, because according to my bowels I was feeling really stressed. They threatened to force me into canceling this appointment. Thankfully the wife keeps a pharmacy in her purse for common ailments.
What I really like about our Doctor is how he explains the process for anyone to understand. He restated how our situation is mainly due to very low sperm count. How we tried to increase production and it didn’t work forcing us straight into IVF and ICSI. Yada yada, rinse repeat…heard all this already…same info you said last time. Unfortunately this need to explain the process leads to repeating himself.
Finally I interrupted asking, “How low?” I’m tired of guessing what my count is based on a couple of reports I’m not sure I’m even reading correctly.
“A few thousand.” Wow! Here I was thinking it was a few dozen. Maybe I’m not as bad off as I originally thought. Maybe it might be worth trying IVF again. Maybe I might actually have a kid that is mine. Maybe…
“The most likely reason for this failure is the poor quality of sperm.” Nice kick Doc. Right in the balls. Right square in the balls. Just after I let down my guard too. Well played.
“During fertilization the egg itself has everything it needs the first 3 days to grow. After that the embryo requires the information from the sperm to continue growing.” Basically not only am I producing a low number of sperm, but the ones I am producing are worthless. Great! And here I thought I couldn’t feel any lower about my reproductive ability.
We discussed another IVF cycle which he did agree my wife could stay on her anxiety medication during it. A big win that right now I’m in too much pain to enjoy.
We talked about the options of donor sperm and donor embryos. Both of which I have reservations about. We discussed using my father as a donor and what requirements would be needed to make that happen.
Then he brought up the option of a split IVF. Once they retrieve the eggs they would fertilize half the eggs with my sperm and the other half with donor sperm. This option would allow me to still have a shot of being a father with my lackluster sperm, and still increase our chances on a successful IVF with a donor who has better sperm.
It’s an interesting option. The wife and I have a lot to discuss. Which feels a lot better than just waiting around. Pardon me while I go put ice on my groin.
I have dreamed a dream…
but now that dream is gone from me. – Morpheus
A Dream Lost
By Matthew Wanner
Oh how I have dreamed,
for years allowed to grow.
A face, a smile, a love,
that one day I would know.
Choices have been pondered,
to make this world your own.
The name, rules, and school,
to mold until you’ve grown.
Lessons carefully collected,
to help along the way.
Requirement that is no more,
on the shelf they’ll forever stay.
Facing challenges with earnest,
a journey filled with strife.
Hoping to grant one gift,
the precious gift of life.
Alas the battle was lost,
this dream must be set free.
Leaving me only to grieve,
the person you will never be.
Farewell my sweet dream,
for I can no longer view.
A new one must be found,
a dream without you.
Fork in the road
The last few days have been really difficult. The battle of emotion has a winner and the victor is fear. You have no idea how hard it is for me even to admit I’m afraid. It is not an emotion guys talk about unless it relates to a funny story we are telling, or a lesson to learn from it. For men, fear is something you overcome and move on, not an emotion you dwell on during or after the fact.
The only reason I’m even admitting my fear is my commitment to making this blog an honest representation of my feelings. I generally try to find the humor in life. If you have read this blog from the beginning you will notice I don’t shy away from the story just because there is nothing humorous to be said. There was nothing funny about the day the Urologist told me modern medicine couldn’t fix my severe male factor infertility. Nor the day we found out none of the 4 embryos we didn’t transfer were able to be frozen. And right now there is nothing funny about the fear I am feeling regarding this test to see if my wife is actually pregnant. Had the doctor’s been able to freeze a couple of embryos, that would have been a safety net for us. But that safety net was taken down, leaving us with nothing to keep the fear at bay. The reality is this will be our one and only chance at having a child that is mine.
To pass the time we’ve been doing some more autumn decorating. Despite my poor drawing ability, I’m happy with how the pumpkin fireplace turned out.
But there is still the fork in the road ahead of us. Every plan for the future rests on the result of this test. Making every conversation have two answers. One if we are pregnant, the other if we are not. With every 2 part answer the fear I’m feeling is growing stronger and stronger. The embryo is now 11dp3dt, long enough that any pregnancy should be detectable with a First Response Early Result test. But we will have to keep giving her the progesterone shots until we have the blood test on Monday. If the FRER comes back negative, it will be very hard to continue those shots.
I’m left contemplating which is the braver course. Do I face the fear and have her take a home test now? Knowing we would still need to do the PIO shots with a negative result. Is it chicken to want to delay facing this result for a few more days? Am I looking at this completely wrong and the reverse is true? That the easy route is to find out now, and the braver action would be dealing with this fear a few more days. I don’t know the answer and I don’t think there is a universally correct one. I just know there is an individual answer for the two of us. An answer that keeps changing on me as the minutes tick by.
As we come close to a possible end of our journey, I know you are all pulling for us and the wife and I are truly grateful for your support. But there is a real possibility the IVF didnt’ work and I wanted to prepare my friends and family following this blog on how to respond if that turns out to be the case. As I was considering what to say to someone in our situation, I came across this post from Life Without Baby that says exactly what I was planning to write, and better than I ever could.
I’m not saying everyone has to call us crying. Just avoid the platitudes and be sincere is all we’re asking.
There are numerous examples of what NOT to say to someone who is dealing with infertility. What can be more difficult is to describe what TO say or do when someone you love is going through the experience.
The most appropriate and comforting response I have received came from my younger sister, Katie. We were conversing on the phone one night, and the topic glided over to my problems with conceiving. My husband and I had been going to a fertility clinic. We had been trying for a while, but to no avail. Due to my age, IVF was the most logical next step, but not an option for us.
With a lump in my throat, I told my sister that I had reached a point where I felt like I now had to come to terms with the fact that I was never going to have…
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Battle of the Two Week Wait.
In infertilish it is known as the dreaded 2ww. The two weeks between embryo transfer and your “beta” blood test to see if you are in fact pregnant. I’ve read several blogs talking about this period of time and felt prepared to handle these two weeks. Oh, how wrong I was.
Think back to a time when there was a date in your future you were really excited about like Christmas or the start of that special vacation. Remember how excited you were and how you could not wait for that day to arrive. Then think about a time when a date in your future was something you were loathing. For example a final exam on a subject you were struggling with, or that blind date your mother made for you. Remember the anxiety and fear as the date approached and how the date just kept approaching. On the one hand you never wanted the date to arrive, and on the other you just wanted to get it over with. Now imagine if both events were on the same day, then multiply it by a factor of 10. I have never been so excited for, and at the same time dreaded a single date in my entire life.
I now understand why women go crazy and want to start peeing on everything knowing the result is meaningless at this point. I’m feeling the same way. I want to drink a bucket of water and pee on every stick in the county area just to feel like I’m doing something. I know this sounds ridiculous, but right now a meaningless answer seems better than no answer and logically I can’t figure out why that is the case.
You can try to take your mind off of it for a while. I planned on doing a lot of swimming over the weekend to help clear my head. Mother nature decided to rain all weekend squashing those plans. We tried watching a movie Sunday night. Wanting to watch something we haven’t seen before, I turned on “A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas” thinking it would be a fun distraction. How was I supposed to know the movie ends with Harold’s wife taking a pregnancy test?
My poor wife is not only having to deal with these emotions, but also the progesterone in oil (PIO) is making her feel like crap. The only relief I have found is knowing I’m not the only one ever having to suffer through this. Connecting with others currently suffering the 2ww. And watching this video over and over again…
(edit: I think I like this one even better)
You’ve found out you have a fertility problem and want to learn more about it. Perhaps you want to meet others dealing with similar issues for comfort and understanding. Welcome. This is a very friendly and understanding community. Infertility may have caused us to develop a warped sense of humor and you do get the occasional fits of rage against those who procreate without even trying (teens, crack heads, relatives who’ve only been married a month)…but you’ll soon understand those feelings if you aren’t starting to already. What you will be confronted with is a new language that you may not understand, Infertilish.
In our frustration from not being able to procreate with just a man and a woman, we infertile’s start smashing together several disciplines in our desperate attempt for anything to help us Trying To Conceive (TTC). You have the chemists with their sticks in urine hoping for a line to tell them today is the day. The women call it Peeing On A Stick (POAS) and this is done for ovulation tests and pregnancy tests. There are the biologists checking cervical mucus looking for the right indicator. You will also see the charters taking their temperature every morning looking for the spike telling them an egg is on route and Baby Making Sex (BMS) must start immediately. Many may be doing all 3 at the same time. Then they add more disciplines of natural medicine using herbs, acupuncture and maybe even others before the couple decided to go to a doctor looking for answers.
Since we are familiar by now with smashing disciplines together, that is what happened with the Infertilish language. The language combines cryptography, chronology and mathematics to form its base structure. With a few lines an infertile can cram their entire infertility journey. You feel the hopes in one line and their crushing sadness in the next.
You may come across something like this:
8/5 m/c @ 6 weeks
11/2 IVF #2
This woman has been trying to conceive for 2 years. Started her first IVF on June 7th. The first test came back a Big “Fat” Positive but she miscarried the baby at 6 weeks. She tried her second IVF on November 2nd and the pregnancy test came back a Big “Fat” Negative on November 26th. (Some infertile folks don’t use the word fat.)
A few try to shove in what medications they used and strengths. You may also see IUI attempts as well, but this should at least give you an idea what they are talking about.
You will also see woman talking about how many DPO they are. This stands for Days Past Ovulation and is used to tell women when she can start POAS for a BFP or BFN result. Except with IVF it gets a little more complicated. For IVF you have to consider the days between Egg Retrieval (ER) and Embryo Transfer (ET). You will see these cryptic markings like 3dp5dt. This says the woman is 3 days past her 5 day transfer. You add the 3 and the 5 to figure out she is 8 dpo. Now you might be asking why bother, why not just use the dpo standard of measurement? Because Infertilish is not just about communicating information but also emotion.
Look at the following 3 women.
Susan is 9dp3dt.
Grace is 7dp5dt.
Patty is 6dp6dt.
All 3 woman are 12 dpo and itching to POAS hoping for a BFP. But Susan’s doctor’s didn’t like the progress of the embryos so they put them in early hoping for them to survive better in the womb. Grace’s doctor’s were happy with her embryo growth to keep them going for 5 days before transferring them into her womb. Patty however is from a frozen embryo transfer as fresh transfers are 2, 3 and 5 days. So she isn’t dealing with coming off of 2 weeks of stimulation drugs and the pain of egg retrieval right now. Unless she is a year past her previous attempt, more than likely her fresh attempt didn’t work out and she is dealing with that loss at the same time hoping this one works.
If you would like to learn more about Infertilish you can purchase my advanced course, “Infertilish to Parenthood 900.” For the ridiculously low price of $14,000 I will attempt to send you the course material which in 9 months you may or may not receive. However, included is a test you can run after 2 weeks to see if you’ve been screwed. All purchases are final, no refunds.
BTW we are 4dp3dt, bonus points if you can figure out how we are feeling.
Hopes and Fears
The wife has been so cute the last couple of days. She has been very careful to avoid the list of foods the doctors told her to avoid. I’ve been helping her by making the bad foods disappear. She is eating scrambled eggs in the morning and a piece of pineapple core in the evening that is supposed to help her lining accept the embryos. She did some lovely decorating in the condo for autumn. There is still a little discomfort in her belly, but it only hurts now when laughing or sneezing. She fears she is accident prone and being very careful in her activities. Other than a banged head on the drier door, I would call her attempt to avoid accidents a success.
Looming over us was the hope that the 2 transferred embryos were attaching themselves for the long haul, and that a few of the 4 growing in the lab would make it so we could freeze them. At 11:30 this morning the wife sends me the text, “None of them made it baby.” . . .
. . .
. . .
. . .
FUCK 😥 😥 😥
I’m stuck at work, but I want nothing more than to rush home, take her in my arms and hold her close. She is trying to be strong and not let it upset her, but she worries what the future might bring. She is scared this didn’t work. Afraid if she tries to feel confident about it working that will just make her feel worse if it doesn’t. I took some advice from OneSuburbanChic’s blog and told her “for now just live in the present sweetheart.”
Our energy is now focused on trying to stay cautiously hopeful. Our hopes now rest solely on two little embryos in her womb. Come on little buddies, please stick!!!
It feels like a roller coaster…
Last night we went to bed both a bit scared. We only had 5 embryos and they were considered to be in poor condition. The wife hauled my butt out of bed 5 minutes before my alarm even had a chance to go off. We were concerned about getting to the office an hour before so the wife could take her Valium and drink the water she needed for the procedure. Coupled with the concerns from the report yesterday it was a nervous trip for both of us. The highlight for me was passing the billboard of a vasectomy doctor, knowing I’ll never need to worry about needing that done.
We arrive at the hospital. She takes her medication and drinks the bottle of water while we kill time in the gift shop before taking the elevator up to the office. While waiting in the waiting room, the Valium is slowly turning my wife into a paranoid goofball. She starts giggling for no apparent reason. Followed by asking me how her hair looks and if everyone one is laughing at her because of it. She then goes on and on about this pretty bird figurine she found in the gift shop. I thought, I’ll buy that for her while she is having the transfer done. She then tells me, “You could buy that bird figurine for me during the transfer.” Son of a bitch. The Valium turned her into a mind reader.
The nurse calls her name and informs us our primary Doctor wants to do the transfer himself and is running an hour late. She then asks how her bladder is feeling. The answer she got wasn’t the one she was looking for and hands my wife another cup of water to drink.
Now my wife really has to pee. I really have to pee and won’t because I would feel guilty. And she can’t even listen to her relaxation tape because it has the sounds of birds and waterfalls. Finally they call us back to see the doctor.
First we ask him about my wife still dealing with pain, to which he responded, “Well we poked her in the ovaries pretty good getting the eggs. Since the ovaries in females are the same organs as testicles are in males, it’s the same as getting kicked really hard in the gonads.” I love this doctor! Then he gives us the news.
Overnight one of them grew to a 7C, which made the doctor really happy. Another egg that wasn’t doing anything yesterday decided it was finally a good time to start, so that gave us a total of 6 embryos. With the 7C the doctor felt pretty good about just using 2 embryos for the transfer. That’s what we did. We transferred the 7C and a 3C that the embryologist felt pretty good about into my wife. We will let the other 4 continue to grow. If they are still viable by Friday they will freeze them for later use if we need them. We are hoping for 2 or 3 to make it to that stage.
So now we are feeling pretty good. They take her back for the transfer, I head to the restroom, then down to the lobby to buy her the figurine she wanted. Turns out, her bladder was too full. This required a delicate operation of her going, but not completely going until the bladder was the size they are looking for to perform the procedure. I have no idea why this is important, but I guess it must be. The catheter this time did not cause her any pain, which she was very happy about.
We leave the hospital with instructions for my wife to lay in the back seat with her butt raised by a pillow. It is not a very comfortable back seat for laying down on. Even though I was trying to drive very carefully, every bump or turn brought another groan from the backseat. Finally she yells, “I don’t like this, it feels like a roller coaster” And that’s what this IVF process has felt like. An up and down journey of hopes and fears.
The wife is resting and feeling much better. They instructed her to stay in bed with her butt elevated today as much as possible. Now all we can do is hope for the best. Our first blood test is September 17. That is when we will find out if one of the embryos is attached and still growing.
The anxiety of hope.
These have been an interesting couple of days. The wife slept most of Saturday. She started to feel some pain from the procedure that evening. We were happy they harvested 12 eggs. The nurse informed her she had the most that morning and how one woman only had 4. Now we don’t know this woman in any way other than knowing she only had 4 eggs harvested on Saturday, but this woman has been in my wife’s thoughts ever since. That is just the type of person she is. She has been worried about her friend back home who suffered a great tragedy on Friday. She is just the type of person that cares about others. One of her many qualities that caused me to fall in love with her.
Sunday the pain wasn’t going away. That’s when the anxiety started to come back out of the cage. She works as a hair dresser for a living, which involves a lot of standing and bending over. And here she was struggling to make it to the bathroom. So I spent most of Sunday trying to help keep her calm and relaxed. I made taco salad for dinner, making sure to clean the kitchen to keep that worry off her mind. She had enough on it worrying about work. She really hates calling in sick. We hoped a good nights rest would do some good and she would be up to working her 4 hours shift on Monday. I could tell she was still hurting from the sounds she was making while she slept. And stupid me forgot about the alarm I set for Saturday. At 5:30 it went off waking the wife. She was not happy and couldn’t get back to sleep.
Since today is a holiday, the clinic office number kept telling us the office was closed when we called, when we were told they would be open. The paper says to call on Monday at 10am if we hadn’t been contacted already. I finally said screw it and pushed the button as if this was an emergency which connected me to an operator. Thankfully they understood and Dr. Pain called us back in a few minutes.
Of the 12 eggs only 5 fertilized. We are scheduled for the transfer tomorrow at 9:30am. They feel they have a better chance in the womb than in the lab. Not wanting to give my wife something else to worry about, I withheld what I felt would be a good result. When we were told we had 12 eggs, my head calculated 4 as a realistic number. Based on what I’ve read from other people, that was my secret hope. So I felt 5 was a positive. My wife was hoping for a higher number and broke down crying. I should have told her. I almost lost it when my wife said how she hoped the eggs from the woman with only 4 are all okay. I probably would have if not for the expletives of frustration that surrounded the statement. The wife describes these attacks as wanting to say 1000 vulgar words in a single sentence. Yet somehow even in the middle of one of these attacks she is still concerned for a person she doesn’t even know.
We started her progesterone shot and she went off to get ready for work. She requested I drive her to work, and I was happy to oblige. But while getting ready myself, her nausea started. Talking on the phone was out of the question for fear of vomiting. I called her boss and explained the situation. Graciously she figured out another arrangement so my wife could stay home and continue to recover. I’m grateful for that. The nausea finally went away 3 hours later and she has kept down the food she ate, so we hope this isn’t an ongoing issue. But she still feels really guilty about asking off with the shop already being forced into a short staff situation this week.
Now we are just hoping all 5 continue to grow. The doctor graded them as 2-3 and grade 4-8 are considered good. Which is why they are deciding on a 3 day transfer instead of a 5 day transfer. So there is cause for concern. We will find out more information tomorrow before the procedure.
Sex, Doctor style
Friday ended up being a reflection on how the universe enjoys laughing at me. My wife suffers from anxiety. Well it seems the HCG shot put her anxiety at defcon 2. The medication she takes to help her anxiety, she has had to ween off of before this procedure. As an alternative we are sending her to acupuncture, which is helping, but my insurance won’t cover it. The additional cost in turn is causing more anxiety. Then her coworker, out of the blue, files for FMLA next week making her shop short a person when we need flexibility for the embryo transfer. Which is adding more stress. The good news is this week my company is finally giving out our yearly raises. I sure could use a raise to help pay for these expenses my company’s insurance won’t cover, but I make just enough to qualify for the group the executives feel don’t need a raise. (Not blaming you boss, still sucks though.) Everywhere I turned, a new irony was slapping me in the face.
Eventually we got her anxiety under control and went to bed. Now I made sure to have my alarm set for 5:30, what I forgot to check was I had it set not to trigger on the weekend. It’s a good thing my wife is a morning person. We get on the road for the hour-long drive to the main office at the hospital in the big city. I’m estimating we would be about 45 minutes early. We get to the hospital to find the main garage is closed. Ugh! So we follow the signs to the other end of the hospital where there is another parking garage. I didn’t even know they had a second parking garage. We then walk the half a mile through the hospital without a clue where we are headed. By the time we arrive, the wife is laughing at me for my snippy responses to any friendly staff person who offers assistance, and we are only 15 minutes early.
I got called in to give my contribution and was directed to a different room with, you guessed it, a folding chair in a bathroom.
This one has been around the block. I thought the tear in the front was a nice touch. At least this door had a lock and no assassin overhead cabinets waiting to assault me.
You know what is more uncomfortable than leaving a room where everyone knows you are going to go masturbate? Coming back to the same room when you’re done with the same people 15 minutes later, and then walk over to your wife and sit next to her. I think my face discovered a new shade of red. They call my wife in for her procedure. I do a little tweeting, then bury my head in a book to avoid eye contact with anyone else.
About an hour and a half later they call my name. I eagerly get up wanting to check on my wife and see how she is doing. Instead the nurse directs me to the elevator and tells me I have to haul my ass the half mile to get the car, because they are bringing her down to the lobby. By the time I exit the parking garage, the nurse is wheeling my wife down the street looking for me. I almost didn’t notice them in pursuing my goal of getting to the pickup area.
BUT WE DID IT! They harvested 12 eggs from my wife. We will hear back in a couple of days with results on how many successfully fertilized.