BJ came with me to my follow-up appointment following my Follistim/IUI crash and burn. We met with Dr. D who immediately opened up with, "I think it's perfectly fine to go ahead and pursue IVF [in-vitro fertilization]." I felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Dr. D got to drawing his charts as he tends to do and gave us stats for couples our age. Out of 100 patients that go through IVF with his clinic, 60 will achieve a pregnancy. Out of the forty left, 20-23 will have success with a frozen embryo transfer (FET) and ten more will be successful on their 2nd FET. That is such an unbelieveable improvement over 10-13% and a miracle for our less than 2% chance on our own.
So this is the short version of what it entails. I will be on a cocktail of stimulation medication starting on August 5th. Dr. D would like to see me produce 20 eggs at my egg retrieval (ER), which will hopefully be some time during the week of the 15th. To help overcome BJ's dunderheaded sperm, the embryologist will perform intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). This involves using microscopic tools to pick up a sperm tail first and using a super tiny needle to inject it straight into the egg. It is my personal belief, that while progesterone deficiency and annovulation are treatable on my part, we just can't overcome the fertilization hurdle. So I think IVF is our answer. Five days after the retrieval, they will transfer embryos (ET) back to me. BJ and I have elected to transfer back two embryos. I figure there are two of us and two of them, so it will be fair. There is a movement to only use one embryo, but Dr. D has found that it lowers the success rate from 60 to 50%. I think we can handle twins, so it is not worth decreasing my chances. Four-five days after the ET, I will go in for my progesterone test, and 9 days after that I'll go in for my beta HCG (blood pregnancy test) .
Dr. D took his time to explain the procedures, and then we were taken once again to work with the financial coordinator. She explained the costs to us and we chose to purchase a package that included the ICSI, Fresh embryo transfer, and one back-up FET if the fresh doesn't take. So at the end of this, we have over an 80% chance of having our own child at last.
We then met with Pat once again, who was absolutely tickled for us, which is kind of funny, but you'd have to know Pat. Her confidence is contagious. She gave me prescription prenatal vitamins, 70pp of reading material on the procedures, and a sample of birth control pills...yes birth control pills... They want to shut my ovaries down so when I start my stimulation medications it is a hostile take-over. I have actually really enjoyed being on the pill because I feel like I'm not losing out on anything. It has been a great mental vacation from the past 7 months. I've even been able to relax on the T-totaling and let loose while it was still summer. Let me tell ya, I missed me some of my daddy's adult slushies this past year.
Since I had BJ held captive at that point, I elected to go ahead and have our IVF panel run. It is a series of blood tests that check for everything from cystic fibrosis to STD's. BJ has only had his blood drawn once before...Apparently where he comes from, modern medicine is still voodoo science. Anyway, he was very brave and did not cry as they took 5 vials of blood. Poor guy was sweating, looking away at a wall, and having me rub his neck, but he did survive. He walked around holding his arm like it might fall off until we got back to our car. An hour later while we were eating lunch he told me he was dizzy...poor thing...The good news is, the hard part is over for BJ! (He's shaking his head no...[insert evil laughter])
I have had the occasional panicky thought about it not working, but all-in-all, I've been in a lot better place emotionally. We made the decision to let all of our family know what we were going through. BJ encouraged me to start this blog, and I tell ya, so far it has been a phenominal experience. I have gotten so many kind words and well wishes from so many different people. I want to thank all of you for your love and support and to steal a line from Ellen, back atcha!
Right now, I think BJ's a little more nervous than I am. This is the last chance in the sense that it is the end resort procedure when it comes to fertility, but that doesn't necessarily mean we cannot try again. One of the biggest things I'm looking forward to (aside from the baby, of course) with IVF is all the control. I am still a control-freak, afterall. I will know how many follicles I have. I'll get updates for my meds every other day. I will know exactly how many eggs were retrieved, and how many fertilize. I will know how many embryos make it to blastocyst stage and the quality of the embryos. I'll know how many I have to transfer (2) and how many we will have to freeze. I thank God that I live in a time where physicians have been given the knowledge and abilities to help us spawnless folk.
Meanwhile back at the ranch, BJ and I have continued our vitamin regimens. We've also added a vitamin C supplement to his multi-vitamin and vitamin E. I am taking my prescription strength pre-natals as well as a baby aspirin and my Lo Loestrin. Tomorrow, the 25th, I will have to undergo the dreaded endometrial biopsy. It is the only thing I'm totally dreading. (In fact I'm taking a break from foraging my house for my bottle of Xanex to write this post.) Dr. D is also going to do a "mock transfer" to map out the best location in my womb for my babies. I guess nothing is too good for Roberts spawn... Afterwards we are going to sign all our consents. We even have to make a contingency plan for our snow babies (the frozen embryos) in case we get a divorce. (As if BJ could get off that easy [insert more evil laughter].) After that, I get a lesson on how to deliver all my meds. It's a bit overwhelming, but I'm really excited to get this process started.
Wish me luck tomorrow!
Peace, Love & Spawning,
It's Been a While
7 months ago