Egg retrieval #3, attempt #5-7, what was different? Why was this one successful, both in our highest quantity of embryos and in a twin pregnancy? It was supposed to be the first of 3-5 embryo banking cycles – all with genetic testing, gearing up for back to back frozen transfers until one worked. It ended up being a last minute, day of decision fresh transfer on a day that was already booked with other plans.
So, let’s recount briefly: stage 4 endometriosis with endometriomas that continue appearing and growing, one ovary that’s unusable and completely covered in scar tissue, a diminished ovarian reserve, a resistance to hormones, elevated testosterone levels, and depressed estrogen levels. Without diving too much into feelings (still eventually another blog), it felt pretty hopeless. The money was weighing on me, and I knew that the embryo banking cycles were going to become impossible to pay for, but it’s hard to recognize that when you’re hyper focused on a different goal. (So, let’s make this the most expensive cycle yet!)
I’d been on DHEA and CoQ10 for my last cycle and a couple of attempts. That continued throughout the last cycle in an increased dosage. I did acupuncture once weekly for five weeks prior to my retrieval, plus additional sessions during and after retrieval, and during early pregnancy. I went without deodorant, switched to scent-free, natural products, and continued my yearlong hiatus of dye-free hair. All great, right?
Well, get ready for the contradiction. I also sort of gave up. None of the above was difficult. I learned that I love acupuncture, switching products is a minor inconvenience at most, and I had rescheduled my hair appointment but then had to unexpectedly cancel due to an emergency at work. (Yeah, I took it as a sign, but I doubt it.) Since I “knew” that the cycle wouldn’t result in an immediate pregnancy, I stopped putting everything I had into it. I stopped being so careful with food and I did not cut out alcohol during the stimming portion of the cycle.
I’ve got a thing with plans and commitments. I NEED to keep them and I feel more than a bit off kilter when they change. It’s gotten significantly better, but still is something I’m working on. This cycle tested me in that regard. Nothing I prepared for occurred, up to and including my transfer day being on a birthday party day for someone who is very important to me.
We changed up meds slightly for this cycle and I prepared myself to be hopped up. My internet friend donated me some meds from her successful twin cycle (both boys are home now and doing so well, despite delivering at 29 weeks due to IUGR). And then I bought an obscene amount of additional drugs to make sure I was ready to go. The appointments didn’t seem to go that well, this time, but we were ready to change our plans on the fly. The discussion of my lining and the pros and cons of genetic testing were heavy on our minds. If we didn’t do genetic testing and nothing worked, we were yet another complete cycle in and possibly without the knowledge that it’s a lost cause. BUT, was I losing my best shot with my lining if we didn’t go forward?
Going forward with a fresh transfer was both one of the easiest and hardest decisions I’ve made. Would I be furious at myself later? I went with my gut; this cycle kept surprising us, so I figured maybe the surprises would continue. It was a weekend, so my days on bed rest were not accompanied by the feeling that I should be at work.
I’m so happy we went forward and are now 26 weeks into a healthy twin pregnancy. But, this could’ve gone either way.This blog doesn’t have much of a point other than those in the TTC/IVF community (myself included) constantly seek out tips and tricks for what makes a successful cycle and transfer, so I thought I’d write down what about ours was different. Do I think any of the differences were what made it successful? Not really, but who knows!?
Back to normal programming next time for an update on the babies!