Saturday, October 29, 2011

Hey Sperm, Meet Egg

The last few days have been c-r-a-z-y in the Bachman house! 

Thursday was my egg retrieval. Feeling full and anxious to get this procedure out of the way, I bopped into the surgery center around 9 a.m. Totally determined not to get sick, I came in prepared with acupuncture buttons on both wrists to help combat nausea. The actual procedure went smoothly but I did get super sick afterwards and ended up being rolled out of the restroom on a stretcher. So, they kept me an extra 2 hours for monitoring and pumped me with more IV fluids. A total of 28 eggs were retrieved.

I wanted to share the following website:  It gives a great explanation of the egg retrieval procedure and even includes a short video clip of what it looks like on ultrasound.

Yesterday, we received a phone call with a fertilization update.  Of the 28 retrieved, 22 of them were mature, meaning they were able to attempt fertilization via ICSI. However, only 7 actually fertilized. Initially, it was hard not to be discouraged by these stats but we are reminding ourselves that it only takes one. The growth of the 7 embryos would then be monitored over the next 24 hours to determine whether we will have a day 3 or day 5 embryo transfer. There are higher success rates with a day 5 transfer, since the embryo has developed into a blastocyst at this point.

Let's fast forward 24 hours...bringing us to today! We checked our IVF voicemail box about an hour ago and had a message from the embryologist. We both took a deep breath and pressed play. We were told that all 7 of our embryos are still growing!  So, we are scheduled for a Day 5 transfer on Tuesday.   
Praise God! 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

One Day Closer

Another monitoring visit in the books. My estradiol level is 5,217 and am still feeling pretty good. I've met the requirement of having at least 5 follicles that measure 18 mm.

:::Drum roll:::

It's game time!

Tonight, at 11 p.m. I will have 2 injections of hCG (Ovidrel) -- 1 entire syringe and the other just 1/2. This is called the "trigger shot". It is timed precisely to coincide with the final maturation of the follicles. When this shot is given, those follicles release their eggs.

Screen shot of a few of the follicles on my left ovary.  Looks like a honeycomb, right?

Then, I get ONE FULL DAY of zero shots. That's entire day of not being poked. During this time, my estradiol level will continue to go up and I'll go back tomorrow morning for another round of bloodwork to check it. So, we're hoping it doesn't go up too high making me sick. My egg retrieval is set for Thursday morning at 10 a.m.. No turning back now.

We can't wait until Thursday! Finally, we will get to find out how many eggs they retrieve, how many are mature and then how many fertilize. Big decisions and big excitement coming over the next week.

Thank you all so much for keeping us in your prayers. It means more than you know.  

Please, let this be the cycle that brings us the child that we've prayed so hard for.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Monday, Monday

We're seriously debating the purchase of a jet to get us back & forth to Nashville in lightning speed.  Ok, not really.  But, we can dream.  Maybe we can borrow Reba's helicopter.

This morning's appointment went well.  It was yet another monitoring visit to see how my follicles are developing and to check my estradiol level.  Thankfully, my estradiol level is still in the "safe" zone at 3,664 -- tripling since Saturday.  We are on day 10 of stimulating medications.  It was on this day in our previous fresh cycle that my E2 surged and caused me to become so sick.  So, we're counting our blessings that I seem to be in the clear thus far.  

I am growing follicles aplenty.  Jake was in charge of writing down the sizes of each as they were measured via ultrasound.  He ended up using every inch of that piece of paper, as we counted 36.  Yes, 3 dozen.  The folllicles measured on average between 16-17 mm each.  

I have been instructed to tweak my FSH dosage tonight -- reducing back to 75 units of Gonal-F.  Still on the 3 injections per day.  But, the Dr. wants to decrease my FSH for at least the next 24 hours, making sure that the follicles continue to grow but not too much that they would cause a spike in my estradiol level.

Back again to Nashville in the a.m. for hopefully our last monitoring visit.  Tomorrow's findings will determine when the egg retrieval will take place.  As of right now, they are looking at Wednesday or Thursday for this procedure.  

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Just Another Saturday Morning During IVF

We went in for my 3rd IVF monitoring appointment this morning. Although we were a little grumpy that we didn't get to sleep in, it was nice having very few cars on the road during our quick trip to Nashville. Zoomed in and zoomed out. 

Everything continues to look good. My estradiol level has risen to 1296. I have more than 10 eggs on each ovary, measuring over 10 mm. Most are around 12 mm. Still instructed to continue on the same dosage -- 150 units of Gonal-F, 75 units Menopur, 5 units Lupron and 1 mg Dexamethasone -- through Monday morning.

Because of the crazy number of eggs that are developing, I'm becoming more uncomfortable each day. Hubby has noticed my "waddle" walk lately. I'm starting to notice a change in my energy level, due to the surge in hormones. I can't believe I fell asleep at 7 p.m. last night. In between my hibernation, I'm staying busy with craft projects and Lifetime movie marathons.

I'm scheduled for another visit on Monday at 9:30 a.m. We are looking for my estradiol level to increase, but not get too high, while the eggs grow to their mature size of 18 mm. As soon as we have more than 5 eggs reach the 18 mm size, it'll be go time for the egg retrieval! Based on the growth pattern so far, it looks promising that the retrieval will happen on Wednesday.

Here's to making it 'til Wednesday. I feel like I have more eggs than a mama turtle.

Back to the couch for a snooze fest...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

2nd IVF Monitoring Appt

Here's a quick update about today's monitoring appointment...

My lining has increased nicely to 7 mm, almost doubling in thickness since Tuesday. Tons of follicles but none have grown over 10 mm yet, so we are still days away from the egg retrieval. My estradiol level is now 401, showing a steady rise like they hoped for. Overall, a very positive visit!

I'll go back again on Saturday morning for more bloodwork and an ultrasound to check my progress.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

1st IVF Monitoring Appt

This morning, we headed to Nashville for my first monitoring appointment of this IVF cycle. They took me straight back to phlebotomy for my bloodwork to check my estradiol level (E2). This test gives a baseline to track how well I am responding to the follicle-stimulating hormone injections, which are used to stimulate multiple follicle growth during IVF.

As I had mentioned in a previous post, our Dr. has tweaked my medication protocol for this cycle -- combining FSH & HMG, versus FSH only. The goal is that I will not become hyperstimulated this time. After 3 days of follicle-stimulating medications, my estradiol level is 52. This is MUCH lower than our first monitoring appt of our earlier fresh cycle, which was 294. Although it shows that I'm far from being hyperstimulated, they would now like to see this level higher. So, for the next two days, I will increase my Gonal-F dosage to 150 units per day and will remain on 75 units of Menopur. Hoping this does the trick without causing my E2 to skyrocket like before. High estradiol level = Sick Amy. For comparison, a typical morning sickness during pregnancy is caused from an E2 around 2000. In my previous fresh cycle, I topped out at a whopping 10,858. Even the word "food" made me want to hurl.

After bloodwork, I had an ultrasound to measure my lining, as well as to count & measure follicles. My lining is 4.0 mm. Looking at 25 follicles altogether so far. Starting to feel more uncomfortable as each day passes. There's only so much room in there! Doc was happy with these numbers. If he's happy, so are we.

I am scheduled to go back on Thursday morning to see how I am responding to the dosage change. Lots of prayers for a favorable follow-up.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

IVF Suppression Check

I just had my suppression check appointment. This visit is set up to see if the Lupron injections are doing their job of suppressing my follicle-stimulating hormones, which is checked by blooddraw and ultrasound. My bloodwork showed an estradiol level of 29, which is right on track and shows that I am fully suppressed and ready for the next phase of IVF. My ultrasound showed a favorable tri-layer lining and no ovarian cysts. We were surprised to already see 20 antral follicles -- way above average! Our nurse was very, very pleased with this number. The antral follicle count, along with my age, is the best tool for estimating my ovarian reserve, the expected response to ovarian stimulating drugs, and the chance for a successful pregnancy with IVF.

This appointment also included a trial embryo transfer. With this procedure, the Nurse Practitioner passes a small catheter, much like the one that will eventually have embryos in it, into my cervix and injects a small amount of saline into the uterine cavity. Measurements are taken and notes are made -- basically, drawing a road map for the Dr. to have on the official transfer day to ensure that it goes quickly & smoothly. In cycles past, the trial transfer was very painful. But, my new Nurse Practitioner is a rockstar and it was easy-peasy this go 'round.

I will decrease my Lupron dosage to 5 units, starting tomorrow. Then, on Saturday, I will be adding injections of Gonal-F and Menopur, 75 units each. Originally, they had prepared me for the possibility of 4 injections per day. So, it's a bit of a relief for it to be dropped down to just 3. Never imagined I would be giddy about only having 3 shots a day. It's become sort-of routine by now. I don't cringe at the sight of a needle anymore. Not even the "Mac Daddy" Progesterone ones. Oh my, that will be one that I will definitely post a picture when we get to that step again. Think of it as a straw being pushed into a lemon. Yikes!!

Really feeling positive and calm, despite the madness that the next few weeks will bring. Praying that the good news keeps coming!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Time for a Happy Dance!

Received GREAT news this afternoon!  We have been named recipients of an IVF medication grant from Serono Pharmaceuticals, saving us close to $1,600.  This is such a tremendous blessing to us.  Prayers answered!

You'd better believe I'm celebrating by dancing like a fool in the living room.  Here's a sample of my "happy dance" soundtrack!!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

1st Day of Lupron Injections

First injection of our 3rd IVF cycle = DONE!

I'm really excited to get this round underway.  We enjoyed a nice weekend in Colorado with family and came back refreshed and ready to "nip this in the bud".  Yes, I'm giving myself a pass to use Andy Griffith Show references.  I grew up in the real life Mayberry -- Mt. Airy, NC.  So, forgive me if I use lots of old school phrases.  

Today's injection was 10 units of Lupron.  This drug shuts down my hormone system and also suppresses the production of follicle stimulating and leutinizing hormones.  These hormones, through the remainder of our cycle, will be controlled solely by medication as directed by my Dr.  I will continue the injections of 10 units every morning until my suppression check appointment on Oct. 13, where my bloodwork & ultrasound will be evaluated.  In previous cycles, they reduced my Lupron dosage following this appointment.  So, I am anxious to see if this round is any different.  

I'm also going to weekly acupuncture sessions.  Acupuncture is a great stress reliever.  So, for a crazy, stressful process like works wonders!  

In the meantime, I'm staying busy with my Etsy store, named My Milk Money.  (  After receiving lots of requests to sell my handmade items, I've finally taken the plunge and am having a ball!  I've always enjoyed being crafty, so this is pure bliss for me.  I have several orders to work on this afternoon, along with finishing up many new items that will soon be introduced.  I'm putting all profits into our IVF fund and really feel blessed to be able to utilize my love of the arts to help support our journey towards a family.