Wednesday, September 25, 2013

IVF #4: Follicle Monitoring

I wrote all of these posts on the dates listed before each entry, but we weren't ready to post them until now.  If you know the outcome of our IVF, please don't give it away in the comments until after the "IVF #7: Results are In!" post has been posted.

In case you missed them, here are links to the previous posts: "IVF #1: The Beginning", "IVF #2: Starting Meds", "IVF #3: Baseline Ultrasound and Stims".

Thursday, July 18
I've been on the follicle stimulation meds for 8 days now and I today I had my first ultrasound to see how many follicles are growing and to have them measured.  Ideally each follicle will contain a mature egg.  My sweet sister-in-law had been dying to take me to one of my appointments so I took front runner down to Provo where she picked me up.  On the way down I was really nervous.  I was worried that there wouldn't be any or very many follicles.  I was reading from the Book of Mormon during the 30 minute ride and felt the Lord bless me with peace and comfort in that moment.  I love how the Holy Spirit can comfort us even during those stressful times.

I was so glad Stephie-Lynne was with me.  The nurse practitioner was awesome and was more than happy to answer all our weird questions.  She told us that a woman's ovaries are normally the size of almonds, but that after all the meds mine would be about the size of PLUMS!  She did lots of looking around and measuring and finally said, "Ok, there are 20... on that side!!"  The final count was 38!!  Good job body!  They looked like massive bunches of grapes!  I was shocked and overwhelmed.  I know it was a tender mercy from the Lord.  It was a great reminder that we have an all merciful Father in Heaven who loves us and wants so much to give us the desires of our hearts as long as it's in our best interest.  I also had a blood draw and the nurse called earlier tonight to tell me to lower my dose again because my estrogen levels are beginning to sky rocket.

Before my ultrasound--I don't look too nervous, right? :)

 During the ultrasound

I liked that they had this big screen TV on the wall so I could see a picture of all our little follicles!  See, they kind of look like bunches of grapes. :)

Then they measure each follicle--I have no idea how they make sure they don't measure the same follicle twice or miss any.

Friday, July 19
I went in for another ultrasound today and things are looking good.  Today the nurse practitioner counted 41!  I said, "Oh good!  Hopefully we can even have a few freezer babies then!!"  She and another nurse laughed about me calling them freezer babies for a few minutes. :)  I also had another blood draw and they stopped my stimulation meds all together.  I had kind of been hoping to be ready to trigger tonight so we could retrieve on Sunday, but they said my estrogen levels were still peaking and we have to wait until they plateau before I can take the trigger shot.

Saturday, July 20
Matt was able to go with me to my ultrasound today which was so fun and exciting.  The nurse practitioner counted 45!  Matt said if we just need my estrogen levels to drop I should try doing some manly things like spitting and watching football. :)  The nurse liked that idea.  I had another blood test and asked them what my estrogen levels had been like.  They told me that from my baseline blood work on July 10 they were 34.  Yesterday they were about 6,000 and they expected them to be about 8,000 today.  I probably shouldn't have asked because OF COURSE I came home and "Googled" it and started panicking that they were going to cancel my cycle because it sounded like I might be overstimulated.  I even read an article that said many doctors will cancel a cycle if a patient's estrogen levels approach 4,000.  The nurse called me later to tell me that they were in deed 8,000, that we had to wait for them to plateau, and that I should plan on coming in tomorrow for another ultrasound and blood test.

We have so many people praying for us and Matt gave me a blessing tonight.  I want to say that I know everything will be alright, but I'm honestly terrified.  We have so much invested in this!

Sunday, July 21
I was so nervous this morning.  We went to church and I tried to hold it together, but during relief society we sang How Firm a Foundation for the opening hymn.  I couldn't even sing and the tears started streaming down my face as everyone sang, "Fear not, I am with thee; oh, be not dismayed, for I am thy God and will still give thee aid.  I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand, upheld by my righteous...omnipotent hand."  I can't even type this without crying again.  I just felt so strongly that no matter what, our lives are in the Lord's hands and that everything would work out.

We left church a little early and rushed down to our appointment.  The ultrasound went well.  The nurse practitioner turned off the magnification to show us the actual size of my ovaries.  They are the size of big APPLES and she said they are so big that they are touching each other!  There was one MASSIVE follicle that Matt pointed out and the nurse told him that it was my middle linebacker. :)  I had another blood draw of course.  Like I said, if you know how much I hate needles, you know how much I want to be a mom and it never gets any easier.  The nurse said, "Don't worry I'm good at this."  After she stuck me I said, "Wow, you ARE good at this.  It almost makes me want to get my blood drawn everyday...oh wait..." :)

About two hours later I received a call from Tonya (my favorite lady at the clinic--she's the IVF coordinator and the sweetest lady ever).  First thing she says, "Ok, do you have your trigger instructions in front of you?"  My estrogen levels had plateaued!!  The Lord had answered our prayers and the prayers of those we love.  She told me to just give myself half a trigger shot because that HCG hormone is what can push your body over the edge when it comes to getting OHSS.  So, at 6:00 pm on the dot, 36 hours before retrieval, we pushed that trigger!  We are scheduled for a Tuesday retrieval at 6:00 am, check in at 5:30 am.  Mean, huh? :)  While I was on the phone with her she also told me that I'm at a very high risk for OHSS and that from now through the pregnancy test I am to drink only Gatorade (NO WATER), eat lots of high protein foods, and keep measuring my fluid intake/outtake and body weight.  I'm already sick of Gatorade, so this should be interesting.

Monday, July 22
This morning I woke up and took a pregnancy test.  It was...
POSITIVE!!!  But, not because I'm pregnant.  I know, disappointing right?  But, it means the HCG trigger shot I gave myself last night worked.  Kind of funny that my first positive pregnancy test EVER is a "false positive".  Hopefully the real positive will be following in just a couple weeks!!


Liz Johnson said...

AHHH! I love these posts. You are incredible and so brave. I cannot IMAGINE having apple-sized ovaries that were touching. Holy moly, woman. That's insane.

That is one of my very favorite hymns, and that (and the 7th) is my favorite verse, too. I like to think that my Heavenly Mother is singing it to me while She strokes my hair (hope that's not too weird, but I love the imagery). :)

Marie said...

One of my favorite parts about the trigger shot was the end of blood draws (for a few days at least). I was running out of places for them to poke me!

Katie George said...

Ultrasounds are seriously so cool. It's amazing what you can see, and especially how much the technicians can see on those things. A positive pregnancy test-yay!