Yesterday, I was talking to my therapist about Dr.YM. She suggested I just ask him directly about the things I am worried about, so I made sure to do that at my CD14 appointment today.  He said that he wouldn’t be giving me medication just to speed up the process and it would only be to increase the likeliness of the cycle working. During the ultrasound, he found one egg that was 15.6mm! So it grew a lot.  He said that my uterus has a good trilaminar (triple-layer) shape, but that it was only about 8mm thick, which was the same as last time. (I thought it was less last time, but I was wrong.) He said 8mm is the minimum he would want to see for a transfer, but that if it stays there, it doesn’t necessarily mean it would hurt my chances of a successful transfer. He said he would wait to get my blood work results and let me know about adding medication. After conversing with him today, I actually have started to trust him.

My nurse called a couple of hours later and said that my estradiol had only gone up to 123 and that Dr.YM wanted me to take some mini-HCG to boost my estrogen. So I went back to the clinic to get that and expressed my worry to my nurse that having to add medication means my body isn’t in optimal shape for a transfer. She assured me that they won’t do the transfer unless they really believe it will work, and that they would still cancel the cycle if my estrogen and lining don’t improve with the mini-HCG. I’m supposed to take 50 iui of mini-HCG tonight and come back to the clinic again tomorrow.

I don’t know how I feel — still worried I guess. Of course I don’t want to go through with the transfer if my embryo doesn’t have the best chance of surviving. On the other hand, I also don’t want to have to sit out this cycle and try again next month.  During both my egg retrievals, the meds made my estrogen go through the roof (14,000+), so I do believe that there’s a good chance the mini-HCG will do the trick.  Woo hoo happy new year, right?

FET: CD10 + CD12

On Monday I went to see Dr.YM (young male) at my clinic for my CD10 appointment. He had to have a female “chaperone” sit in on the appointment, which made it seem like I should be suspicious of him. He’s actually really boring and serious and likes to provide a lot of medical detail, which I guess is good. He said we weren’t close to my ovulation, because he wants the biggest follicle to be 18mm and my biggest one was only 10.6mm. He didn’t mention anything about my uterine lining. The nurse emailed that my estradiol level was 40, so not very high.

Today I had my CD12 appointment and I had to see Dr.YM again. This time he said my lining was 6.53mm and that my biggest follicle was 11.9mm, so my follicles don’t seem to be growing very fast. He told me that I was still not close to ovulating. This afternoon the nurse emailed me that my estradiol was 74 and my LH was 7.95 and that Dr.YM might decide to put me on medication after he sees me again on Saturday for my CD14 appointment.

UGH — I don’t want to be put on extra medication! My nurse never mentioned that I might have to be put on medication (besides for progesterone suppositories later) while doing a “natural” cycle.  That is why the natural cycle costs more money — because you go to a bunch of appointments to wait out ovulation!  I’m not looking forward to putting more (unexpected) money into this! Also, I’ll be extra annoyed if I have to buy the medicine on January 1 or later, because I want all my expenses to count toward my medical deduction on my 2016 tax return. I am worried that they want to put me on medicine to speed up ovulation so that they don’t have to have me come in for extra appointments. And I don’t like that it will be Dr.YM’s decision — I want my regular doctor to come back!

On the other hand, I should just trust all the doctors at my clinic, right? Would they really give me medicine if it was unnecessary or detrimental to my chances of having a successful transfer? Probably not.

FET Suppression Check

So of course I got my period on Sunday, the day after my last post bemoaning its unwillingness to come on command. So a 34-day cycle. Still, the cramps were relentless – starting on Wednesday and continuing until yesterday.

I had my CD3 suppression check appointment today for my FET — very exciting stuff since I haven’t been through the FET process stuff yet.

It was quite eventful getting to the appointment:

6:30 – Woke up earlier than I needed to.

7:30 – C left the house to go to work.

7:35 – Ready for my appointment, but I had an extra hour, so I decided to do a load of laundry.

7:40 – Took laundry down to the basement and preceded to accidentally lock myself out of my house.

7:42 – Sheer panic. No coat, no cell phone, no wallet…wearing snow boots, because they were by the door and I didn’t think I would be seeing anyone.

7:45 – Tried the front and back door a couple of times. Considered breaking down the door.

7:50 – Knocked on downstairs neighbor’s door — no answer.

7:55 – Walked to the coffee shop across the street and asked to use their phone. Left a message on my husband’s old Google voice telephone number. I wasn’t even sure if it was still a working phone number.

8:00 – Walked down the block to my friend’s apartment complex and dialed her phone from the outside directory. No answer.

8:05 – Decided to just walk to my appointment about a mile away from my house. To reiterate, I didn’t have my coat and I was wearing snow boots. Weather was 47 degrees (warmer than it has been), but it felt colder because it was windy.

8:30 – Arrived at my appointment 15 minutes early. Asked if I could use the phone and asked the receptionist if she knew C’s phone number — the other one. Why does he have 2 phone numbers??? I don’t know – to drive his wife crazy?! This time he answered. He took a car back home and unlocked the door for me.

8:45 – Finally! My blood draw and appointment! My doctor said my ovaries look great and I have no cysts.  She told me maybe I was just feeling a gas pain. (NO WAY – gas pain does not feel like throbbing localized pain in one side of your ovaries for days and days – but whatever.)

Then I had to walk home again. What a morning!

I got a call from my nurse this evening and she said that my blood work from today looks good.

I also found out that my CD10 ultrasound next week will be with some new, young male doctor at our clinic. I am not excited about that. I have never had a male gynecologist before and I am moderately weirded out by the thought of having some dude other than my husband all up in my hoo-ha. I don’t have a choice, though, because all the female doctors are on break for Christmas. So I will just have to deal.



PMS Rollercoaster


Last weekend C and I stayed at this wonderful, remote cabin in the mountains.  There was a LOT of snow and it was so beautiful.  We went snow-shoeing and ended our nights in a hot tub on the deck drinking champagne in the nude with a snowy forest all around us and snowflakes falling and feeling like real ballers from the 80s. (The photo above is the view from the deck.)

And then I got back to reality on Monday, when my anxiety over the timing of my period kicked into high gear. Because I am doing a natural (unmedicated) transfer cycle and my fertility clinic won’t do transfers from Dec. 23-Jan. 2, I needed my period to happen no earlier than today. Otherwise I would have to wait until my following period next month to do the transfer cycle.

The good news is, it hasn’t come yet.

The bad news is, it hasn’t come yet!

Before I started this process, my cycle was very regular, usually 26-27 days long. After my first egg retrieval I got my period 7 days later. Then I got my next period on day 33 of my cycle. Of course I expected things to go the same after my second retrieval. I got my period 7 days later. I thought that I would get my next period today (day 33 of my current cycle), but that doesn’t seem to be happening.

My week of anxiety panned out like so:

Tuesday, I starting to get anxiety that it would come too soon, but I wasn’t too panicked.

Wednesday, around 11:00am I started to get cramps, and I thought OF COURSE I’m going to get my period too early to do a transfer this cycle.

Thursday, my cramps were still going strong. Normally, I only get cramps for 24 hours before my period. Every time I went to the bathroom, I closed my eyes and silently wished that – please, please, please – I wouldn’t see any blood when I got up.

Friday, my cramps were STILL happening! Except now I was only feeling cramping in a very specific spot on my right side. So naturally, I googled what one-sided cramping and no period means and came up with either it’s implantation cramping and I’m pregnant (99% sure that’s not the case) OR I have an ovarian cyst, which I’ve never had before (but it seams plausible).  So I got pretty panicked wondering if an ovarian cyst means I can’t go through with the transfer or that my cycle is even more messed up and my ovulation timing won’t work out.

This morning I woke up and felt like the cramping had ended. Then about 30 minutes after I got up, I got the WORST CRAMPS I’VE EVER HAD IN MY LIFE (on both sides), but I took some more medicine and it subsided after about an hour. I thought for sure that meant my period was coming, but nope. Now I’m back to having the same pain in the right side that I had yesterday – ugh! I saw a tiny, tiny bit of spotting this afternoon, but it hasn’t turned in to anything. What is going on?!?! If I don’t get my period tomorrow, I’m going to email my nurse at the clinic. I’m scared she’ll say I have to cancel the transfer or something, so I’ve been delaying reaching out.

I can’t believe how much mental energy I’ve spent this week on A. wishing that I wouldn’t get my period and B. wishing that I would get my period!

A Brief Respite

It’s not often that snow forecast in Seattle comes true, so it does feel pretty magical when it does.  I love seeing everything covered in white. It makes me wax nostalgic for the huge 2008 snowstorm in Seattle. It was my first winter in Seattle and, coming from San Diego, I thought it was incredible. Everything shut down and we went sledding down urban streets on sandwich boards. In response, the city got its act together and now they salt all the streets and have adequate snow plows, so it’s never been quite the same.

C fell asleep at 8pm but I stayed up hoping, hoping, hoping that the snow would come….and by 10pm it was really snowing so I made him get up. We walked to a bar and had a drink, and then we walked up to Cal Anderson Park, which was covered in snow and lit up and full of energy. We ran into 2 of our friends and attempted to make a snowman. We had a snowball fight with strangers. We played in the snow until midnight, when they shut all the lights off.

When I got home, I realized that for 3 blissful hours I didn’t think about IVF once.  I don’t think I’ve stopped thinking about IVF once since starting the process – it really is in the back of my mind all the time. So it was really nice to have a brief respite on a beautiful snowy night.

Rolling the Dice


It just occurred to me that I didn’t do any blog posts from September 16 (when I got the test results of my egg retrieval #1) and October 26 (when I had my initial suppression check for egg retrieval #2). That was a really dark time for me, and I think because I’m feeling hopeful now I can write about it.

I felt pretty darn positive leading up to the retrieval, because I was young enough and had no known fertility issues. From the initial suppression check to my egg retrieval (#1), the doctors I saw always told me how great things were going, even better than expected. “You have so many follicles!” “You’re responding so well to the medicine!” I started to feel like I was some kind of star patient, how the doctors must like me the best because they didn’t have to give me bad news. I kept telling people, “I’m so glad I’ll never have to do this again!” My hope was to have 15-16 eggs to test. On the day of my retrieval I had 46 eggs, and 17 made it to the blastocyst testing stage. Everything was going swimmingly!

Then I got that call from my doctor, which I thought was strange, because only nurses at the clinic had called me in the past. I was excited to hear the news! Then she told me that only 1 egg passed both PGD & PGS testing, I didn’t know what to say. The doctor was saying more stuff, but her voice sounded far away. I just said “Oh, okay” and I hung up and sat alone in my office bawling. My husband came to pick me up. Just thinking about how I felt then makes me feel kind of sick to my stomach. It was really hard — even harder than when I got the news that I tested positive for the ALS gene.

It was fortunate that I got this news on a Friday evening, when everyone from work had already gone home. I spent all weekend crying in bed. Why did I only get 1?! My husband said I should just do another retrieval — he didn’t even have to think about it. He said that I could put the one embryo in if I wanted to, but I knew that eventually my husband I wanted to have 2 kids and that I had the best chance of getting the most good eggs at a younger age.

So I had 2 options:

  1. Put the 1 embryo in and do another egg retrieval later in life.
  2. Do another egg retrieval.

The thought of putting off pregnancy by another 2 months seemed so unfair. The thought of having to go through all the pain and bloating and OHSS seemed so unfair. But the worst part by far was the thought of spending another $30k. I had finally come to terms with paying $30k for this process and now I was faced with spending $60k. We didn’t have another $30k. We would have to take out a loan. That’s what bothered me the most. That’s what kept me up night after night laying in bed.

For a while I thought that I should just put the one embryo in. That wouldn’t put us in debt. But then I imagined having a miscarriage with my only embryo and that seemed like the worst thing of all. It’s really good that my husband felt strongly about me doing another egg retrieval, because I didn’t feel like either option was good.

In times like this, it’s good to have family, right? Uh, no. I called my dad crying and told him what had happened. His reply was, “That’s what happens when you roll the dice and play with Mother Nature.” He tried to talk me out of doing another retrieval. He’s never asked me how the second retrieval went and I’m not even planning to tell him about the results. Basically, my dad is the worst, but I’ll save a full rant about him for another time.

Other people tried to cheer me up by saying, “You only need 1, right?” This is my least favorite IVF comment so far. It’s like people think there’s 100% chance that an embryo will stick upon implantation. Anyways, after I told people the bad news, I stopped talking about the process with all but my closest friends. I avoided friends and co-workers. I didn’t want to have to talk about how hopeless I felt about the second retrieval even going well.

I wanted to know if I just produced bad eggs or if the first retrieval was just a fluke, but no one had an answer for that. Maybe the eggs with ALS were the strongest eggs also. Maybe somehow it was more than 50% chance of me passing ALS along. Maybe I did have infertility issues. Maybe I had PCOS. Maybe I was not meant to have kids, because my genes were too fucked up. These are all things I thought and it made it so hard to have any faith in a second retrieval.

Oddly, with these lowered expectations – will I get 1 egg or 0 eggs? – the second retrieval cycle was a breeze for me. I knew the drill. I shut my brain off and moved through the motions on auto-pilot. I drank my protein shakes and electrolyte water dutifully. I took my shots and crossed off the days on the calendar one by one and then it was done. I knew I wouldn’t be doing another egg retrieval anytime soon, but waiting for the results was so so so so nerve-wracking. The second time, my results were exactly as predicted (50% of the embryos had the ALS gene, and 60% of the remaining embryos passed PGS testing.)

Now, looking back, of course I am glad I did it, which is easy to say since it went well. And I don’t care about the money quite as much anymore. Supposedly, it will all be worth it.