Friday, March 21, 2008

Recap of our Doctor Visit: We're on the list

I know many are wondering about the status of our recent RE visit, and I apologize for the wait. We've (well, K and the fur kids and I) are up in Duluth for the week and will be here until tomorrow. We've been a constant whirlwind of social activity, and poor K has been paying the price this afternoon. She is exhausted, and I don't blame her. We have lots of family and friends that we have squeezed in this trip (our first since Christmas!), and we didn't even see all of them. Daddy CJ stayed home to work and is out tonight with his buddies enjoying college hockey and more brewskis with some old pals and his brother.


We met with Dr. D this week, and it was a success. I told CJ after we left the clinic, 3 hours after we had arrived, that I'm so glad we went to this clinic (among the many that we could've went to). We realized it has been since 2005 that we've been "signed up" with this clinic, and I can still vividly remember visiting another reputable clinic and leaving it in tears after a doctor very callously dismissed me as "needing donor eggs" and "probably not possible to use their warranty program".

We love our doctor. He is kind, gentle (especially in the areas he needs to be), and soft spoken. His nurse is fabulous, and although I've had issues in the past with the scheduler not getting back to me, it's all worth it in the end to me to be treated with the utmost respect and the most thoroughly, especially in my "condition".

Our visit: we arrived on time at the clinic, me having a very full bladder, as I was instructed to do so, as I was having my uterus measured again (for future embryo deposit) and "checked out". First, we met with the clinic's financial person; of course they want to make sure we have a down payment before any of this goes any further. We coughed up the check, and went on our way, discussing all the legalities paperwork- wise as to what may happen if (God Forbid) CJ and I either pass away or get divorced. Always happy topics to go over at this clinic, eh?

Then, we met with the nurse to go over all the other paperwork. We had to cross our t's and dot our i's, and make sure our ducks are in a row. I was then escorted to the ultrasound room, where the doctor came into and started out by measuring my uterus. Previous to being PG with K., my uterus measured at 7. 25 centimeters. Keifer managed to stretch it another quarter of a centimeter, so that is written in the books. It is sort of cool to watch; every thing is measured and monitored on the ultrasound machine and I could see the probe doing it's job. Of course, my bladder was so painful at this point, I thought if I had to hold my urine any longer, I might have to just let go and GOOOO, on the table! Whew. I was able to get up and release all the water I had drunk, and made my way back to the table to have my sonohystogram completed. My uterus showed nothing abnormal and all was clear.

Then, we met with our doctor. Previous to having Keifer, we had met with him and gone over my female reproductive history, including previous gynecological surgeries, procedures, abnormal menstrual cycles, etc.., and we had decided with him how many embryos to transfer back into me if we made it embryo stage. Of course, we did, and we ended up transferring the three embryos we created back into me. One was rated at a very good, one was a decent one, and one wasn't ideal. They put all three back into me, thinking that there were two decent ones, and the risk of having twins (25%) was something that CJ and I, at that point, were willing to take.

I found out the other day, as well, that my uterine lining was only "borderline" in the thickness that they like to see when transferring embryos back. Apparently, they want a nice and thick, progesterone lined lining, somewhere close to a 10, and mine was only at a 7. something when we did my procedure. At this point in time, I am very glad I did NOT know this, had I not gotten PG, I would've (knowing me) obsessed over this small fact and wondered forever if it were my fault.

For this next go round, the doctor wants me to undergo a "mock cycle", meaning he will have me take all the meds that I will take for our "real cycle" in undergoing preparation for accepting embryos back into my body. We are hoping that if I am to have any problems building up that lining again, the problem can be tweaked and taken care of before a real cycle, as we would NOT want to make it all the way to the transfer day, and not be able to do so because of my lining. See how our ducks need to be in a row? So many "little" things that most people really have NO idea about.

Apparently, they have also changed the protocol in the past 2 years since we've had K. Back in 2006, I took a big ol' heavy duty Depo-Lupron shot in my ass, to shut down my ovary function. However, their research has shown that perhaps this shot has over suppressed some women, quite possibly me included, and so they have tweaked that protocol slightly. This shot may have also caused the problem with my uterine lining. So, lucky me, *sarcasm*, I apparently get to give myself (or CJ will give them, as I have an intense avoidance to needles in general) subcutaneous shots to my belly daily for a small amount of time, on top of the estrogen meds I will take orally. And here I thought I had escaped the tummy shots because I'm not going to be producing the eggs. Dammit.

Another topic we talked about with the doc was my history of irregular menstrual cycles and the fact that I did develop Gestational Diabetes during PG with K. Dr. D. is a man who does a tremendous amount of research, and he indicated that research has shown that not only do women who develop Gestational Diabetes during PG often become diabetics later in life, but there is also a slight correlation between Diabetes and miscarriage. He also indicated that there might be a slight connection to irregular cycles and Diabetes, which in turn links to miscarriage (if you follow my drift here), so I'll be undergoing some more in depth blood tests to determine if specific hormones are acting as the should within my body. I have to say, I'm very glad our doc is on top of things like this, because as we know in the infertile world, there are a million different reasons people may not be able to become PG, and if we can cross off the "ifs" and "whys" off a few different areas on my list, then I'll be happy about that.

We also discussed how many embryos to transfer back into me when and if we cross that bridge. Initially, we had discussed putting two embryos in, and three if necessary, which is what we ended up doing. The risk of triplets, when we did that, was quite high, but we ended up with a singleton, our beautiful Keifer. We were lucky. The chance of having twins was 25%. This time, we have it in writing that we will put no more than two embryos in, and only one if we were to have the most perfect, beautiful embryo ever. We don't want to risk triplets, hence the "no three" this time, and the chance of twins is still 25%, but if the embryos aren't the "best" quality, then we can hope that one would stick. Hope. Pray. Dream.

Now we wait.

I'll undergo my blood tests, undergo my mock cycle, and we will wait for an anonymous donor. We chose to go with the "exclusive" donor cycle program, which means that we will not be sharing our eggs with another couple, and we will not be taking the donor the clinic gives to us (as they come up on the donor availability list). With the exclusive package, (oh la la), we get to say yes or no to the donor they offer us, based on just characteristics and genetics, and if we say no, we don't get bumped off the top of the list, we'll simply get a crack at the next available donor. The estimated wait time at this point, as told to us, is about 3-4 months, which we all know could change at any time. Ideally, CJ and I would like to undergo the cycle near the end of the summer, as we both have plans we'd like to do this summer, and if all things were to work out as they have previously, then my due date would be late Spring, which as a teacher, worked beautifully when having Keifer last April. But, we all know dreams like this including so much technical science don't always go as you wish them to go, and I've learned that I need to pray on it, but take whatever comes my way. Whatever will be will be, and we'll deal with life as it's dealt to us down this road again.

Am I scared? You bet I am. Scared, exhilarated, terrified, anxious,: any other analogy for "freaked out" and I'm that. I just hope and pray with all my heart that we are as lucky as we were the first time. Our angel girl was worth the pain of the struggle the first time around, but it doesn't mean that this time will be any easier. The only easy thing this time will be in how fast the time will go, as chasing K around the house has become a time consuming activity and I hope this remains true during our IVF cycle.

So that's it in a nutshell. I'll update or change as I think of things.


The Town Criers said...

Wow! It's really a go. I'm sending so many good thoughts.

Jamie said...

Sounds like a very successful appointment. :) I am so excited for you!

Marketing Mama said...

Wow - great news about moving forward!!!

MIP said...

Good luck with it all, it's really interesting reading about everything you are having to go through.

DMB ( said...

So glad to see an update on the cycle. Rooting for you from my corner of the world!


Jennifer Prince said...

((HUGS)) and love! You have the strength to do this again. I know it will all come together in the end this time as well. <3 I am so glad you had a great visit!!!

kristine said...

Wow! I am exhausted reading all of that. It's really interesting to learn everything you go through for this. I hope everything goes well and am happy for you guys that you *can* even move forward... YAY!

Beth said...

I've been peeking from MN ladies. All in all that sounds like great news. When I was a surrogate, my protocol changed to *not* taking any lupron, which in turn made my lining much thicker. (The first transfer didn't work). Do you have to take PIO? Mine was in suppository form- thank goodness, those 4" needles scare the heck out of me! I'm praying that it will turn out just perfectly. Oh yea, I had GD too, twice- it does stink~

Piccinigirl said...

I am so happy to hear this, if anyone deserves to be a "mommy again" it's you sweetie. wishing only good things as you move forward and sending lots of prayers too.
(Hugs & love)


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