Failed FET

No news isn’t always good news. I’ve been avoiding blogging for a few weeks since we found out on June 13 that our first FET wasn’t successful. I’m an early tester, so I knew after a few days that it most likely failed. Waiting the full two weeks for beta HCG test was pretty rough. The PIO and estrogen shots are not fun, but become much less tolerable when you’re almost certain you aren’t pregnant.

I was feeling very confident about this cycle, maybe because I felt so removed from the struggles we faced years ago trying on our own and then having 5 failed IUI cycles. My last cycle was a success, so it seemed like IVF was the ticket for us and that surely this would work. It’s now funny (the saddest kind of funny) that I was so worried about having too many frozen embryos and stressing about what to do with them. Now I’m just hoping that one of the remaining three will result in another child.

The upside to the disappointment was that we confirmed our failed cycle on the same day as my daughter’s second birthday party. We were surrounded by family and so much love, which made the pain more bearable. Celebrating our happy and healthy little girl was the best medicine.

Since we have three more frozen embryos, we’re went right into the next cycle. On the day that I received the negative HCG test, I was instructed to stop my progesterone and estrogen shots. Five days later my period started and I was instructed to begin birth control. I had my baseline ultrasound and blood work two days ago and began the estrogen shots again. Full speed ahead!

The plan is to do another single transfer this time and if it works, we’ll have two more frozen embryos to try for a third child down the road. If this transfer doesn’t work, our RE said we may want to consider transferring both of the remaining embryos.

Anyone have any advice or experience with multiple single transfers not working but having success with two? I’m starting to wade through the research to see if transferring two embryos really improves the chance of pregnancy, or simply increases the chance of multiples. I’m terrified of the added risks that come with twin pregnancies and will only be convinced to transfer two if I feel it is our best shot at having another child/children.

By writing this a month after we got the news that our cycle failed, I’m riding a new wave of optimism for our next cycle, but it has been a difficult time mourning the loss of one of our embryos and all the promise that it held for our family.

IVF Update: Unexpected News

At our Day 6 transfer, the doctor said he guessed we would have at most one embryo to freeze. Well, those remaining four frontrunners must have made some serious progress last night because my nurse called today and said they were able to freeze FOUR embryos! This was totally unexpected and I’m still in a bit of shock. Here is the report:

Transferred:
1 expanded blastocyst, AB

Frozen:
3 expanded blastocysts, BB
1 early blastocyst, AB

I know this is really good news, because it means that at least for the foreseeable future, I won’t have to go through the egg retrieval process again. If this fresh cycle doesn’t work, we’ll have a bunch of chances to try again without all the added stress of stims and surgery. But it also raises a question that infertiles rarely ask themselves…what if everything works? Could we actually have FIVE children? I know the chances of all of these embryos surviving thaw and creating successful pregnancies is very, very slim, but it is possible. I can’t help but already think of these embryos as part of our family. I’m sure once you have a child, that notion is only solidified. Will we feel like our family isn’t truly complete until we give all of these embryos a chance at life?

I’m choosing to see this news as a wonderful blessing — part of the master plan that we do not yet fully understand. This is certainly not the way I pictured building my family (all in one shot!), but it is amazing and beautiful in a way that I can’t quite describe.

IVF Update: Day 6 Transfer

Our little blast!

Our little blast!

Yes, you read that title right. We got all ready on Day 5 and were just getting into the car to drive to the clinic when my nurse called and said we were being pushed back to a Day 6 transfer. At this point we still had five front runners, but they were early cavitating/compacting embryos, so the embryologist wanted to give them one more day to see if the best ones of the group would reveal themselves. We were already worried that our embryos wouldn’t make it to Day 5, and now we had to wait another day!

Feeling like we were in the movie Groundhog Day, we got up and ready for our transfer today for the third time this week. Luckily, this time it really happened! When we arrived, we found out that we had one (nearly) perfect embryo – an expanded blastocyst graded AB – that we would transfer. We were extra excited to learn that this embryo was one of the three that fertilized on its own through IVF, not ICSI. The embryologist said they were still waiting on the other 4 to see if any were high enough quality to freeze and that we would know tomorrow or Saturday. The doctor who did the transfer said most likely we would have one or maybe none to freeze, which wasn’t great news, but I was so happy that we had a rockstar to transfer that I focused on that.

The procedure was very easy. It was very similar to an IUI, only this time the doctor was surgical with the catheter and I didn’t feel a thing! The best part was getting to see our embryo on the screen in the lab, and then watching on the ultrasound screen as it was inserted. A very emotional moment! They even gave us a photo to take home with us. Hoping that someday we can show our child their very first baby photo!

I’m not doing strict bed rest, but just trying to stay relaxed around the house for the next three days. I’m sure this wait will be the worst one yet, but at least with a Day 6 transfer we don’t have to wait quite as long!

IVF Update: Day 5 Transfer

After my last doom and gloom post we received some really great news. We woke up on the morning of what was to be our Day 3 transfer to a call from my nurse. She said we had a lot of growth overnight and were being switched to a Day 5 transfer! I cried some happy tears after being so stressed and sad the day before because of lack of progress.

My clinic doesn’t give you a grade on Day 3, but our nurse said we still had the original 8 embryos that fertilized. Five of them were excellent quality (four 7-cells and one 8-cell). The other three were 4-cell, 5-cell, and 6-cell, but sounds like they are more fragmented.

If you’ve done IVF, you know that you don’t get a report on Day 4 because they let the embryos “rest” undisturbed. While I want them to rest so they can grow, it is tough going a day without an update. We won’t know any more information until we arrive for our transfer tomorrow morning, which is very nerve-racking. I know a lot can happen in between Day 3 and Day 5, but we’re hoping for at least one good embryo to transfer. Some potential frosties would be an added bonus!

IVF Update: Fertilization, The Good and the Bad

On Saturday (Day 1 after retrieval) we got some really great news. Our RE called to tell us that all 11 of the eggs that they retrieved were mature. Amazing! We had requested a 50/50 split between ICSI and traditional IVF. Five of the 6 ICSI eggs fertilized and 3 of the 5 IVF eggs fertilized, for a total of 8 embryos! He said with that many embryos, we would shoot for a Day 5 transfer, as long as everything continued to progress. It was very exciting to get this news and we were flying high.

Today (Day 2) brought us back down to reality. After waiting almost the whole day with bated breath, we finally got a call at 3pm from a nurse. Weekends are tough with our clinic because you don’t typically get to talk to your doctor or nurse. She said that she was calling to schedule our Day 3 transfer because our embryos were behind and not looking like good candidates for Day 5 transfer. Specifically, she said that all of them were two-cell embryos, and on Day 2 they like to see at least a few be 3 or 4-cell. She also said that three of them have some fragmentation. In retrospect, I should have asked her if they were graded so I had some more specific information, but my head was spinning and it was hard to think clearly. She said if they catch up, they would call us in the morning to cancel the Day 3 transfer and wait for a Day 5.

I’m really hoping to get a call from our RE tomorrow morning with some more specifics about the quality of our embryos. I have a lot of questions and I’m scared to go into the transfer without all the information I need. My biggest concern right now is that they will not have progressed at all by tomorrow – and if we can even do a transfer if that is the case. I’m guessing no? My second concern is that we’re going to face a very tough decision of how many embryos to transfer at this stage. Our preference is for a single embryo transfer, but we were hoping that by having a Day 5 transfer, we wouldn’t have to think twice about that decision. And lastly, what does this tell us? Are my eggs poor quality? With so many that fertilized, why aren’t at least some of them dividing as they should?

Infertility really is a rough ride. Every time you think you’re finally making progress, it seems there is a setback. Hoping and praying for some good news tomorrow.