Frozen Embryo Transfer #2: The Details

Our second frozen embryo transfer went off without a hitch last week. I tolerated the medicines a lot better this time around, probably because my body was used to them from doing back-to-back cycles. I have been feeling a little down and having a hard time staying optimistic. I had a lot of confidence going into the first transfer and was caught off guard when the cycle didn’t work. This time feels a little bit more like going through the motions and trying not to let my heart get too attached.

We didn’t change the protocol from our first frozen transfer, and once again, the embryo thawed well and my lining was great at 9.44 five days before. Our RE gave us the choice if we wanted to transfer one or two embryos, but let us know that his recommendation was still to do a single embryo transfer. We decided to try just one again. For those keeping track, we’ll have two frozens left after this cycle.

I know many couples decide to transfer more than one embryo and I totally understand why. When you finally get so close to your dream of having children, you want to give yourself the best chance. It is also tempting for financial reasons. We thought it through but it just wasn’t the right choice for us. My clinic reports almost identical pregnancy rates from single and multiple transfers, so I couldn’t use that as justification. I’m very concerned about the risks of carrying twins, especially since I had my daughter early at 36 weeks. My RE said my early labor could have been totally random, but could also be a sign that my body doesn’t carry pregnancies to term. I’m also concerned about the risk of twins on my sanity. LOL! If this round doesn’t work, we’ll have to decide if we try both remaining embryos next time, or continue trying one by one. We have fingers and toes crossed that this time works and we’ll have two left to try for a third child down the road.

Today is 3dp6dt and I’ve been tracking my symptoms, which I’ll share either way in a follow up post. I’m a crazy POASer, so I’ll be starting that tomorrow, since 4dp6dt was when I got my first very faint positive with my daughter. Hanging in there (barely) is how I would describe the current scenario over here.

 

 

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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.

The Dreaded Two Week Wait

Our FET went off without a hitch last Wednesday. My lining was 10mm and our day 6 blast was graded BB and looked good after thaw. The nurse mentioned that our transfer was the best one all day (whatever that means!).

I wish I was someone who could just wait it out for the beta, but I just can’t roll that way. I’m a tester and have been armed with my Wondfo cheapies since before we started this cycle. I started testing on 3dp5dt (I know, I know, I’m crazy because that is way too early) but on my successful fresh cycle, I got my first faint positive the evening of 4dp5dt. Today is 7dp5dt and stark white tests. So even if this little one is a later implanter, I’m not feeling very hopeful at this point.

I’m honestly trying to keep my head above water and not let this get the best of me. Seeing all those negatives tests just took me right back to the years of trying for our daughter and cycle after cycle of disappointment. It is very difficult to invest so much hope, time and money into a cycle and see your chances disappear before your eyes each day.

As much as I’m wallowing, I know I have a lot to be thankful for because we have three more frozen embryos if this cycle is a failure. And more importantly, we have a beautiful ALMOST two-year-old little girl who is our whole world. As much as I want to give her a sibling, she is more than enough if she is the only child we can have. For today, I’m allowing myself to grieve for little embryo #4 and what could have been. Then I’ll suck it up and head to my beta next Tuesday and keep a little tiny piece of hope buried in my heart.

The Countdown Is On

I can’t believe it is May! Time is flying and we’ve been busy the past few months with getting our new home settled and lots of visits from family. Preparing for this FET cycle feels very different than last time around with our IVF. We had tried for so long and were so very desperate for it to work. It felt like time was moving so slow and we would never get to the other side. This time around, life feels much fuller. I know we want to grow our family, but I don’t feel the same desperate ache and the fear of failure isn’t quite as strong.

Some days it even feels like time is moving too quickly. I wonder if we’re ready for the big change that another baby would bring. Before you have a child, no matter what people tell you, you cannot fathom the changes it brings to your life. I would be lying if I said I didn’t worry about how hard it will be, especially in the beginning. The lack of sleep and caring for a newborn and toddler.

Big bigger than the temporary changes of missed sleep and hectic days, the second time around you know exactly how precious your children are because you know them. The pain of a failed attempt to give my daughter a sibling would be magnified because I know her and how truly marvelous and wonderful she is. I have four embryos, created just like her, waiting for a chance. Essentially, I’ll know what I’m missing. The heartbreak will be tangible.

As we prepare for this transfer and the days fly by, I wonder if we’re prepared to face heartbreak again if things don’t work out. Before, I wanted to fast forward my life to get to the good part, but now I find myself wanting to hit pause. Sometimes I feel so lucky to be where I am that I worry I’m asking for too much. In clear moments, I can understand that is a byproduct of infertility. It makes you feel unworthy. It beats you down.

On a much more clinical note, my birth control that I’m taking in preparation for the transfer is giving me all the feels. All the tears. And all the cramps. And all the spotting. And some insomnia as the cherry on top. Hello infertility treatment side effects, can’t say I’ve missed you! A few more days and then the real fun starts with the big fat needles.

Betas 2 + 3

HCG is over 2,000!

HCG is over 2,000!

Last week we had two more beta tests. The first one didn’t double in 48 hours, so we were a little nervous going into the third one. On Friday we got the great news that our third beta doubled in 42 hours and that we graduated from our betas! Right before I left to get that blood draw, this little guy popped up, so I was feeling confident we crossed over 2,000 hcg. We scheduled our first ultrasound for Friday — I’ll be exactly 6 weeks. Trying to remain sane until then.

Beta 1 (17 dpo): 610

Beta 2 (19 dpo): 1,025

Beta 3 (21 dpo): 2,124

God vs. Science

Sistine Chapel - The Creation of Adam

Sistine Chapel – The Creation of Adam

When we first started seeing an infertility specialist, I could tell my mom was having trouble wrapping her mind around me going to such lengths to have a baby when she was able to have children “naturally” after a few years of trying. When she was having trouble conceiving, people suggested she see a specialist, but she wasn’t sure if she wanted kids if it wasn’t part of God’s plan for her life. Lucky for her (AND ME!), she went on to have me and my brother naturally, my brother after four years of trying with only had one ovary left. I love my mom, respect her decisions, but acknowledge her approach certainly wouldn’t work for everyone — myself included.

I don’t classify myself as religious (I grew up going to church but don’t go much anymore) but I do believe in God and would say I am spiritual. I’m also highly educated and surround myself with smart, open-minded people who make our society better every day through science and their own curiosity and hard work. Sometimes I find myself clinging desperately to the notion that there is some greater plan for me, and if I just believe that God is in control, everything will work out. Other days, I firmly put my trust in science and am satisfied knowing that I’ve taken the necessary steps to create the family that my husband and I so much desire.

After driving myself crazy trying to understand our infertility from these different perspectives, I realized that I don’t have to choose one or the other. I can choose to believe in the power of science and the comfort of faith — they aren’t mutually exclusive. I can look into the eyes of a child and see God’s work, and also see the splendor of science — tiny cells that grow into a miracle. I believe my faith guides my decisions and God never gives me more than I can handle. I believe that science and medical intervention are part of the path to grow my family. And I believe that my faith in God and my trust in science will only deepen from this experience.

As a fellow blogger recently pointed out, it is refreshing to be a part of a community where everyone respects each other’s beliefs. Thank you to everyone who has prayed, shared medical advice, or sent best wishes, positive vibes, and kind words to help us along on our journey!

 

IVF Update: All Quiet on the Southern Front

I had my pre-IVF ultrasound and blood work yesterday. It was the day after I took my last birth control pill, and they were looking for everything to be “quiet” and for my E2 (estrogen) to be low. The nurse saw 5 antral follicles on the right and 4 on the left, but said there are probably more that are too small to count right now. My estrogen was low and my lining was thin, meaning I will get a period in the next day or so, but it will most likely be very light.

The last three weeks of birth control have been pretty uneventful. It did make me constipated and a little nauseous in the mornings, so I’m glad to be off of it. I’ve been taking a weekly yoga class and listening to the Circle + Bloom relaxation program daily to help me remain as calm and relaxed as possible. In addition to my mock embryo transfer, I also went to the required IVF class at my clinic where they went over the whole process, including the injections. I actually learned a lot and found it to be very helpful. Next up is starting stims on Sunday night. I’ll be taking 175iu of Gonal F and 75iu of Menopur as part of my High Responder Antagonist protocol. Very ready to get this party started!