Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Day 7 Embryo Report: The Final Update

After waiting ALL DAY, I finally got my update at 4:25 p.m.

If you recall, yesterday we had 2 embryos make it to blast and get frozen.

Today's report, out of the 4 remaining embryos, 2 more made it to blastocyst!!

WE HAVE 4 SNOWBABIES!!

I am so incredibly happy. I know this is no guarantee of anything, but this will give us 4 FETs. I can't ask for much more!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Day 6 Embryo Report

I called the clinic at 11:00 a.m. on the dot this morning. The embryologist who answered informed me that she did not have my updated chart yet.

"Hopefully this means they are busy with cryopreservation."

Yes, hopefully!

She told me to call back at 2. Longest three hours ever!

I called back at 1:57 p.m. No answer.

AHHHH!

I tried several more times over the next 20 minutes, and finally the embryologist answered.

Day 6 Embryo Report:
  • 2 embryos made it to expanded blastocyst this morning, and were frozen. The embryologist said that these two pretty much skipped over blastocyst phase and headed straight into expanded blastocyst. One is graded B and the other B/C.
  • Of the 4 remaining, 3 are cavitating and one is compacting. The compacting embryo and one of the cavitating embryos did not show any growth from yesterday. However, two of the cavitating embryos did in fact show some growth. They will culture these until tomorrow morning, and hope to get another blast or two.
Overall I feel really pleased with this report! I HAVE TWO SNOWBABIES!!

Would I have liked to have more blastocysts by today? Well, sure. But I'm so thankful to have two, and there is always that chance I could get another one by tomorrow.

Thank you so much for your support! It is so appreciated.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Day 5 Embryo Report

It's funny, this whole waiting for an update thing.

After yesterday's report, I felt so much more relaxed! That lasted all evening, and right up until this morning. Then, starting at 7:30 a.m., all I could think about were my embryos. And how noon could not get here fast enough. At 11:45 a.m., I started getting a bit panicky.

I called at noon, on the dot. No answer. Argh!

I called back at 12:04 p.m. An embryologist picked up. Phew.

So, without further adieu, here is my...

Day 5 Embryo Report:
3 embryos are cavitating
2 embryos are morulas
1 embryo is compacting

And 4 embryos (5-cell, 4-cell, and two 2-cells) were thrown out due to no growth.

Basically, I have 6 embryos that are just knocking on the blastocyst door. The compacting one is practically there already.

I'm hoping that as today progresses, some of those 6 will go ahead and "go blast" for me. I'm hopeful that I may have a couple snowbabies when I call for tomorrow's update.

The embryologist mentioned that all 6 are within normal range for Day 5.

I am just elated! I think this is great news, and I can now allow myself to relax. For 16 hours.

Come 6:00 a.m. tomorrow, the panic will once again set in, and I will be a wreck until I hear from the embryologist.

_________________

Thanks for the comments yesterday regarding the posting of my embryo reports! I'm glad they may help or interest some of you going through the same thing!

_________________

I have finally (mostly) finished the blog/website for Jasmine's Hopeful Heart. Stop by and take a look, or follow if you are feeling frisky!


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Embryo Report: Day 3 and Day 4

I'm not even sure if anyone cares to read this info, but I figure it might help people in the future who obsessively google looking for reassurance. Like me.

Day 3 Embryo Report:
2 embryos @ 8-cell
1 embryo @ 6-cell
4 embryos @ 4-cell
3 embryos @ 2-cell

The 2-cell embryos did not grow from Day 2 to Day 3. All of the embryos are graded B or C, which is average.

After this report, I became a bit worried. I obsessively googled, which only increased my anxiety. Several of my embryos are lagging behind, which scared me. I even had a nightmare last night, in which all of my embryos died. It was awful.

Today could not come fast enough.

Day 4 Embryo Report
All 10 embryos are still in culture, which means they are still growing! Great news!

2 embryos are compacted
1 embryo @ 8-cell
2 embryos @ 7-cell
2 embryos @ 5-cell
1 embryo @ 4-cell
2 embryos @ 2-cell

The two compacted embies are right on track! This elates me. The 8-cell and two 7-cell embryos are one day behind. They will culture the embryos for 7 days total, so I'm ok with them being a day behind. As long as they make it to blast, who cares, right??

The two 5-cell and one 4-cell embies are two days behind. The embryologist told me that they can sometimes lay dormant for a day, and then start progressing normally. I hope this is the case with these ones, and they catch up by Day 7.

The two 2-cell embryos... well, I'm giving up on them. They must have grown slightly from yesterday, but not enough to gain a whole cell. I'm assuming they are a lost cause at this point.

Overall, I'm quite pleased with this report. We have 2 that are looking great, and 3 that are looking quite good. I would be more than happy with 5 snowbabies!

I will be calling again tomorrow, and will update you all on the report. We might have some blasts by tomorrow...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Day 2 Embryo Report!

It took every ounce of my strength to wait until 11:00 am to call the embryologist at Alderaan today.

Surprisingly, an embryologist answered the phone. I was expecting to have to leave a message.

Egg #11, who was immature when retrieved, never did mature. It had to be tossed. I expected this, and am ok with it.

All ten of our embryos are still in culture (which means they are still growing)! They are graded B & C, which is apparently average.

We have the following:

3 embryos @ 4-cell
2 embryos @ 3-cell
5 embryos @ 2-cell

I asked the embryologist if she thought that most of them would make it to day 5, and she said yes, considering they are all within normal range for day 2.

I can't wait for tomorrow's report!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

4 1/2 + (11-1) = cloud 9

Hi friends!

I'm sorry to have left you hanging for so long. It is impossibly difficult for me to type up a blog post on my phone. I was lucky enough to get to a computer for the last post, but that didn't happen again.

Buster and I had a wonderful 4 1/2 days in the city. We did some touristy things, such as hit up the American Museum of Natural History and Ellis Island. We also visited many wonderful restaurants. And shopped. Pretty much all you could hope to do in NYC!

View of lower Manhattan from the Statue of Liberty ferry ride.

My appointments were progressing quite well! Each day, the nurses and study coordinator seemed pleased with my progress and response. At one point, the study coordinator informed me that I'm only the second mini IVF clinical trial patient he's seen with so many follies!

Two days prior to egg retrieval, I had 14 follies. I was incredibly pleased with this, but still nervous about the actual retrieval. What if none of the follicles contained viable eggs?

I think the worrying and questions stems from my "unexplained" infertility. Since we don't really know what's wrong, I fear the worst in every scenario.


Because I had so many follicles, they recommended I do general anesthesia, instead of the typical local anesthesia that most mini IVF patients undergo. We had to pay $500 for it, but I think it was a worthwhile investment.

They got 11 eggs at the egg retrieval! ELEVEN!

I was (and still am) super excited about that number! On the paperwork they give us when we join the study, they anticipate 3-5 eggs, so yeah... I'm feeling pretty good!

And even better... I got a call from the embryologist today. Out of the 11 eggs retrieved, 10 were mature. All 10 were injected with Buster's sperm (ICSI), and all 10 fertilized!

I know that this in no way indicates that all 10 will be around on Day 5, but I'm just over the moon. I was so nervous that none would fertilize, or that all of my eggs would die. So many ridiculous scenarios run through your head during this IVF process.

So, for the next step...

They will let our little babies grow for 5 to 7 days. The ones that make it to blastocyst phase will be frozen. Then, on CD19 of next cycle, I will have my FET, where they will transfer one embryo.

The reason they do not do a fresh transfer with the mini IVF is because of all the Clomid I had to take. Since it has adverse affects on uterine lining, they like to play it safe and just wait until next cycle.

I can't wait for November.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

the city sleeps

It's a gray Sunday morning here in New York, New York. The city is quiet (at least in this neighborhood!). And it's nice.

The hustle and bustle of the city is taking a toll on Buster and I. We aren't used to it, and it can easily put us in a foul mood. 

Yesterday, we visited the American Museum of Natural History. 

It was great! We saw a show at their planetarium, and really, we could have left after that and I would have been happy. I had only been to a planetarium once in my life, and it was when I was a small child. I barely remember it, but I know I loved it.

This one was no different. It was wonderful. 

The museum itself was quite crowded. TONS of strollers, threatening to run us over at any second. Lots of bobbing and weaving on our parts, trying to avoid crashing into people, or being crashed into.

After the museum, we headed back to our NYC home, which is in Gramercy Park. Both subway trains we had to take to get "home" were so jammed! I've never seen one that packed, and they are usually quite filled during the week with people going to work and whatnot. 

It really gives claustrophobic new meaning.

But anyway...

How 'bout the good stuff?

Friday I had an appointment at the clinic. I had 5 to 9 follies sized 11-14. They are incredibly pleased with my response! My estrogen was 1100 something. Friday night, I did my last shot of Follistim. I am continuing with the Clomid until further notice.

I go back in today for another appointment. I can tell my follies have grown. A lot. My lower abdomen is aching. Tender to the touch. But, it's worth it!

They are estimating my egg retrieval to be on Tuesday. 

I'm pretty disappointed with my packing for this trip. I really need some stretchy pants. Jeans are painful at this point! I guess I'll *have* to do some shopping while here in NYC... bummer! ;)

I will update more soon!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

long-overdue updates!

Ok, sorry it's taken me so long to update! The previous post about my monitoring appointment last Friday, well that has been half-written for days.

I've had a lot going on! We went out of town for the long weekend. I let my family stress me out, and we came home Monday. That day I was a hormonal basketcase. One minute I was happy, another I was pissed, and another I was emo.

I completely blame the Clomid.

Why not? I can, so I will!

Here is a breakdown of the meds I've taken so far:

Saturday: Clomid 50mg
Sunday: Clomid 50mg + Follistim 75iu
Monday: Clomid 50mg + Follistim 75iu
Tuesday: Clomid 50mg + Follistim 75iu
Wednesday: Clomid 50mg + Follistim 75iu
and I will do another day of Clomid 50mg + Follistim 75iu tomorrow as well.

Friday we are headed back to the big city! I have an appointment Friday morning for bloodwork and an ultrasound, and we will find out more about when exactly egg retrieval will happen. Right now they are estimating Monday or Tuesday.

Buster and I are both extremely excited! I will finally get to see Times Square at night. We are also tentatively planning a Statue of Liberty sightseeing adventure.

So that's that! Below here, I will post some really super exciting bloodwork results, in case anyone is interested in that crap!

_____________________


Monitoring appointment info:

FRIDAY
  • Everything quiet on the ultrasound front.
  • Estrogen - 93

TUESDAY
  • No u/s this day.
  • Estrogen - 500 something

WEDNESDAY
  • Uterine lining - 5.9mm
  • Right ovary had 13 follicles (3, 3, 4, 4, 4, 4.5, 7, 7, 7, 8, 9, 10.6, 12)
  • Left ovary had 17 follicles (3, 3, 4, 4.4, 4.7, 5, 5, 5, 5.5, 5.5, 6.3, 7, 7, 9.3, 10, 11.6, 13.3)
  • Estrogen - 930
  • FSH - 7
  • LH - 9
  • Progesterone - 0.9

monitoring + awkwardness

I had my first monitoring appointment this past Friday. I was nervous, but I kept telling myself that it was going to be fine. This clinic does this all the time (monitoring appointments for patients who are seeking treatment elsewhere, that is).

The waiting room was packed. I had a hard time hiding the "Maybe all of you should just run on out of here and find a good doctor" look from my face, but hopefully no one picked up on it. Or hopefully they did. Either way...

When I checked in at the front desk, I handed them my lab order. This was on letterhead from Alderaan, and specified what bloodwork was to be done, as well as the ultrasound.

I got called back soon after for the bloodwork. Afterward, the nurse sent me on to that oh-so-familiar exam room 3. I strip down, hop up on the table, and wait. Nervously.

In walks my former RE.

"Did you have a nice break from me?" he asks, smiling.

Wow, he's pleasant! Jovial, even. Maybe this won't be awkward at all!

I ramble on about how it was a nice break from the medicine and treatment, that it can get overwhelming, blah blah blah. He then proceeds to tell me that his daughter is struggling with infertility, and now when he sees patients, he thinks of his daughter. This is a new development since I've been here last, I'm certain.

I think we are bonding...?!

The wanding took literally a minute and a half. Tops. When it was over, he says, "I'll see you next door."

Wait, what?

Next door is the consultation room. Where we talk about where we go from here. And I don't go anywhere from here with this clinic.

I get dressed and head on over, apprehensive.

I sit down, and my former RE starts going over my previous cycles, IUIs, meds, etc. The whole time, my thoughts are screaming at me, "Why is he doing this??? I have to tell him! I don't want to do this, this is going to be awkward!!!"

So, after he was done looking at all of my failed IUIs, he says, "Let's discuss our options."

Um, let's not.

I interject and explain to him why I'm there.

The mood in the room visibly changes.

He finishes up and sends me on my way.

I couldn't get out of there fast enough.



Thursday, October 6, 2011

perspective: a rant

I think it's sad when people die. Especially creative geniuses. (This is my preface...hoping to cover my ass a little).

I am already so incredibly tired of hearing about Steve Jobs. Yes, he was a visionary. Yes, a genius. He was so good at creating material things that the masses flocked to purchase.

I realize that it wasn't always like that, but that's what it is now. He worked hard to create the Apple empire, and I applaud that.

And maybe this is where I will come across as, well, bitchy. But...does every Facebook status update have to be "RIP Steve Jobs"? Does every news story have to be about him?

He wasn't a scientist. He wasn't creating life-saving technology. He made an iPod. iPhone. iPad. All those other stupid things with an "i" in the front.

They are TOYS. They are not necessary to human function. Sure, they make doing things convenient. Hell, I own an iPod and an Apple computer (it is nearly 10 years old, however. A relic.).

I guess what aggravates me the most is that there are REAL tragedies occurring right now. People you know are struggling. Friends of people you know.

YOU DIDN'T KNOW STEVE JOBS.

What this all comes down to is this:

I have posted the link to Jasmine's Hopeful Heart Facebook page multiple times on Facebook. I have given some brief details of little Jasmine's battle. Several of my friends have liked the page.

More of my friends have posted things like, "RIP Steve Jobs" last night and today.

Really?

A baby needs a heart. A baby who hasn't had a chance to build her billion dollar empire yet. Her parents aren't Steve Jobs. They can't just buy a new heart for her.

Maybe people see my post and then think something like,

"Why should I like that? It won't give that baby a new heart."

Well, no, it won't. Or will it?

Bringing attention to Jasmine's story is exactly the kind of thing that may in fact get her a new heart. The more "fans" of Jasmine's page on Facebook, the more people that can potentially learn about her story. The more people that know, the greater chances of her receiving a private donation heart.

Not only does that simple "like" bring awareness to Jasmine's story, but to organ donation as a whole. Organ donation is a way to save a life. And there aren't enough donors.

A major Las Vegas news channel is coming to interview Jasmine's mom and will do a story on Jasmine. This is huge! This ONE news story may help Jasmine get the heart she needs so that she may LIVE.

But for the next couple of days, let's clog the newsfeeds and TV broadcasts with the story of Steve Jobs.

I just don't get it.


Monday, October 3, 2011

Updated countdown and unfortunate eliminations

Only 2 birth control pills left to take! These past two weeks have gone by pretty quickly, and I am quite thankful for that. Bring on the Clomid!

But enough of that pesky IVF-related talk! Let's move on to the important topics...
(spoiler alert, in case you haven't seen the most recent episodes!)

Project Runway

Thursday night's elimination did not surprise me, but still left me feeling disappointed. I think it's because I'm just so ready for Josh to go home. I think his clothes are atrocious and his attitude is incredibly poor. I fully expect him to be eliminated next challenge.

Anya was, once again, impressive. I think she's got this competition in the bag. The only person who will give her a run for her money is Viktor.

Viktor's attitude is starting to wear on me. I watched some clips of him and Anthony Ryan bickering and it was just annoying.

I also cannot believe that Bert is still in this!

But, on to a bigger disappointment...


The Amazing Race

I was so excited last week, when I "discovered" The Amazing Race. I knew about the show, I've seen commercials, but I had never watched it.

Last week I was enthralled! The main reason I tuned in is because two former Survivor winners were competing: Ethan & Jenna. Ethan battled and defeated cancer. Through it all, him and Jenna donated money to wonderful causes worldwide.

Fast-forward to this week: they are eliminated.

I'm so annoyed at this show! If they would have eliminated "Ma and Pa" last week, instead of not eliminating anyone, Ethan and Jenna would still be on the show.

I still like the show. I will still watch. But I am disappointed.

I'm pulling for the snowboarding/stoner dudes. They make me laugh.
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