Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Cancelled yesterday

Well, the cycle never really got off the ground. No follies growing and low E2, and when nothing was happening by CD22, it was a mutual decision to cancel this month. I am going to take Provera along with estradiol for 12 days to induce AF. This should reset my system after this month's anovulatory cycle.

Overall I'm feeling relieved more than disappointed right now. Its been a long cycle and I am glad that I can move on and not live day to day, going from one monitoring appointment to another and wondering how much longer I should stay here.

Looking forward to seeing DP again, I haven't seen him in 18 days and we've been apart for yet another major holiday. I'm flying home tomorrow, can't wait! I kind of got stuck here longer than I wanted to because of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, as flights home have been difficult to come by on very short notice.

Friday, November 20, 2009

CD12 and doing better without stims

I've been off stims and on estinyl only for the past 3 days and wouldn't you know it, my E2 has finally started to come up, it was 77 today! And my FSH has come back down to 11. So they are putting me back on low stims tonight, just a tiny boost of 75IU. We'll see how that goes. My hormone levels have been so unpredictable lately, I just don't know what to expect any more.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

CD9 and going backwards

Well, doing the opposite only worked for a short time. The estinyl had stabilized by hormones until I added stims, and then they went haywire again.

It is cycle day 9 and the ultrasound showed 2 antral follies at 3mm and 6mm. E2 has dropped to under 10 and FSH jumped to 18. Hmm, that's not very good. In fact it is on par with my slowest cycle since one I had back in 2007. That one was a medium stim cycle at a different clinic that did finally get to retrieval at CD19. So there is still a chance that things could pick up, but I'm headed for a slow cycle.

I'm pretty sure I will be spending Thanksgiving alone in my hotel room.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Doing the opposite

Since this cycle's baseline numbers are the same as last month, and last month's cycle crashed and burned, I am doing the opposite this month. I am taking the estinyl. This reminds me of that Seinfeld episode where George does the opposite to everything his instinct tells him to do, with amazing results. Well, I'm not expecting amazing results, I just want at least one follicle that will actually grow so I can do IVF.

I went in for bloodwork this morning hoping for the best. When the call back came this afternoon I got a bit of a shock because it was the doctor! Usually I speak to the nurses who relay the information from the doctor. Uh oh, I thought this can't be good. But there didn't seem to be anything to it other than the doctor just happened to be helping out with the callbacks today.

Numbers today are much better than this time last cycle. It is CD6 and the estinyl seemed to have normalized my numbers to what would be a decent baseline with which to start stims. I am thrilled that my FSH hasn't skyrocketed into the 20s or 30s this time. It could still go haywire from here, but I'll take it a day at a time.

FSH: 8
E2: 21
LH: 4
Prog: 0.9

Friday, November 13, 2009

CD5, hanging out at Denver

It is CD5, I am on my way to Philly but am stuck in Denver due to weather delays for flights heading east. There is free wi-fi at Denver airport, and I have found a little nook where I can plug in my laptop and get online for a bit. Internet access is slow, but it helps pass a few hours.

So I've been thinking, if this cycle has practically the same baseline numbers as last month, and last month's cycle was a disaster (complete with a full on bleed at CD10 or so), then I should probably try to do the opposite to what I did last month. Last month they let me go without estinyl to see how my body would do on its own. Well, my body somehow managed to shut itself down faster and further than any amount of prescription suppression has ever done for me in the past.

This month I started the estinyl on CD3. I hope it doesn't slam my E2 down to below 10 (although I know my body is quite perfectly capable of doing that without any help from meds, unfortunately). I might even add a touch of estrace tonight just to keep my E2 above 10.

If they don't cancel my flight and I do make it to Philly tonight, I will be doing bloods again tomorrow morning to see if the estinyl has helped at all.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Deja Vu

Last month's abandoned cycle finally came to a close over the weekend, it ended up being 35 days long. I did actually get a surge at CD22 or so, which was pretty darn miraculous since at last check my FSH was 37 and E2 was below 10.

This month, the CD2 numbers are almost identical to last month. Not at all encouraging given how last month ended up, but since this is the last time that we are able to try until at least March next year, I may as well give it a shot.

My main concern with these long cycles is that the hotel and rental car bill can really start to add up when it all drags on. But things can turn around so quickly, I really prefer to be there just in case.

They want me to do bloods again on Saturday. Well, I have never, ever had out-of- town bloods come back in time on a Saturday. And I have tried at least 3 different places. To get to the east coast clinic in time on a Saturday, the results have to be faxed in before noon. If the results don't go missing (which always seems to happen on Saturdays by the way), then the call back happens on Monday which will be CD8, by which time it could well be too late... either the FSH has already skyrocketed to the stratosphere, or it is nice and low but a dominant has already started to form.

So I think I will fly up on Friday, get the bloods done there on Saturday and settle in at the hotel and see where the cycle goes from there.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Going to DC instead

I have been in New Jersey since Sunday night. I had 4 nights of free hotel thanks to hotel reward points (at least I managed to get something back out of all my hotel stays in the past year or so), so I am staying in one of the slightly more upscale hotels this time. And they upgraded me to a suite! It is quite nice to have the extra living space to stretch out a bit. Actually this is even be bigger than some apartments I have lived in!

On Monday I had another consult with my doctor. No big surprises, no major changes. I confirmed that we do not want to do donor eggs, and we talked about the chances at age 44 with high FSH. The chances are very small, but live births through IVF still do occur. The biggest problem I think is that we are limited to IVF because of my tubes. IVF with one's own eggs stops working completely at around 47 (even at 46 it is so unusual that it would likely be a case study), but of course natural conceptions can and do occur until well past this age, so those of you who can try naturally, don't give up! I so wish that natural was an option for us, then it wouldn't feel like it is so hopeless. I guess all the manipulation of the egg oustide the body is just too hard on older eggs.

With the anecdotal stories of successes at 44-45 years old at this clinic (including someone who I know personally), I am still willing to give it a shot with my own eggs whilst understanding the low probabilities. Since we are likely to be ending our TTC journey sometime next year, I feel that this is part of a winding down process.

As it turns out, this week's labs are pointing to a bad month for me. My FSH has jumped to 37, and E2 <10 on cycle day 10! Now if I lived here in New Jersey I would probably push on with some monitoring, because it is entirely possible that I could still grow a follicle eventually, but it would be a super long cycle. Unfortunately it is also possible to be an anovulatory cycle. Since I have a rental car and a hotel room to pay for (the free nights ended on Thursday), and out of town monitoring is iffy at best from 3 time zones away, we will be canceling the cycle.

So DP is flying up today. We'll be back at the clinic on Monday morning to freeze some sperm for a later IVF, and then we're taking the train from Philly to DC on Monday afternoon. The weather here has been miserable with rain and wind and winter temperatures, but this coming week is forecast to be sunny and much warmer. Should be lovely to see the fall colors in DC while out sightseeing!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Maybe a cycle

I like to take a bit of a mental break after each BFN, so I have been away from the blogging and the boards that talk about TTC. And after a BFN, it doesn't quite end there. There is the post-IVF AF to deal with, usually a particularly intense version that comes several days after "the call". That always has me keeping a low profile for a few days.

Right now I am trying to come to terms with the ending of my journey while at the same time putting in some last attempts. I know that sounds kind of strange, but it is a mindset that I am trying to get used to. I need to become comfortable with the idea of moving on, and that will take time.

Looking back, after all my efforts I have only managed 3 transfers in the last 12 months, my least productive year so far. And only 4 embryos in those 12 months. Since this is a numbers game, I don't think that is good enough... not for someone in their 40s anyway... to overcome the odds.

I am so burnt out I really didn't want to cycle again this month. But I have a consult scheduled from a while back that is coming up this week, and DP has another business trip over on the east coast again. Since we are both scheduled to be traveling over there, logistically it one of our most suitable months to cycle ever, so may as well try and take advantage of it. At the very least I thought I should get some monitoring to see where I am this month.

On CD2, I had:
FSH: 13
E2: 28
LH: 2.4
Prog: 2.3

For me, these numbers usually mean that by CD5 the FSH will spike to between 20-30. Usually, but not always. And I am always pleased when the E2 comes in above 10.

So I went to my local labcorp on CD5 nice and early in the morning, in the hopes that a STAT result will make it to the east coast before they close for the day. Always a bit dicey with the 3 hour time difference, but if it doesn't make it then no big deal, I'll get the results the next day.

Well, today is the next day. And no lab results. The clinic called to confirm that they haven't received anything yesterday or today. The local labcorp offices are all closed on Saturday, so I can't chase up the results. And I couldn't find any customer service number that was open on a weekend!

Oh well, this is a typical scenario when doing out of town monitoring 3 times zones away. Wish I could confirm if my FSH has spiked or not, that would determine whether I should take estinyl or whether I should start stims.

In the end, I decided to take 150 IU of Bravelle and skip the estinyl. If the FSH has spiked up on Monday I'll just start the estinyl then. Or skip the cycle this month altogether if it looks really bad. I must be a veteran since none of this has really bothered me very much, even down to guessing what my meds should be. Gosh I remember when I first started doing IVF how I thought everything had to be exact, and the protocol couldn't be altered in the slightest. I have since learned that my ovaries tend to be resistant to pretty much everything: high stim, low stim, no stim, it really doesn't make much difference... 1 or 2 follies is always the result.

So I am flying up to NJ tomorrow, and will be at the clinic on Monday. I haven't committed to a cycle, I want to see what my numbers are first. I am pretty relaxed about it because if it doesn't look good this month, I will join DP on his business trip when he travels down to Washington DC and do the tourist thing while he goes off to work. And to be honest, I am quite looking forward to another little mini-break. But I can only go down to DC if I cancel my cycle, the timing is such that I can't do both.

And DP will be coming to the clinic no matter how the cycle goes. If I end up doing a retrieval then he will be there to do his part, otherwise he will leave a sample to freeze for a later cycle. So no pressure for him about a wasted trip to the clinic.

It is kind of a strange start to the cycle. I am flying to New Jersey tomorrow, have a meeting with the doctor on Monday but after that I don't know what will happen... if I will be doing low stim IVF at Cooper or going to DC for some sightseeing.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Some thoughts at the end of another cycle

I like the comment from theappetiser about a series of little BFNs being better than one big BFN, that is exactly how it works for me. There is no way I could handle getting my hopes up and then getting that phone call, it would send me over the edge. I am also the type of person that goes into the ocean or pool slowly rather than jumping in, I'd rather endure the slower torture than the one big shock!

That said, of course I did get another confirmed BFN, and as expected the phone call was absolutely no big deal at all by then. I'd had several days to deal with the BFN already and I think the nurse had a harder time delivering the news than I did hearing it.

It is not so much this BFN on its own that is bugging me, but the thought of a marathon TTC journey ending unsuccessfully. At 44 years old, with IVF as my only option due to tubal issues from prior surgeries, it is just plain grim.

If it was possible to try naturally, I would at least have a non-zero chance if we quit doing IVF. After all, natural pregnancies certainly do occur into the late 40s. But a successful IVF in the late 40s with one's own eggs would be a world first, it simply doesn't work as well as natural.

I wish I were younger and could just put things on hold for a year or so and come back and start fresh after a long break. But you just can't do that at 44.

I don't regret all those IVFs that we tried. I don't even know how many we are at now, 15 IVF transfers? Something like that, possibly more. More than what most people would be willing to endure. Some of those have been natural/low stim IVF cycles, so it isn't quite as brutal as it sounds. It is the acceptance of being childless that is still the hardest thing for me. It is difficult to even get my mind to contemplate that thought for more than a few seconds. Well, I am going to have to get used to the thought. I am going to have to figure out what I want to do with the rest of my life if I'm not going to be a mother. It is still very daunting right now.

In many things in life, if you work really hard, you can achieve your goal. I am finding out the hard way that trying to conceive through IVF with high FSH isn't one of those things. Protocols can only go so far. It is a crap shoot. Pure luck plays a huge part. Or lack of it.

Many do get lucky, but there are those that do not. Usually you don't hear of the ones that do not succeed, they stop updating their blogs, they stop participating in TTC message boards. They move on. Their voice isn't heard on the internet any more, so you don't really hear of the people who give up and choose to be childless. And this can give the false impression that there aren't many of them. And that the odds of success can't be all that bad. But the truth is, for some of us, it simply isn't going to work in the timeframe that we have left.

I'm not completely done right now, but some time in 2010 will see me calling it a day.

Please, no comments on donor egg, adoption, or other family building options. After many years of IF, it is not like we have never given any thought to these options. We appreciate that we live in a time when many things are now possible, and are genuinely happy for friends that are going down these other paths, but for reasons that we do not want to go into here, we have decided that these options are not for us.

Monday, September 28, 2009

8dp3dt BFN

Yes it is relatively early, but FRER is snow white both this morning and this evening, and the chances for a healthy beta with a healthy pregnancy are just too slim for me to hold any hope at all. And I haven't been wrong in over a dozen IVF cycles. Yes, I'll keep up my progesterone til beta, mainly because I'm in no mood to deal with AF in the next few days and don't even want to think about CD2 testing. But mentally moving on already... or at least trying to. This time I'm struggling more than usual.

Really hard getting through the day, seems like there were pregnant bellies everywhere I looked. Hard to hold back the tears when out in public.

This is the downside to testing early, but by beta day I'll be well past the worst of it, so the official call becomes almost a non-event.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

7dp3dt

And this morning's stick was a negative. Nothing really after 5 minutes or so.

But it did actually get an extremely faint 2nd line after leaving it out for half the day, but the line is still lighter than yesterday morning's one (which has also darkened quite a bit since yesterday).

That is the annoying thing about FRERs, since they get darker the longer they are left out, it is a bit tricky when trying to compare with the previous day's line. So I find myself imagining what the line looked like at 5-10 minutes yesterday rather than what it looks like now!

My two BFPs were both on 7dp3dt, so I usually pay extra attention when testing on this day. Of course, neither of those stuck so perhaps it isn't the best yardstick to measure against.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

6dp3dt

Did the baseline POAS this morning! As expected, there is the lightest of lines from what is left of the trigger shot, so light I am not even going to attempt to take a picture of it. I was expecting something extremely light because my hcg the morning after my trigger was only 270 this time, whereas last cycle it was over 450. In any case, this is a good baseline to compare subsequent sticks to, it won't be hard to tell if the line is getting darker.

As for symptoms, it is all the usual progesterone induced stuff for me... heaviness/achiness around the uterus, overwhelming fatigue, but only slightly sore boobs this time.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

3dp3dt

I have been just soooo sleepy and in a total brain fog the last few days, and today I found out why: Progesterone came back at 144!

I'm on the same amount of supplements as every other time, but this is by far the highest it has been. I'm not sure this is a good thing, it seems so unnatural to jack it up that high! I am on 400mg suppositories twice a day, and one 200mg oral prometrium at night.

I'm struggling to get any work done, and even typing up this short blog entry is an effort. And I didn't have the energy to argue with the nurse about getting an ultrasound done (I usually skip the luteal phase scan) so I'm off to get that done early tomorrow. I am still on east coast time so getting up early won't be a problem... but by noon I am ready to be done for the day!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Transfer

Just a quick update today, believe it or not I am still sleepy from the valium and it is now evening!

Well, here they are:



It was a 3 day transfer and both are 4 cells: the one on the left is a grade 2B, the one on the right is a 1A.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Day 2 after ER

Both embies have divided normally! After last month's disaster at retrieval, each step that we clear now feels like a bonus.

They are both at 2 cells. Looking back through my notes, I have always had 4 cells by day 2. The embryologist did say that she checked the embies first thing in the morning, and they may well have divided again by the time she called me. She wasn't concerned, so I am trying not to be either!

Transfer tomorrow morning!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Fertilization call

Both eggs fertilized! I guess DP's sperm didn't mind being frozen and thawed, then forced into an egg through ICSI. Another hurdle down.

I never buy my return ticket home until after the fertilization call, because you just never know. Today I bought my ticket home for after transfer, and with Continental Airlines they give you 24 hours in which to change your mind or cancel with no penalty. So if tomorrow's call brings devastating news, I still have time to change my flight. But as long as there is some cell division by Sunday, the embies are going in!

Starting the progesterone suppositories today. Sore boobies, here we come.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Retrieval day

It was so strange to do this day alone, I am so used to DP taking care of me! I just hoped that things would go smoothly as I wouldn't have a shoulder to cry on if things went badly, like last month.

I took a taxi from the hotel to the clinic. I got there on time, and started filling out the consent forms that they have us sign every time before a retrieval.

Then I got called back for an ultrasound to make sure I haven't ovulated yet. I appreciate this step because I am a self-pay patient, and I would much rather find out at this step if I have already ovulated so I can avoid the costs of retrieval and anesthesia. The ultrasound tech was really making me nervous, as she took quite a while longer than was typical, looking around as if trying to find the follicle. Then she asked me what my E2 was yesterday... yikes! Is there something wrong? Apparently not. Not sure what that was about, but I suspect it was something to do with the cyst/hydro/weird thing that has been showing up on the ultrasounds the entire cycle, perhaps she was still trying to figure out what it was. When she was done I took the result sheet back to the front desk, and saw I had a 19 and a 20, and my lining was 11mm.

Next up I handed in my consent forms and the notarized letter from DP, and went over the post retrieval meds with the IVF nurse. I got changed into the paper gown, booties and cap. Since we were using frozen sperm this time, I then had to go to andrology and identify my partners sperm. They showed me the tiniest frosty vial ever, I almost blurted out "is that it?" There was barely anything in there! I verified his name on the vial, and filled out more forms for the sperm.

I got taken into another room while waiting for the patient ahead of me to finish retrieval. While waiting, I could hear the embryologists confirming the eggs... 1, 2, 3,...4, 5, 6, 7... I am thinking wow, what a great haul! ...oh wait, they are still on the one ovary? ... 8, 9, ... and on it went up to 23. Twenty three eggs! She must have been a donor, and today there is one very happy recipient.

While the procedure room was being turned over, the doctor came in to see me for a quick chat. I explained I was very nervous because last time we did not get any eggs at all. She smiled and said she thought I would be ok this time. I instantly calmed down with her reassurance, even though she couldn't possibly know for sure, her soothing bedside manner was just what I needed at that point.

Once in the procedure room, things moved very quickly. They started the meds in my IV while I was getting into position on the table and I was out in probably under 20 seconds.

Waking up from retrieval, they told me they got 2 eggs! I think that is what they said, I hope I didn't dream it. I probably should have confirmed once I was more awake! I haven't had more than 1 egg at retrieval in over a year so I was thrilled!

The nurses were kind enough to call a taxi while I was in the recovery room, and amazingly the taxi arrived very quickly, before I was even dressed. Usually it takes 30 minutes for the cab to come! Since I was alone, the nurse made sure I was able to get dressed on my own ok, and walked me out to the taxi as I was still lightheaded and a bit shaky. The taxi driver was used to picking up patients from the clinic after procedures, and he helped me out of the cab and held onto my arm all the way into the lobby of the hotel up to the elevator. I wasn't expecting that, and to be honest I did worry beforehand about how I would get around while still unsteady from the anesthesia. Glad it all went smoothly!

While resting in the hotel, I checked in with DP every hour or so between naps to let him know I was ok. So far all is well, nothing but sleepiness really. No pain, no nausea, just a bit of the usual discomfort and tiny amount of spotting.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Nervous!

I think this is the most nervous I have been before a retrieval! Well, maybe not as nervous as the first time, but that was back in 2006 and it was a different kind of nervousness then. I was more scared of the procedure itself back then.

I'm pretty sure I have been somewhat traumatized by the last retrieval, where for the first time we came up empty handed, despite promising hormone levels. I am also stressed about the odd E2 pattern over the course of stims, and now the possible hydro.

Today I found out that E2 has risen nicely to 496, but the progesterone is 3.2! I thought they usually say that levels above 3 or 5 (depending on where you read) generally indicates ovulation has occurred. Good grief, had I already ovulated?! Talk about stressful! But my LH was 1 so no natural surge had started. This had me freaked out for a while this morning, so I turned to Dr Google to find out more. After all, things are a bit different to a typical natural cycle with all the IVF meds manipulating the hormone levels. Thankfully I found some studies that mentioned porgesterone levels on the day of oocyte retrieval, and they were in a large range. One study talked about levels between 10-30, indicating that these were fairly typical levels. Well if that is the case, then 3.2 on the day before retrieval shouldn't be too high. I am in a transition period between trigger and ovulation where the levels are changing quickly, so hopefully all is ok.

Add to that, this will be the first time I will be alone for retrieval, and the first time we will be using frozen sperm. I hope I don't get too sick from the anesthesia this time, as I will be recovering alone in the hotel room. Most of the time I am ok after retrieval, just drowsy, but every now and then I get an anesthesiologist who uses a slightly different cocktail that doesn't wear off as cleanly.

One interesting thing about using frozen sperm is that the clinic requires a notarized letter stating that DP gives his consent to use his sperm for my IVF cycle. The letter has the date of the IVF cycle, so we would have to produce a new notarized letter each cycle we want to use his frozens.

The plan is to take a cab to and from the clinic. Then keep in constant touch with DP by phone or internet once they release me. He has all the contact details for the hotel and clinic, just in case. Although complications are rare, I feel better being prepared as much as I can.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

CD 15 - Triggering tonight

I have 2 follies around 18. This is the best showing for over a year, it is usually just the one!

I have been going in for daily monitoring, and the last few days have been so stressful. Now they are thinking the cyst thing is a possible hydro, which just makes my heart sink.

Usually when someone has a hydrosalpinx it needs to be treated, either by removing or ligating the tube, before proceeding with IVF because it lowers the odds of implantation by around 50%. It is a relatively straightforward procedure done by laparoscopy.

But in my case, with a history of extensive pelvic surgery and a massive amount of scarring, 2 doctors have said that they do not recommend more surgery for treating a hydro because the risks outweigh the benefits. Even diagnosing a hydro through a HSG is difficult in my case, because the scar tissue has distorted my right tube so much, that it no longer resembles a normal tube on a HSG film anyway.

The other thing that has been weird this cycle is my E2. After a dip, a rise, another dip, another rise it has now plateaued. Here is how the numbers look up to trigger:


FSHE2LH Prog Follies Meds
CD2 1.4231.32.8 -
CD8812911.9cyst?, 10, 10150 Bravelle
CD91014411.7cyst?, 10, 9150 Bravelle
CD101012411.2cyst?, 10, 9150 Bravelle
CD111024811.3cyst?, 13, 1075 Bravelle AM, 150 Bravelle PM, Cetrotide
CD12?168??14, 1375 Bravelle AM, 150 Bravelle PM, Cetrotide
CD13---- 75 Bravelle AM, 150 Bravelle PM, Cetrotide
CD141735511.216, 1675 Bravelle AM, 150 Bravelle PM, Cetrotide
CD151535911.4hydro?, 17.6, 1875 Bravelle AM, 225 Bravelle PM, Cetrotide

Sunday, September 13, 2009

CD13

This is another month where the cycle days match the day of the month, making it very easy to remember what day I am on!

So I have been going in for bloods and ultrasound every day since Tuesday, except today as the clinic dies not do monitoring on Sundays. It isn't typical that they would have me in each day, but my results have been strange so I think they are puzzled.

The cyst or whatever it is has been hanging around and changing shape. They aren't totally sure it is inside the ovary. This makes me very nervous in case it is another hydro. I'm hoping it is just a weird cyst and nothing more, but it seems that even the ultrasound techs aren't 100% sure. The right ovary was looking pretty clear just last cycle, so whatever it is, it has come up quickly.

My E2 has also been strange. It has dropped, jumped up, and then dropped again. Not sure if the cyst has something to do with the E2 jumping around like that, or if it is just a bad month. They have increased the stims a bit to twice a day, hope that gives the follies and the E2 a kick.

I have been laying low, trying not to think too much about this cycle. I do have 2 follies though, and it has been more than a year since I have produced 2 follies in one cycle so that is one small positive. They were 14 and 13 yesterday.

Will be going back in again tomorrow, but with all the weirdness of this cycle I am not too hopeful.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

CD8 - Irregular follie

I flew into Philly last night so I am back in a hotel in lovely Mt Laurel, NJ again! Different one this time though, I like to mix it up a bit.

Today when I went in to Cooper I had the pleasure of meeting one of my internet friends and her DH. There aren't many positive things to come out of going through infertility, but meeting my online buddies in real life has been a truly wonderful experience. I have met a few people now whose successes have been against the odds in what can only be described as far from typical cycles, it is very inspiring.

Well, this morning's scan showed something unexpected... a follicle at 22 already! It was irregularly shaped though, so maybe it was a cyst and not a follicle. There were 3 others around the 9-10mm mark, which is much more typical for this time in the cycle.

But is the 22 really a follicle? I'd have to trigger tonight if it were. Good thing we decided to freeze some sperm a few weeks ago, I don't think DP could make it over here with such short notice.

I spent much of the day wondering if I should get some hCG asap.

When the bloods came in it looked a little clearer:

FSH - 8 (Yay! It didn't skyrocket!)
E2 - 129 (not high enough for a typical mature follie, so the 22 could be a cyst)
LH - 1.0 (no sign of surging, as might be expected if it were a large follie)
Prog. - 1.9 (still a follicular phase level)

Tonight, at cycle day 8, I get to start stims: 150 Bravelle.

Still not totally convinced that the 22 is an innocent bystander, but that's what we'll go with for now. Back in for another look tomorrow.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Odd baseline

I wasn't really sure whether I wanted to cycle this month or just take the month off. I had reached a good place after my vacation and so I thought I'd just go in for my baseline bloodwork and take it from there. If the FSH is over 20, then I'm not really up to going through another cycle like last month.

So I went in for bloods the other day expecting the usual high FSH and E2<10. But instead I got something different. Very different:

FSH - 1.4!
E2 - 23
LH - 1.3
Prog. - 2.8

I have not been on any meds since the no-egg retrieval a few weeks back.

I was astounded by the low FSH, especially after last month. At first I was so happy, thinking wow! My ovaries are acting young again! Also my AF came with unusually strong cramps, just like when I was young.

But then I started thinking that this is just the wild hormonal fluctuations of perimenopause. But still, a low FSH even in this case is still better than a high one, isn't it? Does it mean I have a slightly better chance this month?

Then I started thinking that maybe this level is too low. I went back and looked at the labcorp FSH reference range, and I notice that it says for menstruating females over 15 years old, the follicular phase FSH should be 2.5 - 10.2.

Shoot, I'm well below that. Wonder what that means. Now I'm thinking bad things like my hypothalamus (is that the part of the brain that produces FSH?) is shutting down. Maybe the hypothalamus is tired of having the ovaries ignore it and has gone on strike.

Well, I am going ahead and starting another IVF cycle because I am curious to see what happens next with the numbers. I figure with a month like this, it can either go really well, or really badly. I kind of get the feeling that my FSH will skyrocket as usual and I'll be somewhat in the same situation as many of the previous months this year. But we'll never know unless we try, right?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Feeling good!

The mini vacation in Washington DC has done wonders. That awful, failed IVF retrieval is now a distant memory, yet it only happened about a week and a half ago! DP's work paid for the hotel room and his travel, and I am so glad I decided to tag along for the ride. We even got upgraded to the club floor, so free breakfast and light dinner was literally right outside my door. Perfect for when DP was working late and I had to fend for myself for dinner, which turned out to be every night.

I walked around in the DC heat and humidity like a mad woman, determined to see as much as possible in my short stay. Physically I was drained, but it felt oh so good to be distracted and at the same time get some exercise in!

I've been back home for a few days now, and have been keeping up the physical exercise I started with all that walking last week. Well, we'll see how long that lasts.

And I finally got around to updating the look of my blog today, it needed a fresher, softer look. I particularly like the paper crane, they are auspicious in Japanese culture for wishes of good health. Here's to healthier fertility for us all!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

On a short break

I'm taking a break from pretty much everything and am enjoying being a tourist in Washington DC. I'll be posting a few travel updates and some pics on twitter during this time. Flying back home on Friday!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The aftermath

This cycle the plan was to fly home the day after transfer. Luckily I never buy my plane ticket home until at least the day of the fertilization call, in case of situations like this, so I have the flexibility of coming home earlier and not paying for the hotel and rental car any longer than I need to.

This time however, my DP has some business in Washington DC in a few days. So our first thought was that it was good that he didn't fly out here for nothing! After all, he never got called up for his part on retrieval day, as the clinic doesn't have the partners or husbands give their sample until an egg is confirmed from the retrieval.

My next thought was, why don't I go down to Washington DC with him? The idea of flying back home on my own, feeling like a complete failure, really wasn't very appealing. I didn't have a return flight booked so no hassles there with changing tickets. The thought of walking around doing the tourist thing in Washington DC sounded good... just go out and do something different, and be distracted from what has happened. And treat it like a mini vacation. Of course, DP will be working during the day so I will be on my own, but Washington has so many great things to see and do, there is plenty to keep me busy.

We'll be taking the train from Philly, so that will be fun too. DP has never been on Amtrak before.

So we have a few days in the Marlton area until then. That works out well because I still have some on and off nausea, so not up to doing a whole lot at the moment.

In hindsight, one thing we should have done was to have DP give a sample on retrieval day anyway, so they can freeze it. We don't have a frozen backup, which is a bit silly because so much can go wrong especially when travelling cross country. We asked about it the day after retrieval, but then we found out that andrology requires an appointment, and they didn't have a time slot available before we left the area. The Melrose Park office did have a slot available however, so we drove over the Delaware River to Pennsylvania.

When we got to the address, we weren't sure if we had the right place. But sure enough it was, it has to be one of the more surprising buildings for a fertility clinic. Here are some pics. As you can see, I've started going into tourist mode already!








No egg at retrieval

Yep, it finally happened. It is one of several nightmare scenarios for poor responders, up there with no response and zero fertilization. Honestly, I feel kind of lucky in that I have managed to avoid this outcome for so long, given the number of single follicle retrievals I have had. But on Thursday that luck would come to an end.

The day started routinely. DP had arrived on time from the West Coast the night before. We went in to the clinic early in the morning, and I had my pre-retrieval scan. The follicle looked great, it was a nice size at 22mm. The labs from the day before looked great too... the hCG trigger was absorbed well as my beta was in the 400s. E2 was around 320, great for 1 mature follicle. So we were somewhat hopeful going in.

As I was waking up from the procedure one of the nurses told me what had happened. They couldn't get the egg, they had tried flushing the follicle many times but to no avail.

My previous RE had said that often this is a sign of an abnormal egg. If it doesn't come out of the follicle easily, it is almost like you don't want it. I've had these "empty" follicles before, but the other times there was more than one follicle at ER so we never came up empty handed.

It was the strangest thing being told the news while still groggy from the anesthesia. It didn't really register at the time, I think I felt some disappointed but didn't feel emotion at first. But as I woke up more it felt more and more real. By the time DP came in to help me get dressed, I was really feeling gutted and the tears started flowing. He already knew, because they never called him back for him to give his sample.

And to top it off, the anesthesia made me feel sick all day.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

CD20 - Triggering

I went in for a scan this morning and was stunned to see my follie had grown 4.6mm overnight, even with the Cetrotide! It is now 19.6, so triggering tonight.

I still can't believe how after pretty much 2 weeks of nothing going on, a follicle suddenly woke up and is now going nuts with growth.

Despite the long cycle, it has been a fairly thrifty one since I started stims late on CD12, then stopped all stims between CD16-18, and resumed them again for CD19-20. And I only did 2 days worth of Cetrotide. I'm glad I only bought the 2 Cetrotides. Not only are they really expensive, I really didn't want to lug an icepack home with the leftovers and deal with getting it all through airport security.

On the flipside, I bought way more Bravelle than I needed! But Bravelle vials are small and are fine at room temperature, so no big deal in travelling with them.

For completeness, I've updated the table with all my results now that I have made it to trigger day:


FSHE2LH Prog Follies Meds
CD2 ?73.57.5
CD5231072.94 antrals
CD92419101.5
CD12147280.94 antrals75 Menopur+75 Bravelle
CD1375 Bravelle
CD141757??4 antrals150 Bravelle
CD15150 Bravelle
CD162364121.810, 9
CD191017960.915, 10150 Bravelle, Cetrotide
CD201023230.919.6, 7150 Bravelle, Cetrotide


DP will be flying in tomorrow for retrieval the day after. Just yesterday we were talking about having him fly up a day later, because I didn't think I would get a huge surge of growth today and I told him I thought there was an 80% chance I wouldn't trigger until tomorrow for a Friday retrieval. Well, nothing about this cycle has been predictable! Luckily he decided to fly up tomorrow anyway, so he will be here in time for retrieval on Thursday. His work is paying his airfare because he needs to be out here for business through next week, so that is great! My slow cycle actually worked out well timing-wise!

Monday, August 17, 2009

CD19 - Back on the meds

I actually have some good progress to report today! A follie has finally decided to do something and I now have one at 15, up from 9 on Friday.

Also the bloods are suddenly looking alot better:

FSH - 10 (lowest since the cycle began)
E2 - 179 (yay! almost tripled from Friday!)
LH - 6
Prog - 0.9

Looking at the results in the summary table in my previous post, things are finally looking up. At cycle day 19 its about bloody time too!

By the way, it has been 3 days now that I have gone without any stims. Interesting that I get this growth spurt since stopping stims, especially with what we pay for injectable meds... to find that my body does better without them! Well, for this cycle anyway, which has been anything but typical. Oh, and I have been on 1/2 an estinyl since Friday, they wanted me on 1 capsule but I was too scared in case it shut me down, based on my past experience on estinyl. Looks like 1/2 was just the right dose!

Up to now it has been touch and go as to whether I would get a follie to grow or not, and have been on the verge of cancelling. I am finally able to say that I am proceeding with the IVF cycle. Just as well too, as I am now in New Jersey. I really wasn't sure what to expect today, but I am thrilled that things seemed to have turned around.

Tonight I go back on stims again, 150 Bravelle and I start the Cetrotide.

Back for another look tomorrow.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

CD17 - Getting impatient

This is just the weirdest cycle, it is still dragging on with confusing results each time I go in for monitoring. But the E2 has been sort of rising, it is now in the 60s so just enough to stop me from cancelling.

Yesterday was CD16 and I was told to stop stims to see what my body will do on its own. They also wanted me to take estinyl, and now that it is far enough into the cycle and my E2 has come up a bit, I think I am ok with it, but I'm still really hesitant in case it shuts me down completely. I was debating over whether to take it or not last night, and in the end I decided to split the difference and took 1/2 a capsule. I just opened up the capsule and tipped out half the powder.

Here is how it has been so far:
FSHE2LH Prog Follies Meds
CD2     ?73.57.5
CD5231072.94 antrals
CD92419101.5
CD12147280.94 antrals75 Menopur+75 Bravelle
CD1375 Bravelle
CD141757??4 antrals150 Bravelle
CD15150 Bravelle
CD162364121.810, 9



I have no idea what will happen at my next monitoring appointment on Monday. As you can see, the FSH is going up and down and the E2 took a dip and is now very slowly starting to come back up. At least the follicles are still small, so there is still time!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Still a bit confused

It is CD14 and ultrasound this morning showed 4 tiny antrals, all under 8. Now 4 little follies is normally quite thrilling for me, but hey, this is cycle day 14! I should be doing an IVF retrieval by now! What is going on?

Bloods were just as confusing:

FSH - 17 (up from 14 two days ago)
E2 - 57 (down from 72 two days ago. yes, down!)

It is like my cycle is a week or more behind schedule.

I'll do 150 Bravelle for a few days and see what's up on Friday. I hope the follies grow a bit by then and the E2 increases.

I have been encouraged by some of my cyber buddies who have had success with similarly slow cycles with up and down hormone levels, so I'm not totally in despair over this cycle. After all, I've had other cycles that go to plan and on schedule that haven't gotten me pregnant, so I'll give the weird cycle a chance!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Looking a tad brighter

It is CD12 of another minimal stim IVF and I went for bloods again today:

FSH - 14
E2 - 72
LH - 8
Prog - 0.9

And here is the kicker. I get to start stims today! A vial of Menopur and a vial of Bravelle. Starting stims on cycle day 12 is a new one for me... I'll just go along for the ride and see where this goes.

DP's business trip to the East Coast has been delayed until later this month, so a slow cycle could actually work out better for us. It would be great if we could be together there at the same time! I just hope that the cycle keeps going and doesn't go south from here. I've had the FSH go down and then skyrocket again before, but for now I'll be hopeful that the numbers continue to improve and that I get a follicle to grow.

Next bloods and ultrasound in 2 days.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Still nothing much

Yesterday I went for more bloodwork to see if there was any improvement. Well, we are still in limbo, nothing much going on, but at least the progesterone has come down to more normal follicular phase levels. I started the cycle with a progesterone of 7.5, crazy!

CD9
FSH - 24
E2 - 19
LH - 10
Progesterone - 1.5.

Looking on the bright side, the E2 is up from <10, so that is going in the right direction but still dismally low. They kind of look like CD2 numbers for me, so I am wondering if anything will happen from here. Wishful thinking perhaps, but I will get more bloods done on Monday.

Really frustrating that the hormones aren't doing what they are supposed to. Time goes so slowly when the cycle is messed up and I am always waiting on the next lab result to see if there is any improvement, hoping that the cycle can somehow be salvaged; yet it also goes so quickly in that the progression of my calendar age seems to just be flying by these days.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Limbo cycle

It appears that my current cycle is another strange one, so I'm just being monitored for now. Not taking any meds. Today is CD7 and it has been two days since my last bloodwork.

On CD2, my progesterone came in at 7.5. This is a luteal phase level, it should be well under 2 at the start of a cycle. The nurse suggested that it might still be the supplemental progesterone from the last cycle coming down, but last time it was well out of my system by CD2.

On CD5 I went to check bloods again. It wasn't pretty:
- FSH 23
- E2 less than 10
- LH 7
- Progesterone 2.9

So I'll go for bloods again in a few days and see if things are looking better. Although the FSH is ugly, the low E2 is more of a concern for me as it means that there is no follicular activity!

Hopefully because the progesterone is still kind of high, it is like the end of the last cycle in terms of where my follicles are... I'm guessing that once the progesterone gets under 2 then the follicular phase can get started. So it is sort of like my CD1 is a bit delayed hormonally. I hope that is it, and I'm not looking at an anovulatory cycle! Only way to tell is to keep being monitored and see if a follie eventually starts to grow.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

BFN

No surprises. Just relaxing at home this evening with some wine and chocolate.

I'll be going straight into another minimal stim cycle with the arrival of AF later this week. DP has a business trip to the East Coast next month so we should be able to combine our trips and hang out together for a bit longer than usual.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

9dp3dt - Last HPT in the house

I used the last First Response in the house this morning and this time I made sure to look at a clock while I waited. I gave it a full 10 minutes, and there was nothing.

At this stage of the game, even if it develops something like a gray shadow later in the day after sitting out, it doesn't matter. The lines should have color by now if it is going to be anything viable.

As I have said before, I would rather have a straight up BFN than a low beta that is slow to rise and ends in a chemical (or worse). There is always an exception I guess, but after about a dozen or so failed cycles that have blank sticks at 9dp3dt, and the positive ones that had dark lines by now, I'm not expecting a different outcome.

It is early Sunday morning and a nice day ahead for plenty of distracting activities. I think I have more of a tendency to mope around if it is a weekday.

Beta is only 2 days away, so just a little bit more with the messy progesterone supps and their multitude of pregnancy-like side effects. It has actually been kind of interesting with the evaporation lines, or maybe annoying is a better word...

Saturday, July 25, 2009

8dp3dt - Evaporation Line

This morning's HPT was completely blank after several minutes.

But then I tested later in the day and a very faint gray line came up in about 2 minutes. Even now at several hours later there is still no color to it, so I am calling it an evaporation line. Not sure if it is visible in the photo:



The confusing thing is, when I now look at this morning's stick it also has this very faint gray ghost line.

Not sure what to make of it all as I didn't think FRERs had evaps, but as long as there is no color to it I can't get excited, only curious!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Evening results

Answer HPT was much lighter, any normal person would say there wasn't a line.

But Accuclear still had a faint line, about the same as earlier in the day.

Things should be clearer tomorrow!

7dp3dt - fun with trigger



Hmm... the faint lines never seem to show up well in a photo. I'm not crazy, despite the apparent blankness of the top stick, in real life there is a faint line that doesn't need squinting to see even at arms length. The Accuclear one does seem to be a bit more photogenic.

The line is about the same faintness as yesterday, so inconclusive. Believe me, I have been staring hard trying to figure out if it is a tiny bit darker today or not, but I really can't tell. Today is usually the day when either the trigger is fading out or a real line is fading in. I'll have to do another test this evening!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

6dp3dt, baseline HPT

This probably isn't going to show up well in a tiny photo, but trust me, there is a 2nd line. The trigger is still there as usual. For some reason the top half of the lines are darker than than the bottom half, but in real life the test line is very faint but definitely there. It started showing up within about a minute. All this is typical for me so far for 6dp3dt.



What happens in the coming days will tell the story.

I popped into Target today to stock up on more HPTs, was shocked that they were nearly out, the shelves were almost bare! Prices for First Response at Target can't be beat... around $12 for a 3 pack, and the 2 pack is even cheaper per stick but they were completely out.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

4dp3dt - 1 week down, 1 to go

The first week always goes by fast. I mean, by transfer it is already 3 days down, that's almost half a week right there. Embie is now 1 week old. If it is still alive, it should be about ready to implant.

I flew home the day after transfer, which I realize is a bit controversial as the clinics like to prescribe bed rest. Until I see a study that says bed rest after IVF transfer has any benefit at all, I won't be doing it. Well, apart from sleeping off the valium for a few hours right after the transfer. All the studies I've seen show that bedrest after transfer has either no benefit or has lower pregnancy rates. One of those studies is Does bedrest after embryo transfer cause a worse outcome in in vitro fertilization?, and there are lots of others that are similar if you Google around a bit.

Although I don't do bed rest, I do take it easy. Very easy. I'm not exactly a bundle of energy while on the progesterone, so that part isn't hard to do.

The progesterone is kicking my butt! I am on 400mg suppositories twice a day, as well as a 200mg oral prometrium. So far it is all the usual side effects, which for me are:
  • sleepy sleepy sleepy! I just want to go lay down for a nap all the time.

  • hungry, but its a toss up between napping and eating when it comes to doing something about it

  • sore boobs. I go "ow!" when I get a hug from DP and I need to sleep in a sports bra.

  • vivid dreams. These start as soon as I start progesterone and they are pretty out there... nothing disturbing thank goodness, just whimsical and always entertaining. I wake up impressed with my imagination.

  • having to get up and pee 2-3 times a night.

  • crampiness! Just like a whopper of an AF is about to start.

  • indigestion

Oh, I went and had my 3dp3dt bloods drawn yesterday:

E2 - 228, Progesterone >40.

I chose not to do the ultrasound as it is so expensive here, and I really don't see the benefit... they can tell from the bloods whether the meds needs to be adjusted. In my case, they said that it looked fine and no adjustments were necessary.

Friday, July 17, 2009

A 5 cell for transfer

Well the good news is that I remembered to bring my socks today, which was just as well because the transfer room was even colder than the retrieval room!

But then things got a tad disappointing with the news that the embryo was only at 5 cells today, when it was 4 yesterday.

I mentioned on the Over 40 board that Check did a study which showed that for a single embryo transfer, a 6-8 cell embryo has a whopping 6 times greater chance of implanting than a 5 cell one, and that is in a woman with high FSH and less than or equal to 3 antral follicles, a criteria I fit quite nicely into. You can read about that study here.

Of course, a small, reduced chance is still a chance, which is more than I have with no IVF at all. If I didn't have tubal issues I would be going down the natural path but this is the only chance I have.

Here is the 5 cell embie. I have to say though, it is one of the better 5 cell ones when I compare it to others that I have had in past cycles... the last 5 cell I had was over a year ago. The embryologist said it had 5% fragmentation, although I think it looks like it has a bit more than that in the picture:

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Fertilization call

This is the most feared step of the IVF process for me. Beta day can also be pretty bad, but at least I can prepare beforehand because I am an avid POASer. The fertilization call is a complete unknown, and with only one egg, the whole cycle can come to a grinding halt right here.

My DP refuses to take the call, every single cycle. I had to step into the shower this morning and left him the phone, but he said that if it rings he'll just bring it to me in the shower! He says his fear is that if the news is bad, he'll just say ok and hang up... and I'll be upset because he didn't ask a bunch of questions to get as much information as possible! He's right though, I'd want to know if the egg looked unusual, or if it fertilized abnormally or just didn't fertilize at all.

The phone rang mercifully early this morning. Yes, the egg did fertilize! I let out a "yay!" on the phone! Oh the relief!

They will call again tomorrow with another update, and if all is well, it will be a 3 day transfer on Friday.

I've googled and found that the fertilization rates with ICSI are around 60-75%, depending on the clinic. We have been very lucky, we have had quite a few single egg cycles and so far the lone egg has always fertilized. I wonder if it is because it is the egg that the body has chosen for that month anyway, so it stands a better chance of being a good one?

I took DP to the airport this morning, and am glad I don't have to organise my own flight home today... the cycle is still alive!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Retrieval day

No nerves this morning, it is going to be either 1 egg or 0, and I think I am prepared for either scenario.

I have also asked that my hydrosalpinx be drained during the procedure. The tube has been ligated so there is no danger of fluid seeping back into the uterus, but the hydro has been getting big and is starting to cause discomfort. They used to drain it routinely at my previous clinic, but it has been over a year since the last time it was done.

At least if it turns out that there is no egg, the procedure wouldn't have been a total waste of time.

I got to the clinic and had the routine scan before the retrieval. They don't use gel on the ultrasound wand before retrieval, so that makes it a bit uncomfortable. Follicle is still there at 20 and the lining is 10 TL.

We fill out the consents and get the paperwork out of the way, fork over $550 for anesthesia, and then I get taken back to the change room. At this point I realise I forgot to bring some socks! Yeah, I had a camera with me but forgot the socks. Oh well. So all I had were the thin paper booties:



I have realized that there isn't much to take a photo of at a fertility clinic. Everyone wants privacy and it is hard to get a pic of anything without people in it, so I am reduced to taking a pic of my feet!

The procedure went well, and I'm very happy to announce that they got the egg! One big hurdle down, but another even bigger one tomorrow for the fertilization call. I hope this egg makes it! We are using ICSI but still, the odds of fertilization are far from 100%.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Better news on the E2

Just a quick one today... went for bloods again, Cooper likes to check on the level of hcg the day after trigger to make sure it got absorbed appropriately.

The E2 was much more reassuring today, up to 446! Not bad for a single! I'm now wondering if there was an error with the results from a few days ago... E2 went from 180 to 173 to 446. Weird.

Here are the results for the day after trigger:
hcg: 377
FSH: 19
E2: 446
LH: 2

Good to see the LH nice and low, hope this means ovulation will hold off long enough for retrieval.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Triggering tonight

The scan yesterday showed the follicle at 17, so today it should be around 19 which has been the typical trigger size for me.

The bloods yesterday were concerning though. The E2 dropped from 180 to 173. It isn't from the addition of Cetrotide either, as I have been on it for a few days already, and a slight drop or plateau usually happens after the first day.

The LH is still low so there is no danger of surging, and progesterone is still at 1.

I did some research on a dropping E2 before trigger, and the articles that I found all indicated that it adversely affects IVF outcomes. Some even went as far as recommending that the cycle be canceled. Ugh.

I did however, find some anecdotal success stories. One person said that their E2 was dropping so they bumped up the stims and it turned out to be a successful cycle.

Well, they did increase my stims to 225. I suspect this whole dropping E2 thing falls into the same category of canceling if there are less than 4 follicles. Or like the triple line pattern of the uterus. Desirable, but not necessary for a successful outcome.

So staying up late for the trigger tonight, with retrieval planned for Tuesday morning.

Another wildlife in New Jersey pic... there are bunnies everywhere, and they aren't like bunnies found on the West Coast. I have only seen jackrabbits in California, they are tall with huge ears. The ones here are much cuter and have these little snow white cotton tails (although I couldn't get a shot with the tail), I thought these existed only in cartoons!

Friday, July 10, 2009

CD10 update

My follicle is 15mm now, up from 13 two days ago. As for bloods:

FSH: 14
E2: 180
LH: <1

That LH really got slammed down by the Cetrotide, which is good I suppose, no chance for a surge anytime soon. I have some leftover Menopur so I might add that in the mix tonight again, as Menopur has LH in it. Although with minimal stims, it doesn't really make much difference whether I use just FSH, or a mix of FSH and LH. I'm just working through my leftover meds, I have a bunch expiring soon so I am trying to use them all up.

So I'm guessing a Sunday trigger right now, with a Tuesday retrieval. DP is flying up tonight, even though he's holding a refundable ticket and he could change it to Sunday or Monday, he decided to come up anway. I'm excited to see him! For once he has some down time before retrieval, usually he arrives late at night and has to get up early for ER the very next morning. This time he has a chance to relax a bit before he is called up to duty.

Now for today's wildlife in NJ pic. There are heaps of geese everywhere, often in large groups by the side of the highway, especially if there is any body of water around (even damp grass counts). They don't seem to be shy at all!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

CD8 and another 1 follie cycle

Had a day free from monitoring yesterday, and look what I found while driving around:


A brand new Nordstrom at the Cherry Hill Mall!

I had to stop and check it out. There was some stuff on sale and it was fun browsing, but most things were out of my budget. The mall has been undergoing a remodel since last year, and it is looking pretty nice now. It is a great place to wander around when the heat and humidity get too high.

Although I am supposed to be getting some work done in the hotel room, I find I never seem to get as much done as I expect. You'd think that there would be fewer distractions, but somehow I manage to find some.

Went in for monitoring again today, and the scan showed just one follie at 13. For those of you who are new to my blog, I'm not kidding when I say I'm a poor responder!

There are a few others still stuck around 5, that haven't grown at all despite stims. This is pretty typical for me, happens with high stims too. I guess we are really scraping the bottom of the barrel here in terms of finding any eggs to ripen. That's ok, as long as there is at least 1 follicle developing, I'm game to give it a go!

Bloods were encouraging for my lone follie:

FSH: 14
E2: 105
LH: 2
Prog: 0.9

Lining is 9mm.

Since my follie is at 13, I'll be starting Cetrotide tonight along with the stims. From past experience, I don't expect the smaller ones to catch up at this point (especially since they haven't changed since the previous scan). The Cetrotide will hold off any chance of an early surge starting before trigger.

Next check is on Friday. My follies often accelerate in growth once they reach the teens so I expect to trigger either Friday or Saturday night. I got DP a cheap refundable ticket for Friday, so he'll be here to hang out with me over the weekend.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Started another cycle!

It has been a while since my last blog entry, but sometimes a mental break from TTC is needed, and having a mental break means no blogging about it!

I am back in NJ again for another cycle. Here is a pic of the clinic, the high FSH mecca! Nothing fancy to look at, but there sure have been alot of miracle babies because of this place.


The main purpose of this visit is for a consult, but being in a cycle that actually has a rising E2 (albeit slowly) is a bonus. I hope it keeps going and doesn't stall out, I want to make it to retrieval this time.

Amongst other things, I wanted to talk with the doctor about how estinyl affects my cycles, and how I seem to end up being canceled due to an E2 stuck below 10 when on estinyl. It just shuts my ovaries down. So we agreed that the new plan is if my FSH comes back high, we won't use estinyl to bring it down first, we'll just wait and see what my body does on its own. I'm pretty sure that I'll eventually start growing a follie without meds, and then at that point we can start stims if needed.

This cycle I clocked in with a CD2 FSH of 5, and estradiol 37.

Today at CD6, FSH has already jumped to 13 (haven't taken any stims yet) and estradiol rose slightly to 50.

There is one follicle under 10mm, and a couple little ones under 5mm. We're doing another minimal stim cycle, and today I'll start adding 150iu of stims. This is the latest I have ever started stims. I haven't had all that much luck starting stims earlier, so I don't mind trying a later start this time. Plus any day that I am not stimming saves quite a bit of money, those meds are pretty expensive!

Next scan and blood draw on Wednesday.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Thoughts on a Cancellation

Ok, so a BFN and a cancellation of an IVF cycle after a cross country trip to the clinic, both in the space of a week and a half is kind of alot to deal with.

You would think the BFN would be tougher to handle, as the cycle allowed us to become more emotionally vested... we made it to retrieval, survived the fertilization call, got a photo of the embie, carried the embie in my uterus and went through all the emotions of the 2ww before getting confirmation that it didn't work. There was a significant financial price as well.

A cancellation on the other hand, at CD9 so relatively early in the cycle, seems less daunting. At first anyway. Even with the travel thrown in, financially it wasn't too damaging to quit at that point. But flying back home yesterday was pretty hard emotionally. Now with my 3rd cancellation out of the last 4 cycles (one with a cyst, two with an E2 that was extremely low and never rose), and with my 44th birthday looming, which means a further drop in success rates as I move into the next age category, there is the feeling that it really is hopeless.

At least with a BFN we can say we gave it our best shot and it didn't work. But there is an extra feeling of helplessness that comes with a cancellation, that we couldn't even get a decent shot at a try. Instead of being in the running for a small chance of success, a cancellation means no chance at all, which I find particularly hard. Tubal issues for me mean a zero chance without an IVF transfer.

On a more positive note, I have made an appointment with Dr C for early next month so we can go over my cycles with the estinyl and hopefully come up with another strategy. Of course, I hope that my FSH will be low enough so that I won't need estinyl again, wouldn't that be nice!

Which is a reminder, I'm thinking I should start up with the frozen wheatgrass cubes again. Whole Foods carries them in the frozen fruits section in case anyone is wondering. The whole thing about wheatgrass helping with high FSH is probably just an internet myth and I am no longer one to jump on every bandwagon, but I actually like the taste... am I the only one that likes them? I think they taste a bit like green tea, and with the warmer weather the frozen cubes are refreshing.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Estinyl is not my Friend

Yesterday at CD9 the bloods showed another estradiol reading under 10, so the pattern is repeating itself with the estinyl even though I stopped taking it 3 days prior. And the ultrasound showed that the follies have all decreased in size, not just a bit but by 3mm! Isn't that weird? I know a bad cycle when I see one, and this is one of the worst I have had. Shrinking follies and next to no estradiol, yuck! I hope this isn't going to be a new pattern.

I don't have the patience to sit in a hotel and wait for something to happen this cycle, so I've officially pulled the plug. As I said before, I've given it a try with estinyl a few months ago and it wasn't pretty then either. It will save me less money in the long run to come home now rather than keep paying for the hotel and rental car, hoping that the cycle will turn around. The clinic said that they "completely understand", but was also open to continuing to see what happens. Well, if I lived in NJ that might be a plan, but I don't.

I'm sitting here in Houston airport right now on a long layover, annoyed and tired with all the travel and the disappointment, but pleased to be on my way home again to see DP. It will probably be another 3 weeks or so before the next cycle so plenty of time to do some fun things completely unrelated to TTC.

I do need to come up with a new plan with the RE though, so that will be in the works too.

Monday, June 8, 2009

CD7 and not looking good

My CD3 results showed an elevated FSH of 13, so they had me start Estinyl 0.02mg, one pill a day. As predicted, my Stat results on Saturday never made it to the clinic, I don't know why I even bothered to wake up early and get myself to the hospital. Weekdays are iffy at best, but at least the clinic always calls to let me know that my results hadn't come in yet so I have time to follow up. But on Saturdays, the clinic closes early, so add in 3 hour time difference and it is a recipe for no callback. So no surprises.

Really wasn't sure if I was up for traveling to NJ with just the CD3 results and no scan. The E2 was promising at 47 and the FSH wasn't outrageously high, but estinyl is what's making me nervous. It either works great or takes down the cycle, there doesn't seem to be any in between. DP talked me into flying over, he said if it doesn't work then just come home early, but if I don't go there will be zero chance. So here I am back in NJ, trying to get some work done and slipping in a little blog update.

Today it is CD7 and I had a scan and bloods drawn. Ultrasound was actually promising, with a follie at 12 and a couple less than 10. That's pretty good for me. But after a few days of Estinyl, my E2 has dropped to under 10! So that follie at 12 isn't really a follie, must be a leftover cyst or something. Estinyl doesn't show up in blood results, so that E2 <10 is the real story of what my follies are doing. Which is absolutely nothing at the moment.

Last time on estinyl my E2 dropped under 10 and stayed there for 2 weeks. I was hesitant to give it a go again this time, but there are some differences to that other cycle. Last time we waited several days while my FSH shot up from 16 to 28 before starting it, maybe that was too late. This time I started it with a FSH of 13. Also last time I was taking 1 estinyl per day; this time I did 1 every 36 hours to keep the dose in my body a tad lower.

So my FSH today is now down to a lovely 6, but with an E2 in the toilet it doesn't look good, it should be up over 100 by now. They wanted me to come back Friday to repeat bloods but I don't have the patience to wait til then, I want to cancel the cycle and stop paying for a hotel room if the E2 doesn't budge. So we agreed to have me come back in 2 days for another check. But based on my previous experience on estinyl, I think it would be a good idea to stop taking it and see what my body does on its own at this point.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Tips for Keeping Travel Costs Down

As many of you know, I travel to New Jersey to do IVF because it is more affordable. Many places around the country charge well over $10,000 for a cycle, and that’s before any extras like ICSI. The Cooper clinic charges a little over $3000 for a cycle and that includes AH. With ICSI, it brings it up to around $4000. Still considerably cheaper than most places, even when you factor in the travel costs.

The logistics of travelling to do IVF can be a little stressful at first and costs can quickly add up if you aren’t careful.

I am in the process of trying to plan travel now, in the midst of an iffy looking start to a cycle. My CD3 FSH was a little elevated for minimal stims, so I will be on Estinyl to try and bring down the FSH before starting stims, which could take a while.

Flights
This is probably the trickiest part, because cycles can be so unpredictable. Buying non-refundable, return tickets are generally (but not always) a bad idea, because chances are, you are going to have to make changes. Even if you can nail down the exact start date of a cycle, there is still the unknown of exactly how long you will stim. Even on the same protocol, the number of days to stim has varied quite a bit for me.

Even if you get to start stims, the cycle can be cut short at any time. It may be that you don’t get any follies growing, or you get a less than optimal number for you (for me, I will still go to retrieval with 1 as that is all I get a lot of the time). You may not get any eggs at retrieval despite there being mature follies. You may not have any fertilized. You may not have any embies to transfer. There are so many places where the cycle can be cut short, you really don’t want to be stuck holding a non-refundable return ticket with huge change fees.

So what’s a gal to do?

Ok, there are a few ways to approach this, and which one I do depends on the fares going at the time.

1. Always check the prices of One Way fares, and try alternative airports. I use Kayak to compare fares. For the airports that I use, it seems the smaller airports have the better prices. I can get better prices buying one way fares, often just days before departure, than I could with advance purchase return fares, especially if I factor in change fees (typically $150 plus fare difference). I don't think this is typical, but it is worth checking out.

2. Look into fares without change fees. So far, all I have come up with are Frontier and Southwest, but they both serve the airports that I am interested in.

  • Frontier (as of June 2009) has a Classic Plus fare which is often reasonably priced and similar to other airlines’ economy fares. Classic Plus fares are fully refundable too, as well as having no change fee. So buy that Classic Plus fare as soon as you think you could be travelling to lock in a good price, you have nothing to lose! Also the Classic Plus fare allows you to reserve a seat in advance (the economy fare doesn't allow this), so you won’t get stuck with a middle seat even if you buy the ticket a few days before departure. Frontier also has a Classic Fare, which is cheaper than Classic Plus but has a $50 change fee, which is still pretty reasonable in my book. The regular economy fare has a $150 change fee, so no different to the major airlines.

  • Southwest doesn’t have any change fees, but only the Business Select and Anytime fares are fully refundable. Personally, I am not a fan of Southwest for long haul travel and have found Frontier to have better prices, but this is an option.

3. If the refundable or no-fee changeable fares are too expensive, you may have to bite the bullet and get a ticket that has a fee to change. Typically it is $150 to make a change plus the fare difference. For me, if my trip will be delayed more than a few days (for example, E2 too slow to rise), it can be cheaper to pay the change fee. When I factor in the costs for hotel room and rental car, I’m looking at around $100 per day. So a two day longer stay is more expensive than the change fee.

Don’t forget to join the frequent flier program of whatever airline you use, those free flights you earn will come in handy!

Hotels
This is probably the easiest part. For stays longer than a week, you would want to look into extended stay type places, as their rates go down the longer you stay. Don’t pay in advance (like through Hotwire or Priceline) as the IVF cycle can be cut short at any time and you don’t want to be paying for a room when the cycle is clearly over. Check out Kayak for hotel price comparisons.

If you have a hotel in mind that you like but it doesn’t offer extended stay rates, then negotiate one! Ask to speak with the manager, explain that you are interested in staying for a week (or however long) and see if they can work out a deal for you. I have had success with this, I have ended up with a daily rate that was cheaper than any internet rate I could find at that hotel for a week.

Whatever hotel you end up with, join the hotel rewards program if the chain has one so you can rack up the points. You’ll be earning free nights before you know it.

Rental Cars
Rental cars are a bit trickier than hotels as the prices seem to vary dramatically for no apparent reason. Again, shop around using Kayak. You can make a booking without a deposit, so lock in a good price if you see one, but check the prices every few days to see if they have come down from your original booking. Again, don’t prepay in advance as you don’t know if the cycle will be cut short.

Look for coupon codes or discount codes online. Rental car companies seem to have many of these, and a quick search on Google should turn some up.

Join the rental car frequent renter program. Budget has a deal when you get 10-20% off automatically after a qualifying rental, other programs have other perks.

Other tips for saving money:

  • Join ebates and earn cash rebates for purchases. For example, looking at the travel section of the ebates website today I am seeing 3% cashback for Avis, Thrifty, Budget, and Dollar car rentals. 5% cashback for Candlewood Suites, Holiday Inn.

  • Get an American Express Blue Cash card. After spending $6500 (believe me this happens quick with medicated cycles), you can earn 5% back for drugstore, gas, grocery purchases and 1.25% for everything else. That 5% cash back can add up fast when you pay out of pocket for fertility meds!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Beta < 1

I had moved on a few days ago but there is always an added sense of closure with the official result.

We are doing ok, we are used to dealing with the disappointments of BFNs. I don't think there's anything we could have done differently this time, it was just the luck of the draw. After all, it was the same protocol that gave us implantation last year. At this point I just try and focus on the next cycle and not look back too much.

With the Check-sized dosages of Progesterone I was on, I think I am headed for a whopper of a AF. I have had a feeling of crampiness/heaviness since a few days after transfer, and it is starting to get worse. AF isn't even due for a few more days! And the low E2 migraines have already started, so I'm not even up for the consolation glass of wine tonight.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Over 40 High FSH Success Stories

On the Women Over 40 With High FSH message board, there is a post called the Over 40 Timeline. It is a post that contains the successes of the women from that board. Whenever someone has a baby, they come back to add themselves to that post. Many times though, the ladies are so busy after the birth that they don't have time to come back and post (which is completely understandable), so this isn't a comprehensive list. But still, the number of success cases is amazing. It is a truly inspiring list. I refer to it often when my spirits are in need of a lift, like now!

Some interesting points:
  • The oldest person on the list is Annie from Finland, with a baby at age 47, and highest FSH 37.
  • Highest FSH on the list is Toni, who clocked in at 110.

Remember, this is just the ladies who used to post on this one message board. Such a small subset of everyone out there who was ever diagnosed with high FSH and are in their 40s!

Here is the list copied from the message board. It is current as of April 2009.


High FSH Babies (age is at conception)
* konni (41.5, highest FSH btw 14 & 20) - ttc 2.5 yrs; natural cycle; I had ZIFT the previous month, clomid-fsh stims, antagon. I had a chemical pg. I think the key was that the fimbrae were clumped and the tubes were positioned oddly due to scarring; baby born June 2002

* PatR (age 40 & 43 - two high FSH babies, FSH 17-22) - natural cycles., no supplements beyond a prenatal, no acupuncture, no change in diet, consistent exercise

* Deedee (42, highest FSH 23.6) - ttc#2 3 yrs (after first high FSH baby), conceived au naturel (with the help of a lot of herbs, supplements, and alternative medicines), little Ellie born Feb 2003

* EE (40.9 with DD, 43.3 with DS; highest FSH 18.6) - ttc DD 1.5 years, DS a surprise! DD - Antagon protocol max stims, DS natural, DD born 7-03? DS born 12/05/06, 2 days after my 44th birthday!

* Wexy (41) - IVF, baby born 2003 or 2004

* Kathleen (41) - IVF w/donor S, baby born 2003 or 2004

* Dale (41) - natural after her DH left her (I believe because she could not get pregnant) and with an old boyfriend (hey she posted the story to everyone), baby born 2003 or 2004

* omissy (bday Aug 63, FSH 23.6 in Oct 02)-ttc#1 2+ yrs, 4 m/cs '02-'03, never ART/Stims; no clomid (canx after day3); Hashimotos & MTHFR. DS#1 (natural pg at 40.9)shortly after LIT in Mexico, 6mos Acupuncture, steroids for neck injury, many herbs/supp, natural monitoring at clinic (U/S & B/W w/o doing drugs/ART) and thyroid treat. Switched from Synthroid to Armour thyroid Feb 04.. Lovenox, BA, progesterone, & LIT booster once pg; DS#1 born Feb 2005 at 41.6yo; . #2 >(natural pg at 42.9 after about 9 months of timed BD) Lovenox, BA and a booster LIT. DS#2 born Jan 07 at 43.5yo; #3natural pg at 44. 5 after about 6mos of no protection. Lovenox therapy only. DS#3 born Oct 08 at age 45.2 http://www.network54.com/Forum/53068/message/1237944890/Links+to+oldposts++++%28pg%2Cmscg%2C+children%29

* Parisgirl (44, highest FSH 19.6) - ttc#1 3 years, 2 m/c, 2 failed high stim IVFs (poor responses), natural BFP with acupuncture and reflexology, OPKs, BBTs, vitamins, oligo-minerals and homeopathy grains. DD born in early 20http://www.network54.com/Forum/53068/thread/1170078332

* Gini (42, highest FSH 16.1) - ttc 11 months, natural conception, herbal supplements, drank lots of water, and wasn't "trying hard" because RE was going to start cycling me on the next cycle, baby DD born April 2005

* LisaMN (40, highest FSH 42)-Low dose/natural IVF with Dr. Check. 2nd high FSH baby - DS#1 born August 2002. ttc#2 12+ months, 1 m/c, DS#2 born June 2005

* GayleCA (39, 40.11, 43.7); Highest FSH 16 - 4 failed IUIs (natural & medicated), 4 failed IVFs (2 BFN, 1 m/c at 7 weeks, 1 chemical), then BFP with natural IUI (trigger, P4, Medrol support), DD born 3/10/04; when DD was 6 months old, did 2 natural IUIs - BFN; then IVF (lupron flare)- BFP, DS born 9/06/05; when DS about 7 months did IVF for #3 (cycle #6?) m/c at 8 weeks (chromosome abnormality that had nothing to do w/age), tried for 1 yr to make it to ER but poor lining and response, HSG, then laproscopy 7 or 8/07, IVF #7 (changed protocol to microdose flare)- BFP (currently 18 weeks w/chromosomally normal boy), EDD 5/25/08(updated 12/21/07).

* Bing (46, FSH?) - natural conception after several years of IF treatments, baby Olivia born 9/7http://www.network54.com/Forum/53068/thread/1126590171

* TinaPhoenix (42.10, highest FSH: ~28 (CD3) and 75 on a non-ovulatory cycle) - ttc 1.5 yrs; natural BDing after a cancelled cycle with high-stims (= "Long Lupron" cycle with 6 vials of Bravelle + Repronex per day); baby born Sep 2005

* Ellie (41.5 with FSH 11) Natural conception after two miscarriages six months apart. Delivered baby boy 9/26/05.

* HOPE2 in PA (43.6, FSH 38) TTC about 3 years. One m/c @ 41. Natural cycle w/ minimum Gonal-F & Cetrotide AFTER LIT IN MEXICO. FSH on the succesful cycle was 18. Had 4 minimum stim IVFs. Never had more than 1 egg. But my embryos were high quality, and 1st IVF actually ended with positive beta but it was chemical. Had baby September of 2005 when I was 44 years and 2 months old.

* Fran (42 or 43?) - very frequent poster who became pregnant in December 2004 and as far as we know gave birth in about Sept 2005, perhaps someone can confirm this?

* Becca (42.5, highest fsh 33) ttc#1 for 4 years. Had 1 prior m/c. Used Fertility blend, Wheatgrass supplements, accupuncture. High dose stims plus femara resulted in 2 follies. Did IUI instead of IVF. Hcg trigger prior to IUIs and then 1/2 dose of Hcg 7dpo. Baby girl born Oct. 2005

* CH41 (41, FSH 107) - natural conception with ovulation monitor despite very sporadic cyclhttp://www.network54.com/Forum/264844/message/1138756210/http://www.network54.com/Forum/264844/message/1109313649/

* Anna (41.5, but with 40 year old eggs - FET) - ttc 4 years: IVF due to severe MF (4 amps Follistim + Antagon; IVIG, LIT and Lovenox for suspected immune issues); unmedicated FET on a natural cycle; DS born Feb 2006

* k3333 (41, FSH?) - 3 failed IUI cyles with folistim, next cycle no drugs but got pregnant naturally!!! Accupuncture (3 months), Evening Primrose, Warm liquids and food, Limited exposure to radiation (no hair dryer). DS born Feb 2006

* Paige (42.2, highest FSH 28.6) Natural cycle after many clomid, IUI, IVF, high stim and low stim cycles over 4.5 long years; DD born April 2004

* Victoria (41, highest FSH 10.5) - IVF#3, ttc#1 5 yrs, 1 m/c, baby Rowan born 6/18/06

* london girl (44, highest FSH 13) - 2nd IVF pregnancy (DS born 2003), used a longish protocol with cetrotide / ICSI / PGD (the works), Baby boy born 7/11/06 (a week after 45th birthday!) [Also, had DS at 42 (conceived through IVF aged 41 + ICSI + PGD on third attempt)]

* Marcia (41, FSH 19) TTC For secondary IF with fsh DX it was under 2 years. Natural, Baby born July 2006.

* Annabelle (42, FSH: Mid 30s (had been elevated since first checked at age 31 when it was 15)). TTC: 11 yrs Method of successful conception : natural Failed countless IUIs w/ and w/o stims (maybe 15 or 20?); 8 ivfs (although 2 got cancelled); also failed DE IVF cycles (3rd time worked--had child at 39). After my baby was born, no longer pursued ART but was about to have a DE FET!! Baby born 2006

* Nobobear (40, FSH 18.6) - conceived in my Birthday Month FSH 17.6 TTC 12 months Method of successful conception Natural, DS born 6/3/06

* Donna FL (41.10, FSH: 15.6) ttc #1 3.5 years , natural conception, baby born 25 Jan 2006, 4 total m/c, 1 failed IUI, 1 IVF (m/c), tested + MTHFR & mild ANA. Aspirin, 4mg folic acid, B6, B12, Zinc, L-Arginine, Vit A, C, & E: Diet: 85% organic, green tea, no processed sugar, no dairy, no caffein. > 3 months AF = 1 day longer & better flow. DH same vitamins + Selenium, pycnogenol, L Carnitine: Prayed, found peace, signed up for adoption seminar same week BFP.

* Nat (41 & 43 FSH babies, highest FSH?) BFP on IVF#1, one embie, via Frozen sperm for 8yrs, passing of my husband , the battle with IVF. #2 was born a day after my late husband's birthday, Baby boy Aug 2006 [Also, DS at 41 on third ivf attempt.]

* June (42, FSH 12.8) - #2 (boy), all natural conception, healthy baby August 2006

* Pam (41, FSH 17.5) - donor IUI#1 BFP. ttc#1. Jada Lynn born 8/13/06

* Ann-FL (40.9, highest FSH 18.9) - two med cycles with IUI (failed), one Donor egg cycle (failed), preg. naturally month following donor egg failure. Baby Sienna born 8/15/06

* Susan in OR (42, highest FSH 23) - natural pg after ttc 2 yrs w/ acu, herbs, P4 & folic acid support (prev m/c x 2). Baby Alanna born 8/21/06

* anon22 (43, 19.7) - ttc 15 months or so; 1 failed IUI; 2 failed IVFs; natural conception month following a failed IVF--Pre-Seed! perhaps drugs/hormones from previous month played a part---1st pregnancy; Baby girl Aug 14, 2006.

* fertilebunny (40.11, FSH 16 at age 38) - timed BD (only once) using OPK, acu 6 months, Chinese herbs 2 months, making DH stop hot-tubbing for 3 months. Little Lucy born Sept 2006. [Twin 3 year old DS's from 2nd IVF conceived at age 38.8.]

* Chris in CT (40.11, highest FSH 15.9) BFP from natural BD + P4 after 8 yrs ttc#1, 3 polyps removed Dec 05, 8 years ttc#1 incl. many many failed clomid, maximum injectible cycles, 3 low stim injectible cycles. Baby Jenna Rose born 11/2/06. Full BFP stohttp://www.network54.com/Forum/53068/thread/1142357791

* Ann T. (40, highest FSH 12.9) BFP on natural cycle P4 support after 'O' (ttc#2 3.5 yrs, 7 losses), baby Amelia Lynn born 11/20http://www.network54.com/Forum/264844/thread/1164679812

* Iowa Transplant (41, FSH 13) natural cycle after ttc#2 almost 2 years, EDD 11/24/06, baby girl born!

* Meg41 (40.10, FSH in 30s) E2 patch and antagon shots, then switched to lupron with high dose FSH (Follistim) and LH (Menopur). Cycle cancelled after many days of stims due to poor response, 1 follicle. PG after BD, Alexander, 11/29/06, 6:48pm.

* Velvet (41, highest FSH 12) TTC#1 for 5 years, 6 failed clomid, 6 failed IUI's, 3 failed injectable, 2 failed IVF's, 4 m/c's, on lovenox for 2 clotting factors, lucky IVF#3, baby girl, 11/29/06, 7:02pm

* Lois (40.11, highest FSH 43) natural with yoga and acu, cancer survivor, 2 m/c at age 39, baby boy born 12/21http://www.network54.com/Forum/264844/thread/1166803672/

* Jan/Ruger1225 (41, FSH 31.4) natural BFP with acu, Chinese herbs, wheatgrass, Royal jelly, Coenzyme Q-10, zinc, EPO and L-Arginine. Delivered 12/26/06 via c-section, girl 9lbs 201/2 inches, currently waiting for ppaf.

* Meghan96 (40.10, highest Day 3 FSH 27) Natural BFP on a break cycle. Acu for six months, herbs for one month, fertility monitor. Four prior IUIs (BFN). Failed CCCT (CD3 FSH 7, CD10 33). Baby boy born in January 2007.

* Bisco (43.6; highest FSH 39.6; this cycle 11.4) 2nd over 40 high FSH baby! BFP after standard Check cycle (1 vial Repronex on CD10, triggered CD11, P4 and E2 support), betas 11 (11-12dpo), 60 (13-14dpo), 786 on 18 dpo, normal CVS, baby boy arrived 1/24http://www.network54.com/Forum/264844/thread/1170128721

* Renata (40.8, highest FSH 17.8) BFP in natural cycle the month before going on to IVF. OPK and well-timed BDing. Immune issues, so doing IVIG, arixtra, baby aspirin. While TTC, acupuncture, herbs, fish oils, extra b-complex, extra vit. c, CoQ10, wheatgrass, prenatal, grape seed extract, raspberry leaf tea. Amnio all clear, baby girl Talia Jade born 1/31/07

* Heather (40.7, highest FSH of 24) IVF BFP (4th stim cycle), Griffin Martin born on 6 Feb 07

* Xhazzie (40.1, FSH 21.8)-IVF AH, boy/girl twins Scarlett & Tristan born by C-sec. Feb 9th, 2007

* Willa (41.0, highest FSH 15.9) Natural cycle 7th BFP (6 previous m/c), Talia Theodora born 2/13http://www.network54.com/Forum/264844/thread/1172466659/

* DeeInNC(Now in WA)(40, highest FSH 13) BFP in natural cycle! Jan 2007 Michael Junihttp://www.network54.com/Forum/264844/thread/1180036163/

* Toni (41.11, highest FSH 110! Day 3 FSH's 34.9, 34.8, 2.8, 4.8, 11.7 & 10.7)-DS 2yo, 2 m/cs, Both pregnancies: natural with acu and herhttp://www.network54.com/Forum/264844/message/1169529700/ plus a DS conceived naturally at 40; Baby Caelin born 5/1/07

* jeannette (40.5, highest FSH 15) - conceived on IVF#2, 2 clomid IUI's, 3 natural IUI's (1 pg; 1 m/c). IVF protocol: BCP's, MDL, follistim, menopur, acupuncture. 9 eggs retrieved. 4 good embies. Transferred 3, 1 on ice. Induced 5/24/07

* KateB (40, FSH?) - natural conception (one other baby conceived at age 38 after the 1% speech), May 2http://www.network54.com/Forum/264844/thread/1180374976/Baby+Owen+is+Home

* Tara21 (42.1, highest fsh 16.4)Low stim IVF cycle with frozen sperm, assisted hatching and ICSI. 6th ER. 2 prior m/cs. Did CVS and chromosomally normal female. Baby girl born 5/27/07 at 36wks.

* JanineUK (41, highest FSH 22) - IVF#3, 1 natural conception resulted in M/C last January. Severe male factor, Georgina May born 5/28/07

* Yof (44.5, highest FSH 16) - ttc#1 6 months, 3 failed cycles of Clomid w/timed BD. Accupuncture, Chinese herbs. Mini IVF #1 50mg Clomid cd4-8, 2 eggs, ICSI, 2-day transfer of 2 embies, 4-cell, grade B. One stuck! EDD 10/15/07, boy

* groll (41.4, FSH 13.6) - ttc#2 3+ years, IVF w/ Bravelle, femera, dexamathasone (sp?), DHEA, baby asprin; 3 mature eggs, 2 fert, and they looked good. 3dt EDD 10.2.07 - boy

* PJ (40, highest FSH 35), high FSH DS conceived naturally at 38 after 5yrs ttc#1, ttc#2 10 months, Mini IVF#2 (Zhang), 14 days of bcp's, day 3 fsh of 17, Clomid on CD3 & 5 only, 1 follie at retrieval. Successful transfer of 1 4-cell, grade A embryo. BFP! 2nd miracle high fsh baby, Emma, 10/17/07

* JMC (41.2, FSH over 15), IVF#3 triplet conception, now twihttp://www.network54.com/Forum/53068/thread/1179956027/ http://www.network54.com/Forum/53068/thread/1178134593/http://www.network54.com/Forum/53068/thread/1176134946/ (IVF#1 B/G twins at age 36, IVF#2 + FET BFN) OCT 07-Nicholas Alexander & Natalie Catherine.

* Elizabeth (42.0, FSH 16 at highest) ttc#3 years, 6 IUIs, 4 IVFs (1 cancelled, 1 all embryos arrested, 1 with 3 poor eggs transferred/BFN), 1 pregnancy at 35, 1 M/C at 42.0 (natural conception). 4th IVF BFP with excellent egg quality, TRIPLETS on board initially. Leuprolide, Follistim, Repronex, Heparin, baby aspirin, also took Alive! antioxidant + megavitamin for 2 months prior to IVF cycle at doctor's request. No exercise, special diet or acu. Little Molly born 11/10/07 @ 25w6d, doing well so fhttp://www.network54.com/Forum/264844/thread/1195083754/http://www.network54.com/Forum/264844/thread/1195424894/http://www.network54.com/Forum/264844/thread/1195670469/(last updated 11/28/07)

* Seabiscuit (39.6 & 42.9, highest FSH 19.6)High FSH baby #1 from IVF #4 born 10/04. High FSH baby #2 from IVF #9 born 02/08.History & protocohttp://www.network54.com/Forum/53068/thread/1198342245/(last updated 02/25/08).

* LeighTX (41.4, FSH 15.5) ttc#2 1.5 yrs (high FSH DD conceived at 39 from IVF#3), 1 m/c, natural BFP with progesterone support to treat Embryo Toxic Factor, Baby Girl, 1/28/08

* Kiwichick (42.3, highest FSH 19.6) - 2 failed IUIs, 5 failed med/high stim IVFs, 1 failed low stim IVF, 4 chem pgs, 1 m/c (4/5 natural conceptions), ttc#2 2.4 yrs (first high FSH baby conceived at 38.7 from Clomid/IUI), acu, Chinese herbs, DHEA, CoQ10, fish oil, Vit E + Se, zinc. IVF/ICSI#7 (low stim, this time with Dexamethasone for whole cycle); 4 embies replaced (high/low stim embie picshttp://www.network54.com/Forum/53068/thread/1181864169/), twin girls, Ema and Mariko, born 2/12/08 @37w1d. Pihttp://www.network54.com/Forum/264844/thread/1203749982/

* Mana (42, highest FSH 13, male factor) - "natural" BFP with acupuncture, Chinese herbs, OPKs, preseed, supplements, P4 support, etc., DD born 12/07

*Divineart (42, highest FSH 15.5) - TTC for 9 months naturally BFN, started cycle of 50 mg of clomid day 5-9 and robittusin, progesterone suppositories 13dpo. I can't believe it a BFP. EDD 3/22/08

* Allston (40.8, highest FSH 27) TTC for 3 years, but gave up when doctor said ovaries were shriveled and no developing follicles. Got pregnant naturally (totally shocked). Healthy baby boy born 6/18/08. No exercise, special diet, or acu. I drank coffee and wine. Just got lucky!

* PhoebeMass (41.1, only FSH test at 15.8) - 4 IUIs, 1 BFP that ended in a m/c at 7 weeks. BFP on first IVF. MDL protocol. 6 eggs retrieved, 4 fertilized, 3 transferred. 17wks4d with a singleton - Isabel 09/19/08, deliver at age 41.10.

*LouLou (42.4 FSH 12)-Added progsterone 2x a day per Dr.Check. Did natural monitoring had 9 follies the cycle I became pg. Had 2 other successful pg's at 38 and 40 but DS was stillborn 10/06. A m/c at 41.9. DD (Arielle) born 0n 11/14/2008.

* Peanut (41.10, highest FSH 59, FSH this cycle was 16) - TTC #2 for 2.5 yrs, 3 IUI, natural pregnancy Dec '06 m/c at 5.5 weeks, then started with Dr. Check - 3 IVFs all BFN then natural cycles with estinyl/femtrace FSH suppression & progesterone support - finally BFP!! DS Sean born January '09! (at 42.5 years young).

* Annie from Finland (47 y, highest measured FSH over three years ago 37), conceived naturally, no IVF, IUI nor fertility treatments. Laser acupuncture, wheatgrass, lot of exercise, healthy food, good spirit. I turned 47 on the 30 th Dec 08 and my darling baby girl was born on the 3 rd Jan 09

* double L (45.0, fsh 5-14), TTC #1 2 years. IUI's & IVF's. Acupuncture, herbs, qigong, wheatgrass, energy work. Ectopic pregnancy 8/07. 11 ET's with Dr. Check. Minimal stims, single-embryo transfer. Sweet, healthy DD born 4/10/09.

* Andrea (43, FSH 24), ttc #2 3.5 years, DD age 5, natural BFP 3/05 but m/c at 5 weeks, IUI 4/06 BFN, IVF#1 6/06 BFN, natural BFP 11/06 m/c at 10 weeks, natural BFP 9/07 m/c at 8 weeks (chromosomal), 3 IUI's neg from 11/07 to 1/08, BFP on low stim antagonist IUI 2/08 but m/c at 9w5d; BFP with low stim antagonist IUI in 7/08, DS born 3/09