Well, I have finished all the prescribed medications.
70 prenatal vitamins...
50 Estradiol pills...
28 Lupron injections...
7 Provera pills...
7 birth control pills...
4 transvaginal ultrasounds...
and 4 blood draws...
...my canceled cycle is officially completed.
Now we just wait for my period to arrive. Also known as Aunt Flo--or AF--in Surrogacy/IVF lingo. Once AF starts, I will let the doctor know and we can begin to plan our new cycle. I guess J&S talked to our IVF doctor, and he wants to try a natural cycle with me this time. Basically this means we'll let my body do what it's supposed to do on its own, as opposed to attempting to control it with medications. This wasn't an option before because we were trying to sync my cycle with the egg donor's so we could do a fresh transfer.
The guys said the egg donor did not have an awesome number of eggs retrieved. Average is 15, and she had 9, with 5 of those being good quality. Fortunately, ALL FIVE eggs became embryos, so that's great news, especially since we are only transferring one embryo! The embryos have now been frozen, and the doctor said the success rate of a frozen transfer vs. a fresh is the same. So now we wait!
As you can tell from the title of this post, this morning’s monitoring appointment did not go well. My lining was actually THINNER than it was on Friday, just 4.4 mm, down from 5.6 mm. I had an agonizing day waiting to hear from the RE’s office. My surro-sisters and IF’s had to listen to a teary, worried mess of a girl all day. I’m so thankful to have such supportive friends, and I’ve said it before—I’m a lucky girl to have J&S.
So I just finally heard from the RE that they are canceling this cycle. No transfer for me this weekend because my uterus was being a bitch and decided not to get fluffy in time. Strange thing is that my hormone levels were all exactly where they should have been, so my body was absorbing the estrogen properly. For some reason though, there was some disconnect with my lining increasing. Stupid uterus.
Anyway, so my instructions are:
1. Stop Lupron effective immediately (easy to do since I'm out of syringes).
2. Continue taking one Estradiol twice a day (by mouth now instead) for 7 days. It's going to be a little weird putting these pills in my mouth again after where they've been going for 2 weeks!
3. Tonight, begin taking one Provera (progesterone) pill every night by mouth for 7 days.
4. Once these meds are finished, I should start a "good, cleansing" period shortly after that. Then we'll start cycling again.
The ED is still going through with her retrieval on Friday, and then they will freeze the embryos. New estimated transfer date, depending on when AF shows up, will be August 16th. It will now be a frozen embryo transfer, instead of fresh. If AF takes too long to show her face, transfer won't be until the middle of September (since the clinic's lab is closed for the last 2 weeks of August).
Wait, you say.
Didn’t you have some major fundraiser for your disabled daughter on September 14th?
Yes, in fact we do. So keep your fingers crossed that the transfer date will fall AFTER the 14th if we have to do it in September.
My IF's are so supportive and worried about me, and of course I feel bad for them. They thought they were getting pregnant this weekend. I thought we were getting pregnant this weekend. The ED was already in Connecticut, and so is S!! He flew here all the way from Sweden for this!! I can't help but feel like I failed them before we even got started. I'd obviously prefer a canceled cycle over a failed transfer, but this sucks.
So today was my third monitoring appointment, and what I thought would be my last one before our trip to New York/Connecticut for the transfer next weekend. (Side note: I still do the Connect-I-Cut spelling trick I learned in elementary school). Apparently, I will go back at least one more time, on Tuesday, for another lining check. The egg donor has her last monitoring appointment on Monday, and then we should finally know exact travel dates. Planning around a fresh embryo transfer is not easy!
The blood draw was much better at this appointment, and the ultrasound was fine too. My uterine lining measured 5.60 mm, up from 4.05 mm last week. I was really surprised, because a 1.5 mm increase was all I'd had the week before. That was why I started Smurfing the estradiol (yep, I said it) instead of taking it orally (ha...I'm leaving the rest of that sentence alone). The nurse seemed to think my lining wasn't very thick either, although she didn't tell me where she thought it should be. So I left there all worried that the transfer might get cancelled or postponed, and I was frustrated because I've followed all of the doctor's instructions perfectly. I know it's not easy for J&S to fly all the way here from Sweden, even when only one of them is coming. I hated that it might all be messed up because my uterus wasn't getting plumpy enough.
Thankfully, our actual IVF clinic called me very soon after the appointment. (This may or may not have had something to do with the pretending-I'm-calm-but-sounding-like-a-wreck message I left them before I even pulled out of the monitoring clinic's parking lot). I was completely surprised when the nurse said to continue everything exactly the same! She didn't sound worried at all, and said I only need to be at 7 mm in order to do the transfer. So that's good news, but I was still feeling a little worried. It's hard not to when you want something to work so badly! Plus I read all these surrogacy blogs and IVF sites, and hear all about the "triple stripe" every surrogate hopes for. The triple stripe is when the two uterine walls are so thick that they touch in the middle, creating an image on the ultrasound that looks like three stripes. It happens around 12 to 13 mm, and it's supposedly the perfect lining measurement.
I was a straight A student...I expect no less of my uterus!
Speaking of being the teacher's pet,
I heard that there are ways you can naturally increase your uterine lining.
Lots of water...and orgasms.
I am off to do my homework like a good little student.
This appointment was last Friday, but I am just getting around to posting about it! So appointment #3 is tomorrow already, but I still wanted to update you on the other one.
So last week's appointment went well and was over with pretty quickly! The blood draw wasn't a whole lot of fun, I think she took the needle out a little too quickly, and on an angle instead of straight out. It hurt and I had a feeling I was going to wind up with a bruise. Sure enough, my right arm STILL has a big gross bruise on it. So I guess tomorrow's blood draw will have to be done in the other arm!
The ultrasound was way better this time than last time. No problem finding my ovaries, and my uterine lining measured 4.05 mm, up from 2.5 mm last week. The IVF clinic called later in the day to tell me that all of my hormone levels were perfect but that my uterine lining was a "teensy weensy bit thinner" than what they would have liked to see after a week on estrogen. She said it was no big deal at all, and that I was the third woman she's spoken to that day who needed a change in her estrogen meds for this reason.
I thought the change was going to be "Take it three times a day" instead of two.
Instead of taking the pills orally, I'm now supposed to insert them vaginally. Yep. These tiny blue pills that I've been putting in my mouth for the last week, now have to go.....elsewhere. I shared this info with a surrogate friend of mine (who shall remain nameless) and she said, "Is it the blue ones? It's going to look like you did a Smurf."
She was totally right. I've had quite a colorful week. :)
Rant #1: My husband started a new job last week. The TV repair shop he worked at previously is struggling to stay relative in an age where it usually makes more sense to replace electronics rather than repair them. So after three years of hanging in there while his hours continued to be cut, he finally had to look for something else. Supporting a family of four on 28 hours a week was just not going to work. So we were thrilled when this new job came along. It promised better pay, benefits, and more job security. The hours can vary day to day, but we figured that was a small sacrifice in order to finally get his first pay increase in 10 years. Small sacrifice...ha! I pretty much have not seen my husband since Sunday. We are all asleep when he leaves in the morning and the girls are asleep when he gets home. I am eating Ramen soup alone for dinner, since I'm not cooking a meal for just me. He is getting home and skipping dinner, because he can barely make it to our bed before falling asleep. This is not what we signed up for. This is not worth any amount of money. I enjoy my husband's company and the girls love their daddy to pieces...this is killing us. I am trying to be tough and think positive, but I continue to find myself crying instead. A lot. It's not pretty at times.
Rant #2: After filing bankruptcy 9 years ago, we cannot stand having credit card debt. It makes us nervous. We have one credit card, and the first thing we do with our tax return every year is pay off the credit card debt. We did that this year. And then Austin's hours were cut. And then they were cut again. So now here we are just a few months after being credit card debt free, and the credit card is about 75% maxed out. I am beyond frustrated. You would think that being worried about Rant #2 would make me not so upset about Rant #1. Apparently it doesn't work that way.
Rant #3: I am pumped full of hormones. I am still doing daily Lupron injections, which were REALLY starting to hurt. I know any surrogates doing PIO shots want to punch me in the head right now, but it started feeling as if I was injecting into sore, bruised areas each time. I was switching sides on my stomach, and making sure to insert the needle at a 90 degree angle, but it didn't matter. After about 4 days of that, I decided to try icing the area first. It's totally working! I just hold the girls' Dora the Explorer ice pack on my stomach for a couple of minutes while I'm getting everything else prepped.
Muchas gracias, Dora.
Continuation of Rant #3: (Haha, did you think I was done?!) So, I don't think I've been having any side effects from the Lupron, but you'd have to ask my husband. And he's never here now. :P The estrogen pills, however, are allowing me to feel menopausal symptoms at the ripe old age of 32. I am having hot flashes and night sweats, and perhaps it's why I am crying so much about Austin being gone? I don't mind it, because it's all for a wonderful cause, but it's certainly contributing to me being a total hot mess right now.
I am a stay at home mommy to two beautiful little girls, and I've been married to my high school sweetheart since 2002. This blog is a place for my IP's, family, and friends to follow along during my first journey as a gestational surrogate. Ask me anything! Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
February 2013 - Applied and accepted by surrogacy agency.
March 2013 - Medical records, create my surrogate profile, clearance from my OB.
April 2013 - Social worker screening, official acceptance letter from agency, received IP profile, completed MMPI, matched with international IF's, J&S!
May 2013 - Medical screening in Connecticut, signed final contract.
June 2013 - Started Lupron injections and Estradiol pills
July 2013 - Transfer canceled due to my thin uterine lining. :(
August 2013 - J&S have decided to find a new surrogate. Released by agency and RE. But I'm not giving up!
September 2013 - Accepted by a new agency, approved by a new RE, and matched with domestic IF's, B&J!
October 2013 - Mock cycle with Delestrogen injections--this HAS to work!
November 2013 - Mock cycle was not successful. No longer matched with B&J. Released by agency and RE.