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Oh, the follies!

We are finally in Denver! It’s been a dramatic couple days and I have a lot of updating to do so there will be a flurry of posts over the next day or two. Bear with me!

Tuesday was a hellish day. It was my first monitoring appointment at my OB’s office and it just did not go the way I wanted it to. K drove me over to the clinic and promised to join me after he got some coffee to jumpstart his day. However, before he got there I was undressed and ready for the scan. The doc came in, liberally pumped lubricant on that vile ultrasound wand and started off. He was looking at my right ovary first and he nodded his head as he measured what I assumed (and hoped!) was a follicle.

How many, I asked nervously. I don’t think he heard me for he remained quiet for what seemed like an eternity. 12, he said, looking at me and smiling. Oh really, 12?? That’s simply wonderful, that’s possibly the best– … I cut the sentence off right here as I realized he did not mean the number of follicles but the size instead. Wait, there’s more there right?, I asked. Not really, he replied. There’s got to be some small ones you can’t measure right now, I insisted. He shook his head grimly saying that there was just the one and moved the wand over to point at the left ovary.

My stomach did that uncomfortable sinking thing it does whenever disappointment hits me. It’s a mixture of despair and deep, paralyzing fear I think that makes me head swim and makes me want to run, flee to the comfort of my bed so I can safely hide within the covers and keep all the demons at bay.

This is much better, he said as he scanned leftie. Better, to him, was 4 follies sized at 16, 14, 11 and 10 mm. This made me feel even worse for I knew that the 16mm one seemed too big for this early into the stimming process and I instantly started worrying that I would ovulate before time and my cycle would get canceled. The rest of the scan was a blur as I tried hard to control my lurching stomach and my woozy head. Doc looked back at me as he walked out urging me to have faith and to remember that it only takes one (if only I had a penny for every time someone says that to me!). I could barely look at him for I knew another sympathetic word would have me sobbing my heart out. I hurriedly scrambled into my clothes and walked out the clinic downstairs to get my blood drawn at the lab.

The lab assistant seemed to be having a good week as I found her once again in a rather cheerful mood. She whisked me in and had me out in under two minutes, promising me that she would send the bloods out soonest. I walked out to find K sitting in the lobby waiting for me. One look at my wan face and he knew something was wrong. I told him about my 5 follies, about my worry that I was responding too fast and yet, not enough and then I told him I did not want to talk about it at all. I felt sick to my heart, I wanted to crawl into a black hole and never come out, I wanted K to hold me and tuck me away in some corner of his shirt pocket. I was angry, I was sad, I was frustrated but most of all I was scared. Petrified, really.

The drive back home was a somber affair. I walked inside, ignoring my parents questioning looks. Shook my feet free of their shoe-d confines, drew the drapes tightly shut and crawled into my bed, covering my face with the blanket. I knew everyone was worried. I wanted to tell them I was okay even though I was far from okay. I did not know how to do it. Again and again my mind insisted, how could there be just 5 follies. From an AFC of 13, I get only 5 stinking follies? Even my first IVF I had 9 follies.

What made everything worse was that it was a special day for us–an Indian festival that celebrates marriage and married life. I really like celebrating this day with all its attendant rituals, especially dressing up in traditional clothes. Yet, here I was in my sweatpants and a ratty old sweatshirt, feeling numb and ignoring my rumbling stomach. K called many times to try soothe my fears but with each passing minute I grew more and more anguished. I cried for hours on end, my poor parents trying their best to get me to calm down. At one point I was so exhausted from all the crying and not eating that I dozed off. I woke up to realize it was late afternoon. CCRM still hadn’t called which meant they did not have the results with them yet.

The next couple hours were crazy stressful. CCRM was about to shut for the day and the nurse had called me to let me know she had neither the u/s report nor the labs. I called the doc’s office and had them re-fax the report. The labs seemed to take an eternity but a call to quest revealed they had been faxed early afternoon. I was at the edge of my patience. I was worried that I might ovulate too soon and wanted to start the cetrotide sooner but of course needed the nurse to confirm that with me. Furthermore, I wanted to know if the cycle was at risk of being canceled. Finally at 4.58 pm mountain time, my nurse called and told me they had everything but that Dr S had left so she would have Dr. Schoolcraft look over my reports and advise me on next steps. I waited by the phone and in about 20 minutes she called back to let me know that I had to start the cetrotide the next morning, keep all other doses the same and travel to Denver as planned. To my concern that things were looking bleak, she said it did seem that I was responding fast but then my follicles were of similar size and my estrogen level (at 209) was where they like to see it at this time.

It wasn’t quite the thumping vote of assurance but then, under the circumstances, this was the best that could have happened. At least there was no mention of canceling cycles. Moreover, she told me they preferred doing their own measurements and bloodwork as they did not trust results from other labs. With that in mind, I finally ate and tried to salvage what was left of the day. My adorable husband had already given me a wonderful gift–a beautiful down jacket to keep me warm in Denver–and he now helped me pack and get things in order for out trip the next day.

As I wrestled a nagging headache in bed at night, I prayed hard to God to carry me over this one.

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The suppression check

I had my suppression check yesterday. I think it went well. Thankfully, there were no dominant follicles and no cysts, either of which could have resulted in the cycle being canceled. However, I had very few follicles that showed up in the scan. Just 5 to be precise. 3 on the left side and 2 on the right. The doctor said there were a few small ones he could see on the right ovary but I couldn’t help feeling bummed. I have an AFC of 13 and it’s stayed that way through the past year. Our last IVF I had 9 follicles which had been upsetting enough. How could the number go down by so much? The doc told me not to worry about this; he said this was not an AFC per se and that CCRM also at this stage was not concerned about the no. of follicles (they hadn’t even checked the ‘follicles no.’ box on the lab order they sent). The more important thing was that there were no dominant follies and that things essentially looked good to go. I reasoned with myself that the priming also might have contributed to the low follie count in some way.

I decided to take that info positively and walked down to the Quest lab to get my blood drawn for hormone levels. The lady at the front desk can be pretty moody at times and it was sheer luck that I found her in a great mood. She drew the blood efficiently and sent me packing with the promise that she would courier it out soonest so results could be faxed stat to CCRM.

The rest of the day was a nervous mess as I kept fielding calls from CCRM asking me why my blood-work had not reached them yet. At one point things got pretty stressful as they were about to shut down for the day and Quest had told me that it might take them another couple hours to fax the results out! Thankfully, just 3 minutes before closing I got a call from my nurse and she said they have the report, all looks okay and I am good to go with the stims. In the meantime, I had ample opportunity to get my anxiety levels shooting through the roof as I relentlessly scoured the internet looking for some reassurance that my poor follie count was not an absolute cop-out and there were examples of women having similar numbers yet being successful. All the suppression check posts I found, though, were of women with a thumping 10-20 follies, despite the priming. Thankfully, I had to step out of the house for my acupuncture session which finally put an end to my cyber-stressing! We ended up having a nice evening with my parents and my brothers family joining us for dinner at a restaurant.

I took my first shot of menopur 150IU today in the morning. I know from experience than menopur burns a lot but perhaps because I was expecting it to, it wasn’t all that bad. It’s finally hit me that the cycle is underway and that we are leaving for Denver in 3 days. Hopefully, there will be enough to occupy my mind so that I won’t be going nuts agonizing over each ultrasound and blood-work result. I plan to take my school work with me, go out a lot while we’re there and treat it like a mini-break of sorts. Tomorrow, we are headed to the NorthFace outlet to get some warm gear for our trip.

Keeping fingers crossed!