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CCRM days 3 & 4 (CD 8 & 9)

I can’t quite say how I expected things to turn out here at CCRM but so far it’s been a pretty action-packed few days. Today was my 9th day of stimming and I’m tiring of things. I haven’t been sleeping well (at all!) and however much I try I’m unable to nap through the day. That couple with the constant poking (stims + bloodwork) and prodding (ultrasounds) has left me pretty darn tired. Strangely though, this hasn’t resulted in my shifting into instant bitch-mode; instead I remain fairly calm about things. Even hopeful!

So without further ado, here are the numbers from the past two days:

Day 8

LO: 18.5, 13, 12.2, 9, 7, 6.6, 5

RO: 16.7, 14.6, 12.2, 6.2, 6

E2: 1369

Day 9

LO: 18.2, 14, 14, 11, 10, 9

RO: 18.5, 14.3, 12.2, 9.3, 6, 6

E2: 1928

So, it seems that things are moving along very slowly indeed. The good thing is that the bigger follies are all a similar size but then a couple of them seem to have actually shrunk a teeny bit which, of course, worries me greatly. The nurses at CCRM, while extremely kind, are all reserved in their opinion of how things are progressing and it being a weekend I could not get Dr S’s opinion on the matter.

All I know is that for now, I’ve been told to continue with my stims for tonight and tomorrow morning and then go back to CCRM at 7 am (!!) for another monitoring appointment. As soon as we get done with the u/s and the bloodwork there, we have to rush to Denver to get another dose of cetrotide from a local pharmacy here ’cause I’m out of it. I asked the nurse today if I would need other stims as well but she said we wouldn’t know till my appointment tomorrow. So we reach the pharmacy, get the cetrotide, finish the injections and then drive back (fast!) to CCRM for my IVF physical appointment. Once we’re done with that we need to check out of this hotel and (they did not have rooms available here starting tomorrow for the next few days) and hang out somewhere till its time to check into the other hotel. Oh and, in between, we have to go back to CCRM yet again so that hubby can do his thing for the backup freeze. Whew! It’s going to be a long, long day.

While I am tiring of the shots, I do want to give all my follies the chance to mature and make beautiful eggs for which I welcome the opportunity to stim extra if needed. I’m praying hard and staying hopeful for what lies ahead.

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CCRM days 1 & 2

I write this post with a heavy heart. I wish I had good news to report. I wish things were going as well I as I have been hoping, wishing, praying that they would. But, for some reason, luck does not seem to favor me lately.

Day 1 (CD 6)

We got into Denver late Wednesday evening and after grabbing a quick dinner en route to the hotel, we checked in and almost immediately started the whole injecting process. Hampton Inn & Suites where we spent the first night does not have refrigerators in all rooms so it was quite the complex process getting them to put the medications in the fridge, the coolers and ice packs in the freezer and retrieve them one at a time as needed. Anyhow, once done, I read for a while in bed and by midnight fell asleep. I had a strange, restless night waking up many times to use the bathroom. My nose felt blocked and my throat was uncomfortable congested no doubt from the change in weather. It’s not crazy cold yet but there’s a distinct difference from the NorCal winter we are used to. Early next morning I noticed a significant amount of white discharge and immediately panicked worrying that I might have ovulated too soon. There was nothing I could do, however, till I made it to the clinic for my 9 am monitoring appointment.

We reached CCRM early and were taken in quicky enough. The woman who did my ultrasound was extremely nice and super apologetic that she was causing me a considerable amount of pain. She was just measuring everything twice since the numbers were vastly different from my first appointment back home. Here is the final tally for day 6:

LO: 14.7, 12.4, 10. 7.3, 2

RO: 14, 10, 9, 1

Two very kind nurses sat down with K & me in a small, private chamber and gave us these numbers, explaining that they do not rely on local monitoring too much for precisely this reason–measurements are often under or over estimated and it they all too often miss out on some of the smaller follies. They were both confident that I was doing pretty well and the two smallest follies had every chance of catching up. Our hopes renewed, K & I completed our morning set of injections in the same place and soon after I went in for blood-work. Once done, we stepped out of the clinic feeling lighthearted and madly optimistic about the future. From a dismal forecast of 5 follies we now had 7 measurable and 2 small ones. Things could well still turn out in our favor. K still was of the opinion that we should bank but I was hopeful we might be able to hit a home run with this very cycle itself.

We drove over to Townplace Suites where we had reservations for the next 4 nights or so. It was too early to check in though so we spent the next hour at Target, K sitting at Starbucks and working and me just aimlessly wondering the aisles, feeling cautiously happy. We went back to the hotel only to discover that the room we had checked in to was still a mess and had not been cleaned. A sharp reprimand to the front desk had us moved into a freshly cleaned room with the assurance that we would be charged half the room rate for that night! K worked through the evening, he had conference calls to attend and I slacked of as usual, absorbing myself in a historical romance and spending an inane amount of time googling follicle numbers for poor responders.

In the evening I got a call from the clinic. Dr S had reviewed my reports and wanted me to continue on the same dose of meds. He also did not require me to come in the next day for monitoring but just for the regroup appointment we had scheduled with him. My estrogen level was looking good at 767 and the nurse said things seemed to be tracking on target.

With that reassuring news, we stepped out in the evening to grab a quick meal at the food court in the Park Meadows mall after which we rushed back to our room for injections. Since we’re done with saizen, the nightly regime has become way simpler with only Gonal F which is a pen and therefore does not require any mixing. That done, I settled into bed with my book and fell asleep soon after. I slept well for the most part but had an extremely disturbing dream in which K and I were in a car hurtling down a freeway. I was urging him to drive slowly but just as he was about to slow down a large truck came in front of us and he slammed on the brakes. We crashed into a black wall of space and the last thing I remember before being jolted awake was thinking this is how it feels like to die! How truly morbid, right? I get scary dreams very often and once I wake up I am so frozen in fear that I cannot move for the next few minutes. This time though I nudged K awake and he instantly pulled me close to him. I felt relief flooding my senses and soon enough dozed off again.

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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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Never a dull moment!!

The past few days have been crazy. I’ve constantly felt like updating you all out here but been busy and somewhat reluctant to take a dip in the virtual world. Which, I suppose, is a positive sign! My parents are visiting (did I mention that?) so the days are a happy blur of taking them out, cooking yummy Indian meals with my mom, catching up on school work and just generally basking in their affection!

On the IVF front, though, there’s been a fair bit of action. The meds are all here including the saizen and are chilling in the fridge. Freedom did a great job as always and Braun pharmacy (they sent the saizen) were sweet enough to send me a nice big box of alcohol swabs which I had requested for. This past Monday I started off with 2mg estrace twice daily and then three Cetrotide 0.25 injections beginning Tuesday. As always, my super husband does a great job with the needles; I have barely felt a thing and even though I’m bleeding more at the puncture sites than last time, it all goes by in a flash. I think the most painful part for me is slapping the ice pack on my tummy to numb it.

I was extremely apprehensive about the estrace since I’ve heard horror stories of side-effects while on it, especially for women who have endo. So far, though, I haven’t had much trouble barring some headache and fatigue. I decided to stop yoga until I’m done with the stims so exercise has been mostly restricted to my nightly, after-dinner walk with K which I relish and look forward to.

So where’s the action, you might ask? Well, a couple nights back as I was about to doze off it suddenly struck me that my suppression check was scheduled on a Saturday. My OB’s office had assured me they would take me in (the doc on emergency duty that day would perform the u/s) so that wasn’t an issue but what about the blood-work? I know that the Quest I go to does not do stat testing for hormone levels on Saturday and that is the only Quest around here open on a Saturday. Before long I was hyperventilating wondering how I would get the results to CCRM on time and mentally going through a list of possible places I could go for same day testing in the area. Another option, of course, was to skip the OB’s office altogether and head to a local IF center which would be okay with monitoring me locally. I spent the entire night restlessly anguishing over things and first thing next morning called my OB’s office to find out if they could help me. The staff was very nice but unable to confirm whether or not Quest would do it. I emailed my doctor in the meantime hoping he would reply soon with possible alternatives. At the same time, I called CCRM wanting to confirm that they would have someone in their office to receive the results and advise me on next steps on a Saturday. Turns out, that was the most important call I made! My nurse (who has a remarkable ability to be frightfully dense!) let it out that in case my period (scheduled to arrive a day after my last dose of cetrotide) was late and came over the weekend, the suppression check would be moved to next Wednesday and stimming would begin next Thursday! Apparently CCRM lets patients stim only in a Thursday-Sunday period. Fantastic! I wasn’t as irritated by the obvious repurcussions this would have on our travel plans (we’ve already booked the tickets) as I was by the fact that it took my calling for her to inform me of this rather critical point!!

Of course the rest of the evening was spent stressing over whether or not now period would arrive on time. I spent the day pretty much on the road driving from one place to another, completing long-due errands. By the time we finally made it back home after picking K up from work, I was beat. I was feeling feverish, achy and just massively lousy. After dinner, I just about managed to crawl into bed, grateful the day was over. Each muscle in my body was screaming in protest and sleep came as soon as my head touched the pillow. At about 3am I woke up feeling craptastic. My period had started bringing with it a fresh round of anxieties. What did this imply for my suppression check? Would things get significantly postponed or, worse still, canceled? Another night spent trying to coax sleep into my weary eyes, to no avail.

Anyhow, today after what seemed like an eternity, I managed to get through CCRM and was told to continue estrace but move up my suppression check by one day. This is actually better for us because it means we don’t have to run around town like headless chickens trying to find a lab that will process same day results for us on Saturday. So that’s where things are at. Tomorrow first thing in the morning I go to my OB’s office for the scan and blood-work, and then cross my fingers (and everything else that’s crossable) that things go well and I get the green signal to start stimming this Saturday!