This morning’s third ultrasound appointment was okay. We had lots of questions, and although we have been reassured that things are going well, all we know is that we won’t get answers for a while yet.
Despite my estrogen levels going up to 2900 (progesterone steady at 0.69), my lining is still at 7mm, the same it was last Tuesday.
I have been reassured that this is perfectly acceptable (some women never get above 5mm and go on to have perfectly healthy babies) but I am a little bit crushed. I feel like, once again, my body is letting me down. It’s bad enough that I am even here (not cuddling a 4-month-old) a year later because my ovaries are failing thanks to a wonky chromosome, without learning that my uterus isn’t playing nicely either. Dammit, I thought the one thing I could count on is my uterus, but this stubborn 7mm lining has put a dent in my confidence.
More alarmingly (to us, not the medical team), our donor isn’t responding as well to stims as she has in the past. In the past she’s taken 10 days to stim; this time it looks as though 14-16 days will be likely. The email updates from our nurse have been as follows:
Wednesday Feb. 5th: [Nellie] was seen today for follow up ultrasound. She has approx 40 follicles which measure 10mm or less. She is responding appropriately and will be seen again on Fri.
Friday Feb. 7th: I saw [Nellie] today. She has 40+ follicles with her top 10now measuring 6-12mm. She’s doing well. I’ll give you another update next week.
Monday Feb. 10th: [Nellie] still has 35-40 follicles with the top 5 follicles measuring 11-12mm. We are increasing the dose of her Follistim to 150IU starting tonight to speed up her response. We’ll see her again on Wed.
As DH and I never did IVF, we have had no clue what these updates mean in terms of Nellie’s progression and feel a bit frustrated that our updates haven’t included an interpretation. We feel like perhaps there is the assumption that we understand what Nellie’s follicle progression means because most people to do DEIVF have already tried IVF with their own eggs. Not us. Whereas I am grateful not to have multiple failed rounds of IVF under my belt, in addition to the frustration of not understanding, I also have the uncomfortable reminder that I went from one extreme (conceiving spontaneously and quickly this time last year) to another (my chromosome is fucked, therefore so are my eggs, so proceed straight to DEIVF).
Today, we saw a nurse, T, who we hadn’t met before, and explained that we don’t really understand the updates. She was very kind and gave us some reassuring news. Mainly that she is not worried that Nellie is not responding as quickly, because she is still responding in a typical time frame; and also that her smaller follicles are catching up to her larger ones. This is good because if she had a few dominant follicles that were considerably larger than the majority, they might have to be sacrificed in order to give the smaller follicles a chance to reach 18mm or more. Right now, she is not worried about our cycle being cancelled, and that’s the main thing.
Hopefully we will get a more reassuring update after Nellie’s appointment Wednesday, but one thing’s for certain: our original retrieval window of February 11th – 14th has been pushed back to the weekend at the earliest, most likely Monday or Tuesday next week. This means a 6-day transfer won’t happen until February 22nd – 24th. I will barely be PUPO on my sad anniversary date of February 26th.
I thought the weeks were starting to fly by, but this latest delay feels like a blow. We are trying not to lose our cool, but we are so worried that our cycle might be delayed further or even cancelled. We are also having to be mindful about sex, because DH needs to make sure he doesn’t ejaculate a minimum of two, maximum of four days prior to retrieval so his semen sample is the best it can be. This kind of ruins any spontaneity. Hey honey, fancy a shag? Sure — oh, wait, let’s figure out if we are within our abstinence window… And, of course, it doesn’t feel good to know that all the hurdles we have to clear (number of eggs retrieved, number of mature eggs, how many fertilise, survive to blastocyst, and test chromosomally normal) have been pushed back at short notice. I am trying to focus on how this delay actually buys us more time: for me to build up more of a lining and for Nellie’s smaller follicles to grow. But I have moments where I feel a bit down, to be honest.
In terms of side effects from the estradiol, my breasts are incredibly tender (it hurts to be hugged or stand under the shower) and I am a lot more emotional — I even got tearful at an Olympic ice-skating routine (and I hate sports, so this was most unexpected). I miss the support on Twitter but also recognise that a self-imposed time-out is doing me good.
I’m also a lot more tired, and wonder if it’s stress or if I’m fighting off an infection. PSIL and her girls are very sick, so MIL and FIL are keeping their distance so as to not infect DH and me ahead of transfer, but it’s possible I may have caught something from them. Not only would getting sick potentially cause transfer to be rescheduled, but because I will be put on Prednisone and can’t even be around someone who was recently vaccinated. (Prednisone is a steroid that wipes out my immune system so my body doesn’t reject the embryos — because the DNA is different, my body could see the embryos as a threat.)
But I came home and I cried properly. DH and I agree that this DEIVF business is a lot more time-consuming and stressful than we realised. And I’m absolutely worn out.