February 10, 2009

Dead Silence and a Thud (Day 5/6 Report)

The dead silence part is my mouth hanging open, the thud is my jaw hitting the ground.

Of our 29 embryos, 22 made it to Day 5. They were able to biopsy 13 yesterday, which is 60%. For comparison's sake, last time they were able to biopsy 6 of 18 on Day 5, or 33%.

Last time, they grew out 12 more to Day 6, and wound up biopsying 4, or 25%. This time, there were 9 they weren't able to biopsy yesterday that they grew to today. Of those, they were able to biopsy 8, or 89%.

Overall, they biopsied 21 of the 22 that made it to the blast stage. (Insert dead silence, thud here.) Apparently, we've set a record for the most number of blasts biopsied from one retrieval. This batch is being sent out for micro-array rather than CGH, so that hopefully we won't get as high a percentage of "no results" this time around.

Both the embryologist I spoke with yesterday and the one I spoke with today gushed about how amazingly perfect our embryos look - they said there wasn't one average-graded one in the bunch. I swear, I think they were doing a little happy dance on our behalf.

But then I mentioned to today's embryologist that I've noticed from other patients that the embryos that are graded the best tend to be the abnormal ones, and she said, "Yeah, a lot of the ones that we would recommend transferring based on how they look come back abnormal. We've been very surprised by that." So basically, she agreed with me - after telling me that all of ours look fabulous.

Then she went on to add, "Down's Syndrome embryos in particular make beautiful blasts. They tend to look great on Day 5!" Gee, that really helps, thanks.

I know, I know. I should be very grateful. And I am. And I keep telling myself that this was a different protocol, so hopefully it will have a different (better) outcome.

But I have to admit, the biggest part of me is still afraid that I'm going to get a phone call in two months telling me that we have 21 absolutely beautiful, totally abnormal blasts.

February 07, 2009

If Only Looks Mattered (Day 3 Report)

Of our 29 embryos, 25 are in the 6-10 cell range that the lab likes to see on Day 3. Three of the other four are 5 cells, and one is 3 cells.

The embyrologist who called with our report says the 25 look "perfect" and this is "exactly what we want to see."

If only that counted for something. But our embryos always look great, and from the anecdotal evidence I've read from other ladies who have had CGH done, it's usually the highest-graded, best-looking ones that turn out to be abnormal, and the average-to-poor looking/graded ones that come back normal. Last cycle, it was our more average-graded ones that came back with "no results." Not to say that those are normal, because they could go either way, but the great-looking ones were definitively abnormal.

At this point, there's nothing else to do but settle in for the 2mw (2 month wait). And perhaps use the time to work on shrinking my ass down from the size of Australia to the size of Alaska.

February 06, 2009

You Know You've Been Dealing With Infertility Too Long When...

...you find Band-aids stuck to your ass that you've long since forgotten about.

I just discovered Monday's trigger shot Band-aid - it had survived four showers and at least 8 changes of clothes.

Then again, perhaps it's not all that surprising. It was a small, square one, about a centimeter by a centimeter. And since my ass is about the size of Australia right now, something that tiny is easy to overlook. :-)

February 05, 2009

Fert Report

This cycle: 38 eggs, 31 mature, 29 fertilized
Last cycle: 30 eggs, 24 mature, 18 fertilized (6 abnormal embryos, 4 "no results" embryos)
First cycle: 32 eggs, 20 mature, 17 fertilized (2 day3 embryos transferred, 8 blasts transferred, 2 pregnancies, 2 miscarriages, 3 dead babies)

All I can say is we darn well better have at least one normal embryo this time around.

February 04, 2009

Retrieval Report

My ovaries, little over-achievers that they are, gave up a whopping 38 eggs this morning.

Between all three retrievals I've done, that's a total of exactly 100 eggs.

Please don't say "congratulations." I realize that if you're someone who struggles to get 3 or 4 eggs, 38 sounds like manna from heaven. But there's an inverse relationship between quality and quantity, and I'm at about double the maximum quantity RE was hoping for (20). And I won't bore you again with all of the details I posted last cycle about an IRL friend of mine, but suffice to say she probably hasn't made 20 eggs combined for all 4 of her IVF cycles, yet she is now 20+ weeks pg with her second baby. Even without this cycle, I on the other hand have produced 3 times as many eggs as her, and yet don't even have half the number of kiddos to show for it. And ultimately, that's the only number that means anything.

My ovaries clearly either do absolutely nothing, or else go into super-turbocharged-hyper overdrive; there just doesn't seem to be any way to coax only a few eggs into production.

Last time I had 30 eggs, and I wasn't required to go back in the next day for an ultrasound. But this time, RE is more concerned about OHSS even though we aren't doing a transfer. They gave me some sort of special fluid in the IV to try to prevent it, which I hadn't even heard of before. I also have to go in tomorrow morning for an ultrasound, and I've been instructed to continue eating salty foods for at least a week. (The salt keeps the fluid in your arteries and veins so that it is less likely to flood into the ovaries and start filling all of those now-empty follicles with fluid.)

But so far I feel fine and have minimal pain, so I'm hoping I won't develop OHSS.

Now we wait for tomorrow's fertilization report, Saturday's day 3 report, and Monday and Tuesday's biopsy reports.

On a semi-related note...we spoke with the genetic counselor yesterday. She said several patients who did CGH around the time we did had the same problem with no results, including some not from CCRM. (RMA is the lab doing CGH, so I imagine they're offering it to their IVF patients as well.)

Anyway, she said the RMA lab disposed of all of the "reading agent" (I think that's what she called it) chemicals and brought in a new batch of chemicals to see if that would fix the problem. But CCRM is now steering patients to micro-array until they get word from RMA that the issue is definitely resolved. She quoted us a 4-6 week wait, but we'll see what happens...

February 02, 2009

Triggering Sooner Than Expected

Well, well, well, apparently my ovaries have decided to sit up and take notice after all.

Since my follicles' growth was rather pathetic on Friday, I didn't have to go back for another ultrasound until Sunday. There was growth, but it was still slow - 1 or 2mm, and most of my follicles were in the 13-15mm range. I think the largest was maybe, maybe 17mm.

So you can imagine my shock when the ultrasound today showed a few that were over 20mm, and most of the rest at 17-18mm. Somehow between yesterday and today they achieved about 4 days worth of growth!

I thought for sure RE would have me stim for one more night, but nope - trigger is tonight. Wow. So retrieval is Wednesday, and we're heading home on Thursday night.

Hopefully by this time next week we'll know how many they were able to biopsy. And then we settle in for another two-month wait.

Our nurse mentioned that the genetic counselor wants to talk with us about doing micro-array instead of CGH this time, since we wound up with so many "no results" last time. She wasn't in today, so that conversation will happen tomorrow. I know she explained the differences when we met with her last summer, but I don't remember the difference.