Sunday, February 21, 2016

Our Last IUI Before IVF

We're a few days into our sixth IUI cycle. Hopefully, this will be our final IUI! Either we have a positive pregnancy test or we move onto IVF. Obviously, I'd prefer the positive pregnancy test ;) but we'll just have to see what happens. IVF is a big step, but it feels like the right choice for us. You always hear of couples getting pregnant right before they start IVF... I would love to be one of those couples! But I am not getting my hopes up too high and I'm at peace with moving to IVF, if need be.

I think I'm going to do this blog post a little differently than my previous IUI cycles. In my past cycles, I posted a summary of my cycle after it was over. But I'm thinking of updating this post as I go this tine. I know there are a few people out there who are following along!

We are doing 100mg of Clomid again, CD 3-7. I decided to take the Clomid at 9 AM rather than 9 PM. My RE said it didn't matter specifically what time I took it, as long as I was consistently taking it at the same time each day. I figured why not try something different? I'm sure it won't have any impact, since otherwise I'm sure doctors would recommend a certain time to take it. Many women take it right before bed, so they can sleep through any side effects. Thankfully, I have no side effects other than acne. Although I'm getting quite tired of all the breakouts. I certainly won't miss the Clomid.

When I called my nurse on CD 1, I had asked her about scheduling our IVF consult and the genetic testing we planned to do. She said I could come at any time for the genetic carrier testing, which I did last week. I wanted to make sure there was plenty of time for the results to come back, and enough time to have my husband tested (if anything is found in my test results), all before our IVF Consult, which is on March 30th. We can always cancel this appointment if our final IUI give us a positive pregnancy test.

I start my OPKs in just a few days, and hopefully the IUI will follow quickly afterwards.

First Update: All done with the Clomid as of a couple of days ago and this morning I started using my OPKs. I'm not expecting to get a positive OPK until this weekend. Last cycle, I ovulated one day later than my previous IUIs, and I'm actually hoping the same happens this cycle, just for our schedule. And for next month, which will be a med free month for me, we have our IVF consult. It would be better if I hadn't ovulated yet for that appointment, because then we can do the mock transfer that day rather than coming back to do it a couple weeks later. My last cycle off Clomid was a really strange cycle and I ovulated realllyyyy late for me, on CD 23. At my doctor's office they told me that's common because your body is getting back on track from having the hormones influenced by the medication. So I'm anticipating that happening again, and hoping to just get the mock transfer out of the way. It's included in the IVF consult, so I'm guessing if I can't do it that day, I need to pay more for a second appointment.

Second update: I got a positive OPK this afternoon! It's CD 13 and the IUI /ovulation will be tomorrow on CD 14. I started feeling quite a bit of twinges on both sides in the ovary area, starting this afternoon. I'm hoping that means I have a follicle on each side! But from past IUIs, I know that sometimes I can feel the smaller ones too, especially if there is two immature follicles on one ovary. So I really can't predict with any certainty how many follicles I will have tomorrow. Fingers crossed for two or three!

Third Update: So we did our IUI yesterday! It went very smoothly. My lining was 10mm, which is a good number! It needs to be at least 6, but it's better if it's over 8. 10 is ideal! I had two mature follicles on my right ovary, 17mm & 22mm. And my left ovary had one that had already collapsed (already ovulated). So it looks like three follicles for this month!! Our post wash sperm count was 38 million with 35% motility. So about 12 million of those sperm were highly motile. It was interesting though.. I didn't even feel the IUI at all this time. I usually have at least a little pinch and cramping when the catheter goes in, but I felt nothing this time and I didn't have any spotting after. I hope that's a good sign.

The doctor who did my ultrasound did tell me that they see a lot of patients get pregnant right before they start IVF. That's what happened on our third IUI! Our next step was IVF, but I got a positive pregnancy test. Sadly that ended in an early miscarriage. But I still at least have some hope that this IUI could work. This TWW is going to feel quite long!

Fourth Update: Well, I'm 9 DPO today. More than halfway through the TWW!! I'm really surprised at how quickly it's been going by. I hadn't been paying attention to what day it was, so I was a bit stunned to see I'm actually 9 DPO. A year ago, if you had told me I was on our 6th IUI, with one loss, with our next step IVF.. I would have been devastated and inconsolable. But that's not how I feel. I feel surprisingly okay with everything. Actually I feel quite positive most of the time. But today when I realized I was 9 DPO, and I'd find out in just a matter of days whether our IUI would be successful, I started feeling a little bit of anxiety. It's really important to me to stay positive, because if our IUI isn't successful, I want to go into IVF with a very positive outlook. So it scared me a little when I felt that anxiety today. But thankfully, it passed!

Last Update: Well, AF should be here shortly. IUI #6 = BFN. My temperature dropped down on 12 DPO and at that point, I started really feeling that this cycle wasn't going to work out. My IVF appointment is in about two weeks, so we will be taking this next cycle completely off from any treatment. I think it will be good for my body to have a break! Now onto IVF...

Want to hear about our other IUIs? 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Genetic Carrier Screening - Worth It?

One of the questions our RE asked us on our first appointment was whether we wanted to do a genetic screening test. He said some people feel strongly that they want it done, whereas others opt out. At that time we chose to opt out, but decided we would have the testing done if we were thinking of moving forward to IVF. Well that time has come.

Even though we still have one more IUI to do (for a grand total of 6!), we wanted to prepare in case it doesn't work out. And let's face it... we've had 5 IUIs so far, and only got a positive beta on one of them, which ended in an early loss... so we aren't getting our hopes up super high that the last IUI will work. If it does, we will be over the moon! And it would be an amazing surprise. But I would rather get used to the idea of it not working and be in disbelief if it does, than getting my hopes up so high and to be crushed if it's a BFN.

Our first step in the "prep for IVF" process is the genetic carrier screening. Previously, our RE's office used the Counsyl screening test, but just recently switched to the Recombine CarrierMap screening test because the cost was lower for patients. The CarrierMap test also tests for more genetic conditions than the Counsyl test does. Carriermap tests for over 250, while Counsyl tests for over 100. So cheaper and tests for more things? Sign me up! I want to get my money's worth.

Speaking of money, I was absolutely thrilled when I heard back from the billing department of Recombine. It turns out, my price for the test is only $95! That's significantly cheaper than the price I had gotten from my RE's office for Counsyl testing.

So why did we change our mind about the testing? Originally we were hoping that it was only a mild sperm issue. Both doctors we saw thought an IUI would easily fix the problem. But going on 6 IUIs now, and no lasting pregnancy. IVF is expensive and we don't want to waste a cycle without having all the information available to us. If it turns out both myself and my husband are carriers of the same genetic issue, we can do PGD testing to ensure our embryos did not get the condition and only healthy embryos will be transferred.

The test itself was really simple. I just had to fill out a short form and had a small vial of blood drawn at our clinic. The blood is overnighted to them by FedEx, in a plastic bag type box.

Results should be ready in 1-2 weeks. If I test positive for any genetic issues, then my husband will be tested for those things as well. As long as both you and your partner are not carriers for the same thing, there is nothing to be concerned about.

So what are some of the benefits of testing?

Reassurance that you aren't a carrier for a major genetic issue. 

If you and your partner are both carrier of the same issue, you can plan for this with your doctor.

Making the right decision ahead of time.

If you are considering embarking on expensive fertility treatments, having the test results can impact your treatment. In some cases, IVF may be the best option for genetic issues because they can test the embryos before transferring them. Going through months of IUI only to find out later, IVF was your best option, can be a difficult thing to deal with.

Can plan ahead for future testing during pregnancy.

If you aren't planning to do IVF but still have a genetic concern, testing can be done early in your pregnancy on your baby to ensure they are healthy. Knowing this ahead of time can help you make the right decisions for your little one.

Knowledge is power.

More information is always better. Even if both you and your husband are carriers of the same thing, there is only a 25% chance your child will be affected. Knowing this will help you to make informed decisions down the road.

Peace of mind.

For me, just knowing we did all the testing available to us is a comfort. There comes a point when you've done all you can. I like not leaving any stone unturned.

I'll do another update when I get my results. Fingers crossed it comes back with no issues!

Pin it for later!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Our Fifth IUI..

Well, here we are again. Our fifth IUI. At least for me, my feelings about what we're going through seem to shift and change with each cycle. Sometimes I am full of hope and sure things will be just fine, other times I have more questions lingering in my mind, and sometimes I am just downright sad or overwhelmed. This month, I'm feeling sick of all of this.

I know many people read these types of blogs for hope and inspiration, but I really do want to be real here. Infertility is hard. Not having a baby when you desperately want one is hard. Taking fertility medications is hard. Getting poked and stabbed is hard. And then it's also hard once you see the bill and realize you're paying to get prodded with ultrasound wands and tubes slipped inside of you.. and you still don't have the baby you've been hoping for after years.

But I think most of us who go through any fertility issues at all are familiar with the ups and downs. You can't predict what might happen or what may be in store next month. At times, you will be bursting with hope! But sometimes, you will be full of despair. And that's okay.

Again this month we are doing 100 mg of Clomid, CD 3-7. I am very used to taking the Clomid now. At first, I really had a lot of anxiety about it, but that is gone now. I even used to hate the taste of the pill! But I must have gotten used to that as well. Thankfully, I'm still doing really well and have only had a couple of hot flashes here and there.

I am to start OPKs on CD 10, as usual.

I got my positive OPK on CD 13, one day later than usual for my Clomid cycles. Not quite sure why, but I'm sure it could just be natural variation. I called in to let them know we'd be in the next morning. Definitely feeling quite routine now!

We dropped off the sample, headed out to breakfast, then stopped at a nearby store. I picked up some seeds for our vegetable garden in the spring. We start our seeds quite a long time before we plant the garden in May, so I shop early!

At 10:30 AM, it was time to head back to the fertility center for the actual IUI. Thankfully it's only 15 minutes from our house. We're so lucky to have such a good office so close to us - I know so many people need to travel to get treatment.

When we got into the exam room, the usual doctor came in. But a familiar nurse showed up as well! She was the nurse who did our IUI back in November, and we actually got pregnant! She remembered us and said she was so sad to hear about what had happened with the chemical pregnancy and the illness I had. I was really hoping it was a good sign she was there.

Our ultrasound showed two mature follicles, one on the right and one on the left. The one on the left ovary was 26 mm and the one on the right ovary was 15 mm. I was a bit disappointed in the size of the smaller one. My RE's office considers anything 15 mm and up to be mature, but it's not a sure thing that it will contain a mature egg, or will even ovulate. So technically, two mature eggs... but the smaller one was definitely a little iffy. My lining was good at 8.79 mm

Our washed sperm sample was 26.5 million with 59% motility. So this was our second best sample yet in terms of number of motile sperm. Really keeping our fingers crossed for this cycle!

I had no symptoms or anything strange during the TWW, and I guess I should have figured that this was going to be another BFN cycle.

AF arrived this morning, but I'm not too surprised. BFN's are the norm for me, so it's almost easier to just expect that! Still remaining hopeful that our next IUI will be the lucky one where we get out take home baby. I'm still waiting on a call back from my nurse for next cycle, because I have a lot of questions to ask this time about how to move forward if our last IUI doesn't work out.

Staying hopeful..

Want to hear about our other IUIs? 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Being Negative...

Trying to keep this in mind today...

"Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it."
- Joyce Meyer

One of the things I've noticed with infertility, is that there comes a point when it becomes more difficult to be positive. Infertility is full of disappointment and wanting something that is just out of your reach.

But being positive does make you feel better. You can't let yourself get consumed by negativity! You also must not be to hard on yourself, because it is okay to be sad and angry sometimes.

Trying to take my own advice and trying to be positive today!