Slow growing ’round here

Medication day 10

It’s slower going these days. I thought for sure that starting off on the highest dose of meds would grow these follicles so fast my head would spin. 

Okay, maybe not that fast, but I did think I would at least be on track for a ‘normal’ follicle stim cycle. 

I’m not. 

They are growing, just not fast enough.

I had my appointment yesterday and instead of starting to go to my monitoring appointments every day, meaning that I’m getting closer. I’m still at every other day. 

I am not disappointed because this time I’m not surprised. 

I’m just scared that there won’t be many more follicles and the ones that we do have won’t grow. 

I’m scared to face the possibility that we won’t have another biological child. 

That the maternity clothes that I have loaned out to expecting friends won’t need to be returned. 

The excitement of news for other friends who share in this exciting journey toward parenting, won’t have a reason to be reciprocated.  

My thoughts grow dark as I begin to think that I am not a good enough mom to be gifted with a second. 

Or even darker, that Hubby and I are not capable of having a healthy family with another child and that God is protecting us from a future where our marriage is on the rocks. 

Either way, my thoughts lead me to “I’m not good enough”, “I’m not deserving”. 

I’m glad to know today that these are dark and not true thoughts. 

They are just fears mixed with emotion. 

Instead of wallowing with these thoughts, I pick up the needles and vials of medicine, click the Gonal-F pen until the number for the correct dose pops up and proceed to do my 1% in this whole process which is to give myself the medicine and relax. 

God- help me look to you when my thoughts grow heavy and dim. 

Cetrotide: .25mg

Gonal F: 375IU

Menopur: 225IU 

Follicles: 14, (12, 11, 11, 10, 10, 9, 9)

Medication day 11

Oh, how I cried on the way home from the appointment today. 

I could not stop the tears. 

I knew I needed to let myself flow with sadness and fear. 

What if we won’t get a healthy, viable embryo?

I am not ready to accept that we won’t get pregnant again. 

You may be wondering what caused the flood of emotion?

During the ultrasound, today, I only saw 4 noteworthy follicles on my right side. 

There were only four there two days ago… and on top of that, they are the same size as they were two days ago. 

I can’t believe my body is not responding to the medications. 

I feel as though my body is making a line in the sand saying, “I won’t make any more follicles”. 

Is my body rebelling against me?

The foods I eat, the supplements I take, the acupuncture, the naps, the walks… 

Nothing is working and I feel as though my body is shutting down from making any more follicles. 

I get the call from my medical team and they are happy with the overall progress, counting 15 follicles total right now. 

My left side is really stepping in it seems. 

I feel so defeated, so tired and yet not ready to let go. 

This is my last effort for a baby, come on body, keep working, keep pushing!

Cetrotide: .25mg

Gonal F: 375IU

Menopur: 225IU 

Follicles: 17, 16, 15, 13, 13, (11, 11, 11, 10, 10, 9, 9, 9, 7)


Medication day 12

Another day where I feel like crying, but there are no more tears in there. 

I spent some time with God this morning and really surrendered my grip about the number of follicles and the number of eggs and the number this and the number that. 

I don’t want to place stock in the numbers, the data, the science. 

I already did that last time around and came up empty handed with a lot of heartache. 

Every time I go to the doctors I don’t want to focus on the numbers.

I hear this small voice say “I’ve got something better”. 

What does that mean?

I feel the doom of dark clouds roll over my thoughts and my heart sink. 

In my life, I have learned how I hear best from God. 

It’s in these still moments that this little voice of peace comes over me. He’s here, I think.

God is with me. 

I try not to argue and instead leave my heart open to receive. 

Many times, I’ll hear God answer with one of three responses:

  1. Yes
  2. Not now
  3. I have something better for you

I’m not always in love with the second or third response and yet I know that is a call for me to practice obedience in my ability to trust that God’s plan and ways are always so much better than mine. 

I’m not sure if ‘something better” means He is about to give us multiple healthy wonderful embryos or if this IVF round won’t be successful and something better means an adopted child or even bigger “something better” might mean I will get pregnant all on my own without all of this medication. 

Either way- I want to receive this word as a way to feel peace. 

God is in these details and I may not know how it will all work out but I can sit back and watch as He does his miracle work. 

Nurse Emily calls and I am to do one more night of medication and come in for a final monitoring appointment tomorrow. We are getting closer and depending on how some of these grow tonight, we might be close to triggering for an egg retrieval. 

Lord, your will be done. 

One win for me: I did not have the same expectations as I did last time around. I am not surprised that my body is taking a little longer to respond and that the follicles are s.l.o.w.l.y. growing. Getting the call from Nurse Emily today to say that we might have another day is no surprise and if anything, I welcome it because it means more time for those littler follicles to grow and potentially become our ONE (or more) babies!

Cetrotide: .25mg

Gonal F: 300IU

Menopur: 300IU (4 vials)

Follicles: 20, 19, 17, 15, 15, 15, 14, (13, 12, 12, 11, 11, 10, 10)

Medication day 13

We continue to do the do… morning shot of Cetrotide, blood work, ultrasound, wait to hear from Nurse Emily and two shots at night. 

It’s become such a routine and yet I am so grateful that I get to go through this each day. 

By me giving myself shots and driving to the appointments means I’m in the game. 

We are still in this!

Today, I got to meet Dr. Brahma in person. 

She is absolutely lovely. 

Her door was open and she was sitting at her desk as I walked by. 

I introduced myself and she invited me in with a warm disposition. 

We talked about this cycle and how she is liking what she is seeing with the growth. 

This was comforting. 

She also adjusted my thinking (again) with the fact that she is looking to get a little over 10 really solid good eggs, thinking between last cycle and this cycle we will have one wonderful embryo. 

I do have the same hope. 

With a spring in my step after meeting such a caring doctor, I returned home with another night of medications to give my follicles more nutrients to grow!

Cetrotide: .25mg

Gonal F: 375IU

Menopur: 225IU 

Follicles: 22, 21, 19, 17, 16, 16, 15, 14, 14, 14, 14, 13, 13, 11


Medication day 14

It’s a drizzly day here and it pretty much reflects my mood. 

I woke up feeling as though this seems to be dragging on, and yet I also welcome the opportunity for a few more follicles to grow in there to help the chances of a successful outcome. 

I give myself the Cetrotide shot, eat my breakfast and head off to another monitoring appointment. 

It’s possible that we will ‘trigger’ the ovulation process tonight and schedule the egg retrieval for 2 days from now… or we will do another night of mediations. 

I want to stay open… and I also want to return home to sleep in my own bed. 

IVF Cycle

It’s been wonderful to be with family and yet I am ready to return to my normal routine in the comforts of my home. 

I remind myself that this could be the last effort for a baby and one more day is worth a lifetime of having a child. 

As I lay there on the monitoring table with the ultrasound wand taking pictures of all the beautiful follicles inside of me, I have to praise God for this amazing gift of creating life and surrender what He will end up doing with these follicles. 

The sonographer is new and I have to block-out any fear that she doesn’t know what she is doing. 

Nurse Emily talks with me briefly after the appointment. She thinks it’s just too close to call and has a slight suspicion that Dr. B will go one more night on the meds. 

An inconvenience to use and our desires to return and yet worth the extra 24 hours if that will make all the difference in our future. 

At 2pm on the dot she calls.

One more night of medications with a certain trigger tomorrow night. 

We adjust all our plans to fit this additional day and look at the good in this opportunity. 

Cetrotide: .25mg

Gonal F: 375 IU

Menopur: 225 IU

Follicles: 25, 23, 20, 27, 28, 27, 16, 16, 15, 15, 15, 12, 12, 12, 11, 11, 10

More meds, more hope

Days 7 & 8

It seems like more of the same at this point. 

I went in for my monitoring appointment yesterday and was happy to see some follicle growth in my ovaries. 

There were six follicles total, three on each side- measuring approximately 10mm each so that is a good start but nothing to write home about. 

There are still quite a bit of smaller follicles that are too small to measure that we need to grow so I’m instructed to do much of the same. 

Continue with the medications as we have and rest up. 

It’s time to order more medications and I can’t believe how quickly the numbers add up. 

Shady Grove’s Shared Risk is great to the extent that a client can go through multiple IVF rounds in order to have a successful pregnancy. The downside though is the client needs to pay an outside vendor for the medications. 

Meaning, we paid for the medications last round… and need to shell out more money for the medications this round. Since I’m on higher doses of medication, the cost is higher. And this is not refunded if we don’t have a successful pregnancy. 

Oh, the cost for hope in having a new little life in our family. 

I call the least expensive fertility pharmacy I can find that works with Shady Grove, Encompass. 

They have come to know me now (it seems) and I slide my next order in to be received in the next day. 

As I give my credit card number, I repeat, “this is all worth it”, I remind myself. 

Time to relax and let my body grow these little amazing things.

I enjoyed another acupuncture session to feel as though I am contributing to the growth effort in some important way and am mindful of how much I am exhausting my body. 

Dr. Shu reminded me that I need to be very relaxed and to stay calm through this process. He also re-emphasized no working out aside from walking and to ingest warm foods and drinks. 

I must say, relaxing with a toddler is a hard suggestion to follow and yet I am being very mindful of how much I pick her up or bend down to be with her. 

My abdomen is swollen. 

It feels bloated and when I go to give myself the nightly dose of medications, I can see where the bruises are starting to form. 

There are little red dots all over my abdomen where I have recent poked and I feel myself just wanting to rub my skin gently offering some sort of condolences for the pain I have inflicted. 

Nurse Emily called with the monitoring report and it was as expected. 

Slow growing and we will see you in a few days to see how things progress. 

She did start me on Cetrotide which will help my body restrain from ovulating too early with the larger follicles they see on the ultrasound. 

We wouldn’t want that!

This means adding one more poke in the morning in addition to the pokes at night. 

My poor abdomen. 

Thank you for embracing these pokes, dear abdomen, for the hope and sake of a new little life. 

AM: Cetrotide- .25mg

PM: Gonal F- 375 IU

PM: Menopur- 225 IU

Do we want to know the gender?

The PGS testing came back a week earlier than expected. On my voicemail, nurse Christine stated we have 1 healthy viable embryo.

She even offered to share the gender since that is a part of the chromosome testing.

Woah, I am overwhelmed with emotions.

It’s been 8 days since our two little embryos went for testing and the results are said to take up to 14 days.

I check the message and before I know, nurse Christine is sharing the results of our PGS testing.

No time to gear up for the truth, I simply take a breath.

“You have one genetically normal embryo and so we will be able to proceed with this”.

My heart drops.

I know, I know. I should be happy to have one.

I’m still mourning the loss of fertilized eggs from 12 to 2 (which to me is a huge drop off rate).

We have 1.

We went from 20 eggs retrieved, to 13 mature eggs, to 12 fertilized eggs, to 2 blastocysts, to 1 genetically normal.

I would be lying if I said I was overjoyed to learn we have 1.

Unfortunately, my excitement has been mounting over the weeks and months of preparation for IVF. I have heard people who have ended up with 1 in the end of their cycle.

But not me.

I thought I was going to be different.
I had my hopes set on multiple embryos that we would be able to implant over the next few years to make our family complete.

The truth is, I’m a little sad and disappointed.

I had my hopes on having more and had set myself with higher expectations based on what ‘could be’.

I know, I know.

Everyone says, you just need one. Which is true.

Let me explain.

We are apart of the Shared Risk Program at Shady Grove. This was one of the reasons we chose them.

They give a soft guarantee for a live baby birth at the end of 6 IVF cycles, or your money back. Everything (except the medications) are wrapped up into one price.

If you don’t have a successful egg retrieval to embryo process, you can do another egg retrieval for ‘free’ (except for the medications), and you can do this up to 6 times for no additional cost to the clinic.

What is ‘successful’? Good question.

One embryo at the end of an IVF cycle is successful.

So since we have one, then we need to implant this one before we would be able to do another retrieval.

The caveat is, if you have a successful/ live birth, the package goes away.

Any future egg retrievals would need to be paid for by us.

Pretty incredible, huh?

So here’s the ‘issue’.

We want to have more than one child and if we get a live beautiful baby out of this embryo then in order for us to have more children, we would need to pay the full price of IVF, again.

If we would have had more embryos that made it to this stage, then we would have some more frozen and in the waiting.

If we had no embryos make it to this stage we would go back into the egg retrieval stage and have the opportunity for more embryos.

I’m not not grateful for the one.

I’m just pouting because I’m scared that we won’t be able to have more children in the future.

I know, I know… we can always adopt or do another egg retrieval… it just prolongs the process.

It’s just not what I had created to be the story to be.

If our goal was 1, I would be happy.

I guess I shouldn’t have set my sights so high as to have all our kids frozen and at the ready for us to implant when we want.

That would be too easy.

That would give me too much say in the timing, too much control over my family.

Nope, God has other plans.

It’s true, I don’t really know what the future holds for me and I know that God always pulls things together in a way that I could have never imagined.

I’m just letting myself be bummed.

I lean into the tears and let myself feel the disappointment.

I don’t really want to have an only child and the thought of adopting seems so daunting at this point.

Maybe I won’t like being pregnant and having 1 embryo/pregnancy is a gift.

If we transfer now, I will be 36 when I give birth and that puts my eggs a year older than now, which only means fewer quality eggs and less of a chance for more healthy embryos.

I feel like my chances aren’t great at 35, after this retrieval, so the thought of 36 or 37 is a bit uninspiring.

Maybe a pregnancy will kick my body into gear and I will get pregnant naturally the second time around.

I don’t want to have to spend more (outrageous) amounts of money to try this again. If this one embryo does result in a live baby, then our Shared Risk package with Shady Grove goes away and we will have to pay for a full retrieval again.

Maybe this little embryo will divide and we will have identical twins.

The chances of this are single-digit percent, but God is big. He knows the story.

So I just sit here. Trying to allow my head knowledge of what God can do seep into my heart.

It’s not happening in the way that I wanted.

I thought I was surrendered to the process, but I made one mistake in my mental preparation.

I got too fixated on the idea of having multiple embryos that set the bar too high and now my expectations have not been met.

Before I get too ahead of myself, I still need to actually GET pregnant.

Something I have not been able to do in the past.

There is no guarantee that this 1 embryo will nestle in and grow.

I am very well aware that this may result in a miscarriage and we will be back to square 1 (a 2nd’s egg retrieval) with more information about my body.

There are so many unknowns at this point and the thought of all the various options of how this can play out exhausts me.

Yet again, I learn I’m not in control, I don’t have control over the outcome of these experiences and all I can do is put forth my best effort and trust that God knows what is to be the unraveling of this story.

God, help me accept the plans you have for me. Help my heart be overflowing with gratitude that we have this little embryo and appropriately excited at the thought that I could actually have a biological baby (something I wasn’t sure would happen).

Help me be joy-filled and prayerful about this little embryo (who does have a gender which nurse Christine knows!!)

God, help me to change my thinking around this news and shift my heart so I can exude positive thoughts and love for what you have done so far in me through this journey.

So here we sit, with one lovely, wonderfully healthy embryo.


Next steps you ask?

Well, I got my period a couple days ago and since we are wanting to do a transfer when it works with our schedule, I will go back on birth control to time the correct days leading up to the transfer date.