Category Archives: ivf

Is IVF more boy-friendly?

We did genetic testing along with our IVF treatment, so we were able to see the sex of all of our embryos.  We didn’t WANT to know before transferring because we wanted it to be a surprise and we made that clear to our doctor.  He forgot.

We had 11 eggs that fertilized, but only 5 made it the 5 days after insemination to the testing day.  We found this out the morning of our embryo transfer, 6 days after egg retrieval/insemination, but it came with some bittersweet news.  First of all, our dumb dumb Dodo doctor came in that morning and exclaimed that he had some “great news.”  Out of 11 eggs, we were left with 2 healthy embryos.  Both male.  2.  We were super excited because we both wanted a boy, but there was also that twinge of sadness from finding out much earlier than (and not how) we wanted what the sex of our baby would be, and also knowing that we didn’t even have the option of having a girl from this round of IVF.

Even more concerning was that 3 of the 5 embryos were abnormal, and ALL FIVE were male.  We had no female embryos that made it to testing.  Which of course raises the complex question; What the fuck?

I actually don’t think we got much information at all about the genetic testing.  I’m not even sure if we got a physical report about their findings, we were just told that day that 3 of the 5 were “abnormal.”  I don’t know if they even know more than that or not.  I’d be interested in hearing from any of you fellow IVFers who also did testing if you ever got any more information than just normal/abnormal.  It seems sort of vague to me.  Could “abnormal” be anything ranging from minor to severe?  Who knows?  But it does make the prospect of trying on our own that much more daunting.

It would seem something is going on with our female embryos.  So while I was thrilled with the outcome of the IVF and ACTUALLY BEING PREGNANT!!  I was also quietly mourning the possibility that we had just been handed yet another obstacle and told yet another thing my body cannot do; make a female baby.

I’ve since read that IVF can be tough on female embryos, which are more fragile.  Especially with genetic testing, having to last outside the womb for 5 days is not an easy task (I can relate).  But this seems to only account for a very small margin, about 1-2% in favor of male embryos.

BUT, there’s another factor that I think is terribly overlooked when it comes to male favorability in IVF.  There are are many different protocols and techniques to IVF.  Over the several years of researching it and actually going through it myself I’ve spoken with many other women who have also gone through it.  None of us had the same exact experience.  One technique which can differ is the use of ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection) vs the dish method.

In the dish method an egg is introduced to a petri dish of sperm, the same way it would be inside the womb, so nature can take it’s course.  In ICSI, under direct microscopic vision, an embryologist chooses a single sperm and injects it into the egg.  ICSI is typically used for male infertility, when there are few sperm or the quality of them is low.  Our IVF clinic uses ICSI across the board, we did not get a choice in whether or not to use it.  I believe this is because of the genetic testing.

Fertilization in a petri dish, just like in natural insemination, requires interaction between the sperm and cumulus cells that surround the egg.  There is a need to remove these cumulus cells in order to perform preimplantation genetic screening (PGS), and therefor it is left far less capable of being fertilized spontaneously.  Hence the need for further intervention (ICSI).

ICSI does have a higher pregnancy success rate, but you are also eliminating natural selection to some degree.  Eggs have ways of determining the best sperm and keeping those that have defects from passing through.  In ICSI, you have an embryologist basically eyeballing sperm and hand selecting one, and forcing it into the egg.  I believe they look for things like size and swimming strength, which could be why there is a higher occurrence of males?  Just a thought.

I’m totally fascinated by the science that brought us our baby, and I’m so grateful for it’s existence!  I could happily read about IVF all day, if I wasn’t busy chasing around the product of it in the form of my 10 month old who is faster on all 4s than I am on my 2s.  I would like to know the reason we had all male embryos, but it’s more due to my curiosity and thirst for knowledge when it comes to this stuff than anything else.  It would also be nice to know that the cause is not an indication of something unhealthy that I may be passing down to my son.  I would LOVE to have a daughter some day, but am perfectly happy being a #boymom forever.

 

 

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I’m back! And I’m a MOM!!

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Well, my sweet little rice traveler stuck!  His name is River Blues and he is the sweetest, happiest baby in the whole world.  He’s now 8 months old (I can’t believe it!)  It’s been the most important year of my life since my last post, and I decided to come back to blogging for a couple reasons.

Since posting and being open about our struggle with infertility and having to do IVF, I’ve had SO many people reach out to me about going through the same.  Both total strangers and people I know well who I had no clue were dealing with infertility have opened up to me about this very personal and difficult experience.  It’s important to me to help whoever I can get through this.  I hope our story can be inspirational.  I also feel like I’ve learned SO much through our experience and hearing so many others’ stories.

I also had really bad postpartum depression after River was born.  Since posting about it on Instagram, the same thing happened with people coming out of the woodwork to tell me about how they were experiencing the same thing!  I know they say 1 in 7 women experience ppd, but I swear it seams like that number is actually much higher.  I’ve become so passionate about spreading awareness about this issue because I had zero knowledge about it, and when it hit me that made it so much more terrifying.

I’m determined to keep putting these things out there to help as many people as possible. If you found this post and need someone to talk to about infertility, IVF or postpartum depression, please feel free to dm me on Instagram!  @kateordie

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Ketchup

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I took a little break from blogging for the last couple weeks.  Today I am 3dp6dt!  Here are my updates!

Retrieval:

I don’t know why I was so worried about this.  Actually, I take that back.  I know EXACTLY why I worried.  The thought of a foot-long needle going through my vagina, THAT was worrisome.  I was hoping I would be out cold, but my nurse explained to me that I would be under “conscious sedation” which was explained to me as “you won’t be able to move or speak and you won’t remember a thing.”  Uhhhhhh.  Nuh.  That does not sound right.  Everyone assured me it would be fine.  Going into the procedure, I was really trying to be brave, but I am a pansy.  The Dr. came in and asked me if I had any questions and I said “Uh, yes.  I’m concerned about this ‘conscious sedation’ stuff.  I’ve heard I won’t be able to move or speak, but I’ve heard nothing about not feeling it, and all I can think of is that Metallica video.”  He laughed.  I was glad he got the reference.  He assured me I would be “out” and wouldn’t feel a thing.

Long story short, he was right.  Next thing I knew, I was waking up.  Had a little bit of mild cramping, but totally livable.  I slept the whole rest of the day.

The Dr told me when I woke up that he retrieved 11 eggs.  I have to admit, I was a little disappointed with this number.  I’m embarrassed to say that because I know so many women who get less, but I’ve also seen women get numbers in the 20s and 30s.  And I just thought that because my ovaries were great and functioning normally and had nothing to do with our infertility, I would be in those high numbers.

Then the next morning my nurse called to tell me that out of the 11 eggs, only 6 had fertilized.  We still had 5 days to make it until the PDG testing, and I knew that with each day as well as with the testing, those numbers were pretty surely going to continue to go down.  They also told me that we wouldn’t have any more updates on the embryos until the day of our transfer, which seems kind of torturous.  Seems like a pretty shitty day to be getting bad news, if there is any.  I tried my best to keep my mind off of it, but who was I kidding?

Transfer Day!:

This day was pretty bittersweet.  I had my acupuncturist, who I love, there working with me.  She covered me in warm sheets and put a heating lamp on my feet and did her thing turning me into Hellraiser with her tiny needles.  She then massaged me and even stuck a few needles in my husband to relax him, too.  It was a great way to start off the day.  Then the Dr. came in.  I should mention that in one of our appointments with him last week, I told him very specifically that we did NOT want to know the gender of the embryos, we at least wanted that surprise.  He totally understood and he said he would put it in our notes to make sure no one “spills the beans.”  Imagine my dismay when the first thing he says when we walks in the room transfer day is “Well, I have some great news!  You have 2 healthy boy embryos!”  My heart fucking stopped.  Did he seriously just say that?  I looked at my husband who I could instantly tell was pissed as well and I just tried to smooth the situation.  I said, “It’s ok, it’s ok.  A boy!”  But my husband said to the doctor, “wait, so you are telling us the sex now?  We said we didn’t want that.”  The doctor looked embarrassed and said, “Oh, I’m so sorry.”  But there was nothing that could be done about it now and I just had to focus on being happy and ok with it.

I do believe everything happens for a reason, though.  Since the boy cats were already out of the bag, I took a look at our PDG testing results.  Very interesting.  Only 5 embryos were tested so I guess 1 of the 6 didn’t make it to day five for testing.  But here’s the thing that struck me.  All 5 were male.  Half of my eggs didn’t fertilize, statistically that would about the amount of female sperm used to inseminate them.

It scares me that we may never be able to have a girl.  I am totally grateful for these 2 healthy boys, but having a girl at some point is also important to me.  I don’t even know if this is something we can test for, because I don’t know what it is.  I’m wondering if there is something genetic going on here that we don’t know about.  I don’t even know what questions to ask or who to ask them to.  I feel lost and I certainly don’t want to turn to Google and drive myself insane.

It was kind of a shame that there was kind of a dark cloud over such a happy day, but sometimes that is life.  We chose to implant 1 embryo and freeze the other.  It was a surreal experience.  I got to watch this little guy enter my body through the ultrasound.  He was in a little rice shaped vehicle that they use to transport them I guess.  A little rice rocket, if you will.  That made me super emotional.  I had been trying to hold in tears of sadness from the moment the dr came in with his “great news” but the second I saw that little spec enter my body, tears of joy came pouring out of me.

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And Away We Go!

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Trigger shot was tonight!  It’s moving a little faster than I was expecting after yesterday’s appointment.  But it looks as though my retrieval will be Thursday now.  I’m really excited, the only thing that is sort of a bummer is that my husband leaves tomorrow for the UK for 5 days to play a couple festivals, so he won’t be here for the retrieval.  He should be back in time for the transfer, though, so that’s more important.

The trigger shots were not bad, I had to take 2 Ovidrel.  I think the needles were a tiny bit thicker than the others I’ve been taking because they took me a lot longer to get in.  The good news is that they didn’t sting at all like the Menopur.  I’m starting to get REALLY nervous about the stupid Estradiol shots I have to do every 3 days starting the day after retrieval, though.  They are the ones that have to go in the bum, and they are intramuscular.  😦  I’m a bit of a control freak, I feel like even if my husband would have been here to give me all of my shots, I still would have wanted to do every one by myself.  And I’m a total diaper baby when it comes to needles, getting the tiny ones in my blub is hard enough for me.  I can’t imagine how I’m going to get these torpedos in my arse, especially without a running start or muchas margaritas.

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Squinty Eyes, Another U/S and More Blood Work

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My father-in-law put together this picture of my husband and me when we were both little.  At least there’s no question what our child will look like, it just would have been nice if someone had mentioned previous to our wedding that we were siblings. As far as having eyes goes, this kid doesn’t stand a chance.  My money is on it looking a lot like Bunsen from the Muppets minus the glasses.

I had my 5 day u/s and blood work today.  It’s so hard to know what I was looking at, and the nurse didn’t say much.  I seemed to have about 4 follicles total that were 14 or 15, and about 4 more that were 10-12, at least of what they measured. I have no idea if this is on track or not.  I had to reorder 2 more days worth of Menopur, and it looks as though my retrieval date may be this Friday.  Of course the husband is leaving to play a couple festivals in the UK on Wednesday and will be gone for about 5 days.  But luckily it looks like he will most likely be here for the transfer date which is more important anyway.  He can make it up to me by waiting on me hand and foot and being my own personal In N Out delivery boy.

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Menopur Madness

Yesterday I had my first U/S and blood work since starting the stims and it was pretty lack luster. My doctor didn’t really mention anything about my follicles or how they were looking. From some of your posts I was seeing a little feedback you ladies got from your Dr on this appointment about all that stuff. That, coupled with my dr looking like he was in a hurry to get out of there after he examined me of COURSE made me feel like something was wrong.

Anyway, the nurse called me last night to tell me he wanted me to start on 75iu of Menopur last night.

Holy shit, first off let me say that is a LOT of crap to be injecting at once. It felt like dinner. My nurse had shown me how to mix everything in that teaching appointment I had before I started, but of course I had forgotten every bit. I had to read through the instructions to figure it out. Of course it was not clear at all how much water I should use. I kept seeing examples that were for 150iu using 1cc of water, so that’s what I used for my 75iu. I had no idea if that was right or not.

But the really crazy thing to me was that out of the literally 5 bags of different syringes, none of them were labeled for use with which medicine, nor were the needles. I had no idea which I was supposed to use. They really should have a little note on them that says “For Use with Menopur” or whatever. So far the shots have been self explanatory. The Lupron came with it’s syringes and the Gonal F is a pre-filled syringe, easy peasy.

Also, I was only sent enough Menopur for 5 days, I’m hoping this is right! I’m not excited about having to order more medicine. I emailed my nurse about this, but I’m just wondering how many days you ladies who have done or are doing a Menopur protocol were on it for?

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Cross My Heart, Stick a Needle in My Everything

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If you know me, you know that I am an avid researcher.  I love looking up statistics and case studies and personal accounts of all things.  And seriously I’ll try all kinds of shit if I hear it’s cool.  Not that acupuncture is totally out there, honestly I’ve been poked so much what’s another 90 needles in my body?  But I’ve heard such great things about it, especially pertaining to ttc.  I’m curious how many of you have tried it for a previous cycle, or are doing it now?

This is my first cycle, so I have no outcome yet.  But I’ve been getting acupuncture for almost a year now and I can tell you, baby making aside, it’s had some awesome effects on my body.  It can be used for all kinds of things, I was using it mainly to just get my uterus healthy and relax my periods since cramping with endo is about as fun sticking a Lego in your pee-hole.  But yesterday I got to see just how powerful it is!

I got up in the morning before my appointment and went for a run, as I do just about every morning.  I am a runner, I love it and I need it in so many ways.  Plus I’ve been on a mission lately knowing that my FET is right around the corner and my running days are numbered.  But yesterday, right at the end of my run, I pinched a nerve in my upper spine and felt like somebody took an ax to my back.  I’m pretty prone to pinched nerves, I don’t know why.  I’ve gotten them in my neck a bunch from the time I was a teenager, and my mom and sister get them every once in a while as well.  I don’t know why this is or what makes us prone, but if you’ve ever had one, you know they suck.

I actually collapsed and worried about how the hell I was going to get home.  I called my husband, but he was still sleeping, and there was no one else around because it was so early.  I called my acupuncturist to cancel while I had my phone in my hand, there was no way I could make it down there to her, but she really urged me to come in because she said she could help me with it.  So my husband had to bathe me, dress me, and drive me.  Seriously.  Gearing him up for dad life.

It was hard for me to even lay on her table, but she started with my back, putting needles all up and down my spine where the nerve was.  It felt a little better right away, but was still sore when I left there.  This morning, I’m almost all the way better!  Typically these things leave me out of commission for at least a few days, hopped up on Vicodin and still unable to get comfortable in any position.  But I woke up this morning and got out of bed no problem and THEN remembered about my back.  I had to do a couple twerking moves to test it out in disbelief.

If this works as well for my uterus, it will be as lush and sticky as a sea anemone.  I would love to hear any of your thoughts, feelings, experiences with acupuncture!

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What’s in the Box???!

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It’s HERE!!!  A little unnerving that the box could double as a quaint condominium for my 2 dumb dogs.  Unpacking it now.  My home is becoming Needle Nation, I’ll need to hang a new flag.

Also, I decided to make an Instagram account for all the IVF stuff.  Follow it, I’ll be happy to share every detail that could possibly help or support anyone out there!  @bb.bux

Also please feel free to follow my regular account too (@KateOrDie) for regular updates on both my one-eyed, and toothless dogs, pictured above!  What more could you want?

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Fertility Tourism

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This is a subject that I’ve been fascinated by lately.  I’ll admit I was fantasizing about a London holiday where I would live in a charming cottage for months and receive IVF treatment for $4.  The price of it here in the US is killing me.  It’s so insane.  I also feel a little icky thinking about how some of that cost is probably due to the fact that people dealing with infertility are sometimes so desperate they would pay anything, so companies know they can charge anything.  What do I know factually about how these companies get their pricing?  Zilch-o-la.  But it’s still suspect.

I know that other countries have different laws and I think that makes up the majority of motivation for fertility tourism.  For example, I believe in Canada you can’t pay for donor eggs or sperm?  And in some countries PGD for sex selection is illegal.

Other than cost, we have it pretty good here in the US.  We have some of the best doctors and tend to be the most relaxed with our regulations.  But part of me did want to just look into IVF in a few other countries just for the heck of it.  I couldn’t find much on it.  I’d love to hear anything you ladies know!

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Questions for You IVF Pros! <3

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So the nurse sent me my tentative protocol and I’m having a hard time making heads or tails of it.  I’m wondering if some of you fine ladies might take a look at it for me and help me figure it out?  Does everything look pretty typical?  I was supposed to be traveling to visit my husband who’s gone for a month and a half but I’m assuming that will be a no go.  Were any of you able to travel during the process?  I would be back before my first blood draw and u/s.  

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