Here We Are

Here we are, right in the midst of our second IVF cycle. I don’t really know if this is considered our second because we banking eggs at this point. What constitutes a full IVF cycle? Whatever. All I know is right now we are here. We decided to do two egg retrieval’s back to back so that we could bank as many eggs as possible since eggs are the issue. I can already tell a huge difference from this cycle from the last- and I’m not just talking about the decrease in meds, but the length of time I am taking them. I have been doing shots for almost 3 weeks. July of last year when we did our first IVF I did not have any side effects, other than being extremely tired. This time around I just don’t feel “good”. I am tired. I am short. I just feel off. I am taking this as a good sign that my body is liking whatever the doctor is prescribing.

Low down of our “IVF Plan”:
On meds now. Egg Retrieval will be sometime the first/second week of February depending on how my body is responding to the meds. Praying they get an abundance of healthy eggs. Eggs will be fertilized and sent out for genetic testing. Whatever eggs are genetically normal will be frozen.
After my egg retrieval they will give me a shot- oh joy another shot- of progesterone to make sure I get my period.
After good ol’ aunt flow shows I will start meds again and have another egg retrieval sometime in March, hopefully. They will harvest my eggs, fertilize, send out for genetic testing, and whatever eggs are genetically normal they will freeze.
Then I will let my body heal. And if you mean heal by going to a music festival and drinking lots of booze, dancing my ass off, and staying up until all hours of the night, then yes, heal. My downtime just so happens to land during one of my favorite music festivals. Who planned that? This is my last hoorah before I get knocked up! Anyways, back to the point. I will let my body recover from all the stimulating meds and then I will start the meds for a an embryo transfer.
Next, embryo transfer. In our case we will hopefully have one healthy boy and one healthy girl embryo to transfer. The joy of doing genetic testing is that we will know the sex of all our little embryos. We will be transferring two, to increase our chances of success.
Finally and hopefully a positive blood pregnancy test!

I do have to say I am way more confident and have less anxiety this time around. Maybe it’s because there is not the looming pressure of an embryo transfer. Or because our doctor is a million times better than our last. All I have to focus on right now is growing eggs. I have been working out as normalish as I can. I cut my workouts down to three days and week I have had to lower my weight since I am not allowed to lift more than 20lbs. Do you know how hard that is? My precious puppy weights 25lbs. I have been taking all my antioxidants to help my egg quality. I have been doing my Circle and Bloom meditations.

We had our first appointment last week for my baseline ultrasound. I couldn’t believe it. I had 13 follicles!! Lucky 13! And this is before any stimulation meds. For me this is 3 more than I have ever had before naturally (I have low AMH). Obviously I have been doing something right with my body. I am not getting my hopes up just yet though because I know this rollercoaster. Just because I have 13 follies it doesn’t mean they all have an egg. But, this is a great start!

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AMH aka Almost Motherf&!king Hopeless

Almost. Almost.

Anti-Müllerian Hormone (AMH) is a hormone secreted by the cells of the developing antral and pre-antral folliclesantral and pre-antral follicles (or egg sacks) in the ovaries. AMH is a strong indicator of a woman’s ovarian reserve (OR). As women age, the number of follicles gradually decline, and AMH levels decline with age as well. In essence, reproductive endocrinologists can assess how well a woman’s ovaries are functioning, by evaluating her AMH levels.

Low AMH. .06 to be exact. FINALLY ANSWERS!

In laymen’s terms having a low AMH means my eggs are shit. Well some of them. A normal women my age should have around 17 eggs just laying around in her ovarian reserve. This does not mean that you only have 17 eggs left, this is just your reserve and gives an idea of how your ovaries are working to produce eggs. The most I have ever had is 10 (until recently when I had 13, but I will go into that later). It also means that my egg quality is not as good/normal as it should be. So, although I might have eggs that look normal from the outside, inside, the quality is abnormal and won’t lead to a viable embryo once fertilized. Basically my 30 year old body is more like a body of a 45 year old. As women we are born with all the eggs we will ever have in our lifetime. As we get older our egg quality may decrease and we start running out of eggs, which leads to menopause. The only good news is that I will go into menopause early. Hallelujah because I hate periods.

So where does this leave me now? I guess we have two options:

Donor eggs. Our last clinic was really pushing for the use of donor eggs after our failed IVF cycle. At first I agreed and was on board. We really just want to start our family already. At least our baby would have half of us- aka hubs. I even went as far as to look at the donor website. Some of the girls were really pretty and smart. They all had nice things to say about why the were donating their eggs, “I really want to help someone start a family. The gift of life is the greatest gift I could give someone.” Please, you just need money and that’s ok haha! (If one of the girls would have written that, I would have chosen her). I was imagining what our baby would look like. It would be half hubs and half some random girl. Sounds like a Jerry Springer show. I realized I would never see my self in our child. She wouldn’t have my sky blue eyes. She wouldn’t have my bitchy personality. She wouldn’t be my husband and my creation, something I just couldn’t grasp. So we decided to get a second opinion. Boy am I glad we did…

Keep trying with my own eggs. Dr. Acacio is one of the best fertility doctors in Southern California. That was the one great thing that came out of our last clinic. A secret referral from a couple of women who worked for our last clinic to one of the best doctors in Southern California. (Now that tells you something). I never looked him up because his clinic is 1 1/2 hours from our home and I never thought of traveling. Worth it. The first thing he asked us when we sat down anxiously in his office was “Why would you be thinking about using donor eggs?” We explained our history and what our last clinic had told us, but Dr. A repeated, “You absolutely do not need to be looking at donor eggs yet.” Really? Who was this guy. I loved him already. We did our homework this time and we asked all the right questions. After a very eye opening appointment we sat convinced that us together, could still create a baby that was all our own. A little background: Dr. A came up with the protocol I was on at my old clinic 10 years ago. He sold it to them 10 years ago and has not used it since because it doesn’t work. Especially on someone with low AMH. 10 YEARS. Just that information alone told me that the clinic we had just come from was a blast from the past. Dr.A works with a lot of “challenging” cases and has high success rates of IVF in women with low AMH. He was the only doctor that ever wanted to know why. Why does a young woman like me have low AMH. This was important to me because it shows he cares and wants answers. I asked if it could be from using fertility drugs for so many years, but he seemed to think not. He has done several studies and has come to find that autoimmune disorders in women can lead to low AMH and unsuccessful IVF cycles. (An autoimmune disease is when your own body starts attacking itself. Affecting different organs or functions in the body). Mind blown. Diagnosis and treatment: there is a blood test that I will be taking to see if I have an autoimmune disease and whether or not I do have a disorder, I will be receiving intralipid treatments right before our transfer and when pregnant to ensure piece of mind.

I bet you can guess, but we decided to keep trying with my own eggs. God knows, you may have to fight a battle more than once to win. And other ladies who have low AMH, keep fighting, keep researching, keep believing. It is not a death sentence. IVF can still work, it may just be a longer more windy road.

 

 

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