Friday, 29 June 2012

First IVF attempt

After the many visits to the doctor and various diagnostic test; we were ready to begin our attempt at becoming parents through assisted means. I was sure I wanted to do and do it at the earliest (we started meeting the doctors in Nov'11 and by dec '11 the verdict was that IVF it has to be). So when I was due for a hysteroscopy * and my doctor said that she was not available to do the procedure in that particular month; I was mad at loosing another month due to delay in getting the procedure done. However, as it so happen you have to go by the doctor's schedule. I got the procedure done in Jan '12 and when the result indicated that my uterus was good; we immediately registered for IVF to be included in the next batch of people undergoing the procedure. Month of Feb '12 it was to be for us. I was put on pills to delay my period and match the date with everyone in that set of people.

Eventually my procedure was started on 24-Feb. Here is a detailed version of the procedure that was followed on me:

2nd day of your period cycle is when you need to get the baseline scan done. The baseline scan helps the RE identify the dosage of medication that should be given to you during the IVF cycle.

Day 1: Start with 1st dosage of medication. I was given Gonal F (300 mg) (synthetic version of follicle stimulating hormone).
Day 2: Repeat of Gonal F injection.
Day 3: Repeat of Gonal F injection.
Day 4: Had the 1st Scan. Based on the scan (i.e. your body’s response to the medicine), your doctor will know if you are responding to the medication and if the dosage needs to be altered.
Repeat of  Gonal F.
Day 5: Repeat of  Gonal F  injection
Day 6: Had 2nd scan. Scan showed that the follicles are growing, which did make me hopeful of the whole procedure.
A new injection was introduced; “Orgalutran” which is supposed to prevent premature ovulation.
Took  Gonal F  also.
Gave blood sample to measure the hormone estradiol.
Day 7: Some more injections getting added to the list
 Gonal FOrgalutran, & Persinal (ovulation stimulant)
Day 8: Time for 3rd scan. Doctor told me that the follicles in the right ovary are not growing as expected. Left ovary is however doing its job as desired. Doctor tells me that they will try to retrieve egg from all the follicles so that we have the maximum no of eggs that can be fertilized.
Injections that I took:  Gonal F , Orgalutran, & Persinal
Day 9: Repeat of all the injections  Gonal F, Orgalutran, & Persinal
Day 10: 4th scan which did not have very encouraging news. My doctor told me that follicles from the left ovary are seeming promising and so I can only hope to get maximum 3 eggs and minimum could be that none of the follicles give me an egg :-(
Gave blood sample to measure the hormone estradiol and was told to come back to get the results in next 4 hrs.
The scan and blood test report helped the doctor to know when can they do egg retrival and also what should be my last hormone dosage before I am completely ready for the procedure.
Based on the reports; doctor prescribed:
OrgalutranPersinalFolligraf (another follicle stimulating hormone injection), Ovitrelle (which was supposed to be taken late evening that day; this injection stimulates the final maturation of eggs in the ovaries. The eggs will be collected 36 to 40 hours after the Ovitrelle injection.)
Day 11: No scan, no injection. A day when i tried to prepare myself mentally for the next step of retrieval and transfer. I kept praying that it all goes well.

Day 12: Egg retrieval day: The procedure is done under general anaesthesia as it can be painful and uncomfortable if you are awake through the process.  It was not a very long procedure, (I remember being under anaesthesia for just little over an hour).
I was told that they could get only 1 egg, which is a mature and good egg. So the doctor is hoping that they will be able to fertilize it and there is still some chance for us.
I was started on new set of medication:
Gestone inj (progestrone, a hormone essential for maintaining a pregnancy), Progynova tablets (oestrogen hormone; used to build up the lining of the uterus in preparation for embryo transfer)

Day 13: Gestone & Progynova (3 times a day). I spoke with my doctor and got to know that cells were dividing, so it was certain that the egg had fertilized. And since I got only 1 egg, they wanted to do a 3d transfer as against 5d transfer which is done in case of more than 1 embryo where you have the possibility of waiting till blastocyst and implant the best quality embryos .

Day 14: Egg transfer day: Finally we were at a stage where we had an embryo which could get me pregnant. Never in my dreams has I ever thought that I will have to try IVF to get pregnant. Transfer was smooth, though I must say the wait before was painful since I had to be with full bladder for the transfer process. After the transfer, I was wheeled back to my bed to lie still for atleast 15mins. Those 15mins were killing as I was bursting to go to the loo. Was at the hospital for another 2-3 hrs and then was ready to go home. Was given a big list of medicines that I had to take and instructions to be resting as much as possible to help in the IVF embryo implantation.

Day 15: Start of 2week wait: With nothing better to do than lie down and rest; I made a chart of what medicine I had to take and at what day / time. Some were injection, some tablets, and some vaginal inserts.
The whole lot of medicines included:
Susten (Progestrone vaginal inserts), Progynova, Wysolone 10 mg, MCBM (Folic Acid), ASA (blood thinner), Gestone inj, Fertigyn inj (hCG hormone) started after embryo transfer.

Spent most of my time doing pretty much nothing (reading, watching TV & movies)

Day 30: End of 2week wait: Went to the hospital to give my blood sample for hCG test. Was told that the report will be ready in 4hrs time. For sure 4hrs was too long a wait to know if we had been successful. Bought a HPT on way back home. Took the HPT and it came negative! It took me a long time to accept that I was not pregnant. I was so confident in myself and somehow all through the process felt that I will get a positive result even if we could get only one egg. But it was not meant to be. Even after the negative result on the HPT; i had a faint hope that the blood test might give a different news. But I am not lucky enough; the blood test report also had the same verdict. 
Not Pregnant
The next few days were terribly sad and days where you wake up feeling that there is no more hope left now. Nothing good to look forward to.

But I somehow pulled myself together and we decided that we definitely want to give IVF another try. The question now is whether to go back to same RE or try someone new for the second IVF cycle.

* hysteroscopy - A procedure done to see if your uterus is all good or there could be some problem in there that is preventing you from becoming pregnant.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Accepting the fact

It has not been very long since my marriage (to be precise 15months, 20days). Even before getting married; my partner and I had discussed that we definitely want to have children, if not 2 atleast 1. So as soon as we got married we started to try to get pregnant and did not get too worried when even after 4-5 months I did not conceive. Just before getting married I had taken up a new job, so I thought it is probably the stress of new job, stress of settling down in the married life, and stress due to so many changes coming into my life that is causing the delay. Soon I realized it is almost 8-9 months into our trying to conceive and the result still was a zilch. I knew my age is not on my side (I am already 39years) and I was now getting very desperate and worried. 

Started to find good gynecologists in the area and booked appointment with 2 of them. As always happens when you visit the doctor, there were a battery of tests that were recommended for us. I underwent all the test and got to know that my hormones are not on my side! 

Both the doctors had same verdict for us. Due to my age, IUI was not the best option and we were told to try IVF. Needless to say, it devastated us. My partner and I, both have more than 1 siblings and know that we have strong genes on both sides. My siblings have children and have not had any problem in getting pregnant; so it was extremely difficult for me to understand as to how can this be happening to me. It took us more than a week to gauge it fully.

As everyone says, as soon as you accept your fear (a shortcoming), you have won the battle. But we were no where reaching that stage. I kept looking at someone / something to put the blame on; but unfortunately this time there was nothing around on which I could point a finger!

I just had to accept the fact that I cannot get pregnant very easily. I had to accept that I have a long and difficult journey ahead!