We are well underway our first attempt of the year! Things have been quite the roller coaster already, so I'm here to give you a little status report. :)
My husband and I met with our RE on January 18th (my parents were in town so my mom got to sit in and listen too!). It was a good meeting, he ultimately supports whatever we want to do, which I sort of what I figured. We talked about IVF, the mandatory class we have to attend that tells you all the bad things about it, my desire to not do any IUIs, and a flexible time frame on how much longer I'd wait until we start IVF.
We decided to do several months of medication + acupuncture only and see how it goes. My tentative deadline for this approach is the May/June cycle, at which time if we aren't pregnant, we will hopefully begin IVF.
So - for January/February cycle, my medication cocktail entailed:
- Metformin, 2000 mg daily
- Dethamexasone, .05 mg every night before bed
- Letrozole, days 3-7
- FSH (Gonadotropin) shots, days 6, 8, 10, 12
- hCG (Ovidrel) trigger shot, TBD (turns out it was day 13)
- Progesterone, beginning on day 16
- Acupuncture once a week
In addition to this, I had an ultrasound on days 11 and 13.
I went in for my day-11 scheduled ultrasound on Friday to measure my follicles and do my E2 bloodwork. That was a hard day. After all that work and money, the biggest follicle I had was 11mm.
And there was only one.
Mature follicles are at least 18mm. Most doctors like them bigger than that, up to 24mm. Finally, the nurse called back after the doctor reviewed the scan to confirm I had been taking the right dose of medication - like he was surprised I didn't respond like I should have. I started to have that sinking feeling. She then said that since I wasn't responding well, I needed to do my last FSH shot (day 12) on Saturday night, and come back for another ultrasound Sunday morning. If, at that point, it still wasn't the right size, we would have two options - to purchase another round of FSH (approximately $300) or cancel this cycle and wait for next month. She told me to come in Sunday prepared to give them an answer of what my decision would be.
I was devastated. I didn't want to think about spending even more money this month and creating a hardship on our budget, but also didn't want to "waste" everything we'd already done. Luckily, I was in the car driving home with my husband, so I just started crying. He was so sweet and, after a few minutes, asked what I was thinking.
I managed to stammer out, "I... just... hate... my body."
That described everything I was feeling in that moment. How unfair this is. Why do we have to go through this? Helpless that my body seemingly is working against me. There is nothing I can do. Why, why, WHY?
He lovingly reminded me that this shouldn't be a step backwards for us, for me, in my thinking. I need to just continue on the positive path that we have been and keep making progress. This isn't the end. It is just a (potential) setback. We talked about the options, but I honestly didn't know what I wanted to do. Neither option #1 or #2 were very encouraging.
However, there was also the third option. On Sunday this damn follicle could actually turn out to be the right size, by any miracle. That was my secret hope. I was afraid to even voice it, for fear of setting ourselves up for disappointment.
In an effort to distract myself I started googling "follicle size" on my phone to see what I could expect over the next two days. I found that 18mm is the smallest it could be to be considered "mature", but 20-24mm is even better. I also read that follicles grow only 1 to 2mm per day, and I did the math. If I had an 11mm follicle Friday, when I went back on Sunday the biggest it "should" be is 15mm if it grew at the maximum each day.
I just decided to wait and see. And pray.
Saturday night I started to feel super nauseous. I took some Nexium because I thought it was my stomach, as well as my final FSH shot. I felt a little better during a dinner out with friends, but on the way home I started feeling sick again. I went to bed as soon as we got home. I woke up early Sunday morning to head to the doctor, and still felt sick. I was super worried that something was wrong. With all the talk about the risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome and all these other potential complications, I didn't know what to expect.
I got to the doctor expecting bad news. There was only one nurse doing ultrasounds so I had to wait for a while. That pit in my stomach combined with feeling nauseous was super fun, let me tell you.
Finally, I was on the table during the ultrasound. The poor nurse said to me that everything had been going wrong that morning, so she really hoped I would be her first "normal" patient.
..."I hope so too", was all I could manage to say.
Moments before she had the ultrasound going, I told her I had been feeling super nauseous. I expected a concerned look or comment, but instead she excitedly said, "Oh really?!? Well maybe there is a big fat follicle growing in there!"