Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Our Plan Moving Forward

I thought I would take a post to organize my own thoughts on our current TTC plan. After talking with our doctor at NCCRM in April after several failed IUI's and Clomid cycles, we decided to move forward with IVF. Rather than just rush into it and start right away, we decided to take several months to prepare, save money, and try to get into a better place for IVF. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I kept thinking we might get pregnant on our own before it came to that, but after four cycles without fertility meds, we still are not pregnant, so we are looking on toward the upcoming IVF and setting our sites on success.

At first, we planned to start IVF in August, but as most of you know, I'm a writer. I just released the fourth book in my YA series. There is one final book left in this series and rather than go through the emotional roller coaster of IVF (and possibly morning sickness soon after, hehe) while I'm still writing this series, I thought it would be better for me to write and publish the final book before we begin IVF. I am just starting book 5 now and hope that it can be finished and published by mid-September. (fingers crossed!) In the meantime, we are going to get all our little ducks in a row so that when the book is published, we are 100% ready to move forward.

Here are the major things that we need to do before we can start meds:

  • Saline Ultrasound - this has to be done during CD 5-9. I've already had one of these done, but that was back in November and my clinic's policy is to do another one right before IVF to guarantee that there are no tumors or fibroids in my uterus that would prevent an embryo from implanting. Also, I've asked my doctor to check my tubes just to see for sure if they are blocked. Instead of performing a painful HSG, he said he can add bubbles to the saline and see the tubes clearly. I plan to go in for this u/s during this next cycle.
  • IVF Labs - George and I both will need to get blood tests done to check for infectious diseases (I think this is a federal requirement for IVF). I'm not sure yet if I will need to also get another check of my FSH and AMH and all that good stuff since I had those tests done less than a year ago, but we'll see.
  • Acupuncture Initial Evaluation - I know that acupuncture isn't a necessity when it comes to IVF, but I'd like to go for it and do everything I can to give IVF its best chance for success. Some studies say that acupuncture can increase implantation rates, so I'm going to go for it. We have a couple's evaluation already scheduled for August 1st.
  • S/A and Freeze - This is all George, haha. He's had a semen analysis done several times before and everything has been awesome with his results (above average which is great), but the fertility clinic requires him to do another and they also require a sample to be frozen ahead of time just in case there is something that prevents him from giving a sample on the day of retrieval. That way, there's always a backup if anything happens. The freeze is one thing insurance does not cover, so that's $200 out of pocket, but totally worth it.
  • Weight Loss - My doctor says that he doesn't believe my current weight will cause any problems with IVF, but he did say that any amount of weight I can lose before the procedure will only help the maturity and quality of the eggs retrieved. I am very disappointed to say that since this time last year, I've gained nearly 20 pounds. Ugh. How does that happen? Well, I know how it happened. I gained nearly all 20 pounds during the clomid rounds and it totally sucks! It scares me about the drugs for IVF and how my body will handle it. Am I going to gain a bunch of weight? I hope not. I definitely need to drop some of this weight. I am working with a personal trainer 3 times a week, going to Zumba classes, Yoga classes, and walking a lot with George. I also have a new diet plan, so I am confident I can drop that 20 pounds before we start meds. However, I am also happy to know that my doctor doesn't think my current weight is going to be an issue.
So that's our list. Once the book is finished and the list is done, we'll start the official process. I don't know all the details of the meds I'll be taking yet, but I do know a few things. Here is a rough outline of what our IVF plan will be:
  • Birth control pills for 10 days to restart my cycle.
  • Clomid starting cycle day 2.
  • Injectables (not sure which ones yet) for 10-12 days.
  • U/S every 2 or 3 days throughout injection period and E2 check.
  • When follicles are ready, trigger shot.
  • 36 hours later - Egg Retrieval (not looking forward to anethesia here, but going to stay calm).
  • 3-5 days Later - Embryo Transfer (My doctor plans to transfer two embryos as long as there are two near-perfect ones to transfer. I'm very hopeful we can get at least two great embryos.) Any remaining embryos will be frozen for a possible FET round (Frozen Embryo Transfer) if IVF is not successful. 
Our chance of success is between 50-60% with IVF at this clinic, and I'm feeling really good about it. An FET round has a 30-40% success rate, so as long as we can get at least 4 healthy embryos, we have a really good shot of being pregnant within the next six months. I'm so nervous, but also excited about the future. I'm so glad we have a plan now and are moving forward with IVF. Even though the actual retrieval and transfer are probably still three months away, I know that time is going to fly by and it will be here before we know it.

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