Attempted FET cycle #3

This cycle marks my third attempt at a possible frozen embryo transfer. 

I was talking to a friend whose worst reproductive problem may as well be what kind of period panties to buy, “Yeah, so as soon as I start my period I have to call the reproductive endocrinologist office, swallow a pill, stick 3 pills up my vag, 2 of which are viagra, have my husband give me a shot in the butt, and go the next morning for a stat blood draw.”

All in a days work, right?

Hopefully the 3 months of estrogen got my uterine lining into better shape so we can maybe do a transfer. My first lining check under ultrasound will probably be in a couple weeks. 

Now, let’s talk about how the dog dad may as well be in the dog house…

I lovingly and patiently made these chocolate croissants from scratch for a work function. After setting two aside in a ziplock for later (presumingly one for me and one for him) I piled the rest on a plate and brought them to work. 

After a long day at work I had lengthy battle to get groceries in the windstorm we had here in the Midwest. I endured multiple detours because of downed power lines and trees. After arriving home dehydrated and tired I was looking forward to finally having a croissant. I looked on the counter where I had left the bag and to my horror saw they were both gone. 

He. Ate. Both. 

Needless to say I was upset. He should make it up to me, right? 

Those questions

“Do you have a sister?” 

It’s the most common question when potentially faced with surrogacy. Unfortunately for me, I do not have a sister. In fact, I don’t even have a female first cousin. Growing up I was the only girl on both sides of the family. 

I would imagine that most surrogates are sisters of the infertile. I like to think that sisters would do that sort of thing, if able. For those that don’t have a sister, assuming no one volunteers, how in the world do you ask someone to carry your child for you? How do you ask someone to give up their body for 9 months or more because your body is incapable of doing the one biological process it was meant to do? How do you ask someone without feeling completely terrible?

Of course I hope I never have to ask.

“Why don’t you just adopt?”

This question irritates me. I mean yeah, if I would have known ahead of time I was going to have to go through all of this, then maybe I would have. But you don’t expect to miscarry. Then you don’t think it will happen again. Then you don’t think you will get pregnant with triplets and lose all 3. Then you think IVF will be a for sure solution. Then one egg retrieval leads to two egg retrievals. Then you can’t get your body ready for a transfer, not once, but twice. You have three frozen embryos, are tens of thousands of dollars into this, and someone questions why you don’t just throw it all away to spend tens of thousands more to give up on everything, including the frozen embryos that you care so much about?

Just no. Please stop and try to understand. 

“Try” because I doubt I’ll ever find someone who has been through all the exact same scenarios. 

I know what I’m doing. 

Return of the probe

I’m almost through with the plan to cycle through some medicated cycles to improve my endometrial lining. I had an ultrasound to see how my lining was doing before starting my next attempted frozen embryo transfer cycle. I watched the screen and didn’t see a nice triple stripe lining, but I was measured at 5.7mm, which I didn’t think was too bad. Some of that measurement could be fluid in the endometrium as a side effect of being on estradiol. Is the measurement decent on account of my own experiment to take Vitamin E and L-Arginine? Who knows. 

19 pills a day right now. I have patients that are on less than that. Once my next cycle starts I will add 4 more plus a shot. Goal: 6 millimeters of quality, cushiony uterine lining.

Political shorts

I haven’t said much about political topics but I will say this. 

There was a time when I was perhaps going to be faced with the choice of selective reduction. Pregnant with triplets I would have risked my life and the life of all three fetuses should I have advanced in the pregnancy. My doctor “strongly suggested” it for me. I understood and agreed. I’m thankful it was at a time when there were no laws against it. No politicians threatening to make these choices for me. If any law or politician would have gotten in my way I would have been beyond pissed. My case is an example that decisions about a woman’s pregnancy are not always black or white. To take choices away from the mother in this day and age would be unreasonable. Let’s not go backwards in the progress we have made in women’s health. 

*I was never faced with any decisions as all three heartbeats stopped on their own. 

An open letter to our frozen embryos

You are precious to me. All three of you. 

Although I’ve never laid eyes on you, I think about you whenever I am near the doctor’s office. I know you are there, frozen and helpless. I’d be completely crushed if anything happened to you. It scares me that one natural disaster could wipe you out. 

I went through hell just to get you and I will never give you up. 

I’m relieved, content, and thankful to have potential life with the man I love. The one I hope you will be able to call daddy. 

You have a fur-brother and fur-sister ready to meet you and eventually play with you. No one asks about you. Not like people ask how newborns and toddlers are doing. But they will soon enough.

You don’t yet have a voice. Incapable of fighting, but I will fight for you. 

I’ll find a way to give you a chance at life. If I can’t carry you then I will find someone that will. I promise. 

All my love,

Your mommy

Closer to the end

It’s been a little bit since my last post. Not too much has happened, just continuing the cycling of estrogen and progesterone. I’m at the point in my cycle where I’m retaining the most fluid right now but it doesn’t seem as bad as last cycle so that’s good. Maybe my body is getting used to all the estrogen. 

I’m still taking the vitamin E and L-arginine as an experiment to grow my lining, but my last period didn’t seem any different than the others so who knows if it’s doing anything. 

I do feel like I’m getting closer to the end one way or another. I am ready to be done. Done with ultrasounds, blood draws, and tests. Done with swallowing pills and vitamins. Done with vaginal suppositories. Done with shots in the stomach and rear. Done with exposing my body to boatloads of hormones which will probably give me cancer one day.

Lately I’ve had some reminders of how long of a battle this has really been. For example, I stopped highlighting my hair when I first started trying to get pregnant. Not only have my highlights long grown out, I lamented to my hairdresser of the two gray hairs I have. She wasn’t concerned. 

It’s been over a year since I started this blog. I never would have dreamed that after all I had been through previous to starting this blog that I would have over a years worth of things to blog about. But I have and the story isn’t over. 

I have rosecea and severe acne which require me to go to the dermatologist often. I recently declared to the dermatologist that I want to go back on some “non-pregnancy safe” creams. Not only out of acceptance of never being pregnant, but if I ever do get pregnant I will know ahead of time that’s it’s going to happen. If I can get away with smearing less stuff on my face everyday, then let’s do it. 

The dermatologist scrolled through my chart on her iPad to figure out when the last time she wrote a prescription for me that was not safe to be taken when tying to conceive. 

“Wow, it’s been quite a while,” she said as she kept scrolling, “Like 2012.”

Yeah, that’s. just. great.

On the plus side I’m not taking for granted my allowance to enjoy drinks with friends, take Aleve for pain relief, or ski this winter. Now if only we had snow…

New year, new vitamins 

I’m a few weeks into this cycling experiment which consists of estrogen supplements for 3 months straight, alternating progesterone on and off for 2 weeks at a time. Goal: a better uterine lining. 

I think I’m finally coming to a conclusion about how these hormones affect my fluid retention levels.  When I’m on the estrogen by itself, it makes me retain fluid, almost progressively. As soon as I start taking the progesterone, it acts like a diuretic and I can tell I’m not retaining as much fluid anymore. After a week of the progesterone, the swelling starts back up again until my period comes and there is some relief. Then the cycle starts all over again. Can anyone else relate?

I hate, hate, hate the retaining fluid part.

Meanwhile I’m conducting an experiment of my own of sorts. I read about a study where women who took vitamin E and L-Arginine were able to increase the thickness of their uterine lining. I’m having to slowly increase the L-Arginine because at first it gave me heart palpitations. Currently I’m taking 800 IU of vitamin E (outside of the prenatal vitamins) and 3g of L-Arginine.  My uterine lining is not going to be measured this cycle or next, but if my period is heavier then I will assume something has changed. 

I realize I’m putting myself at a higher risk for bleeding, but let’s hope the benefits outweigh the risk.