Lead up to IVF part 1

MY FACE BOOK POST ON DEC. 19, 2016. 

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My husband giving me an injection in a washroom of a restaurant
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A few minutes post retrieval and me waking up

“One of the reasons I have  chosen to be open about IVF and the whole fertility process is because we don’t know…..We just don’t know what someone has gone through to start their family. Whether you are on the side that kids are not for everyone or that’s what you’ve always wanted. For me, it’s something that I’ve grown up into. The beautiful pics of bouncing kiddos – there is more to it than just the picture. I OWN this process. I know that for whatever reason I’m supposed to be going through all of this. One in six couples have trouble conceiving and that’s troubling. I question, why is that number so high?

I’ve seen really young early twenties to the mid thirties to older. It’s not just case of women just delaying their career. Don’t blame women. There can be no judgement how or why someone has decided to go through the fertility process. I’ve seen comments made that couples who do IVF are vain and just can’t accept their reality. Quite obvisouly this is such a ridiculous thing. This is not a “get a kid” quick scheme. Right now I’ve FULLY committed to this for the last 7 months and still nothing. 

Let me not lie. It’s not a walk in the park. Holy moly far from it. Once you go past the beginning stages of the fertility clinic, still invasive but nothing pales to IVF. It’s needles, ultrasounds (that a vaginal ultra sound every three days or less), more needles to take more blood almost everyday – Let me repeat, it’s a complete commitment.

The day of egg retrieval, the nurses couldn’t get an IV in me because my veins had collapsed because I’ve had blood taken out of me so many times. Anyone who is doing this isn’t vain or narsassistic they are brave and committed. Saying to someone like me “why don’t you adopt” or “maybe you were not supposed to have kids” isn’t the answer. You could be the one in six. I choose this or the process could have also chosen me.

If you meet that couple who has gone through all of this (and you will) empathy is required and an acknowledgement of their commitment. Tell them they are brave.


My process of getting to IVF

preparation started in Dec. 2016.

We were really lucky to have received funding from the Ontario government who as of January 2016 has begun to fund the treatment because it can cost up to $20,000 per round for both the retrieval and transfer.

I had two failed IUI.

  • Aug. 2016 I was prescribed Gonal F, but the cycle got cancelled because it was deamed to be to dangerous. I had produced over 8-10 follicles and if they were to trigger me to release the eggs, the risk of multiple babies was very high.
  • October 2016. I received GONAL F  and was extensivily monitored. We did end up doing the IUI but it was not successful. I had a serious breakdown at the clinic at this point to the point where I was crying so hard in the waiting room of the clinic the nurses rushed me into a private room. It is difficult to give me the appropriate dose of Gonal F as I responded SO well to this medication. Clearly it was the right medication but it was hard to control the number of follicles aka eggs.

Striking gold with a Government funded IVF

After the failed IUI in October, I went for a follow-up with Dr. B. I had planned to ask her simply what is next and if we would be doing another IUI. She turned to me with great enthusiasm and let me know that the day before a block of government funding had been released by the clinic and I was one of the first people who was eligible. I really couldn’t believe my ears when I heard this. This was the only appointment dude was not present for and I just had to get him on the phone. I believe the way it works at the clinic is that its first come first serve.  (More on the Ontario Government funding in a different post). The reasoning of behind accepting the IVF (not only because of the funding) was that it would give us a lot more control over the process and instead of working against  my over producing ovaries, we would work with them and make lots.

To sign all the stack loads of paperwork and legal documents, dude had to be present at the clinic at the same time and we had to sign all the paperwork IN the clinic. Some of the paperwork had to do with what we wanted to do with the eggs and that if we understood what was going to happen to me.

The nurse told me that they had people who were refusing the funding because they were not ready yet. I couldn’t believe this because according to a recent article in the National Post, there is now a waitlist till 2018 for this funding.  (palm face slap to forehead!)

Remember how I said in one of my first posts that I had never ever wanted to do IVF? Well here I was agreeing to exactly what I had said no to so many years ago. The reason was because it was so hard to control the growth of follicles that IVF would allow me to grow as many follicles (eggs) as possible and that would allow for retreival.

I agreed to do IVF because we realized that when I take the drugs, (Gonal F) that its very hard to control how many follicles I make because I’m a SUPER RESPONDER.

But first I needed to wait all of November because I had many cysts and they had to be removed through the use of medication.

I call this the “hurry up and wait” process.

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Dude aka Husband preparing to give me one of the three shots of needles

Preparing for IVF

Late November 2016 I went back to the clinic and was put on the IVF protocol.

This meant injecting myself with the following:

  • GONAL F
  • CENTROTIDE
  • LUVERIS

It ended up that Husband was the nurse as there was no way I could inject myself. He felt really responsible and part of the process, because apart from one aspect of fertility, guys get no direction on how else they can help. This was amazing that he was willing to do it. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you! Muuuuaaaa!!!!

These shots happened every night at the same time for a period of about three weeks. In the mean time I would be going to the clinic about every two days for my blood to be taken and tested for hormone levels like progesterone and for the ultra sound technician to take measurements of my mass producing follicles.

Part of IVF is the SUPPRESSION of your ovulation cycle so your body produces as MANY follicles/eggs as possible. The goal of IVF is quantity. In this process you are going into mass production and nothing else. The reason the goal is to get as many as possible is because you want as as many as possible eggs fertilized. Not every single egg and sperm coming together makes an embryo. This could because, either the eggs removed are not mature enough or they are not good quality or simply the eggs don’t activate and fertilized.

Its not a problem, on the production front for a person with PCOS, to make many eggs.

Take a moment and look a this picture to see how with someone with PCOS ovaries would look like compared to “normal ovaries”. The dark circles are where the follicles/eggs are growing.

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How did I feel during the three weeks while getting the medication?

Because I was going to acupuncture twice a week, I truly believe that this is what saved me from feeling bloated or uncomfortable. Closer to the day of the procedure my ovaries felt like golf balls because of the mass amount of eggs produced.

Think about it, usually women produce and release one egg, leading up to the IVF my body was produced 25 eggs.

I was also taking the following natural supplements:

  1. Prenatal naturopath three times a day
  2. CoQ10 enzyme
    Coenzyme Q10
    has been shown to enhance both female and male fertility. Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a substance that we consume naturally in our diets. It functions much like a vitamin to increase energy production and acts as an antioxidant in your body. It acts specifically Mitochondrial ATP synthesis which is responsible for creating cellular energy.
  3. Chinese herb – Chong Release Formula

    This is a modified classic formula for nourishing and moving blood (which will help with the low menstrual flow and painful periods). It facilitates the complete discharge of the endometrial lining so that the new lining can grow on a smooth, clean base.

  4. Chinese Herb Free and Easy Wanderer Plus
    This formula is created for encouraging the free-flowing of the Liver energy (which has everything to do with the reproductive energy). This formula is especially suited for women with PMS, painful periods and irregular periods. 

I think all of this combined along with mediation, hypnosis, epsom salt baths plus acupuncture just helped everything and I didn’t have any adverse reactions till the morning of the procedure.

On the day before the procedure…..

We are given a trigger shot (a needle with drugs that the husband need to mix together) that we were supposed to time to inject exactly 12 hours before the retrieval of the eggs. This trigger shot started the release of the eggs so they could be retrieved.

Part two, the day of the retrieval of the eggs in next post
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