So I've been on birth control pills now for 8 days now. I don't know what it is but my body does not like being on birth control. It's just so unnatural (but then so is IVF). I've only taken birth control pills 4 times in my life - each time for trying to get pregnant! How ironic is that?
This morning, I called the Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine (CCRM) and made my ultrasound and lab appointments: 9:30am on July 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th. I have a physical July 3rd at 10am. My surgery to harvest the eggs is tentatively on July 9th. And on July 14th, the doctor will put in at least one embryo (he mentioned two or three depending on the quality). I will do the bed rest thing for 2 days, and then we start driving home on the 16th.
Before I started the birth control pills, things didn't seem real yet. But then after I took my first pill, I was like I can't believe I'm going to do IVF again. But then I was like I can still back out and not go through with this. And I've been wrestling with that thought for about a week now. But now after I made the appointments for the ultrasounds and labs, it just seems wow I'm going to do this again - I must want a baby really bad.
Part of the emotional rollercoaster is due to the fact that I do not want to hyperstim again. That was extremely painful, excruciating even. The ovaries are supposed to be the size of almonds. When I hyperstimmed (aka OHSS) back in July 2006 (under the care of a local fertility doctor here in Pensacola), my ovaries swelled to the size of grapefruits! I'm trying not to think about the pain that I went through, but I just can't help it sometimes. I'm really scared that it might happen again. I literally wanted to die or at least be put into a coma until it was all over. I made a deal with myself that I will never do this again - the IVF that is. But now look at me. I'm just asking for it!
My new fertility doctor in Denver said that he will do everything possible for me not to hyperstim again. By making me be on birth control pills more days (to suppress the ovaries), cutting the dosage of the stimulating meds (Repronex 75u, Follistim 75u), and triggering with Lupron instead of hCG, he's hoping to prevent hyperstim. I am counting on him and his staff to take care of me, so to speak.
Another part of my emotional turmoil is because I'm VERY Christian (Catholic Christian to be exact). Thou shall not kill is one of the commandents that comes to mind. With my first IVF, 9 out of 17 embryos were destroyed. How and why were they destroyed? They were destroyed by allowing them to stay in the petri dish and die. They were left to die because the genetic tests came back abnormal. We're not talking about babies having any issues such as Downs or something like that (those are survivable). We're talking about babies that will most likely not make it full term or if they do they will immediately die within a couple of hours after birth. And with the genetic testing, there is about a 10% error. So with those 9 embryos that were left to die, the tests could be wrong. That is what's eating me up inside... First of all, they were allowed to die. Secondly, that those babies that were killed could've been normal - we just didn't them a chance to live. I struggle with what I did every single day and I know that I will have to answer for it one day.
You're probably wondering what happened to the 8 "normal" embryos. They were frozen right away. I went back three times with this local fertility doctor doing what's called a Frozen Embryo Transfer (aka FET). The first time was canceled due to my body still wanting to ovulate even though I was on birth control pills; thus, it threw off the whole cycle. This local fertility doctor didn't have an in-house embryologist, so my cycle had to be timed to when he was going to be there. The second FET cycle, the doctor was cocky and put in only 1 embryo (a girl). BFN (big fat negative). The third FET cycle, the doctor put in 2 embryos (2 boys). Again, BFN. Each time right before he put the embryo(s) in my uterus, I asked him if the embryo(s) were normal and healthy. And each time, he assured me that they were 'very healthy.' LIAR!
We had a re-group appointment with this local fertility doctor. I showed him the pictures of the embryos that he put in my uterus. I asked him what the thought of them. He said that the pictures weren't clear and he couldn't tell anything. I was thinking to myself, if he couldn't tell anything from the pictures, how could he tell me that those embryos were "very healthy" before?? I also asked him if he's had ANY success with the frozen embryos (snow babies). In other words, I asked him if anyone has gotten pregnant and had a baby using their frozen embryos. He, of course, said yes. I had already looked up his statistics at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website. (All of the fertility clinics have to post their stats with the CDC.) This local fertility doctor's stats said 0% success with frozen embryos. So he lied to me again! I then informed him that his IVF nurse coordinator told me the day before (she put me on hold to look up the documentation) that he's had no success in the frozen cycles. But she also said that it varies from individual to individual, which is understandable. But you would think that he would have at least one success. Anyway, she no longer works there. Hmmm...interesting.
When I went to see a new fertility doctor (CCRM) back in April of this year, I showed him the pictures of the embryos. He said that the pictures weren't really clear, but he could sort of see that there were something not quite right with the embryos, possibly due to being damaged during the genetic testing or the freezing method. He also said that the embryos' genetic tests weren't thorough. This local fertility doctor tested for only ONE out of the TWO known genetic abnormalities. So these "normal" embryos may not be "normal" after all. I'll post later on what we're doing with the 5 embryos left. Thankfully, they are no longer at this local fertility clinic. They have been transferred to Denver. And I feel so much better for that.
I'm just so disgusted with this local fertility doctor...Disgusted isn't even a strong enough word for what I feel for him. He (1) took our money - IVF/ICSI/PGD plus 3 frozen embryo cycles plus the meds don't come cheap - and (2) lied to us by telling us that the embryos were 'very healthy' and about having success with the frozen embryo cycles and (3) put us through such an emotional rollercoaster ride after every cycle.
I am just so thankful that I found another fertility doctor that I could trust. How did I find the one in Denver? Well, I was looking at the CDC site and came across CCRM. CCRM is rated the #1 fertility clinic in the United States. CCRM's stats are awesome! For someone in my age group, the percentage is 70% success! (That's three times more than this local fertility doctor.) Plus when we went there, I just got the warm and fuzzy feeling. :-)
Whew, this is such a long story (and I didn't cover half of it!); and thank you for reading it if you're read this far.
If you're the praying type, please pray for us! If not, then please send us positive vibes!