If you enjoyed my last story about infertility and IVF, I hope this one will be even better… It`s an ICSI success story.
So, we had our Little Sunshine, Bella, our dear daughter, our everything… but we wanted more. The main reason for me was for her to have a sister or a brother. Just so that she`s never alone in this wild jungle world.
I got my first postpartum period when she was 15 months. I thought: Come on, maybe we`ll be one of those lucky bastards that got pregnant naturally the second time around… Aaaand… We weren`t. We did try for 6 months, but I knew better, didn’t happen before, and it’s not gonna happen now. Let’s go again…
Just a little before DD’s 2nd birthday we started again. But this time… are you sitting down… we went in for 9 cycles in 14 months! Like I said before, I`m not one of those waiting between cycles…just moving on. That kept me going. The pauses that I had to do were killing me. The not doing anything part.
I`ll walk you through those procedures:
1. THE FIRST FLOP
I’m gonna try and make it short not to bother you with details. But some things I just must say that I know will help you. I was obsessed with numbers and how big follicles should be for perfect trigger time, what grades meant for a 3-day embryo, for a blastocyst…
When we had a successful pregnancy they triggered me at 16 mm. My follicles were growing at a normal rate. This time, 3 years later obviously my body has changed and it was different, they were being a bit unpredictable and growing faster. The main reason why every patient is individual and the Drs should look at every woman as an individual.
They triggered me at 20x18mm follicle size (that means that it was 19mm follicle 20+18=38:2=19). I knew right away it was too late. As I mentioned earlier, here in Croatia we do have a dr that’s leading us, but he’s not always there, so, you come and they don’t all check your history, and…. of course, 2 days later when I came for ER I have already ovulated. Ok, next month, I say to myself…
2. WE HAVE A CELL!!
First checkup CD7, a follicle 13cm… by the CD11 its 17×14, endo 0,7cm we do the trigger.
CD13, We have a cell! Two days later, again the perfect 8cell embryo, but without the pic tho. They say it is not good for us to get attached with the photo, not good for our state of mind…. ok. I’m so happy, and thinking, This is it, as the last time… yea right haha.
12DP3DT (12days past 3-day transfer), it’s New Years’ eve, after about 20 bfns I get a bfp! It wasn`t an evap, it was a really faint line. I even put the test under the Christmas tree for my DP…
Tomorrow….nothing… a big fat negative… another chemical… Moving on to the next cycle.
CD11 follicle 15×16, endo 11, trigger that day… I once again ovulated before ER. From everything I’ve read triggering time in natural cycles is best around 16mm. Obviously not for me. Also, the books say that the follicles grow around 1mm per day. Not to me… We get here every second day and they would grow to 4mm. I’ve realized that I should get the trigger by 15mm. I have to mention that all of these numbers I had to see for myself and write down for my research. Nobody tells you a lot here about your follicles, endometrium, ovaries, or anything. On the other hand, if it weren’t for that, I wouldn’t know this much today. It just pushed me to learn and help myself. The learning and researching part was like therapy for me. I would search the web for hours ….days… about for example a follicle size.
4. WEIRD SHAPES
As I said we come for the first checkup 7th or 8th CD. This time I ovulated before that. I did feel the pain… When we are trying to conceive we become so much aware of our body. I know exactly when I`m ovulating, which ovary. Our body becomes super sensitive. So this time I also did feel O pain, but CD 6 or 7. I hoped it was a mistake… but it wasn’t. Also, the cyst that stays after ovulation was in such a weird shape the dr was not sure at first even what it was.
5. MY FIRST INJECTION!
The dr suggested I take estrofem, those are the hormone pills that I had to take around 7 days…. The last day would be CD2. They are supposed to calm my ovaries and make sure that follicles don’t grow as fast.
On CD2 I came for the first checkup and this time we are doing our FIRST STIMULATED IVF. At stimulated we have to come on CD2, the dr count the antral follicles and determinates the therapy. Antral follicles are small follicles that are present at every ovulation. But during the follicular phase of the cycle (from period to ovulation) only one, or sometimes two grow enough to ovulate. During the stimulated cycle, all of them grow and all are potential follicles for fertilization.
They gave me Menopur… oh my…. I had to mix the medicine by myself, and then put the needle in my stomach.. it was kinda scary. But I did it anyway. One time while I was working (I work in a store ), alone in my shift, with customers in store, there was no other way than to go to the storage room behind a curtain and give myself a shot. Imagine if someone saw me! What a story it would be haha… The other day I found out that it doesn’t have to be literally at the same time every day. 2 hours later would also be just fine.
CD 14 I had my first ER with stimulation…but without the anesthesia. They don’t even offer it to you. If you do want it you have to arrange it with the dr on a trigger day. But we are all so scared and don’t know where our head is, and the dr just doesn’t mention it. So you feel like a total idiot. The woman here in Croatia is struggling for our rights and trying for our voice to be heard. We do have our wrights, give them to us. Anyway, the ER was really painful, I was squeezing my hands and not breathing that I almost fainted. The nurse held my hand and repeated me to breathe, or otherwise Ill faint.
We had 8 cells! 7 of them were good, one was immature…. 3 days later I came to see how did it fertilize. Here we come on day 3… and if there are more embryos dividing properly, we wait for day 5 for that holly blastocyst. You can’t imagine my disappointment when they told me only one made it to day 3!!! Only one! With all that effort, and pain, and needles ….come on! But ok, I was happy to have the ET, and it was again a perfect 8 cell embryo…..
6dp3dt i had a bfp….next day …a bfn… chemical, again…
6. 6TH CYCLE IN A ROW
Yes…this will be my 6th in a row, no pauses between… I can’t go do stimulated, but I can do a natural cycle.
CD10 18x15follicle… trigger shot… again growing too fast, again dr not checking my previous records, again I’m aware of it all but not saying anything. What a fool I was! You’re guessing, I ovulated before ER. That day an intern was there and when she said that I ovulated, I opened my heart to her and told her I know exactly the day when I should be triggered and that we can do this forever, but no one is paying attention, just doing everything by the book. She sat with me and told me that I have to talk to my dr and tell him everything I told her, She said of course you know, it’s your body, you have the right to say…
7. THE LAST NATURAL CYCLE
CD10 follicle 17×16 cm, trigger shot… I knew it was too late. Read somewhere that taking Voltaren every day from trigger to egg retrieval should slow down growth and ovulation. So I gave it a shot. The day before the ER we went to a wedding. Constantly I was scared that some dancing would make me ovulate…. We went in the morning with our DD1, little sunshine.. and look at this miracle, it worked! I didn’t ovulate before ER!!
So once more I had an 8cell ET. This time I spoke to my dr to do some tests considering my chemicals. If I didn’t ask we would never do the clotting disorder test. I found out I had a mild disorder of thrombophilia, PAI1 heterozygote, and MTHFR A1298C, also heterozygote. That means that it was crucial to take baby aspirin during the luteal phase every day. Also B vitamins, but IMPORTANT: ACTIVE FORM OF B VITAMINS!! By no chance folic acid or other B vitamins that are not in the active form… they poison my body.
This time we also didn’t make it, but finally, we have some new information, and finally, I no longer have free natural cycles and no more rear of ovulating before ER… now we have 3 more stimulated.
8. 2ND STIMULATED
After summer we went for a new battle. This time they gave me Ovaleap 225.
CD 11 one follicle grew more than the other 20×18 cm, and others 15×17, we triggered. Again no mention of anesthesia. He said there isn’t a lot 4-5. When I came to ER the new lady dr was there, she was great! I was in so much ovulation pain, I knew there weren’t just 4 or 5. When she looked at the ultrasound she caught her head and said out loud: My God! This was for anesthesia!!! We had about 15 follicles, bud had 11 cells, all done live. How strong our body can be… I just didn’t know that. With all the pain, I was happy with all the cells!
Usually, they don’t tell us anything before 3 days after, but this time this great lady dr called 2 days later and said NONE HAS FERTILISED!! NONE!! This was the first time in all these years of TTC that I was devastated. Crushed… I just couldn’t believe it. All the effort, the pain…for nothing! The next day I had to go there anyway…I knew I was going with no sense, but ok. I’m in the waiting room…
The rule is while waiting for ET, the later they call you, the better chances are. First, they call those who don’t go to transfer… At one point the nurse came and said: All of you that are left will be going to ET, just be patient. WHAT!? How the heck is that possible. I`ve read a million sites yesterday, it all said that if there is no dividing by 48 hours, it’s over. But as we can see miracles do happen in this infertility world. The dr said it’s a 4 cell, and a grade 3 out of 5. But hey, I had some hope!
Eventually, it was a bfn…but it really helped me go through these days. I had hope and that’s what kept me going. The worst part was that now I don’t have naturals, and after stimulated, we have to wait for 3 months for the body to clean itself from all the hormones…. now we wait…
9. 3rd STIMULATED, THIRD TIME`S A CHARM (HERE COMES THE ICSI SUCCESS STORY)
I did a lot of research during this time and all sorts of stimulation. I concluded that Elonva would be great for me. The Drs here don`t like for you to tell them what to do, so I had to be clever. I came to an appointment and told him I needed his opinion. “I heard of this Elonva, and read that would be good therapy for me, but I only trust your judgment and what you say is my choice”. When I put it like that the du agreed and said this time we go for Elonva… Yes!
Also, another little research I did made me start taking CoQ10. Some studies say that pretreatment with CoQ10 increases ovarian response to stimulation and improves oocyte and embryo quality. You should take a higher dosage of 600mg/day divided into multiple doses. I took 200mg 3 times a day. Some say that ubiquinol form is better than ubiquinone, some say it’s the same…I went for ubiquinol. It also says it should be taken for 2 months… I did for 15 days…. but it DID WONDERS… read on…
CD2 first checkup…. dr prescribed Elonva and I went to the nurse to get my meds. She was searching for half an hour… The dr was very upset and said there had to be one for me. It was kinda funny watching both of them looking for it in that refrigerator. But no Elonva! It turned out the other dr gave it to some of his preferred patients.. grrrr.
So the dr prescribed Puregon. It’s actually a similar thing, the main difference is that you give yourself Elonva once and it releases hormones for one week. There`s no stabbing every day. Puregon 225 is what I had to take every day. And it was a bigger dose than usual. All the nurses were wondering how did I get that kind of a dose. You see we have these free procedures through our health insurance, but they give us pretty low doses to save some money…. yes, horrible… Maybe no Elonva was actually my lucky charm.
The moment I`ll always remember is my DD1, my Sunshines birthday.. full house and I go to the bathroom to give myself a belly shot. My daughter, a 3year old insisted she comes with me. So I did it all in front of her, and so quickly, and like it was such a normal thing to do, that I think she forgot about it as we left the bathroom.
CD10 we triggered…they were 20/15 and 18/17 on the other side. And this time I said through my teeth: “I want anesthesia this time, a total blackout!” The dr wasn’t happy about it, but I don’t care at all.
CD11 I feel like a pregnant woman…. I feel my stomach is gonna explode. A lot of pain while walking, standing…doing anything…
CD12 they put me to sleep…. as I wake up like I heart someone telling 12 cells… but not sure if I`m dreaming…. YES….12 cells! This time they did the ICSI procedure. It means that they searched for perfect sperm and injected it into every cell. While with IVF procedure they just put all the purified sperm with the cells and let nature do its job. 3 days later I came to see how it’s divided… 9 EMBRYOS! WE HAVE 9 EMBRYOS! You can imagine my ecstatic state of mind at the moment. The wonderful dr.S allowed me to take a picture of the chart… Usually, we can’t do that… don’t ask me why even I don’t understand it. They are my cells, come on! I`ll post you here that picture, please don’t mind that it’s blurry, my hands were shaking.
The dr said it`s best to wait for day 5 and see how many blastocysts well have.
On day 5…ET, full bladder this time and waiting. So, there are 5 left! And great grades they say, the embryologist didn’t want to show me my chart! I was so mad! She said You wouldn’t understand. OH come on, I’ve read so much, sometimes I feel like a dr haha… Anyway, I did see the grades B3AA, and those are GREAT grades, with up to 45% chances of success. They put 2 blasts.
I went home, and I was happy and somehow calm. Knowing there are still 3 frozen blasts I felt like walking on clouds. All proud of me and my blasts…. This time I didn’t even chart my temp. Usually, I did during 2ww…this time it was like I knew. Unexplainable calmness…
6DP5DT I had a faint BFP on a chipie.
8DP5DT I did my first FRER. I`ve read so much about those tests, and they are really the best. No evaps on them, like those on cheapie ones. But you can’t buy it in Croatia. So I found it online and the first time I did it……OOOOH, it was a really BIG FAT POSITIVE!
And it was a girl… our little Lily of the Valley, we named her Zola, and she’s pure love!
I hope my ICSY success story was an inspiration to someone and it will help just one bit… Baby dust ladies…. and…
WE ARE STRONGER THAN WE ALL THINK!!