The Numbers Are In!

So, I have already experienced the feeling of cheering my child on during a competition.  Over the last week and a half, our little peppercorn(s) have been tested on their ability to produce the pregnancy hormone, hCG.

Last Tuesday was the first test.  That one was easy, since I cheated and took a home test.  The result, as I’ve mentioned before, was 157.17 mIU/ml.  Not bad, seeing as pregnant is anything above 5 mIU/ml.  Then, last Thursday, we had the second test, which resulted in 333.53 mIU/ml.  Again, pretty awesome, since all the numbers had to do was double.  That also gave me the doubling rate, which was 1.8 days or 44.2 hours.  In other, less technical terms, the hormone level doubles a little less than every two days.

Today was the final test.  The number just had to be high enough to indicate a doubling rate of between 2-4 days.  The result: 6229 mIU/ml!!!!!  That means that my doubling rate went to 1.7 days or 39.78 hours!

Needless to say, our offspring is/are already showing the signs of overachievement.

There is still no clear indication of whether or not both little embryos are growing.

Next Friday, we are scheduled for our second set of baby pictures, aka, the ULTRASOUND!!!!

Until then,

Heather

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The Second Time Around

Three weeks from today, if all goes as planned, we will be going through the process that, hopefully, will result in a healthy son or daughter. Since we’ve been down this road before, the feelings are a bit different for me than they were last time. 
I’m not as obsessed about my meds, and the whole thing is not constantly on my mind.  Maybe it’s because the eggs are safely suspended in frozen time instead of moving around with me.  Maybe this is what people mean when they give the advice of, just be patient, and it will happen.  Granted, even though I’m not obsessing as much as last time, doesn’t mean I’m not making sure I do what I can to prepare. It just seems I’m moving at a slower pace than last time, and not worrying near as much.
I think a big part of it is the fact that I’m with a different clinic who knows how to keep neurotic parents-to-be calm and focused on the goal ahead.  If you are about to embark on this journey, my biggest advice to you is, find a clinic who communicates with you. Most of my stress with the last time was knowing I wouldn’t get a live person when I called the clinic, so I had to be sure I couldn’t find the answer myself.
Enjoy your Sunday, folks, and thanks for still being with us on our journey.

❤ Heather

And, We Have a Winner!!!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Mother’s Day!  The Hubster and I were able to spend some quality time with his Mom and Step-Grandma on their special day.  Mom made a delicious meal of pot roast, fordhook beans, and roasted potatoes.  Afterwards, we enjoyed a Cheerwine Cherry cobbler that involved pitting fresh cherries.  I’m still scrubbing cherry juice stains off my fingers!

That evening, once we were all settled in and our bellies were full, Mom, Stepdad, Hubster, me and the dogs sat down to review donor profiles.  It was so much fun checking out all of the prospectives!  We narrowed it down to two, and, on Tuesday, after a VERY long drive back home (complete with a blown tire and a friendly visit with a policeman concerning a burnt out headlight), I faxed over the documents requesting our first pick.

This morning, we received the email that we were approved for the donor we wanted!!!!  The donor is healthy, has a couple of healthy kids of her own, and was the closest (in my opinion) in looks to me.  I have included the pictures she provided of her as a child. 

So now, we just have to wait until the clinic is ready for us.  We go for our first appointment on June 9th, so, the magic will happen sometime after that.

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Another Payment, Another Door Unlocked

We just paid $500 to gain access to a national registry of donor profiles. This expensive key will allow us to see photos and genetic information of women so that we can choose one to be our donor.

We’re traveling right now, so Noah can’t see the profiles. So, we are just going to be patient and take a look at all of them tonight.  We have until June to make our decision, so there’s no rush.

Our Journey Continues

It’s been pretty quiet here on the blog. Since our first failed attempt at IVF, we were forced to take a step back and consider several things. First, we had to consider if we wanted to try again. Second, we had to consider if we could afford to try again. Then, we had to consider what method we were going to use.

After quickly deciding on the first thing, it took a little while to determine if we could afford another try. My dad asked me, “Is it worth it?” to which I told him yes, but then had to actually ponder that question.

So, is it worth it? Is it worth almost maxing out our credit card in the hopes that this time will work? Is it worth holding our breaths through another round of IVF? Is it worth taking the chance that our dream may finally become a reality?

Yes, Yes, a resounding YES!

Now that we determined that we were going to continue our journey, we had to choose which route we were going to take. The doctor told us I would probably have the same low response to the stim drugs as I had the first time, so the option of using my eggs went out the window pretty quickly. We have been in communication with the same clinic about using donor eggs (see previous post). They gave us seven candidates that haven’t even gone through the screening process, so who knows if they will even become donors.

And that, my dear friends, leads us to today. I had submitted an inquiry to a clinic in Fort Worth to gain more information about their frozen egg bank. I got a call from the coordinator today, and had a great chat with her. I wanted to share what I learned, in case anyone else that is reading this is considering donor eggs.

Q: What is the overall cost of the program?

A: $500 non-refundable deposit to be allowed to review the registry. If we decide to do the program, the entire deposit will go towards the purchase of the eggs. To buy a set of frozen eggs, the cost is a flat $10,000. After that, procedures and ultrasounds average around $8,500. (NOTE: to do a fresh donor cycle at my home clinic, the cost is $27,500 plus around $300 in meds)

Q: How many eggs does $10,000 buy?

A: We would receive 6 high graded eggs.

Q: What is the fertilization rate of eggs that have been frozen (assuming no male factor) and what is the percentage of live births?

A: Most batches range from 80-100% fertilization (5-6). The Fort Worth Clinic has a higher than the national average (65%) of live births from frozen donor eggs.

Q: How many trips would I have to make to Fort Worth?

A: The program has been designed to make it to where I only have to do two visits to the Fort Worth Clinic: the initial consultation and work up, and the actual transfer. In order to keep it to two visits, the sperm will have to be frozen, which costs an additional $400 (I think one extra trip is not going to be a problem in order to save some money).

Q: How many donor profiles will I be able to review?

A: Instead of being restricted just to the local clinic’s registry of donors, we will be able to choose from a national registry.

Q: What is the website?

A: https://myeggbank.com/ (At the time of this post, the website was down for maitenance, but should be up by May 4.

And there you have it, folks, my conversation in a nutshell. It’s time to ramp up the good thoughts, prayers, and well-wishes!

❤ to you all,

Heather

Our No Cost Follow Up Consultation

When they called me a couple of weeks ago with the bad news, the news bearer had the audacity to say, “We would like to offer you a no-cost consultation with the doctor”.  

Luckily, I was still processing the fact that we were not pregnant, because, once I had a chance to replay the conversation in my mind, I reacted in a very different manner.  Where, on the phone, I was polite and demure, a few hours later, my response was much more “snarky”.  Anything that comes to your mind is probably what I wanted to tell them.  Just think of phrases such as, “I paid over $10K for a failed cycle, the least you can do….” and “Really?  No cost?  Let’s actually talk about cost”.

I am convinced this clinic needs a major overhaul on their customer service and administrative staff, not to mention a complete system redesign on their patient and information flow.

So, due to the shock induced politeness, Noah and I attended our no-cost, complimentary doctor’s visit.  I’m not sure what the doctor could have told us that we didn’t already know.  I knew he couldn’t give us a definitive answer on why our little embryo didn’t latch on, and I pretty much knew what our options were.  As soon as I knew we weren’t pregnant, I did what I usually do and ran to Google.  I had already contacted a frozen egg bank in the Dallas area before we got the official word, and they have been on standby to provide me information.  I asked the doctor about fresh donor eggs, as well as donor embryos, and what their success rate was.

Of course, we had to wait over an hour past our appointment time in order to be told what we already knew.  It took almost 45 minutes to be taken back to an exam room.  Not that I was getting an exam.  Nope, it was a holding area for us to wait another half hour before being taken to the doctor’s office.  I thought he would follow us right in, but, again, we were just left there for about another 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, I had to take 3 hours of vacation time for less than an hour of consultation.

Sigh.  I thought for sure I was going to go in there blazing and giving him a piece of mind.  On the contrary.  I listened, I asked, I took in the information, and we are still sure that we are going to try another cycle.  The only questions now are:

1. Donor eggs (fresh or frozen, shared cycle, etc.) or

2. Donor embryos or

3. Take a chance with my eggs again

Of course, we need to know the cost before we make up our mind.  The doctor couldn’t tell us, so now we have to (once again) wait to be contacted by a person we hadn’t heard about until today.  

This isn’t the first day I have had the thought, after all the stress and headaches this clinic has given us, we could have just stayed in Virginia.  Of course, then I remember the awesome job that I have, and the great people Noah and I have met through our homebrewing adventures.  Without the opportunity I was given with the job I have, and the lower cost of living here in Arkansas, not to mention the generosity of family and friends, we would have never even dreamed that IVF was a reality.  

So, that, my loyal readers, is why we keep going.  Because, for now, our dream is still a possibility.  Even if we have to deal with subpar clinic staff.

Now, on to my search for the perfect egg/embryo. If anyone has any insight, please feel free to share.  Just like IVF was a year ago, the donor aspect is a new road for us.  For instance, is a home study really necessary if we get a donated embryo?  Apparently, according to one website, it is.

Funny, when you are 24 and looking in your groom’s eyes, thinking of the future, you never think of these things.  You never think your body will not do what it was built to do.  You never think you’d be discussing sperm motility and estradiol levels over dinner.  So, when, eleven plus years later, your shortcomings are thrown in your face, you either let it beat you, or, if you’re anything like me, you research the bejeezus out of something until it’s no longer scary, and you can look across the doctor’s desk and discuss options on his level.  

❤ Heather