So we were doing it.
OK, google, here I come. I became obsessed with finding out as much as I could, and the information was overwhelming. It made me more confused. But I was able to figure out that I was on an aggressive Antagonist protocol (details at the end of this post).
We had our 2 hour counseling session to learn how to do the meds. OMG!!!! How was I going to remember all the mixing, measuring, swiping with alcohol, getting out the air bubbles, yikes! They had DH actually inject me in the butt with a real needle to practice the PIO shots. I decided I would do my own sub-q shots.
The stim shots were easier than I thought, although I was still nervous each time about the mixing. But DH and I developed a routine, I would pull out the meds, he would open the syringes, I would inject the water, he would swirl, I would draw back, inject in the next vial, he would swirl, etc., etc. It was almost like a kinship, a kind of bonding - pause the TIVO, time to do the shots.
Looking back I was soooo careful to do everything right. Nervous, yet angry, yet relieved that this would finally be over. A little $$, a little hassle, a lot of uncomfortableness, but obviously that was the price we needed to pay. I went to the clinic every morning at 7, got to work on time, stressed incredibly about having to postpone and cancel a few meetings, and did my injections every night.
I learned to beg the nurses for donated drugs every morning at the clinic. Sometimes I got them, sometime I didn't. You see, I was on a very high dose of stims, and the cost was about $500 per day (not including the trigger shot, antagonist shots, plus the other misc drugs). I had to stim for 9 days before triggering, so you can see how the $$ builds up quickly when it's all out-of-pocket. Don't let them fool you with the 3-4k estimate on the cost of drugs. If you've got old eggs like me that take a lot to respond, you'll be spending closer to 5-6k.
And then the retrieval. I had 9 follicles that they were measuring (larger than 10), and for some reason, I thought that would mean I would get 9 eggs. And that wasn't really too bad for a 40-year old gal, right? (let's see, that should mean a 5 day transfer, and extras to freeze, nice!) I knew they might not all fertilize and survive, but no one explained that they might not retrieve them all, or that they might not all be mature. So when the doc stopped by the recovery room and told me they got 5 eggs, I was devastated, I started crying. This was not looking good.
But luckily, all were mature and all fertilized, and 3 of them made it to day 3 with 8 cells. So much for freezing any (silly, silly girl!!), but I had 3 to put back, I guess it could be worse.
Then the 2ww. Well, it wasn't a typical 2ww for me. We were doing the PIO shots, and I was in more and more pain each day. But I thought - if all those other girls can handle it, well so can I, being so tough and all. But then after about 5 shots, the pain was so bad I could hardly stand, sit or lie down. I couldn't go to work. So, feeling like a wimpy little whiner, I went to see a nurse who promptly told me to stop taking the shots, I was having an allergic reaction and could be causing permanent tissue damage. Yikes! As if my butt wasn't getting lumpy enough with my recent weight gain...
So they put me on progesterone suppositories 3 times a day. Lovely. But the other options were much too expensive, so I endured. Again, DH and I got into a routine. He would actually do them for me morning and night, and I would do it at work. Sadly for him, that's as close to sex as it got at this point!!
And then we got the call. The BFN call. And I tell you, we were crushed. It was like we got the wind knocked out of us. We really both believed that would work. Really believed. We couldn't stop crying for days. It finally hit me... I might never get pregnant! I was one of "them".
1st IVF (oct 08): Antagonist protocol
BCP – 2 weeks,
Stimmed for 9 days – 450 follistim + 2 menopur vials each night,
Cetrotide last 3 nights,
9 follicles size 14+,
Triggered with HCG,
5 eggs retrieved (POOR quality noted by embryologist),
5 eggs mature,
5 eggs fert (no ICSI),
3 left on day three - all 8 cell, heavy frag (25%+), 2=poor, 1=medium,
3 embryos transferred on day 3,
Turning Down the Volume
6 hours ago