Essence of Insanity (or, was Mini-IVF successful, or not?)


It's odd and probably bad that when things finally got going, I stopped posting. The truth is, at first I was experiencing so much that there was no time for reflection. Up next, multiple mini-waiting periods to see what would happen at each step of the way. I kept thinking, "I'll know how it went by X day so I'll post then!" and then day after day would go by without me actually knowing anything. Here we are 10 days later (so a long post was inevitable) and I do, in fact, have the final results of my first round of Mini-IVF...and they are good. Or bad. I can't decide and it's making me feel insane. 

Going into this round I felt great! I had energy, I was optimistic, and every result I got from every test seemed like another positive step in the direction of a great cycle. A couple days before the retrieval there were three large follicles and one smaller, which is more than I thought I would have! My FSH kept coming back right where they wanted it, and all was grand. On Friday we flew to CA and Saturday we woke up and headed to the clinic. In the waiting room they had, in addition to your standard fish tank and magazines, this sign posted (sorry, it's blurry because we weren't sure if it was rude to take a picture of it...we just found it interesting):

Do they mean taunting or daunting? Either way, it's accurate and delightfully articulated.

Do they mean taunting or daunting? Either way, it's accurate and delightfully articulated.

They called us back and the first thing they did was give me a pair of cozy socks to wear during the procedure. They had me change into a hospital gown and cap (sexy) and wait in a luxurious recliner with a pillow-topped foot rest. It was divine. S had to sit in a regular chair next to me. I had decided to go with a local anesthetic and some oral sedatives - valium and norco - so I took them an hour before the procedure and could not stop thinking about whether or not they were working. I'm taking this as a sign that the valium, at least, was not. The nurse took me into the dark, high-tech room for the retrieval, laid me in the hospital bed that had leg rests to hold my legs the right way (no stirrups for this procedure!), and we got started!

When I was starting this process I was seeking blogs and posts that would tell me EXACTLY what happened, so that's what I'm going to do. If you don't want to know, skip to the fun pictures of our celebration at the end! Okay, so there was a doctor sitting down to do the procedure, one nurse at a computer who seemed to be giving instructions or guidance, and one nurse whose entire job was to pet my arm to soothe me and point out and explain what was showing on the screen. The screen! I got to watch the whole thing, although without the nurse I would have had been lost. First the doctor put an alcohol-drenched set of duck-lips in my vagina like it was a pap smear, but they seemed to only be to clean me out because then he took them right back out again. They went in with the ultrasound wand (which had a needle attachment or two), and first gave me the local anesthetic. This pinched a bit and was over. After that they poked each follicle one at a time and I got to watch them suck all the liquid out of them. They deflated like balloons on the screen. Only one was truly painful, and even that pain was just for a moment. The whole thing was over in less than 15 minutes and I was sent back to my luxury waiting area and given a hot pad to place on my belly. The doctor came in and told us they got four eggs and that everything looked good! All in all, it was easier, less painless, and more friendly than any procedure I've had done to this date. The soothing nurse was my favorite and I wish she could come with me to every ultrasound, dentist appointment, and flu shot.

After 15 minutes we were sent home with instructions to check our email for reports at various stages of growth over the next week. I felt pretty good, so we headed out for a day at the beach. We hit Newport Beach and Laguna Beach, and we ate some delicious food. The food was probably a bad idea - we ended up heading to the hotel earlier than anticipated because I think everything was swollen down there so once I added food to the mix it didn't feel great. But it was heavenly in the moment!

We flew home Sunday morning and started the wait. It only took a day for us to learn that three eggs had fertilized and one had not. Every clinic grades embryos differently, so I will include a handy guide at the bottom to explain what I'm saying. We started with one embryo at 411 and two at 211 (411 is better.) On Day 6 we got the final report - two had arrested (stopped growing) and one, only one, made it - this one is a 4AA.

So 4AA is good, right? If you are freezing the embryo for later, I doubt you want it to be hatching already...

So 4AA is good, right? If you are freezing the embryo for later, I doubt you want it to be hatching already...

This bring us to my insane emotions. Given my numbers and the aggressiveness of my endometriosis, this could easily have failed. We could have had one follicle, or none. We could have gotten 0 eggs. It is amazing that we got four eggs and one of them made it to the stage where it can be biopsied. But I am inexplicably sad. Only one out of four? I knew one wouldn't go - it was a smaller follicle. But the other two just stopped? Why? No one can tell me. "Nothing stood out as bad about this cycle." S is grateful and excited and all the right emotions, so I'm trying to get there. We're on a tiny hiatus before the next cycle, which gives me plenty of time to sort through my emotions and transition into a phase of optimistic serenity before the next cycle begins.

Geminio! (or, Mini-IVF Take Two)

Impedimenta! (or, egg retrieval on Saturday!)