As I write this it’s 5.30pm on a Sunday afternoon. It’s the day before we do egg collection. It’s been 26 days since we began this IVF round. It’s been the most hopeful round so far. But hope can always betray you, and when it does it hurts more than if you’d just been pessimistic the whole time.
I did a twitter thread of all the malarkey that’s been involved in this round; just what it is that Kim has had to endure in these last 26 days. I’m in awe of her. We’ve had emotional ups and downs and complaints about the needles but for the most part she just gets on and does it all, and as I’ve said so many times, I’ve had to do bugger all.
I’m going to repeat the Twitter thread here.
This is the Menopur. It’s what makes the ovaries produce a lot of eggs. It looks like lumps of sugar. Each of those vials is 75mg of Menopur. Menopur is what we call a “stimming” drug – or stimulating drug. When we began our first round, Kim was on a dosage of 75mg per night but when she didn’t respond so well to that dosage they bumped it up. They kept bumping it up and now we’re at 300mg a night which is about the most you get prescribed in NZ (in other countries they’ll give you more but the science on how much is too much isn’t really settled).
This is the syringe and needles that we use every night with the Menopur. The giant red needle doesn’t go in anyone, thank god. It’s just for mixing the Menopur. You add saline solution to the sugar lumps and they dissolve, you then extract all the liquid from that vial then move on to the next vial, rinse and repeat for each vial until you have completely dissolved all four and have the liquid back in the syringe. The yellow thing is the actual need that Kim injects into herself. The other thing is the wee saline bottle. It’s in very thin glass and they give you this plastic lid and you put the plastic lid over the thin end of the vial and just snap the top off. It’s super satisfying in a pop-bubble-wrap kind of way.
This is extracting the saline solution. When we first started doing this, I’d forget to tap the top of the saline vial and as a result we’d lose a whole heap of saline solution and so only end up with about half the liquid. We didn’t even realise I was doing this until Kim did it one night and suddenly found there was heaps more liquid to use. I’m an idiot.
This is me adding the saline solution to the Menopur. It dissolves bloody quickly.
This is the other drug we have to use every night. It’s called Lucrin. Lucrin is what they call a “down regulator”. We used this at the beginning of the cycle to reset Kim to a baseline, then we added the stimming drugs and halved the amount of Lucrin we were using, we continued using Lucrin so that Kim wouldn’t ovulate and so retained the eggs we were hopefully growing. It also has the wonderful bonus of simulating menopause so Kim gets all the cool emotional ups and downs that I’m lead to believe menopause has.
Interspersed with all those needles is more needles! Kim has to routinely go and get blood tests to check her estrogen levels.
So last week Kim got her blood test done, we waited to hear from the clinic and then finally they rang to say that Kim had made a “great start”. We’d never had such positive words in this pursuit of a science baby before. A couple of days later and another blood test, this time it was “looking good” and could she come in for her first scan the next day please. Scans have not been fun experiences for us. We haven’t had a good scan yet. Our first IVF round got cancelled at a scan when there weren’t enough follicles growing for us to proceed. Our third IVF round memorably failed one week in and on my birthday when a scan revealed a cyst. So we were nervous as all hell going into the scan.
The specialist doing the scan checked the first ovary and flippantly said there wasn’t much going on there at all. I saw Kim lose all colour in her face and turn to face the wall. I felt a large ball well up inside my stomach. Then she said “but the other ovary knows what’s going on”.
We’d been told than ideal number for a woman without any complications would be 10-12 eggs over 10mm. That scan gave us nine. Nine! We’d never had nine. We’d been elated at five during IVF round 2. So nine was pretty good. They told Kim to keep using the stim drugs and go for more blood tests to check her estrogen.
Another couple of blood tests and another couple of days and they told us that we’d be pulling the trigger shot on Saturday night, this is done 36 hours before egg collection. So last night at 10.30pm, Kim took her final injection of this round:
That’s it. That little needle brings forth the eggs.
So now it’s Sunday afternoon. It’s the day before egg collection. Tomorrow morning Kim and I will go back to the clinic where the doctor will attempt to harvest as many eggs as possible. I’ll go make my “deposit” and the magicians in the lab will do their thing.
This time they’re injecting the sperm into the egg and the fact we are able to do that boggles my brain. But that’s what they do. This is to try and overcome the problem of IVF round 2’s ‘great wall of gyna‘. Then on Tuesday morning they’ll call us and tell us how many eggs have fertilised. If any have.
So we’ve made it this far once before, but it hasn’t been as positive looking as this round. We fell at this hurdle but we’re hopeful that we’ll keep going. After this the fertilised eggs get put on a shelf and we wait for 3-5 days. Then they choose the best one and that gets put back in Kim. Then we have a 9 day wait before we find out if it stuck. It’s a lot of anxiety.
But we’re hopeful. And we’re nervous. And Kim is crampy.