Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Fertility Chronicles: Part 4

Seems like a lot has happened since last Thursday! I hope this isn't TMI, but it's kind of just put on your big girl panties and deal w/ it. Late in the afternoon Friday, I got my period..which means day 1 of my cycle. I needed to have blood work done on Day 3 to determine my medication dosage. Day 3 was Sunday...and they're closed, and they closed at 3pm on I couldn't call to ask what I needed to do. I decided to call the RE on call and after a short wait, she called me back. Dr. H was awesome and not upset that I had her paged for a fairly minor issue. She's there to handle emergencies after hours. Anyhow, she told me that I could have my blood work done Monday morning and it would still be valid. I was also supposed to call on Day 1 to schedule my 3D Sonogram..and they were that also had to wait.

I called Monday morning to schedule my lab work and thought since they were already going to be drawing blood for my hormone levels, I could also go ahead and get my IVF screening labs done as well. When I told them what I needed, they discovered they had an appt. opening that day for a 3D Sono and that I could just have everything done at one time. Wow..I wasn't expecting to have the 3D Sono done until later in the week. She told me it has to be done between days 3 and I guess day 4 was just perfect. The appt. time wasn't until 1:30, so I asked if the blood work for my hormones would be ok if put off until then and they said it was fine. 1:30, I headed into the office where they filled 8 tubes of blood. Yep...I said 8. They have to test for FSH, TSH, and HIV, Hep B&C, Rubella, Blood Type & Screen, and um..something. I can't remember..I'll find it later. Jeff also had to go in Tuesday to have his blood work done and they only filled 4 tubes for him.

Anyway, so after my blood work by the very talented Lab Tech..who left no bruising...I headed into the ultrasound room. I'll admit I was nervous because I knew the 3D Sono was similar to an HSG..which was NOT pleasant in the least. I hurt for several hours after that one. The Dr. came in and told me they would push a catheter through my cervix and fill my uterus very slowly with saline and that if it hurt they would stop. The catheter didn't if you ever have to have one done, do it as early in your cycle as you can. I had the HSG done around day 10, after my cycle was over and my cervix wasn't as open...thus the pain. Once she took the speculum out, I was fine. She put in the ultrasound wand..then the saline started...very uncomfortable. Not painful...but there was discomfort. I'm watching the screen as my uterus expands and I'm fascinated at how little it actually is. I started having some cramping because my uterus was rebelling at being filled so fast, but I was ok. According to the Dr., my uterus is polyps or malformations of any kind and my lining was good.

She also looked at my ovaries and said they were perfect. Oh really?? I have PCOS..which means cysts on my ovaries...and she's telling me there are none?!? Then why can't I ovulate or get pregnant??? I found that interesting. I could see the follicles and they were a little larger than normal ones..but they looked like they're supposed to. After I cleaned up, She gave me a prescription for Doxycycline to prevent infection. I spoke to the nurse who gave me a prescription for birth control which I also started Monday and I scheduled my IVF Class for next Thursday. That day I should also get my medication dosage and prescription. After leaving and having paid my 25% to the tune of $460, my only issues for the rest of the day was the saline leaking back out and the headache and upset stomach from the birth control and Doxy.

When I got home from the Dr., I called ARC(Advanced Reproductive Care) and asked them about financing the IVF cycle. They gave me the rundown of what they needed and who they financed through. Our best option was Capital One and we got pre-approved for $9,000 at 9.9% for 60 months...which is the best you can get for that loan term for the amount we asked for. It shouldn't cost anywhere near that, but it gives us a bit of a cushion to work with. Now, I just have to have Duke fax my prescriptions to ARC, they find the cheapest pharmacy to provide the meds, let Capital One know what the total cost is going to be and then they send me the loan forms, I sign them, send them back..and then they pay Duke. Voila. My insurance will cover some of the costs of the medication if I go through their they may be the cheapest route to go w/o having ARC find me a pharmacy. I just want the smallest out of pocket expense!

My next step after the class is my baseline ultrasound and medication start. My Dr. also called me Tuesday to go over Jeff's results from the semen analysis...which gave me a lot of answers to questions that I had in my last blog. Dr. W said that Jeff is normal but there's still a 1 in 6 chance that there could be no fertilization and that the the ICSI procedure is basically an insurance. With all we're putting into this procedure, why not guarantee that we're going to get an embryo? I hate knowing we have to pay the extra $1700..but our insurance covers I don't think it'll really cost us that much out of pocket.

I don't know how they determine which sperm to inject into the egg though. I guess they just pick the one that has the best motility and morphology..and therefore the strongest to fertilize the egg. I still wish they'd just put it in the dish so that some of this is left to chance, you know? I guess's still chance b/c there's no way of knowing which sperm is going to be's random. Anyway, if the timeline falls the way I've figured it, I should be having the embryos implanted in late March or early April..and know by mid-April if I'm pregnant or not. There's still a lot left to chance though. Just because we have embryos doesn't mean the embryos will attach or that I can sustain the pregnancy, so there's a lot of stress still ahead of me. I need to find a way to deal with it and not hang on to it...that could cause the whole thing not to work. Maybe weekly massages throughout this whole thing wouldn't be a bad investment. Eh..we'll see.

UPDATE: Here's Videos!

Here's one of Egg Retrieval:
Another one better explaining the egg retrieval:
I also found a video of ICSI!
And one of the embryo transfer:
Hope this helps you guys better understand the process!