May 31, 2012

Stimulation Day 5

Had another check-in with the doctor today.  All is still looking good.  My lining is up to 10.8 (which is good) and I had 10 good size follicles with a few more that were too small to merit measuring.  My estrogen level is up to 773.  By the time we get to retrieval, the doctor uses estrogen as a proxy for mature follicles with an estimated 150 in estrogen for each mature follicle.

I am in a bit more pain today than I have been.  By a bit, I actually mean a lot.  Sharp sharp pains around where my ovaries are.  Poor little ovaries are struggling to make room for all of these follicles!

Because I am on such high dosages of medication to ensure I get enough follicles to go forward, I am almost out of medications.  They ordered more for me on Tuesday and it should arrive tomorrow.  Today I realized which medication it is we are reordering.  It is the most expensive one I am taking.  This procedure just got a bit more expensive

May 30, 2012

Stimulation Day 4

Nothing new to report on the IVF front, still plugging along with injections twice a day.  Still exhausted.  Still napping in the afternoon.

Big news on the life front though:  our dishwasher arrived today!  The poor delivery man had to use tarps and blankets to protect it from the hail when he brought it into the house, but the end result is very pretty!

May 29, 2012

Stimulation Day 3

Today was my third day of stim and my first check-in with the RE since starting the medications.

My lining is down to 5.7 (woohoo!) and my estrogen level is at 237.  My first IVF ultrasound shows 9 follicles, roughly six of which are the same size.  Great news!  I need to have at least 6 follicles or the RE will convert this IVF attempt into an IUI.  I took a photo of the TV screen in the office that shows my nine measured follicles, it's a bit blurry but it at least gives a good idea.

Grow Follies Grow!

May 28, 2012

Stimulation Day 2

Happy Memorial Day!

Today was day two of stim, and I have now successfully given myself four rounds of stim injections (8 AM and 8 PM each day.)

We had such an amazing weekend this weekend and truly experienced all of God's blessings in our lives!

Starting with our miracle on Friday our weekend just got better. 

I spent most of the morning on Friday at the RE office getting our new IVF calendar and then Friday afternoon I picked Casey up from work and we headed out to Fort Worth.  We started our weekend with an early dinner at Reata in Sundance Square.  The food was amazing!  Sadly, no photos of the beautiful presentation, but I do have one of us at the restaurant.

After dinner, Casey and I went to see our niece in her annual recital.  She dances for the Diane Clough West school of dance in Fort Worth and she is a really talented dancer.  It was so great getting to see her perform.  The recital didn't end until after 11 and I have been so tired from all of the medications that we didn't go out anywhere in Fort Worth after the recital.

Saturday morning we met friends for brunch in Fort Worth.  It was great getting to see them and catch up.  Even though Fort Worth isn't very far, we don't see them often enough!  After brunch, we went to the Kimbell Art Museum to see the exhibit on Impressionism.  No photography inside the studio, but if you are a DFW local, consider heading out to Fort Worth.  It was a great exhibit and we really enjoyed walking around for a few hours.

Sadly, a few hours of walking was all I could handle before the exhaustion caught up to me.  We were already checked out of the hotel and needed to stay in Fort Worth for a party at 5, so it didn't seem like a nap was going to be possible.  But then Casey had the greatest idea!  He turned the car into a Sonic parking lot and ordered us both drinks and we proceeded to sit at Sonic for over an hour and rest.  I closed my eyes for a bit and Casey listened to the (never ending) Rangers game on the radio.  He is such an amazing man and takes such good care of me! 

After our siesta, we headed to the stockyards and browsed around the little shops for an hour before meeting up with Casey's family to celebrate our nieces 15th birthday. We were supposed to head to a house warming for friends back in Dallas after dinner, but I was just too tired to even consider it.  I slept most of the way back from Fort Worth as it was.

Sunday was stimulation day one and it went great.  We spent Sunday afternoon in Midlothian at our nieces 5th birthday party with my side of the family.  We came home Sunday late afternoon and started straightening the house before friends came over for dinner and a game night. 

We went to turn the dishwasher on and a few minutes later it was smoking!  We couldn't do anything about it then because we had guests arriving, but that is certainly not what you want to see on a Sunday evening!

We looked into getting our dishwasher repaired, but it is about $100 for the service call plus any additional costs for the actual repair.  We've had four service calls on this dishwasher already (all minor things, but they add up!) and have always wanted to replace it since it is black and most of our other appliances are stainless.  Memorial Day weekend is tax-free weekend for energy-star appliances in Texas, so we spent Monday shopping.  We found a great KitchenAid dishwasher at Rodenbaugh's in the scratch and dent outlet.  It was overstock, not dented, and was a really great price so we pulled the trigger.

After that big day, we headed to Flag Pole Hill in Dallas to see an outdoor concert put on by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, enjoy a picnic in the park with friends, and watch the memorial day fireworks.

It was a great ending to a great weekend!

May 27, 2012

Stimulation Day 1

Today is our first day of stimulation! I woke up 30 minutes early this morning to give myself plenty of time. After getting dressed I headed out to the kitchen to mix my injections. I was pretty nervous about doing this correctly, but turns out it was pretty fool proof.

Measure 1ML of sodium chloride into the syringe, then mix with three vials of powder, and shoot.

It's only been a few hours since I gave myself the shot, and I already have a bruise forming on my stomach. 

I started Lupron shots on May 10 and have never bruised from any of those injections.  After just one shot of Bravelle, I'm already bruised!

Not writing much today - still enjoying my three day weekend! More tomorrow.

May 25, 2012

Comforting Confirmation: We Have a Date!

My appointment on Wednesday didn't go particularly well and my lining was even thicker than it had been Monday. In fact, on Wednesday my lining was thick enough the doctor was concerned about the possibility of cysts.

He immediately took me off of the Lupron and put me on Prometrium to induce menses. I needed to take 7 days of pills and then 3 days after finishing the medication, menses would begin. This would put us about 15 days behind our calendar (no big deal) BUT Huge scary risk to this: Prometrium will induce menses but could cause a "wild, uncontrollable cycle" and mean we would have to cancel IVF.

On Wednesday I felt very unsure of my ability to discern God's voice. The decision to pursue IVF is not one we made lightly or came to easily. I struggled to find peace with what our next step should be. I thought I had found that peace with IVF, but nearly canceling two weeks in a row stretched me past the limits of my faith.

How could I feel such peace about this when the signs all around me were clearly saying "do not enter" and "turn around now"? Casey and I talked and prayed on Wednesday and he commented that maybe the signs I was seeing as warnings were really God overcoming. We might have needed to cancel for my small, u-turning cervix, but didn't. We might have had to cancel for swelling, but didn't. We might have to cancel due to my lining - but at this point it was in God's hands.

Casey normally leads or evening prayer together, but on Thursday he looked over at me and said it was my turn. I don't like to pray out loud. It makes me uncomfortable and self-conscious, but on Thursday I did it.

I prayed for peace. I prayed for wisdom. But I didn't pray for a baby.

I prayed for guidance. I prayed for answers. But I didn't pray for a baby.

My largest prayer was for confirmation that we were on the right path and following God's will.

When I woke up Friday morning, I received that confirmation. With no PMS symptoms at all, AF arrived!

I went into the REs office this morning and we have a new IVF calendar now (use the IVF calendar link in the navigation bar to see it) with stimulation starting on Sunday!!

I am ridiculously over the moon right now.

And to make things better, I'm sleeping in a pretty hotel tonight for a quick one-night trip to Fort Worth.

Seriously though, I got a new IVF calendar and proof that God answers prayers in real and specific ways all in one day. I am over the moon.

God is good! All the time. God is good!

May 21, 2012

A Quick Update - Potentially Devastating News and a Great Weekend

I haven't posted here in a while, mostly because not much has been going on.  Last week was a relatively great week with minimal infertility drama.  The doctors were a bit concerned about the amount of swelling I still had post-surgery, but it continued to decline and I am now down to about 4 inches.  They had hoped it would decline to under 2in, but since I'm not in any pain and it has stabilized they aren't concerned.  After that news, last week felt good!  We were moving forward and I spent the week eager to start stimulation drugs and move forward.

Thursday was Casey's monthly poker night, and I loved spending the night alone catching up on the DVR.  Then Friday we did a domino night with friends from our kitchen group.  Saturday, we drove to McKinney to look at outdoor furniture I found on Craigslist.  After some negotiations, for $150, it came home with us!  I am going to work on cleaning it up and sealing it this week before we buy cushions and put it on the deck.  Saturday night, we had a game night with sweet friends from college and had so much fun playing, laughing, and catching up!  On Sunday, my family came over for a belated Mother's Day celebration.  My brother brought his old elliptical so Casey and I could try it out and see how we like having an elliptical in the media room.  (Spoiler alert: I used it this morning and loved it!)

I fretted a bit this weekend because my IVF calendar showed "possible menses" on Saturday and I never got it.  I haven't had cramps or any signs of menses beginning.  Since it said "possible" I decided not to be too worried.  Possible means maybe not.

Today I went in for an ultrasound and blood work in preparation for stimulation starting tomorrow. I went in excited and hopeful, but a bit concerned about this no menses business. I was apparently right to be concerned. 

My uterine lining was at 9.6 this morning and they want it to be below 5 before beginning the stimulation injections.  This thickness is due to menses never coming.  To verify if menses is on the way, they took blood to test my estrogen levels.  Before starting IVF, they would like this level to be below 50.  If it is high, it means menses is still coming.  I left my appointment this morning expecting a call telling me one of three things: (1) my estrogen was still high so menses is still coming and we need to delay a few days and wait it out; (2) my estrogen is low meaning no menses this month, but the doctor decided to go ahead anyway; or (3) my estrogen is low meaning no menses this month and so we are cancelling the cycle.  I was told that (2) was the least likely scenario.  Most likely we would be cancelling the cycle because it is unlikely my estrogen is still high 4 days after ending birth control pills.

Even though I was told they would call after 4:30, I spent the day stressing and fretting and waiting for a phone call.  From 3:00 onward, I sat next to my phone willing it to ring.  When the call finally came, it was good news!  My estrogen is at 221.

I go back in on Wednesday to check my lining and estrogen again. If the lining is still thick but estrogen has dropped, we are still at risk for cancelling.

So now we are waiting.  And willing AF to come.  And praying AF comes. 

May 14, 2012

The Most Amazing People: Weekend Update

Friday night Casey and I enjoyed catching up with an old college friend over dinner at Fireside Pies. It was so great seeing Chad and just relaxing and hanging out. Sadly, I totally forgot to take a picture!

Saturday, Casey woke me up with breakfast in bed (awww!) and we spent the morning snuggling and talking and catching up. It was so great seeing him after him traveling and being gone all week!

After our lazy morning, I headed up to McKinney to spend a bit of time with my Mom and play hostess at a a baby shower for my high school best friend, Liz. She looked absolutely incredible and it was so wonderful getting to see her! I'm sad she moved so far away after she got married -- the physical distance also put a distance on our friendship but I still love her dearly. The shower was very simple and very nice. It was a "naked" shower so the gifts were displayed unwrapped in the front room instead of spending time watching the mommy-to-be unwrap and giving everyone more time to mingle and chat. Most of the gifts at this shower were gift cards so that Liz could easily transport them home to West Texas. I was so struck by how wonderful all of the McKinney ladies were! Most of the women at the shower were friends of my Mom (and the grandma-to-be) and many of the women had heard of my struggles with infertility from my Mom and the prayer requests she made at church and were so very supportive. I also spent time speaking to Liz's sister-in-law, Erica, who has been through IVF to conceive her beautiful little boy and her words were really uplifting. One of the other younger folk at the shower had also dealt with conception issues and will never have a second child. Hearing her speak of that and how content she truly is also gave me hope that I might get there someday too.

Sunday was Mother's Day and we had a really incredible morning! I was worried about how it would go. I worried I would cry. I worried it would be hard. I worried for no reason. I seriously have surrounded myself with the most amazing people! I received multiple uplifting cards in the mail, countless e-mails, messages, and texts, a few phone calls, numerous hugs at church, and even had one friend leave flower on the doorstep all just telling me they love me. It was absolutely incredible! The outpouring of love floored me.

The sermon at church was also inspiring and uplifting. The passage was 1 Samuel 1 about Hannah's true stewardship when she handed Samuel, her long sought after son, back over to God. The main messages was that "All God-given gifts should be given back over to God." Hannah gave back over to God that which was most precious to her, just as we all should. The thing that is most precious to me is my marriage. I know it is corny, but it's true. So I've been thinking of ways I can better give my marriage back to God and use it for His glory. I don't have an answer on how to do that better yet, so I'm certainly open to suggestions!

Also on Sunday, the MungerKids performed for the congregation to thank them for their support of the All In campaign. They did a Gratitude Dance and sang Every Move I Make and it was absolutely adorable! I have a video of them practicing the dance, but I'm hoping to get a video of the "real deal" from one of the parents to share here. Stay tuned!

May 11, 2012

[un]Mother's Day

Sunday is Mother's Day.  As you might imagine, Mother's Day is a hard day for the motherless and the childless. It is a beautiful holiday and I am so excited to celebrate the incredible mother's in my life (Hi Mom!  Hi sis!  His sis-in-laws!) But, it comes with an element of sadness for those of us who don't fall into that category yet.

Me and Mom at my wedding in 2006

I am not one of those bitter barren women who hates the sight of children.  I work in the children's programming at church.  I go to events for my nieces and nephews.  I rejoice when my friends announce pregnancies.  I happily go to baby showers.  I host baby showers.  I navigate Buy Buy Baby and try and choose the perfect baby gift.  I am not bitter or angry or upset that other women get this miracle.  And it is a miracle!  As I learn more about what it takes to get pregnant the more miraculous it seems! 

I might not be bitter.  I might rejoice.  But I'm still hurting. I still struggle with envy.  My mixed emotions going into Mother's Day aren't because I feel bitter or envious or covetous.  I am struggling because Mother's Day is a reminder of my unfulfilled longings.  It's a reminder of this thing I want above else and can't have. 

Two years ago on Mother's Day, the church we were visiting asked all of the mother's to stand and receive recognition for the incredible women they are. I remained seated.  At the time, we hadn't been trying for very long and I had no idea where this journey would take us.  I didn't know the true heartbreak and emotions of infertility yet.  I didn't think of myself as infertile yet.  But, I still felt like I had a huge neon sign over my head pointing right at me flashing "not a mother, not a mother." 

The logical part of my brain knows that people weren't staring.  (Well, actually at this church they might have been.  This is the same church where Casey and I were asked why we were there since we were a married couple with no children.)  I'm not so self-absorbed to think people even noticed me.  But I felt the eyes of people wondering about the selfish, egotistical woman in the middle pew who obviously has some deep internal flaw that she doesn't want to be a mother. I know they weren't all wondering what was wrong with me.  I know they weren't labeling me a failure for my inability to conceive. But in my pain it was all I could feel. In my pain it was all I could see.

This year, the church we go to could very well ask all of the mother's to stand.  Once again, I won't be one of them. I find solace thinking someday I will be. One day I hope to be a mother. One of the women standing on mother's day with a perfect beautiful child holding my hand. 

But I know that I will never be one of those women.  Even after God blesses us with a child, I will still be infertile.  I will still be a woman who walked with Jesus in the desert.  I will forever be changed by this experience.

I have a stronger relationship with Christ.  I know He is faithful.  I know He is trustworthy.  I know He cares about me. 

I have a stronger relationship with my husband.  We have traveled this desert together.  And he is truly a man of God who is leading our family through this time.

I am walking with Jesus in the desert.  And so today I thank him for the opportunity.  I might not be a mother yet, but someday I will be.  And when I am, I will be a better mother because of this journey.

May 10, 2012

24 Pounds. 1 Injection.

If I needed a physical sign of my commitment to motherhood, I have it. 

Actually, I have two.

Today I went in to see my general practitioner.  Yep, I saw a regular old doctor about something non-fertility related!**

While I was there, they had me get on a scale. 

Cruel, cruel doctor. 

Very cruel man.

I haven't gotten on a scale since January.  I have felt the pounds packing on with every successive fertility treatment and drug.  I can feel my clothes getting tighter.  I have jeans I no longer attempt to wear.  I was told to expect weight gain of 5-10 pounds per cycle on clomid.  But I knew I hadn't gained that much.  I still buy size medium dresses.  I'm only up one pants size. Well, I have gained A LOT more than I thought. 

To the tune of 24 pounds. 

I think some of that is still the water retention and swelling from last weeks surgery (You can still see the swelling around my abdomen.  The RE said it should be gone by next week sometime.) but most of that gain is me.

There is not much I can do to stop the weight gain.  I eat pretty gosh darn well.  I exercise fairly regularly and walk every day.  I could do to exercise more.  I don't work out daily and it appears I should be.

My doctor told me to accept the weight gain and know that I can lose it after I have a baby.  His only suggestion: a low-impact cardio machine or yoga to keep my heart healthy and muscle mass up during all of the treatments  That, and he suggested I ignore the number on the scale until after giving birth.

Smart doctor.

I have another physical sign of this commitment to motherhood. 

My first IVF needle hole is now in my stomach.  I did it!  I gave myself a shot this evening!  I would totally share a stomach photo, but I don't want to scar you all with what the swollen abdomen of a woman who has recently gained 24 pounds look like.  Take my word for it.  It isn't pretty.  Instead, enjoy this shot of all of my shot things gathered together.  This is right before I took the plunge! 

** I went in for my annual physical. Nothing exciting. Nothing wrong with me.

May 8, 2012

What am I being trained for?

7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
Hebrews 12:7-11
It's a rough analogy, but when I read this passage during my bible study a few weeks ago, I kept thinking of infertility as my discipline.  The analogy breaks down if you think too hard about it, because I know that God didn't make me this way as a punishment.  I didn't do anything wrong that caused my ovaries to age too quickly.  I didn't take drugs.  I didn't drink until I was 21 (well, twice before - but not much!).  I can count on one hand the number of times I've been drunk.  I don't smoke.  I don't break laws.  I follow Jesus' example (not successfully, but I try).  My infertility is not a punishment. 

In The Message translation, it reminds us that punishment isn't the right comparison to discipline.  Gos is educating us and training us.  Not punishing us.
 4-11In this all-out match against sin, others have suffered far worse than you, to say nothing of what Jesus went through—all that bloodshed! So don't feel sorry for yourselves. Or have you forgotten how good parents treat children, and that God regards you as his children? 
   My dear child, don't shrug off God's discipline, but don't be crushed by it either. It's the child he loves that he disciplines; the child he embraces, he also corrects.
God is educating you; that's why you must never drop out. He's treating you as dear children. This trouble you're in isn't punishment; it's training, the normal experience of children. Only irresponsible parents leave children to fend for themselves. Would you prefer an irresponsible God? We respect our own parents for training and not spoiling us, so why not embrace God's training so we can truly live? While we were children, our parents did what seemed best to them. But God is doing what is best for us, training us to live God's holy best. At the time, discipline isn't much fun. It always feels like it's going against the grain. Later, of course, it pays off handsomely, for it's the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God.

Now, look at the second half of the passage.  God gives us this cross to bear "for our own good, in order that we may share in his holiness" so that later on "it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace."   Wow!  I want things for my own good.  I want to be more holy.  I want righteousness and peace.  I want God to train me.

Their is a lot about this passage I don't understand (How does God discipline us?  How will I know that a trial is his chastening?  Does God bring down the trials, or just allow them to affect us?), but I do understand that God allows hardships and difficulties, like infertility, because it draws me nearer to Him.  Just like a parent, God allows these trials because they are for my own good and my own Christian training.  A parent allows a child to fall, but is there to pick them up.  That is my God. 

Paul wrote, "we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope" (Romans 5:3-4). My sufferings give me perseverance.  My perseverance builds my character.  Because of my character, I have hope.  God's (discipline/chastening/trials/training) is a demonstration of His love for me and His way of strengthening me and preparing me for what is yet to come.
So God, just one question: What am I being trained for? What race am a I preparing to run? And can the training end soon?

The Bible has an answer to this too:
Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.
James 1:2-4
(Message Translation again - not one I use normally, but I have been liking it lately)

May 7, 2012

Surgery Success

On Friday afternoon I went in for my hysteroscopy and cervical dilation surgery.  It went really well and I now have a larger cervix and the doctor has a better idea how to get into my uterus when we do retrieval and transfer for IVF.  Our weekend was blood work (notice the matching band aids from genetic testing) and medications. (And yes, I am using a pill sorter to keep up with the crazy number of things I have to take each morning and night.  This a judgement free zone.)

After the surgery on Friday, I spent Saturday laying around watching TV and reading.  Casey was amazing and so supportive (no surprise!) and truly waited on me hand and foot.  He was bringing me things before I even realized I wanted them!  By Saturday night I felt pretty good.  I was still REALLY swollen (like add 6+ inches around my waist) but not feeling sick.  We had tickets to a show at Theater Three and decided to go ahead and go.  I struggled to find something to wear that fit over all of the swelling, but I am so glad we went! 

By Sunday morning, I was still groggy and tired, but no longer in any pain at all.  The swelling was still ridiculous, making getting dressed for church a challenge, but that's okay because I know it will all be worth it.  Our church had one service on Sunday morning, followed by a HUGE celebration in the park afterwards.  We had a petting zoo, multiple bounce houses, a band, a stage, The Hamburger Man, a Sno-Cone stand, and tons of really great people.  We are celebrating the churches ALL IN campaign to raise money to renovate the education building.  The church's facebook page has some great photos of the event.

Despite the stress of a rushed surgery and all the fears that went along with that, we did okay this weekend.  We survived it together and that's the best we can ask for!

May 2, 2012

Pain and Cervical Dilation

I was warned by many people before my HSG that it would be painful and I would cramp.

I didn't think it was that bad.

When I asked, people said IUI felt no worse than a pap smear and not to worry about it.

My cervix broke the catheter. I was in tears. Every time.

I was told the Fluid Test (hydrosonography) wasn't painful just very mild cramping. I was told the uterine road map and trial transfer are no big deal.

I did them today. My cervix broke a catheter. I was in tears. I'm still in pain hours later.

The fluid test showed my uterine cavity looked fine, but also showed the reason my cervix keeps breaking catheters. It gets abnormally narrow right at the entrance to my uterus and so the catheter doesn't fit through.

Without correcting this, the doctor can't complete the embryo transfer step of IVF. So, Friday afternoon I will go under anesthesia so that the RE can surgically dilate my cervix.

Fun stuff.

May 1, 2012

#IVF1 Calendar

Yesterday Casey and I met with the RE to go over our protocol for IVF and ask questions about our IVF calendar and the procedure itself.  I am terrified to start this process.  What if it doesn't work?  Their is no other "next step."  If this doesn't work, I know that I will never have a biological child.  I am really comfortable with the idea of adoption, but that doesn't change my fear about all of this.  But, I can't be afraid that it will fail.  I just need to move forward with this. 

Typically, an IVF cycle is given a 65% chance of success, however given my AMH levels we were told our odds are in the 30-45% range. However, our RE thinks that given my response rate to medications so far, it is possible that while my quantity is low my quality is still good (with age, both quantity and quality decline but little is known about quality in young patients with low AMH).  If we get at least 8 mature eggs, the doctor thinks our chances will go up, maybe even as high as 65%.  Of course, he could be wrong and I could have quantity and quality issues, which would increase the number of "dud" or empty follicles they might retrieve.  Quality issues can result in many follicles not containing an egg.  We want lots of follicles all with eggs during stimulation!  I've been told that some women (those who get lots of follicles) get so large during IVF that they have to buy maternity pants to combat the bloat.  Luckily for me, its summer and I have lots of flowy sundresses! 

As far as embryo transfer, our REs office has a strict policy that in women under 35, they implant a maximum of three embryos and typically only two embryos. With two embryos, the twinning rate is 20%. That seems like an acceptable outcome to me (I mean really, I'm all for three embryos, but that won't be decided until we see the embryo quality and retrieval and ICSI).   We talked a bit about this during our consultation yesterday, but the main take-away seemed to be that it is out of our control and will be decided after retrieval. 

I have posted our IVF Calendar for all to see and plan to keep it updated as things change (you can also access it using the IVF Calendar Tab on the ribbon above).  And they will change.  This whole calendar is subject to my bodies response rate. 

On April 26th I started taking oral contraceptives to "turn my body off" and an antibiotic (I'm not sure the purpose of it - but I am dutifully taking it).  I also increased my dosage of folic acid (1,600 mg in addition to what it is in my prenatal) and began taking Vitamin D to prepare my body for everything to come.  The wonderful nurse at my clinic recommended I also take a probiotic supplement because all of these medications can cause upset stomachs and that at least gives my digestive system a bit of a boost.

Tomorrow I go into the office for a Fluid Test and Trial Embryo Transfer.  This allows the RE to make a "roadmap' of my uterus so there are no surprises in June when he attempts the real embryo transfer. 

Next Thursday I start Lupron Injections, which RE explained will help ensure that all of my follicles grow together at the same rate. 

We will start stimulation on April 22 and from then on I will have frequent appointments for sonograms and labs so the RE can monitor my progress and adjust medication doses as necessary.  He is hoping to see AT LEAST 8 mature eggs and won't go forward with the IVF cycle unless he sees 6 mature eggs. (If I have less than 6, it will be converted to an IUI cycle).  The constant monitoring through blood work and sonograms will help ensure I hit this "magic number" without over-stimulation. (Over-stimulation is a condition that affects roughly 10% of IVF cycles where a patient gets too many eggs to continue.  Given my AMH numbers, I am not as risk for this, but it is something to be aware of.  I am more at risk of under-stimulation which occurs when a woman doesn't get enough eggs to complete the cycle.)  During this time, I was told I should keep my schedule very flexible and very open as the timing of the labs and sonograms during the day will be controlled by my bodies response and not up for negotiation. 

Our retrieval date is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, June 2 with embryo transfer a few days later on June 5.