Monday, April 26, 2021

IVF Cycle 2 / CD 22 / Retrieval Day

 Yesterday was really difficult. It started with not getting restful sleep on Saturday night and seemed to snowball. I had plans to go to a brunch book club with Elena, and I wanted to look cute for the loose Derby Day theme we had planned for the brunch. I got up and weighed myself only to find that I am currently tied for my highest weight ever. I'm under instruction from my RE to "eat eat eat," and I know that numbers on a scale don't tell a full story of health, but that put me in a bad headspace. Then after I got out of the shower, I found myself staring at my bruised, enlarged stomach. Generally, I would guess that I feel more confident about my body and myself than the average person. Yesterday, though, I felt defeated by it all.

Compared to some stories I have read, I have had a pretty easy time with stims and procedures. The results of the last cycle were a big blow (as I discussed in detail previously), but we know that I respond to medications, I can make eggs, and Richard and I can make embryos. I'm gaining weight and I miss running hard and/or for long distances, but it could be so much worse. As my RE said, every cycle is different, so we just have to hit the right one.

After book club, I spent most of the rest of the day worrying about this cycle potentially turning out like the last one. Even if we had some normal embryos, I have never been pregnant, so then I worried about what would happen if we used all of our embryos without ever finishing a pregnancy? The thoughts overwhelmed me, and I spent a lot of last night alternating between reading devotionals and crying. It felt kind of like I used to feel every month when we'd try, I'd think I could maybe, possibly be pregnant, and then my period would come. At some point, I pulled myself together to finish proposals for the ASHE conference in November, and then I went to bed. 

Once again, I did not sleep well last night. We had to be at the hospital at 8:30 this morning, but I woke up early to shower and at least make sure I had clean hair and a fresh booty. (Success!) The ride to the hospital was quiet, and the anxiety from Sunday spilled over into today. Whereas everything was new last time, I found it difficult to be hopeful about a different outcome....even though every cycle is different.

We got checked in, and they whisked Richard off to provide his sample. By the time he was finished, I was in my gown, and it was almost time to start my IV. I don't have great veins, and it took two tries to get started. Meanwhile, I was crying because I was anxious about the outcome of the surgery, not the needle. The nurse asked if I wanted some medicine to calm down, but I told her I was fine.

In the middle of my breakdown, my RE came to say hello, so that was a delight. He did give me some encouragement by mentioning that the embryologist said the eggs I made last time were great, and he still had hope for us. That made me feel a lot better. After consulting with Richard, I agreed to have a little bit of medicine to calm down, so they brought me a little bit of Versed to go through my IV and take the edge off. It seemed to help, and I didn't even cry when I had to tell the nurse how much I weigh. We took this photo that I proceeded to put on social media without realizing how much I look out of it. At least my mask was covering most of my face. I blame the Versed and the lack of sleep, but now this photo will probably end up framed in our house someday.

The procedure went as planned, and we retrieved eight eggs! My RE came to tell me the numbers while I was still coming down, and I had a bit of trouble counting his fingers. By the time I had my snacks--Scooby snacks and a Coke--we'd already gotten word that seven of the eight were mature. It's expected that about 80% of the eggs retrieved will be mature, so we were happy to not fall below that range. Tomorrow, we will find out how many fertilized with ICSI. We expect 80 percent again, but I'm hoping that all seven will make it. I guess I am a little greedy, but also, every cycle is different.

We still have a long way to go before we know how the cycle turns out, but our work is done. Now we wait and try not to worry. 

Something that made today great: We retrieved twice as many eggs as the last cycle!
Time I woke up: 7:00-ish

Saturday, April 24, 2021

IVF Cycle 2 / CD 20 / Stims Day 9 / NIAW Day 7

Well, my guess was correct: we triggered today! As they say, even a broken clock is right twice a day. 

We go Monday morning for our egg retrieval. My RE is hoping to retrieve five or six eggs, but I have my sights set a little higher. When my ultrasound results were uploaded later this morning, we only had measurements for six follicles. I am not sure if he only measured the ones that looked most promising or if something happened to the other four we had on Wednesday. My estradiol has continued to climb (up to 3126.19 today from 1543.22 on Thursday), so I am taking that as a good sign.

Of course, that didn't stop me from trying to learn more. I did some Googling and found that the "vanishing follicle” phenomenon is a thing that has been studied by actual scientists. However, that refers to follicles that seem to vanish between the trigger shot and the egg retrieval, so that's not exactly me either. So, we'll just wait and see what happens on Monday. Hopefully, all of our follicles will still be there...I definitely didn't need anything else to be anxious about heading into the retrieval. I need to stay away from Google and infertility Facebook groups for a few days.

We did our morning injections but ceased our 5 pm injections in favor of the trigger shot tonight at 9:30 pm. My job now is to wait, rest a bit, and not eat or drink anything after midnight tomorrow.

Something that made today great: Good running miles with Slow Mode this morning! 
Time I woke up: 7:15 am

Thursday, April 22, 2021

IVF Cycle 2 / CD 18 / Stims Day 7 / NIAW Day 5

Wow, this week has been busier than I anticipated! Fortunately, I am finding healthy ways to cope with my anger and am starting to feel more like myself again. Sandra and I did a 4-mile run in my neighborhood on Tuesday before meeting Elena and the taco gang for tacos, and I rode my bike with Ellen today after I got out of class. Richard is also off for the next few days, so I'm enjoying having him around more.

It also helps that this IVF cycle is looking more promising than the first one. At this point in our first cycle, we had to make the difficult decision to move forward with four follicles or convert to IUI. My RE was hesitant about triggering on day 7 of stims but was supportive of our decision. This cycle, we have more follicles, and they don't seem to be growing quite as fast as the first crew.

After our ultrasound and bloodwork appointment this morning, we learned that we have three more follicles than we had on Monday! That brings our total up to ten. I have been chatting with a few friends who've been through IVF, and one told me she was hoping for more at our next scan, and another said he'd hope for 10 or more for us. I was doubtful, but then we had three more today! Our nurse told us not to be surprised if we needed to come back tomorrow, but she would call with instructions later today.

When the nurse called this afternoon, she told me to keep doing all of my same injections. She also said we need to come in for another ultrasound and labs on Saturday, which will be day 9 of stims. (Recall that people typically stim for 8-14 days, so I am in the expected range this time.) Based on last time, I was expecting to be told to trigger tonight or tomorrow for retrieval on Saturday or Sunday, but this cycle keeps revealing how circumstances can be totally different from cycle to cycle, even with the same medicine protocol. My estrogen reading was 1543.22 pg/ml, so we're not quite over the 200 per follicle mark that we'd like to see. However, we jumped from 690.58 on Monday to 1543.22 today, so hopefully, the two additional days will put us where we need to be with mature eggs.

During the first cycle, we joked about naming our follicles after the Beatles, but our ultrasound tech told us today we might want to start looking at basketball teams. I guess I'm taking nominations for worthy teams to name them after? Our smallest follicle is only 6 mm, which is a bit small, but we're hoping it can catch up. Our largest is currently 21 mm, and I think 24 mm is about as big as is desirable before triggering. We want to have as many as possible in the 18-24 mm range without anything getting too big. So, Saturday is likely our last ultrasound and bloodwork visit for this cycle unless I'm wrong again. Stranger things have happened.

I'm going to try to make a cutesy letterboard after our appointment on Saturday, but I'm currently a bit frantic trying to balance the end of the semester, work, conference proposals, trying to exercise, and going through IVF. It's a lot! So, here's some more of my fantastic PowerPoint art. These circles are not actual size, but they're to scale relative to each other. 

Something that made today great: The weather and company were fantastic for riding bikes today!
Time I woke up: 6:40 am

Monday, April 19, 2021

IVF Cycle 2 - CD 15 / Stims Day 4 / NIAW Day 2

I have heard others describe IVF as an emotional roller coaster, but I am not sure if a good day would be represented by going up on the roller coaster (because of going up and getting out of the valley) or by going down (it's easier, faster, and thrilling). Whatever the correct answer is, today was a slightly better day. 

We had an appointment for an ultrasound and bloodwork, and there is more going on in my ovaries than at this point in our first cycle. (Edited for clarification: We now have 7 follicles growing!) Last time, I had 4 follicles on day 5 of stims, and that's all we had before we triggered and went in for the egg retrieval. On day 5 of stims last cycle, my four follicles ranged in size from 10 mm to 18 mm. Today (one day earlier), we are looking at 7.5 mm to 14 mm, so these follicles seem to be growing slightly slower or maybe at about the same pace. As with the first cycle, my left ovary is more active than the right one. I wasn't feeling a letterboard tonight, but I did make this little picture using PowerPoint.

Whereas I was rightfully excited to have follicles at all last cycle, I'm guarding my heart and emotions a bit more this time around. As I knew before and have now personally experienced, the road is long, and a lot can happen. After the last few days, though, I am happy to accept any glimpse of positive news.

My RE kept my injections the same for the next few days, and we'll have another ultrasound and more bloodwork on Thursday. If history is any indication--which it might not be because every cycle is different--we could be looking at a trigger shot and retrieval at the end of the week. Then again, roller coasters make sudden turns in addition to going up and down hills.

Something that made today great: I had fried Oreos, a corn dog, a snowball, and jambalaya at Spring Fling today! (Also my HESPA friend Daniel was good company at the event.)
Time I woke up: 6:30 am

Sunday, April 18, 2021

IVF Cycle 2 - CD 14 / Stims Day 3 / NIAW Day 1

 Yesterday, I drove up to Bossier City to attend a bachelorette party for my friend Megan. This was my first time transporting fertility medications and doing my injections somewhere other than my house, and everything went fine. We had a great time hanging out, eating, laughing, and playing games. Although Megan offered to let me sleep over (and I’d packed a bag in case I needed to), I ended up driving home late last night because I felt up to it and didn’t want to have to wake up and drive. For those unfamiliar with Louisiana geography, it’s roughly a four-hour drive from Baton Rouge to Bossier City. That meant that I had lots of time in the car. I filled some of the time by catching up with friends, and I listened to the Fast Times at Ridgemont High soundtrack a few more times. I also threw some podcasts into the mix.

When I tired of the Fast Times at Ridgemont High soundtrack (yeah, it finally happened), I decided to look for a new Spotify playlist to try. I love a good playlist, but I am not great at building them myself. Last week, I discovered 70’s Road Trip and liked it, so I tried my luck for some comforting tunes by searching for “Infertility.” There were a few options to choose from, but I went with the first one I saw since I needed to be watching the road.

The playlist was called “Infertility Warrior,” and it contains several songs that I sort of expected. It’s also heavy on Christian/worship, which I don’t mind. I like a lot of praise and worship music. The second song on the playlist is Laura Story’s “Blessings,” which is a song I like but had sort of forgotten about until I had a Facebook status with some of the lyrics in my memories a few weeks ago. The chorus goes,

'Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

As I listened to the song last night, I found that I was not comforted by the lyrics as I had been in the past. All I could think of was my struggle with infertility. I said to myself, “I already know God is near. I don’t need tears, pain, or sleepless nights. This is pointless.“

Then, the next song was “Scars” by I Am They, which was a new one to me. It’s similar to “Blessings” but takes it to another level:

Darkest water and deepest pain
I wouldn't trade it for anything
'Cause my brokenness brought me to you
And these wounds are a story you'll use

So I'm thankful for the scars
'Cause without them I wouldn't know your heart
And I know they'll always tell of who you are
So forever I am thankful for the scars

Again, as I thought about my own pain, I couldn’t identify with the song in the least. I can think of a lot of things I’d trade to stop having to deal with infertility, and I’m absolutely not thankful for the scars. Even when I try to stretch my mind to think, “How will God use this experience for His glory?” the best I could come up with was, “I can use my words and my story to encourage others if they go through this.” But what if God just eliminated infertility altogether? What good does this struggle do for anyone other than help other people going through this seemingly unnecessary disease?

I felt myself growing upset at the singer and the song, and then it hit me: I’m angry. On Friday night, I was texting my friend Willie, and she offered her support if I needed to talk, cry, or be mad. I responded, “Thank you. I am mad and crying, but I’m eating pasta which is happy.” That was the first time I’d admitted that I was mad, but I let the feeling pass.

When I coached for Girls on the Run, one of my favorite lessons was on emotions. Rather than framing emotions as “good” or “bad,” the GOTR curriculum encourages us to think of emotions as “comfortable” and “uncomfortable.” Infertility has brought out a number of uncomfortable emotions in me; sad, disappointed, and hurt are a few that I have allowed myself to feel over the last few years. Then there are other uncomfortable emotions that I prefer to repress: jealous, bitter, and angry are the big three. When I think of words to describe myself, “angry” doesn’t make the list. I want to be known as intelligent, passionate, and driven. I want people to think of me as a kind and dependable friend they can call upon. Being angry doesn’t align with who I am or who I want to be.

Thinking about the “Scars” song, my life has been relatively easy; I have few true scars. I count losing my dad to cancer as a scar, but every other trial I have been through seems more like a minor inconvenience or setback. Most of my unanswered prayers have been related to schools I didn’t get accepted to or romantic relationships that didn’t work out. After everything played out with those situations, I was grateful that I didn’t get what I wanted, but this feels different. None of those dragged out for years or challenged me like infertility has, and none of them have made me this angry.

Initially, I also worried about being angry with God. In the back of my mind, however, a small voice reminded me of something I heard a long time ago. I don’t remember if it was in a sermon, a devotion, or even a casual conversation, but I was told once that it’s okay to unleash our anger on God. He can take it. As I was pulling back into Baton Rouge around 2:00 am last night, I allowed myself to speak the words aloud: “God, I am angry.” My eyes immediately filled up with huge tears. Normally when I’m about to cry, my eyes water a little bit, but last night was more like a flood. On one hand, I felt like a weight was lifted by finally saying out loud how I am feeling. On the other, I am still angry. It still hurts. It’s going to hurt for a while.

While I was inclined to resist these uncomfortable emotions, I am now allowing myself to feel them--not permanently, but at least for the moment. Better to embrace it now than let it fester into something worse. Meanwhile, we have an ultrasound and bloodwork tomorrow morning to see how things are progressing in my ovaries. Hopefully, we'll have news that leads to comfortable emotions rather than uncomfortable ones.

Something that made today great: Sleeping in with no alarm!

Time I woke up: 10:45 am

Friday, April 16, 2021

IVF Cycle 1 Wrapup

During my first semester in my Ph.D. program, I took an educational statistics class, ELRC 7006. This is a required class for my program that trips many students up initially, though we all manage to get through it in the end. One of the worst feelings I ever had in ELRC 7006  was following the second quiz. I had spent hours preparing for this quiz by watching videos, reading the textbook, and doing practice problems, yet I stumbled over several of the questions. For one multiple choice question in particular, I stared at the answer choices and could not find one that seemed right. I finished the rest of the quiz, went back to the question, and still could not identify the correct answer. Finally, I picked an answer choice and turned the quiz in.

The next week, my professor uploaded our quiz grades, and I’d made a 100. In disbelief, I e-mailed him and asked if I could stop by his office to review my quiz because I was sure I had missed at least three questions based on the number of guesses I made. He agreed, and when I got to the question that had taken so much of my time during the quiz, I asked how I should have known that my choice was the answer. His response?

“Oh, the correct answer choice got cut off by the copier, so everyone received full credit for that question.”

I had a similar experience today where the answer I received was not among the options I had considered.

After receiving no news yesterday, I called my RE’s office this morning to ask about an update. They left a message for the IVF lab, and I received a call back a few hours later that the results had been ready on April 8, and my doctor had called me that day. The person on the phone couldn’t share the results with me but said she would have my RE call me.

My RE called a few minutes later, and he said he’d called and left me a message on the 8th. I have no idea whom he called or who received the message, but my call log and voice mail both indicate that it wasn’t me. Our one embryo was found to be “high-level mosaic,” which means that between 40 and 80 percent of the cells were abnormal. (Read more about mosaicism on this page from my fertility clinic.) While the research around mosaic embryos is emerging, the rate of viable pregnancies and live births is not encouraging. 

For the last two weeks, I have been so focused on whether our results would be “normal” or “abnormal” that I completely forgot about the other options in between. I thought the PGT-A number would be the end of the line, but now we have an embryo sitting in the freezer that we will likely never implant. In some ways, it feels worse than if we had a completely abnormal embryo. I'm also really frustrated with the communication mixup that led to waiting an extra week for an update, but in retrospect, it's probably better that I did not receive the news the day before my dissertation proposal meeting. That's a silver lining.

As I told everyone I texted, I am sad but doing okay. (If I didn’t text you, I’m sorry!) It’s been a weird night including the following activities:

  • I cried in the refrigerator while I thought about what I wanted to eat for dinner.
  • I cried into the bowl of pasta that I decided to eat after crying in the refrigerator.
  • I went to the Diaper Bank to count inventory because I hadn’t been by in a few weeks, and I didn’t cry there. I did listen to the Fast Times at Ridgemont High soundtrack while I counted. (Actually, I have listened to the Fast Times at Ridgemont High soundtrack on repeat for hours. I don’t know why that’s what I wanted today, but “Raised on the Radio” is a real bop in case you didn’t know or had forgotten.)
  • I went for a run—2.9 miles of straight running at 10:46 min/mi with my heart rate never higher than the green zone-- and listened to a podcast. I didn’t cry.
  • I baked and frosted a cake with the Fast Times at Ridgemont High soundtrack on loop. I didn’t cry.
  • Now, I’m parked on the couch eating some of the extra cream cheese icing from the cake I baked and writing this post while 13 Going on 30 is playing on the TV. I’m mostly not crying.

I guess the takeaway from all of this is that running and baking cakes will help me not cry. But not too much running (as discussed extensively in prior posts) and probably not too many cakes either unless I find enough people and places to pass them off. The frequency of my visits to the Diaper Bank is limited by donations; I am not going to recount the inventory just for fun!

On a serious note, this is going to hurt for a while. The timing of this news as we're injecting extra hormones into my body (today is the first day of stims for our second IVF cycle) is less than ideal, but we're rolling with the punches. I'm resisting the urge to crawl into a hole or even just my bed. As I've heard about grief so many times, "The only way out is through." As my shirt that I wear to all of my appointments says, "This is terrible. Keep going." 

We knew this was not going to be an easy process. We are still glad we decided to go forward with this IVF cycle, as we would have always wondered what might have happened. Another valuable lesson is that I can make embryos. My RE explained that some (perhaps many?) patients who have AMH levels under 1 do not have follicles that turn to eggs that fertilize. We made it through all of those stages, so we just have to keep trying for a cycle where we "wake up" more eggs. My mind wants to jump to questions like, "How many cycles will we do this?" but I'm trying to stay grounded. If the trend continues, it's going to take a lot of Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir" (which is NOT on "Led Zeppelin IV" despite what the film might lead you to believe) and other related tunes, but we will make it through this next step. 

Something that made today great: My run tonight was encouraging. 

Time I woke up: 8:30 am

Thursday, April 15, 2021

IVF Cycle 2 - CD 10

A week has passed since my last update; whew!

The big thing we were expecting today was to hear the results of the genetic testing on our blastocyst from the first IVF cycle, but there was no news. I would like to brush it off as "No news is good news!" but this is more of a "No news news" situation.

I have read accounts of other IVF patients who fret and grow impatient throughout the various stages of waiting, but I have actually been pretty calm while we have waited on our results. I think this is mainly because it is out of our hands at this point. Of course, I want good news--one embryo waiting in the freezer is better than none--but waiting another day does not change the result. It doesn't hurt that life has kept me busy! With my girls' trip over Easter, catching up at work toward the end of last week, participating in AERA (an educational research conference) over the weekend, and doing my regular work and school stuff last week, I have stayed busy. Oh, and I passed my dissertation proposal on Friday, so now I'm starting to work on the next steps for my dissertation research. This week has been a bit calmer, but I've had several wonderful social outings this week too, including lunch with Diana on Tuesday (Elsie's Plate and Pie), Taco Tuesday with Elena and the Taco Tuesday Gang on Tuesday night, and a visit/sleepover with my friend Megan yesterday. No wonder I haven't had time to worry about what's happening with the genetic testing.

On top of all of that, I have been thinking about our second IVF cycle. Richard and I went to the RE's office on Tuesday for bloodwork and an ultrasound. The birth control helped take care of my innocuous cyst, and everything looked like it should at this point in the cycle. We also got our updated calendar (pictured below), and we're starting out pretty much the same as last cycle except that I have added a low-dose aspirin once daily. We go back for bloodwork and an ultrasound on Monday, which will be Day 4 of stims. So hopefully by Monday, there will be some activity (but not too much). 

In other news, I went for a run today! I have been walking and biking but not running lately. It was only 1.67 miles, but I ran for 19:19 straight at an 11:34 pace, and I kept my heart rate in the green zone the whole time. I'm hoping to run a little longer and more consistently in the coming weeks. Ellen and I are run/walking the Mardi Gras Mambo this weekend, and I am looking forward to that.

Something that made today great: I baked a cake tonight!
Time I woke up: 7:30 am


Wednesday, April 7, 2021

IVF Cycle 2 - CD 3

It's been a little while since my last update, but there has not been much going on with our fertility journey since our news that one embryo made it through day 5. I was pretty down last Thursday night and Friday, but I had the welcome and well-timed distraction of two of my sorority sisters coming for an extended ladies weekend from Saturday through this morning.

While we wait for the genetic testing on our one remaining embryo from our first IVF cycle, IVF Cycle 2 is officially underway.

I spoke to my RE on Friday, and he was very excited that we had one embryo make it to be tested. I asked if we should plan for a second cycle, and he indicated that we should unless we just really wanted to try to be pregnant right now. When I mentioned that we still would like to try for multiple children, he suggested another cycle to try to bank more embryos. We felt ready to try again immediately. My period showed up on Monday--isn't this the kind of thing everyone wants to read about on the internet?--so today I went in for bloodwork and an ultrasound.

Something that was a little different this time was that the ultrasound tech noted a cyst on my left ovary. As with seemingly everything in [in]fertility world, cysts can mean a variety of things ranging from "It's okay, let's proceed," to "We need to wait a bit," to "Cycle canceled!" In my case, we had to wait on my bloodwork to see if the cyst was producing estrogen, but it seemed like I was going to get the green light today or have to wait it out and take birth control for a longer period. (Actually, I don't think they make the cancellation call this early in the cycle, but I could be wrong.) I left the clinic with a calendar, but the caveat was that we might have to extend my time on birth control if the cyst was causing trouble.

This afternoon, I got the call that my bloodwork was fine, so we could go ahead with the original calendar. I am doing birth control pills for five days, then we go back next Tuesday for another ultrasound. Assuming that everything looks good, we will start our injections on the same schedule as last time beginning Wednesday the 13th: two days of Lupron, then the full stims.  I'm interested to see how the amounts of medication will be different this cycle, because things look the same thus far.  We still have a decent amount of medication from the first cycle, but we had to replenish a few things; I have already authorized the order with the pharmacy.

Something that made today great: Richard starts his time off today!

Time I woke up: 8:00 am

Thursday, April 1, 2021

IVF Cycle 1 - CD 26

Well, our good luck streak ran out this morning. We're not below expectations, but we're meeting rather than exceeding.

Based on these percentages reported by the Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut, we should have expected to have 1 embryo at the blastocyst stage after day 5 after having only 80% of eggs be mature (we had 100%) and only 80% of eggs fertilize (we had 100%). If we had roughly followed those percentages, we would have expected to have 2 or 3 following fertilization. Then, we would expect 30 to 50% to make it to the blastocyst stage, which would be 1 to 2 (2 rather than 1.5 (a) to be generous and (b) since half of an embryo isn't exactly a thing). 

When the embryologist called this morning, she shared that we had one embryo that made it to the blastocyst stage and could be sent off for testing to see if they are euploid (normal number of chromosomes) or aneuploid (abnormal number of chromosomes). This was lower than we expected and definitely lower than we'd hoped for. From what I am reading (including this website) half or less of day 5-7 embryos are euploid. In our case, that means it is more likely than not that our one is aneuploid. I am hoping and praying for our one embryo to come back euploid. When I think about the numbers, however, a twisted part of my mind tells me that if we have success with our one, someone else will have to balance out the numbers with no success. I know it is not helpful or even rational to think this way. 

I have so many mixed feelings. I am happy that we are still in the game, but I feel guilty about hoping for my own success. Even if our one embryo comes back euploid, we still have to see if it would implant following a transfer. It's overwhelming. I also feel guilty for being sad that we only have one while Richard is ecstatic that one made it this far. Ultimately, we ended up where the numbers predicted we would, we were just stronger coming out of the gate. 

My clinic ships samples on Tuesday and Thursday but did not ship today due to the upcoming Easter holiday. Thus, our one sample will go out on Tuesday. Testing results follow in 7 to 10 days, so we were told that our next update would be in about two weeks. My instructions following the retrieval included calling on the first day of my next cycle, which I expect will be around the time we receive our next update. Until then, we wait. I have enough to keep me busy over the next few weeks, but somehow I doubt that I'll be able to stay calm the entire time. Hopefully, I'll be able to watch some TV shows or movies when I am not doing stuff for work or school. That sounds much nicer than fretting about infertility.

Overall, we are still glad we made the decision to try with IVF rather than IUI this month. We still stand a chance that we were less likely to have with IUI. We were already expecting to have to do another retrieval, but today's news has cemented that for us. While it's true that it only takes one, it's much more challenging to have multiple children--which was our main reason for choosing IVF over IUI--with just one. In some ways, it's helpful that we don't have to waffle on that piece. The question now becomes when we want to do that, which I suppose we will discuss with our RE. We still have a decent stash of medications and supplies in our refrigerator and bathroom cabinets, and we know what to expect going into our next cycle (whenever that is). I have heard from others who have been through IVF that the first cycle is often diagnostic to figure out how each person responds to medications and what to watch for. While this is a costly diagnostic/learning experience (I wanted to throw up when I paid my credit card bill a few hours ago), we are hopeful for the next cycle. Financially and emotionally, we cannot do this forever, but in the immediate future, we can do at least one more. It's a little like running in that way; you might not be able to make it 10 more miles, but you can almost always make it 10 more steps. 

Note that I changed "PGS" (Preimplantation Genetic Screening) to "PGT-A" (Preimplantation Genetic Testing for Aneuploidy) because I looked back through our IVF folder and noticed that our clinic calls it PGT-A. PGT-A is the updated name according to this website.

Something that made today great: I cooked a pretty good dinner tonight - we just started Green Chef Meals today.
Time I woke up: 8:45 am