Information Overwhelm

We had our IVF consultation yesterday and I am just overwhelmed with everything about it.

DHs SA was excellent
He has some great swimmers. He has way above average for count, motility and morphology.  Great news, although makes me feel a bit rubbish about my eggs clearly being the issue.

My 5cm post-miscarriage cyst has gone
Hurrah! Dr Bird was really pleased about that. She said: It was a big one too!

My follicle count was great
I have tons of them. At least 14 in total on a very quick eyeball of both ovaries when they checked my cyst. They were nodding with big smiles as they totted them all up. They said my lining looks great and my ovaries look great, and everything looks “very healthy” in there. (Why is all this proving so bloody difficult then??)

We have a 20-25% chance of success with IVF
This seems higher than average to me, but it’s what the consultant said, so I’ll take that.

If we opt for 2 embryos to put back (if we get 2), we stand a 1 in 4 chance of twins.
I’d take twins any day, and DH agrees, so that’s no problem.

We have a set-up appointment booked for next Thursday
This will cover how to use the meds.

We are ready to go on day 1 of my cycle, which is about 12 days away.
Dr Bird was super-accommodating in getting us all ready to go for my next cycle because she knows how much we want to move forward. She really was amazing about it all.

She has recommended Progesterone and Prednisone (steroid for immune system) should I fall pregnant.
I’m okay-ish with this. Okay-ish. I hate taking drugs. Hmm.

She recommended an endometrial scratch in the cycle proceeding as it increases implantation rates.
I’m booked in for this next Thursday, but I can change my mind. This is a bit of an issue for me, because obviously, I am hoping to be pregnant. Also, I think they give antibiotics as a “precaution” afterwards to prevent infection, but a) I never take antibiotics and b) if it could cause infection, is it really worth the risk? It’s a good procedure for those with recurrent implantation failure, but I think my body tends to implant okay, and reject eggs that are no good. I kind of feel that I don’t want to mess with something that isn’t broken, and I think extensive walking is a great way to increase circulation and blood flow to the uterus, but she is keen to throw everything at this one cycle if we proceed. So… I’m still deciding if I’m going to have this or not…

She recommended EmbryoGlue
Yuh. Really. It’s a culture that mimics a chemical produced in the implantation window. It costs an extra £100 and again she said we should throw everything at this cycle to make it work. I’ve done some research and am not convinced about it. Meta studies seem to show only a mild increase in live birth rate… Still deciding on this one too.

She said it’s highly unlikely we will need ICSI, given our history, but that we needed to decide if we might want to use it if something goes wrong ‘on the day’ and fertilisation doesn’t occur.
We said a definite ‘no’. Aside from the correlation with birth defects shown in studies, I just don’t want to go down that road. If none of my eggs fertilise, that’s not something I think ICSI will fix. We clearly fertilise eggs all the time, so if they fail outside the body, then I can accept that it just wasn’t meant to be, for whatever reason.

We’re not even considering PGD
It will double the price (which we can’t afford), but also there is a chance of a false positive (i.e. an egg identified as abnormal that isn’t), due to mosaicism in older women’s eggs. Given that the only test I’ve had done on a lost baby was chromosomally normal, it’s just not something we want to consider.

They’ll raise a script for my drugs at my set-up appointment, so I just have to order them.
That’s almost £1,000 worth of meds… They will be delivered and ready to use for day 3 of my next cycle.

All in all, I came home so overwhelmed with information that I pretty much ignored it all and instead had a glass of wine and binge-watched Walking Dead.

This is suddenly very real, very imminent, and very expensive.

I’m waiting on my AMH result, which will come in on Friday hopefully. That, plus my official follicle count next week will determine the level of meds I need to take, but Dr Bird said she anticipated the highest dose (fear of OHSS runs through me).

So, today, I only have facts, no thoughts. Add to that the fact that I am overrun with other stuff at the moment and the housework and laundry are a mountain the size of K2, I’m not quite sure when I’m going to sit down and think about it all.

21 thoughts on “Information Overwhelm”

  1. Well this is great as there are so many facts. I like Dr Bird. She seems straight up. We use embryo glue. My Dr recommends it and we are up for anything that even slightly increases the chance. Funny they expect to stim you at the highest when your follicle count is so good. I am expecting you to get a high AMH result based on that. I am interested to hear. Do they do Day 3 or Day 5 transfers? Don’t worry if you feel overwhelmed now. Your brain will process it and you will sort it out. x

    • Yeah – I thought that. Why do I need the highest does?? I’m worried they’ll fry my eggs and it will all be for nothing. She said it won’t be decided until the AMH + official count, next week, but to expect the highest one (maybe it’s to align our expectation regarding the cost? The lower doses cost less money). They do day 3 if the embryo’s aren’t doing too well, but they like to do day 5 transfers, so that’s what we are aiming for. It’s SO MUCH information. I barely remember how I drove home afterwards. And I STILL can’t decide if we want to do this or not. We booked all the appointments because we thought it would be better to have everything in place, but even as we were doing it I was thinking, “Am I really gonna go through with this??”. It’s just mental.

      • I can tell you I totally felt the same when we started Rose but now we are on the path I actually wish we’d started sooner (knowing what we know). I doubt they’d fry your eggs with a high dose but you would be susceptible to OHSS which you know. Not a very nice place to be. Anyway, try not to worry about that now. Let the results come back and if your AMH is high and then still want you to be on a high dose then question her. That is your right. x

  2. Sounds like a good appointment.
    As far as the medications I understand being apprehensive about taking them but in the end as long as you have a healthy baby, does it matter what had to take or do to get there?
    So excited for you and glad your doing ivf

    • Weeeeelllll….. that’s kind of my issue. I’ve always been anti-meds of any kind. 100% natural all the way! (says the woman finally contemplating IVF…). I have fears of what these things can do to unborn babies… although they are *supposed* to be safe. Meh. I need to do a lot more reading and then I can make an informed decision.

  3. At least you got all the info you need to go forward! Kinda overwhelming all at once, but once you have a chance to sit down and digest it little by little, it shouldn’t be so bad. Good luck with all of this!

  4. Sounds like the ball is rolling now, which is exciting. Don’t worry about feeling overwhelmed. It’s a lot, but you’ll figure it out once it’s happening. Just take it day by day. I have never heard of embryo glue, but if some people have had success with it, the price isn’t that bad. I would consider doing some eggs by ICSI- in case your issue is that your eggs quality is fine, but just that the zona pellucida (outer shell) of the egg is hard to penetrate. If DH’s sperm are great, and your reserve and AMH are good, this might very well be part of the reason why doing it the old fashioned way hasn’t worked yet. I posted a while back about ICSI because during IVF1 I had good fertilization and didn’t think that I needed it, but the comments from other IVF ladies helped to change my mind, and I ended up doing all ICSI and being happy with that decision.

    • I’ve been pregnant 12 times in total, so we decided if fertilisation failed at this point, then we’ll take that as a sign to stop. Just not comfortable doing ICSI really. It’s too much for an old hippy like me 😉

    • ** 11 times. It’s a sad state of affairs when you can’t even properly remember how many pregnancies you’ve had. If I fall pregnant now, it will be my 12th.

      • I see. I totally understand, as a fellow hippy. We would’ve never considered IVF at all, but time was ticking for my wife, and then we changed our minds. Yes, 11 pregnancies so far, I wouldn’t think you had problems with fertilization 🙂

        • That’s the thing – each month takes so long. You get a few days each time and if it doesn’t work the waiting just eats up your life. I can’t believe I am 40 now and we started trying when I was 37. Like you, we never would have considered IVF, but really, we just can’t do the waiting anymore. I often think if we’d just done IVF after the first year (which would have presumably had a better result at age 38), we’d be done with all this craziness. IVF means more eggs, and in theory you condense several shots into one go. Makes sense now, but took me a long time to get here (and I’m still on the damn fence about it all!)…

          • Yeah, well the tricky thing is that you never know right? If we had known that we would have had this much difficulty with DW staying pregnant, we would’ve just transferred into me from the get go, and not done all of the legal paperwork for surrogacy (mandatory even though we’re married!), and the heartbreak of another wasted year and miscarriages. I also wish that immune testing was part of their mandatory screening, so that maybe I wouldn’t have lost our angel girl in September. But three years later, I’m just thankful to be here, and believe that we did the best that we could given the circumstances. Looking forward, I have a really good feeling about you getting pregnant from this IVF! With so many antral follicles (you have more than I did this IVF cycle), it sounds like you will stim really nicely, and if they are able to collect a good number, and natural selection does its thing, you will save months upon months of hoping for the “right egg”.

          • Yes – immune testing should be a priority, I totally agree. Gosh, you have both had a long journey – I didn’t realise you had to deal with legal surrogacy issues despite being married (crazy, surely?). Fingers crossed for both of us – 6 years between us and we deserve some good news!!!

  5. This is definitely a lot to take in! But there is so much very positive stuff here. Really! And I am really liking your doctor. I like her “go for broke” approach. I feel like you’ve been saying this is it, this is the time for you to be all in, go big or go home. I feel like 20-25% chance is actually really good, too. I think that’s what it is for anyone, which tells me there is no reason you don’t have just as good a chance at this working as anyone else does – there’s nothing inherent lowering your odds of success, and that’s a good thing. If it were me, I would say go for the scratch and the embryo glue. If those raise the chance of success even a little, I think it would be worth it. What is the rationale behind the progesterone and prednisone? If there is a good reason to take those, I would probably go for those, too, but definitely skip ICSI. Not that you asked for my advice! Hah! But, I remember feeling like we were approaching “hail Mary” mode and I just wanted to throw everything at it that we could, everything that made sense. Lots of decisions. But knowing you, you will research and make the best possible informed decisions you can for you and your family. All the best wishes to you!!!

    • Hello my lovely 🙂 Prednisone is in case it is an immune issue. Progesterone just because it doesn’t harm. I think she’s taking a belt and braces, all-in approach, which is good. It IS a lot to take in. We’re still processing it all, but it does feel like it’s time for all or nothing. And if it comes to nothing, I think we’ll be okay. We just need to know, one way or another, for good. Time to move on, with or without our no.3. xxx

      • I know you feel very much in limboland right now, but what I’m hearing from you sounds like it’s coming from such a healthy place. I’m so proud of you for finding your way to that place! Ok, did that sound condescending? I totally didn’t mean it to be! You inspire me, Rose, and your strength is unmatched. Lots of love!

  6. Hey Rose. I can’t talk about it on my blog because so many of my friends and family read it and I can’t deal with everyone knowing, but I’m in the middle of our first IVF cycle right now. Like you, I was totally overwhelmed by all we heard, all I read, all people insisted on telling me, etc, etc, etc. I went in on day 1 feeling utterly confused that I was doing this when I won’t even take paracetamol for suspected-endo pain. As I waited to take my trigger injection last night (egg collection is in the morning) I was telling my husband that for me the wait for it all to begin was emotionally a thousand times tougher than actually getting on with it. It feels great to have moved on, whatever the outcome, and I put my trust in the medical team each day and just take the next action they say. I had a scratch on day 3 (I think I’ve had a couple of failed implantations since I was pregnant with E so the consultant threw this in as a relatively cheap little chance-booster) and took a one-off dose of antibiotics afterwards. Our consultant is a bit of a hippy himself (as much as he can be in his speciality anyway) and took on board my message that I wanted not a drop more of any meds than was strictly necessary. I’ve no idea what’s right for you or how I would feel if I’d been through all that you have, I just wanted to let you know that my personal experience is, so far, that IVF is far more terrifying on the label than on the day. Good luck and PM me via my contact page if you fancy a chat. xx

    • Oh my goodness, thank you for sharing this with me. I said to DH last night, maybe like buying a house and getting married it seems like a really big deal until you actually do it and from what you’ve described it sounds like that’s exactly true. I hope this works for you, I really do. I (obviously!) had no idea. Thank you xxx

      • I told hubby that it’s like a job interview where it turns out you really like the interviewers, or an exam where all your favourite questions come up: I’d still much rather be somewhere else but it’s nowhere near as bad as I feared! Thanks for the great wishes. Good luck you. You sound like maybe you could find peace either way now and that’s really precious. xxx

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