A Different Kind of 2WW

Usually 2WW refers to the dreaded 2 week wait between ovulation and the start of your period, or in the case of people trying to conceive, your lack of period so you can take a home pregnancy test. Its a time period full of hopes and dreams where part of you is certain that you timed your baby dancing just right this month so surely this is it, and the other part cautions you not to get too hopeful. We had a few of those before we had the infamous semen analysis. Mr.E and I have a long way to go before we even get to that kind of 2ww again.

Currently we’re stuck in another kind of 2ww: the 2ww for the TESE biopsy (testicular sperm extraction). On 11/29 we scheduled it for 12/14, 15 days later. I was so anxious, literally pacing for days, unable to concentrate on almost anything at work, crying at the slightest things, exclaiming, “How am I going to do this?! We still have x more days to go!” and wondering internally how I could survive this 2ww without driving myself and everyone around me absolutely nuts.

Somehow I made it 8 days (I think scheduling the sonohyst and the IVF calendar planning right in the middle helped a lot because it gave me something to look forward to).

And then on that 8th day, 12/7, the hospital told us about the scheduling error and moved the surgery to 12/21. Another freaking 14 days away: the beginning of another 2ww.

This time I don’t have any other appointments to distract me. I have no idea what to do with myself. I think the anxiety from the previous 2ww which would be coming to an end in 2 days *sigh* sort of wore my mind out, if that’s even possible. I’m exhausted from the anxiety. But I still feel it inside. 9 more days to go.

So far, TV and books have been my best friends for distraction. Actually, people at work have been unknowingly wonderful for me, too. They come ask me questions and make me think about work stuff which helps to pass the time. Worst thing you could possibly do: take time off from work. I’m pretty sure staying busy is the best thing for mental health.

If anyone out there has suggestions for me on how to stay busy, please comment with them. Hopefully, one day, they’ll also come in handy for the real 2ww!

Infertility and the Prodigal Son

One thing I will say about this fertility journey is that it has really tested my faith. And I have no doubt that my faith will continue to be tested. For all I know, raising children is an even bigger test of faith. It is certainly a test of faith to even decide to bring children into this crazy world.

As faith relates to my particular place in the journey though, before Heavenly Father gives me a yes or no answer to my plea for a miracle, I need to decide how much faith I actually have. The most obvious question is whether or not I have faith that He can perform miracles. Yes, I think I do.

The other more difficult question to answer is whether I have enough faith if He does not give me a miracle. Can I still have faith that He listens to prayers? Will I still have faith that He is at the helm?

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TESE Emotional Rollercoaster Update

IVF#1, CD7, Friday 12/7/12

Wow, this roller coaster doesn’t know when to end. Just last night I was on cloud nine thinking how lucky we were that the hospital scheduling error actually got us in a day early for Mr.E’s TESE biopsy.

Today we were told that the TESE wasn’t scheduled for 12/13 but for 2/13, three months from now! They might as well have told me it was 3 years from now. It was so outrageous that I didn’t even get upset because I knew it would get fixed or I would take Mr.E somewhere else.

After clearing that up, now we are tentatively set for 12/21. Ugh. 2 more weeks again.

I just want to know if we even have a chance at having babies! The suspense is killing me.

IVF – Sonohyst and Trial Transfer

IVF #1, CD 7, Friday 12/7/12

Today was a pretty big day. I got my long-awaited IVF Calendar and I got my sonohyst and trial transfer.

My first question when Dr.M told me I needed to get a “sonohyst” was, “What the heck is a sonohyst?” My second question was, “How much is that going to hurt?”

A sonohyst (short for sonohysterogram) is a transvaginal ultrasound accompanied by a catheter that pushes saline solution into your uterus. In an IVF clinic they use this procedure to check for anything that might hinder the success of an IVF cycle like a polyp. You can read more about the sonohyst procedure here.

A trial transfer is basically going thru the motions of an embryo transfer without the embryos. At first I thought that the trial transfer sounded kind of silly and was probably a waste of my time. But after my experience today, I think it was time and money well spent.
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My IVF Calendar

IVF #1, CD7, Friday 12/7/12

Well today was a pretty big day: I got my IVF Calendar and I had the sonohyst and trial transfer. I’ll devote this post to the calendar.

At this clinic, the agonist protocol apparently starts out the same for everyone: start birth control pills on Cycle Day 3. Then you stay on the BCP until you start the Lupron shots. And by “stay on the BCP” I really mean stay on the BCP: you don’t take the placebo pills at all like you would normally do with BCP. You have to do the BCP for at least 2 weeks before moving to the next step.

After you’ve been on BCP for at least 2 weeks, the next step is adding Lupron shots. Lupron is used to suppress ovulation (they don’t want you to ovulate too soon). At this clinic, everyone starts Lupron on a Sunday and you start with 10 units. For the first 7 days, you will take BCP and give yourself the Lupron shots.

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Cycle Day 6 – Emotional Rollercoaster

So far there are 4 people who know our situation: Mr.E, my mom, my BFF, and me. Why are we keeping it so secret? Well, you can’t unring a bell. Once people know there’s no going backwards and you can’t stop the flow of information from them to others. I don’t want people feeling sorry for me or constantly asking if I feel ok or how I’m doing with a pitiful look on their faces. First of all I can’t stand that. But second of all my “game face” is pretty fragile and sometimes the slightest thing can make it crumble!

Here’s a snippet of an email I sent today to my BFF who recently got married and wants a gazillion kids 🙂

When you wrote earlier today the surgery was next Friday 12/14. It’s been an emotional roller coaster of a day with fears we would have to wait until Jan 4 or even a week after that because the hospital notified us of a scheduling problem this morning. But they just moved it to Thursday, a week from today, thank goodness! So actually it’s a day before the original appt. Its 90% set for Thursday, anyway, just need a note from Mr.E’s doctor for his professor so that he can take his final exam early.

We will find out right away if they found any sperm. I mean, I think it’s within minutes of cutting because if they find some they freeze them right then. So a week from today I’ll know if I get to have kids.
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Cycle Day 3 – birth control pills

IVF#1 – CD3, Monday, 12/3/12

Well, I’ve been waiting for this day since 9/18/12 when we got Mr.E’s first semen analysis results back with a big fat 0. I knew it would lead to IVF with ICSI. I had no idea at the time what would be involved with an IVF cycle, though I had a vague idea of needles and hormones.

I was very surprised to hear that birth control pills are the first step to an IVF cycle, though it makes sense now. Basically the follicles on your ovaries are all at a slightly different stage of development. Taking BCP for 2-3 weeks is sort of like hitting a reset button for your next cycle. Then the doctor will be able to grab as many mature eggs as possible on your scheduled ovulation day (about 40 days from today, I think), now called Egg Retrieval Day.

I won’t get my personalized IVF protocol with what hormones I’ll be taking until this Friday, but I was told to start these BCP on CD3 and to call in to make an appt for a sonohyst and a trial transfer. I’ll get you more details about what those entail as soon as I have them.

I’m very excited! I’ve had butterflies in my stomach all day! Praying they’ll find sperm during Mr.E’s TESE in 10 days.

Here is a link to an IVF Cycle Calculator.

Azoospermia. Now what?

Wondering what next? Here’s an Azoospermia Protocol.

After Mr.E’s diagnosis of azoospermia, I knew my best weapon would be information. I needed to know how to beat it. I found people talking in forums about doing biopsies and sperm retrievals. And then I read about a guy who had to be on testosterone supplements for the rest of his life because of damage done to his testicles during attempted sperm retrieval. There was a whirlwind of information about varicoceles, sperm mapping, genetic tests, TESE (pronounced TES-see) which is Testicular Sperm Extraction, microTESE, pituitary adenomas, ICSI (pronounced ICK-see) which is Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection, etc. It all had me overwhelmed.

The first thing I decided for sure is that I would be protecting Mr.E’s testicles with my life. Only the best of the best would ever cut into them.

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Azo– what?

I never thought it would be us. In fact, I only sent Mr.E for the semen analysis because I’m an impatient person. I didn’t want to wait for a whole freaking year and then regret not doing it sooner.

I remember checking the online patient portal thing for the results every single day, multiple times a day (impatient, remember?) and finally on the 7th day I called and asked the nurse for the results. She said she’d call back. I was driving when the phone rang. I eagerly picked it up expecting to hear her voice. Imagine my surprise when the doctor introduced himself instead of the nurse. Immediately I knew there must be something wrong otherwise the nurse would have been the one on the line. I pulled into a parking lot so I could concentrate on what he was saying:

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