IVF UPDATE: ONE STEP BACK

cancelled infertility retrieval cycle

So, I haven’t posted for about a week or so now and that’s because I’ve honestly been in a funk. If you remember back to a few of my other posts, my husband and I have been going through infertility treatments for a few months now. Since September 3rd, we’ve been getting ready for an egg retrieval – a process that includes daily shots and medicine. The 19th was supposed to be our retrieval, except it got cancelled due to my hormones being too suppressed.

I wish I could say that I handled it with complete grace when my infertility nurse called me to let me know that things weren’t looking promising for a Saturday retrieval. Instead, I wallowed in tears for two full days before I finally accepted the situation for what it was. I had so many questions whirling around in my head and I was so mentally and physically exhausted from traveling to and from my doctor for 12 days (which is an hour away), and stabbing myself in the stomach every night with 2-3 shots.

So for those going through infertility – I’ll tell you my scenario. When I was 17, I started getting exploding cysts on my ovaries. I’ll never forget the first time it happened. I was waiting in my high school front entrance with the rest of my cheerleading team getting ready to head out to a basketball game when all of a sudden it felt like a sharp butcher knife stabbed my ovary. I fell to my knees and started screaming in pain. 2 months later – the same thing happened except I was at home this time. My mom decided that enough was enough and took me to a midwife to see what was going on. She said that birth control would help even out my hormones and prevent the cysts from exploding. 10 years later, I decided that I should probably get off birth control to give my body a break – especially if I wanted kids anytime in the future.

Since I had been on BC for so long, I completely forgot that I even had a cyst issue – until I had one form so big that I had to get it surgically removed a few months later. My doctor said that it would not affect my chances of starting a family but she did want me to know that all of my hormone levels were very suppressed – almost like a pre-puberty teen. She told me when I was ready to start a family to come to her and she would likely put me on chlomid (medicine that helps you to ovulate) to help the situation. Well, fast forward to January 2015 and I was finally ready to take that step. So from January until May I was on Clomid starting at a 50mg dose all the way up to a 150mg dose and it didn’t work… I still wasn’t ovulating and rarely getting my period. My doctor said it was time to meet with a infertility doctor to get things straightened out.

So, come May, I met with Dr. Scott Springer at Delnor. He’s one heck of a guy and his staff, including my infertility nurse, Rona, are very knowledgable and amazing. They did about a month of research and blood work on me before letting me know the best option would be IVF. I guess since I had been on birth control for so long it masked my symptoms of having polycystic ovaries (PCO) – which is a condition that makes an abundance of follicles per ovary. A lot of the side effects include anovulatory symptoms and infertility.

So that’s an overview of my situation. So why did my retrieval get cancelled? It’s kind of hard to totally pinpoint what “went wrong” but my doctor said that for whatever reason my ovaries did not respond to the trigger shot (a shot that helps you to ovulate), so they stayed in a suppressed state. I had a very low LH level of only 3 when it needed to be 5x that amount. It was very frustrating because at all of my appointments everything looked great including my estrogen levels, my ovaries, my follicles, thickness of my uterus… my dang ovaries just want to hoard everything!

So what’s next? Well, I start birth control again today (a low dose this time), and I begin shots (again….) the second week of November. My doctor said that he’s going to try a new trigger shot with me (HCG) and maybe some other things. I’m hoping and praying for a better outcome next time.

I wanted to show what your body does when you go through IVF shots. On the left in this picture is the day before I started, the middle is after 12 days of shots and a cancelled retrieval, and the right is this morning. Let’s talk briefly about the middle picture here – it was super uncomfortable being that bloated (due to my ovaries having 22 follicles in them) and it was tough mentally, especially as a personal trainer. Thankfully, I have an amazing husband who expressed his sincere love to me everyday and a really good friend who talked me through the situation – reminding me that I am not prepping for a bodybuilding competition, rather motherhood.

What the body looks like during IVF

If you have gone through anything similar and want to chat please feel free to send me a message. Thanks so much for anyone that has messaged me – it means more than I can express.

-DBB

4 comments
  • Jamie McGuinness

    So sorry to hear about your cancelled cycle, Heather! It’s so hard with the setbacks – especially when they are so expensive and all-consuming mentally during the priming and stimming…. been there! I am glad that your doctor can learn from this and alter your protocol for the next time! Also, not sure if you’ve heard of some basic things that can help with your PCO; but, some of the supplements I’m on are: Myo-Inositol, CoQ10, & L-Arginine. After 3.5+ years of IF treatment, we are at at CCRM in Colorado where supplements are a huge part of their success and regulating hormones. LMK if you want to talk more about it! Good luck and hang in there 🙂ReplyCancel

    • Hey Jamie! I had no idea you were also going through a similar struggle. Prayers to you and James. I do take quite a few vitamins prescribed by my doctor including CoQ10 and L-Arginine but not the myo-inositol. I’ll have to look at that. Hopefully great outcomes for the both of us… hope you are well otherwise!ReplyCancel

  • lois

    So sorry Heather. Praying for you these pastings. God is good and it will happen in His perfect timing!ReplyCancel

    • Thank you Lois. I have God completely in the forefront of my mind through this whole journey and I know everything will be great either way. See you in November!!ReplyCancel