Almost to Baby

So, it’s definitely time for an update from us….and no, we still are NOT pregnant, however a lot has happened and changed since our last post in October.

When we left you guys, we were trying our luck with at home inseminations with a known donor to save on costs. Our very first attempt in October resulted in a few very faint pregnancy tests that never got darker, and AF visiting a day or two late. This coupled with later than usual ovulation in November (CD18 vs a consistent CD13) was confirmation to us that we suffered a chemical pregnancy. We tried again with the known donor in November, but were unsuccessful that cycle. Due to the holidays and travel (we went to go see our baby nephew in London!) we decided to enjoy a break for the month of December.

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Enter January 2019. Some time back, we learned about a fertility clinic called CNY Fertility that offers low-cost IVF at $3,900 per cycle. Because of the low cost, they have a pretty significant waitlist to get a consultation, averaging about 6-7 months out. They recently opened a clinic in the “Atlanta” area, that can handle consults and monitoring, but egg retrievals and transfers have to be done in either Albany, NY or Syracuse, NY. They see a TON of patients from all over the country.

So sometime at the end of 2018, we decided to just call and get put on the calendar, expecting to not schedule until the summer, with the plan of cancelling in the case we got pregnant. Amazingly, because we were able to go for an in-office consult instead of a phone consult, we were able to schedule for just a few weeks later, in the middle of January. We were still planning on trying a few more months with our known donor before starting anything with IVF, however, two days before our consult, he unexpectedly had to move out of the state. So, we hopped onto the IVF train full-steam ahead.

Our consult lasted all of 30 minutes, and the doctor basically just went over all of our previous records that were transferred from our old clinic. She asked when we wanted to start, we said ASAP, and she said to call when I got my period. I started on a few new supplements, but it was surprisingly easy compared to the litany of tests that we previously did to start IUIs at our old clinic. I was expecting to have to re-do some of these, since it had been over year, but they didn’t need us to do any of that.

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So our IVF cycle started at the beginning of February. After tons of shots and almost daily appointments, I produced over 60 follicles! By the end of stimming, I was slightly uncomfortable, but it wasn’t unbearable and I did not have any side effects that would sway me from doing it again. Our egg retrieval was scheduled for February 16th in Albany, NY, and they were able to retrieve 36 eggs from the 60 follicles, with 24 of them fertilizing! The nurses at retrieval told me I should be an egg donor!

Unfortunately, I was determined to be at high risk for OHS, so a fresh transfer was taken off the table for me. Thankfully, I did not develop this, even though my E2 was over 7,000 on they day of trigger. I had a smooth recovery, and felt well enough that I could’ve gone to work the next day, if required.

With so many fertilized embryos, the embryology department suggested pushing them all to blastocyst stage (Day 5, 6, or 7), which we agreed to do, expecting to lose about 50-60%. So after a long week of waiting, we got our final fertilization report….(insert drumroll)……

…20!

We have 20 freaking embryos on ice! After all of the ups and downs that this TTC journey has sent us on, we never expected to have such a great response to the medication, or end up with this many embryos, but we are happy that we did. Transfers cost $250 for the first year after retrieval with CNY, so with monitoring ($700) the cost of each transfer is now costing us less than we were paying with each IUI.

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So what’s the next step? Getting PREGNANT!!! We decided to go ahead with a FET cycle as soon as I could, and after some back and forth about my ovaries (they were still super swollen from stims), we were given the green light to start our FET cycle in March. Thankfully, the FET cycle has nowhere near as many monitoring appointments, as it is similar to IUI monitoring with a baseline and midcycle ultrasound. We had our midcycle last Wednesday, and are scheduled to transfer THIS WEEK, on March 21st. So, we will be flying out on Wednesday for NY and transferring 1 perfect embryo on Thursday. We made the joint decision to only transfer one this cycle, and if it is not successful, we will move to transfer two on our next attempt. We are feeling pretty good and hoping to get some good news by my birthday on March 29th!

We have also decided that we will likely donate a good portion of our embryos once we establish a successful pregnancy. Our goal is to have at least two kids, however, in our perfect world, we each would be biological mothers to one of them. Thankfully, we are in the financial position for Em to go through an egg retrieval herself when that day comes. That being said, we will hold on to some of the 20, just in case. Due to all of the hurdles both LGBTQ identified families and families of color (lack of donor gametes of color) have to navigate when going through this process, we are considering donating to these groups exclusively. We don’t know how that looks yet, but will keep you all in the loop!

We will try to do a better job keeping you all posted, but with all of this TTC stuff, work, and school, our blog unfortunately gets neglected. We post quite frequently on our Instagram: @aquestinqueerparenting, so slide over and give us a follow for more frequent updates.

Ciao!

Lyn (& Em)

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First Home Insemination

Yesterday was our first “home insemination” which occurred in the back of my car. I got a text from Lyn while at the pharmacy buying pre-seed that she got a positive OPK. This was much earlier than we expected. She usually gets a smiley face on CD12-13 and yesterday was CD10. With the benefit of using a known donor we were planning on starting inseminations the day before her expected positive OPK, the day of the positive and potentially the day after. Her early positive definitely put a wrench in that plan. So, I bought the pre-seed and headed straight home to see my wife quickly gathering all the supplies: 5mL syringe, specimen cup, newly purchased pre-seed, large coffee cup to hold the specimen cup in public, and the softcup. While getting ready to head out the door, I thought to grab a pillow to elevate the hips and a blanket. Read More »

Meeting Known Donor & Positive OPK

Yesterday, we met with our known donor! I have met him before but it had been awhile so it was great to sit down and get a plan together. Luckily, during this meeting we spent more time hanging out than going over all the details–I was a little nervous about the details. One of the great things about our donor is that he has donated before for another couple so we are just following the same plan. In the past, they would give him a heads up of their estimated ovulation date and when they would need his assistance. On the day of, they would hang out a bit and then give him an inconspicuous large coffee cup with a specimen cup inside. He would take that and do his business in a bathroom and return it to them. He then leaves and the couple would do their insemination. Seems simple enough.  

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Another New Plan – Big Changes on the Way!

With my last cycle being cancelled due to no follicles on CD12, we have devised a new plan… A carrier switch up and going with a known donor. So that means we are walking away from the RE and the fertility clinic. While Lyn and I have been talking about this, I still feel like it was abrupt probably due to the cancelled cycle. Overall, I am ready to walk away from the clinic. It has been stressful and costly. Over the past year and change, we have spent $12,959.74 USD and we are starting to lose faith in the IUI process with frozen/thawed sperm. If we need to go back to frozen/thawed sperm, I think IVF will be more in the conversation than IUI. I think it is amazing that we live in time where we can order sperm on the internet, find a team of medical professionals ready to help and try to start a family. But it’s not perfect and we are tired. Read More »

A Tale of TTC Medication Starring Progesterone

This post may not be for everyone–it can get a little TMI.

I decided to do a separate blog post on all the side effects that I have had with TTC medication. I mostly I wrote this so I can remember the details and I thought I would share to help anyone who is about to start medicated cycles. So far, I’ve attempted two medicated IUI cycles. That said, the most recent cycle was cancelled due to “no response” to the medication (ie. no follicles at CD12) after taking Femara CD4-8 and Estrace/Estradiol CD5-12. During that time, the most notable side effect was bloating off and on.

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Another BFN & Next Steps

So another cycle has passed and we are still no closer to a little one. This past cycle, we did a lot of new things: progesterone suppositories, femara, estrace, and a trigger shot. We had a lot of hope and the BFN stung. We got our hopes up with all the new progesterone/pregnancy symptoms. And worse of all, we continued to get very faint lines up to 14dpo but the beta blood test confirmed we were out. We both felt defeated and it led to some serious conversations about next steps. We decided that if this cycle doesn’t work, we may step away from our RE and fertility clinic and try at home with a known donor. Read More »

BFN Update

I never rush to write a post on a BFN so this is late, as expected. The first week of the TWW was relatively chill but the second week was tougher than anticipated. I didn’t want to symptom spot but it is so difficult! To make matters worse, I haven’t had a period in about two years so I don’t know my AF symptoms and I don’t know BFP symptoms. Needless to say, this led to increased anxiety. I just wanted to know! Haha. Even though, logically, I knew that it wouldn’t make a huge difference either way.

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TWW has begun!

Hey friends! This is Em. We’ve been a little quiet mostly because it has been an uneventful waiting game. We met with the RE at the beginning of the month to review my records and devise a plan. Because I have regular cycles and seem to ovulate on my own, the doctor wanted to try an unmedicated/natural IUI. I was open to it because it would slightly reduce our chance of multiples. We all agreed and we were told to simply call in when we get an LH surge which sounded simple enough!Read More »

6 Ways Not to Take an OPK

Hello,

Em here. So as you may have learned in the last post, I am going to try to carry baby #1 while Lyn finishes school and figures out a new promotion at work. She has figuratively passed the torch to me and I have a lot to learn in a short amount of time. I may be able to do my first IUI in as little as 4 weeks! To prepare, I’ve been tracking my ovulation with Clear Blue Digital OPKs and the cheapy test strips. But as a rookie to this TTC world, I still have a lot to learn and have experienced a little turbulence on this OPK train. Lyn has been an excellent teacher and thank goodness for her patience. Here are 6 ways not to take an OPK–which may or may not have happened in real life… Read More »