Thursday, August 18, 2011

IVF Journey - Part II, frozen cycle I

With 19 embryos frozen, safe and sound, Fabrice and I both believed that in two months, I would be pregnant, which would mean it would be out of question to travel by the two of us alone. So, we made a last minute decision to go France, just the two of us, for the last time before we would be tied up by parenting duties. Plus, none of my previous visits to France was in the Winter, it would be nice to spend a real Christmas in France with the family, I reasoned. Most importantly, this trip could make the 2 months of waiting so much faster!

In the early morning of Christmas Eve, we landed in Paris. After 1.5 hours TGV ride, we arrived Burgundy, Fabrice's hometown, just before the most important meal of the year. Andre, our brother-in-law, and French professional chef prepared the most wonderful dinner for the family. It had millions of courses and thousand kinds of wine. After getting ourselves stuffed and drunk, the whole family gathered in front of the fireplace to wait for the Santa to deliver his gifts to us all. Santa showed up few minutes after Fabrice mysteriously disappeared from the crowd. Then one package after another showed up. We had a lot of fun unwrapping and watching Didier, Fabrice's nephew who was only a bit older than 2 years old at that time, going in and out of his gift boxes. Like all other kids of that age, Didier was far more interested in the gift boxes than the gifts themselves. Soon, the question natually popped out, everyone wanted to know whether Fabrice and I were making babies. He said, yes, yes, avoiding the details.

Two days after Christmas, we left the happy family and went to the famous Alps with Pierre and his girlfriend. Pierre and Fabrice were friends since middle school and he and I had become close friends over the years since we met the first time at Dijon. The four of us spent a whole week in a beautiful village 1 mile from the top a ski resort (got to find out the name of that lovely village and the beautiful ski resort, come back to check later, if you are interested in them). We skied in the day and swam or skated in the night. We cerebrated the New Year's Eve in the Alps with locally produced cheese and wine... The trip was sensational. It was so wonderful that almost led me to forgetting our frozen embryos.

But it did not. When the period showed up together with the year of 2006, I called the clinic from the Alps to leave a message to my clinic in the U.S.. The clinic was closed at that time, I simply just left a message to let them know that I knew what I was doing - start to take birth control pills (BCP) the next day until finish the 21 green pills. Few hours later, Fabrice's french cell phone rang, I was pleasantly surprised that my clinic called me back to make sure I knew what I was doing. She said that she got our French phone number from their modernized answer machine!

This was a good sign, I thought. It would be a lucky cycle: new year, new start with new hope, and a very caring nurse!

An ivf frozen cycle is much simpler than our first one. All I needed to do was to take BCP for 21 days and then the Lupron for few more days to beat the ovaries to death. After that, use E2 patches - estrogen hormone on a plastic sheet, so that the E2 can penetrate the skin and follow your bloodstream to the uterus to stimulate the endometrium to grow to 8~10 mm. This will make the endometrium thick and warm to accept the incoming embryos.

At the end of BCP, follicle sized at 4.8 mm and E2 equaled 0. I was okayed to proceed with Lupron injection. In the end of the Lupron, I was told to put on one E2 patches (0.1 mg). However, at next check up, the follicle grew to 4.2 mm and E2 rose to 90. The nurse did not find anything abnormal although the E2 level looked a bit high. She then wanted me to stay on Lupron for another week in the mean time of continuing the E2 patches of 0.3 mg. 7 days later, however, two follicles of 14 mm and 9.2 mm were found by sonogram and the E2 rose further to 124. "We have to abort this cycle." I was told once again.

Until today I could not understand why I had to abort that cycle. In my humble opinion, they could have done the ET to match with my natural cycle!

This second cycle's fate was "cancellation due to dominant egg". Nobody knew what went wrong. Later I discovered that could be due to the fact that the that I used was diluted leftover Lupron from the mini-dose flare cycle!

Regardless, my second cycle was aborted and my uterus was still empty. Two ivf cycles later, none of our 19 embryos was transferred back to where they should be. I was once again instructed not to have any sex until further notice and stop all the meds to wait for the egg to go away with my next period.

I became a bit of anxious now: what if the liquid nitrogen tank had electricity failure. What if the liquid nitrogen was not filled properly. What if they accidentally thawed my embryos to transfer into another woman? What if the clinic was on fire... One cycle (two months) delay sounds like nothing to most people, but to a 43 going on 44 years old woman, this wait was like infinity.

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