Friday, March 4, 2011

The IVF Experience: Through Trigger

Here's where I start to give you the details about what this IVF cycle entails. At the moment, I'm frankly a little buzzed on a prescription painkiller my RE gave me after egg retrieval, so please, bear with me!

The first part of preparing for IVF is down-regulating. Particularly with PCOS, the woman's hormones need to be under control prior to starting stimulation. To accomplish this, Dr. Analytical had me go on birth control pills (BCPs) in December. On a Wednesday in mid-February, I started daily injections of Lupron, which does a lot of things, but mostly suppresses estrogen production. Thus, side effects are like a mini-menopause: hot flashes, fatigue, headaches, etcetera. At the same time as the Lupron, I started taking Dexamethasone, to help suppress my immune system. The next Monday, I stopped BCPs, and Aunt Flo officially began my cycle that Wednesday.

I had to get my estrogen level tested the next day to make sure that I was properly suppressed, which I was, with estradiol at 25. So I was on course to start stim injections the following week, which included Follistim and Luveris.

You might be noticing that there are a lot of injections involved. Most women either do these themselves, or have their husband or partner do them. However, the Wacky Wicketeer has a tendency to faint at the sight of needles, and while he nonetheless offered to try, I decided that I did not want a passed-out husband on my hands while going through this. The idea of doing them myself totally stressed me out, but I'm fortunate enough to have a Stepmom that is a nurse! So, she was kind enough to arrange twice-daily injections with me.

After a week of stims, I had my monitoring appointment, which included an ultrasound and another estradiol test. My estradiol was 3500, my uterine lining was 9.5, and I had 21 follicles ranging from 12 to 21 mm, with most of them in the 15 to 18 mm range. Dr. Analytical said I responded perfectly to the stims, that it looked great, and we should stop stims, trigger, and schedule egg retrieval for Wednesday - 2 days ahead of schedule!
So we did.

We had to administer the trigger injection - Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG), a.k.a. the pregnancy hormone - at 1:45 in the morning! So, Stepmom stayed overnight, and we got up in the middle of the night to get it done.

Next up, the scary part: Egg Retrieval!


  1. Thank you so much for detailing this. It is very interesting to read about the process of IVF. It also continues to impress me of how wonderfully strong you are.

  2. It is fascinating. And a little sci-fi. ;) I always wonder, when I hear about procedures like this, who came up with the protocol? How long did it take them to figure out which combination will work?

    Let me know if you need anything, as this process unfolds.

  3. Aww, thanks you guys! And yes, it is a little sci-fi, Jen. Keep reading and it will get even more so!