If you recall, we had a failed IVF cycle at the beginning of this year. During this cycle, we had zero remaining embryos to freeze so this means we have to start the entire process over. This is disheartening but I try to remain hopeful. As I have stated before, during our “WTF appointment”, as I like to call it, there were a few things my RE (Reproductive Endocrinologist) stated could have been the cause of our failed cycle and what we will try to do differently this time around.
The first reason of my failed cycle our RE stated could be because of my egg quality. With my history of Stage IV Endometriosis and PCOS, my egg quality alone is less than desirable. Although, this might not be the entire cause, I’m sure it played a large role.
The second source we believe played a part in our failed cycle may be because of a drug which was used by a previous OB/GYN to put my Endometriosis symptoms “at bay”. This medicine, Lupron Depot (leuprolide acetate), is given in large doses through injection and essentially shuts down your system as a hormone suppressant, basically not giving Endometriosis anything to “feed off of”. I received 2, 3-month lasting doses in September 2015 sending my reproductive system into hibernation. During these long 6 months, I experienced pre-menopausal symptoms and other extreme symptoms which led to multiple hospital stays.
Apparently, my “bear” didn’t want to be sent into hibernation and instead wanted to put up a fight. In fact, my RE believes that maybe my “bear” finally decided to succumb to hibernation and then decided it didn’t want to wake up. She felt there may have been medication left in my system and it hindered my ability to achieve maximum results with IVF. Ironically, leuprolide acetate is a medication used in certain IVF protocols, including the protocol we used this last time. In these instances, it is given in very small doses to suppress the system temporarily to prevent early ovulation. With the combination of my previous lengthy treatment and what we were using for IVF, overall it could have made my body feel like the bear was headed back to the den for another long winter.
We made the decision to take a break from treatments for 6 months. One reason being my bonus-daughter, K, will be with us throughout the summer and she isn’t aware of what we are doing or about my infertility. We don’t want to get her hopes up. We also wanted to give my body a break from treatments as well as an emotional break. The plan is dependent on my cycle but looking like the end of August, first week of September will be the start of our next IVF cycle.
Today marks an important day. We are approximately 90 days out from the start of our next IVF Cycle. This 90-day marker is very important because during this time is when
you can have an impact on the health of your eggs. In other words, how I eat, exercise, take vitamins and even stress, could inevitably play a large factor in our success come September. The last two months, I fell back into a slump of unhealthy nutrition and not exercising. Add a new job which is 98% sitting for 8 hours each day, I haven’t been doing myself any favors.
Starting today, June 1st, I will be eliminating all sodas from my diet. Anyone who knows me knows how hard this will be. I’m anticipating caffeine withdrawal to kick in soon. I also am going to limit fast food intake and try to start eliminating sugary foods as well. I am also going to make it a goal to do at minimum 30 minutes of cardio five days a week. This is in addition to swimming and yoga that I plan on doing as well.
I asked my RE of any suggestions of supplements or vitamins aside from the Prenatal I’ve been taking which will add probability of IVF success. She suggested a supplement called Pregnitude. I couldn’t help but laugh at the name but after reading about it, there are many people who have had good experiences taking it. This is an odorless, tasteless powder you mix in an 8oz. glass of water twice a day. It is packed with folic acid and myo-inositol. Overall, it is supposed to help with egg quality and has been known to increase the number of eggs retrieved during an IVF cycle. It is best if taken for 90 days. I just drank my first glass this morning and it is, in fact, odorless and tasteless. Only 179 more glasses to go!
Finally, when it comes time for our cycle, we are possibly going to be trying a different protocol known as an “Antagonist Protocol”. Essentially, this protocol involves no suppression so no Lupron would be in my system. It also follows along with my natural cycle instead of having to throw my body for a loop. This protocol is also quite a bit shorter than the 6 week process we did earlier this year at only 2-3 weeks.
I have also stopped taking my Metformin, the medicine used to control PCOS. It may sound counteractive as Metformin has been proven to increase egg quality. However, my RE stated at this point we are more concerned about quantity of eggs. You can generally expect 1/3 of eggs retrieved to be of usable quality. For me, out of 18 follicles we retrieved 14 eggs, of which only 6 were mature, 5 of those fertilized and only 2 barely made it to day 5 for implantation. According to my RE, the higher number of eggs we retrieve the higher chance we will have some left over to freeze in case this next fresh cycle doesn’t work. Those with PCOS typically produce large numbers of follicles (I read about a fellow PCOS-er who had 54!) and thus having more eggs at retrieval. I’m a little nervous knowing how bloated I felt with only 18 follicles but I’m ultimately hoping for more embies this time around!
Overall, that’s where we are at! I’ve got 90 days to get my butt into gear! I plan to post updates along the way. Thanks to everyone who have been so supportive of us and our journey. I’m so grateful for each of you.
Until next time,