Why this blog came to existance?

So, how did we get here? Why am I blogging this? 

I thought that now that our family is expanding by 3, and many people are interested in reading how the “making” of triplets happen, I might as well get my act together and put together and official blog.

 

Have I always blogged? Yup…. Was it public? Nope. … Why not? … It was about a struggle that I’ll try to sum up for you here:

 

You see we had Bradley, our first son 3 1/2 years ago – he was easy to conceive in fact, we can even remember the night – mattress on the floor, brand new house, fairly new couple, tons of sparks in the air – and a baby in creation. It was fantastic. I’ve always wanted my children close together so we decided to start trying when Bradley was about 6 months….nothing worked…this went on for about 8-10 months before I said – Ok Keith we need help… I always sort of “knew” something was wrong but I never thought it would have been this hard.

 

After many many months of testing we found that Keith had an extremely low sperm count, despite having a normal seminal volume. The fact that we were able to conceive Bradley was announced – a sheer miracle – and so to this day he is my miracle baby. We were told we’d need to do IVF in order to conceive….

 

What is IVF?…

 

I became an insane research junkie on the subject and probably know just about IVF as any reproductive endocrinologist (RE) – who are the DRs who work with IVF patients. …

Each woman is born with millions of eggs in her ovaries, which are contained in little wee follicles. Each month several eggs get recruited, a woman body produces a hormone called follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) which matures the leading follicle in a given ovarie. The other eggs which are recruited die off and that 1 egg continues to grow until their is a surge is lutinizing hormone(LH) and the egg is released to be fertilized. Because a women goes through so many eggs per month this is how a women used up the millions of eggs that she had from birth and goes into menopause one day – with no eggs left in the ovary.

 

 

FIRST ROAD BLOCK:….I have premature ovarian aging syndrome – Your guess is as good as mine as to what causes it – but it simply means that an average 24-27 year old will have about 20-30 eggs recruited each month with one maturing – You’re able to tell how many follicles you have recruited each month by an antral follicle count scan – something I think everyone “putting off children” should do. Anyways during my antral follicle count scan we notice I only recruit about 11 eggs per month – not the 20-30 they were hoping for.

 

 

In order to do IVF the key to the whole process is getting eggs so that they can be fertilized and put back into the female in hopes of pregnancy. To do this – they use a synthetic form of FSH ( follicle stimulating hormone) to add to the hormone your own body produces, so that when your body “recruits” the eggs for the given month you will not just develop 1 leading follicle but hopefully the FSH will “feed” the other eggs so that they wont just die off they will grow and can be surgically taken out in hopes of fertilization.

 

 

SECOND ROAD BLOCK: I don’t respond to IVF drugs. GREAT…..(I’ll get into this more when I describe what happened during my cycles)….

 

 

So in order to get the eggs to grow you are given a variety of drugs mostly containing FSH to grow the eggs – you also take another medication to make sure you dont naturally ovulate your eggs – once the eggs have reached the desired size you are given a drug to help release the eggs – an egg retrieval is scheduled for 36 hours after this (very time sensitive) where they use a vaginal probe and needle, and insert the needle through the vaginal wall into your ovaries and aspirate the eggs outs.

The eggs are then fertilized in a lab with sperm and are left in incubators to grow. The norm used to be to culture the eggs for 3 days and then transfer them back into the women via a cathater inserted into her uterus. Some clinics now culture to day 5 and then transfer saying that at day 5 you have a better chance of tell which egg is more likely to implant. I’ve had experiences with both day 3 and day 5 transfer – I prefer day three…

Once the eggs have been transfered to the women you rest. And you wait.. and you wait… and you wait, you wait which seems like the longest wait in your life. You have to wait an entire 2 weeks before finding out if it worked or not….This is done by a blood test which measure your blood HCG. Anything over 100 is acceptable.

So what does a day in IVF look like?

Most women “stimulate” ( get FSH) for about 9-12 days. These days are very intense and you are monitored very carefully. On a daily basis you inject yourself with anywhere from 2-5 needles usually in the stomach, you get a TON of practice playing Dr – and not in the fun way. Every other day you go into your clinic where they use a vaginal ultrasound probe to look inside your ovaries – by looking at your ovaries they can measure how big the follicle are ( which contain the egg) they measure the follicles every day. A follicle start off around 5mm and it mature when it reached around 18-22mms. Egg retrieval wont be done until most of the eggs are mature. In addition to this you give a blood sample each visit, your blood will confirm your estrogen levels, as an egg matures it should produce estrogne – so they double check follicle size with estronge levels. This cycle of monitoring goes on for anywhere from 9-12 maybe even 14 days in some cases….

So what did my cycles look like….

My first cycle…we though IVF was a joke, a walk in the park, a few needles and sha-bam Im pregnant – we made plans we were excited we were having a baby. My RE was very conservative in the amount of drugs he gave me and gave us an outstanding pregnancy rate – I was young,  We had a child naturally before – this was easy work… Here comes first road block. We went through with the treatment, I had several follicles growing went in to have my eggs retrieved and we had ONE egg. One egg spells disaster – remember up in this blog when I said we were hoping for 20-30 eggs.. we had ONE…The one egg did fertilize and it did get transfered but after that long 2 week wait – we were faced with MAJOR disappointment – my period. $15,000 gone down the toilet. …..

What went wrong??  Well road block 1 was discovered – I dont respond well to drugs. Although I had 8 follicles growing I wasn’t given enough FSH to keep the others alive – so while the follicle still grew the eggs inside the follicle died off… Disaster.

If  you know me, you know I can’t wait – and although there is a strict policy that patients should not do “back to back cycles”…meaning you should give your body a chance to rest after your just beat the crap out of it lol – I refused to take that break and I INSISTED as a paying customer of the clinic that I wanted to do back to back cycles – somehow I got my RE  to agree…  ( Im sure it involved tears)…:P

My Second Cycle… The normal dose of FSH given was around 100-150ius, they decided to give me the strongest dosage they could 400 ius in addition to 75 of another form of drug, This cycle was blockbuster in terms of eggs retrieved for me we retrieved 8 eggs and decided to go for a a day 5 transfer, things were looking hopeful we transferred 2 great eggs ( which is the norm for transfer)…but of course at the end of those dreaded two weeks – another $20,000 down the drain…

What Went Wrong? Your guess is likely as good as mine – although I have a suspicion… You see before you can start this FSH they make you take birth control ( sounds a little counter productive eh?) the idea behind that is that it regulates your hormones before they go through a loop with all the drugs you’ll be injecting – what happened to me though was that my body didn’t like the BCP and I bleed for wayyyy longer than I should have, meaning my uterus lining was at a mere 7mm when they like to see a good one around 7-12mm so the chances that those embryos didn’t get to implant because my lining was just junk – was high. And well theres a 20K lesson learned – I dont respond well to birth control.

So what now? … 2 cycles down the drain, still desperate to get pregnant we had a consultation with our RE. By this point I was a total information junkie I flat out told my RE I understand you’re a RE but I know my body and I want to try a cycle my way. I inisited a few things like no birth control, starting the FSH earlier and adding a drug known as dexamethasone which helps with egg quality. My chart was written up and it was completely the way I wanted – I knew it was going to work.

My Third Cycle…The cycle started off as crap. I wanted to cancel the cycle. I only had about 4 follicle growing (remember that 20-30 I’d wished for ) but my RE encouraged me to continue – so I did. When it came time for the harvest of the eggs I had about 7 follicles growing so we went ahead. We ended up retrieving 5 eggs in total ( shameful really) of the 5 eggs 1 of the eggs wasn’t mature enough ( remember thatn 18-22mms ) it was too small so we only had 4 eggs left… of the 4 eggs only 3 fertilized nicely so we were back to a CRAP cycle with only 3 eggs to work with – on the transfering of the egg day there was a loooonggg debate between both Keith and myself ( who didn’t want multiples) and the REs on wether to only transfer 2 eggs and just “ditch” the other one – or transfer all three – after much chatting it was determined that each egg only had an 18% chance of implanting and that the likelhood of triplets was LESS THAN 10% So we thought alright – lets do three…

Two weeks went by – and I was pregnant 🙂

WITH TRIPLETS!!!!!!!…..Nobody was really alarmed in the first few weeks because most triplet pregnancies dont make it – the human body simply cannot “feed” all three of these babies and one of them naturally vanishes and is absorbed by the other 2 twins ( sounds gross I know)… but our three little fighters decided to all hang around – and here I am now 18 weeks preggo with triplets and I’ve decided to blog our journey to share with you – it sure will be unique, and it will have ups and downs – so strap on your seat belts!!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: