This is my third IVF cycle.
For my first, I opted to do a low-dose cycle. How little I knew then. Since I was leery of all the hormones, and injections, and science behind what I always believed to be such an easy and natural event — getting pregnant — I decided to use as few hormones as possible. My low-dose cycle yielded two eggs, an ovarian cyst removal during my egg retrieval, and no pregnancy.
I did not like the egg retrieval procedure or recovery. I don’t like “going under.” It freaks me out. And my recovery from my first retrieval was awful. I had a ton of discomfort and bloating and straight-up pain. Turns out, those feelings were actually from the cyst removal and not the retrieval itself. But I only discovered that after my second IVF cycle, when I had no discomfort from my retrieval.
For my second, I opted to do a full-dose cycle, because I had no eggs left from my first (low-dose) cycle and I thought, if these cycles continued to be unsuccessful, I did not want to keep having these egg retrievals. The second IVF cycle yielded nine eggs, four of which we froze, three of which weren’t high enough equality to freeze, and two of which we transferred into me. This cycle landed me an OHSS (ovarian hyperstimulated syndrome) diagnosis, which was hell, but it also resulted in a successful twin pregnancy! God, we were so happy to be expecting twins. To have, what we called, an “instafamily.” But I heartbreakingly lost my twins at 17-weeks pregnant when my water broke and they didn’t survive.
So here I am, six weeks later, embarking on my third IVF cycle.
This time, because I have embryos frozen from Cycle 2, I’ll be doing a frozen embryo transfer (FET). The preparation for which is much less involved. No injections. No egg retrieval. Just a few pills I have to swallow each day, a nightly vaginal suppository, a few transvaginal ultrasounds, and then the embryo transfer.
One of the hormones I’m taking is estrogen, 2 mg three times daily. I’m on Day 2, and — whoa. I’m edgy. Not stressed. Not irritable. Not emotional. Just edgy. It’s incredibly difficult to relax.
I’ll continue taking this for the next eight days, at which point I’ll begin the progesterone suppositories. The goal is to thicken my uterine lining, so that it’s ready for implantation of the embryo.
But in the meantime, I have to get through this estrogen overload. When you think of fertility treatments, you often think of the notorious Clomid. So many women claim to turn into crazed nightmares and emotional messes while taking it. You never hear of anyone freaking out about estrogen. Well, I’m hear to tell you that, as a woman who has taken both Clomid and estrogen at different times for her fertility issues, estrogen is way worse!
Sounds nuts, right? I mean, women’s bodies naturally produce estrogen. What could be the problem? I guess my natural levels are enough for my body to handle. At least I only have eight days more.
Now, we just have to pray that IVF Cycle 3 not only results in a successful pregnancy, but that the pregnancy results in a successful birth.
May all this incredible science, all these wild hormone cocktails, and all these outrageous steps be worth it.
Read more of Aela’s writing at Two Moms Make A Right.