I had my 1st monitoring appointment for this cycle, since I began the stimulation meds on Saturday, this morning. The ultrasound tech saw 7 follicles that were under 10mm. In which case, she doesn’t report measurements for each follicle, only if there were any over 9-10mm. There will most likely be some measurable follicles when I go back on Wednesday morning, as today I was only on day 3 of stimming.
On my first day of monitoring during my 1st IVF cycle (which was on day 4 of stimming), the tech found 11 follicles (3 – 10mm, 2 – 9mm and 6 less than 9mm) and last cycle my first day of monitoring (which was on day 3 of stimming), the tech found 12 follicles less than 10mm. The 1st IVF cycle I started on 225 IUs of Follistim, last cycle I started with 375 IUs, plus 75 IUs of Repronex and this cycle I am on 300 IUs of Follistim, plus 150 IUs of Repronex. I continue to find the comparison of this cycle to the two previous ones interesting, though I realize it may not mean that much at this point.
I am slightly concerned that the tech only saw 7 follicles under 10mm, versus the 11 follicles and 12 follicles she saw on day 1 of monitoring for my first two cycles. That said, I was a day further along with stimming during my 1st IVF cycle and last cycle I was on a higher dose of Follistim, both factors could have contributed to the higher number of follicles the tech saw those cycles. This time around our RE lowered the does of Follistim in an effort to get higher quality eggs, even if it means I might get less eggs and/or stim a day or two longer this cycle. He believes (from the research he has reviewed) that higher does of Follistim can lead to lower quality eggs, so even if we don’t get as many eggs as we did during our first 1st cycle, hopefully the ones we do get might be better quality overall. Also, I am on a higher dose of Repronex this cycle, so who knows what may or may not effect the number the tech saw today. I even wonder if there were any follicles there today, that she might have missed when she counted. Also, the previous two cycles I did not begin stimming until day 3 and day 2 of my period respectively. However, with this antagonist protocol I began stimming on Saturday morning and my period did not start until that evening. So I am still very much in the midst of my menstrual cycle and think it could also be a factor in the development of my follicles, the fact that my uterine lining is still in the process of shedding to prepare to regenerate. Lastly, the previous two cycles I was also doing daily Lupron 10 unit injections for 7 days and 13 days respectively prior to starting stimming and this cycle I haven’t done any suppresion injections yet. Time will tell if the number of follicles she saw today in indicative of how this cycle may turn out.
I didn’t get a number for my endometrium (the thickness of my uterine lining), the nurse just said it was small (which is normal at this point in the cycle) and the tech said it didn’t seem to have gotten going yet, but she didn’t seem concerned. Again, with still having my period now, that may or may not effect the measurement, or lack there, of my uterine lining today. Last cycle at this point it was 4. I didn’t push for information today when I met with the nurse before I left the office, for one thing I had Sean with me, so I didn’t get a lot of the details I did at my first monitoring appointment last cycle (such as blood work results from my last appointment), but I am okay with not knowing today. I can always ask more questions on Wednesday or Friday.
As far as side effects, this far, I haven’t really noticed any. I probably have been too distracted by the rash I have all over my body (that I mentioned in my post last Tuesday). I did go to my PCP’s office and was seen last Wednesday by one of his nurse practitioners. We weren’t able to determine the cause at the time, but she had me start taking Benadryl at night and that did seem to help the rash start to clear up from my face, neck and forearms (the three main places I had it then). Well, yesterday morning I woke up to find that the rash was now also on my legs, back, chest and more on my forearms, face and neck! ARGH!!! 🙁 I was totally at a loss for how it could have gotten there and very frustrated, not to mention itchy!
It was our last morning of our vacation with Bob’s parents in Tennessee and we were packing up our things at the hotel we were staying at and preparing for our road trip home. As I was gathering our toiletries, I came across a bottle of insect repellent, that I had used the day before (Saturday), when we were outside at our family reunion, and a light bulb went on in my head! I remembered that I had used it the previous Sunday afternoon (when we were hanging out in my sister’s backyard) and surely I had used last year in August when I came down with a similar rash when we were in Michigan. I have two different kinds of bug spray that I own and switch back and forth between the two. This particular kind seemed to me to be a “higher strength” one when I bought it, so I only have used it a few times, on days when I really thought I needed a greater degree of protection. The great irony to me is that I used the insect repellent to try to avoid getting mosquito bites that would be itchy and instead got a rash all over my body that is ten times more itchy than a few mosquito bites would be! That said, I do feel a sense of relief to have a good idea of what may have caused it and to avoid using it in the future. I did put a call into the nurse practitioner to follow up and let her know my theory and she if she has any helpful input. I also “Googled” the brand (Cutter Advanced) and the active ingredient (Picaridin) to see if I could find any indications that rashes may form in some instances or other people who may have had similar reactions from using it, but didn’t find much about either.
We did have a wonderful road trip vacation with Bob’s parents to Dollywood amusement park in Pigeon Forge, TN and to the family reunion (on Bob’s mom’s side of the family) at a beautiful lake front home in Loudon, TN! Bob, Sean and I spent a lot of quality time riding together with Sean’s paternal grandparents in their minivan and sharing hotel rooms with them throughout our long weekend. We ate a lot of yummy food at various restaurants along the way, including great hot breakfasts at Cracker Barrel (love their pancakes) and Bob Evans (very tastey sausage gravy and biscuits)!
We spent the day Friday at Dollywood and had a great time! Sean got to see two lives shows based on two of his favorite things: the book The Little Engine that Could and Veggie Tales! We also saw two other live music performances that we all enjoyed, one being an accapella group who did songs from the 50’s and the other being a group that did a mix of classic and contemporary country music (which Bob’s parents especially liked, being big country music fans)! Sean road on a number of kiddie rides, including 3 times on a Veggie Tales themed mini-roller coaster (once with me, once with Bob and once with his Grandma Jan)! We also all went on a water ride (where six people sit in seats in a round tubular raft) which we all thought was a blast and we all got wet! Sean liked it so much he insisted we go on it two times in a row! He thought it was so funny that there was a sign posted, while we waited in line to go on the ride, that read “Just remember, you will get wet!” He kept saying that phrase over and over and laughing after we told him what it said!
Saturday we also had a fun and relaxing day at the family reunion we went too. It was hosted by one of Bob’s maternal grandfather’s cousins. The reunion has been an annual event in his family for the past twenty years and different families within his mom’s family take turns hosting each year and thus the location varies from year to year, which makes for fun family vacations around the country (since her family is spread out across the midwest and southeast). Bob’s mother’s immediate family is on the smaller side, but this gathering is of the descendants of her father’s mother, his mother’s siblings,’ and their families. My mother-in-law’s paternal grandmother was one of eight children and a good number of their offspring and their offspring’s offspring attend every year. So many of the people are distantly related, but it is always a great time just the same and depending on the location each year and who is hosting, certain people and families show up that don’t tend to come to other locations/when others host. So it is fun for me to meet some of Bob’s extended family that I may not have before or reconnect with those it has been awhile since I have seen. I started attending these annual reunions with Bob when we were dating in 1998 and we have only missed a few (the year we were married, the year Sean was born and the year after that) since. I am really into genealogy and family history, so I love learning more about his family tree, seeing old pictures and hearing the elders share stories and memories each year at the reunion. The women who hosted with her husband this year keeps a scrapbook which she began twenty years ago, when they started the reunions, and every year we all look forward to reviewing the pictures and highlights of each of the past reunions.
In addition to spending time with Bob’s family at the reunion, one of the highlights this year for me was a boat ride that our host took us on. They have a beautiful home on a lake and when you leave their dock for a boat ride you could travel endlessly for miles! Apparently if you went far enough you could hit the Gulf of Mexico and both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans through various outlets! Anyway, our host drove us for awhile around the big lake and it was very relaxing and so cool to see the other awesome homes on the lake and the Smoky Mountains in the distance. The weather was perfect and it was just one of those moments in life when I felt very serene and perfectly happy in the moment, with Bob at my side and Sean sitting on my lap, taking in the beauty of nature and feeling the wind at my face as we road through the water!
One last comment on the reunion, though I certainly could share a lot more fun and interesting things about our day there, was that I found out that one of Bob’s extended family members struggled with primary infertility and was able to have a child through IVF! Such stories always give me hope during this time. Interestingly when her child was about 10 months old they actually conceived again, but this time they were able to conceive on their own and that child is now almost two years old! It always amazes me that some people who need IVF to conceive can then go on to have children with out medical assistance!
We got home last night, after another long, but fun, day long road trip! We are now getting back into the swing of things and I am reminding myself to try not to over program and take it easy as much as I can as we get going with stimming this cycle. My Dr. told me at our follow up appointment after this last cycle, that I can pretty much do what ever I want exercise wise up until the first five days of stimming are over (Wednesday will be day 5), but that from then on he really wants me to err of the side of being a couch potato versus exercising/doing a lot of strenuous activities.
Finally, I ask for you to please continue to pray for my friend and her family who I have shared with you about, who was PUPO and then P and unfortunately, as I found out when I got home last night, miscarried midway through last week while she was on vacation with her family. 🙁 She is sad and disappointed, but seems to be handling it the best she could be and also has been able to find a silver lining in that when she and her husband reviewed their finances, after they got the news, they realized that if their Dr. gives them the green light to try again, they think they will be able to afford it and want to give it another go! 🙂 I will update you if and when there is more to share about my friend and I know she has been and continues to be grateful to have all of your positive thoughts and prayers coming her way.
As always, thank you for your continued support, thoughts and prayers for Bob, Sean and me! I will report back after my 2nd monitoring appointment on Wednesday morning, if not before.