(Warning: this is a total science-y, numbers related, and semi-factual IVF post. For those who that bores, know that God is good and that we are going in for our egg retrieval on Monday morning!)
What a last few days it’s been! (For those who are friends with me on Facebook or follow me on Instagram, you know about the last 48 hours!) Let’s back up to Friday’s appointment:
I went in knowing my lining was looking good and I had some nice follicles coming up to a size where they consider them mature. I knew my estradiol levels were low. The main questions going into the appointment was 1) did my follicles mature together and do I have good follicles ready? and 2) if yes, then did my estradiol levels increase enough where we could trigger.
I have shared these basic facts before but for new comers, here is a brief 101:
- We know that not each follicle carries an egg, or even one that has the quality or potential to be created into an embryo. Some follicles have 2 eggs, some have none. But the follicles are what have has the possibility of having an eye in it. Thus, they count the follicles to anticipate how many they should be looking for during the egg retrieval surgery, and how well your body has responded to the medications.
- Follicles can grow 1-2 mm a day. Big follicles tend to absorb the majority of the medication so it’s a fine art to get the smaller ones to grow and the bigger ones to stay the size. Once a follicle grows too big, the egg likely will become over-mature and not viable. (And by fine art, I mean you have no control.)
- When the follicles in the largest group are mature, then I will be injected with what is most commonly known as a “trigger shot”. This is a hormone shot that helps with getting the follicles primed and ready to ovulate and is carefully timed, to the minute, of when it’s administered and when the doctor goes in to retrieve them.
Ok, so Friday: my ultrasound looked really good!! I had 10 follicles that were considered mature and ready for the trigger shot. My lining was good and my nurse prepared me to likely do the trigger shot that evening, should my estradiol levels improve. It had been a couple days so we were banking on the fact that it did. I left the appointment so excited! 10 great follicle sizes with a few others close behind.
The nurse called me that afternoon to let me know that the doctor would not let me trigger that night however, because my estradiol levels were still too low. They need the levels to be at least 1,000 to continue and my levels were at 700. This was so discouraging to hear. The nurse asked us to come back 18 hours later to do more blood work and another ultrasound. She also mentioned the “c” word – cycle cancellation – if the numbers didn’t improve or went down, as that number closely is linked with the eggs quality and quantity. *Stress*
At this point, I was nervous. My numbers at the end of the cycle last time went up 88 points last cycle between days 7 and 8. The prior 48 hours they went up about 200. How in the world was I going to get these levels, which I had NO control over, up over 300 points in 18 hours? And then, without the perfectly sized 10 follicles to over-ripen as they continued to grow their anticipated 1-2 mm a day, knowing the big follicles absorb the most medication? So, I called many of you to prayer.
I was overwhelmed by the immediate outpour of prayer warriors that began to pray. I don’t know why it surprises me, but it still always does – that people would want to pray for us. But the comments, texts, messages, emails, calls POURED in and the amount of people who told us they were literally hitting their knees was incredible. The power of prayer brought us such peace and comfort, as we knew this battle and fight was completely out of our hands.
Saturday morning came and Josh and I made our way into the city, bright and early – 6:20 am. We were anxious to see how my lining was, how those 10 perfect follicles were, and then for the lab results. We were stunned when the tech started calling off follicles sizes to the nurse … my perfectly sized follicles on Friday, the ones that should be growing 1-2 mm a day, stayed perfect! They didn’t absorb the majority of the medication! And the little ones that weren’t even measuring before, grew, I kid you not, like 5-8 mm overnight. She let us know we had a total of 25 perfectly mature follicles waiting. I swear Josh and I were in semi-shock. Last cycle we had 14. This was incredible news to hear. The nurse told us with such a dramatic increase in follicle count, my estradiol levels should have gone up as well – and if they didn’t, well, we knew it wasn’t looking good.
First of all, don’t tell me you are going to call between 12:00 and 12:30 if you aren’t going to call till 12:50. My goodness. But when they finally did call close to 1:00, the nurse was pleased we were approve to do the trigger shot that evening! YAHOOOOO! They let me know my estradiol levels went up to ….. 1,035. Unbelievable. Truly an act of God. When looking at last cycle, having it go up 88 overnight, and about 100 between days before that this cycle, it was a true miracle that it went up over 300 points. (God was showing off a bit and threw in the extra 35 point I think, hehe). So they let us know, to the minute, when to administer the shot (10:30 pm last night) and when to come in for the retrieval (Monday pre-op starts at 9:30 am). Josh administered the shot to me last night, with my sister in tow as Plan B if something came up. (So grateful to both of them! Courtney practiced into an orange in case her moment came. Poor orange.) My tushie will be a little sore today but SO worth it!
The biggest, more sincere, THANK YOU goes to all of you for your prayers and support. The glory goes to HIM, who made this possible. I am humbled by the volume of people who were praying for us – He fully equips us what awaits us on our journey and all of you have been part of that equipment.
1 Chronicles 16: “Thank God! Call out His Name! Tell the whole world who He is and what He’s done! Sing to Him! Play songs for Him! Broadcast all His wonders! Revel in His holy Name, God-seekers, be jubilant! Study God and His strength, seek His presence day and night; Remember all the wonders He performed…”
Join us in thanking God for this miracle and for continuing to pray for the upcoming miracles to be created at the hand of God. The retrieval is only about 24 hours away now – then the embryos are created ONLY by the hand and will of God. I will be recovering for a few days and getting my body ready a (God-willing) embryo transfer on Saturday. I will keep you posted on the retrieval! Thanks again for all the prayers!!