My IVF Story- What to expect IVF Egg Retrieval

It's been a roller coaster ride the past few months, and I'm ready to share my story.
Our 1 Year Anniversay Weekend

The morning of our 1st IVF Retrieval 10/2015
I had my first RE appointment on July 14th with Dr.Kaplan at Fertility Centers of Illinois, River North. A bunch of tests were started as soon as my cycle started. It was determined that I could try an IUI, although the odds of pregnancy were about 5% or I could go straight to IVF which the doctor recommended and have a 70% chance! I didn't want to waste anymore time, and given that he said we had about a 1% chance each month of conceiving- I didn't want to put it off much longer.

We weren't ready to go straight for it, and the saline ultrasound showed a little something, so I had a hysteroscopy in September. All was clear, and my doctor found nothing that should be holding us up!

The plan then was to start IVF in October. I felt so confident, excited and ready to go. I had been eating a fertility diet since July, hoping to have nice, strong eggs. When we went in for our first IVF consultation in September, right away the nurse said that my AMH levels were very high, possibly indicating "lean PCOS," but definitely making me at high risk for (OHSS) Hyper-stimulation Syndrome. Basically, they knew that I would react strongly and quickly to simulation and would closely monitor me. This also meant that we couldn't do a fresh transfer and would have to wait for a frozen transfer. If we had done an IUI, it most likely would have been cancelled or transferred into IVF because I would produce too many follicles. 

I was devastated at first, but they presented us with the opportunity to do a study with our doctor ( Dr. Kaplan in Chicago) where we could get our embryos PGS tested! The ONLY catch, was that there were be 2 study groups. One group would have ALL embryos tested, the other group would have all but 1 tested, and that embryo put back in. We decided to go with it because my husband wanted the testing done, but since I hadn't been pregnant before or miscarried- I wasn't ready to spend some $6,000 for it. The deal was that we wouldn't know which study group we were in until after the transfer and pregnancy test.

Our stimming shots started on October 11th. My husband and I were laughing at how crazy it was for us to be administering such important medication! In my case, I was only on the Menopur ( which you have to mix) for a few days. After that, I was down to 2 shots a day.
During this time I also went in every single day for bloodwork and monitoring, and took mornings off from work so that I could stay relaxed.

All in all, as crazy as it was- it wasn't nearly as bad as I expected! 

If you are worried about needles and the pain- don't be! You will get used to it, and if you ice it- you hardly feel it. I was lucky and didn't have many symptoms. I really wasn't too moody ( even my husband will vouch for that), and I didn't experience headaches. I slept really well too, and that's rare for me.

I felt happy, and so incredibly hopeful during this time. I loved going in everyday to see my follicles grow!

Day 4: 6 follicles
Day 5: 13 follicles- Stopped Menopur. 150 iu Follistim. Ganirelix daily (prevents ovulation)
Day 6: 26 follicles: 75 iu Follistim  ( they were worried that I was stimulating too quickly)
Day 7: 28 follicles, estrogen 1859- Meds the same
Day 8: 28 follicles, estrogen 2499- Follistim 50
Day 9: 28 follicles, estrogen 3800- Follistim 25
Day 10: 28 follicles, estrogten 4700- Follistim none.

September 25th
It's a little surreal that I am going to my first appointment officially in my IvF cycle. One toast that I love about this and place is that it's along the Chicago River. How peaceful is that?
Sitting here, and working… Just like all of the other women here. It's a good day though, it didn't take too long to get in!

September 27th


I must say that when I am having a downer day, once I get over my bad mood- I always feel gratitude. The reason I feel so much gratitude is that our insurance covers most of our bills. I also live in Illinois which has mandated fertility coverage. I constantly remind myself, and can't imagine what the added stress how it would feel to not be able to afford this.
This number, $24,093.03, is how much my insurance has already been billed. This is just for testing and procedures- not including any meds or fertility procedures. Can you believe it? 
Now when a patient is self pay, I believe they so charge less for some of the testing. But this is a reality check for me being thankful for my insurance. With That being said though, we've still paid almost $6,000 this year to meet our deductible and to pay for my genetic screening test. This also doesn't include over $3,000 in accupunture from my fertility accupunturist and hundreds in vitamins, herbs and ovulation tests.
So please, have patience with anyone struggling to get pregnant. There are stressors all around us.

September 27th
Tomorrow is our meeting in Highland Park with our IVF nurse. Prior to going, there's an elearning IvF video to watch.

September 28th

IVF consult today in Highland Park.

When we first walked in, the lady at the desk was as rude as all get up. But our nurse, Ilene, was as pleasant as can be.
She let me know that my AMH is 7.6, which is very high. I also have a very high follicle count of 37. So she said to expect only retrieval this cycle, and that we would have to do a Frozen cycle (FET) in December. It was a little disappointing, but in some ways takes pressure off because I now just have to focus on getting good eggs.
We also qualified for a study where we can get all of our eggs PGS tested.

October 5th
IVF meds on their way! I am trying my absolute very best to stay positive and to be excited. Just paid $550.83 for our meds. I asked him what the total sent to insurance was, and he didn't know the total but said that the most expensive Drug on the list was $7000! Yikes- so grateful for good insurance.
Today is my last day of the birth control pill. I am feeling my follicles still! I can't imagine what they will feel like when they start maturing.
Breath deep and stay positive- mantra for today.

October 7th
Meds arrived!
Wow. The meds came. I waited all morning for them to come, as a signature is required. My honey came home during lunch to wait while I went to acupuncture.
As I walked back to our door with the box, I felt overwhelmed. The thoughts running through my head were, “ this box contains the meds that will finally bring me to motherhood.” I walked in the door with tears in my eyes and just cried. Not a sad, depressed type of cry. But more like, this is it. This is going to get me my baby in my arms. 
I don't think that I'll ever forget that feeling walking with that box. It was a surreal moments that only those who have done IVF can process. I wasn't expecting to feel that way at all.
I was reminded today of a picture of a friend's sweet babies who came after 4 rounds of IvF. Although this road is tough, the end outcome is worth every sacrifice.

October 9th
First day of monitoring at FCI for my IVF cycle. My honey came with me for support, so I had him snap a picture. I had no idea that he was planning to join until I was walking out the door. He will be out of town and busy with meeting next week, so I think he's feeling guilty that I'll be on my own during the first week.
The nurse said 35 follicles, but will get the official call this afternoon. Hoping for no surprises and that I can start meds tomorrow. Positive thoughts!
October 10th
We did our first Menopur IVF injection. We woke up at 5:30 because we are taking our boat out of the water today. We also stayed at our new house that we are remodeling and I forgot our green tea!
We watched the Menopur injection video on the FCI site. It ended up not being nearly as bad as we thought. Kevin pinched a spot and inserted the needle while I looked away.
October 12th

Cute socks. Sweet gifts.

My sister sent my a big pack of cute patterned socks. I can't wait to wear all of them, and it's little gifts like this that really mean a lot when going through infertility.
Keeping your feet warm during IVF is very important!  It keeps blood flowing and to grow healthy follicles and support implantation.

October 13th

First scan and bloodwork while stimming.

There are a lot of couples in here that look like it's there first time. I've been thinking a lot about how I'm going to use this experience to help others. I can't imagine going through all of this and not use it as a positive experience- especially when we have the rainbow after the storm.
Last night, I started coloring with this animal postcard coloring set. My mom said that my grandma loved to color and when I opened the box the first animal was a Blue Jay. Blue jays were my grandma's favorite bird. I always see them when I'm going through a troubling time, or just need some insight. Yesterday I had been thinking a lot about how I am going to use my experience to reach others- so I knew that this was a sign to keep working on that plan.

October 14th

13 mature follicles!

It's day 5 of stimming and I have 13 follicles that are mature. I hope it's a good thing. They'll call this afternoon to let me know if there are any med changes.
I started Ganorelix last night and this morning- I believe it's to prevent the mature eggs from releasing on their own.
Later this afternoon they called and said that my follicles were growing too fast, so I stop my Menopur tomorrow, and lower my Follostim to 75 iu ( instead of 150)

October 15th

We are a club

I had my first fertility yoga last night at Pulling Down the Moon. I sadly missed the first two classes, and was very impressed with the class.
Patricia, the instructor shared here story, and every week we share our stories as well has struggled for that week. I learned how to better control my breathing and have been using this practice at home and when walking.
After the class, there was a woman who was on the same IVF cycle as me with Dr.Kaplan. We ended up talking for over a half hour after the class. She had a lot going on in her life and I could tell that she just really felt like sharing her story and experiences. 
I can tell you that this whole infertility experience, as heart breaking as it is, has also taught me so much. I am learning to be vulnerable to others, knowing that I feel better and so do they. When struggling like this we need a support group. It's a sensitive subject, and not everyone wants to share. However if they do open up, we always have an instant, heartfelt connection.
I've met a lady while working at a school who had a 2 successful IVF's at FCI River North. I've met a couple of teachers while sitting in the waiting room.
I ran into one my husband's old roommates wife on my very first appoj
 My accupunturist Kelly from Harmony Health has in someways become my infertility therapist and I don't know what I would do without her! I've trusted her advice and opinion every step of the way and truly believe that this will work. And if it doesn't- I know that she will be there along the way until I succeed.
A friend of my husbands who has been through this Journey herself has also been my coach in someways and I am so grateful for her support. She checks in with me everyday and cheers me on.
I am emotional just typing this because although I wish I could get pregnant naturally the way I always imagined- but I am so grateful for all of these relationships.
As a praise for today, I found out last night that a dear friend who experienced a loss at 39 weeks is expecting again. My heart is overjoyed for her as I've been praying for her and thinking about her everyday.
Ladies, we aren't alone in this Journey.

October 19th
Follies still growing along. Estrogen levels dropped a bit which means I can take another dose of 50 IU Follistim dose tomorrow.
October 20th
31 mature follicles, e2 levels around 3800. The nurse said 99% sure that I will trigger tomorrow and do retrieval on Friday.
Lining 11.5
I thought for sure that I was going to trigger tonight!
October 21st

Ran out of Ganorelix RX.

I'm an idiot and ran low on one of my prescriptions. I'm waiting patiently for hopefully my last day of ultrasound and bloodwork. Fed ex is supposed to deliver by 10:30( about 2 hours away). I'm sure that they will deliver on time.. But just in case there's a mistake- I'm freaking out!
Literally waiting at the gate of my townhouse waiting for it to arrive. Ladies- refill early and often!
29 follicles- lining 12.7 mm
October 22nd
Got the go ahead that we are triggering tonight! Retrieval tomorrow at 7 am!
October 23rd
Egg Retrieval

28 eggs retrieved!

We had our egg retrieval today! It really wasn't too bad. Now that I am home I am sore and tight and just taking it easy.
I was instructed to eat salty foods and lots of electrolytes or coconut water.
We will know how many are fertilized tomorrow.
October 24th
Day 1 post ER
Ilene called and 17 of our eggs were mature, and 15 of those fertilized which is a great number. We are very excited and hope for continuous positive news!

I don't really feel too bad today, just a little sore.
I start Progesterone today and will be notified when to start Lupron to prepare for my frozen cycle.

Day 2

Still feeling sore and sluggish, but not in anymore pain. Excited to get my day 3 update tomorrow.

Day 3

Well I waited on pins and needles all day for a call- but I guess they forgot about me. Went to acupuncture and she's trying to drain the fluid out of me so that I can start feeling better. It was really hard to sleep last night. I can't describe what the bloating feels like. It is just so uncomfortable.

Day 4

After getting the round about-I finally got my Day 3 number,14! I guess they don't normally call on day 3- I must have misunderstood. I'll get my Day 5 Number tomorrow.

Day 5 post ER

I am still feeling very bloated.. In someways it has gotten worse. I gave in and bought potato chips and macaroni and cheese today. I actually did feel better for a while!
Got a call today that they are monitoring 9 embryos. They are at early blastocyst which means they are going to let them grow one more day before freezing and testing.
I am very anxious with this news. She said that it is normal for them not to be at a blastocyst by day 5, but it's not great. So I am so worried that they won't make it to day 6 and I'd be absolutely devastated.
Going to acupuncture and trying my best to be positive and to envision my baby.

Day 5+
Bloating took abo

We ended up with 6 frozen Day 5 embryos!