19 July 2007

(in)fertility, part 2

My first visit to Cornell was right before Christmas 2002. We discussed the previous treatments, and how things would be handled by this clinic. The doctor was encouraging, and suggested three things that would be done differently. First, a laparoscopy to check on things, and to see if there was in fact endometriosis. Second, baby aspirin throughout the cycle, as a "can't hurt, might help" gesture. And third, co-culture for the embryos - that is, they would be grown in a medium that included cells from my endometrium, thought to be a more hospitable environment than an ordinary petri-dish for certain IVF patients with cycle failures in the past.

We got started in January 2003. They took many many vials of blood for the co-culture. I had an endometrial biopsy, also for the co-culture. I had the laparoscopy - in which they found Stage II endometriosis and cleaned it out. I began birth control bills at the end of January, began micro-dose Lupron in late February, and gonadotropins a couple of days later. I started with 4 units of Follistim and 2 of Repronex, and decreased to 1 Follistim/2 Repronex by the end of stims. I stimmed for only seven days, and triggered with a half dose (5000 units instead of the usual 10,000). We got 12 eggs, and ten of the 12 fertilized. And by the day 3 transfer, all ten were still around. We transferred five embryos, ranging from 6 to 10 cells each. Remember, I was 42 at the time, hence the transfer of so many embryos!

The beta, at 11dp3dt, was 113. It was high enough that I was told to come back in a WEEK, not the standard two days. A nail-biting week later it was 882. Six days after that (at 5w6d pregnant), the beta was 3813, and an ultrasound showed one properly located sac. At 7w2d, we saw the heartbeat on ultrasound, and we were released from Cornell to an obstetrician.

The product of that IVF is now a curly blond girl of three and a half. The geek in me likes looking at the CDC reports for 2003 and knowing that she's the result of one of the 354 cycles, at Cornell, of women of my age, that used fresh eggs.

If you missed part 1, it's here.

11 comments:

slouching mom said...

Ahh, I love stories with happy endings.

Aurelia said...

The part I like the most about this? That you were properly treated and diagnosed. I'm beginning to feel heartsick about all the women I know who spend years and years trying to get pregnant and stay pregnant who never ever get diagnosed properly in the first place.

And usually the diagnosis isn't hard, nor is the treatment.

So now you have me curious? What happened to the leftover embryos?

Magpie said...

The leftover embryos were not of good enough quality to freeze, so they went off to the research lab.

niobe said...

What a wonderful story.

mayberry said...

Now you're all ready when Miss M. asks how babies are made. Just hand her these two posts!

Seriously though: I'm glad it worked. Happy ending.

painted maypole said...

Amazing what they can do, isn't it? and the miracle of that little girl... congrats.

furrow said...

Thanks for sharing your story. I'm so glad it worked out in the end. Five embryos? Yikes. Miss M is your little achiever.

S. said...

Hey, me too on who those stats remind me of: I saw the article on donor eggs in the Times mag and the stats on non-donor eggs made me think of you and Miss M!

NotSoSage said...

Heheh. I like mayberry's comment.

It reminds me of a motivational speaker who came to our school once and declared that we were all winners because the sperm that fertilized us won the race. Miss M stuck it out (no pun intended), so she's a winner, too.

BipolarLawyerCook said...

Fresh eggs are the best. : )

Julie Pippert said...

I think it is awesome you are sharing all of this.

I think it is even more awesome that you have the pitter patter of little feet as a result.