My husband and I have been together for 13 years, were married in 2011 and began TTC shortly after the wedding. I have PCOS and do not ovulate on my own so I knew it would require some professional help. In 2012 we saw an RE for an evaluation, went off birth control and started some testing. Everything checked out fine for both of us, except again, it was definitive that I do not ovulate on my own and would require at a minimum Provera to initiate AF with clomid and/or letrozole. However, due to job changes and my husband returning to school we took the next couple years off, tried naturally with no success. In May 2015, we decided it was time to really get serious about TTC. I was 30, my husband 36 and we went back to the fertility specialist, completed all evaluation testing again, but with some additional tests such as HSG, endometrial biopsy and additional bloodwork, same results. The RE at this point recommended I try to lose 10% of my body weight to increase chances of pregnancy as well as reduce risk for complications, although it was not a requirement. I started in a weight loss program and had surgery in February 2016. After six months of weight loss, approx. 50lbs down, we went back to the RE and were told that "our chances were much better" for an easier time getting pregnant as well as experiencing a healthy pregnancy.
However, since September 2016, easy has definitely not been our journey. We started with two rounds of letrozole at 2.5mg and 5mg with the goal of an IUI during each cycle, however we never got there as my body had no response to letrozole. In fact, the response was so obsolete that the doctor recommended we move onto IVF as she did not believe, we would have any different outcome with an increased dose of letrozole or trying clomid. I also questioned if we could do injectables with IUI, but at a baseline ultrasound, my follicle count was around 40 (because of PCOS), so she felt it would be impossible to control follicle growth with injectable medications and the cycle would most likely be cancelled because of too many mature follicles. She assured us that our highest chance of success would be an antagonist IVF cycle.
After talking it over with my DH, we decided to move forward with IVF in November, hoping for a fresh transfer beginning of December. I was started on Gonal-f, then Menopur added on CD5 and then cetrotide added two days later. I stimmed for 13 days and had around 30 follicles between 13-18mm at time of trigger. 16 eggs were retrieved, 12 mature, 9 fertilized (without ICSI), however I was disappointed when only 2 made it to 5 day blast stage. We went through two consecutive single embryo FETs in January and February of this year, both resulting in BFN.
At this point, I sought a second opinion, who agreed with my RE that the protocol used was most likely the best one for us based on my PCOS. However, she suggested some additional endocrine testing which I completed and everything was normal. At my follow-up with my RE, she discussed possibility that our lack of success was most likely poor egg quality because of my high androgen levels (Thanks again PCOS). She suggested I restart on metformin (had been on five years ago but could not tolerate GI side effects), and she also reassured me she would increase frequency of monitoring at start of cycle and start me on higher doses of stem medications as last time, it took approx. 10 days for my estradiol level to get over 100.
Toward the end of March, I started my second IVF cycle, same medications but higher doses. Instead of gonal-f 125u daily we started on 225u daily. Whoa did this make a HUGE difference. Within 3 days, I could feel pressure and sharp pains in my abdomen and when I went back after just 3 days of medications my estrogen level was already well over 100. After six days of stim medications, I already had 25 follicles 13-16, so she had to significantly decrease the medications. After eight days, there were 30 follicles 14.5-19 and I was triggered. However, also the identical outcome on retrieval day as the first cycle. 15 eggs retrieved, 12 mature, 9 fertilized, this time 3 made it to 5 day blastocyst stage. We discussed PGS testing, however my RE was opposed to it, as I am only 32 and she stresses that she believes the first cycle failed due to quality of embryos, most likely d/t decreased egg quality.
We were not able to do fresh transfers for either cycle as both times my progesterone elevated, so a freeze all was required. My doctor put me on cabergoline for both retrievals to try to prevent OHSS and while I had a tough time recovering from both procedures and may have had mild OHSS, it was tolerable and I recovered within a week each time. We discussed an ERA test to confirm lining receptivity, but decided to hold off until after this most recent IVF cycle and transfers, as we are hopeful it was an embryo quality issue and my lining has been optimal thickness each time.
After getting insurance approval for a double embryo transfer, I was prepped with estradiol patches in late April and just underwent my double FET yesterday, May 2nd. I am now in the dreaded TWW and hoping that this one goes by more quickly and calmly than the last two. For my first TWW, I couldn't help but POAS every day starting on 3dp5dt as it was the first time, there was even a remote chance we could be pregnant. However, after seeing negatives each day for 8 days in a row, it was really depressing and I swore I wouldn't put myself through that again. For the second FET, I started on 4dp5dt and POAS every other day but when still BFN on 8dp5dt, I again lost all hope. This time, my goal is to not POAS until the day of beta (as I don't want to be surprised with phone call, too anxiety provoking for me), which is next Friday 5/12! Luckily, I am going to be much busier during this wait, as my DH and I have a planned trip Friday- Wednesday and so hopefully I won't even be tempted until 9dp5dt, which day I have work meetings all day and so won't test before as I need to be composed that day.
Sorry for the REALLY long post, if you read my entire history I really appreciate it. I have been reading your posts and following many of your stories for many months now and I truly admire the strength you all have and your ability to fully support each other through the struggles and successes. I hope to become part of this wonderful group and am also here to support each of you through your journeys. This is not an easy road for any of us, but I know this community makes it just a little bit easier. As many of you, I am reluctant to share my infertility struggles with my friends and most of our family members as they do not understand. They try to be compassionate, but after trying to share with a few people and getting responses such as "Just relax, I swear, my friend was having trouble getting pregnant and finally after she stopped trying it worked" and "oh my sister has trouble with her periods, we always thought she'd have trouble getting pregnant, but as soon as she stopped the pill she got pregnant the first month, I'm sure that will happen to you." It will be nice having a place where I can participate, and share with people who truly understand. T
hank you so much and I look forward to getting to know everyone!