Every cycle has been slightly different in terms of medication. This cycle we did birth control leading up to injections. Then we did Gonal-F and mini HCG every day until the day of trigger. After Day 7 of Gonal-F and mini HCG, we added in Cetrotide. We stimmed for eleven days, gave the trigger shot, and then we waited for the retrieval.
During those eleven days of shots, I visited the fertility clinic four times so they could monitor my follicles via ultrasound. I also got blood draws to monitor my estrogen and LH levels.
For three of the visits, I saw other REs (reproductive endocrinologists) in the practice. I saw my doctor once during a monitoring appointment. We were so happy to see each other! I’m grateful I got to see her, because she also wasn’t present at my egg retrieval. While it was a little challenging not to see my normal doctor for all my appointments, I felt confident that she was overseeing the entire process…just from afar.
This being our fourth rodeo, we were pretty well versed on injections. It took us a few days to get back into the groove, but otherwise we got through it more easily than I remember from past cycles. One thing we do every cycle without fail is pick a favorite song that we play during “injection time”. It definitely takes the edge off, and lightens the mood!
After my final ultrasound on Day 11 of injections, the doctor originally wanted me to do one extra day of stims and then do the trigger shot. She felt that my eggs could use another day, but she needed my estrogen levels to confirm that. We spent the next hour frantically trying to schedule another potential pharmacy pickup for more meds. It turns out my ovaries had other plans. My estrogen level (which was previously 1,400) had only gone up to 1,700. We would trigger that night and plan for a retrieval 35 hours after.
Going into retrieval, I was told to expect about ten mature eggs. I was relieved to even make it to our retrieval! Cycling at close to 40 is a different ball game. In my previous three cycles, I don’t remember being concerned about how many follicles they saw, because egg count wasn’t much of a concern for us. But now, at almost 40, my doctor told me that given my AMH level, she would have hoped for maybe three eggs. After hearing that, I was even happier that we had made it this far and with ten potential eggs.
This process has taught me to never take one step of it for granted. None of it is a guarantee and it can change drastically from day to day. My heart is with anyone else riding the rollercoaster of fertility treatments. It’s truly a wild ride!