They were so beautiful this morning–so many lucsious black blobs to measure. I’m still flying on my high from Wednesday, when I found out there were more than four, so when the nurse handed me this darling little post-it with the follicle sizes on each side, I thought I might squeal with joy.
Funny how this process really lowers the bar for what elicits such a surge of delight, but I digress. Cynic that I am, I tried to reel in the expectation. I’ve had follicles grow before; I don’t have a baby; let’s see what the blood tells us because if the estradiol is low (like usual), it will probably mean they’re not that healthy (like usual). Schoolcraft, in fact, referenced my “low peak estrogen” in previous IVF cycles as an indicator that we had “a clear egg problem.” Wait and see, wait and see.
In the meantime, I had a bunch of unplanned stuff to do in a hurry at CCRM today before the holiday weekend and my now earlier retrieval. I had thought I was just headed there for 7:15 monitoring. When I arrived it turned out I needed an IVF physical (8:00), a CCS “class” (10:00-11:00) and a private appointment with one of the genetic counselors (12:30), so in the end I spent half the day there with a mani/pedi and a trip to Target for forgotten sundries squeezed into the gaps. The real breakthrough of the day happened in the CCS class, when I learned that I can, in fact, bank embryos before the genetic screen. Schooly had told me no: if I had 6 or more embryos, they wouldn’t risk vitrifying twice. This heavily influenced our decision to cycle at ORM instead because they would allow us to bank as their process is different, but then Hesla’s vacation conflicted with my plans, and here we are. I have been panic-stricken about this since, given my history, it seems unlikely I will get more than 2 embryos (if that) to blast from one cycle, hence making the sample size small, terrifying, and not especially powerful for erasing doubt. But now we have a new plan, noted in my chart, to freeze everything at 2PN and cycle again in late October/early November to accrue two sets of embryos that they will then grow out to blast and biopsy for CCS. This will close out what’s left of my IVF insurance coverage–the marker B and I had discussed way back at the beginning for when we would stop if it hadn’t worked yet–and definitively give me either (1) closure or (2) genetically normal embryos. Hallelujah! I can’t tell you, friends in the computer, what this does for my anxiety levels. I feel invigorated, like a hazy, ambiguous defeat is not a foregone conclusion.
Then I got the call with my blood levels–estradiol over 1100. That’s a jump of over 500 just since Wednesday. We still have another (probably) 2 days of stims. With 8 serious follicles in contention, a peak blood estrogen level of 1600 (not that far away) means the follicles are throwing off normal levels of hormones (200 each) and that N E V E R happens with me. My peak estrogen for my 2 Cornell cycles, even with all the promise of estrogen priming, were like 900-something with cycle #3 and a little under 1100 with cycle #4. I am still two days away from trigger with happily growing follicles, and my blood estrogen has already surpassed my peak estrogen in previous cycles. Maybe, just maybe, by virtue of HGH or CoQ10 or stupid fickle ovaries on a winning streak or MDL flare, I’ll actually get some healthy eggs out of this deal. Maybe.
A girl can dream.