Numbers

Everything about IVF is a numbers game, which is a fine joke on me because I’ve always hated math.

tenor2

Your numbers when testing are important: what are your hormone levels–progesterone, estrogen, glucose, TSH, FSH, androgens? What is your partner’s sperm count? What does your blood look like? What does your partner’s blood look like? Is it worth trying IUI first or should you just skip ahead to IVF?

Then during the IVF cycle, it’s nothing but numbers. You have the numbers of your dosages, of Gonal-F and Menopur and HCG trigger. You have the numbers during your follicle counts and blood draws. You watch those numbers steadily climb, sometimes to astronomical levels. And after you wake up from your retrieval, you have the number of eggs successfully retrieved.

That number goes down a lot. We had 54 eggs retrieved. 38 were mature. 31 fertilized. By day 5, only 7 remained to freeze, besides the two we transferred. What a plummet, but I suppose it’s fair–with that many eggs, things are bound to be imperfect.

When you have your transfer, you worry about other numbers, mostly the number of blastocysts they put in you and their grading.

And then comes that two week wait, the time where you wait and wait and wait until your beta blood draw, where you can hopefully see a good HCG number. HCG is the pregnancy hormone, and you want yours to be moderately high and to keep climbing.

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(what you don’t want on The Price is Right but do want when you’re getting betas back)

Last Thursday, my HCG was at 223, which is a definite positive. I tested again today, and though my HCG has increased, it’s not by as much as they’d hoped–I should be at around 900 today, but instead I’m around 700.

In early pregnancy, they look for your HCG to double every 48-72 hours, but ideally every 48. I’m doubling roughly every 59, so it’s not great, but it’s not the worst, either. I’m still in that normal range, but I’ve got the doctor nervous enough, with my history of loss, that she’s ordered an early ultrasound. Usually, they don’t do the first ultrasound until around 7-8 weeks, but she wants to make sure everything is progressing, so our first ultrasound will be at 6 weeks, and likely we’ll have another at the 7-8 week mark before I’m released to regular obstetric care.

The good news, despite that worrying news, is that my hormone levels are fantastic. I could’ve told you that–between the nausea, fatigue, and sore boobs, I feel like I’m closer to 8 weeks pregnant, not 5. All of those early pregnancy symptoms are caused by the excess progesterone in my system, and I apparently have a LOT of that, so I get to stop with my supplements, hallelujah. The supplements had nasty OTHER side effects that were just exhausting.

I’m still not counting any chickens; we’ve got to get through the six week ultrasound and then the 8 week; then maybe I’ll breathe easy. Until then…

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