The only thing that infertility can guarantee is there is no guarantees.
We are currently preparing for our second frozen embryo transfer (FET). Preparation for said transfer began way back on May 1st with cycle day one. At which point I began taking birth control pills for 14 days. About half way through that process I began to take a daily dose of 10 units of Lupron to suppress my ovaries. On May 9th I went in for my initial ‘suppression check’ where they basically check to make sure your ovaries are fully suppressed and that your blood levels look good to begin the process of medically creating the most inviting womb for your new little one to settle into.
Sounds oh so natural right?
Once everything looks sufficiently suppressed (hello early menopause) you begin the process of growing your lining via transdermal estrogen patches at increasing variables for the next several weeks. After about 4 full weeks of pumping your system with synthetic hormones you come back for what’s known as your final ‘lining’ check. The goal here is to have a trilaminar (or triple stripe) appearance with a lining which is at bare minimum 7 mm but hopefully significantly thicker. If all looks good you switch up your med profile by reducing estrogen intake, adding progesterone injections and inserts and a few days of steroids and antibiotics.
If it sounds complicated its because it is… Infertility and IVF is basically one giant science experiment.
My ‘final lining’ check was scheduled for June 6th. Last time around things had gone pretty smoothly so I figured there was no need for Jason to join me at this appointment since I already knew what to expect. Well, that was my first mistake because any good infertility warrior knows that whenever you “expect” something it just never goes your way.
Cue my “murphy’s law multi-winner lottery’ luck!
As soon as the image came up on the ultrasound screen I knew something was wrong. My lining looked very thin, in fact it looked about the same as it did four weeks prior at my suppression check. My RE said, well lets get some measurements but it does not look nearly thick enough for a transfer. It measured in at a barely 6mm. My personal goal was 10mm (the thicker, the better when it comes to sticky embryos!). I quickly sat up and tried to process what had just happened.
Four long weeks of hormones and nothing to really show for it.
My RE assured me that I likely just needed a few more days of estrogen at a larger dose and it would probably be fine in about a week. She mentioned that she did not think this was related to my recent D/C and was hopefully that by adding oral estrogen and keeping me on four patches of estrogen a day I would look ready to go. Then she briefly mentioned that was unless I had ovulated spontaneously. She figured that was highly unlikely but in an effort to calm my anxiety she offered to test my bloods just to make sure.
Thankfully, I did not get a follow up phone call from the nurse (a ‘No news is good news’ kinda gig). So for the past week I have been taken 2 mg of oral estrogen twice a day (4 mg total) plus four patches of estrogen every other day. So in a 24 hour period I am on approximately 5mg of estrogen. I know it doesn’t sound like much but when it comes to estrogen less is always more especially when it’s left unchecked by progesterone to help balance it out. Another lovely benefit of IVF and all these meds is the increased rate of cancer. In this case high levels of estrogen over prolonged periods of time is related to increased endometrial cancer. Yay!
Amongst adding the higher level of estrogen I of course went on a mission to figure out how I can help my body grow a thicker lining over a mere week’s time span. Thanks to my infertility warriors on Instagram I have concocted a nice list of all the enhancing strategies out there!
- Fertility Yoga Poses! Including the legs up against the wall, butterfly and bridge poses.
- Beets and beet root juice
- Pomegranate juice
- Brazil nuts
- Raspberry Leaf Tea
- Red Bean soup
- Exercise for 20 to 30 minutes daily
- Fertility massages
- Orgasms (yup at least one of these is a pleasant addition!)
I’m sure there are tons more out there, but these ones came the mostly highly recommended. Considering I already was doing pomegranate juice, beets, yoga poses, and acupuncture, I decided to add in some daily exercise, raspberry leaf tea and orgasms (yup might as well get something fun out of this gig!)
So here I am about a week later anxiously waiting to find out whether all of these interventions were successful or not. My follow up final lining check is scheduled for tomorrow June 12th. The day of our originally scheduled transfer. But I like to think this happened for a reason, because my uncle unexpectedly passed away last week and I need to travel to Virginia to attend his services. I wouldn’t have been able to do that had we transferred this week. You know what they say, all things happen in God’s timing.
P.S. I finally saw a rainbow (well two mini ones) let’s hope that’s a positive sign!
As always, wishing you and yours lots of love, luck and baby dust!