Not that kind of kink, you freak. Get your mind out of the gutter and into my uterus.
Seriously though, I still need to figure out this website, so the formatting of this blog is going to be very basic until that happens. Moving on…
Today I had my baseline ultrasound. They used a transvaginal ultrasound wand, which is basically a dildo that can see my uterus and ovaries. Oh, yeah… I should probably warn you guys right now, I can be a little… crude sometimes. “Dildo” is not so bad, but I can just about guarantee you there will be some not so nice language on this blog.
Back to my baseline ultrasound with the dildo camera (DC- sorry guys, lots of acronyms coming your way), this is done before any IVF medications are started. They want to see the antral follicle count (AFC), which is basically a count of how many follicles we can expect to see when I do my actual cycle. Because I have diminished ovarian reserve (DOR), I have less than most women my age.
With a typical menstrual cycle that women go through every month, we expect to see 10-20 antral follicles on each ovary. Of course this number could be higher or lower depending on the woman, but 10-20 is a pretty solid average. Of those 20-40 follicles (because remember, I said on each ovary), one follicle usually takes the lead and produces the egg that will be released when she ovulates. The rest basically just wither away and then the next month it starts over again with a different set of 10-20 follicles on each ovary.
So, how was my appointment today? Ehhhh…..
I had four follicles on each side. For me this is good, but not in a “Oh, that’s good!” kind of way. More like a “Oh, it’s good you’re still producing some follicles” kind of way. Eight follicles means the potential for eight eggs, but this also depends on how well I respond to the medication, and if we can keep them growing at the same rate. If any follicles take too much of a lead growth-wise, they will become dominant and then the rest will not finish growing.
DOR is shitty not only because it means I have less chances at making a baby, but also because it means I’ll probably start menopause early. I found some studies with charts (don’t expect me to cite shit here… if I do, I do. If I don’t it’s because I’m tired of writing papers and I need a break! Right now I need a break from citations.) The charts I found indicate that I could enter menopause in…
Wait for it….
About ten years. TEN YEARS YOU GUYS. I’m only 34… this shit ain’t right. Obviously that’s not a spot-on number, but again, I’m working with averages here. It could be LESS.
So my appointment today is what determined my IVF protocol, or, the medications I’ll be taking. I may break down some more info about medications in a later blog, because I know some people are fascinated by that stuff. The most important thing right now is that I have my protocol, which means I have an actual calendar that I can hang up on my refrigerator and make notes on… but mainly use to COUNT DOWN to egg retrieval (ER) day! That’s exciting shit, y’all. Actually, I’ll just go ahead and post it… right… here.
Good shit, right? Lots and lots and lottttssssss of shots and blood draws, but it’ll all be worth it in the end, right? Right?!?! I really freaking hope so.
Oh! I almost forgot to mention that as of right now, our plan is to actually do this twice. Back-to-back. We are attempting to “bank” embryos so we have more to work with before we do any transfers (of embryos to the uterus- you’ll get the hang of it eventually). This is especially important because we are having the embryos genetically tested this time, for the first time, and we don’t expect all of them to be genetically normal. If they’re not genetically normal, there’s no point in transferring them because they won’t result in viable pregnancies.
Now, before you guys go calling me the devil for weeding out embryos that may have diseases or disabilities, that’s not what we’re doing. We’re simply having them checked to make sure they have the right number of chromosomes, because if they don’t, they are highly unlikely to become actual babies. This process is called pre-implantation genetic screening (PGS), which is different from pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) which looks for specific disorders. PGD is usually done if there is a known family history of something, but that’s not the case for us. A cool thing about both PGS and PGD is that you can know the gender of the embryos before they are even transferred… but I don’t want to know. Everything about IVF is so planned and regimented, so at the very least I would like the gender of any potentials babies to be a surprise.
Ok, I think that’s enough for today. I should probably be a responsible person and do some school work tonight (less than six weeks until I graduate nursing school, WOOHOO!!!)