My gynae told me that the IVF cycle I’ll be doing is know as the long cycle or down regulation protocol. To start the cycle, I was prescribed with gynera (birth control pill) in order to control my menstrual cycle.

Started taking gynera for 18 days

Lucrin injection to start from today. This is to suppress the pituitary gland in the brain from producing the luteinizing hormone (LH) as we do not want a spontaneous LH surge from interfering with the timing of the egg collection. 10UI (0.1ml) of Lucrin is to be injected at the same time daily under the skin of the tummy. I was supposed to return to the gynae for blood test as well to start the next round of injection on the second day of my period.

Initially I wasn’t feeling comfortable with having to inject myself everyday and wanted the hubby to do it for me instead. However, as I would need to have the injection at the same time everyday, I figured that it would be easier for me to just do it myself. It was pretty easy and didn’t hurt too bad once I got the hang of it after a few times. I did use an ice cube on the area to be injected for a minute or so before to help numb the pain though(yeah I’m a wuss when it comes to pain I know).

Second day of my period/cycle. Got an ultrasound and blood test (to check LH level) done. Gynae told me that the hubby is supposed to start “clearing” daily from today onwards in order to keep his supply fresh. Well with all the injections that I’ve been taking, he needs to do his share as well right? Can’t be just me doing all the work. Heh! :p I was also told that I should get some acupuncture sessions as it is meant to help increase the success rate of the IVF. No idea if it’s true or whether it’s just the hospital wanting to make more money for their TCM clinic but I made an appointment for the next day anyway since the cost is really nothing compared to the total cost of the IVF.

Started daily Gonal-F injection (187.5UI). This is basically a follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) that stimulates the development of ovarian follicles in order to produce more eggs. Bloody expensive injection I have to say, each pen (enough for 2 shots only) cost $700!!! Went for my acupuncture appointment in the afternoon only to be told that I would need to reschedule as I am still having my period. Hmph!

First acupuncture session today. Had a total of 20+ needles stuck in me from the crown of my head to my feet. It didn’t really hurt, although sometimes when the needle hit something I could feel my muscles twitching which felt really uncomfortable. The chinese sinsei also told me that I need to stop taking cold water/food so that my womb doesn’t get cold? Something weird like that anyway. I also need to drink more chinese soup (not the cooling soups though) and eat more protein like egg whites as the protein is meant to help counter the bloating which I am going to feel from all the hormones inside me. To be honest, I don’t really believe in all these but I tried to reduce my cold water intake anyway.

29/06/11 – Did an ultrasound and blood test to monitor the follicle size, thickness of uterine (endometrium) lining, and estradiol level (E2). The ultrasound also showed that there are lots of follicles in both ovaries. All in all, it’s looking good so far.

Follicle Size: 8-10mm
Endo Thickness: 9.2mm
LH: 4.0
E2: 2437pg/ml

Ultrasound of an ovary (not mine!) with multiple follicles (black areas). Each follicle contains an egg

Second acupuncture session

Yet another ultrasound and blood test. I really hate blood tests. Most of the time nurses struggle to find a vein coz my veins are very thin and deep and they end up having to draw blood from the side of my wrist of back of my hand instead. Thankfully the nurse at my gynae’s office is excellent and always manage to get the blood on the first try. There was once when she wasn’t around though and I had 3 nurses standing around me attempting to get my blood. My gynae walked past and was wondering what the fuss was about and in the end she had to do it herself. Bloody hurt though coz she had to draw the blood from the side of my wrist as both my arms had already been poked multiple times by the nurses. :( Anyway, progress was still looking good so far.

Follicle Size: 9-14mm
Endo Thickness: 11.1mm
LH: 3.0
E2: 5315pg/ml

Third acupuncture session. Such a pain coz it was my 5th consecutive day at the hospital.

Told the hubby that after today he would not need to acquaint himself with Mrs. Palmer any more and he was very happy about it. It might sound enjoyable but I could imagine what a pain it was to still have to do it after a long, tiring day at work.

Boobs felt very sore when I woke up, I suppose it was due to all the hormones inside me. Went to the hospital for my blood test and ultrasound and unfortunately the results show that my E2 level was way too high and that I was at risk of developing ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS).

Follicle Size: 11-19mm
Endo Thickness: 11.1mm
LH: 4.6
E2: 25860pg/ml (I was told that for me anything above 17000pg/ml meant high risk of OHSS so I was way over)

Due to this, my gynae decided to give me the hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) trigger shot tomorrow instead of the day after. It also meant that I would not be able to do the embryo transfer after the egg retrieval. Instead I would have to wait for 2 cycles in order for my hormones level to go back to normal. Naturally the hubby and I were disappointed but decided it was better to delay the embryo transfer than to risk me getting very sick. I was to take my last shot of Gonal-F tonight and also prescribed with antibiotics (in preparation for the egg retrieval) and dostinex which is supposed to help with OHSS.

Took my last Lucrin shot and had another acupuncture session. I also had to go back to the hospital at night for my hCG trigger shot. This shot is supposed to complete the maturation process of the eggs. While this is also a subcutaneous injection like Lucrin and Gonal-F, it has to be timed very carefully (~36 hours before egg retrieval) and so the gynae wanted me to get it done at the hospital instead of at home. If the injection is given too early, the eggs will not have matured enough. If given too late, the eggs may be “too old” and won’t fertilize properly.

Woke up with sore boobs and stomach felt quite bloated. Quite relieved though that I was done with all the daily injections.

Egg retrieval/pick up day! This post is getting too long though so I’ll get to that in the next post.