Monday, April 18, 2011

Competing for the "Triple Stripe"

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Sorry I haven’t written in awhile, ladies.  I promise to catch-up on everyone’s posts as soon as possible.  I had no news to report over the weekend, as I was participating in Mind Games the entire weekend (playing and judging 30 board games in 40 hours…UGH!).  I managed to get through the games (with a total of 7 hours of sleep between Friday morning and Sunday afternoon)…and I didn’t cry or scream once…my hormones remained in-check.  The experience left me exhausted and sore, but it did keep me from obsessing over this cycle and, for that, I am thankful. 

Today I received good news (finally).  My uterine lining is AWESOME!!!  The highest measurement that my clinic gives is the “Triple Stripe” (when the two uterine walls are so thick that they touch in the middle, creating an image on the ultrasound that looks like three stripes).  “Triple Stripe” occurs at 12-13 mm.  After one week on Estrace, my lining is at 10-11 mm, and I have at least another week and a half on the meds, before transfer.  I feel like I should cut out a construction paper blue ribbon, or silver star, to paste on my shirt when I achieve “Triple Stripe” status.  I need something to acknowledge my entrance into the elite class of infertiles who are blessed with perfect uterine linings.  This morning, my nurse (who is all too familiar with my uterus) was very excited.  She said it was the best she had ever seen my lining look…from a size and quality perspective.  Yeah!  So, I’ll continue what I’m doing and weather the side effects for a little longer, knowing that I am already going into this cycle with a leg up on previous cycles.

All that I need now is an update on how the donor is doing.  The donor started her stimulation medication on Thursday, so it has only been 5 days.  My stimulation always took around 19 days, so I assumed it would be too early for the donor’s ultrasound to show anything.  But my nurse this morning confirmed that my donor was having an ultrasound and blood work today, and she said that I should be getting a call from the donor coordinator, updating me on the donor’s progress.  The suspense is killing me. 

In the meantime, because (so far) we are on schedule for a transfer late next week, my intralipid administration has been set up for this Friday.  This will be our first time trying intralipids and I’m oddly excited about doing it.  Who knew I would ever get excited about getting fat pumped into me through an IV? 

I think The Prince summed it up best in marriage counseling this weekend, when he said that he is confident about this cycle working for us because everything we are doing is different than what we tried in the past.  To him, “different” feels like “good” and it gives him hope.  He’s right.  Every aspect of this cycle is so different from our past cycles, so it feels like the outcome has to be different as well.  I haven’t felt this positive or excited about an IVF cycle in a long time.  I really missed this feeling.  It feels good to hope again.


I contacted the donor coordinator by email, after not hearing from her, and I said I wasn't rushing her but I just was wondering if we were going to get an update on our donor's progress after each of her appointments, or if we would only be told if something changed the schedule. 

Her reply - "The donor was in this morning for her first ultrasound since starting her medications.  She will return Wednesday and Friday.  Please contact me both days between 2 and 3 if you need an update." 

Irritated...but still desperate for information, I replied "Thanks.  I'll call Wednesday and Friday.  Was everything okay today, though?  I know it is still early." 

Her reply - "She has follicles developing.  They are very small.  Good night!!!"

Am I wrong in feeling like this woman seems abrasive?  The three exclamation points didn't help...but I guess it could have indicated excitement and not irritation (which is how I read it).  The last time I talked to her, she was so nice...but now we are back to normal again.  Am I being too sensitive?  I guess I'll find out how things are going on Wednesday.   Oh well...I'm not going to let it ruin my Hope High.


My New Normal said...

Hooray for the triple stripe. Just curious, what does the intralipid bit do??

Princess Wahna Bea Mama said...

My New Normal,

This is the info from my fertility center's website. It is sort of the "lay person" version of what is in the research papers.

"New research has suggested that women who have experienced recurrent miscarriages or multiple failed IUI or IVF cycles as a result of natural killer cell activation may benefit from the use of intralipids. Intralipids are synthetic and made from 1.2% egg yolk phospholipids, 10% soybean oil, 2.25% glycerin and water. It is administered through an IV 4-7 days before embryo transfer or insemination.

Natural killer cells are regulated by the immune system. In women who have autoimmune issues, the natural killer cells can react abnormally to an implanting embryo, treating it as an invading cell and signaling for the body to attack it. Studies have found that intralipids can help to deactivate the natural killer cells, allowing the embryo to implant on the uterine wall
and grow normally. Intralipids are re- administered 4-5 weeks following a positive pregnancy test, to keep the natural killer
cells deactivated until the pregnancy can override the signals being sent by the immune system.

Intralipids (approximately $100 per administration) are far less expensive than Intravenous Immunoglobulin (IVIG) (approximately
$2000 per administration), and initial studies show comparable efficacy for deactivation of natural killer cells and pregnancy rates. Intralipids are well tolerated by patients with
few side effects and are created synthetically, unlike IVIG which is a blood product. It takes about an hour and a half to two hours for the intralipids to be administered through the IV."

Anonymous said...

interesting, C said the same thing. H e is much more hopeful because of our new protocol including our first intralipid infusion. My RE gives it 7-10 days prior the transfer. Did you get your Nka's checked?

Princess Wahna Bea Mama said...

I did not get my nka's checked. My RE will do intralipids if you have a history of failed IVF's, without having the expensive test performed. Also, they recommend intralipids for people with endometriosis, as there is evidence that endometriosis has an autoimmune component. My RE does intralipids 4-10 days before transfer, but I wanted to err on the side of earlier, rather than later, because I know most RE's go with the 7-10 day time frame.

I'm so glad to hear that C is hopeful about this cycle too. I don't know about you, but my husband's attitude has a big impact on how I do emotionally with the cycle.

China Doll said...

Such an interesting, exciting post... Great news on your triple stripe! What are you taking for that? Anything? I have had issues with a thin lining during my IUIs so may need meds this IVF cycle.
Also very interested in the intralipids research.. I have celiac disease (which is autoimmune) and my TCM doc is concerned about inflammation so this is very relevant to me. Hopefully won't need it this cycle but I'm going to bear it in mind for the future if necessary.
And no, you are not being oversensitive about your coordinator's response... exclamation marks are not appropriate. Sounds like you sent the email in the evening? Well, that's your choice and her choice to read it and respond outside work hours.
But don't let it bother you.. she has no influence on the outcome of your donor's cycle or yours!

Princess Wahna Bea Mama said...

China Doll,

I have been on a dose of 2mg of Estrace (estradiol), three times a day. In past IVF cycles, we used injections of estradiol valerate every three days for a couple of weeks before stimulation (estrogen priming), to help with my ovarian function. That also helped my lining thickness, but the oral estradiol has been enough for me this time.

I haven't ever looked into research regarding a correlation between celiac and nka. I know that one lab has found that in 40% of endometiosis patients, the levels of natural killer cell activity is elevated and, at this point, that's good enough for me. But there is a lot of research discussed out there on the maybe there are some studies regarding celiac too.

The email to the coordinator (and from the coordinator) was actually at 2 in the afternoon...that's what made the "Good night!!!" extra upsetting. I felt like she was saying "enough already." But, I talked with a friend about it and she thinks the woman was likely just busy...still abrupt...but not angry. I'm less upset about it now than I was. I'm just going to look forward to Wednesday's phone call as if yesterday's email didn't happen.

New Year Mum said...

Great news about the triple stripe.... wonderful result and completely understandable that you're wanting updates. I agree that !!! is a bit abrasive... she certainly doesn't make an already difficult wait any easier :( Love to you always xoxo