Putting all my eggs in one basket.

Please pardon the pun. I couldn’t help myself. This is a belated post. The events in this post actually took place back in September. My first batch of eggs were harvested at NYU in October 2013  (I really sound like a hen right now). NYU provides free storage of eggs in the first year, but after that, the fee is a whopping $2250 a year!  At New Hope, the storage fees after the first 6 months are $1200 a year. Quite a significant difference in rent. Since the one year mark at NYU was approaching, I decided to make arrangements to avoid paying “double rent.” New Hope’s Dr. Zhang assured me that New Hope understands the freezing/thawing protocol at NYU. They freeze and thaw oocytes all of the time as they provide donor eggs to potential parents on a regular basis. Freezing and thawing is their bread and butter. This was comforting to me. What’s more, each facility  provides instructions to the next provider regarding how they are to be stored and thawed as well. It is not uncommon for eggs to be flown all around the world at no risk to the eggs as they are stored in a big frozen block apparently. My worries about riding the subway with a tank of eggs were therefore alleviated.

The process of arranging the transfer of eggs required me to communicate with New Hope in order to figure out an approximate day for when the transportation of eggs might occur. Then I had to complete paperwork with NYU, pay something like $150 for “administrative costs” (blurgh!), and then schedule the time for pick-up. New Hope charged me nothing for moving the eggs and were much more flexible about the timing of the transfer. NYU is a lot more anal about everything. They charge more, they are available for fewer hours of the day, and scheduling is more rigid and less flexible. For some people, that may be comforting, due to the efficiency and rigidity of their protocols. I found it overly officious and annoying but perhaps I was becoming increasingly annoyed at the costs of everything.  I work at a major medical center, so I am well aware of the profiteering that can happen at elite private hospitals connected with medical schools. It’s mind boggling and, in my eyes, highly unethical. Then again, I also understand what it is like to work within that system and to feel pressured to bring in the revenue in order to justify the existence of a given department. I digress…

On the scheduled day, I went to New Hope to pick up the gas tank that I would need to transport the eggs. The gas tank was pretty heavy. The New Hope guy who brought it to me told me to keep it upright at all times. I asked him what would happen if it fell and he said it would burn me. I noticed there was no tie keeping the lid on the tank. It was a little disconcerting. New Hope can be a bit casual at times. It is worrisome but I guess you pay for what you get. I immediately grabbed a cab as I realized the tank might attract a bit of unwanted attention on the subway. It was the size of a heavy fire extinguisher after all.  The cab driver took forever to just go crosstown and with every jerk of acceleration, I clenched my teeth together and gripped the gas tank as if my life depended on it. I didn’t want it to fall over! I finally made it to NYU and I was over an hour early, so I left the tank with the receptionist and went for lunch at a local diner.

Before I knew it, it was time to go back to NYU. I found out that the woman who was going to help me had been there the whole time. My waiting had been for nought. Gah!! Within minutes, she had taken my tank away to put the eggs in and returned with the documentation and instructions for New Hope. They had secured the lid with a proper tie and I was able to make the journey back to New Hope.

This time, the cab driver was much faster, and I managed to get to New Hope pretty quickly. They made me sign a form to make the transfer to New Hope official. Finally, all my eggs were in one place. I asked some questions about storage practices, particularly what would happen to the eggs if I hadn’t paid my yearly fee. (I asked because New Hope is notoriously bad at communicating with patients in a timely fashion). The guy reassured me that nothing would ever happen to them without my consent even if I had not paid my bills. New Hope always has to contact the patient first before taking any action regarding the eggs. I left feeling relieved that my precious eggs had a home at New Hope…for now.

Within a few weeks, I received a bill from NYU for the next year’s egg storage. I called them pretty annoyed since I no longer had a single egg there. It was evidence of billing and clinical service staff not communicating with each other. Sadly, this has happened to me countless times in the US and is so disconcerting to patients. I’m glad that I’m educated, as I always advocate for myself and am aware (most of the time) of what should and should not be charged. But I do always worry about less educated patients who can not advocate for themselves and who would have paid that bill unaware of the error. Needless to say, I did not need to pay that bill and it was cleared from my account.

I may not be writing in this here blog for a while as I’m unlikely to go through more egg freezing in the near future and have no immediate plans to use the eggs. Thank you readers for following my journey and for all of your kind and helpful comments. I shall call this a blog siesta for now…

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New Hope Fertility Center – Cycles 2 and 3 – All done!

I haven’t updated my blog in a while, but thought I would just give a quick overview of how the last couple of months have panned out for me. I undertook my 4th and 5th cycles at New Hope (my 2nd and 3rd with them), and on the whole, it has been a successful process. I yielded more eggs from each New Hope cycle than I did in any NYU cycle (4 in the first cycle, 1 of which was less mature, and 3 in the second cycle). As I described earlier, my first New Hope cycle resulted in 7 mature eggs after injecting myself with about 25% of the dosage of hormones (in this case, Gonal-F) that I had used at NYU. In my 2nd New Hope Cycle, I used half of that dosage. I discussed the reasoning behind the drop in dosage with Dr. Zhang and he said that on Day 3’s ultrasound, they can usually see how many follicles are likely to grow and adjust the dosage accordingly. From that cycle, they retrieved 4 mature eggs and 1 that was matured in the lab overnight, for a total of 5 eggs. Today, I completed my 3rd New Hope Cycle from which 4 mature eggs were retrieved. Although New Hope is a rather more chaotic facility, I grew accustomed to it. I quite enjoyed my free breakfast cakes/donuts/pastries that were laid out for patients every morning in the spacious waiting area. I would read my Metro NY paper and/or watch captions from the TVs as I waited to be called in, and all the while there would be soothing classical music playing overhead. Although there were perhaps 2 days when I ended up calling them (because it was getting close to 5pm) to get my daily instructions, the nurses actually never failed to call me. They claimed that monitoring day phone calls sometimes ran into the evening hours (and thus, past closing time), so I may have just been overly anxious on those days.

In my opinion, the low stimulation approach really is the way to go, at least for my aging body. No matter what the dosage was (high or low), I always had between 5 and 7 follicles growing. Not all would reach maturity, but the picture was the same whether I was at NYU on maximum doses of hormones or at New Hope on the lowest doses of hormones. My body simply doesn’t generate many follicles each cycle. At NYU, due to some deal with the insurance companies, I had to pay for the monitoring and bloodwork. Whereas, at New Hope, for some reason, my insurance seemed to pay for the monitoring and bloodwork. At NYU, being on the maximum dose of hormones meant that my medications amounted to thousands of dollars. At New Hope, I barely used any (maybe 1 Gonal-F pen for the entire cycle, and cheap medications — Femara, Clomid, and Advil). At NYU, retrieval day was like going in for major heart surgery — so many personnel in the room, full sedation, and a day out of work. New Hope supported a non-sedating approach to retrieval — in my first 2 cycles at New Hope, I only took Valium, and in the 3rd one, the nurse forgot to give one to me, yet retrieval was uneventful albeit mildly uncomfortable. I could go back to work right away.

As you can see, I’m a fan of New Hope Fertility Center. The combination of NYU’s 2 expensive cycles and New Hope’s cheaper cycles have brought me to a total of 23 eggs. The next step is going to be a discussion with Dr. Zhang about their approach to thawing eggs and the transfer. Although I’m not ready to have children today, I need to figure out where I would like to house ALL of my eggs (and thus, not pay double rent!) I’m well aware that the statistics are not as good at New Hope than NYU for successful IVF pregnancies, but the fact is, their philosophy is different and by definition will result in poorer statistics. That is, they generally don’t transfer more than 1 egg for any given cycle.

For now, I’m DONE with this process. My year of being 40 ended a few weeks ago. Although there is no guarantee that I will be able to have children from my own eggs, I am now breathing a small sigh of relief that I can now get back to my life and know that I have given myself a fighting chance to have biological children. If that does not happen, there are alternatives, but at least I gave myself this very special option that only women of my generation have ever had access to.

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New Hope – Cycle 1 Retrieval Day!!

Like the last time I went through an egg freeze cycle (at NYU), I was a bit anxious the day before. I made sure to listen to my Circle and Bloom meditation CD and felt my ovaries, hoping that the discomfort would remain (indicating that the eggs were still there!) I awoke early on retrieval day and listened to the CD again before eating a healthy breakfast of steel cut oats with berries, showering, and heading to New Hope.

I arrived, checked in as usual, then asked New Hope where I was supposed to pay. They said I didn’t need to just then but that billing would call me in to take care of it later. Well, that never happened! And, even when I left the facility a couple of hours later, they just told me to go home! I’m assuming they will chase me down at some stage. To me, it’s like having an uncashed check hanging in my bank account. One day, it will jump out and surprise me, leaving me more broke than expected.

After checking in, I sat down and tried to relax. I read magazines, trolled through Facebook on my phone, watched TV, and drank some tea. I went to the loo a couple of times and then was finally called in to an unfamiliar room on the other side of the waiting area. I went through and a woman asked me to sign the consent form for the procedure. She made no attempt to explain the potential side-effects of the procedure even though the consent form indicated that she should have, so I asked a lot of questions about the procedure. She said that I seemed nervous, so I asked if she would be giving any anti-anxiolytics. She said she could give me Valium if I wanted so I said that I would like that. In short, she was pretty terrible at being the informative calming nurse I was hoping for. She took me through to the changing area and told me to disrobe and put the booties and cap on. Then I sat there and waited. She walked past, saw me sitting there and said, “Oh, sorry, you’re supposed to go through to this waiting area!” and led me to a pre-retrieval waiting area. In short, this nurse was completely inept. Thankfully, the Valium was kicking in at this point and I wasn’t too perturbed by her incompetence.

In a short period of time, I was called for the retrieval itself. My waist was swaddled in papery wraps and Dr. Chang came in. Two assistants were there too and they checked my wrists and said “where is your bracelet? Is that your name? (flashed on the monitor on the wall in front of me).” “Yes, it is!” I replied. Then Dr. Chang put a speculum inside me and said “your bladder is full. You need to go empty it!” Obviously, the pre-retrieval nurse was incompetent. She hadn’t put my ID bracelet on, nor had she told me to empty my bladder right before the procedure. (Clearly all that tea was running right through me!) So, Dr. Chang pulled out the speculum and I was led to a bathroom. A bracelet was then put on me with my name and I was led back in to the procedure room. Dr. Chang resumed the retrieval procedure with the speculum insertion and then told me to breathe in as he inserted the catheter (??) and to breathe out as he went exploring for the eggs. He asked me to do that a couple more times, and the whole time I was able to watch the action on the monitor. I watched as black things floated around the screen and bits of eggy matter were being sucked and squirted onto something. I could see the whole thing but really had no idea what I was looking at. It keeped me distracted from the physical sensation of the retrieval itself though. In about 10 to 15 minutes, the whole procedure was over. They had retrieved 7 eggs, which seems to be my norm. He finished up and I was escorted to a chair outside the room. A nurse came to explain post-retrieval procedures for me. She said I needed to refrain from vigorous exercise, to take pain meds whenever I needed it, but essentially I was free to go back to work if I wanted. They would call me by the next day with my results!

Well, I did head straight back to work. It was as if nothing had happened. The whole process was so easy that I began to think that the whole IV sedation method was a complete waste of time! I walked to the subway feeling completely normal and actually did some work. I went home at my usual finishing time and relaxed. Then, before I knew it, I received a phone call from New Hope giving me the most amazing news – ALL 7 of my eggs were mature. They were able to freeze them all!! I was flabbergasted. That was more than double my typical yield using the conventional high-stim approach at NYU. Unbelievable!! I was on Cloud 9 for the rest of the day.

I went to pick up a prescription for Generess Fe (the pill) at the end of the day. We are already getting ready for Cycle 2 through New Hope. So far I have 13 in the bank (6 mature at NYU, 7 at New Hope). I’m finally feeling positive about everything.

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New Hope – Cycle 1, Days 12 and 13

This week is *the* week. I went in on day 12 and was told by a doctor I’d never met before, Dr. Chang, that I might be ovulating already, or close to it. He felt that there was a 30% chance I would come back for retrieval on day 13, but that it was more likely that I would use the Synarel nasal spray tonight (the trigger medication) and go in on Day 14 morning for retrieval. I waited all day for my phone call and by 4pm I started to panic. New Hope’s bad reputation for patient communication started to flash before my eyes. Despite my best efforts to call them, I did not manage to get through to a real live person. I just left a series of messages with front desk, their medical assistant line, and their clinical line, and I emailed a specific nurse (who was out of the office), the front desk, and the general nurses’ email address. By 4.15pm I decided to just grab my coat, my bag and all my work folders and just head on down to New Hope in person. I was *that* concerned, but as I waited for the elevator to leave work, I received a phone call from one of the nurses. She claimed that someone else had my chart. I’m not sure what that meant, but she was able to give me my numbers and instructions for the next day.

Here were my numbers: estrogen 968, FSH 7, LH 5, progesterone 0.6.

My instructions were to spray 3 sprays of the Synarel into each nostril at 9pm, then again at 9.10pm and 9.10am. I was to take 600 mg advil every 12 hours leading up to the retrieval. Apparently advil can inhibit ovulation.

I went in again to New Hope on Day 13 and the blood work showed the following numbers:

Estrogen 949, LH 54, progesterone 5.

I am to go in tomorrow morning for my retrieval. In the meantime, I started trolling the internet for information about non-sedated retrievals. New Hope frequently conducts retrievals without the need for an anesthesiologist. This saves patients a lot of money, and given that the low-stim approach often means fewer follicles grow anyway, it makes a lot of sense. Also, I’ve found that sedation has a tendency to knock me the fuck out and I’m always scared I won’t wake up!! But when I went online to check out other people’s experiences with this procedure whilst awake, it sounded fucking freaky. One woman apparently lurched from the pain and lost an egg. Others said they would never do it without sedation/anesthesia again. I’m convinced it is ok to do it without sedation, or at least I’m treating it as a mental challenge. The procedure shouldn’t take too long. I only have about 6 follicles that they are going to grab potential eggs from, so I’m guessing it won’t take long.

Right now, my ovaries feel a bit uncomfortable. I actually had a breast exam today too (sonograms for my lumpy tits). They’re quite “cystic” and always need to be tracked. I’m pretty sure the high doses of hormones I’ve been taking over the last number of months have *not* helped. My plan this evening is to eat some dinner, watch episodes of Breaking Bad as a way to relax (??) and then get an early night. Funtimes!

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New Hope – Cycle 1, Days 9 to 11

The last few days have been pretty cruisy. I continued my usual regimen of Clomid, Letrozole and 150IUs of Gonal-F. By Day 10, my 6 follicles had all grown nicely so they wanted me to come back today (Day 11). They have continued to mature and so now I’m off all meds completely. I went to my acupuncturist last night and she told me off for staying up too late at night. She could somehow tell from my scalloped tongue that I have had one too many late nights. Last week, we talked about my addiction to Breaking Bad. She compared it to her previous addiction to Korean soap operas. Somehow, that was supposed to make me stop. I *did* take her message to heart and went to sleep early-ish last night. This process *is* important and expensive and I do need to take care of myself. But after trying to keep up perfect health over the last 9 months or so, I’ve realized that I struggle with sustaining any form of discipline over more than a month at a time. I love my binges, whether they be in the form of food or TV. 

Tomorrow, I go in to New Hope again. I suspect I will be told to trigger tomorrow night then maybe go in on Friday for retrieval. I am so used to this whole procedure now, it feels like going to the dentist – annoying, but really just another appointment.

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New Hope – Cycle 1, Days 1 to 8

As I waited to begin my first cycle at New Hope, I began to experience the patient-clinic communication problem that was discussed ad nauseum online. The clinic never emailed me information from my first visit as they had promised, I was supposed to receive a phone call from Dr. Zhang on April 8th and that didn’t happen, and multiple emails to the information line and clinic staff resulted in no responses. I was upset. I finally called front desk and explained how bad their communications were, and, sensing my frustration, they got a nurse to call me right back. It was she who ended up remaining in close contact with me. That experience changed the communication dynamic immediately, and since then I’ve had no problems.

I waited and waited for my period to begin so that I could begin my cycle, and, unusual for me, my cycle stretched out to about 36 days. I started to get a bit concerned. I had been having a very bad week of mishaps and frustrations. I felt like I was experiencing hormone madness! I just wanted it to come so bad so that I could finally be normal in my head for at least a day!

I finally went in, unbeknownst to me on Cycle Day 1, to get checked out. I waited a very long time for my appointment. The waiting area was chock-a-block and so I gorged on their chocolate chip Madeline cookies until my name was called.

Finally, my name was called and they took my bloods and gave me an ultrasound. Dr. Zhang knew my period was coming so my cycle regimen began that very day. And, being the RE that he is, he was right. My period came later that day.

My numbers were as follows:

Estrogen 61, FSH 9, LH 5, and Progesterone 2.

My regimen was:

1 tab Letrozole daily, 50 mg of Clomid daily (from Cycle day 3), and 150 IUs of Gonal-F daily (from Cycle Day 3 until Day 6).

I spent the week trying to relax but was not doing a great job of it. I was still carrying over some hormone madness from the week before, or perhaps the drugs were doing my head in. I have no idea. In previous cycles, the hormones did not seem to affect me too badly, but this cycle, I felt like I was ready to kill someone! Nothing was going my way all week. I really hoped that perhaps things were happening down there and that follicles were just growing – my madness being the main side-effect. I even went back to my acupuncturist for a dose of relaxation and sanity.

I finally made it to the end of a horrific week for America and a generally annoying week for me, and went back in to New Hope today, Cycle Day 8. I was shocked to discover that I was right. I’m responding extremely well to the low doses of meds! I have 5 follicles on the right and 1 on the left. I left, armed with Synarel nasal spray ($80; my trigger shot) and a smile on my face. Right now, I’m amazed and feel great. What’s more, they called me within 2 hours of my appointment with my numbers:

Estrogen 317, FSH 12, LH 5, Progesterone 0.5.

My regimen continues to be daily doses of Clomid and Letrozole, and 150 IUs of Gonal F for 2 more days. I go in on Cycle Day 10!

So far so good!!

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New Hope – New cycle

About 2 months ago, I took a leap of faith and approached Dr. Zhang at New Hope Fertility Center to see if I might try new cycles of egg freezing using a low stimulation approach. I had noticed over the last 3 cycles (2 completed) at NYU that they just pumped me to the max with hormones, yet the outcomes were always the same (7 follicles, 3 mature eggs each time). Why did I need ALL of those hormones when the more was not necessarily the merrier in my case? I ventured onto the internet to scope out different opinions on the matter and learned that the philosophy of the mini-IVF approach at New Hope is as follows:

Mini-IVF™ treatment is our trademarked in vitro fertilization protocol. Like our Natural Cycle IVF, it is a holistic approach to fertility care and offers a gentle alternative toConventional IVF. It differs from Natural Cycle IVF in its use of a minimal amount of oral medication which stimulates the ovaries so they produce the maximum number of “quality” eggs in a single cycle.

Only 3-5 high quality eggs are ideal for developing a healthy baby. When more aggressive IVF drug treatments are used (like with conventional IVF), although more eggs are produced, those beyond 3-5 are typically not viable and are either discarded prior to implantation or are prone to failing in a later natural miscarriage.

I had been hesitant about the New Hope experience after reading so many negative reviews about the clinic – particularly their poor communication with patients and the sense that it operated like a factory of patients only there to help the clinic make money.

Being a scientist, I had also checked out peer-reviewed articles published by Dr. Zhang to see if he really was legit. I found articles published by him with Dr. Grifo of NYU. I realized that Dr. Zhang had been a postdoctoral fellow and then staff member at NYU back in the day before launching his own clinic focusing on mini-IVF. I also found an article published in Reproductive Biomedicine that supposedly, on the basis of New Hope’s success rates, strengthened the argument for a mini-IVF approach. However, upon reading a critique article in the same journal, I realized that the statistics were not well-controlled and elaborated. In short, the numbers were really not a great indicator of success rates. Having said that though, I recognized that I was a prime candidate for the approach. I *expect* lower success rates by virtue of me being a non-responder anyway. If it requires that I do multiple cheaper cycles to attain the same benefit, then so-be-it. It is worth a try! So, I shoved all hesitations aside and made an appointment.

In early March, I walked into the clinic on Columbus Avenue and discovered a state-of-the-art facility complete with TVs in the waiting area, breakfast pastries and tea and coffee. This was not the Chinatown-esque facility I was expecting (i.e., some basement cellar with leaky ceilings). It was gorgeous, modern and well-maintained. It felt good. I noticed that many of the patients were Asian like me, so that felt comforting in a weird way.

After an initial check of my bloods and an ultrasound, I met with Dr. Zhang who was personable and informative.  He explained his philosophy to me and handed out some reading material, including the article that I had already read. He said he would call me back later that day to determine whether it would be good for me to start soon. I said that I preferred to wait a cycle as I had a work trip coming up, and he said that was fine. He noticed some cysts on my right ovary that were likely associated with previous extractions, but they didn’t seem to bother him. He said that I would probably only need my one leftover 900 IU Gonal-F pen for the next 2 cycles and just Clomid and Letrozole (low cost prescription meds). Not bad!

I left feeling hopeful and positive.

As promised, he called me the next day and left me a message summarizing our discussion and gave me my numbers and said that I was ready to start whenever I wanted. Yay!

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Cycle 2 Retrieval Day and the Day After

Yesterday, I slept poorly tossing and turning as negative thoughts ran about my head. When I awoke, I lay in bed for a few minutes longer feeling my ovaries and noticing that I felt nothing. All night I had felt *something* which, to me, was a good sign. But there was *nothing* by morning. As of my last scan, they saw 2 mature follicles, 1 coming close to maturity, and a whole bunch more that were small. I began to have doubts that anything would be extracted.  I forced myself into the shower and still anxiously felt where my ovaries are for some sign of discomfort, but I still couldn’t. As I got ready to leave, I made sure that I had no food or water even though my desert dry apartment left my throat parched and almost sore. I puffed on my asthma inhaler and left the apartment.

As I trekked to NYU, I was ruminating on the negative. I put one foot in front of the other, hoping and praying that all would be fine. Had I made the right decision by going in? Why did I feel so good? Shouldn’t I be feeling bloated and horrible? This was like last time. I felt nothing last time. I felt just the same as I always did, and to me, that meant nothing was working.

I went in to NYU and sorted out the anesthesia billing (a hefty $1200 for 15 minutes of sedation!) before climbing the stairs to the surgical waiting area. The receptionist was the same as last time – an unfriendly woman who was now shielded by office cubicle walls and signs to further obscure her from annoying patients. I don’t really get why she has that job. She is the least comforting person for people who are in, often, psychological pain!

After a long while, I was finally called in to prep for the extraction. I changed into my hospital gown, cap, and socks, locked my valuables in a locker, and was taken in for weighing, blood pressure, and told to pee, before waiting in a rather sterile examination room for extraction time. Dr. Grifo was walking around and every time he passed by he uttered reassuring words of “we’ll be with you soon!” And “soon” did come. I went in and lay down on the surgical table, my knees in stirrups. Dr. Grifo put a catheter into my hand which bloody well hurt. I don’t remember that from last time. The anesthesiologist, Dr. Barillo(??) was a reassuring warm soul as he injected the necessary drugs to make me pass out. I told him that I was over dopey last time, and he reassured me that he would monitor everything minute-to-minute. Within seeming seconds, I passed out, and before I knew it, I heard Dr. Grifo say to his team that 7 eggs had been extracted and I was taken to the recovery area.

I woke up quickly this time and wanted to be up and about straight away. I was given Graham crackers and apple juice by a lovely British nurse who called me “darling”. I was gradually elevated to an arm chair and then taken to the bathroom before having my catheter removed and given instructions to dress and go home. My friend was waiting for me in the waiting area and we headed out for Indian food.

I felt remarkably well after the extraction. I, perhaps, should have slept, but I ended up spending much of the afternoon doing a little work for my job and then watching a replay of the Oscars. I finally hit the sack after midnight and awoke rather refreshed and feeling positive.

Late morning, I finally got the call from NYU where they told me 3 eggs had been frozen. Not as many as I would have liked, but certainly not the disaster I was expecting. So as of now, I have 6 mature eggs and 1 less mature egg banked. 7 in total. That’s not terrible. So now, my next question is, do I redraw money from my home loan and do it all again while I can? What I’m learning is that, no matter what my regimen is, I have generated about 7 follicles every single cycle, with 3 making it to maturity. This includes 7 follicles that were visible in my first canceled cycle. So chances are, if I go through this again, I’ll probably generate about the same – not many, but there always seem to be eggs in every follicle. Thoughts anyone?

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Cycle 2 Day 12

Tomorrow is the day! I went for my last check this morning at NYU and will head there again for the extraction tomorrow. I used to call it “surgery” but really it is just a rather invasive needle situation. Their need for local anesthesia plus sedation is probably overkill, but that’s the procedure they use at NYU and I guess it prevents me, the patient, from dealing with the trauma of experiencing someone going right in there to get shit from internal organs. Yikes! 

My estrogen level yesterday was in the 2300 range indicating continued elevation of the right hormones for the eggs. The trigger shot will obviously help the release of the eggs in time for the extraction tomorrow. Dr. Grifo will be conducting the extraction so I’m pleased he will be the one to take care of me. In the meantime, I have to try to remember to not eat or drink after midnight tonight. And given how dry NYC apartments can be, my dreams of dying of thirst in the desert may be more extreme than usual. I’m going to pump that humidifier as hard as it will go tonight!

I really have to thank you all dear readers for supporting me on this journey. I will update this blog after tomorrow with the results, but I wanted you to know how much I’ve appreciated feeling cared for by strangers across the world, and all the advice and information I’ve received thus far. I’m definitely going in there tomorrow knowing that you’re there with me in some way. 

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Cycle 2 Day 10 & 11 Marching forward in the face of adversity

I’ve been to NYU twice in the last 2 days. I still have 2 mature-looking follicles, and now it seems, about 4 or 5 immature ones. Basically, in consultation with the doctors, we’ve decided to go ahead with extraction in a couple of days. We hope that at least a couple of the smaller ones will catch up. It seems like a whole lot of money for very little, but I’ve come to the realization that my body is incapable of more. Any future cycle would probably generate the same approximate number if not less. I’m maxed out on the drugs and there’s no place else to go in terms of trying to improve my response to the regimen. Since I basically paid very little for the medications (90% of it was leftovers from another patient who I know) and that is basically all gone now, I don’t see how I could financially afford another cycle in the near future anyway. So it’s now or never. I’ll shoot myself up with 2 Ovidrel trigger shots tonight.

I spent yesterday freaking out about finding a person to pick me up. This whole process leaves one feeling so alone. I think for many of us going through this egg freeze, it’s due to being single.  The feeling of being alone is already heightened, but when one is so single and has no family in this city, let alone country, then the feeling of alone-ness is even greater still. I very quickly found someone though, but not before an hour or so of serious self-pity.

In the midst of all this medical stress, I also have an abundance of other stressors. I just realized that the lease I signed for my current apartment meant it was not rent stabilized after all and rent could go up to as high as $900 more per month than I’m currently paying in a year’s time. Talk about my inability to read the fine print! What’s more, work is completely overwhelming. I have 2 lectures to write in the next week or so and other large projects, all with very short deadlines. Too much!

Tonight I’m going to an Oscar viewing party and I’m going to try to remain relaxed and enjoy myself despite the lingering worries hanging above my head. What else can I do but soldier on?

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