Friday, October 14, 2011

The Lasagna in the Freezer

Doing a frozen cycle is a little bizarre. It's surreal, because our embryos already exist. There is nothing I have to do for egg quality's sake--it's already done. Bryce can booze it up and go bike riding and wear tighty-whities if he so chooses because his part was done in July. It's so weird! It's like our babies are a lasagna in the freezer--all we have to do is preheat my oven and pop 'em in (and hope that somehow a vortex doesn't open in the oven and they disappear...that's where the analogy falls apart a bit).

I am sort of at a loss with this cycle, because I've never done one before. I consider myself somewhat of an amateur expert at the IVF process for fresh cycles--having done three of them and done a ton of research to be prepared for each eventuality (and unfortunately experiencing a few eventualities that I'd rather have passed on, thankyouverymuch). But a frozen? I am not as knowledgeable. Mostly because we never thought we'd get a frozen cycle in the works. Why research that when the first two IVFs didn't produce any embryos that could be frozen? And then with the last cycle, we had our embryos frozen but were so sure we'd be pregnant (we were) and that we wouldn't need them (but we do) that I didn't look into it then, either. So now that our little freezie pop babylings are up on deck, I'm feeling a little lost.

Here's what I do know. It starts like a regular cycle protocol for me, where you go on Pill first to sync up your cycle with the lab schedule. Then, unfortunately for me, the Lupron starts. I am so sad that there is no alternative to Lupron for a frozen. (You can do a "natural" frozen cycle with no meds, but seeing as how my system is so collossally dysfunctional that is just not an option. My hormones need tight controls! My body is not to be trusted with itself!) So, back to the fake-menopause nightmare for me. After a while on the Lupron, when I'm nice and suppressed and my body's control (ha) is relinquished, I start injecting estrogen. Which, sadly, is intramuscular (butt shot) but is not as nasty as the progesterone in oil shots, so I've been told. It's a small amount to be injected and it's only injected every 3 days, so that's not so bad. After a while on that (I really don't have a clear idea of how many days), we do a lining check to see if the estrogen has plumped me up and made a nice home for the freezie pops, I quit Lupron, start the awful progesterone in oil butt shots in addition to the estrogen, and then I go in for the transfer! Our beautiful blasts are thawed the day of transfer I think, and then they get their glamour shots so we can see what we've got in our oven. Then we wait, and test. That's it! No ovarian stimulation, no risk of hyperstimulation, no surgery, no anesthesia that makes me loopy, just a baby deposit made with a catheter into my cushy uterus. It's incredibly surreal.

One of the reasons why it's surreal is because technically, these babylings were conceived in August. But they go in my uterus sometime before the holidays, and so will be born sometime in the summer if they manage to stick around. So even though logically they don't start the age count until they actually implant, they will be older than they seem. Sort of. It really screws with your mind if you think about it too much.

We have been nervous about the frozen cycle, because in the limited reading I have done on the topic, the success rates aren't usually as high as a fresh. I read on average they are around 20% or so. But then, we found out that at our clinic it can be as high as 45-50%! They only freeze primo, primo embryos. So they have lower rates of embryos frozen, but much higher success with the procedures they actually do. It has to be a robust, extraordinarily beautiful embryo to freeze. Because of those strict quality controls, they lose very, very few embryos in the thawing process and they enjoy wicked high pregnancy rates. Looking at those statistics, I actually have a higher chance of getting pregnant with a frozen than a fresh. And I got pregnant with our last fresh--it just didn't choose the best place to land. That's the other thing I read--you are more likely to get pregnant with a frozen if you got pregnant from the fresh cycle. Not by a lot, but enough to make me feel better about it. Although I know a handful of people who got pregnant from a frozen after failing the fresh, too. So frozens definitely can work!

I think I've decided to keep my research to a minimum for this frozen go-round. Sometimes I can go a little overboard (who, me?) and overdo it when it comes to information. I can stress myself out. I can be a bit of a control freak. For this cycle, I am going to truly let go. I mean it. I will do my acupuncture and maya massage and yoga to prepare, but I'm not going to stress about it. I'm not going to go crazy. (I say this now, but when the time comes I am going to need people to remind me that I said I'm not going to go crazy this time. Way, way easier said than done!) I hope that we are looking at our last cycle, for now at least. Although it would be really cool if we had two blasts and got pregnant with-twins, and could wave buh-bye to this whole rigamarole. We've never done a blastocyst transfer before--they've all been Day 3. It's so exciting to do something new. And terrifying. But mostly exciting.

Here's hoping that our lasagna in the freezer makes it through the baking!

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