Did you catch Part 1, where I recapped the down regulation stage?
After having a monitoring scan, to check that my uterine lining was pretty much none existent and there was no activity on my ovaries, stage 2 began.
(Have I mentioned that all these scans I refer to are internal? Yep, that's right folks, more people have seen intimate parts of me throughout this journey than I care to count!)
After 24 days of one injection of buserelin a day, it was time to add a second drug. From April 1st, I had 12 days of "stimming" - that is, stimulating my ovaries to produce lots of follicles. To do this, I used a drug called Menopur, which contains hormones FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) and LH (luteinizing hormone - which usually triggers ovulation). This one took a little more preparation, as I had to mix one vial of liquid with three of powder. It turned out that the enormous needles I'd spent the last few weeks terrified of, were actually for mixing and not injecting. Phew!
After a couple of days of stimming, my energy levels were on their way back up and I started to feel a little bit like my usual self. Believe me, this was a relief! 10 days after I started stimming, I had to go to clinic for a scan to see how my ovaries were responding. At this time, my right ovary had 5 follicles visible, and my left... Well, it shocked me a little bit. My left ovary was already producing 14 follicles! This did explain why my left side was feeling more tender!
Two days later I was back again for a final monitoring scan before booking in for egg collection. By this time, I very much aware that my ovaries had responded well - try to imagine what it would feel like to be carrying a couple of bunches of smallish grapes in your lower abdomen. At this final scan, I had a count of 22 mature follicles (which ranged from 16mm to 24mm in diameter) and they estimated that there was another 10 or so smaller ones.
Responding this well to stimming isn't all good news, as it may appear to be. I was told I was at risk of OHSS, ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, which can be very dangerous and even fatal in severe cases. I would be closely monitored and was given instructions of how to reduce the risk and what to look out for.
|The last injection: hCG|
Saturday 12th April was a big day. I had three injections that day! I had my menopur and buserelin as usual, and then I had to take the hCG "trigger shot" that evening at 9.30pm. The hCG is the hormone that tells the follicles to mature and release the eggs, so the timing of the shot is crucial - it must be 36-38 hours prior to egg collection. Which I will tell you all about next time!
This post originally appeared on my old blog and has been imported to Living for the Victories