I was really hoping that this cycle would be different. That the change in drug protocols would mean a better response to stims. But so far, it just feels like I hopped into a time machine that's taken me back to our first IVF in October.
Today I went in for my first monitoring appointment after 3 nights of max stims (300iu Gonal F, 150iu old nun pee...er, I mean Menopur). After my bloodwork and ultrasound, I met with the nurse to get my results and drugs for the next few nights. It all sounded awfully familiar. The two lead follicles on my left ovary are still there, at 11mm and 10mm. Nothing else is growing. The nurse told me that it's normal for most of the follicles to be small at this point, and we'd have to wait for my bloodwork to come back to see if my estrogen was rising. When this happened last time, I asked what E2 numbers they like to see at this point and the nurse replied somewhere around 400 (over 100 US).
My estrogen came back at 292. That's marginally better than last time, when it was only 220 after 3 days of stims, but it's still not where it should be. Which means that yet again, I'm turning out to be a poor responder. I know it's early days yet and lots can happen, but the fact is there's no room for them to increase my dosage so I just have to hope that things start happening on their own.
Then there's those alleged "lead follicles". On the plus side, neither of them has grown substantially since my baseline ultrasound, so there's still hopefully time for the rest to catch up. But the fact that they haven't grown and don't seem to be pumping out estrogen makes me wonder if they're follicles at all, instead of just empty cysts. Which would drop my number of follicles (and therefore potential eggs) down to 11.
The worst part about all of this is that I'm not super busy at work right now, so I have tons of time to spend on the internet Googling all my numbers and obsessing over this. I'm trying hard to stay positive and not let this get me down, but it honestly feels a little like Groundhog Day and I really don't know if I can handle being cancelled again after 8 days of stims.
At the very least, this whole thing is a good test of my 2013 resolution to not let infertility rule my life. Last cycle after bad monitoring days I just came home after work, plunked my ass on the couch and sulked my way through the evening with a few chocolate treats. Tonight I came home, did a workout (even though I really didn't feel like it) and cooked a healthy stir fry for our dinner. Still waiting for those workout endorphins to kick in, though.
It is what it is, and nothing I can do right now will change what happens. We'll know soon enough.