Beginning the FET Protocol

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After the egg retrieval procedure, I was given the instruction to phone the office and set up an appointment after the first day of my period so as to begin the next phase on our journey to becoming parents.  As it would happen, my period started on the last day of a mini vacation Daddy Graham and I took to the Adirondacks – and this one has been a doozy.  I can say without hyperbole that this has been the. worst. period. ever. I won’t go into the icky details, but suffice it to say acetaminophen and a heating pad have been my best friends (and Daddy Graham’s back rubs).

Yesterday’s appointment brought the welcome news that I am on track for an estimated frozen embryo transfer (FET) date of August 9.  During the ultrasound, the nurse mentioned that my right ovary was still swollen from the egg retrieval procedure two weeks ago.  She wanted to see the results from my blood panel (Progesterone, TSH, Estradiol, FSH, LH) before giving me a definitive timeline, and if my Progesterone or Estrogen were off then this month’s transfer was in danger of being cancelled.  Thankfully, the numbers came back within the normal range and I will return to the office in a week’s time.

In the interim, I’ve started the FET protocol which entails:

  • Estradiol tablets (2x day), inserted vaginally (to help grow my endometrium lining and keep it thick)
  • Z pak antiobiotics for five days (preventative antibiotic administered anytime they do a procedure with the uterus)
  • Prednisone (2x day) (low dose steroid to help combat inflammation, which is detrimental to implantation)
  • low dose aspirin (1x day) (to help improve blood flow)
  • pre-natal vitamins (which has been on-going since we started this process)

My next appointment will bring another ultrasound and blood panel to see how my lining is progressing.  At that point, I’ll get the next protocol round which will entail progesterone oil shots.  I was also given three optional ‘procedures’ that are all aimed at helping with embryo implantation (text is from my fertility clinic‘s Reproductive Immunology pamphlet):

  1. HCG: HCG uterine wash. The corpus luteum provides the main source of progesterone support. The corpus luteum maintains its activity for 14 days. If an embryo fails to implant and HCG is not secreted, the activity of the corpus luteum will decline. The normal development of pregnancy depends on proper corpus luteum activity. Providing HCG, along with Progesterone, supports the luteal phase in infertility treatments.
  2. Intralipids: Intralipids are a liquid emulsion of fat. It is mainly composed of soybean oil and egg fats. It is similar in effectiveness to IVIG but significantly more affordable for couples who are seeking success after multiple miscarriages. Researchers believe it acts to suppress the body’s natural killer cells and prevent embryo rejection. This is an IV infusion that is performed in our office and generally takes approximately 20-30 minutes. The recommendation is to infuse intralipids before IUI/Egg Retrieval/Embryo Transfer and weekly thereafter to 12-14 weeks gestation.
  3. Acupuncture: My fertility clinic, in it’s east meets west medical philosophy, highly encourages acupuncture for blood flow and fertility before and after the FET procedure.

I know for sure that I want to partake in the acupuncture treatments (and look forward to it!).  The other two Daddy Graham and I are doing more research on, and looking into whether or not insurance will cover them.  In the interim, I am trying to get a lot of rest and eating well.

On a (strange) side note, out of curiosity I slotted my FET date of August 9th into a pregnancy calculator.  As it turns out, the due date if we were to be blessed with a singleton Baby Graham would be April 27 – Daddy Graham’s birthday.  And, if we were to be blessed with twin Baby Grahams, the due date would be April 6 – my birthday.  What are the odds?!?

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