First Appointment for Next Embryo Transfer
After 5 embryo transfers, negative tests, positive tests, a miscarriage, and an embryo not surviving a thaw, I thought I had experienced most of what could happen with going through IVF. However, I had my saline-infused ultrasound (SIS) this week to make sure my uterus was ready to transfer our next embryo. I've never had any findings during this ultrasound, however this time they found several polyps. The nurse practitioner performed the SIS, and after finding these polyps, had had to check with Dr. Griffin to see how he wanted to proceed. I received a phone call later that day, where the super sweet and compassionate nurse, gave me the "bad news", that Dr. Griffin wanted to me to have surgery and have the polyps removed prior to moving on with the transfer. Therefore, this cycle was "cancelled".
Dr. Griffin was not able to get me in for the surgery until October, so a referral was placed to my OBGYN to see if she could perform the surgery sooner. Dr. Foster, my OBGYN, was able to perform my surgery next Wednesday! I went ahead and scheduled the appointment, however after much discussion with my husband and prayer, I decided to wait for the surgery. My insurance fiscal year starts October 1, and my surgery would be August 19th. I have met very little of my deductible and would be paying at least $2500 for the surgery. If I would wait just 6 more weeks, then I could have the surgery, hopefully, in the same insurance fiscal year as having a baby and it would save us thousands of dollars. Since we will be paying about $4000 - $5000 for the transfer, we decided it would be best to wait and try to save some money by holding off on the surgery a few more weeks.
In my clinic, where I am sure most other fertility clinics do the same, they "batch" transfers. This means that they basically do transfers 2 weeks a month to help with their workflow and procedures and must control your period so your cycle fits in properly within this 2 week batching window. I had started birth control 3 weeks prior to "hold my period". So last night, I stopped birth control and will likely start again in a few weeks to "hold my period" for the surgery and transfer. I always hate the thought of taking birth control because of the added hormones and taking birth control when trying to get pregnant just sounds crazy. However, I do understand what fertility clinics need to do.
I also started acupuncture 3 weeks ago to start prepping for our transfer. While I would love to continue to do acupuncture to help with stress, again from a financial standpoint, I will cancel my future appointments until after I have a more definite transfer date.
Uterine polyps are estrogen-sensitive and are basically an overgrowth of cells. Polyps decrease the chances of implantation and increase the risk of miscarriage. I do have endometriosis, which is also estrogen-fed, so when it wasn't a big surprise to me that I found out I had polyps. There are natural ways to help decrease the size or amount of polyps in your uterus, including seed cycling and supplements. It takes about 3 months to see results of these natural approaches. I often feel that since I've already been down the road of IVF, these natural approaches are often not an option. Although I could try seed cycling, focus on decreasing inflammation (which I have already been doing to prepare) and other natural approaches, wait 3 months, have another SIS, the reality is most likely there will still be some polyps still there. I could continue this approach and see if I would be able to "shrink" the polyps to Dr. Griffin's satisfaction to be able to transfer, however I do not want to wait. We have 5 "good quality" embryos and 2 "out of protocol" and Justin and I decided that when we went through IVF again we were going to transfer all of our embryos, no matter how many we had. So I have several transfers to go through. Although they embryos are froze with 30 year old eggs and 35 year old sperm, our bodies are not frozen at those ages! Ha! So we both agree and are at peace with proceeding with Dr. Griffins recommendation and having surgery to remove the polyps to be able to proceed with transfer in a quicker time frame. I did start seed cycling, I figure it won't hurt anything.
There are several different approaches to seed cycling. The basics are to consume various seeds to help bind free estrogen, DHT (the active form of testosterone), boost progesterone levels and testosterone, while controlling estrogen levels. Although research is lacking in this area, several functional medicine providers have found this effective in supporting your hormone levels throughout your menstrual cycle. I love how seed cycling is explained in this blog:
My plan is to consume 1-2 tbsp of ground flax seed and pumpkin seeds during the follicular phase (days 1 through ovulation) and 1-2 tbsp of sesame seeds and sunflower seeds during the luteal phase (after ovulation to the start of your period).
Even if seed cycling doesn't help with my polyps, they are rich in zinc, selenium, and omega-3s, vitamin E, all which will help improve my chances of embryo implanting and help increase the chances of having a healthy baby.
I also will be continuing to limit gluten and added sugars to help control inflammation. I often get the question on how I know these cause inflammation for me....I feel more bloated and more fatigued when I do consume both gluten and added sugars, so therefore I know it is causing some inflammation in my body. I do not complete avoid these, but I do limit to special occasions, to help me feel my best :)
Here is to being patient in the wait over the next few weeks until surgery :)
Love and baby blessings,