I had such big plans for regular updates while I was on the road, but clearly that didn't happen. The reasons are many, including limited internet access, being surprisingly busy, writer's block, etc., but were different at different stages along the way. It's only now that I'm back on US soil (as of just a few hours ago) that I have been able to get it together to write an update.
Our trip had four main parts, only one (the last) of which was the IVF cycle. First we visited three destinations in Southeast Asia: one for work, and two to visit friends. Not living in Asia anymore, we just couldn't resist the chance to see some loved ones while we were there. A silver lining of that is that we will have many happy memories of the trip, regardless of the outcome.
Part 4 included work, visits with friends, AND an IVF cycle, so obviously it was the most intense. I had used BCP's to make sure that my period would arrive the day we got to Korea, so we were able to start the cycle right away. Within three days of arrival, I was on stims. In many ways, this was the easiest cycle I've ever done, but in other ways, it was the hardest. The easiest part was that it's so old hat by now, and there were so many distractions that I didn't obsess much at all. The side effects were minimal (headaches, mainly), and being an old fart with tired ovaries, the soreness associated with stimming was minimal. I was really busy aside from appointments, since I was also doing some consulting with my former employer and visiting friends, so despite the fact that we'd flown half-way around the world to do IVF, I didn't actually think about the cycle all that much. Those were the easy parts.
The hard part was that it just didn't work all that well. After four days of stims, there was barely any follicular growth at all. After three more days, only one follicle on each ovary had reached medium size. Three more days resulted in four medium-sized follicles and a bunch of smaller, clearly non-viable follicles. Two days later, the doctor concluded that four was it, and scheduled the retrieval. All of my other cycles were completed in 15-16 days, but in this cycle, the retrieval was on day 17! I'd never heard of such a thing, and am practically gasping with relief that I allowed for a little extra time in the trip scheduling, just in case.
We retrieved two eggs from those four follicles. I had been hoping for four, but fearing zero, so I don't really know what to say about two. It is what it is, I guess. Luckily for me, my RE's office are magicians with gametes and embryos. Both eggs fertilized, and became "good" quality three-day embryos. They were transferred yesterday morning, and then we went to the airport to fly home. Talk about cutting it close!
I don't really know how I feel now. More hopeful than a few days ago, but obviously less hopeful than I was before the cycle started. I guess that the silver lining, if there is one, is that the cycle wasn't the kind that leaves you wanting more, if that makes any sense. At no step did it in any way encourage me to think that if we just tried again, it could work. Obviously it might, but the point of diminishing marginal returns is here. So, I am pretty sure that really was my last IVF cycle (at least with my own eggs). What happens next, I don't know.
I'll do a home pregnancy test on the 29th.