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All roads lead to Victoria...

Posted by Anotherhopeful , 10 February 2012 · 1777 views

estrogen priming ivf cycle changing clinics agonist antagonist conversion cycle
It has been a very long time since I darkened this doorway. I have been blogging on a more public site, but decided to take that blog away from infertility; it is read by family members and friends who are less familiar with these challenges.

For those who were active here back in 2009, you might remember that we struck gold on our second ivf cycle (after a chromosomal miscarriage on ivf #1) and gave birth to twin boys on March 20, 2010. Alex and Jake are doing great and I absolutely love parenthood.

But for reasons that are difficult to understand to many in our family and perhaps here, both DH and I have felt compelled to try to add to our little family, and have been actively trying for # 3 for almost a year.

I completed my first two cycles in Vancouver, and despite the success, the cycles themselves weren't great - follicle development was always scattered and egg/embryo quality appeared poor. I never had more than a 50% fertilization rate and never made it past a day 2 transfer.

When we were gearing up in November/December 2009 to cycle again, a significant thyroid problem was discovered, delaying cycling until May 2011.

It is so interesting how so many of us blame ourselves entirely for our body's response to cycling. There were many things that happened at my old clinic that contributed to my feelings of relative hopelessness and lack of competence - it felt like no one, save my doctor, had much faith in my ability to conceive. Indeed, the other doctors and nurses often made comments (like being told in my orientation that I would never have any embryos to freeze) that made me wonder if I was completely out-to-lunch and our efforts were hopeless.

Cycles 3 and 4 were both terrible. I was offered the same protocol - with tweaks - that had resulted in the pregnancy with my boys. I tried DHEA to ill effect and minor changes to the estrogen priming with no improvement in the evenness of follicle development. I am not going to rehash those cycles here. I did blog a little about them on my wordpress blog. Those entries are now password protected, but anyone from this site who is interested is welcome to read them, the password is "ivf community".

I was shattered after those to BFNs. We were pushing hard financially to cycle in a time when DH's income was well down and I wasn't working. And yet, despite what seemed to be the absolute agreement amongst the docs and nurses at my old clinic that I was poor responder, I didn't believe that this was the best that my body could do.

After casting around a bit, I had a consultation with Dr. Sher in Las Vegas and one with Dr. Hudson in Victoria. Both came to very similar conclusions about the fundamental error in the protocols I had been treated with to date. Finances combined with the wonderful feeling both DH and I had about Dr. Hudson led us on an unlikely path to cycle again in Victoria.

To say that the clinic is Victoria was a breath of fresh and welcome air is absolute understatement. Dr. Hudson is without question the most thoughtful, thorough and brilliant doctor who has ever been involved in my care for any issue. There has never been a moment when I have been in the care of the Victoria Clinic when I haven't known with absolute certainty that he knew and understood my case, and was constantly monitoring progress to made sure that my chances of a pregnancy were maximized. The staff at Victoria are equally amazing and supportive. In particular, the embryologist is wonderful. I had daily discussions with her and she was so helpful, informative and caring. Certainly not the abrupt call from the lab tech at my old clinic with no explanation or support. What a difference.

The new protocol was incredible. Three years after my first cycle, and I produced the best quality eggs, with equal development, in the largest numbers ever. And I am 42 1/2. The stimulation protocol does matter - a lot - please ladies don't ever let anyone tell you otherwise.

In December I produced 9 eggs, 8 of which were mature, 6 of which fertilized normally. On day 3 we transferred 3 beautiful embryos that were rated 17/20 or higher. 2 stayed on in culture and on day 5 one was a 16/20 Blast worth freezing. Remember my history; I had never gotten past a day 2 transfer, and had never had more than a 50% fertilization rate.

Unfortunately, the cycle didn't work out. I had positive pregnancy tests in the 2 - 3 days prior to the HCG beta test, but the line was fading and had vanished by beta day. Beta was 7.

Despite the obvious disappointment, this failed cycle in Victoria strangely healed me. It vindicated my belief that I was not being treated appropriately and my sense that my body could do better. Dr. Hudson didn't try to fit me into a pre-established slot of "what protocol was available for women with my diagnosis". He actually read my file, looked at my results, and used his great experience and scientific understanding to treat ME - not the category into which I might have fallen. Dr. Hudson and the wonderful staff at his clinic didn't give me my sought after third baby - at least not last cycle - but they did restore my sense of myself. At every contact, each and every person treated me with the care and respect you would give to a dear friend or loved one. I never doubted that Dr. Hudson and the clinical coordinators and embryologist were as interested in my success as I was. And I never felt alone.

All roads lead to Victoria.

We are on that road again now. I am in the middle of heavy-duty stims and all is looking well. I will likely have retrieval sometime next week. Financial cost, emotional cost, physical cost - these are all significant - but the sense of healing and wholeness that having treatment at this wonderful clinic has left me with is priceless. My only regret is that we didn't take the road to Victoria much, much sooner.

  • gibasgirl, s00n, Laura1976 and 1 other like this



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silverdollar
Feb 10 2012 05:44 PM
I can relate to so much of what you have written about VFC. I hope this cycle brings you the ultimate outcome of another child. All the best!
    • gibasgirl likes this
I wish you all the best and hope that you are able to add to your family. I wasn't around when you had your twins- that was just the beginning of our journey- but I look forward to following you on this endeavor.
I'm heading out to Victoria next week to VFC. I have not had success yet but i do appreciate they are doing anything and everything possible to try to help me have a baby. Good luck with your cycle!
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mollygirl21
Feb 11 2012 07:33 AM
wow AH - I can really feel the difference in the whole tone of your blog from 'back in the day'. So happy for you and fingers crossed that this cycle works!
FX this cycle is successful for you. I know that the people at VFC will do everything humanly possible to get you to a sticky BFP!

I too am now at VFC and I cannot say one bad thing about them. I think I will have my ER next week as well. I'll be watching for your BFP :-)

Laura
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joyfulintent
Feb 11 2012 02:49 PM
great entry - and glad to hear you are still trying for #3 - I'll have my fingers crossed for you
It's so important to find a doctor you're comfortable with. My wife refers to our current clinic as a boutique and the one where i first donated eggs she calls McDonalds. As she says "mcdonalds is fine if you want/need something made the same way for everyone, but I'd rather go to the restaurant on the corner and have my steak cooked to order".

I'm glad you didn't give up and you listened to your gut. Good luck!
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KennyandFooty
Feb 11 2012 09:34 PM
Wow. I've heard, over and over, such amazing things about Dr. Hudson and the Victoria Fertility Clinic...but wow. Thank you for sharing your experience.

My husband and I currently live in Montreal, QC...but have decided to relocate to Victoria (for many reasons) with the next 24 months. We had sort of said, we will continue to try IVF here until we move...and if we aren't successful...then that will be that. The end.

I just shared your post with my husband...and...if it doesn't work for us here...I think I may take some steps to try to arrange a meeting with Dr. Hudson during a summer visit to Victoria. In many ways...your post has just given us a... a new hope.
Thank you for sharing this. So encouraging! My DH and I are headed to Victoria for a consultation in a couple of weeks. :)
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Anotherhopeful
Feb 12 2012 12:51 AM

I can relate to so much of what you have written about VFC. I hope this cycle brings you the ultimate outcome of another child. All the best!

Silverdollar - thanks so much for your kind wishes. Congratulations on the birth of your little girl! Enjoy every magical moment. All the best and try to sleep whenever you can!
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Anotherhopeful
Feb 12 2012 12:54 AM

I wish you all the best and hope that you are able to add to your family. I wasn't around when you had your twins- that was just the beginning of our journey- but I look forward to following you on this endeavor.

Thank you for your kind wishes! Hope that these last weeks of your pregnancy are restful and wonderful! Will look forward to seeing your announcement. Take good care of yourself and all the best!
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Anotherhopeful
Feb 12 2012 12:56 AM

I'm heading out to Victoria next week to VFC. I have not had success yet but i do appreciate they are doing anything and everything possible to try to help me have a baby. Good luck with your cycle!


Yvonne - all the best with your FET! Hoping that your travel to Victoria goes smoothly and that everything is perfect with you and the embryos. All the best and good luck!
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Anotherhopeful
Feb 12 2012 12:58 AM

wow AH - I can really feel the difference in the whole tone of your blog from 'back in the day'. So happy for you and fingers crossed that this cycle works!


Molly - am so excited for you - you are so close now. Hoping that your pregnancy has been wonderful and wishing you all the best in the exciting weeks ahead. Yes, it does all feel different this time; it has been such a good experience in so many ways except the ultimate result. Your courage in dealing with your challenges was part of my inspiration to keep going. All the best to you and your DH!
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Anotherhopeful
Feb 12 2012 01:00 AM

I can relate to so much of what you have written about VFC. I hope this cycle brings you the ultimate outcome of another child. All the best!

Thanks so much silverdollar! Victoria has been wonderful - I wish every clinic offered this kind of experience. Congratulations on the birth of your daughter! Enjoy every magical moment and all the best in the weeks and month and years ahead!
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Anotherhopeful
Feb 12 2012 01:01 AM

I wish you all the best and hope that you are able to add to your family. I wasn't around when you had your twins- that was just the beginning of our journey- but I look forward to following you on this endeavor.

Thank you so much for your best wishes Ames! My best wishes to you in these last weeks of your pregnancy. Hoping you enjoy this magical time and pamper yourself and get as much rest as you can. Wishing you much joy as the magic unfolds in the weeks ahead. All the best!
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Anotherhopeful
Feb 12 2012 01:04 AM

FX this cycle is successful for you. I know that the people at VFC will do everything humanly possible to get you to a sticky BFP!I too am now at VFC and I cannot say one bad thing about them. I think I will have my ER next week as well. I'll be watching for your BFP :-)Laura

Thanks so much Laura - I have my fingers crossed for you too! Hopefully only good things will happen at Victoria next week!!! Take good care of yourself and all the very best in your cycle.
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Anotherhopeful
Feb 12 2012 01:08 AM

great entry - and glad to hear you are still trying for #3 - I'll have my fingers crossed for you

Thank you so much Joyfulintent - I appreciate the support very much. Wishing you all the best in the path ahead; I will watch for your updates and will have my fingers crossed for you. Take very good care of yourself.
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Anotherhopeful
Feb 12 2012 01:12 AM

It's so important to find a doctor you're comfortable with. My wife refers to our current clinic as a boutique and the one where i first donated eggs she calls McDonalds. As she says "mcdonalds is fine if you want/need something made the same way for everyone, but I'd rather go to the restaurant on the corner and have my steak cooked to order".I'm glad you didn't give up and you listened to your gut. Good luck!

This is so true and in some ways hilarious - if only it weren't so true. Your wife is very wise and so right - we all deserved to have the steak cooked to order. Thanks so much for your kind wishes; hope that your journey brings you your heart's desire.
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Anotherhopeful
Feb 12 2012 01:17 AM

Wow. I've heard, over and over, such amazing things about Dr. Hudson and the Victoria Fertility Clinic...but wow. Thank you for sharing your experience. My husband and I currently live in Montreal, QC...but have decided to relocate to Victoria (for many reasons) with the next 24 months. We had sort of said, we will continue to try IVF here until we move...and if we aren't successful...then that will be that. The end.I just shared your post with my husband...and...if it doesn't work for us here...I think I may take some steps to try to arrange a meeting with Dr. Hudson during a summer visit to Victoria. In many ways...your post has just given us a... a new hope.

I am glad that this post might have given you some hope. I was pretty hopeless and casting about when I had my consultation with Dr. Hudson; and it is not that he promised me miracle - just that he really listened, really thought about things, and made both DH and I feel so comfortable. I strongly encourage you to speak to him - he really did make all the difference for me - and the difference in my response has been a revolution. Keep the faith; hang on to your hope. Wishing you all the best in your cycle; may all your dreams come true.
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Anotherhopeful
Feb 12 2012 01:19 AM

Thank you for sharing this. So encouraging! My DH and I are headed to Victoria for a consultation in a couple of weeks. :)

sb2010 - I am glad you found the post encouraging - Victoria is a very special clinic and I am glad that you found your way there. Dr. Hudson really does care and want every single one of his patients to succeed - I hope your consultation goes well and that if it is best for you, that you cycle there and have a a wonderful experience. May all of your dreams come true.

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The Betabase - www.betabase.info/index.phpHuman Reproduction Journal On-Line - http://humrep.oxford...6/9/1861Article on Betas - http://findarticles....16599521/Clinic Websites with great information - http://www.advancedf...ility.ca/Fellow IVFers on the Web - http://stirrup-queen...mlPsychological issues - http://humupd.oxford...ul-ivf/Protocol Descriptions - http://www.fertility...t-ivf-protocol/

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Me: 40, DH: 45, TTC: 2 years, Issue: Male factor (morphology, count, motility and agglutination) and my age

IVF#1: Feb 7/09 Flare Protocol, ER: Feb 20/09 11 eggs, 7 mature, 3 fertilized w/ ICSI, ET: Feb 22, 2009, 1 4 cell A-, 2 2 cell B, no frosties HPT: March 6: BFP, BETA #1: March 9, 2009 - 808, BETA #2: March 16, 2009 - 13,535U/S March 21, 2009 - heartbeat 120, 5 mm! U/S March 31, 2009 - not viable, "missed m/c"; meds April 4; procedure May 20; baby was a girl

IVF #2 - estrogen priming/antagonist - estrogen starts on July 1, CD 3 - July 10 injections start 75ui Repronex, 225ui Puregon; ER - 6 eggs; ET - 3 fertilized, 1 6 cell B+, 1 5 cell B, 1 4 cell B; Beta - August 6

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