RBA FET protocol, no Lupron

After a rather idyllic morning of doing a little painting, baking these insanely good carrot-raisin cookies with four kinds of seeds, and getting ready to go for a walk in the snowy woods, I received my non-Lupron FET protocol from my nurse at RBA.


Little stomach plummet going on here, like you get in a wonky elevator. I’m kind of getting used to my biggest job being taking care of myself and am not looking forward to introducing hormones into my system. In a couple of weeks, I’ll be getting the scratch biopsy. Couple weeks after that, starting estrogen. I’m ready and excited, and also worried. When the worry creeps in, I close my eyes, inhale, and remind myself that this is the next step.

If this doesn’t go the way we are hoping, because we’re in the FEA program, we have to complete 2 cycles in order to get most of our money back. Which would mean choosing another donor, and perhaps trying donor sperm. If we pull out of the program after this FET, we would get only half of the money back. I had memorized this crucial bit of information incorrectly, thinking we’d get charged only a three thousand dollar administrative fee if we pulled out after 1 cycle. DH had remembered, but he hasn’t brought it up because he doesn’t want me to be thinking about that right now. He has said that we can pull out whenever I want to, he doesn’t care about the money, only about my well-being. Before I’d been reminded of the finances (thank you Mrs. McIrish!) I’d been leaning toward pulling out after this FET if it is not successful. But now I’m realizing that if we pull out too soon, we will lose a large chunk of the $ we’d want to put toward adoption.

Ohhhh, whatever. Really—that problem is a problem for another day. I’m letting it go. Otherwise I’m going to feel like a slave to this FEA program, that I have to have more miscarriages in order to “earn” my money back. Ugh. No. Can’t think of it like that.

I am excited and hopeful. I feel connected to the two embryos, and I’m feeling strong and healthy and even happy some days. I have moments of thinking: This is it, this is going to be our time. It almost feels inevitable. Other times, I see the longer, more complicated path stretching out. Either way, I don’t feel unsafe, like I have in the past. Like I’m going to completely lose myself if things don’t turn out the way I want. That sense of safety comes from the security of my relationship and of all I’ve proven to myself about my capacity for self-care.

I hope the hormones don’t mess too much with this equilibrium I’ve got going on. But at least I’ve subtracted Lupron, and the estrogen and progesterone aren’t awful, in terms of side effects, if I remember right.

In case it is helpful to any of you out there, below is the RBA FET protocol, no Lupron. If you are using this as a reference, remember that I went in for Day 3s yesterday, and will go in for monitoring on Day 11. Then will monitor for ovulation. Then get scratch biopsy 7 days after ovulation. With the scratch biopsy, I’ll be taking Z-pack and Flagyl. I’ll start the Vivelle within 3 days of my period. Every protocol is probably a little different, but this will give you some idea:

RBA FET protocol, no Lupron


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  1. Sorry that you remembered it differently – but you are smart to let that go for a bit and not mess with all the ‘what ifs’ You have been doing an amazing job taking care of yourself and you are ready to continue that this cycle – regardless of the outcome!

    Are you doing day 5 blasts again? How many?

    • Yes, transferring 2 blastocysts, the remaining two. One is a Day 5, one is a Day 6, the Day 5 is an early blastocyst and the Day 6 is an expanded blastocyst. He put a number on it—50% chance of success. But I honestly don’t know what I think of numbers any more. I think my chances are greater than that. I’d like to begin the numberless-ness soon, pretty sure I’m going to ask not to know any numbers along the way this time. Does me no good! What ifs are pointless. It’s a bungee jump. Thanks for the support!

      • Numbers and stats are pretty meaningless, especially after a few rounds of this. I always viewed it as 50/50. Because I am either going to get pregnant or I’m not. Unfortunately, I still use that theory when thinking about whether I am going to get my take home babies from this cycle. 50/50. Either I will or I won’t. When in reality, my odds are probably more like 98/2 at this point But that’s what happens after IF.

  2. I’m hoping and wishing and praying that this FET works out and you don’t need to deal with “what ifs”! As for the hormones…the estrogen really beats me up, so I don’t blame you for being concerned, but I hope it is a “walk in the park” for you! XOXO

  3. Wishing you so much luck this cycle!!!

  4. Tess

     /  January 23, 2014

    I though it was interesting they put Medrol in the protocol. I thought Dr. Shapiro was against the use of steroids (prednisone?)

    Best wishes for this upcoming cycle!!!

    • Yeah, it was in the protocol last time, too—you only take it for 5 days or so. I guess this is okay but taking 5-10 mg of prednisone for weeks is not. Thank you for the luck!

  5. Kali

     /  January 23, 2014

    I’m on a drug-free hormone-free month right now–I refused when my clinic “asked” me to get on the pill–at least my doctor backed me up.

    And I too have reached equilibrium that I’m afraid to upset. I will go forward, but as I was warned that it will take a long time for the estrogen from the last FET to clear my system and allow ovulation and a period, I am not going forward anytime in the next few weeks.

    I wouldn’t say I’m happy, but I did turn a corner and I’m not crying or even on the verge of tears most of the time. And I have moments of happiness, and I even catch myself smiling, genuinely. I attribute this mostly to being artificial-hormone-free, and also to REALLY keeping my diet clean, and gluten-free, and very low on dairy, no straight milk. Eating fish a lot also seems to make a noticeable positive difference. I’m afraid of a time when work or travel “force” me to eat these again, and when I’m again injecting myself with hideous doses of hormones. . . but like you said, that’s a worry for another time.

    I am glad you have also reached an equilibrium–I know what you mean. And I also 100% relate to your fear of upsetting it. May we both find that this equilibrium is from the inside, and a permanent part of our character now.

    • Feeling a tad bit of shame as I read your lovely comment….while drinking a glass of red wine! The first glass I’ve had in weeks. But it was a stressful day, including a rejection of our supportive documents for our NYS tax audit (!), jerk at the tax office citing reasons that are not valid. Spoke to our accountant, who is really ticked off and says we must protest. But the anxiety this creates, trying to make sure we send in just the right things, under a strict time limit…am being tested here…no more tests please, no more tests, gah!

      And so: a glass of wine. Or two at the most. Messing up my equilibrium all on my own, thank you. (:

      I’m so glad you are feeling healthier, hon. I love the thought of you smiling genuinely. You are your own best advocate and I admire that about you so much. But yes, it feels so precarious, doesn’t it? Like the least little thing will upset what we’re striving so hard to erect and balance?

      But I was reading about perfectionism. I actually took a quiz—I got a pretty high score, surprise, surprise. So I am also trying to loosen up a little on myself. Am so hard on myself, little dictator in my mind going: You didn’t get up early enough, you didn’t go to yoga, you didn’t meditate. So I try to strike for territory somewhere in between. Like when I make art: I find myself getting really anal about it and feel tension in my shoulders. I’m not enjoying it. That’s when I start letting myself get a little sloppy, and the fun comes back.

      I’ll be reader #1 of your new blog! XOXO

  6. Kali

     /  January 23, 2014

    And I got the directions to my foster care adoption seminar tonight and my equilibrium is off again. I really don’t want to adopt. I want to carry my baby and give birth to it. I loved everything about knowing a life was growing inside of me. . . .

    • You’ll feel your way throught it. Sadly it takes time and lots of heartache, but you’ll feel your way through what you’re comfortable with. Maybe adoption, or fostering, is not going to be for you and that’s perfectly okay! Or maybe you’ll open to it along the way. No pressure. Just try to take it in as it comes.

      • Kali

         /  January 24, 2014

        Yeah it’s not going to be foster care adoption unless I totally run out of money. I am done researching anything but international adoption from one of the few countries still open to single women–I have a connection to that country and it feels ok to check it out.

        But donor egg is hard enough without adding the stress of the adoption process–or even preparing for the adoption process.

        I need my mental and physical health back before anything else.

        I had a half-glass of red wine last night. My equilibrium is off, but I don’t think that’s it. I’m looking for a job and my networking meetings are often discouraging. . .so I’m going to save my strength for THAT search–adoption can wait. I’m already too old for most countries so my options are limited to one or two international possibilities, and domestic or foster care. For now, that’s all I need to know.

        Thank you so much for always responding to us. Sometimes I come just to see if you have–because I don’t know you in real life so these are our conversations :).

        • Yes! It’s like having coffee, except miles apart and facelessly. (: You have got your priorities just right, darlin. Putting your good self first. I keep thinking about that—I want to create life, but I already *have* a life, and I need to take care of that one first. What we are going through is absolutely absurd but if we don’t strive for health through it, then we just make it worse and more torturous. If I find out any more info about international adoption and single women I will send it to you asap—there were a ton of single women at the resolve adoption support group. And you’re right—there just isn’t enough energy to focus on both at once, at least not for me right now, but it is good to at least peek in and see what’s going on down that other route—especially for me, because I am 40, and I will age out of a lot of things very soon. Sometimes I want to curl up into a ball when I think of that.

  7. Good luck on this new cycle… I really hope hard for you. I am so sorry about the FEA program–you must feel hostage, and it broke my heart to read that to get your money back you have to endure more miscarriages (possibly). I hope that is not the case. I know you are taking excellent care of yourself and I hope this FET brings unadulterated, un-caveat-ed joy and not that awful in-between. Also, because you are fabulous and inspiring, I have nominated you for an award.

    • You are so sweet! Thank you so much my dear. I feel sheepish because for some reason I am TERRIBLE at remembering to check my blogger blogs. I am just now going over there to see yours, which is one of my very favorites. Thank you for your kind words, and I hope too that this it. I am done. I need out. If I start to feel like a hostage, it might be possible for me talk my way into a different situation—Dr. Shapiro is a very human doctor and he advocates for his patients, and I know he’d be on my side about the issue. Awards! He he. So nice of you. xoxo


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