Friday, November 23, 2012

Telling my Mom

My Mom has been my biggest supporter on my quest to motherhood. So keeping the fact that IVF #1 was a BFP from her for 5 days was truly challenging.

Her best friend has had a terminal diagnosis of metastisized cancer for almost 6 months and took a horrible turn for the worst on Monday, the same day I found out I was pregnant.

My Mom called me crying, terribly concerned for her friend while H and I were out having our celebratory steak dinner. I tried to reassure her that she's doing a great job as a nurse and best friend looking out for her friend and helping the friends adult children care for their mother. Comfort care is what we are going for at this point because treatment attempts aren't going to work and it's horribly sad to know that the fight is over and the end is nearer than we'd like.

My heart was breaking for my mom, I wanted to tell her "Hey we actually have some great news in the midst of all this shitty stuff happening to you and your friend" but I wanted to make sure my beta would double.

When I got the call that my beta had doubled, my H and I felt a sense of relief and a level of comfort that it would be okay to share with the parents.

Last night H and made our way to my Moms. I knew she'd spent the day in her pajamas just hiding out taking a mental health day since my Dad was upstate hunting. We visited with her for a bit. She was very interested to know if my husband passed his test. (He had just taken a certification test required for his job) He was happy to tell her that he passed, and he got "the big envelope" with the certification and not "the little envelope" with the 'you failed' letter.

When she was done cheering for him I said "and I passed MY test too! I'M PREGNANT!!!" She reacted just like we thought she would. She gasped, said "are you serious" and covered her mouth while the tears started flowing.

We hugged for a long while while tears of joy poured out of her. I didn't full on cry but I teared up a bit. I was so glad we could give her something to look forward to. Then I told her the details that I'd known since Monday, which she was responded with a light, playful slap on the arm telling me to "get out of here".I told her that I found out today that my numbers doubled. I told her what the numbers were and she said that they were great. We told her that if all goes well that the baby would be due July 25, 2013. My H and I told her my crazy story about how I told my H.

It was pretty much the best visit ever. She was so overjoyed for us and I feel more excited now that she knows. We plan to tell the rest of the family at Thanksgiving dinner, including my Dad because he's gone hunting.

Beta #3 will be on Monday, November 19th. The Nurse I spoke with yesterday said that I can expect to come in for twice weekly beta draws until my numbers are 10,000 and that I can schedule an ultrasound for the first week in December. It seems like so far away, but I'm hoping it will fly by with the holiday season upon us.

Telling My Baby Daddy.

Telling my husband the good news was no easy feat.

The original plan was that I was to call him and tell him what the doctors office said. If it was bad news he was going to try to meet me at home and help me down a bottle of wine.

Since it ended up being the best news ever that changed the game a little bit. Once I regained my composure in the car (because no way could I stay at work being the jittery crying mess I was) I decided I didn't want to call him.I didn't want to  miss out on seeing his facial expressions and I wouldn't be able to hug him until hours later when he returned home from work. LAME!

When we began our journey in October 2008, I had grandiose ideas about creative ways I might use to tell my husband that we were pregnant. Once a medical team started intervening in 2010 with Clomid and then onto IUIs, I had pretty much given up on that shit. With this positive pregnancy test result, I saw my opportunity to reclaim my original dreams. So like every 30 year old suburbanite woman, I devised my plan and set out to procure supplies for the surprise at Target.

Once I got to Target I picked up some bibs that said "Worth the Wait" a digital pregnancy test and a copy of "What to Expect When You're Expecting". I also picked up a fancy canned meal "Filet Mignon" flavor for the dog because... the WHOLE family is celebrating tonight!

It was now around 2:30pm and H starts texting me "Anything?"... "Have you heard anything yet?" and I'm stalling him. "No, honey. Haven't heard anything yet."

So when I get home, I put the book, the baby bibs, and the pregnancy test in a bag. I wanted to include the dog in the surprise for my husband and I'd seen a very cute idea on another blog that I follow. I got on the computer and typed up a sign for the dog to wear "I'm gonna be a big brother", but of course asshole wouldn't cooperate wearing the sign very well.

Around 3:30 my husband was going out of his mind with nerves and texting me. I knew I couldn't keep him at bay with texts any longer. I called him up and told him that I had called the doctors office to ask them why I hadn't hear anything yet (keep in mind I've known for like 3 hours at this point). I told him the office had said that the lab courier picking up my blood sample had been in an fender bender accident and they had to wait for another lab courier to pick the specimens up around lunch time. So the office says the specimen lab had just now gotten around to processing the samples. I said that the office said I should hear something around 4 or 4:30. I told him, that I told the office to just wait and call me after 5, so that way he'd be home from work by then and we'd get the news together. My  husband bought the story. This whole nutty story is believable to him because I work at the hospital where the specimens are sent for processing. It's feasible that I'd be able to validate this fender bender story.

So around 5:15 he gets home from work. My heart starts pounding about how I'm going to do this. I begin wrestling with our asshole dog to try and get the sign on him- he was not cooperating. I hear the door open and I say forget it and just hold the dog and sign.

H walks in and was confused for a second, then his jaw hit the floor. I said "I'm pregnant" and he just stood there for a second and then grinned. I could see the wheels start turning that he realized I made that whole stupid story up. He asked how long I'd known and my heart was pounding as I revealed the entirety of my plot to him. He said "ya know, on the way home, I thought just for a second that whole story was bullshit" and he laughed. I called him a sucker and we hugged.

Then we let the dog eat his Filet Mignon Ceaser canned dinner and H took me out for a steak dinner where we grinned at each other like idiots.

So that's the story of how I broke the news to my baby daddy.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

I'm Pregnant!

I am still in shock.

I got the call around 12:55pm and I missed the fucking call!! The one time I wasn't holding my phone in my hand like I did all friggin' day, the doctor called. 15 minutes later I see I have a missed call from the RE office and immediately my heart started racing. I got out of my seat and went to find a private room to listen to the message. I was facilitating new hire orientation today at work, otherwise I might have asked for a personal day for such an occasion. The message was "This is Dr. we have your results, please call the nursing line at xyz number". No discernable happy or sad emotion in his voice.

I call back and am put on hold for what seemed like an eternity but was really only about 3 minutes with some horrid banjo like music which didn't help my blood pressure. Finally the Dr. gets on the phone and I could hear he had a happy tone but he's usually a chipper guy so it didn't really tell me anything.

He said "I have *Pat, *Tami, *Robi, *Rowena (all the nursing staff) with me here and we have your results" I asked with a shaky voice "is it good news?" He said "It is! You're pregnant" I started quietly crying and all I could manage to say was "Holy Shit!!!"  This made them all crack up. The Doctor says "can I quote you on that?" I said "sure" still laughing and crying.

Then through my trembly, crying voice I asked what the Beta HCG number was. He said it was 270 and that my estrogen is almost twice the number that they look for it to be. He said everything looks good. Then he jokingly says "How many we'd put back? 5 or 6?" I said "We did as many as it took for me to have my own TLC show "Me and H plus however many we get". Then he says "Nah, we put in two and they were beautiful".

I wasn't listening to much else he was saying other than I have to go back Thursday for another beta draw. It was like I was having an out of body experience. I've never heard those beautiful words "You're Pregnant!!" before and it's been a long fucking time coming!

4 years of tears, anger, alienation for self preservation, more tears, disappointment, thousands of dollars spent with no results, hours upon hours and doctors appointments, even more tears, strained family relationships, holding your breath when someone starts a sentence with "Wife and I have some..." and finally I've heard those words that I've longed so much to hear. It truly is a miracle.

I realize that I still have a long road of milestones to reach, but for today I am overjoyed and will soak up every moment of this joyous news! I've been in dispair for so long that I will allow myself to celebrate today and deal with Thursday's beta when that time comes.

*names changed to protect innocent nurses that probably don't want their real names in a blog with so many cuss words.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Life's a Puzzle!


 While waiting around during the dreadful 2 week window, something a co-worker said a while ago popped into my head. She said that she had been doing a puzzle after a stressful period because it was "her therapy".

One particularly terribly emotional and tense night this past weekend I suggested to my husband that we go buy a puzzle and work on it to occupy our minds and pass some time. He was really surprised at my suggestion and probably thinking "Hold your horses granny! Where's my young wife?" but he drove us to Target where we found a lovely 2,000 piece puzzle of the sky line of NYC. We basically picked the least ugly, least femmenine one.

We headed home to get to work. 1.5 hours later we had the whole border of this puzzle done and even though it was nearly completed silence while we got to work our moods were remarkably improved. We were able to quiet our fears, doubts and anxiety just by doing a puzzle.

We've been working at it a little bit every night until we get frusterated and the progress has been good.

So to all those going through a stressful or uncertain time I highly recommend you and your partner get to work on a monster size puzzle and save yourselves some therapy co-pays. If nothing else your local Police Department will thank you for the decrease in domestic disturbance calls at your address because you two will have your heads burried in puzzle pieces instead of engaged in a progesterone/lupron/stimming enduced rage-a-thon!  

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Hurry Up And Wait!

My H and I were just discussing last night how last week was jam packed with RE visits and egg retrievals and embryo transfers and update phone calls. Every day there was something IVF related going on. No so much for this week.

That's how it is with infertility whether you're actively trying to conceive the old fashioned way or through assisted reproductive technology. If you're doing it un-medicated it's all about waiting until ovulation and then it's a mad dash get it on and get that egg fertilized. Then you wait for 2 weeks to see if it worked. Hurry up and wait! It's similar with IUI/IVF when your hurrying to start medications and make ultrasound and blood work appointments. You do everything in your or your RE's power to fertilize the shit out of your eggs and then you sit around and wait. Hurry up and wait!

I've had a pretty shitty week and work. I knew it was going to be shitty and was dreading it starting last Thursday. It seems like every hour of this week has dragged on and on. I can't wait for 5pm tomorrow when it'll all be behind me.

I'm so exhausted by the time I get home from work at night. Not sure if that is day light savings time, the stress of work or if  it's because my embryos are becoming babies! I've pretty much been asleep by 9pm every night, so lame!

So it will be a couple weeks more before we find out if this worked or not, but I am so, so hopeful! Just wish I had more to write about on my blog.

One of the crafts I had planned to do while we wait for the time to take a pregnancy test was to make a shadow box of a couple of key artifacts from our wedding. I think I'll have time to do that over the weekend, but we'll see!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Frosties

I'm happy to report we ended up being able to freeze our three remaining blastocysts. The "runt" which had made it to the blastocyst classification didn't make it to freezing. I'm am excited that we have "Frosties" but a little sad that my Super Six is down to a Fantastic Five. That's just par for the course, not everything works out the way we hoped.

In election news, I ended up opting for absentee ballot because the thought of waiting in line with a bunch of strangers with stupid opinions was too much to bear with the wicked side effects of this progesterone I've been feeling. It's a constant state of PMS with the staby, raging anger when it's not the weepy kind of tearful PMS. I've just been trying to keep my mouth shut at home and at work because I'm finding there are many things that I don't have any tolerance for while I'm on these vagina mentos pills.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Here They Are!

I found the most beautiful sight in my email this morning. This is a picture of the two blastocysts we transferred yesterday morning. 



Now let's hope and pray that at least one of them settles in for 9 months to give us our take home baby!


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Embryo Transfer Complete!

We had our embryo transfer this morning. We transferred the best 2 out of the "super six". We got to see them on a TV screen prior to transferring them into the uterus. When the transfer was complete, the Doctor covered me up and said they have a tradition.

He put my hand over my womb, put H's hand on mine. He also put his hand and the Embryologists hand on top of my H's hand and then he said "You've done everything right, taken all your medicine, taken care of yourself and now it's up to God." Then he said "All the fertility gods and goddesses of the universe, please let this be the one".

Then I was wheeled into a prep/recovery area to lay still and rest for 30 minutes. The doctor came in while I was resting and said that the embryos looked great, the transfer went great and he said "You have been through so much, you are a dear, I want you to graduate" and then he kissed my hand. You could definitely feel the optimism in the whole place!

So now we wait for 2 weeks. I've got lots of projects planned to occupy my time and my mind in the evenings once I'm done with bed rest.

I definitely have a tremendous amount of prayers and support from family, friends and even online friends and I'm so grateful and thankful! I'm hoping this is the one that will give us our "take home baby".

Friday, November 2, 2012

Day 3 Fertilization Report

The nurse called yesterday morning with our 3 day fertilization report. My "super six" are indeed rockstars! I had tears of joy in my eyes after getting off the phone with her.

Here's the breakdown:

1@ 8 cells and excellent grade
4@ 8 cells and very good grade
1@ 6 cells and very good grade

My Embryo Transfer is set for Saturday and I'll be on bed/couch potato rest until Monday when I return to work.

We will get an updated 5 day fertilization report when we arrive for the transfer appointment and will decide which embryos to transfer and which to freeze.

Shit's about to get cray up in here! Eek!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Freshmaker




So I'm on progesterone suppositories 3x a day and if I do get pregnant I will continue them until the 10th week of pregnancy. I never knew about this sort of thing until I went to my IVF orientation. The RN went over the what meds I'd be taking and why. I didn't even give it a second though until my discharge instructions from my egg retrieval (ER) were "start the progesterone capsules 3x a day asap".

So after a long nap after discharge from ER I get my box of progesterone capsules and peer into the box. "What the hell"! The progesterone capsule is white and looks like a flippin' Mentos. Mmm. The Freshmaker!

In the box were applicators, I see small packages of capsules but these applicators look weird. So I actually read the instructions. Which are: wash hands, rip open a packet of capsules and put one in the applicator then insert into vagina and shoot way up into your cooter. Repeat at breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Happy Halloween everyone!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Fertilization Report!!

I got the call at 9:30am this morning that out of the 6 eggs retrieved all 6 were mature. Even better ALL 6 fertilized!!!

This is HUGE!!!

I forgot for a moment that it's not about quantity, but about the quality. Yesterday I was bummed we didn't get more eggs out of Lefty, today I'm very thankful that she gave me 6 good eggs that have fertilized. I know that others going through their IVF journey aren't always so lucky to have all the mature eggs fertilize, so today I'm thankful.

I go back to work tomorrow and I know I have more than enough work waiting for me to keep me busy. I'm just trying to occupy my time and mind until Thursday when I get a phone call advising if we will be having a 3 day transfer on Thursday or a 5 day transfer on Saturday.

Here's a good picture from the world wide web depicting what the Embryologist and Doctor look for in embryo development over the next few days.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Happy Egg Retrieval Day!

Today was our Egg Retrieval. H and I got to the clinic at 7am and Marilyn the happy office assistant was very excited to see us. I have never seen such a morning person as Marilyn, she's chipper and welcoming and kept the vagina discussions to a minimum in front of my H (poor guy).

I had to put a gown on and hop on a gurney. Then I had an IV started in my hand which hurt like a bitch. I've never had an IV in the hand before, they usually opt for my arm. Oh well.

I was wheeled into the sterile procedure room at 7:30am and soon had enough of Michael Jackson's "bed time cocktail" of sedation drugs in my system. The last thing I remember is the doctor holding my hand and looking into my eyes telling me they were going to take very good care of me. He's such a great doctor. But by that time I was drifting off to sleep and was kind of like "Ugh let go of my hand, I'm trying to drift of to la-la land here".

My retrieval was completed in less than 30 minutes. I woke up feeling massively uncomfortable, but not too horrible. They gave me some extra strength Tylenol let me sit on the side of the bed for a little while until I was steady enough to get dressed and walk out to the car. It was less of a big deal than I thought it was going to be. I've had a D&C before and I was so drugged after that I couldn't even really walk myself out of the surgery center. This retrieval was nothing like that, thankfully.

I left knowing that they were able to get 6 eggs. I was a little disappointed with that number and became a little more worried as the day progressed. I knew that that on my last u/s I had 8 or 9 follicles that were noteworthy and only 4 were mature. The Dr. came out to tell my H while I was in recovery that they got 6 eggs out of the bigger follices but the 2 smaller follicles basically disappeared and started collapsing in and dissolving so there was nothing to get there.

I know I have the diagnosis of Diminished Ovarian Reserve but I was hoping for Lefty to give me 8 or 9 to work with.

So now we wait for tomorrow's phone call with the Fertility Report from the REs office...





Sunday, October 28, 2012

IVF Care Package!

My Cousin sent me an IVF care package all the way from Dallas! I was so touched by her card and thoughtfulness that I cried while trying to read it out loud to my H. I ended up tossing the card his way saying "just read it". She had done some research online and taken note of what other ladies had said helped them have a successful and calming IVF experience.

In this big ass care package was:
  • 2 boxes of chocolates and chocolate truffles
  • 4 comedy DVDs for my days of bedrest(My Cousin Vinny, Caddyshack, National Lampoon Vacation, Forgetting Sarah Marshall)
  • 3 tins of really awesome smelling body butters
  • 2 pairs of soft, comfy socks
  • Heating Pad
  • Some digestive aids for the retrieval/transfer medications that can "bind you up"
  • Sleep mask
  • Clay face masks
  • and best of all a Boxing Mitt so I can punch that instead of my husband (lol)
While I have been very selective in who I've shared with that we are actually going through IVF, I'm so glad that I have been keeping our immediate family and close friends in the loop about our infertility journey. We have a small army of people praying for us and sending us good vibes and positivity from all across the country and that has made all the difference in the world to me. I'm feeling very grateful and thankful for what I do have in life and shifting the focus away from what I don't yet have.

Oh, and I've already cracked into those chocolates. Please don't tell my husband!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Monitoring Appointment #3

At 8am we went for our third monitoring appointment. The office was a little backed up and you could sense the frustration in the waiting room full of hormonal ladies dressed in bag lady chic attire. I tried not to judge my fellow infertiles but some of them hadn't even brushed their hair and were obviously wearing pajama bottoms. I realize it's 8am on a Saturday and it's suddenly chilly outside,but goodness gracious!  At  the very least you should be brushing your hair if you're going out in public!

This mornings u/s while uncomfortable wasn't as bad as Thursday's u/s. I think this impacted the measurements that the RN came up with. She said she was only showing 3 mature (when she said there had been 4 Thursday) and 4 more on the cusp. She wasn't moving that probe around nearly as thoroughly as she had been two days ago, but all that matters is what they actually get on egg retrieval day.

After we were done, H and I went out to breakfast at a really yummy breakfast place. I ate Eggs Benedict in keeping with the egg theme of the morning. The RN called me back around 2pm with instructions that I'm to stop lovenox, stop the stim shots and only have to do my HCG shot at 9:30 tonight.

Most importantly our egg retrieval will be Monday at 7:30 am! My H and I have to be at the surgery center at 7:00am. I can't believe the day is finally here! I'm really hoping that they get 8 mature, good eggs from me. I'd be so proud of Lefty if she could make that happen for me.

I have to start my antibiotics tomorrow in the am and pm and best news of all I don't have to take a single shot until Thursday. Praise Jesus! Hallelujah!

My legs and stomach are so bruised and sore that it was getting really difficult to have to do three shots a day. Last nights stim shot hurt so bad that I had to poke myself 3 times to get a good spot. I was tired and felt very defeated and the tears started flowing. I hadn't had an injection hurt that bad in the two months I've been doing them. I was bleeding like a bitch from all three of the injection sites and it just wasn't a great moment. The emotions and crying quickly passed though once I finished the shot.

The ovarian cramping has definitely picked up over the past 3 days. Sometimes they stop me in my tracks and take my breath away. Sometimes they have me walking funny and I can pretty much count on not wearing any pants with a big waistband after 7pm, I'm just too bloated by the end of the day. While this all sucks, it's a good indication that the medications are working. It will all be worth it in the end!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Monitoring Appointment #2

This morning was our second monitoring appointment. My husband came with and I'm sure the sight of me ass in the air under a paper sheet is a sight he will relish in for years to come.

The ultrasound was pretty uncomfortable especially when they are rotating that probe around to try and count all the follicles. As I tried to go to my happy place (which is mostly my sarcastic and borderline rude comments that I usually keep to myself) in my head I'm hearing myself say "Excuse me nurse, are you looking for follicles or trying to drill a pilot hole in my cervix? Please go easy on me!"

The RN measured 10 follicles which I'm pretty proud of for having one ovary, diminished ovarian reserve and PCOS. 4 are mature (anything over 12 mm) 4 are between 8 and 10mm and the other 2 might develop into mature in time for the egg retrieval. I'm also now on lovenox, ganirelix  both in the a.m. and still stimming at night. I do feel like a bloated pin cushion but it will be worth it in the end. I go back on Saturday at 8am for another monitoring appointment.

Poor Lefty is so swollen and tender but that little girl is doing her best the make sure I'll be spitting out eggs like Henrietta the Hen come egg retrieval day. B'gawk!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Monitoring Appointment #1

I went for an early morning monitoring appointment and blood draw today. The RN already called me back with instructions to come back on Thursday the 25th for another u/s and blood draw.

This mornings u/s showed that I have 8 follicles and two are leading the pack at 12mm and 10mm. I have four follicles at 8mm, one at 7mm and one at 6mm. I'm hoping they are all magically mature eggs and that I'll have a bounty of awesome, mature eggs to fertilize.

The u/s was so uncomfortable because my ovary usually lays more toward the posterior position and hides near my bootay so they really have to jab and probe that wand around to even find it. I'm sure today was more painful because "lefty" is "tender" right now. I just had to go to my happy place (which is anywhere but on that table with my crotch in the air) and breath through the pain. The best analogy I can compare it to is like taking a serrated knife to the asshole. Not that I know what a knife to the asshole feels like but I imagine it's just as shitty.

I'm anticipating the discomfort/pain gets worse as the ovary is more stimulated. I'm sure it's nothing compared to childbirth but for right now, for me, it's a little much for 7:15am on a Tuesday when you have to go to work and go about your day as if you haven't been harpooned in the vagina.

I just keep reminding myself all you need is one good embryo to hang onto the womb for dear life to have a baby!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Cycle Day 5




Today marks CD5. So far so good. I haven't had any wicked side effects from my "stimming" drugs (stimulating hormones). I have had the urge to urinate a lot more than usual. Today was my first day of feeling tender on the left side (where my ovary is) and feeling that full, bloated feeling you get with PMS. I have a feeling I will be in sweats soon after I get home from work.

I go tomorrow at 7am for a monitoring appointment with blood work and u/s. I'll give another update tomorrow.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Baseline Blood Work and Ultrasound

This morning I went to the clinic for CD2 (cycle day 2) baseline blood work and ultrasound (u/s). The u/s showed that my lining (which is shedding) was at 6mm which is good for a CD2. It should be around 7-12mm. U/s also showed and that I have 7 antral follicles and two small cysts. The cysts come with PCOS territory (I almost always have one) and will need to be monitored as I'm taking the stimulating hormones. I'm not going to worry about those cysts until they tell me I have something to be worried about.

I also had my husband go with me to be my second set of eyes and ears while they taught me how to mix up all my stim shots. A little labor intensive but no bigger than the lovenox needles. I start my injections tonight and continue for at least 10 days. I'm hoping that I won't get a lot of the physical side effects which are nausea, headaches, bloating etc because I'm worried about managing the hormonal and mood swing effects.
I go back next week for another u/s and blood work.

What Are Antral Follicles?
Antral follicles are small follicles (about 2-8 mm in diameter) that we can see - and measure and count - with ultrasound. Antral follicles are also referred to as resting follicles.
Vaginal ultrasound is the best way to accurately assess and count these small structures. In my opinion, the antral follicle counts (along with female age) are by far the best tool that we currently have for estimating ovarian reserve, the expected response to ovarian stimulating drugs, and the chance for successful pregnancy with in vitro fertilization.
Presumably, the number of antral follicles visible on ultrasound is indicative of the relative number of microscopic (and sound asleep) primordial follicles remaining in the ovary. Each primordial follicle contains an immature egg that can potentially develop in the future.
When there are only a few antral follicles visible, there are far fewer eggs remaining as compared to when there are more antrals. As women age, they have less eggs (primordial follicles) remaining and they have fewer antral follicles.
Antral follicle counts are a good predictor of the number of mature follicles that we will be able to stimulate in the woman's ovaries when we give injectable FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) medications that are used for in vitro fertilization.

source

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Meds Arrived!

Well lookie there! The UPS man and my uterus are on the same schedule. After I opened up my giant box of meds I discovered I was spotting. You heard it here first! IVF #1 is on like Donkey Kong!


That medication stash takes up almost all of my kitchen table. It's definitely going to have to be a "let's take this one day at a time" situation because the thought of all of those vials being injected into me is pretty overwhelming.

I had to call the office today to alert them that my period came and I'm waiting for their call back with instructions on what to do next.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I ordered my IVF meds yesterday

It was completely depressing and a little exiting ordering the IVF meds yesterday.

Depressing because I spent $3200.00 before 8am in the hopes of having something most people can do with a $3 bottle of Boones Farm wine and some Bel Biv Devoe playing on the radio.

Exciting because let's get the damn show on the road already.

The meds should arrive today, so I will take a picture of the stash when it arrives.

So now we wait for my period to arrive so we can start the cycle.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Meh.




Since I last blogged, I've had a period and a birthday.  While it was a lovely celebration, now that it's back to reality- I'm struggling emotionally. I'm now 30 and fall into a whole new age bracket on the infertility charts, with decreased odds of getting pregnant.

Why am I struggling? I'm not where I thought I would be in life at age 30 and there is still a lot of uncertainty as to when  or how I will get there.

What else have I been up to? I've been busy with work and using the rest of my energy to resist my very STRONG urge to tell people to go fuck themselves.

I finally spent $25 on a digital ovulation predictor kit (OPK) and I think it's a piece of shit. It had a 500 word PCOS disclaimer on the side of the box essentially stating "because ovulation is so irregular when you have PCOS, the kit may not work." My cheapie OPKs are saying I ovulated but the digital Clear Blue Easy OPK is still saying nothing. Piece of shit. I should've just lit $25 on fire and saved myself the aggravation.

We will find out in a couple weeks if it worked.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Eh.

I started the higher dosage of Lovenox over the weekend. The injections went just okay. Because it's a bigger syringe it's a little more difficult to maneuver because of the extra length on the plunger. The injection site bled upon removal even though I waited a couple seconds after injecting before removing, it also bruised quite a bit. Lovely. Nothing you can't overcome though.

Because I have so many supplies and meds now, I had difficulty finding appropriate storage for everything. I mix the syringes at the kitchen table after wiping and disinfecting my work surface. Storing them in the linen closet where all our other over-the-counter meds are stored wouldn't work because that's on the opposite end of the house and I'm quite lazy. I know I can't commit to hauling all that shit out every couple days when I'm pretending to be a "druggist".

Then it came to me.

We bought a huge entertainment center a couple months ago and it's got all these drawers and cabinets we haven't yet filled. So now it's an entertainment center/medical supply closet. I store my needles, syringes, lovenox syringes and my Costco sized empty pretzel jar which is now a "sharps container" in there.

It's going to be hard to convince someone that a) our house isn't an accredited medical facility and b) the occupants of the house are 35 years of age and below.



Friday, September 7, 2012

"The Druggist"



My follow up appointment with the hematologist was today to go over the results of the thrombophelia panel of tests they ran at my consult. The good news is that the tests reveal that I have Factor V Leiden (DUH) and really nothing else of any significance. I do have a MTHFR mutation but not the version of it that causes miscarriages in pregnant woman, so that's good news.

The results of my timed blood draw last week were not good. My level was .88 and I need to be over 1.0

The doctor explained to me that it's not possible to know right off the bat how much more Lovenox I need to get me to that level, so it's going to be trail and error. I can either be bumped up to 165mg or 180mg. He opted to bump me up to 180mg.

Here's where it gets awesome! Not. 

I was already on the max dose of pre-filled syringes of Lovenox. Doctor explained that the manufacturer of Lovenox doesn't make pre-filled syringes of a higher dosage than 150 mg (thanks a lot assholes) and that I would need to mix my own syringes.He wrote me a script for needles and syringes.

He said that I have to be careful what pharmacy I take my script to because "the druggist" may unknowingly sell me syringes where the needles aren't removable. What the hell is a druggist? I know this doctor is old, but seriously... they are called P-H-A-R-M-A-S-I-S-T-S now.

Although he's still using the term druggist he's a lovely man who clearly knows his shit. I know he's a good doctor because I overheard him on the phone advocating for another patient. He was questioning the other doctor about if he was absolutely sure that their patient didn't have malignant lesions in her lungs, because one of her tests that he was copied on the results for was suspicious and he just wanted to be absolutely positive she was in the clear. Thankfully, it sounded like she was legitimately in the clear.

When I dropped the script off, the "druggist" was questioning the doctors order. According to her, it does carry risk of infection due to the fact we're fucking around with transferring meds into all these extra syringes and needles. She made the helpful suggestion of switching the order to a 30 day supply of 80mg and 100mg pre-filled syringes which does save me about $15 but then I'd have to stab myself TWICE every morning. No fuckin' thanks lady. Easy to suggest when it's not your stomach taking a beating at 7am. I'm sure she was looking out for my well being so I don't get an infection but I buy clearance meat (close to expiration date) every week at the grocery store and drink my milk a couple days past the expiration date, so I think I'll be okay.

The druggist sent me on my way and said she'd call the doctor to clarify. When I came back an hour later, she went over the instructions with me and said "the doctor insisted that you mix your own syringes" and you could tell it pained her to say that. I had to get a tutorial in the pharmacy on how to load all these bigger syringes and again there came that pesky math and my pits started sweating.

I left there with a giant sized plastic grocery bag packed to the gills full of meds, needles and syringes. I feel like such a dilapidated old woman with my grocery bag of shots that it's not even funny.

To keep things fun around here instead of dessert after dinner, we had a syringe filling party. Since I take my shot at 7am seven days a week I wanted to practice tonight so I don't fuck it up tomorrow when I'm waking up in a groggy haze. There is math involved in this process so it causes me some anxiety and I'd like to practice with a clear head.

Here's what my kitchen table looked like:













Wanna come over for some dessert? ;-)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Hello Doctor!

Yesterday as I was hauling ass through the Physician Lounge at work with smoke nearly coming off my briefcase wheels, I looked over to my left and saw my Hematologist watching YouTube videos. I'm hoping they were work related.

I didn't actually say "hi" a) because he's really, really old and I bet he wouldn't have remembered seeing me as a patient 2 weeks ago and b) because I was in an awful big hurry to meet another physician for work stuff. I was so tempted though to pull up my shirt and expose my gut and ask him "am I doing the shots right?" Who doesn't love a bruised scar belly in business casual attire?

Tomorrow is my follow up appointment with the Hematologist to find out if I have any other clotting disorders. I'm hoping they won't take anymore than the regular 6 vials of blood because tomorrow is going to be a long day at work.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Stab on Sister!

So this morning was day 4 of Lovenox shots and day 3 of administering them myself- eek. Never thought I'd have to balls to stab myself every morning @ 7am. The injection site burns for about an hour afterwards, I don't know if that's because it's generic and the formula is a little bit different than the brand name. Nothing ya can't get over.

Yesterday morning when I got up to use the bathroom and take my shot, I heard the LMFAO song, "Shots" again, except my H was playing it on his phone so I could hear it through the bathroom door. It was a pretty funny moment.

I need to call the Hematologists office because I have some questions about the course of treatment, like what day do I have to go for the timed blood draw. A lot of information was thrown at me on Friday and now that I've had time for stuff to sink in, I've got questions.

I will also be calling the RE's office to let them know how the Hematology appointment went. I'm going to tell the nurse that I'm confused about what I should do. I know she can't make the decision for me, but I'm hoping she might have some words of encouragement. Apparently I'm being the need patient, lol.

If I follow the "natural cycle on Lovenox" plan that the Hematologist has just suggested I'll be waiting a full month longer than we had planned to start IVF. We had a plan in place and now with the new information, aren't sure what the hell to do. I've already been waiting 4 years (in October) part of me says "that's long enough". The other part says "What's one more month, if this Lovenox actually works"...

"If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.”- Woody Allen

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Shots. Shots. Shots. Shots-shots-shots. Everybodyyy!



This morning I gave myself  my first Lovenox shot in the gut. I got up at 7am (on a Saturday morning) and went to the kitchen where I had left my shots. Ripped open the package and got down to biz-nass. I'm a big kid now! I had places to go and had to get my morning going.

I was picking up my lil sister to take her down to the Farmers Market so I could help her buy enough Roma tomatoes to feed all of Italy and the Jersey Shore House. She's going to can them. Have fun with all that sista-sis!!

The Farmers Market,- where walking around with a baguette and colorful floral bouquet is a status symbol. Like we are all walking around on the set of a Jennifer Aniston romantic comedy. We didn't get those things but I did see a couple of crunchy granola chicks with uni brows and hairier legs than my husband. Why do they insist on looking like a dude in a sundress. So gross! But it takes all kinds to make the world go round...

An interesting tid bit about the Lovenox, if I didn't have insurance, the meds would've cost $3,066. Um- what? 'scuse me!! I'm on the generic, my co-pay was $10 and with my employee discount at the pharmacy, the total came to $8. Thank you, Jesus. I'm so grateful to have a good job with great insurance. Sure they might not cover anything more than 50% of fertility meds and nothing for IVF, but that's more than a lot of folks get. So I'm just happy to have help from my insurance.

Friday, August 24, 2012

What The Hell Just Happened?

I went for my consult with the Hematologist this morning as recommend by my RE. This was part of my "homework" from the IVF Orientation appointment. As he was wrapping up with us and handing us off to the RN, he said "Hey who's going to be handling the Lovenox issue" and I said "well no one is handling it right now, would that be an OB/GYN"? He suggested I go see the hematology specialist.

I was the youngest patient by far in a very crowded waiting room. The doctor old. I was joking to my H that "this guy is so old he invented hematology." He was very rushed. The office is also an oncology hematology practice so there were a couple of cancer patients waiting for blood work and chemo treatments and then the rest were geriatrics talking about their cardiologists and previous strokes. There were signs all over the place that nicely asked everyone to be patient. Due the nature of oncology hematology, emergencies arise and basically if you were having an emergency or crisis you'd want your doctor right away. Fair enough.

Everyone in the waiting room was very friendly and I quickly figured out that they all see each other frequently for appointments and weekly "timed blood draws".

When I met with the doctor he had a 2nd year resident with him. I cannot escape students anywhere! This doctor is a renowned clotting disorders specialist and I guess he travels around the country speaking on clotting disorders. Kind of cool to have access to him in my "own backyard". We reviewed my history- that I've never had a confirmed pregnancy, that I've known about my Factor V Leiden for 8 years and take my baby aspirin daily. He asked a little bit about any other clotting disorder testing that I've had and I couldnt' recall anything else.

Doctor got quiet and was alternating between blinking a lot and staring at me. I could see the wheels in his mind were turning but he wasn't really saying much. If I hadn't been so versed in doctors appointments and advocating for myself by asking TONS of questions, that appointment wouldn't have gone very well. The doctor does all his talking in his mind until I started asking questions!

Basically what he's suspecting, because he's seen it in similar types of patients like me, that I might have other disorders that won't allow me to get pregnant. He says "What would you think if I told you that you might have a shot at conceiving a baby naturally by taking Lovenox daily?" I said "Then I would take Lovenox (duh)!". He gets up and leaves the room leaving me with the socially awkward Resident.

He comes back w/ a syringe of Lovenox and tells me to come over to him. He says "you're going to take this Lovenox right now and then we're going to do a full panel of blood work." He tells me to pull up my shirt a bit to expose my scar bellied gut. Hope you boys liked the view!!!

He cleaned the area, told me to "pinch an inch" (in my mind I was all "I got more than an inch, dude)". He pushed the needle into the belly and then made me inject the meds. I'm such a puss that I went so slow and he was basically like "just push it all in already". It didn't hurt until after it was over, just a little sting- a little stronger than an IUI drug to the thigh.






Doctor ordered the entire thrombophelia panel plus some additional tests!


When the M.A. started pulling the vacuum tube vials, she was grabbing a lot of vials. I thought maybe she was gathering up tubes for everyone in the blood draw area. Ummm, not so much. She pulled 22 vials and lined them up in the rack. They were all for me (cue the sweaty palms). I took a picture because it's unreal the amount they needed. I was bleeding for 5 minutes straight as she filled all those tubes. I felt light headed and tired when I finally got out of the chair to book my follow up appointment.


 


Then it was down the hall to the blood draw area. It just so happened the draw blood in the chemo area. I had to sit in one of those comfy chairs where folks settle in for chemo. I got a little panicky and then teary eyed as I reflected on how fortunate I am and was 4 years ago when I had ovarian cancer. It was caught early and I didn't need chemo or radiation. It took 20 minutes for the M.A. to come draw my blood because they were so busy and a lot of the staff had the day off.


He put me on daily injections of Lovenox starting immediately. They have to be administered at the same time every day. I go back on September 7th for the results from the 22 vials of blood. I will need to have one of those timed blood draws weekly until the doctor feels my dose is regulated.

My arm hurts now and I've got quite the bruise from giving so much blood and from ripping off the tape. I also had a nice 20 minutes of hives after taking of the tape- but that went away. I guess I'm just too delicate.




















So because this doctor isn't a fertility specialist, I'm taking his "you might have a shot at conceiving naturally" theory with a heaping spoon of salt-not just a grain of salt. His advice today was to "keep injecting myself with Lovenox and grab a bottle of wine and have a hot date with my husband".

This is extremely confusing and disorienting because I've already got my plan of IVF in October and the fertility drugs need to be ordered in early September (and paid for at the time of shipment) so to hear that we might not have to do that is leaving H and uncertain especially because of the cost and all the mental preparations we've already done.

We will see what happens next. Wish me luck tomorrow morning stabbing myself in the stomach.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Baby Rabies

What the hell is Baby Rabies?

Baby Rabies is defined on UrbanDictionary.com as the condition wherin the biological drive to have a baby morphs into a neurotic obsession to have a baby by any means necessary. The obsession consumes the sufferers' thoughts and activities to the exclusion of all else.

I imagine that the condition varies a bit when confounded by the realization you are struggling with infertility.

So after a much needed "ladies night out" to catch up with a good friend last night, I got to thinking about a lot of stuff-some baby related. I suppose the deep fried spread of food we ordered and consumed inhaled will do that to you. It was a pretty tame ladies night with minimal shit talking. No cocktails consumed, just a crap ton of trans fats. Mmmm. We were well behaved.

On my way home from dinner I called my mom just to check in. I ended driving over to my parents house and just chatted with them for a bit. All of a sudden, an overwhelming urge to climb up in the attic came over me. It just took over. It was like like a cross between crazy hormones and some sort of wanna-be motherly instinct took over my body.

You're probably wondering- "what the fuck does this crazy bitch want out of the attic at 9:45pm on a Wednesday night?"

I'm hanging my head low with shame as I type this because I realize it's crazy. Childrens Books. I needed to get up there and  retrieve the 5 boxes of childrens books my Mom had saved for my sister at that very moment.

I turn to my Mom and explain to her that "I'm losing my mind and I was wondering if I can go get my childrens books out of the attic. I think surrounding myself with those memories will be good for my emotional well being."

So at 9:45pm my Mom goes out into the garage with me and I pull down the attic stairs and climb up into that 90 degree, pitch black attic. My Mom says "Honey you are not dressed to go into the attic", although she used nice words, her tone made me think she was really thinking "Hey crazy bitch, why don't cha get down off that ladder and let momma get back to watching her PBS documentary on Polish people".

She was right. I was still wearing my clothes from work- black wedge shoes and my business casual work attire and I had freshly manicured nails- in "whore red" of course. This may deter a sane person, but there was NO stopping me.

My Dad comes out to see what all the commotion is about and he's telling my mom to get down off the ladder that he will help. She explains to him that I "need my story books". I might have been being a little paranoid but it felt kind of like one of those situations when people are just patronizing a crazy person, talking to them in a weird calm voice and backing away slowly so they don't get "shanked" by said crazy person during a potential psychotic episode.

My Mom is deathly afraid of mice and critters So as I'm walking on beams and 2x4s in black wedges, hunched over like some chubby Quasimodo, dodging old Christmas trees, empty flower pots I noticed some mouse droppings. I mention to her in a delicate way that she should probably get down off the ladder because I think there might be things she doesn't like up here. She immediately tensed up, begged me to tell her "it wasn't so" and then retreated down the ladder while trying to contain her screams and hee bee jee bees. The last thing I needed was something scurrying out up there and cause her to jump down 10 feet to her death all because my baby rabies couldn't be contained. At 10pm on a Wednesday night. (shaking my head)

It's so flippin' dark up there and the one light bulb on a string isn't cutting it because I had to maneuver all the way to the opposite corner of the attic. Dad kindly handed me a flashlight and I explained "I'm really sorry but I'm think this is all hormones. Don't worry I'm not pregnant, just going a little crazy"

He said "Oh, I'm not worried." I said "Why 'cuz I'm married?" He said "yeah, and it'd be great". Awww! It's not an episode of "7th Heaven" but that is how "deep, meaningful father-daughter conversations" have always gone in my family.

Once I pass through some other old shit worthy of a hoarders episode, I finally find what I've been searching for! So I start digging through boxes and passing them across the attic to my Dad. Some of the boxes had dead creepy crawlies in them so we took them out of the attic boxes and repackaged them up in newer boxes. Mom helped me carry them to my car. We had a lovely 10 minutes of "Oh!!! Remember this one! I loooooooved this book" except Mom and I were saying that about every book!

It was so dark and hot up there, I was sweating like a beast. In my work clothes. (shaking my head again) I got out four boxes but I didn't find all of the old books I was looking for so maybe I"ll go back up there this weekend during the day so I can get some extra light up there to aid in my search.

But this is just a sneak peak at these gems I uncovered last night:














So I'm back to normal today, but now I'm wondering how I'm going to explain to my husband why there are 4 huge boxes of kids books in our guest room.

Should be an interesting weekend!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Hysteroscopy

I mentioned in my last post that I had some homework to do before our IVF cycle begins. One of those items was a hysteroscopy to get a visual on the lining and structure of uterus. I had my hysteroscopy yesterday and it went seamless.

The cliffs notes version: They fill your baby bag with water and then insert a camera up there to make sure you don't have any barnacles growing in your baby bag. Barnacles are bad and can negatively impact an embryo's ability to implant to achieve pregnancy.

In reality it's kind of like a pap smear. They insert the speculum, find your cervix, clean it off with an iodine soaked giant q-tip and then insert a catheter attached to a small IV bag full of saline. When they start emptying the fluid into the uterus it feels slightly cold- it's just a weird sensation. Then they insert the scope with the camera attached to it (like a colonoscopy). They let me watch on the monitor as the probed around the areas of the uterus looking for anything out of the ordinary. When they conclude the test, they drain out the water and leave you supplies and a pantyliner so you can clean up. This hysteroscopy was a lot more tolerable than the one I had in 2009. I was in and out in less than 15 minutes. I had arranged the rest of the afternoon off work because I wasn't sure what type of pain/discomfort I might have had. I went home to rest for the remainder of the day.

I had a hysterscopy back in 2009 at a different RE's office and that was a fucking disaster. They made me wait in the procedure room clothed only from the waist up for 40 minutes. I was very new on my infertility journey and the new doctor had ordered this test to see why I was having such heavy, irregular periods. I had what I assume was a panic attack during my 40 minute wait. I was shaking and crying with my heart racing a mile a minute. I felt very agitated and like I needed to get the hell out of there. I was getting up to get dressed walk out of that office for good just as the Nurse Practitioner walked in. She was concerned as to why I was crying and I explained that they basically just left me alone in the room with no pants on for 40 minutes. She apologized for being late and explained that a former patient had just brought her baby by to show off to the staff and thank them for everything they had done for her. Excuse me? I almost went through the fucking roof. That was possible the WORST thing they could've said to me as to why they kept me waiting.

The procedure itself took like 30 minutes and the NP wasn't quite sure what she was seeing, they were using a black and white monitor and it looked more like an ultrasound.They called the doctor in and he was all disheveled from finishing up on another case, they said I had a small polyp but no treatment should be needed. I just remember leaking water for hours afterward.

Looking back now after being at this newer, better practice, I realize what a shit show the old place was. I ended up leaving them because they continually brushed off my concerns, were never running on time and the staff was awful. I'd never encountered a more rude, inconsiderate office staff which is absolutely unacceptable in this speciality.

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Meds! Dear God The Meds!



I will be taking a lot of medicine for IVF. It's going to be double the amount of shots we did with IUI. I'll admit I'm DREADING the shots. I'm not as brave as some of my fellow IUI/IVFers. I cannot bring myself to do my own injections- I have an internal meltdown. My husband has a medical background and I'm lucky enough to have him do the dirty work.

Per the Doctor I'll be taking the following medications when we start our IVF cycle in October (in no particular order).

Menopur is a highly purified preparation of naturally derived gonadotropins called hMG. It contains equal amounts of two kinds of hormonal activity: FSH and LH. FSH helps to stimulate egg production, and LH helps the eggs to mature and release (ovulation). Therefore, Menopur is really a combination product. It acts as both a follicle stimulant and an ovulatory stimulant. Menopur is used to help stimulate eggs to mature in women whose ovaries are unable to develop eggs. It is also used in combination with hCG as part of an Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) program. Menopur is unique because of its ultrapure preparation. As such, it can be injected subcutaneously with very little discomfort at the injection site.

Bravelle (Urofollitropin) is a human derived gonadotropin purified from extracted urine of postmenopausal women. It is indicated for the development of multiple follicles during ovulation for patients having assistance in reproduction. It is given with hCG to to cause ovulation in patients unable to ovulate with functional infertility.

HCG- The hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (better known as hCG) is produced during pregnancy. It is made by cells that form the placenta, which nourishes the egg after it has been fertilized and becomes attached to the uterine wall. Levels can first be detected by a blood test about 11 days after conception and about 12 - 14 days after conception by a urine test. In general the hCG levels will double every 72 hours. The level will reach its peak in the first 8 - 11 weeks of pregnancy and then will decline and level off for the remainder of the pregnancy.

Ganirelix is a gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) antagonist. It is indicated for inhibiting premature luteinizing hormone (LH) surges in women undergoing controlled ovarian hyperstimulation with FSH and HCG, followed by subsequent assisted insemination or reproductive technology (ART) procedures. The main advantage of GnRH antagonists versus GnRH agonists (e.g., leuprolide) is that they reduce the required days of fertility drug therapy per cycle from several weeks (3 weeks) to several days, thereby increasing patient convenience. Secondarily, the onset of GnRH antagonists occurs rapidly after drug initiation, and the effects reverse rapidly, allowing pituitary function to return to baseline within about 2 days after discontinuation. Thus, pituitary and hormonal release is essentially normalized at the time of embryo transfer or implantation.

Doxycycline- Antibiotic. For after IVF implantion.

Endometrin- This is a progesterone supository. I have to shoot this up my cooter after the embryos are implanted into the uterus. Oh the joys!

I'm waiting my pre-authorizations to go through my insurance company. I typically have 50% of the price of the medication covered IF my insurance approves a fertility medication. I'm very nervous to learn what my portion of costs for medication are going to be. I am fortunate enough to have even 50% of meds covered, many people are not as fortunate and have zero medical coverage for fertility treatments/drugs.

I leave you with an educational video on the evolution of the ovarian cycle to hlep you understand at which point in the cycle certain hormonoes are naturually produced- or in my case, injected for an IVF cycle.


*Source

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Game Plan

So the consult went well. Spent about 1.5 hours speaking with the doctor and another 1.5 hours speaking with the RN and signing consent forms.

The "talk appointment" with the doctor was productive. We met in his office around a conference table. He said he'd been thinking about my case off an on the night before. That was nice to hear because the typical doctor reads your chart about 30 seconds before walking into the room. It's nice to know that my issues are keeping someone up at night other than myself. The gist: basically I'm "special"! Dr.'s way of nicely framing the fact that I've got one ovary- and she's lazy, deminished ovarian reserve (don't make as many eggs as a normal 29 y/o woman), a blood clotting disorder (higher risk for miscarriage and umbelical cord clots if I do become pregnant) and a history of ovarian cancer that may or may not decide to come back if I start using hard core IVF fertility medications, oh and a partridge in a pear tree.

It's kind of hard to sit there and still be a lovely smiling patient when someone lays out all of your short comings on the table like that. In leiu of crying in front of the doctor and my husband I reassure myself that  "these are the facts". I've got a lot of obstacles to overcome to acheive pregnancy- none of which are in my control, so I defer to Doc's expertise. We discussed what he felt the drug protocol should be. I will be taking a higher dose of the meds (than a typical 29 y/o patient) to stimulate the ovaries to produce a shit ton of eggs. I'll be on a typical cocktail of meds called the Antagonist Protocol. I'm still learning what all this means. When the eggs are retrieved and then fertilized we will be having 1 sperm injected into each egg. This process is called ICSI (ick-see) which stands for Intracytoplasmic sperm injection, this gives each egg the best chance to become fertilized.

The doctor LOVES his Apple products so he showed us on his Ipad, a video of how IVF works. Also took us on a virtual tour of the sterile operating room where eggs are retrieved and implanted as well as the lab where they are fertilzed and hatched. Dr. gave us a hug and a smile when we walked down the hall to the RNs office.

The time we spent with the RN was mostly signing paperwork and learning about what additional tests I needed to complete prior to starting my first IVF cycle. We also got the price list and good lord, it's one thing to know how expensive this is going to be but it's quite another to see all those numbers on paper. I need to also follow up with some specialists regarding the blood clotting disorder.

It was a long appointment and I have a bit of homework to do. Right now H and I are getting all of our financials in order because payment for the cycle is due up front.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Irony




On the day I start my period I get not one, but TWO baby shower invitations in the mail.

One of the moms-to-be I haven't spoken to in over a year so I don't think I'll be putting myself through emotional torture of that one. While I'm quite happy for them and they are very fun people we see on occasion, I think I'll just be sending my well wishes in the mail.  If I'm not close enough to you for you to call, text, or email me, I don't see why I'd need to spend the time when it's usually emotionally difficult for me to attend baby related events.

The other shower I am closer with the mom-to-be and know some of the other guests who were invited and I know it's going to be good food, that might be an event worth attending.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

IVF in 4 minutes or less


Here's an IVF tutorial from our friend "Jeeves" again, incase you were wondering what exactly IVF entails.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

IVF Orientation Tomorrow




We have an IVF orientation tomorrow afternoon. I'm half excited that we are finally getting this show on the road after almost 4 years of trying to conceive (TTC). The other half of me is sad, and grieving that we've gotten to this point and all of the fear that comes with the unknown. Will I go absolutely bat-shit-crayzee if cycles 1 & 2 don't work? What if my dream of becoming a mother is finally achieved? I've just got to put on my big girl panties, bring my "big limit/low interest rate credit card" and show up the appointment and see what my future holds.

Despite YEARS of hoping we'd be like those other "miracle couples" EVERYONE loves to talk about where they found out they were pregnant right BEFORE they were going to do IVF, that's not us. Unfortunately.(If you are guilty of telling such a story- I know you're trying to help but those stories are about 2% helpful to infertiles) Because I'm still an aspiring optimist, I say "great for those fictitious couples and their bank accounts."

I also struggle with the fact that my religion basically deems IVF a sin. I'm conflicted why god would've given man the knowledge to invent and develop Reproductive Medicine only to say "Hell no- you sinning bastards! You can't do that or you'll burn in hell." I don't accept the argument that I should just naturally be okay with adoption. It's a biological instinct to want to procreate. Just because my body is acting like a lazy-bitch piece of shit, doesn't mean that I cannot be a mother.

Adoption is a whole other blog post. Here's the cliff's notes version: People are fucking idiots! They think you can just go put your name in at the "Acme Adoption Agency" and put a down payment on a "white baby". The reality is that the journey of building a family through adoption is just as financially and emotionally draining. What the stupid peanut gallery doesn't bother to inform themselves about is the typical cost of a domestic (U.S.) adoption is $30,000 and the process of being deemed fit to be put on a list of  "perspective parents" can take up to 18 months. There are many variables-Birth moms can change their mind even after you've paid your money; you may never be selected by a birth mom to raise her child. If you do get your baby/child you can depend on the Court System to fuck it all up and drag out adoption hearings etc. Then maybe 12 months after you get a baby/child they court will officially recognize you as a parent on paper. Obviously I've listed a worst case scenario- many adoptions don't have these road blocks and obstacles, but some do. I'm open to it but it seems like just the same amount of risk and potential heartache and I'm just not willing to take that on without trying for a biological child.

Back to the title of the post...You might be wondering what the hell IVF orientation is. All I know is that both of us have to be there to go over "IVF 101", sign consent forms, discuss a plan of how many embryos to implant, discuss our ethical and moral stance on if we want to freeze any eggs or embryos we might have left over and to discuss time frame and protocol for when we want to start "cycling" (doing the medicine/hormone shots). I'll be sure to come back and let you know how it goes.


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

IUI in 3 minutes or less

My British friend Jeeves will narrate this helpful illustration for you! He's not as sarcastic as I, so I apologize in advance.

Monday, August 6, 2012

An Insemination "Date"



The IUI process is interesting to me. It has all the components of a natural way to conceive just in a mixed up order. (And yes. That is a picture of sperm swimming toward an egg. You are welcome.)

Let's say you're a normal person setting out on your trying to conceive journey. You might plan a big date night when you know your ovulating, perhaps go to dinner,have some drinks to relax and then head home and get it on. So bottom line there's a meal and some hopeful ejaculation involved, but not at the same time. After your done banging it out you'll probably lay and cuddle and talk for a bit about your hopes and dreams and cross your fingers that it worked and you'll be pregnant in 14 days. This would be the optimal outcome.

Now let's say you're an infertile person or someone who's struggling to conceive and are now under the care of an RE. You opt to do a medicated back to back IUI. You start your period- which sucks because that means that you didn't conceive last month. You go to the RE on cycle day 3 when you're still bleeding like a stuck pig which is reason enough for no one to go near your lady bits.However the doctor wants you to come in so they can draw blood from your arm and have you get the dildo wand vag-cam ultrasound up your vag while you're still heavily bleeding from your period. How lovely.

So after the nurses hose down (not really) the mess you've made in their ultrasound room they call you to tell you to start your injectible fertility med shots that night. But wait- your insurance company (CVS Caremark) has fucked you over and they would like to take 10 business days to mail your medicine even when they know you need to start taking it tonight. So you cry calling around to several pharmacies and no one carries your shots. So then you call the doctors office back crying, they take pitty on you and give you leftover shots that have been donated to them by patients no longer cycling and tell you to bring in the meds CVS will mail you after it's all too late. You'd also we crying because you're paying thousands of dollars out of pocket for this medication.

After you've done your injections for 8-12 days with doctors visits for trans vaginal ultrasounds and blood work every other day, you might finally have some mature enough eggs (16-22mm) and the RN announces you can take your Ovidrel trigger shot tonight (to induce ovulation). At this point you've paid hundreds of dollars for the blood work (not too expensive) and ultrasounds ($200-300 a pop)

The next morning you and your partner/spouse would come into the clinic sometimes as early as 7am. Our first IUI's mostly ended up being on the weekends (Costs $80 extra) so it was nice to be able to take it easy for the rest of the day when we had to be up so early out an about to the clinic on a Saturday morning. The spouse goes in first to an exam room and does their thing to generate the sample. Then you can leave and go out to breakfast at a nice cafe and have the whole place to ourselves while the sample is prepared. Preparing the sample entails putting it through a "wash" to get rid of the sperm with 2 heads, the ones that don't swim or the ones that swim sideways. The finished product you end up with super concentrated with only the best of the best swimmers.

You come back in 1.5 hours to be inseminated. They invite you into the exam room where you put your feet in the stirrups, then they insert a speculum. Once the speculum is in (the worst part in my opinion) they then insert a catheter full of the concentrated swimmers just inside the uterus and inject the "baby batter". All that in less than 3 minutes. Then they remove the speculum, flip something on the table to make your hips elevate so your womb is tilted back to give the sperm an advantage. They cover you up with the paper sheet, turn the lights down low, turn on some relaxing music and set a time for 10 minutes. They then go fetch your spouse from the waiting room to come in and wait with you.

During the 10 minute "afterglow" as we called it. We'd hold hands and say a prayer hoping this would be "the one" and then we'd talk about what we had to do that day, or tell a joke. The timer would ring and I'd get dressed and we'd head out to the front desk. We'd pay our $700 (for two IUIs) and some odd dollars and go about our business, until tomorrow, when we do it ALL over again, because these are back to back IUIs. It's basically a chance to douse the shit out of your eggs with two batches of super concentrated swimmers.

Then you'd go home and wait for 14 days. If you're anything like me, on the 14th day just as you'd convinced yourself that "this has to be it!!" you'll go to the bathroom and discover you bitch period waited until the very last second to show her stupid head and you just wasted $1,500. Usually I had medicine left over- enough to get me through another IUI so in total our 4 attempts cost us almost $8,000, but hey like I said at the beginning- at least I got "laid" and didn't have to do any of the work. I also got a couple meals out if it!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

"How Come Infertile People Can't Sleep In?"

Yesterday as we awoke very early to book it on over to the RE (Reproductive Endocrinologist or Fertility Doctor) in the wind and snow, my Husband says to me "how come infertile people can't sleep in on the weekends?" I said "Good question, honey!" then I friggin' slipped coming out of the parking garage and nearly broke my damn neck. I wonder if I could've gotten an upgrade to a free IVF cycle for my trouble...

These are the moments in our journey that make me smirk about my friends who bitch on facebook that their kids get them up so early- "doesn't baby know it's SATURDAY!???" My mental reply to that is "No, it's a fucking baby (or kid)! They don't know shit other than they are DONE sleeping". Then I usually block their status updates until my annoyance fades and I realize I'm becoming a bitch and need to stop. Then I unblock them until I get annoyed again. Vicious cycle.

Even though I don't have children I too have to get my ass out of bed at 6:30 am on Saturday and Sunday mornings to look presentable so I can  pay $840.00 to have my vagina poked and prodded at in hopes that later I'll be able to be like ALL of my friends and complain that my kid woke me up at 6am to play. Only difference is I don't complain about it on facebook, I'm apparently an attention whore that needs a whole blog dedicated to her whining!