Sick Day (IVF)

I’m laying in bed a bit later than usual this morning… Yesterday I had this “fuzzy brain feeling” like I was tipsy… only problem was I wasn’t drinking.  The feeling lasted through the afternoon.  Then this morning I woke up with a headache.  I haven’t done much research on Delestrogen so I couldn’t tell you if it’s the side effects, if I’ve caught a bug, or just plain old stress.  Right now I just feel exhausted to the point where I have bags under my eyes and they look bloodshot.  I’ve had plenty of sleep, way more than usual. I am just tired with a headache.

My coworker called me a few minutes ago.  I confided in her a couple months ago that I would be going through IVF.  So she asked if I was OK.  I explained what I was feeling.  Then she asked me, “are you starting to wonder if it’s all worth it?”

Without hesitation I told her it is totally worth it. Absolutely worth it.

Who else would I go through the pain, sickness, overcoming my fear of needles, betting my future nest egg… who else would I go through this for..  But my own child?

This – All of This – is worth the glimmer of hope that we might be able raise a child that might look like me and act like my husband… or look like him and act like me.. whatever qualities… I don’t mind laying here fuzzy-brained on this perfect cloudy morning.

Lupron (IVF FET) Week 2

Recipe for Crazy

1 pill Birth Control

1 shot Lupron

Take Lupron in the morning and Birth Control in the evening. Everyday, indefinitely.

 

Had another check up.  It has now been a full 5 weeks since egg retrieval.  Our 6 little blastocysts have been patiently waiting for my body to prepare for them.  I’m now on my 4th straight week of birth control and 2nd week of Lupron.

For those of you who have already paid your due diligence on this lupron/birth control cocktail, God bless you.  I’m sure that symptoms are different with each patient, but for me……

I am at my wits end. I have hot flashes like it’s coming from my core.  Then I get cold…. chills cold.  I want to cry at EVERYTHING. I attended a pre-screening of Draft Day yesterday, which was a great movie.  And I CRIED when the Kevin Costner character made his draft pick. I can usually contain a good cry but for some reason I couldn’t.  I feel like my insides (my nerves) are on edge.  I want to cry, scream, sleep… all at the same time. I’m tired, achy, throwing up… and my hair is falling out… is that normal?

It doesn’t help that my boys have picked this very month to have their own teenager problems.  It also doesn’t help that my husband considers every outburst as a “mood swing”. It’s at these very times when I need the support of my family, but on the outside I look “normal” so to them, I’m just crazy. On top of that, my car broke down twice and overheated 3 times.

I had my doctor’s appointment this morning.  My ovaries look better, well rested.  Thank goodness.  But my lining is still a bit thick.  Which means I could be looking at another week (or 2) on this dreaded Lupron cocktail.  I NEED SUPPORT.  Seriously. I don’t want to give up, but this medicine is draining all good things out of me.

Note to My Normal Self: Come back please! I miss you!

P.S. In writing this post, I looked up the word “Patient” (for spell-check purposes) and it came up with various synonyms: enduring, easygoing, tolerant, serene….. None of which describes me, the patient (noun), right now.  Ahh, the double entendre.

Freeze All (IVF FET Cycle)

FREEZE ALL… I should have known….

I remember playing a silly running game in elementary school..  First, everyone stands on one side of the gym.  When the teacher yells “GO”, everyone runs.  When he/she says “FREEZE”, everyone stops.  They keep doing this till someone, the Winner, reaches the other end of the gym.

I would always be somewhere in the middle… not the slowest, and definitely not the fastest.  But I always looked at the finish line on other side of the gym thinking “today, I’m going to be the winner.”  The funny part is when you get to 3-4 steps into it, you start developing a good stride..then they yell “FREEZE” and you MUST freeze or else you’re out of the game.  And only ONLY if you run as fast as you can, and abruptly stop when they yell freeze, you just might have a chance to win.  I can’t remember the name of this game.  But I believe the adult IVF version should be called “Freeze All”.

See, under the suggestion of my IVF doctor, we chose to do a (Part 1) “freeze all” (no immediate transfer), then to a (Part 2) Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET).  The first part went pretty smoothly, rather quickly actually.  Then they told us to wait.  We waited till my next cycle started, then on cycle day 3 (CD3), they did a sonogram/bloodwork.  Based on my results, they put me back on birth control for 2 weeks… to let my ovaries rest.

I’ve been in a pretty good mood… I’ve been patient… Even enjoyed myself a bit while I’ve been on been on this birth control regimen.  But, yesterday I went in for a check up and I have, yet, another week on birth control and they added a nice little dose of Lupron to my daily routine.  So I remain frozen, feet in place, eagerly focused on that finish line…. And our little ones stay frozen.

……Until they say “Go”

 

 

Day 6 Update (6 Little Snowflakes)

I just received a phone call from the nurse who informed me that we have 6 little snowflakes.  We had 4 yesterday, but 2 caught up!  They just needed a little time to grow… So now we have 6.

Coincidentally, my cycle started today.  So I have an appointment tomorrow morning for an ultrasound & bloodwork.  They’ve faxed in my prescription… and here it goes!

Day 5 Blastocysts

I started this post around 9 o’ clock last night… but I was just so exhausted that I closed it and went to sleep.  Waiting can surely take the energy out of you!  We got the call from our nurse around 8:30pm and she gave us the news.. this time she broke it down for us:

Of the 13 eggs retrieved, 9 were mature, they ICSI’d (injected the sperm into the eggs) and 8 fertilized… that’s what we already knew from our Day 1 call.

So, of those 8, 4 were frozen.  She explained that they were B-graded expanded blastocysts.  I tried to ‘google’ what this meant and found this link from the Advanced Fertility website.

The other 4 were given 1 extra day to catch up and we will get our final count this afternoon.

So, we have 4. I’m happy, nervous, excited, and anxious….

We’re not transferring during this cycle, instead my body rest and do an FET (Frozen Embryo Transfer) next cycle… so until then, I’ll be checking for updates on all my fellow blogging buddies!

Happy Tuesday!

 

 

Waiting

One thing we hate doing is waiting.. I don’t think I’m out of the norm when I say this.  We all hate waiting, don’t we?

Reason why I don’t go to Disney World, and if I do, I make sure to utilize their Fast Pass system.  Reason why I use the UPS route system to drive to work – attempting to make more right turns than left. Reason why I request a read receipt when sending important emails so I know the recipient at least received my email before they actually respond. Yes, my impatience can be quite annoying.. but I just hate waiting.

So, it’s now after noon on my side of the world and I have yet to receive a call from the nurse about our 5-day-old embryos.  I did call, but they transferred me to the nurse’s voice mail.  Now, I have nothing more to do than wait……

Egg Retrieval (IVF)

A couple days ago, I asked the nurse if she can tell if a certain season of the year is busier than others.. she shook her head no and said that it’s always busy.  A true indication that infertility is something No One should go through alone.  Chances are a friend, coworker, or neighbor is going through a similar situation…. but because it’s such a sensitive subject, we choose to keep it a private matter.  Understandably so.

I am the same way – the main reason why I blog rather than even attempt to share our infertility story with a lot of people I know in person! Don’t get me wrong, I have shared my story with a select few.  The ones who wouldn’t judge you, ridicule or criticize you, or offer unwanted advice…. True Friends.  And then there is you, the reader, I’ve shared SO much of my private life with all of  you (publicly) through my blog.. there has got to be a term for those who have offered encouragement, great advice, & prayer without even knowing me in person! What do we call each other? “Blogging Buddies” seems just too casual for the stories we share! May I call you my Confidants?

Ok, to the story: my Egg Retrieval experience.  According to the pre-op instructions, I was to do 3 things: douche with vinegar & water last night/this morning, pick up a prescription of Vicodin, and fast starting at midnight.  Instructions #1, & #2 were easy.  However, fasting was a challenge! I was OK with not eating, but the Lupron (trigger shot) caused hot flashes and dry mouth. So I tossed and turned all night wanting a sip of water, but eventually fell asleep.

We arrived at the doctor’s office at 6:45am.. surprisingly there were other people there.  I guess the RE office never sleeps, when their service is dependent on the ever-changing female cycle.  They probably wanted us there early to make sure we wouldn’t be late because they called us back around 7:30am.  They took me to a curtained “waiting room” with a wheeled hospital bed, I got dressed, they gave me one of the prescription Vicodin pills and hooked me up to the IV. First, the antibiotics. Then the doctor and anesthesiologist came out to greet me.  Hubby and I waited a bit then they called me back to the operation room.  (They guided hubby to a private room with a screen so he can watch them retrieve the eggs, pretty cool!) The anesthesiologist knew I was nervous so he quickly gave me the meds to put me in a ‘better mood’ and, boy, the room started spinning, next thing I knew I was back in the curtained “waiting room” with the nurse handing me crackers and juice.  The doctor came in and said they retrieved 13 eggs (very happy about that, because I was expecting 9-10 eggs).  They are using ICSI (when they inject the sperm into the eggs). And they will call me tomorrow to let me know how many fertilized.

Hubby drove us home, I was feeling very woozy and I laid in the bed most of the day.. slept on and off (worked a little.. shhhh, don’t tell). I felt pretty good though the day but started to feel a bit crampy towards the afternoon and needed to take another Vicodin around 3pm.

That’s it! I’ll be sitting by the phone tomorrow for our results 🙂

**Baby Dust to All**

Countdown! (IVF Trigger Shot)

It was starting to feel like Groundhog day… wake up, get dressed, Ganirelix, head to doctor, sonogram, then bloodwork… but guess what… she said it! Those 3 magic words… YOU ARE READY!

I excitedly sent a text to my hubby who immediately called me twice (I was getting bloodwork done so I couldn’t pick up)… WE ARE BOTH EXCITED!

So I got dressed and headed to work.  I took my trigger shot medicine (Lupron) with me this morning, just in case they call and say to take it while I’m at the office.  Since I work about an hour from home, I wanted to make sure I was prepared. For future IVF-ers, Lupron should be taken the exact time they give you.  Not a minute more or less, is what my doctor told me.  This shot tells your body that you are ready to ovulate.  So they give you a time that coincides with your retrieval appointment date/time.  The rest of the day, I had my phone on my hip waiting to hear from the doctor.  The question lingered: What time will I be taking my trigger shot?

I tell ya… waiting for this call was like waiting for a guy to call after a good first date.  Or like waiting to hear if you got the job.  I even called the nurse line to make sure I didn’t miss any calls… Yes, I was a maniac today! But she finally called me at 4pm and asked me to come in to pick up an extra “booster” dose of Follistim and gave me the time for my trigger shot (7:45pm), pre-op appointment tomorrow morning, and retrieval appt time on Wednesday!

It’s really happening.  We’ve waiting 3 years for this.  3 Years of prayer, IUI’s, Alternative therapies, worked on our credit reports, saved money, planned… and we’re finally going through IVF.  I’ve always said, if this doesn’t work, then at least we would know we did everything we knew to do.  But I have a sense of peace about this process.  Still praying, and still cautious.

We shall see 🙂 Pre-Op appt tomorrow!

One More Day (The Injection Woes)

Woke up feeling giddy this morning. I gladly took my shot of ganirelix and proudly cleaned up the empty boxes and trash I no longer needed… I finished my final dose of (follicle stimulating) injections!

We headed out for my sonogram & bloodwork, ready to hear the great news: “Your eggs are ready!” **insert car skidding sound effect here**

Instead we heard the dreaded words: “One… More… Day”.

They sent us off with a Goodie Bag of injectibles (since we were out of inventory). And then we quietly headed off to church.

So, here are my notes: it’s day 10 of injections for me.  My estrogen is 3453, progesterone is 0.7 my top 3 follicles are 17mm, 18mm, and 19mm.. the rest are closely trailing.

Back to the doctor tomorrow morning! Fingers crossed!

Saturday Morning Sonogram

Today is Day 9 of Injections… Gonal F/Menopur and Ganirelix (Which I realize I have been spelling wrong this whole time).

But let me tell you about my week (as far as the IVF part of my life)… With 2 teenage boys, a full-time job and marriage, there is plenty to write about. But IVF is the focus these days.

My phone died.  Like completely died after my Wed morning appointment.  I ordered a replacement phone which came the next day, BUT they needed a signature to leave it. Forcing me to wait until Friday to receive my phone..

That being said, I had no way to access my voice mail (duhhh, I never set it up for remote access).  So, on Wed evening, I called the doctor’s office to get my orders and next appointment time.. piece of cake. On Friday morning I realized I had 1 dose of each injection left that would take me through Saturday but leave me empty for Sunday!  It was a fiasco calling the nurse, leaving a message, waiting for a call back (at my office number)… then when she finally called, her message went something like: “I realize this is your work number, so I don’t want to leave any private info. I’ll leave a message on your cell phone” (which was still dead, waiting to be replaced).  NOTE to IVF-ers: If you need an answer from the nurse, but have a different number for them to call, let them know that they can leave you a voice message with details on that new phone number! (unless you don’t need them to).  By the time I got home to my replacement phone, it was 7pm. Turned out she did advise me to order an extra dose to get me through the weekend… by then it was too late.  Freedom Fertility Pharmacy was not sending out late orders. ….more on that later.

On a positive note, I’ve hired a personal assistant.  A friend of mine who was looking for some extra work agreed to help me out during this process.  We negotiated a fair rate and she is a HUGE help.  I do suggest, if you have a little extra cash, like $10-$12 an hour, it’s pretty nice having someone to help out with stuff you can’t do while you’re at work or while you’re at home exhausted from the constant injections & hormones! She is a God-send!

Ok so we (hubby & I) went in for our Saturday morning sonogram & blood work… I have about 11 (10 on the right and 1 on the left) almost full-sized follicles. Lots of little ones on the left, but they won’t be ready in time.  Lining “looks perfect” (they didn’t give me numbers)… they said my Estrodial levels were good (no numbers, again).  So, I trust that everything’s on the right track…. I was a bit alarmed by the number of follicles!  Boy, do those TTC Websites get us all worked up, don’t they?  I’ve read posts about 20-30 eggs.. when I expressed my concern for the nurse, she said 11 was a great number..  So, the neurotic googler that I am, had to immediately search “IVF 11 follicles” from my cell phone and breathed a sigh of relief that it’s very common to have around 10 follicles (even less) and come out successful! Oh yes, and they had an ’emergency dose’ of Ganirelix to get me through tomorrow morning.. which I will call Freedom Pharmacy to replace refill and replace on Monday. PHEW… all works out in the end.

After our appointment, we went to breakfast at a popular spot called First Watch.  A couple weeks ago, I joined a IVF prep diet program from Miss Conception Coach.  So, instead of my usual scrambled eggs, bacon, & waffles, I ordered a Chicken Pesto Quinoa bowl and it was pretty yummy. I am proud to say I’ve been doing pretty well at keeping to her diet plan.

As far as energy, I’m still tired, but I woke up happy (change from the past 2 weeks).  Maybe it’s the anticipation of being done with the injections.  The nurse did say that Day 9 & 10 seems to be better for “IVF-ers” (what nickname do we call ourselves, anyway?)

I’ve got IVF on my mind! I go in again tomorrow morning for, yet, another sonogram & blood work.  Fingers crossed…. **baby dust to all** 🙂