The Trust Exercise (aka Delestrogen)

The Trust Exercise: You know the drill.. One person stands with arms crossed and blind-folded.  A second person stands directly behind with arms outstretched ready to make the catch.  Hubby and I did this exercise once.  He’s a bit bigger than me so I thought I would immediately fall into his strong arms.  On my first attempt, though, my instinct told me to take a step back.  I didn’t even think about it – my feet just started stumbling as I fell.  The second time around, I had to tell myself that he was there ready to catch me.  Then I made the decision to fall.  He caught me.  Simple as that.  Then we switched places.  Same thing happened with him.. he stumbled on the first attempt, then on the second attempt he simply fell – it was a bit of a challenge for me but I caught him.

Today’s trust exercise was a bit different – with the same result.  Today was my first intramuscular shot of Delestrogen.  This new medicine will help my body get ready for my FET (Frozen Embryo Transfer).  It will help in building a healthy lining to welcome the little embryo(s).  All the fluff aside, the instructions called for my husband to inject what looks like a 2″ needle into the top of my hind quarters.  There is nothing pretty about this needle.  But for those of you who will be taking this injection, I will spare you the details and give you some tips later.

In preparation for this shot, we read the instructions together.  We thought it was no big deal. At this point, we’ve done dozens of injections – having daily shots of Gonal F/Menopur & Lupron.  We pulled out the necessary supplies.  Then, when we found the needle that connects with the syringe, we both paused.  This was supposed to go where???  My husband somehow hyped himself up to do it but I wasn’t ready.  When I was ready he hesitated.  We carried on for about 3 minutes then I finally grabbed a pillow and closed my eyes.  He injected the delestrogen and it was over. It hurt… yes, it did.  But we did it!

This was our trust exercise. I couldn’t… WOULDN’T go through this if I didn’t trust my husband.  And he made this most frightening experience a little better because he was talking the fear out of me the whole time.

So, here are my tips… ice it! I didn’t ice the injection site because I break out in hives when my skin has contact with cold things.  But Ice It for about 5 min before you inject, it will make your life so much easier.  For me, I gave myself a pinch.  I usually do this before getting blood taken to direct my attention to a different area of pain while I get injected.  Lay on your side or flat on your face so your muscles are relaxed. Finally, don’t sit down for about 30 min.  I did this after my shot and it hurt badly.  Instead give yourself a bit of time to relax, watch TV or read a magazine to pass the time 🙂

Well, there you go.  After a month of birth control & 2 weeks lupron, I’m finally on a new page in my IVF cycle.  Just a step closer to transfer day!

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”

 

 

FET CD4

What a whirlwind weekend we had! My husband’s birthday is this Wed and I surprised him with a spontaneous trip to New York for the weekend.  It was SO much fun, yet SO exhausting… I’m glad to be back in quiet, go-at-your-own-pace, warm, sunny Florida.

While we were there, we went to a spot called “40/40 Club” which was awesome.  Great music, good service, nice atmosphere. This gorgeous chandelier surprisingly reminded me of little sperms surrounding an egg…. or that must be IVF-Brain talking..

ImageAnyway, I had my ultrasound/bloodwork done for Cycle Day 4. Initially, it was planned for last week, but I ended up canceling because I realized I wasn’t in full-flow mode (which is required for a CD 1). The problem of having Luteal Phase Defect (link courtesy of WebMD) is I can start spotting right after ovulation if I don’t take progesterone!

So, everything looked nice and calm during my ultrasound. BUT my estrogen level was a bit too high (104) so she’s putting me back on birth control for 2 weeks. 2………..     longgg……..     weeeeks….

Meds were already delivered last week. I’m almost ready to start the second phase of IVF: My FET (Frozen Embryo Transfer)

 

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……

Day 1 (Post Retrieval)

I prayed over our little embryos last night.

I couldn’t sleep, not sure if it was the cramping, vicodin (which should have knocked me out, right?), or just soaking in the process that’s taking place.  Nevertheless, I prayed.  I don’t really know what happens to the other embryos, say, if we have a positive the first or even second round.  Do we just keep them forever and ever?  Can we donate them?  We weren’t too keen on giving them up for research. So, I just prayed for God to watch over them all. As far as I know, they are all babies-in-the-making.

The nurse called me this morning and said of the 13 eggs, 8 fertilized.  We have 8 little ones, as of yet.  The pre-op paperwork said they’d call on Day 1 (today), Day 3, then Day 5.  But since we’re heading into the weekend, our next call will be Monday (hopefully)!  That’s just too long to wait!  I’ll just keep praying… for a healthy baby, or maybe 2. This is our first IVF and I’ve read other blogs of 2nd, 3rd, 6th, 8th IVF’s… so I’m still cautious.  I prayed for you fellow IVF-ers too this morning.

Until Monday, Have a great weekend!  Oh yes… and another thing, the nurse did say I could have a glass of wine. So, party, I will!

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** 🙂