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** 🙂

Dragging – Day 7 of Injections

I am dragging……

Today is Day 7 of Injections.. continuing to do the Gonal F/Menopur mix in the evenings and the Ganirelex in the mornings.  My tummy feels like a pin-cushion.  This morning it hurt more than usual… when I went in for my bloodwork/sonogram the nurse said she has heard that Days 5-8 are the worst for many.  Why? I don’t know.  Right now, I don’t even really care. I would be content to sleep day in and day out for 10 days until retrieval day.

So, yesterday was Day 6 and they measured my follicles.  Though I’ve done several IUI’s I couldn’t tell you what’s normal, what’s not.  I haven’t a clue what some of the acronyms mean.  But the doctor said my lining was good… they usually expect 7 mm and mine was 8.37 mm.  However, since I’m doing “freeze all” then an FET (Frozen Embryo Transfer) next month, it shouldn’t really matter, right?

My right ovary is working like a champ, while my left ovary has little itty bitty follicles that need time to catch up.

Excuse my passiveness… I’m just so exhausted! These meds are just…. making….. me…… SOOooooo…. tired.

Next appointment on Saturday!

I’m Afraid to Cross My Legs (IVF Dilemmas)

So……. I’ve been tracking my IVF Experience on my blog in case any future IVF-ers need a good reference.  Like the others, I’ve been scouring other blogs to get a glimpse into any other IVF experiences. I’m always questioning: Is this normal?  What should I expect? I have pay how much??  And your blogs are always so helpful.  I am hoping this one is contributing to the greater good.. somehow.

I’m on Day 5 of Injections. And I started my Ganirelex this morning.  It’s supposed to tell my body not to ovulate, while it keeps working on the eggs.  But, SHheeeesshhhh is Ganirelex a bi-otch! It burned like crazy for a good 2 hours this morning.  Hubby iced it for me.  I tried to rub it “in” a little. It just would not go away.  I proceeded to go about my morning with a headache and feeling like I was walking in slow motion.  “Is This Normal???”

So now that I’m in Day 5 of Injections, I’m finding myself conscious of my posture.  I want to give my eggs enough breathing room to grow… Anyone laughing at me?  Or do all IVF-ers have these crazy anxieties as they go through the process?  I find myself crossing my legs, out of habit, then uncrossing them because I’m afraid to squoosh, or even worse, pop them!

Anyway, the nurse bumped up my sonogram appointment to tomorrow because I have been spotting the past 2 days (didn’t think it was worth mentioning until today).  So I go in tomorrow.  Stay tuned!

***Baby dust to all***

Day 4 & the Half-Eaten Chocolate Bar

Day 4 of IVF: I’m irritated, exhausted, feel fat….. my hair is flat…… I tried taking a Valentine’s day picture and it was ugly…. I just feel BLAHHH.

I want to lay down all day – but I can’t.  Oh yeah, and at lunch I bought myself TWO Chocolove candy bars… this one is already half-way eaten.. THE Best Candy Bars by the way..My fave is Hazelnut.

Image

I went in for some blood work early this morning – they checked my Estrodial levels, which came back at 487.. not REALLY sure what that means… but she said it’s good.

Tomorrow morning I start my Ganirelix injections which tell my body NOT to ovulate while it continues to work on eggs….  And I feel for my husband to whom I’ve already given so much grief about our first injection debacle. Now he has to give me one in the morning AND one at night! And, giving myself the injections is out of the question, it’s hard enough looking at those needles, I would go crazy giving myself one…

Thursday, I have my first ultrasound. Fingers crossed 🙂

 

Shots! Shots! Shots! (at Club IVF)

I’m back from the Keys!  I took a 3-Day trip to Key West with my work team last week, and it was beautiful. Very relaxing…

20140213_135328

We got to take a little boat ride to Sunset Key – GORGEOUS Scenery Everywhere!20140213_142115One venue provided these little tea bags that spun around while you poured in the hot water.. and strawberry fondue served in mini martini glasses.

One evening they went out for cocktails and I played it off by quietly asking the server for a virgin margaritas… perfect drink for the Keys! Nope, no drinking for me…..

Here at Club IVF, we’re doing shots of Gonal F and Menopur.  And man-oh-man do I feel hungover

Not sure if it’s the Z-Pak they’re making us both take (so we’re bacteria-free for egg retrieval/fertilization) or the injections, or both.  But I’m feeling exhausted, have headaches and a tiny bit nauseous. Tonight will be our 3rd evening of injections…. which I have pretty high hopes for.  Day 1, not so much.  We messed up our first “cocktail” – accidentally mixing the Gonal F with the Sodium Chloride – deeming our first dose of Gonal F void of efficacy.  So there goes 300 IU ($$$$) down the drain. We dialed another 300 IU , mixed it perfectly and injected into a generous pinch of flab in my lower abdomen.

So a Note to Gonal F/Menopur Users: Make sure to check your Monopur Vials to separate the Sodium Chloride from the Menopur before mixing!

And…..I have an early appointment tomorrow morning to check my estrogen level…. Baby Dust to my fellow-IVF-buddies!

How Do You Relax????? And Other Ponderings of IVF

So, this is the WEEK!!!! Yipee! We’ve waited so long for this opportunity and it’s finally here. In Vitro Fertilization (IVF).

So, for those unfamiliar with IVF, here is the gist of what I’ve learned so far:

(Disclaimer: I am not medically certified in any matter…. like I said… planning IVF is like Planning a Wedding, so everyone will have their own set of protocol).

You might have to take birth control for about a month before the actual cycle… I took the full 21-packet with yesterday being my last day on “the pill” (gee, it’s been YEARS since I’ve said that).  On Wednesday, I go in for a sonogram to see if everything looks good in there, and then I start my injections on Friday!  Since we’re doing ICSI, then “freeze all”, then frozen embryo transfer (FET), our IVF process will take 2 cycles.  It’s a little easier on the body, I’ve been told.  Because it will allow your body to refresh after you’ve produced so many eggs.  But of all the information I’ve been given, the resounding piece of advice is “you need to let go of the stress”… stress… stress…stress (*echo*). Really? Any woman (going through fertility treatments, or not) has a ton of hats on already! To me – it’s just another “hat” to wear in trying to be stress-free!

Ahhhh **deep breath** that being said…. This week is a crazy one…. why?  Not only because of these exciting new ventures into IVF.  But on Wed morning I go to my sonogram, then catch a plane to Key West that afternoon, for a business meeting that will last till Friday. Then catch a plane back home on Friday, then have my first injection…. oh yeah, and it’s Valentine’s day.  Did you have to read that twice? I did…. this week is busy.  It’s “good-busy”, as I like to say.  Lots of fun ahead… but I like to unwind by being alone in a quiet place to gather my thoughts.  The BIG struggle here is how do you trick your body into saying it’s relaxing while you’re always on the go?  What do you do to balance faith/home/life/career…. and preparation for an upcoming procedure that requires you to relax?

No Coffee – Day 3

So, I failed to mention that during our Final IVF Consultation the doctor noticed that I was holding a cup of “coffee” I poured myself in the lobby.  She asked me if I noticed….. and I quickly blurted “that it’s decaf??” So she went into this micro-speech about how they advise us to stay away from caffeine.. blah, blah BLAHHHH. (this is my un-caffeinated self talking right now).  So, hubby quickly jumped on this bandwagon of misery and advised that I stick to decaf.

Day 1: AWFUL. Worst headache ever. I can’t believe I have become so addicted to coffee/caffeine. I ate more/drank more water, and ended up taking a couple Tylenol and slept the headache away. Sounds pitiful, doesn’t it?

I recall someone sending me an article once saying that there is No Such Thing as a Caffeine Addiction, to them I say – tell that to my migraine!

Day 2: OK. I had decaf. Head hurts a bit, dragging a little.  But I was ok.  My husband sent me links like this:

http://thestir.cafemom.com/food_party/163459/6_things_only_a_coffee

Which cracked me up. She gets me!

Day 3: Today. I woke up knowing I was’t going to have coffee. I’m having water… lots and lots of water. Good so far and glad I’m sitting next to the restroom.

Any other coffee addicts out there?  Do I REALLY need to quit caffeine cold turkey?