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”

 

 

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!

 

 

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.

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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 🙂