Sunday, November 27, 2011

Decisions and Directions

I went to my appointment yesterday (and enjoyed a lovely evening at Longwood Gardens which was a nice distraction). The Saturday staff is different than the week day staff though just as nice. I was able to sit down talk with the doctor about the upcoming retrieval and transfer. While reviewing my data my doctor noticed that there was a discrepancy between the weekday ultrasound tech’s measurements and the Saturday tech’s measurements. The Saturday person stated that there were some follicles that were very close and appeared to be stuck together and that it was possible that they could have been measured as one large follicle by the week day tech instead of two smaller follicles. Because of that my doctor decided to have me take medications for an additional day just to be sure that everything would be the correct size. Therefore it was decided that my egg retrieval would be on Tuesday (instead of Monday). I was told to take more shots (I can’t remember how much) and then waited for further instructions. The nurse called me and told me I was to take another 75 of Menopur and 25 of Follistim and then on Sunday morning I needed to take the Garnirelex, 75 of Menopur and 150 of Follistim. I then had to stay home from church because I had to wait for the nurse to call me Sunday morning with all of the instructions for the egg retrieval.
The nurse called and gave me my instructions, which I had to write down on a worksheet that was given to me at one of my appointments. I am to do the HCG shot at 9:45pm exactly Sunday night. It is extremely important to do the HCG shot precisely as directed. It is the final icing on the cake and helps to ripen everything for harvest. It is a one time shot that must be injected intramuscularly…to be blunt…in my butt. The location is very specific and is impossible to self-inject so my husband gets the job of injecting it. Though not pleasant the butt shots make me giggle endlessly because the scene that it creates is quite humorous. I was also instructed to begin my antibiotics, one of four oral medications that I will take between now and the dreaded pregnant/not pregnant phone call. My egg retrieval will take place at 9am on Tuesday. I’ve been praying very hard that my egg quality will be good. Bad egg quality may be the reason we have had trouble growing good quality embryos.

Friday, November 25, 2011

A Brief Update

I went for another appointment this morning. Everything looks good. I have “enough” follicles that are anywhere between 13-16 mm. My left ovary is under achieving a bit (my right was the under achiever last round) and there are some there that probably won’t be big enough for harvesting early next week. I took my Garilex before I went to the appointment and then had to take 150 of Menopur this morning at work. This evening I am to take 50 Follistim and 75 Menopur. I have to go in tomorrow morning for another look and then they will hopefully let me know exactly when my retrieval will be.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankful to learn math?

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I had my appointment yesterday and everything continues to look good. There weren’t a lot of numbers that were thrown out, but you know things are going well when you don’t hear the phrase “hmmm, let’s see…..” They had me take 25 of Follistim right there in the office and I also had to inject my new medication Garilex. This is the medication the replaced the previously taken Lupron. It shuts part of my pituitary gland off so I won’t ovulate. It comes in a little pre filled syringe and the needle was small and thin so it was nice and simple. It did feel as if someone was stabbing me in the leg for about ten minutes after I injected it, but the feeling eventually went away. In the afternoon they called me with further instructions. They had me take 225 of Menopur last night. It was essentially 1 cc of liquid mixed with 3 viles of powder (each powder is 75). Through the process I learned that 3 x 75 = 225. This morning I have to take 150 of Menopur (so 2x75=150), 50 Follistim and another dose of Garilex. I go back to the office tomorrow morning. If everything still looks good then my egg retrieval will be Monday. The biggest fear at the moment would be that the Garilex doesn’t work and that my Luteinizing Hormone surges too early and I ovulate before my eggs can be harvested.
When I decided to start this blog I wanted to make sure that I kept it as positive as possible. I read a lot of infertility blogs and I didn’t really like the blogs that were just a bunch of venting, ranting and raving, especially other women ranting against friends, family or strangers who had the “audacity” to get pregnant. At the same time I’d like to be honest especially for readers who may be preparing to go through this process for the first time. So honestly I feel as if I’m being run over by a steam roller while in a thick fog while dementors suck out my soul.
The more medication I take the worse I feel. It is not pleasant. The physical symptoms are miserable but the mental/emotional symptoms are what I hate the most. I’m a cheerful person and it’s weird to want to feel cheerful and happy and no matter how hard I try I just can’t. I also feel very foggy and unfocused. I’m not mean or angry but I feel grumpy like an over tired toddler. My poor husband gets the brunt of my whining. Hugs from people and snuggles from a cuddly kitty help. I am looking forward to some turkey and a calm peaceful time spent with friends and family today.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Secret Spy Mad Scientist

There were no unwanted trips to the restroom today during work hours so I’m hoping that is a good sign that I am on the mend. I had appointment #2 at the fertility office today. It was the same as usual, ultrasound, blood work and a chat with the IVF nurse. I was happy to find out that I am doing great. Follicles should grow at a rate of 1-3 mm per day. Harvest size is generally anywhere between 15-20 mm. After three days of medication I have 2 follicles that are already 10mm and “a bunch” that are at 3mm. I’m right on track. Now we just have to pray that the 3s keep growing and don’t straggle at any point. That has been one of my issues in the past…stragglers.
I went to work and waited for the nurse to call me with further instructions. This part is kind of exciting because it makes me feel like I’m a secret spy waiting for my next set of secret spy instructions; the kind that self-destruct after you’ve received them.
The nurse called me at 3:30pm and told me that the doctor wanted me to take 175 of Folistim and 75 of Menopur “now”. At this stage in the game I have to keep a supply of medications packed in my insulated lunch box every time I go for an appointment just in case a situation like this comes up. The Menopur takes a bit more work than the other meds because it has to be mixed. First you extract sodium chloride from one vile and inject it into a vile that has a little white tablet. You roll the vile gently to dissolve the tablet and then I inject the Folistim into the vile so that I only have to give myself one shot instead of two. I had to do all of the mixing at my desk at work and it made me feel like I was some kind of mad scientist trying to come up with a way to inject myself with super powers. Most people in my office know that I am doing IVF but I have to image some do not and wondered what people could be thinking as I carried a vile and needle into the bathroom with me. The needle is more of a traditional needle so to inject it I pinch the skin on the top of my thigh and then jab. Menopur is my second least favorite of the injections because it burns like the dickens going in. Tomorrow morning I am to take 125 of Folistim and another 75 of Menopur and then tomorrow evening I end the day with another 75 of Menopur. I go back to the office Wednesday morning and will wait for further secret instructions.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Why I now love Law and Order

So I’ve been sick, very sick. With a new IVF cycle comes the dreaded back to back period. Period, two weeks off and period again and my intestine was none too happy. It decided to give me a particularly hard time both times so I feel like I’ve been living in a stomach flu fog. I’m thankful that our office recently put in a private bathroom but there is still nothing comfortable about throwing up at work. I also feel bad for my new boss because more than once in the past two months I’ve had to e-mail him to let him know that I absolutely had to go home. That is what has been particularly upsetting about this time around. I wake up feeling fine and then the tornado doesn’t start until around 10am or so and it had been doing that several days in a row. I have developed an appreciation for the show Law and Order (I especially like Special Victims Unit). It is on one channel or another almost 24 hours a day and I find the dialogue and the delivery of said dialogue very soothing. It doesn’t even matter what they are talking about I just like to lay on the sofa with my eyes closed being soothed by Detective something or other. I went to the doctor's office on Friday to receive my official first ultrasound and blood work. At 4pm I got a call that all looked well and I was to start out with 300 iu of Folistim.
Folistim is fun because it comes in this nifty pen that has a fancy case that you keep in your refrigerator. It is by far the easiest of the shots because all you have to do is click your dose, stick and press. I inject Folistim into my tummy. I just pinch up some skin (under the belly button and of course I swab it clean) and inject. The needle part is very thin so it doesn’t really pinch at all. The only weird thing is that I’m bad at remembering to take the case out early so I usually inject it while it’s still cold. It is a bizarre sensation. I will do Folistim 300, Friday, Saturday and Sunday and then go back to the office on Monday morning for a new ultrasound, more blood work and a new set of instructions.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


On October 31st I went to my fertility center to officially begin my third cycle of IVF. I’m currently doing 14 days of birth control pills so that everything can be set and timed perfectly. I have been using this 14 day period of time to prepare myself physically, mentally and spiritually for the grueling few weeks ahead.

Before I started my second round of IVF I discovered a book called “Fully Fertile.” It is written by three women who started a holistic fertility center. I absolutely love the book and it is very helpful for anyone who is struggling with infertility.

Physically- Although I try my best to eat fairly healthy all of the time with little cheats here and there, I do make an effort to be even more conscious of my nutritional intake during my IVF cycle. I also cut back on my caffeine intake as well as any other beverages that contain high amounts of sugar. I try to take walks a few days a week for exercise and stress release purposes. I also complete a yoga routine almost everyday. The routine is outlined in the Fully Fertile book and the stretches are to help loosen and relax specific muscles, improve circulation and help reduce stress. The authors of the book encourage that to have good fertility you must have good circulation, respiration and elimination (of toxins from your body).

Mentally/Emotionally- This time around I’ve been working very hard on staying positive. We have now been doing various fertility treatments for two years. One IUI, two “fresh” IVF cycles and one frozen embryo transfer. None of which have worked and as we get ready to try another fresh cycle it has been harder this time around to imagine that the outcome can be different. I need to spend a lot more time relaxing and reminding myself that it could happen this time.

Spiritually- The only thing that I work extra hard on is making sure that I spend time everyday expressing gratitude to God for all of the wonderful things currently in my life that He has blessed me with. . I have a list of Bible verses that I have written in a notebook that I read every day and of course I pray, A LOT, especially during the 48 hours after the embryo transfer when I have to be on bed rest and I’m home with my own solitude and feel peaceful, hopeful and quiet. It is also encouraging when others let you that they are praying along with you.