Stim Day 1

I made it to stim day 1! Woohoo! I was a little nervous to use the Follistim pen injection device… I’ve decided I much prefer regular syringes. Apparently this pen thing is supposed to be handy, but I seem to think drawing up the medication myself is just as good. The pen wasn’t difficult to use though, and thankfully the needles are fairly small, so pretty painless.

Today was the first day of two injections, and now I finally understand what others have been talking about. It was difficult to find two spots on my stomach that weren’t still healing, tender, or bruised. I know the Lupron can be injected in my leg, and while I’m not as comfortable with it there, I may have to start.

I’m still nervous for the wedding this Saturday. I went yesterday and found a different dress that I think will be more comfortable. Hopefully now that my daily Lupron dose is down to 5 units I won’t keep gaining weight at the high rate I have been… Although I guess I didn’t consider that maybe Follistim will make me gain as well… Hopefully by Saturday I’ll just have a bit of bloating, as I can deal with that. And I might have to take it easy on the dance floor if my ovaries start feeling ‘full’ by then. At some point I’m supposed to limit my activity/exercise, but now I forget when that starts…

I’m only working Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday this week so I can help my future sister-in-law with any last minute wedding details. And I’m so looking forward to the time off!!! I asked Eric last night if I have to go back to work at the University if we have a baby before he’s finished with residency and he said, ‘no, not if you don’t want to.’ Is it bad that excited me? Just sounds nice to have time off to focus on the baby and moving. I shouldn’t get too far ahead of myself though. I’m really trying to be realistic, as I know the odds of this first cycle resulting in a birth are only about 40%. I’m just praying for lots of pretty eggs!

Suppression Day 9

Great news… My estradiol level is 5. Which is perfect!

Instructions now are to remain on 20 units of Lupron tonight through Saturday night. Then, beginning Sunday evening, decrease my dose of Lupron to 5 units daily and add in 225 of Follistim. Next Wednesday morning I’ll return for another blood draw and we will adjust meds depending on those results.

I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am to be moving to the next stage in this process, and to be decreasing the Lupron soon. I was so afraid this was going to be a repeat of last, that my estradiol level was going to be too high and we’d be force to sit out another month or more. But nope… Moving on!

Oh course, this brings on more stress, different stress, new worries of the next stage. But I’m trying to take this one day at a time. This weekend is Easter, so focusing on that for now, and then next weekend is Eric’s brother’s wedding, so lots of preparation! Plus, I still need to make sure my dress fits!

Me being such a planner, I’m already trying to determine the dates for the egg retrieval and embryo transfer. I know, I’m getting way ahead of myself, but I’m just so darn excited and ready to move on with this process. Enough waiting already! From others I’ve spoken to, it sounds like I can estimate the retrieval to be around May 1st or 2nd, but it’s really dependent on a lot. If the retrieval was the 1st, the transfer would be 5 days after that, or around May 6th perhaps. A bit surreal to think I could be pregnant next month. Although to be fair, I’ve been thinking that every month for the past 19…

I realized today why work is so difficult for me some, well, most days… The primary topic of discussion is children. I sit near three women, who all have children, one is pregnant with her second child. They talk about their children (daycare issues, the cute things they said last night, how they are sick, etc.) pretty much the entire day. And no, I don’t resent their talk, in fact, I don’t even wish they’d discuss something else. I just wish I could add to the conversation… It’s a constant reminder that even though I’m 34, I don’t fit in with other mature, married women my age. Maybe someday…

I spoke with my realtor and mortgage lender (who is also a very close friend of mine) today regarding our house hunting and financing options. Lots to update there, but perhaps that needs to be a separate post… I’ll try to make some time tomorrow evening.

Lupron is Evil

I want to eat ALL THE TIME. This is awful. This better result in me being pregnant cause I’m gonna need maternity clothing soon regardless! I’m bloated and irritable. And did I mention my skull feels like it’s trying to crush my brain??

So per usual, my body doesn’t like to play by the rules. Still no period so tomorrow is the, if you still don’t have a period call us, day. So I shall call tomorrow morning and they will tell me when to come for blood work. Please pray my estrogen level is low enough to proceed to the stim meds…

Suppression Day 7

Well, I made it a full week on the 20 units daily of Lupron. I thought this was going perfectly, until I woke up this morning, feeling awful. For starters, awful cramps, but I assume those are due to stopping the pill and thus AF’s arrival, which I expect soon. Spotting yesterday and today, but no true period yet. My directions are to call the morning of, or to call Thursday morning. I fear this cycle is repeating history, but trying to keep an open mind. Maybe I’ll be presently surprised when I wake up tomorrow morning!

Other side effects rearing their ugly selves are night sweats, and of course, the famous headache. When I woke this morning I was seriously all wet, sweaty and nasty. I realize this is listed as a normal side effect of the meds, but in my opinion, this is not normal unless I’m working out! As for the headache, I’ve been trying to push fluids, as I’ve heard that helps… We shall see. Currently it’s pretty bad, maybe more sleep will help, or at least put me out of my misery for a bit!

Being I woke up feeling fairly crappy I reset my alarm for 6am and decided working out could wait. And then at 6am I turned the damn thing off and decided my body wanted more rest. Cramps went away mid-morning, thank God, but an overwhelming need to sleep took over, which is pretty much how the rest of the day went. And it’s only 8:30pm and I’m seriously about ready to head to bed! I’m so ready to get through the next few days until my dose of Lupron goes to only 5 units! Woohoo! And as I’m typing this I suddenly feel the strange need to throw up, but I’m fairly certain that isn’t a common side effect. I hope it wasn’t the honey mustard chicken I made for dinner!

Suppression Day 3

First…  I’m feeling like a fairly horrible friend today.  I realized that all I think about is having a baby, but yet I never ask my friends about theirs.  And no, there is no excuse, but can I at least explain my reason?

This is going to sound horrible, but in being honest with myself and this blog, here goes…  I don’t think about your kids.  I mean, I know you have them, but when I think of you, I think of you, not you with them.  Often I see you but not them.  You email me, not them.  You text me, not them.  It’s your life separate from me.  Does that make sense?

So, do I not think of your kids because I don’t have kids?  Because my life revolves around adult things only?  Because I don’t even know what to ask about your kids? I don’t know what it’s like to have kids, to tend to them after work, to think of them rather than myself.  My evenings and weekends revolve around me…  Eric and I have never needed a sitter.  I’ve never said no to a social event because I was tied down at home with children…

So for the record, I want to say I’m sorry for failing to inquire more often about your children.  It’s not that I don’t want to hear about them though, I do.  I just don’t even know what to ask.  I’m rather clueless when it comes to what certain age children do, so please, tell me!  Share the funny and cute stories with me!

Third shot this cycle is complete.  I noticed a few odd feelings today, but no idea if they have anything to do with the medication.  I’ve been trying to drink more water, so of course I run to the bathroom non-stop.  Today seemed different though, even more than my more than usual.  I also noticed that I feel slightly shaky in-between meals, like perhaps my blood sugar is low.  Not common for me, so this is new.  Oh, and awful cramps.  It’s not time for those yet I thought!  Otherwise, just feeling bloated and fat.  I’m seriously thrilled to take my last BCP tomorrow morning.  I’d like to think it will be the last ever in my life.  But I’m not holding my breath!

My UV light for my gel nails arrived today!!!  You know, the gel nails the salons do that last somewhere around two weeks without chipping?  Yeah, well, the supplies and light aren’t really all that expensive.  Plus, a girl at work does her own and hers always look amazing.  So I ordered a kit from Amazon and painted my toes and hands today after work!  They look good, for my first time.  My toes actually look really good, probably because I did one foot at a time.  For my hands I was getting antsy and thus hurried a bit, and it shows.  I got a bit of the polish and such on the skin around my nails, and I have a feeling as they grow that isn’t going to end well.  But, for my first time, they look pretty darn good if I do say so myself!

Tomorrow morning Eric and I are dropping off Kona at playcare for a spa weekend and heading to Cedar Falls to meet with our awesome Realtor again.  I’m excited and not at the same time.  I mean, it is fun to look at houses, and Eric has given me an almost unlimited budget, but all the money in the world isn’t going to make CF exciting in my mind.  I know our Realtor is showing us a couple existing homes, such as this one, but honestly, I think I’d rather build.  I feel like we are just settling on something if we buy existing, as there are honest to God only about three homes for sale in our price-range in CF.  The link above looks really neat inside I think, but the house itself is really old and while remodeled, it makes me wonder if crap will start falling apart as soon as we move in.  I know our Realtor has some recommendations for builders, so I really want to focus on that option tomorrow.  And would it be too much to ask for palm trees to be flown in?  No laughing, I’m serious!

Suppression Day 2

Another 20 units in and still no headache from the Lupron yet.  But I expected it to take some time, so try not to be too disappointed just yet!  Oh, and I had caffeine today.  And a scone.  FAIL.

When I opened my email this morning I had one from the ophthalmologist I saw last week.  To summarize, he recommends PRK for me.  He said I could try to wear my glasses instead of contacts for a few weeks and then they could redo the topography (the picture of my cornea) to see if LASIK is an option instead.  Something about my corneas not be symmetrical.  Honestly though, I’m fine with PRK, as everyone who’s had it said it was awesome, and several who had LASIK told me they aren’t satisfied.  I realize the healing is longer with PRK, but sounds like it’s the better, more conservative treatment, and these are my eyes we’re talking about!

So that was the good news.  The bad…  He would recommend waiting to repeat the topography and schedule the surgery until I’m sure I’m not pregnant and will not be getting pregnant anytime soon.

Um, what is soon?  Like a month, three months?  A year?  This awesome deal for the procedure ends when Eric’s residency is complete, so time is of the essence here.  And obviously having a baby is higher on my priority list, but me being selfish, well, I want both, a baby and perfect vision without contacts or glasses!

So I emailed the nice doctor back to clarify.  I told him I was fine with PRK, regardless of whether they figured out a way for me to qualify for LASIK.  And I asked his definition of soon in regards to getting pregnant.  I told him I’ll know in hopefully 4-6 weeks if I’m pregnant from this IVF cycle.  If I’m not, I assume there will be a few months between cycles to get my body back in sync to try again, so was it possible to have PRK during that waiting phase.  I assume he will say no, but figured I should at least ask.  Ultimately I’m hoping for success this cycle.  And that would still give me time to get vision correction after delivery but before Eric’s residency is complete.  That scenario sounds way too perfect though…

I saw my dentist today for my regular, six month checkup and cleaning.  I go to the University’s Dental School, but I see a faculty, so it’s just like private practice in all respects.  I like that I always get to see the same hygienist, and my dentist is super nice.  He’s older, experienced, doesn’t replace fillings just to bill my insurance, like the last place I went.  He’s conservative, I like that.  I have a crown he’s been watching for a while now, something about bacteria might be getting under it, but for now it looks fine on the x-rays.  I’ve had many cavities filled over the years, since as early as I can remember in grade school.  I blame my dad for passing on cavity-prone teeth, as his mouth is full of metal too.

Today my dentist decided that two of my existing cavities need to be replaced.  Apparently they have cracks and thus are no longer protecting the remaining teeth and roots.  Awesome, just want I need, another appointment.  Between this, the IVF stuff, and those weekly therapy appointments!  My boss is really going to wonder with all the sick time I’ve been using!  At least I have sick time!  I was given a prescription for PreviDent 5000 Booster Plus Toothpaste, as it contains a high dose of fluoride and therefore ‘might’ prevent more cavities in the future.  One can hope.

And the best part of today…  Handing over my Vice-President / Treasurer duties for my Home Owners Association.  Meeting is later tonight.  I so hope the transition is smooth so I can cross one thing officially off my list of stress inducers!

Suppression Day 1

photo (15)

I wasn’t even nervous this time!  Well, until I realized 20 units seemed like a ton more than 10.  Didn’t feel the needle or the medication go in, although I did have quite a bit of itching around the injection site after.  But I’ll take itching over pain any day!

I’m still not looking forward to the ‘Lupron Headache’ as I’m calling it.  I didn’t have much caffeine today, just some tea this morning, so instead I have a horrible caffeine headache!  I won’t be making this same mistake tomorrow.  Gonna have to wean myself off my lattes!

So last chance to tell me I’m making a mistake.  Having kids I mean.  Speak now or forever hold your piece.  During the course of one day, today, I heard countless parents speak negatively of parenting.  Most give the general impression that life as you know it ends, can’t go out to eat, can’t have drinks after work, can’t go on vacations, can’t spend any money on yourself, never have any alone time with your husband, etc.  Others have just down right told me their kids suck and one was enough.  So I ask you again, I’m not making a mistake, right?  Cause I kinda like eating out, vacations, and shopping, for myself…

Ultrasound Results

My appointment today went perfectly!

Eric was second scrub on a case this morning so he was able to slip out and join me at my appointment. And yes, I complain when he doesn’t go, but I’m so used to going alone that it was a bit odd for him to be there…. Nice, but different.

We checked in, got my nifty name bracelet, and were sent to waiting room 3. Side note, I’d love to understand the rationale behind the 3, well, technically 4 waiting rooms. There is the main one, which I’ve never been to, then there is 1, 2 and 3. I’ve never been to 1 either, but before this entire RE ordeal began and I was just seeing my regular OB/GYN for yearly exams, I was always sent to waiting room 2. Such organization they have. But I can’t help but feel like waiting room 3 is for the ‘problem’ patients.

So off we went to waiting room 3, Eric with his coffee in hand.

We were called in for my ultrasound first. The lady was overly friendly, a tech I haven’t met before. Eric took a seat at the head of the ultrasound bed and I slipped into the bathroom to strip from the waist down.

The results of ultrasound couldn’t have been better!

  • Cyst is gone!
  • Uterine lining is 4mm, which is thin, but as they would expect from the BCPs I’ve been taking.
  • I haven’t ovulated, another sign the BCPs are working. (I guess I did need the stronger dose.)
  • I have a total of 23 follicles, 10 on one side, and 13 on the other. From the research I’ve done, over 30 is bad, but the more the better up to 30. The tech said 23 is awesome, as even if only half produce a mature egg, we’d be in really good shape! And we expect more than half!

We were ushered next to see a nurse, just to review the medication protocol for this cycle. Last time I started with 10 units of Lupron, but that didn’t control what my body wanted to do on its own, so in two days, Wednesday, I’ll start 20 units daily. Last time the Lupron made me incredibly tried, very hungry, and resulted in an awful headache. I’m so hoping double the dose this time doesn’t mean double the side effects.

I already picked up all my meds, so we’re pretty much good to go. And I’m not even nervous this time about the injections! Well, about the subcutaneous ones anyway. The intramuscular, well, those are another story. But they are a few weeks off, so let’s not think about those just yet. Once I start the Lupron on Wednesday I’ll continue until I get a period, stopping my BCPs this Saturday. If you recall last time I didn’t get a period, so I kind of expect that again, but we shall see. If I don’t get a period by Thursday, April 17th I’ll go in for blood work and another ultrasound.

I’ve very excited things are looking good so far. But I can’t help but be a little skeptical. The University’s program is excellent, but even excellent only has about a 40% chance of a live birth from any individual IVF cycle. So that said, there is a better chance of this not working than working. I realize I sound a little negative, but I’m just trying to be honest and realistic with myself. If this cycle doesn’t result in a pregnancy, I’m at least hoping we’ll have some good to excellent quality embryos to freeze for future transfers.

In other news, I made another appointment with a therapist, someone different this time, as I wasn’t a huge fan of the one the infertility clinic recommended. My first appointment is tomorrow morning at 8AM, and to be honest, I’m not sure what I expect out of the visit. I feel like therapy in itself is an extremely time intensive process, which doesn’t align with my personality. I want results now, I want a fix now… But I don’t even know what fix I want! I think I’ve been trying to convince myself this infertility struggle doesn’t bother me, that it’s just one more list of things to complete on my to do list. But you and I both know that’s probably not entirely true. It does affect me, in ways I probably don’t even understand.

I was thinking back to several of my recent posts, the ones specifically centered around issues between me and Eric. And I realize no marriage is perfect, but throw in infertility and well, it’s a recipe close to disaster for many. Eric and I don’t handle stress and struggles the same, as I assume most couples don’t. Men and women are different. I like to talk and vent, hence this blog. Eric is almost completely non-verbal, holding his thoughts and feelings inside. Often I take his silence as a lack of concern, but I know that isn’t the case. He’s just quiet.

Sunday afternoon I ran some errands and returned home to find Eric napping on the couch. My gut reaction was annoyance. There were a billion things that needed to be done around the house, but yet there he was… And yes, often, okay, almost always, I forget that he was up at 5AM to round on his patients, and he went to bed late as his pager was going off, so he has a good excuse for catching up on sleep. Often I see his behavior as lazy, when really it’s him just trying to survive residency. That said though, I feel very overwhelmed managing the entire household, from our finances, to general upkeep of the house, lawn care, to even managing him. The man literally has no time to take care of the normal ‘stuff’ since he works so much. So yes, I do understand he needed the sleep, but I was still very frustrated and overwhelmed, as many household tasks are things I physically can’t complete on my own, or don’t have the time due to my own full-time work schedule.

I guess my hope for tomorrows appointment, and I assume more in the future, is for me to find a way to deal with the overwhelming feelings that come over me often. Eric and I need a solution, some sort of plan on how everything that needs to be accomplished day-to-day in our lives will be. And perhaps I can’t count on him to complete many, if any, tasks at home, but if that’s the case, then changes need to be made, other solutions sought. And before we add children to the mix!

We have a plan!

I called my RE right at 8AM this morning when the clinic opened. And nothing like talking about your period at work… I always have to use my office phone since my cell refuses to allow actual conversations at the hospital. I prefer it only text and email anyway, but I’ll save that for another post.

The nurse, Cheryl or Sharon, I really should learn their names, called me back around 11:30AM with instructions…

  • Continue to take a BCP each morning, active pills only, until instructed to stop; two packs had been included in my Rx.
  • My baseline ultrasound will be Monday, April 7th at 9:30AM at which time they will check to make sure my cyst is gone. Please pray all is calm in my womb!
  • Also on April 7th we will review my medication schedule. Pending a normal ultrasound, I’m tentatively scheduled to begin Lupron injections on Wednesday, April 9th.

Since the medication protocol didn’t ‘work’ last cycle, which was the cause of cancelling, this cycle is going to be a little different… Basically they want to make sure the only hormones in action this time are the ones we’re injecting, and not the ones my body normally produces. That said, the BCPs I’m taking this time are Zovia 1/50 instead of Nortrel 1/35. If I’m understanding the dosing correctly, both have 1 mg of a progesterone, but this cycle I’ll be taking a bit more of the estrogen, 50mcg vs just 35mcg. Seems counterproductive, since last cycle my estrogen level was too high, but okay, I’ll go with it. They know what they’re doing, right?

Also this cycle I’ll start with 20 units daily of Lupron, rather than 10 units as we tried last time. The Lupron is the main drug used to suppress my natural hormones, so more makes sense in this case. Problem though, it was the Lupron that gave me the HORRIBLE headaches, as they are basically artificially creating menopause, or so I’m told. Does double the Lupron dose equal double the headaches?? I guess we shall find out!

I’m seriously excited to have a plan in place, but also terrified, as you know what a planner I am, and technically this plan only goes out so far, and is extremely dependent on many variables. My largest concern is Eric’s brother’s wedding on April 26th. I’m fairly certain our egg retrieval will be the week after the wedding, well, again, depending on a lot of factors, but that means I’ll be bloated and tender the weekend of the wedding. And did I mention my dress is skin-tight?? I know, I know, breathe, it’s not the end of the world, I’ll make it work. I just really want to enjoy myself at the wedding… So positive thoughts!

Stay tuned…

Medication Update

So this is where we are in the business of baby making… I probably didn’t explain this very well in my last post on Friday evening, as I was upset and my thoughts were a bit all over the place…

I emailed my doctor last Friday morning as I was concerned regarding my lack of a period. I had expected it the weekend of March 8th, so by last Friday it was a week late. And yes, I was a freak and was peeing on sticks almost daily. Of course all were negative. If anything, I’m getting really good at peeing on sticks!

Friday afternoon Dr. Van Voorhis called in a prescription for medroxyprogesterone 10 mg tablets, generic for Provera. I was given 10 tablets and told to take one each day at the same time to force a period. The nurse explained that since we stopped the Lupron mid-cycle last cycle, my body was probably confused and out of sorts, my words, not hers! She said since the purpose of Lupron is to suppress all hormones, it’s very possible I didn’t ovulate this cycle, and often patients don’t get a period until 6-8 weeks after stopping Lupron. So, being we don’t have all year here, my doctor suggested Provera to get me back into a normal cycle sooner.

When I talked to the nurse on the phone I thought she told me to start the Provera and then start the BCPs once my period starts, but I obviously wasn’t listening, as the email with instructions she sent me explained that I’ll need to take all 10 days of the Provera, and then a period will begin within one to two weeks of taking the last dose of Provera. Then I’m to begin taking the BCPs on the first day of that period. To be included in this next round of IVF, I have to start a period by April 3rd. We are really going to be cutting it close since I won’t take the last Provera until March 24th… Nothing like adding more stress to my life!

Why does this all seem like a run around?? I have to take a pill to get a period, then take birth control pills which essentially stop it, and I will stop those three weeks later to get another period, and blah blah, blah. Oh, the time involved in this is really something else!

So for the time being, nothing exciting is happening in my uterus, or ovaries. Frankly, I’m a little curious if I would have gotten a period on my own without these meds sooner than I will on them, but too late to consider that now.

Friday afternoon I took the first pill when I got home from work, and within 30 minutes I felt awful… Hot flashes, sick to my stomach, awful cramping, a little dizzy… Same thing Saturday and Sunday.  And I felt awful all day at work today too, awful cramps, sick to my stomach when I ate, and bloated, I swear I look 5 months pregnant! And I was 3 lbs heavier this morning!! Can I really have that much fluid in me?  And does progesterone really make you want to sleep ALL THE TIME?  As that was all I thought about today, when I could go to bed.

I’m going to hold off and take my dose tonight just before bed and maybe I can sleep through the ickiest of the feelings. Fun times, but I’m trying to keep in mind it could be a lot worse and this will all be worth it in the end!