Friday, August 31, 2012

Day 3

I'm now on Day 3 of my medications.  With the exception of some wicked dizziness and nausea the first afternoon (made worse by the heat), things have been going relatively well -- until yesterday.  I developed some extreme sinus congestion.  I'm not entirely sure if it's the season (peak allergy for me)  or the hormones or both but it felt like my sinuses were going to explode. With limited resources at my disposal and maxed out on what meds I could take, my last resort was a Neti pot.

 Hallelujah!  Relief is spelled N-E-T-I-P-O-T !  It's a freaky concept I admit, and I hate shooting water up my nose but it worked like a charm and I am able to function again.

Today was also the day I started my second medication, the stimulation medication Follistim.  So now my twice a day shot regimen went from this:

to this:

Twice the pokes, twice the time to get it done.  Which means more time to dwell on each shot.  The tiny little insulin needles barely pinch whereas for some reason the Follistim Pen needles seem to hurt much more.  I often wonder if it would be easier if I didn't give the shot to myself.  Having to watch what I'm doing seems to make it hurt that much more.  And I'm the type that doesn't watch when I'm getting blood drawn or getting another kind of shot.  But having someone else give me shots means twice the anxiety (me and the person doing it) and I'd rather keep the anxiety contained to one person for as long as possible.  After all, if I groan or yelp in pain, I'm not surprising anyone else or making anyone else feel bad for hurting me.  It's all on me in that moment.

I prefer my husband's support right now the way it is.  He's been a saint so far; offering DQ ice cream, running to the pharmacy for my sinus stuff, and preparing hot compresses for me when I was so uncomfortable last night.  And of course holding me just because I need it at that moment in time.  All this is so overwhelming but in those moments, I am calm; and in IVF being calm makes a world of difference.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Day 1

Last night I didn't sleep well at all.  Between the anticipation and anxiety of today, the effects of the Benadryl that I had to take to combat my allergies, and Mother Nature paying me a visit at 3 am, it was hard to rest.  Needless to say I didn't have much use for my husband's 6:15 am wake up call.

Today was the day to begin my shots. I am beginning with my suppression drug. This drug, Micro-dose Lupron, will keep me from ovulating. The needle is very tiny; technically they are insulin needles and are injected into the fat of my stomach (subcutaneous).  It was probably a good thing I was running right on time; I didn't have much time to dwell on this initial poke.  I gather my materials (alcohol prep pad, needle, and paper towel) and pulled my Micro-dose Lupron from the fridge.  Unseal the bottle of meds, swab, poke, draw up my prescribed 20 unit dose, swab my belly, and in we go. 

All over in a matter of minutes with barely a pinch felt.  Drop the needle into my Sharps container and with a few last minute instructions to my mom about the kids, and I was off to the clinic for the next part of my morning.

Forty minutes later and I was taken back to the ultrasound room to get a baseline reading of my ovaries.  The ultrasonographer was friendly, professional, and gentle.  I really have to commend the staff at my clinic.  They have found the best of the best; not only in skills, but in bedside manner.  I am always put at ease with them. 

Exam complete and the nurse is satisfied that my ovaries are nice and quiet.  Off to the lab for a quick blood draw and I'm headed back home to the rest of my day.

I can't help but be hyper-aware of my body now.  I'm not one to take a lot of medication; an allergy pill and vitamins are really the most I do.  Occasionally I'll take ibuprofen for a headache or migraine but I try not to unless I really have to.  Pumping my body full of hormones and sticking myself with needles is a foreign feeling despite having done this twice before not to mention all the drugs I took before that. 

I feel like I should look different and I wonder if I'll be able to stop myself from over-analyzing every little twinge.  I know I shouldn't or I'll make myself nuts.  I'm already anxious and edgy; why add to it?  I have to make this a part of my day; just something else I do right now, for the next 10 - 11 days.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

It's almost go time!

Tomorrow I will take the final birth control pill and in 4 days, give myself my first shot. Also on the 29th, I will have a clinic appointment to get a baseline reading of my ovaries by ultrasound and by bloodwork.

In the meantime, I thought I'd pass along this article by LiveScience titled 5 Myths About Fertility Treatments .  By no means is this a fully comprehensive list.  I'm sure I could come up with several more to add, but it is interesting reading; and a good jumping off point for those that have not had to endure fertility treatments.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The $3300 UPS package

Today one of the most expensive and curious looking UPS packages arrived at my door.  UPS is at my house on a fairly regular basis (at least 2 or 3 times a month) to deliver books (I have a mild Barnes & Noble addiction) or clothing items that I've ordered online.  However, I can only wonder what the UPS delivery man thought when he saw this box on his truck.

Not only is it a big box but it's marked Perishable and taped closed with tape that read "To be opened only by addressee" and "Open immediately and store items in the refrigerator".  To add to it, I also had to sign for it (not something that I need to do with the other packages that usually arrive at my door) and the sender's name was only listed as an acronym -- WSP (Walgreen's Specialty Pharmacy).  He was clearly curious and somewhat taken aback at this box.  However, as my UPS delivery people usually are, he was professional about it and once he confirmed my name, he was on his way back down my driveway.

The box arrived during lunchtime which meant I had to set it aside for a little bit.  Of course my kids were instantly attracted to this box (with my youngest seeing how well it would work as a chair and my oldest asking if he could play with it once I took the stuff out), but fortunately for me, lunch won out and they forgot about it.  I, however, had a harder time ignoring the elephant in the room.  I'm one of those that love to get mail and packages but for some reason, I was dreading this one.  Just another step closer to acknowledging that this was really happening again.

Once lunchtime passed, dishes were done, and my kids were again playing in the other room, I opened the box and took inventory.  Here's what I had inside:

The big red box on the left is my Sharps container for my used needles, the two vials on the left are my one Valium (for my embryo transfer) and my antibiotic (to be used after my egg retrieval).  The 4 blue boxes are my Follistim (stimulation medication), the two small boxes are my progesterone in oil (used post transfer), the bigger narrow box is my hCG (trigger shot), and the last vial on the right is my Micro-Dose Lupron (suppression medication).  Last but not least the pharmacy very helpfully organized and labeled all the different needles I would need to use.  They also included (but not pictured) a helpful DVD and handouts regarding all of my medications and how to properly use them.  I can't get any more prepared really.  Well, okay, maybe I could be more mentally and emotionally prepared.  But I have everything I need to help us find the missing piece to our puzzle....

Only 8 days to go until the first shot.....

Friday, August 10, 2012


For everything even remotely important in your life, there is paperwork.  And while we are slowly moving towards a more digital environment, I'm positive there will always be paperwork.

Over the years I've accumulated my share of it, and with 2 IVF cycles under my belt, I knew what I was getting into when I committed to this 3rd one.  Today was the day to review the paperwork, pay the money, and order the meds.  We were pleasantly surprised to find that our prepayment was not the close to $12,000 we were expecting but rather a much easier to swallow $8,444.  We were also pleased to learn that it might be possible that the monitoring section of the cycle might be cheaper than previously thought.  Also, we did not have to pre-pay for any frozen embryo storage.  Since they don't know for sure if we'll need it, they don't ask for that money upfront.

In addition to this portion of our clinic visit this morning was a full review of the cycle.  While still seemingly far away, it also seems like it's right there.  I found myself feeling overwhelmed right off the bat.  I keep thinking that I should be more used to it at this point; that I shouldn't feel this way.  It's all old hat, right?  I should be more prepared.  But I find myself feeling like it's the first cycle all over again.

Only 19 days to go 'til the first shot.....

Friday, August 3, 2012

T - 2 days to B-day

No, it's not my birthday(lol) but I am finally on track to start my birth control!  For some strange reason Mother Nature decided to play with me one last time.  She decided to show up 2 days late which in the grand scheme of things isn't all that long but just long enough to make me wonder and hope.  Such a tease she is and not the good kind!

Just to explain a little about the birth control.  I've been getting a lot of confused looks and questions about it.  After all, I'm trying to get pregnant, why would I be put on birth control?  Simple answer: timing.  The clinic needs to force my cycle into a rhythm that will work with the meds I need to take in order for me to have my egg retrieval around the time I am aiming for.  I will only be on it for a very short time -- 22 days.  During that time, my ovaries will shut down so we can then artificially ramp them up with the stimulation meds.

It's the first step of many and one of the only drugs that does not require a needle to take.  Time has passed by quickly on this road and I'm hoping that it will continue to do so for the next 6 weeks it takes to complete this process.