9DP5DT

I tested this morning. With an internet cheapie strip and a CVS brand digital. Both were negative.

So, bloodtest on Tuesday but I don’t see the point. By this point Hcg levels should be high enough to be detected and they weren’t.

I feel absolutely numb. I haven’t told Jon yet because I don’t want him to be as upset as I am right now but I’m sure he wonders why I’ve been in a quiet mood all day. Or, he thinks I’m moody because I’m pregnant when I’m clearly not.

So I guess after the blood test we just wait for me to get my period and start over with one of our 8 frosties. I feel like at this point I’m not even trying to get to the end goal, I’m just going through the motions, going to appointments, taking the medications for nothing. This has been a huge waste of time and money. Over a year of this, two+ years total and thousands of dollars lost to this with absolutely nothing to show for it.

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5DP5DT

It is 5 days past my 5-day transfer. In case you needed some clarity on the title of the post.

Because I am both weak and impatient (to be added to my list of character flaws..) I tested this morning and it was negative. I’m cool with that for a number of reasons.

#1 – It means that the trigger shot of HcG is out of my system, so any future positives I may get are not trigger-shot related.

#2 – It’s only 5 days past and according to this handy chart here, hcg doesn’t start entering your bloodstream until 6 days past.  So I can’t truly be upset until tomorrow, right?  :-p

Just kidding. I’m trying to have a positive attitude but it’s really only positive attitude layered on top of the dread and fear that this didn’t work either.

In the meantime, since we don’t have anything else going on, we’re adopting a rescue dog, a chocolate lab named Cleatus who will be coming in a transport van from IN on 12/1. I’m super excited to at least welcome one new member of our family! Hopefully another will be joining him…

Post-ER, Pre-ET

I know you’re all on tenterhooks to hear how things went. Right? RIGHT??

*cough* sorry. Anyway. Moving along.

Jon did the trigger shot beautifully. I had to wake him up to do it, but we prepped it, got it into the needle (all the while asking each other “are you SURE that’s it? Is there more in there?” and did the shot with zero hesitation and honestly zero pain. I was proud of him. We’ve come so far since the passing out in the RE’s office days.

Sunday was the Egg Retrieval surgery. We got there for our 9am appointment, they took us back there, got me into a gown and booties and a hairnet. Then Jon came and sat with me, I got the antibiotic IV put in my arm and then…..I just kind of crumbled. I know, I know. I’m sick of hearing about my mental issues too, but the story has to be told as it really happened. I cried while the dude talked to me about anesthesia. I cried while the doctor talked to me about the retrieval itself. I was a disaster.

They finally walked me back into the operating room, I got on the table, I got oxygen, I kept crying. Before I was out, I could feel them really really roughly putting in the speculum and kept crying. And then I woke up back in the room with Jon, fell back asleep for a while. When I was finally feeling more awake, the doctor came and told me that they retrieved 19 eggs. Awesome.

Went home, slept for a while, went out for a dinner with my whole family that my mom had on our calendar for months. Nearly fell asleep at the table at my sister’s restaurant, but I was there!

Monday was a little worse. My stomach was distended, felt full and tender to the touch. I could barely stand up straight. It hurt to cough, laugh, move in bed, use my stomach muscles for anything. There were shooting pains. Oh, and I had people in my house replacing all of our windows and they started upstairs so I could go to bed. I felt awful. BUT, I got a call that 18 of our eggs fertilized.

When the nurse called, I thought she said eight and I said “hey, half isn’t too bad, right?” and she was like “um, no. EIGHTEEN. You have a small army growing.” So, that made me happy. Hopefully some will be good enough to freeze because if we have to go through the ER process again we will not be going through the ER process again..if you know what I mean.

Tuesday was even worse. The window people were back, I could barely move without hurting. Jon had to come home at 1pm with more Gatorade to let me go take a nap. Tuesday night we went to go vote. The drive there was torture. And when we got to our polling place, there were senior citizens walking in and out of the building going faster than me with hopefully less pain. We got home, I cried for an hour and went to bed. Before that, I told Jon that if we had a three day transfer and it was on Wednesday and I felt the same, I really didn’t think I could go through with it feeling this awful.

Luckily Wednesday I woke up and felt about 80%. I could move a little better, my stomach wasn’t hard and distended and I could walk. Annnnd as it so happened, I got a call that we were going to be a 5 day transfer anyway.

So, Friday (tomorrow!) at noon, we’ll head in for the transfer, which I am actually NOT worried about at all. After 5 IUIs I think I’ll be fine. Apparently we have to do it with a full bladder which doesn’t sound as fun, but I can deal with having to pee for a little while. After everything it seems like the least that we’ve gone through :p

Three and a Half Hours

I seriously have to wait three and a half hours until Jon can stab me with this huge f’ing trigger shot.

I got the call earlier that I can trigger tonight for an egg retrieval on Sunday. But my trigger shot time is 11pm (sidebar, on Fridays we are almost always asleep at like, 9:30 for some weird reason so Jon will be stabbing me while sleepy. Awesome.).

Like everything in this process, I’m worried about him getting it in the muscle. My nurse this morning drew a little circle bullseye for him, but I’m still worried. And I have to sit and think about how I’m worried for another 3.5 hours. Ick.

 

….I guess my previous entry about not complaining/having grace during this process just went right out the window, huh? Good lord.

Grace and Other Things I Do Not Have

I’m coming to the end of stims (yay!)

Monday’s blood & ultrasound were good but I wasn’t there yet.

Thursday (yesterday) – blood & ultrasound showed 17 follicles. The nurse who called said she thought one or two more days. So I drove the 40 minutes there, 40 minutes back in the morning for the appointment. Then when she called, I had to drive there and back again in the afternoon to pick up a refill on Follistim so I could take it last night. That was kind of annoying.

This morning at blood & ultrasound I had 23 follicles. Went to the appointment, then went to pick up sperm and came home. I’m hoping to get a call back soon to tell me if I trigger tonight for a retrieval surgery on Sunday or if I take another night of Follistim and go back in the morning for another blood/ultrasound for probable trigger on Sat/retrieval on Mon.

Since I have more shots behind me than I do before me (hopefully just the trigger shot left..lets all cross our fingers that Jon can do it. I’m concerned) I can honestly say that this process really hasn’t been as bad as I expected it to be. Yes, I still have the trigger shot and retrieval to worry about, but so far, things haven’t been nearly as bad as I imagined. I got used to taking the shots pretty quickly and aside from a couple of days of mood swings, some heightened thirst and sleepiness and some discomfort in the ovary area…it’s been fine.

Not that this is something I want to do again, but if I HAD to at least I know what to expect now. I feel lucky that I haven’t had many side effects and that I’m looking at a great amount of follicles.

Also looking back at this though I wish I were the type of woman who handles these things with more grace. Some days that I was uncomfortable (although probably not more uncomfortable than I am now pre-retrieval) I did some complaining. Or whining. Or was just generally lathargic/lazy.  I kind of wish that maybe during the process I could just told myself that I was lucky to be a best-case-scenario version of IVF and shut up. I can’t say that I won’t complain ever again through pregnancy or even the next few days, but I do want to keep reminding myself to be a little more thankful and try to handle anything that comes with more grace. Or, as Kelly Cutrone puts it, to put some gratitude in my attitude…something that I probably should have been doing for years now.

(And the “Other Things I Do Not Have” portion – patience, an even-temper, the ability to plan ahead for anything..)

Sleepy and Uncomfortable..

..that about sums up how I”m feeling on stims.

I’ve done a crappy job updating on this process.

Lets see, last Monday I had blood & ultrasound and my lining was too thick and my progesterone level was too high. So I continued on with morning Lupron. Wednesday I went back for more blood work and another ultrasound and things looked good so I started 225 units of Follistim last Wednesday night. Jon was traveling for work and I was bored so earlier in the day I had invited my mom to my sister’s restaurant to have dinner. I took the shot of Follistim and walked out the door, not really stopping to think that maybe I should see how I feel on this medicine before sitting at a nice restaurant.

I was fine for about an hour of dinner and then I started feeling really nauseous, extremely tired and thirsty. We cut dinner a little short and I went home. Got sick, cuddled with a hot water bottle and went to bed.

Since then, things have been a little better. Each day I’m a little more aware of my ovaries in general and after the shots I still get really sleepy and thirsty but it’s not the worst pain ever. Mostly it’s just a little uncomfortable.

 

Anyway. So I continued on 225 units of Follistim from Wednesday night on and dropped morning Lupron shots to 5 units.

Monday (yesterday) I went  for blood work and my estradiol level was 528 which is apparently higher than they’d like to see it on CD7 so they had me drop last night’s Follistim to 150 units.

Today I went in for blood work and an ultrasound and I’m waiting to hear back on how that went. The ultrasound tech rattled off a bunch of sizes of follicles while she was taking pictures and it sounds like a I have a lot of follicles on each side all between 8-12mm. We’ll see what that translates to in terms of instructions from my RE whenever they call back this afternoon.  I also have to figure out approximately when the egg retrieval surgery is going to be so I can figure out when to go pick up 3 vials of sperm (again, a sentence I really never thought I’d be putting together).

I guess to sum it all up, things aren’t bad. I’m not LOVING the process, but the needles aren’t a problem and the follicle growing is slightly uncomfortable but not insurmountable either.

Boring Post Is Boring.

My Ovary is Where?

After 12 days of Lupron, I had my baseline ultrasound and blood work this morning.

Because Jon was heading to Poland later in the day he joined me to witness the joy of a transvaginal ultrasound first hand. Good times as a couple I tell you. GOOD. TIMES.

While she was doing the ultrasound she found 8 follicles between 5-10mm and 5 follicles under 5mm on the right hand side and then went to the left which is where things got a little uncomfortable. Finally the tech said that the reason it was so difficult was because my left ovary was behind my uterus.

This whole thing is a learning process, but I had literally no idea that that was possible.  Apparently they move around in there. Who knew? (Ok, fine, probably every rational woman on earth besides me knows that. but the tech was nice about it when I concernedly asked “Oh God! Is that normal??”)

Anyway. The results were that I haven’t gotten my period yet, my lining is still thick and my progesterone levels are still elevated so I just stay on the Lupron for a couple more days and go back for another baseline ultrasound & blood work on Wednesday.

No progress, but I learned something today.

Shots! Shots! Shots!

Unfortunately not the fun delicious kind.

I am officially 8 days into daily shots. Every day between 5-9am I stab myself in the stomach with a small needle and inject 10 units of Lupron. I’m sure everyone is wondering how it’s going :p

Because I am a little spoiled, every morning Jon wakes up way earlier than I do so he gets the needle all ready and filled and brings it up to bed, I jab myself and then hand him the needle and go back to sleep while he goes off to work.

It has really not been as bad as I expected. SHOCKING, I know. The jabbing itself is not as hard as I anticipated. The first needle took me about 4 minutes to work up to it and then I realized that it really does not take as much pressure as I thought to get the tiny needle in. The next 7 have gone pretty smoothly although for some reason while my left side is totally fine, my right side has 3 small black and blues. I have no idea what I’m doing differently on that side but it looks ridiculous.

As for side effects, I have had a couple of hot flashes and a few REALLY CRANKY moments. Once when I had to schlep 4 peoples worth of shit around in the rain while those 4 people ran a 5k and the others have just been random and probably unnecessary. I get the feeling that Jon thinks my cranky/bratty moments are funny, so apparently the side effects are not really as awful as I imagined they would be. In general, I feel fine. Some pangs in the ovary-area every once in a while but that’s about it.

Next up: I am supposed to have bloodwork/baseline ultrasound on Saturday but my paperwork says that if I don’t have my period by then I’m supposed to call and I assume that it will be pushed back. I do not have my period nor do I feel like I am about to get it so I assume it will be rescheduled. Which sucks a little because I was hoping that it would happen, Jon would be able to come and then we’d happily move on to Lupron shots in the morning and Gonal-F shots at night and move this little train along.

If the baseline ultrasound/bloodwork get moved back then it will probably fall while Jon is in Poland for a week. So I will be both lonely and cranky. Although I might be able to convince my sister to make me homemade mac & cheese to make up for it, so I got that going for me…

Prioritizing my Freak Outs

Appointment for CD21 blood work is Wednesday and if I’ve ovulated I start morning shots of Lupron, a drug that by all accounts will make me angry and crazy.

I am officially freaking out about everything. In a previous post I said I wasn’t worried about the ER which…seriously? I must have been delusional or under a post-Napa glow when I wrote that. Last night lying in bed, I actually said out loud to Jon that I was freaking out and as he patted my hand and then started gently snoring, I started breaking down in my head all the things I’m freaked out about. I thought that if I attacked them one by one then I would be less freaked out but then I freaked out about the number of things on the list of things I’m freaked out about. So the strategy kind of failed. But hey, lets break out the list here. Seeing it written out should totally help, right?

  • Giving myself shots. It’s possible that Jon might have to travel during shot-giving time. I have to not only endure shots every day I’m going to have to suck it up and figure out how to give them to myself. Lest we forget, the shot I had to take during my last IUI ultimately had to be done by my best friend because I had a panic attack.
  • Once I give myself those shots, I’m possibly going to be a moody, angry, crazy beast.
  • Further on in the cycle I’ll be giving myself two shots a day. And at that point will probably be bloated, uncomfortable and in pain that no one can really describe to me except as uncomfortable and awful. I think this one is the most all-encompassing. I am scared of how bad I might feel. While I understand and do not need it pointed out to me that childbirth will be worse so I may as well suck it up, the fact doesn’t help.
  • During the egg retrieval I will be put under anesthesia for the first time. I am scared I will not wake up from said anesthesia. I am also afraid that because I am panicked about going under, my brain will somehow prevent me from going under and I will feel the egg retrieval. Needles into my ovaries. I don’t want to feel that. But I also don’t want to die.

I am still not scared of the egg transfer. I am sure that we will have a bunch of eggs since I seem to be ok at producing them. I am sort of concerned about going through all of this and having the whole thing not work but also a little scared that it will.

Thus, I am not sleeping a whole lot.

ETA: Um, I totally forgot about the intramuscular trigger shot. Which was my first worry before we even started this process. So we can add that to the list. Having to have my husband jab me in the ass with a two inch needle into a muscle. That is certainly on the list.

I’m Back!

I have not abandoned this blog. Yet. But that would be pretty like me. I can’t count the number of blogs I’ve started and abandoned. And hopefully remembered to delete. Hm.

Anywho.

I didn’t post this month at all on purpose. I needed some time to step back from everything and regroup. Apparently 5 back-to-back IUIs took a lot out of me mentally and emotionally and I just couldn’t do IVF right after that without a break.

And the break was great! I relaxed, I exercised more, we went to San Francisco and Napa for the third time and solidified the fact that it is our very favorite place in the country. Everyone we meet there is just so amazingly kind and relaxed and generous and friendly. We were asked about 10 times this trip if we were locals which was kind of nice. We went to more places that were off the beaten path so we got a better, more intimate look at the wineries and the people who run them. A lot of the time we were being shown around by the owner, not a tour guide or the person working their tasting bar. It was awesome. AND we got to punch down some grapes in a bin and watch what happened when the juices underneath that had been in contact with the yeast rose to the top. It was so much fun. Every time we go we have a new, exciting experience.

BUT, back to what you’re here for I suppose. We have officially entered our IVF cycle. My RE had me come in to sign consents and chat, so I did that before we went to Napa and it was basically a “I think this is a good idea, there’s no sign that IUI WON’T get you pregnant, but I support your decision to move ahead since this has taken a lot out of you and you’ve been through a lot.” Which is good. I’m glad she supports our decision not to be miserable month after month after month until we come to this same conclusion somewhere else down the road. She also said that my attitude towards the protocol could affect the outcome..and I think that she was not-so-subtly saying that my feeling that IUI was a waste of time after the 3rd one affected how #4 and #5 turned out? Whatever. I don’t really care how she feels about my attitude towards IUI as long as she is going to let us move forward with IVF and stop wasting time.

Unfortunately, my protocol calls for me to do absolutely nothing until CD21 which is on 10/10/12. A lot of other girls seem to be on birth control pills for the first 2-3 weeks of their cycle but my RE apparently doesn’t roll that way? I don’t know. Or maybe I ovulate so late in my cycle anyway that it doesn’t matter and my ovaries don’t need the suppression? I have no idea.

So I don’t have much to say until October 10th. That day I’ll go in for blood work and if I have ovulated already then I’ll start on a shot of Lupron every morning between 5-9am for 10 days and go back for monitoring/blood work until I start with the Gonal-F pen injections. Then that goes on for a week or so with more monitoring and when things look good, I take the HCG shot in the butt and 36 hours later is the ER.

When I write it out like that, it doesn’t sound like much but when the meds actually came in the mail? Holy crap. Look at all this stuff you guys. Look at it:

 

 

 

I think I’m most nervous about the ER (egg retrieval in case the abbreviation doesn’t make sense to you! (in which case, you’re lucky because you probably don’t have to deal with this shit)). I’m nervous about the anesthesia and feeling like I’m going to sleep and not wake up. Hopefully I can just relax when we get to that point and it will be fine. I’m also nervous about feeling like crap on the Lupron, possible weight gain, headaches, mood swings, hot flashes etc…but I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

In the meantime, waiting for CD21 on 10/10 and just getting used to the idea of the needles every morning. And then every morning and every night. And then my husband stabbing me with a 2 inch needle in my butt.

Yeah, I’ll definitely need some time to get used to these things..