It’s Been a While

About 3.5 months to be exact. 

Here’s what’s happened…

  • IVF cycle 1 BOMBED 💣
  • My grandmother passed away 1.5 weeks after we got the above results. ** I remember being at my doctors office discussing next steps and thinking “we need to leave. I have to go home, shower, and get dressed for the wake.” My doctor kept saying how surprised she was that things went so badly, that maybe the medications were too aggressive, and that we should take off the time during the holidays because they’re already stressful enough. I had already made up my mind (and was truly prepared,) that we were starting again in December, so when she said this, I froze. I said “no. I’d like to start next month.” Just like out of a tv show, she said “that would be against my medical opinion. You have enough going on.” I bit my tongue SO hard, but I could still spew thousands of angry sentences. Like…”I paid you $13,000.00 and you couldn’t get your job done, so I’ll tell you when you get another shot.” **sidenote- someone had the audacity to say that “now that your grandmother has passed she’ll take care of things up there and you’ll get pregnant right away.” WHY DO PEOPLE SPEAK? 
  • Had follow up ultrasound at the hospital to get the cyst checked out, and there was nothing. Minuscule happiness. I had the pleasure of having a doctor (not mine,) review the ultrasound with me. She was kind enough to point out that my doctor certainly didn’t know what she was doing, we should have had better results, that a cyst in an IVF cycle does not go undetected, and she’d be happy to take me as a patient. Her nurse also shared that I should definitely consider changing doctors, as the doctor who just spoke with me “is really great at getting women of your age pregnant.” I’m 32…Shoot me. 
  • I hate this blog. So many of you have announced your pregnancies over the past few months & I’ve broken each time. Crazy because although I know your experiences, I don’t know you or see you on a daily basis…I’m happy for all of you, but if you’re reading this, you know what I’m feeling. 
  • Coworker had her baby end of December. Thought the excitement at work regarding babies was done…
  • Picked up supplemental insurance that was effective 2/1/2017. Period started 3 days early in January, and the next round of IVF because of that would have started 1/31/2017. We missed it by ONE DAY. 
  • Two coworkers announced their pregnancies, and they’re roughly 2 weeks apart. Announcements were made about two weeks apart as well. One word to summarize those weeks: Delightfullllll! 
  • Had previously emailed all of the new insurance information to the financial coordinator/insurance guru at my doctors office so that she could get everything all set to start in March. She never responded to anything I sent her, which I didn’t really think twice about. I called the office to let them know it was “day 1 ” in February, “ok, great we will be in touch.” I followed up a week later via email, anddddd got great news. (If you think that’s the case, you haven’t picked up on the black cloud that has me pinned to the ground.) I have to go back for day 3 labs and DH has to give a semen analysis, as our tests from 2016 have “expired” as of February and the new insurance won’t cover anything until they have those updated. Now if the woman at the office had done HER job, this all could have been done in February, but God forbid. 

Basically what it comes down to, is that I’m in the extremely angry stage of this infertility nightmare. And, that is exactly what it is…a fricken hellacious nightmare that I can’t wake up from. 

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Let’s Break (It) Down

  • I did my trigger shot Tuesday evening on 11/1.
  • Thursday, on 11/3 was my egg retrieval.
  • Roughly 36 hours after the retrieval, Friday, 11/4, I got the call at work from my doctor. 

Now I’m going to break it all down. 

Thursday morning we arrived for my egg retrieval. Despite being completely nervous about the anesthesia I was feeling alright. We were taken back into the surgical area where they had me change, and informed me about the anesthesia. Top picture is of my IV of saline. Interestingly enough or, if you’ve been following my blog, this won’t surprise you: they had an extremely difficult time finding a vein they could work with. 

 

Below was my view,  prior to the retrieval. It was ominous. I watched the woman before me who was also having a retrieval walk in. I also saw her on the recovery side. 

The one thing I don’t understand? No makeup, no nailpolish, no hair scrungies (as they called them) are allowed. But yet I walked in that day IN these socks…had the procedure with them on…and left with the socks never being removed. Logic? None as far as I’m concerned. And that, is my lovely hair net thing. Yuck. 

 

The doctor then came over to introduce himself. (I knew it wouldn’t be my doctor performing the procedure, which I was perfectly fine with. We were informed of all of these factors at our initial consultation.) Until he spoke to us, time truly felt as though it was standing still. He was calm. Soft spoken. Shook our hands. Started talking about what he was hoping would happen,”I should be able to get 4-6 eggs today. So well hope for the 6. I’ll see you back there.” 
…I broke…
Sunday I was told there were 8 follicles. HOW WAS HE ONLY PLANNING ON 4-6?! I looked at DH and in a completely unflustered voice said, “this isn’t going to work. This is a loss. I can tell this isn’t going to work.” Tears slowly started welling in my eyes. Immediately I chastised myself about crying, took a deep breath, and was overcome with coldness. 
Rigidly sitting there in my chair, my fingers kept frantically edging their way around the hair cap or whatever it is called. Less than 20minutes later, the nurse came over. I was up. I’ll spare the details of walking in, the conversations once in the OR, and my other memories. Fast forward, well I don’t know how long exactly…and I’m in recovery. 
I felt good. Surprisingly good to be quite truthful. The nurse checked to see if there was any bleeding, none; and then asked if I wanted something to eat and drink. My choice was that of a five year old, animal crackers and apple juice. Listen, we were stopping at Starbucks afterwards, so I wasn’t going to fill up on crappy coffee or a bad pastry. As I was sitting there, I could overhear the nurse telling prior egg retrieval patient how well her procedure went, and the medication outline for the next few days. She then popped into my curtained area and asked if I wanted her to get DH. Yes, obviously. Minutes later he was sitting beside me asking how I felt. 

She seemed to reappear shortly thereafter, and indicated that the doctor was going to come over to speak to us. I looked at DH and said, “this is bad. This is very bad. Something is wrong.” From the split second she uttered those words, it was like I was having an out of body experience. The soft spoken and calm doctor was back. “How are you feeling?” he asked. “Ok.” I responded. “I’m afraid things didn’t go as we were planning.” Cue my usual direct and questioning attitude floating away. With that my fiery temper also seemed to instantly disappear. “Unfortunately, we were only able to get one egg. I was planning on 4-6 but it just didn’t happen. I’m so sorry. Also, one of the follicles that was measuring on the left, was not a follicle, it’s a cyst. I don’t know who was doing your ultrasounds or what your doctor was looking at, but this definitely shouldn’t have gone undetected. You need to follow up with your doctor about that. Again, I’m so sorry that things didn’t go the way you or I was planning.”
I really want to say the world stopped spinning, but it didn’t; it fell out from underneath me. I was white hot with unparalleled rage. HOW was there only one? WHAT were they counting? WHO told me there were 8? HOW was this cyst missed? HIS coworker is my doctor, and he was surprised she missed this? WHAT the actual fuck? WHO do I trust, him or my doctor? And my last thought, “I knew from the beginning this wouldn’t work.” This time no tears formed. I was borderline psychotic and completely paralyzed with shock, and immediately launched myself into the statistics. After a few minutes of mental calculations, I knew this round was over. I wouldn’t need the follow up call the next day, there was truly no need for it to take place as there wouldn’t be any good news. We finally we able to leave. I got in the truck, tried to fall asleep, and immediately started sobbing. Here’s a visual for you, I looked like a St. Bernard covered in slobber. I called my mom. I called my MIL, and texted those that knew what was going on. Everyone said the same thing “it only takes one.” After a few explanations that we were already at a negative starting point, all I wanted to do was sleep and forget this entire experience. Upon arriving home I did sleep after watching two hours of TV. Physically I felt alright, just a heaviness like pre-period cramps, but was exhausted. 
Well…that one didn’t take per the phone call Friday afternoon with my doctor. So for the sake of my sanity, please never say that to me again. Was I surprised absolutely not. Did I cry? Nope. Did I want to punch a wall? Certainly. The call sucked, the rest of my day sucked, and that entire weekend sucked. I don’t think I cried anymore after Friday evening and talking with DH. 
Until Saturday, 11/12 when I sat down to write this blog. I completely crumbled into a billion little pieces. I’ll get into that another time. 

Here’s really what I’d like to say…

A massive fuck you to my first doctor. The doctor that told me in the beginning of 2016 that we had a 95% chance of being pregnant by the end of the year. Thank you for etching that into my brain. Thank you for constantly making me feel like a failure and a huge disappointment to myself, my husband, and my family. You have demolished every ounce of faint hope that I ever possessed in this year. I was convinced after leaving your office that day I’d be pregnant for my birthday, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Those were milestones I anticipated despite knowing there was a chance it wouldn’t happen. Well, now those times start a week from today, and I blame you for my misery, sadness, and the facade of happiness I have to display. FUCK YOU for making bold and brash statements that I allowed my sanity to cling to, and now I sit here with barely a shred left. 

Gunning Towards The Finish

I’m not sure whether these qualify as treats, but they definitely count as tricks:


This morning I had another UltraBlood combination. Pending what the doctor saw and my levels, there was a chance tonight this evening could be THE TRIGGER shot night. A nurse usually calls between 1-3pm with my update instructions, so I was anxiously awaiting the trill of my phone. Once it started ringing, it didn’t even get through the first full ring, anxious nerves had me all jumbled up. I am happy to report, that this evening, I DO NOT have to inject the Menopur, the Gonal F, or the Cetrotide. 
I am doing my trigger shot! Promptly at 8pm as the nurse instructed three times. We were originally going be using the Lupron, but that was changed today. I should have asked why, but I was just relieved to hear we are finally moving forward. I’ve previously used the Ovidrel for my trigger shot, so I’m not worried about that. I am relieved (for the time being) that there is only this one last injection to give. 
…and THURSDAY is my egg retrieval. Ahhhhhh!!! The excitement, jitters, anticipation, nerves, and anxiety are all over the place. This is a very good thing as I am so uncomfortable it isn’t even funny. I can’t imagine having more follicles than what I have. My clothes don’t fit, I’m bloated all throughout my abdominal region, and the pressure is so uncomfortable. 
However, despite all of the above, I am trying to stay relaxed, focused on the specifics, and being calm. Easier said than done for me, but I’m making a valiant effort.

This week. THIS week. THIS WEEK!

Wednesday through Saturday afternoon of this week had me feeling like a mouse on a wheel in its cage. I just kept running and running, at first it was fun and almost exciting, but that changed. It became exhausting, challenging, and supremely frustrating. There were problems almost daily; treks out to get more medications, pharmacies that couldn’t fill my prescriptions, people that provided wrong information, and HOURS on the phone. 
Fast forward to 7:30am this morning at my UltraBlood appointment. (Yes, I had one last Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.) My veins are fried. There is scar tissue on both sides, bruises, and hard veins to get in first place. Insert butterfly needle into bruise, and through scar tissue. The woman must have sensed it hurt, as she asked “are you ok?” I’m undecided if it was m clenched jaw or my white knuckles wrapped around the stress ball I was squeezing. A simple nod was all she got in response. Back into the waiting room I went. Then “Lois” came to get me for my ultrasound. She told me that things looked good on Friday and she had high hopes for me today. (I didn’t need her commentary, I had enough of my own hopes running through my head.) Up on tnd gable, and the ultrasound games begin…”starting with your right ovary…” At this moment while half asleep I realize she is going to give me the play by play. Peeking up slightly I responded “ok.” Whoosh, whoosh, click click, whoosh, click, whoosh whoosh, click click click. “You have five follicles on the right measuring between 14 and 16.4! And let’s go over to your left…” I lay there dumbfounded and mutter “oh. Five? Ok.” Another series of whooshes, clicks, pressing down on my abdomen, and “Lois” states, “three follicles on this side, 11, 12, and 16!” “Really?” I questioned her. “Yes, they’re looking great.” Repeating thank you over and over silently in my mind, I gave a small smile and a nod and told her to enjoy the rest of her day.
I quickly walk out to the waiting room and tell DH that “Lois” spoke to me the entire time. He gave me a concerned look, and I told him, “it was great!” And rattled off my measurements. Listen I know these aren’t amazing numbers, or huge follicles, but I’ve been lucky in the past to get two follicles above 14. So not only do I have eight total, more than half are measuring above 14. It’s a freaking miracle people. (Fully aware that it’s not, but allow me to enjoy my few minutes.)
Early this afternoon the nurse calls me to give me update information about my injections. I am doing the same combination, Gonal F at 75, a dose of Cetrotide, and 150 of the Menopur. She informed me my estrogen level was at 800 something, I have it written down but I’m in a comfy blanket cocoon as I type this so I’m not getting up. She then says ” you will either be triggering Monday or night Tuesday!” I gasped. “Isn’t it exciting? We need to get you in here tomorrow morning to see where things are, but it will be happening this week. Congratulations!” “I…thank…uhh, yes. Ok. This week!” was my eloquent response. 
After fisnighing confirming everything with her and taking my notes, the call was over. I scrambled into the living room, and told him the news. We high fived! It sounds lame, but it is by far the most excited we’ve been throughout all of this. Sitting there chatting and figuring out the days, and logistics, and everything else was elating.
Then the dread kicked in. Can’t I keep growing the eggs? Yes, they’ve grown slowly, but it’s going well. They’re INSIDE of me. My face drops. Things are correct. There are no problems. I don’t want the anesthesia. What if the eggs aren’t good enough? What will happen if  we don’t even get to an embryo transfer? My palms are clammy. I couldn’t help but to immediately start anticipating the worst. 
Almost five hours later, I’m more relaxed. I’ve trusted the process this far, despite my natural tendency to be pessimistic. I’ve begrudgingly taken it one day at a time, because that’s how your life is when dealing with infertility. But here I sit, optimistic and petrified, all rolled into one ball of hormones!

Shots, shots, shots. 


Not exactly the type of shots I was thinking of, but how the times have changed. Above is the listing of what I’ve been doing since 10/13. Excuse the sloppiness, I have three different tracking lists. Crazy, yes. Obsessed that I’m going to goof something up, YES!

So far this week I’ve had an UltraBlood combo Sunday, at 7:15am, over 45 minutes away from where we live. Funnnnnn. The woman that was doing my blood work couldn’t find the vein in my left arm, so she fished around for a while, but was kind enough to ask me “does this hurt?” My response, “after inejcting yourself every night you kind of become numb to needles.” Which is the truth, it didn’t hurt, and I’m a human pincushion. Eventually she withdrew the needle and over to the right arm she went. Had my ultrasound, and it was time to drive home. Again, Monday morning, I had another UltraBlood. The heat wasn’t on in the office yet as I had the first appointment, so that made the ultrasound that much more comfortable. Went over had my blood drawn, and that was that! 

My dose on Sunday was reduced, and it’s been down to 75 of the Gonal F since then. I return for another UltraBlood combo tomorrow. The bruising on my stomach has almost completely disappeared. I still have little scars, but I am hoping that they heal or at least fade, right now it just looks like I have random brownish colored pin dots on my belly. 

Last night while puttering around on Pinterest, I discovered this gem:


I’m about one more injection away from bursting. I have seven follicles that are measuring, meaning that they are 14+. Until today I haven’t really given much thought about what could be happening over the next few weeks. 

Here are my top 5 concerns…these are providing that everything goes smoothly, and there aren’t any unforeseen changes. 

  1. Anesthesia at the egg retrieval. I’ve never had any. Ever. I’ll be in a twilight sleep, sounds all sparkly (hehehe,) but this is really bothering me.
  2. That this is considered a surgery. That freaks me out. Again, I’ve never had surgery. So now we are taking two things I’ve never had done, and I’m getting both done, at once, on the same day.
  3. That I have to actually have the embryo transfer. Sounds ludicrous, but hear me out. Isn’t those little containers/Petri dishes or whatever they are stored in, they are safe. They are growing. They are, truly alive. Once the transfer happens, that can change. Once the two embryos are transferred into my body, they can not take. 😱 …and there’s a chance of this, a pretty decent chance. (Please don’t tell me to be optimistic. Obviously, if we didn’t want a baby we wouldn’t be doing any of this. I have to stay level headed. I have to know the statistics and keep them in mind. I can’t be blind to the fact that I can leave that office pregnant after the transfer, and then shortly thereafter, learn that we aren’t. 
  4. The 10-12 day wait to find out if we are actually pregnant. 
  5. Nothing takes. By that, I mean the fertilization doesn’t work, and we have to do this all over again. (Again, I’m fully aware that there’s a very probable chance of this.)

Four Down

I’m going to keep it quick tonight. This evening was my fourth night of the Cetrotide injections. They seem to get worse every night. About 30 seconds after the injection I feel like I want to claw my skin off of my stomach it is so itchy I cannot even believe it! Instead of any more bruises, I now end up with a baseball size red spot for roughly 2 to 3 hours which eventually disappears. My stomach is full of little scars from all of the injections,  not exactly pretty but I am hoping that with time they’ll go away. 
I had an UltraBlood combo this morning. All went well and later this afternoon I received a call about my treatment and a dosage update. I was instructed to reduce my Gonal-F dose to 150, and to keep the Cetrotide at the level I was currently using. I will be doing this dose tonight-Saturday, and will be headed in Sunday morning at 7:15am for another UltraBlood combo! 
Here are a few things I’ve decided have made this round of treatment easier.

  1. For my ultrasound appointments I wear a pair of my husbands crazy patterned socks. He can’t attend these appointments due to his work schedule, so it’s like he’s with me when I have the socks on.
  2. As of this current moment, I’m more comfortable with IVF than I was with the rounds of IUIs. 
  3. Being obsessively detailed with my injection information and doses. 
  4. I sing a song to myself during the ultrasound. Crazy yes, but I don’t particularly like small talk.

Now for the good news! Not only did the nurse inform me that I could lower my Gonal F dose, but “you have a ton of follicles. None are mature yet, but they look great.” Hallelujah. Previously my follicles hadn’t matured until the 12th day of the Gonal F injections, so apparently we are close. 

Gonal F & Cetrotide; Night 1

This morning was my first UltraBlood combo of this cycle. There was someone getting their blood drawn when I arrived, but the ultrasound tech wasn’t in the office. Needless to say, I write down my name on the check in sheet at the lab, and was getting my blood drawn within minutes. After that, a quick twenty step walk to my doctors office. The ultrasound tech was ready. My appointment was at 7:15am, but I had both my blood work and ultrasound done prior to that time. It’s the little victories here, and this is of course one that I will take, as it meant I wasn’t late for work.

This afternoon, around 3:30pm, I received my update call from the nurse. Continue with the Gonal F injections at the 225 dosage tonight, Tuesday, and Wednesday. In addition to that, I am to start the Cetrotide. This will be my first time adding solution to the powder in the vial, extracting, changing needles, and then injecting. Here’s a picture of my medication and injection line up for this evening:

Injections done. Gonal F, no big deal, is it sad to say I’ve gotten used to that? One benefit is that the needle is small, and the dosage doesn’t seem to be as much solely due to the fact that the area where the medication is stored, is wider. In my head, that makes the injection amount seem less, and go by faster…ready set, here we go injection #1.

Now onto the Cetrotide. I had to mix the power in the vial with the premeasured solution. O always enjoyed science and chemistry in high school, but this is completely out of my normal thought process of what one should be doing on a week night. Mad scientists, watch out, I’m on your heels! 

Even after changing to the “injection needle” it hurt like a SOB. I could feel the fluid going into my body (weird,) and could then sense it dispersing throughout after the injection was done. Not exactly a comforting feeling. This whole process is still very bizarre to me. One fat that is really helping me mentally, is that they are stopping me from ovulating. As I tend to ovulate earlier in my cycle, this is GREAT news for me because I know it’s being suppressed, and my body can’t do anything about it. Which of course, goes against everything I should want, because getting pregnant is supposed to be “natural.” 

Ha. Ha. Ha. 

My souvenir kits now look like this…

Here’s my daily dose of positivity for you. I’m trying something new, and completely out of my wheelhouse, but maybe that’s a good thing. Yes, I’m aware it’s now evening, but you take what you get.