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.

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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!

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. 

I’m Unstoppable.┬á

At the end of August, many of you that read the blog knew I was done. Not just I, but we were done with this whole infertility shitshow. 

  • I was drained.
  • Always on edge. 
  • Tired of the disappointment. 
  • Annoyed.
  • Didn’t feel like myself. 

As a “Type A” personality, I struggle immensely with things when they don’t go my way. I know what sounds asinine, but this is me:

“…Type A individuals as ambitious, rigidly organized, highly status-conscious, sensitive, impatient, anxious, proactive, and concerned with time management. People with Type A personalities are often high-achieving “workaholics.” They push themselves with deadlines, and hate both delays and ambivalence.” This was taken from Wikipedia. 

I’ve been planning Thanksgiving dinner since August. Our Christmas party has been planned since the middle of September. I make meal plan charts for dinner each week. I have seven calendars: the one on my phone, a blotter at work, a “fun” one at work, my outlook calendar, the dry erase calendar at home, my planner (yes, I know I’m probably one of the only people left using one,) and my gmail calendar. You now may have a better glimpse of why when things don’t go as planned for me, I struggle. Take my Type A add in infertility treatments, and we are bound for nuclear type explosions. 

We (I,) needed a month off to get “in control.” Really, I needed a period of time to readjust, focus, and be completely removed from the yo-yo of what had become daily life. 

This past Thursday marks the start of our first IVF (whattttttttt?!?) cycle. Tonight was the fourth night of my Gonal-F injections, dosage level is at 225. Puffy, tired, but otherwise feeling good. Tomorrow is my first UltraBlood combination. Wonder what kind of damage will be done to my veins this time around; more to come on that. 

UltraBlood

I’ve deemed ultrasound and blood work days: “UltraBlood” days. You’ve heard it here first. 

Again, I can’t praise my doctor and her entire office staff enough. (Yes, today is even a Monday and I’m in a good mood.) The ultrasound tech this morning was SO sweet, she introduced herself, was calm and thoroughly explained everything. She did the ultrasound, “click click…whoosh whoosh…click click…whoosh whoosh…click click…whoosh whoosh.” (The clicks were the machine and the whoosh were the images being printed.) I’ve now had ultrasound pictures printed!!! Even though I don’t have them, there’s a first for everything, despite the images being of my follicles. Oh well. 

I was done, and then I was off to the lab. 
Blood got sucked out, during which time I was told my veins were the tech’s “problem child” of the day, and how it’s really frustrating for her to have to have all the lab work from my doctors office done by 8:30am. As she was talking about how “rough” her day is, all I could think was “less talk and more work.” Here’s the mug shot of my arm once I got back to work. 

Later this afternoon I got the call about the ultrasound and the blood work. I am to do the same dose of the Gonal-F tonight, and Tuesday evening. I’m uncertain, but I am taking this to be good news; if the dosage had to be scaled back, it would have meant things were progressing too quickly. On the flip side, if the dosage was increased, it would mean things aren’t moving quickly enough. I should have asked the nurse, but I was so focused on writing down the correct information I didn’t think to. Right?!? Anyone want to confirm or deny my thoughts?!? 

I go back on Wednesday at 7:10am for an UltraBlood combination. 

Sooooooo day 6 of 112.5 here we go! ­čĺë

8.17.2016

11:30am

This morning I had my “patient services” call with the nurse. She walked through every step of the Gonal F injections, how to prepare the injection, administering it, and any side effects. She was super helpful. Patient and reassuring. She went over the treatment course, injections of 112.5 units for 5 days. I actually did the math out, not sure why this thought hadn’t crossed my mind previously, but I have 1,350 units, for 5 injections. The 5 injections is and isn’t true. As she explained, I will be doing the 5 injections as they were previously planned. On Monday, I have blood work and an ultrasound. Monday afternoon, the nurse will call upon reviewing the labs and speaking with the Doctor. At that point in time, she told me that depending on what they see and levels, I will probably have to do more injections, hence, the extra units of the injection. On a “typical” Gonal-F cycle, there are about 8-10 injections per cycle. So…I’ll have 3-5 more injections. 

6:45pm

Injection has “warmed up,” and it’s time to get this done and over with. Here’s everything all prepped and ready to go: 


Doesn’t look so intimidating! Then I opened the box, and the shaky hands kicked in seeing all of the disposable needle tips. That, by the way, was the hardest part of this…I couldn’t get the darn needle on. 

I was videoing the injection, but stopped after the needle tip struggle. Fumbled around for about 5minutes, and then started videoing again. That video was later sent to the moms, mine and DH’s. Figured they could “participate.” Hahaha. I took the same approach as before…on the count of three! One…two….
….
….
….
INJECT!!!

I never got to the number three. There was a longgggggg pause after I said two, and then in the needle went. It didn’t hurt, at all. It seemed to be much smaller than the HCG needle, and there was two thirds less substance being injected. I knew this from my call this morning. Yay for a few small perks?? 
One down…a handful more to go. I’ll keep you updated with how the injections go, and any side effects I have. 

Tomorrow, we INJECT!!

Haven’t blogged in a few days, but that is because there wasn’t much to say. Well, that’s not entirely the truth, so let’s get you all caught up! 

Monday we went for our STD/HIV testing. Overall nothing earth shattering…the lab tech was a bitch. The lab was supposed to open at 7am, which was when our appointments were scheduled for, but she didn’t get there until 7:15ish. She then allowed the 3 other people who didn’t have appointments to go first, despite DH and I waiting, in addition to another person who had a 7:05am appointment. Here’s a notion, if it’s your first day back from a week long vacation, maybe you should show up early. Just a casual suggestion. Anyway, my blood wasn’t drawn until 7:50am. She complained the entire time, basically threw the urine sample cup at me, and I could feel the needle being reinserted in my vein EVERYTIME she changed the vial. There were 4 of those changes. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Worst part was watching DH have his done, she definitely seemed to be doing more of an exploratory blood draw on him, and at one point he turned green. She’s lucky he didn’t throw up on her. 

My period started Monday, so tomorrow is day 3…and that means INJECTIONS!!! But before that, I have to have my Q&A phone call with the nurse about my Gonal-F injections. Wednesday night is shot time. I will be doing 5 days (Wednesday through Sunday) of 112.5iu. I have no anxiety about giving myself these. Which is interesting because the first time I had to give myself the HCG injection, I was anxiety ridden all day. Tomorrow, I’m thinking the nerves will stay at bay, but I’m sure at some point I’ll have a freak out moment. Probably when I have to attach the needle tip! Eeeeeeep. Just some casual Tuesday night reading…

Things I won’t be looking forward to: the bloating! I’ve heard and have read nightmare stories about this. Has anyone had any interesting side effects while taking their medications? Suggestions about the injections themselves? I secretly ove having my own little stash of alcoholic swabs. It makes me feel like a nurse…which was what I wanted to be when I was younger…but that’s another story! 

Here’s to being on the road again to the amusement park. The big bright colored rollercoaster of infertility treatments is looming in the distance, and we’re almost in the parking lot getting ready to pay our entry fees. 

Lifesavers & Friends= Rocks

You’ve read the title and you’re probably thinking that I’ve had too much too drink, or I’ve lost my mind. I can assure you, neither is true. I’ve only had iced tea, and after 31.5 years have only lost pieces of my mind, not the entire thing. Ha!
Lifesavers are these delightful (I LOVE them!) hard fruit flavored little candies, seen here: 

From the image, you can see that there are assorted flavors in the roll, and of course, like any female, I throw one away, because “it’s yucky.” Hint: it’s not the grape, orange, cherry, or pineapple. It’s the lime. This whole nightmare the past few months has really proven to me who my Lifesavers are, and spoiler alert, it’s not these candies. 

Over the past two years, I have made an amazing friend. She could probably write my life story better than I’d be able to. I can’t say that I’ve ever built such a strong friendship with another female so quickly. We get each other on every level and are very alike. Always supportive, and off the practical advice, she keeps me levelheaded. She also calls me out when I need to be put in check. Our biggest difference is that she has a sunny disposition, and I’m more of an “I hate people” type of person. Much to her credit, she’s rubbed off on me; my resting bitch face now has a somewhat fleeting and friendly look to it. She could quite possibly be the worlds best listener. Not only do I have her in my Lifesaver pack, I have three other gems. 

These three I’ve just gotten to know over the course of this past year, but like Suzie Sunshine above, I trust them with my life. Ones exceptionally witty, and her sarcasm puts mine to shame. (Whatever, and HUGE eye roll to you.) In my most troubling moments where I am steins rage must be seeping out of me, she can read me in a split second and will say something like “if you need someone give you an alibi, I’ve got you.” Do you have someone that would lie for you and cover you when you look like you’re going to go on a homicidal spree? I do. She’d probably also offer to drive the getaway car. 

So we’ve talked about Suzie Sunshine and Sarcastic Sally. The next Lifesaver is Petite Patty. She reminds me a lot of myself when I was growing up. She’s younger than me (at this point, I feel like all my coworkers are 12,) but this girl has the heart and smarts of an exceptionally mature woman. Her eye rolls can rival mine, and her uplifting demeanor blows my mind. Randomly I get text messages from her, which appropriately come at times when I’ve gone silent, or I just need to “be.” Over lunch we have conversations about the meds, the anxiety, or what I’ve read about IVF. During these times, I can see the genuine bewilderment and concerned nervouness in her eyes, for the shit I’ve already dealt with, and the upcoming shit I will deal with. 

Now that you’ve heard about Suzie, Sally, and Patty, I will share my newest friend, Patient Polly. Sometimes, you meet someone and you get along. I’m funny. She’s funny. We can both go from 0 to 100 in 0.00001 seconds. Bullshit isn’t tolerated, and we’re both quick to hold people accountable for their errors. So yeah, we are friends, but it was never really personal. Then I had The Lifesavers over for a girls night, and made some comment (certainly alcohol induced,) about “infertility is awesome! I’m so looking forward to being inseminated,” or whatever it was that I said, and she didn’t flinch. The woman did not skip a SINGLE beat. Most people will make some flippant retort, or make an annoyed face, and some shower you with “I’m sorry,” …if I recall correctly, she asked, “what do you have to do next?” Boom. I swear angels sang. Immediate Lifesaver status. Not having to go back to step one and explain anything was amazing, I instantly felt comfortable sharing this and probably everything else with her. 


It comes down to this. When you’re dealing with infertility you don’t need to be surrounded by those that placate you, those that always know how you can get pregnant, or those that are just I considerate. Get RID of those green lime Lifesavers. If they can’t help you or be with you during the worst, and you know infertility is the worst, they do not need or deserve, to be with you for the best. Find your cherries, grapes, pineapples, and oranges- they ARE The Lifesavers. 

They will keep you afloat when you feel like the entire world is weighing you down with cement blocks. 

They will commiserate with you and agree your doctor is an idiot when they’ve never even met him. 

They will be able to tell from your tone that they need to get you out of the building for a minute, so you can have a minute of completely insanity, and not be judged. 

They will distract you. Make you laugh. Make you laugh so hard you cry. Make you smile when you didn’t think you’d ever be able to again. 

They won’t tell you you’re crazy because you want to have a baby. (Three of them are mothers.) 

These women aren’t only my coworkers, they are my Lifesavers. My Lifesavers, are my rock.


Clomid, Round 3, Day 2

No headaches.

No nausea. 

Nothing!
Hip hip hooray for tiny miracles. I know it’s only been just over 36 hours, but by this point in the prior months, that headache has been there. Dull. Annoying. Endless. I will call this pleasant surprise, or maybe it’s just the fact that my body has now adjusted to taking this every month. 

Other than that I supposedly don’t have much else to report or say tonight. With that being said I would love to hear what all of you do to cope with your bad days and what you do to celebrate your good days! 

Day 4 Ultrasound 

Well well well, here we are again. Friday I received the monthly bulletin: “YOU ARE NOT PREGNANT. YOU ARE NOT PREGNANT. ENJOY THE NEXT 5-7 DAYS.” So I sat by the pool all weekend long, drank lots of Corona, and had a blast with my DH. Friday I had texted my doctor letting him know it was day 1 of my cycle, and after a few other messages were exchanged, he got back to me letting me know I had an ultrasound Monday, today, at 7:30am. I wish I could say that this was exciting news, but having done this twice now, I already KNEW that at some point on Monday, I’d be reunited with the stirrups. 

The ultrasound showed no cysts, which is good, and means we can move forward with the Clomid. My favorite little white pills start getting popped tomorrow morning. I can not WAIT for the 5 day headache!!! Ha. Ha. Ha. Anyway, today my doctor wanted everyone to know if I had any “serious side effects from previously taking the Clomid.” What is considered serious? No, I wasn’t an emotional lunatic, I wasn’t violently ill, but I had a headache that was untouchable, and midsection inflation to the point where I felt like I was going to pop.  But, no I guess I didn’t have any serious side effects. 

There was some new decor in the office, a 4’x 4′ magnetic board proudly displaying pictures of babies! Said board is in the hallway on the way to ALL of the exam rooms, so you can’t miss it. 

I don’t like it. 

Not at all. 

Not a little bit. 

I don’t even think it’s in the least bit optimistic. It’s another reminder that we are there because we don’t have a chubby half naked baby grinning ear to ear. It’s another red flag saying, “hey! You’ve failed at this for two months WITH medical help!” Am I happy that our doctor has had successes? YES! But I do NOT want to see the success of others, especially while I am in the process of trying to have my own. Once we have our own success, I’ll be more than happy to let him toss up a picture of my baby. But until then, my blinders are on. I will walk with my head down, a blindfold on, or with my back towards the baby wall; I don’t want to see more pictures being added.

So in less than 12 hours, round three commences. 

Although my hope remains tempered, I know that I have the courage to go through another round even though the odds aren’t favorable. However, because courage is something I admire most in others, here are a few quotes for all of you lovely ladies and gents smiling through the pain, battling the odds, and fighting month after month to have your babies.