Posts Tagged ‘MrsTiye’

If You’re Happy And You Know It…Or If You’re Not And Don’t Know Why?

If youre happy

I’m so happy to be here.

I’m going to start by saying that, even though the next thing I say will undoubtedly make someone believe that I’m contradicting it.

And that is, that for the past 24 weeks, I’ve had multiple battles of emotion where I found myself thinking:

“I’m supposed to be happier than this. Aren’t I?”

I know that it sounds like the most ungrateful and irresponsible thing I could possibly say, when finally reaching the position that I’ve been trying to reach for so many years. And I really struggled with writing it down at all, but I felt that it was important to stop hiding behind the pressure of being pregnant after infertility and be honest.

For the past few months, I have fought extremely hard with anxiety and fear.   Pregnancy already comes with its own hormonal and emotional changes.  I’ve read a lot of articles and we’ve all seen the commercials and movie scenes that show pregnant women crying over commercials and even happy songs.  I was okay with that, and somewhat expected it, because I know it comes with the territory.  Being pregnant after infertility, however, I believe comes with an added level of stress and trauma that weighs heavily on the heart and affects not only how I view myself as a pregnant woman, but how I feel about everything. These weren’t just pregnancy hormones, this was finding myself so scared and anxious all the time, that it started to feel paralyzing.

For the beginning of this new journey, I was in survival mode.  Every day was another day of questions and worry, brought on because through all the years that I’ve been in the world of infertility, I’ve seen the elated highs of announcements, and also the devastating news when something has gone wrong.

I found myself wanting to be excited, but internally, painfully sad.  Because I wanted this so very badly, and felt like “I’m no better than any of the amazing people who’ve gotten to this point and then had to say goodbye to their little one far too soon”, what makes me different?  Feeling as though I didn’t deserve to be on the other side, I’d be praying for the best, while always emotionally preparing myself for the worst.

Before appointments, I would talk myself through what to do if there was no heartbeat this week. I’d plan out what to say to my office, or how I’ll tell the select few who already knew.  I wanted to prepare myself to be strong, at what would be the most devastating moment of my life.

And I was doing so, because in a way, I’d lived through it before.

When we were planning to adopt, I’d never felt so close to being a parent.  There was an actual, human baby that was being given to us.  Even then, we were careful to only tell a select few, just as we have now.  We were cautiously optimistic.  To get all the way to the hospital, and to holding her, and to hearing this birth mother say out of her own mouth, “Oh, she’ll be just fine with you all”, I made the mistake of letting my guard down.  Of getting excited.  Of getting attached.

So when two days later it was all snatched away, I believe a part of me just wilted. Such an abrupt ending to such a slow and steady hope.  I couldn’t go to work, and I couldn’t leave my room.  I couldn’t be the same ignorant person I’d been before having it happen, and I couldn’t figure out who the informed person was going ot be on the other side of it.

And I NEVER want to be there again.  Because I almost didn’t come out.

So while I knew full well the risks involved in IVF, and although I decided to do it anyway, I’ve been cautious and tentative every step of the way.  My own doctor said I had a pleasant smile, but that it was clear that underneath it she could tell I was petrified and sad.

At times where I should have been bouncing off the walls with excitement and joy, I’d look at the ultrasound monitor and usually say out loud, “Thank God, there’s something still there!”  And the nurses and the doctors always look at me like, “Of course, silly!”  And then I just start the countdown to the next appointment, when I’ll probably be just as terrified.

My patient and caring husband has been dragged along in my issues as I kept us from announcing until a whopping 20 weeks, though I’d designed an announcement somewhere around week 8.  I just couldn’t get the thought out of my head that if we were to once again get people’s hopes up, including our own, and then have to turn around and let everyone down again, I didn’t think I could handle it.

While listening to a podcast that I love, “The Friend Zone” I heard this statement:”Most of us are spending so much time fearing the loss of something, that we can’t even enjoy it.”

“Most of us are spending so much time fearing the loss of something, that we can’t even enjoy it.”

 WOW.  What a word.  That’s exactly it.

I have felt extremely isolated in my anxiety out of guilt and shame.  Guilt for feeling as though I should NEVER find myself anything but elated when so many of my friends are still fighting to get to this side.  Ashamed that I was “allowing” the anxiety and worry to rob me of the experience I’d waited for, or that my emotional state would be harmful to this little life, which then made me feel even worse. Also, I worried that to tell these feelings would be offensive or hurtful to those who have followed me, or prayed for us, or who are at times seemingly more happy for us than I’ve been able to be for myself.

But, being in my head all of the time is the true culprit here.  I can’t just put my head down and barrel through this like I once believed.  I have to speak, because that’s my therapy. I decided to share these feelings because I’ve prided this blog, and really all of BBE on being honest.  On saying those things that others may be thinking but may not feel they have the right or even the platform to say.  This is no different.

Pregnancy depression and anxiety is a REAL thing.  It actually affects about 6% of all pregnant women and is sometimes more common in women who have experienced infertility.  After the emotional highs and lows of infertility, we’re so used to safeguarding ourselves from the worst, that we can sometimes have a hard time adjusting.  Feelings of isolation and not fitting into the “naturally” pregnant world, or belonging in our infertility circles anymore can become overwhelming.

If you’re like me, and fighting off sadness, I want you to know you’re not alone.  Your feelings are valid, no matter how off-putting they may be.  They don’t take away from how amazing of a parent you’re going to be, or how wonderful of a parent you already are. Wherever you are on this journey, I’m rooting for you, and I’m praying for all of us!

I am so very grateful to God that I’m here now.  That I’ve seen the heartbeat and heard it with my own ears.  That something we’ve waited for so long, is finally within our own reach, just a few months away! Sometimes I’m so excited I could literally run down the street like a crazy person, because June can’t get here fast enough.

The feelings I’ve talked about here today, don’t take away from that.  They don’t make me second guess my choice to take the crazy IVF ride, or to even be a parent at all.  They remind me that I’m human, and that this whole thing is so much bigger than babies.  That our emotional and psychological well-being is intimately tied to our ability to grow our families in the way that we choose.

And here’s a small treat, and the Christmas Gift my husband and I bought for ourselves the day after Christmas.  We went to a commercial ultrasound facility for a gender check, AND they added the heartbeat to a stuffed animal for us.  THANK YOU for sticking with us.

He Is

 

Resources:

Depression is Common Following Successful IVF
Coping With Anxiety and Depression During Pregnancy
Depression During Pregnancy: Signs, Symptoms And Treatment
The Dark, Dirty Secret of Prenatal Depression – Thanks KEIKO!!

And as always, you can always talk to ME.

 

 

The Super Long Update You Deserve

Superlong

On Tuesday,  October 13, 2015 at 8am, I drove to our fertility center for our first beta test. Maybe my nerves compounded it, but this day seemed to be out to get me.

First, I got LOST.

Look, we’ve been going to our center since JULY, and yet, yes, I got lost.  Three unexpected street closures had me completely turned around, and at the last wrong turn, my whole face was hot and I just let the tears fall.  I called my husband in hysterics, and he talked me off the ledge, but by the time I pulled into the parking lot, I was just in pieces.  I kept telling myself, “It may not work.  Be okay with that.  Just go in and take the test”.

Going in, one of my regular nurses sat me down for the blood draw, and told me that she was hoping for the best for us, and that she would call me after 1pm, as soon as she had results…unless of course it was bad news, because she hated making those calls.  The entire process, minus my drive, was about 8 minutes.  I was exhausted from crying, and from overthinking, and my hip was hurting from our nightly progesterone shots, and so I sat in my car afterward and just told myself, “Hey, you’ve done all you could do,and you have the battle wounds to prove it.  Go to work.”

So I did.

This was one more instance that humbled and reminded me just how many times people come into work, with their whole worlds on their shoulders, and their coworkers are none the wiser.  I sat at my desk, I planned some interesting activities for my library teens,and I ignored the clock.  Until about 12:50, when I realized how close it was to 1pm.  I ate a snack, and I went to the ladies room, and I checked on my book display, and I reread the same emails a few times.

1pm came and went.  And with that, I decided it must be bad news.  Because she did tell me that if it’s bad news, she isn’t going to call right away.  So, I begin to prep myself.  When she calls, I’ll probably need to excuse myself or take an early lunch.  Should I leave for the day? Or will I just feel worse if I’m at home by myself? Maybe I’ll just clock out for a while and go to my car and get my feelings out before coming back in. This is my own fault for only transferring one embryo.

Toward the end of the hour, I’ve given myself all the preparation I can muster, and decided to just refocus on my work and await the call.  This feels terrible, but if I just stay calm, I’ll get through it.  It makes my head hot again.

When my phone rings, I’ve actually tuned out any possibility of positivity.

“Hi Regina.”

“Hi.”

“How are you doing.”  She says in a sad tone.  Here it comes.

“I’m…okay.” I say.  It’s a partial truth.  I’m training myself to be okay with whatever.

“You doing okay?”  She says.  I can hear the pity.  I wish she’d just spit it out.

“I’m okay.”

“You okay”  She says again.  This is getting weird.  And annoying.  Maybe she could sense my sadness this morning and is checking on me before giving me bad news.

“Yeah, I’m okay.”

“You’re pregnant.”

Now, at this point, allow me to explain that I share an office.  I sit in rather close proximity to my manager, AND our office door is open at all times.  So the rest of our department walks in and out, and in the afternoons, I have teens who walk right in and tell me all the details I never asked for about their days.  So…my reactions to her words are relatively calm in relation to the YEARS I’ve waited for them.

“REALLY? That sounds awesome!  Thanks SO much for letting me know!”  Yes, very corporate response. I know. LOL  I think she knew that was the situation, because she laughed, and then proceeded with the rest of the information.

“We were hoping for a beta over 50, but yours is 556.”  Five hundred and fifty-six.

Every tear, every shot, every nerve-wrecked moment, was instantly worth it.

I excused myself from my desk to go up and call my husband.  HE also works at a desk that is pretty out in the open, so as I told him this wonderful news, he too gave me the “Wow! Really, that sounds wonderful!” corporate response. And I understood it. LOL

So with that piece of humor, I want to say THANK YOU.

But before I thank you, I have to apologize. I have been uncharacteristically quiet for these past 21 weeks, for my own well-being.  I have been fighting against the anxiety of possible loss, and the fear of letting people or myself down by getting too excited and then having to turn around and say, “False alarm guys.  Things didn’t work out”.  So for that, I apologize.

To my beloved Eggshells in the Shellshocked Support Group, I want to thank you for hearing me, and sharing your heart with me as I bared mine.  Thank you for listening to me when I was hysterical and battling depression-induced anxiety.  I had to withdraw from so much, to maintain my sanity, and I want to thank you for being my mainstay, even when it seemed I wasn’t around. I was there, watching, and praying, and I thank you for doing the same for me.

To my friends and family, for listening to me, and being patient with me when I consistently said I wasn’t announcing anything yet, even when you didn’t understand why.  For the looks of understanding on your faces when I explained to you what this feels like after infertility, and how the happiness is accompanied by a fear that you hadn’t experienced before.  I appreciate your empathy, and I am grateful for you.

To Dr. Anne Borkowski and the entire staff of North Shore Fertility in Skokie, Illinois.  For giving us HOPE and LOVE, and SUPPORT, and finally, SUCCESS. To Terri Davidson, who answered my call for a suggestion on a doctor who could speak at my library and e-troduced me to Anne.

To ALL my friends in the infertility advocacy community.  For being arms that have held each other up.

To each and every person who bought a t-shirt from our shop, or a ticket to one of our ‘fun’raisers, or prayed for us.

To the Tinina Q. Cade Foundation for naming us recipients of a 2015 Family Building Grant, and Dr. Camille Hammond, an amazing friend who encouraged me.

To every, single, reader of The BBE from its very inception: THANK YOU.  For listening.  I’m still talking, if you’re willing to stick around.

Regina

Announcement Video Game Updated

 

Things that Could Mean Everything,…or Nothing At All.

Things That Could Mean Everything

I had to take a few weeks to myself while nearing the end of our IVF journey because I was battling extreme anxiety and wanted to be as focused as possible.  But have no fear!  I have been documenting all the while, so that all my thoughts would be fresh and that I’ll be able to share with you what has been going on once I was a safe distance from it. The following are my actual thoughts while enduring everyone’s dreaded two week wait between transfer and beta testing.

Regina

 

Because what is infertility without panic and superstition?

Things that could mean everything, or maybe nothing:

  • Going to pee and then after sitting right back down, feeling like I forgot to pee when I was in there.
  • Extreme and relentless boobage somehow.
  • Black person myth-busting necessity: Dreamed of Salmon…though I don’t know what the rules are about the whole “I dreamed of fish” thing.  Do the fish have to be swimming along having a good time?  Or does my dream of perfectly cooked salmon last night not count?
  • Dizziness.  I could have just been tired though.
  • Nauseatingly warm.  Not nauseous. But boiling.

Coincidences that made me smile momentarily and then just creeped me out:

Spiders are supposed to be good luck, right?

  • Spiders in the doctor’s office on the day of transfer
  • Spiders in the bathroom at home the evening after
  • Spiders at work the next day
  • Spider in my CAR the next evening
  • Spider in the hallway of my building the next day

When visiting my doctor’s office for bloodwork and ultrasounds, there was always music playing in the ultrasound room:

  • We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off by Jermaine Stewart
  • If You Think I’m Sexy by Rod Stewart
  • Danger Zone (this one actually played the day they found out I was hyper-stimming a little)
  • We Belong Together by Pat Benetar
  • Sweet Dreams by Eurythmics
  • Lady by The Commodores
Times I freaked out and assumed I’d ruined everything:
  • The day after the transfer, Wendy’s under-cooked my chicken sandwich and I almost had a conniption and believed I’d ruined everything by eating under-cooked meat.
  • Upon returning to work that day, I also moved a piece of furniture in the teen room at work and once again had a conniption and believed I’d ruined everything by overexerting myself.
  • Bought pineapple to try and do the pineapple diet, but forgot it was in the refrigerator and didn’t eat it.  So of course…I’d ruined everything.
  • Then, I dreamed of fish, but it was cooked. So once again, I had a conniption and believed I’d ruined everything.
  • Oh, then I drank a glass of ice water and took my socks off to fight the aforementioned boiling point…then read a blog about PCOS during the 2ww that said, you should NOT drink ice water and you should have socks on 24/7 to “keep all your energy going to your uterus”. So then I had another conniption and believed I’d ruined everything by taking precious energy from my uterus to warm my water and feet.

Clearly I’m neurotic, and making hellafied mistakes with this whole thing I’m sure, but whatever the case…stick around, kid.  Stick. Around.

2WW Grief & Anxiety

 

2ww Grief 2

I had to take a few weeks to myself while nearing the end of our IVF journey because I was battling extreme anxiety and wanted to be as focused as possible.  But have no fear!  I have been documenting all the while, so that all my thoughts would be fresh and that I’ll be able to share with you what has been going on once I was a safe distance from it. The following are my actual thoughts while enduring everyone’s dreaded two week wait between transfer and beta testing.

Regina

 

The 2WW.  I’ve heard tales of it, but honestly, each person’s experience with it is their own I’m learning.  I have my moments of frustration and confusion, but overall I’m too busy to really focus on it much.  I’m not quite ready to pull my hair out, or prepared to run through the pregnancy test aisles of my nearest convenience store.

To be honest, I’m hopeful, but also cognizant of the fact that this may not work. It’s a fact that we all have to acknowledge when embarking on fertility treatments of any kind.  We have to be honest with ourselves and our partners.

I know his/her name.
I know who I believe they will be.
All I don’t know, is if my thoughts align with God’s will.

And in my moments of doubt, I start to feel very strongly that if this doesn’t work,  I will want and need to apologize.

To my job,

Although I’ve tried so hard not to actually take any days off other than retrieval and transfer, I know that mentally, I just wasn’t there for the past couple of months. Working in a child-heavy environment, I have worked SO hard for soo long to keep my fertility issues out of sight, that even with a sore backside and absolutely no energy after driving 40 miles roundtrip for bloodwork, I’ve been still attempting to keep things quiet.  I worry that when this is all over, if I have nothing to show for it, I’ll feel even worse to see that I’ve let my work fall to the wayside.

To my family,

For taking some of them on this fragmented roller coaster ride that I’ve ridden solo for years previous.  I knew this ride was dangerous, so any stress they’ve taken on for me was clearly my fault.  My mom worries, and I’d just be so sorry to have made her take on so much extra stress.  Because, there isn’t much they can actually do.  The shots, the meds, and everything else falls on me and my husband, so really all I’m doing is giving them (possibly) false hope, and I would hate to have done that.

And even

To myself.

For putting myself through shots everyday for the past 60 or so days, and sometimes twice a day.  For irritating my skin with the adhesive backing of estrogen patches.  For almost choking myself with these oddly circular estrogen pills that get stuck in my esophagus four times a day.  I’ve given myself time to process every piece of this journey, by taking myself out of my normal social circles and isolating myself to the point where people have started messaging me and asking if I’m alive and well.  I’ve had to close myself off so that I can focus on these things I’m doing that are so far outside of my comfort zone, (shots, anyone?), and it’s made me feel awkward and anxious.  If this doesn’t work, I’ll worry that I’ll have to repair those connections, while privately licking my wounds, and I wonder how that will change me.

But, I’m sure this is all normal, right?

All these feelings of trying to protect myself from hoping too much, while trying to keep myself at optimum performance.  Resisting the urge to POAS because I know that if it doesn’t say what I want it to say that I’ll lose the will to keep moving forward.  All of this, from the highest peak to the lowest depth, are all normal feelings.  And hopefully, at the end of this two weeks, they’ll be irrelevant.

Petri Dish Pregnant-ish?

PetriDishI remember after I’d gotten married, how many of us who were over the hurdle of wedding planning would jump into ANY conversation we overheard from other people who were planning their own.  We’d found our way through battles of chicken or fish, and we’d managed to find a safe seating chart where our divorced aunts and uncles weren’t forced to sit within each other’s eyeline.  We were vets basically, and could solve whatever little issue the newly fianceed would possibly face. (whether they wanted our advice or not)

Infertility feels like it should fit in that vein, but it is not one of those situations for me.

I don’t believe, outside of just continuing to encourage people, that I’ll feel like much of an expert after this.  It has moved so fast and so…seamlessly, that it freaks me out a bit.  Like I’ve said before, I’m so used to this NOT moving smoothly, that the idea that it has, is uncomfortable for me to say the least.  Every phone call, I’ve expected or at least prepared myself for bad or disappointing news.  Every visit, I’ve been expecting my blood pressure to be high, or my uterus to have decided suddenly that she’s had enough and would like a divorce.  Every time, they say, “Nope, everything looks great!” or they give me instructions for the next step.

I’m constantly wondering why then, if this is all so simple now, was it so horribly NOT simple before.  The only answer I can surmise is that it’s simple now, because now is the time.

So Thursday was our egg retrieval.  To prepare for that procedure, you have to take what is called an HCG Trigger shot about 36 hours before.  So remember when I said I had to take Ganirelix, the medicine that tells your ovaries to tighten their grip on those eggs?  Well, the HCG shot is what tells them, “It’s cool now, I got it, go ahead and let em go.”

The problem with the trigger shot?  It has to be taken at PRECISELY the time they tell you. And of course, on the day I receive mine, I’m scheduled to work until closing.  Because of course.

In a sheer stroke of ingenuity and spinning plates, I found myself asking someone to man my desk at work for ten minutes while I ran out to my car, had my husband drive us around to a side-street off the path and give me a shot from the front seat of the car while I sat in the back.  I am absolutely CERTAIN that anyone who just happened to have the misfortune of laying eyes on our ridiculous ordeal believed wholeheartedly that their friendly, neighborhood librarian was on the side of the alley shooting heroine.  I’m convinced there are rumors.  I’m certain I don’t care.

giphy (2)

The next day, nothing really felt much different, and I was convinced that we’d done it wrong and the whole cycle would be cancelled.  Because that’s how my brain deals with things not being chaotic.  My husband rolled his eyes at me, and proceeded to plan for the retrieval as though I was speaking gibberish.  He’s smart like that.

Thursday morning, we flew down the highway to office, and things moved really fast from there.  A really nice anesthesiologist gave me some really nice happy juice through an IV, and a really nice nurse came in to talk me through everything that was about to happen.  My doctor sat with me for a sec just to explain why the timeline had moved when it did.  My body, as predicted, had gotten seriously excited about the meds and was very close to hyperstimulating.  For my safety, and to save the cycle, it was best to move now.

Egg Retrieval Day

The face of someone who could use a nap, and is waiting for the IV to provide one.

So what is involved in egg retrieval?

The procedure involves using a needle to extract the eggs directly from the follicles.  Yes, ANOTHER needle.  Hence, the need for light anesthesia.  You aren’t completely asleep, or at least I wasn’t, but you’re out of it enough to not freak out about that.  Overall, I think most of mine was spent yammering on about whatever came to my brain. Nervous tick.

On the way out of the room, and back to recovery, my doc stopped my chair and showed me the lab techs already at work cleaning and counting the eggs.  I told her, “You do realize the blogger in me wants to take a picture of this whole situation, right?”  She said, “I know,…but no.” LOL

Back in recovery, or just across the hall, I was finally allowed to have something to eat and drink.  The most delicious saltine crackers and apple juice I may ever have, to be exact.  And then, I was allowed to just chill for a bit and get my bearings while the nurse came in to talk to me about what was going to happen next. Basically, once those eggs are extracted from the follicles, the follicles tend to fill back up with liquid.  This is what causes much of the discomfort people feel after retrieval.

While I don’t really make much of a fuss about discomfort or even pain sometimes, I have to admit that it isn’t the most comfortable of feelings to basically have saddlebags inside of your hips filling with fluid. And that’s generally what’s going on in there, I’ve decided.  Also, I’d suggest getting your hair done sometime before this.  You feel really yucky and hideous, but if you can look in the mirror and say, “Oh, but no, my hair is laid.”, it helps. I promise.

Once the techs have counted and cleaned the eggs, they immediately collect the sperm as well so as to move forward with fertilization.  It still amazes me, that people get pregnant unexpectedly, when I look at all of this really intense biological precision.

Anywhoo, our final egg count at the end of the day….TWENTY.  The average?  Eight.

giphy (1)

Come on, overachieving ovaries!

Now, after retrieval, most people are highly uncomfortable.  You should really go home and lie down if possible.  So of course I instead went to the Goodwill for a few minutes, and then went to look at an apartment that we’re interested in.  Because I’m hardheaded.

Fast forward to the next morning.

Do you ever get annoyed at your phone ringing because it isn’t who you’re expecting to call? That was my Friday.  It just kept on ringing, and none of the numbers belonged to my doctor OR her office.  I told you, I tend to expect the worst, (I’m working on it), so I was curious about whether any had fertilized at all, let alone if anything had gone wrong overnight.

Finally, a little after 2, my phone rang with the right numbers.

Call #1, was the lab, to process payment on that embryo storage fee.  They’re serious about that. Thank you to EVERYONE who has bought a shirt from our shop, or attended our fun-raisers. You helped pay them!

But call #2, was finally my doctor, to let me know how things were looking.

In the follow-up call, we talked a bit about just what has been the problem all these years, and it was explained in what I have to say is the best way I’ve ever had it explained.  Looking at the full picture now, she was able to see CLEARLY what had been our issues.

Basically, my PCOS and Hypothyroid have been BFF’s for years.  Together, they decided that they ain’t have no time for no stupid ovulation.  Add to that a pair of blocked tubes and what you have is great eggs, that have been all dressed up with nowhere to go, for decades. Then, on my husband’s side, you have diabetes and a childhood hernia surgery that made breaking through all my barriers basically impossible.  IVF was and is the only route to getting around our unique and numerous hurdles.  Through ICSI (Intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection), the magicians of the lab were able to further get around the foolishness of our bodies by taking one individual sperm and implanting it directly into one individual egg.

So,  what’s the final count?

Of the 20 eggs collected, only about 13 of them were mature.  This is fine.  Again, remember the average is eight.  Of that 13, one presented with an extra set of DNA and was therefore abnormal.  Also fine and common.  Of those 12 left, NINE fertilized and were growing as of the next day.  She said, “everything looks PERFECT. IVF was the only way we were going to get around this stuff and it worked.”

So, those nine are being housed in what is called a MINC Incubator. Now, according to the manufacturer of the incubator’s website, (Yes, I looked it up, because I am a librarian and a thug), the MINC is described as such: “the MINC holds a constant temperature, provides rapid pH recovery and helps the embryo maintain homeostasis to reduce embryonic stress.” All of that to say, this thing is a pretty big deal and the BEST possible place for them to be.

In traditional IVF, this is where my doctor would let us know if she wanted to let them grow for 3 days or 5, and when the transfer would be.  However, a TON of research has suggested that a better route is to get to day 3 or 5 and then freeze the embryos.  Freezing them, allows for the woman’s body to take a little time to decompress from all those medications and stresses of the stim phase.  It will allow for my ovaries to calm down, and my body to get back to pre-meds status.  As my nurse described it, “it took two weeks to get up, now you take two weeks to get yourself back down”.  After that time has passed, then we’ll move to the transfer. (and then wait another painfully slow two weeks to see if any of this worked).

So we’re giving those little guys a five day, all expenses paid (by the sheer grace of God), vacation in the MINC.  On Tuesday, we’ll find out how many of the 9 have continued to grow and will be frozen.  Also on Tuesday, we’ll decide a transfer date.

And that, my friends, is how you work around a lazy Stork and get pregnant in 9 petri-dishes…kinda.

Next up…seeing if any of this works.

So Check This Out…

Check This Out

Music I’ve heard at the fertility center while preparing for ultrasounds so far:

So what’s going on?

I’m quiet.

I find that I’m walking (pardon the pun) on eggshells as I move through the stims phase of our IVF cycle.  Everything began to move so very fast, and my feelings are so very, very terse.  Although most of us know that our infertility and our treatment successes and/or failures have very little to do with anything we do or don’t do, it’s hard to not still feel like you need to talk softly so as not to make the cake fall.

My normally buoyant social media profile is languishing in the water.  My IM’s and emails are taking much longer to reply to, and even if you are literally sitting a foot from me, I may not reply to you immediately, as my mind is perpetually elsewhere.  I don’t mean any harm,…I’m just…quiet.

Basically, my nerves is bad.  (yes, IS bad.)

We are well into our stims at this point.  Today marking day 10 of Follistim and Day 3 of Ganirelix.  If this is your first intro to those two words, allow me to explain them, and also point out that you could be getting your information from a much better source than me, I’m positive.

Anywho, Follistim is basically what it says in its name, a Follicle Stimulating drug.  Follicles, are basically where eggs grow.  Eggs are far too tiny to be seen on ultrasound, so it’s by measuring and counting the follicles, that doctors can see how many eggs you might be able to retrieve.  For some people, Follistim is a quick shot in the tummy every night.  For me, it’s a quick shot, but instead of the tummy, it’s in the spot behind my hip and just above my bum with a really large needle that I try not to look at much.

I was really nervous about that shot when the meds arrived and I saw the needle length. Now, I’m glad to say that while it is unpleasant, it is not as unbearable and terrifying as it once was.  If you have to take intramuscular shots for your cycle, here’s my tips on that:

  1. I recommend you take a look at this video of the amazing Nurse Linda from Sher Fertility, as she explains how to find the sweet spot.
  2. Get a distraction and don’t look down.  These shots, I’ve decided, are not my business.  My job is to be as oblivious as possible, so as not to do a whole lot of jumping around as I know I would.  Look, a few years back, I asked my husband to check my sugar with his PAIN FREE glucose meter, and acted such a clown, for a tiny finger prick, that we eventually gave up.  When I was a kid, I acted so completely ridiculous at the dentist that the office PUT ME OUT and told my mother never to bring me back.  When I was like 4, I was known to walk into the doctor’s office and TELL the nurse or doctor from the jump, that they were NOT to administer any shots to me that day, and that if they had a problem they could jump in the lake. Basically, I know my limits as a patient where the possibility of pain is concerned. For that reason, every night as we prepare for this shot, I grab my Ipad, turn to something funny (First it was Parks & Rec, and now it’s Bob’s Burgers), and I zone out.  When he moves in with the alcohol swab, I hum really loudly, but that’s about as far as I go.  We don’t do any count downs, and he doesn’t ask me if I’m ready, because then I’ll just over-think about when the hammer is coming down.  We have a silent agreement that once the Netflix starts, I’m not conscious.
  3. Walk it off.  Follistim stings in the few seconds after it’s been administered.  A slow and steady afterburn that is kind of just to piss you off.  It also causes a bit of bloating as the follicles begin to grow, and I have to admit that it isn’t the most comfortable of feelings.  To combat this, we’ve begun going for a short walk every night.  Nothing dramatic or overly strenuous, but enough of a fresh air distraction, that I can focus on being outside and in the air, before I begin feeling annoyed or sad, or frustrated, or any other emotional side effect of the meds.  If you don’t feel like actually walking, find something that will make you feel better.  A nice bathtime, or a good book, or if you’re anything like me, a few rounds on the video game.

Ganirelix, is a gonadotropin-releasing hormone antagonist.  In human language, that means it tells my body not to drop those eggs until it’s told to.  It says, “hey, I see you’re holding a few dozen cartons there, can you do me a favor and not drop them until I’ve had a chance to finish preparing everything?”.

It happens to be a subcutaneous shot, the tummy one, and I do this one myself.  I know, I know, “how is it that you can do that one yourself, but you freak out about the other one?”. I wish I had an answer for that.  Basically, the truth of the matter is that it’s a huge difference in needle size.  Also, I believe that the thing most of us have about shots, is mental and visual.  Ganirelix comes already put together.  When you open the box, the medicine is already in the needle and you basically just open it and push it.  Not having to see a huge needle draw up a huge amount of medicine from a vial, and watch it all be put together elaborately, does wonders for not giving you enough time to freak out.

So, is it working or not?

Welp, on the first follow-up after starting the stims, there was only one measurable follicle. Nothing much seemed to be happening, and I could tell that my nurse was curious as to why that was.   With PCOS, there’s such a chance of hyperstimulation (too many follicles, too fast), that I think we were all expecting some massive turnover.  But she assured me that it was a good thing, and told us to come back in a couple days.

Two days later, on the next visit, this past Saturday, we had jumped to 10.  5 measurable follicles on the left, and 5 on the right.  She lowered my dosage because my body had apparently said, “Challenge, accepted”.

As of this morning…I don’t have a count.  Because there were that many.  Good Grief

So, guess who’s making another hour drive tomorrow morning before work?  And then again on Wednesday?  You guessed it, ME.

And guess who doesn’t care?

ME.  giphy (2)

I will drive those 60 minutes for a 15 minute appointment.  I will refill that gasoline tank.  I will call into work apologetically if I cut it too close.  I will do whatever I am asked to do. Because I worked too hard to get here.

 

 

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