Biding time

I’m getting so nervous. And I feel so uncomfortable. I’ve been waking up at 5 AM for the past few days, because every position that I lie in just feels twisted, like my stomach is a balloon being warped by some children’s party clown. Usually animals make me happy, but not at 5 am. Not today.

I am watching Grey’s Anatomy, which is probably a bad idea. But I keep reading over my notes about what I’m supposed to do, and not do.

I went in to the clinic for my 9:45 blood test. They should know by noon (by now anyways) if all is well. I was told not to do anything to disrupt my pelvis; no lifting, no running, no sex, no Zumba. How specific. Let it rest.

I took my two shots of Decapeptyl last night. The amount (volume) in the shots felt like a lot. It was pretty smooth sailing, now that I’m an expert self-injector.

Started reading all the ‘what to expect during your procedure’ stuff. I’m glad I have it. I worry and have mild but real anxiety. The Ativan should help with that, they said. Not going to lie though, I’m antsy about having them administer Fentanyl during my procedure tomorrow. People are literally dying from it. I had an actual conversation with Allia that if I start ‘crashing,’ don’t wait for the lab techs to call  911, do it. Look like a fool. Don’t let me die. I was half serious. Thanks, Grey’s Anatomy.

Talked to my bestie who has been through all this before. She is due in two weeks and had a terrible, 7 year slog towards FINALLY keeping a pregnancy. She had lots of calming, soothing words and tidbits of advice. Namely, she said she did everything ‘right’ and had terrible results, but now with her little one on the way, she thinks the best thing she did was realize there isn’t one right way; whatever gets you through the stress of it. She went out for lunch and laughed all through the meal with a friend right after her implantation procedure. So, when I asked her if I should try to stay home Tuesday, following Monday’s visit she said:

‘But you LOVE Hallowe’en! Won’t you be sad to be at home thinking about your uterus and ovaries, when you could be with your students, talking about cultural appropriation, wearing a costume, learning Thriller (*don’t worry, I have two students teaching it, since I’m on ‘no Zumba’ doctor’s orders) and spending time doing something you like?’

So, I’m keeping it low-key today. Marking away. 18 of 31 essays done. 12 of 23 dance tests done. And Allia is doing all kinds of stuff around the house, including baking me buckwheat banana muffins. She turned to me and said:

Think about this; how many more days like this will there be? Me baking quietly in the kitchen, you on the couch with the marking, the cat asleep on the chair? Soon, hopefully, this kind of tranquil Sunday will be a distant memory.

Here is what they tell you before the IVF Egg Retrieval. I will update this blog as soon as I’m not woozy and can make sense again. Wish us luck!

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Saturday: Game On!

I woke up this morning after a night of sex dreams. My body, even subconsciously, is trying to get these eggs outta here. My ovaries are yelling, “get somebody in here to make a baby! Things are getting really out of control and very crowded.”  (I said something way more vulgar, but it doesn’t bear repeating)
Weird. Now I’m sitting on the on the couch with ovaries that, according to the very nice nurse in Burlington, are usually walnut sized but are currently comparable to oranges. Fruit metaphors. How queer. My co-worker said stimulated follicles are the size of grapes.

But, good news, they are ready to be juiced. Picked? whatever the metaphor. Also, the nurse said my ovaries are nice and accessible, which should make retrieval pretty easy and expedient.

We did the ultrasound and it’s even better than yesterday, but they want to get bloodwork back to decide if I’ll take the Decapeptyl double shot tonight to trigger me, or tomorrow. If I take D it will have to be a frozen cycle, as there is a medication (Ovidrel) that is different if they are going to do a fresh transfer. So much I didn’t know before.

I got the call two hours later. Game time!

TO DO:

  1. Take the Gonal F (150) now. No Luveris. Tonight at 9 pm precisely, take two of the Decapeptyl shots.
  2. Go to the grocery store/pharmacy: get an enormous pizza with prosciutto, brie, arugula and figs. Pick up my presciption for Atavan (one for Sunday night, one for the morning of the procedure to help with anxiety). I am so relieved. Allia will be with me because I won’t be able to drive. And we were advised to bring an Ipod with nice music for us to listen to.
  3. Call in to book off work and make lesson plans for Monday, probably Tuesday, too.
  4. Go to the clinic Sunday morning for bloodwork only (make sure the trigger worked)
  5. Don’t eat anything Sunday night. Take an Atavan.
  6. Go in at 6:45 am for my appointment on Monday. At 6:30, take the other Atavan. 
  7. Wear socks. lol. 
  8. Win that game and get as many of my team off the bench and onto the court as I can. No benchwarmers needed. 

 

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Go Team!

 

Weekend Update

I’ve been playing phone tag with the Clinic. Come in today, come in tomorrow, no come in Sunday, OK come in both.

Here is a recap of the past few days.

Thursday: Went into the clinic today. The follicles are developing really wonderfully; I have 10 that look really good. Nurse called and said that I need to go into the Burlington clinic on Saturday, and Dr. C looked at my chart and wants me to drop the Gonal F to 100. She is predicting it’s going to be a freeze-all cycle, because they’re worried about hyperstimulation. So, I might have to do a natural cycle after this one, so wait out November and try for December. Either way, I will come back in and sign consents for frozen transfers. They are going to drop the dose of Gonal, then I’ll go in on Saturday to keep monitoring. (So, started Gonal at 200, dropped to 150, then to 100 last minute on Friday).

Because with a freeze all we will have to skip November, we run into potential scheduling problems. They are closed Dec. 22 to Jan. 5 in Mississauga, while Burlington will be closed Dec. 25 and 26. A natural cycle is unpredictable, so we might miss December altogether.

Transfer Options – Natural or On Medication: If I do end up doing a natural cycle there will be an option to come into the clinic a few times for monitoring, but then we wait for me to ovulate. The risk is that the meds this month might make my cycle unpredictable and it will be hit or miss with the timing of my ovulation (harder to plan and harder to catch). However, if I do a medicated cycle I will have to keep taking the medication for 13 weeks, if I use it during the pregnancy. And bonus deet: the meds make your vagina bright blue. Smurf style.

Friday: In to the clinic again. Last night the dose of Gonal F dropped to 100. Luveris still at 75. Took Cetrotide this morning. Three needles a day makes Alison a dull girl. Good thing it’s just me and not the needles. I need to remember to get a needle disposal unit!! We returned a full one and forgot to get another. We have an ever-growing brown paper bag of medical biohazard waste on the table.

Meds: We have 150 left of Gonal F and 1 Luveris at home. The tally for meds costs is on the agenda for this weekend. It’s in the thousands of $$$.

It was a Long appointment today, because there is a lot to look at.

Lots of follicles!

26 follicles, 16 over 14 mm. My lining is 18.2. They are almost sure that we will do a freeze-all. This makes me nervous, but I keep telling myself it’s for my own good.

I need to come back Sunday to give my body a chance to let the smaller ones catch up. I’m booked at Burlington on Saturday,  but need to change it to Sunday.

What happens next? The trigger shot will happen, then we skip one day. What are we looking forward to? Right now: best results would be 18 (at most) frozen eggs, but often after losses in the post-fertilization stage, it drops off – so maybe 3-7.

Either way, more meds!!!

My running tally is going to be more than I spent on a semester at University. 

Then I got the update: called during Period 5 class, to reschedule. I have to come in Saturday and Sunday. Take Cetrotide, but stop everything else after Friday night.

The doctor looked at my chart and wants to bring me in sooner. My estrogen is at 10,500 and it’s pushing the safe zone if all these follicles keep growing.

Cross your fingers for a weekend of good news!

The first time.

This thought was from a while ago, but I figured maybe a break from stats would be nice.

My colleague asked me today if it was weird that there was some stranger’s junk inside me and I said, yeah, but I said the weirdest part was actually that it's the first time in 3 1/2 decades that there's been ever sperm inside me, because I was always so careful when I was with men. I've never had unprotected sex so just even the concept of there being sperm in there was like …you know, like some of jerking off in the Vatican.

Okay it’s not a perfect metaphor. But it felt like profaning a queer, very tidy, sacred place.

Don’t plan a field trip for a day when your ovaries are the size of pop cans

Yup. It’s a bad idea. Woke up at 5:45 this morning, super uncomfortable. It’s the first time that I’ve had distinct symptoms, other than just a general sense of bloat and fatigue. My ovaries ache.

But my follicles are awesome. My estrogen seems to be growing the smaller follicles, helping them catch up to the big ones, which has allowed them all to progress at a relatively even rate. My lining is nice and thick.

So I’m focusing on this.
Instead of the fact that my midsection is tender and puffy. Or that I have a field trip, with a cheque cut to pay the venue, and two kids’ spots I was holding, because they couldn’t afford to pay right away, just bailed five minutes before the trip started, leaving me with no money to pay for their spots except from my own pocket.

And these hormones are making me way more annoyed and way less patient than I would usually be. It’s true that when you are mad, sad, hurt, sick or stressed your coping skills are impaired.

I am mostly keeping it even keel but hope to just spend the weekend marking and relaxing in sweat pants. Newest projection is retrieval on Halloween. You’d better believe I will be wearing a costume.

Balance

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Me today.

I’m having the first of the big feels. At least for this round. I stayed in this weekend, while my wife went to hang with her siblings, our family. Tonight, after a full day of work, I came home and got my laptop out to keep marking. Already I’m feeling tired, but I’m supposed to drive in (on a Tuesday night, which normally would have been no problem) to meet friends, and Allia, at Lisa Marie for HipHop trivia and good food. I already know that I’ll be driving, and I am feeling tired from the meds, but want to not miss out on seeing our friends. I am feeling some real FOMO as Allia works in the city and sees people after work far more regularly.

I called to see if setting an expiry date for the evening is possible. Can we agree to leave by a certain time… so I can get home to do my shot (not having to do it in a car or restaurant bathroom, please), and the initial pause on the phone… makes me SO cranky.

I want to go out. I want to participate. I don’t want to be a drag.

But I also want to stay at home and dig away at the mountain of work that feels harder to get through because I’m sluggish and tired. And bloated. I don’t feel unwell, but I don’t feel good.

I don’t want to have to convince my partner to be in this trench with me, or feel like I need to persuade someone who feels fine to rein in their social time because I can’t participate as vigorously. We do lots on our own, but I don’t want to feel like I’m carrying, pun intended, the burden for two – while the other is out doing what I’d rather be doing.

It feels like the disparity between spouses who earn vastly different salaries – I imagine it’s how I’d feel if I had to scrimp and save, while my higher-salaried partner is out wining and dining. Or like someone who is dieting, watching their partner eat cake… or sitting at home while their wife Instagrams pics of the _______________ (whatever you wish you’d be doing, seeing, eating, too). It doesn’t feel partner-y. And usually I’d call bullshit. We are not connected at the hip. I could go if I want to. Or not go.

I just don’t want to feel like I’m the only one who has to feel housebound, not by choice. If I have to feel like I can’t do all the things I want to do, selfishly, I want company.

She handled my grouchy phone call like a champ. Placatingly assuring me that I’d be able to go home before I turned into a pumpkin. No questions… okay, few questions asked.

Anyone else ever feel like their hormones, or this whole process, creates imagined strain and moodiness as you prep for these big changes and as your regular life becomes irregular?

Drug Cocktails and How To Master IVF Injection Meds

So, we did it. The video, to commemorate the whole process. Laughably rough and not at all our usual M.O. But who has time for a polished, beautifully-edited video of ‘How to use your injection meds,’ when they are actually taking injection meds? We were over at a friends’ house for dinner and, with respect for the doctor’s “take at the same time daily” instructions, we had to do the injections in her bathroom.

https://youtu.be/yDND0_0j2sQ

So, there are close-ups of my bloated stomach and us puttering through the details of the meds. Our instructions for the past few days: Keep going with Gonal F and Luveris. Start taking Cetrotide to halt ovulation. They may decrease Gonal F and Luveris when my tests come back. For now, they are keeping the same dose.

After the Sunday morning visit, they decided to lower my dose of Gonal to 150. My follicle count: 11, 11, 10, 10, on right. 11, 10, 10, 10 on left.

Rash from the Cetrotide.

At first they thought the retrieval may be Friday, but changed the estimate for my retrieval to a potential “Monday…Or early the following week.”

Went in this morning (Tuesday) for a checkup, I am still on the same doses of all three meds. We are eventually looking for follicles size 20+. My current is R: 14, 13, 13, 12, 11, 9 and L: 14, 14, 12, 11, 10, 9.

Yay! At 2mm per day they should be good to go. My lining is 13 mm. I can’t believe that all this ridiculous vocabulary seems to make sense now and has become part of my regular daily exchange.

The follicles.

Good luck out there, folks, and chins up.