First Glimpse at the 26 Follies

Today was my first monitoring appointment with ultrasound. I am happy to report that Monday’s side effects have not happened again so far. That was a brutal day and I was nervous that the entire cycle would consist of severe nausea, dizziness and hot flashes. Since Monday I have gotten occasional shooting pains, mainly on the left- though the right has thrown some in there as well. I have been tired enough to take a nap when I get home from work and still sleep the whole night. I am even still tired in the morning after all that sleep! Starting last night, and increasing today, I have felt the fullness increasing. My abdomen feels heavy and I can tell that in the next few days, movements are going to be jarring my poor expanded ovaries. Certain movements, especially leaning into something, bending over, or lifting grocery bags has been uncomfortable. The constipation has kicked in and I am just plain old uncomfortable! I am pushing my way through the workweek, keeping in mind that I may need a day off if these symptoms continue to increase, or if I want 2 days off for the surgery. I just keep pushing through it.
Now onto the good stuff…
I was up again at 5:30 and into the lab when it opened at 7:00. I loved the girl I got today- I didn’t feel a thing! I was then second in line for my ultrasound. I must say that the ultrasound was super uncomfortable today, especially when she was examining my left ovary. Queue the wincing and slight moan.
Here is where my body is at after 5 nights of stims:
My lining was already layering and was 6-7mm. That was a good start!
Right:
11 total follicles.
2 @ 9mm and the rest under 8
Left:
15 total follicles! No wonder the left side hurt!
2@ 11mm,
1@ 10mm and the rest at or under 9mm
That would be 26 total follicles. I am pretty darn happy with that number! I am a little bit scared of how uncomfortable this is going to get and my risk of OHSS.
The nurse guesstimated a retrieval day of next Tuesday or Wednesday. I was instructed to go out and get some stool softener and fiber. Fun stuff… I really can’t wait for it to kick in…no, seriously, I Can Not Wait! Then I was off to work and waiting for my blood results.
I listened to the nurse’s voicemail after my kids had vacated my classroom. Not exactly what I had been hoping for. My estrogen, while rising is going up pretty slowly. I have been instructed to double the Menopur for the next 2 nights. That will be 2 vials along with the 5 units of Lurpon and the 150 Gonal F. She said that it was no reason to worry and that I just needed a bump. Despite it not being a big deal, I have been ordered back in on Friday instead of Saturday. Oh well. I guess it just means less time for me to worry about my estrogen levels. You know that is all I will be able to think about for the next 2 days and I always go to worse case scenario. I am going to have to keep that in check to decrease the dreaded stress. I will also continue to enjoy the “princess treatment” that my husband is perfecting! We are on night 3 of his famous meatloaf! It is a good deal!

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Baseline and Hormonal Emotions

New years

My period finally decided to show up yesterday. I wasted no time calling in my day one to hopefully get this IVF show on the road. They gave me the option of waiting for the weekend to do all of the baseline business. No thank you! I get that the wand up the hoo ha may not be the most comfortable thing ever during this time of the month, but when is it comfortable? So I set my alarm for 6:45 on a vacation day. That was probably worse than the wand…and the needle stick. I drove into the city in the fog, cursing the traffic and stop lights every 10 feet. I am not looking forward to making that drive a few times a week for the next 10-12 days.

First stop: The lab for bloodwork

The needle wielding guy stuck me in the side of the elbow. Ouch. Not cool guy! I had plenty of beautifully blue veins in the center of my arm. It was one of those situations that I got there and got right in, and by the time I walked out 10 minutes later, the waiting room was packed. I love when this happens! Like at the Dunkin Donuts drive-through. You pull right up for your coffee and feel giddy when you drive back out past the mile long line of cars sipping away. It was that feeling. Way to start the day with a win!

Second stop: RE’s office for ultrasound

Up three floors I went, signed in and was told to have a seat but not to get comfortable. And I didn’t. I got called in maybe 3 minutes later. I used the bathroom to make sure I did all I could to avoid a totally gross and awkward visit with the wand. Actually, I was more concerned with the lovely lady controlling the want. Luckily I am having a lighter period. They certainly didn’t help matters by making me wait for what felt like forever, sans pants. I’m sure it was only 5 minutes, but good grief I was at serious risk of a leakage issue! My tech Amy and nurse finally came in and we got the show on the road. I have been worried every step of the way that things would not go smoothly. This worry grew after my period delayed our cycle a few days. I was sure that my ovaries were full of cysts or didn’t shut down on the Lupron. The wand was doing is magic, lots of pressure, perfect 2mm lining, then it got quiet. That always worries me. She finally confirmed that both ovaries look perfectly quiet. As long as my estradiol levels come back the way they expect them to, we get the green light. As with all things fertility related…I must wait for the call.

Third stop: STARBUCKS!

After coffee and grocery shopping, I finally made it home, made breakfast, changed out of my jeans and into my vacation uniform of yoga pants and a sweatshirt and cozied up downstairs. Finishing our basement was the best idea ever! The call finally came in that my levels looked good and that we will start stims tomorrow. I will go back on Monday morning, bright and early before going back to work for blood work. So that’s that.

Now onto the side effects of Lupron, mixed with PMS. I am a hormonal wreck. All I want is to stay home, I cry when my husband goes to work at night, have anxiety going to bed alone, I cry at TV shows ( I am hooked on Parenthood), books and passing thoughts. All I want is to hold onto him. I could hug him all day. I need the contact and the comfort to quiet the hormones.

This is also the first year that Hubby hasn’t been able to get New Years Eve off. I will ring in 2016 alone, no kiss, no toast. And guess what- I keep crying about that too. It is sad to me that we won’t ring in 2016 together, the year that we could get pregnant…have a baby…that feels important to me. I am sure that a kiss and toast at midnight won’t change the course of the next year- so I am hoping that he will be able to call for that shift to the new year. The hormones definitely make it seem ten times worse than it should, but hey- I feel what I feel. And now I am crying again. I guess I should try to get into the mindset that it is just another night. He will leave at 11, I will get ready for bed, climb in and watch the ball drop- then I will go to sleep and wake up when he gets home. So that’s how my night will go.

Even though the sky is blue and the snow is melting a bit, I am going to start a fire, curl up on the couch, and binge watch Parenthood until Hubby wakes up. We will order Chinese food, because that’s what we do on New Years Eve. We will make early mimosas and toast this year out a bit early.

The first day of 2016 will start the growth of our follicles, our future eggs, embryos and babies. That’s a heck of a way to start a year. Within the next 2 weeks, I will have surgery, get reports on our embryos and hopefully be PUPO. We are starting what I hope, and truly believe will be our best year.

Happy New Year!

Lupron Day 1

Last night was the start of our first IVF cycle. Sunday was our annual Christmas at Hubby’s dad’s house. I was fighting a disgusting cold, which definitely put a cloud over my day. I started feeling it on Friday and by Saturday night I was trying to sleep sitting up just to breathe better. By Sunday, I was running on little sleep, with a sore throat, foggy head and I had tons of baking to do. I was up at 6 and by the time Hubby got home at 9 I had already made 3 batches of cookies and was on my way to cookie variety number 2. By the time we got to the party I was exhausted. This is the side of his family that I love, it feels like home to me. His step mom has always been supportive and kind to me, his Dad is quirky- my brother in law is just like my Hubby (they are both cops) and really act more like children when they are together—and his wife, who is going through the whole TTC thing as well. His 92 year old grandparents who only speak Portuguese were there with us as well. With all of my grandparents gone, I have pretty much just taken them as my own. I can’t understand most of what they say, but can feel their love despite that. I really am lucky to have married into this family.

Despite the official start to our holiday festivities, I was feeling emotional. That night will hopefully be our last night of “normal”. By normal I mean a family of 2, not expecting, not parents. Just us. Hopefully, from this point forward we are in IVF mode, then pregnancy mode, then baby mode and parenthood. This could have been the last weekend on no baby life. That is both exciting and petrifying. I have been reflecting on that and trying to put it into words for hubby. We have officially started on a road that gives us fantastic odds of taking home a little love. So with that thought in my mind, we cracked open the Lupron, iced up the stomach and gave the first of many many shots. It wasn’t too bad. I felt the pinch more than I normally do with the Novarel, but Hubby is getting to be a pro- so there has been no swelling or bruising. That will make this much easier to give shots in the same location for weeks. I am expecting a period this weekend and a baseline appointment next Monday or Tuesday.

With only 1 full day of school left(why they wouldn’t give us a half day is beyond me), I am in desperate need of this vacation! I can’t wait to see my nephew- who has his first 2 teeth and is crawling since last I saw him! I love Christmas morning with the Hubs, and the German Christmas that I host the day after Christmas for my Dad’s side (and another helping of my nephew!!). I am looking forward to naps and reading and feeling those ovaries start to fill us with follicles! Okay, I know that won’t be comfortable- but I am still looking forward to it! I don’t want to rush my break, even though I feel like Christmas for me will really be my retrieval and transfer days!

I am counting on my Lupron shots to be the same- not the highlight of my day, but not horrible for the next few days, so if there are no updates until our next change, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

On Deck for IVF

We are on deck for a baby! That is what Hubby said to me last night when I told him my period had started. At first, I thought that January seemed forever away. To not start our IVF cycle until the end of December, and being on BCPs until then just felt like such a long time to wait and not be able to try in the meantime. Cycle day 1 started at work, because of conference week, my kiddos had a half day and I was excited since I had no scheduled conferences and would be able to leave at 1:30 instead of 3:20. That is how it has been the past 3 years. Ha! No such luck. Somebody complained and teachers were ordered to stay until our contracted time. Not cool! So I got some calls made, some grades entered and then any motivation I had was lost. I took that time to call in my day 1 to the RE. The point of doing this was to get the IVF authorization process under way for January. I got a call back soon after from my IVF nurse Tina. Yay! I have an IVF nurse who would be coordinating my schedule and will answer any questions along the way. She had to check on my chart and see how they were going to authorize me since we are a bit far out. My insurance will authorize for a time period. We have to time it appropriately to get the right window of time.

When she called me back the second time, she said that I was officially on the IVF board. And then she made my week. Tina told me that I would start Lupron on December 14th. I expected to start the week after Christmas. This is 2 weeks ahead of the schedule I had laid out in my brain.

She briefly laid out my timeline… 4 day overlap of Lupron and BCP starting 12/14…. Lupron Period after that. Stims and antibiotics for both of us will start on December 26th. We are looking at a retrieval the week of January 4th and a transfer 5 days later.

My protocol is in the mail to me and my drug order has been placed. In fact, I got the call from my specialty pharmacy last night saying that they are ready. I am holding off on shipping until I can confirm that my insurance has approved us. Wouldn’t want to get the bill for that if they have not given the go ahead.

That 2 weeks made a world of difference to me for some reason. I will only be on BCPs for a month. Somehow that is more manageable to my brain. Another perk…most of my appointments will take place over Christmas break! Our first day back to school is January 4th- hopeful retrieval day. One of my biggest stress factors was working my appointments around school. It couldn’t line up any better! My nurse said that my voice changed by the end of the call and that she was so glad that she could make my day.

The hope and excitement that I feel at the start of any new phase is firmly in place. I am looking forward to a month without drugs and injections and ultrasounds. I am glad that Hubby and I can put some spontaneity back into our love life and I am looking forward to focusing on the holidays and enjoying what I hope is the last year of Christmas traditions with just the two of us. We both look forward to the day that we can add another little love to our Christmas tree hunt and decorating night. For this year, we will enjoy watching our nephew experience his first holiday season. Gosh I love that kid! I can’t wait to give him a cousin!

For the first time in quite a few months I feel stress free and relaxed. I plan on enjoying glasses of wine with dinner and a few more glasses of wine to help me through Thanksgiving at my Mother in Law’s. 4 more weeks until we are up. Until then, we are on deck for our baby!

And we have a plan!

nov 5

Well friends, our IVF meeting was not at all what I expected. I woke up anxious. I had taken the day off and was hoping to sleep in since our meeting was not until 11:40. My body obviously had other plans since I woke up at my normal 6am and couldn’t get back to sleep. Once I got up and moved to the living room, I enjoyed watching Good Morning America, which I never get to watch as it starts right as I am leaving for work. Normally I enjoy a good lazy morning. Today I was just fidgety. I was excited to take this step forward in the IVF process. I was looking forward to what our RE would have to say, and I was especially happy to finally get a plan of action. We left around 10:30 to get there the 20 minutes early that they asked for. Hubby wanted to take the stairs and I just wanted to go up the three stories via elevator. And thus started the downward spiral. He couldn’t just stick with me on this one? I was anxious enough without working up a sweat on the way up. Not to mention the eve r present possibility of an exam after working up said sweat. Yuck. We made it up at the same time and went to check in. I turned around and Hubby was nowhere to be seen. He had decided to sit on the other side of the giant waiting room. The side for another medical practice and as far away from the door my nurse would call us in through. Why must he be difficult today? A day when my anxiety is already on the upswing? I sat on the right side and he finally gave up and came over. Sorry he could not see the potential mass murderer should he decided to take us all out from the hallway or the gun wielding lunatic that may walk in the door. Sometimes I wonder if he really gets how this process affects me and how I need him to just stick with me. Especially at appointments!

Our appointment was at 11:40. The receptionist made mention of my Dr. running notoriously a few minutes late. What else would you expect going to a doctor’s office right? So we made ourselves comfy and waited. And waited. 30 minutes later we were still waiting. I was about to go check with the receptionist when the nurse finally called us. Imagine my surprise when she brought us to an exam room. When I asked she said that the doctor still wasn’t ready for us, but we could wait here. Ugh! What kind of move was that? They have been waiting 30 minutes so let’s move them to a new room to wait and hope they won’t notice that despite the change in scenery their wicked late doctor is still not ready. Hubby wanted to touch every piece of machinery and open every cabinet door. In my mood, that did not sit well. I felt like I had brought a child with me instead of a full grown man. I was probably snapping at him more than I should have been but geesh, just notice my mood and adjust accordingly!

Almost an hour after our scheduled time, the doctor finally summoned us to her office where she left us again for a few minutes. When we finally started I felt so rushed. I know that she was running late but I wanted to feel like a priority while talking to her. I always have felt taken care of with this office until today. It basically went like this…

Dr.” so you went to the overview class?”
Me: “yes”
Dr. “do you have any questions about what IVF is all about”
Me: “not really, I have thoroughly researched it on my own”. “ I do have a few questions about PCOS and hyper stimulation…”

Basically she said that I am at a heightened risk of this happening. She also expects a high number of eggs, though she predicts that not all will be mature. We talked about how if I do hyper stimulate, they will take the eggs, fertilize them and freeze them for the following month, when we will do a frozen transfer.

Then there was a round of sign this, and this and this before we talked about how many eggs to transfer. She explained that our insurance requires 1 embryo transfers for the first 2 IVFs. Well that took care of that decision, though I did tell her that if it takes more than 2 IVFs that I will be putting 2 embryos back in on the third go round. We consented to knowing the risks, the taking and transferring of embryos and the fact that our embryos that will be frozen are legally both of ours and nothing can be done with or to them without both of our consent.

I think she was ready to end the meeting there but I wanted to know my protocol and what I would be doing between now and our January start date. So here is the plan…

• If I get a negative HPT next Wednesday I will stop progesterone support and wait for my day 1
• On day 1 I will call in to start the pre-approval process between my RE and our insurance and begin Birth Control pills.
• I will remain on BCP, taking the active pills only until late December. (Yay for no holiday period)
• Just after Christmas I will start Lupron and overlap with the BCP for 4 days. I will then get my period.
• Baseline ultrasound and blood tests will be done as I continue Lupron
• If all looks good I will begin my Gonadotropins to begin stimulating follicle production and decrease Lurpon. We will also both start antibiotics.
• I will be monitored for 7-10 days before we hopefully trigger with hCG
• 36 hours later we will go in for retrieval
• Finally, as long as I am not hyper stimulating we will have a 5 day transfer.

We plan to start the cycle just after Christmas so I think we are looking at a retrieval and transfer around the week of January 18th.

Despite feeling ridiculously rushed through our appointment, I was comforted by her confidence. The medicated cycles only gave us a 10-15% chance of conceiving. She told us that IVF works for PCOS patients and most are pregnant within the first 3 cycles. That would, if everything goes right and there are no delays, that we will have an October, November or December baby. A baby by next Christmas!

While I was grumpy about the speed at which we were shuffled out of the office, I was feeling confident and hopeful. Until Hubby and I got into an argument on the way to the car over both hearing different answers to a question Hubby asked. I don’t know why he has been so snappy and quick to argue the last 2 days or so but that was not a fun end to our visit. I think that sometimes I turn on my teacher voice when I disagree with him and he takes it as an attack. I never hear it that way, maybe because it isn’t meant that way. Whatever the case may be- that sucked. Even when I intentionally made my voice very calm and quiet, he was jumping down my throat. All I asked was “what was your question again”. That’s it. We don’t argue that often and I was really upset and hurt that we did today after such good news.

Anyways, we are back to normal and all tucked in at home now. I finally get to start penciling things into my calendar as I await peeing on a stick next Wednesday. Who knows, maybe those consent forms will not even be needed, but if we get another negative, I don’t think it will sting as badly knowing what are chances are in the next step.