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!

Christmas injection fiasco and cycle delay

Another Christmas is over and it was a pretty good one. Hopefully it was also the last one without a little bambino. Christmas Eve brought some stress as we spend it with Hubby’s mom’s family. They were on the “let’s break them up” campaign when his mom decided she didn’t like me. We still don’t really understand that one, but it was pretty severe and lasted over a year. So he really can’t blame me for having anxiety every Christmas Eve over another marathon party of nobody talking to me. This was also the first time we would have to give an injection away from home. The only people who know about our IVF journey are his brother and sister in law. We have never discussed our fertility issues with his mom….if we had I am sure half the world would know, and it would somehow be my fault. Anyways, I wanted a plan of how we were going to pull this off without someone questioning us. Hubby took the “it won’t be a big deal, we will just slip into a bedroom” approach. Might I mention how hard it is to sneak into a bedroom that is visible from the living room, which is filled will about a million family members… family members that would have no problem calling you out publicly on your sneaky ways!
Well, 8:30 rolled around and I gave him the “it’s time” look. His job was simple…get the ice, meet me in the bedroom. When this began sounding like a 007 mission, I have no idea. Hubby went to the freezer but did he get ice, which would have been easily hidden and explained? Nope! He got a big bag of frozen potatoes. What happened next was just our luck. He turned around with that frozen bag of potatoes right into his mother. Why?!!? Of course what came next was a cross examination like you would see in a police station interview room. “why do you have potatoes?” “I was hungry so I wanted to heat them up”. Oh Hubby—why potatoes??? With an endless counter of food to his right, this answer was suspicious and stupid and she wasn’t buying it. This is what happens when you wing it! Sigh…. I had to step in and say “ He has to give me an injection”. What is she going to say to that? As I hoped, she had no real response to my statement and we went on our way to stab me in the stomach in the back bedroom. I didn’t ice long enough, it hurt, I bruised, Merry Christmas Eve. It was also the first time I had side effects from the Lupron. It took the form of a massive headache and crashing of my hormones. I spent the last hour of the party in a miserable mood and almost begged Hubby to leave. Actually, I am pretty sure I made my desire to go pretty obvious, but because I said we could stay till 11 earlier in the night, the shift in my mental and emotional state did not compete with his desire to play Taboo.

I stewed for a good hour over that. Could he not see I was suffering? I held it together until we got to the end of the driveway where I totally fell apart into a sobbing mess.

Christmas Day and the day after were better for me. I got to see my nephew open his gifts on both days, got to feel what it would be like to have a baby in our house, got some great gifts, a new lens for my camera, cookbooks, a favorite movie and ate some pretty fantastic food. Shots and all, it was a pretty good 5th Christmas with the husband!

With the holidays over I am in full on IVF mode. My body, however has other plans. My nurse predicted my Lupron period to start around the 26th. Well, it is the 28th, while I have cramps and PMS I am not even spotting. We didn’t discuss this possibility during our conference call. Do I still start stims tomorrow? So I called the office. When my nurse called back, she said that we are not in a time crunch, so it is okay. She said that people can even miss their Lupron period because it can be extremely light. I have been examining closely, so I know I did not miss it. I also never have light periods, so I doubt that will be the case for me. Our new plan…wait. I hate waiting. We are giving my body until Thursday to start bleeding. If it begins tomorrow, I will go in on Wednesday for my baselines. If not, I am scheduled for Thursday morning to see what the deal is. I am willing my body to just start bleeding for the love of all that is holy! So either way, we will not be starting stims tomorrow as was the plan. More Lupron injections for me. In a way, I am okay with the delay, since we are supposed to finally get a taste of winter here in MA—a good old snow/freezing rain/rain combination tomorrow. I am fine with not driving in that! I will just have to cozy up with Hubby and start a fire.

As for these Lupron shots, for the most part they have been pretty painless if I ice. The frozen potato night hurt and bruised, and tonight was pretty painful, maybe because it was closer to my bellybutton than normal? The way this cycle is going, I may need to refill the prescription to make it to the end. I just hope that if I go in on Thursday, having had no period, that there is not a bigger issue that would alter this cycle. I am ready to get this show on the road! We are hoping that 2016 is a big year for our family!!

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!