Monday, July 30, 2012

Omg Less Than One More Day

It's Monday, 4:14 pm. In less than 24 hours, I will have my pregnancy test results.

I've been doing okay till today. Now I am nervous. Real nervous. My head feels a little buzzy. I bet that if I took my blood pressure it would be high. I feel on edge.

I am going in for the bloodwork at 9 am. I don't think I will test earlier. Although it would be good to kill the suspense, I almost want to prolong getting any bad news. Is that weird? At the same time, I am SUPER eager for it to be tomorrow afternoon already.

I still have all the same symptoms, nothing new. No spotting, no back pain, no cramps. Same old sore breasts, perpetual hunger, and mild fatigue. It's the progesterone, and that's all it is.

How do I get through the next 20-ish hours? 12 if you minus sleeping (if I can sleep)? And even harder, how do I get through tomorrow, from when I'm back in the office by 9:30 to when they call, which could be anytime from 11am to 1 pm or later. That is sure to be pure and utter torture. Maybe I should test at home tomorrow morning. I don't know.

Plan to stay busy tonight:
-make a nice dinner (roasted eggplant and chickpea dish)
-go for a long walk
-maybe watch something on Netflix
-try to relax!

Next time I post, I will be so sad or over the moon with happiness. I don't know if I have ever wanted anything so much in my entire life.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

One Week Down, One Week To Go

I haven't been posting lately because I don't have much to say. My transfer was almost a week ago (last Thursday morning), and my test day is just under a week from now (next Tuesday morning). I am still doing Progesterone shots every night, which is a huge (literal) pain in the ass. 1 1/2 inch needles are just no fun. My tush is so sore that it's hard to lie down or get up from that position, and I can feel it in every step I take. Still, we are being good about taking hour long walks most evenings. I am avoiding my regular weights and cardio classes at the gym, so the walking is helpful in moving around and relieving stress.

Overall, my stress levels have been totally manageable. Because the progesterone creates pregnancy symptoms and I know it's just the medication, there is none of the hyper-analyzing and second-guessing that I normally have done during the two week waits. I know it's all from the shots, and so I don't freak out.

What I do: EAT. I am so hungry, and so often! Also, not to be gross, but they weren't kidding when they warned me about constipation. But, not so bad. The hunger and tiredness and sore boobs are more noticeable. Also, the morning sickness continues, though not every morning and not terrible.

B and I are just hoping and wishing so much for good news on Tuesday. Till then, I'll try not to dwell on things too much, and just hope for the best. Only six more nights and then... test day.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Transfer Day: Cautiously Optimistic

Yesterday was awful. The doctor was supposed to call in the morning, but I didn't hear from him till 1:55 pm. He sounded really sad, and told me that of the 6 eggs harvested, only 1 was fertilized. One! One! He said it is likely a sperm problem, and next time, we should do ICSI, but there is nothing they can do for us now. Instead of waiting for 3 or 5 days, since I only had one anyway, he asked us to come in this morning for the transfer.

Last night was pretty bad. We were both so sad. 

Anyway, I went in this morning and they told me they had some good news: after they called me yesterday, 1 more fertilized. It was super slow which isn't a good sign for implantation, but they transferred them both into me this morning. There was nothing to freeze at all.

So, not very great news, but at least we had something. I was a poor responder, and we have sperm problems that we didn't know about. Oh well.

That's my update. Kind of numb and sleepy right now, so I'm skipping work and vegging out on the couch. This progesterone makes me sore and tired and so hungry. But I am grateful and calm, and hope I can remain that way for the next 12 days.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Retrieval Day

My retrieval was today. But before that, I woke up at 4:30 am with the worst nausea I've had in years. I barely made it to the bathroom, and then I had to get my husband up because I couldn't walk back to bed. I was freaking out, thinking I'd gotten sick and couldn't do the retrieval. Well, once I told the IVF nurse, she didn't even think it was a big deal, and said many people get morning sickness from the HCG shot I took on Sunday night to trigger. Um, thanks crappy clinic. You could have warned me! I really thought I had the flu and my cycle would be cancelled.

Anyway, today was super easy, no pain at all, and the twilight sleep didn't knock me out but made me not care or feel anything. I only got 6 eggs though. I don't know why such a low number, but I will ask when the embryologist calls in the morning. I am trying to remain hopeful but I feel like it's such a low number, when I keep reading online that some people get so many more. Oh well.

That's my update. I slept from around noon to 6:30 tonight, and feel like I could sleep some more. But the nurse said tomorrow the anesthetic will have worn off. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Trigger Day!

Today has been very emotional. We woke up and went to the doctor for another 8 am appointment, and as usual, had to wait for about 45 minutes to see anyone. It makes me so mad. Why not tell half of the women to come at 8 am and half of us at 8:30? My clinic has serious issues and doesn't care about wasting our time at all.

Anyway, we finally got to the ultrasound and Dr. F said today is the day! I was surprised- I really thought we'd go one more day. I have one 16.5 or 17.5 follicle on the left, lazy side, and 9 follicles on the right: from 11.5 to 18.5. At least 4-6 that were of really good size.

I asked about my bum left ovary, and the Fellow said that it's really poorly performing, but it might not in the future. She said there is no real good data on how long to wait for an ovary to recover. But she said that having 9 good ones on my right is amazing, since even with a 21 year old donor they'd be happy with 18 follicles, which is what I'd have if my left side were working. So, at least I am a good responder, once they adjusted my Follistim anyway.

My bloodwork came back a little low, at 1575 for the estrogen. But they still want to do this. I met with the Fellow and received instructions. Tonight at 11 pm we give me the trigger, the HCG shot. No more stims. Nothing tomorrow at all, but Tuesday I go in at 9 am for the retrieval.

I've been very emotional, which the blood draw nurse said is to be expected. My estrogen is high, as well as all the other hormones coursing through me. But, mostly, I think I'm just freaked out that it's actually time. We're actually here, at retrieval. As scary as all the shots were and the early ultrasounds, soon it will be all over, and it will just be waiting to see how the eggs fertilize or not. And then, just as scary, waiting to see if any implant and I'm pregnant in two weeks and two days from now.

I can do this. I can get through this. And I can do it again, if I have to.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Getting Close!

Today is Saturday, but we had to go in at 8 am for another ultrasound and bloodtest. We're getting so close! My follicles have grown to be between 11 and 15.5 mm, and I have 8 on my right ovary, and only 1 on my left ovary. My left ovary is not cooperating, probably due to trauma from the endo and the surgery I had in March. But the one follicle there is one of the biggest, at 15.5 mm. I think there are a couple that size on the right ovary too.

My estrogen has also soared, from 362 on Thursday to 1187 today. Wow! Quite a jump, though he says it is consistent with the growth of the ovaries.

They want to see me again tomorrow at 8 am. Either tomorrow or Monday will be trigger day, which means tonight could be my last night of meds. Or tomorrow night. I have a feeling we'll go one more day, but who knows. I could have a growth spurt tonight or something.  It would be nice if tomorrow is it, because I could save that $500 vial of Follistim I bought. I could use it next cycle (if there has to be one) or make a very nice gift of it to someone in my support group.

Dr. F says I am low in the number of follicles, since my left ovary is mostly out of the picture. However, he didn't seem concerned. Since I am young, he thinks we'll get good eggs from the follicles I do have. He said the minimum they'd want is 4 to do a retrieval, and I do have 9 decently sized ones. So I am feeling quite happy and grateful and hopeful.

Please, please, please. I have been through so much this past 18 months. A year and a half of getting my hopes up every month, 8 months of Clomid and 2 of Femara, one laparoscopy surgery, one cancelled IVF cycle, and now an almost complete IVF cycle. Please, let me be pregnant from this.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Ultrasound #1: Moving Ahead

This morning was my first ultrasound since starting the IVF meds. I've had five nights of the shots so far. I'm currently taking 225 units of Follistim, 75 of Menopur, and 5 units of Lupron. I was only on 150 of Follistim but that changed two nights ago, when my e levels were low on Tuesday's blood test.

Today went pretty well! My ultrasounds showed six decently sized follicles on the right ovary, and one on the left. That's the side I had the cyst and the endometriosis on, and I guess that ovary is still unhappy. Anyway, the six on the right side are pretty good, all ranging from 9-11 mm. There are two largest, 11 mm ones. Is it mm? I am not sure.

Dr. F says that I am not a great responder, although I am not doing poorly either. Overall he seemed quite pleased with where I am. After all, we only need one great egg (though I'd like to have more to freeze).

Right now, we're on track for only three to four more nights of stims, and a retrieval next Tuesday or Wednesday (today is Thursday). I am still waiting on my e level from the blood test this morning, but I'll probably not change my meds again. Most likely I will go back on Saturday morning and then we'll know more about a retrieval date, I think.

So, feeling relieved- I was nervous, as usual. I was so worried because of my e level being low last time. I hope it's risen- but most importantly, today I had decent follicles. And I'll only be on the drugs 8-9 days, instead of 12, which also pleases me.

More news later, when I hear back from the nurse about the estrogen level.

UPDATE: my estrogen jumped from 99 on Tuesday to 362 today! The nurse sounded very pleased. We go back in another two days, Saturday, for more blood work and another ultrasound. Feeling great!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Big Medication Mess-Up

We had a pretty rough time yesterday.

First, at work I learned that my estrogen levels were too low. We bumped up my dosage of the Follistim, and I had to re-fill my prescription. Another $508, thankyouverymuch. Thanks, estrogen that didn't rise the way it was supposed to.

Then, I went to the dentist to have a small cavity filled, and learned it's actually going to need a root canal. Wonderful. And I can't get it done for two more weeks. Luckily I am not in pain.

After work, we had trouble with the new Follistim dose. The pen let us dial up to 225 units, even though according to my math there should have only been enough medication for 150 units. This caused me to freak out. I ended up calling a pharmacist, who assured me that if the pen let us dial that much, it was available. It's so weird, but apparently the vials often have overflow. 75 units worth!?!?! The whole pen was only supposed to have 600 units, but it had 675!?!? Bizarre, and utterly mind-boggling. Each vial is $508, by the way. Fun times.

Anyway, once I was calmed down after the pharmacist's reassurance, I got in the car to go to the RESOLVE meeting. And, because nothing could be easy in my life yesterday, the Engine Malfunction light went on. Screw it. I drove to Cary anyway. I made it there, and home, with pouring down rain to boot. The car is going into the shop tomorrow. Sigh. But it's my sister's car so hopefully my dad will pay for the repairs.

And just when I thought it couldn't continue on this way, I watched someone else at the meeting do their Menopur, and something seemed... different. There was also a weird reaction when I was saying how big the needle was for me. At home, before bed, I consulted the instructions sheet. I learned that we've been doing the injections with the wrong needle! Instead of switching to a 1/2 inch needle, we've been using a 1 1/2 inch needle for the last four nights! No wonder it hurt so much!!! I was really, really upset- like all out, bawling. I'd been doing an intramuscular injection rather than a subcutaneous, and I was terrified that it might have messed up my cycle or my dosage. I was angry at the pharmacy for it's confusing packaging and lack of labelling, UNC for not having a real medication class ("just watch the videos"), myself for missing the instructions, and the nurse for the terribly written instructions. HANDWRITING a 1 1/2 so that it looked like   a 1/2 is really inexcusable.

Well, to finish this up, I talked to the nurse today and she just acted like I'm dumb, which infuriated me. This is REALLY complex for someone with no experience mixing and administering medications, and they really could have made this easier, for the THIRTEEN THOUSAND DOLLARS we're paying for this damn thing. You know?

Anyway, no harm is done, other than my very sore belly. For the next few nights, I've been told to let my tummy recover, and use the thigh for a while.

Tomorrow is my first ultrasound since starting the meds, and more bloodwork. I hope to have good news.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Day 4, and Bloodwork

I went in this morning, after three days of the shots, to get my bloodwork done. I had the blood drawn at 8 am, and the IVF nurse called just before 1 pm. My estrogen is low- around 99, and they like it to be 150 or higher at this point. So, I'm upping my Follistim, but leaving everything else the same. I need to order another Follistim this evening. Wonder how many hundreds and hundreds of dollars this will run me. Sigh. Oh well.

Anyway, my next visit is in two days- Thursday morning at 7:30 am. Another estrogen check, plus my first IVF ultrasound. I wonder what will be growing by then. This is all exciting!

In other news, tonight is the monthly RESOLVE support group meeting. I've been attending it since January, and it's been so helpful. B doesn't really like it- he feels reticent to talk to much about his feelings, and he has such a sunny outlook that he doesn't seem to need the support. But I find it very helpful to be able to recognize my feelings in what others say, and to get practical advice, and to learn about the different options and paths people are pursuing. I took over as facilitator recently, and put up a bunch of flyers at my clinic last week. Today someone new emailed me, as a result of the flyer, and I'm giving her a ride to the meeting tonight. I'm looking forward to the meeting this evening.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Day 3

Tonight will be the third night of injections.

Last night's shots weren't as bad as the first night. I still hate the "pen" for Follistim and the way it isn't a nice clean injection- B has to sort of jiggle it to inject all the medication, and it feels like the needle is moving around in me. And the Menopur is still such a huge needle that I can't even look at it, but the burning sensation last night wasn't as bad as the first night. Maybe I just knew what to expect.

After only two nights, my belly is already sore. I'm nervous about this. I still have 6-10 more nights! I am hoping that some of the soreness might just be from a hard workout at Body Pump last night. Maybe the abs work is contributing. In any case, last night was my last night at the gym for awhile. I am going to try walking at night when it cools off, but stay away from the strenuous classes that I enjoy so much at the gym. It's sad, but I don't want to take any risks. I'll ask the ladies at tomorrow night's support group about their experiences and how long they kept exercising.

Tomorrow is my first bloodwork, and I'm curious to see how my dosages will change. Hopefully they will give me an update, like to say if everything is proceeding as expected. I'll report back again tomorrow.

All of this feels very surreal. I can't believe it's really happening. Can you imagine just having sex and getting pregnant?? Crazy that it's all it takes for most lucky ducks.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

First Night of Shots

So we did the first night of shots, about an hour ago. It was not fun. The Lupron is just little diabetic needles and I find those easy, but these two new shots were a whole 'nother story. 

The Menopur has to be mixed- you have to combine two vials into one, and replace needles, and it all has to be sterile. The Follistim comes in a "pen" which has to be loaded and then "dialed" to the correct amount. The Follistim wasn't too scary but the Menopur had a HUGE needle! The needle hurt, and the liquid burned as it went in. It bled for several minutes afterwards, though just a little bit.

But I survived, and B is doing all the mixing and giving me the shots (except the Lupron, I can keep doing that one). Only 7-11 more nights!

Although none of this is fun, I am so relieved and grateful that we made it to this point. Last time around, when I had to have the surgery, was such a disappointment. I am full of hope that in 3-4 weeks, I could be pregnant.

Off to get ready to go out to dinner with friends now. Looking forward to the evening out.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Crazy Raging B*tch

Sorry for the bad language, but that's really how I've been feeling for the past few days.

When I last wrote, on Monday, I reported one crying episode in the airport, but said that otherwise I was feeling fine. That didn't last long. By Monday night, I was angry, sad, and irritable. That was after 7 nights of Lupron shots. I had a huge fight with my husband and said all kinds of mean things, even threatening to not continue the IVF cycle. Tuesday night we fought again. I really FELT mad, but with a little distance, I realize that my emotions are pretty out of control. I cried inconsolably Tuesday night, even missing the movie we'd planned to treat ourselves with since yesterday was a day off from work. 

Yesterday, the 4th of July, I did better. We stayed out most of the day, doing things with friends- an outdoors festival, and a cookout in the neighborhood, and then saw the movie that we missed on Tuesday night. Keeping busy gives me less time to listen to my Lupron-induced hormonal mess, which is definitely a good thing. 

The positive news is that I only have two more nights of the full 10 units of Lupron. On Saturday evening, I cut the dosage in half, while adding the Menopur and Follistim. I don't know how those will make me feel, but I don't think they have the same emotional effects. I hope.

Other than my hormonal induced craziness, I'm feeling pretty okay. I'm getting excited for Saturday, to start the "real" IVF drugs. Not that I want the drugs, but after a year and a half of infertility, and a year of being in treatment, and a false start to an IVF cycle over three months ago, I'm just so ready to get the show on the road. I just want this all to speed up, to get over with, and to come out on the other side with a happy result.  

Monday, July 2, 2012

Good News!

I was so nervous that I laid in bed for over an hour after B fell asleep, worrying about today's appointment. We got in bed at 10:30 pm and I remember looking at the clock and it was 11:30 pm and I was still awake. This morning I woke up at 6:10 am and I was a bundle of nerves and stomach pains.

BUT: it all went well! My ultrasound showed quiet ovaries and a good endometrium lining. My estrogen is fine too, although I wasn't as worried about that part. The good ultrasound has calmed me down. I received my list of medication instructions and am scheduled to start the new shots this upcoming Saturday, July 7th. My husband starts his pills then too, and I go in on Tuesday, July 10th for bloodwork. Retrieval will fall sometime between Sunday, July 15th and Thursday, July 19th. Transfer will be 3 or 5 days after that. Pregnancy test sometime the first week of August.

Feeling a sense of relief after many days/weeks of being on edge, hoping and wondering.

Also, feeling okay on the Lupron so far. It's only been 6 shots but I am doing okay. I had one small freak-out in the airport last night, after I messed up my injection (which I then corrected), but overall it's been fine. However, I felt okay till after day 6 or 7 last time and then I crashed down and became a hormonal, crying mess, so there's no telling what awaits me.

But for now, relief.