Monday, July 30, 2012

Slippery Slope

It's happening again.

Just like with my IUI, my response to injectables is out of control.

I got the phone call today that I knew I was going to get, but had hoped I wouldn't.

My estradiol is already too high.  After only 3 days on stims, it is almost 400.  They don't like to see it that high until at least day 5 or 6.  I will be going in for b/w and u/s everyday until I trigger.  I didn't have an u/s this morning because they thought it would be too early to see anything, obviously that isn't the case.  I hope to find out more tomorrow.  I also had to drop my dose of Gonal f tonight to 75 iu.  I knew this was going to happen.  Please just let me get through this!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Ho Hum

I just did my third gonal-f injection and I am feeling okay.  I am getting tired of sticking myself in the stomach though, especially now that it is twice a day.  It's been 17 straight days of shots and it will probably be another 7 or 8 more.  Ughh.

The headaches don't seem to be as bad but the exhaustion is still there.  I am in bed every night by 9 at the latest. 

My stomach is messed up. I am not sure if it is because all of the water I have been drinking or the increase in protein or just all the meds I am constantly putting into my system. 

In home news, I am not painting our bedroom (for now.)  P won the battle.  From the beginning, he didn't want me to paint and I fought him on it.  I don't often let him win, but he had a good point.  We have a pretty big bedroom with high ceilings that I would need to use a ladder for.  Between the meds. I am taking and risks that come along with the bloating which could begin sooner rather than later, it's probably not the best time to be up on ladders twisting my body haha.  So, he won, it happens rarely, but he had a good argument :)  I guess if this doesn't work, painting might be a good thing to throw myself into. 

To try and spruce our bedroom up a little I went out and got 3 8x10 frames, put 3 black and white pictures of us in them, and hung them above our bed and got two new lamps on either side.  Still not sure if I am crazy about the lamps, but they are definitely better than what we had before. 

We have a townhouse and upstairs have a really long hallway.  Our floorplan is pretty open downstairs and leads right into the stairs so I had to paint just about our whole house the same color which drives me crazy but not much we can do. So, a while ago, to break it up, I painted the small wall at the top of our stairs a chocolate brown (I guess you could call it an accent wall?) and recently hung up a pair or orange curtains and I am pretty happy with it (the pictures really don't do it justice.)  But, I am actually now considering priming the brown wall and covering it with wallpaper instead.  It is such a small area it should be easy enough and I already picked it out!  Yes, I know I am crazy, but I really like decorating and get bored really quickly with things.  Hopefully IVF will work and none of these projects will matter anymore, but for now they are all I have!

Tomorrow is a busy day, I have an appt. at 7 for b/w to check my estradiol levels (please, please please, don't be high already) then work until 12, accupuncture at 1:15 and Coldplay in Boston at night.  Not sure where I am going to do the shot tomorrow night, hopefully I can get it done in the car before going in.   

Bottom Line:  I am still struggling with all of this.  I am still struggling with the fact that this fertility "stuff" has taken over our life.  I am still struggling with the fact that I no longer feel connected with most of my friends in my life because they don't understand what we are going through and the toll it has taken on us.  And I can't help but think that even when this struggle is over it will still be with me. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Pain in the Ass (Literally)

Did my first Gonal-f around 6 tonight, the pen is so much bigger than the I remember especially since using the tiny Lupron syringes.  And then P and I went out to eat.

We just got home and as I was organizing my meds for this next week I decided to take a peek at the HCG trigger shot and in bold letters on one of the bottles it says: FOR INTRAMUSCULAR USE ONLY

Not only do I have to mix the trigger shot, which I have no idea how to do, but I have to get it in the ass??? 

OH NO!!  Luckily, I have at least a week to worry about it.

It is absolutely impossible to ever be prepared for any of this!

Thursday, July 26, 2012


I had my baseline appt. at 7 this morning.

The nurse doing my u/s told me my ovaries looked great, no cysts, and my lining was nice and thin.

Just got the call that I am to lower my Lupron to 5 units and begin 112.5 of Gonal-f tomorrow night.

I have an appt. Monday morning at 7 for b/w to check estradiol levels.

Here we go!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

New Mantra

So, I went to accupuncture yesterday and expressed all of my fears and worries with Mel.  She is AWESOME.  I just love her.  She has this way about her that makes me feel like no matter what happens I will be okay.  Although I am still fighting daily headaches I have kept off just about all the other side effects of Lupron (with the exception of EXTREME fatigue every night around 6 and overall blahness.)  After I finished talking she told me how she was working with another patient on working some type of mantra into her daily life.  She told me to write these words somewhere and repeat them throughout the day until I believe them: "I am healthy.  Perfect health is the natural state of being." I know, it probably sounds crazy, but I am trying it.

When I got home yesterday I realized that since starting the Lupron I have really been negative about everything.  Not really externally, but rather internally.  Since starting the shots almost 2 weeks ago I have lost sight of why I am doing this.  I have questioned whether or not I want to put my body through this.  Even as recently as last night, I said to P, "I don't think I can do this."  I have worried what will happen to me mentally if it doesn't work.  I have totally lost sight of the fact that there is a 45% chance we may have a baby at the end of all this.  So, for right now, in this very moment, I am going to focus on all the things that are making me happy, because as much as this sucks right now and even with how hopeless and miserable I feel at times, I have a very blessed life with a lot of wonderful people in it.  I need to think about the happy things more.  Here are a few fun, stupid things that are making me happy right now, well sort of happy.    

 I decided I needed something to remind me daily, sometimes hourly, why I (we) have decided to put ourselves through this and the only thing I could think of was a onesie.  So, I went out to Target (ok, ok, multiple Targets haha) and finally found a onesie that was perfect.  It now hangs over the mirror in our guest room bathroom and everytime I walk by I look at it and it reminds me why we are doing this.  If it doesn't work it will probably end up in the trash, but for right now it's helping me.

In February I wasn't in a great place mentally, I went shopping (noticing a pattern??) Well, I walked into a store and found this bag (I knew it was a baby bag) and had no business even looking at it between the price and the fact that I WAS NOT pregnantt. But, I kept going back to it. Long story short, the girl working behind the counter somehow convinced me I was pregnant and I eventually walked out with the bag. It now sits in my closet waiting for the day I can use it.  Hopefully that day is coming.  It is a pretty awesome bag! Just wish it had been bought under different circumstances :)  

I HATE FEET! I can't believe I am even posting this picture, but I wanted everyone to see the
polka dots. My mom and I decided to so something fun before my brother's wedding and we both went and got it done. I am sick of looking at them as it has been a few weeks now, but it sure was fun while it lasted!

Last night I decided to check my work email and noticed one from an old principal.  He wanted to know if I was interested in a position opening up in his school.  Unfortunately that school is about 40 minutes away, but it was nice to feel wanted.  It reminded me of all the good people I have in my life and all the good things I have going on.  So, hopefully, when I feel like crap again, which could be as soon as I get off the computer, I can remind myself that even though I feel bogged down in misery, if I can step outside of it, if only for a few minutes, I will recognize how lucky I really am. 

Like my mom always says, "This too shall pass."  

Saturday, July 21, 2012


What I am realizing while being on Lupron, is everything takes a little more effort. I felt like crap on Tuesday and when I woke up Wednesday I gave myself permission to just read when I got home from work. So, I started and finished a book in that same day. On Thursday I made plans with my mom after work and forced myself to crawl out of this hole that it is so easy to dig yourself into while going through this. We went for lunch and shopped. I had one of the best days I'd had in a while, and I paid for it later, I passed out in my clothes at 830. Aside from this nagging headache, the exhaustion really catches up with me every night. When my mom told me she couldn't imagine how I was feeling while on these meds, I told her to think back on menopause and she would know exactly how I was feeling! Then she said something that was so true...she remembers while going through it, everything was an effort. And that's how I feel. Whether its a good day or bad, everything is an effort. I have my baselines (u/s and bloodwork) on Thursday.

I still haven't gotten my period or had any bleeding and have now been on the Lupron for 9 days, I would have expected it to happen by now, but I will just have to wait and see. The shots continue to be easy. But there is always 3 seconds of hesitation before each one where I am in disbelief I am about to stick the needle in my stomach, and then I do it because I have to. Why can't we just make a baby the way so many others can???

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


There's really no other way to describe it.

I woke up this morning feeling crummy and gross.  I am hoping I am just having one of those days and this isn't what the next 8 days are going to be like. 

I have changed my diet over the past few weeks.  No junk food, lots of protein, yogurt, nuts, salads, and only a small gatorade a day along with TONS and TONS of water.  I am even trying protein shakes.  You would think these changes would make me feel better, but they don't...AT ALL.  I miss soda, I miss junk haha.  I miss being me.  So today, I said screw you to all of this, and had my first soda in 4 weeks.  Worst part is, it didn't make me feel any better!

I still have a lingering headache, but its manageable.  I just don't feel myself, I am so blah.  I tried to go shopping after summer school today and couldn't get myself to want to buy anything (that's when you know there's a problem.)

This sucks. And I have only just begun.

And I go to bed every night and wake up every morning worried about hyperstimulating.   To the point where I imagine my RE calling after my first few days of Gonal-f and telling me to up my dosage and me saying NO!  Is that even allowed??  

People tell me this will all be worth it in the end.  I sure hope they're right.

I have to find something to do.  I have to fight this.  Time to repaint my bedroom.  Tomorrow I will go to the paint store and get a few samples, and I will force myself to feel better. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Day 3 of Lupron

I still feel fine.  No real side effects from the Lupron.  First injection was a little tough (not a run around the house screaming tough like in April haha but definitely took me a few minutes) but the last 2 have been easy.  The injection site definitely stings and is slightly itchy, but it passes within minutes. 

I was rummaging through all our paperwork and saw a list of the most common side effects of Lupron:
  • constipation
  • dizziness
  • general body pain
  • headache
  • hot flashes
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea or vomiting
  • stuffy nose
  • trouble sleeping
  • weakness
I have been fighting a headache for a few days and I am guessing the Lupron hasn't helped, but I am going to accupuncture tomorrow and hope she can help a little with that.

Overall, nothing exciting happening.  The hotel we stayed at for the wedding last night did not have a refrigerator so we carried around a cooler which I am sure most people expected was filled with beer.  Unfortunately, that was not the case! 

We are going to see Seth Myers this Saturday and I am so ready to laugh.  Then Coldplay on the 30th.  With my long cycles, it pushed everything back, so we will be able to go and I am really excited!  It has been a busy July so far, but I am thankful for that because it has kept me going.  That's all I have tonight.  Kind of blah.  I don't think blahness is a side effect, I am pretty sure it's just me :)

Friday, July 13, 2012

It's On

I just got the phone call.  It's on.  I ovulated, which didn't surprise me because this morning my temp. was up.  But, instead of starting the Lupron injections tomorrow, they want me to do one tonight, then one tomorrow morning, and every morning after that until my baselines on July 26th.  I was hoping to go out to eat tonight, and enjoy a big glass of wine.  That's not going to happen.  Instead I will be watching the clock anxiously for 7:30 pm and then 7:30 am; waiting to inject myself w/ the first and second of many, many needles.  

I am so not ready.  P is not ready.  What the heck are we getting ourselves into?  Maybe when I get these first few out of the way the excitement will come, but for now I am just hoping the hotel we are staying in tomorrow night for yes, another freakin wedding, has a refrigerator because the Lupron needs to be refrigerated.  I guess we can bring a cooler with us and just keep refilling it with ice, we are going to need one for the car anyway. 

Please let this work, and if it doesn't, please let P and me be okay.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

What is IVF?

A few people that are aware of our struggle have asked me lately what exactly is IVF?  I know most of you already know, but for the few that don't (and for my own sake) I figured I would write a detailed post about it, because to be honest, the blogs I find myself going back to all the time, are the ones that give detailed accounts of what to expect.  I am that person that needs to know exactly what is going to happen.  That's why this whole process has been so difficult for me, you can do everything in your power to be prepared, and still nothing will go as planned.

So, hopefully this helps/informs at least one person out there!
My clinic broke it down into 4 steps, this is assuming the Lupron has suppressed your ovaries.  Luckily my husband requested the picture chart at our last meeting haha so that is where I am getting all of my information from.

  1. Ovulation Induction-Taking medications to produce several eggs in one cycle
    • These medicines will also control when you ovulate so that the rest of the steps for in vitro fertilization can be planned.  Throughout your cycle you will have several ultrasounds and blood tests to determine how well the ovulation medications are working.  Individuals react differently to these medications-some people may need an adjustment   As the follicles mature, they produce estradiol, a form of estrogen.  Your healthcare team will check the amount of estradiol in your blood several times to make sure your estradiol level is rising adequately in response to the medications (and to try to prevent OHSS as much as possible)
  2. Egg Retrieval-Doctor surgically removes the eggs.
    • When the follicles have matured, you will be instructed to give yourself an injection of HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin.)  About 34-36 hours later, your doctor will remove the eggs from your ovaries.  A vaginal ultrasound is used to locate the follicles and guide the needle for egg collection.  A needle is then inserted through the vagina, into the ovaries and follicles to aspirate the eggs (YIKES!)  I will be knocked out for this.
  3. Fertilization and Embryo Culture-Embryologist mixes eggs and sperm
    • In the IVF lab, the embryologist prepares the eggs and sperm and mixes them together.  We will be doing ICSI with half of our eggs, which means rather than just being mixed together, one sperm will be directly injected into one egg.  If fertilization occurs, the embryologist will incubate the fertilized eggs and monitor them for about 2 to 5 days to make sure they develop properly.
  4. Embryo Transfer-The embryos are transferred to the uterus
    • Your doctor will discuss the number of embryos to be transferred into your uterine cavity and may suggest freezing any unused embryos to preserve them for future pregnancy attemps.
And here in lies the debate.  Dr. P already told me to be prepared for a 3-day transfer.  It is what she often recommends.  She believes your uterus is the best incubator for the embryos.  Obviously a pitri dish is not a natural environment for the embryos.  Some embryos may do poorly in a dish but thrive in the uterus. The lab requires you have a certain number of embryos doing well in order to do a 5 day transfer.  This brings me to my dilemma.  Because I need to know everything about everything I have been searching blogs and googling like crazy.  From what I have read, a 5-day transfer is best if you can make it that far, because at that point they are considered blastocysts and the embryologists have a much better idea of the quality.  The transfer of only one embryo at that time also seems to be preferred if it is of good quality and you are not dealing with other factors such as age, history of failed IVFs/FETs, etc...   If I am to assume we are doing a 3-day transfer, we won't exactly know how "great" they are which I'm guessing is why Dr. P recommends transferring 2.  The problem is, I don't know if I am comfortable transferring two.  The risk is so much greater for complications to both mother and babies that I don't know how I feel about it.  Then again, if we only do 1 and it doesn't work, will I be left wondering what if...I guess I am going to have to wait and see, might just have to be a game time decision. 

I haven't checked my temp. all cycle long, but I may have to tomorrow morning before I go in for b/w, because I don't want to be unprepared for the phone call tomorrow afternoon if I haven't ovulated yet.  Fingers crossed :)

I've also been fighting some nasty sharp pains on the right side of my head right above my ear, that last about 5 seconds, and have shown up every few hours over the past 2 days.  Not sure what it is, but if it persists, I will probably end up calling the doctor.  I'm thinking it could be stress related??

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Nowhere to Run

My medications arrived today.  Guess this is really happening.  Here is a picture/list of all the things that showed up in the big brown cardboard box outside my house today.

  • Sharps containter (for the MANY MANY needles)
  • Lupron (which I will begin on Satuday morning to suppress my ovaries)
  • Crinone Suppositories
  • Syringes
  • HCG Trigger
  • Gonal-F (these drugs will stimulate my ovaries and I will take this at night, hopefully starting the 27th, at which time my Lupron will be lowered, but I will continue to give that shot in the morning)
I need to draw up the Lupron as well as the HCG Trigger shot. Thankfully, the Gonal-F is all prefilled which makes it a little easier.  I am also going to invest in some Miralax.  My RE recommended it to help the constipation that will most likely come after the procedure.  I had a slight case of it in April, but I am assuming a banana might not be enough to do the trick like it was last time haha! 

So, that's it.  They're in my house and this is about to begin, and I have nowhere to run.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

I Survived!

Ohh...where to begin!

We had our first and final meeting with the IVF Coordinator at 8 am on Friday so P could golf with the guys at 10. We met with her for about an hour. She repeated a lot of details I already knew but it was nice we could hear them together. She could tell how cautious my doctor was being with me based on my low dose of meds. and early monitoring appt. so that made me feel a little bit better.  I spoke with Village Pharmacy (they actually called last night during the wedding, go figure) and my meds. will be here sometime on Wednesday and I should be starting Lupron on Saturday morning.  We are still debating whether or not we want to transfer one or two embryos.  My doctor is strongly recommending 2 and so we are leaning that way, but we are going to take these next few weeks leading up to the retrieval to make our final decision. 

I had a pretty big meltdown Friday morning filled with lots and lots of tears after our meeting because I had so many thoughts and emotions swirling in my head and was so angry that I had to be dealing with all of this but after talking to my cousin and then  my mom I was able to pull myself together for the rest of the day.  The wedding turned out to be a blast.  I have always been really close with my mom's side and two of my cousins were actually bridesmaids in my wedding, so I spent most of the night on the dance floor with all my cousins.  Can't remember the last time I have had so much fun.  It's been a long time.  I was happy that I was able to put IVF out of my mind for at least one night.  Because most of the people in my life don't know this blog exists I can't really post many pics from the wedding (since I don't have their permission) so unfortunately you are stuck with two pictures of P and me, we were both in the wedding which was kind of fun!

Even though it was a lot of fun, I am glad it's over.  Hope everyone else is enjoying their weekend!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Totally Unrelated

Thought I should do another quick post to let you know some of the reason why I am feeling good today. We got a new rug for our family room!! And it was 70% off.  We went into the city for our anniversary last week and stopped at Crate and Barrel.  I have been looking for a new rug forever, but we needed an 8x10 and they are all so expensive, so I figured I would take a quick peek while we were there.  To my surprise, there was one on sale for $299 (originally $999) that I loved!  A week later it is in my house and I am so happy with it!  Here are a few pictures.

Suck It Up

"We should just suck it up and go."  These were the words my husband uttered to me this morning while we were in the car.  The second he said them he wanted to take them back.  He knew what those words were going to do to me.  A few months ago I probably would have gotten angry with him and flipped out, but today I started to cry.

What I tried to explain to him yet again is that I (we, really) have spent the last 19 (yes we are on freakin month 19 now) months sucking it up.  We have sucked it up and put on a good face for everyone else over and over and over again.  We have dealt with phone calls, text messages, emails, all sharing all different types of good news with us, and we have sucked it up and congratulated them and sent cards, and gifts and done everything else.  All the while almost never getting asked how we are doing.  Or what is going on with us.  Some people don't want to know because it makes them uncomfortable, some don't know what to say and others are too wrapped up in their own lives to ever wonder if there is something going on with us.  The problem is, that leaves P and me to suffer in silence, and that is sometimes really hard.  I totally understand when people have good things in their lives they forget that there may be people around them struggling.  But, it is starting to wear on me.  I don't want to suck it up anymore.  At times, P and I feel forgotten.  It is not a fun place to be.  It is not an easy place to be.

You probably can't tell from my writing above, but these past few days I have felt really good.  I have realized I need to stop putting myself in stressful situations.  I am at a place right now where stress is not good for me and coming to that realization has given me a little bit of power.  Any other time I could handle certain things or events, but not now.  These next 5 weeks I need to put myself and my (mental) health first.   

I am ready to start, ready to get things going.  I am almost feeling optimistic.  My emotions are still all over the place, but I feel much more stable/grounded if that makes any sense.  My weekly accupuncture treatments seem to be helping tremendously.  I love M and feel like she really cares about me.  Like I was telling my mom yesterday, I have always been very "picky" when it comes to people I choose to develop relationships with.  Making connections with people is very important to me.  And I connect with her, which makes me extremely happy. 

My brother is getting married on Friday.  Which makes me really happy.  But between now and Friday night I have both an accupuncture appt. and an appt. at my clinic to go over our entire IVF protocol.  Both reminders that there is something big going on soon.  How do I find a balance?  How do I make sure I am nothing but happy for my brother the next two days when I am feeling so many other things, when I am sure there will be a moment or two that I want to break down and cry.  I guess I make sure of it because this isn't about me.  It's about my brother and his wife.  And I am really happy for them. 

I have to believe going through this and being tested over and over again is going to make me a better person, is going to make us stronger as a couple.  There has to be a reason we are going through this...I just can't wait until we are on the other side.  I am not sure how much longer I can suck it up.