I’m just about 4 weeks in. Here’s an update of what’s been happening:
We knew we were doing IVF before we even got the results of our last IUI, so on CD3 (June 30th), I was in the office and ready to go. After the usual bloodwork/sonogram, I was prescribed birth control pills to take for about 2 weeks. I also needed to get a precautionary mammogram to make sure there was no chance of breast cancer before we started the process (Everything came back normal for that).
Later that week, I had another appointment to go over the whole process of IVF and sign the paperwork – the risks, liability and waivers, in addition to our choices about the embryos should something happen to one of us (if I die, if he dies, if we both die, if we divorce). That part was a little surreal to talk about, but we forged through, took the leap of faith and officially signed on.
I had another appointment with bloodwork/sonogram; getting stuck with needles and having wands inserted in my lady-parts is pretty much standard-operating-procedure for me at this point. Happens 2-3x a week. I laugh when I think about how modest I used to be in the doctor’s office. My meds were ordered this week as well.
I had a ‘test transfer’ procedure done as well this week. I had to drink a lot of water, as they did an external sonogram this time (a refreshing change). The procedure basically measures and maps out the shape of my cervix and uterus, so they know exactly how and where to place the embryo on the actual transfer day. This practice run is so they have an idea of what it looks like inside, so there are no surprises or ‘oops’ moments the day-of. The actual procedure, from my end, was similar to an IUI. Didn’t really hurt, but just some pressure. Everything looked fine.
J. also had his appointment for a semen analysis as well as to have his sperm frozen. They do this as a pre-caution in case, for some reason, on the day of the retrieval, we weren’t able to get fresh (if he were out of town or in the hospital unexpectedly, etc.). We had to take a trip to the facility about an hour a way for this (which is where IVF will take place), and we ended up making a day of it. There’s this great all-you-can-eat sushi place that we typically wouldn’t make the trip for, but since we were there….
I finished the birth control pills on Monday. They told me I would probably get my period also by the end of the week, which I did. Also by the end of the week, I was to start my injections. My huge bag of drugs came a few days earlier – no Nigerian night delivery this time, but two-brown-grocery-bags-FULL. Definitely overwhelming to look at. I was a little frustrated because the meds didn’t come packed on ice this time, and I didn’t realize that I was supposed to refrigerate some of them. Grrr. Thanks to Google, I learned that this wasn’t detrimental. (Just annoying.) The dosage is 1ml of Menopur and 225iu of Follistim. Have to say, though – I’m grateful for our insurance. We have thousands of dollars of meds, and it only cost us $99.
Still continuing with our nightly injection ritual. Two shots between 5-10pm. The Follistim is just a cartridge in a pen; just turn the cap for the right dosage and push the button. Menopur is one that I have to mix with syringes and an enormous needle. Still feels shady to me when I’m doing this, but I’m getting the hang of it. J. is my injector, and so far so good. I do have bruises all around my belly button from the shots, but they don’t hurt – just slightly tender. The routine is usually that I get all the meds set up, J. comes and we say a short prayer, I wince and close my eyes, he sticks me, and then he hugs me when I whine about having to do this.
I go in again tomorrow to check my hormones and the egg growth. Might have to go in on Sunday also. So, the game plan, as far as I know it (they mostly give visit-to-visit instructions) is that I keep up with the injections until I’m ready to trigger. At the appropriate time, they will assign me the trigger shot, and then 35 hours later, the retrieval is scheduled. I think that will be sometime next week.
Here’s a few of my IVF observations through this process:
1. The meds have made me very moody. Slightly irritable. Very emotional. It’s like I have PMS almost all the time. Cry very easily. Daily, actually. At least once. That is definitely not me.
2. I don’t know how all clinics are, but my clinic did not give me a lot of help with how to do the injections. I did watch Youtube videos, but I still had a lot of questions, as they weren’t totally specific to my instructions. I screwed up on the dosage of Menopur the first night. My sheet had ‘1’ listed. One what? The box came with 5 powders and solutions. One box? One powder? When I mixed it, was I supposed to inject all of it? One ml? I wished they had walked me through everything at the office first. From what I hear though, this seems pretty common.
3. The meds definitely make me feel a little weird, a little queasy. Usually, a few hours after the injections, I’m a bit sick to my stomach. And the Menopur burns pretty badly when injected. The Menopur shot is definitely the worst part.
4. The worst effects are on my belly, inside and outside. Bruising on the outside, bloating on the inside (well, seen on the outside eventually, too).
5. Not only does IVF take a lot of you emotionally and physically and financially, but it is also takes a lot of time. I do not know how I would have done this if this was scheduled during the school year. I am at the office at least 2-3x a week.
So, that’s where we are at. It’s been a lot to handle, but once again, I am grateful to be able to even do this. Grateful for our insurance (Right now, they are expecting my copays to be only about $250). Grateful for the encouragement and support we are receiving. And honestly, there has been a lot. God has been so good to us in sending so many people, many out of the blue, to encourage us: to tell us that they are praying for us, to give us an encouraging word from the Lord, to pray over us…too many to list here right now, but hopefully I’ll get back to those testimonies.
I’ve been a little quiet on the blog. It is hard for me to write about, and it is hard for me to write about other things in the middle of this. My thoughts aren’t coming together so clearly or readily, and I’m just chalking it up to the hormone overload (it actually is a very convenient scapegoat for everything I can’t/don’t feel up to/don’t want to do). And I’m okay with milking it a little. If there is ever a time when that is legit, I’d definitely say IVF falls into that category.
So, we’ll have updates and hopefully more blogs soon. I’ve been writing a lot of Bible curriculum for school (Genesis and Romans), so most of my writing energy is going there. But hopefully, that will be done soon, and I can re-direct.
It’s Friday. It’s a beautiful day in NY. Heading to the beach with a few friends this afternoon. Yard-saling with the girls tomorrow morning; Darius Rucker concert tomorrow night. IVF appointments all in between. And God is with me in all of it.
All is well.
[Photo Credit: WINFertility via Pinterest]