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May 27, 2016

IVF Take 2: Stims Update



Hello loves.
I thought I would update everyone about where we are with the second round of IVF.

But first, I need prayers, people. 
Our English bully got into a scuffle with our old timer cat this morning (think 80 lbs vs. 8lbs), and after a day of ER visits and multiple surgeries, we were told the cat's jaw is broken in two locations, one that can't be "fixed" so will (hopefully) heal on its own in the next 6-8 weeks. They are giving him a g-tube, or feeding tube, while he heals, which means Mark and I are on feeding duty 2x a day until the old man regains use of his mouth. It was such a pitiful site to see, and this is Mark's cat....he has been rather upset about it. I am trying to be the rock and work out the logistics, but we did have to have an "end game" talk today, just in case. 
It hasn't been an easy day today.
I'm hoping for nothing but positive results from the surgeries today along with a speedy recovery.

So, IVF....things are a bit different this time, but I'm not complaining in the slightest.

One thing you can bank on, should you be doing a second (or third, or fourth) round of IVF....you feel like a total pro the next go-around.

I remember sitting in the small consulting room, back in March, watching the nurse walk us through how to fill and inject each shot and thinking this is going to suck...we are never going to get through this!

And now that we are through the trenches with our first and in the midst of our second...we totally have this.

Of course this cycle hasn't been without it's surprises, but overall I'd say we are doing good.

Here is a day by day recap:

Friday, May 13th: Break-through bleed turned into full period while on Endometrin, emergency ultrasound/bloods to confirm no issues. Hormone levels normal. Adjusted protocol.

Sunday, May 15th: Last day of 2x daily Endometrin

Tuesday, May 17th: Baseline ultrasound (u/s) and blood work (lab). Confirmation of 21 itty-bitty follicles. Hormone levels are good.

Friday, May 20th: Stims Day 1. PM 450u Follistim, 150u (2 powders) Menopur, (1) 2.5mg Letrozole pill. Bring on the headaches!

Saturday, May 21st: Stims Day 2. PM 450u Follistim, 150u (2 powders) Menopur, (1) 2.5mg Letrozole pill. More headaches....YAY!

Sunday, May 22nd: Stims Day 3. PM 450u Follistim, 150u (2 powders) Menopur, (1) 2.5mg Letrozole pill

Monday, May 23rd: u/s, lab appt. Ultrasound tech is concerned that I already have lead follicles measuring at 16mm. I panic all day until I receive the nurses phone call.

Nurse calls. 19 follicles ranging from 7.8 - 17mm.
Nurse reassures me that the dominant, larger follicles will most likely be absorbed back into my body, so we will inevitably lose them.  The bulk of the eggs retrieved will come from the smaller follicles. Hormones are normal.

Stims Day 4. PM 450u Follistim, 150u (2 powders) Menopur, (1) 2.5mg Letrozole pill + the addition of Ganirelix (3 shots in one night!)

Tuesday, May 24th: Stims Day 5. AM Ganirelix shot, PM 450u Follistim, 150u (2 powders) Menopur, (1) 2.5mg Letrozole pill. Last headache pill...woop!!

Side story: The Tuesday evening Menopur shot hurt like hell. I think Mark jabbed me in an already sore spot because I yelled kind of loudly as the needle went in. Instead of continue the shot IN MY SKIN, Mark's nerves took over and he starting pushing the liquid in the air, and all over my pants, instead of in my abdomen. Cool. So I got to get stabbed for the 3rd time to get it right.

Wednesday, May 25th: u/s, lab appt.

Nurse calls. Approx. 16 measurable follicles ranging from 10 - 21mm
Again, I am assuming these numbers are going to flucuate, and will likely not all lead to eggs.
Hormones are normal.

Stims Day 6. AM Ganirelix, PM 300u Follistim (finally lower!), 150u (2 powders) Menopur

Thursday, May 26th: Stims Day 7. AM Ganirelix, PM 300u Follistim150u (2 powders) Menopur

Friday, May 27th: u/s, lab appt.

Nurse calls. My estrogen is 1486 so a nice rise by their standards. Approx. 9 measurable follicles ranging from 10-25mm. This drop in count kind of made me sad, but at this point, I am hoping for quality over quantity.

Stims Day 8: AM Ganirelix, PM 150u Follistim, 75u (1 powder) Menopur

I am headed in tomorrow for another u/s and lab at the Highland Park location.
Last cycle, when I started to head in every day for appointments, my first of two trigger injections began two days later.

I am assuming I will trigger either Sunday or Monday, with a Tuesday or Wednesday retrieval.

Noticeable side effects:

This round I can tell I am a tad more bloated after shots and in general. I guess this is a good sign because I have more follies, therefore, more space is being taken up by potential eggs!

Letrozole yielded mild, ongoing headaches for the first three days, but seemed to subside by Day 4. This pill is only taken for 5 days, so hopefully the worst of that is behind me.

I am more juicy, as Mark likes to call it.
Get your head out of the gutter....it's not what it seems.

With each shot, I have bled. This goes for blood draws as well.

I am chalking it up to the sheer amount of medication being injected....specifically with Follistim. Those that have used this pen before....450 units means it is cranked up as far as it can go.
The WHOLE thing goes in.
Fun.

Also not so fun story....our predetermination to biopsy any embryos for future PGD testing was denied earlier this week. I was heartbroken because I did so much research to ensure coverage and again....more balls to the face.

I processed my appeal, and the same day received an email from Dr. Jacob's nurse saying that he initiated a peer to peer review of my need for PGD biopsy and testing with a Dr. from BlueCross.

Everything is now approved!!

I just love that our doctor is that in tune with his clients and willing to help us fight the good fight. For once I feel like a couple things are working in our favor!

As always, thanks for reading!! XO

May 26, 2016

Facing Fear

I noticed a strap on my (very old) pair of heels was broken, while removing them during a routine ultrasound.
I may have said fuck a bit too loudly in a tiny room with merely a thin curtain dividing me from the technician.

:deep sigh:

All I could think about was how long it's been since I bought any new clothing for myself.
Months....I think could easily be six months, and probably longer for any shoes.

Now, I totally understand this is a huge first world problem, but in that moment, a lot of irrational fear of this process came to the fore front.

Fear of the unknown, of the what-ifs, of the what if this doesn't work.

All the pain of these shots, all the waiting, all the sacrifices, all the wishing, all the appointments....what if this doesn't work?

What if it's all for nothing?

I try to smash these thoughts as often as possible.
I try incredibly hard to avoid articles and posts and social media regarding the dark side.
The struggle and failure to parenthood, because it just hits too closely to home sometimes.

Not that I have witnessed a miscarriage first hand.

Not that we are out of options....yet.

Not that we have exhausted all resources.....yet.

But there is always a very real possibility that after everything we do this year, we could come up empty-handed.

I am a realist and I know very, very well that we have about a 50% chance of success when and if everything is said and done.

Of course, overall I am positive person.
I laugh at a lot of shitty situations and let a lot of stuff roll off my back.

I know damn well this struggle has made me a stronger, more patient person, and has done nothing but strengthen my relationship with my husband, but that doesn't mean that when I am alone, in the darkness, just before bed...that the negative thoughts don't crowd my mind sometimes.

It doesn't mean that I don't tear up sometimes....overwhelmed with thoughts of failure.

But it also doesn't mean that I am in a desperate situation, grasping at straws to find the good in all of this.

We are knocked down constantly, but constantly get back up and move forward.


Each and every day we are hit with some sort of news or information that may or may not be in our favor.
When cycling, I live my life in 1-2 day increments, waiting for the next phone call from our nurse.
Waiting for protocol updates.

Every day I try and figure out exactly what tiny section of my abdomen is less sore from the last round of shots, and hope I don't wince too hard make Mark nervous.
Every day I re-check my medication in case I have to re-fill and have more over-nighted.
Every day I check our claims from the insurance, to make sure we weren't denied for another round.

Sometimes it IS overwhelming.
Sometimes I don't know if I can do another round, or see another doctor, or make another appointment.
Sometimes I just try to get through the afternoon, pushing past the exhausting side effects of the medication, waiting for 6pm to rear it's ugly head so Mark and I can "cook" as we call it.

Mix up the next round of injections.
Count to three.
Inject the first one.
Dab the blood away.
Ice.
Inject the next one.
Moan in agony because it burns going in.
More ice.
More blood.

Only to wake up and do it again. And again. And again.

I get nervous going to appointments, like all of a sudden the technician might tell me nothing is progressing.
That I might not have any eggs.
I wait on pins and needles for the follow-up call.

Because the best news in the world is hearing the nurse speak to me about the growth of our follicles, the reduction in meds, knowing that every day that passes we are one step closer.

We are getting closer.
I just wish it wasn't such a hike.

Thanks for reading. XO

May 24, 2016

Our Weekend


Life is so weird sometimes.

I was making this blanket statement to Mark over the weekend, while we were sitting in the cabin of an off-shore racing boat, mixing up stimulation medications over a cooler.

I couldn't even make up our life right now.
It's a complete mix of chaos and thriving and uncertainty and joy all at once.

We had every intention of walking away from the daily grind for the weekend.
Setting up camp on our boat, in a harbor on Lake Michigan, watching the sunset with family, listening to Fleetwood Mac.

The maiden voyage for 2016....the weekend to officially launch summer.


And then reality slapped us straight between the eyes at sunset.
The guys were called in for emergency work, and I packed up the car for home.

Change of plan. No problem. We'll pick up where we left off tomorrow.

And then I got the call from Mark.
At 8:30am.

We are just wrapping up. 

I could tell the disappointment in his voice.
All this hard work.
All the time and effort it takes to get a boat ready for the water, only to launch it and have to wrap it up and take it out of the water without ever turning on the engine for a quick trip.

This boat is his baby.

I did my best to keep a positive spin on the weekend, even though Mark was at his wits end and without sleep.

My own body is sore from the stress of too much work and working out and not enough down time.

Work is insane right now and Friday evening, when I finally pulled in the driveway, all I could do was look at Mark and say THIS WEEK!

He completely agreed.

We were weary.
We had been looking forward to this first summer weekend for a while.
We have both been moving at a rate of 150% recently with no end in sight.

Back at home on Sunday, the weather beckoned to be outdoors.

I began taking Letrozole (or Femara), a nightly pill taken in addition to daily stim injections.

Ladies...this pill is not your friend.

It was recommended to take it at night, which I have been doing, but man....the ongoing dull headache that will. not. go. away. is starting to get old.

I grocery shopped and started cleaning the pool area, trying to ignore the headache and hungover feeling.

Our home is surrounded by large oak trees.
These trees are a blessing, and a curse sometimes.
Every year they drop thousands of little stringy brown things....and they all end up in the pool.

So each year we frantically work to keep the pool free of these stringy things....only to turn around and see our work completely undone.

They rain out of the sky, as the wind blows, with a vengeance.

I think I skimmed and swept and raked our back yard for three hours.
And when I was done it still looked like I hadn't started.

Mark got home and I was just staring at our back yard....laughing like a psycho.

Because sometimes life just punches you in the face even when you put your best foot forward.
Nothing went completely wrong....but it sure as hell didn't go right.

But what are you going to do?

We just looked at each other with tired eyes, and sighed deeply, and hugged.
And waived the white flag.

Next week will be better.
Thanks for reading.

May 17, 2016

21

via
And just like that, we are gearing up for IVF round 2.
I spent a little time reflecting on the results of the first round.
Obviously the news was a tad shocking; we expected to get at least ONE embryo.

But in hindsight, I should have just listened to my gut.
I was trying to will something that simply wasn't going to happen.
I could tell that their slow growth meant problems, but kept trying to look past it.

And since we all know I watch our dollars closely, it wouldn't really have made financial sense if we did have a sole embryo to biopsy. The price to biopsy 1 or 8 is the same, so we would have been betting a lot of money with its success.

After the retrieval, I was put on a twice daily regime of Endometrin.
These progesterone suppositories help transition out of recovery, support my hormones accordingly, and ward off my next period until the timing was right.

But of course my body had other plans.

The original plan was to discontinue the medication today, heading into the RE for my baseline ultrasound and bloodwork Friday.

But last Wednesday I started getting cramps like I was going to get my period.
I got nervous, thinking it might be a late round of OHSS (ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome), but the next morning I noticed a bit of spotting.

I immediately emailed my nurse about what I saw, asking what side effects I should expect from Endometrin.
She said she thought I was having break-through bleeding, so if it developed fully, I need to get in to see the nurse ASAP.

Of course nothing happened that day, but the second I arrived to work Friday, all hell broke loose.

SHIT! I exclaim, in the bathroom stall....not realizing another girl was in there with me.
It's already 8:30am at this point, and I figured the entire morning would already be booked with appointments.
So I'm hanging around the bathroom sink for far too long, hoping this other girl will just LEAVE already, but she keeps going on and on about the weather in broken english, and I am doing my best to be cordial but also not overly talkative because DAMN LADY....I need to make a phone call m'kay?!

Out she goes finally so I call.
Leave a voicemail.
Send an email.
Wait.
She emails back to say I need to get in ASAP.
I try.
I can't get at the local facility until noon.
Email back nurse. Is this too late? I won't have same day blood results.
She replies, You need same day results to confirm there aren't any problems.
Crap. Call back and plead my case to the receptionist that I NEED TO GET IN BEFORE 11AM.
She tells me I can come in and they can try to squeeze me in but no guarantees that I won't be there for 2+ hours waiting for an opening.
Nurse emails me back...the Crystal Lake location has a 10:45am opening, can I make it?
YES.

I run to my boss, tell him I have an emergency, need to leave for 2 fucking hours so I can make the appointment in time, try to cram in all my work for the day in the next hour, bolt out the door, make it to the appointment, draw blood, wait for the lovely ultrasound tech to do her thing.....

and then I hear the loveliest phrase ever uttered to an infertile....

I see at least 20 little follicles, my dear.

My heart skips a beat.
Really? How can that be? The last round I think I had.....8... maybe?

She checks.
Yes, your stimulation meds must have done wonders! You have a lot more this round!

I waltz out the door on Cloud 9.

Afterward, I spoke to the nurse who confirmed there was nothing wrong with me, although the cause of my period is still a complete mystery.
I was told someone who had progesterone levels of 9 should not be getting their period.
But I did.

I continued those meds through Sunday with a follow-up baseline this morning.

And my official results?

21.

I have 21 wee little baby follicles just waiting to get pumped up and (hopefully) turned into mature eggs.

To remind folks, last cycle I had 8 follicles.
During stims, that number bumped up to 15, so I can only assume the additional 7 were immature, and upon retrieval, they grabbed 6 eggs.

The prospect that I could end up with double digit eggs in this cycle is making me giddy.
This could be our golden ticket cycle!
21 was my golden age, and sort of a lucky number in my life, so who knows?!

I start injections this Friday!
Here goes Round Two!

Thanks for reading! XO

May 12, 2016

Arrested

via

Good morning.

I don't have the happiest of news today.
But what I do have is determination and a cut-throat attitude, so just know I'll be okay.

I have spent the last week dealing with a range of emotions.
Partly due to the these damn Endometrin suppositories (oh yea, I'm going there).
They are a natural form of progesterone, to help reduce miscarriages and keep a pregnancy going.

And they also prep someone should they be doing another IVF cycle right away.
That's what I'm doing.

I knew from the second they told me they collected six eggs, I would be gearing up right away for another round.

I am fucking determined and ready because this round did nothing but shit in my face.

As I mentioned in my last post, of the six eggs retrieved, five were considered mature and of the five, only three were fertilized normally.

Since I was not doing a fresh transfer, we would not get another call until Day 5, when a typical normal developing embryo makes it to a stage called Blastocyst.

Cells divide and multiple to this point until the little ball of cells pulls away from the center, leaving a fluid pouch that will eventually become the placenta.

The ball of cells eventually grows to be the baby.

And of course, every day in between, my emotions ebbed from hope and happiness, to despair and sadness.

The progesterone was also enhancing a lot of this, so it may be partly to blame.

The typical survival rate for fertilized embryos is 30-50%, and Mark and I would chat about just how many would make it.

We both agreed that 1 seemed to make the most sense.

On Day 5 (Monday), I received my first call from the nurse.

Good news! All three of your embryos are still growing. We have 1 early blast, 1 morula, and 1 ten-cell.  It's normal for them to not be at full blastocyst stage exactly on Day 5, so we'll continue to monitor them and will call you tomorrow.

Side note: a morula is what should be developing on Day 4, it's an embryo full of tightly packed cells that haven't yet separated to let fluid in. There are typically between 10-30 cells at this point.

The other 10 cell was lagging behind, but, of course, there was always a chance to catch up.

I was elated. I drove home with a huge smile plastered on my face.

What luck!! We still have ALL THREE.

On Tuesday morning, I received our next report.

Hi Tia, unfortunately none of the embryos are ready for biopsy. We have one Grade 3CC blastocyst, 1 early blast, and 1 morula. Again, we will continue to monitor them for one more day.

The grading of a blastocycst runs 1-4 with 1 being the least developed and 4 being the most.
The letters are A-D, with A being equal sized, tiny cells, and D being very few, possibly fragmented cells.

A grade of 3CC means that the "3" is rather good, as a full blastocyst would be considered a "4".

However, the CC means that both on the inside and the outside of the embryo, the cells are few.
Not enough to biopsy. We want a lot of little cells instead.

Now I'm getting worried. These little embryos seem to be growing so slow that I just can't imagine more than 1 will be ready.
I was overly concerned all day, but still hopeful that the front runner would be our golden ticket this cycle.

Wednesday morning I got my last call...this time from the head nurse.
This is never a good sign.

Hi Tia, it's Kim. I have bad news. All three of your embryos arrested (stopped growing) overnight.
I'm so sorry. I wanted to be the one to break the news because you're my girl. 
I want you to take the day for a pity party, and then get back in the saddle, okay? 
We are going to adjust your protocol that should yield better results the next go around.
You got this lady. 
Take care.

Ugh.
My constant thoughts that I got off too easy with this round were confirmed.
Unfortunately, they believe it's a combination of lower quality egg and sperm, mixed with our genetic issues, but no one can be sure.

We will continue to take our supplements and vitamins and hope the next go is better.
I have already been given my new calendar, to begin May 21st.
They are adding a Letrozole pill to the mix to hopefully yield better egg quality and quantity.

All I can do is find peace with this first cycle and move forward.
We're bummed, but are hopeful for future egg retrievals.
Who knows?! Maybe this next cycle will get us all the embryos we need and we can move forward with testing.

As always, thank you for reading. XO

May 11, 2016

IVF Update: Egg Retrieval #1


HEEELLLLLOOOOOO!!

I hope all you mama's and future mama's had an excellent weekend!
The weather was beautiful here!

So, I had my first egg retrieval last week.
I wanted to clue you into our story in case some of you are Googling what to expect.
I have read stories across the board, both good and bad, and I must preface this with everyone is totally different. 
Some stories are similar, but none will be you.

In case you are new here....WELCOME!
You can catch up on our journey from when we got our calendar, the first half of stim injections, and the second half through trigger.

Did you read everything? Phew...it's A LOT right?

Glad you're back. Let's recap.

Last Tuesday morning I was stabbed with my last trigger needle and we were off to Highland Park early Wednesday for our egg retrieval.

The procedure is performed at the IVF center, not a hospital.
We were asked to arrive by 7am and I was not allowed to eat or drink anything after midnight.
I was parched!
I was debating what to wear, assuming I would be in a lot of pain afterward.
I chose to wear a maxi dress, slip-on flats, and a cardigan.

I also brought some thick socks in case I wasn't given any. I wasn't.

Prior to arrival, we had completed and submitted our consent forms and picked up my Rx for Tylenol with codeine for post-retrieval pain.

The nurse escorted us back to a small room, where we proceeded to sign off on yet another round of forms.

She showed me my attire for the main event; a paper-thin ass-less dress, paper-thin sheet (for modesty) and my party hat (the blue lunch lady hair net).

I was getting cold while we waited for her return, and let me tell you....my eggs were READY to come out. I was starting to get intense lower abdominal and back cramping, like I would just explode at any minute.

When the nurse returned, she brought the holiest of grails....a HEATED blanket.

She sat on a small garbage can and went over our paperwork, then told us it would only be a few more minutes.

Shortly after, we heard another couple being escorted to their holding tank.

I noticed she went over, in great detail, the risks of OHSS (ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome) with the other couple because their estrogen was rather higher and they had A LOT of follicles.

Funny....I said to Mark....she never said a word about any of that to me! 
Do you think we're in the clear?

Obviously Mark has no idea what OHSS is...so he just muttered I'm sure you'll be fine.....

Cool.

Another nurse pops their head in and tells Mark it's time to produce a sample.
She forces us to kiss each other and he heads off.
While he was gone, I am escorted to the procedure room by the anesthesiologist, Dan.

As you all know, I have a certain love for the Doctor that dopes me up.

So I assumed this round would be no different.
WRONG.
I get into position, and as he is taking my left hand for the IV, I try to steer him away with some advice....So I'm a lefty, maybe you want to do that in my right hand? Also, the IV never works in the top of my hand, but always works like a charm on the side under my thumb.....

He completely disregards what I'm saying and stabs the top of my left hand.
He is pushing SO. HARD. to try and get the fucking needle in, and all I can do is try to stay still.
I'm tearing up, it hurts terribly.
Finally he stops, and I blurt out...CAN WE TRY IT MY WAY NOW?!?!?!

Shockingly, the needle slides right in just under my thumb. Weird how that works?

He pipes up...looks like the patient was right for once.

Um....WHAT IN THE ACTUAL FUCK DUDE.

I have another guy getting me all spread out down there, ready for the procedure.

He sits next to me, grabs my right hand, squeezes it tight and whispers, we're gonna take good care of you okay sweetie? 

We are all waiting for the tech to come in and confirm my identity, so Dickhead Dan can put me under....and he is trying to make small talk in the meantime.

I am having none of it.

The procedure is less than 20 minutes and I woke up back in the little room we started in.
Mark was next to me, as I would bob in and out for a bit.
We would be chatting and then I would randomly fall asleep, then wake back up and continue the conversation.
I think that went on for a good 30 minutes.

I heard the nurse enter the neighboring couple's room.

YOU GOT 22 EGGS!

My turn.

She walks in, and much more quietly, exclaims.

You got 6.

Waterworks. Everywhere.

The anesthesia was still doing its thing, but I just wanted to get out of there.

All of this fucking work for six measly eggs.
All I kept thinking about was how we need to be between 6-10 embryos and now we are already starting at such a low number, I may never get to it!

My goal at that point was to get discharged as quickly as possible.

Mark could sense my frustration, so he helped me up to get dressed, and told the nurse we were leaving. My stomach is huge and bloated at this point, and bending over was nearly impossible.
I highly suggest wearing a dress!!

Side note: it's not like a normal hospital where you have to pee before you leave.

I was bummed.
On the car ride home, we stopped at Mariano's for coconut water and recovery food.

It's suggested to drink a ton of electrolyte liquids, salty foods, and ease up on the carbs.

I texted Mark a list of stuff I thought would be good, and off he went.

Coconut water, tomato soup, salmon, veggies, guacamole and chips, string cheese....and cupcakes. :)

Mark was gone for no more than 30 minutes, but my anesthesia was wearing off and the pain was kicking in.
The ride home was tough.
I was sucking down coconut water, and every bump made my stomach hurt.

You have to take the pain killers with food, so the second we got home, I shoveled what I could in my mouth, popped a Tylenol codeine, and went upstairs with my heating pad to bed.

The rest of the day was mostly bed rest with bathroom breaks.

I'm not going to lie...peeing was scary that first day.
And the anesthesia backed me up, so nothing else happened....and I'll leave it at that.

During the night, I think I got up six times to pee.
It was like all the built up liquids were finally making their way out of me.

The next day I was still a bit bloated, but the pain had mostly subsided.
I was (slowly) walking around, and determined to run a few errands.
I ended up stopping at Target and then Home Depot to grab some flowers.

I am fully aware the nurse told me not to do this, but I was honestly feeling fine, and didn't push anything.
Once home, I sat in the yard and filled my planters with the new flowers.
My parents stopped over to check in and we got my fertilization report.

Of the six eggs retrieved, five were mature, and only three fertilized normally.

We wouldn't get any further updates until Day 5, when any embryos should be making their way to what is called the Blastocyst stage, or the final stage prior to hatching and implanting.

Overall, my recovery was super easy. The worst was over after the day of my procedure.
I was back to my old self by Friday.
I mean, I went for a 4 mile walk on Sunday, and have been to the gym each day this week so far.
(Taking it easy, obviously...but I need to MOVE to combat this insanity!)

I guess my best advice for an egg retrieval is....get all the opinions you want and then listen to your body.  I did not have the pain and suffering that many have had, and feel lucky because of it.

Just take it slow and work your way back to normal.
I was not doing a fresh transfer, so the amount of medication being pumped through my body was minimal after my procedure.
I simply finished my z-pack and started Endometrim.

I'll have another update later this week with the results of our embryos.

Take care and thank you for reading!! XO

May 3, 2016

IVF Update: Stims Day 7 through Trigger


Happy Tuesday loves!
I wanted to update this blog with our protocol for the second half of the stim injections through today!

If you missed the first half, you can read about the beginning of stims through Day 6 HERE.

After the first six days of a larger dose of stimulation meds, my nurse requested we reduce the dosage of Follistim from 450 units to 300. I already had a decent amount of larger follicles.

Menopur stayed the same at 2 powders mixed with the diluent.
The AM Ganirelix started on the morning of Day 5 and continued through Monday.

I was lucky, or so I thought, that even though I was going through daily injections, I never really bruised at all....until Saturday evening.

At my clinic, if you are required to come in for monitoring over the weekend, the local facilities are closed, so the only two options are Highland Park and River North in Chicago.

Obviously we chose Highland Park.
I was asked to arrive anytime between 7-8:30am both Saturday and Sunday.

The staff there was great. Very friendly and enthusiastic.
The only bump in the road was the blood draw Saturday morning.

I couldn't tell if the lady was newer or a bit nervous....but it seemed to take forever for her to find my vein (even though there was clearly a dot from a recent draw) and she ended up blowing out the vein, so I bruised from it.

Fun.

The shots that evening were rough as well.

Again, every day is different with these shots. Even though we were told to drop down the dosage of both Follistim (to 100) and Menopur (1 powder instead of 2)....they hurt like Hell.

I immediately started crying because both needles stung quite a bit and the liquid hurt going in.
I did end up bruising a very tiny bit from the Menopur shot.

But then Sunday? We switched sides and it was a total cake walk.
Both shots went in easy and didn't sting at all.

My gut told me we would be triggering Sunday or Monday, although after the phone call follow-up with the nurse, they indicated my retrieval could go as late as Friday.

I had another early monitoring appointment Monday morning, and finally got the call that we would start our trigger that evening.

With each phone call we get the size and quantity of follicles along with my hormone levels.

The nurse indicated that my estrogen was a tad high (normal is 3,000 or under and I was at 3,690). Because of this, they told me to do a 2 part trigger with one shot of Lupron at 8pm and another shot the following morning (today) at 8am.

The Lupron needle is identical to an insulin needle.
We simply drew up 80 units of the Lupron liquid into the syringe and injected the whole thing.

I reached out to my TTC tribe to ask if I should anticipate anything, but both shots were pain free with zero side effects!

I have to say, Mark has been absolutely amazing this entire time.

I was worried he wouldn't be able to administer my final injection.
My appointment was scheduled for 7:45am and I had to do the shot at 8am.

I kept saying I would just ask a nurse at the facility to do it....no big deal.

But internally, I was nervous.

What if I missed the time? What if it hurt from them doing it?

Mark is so good at giving me these shots.

I think I would have been able to do it myself...but what if I passed out?

This morning, as I was getting ready to go for my final blood draw, I stepped out of the shower to find a single pink tulip picked from our yard in a heart shaped champagne glass.

Mark came in and said he rearranged his schedule and would meet me at the Dr. to do my final shot.

So. Awesome.

I was instantly relieved and left for the appointment.

But as we all know....plans can change or be adjusted.
I got to to the building at 7:40 and was done with my draw by 7:45.

Mark was stuck in traffic.

He was supposed to meet me at 8am, but now he wasn't sure.

We chatted and decided to meet at a combo gas station/McDonald's up the road, closer to where he was stuck in traffic.

Shooting up at a gas station....totally normal. :)

I pulled into a spot where you would pay to vacuum out your car and waited.

Next to me was a guy whose car had broken down and he was blankly staring under the hood....throwing his arms in the air and talking rapidly to someone on phone.
Behind me there is a line of cars waiting to hit the drive-thru.

Minutes later a couple larger landscaping rigs and a friggin' semi nearly block me in.

Still no Mark.

While I waited, I prepped my last shot, while listening to the country station.

Life is so weird sometimes.

Mark finally pulls up and washes off his hands with rubbing alcohol he ever-so-conveniently has tucked away in his truck, and I swab myself down with an alcohol pad.

1....2.....3...stab.
In it goes and we are done!
Finally done with these damn shots! (for now)

We are set for a retrieval tomorrow morning in Highland Park at 7am.
Wish us luck post-recovery.
Hopefully I have very minimal pain and bloating and get back to a normal lifestyle sooner than later.

I will be updating on IG (@tgendooza) along the way!
Thank you for reading and sending positive vibes!! XO