The IVF Crazies

I didn’t think this first IVF cycle I am doing was messing with my head. I didn’t think it was affecting me – just another chance at pregnancy, like my last three IUI’s, or the previous six rounds of Clomid. Just another month. Yet, apparently, it has been affecting me, and it’s affecting my life. And what better place to turn to for advice than right here?

See, the thing is, I don’t really want to talk about it. Not in real life. I really don’t want to talk about the details. What’s new with my IVF cycle? People want to know this. The answer is nothing. Well, everything, but nothing, so I’d rather just let it be. I drive 40 minutes every single day to either have my blood drawn, or have an ultrasound with it. If it doesn’t fall on a weekend, I’m arriving there at 6:30 in the morning, when the lights are off and the workers aren’t even there yet, just so I can be first or second in line when the blood draw starts at 7:00. I have to be at work, at school, at 8:05, but since that’s impossible when ultrasounds don’t start until 7:30, I get out of there around 8 and hustle (if that’s possible in traffic) back to school, usually arriving late, after the kids get there, with cold tea and the need for a bathroom, but there’s no sub in my room and no one helping out, so I need to rush.

Then, it’s my actual situation. The doctor today actually used the words “your polycystic ovaries”, confirming, I guess, that I have PCOS. And all of that build up of follicles makes for a doctor’s dream IVF cycle, if it weren’t for the large risk of OHSS. I’ve got 30+ follies on both sides. That’s a lot of development – and I’m fearing pain and OHSS. They tell me while I am at a high risk for OHSS, I will be triggering with Lupron, which is supposed to help combat that. Though, the doctor today said I will probably also be taking HSG, which sometimes gives the symptoms of OHSS, but isn’t. I should be on the look-out.

I’m going to the doctor’s every day because my follies are tiny, but my estradoil is way up. So it’s up and down with my follistim dosage, as I crank through the Ganirelix in the public bathroom. I’m officially bloated, though not really in pain, as I’ve started putting out some major egg whites (sorry for the TMI) and feeling fat. Tomorrow will make the 5th day in a row to have my blood drawn, and I’m going back Thursday as well.

I knew all this. I knew this would happen. What I didn’t know was how, apparently, subconsciously nervous I would be. I am quite literally putting all of my eggs in one basket, and I am a bit of a wreck about this working. About me feeling okay. About getting OHSS. About making smart choices on my end, so as not to ruin this opportunity.

I need help from you IVF-ers. What should I be doing or not doing? I’m not exercising, except for the daily walk with the dogs. Is that the right move? I’m trying to drink a lot of water. The right move? I’m not having any sex (hey, it’s the truth) because I’m worried about rupturing something or causing pain or sending me into OHSS land and it’s starting to bother my husband, I think. Not to mention keeping the sperm supply healthy, and why am I even thinking about that? Is this the right move? What about food? Should I be following an IVF diet, as I know some of you have done? My doctor never said anything about it, but still. I want to do this right. I want, I want, I want.

I realized tonight I am putting this future not-yet-conceived child ahead of my marriage, which is really not a good thing. I’m too overwhelmed for sex, too negative, too busy, too stressed, too worried, too..whatever, but yet, when the time came a few months ago on Clomid, I’d perform under any condition. He has a point. So yeah, ahead of my marriage. Heck, ahead of my job, ahead of my friendships, ahead of all my priorities, ahead of my sleep. And it’s causing some rifts, as well as exhaustion and stress. I’m overwhelmed because I’m worried, because this is a big deal, because my frustration with all of this is hitting a peak, right in the middle of shots. I’m not myself (though, I really haven’t been much in the last year and a half) but this “new” version of me is worried, overwhelmed, and stressed.

We all know “just relax” is not the answer, so god help me if those words find their way into my brain. That said, some relaxing is probably in order, I’m guessing. Unfortunately, it’s nearly impossible as a teacher to relax. NOTHING about school is relaxing. I’ve got meetings, some scheduled, some on the fly. I’ve got parents with questions, students with behavior issues, professional goals I’m supposed to be caring about right now, and clearly, I just don’t. Take tomorrow for example: getting to the doctor’s for 6:30, blood drawn at 7, rushing to work for 8, meeting at 8:05, full day of school, long meeting at 3:01 until probably 4:30, rush to get the dogs fed (Sadie throws up if I don’t feed her right on time), rush to do any schoolwork I’ve brought home, rush to get ready for Thursday, and to do it all again, starting with the doctor visit. Too much is going on right now, too much is on my plate. Yet, there’s nothing I need help with. No one can help lighten my load, unless you’re planning on whisking me away from it all to a cabin in Colorado where we can eat fresh fruit and get our nails done and be on a vacation. I just want this all to end, so I can resume some sort of schedule, with early to beds, relaxing workouts, and not worry about if I’m eating too many carbs or not drinking enough water.

Also, my back hurts. Every day when I wake up, it’s either my neck or my back. It was my neck for a long time, now it’s my back. It hurts in one spot. Did I pull something? Maybe. I switched pillows and it didn’t help anything. Is it stress? Do I have rheumatoid arthritis? Or just a case of the auto-immune crazies (one auto-immune disease and you start to think you have them all)?

Like I said, I don’t want to talk about it. Other than venting here, I really don’t want the pity, or the worry, or whatever.  I’m dealing with it, I’m hoping it ends soon, I’m hoping I don’t land in the hospital with OHSS, I’m hoping I have many good eggs pulled out, I’m hoping one results in a pregnancy, which results in a successful 9 months, which results in an actual baby, which, hopefully, would result in me feeling back to my old self, with less stress. But I’m worried it won’t, that this is my new life.

But I don’t want to talk about it.

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9 thoughts on “The IVF Crazies

  1. Lindsay says:

    Oh god, I can relate to everything you just posted!! When I was on Clomid and then for my IUI I thought those were such big deals, but there is nothing like IVF and it is so hard to talk to people in real life about it, because honestly, until you go through it yourself, you just don’t get it. I had about 20 follicles (10 on each side) that they believed to be mature and about 17 smaller follicles, they ended up retrieving 19 eggs so most of the little ones never amounted into anything.) So, I too, was at very high risk for OHSS. They had me in for 6 straight days of bloodwork and ultrasound at the end. Sounds like your doctor is doing a really good job monitoring you, like mine did, which always made me feel a little bit better. They also should start you on a drug called “Cabergoline” or something similar which is supposed to also help avoid the more severe cases of OHSS. I wasn’t on that, because I had been on Bromocriptine (which does the same thing) for about 9 months becuase of elevated prolactin levels. I did end up with a mild case of OHSS but I honestly believe because of my diet I was able to keep the worst of it away. As soon as I started the stimulating drugs I began a high-protein NO carb diet. Carbs make the OHSS worse. I also upped my salt/sodium intake and drank about 1-2 gatorades a day. There are differing opinions on this, but this worked for me. I drank 2 protein shakes a day too, the ones they recommend contain whey protein (I think I got the mix from Target, it was Jillian Michaels brand.) Take it easy too, because your ovaries are going to be massive for a long time, especially if you get pregnant. If the OHSS seems really bad after retrieval, they may cancel the transfer because it does get worse if you get pregnant. Everything you are feeling is totally normal! This is scary and balancing teaching and going through this is nearly impossible. I was very withdrawn just about the entire school year last year and people noticed, but it was what I had to do to survive. I know you don’t want to talk about it, I often times didn’t either, but if you ever do, I am here! You will get through this.

  2. Brave IVF Girl says:

    My RE uses lupron triggers for high responders, and has never had an ohss case.

    As far as sex goes, it varied a lot for me IVF cycle to IVF cycle. Don’t discount the side effects of the meds you’re on – it’s the biggest difference between doing IVF and IUIs. As far as sperm quality goes, I was always told it’s best to have the last ejaculation be 48-72 hours before the sample they need at retrieval (and most clinics also get one ahead of time to freeze as a backup).

    Hang in there!

  3. krista says:

    Totally get that you don’t want to talk about it. I’m the same way with things. I’d rather deal with it internally. It’s great that you have this forum to talk without really “talking”! If you do ever feel the need to talk with someone, but don’t want it to be family or a friend…I have a friend who worked as a nurse in a fertility office for many years and then also went through treatments herself to have her 3 year old twins. It may be helpful because she could answer your medical questions, but would also understand how you’re feeling since she went through it too. I’m sure she would be happy to talk. Oh and you don’t have to post this, I just want to let you know. Love ya!

  4. aj says:

    Hang in there. It doesn’t really get any easier as the cycle progresses but make sure to do whatever it odds that you can do to help you relax. For me that was watching TV at night with my husband curled up on the couch instead of studying. I also only walked for exercise and no sex. We had do much sex the year prior while trying to get pregnant that that was the joke that we didn’t need to have sex got awhile. I didn’t worry about any special diet. I just ate what made me feel good and relaxed. Good luck!!

  5. Sheree Winans says:

    This is me not talking about it…I wish I had advice for you but I don’t…I will ask my sister for you because she did IVF. Just know that you have a lot of support here and in your “real life” (although I think this blog has become a huge part of your “real life”). There … me not talking just means talking less…I think that was pretty good for me. 🙂 Lots of love!!!!!

  6. Lauree says:

    I can tell you are a strong person. You are on your fourth try of IVF. I count my blessings that IVF worked for us because I don’t think I could go through all of that again. At one point, my monitoring went on every day for two weeks because I was “getting close”. I, too, would try to be the first one there which meant leaving the house in the dark. And this was all going on while my dad was sick. And even after the transfer, the shots in the tush at the same time every day, was exhausting.
    I don’t know much about OHSS or a special diet. Regarding exercise, walking seems good but only do what you are up for. You have such a long day that resting is good too. And sex, who has time for sex when you are trying to have a baby?!?! 🙂
    Have you considered ICSI? This step helped with the increased number of embryos for our situation. And have you ever considered genetic testing? I am so pleased that we did that extra step. I had a very high number of embryos that survived the process but at the time of transfer, there were only 2 viable embryos (from 17) after genetic testing.
    It is such an overwhelming process and difficult to go through. It is a 24-7 job between getting poked, prodded, keeping track of medicine you need, what you need to take and when,; all which means living by the clock. There are no breaks during IVF because something is always on your mind about it; whether logistics or emotions.
    Hang in there and just do what is best for you. I wish you all the best!

    Lauree, Sheree’s sister

  7. Erin says:

    I borrowed my sisters pregnancy band. I kept my pants unbuttoned and it held them on. It also smoothed my fat roll. However the time has come to accept that some of my bloat of actual weight gain. Damn

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