The IVF miracle(s)

First, thanks to everyone for your thoughtful comments and suggestions over the last few posts. It became apparent that this new, sickly version of myself was normal, and I’ve wondered how you all have managed it. You guys must be superheroes!

Well, my “real” ultrasound isn’t until next week, but my doctor did want to do one before he left for vacation. It was early, a day shy of 6 weeks, but I knew we would find out something very important. And we did. There were 2 black blobs, 2 little circles, 2 “fetal poles”. Lord, at least right now I can honestly say – I’m having twins!!!

No wonder I feel like crap.

I was afraid to share this here at first because it is so early. What if we go to our ultrasound next week (I’ll be 7 and a half weeks) and one black blob is empty? It happens and I am trying to prepare myself for it. But I guess I’m just thinking, for the time being, there are two little mini-babies in there. My doctor, who tries not to get you pregnant with multiples, might be kicking himself. He was the one who recommended two to be put in, after all. I guarantee that if he thought they both were going to take, he never would’ve put them both in. But we wanted to anyway. We are a couple of happy individuals.

It has taken me a few days, as I am still working through the shock and denial of being pregnant at all, not to mention with twins, and I’m still not even close to imagining two babies in our house, but I can say that I’m finally excited. Really, really excited. Holy crap!!! When did this all happen? It’s just crazy-town. I can’t believe it.

I had always thought that to some extent, the degree of morning sickness you have is genetic. My mother barely had anything, so I was looking forward to feeling good most of the time. But the game all changes when there’s more than one being in there. So yeah, this around-the-clock nausea was no joke.

I jinxed myself, too. Not 10 minutes after my last post I went and threw up. And while my stomach felt better, I was a sweaty, weak mess. And that is no fun. Over the course of about five days, I lost about six pounds. I called the nurse and worried aloud what to do about the fact that I could not eat. Like, anything. Just couldn’t do it. And when I did force food, I actually felt worse. But I also didn’t want to land myself in the hospital. And the nurse said, “If you can’t eat, don’t. You’ll survive without food for a few days.” To keep myself out of the hospital, I needed to drink.

Fast forward to today. Zofran is a million-dollar miracle, worth every penny I spend on it, not covered by insurance. And by that I mean $55 for 10 pills, and I took 4 a day. But I went from being bed-ridden, sucking down ice chips and shaking uncontrollably, to finally being able to eat, though not much at a time. I will be able to go to work. I can deal with all day mild nausea. I just was able to drop my middle-of-the-night dose, because I feel great when I’m sleeping. So now it’s 3 pills a day. Hopefully, as time goes by, I’ll be off of it entirely. But until then, it has allowed me to function like a person again. A person who is pregnant with twins, at least for today.

Transfer Day

Thank you for all of your encouraging words! I’ve been kind of MIA lately but you helped me feel excited. And I suppose I have good reason for that, because my first IVF transfer is tomorrow. And yes, we made it to a Day 5 transfer, which really made me happy. With hopefully 15 embryos, but I will happily take 1 or 2.

I don’t know what to expect, but all of a sudden I feel calm. I think I’m keeping myself from getting worked up, but it’s just this other part of my day tomorrow. No big deal. I’m thinking more about my sub plans for school than the actual procedure itself! No matter that this is the closest I will ever have gotten to getting pregnant.

But if it works, it’s going to be a very big deal. If it doesn’t, well, I just hope I have something to freeze.

And we’ve got eggs!!

Can I first just say – it has been so long, so very long since I was happy about anything in my life related to pregnancy (or lack thereof). It has been such gloom and doom, and other than the 4 times I’ve been in the TWW (the last time was back in July) and had some hope, there has been no reason to stop and be happy about what has happened to me. I’ll never be happy that I was dealt these cards. But today, I’m thanking modern-day science and my insurance company. Not to mention my doctor.

It’s the day after retrieval. The surgery went smoothly – I was nervous right up until I went in, and then was just like, “Let’s just do this”. I had a great nap, and when I woke up I was wishing it went on for longer. I had minor cramping, really not much at all, and no bleeding. I was tired all day long, and treated myself to an afternoon nap, with unlimited amounts of Powerade zero (fighting off any OHSS that might come my way) and some tasty Cheetos. And I thought about those eggs. 21 in all. Yes, 21! My first reaction was actually “that’s it?” because I thought I had like 40 in there. But I soon realized that the more I have out, the greater risk for OHSS, not to mention possibly more pain. So I am happy with that number.

And I waited to blog my update because I wanted to hear from the nurse today. I just did.

Out of 21 taken out, 18 were mature and ICSI was done on them. Out of those 18, 15 fertilized. 15!! That’s good, right? I mean, it seems like a good start.

And now the questions. What happens to them in the next few days? They start to become multi-celled, I think? What do they need to do to become a day 5 transfer instead of a day 3?

And my other big question: what about those dreaded PIO shots? They start tonight and I am not looking forward to it. The nurse drew the circles on my butt- not very attractive. Here’s what I’m thinking so far:

-lay down on my stomach
-warm up oil beforehand (some online said they put it in hot water. Too much?)
-after the shot, massage the spot for a while
-then, apply heat to the spot for at least 10 minutes.

How off am I? Any tips? Besides dreading the shots, I’m officially excited, and I haven’t let myself feel that in a long time. It’s a very dangerous game to play, but I can’t really help it right now. Please, let there be an embryo or two to transfer in a few days. Until then, those 15 hanging out in their petri dishes will keep my mind occupied!

Just kidding- IVF retrieval is a go.

I hate how infertility puts you through the ringer. It’s so up and down. I just got the call from the nurse – estrogen was 3098 today, exactly where they want it to be. Yesterday’s massive estrogen drop was some sort of fluke, and I guess they are going to re-run that test. I triggered with Lupron last night. Retrieval is tomorrow.

If only I had known that yesterday. Yesterday, when I was told this cycle would most likely be cancelled, and then I had to go to my in-laws’ and pretend everything was fine, which I sucked at doing, by the way. I am the worst liar. I was miserable. And since every holiday at N’s aunt’s is an invitation for teenage mothers to burst in (non family members), I wasn’t at all surprised when this couple no older than maybe 22 came in with their beautiful infant. Their happy “oops”. I was such a wreck, I literally camped out in a different room and fought back tears. I mean, of all days. Then, when N’s cousin started to hand the baby to him, I quickly plotted my escape route to the bathroom. Luckily, he didn’t hold the baby. I just hate how infertility has done this to me. When in my entire life have I ever tried planning escape routes to avoid children? I work with them for a living! But there it was. I was anti-social, quiet, and serious. On Thanksgiving. Not my finest hour, and I may owe the family an apology. But let’s face it- this hasn’t been my finest year. I’m just not myself, and it sucks.

Now I’m a wreck in a different way. This last minute change of plans has me all turned around. I’m nervous!! Not for anything in particular I guess, but nervous for surgery, for the pain, for the meds (no hives, please), for the quality of my eggs, for my husband. For OHSS. I’m just nervous. What a perfect time to be doing construction on our house.

So here we are. I’m feeling that kind of sick like when you’re nervous, and am having trouble eating much. Sleeping tonight should be interesting as well. But unless something weird happens, I’ll be at my RE’s tomorrow morning at 8:30, with retrieval at 9:15. It is finally here.

IVF round 2 and new paint.

I don’t have much of an update, but I figured I might as well keep you posted, if for no other reason to remind myself that I am still dealing with this, and so are you. I read your posts and there’s been a lot of good news lately, so perhaps that might extend my way.

I’m 5 days in with my follistim shots to the gut. This cycle, my doctor has me on only 75iu, and this is for an IVF cycle! But as we found out last cycle, which of course was cancelled before retrieval, I over-stimulate very easily. Still, it seems like a low dose. That said, my estrogen is climbing slowly and appropriately, so maybe I will actually get to retrieval this time. I am starting to feel my ovaries again. On the elliptical yesterday, apparently my resistance was too high because I felt a familiar pinch followed by a cramp. Gotta take it easy I guess. Bloating is here, and maternity pants will, pathetically, be my friend next week at work.

This sounds stupid but I am a little concerned that my retrieval could be next Saturday. It will definitely be right around there. Months ago, I bought my husband a trip around a race track in a stock car for his birthday, and Saturday is the date. And I can’t change it. I really want him to have that experience. So we’ll see.

So to practice “taking it easy”…my husband and I decided to redo our entire main floor- new white moulding, new paint, new doors, refurnished floors. Lots of work and lots of mess. But we are realizing we are going to be in this house a lot longer than originally planned, so for our sanity (since we aren’t too happy about it) we need to make this house feel more like home. So far we ripped all the moulding off and painted the dining room and attached hallway. Next weekend I might have no choice but to relax, so until then, we’re painting machines. And that’s all I’ve got! Hopefully my next post will be in regards to a damn retrieval!

My present

I am currently sitting on my couch, typing this post straight from my new toy, the hot-off-the-press brand new iPad mini. Now, we are not made of money, and I am caught between wanting to kill my husband for spending this money and being really happy. I imagine I could live very simply. I don’t need the latest gadgets, fashions, etc. That has never been me. But it is my husband, and nothing brings him more glee than to give these sorts of gifts. So, when I got home today, he had dinner cooking and this very expensive, very thoughtful gift sitting on the table. I made him promise not to get me anything much for Christmas and now that I have gotten that off my shoulders, I can enjoy this frivolous gift without too much guilt. The pictures are so…big! Your blogs are so much easier to read! And typing blog posts on the go just got simple. So yeah, this thing is awesome, though completely unnecessary and not practical in the slightest. But very cool.

What meant the most, though, was the card from my husband that came with it. It said something like, “I appreciate you going through all this nonsense for us to start a family.” And I have always known he appreciates it and has been nothing but supportive, but the card still meant a lot. In conclusion, I am so lucky to have an amazing husband. 🙂

In IVF news, it’s almost that time again. I went in for scan a few days ago and my ovaries are back to “normal” again, as in, small. The doctor was surprised how quickly they went back to the way they were before IVF, and I am going in for my baseline on Tuesday, starting shots that night. So IVF round 2 it is, except this time I am hoping to complete the cycle, without canceling a few days before retrieval.

To prepare for this, as I had told you in my last post, I bought new pants. I finally had to admit that with bloating from drugs and pretty bad portion control, I am not the size I used to be. But dammit, I will be someday. So until then, I made a game day decision and bought – maternity pants. 3 pairs of them. And holy crap, they are soooo comfy! They don’t fit, obviously. Especially since I have been on the pill and my bloating went down. So yesterday I had to keep hiking them up, but at least they were comfortable! And by doing this, I know I am totally jinxing myself, but I am telling myself that maybe, just maybe, I might be able to use those pants for the right reason soon, and therefore, this purchase might not have been in vain. In other words, I have allowed for some hope. Stupid, probably, but God..something just has to happen soon.

Never met someone else who bought maternity pants before being pregnant. Time will tell if I made the right move.

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.