Monday, January 30, 2012

Lies. Tells me Lies. Tell me Sweet Little Lies.

Lying is exhausting. Well maybe I shouldn't say lying so much as avoiding the truth.

Only a handful of people know my situation so they aren't the issue, but its those that don't that are becoming difficult to manage. Who did I tell what story? How much information should I dole out? What should I tell work people when I can't attend an event or friends when I have to flake on plans?

I recently saw my friend at a party and we originally had delusions of grandeur that we would be pregnant together. Now she is and I'm not and it comes up in conversation as to what my plan is. So, naturally I lied and said I went back on the pill until I figured out what I was doing professionally. I blamed travel and DJ's travel and said I wouldn't feel right having a baby just yet.

When an overly concerned coworker asked if I was getting any pressure from home, I lied and said no, explaining DJ and I were "in talks" but not ready to commit to anything. Meanwhile, minutes before I was literally staking out the hotel bathroom to give myself my Lupron shot.

Work has been a little tricky too. Originally we were looking at the 9th-14th for my retrieval and transfer and now its the 13th - 17th. When I have to travel for work, make appointments, and all of that it is difficult to have a floating procedure date. I guess the good news is things are moving forward and could be happening as soon as two weeks. The frustrating news is I have a week window where I am on call as far as my medical appointments know but I can't effectively warn my supervisors or plan ahead of time.

So for all of you that receive this blog and are reading it after the fact, I apologize for lying to you.  I'm sure if you look at the dates, you may say "oh, so that's why she was so shady!".
Well now you know :)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Welcome back old friend!

*Warning: This post contains nasty period talk. Readers beware*

So this weekend I was in Boston for our National Information Seminar. I had taken by last birth control pill Wednesday morning and had been/will be taking Lupron shots only until the 30th (when we will add Follistim and Menopur). Around 11:00pm I felt this odd cramping sensation. Thinking it was gas, I went to the bathroom only to discover the familiar face of Aunt Flo.

Well, welcome back dear friend!

Even though I was told I might get my period after I wrapped up the pill, since the added estrogen had been keeping things moving along all these years prior, I was still shocked and panicked at the scene on my toilet paper.
Should I call the doctor? Do I have a tampon? Do I remember how to put in a tampon? Is this, in fact, my period or something.....well something more disgusting.
I decided to call DJ and share with his this incredible news and it may have been the first and only time he responded with "oh that's good!" to period talk. I also frantically emailed Dr. K and Jennifer, our nurse, to make sure I didn't mess up my drug regiment (which I later learned I hadn't).

Because I am a fool, I neglected to be prepared this particular event at this particular hotel at this particular time.
Long, gross story short - I had to get a little creative when it came to sanitary engineering.

The presentation the following day moved forward without a hitch but I had to take my evening Lurpon shot somewhere before catching the 6:40pm train home. I had already checked out of my hotel room and I couldn't very well ask my coworkers to excuse me while I injected myself in the hotel lobby.
If this was Intervention, this would be the scene where the addict hits rock bottom.

Cleverly, I had packed all my needles and drugs in a Tupperware for transportation and planned on changing out of my business attire before getting on the train so I stealthily (is that a word?) wheeled my rolley suit case into the bathroom stall at the Marriott Boston Long Wharf.
Laying my tools out neatly on my lap and laughing at the ridiculousness of the scene, I proceeded to clean my belly with alcohol, prepare my syringe, and JUST as I am about to do the deed another person has to pee and enters the bathroom. (How dare she!) Of course she chooses the stall right next to me and I swear she knows what I'm up to. I am also convinced she can hear me so I freeze and wait for her to leave.
I'm so weird.
Anyway, I give myself the shot, pack everything up neatly, and head out of the stall like a normal human being. I know I wasn't snorting crack along the toilet seat but something still felt very 80's yuppie about the whole scene.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

My first date with Lupron

Shot
I almost forgot
It's time for your shot
It'll just take a second,
It won't hurt a lot.
So roll up or pull down
And we'll find the spot
For your shot.
- Shel Silverstein, Everything on It

I know I have said it in the past with a hint of sarcasm, but there is something romantic about your husband giving you a shot in the belly. Its one of those "if we can make it through this" moment where you have to laugh at the ridiculous of it all and accept the fact that this is the road we are taking to pregnancy.

The Lupron shot was actually a good gateway to the rest that are to come. It's a little needle and, once you get past the awkwardness of what is actually happening, it isn't too bad. I feel bloated, but I have felt bloated ever since I started this birth control so it could be that too. Unlike Yasmin, this new brand doesn't agree with me at all and I feel yucky, I've gained a little wait, and feel constantly bloated no matter how much I pee. I can't suck in my stomach and always feel full. Its not a good look and I'm glad I only have 4 more days of it.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Overwhelmed

I couldnt really think of a creative title for this post since I already used shots, but overwhelmed pretty much says it all.

Shot Class was at the IRMS location in Livingston, NJ. We got their at 8:30am and in our class were two other couples and another woman - so 4 IVF/IUI/Infertility patients all together. I kind of wished we went around the table and said what we were "in" for since all the couples were around our age and looked healthy. I was surprised, but also kind of comforted since it made me feel like less of a reproductive freak.

Wanda was our "teacher" and I liked her a lot, especially because she kept calling us "ladies" when referring to things we had to do.

At our station were several different sized needles, a practice "butt" (which was kind of like a belt with a rubber square attached to it), our Follistim pen, and syringes.
We started easy and covered Doryx. Doryx is an antibiotic tablet that will be taken by DJ and me during the Luteal phase of my period (if I had one). It makes his sperm sample free of bacteria before it is used in the transfer and makes sure all my stuff is bacteria free too. This is taken by him 7 days prior to retrieval and I think I take it the day of the retrieval to the day of the transfer. I don't remember but I'm sure they will tell me.

Next we learned about Lupron and that actually starts today. Lupron, Follistim, and Menopur are little shots taken during the stimulation phase. They are meant to stimulate follicles and produce eggs. The nurse compared them to the insulin shots diabetics take, but I think the needles are a little longer than that.
Either way, Lupron starts tonight and will be taken with birth control until January 25th. Then its Lupron only until the 30th when I go in for another ultrasound, and then it is joined by Follistim and Menopur for a week to 10 days.
DJ will be giving me these shots for the most part. How romantic.

Once we are wrapping up with those guys, we enter the Luteal Phase and things get exciting. The drugs until this point have prepared my body for the creation and development of eggs while preventing ovulation. All the while I am going into the Clark, NJ IRMS office for blood work and ultrasounds. When all my ovaries are plump with eggs, I'll get a call from the doctor to schedule my egg retrieval. This call comes 36 hours before the retrieval is done and DJ gives me a shot of HCG in the bum between 9pm and 12am. This needle is significantly longer than the ones we had been using previously which can only mean its more intense.

The day after the HCG shot is shot free (yay!) and I just spend the day angsting because the following day is the retrieval which is in Livingston, NJ at the St. Barnabas Women's Center. Under general anesthesia, retrieval takes about 15 to 40 minutes and they go in my hooch with a little needle/vacuum and take out my eggs. From start to finish, its a 3 hour stint in the hospital as it includes time for pre-op and post-op stuff. The goal is to take 4 or more eggs at the retrieval and the average woman has 6 to 10 to give.

After the retrieval, I will go on Medrol (another tablet) to prevent my body from rejecting the embryos and I will take a progesterone shot to prepare my body for pregnancy. These look especially awesome because they are another long needle and will go into my butt. The nurse said they will draw a circle on each side so DJ knows where to shoot me. Who needs a couples' retreat when you could do IVF!

I get a day or two off and then I go back for the transfer. A quick in and out procedure will put the best egg(s) of the bunch back inside my uterus. The rest get frozen Austin Powers-style until we figure out what our plan is. The progesterone shots continue and after two weeks I go for a pregnancy test, blood test, and any other required prodding.

Below is a picture of all of my medications.

Of course I had a nervous breakdown yesterday because that's what I do on Doctor Appointment Days, but I've got my head together today which is good.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Shots!

It’s hard to make pretty something as crass
as going to school to get shots in your ass.

Tomorrow we’ll travel to Northern N-J
and with six other couples we’ll learn the way

to prep Menopur and Lupron into syringes
and get over the pinches, the soreness, the cringes.

Lupron stimulates hormones, triggers eggs for retrieval
but in the form of a pill it’d be much less medieval.

Menopur gets the follicles all energized
to be claimed by the doctors and then fertilized.

Each medicine’s different, one muscular, one subcutaneous -
one’s in your belly, the other next to your a-neous.

They say practice on oranges and other fruits
before taking aim at your own caboose.

I know I won’t like it (even flu shots I fear)
because who the hell wants a shot in their rear.

The articles, the doctors, say its only two weeks
of getting injections into your cheeks,

but how can you get used to something as uncanny
like twice daily injections into your fanny.

But at the end of the day, whats a sore derriere
when you're trying to get a baby in there.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

I say a little prayer for you....

I am opening this post by stating I am not a religious person. I have my all of my sacraments, but when it came to getting approved sponsorship to be godmother to my cousin's daughter - it was a huge pain in the ass and I was reminded why some people are hesitant to stick with the church. They asked for a $500 donation in return for a silly signature on my god-parent permission slip which is just insane ...but I digress.

My traditional gynecologist, Dr. H. is not a religious person either but as we discussed my fertility options, she shared a story with me about a certain saint and how sometimes it pays to believe a little.

Saint Gerard is the patron saint of motherhood, childbirth, unborn children etc. He had a sad little life and ultimately died at the age of 29 of tuberculosis but he was not without is miracles and apparently there is a nice little shrine set up in beautiful Newark, NJ. Here is his wikipedia link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Gerard_Majella

Anyway, Dr. H was having trouble conceiving and had decided that children were just not in her cards. After sharing this news with her family, she received a little pin in the mail from her mother - a pin of St. Gerard. As I said, she wasn't religious but thought, "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" and pinned the pin to her bra strap.
She never got her period again and was blessed with a son.
She, then, shared her success story with one of her patients (who happened to be Jewish) and she received the same success therefore passing it along to her friends. This chain-pinning has resulted in at lease seven St. G babies.

Going with the "join 'em" mantra, I received a little St. Gerard pin for Christmas and stuck him to my pillowcase. Who knows if it will work, but its one of those ideas where every little bit helps and if I have to pick and chose my saints (I am also a fan of Saint Anthony when I lose my stuff), then so be it. It might not be a first class ticket into heaven, but it could leave me with a bun in the oven.


St. Gerard Prayer for Motherhood (via SaintGerard.com):
O good Saint Gerard, powerful intercessor before God and Wonderworker of our day, I call upon thee and seek thy aid. Thou who on earth didst always fulfill God’s designs, help me to do the holy Will of God. Beseech the Master of Life, from Whom all paternity proceedeth, to render me fruitful in offspring, that I may raise up children to God in this life and heirs to the Kingdom of His Glory in the world to come. Amen.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Two Heads

Hi Sports Fans!

So I am back from Dublin and aside from gaining about 10 pounds between the pints and the fact that they put bacon on everything, I am happy to report things are still moving forward in my reproductive world.

Wednesday the 28th we went for a second opinion with Dr. M at RMA. Interestingly enough she and her practice were featured in Inside New Jersey - so I felt as though we were in equally good hands as we are/were at IRMS. She too agreed with Dr. K's diagnosis and that I was a great IVF candidate, but she thought I should try IUI first since it is less invasive.
At first I was inclined to agree but after speaking with her further, I learned that because communication between my period and my brain is the only problem - I would probably drop several eggs at once and there is the chance all of these eggs could be fertilized. If it was one or two, we would still be able to move forward with the pregnancy but if it was 3 or more, she said the cycle would be terminated and we would have to try again. Aside from being financially draining, I don't think I would be able to handle it emotionally. Imagine being told you're finally pregnant after all of this drama BUT you are actually too pregnant and we have to start all over again. I'm already emotionally exhausted.

When she did an ultrasound and checked out my ovaries, she had the same positive response as Dr. K and said I was an "ideal candidate" for the procedure. She also counted the eggs that were currently hanging out in my ovaries. She said there were 26 on the right and 13 on the left. I did a little googling and this seemed to be a very high amount, so I'm wondering if I misheard but I did ask twice. Again, this is another good sign. This means when the doctors go in, they have a lot of little guys to take, fertilize, and leave in petry dishes.

At the end of the appointment, DJ and I decided to stay with IRMS for the rest of the process. We have a good rapport with Dr. K and I felt more comfortable with her overall. Nothing against the people at RMA. So the good news was that both physicians said the same thing and both come from reputable practices. The bad news is that there isn't a magic drug that is cheaper and less stressful to bring my period back that will work instead.

Either way, I have a good feeling about all of this!

Tomorrow I go for more blood work (shocking, I know) and another ultrasound before going on the first stage of medications - birth control (oh, the irony).