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IVF - Week 1 update

I keep procrastinating posting about the first week of IVF because honestly I’m so freaking tired. I assume it’s the hormones, but I could fall asleep standing right now. And that’s while drinking a Frappuccino. 

Also… hormone rage is a real thing, y’all. I’ve had my share of mood swings the last couple of days. From what I understand, that’s to be expected when you pump your body full of hormones. I keep trying to remind myself of that fact.

We’ve made it to day 9 of “stimming” (stimulating the ovaries to produce eggs). We started the injections (day 1 of stimming) on Sunday, September 3rd. I have to say, the injections themselves aren’t as bad as I’d made them out to be in my mind. The needle that I use is only ½ inch, and it’s a 27 gauge. The medication burns going in, but I’ve learned that my right side doesn’t hurt near as bad as my left side. Fortunately I was directed to alternate sides each night, so it only hurts every other night. I started the process on 225 IUs of Menopur and 225 IUs of Gonal-f. I prepare all of the medication each night, I ice my stomach, and Reid injects. I like that he’s a part of the process (plus, I don’t have to look at the needle as it goes in). I’m not sure that he’s so happy to be the one stabbing me each night, but he does it.

On Wednesday, I went in for my first (transvaginal – oh, what fun) ultrasound and bloodwork since starting the injections. And I walked away super discouraged. During the ultrasound, they couldn’t find my ovaries. Yeah, you read that right. They couldn’t find them. I have a retroverted uterus (my uterus tips backwards), which we learned during my pregnancies. But what I’ve learned now is this makes my ovaries even harder to find. They tend to “hide.” So we weren’t able to measure the follicles in the ovaries, since they couldn’t even find them on the ultrasound. The nurse assured me that this was not a huge deal, and that as the meds started working my ovaries would enlarge and that would make them easier to see on an ultrasound. I later got a message from the nurse that the doctor had reviewed my bloodwork and I needed to increase my dosage amounts to the max dosage. Great, so my body just isn’t cooperating all the way around. That night I started my increased dosages of 300 IU of Menopur and 300 IU of Gonal-f.

On Friday, I went in for another ultrasound and bloodwork. This time Reid went with me, as I was a mess after the last one. When the nurse walked in, I said “I hope you’re prepared to work today. Because I’m not leaving this room until you see my ovaries.” She worked a little harder than the nurse on Wednesday, and was able to locate them. But then we received the next blow. We had two follicles in the right ovary that were 8 mm, and one that was maybe going to grow in the left ovary. That’s quite a low number of follicles. Follicles are the structures in which eggs grow… each follicle will produce one egg. So we’re looking at maybe 2-3 eggs that could potentially be retrieved. I was super disappointed. I know, I should be happy that we have any. My AMH (ovarian reserve) is very low, so it’s to be expected that we don’t have a “normal” number of eggs to retrieve. But I was hoping for more. I spent most of the rest of the day mad at the world and sad that things can’t ever seem to go right for us when it comes to fertility (excuse the pity party, but that’s the way I’ve been feeling and I think it’s important to be totally honest about it). Everyone on the road that day was called a bad name. The worst names. I went to my acupuncturist appointment and when he shut the door to the room, I just started crying. I have sat in that room days after two pregnancy losses and told him that I’d lost babies, and I have never cried in there. Fortunately, he specializes in infertility and has grown to know me very well over the last year, so he said all the right things. He assured me that it only takes one. All we need is one healthy embryo to make a baby. I noticed he was adding needles in places that he normally doesn’t (on my ears, across my forehead) and I said “you don’t usually do those”. He said “yeah, I know…” He was trying to acupuncture (can that be used as a verb?) the crazy out of me.   

I heard from the doctor’s office later that afternoon that they wanted me to start my Cetrotide injections the next day. This was encouraging, because that meant at least we were on the right track timing-wise. Cetrotide is the medication that keeps you from ovulating while your follicles continue to grow. So I added that to our nightly routine on Saturday night… one shot of Menopur/Gonal-f mixture, one shot of Cetrotide.

Saturday night was rough. I was nervous about adding a 2nd shot to our routine, and I understood that the Cetrotide might hurt a little more. When I went to mix the Menopur and Gonal-f, I had a full on freak out. I swear the Gonal-f pen dumped in twice as much medication as it was supposed to, even though all logic said otherwise. I called my nurse (she probably regrets giving me her cell number) and she convinced me that it was fine, and that I should take the dosage. And then I had another freak out after I got off the phone with her. I started yelling at Reid and said “JUST TELL ME WHAT TO DO!” He suggested I take the dosage that was already mixed, and used math to back up his argument. And then I squirted it down the drain. Yeah, a full dosage. A lot of money's worth of medication down the drain. I still swear that was the right call, because if I had taken the wrong dosage it could have been really bad. Then we got ready to take the Cetrotide and Reid saw a huge air bubble in the syringe. He started saying he needed to get the air bubble out, and I started yelling again, “DON’T TELL ME ABOUT THE AIR BUBBLE, YOU’RE MAKING ME MORE NERVOUS!! JUST FIX IT!!” as I started to cry. Oh, what a fun Saturday night.

This morning I had another ultrasound and bloodwork appointment. I have two follicles in my right ovary that are measuring 13 mm, and one that is measuring 11 mm. There weren’t any in my left ovary that were large enough to measure. So our hope is that we are able to retrieve 3 eggs.

We hope that the retrieval will end up being Saturday or Sunday, and that we will have at least two healthy embryos to freeze 5 days later.

I think the crazy is just getting worse, though. Today I was super mad over something small. And I was explaining it to my best friend, and then I said “and I could just cry right now. And I don’t even know what I would be crying about, I just feel like I am about to cry.” My mom said something to me that I didn’t like, and it was nothing, but I decided I wouldn’t tell her about the results of the doctor’s appointment to “punish” her. She asked about the appointment and I waited a full 10 minutes to respond to her. Take that, mom.

One more week and we should be done with the process and know how many embryos we have. In the meantime, I reserve the right to complain about how uncomfortable I am as my ovaries swell, cry over nothing, and yell at my poor husband when he looks at me wrong. 

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