Posts Tagged ‘Fertility Clinic’

IVF Shots Day 16 – Stim Day 7

Saturday, August 29th, 2009

Today wasn’t too bad overall. It seems by the time 5:00/6:00 in the evening rolls around I’m pretty beat and ready to just chillax.

I’m having a lot of pain today on my right side. Dr. T told me that’s to be expected considering how large my ovaries have grown and how many eggs I’ve got. The eggs are pretty concentrated on my right ovary. According to my very unofficial, uneducated count at the ultrasound today, there were 10 eggs on the right. In English that means A FRIGGIN’ LOT! Doc said my ovaries could be 2-3 times the normal size (which according to The Googles is 2.5-5cm). So if you go on the high end of things, and use the conversion tool on my Mac, my ovaries could be 6”. Clearly showing my math skills here – is that like a baseball? I doubt my ovaries are that large, but the point to this, is that they are largER than normal and they are hurting.

My ultrasound was a little, odd, today. I was told to go to exam room four. I walked in and there was a backpack, so I felt like I wasn’t supposed to be there. “M” walked us back in and said we got the “crazy room” today. She explained that they were testing a new ultrasound machine, so Dr. T would do my exam today, and we’d have some company. The sales rep for the machine would be attending my exam. I’m losing more and more modesty so, why not?! So I’m half-naked on the table, Dr. T is at the foot of the bed, behind him is “Lily Tomlin” the sales rep, another one of the clinic’s doctors and Shelton. So there we are in the clown car of gynecological exam rooms, and I see the coolest images of my eggs. This thing builds a three dimensional diagram of the eggs, filling in each follicle with a different color.

The clinic has a voicemail system where “M” leaves updates after each of my appointments. It’s actually rather convenient. When I have time, I dial in and receive the reports and instructions; and “M” doesn’t have to make two dozen phone calls all afternoon. I dialed in today and “M” told me that my estrogen is 1130 (up from 572 on Monday; 400 is normal). I didn’t get a count on the eggs, but told we’re progressing really well. I’m to continue my injections as normal and I have another ultrasound/blood work tomorrow.

During our visit today Dr. T said he anticipated doing the retrieval this weekend. I hope we’ll know more tomorrow and will of course keep you updated then.

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IVF Updates and Egg Retrieval

Monday, August 3rd, 2009

What a weekend! I can say I’ve never had one like it, and hopefully won’t have another. I’m well-rested today and ready to take on what the week ahead looks like. Here’s a look back at the past few days and a look at what we’re looking forward to:

Friday: Can best be summed up here in this IVF Shots Day 18 post. We took the Ovidrel shot at exactly 8p.m., 36 hours prior to egg retrieval. It made me feel very ill, but it seems with an early night to bed I was able to sleep it off. What you didn’t see in that post, because it happened after I published, was my nuclear meltdown. I was sobbing hysterically, almost hyperventilating, and I just kept saying “I’m not ready! I’m not ready! We can’t do this,” and then chattered off a mindless list of the most inane reasons we shouldn’t be having a baby this week. Shelton once again talked me through it and I was fine … and we are most certainly ready … but I think I needed to get that out of my system.

Saturday: The pain from my gigantor ovaries continued. We attended a friend’s daughter’s 3rd birthday party, a little taste of reality and a scrumptious marbled cake! We took it easy for the most part on Saturday, save for a trip the grocery store that I should have sat out because the pain was so bad I considered getting one of those hovaround carts. That night Shelton and I had a picnic in the basement with movies and just relaxed. It was the first “no shot” day we’ve had since July 14, IVF Shots Day One.

Sunday: Egg retrieval day! We woke at 6a.m. to prepare to leave for the surgery center at 6:30. On the way there I joked that being a Sunday morning, it would be funny if they had to unlock the doors to let us in. And guess what? They did! The woman who admitted us was unlocking the doors as we walked up and I thought it was so funny and reminded of how strange (and super early) it was to be there on a Sunday. We were the only people there, and Shelton got the first draw out of the lobby coffee pot. I had a wonderful nurse prep me. She asked how many eggs we were getting and when I told her 17 she gasped and said that’s the most she’d heard all weekend. There had apparently been three retrievals Saturday and three after me on Sunday. Next we had our interview with the anesthesiologist and given a very thorough walk through of how everything would go down in the operating room. Then the star of the show, Dr. T arrived. His constantly calm demeanor is exactly what I needed before going back there. He walked me through the procedure and then gave me his standard instruction – “if you’re usually boss at your house, you’re not today.” Noted.

I was wheeled back to the OR where any shred of modesty I might have had left was quickly taken. Maybe it was too early to make OSU/Poke jokes! After all, they had sharp objects! I was awake for all of the prepping, and where my modesty poured off the table was when I was given a little bath, you know, “down there.” I was never put completely under, but I was still given a strong dose of something and have absolutely no recall after that. The anesthesiology nurse told me that I would have no idea what was going on and for all intents and purposes be out, but I would respond to them if needed – like a “Brandi, please move your leg.”

According to Shelton it only took 40 minutes and I was back in recovery. Dr. T came over to tell me that everything went well and we got all 17 eggs! After about 30 or 40 minutes of coming around Shelton and I headed home where I proceeded to sleep literally all day. I was in quite a bit of pain, and still this morning can’t say I’m exactly comfortable. I never had any spotting, as I was told would happen. I couldn’t eat after midnight Saturday, so by yesterday afternoon I was starving and Shelton kept me well fed.

Yesterday afternoon, after the egg retrieval, the ICSI procedure was done, in which they build the embryos. One sperm in to one egg. So as of this morning, for the first time in mine and Shelton’s marriage … lives, we have embryos. Granted nearly a half-dozen, but we have embryos. And something about that just makes me want to smile! I have to call this morning to see how the ICSI went, how many embryos we actually got, and when they expect to do transfer.

More details can be seen in this post about our embryo transfer and what we hope to be an upcoming pregnancy announcement.

Last night I started my Doxycycline, an antibiotic, and tonight I start those horrific Progesterone shots.

Thanks for all the well wishes this week!

IVF Shots Day 10 – Stim Day 1

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

Shelton and I had a conversation tonight in which we were discussing the next few weeks of our IVF. I said something to the effect of “we’ll be pregnant in a few weeks.” And his response was that it’s really odd to be able to say that. Like “oh, no big deal, on this day we’ll be pregnant.” WHO SAYS THAT?!?! People doing IVF do. Just a reminder of the bizarre little journey we’re on.

This morning I had an appointment at the clinic to do my first sonogram and blood work to check my estrogen levels. I was told if I didn’t get a phone call from “M” then everything looked fine. In other words, no news is good news. We did not get a phone call today! My sonogram took just a minute and the tech/nurse told me that my endometrium layer looked exactly as it should. So we’re progressing the way that we should be. Yay!

Today we had one of those moments that confirmed my reasons for thinking Dr. T is fantastic and how happy I am that we found our way to him. We were not scheduled to see him this morning, yet during our walk from the lab to the waiting room he stopped us to check in. I’ve never had a doctor who just stops to see how you are doing. He asked Shelton about his surgery and how that went, how he’s doing now. He asked me where I was in my shots, how I’ve been feeling, reacting. I told him that I had a few days of hot flashes and that I still feel a little fatigued and have headaches. He said if I’ve done this well with the Lupron then the rest of it should be a breeze.

That was welcome news as tonight we started our Gonal-F. The Gonal-F must be refrigerated; it’s spent the past few weeks in the bottom drawer on top of the “guest” Dr. Pepper. (We don’t drink soda, but don’t mind accommodating those who do.) It’s also a little more complicated than the straight-forward Lupron shots. It’s in a pen, and there are all these instructions to prime it. I re-read the information given to us in our IVF handbook. Then Shelton and I watched the instructional video on our pharmacy’s web site. I primed the pen, and then Shelton must not have thought I did it right because he pulled the little button out and squeezed it again and this long stream of medicine shot out of the needle. I said “i told you so” and then reiterated that the pen cost us $1,000 and that we don’t have any to just go spraying in the kitchen.

This injection went into the right side of my stomach. Considering the left side looks like it has a black eye after this morning’s Lupron shot. He must have hit a blood vessel or something. He drew blood for the first time and this evening I happened to lift up my shirt and noticed the 1” black and purple spot.

I’m very much looking forward to the weekend tomorrow. I’m anxious to SLEEP!!!

IVF Begins in 39 Hours

Sunday, July 12th, 2009

Say what?! This is our last weekend. Last weekend not IVFing. Last weekend not pregnant. Last weekend not as parents. Part of me screams YAY!! and the other part is like – have we really given this some thought?

Tonight Shelton and I are going to pull all of the needles and drugs out, the handbook from the clinic and make sure that we understand everything. Or that at least for the first Lupron shot on Tuesday morning we understand.

I’m going to call “M” tomorrow, our IVF coordinator, to see if I can stop by for a minute. I just want to have a last minute dress rehearsal to make sure we’ve got this.

I also need to inquire about the amount of Lupron we received. I have a bag with dozens of needles in it, but only one bottle with 2mg of Lupron. I also feel like an idiot because it says to take 5 iu of Lupron …. but I don’t know how much that is and my needles start at 10 of something. So, going to check in to that.

Shelton and I are also supposed to make our final payment of $9200 to the clinic tomorrow, so we have to sit down tonight and shuffle some things around. An unexpected car bill of almost $3,000 last week is kind of throwing a wrench into things. But we’ll figure it out, right?

I’ve reached out to a few former IVF/infertility friends. Each of whom used our clinic and each have cutie patootie babies now and war stories to prove it. I just want to know what to expect. I’m being told I’ll lose my mind with the Lupron. That I won’t know how bad it is until later, when Shelton can safely recount the events that unfolded. And most importantly that we should talk. Talk now. Talk during. Just communicate with one another. So we’re doing that now. Talking. On my best days I’m impatient, stubborn and “always right.” On his best days Shelton is two of those three things. I accept Shelton’s annoyance with this and more times than not apologize. I told Shelton that I’m not going to use the drugs as an excuse, but if I seem irrational or cry because he put the toilet paper on the holder the wrong way (and YES there IS a right and wrong way to do that) – then he can’t hold it against me.

During the next few weeks as we go through the IVF my plan is to post here each day. As promised I want to capture and share this entire IVF experience with all of you … some of whom have been waiting three long years for this, too! I’ve warned family and friends not to get too concerned if they receive bizarre text messages from me. Odds are it’s the drugs talking and I’m not hiding alone in a closet somewhere holding the dog for ransom.

Folks, it’s getting very, very close. I welcome you along for the ride and make no guarantees or promises about what you’re going to see and hear here. What I do promise is honesty, regular updates and a frankness that will make most of us blush.

Houston, lift-off in T-minus 39 hours…

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Monday, June 29th, 2009

Today I had my sonohystogram. It was the first I’ve seen Dr. T since our IVF consultation last November, and it was definitely a welcome visit. It’s always a welcome visit. I adore Dr. T. In fact, I wish there were some way to make him my all-the-time-everything doctor because I so would. He has a bedside manner unlike any doctor I’ve ever been around. He isn’t patronizing and he doesn’t dumb down information, but he definitely makes it digestible. He makes you feel like you’re the only other patient in the entire building, and while we both know that I’m not, I appreciate having his undivided attention the entire time I’m with him. He calls me kiddo, which I think is sweet. He’s thorough, and honest, kind, and I’ll even go so far as to say pretty good looking, too!

I went in roughly knowing what was happening with this procedure, but not one hundred percent. I’d done my Google homework last night, but the results only yielded information for a hysterosalpingogram, in which they inject dye to investigate the fallopian tubes, uterus and the rest of the hoo-hah business. So while I knew it wasn’t going to be as invasive as that, I wasn’t quite sure what we were doing. He walked in and asked if I had any questions, so I told him I just wanted to be clear about the procedure. Using one of those super cute plastic vagina models (that would make a great paper weight) he explained that they’d run a very thin catheter into my uterus, fill with saline to expand the uterus, and then use a vaginal ultrasound to take a thorough look at my uterus. This is to ensure there are no detrimental surprises the day we do the embryo transfer.

I was told I would be uncomfortable and feel some cramping due to the catheter. It wasn’t until he told me the catheter was in that I realized he’d done it. So that was good. The speculum was one of the most uncomfortable parts, as was the ultrasound probe.

On the screen I could see a teardrop shape and he explained that it was my uterus. The conversation was very reminiscent of the one in which Dr. T told me what beautiful, healthy ovaries I have. He said that I have a “textbook, beautiful uterus.” (I hope he’s never tried to use that as a pick-up line!) So that was great news. The other good news was that typically when Dr. T and I do these little ultrasounds the screen is littered with giant ovarian cysts. I’ve had two surgeries because of these things and a number of years in quite a bit of pain and discomfort. Fortunately, they seem to have disappeared recently and there were no signs of them today. Ovaries looked good, too.

I got the good to go from Dr. T!

We had a discussion about the number of embryos that we’ll transfer. I assured him that we were solid on our decision to only transfer a single embryo. This pleased him, and reassured me that it was the right choice for us for several reasons, primarily being that we’re healthy, we’ll get plenty of good embryos, and we can come back for more.

The rest of the day I had just minor spotting and some slight cramping, but otherwise, this procedure was completely manageable.

Finally, Shelton and I made a brief visit to the lab to have blood drawn. We both had to be screened for Hepatitis B and C and HIV I/II. I had to have ABO and Rh blood typing done as well.

Today’s total was $425 for the sono and $385 for the labs. Plus, I started my second pack of birth control pills today ($26). See our progress and IVF expenses here.

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The IVF Training Packet

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

Yesterday Shelton brought in the mail and there was a large yellow envelope. I’m still 12-years-old when it comes to mail – if it looks exciting I want to tear into it immediately. I grabbed the envelope and found it had come from our fertility clinic. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but tore it open and inside I found our IVF training packet. And I froze. It was this bizarre moment and I have no idea what came over me, but I started crying. Shelton gave me one of those odd half-laughs that I’m used to getting (when I sob uncontrollably during the Grey’s Anatomy season finale) and asked what was wrong. I just shrugged and said I wasn’t sure why I was crying.

For so long, five years to be exact, this “IVF thing” has been this “thing” we’re “going” to do. We’re eight weeks away from needles and hormones and lab work and the whole thing is getting very, very real. That packet just represented the reality of what we’re about to dive head first into. It included the information for our IVF prep class. It’s a $195 fee and we’ll spend four hours with the clinic nurses learning the whosy-whatsits of our IVF cycle. More specifically “review specific aspects of IVF, teach medication protocols, and answer general questions.” We’re supposed to read the 55 page handbook that includes a glossary of terms we’re going to hear, instructions, an FAQ, medication explanation, the emotional aspects, lab work and a pile of consent forms.