Posts Tagged ‘IVF’

Seven Years and Counting

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

Yesterday was our seventh wedding anniversary. It seems like such a long time, and yet I know in the grand scheme, it’s just a small deposit in the years we’ll spend together. Now, more than ever before in our relationship, I know that there will be years (plural) together.

We get emails all the time from people asking us for our advice, telling us about friction in their own marriages as they go through this. We’ve also been told and read countless stories of couples who divorce during IVF or after. We tell them all the same – talk to one another, listen to one another, and remain positive. Without those three things, Shelton and I would have broken, too. This entire experience has made us a stronger, smarter, better couple, and if we get nothing else out of doing this, then I’ll say we spent three years and $17,000 on couple’s therapy. And it will have been worth every penny.

There is absolutely no way I could have done the past month without Shelton. He’s been an absolute rock and has made me and this process his top priority. I also wouldn’t have wanted to do this with anyone else. I’m so grateful for him, and so in love with him, that I can’t think of any better way to spend our seventh year than letting a baby bump be the only thing that grows between us.

IVF – After the Embryo Transfer

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

Tomorrow will mark a week since our embryo transfer. I know I’ve been mum on that event, and promise to divulge more soon. We just wanted to let some of this be ours for a little while and will resume our regularly scheduled too-much-information broadcasting very soon! (Read: Embryo Transfer Story: Part I) I did want to catch you up a bit on what we’ve been up to the past week and how I’ve been feeling.

I mentioned that following our egg retrieval I felt miserable. It lasted the Sunday of retrieval through the Wednesday of transfer. By Wednesday I was doing better, but still not 100 percent. I just wanted to curl up in a dark closet and stay there until this all went away. My abdomen was sore and achy, due to the three-times larger ovaries and two recent vaginal/pelvic procedures. I spent a few days dizzy and nauseated, even getting sick once. Dr. T blamed this on the recent surgery and possibly even the Doxycline, an antibiotic I’d started taking at retrieval. So I stopped taking that and it seemed to help. And no matter how much sleep I got, I was physically and mentally exhausted. Walking hurt. Sitting hurt. Laying hurt. Nothing was comfortable and everything was uncomfortable. Toward the latter part of the week I started getting around more and feeling a little more like myself.

We’ve been doing the progesterone shots since the day after transfer. I hate these. HATE!! I’d even go so far as to say they are worse than all the other IVF shots. For starters, the first two shots Shelton administered nearly center in each butt cheek. So to all the misery listed above, add to that that I couldn’t walk. I was literally taking baby steps, had trouble lifting myself into our tall bed, and avoided stairs at all costs. Then, the fabulous nurses at our clinic suggested this wasn’t right, that it should not be hurting like that. So they drew a big circle with a sharpie on each cheek, more toward my hips, and Shelton now just hits the target. This was brilliant – and I encourage your nurses to do the same for you! Now, the shots still suck, and hurt a bit, but I’m walking.

This weekend, the shot went bad again. Not entirely sure what happened. I was standing whereas usually I lay across the bed. Regardless, the next day I felt like my hip was shattered. The pain was excruciating. I was limping and no matter how I moved I couldn’t seem to shift the weight off of it. Fortunately, by today that pain seems to have dissipated. Only now it’s just the constant deep soreness in the muscles from the injections. And that’s livable.

Other than that, we’re just remaining hopeful and trying not to think about it too much. Although, I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t the main thing we think about. Or talk about. Are we? Aren’t we? It’s like this cloud hanging over us and we can’t get away from it. And frankly, we don’t want to get away from it. Soon enough, we’ll get to take that blood test and I think in a way, no matter what the answer is, we’ll feel a sense of relief like we’ve never before experienced.

Embryo News and Progesterone Shots

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

If we’re still counting, it’s Day 22 since I started my first Lupron shot. However the counting has changed again. Now we’re at Day 2- which is the number of days the embryos have been alive. So I guess in a weird, twisted, technicality kind of way, this is day two of my pregnancy? OH DEAR GOD!

Embryos you say? Yes I say. We have embryos!!! For the first time in our lives, first time in our marriage, we’re able to say that! I called “M” at 11:02 a.m. yesterday, I didn’t want to appear to eager for the scheduled 11 a.m. call. She told me I was a rock star at egg retrieval and gave me these stats:

> 17 eggs retrieved
> 14 eggs mature
> 10 embryos

She told me I had ten little babies. And I cried. No one has ever said that to me before and I don’t think anything has ever put a smile on my face as quickly as that did. We did it!

I’ll find out later today when our embryo transfer will be. It looks like tomorrow or Friday; if I had to hedge my bets, I’d go with the latter.

I still felt pretty miserable from the egg retrieval yesterday. I even took a percoset, but that just coupled the pain with nausea and dizziness. It hurts to walk, it hurts to stand up straight, and it hurts to be in any position that isn’t “recline” or “flat.”

Last night was scheduled for my first progesterone shot. I’m been in AGONY over this injection! That needle is horrific – it’s an inch/ inch-and-a-half long. MAYBE A FOOT LONG! It’s thick too. All of this to push the progesterone in oil through my skin all the way into the muscle of my buttocks. No specified time was given for the injection, just that we needed to choose a time and stick to that. Being that we’ve been under house arrest for a couple weeks with the other IVF injections, and Shelton isn’t home until 10 p.m. on one night a week, we decided to make it a late shot. So at 10 o’clock last night, we fired it up. And, it wasn’t so terrible. My Menopur shots were far worse than this. Until about two o’clock this morning when I rolled over in bed and my left cheek wanted to stay right where it was. I can’t even sit on my left side today. And yippee, we’ll switch injection sides tonight so by tomorrow I won’t be able to sit down at all.

I think my sis-in-law was right, this is shaping up to be a ten-month pregnancy!

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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 Egg Retrieval, ICSI, Embryo Transfer and Pregnancy Test

Saturday, August 1st, 2009

It seems almost impossible that we’re here. Three years ago we launched this site hoping to raise awareness about infertility, raise some funds for our treatment, and chronicle our experience with infertility and IVF. I feel satisfied that we’ve done all three. I’ve absolutely loved sharing all of this with you, and can say that it has helped me maintain my sanity, as this site has been my virtual therapist.

So what’s next, where do we go from here? A lot of people are asking and so here is the answer – we’re making a baby! Here is the schedule for the next week:

> Sunday 8/2: Egg retrieval. This surgery takes place at the surgery center at 8am and will hopefully yield at least 17 healthy eggs.

> Sunday 8/2: ICSI, or Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection. They will do this on Sunday once the eggs are retrieved and the sperm is thawed. One sperm will be injected into one egg, and then kept for a few days to let those early cellular division stages take place.

> Sunday 8/2: Begin progesterone injections. With the GIANT NEEDLE in my hiney! Begin the doxycycline pills.

> Tuesday 8/4-Friday 8/7: Embryo transfer. At the earliest this will happen Tuesday, at the latest Friday. A catheter will be placed in my uterus and ONE (and only ONE) embryo will be transferred inside. I will not be put under for this, but given something to relax a bit.

> August….? : This is where we’re going to go dark for a few weeks. At this time we do have a blood test scheduled for a pregnancy test. But we’re not saying when it is. Aside from our clinic we are the only people who know when it is, and we’re keeping that way. I always thought I’d likely wait through my first trimester to announce a pregnancy, just to be sure. I’ve really struggled with when the best time would be to make that announcement since we have this site. We’re so grateful to have so many people following our story and such a huge team of cheerleaders crossing fingers, legs and hairs, praying, sending good mojo and dancing the hully-gully! However, Shelton and I want to take some time to let this news be ours. I’m not going to make everyone wait an entire trimester, but I am going to ask that everyone give us a few weeks to be comfortable with the news, whichever way it goes, tell a number of close family and friends, and then we’ll let the world know!

Then know that just like with our IVF, we’re not going to keep any detail quiet. I’ll resume blogging the next nine months and invite all of you to come along as we anxiously await baby Koskie, sure to be the cutest monster anyone has ever met!!!

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IVF Shots Day 18 – Stim Day 9

Saturday, August 1st, 2009

Yesterday was kind of a roller coaster. I went from feeling great, aside from a little continued pain, to terribly nauseated and in bed at 9:55 on a Friday night. (Welcome to the rest of our lives I guess!)

Started the day with our LAST LUPRON SHOT!!! I’ll grant you, if I had to take those forever, it would be no bigs. I don’t even feel them. Nonetheless, good riddance! Then it was off to our fourth ultrasound and bloodwork of the week. This one had the best news yet, we’re done! My ovaries have responded incredibly well and we stopped our regularly scheduled shots yesterday. That means Thursday was our LAST MENOPUR SHOT!!! If you’ve never taken it, or are planning to take it, let me put it this way, it’s fire water. It’s like filling a syringe with fire and then injecting it into your belly. It’s so uncomfortably painful. So again, good friggin’ riddance!

The ultrasound was very busy yesterday. There were, from what we could see, 12 follicles (holding the eggs) on my right ovary and 5 follicles on my lazy left ovary. Our nurse “Y,” who we love!, did the ultrasound and showed us on the screen where my ovaries are actually touching. Afterward we spoke with “M” and I was like, no wonder I feel like none of my pants fit and I’m in so much pain. She agreed, the follicles are full and my ovaries have expanded and pushing out.

The other good news of the day? Retrieval is scheduled for tomorrow!!! We have to check-in at the surgery center at 7am Sunday, retrieval is scheduled for 8am, and we could be there for a few hours, including recovery. Sunday you ask? I’ve been told that not all IVF clinics make themselves available on weekends. Make sure yours is! Otherwise you’re compromising your cycle. They need to take those eggs out at just the right time. So I’m eternally grateful that our doctor, nurses and the entire surgery team are giving up a precious Sunday morning to poke holes in me.

Last night at precisely 8:00 I did my Ovidrel injection. This comes in a pre-filled syringe that’s been nesting in our crisper for the past few weeks. This is the “point of no return” shot, the “Houston, we are go for launch” shot, the “this shit is getting real” shot. This is an HCG injection (human chorionic gonadotropin) and is responsible for helping the follicles mature and triggering the release of mature eggs. It’s taken exactly 36 hours prior to egg retrieval. Apparently I was supposed to alert my health care provider if I had severe upset stomach and vomiting – good thing I didn’t go all the way.

The blood test showed that my estrogen was soaring somewhere around 2500 yesterday (400 is normal). The day before it was about 1500. So by my mathematically handicapped calculations, my estrogen increases about 41 points every hour. So I could very easily be around 3500 this morning. EVERYBODY LOOK OUT!!! I’m actually surprised that I feel as well as I do. I figured with estrogen that high Shelton would have stitches in his forehead and I’d be bawling because our dog’s bowl was out of water again. But alas, no tears. No need to panic.

Last night you would have thought Shelton and I had actually brought home a baby. We were just so romantical and sweet and whatever (insert nausea) with one another. We did a lot of talking last night. He told me he was proud of me for getting through all of this fairly easily, and for doing it at all. Thanked me for not going off the deep end and expressed how excited he is to have a baby. I pretty much echoed all of that – telling him there is absolutely no way I could have done this without him, and no way I’d want to have done it with anyone else.

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