Stims Stats Volume II- Days 10 & 11

stims stats

Fertility Medications taken in last 24 hours?

  • Microdose Lupron-25 units AM & PM
  • Pregnitude Packet-AM & PM
  • COQ10-100mg-AM
  • DHEA-75mg-AM
  • Dexamethasone-.5 mg (1/2 tablet)-PM
  • Follistim-225 units-PM
  • Menopur-225 units-PM

On Monday night, Hubby gave me my Menopur shot, which is the one that burns.. It was almost as if he hit a nerve because it was the worst pain I’ve had so far.  Last night, I was apprehensive to get another one after that experience.  He gave me the shot and I didn’t feel a thing. Not even a burn.  Is it bad that at this point, not feeling pain makes me something was done wrong?

Symptoms today?

In addition to the usual bloating, I’m getting a lot more back pain this time.  I think things are expanding more towards the back and causing pressure.  I’m having trouble sleeping due to that and the vivid dreams I seem to get while on stims.

Still bruising a lot on my stomach and its sore.  I’ve noticed when it comes to giving injections lately, it hurts more and more each time. I’m pretty sure my skin hate mes

Doctor/Lab appointments?

I had appointments yesterday morning and this morning.  They both included labs and an ultrasound.  Yesterday’s, was the result of Monday’s being pushed back as I had explained previously.   With the follies still being on the small side, they had me come back in today to see if another night of stims would help growth.

Any results?

Yesterday my Estradiol was at 1960.3 pg/mL and Progesterone was 1.35 ng/mL. So slowly creeping up.  I was still showing about 23 follicles yesterday.   My right side had follies ranging in size between 8.5mm and 15.5mm.  My left ovary had a few large ones and a few really small ones which indicate they just weren’t responding to meds.  I had follies ranging in size anywhere between 5.5mm and 12.5mm on my left.  Needless to say, with Doctor’s preferring them to be 18mm-20mm I had some work to do.   They instructed me to do one more night of stims.

Today, I went back in to see if they grew more.  My Estradiol went up to 2867 pg/mL (each 150-200=1 egg).  My Progesterone went up to 2.01 ng/mL which means we’re getting closer to ovulation.  They measured about 18 follies this time (some were small and not worth measuring).  The right side ranges from 11mm-19mm and the left showing ranges between 8mm-16mm.

Next on the agenda?

14079927_556133197905226_8257061779752141382_nTonight, we will trigger at precisely 9:45pm!  This is the final step in maturing eggs and causing ovulation!  My doctor is having me take an addition 225 units of Follistim at the time of Trigger to hopefully give the follies an added push to the right size.  Not looking forward to this trigger because this is an intramuscular injection whereas my last trigger was subcutaneous.  In other words, I’m going from 1/2″ needle to 1 1/2″.

Tomorrow, I won’t have to take any shots! That’s going to be weird and out of the norm.

Friday morning will be Egg Retrieval Day!  I’ll write more about this tomorrow!

Here come the nerves and the “what if” questions. Apparently, they decided to show up late to the party this time around.

Needle Stick Count: Arm-8  Tummy-34 Bum-0<—soon to be 1

Until next time,

Jackie

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Rawr. Stims Days 7, 8 & 9

rawr

I was going to do another Stims Stats for Days 8 & 9 but since there aren’t any new lab results or doctor’s appointments to post, I thought I would go a different route.

bear

The “bear” is awake. You know, the one I talked about being in hibernation? Well, the sun is shining, birds are chirping and the bear is stretching it’s legs. I’m not talking a cute bear either. No, this isn’t your Winnie the Pooh bear.  Oh no, no, no.  This is a big momma bear and you just messed with her cubs.

giphy (1)

Current state of my ovaries…

Needless to say, I can feel things growing on Day 9 of stims.  I have hit a whole new level of uncomfortable and can feel myself having to slow down on what I do in my everyday routine.  There’s a reason doctors tell women on stims to not do any strenuous activity or exercise while stimming.  You can risk ovarian torsion or other serious injuries.  Last night, I was reaching down to pick up the laundry basket to take to the basement and I’m pretty sure I heard my right ovary scream and wave it’s fist at me.

As far as symptoms, I’m getting increasingly more pings of dull pains all over my abdomen.  I read somewhere a comparison of how big follicles and ovaries get while stimming.  When all is said and done, each follicle will be about the size of a small grape.  So imagine, if you will, my ovaries will be two bundles of your average-sized grocery store grapes by the time we go in for Egg Retrival.  News flash! That’s not normal and there’s not supposed to be something taking up that much room!   It feels as though my ovaries have started to shove other things out of the way to make room resulting in random pains in my abdomen, ribs and my back.   I haven’t worn jeans since Day 3 and have had to stick to stretchy pants with elastic waistbands.

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Truth.

Something new I’m experiencing with this cycle is short-term memory loss.  I had heard previously that it can be a side effect of IVF medications but now it’s apparent I’m experiencing it.  I first noticed it Friday when I took meds out of the refrigerator and forgot to put them back.  Luckily, I noticed just a few hours later.  That same night, I came home from work and completely forgot to take all of my oral meds.  That’s like 7 pills! The next morning, I woke up early and remembered so I took all of them when I got up.  Throughout the day, it was little things like forgetting what I was doing as I was about to do it.  I saw something on someone’s Facebook page and I wanted to go back and read it but couldn’t remember, for the life of me, whose page it was. I could see the person’s face but could not remember their name! I’ve known that person for years and it drove me crazy! I’ve had to make sure I’m writing down everything at work and keeping track of what I am doing.  Otherwise, multi-tasking completely messes me up.

Another symptom this go around would be tons of bruising.

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Hoping these aren’t the only “souvenirs” I gain from all of this

I have bruises all over my abdomen from where I’ve been getting my shots.  At first, I thought it was the result of my the increase in dosage because I barely had any bruising at all, first cycle.  I decided to ask the nurse at my appointment on Friday to see if something was wrong.  She asked me if I had changed the technique in how we have been doing the shots.  I said the only difference was I was doing some on my own.  To which she replied, “Your husband might just be a better shot giver.”  Hmpf.  As Hubby says, with all of this bruising, I’m “running out of real estate” for places to get injected.

Here’s hoping Tuesday morning they will tell me we can trigger that night and we will be done stimming.  Otherwise, I’m going to have to order more medicine to get me through which means more $$$.  Sigh.

I’m anxiously awaiting Tuesday so I can plan the rest of my week.  Not knowing when my procedures will be is torturing my inner control freak.  The wait is driving me crazy and I’m not even in the “Two Week Wait” yet!  Stay tuned tomorrow and I’ll post results regarding my appointment!

Until next time,

Jackie

 

Stims Stats Volume II-Day 6

stims stats

Fertility Medications taken in last 24 hours?

drugs

The before and after of last night.  Lola couldn’t bear to watch!

  • Mircodose Leuprolide Acetate-25 units AM & PM
  • Pregnitude Packet-AM & PM
  • COQ10-100mg-AM
  • DHEA-75mg-AM
  • Dexamethasone-.5 mg (1/2 tablet)-PM
  • Follistim-225 units-PM
  • Menopur-225 units-PM

Symptoms today?

Cramping has gained a little momentum this evening (hoping that means things are growing!) but the bloating hasn’t been as bad. *crosses fingers* Headache still going strong and only relieved with Acetaminophen.  So basically, the usual and nothing new to report!

Doctor/Lab appointments?

Today was my first stimulation ultrasound and Day 6 labs.  It was nice to go into the ultrasound room not feeling like I was going to pee everywhere.

paper skirt

Wearing the latest in infertility fashion, the infamous paper skirt!

 

Any results?

Let me start off by saying, I have had mixed feelings about my results but I believe I have received enough reassurance to realize there really isn’t a reason to be upset.

Great news first.  They counted 24 follies total today! 12 on the left and 12 on the right!  That’s awesome considering I steadily stayed at 18 throughout my last cycle and later retrieved 14 eggs. This hopefully means more eggies at retrieval which increases are chances of mature eggs and hopefully some to freeze!  So I was very excited to hear that.

Although there are 24, they are measuring on the small side.  This could be for numerous reasons such as the protocol I’m on, having less room to grow, etc.  On the other hand, the sizes of each follicle are more consistent and even with each one.  Last cycle they measured anywhere between 5mm & 14mm.  I’ll place my results from today’s u/s below but they were generally between 5mm & 8mm.  Hopefully, this means they will all grow together at an even pace making it more achievable to get the best number of eggs!

My estradiol which represents the hormones the follicles are producing was 490.2 pg/mL which is lower than the 618 pg/mL I had on cycle #1.  Considering I have smaller follies this go around, that would be why this number is slightly smaller.  My progesterone rose from 0.86 on Tuesday to 1.09 today, also, from what I read, not uncommon.  My nurse was also very happy to see my uterine lining a smidge greater than 7mm.

Below is my comparison of the size of follicles for Cycle #1 and Cycle #2. (The RE only graphs up to 10 each so I’m missing data for 2 follicles on each side for this cycle.)

day 6 lft

day 6 rt

Next on the agenda?

Because the follies are just tiny wittle follies, they pushed back my appointment from Monday to Tuesday.  This most likely means my egg retrieval will be later next week like Thursday or Friday depending on how much longer I’ll have to stim.  I had to stim 10 days last time and I’m thinking unless they really kick it in to gear, I’ll be doing  at least 10 days this time.  The goal is to have follicles between 18mm-20mm which indicated maturation. You tend to find yourself comparing your IVF cycle to others even though its completely pointless because everyone is different.  However, a good friend who went through her own IVF journey and is now almost due with her little one told me, “Slow and steady wins the egg growth race!”  I figured I’d rather do this slow and correct than speed it up and fail! So here’s to at least 4 more nights of tummy shots, including tonight’s which Hubby has to come to my work and give it to me since I’m working a different shift and ‘cuz I’m a big weenie!

Needle Stick Count: Arm-6  Tummy-22 Bum-0

Until next time,

Jackie

Stims Stats Volume II-Day 5

stims stats5

Fertility Medications taken in last 24 hours?

  • Mircodose Leuprolide Acetate-25 units AM & PM
  • Pregnitude Packet-AM & PM
  • COQ10-100mg-AM
  • DHEA-75mg-AM
  • Dexamethasone-.5 mg (1/2 tablet)-PM
  • Follistim-225 units-PM
  • Menopur-225 units-PM

Symptoms today?

Getting a lot of pings and pangs in my abdomen along with some lower back pain which is usually a good sign that things are growing in there.  Here’s hoping my follicles are getting bigger! 635dfde5424b86ee4e30e409abec7fb3Bloating is continuing and I finally gave in to wearing stretchy pants to work today.  Since, I’ve done that I have definitely felt more comfortable.  Last night, after dinner, Hubby and I went to Bed, Bath and Beyond and just walking around become more and more difficult and uncomfortable.  I have come to realize it is better not to do full meals either.  Today, I’ve been snacking which seemed to help but as time passes I can feel my tummy getting more and more full.   By far, my least favorite thing about IVF is this bloating. I am also consistently feeling a dull headache thanks to my Lupron so taking Acetaminophen to help.

Doctor/Lab appointments?

None today!

Any results?

Hubby’s screen came back all clear!

Next on the agenda?

Tomorrow morning is my next appointment!  They will check Estradiol and Progesterone and then do an ultrasound to count and measure follies!  I am anxiously awaiting these results to compare them to my last cycle!

Needle Stick Count: Arm-5  Tummy-18 Bum-0

Until next time,

Jackie

Stims Stats Volume II-Days 3 & 4

stims stats

Fertility Medications taken in last 24 hours?

    • Mircodose Leuprolide Acetate-25 units AM & PM
    • Pregnitude Packet-AM & PM
    • COQ10-100mg-AM
    • DHEA-75mg-AM
    • Dexamethasone-.5 mg (1/2 tablet)-PM
    • Follistim-225 units-PM
    • Menopur-225 units-PM

 

Symptoms today?

Finding_Nemo_bloat

Feeling like Bloat from Finding Nemo.

Today being Day 4, I’m starting to feel more and more bloated.  It’s currently feeling like I’ve eaten a really large meal but the feeling isn’t going away.  I’m counting down until I get home from work so I can throw on some stretchy pants and cuddle up with the pups.  I’ve also noted some pretty big headaches happening about mid-day.  Looking back, I realized I had them last cycle too and believe it’s a side effect of the Lupron.  I’m definitely bruising more than the last round due to all the needle sticks and my adverse reaction to band-aids.  My stomach looks like it has taken a beating. Last night, I noticed that I’m also bleeding more with each injection and I’m not sure the reason behind that.  Overall, I’m tired and I’m getting tired easier.  I tried to get housework done yesterday knowing how I’ll feel by the weekend and with the procedures coming up the next two weeks.   I didn’t get near as much done as hoped but I was still able to do some before I wanted to sleep.

Doctor/Lab appointments?

Yesterday morning, I had a lab appointment.  Took all of 30 seconds from start to finish.  Hubby had to get blood work done on Monday for the standard required testing.  It’s his one needle stick for this process.  Proud to say he did well! 🙂

Any results?

Received the results from my lab work yesterday afternoon.  My progesterone has continued to drop to a 0.86 ng/mL, which is great.  My Estradiol which helps monitor follicle growth is 136.2 pg/mL. My nurse said they like it to be between 100-300 by this time so mine is right where it needs to be.  My progesterone at this time last cycle was actually only 98.4 pg/mL and they had to increase my doses.  This time, it looks like I’m responding slightly better and they don’t have to change any of my medicine doses and more importantly, we can continue with our IVF cycle!

Next on the agenda?

 

Friday will be my next appointment where they were will repeat lab work and do an ultrasound to measure follicles.  I’m really excited (and nervous) to see how things are progressing and to compare numbers with last time.  Until then, I’ll enjoy comfy clothing and doing a whole lot of nothing!

Needle Stick Count: Arm-5  Tummy-14 Bum-0

Until next time,

Jackie

Stims Stats Volume II – Days 1 & 2

stims stats

We started stimulation medications (“stims”) yesterday.  Last cycle I did these “Stims Stats” entries and I am so glad I did.  I started having some symptoms today and it was nice to look back and see if this is how I was feeling last time.  There were some new things and some things that are familiar.

Fertility Medications & Supplements taken in last 24 hours?

  • Mircodose Leuprolide Acetate-25 units AM & PM
  • Pregnitude Packet-AM & PM
  • COQ10-100mg-AM
  • DHEA-75mg-AM
  • Dexamethasone-.5 mg (1/2 tablet)-PM
  • Follistim-225 units-PM
  • Menopur-225 units-PM

Evening Injections are supposed to be done between 6pm and 10pm.  I’ve never realized how many places we go during this time period until we have to plan to be somewhere with everything we need to accomplish things likes this. Yesterday evening was the kick off to our high school youth group events for the school year. Hubby and I both volunteer with this group at our church. I knew it would be from 6pm-8pm and we probably would be cutting it close by the time we finished, cleaned up and went home.  Hubby plays on the worship team and had to be there at 5pm, so this eliminated being able to knock out the shots beforehand.  I packed a little lunch box with my refrigerated meds and all of the supplies I thought I would need.  As we neared the end, I convinced myself I would try to do all the injections myself. HA! I first went to the ladies room only to see it was completely filled with teenage girls and some of their moms.  I thought it was probably not the best time to whip out a bunch of needles and start stabbing myself.  I found Hubby who had taken a phone call back by the offices and I found a desk to “set up shop on”.

nightly ivf

My nightly routine for the next 10-14 days!

I mixed everything and decided to do the Menopur & Lupron first.  Luckily, I can mix the two and eliminate having to do two separate injections.  However, anyone who has ever done Menopur knows how bad it burns.I remembered this from last time and was trying to pump myself up to get ready.  Hubby is standing in front of me, finishing up his phone call and he starts to count.  “1, 2, 3, GO!” I’m staring at my stomach. Deep breath.  He says again, “1,2,3 GO! GO! GO!”  Blink, blink, blink. Deep breath again. One more time I hear “Just hurry up and go! 1, 2, 3….GO!” I stuck myself and felt it burn.  I looked up at him wide-eyed and told him I couldn’t do it.  Luckily for me, he came over and finished the job. It hurt way worse than I remember.  The second injection, Follistim, comes in an easy, dial-up pen that makes it incredibly easy and thankfully it doesn’t burn.  I was able to do that one myself.

Fast forward to tonight. Hubby had a meeting and was going to be gone this evening.  I wasn’t sure when he’d be home.  I waited until about 9pm to start mixing my meds and went ahead and gave my Follistim to myself.  I texted him to see when he would be home and he said he wasn’t sure he’d be home before 10pm.  I sort of panicked because again, I was terrified of giving myself the Menopur.  I had it mixed and I began texting him telling him how I didn’t think I was going to be able to do it.  I tried turning on music, turning on the TV, I even watched videos on Youtube to try to see if there were any tips on giving it to yourself. Bad idea. Around 9:40pm, I started to come to terms that he may not be here in time and although he said he was almost done, I was debating waiting for him and it being late, driving to where he was so he could do it or just sucking it up and trying to do it myself.  I started to tear up a little and I was getting antsy.  At 9:50pm, I started to give myself a pep talk as I began to tear the alcohol prep wipe open when I got a phone call from Hubby saying he was on his way! I was so glad he came to do it because it hurt. A LOT.  I think the hour of nerves built up because as soon as we were done, I had a good ol’ cry sesh.  I was more upset that I couldn’t bring myself to do it, but also so so SO glad it was done!

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I’ve posted this before but Hubby’s my hero!

Symptoms?

First thing I’ve noticed is how sore my stomach is.   I’m not sure if I can credit the increase in our injections as the cause since we basically doubled everything.  I have started bruising.

Courage2

Penguin=Stims Polar Bear=Ovaries  It’s about to go down.

Nothing too large and scary but you definitely can tell where I’ve done previous injections.  Today, I began feeling twinges in my lower abdomen just about the same time as our last cycle.  I was trying to explain to Hubby it’s not a stabbing pain but more like a dull poke every so often.  I think the “bear” is awakening.  I’ve also been a tad bit weepy this evening and have had that feeling like I was just going to cry (and I did after I got my injection).  I don’t remember feeling like that last time.

 

Next on the agenda?

Tomorrow morning, I have my first Stims Lab Work.  They will check my Estradiol and Progesterone to see how I’m responding to the meds.  This is a crucial appointment because if these levels aren’t rising like they are supposed to or are rising too fast, they could cancel my entire cycle.  Needless to say, this appointment makes me nervous.

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How I’m going to be feeling by the end of the week.

I’m praying for good results tomorrow afternoon.  I bought some stretchy skirts and pants to get by for the next week as I’m preparing for the bloat that comes with the meds.  I’m also trying to finish some housework before I feel like Jabba the Hutt and don’t want to move from my ovaries growing to the size of small oranges.  I’ll have an ultrasound and labs on Friday morning to see how my follies are growing and also measure E2 and P4 levels!

 

Needle Stick Count: Arm-4  Tummy-10 Bum-0

Until next time,

Jackie

Triumphs, Trials and The Week Ahead-Volume II-Week 2

TTTWAV2w2

This has been one crazy week.  Between the excitement of starting a new cycle and an unexpected hospital trip, this girl’s emotions are spent and it’s only the first week!  It hasn’t been a full-week since my last TTTWA-Vol II, but a lot has happened. Here’s a little recap of my week so far!

This Week’s Recap

Triumphs:

  • I would say the biggest triumph for this week would be what happened today.  As I said before, this cycle is very different from the last.
    just-do-it-hed-2013

    No, seriously. Just get it over with!

    One of the reasons will be having to give injections to myself.  Well, I did it! I did it today.  I started my Microdose Lupron injections which will be given twice a day.  I started a little later in the day than planned (see Trials below) so I had Hubby bring me my vial, a syringe and some alcohol swabs to my work.  However, he left a few minutes before I got the “go ahead” call from my doctor.  This forced me into facing my fears and just doing it, you know, like Nike says.  It wasn’t so much the needle part it was more an overwhelming fear I was going to do it wrong.  As far as I can tell I did it right and the best part, I SURVIVED!  Now only 52+ more to go!

  • As you may have seen in Gotta go, gotta go, gotta go right now!, I had my SHG and Trial Transfer and the results were negative for any abnormalities! I even was complimented on how beautiful my uterus looked! (Hey! It’s the little things!)
  • My medications arrived without a hitch which is something to be happy about considering the trouble I had with a different pharmacy last time.
  • I was originally supposed to go have labs and ultrasounds Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.  Lucky for me, they were able to do what they wanted on Tuesday at my Monday appointment so I didn’t have to go three days in a row.
  • My thyroid level results came back Tuesday.  They wanted them to be below a 2 which is considered ideal for being able to achieve a healthy pregnancy. We had planned to do blood work so we could adjust meds if necessary.  Well, we didn’t need to change meds because my levels came back at 1.4!

Trials: 

  • Wednesday, I had my suppression lab work to see if “the bear” was asleep.  They tested my progesterone and estradiol levels and my progesterone came back slightly elevated above where doctors typically want it to be at the suppression stage.  My progesterone level was 1.32 and they wanted it under 1.0. I received a phone call Wednesday from my nurse who stated she wanted me to come in Friday (today) to retest.  If my progesterone was the same or lower it would be okay to begin my Lupron.  If it continued to climb they would have to consider delaying my cycle.  This of course had me worried for 3 days about whether or not we would have to wait.  When you get in the mindset this is what you aredoing, its hard to convince yourself it may change.  However, it was a relief to find out my blood work from today showed it dropped to 1.02. It is still just a little higher than where they would like, but it has dropped.  Keeping in mind, we are suppressing differently and for not as long to hopefully have a better outcome so it isn’t surprising my levels aren’t as low as our last cycle. My IVF coordinator called and told me I could begin my injections today.
  • The biggest loop we were thrown was an unexpected trip to the hospital Wednesday evening into Thursday.  It wasn’t for me but for Hubby.  Hubby has a horrible history of kidney stones and every couple of years he has a few try to pass.  For the last few weeks, he began to get the usual pain so he went to the doctor.  There the X-ray showed he had 5 stones in his kidneys, too big to break up but too small to require immediate surgery.  He was given a few meds to help them pass.  After being unable to work full days for two weeks, he made an appointment to see the doctor.
    MjAxMy05MWJjMGUyMzNiMDMwY2Q3

    Hubby didn’t think my jokes were too funny.

    He has a CT scan and it shows the stones are still there.  The following week, he goes to the ER for extreme back pain.  There they find the stones have stopped moving and the pain he’s now feeling is caused by the 3 herniated discs he has in his back from a previous injury and they are inflamed from the stress of the kidneys. He has a referral to a Urologist and a follow up with his doctor.  Well, before he could get to either appointment, Wednesday night just before midnight, I woke up from a dead sleep to my husband screaming.  I have never heard or seen him in so much pain.  Long story short, I have to call an ambulance because there is no way I can get him in to my car by myself.  He’s taken to the hospital and after an ultrasound and CT scan, they find one of the stones is stuck.  He was admitted to the hospital around 5:30am on Thursday.  Around 8:00am, we met with the Urologist on call and determined surgery would be needed to remove the stone and he can do it that afternoon.  However, Hubby had plans of his own and about an hour and a half before surgery he passes the stone on his own.  We were able to go home that evening.  I have never been so scared to see him in that much pain and I felt so helpless.  I am so grateful he passed the stone on his own.  They did note he still has one in his kidney and may need it removed in the next few weeks.  Here’s hoping they can wait until after the Egg Retrieval!  We are still recouping from lack of sleep from that whole debacle.

The Week Ahead:

  • I’ll continue taking Lupron injections twice a day for the next 10 days or so.
    26902cce7152455398f86dc604a0bfaf

    My ovaries in about week.

    Sunday, I start stims.  This is when my ovaries will start to look like Violet Beauregarde from Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory.  I’m going to have to invest in some maxi skirts for work since jeans and other pants will be uncomfortable.

  • I have labs and Ultrasounds on Tuesday and Friday as my first Stimulation appointments to see how everything is “waking up”.  They have me on the maximum doses for all of my medications so I’ll be interested to see how well I respond!

 

Needle Stick Count: Arm-4  Tummy-1 Bum-0

Until next time,

Jackie

Gotta go, gotta go, gotta go right now!

gotta go

Monday morning, I had my Sonohysterogram (SHG) and Trial Transfer.  My clinic requires every 6 months these tests to be completed to ensure there aren’t any abnormalities such as cysts, blocked tubes or fibroids before attempting a cycle.  Most patients have what is called a Hysterosalpingogram (HSG) where an X-ray and dye are used to fill the uterine cavity and tubes to check for blockages.  However, I am allergic to shellfish and most likely could be allergic to the dye used which led me to do doing a SHG instead.  An SHG is done using an ultrasound and sterile solution but checks for the same thing.  We also did a Trial Transfer, or mock transfer, which basically is the exact same procedure as doing an egg transfer without the actual egg. This is to make sure they can get the catheter carrying the egg to right spot in the uterus with ease.

With the fancy-shmancy words out of the way, let me tell you how this all went down (pun

water

Look how happy and ignorant I looked…how cute

intended). My appointment wasn’t until 2:30pm so I decided as it was my day off to go have lunch with my mom and then work on drinking water as I was instructed to have a full bladder for the test.  Last time I had this test done, I didn’t drink near enough water and the doctor ended up having to place a catheter and filling my bladder for me.  I was determined to make sure that wasn’t going to happen again.  I had a glass and a half of water at lunch around noon today.  Then about 1:00pm, I bought 1 liter of water to work on before my appointment.  It was about 1/3 of the way through the bottle my brain started receiving the signal from my bladder saying, “Hey there!  Just wanted to let you know things are getting a little full down here.”  I decided to slow down a little bit and casually took a few sips here and there.  I had to leave by 1:45pm to arrive at the clinic by 2:15pm since it said in my instructions to arrive 15 minutes early.  I wanted to make sure I had all of the water consumed by the time I arrived so I made a plan.  Since I knew I would be taking multiple highways to get from one side of Kansas City to the other, every time I took an exit, I would take a drink.  Since I had little over half of the bottle left, I knew I would be done by the time I arrived.

jiggling

My bladder gave me the ol’ Bill Lumbergh

First exit, drink.  Second exit, gulp. Alright, I’m doing okay. I can do this. Third, exit….another swig.  Goodness, this is a lot of water.  Suddenly, I hit a bump in the road and my bladder responds….”Uh, hey lady, if we could stop the jiggling, that would be great.”  Fourth exit, slurp. I’m pretty sure I can hear sloshing at this point.  I realize I’m coming up on my final exit and decide to chug the rest to get it out of the way.  I park and get out of my car. Slosh slosh. Okay, definitely can hear sloshing. With each step I take, it is like I can feel my bladder filling to its maximum capacity.

I go to the front desk, check in and sit down on the couch in the lobby.  Gently. You know that feeling as a kid,  on a family road-trip or a long car ride and you’ve had to pee for the last 10 miles but the person driving refuses to stop until they get to “such-and-such town’?  Yeah, that’s about where I am at.  I’m sitting on the edge of my seat and my leg is shaking for what I can only sense is a way for my bladder to shake it’s finger at me for waiting this long.  It’s now 2:25pm.  I’m trying to distract myself with magazines.  Both legs are bouncing now.  I start to watch TV hoping it would be a better distraction.  It’s the Food Network and they are making cupcakes.  Well that’s cute.  They are decorated like super heroes.  A nurse coming to get me would totally make them my super hero right now. It’s now 2:35pm.  Okay, they are running a little late.  That is to be expected in a doctor’s office in the afternoon, right? I’m now rocking back and forth in tiny little motions trying not to be fully obvious that I’m struggling.  However, I’m sure the receptionist has seen many “Pee Shuffles” before.

About 2:45pm, the door connecting the lobby and what would soon be my “relief area” gotta pee.jpgopens.  I swear I heard a choir of angels singing. “Jackie?” Yes, yes YES! Dear God, YES!  I pop out of my seat and quickly walk…er..shuffle, towards her.  “I was going to ask how you are doing, but I think I can tell.”  She walks me back to a room where she tells me to undress from the waist down and to wrap myself in the sheet (if we want to give it that much credit) and she would come get me to go to the ultrasound room next door.  I find myself giving my body a stern talking to.  Listen here, I’m undressing for the exam.  We are not, I repeat, NOT in the bathroom.  Do not get any ideas and do not embarrass me. I look at the bed, decide not to sit and remain standing out of fear of what may happen with any unnecessary movement.  A few minutes pass which seems like an eternity and I hear the much-awaited knock on the door.  I scoot towards her and the room while holding my fashionable new skirt.  Suddenly, in my head I hear the voice of Tim Gunn tell me to “make it work!”

tim-gunn

Not now, Tim!

She apologizes for everything running behind and tells me I can have a seat on the bed.  “Let’s get everything ready so the sooner you are done the sooner you can go to the…” Oh please don’t say the “b” word.  “…bathroom.” She said it. UGH! “Let me go see where the doctor is and hopefully she will be in shortly.”  Shortly? Not just a few minutes?? I know what shortly means in doctor’s office speak!

 

At this point my bladder has given me a certain finger and I’ll give you a hint, it’s not a thumbs up.  “MAYDAY MAYDAY! Open the flood gates, there is a leak in the dam!!!” I’m rocking back and forth side to side and not in small motions anymore. Squirming, laying back, leaning forward, trying to do anything and everything to relieve pressure.  Alright, I’m not going to make it. I need to start thinking of ways to apologize for urinating on the floor and all over their exam room.  They are never going to want me back here.  I’m going to be forever known as “Pee Girl”.  I start doing weird mind tricks like making my feet go in opposite circles while I twist my hands the opposite way at the same time.  Maybe I should pat my head and rub my belly? No. No bad idea.

Finally, at 3:03pm my glorious doctor walks in. I have never been so happy to see a doctor. They get me in place and do a quick ultrasound to check everything, including my very very angry bladder. There it was.  A big circle, nothing else.  “Well.” says the doctor.  Pushing around, I feel like I might explode.  “Your bladder is full.  A little too full. It’s so full I can’t see anything else. I guess you could say it’s photobombing your ultrasound!”  Can’t laugh. Gotta pee! Here’s the ironic part, allowing me to go to the bathroom would get rid of everything so instead I got a catheter anyways! Oh joy. They drain enough and I feel some much needed relief.

To spare you more details, the tests went great and much easier than last time even with my retroverted uterus (it tilts backwards).  I have no polyps, fibroids, cysts, and no blockages!! They also did my Antral Follicle Count to find out what my baseline number is and I have 10 on my left and 14 on my right which is more than I had last time!  This is all great news!  Even better?  After my trial transfer, they let me go to the bathroom!  I’ll spare you the details of this as well but I’ll just say it will probably go down as one of the top 3 bathroom visits of my life.

I also received my AMH (Anti-Mullerian Hormone) levels today and they are 2.9!  It couldn’t be anymore perfect on the range it should be on.  Too low and it could mean I have Diminished Ovarian Reserve and low number of eggs.  Too high and it could mean PCOS and low quality eggs.  It’s right in the middle.  This means all of my lab work and tests show normal fertility and my PCOS is at bay.  If it wasn’t for me being diagnosed with Endometriosis, you wouldn’t know I had infertility. It is nice to feel like the last 6 months of supplements and vitamins weren’t all for nothing!

My next appointment is Wednesday where they will do more lab work and another ultrasound (luckily no full bladder needed) to make sure I’m suppressed.  Then hopefully, Friday we will start injections.

But first, excuse me while I visit the ladies room.  Something I will no longer take for granted.

bathroom

Until next time,

Jackie

 

 

Triumphs, Trials and The Week Ahead Vol II-Week 1

TTTWAV2 WEEK 1

Last Week’s Recap

Triumphs:

  • 86be7c82acd6a72d59a75fe97aa42524We’re starting!  I’ve waited 6 months and the time is finally here! As much as it is somewhat scary, it is also a relief knowing we’ll have answers and results (hopefully a BFP!) by the end of this month.
  • After last cycle’s debacle with our previous pharmacy, it was much easier ordering my meds this time around since I now know a better pharmacy to use. They should arrive on Tuesday! Woohoo, just like Christmas right?!
  • Speaking of meds, we raised close over $400 with our T-Shirt fundraiser! That will go towards a nice-sized chunk of the $4,000+ cost of prescriptions!
  • I had my Cycle Day 3 lab work (baseline) completed last Wednesday.  I received my results and good news. My ovarian reserve testing came back consistent with normal fertility relating to egg health.  Last cycle all of my levels were somewhat abnormal.  We are still awaiting the results of my AMH levels to find out if my PCOS is running rampant again and more about my egg health.

Trials: 

  • I’m not sure I would count this so much as a “trial” but my nurse would like to see my thyroid levels a little bit lower to be considered ideal to achieve pregnancy.  So even though my levels are considered normal right now, I’ll be working with my Endocrinologist to lower them a little bit more.  My thyroid gets real wonky when we start messing with meds so I’m just praying its a quick fix.
  • needleSomething I realized when I received my protocol is I’ll have no choice but to give injections myself most of the time.  Hubby has a new job since the last cycle and leaves for work around 4am each morning and now that I will be doing Lupron twice a day, I’ll have to put on my big girl panties and stab myself.  I’m thinking there may be funny videos or photos soon to follow…In addition to Hubby not being able to do injections, he has been working 10-11 hour days and has no access to phone other than at lunch, I’ll be doing a lot of these upcoming appointments alone.
  • I’m trying not to dwell on the fact this is it.  If this cycle fails and we have no remaining embryos, we may never have children of our own.  Funds have been depleted and also with my health, another complete cycle is not going to be an option.  I continue to pray for guidance, strength and constant reminding that He is in control.  This time around, I can honestly say I feel a great sense of peace that I’m placing this in God’s hands.

The Week Ahead:

  • I’m awaiting to hear my AMH results and will hopefully have those by Monday.
  • I’m also awaiting to hear my thyroid level results from blood work done last Friday. After receiving those, we may increase my meds to get my TSH from 3.2 to 2.0 or under!
  • Monday afternoon I have an appointment/procedure in the afternoon for a Sonohysterogram and Trial Transfer.  We’ve done this before and our doctor requires us to do them every 6 months to ensure there aren’t any new abnormalities and they can access everything they will need to come transfer time!  Quick, easy and relatively painless and hoping for the best with the results!
  • Tuesday and Wednesday I have lab appointments to check suppression levels and ultrasounds to check follicles. This will give us the go ahead for stims.
  • Friday, if all goes well, we should start my Microdose Lupron twice a day.
  • Leading to next Sunday, hopefully we will start stims and that is when all of this will really pick up steam!

lines

Needle Stick Count: Arm-2  Tummy-0 Bum-0

Until next time,

Jackie

New Cycle, New Plan

new cycle

The time is here.  It’s already here.  I keep thinking to myself, “Man. Those 6 months just flew by!”  We are getting ready to start our next IVF cycle! Which means more frequent updates from yours truly! Aren’t you excited?! 😉  I thought I would first share a quick overview of our upcoming cycle and how it differs from the last one.

Our last cycle was what you would consider a pretty standard protocol called “Long Lupron” or “Down-Regulation Lupron”.  This protocol usually takes 6-8 weeks depending on the person.   A big portion is suppressing the individual’s body or as I like to put it, “sending the bear into hibernation”, with the use of birth control pills (OCPs) for the month prior and a standard dosing of Lupron injections.  This allows doctors to ensure your body isn’t ovulating until they want it to.  Then when they are ready, they wake up the “bear” with stimulation medications (stims) which usually takes 8-10 days. Then when follicles are measuring at the size they want (typically 18-20mm each), they instruct you to do a trigger shot at a very specific time.  Think of this heavily concentrated injection as the gun going off at the start of the race.  This tells your ovaries to release the eggs to be ready for the retrieval.  Typically 36 hours after the trigger shot is the egg retrieval procedure.  Then they fertilize the eggs and monitor them for 5 days when they will then transfer a select number back to their cozy home to hopefully be made into full-blown human!  (Wow, looking back through this, I just explained standard IVF in one paragraph…go me!)

In case you haven’t read before, the long protocol didn’t work out for us. So now we are imagesswitching it up!  We are doing a faster-paced, what feels like warp-speed protocol, called “Microdose Lupron Protocol” or “Microflare Protocol”.  From start to finish, this process will takeabout 4 weeks.  We are doing this protocol because my RE (Reproductive Endocrinologist) believes my body because too suppressed the first round. Basically meaning, the “bear” didn’t fully wake up and was slightly groggy and hungover.

There are a few major differences that will happen this time around in addition to the short time frame.   Our first cycle they put me on birth control pills for almost a month prior to adding suppression with Lupron.  This cycle I will only be on OCPs for 9 days.  Again, in hopes my lady parts don’t get into as deep of sleep as last time.  I will be take Lupron but just as the protocol title suggests, it is a very small dose.  In our first cycle, Lupron was injected once a day and is used for approximately 10 days prior to starting stims.  This time around the Microdose Lupron will be injected twice a day just 3 days before stims and will continue to be given during stims.  We will be using one different stimulation medicine, Follistim, at a much higher dose and the other stimulation medicine, Menopur, will stay the same as last time.  I have heard it is not uncommon for follicles to grow much quicker on this regimen and I may not need the full 10 days to stim.  Last cycle, I needed the full 10 days.  I’ll trigger with a different trigger shot this time, Pregnyl instead of Ovidrel, 36 hours before my egg retrieval.  We won’t know when my egg retrieval will be until they monitor with blood work and ultra sounds every 3 days while I’m stimming. As it stands right now, I have been told my egg retrieval will most likely be between 8/24-8/26.  Then 5 days after that happens (8/29-8/31) will be the transfer.  Two weeks after my Egg retrieval (9/7-9/9) is when I’ll take a pregnancy test.

13938362_10100487151362190_2082766848294447527_n

The visual person I am had to make a calendar to keep everything straight!

That’s basically what we have in store for us for the next month! Stay tuned for weekly and soon-to-be daily updates with how things are going! Please continue to pray for us and our family as we go forward with this treatment.  We can use all the help we can get!

 

Until next time,

Jackie