You did not get your start within me.. but here is where you grow, where you thrive. This process of becoming you will be done surrounded and protected by my body. It’s amazing and nearly unbelievable… I watch you stretch and wiggle and roll within me on the ultrasound. Perfect little arms and legs, fingers and toes. How can it be that all of that magic is going on inside my own body? I am the lucky one. One who experiences such divinity. I listen to your galloping heartbeat.. stronger every day, right next to the sound of mine. Will that be the first thing you become aware of? The constant presence of my steady whooshing heart? How beautiful is that? I will always be wonderstruck as I watch you grow.. feel you move within, and I will never do anything more important in my life than creating and raising you and your sibling(s),
I was so damn nervous about egg retrieval, have you ever looked it up on the YouTube?! They told me not to, but by the time they warned me, I already had. The nurse in me was fascinated by the procedure, the patient in me was horrified. It turns out though that I was worried for nothing really, the most painful part was the iv and I had a great nurse who made that easy. I remember them walking me back to the procedure room and getting on the bed, I also remember the doctor talking about her colonoscopy.. what? Then I woke up in recovery with my sweet, ever present husband quickly at my side. Propofol is fantastic! Highly recommend it! I was in recovery for not long at all, the nurse gave me a norco and offered fentanyl for the pain, but it really wasn’t severe. I got dressed, peed and went home. The next day was a little rough, I took a couple norco and took it easy, I had very scant bleeding. If you’re facing this and are scared, don’t be, its no big deal! And 18 eggs!!
18 became 15 fertilized which became 7 strong embryos to freeze and await my FET cycle! 7 little babycicles!
So, the not so fun part was the medication they started me on to prevent OHSS since my risk was so high. Cabergoline, for 8 days. They warn me this can cause some pretty serious constipation.. and it does, nearly immediately.. so here’s my story.
The day before retrieval I decide to take a stimulant laxative, just get it over and done with before surgery so I don’t have to worry about it for a few days. I felt really great that day for the first time in months really, it was weird. I asked dave if we could go get Mexican for dinner, I’d wanted it for weeks. I took one dulcolax pill that afternoon … JUST ONE and roughly 4 hours later, as I’m stepping out of the bath it hits me. The worst stomach cramps of my life, and I’m shaking and sweating the way you do before you puke. I pushed everything away and laid down, naked on the cool floor and screamed for my husband to help me.. I’m pretty sure I’d just been mauled by a bear or something by the way I sounded. He runs in, in a panic and frantically tries to do anything he can to help me, God love him I didn’t even know how to help me, I kinda just wanted to succumb to death at that point.
I realize I think I finally need to use the bathroom and he helps me to the toilet.. potty time is something we’ve never before shared, but what the hell, it’s a year of firsts and I sure as hell didn’t want to be alone. That brave man sat by my side and held my hand (and the trash can I was puking into) as I cried, pooped and puked. This all happened in a matter of 10 to 15 mins maybe and I instantly felt totally fine, I washed up and said “So.. can we still get Mexican?” .. and we did.
I married a saint, guys.. for real
So now we wait.. I just started my post cycle period and it’s a BEAST.. I’m glad for the leftover norco from retrieval. I’ve never bled so much or hurt so bad. I’ve started estrogen therapy, pills and patches to prepare for the frozen transfer which should happen in about 2 weeks.. thankfully a break from shots… for now.. soon comes the progesterone shots with the huge needle… yay!
I want to say, I am very fortunate to have a few people very close to me who have gone through IVF and have been an incredible source of information, support, and strength. I can’t stress enough how important it is to have that kind of understanding.. a “safe place” if you will, to really openly discuss the experience and express the frustrations. It really is invaluable. However.. even this can be a sort of double edged sword. Let me explain…
Her experience is not my experience, is not your experience. How my body has responded is not how her did or how yours will. I fell into a trap of what’s normal and what’s not, at least as far as the experience of side effects goes. Nobody really discussed with me the possible side effects of the stimulation medications, outside of “you’ll feel bloated” . One may expect some hot flashes, night sweats, and nausea to come along with injecting yourself with large doses of hormones. That there was.. nobody prepared me for the nightmare of symptoms that could come with an over stimulation.. not even the clinic staff, which is a problem. Nobody told me about the crushing chest pain that would make it hard to breathe, or the intense stabbing pains on either side of my pelvis that are unrelenting. Nobody said I may have a constant headache and horrible dizziness that makes the room spin when I stand up too quickly.. I heard multiple times “Oh I didn’t have any side effects at all!” REALLY?! Am I just crazy or a huge baby? People worked though their stimulation and even the day after egg retrieval and I’m struggling to shower.. The hell is wrong with me??
Her experience is not my experience, is not your experience.
I have to remember all I’m asking of my body right now.. and all that is happening. It’s hitting me harder than some and that’s just a product of my physiology, and that’s ok.
My estrogen level is way higher than it should be.. my meds have been drastically reduced and I’m on track for egg retrieval on Friday morning and it should prove bountiful. For that I am grateful.. due to risks associated with implantation with high estrogen levels I am unable to do a fresh transfer. The embryos will be frozen and wait while my body calms down, about a month.. then we will do a frozen transfer.. we’ll know more on Wednesday but I’m sure this is how it will go down.
This is the scariest, hardest thing I’ve ever done, thank you all for your love, thoughts, prayers and support.
So here we are, finally. I finally started a normal period on Sunday and had baseline labs and ultrasound on Monday. My ovaries are FINALLY under control (fickle things) . We ended up waiting a whole month to start over, the wait is excruciating! All you want is for your period to start so you can start sticking yourself with tons of needles again! But we are here, so I digress..
I’d like to talk a little about bitterness… my favorite phrase right now seems to be “But I’m not bitter!” usually after talking about something that I am absolutely bitter about. Unfortunately in my particular line of work I’m faced with situations that make me a little bitter and angry, quite frequently. I’m constantly faced with women pregnant for the 6th time with 5 different daddies, 28 weeks along with NO prenantal care because she’s in denial or some other BS. (I wish I was exaggerating, unfortunately I am not.) Or the mom on various illicit drugs, on public aid, etc etc etc.. I think maybe the cocaine makes people more fertile?? It seems in many cases, the less prepared you are to have a baby the more likely you are to become pregnant. WTF? BUT I’M NOT BITTER!
I try not to let this seep into my friendships, I do have friends who are pregnant and I do want to just be happy for them and not be bitter. For the most part I do well with this, some times it gets me though and feels like a jab in the heart. When they post things on fb about their maternity pictures.. baby showers or yet ANOTHER set of ultrasound pictures (Newsflash, still looks like an alien in there!) BUT I’M NOT BITTER!
Do I seem bitter? Maybe a little, sometimes.. My husband however.. He gets upset anytime he sees any family with small children. He was really pissed about the family that brought their small children to the IVF clinic (c’mon people, don’t you think this is kinda shitty?) He also has a good friend who’s wife is pregnant (it was a surprise, THEY weren’t trying) and she’s being induced this weekend. BUT HE’S NOT BITTER!
Really, we are very happy for them, they are lovely people and will be fantastic parents. This whole process just really makes you crazy and sometimes it’s hard to maintain perspective.. perspective.. like “Oh, this could be much worse, we COULD have no eggs and no sperm and require donors and the baby wouldn’t even be ours”.. The thing about perspective.. It could virtually always be worse.. and our reality is very likely someone else’s “could be worse” . “Oh it took you a year to get pregnant? It COULD BE WORSE! you could need IVF!” Perspective is very easy to preach about.. not so easy to maintain. We try.
All of that aside, we are super excited to be starting again, they started my Gonal F dose at half the dose it was the first time so hopefully we will have a much better outcome this time! I didn’t wake up this morning super sick so that’s a good sign. If all goes well I will have egg retrieval late next week with embryo transfer the following week! Then I’ll be the one posting millions of U/S pictures nobody really wants to see, DON’T BE BITTER!
I’m so impatient.. I feel like my life is in limbo.. waiting for my period to start so we can start over again.. I mark off the days on the calendar so I feel like I’m moving closer to it. The good thing is as I’ve come off the hormones, the awful side effects are mostly gone and I feel mostly human again.. just anxiously waiting for the flow to start.. we’re about a week away from when it’s expected to start and yesterday day I woke up cramping and feeling bloated… I knew something was up, I’d start bleeding, heavy bright red.. I did freak out a bit about it being so early, so I called the office and they had me come in for blood work and ultrasound to see what’s going on… my ovaries are still very enlarged, full of follicles and we need them to quiet down before we go in and mess shit up again. So I should start a real period within the next few days, then back for baseline ultrasound and labs..
they tell me that my case has been so unusual that thy have taken it to a peer review.. so there’s my contribution to the medical community
I’m glad I could help…
also! We passed by this lovely and all too appropriate for me sign in front of “planned pethood”
Almost 13 years ago now. 13 years since the most wonderful, amazing, fantastic, incredible kid was born. 13 years ago right now, I was nearing the end of a 28 hour labor process. I remember being exhausted.. but I loved every second of it. Isn’t that crazy? It started with one whopper contraction around 4pm the night of the 10th.. I’d had contractions before, but this was different. From then on I had strong, regular contractions every 3 minutes. I called Wes (daegans father), who was at work, and I called my mom who wisely told me not to be in a rush to get to the hospital, I had a ways to go… and I did. I labored at home until around 10 pm, when we decided to finally make our way to the hospital. I’d called my doctor and his response was “we normally tell women who think they are in labor to go to the hospital..” I thought he was a real asshole until I started working in L&D and realized to pretty stupid to waste time calling for that.. as if he could tell I was in labor or not over the phone.. news flash people, they cannot.
After a quick stop at the McDonald’s for a snack (triple cheeseburger with a side of chicken nuggets)… we went on to the hospital. You’re not supposed to eat while you’re in labor.. I knew this.. and also knew it could be a long while before I’d see solid food again.. a fat girl has gotta do what a fat girl’s gotta do!
On the monitors, his heartbeat was fantastic and I was in fact having contractions about every 3 minutes.. a quick cervical check (by asshole doctor who did not have gentle hands!) told me I was 2 cm and about 50%.. he was not impressed.. we would monitor me for a while and recheck my cervix.. I’d probably go home..
Then my water broke, haha sucker! Now you have to keep me!
That bought me a ticket to admission, I was having a baby!
I labored all night on my own.. by morning I was 3 cm, and my contractions had spaced to every 7-10 mins.. not ideal. So pitocin joins the party 🎉 it was hours after that until they let me get an epidural.. but I really don’t remember being in all that much pain, pitocin and all.. I just loved the whole experience.
By 10 pm that night, I’d been at 6 cm for hours.. my water had been broken for a long time and I was starting to get a fever.. my nurse told me I’d probably have to have a c section.. I was terrified.. but when the doctor came in and checked me he said I was complete and ready to push.. I pushed for 2.5 hours and they still had to drag him out with a vacuum.. but he was beautiful and it was amazing..
I still can’t believe that this wonderful person exists because of me.. hands down the best thing I’ve ever done with my life..
As my husband and I struggle with infertility, Daegan is the reason I so want to have another.. though, you can’t top greatness!
Happy Birthday Daegan! 🎈🎊🎉🎂🎁
Here’s proof I make beautiful babies!
So it’s um.. Friday now? The 10th.. So day 9 of my ivf cycle. Tuesday I had labs drawn and an ultrasound done to check follicle growth and determine hormone levels. As it turns out my Estradiol was extreamely elevated, I started at a baseline of 46 before stimulation medications.. tuesday it was over 2000. Without getting too technical about it all, basically I had a “very robust” response to the Gonal F and Menopur which shot my estrogen level sky high and into risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome range.. So they dropped my Gonal F dose to 125 instead of 200, and kept the Menopur the same for that night. To be followed on Wednesday night with Gonal F at 125, Menopur, and Ganirelix to try to combat the over stimulation response. Of course with follow up labs and ultrasound on Thursday morning…
So of course we follow our specific directions to the letter and arrive for our appointment as scheduled (I say we because my husband refuses to let me go through any of this alone.. Have I mentioned how very lucky I am?), the vaginal ultrasound is considerably more uncomfortable than last time.. My ovaries are huge and tender and I feel so bloated. When the IVF coordinator asks me if I’m starting to feel better and I say “yes”, she responds with “good because it’s about to get a lot worse!” But then tells me that it will all be over soon as they would probably be able to tell me at my next appointment on saturday just when they’ll do retrieval (I’m already SO ready to get all these things out of me!)… This just wasn’t meant to be…
I knew something was off when it was 3pm and we still hadn’t gotten any word from our IVF nurse about our next instructions.. as I’m getting ready for work I received a phone call … from the doctor.. Not good. She was very nice.. I have no idea what she looks like.. I honestly have not seen an actual doctor since the sonohysterogram.. even after asking to speak with the doctor (any really) at my last appointment due to my severe reactions to the medications…
but I digress.. She WAS very nice… She explained that “unfortunately” my estradiol levels had come down too drastically, from over 2000 to 1000 in response to the medication adjustment over the past two nights. She explained that we could still go forward with the cycle and get to egg retrieval.. but her concern was his huge rise and abrupt fall had damaged the eggs and would not provide enough healthy ones to create healthy embryos.. So there was a good chance we could go forward and do all the procedures.. Just for it to fail. For the first time in a while, my fat, bloated self felt so deflated.. and heartbroken.. I’ve done all this for nothing?… She asked what I’d like to do.. Of course I don’t want to go through with all of that this cycle just for it to not be successful.. We want the best chance possible, I didn’t really have to think about it.. Of course that was the best choice to make.
So I had new instructions.. stop the Gonal F, Menopur and Ganirelix… Inject 40 units of Lupron.. This would in essence stop the action of the other medications, effectively ending this cycle.. I would wait two weeks for my period to start and try again, this time on much lower doses of the stimulation medication.
I sobbed.. I did all this to just end it so abruptly and start all over? I drew up the Lupron and felt the weight of what I was about to do.. The feeling that I.. Me.. I alone.. was making this decision and carrying it out.. to end this cycle.. start again.
It feels almost stupid to be so upset… It’s not like I went through all of it and it failed.. Or god forbid miscarried.. but it’s a loss none the less.. It’s crushed hope.. So helpless.. All the medications, the shots, the horrid side effects.. It was all ok because I was working towards something great.. and now Ive lost that..
I pulled myself together and went to work (sans eye make up so everyone thought I was sick, but I wasn’t risking the not cute raccoon look later) I wasn’t scheduled to work tonight, I was covering for another nurse for a few hours… 7pm to 11pm.. which turned into 7pm to 3am.. It was hard.. a few hours in I felt slammed with horrible hormonal side effects.. Hot, sweaty, nauseous, dizzy, terrible cramps.. So bloated.. We were busy though and short handed.. I had a laboring patient who needed a lot of attention.. That helped to refocus my attention from my own issues… Also, I was among friends, people who understand this process (some who have actually been through it) who are so sweet and so supportive.. I really work with some fantastic people, we share each others joys.. and sadness and hold each other up when we need it most.
My patient delivered beautifully and I went home, so here I am.. slightly confused about what day it is.. as is the plight of the existence of the night nurse.. and still sad… and a little angry.. the side effects have somewhat subsided and I feel a little more at peace..
I downloaded and printed out my new IVF cycle schedule so I guess in a few weeks.. we’ll start it all again..
My suggestion for this post.. If you’re taking any kind of follicle stimulating drugs.. invest in a damn good sports bra.. wear it everywhere.. especially going down stairs… You’ll thank me, I promise.
Here we are on day 5, tuesday. I’ve had 4 days of injections now. 200 mg of Gonal F and 75 iu of Menopur. Self injecting really isn’t as bad as it seems once you get used to it. The Gonal F goes in easy, Menopur burns like a son of a bitch! Here’s how the first few days of injection played out for me.
Day 1, I gave myself both injections and headed to work and felt more or less, fine. I’m a night nurse so I work 7p to 7a and I got home that morning and pretty much went straight to sleep. I woke up only a few hours later in a blind panic, drenched in sweat, shaking, dizzy, nauseous, burning up and weirdly tingly. It was really unlike anything I’ve ever felt before. Oh, and I also had the worst headache of my life, which in varying intensity has been my constant companion since. WTF? Ok, I knew going into this that injecting myself with mega doses of hormones would probably result in some unpleasant side effects but nobody told me I’d feel like Peter Parker after he got bit by that radio active spider! “My spider sense is tingling!” I don’t even get any cool superhero powers with this shit! Unless you count rapid follicle development… My guess is that’ll never make it into a comic book… Actually, this would not make a superhero.. more like a super villain.. nothing good could come of an over hormonal woman.
But I digress..
I did not go to work that night and instead opted to stay in bed for a good 20 hours (thank god for FMLA). I thought, how the hell am I supposed to do anything feeling like this? Like life in general was going to be put on hold for the next 10 days until I come off this hellride. Eventually the symptoms did subside (except the ever present dull headache, gonna hang out here for a while, dude? Cool) and I took my shots again that night before heading back to bed. Somewhere around 6am the next morning I woke up in the same sweaty panic and sat on the edge of the bed hyperventilating and shaking, I felt crazy, like I had no control over my body and my body had NO idea what the fuck was going on. My poor husband tried to help, but I didn’t even know what would help me.. he curled around me and held me and really I can’t think of anything that would have calmed me more.. After sitting in front of a fan for a while and eating something, I felt a little better and went back to sleep. I slept a few more hours and when I woke up I felt a lot better, still the headache, of course.. and I have this weird sharp stabbing pain in my chest that randomly comes and goes.. but I think that’s just anxiety and not exactly related to the medication.
So that was Sunday morning.. Yesterday morning and this morning I have not felt like that at all, so hopefully that shit has passed. I still have the dull headache and the intermittent chest pain, but it’s a walk in the park compared to the first two days.
Return appointment today for more blood work and an ultrasound to check follicle growth. Then I’ll get a call this afternoon for further instructions.. that cracks me up.. Like I’m a secret agent… “dont do ANYTHING until we tell you to”
As a side note, I just want to say to all of you who are going through this shit too… give yourself permission to feel all the crazy things you feel, let it wash over you and have your husband get you 20 chicken nuggets from mcdonalds at 6am just so you can cry over them and eat them together. There is so much going on inside your body right now, its working so hard.. Do what you need to do to stay sane and don’t feel guilty. Go to work.. Or don’t.. have someone else make dinner for a few nights.. let the laundry pile up.. go out with your friends.. buy yourself something nice… get a pedicure.. Most of all, give yourself a damn break because this shit is hard!
All the things! All the things to prepare my body to make a baby! …. Starbucks frappaccino included.. Just a bit overwhelming. I want to again say how fortunate and thankful I am to have insurance that covers this, just one Gonal F pen is over $900, and I have two of them, it’s all so expensive and I cannot imagine being in the situation we are and not having this option because we couldn’t afford it. As much as infertility sucks.. I am so very lucky to be doing this…
Even still I’m quite tired of cramping and bleeding which I’ve done for the whole two weeks I’ve been on the prep phase birth control, I’m ready to get this party started! So I’ve finished my birth control and I am on day 2 of my cycle, I had baseline blood work done and an ultrasound today to ensure everything is quiet for stimulation. I suppose trans vaginal ultrasounds are just something I have to get comfy with, awesome. Uterus is still gorgeous, lining is nice and thin and my ovaries look great! .. y’all I have pictures of my ovaries, who can say that?!
So we get the go ahead to start the meds, yay! Day 2 through 4 I take 2 injections, gonal F and Menopur. Also, a baby aspirin and an antibiotic twice a day for both me and my husband so we both go into this infection free. Day 5 we go back for another ultrasound and more blood work, based on that they will call me that afternoon with further instructions, very clearly you do not do ANYTHING without specific instructions!
The first injection, menopur, it’s a powder you must reconstitute with normal saline and then draw up and inject into the lower belly, much like an insulin injection, tiny needle, into subcutaneous tissue and not muscle. I did this one myself, I was a little nervous but it was really not awful. My husband gave me the Gonal F injection, same kind of injection, only no mixing, it comes in something like an insulin pen, you just dial up the dose and inject. Pretty easy. He was hesitant to stick me, more nervous than I was, but he got over it, hah. So this is our life now for a while. I may even try to get my son to give me a few.. that’ll be fun. 😜
Tonight is hard..
sometimes it gets that way. No real trigger or reason.. but there it is. A late, stormy night.. wind whipping the trees against the house sharpening my anxiety. It feels so dark.. lonely, though I’m not alone at all. Depression doesn’t ask if it’s an appropriate time, it’s not invited.. it just makes itself comfy in a place it knows well and brings in self doubt and worry.
It’s here tonight to remind me of the past.. the times of deep despair. The seemingly endless black tunnel of post partum depression is pushed to the forefront. I remember the cold sad days and the torturous nights.. crying for hours and feeling so empty, so broken. Acutely aware that my every action was imprinting on the new, precious life I’d created, who needed me desperately. I loved him deeply.. I knew he deserved so much more than a mother falling apart. I’m a survivor. So is he. We survived together.
The fear of that ever happening again has held me hostage for years.. what if I do have another child and I fall into that again? Can my husband handle that? Can I?
What would people think of me if after I’ve gone through so much to have another child.. this happens again? Will I face the “what do you have to be depressed about?! you got everything you wanted.” Again.. depression doesn’t ever ask if it’s appropriate..
I know the statistics, I know the preventative measures to take.. my husband and I know that the possibility is there and we’ll do all we can to fight it.. and if against our best efforts I again fall into that.. I know he’ll be right by my side to help me out..
I know this.. I believe this.. but sometimes I still have these stormy nights.. and I feel afraid..