On Tuesday Chris and I met with our IVF Nurse Coordinator at the fertility clinic. She had asked us to set aside about 1.5hrs for the session, so we both took the afternoon off work…and I’m glad we did! I left the meeting with that type of headache feeling you get after you have just sat a 2 hour exam. I felt completely awash with new information. Fortunately, we were given a nice homework pack to take home and read so we could absorb it in slow time.
We discussed the IVF process, basic biology and advanced cell biology. Schedule and timings of events. Medication and blood tests for both of us. We also talked about insurance issues, consent forms, checklists and calendars. Our nurse has been doing her job for 15 years, she knows everything there is to know. I was seriously impressed.
Unfortunately the embryology lab is closed for a few weeks in June/July. We thought this would be OK, but when we actually sat down with my period dates we worked out that we were going to have to wait another month. The nurse is not allowed to start anyone on a cycle that starts from the 29th May to 20th June. As my period started yesterday my next period is due around the 16th June. We were hoping I would two 28 day cycles to push me to the 20th June, but it now looks like that won’t happen. I was very frustrated. This means we will be expecting a retrieval date around either 3rd or 10th August, right in the middle of my mum visiting us in the US. Which I am sure she won’t mind, but it means we can’t plan any fun sight seeing trips until we get closer to the date. At least we will have time to get medications sorted and August is a nice quiet time at work so that will be good but Grrrrr, July would have been so much better for us. Oh well.
It looks like our insurance will cover Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI). Great news! We now need to sort out purchasing our long list of medication (by all means, I have a very short list compared to some other ladies) and choosing a pharmacy that our insurance accepts (we discovered we can choose what ever pharmacy we want and what ever brand of medication we want too).
My list of medication will be:
Birth Control Pills – yup, it’s ironic! I’ve never taken these before so I had a lesson on how to take them! This will help controlling my cycle so we can start the IVF stimulation at a certain time.
Gonal-F or Follistim – this is a Follicle Stimulation Hormone drug, adminstered by a subcutaneous injection. Oh great! Needles! This helps stimulate the ovaries to grow lots of follicles, more than I did for the IUI where I had 2-3 follicles, the goal is 20 or so! Yikes.
Menopur – A Follicle Stimulation Hormone together with a Luteinising hormone (were you paying attention in GCSE biology??!). Another subcutaneous injection.
Ovidrel – The trigger shot. Been there, done that. Although this time I will be taking this injection at a very precise time just before my egg retrieval surgery.
Ganirelix or Cetrotide – this will prevent me from ovulating on my own so the eggs are ready at the right moment for retrieval. Another subcutaneous injection. Wow. Four different needles already.
Progesterone in oil – I’ve heard about this one before and the needle terrifies me! It is an intramuscular injection. Just google progesterone in oil and look at the images page. This is instead of the progesterone suppositories I had with the IUI. Chris will have to give me this injection every night – in the buttock muscle! Have you seen the size of that needle????!?!?!
Vivelle patches (transdermal etrogen) – An estrogen hormone patch. YEY something that isn’t an injection!!!
Doxycycline – antibiotic for my egg retrieval (so I don’t get an infection after inserting the big needle they are getting to use to retrieve my eggs through my vaginal wall) Chris also gets to take doxycyline because we are doing ICSI, this drug affects the sperm and makes them less ‘sticky’ so it’s easier for them to select just one sperm to inject into my egg for fertilisation. That was something I did not know! Rather cool.
It was an intense session, but I was very excited that we are actually starting this and moving a step closer to becoming pregnant. We came home in a bit of a daze afterwards. The emotions running around were definitely mixed. Interesting times ahead.