IVF Diary Vol II: 23-24 Jan 16

Medication(s) administered and dosage(s). Stimming phase: Days 9 & 10. PM: Saturday AM: cetrotide, Sunday PM: Ovidrel (the trigger!!!).  I did the trigger injection myself and decided to record it and post the video to my personal facebook page #thisiswhatinfertilitylookslike. (the video is at bottom of my blog post :-))

Medical procedures undertaken. Monitoring appointment – ultrasound and blood test.

What are my symptoms?  Tiredness – afternoon naps have been required!!!! Nausea that comes and goes.  Sunday, I have felt a little bit better than I have done over the past few days, but the ovaries are starting to twinge with odd pains here and there :-s These eggs are ready to go!!!

How do I feel today?  Excited.  Nervous.

Any results?  My follicles are looking great.  Randomly, in my right ovary all the follicles look the same size and shape.

“My good English eggs are ready!!!”

(The Dr’s words…not mine!!! Every single time I have seen him he makes a reference to my Englishness)

What’s next? Egg retrieval Monday 0630 AM!!!! Trying to mitigate any potential mild OHSS symptoms like I got from last time.

Weight. I haven’t weighed myself, I need to do this before the surgery so I can monitor OHSS.

Waist. My waist is 6cm larger than the same time last time!!! Whoops!!!

Boobs. NSTR.

Hours of Sunshine 🙂 None.  It’s winter.  It’s cold out there.  Oh and we were like the only city in Virginia to get a pathetic amount of snow, it was mostly rain for us! I am pleased so it hasn’t messed up any of this round of IVF.  I hope other women didn’t face problems with the snow storm who may need to travel from further way.

VB Snow Storm

The snow storm wasn’t quite so apocalyptic as it was in other parts of Virginia!

Fun Activity to keep Dani from going insane. It will be time to relax and recover, so no specific fun activities.  However, I am quite excited to watch Orange is the new black – I have a lot of catching up to do!!!!

*Notes.  I take First Response Reproductive Health multi vitamin gummies (pre-natal) and CoQ10 200mg gummies daily.  NSTR = Nothing Significant To Report.

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IVF Diary Vol II: 29 Dec 15 – 3 Jan 16

Medication(s) administered and dosage(s). Ovulation Control Pill (OCP) Reclipsen 0.15MG-30MCG x 1 per day

Medical procedures undertaken. Nil

What are my symptoms? As per last time I took the Birth Control Pills, my period lasted a few days longer and I am still spotting.  It’s no biggy.  Especially as I know now that this is exactly what happened last time.  I also appreciate what some women go through who have more than 3 or 4 days of menstrual bleeding…I feel bad for you ladies!  I consider myself lucky that I don’t bleed for 7 days normally.  Today I had quite a heavy ‘spotting’ and had some sharp pains around my right ovary that I would ordinarily feel around ovulation time.  But a hot water bottle fixed that pain and now all is back to normal.

How do I feel today?  Chilled and relaxed.  That could be something to do with the fact that I have been off work for over a week!  With no travels this festive period, it had been true relaxation, probably more laziness more than anything.  But it’s back to work tomorrow, and despite the unknowns about what the year ahead will look like for me, I feel a bit excited to be starting with a fresh mind, ready for the start of my stim injections 15th Jan!  I am also really pleased I kept a diary from my first cycle….I can look back and read what happened so I have some kind of ‘objective’ truth to what happened.  I think it’s useful because it removes some of my anxieties about what to expect next!

My medication arrived on time…I decided to see how high I could stack up the boxes for this photograph 😉  It looks like a terrifying amount of medication!

ivf2_med pile.jpg

My meds for IVF cycle 2: Gonal-F, menopur, cetrotide, Ovidrel, progesterone in oil (generic), doxycycline

There are a couple more boxes extra compared to last time because they plan on upping the dosages a little.  It was interesting to see the differences in prices in the medication.  Not much, but some of them have gone up a few cents.  And every penny counts.  The lady at Freedom Fertility Pharmacy was very kind to ask if I needed to split my order or wait to the new year for my insurance in case it changed or I had reached my limit.  Fortunately, my insurance limit is ‘lifetime’ rather than a fixed time like every calendar year so it makes things very simple.    (I have also updated my ‘The $$ Lowdown’ page. – counting my blessings I have great insurance coverage for all of this)

Any results? NSTR*.

What’s next? Another week of Birth Control Pills, first baseline appointment is 14th Jan, so it’s all quiet until then.

Weight. I am 10lbs heavier than when I started my first IVF cycle.  Most of that extra weight is from after my miscarriage and Christmas.  I am going to be doing some more exercise, I am not getting too het up about it, I can still fit into my clothes, there are perhaps a few pairs of trousers I won’t be able to wear when it comes to the stimulation phase of IVF!  I will start tracking my weight like last time, but I haven’t bothered with a baseline weight prior to birth control pill.

Waist.  NSTR

Boobs. NSTR

Hours of Sunshine 🙂 For my first IVF cycle I recorded the amount of sunshine I soaked up.  It was summer.  This time, it is the deepest darkest time of winter, so getting sunshine is pretty difficult!  Having said that, we did get out onto the water to see some humpback whales.  The sunshine was glorious although the photo below you can’t quite tell how blue the sky was!

*Notes.  I take First Response Reproductive Health multi vitamin gummies (pre-natal) and CoQ10 200mg gummies daily.  NSTR = Nothing Significant To Report.

whales.jpg

A humpback whale blowing – at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay

My new cubicle buddy is actually an IVF angel!

There are some benefits of telling your work colleagues that you are about to go through IVF.  My new cubicle buddy told me that she gave injections for her friend going through IVF – so she not only knows all about IVF, but also has the injectible skills! Haha! She kindly offered to give me any of my injections if I needed the assistance.  So if we have an emergency like the time Chris had to stab me in his work car park…my cubicle angel will be there for me 🙂  In fact, another friend at work has also offered her assistance too with the injections (she has never given one before, but isn’t squeamish about it like me!).  I am loving the love and feel very grateful to be surrounded by such lovely friends 🙂

love

Feeling the Love right now

Surprise surprise!!!! IVF!

Well my blog post title has given the game away, so in summary…our next step will be In-Vitro Fertilisation!

This morning we met with our RE who reviewed our progress so far, or lack there of.  Our tests were all normal, the three IUIs all went according to plan (except of course for the pregnancy part), I responded well to the letrozole with 2-3 follicles, Chris had awesome sperm.  We remain unexplained, but she does still suspect endometriosis.  If my period pains were so bad that they affected my life and I wanted that to change then she would recommend a laparoscopy.  This surgical procedure comes with risk, side effects and can take several months to return to normal, so if my periods were so bad this would be the way forward, however, in my case the benefits are unlikely to outweigh the downsides.  So she recommends we move straight to IVF.  She explained the overall process:

Week 1 to 2 – after menstruation I start birth control pills for about 14 days, these help to control my hormones

Week 3 – start injectable medications to control ovulation and stimulate follicles to grow – many many more than the 2-3 that were stimulated with letrozole in order to get the best chance of retrieving some ‘good eggs’.

Week 4 – continue injectable medications…have ultrasounds every other day to monitor follicle growth, along with blood work to monitor hormone levels.  When the follicles are ready, we will inject the hCG Ovidrel trigger and 36 hours later I go for egg retrieval surgery.  Under sedation my eggs are extracted from my ovaries.  Chris provides his sperm and my eggs are fertilised in-vitro.  After the eggs have been fertilised, the embryos grow for a few days under close watch.  Then if they survive, one or two embryos are transferred directly into my uterus.

Week 5-6 – start injectable progesterone until the big pregnancy test either says – “woohoo you are preggers”! then I stay on progesterone, or…”booooo it’s a BFN my friend”, then we will…..well, let’s not go there right now.

This is everything I expected her to say, except for two things slightly different.

  1. First, I need to go for a hydrosonogram.  This procedure will produce a 3D ultrasound of my uterus.  I will have this last test because I have a severely retroverted uterus they could not see it very well on the HSG X-ray, they want to double check that there is nothing preventing the implantation stage.
    My HSG X-ray with my retroverted uterus (it's hard to see because it's hiding behind the catheter)

    My HSG X-ray with my retroverted uterus (it’s hard to see because it’s hiding behind the catheter)

    I have been promised this does not hurt quite as bad as the HSG.  THANKFULLY!!!!

  2. Secondly, she thinks it would be a good idea to do Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) because we are ‘unexplained’.  ART_logoThis is a procedure where a single sperm is selected and injected directly into the egg rather than normal IVF where the sperm is placed near the egg.  This procedure is an extra $2,420 so we need to check whether our insurance would cover this or not.

Talking of costs….it is going to cost $9,075 for the IVF which includes office visits, endocrine monitoring, ultrasounds, retrieval, transfer and first pregnancy test.  Plus, it is an additional $400 for the anaesthesia. Medication will be approximately $4,000 to $6,000.  Then the ICSI procedure is $2,420.  Cryopreservation is $1000 then $60 a month for any embryos frozen.  Yikes!!!!  But we roughly knew this anyway, it’s just a bit scary seeing it listed out like this.

So for now, we start the negotiating with our insurance and the diary planning. It’s looking like a late June start.

Ultimately, today I walked away with this one key figure she gave: for us – a 50% chance of success.  In my mind that is pretty amazing.  I’ll take that.  I’ve always been a glass half full kind of girl, lately it’s been half empty, today I think I’ve been topped back up 🙂

Thank you for all your support and kind thoughts so far, I’m feeling pretty encouraged this will work!

Facebook: The sad truth of the matter #NIAW, #YouAreNotAlone

Facebook – you kept me awake this morning contemplating giving you up.

I have 423 friends on facebook.

40 of my friends liked this picture of me drinking beer….almost 10%!  That’s pretty high!

Hofbrauhaus in Munich. Mmmm Beer!

Hofbrauhaus in Munich. Mmmm Beer!

The irony being that in this picture, these were not my beers, and I was drinking non-alcoholic beers that night because I’m trying for a baby!

However, only 17 liked this photo and blurb about National Infertility Awareness Week (incidentally only 2 of the 17 were men, I salute you because this is not just about women)….

Did you know that 1 in 8 couples you know may suffer from infertility? Did you know that 1 in 100 births in the US are made possible from Assisted Reproductive Technologies such as IVF? Infertility IS a disease, it is a hidden disease. This week is National Infertility Awareness Week, so please share the message and remember friends ‪#‎YouAreNotAlone‬, ‪#‎WeAreNotAlone‬, ‪#‎NIAW‬

Did you know that 1 in 8 couples you know may suffer from infertility? Did you know that 1 in 100 births in the US are made possible from Assisted Reproductive Technologies such as IVF? Infertility IS a disease, it is a hidden disease. This week is National Infertility Awareness Week, so please share the message and remember friends ‪#‎YouAreNotAlone‬, ‪#‎WeAreNotAlone‬, ‪#‎NIAW‬

So why do I feel judged or failed by sharing this photo and message?  Why do I feel like the number of ‘likes’ is a measure of my success in sharing the message about Infertility Awareness Week?  Maybe people read it, but felt awkward to like it or share it?  Did I make people feel uncomfortable?  Was it not interesting?  Did they know these facts already?  Was it too boring?  Do people not care? Was it not controversial enough?  All these things I wonder….but they are silly.  If I hadn’t posted the picture of me with the beer last week and got so many likes, would 17 ‘likes’ have satisfied me that I had some success in sharing the message?

I have thought about ways to raise awareness.  Before we started this journey, the hunt for the great pudding club, I had no clue about infertility.  I knew it happened, I didn’t know how many people it affected, and how differently it affected people.  The pain and suffering of these people were hidden from me.  It is a personal journey so it shouldn’t have to be shared with me and the whole world, but I feel like I should have been educated in it.  When I was at school and I learnt about conception, the biology behind it, the sex education classes I was unaware of quite how truly each conception is a miracle.  The events that have to occur all in line for conception to be made possible is amazing.  I only learnt about all of this over the last year.

I want to raise awareness so I drafted a blog post as part of the National Infertility Awareness Week blog challenge under the theme of #YouAreNotAlone.  I drafted it last weekend, but I have not posted it yet because the tone of blog will be highly dependent on the outcome of IUI round 3 this week. I have written two versions of the post, the first version is aimed at inviting close friends and family to help us on our journey which is about to get more difficult or, alternatively the second version, announcing to friends and family that we are pregnant in the early stages, as a result of help and assistance from fertility treatment.  I’m still waiting to post my blog.  Here is how it has gone so far…

Sat: 10 DPIUI – I landed back in the US and made Chris drive me to the pharmacy to buy us some of the expensive early pregnancy tests.  I was feeling like I was pregnant 🙂  I took the test and there was the faintest of lines.  I even took apart the test to look closer because the reflection of the plastic made me wonder if I was imagining it.  But could this be the hormones left over from my Ovidrel shot?  I went to bed smiling either way because there was still a chance.

Sun: 11 DPIUI – I took another early pregnancy test.  Nope, nothing, nadda.  Saturday must have been from the Ovidrel.  Why did I take the test so early?  Well, I have never taken a test before my period was due, I was in experimentation mode and thought what the hell.  A sad Dani.  But it is still early and definitely not over til the fat lady sings (AKA Aunt Flow).

Mon: 12 DPIUI – Chris told me not to take a test.  I didn’t.  Chris came home from work sad, he had been thinking about it all day.  I was sad too. It was a sad evening with many hugs.

Tues: 13 DPIUI – I took a cheapy test.  I saw a very very faint line!  Well at least I really thought I did.  Chris took a look at it and told me there was absolutely nothing there.  I didn’t listen to him and went to be with a little smile.  This morning I woke up and looked at it again, he was right, there is nothing there, I was actually hallucinating.

Today Weds: 14 DPIUI…….No testing today.  I will wait for Aunt Flow to arrive.  She is rumbling.  Unless I am sorely mistaken.

Whatever happens, I will be posting my blog challenge for National Infertility Awareness Week very soon. #YouAreNotAlone, #WeAreNotAlone

Injecting in the car park…not your average day!

I never finished my story of ‘Don’t panic Mr Mainwaring‘.  Not long after I wrote my blog post, Chris called me back. He could not make it home to give me my injection because he had a meeting in less than an hour.  Rather begrudgingly I agreed to meet him at his work for him to administer the Ovidrel I needed.   Just as I was leaving,Chris called me again.  He had read my blog post and felt guilty, so was going to come home.  But I missed his call as I got in the car, so at his work it was to be!  Unfortunately, his work place does not have any ‘private’ meeting rooms we could use, they are all glass walled, so we decided to just do it in the car park (AKA parking lot for my American friends).

Yup, this is where it was going to go down!  I got out of the car and handed him the equipment.  He could tell I was in a grump; I said I didn’t want to talk about it, rather to just get it over and done with.  I held up my shirt so he could wipe my belly down with an antiseptic wipe, he got the air bubbles out of the pre-filled needle, took the cap off, and whilst I squeezed my belly, he injected the needle into me subcutaneously.  He didn’t even count this time, I just held my breathe, closed my eyes and didn’t move until he told me it was over.  He threw away the needle in the mini bio-hazard bin that the pharmacy had provided me with.  And that was it….within seconds I felt dizzy, as usual.  I sat back down in my car, I didn’t think driving to work would be a good idea for a little while.  Chris went back to work, and so I sat there in my car eating the sour jelly beans I had brought along as a treat to myself.  These were the only things holding back the tears.  I think it is actually impossible to cry whilst stuffing your face with jelly beans.

I was upset at myself for being so pathetic!  Why couldn’t I have just done the injection myself?  I was psychologically torturing myself. I hope that is the last time I ever have to do it, otherwise next time I am going to have to get the nurse to coach me through it.  All you ladies that have managed to inject yourself – kudos to you. Kudos.

Don’t panic Mr Mainwaring!

You know how I said third time round means I must be expert on IUI and I felt at ease with this round of treatment?  Well today is Cycle Day 11, everything had been going to plan so far…..But this morning I had my CD11 Ultrasound to check how my follicles are doing.  (By the way, you know you are in serious business when they send my actual doctor to do the ultrasound – they were obviously sending in the big guns for round 3!  It was good to see her.)  Back to my follicles, they are looking good.  I have two maturing, one in the left ovary and other in the right.  Both are 22mm – perfectly sized!  My doctor commented on how good my uterine lining was – 7mm.  She pondered on why the eggs hadn’t wanted to make a home in this nice uterus already!  She knows all the right things to say 🙂 I told her that I thought I was about to ovulate in the next 24hrs because this morning I had a 0.53 degree drop in my body basal temperature and my Ovulation Predictor Kit came up with an almost positive line.  She thinks I will probably surge on my own, but I should take the Ovidrel shot, just in case.  But this would mean I would have to take the shot now for an IUI procedure tomorrow pm (Weds).  OK….sounded good! Just one problem – I’ve got to go home, get the shot out of the fridge to bring back to room temperature – and I’m going to have to do this thing alone! Oh and I’m supposed to be back at work too. Cue panic attack.

I furiously attempt to call Chris to see if he can come home to give the shot, because I really don’t want to have to give myself a shot for the first time under pressure.  Chris must be busy. So here I am, sat here with my Ovidrel shot warming up next to me, whilst I wait for Chris to call me back. I’m freaking now because it’s either do it myself or nothing. And nothing is not a valid option.  You’d have thought stabbing myself with a needle is a very small price to pay to have this chance of having a baby and my logic would take over my fear.  But no logic does not dictate in this case.  Come on Chris!  Call me back!!!!!

For those of you who have not heard of the ‘saying/quote’ “Don’t Panic Mr Mainwaring”, here is a little video excerpt….

My first ‘self’ injection and my true valentine hero

I wish wish wish I had video recorded my experience with my first ‘self’ injection with Ovidrel.  It would have been pure comedy and had you all rolling around in stitches.  But I didn’t video it because I had no space left on my iPhone and at 1130pm I was too tired to be bothered with all that.

I worked my self up into a bit of a nervous panic knowing I had to do this self injection.  Fortunately, the evening was spent mostly distracted with a romantic dinner at a lovely local restaurant.  There were 6 courses and I was stuffed silly by the end.  The last thing I felt like doing after all that food was grab the fat of my tummy and stick a needle in it.

I watched several you tube videos with other people doing the injection.  The instructions given to me were pretty clear to follow, but I wanted to see other people’s experience with it.

Here is one adorable couple trying the injection for the first time: http://youtu.be/Yv_KvnNfCOg

And another lovely couple: http://youtu.be/Gm7AkZgVHkA

I wanted to be able to do the injection myself, and I tried, I really did.  But every time I came to put the needle on my skin I freaked and stopped myself.  So I asked Chris to do it.  But then he was nervous and didn’t look comfortable doing it.  So that made me more freaked out more.  So I closed the bathroom door and tried to do it again on my own.  But I just could not bring myself to do it.  So I called Chris back in.  We agreed I would hold my tummy skin, and I would look away.  He was just as nervous as me, and is not particularly good with seeing needles either.  So he counted.  On two he stabbed me gently, then counted to three til it was all the way in, then counted one – two whilst he injected the drugs in and was out on three.  So six seconds in total and it was all over with.

It didn’t hurt, but I felt really queasy afterwards, it’s just the thought of the needle that always gets me.  We had a good giggle about it afterwards.  Afterwards I felt overwhelming love for my husband; he overcame his own fear because I was too chicken to do it myself.  This was his greatest valentines gift to me ever.