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Day 1 (Round 1 of IVF Stims): Excited & Nervous

Day 1 (Round 1 of IVF Stims): Excited & Nervous

I feel like I had to wait forever to get to the point of starting my first round of IVF, in reality it has only been about five months from the decision to start. Today my husband stuck me with both Follistim (300) and Menopur (150). I wanted him to do it the first time so I can get a sense of how it would feel. I’d like to practice doing it myself either tomorrow or the next day, because I will be out of state for the egg retrieval while hubby works back home.

Before we got started with the injections for the first time ever, I stood in front of my big FedEx box of medication and said my prayer of positivity, which came straight from my heart,  “Mama-say mama-sa mama-ko-sa. Mama-say mama-sa mama-ko-sa….Hey Macarena! Ahhhaay!” I smiled and raised my hands in gratitude.

My husband’s schedule is already locked in for the year, so he wasn’t able to come down with me for the retrieval. My little bum of a cyst on my ovary threw off our plans we had set to take this time off together. For some reason I was panicking thinking that we’d have to postpone IVF for another year until he can get more time off. But my nurse out of state told me that he could just come down before me and freeze his sperm and we can still stay on track for the year. What a relief! Although it’s disappointing he cannot be there with me for the retrieval, I am so thankful my amazing Mom will be by my side to help. My clinic requires someone to help me after the surgery. Even though I will be doing medical appointments daily, I’d like to start looking into some fun things she and I can do while we are there. I need to fly out of state again in about a month (or whenever I can afford it) so they can do the transfer of the frozen embryo (FET), if I am lucky enough to have an embryo to transfer. I think they said I can do this one on the weekend, so hopefully I can have my husband with me.

My sonographer said it best, “Let’s hope they have a good Easter Egg hunt with you.” That’s the hardest I laughed in my recent appointments.

Before we got started with the injections for the first time ever, I stood in front of my big FedEx box of medication and said my prayer of positivity, which came straight from my heart,  “Mama-say mama-sa mama-ko-sa. Mama-say mama-sa mama-ko-sa….Hey Macarena! Ahhhaay!” I smiled and raised my hands in gratitude. My husband made his usual weirded out face when he thinks I’m crazy. He’s used to this kind of stuff by now. He pulled up a chair to the kitchen counter and we both worked together on learning how to do the medications.

 

The two injections I took today were not as painful as I imagined they would be. The needles are actually thin and somewhat short so I didn’t feel much pain. The Follistim had some residual stinging afterwards but not too bad. Probably even less pain than all these friggin’ blood draws I’ve been doing lately. My veins in my arm are looking pretty spotty and sad. But one trick I learned when I have to do my labs is to run quickly up the multiple flights of stairs to get my blood flowing. That makes it easier for them to find a good vein, even if I haven’t had much water yet that morning.

 

I’m so happy to be starting my stims. If you haven’t done IVF before and you are about to start, just focus on following along with the individual steps in the videos from your clinic. Take it one step at a time. I think once I’m done with this round of IVF I’ll write up a how-to guide or something similar to help others. But at this point in time I really don’t have much advice, I’m a newbie to this game. My sonographer said it best, “Let’s hope they have a good Easter Egg hunt with you.” That’s the hardest I laughed in my recent appointments. I loved that! So here’s to my upcoming Easter Egg Hunt. Hopefully they can get some good eggs for my retrieval. Thanks for reading and good luck to you wherever you are in your fertility journey.

 

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How to Handle a Miscarriage at Home

How to Handle a Miscarriage at Home

You must consult with your doctor because a natural miscarriage may not be advisable in your specific situation. The following tips are meant for those who know they are going to miscarry and your doctor confirms you can do so naturally at home with lower risk. My goal in writing this is to help others who are about to go through the natural miscarriage process. Also, this is meant to help any family members or friends who will be there during the actual process, so they know what to expect and how best to help their loved one. I am choosing to avoid graphic details because I personally don’t find it helpful to read this from others, nor do I want to trigger anyone needlessly. Each of my miscarriages were missed miscarriages, this is when the embryo stops developing but the woman’s body has not completed the miscarriage process.

 

How to Handle a Miscarriage at Home

 

 

  • Ask your doctor for prescription strength pain pills.

You may not need them, or you may really need them. Each woman and each miscarriage is different. But why not be on the safe side and have them just in case.

 

 

  • Take an over-the-counter pain reliever for mild pain.

Keep Tylenol or Ibuprofen nearby. Speak with your doctor about when it is appropriate to take these and when it would be better to take a prescription pain pill. Each circumstance is different so always speak with your doctor or pharmacist about when and if it is appropriate to take an OTC pain pill and a prescription pill. They may advise you to take one or the other. Be careful not to overdo it.

 

 

  • Keep your phone on you.

If you haven’t already, program your doctor’s number into your phone. Most OB’s have an answering service after office hours, so if you call they can have an on-call doctor call you back as soon as possible. This is helpful if you are concerned about your symptoms but are not sure about whether you should go to the emergency room or not. You also can call the hospital directly for medical advice. Also it is good to have your phone on you if you are alone so you can call your partner, friend, or family member to come be with you.

 

 

  • Call someone you trust to come be with you.

Ideally it would be best to have your partner with you. But if they are not available call someone you trust, a family member or a friend. Tell them you need them to be there to make sure it doesn’t develop into an emergency situation. If you pass out, hemorrhage, or have another emergency situation, you need to have someone there to take over and call for an ambulance if necessary.

 

 

  • Stay hydrated.

Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. You can also drink Gatorade, vitamin water, or another drink that helps to replenish you.

 

 

  • Keep a snack nearby.

If it is taking a while, and you are in a lot of pain you may not feel like getting up. You can keep some crackers or another snack near you. This is when it is nice to have someone there for you to bring you a snack if you get hungry.

 

 

  • Lie down.

Whether it’s on your bed, or the couch, find someplace comfortable to lie down. Do whatever you need to do to feel more comfortable. If sitting or standing feels better for you do that. Please be cautious if you choose to stand because there is a risk of if you get light headed and faint you might hurt yourself. I found that lying down was best for me. I also put a towel down just in case.

 

 

  • Have plenty of sanitary pads and toilet paper nearby.

Try to use the overnight or thicker sanitary pads. Keep these right next to your toilet. You may be in too much pain to bend down to get anything out of a cabinet. This is why you need to have pads and extra toilet paper very easily within reach.

 

 

  • Bleeding through 1 pad per hour? Call your doctor.

Each person’s situation is different, but my doctor said if I was bleeding through one pad per hour I needed to go to the emergency room. You are at risk of losing too much blood or hemorrhaging if you do not at least call your doctor. Do not be afraid to call and ask questions. They told me if I bled through 1 pad per hour for 3-4 hours I would need to go to the ER.

 

 

  • Don’t bend over.

It can be incredibly painful to bend over, and you should try avoid doing this. If you drop something just kick it out of the way so you don’t trip over it. Or ask whoever is helping you to pick it up for you.

 

 

  • Use a heating pad on your abdomen.

The warmth can help to ease some of the pain. You can alternate using the heating pad and taking it off as needed. 

 

  • Ask your doctor about testing.

Your doctor may have you bring in your products of conception to test if there were any genetic issues, to learn what may have caused the pregnancy loss. They will give you the materials needed to do this. They might not do any testing with your first two losses. Sometimes your medical insurance will not cover any testing until after your third loss. If you want to do testing, but feel you cannot handle this collection process ask your partner or the person helping you if they can do this for you. But remember, by doing this testing you can learn what is going on and your doctor can adjust your treatment plan.

 

  • Do whatever you can to help yourself emotionally during the process.

Whether it is distracting yourself from pain by watching a movie, listening to music, or talking with your partner. What do you usually do to comfort yourself in stressful times?

 

I will have more articles in the future on how to process pregnancy loss emotionally. The purpose of this article was more on the practical things you can do while the miscarriage happens. Be sure follow up with your doctor. You can be at risk for infection or other complications by doing a natural miscarriage, so be sure to check in with your doctor if you have any further symptoms. Please comment below if you have any advice you want to share with others about what helped you during this process. Thank you for reading.

 

Further Reading:

VeryWell Natural and Medical Miscarriage Options 

WebMD Miscarriage Treatment 

 

Image Credit: From Pexels.com 

 

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How to Mic Drop on Naysayers about Infertility Treatment

How to Mic Drop on Naysayers about Infertility Treatment

Once I decided to go public with my infertility struggles I received a mix bag of responses. Most were supportive, more than I expected went through the same thing, and a few made some really sideways comments. But I was anticipating this. I was expecting a variety of responses and was pleasantly surprised how many were supportive. We cannot be educated on every subject, and expecting others to understand where you’ve been when they haven’t even heard of the diagnosis or treatment you are pursuing is asking a lot of others.

 

My goal in talking with others about what I was going through was multifaceted. But when it was all boiled down I simply wanted to be understood. I reached a tipping point where it was healthier for me to speak up rather than keep everything bottled in. I was very careful about how and when to start opening up to others, and I think that helped. The decision to go public with my struggle was done to reach out to others who may be struggling too. There is strength in numbers. I no longer feel I am marooned on an island separated from others. Now, I stand strong with a growing number of women who are not afraid to speak up.

 

We need to face facts, the more silent we are on the subject of infertility, the more likely our own pain and others will fester in that silence. One way you can develop thicker skin around peoples comments is to anticipate resistance, and believe me there can be a lot. Most of the resistance tends to come from people hiding behind a computer screen and would usually never say these things to your face. But you need to expect it if you are going to speak up. If you decide you are ready to be more open about your infertility, here are some tips to arm yourself against the worst of the worst naysayers. Please keep in mind these are mostly for entertainment purposes, so use discretion on if and when you use any of the following below.

 

How to Mic Drop on Naysayers about Infertility Treatment

 

1) On Religion

  • God gave us the technology to cure medical issues, including infertility.
  • Pose the question, “So you are agreeing to not take life-saving antibiotics or use any medical intervention at all because it is God’s will for you to be sick and potentially die, right?”
  • Doctors are often in the position of saving lives, how is this different from assisting in the process to begin life?

2) On Adoption

  • Ask them how much they think adoption costs. Let them know how fertility treatment tends to be way more affordable, sometimes it’s half the price. Some people report IVF to be one-fourth the cost of adoption. Ask them if they would pay four times more to have a child that is not their own when they could have a good chance of having a biological child.
  • Agree with them if you are considering adoption in addition to fertility treatment. Tell them adoption would be amazing and enlist them to start a crowdfunding account to support the adoption costs. If they really want to help you build a family they will do whatever way they can. But the ones with the agenda of vomiting their “adoption or nothing” stance will be left with nothing to say if you simply agree.
  • Ask them why they haven’t adopted yet. Or why are they not adopting all the children of the world?

3) On Selfishness

  • Simply tell them you want the experience of giving birth, and ask them if they knew this was possible without your own DNA (with donor egg and sperm). You might blow their mind when you drop this knowledge. I love seeing people’s expressions when they learn about embryo adoption for the first time. Embryo adoption (also known as embryo donation) allows couples who’ve already completed their family to give another infertile couple the ability to bring life into the world. Essentially it’s like adoption but pre-birth and minus the legal fees.
  • Ask them if it is selfish to have the same ability of giving birth that many other women have.
  • Ask them if they plan to have children biologically. If they say no, ask them if they’ve been sterilized yet to ensure they follow through on their beliefs.

4) On Overpopulation

  • Ask them how they’ve been personally affected by overpopulation.
  • If they bring up how people are destroying the planet by consuming too much of the earth’s resources, agree with them. Ask them if they recycle, use solar power, never use a car, and only eat wild grown plantlife. Teach them ways to stop being overly consumptive.
  • Reassure them you will not be like Octomom. Because the dummies always bring up Octomom like that scenario happens every time with IVF.
  • Ask them their solution to overpopulation. They might learn they have more in common with Nazis than they realize.

 

I wrote this piece mostly as a way to let off steam and to laugh about some of the stupid things people say. It is mostly meant for entertainment purposes but feel free to use any of these gems as you see fit. Modify them as needed depending on the situation. These are snarky responses to get to the heart of the matter more quickly, rather than dancing around the subject. In an effort to educate people about infertility, I usually use the approach of gently guiding people with a series of questions (think Socratic Method) until people realize their faulty logic. The Socratic Method is a much more useful and tactful form of debate as opposed to calling someone a Nazi. 

3 Practical Tips for Adapting to Changing Fertility Plans

3 Practical Tips for Adapting to Changing Fertility Plans

Quick Update: We just received the good news from our suppression check that my cyst has finally reduced in size, and I am good to go for IVF! Our IVF cycle was delayed by 2 weeks due to that issue but it has now been resolved. That recent experience inspired me to write this article today.

 

I am an advocate for not only prayer (happy thoughts, good vibes, or what have you) but also a huge advocate for taking action. This action can include advocating for ourselves at appointments, deciding when to do a certain treatment, or defending our stance to other people about how your treatment plan is your personal choice. But what if your treatment plan is constantly changing because your body is not doing what you thought it should be?

 

You may have never seen a positive on a pregnancy test before. Or a positive pregnancy test may fill you with dread because all the other positive pregnancy tests you’ve had ended in miscarriage. Or you may have a child already but are experiencing Secondary Infertility and the dream of more children seems to be getting harder and harder to achieve.  No matter what your fertility situation is, one of the most important factors for success is the ability to adapt to changing situations.

 

Wouldn’t you like to be able to bounce back from setbacks more quickly? Although the odds seem insurmountable, there is almost always still hope for each of us. Being able to adapt to the constantly changing treatment plan can help to reduce the negative emotions that can drag you down.

 

3 Practical Tips for Adapting to Changing Fertility Plans

 

  1. Get More Flexibility at Work

 

The more flexible your job situation the better, especially if your treatment is as aggressive as IVF. I had no idea how many appointments were actually involved. In my case I am in the doctor’s office at least once a week, then it will be daily the week of IVF. If your appointments begin to conflict with your work schedule, try talking to your supervisor about the options you have. You can still advocate for yourself while keeping your medical issue private. You could say, “I need to go to more appointments for a medical issue and I was wondering if option A, B, C, or D are available to me, or if you had any suggestions on how we can work this out?”

 

Quick Tips:

  • Try to schedule appointments during your lunch hour.
  • Save up leave time for appointments, medical issues or personal time off.
  • Change the time or day you work to a more flexible schedule if possible.
  • Consider looking for a different job if your current job cannot accommodate your appointments. Ask yourself what’s more important, starting a family or keeping a job that restricts your family planning? Trust me there are more flexible jobs out there.

 

2) Make a Back-up Treatment Plan

 

Try not to ruminate on all the what-if scenarios that could happen. One funny example I have of this is I was certain I had a balanced translocation when I really didn’t. My surgeon had mentioned that sometimes people have deletions or a balanced translocation with their DNA they pass on to their embryos, which could lead to a miscarriage. I heard this right before the weekend and I was also waiting to hear back from my geneticist. So what did I do?

 

I spent practically the entire weekend researching about balanced translocation. I watched so many videos, and did so much reading, I tried to decipher scholarly articles riddled with medical jargon. I fell down the research rabbit hole in an epic way. But that following Monday I heard back from my geneticist and she said I didn’t even have a balanced translocation. The time I wasted researching was unreal. Hey, maybe now I can also write a scholarly article on the subject and make use of all this information packed into my brain. The moral of the story is to focus on your current treatment plan but ask your doctor what the next immediate step would be if your current plan does not work. This helps you to not get too far ahead of yourself like I did with the above story.

 

Quick Tips:

  • Write down your current treatment plan including your diagnosis, medication, actions your doctor is taking, and actions you need to take.
  • Research your current treatment step to gain more knowledge.
  • Ask your doctor what Plan B is if your Plan A does not work after the expected amount of time.
  • Consider a second opinion if you feel you are not getting adequate treatment.

 

3) Consider Adjusting your Vacation Plans

 

There have been several vacations we were hoping to enjoy but could not do for one reason or another due to our treatment plan. For me it’s a no brainer, starting a family is my highest priority. My vacation can wait a year or two, not a big deal. It’s good to be hopeful and plan around the possibility of getting pregnant. Please also remember to look up on the CDC website if Zika has been found in the area you want to travel to. I chose to postpone our natural conception several months because we visited an area with Zika. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Follow your doctor’s orders.

 

Quick Tips:

  • Double check for Zika locations before traveling and follow your doctor’s advice about postponing conception.
  • Calculate if you’ll have enough savings for both treatment and a vacation.
  • Consider a “staycation” or doing something closer to home instead of longer distance travel to save money.
  • Think about whether you can physically go on vacation, given your diagnosis and treatment plan. Do you have a medical issue not related to fertility that could become aggravated by traveling, which in turn could postpone your fertility plans?

Commit yourself to finding solutions as opposed to dwelling on the problem. These are just a handful of practical ways to adapt to changing fertility plans. What would you recommend to others who are struggling to adapt? Please comment below. I’d love to hear back from you. As always, thank you for reading.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock

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New Contest Announcement

New Contest Announcement

Win a $25 Visa Gift Card for Thanksgiving

Ending November 1st, 2018

Just in time for Thanksgiving! Would you like to win a $25 Visa Gift Card? Increase your odds of winning the contest with multiple ways to enter. For each different way you spread the word about my blog you will be entered to win! Bigger and better prizes to come soon, so keep checking back. I’ll be doing a special Christmas contest announcement soon.

How to Enter:

Tip: Get extra entries for sharing, liking, or commenting on each new blog I post.

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