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Day 9 (Round 2 of IVF Stims): Major Mistake with Omnitrope

Day 9 (Round 2 of IVF Stims): Major Mistake with Omnitrope

(Entry written prior to posted date).

 

Today Mom and I went shopping around Pikes Place Mall. We did mostly window shopping today, scouting out which places to come to later because the shops were getting close to closing soon. I had my eye on some new jeans in Old Navy. Almost all of my pants have holes in them these days. Maybe I could get one or two pairs after my payday. I’ve been delaying buying new clothes for a while because all my money has been getting funneled toward IVF expenses. My shoes are also falling apart. My shirts and underwear are getting little holes as well. I even have a sad looking bra that my puppy got a hold of and now it holes in it too. How in the hell can almost everything I own have at least one hole? I am way overdue for getting new clothes. But new clothes are just some of the many sacrifices you have to make in order to pay for IVF. Vacations have been put off, college graduation delayed, and even paying for gas to get out of the house are just some of the many sacrifices I’ve made. So going window shopping today was kind of a reminder of all the things I can’t have right now. But that doesn’t mean I won’t be able to soon.

 

Don’t do what I did today! Long story short, I messed up on my Omnitrope. If you don’t know, Omnitrope is one of the Human Growth Hormones that helps with egg growth. Since I tend to be a one-step-at-a-time kind of gal when it comes IVF I didn’t look too much into the details of the Omnitrope because I thought it was already clear. I assumed there would be a video for how to do the Omnitrope, like there has been with every single other medication I’ve been taking. Instead, the video was missing from the fertility clinic’s website. I was looking at the vial itself and tried to interpret the convoluted conversions and it just didn’t make sense to me.

 

The bottle had four different measurements to describe one damn amount. It said mL, mgs, cc’s, then IUs. I decided to email them about it. I pulled out the syringe, looked at it, and asked them “what line on this syringe do I pull back to give myself?” Simple question, right? My regular nurse was out so a backup nurse replied, “For the Omnitrope your dose is 0.5mL.” Okay problem solved I thought. So they day comes when it is time to give myself the medicine. I look over the instructions and realize that there is a different syringe I should be using, one that had IUs on it. Now I’m really confused. Mind you I had a suitcase full of these medications and the bag of these extra smaller syringes are identical to my Menopur syringes, so I thought those were just for the Menopur. I read the Omnitrope instructions carefully on this one page piece of paper that came with the medicine. Makes sense now. I pulled back 0.5mL of liquid (just like the nurse said to), pushed it into the vial, then pulled back my medicine to inject it.

 

IMG_20181111_214332

Use the top needle to mix the liquid with the Omnitrope powder. Use the bottom smaller needle to administer the medication. The quarter is to show the size of the needles.

 

But something in the back of my head was saying, “Are you sure you did that right?” I started to really doubt myself. I went online and I began searching for video tutorials from anyone, just to make sure I did it right. Well, as it turns out I really messed up. The video I finally found showed her pulling back 1mL of liquid, not 0.5mL. I ended up accidentally double dosing myself. The 0.5mL pushed into the powder medicine only ended up yielding half the amount of liquid substance, yet double the amount of actual medicine. So the 0.5mL explanation the nurse gave me was not accurate. I was trying to ask her about the liquid amount for the first syringe, not what the tiny syringe would end of up being. I gave myself the whole vial when it should have been half. The fact that the vial had four different conversions for the prescription, combined with the email response from the backup nurse, and the fact that the clinic did not have a tutorial video for this medicine all turned out the be the perfect storm for my very expensive f**k up. How expensive? Well I had to shell out another $1200 the very next day, because that medicine was supposed to last me two days. I was pissed to say the least.

 

My advice to you if you do need to take Omnitrope for the first time is to have your doctor actually show you how to do it. Unfortunately my local doctor was unavailable when I received the medicine so I had to do email correspondence while I was out of state for my treatment. I should have actually gone in to have them show me, but I didn’t realize it was going to be incredibly confusing. If need be, bring in your syringes and have them actually mark or put a sticky not on where exactly you will pull back the liquid as well as how far back to pull back for the actual medicine. The other problem was that the nurse was describing a conversion that wasn’t even on my syringe. So get organized and plan ahead. Bring in your medicine and ask for a thorough explanation with demonstrations. If available, review any tutorial videos. I will say I am not very happy about what happened at all. But I at least know what to do differently next time.

 

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Featured Image: My Omnitrope medication with syringes and needles.

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Day 8 (Round 2 of IVF Stims): Doing IVF in College

Day 8 (Round 2 of IVF Stims): Doing IVF in College

(Entry written prior to posted date).

 

Poor Mom is really sick today. She is coughing, sneezing, and to top it off she has a bad migraine. I decided that it would be better if we just stayed in today so she could get some rest and recover from her cold quickly. I decided to make today my day to study. I’m taking an online class through my local college and I need to keep up with all the assignments. I recently wrote in a previous post about the many sacrifices you make when you do IVF, and choosing an online class instead of an in-person class was kind of a sacrifice for me. This way I could still do my trip out-of-state for IVF and not worry about getting behind in school and missing in-person classes. I wish I could take more than one class right now, but this is another sacrifice I had to make in order to have extra money to fund this trip.

 

Most of today I spent relaxing at the hotel studying Tolstoy and Chekhov. Both are very interesting writers. On the surface Chekhov’s “The Cherry Orchard” seemed kind of boring to me. But once I learned the history behind the story it helped me to understand the symbolism a lot better and made me appreciate the work more. I feel good about going back to school to study what I am really passionate about. I’m going for my bachelor in English. The high cost of IVF has determined the pace at which I can complete school. I told myself even if I have to do just one class at a time, that is better than not going at all. Some people seem perplexed when I tell them I am going for English. They make comments on how irrelevant that degree is in the workforce these days. Although I respect their opinion and I can see where they are coming from, I’m doing it for reasons other than having a job as an end goal. I chose this degree because I want to create more quality writing, worthy of being published.

 

Although IVF has pushed my graduation timeline further out, I’m trying to look on the bright side. At least this way I can go to school part-time and really absorb the information this time, as opposed to last time I was in school I was constantly rushing through studying and not doing as much serious contemplation and applying it into my life. Now I have plenty of time to examine and enjoy what I am studying. The other good thing about taking a class while doing IVF is that it serves as a good distraction for me. I don’t have time to sit and wallow when I have a paper due soon, or I need to post a response to an assignment. School forces my brain to focus on something other than my IVF worries. School has become a good distraction for me. I suppose IVF is forcing me to “stop and smell the roses” and to be more in the moment with life.

 

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Featured Image: Tirachard Kumtanom on Pexels.com

Day 7 (Round 2 of IVF Stims): Flying Out for Treatment

Day 7 (Round 2 of IVF Stims): Flying Out for Treatment

(Entry written prior to posted date).

 

As you may remember from my recent post Fertility Wars: Return of the Cyst, my eggs decided to be extra sluggish and are not growing the rate my doctor expects them to. So because of that my egg retrieval surgery was looking to be delayed more, and I was worried I would need to completely alter my travel plans. It all came down to this morning, when I went in for my follow-up ultrasounds and blood draw. The results would help me narrow down when they think the egg retrieval will actually be. So I drove to my ultrasound appointment, then drove to my doctors office for a blood draw, then raced home and called an Uber to pick Mom and I up for our flight immediately after the appointment. I felt huge sense of relief once my butt was in the seat of the plane. I’ve had an insanely busy week due to lots of school assignments, planning for the trip, being busy at work, and several job interviews. I got the call just before my flight that I am good to go and I don’t need to delay my travel plans any more. Good to hear, especially since I was already sitting on the plane. I figured that I didn’t want to change my flights around at the very last minute and I was okay with being there a few days earlier than expected.

 

Mom is coming with me again for this trip since Kurtis doesn’t have enough leave time until next year. After some research we found a nice hotel near the clinic and close to downtown Seattle, called the La Quinta. It’s so much nicer than the last hotel we stayed at for my first IVF round. As soon as you walk in there is an aquarium with exotic fish. La Quinta, you had me at fish aquarium. This one was way better and for the same price as that last crappy hotel we stayed at. It feel a lot safer here too, considering no one offered to sell me drugs this time, nor were there any loud fights in the parking lot. Did I mention this La Quinta serves free just-out-of-the-oven cookies around dinner time. Things are looking up!

 

Today we settled into the hotel and unpacked. We agreed we were going to just rest today and get room service. I ordered a Caesar salad with tons of Greek olives, it was really tasty. Plus I was craving more veggies so it was perfect. I picked up a bunch of tourist brochures from the lobby area when we arrived and I starting to plan our trip. Hey it’s better late than never, right? I’d like to visit a garden and see the fall foliage. I remember as a kid visiting Washington with my family and really enjoying all the beautiful gardens here. One thing to keep in mind when you are traveling for IVF is to remember to stay on schedule for your shots. If you plan to go out and about don’t forget to come back in time to take your schedule shots, or to pack them with you. If your medicine needs to be kept cool bring an ice pack. For me, I think I’m just going to plan my day around my shot schedule, as opposed to packing them with me. I don’t really feel like tracking down a dirty public bathroom to do this in, so I’m opting for always doing it at the hotel. Mom and I relaxed for the rest of the night and watched TV. I slept really hard. Maybe the medicine is making me extra tired, or maybe after a busy week I was finally able to relax into a good sleep.

 

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Featured Image: All of my daily pills I am taking for my second round of IVF.

Day 6 (Round 2 of IVF Stims): Big Changes for a Better Life

Day 6 (Round 2 of IVF Stims): Big Changes for a Better Life

(Entry written prior to posted date).

 

Today I had an interview with my current company but at their different location. I was so happy to hear that they offered me the position on-the-spot. It will be better for me for different reasons. It will be better pay and less stress. I would feel safer at this new location because I will be working with clients who are not in “crisis mode” anymore and they are instead more independent. I will be dealing less with the youth who could potentially become violent, mostly due to drug use. I’ve found drug needles in the laundry basket. Thankfully my supervisors were always great about giving me tips on when to wear needle proof gloves, so I was prepared. I wanted to find work where it would be safer if I did become pregnant. I am very excited to say I believe this new location will be a lot less stressful and safer for me.

 

The nice thing is that they were willing to work with me to have me start when I get back from my trip. I avoided the subject that I was doing it for IVF and instead said for “medical reasons.” They respected that I wasn’t quite ready to talk about it. I’m thinking of probably avoiding the subject of IVF for a bit, just so I can focus on learning my job as opposed to my treatment being a topic of conversation. I’m really hoping to be back before Thanksgiving, but it’s kind of hard to say since my body seems to not respond as quickly to the medication. I requested two weeks off before I start the new position. I would think that would be plenty of time to get the egg retrieval done, hopefully.

 

Even though this job will mean better pay, I still have a lot of medical bills I need to pay. Those bills are from my past miscarriages and subsequent surgeries, as well as miscellaneous bills relating to IVF that were not covered in their initial lump sum cost. I will post a future article breaking down all of my costs, for now I’d like to avoid going down that rabbit hole. The amount not covered by my IVF grant my Mom offered to help out with. So I owe her a good chunk of money. Ask family if they can help you out with a 0% interest loan, this can help you save a lot of money as well as get you started quicker on your IVF journey. Although my mom told me I didn’t need to pay her back I feel it is really important to pay her back.

 

I’m thinking of getting a second job in order to pay my bills more quickly. Probably just a part-time second job. I’m hoping to find one with more flexible hours, maybe something like InstaCart or teaching online. There are some online teaching jobs that seem pretty flexible. But I want to wait until I get back from my egg retrieval before I start looking into a second job. I think it’s important to think of a second job that still allows for some work-life balance.

 

My stomach is looking really sad these days. It’s bruised and has dozens of little red needle marks. Not to mention I am beginning to feel the bloat. It feels pretty uncomfortable. But I’m still able to wear my looser-fitting jeans without feeling like I’m going to explode. Most women bloat from IVF meds from what I hear, so I’m not too worried about it.

 

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Image Credit: https://www.pexels.com/photo/yeah-printed-white-board-900102/

Day 5 (Round 2 of IVF Stims): Sacrifices

Day 5 (Round 2 of IVF Stims): Sacrifices

(Entry written prior to posted date).

 

Women who go through IVF sacrifice so much physically, financially, and emotionally. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done and I’m sure many others would say the same. I read somewhere a while back that one woman described IVF treatment as her second job, which is not far from the truth. IVF treatment is like an elaborate symphony, that when done exactly right creates the most beautiful result. But the IVF process also requires precision. Think of it as if one violinist in the symphony gets off beat making others around him get off track as well, and soon the major sections of the symphony go awry. You must know exactly when and exactly how each step of the IVF process will work. If you have any doubt in your mind you need to call your doctor.

 

For my first round of IVF stims I was off work, so any symptoms I had I was able to deal with at home. But not this time. Due to being short on money I decided to go ahead and soldier through my IVF meds while also working. I didn’t really have a choice. Bills need to be paid. So I ended up working this whole week with a terrible migraine. It would only briefly go away here and there, but for the most part it was constantly there. I am so looking forward to this week being over so I can finally get on that plane and head out to the clinic. Time seems to be going by so slowly. But I suppose it’s normal when you are in pain and you want to get on with the next step. The sooner I can get on to the next step, the sooner I can get rid of this damn migraine.

 

I think the best advice I can give someone who is considering IVF is that you need to go in with the mindset that you will do whatever it takes. There are so many sacrifices that you may need to make in order to get through the IVF process, each person is different and each IVF round is different. I’m not trying to scare you away from doing this. Instead I want it to serve as a reality check and a way to help others mentally prepare for what they are about to go through. Here are some of the sacrifices you might need to make in order to make your dream of having a baby a reality:

 

  • Financially: Just because you have enough to cover the initial costs does not mean you will not experience additional costs. Delayed cycles, low-responding eggs, and last minute travel changes are just some of the unexpected additional costs you may experience. Save more than you think you’ll need.
  • Emotionally: Girl…hormones. You may cry for no reason and that’s normal. You may also be extra bitchy or irritable. Each person is different.
  • Physically: Expect your stomach to look like the world’s ugliest pin cushion. You may also get some really bizarre looking bruises. You may bloat like crazy like I did. Stretchy pants are your friend.

 

Those are just a few of the major things I’ve experienced so far with this cycle, as well as with my last cycle. Ask your doctor about possible side effects and how you can manage them. Find out how others deal with the side effects by going online and doing your own research. Some people have really good ideas that may work for you. There is a whole wealth of information out there that can help you as you go through this. As far as my migraines I’ve been told good old Tylenol is the only thing I can take. I’ve noticed if I eat a carb and lie down in a dark room for a bit I tend to start feeling better. Drink lots of water too! The water not only helps you with migraines but I’ve heard that staying really hydrated can help with egg growth as well.

 

Check out my other blog entries by clicking here for the archives page.

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Image Credit: https://www.pexels.com/@lazymonkey

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