The plan for the day was that as soon as my flight landed we were to immediately go to my fertility clinic for my blood test and ultrasound. Normally they do this first thing in the morning, but I was getting there several hours past their normal cutoff time, but they said it would be okay in my case. My mom came with me for the trip because my husband cannot take anymore time off work. So here we were, my mom and I, dragging all our luggage into the clinic. I think we both felt quite silly, everyone was looking at us. It didn’t help matters that I had to keep digging into my bag to check all of my medication levels because I just remembered they needed a full inventory of what remains. I didn’t want to guess with those numbers because if I was off I could end up paying a lot more money. I felt kind of silly rummaging through my suitcase, feeling like everyone in the waiting room was looking at me.
Upside-down and lid popped off. My folic acid pills scattered everywhere inside my suitcase.
I felt super out of place and frazzled. I didn’t sleep the night before or on the plane. But I told myself something that made me feel better about the whole situation, “I am exactly where I need to be and I am not out of place at all. This is the exact time for me to be here and the exact place I need to be.” This really reassured me. S***, with the amount of money I paid to the clinic I most definitely deserve to be there! Mom was feeling a little out of place there too. I told her that I was happy she was with me and not to worry about what anyone was thinking. I guarantee they were more worried about their egg count or their husband’s sperm motility and morphology. Because us women who deal with infertility have a real knack for being a little self-obsessed about the status of our womb more than anything. Am I right? I think the only thing they could have thought looking at us is possibly jealousy because my stomach looked so bloated from the medication that I already looked pregnant. I’m a big girl as it is, throw fertility medication on top of that and I looked like the Ghostbusters’ Marshmallow Man, all blimped out. I was kind of self-conscious about making other people sad, who may have thought I was pregnant when I was just a bloated fatty. Part of me wanted to say, “Don’t be sad, I’m not pregnant, I’m just fat.” I was imagining the conversations I would have with other patients in the waiting room who would mistakenly think I was pregnant, and how I would explain my gut to people.
“Let me guess, 7 months?” a thin girl would ask me in the waiting room.
“Oh, I wish! Thank you. It looks like it though huh? I’m super bloated.” I would say.
“Oh I’m sorry…”
“Oh don’t be sorry. It’s these damn fertility drugs. You’re tiny now, just you wait!”
“Really?” her eyes would bug out.
“Oh yeah, I was tiny just like you before I started this.” I’d laugh, knowing I was totally lying and making her believe she was going to gain 50 pounds in two weeks.
My clinic, Seattle Reproductive Medicine (SRM).
Nope, I’m just a plus-sized girl who only gained six pounds in a short amount of time, which is pretty average from what I hear. I’ve heard that a 10-pound weight gain is average. So they called me back and I left Mom out in the waiting room to guard our pile of luggage, since I knew it was a routine blood draw and ultrasound. The doctor saw on the ultrasound I have four mature eggs that would be good for fertilization. We are doing ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection) so hopefully that will increase our odds of success. I’m kind of disappointed I don’t have more eggs, or at least closer to the average of 10 eggs they were expecting. But then again I am diagnosed with a very low AMH level, so I suppose it’s better than nothing. I’m trying to stay positive. I’ve learned that staying positive and being optimistic are different things. You can stay positive despite the bleak outlook. It’s more of a decision you make, whereas I tend to view optimism to be aligned with good outcomes. My odds are very slim of this working, but I’d at least like the chance to look back and say that I tried all I could.
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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So this past week has been pretty eventful. We had our two-year anniversary and April Fools Day. I decided to skip Easter this year, mostly because I wanted a break from cooking and feeling obligated to go to church (invited by multiple friends/family) when I was feeling quite a chasm between God and myself. Honestly it was a good decision, sometimes a break is exactly what you need. But before I get into all of that I wanted to talk about my appointment I had with my fertility specialist. I had read through all of my medical documents they sent me recently and the way the geneticist worded her letter sounded like I did not have testing done yet to look for a balanced translocation. It was worded something to the effect of “The possibility of a balanced translocation was discussed and testing is available for this.” To me, that seemed like I had not been tested yet for that. So I spent way too much time researching what a balanced translocation was, the odds of still having a healthy live birth, learning the odds of success were less for the mother as opposed to the father having this, and the different types of balanced translocations. I felt I had a decent amount of knowledge on the subject, even including research on Youtube. I left a voicemail and played phone tag for about a week with my fertility specialist asking about a balanced translocation test. She was out of town at a conference and would call me when I was sleeping (I work the overnight shift). But when I finally had my appointment with her she said she double checked with the geneticist (who I also could not get a hold of) and said not to worry because I already had that testing done and I did not have a balanced translocation. All that time spent researching and preparing myself mentally to hear “you do have a balanced translocation” come from my doc’s mouth were all for naught.
Waiting in doc’s office for news about our next step.
Amusing magnets in my fertility doc’s office.
This has to be my favorite magnet in her office. lol.
But that’s good news though. I felt a little silly about spending all that time researching, but that’s what happens when you don’t keep yourself busy with other projects. You’ll fall down the rabbit hole of research and rumination. Tomorrow I am getting my eggs counted with a “follicular study.” For some reason every time I say follicular I’m certain I am saying it wrong. FAL-LICK-YOU-LAR…is that right? She also dropped some major news on me that I was expecting but did not want to hear. She said, “I need to stop trying to conceive naturally, because the likelihood of having another miscarriage is high” and for me and it is hard on my body each time I do. Surprisingly, I was only briefly disappointed hearing this news, and I quickly accepted the fact and absorbed as much info as I possibly could in that meeting, which was A LOT. So my best option is IVF with PGS. She wants me to do another SIS to make sure my D&C cleared everything. I think she even said the IVF clinic requires an SIS prior to treatment.
My Mom offered to pay for part of my IVF and to not worry about paying her back, but I definitely plan on paying her back. But I’ll be applying for IVF grants to try to save money. I know the odds of winning one are really low though, but it’s worth a shot. Speaking of shots my Mom seems to have full confidence in me for the whole IVF process and the shots I’ll need to take. She said, “You’ve been through so many harder things in your life I know you can handle this.” She gave me a confidence boost I didn’t know I needed, but it really helped.
I am pretty close with my coworkers and with this last miscarriage (my fourth one) I was open about my pregnancy and my loss. They have all been really supportive. I had a good conversation with one of them the other day. She helped me to have an epiphany. I had always felt like natural conception was aligned with following God’s plan, whereas IVF was aligned with the science side. She believes that it is important to follow the doctor’s advice because they have been “blessed with the medical knowledge and ability to help others heal.” For the first time ever, the idea of science, God, and fertility treatments all aligned for me. Especially since my doc just told me IVF is the best option for me now. Although I was very depressed with this last loss, I felt relief when my doctor told me my baby would have suffered and been in so much pain had it survived, due to the physical and development disabilities it would have had. In a way, I felt better knowing that God had prevented that pain and suffering of my baby. Although I still don’t understand why he allows me to get pregnant with babies that have a Trisomy in the first place. But knowing that my body is able to recognize that something isn’t right, makes me feel a little better. With my third loss my faith was really shook to its core, and it was hanging by a thread, but this fourth one has helped me to shift my perspective and be more open to trusting God a little more.
Anyway, back to what I was saying when I first started writing. My husband and I celebrated our 2nd anniversary. We’ve been together five years total and married for two, I can’t believe how quickly time flies. We had a nice dinner and went to a movie. We went to Texas Roadhouse (yeehaw for steak!). I noticed in the booth behind my husband was a woman with her three children, two young boys and a baby girl. I heard her say to her oldest boy, who looked about five-years old, “stay here, okay?” He said okay sat quietly at the table while she took the other boy and her baby girl probably to the bathroom. I was surprised she left her little boy by himself for a good ten minutes.
I leaned in and whispered to my husband, “She left her son alone.”
He couldn’t hear me at first. “Huh?”
I said a little louder but quietly again, “That woman behind you left her son alone. He looks about four or five years old.”
He looked over his shoulder at the boy behind him and turned back to me.
He gave me a weird look and said, “You want to kidnap him or something?”
I laughed so loud I’m sure the whole restaurant heard me. “No! Oh my god! I was saying it because I think it’s scary she left him by himself since he’s so young.” I was doing a full belly laugh at this point. I hadn’t laughed that hard in a long time.
He started laughing too and said, “Well the way you said it…sounded like you wanted to kidnap him.”
“Noooo! Although it would save us a ton a money. What do you say Babe? How does a five-year old little boy who is potty trained and seems well behaved sound to you?” I laughed.
I know kidnapping is no laughing matter, but come on now, that’s funny stuff. Two years of infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss and dwindling finances will make you enjoy dark humor like this. At least we had a good laugh. We got married the day before April Fools Day. I am usually not very creative when it comes to doing practical jokes. But this year I got my husband good! Now, he recently got a brand new truck. He is always checking for dents and scratches each time we go out and park in a public place. He will even park far away from other cars every chance he gets. So I decided a good joke would be to come home from work (remember I work overnight shift) and tell my husband someone broke into his truck. Last year someone did smash out the back window of our van, but weirdly didn’t take anything. We live in the city and it’s highly likely it could happen again with where we live. So I got home, hit record on my phone, and stealthily recorded my feet as I walked to the bedroom to break the bad news to him. “Babe, someone broke into your truck.” He launched himself off the bed from his deep sleep and was at the front door in his boxers within seconds. “You see it? In the back window?” He peered hard at his truck. “No…” he said. “Right there!” I pointed. I waited a few seconds then put my phone up to capture his reaction when I yelled, “April Fools!” He quickly pivoted around and went back to bed, and locked me out of the bedroom for a few seconds. He laughed about it and said, “Just you wait.” Man I got him good!
He tried scaring me later but it didn’t work. My husband usually wakes me up when I don’t get up from my own alarms, so he came back and woke me up. I lied in bed, I used my phone to check my personal email, my work email, looked at Facebook, and was on my phone a good 15 minutes before I finally dragged my butt out of bed to get ready for work. Mind you this is still April Fools Day. I walked into the living room and I noticed he positioned the blanket and pillows on the couch to make him look like he had pulled the blanket over his head to nap. I pulled the blanket and saw he wasn’t there. I noticed his truck parked outside so I knew he was home, hiding somewhere. I walked into the bathroom, knowing he was probably hiding in the shower. And sure enough he went “baaaaah” as he popped the curtain back. “Nice try babe” I said calmly. Then I realized that he must have been standing in the shower for those 15 minutes. I asked him if that was true and he just laughed, so I knew it was true. That made me laugh even harder knowing he was standing there, in the dark, for 15 minutes and his prank didn’t even work. Good times…haha.
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