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Day 8 (Round 1 of IVF Stims): First Day at Seattle Clinic

Day 8 (Round 1 of IVF Stims): First Day at Seattle Clinic

(Entry written prior to posted date).

 

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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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Day 7 (Round 1 of IVF Stims): Leaving on a Jet Plane

Day 7 (Round 1 of IVF Stims): Leaving on a Jet Plane

Written prior to posted date.

 

So I have a ticket for the 6am flight out to Seattle. Today is the big day! I’m not sure whether I’ll sleep or not. I’ve been really busy preparing to for my trip. Non-stop on my feet for most of the day. I’ve been cleaning the house, packing my bags, printing the documents I need, while taking out the puppy every time he whines. I finally sat down to relax just now.

 

“One of the women in the IVF forums I’m on suggested I should take the time to document this process so I can show it to my kid someday. I think that made me even more committed to this process.”

 

I might take a brief hiatus from writing for the week and do catch-up entries later, that way I can really focus on being in the moment. Plus I start school tomorrow, an online class, so between that and IVF appointments daily I may not have a lot of time to write. I think I will take down quick notes for the day and then elaborate on them when I get some spare time in the day. I’m enjoying documenting this process. One of the women in the IVF forums I’m on suggested I should take the time to document this process so I can show it to my kid someday. I think that made me even more committed to this process. For now I’m using this blog to help other women and vice versa, but it would be really amazing to sit down and show my children what the process was actually like for me.

 

I didn’t really sleep well last night. Kurtis left early to go fishing, so of course I couldn’t go back to sleep when he left at 4am. I tried really hard to stay awake but I needed a nap. I took another long nap today, three hours. I felt good afterwards but I probably could have slept even more. I packed all my fat clothes, because I am hella bloated. I’m hoping that once they take out my eggs for the retrieval I’ll deflate like a balloon. But that’s probably not what happens. One can dream. I have literally an entire carry-on bag full of medicine. I’m worried if I don’t bring all of it that when I show up they may extend my dates and say, “You brought it all right?”

 

“If I can get through TSA without having a hormonal cry session that would be nice.”

 

What is taking up most of the space in my carry-on is the bubble packaging to cushion the medicine. I have four different shots, including one that needs refrigerated. I’m kind of hoping I don’t deal with an idiot at TSA for two reasons; 1) Not being educated about fertility medicine and seriously questioning my bag of medicine, 2) Being called to the side for heavy duty hand inspection over my sore stomach from injections and or over my vag area where I am having little jabs of pain. Please just let me through easily. If I can get through TSA without having a hormonal cry session that would be nice.

 

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Day 5 (Round 1 of IVF Stims): Poked, Prodded, & Pessimistic

Day 5 (Round 1 of IVF Stims): Poked, Prodded, & Pessimistic

The title of my entry “Poked, Prodded, & Pessimistic” is pretty much a play-by-play of my day. I went and had my labs done today at my doctor’s office, then drove to my ultrasound appointment, and then finally got the news that my egg count doesn’t look too good. I only have five eggs and from what I hear the average is ten eggs. But I suppose it’s to be expected with low AMH levels. One of them is so enlarged they think I’m at risk of ovulating early. So she had me start Ganirelix right away to prevent my body from ovulating.

 

I brought my husband with me to my appointments today because they also needed his blood for the PGS testing through Natera. The Natera package arrived a little to late, so rather than my doctor sending out our blood now and it sitting at the airport over the weekend, she decided to wait until Monday. My nurse at Seattle Reproductive Medicine said they needed it by the weekend, well that’s not going to happen. Packages don’t get delivered and sent quickly from Alaska. I’m hoping it’s not a big deal, but I’m not sure since my nurse is out of the office until Monday. And if you are anything like me you constantly ask your nurse questions almost every other day. She is pretty much my IVF doula.

 

So from what I understand, you cannot increase the number of eggs in your reserve, because you are born with a set number of eggs. But I read recently that although the number of eggs you are dealing with is out of your control, you can somewhat increase the quality of your eggs. I still need to do more research on this. In a nutshell, it sounds like just being healthier will help. I will write a future article on improving egg quality once I familiarize myself with the information and putting it into practice. I’ve already started the path of trying to be healthier. I eat more salads, choose more vegetarian meal options, and try to avoid overeating.

 

I would suggest articles for further reading to this blog if I found any that are legitimate. I’ve been reading some pretty dubious tips and I feel proper research needs to be done. A lot of the articles I’m finding are edging on a snake-oil salesman vibe. I just don’t trust the advice I’m reading. Whenever you are researching products that tout improving fertility be very cautious. They might not make any difference and at worst they can decrease your goal of improved fertility. It’s a shame to see women so sold on the idea that this product will help, when in reality the infertility issue is completely unrelated. I’m sure there are legitimate and well-researched means of improving egg quality, but I feel that personally I need to learn more before I share anything on here. I’m going to speak with my doctor about improving my egg quality and write an article after I’ve done more research.

 

My doctor had me follow a basic treatment plan to watch my weight, take a prenatal, and also take methylated folate. So although this is probably the healthiest I’ve been eating in a while, my scale looks scarier and scarier each time I step on it. I’ve gained five pounds in five days. Yikes! But I heard this is fairly normal when going through the IVF process. “In online forums, women note anywhere from 3 pounds gained to 15 pounds gained prior to embryo transfer” (IVF Authority, 2018). Although I’m a little bloated and my scale hates me right now, I’m more concerned about my low egg count. My doctor told me I have a 30 – 50% chance of having a live birth.

 

Well despite my bleak outlook, I’ve been reading the phrase “it only takes one good egg” all over the online forums. I’m trying to tell myself that. I’ve also been telling myself I want to continue doing IVF as long as I can afford it and until all my eggs are gone. Sounds a bit dramatic, I know, but I’m pretty serious about that. Being able to afford more IVF is going to be the biggest challenge. But let’s hope that I won’t need more IVF rounds.

 

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Source:

IVF Authority. “IVF Weight Gain: Understanding the Causes, Symptoms and Weight Loss.” Retrieved on August 23, 2018 from https://www.ivfauthority.com/ivf-weight-gain/

 

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Day 2 (Round 1 of IVF Stims): Hydration, Migraines, and Grumpiness

Day 2 (Round 1 of IVF Stims): Hydration, Migraines, and Grumpiness

Well today sucked. I had a migraine most of the day. I wasn’t sure if it was from the stims or because I have a history of migraines and they decided to come back. I had to wait for my doctor to call me back about whether it was okay to take Tylenol. She said it was fine. My head still hurts, hopefully the Tylenol will kick in soon. I just took my meds for Day 2. I was feeling crappy and just wanted to get it over with. I was not enthusiastic at all compared to how I was feeling yesterday. I feel irritable too. But I can’t tell if it’s because I have a migraine or because of the medicine. I did sleep pretty good last night though.

 

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I tried to eat healthy today. I had organic steel-cut oatmeal. It’s not my favorite, but I might as well eat it since we got a big bag from Costco. I’d like to go blueberry picking so I can add some to my oatmeal. It would taste so much better with some berries mixed in. I had a yummy taco salad for dinner. It’s healthy and tastes amazing. I am almost finished with the water I need for the day, at least 64 ounces.

 

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Right now I’m lying down with the heating pad on my stomach. I read that doing this after injections eases the pain. It seems to be working. I decided to have hubby give me the shots again because I just wanted to get it over with and didn’t want the stress of psyching myself up to do it when my head is already throbbing.

 

I’m just lying here and seething with irritability. I’m not a happy camper. But I need to stay focused on my end goal of having a baby.

 

Not to mention I’ve been poked, prodded, and gone through so much already over these past two years, so I want him to do his part. I think he wants me to do it myself so I can have practice before I go out of state without him for the retrieval (he has to work). But I am damn tired of being a human pin cushion and want some help, in a way he is able to help me. Boy we really do get the raw end of the deal as women don’t we? Everything falls on us if we want to make this happen.

 

I’m just lying here and seething with irritability. I’m not a happy camper. But I need to stay focused on my end goal of having a baby. But right now I just feel like I want to get this whole IVF experience over with. I’m sorry this post isn’t more upbeat, but I wanted to write authentically. Take care everyone.

 

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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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