To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.
-Steve Prefontaine
Make it simple, but significant.
- Don Draper

Monday, August 24, 2015

Needles, Ultrasounds and Ovaries

February 14, 2015 It's Valentine's Day. While the world is hung up on candy, flowers, cards and all that nonsense, I am feeling hungover. Not from partying, but from a very long day at OHSU.

Yesterday at 8 am I began another long morning at the Fertility Clinic. My first appointment was with the Genetic Counselor. Our family trees were outlined, documenting ages, health status and deaths of our family members. Based on all of our conversations we then discussed options available for genetic screening. Simple appointment, a lot of things we can think about and consider down the road, but for now aren't interested in. 

After a brief wait in the lobby it was appointment number 2 with Lori, our main nurse that I will be working closely with throughout the process.  This meeting was kind of fun and exciting. All week prior to this I had been wanting to know When. When does the big stuff start? When will I have a timeline and be able to plan for things like time off work, daily injections, a temporary end to my running life? Finally I had Some of those questions answered!

We walked into the office and found on the desk 3 sets of syringes, fake medicine and fake skin. The big focus of this appointment was to learn how to give myself injections. I'll be giving myself a shot every morning and night for up to a couple of weeks! I learned how to mix my nightly dose together and how to adjust the dosage for morning shots. I'm surprisingly not scared of this at all! The crazy thing is we discussed how I will be on birth control pills again. Doesn't that seem so counter productive? Except when you actually listen to the WHY it makes total sense!

Before long it was time to pause this meeting and down a handful of ibuprofen. I'm NOT a pill taker, so to send so many down my throat was odd....but it was for a good cause! We were escorted down the hall to an exam room where it was all about to get really real!

For the first time ever, I had company for an exam of the lady type variety! Man Friend got a seat in the corner by my head, back row for him ... only my doctor gets the front row viewing! Once alone I forced MF to close his eyes so I could get into the all too familiar wardrobe of a doctor sheet and stirrups. Not familiar for me was having an ultrasound monitor right there. One monitor was for the doctor (as shown in the photo) and then there is another that I can see when assuming the position and trying to take deep, calming breaths.

So the exam! The point was a test run of the actual embryo transfer day. She wanted to make sure we would have no complications with getting a catheter through my cervix into my uterus. Either I calmed myself a lot or those ibuprofen kicked in, but I couldn't tell a thing happened. It was so quick and easy .... I'm not at all nervous about embryo transfer day now, other than the knowledge of another round of the completely agonizing two week wait ahead of me. 

I had learned my blood test results from last week came back great, I just need to take vitamin D now. Woo!! And my eggs/ovaries are great and younger than my biological age. Thank you for that, Mom! Our next step then was to do my first ever ultrasound.  Thirty-six years old, and now I've seen my uterus, as much as one can on a screen. And now I present that to you, you're welcome. Looking at that photo, it is where that thick black line is. This photo was taken while my uterus was being filled with a saline solution to make sure I am all healthy with nothing that could complicate implantation or a pregnancy. I passed! This part wasn't uncomfortable at all.  The next part got a little iffy feeling. My doctor was able to show me my ovaries and the follicles that will be swelling and preparing for extraction when I'm giving myself the shots. She could actually count each follicle, it was so cool! The other ovary was more difficult. We could visibly see where the next egg would be releasing. It was a huge black circle, which ended up obstructing her view a bit. That's when it started feeling uncomfortable. I just really tried to take deep breaths and focus on relaxing, trusting that she would take good care of me. And she did!

It was crazy how quickly this whole process was, and its one I imagine I will be used to because next month I will be getting these every other day, and then possibly daily. The last official step was to meet with Lori, the nurse, again and basically sign our lives away saying we are consenting and approving/disapproving various elements of the IVF process. 

I chose to meet with the finance officer one more time, which was a good idea. We learned some other things which caused us to change our plan of attack with those daily ultrasounds. So before heading out for good we tracked down Melisa, our coordinator. She got absorbed in my calendar, giving us ideas about when the shots will start, when the BIG shot will happen, ultrasounds, egg retrieval, and the big day of the embryo transfer and pregnancy test day possibilities. A lot of things will be happening, but being able to finally see it on my calendar, albeit a guesstimate, it helps. Looks like I will still get to do the Shamrock Half Marathon, but Corvallis is definitely a no-go at this point. And I pretty much begged for permission to WALK the Rock'n'Roll half marathon weekend 10K race so I could still participate. I'm not going down without a fight!!

So for now it is a waiting game. I told Man Friend I feel like a college girl or slutty high school chick --- I'm anxiously waiting for my period. That will be the start! I have to call Lori, make the big "I have a period" announcement and then my calendar will be made and prescription pack of needles prepared. Ugh, hurry up March!

IVF Officially Begins!
Consultation &
Blood work
Shopping to hide a bumpFirst ultra sound
Genetic consult
Learning shots!

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