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

Monday, August 31, 2015

Status Check #1

March 24, 2015  At 4am my alarm was going off. At 4:45am my mom and I were on the road heading north to OHSU for my first status check. This drive north was a bit different in that we had to watch the clock and pull over so I could give myself my daily Follistim injection. We had to laugh, I felt like such a junkie!

Just as I did with my Suppression Check, I arrived at my appointment way ahead of time. This is proving to be a great plan, as again I was in the car to head home before my appointment should have even started! Check in was a breeze, and after hardly any wait at all I was dragging my mom back with me behind the almighty fertility door. 

First up was my blood work. Before even sitting down I was woozy from the fertility meds. I'm noticing the dizziness is more of a lightheaded feeling as opposed to my Meniere's vertigo. Happily my cane doesn't discriminate and helps me walk no matter what. So in the seat I go, pulling out my left arm for this morning's blood draw. The nurse hadn't even started taking blood and I was already queasy. By the time it was over, which was very brief, I wasn't seeing straight. The wooziness had increased enough so that it appeared to be visible to the attendants. Without deciding, I was given some apple juice and crackers and forced to sit for a while. I must admit it did help. They said they might start having me lay down for my blood draws from now on and want me to be sure to eat and drink something before coming, even if it is as simple as a banana.

Once I was able, we moved down the hall to the ultrasound room. My mom was pretty nervous and shocked when I told her where to sit. The seat looks formal, but it's the visitor seat by my head! I gave her specific instructions when getting my skirt off that she was to close her eyes and/or turn her head, and NO looking at my crack. Dr. Amato arrived quickly and before I knew it my mom was telling the room how she DID see my crack!

The ultrasound was so easy today, as usual. But this time I couldn't feel a thing. Usually I can feel when they go to the right ovary, but not today. My mom got a little emotional and teary watching all of it, leaving me to take my own ultrasound pictures. In the photo below I've circled my ovary. The dark circles inside are some of my enlarged follicles that will only continue to grow before retrieval. I felt very excited when she was able to easily county 10 follicles on the right side. I missed hearing how many were on the left, but overall she was happy with what she was seeing. A happy doctor makes for a happy patient!


On the way out of OHSU I had to sit down. I thought the floor was moving, but no, that was me being dizzy. That continued for the rest of the day and the bloating continued to increase. I guess this is what I am in store for, but I am excited and willing to feel all of these things if it is helping us get to our final goal!

In the car I got the phone call. I didn't even have a chance to get antsy waiting for it! We may have spent some time in downtown Portland and Woodburn shopping!  Lori, the nurse, was as cheerful as ever, and I swear she is contagious. But this call was all about good news, so I couldn't help but feel giddy and excited. The doctor says my body is responding great to the medication and my ovaries are progressing at the same pace, which is a good thing. Phew! My medication did get backed down a little bit for the morning meds, which is easy enough for me to do. At the clinic Dr. Amato thought they might want me back on Friday, depending on my blood work. The blood work came in and sorry Friday, but I'll be back up there Thursday morning for status check number 2!  This is getting quite exciting!!

MARCH 2015
SundayMondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturday
1234567
Official day 1!!!Phone call to OHSU Grandpa :(Prescriptions set!Protocol arrived
to get it started!in the mail
Birth Control PillsGot my protocol
891011121314
Prescriptions arrive
15161718192021
Last birth control pillSuppression checkInjections begin
22232425262728
Status check #1Status check #2
293031

Side Effects? Hell YES!

March 23, 2015  Holy beached whale, Batman. That's what I feel like. I am done with my first three days of injections now and side effects? Uh, yeah! Last night I really became aware of them and today they have only worsened. I say "worsened" but I am paying for this, and happily I am so far able to laugh with myself about it.

Last night I was watching Gimme Shelter on Netflix. Any time a baby was mentioned or shown... tears. Okay normal me would NOT have cried at a single thing in this movie. To top it off, the song for the credits is the song we are going to have played at Grandpa's memorial. Perfect. That actually came on when I had made my way downstairs to participate in, as my best friend declared it, Nesting! Oh sure it's too early, but that's sure how it felt and looked. 10 o'clock at night and I am moving and redecorating furniture, dusting, vacuuming and doing dishes? Uh, yeah. 

That brings me to today. I had to get picked up for work because the dizziness caused by the meds mixed with my Meniere's made it very clear I should NOT be driving a vehicle. My shots went just as smooth as can be and I thought maybe today would be normal as we were getting to work. The dizziness only increased; thank goodness for the cane! Then I realized that unlike normal days where I'm freezing, I was warm. It dawned on me that last night I had the house at 66 degrees yet I was sweating and debating turning on a fan. Well hello, body temperature issues!

I was able to cool off.... by washing my hands a thousand times today with my constant trips to the bathroom. Sure I was drinking a little more than normal, but the ratio of drinking to peeing was NOT equal. I'll probably have to go again before I finish typing this.

I had another point but forgot.... which reminds me of another point. I looked it up - and apparently women going through IVF do have their own form of pregnancy brain. And mine is working in full gear already! To top that off, I am beyond clumsy. My morning started with me jamming my foot into the side of my shower and hasn't changed much.

Oh, I remembered! The bloat. Oh my gosh, so I'm only 3 days in, with no idea how many days I will go making my ovarian follicles bigger, but already I am feeling mega bloated. My first two days were at home, so I was always keeping myself comfortable. Sitting upright at a work desk in a work chair, totally different story! I had to keep leaning back just to take some deep breaths and feel like I was stretching out a bit. It was easy to do since I was in the bathroom the whole time.

One moment that I was at my desk my mom came through searching out crackers. I offered up cracker sandwiches and granola bars. She was happy to take a granola bar. As she walked away I thought to myself, "how nice that I was able to share that with her and make her tummy feel better." First off, who has such sappy thoughts over a snack food? And second, who almost bursts out into tears over it??? Yeah, that was ME! Fortunately I caught myself and immediately had to laugh about that one.

And then the other body feelings.... I'm tired a lot. No biggie. The strange stuff is the weird sensations happening inside. There is tingling, followed by mild pelvic discomfort. It doesn't feel like cramps. I just feel it. It is a strange thing that I can't find the words to describe. But mostly I feel like a prize heifer; stick a ribbon on me and auction me off to a butcher!

With all of these crazy things going on inside of me, I HAD to tell somebody. As it stood up until last night, only my mom, dad, husband and BFF had to hear about this. So yesterday I told Tara (of Ragnar, Goofy and Dumbo Double Dare fame) what was going on. It's kind of fun to have a girl that's had a baby and not freaked out about IVF to talk to. Together we got to laugh at my crying over a damn granola bar. Seriously, I'm so mortified. This is just the start and already this is going on? Wooo. Get out your party hats, this could be a wild ride!

MARCH 2015
SundayMondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturday
1234567
Official day 1!!!Phone call to OHSU Grandpa :(Prescriptions set!Protocol arrived
to get it started!in the mail
Birth Control PillsGot my protocol
891011121314
Prescriptions arrive
15161718192021
Last birth control pillSuppression checkInjections begin
22232425262728
Status check #1
293031

Friday, August 28, 2015

IVF Injections Begin

March 21, 2015  And it has begun! Before going to bed last night I did a double check of my morning Follistim injections in my mini-fridge. I took the cartridge out of the box last night to have it easy to grab in the morning from the refrigerator. I was trying to think ahead! I had the instructions for review on my computer screen just in case. My alarm was set, and I was excited. Yeah, I forgot to let my phone have any volume and never heard it. Fortunately when I have something important to do my body just wakes me up anyway.

My pets thought it was breakfast time, but they were so very wrong. I had my empty "pen" out, alcohol swab, the Follistim, and the needle. It was then that I decided I better get out the instructions to be safe since it had been over a month between now and learning all of this. I was glad I did that, and was ready for the injection! I turned my dosage dial to 100, swabbed a lower, right section of my tummy and grabbed the pen. "Here I go, I'm jabbing a needle into myself," is pretty much what I thought. My left hand pinched about an inch of skin for me to put the needle into. I held the pen like a pencil, as per the instructions, and boom, in it went!

I had absolutely NO pain. Heck I didn't even feel it at all! As I pushed the end of the pen I could feel the Follistim going in a little, mostly due to the cooler temperature of it I imagine. Afterward I cleaned the injection area again and that did sting. That's it. All that mental work and just a little sting!

Around 12 hours later I was back at it, this time with the Menopur. For this medication I actually mix two powder vials with one liquid, then inject with a normal syringe. This one I was more nervous about. Not nervous about the needle, but about being sure to not mess up with my preparation of the meds. This is all a big deal. It's not like I'm experimenting with new eye shadow or something. So the pressure I was feeling was rather huge!

My alarm went off at 6:15pm and it was time to just suck it up. I took my laptop with me again to my designated injection area. This time I really stared and read over the instructions. Too much pressure!! In the end it wasn't as hard as I was thinking.  Considering I'll be doing this every day, I'm not worried at all about it anymore.

The evening injection is Menopur. Basically I take this big needle off of the syringe. I replace it with a small plastic cap that I then use to mix 1 vial of a liquid solution and 2 vials of the Menopur. That was the intimidating part. At OHSU it was fun to do since it was all make believe. Real life is much different!  I felt like it took me forever to do the mixing, but once that was done I was prepared for the last step. I removed the Q-cap and put on a much smaller needle than the one that came on the syringe. Phew!!

For some reason I felt more timid sticking the needle in than I did this morning. Perhaps that is due to being more awake than at 6:30 in the morning on a Saturday! I cleaned the lower, left side of my tummy that I was going to inject and went for it. At first I think I was being too gingerly, so then I had to just go for it and push to get all the meds out and into my body. The needle almost felt a little stuck when taking it out; gee that's not nerve-wracking at all! Only the tiniest droplet of blood came out on my skin, which disappeared as soon as I did the final swab.

So that is that! My first day is complete. I don't know how many more days to go, but I have 9 days worth of injections left.... so we'll see!


MARCH 2015
SundayMondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturday
1234567
Official day 1!!!Phone call to OHSU Grandpa :(Prescriptions set!Protocol arrived
to get it started!in the mail
Birth Control PillsGot my protocol
891011121314
Prescriptions arrive
15161718192021
Last birth control pillSuppression checkInjections begin
22232425262728
Status check #1
293031