IVF #2: Upping the Ante

I’m a night owl. I’m definitely not a morning person. There is a direct correlation between my ability to get out of bed in the morning, and my level of excitement regarding the activity that is waking me. Take this morning, for instance. I knew I was getting out of bed early for blood work (my least favorite of ALL needles…but more on that later) and a transvaginal ultrasound. Neither of these tasks are appealing. So I hit the snooze button a few times, and eventually dragged my groggy self out of bed and on my way to the doctor’s office.

The interior of our new clinic looks like a posh hotel. Complete with swanky decor, modern furniture, and sparkly chandeliers we’re reminded of how much we’re paying just to be there. People travel in from all over the world to our clinic (which makes me feel pretty reassured about our selection) so the waiting room is a constant buzz of varying languages and brewing coffee. I honestly love the energy of the place. It makes me feel so much more at ease than our last clinic. There’s definitely still a little awkwardness, as I imagine you feel in any fertility waiting room. There are times when I see people sitting across from me, and I’d love to chat with them. We’re all there for similar reasons, wouldn’t it be nice to feel a sense of community? Maybe I’m the only one who feels this way (it sure seems so!).

After some great people watching, a nurse called me back for blood work. Let’s just call it like it is: I’m a sissy when it comes to blood work. I never complain, and I refuse to make a big deal out of it, I’m just not a fan. I’ve always averted my eyes when a nurse comes at me with a needle and a tourniquet. After all the needles I’ve stabbed myself with over the course of IVF, you wouldn’t think this would be an issue. There’s something different about putting liquid IN the body, versus taking liquid OUT. Today, I decided I’m going to conquer this fear. So I forced myself to watch the nurse as he performed the veinipuncture and blood collection, and guess what? It really wasn’t that bad. In fact, it made me wonder why I’ve been so afraid of blood work all along.

Our meeting with Dr. W was fairly brief. He performed the ultrasound, and I didn’t ask any questions. Part of me wanted to know how many follicles appear to be growing. The other part of me is worried to get my hopes up. I’d honestly rather just find out post egg retrieval so I know for sure. Dr. W said everything is coming along quite nicely, so for now, I’ll take that as a great sign.

We met with a nurse to go over changes in my medication. There are no changes with my Omnitrope, so I’ll continue administering the .25ml/day. However, starting tonight I’ll be doubling my Menopur dosage in the injection I named the Breaking Bad shot.That’s now four vials of Bravelle, two vials of Menopur for a grand total of 450iu of medication going into one shot! I can already barely inject this shot without feeling faint, and now I’m doubling the medication that makes it sting like hell? Oh, I’m super excited. Additionally, starting tomorrow I’ll be adding another shot, Ganirelix to the daily regimen, which I’ve read from other bloggers “stings like a bee.” Seriously, the things we’re willing to do, right? I hope this time it will all be worth it. ❤

IVF #2: Feeling the Love…and the Burn!

The gate has officially dropped on our second cycle, and we are in the full swing of stimulation injections. Today is day two of stims, and this time around my injections are much more intense than they were in our first cycle.

For now, I have two injections per day (our doctor will likely add more on Friday). First, I take .25ml of Omnitrope, which is a growth hormone that is sometimes prescribed to patients with previous failed IVF cycles. I administer this dose with an insulin needle, and it is super easy, and nearly painless.

The itty, bitty Omnitrope

My next shot is a little more complex. I feel like I should be on an episode of Breaking Bad as I mix up a pretty potent concoction of 300iu of Bravelle and 75iu of Menopur with 2ml of diluent. This one is not as kind to administer. Thanks to the Menopur it burns the whole time I’m injecting it.  It also leaves my stomach feeling pretty sore around the injection site even by the next day.

The big Daddy shot

I’m reacting well to the medicine so far. I felt a little lightheaded throughout the day today, but otherwise normal. I walked the short distance from our house to the nearest grocery store this evening, and I could already feel my ovaries were a little sore. I can’t wait to see what I’m going to feel like in a week or so. 😉

In other news, one of my best friends did something so nice that really lifted my spirits. I’ve been talking to her a lot about my feelings on IVF and life in general. She’s an awesome listener, and is incredibly empathetic.Today we got together for lunch at a cute new café in town and she gave me a gift. I opened the wrapping to find an adorable handmade journal.

The cover of my new journal–this girl gets it!

My friend’s grandmother gave her a gratitude journal when she was a young girl, and encouraged her to jot down the things she felt grateful for. The act of recording her gratitude made a profound impact on her life, and she still keeps a journal today. The journal my friend gave me already has some awesome quotes on the pages, and she left me some blank pages to fill with my own gratitude or inspiration. I’m an avid quote pinner on Pinterest, so I will have a blast transcribing my most-loved quotes onto the pages of my new journal. I love the quotes my friend picked out, so I will end with some of my favorites.

  

💗

Forgiveness

I’ve wasted a lot of time and energy holding grudges against insensitive people. Many people who learn of our infertility (which we’ve started opening up about a little more lately) ask at least one or two questions that frankly hurt a lot. If they’re not asking hurtful questions, they’re probably substituting with a really dismissive, unempathetic comment or two.  

In the previous week’s and months I’ve answered these (insensitive) questions calmly, but made a mental note that the person is not kind, empathetic, or someone I feel like talking to about infertility. “Yes, I’m familiar with the concept of adoption, and we have thought about it. However, we are not ready for that step yet, and still have other treatment options available to us before we decide to go down that road.”

Or, I’ve listened to their comments, while politely rebutting their claims, and gently trying to correct their views. “It’s wonderful that your sister’s husband’s cousin who was struggling with infertility became pregnant on her own without IVF. I understand the doctors told her it was impossible for that to happen, and you think perhaps this applies to our situation, too. Unfortunately, with my husband’s condition, the ‘good, old-fashioned way’ isn’t ever going to get us there.”

  

This morning, I faced my fears and met up with a pregnant friend I’ve been adamantly    avoiding. When she asked how I was doing, instead of glossing over it, I decided to be transparent. I told her this has been the hardest year of my life. I would’ve loved a little empathy, but instead this prompted the adoption question. I felt myself hiding my anger as I gave her canned adoption response listed above. Side note: I feel like people offer up adoption without realizing it is not a solution for infertility, but a solution for being childless. This frustrates me to no end, but I digress…

This interaction with my friend led me to realize, I can’t be upset with people for being insensitive if I’m not going to TELL them their prodding is inappropriate. So, I’m setting a goal for myself. From now on, I intend to tell people when they’ve crossed the line. I’ll do this as politely as possible, but make it clear that the subject is not up for open discussion or input.

I also realized I’ve wasted a lot of energy being upset with people for saying the wrong things. I want to work on this because I know holding grudges isn’t good for me, or those I love. Most people don’t know how to be truly empathic. People love offering advice. Infertile people need empathy, not advice. I’ve been really let down by expecting too much from others. Going forward, I plan to have lower expectations, draw clearer boundaries, and have greater patience. 

IVF #2: Here We Go Again!

Blood draw this morning (hence the pretty, color-coordinated bandage) gave us the OK to start!

We knew it was coming, but somehow this second round really snuck up on us. We’ve been out of town for about a month (Chris was on business, and I tagged along), so our minds were pleasantly elsewhere. I feel like we are finally starting to get closure on the horrendous toll our first IVF cycle took on us. After everything we’ve been through for the past couple of months, I know a fresh start is a good thing.  

Speaking of fresh starts, so far I’m impressed with the new clinic we’re using. I did a drop in for a blood draw today to check my estradiol and progesterone levels. I walked in the door, signed myself in, and a nurse called me back in less than two minutes. I was out of the office and on my way in no time at all. They haven’t charged us anything yet, either. I was totally willing to take out the wallet and fork over the dough today, but they were super nice and said “No need to pay today, your blood draw will be included with your cycle.” Well, alrighty then.

My nurse called my medicine in to the pharmacy in a timely fashion (I didn’t have to remind her once). These details probably sound like very basic things to most IVF patients, but our last clinic was not nearly as courteous. It’s really nice to be pleasantly surprised so far this time around. 

In order to have (hopefully) better success this cycle, we’ve both been on some supplements for the past couple months. Chris has been taking Clomid and Naturally Smart to stimulate his sperm production. I’ve been taking prenatals, CoQ10, DHA, and folic acid. Tonight I start these bad boys:  

Dun dun DUNNN…birth control pills!

I should be starting stims at the end of this month. If I said I was looking forward to another round of stims, I would be lying to you. I still haven’t lost the weight I gained from our last round. I’ve been kindly referring to myself as “skinny-fat.” In other words, I’m a petite person who looks like she could probably stand to tone up and shed a few pounds. Am I going to stress over a little vanity weight? No. Will I be upset if I gain more? Likely. If I have a baby from this will I really care? Not a chance.  

About two months ago (on the day we found out our cycle failed), I deleted my Facebook account. It has been INCREDIBLY liberating. People keep asking me why I did it. The honest answer is I was sick and tired of baby announcements. I’m also completely fed up with Facebook being treated like a digital baby book–it’s like all baby pictures all the time. I’ll be the first person to admit I’m crazy-jealous when I see those pictures. But I also think it’s really excessive. If I’m friends with someone on Facebook, I don’t want to see 250 pictures a week of their newborn infant, as cute as he or she is. Some people really don’t know when to stop. So it’s nice to be away from that. When people ask me why I got off Facebook, I’ve been giving them a variety of reasons. Depending upon how close I am with the person, and whether or not they’re guilty of the aforementioned atrocities will determine whether I’m honest with my answer. 😉 Really though, Facebook was a waste of time, and let’s be honest, I was on there way too much. I’d rather see people face-to-face, and have real relationships with my friends. 

Another random musing, I find it interesting that it’s effortless to be happy for certain pregnant people, and really difficult to be happy for others. For me, I find it really varies upon the person, and how they approach the topic, along with whether or not I deem them to be “worthy” (subjective much? Yeah, I know). If people announce they’re expecting and they’re not married, and have an “oops,” I find that pretty difficult to reconcile. If they’ve been married for a few years, are responsible people, and break the news to me in a sensitive way, then typically I’m pretty cool with it. It doesn’t mean I don’t have my jealous moments, but I figure that’s normal. 

Overall, I feel like I’m finally starting to heal from our failed cycle. I moved on from feeling emotionally dead, and past the intense heartbreak that followed. Now I can go out in public and see parents and children together and not feel like my heart is about to burst. I’m not 100%, though. I am still finding it difficult to see baby bumps, and infants still pull on my heart strings. The scared part of me wonders if we never have a child, if these feelings of jealousy and hurt will ever go away. The hopeful part of me is holding tightly to the idea that this may be the last IVF cycle I ever have to do. 🍃