Tuesday, January 17th, 2017 It’s STIMULATION DAY 1!!!
Before I get into the particulars I would like to take you back to my injection teach yesterday. Just in case I ended up on the floor when trying to do my injections, my mother came with me to listen to the instructions. (Not like she would be of much assistance, as she has a light stomach as well)
My nurse Laurie escorted us to the OTHER side of the office- the side where the lab is and procedures take place. I have to say my doctor’s office is quite nice. There’s a kitchen where patients may help themselves to various snacks, drinks, and coffee, a comfortable waiting room, and each examination room is outfitted with “moonlighting” and light insets with pictures of nature such as clouds and trees.
Back to the OTHER SIDE…
Laurie had requested I bring one of each medication with me to my teaching session. I packed up my cooler with my Follistim, Pregnyl, Cetrotide, Leuprolide, and Menopur. Additionally I brought all of my needles so I knew which ones to use with each drug. Although Laurie kept telling me that all the information I needed was on the paper she was giving me I took my own notes on a memo pad- such the eternal student. I feel like it always helps me remember things when I “translate” them in my own “language”.
I’d be doing three shots a night- 2 shots of 300 IUs of Follistim and 150 IUs of Menopur (which I hear REALLY stings!) Since I was taking such a high dose of the Follistim I needed to break it up into two injections. I was thrilled I got to poke myself an extra time!
I guess I haven’t actually addressed this part…but I’m scared to DEATH to give myself the injections. I don’t want to do it. I’m sure it’s not something that is on the top of most people’s lists but I REALLY don’t want to do it. I sometimes wonder if women who are completing the stimulation cycle and then doing IVF have a different attitude towards the drugs, as they are looking at the instant gratification- the possibility and hope that within the next few weeks they will become pregnant and this time next year they may in fact be holding their little baby in their arms!
Me?! I’ll just have my vials of hope stored away somewhere cold and pray for the best. I know that I am lucky to even have THIS as on option. Maybe in a couple years I will have someone to conceive a baby with OR be prepared to complete the process on my own with donor sperm.
So the instructions for the injections seem mildly scary, especially for someone who is not used to using needles and mixing powders with solutions. The ONLY thing that really threw me for a loop was the trigger shot.
A shot in my behind. A REALLY LONG NEEDLE IN MY BUTT. Intramuscular.
And…don’t forget to make sure you don’t hit a blood vessel.
(insert terror emoji)
How I was going to do this by myself?! The woman in this video must surely have a muzzle on, or the sound if COMPLETELY off because I’m CERTAIN I will let out some kind of terrifying sound like someone is cutting me into itty bitty pieces when that SWORD punctures my skin!
I’ll leave that to figure out when it happens.
I told Laurie I would have to work the next morning and since the instructions stated that patients should arrive between 7-8:30 the next morning for blood work and an ultrasound, she suggested I arrive at 6:30. There would be 40 women completing their cycle during this time.
WOW! Definitely not alone…
Although I would prefer NO ONE to have to ever go through this process just to be able to do something women are SUPPOSED to do, it does somehow help to know you’re not the only one.
Following the appointment filled with needle anxiety, my mother offered a way to soothe my worries- hot dogs and cheese fries!
And now back to stimulation day 1….
My alarm went off at 4:30, as I had to stop at my parent’s house before my visit to the doctor. (Yes in the midst of my own situation my parents were having some health problems of their own) At this point my anxiety levels were not too bad about my situation, but this would only be blood work and an ultrasound.
When I arrived at the office at approximately 6:27 I was surprised to see 4 other women (some with their partners) waiting in front of the doctor’s office door!
These women do NOT mess around. They had their folders clutched tightly to their chest, surely filled with all of the pertinent information and paperwork they had received from the doctor up until this point. I too had received a welcome folder with some packets filled with IVF information but quite honestly; I have no idea where it even is at this point.
A couple of the women were talking and I quickly realized that this was not their first rodeo. It was clear from the conversation that they had already completed a cycle in the past. I’m not sure whether or not they were successful tries, if they had completed an IVF cycle, or an IUI cycle. But I admired their willingness to share their stories with strangers essentially. It’s not always easy to talk about your struggles. But perhaps since there is a commonality among the group, there was a certain level of comfort and understanding in the air. I really appreciated it.
Then I suddenly realized something…
This room was FILLED with possibilities! Possibilities for happiness or heartbreak, success or defeat, joy or pain. Surely we have all experienced a fluctuation of most of these feelings throughout our own journeys. I just couldn’t help but think which of us would be on the statistical side of success and which towards failure? My desire was for all of us to be winners. Please let all of us succeed. Me and my group this morning. My girls. Please God let this work for us.
Once the nurses opened the door at 6:30 we all signed in and were seated in the waiting area. At this point there were 7 women, 5 of us alone and two with their partners. My mind immediately started racing with curiosity about each one, and as more and more people entered the office it became clear that yes, anyone can be effected by infertility; white or black, old or young, thick or thin, rich or poor, single or married. Although there were many apparent differences between us, we all knew we had one thing in common.
I had so many questions swirling around in my head about each one of them. After examining their left fingers I wondered how many of the ones who had a ring absent simply left them at home, and how many of them may have been looking at me thinking the same things. One patient next to me was definitely some sort of businesswoman. She came in with her brief case and whipped out a computer to work on while we were waiting. Some others came in dressed for the day and others were in gym clothes. Infertility doesn’t care how pretty you are, or how smart you may be, how perfect your hair is. This can happen to anyone.
Most of the room was fixated on their phones to pass the time. Gone are the days when people read the magazines that are left out for entertainment, watch the local newscast on the TV, or even carry out a conversation with the person next to them.
Except for two women by the door. By this time it was past 7 and there were about 20 women waiting in the room. I had already had my blood taken and was asked to return to the waiting room for an examination room to become free when I started to eavesdrop on a couple women talking to each other. One had just arrived and was commenting on the number of people in the waiting room. It’s not usually this crowded. How long would we have to wait? They then began to discuss their experiences with the doctor. One woman began to comment on how this was her first time doing IVF but that she had once before tried IUI annnnnnnddd….
I was called in for my ultrasound.
After I undressed from the waist down, I went over the questions I wanted to ask the doctor in my head. Although this is something I practice doing I generally forget the things I wanted to ask after conversation starts rolling. I figured my time with the doctor would be brief as there were many other hopeful women waiting in the other room for their turn.
My doctor entered with Laurie and his same jovial disposition, commenting on how much he loves my hair, as usual. He began saying how he wanted his wife to dye her blonde hair red, as she had done once before. In turn I told him how difficult it is for people to hold on to red dye if they are not natural redheads.
After my examination he stated that everything looked great and began going over my injection instructions. I told him I was very worried about the BIG one. The TRIGGER. The Pregnyl. JEEEEEEZ that needle was thick and long! I wasn’t sure I could do it myself and my mother was not willing to help me with that one at all!
He assured me that there was nothing to worry about and if worst came to worst I could come to his house that night and he would do it for me. He then told me a story about a patient who was also worried about that shot and met him in the parking lot of a local restaurant to give the shot. I believe they would have had quite a bit of explaining to do had a police officer rolled up on a car where a woman had her pants pulled down to a man inserting a large needle with drugs.
His offer did relax me a bit but I wasn’t quite sure how serious he was. Maybe I could let his wife in on my own personal hair dye mixture I make so she could achieve the color her husband wanted. Kill two birds with one stone…
I was out of the office and at work on time. I am anticipating more patients to arrive earlier on Friday after having experienced the wait this morning. I will have to up my early arrival game to 6 AM to get to work on time again for the next round of testing….
Please say a prayer for me tonight as I embark on my injection journey.