Let It Go

My final check up following my egg retrieval was February 14th.
It’s been about two weeks since my procedure. As I began to feel better in the days after, I started spotting. I should have expected my cycle approxiametely 2-3 weeks after my retrieval, but of course I started spotting about a week after. My period came HEAVY with lots of bad cramping, a bit different from what I usually experienced. I attributed this to having skipped my period since late November, as this was part of the retrieval process. However it only lasted about two days.

When I entered the office I was asked to take a seat in the waiting area. Shortly after the billing secretary approached me with some papers she wanted to discuss with me. She had inquired with my insurance company to see if they would cover my IVF procedure utilizing my oocytes. She had just received the results of the request and they had stated that they could not make a decision because there was no semen analysis submitted.

This was a problem for me, as I obviously did not have any sperm in my life at the moment. She was pretty sure that this would be a deal breaker for insurance coverage since I wouldn’t be able to provide evidence of NEED without it and they wouldn’t be willing to pay for IVF unless I completed 6 IUIs which I would have to buy sperm for.

Guys, 6 IUIs is just too much. That would be taxing on my body as well as my time. She said if I were to pay out of pocket it would be around $5-6k. I figured at this point it would be easiest to do that, but with the way things were going I could change my mind at any moment.

I also was a bit insulted that the insurance company would feel that I lacked in the NEED department. I NEEDed help! I was out of eggs. My train had left the station. I was trying to make this work on my lone teacher salary. Who was in more NEED than me?!

The secretary said she would submit my lab results and the number of eggs I was able to get from my retrieval and take a chance to see if this would be enough proof for them to cover my procedure. (hey, you never know)

After waiting a pretty long time I was called into an exam room, although I didn’t think this was going to be any type of exam. The doctor finally came in and asked me to get on the table to feel my stomach. We soon began to talk about the REAL reason why I was there…

What do I do now?

A couple weeks ago I had this FIRE inside me, longing to use my eggs as quickly as possible. As time has gone on I have settled a bit and realized it would probably be best to wait a little, but I wasn’t certain what would be the BEST thing to do and was hoping the doctor could steer me towards the right answer.

I told him about my fears; that I would go to use my eggs in a little over a year and that none of them would work out and then I would be in an even worse position than I am now- no eggs, no baby, and $8-14K poorer.

As I’ve said before, my doctor does not sugar coat anything. He gives it to me straight and I really appreciate that about him.

He explained a few things to me like, doing another cycle for retrieval was not a great idea. It would cost a lot of money and my results would not be any better. He was pretty surprised that I was able to get as many as I did.

I was at the end. He attributed my short, irregular period to the fact that I was in the beginning stages of menopause and that my producing days were long gone. Looooong gone in the past…during the days when I was never trying to have a baby because it wasn’t the right TIME.

Boy, I sure do wish I could talk to my younger self. Inform me that there would come a day when I may not be able to have a baby and to not be so careful avoiding the chance of getting pregnant.

At that moment I’m sure the feeling of despair was not something I was able to hide very well. I’ve never been in such a vulnerable situation with a virtual stranger. As I tried my best to hold back my tears for the millionth time, the doctor offered me a piece of advice.

Not as my doctor, but simply as a regular person.

He suggested that I live.

I had done the best that I could for my future self. He told me I should be proud of what I had done, but mulling over it at that time would not help me. I needed to stop encompassing my life with the thought of getting pregnant, being pregnant, having a baby of my own, how or if I would be able to do either of these things. Just stop thinking about all of it and live.

And in that moment I had realized that was exactly what I had been doing. I was drowning in my infertility. I was soaking each day, filling it with worries, uncertainty, sadness, deficiency, loss, inadequateness. So many negative thoughts. So much pain.

I simply needed to let it go.

Although I was hesitant to accept this piece of advice since it had become such a huge part of my life, I knew he was right.

I needed to regroup. Get back to some sort of normalcy. Socialize. Spend time doing things for myself.

And when I left that appointment that is exactly what I intended to do.

It may not be easy. Life sometimes gets in the way. I’m sure I’ll sometimes get drawn back to overthinking about the Lucky 7, but if I ever wanted a chance to use them I had to remove myself from obsessing about them.

So, I’ll be taking a break from writing so often. I still plan on revisiting my oocytes this time next year. I will continue to write my story then, maybe even insert a few entries in between. 

This is just a short intermission. I have to take this break for me to explore the possibilities life may have for me. It’s definitely what is best for me and the Lucky 7.

I will still follow the stories of those women who have inspired me in my infertility journey, and still welcome your thoughts and feelings about mine. 

 

Lady of the Day! 

This has been quite a turbulent ride. I have had so many ups and downs, it makes it difficult to celebrate the victories because I know I can easily get knocked on my butt by some unwelcome news.

The next few nights the shots went oooook. I really imagined that everything would begin to get easier. That as I gave myself the shots my body would become used to it and the experience would make me invulnerable to the pain. But the further into this I get, not only am I extremely sore but I can feel the drugs sitting in my stomach. It’s a pain that is difficult to describe. I would actually refer to it more as an extreme discomfort rather than actual PAIN.

Since I got good news from my doctor about my estradiol level increasing to 178 (ideal level is between 200-600) and that I should continue the stimulants, my spirits have been pretty high. The further I got into the process the less I was concerned with the bruising and soreness and the more I focused on my end result.

Additionally, I was able to get a sample of the Follistim (300 IUs) from my doctor’s office as well as a 900 IU cartridge that had been donated by another patient! Everything has been running so smoothly, everything seemed to be going my way, I was certain my appointment on Wednesday morning would have good news for me and my eggs.

I imagined my follicles grew a bit, maybe my estrogen would even grow to above 200!? I wanted to remain optimistic while not being overconfident. Although my follicles did not grow as quickly as I would have imagined, they were still growing and that’s all that matters. I have definitely learned that you absolutely cannot compare yourself to others while going through this, because no two people will have identical experiences. Although I have made it through part of the battle, there were still so many other hurdles to clear!

 I arrived FIRST again and waited for the other women to start arriving. One woman came in shortly after me and was very surprised to see that I had already arrived. We began to talk about our experiences at the last appointment. She had already began taking her antagonist. It discouraged me a little, but again there are so many varying factors in each situation. She was a bit older than me but was responding to the stimulants quite rapidly and began her antagonist on Monday.

I felt left behind.

In the dust.

I no longer felt the sensation of victory for simply arriving early.

The next woman arrived with her husband and she too had already started the antagonist. She had brought it with her so she could complete her injection around 6 AM like she did the previous morning.

0-2.

More women started arriving and everyone I spoke to had already began their morning injection. Although the doctor had instructed me to bring my injection with me that morning in case my follicles proved ready, I was still feeling quite discouraged. I was growing more and more anxious to see what my results would be that day.

A big topic of conversation within the group that morning was understanding. It’s not easy to speak about your experiences with others. It’s especially not easy to discuss your experiences with those who had no trouble at all becoming pregnant. I too did not realize the effect IVF and infertility could have on a person until I lived it. These women that go through this for years and years, round after round, it’s TRULY unbelievable. The courage needed to complete the process is something I never thought I had, until I got here. You just find it, and you do it.

I was called in first and after my blood work I waited a short time for the doctor to come in for my ultrasound. He quickly began rattling off measurements to the nurse. I have to say being probed is becoming more and more uncomfortable the further along I get into this process. I don’t believe there is any room for anything else in there besides my growing follicles.

Last time he did the ultrasound I didn’t receive the best news but I was still trying to be hopeful that I was finally responding to the drugs. Like I’ve said, everyone is different.

And I had. The doctor was so pleased with my progress. I had 6-7 follicles that were looking good. One was a little on the smaller side, but the rest were growing nicely!

It was time for me to begin my antagonist so I had brought my Cetrotide with me that day. The nurse showed me how to mix the powder with the solution and I injected it myself. She was a little unimpressed with my injection skills. She seemed to think it took me a little too long to complete the process. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be too impressed with her teaching skills, so we were even.

The nurse called later that day and gave me instructions to continue the stimulants and Cetrotide until I was told otherwise. Additionally, my estradiol level had increased from 178 to 519! WOWWWWW that was GREAT news! With levels like that it gave me hope that there were eggs in my follicles! I had to return the next morning as well.

Thursday morning I arrived around 5:20 AM and to my surprise there was a car in the lot!

The building opens at 5 AM but usually I am the first car in the patient parking lot. I was pretty sure I knew who the person was who arrived before me.

I guess I can’t ALWAYS be first. She had tried the day before by arriving a little earlier but I was still first. I will let her have this title for the day.

The conversation mostly showed that many of the women were doing well and possibly retrieving on Saturday. Some of the usuals did not show early and it made me worry for what their results may have been. Either they simply chose to come later, weren’t asked to come in that day, or had not made enough progress and stopped the cycle.

There should be some sort of notification so we know how our crew is doing!

I had brought my Cetrotide with me and gave myself the injection in the bathroom. The doors opened around 6:45 and I was called SECOND for my bloodwork and went into the SECOND ultrasound room. Luckily it still had the same light inserts so I laid back and waited for the doctor.

 He entered and instead of making a comment about my hair he said,

 “Here’s my lady of the day from yesterday!”

ME?!

I mean I know he was excited about my follicles growing but lady of the day?! There were 40 of us! To make such an impression was pretty serious!

I really tried to NOT let this title get to my head but I was suddenly filled with pride for myself and my budding follicles.

Something that I have tried to NOT do is let his happy, upbeat demeanor dictate his thoughts for my ultimate outcome.

I responded by saying I wasn’t aware I had made THAT much progress!

He has a way of whipping me back to reality pretty quickly…

He said that I just had made very UNEXPECTED progress. He wasn’t thinking that I would be responding to the stimulants the way I had. He assured me that there are still many steps we need to go through; having the follicles still grow, maintaining my estrogen level, seeing if there are in fact eggs in my follicles, retrieving them successfully, having them survive the retrieval, having them survive maturing more, freezing them, and having them survive the freeze. (and remember I still have no sperm for my baby so that’s a whole other situation)

Immediately, I was brought straight back down to Earth.

He continued with my ultrasound and said that everything was continuing to grow and that I should keep up my stimulants and antagonist and that they would see me in the morning for more testing.

Since I was going to be out of Follistim for the evenings injections, the secretary put in a request to my pharmacy for an override so that they could get the doses I needed to continue my cycle. In just two nights I had used most of the drugs that the office had given to me from the donation.

I was able to get 5 new doses from the pharmacy, more than enough to carry me through the remainder of my cycle. I was feeling extremely fortunate to have this afforded to me. There was no way I would be able to pay thousands of dollars for more Follistim. Since I was receiving extra I would hopefully be able to pay it forward and give back my extras to the office to help another patient in need.

This week literally has felt like a month. I am praying, praying, praying that tomorrow he tells me to trigger at night so I can have my retrieval on Sunday. I am eager to not be incredibly bloated and nauseated, and get back to yoga!

And hopefully figuring out when I’ll be able to use my little eggies…

 

 

Cake, Cake, Cake, Cake, Cake

I feel like I keep referring to many of my recent days as “the beginning”. On this day I started ANOTHER leg of my journey. Another beginning. The STIMULANT chapter.

I will save you the repetitiveness of expanding upon my feelings about administering myself the injections. All of the information I read and the videos of people in their bathrooms that I watched prepared me for the WORST! I was pretty certain the intolerable STING of the Menopur or the double shot dose of the Follistim was surely going to do me in.

I’d like to reach out to those that OVER-prepared me for this….

Because it HONESTLY was not even CLOSE to as bad as I built it up to be in my head!

That night I set my clean work area up in my bathroom. I also brought in my laptop so I could simultaneously watch the teaching video while I was going through each step.

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Menopur- two powders with one solution, mixing needle and administering needle
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Follistim with two caps for my two separate injections

My plan was to literally mirror each step as they progressed in the demonstration. So when it came time to stick myself with the needle, I just did it. No hesitation at all!
And it wasn’t that bad.

I actually would suggest this method for others.

I have to say when I think back to how I was actually not going to complete the process due to my fear of the injections I can’t believe how foolish a notion it was.

Each time I inject these magical medicines into my stomach I hope they shoot right towards my follicles and plump them up so I produce some AMAZING eggs for my retrieval next week! I feel so powerful and accomplished with each injection. I’m DOING THIS.

And it’s CAKE.

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My 3 injection spots from the first night. (The bandaids don’t make it better)
Speaking of cake….

When I was younger our maltese had diabetes. Each night we had to give her injections and I can distinctly recall her backing her behind into our legs when she saw us starting to get the needle ready, BECAUSE she KNEW she was going to get a treat after!

This gave me the brilliant idea to REWARD MYSELF each night after I completed my injections.

 

If I wasn’t bloated enough from the drugs alone, the weight I would gain from all the goodies would definitely show in my waistline.

Which, yes I am RIDICULOUSLY bloated. By the end of the day I am super uncomfortable with the way my body looks. I have been wearing stretch pants and potato sacks to work. But this is all worth when I have my retrieval!

If I have my retrieval?

I keep forgetting (whether or not its kind of purposely I’m not sure) that there may NOT be a retrieval. Although I talk to the drugs and direct them to plump up my eggs, maybe they’re not listening? Maybe this is my way of finding out I’m not supposed to be a mom? I’m just not sure but I knew when I went to the doctor on Friday I would for sure have more answers.

Since I cut it SUPER close with getting to work on time Tuesday, I decided to get to the doctor BEFORE 6 AM, as the patient who was first on Tuesday stated she had arrived at 6.(Don’t give away your secrets!)  I am an early morning person so this was no big deal to me. My group of women did not mess around. I was up for the challenge.

I arrived at the office around 5:45 and was pleasantly surprised when the elevator door opened and I was the FIRST one to arrive. A small victory.

Around 6 a woman and her husband arrived along with another patient. Slowly more and more people arrived and each time the elevator slid open, shocked faces appeared. The crowd grew and grew. While waiting we of course all engaged in conversation. About what other than what had brought us all to that very moment.

Our (in)fertility.

It is a little strange talking about being infertile when I never even got the chance to try to get pregnant naturally. The majority of the women that morning were in their 3rd or 4th cycle, as previous ones had been unsuccessful. These women were NOT here for an insurance policy, they were here for their family. The group was so diverse in age, race, and appearance. One woman discussed all of her failed IUIs, which seemed to be a very common theme. Apparently she had to complete IUIs before insurance would contribute towards her IVF. This was her 4th round. All prior unsuccessful. She said how the doctor kept referring to the fact that she was 40 (OLD for conceiving purposes). He suggested using a donor egg, but this was not a solution she was comfortable with.

Which led nicely into the woman next to her who was in for her Beta, as she had already been through 4 unsuccessful IVF cycles and was currently using a donor egg at the age of 42.

Most stories had one thing in common. Failure. Lots of failures.

And tens of thousands of dollars lost.

One woman said she was discussing this with her husband. How much is a baby worth? They had already spent over $30,000. What if this doesn’t work? When do you stop?

A multitude of failures that these women have gotten through and pressed on for their desired outcome- a baby of their own. Truly amazing.

Why does it have to be so HARD? I just sit there so sad for these women. Their stories literally break my heart. I can’t believe all that they have been through and they’re still able to talk about it. I suppose it has consumed most of their lives for an extended period of time. And just like with writing these posts, telling your story is a bit healing.

But I sometimes forget that this could be ME one day. I couldn’t begin to think about it. I just needed to focus on what was in front of me.

But I was just at the beginning…

The woman using a donor egg said she was not even telling most of her family about how she conceived her child (if the process worked). But here we are, face to face, perfect strangers, and sharing our most personal stories.

Did I say telling OUR stories, because actually I simply listened. I think I was so in awe of their strength and perseverance, I couldn’t tell them that I only started this process a few months ago, and that this was my first fertility doctor. Most women had years into the process and had tried a few doctors before this.

The doors finally opened and by that time there were about 20 patients waiting; eager to have their answers. I wasn’t too sure how many answers we would have after today, but I knew that after the testing from the day was processed we would be called that day and given further instructions.

I was the first one in and after my blood was drawn I was taken back for my ultrasound. The tech reported that I had 3 small follicles on each side.

SMALL?!

I’ve been shoving needles and drugs in my stomach how can they be small?! This was definitely not the news that I was expecting to hear.

The nurse assured me that it was still early, that they would call me later with my instructions, and they hurried off into the next ultrasound.

I was left in the room, pantless and extraordinarily disappointed.

I need instant gratification. I felt like these drugs would produce 20+ mature, strong, healthy eggs with the first pop! They would be so strong that I wouldn’t even have to continue with them after today. I’d have so many eggs, the abundance would be overwhelming.

But early that afternoon, I was told to keep the dose I was on, that I didn’t have to come in on Saturday, but they would see me Monday morning for a follow up.

By Friday night, I already had a couple bruises on my stomach and it was super tender. My cockiness towards the injections was failing and I was not looking forward to finding a spot where it wouldn’t hurt. Sure I could use my upper legs but that made me a little nervous. In my head, I didn’t know how the drugs would travel between my thighs and ovaries. I wanted a straight shot for best results.

I set up for the injections and started with my Follistim first. The needle is so fine, it usually gliiiiiides in like butter. But tonight I had a difficult time getting the initial puncture, and the injection burned.

I knew that if this injection was troublesome, the Menopur was going to be a reallll problem. I had to get out of my head! I did some breathing before mixing the drug.

This needle did not disappoint. I could NOT get it through my skin! I had to re-place the needle and try again. It buuuuuurned bad! (maybe this is what the other bloggers were talking about) When I went to remove the needle, blood started pouring out. I was afraid I was losing the drug through the blood, but I was honestly just happy it was over.

I was pretty sure that the following nights would be close to the same, as the site is just so sore, bloated, and uncomfortable.

Saturday nights injections were accompanied by a little bit of wine.

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It did take the edge off.

Are you going to yell at me for having a few sips of fermented fruit? It’ll be ok. I honestly have not had a drop of alcohol since Christmas.

I’ve been staying at my parents a lot this week, as they are having some health issues and my mother gave me this necklace. It has St. Gerard (patron saint of expectant mothers), St. Anne (Mary’s mother), and Jesus. She wore it when she was pregnant with my sister and I. Although I’m not trying to get pregnant I’m hoping it brings me some luck. 

My mother’s necklace

I’m eager to see what my test results say on Monday morning. Really hoping and praying that I haven’t done all of this for nothing. I need my frozen insurance policy.

 

 

Hope for My Girls 

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.

Sooo relaxing.

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.

 

http://freedommedteach.com/eng/videos.html?play=general_im

O.M.G.
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.

My Own Personal Summer…

On December 8th, I started birth control and 1.25 mg of Premarin for 7 days. I generally have a bad reaction to hormones. They make me a little cRaZy and sick. So I was anticipating a pretty poor experience when I started this regiment. Although I do NOT recommend putting bad thoughts into the universe about these things…sometimes its HARD not to!

First off I want to say I’ve been SUPER emotional. I cry A LOT. I cried today when reading the Polar Express to my students and I cried the other day on the phone with FedEx when I couldn’t get my box to the right location for pick up. 

I’m not a crier. 

But I have to say that it hasn’t been AS bad as I thought, but (finished with the Premarin) I reaaaally have not been feeling great the last few days. I get bouts of nausea, heated feelings, and lightheadedness but I’m not sure if its because of the estrogen in my body, the hormones from the birth control, or the HEAT in my classroom.
Yes, it’s been getting pretty cold here lately. And before I forget to include this bit of information, I have in fact had some hot flashes within the past year- which is another thing that made me become more aggressive about checking on my reproductive system. I’ve had nights where I woke up COMPLETELY drenched in sweat; days I have been teaching and have had to suddenly sit down because I am hit with a wall of heat and suddenly feel like I am going to be sick.

To be honest, when this first started happening, I just thought maybe it was the temperature in the room, or something that I had eaten that day. Maybe because I was ovulating? And I guess I can’t really be exactly sure what caused it, but something that I wish I would have done was write down WHEN it happened so I could have a better idea WHY this was happening to my body. If I were to speculate, I would say I have been going through perimenopause.

“The end of your reproductive years…”

I’m not a doctor. BUT after researching my symptoms and what I have learned about my body lately, it seems as though this would be a fair diagnosis to make. Perimenopause is when your body starts to make the transition into menopause. Since I was low in the OR category this would make sense.

You may be thinking that’s so crazy! I’ve just turned 35! How could I be going through menopause at such a relatively young age?

Since I started this journey and read people’s stories, I have seen many other young (yes, even younger than me) women beginning to go through menopause at an early age. It’s not that uncommon. It’s just not the norm… (a word I’m really starting to dislike)

Family history can sometimes be taken into consideration when figuring out ones predicted menopause experience. My mother went through menopause in her mid 50s. She tells the story like this…

One night she felt hot and kicked off the sheets. It lasted a couple minutes and then she went back to sleep. That was that.

So it’s safe to say I am not in fact taking after my mother or grandparents for that matter. Both my grandmothers had 4-5 children and the last in their late 30s, early 40s.

Again, I don’t want you to think I have lost all hope in conceiving naturally. It is not something the doctor has completely ruled out. Freezing my eggs is simply the best option I have for insuring my chance at having a family in the future. Although my odds are not great (20-30% if you’ve forgotten) its not impossible! And if my eggs respond to the stimulants my doctor said my percentage could increase!

Back to my hot flashes…

Have you ever experienced one?

My friend’s aunt once referred to it as her “own personal summer”.

Its like this intense rush of heat, and you start sweating and your heart beats fast and you start to PANIC!

 

Or I d0….Anyway….

 

Was there something I could have done differently to stop this possibility of perimenopause from coming so soon? I think that many times when we are in these situations where we lose control over the path we thought our life would lead us on, we try to blame ourselves and figure out where we went wrong. Something I have decided throughout this is that I can’t blame myself or any one thing I did. Blame would not change things at this point and there was nothing I could do to change the past. I could only keep going forward and make choices that best served me from here on out.

So, I was going to freeze my eggs.

I know, I still can’t believe it.

I recently received all of my appointments for January. The injection lesson is the one I am most looking forward to. I have literally spent hours watching different women’s videos of them prepping the area, filling the syringes, and administering their own shots (on their perfectly flat bellies). It’s amazing how calm and accurate they are in their actions. Trust that if I were to make a similar video it would not go as smoothly. There could possibly be some crying, outbursts, hesitation, and nervousness. I will spare all of you the pain of ever making a video because I don’t think it would serve anyone.

But these women’s videos were inspirational. They made me think, hey if they can do it, why not me?

Why not me???

That’s just it. I can do it. I will be ok. And even though every time I open the fridge I am reminded that my entrance into the new year will be much different than most. While many will be focusing on making changes in their diets, breaking bad habits, and picking up a new workout routine…I will be making a choice that will hopefully insure my chance at having the life I always envisioned.

Someday.

I’m new at this blogging thing, but I am going to insert some links to the videos that I liked.

 

DISCLAIMER :: I hope I don’t get in trouble for this I am sharing this purely for innocent reasons I am not taking any credit for these videos and I am not receiving any compensation for sharing these videos either ::

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fOiNpnFsUig

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Of9hk6ryTvo

 

I have been mostly watching videos for Menopur and Follistim since those are two of the injectables I will be using. I literally have no clue what I am doing and not sure how all of the people in the videos I watch look like pros.

I am eager to see how I start feeling the next few days, as I am going to begin to take the birth control at night as recommended by my nurse.

Fingers crossed…

 

 

 

 

 

What Goes In, Must Come Out

On December 6th, I called my doctor’s office to tell them I had very heavy spotting and wanted to know what my next steps were. They said they would call in my birth control and estrogen and that I should start it the following day.

I am not sure why I needed to be on either of these medications, but I was willing to go on blind faith with the doctor’s orders. I soon Googled the reasoning and it appeared to be all part of the process to prepare my ovaries for optimal egg production. Although I do not prefer to rely on Google for pertinent information such as this, I wanted immediate answers and this is not something I receive from the office regularly. It is difficult to get in touch with my nurse. Also I feel like I did not get enough information from my doctor, as the last time I saw him I was still not sure what choice I would be making in regards to freezing my eggs or not. Now that I am full steam ahead with egg retrieval, I feel like I need another Q & A session.

Anyway…

The pharmacy called me that night to inform me that they did not have that high of a dose of the estrogen in stock and they would have to order it. Also they were not getting clearance from my insurance company. Never a dull moment. It would have been too easy to just walk into the pharmacy and get the prescriptions and start them the following day.

Long story short, I received the drugs the following night after many back and forth phone calls with the doctor and pharmacy.

So December 8th was the true start of my journey. I am catholic and that is the day of the Immaculate Conception. So you see, after all the back and forth and waiting to get the drugs, I feel like my journey began on this day for a reason. I do not think that it is a coincidence. To begin my journey on the day Mary was conceived is special to me. Although I know that this path I’m following is not the natural way of conceiving a child, I believe (after much back and forth inner debate) that I will do everything I possibly can and God will take it from there. If it is meant to be, it will happen. I leave it in His hands now.

I try to not be TOO optimistic. There are still so many things that could happen that could end my journey. And then I know that this was not meant to be; that I was not meant to have a biological child. But I am taking every chance that I can in order to make it my reality. Sometimes my cynicism is so strong that it over powers all of the good energy I try to create about the situation I am in. I just want to make sure I prepare myself for whatever the outcome is.

And I know what you’ve been thinking…even if I am able to freeze eggs I am still left without a partner. I still have that piece of my puzzle to figure out. I do not want to go about my life essentially searching for a sperm donor. I want a partner for the right reasons. If someone enters my life in the next couple years, then I will be blessed to have the option to procreate with him. If not then I will look into the options I have of finding a donor and going through IVF as a single woman.

As time has gone on (and its only been a few months) I have learned so much about myself and this process.

My conceptions and thoughts about many things have changed and I know whatever the outcome I will not be the same when I come out on the other end.

I am currently nearing the end of my week of estrogen (125 mg/day). It has made me a little woozy and emotional, but I have been trying to stay focused on the reason why I am doing this and it truly does help. I also try to go to yoga as often as possible to help keep my mind centered and my body well. Focusing on my purpose. Hoping for the best each day.

Of course I am anxious to begin my drugs. But I am also confident that in the end I will have the answers I have been seeking and everything will, one way or the other, fall into place.

I am set to begin my drugs on January 17th.

Shock and Awe

The week of November 14 I had decided to start looking into payment options and if there were different organizations that would assist in the cost. I am literally living paycheck to paycheck and even finding $160 extra dollars is overwhelming let alone $16,000.

Freezing eggs is not something that is covered by insurance because it is still considered experimental. My doctor told me the only way the insurance company would possibly cover the cost would be if I had a disease such as cancer where the treatments would effect my egg supply or quality. Just having bad luck in love and trying to start a family later in life was not considered a case that would be up for consideration to the insurance companies.

The procedure could possibly cost a total of $16,000; 8K for the doctor and 8k for the drugs. Being single and living on my own, I thought that I would qualify for assistance from the drug company. The secretary in the office informed me that the dosage the doctor had prescribed for me would actually only be a little over $6,000 and referred me to two companies; one for Follistim and one for Gonal F. After submitting tax documents and household information I would receive a response; either receiving 25, 50, or 75% off the cost of the drugs.

I received notice within a couple days from both companies that I would only be eligible for receiving 25% off.

THAT’S IT?! Who was more needy than me?!

Not only did I have a relatively small salary, but I live on my own and pay all of my bills on my own. How would I find $12,500 to pay for this procedure? I already had a loan out on my pension that was cutting into my salary for the time being. I had to figure something out, but in my profession it’s difficult to make extra money. In some jobs, the harder you work, there is opportunity to receive more income. But that is not the case being a teacher. I was already spreading myself pretty thin and working a tutoring program and picking up another stipend position. Maybe I would move home with my parents? Maybe I could find another job on weekends? I had to figure something out.

I wrote each company letters of appeal asking them to reconsider the percentage they would be taking off from my drugs.

After talking with the secretary in my doctor’s office about my concerns, she directed me towards a drug company that may be able to help. She forwarded them my number and later that night they called me, asked me some questions, and told me that I would be hearing from them by the end of the week. This was Monday.

So of course Wednesday I called them (wasn’t that close enough to the end of the week?) and they said they were still waiting on a few things and would get back to me soon.

That night I got a call. The woman very nonchalantly informed me that after running my information that the drugs would be costing me $43.

 

[[SHOCK]]

 

Words cannot describe the feeling I had at that moment. I was in shock and disbelief. What a huge burden to be lifted from my shoulders. Never in my life have I been so grateful to a complete stranger. She said she would be sending out my drugs to arrive the next week and that after applying a couple coupons, the final cost was $33.

Suddenly, the $8,000 I had to pay to the doctor seemed like a small amount. I was lucky enough to be able to borrow from a 403B that I had set up and although the monthly payments would be difficult, I would find a way to make it work. I felt suddenly reassured that this was in fact the right choice. That I was making the right decision and that everything would be ok. When all of the pieces slowly start falling into place that seems to happen…

November 22 I came home to a gigantic cooler box on my porch filled with various medication, syringes, and paperwork. It suddenly all became very real and panic set in. But I was still so thankful to have this opportunity. I was eager to start the process. Who knew how much time my eggs and I had left?

I called the doctors office the following day and they said to call when my next cycle began so they could give me further instructions.

More. Waiting….