Tag Archives: IVF

Egg Retrieval isn’t as scary as it sounds…

So today was the day for our egg retrieval. As a self-proclaimed google addict, I had read everything possible about the process. And much like everything else in this process, the retrieval was not nearly as traumatic as I had anticipated it being. In fact, it was so easy I feel bad for worrying!

I have said a million times how lucky we are to have an amazing doctor and group of nurses and staff at Georgia Reproductive, and today was no different. These folks literally have my heart. They have made something so stressful and scary, into something that I can only describe in one word…pleasurable.  Who would describe infertility as pleasurable?  Well, THIS KID!  I can’t stress how important it is finding the right place for your journey.  This isn’t a cake walk…but the people who you see weekly become an important piece to the puzzle.  I have read on so many forums and boards how people question what their doctors are doing, and become frustrated with how or when their nurses respond, and I am a firm believer in moving on. If you don’t have 100% confidence in what these folks are doing for you, then you are either 1) Not ready or 2) Not at the right place.  Believe me, I am not saying you can’t ask questions about why they are doing certain things, but remember that they should know what they are doing.  If you don’t have confidence in their abilities…then move on.  However, I will caution you that there is a lot of bad info out there, so before you move on, make sure you aren’t being irrational or worse, an internet know it all.

Anyways, back to the retrieval….we got 17 eggs!! That is a good number according to everyone in the room.  As of this morning, I have gotten the most eggs of the women in the study, and I was joking around that I like winning, so if anyone gets more than 17…I am going in for another 🙂 Obviously I am kidding, but it gets me through the day!  The process was really easy. I walked in and was taken back to change into an awesome gown, hair net and booties. Amy, Keebler, Jaclyn, Rebecca and a million other ladies came back to wish us luck and then they did the IV.  I have really small veins, so that was a bit challenging, but it worked. 10 minutes later I was taken back to the procedure room, I was strapped on to a table, joked around with Dr. P as usual, and then it was lights out.  I woke up 20-25 minutes later without eggs and with Jesse standing there.

Now we wait. We will find out tomorrow morning how many eggs fertilized and become embryos…and then we will transfer two of the strongest ones on Saturday. They said, on average, 75% of the eggs fertilize, so that would mean 12-13 of ours would.  Fingers crossed we get that many and fingers crossed they make it until Saturday!

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I guess I like going to the doctor…

At least that is what I keep telling myself.  Funny thing is, I really don’t mind going to GRS. Everyone is so funny and so positive, it kind of makes this whole thing a lot less tortuous. As I mentioned in my last post, my ultrasound showed a lot of follicles, they just needed to grow to 17 mm or more.  So I went back today and had another ultrasound and blood draw, and I was right on the cusp…but not yet!  So we will go back tomorrow and ultrasound and blood draw again, and probably trigger tomorrow night.  So what is next?

If I trigger tomorrow, I will do egg retrieval on Wednesday and transfer on Saturday.  Egg retrieval is no joke. I get put to sleep and they go in and retrieve all of the eggs that my follicles decide to produce via a needle. Next they take Jesse’s part and put it with the eggs and hope that those little pieces fertilize together and make embryos.  Because of the trial, we have to do a 3 day transfer. That means the embryos cook for 3 days before they put them into my uterus. Apparently they also grade the embryos during that time as well.  Nothing like giving the kid a complex at conception, right?  I am TOTALLY going to get a onesie made that has the baby’s grade on it…and when it makes me mad, I am going to say “If only you were a 4 AA!”  (Just a little IVF humor for you)

This whole thing is becoming more and more real. I really can’t ignore it, because for the first time in my life, I can feel my ovaries when I move and actually when I don’t move too.  I am fairly sure they are the size of grapefruits right now and it is quite uncomfortable.

We just got some great news from some other family members that I can’t share just yet, but I am hoping that their good news spreads to us this week!  Life is really exciting sometimes, and right now is no exception. I am still trying to be as supportive as I can be to friends and acquaintances who are going through infertility struggles.  Not going to lie, it is hard to hear when people get pregnant and didn’t have to go through 1/10th of what I have, but I remind myself that this is my journey not theirs, and I can’t fault them for that.  I am excited that they had an easier path and didn’t have to deal with the emotional and financial stresses of infertility.

Hopefully I will have a good update on Wednesday with a huge amount of eggs retrieved, and then on Thursday with a huge amount of embryos!  Thanks, as always, for reading and the amazing support you have given us!

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I am a lousy patient.

I don’t try to be!  I swear, its just the ADD in me.  So I have been on my Lupron, which really hasn’t been as bad as I thought it was going to be, and they added my stims last Friday.  I am woman hear me roar, so I don’t make Jesse go to every appointment with me.  I mean, come on…I am trying to make a human here, I can TOTALLY handle getting instructions and managing all of these meds and changing doses, and communicating things to Jesse so he can do my shots correctly. BAHAHAHAH…yeah right!  TOTAL FAIL!

So I was started on 20 of Lupron in the morning, and when they added the FSH Amy and Jaclyn told me to go down to 10.  20 to 10…GOT IT!  Then 225 of FSH at night.  Packed all my precious drugs into my little cooler bag (got it FREE with being in the IVY study) and bee bopped out of the office.  I came home, put my meds schedule on the fridge and then…well…apparently that was it. Fast forward to Monday, after my morning shot, I panicked and asked Jesse if I told him I was supposed to go down to 10….cliff-hanger…I didn’t.  The craziness ensues and I text, I call and I email nurses and I start freaking out.  I had doubled my dose for three days and I was sure I had ruined my IVF cycle.

In true Georgia Reproductive Specialists form, everyone got back to me super quick and told me that I was fine.  Of course, I was over here apologizing to the nurses and to Dr. P…I am in a trial…and well, I now have a black mark on my record.

Here I was all excited about being patient MG-14-22520926 (or whatever it really is), and the FDA now will know that I can’t follow directions. Oh well…you live and learn and you start over again.  I went in for my second baseline and I had a lot of follicles.  Everyone seemed happy with that, I of course start thinking that I am going to get OHSS and am already thinking about what that is going to feel like.  Nothing like positive thinking, right?  I am a mess.

All in all, I actually feel pretty good now.  I had a rough couple days where my head felt like it was going to explode, and well the doxy they make you take to help prevent infection is less than easy on my stomach.  Jesse gives really good shots, so my abdomen doesn’t make me look like I am a drug addict, so that is good.

Other than this whole experience, I know a lot of people have been wondering about my personal time announcement the other day.  My CEO and I agreed that with everything that I had going on in my life, it was probably best for me to take a month off from work.  I am pretty lucky to have the flexibility to do this and it has definitely made things easier to deal with.  There are a lot of doctor appointments with IVF and some of the side effects would not be fun to deal with at work, so for right now…it’s me, Judge Judy and the dogs hanging out.

With the way things are progressing, I think we are on schedule for things to go down next week. Amazingly I am not nervous.  I think I have just realized that everything will happen regardless of my nerves, so why get myself all worked up. I’ll update the world on Friday after my next ultrasound…until then….let’s hope I don’t mess anything else up!!

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Clinical Trial is a GO and life outside of a baby!!!

So we have officially started on the trial and it saved us quite a bit of money.  It’s kind of surreal to actually be doing the whole IVF process.  Since we did two medicated IUIs, I was prepared for shots and well it seems as if IVF is just IUI on “steroids” (no pun intended).  Just more shots and more monitoring.  I have been on Lupron for a few days and haven’t really felt much.  It’s kind of surprising, considering I have been getting side effects from so many of the drugs…just not this one.  The shots are the same as the ones before, just longer and more of them.  I go back in to the office in 5 days for a baseline check to see how my ovaries are responding.  Basically Lupron forces me into menopause. It prevents the ovaries from working and suppresses their activity.  Again, the medication controls everything in my body.  As I said in my last post, I have always had an issue with control, but this whole process has taught me so much about myself and taught me that control is something that nobody has.  

I have a lot that is going to be changing in the next few weeks.  Stuff that I can’t post on here just yet….but it is going to be pretty life changing.  Life is ever evolving and I have been stuck for awhile.  I have learned that it is ok to question the norm.  I have learned it is ok to question everything that I am comfortable with.  Questioning is ok.

In other world news, life goes on around trying to have a baby and Jesse just fond out he is going to be taking his Fit to Fight/Krav Maga black belt test in August.  I am so proud of him and how he has bounced back from the shell he was two years ago.  We just got back from his 6-month doctor appointment and he has gained 110 lbs in two years.  To most people that would be terrifying.  To Jesse that means he has has gained exactly what he weighed two years ago and is finally healthy.  

We have also added another member, well two, to our family in Atlanta.  Don’t panic…no more dogs!!  We needed someone to help around the house, spend some time with the dogs and just help overall.  I wanted to find someone who would stay on as a nanny once we got pregnant and had the baby(ies), and I found that person in E and her daughter D.  E is a godsend. It is so awesome to have someone who I relate to, trust, and enjoy having in my life.  Her daughter is a total sassy-pants and I can’t wait to have her around when we have kids.  For some reason, knowing that I have someone who did this before makes me more at ease with the whole situation.

Our egg retrieval is scheduled for the end of July (7/30-8/1) and our transfer will be 3 days later. All I can do is keep my eye on the prize and enjoy our journey.At the end of the day, I am so lucky to be surrounded by friends and family who know who I am and what I want out of life. I look forward to the next few weeks.  

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I am afraid….

The closer to the start of IVF the more real that things get. I mean yeah, I have already been through shots and meds, but this is on a whole new level. In about a month, I am going to have my eggs removed and have them fertilized in a dish. At that point I will have no control. No control over which egg(s) decide to fertilize and become embryos. I have no control over whether or not the best looking embryos decide to implant. The reality is, this is just the beginning of what I won’t have any control over. I am a control freak. It doesn’t manifest itself in any weird ways, but I do like being in control. I like knowing all of the variables and I am not a huge fan of the unknown.

I am petrified of having a child. Not petrified to the point that I don’t want to do this, but just scared that I won’t have a clue what to do. Everyone says things “just click” and I have no doubt about that. But I obsess about what happens if they don’t. I feel like we are working so hard to accomplish becoming pregnant and having a child, that when everything is finished, I am going to be left with a “now what?” kind of feeling.

Jesse isn’t scared at all. He is never scared. He is always in control. I envy that trait. I wish I could be the person who wasn’t scared. I wish I could not let every little thing fester in my head to the point of it driving me crazy. I am getting better. I am learning to let go. I am learning to embrace new things and the unknown, and in doing so looking forward to new beginnings.

We have our appointment on July 10 to get the real stuff started. We were officially accepted into the trial, so on Thursday we start that protocol with a goal of the first week of August for everything to go down. I have to admit, I am ready to get things going and start down this new path. However, just because I am ready doesn’t mean I am not scared. Just because I am scared doesn’t mean I am not ready to be a mother. Just because I think I am ready to be a mother doesn’t mean I have a single clue of what to do. And just because I have no clue what I am doing doesn’t mean that this isn’t one of the most exciting times in our lives.

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You’ve been poked everywhere else…now I am going to poke around in your head.

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When that is the first line you hear from your counselor, you know you are in the right place.  Georgia Reproductive makes counseling for IVF mandatory, so we made an appointment to “get it over with”.  J is not a huge fan of therapy, and well I think it has its place in treatment.  Whether you are a fan or not, the consultation is a “must-do” so we went.

Let’s cut to the chase….he was awesome, and the hour flew by and was, well,  awesome.  We talked about everything. Why we were ok with where we were.  The potential for becoming depressed through the process. The potential for not understanding the unknown. And at the end of it, I am pretty sure we all wanted to become BFFs.  As we were walking out, even J said, “I feel like making something up, so we have to come back!”

Throughout this entire process, I think we have just had a different perspective.  2 1/2 years ago, we were just hoping J wouldn’t die, so to be looking at a next step in our life is a pretty incredible thing.   I know that we haven’t gone through the lengthy fertility struggles many people have had, and maybe that is why I am not jaded.  However, we have gone through one that is much worse than not being able to conceive a child the “normal” way.  Jesse’s illness, health and well-being was such a focal point for so long and we were grasping for answers and in the end, grasping for his life.  So while I don’t minimize peoples desire for a child, I think our past has made us step back and appreciate that we at least have a future…together.

We are on to a very exciting next step and that is the clinical trial.  I did my final screening today and I will write about that in my next blog post.  Let’s just say that it further solidified why I love where we go!!

BTW– to any readers…please check out the study at Georgia Reproductive, the info is here and there may be some cities close to you that are doing it: http://theivystudy.com/qualify.aspx…they are still looking for participants!

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Our whole life isn’t about having a baby….

It’s hard to balance life with infertility life.  You have to separate the two in order to have some semblance of normalcy.  So throughout medication, procedures and doctors appointments, you have to keep pressing on.  I have a full-time job.  And not just a normal “check-in/check-out” job.  I have a lot of responsibility.  I run sales for a 22 man company. There is no opportunity for me to just not care.  There are too many balls in the air that I need to catch, and despite trying a couple different people, I haven’t found anyone who can do 100% of what I do.  This isn’t me saying that I the best…this is me saying I just haven’t found my replacement.  I am lucky though…my office is great about me missing work for appointments, but in all reality, for the last two years my life has been on a plane and on the road, and I have worked more than my fair share of 60-80 hour weeks. So I would have been really disappointed if they reacted any other way.

Then there are our fur-kids.  We have 5 of them.  They are my life.  The number of people who have told me that I am going to get rid of them when the baby comes is AMAZING.  It breaks my heart that others see their animals as expendable members of their family.  I know that it may not be easy, but these kids were here first and we will do anything and everything to make it work.  Having five dogs is no easy task.  In just this last month, two of our dogs were attacked by our neighbor’s dogs, resulting in one having her face ripped off (yes…literally) and the other having 10-15 puncture wounds on his face and neck.  The financial stresses of infertility coupled with the financial stress of multiple trips to the ER and vet are enough to make a sane person go crazy…but such is life.

And last there is life.  I am a wife and individual. I think this is the place where I let the ball drop.  I am so disappointed in my domestic ability.  I work from 8-7 (traffic 2 hours a day) and the thought of cooking dinner every day is exhausting.  However, I know my choices force me to have unhealthy eating and living habits.  I am just tired every day.  Jesse, however, finds the strength to workout every day. I am not good with discipline when it comes to taking care of myself and I wish I was.  I don’t know why I can be so disciplined in other areas of my life, but find taking care of myself to me such a chore.  Even when I am disappointed in myself, I find myself sabotaging any effort I do put forth.

All of the above ends up circling back to my central goal right now..and that is to get pregnant.  So while our whole life isn’t about having a baby, unfortunately everything around me is at a stand-still until be do.

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I’m on birth control..to get pregnant

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One of the common threads throughout my entire blog has been expect the unexpected.  What you think sounds illogical really isn’t.  Well, today is no different.  Tonight I am headed to CVS to get a prescription for birth control. WHAT?!?  So weird.  Number 1, I haven’t been on BC in over 10 years.  Number 2, when I WAS on BC I was a mess..so LOOK OUT! Number 3, aren’t a I trying TO get pregnant and BC is supposed to prevent it?

Ah, but that is the beauty of infertility.  They use medication to make your body do all kinds of weird stuff, and this is no different.  Since I am almost done with my cycle this month, I am going on BC for 10-14 days and then coming off to trick my body into having another one.  BAHAHA…kind of feels like sweet revenge! Tricking the body that has disappointed me so much these last few months, all to make sure we can have a baby.

Now the AMAZING news…so about 3 or 4 months ago Dr. P mentioned that while he wanted to try two rounds of IUI first, GRS was recently approved to do a study on some new (well, new to the USA) IVF medication. If the IUIs didn’t work, we would possibly be good candidates for the trial.  Let’s do a quick re-cap — IVF = expensive (like $20K expensive in my world), so the thought of a trial was pretty encouraging.  While the whole thing wouldn’t be free, there would be a substantial savings.  Fast forward to today, as of 4:00 pm EST yesterday GRS was given the green light to start screening for trial patients.  Guess who is being included in that screening??  THESE KIDS!!

We always knew that IVF was a possible off-shoot of this journey, so Dr. P was always doing things to make sure the ducks were in order (even though he forgot he did many of them…I blame that on the fact that he has other patients…which is totally not ok..except H). So many of the screening requirements we have already done.  Thankfully I am in relatively good health and all of my numbers look perfectly in line with the requirements.

So the next couple weeks will include a mandatory visit with a counselor to make sure Jesse and I can handle the stresses of IVF.  I am pretty confident we will rock that counselors world when he hears our story from the last 2 years. Birth control for 10-14 days to kickstart another cycle in June. And finally checking off the last boxes on the trial screening.  When Dr. Perloe looked at me today and said, “I am sorry you have to go through this”, my response was “It’s ok.  This is our journey and if being part of a trial makes IVF more accessible to more families, then it is serving an even larger purpose.”

Maybe it is the nerd in me, but the trial possibility is making this more exciting. I am going to be “Patient MG-101752” or something cool like that, and at the end of it, we are going to have a baby….or two.  More on that later.  The blog posts will be amping up folks, so as I said before… welcome to the party this one is going to be a rager!!!

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Everything is going to be alright, maybe not today, but eventually

negative-reviewsSo today the two week wait is over, and our hopes that this IUI worked are over as well.  The test this morning was negative and I just have to wait until Monday to call GRS to see what I am supposed to do now.  Like last time, I am sure they will make me continue the progesterone until my cycle begins. I had already prepared myself for this one not working since I tested early and it was negative, so today wasn’t as hard as I anticipated.

The obvious question is, now what?  Well for J and me, the answer is IVF. We are ready (him more so than me), but nonetheless, we are ready to start the IVF part of our journey.  The whole process scares me. If you google IVF (SHOCKER I google), there are countless photos that look like this:

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This is what our life is going to look like over the next several weeks.  The shots for IUI are a cake-walk compared to the # of shots we are going to have to do for IVF.  And then there is the whole egg retrieval process.  IVF hasn’t been the only thing weighing on my mind.  When you are my age, they typically do a dual embryo transfer.  This increases the chances of one taking, but also increases the chances for twins.  Twins petrify me.  I have never changed a diaper in my life,so the thought of having TWO lives at the same time, is super scary.  Jesse on the other hand?  He just says, “same, same”. It doesn’t scare him at all.  When we discussed IVF with Dr. P before, there were things you can do (testing) to only need to do one embryo transfer, and have just as strong of a chance, then we would just freeze any remaining embryos for future tries.

We had always talked about having two kids. But there was a looming reality in my mind…I am going to be 37 in 4 months.  When IVF works, and we have our baby, I will be 38 (or approaching it).  I want to enjoy our baby.  I want to experience all of the firsts without the looming idea of trying for the second sitting in the back of my head. I finally brought my concerns up with Jesse last night.  I don’t know why I was scared.  He has always been supportive and me telling him my fears didn’t change that.  So I think we have a plan:

We are doing IVF with the goal of having a baby.  I am not worried about the dual embryo transfer, and if we are lucky enough to have twins, then I will figure it out.  If I am honest with myself, having ONE baby is scaring me too, and I have to remember that I am not doing this alone. I want to enjoy this whole process.  I trust my doctor. I have 100% confidence in Dr. Perloe and the staff at GRS, but the thought of someone going in and harvesting eggs from from my ovaries is terrifying.  Throughout this whole experience, I have prided myself at becoming as knowledgable about things as possible.  I researched IUI from top to bottom.  Now I am throwing myself into IVF. I am lucky to know some amazing people who have been successful with the process and I am encouraged that we are now going to be embarking on a new path.

Welcome to the party, folks!  It’s going to be a rager!!!

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