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Journey To the Finish Line

PR's, 4 children, hopes and dreams; I'm always running after something

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IUI #1

Why There Probably Won’t Be a Number Three

I got an interesting, out of the blue request the other day.

The marketing department from the fertility clinic both called and wrote me an email, saying Channel 2 was interested in doing a news story on a patient who had taken Letrozole as part of their fertility treatment. Would I be interested in participating in this interview?

Honestly, at first I didn’t recall taking Letrozole, but once I googled it realized it was just the technical name for Femara, one of the meds I was given to take for our IUI cycle. The crappy hooray we have enough sperm to try an IUI canceled IUI cycle. The point of the interview, though (if I understood correctly) was to talk about how there is a smaller chance of multiple eggs and side effects (vs. using Clomid which I have not ever taken) and not whether it was part of a successful pregnancy, so I agreed.

I met with a photographer today who admittedly didn’t have much background on the subject of either infertility or the medication. I had no knowledge of what kind of questions they would ask, so we were both kind of winging it. He seemed confused as to why they would interview someone who had used it during a cancelled cycle and what exactly a cancelled cycle meant while I awkwardly stood in front of a camera trying to explain that the med had done what it was supposed to do and that the fact that my cycle was canceled had nothing to do with it. (This was all while trying to describe it to someone who had no idea what I was talking about.)*

As part of the interview, he asked me how it felt to have a successful cycle and how it felt to have a twins as a result (I am paraphrasing) and I meant every word when I said that it was an emotionally and financially taxing time, but that it was absolutely worth it and I would do it all over again.

I was kind of lying.

Right up there with my divorce, infertility was one of the most difficult things I’ve endured. I’ve written several posts before about how hard it is on ALL of your relationships, your emotions and even your sense of self. Even now as a mom it creeps in through feelings of guilt when I find myself annoyed over the 2nd middle of the night wake up.

Bryan sometimes expresses interest in having more, and while I watch some friends’ bellies grow, attend baby showers and coo over their newborn pictures I sometimes, briefly, think that it would be cool to experience again. For Abby and Miles, I would absolutely 100% relive every bad day and cry every tear. I would do it all over again, for THEM. But not for any more.

I have absolutely no interest in meds, injections, monitoring appointments and blood tests. No more appointments. No more transfers. No more anxiety.

I am just fine with two.

*I’m sure they will piece something together thanks to the magic of editing, unless they just decide to cut it altogether. Should I get word it is airing I will try to record and post it 🙂

 

 

A Snowball’s Chance In Hell

Despite discovering that the IUI cycle was going to be a wash, the doc who performed my ultrasound recommended giving myself the HCG injection to induce ovulation and simply try to the old fashioned way.

I’m pretty sure I gave him a blank stare.

Then I said, “but I’m going to ovulate on the blocked side” (um, duh)

Apparently, it is possible (somehow) for the egg on my right ovary to make its way over to the left side (how this happens, I have NO idea). So hubby and I carried out our duty for humanity while he was home this weekend so we could have a snowballs chance in hell of getting pregnant.

I figure that it seems safe to say that the chances of me getting pregnant this cycle are roughly the same as winning the Mega Million Lottery. The odds of winning the Mega Million Lottery are 1 in 176 million. So just for fun, lets see some of the things that I have better odds of experiencing than a pregnancy this cycle: (info credit 1) (info credit 2)

1. Death by Vending Machine – as in the vending machine crushing me. You bet I’ll be eye balling the next vending machine I walk by, challenging its ulterior motive. (seal my Doritos and DIE woman!)

(image credit)

2. Dying in an airline related terrorist attack. Anyone up for a trip to Hawaii?

3. Having identical quadruplets – yeah.

4. Becoming president – I wonder if this changes if it were to be becoming the first woman president.

5. Dying from being left handed – watch out, dad.

6. Becoming a movie star – American Idol, here I come!!!

7. Death by flesh eating bacteria – maybe I should stop with the Zombie Chases.

(image credit)

8. Dying in an asteroid apocalypse – I’m just looking for…..um…..stars….

9. Death by legal execution – yes, really.

And my personal favorite:

10. Death by ignition or  melting of “nightwear” (read, underwear) (info credit)

So basically, I bet I have a better chance of dying from flaming underwear while I happen to be infected with a flesh eating bacteria while on my runaway “avoiding legal execution” excursion to Hollywood to begin my singing career that just happens to have a terrorist on board than I do at becoming pregnant this cycle. And if I happen to make it off the plane and haven’t yet died from my flaming undergarments or flesh eating bacteria, then the M and M’s I decide to get at the airport will certainly be the death of me, as the vending machine takes a nose dive and crushes my skull.

Sweet.

(Now, who’s lining up for a lottery ticket?)

(image credit written in image)

The Bad, the Sucky and the Downright Unlucky

I felt really optimistic about my follicle check this morning, wondering only if I’d have to be seen again or if maybe we would be lucky enough to do this thing this weekend.

Oh how optimistic I was.

I knew going into this that our chances would be less with one blocked tube. When I had a bigger follicle on my blocked side two days ago, I simply assumed my left would get a chance to catch up. What I didn’t expect (though now that I think about it logically, it makes sense) was that the follicle on my right could grow larger and effectively kill all the others on my other ovary.

My IUI was canceled.

My lining looked good, my uterus looked good, and my right ovary looked fantastic. You know, the one connected to the blasted blocked tube. I had a 17mm and a 16 mm on the right. The 11 and 12 from two days ago on the left shrunk to 10 and 9. Apparently even a 12 isn’t guaranteed to continue to grow. For some reason I always figured that we’d be able to get an egg or two from both ovaries, but apparently at a certain point, one takes over.I don’t know why this never occurred to me.

So my small but still better than we have had so far chance is now gone. The doctor told me to go ahead and give myself the trigger shot tonight to make myself ovulate, and have uh….”fun” with my husband tomorrow and Saturday, but really we have snowballs chance in hell. Because my body would have to take Mr. Egg from my right ovary and move it on over to the left. In his words, “something is better than nothing”. To me, it’s still nothing. I’ll do it, though, because I’m an absolute glutton for punishment.

I partially expected there to be some mourning over the failure of this cycle. What I didn’t expect was for it to happen so soon, to be  so upset over the loss of even the opportunity. In a 50/50 shot, I ended up with the short end of the stick. I might as well have thrown all that money straight into the garbage, and all of the hope in there with it.

The nurse coordinator is supposed to talk with the doctor tomorrow and let me know his recommendation moving forward (“if you don’t get pregnant this cycle” — oh how optimistic she is– whatever she is taking I would like some of it) but I’m not honestly sure what I want to do at this point. From what I understand, there is a 50/50 chance we could end up in this exact same position next month (and, incidentally, is why I don’t gamble).

This sucks.

“Bob” Wants Me Back

I’ve started adding the use of quotes around Bob because I don’t want to cause anyone a heart attack, wondering who Bob is and why he wants me back. And I’m going to apologize ahead of time for the kinda lame nothing-but-an-update post.

Today was my follicle check.

And apparently, my body is responding appropriately. (yay!)

For those who are unfamiliar, the clinic told me that they are looking for follicles that are 16mm or larger to indicate that I might be getting ready to ovulate.

The combination of  5 days of Femara and 2 days at 33 IU of  Follistim produced one 15 and 2 12 on my right, and an 11, 12 on my left.

Unfortunately, the right side is the tube that’s blocked. But there are still a couple decent size ones on the left, and the nurse said there could be a few at 10 that weren’t able to be measured. My Follistim dose has been decreased to 25IU today and tomorrow, with another follicle check on Thursday (per “Bob’s” request). It’s still early in my cycle today (CD9) so I didn’t honestly expect to be ready yet anyway. I am hoping though, that I won’t have to go in for another check after Thursday and that we can do this thing this weekend! (Sorry “Bob”)

Give It A Shot

I feel a little out of control recently.

And because I a little (ha!) type A, it drives me a bit crazy.

When we decided to move forward with the IUI idea, I remember saying literally “lets give it a shot”. Maybe all our systems need is a bit of a push forward to make this happen. Maybe they need more than that, but it seemed worth a chance or two.  I spent quite a bit of time debating though – if it doesn’t work, its money taken away from our IVF fund, its time taken from work.

Dh’s job search had yielded a few prospects, but nothing that turned out to be the right kind of opportunity. Then, a few weeks ago (right when we were discussing and planning the IUI), he got a call from a contract company looking for someone to work in research and development, something he’s very interested in. Unfortunately for us, the company is located out of Florida, and they want us to move there (it’s a temporary contract that I think they want to make permanent). I am not ready to move (we just finished the floors and fence darn it!) For the time being though, he will be traveling back and forth – to Florida on weekdays and home on weekends. It kinda gives everyone a chance to feel this out, but we are kinda taking things week by week.

They are both going to be an interesting experiment. I have no idea what to expect from this fertility treatment because it’s our first.  I always hated living by myself when I was single, but I keep busy so that should help. Things are suddenly so different. Plus:

Today was my first shot.

You vs. me Mr injection pen

As with anything new I was a little nervous but it turned out to be really rather anticlimactic. I spent more time trying to get the darn Follist.im container out of the plastic than I did giving myself the actual injection. (Sometimes I think they make those packages child adult proof). It stung bit afterwards but otherwise didn’t hurt at all. I have one more tomorrow and a follicle check on Tuesday.

One of the things that drives me the craziest about infertility is how little control I have over any of it, besides taking my medicines on time and showing up to scheduled appointments. I have no control over how well the medicine works or how my body responds. Same with DH’s job. (though the unknown is more annoying to me than a lack of control). The fact is, I have no idea whether any of it is going to work out at all.

We’re just gonna give it a shot, literally and figuratively, and hope for the best.

And We’re Off….

I should have expected it, I suppose, but didn’t really think about how quickly things move once a cycle begins. I dutifully called the RE’s office on CD 1, had an appointment for the next day and was forking over a credit card number to order medication. And just like that, our first IUI cycle starts. Maybe I expected fireworks or something(though there will be fireworks today, I’m pretty sure they aren’t for me), but its just another day in the life of everyone else.

Many people ask me if I’m excited, and honestly I have mixed feelings. I like to say that I feel “cautiously optimistic”, as this is probably going to be the best chance we’ve had so far, but still only about 20% as far as statistics show. I would never gamble money on 20% in any other situation.

Before “Bob” and I met for our third date, I had to take a pregnancy test. I get this, I mean they don’t want to start filling you up with drugs if you are pregnant, however, the cost of said pregnancy test was $48. Seriously? I could have told you I wasn’t pregnant for FREE. Actually, I would have happily brought in one of my own negative tests to save myself that ridiculous expense. Sheesh.

As it turns out, I’m not pregnant. (Oh my Gosh, shock!) While I waited for the ultrasound lady, I talked with Bob about the importance of calling for third dates and a discussion about his absenteeism. He agreed to be better and we were back in business. This ultrasound was done basically to make sure I didn’t have any foreign bodies anywhere in my reproductive system (i.e. cysts) and to count my antral follicles, which basically is the number of follicles that could potentially grow an egg. I can’t remember how many were on my right ovary, but my left had 23. Incidentally, that does NOT mean I am going to end up with 23 eggs or 23 babies. I can’t even imagine that scenario. I would have…..well, a 23 sided shape is called a icosikaitrigon (no I did NOT know this off of the top of my head, my best guess would have been to go off of 12 sides which is a dodecahedron I think, so I would have said  doubledodecaheminusoneuplets), so that would mean I would have icosikaitriuplets? I don’t even know how to pronounce that.

Anyway, things are good to go. I sat with the nurse afterwards, who went over my med calendar and showed me how to give myself shots. I’ll be taking 2.5 mg of Femara (it induces ovulation) today through Sunday and will give myself two injections of Follistim (also stimulates ovulation) Sunday and Monday. I go back for another ultrasound (Bob actually scheduled the date this time…he is learning) next Tuesday (CD 9) to check the growth status. It looks as though the actual IUI will happen sometime between July 12-14th, if all goes well.

Here goes nothing.

The Final Countdown

This summer brings with it a couple of monumental dates for me.

July 1, 2012 – what will be the first day of our first  IUI, bringing with it all of the fun things like injections and dates with “Bob” (he sure took a long time to call me back! butthead….)

August 19, 2012 – my 30th birthday. (in 57 days. But who’s counting?)

I’m a bit ambivalent about both. Normally, I love my birthday, and make excuses for why Bryan should run out and get me the ice cream I’m demanding because “it’s my birthday week” (I’ve also gone as far as birthday month before). Bring on the birthday cards, the cake, the candles, the stupid birthday song. I feel like a 5 year old on my birthday (most of the time).

I think we all have plans for our lives, and time frames in which we hope to achieve these plans. For some reason that I’m not even sure I understand, I had always planned to have children before the age of 30, and as I am quickly approaching this milestone, I’m clearly outside my timeline. In some ways I’m starting to feel “age”(and yes I realize this is only the beginning), but for the most part don’t feel “old”, physically or mentally. In fact I feel better than I did physically or emotionally at 20. I’m in better shape and I have a clearer head.

Fertility, though, is a different story. I get that most of it is mental, but 30 rounds the corner to the dreaded “advanced maternal age” and comments from the RE regarding how young I still am [being under 30] that will no longer exist. Plenty of people nowadays have kids after 30 – by choice, and yet for some reason this milestone is  bothersome to me. I really think otherwise, I wouldn’t care less about turning 30. (though I did have a brief moment of feeling quite old after going to the bar with my 21 year old sister after graduation, after I was the one who declared at 2am that it was time for all of us to go back because I was tired). Fertility is the only area in which I dread age and feel old.

I’m hoping that, as a result, I’m not putting too much stress and hope into this procedure being able to bring me at least a pregnancy before 30.  I decided already that I don’t want any procedures in August because I want to enjoy this milestone without infertility lingering over my head. We booked a long weekend in Daytona, Florida and I’m really looking forward to it.

I think I’m going to try to take things one day at a time. I’m finding myself more relaxed recently after letting go a bit – we are enjoying the heck out of the house improvements we did and I don’t want to get wrapped up in anticipation or dread. I don’t want to spoil any more of my life in disappointment and expectation.

I’d like to allow the 5 year old in my to enjoy the anticipation of my day.

Which includes a countdown. Also, kudos to anyone who read this blog title WITHOUT singing the song either aloud or to yourself.

** As an addition, for those of you who read about my Groupon Adventure, I made my hair appointment and was disappointed to get a text a few days ago saying she is no longer accepting the groupons. Apparently, they never paid her. I received a credit, but now no hair appointment. Drat.

Talk About Awkward

A few months ago when we thought we would be pursing the IVF route this Spring or Summer, I had a sit down with my boss. This couldn’t be avoided because I was going to need to ask for flexibility regarding my schedule as well as several days off. I was nervous about this conversation, but mostly because I was going to need up to a week off and I wasn’t going to be able to say exactly when until possibly less than 24 hours beforehand. I even explained the process of an IVF with the greatest of ease (or at least it felt that way).

A few days ago, we got the official go ahead to do an IUI cycle. We had talked about trying 2 more months naturally and then trying an IUI, but that would have meant it would fall right around my birthday. I decided I would rather enjoy my 30th birthday and have a couple glasses of wine (hey, you only turn 30 once) than concern myself wondering if I should drink because I could possibly maybe be pregnant. No thanks.

The start of my next cycle is still over 2 weeks away and nothing is going to happen until then, however, it meant I had to have another conversation with my boss to explain why I might need to take a couple of hours off with not much notice. Because he was already aware of our situation, I was hoping this would be a simple conversation where I could just say we had decided to try a slightly different route and that while I wasn’t going to need any full days off I would need some flexibility for ultrasounds. I was hoping to do this without any additional detail and be on my merry way.

So, I begin my conversation by saying that obviously we had not gone forward with the IVF as planned, but were going to try an IUI and so I would need possibly a few hours 2-3 times for the procedure and ultrasounds.

Then he asked me what an IUI was.

Now I’m not a shy person. I don’t  usually have issues talking about myself or using words that are in reference to the male/female reproductive system, even to men.

Him: So what’s an IUI?

Me: Well….basically the sp.erm are, like, inserted into……uh…so they still have to make the swim and fertilize and implant, but it bypasses….*awkward pause*…..the V (I used the whole word and said it as quickly as humanly possible) and straight into the cervix. It’s not as successful but it’s also less expensive.

Him: ok, well, just let me know.

Me: I will. Wish us luck.

I exit. I get into the car, and then I think OMG, I just said the word V to my boss. My male boss. Then I told him to wish us luck. *facepalm*

Well, you asked.

~~

In other news, our floors are DONE, and they look FABULOUS! Pictures to come once we clean up the tornado that ran through the inside of our house and wipe the fine layer of sawdust from all of the hard surfaces.

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