Why Me? Now What? (A Personal Journey Through Infertility)

Saturday, June 03, 2006

The Much Anticipated Ultrasound

I'm feeling good about my pending appointment tomorrow morning. Sure, I have fears that I may not have as many follicles as I would like, or that they will find that by some medical mystery I managed to ovulate prior to administering a trigger shot despite taking Superfact daily... but then I stop and think about all the things I am doing to make this happen, and I am reminded that I must trust in the process, and accept whatever comes my way. I am doing all I can.

It has become a real way of life over the last month, waking each morning and downing a 250ml glass of Bolthouse Green Juice; which has everything from broccoli to Wheatgrass cleverly disguised in a smoothie of apple, pear, kiwi and pineapple juice. Sure it LOOKS gross, but I feel good knowing that I start each morning with such a boost to my system. Since I have cut out all dairy and red meat in preparation for IVF; the only source of dairy I am allowing myself is yogurt. Activia has become my brand of choice, since it's live bacteria is supposed to be excellent for you... and it comes in a delicious pear flavor...YUMMMM!!!

To be honest, I don't miss the red meat all that much. Although it has been a bit harder to decide what to cook for dinner, I know it is a small sacrifice I can make to cut out a lot of the hormones that are proven to be in beef, and which are counterproductive to the IVF process. I am to lazy to drive to the specialty shop for organic beef... I suppose I would have, had I really craved it over the last month, but so far I am doing ok!

My acupuncture sessions twice a week have been, as usual, extremely therapeutic. I still feel so blessed to have found her; it was by sheer coincidence really, but then... through this process, I have discovered that there have been events and people that have entered my life that can not possibly be coincidental occurrences. My support system between the tightly knit online community has become essential in feeling secure, confident and assured that whatever happens, I will come out ok... Surely finding these women both in my own city and thousands of miles away could not have been random. They were brought to me, and I them... I feel incredibly blessed by that fact.

I have more strength of character and empowerment than I ever thought possible. I never imagined I could take a needle, prep it properly and inject it carefully into my stomach, but yet I have come to welcome this moment. I spend it alone, as I am doing it at a time where my hubby is at work; but in some ways this to is therapeutic. As I prep and inject the needle, I know that this process is one of the few physical acts that I am controlling in this process. Without these injections, IVF would not be possible... and in turn, becoming pregnant may be an impossibility. But by my overcoming a fear, and injecting that small amount of fluid, I am once again a part of my fertility... something I wasn't sure I could ever feel again after the long months battling this disease. (say what you will, but if alcoholism is a disease, infertility most certainly can be classified in that category... it was not my choice to be unable to conceive naturally)

Surprisingly, even the meditations have been somewhat of a God send. When the CD first arrived, I wasn't sure if I would be able to find that quiet moment to release the tension and accept the meditations specifically designed for IVF. But after 6 days of Stimulants, and daily meditations called "Hitting Your Mark", I find myself welcoming the next step with a new found calmness.

So here I sit, a little crampy, but knowing that this means the medications are working their way through my body, and that I am prepared for what tomorrow will bring. I am happy... at peace... and most of all ready. Ready for confirmation of all the work I have done thus far in healing and preparing my body for the process that is soon to come.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Friends in High Places

Ok... maybe they aren't FRIENDS... but when I arrived shortly after 8:00am for this morning's blood work and meeting with the nurse regarding my protocol... I certainly had a friend in my corner.

Although the clinic doesn't officially open until 8:00am I was surprised to find at least 2 dozen other women sitting there waiting their turn for their blood work. Since it was a first come/first serve system, I searched for a chair to settle in and read. As I checked in giving my name at the front desk, the nurse grabbing charts behind the receptionist looked up to catch my eye. She quickly came around the corner and announced my name.

WHAT???? Everyone looked at me like I had won some sort of prize as the nurse took me into a small office off the waiting room.

This was the nurse that first called me to tell me I was ready to start IVF! She had wanted to meet me, and was excited to introduce herself to me, since she was still overjoyed at the prospect of our being successful with IVF and being a story to re-tell at next year's charity event. She pulled out a post-it note pad and scribbled out her phone number... the coveted direct line! (Normally the clinic is so busy that you are forced to leave messages in voice mail and have someone call you back.) Then, rather than send me back to the waiting room to sit with the others, she took me down the long hallway to the blood/draw station and told the nurse there to process me next.

At 13 seconds after 8:00am I was on my way down the stairs and on my way. I had fully expected to be there for at least an hour, so this was simply amazing!!!!

The rest of the day went nearly as well, I met my mom for lunch, which was nice... she has been SUCH a support to me. We have had our differences over the years, and she lives a city 3000 miles away, so we don't see eachother much, but by some stroke of luck she happened to be in town for the next 2 months... and just as I needed her the most, there she was again.

By the time I was done lunch, I had received the call from the doctor's in regards to my blood test results. 368... my estrogen levels! The voice on the other side of the phone said that Dr. Greene was pleased with how my body was reacting to the stimulants, and didn't see a need to increase my dosage. I will go back on Sunday, for another Ultrasound and Blood work, where at that time we will be able to see how my follicles are growing!!!!

Today was a good day, I felt support all around me, and knew that the people in my life wouldn't let me down... they were there for me; which was a great feeling, I'm ready to keep plugging away, knowing that I am in good hands.

Monday, May 29, 2006

If at first you don't succeed...

Try Try Again? Is this REALLY supposed to be the rule of thumb when it comes to needles?

I was exhausted this morning, all the cleaning yesterday had me wanting to spend the day in bed. But at just past 8:00 am I found myself sitting with a 1/2 dozen other couples in the waiting room of our doctor's office. Blood work was a breeze, and moments later we were ushered into the ultrasound room. It was the first time Mike had joined me for an ultrasound, and I think he was met with fascination and horror, at what he saw. Yes, I still had those damn fibroids... lots and lots of them that were smaller than 1cm each. The doctor laughed and said that it seemed that EVERY part of my uterus had fibroids EXCEPT the inside wall where implantation occurs. Apparently, he was pleased with the fact that although the fibroids will need to be taken care of eventually, he really didn't think it would case concerns with the IVF treatment. To make matters even better, the 8 cm fibroid seems to have shrunk to less than 4 cm!! Of course the doctor wouldn't give credit to Acupuncture, but I for one, feel like it is definitely the reason for the drastic improvement.

So off I went, ready for the injections that would be facing me later today.

After finally hearing back from the nurse saying my blood work checked out fine, and I was fully suppressed and ready for step #2 I gathered my stuff at the office and headed home to try this injection thing in the privacy of my own bedroom (I will tackle the staff bathroom a bit later... baby steps!!!)

After gathering my supplies of needles, ice, alcohol swabs and my needle disposal box; I prepared myself in front of the mirror for the unimaginable.

I dialed the measuring tool on the Gonal-F pen; 150 IU...

Started icing my tummy (but then remembering I needed to prep the pen by attaching the needle...

Back to icing, then the alcohol swab to the area and.... STAB....

I DID IT!!!!!

Ok, the needle was in, now what? I was supposed to depress the pen's counter and listen to the clicks that indicated the medication was being injected into my stomach. 1 click... 2 clicks... That's it right? My mind raced, I was pretty sure that was what the clinic's pharmacist said would happen... 2 clicks= 150 IU, so I pulled the needle out. DONE!

Ummmm.... wait.....

The counter on the side of the pen still reads 75IU???? What does that mean? Is it SUPPOSED to read like that? Did I do the injection wrong? Don't panic... we just have to think... what do I do next?

After 5 minutes of panicking, I realized I would need to re-prep the pen and stab myself again to determine if there was medicine left from the prescribed dose. MAN... how could I have done this???? So I repeated the process, prepared yet ANOTHER area on my tummy and stabbed away for the second time. Click... yup, just as I suspected, it's a good thing I went back for round 2, since I indeed had left some of the medication in the needle!

So here I sit, 1 day down... and who knows how many more to go. I have learnt that I am less of a wimp that I thought... that needles don't have to hurt that bad... that my husband will spoil me for the next 3 weeks just for the privilege of not having to inject himself with needles daily, and most of all... to listen for 3 clicks!

Sunday, May 28, 2006

The Night Before Christmas

At least that is how it feels... I doubt I will be able to sleep at all tonight, since I am scheduled to arrive at my doctor's office for an 8:oo am blood test & ultrasound, and for Mike to do his last Semen Analysis before the "real deal".

Oh please.... PLEASE.... let everything be going on schedule. Let me be suppressed, and ready to start taking the follicle stimulants! Who would have thought I would WANT to inject my tummy every day... but for this, it's worth it.

It's a nervous tension... not really sure what to do with myself today, I ended up getting a bit of a blessing in disguise. Our realtor called this morning. She wants to come by the house on Tuesday to take pictures and decide if we need to do extra work before placing it on the market. TUESDAY???? So I spent the day scrubbing every surface, polishing and dusting & packing yet MORE boxes to place in storage for the next 4 months. Tonight, as I look around the house, I feel good... it smells clean, looks like a showhome, and I feel confident that she will be pleased with the house, and will be able to get us top dollar. HOPING this is the case, since it will be a big burden off my shoulders if we can make enough money to cover some of the expenses that have been coming in lately.

Now that the house is done, there will be the odd cleaning, and of course a big sweep before our open house, but Mike has agreed to help with that, since I will likely not be doing much once I start into the full IVF Process.

So that is it, I will think positive, and know that things will all look great tomorrow. I am looking forward, and reflecting on what has transpired over the last 2 years. We are ready... now if only I can get some sleep tonight; god knows it wont go over well if I fall asleep with my feet in the stirrups tomorrow!