Monthly Archives: February 2013

Today Commences My Leggings-a-thon

We did it folks.  First injection!  (100 IU Follistim, 75 Menopur.)  Our amazing friend Monika came over to walk Hubs through it and they both did wonderfully.  Monika is a newer friend who has adopted me as her IVF friend after she saw the process through for our mutual friend Laura (referenced in my last post).  She is the sweetest and so generous with her time and listening and baking skills just because she wants to offer support and because she is addicted to hope.  She is the epitome of how to be a good friend to an infertile person (maybe I’ll have her write a guest post on the topic sometime.  You up for that, Mon?).

I used to be nervous about the injections but thankfully I’ve gotten over that-ish and now I’m just really eager for our first monitoring visit later this week.  I know the next few days I’m going to be thinking, “What is going on in there?”  I’m feeling good about it all and ready to get this show on the road after all of the waiting and preparing.  I’m sure there will be many emotions and not all so optimistic, but I’ll take the good cheer for now.

Speaking of good cheer, leggings are my comfort clothing and what I plan to unapologetically don for the duration of stimming as my ovaries progress from almond-sized to peach-sized (according to the nurse at our training last week).  Except for going to work, which I think is lame that I have to continue doing, but, whatever.  Yesterday was Hubs’ birthday and so I wore my tightest pants possible out for our night on the town with our buddies, bidding them farewell for the next couple weeks as we welcome the peaches.  And hopefully for longer if this all works out.

I’m going to try to blog daily-ish through IVF with brief updates, and they probably won’t be very profound, I’m just accepting that now.  But I think it’s worth chronicling a bit of what a couple experiences in this process.  I’ve also decided to include in each post some form of hilarity procured from the internet because of its power to help me step back from IVF tunnel vision.  Feel free to share any that you love in the comments section; that would make me really happy.

Happy Lenten season!: 

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Today I Clipped a $4400 Coupon

Last Monday I got a glimpse at the team.  I was in for my saline ultrasound and as I saw the round black spaces show up on the screen, I was taken aback.  There they are, I thought, in awe.  Those are our little guys.  That’s who we’re going to be watching the next several weeks.  That’s them.  I spoke this aloud to my doctor — because I can be candid like this with her — and she replied, with excitement, “There’s Team [insert last name here]!  Go guys!”  Yes, there’s the team.  What a wild thought.

How very “pre” this experience is in so many ways.  That has to be the earliest look at one’s baby possible — if, of course, this results in a baby.  Telling my dad about this he again confidently assured me that it would and hinted at wanting a copy of such a photo himself.  If this works out I will certainly make that happen.  So pre, too, in that I’m in on this early stage of conception which most couples are oblivious to.  So pre, in that I’m talking to my dad about my ovaries, which I can say with certainty I never have done before.

The past two weeks have been so full of infertility and IVF advancements.  My thoughts have been spinning and I’ve written many a blog post in my head, but time and access to my computer can’t seem to keep up.

Perhaps the hugest update to share is the gift that came in the form of an email last week from our IF pharmacy’s patient coordinator.  At our nurse training last week we went over the various medications, learning how to time and mix and inject them, and the nurse called in the thirteen prescriptions I will be taking the next few weeks.  It was overwhelming, and as we walked out I realized that, oh yeah, we need to pay the clinic!  It’s surprised me lately how my mind is so all over the place that I’ve been overlooking some very obvious details about the process.  Hubs and I discussed how to move money around from our various accounts to pay the different folks involved: the clinic, the acupuncturist, the pharmacy.

The email from my pharmacy came in and stated that our total came to $317.  I knew this was not right and immediately was on the phone.  Our plan covers $5000 of infertility diagnostics, but nothing else.  We had planned to pay this all out of pocket.  In speaking with her, however, she explained that they had submitted it to insurance and that our plan would be covering $4400 of the meds.  I was stunned and told her there must be a mistake, but she assured me that it had been submitted and this was final, this was what they were paying.  What a gift.  $4400 we expected to pay was taken care of, just like that.  I’m still having a hard time believing it.  We met with the financial coordinator at the clinic Monday and she was in disbelief herself, saying it must have been a fluke and she has no explanation for it.  This feels like reassurance and just a mercy and gift.  And I’ll try to keep my skepticism at bay.

Another enormous thing is just how attentive and caring my doctor and fertility center are.  I don’t know how to capture it here, but one example is that they give out journals to all of their IVF patients.  I could feel her hope and excitement for us as she let me pick out the color — green, of course, for new life and the color I’ve dreamt of painting a nursery one day.

And then there’s the care package from my friend Laura, well into her health pregnancy with her little angel after her fourth IVF.  She’s rooting for me and “here” via her texts and phone calls, and the package’s bubble bath and inordinate amount of chocolate.  And the bag of Hershey’s kisses that came in the overwhelming box of meds last Friday.

All of these little things accumulate, and for me are adding up to a place of peace and a feeling of being held and contained in this scary, surreal process.

Seeing the team again this Monday — I’m calling them “Team Pearl” because 1) that would be a sweet last name and 2) they looked like perfectly round pearls huddled together, ready to go — I already felt attached.  I’m noticing more of the hope than I’ve had in a long time, noticing myself follow the fantasy a little further of a child who could come of this process.  I stay in it for a moment, but gingerly, and then tiptoe backward out.  Not wanting to get too at home there, nor wanting to disturb it or shake it.

Today I’m thinking about them, all lined up.  Healthy, rested, energized, and ready to receive the nourishment coming their way.  The gate of birth control is up and they’re off to the races.

We’re all rooting for you, little pearls.  We are rooting for you.

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Today is Next Month

It’s February 1st, as evidenced by the new red candlesticks out on the dining table (hip hip huzzah for Crate & Barrel Christmas clearance and gift card from my dad).  I’ve never been one for cheesy, illegitimate holidays, but this year I’ve been waiting eagerly to put these bad boys out and I’m guessing it has something to do with the abounding eagerness to get going with IVF that’s up in here.  In my mind and conversations with others, the phrase “We start IVF next month” has been on repeat.  But today, next month is here.

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We finally got off of the questioning roller coaster — IVF, adoption, IVF, adoption… — in mid-January and I was ever so ready.  The toiling and uncertainty were taking any potential restfulness of our “break” right out and I again found myself crying in inappropriate places like acupuncture.  We landed on IVF and were talking just tonight about how comfortable and at peace we feel with our decision.  Not because we feel especially hopeful that it will work — although as he pointed out, the odds at 45-55%/cycle are the highest they’ve been since trying to conceive — but because we’ve become increasingly certain that we want to give IVF a shot.  (I needn’t note pun intended.)  If we didn’t give it a try, I think I would always look back and wonder and ask “what if?”  And because the best predictor of IVF success is age, the best shot we can give it is now.  It feels really good to have sat with this decision and continue to feel at peace with it.

I’d like to say that, since then, I’ve been zen- and mother earth-like, but in all honesty it’s been more like an exhibition of failed nervous energy management.  Mainly in the form of trying to find something I can actually do during the wait like scheduling appointments and looking into a potential lower-cost option for meds, but also of course unnecessary baking/cooking and celebrating that Downton Abbey is now airing in the States.  (Nevermind how horrific the last episode was re: the poor infertility advice offered.  Although, I will say, if DA is taking up male factor infertility as one of its themes, I give it kudos.  Also, I forgive you, writers, for betraying me with Cybil’s pregnancy after all she went through last week.  May she rest in peace.)

So here’s our IVF timeline.  Of course this is all tentative and I’ve learned that with IVF you must expect the unexpected.  As someone told me the other day, it has a way of taking on a life of its own so the best thing to do is to expect it do so and roll with it.

Feb. 7: Predicted Day 1 of cycle
Feb. 9: Day 3 of cycle, start birth control for ~14 days, during these two weeks do testing (I have to repeat the saline ultrasounds, nooooooo!!!), nurse training, order meds, etc.
Feb. 24: Day 1 of Stim Phase (injections & every other day monitoring/ultrasounds)
Feb. 27: I turn 31!  Guess who’s getting a $12-15,000 birthday present this year?
March 5-9 (somewhere in there): Retrieval
3 or 5 days after retrieval (depending on embryo growth): Embryo Transfer
2 weeks after retrieval (approximately March 19-23): Blood test to learn the results

So, February is here and we’re a few weeks out from the real start of it all.  My acupuncturist gave me great advice today to enjoy the last week of a medication-free body and not paying attention to all the details that come with IVF.  Also, our trip was never able to happen so we’re doing a stay-cation next weekend and checking out a great local spa, so lots of good, relaxing distractions in place.

And now, in the vein of distractions, I share a YouTube submission by my dear friend and IVF supporter, Jess.  Some people have been asking how they can bring a meal or otherwise support us during IVF, which is so kind and thoughtful.  Jess will be sending out emails and coordinating that for us and we’re very thankful to her for that.  (I’d be curious to hear from others who have gone through this what kind of support they found helpful or wished they’d had, if you want to leave a comment.)

From Jess this evening: “Hoping you are having a Buttermilk the Goat type of weekend – well, except for the knocking your friends over part…”

And the same goes for you, my friends.

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