Suppress Yourself

>> Thursday, February 23, 2012

This morning I went for my suppression check, even though honestly I am not sure what that means. I keep telling people that the Docs want to make sure my system is "suppressed enough" from the birth control pills so they can have total control of how much to ramp things up with drugs...I think that's right but who knows.

It was the fastest appointment I have ever had at the clinic which was amazing. They had told me it could take up to 3 hours, however we knew it would probably be shorter since I already did my trial transfer at my hydrosonogram appointment. When I got there I waited like 30 seconds, got taken for blood draw which lasted like 5 minutes, and then waited on the ultrasound tech for like 10 minutes. It was good to run through the protocol of blood draw, ultrasound, and meet with the nurse, since that will be my schedule multiple times next week. Everyone was nice, however the ultrasound tech gave me a firm lecture about how she wouldn't tell me anything about my follicles, so I shouldn't even ask. I get where she is coming from and I know it's better to lay the ground rules upfront, but gosh lady, I hadn't even thought about asking you and now I feel bad that maybe I might want to ask you in the future!

After only about 40 minutes at the clinic I met with my IVF nurse. She was great!! We actually didn't get to meet her at our IVF class appointment so talking to her today put me at ease. She asked basic questions, reviewed my protocol, and then encouraged me to ask any questions I might have. For some reason, I just didn't really have any. I reviewed how to take the shots and how cold they really needed to stay since they are supposed to be refrigerated, but those were the only things I could come up with. She was laid back the whole time and told me my questions were too easy, so I should feel free to call if I thought of any more.

Then I was sent to the financial lady for my lump sum, all inclusive payment. The best thing I can say about this part is that at least there were no surprises. The cost what we knew it would be from the beginning, so I can't really blame them for collecting their money up front. Finally, I checked out at the front desk, picked up my voice mailbox code, and was free to go after only an hour!!

Overall, I feel good about the whole thing, at least as good as I can. I am trying not to stress or over analyze every detail because it seems like everything is really just a "wait and see" approach. I mean every question I have re: timelines and appointments is dependent on how well I stimulate, which we won't know until I start injections and then attend a follow appointment next week. If I am honest, my main worry right now is just about unexpected events...things I have no control over. Like, what if i don't stimulate as well as they think I will, what if we really do have some female factor infertility issue that they haven't found yet, what if we should have done PGD, what if the shots make me sick and unable to work, etc, etc. But just like all other things in this world, I have no other option but to put my faith in God and trust that if things are difficult, then He must have a purpose for my brief suffering. And that regardless of the outcome...this is all part of His plan, which is always going to be better than anything I could have dreamed!


Special Delivery!!

>> Tuesday, February 21, 2012

After stalking Fed Ex online, I was promptly alerted when my meds arrived today. Funny how excited I got just knowing that they were waiting for me on the front porch!! Also, amazing how quickly my anxiety grew once I realized it was 65 degrees in TN today and these meds needed to stay cold!

Luckily, I then got a call from my sweet husband, saying that he came home early and he wondered what items needed to go into the fridge and what needed to be left out...I must add that he had already put everything, including the needles into the fridge. I gave him some input and encouraged him to read the directions, which shockingly spelled out exactly what to do!

Anyway, I finally got home to find a wonderful package waiting for me...

It's amazing how much it overwhelms me, while at the same time it seems like I should have gotten more for $3000+!!

So, now I must anxiously await my suppression check on Thursday and hopefully I will get to dive into this pile of fun on Saturday!!



A new kind of Therapy

>> Sunday, February 19, 2012

I attended acupuncture for the second time this week and I although I had a little more trouble zoning out or sleeping, I still left in good spirits. I feel good about taking this time for myself. I acutally am wondering if that might be the real secret to this acupuncture thing. Is it possible that people are benefiting, at least in part, by just stopping and taking an hour or two out of their busy lives for relaxation. I mean, this world is so focused on running from one thing to the next and worrying about the future, is acupuncture just a coping skill that gives us the time and the environment to be calm, to reflect, and to make an effort for our health and well-being?

I really have no idea how acupuncture works except that somehow it improves the flow of your Qi, which is the energy that flows though your body similar to your nervous system or blood vessels. I understand that this interlinking system is the reason that a needle in my shin or foot might cause increased blood flow to my ovaries, ie. the needle does not have to be at the site of the problem because your body is an integrated system. Regardless of how it works or whether it is merely a coping mechanism that helps reduce stress and thereby promote one's well-being...I like it and I think I will continue to go, maybe even after this IVF cycle works!!




>> Friday, February 17, 2012

I got the call this week confirming our medication order for our IVF cycle. Amazing how a call from a pharmacy tech in another state can make this whole thing finally feel real. Maybe it's because this is the largest lump sum of money we have had to pay so far, although I cannot complain because I know the antagonist cycle makes our med costs so much less than they could be if the RE had recommended another plan. Or maybe, it feels real because during our conversation she reminded me that I can always order less supplies now but if I order too much then I can't return anything. That comment just sealed the deal that this is the point of no return, these meds are ours and this cycle is happening, unless of course I want to waste a couple thousand dollars on medications.

Anyway, I am anxious but excited. I am not freaked out the needles or the prospect of these injections, so I feel good about finally getting all these supplies in my possession. I am also looking forward to sorting needles and arrange vials according to our plan for injections (organizing tends to make me feel more in control of life, it's a coping mechanism I developed somewhere along the way, but it's one I like). Mostly, I am just excited to be moving forward in a way that feels tangible, instead of just taking birth control pills each night while continuing to think of our IVF cycle as a future event. Having a fridge full of injectables is bound to make this whole plan feel like it's my real life and once I'm actually doing the injecting, I am sure it won't feel like a hypothetical situation any longer.

So, as I said before we are doing an antagonist cycle, meaning I get to skip the lupron and begin my injections with the FSH. Here is our pharmacy order that should be arriving any day now...

Follistim: 300mg pen x1 and 600mg pen x4 (except I am only filling 3 for now)
Ganirelex: 5 prefilled syringes
Ovidrel: HCG trigger shots x2
Progesterone: 45ml vial x3
Medrol: 4 day dosepak, 16mg tabs
Doxycycline: 4 day supply

My suppression check is scheduled for next Thursday and then injections will hopefully start the following Saturday. Who could have imagined I would be this excited and ready to start a process that I always prayed I would never have to do...amazing how time and life circumstances changes your perspective!



Chinese torture?

>> Monday, February 13, 2012

Thanks to some recommendations from my friends at Resolve, I have expanded my fertility treatments. At first, when I thought of adding more appointments and more professionals to my ever growing team of treatment experts, the idea was overwhelming. However, if you ever talk with someone who goes to acupuncture about their experience, they seem to glow as they share how wonderful an experience it has been in their life. So, after hearing about the wonders of Chinese medicine for long enough, I booked my first appointment at East Nashville Community Acupuncture.

Upon arrival, it was the calm hipster type environment I expected. I drank tea and read an article about composting from some 'one with the earth' type magazine. Then I met with my acupuncturist, who was calm and reassuring from the first moment I saw her. She asked questions about my health and I provided details about a past history of migraines, acid reflux, and ADD. I explained how I had been weaning off all medications in preparation for this cycle and my hope what that since meds would not be taken for 9 months of pregnancy, that I would therefore not return to taking any medication again once the baby was born.

Honestly, getting off medication was something I had been wanting to do for sometime, however I always seemed to lack the motivation to make the appropriate lifestyle changes required to live a life un-medicated. However, I have never felt good about the fact that I am 30y/o and taking multiple medications per day, because honestly what hope does it give me for my body's ability to fend for itself when I am 60 or 80. 

Anyway, I explained my desire for acupuncture to help me manage these symptoms as well as promote my physical and emotional health while we pursue an IVF cycle. My acupuncturist voiced understanding about all my concerns and she offered support and reassurance re: the role acupuncture has played in many IVF cycles before mine. She then gave me a basic run down of what would happen and made sure I had no further questions. She then led me into a treatment room, filled with multiple recliners, soft music, and dim lights. I chose my chair, rolled up my pant legs, and settled in for a treatment that I felt sure would be an interesting life experience, if nothing else! 

I have tried to described the sensation of acupuncture multiple times since attending my first session and consistently I feel like my explanations and correlations do not provide a clear picture of what it was like. Still, in my experience I must say that the needle did not hurt when it went into my body, even though I could feel a slight prick initially. I concentrated on each needle site, hoping to pinpoint the feeling I was having, it was like something was disapating under my skin from the needle point outwards. Then when she stuck a needle in the top of my scalp and I felt the same sensation, it finally hit me how to explain it...Do you remember playing that game as a child when you say "crack an egg on your head, and the blood running down, and then chills running up". For those who don't remember, while you chant this rhyme, you knock someone on the head, then press down as you symmetrically run your fingers down the outside of a persons head, then you run your nails up their back, causing chills and just an overall weird feeling. Well, that's what acupuncture felt like to me the first time, like something was dissipating from each needle point (just like the fingers that applied pressure to my head as a child) and chills (in a good way) would follow throughout my body.  (weird way to explain it, but really it was wonderful!!)

After inserting all needles, my acupuncturist then covered me with blankets, which at first worried me that they would knock the needles out or drive them deeper into my skin further,  however she reassured me that they were flexible and not going anywhere. So, I was bundled up and tucked in like a child, then a wonderful bean bag was placed over my eyes. Soft, new age music surrounded me and I listened at a muted level by using my earbuds as modified ear plugs. It was wonderfully relaxing, so much so that I laid there for an hour and a half. I simply laid there and  prayed about God's plan for my family, then I dozed off to sleep, then I prayed for peace that could overcome any obstacles in my path, and finally I just reflecting on my place in life. I must say it was incredibly relaxing and it was probably the first time I had taken an hour and a half for prayer and relaxation without feeling rushed to move on to the next part of my day. It was just what I needed.

So, after feeling fully relaxed and recharged, my needles were removed and I was free to go. I left the community center feeling dramatically better than when I arrived. Although, it is hard to pinpoint exactly what felt better, considering I did not enter with a specific compliant and since feeling more fertile is not exactly tangible. Yet, I know that if nothing else I felt calmer. I felt relaxed like the way I feel after a massage, the kind of tranquility that you cannot achieve at home on your own. Overall, it  brought me a great sense of peace during this chaotic time and I think I am now offically sold on acupuncture.



Pure Joy

>> Wednesday, February 8, 2012

For the first time in about a decade, I am thrilled to tell you that I am truly and 100% happy for someone else and their new child. I feel guilty saying that, especially since I've had several nieces that have been born in these recent years; but if I am honest I have always had a bit of jealousy or pain when someone else got to meet their child and I remained a waiting mother. 

But a few weeks ago, some of our newest and dearest friends have met their son. You can read the details from their perspective on their fabulous blog, but today I must give you my version of our relationship with this awesome couple. 

First, this couple is awesome because they were the primary reason my sweet hubby and I ever went to the Resolve support group for a second time (I must stop there to add that I love all my resolve peeps and there have been a million reasons since that first Tuesday that keep me returning each month. But for the sake of honesty and historical accuracy, this couple was the difference between "1 and done" vs. "lets give that support group another shot"). You see, their first meeting was my first meeting and even though I had left my better half at home, they attended the group as a couple.  They spoke openly and honestly about their male factor sterility and all I could think was that I never should have left Kevan at home. He needed to hear another guy talk about male factor infertility, he needed to see what I was seeing, which is that there were other couples that looked normal and that were facing problems like we were facing on a daily basis...and they were surviving it too!  So, I promptly raced home and told Kevan all about their story and encouraged him that in the future he should come to Resolve meetings with me, because he would love to know people like this! 

Fast forward ten long months since the first support group that we attended together and I have grown incredibly close to these people. They have stood by us while we were searching for a diagnosis, they have offered genuine support while we tried to make decisions about ivf vs. adoption, and they have provided laughs when all we wanted to do was cry. During this same time frame they have struggled with creating an adoption profile, revisited the issue of sterility, and they have gotten a home study approved. So, finally after years of trying they have been given the greatest gift any infertile can imagine...a healthy and beautiful son!! 

I am honestly thrilled about this child. I keep looking at pictures they post of him on twitter and I am counting down the days till I get to meet him. Last night at our resolve meeting, a mutual friend was quizzing me about their adoption news and I was proudly showing off pics like the loving aunt that I am. Mostly, I just love having this sort of excitement for someone else. I love not having to push down feelings of jealousy because honestly this time all I feel is hopeful. Their placement reiterates to me that even though this process is long and hard, we will all eventually graduate from this world of infertility and join the ranks of parents. 

Congratulations T & R, I cannot wait for our children to play together...



Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home
Franklin, TN

This Blog is....

A glimpse into my journey to grow my faith and my family. Each day I am trying to trust in God's plan for my life, while I struggle with my own desires for my career, my marriage, and my hope for a family.

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