Monday, November 25, 2013

Good news or Bad news??

Well we made it through our weekend with no problems or issues.  My mother-in-law and I have taken our relationship to the next level now that she has stuck me with a needle. :)  She was a champ and everything went great.

However, I was thrown for a loop this morning when our hero, Nurse Jenny, gave me a call.  She explained that she had her weekly lab meeting with Dr. H. and that while he was reviewing my case he decided to up the dosage of my Follistim and start me on it a day earlier.  So my original schedule had me starting the Follistim at 300 units on Tues. Dec. 3rd.  and dropping it to 225 units on Dec. 5th.  They now want me to start 450 units of the Follistim on Mon. Dec. 2nd and drop to 300 units on the 4th.

So.  What the hell does that mean?  I asked Nurse Jenny what the doctor's reasoning was.  She explained that he increased the dosage due to my elevated FSH level related to my age  (FSH level is 10.8 and I am 33 years old).  She said to realize that I am still in the "middle" of the spectrum so it's not necessarily a bad thing.

Hers' the thing.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE Nurse Jenny.  She's been so patient with me and my 10 billion questions.  But honestly I'm not sure how I feel about being in the middle of the spectrum.  And while I'm glad they are being as aggressive as possible to hopefully make this work it's hard not to be negative.  I'm having nightmares of retrieval day where there are no eggs to be found.  Honestly I realize that the elevated FSH signals that I may have an ovarian reserve issue but since it was only "slightly" elevated I was hopeful that my body would respond well and we'd be able to get a semi normal amount of eggs.  With this recent news I kind of feel like I've been fooling myself and living in denial.  I mean the truth is my FSH level is higher than most women who are 40.  And while I do have age on my side and all my other blood tests came back in the normal range it's still a strong signal that this is going to be challenging for us.  I mean, hello we jumped right to IVF.  Red flag number 1 right?  So while I want to stay hopeful and positive for this cycle there's part of me that feels like I've been living in a dream land thinking there's even a chance we are going to get out of the Land of IF (infertility) on the first shot.  I think it's actually hit home that this could be a very long road ahead of us.

I actually feel better having gotten that all out of my system.  So now I will try and focus on it being a GOOD thing that they upped the medicine instead of sticking with the original plan and not getting the results we want and need.  Once again I remind myself that this is out of my control.  I have to put my faith and trust in God and his plan.  So one day at a time.  One step forward.

1 Samuel 1:27  For this child I have prayed  - 

We are taking this to a whole new level........

Friday, November 22, 2013

A new form of packing

Well the weekend is here!  And like most weekends D and I are off to visit family and friends. D will be deer hunting with his brother and dad and I'll be shopping with the girls.

Considering this cycle falls right in the middle of the holiday season I guess we better bet used to the new "extreme" packing. No more throwing a change of clothes in the bag and hitting the road!  Honestly though between my clinic and my own organization we should be good to go. I kept the mini styrofoam cooler that some of my meds were shipped in so I'll transport my lupron that needs to be refrigerated in that. Since D will be in the deer stand well before our 6:40am injection time my mother-in-law will give me the shot on Sat and Sun morning. She, like D, has spent years giving shots to farm animals so it should be a piece of cake for her. :)

So we hit the road with a little more baggage than usual thanks to the meds, but also with a lot of hope for the coming weeks. Bring on the holidays. This girl could use a little magic!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Lupron Day 2

This morning was day 2 of my Lupron shot.  This one is a piece of cake, although I heard the side effects can be really bad (hot flashes, migraines, etc).  So far so good, although it's pretty early on.  I also started taking my dexamethasone steroid which is making me STARVING constantly.  I stocked up on fruit and healthy snacks so hopefully that will help.  I'm also taking my amped up prenatal vitamins and continuing with the birth control and baby aspirin.

My husband is giving me the shots and he's doing great.  This is a teeny tiny needle and I can barely feel it going in.  However I am just incapable of doing it myself.  I don't fear the pain of the needle it just makes my stomach turn to watch it go in.  This is true not only for myself but for other people as well.  But as long as I don't look I'm good to go.  So it's my husband to the rescue and he's doing great.  D grew up on a farm raising pigs and cattle and he informed me last night that it's just like giving a shot to a pig.  I'm trying not to be offended :)

The long lupron protocol that I'm on seems to stretch everything out.  Basically we'll keep doing what we are doing now until Dec. 3rd.  Which is only 12 days away but feels a little lot longer.  But on Sunday I take my last BCP then Wednesday I go in for my E2 (estrogen) level blood test and a baseline ultrasound. Then it's the long holiday weekend (I'm off Wed-Sun!) and then it's the week we start the stim meds!  So I know it will go fast.  I'm looking forward to spending time with our family and friends as a good distraction.

Today is also day 2 of no caffeine or alcohol.  My nurse told me that I didn't need to restrict either of these until we started the stim drugs.  However since this is the time we are resetting my body and putting it into a resting state I decided that it would be a good idea to also try and limit the bad things I'm putting into it.  So I've subbed out my morning coffee for green tea and I'm working hard to drink more water and eat healthy at each meal.  I also have my first acupuncture appointment next week.  I just figured for the money we are spending we might as well be "All In".  I just don't want to look back and if this doesn't work think "I shouldn't have done that"  or "I wish I would have done this".

I hope everyone is having a great week.  My thoughts and prayers are with everyone who is struggling through infertility during this holiday season. I hope that we all can find some peace and hope.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

I will wait, I will wait for you

We all know what a waiting game fertility treatment is.  And even though I am excited and anxious to get started with my first step of IVF (the lupron injections) as I look at my calendar I realize that the waiting is just beginning.  So this is my theme song for the day as I try to remember that some day, eventually, this will all be worth the wait.  However long that may be......

I Will Wait - Mumford and Sons

"Every Minute Feels Like
An Hour, Every Hour
Feels Like a Day, Every 
Day Feels Like Forever,
But I will Wait Forever
And a Day for You"

Monday, November 18, 2013

Here we go!

Good news first....

I got a call from my favorite person, Nurse Jenny, this afternoon to let me know that my auto immune labs came back normal.  I had some additional tests done because elevated FSH levels can be tied to increased natural born killer cells.  If you have more of these cells than you should they can sometimes try to fight off an embryo like it's an infection.  There is a treatment for this known as intralipid infusions.  It's basically a 2 hour IV treatment that I would have to complete before transfer, after transfer and then if we conceive every 4 weeks until you reach 24 weeks.  The good news is that my auto immune labs came back normal!  One less thing to worry about.

In other news this is the big week.  On Wednesday morning we will begin the Lupron injections to further suppress my ovaries.  I will continue taking my birth control pills until this coming Sunday when I will take my last one.  Then hopefully my period starts shortly there after.  I will also begin taking a steroid on Wednesday as well (dexamethasone).

I know that I have 2 long weeks of Lupron injections ahead of me before the actual fertility injections start but to me this is the official beginning of our IVF cycle.  I am looking forward to doing more than just popping BCP pills every night.  And I'm hoping with the appointments that are thrown in during the next couple weeks the time goes quickly.

I think I am doing okay emotionally.  Although I am so hopeful that this cycle will lead to a positive pregnancy test I'm trying to be balanced and cautious.  I know there's a very good chance that the first time won't work for us and although I will be terribly disappointed I'm working hard to ensure that I won't be devastated.  Regardless of the outcome of this cycle we will know more about my body and our challenges after this cycle is complete than we do now.  So even if it doesn't work that's something positive to come out of it.  In addition I have a husband that I adore, who adores me.  I have a strong family and amazing friends to support, distract, and help me through whatever the future brings.  I have a baby girl puppy dog who brings me joy and laughter everyday.  All in all I'm one lucky girl.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

No more counting dollars we'll be counting stars

"Lately I've been, I've been losing sleep
Dreaming about the things that we could be
But baby I've been, I've been praying hard
Said no more counting dollars, we'll be counting stars......"

Okay if you haven't heard the song Counting Stars by One Republic you HAVE to check it out

We were heading to our volleyball game last night and it was one of the rare occasions that I let my husband DJ during the drive.  He started by playing all of the major songs from our wedding - our first dance, the wedding party introduction, the recession song during the ceremony.  Honestly I was super impressed he even remembered.  I ran my choices by him when I was selecting them but it wasn't something he played a big part in.  Pretty sweet actually (he has his moments :)  Then he played Counting Stars by One Republic.  I've been super into this song lately and he commented that he liked it too and felt like this should be our theme song for this time in our life because of the opening lyrics (which are also the chorus).  I couldn't agree with him more!  We've both come to the conclusion that it's pointless to stress and worry about the money.  Our focus should be on doing whatever it takes to grow our family with the gift of a child.  So we will keep praying hard and counting stars - NOT the dollars!

That being said my giant box of meds arrived yesterday!  Which is exciting and a little scary at the same time.  I had a small moment of panic trying to figure out what needed to be refrigerated immediately and what could wait until after mixing, but a quick call to the pharmacy cleared all that up.  Honestly even though I'm not a fan of needles the last thing I'm worried about is the shots themselves.  I'm far more concerned with messing up the dosage and damaging the entire cycle.  Luckily I have my trusty calendar and my Type A mentality so hopefully between myself and D we got this :)

Count down of 5 days until the first Lupron shots!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A few of my favorite sayings

Since this process began I started a list of inspirational quotes to help me through tough days.  Here are some of my favorites

Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can't Lose (we LOVE Friday Night Lights!)

May every sunrise hold more promise and every sunset hold more peace

The strongest people are not those who show strength in front of us but those who win battles we know nothing about

It might take a year, it might take a day, but what's meant to be will always find it's way (I like this way better than "everything happens for a reason" - BS!  This confirms that it WILL happen it's just a matter of time)

No matter how you feel.....Get Up.  Dress Up.  Show Up.  And never Give Up.  (this is my motto!)

Hoping for the best, prepared for the worst, and unsurprised by anything in between.

You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

What to Expect when you are NOT Expecting

1.        Expect to feel like everyone you possibly know IS expecting.
No, this isn’t really the truth but I can honestly say it does feel like it.  Even though currently none of my closest friends are expecting it seems like every acquaintance in my life IS.  My best friend’s little sister’s best friend, my co-workers (ALL of them….well almost all of them).  The girl at my gym in my group class, teachers that work for D, neighbors, extended family members, EVERYONE.  And although I know that it’s not true that everyone is expecting but me, this is how I feel.  I didn’t say it was rational but it is honest. 

2.        Expect that the only thing worse than people who are expecting is friends who are also trying (or worse NOT trying) and beat you to the punch.

 Whenever someone mentions that they know someone who is trying or thinking about trying my first and immediate thought is “I’m sure they will get pregnant before me”.  It doesn’t make me proud that I have these thoughts or the feelings that go with them.  But once again – it’s honest.  I dread the day that I find out that the last of my girls who doesn’t have kids is expecting.  I dread the day my best friend tells me her little sister is pregnant.  But mostly I dread the awful feelings of jealously and bitterness that will come with these announcements.  I am not that type of person.  I don’t want to be THAT person.  And even though deep down I really am happy for these people, who I know are good and deserving and will be wonderful parents, it's sometimes hard to find the sun through the clouds.  But I am determined to keep looking.

3.        Expect the feeling of relief/joy that you used to feel when your period arrived is replaced by disappointment, rejection, and hello again, bitterness. 

For so many years I prayed for my period to arrive each month.  Irrationally panicking days before it was due, beating myself up for taking my pill a couple hours late.  And planning on how I would break the news of an unplanned pregnancy to my family and friends.  I would exchange those years of panic to not have to go one month with the disappointment of having your period when all you want is to be pregnant.  And even though I was disappointed to get put back on birth control to prepare for our first IVF cycle there's a part of me that's been relieved not to have to deal with the disappointment of starting my period these last couple months. 

4.        Expect to lose all control of your emotions…..all of them.
Not only do the smallest problems and issues bring tears to my eyes these days but everything seems so hard to handle.  It’s difficult to care that much about small problems or issues when you are facing infertility.  But life goes on and you are expected to act accordingly.  So when your co-worker is complaining about her crazy mother-in-law you must nod and agree that she really is the worse.  You are expected to continue to function as a normal person, when deep inside your inner voice is screaming that NONE OF THIS SHIT MATTERS.  This then leads to more unexplainable tears.  It’s a vicious cycle.

5.        Expect to lose interest in things that you are allowed to indulge in when you aren’t pregnant. 

 Before we starting trying I remember thinking (and joking) about how hard it would be to not be able to drink once I was pregnant.  My husband comes from a small country town where we love to pass afternoons and evenings gathered with friends having a few beers and a good time.  We go to concerts and sporting events with tailgates and parties.  I recognized that life would not stop when I got pregnant and have watched my friends struggle through being the sober, tired, pregnant party pooper.  However every month when I’m clearly NOT pregnant I find it hard to enjoy the things that I once thought I’d miss so much when I WAS pregnant.  (Yes, I’m well aware I sound like a crazy person)

6.        And finally expect to ultimately figure out that life is not over.  
      You will survive this.  The sun will come up tomorrow.  You are stronger than you think and God has a plan for you.  Life is short and beautiful and precious.  And with each new day comes new hope for the future. 

"May today there be peace within. May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith. May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content knowing you are a child of God. Let this presence settle into your bones and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us."
- St. Theresa

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Battle Plan

One of the analogies that I've read about in the blog world is comparing IVF to preparing for war.  If that is our analogy below is our Battle Plan.  This is the wonderful calendar that my clinic provided us for our first IVF cycle.  This calendar warmed my Type A heart like nothing I've ever seen before!  Dates!  Specifics!  Color coded timeline! A planner by nature (and admittedly a little bit of a control freak) this one piece of paper brought me so much peace and happiness.  You can see we are just 8 days out from starting our suppression meds which for my cycle will be the Lupron.  I've been back on birth control pills since Oct. to begin the suppression.  I can not wait for the 24th when I can take the last pill and officially start working on building some eggs! (fingers crossed)

Is this what a typical cycle looks like for you all?  Any tips or suggestions on how to best handle the next few weeks?

So close but so far away.....

It's only been 4 and a half months since we learned that having a baby wasn't going to be an easy road for us.  I know in the big scheme of things that is such a short amount of time but I can honestly tell you it's been the longest 4 months of my life.  As I've learned first hand and through the blog world, the waiting is one of the hardest parts about this struggle.  I feel like all I've done since this started was wait.  Wait for appointment dates, wait on test results, wait on insurance claims, wait on med orders, etc.etc.  And now just a little over a week away from what I consider the official start of our IVF cycle (which in my mind is the day I start Lupron injections) I find my patience running thin and my fear escalating.  I'm so fortunate not only to have an amazing husband who is so supportive but our families and closest friends have been great as well.  Everyone is so positive and I know their prayers and good thoughts are medicine for my soul.  But I can't help but hold on to the fear of what is to come.  I have learned through this community that there are SO many things that have to go right to even get to retrieval.  And if I am fortunate enough to make it to retrieval I'm so nervous about the outcome.  Will my body respond to the stimulation meds?  Will there even be eggs there to retrieve?  If so, will they be of good quality?  There's so many unanswered questions and while on one hand I am SO excited to get started on this journey that will hopefully lead to the start of our family, I'm also sort of afraid.  No matter what the outcome of this cycle we'll be changed forever.  Whether that change is the blessing of a baby or the grief of failure I know my heart will never be the same.  And if this cycle does fail, as so many do, I know that I'll never get back the same blind hope that I have now.  So I guess while I wait I will live in the present and try to focus on the positive and excitement I have for this cycle.  And the hope of us being one of the lucky ones that this works for the first time.  So the question becomes.....Can the light really chase away your fears?  Only time will tell.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Run Away Stork

Hello.  My name is A, and I'm an infertile. 

Like most of you never in my wildest dreams did I think I would find myself in this world.  But I'm here primarily due to an elevated FSH level which indicates my ovarian reserve is not what it's supposed to be for a healthy, active 33 year old woman. 

Like most of you in the infertile world I feel like I've been waiting my whole life to be a mom.  Just when I found the perfect man (well he's far from perfect but perfect for me :) and everything seemed to be lining up I had the rug pulled from underneath me in the form of a day 3 hormone panel.  All of my numbers were normal EXCEPT for one - the dreaded FSH.  Due to my age and some other factors our RE's (that's blog slang for Reproductive Endocrinologist) recommendation was to jump straight to IVF.  Basically the chances of success with other treatment and procedures (such as IUI) weren't that promising so rather than wasting time (which is already working against me) and money we opted to march headfirst into IVF.  I know there's so many couples out there that can't afford to try IVF so right off the bat we know we are blessed that with the help from my parents we can treat our infertility as aggressively as possible.

This blog is about our journey.  I've spent a couple months now lurking and reading other blogs wondering if I could be brave enough to speak openly about my own journey.  I've witnessed the amazing support and love that other infertiles have received from this community and am in awe.  One of my biggest struggles so far with my own experience is I feel as if no one really understands.  Even thought my husband and I have decided to keep our experience pretty private we have shared what we are going through with our immediate family and very closest friends.  All of whom have been more supportive and understanding than I could have imagined.  But, everyone has their own struggles and this is one that none of them have experienced first hand (thankfully!).  So i know it's not easy to relate and it's hard to know what to say, because let's be honest, there are no right words.

So here I am hoping that as I open up about my journey I'll find some peace in mind and heart along the way.