Friday, December 31, 2010

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Information Overload....

Wow.  My head is spinning, but in a good way!!  Our appointment went well this morning.  The ultrasound results were good- no cysts on my ovaries and nothing out of the ordinary.  The injection teaching was a little overwhelming but I'm sure Steve will have a spreadsheet made in no time that will cut down on any confusion, in fact- he's probably creating one as I type this (I love my analyzer). 

So I will try to break down what I learned today...

January 5th I begin taking an injection called Leuprolide (also known as Lupron). Lupron suppresses the pituitary gland (the gland which is normally responsible for triggering ovulation). During the suppression phase, spontaneous ovulation will not occur. I will be injected with Lupron daily throughout the IVF cycle.

January 15th I add another injection called Follistim. Follistim (follicle stimulating hormone) is a man-made form of a hormone that occurs naturally in the body. Naturally, this hormone stimulates your ovary to produce one follicle- during IVF I will be getting a larger dose than my body would normally produce so that my ovaries will develop multiple follicles. This injection will also be daily for 8-12 days.

Depending on blood work (estradiol levels) that I will have drawn about every other day I will add yet another injection called Repronex (in case you weren't keep track- I'm up to three injections a day at this point).  Repronex is another follicle stimulating hormone. 

Between January 22nd and 26th I will be getting ultrasounds to look at how my follicles are doing.  At this time, the doctors in Iowa City will decide when my egg retrieval will be and 34.5 hours before that day and time I will take an injection of HCG to mature my eggs for retrieval.

And last but certainly not least- the final injection sounds like the most fun- I'm being totally sarcastic here.  Beginning the day of the retrieval I start daily injections of Progesterone in oil.  This stuff is thick so of course the needle has to be big...really big.  And these injections continue into the 8th week of pregnancy which I am positive I won't care about once I get a positive pregnancy test. 

The nurse told us today that the embryo transfer would most likely be at the beginning of February and we would know if we are pregnant 9 to 11 days after....maybe a Valentines Day present for Steve and I. 

I've learned from other blogs and from researching side effects that I am going to gain weight, get acne, be moody, and have hot flashes- sounds like fun right??  But I know it will all be worth it in the end.

**I would like to apologize in advance to anyone who may be on the other end of my crazy hormone rages. 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Cash, Check or Charge?

Today I called to make our final payment on our IVF procedure….there’s no turning back now (as if we would even think about turning back).  Tomorrow is our base line ultrasound and injection teaching.  I’m excited about this visit because everything will seem more “real”.  Right now all we have is a bunch of paper work, my bag o’ drugs (that I have no clue what to do with) and my imagination (believe me- it’s running wild).  I remember being a little girl with my dolls, playing house and knowing that when I grew up I’d be a mom to a real baby.  I thought having a baby would be easy; so many people do it so why would I be any different?  But after you can’t “just do it” it affects every part of your life.  Every month becomes strictly scheduled- counting days, peeing on ovulation predictor kits, timing intimacy, getting blood tests, peeing on home pregnancy tests, negative….repeat next month.  You start to feel like less of a woman; you start to become depressed and distance yourself from friends, all you see is pregnant women and couples with babies, you start to wonder- why can’t I have a baby when it seems like everyone else can? I’ve asked myself a million times, what if God doesn’t want me to be a mom? 

Well….I’m going to put up one hell of a fight.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Hormones and Needles and Tests, Oh My!!

We are excited and nervous to be starting In Vitro Fertilization in January.  The University of Iowa Hospital in Iowa City has an IVF program and our fertility specialist, Dr. Figge has recommended this program as our next step.  At the U of I they have what they call a “shared-risk” warranty program.  Steve and I had to be qualified to take part in it.  They qualify you based on age, uterine measurements, sperm quality and motility, ovarian reserve (the capacity of the ovary to provide eggs that are capable of fertilization), no STD’s, no history of substance abuse, etc...  thankfully, we found out in December that we are qualified for this program!!!  This means that after the egg retrieval if we don’t become pregnant we get to re-transfer frozen embryos each month until they are gone.  And if after our embryos are gone we still aren’t pregnant (please pray we are!) we get a big portion of our money back.  We have already decided that if the IVF doesn’t work we will use this money for adoption. 
We met with an IVF specialist, Dr. Duran, in December and discussed the procedures, risks, time lines and percentages. He told us University of Iowa has a 60% success rate with a fresh embryo transfer - which I think sounds wonderful since getting pregnant naturally is usually an 11% chance each month and with only one fallopian tube, like I have, it’s even less.
So we got tested, poked, and prodded (me more than Steve but he was there with me the whole time- he is my rock). We drove to Iowa City to get our bag o’ drugs (you all know what a paper grocery bag looks like- our fertility drugs filled one of those), and on December 30th we go for our injection teaching and base line ultrasound.  Yes, I said injection teaching….all of these fun IVF drugs are injectables and guess who has to give them to me every day for 25 days- that would be Steve and he seems a little too excited about this job.
I sense that I have about a week left to feel normal because that’s when the injections start and who knows what these hormones are going to do to me.  I’m scared. Scared to be injected with hormones three times a day. Scared to get my blood drawn every week (I was blessed with almost undetectable veins and they are not eager to give up blood and I never leave Metro Lab without being stuck at least three times by two different people). But I can do it.  I can endure the pain. I just wish there was a 100% guarantee that I would have a beautiful baby in 9 months because what scares me the most is that my body will fail me again and all of this will be for nothing.  I am thankful I have Steve, my dad (Mark), Regina, Jeanne, Stan, Kelsey, Niki, Randl, and all of my wonderful friends reminding me every time I need it that this WILL happen. And of course, I have my beautiful mother in heaven looking down on me and giving me the strength I need to get through this.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Some History...

Steve and I have been trying to conceive for a year.  In January of 2010 we found out we were pregnant and were so thrilled to be starting our family.  We soon found out that the pregnancy was ectopic and was in my right fallopian tube.  Needless to say, this was devastating news.  I had surgery to remove the pregnancy while leaving the tube in tact.  A couple of days after the surgery my Dr was concerned that my HCG levels were not going down as they should but instead, going up.  So she scheduled me for a D&C later that week but found no fetal tissue.  About a week later, my HCG levels were still rising and I was still having a lot of pain. I collapsed at work and Steve rushed me to the ER where it was discovered that my fallopian tube had ruptured and I was rushed to emergency surgery.  So....three surgeries, two blood transfusions and one missing fallopian tube later there we were, wondering what to do next and determined to keep trying.  In May of 2010 we got another positive pregnancy test that also ended in heartbreak....a "chemical" pregnancy that didn't make it.  We began seeing a fertility specialist, tried clomid, two rounds of IUI, peed on too many sticks to count, read every book you can think of, acupuncture, chiropractic care....the list goes on and on- there was nothing we wouldn't try at least once.  So now we are beginning our IVF journey in the hopes of having a family very soon. I just want to say thank you to our amazingly supportive families and friends who have been here with us every step of the way.  You guys are the best!