Stimming Update

Here we are at Stim Day 6.  The first few days of stimming were slow as my ovaries kicked into gear.  Now, they are in a full swing. Here’s a quick update on our last 5 days of IVF injections.

Stim Day 2

75iu Menopur
275iu Follistim

Well, Sunday morning was interesting.  Let me begin by saying that my husband is an excellent shot giver or, as he calls himself, “Chief Injectionist.” During Round 1, we never had any issues with the subcutaneous stomach shots.  I never even bruised.  We must have been overdue for a slip up, or maybe it was just too early for us on a Sunday because neither one of us realized that Brennen was injecting me about 4 inches from my belly button in a less fatty area and at an angle. The result… the-welp

That welp (excuse the creases on my stomach created by my pajamas)! Brennen freaked out.  I did too, but I had to stay calm for him – the opposite of what usually happens.  I started texting every nurse and IVF patient I knew.  Finally, at 7:00am Brennen convinced me to wake up the on-call doctor.  I called, and he assured us that the medicine would still be absorbed. Whew! That’s all we needed to hear.  So, I went back to sleep despite having Brennen check my stomach every few minutes and ask, “Is it gone yet?” The welp went away.

I slept off and on the rest of the day.  I didn’t have much energy, but I did have a headache. I think my body was in protest of all the hormones we had been cramming into it.

Stim Day 3

75iu Menopur
275iu Follistim

The headache from the previous day lingered.  I attended a conference and was just waiting on a full blown migraine to be set off by old lady perfume.  Luckily, no migraine.

That evening, I had a meeting after work, so Brennen had to meet me for some IVF on the go.  We joked about “doing it” in the parking lot.

ivf-on-the-go

Stim Day 4

75iu Menopur
275iu Follistim

I spent Stim Day 4 as a pin cushion – an injection in the morning, an injection at night, acupuncture, and blood work.  The blood work was to check my level of estradiol – estrogen which is primarily produced in the follicles of the ovaries.  According to my Chief Injectionist (aka husband), my estradiol level would give the doctor an idea of how many follicles were growing because each follicle produces a certain amount of estradiol.  That afternoon, the doctor must have thought I was looking good because he reduced my Menopur from 75iu to 37.5iu.

Stim Day 5

37.5iu Menopur
275iu Follistim

Wednesday was just that day between two monitoring appointments.  We were so anxious for Thursday’s appointment so we could actually see the follicles during an ultrasound.  After work, I was extremely tired.  It’s odd because during Round 1, I had a surge of energy throughout stimming.  That hasn’t been the case this time around.  I wish I would have kept a journal of my symptoms during the last round so I could compare them with how I’m feeling now.  But honestly, I didn’t really think I would be doing this again. Hindsight, right?

Stim Day 6

37.5iu Menopur
275iu Follistim
0.5cc Ganirelix

Today was our first monitoring appointment that included an ultrasound.  We finally got to see my growing follicles – “follies” for fun.  The right ovary was flourishing with approximately 13 follicles measuring between 9mm and 13mm.  The doctor counted about 8 in the left ovary within that same size range.  So far, follicle count is looking better than Round 1, so we’re hoping it’s a good sign.  Fingers crossed!

We also started our Ganirelix injections tonight.  Ganirelix is basically used to hold the eggs in the follicles until retrieval.  If the eggs release, we’ll have to cancel this round. See, during the typical cycle, there is usually a lead follicle that releases an egg, causing the other follicles to essentially shut down.  We don’t want this happening.  We want those eggs!

What’s Next

Our next appointment is Saturday morning.  We should get an update on follicle count and sizes again, and hopefully we’ll get a tentative retrieval date for next week.  Time flies when you’re juicing your ovaries! We’ll keep you posted.

 

The Upswing

There have been a lot of valleys during this journey to Baby H – breakdowns where it felt like every ounce of energy was drained from my body; dinners spent venting to my husband about the multitude of pregnancy announcements on Facebook, challenging the fairness of it all; and most often, sleepless nights where I was haunted by all our unknowns.  Will I produce enough eggs? Will they be good quality eggs? Will we have a good fertilization rate? Will we have any embryos make it to transfer? To freezing? Will this even work? But lately, I’ve been on the upswing of what I so frequently call the emotional roller coaster; and I can’t help but find it strange that these unknowns that had my stomach in knots earlier this year, somehow bring with them now…peace.

A friend of mine who is wound very much like me went through IVF a year or so before my first round.  She told me that during IVF, I would surprise myself by learning to let go – that I would have a different outlook on what is important and worth my time and energy.  She was right.  During Round 1, my whole focus was on IVF – the injections, the monitoring appointments, follicle growth, embryo development, etc.  I didn’t meal plan.  I didn’t follow our chore schedule.  I didn’t run any errands.  I went to work where I could barely focus, came home, and rested with IVF stuff sprinkled in between.  My husband couldn’t believe it; I was letting go.

“Letting go” in Round 2 means something different though, and it’s hard to explain.  Those unknowns, everything I mentioned above, they’re still there.  They still cross my mind.  But I’ve realized that I can’t control them, so I can’t let them control me.  I’ll take my injections like a champ, but I can’t make my follicles grow.  My doctor, not me, will retrieve my eggs.  The embryologist, not me, will monitor our growing embryos in the lab. And God, not me, knows the plan for our lives.  All I can do right now is take care of myself emotionally and physically.  And that begins by not letting the unknowns plague my mind but by letting them go.

So here we are at a little over a week until stimming.  Our medications arrived today.  The baseline ultrasound is scheduled for Wednesday.  And all tentative monitoring and retrieval appointments are on the calendar.  We have a lot ahead of us; how much is yet another unknown.  But in this moment, I’m just a girl on birth control letting go and enjoying the upswing.