Posted by: stacie2147 | June 25, 2011

Long, Long, Long Overdue Update!

I’ve recently started blogging again, most selfishly because of a contest to win an Amazon Kindle, and I realized I’ve left one major detail out along my journey through IVF.  IT WORKED!!!  I was shocked that I hadn’t at least revealed that at some point over the last year!  I know I was paranoid about saying so while I was pregnant, in case God forbid something went wrong.  There were a few complications with the pregnancy and delivery, however I have a wonderfully healthy and perfect baby boy.  One that I don’t think I would have if it weren’t for IVF.  I was thinking about changing this to a Mommy blog, but I’m not so sure I want to corner myself into just one format.  I’d like to ramble about whatever strikes me at the time, although now a days it’s most likely baby related anyway.  So on the days that I have some spare time (hah!) I might just pop on with a little note here and there.

In the meantime, I have to mention the website Bargain eBook Hunter for Kindle/Nook/Kobo listings as well as a contest to win a new Amazon Kindle.  http://bargainebookhunter.com/  Here is an excerpt from their About page to give you a better idea of what the site is all about.

Welcome to Bargain eBook Hunter where we track the best ebook bargains!  What will you find on our site?  We’re dedicated to hunting through the digital publishing world looking for eBooks at great deals (from FREE to $2.99) and putting them on our site to provide you, the reader, with a one-stop shopping experience.  You will find titles that comprise the full gamut of styles from short stories to novels and from all genres.

Check out the site and while you are there don’t forget to enter their contest!

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Posted by: stacie2147 | June 24, 2011

Father’s Day 2011

Joe and I celebrated our 1st Father’s Day with Jake this year.  I got them matching personalized Iron Man t-shirts, Joe’s says Iron Dad and Jake’s says Iron Boy.  I’d post a picture but I think Joe would be a little embarrassed.  (Oops!)  My sister gave our Dad an Amazon Kindle and he loved it!  I’m so jealous; Dad’s not supposed to have better techie gadgets than me!  Harrumph!  With a little luck I’ll win a free one off of the Bargain eBook Hunter website.  That is if whoever is reading this doesn’t enter the contest and win instead of me!  🙂 

I’ve shared their site before on this blog, but I’ll do so again so that any other Dads out there that got yet another tie for Father’s Day can enter the contest and win what they really wanted.  Or, they can pop on the site to get the latest eBook deals.  http://bargainebookhunter.com/

I hope everyone had a great Father’s Day weekend, even if they are only a Dad to a furbaby!

 

Posted by: stacie2147 | June 23, 2010

Long Overdue Update on TTC

My last post told of my cancelled FET due to the threat of OHSS.  When we were finally healthy enough to attempt a transfer, it didn’t work.  Neither did the second FET.  Then, to pour salt on the wound, our 3rd FET was cancelled because none of the remaining 5 frozen embryos surviving the thaw.  I didn’t realize just how painful the whole FET failure was to me until I tried writing about it, so I stopped.  I could not bring myself to share the journey anymore – although this blog has been extremely personal, I was still too raw emotionally to continue posting about our infertility struggles.  In hindsight I wish I had because the next fresh IVF cycle for us was successful!  It went like clockwork that time, everything seemed to fall into place although I was still shocked at the outcome.

I chose not to blog about the pregnancy because I was paranoid I would jinx it somehow.  If I thought it was difficult to deal with embryos that did not survive, I could not imagine how it would be to deal with a miscarriage or stillbirth.  A few complications have come up, although in general I’m healthy and no longer worried about losing my baby.  I believe this will be our one and only child, so I’d like to remember the good parts of the pregnancy and not have a blog remind me of the additional struggles I’ve been through.  I apologize for being selfish about this part; I know that many people may have been inspired to know that we finally triumphed over infertility.  I also know that many people would be able to relate to my pregnancy and offer advice and encouragement, however I just could not open myself up emotionally anymore.  It’s been a difficult year for other personal reasons so I hope you understand.

I’m currently 35 weeks pregnant so that journey is quickly coming to an end.  Perhaps I’ll start a new mommy blog when the baby is born?  Until I do resume blogging, I wish everyone that is TTC the best of luck and lots of baby dust!

Posted by: stacie2147 | May 4, 2009

April 4th Ultrasound – Last During Stims

We went all the way up to Lebanon to have another ultrasound so that my doctor could review the results from his own staff and lab.  It ended up being a good news/bad news scenario. 

The bad news:  My estrogen levels came back at 4962, and they don’t want you to be over 5000 when they do the egg retrieval.  If your levels are already that high and they proceed to transfer embryos a few days later, there is a high risk of developing ovarian hype-stimulation syndrome, or OHSS.  Since my estrogen levels were already just about at that point, my doctor decided to cancel the transfer but schedule surgery to remove the eggs first thing Monday AM.

The good news:  They found 23 follicules!  23!!!  I guess that could be considered bad news too though, because more than 20 eggs on a healthy woman is considered overstimulation.  So much for first finding 16 and then just 8 pulling forward.  Oops… 

My u/s tech was a male, so there was a female nurse present for the test.  The nurse said I was lucky that the u/s tech was the manager of that department with many years experience because I would be a nightmare patient for a newbie with all those follies to keep track of!  The ultrasound tech didn’t talk much during the procedure because he was concentrating so hard being careful not repeat or miss any follicules.  The nurse filled us in as he went along, commenting on how uncomfortable I must be with so many follicules crammed in there and my ovaries being so large.  Funny, I’ve never been so acutely aware of exactly where my ovaries reside until this ultrasound!  The right ovary was especially sensitive and although the ultrasound didn’t hurt it was extremely uncomfortable.  I was glad when it was over!

Until Saturday the 4th, the day of that last ultrasound, I had felt pretty normal as far as using the stim drugs.  From Saturday on, I became very uncomfortable.  My abdomen had extended because of my bursting ovaries, and it looked like I was already pregnant.  (I imagine it must feel similar too!)  I kept getting a pulling sensation on my right ovary as well.  I also gained 4 pounds in 3 days, and it wasn’t from indulging in Ben & Jerry’s, it was from the fluid within and surrounding the follicules.  I could no longer wear any of my jeans; the one pair I could still button was extremely uncomfortable tugging at my belly.  My other pants were tight as well, but at least I didn’t have to revert to sweats or buy anything in a larger size!  I felt so bloated, and yes I’m going to say it again, uncomfortable.

It was at this point that I stopped blogging.  I was SO disappointed that we couldn’t continue with the IVF.  I felt poor physically and to have one more setback really threw me emotionally.  I know I should be grateful that my doctor was careful to avoid OHSS; I later found out he considered mine to be a borderline case with the symptoms I had and we avoided it going full blown because of his caution.  I know I should be grateful that I had so many follicules to harvest, yet was cursing them for making me feel so lousy.  I know that we were lucky the entire cycle wasn’t scrapped and they were able to save the eggs; some women are not so lucky if they are borderline OHSS.  At least I didn’t suffer through the stim drugs and their side effects for nothing!  Even so, with all these logical reasons to be happy I was upset.  All I could think about is that originally were were set to do IVF in January.  That was delayed when we found an ovarian polyps and I had to have surgery to remove it.  I had to heal from that surgery and now I have to heal from the OHSS which puts our embryo transfer out to June.  JUNE!  Five whole months after we were supposed to start.  It means that if it works we will no longer have a 2009 baby, it will be 2010 and I will have turned 41 before giving birth.  It’s just so much time slipping away, and at my age it seems like I’m on borrowed time to start with.  I can’t help but think our slim chances of success are getting slimmer each month that goes by.  It’s true, and that’s why it hurts so much.

Posted by: stacie2147 | April 29, 2009

Catching up on posts

I apologize, but I’ve just been too emotionally overwhelmed as of late to post.  So much has happened that I need to catch up on, so forgive me if I’ve left any readers hanging.  All is well, but life takes some unexpected turns sometimes!  As you can guess, I developed borderline OHSS.  My transfer was cancelled to give me time to heal, and I’m feeling back to normal now.  (At least as normal as I can be!)  We’ll be starting the FET (frozen embryo transfer) protocol on May 8th and expect to do the FET during the week of June 9th.  Now that we’re back on track I’ll catch up with what’s happened on new posts so I can stay up to date with the FET details as they happen.

On a side note, I believe I mentioned my Mom having medical problems in the past.  In the last few weeks she’s endured surgery and came through very well, although it looks like she may have to have a second surgery next week.   With both of our medical issues coming to a head, I’ve been extremely emotional and raw.  Although I feel blogging helps me vent I did not want to rant or whine, and needed to take a little time to step back and take care of myself and my family both physically and emotionally before I got back to blogging.  Forgive me for not keeping up!

Posted by: stacie2147 | April 3, 2009

Stims monitoring / potential OHSS?

I went for my monitoring ultrasound yesterday, as well as my physical to be sure I was OK for the egg retrieval surgery.  I found out that out of the 16 “ladies in waiting” only 8 had pulled forward to a measurable size.  I had 1 follicle at 11mm, 6 follicles at 12mm and 1 follicle at 14mm.  The rest have not pulled forward.  I was very disappointed with this information, however my nurse pointed out again that they hope to retrieve 8-10 eggs for IVF and I’m in that range.  I also found out that I was supposed to have my estrogen level checked while I was at that appointment, but didn’t know so I never went to the lab.  I had to go there early this AM to get my blood drawn and make sure my estrogen level was OK.  It’s not. 

My E2 (estrogen) level is higher than where it should be at this point of stimulation.  My nurse instructed us to NOT take tonight’s stim shot – DARN, no painful injection!  We have to travel up to Lebanon tomorrow for a 9:00 ultrasound appointment and another E2 check.  Evidently the satellite location where I went for my last ultrasound measures the follicles slightly differently than the hospital in Lebanon, so because of my heightened E2 levels they want me tested in Lebanon to be sure everything is accurate.  My current E2 is 3290, and ideally they do not want it to go over 5000 before the egg retrieval.  Originally we estimated my retrieval day to be Thursday, but judging from my E2 level I’m growing my follies much faster.  Because of this I’m in danger of developing ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome, or OHSS.  If you’re not familiar with OHSS, it’s when the ovaries become overly swollen with fluid, leaking this excess fluid in to the body.  In the worst case scenario it causes the ovaries to twist, and requires emergency surgery to remove them.  Not good!

Tomorrow’s ultrasound and blood work will determine how we proceed from here.  They hope they can slow down my climbing E2 levels by either adjusting my Follistim and Menopur doses or eliminating them for the remainder of the cycle.  If I develop OHSS we will not be able to do the IVF this cycle.  The good news is that they most likely will still be able to do the egg retrieval, so I didn’t suffer through the stimulation drugs this cycle for nothing.  Then they will give my body time to heal from the OHSS (I believe it’s a cycle or two) and then we’ll do the IVF with a FET, or frozen embryo transfer.  If we do a FET the only shots I’ll have to tolerate are the Lupron, the HCG and the progesterone; no more Follistim or Menopur required as I won’t have to stimulate for eggs with the snowbabies in waiting.  It should be a much easier cycle!

I so hope that we can slow down the growth of the follies and safely do the IVF this cycle.  I’ll be very disappointed if we have to do a FET, because of the time lost and the fact that I know not all of the embryos are going to survive the freezing process.  I’m trying to keep a positive attitude, but it’s hard when you’re feeling bloated and have a pulling sensation in your sides.  I was warned this would be expected during the stims, but I can’t help but wonder if it’s OHSS and my fate is already determined…

Posted by: stacie2147 | March 31, 2009

Stim drugs getting easier to tolerate

Joe and I decided to try the ovulation stimulation injections with me lying down.  The theory is that when I’m sitting up, my stomach muscles are tensed.  I tense up everything else too when it’s time for him to give the shot.  Lying down my tummy is stretched out flat (as flat as it’s going to get at this weight) and I put a pillow over my head so I don’t see Joe coming at me with the needle.  That allows me to clench the pillow and I can keep the muscle tension in my hands and arms so it does not affect the shot.  So far the stim shots still hurt, but they seem to hurt a little bit less this way. 

As for side effects, I’ve had a headache since Saturday.  Seriously!  Right now it’s just low grade pressure, but Sunday it was almost migraine strong.  (I’ve never been diagnosed with migraines so I’m guessing, or exaggerating!)  All I am allowed to take for medicine is Tylenol, which usually does not do anything for me.  I can’t take my allergy medicine so I am not sure if this is all stim side effects or partially allergies since it is the beginning of Spring.  Regardless, it’s annoying.  I’m going to have to look around for homeopathic remedies and see if my doctor will allow those.  He won’t allow me to take Chinese herbs with my acupuncture, so I’m not sure that he’ll allow any “natural” remedies either.  It’s worth a try!

Posted by: stacie2147 | March 29, 2009

Not a good start on the stim drugs

What a day Friday the 27th worked out to be!  Joe and I started the stimulation drugs and right from the start had problems.  Our injection training was 3 weeks ago and although we’ve been doing the Lupron injections the stim shots are a whole other story.  We forgot what we were doing and screwed up our first dose.  Joe forgot how to mix the drugs so he had me do it, and evidently I wasn’t paying as close attention in the class as I should have.  I guess I assumed that since Joe was the one practicing that he’d remember.  Well you know what happens when you assume, right?  Yeah…  I had the theory right about mixing the liquid into the powder Menopur to dissolve it, however I totally forgot that we did not need to use the saline included in our drug pack to do so as the Follistim is already in a liquid form.  I mixed them all and there was too much liquid in the vial – Joe took the needle out and it squirted on his face!  Oops!  We both freaked out; me because I knew the dosage was now messed up, and him because he thought he was going to start growing boobs from the exposure to the meds.  We called our nurse and she had us scrap that first injection and start over.  She explained it again and it made perfect sense, and we haven’t had any problems doing the mixing since.

The stim shots are more painful than the Lupron.  It stings like an S.O.B. when it gets injected, then an area at least the size of a softball around the injection site aches for around 90 minutes.  That’s with icing.  Without, well that just plain sucks.  I found that out the hard way!  Friday was my Mom’s birthday, and we had a little party for her at the rehab center.  The party was right when my night shot was required, so I had to pack up the meds and take them with me.  The ice packs thawed out by the time I needed them, so my skin was cooled but not numb.  Poor Joe had to mix the meds and then give me the shot in Mom’s room, in front of both Mom and her roommate.  Not exactly the ideal situation, especially since it hurt SO MUCH!  It brought tears to my eyes.  If we ever have to do those shots outside of home I’m going to make darn well sure we have a way of icing the area properly.  One good note was that my sister in law also watched him administer the shot just in case in the future Joe isn’t home and I need her to inject me instead.  God bless her, she’s up for the task even after witnessing the most painful shot I’ve ever received!

Posted by: stacie2147 | March 29, 2009

It’s a go!

I had my ultrasound on March 26th and everything looks good.  My ovaries are in good condition and my uterine lining is nice and thin like they want.  My estrogen level is good too, although they didn’t tell me what it was.  Regardless, “good” is good!  The ultrasound technician let me know that I have 8 follicles growing in each ovary – a potential for 16 eggs and I haven’t even started the stimulation drugs yet!  I was so excited, I didn’t realize I could get a follicle count on my baseline appointment.  When my nurse called to give us the go ahead on the stims for the 27th she was excited to see that I had so many “ladies in waiting”.  She warned me that not all of them may mature, even with the stimulation drugs, and that they may not be able to capture all the mature ones during harvest.  Even so, we have enough to start with so that even if we don’t get as many healthy ones, we should still have a sufficient amount to fertilize and grow well enough to transfer a few.  She also warned me that if we have to do this more than once not to expect so many follicles again, that each cycle is different.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we’ll only have to do this once.

I also met my second acupuncturist today and did a session with her.  My regular practitioner is in Nashua which is about 2 hours away from the hospital so we can’t use her immediately before/after the transfer.  My nurse recommended this woman instead, she’s over the border in Vermont but is only about 12 minutes away.  She’s very nice, I’m comfortable with her already so I’m sure it will work out well when the time comes.  She does have a different technique however; she uses the Japanese traditional method while my regular gal uses a Chinese method.  Both have similar points but the needles are different and they are inserted differently as well.  Fortunately my acupuncturists discussed my case together and devised a treatment plan so we’re all on the same page.

Posted by: stacie2147 | March 24, 2009

Interesting & unexpected side effect

The mood swings and weepiness are to be expected on Lupron, however I encountered a new side effect that took me by surprise.  Quick background on how it happened: 

Joe and I went to an open house on Sunday.  It was a short sale, and needed some work so I wasn’t impressed with the property.  The Realtor told us about another home close by the wasn’t formally having an open house, but the owner was prepared to show it in case visitors from this house wanted to swing by his afterwards.  We got in our car and waited for the realtor to turn his car around so we could follow him.  He proceeded to back up and smashed into the mail box.  I saw it coming like it was in slow motion, and all I could do was point and utter “ohh-ohh-OH!”  SLAM!  And then the giggles started.  Joe got out to help the Realtor survey the damage, and I did my best to hide the fact that I was laughing at him.  Which of course made it even funnier to me.  By the time Joe got back in the car and started to follow the Realtor I was in total stitches.  I was laughing so hard that tears were streaming down my face and I couldn’t breathe.  I was letting out these squeaks when laughing that were a few octaves higher than my regular voice, so that in itself spurred me to laugh even more.  Joe reminded me that we didn’t know how close this other house was so I’d better calm down quickly – which of course only made me laugh harder.  I honestly can’t remember the last time I’ve laughed so long or so hard!

I’m writing this one off as a mood swing in the opposite direction brought on by the Lupron.  If mundane things strike you as hysterically funny while taking this drug, bring it on!

Posted by: stacie2147 | March 22, 2009

1st Lupron adjustment

Today is the first time we downgraded our Lupron dose from 20u to10u.  Hopefully with the dose cut in 1/2 the side effects will be minimal…we’ll see!  I was weepy on Friday night, we went out to the movies and I cried twice during the show.  Not necessarily unusual for me, however we went to see The Watchmen which is not a movie to cry over.  If you’re not familiar with it, it’s an action/superhero/sci-fi film.  It’s not a chick flick, or a drama, and we deliberately chose it because we thought it was the one least likely to make me cry.  Wrong!  There were two scenes that got me going; first was a history flash-back showing JFK getting shot.  Down came the tears!  Interesting because I was not alive when JFK was in office, so I don’t feel any emotional attachment to him.  The second scene showed a cemetary with the 1985 NYC skyline in the distance.  I saw the twin towers of the WTC and again the tears came.  So did the sobs.  Thank God the theater was dark and not too full, I was so embarrassed!  I tried to keep it quiet and Joe didn’t seem to notice so I doubt anyone else did.  But in my head I was making a scene and I was mortified!  I hate the internal monologue that goes on when these bouts happen:  “Stupid tears, stupid Lupron, what’s wrong with me?  You know what’s wrong with you, it’s the stupid hormones!  Calm down and get ahold of yourself already!  I’m trying, don’t yell at me!”  Now you know where the phrase Loopy on Lupron came from.

Posted by: stacie2147 | March 20, 2009

The side effects have arrived!

I think I may have cursed myself on an earlier post when I said the side effects hadn’t started yet.  They’re here!  I’m getting mood swings, although with the stuff going on with my Mom’s health I guess that could be expected.  I also cursed myself by stating that I hoped I got weepy instead of bitchy – although Joe may not mind that curse!  😉 

I was watching TV today and quite suddenly started sobbing.  I barely remember the movie I was watching, never mind the scene that set it off but I know it wasn’t sad!  All the while the tears are flowing and I’m hiccuping crying and my mind is saying WTH!?!?  Then it’s over as quickly as it started.  I was left feeling exhausted, dazed and a little bit confused.  Welcome to the world of Lupron!

Posted by: stacie2147 | March 19, 2009

IVF billing woes

I got a call yesterday from the financial department of our IVF hospital looking for money.  When we originally talked, I was told that they needed our pre-payment before our egg retrieval/egg transfer surgery and procedures.  According to this accountant, she now believes it is due when we start the stims for IVF which will be a week from tomorrow.  Yet in the same sentence she said it was at the start of the shots for our IVF protocol, which is actually the Lupron shots suppressing ovulation that start two weeks prior to the stim shots.  If that’s the case, I’m a week late on a payment of many thousands of dollars!

I let her know that I intended to visit her on 3/26 when I go for my physical and baseline ultrasound to be sure I’m ready to start the ovulation stimulation drugs on 3/27.  I wanted to get the figures right because if I pre-pay I get a 10% discount on the services.  Because it’s a pre-pay I don’t have an invoice to pay against so I wanted to discuss with her how they need the checks done – they separate out bills between the fertility clinic and the hospital, even though the clinic is part of the hospital itself.  She originally told me the pre-payment was due before my ER/ET, and that’s going to happen during the week of 4/6.  I thought I was giving more than enough time to give her the checks in person on 3/26 and have them deposit, clear and be applied to my account before my surgery.

We also discussed the dollar amounts for the checks, and they didn’t add up to me.  They were lower than what I expected, and although I didn’t want to argue that fact I didn’t want to get billed later with an additional 10% fee because we didn’t straighten it out ahead of time.  We discovered the issue is that my monitoring during the stimulation phase is going to be done at DHMC in Manchester so I won’t have to drive 2 hours each way for a quick ultrasound.  DHMC Manchester will be billing me separately, so they took the office visit/ultrasound fees in bulk off my bill-to-be.  I questioned the fact that my 3/26 base line visit should be included in that fee, and that’s being done at DHMC in Lebanon.  That totally threw her for a loop – I guess they bill in bulk for those services, so she isn’t sure how to handle the billing for just that visit.  I also asked about pre-paying DHMC in Manchester, and she had no clue.  She said they could charge their own fees and that might not be the same as what they charged in Lebanon for the same services – even though it’s considered a satellite office and they work in tandem with patients.  She had no idea what their fee was or if they also gave a 10% discount for pre-paying.  She didn’t even have a contact person for me to ask for in their billing department to discuss this.  I can’t be the only person in NH that goes to a satellite office instead of driving for hours to the border of Vermont – otherwise what are those satellite offices for?  We’re talking about thousands of dollars here that I’m trying to pay them EARLY!!!  WTH?!?!  Is it just me?!?!

Posted by: stacie2147 | March 17, 2009

Last menses for 9 months?

I got my period yesterday, right on schedule after stopping my birth control pills.  It was mild yesterday, and although I’m not flowing heavy today the cramps are killing me.  I’ve been eating Advil like M&M’s and it’s just barely taking the edge off.  I don’t know if that’s because I’m on Lupron, but I suspect not.  I’ll be sleeping with the heating pad tonight, and this time I’m not referring to my doggie!

I had my weekly acupuncture appointment today and it was a big help in temporarily reducing the cramps.  She added points to my belly to help with that, and put the heat lamp there as well as turning on the heater on the bed.  All combined, it took them way down.  I just wish that relief lasted longer, it’s usually only good for about an hour or so after the session.  (Sigh) 

This acupuncture session was interesting, and not just because of the cramp relief!  When she put a needle in my ankle I got a pins & needle sensation shooting down my foot.  It was very strong and I kicked out when I felt it.  I don’t know why, but if I’m going to have a reaction from her “tapping into my chi” it seems to happen at that pressure point.  Supposedly it’s a good thing, but it’s a very odd feeling when it happens.  She also added a few extra points since I officially started the IVF protocol.  She inserted a needle between my eyes, and one at the top of my head.  I can only imagine what I must have looked like! 

Between the acupuncture and the Lupron shot this AM I feel like a pin cushion.  I know it’s going to get worse when I start the stims as I’ll have those shots twice a day, but I’m crampy and cranky and I’ll whine if I want to.  My only consolation is that this may be my last period for 9 months.  When I think of it that way I have to shut up!  😉

Posted by: stacie2147 | March 15, 2009

4th time is the charm!

How much can one person blog about shots?  Well here I go again!  Suffice it to say that my icing technique and Joe’s injection technique have finally been perfected.  It was quick, I didn’t feel the needle today and there was minimal burning.  I also didn’t bruise this time, woo-hoo!  Although to be honest there is a dot where the needle went in and that area is slightly pink.  (Gasp!) 

The only unexpected drawback to today’s easy shot session is that I can’t wear jeans.  The injection site lands right where my waistband is on a few different pairs of jeans.  In spite of Joe’s perfect shot execution the area is still tender, so they are uncomfortable to wear.  I have no problem wearing sweats or slacks instead of jeans if that is the only side effect!  I can only hope that the rest of my Lupron shots will be so easy.

Posted by: stacie2147 | March 14, 2009

Samurai Joe

My idea about wrapping the ice pack in a paper towel and keeping it on for a shorter time before my injection worked!  I didn’t feel the needle, however I sure as heck felt the pressure from Joe putting it in.  The stinging from the Lupron was minimal, so we’ll continue to ice the injection site  in this way going forward. 

Today’s technique for giving the shot however will not be duplicated.  This morning Joe poked me like a dart board, even though our nurse specifically told us we shouldn’t do it that way.  We were instructed to hold it like a pen and inject it gently.  Joe wanted to do it quickly for me, so he thought he’d try it the way his friend did when he went through IVF.  He held the needle like a dart and then stuck it quickly and forcefully into the skin like he was throwing a dart on a board.  I swear I could actually see him wind up for it!  Note that his friend’s version of administering a shot was practiced 15 years ago…evidently the preferred technique has changed, and in my opinion for the better.  I told Joe I heard him mentally saying “Hi-Ya!” when he administered it, to which he replied “I didn’t Samurai my Stacie!”  If he hadn’t jabbed me so hard all I would have felt is the medicine burn and not the needle, so we won’t be doing it that way again.  I bled a little this time too, which helped drive home the fact that the dart board technique was too hard.  I also bruised, but I’ve bruised every time so I guess I just need to expect that.  Joe felt really bad about it afterward; he never intended to hurt me and just wanted to see if this way would be quicker.  (It wasn’t.)  It took a few minutes for me to stop bleeding (just drops) so it was more than enough time for the guilt to set in and Joe to realize there was a reason they instructed us to do the shots the way they did.  I should also mention that I get my shots sub-Q in the belly, whereas Joe’s friend gave them IM in the butt with a bigger needle – evidently that minor difference didn’t occur to Joe while he was busy using me as a stick pin!  JUST JOKING!  This is a learning experience for us both, and as bad as I feel having to get the shots I know that Joe feels worse that he can’t be the one getting them instead.  He hates that it hurts me, and that he’s the one that has to cause that pain.  I’m grateful that he’s willing and able to give them to me at all – I sure as heck can’t muster up the courage to stick myself, I can’t even look when he’s doing it!  It really is a team effort.  I don’t know what I’d do without his strength, he really is my rock and helps me get through all of it.  I guess if it takes my being a dart board to have our baby I can tolerate it after all…

Posted by: stacie2147 | March 13, 2009

2nd Lupron Shot

Remember how I mentioned icing my belly yesterday both before and after my shot?  Evidently I froze myself!  Here it is the following night and I STILL have a red blotch on my tummy from icing it yesterday AM!  I’m such a wimp about needles, I didn’t realize I would make things worse.  I thought I did what I was supposed to!   When the red splotch didn’t go away after a few hours I called our nurse.  She said it was fine, but to try an injection without icing it when I was comfortable enough to do so.  Evidently Lupron is the easiest shot to take out of them all and may not require numbing you up first.  Keeping that in mind, we tried the injection this morning without any icing.  Not fun.  Not horrible, not even bad, but not fun.  I could feel the needle and that skeeved me out, and then I could feel the medicine go in and burn.  The area was sore for a while, and developed a tiny bruise.  Joe said I jumped when he injected me, he could tell he was hurting me.  😦  I think what I did wrong when I iced myself was that I put the ice pack directly on my skin – no towel or cloth between it and me.  I also kept the ice on for several minutes while Joe was getting ready for work – I wanted to be absolutely sure the surface was numb before he stabbed me!  It was, but obviously at a cost.  Maybe tomorrow AM I can wrap the ice pack in a paper towel to put a barrier between it and my skin.  Hopefully the paper towel will be thin enough to protect me yet still allow the ice pack to effectively numb my skin.  I also won’t keep it on there very long, just barely long enough to get the job done.  If I still have issues with my skin turning red for days at a time because of it, then I’m going to just have to suck it up and take the shot without icing first.  I hope that’s not the case and that I figure this out before I have to start the stims, or I’m going to be in trouble.  I’m told they HURT.  (Sigh) 

On a different note, I don’ t seem to be having any side effects yet.  Granted this is my second day and I have plenty of time to suffer through them, but so far so good.  I am however PMSing a little bit and my breasts are tender, but that’s just because I stopped the BCP and will get my period in another few days.  Hopefully it will be an easy one as it’s not a full cycle this time, but knowing my history I won’t get my hopes up!  Even if it’s a bad one, I can take solace in the fact that it just may be my last period for 9 months!  Wouldn’t that be sweet!

Posted by: stacie2147 | March 12, 2009

Starting Lupron

I got my first shot this AM, I can’t believe we formally started the IVF protocol!  I was very nervous about it, I kept waking up after having stress dreams about it.  In one dream we had to go to the hospital for the shot, in another I had to take a break from my supermarket checkout job (?!?) to get the shot.  Weird…

Joe was so good about it.  He was so patient with me, and very gentle.  I iced the area first so I was numb on the surface; it helped a lot!  I didn’t feel the needle, only the drug when injected.  When the numbness started to wear off the area felt tender – it still does now and has a little bruise there.  (So much for icing after to prevent that!)  I couldn’t look when he was doing it, I never can when I get shots or blood work done.  I hope I never have to give one to myself, EVER!  Joe asked if I was OK afterwards and I was, although I teared up a little bit.  Stress relief I think, I was so relieved it was over and truly was not painful.  Aside from the needle phobia, it’s no big deal!  At least that’s what I keep telling myself.  I’m sure it will get easier as we go along.

I’m curious to see if/when I get side effects.  I’m told it will be similar to what I experienced on Clomid: headaches, hot flashes and mood swings.  Lovely, aye?  My doctor said it shouldn’t be as bad as the Clomid experience because Clomid builds up in your blood stream each cycle and even carries over into the following ones.  Lupron doesn’t work that way so it should only get so bad before it peaks.  If I can handle Clomid I can handle Lupron.  At least I know what to expect!  I just hope that the mood swings continue to make me weepy, but not bitchy.  There’s no need for me to take out my discomfort on anyone, especially Joe.  He understands when I get weepy and gets me to laugh when I’m crying for no apparent reason.  (Odd when you do both at the same time, isn’t it?)  Will keep you posted on how I do, and in the meantime will hope for the best and try to keep a positive attitude.

Posted by: stacie2147 | March 12, 2009

Injection Training

We actually had injection training last week, but because of my PC dying and my Mom’s health issues I didn’t get to blog about this as planned.  Let’s pretend it’s Friday 3/6, shall we?

Joe and I went up to DHMC in Lebanon NH today for our injection training.  It lasted about 2 hours – I had no idea it would take that long!  Our nurse is a sweetie, she made sure we understood what she was doing and then had us practice in front of her to be sure we were doing it right.  (When I say we, I mean Joe – I’m needle phobic so since he’s the one that will be sticking me we thought it best for him to be the one practicing.)  I had an idea there would be a lot of vials to deal with from the amount of meds that were shipped to us, but I didn’t know we’d have to do our own mixing/measuring.  They included a coupler to make it easier to move between vials so that’s appreciated.  We also found out that we can do all the injections sub-Q, so Joe doesn’t have to stick me in the butt with a long needle.  We do our injections on my stomach with a small needle instead.  (Whew!)

In order to practice, we took an orange so that Joe wouldn’t have to stick me for real with saline.  We found out that was not necessary, they had a “fake butt” to use for practice injections.  It was odd – a mound of gelationous substance that when poked really did seem like human tissue.  Joe gave it a playful smack and sure enough it sounded like he smacked someone on the butt.  We all laughed our heads off when he did that, it helped ease the tension.  (I love him so much!)

There was a lot of info to absorb – different doses, different times, different meds, mixing, etc. but I think we’ll be just fine.  Our nurse gave us a cheat sheet by date telling how much of what to take and when, so we can refer to that if needed.  It seems like it’s taken us forever to finally get to this point, so I can’t believe we’re finally here.  I asked our nurse if this worked what my due date would be, and depending on when they do the egg retrieval it looks to be on December 26th.  I can’t believe I could have my baby by New Year’s if this works!  It’s getting very real now.  I’m trying to stay optimistic but not let my hopes run wild like they want to.

Posted by: stacie2147 | March 10, 2009

Bad weekend

This post is totally non-related to my fertility journey, but it explains why I haven’t been blogging so here it goes. 

Last weekend was an eventful one.  My computer died – technically just my hard drive but since my computer is about 8 years old it would cost more to fix it than to get a new computer.  (I can’t believe how the prices have come down!)  I bit the bullet and bought a new computer – not the top of the line, but one that will get the job done.  It’s due in on Friday, but I need an extra day for the Geek Squad to load the data from my fried hard drive on to the new computer.  Hopefully I haven’t lost that much…

Sunday my mother went to the hospital – again.  This is her second trip in three weeks, she wasn’t even home an entire week when the incident happened.  They are doing a slew of tests on her and trying to get to the root cause of her issues.  I didn’t want to blog about this as it’s personal – I don’t mind sharing my medical issues, but I don’t know that my mother would appreciate my sharing hers.  Suffice it to say she’s OK and getting the medical attention she needs.

Basically, even if my computer didn’t crash I wouldn’t have been available to blog because of my family situation.  I apologize, but I need to keep my priorities straight!  I’ll update this site later to inform you about our injection training and how the first shot goes.  In the meantime I’ll take any prayers you can give me for both my mother and myself.  THANKS!

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