September 30, 2012

IVF #1, Day 2: 9/30/12

It does get easier!  I was not as nervous tonight.  Chris didn't take 45 mins preparing the meds, while watching the step by step tutorials —hee hee.  I still iced my belly till I couldn't even feel my fingers pinching it.

The Menopur still hurts the most between the two.  I've also noticed that I was super sleepy all day today —not normal for me!  Oh, and another thing I noticed this morning, was that my vision had a blurred spot.  Very similar to when a flash goes off and you have a blank spot in your vision... it lasted about 10-15 mins... not sure if it's due to the meds.

Here's to staying positive and praying for great results!

Goodbye Twenties. Hello Thirties!

I still have to double check this is real life!  I don't feel like it's time to be thirty, lol.  But it is what it is, right?  I had really been excited to turn thirty.  For me, it meant starting a new decade and for some reason that excited me.  However, the last day of my twenties became an emotional day of great memories:  celebrating 10 wedding anniversaries, auditioning for American Idol, having our baby, buying our first house, paying off our car, having crazy pets over the years (a ferret, 4 cats, 5 dogs, many fish, one that was approximately seven years old before it passed, and KJ's hamster), fostering a wonderful teenager, traveling, watching our 'little one' grow up, and many, many more!

Because I had to start my ivf injections on my birthday, I tried my absolute best to have as much fun as possible and keep my mind busy with making new memories.  I woke up at 7:30am, to color my 'white streak' purple (I literally have a skunk-looking streak of white hair, started when I was 15, right in the front of my hairline).  Then I went on my way to my favorite breakfast place, to meet my mom, sister and close girlfriends.  Parking, at this restaurant, is always an incredible challenge.  So, what did I do?  I parked on the non-paved part because I knew I could squeeze in past a shrub.  Did I forget to mention that it had rained all day the day before and it had rained all night too —oh yeah, I did.  I wasn't worried about mud because I had decided to wear my fun rain boots.  However, my mom, on the other hand, was somehow convinced, by her wonderful birthday girl, to park in the same area.  Her car is much bigger and much more front-heavy (I have a Focus and she has an Impala).  The spot that was available was just slightly on a downward slant —and I do mean slight.  And if you haven't guessed it already . . . she ended up stuck in the mud! :(  I felt horrible because that is exactly why she did NOT want to try parking in that spot.  But I told her it would be fine.  Um, I know now that I'm not an expert with mud! ha!  She tried for a while and then I gave it my try at driving her car out of nasty mud.  There was a very nice man that saw us and offered his help (verbal direction and making sure I wouldn't hit anything on my way out).  Approximately 20 minutes later, we were out of the mud!!! (and covered in it too! lol).  We were cleaned up (enough) once it was time to sit with friends, for brunch.  I had a wonderful time chatting with everyone.  

After brunch, we spontaneously went to paint some pottery.  My sis had a great idea, for everyone to  paint on one "birthday plate" together.  My girlfriend bought the pottery piece, and we all painted it together.  It was so much fun!!  My sister painted a hippo, one of my favorite things, in the bowl and everything looks perfect.  I'm so excited to pick it up on Wednesday.  (I'll post pics of the finished product)

From there, everyone said their goodbyes and KJ got to ride with grandma, while Chris and I had 30 mins, or so, of quiet time together.  It was wonderful getting to sit and eat some frozen yogurt with him; however, because things calmed down, all we could really talk about was ivf, our injections being only hours away, and the possibility of actually getting to have a second baby.  As nice as it is to daydream and try to plan ahead, the reality of this journey is that we just have no way of knowing what the end results will be —but sometimes it's just comforting planning ahead, for a newborn baby...

I had a quick decision to make, go home and rest before our first injections OR go out to another restaurant to celebrate again... I chose Pappadeaux! :)  This allowed me to celebrate with our dads and with my hubby (since the brunch was just for the gals).  On the way to the restaurant, Chris stopped and bought a carrot cake, my favorite!  And once we parked at the restaurant, he got busy decorating the cake for me...

Celebrating my 30th birthday was wonderful.  It was toned down and very simple —yet extremely memorable!  It was nothing like I had originally planned (I had thought to do something big and extreme, since it was my thirtieth.  but due to IVF my plans had to change and I was, eventually, okay with that.) but it was so perfect!

*I knew I'd have to really work on not crying all day for everything and nothing at the same time.  My mom gave me such an amazing gift:  A shadow box with some very memorable items from when I was first born.  I held it together as best as I could . . . watery eyes and a lump in the throat —but I managed to not break down and cry.  And then one of my bffs (of 14 yrs) handed me another gift:  in the gift bag was a super cute purse and a small bottle of lotion.  I see "Lamaze" on the bottle and think to myself, "I know I've seen this brand somewhere; what is this?"  And then I read: "Belly Cream".  There wasn't a single dry eye at our table (even a girl friend of mine that, seriously, NEVER cries, lol!).  My friend explained that she truly believes that I will have a baby in my belly some day and that lotion will come in handy...  ;)  What a sweet and thoughtful gift.  Later, at dinner, my father-in-law gave me a gift bag with my favorite box of Godiva chocolate and a small bag of Godiva truffles!!  Even though I can't have chocolate right now, I look forward to being able to break into that box and bag and enjoy a small taste in maybe a month or so! :)

So this is what life feels like at thirty? ... it feels amazing!

finished pottery piece!

Fun birthday present!
Painting pottery
delicious chocolates for future enjoyment!
More Godiva chocolates for future enjoyment!
My hippo cake from my hubby!

Carrot cake made by mom! (my favorite!)

IVF #1, Day 1: 9/29/12

7:30am  Today is my birthday.  I am NOT looking forward to getting injections, by my husband, tonight.

I hadn't really been nervous, since I woke up this morning.  I enjoyed my birthday and even when I would think of tonight's injections, I wouldn't cringe and my stomach wouldn't turn... until about 5pm or so.  By 8:30pm, I knew that I was only a few hours away from getting the injections.  We got home and had to get straight to business.  Chris watched the instructional videos, as a refresher course, since our class was two weeks ago.  I sat on the couch, next to him, icing my belly with a Finding Nemo ice pack.  I had hoped that using a cute ice pack would make me feel less nervous...ha!!!

When it was time for the prick, I just stared at him.  I didn't know how I felt exactly.  I was nervous.  I was scared.  I knew it would just be a prick and be over —but it was the bigger picture.  "Here we go!  We are starting IVF.  This is real and it is happening right now!.  Once you start, you can't change your mind... we are in it till the end..."  I couldn't help it.  I'm a "deep thinker".  He stared back and me and smiled, saying "Everything is going to be okay, hun.".  The only thing I could say was, "can we pray together, first?".  I love my husband!  He set everything down and prayed.  Of course, I cried a little.  And then I felt much better.  I had peace and I had been comforted in the best way possible —praying with my love.

I sat on my hands, so that I wouldn't do anything that caused him to hurt me even worse.  I closed my eyes and rested my head back, on the couch.  I let him do everything —I didn't even want to have to pinch my belly for the prick.  The first injection was Follistim.  I didn't feel the prick.  I barely felt a sting.  I was happy! :)  One down, one more to go... next was Menopur.  As he was mixing the liquid with the powder, I iced the other side of my belly (we were told to alternate the injection sites).  I felt the needle go in and then I felt the NASTY burning sensation.  UGH!  That one really burned —felt very tight, like the fluid had absolutely no where to go but still managed to squeeeeeze and  puuuuuush its way through my tissue.

Strangely enough, the Follistim did not hurt while happening —but it stayed super sore afterwards.  Whereas the Menopur hurt the worst while happening —but did not feel as sensitive as the other site.

Day one of injections in done.  I am very proud of my hubby —and super thankful that he is so gentle with his touch and his words.
our meds
How I spent my bday night...

September 28, 2012

IVF #1: The day before

I went for my first "ultrasound/labs" this morning, at 7:30am.  I was running late because of work and rush-hour traffic, in the rain.  I work at home and am NOT used to fighting through rush-hour traffic.  Luckily, once I got there, late, it only took about two minutes before I was called back to be seen.  I had my blood drawn (the lady at that particular location always does a fabulous job!) and then they did my ultrasound.  Dr. B. counted seven follicles on my right ovary and ten on my left.  She said everything looked good and that I can start my meds tomorrow.  Nurse M. went over tomorrow's meds and asked if I had any questions.  I did not have any questions today.

September 19, 2012

Happy Birthday to me!

It's what every birthday girl dreams of . . . IVF INJECTIONS!  No?  That's not right?  Oh . . . Well, it's actually quite an interesting ending and new beginning.  It's the end of my 20's.  Ten years ago, on my birthday, we were mourning the loss of my grandmother.  And now, ten years later, with God as our strength, we are beginning this new journey of trying to bring a new little life into the world.  I am a bit bummed out that I will probably be dwelling on the thought of my first two injections allllll day long, instead of being able to relax and enjoy celebrating the first day of my 30's!  (we were told to do the injections between 7pm and 10pm)

Now, don't get me wrong.  I was so excited when I heard that we could start before October.  Then she put the calendar in front of me . . . and I saw

We learned all about the different injections (how to clean everything, which size needles to use, how to mix some of the medications, and the scariest and most uncomfortable part —how to give the injections (even an intramuscular one, Yikes!!).  I think I'm losing sleep over this.  :(  I just don't know about two injections per day, given by my hubby, and then some days will be more than two —and for something like 15 days or so (if I understood correctly).  I keep telling myself, "Well, if you want a baby, Michelle, you just have to suck it up and get it done!".   Learning about injections and medicines, and signing consent forms, stepped it up a bit for us —made it much more real.
There were moments of complete seriousness, and then, just because we are the way we are... there were many moments of laughter.  Deciding to freeze any viable embryos that won't be transferred was a very serious discussion between us.  Deciding who gets to keep the embryos if one of us dies or divorces was a very comical conversation.  I think it was so awkward to have to make some of those decisions —but I do understand the importance.

So, now, all we are waiting for is the delivery of our medications and for September 29th to come around.  I've said goodbye to my herbal supplements (an easy change), caffeine (a little more thought has to go into this one), alcohol (eh, not toooo hard), and even to chocolate (the absolute toughest change so far!).

My absolute favorite part of the slideshow, overview and tips, was when it explained the importance of getting pampered during this time!  It mentioned massages, manicures, pedicures, and several other ways of being pampered that I love! :)  I hope that Chris really paid close attention to that portion of the class!!

Oh!  and something else that I have to "change" is my plan on getting a tattoo.  I had been planning this out for a while —doing my research and drawing out what I want, making it perfect.  My mom, on the other hand, basically freaked out about the thought of me getting a tattoo.  It cracks me up how serious she is about not wanting me to get a tattoo, or even mention the word "tattoo" while around her.  lol!  (yup, that's my mom!).  So, it was suggested that I wait until the end of the IVF cycle to go for my mom is ecstatic!! hahaha!!

Here's to turning 30 and our first IVF cycle! :)  (oh me oh my!)

September 17, 2012

Unexpected visits

I have been uncomfortable since my procedure, last Thursday. I was told to expect light cramps spotting (not a full blown miserable endo-cycle). I couldn't take it anymore I called the doc and they said I needed to be seen immediately.

My reg doc wasn't available and now I know that I will NEVER again agree to be seen by today's doc, Doctor A.! Talk about being in SUCH a hurry --even though I had a scheduled appointment. Oh, I was, and still am, so disappointed with the lack of care and gentleness he had. The time he took to put a speculum in, confirm what I had already told them over the phone, put a wand in to check the lining of the uterus, and then instruct me to triple today and tomorrow's dose of LoEstrin24 and then double each day until our treatment starts, took, maybe, a grand total of seven minutes. And I'm really being generous with that guess...

So the good news is that everything seems to still be "okay". But the bad news is that, because Dr. A. Seemed more like The Flash, kj also had her very first glimpse of where her future sibling will be coming from! (yes she already knows all about "where babies come from" but I had no idea today's doc wasn't going to be as discreet with my lady parts, as my regular doctor is.). I asked her if she was curious or uncomfortable. She said he wasn't uncomfortable, just curious --but got right back to watching her iPod as soon as she saw what the doc was my poor child!!! :( (makes me feel like not the best prepared mom) lol...oops...

Tomorrow is our IVF class. I've been super excited, up until about an hour ago. I heard the word "syringe", while watching The Big Bang Theory. My stomach turned and I just about cried thinking about what kind of pain(s) will come along with the multiple daily shots. I have to be tough...I HAVE to suck it up. I have to give this my absolute best!! (I think Chris is secretly excited at the thought of sticking me with needles. Lol --although, if it's anything like when I trusted him to apply and yank off hot wax from my face... I just might be administering my own injections! Haha! *love you hun!*)


I have a strange little feeling I'm going to be seeing a lot of this blk&white screen and paper-covered bed...

September 14, 2012

Blocked tubes

Yesterday's Saline Ultrasound showed that my tubes are completely blocked.  I thought it was going to be a set back for our first IVF cycle, set for October, but it turned out to be exactly what they were hoping for....huh?!

Before my appointment, I had posted on facebook, "praying for open tubes".   All this time that we've been trying to conceive, we knew that open fallopian tubes were very important (unfortunately, little did we know that they are completely blocked.).  However, what I understood is that open tubes could actually present more complications that could prevent the embryo from implanting properly (for example, an ectopic pregnancy, or just not even implanting at all).  It's hard to believe that blocked tubes is actually good news...

The Saline Ultrasound itself was much more uncomfortable than I expected.  I assumed it would feel similar to the insertion of an IUD.  However, it felt as though she was swirling the tube around in there (like twirling a lollipop stick or twirling an umbrella), scraping the inside of my uterus!  I was able to control the cringing and the "ouch!" comments —all except one excruciatingly painful moment, I cringed and let out a loud "oooh! That really hurts!".  I have to mentally prepare myself to confidently and willingly go back for the actual embryo transfer —although, maybe they sedate the patient for the actual transfer?  I'll have to find that out.

The next thing I have to do is order THE MEDS...whaaa??  Already??  EEEEK!!!  I still just can't believe this... and then we have our IVF class on Tuesday (and we'll also sign our consent forms that day).  I wish it was guaranteed, that after all these years of trying, hoping, and waiting, and these weeks to come of injections, discomfort, pain, crazy emotions, sedation, hoping, and waiting, that we would definitely get a baby... Only God knows our future.

Your prayers are much appreciated and very much needed.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!! :)

September 8, 2012

I'm shouting from the rooftops!

I am ecstatic . . . no, beyond ecstatic!!!  Chris and I had been thinking and thinking about how we could possibly afford the $3,469.24 for the IVF meds that weren't covered by our insurance.  We were told that everything except the injections would be covered.  So, injections alone were super expensive.  I had been so bummed out.  Every time Chris and I would talk about IVF, I felt like it was still so out of reach, even though it was "set" for October.  I kept thinking that we would have to work really really hard AND wait for our next tax return OR use one of Chris's quarterly bonuses to cover the cost.  I just kept praying and praying that somehow insurance would happen to cover most, or at the very least some, of the cost.  Yes, I realize that we are very "lucky", blessed, to have insurance that covers the treatment cost AND even covers some of our IVF meds —but still it was going to be a huge obstacle to come up with $3,400+ by the end of this month.

So, after hearing that the injections needed a 'prior authorization', I felt that there was some kind of hope —still.  So, we waited to hear if they would be approved or not...

Last week, I had a very REAL dream that I was happily announcing to family and friends that we were in fact starting IVF in October!  So, when I woke up, I realized that in the dream there were no "ifs" about IVF.  We knew we were starting; meaning that somehow the IVF meds were NOT an issue.  I had been so confused as to what could possibly take place between that dream and the end of the month.  I kept praying and reminding myself to FULLY trust God.  I even broke down the other night, completely balling, full of emotion, begging God to bless us with another child "somehow"...

Today, I wake up and reach for my phone.  I immediately noticed an email from my fertility center with the subject "meds".  I quickly read through it... and then read through it again...and even a third time.  I stopped and made sure I wasn't dreaming.  I remember feeling like I was numb and shocked and completely lost my breathe.  The email was very short:  "...I just got off the phone with your insurance company and they approved the [injections] for one year...".  I was immediately filled with joy and felt as if I was literally floating!  I still can't believe this is real!  I am truly in awe and amazed with how God is blessing us through this journey.  Something that, just a few days ago, seemed SO far from reality is so real today.  This is really happening!!  Wow.  Thank you Lord for the wonderful wonderful blessings!!!

I was hesitant to shout it from the rooftops (ie facebook and my blog) all day today because I still don't have the grand total to see how much less our total is.  BUT I just can't hold it in any longer.  Whatever our new total is, I still feel incredibly blessed to know that most, if not all, of our injections have been approved for an entire year (God willing, we will only need one IVF cycle).

So, this is real to us now.  We are really getting closer and closer to IVF . . . to possibly conceiving our second baby.  (I still tear up every time reality hits).  Thank you God!!!!

Once again, thank you for all the prayers and support.

*quick appointment update:
Sept. 13th, 9:15am —Saline Ultrasound and Practice Embryo Transfer
Sept. 18th, 1pm —IVF Class

I'll update again soon! :)