Saturday, September 28, 2013

Lupron Day 4

So I was somewhat prepared for the side effects of my meds, having done IVF before, but this cycle has already had some surprises.  Last cycle my major side effects were insomnia and headaches, this cycle it's insomnia and heart burn.  I have never had heart burn the bad in my life, I feel like I can breath fire.  Hopefully once I switch from Lupron to ganirelix the side effects will die down some.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Official start of IVF #2

According to my med calendar, today  is the official start of IVF #2.  This doesn't mean much, except I started Lupron injections and dexamethasone.  I hate starting steroids because I always feel like crap for the first few days.  I was hoping that the side effects would be a little better this time, but so far they've been the same.  I had a headache most of the day.  I am keeping my fingers crossed that I won't have the insomnia like I did last time.

I did notice that my countdown clock show that I have been TTC for 777 days today, that has do be a lucky sign right?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Let's get this show on the road

So I realized today that I am faking excitement about this IVF cycle.  Ok maybe There is a little part of me that is still excited about IVF and that potentially in a few weeks I could be knocked up, but right now I am faking a high level of excitement.  I wish that I could be as excited as I was with IVF #1, but the naïveté has worn off.  Mostly right now I am just nervous and scared.  I am scared that we will go through all of this again and not have anything to transfer.  I am scared that I have two ovaries  full of rotten eggs.  I am scared that in the battle between infertility and our bank account, that infertility will win.  I am scared that we are chasing a dream that will never come true..

So I am operating under a new philosophy, "fake it, 'til you make it."  I am going to fake excitement until I can feel it for real.  And if I don't ever feel real excitement, then maybe I can hone some serious acting chops.  I think an Oscar would look good on my mantle, or it would if I had a mantle.  However if I had an Oscar, I could probably afford to buy a new house with a mantle, which would give someplace to display my Oscar...

Saturday, September 21, 2013

This is for all my infertile friends...

I wanna here you roar!  I feel like anyone fighting the battle with infertility can appreciate the lyrics to this song.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Christmas came early...

My meds came today.  Let me tell ya, it's weirdly exciting to get $4,000 worth of medication in the mail.  I think it's because the box is more than just a box of meds, it represents hope.

I was really excited to start IVF #1 and after it turned out to be an epic fail, I wondered if I would be as excited to start IVF #2.  Honestly, I am.  Like IVF #1 it's a mix of excitement, nervesousness, and fear.  However, the fears have changed.  With IVF #1, most of the fear was of the unknown.  What would ER be like?  Would the PIO shots hurt? Etc. Failure was a fear for IVF #1, but not a prominent one.  With IVF #2 the big fear is what if we end up with zero embryos again?  How many times can we really afford IVF?  I think I've lost a bit of innocence that comes along with IVF #1.  What I haven't lost yet is hope.

Oh and because you know you want to see my stash:

Monday, September 16, 2013

Parents (aka fertile people) just don't understand...

This post was inspired by a conversation DH had with a friend about IF treatments. Here's how the end of the conversation went:

Friend: I just don't think I could do infertility treatments, doesn't it take all the fun out of trying to get pregnant?

Hubby: (laughing) Dude, we still have sex.

DH took his friends question to mean that he thought that we couldn't have sex, although the friend might have meant that we are missing out on the "fun" TTC sex.  I think anyone who has TTC the old fashioned way (aka penis in vagina) for more than a few months will tell you that it is not always fun.  Either way his friend has some misconceptions about TTC/IF.  This got me thinking about the common misconceptions that people have about infertility and decided to address some of my favorites.

Common Miscoceptions

1. If you do infertility treatments your going to have multiples.
When I told a coworker that we were doing infertility treatments, one of her first responses was, "OMG, does that mean you are going to have like 7 babies because the doctor put like 7 eggs back in?!"  I had to explain that (at that time) we were doing IUIs not IVF, and that even if we were doing IVF, no respectable doctor would transfer that many embryos.  Also, one of the reason women are monitored on fertility medications is to avoid higher order multiples.

First off most IF women don't go into treatments thinking, "yay! I'm gonna get twinsies!"  They go into it thinking, "Please just let me get pregnant."  Yes, infertility treatments increase your odds of multiples, but depending on the treatment, the odds are really not that high.  I believe I had read that the odds of twins with Clomid (popular fertility med) is only around 8%.  Of course injectables have higher odds and IVF carries the greatest odds since many times multiple embryos are transferred.  Because the success rates for IVF have gotten so high some docs are recommending SETs, or single embryo transfers.  Also it's important to note that IUIs at best only have around a 20% success rate and the national average for IVF is only around 50%.  Infertility treatments by no means guarantee pregnancy, let alone multiples.

2. Unexplained Infertility means nothing is wrong.

Coworker mentioned above now likes to ask me if the doctor ever diagnosed me with anything.  Um, yeah, he diagnosed me with Unexplained Infertility.

Fertiles, listen up.  If your infertile friend tells you that all of there tests are normal and that they were given a diagnosis of "unexplained infertility" do not say, "That's great that nothing is wrong with you."  There is something wrong, your friend is having trouble getting pregnant and the doctor can't explain why.  The doctor diagnosed unexplained infertility not "nonexistent" infertility.  It is hurtful when you downplay our problems.

3. Just relax/take a vacation/stop thinking about it and you'll get pregnant.

I'm not sure how the misconception that stress makes you infertile started, but let me reassure you that this is not true.  If it were true, no women in war torn countries would ever get pregnant.  Yes in extreme (and rare cases) stress can delay ovulation, but for the majority of infertile couple stress has nothing to do with why they can't conceive.  No amount of "relaxing" will help them.  Oh and please save your story about how your friends uncle's neighbor's daughter was having trouble conceiving and as soon as they stopped trying and relaxed boom, they were pregnant.  I am very happy for them, but their story has no impact on me.  Every couple is different and what worked for them, might not work for me.

Long story short don't tell us to relax.  It is not helpful and kind of insulting.  You are basically telling me that it is my fault that I haven't gotten pregnant.

4. Infertility means you will never get pregnant

Once when I made a comment about being infertile, I was told that I am probably not infertile.  I was hurt and angry that this person was downplaying my issue, but that is when I realized that she thought infertility meant barren, ie can't ever get pregnant.  Infertility is defined in a medical sense as the inability of a couple to conceive after 1 year of regular intercourse (or 6 months if over 35).  It includes many different levels of sub-fertility.  So yes, infertile couples can get pregnant, but probably require the assistance of a doctor.  Also if an infertile friend gets pregnant on their own, don't say, "Looks like you weren't infertile after all."  Infertile women may still be able to get pregnant on their own, but their odds are much lower (but definitely not 0%).

5.  Taking prenatal vitamins and/or folic acid helps you get pregnant.

For some reason fertiles think PNVs or folic acid are the cure to infertility.  While they are important to the development of a fetus and should be taken by anyone TTC, PNVs or folic acid does not help you get pregnant.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Crossing things off the list

I think the thing that stressed me out the most about IVF #1 was how overwhelming it all felt.  You have to juggle all these appointments (consults, calendar reviews, inject trainings, ultrasounds,
blood work, etc) and have all these deadlines (meds must be delivered by a certain date, consents turned in this date, payments are due this date, etc) to meet.  My biggest fear was that I was going to forget something.  I found the easiest way to keep organized was to have a list of tasks and to cross them off when they were finished.  I also put them all in my outlook calendar at work (set to private) so that I wouldn't forget any of them.

The second time around is so much easier than the first or at least it should be.  I decided today that I would call the pharmacy to check on my meds since I need them by next Friday and the first part of next week is pretty busy for me.  So I call them up and they have no record of my order.  Really?!?!  My nurse faxed the order like 3 times since someone (me) kept waffling on how much follistim to order.  The old me would have freaked out and had a panic attack, instead I just called my nurse (who I needed to call anyway) and had her fax the order again.  I called the pharmacy back later to verify that they had got it and they were working on it right then.  They called me later to get my credit card number and schedule delivery. Crisis averted!

While I was on the phone with my nurse, I also asked her about my Intralipid infusion, since this is my first time doing this treatment.  I got some more good news, she let me know that they had found a new place to get the infusion and it was a lot cheaper.  Score! I love saving money.  Now instead of costing $450-$550, it should only cost $150.  Woo hoo!

I was a little sad though, I found out that I can't get my free flu shot at work this year.  The date is probably going to be right between my ER and ET.  I asked the nurse and she said it depends on your doctor and to call his office (My doc does his IVF through this clinic, but has his own office/practice at another location.  I called up his nurse and she said no flu shot.  I guess I'll just have to wait and get my flu shot later after my cycle.

I'll also get to cross one more thing off the list this week.  We are going to get our consent forms signed and notarized Saturday.  The only thing I will have left is to get my meds (Thursday), turn in my consents, and pay my balance).  Then the real fun will start!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

NK Cells and Intralipids

Well I got my blood work back and my APA blood work was fine, but I have borderline high NK cells.  For those that don't know what a NK cell is, it is a Natural Killer Cell (sounds cool, right?).  Essentially, everyone has NK cells, but people with elevated NK cells may have a hard time getting or staying pregnant because the NK Cells attack the embryo.

The treatment for elevated NK cells is Intralipid infusions.  Lipids are a fatty dietary supplement, often used when treating MS and cancer patients.  It is experimental as a fertility treatment, but studies look promising.

Hopefully, this will help us finally have a successful cycle.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Yup, my body hates me

I swear people that don't know me probably think I am a hypochondriac or that I have munchhausen's syndrome or something.  Seriously, I am not making this stuff up.

I posted the other day about my bout of hives and so far ::knock on wood:: I've only had the two breakouts, which is awesome.  Not so awesome I've pulled something in my hip/lower back, so I spent the weekend hobbling around like an old person.  Also the hubs and I have been battling a cold (so far I think I've been winning my battle, the hubs not so much).  So I got up this morning thinking that my injury/illness luck must be turning around, since my hip was feeling much better and my cold also seemed better.  I was wrong.  It only gets more bizarre.

I am getting out of the shower and notice that my upper chest is a little blotchy. Not completely unusual since I am very fair skinned.  I get dressed and fix my hair and start putting on make up.  I notice that the blotchiness is actually a fine rash complete with little bumps.  The rash runs up between my boobs, across my chest and onto my face.  It almost looks like a heat rash.  If it were more localized, I might think it were an acne breakout.

My coworkers kept asking if I had a new brand of detergent/body wash/lotion etc, but I ave been using the same that I always have.i have no clue what it's from.

IVF update:  Still on the BCP.  I did get the results of my repeat CD 3 blood work, and it's all good.  I am still waiting on my APA and NK cell blood work to come back.  The lady at the lab said it was sent on the 4th, but my nurse swears that she hasn't seen it.  I did get the blood work paid for today.  I still need to fill out, notarize, and turn in our consent forms; pay for and set up a delivery time for my meds; and pay for this cycle.  I start Lupron 2 weeks from Wednesday.  I need to get everything done so that I can get this show on the road!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

IVF Update and WTF Wednesday

I had my calendar review yesterday and it went well (although I did tear up talking about our pitiful first IVF cycle.  It's weird I can blog all day about it, but if I talk about it out loud the waterworks start).  I found out that aparently the cycle dates online are wrong and that my cycle is a week earlier than i originally thought.  this also means that ER is the same week as my first big data delivery at work, which is just awsome.  in fact if my cycle works out the same as last time, my ER will be on the day of the data delivery.  I also found out that in addition to doubling my follistim (med that makes my ovaries produce more eggs), they are also adding ganirelix to the mix.  Once I start stims I will drop the Lupron and switch to the ganirelix, which is supposed to be better for poor responders.  Of course a vial of ganirelix (2 days worth) is the same price as a whole cycle's worth of Lupron and doubling my follistim essentially doubles my cost of my meds, but at this point I say bring it on.  I'm ready to do this.  Bring on the injections, headaches, and bloating.  I'm ready to kick infertility's ass!

And for my WTF.  Backstory: So right before I met DH I developed chronic idiopathic urticaria.  Basically chronic hives.  For two years I would breakout in hives if I didn't take antihistamines.  I did lots of blood work and my doctor could never find a cause.  Eventually they stopped and I hadn't thought much about them in the last 3 or so years.

Yesterday I'm sitting on the sofa browsing Facebook and my leg starts to itch.  I scratch it, but the itching just gets worse.  I pull up my pant leg and my leg is covered in hives from the knee down.  WTF!! I thought I was past this issue and seriously I have enough to deal with right now.  I took 2 Benadryl and went to bed, hoping it was just a random occurrence.  Nope, more hives this evening.  So far they aren't nearly as bad as they were several years ago,  so hopefully whatever this is will die down soon. I really don't want to deal with this for another two years.