Tuesday, April 27, 2010


It was a hell of a first week post IVF failure or “failed ovarian stimulation ". I thought I could start writing about my feelings within a day or two after the final answer but all I could get out were these "feeling sentences”. The “I am” sentences, that bemoaned my anger and sadness. No really, it was a rant that just would not end. See excerpt below:

*** (I am profoundly sad. I am extremely pissed off. I have little to no patience with the world. And my left boob has grown 2 full cup sizes. I am now seriously lopsided. I am hoping that the drop in hormones has thrown my body into chaos as well as my mood. I have become paranoid with day dreams of things happening to my son. I have been focusing on negative stories in the news, especially stories that involve children. I cannot stop eating junk food, I have stopped working out and have lost interest in cooking)*****

I continued my rant to include my hubby because he was bothering me. So I figured, throw him in too, he won’t mind me talking to what is essentially a world of strangers, but then realized before publishing, that it did include close friends. So I am glad that I had the foresight to know better, and have since had time to both reflect and talk to my hubby. Hubby was struggling with the IVF failure and was having a very tough couple of weeks at work. He was very unhappy and was frequenting DQ three too many times in one week. You know things are bad when you walk into DQ and they shout your name. He had lost all motivation in running and was losing his patience with our son more quickly than I remembered.

Hubby started to talk adoption like the MINUTE we left the fertility clinic. I have struggled with that option for years, and he has known that all along. I would have liked some time to mourn and have the follow up appointment with the fertility doctor before we discussed any other options. The more he talked about it, the more I got upset. At one point, he had arranged a dinner out with a someone who was adopted, so we could “talk". The hormones were barely out of my system, and yet I was suppose to talk to a stranger about their adoption story? I am not on that page yet; if ever. Hell I am not even in that book.

Right now the very last thing I needed was guilt because I am not okay with adoption, yet I know that I am denying my hubby that chance. I have heard nothing but bad news regarding adoptions. Okay maybe one or two good stories have crossed my path, but all in all a nightmare for the parents. If there was any chance for adoption with me, it would have to be an infant, and then hubby is saying to give an older child a lease on life.

I was in hell. All I can see is this other child hurting or manipulating my own child, and giving my own son a horrible childhood. At least with an infant, there is a better chance of bonding and attachment. Anyway, I finally had to just say it “ I am not that big a person to adopt”, “ I just do not think I could be everything that child needs, I am afraid I will not love them as my own”. I am more fearful for the child. They deserve someone who is overwhelmed with wanting and needing them. Furthermore, I know that adoptions are not like walking into your local animal shelter, where you can pick and choose the cutest or friendliest. Each couple creates a “portfolio” in which the birth mother chooses YOU. Long story, short, hubby gave up. We talked further about our feelings on the matter, and agreed not to discuss adoption, unless I was ready. I feel I have let my hubby down. But I must listen to my inner voice on this massive decision.

Meanwhile, picking up and dropping off my child has become really uncomfortable. I know all the other moms know, they all gossip. I arrive late for drop off and pick up so I can avoid as many people as possible. I fly out of there without so much as looking at another mom. I started to slow down a bit by Friday, as alot of my hurt and anger started to subside.

I have taken too long to post this blog, so I will do so now. Given this last week of added stress because of how f..cked up my body has become post hormones I should leave that story for another posting.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

"The Old Gray Mare, she ain’t what she used to be"

The fertility clinic this morning was torture. It was mobbed. I sat and watched the faces of the couples in the room. Most looked very serious, almost angry. The stress was clearly having an impact on them. As women came and went for their blood work and then their ultrasound, I saw distinctly unhappy faces leaving the clinic. I also saw one very happy couple, one can assume their ultrasound went well. Now I cannot pretend to think I know what is going on with these women based on their facial expressions; but the nervous energy was palpable. One couple had struck up a conversation with two women (sisters? lesbian couple? not sure), and as they swapped stories the laughter was almost manic. The kind of laugh that is just a little too loud and bordering on hysterical. You could see they really enjoyed conversing about a topic that the other couple completely understood. For those who have not experienced infertility and the IVF journey, it’s a foreign world and hard to relate.

I figured hubby and son could stay in the waiting room while I quickly got my ultrasound. Was I wrong. The three of us had to sit in one of the conference rooms, and thanks to the iPad my son was kept occupied. Occupied or not, he is still a child and his internal volume button is set to 8. I was embarrassed to have him in a fertility clinic for obvious reasons and kept shushing him. Poor kid, he had no idea how stressed I was. It took an hour and 20 mins just to have my blood work done. Pointless, when the ultrasound was the deciding factor. Finally I was called in, stripped the lower half again. Sat in the cupboard of a room, and was quiet in my thoughts.

I was called into the ultrasound room by John Wayne. “Whatcha waiting for pilgrim?” The doctor this time was an older yet handsome rugged man, whose voice was deep and gruff. In my head he was John Wayne. “Saddle on up to those stirrups, little lady”. He struck me as the perfect John Wayne type, and visualized him hopping on his horse and riding into the sunset. But back at the task at hand. I was unceremoniously "magic wanded” to see if anything had changed in my ovaries. Unfortunately, not enough. I had one fully matured egg, with 2 that were slightly behind, and 3 that were too small/immature. The doctor seemed genuinely perplexed as he flipped through my file. Seems on a previous ultrasound prior to the treatment, I was naturally producing 10 follicles, yet with all the stimulating drugs, I could barely get 3 off the ground. He was very honest and said that he did not want us wasting our money by going forward, given the low chance of any of these developing. He said they could not possibly “grow up” the other follicles in time to catch up with the one big matured egg. I guess once it completely matures, the egg just releases and everything else left in the ovary stops growing.

The doctor said he would discuss my file with my own doctor, and in a week after he returned we should make an appointment for a debrief. He believed maybe this was the wrong protocol and maybe a different protocol would be suggested for us (a different concoction of hormones). It bothers me somewhat, that if I was suppose to be on the most aggressive formula of hormones, how could another option work? Are they just guessing? It would seem so, this is a very young science and no two women respond the same way to hormones. He said that we should end this treatment now, and save our money should we decide to go with another protocol.

Before we wrapped up our conversation, I asked if this low a follicle count was due to just this particular month (follicle counts do fluctuate month by month) or my age. He said in all likelihood it was due to my age. 40 is NOT the new 30 when it comes to fertility. Based on another previous ultrasound at another fertility clinic, I knew my follicles were dropping dramatically. I am feeling my age more now than ever. I believe my age has failed us in this journey.

We will book an appointment with our doctor in the next week, but until then I feel like I am in suspended animation. My calendar is WIDE open right now, as next week was suppose to be our retrieval. No shots this morning, and I am not sitting here icing up my tummy right about now either. This old horse feels a little lost, like I have been led to pasture, when I still think I can run.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Dazed and Confused

The past day has been a melancholy time for me. I’ve been trying to keep my mind occupied, but end up being distracted constantly with thoughts of this being the end of our IVF. Today while picking up my son, my "mommy friends" enquired about my IVF and I gave them the bad news. What I was not prepared for was all the new age advice that came pouring my way. Just when I start down the path of mourning and acceptance, along comes well intentioned friends. Now I am panicking as the final ultrasound is tomorrow morning and it has been suggested I see a healer to help me get my follicle count up. I am not sure I can become a new age, conscious enlightened and active visualization practicing west coaster in less than 18 hours. There is a part of me that has always believed that we as humans have barely touched the power of our own minds, and what can be accomplished through positive thinking. But I am now more confused than I have ever been.

My mind is reeling, should I call the spiritual healer and have a quick session of healing my ovaries before it’s too late? How can I say I have done everything possible if I have not at least entertained alternative medicine? The other friend suggested an incredible Fertility Specialist who has some very interesting arguments against IVF. That the industry has scared women into thinking IVF is their only chance. That there are alternatives. Research into the long term dangers of IVF have never been explored. Herbal supplements, an organic diet, naturopathic medicine and the power of positive thinking have gone a long way to solve infertility. Women have been scared stupid with statistics, most of which have been skewed by the doctors and the media for their own purposes.

I am wracked with indecision and panic. I call hubby at work and let loose. I am crying, why do these women do this to me a DAY before the final answer? I want to do everything I can but it may be too late, But then I rationalize that time is relative in the realm of alternative medicine and it’s philosophy. It is not limited by real time frames. It sits outside of time. (whoooo oooo, do I sound crazy now!) And yes I did read the Celestine Prophecy and it did resinate with me. Maybe I should have explored alternative treatments months ago. Maybe IVF was the wrong choice for us after all.

So as my hubby slowly talks me off the ledge, he says the one thing I respond to. Destiny. If we were meant to have another child, then the choices we make, the path we take, the challenges we encounter mean nothing in the grand scheme of our lives. Knowing it is out of my control is somewhat comforting. Even though I continue to try to control my fertility, ultimately I have no “real” power to change it. If I did have that power, it would be done. Maybe alternative thinking is the real power, at this point, I guess only time will tell.

It is the not knowing which action to take or not to take that is crippling me. Do we continue to plod along after this failed IVF trying to conceive the old fashioned way? Do we go all west coast spiritual, eating only organic, loading up on supplements, all the while meditating during acupuncture? Or do we scrape together another $10K go through the hell of needles and the nightmare of emotions again and opt for IVF? Which choice is right? What if all the choices are wrong because we were never meant to have another child... my mind is spinning.

But I take comfort in what my hubby has said; we promised ourselves we would try IVF once. That we could look at our child 10 years from now and say we tried as much as we could to have another child. We will of course keep trying and we are both open minded enough to entertain a great deal of alternative medicine moving forward. My challenge will be to first not lose hope; as without hope there is nothing and secondly, not second guess myself and become confused with the "what ifs".

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Parenting Magazines in a Fertility Clinic?

It dawned on me while waiting for my first ultrasound this morning, that all around me were parenting magazines. Today’s Parent and Parents Monthly both sitting at each of the tables in the waiting rooms. This struck me as odd, and a little insensitive. It’s like having a bar set up at an AA meeting, or a Bridal Magazine at a newly divorced seminar. Are they trying to keep you positive about your journey? As if to say, "For just 3 easy payments of $3,00 and a couple of shots a day, you too can have a child just like this one”! Like some sick infomercial? Or do these magazines represent the proverbial brass ring, to aim high, be positive and reach for the impossible? Or are they that out of touch with the emotions of their clients? Maybe I am a little bitter right now as today’s results were not good.

After stripping from the waist down in a little cupboard of a room. I “tried” to cover myself with what is in essence an oversized paper napkin. Now I am far from skinny, and not exactly seriously overweight, but I struggled to keep my bits covered with the napkin. Anyone that was a little hippier or bigger in the caboose, would have found it impossible to keep their bottom half covered. Do only skinny women do IVF? Is this the “standard” hospital grade napkin with perfect dimensions based on some study of the average woman’s lower half? I am far from the casual observer. I notice pretty much everything. My University professor once advised his students to “question everything” and it stuck with me. It may just be in my head, but I do question pretty much everything. So as I sat there pondering the little white napkin, I was called into the Ultrasound room. Both a doctor and nurse were there to greet me.

If men had to experience half of what a woman does as part of her general health care, more money would be spent, less invasive measures would be invented and a mammogram would be completely redesigned. Can you imagine men accepting that their penis needed to be flattened between to plates to take an x-ray? No I didn’t think so. Well until that day comes, I had to be politely violated AGAIN, with the blue lube covered, plastic condom encased, foot long wand up the Hoo Haa or as others call it the Ba Zsa Zsa. Yeah it may sound hilarious, but it is quite humiliating, and seriously creepy. Having a woman doctor do it, makes it a wee bit more tolerable. The doctor poked around the right ovary and measured it, while the nurse took notes. She saw one big follicle, and 2 small ones. Then she moved to the left ovary, and had some trouble finding it thanks to my fibroids. I kept asking where she was looking, as the screen is just a moonscape of black and gray swirling liquid. None of it makes any sense. She finally found the left ovary and only found one follicle.

As I slowly started to realize this was not good news, the nurse gave me a sad smile. I asked the doctor what this all meant, and would I need to increase my Gonal-F dose. Both said I was already at the maximum dosage. I do remember my doctor saying they were going to be really aggressive with my procedure. I guess I assumed that there was still room for them to really ramp up my medication should they need to. I was wrong. The doctor said, let’s see what happens in the next 2 days, and come back Saturday. I asked her what was the absolute minimum they needed to move on with my IVF. She said 5 follicles, and I had 2. So I have to grow 3 in the next two days. I am not holding out much hope. Clearly my ovaries are showing their age. Ideally I should be producing between 10-20, and I am clearly not responding to the hormones. I tired to keep cheerful as the nurse warmly rubbed my arm and said how sorry she was and led me back to the other room.

I walked back to my cupboard to change and started to cry. I haven’t got out of the starting gate and I am being shut down. I wanted to have one really good crack at the IVF cycle. I knew failure was a real possibility, but I wasn’t emotionally ready for so soon a final answer. I felt if I had the egg retrieval and embryo transfer and they didn’t take, I would have had a couple weeks to prepare for a negative outcome. Here I am being told no, before I have even finished my shots.

Driving back home to get my shots from hubby, seemed pointless. Hubby was warm and sympathetic as I cried on his shoulder. He was very supportive by taking the day off to be with me. I had my shots, and felt numb to the pinch. I feel like we are just going through the motions now. We took my son to preschool together and then spent the morning in the mall just walking around. I teared up over coffee, but got ahold of myself again.

Picking my son up from preschool was torture. Seeing all those happy mothers with babies while they picked up their other older children was tough. Watching the little girls in my son’s classroom, with their sweet feminine ways, reminded me that I will never have that in my life. A little girl. But that is not even it. I really have never pined for a little girl, in fact another boy would actually make me happier. I cannot explain it, I am now wistful for what I will never have. All I wanted, was to get my son and get out as quick as I could. But if you have ever been to a school to pick up a child, you would know that you are slowed to a crawl while you try to push past mom’s with strollers gabbing to other mothers, or try dodging the pack of little boys running and tumbling down the hall with one or more moms running after them and then tripping over the a kid having a melt down on the floor. Everywhere were precious faces of infants or young babies (my son’s school seems to be extra fertile), and I was feeling worse by the minute. The next 2 days is going to be an exercise in futility. Once I get the final answer on Saturday maybe I can start the mourning process. This will not happen overnight, I know this will be a slow acceptance. I just wanted to give it my all, just one time, but as I have said before, “what will be, will be” and I will do my best to accept it.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Ouch, now THAT hurt!

By 7:30am this morning, I was at the clinic for my first blood work to determine how well my FSH looked. Before I could say "good morning I am here for my first blood work” - the receptionist said they needed full payment. FULL payment? Before any of the ultrasounds gave us the green light to go forward with the procedure? Yes! That will be $6,500 please. Ouch. I was sure my credit card would spit that amount back at them and ask for a verbal approval. The credit card rejected the first big amount at the pharmacy for the Gonal -F epi pens and then they shut my card down. Nothing like refusing payment and then stopping me from purchasing anything else! The card company called last week to let me know my card was flagged and after hearing that I was trying to purchase fertility drugs, maybe they realized they had hit the big one and upped our credit limit? Who knows. All I know was that $6,500 flew threw that machine a little too smoothly.

A little confusion during this mornings first blood work had me in quite a lather by the time I got back home for my shot. We thought we were suppose to wait for our morning shots until after the blood work, assuming results were immediate and we would know if the doses needed correcting. We were wrong, and so my morning shot was an hour late. But anyway, I’ve had blood work done for tests like a million times. Any woman close to 40 who has gone through a pregnancy can attest, you get tested ALOT. And I am proud to say I’ve built up a bit of a resistance to the needle issue, with chatting and looking away. I’ve found a clinic nearby that does a wonderful job and can walk in pretty unstressed, knowing it won’t hurt. So I assumed that the nurse at the fertility clinic had also done this about a million times, and so for sure this would be a no brainer. IT HURT LIKE A BITCH! She was slow, and kept moving it while it was in me and then pulled the skin tight under the little circular bandaid till my skin pulled every time I flexed my arm. OUCH!! Not at all pleased with this one. I can only pray she is no where in sight the day of the egg retrieval when my intravenous gets stuck in. I may just have to be one of those women who requests another nurse.

So off I go back to my car, less an ounce of blood, less $2.50 for my parking, and less a whopping $6,500 for the procedure. It wasn’t even 8am and I was literally sucked dry.

This afternoon we got our call from the clinic nurse. I assume all looks good, as we are to remain at the same dose until Thursday. Thursday morning I will have my first ultrasound after my bloodwork. Now I am freaked out about seeing nurse Ratchet again! So fingers crossed that my little girl follicles are being tickled pink and growing as they should.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Yesterday was a great day. Though the morning’s injections, were a little troublesome, with the Gonal-F stinging afterwards (which can happen) and the Lupron needle separated while in me, spraying hubby with Lupron and he had to redo it. It was worse for him than me. But after the stinging subsided it was okay. I had a great day. The evening’s shots went pretty good as well. Hubby is getting much better at it. I felt good all day and had lots of energy. This mornings shots went very, very well. My nerves did not get all ratcheted up because yesterday’s shots went really well, and I was still on a high.

This post was going to be about me. I have decided to put things in perspective. Even as a needlephobe, I truly have nothing to be afraid of. I have a hubby that has the balls to give me injections. He encourages me everyday, and gives me the strength when mine is all tapped out. I know there are other women out there that do not have that support. There is one friend in particular who is doing it alone. By herself. The shots, the clinic visits, the emotional roller coaster. I am humbled by her journey into IVF. She is brave beyond anything I could ever do. While most of our relationship was during our carefree 20’s, and even though our current relationship has mostly been via email, I know she has had some shitty luck with men. That being said, she has not given up on her dream of having a family. I applaud her strength and courage. I know she would make a wonderful mother. I hope and pray that she gets the kind of joy I have experienced with having a child. I think she deserves that kind of wonderful.

Whatever the outcome of my own IVF journey, I will continue to re-read these posts and remind myself how lucky and blessed I am.

Friday, April 16, 2010

2 is not always better than one.

This is going to be a quick entry. I am tired, very tired. Seems this past week I have been overly tired. Once my period is past day one, I am up and running again. Not this time. I get spurts of energy, and then most afternoons are a slow slide into exhaustion. Then add the fear roller coaster. Where I become mentally exhausted after the stress build up. I could in essence take a nap after every shot. Today was worse. I was warned that the Gonal -F (Follicle stimulating hormone) would mess me up. I have only just had my evening shots, and already today was not so good.

The shots this morning pinched more than I remember. I was not happy. My icepacks for some reason became rock hard, (apparently they do not get put in the freezer), so I had to use some smaller ones that we had and they did not ice the area well enough, or my hubby went slightly outside of the area that I had frozen. And for the first time in my life, my roller coaster ride hit a bump. The bump being, the 2nd shot. There was no whoosshhhh... Done. It was, okay now hold your breath again cause here comes a second shot. I was deflated after and sore. And quite frankly dreading my evening shots. I was on such a success high from the past day that I am surprised at how this morning’s post-shot feeling was so disappointing.

My fears built up bad tonight. An hour before my shot, hubby and son went to the park and I tried distracting myself with TV. Useless. I kept looking at the clock. Anxiety level was very high, and when hubby and child came home, I had a splitting headache. Thought I had frozen the area really well, and hubby did the first shot and it went okay, just a slight pinch. But the second one, hubby had to pull out, as I had said ouch a little too loud this time. We think he went outside of the frozen area. We determined that I had not sufficiently frozen the area, so got a new pack and really pressed it hard on my tummy. Second shot pinched as well. Again, did not have my high like I did yesterday.

I used to love the notion of getting two of anything. Why have one when you can have two? It applied to everything from pairs of shoes, to fluffy pillows, or sour apple martinis, heck I clearly love the number 2 as I want another child.. but 2 shots? I would have been thankful with just one.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Ice, Ice, Baby!

Well thanks to a little research on the internet I discovered the greatest secret in the history of injections. ICE!!! Last night’s injection went so much better after I iced the area for 2 minutes just before hubby gave me the shot. It slightly numbs the area so you do not feel the pinch. I felt nothing... nice, nice, baby!!!

However, this shot was done in front of my almost 4 year old son, who did not like what daddy did to mommy. He then pummeled his daddy the likes of which neither of us have seen. He was so angry. Dear child could not verbalize what he was feeling and could only express anger at his daddy. We tried for 10 minutes to explain that daddy was not hurting mommy, just giving her medicine. Well his last memories of an injection was the awful H1N1 shot in his arm back in November. He said, “my arm still hurts mommy”! So he assumed that same pain was being inflicted on me by daddy of all people! Well he was overtired so the conversation did not go too well, and after he continued to lash out, we gave up, knowing he was milking it.

Waking this morning, the nerves kicked in big time. Breathing happens in the top portion of my lungs, stomach feels slightly nauseous and I go through the motions of getting myself ready, knowing all while the dreaded needle will happen within the hour. It amazes me that the logical side of me knows that the pain is absolutely minimal. But my brain gets so stressed out with the image of a sharp instrument piercing my tender belly fat that it completely takes over my thoughts. Logic has no place in the head of a needlephobe! We tried to get the shot done before my son woke, but as predicted the child walks into us as we are mid-shot. He clearly got over his trauma from the night before. He was not even phased or maybe he was not quite awake, because the first thing he said was “where’s my baa baa” (code for warm milk). So we guessed right, as tonight he asked to watch. Kids are so impressionable, if you overreact they will overreact. Our easy going nature made him okay with the procedure. Whew!

All morning I started to worry that each and every shot would require my nerves to get ratcheted up like a roller coaster. The slow, jerking, clicking and clacking up and up the first big hill. You finally slow as you near the crest, you dare not look down, you nervously look at your immediate surroundings, your hands are clammy and squeezing the bar until the knuckles are white and hurt. You breath is shallow and quick like you’ve been running, you feel your stomach is in your your left lung and then as you feel your car pull over the peak, you start to see ground below, and then the fall, it’s right there! Split second of holding your breath and then whooosshhh... Done. Over. Then sheer exhilaration, a euphoria that is like a high. You feel like you can do anything, be anything, do all those things on your bucket list but never thought you would get to.. it lasts for maybe 30 minutes. You grin from ear to ear... you love EVERYBODY, and become the Dalai Lama in your spiritual insights. The driver who cut me off on my way to the fertility clinic, who I had planned on castrating early that day? Post injection, I had decided he was having a terrible day and was in need of a hug. Bizarre. The whole roller coaster ride. And yet within about 2 hours before my scheduled shot, the nerves and stomach are in knots as I start the click, clack slow progression up that bloody hill again.

Tomorrow’s hill will be a big one. We start our second shots of Gonal-F in the epi pen. So two shots in the morning and night. Let’s hope the icepack helps, I have to keep my fears in check as much as I can, and try not give myself belly frost bite in my effort to numb the pain. I guess in reality I should be placing the ice pack on my head, it would appear numbing my mind would ultimately do the trick.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Conference Room B?

It was far from how I envisioned my first injection. Being rushed into not one but 2 conference rooms at my hubby’s office to have my first injection. There was no time to panic. Okay yes there is always time to panic when it comes to injections, but I was thoroughly distracted, so maybe that was a good thing.

After dropping off my son at preschool, I received a confusing voicemail from the clinic. By what the nurse said, she expected that I should have already taken 7 days of estrogen, but if I had not, then for me to wait until my next cycle. WHAT?? I was near insane with the thought of having to do this all over again because I missed one day of my estrogen. The bigger issue was that my hubby could not take another 3 weeks off from traveling. And the stress build up of this cycle, would be too much for me to bear to put it off again. (we were at this point in August of 2009). So after a distressed voicemail on my part. With patience at like zero, I called again and insisted I talk to the nurse who left the voicemail. We finally spoke and cleared everything up. My file did not show that I was already on estrogen, and furthermore missing one dose was no biggy. She advised to start my Lupron. I was at the Safeway pharmacy, just waiting for the clinic to call anyway, but again there was some confusion that the Lupron was a mixture that the pharmacy may or may not have. I just wanted to get as much of my prescription done at Safeway, because of the crazy amount of points on my airmiles card I would collect. So she said if they don’t have the Lupron I would have to come back to the clinic to get it filled.

So, long story short, she was right. So with Gonal F epi pens at Safeway and a HEFTY bill ($3,411.60) I did eventually get my 1,190 airmile points. So with freezer packs around my Gonal F epi pens, I then quickly went to my fertility clinic. I then pay another $110 for my Lupron. A bargain really, as it included all my syringes, cotton balls and alcohol pads!! It too had to get into a fridge quickly. So racing over to see my hubby at his office as it was now close to 10am, and these shots have to be 12 hours apart. So I am sitting there with $3,500 dollars worth of drugs in my little Safeway bag sitting next to my hubby as he finishes his conference call. I’m trying hard not to be just a little peeved that this little thing of injecting me was not taking precedent over his call. I’m also trying to keep my emotions in control as I realize he has a job to do. We then get up to the first conference room, only to find it now occupied. So I follow him up to the fourth floor, and we get to another conference room, just as a ton of people are filing out of it. So we lucked out and found ourselves a room WITH NO WINDOWS! Damn near impossible at my hubby’s office. Seems all their conference rooms have that fish bowl affect. Not sure who is watching whom, but there you go.

The room is hot as hell with a table fan sitting on the floor doing little to move the air around the room. It smells slightly like B.O. and a large computer monitor is on the table displaying the Microsoft Windows screen. Not exactly how I imagined my first injection would go. Hubby gets all the gear out, swabs the glass bottle then my tummy. I of course look away. I do feel a pinch and then pressure, and I start telling hubby he is pushing to hard. It was the fluid going in, or so he says. Then hubby does the unthinkable and uses the alcohol swab to wipe up the drop of blood over the injection hole. Now my belling is stinging like a bitch. Worse, I am now having some kind of reaction. I am in pain from the stinging that won’t stop and now my tummy is starting to get red and a prickly kind of rash is spreading fast. Hubby immediately calls the clinic. While on the phone, the stinging finally stops. The nurse tells him not to use the alcohol swab after the injection. If she didn’t, I would have! (In all fairness, we were a little rushed, and he was trying to keep the site sterilized). She could not understand why I was getting a reaction, but would investigate the stopper on the Lupron bottle as I have a latex sensitivity.

We pack up and realize we have not been given the used needle receptacle that the original nurse had shown us last week. So I had to use a zip lock baggy. I barely have time to thank hubby, and I have to race home. Realizing I have to go back to clinic and get the used needle box. My tummy is hurting me, but I quickly drive home, drop off the drugs in the fridge and back to the car to the clinic. Meanwhile, I am rushing because my son comes out of preschool soon. Once I am at the clinic I figure my nurse should at least see the rash. So 10 minutes of waiting and I meet our nurse Maureen. She explains that the Lupron needles should just go in a glass jar with a lid, and we should return it on the day of egg retrieval for proper disposal. (we were never told that) and that the used needle box was for the epi pens. So that cleared up, she looks at my tummy, the rash has faded somewhat but she would still investigate for me.

So all sorted and I am racing to pick up my son. Got to his school in time, even if a little frazzled and sore! A little bugged by how sore I was, and I hope that tonight’s injection will not hurt as much or for as long. I came home and did some serious stress eating. I have had a life long need for all things fatty and salty when stressed. So Pringles and Ruffles were my lunch buddies today. So post IVF start-up stress, conference room needle, and junk food, I am physically exhausted today. I did summon the strength to get my son to the park; it just would not be fair for him to stay home because his mother cannot handle a little curve ball in her IVF program.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

And Awaaayyyy We Go!

Well, it’s here. Period. A day and a half too early, throwing off our estrogen delaying date of maybe Friday or Saturday. I have 3 more Estrogen pills, and can only assume I should stop them. I was suppose to take them for 7 days before my period. We never discussed whether my period would come early. So stopping them makes sense, I think. Is being off a day and a bit a bad thing? Will my eggs not be as “fertile” cause I did not take all the estrogen pills in time? Am I trying to be too exact, when this is clearly an inexact science?

So I am stewing in my own juices while waiting for a nurse or the clinic to call me back, as we have been instructed to call the minute I get my period. A nurse is suppose to then return our call to verify that we start injections tomorrow morning. Meanwhile their message says that we will not get a return call until tomorrow. So, should I get the prescription tonight or tomorrow morning? I’m a little peeved it has been over two hours since I left two messages, one for the nurse and one for the clinic. I can only assume I am panicking for no reason. I am sure many women have gotten their periods “after normal business hours”. How ridiculous a notion. In the business of IVF, shouldn’t their vmail be more in tune to their client needs? Something slightly less generic? For example, “ if your period came early, please press 1”, or “If your last estrogen pill rolled under the couch, please press 2” or “if your spouse accidentally missed, injected himself and his scrotum just retracted into itself, please press 3”. Okay, maybe a little too much. But you get the idea. I feel strongly only because we are paying for this ourselves! Unfortunately, trying to conceive a child through the aid of IVF is not payable under Canadian Health Care. Oh but if you want a sex change in Alberta? “Oh you poor thing, here let us take care of that, this one is on us” says the government. Don’t even get me started on that argument.

So this is it... we are ready for take off, just waiting for the Tower to give us clearance.

Friday, April 9, 2010


Okay no where on the “patient medical information” of my prescription for Estrogen did they say I would experience GAS. And lots of it. Both in the upper and lower octaves, if you know what I mean. Seriously, an open flame in our home would be dangerous.

They have half a page under WARNING, with every conceivable evil cancer that can befall a woman while taking this drug. Not to mention the increase risk of stroke, dementia and serious blood clots in the legs. Why should taking a hormone that is naturally found in a woman, be a death sentence? Thank goodness I am only on this for a week. The sides effects mentioned are dizziness, lightheadedness, headache, stomach upset, bloating, nausea, weight changes, increased/decreased interest in sex or breast tenderness. Gas? Nadda.

Now my hubby and I have had a long standing joke of how I will not fluff in front of him. (We use the word fluff not fart in this household thank you). I will burp up a storm, and have done so on many, many, many occasions. Case in point my pregnancy with my son. I popped Gas-X chewables like candy and still could not stop the nightly hour long gas mania. Now my hubby started to get fed up with all of it, although he is certainly no one to talk. He has never had any qualms of letting loose monstrous great burps, enough to shake the room. But mine were frustrating both of us as they gave me no relief. It culminated into one of the most ridiculous orchestras of bodily functions ever to have befallen my hubby’s ears. We had just arrived at my hubby’s parent’s home in Long Island and settled into bed. I was over 5 months pregnant and while the nausea was over, the gag reflex was not. I was also getting over a slight cold. So there I was settled into bed and the burping started. The room was dark and quiet but for the low hum of the heat vent above our bed. All that could be heard, was “burrrpppp”, burrrrppp, cough.. cough... bluheckk, bluheckk”! The coughing pushed my gag reflex, and I went into a full dry heave. (thus bluheckk!) After my second gas attack with the same results, my hubby sat up, put the light on and said “what the hell are you doing?” I had no idea just how ridiculous I sounded, until my hubby started to mimic me. I laughed so hard. We kept repeating the sound “ burrrppp, burrrpp, cough.. cough... bluheckk, bluhecckkk!!!!” We laughed so hard, tears were rolling down our cheeks. It was one of our more funny and endearing moments of my pregnancy.

So as I mentioned fluffing in front of my hubby or anyone else just doesn’t happen. I did have one exception, if I was asleep and I fluffed, well those didn’t count. A conscious letting go of gas in public is just not lady like. Thus an unconscious fluff was pardoned in my books. So to this day, if I start to feel things “percolating” downstairs and do not have another room to disappear to, I sit and pucker. With faced all scrunched up I pucker for all my worth. All the while my hubby gets annoyed, as he has said over and over again that he doesn’t care if I let them rip.

So here I am all gased up with Estrogen, burping like a trucker, but puckering like a lady.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Chicken and the Egg

I won’t lie. I was pathetic. I was a real chicken.. buck buck buck. But damnit this chicken wants her egg.

I slept fine, in fact better than fine. My parents bought us some new bedsheets that hubby and I are in LOVE with; they actually gave us a better sleep! So even though I was well rested, my nerves started going first thing in the morning. We had an co-worker at my hubby’s office babysit for our son. So within 20 mins of her arriving, hubby and I were off to the clinic.

By the time I was sitting in the waiting room, my leg would not stop pumping, and my fist was taping the side of the chair. Meanwhile Mr. Cool as a Cucumber was working on his iPhone. I was getting annoyed (thanks to my nerves) and had to ask him to "stop working and try to be in the moment please”. Which he graciously accepted, but out came his iPad... that man is hooked I swear. At least he gave me tidbits of articles he was reading on GQ. He knew I needed distracting. And it helped somewhat. But after 15 minutes, I was ready to throw up. Finally, after 20 minutes a nurse introduced herself as Betty and took us to one of the conference rooms.

There sitting ominously on one of the chairs was her little red toolkit, or as I call it, her little box of horrors. Glass jars filled with g..d knows what, epi pens, needle disposing kits, alcohol swaps, and a whole mess of syringes and needles. She first gave us an overview of the process, with a booklet of pictures and such. Which was very helpful to my both of us, even if we have gone through this before. The fluctuating hormones of a woman during her cycle and how the IVF hormones are used can be a bit confusing, (I’m still not 100% sure), but we get the gist.

Then we started going over the calendar month of IVF and when I would take my hormones and the quantity yadda yadda... then she started toward the needles. My panic level was now elevated, I kept looking at my hubby to show him how freaked out I was, but he already knew that. The nurse somehow had on my file that I was afraid of needles, so it was no surprise to her. Fortunately, seems I am not the only person on this earth that has this fear. But at this point of the meeting, I am desperate to establish a way to have a “professional” do it in a clinic, and kept asking for this option. The nurse kept saying that this would be such an inconvenience for me, going there twice a day. She had no clue. I would drive to Seattle just to have someone other than myself or my hubby doing it. She and hubby agreed, and both said "why not try it for the first day or two and then maybe go to a clinic?”. SAY WHAT???? They clearly were not getting it, I don’t want to go that route!!!! I want to shake the dice, get a six and go straight to home!

So she starts opening the packaging around the syringe and showing the hubby how to take the top cover off, swab the tip of the glass bottle holding the liquid, then inserting the needle into the liquid, pulling the plunger down to fill the needle to the right level, making sure there are no air bubbles, etc etc. Then to my horror, they sat there with the needle in my hubby’s hand for all to see. My mind was freakin out!!! The needle point was staring at me like the worst part of a horror movie. You know when some crazed shrunken white face pops out onto the screen immediately followed by a blast of creepy screeching. You heart stops for a second, then the image disappears. Imagine having that moment just dangle there unending. That’s what I was feeling with that bloody needle sitting there less than a foot away.

Just when I thought I could not take it anymore, hubby practiced inserting it into a rubber cube. I swear he jammed that thing in too fast and too hard. He seemed quite pleased with himself. The nurse didn’t seem to think he needed correcting. The nurse then told me that I should hold the roll of fat around my tummy when my hubby inserts the needle.. NOW I AM FREAKING OUT.. I am NOT a willing participant, I want to know nothing, see nothing, hear nothing and absolutely DO nothing. I am this close to walking out the door. Tears are welling up in my eyes, as I tell her I cannot do that. My voice is breaking up, I got my half cry face going on, and my hubby knows I am at my breaking point. The nurse clearly had no idea how bad my phobia was. Hubby explained that his wife would prefer to be “passive” in this procedure. He told her I needed to look outside, watch a movie, talk to the wall.. ANYTHING not to know what the hell was going on down at my belly.

So she agreed that my fear had worked me into such a state, that I really needed just to feel it to know it was not as bad as I imagined. She was a nurse, so could she do it to me first. That I agreed to.. she was a professional in my opinion. So hubby got the iPad out, put on Pixar’s "The Birds” - their first Oscar for an animated short film. The clip had me in stitches when I first watched it, and it still amuses me. So slumped I was, not holding my roll of fat, I sat and watch the bloody birds, and....

Nothing! It was absolutely nothing. The tiniest prick, almost nothing at all! I was on a post fear high, and wanted to jump over and kiss her. Relief poured over me like a wave. I kept apologizing for my silliness about needles, after all I did already have a child (C-section thank you!) Now it was hubby’s turn..the iPad didn’t help this time, it was too close to his hands, so I talked nonsense while looking out the window. There was a pinch this time. I sucked in air. BUT, nothing that I would consider a big deal. Apparently, the nurse said he went in at a slight angle.

The appointment wound down pretty quick after that, with a few minutes on how the epi pen works, but the needle is even smaller on that, so I was not concerned. Because of my age (1 month away from my 42nd birthday) I have to take Estrogen for a week before we we start the process, so I have to get the prescription filled and I start tomorrow. But all we do now is call the day of my period, and the nurse will give the okay to start.

On my way home, I had to stop at a grocery store for milk and bread. I was on such a relieved high, I started to think, I should treat myself to some flowers or some decadent desert. I was like the good girl getting a lollipop at the doctors office. I realized how stupid I was for even thinking I deserved a treat, but I wanted to celebrate my little victory with a purchase! Wonder what Freud would think of all of that? or Pavlov perhaps?

Anyway, when I got home, I was thrilled my parents had came over early, hubby had to go to work and I needed to be distracted. My nerves were raw, relieved I was, but I take a long time to come down from that kind of fear. If I could have had hard liquor, I would have. Instead a cup of tea then two then three finally calmed this chicken.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Practice Day

Today at Kits beach, while chilly, it was still a beautiful place to play with my son. I looked around this gorgeous city I call home, and told myself, that if all else fails.. embrace your life. If the IVF fails, I know that I will grieve and take a long time to come to accept that I will no longer have any more children. But that said, I am blessed with good health and a family in good health. I need for nothing. Okay a pair of Christian Louboutins would do nicely but when the hell would I wear them anyway? Between preschool, the gym, the grocery store or kid friendly excursions... highly unlikely.

Anyhoo... so with a little perspective I am in a good place before going to bed. Tomorrow, with hubby in hand, we are off to the Fertility Clinic for our refresher on what to expect. I think money will be handed over tomorrow. Some but not all. We can expect a maximum of $10,700. Other factors will change that fee, but we can expect close to $10K. Geez! But money is not my issue, nor is the questionnaire regarding the use of leftover embryos and sperm. You would think the religious and moral responsibility of what to do with the “leftovers” would bother me.. but nah.. all I can think about and what I have been fearing for the past few weeks.. hell the past few months really.. is the practicing with the injections.

Who is kidding who? I have no bloody intention of doing it to myself. My entire life, when injections were shown on TV, I would immediately look away. Giving blood samples for the myriad of tests during my pregnancy forced me to get over my issue with them. But don’t get me wrong, while I no longer have cold sweaty hands going into the clinic, I still look away and become miss chatty to distract myself. No I will leave the practicing to my willing hubby. Now all I have to do is control my fear long enough to keep my patience and panic at bay and let my husband do it.

I hope there is an option of seeing a nurse or doctor at a nearby clinic to perform the shots. I don’t care if they charge extra over and above MSP. It would save my sanity. Another mother in my son’s preschool, has 2 little girls, tiny like their mom, both from IVF. She mentioned that because her husband was unable to give her shots she had to do them herself. The woman is like 80lbs soaking wet, tiny and quiet, but hell, the girl is a trouper! If we were talking just an epi pen, then okay, but there are 2 needles both morning and night. One is an epi pen, but the other is the awful one you insert into the liquid, pull on the plunger to draw out the liquid, turn it upside down, tap on the glass.... blah.. I just had a shiver, the image of the little drop at the end of the sharp needle, is like finger nails on a chalk board to my fears.

Well, let’s hope tomorrow goes well, because it will be just over a week then before the real start.