I prayed for this child and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. 1 Samuel 1:27

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A little lesson in IVF...

I know it’s still July…but today I changed my calendar over to August….because just seeing the word “August” makes me smile. It is the month Jason and I have been waiting for!!!!!!

I’ve said before that I’m not the most patient person…and all this waiting is starting to get to me. I’m so ready for Monday to get here so I can have the sonogram to check on that cyst. I’ve been having some unusual pains in my lower stomach so I’m hoping that means the cyst is getting smaller, or even better…that it is gone! Pending good sonogram results, I will start my shots that night (Monday, August 3rd).

Some of you have been curious as to what I will be taking, how often, etc. Here is an overview…

First I will begin on a daily injection of Lupron. Lupron is a synthetic form of a natural occuring hormone in your body. It will decrease my estrogen and progesterone levels (i.e. more than likely drain my energy). However, this suppression of hormones is much desired during this process. I will take an injection of Lupron every night for about 25 days. It's a very small needle and this shot I can administer myself in my leg.
Second I will begin my stimulation medication, or commonly referred to as STIMs.This is actually 2 different medications that I will have to mix together in a vial. This will aid in the development of mature ovarian follicles and eggs (a very essential part!) The STIM's medication is also in an injectable form. However, this one is a much longer needle and Jason will have to step up to the plate to give me this shot, as it has to go into my hip. These are every night as well....so it appears we will have a fun little nightly routine for a month or so. (I'm lauging now...and hopefully later too). A possible side effect from this portion of the protocol is enlarged ovaries...fluid can accumulate in the abdomen resulting in bloating and weight gain (fun stuff).
So, at this point...about 15 days in I will be on 2 injections a day...in addition I'll be going into the office for routine bloodwork to check various hormone levels. Thirdly, 2 days before the scheduled egg retrieval I will take a series of HCG injections. HCG prepares the mature follicles for ovulation. A guess what?? Another lovely injectable medication!
In addition to all of this Jason and I will both be on an antibiotic one week prior to egg retrieval. The purpose of this is to prevent any possible infection...which could hinder implantation of the embryos.
The next step is egg retrieval and embryo transfer. I will talk more about these processes later as we get closer to the time.

I hope this gives you all a better insight as to the process. I have learned that each IVF cycle is tailored to the patient, so this can vary from couple to couple. It's also becoming more and more clear just how detailed this process is. For all those that have thought..."oh, you can't get pregnant? Just do IVF!" It's a little more complicated that that!

I do want to take a minute to say thank you. Thank you to all of you who have written to me or called me to tell me you are following along with this blog. I've said before that I'm writing this for selfish reasons, really. It does help to get it all down on "paper". But I'm finding in writing this that people just really love reading the blog. Thank you to all my faithful readers. :)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Well, today was a very informative, yet overwhelming doctor's appointment! Today was our appointment with our IVF coordinator where she explained, in detail, the protocol we will follow for the next month or so. My initial reaction was, "this isn't so bad". Actually the amount of medication is less than I anticipated. However, after a few hours to process everything all I feel is overwhelmed. I'm just realizing more and more how vital each and every step is for this process. It all has to work together....like this huge massive puzzle and all I feel is pressure. Pressure for it all to work. Granted, it's pressure I'm putting on myself. I mean, I've said it before...there's only so much the doctor's can do, after that, it's all in God's hands. A few vital pieces that are (at the moment) freaking me out...
1. if the cyst on my right ovary hasn't decreased to 3cm or less by my ultrasound on August 3rd, then we we have to delay this cycle.
2. Jason and myself administering daily shots. I know after the first few times, it will become like clockwork, but still...it's shots.
3. I have to have at least 8 mature, healthy eggs retrieved and if I have any less than that, we are dropped from the shared risk program. (we can still do IVF, but not the 2 cycle option that we already paid for).
4. Just the general hope that all of this works. Like I've said before...we want a child of our own so badly...and it all comes down to this.

As I was typing this, I got a call from the specialty pharmacy we were encouraged to use. So, the total cost of all of our meds ended up being around $6,000.00 Yes, you read that correctly...six thousand. However...thank goodness for insurance. Our total? $290.00. We have already paid $10,000.00 in IVF costs...I couldn't imagine paying $6K more. Although, I know there are couples out there that have to pay well more than that for what we are doing. So, as I'm sitting here overwhelmed...I got that wonderful piece of good news. God works in mysterious ways. Ok...God, I hear ya...calm down....trust me.

As long as everything works the way it should...and all the pieces fit to the puzzle this first go round....we will know by September 10th if this worked. Maybe that is why I'm freaking out too. It's all becoming so real. Every step closer to the "prize" just feels like a little bit more pressure for all of this to work. (again, self inflicted pressure)

I have realized something more and more on our journey so far. I am so thankful for my husband. Jason has just taken all of this in stride. Making me laugh....lightening the mood. I think we've laughed in that doctor's office more than cried and for that I am thankful. I couldn't imagine going through this with anyone else. He has truly overwhelmed me thus far, and I know he will only continue to do so.

Much love to you all...thank you for the continued notes of encouragement and prayer.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Another bridge crossed…

The blood work I had done Monday morning all came back great today! They were checking estrogen and FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) levels. Like I’ve said before, everything has to line up “just so” in order for us to proceed to the next step.

Now, waiting for those results was no easy task. I should have been called with the results by Tuesday morning and it took until 1:00 today to get those results (after multiple phone calls, voice mails, etc). Waiting is no fun. I’ve always known the following things about me, but I’m constantly reminded about them: #1. I DO NOT LIKE to not be in control. #2. I’m not a very patient person. Both of these traits I’m going to deal with constantly during this process. I have no control over this situation. Yeah, I have the ability to choose our method of treatment…obtain a loan, etc….but when it comes to the actual IVF cycle….it is out of my hands. The way your body responds determines so much. A good friend once told me…Modern medicine can only do so much, the rest you have to leave up to God. Gosh, that is so true. My faith and my patience are being tested daily. I WILL CONQUER THIS, I WILL! It’s just hard to always keep that focus.

So, where do we go from here?

Well, Tuesday the 21st we have an appointment with our IVF coordinator. She will give us our calendar that will specifically spell out in every detail about our course of action. The medication, the egg retrieval, the transfer, etc. From the way it’s looking now this will all take place over the month of August. (that’s right, like 2 weeks away) Technically we are on the train now with me using this Nuvaring. It’s suppressing ovulation and HOPEFULLY getting rid of this massive cyst on my right ovary (a factor that must improve in order for us to continue). The day I start the shots…somewhere around August 3rd, I will go in for another sonogram to check out that lovely cyst. It better be gone! If it’s not, I’m sure will delay our IVF cycle another month or so. So much mental preparation goes into this that I know I will be totally let down if we don’t get to cycle this time. All in God’s timing though. In order for us to have this wonderful miracle of life, everything has to be perfect. It can’t be rushed….which brings me right back to that patience thing!

I’m overwhelmed with all of the well wishes from everyone. Overwhelmed in a good way….it helps more than you all know to hear those constant praises of happiness and help during the those times of frustration and sadness.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Proceeding with Caution...

So...the actual journey has begun! :) However, we are proceeding with caution.
Now comes the time in my blogging "career" to decide how many details to actually share. Some of you reading this really don't want to hear about ovaries, sonograms, monthly cycles, and medication details. But I know some of you actually do! LOL! so...for those that don't...just stop reading now, it's about to get a tad personal!
So yesterday aunt flo arrived and that was the indication we needed that our IVF journey could begin! (much to my surprise, about 2 weeks early, yeah!) The timing worked out perfect because we already had an appointment with Dr. H. this morning to discuss the ins and outs of IVF. After meeting with her and learning about all the risks, benefits, etc....she sent me down the hall for a lovely sonogram. Fun stuff...
well, in doing the sonogram they found a large cyst on my right ovary. In fact, it was an odd looking cyst (thoughts of frustration immediately filled my body...just one more setback, ugh!) After waiting a couple hours to hear Dr. H's recommendations, she was fine with us proceeding along (yeah!). So today starts the lovely nuva ring. This will supress ovulation, and hopefully diminsh the cyst. I will have to have another sonogram soon to determine if the cyst is gone.
I'm also waiting to hear about bloodwork that was drawn today. What they call "baselines". All of these levels have to be just right in order for us to be able to start this cycle. If anything is out of whack, anything at all, it can delay this IVF process. It's amazing how many things have to line up and corrdinate together.
This whole ordeal takes 6 weeks from start to finish...we are officially at the start...so hopefully we won't hit any bumps along the road.
I'm going to end this blog here....I feel like my mind is running in a million directions, but I wanted to be able to get this update out to all of you! Again, thanks for following us...and keep the prayers coming! :)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

No new developments....just random thoughts...

So, as the title says, there is no news on the IVF front...we are still in a holding pattern for now. However, I'm consumed with thoughts and emotions so I feel the need....the need for blogging. (ok, that was a tad cheesy)

Because I'm in this holding pattern....I'm feeling anxious...tremendously anxious. I'm ready to get this process going, but I'm at the mercy of mother nature. I'm not the most patient person. I might come across cool and collected to the outside world....but I am freaking out on the inside! My mind is racing.....when will this begin....how will my body respond to the meds...will my hormones go through the roof....will Jason make it through alive (LOL)....shots, pills....ahhhhh!!!!!!!! But most importantly....will we end up with that miracle of life....that precious child that we so long for. I imagine myself holding our newborn baby and all I can think of is sadness. Sadness that it couldn't happen naturally for us....feelings of "it's just not fair to have to pay all this money"...."why me", oh that enters my mind all the time. But then I have to remember to be THANKFUL.....thankful that we are able to take this course of action (IVF)....thankful for the knowledge of our doctor....thankful for an otherwise healthy body that makes it possible for us to have an 85% shot at this.

Whew....my mind is tired.

Like I said....I'm just anxious. Another reason this blog is such a great tool. It helps me get those thoughts out there, thrown out in the cosmic internet world.

I read a quote today that needs to become my moto: "Promise me you will always remember...You're BRAVER than you believe, and STRONGER than you seem, and SMARTER than you think." Christopher Robin to Pooh

I can't let this anxiety consume me. I have to remember that this will all come in God's time. I've waited 30 years to hold that precious child. I can wait a little longer.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Infertility Survival Handbook

The Infertility Survival Handbook

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This book has been a lifesaver thus far....great writing and valuable advice!

Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help...

I've heard this many times. Well, it's time for me to cash in all those offers! I've been doing a lot of research and reading on this upcoming IVF process. I'm trying to be as prepared as I can. In doing that I've been reading a lot of people's personal experiences, one book in particular has really helped. The author suggests creating a care package. I'd like to share an excerpt from the book:
"I created a care package I could use when facing a tough day or moment in my cycle. All women undergoing any sort of infertility treatment should have a care package on hand to remind them that they're important and need to take care of themselves. Believe it or not it's easy to forget about you during your cycle as everyone starts focusing on your follicle developments, E2 levels and embryo quality. A care package will remind you that you deserve to be treated well during this process."
She goes on to suggesting asking your family and friends to contribute to your care package as a way of helping. So...as this post is titled...."please let me know if there is anything I can do to help" this is it! Since this IVF process is going to start in the coming few weeks I'm starting to get my care package together now. If anything, it will help relieve the anxiety, fear, and uncertainty I have about this whole process. Everyone responds differently and while I'm hoping for my body to respond pleasantly....I have to prepare myself that there will probably be days where I feel extremely down, tired, and hormonal. These are the days I will cling to my care package (and snuggled up to Jason, I am sure!)
So, what is a care package and what am I asking for you all to provide? Maybe it's a magazine or a book or a movie you think I'd like...maybe it's manicure or pedicure goodies....or maybe it's just a letter, written from you about reminding me to stay positive to help me through a hard day.
If you'd like to contribute please do so over the next couple weeks. Family and friends are going to be what gets Jason and I through this... so I wanted to give everyone an opportunity to help.
In closing...on this 4th of July weekend, I'm consumed with thoughts of freedom. I've thought A LOT about freedom this weekend. I'm thankful to live in a country where I have the FREEDOM to choose my own doctor...I have the FREEDOM to chose this course of infertility treatment...I have the FREEDOM to walk into a bank and obtain a loan for this process...I have the FREEDOM to start this blog and write whatever I wish for the internet world to read. I have to remind myself that there are parts of the world that these things are not possible. Through the hustle and bustle of life...we all tend to forget these freedoms. I'm proud to be an American...and you can't put a price tag on that!