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Iím overwhelmed by the shipment from the pharmacy, two big boxes, ice packed. I wasnít prepared for the nine different medications in huge quantities, bags of syringes, the medical waste bin. There were 32 patches, not just the four I need to use next week. The nurse had walked me through the first week of treatment including a patch every other day and three shots. In a panic I called her wondering why she ordered enough meds to do several cycles. She said that I need all these meds for this one cycle. Freaked out before even one hormone treatment.
Iím visiting friends in NYC this weekend. I spent the day with an old roommate, her toddler and her mom. It was a treat to spend the day wandering abound the west village, I love exploring my old stomping grounds. We took the toddler to the playground in Washington Square Park. Of all the years I spent living on the edge of that park, I had never been in the playground. My friendís mom, who is a bit quiet, said that sheís found traveling with a toddler changes how people react to her, total strangers spontaneously engage them in conversation.
I applied the first hormone patch this morning. I felt a need for some ceremony at the start of this new ritual. I read the instructions, showered, rethought my wardrobe. And itís just a clear little patch with exceptionally good adhesive. When I went through the new age body scanner at the airport, I did wonder if they could see my patch, if its little medicinal surface gave a visible vibe different then my own skin and bones. Did the person off to the side reading the scan know my secret? Is he already bored with peopleís unusual body parts?
It was a long day at work and school. But my last day of grad school passed unceremoniously because I knew that I was coming home to give myself my first injection. I never would have guessed that Iíd end up on this path, but I am taking each step as a new adventure into the unknown and todayís step in the journey involved conquering a self-injection. I laid everything out, read through the instructions, followed the instructions step by step. A little prick into the roll of fat at my belly, it wasn't a big deal.
I need to remind myself that this is primarily a physical journey Iím embarking on. I need to think about a good food & exercise plan for health and stress relief. Need to support my body with sleep, and splurge on physical comforts like massages.
Did my second injection without re-reading the instructions and I messed it up. I didnít twist the needle on to the syringe tight enough so the liquid dripped out onto the table, instead of into the vile. The whole kit wasted, I had to start over. Iím down a dose, hope that isnít too problematic.
Iím feeling calm and comforted. Iím sure the massage this evening helped but as graduation nears, I have fewer obligations and immediate stresses. At least Iím feeling clear of obligations now. The truth is that as I start to file away notes from classes and my practicum, Iím collecting new piles of paper for projects with faculty and info on IVF medications and a whole new list of obligations and things to think about, like baby names and how Iíll need to rearrange the furniture and how I can stay healthy and not get even fatter than I already am.
This day slipped past me. I was a bit worn out but had a plan to meet a friend out for a drink and work on learning Hawaiian and on increasing our vocabulary. Once I got out I was a bit more energized and I was glad I made the effort. Going through flashcards and repeating words together really helps the memorization process. It is true that I havenít even really closed the schoolbooks and I already have a variety of new projects brewing like learning new languages and parenthood. Iíll need to take a rest at some point soon.
I was asked to call to make an appointment as soon as my cycle starts again. Today is day one and when I called they said that theyíd like me to come in on Sunday morning. Since I am scheduled to be at graduation from 7am Ė 12pm, Sunday morning is close to impossible. So the rather easily agreed that Monday morning will be ok.
Mom arrived. She took the initial news in stride but I realize that it has taken me awhile to get to this place of trying this so it may take other people awhile to digest as well.
I spent the day with my mom. We passed by to see my nephews play a soccer game and dropped in on Dad to make sure they know where to meet up tomorrow, but otherwise we had a day to ourselves that wasnít complicated by othersí schedules. That was a treat. I talked some about various options Iíve thought about and explored a bit including adoption and foster care and more chances at IVF. But at one point she said, you talking as if this is going to work. And indeed I believe that completely. She isnít holding her breath.
I was up super early in order to get to Allstate arena in time to line up for the graduation ceremony. There were about 10 or so of us there from the MPH program. We helped each other adjust robes and hoods. My parents, sister-in-law and nephew sat through the whole ceremony to support me. We then all went out for a celebratory brunch.
Interestingly, the DePaul University alumni community is smaller than that of Retuned Pace Corps Volunteers which is about 205K. Both are really small compared to the 4 million babies who have been conceived by in-vitro fertilization!
Work surprised me with a card and a toast for my graduation! Since my mind is so not on graduation and I was genuinely surprised & touched.
Early this morning, before work, I took a baseline blood & ultra sound and they have now declared that I have started IVF. I guess last weekís patches and shots didnít really count. I am now ďcyclingĒ and while I am cycling I am supposed to follow dietary guidelines as if I were pregnant. No alcohol, no allergy medicineÖ
I started Follistim injections tonight using the pen and I messed up the dosing.
SLEEP I went to bed early last night and I slept. After my new medication and getting up at the crack of dawn the last few days I was exhausted. I felt good this morning. Maybe if I give myself enough sleep the hormones wonít have too negative of an effect. Itís Tuesday and I have an appointment to go in again on Thursday. I had a chance today to talk with an ivf nurse and get and overview of the whole process and when Iím likely to use the rest of these medications. Going to bed early tonight too.
Iím opening myself to heartbreak. Wanting a child, having a child is opening myself to heartbreak. Of coarse right now I am focused on the love Iíll feel and the care I will take to raise and protect the child. But that intensity of love is balanced by huge potential for loss and ache. On TV I just saw a parent, a solider break down talking about the loss of his son and I burst into tears. What if this child I wish to produce actually dies before me? Itís so hard to image the immensity of such an ache.
I went this morning again for blood and ultrasound. The nurse marked out follicles growing in my ovaries and there are quite a few in each which is a very good sign and just what is wanted. She did point out that they may not all develop but weíre off to a good start. This simple news lifted my spirit. Itís working and this is going to work and I am getting closer.
Something I find amusing is the fertility clinic art is all fertility focused prints of cells dividing and monochrome paintings of a sperm stretching towards a circle.
I told a friend today that giving myself injections hasnít been that bad at all. Just like the doctor told me, they are right into the fat in my stomach and I donít feel a thing. I reduced the dose of Follistim and started Menopur. It has yet another preparation method with dilutant and power to mix and a syringe to pack. I can use the same amount of liquid for multiple doses of powder. I had to follow the instructions step by step. Three injections tonight and I messed one up so that makes four. It adds up fast.
Back to the fertility center for an ultrasound and blood work. Back home I zoned out a bit today, watched TV and picked up around the house. I was actually a bit productive and got some laundry done. The nurse called to add back in another medicine and alter my dosages for the next two days. Three different types of injections tonight, Iím starting to accumulate quite a few pinpricks around my bellybutton. It has actually only been a few days and time is passing quickly. I feel like Iím speeding through this process. Headed to bed soon Ö.
I had been warned that women pumping themselves full of hormones and going through fertility treatments experience intense emotions including uncontrollable rage and spontaneous sobbing. Iíve had some thoughts and emotions that I think were triggered by the excess hormones but Iíve felt in control. It has helped that I have acted with intention and I am very aware of what I am doing and the commitments involved. I have also paid attention to my body so Iím trying to eat well and get extra sleep. My mind, spirit and body feel balanced. Iím paying attention to what is needed.
Went for another blood and ultrasound test. The nurse called mid-day and listed off the number and size of follicles growing in each ovary. Things are moving along. A week ago they said that retrieval would probably be this weekend but now it may be sooner. That changes my options with rides and could disrupt my workweek but if thatís the only disturbance than I will count myself lucky.
Other people are already sharing their stories. Iím interested in peopleís personal experiences but not their horror stories of the worse situation theyíve ever heard of. Keep those stories to yourselves.
I got out and watered the garden this morning and went to Ann Sathers to get a take out breakfast as a treat. The nurse called in the afternoon and told me to take the trigger shot tonight. SW is probably available to take me to retrieval. Retrieval will be 36 hours later on Thursday morning. Bk came down to give me the shot. It was the first time sheís ever given someone a shot and it went very smoothly. Now sheís learned a new skill and I am sharing my adventure, teaching more people how to inject drugs.
I worked a long day setting up a project for tomorrow with a big group of clients and a lot of politics on what format the ads can be tested in while also finishing a screener to get that project in the field. It was really exhausting. It was one of those days working from home when I was basically glued to the chair. In the evening I took a walk with BK, ate some good food, wrote a bit in my journal, confirmed my ride. Iím gonna take a lukewarm bath and go to bed. Itís later than usual.
The anesthesiologist put an IV in my hand and left for an hour, they had four other procedures to do before me. That was annoying but I read my book and waited. They put me out and what seemed like seconds later woke me to walk back to the recovery room. A nurse later said that my eyes had been open and when they said to each other, weíre all done here. I tried to get up. Sheíd never seen anything like it before. I am my motherís daughter. Iím shocked that I was so alert under the anesthesia. Spooky.
Man I slept yesterday. Came home, baked a frozen pizza and got comfortable to watch a movie and my eyes kept closing. So I slept from 1pm to maybe 6pm when I answered multiple text messages and got up to eat and read and e-mail. But by 9 or 10 pm I was back in bed and I slept all night through!
Today the nurse called to say that 3 of the 4 eggs retrieved were mature and have been fertilized. Now I have to wait and see how that goes. I send them little bursts of energy and love.
The nurse called early to say that the transfer is scheduled for tomorrow. There are 3 embryos to transfer. I was surprised by a wave of pure excitement. I was totally high and thrilled and floating on clouds. I went to the grocery store and bought fruits to make a fruit salad for BKís party and I got vegetables to make a broth. I havenít done that in awhile but I want to make nourishing foods for before and after the transfer. I want to treat myself well and be as healthy as I can be. I am very excited.
Today was rather spectacular. A camera in the lab that projected onto a TV screen in the procedure room gave me a magnified, up close view of the 3 clusters of cells. Iíd been told that all 3 had divided into 8 cells already and were of the highest quality. But one of the clusters was obviously even more cells and I could see the thin cells moving. I watched as they sucked them into a tube and then on the ultrasound screen next to me, I saw a burst of light as they exited the tube into my uterus.
An e-mail announcing a small shift in my team at work got me thinking, what would I do if I lost my job? Writing comes to mind but it wouldnít replace my income. Thereíre small ways to save money: give up parking spot, cancel home phone, offer to do some grounds keeping for a reduction in rent. I could babysit or nanny other peopleís kids while raising my own, thatíd be overwhelming. I could cook meals for friends who are health conscious and busy. But really Iíd be forced to plunge into the new career Iíve prepared for in school.
Iíve fallen a bit behind with these words and I want to make sure that I finish this month. Iíve felt agitated today, a bit annoyed at moments, worried about the future, quick to judge and also tired while bouncing around a little restless. Iíve had quick mild flashes of temperature rising causing my forehead to sweat. I think the hormones are accumulating and itís effecting my emotions and reactions to things. I worry that working, cooking and cleaning up is too active just because Iím tired.
Iíve started watching Breaking Bad on Netflix. Iím about to watch episode 5.
I feel remarkably normal in energy level and mood. The new step today was restarting hormone patches. I need to put two on every other day. I felt a small surge of energy when I put them on. My neighbor comes down each evening to give me a daily dose of progesterone with a shot in the back of the hip.
In other news, little vegetables are starting to form in our garden. We have several small green tomatoes, two little prickly cucumbers, weíve already harvested two yellow squash, the eggplant has flowered and thereís a green pepper taking shape.
I got a shocker at work. It was a small announced via an email to two of us but it was rather unexpected. The overall principal of it makes no sense to me. It changes incentives to discourage collaboration and teamwork.
The heat! I met a friend from school at Moodyís Pub and thoroughly enjoyed a burger and a glass of sangria. Iím bursting with ideas. While talking together ideas came together for a really great possible project we could collaborate on. Maybe by working with someone else, we can get more moving forward and also produce a higher quality outcome.
I just took a late evening walk with my neighbor and I realize that Iím rather worn out even though I barely left the house. Iím really upset about the thing at work. Iíve outlined a case for pushing back but wonder what outcome would result. Iím also questioning my commitment to my job. Should I be looking for work? Do they want me looking for work? It boils down to a tenth of a percent. I probably want to bow my head and get my work done but I have a lot to process in order to do that.
Iíve had a strong feeling that this is going to work. When I came home last week I could feel small differences in my body and energy. I was without doubts. Now I have to wait another week to take the test to see if Iím pregnant and today I really donít know how I feel. Iíve been eating a bit more but that is partly driven by my need for comfort and probably also by the hormones Iím still taking. Last week passed rather quickly but it feels like this next week is going to be a long one.
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