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Trying-to-Conceive Blog

spazzle's blog

26 Dayyyys!

The FET countdown is underway! I'm a few days into my Lupron injections like a total champ. I finish up bcp tomorrow, and after AF (hopefully the last for many months) I add in my estrogen supplementation. 

I'm really glad that we decided on the clomid stim protocol that has to be done with FET, bc I am way less stressed than I was during stims/retrieval. It's just so nice to know that we already have embryos, so that's half the battle behind us, and I'm experienced with the SQ injections this time around too which takes some pressure off. We'll see how I'm feeling once we get to the PIO IM ones, lol, but for now I'm pretty excited and minimally stressed. Really now I just have to keep my wits about me and not fall down the "what if" wormhole. You can't know until you know! No sense getting so worked up over infinite scenarios when only one will come to pass.

Thanks to all of you who are still, after all these years, supporting me in this journey. I really truly hope to be able to share good news soon. 

Faith, trust, & baby dust.

Fun with hormones

I know it's just bcp, but the specific hormones in the one my clinic uses prior to FET cycles is something I would never take for actual birth control lol. I'm three weeks into breakouts, my boobs literally getting bigger (and sorer) by the day, and spicy / salty food cravings. But I'm taking it all in stride and excited to be getting closer! 

It's kind of funny, but I'm actually feeling what some may refer to as "baby fever" for the first time in years. I'll find myself looking at baby shower stuff and thinking about birth plans and considering how we'll shift things to accommodate a baby in our lives. Back when we were first ttc, I thought about stuff like that all the time and had all these plans, but at some point I just stopped. So it's nice to get a little bit of that feeling back. Hope, I think that's what they call it? Lol.

Anyway, just checking in. Getting excited to be reunited with our embryos!

2018 or bust!

Gearing up for our FET in February. Just started bcp and hopefully my 2nd to last AF for a long while. Trying to get all my ducks in a row over these medications has been a little frustrating! I'm working against a national shortage of progesterone, but I found a pharmacy that has an approved synthetic I'm going to order, because most other places are just like "yeah not sure what you're going to do". How are doctors handling this, I wonder? I mean, it's kind of necessary... Anyway, hopefully I can procure the alternative this week. And I'm fighting it out with Walgreens over the Lupron with GoodRx coupon, which will save like $400. I'm really appreciative of all the tips you experienced FETers have given me. It is helping, slowly but surely! 

I hope 2018 holds good things for all of you. I've been hoping "next year" was my year for too many to count, and I'm hopeful this time is the last. Wishing you all things merry and bright. ♡

FET Protocol

Okay. I feel really dumb, but I was floored by my FET protocol. I think I legit thought that I would trigger to let my hormones do their thing and then they would do the transfer like iui. *sad, embarrassed face*

It's one cycle of bcp, roughly 25 days of lupron injections, estrace pills and vivelle patches, and then progesterone injections before the transfer, with all but the lupron continuing until 10 weeks of pregnancy. It is... overwhelming. I know I should be super excited but this is so daunting. Somebody tell me it's not that bad...?

I am currently very bitter about people who can get pregnant naturally.

Sigh. Anyway. That is all. >_<

Things infertility has taught me

1) Most everyone you know has only a vague concept of how fertility works, fueled by myths and the basically nonexistent sex ed in schools. 

We've all experienced this. Once you're past that learning curve of LH spikes, motility and morphology, and luteal phases, you have crossed into another realm of understanding. I know nurses who don't know this shit. And once you're here in this new realm, you realize you have no one to talk to. Even that friend or relative you talk to sometimes who is really supportive doesn't quite grasp it, and you feel like you're in a state of constant explaining anytime you bring it up to even the most well-intentioned people. 

2) Most people have no clue how ivf works.

I get it, it's a lot. And I blame item number 1 for a lot of the difficulty explaining it to people. I opened up to quite a few people about ivf, and even as I would update them, it turned into a big source of frustration for me because it's like I was constantly explaining and reexplaining. Even when we told people we have embryos, we were met with plenty of "so when does (husband) have to do his part" or "so what does that mean" *facepalm*. I'm saying all this to say, ivf gets LONELY, even when you open up to people. Because in my experience the majority of people just describe ivf as "expensive" and "exciting". They don't understand all the appointments, the meds, the waiting, the stages. And that gets kind of frustrating, when you're jacked up on hormones and are explaining to someone what a follicle is for the third time. A lot of fertility-privileged people truly see ivf as "easy", and that is a hard perception to struggle alongside. When I'm drowning in hormones and all anyone can say is "how exciting" it is that we're doing ivf, I kind of want to punch them.

3. You'll get over it.

You'll learn patience. You'll learn humility. You'll learn to reach out to people when things get hard, not because they know what it's like to struggle with infertility but because they know what it's like to be human. And when all else fails, you'll find an online community where you can vent to your heart's content about injections and follicles and FETs. You will be okay.

Retrieval Report

The past 10 days is a jumble.  Where to begin?

Doing an out-of-town ivf protocol came with its ups and downs. On the one hand, it was nice not feeling obligated to go into the office everyday when I would've been feeling rushed with all the monitoring appointments, and I had tons of time to "just relax", as much as anyone can relax during stims. On the other hand, I was crazy homesick a lot of the time and the traveling was a bit of a burden. I started out pretty strong, but when my retrieval got pushed to the day after my initial target date, I pretty much lost it and nearly hyperventilated in my hotel room. I was just so ready to be done with the bloodwork and the injections and the meds and to see my husband again (who joined me the evening before the retrieval -- can't make embryos without him!). But finally we got a surgery date and all was well in the world.

My protocol overview for those who are curious: clomid 50mg everyday, follistim 150iu every other day, ganirelix injection to prevent an LH spike, novarel hcg shot for trigger, and indomethicin tablets from trigger until retrieval (again to prevent premature ovulation).

We got to collect our specimen at the hotel, which was kind of cool and something that our old clinic absolutely forbade, and then we got checked in at the hospital. It was kind of overwhelming getting prepped for surgery. I think I envisioned it would be more like when I had IUIs, but I had to wear a hospital gown and surgical cap and everything, and I walked into an OR full of doctors and nurses before they put me under. I was kind of groggy from the anesthesia, but they told dh that they retrieved three mature eggs and that I had "a beautiful uterus". (Oh, the strange compliments you get when dealing with fertility... lol.) The target for the minimal protocol like what I did is 5, so I felt a little upset/nervous when they said 3, but the assisting obgyn was really enthusiastic about what mature eggs they were. It had seemed like I had a lot more follicles during the monitoring, but I guess a lot of them did not get big enough.  Anyway, we got word this morning that all three were successfully fertilized!!!  Now we wait for them to grow a few days and get our freeze results next week. I'm really praying that all of them thrive and survive. We are at least hoping that two make it for the transfer, but we'll take what we can get. *prayer hands* I'm staying far away from Google right now and relying solely on faith. I don't need statistics to know that miracles are possible.

So post-op, we made it home and are waiting for the next update. They told me I can't work out for two weeks due to the risk of twisting an ovary (!!!) so idk what the hell I'm going to do with myself, but I'm sure I'll manage, haha. Prayer and meditation! Ya know, I saw this thing the other day that said prayer is when you talk to God and meditation is when you listen to God. How crazy true is that?!? I've definitely been trying to do a lot more listening than talking these days.

Thank you all so much for your kind comments and well wishes. It put a smile on my face this past week more times than you can imagine. It's bizarre to have so many people rooting for us (not just here, but irl). A lot of love has been poured our way and it's been incredibly humbling and amazing. It's been a long road but I feel like maybe, just maybe, we're on the home stretch.

Faith, trust, and baby dust!

Keep Calm & Stim On!

Well, after lots of sorting and stressing and scheduling, we've finally made it to stims!

I think the past week for me was just one long stress headache, but with a lot of the administrative and prep work behind us, we're coming up on the main event - woo! I finished up bcp, got the okay on my baseline ultrasound, and I start meds tonight. It's a minimal stimulation protocol, which consists of Clomid and Follistim (and some standby ganirelix, if they get worried my body might try to trigger ovulation). Daily monitoring starts on day 5 - Monday. My goal at this point is to hold onto my sanity and do my best to go with the flow. Hopefully in a couple of weeks we'll have some embryos. Man, how crazy will that be? 

I love reading all of the messages and well wishes. I haven't been on here a ton, but please know that they're much appreciated even if I'm spotty with my responses!

Sending you all my best. 

They should offer Chill Pills when you order from those specialty fertility pharmacies

It's four weeks until my target date, which means crunch time for scheduling appointments, making payments, and trying to coordinate everything that goes into an out-of-state ivf, so all of that calm clarity I had in the beginning has mostly been replaced by general panic and a yeast infection. Even though I know it was most likely lounging around in that wet bathing suit on Labor Day (rookie mistake), I couldnt help feel sort of responsible when my doctor looked me over, in my rumpled work clothes and rained-on hair, and told me to make sure I'm taking care of myself during all this. So naturally I went home, was snippy with dh, cried about being snippy with dh, and took an essential oil bath. Yayyy stress.

Dh has been so amazing since we started this. He really wants to feel involved, which can be hard for guys, when we have to do all this stuff and all they have to do is turn in their specimen cup, so communication is everything. Even though my instinct is to close up like a turtle when I'm feeling stressed, we talked it out, and I know everything is on track. It's kind of funny how we went from weeks of renewed "baby making" intimacy to me being a crazy stress monster, but that's ttc, right? :,D

In your head you've got this glowing picture of how well you'll handle ivf and then you realize you're only human. It's a lot. But after I make these last few payments I'm going to relax and stop thinking about it for a while. I trust this doctor, I trust that this is the opportunity we've been given, and I know that God has always had my back. I was actually praying for peace or guidance or something the other day during a walk, and at that exact moment a dragonfly flew straight into my head. It got stuck in my hair and everything, I had to free it, and it jetted off. But I feel like that was God smacking me upside the head, being like, "Stop being ridiculous. I got you."

Anyway, I also recently confronted one of the chief offenders in the family who was making inappropriate comments about our fertility situation (she was super mad and defensive, but oh well), so at least I've marked that off my list of stressors going forward. I'm in the best shape of my life, physically and spiritually. It's a long road yet, but I've got good company (like Frodo!), so let's do this. Onward!

Guess who's got target dates?

This blogger!!!

*does ridiculous, singing into hairbrush, '80s movie montage style dance*

I started bcp -- something I never thought I'd say again, lol -- and we've got our whole protocol schedule for retrieval in October, FET in January.

I was a kaleidoscope of emotions over all of this. There was so much I had shoved way deep down over these past four years of (failure isn't the right word... non-success? haha) -- whatever you want to call it -- and it was hard reopening those feelings: that defeat, that fear, that hope. Even in the days leading up to scheduling I could feel myself turning into an anxious tangle of "what ifs" and "whys", and that's a dark, scary maze to try to escape. But throughout these past four years, a lot of life has happened and I've found myself on a spiritual journey, where I cultivated a closeness with God, awareness of my place in the universe, and a deep sense of gratitude and humility. All I can do is have faith, be grateful for this opportunity, and take it as it comes. I could not have handled ivf four years ago, but I'm exactly the person I need to be to handle it now -- come what will. :)

Any thoughts, prayers, or well-wishes are greatly appreciated.

two steps forward, one step back

Our ivf consult went great. The hospital staff was excellent, the doctor was really nice, the treatment plan he proposed was just what we were hoping for, and the live birth success rates for the procedure were outstanding. And then we saw the price tag............

I'm no idiot -- I know ivf is expensive, but due to the minimal stim treatment protocol, we expected it to be roughly $5,000 cheaper than standard ivf. And technically it is cheaper, but the doctor's fee is substantial, so while the medications are much less expensive, the expertise and the success rates come at a premium. All told, we'd be looking at $12k. 

Part of me wishes that they had sucked and we hadn't liked them so much, that way I wouldn't feel so deflated. It's a lot more money to come up with, which will delay things even longer. We don't feel comfortable borrowing that amount of money: even if we're successful, we'll have lots of other bills to consider and don't need to be weighed down with extra debt. We're trying to consider all of our options, but right now it really doesn't look promising. I could apply for a grant, but even then we'd be looking at another year. What's another year I guess?

I don't know. I wish I had all the answers.