Friday, June 29, 2007

Let the wandings begin!!

So, my BCP-withdrawal induced period began on Wednesday, miraculously right on time. I'm choosing to take that as a sign of good things ahead for this cycle. Wouldn't it be just fabulous to have a body that reacts predictably to external stimuli? (Read that: drugs, drugs, and more drugs.)

I've been taking the Lupron injections every morning now for over a week. The needles are so tiny, I almost can't even feel them! I've only had one bruise, from yesterday morning - I was half asleep and on auto-pilot, and just kind of jabbed myself willy-nilly. Every other deliberate stick has been painless and bruise-less.

This morning I went in for the Day 3 baseline sonogram and blood draw. All things considered, it was as pleasant an experience as one can have, getting one's arm stuck and one's hoo-ha probed.

Everything looks quiet, except for the usual suspects - the ever-present cysts on my my poly-freakin'-cystic ovaries. But Dr. G said as long as my estrogen comes back low, I'm good to go to start the stims tonight. Woo-hoo! I'll be filling up another few Sharp's containers soon enough!

(Btw, I'm morbidly fascinated by the 4 CHOCK FULL Sharp's containers residing under my bathroom sink which are left over from my last marathon injection cycle. No manner of self-counseling has spurred me to haul them back to the RE's office for disposal. I get some perverse sense of accomplishment from hefting their weight and imagining exactly how many needles and syringes are stuffed into each container. How many needle sticks in the belly does that container represent? How many dollars worth of drugs were injected through those used syringes? I really can't bring myself to get rid if them. I don't know why. I think I might have a problem.)

My protocol for the weekend is as follows (assuming my estrogen comes back low): 112.5 ius of Follistim and 37.5 ius of Menopur each night, 5 units of Lupron every morning, plus my pre-natal vitamin and baby aspirin (which, for anyone who doesn't know, is supposed to help with implantation).

I go back on Monday morning for another wanding session. Meantime, I'll be resuming my nightly pep talks to the ovaries. Get off your duffs in there, girls! Time to make the eggs!!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Guess now I'm in a 'Mock 2WW'. Should I practice going insane?

So, I've been hanging out here in BCP land, with nothing much to report and no deep thoughts to share for a quite a while now. Thought I'd post a quick update on my fledgling (yet still exciting, to me!) IVF cycle.

So, today marks 2 and 1/2 weeks that I've been on the blasted bcp's, which meant it was a good week to get my Mock Embryo Transfer procedure out of the way. One more pre-requisite that I can cross off of my countdown-to-IVF checklist!!

For anyone who is unfamiliar with this procedure, it is basically a dress rehearsal of the transfer procedure that will be performed for the gorgeous embryos that R and I are going to make later this summer. Because a transcervical embryo transfer is essentially a 'blind' procedure, most doctors like to do a test run in advance of egg/embryo development, while there is still plenty of time to react to any unexpected difficulties or complications with catheterization or uterine position.

During the procedure, they thread a special catheter through your cervix into your uterus, and they measure the angle and shape of your cervical canal, as well as the depth of your uterus, to make sure they know what size instruments to use, etc. There was no pain involved - in fact the the only thing I could really feel at all was the speculum going in, and then I could feel when they filled my uterus with saline, in order to observe via ultrasound the shape, depth, etc. It was quite interesting to watch, on the ultrasound screen, actually.

Since this morning, I've had some bleeding and cramping on and off, but nothing worth complaining about, really.

I start the daily Lupron injections this Friday! Never having taken this particular drug, I'm not sure what to expect? I've never really had any side effects from anything I've taken so far, not even Clomid, so I'm not really worried. I remember reading on someone's blog that she thought the Lupron shots stung worse than the stimulating drugs. That would be a bummer.

I also found out today what my starting drug protocol will be for stims. I was a little dissapointed at the low dosage he wants to start me on, but I'm trying to just relax and trust him.

Last time, Dr. D started me at 75ius of Follistim. Then I went up from there over the course of 2 months to 200 ius of Follistim - my highest dose, and the dose at which I finally began responding (and over-responding.) Dr. D didn't add in any Menopur until I was already at 150ius of Follistim. My dose of Menopur remained constant for the 2 weeks that I took it - 75ius.

So, Dr. G is recommending that I start out at 100 ius of Follistim, and 50 ius of Menopur. I think he believes that my response at the end of the last cycle may have had more to do with the addition of the Menopur than with the higer dose of Follistim. Let's hope he is right!

At any rate, I do feel good about the fact that Dr. G reiterated to me today that he will not let me go on and on with the stims for weeks and weeks....he said that the longest he would consider going would be about 16 or 18 days. If nothing is happening, we'll stop, and regroup - possibly try another drug protocol.

So, that's my story for now, y'all! I'm trying to allow a healthy amount of hope to start to develop, without letting myself get too carried away....isn't that always the trick?

Monday, June 4, 2007

Day One!

Well, Miss Priss arrived over the weekend, on Saturday. Hallelujah! Talked to my nurse at the clinic today, and she said to start the BCPs tonight!! Woop-woop!! And we're off to the races my friends!

I know I'm a broken record, but I s-t-i-l-l can't really believe we're doing IVF. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. Every time the clinic calls, I expect them to say, "Yes, K, well there was this mix-up, see? And you can't really do IVF. NO, no, heavens no - what were you thinking? Certainly not..."

So, I'm to stay on the BCPs for 3 weeks, and on 6/19 I go for the Mock Embryo Transfer. I know that's like, a really necessary thing, and all? But, I swear - something about the name of that procedure just totally cracks me up every time. I imagine all these high school kids dressed up like doctors with fake mustaches and glasses that are too big for them standing in their drama club room reading from scripts with fake grown up accents or something. "Ahem, ahem....yes Nurse, um Jones? Could you hand me the um, speculatum? Ahem, ahem, I mean the uh, um speck-you-lum?..." Sheeew - see, I've gone and cracked myself up again!!

The nurse said she had to check with Dr. G as to what doses of all the various drugs I'll be on for this cycle. That's one of the (many) things that I'm worried about actually. When I had my consult, I asked him how high a dose of Follistim/Menopur he would be willing to start me on? After 60 endless days of shots last time around, I only began to respond when I had reached about 200ius of Follistim and 75ius of Menopur. He responded that he wouldn't make me start out anywhere near as low as I did previously, but neither would he recommend starting me right off the bat at those highest doses. He said that he wanted to confer with the other doctors in the practice and get their opinions on it, before stating the actual doses he recommends. So, I'm worried they'll all convince him to be as conservative as Dr. D, and I'll be right back to the drip-drip-drip torture I had before.

It's really not so much that I mind taking subQ shots for a long period of time - I'm not even really bothered by that. As I've said before, there's something comforting, in a deeply twisted way, about the habit-forming nature of those solitary shoot-up sessions in the bathroom every night. And frankly, at this point, I wouldn't bat an eyelash if they told me I'd have to take a thousand shots in this cycle. Whatever it takes, however many shots, however many days - bring it on.

What makes me more anxious than the thought of shooting the the thought of having to pay for all the drugs. Especially if this drags out again. I think in my last IUI cycle, I had to reorder boxes of medication about 7 times. The thought of forking over all that money chills my heart.

And speaking of ordering drugs, my clinic steers patients with no drug coverage to order from Schraft's Pharmacy, citing that they are easiest to deal with, have free FedEx shipping, and have the most reasonable prices. I've ordered from them in the past, back when I still had drug coverage, and was always very pleased with them. But - you used to be able to go to their website and see all of their prices listed - this was extremely helpful if you wanted to shop around and make SURE that they had the best price for a certain drug. I went to their site yesterday, and discovered that they've apparently been swallowed whole by the mega-pharmacy Walgreen's. I hate to be cynical, but I'd be willing to bet any amount of money (the cost of this cycle, heh heh) that all the things I loved about little Schraft's, your friendly neighborhood infertility drug source, are about to get sucked down the tubes. Goodbye excellent customer service, goodbye reasonable and competitive prices, goodbye focusing on the actual person using the drugs, goodbye free shipping, goodbye convenience of having all the info you really need at your fingertips on their website....

I sincerely hope that I'm pleasantly surprised in this regard. However, what I experienced when I tried to go to their website is a very bad sign. The old Schraft's website has disappeared. The only info you can glean from the site now is several vague pages about Walgreen's and how they really care about their customers and that's why they have this specialty pharmacy for infertility drugs. No pricing, no logistics about shipping, no names of any of the doctors or pharmacists on staff there, no detailed information on the drugs themselves - just an endless loop of pages that all lead back to one nameless, faceless, generic Walgreens 1-800 number. Ugh.

Yes, I do realize it's ridiculous to get worked up over such a seemingly small detail in the grand scheme of all things infertility. But, you know, I already feel like I'm constantly frittering away hour after hour on the phone every day with nurses, administrators, insurance reps, drug coverage insurance reps, labs, former doctors, blah, blah, BLAH trying to cut through endless swaths of red tape. This is just one more thing to have to DEAL with, if you know what I mean. Oh, the bureaucracy! It makes me feel defeated, just thinking about it.

Sigh. I've really GOT to learn how to handle stress more efficiently. Watson graciously recommended for fertility-oriented meditation techniques. I took her advice to heart, and signed up for some sample fertility meditation downloads. And, I TRIED, people. Honest to GOD, I really, really tried to pay attention, and focus, and quiet my thoughts and feel calm and collected and send healing energy towards my girly bits......But, I felt like an idiot! I had fifty FRILLION thoughts buzzing through my head the whole time: about work that day, about whether the sound I just heard was the dog licking his paw again, which I've TOLD him not to do anymore, about what I was going to wear for my meeting with Ms. Senior VP at work the next day, about how many minutes earlier I was going to have to get up the next day in order to make it to the gas station because I forgot to do so on the way home........I just simply could NOT make them stop. For every healing thought I had, 25 more came whizz-banging through my head at the speed of light. I just don't think I'm cut out for meditation?? Maybe if I took a valium first? But, then I wouldn't need to meditate to relax...