IVF #2: My Motley Follicle Crew

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I saw my second favorite doctor at the practice this morning.  He looked over my chart when he came in and said, “Ok, so you’re on antagonist protocol, estrogen priming and then atomic bomb. I like it.” Atomic bomb is of course referring to the ridic amount of meds that I’m throwing at my ovaries right now.

He did an ultrasound and said he was pleased with the follicle growth between Thursday and today. There were still a dozen follicles hanging out, so at least I didn’t lose any more. Score! According to him they were “all different sizes,” so they’re definitely not all growing at the same rate. I hope, hope, hope that the tiny ones catch up to the big guys.

I left there feeling pretty good. I was imagining my dozen follicles sitting pretty in a cardboard egg carton. Sure, I’m not going to win the award for the World’s Largest Follicle Collection, but 12 is still pretty damn solid. And besides, quality over quantity and all that business that you wise women always tell me.

But then. Here’s that but again. The nurse called back this afternoon and said that I was to take my regular dose of meds tonight, and tomorrow night I should up my Menopur dose. Whaaaaat? You guys, I’m already taking the Atomic Bomb amount of stims. I thought I was at the max dosage. And now she’s UPPING IT? This can’t be a good sign, right? Something must be wrong for her to do this. I read back through my old posts, and my doctor did up my Menopur around this time last cycle as well. But this cycle I started out on a higher dose of meds than last time, so I assumed that I would be staying at the same dose the whole time. After I increase my dose I’ll be on 450 units of follistim and 225 units of Menopur. So that’s 675 total units of stimulation meds. Gah! Does that seem crazy to any of you IVF vets out there? .

Again, there’s nothing I can do about it, even if it’s a bad sign. All I can do is breathe, take my Atomic Bomb med cocktail, and wait. I have to find a way to get back to my happy place, though. This gloom and doom crap that I’ve been feeling the last couple of days is for the birds.

As The Ovaries Turn: IVF #2 On The Horizon

Things are moving along here in baby-making land. I had my hysteroscopy a couple of weeks ago and that went well. My doctor said that she did see a slight curve in my uterus, but neither she nor the other doctor she discussed it with felt that it was an issue. So no additional surgery needed, hooray!

I’m currently estrogen priming, which entails taking estrogen pills twice a day. This is to ensure that the follicles grow at the same rate during the stimulation phase of IVF–a greedy, over-acheiving follicle is a very bad thing indeed. Once my next cycle starts, I’ll have a day two ultrasound, and if that looks good (fingers crossed no cysts!), I’ll start injections that night. Of course, the pharmacy is being dumb (long and boring story), so I’m not altogether sure that we’ll get our medications in time, but hopefully we can borrow from our clinic if needed.

I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to blog during this next IVF. I really want to keep my head on straight, and I wonder if the blogging play-by-play last time increased my anxiety. Or maybe I would’ve been an Anxious Annie no matter what (let’s be honest). I might even take a full-on blogging break for a bit to make sure I’m feeling centered. Who knows, dudes. I’m saying all of this, but I might be back posting again tomorrow, all like “Did you guys miss me?!” I guess I just want to let you know that if I do drop off a bit, it’s not because something is wrong.

One of my teachers on this baby-making endeavor, Julia Indichova, often talks about how this journey does not need to feel like a prison sentence. It is only our perspective, she says, that makes it feel like a punishment. I think this is very wise. Some days I do feel trapped in a jail of my own making–like either I’m stuck waiting indefinitely or I have to give up completely. Some days are really, really hard. But other days, I am able to shift my thinking and see this all for what I, deep down, truly believe it to be: a great adventure. An opportunity to become more compassionate towards others, and also towards myself. A chance to get well acquainted with hope and faith.

Thankfully, today is one of those days. I’m feeling pretty good. I don’t know what will happen with the next IVF, and right this minute I don’t really care. Because right this minute I am feeling grateful. I’m thinking about the two pairs of blue eyes–one big and one little–that I get to look into each day. I’m thinking about the cold rain on my face as I left work this evening. Normally, that rain would have pissed me off, but today I was like, yes!

Because, really: how lucky I am to feel that rain. How lucky I am to hear and see. To have good, plentiful food to eat. To know deep love. How lucky I am to feel each breath–a constant rhythm, a reassurance that I am here, right now, exactly where I’m meant to be.

IVF #1: Things Are Looking Up

Pro tip: if you want a cyst to go away, just scare the crap out of it.
Pro tip: if you want a cyst to go away, simply scare the crap out of it.

Just a quick update, as I am falling asleep while typing this. I had my ultrasound last week and my doctor said the cyst was tiny! Hooray! Also, my follicle situation seemed to correct itself—I had 18 total, as opposed to the 6 I had at my last scan. Phew.

I started my first pill of Estrace today. So far so good. I also had a root canal this morning and then worked until 7:30 this evening. Hence the falling asleep. Someday, I will write an entire post about my teeth problems and then you can all cry from boredom.

Anyway, it’s looking good for me to start injections on day 3 of my next cycle, which should be next week sometime. Eeeeeee! Could it really be happening? We’ll see!

In case anyone is interested, here is what I did to try and get rid of the cyst. Admittedly, I didn’t do any one of these things super consistently, so who knows what actually helped:

  • Heating pad on my abdomen
  • Apple cider vinegar (1 teaspoon mixed with a little water twice a day)
  • Herbs from my acupuncturist. No idea what was in those, but they tasted dead nasty.
  • Chamomile tea
  • Reduced sugar intake. I tried to cut it out completely, but I am not a strong enough woman for that. I can give up alcohol, caffeine, gluten and dairy no problem, but don’t mess with my sugar, peeps.
  • Visualization. The way I saw it is that the cyst was part of me, so I had to be gentle with it. I pictured holding it in the palm of my hand, watching it slowly shrink. And I also talked to it. Yep, I talked to my cyst. I told it that it was ok, and that it didn’t need protect me from anything anymore. That it was all right for us to proceed with IVF and we’d figure it out together. I win this week’s Coocoo Award, but hey, the cyst shrunk, so I’ll gladly accept.

That’s all I got right now. My head needs a pillow. I’ll leave you with a couple of photos so you can see what we’ve been up to lately. Merry Monday to all and to all a good night.

Family halloween shot.
Family halloween shot.
Matching sweaters. We are one step away from Laura Ashley florals.
Matching sweaters. We are one step away from Laura Ashley florals.