IVF #1: Pick A Mood, Any Mood

Look at me, I’ve got four nights of injections under my belt (pun intended). Boom! So far, so good.

Yesterday I was feeling pretty smug. I walked around my office all morning thinking, Huh, maybe I’ll just be one of the lucky ones who doesn’t have any side effects.

Not twenty minutes later I’m sitting at my computer crying. I can’t even remember what it was that made me tear up, but it was likely a meeting request or something else completely mundane. I was like, Why the hell am I crying right now? Ohhhhhhh. Yeah.

Then, at lunch I ran into a co-worker I’m friendly with. She gave me a big, genuine smile and a wave. I smiled back, but in my head I literally growled at her. I actually thought, Grrrrrrr. She gave me no cause to growl. I was just randomly pissed.

Later that afternoon, I became euphoric, talking to my friend in the mailroom, chatting a mile a minute and laughing like a maniac.

I couldn’t keep up with myself.

For reals, though, it could be so much worse. I’ve had some mild headaches and am definitely bloated, but overall I feel fine. My doctor said low-impact exercise was ok so I went to a yoga class this evening. It felt great!

In other news, during my ultrasound yesterday, my doctor saw either a) a follicle larger than all the other follicles or b) the re-emergence of my cyst. She couldn’t tell which it was without comparing that scan to past ultrasounds. Neither one of those things sounds very good to me, but she seemed to think either option was no big deal. I do trust her, so I’m trying to adopt her blasé attitude. Fingers crossed that neither cyst nor larger-than-its-buddies follicle messes stuff up.

My next ultrasound is tomorrow. I shall report back.

IVF #1: Holy Sh*t, We Are Doing This!

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Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! You guys, it’s on.

I had my baseline ultrasound today. All weekend I was having some pretty wicked pains on my lower right side, so I thought for sure Dr. G. was going to tell me that my cyst had gotten bigger or that it was at the very least still there. But nope. It’s totally gone. There was another, small cyst near, but not on, my ovary that she said was no big deal and shouldn’t be causing me discomfort. She couldn’t tell me why I was having pain but asked me to let her know if it didn’t go away. Everything else looked great. There were follicles aplenty. I’m not sure of the exact total because she was counting them pretty fast, but I think maybe somewhere around nine on each side.

This afternoon I got the call that my bloodwork looked A-OK, so tonight I had my first injections of Menopur and Follistim. Everything went fine! I may or may not have been so nervous that I got snippy with Tim when he asked me a benign question, and Tim may or may not have accidentally took the Menopur needle out at an angle and made me bleed. As advised by many, I did ice my skin prior to injecting Menopur, and it did not burn too badly. It was, however, hard to push the plunger down.

So yeah. IVF numero uno has officially begun! Despite my excitement, there are some things I’m worrying about. Like the random pain in my right side. Or the fact that I’ll likely have to get two more root canals during this cycle. (True story: these last few root canals have been because my daughter accidentally rammed me in the teeth with her hard little head. The teeth got inflamed and some of them died. Love hurts, people. Like, for real.) But after months and months of trying to get my health in tip-top shape and my teeth all fixed up pretty before beginning IVF, I’ve finally realized that there will never be a time when everything is perfect. Never. My teeth are always getting jacked up, and if it weren’t my teeth it would likely be something else. Life is imperfect and life happens right along with IVF. I can only do what I can do and the rest will unfold as it’s meant to.

I also find myself a little bewildered. As this IVF kept getting pushed back, a part of me started to believe it might not ever happen, and now that it’s actually begun it feels surreal. Mostly, though, I’m just jazzed to be kicking it off. I could be pregnant by Christmas. By August, I could be holding a newborn in my arms. Dare I hope it?

Yes, I do. Actually, I double-dog dare it.

Because right now hope is my best friend.

IVF #1: Future Still Uncertain

Blarg. That pesky cyst is still hanging around. I went back to the doc’s on Friday to get everything checked out. My regular doctor was in a different office that day, so another dude, who I really did not like, did my ultrasound. I don’t even think he glanced at my chart beforehand. He was like, “There is a cyst present.” Yeah buddy, got that memo, thanks. I asked him if it was bigger or smaller than last time and he said he’d go into his office to check. Once I met him there, he told me the cyst was the same size. I asked him what happened if it didn’t go away. He said they can drain it, which isn’t a great option because often it just grows back. The other option is surgery, which I’m sure involves months off for recovery time, not mentioning all the usual risks of surgery.

I left feeling part upset, part relieved and part freaked out. Upset because I couldn’t start that day. Relieved because I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to start that day, since these last couple of weeks just felt so crazy, and IVF would certainly be adding to that crazy. And freaked out because I really don’t want to get surgery.

So I’m thinking, ok, I’m going to take at least a month off.

But then the nurse called me later that afternoon with a curve ball. She said that my doctor wants to convert this cycle to an estrogen priming cycle. Basically, that means that I’ll wait for ten or so days, then come back in so they can check to see if I’ve ovulated. Once that happens, I start taking Estrace (which I think is just estrogen in pill form) until I get my next period. At that point I’ll start the injections on day three. That means no birth control pills (woo!). She said nothing about the cyst, which seemed to be a major issue this morning with the other doctor (and feels like a major issue to me).

I asked the nurse what happens if the cyst doesn’t go away and she was like, “Oh, I don’t know. I think Dr. G. was mostly just concerned about getting your antral follicle count up.” That was the other thing. At my ultrasound before starting birth control, I had 20 follicles, and on Friday the number had gone down to something like five. Anyway, apparently estrogen stops them from disappearing. I have no idea why, but I’d like to find out.

After getting off the phone with her, I immediately googled, “estrogen priming IVF” because I’m obviously a glutton for punishment. Every single site was like, “This protocol is only for people with very low ovarian reserve.” For anyone who is blissfully unaware of all things infertility, low ovarian reserve is really bad. All of my previous tests for ovarian reserve came back normal, so I don’t know what’s going on here. Maybe it’s the birth control’s fault?

Anyway, I have billion questions for my doctor. She did actually call me Friday evening to see if I had any questions and “wanted to chat” (love her), but unfortunately I missed the call. Hopefully we can connect tomorrow.

If you’re still reading (I’m pretty sure this is the most boring post I’ve ever written), can you please send me some cyst-shrinking prayers/thoughts/vibes? I’m kind of glad that I have another few weeks to just kind of chill, but after that, I really hope I can finally start. But in order for that to happen, this cyst needs to go away or at least get smaller. I’m looking into every natural remedy in the book, including herbs from my acupuncturist. Today, I tried apple cider vinegar mixed with water. Why that’s supposed to work, I don’t know. A couple times a day, I’m visualizing the cyst shrinking, shrinking, shrinking. We’ll see.

And maybe, if you can spare ‘em, send over some overall happy thoughts. I’m trying not to get discouraged, but I am hoping things will go a bit smoother from here on out. I’m trying to be calm and still so I can feel that presence around me–the one that says, “Mama, I’m coming, don’t worry.” I’m trying to send the “what if” thinking packing and just believe that this is all part of The Plan.

But sometimes it’s hard. And by sometimes, I mean right now.

Anyway, that’s all I got. Next ultrasound is on the 28th. I’ll be sure to keep you posted on the next episode of As The Ovaries Turn.

IVF #1: Oh, The Drama

IVF is so dramatic. I recently read a blog post where the author joked that every appointment during IVF will feel like the defining moment of your life. Sadly, this is true. I’ve felt crazed after my last two appointments. Like, holy crap, end-of-the-world crushed. And then an hour or two passes and I’m like, oh yeah, this is not the end of the world, not even freaking close.

I had my follow up appointment yesterday morning. The cyst hasn’t budged. In fact, it might be ever-so-slightly bigger. That sucker is holding out. The doctor had me stop the pill and told me to come back in again on cycle day two. If the cyst has disappeared or significantly shrunk by then, and everything else looks good, I’ll start the injections that day. If not, then I might have to wait ’til January to finally start this cycle. Apparently, their lab is closed for a three-week period over the holidays and they don’t let you start if it looks like the end of your cycle might fall anywhere in that window.

After the appointment that morning, I was like Eeyore in over-the-knee boots, glumly going about my work, thinking, How can I possibly wait until January? My baby is never going to get here. I’m getting old. I’m probably too old to even be wearing these over-the-knee boots. 

But now? Meh. It is what it is. There’s nothing I can do to control the outcome, so I’m letting go. Of course I don’t want to wait ’til January and of course I’m bummed that the cyst hasn’t shrunk, but I really believe that what’s meant to be will be. I’ve had a lot going on with the car accident, millions of root canals, craziness at my job and Tim’s contract cancellation, so maybe it’s not the right time. Or maybe my baby really wants to be a Libra, who knows. Or maybe I’ll go back in a few days and they’ll be like, “Look at these perfect, cyst-free ovaries! Let’s start right this second!”

The point is, it’s all out of my hands. Whoooosh! That’s the sound of my worries being carried away by the wind.

So for now, the Drama Queen has left the building–at least until my next appointment!

IVF #1: Stalled By The Cyst Monster

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I went to my baseline appointment bright and early this morning. I was feeling pretty pumped. My ovaries, however, were not.

Right at the beginning of the ultrasound the doctor said, “You have a cyst on your left ovary.” On the screen it looked like a gigantic monster cyst. She said it was about two inches. Ok, maybe not jumbo-sized, but that still seems kind of big to me. There was no evidence of any cysts at my ultra-sound two weeks ago. She said that cysts are normal, but this one was just had “really bad timing.” You can say that again.

In addition to the cyst issue, I only had a few follicles total. I had 20 two weeks ago. I don’t understand where they went and why they decided to peace out. I get that the cyst might have effected the follicles in one ovary, but even the cyst-less ovary only had three or so. I asked her if that was the birth control’s fault, like maybe it over suppressed my reproductive system, but I didn’t get a clear answer on that.

She said we had three options:

1. Make sure the cyst is not making estrogen. If it’s not, we could go ahead with the cycle as planned.

2. Stay on birth control pill for another couple of weeks and then reassess.

3. Stop birth control, wait another full cycle and then start again. She said there’s a possibility that she’d change my protocol and start the next round with no birth control pills.

She told me that she would least likely want to go with option 1 because I had so few follicles. She said, “Maybe this just isn’t the best cycle to start.” My heart dropped a little when I heard those words.

My bloodwork came back this afternoon and showed that the cyst wasn’t making estrogen. So I have that going for me. The plan now is to stay on birth control ’til Monday, repeat the ultrasound and then meet with the doctor afterwards to discuss what to do going forward. I’m glad we’re meeting with her again because I have a bunch of questions. But if the birth control is over-surpressing me, which it seems like it is, then things aren’t going to look any better on Monday, right? And if we have to take off another cycle, I’d really rather get started on it than delay the inevitable.

My doctor kept saying that we need to focus on the end game and not on the short term. I completely agree with her, but I was so excited to start. I know another month and change isn’t a huge deal in the long run, but I’m not getting any younger. I feel like all of this waiting is starting to pile up.

Curve balls, man. They get you every time. I was positive that this first IVF would go smoothly. I didn’t have a feeling either way on if i would get pregnant or not, but I felt strongly that the process itself would be pretty straight forward. Har-har-har, the joke was on me.

To put it mildly, I am really bummed.

Has anyone out there in the blogiverse had a cyst stop treatment, or had a lower follicle count at their baseline than they expected?. If so, please share your stories!