Stims Going By In A Flash

Tonight will already be my 9th night of stims and so far, so good.  I’ve had some crankiness here and there but I would just as likely chalk that up to the grey days we’ve had in Chicago….or it could be the hormones, who knows. I had my second scan yesterday and things are growing in there…..slow and steady yet again, but it would seem we have approximately 8-10 follicles in play.

So….not much to report, other than things seem fine and that stims is flying by. Funny how that works – all the waiting and waiting and then the big show goes by in a hurry. I’ll go back in tomorrow morning and then likely again over the weekend since we’re getting close to trigger. My best guess is that Triggerville will take place Monday or Tuesday and I’m hoping for Monday as that would mean a Wednesday retrieval and (since a 3-day transfer is the most likely scenario) and a Saturday transfer – which selfishly FITS MY SCHEDULE BETTER.

I mean, I feel I’ve towed the line so much throughout 3 of these things….the least I could ask for is a little convenience with this one.

And now that I’ve put that out into the universe, the exact opposite will happen. Well, wouldn’t be the first time I’ve been bitten in the butt by my own big mouth.

Scan 3 will be tomorrow morning – the tech did say that I’ve likely hit the point at which they’ll start growing 1-2mm a day, so likely there’ll be some more movement.

I do have a fertility massage scheduled for tomorrow morning right after Scan 3 – had wanted it earlier in stims but apparently it’s pretty popular and tomorrow’s the earliest I could get in. It’s an “Enhance the Blood” massage and it’s supposed to be good for all sorts of things within this part of the cycle. I have a gig until 3am tonight though so I’m hoping I don’t just sleep through the whole thing….I want to enjoy that shit!

To all things, we shall see.

 

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I May Stim Forever

13 nights so far – tonight will make 14, every possibility there’ll be a few more.

Stimming slowly…steadily it would seem, but slowly.  My ultrasound tech has used the work “blossomed” in regards to my right ovary following some early sleepiness with said ovary, and it’s now cranking on quite a few follicles. Though left ovary is now only really working on a few follicles, so my how the tables turn.

However, lowering my follistim and progressing slowly has all been on purpose in hopes of having a better result than last time. Quality over quantity seems to be the name of the game…..or at least that’s what I’m telling myself. (It’s all about what we tell ourselves, right?)

Saw The Russian (for any new readers, that’s my RE)…..(because she’s Russian) who did today’s ultrasound and could not find my right ovary which led to alot of shoving, prodding and general discomfort due to the fact that I thought that probe was likely bumping up against my lower lung cavity.  NOT COMFORTABLE.  Anyway, she wants more time for the growings, so likely another night or two of stim meds.  I go back tomorrow morning for another look.

At this point we’re hit the day-to-day portion of our IVF fun.  Trigger…..soon.  Retrieval…..also soon?

IVF2 starts with Birth Control, Brownies & Breaking Bad

So I’m on the ole birth control pills (BCPs) once again – and started last week pretty disappointed to learn that the doctor wanted me to do 5 weeks again this cycle.  I’d been super excited (like, SUPER excited, teenage-girl-might-get-Bieber-tickets excited….okay, clearly not quite that excited) when her assistant mentioned that I’d likely only need 2-3 weeks of BCPs this next go around.  And of course, since I’m Irish, I had a knee-jerk reaction, got ticked and emailed The Russian’s Right Hand (ala WTF?!) instead of taking a breath to think rationally. She was as patient as always, conveyed my concerns, came back with an answer….including that the doctor would move up the timeline, but it was not what she’d recommend.

Well of course I’m going to do what she recommends – but I did find out WHY the 5 weeks, because really, we all just want to know WHY any of these things are being done, right?

Essentially, I’m on a longer priming cycle to give the Androderm (testosterone) and Estrace (estogen) adequate time to prime my ovaries in hopes of producing a better response this next cycle…I am 42…lady needs some primin’.  When I asked about the lengthy time on BCP I mentioned that I was worried about over-suppressing my ovaries (something I’d picked up by surfing the interwebs) – well, turns out that the BCP don’t suppress THE NUMBER of follicles that are stimulated throughout a cycle, which had been my concern.

So, last week and this week BCP only, and starting the 19th I’ll be back on the Androderm patch and taking estrace orally once a day for 3 weeks, for a total of 5 weeks prep time…..WHICH SEEMS LIKE AN ETERNITY!

Tom Petty was totally right, the waiting is the hardest part.

With IVF #1, once I actually started stims things really flew, the 2ww even flew…..so I just gotta suck it up and make these next weeks fly by.

My husband was off visiting friends in Detroit over the weekend, so I was hunkered down with the dog, catching up on Breaking Bad before the premiere (which was….WOW) and being a little mopey….happens.  Anywho, I somehow got the urge to make a few dishes from my childhood to perk myself up.  I made a tuna/mushroom soup/peas & biscuits casserole that reeks of the 1970s but is very very comforting and nostalgia inducing. We literally only ever called it “That Casserole That Mom Makes.”

I also made a batch of brownies following the Better Homes & Gardens recipe that my big brother and I bastardized when we were kids:

2 Tbsp Cocoa powder**

1/3 cup butter**

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

¾ cup flour

½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla

**original recipe called for 2 oz Chocolate (Baker’s squares) and 1/3 cup shortening, but we grew up in a house that never had those items, but always had cocoa and butter

Heat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease an 8x8x2 pan (glass if you have it)

Melt cocoa and butter together over medium heat.

Remove from heat and add sugar and eggs, beat on med/high for one minute (or by hand if you’re a kid and you’re trying to be quiet)

Combine flour, baking powder and salt – gradually add to cocoa/egg/butter/sugar mixture.

Stir in vanilla.

Pour into prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes.

Because of the substitutions these turn our a bit “blonder” than a standard brownie recipe….so likely will not please any folks who expect their brownies to be über fudgy – however these things are friggin chewy and delicious and I CAN’T STOP EATING THEM.

We head to NYC on Thursday for a few days of fun with my hubbo’s siblings and I’ll get to see a few of my besties as well, one of which is 5 months pregnant with her 2nd. I never saw her preggo with #1 so I’m excited, especially since she’s a tiny little thing and says she already looks real real pregnant, so it’ll be fun to see a short über pregnant lady who has a sassy mouth to boot.  (oof, that’s quite a run-on sentence…..don’t judge me). She knows what we’re going through and has been an amazing source of support.

So, at least the rest of this week should fly on by…..making it 2 down and 3 to go.

 

 

IVF Scans 3, 4 & 5 An Ambling of Tortoises

Three days, three scans – thank goodness The Russian’s office downtown is only about 20 minutes away (depending on what Lake Shore Drive looks like) and I’ve found a sneaky free parking scenario at a nearby grocery store that offers 90 minutes parking with purchase….I think you see where that’s going.  It’s Chicago, you learn to break the rules a little.

Following last Friday’s bummer scan I was very hopeful that Monday’s scan would a) show progress and b) be done by my regular tech.  I got both my wishes, was told I’d likely be on stims for a few more nights and to make an appointment for Tuesday, as The Russian was going to be in the office and wanted to have a look herself.  One change to meds for Monday night: done with the Lupron and adding Ganirelix – maintaining dosages of Follistim and Menopur.

Tuesday’s appointment (scan 4) with The Russian also went well, though there wasn’t much progress from the day before, the largest follicles were around 15.5 or so….but The Russian seemed happy enough and said “I think we’ll get 8-10, they just need a little more time to grow.”  How can I doubt The Russian?

I was asked to come back already today for scan 5, as we’re getting super close to hitting that lead follicle 18mm mark that signals time to trigger.  I was back with my regular ultrasound tech, who totally laughed at the way The Russian had taken her measurements and got down to business.  We’re looking at lots of follicles – likely to be 8-10 mature-ish for ER and a bunch of “little squeakers” as the tech calls them.  

In the end they’re having me stim again tonight – day 13 (lucky 13!) and I’ll go in again tomorrow, where likely a few of these little guys will have hit the 18mm mark and we can move forward.  I joked to The Russian’s Right Hand regarding the fact that these guys seem to be taking their sweet-ass time and she said that that’s just fine, as long as they’re growing and growing steadily, and that this (hopefully) ups the chances that the eggs will be healthier.

And to boot, I’ve been fighting one of those highly annoying summer colds. I’m trying not to take anything internally, even though they told me I could, it just seems like one more thing.  It’s not awful awful and it’s only a cold so it won’t kill me, and as long as it’s gone by whenever we do embryo transfer, it’ll be a win.  Two nights ago I DIYed the saline solution in my Neti Pot — oh the burn, y’all, the burn — imagine eating the biggest wad of wasabi and you’re close.  Last night and tonight I’ve been smearing on a mentholatum mustache – so sexy….so….so….sexy.  I also have some eucalyptus oil so I’ve been adding that to a bowl of hot water and inhaling the steam.  

I mean, I was doing way too well with the stims….feeling very few side effects – I pretty much asked to catch a little somethin’ somethin’.

So that’s that…..just sitting here chuggin’ along, full of snot, my abdomen host to a race where our contestants are  sauntering towards the finish line.  

Hopefully some news on next steps at tomorrow’s scan.

IVF Scan #1: A thank you to Dick Van Patten

Last night was my 6th night of stims (I do all 3 shots around 11pm) and that’s all going pretty well.  The shots have been easier than I thought and there’s very little discomfort – thank goodness.  I’ve had very few side effects thus far (though I’m no fool, I know they’re coming and will likely sneak up like little ninjas) – day 2 I had a dull headache, day 3 a bit of a stomach ache and there’s been some minor bruising from the needles in my belly.  I’m affectionately calling these bruises “Gut Shiners.”  They don’t hurt, but they’re these dime-sized purple circles circumnavigating my belly button.

Had my first scan yesterday (after 5 nights of stims) to see how my body’s responding to the drugs and how eggtown is percolating.  She found 8 follicles worth measuring, though said there were many more that were smaller and might catch up by the time I have my next ultrasound on Friday.  I didn’t know how to feel about 8.  I didn’t know if that’s good or crappy. I mean, I’m no spring chicken in this game so I’m not looking for crazy numbers, and the internet is has a broad spectrum of who’s got how many but I drove home wondering…”what’s 8?”

I wasn’t feeling bad about the number but I wasn’t feeling great and I am trying to fight the good fight to remain positive.  Lest you think I’m full of rah-rah all the time, you’re definitely wrong.  I love/hate those people. They’re right up there with folks who wake up chipper and expect me to do the same.  I have my crapass days like anyone else….but I try not let them keep the upper hand.  Also, I am hyper-analytical and can OVER-THINK the slightest details…..so you put something like a first IVF scan and 8 follicles in front of me and the hamster on the wheel inside my brain just starts running.

The negative started to tip the scales a bit….and then an odd thing happened:

The theme to Eight is Enough popped into my head.

Eight is Enough? The 1970s tv show? Haven’t thought of it in years? Yeah, well neither had I.  Oh, you haven’t heard of it? Well, maybe you’re not in your 40s.

The show followed patriarch Tom Bradford (played by Dick Van Patten) through the adventures of parenting his eight growing children, 3 boys (Willie Aames, Grant Goodeve and Adam Rich) and 5 daughters, whose names I could Google, but so could you.  It was a family-comedy-drama, they got into all sorts of mischief and they got through everything together.

My point is: the lyrics to the theme song are supes cornballs, but the main hook is “eight is enough to fill our lives with love.”

And it made me feel better.

I had an improv teacher who often told us “energy is a choice.”  Well, so is perspective.  So for right now, or for the 48 hours between my first and second scan, eight is going to be enough. Eight potential follicles. Eight chances for a healthy egg. Eight chances at a baby.  

So Dick Van Patten? Thanks for doing me this tiny solid by having that song pop in my head and making me feel better about my first IVF scan.

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There’s a magic in the early morning we’ve found
When the sunrise smiles on everything around
It’s a portrait of the happiness that we feel and always will
Eight is enough to fill our lives with love

We spend our days like bright and shiny new dimes
If we’re ever puzzled by the changing times
There’s a plate of homemade wishes on the kitchen window sill
And eight is enough to fill our lives with love