Friday, December 28, 2007

What does IF feel like

For me, the following youtube videos captures what it feels like to be on this road, the deep pain that only those who have gone through this can remotely understand.
Thank you to those who have captured those feelings in images and song.

Seasons of Love -
Infertility Seasons of Hope and Despair -
I Would Die for That -

Christmas - IVF style

Well, it has been two weeks since I have blogged. It has been a time of great excitement, frustration, and also stagnation all swirled into one. Of course, we were thrilled to know that they got nice looking sperm i.e. swimmers from my husband. That was a HUGE relief. I started my birth control pills that same day. I was happy to feel like I was "doing" something finally with regard to the IVF cycle.

The excitement wore off as we just waited - waited for the end of the 10 days of birth control pills and the next four until our appointment to actual start. During that time period, I received my IVF Christmas package. Like so many of the packages I had received earlier that week from online stores, this one came in a big brown box. In the large box was several smaller packages - a cooler for drugs that need to be stored in the refrigerator, bags AND BAGS of needles, more drugs that did not need refrigeration, alcohol wipes, and my sharp's container. Opening it up was both exciting (this was really happening) and scary (OMG - the number AND SIZE of some of those needles)!

I was also kept extremely busy planning part of our Christmas Eve program at our church. I wrote a short drama that had my husband, two stepdaughters, and two other kids from our church and another adult in illustrating the true meaning of Christmas. It was stressful, but in the end great. It seems that people were touched by the service and that is all I ever wanted. Christmas was nice but very hectic. My beloved's ex stays with us on Christmas Eve when we have the kids, we (the three of us) put out the last few presents, stayed up and talked about what we (beloved and myself were doing - IVF), and watched the Pope's Mass. It was nice. Christmas morning went fine as well - opened presents and had a great breakfast that DH (dearest husband) fixed with our next door neighbor. The true chaos started when the 14 guests that DH invited at the last minute for dinner began arriving and dinner was two hours late. It was fun but stressful trying to get all the food prepared and entertain. I think my oldest put it perfectly when she said, "It was fun having all our friends over for Christmas dinner, but I like it better when it is just us." I could not agree more. Next year, maybe we stick to all getting together for dessert instead of the whole dinner.

The day after Christmas is when it really hit me - the culmination of all the stress (stress from the Christmas Eve service, stress from Christmas, and stress from IVF).
I had just gotten off the phone with the hospital that will be doing part of my monitoring (my clinic is 2 hours away and so we made arrangements to have some of the monitoring done closer to home - it has to be done every other day towards the end of the cycle). The hospital still had no record of me (after a week of trying to take care of this) and so I could not make an appointment for my ultrasound. At that point, I could not handle it any more. I began to cry and did not stop for at least an hour. It is a small thing (not being able to make an appointment) but when you are stuggling with IF and feel like you have no control over anything, even the small things that you think you should be able to control and still can't, can really set you (me) off. I just cried about everything - fear of what my body was going to go through, fear of the shots, fear that it may not work, guilt over what my husband had already gone went on and on about everything.

Thank God, my beloved was there because he got me settled down. Told me to not even try and take care of the appointment business that we would do it the next day (Thursday) at our appointment at the clinic and that they would teach us how to do the shots the same day. I finally got myself together and made it through the rest of the day - although I was not my usual perky self. I prayed Wednesday night for God to help me through this.

Thursday - the BIG DAY - went great. God answered all my prayers with a resounding "Yes, I will see you through this." Bloodwork and Ultrasounds came back normal so I was free to start my meds. The nurse took care of all the monitoring issues. I had my appointments set and at very convenient times. She taught me and my beloved how to give the shots. We each got a turn to practice with saline on me the human pin cushion. And weirdly, it was fun - I think because it relieved such huge amounts of stress from me. My husband was excellent at it.

Last night, I started with the REAL deal. I gave myself two shots. Only 30-40 more to go.

Right now, I am feeling pretty good. I am nervous about the effects of the drugs (the ovaries the size of grapefruits sounds awfully unpleasant) and egg retrieval. I hope I am one of those women that have fairly easy recovery.

But most of all, I hope all of this is not for nothing.

Friday, December 14, 2007


WE HAVE SWIMMERS on ice (sounds like a cheesy Ice Capades show) - I repeat WE HAVE SWIMMERS on ICE.

I finally feel like I can breathe again. My darling husband had his procedure yesterday - fortunately it was a PESA (less invasive) rather than TESE. It took a couple of tries, but they were able to retrieve enough sperm definitely for one IVF cycle and possibly (hopefully it will not be needed) for two. And in the event that the boys do not thaw well, they know that can get some more fairly easily.

He is doing well - at least he is telling me he is not having any pain today. But he is the type of man that would hide it from me, so that I did not worry.

I have been praying a lot lately, for myself and others. My first concern is for a coworker who is going through some pretty terrible medical issues, praying for her, her husband, and child as well. I pray that God will heal her and I pray that God comforts them all (physically and emotionally) during this difficult time.

This whole IF seems small when compared to her issues, but I still do pray a lot about IF and IF treatments. I pray regularly for all the women I meet on the message boards. It is funny how this IF brings people into your life that you would have never met and although you only know them from the boards, you care deeply for them because you know the pain and stress they are going through because you feel it everyday yourself.

I prayed almost non stop yesterday - well it actually started the night before yesterday. I prayed that beloved's procedure would go well, that he would not have any complications, and finally that they would be able to get sperm. All those prayers were answered - Thanks be to God. My biggest concern of course was for my husband because if they did not get sperm, I truly felt that God was answering me with regard to "Is this what I am supposed to be doing?" but did not want him to have to go through pain and suffering unnecessarily. Yesterday, the answer was yes, for right now, this is the path that we are supposed to follow (The next adoption meeting is scheduled on the same night as yougest daughter's choir concert so we cannot attend - the last meeting was also scheduled on a night that we could not attend due to school activities). I gave a prayer of "Thanks" to God for protecting my husband and for providing for us. Prayed again in the tree stand for all my blessings and gave "Praise" for all His Glory!!!

I received my IVF calendar this morning and will be truly starting in less than two weeks. Right now, I feel more excited than nervous, which surprised me because up until this point, I just felt anxious.

So now, I take my birth control pills for the next 9 days and then wait four more with no birth control pills before I stim. I don't start the heavy duty drugs (the shots) until after Christmas (which will make the holidays that much brighter). I finally feel like I can focus on other things now that I have a plan. Today - the focus is on students grades. After they are done, I will focus on the Christmas Eve service at my church. I am on the worship design and have somehow become one of the main organizers of the event. It is a pleasant but somewhat stressful distraction from IF.

But right now - in this moment - I am just enjoying that we have some positive news to share and that our hopes to have a child are still alive and well.

Monday, December 10, 2007

On your mark, get set......

Well, we have the appointment set for my husband's procedure. In three days, we will know if we are going through this IVF procedure or not. To say that I am nervous, is a HUGE understatement.

I am nervous for him. I can't believe all that he has to endure so that we can have a child. I love him so much. I think about all the selfish husbands who wont even get a vasectomy because they are afraid of the discomfort and then I think about my beloved who did that for his first wife, then had it reversed for me (a very painful surgery) and is now going through another procedure 18 months later on that very sensitive area. I am so lucky. In fact, I just sent him the following note - "I just wanted to tell you that I LOVE YOU SOO MUCH! Thanks for all the sacrifices you are making in order for us to have a child. You are the BEST husband ever!"

I think IF can tear a lot of relationships apart. It has not done that to us. We are already so close - best friends that share everything - but this has brought us closer in a spiritual way.

I am also getting nervous on my end. I will be starting my period any day now, which means that I will be cycling very soon. At first I was excited - now I just am scared - scared of how my body will react to the meds, scared of the PIO shots (progesterone in oil shots that are intramuscular), scared of ER (primarily the pain afterwards because I hear they knock you out pretty good for that), and MOST of all scared of a negative pregnancy result after all of this.

I do have faith though, that it will all work out according to God's plan eventually. Having said that, however, it is still hard to wait. I am not a person that handles not knowing well. But I will wait and I keep replaying the words to a song that helps right now "There's a light at the end of this tunnel". I heard it yesterday on the way to church and felt very reassured that my time will come.

Monday, December 3, 2007

It has been awhile

I did not realize that it had been that long since I blogged.

Things have been going okay for us - some minor downs but they have been followed by ups, so once again I know I am blessed.

Our minor down was on Thursday. My husband I went to his urologist which is about 100 miles away for what we thought would be his testicular aspiration. Needless to say it was a stressful drive for the both of us. We both made small talk and discussed everything EXCEPT what we thought was about to happen to him (a needle inserted into his epididymis to extract swimmers) or worse a section of testes removed. I always feel so guilty when I think about the tremendous sacrifice he is making for me. We get to the appointment after an hour and half drive only to find out that a mistake has been made and my clinic is supposed to schedule his procedure not the urologist. So, we will have to go through this all over again - the sleepless night before and the stressful drive to the clinic again.

As I said, we have also been blessed with many ups. The urologist was very encouraging about the fact that we should be able to get the all important sperm (one positive). I just got off the phone with my insurance and all my medications are covered. That is by far the biggest UP - because the meds would have cost about $4000.00 out of pocket.

I have found some first-time cycle buddies who are very encouraging and positive. We are creating a nice internet support group.

And I finally feel like I can focus on some things other than IF and IVF for the moment. I did lots of decorating for the holidays and may even do a little Christmas shopping today.