Monday, January 7, 2008

Times flies when your IVF cycling

Well, my last post was when I just started taking my ovarian stimulation drugs.

IVF occurs in stages and the hyperstimulation phase went fairly well. The shots were not too bad at all. It was only towards the very end when I started to have trouble. When I added the antagonist, I went from two shots a day to three. The antagonist shot had a larger gauge needle and was a lot more difficult to inject. The second night of that injection (which was also fortunately my last night of stims) was the worst. I had to up my main stimulation drug to 525 units (which at minimum would require that it be given in two doses). Well that night, I gave the first part of my Follistim (400 units) and was giving myself the second dose of 125 units when the vial ran out of medication. So now, I had to get a new vial, another needle and give a third injection of one of the meds. The second med was easy, but my final shot (5th that night) was the antagonist with the big needle. I tried to get it in but couldn't. Tried again and still couldn't. Finally I started to cry at which my beloved came into the bathroom and asked what was wrong. Tears flowing, I cried "I can't get this one in."

He just said, "Honey let me help you." and proceeded to get an ice cube to numb my belly. He numbed the area, cleaned it with an alcohol swab, gave me the last injection, and finished it with a long hug. It was exactly what I needed. I realized that at that moment, trying to conceive a child through IVF is as loving if not more so than the old fashioned way.

The next morning we had our check up with my doctor. Apparently, I was ready to go and we checked into the hotel. It was a whirlwind weekend of doctor's appointments and getting ready for the big Egg Retrieval (ER). I gave myself the trigger shot on Friday night and beloved and I played backgammon and relaxed. Saturday, he picked up the girls (who wanted to stay at the hotel with us, primarily for the pool). We went out to eat, shopped at Trader Joe's (the girls love that store and the granola), played in the all important pool, and hung out in our room. By 9:30 Saturday night, the ovaries were making themself known and every movement was uncomfortable. I was able to sleep okay, but my wonderful husband had some trouble. He was pretty nervous for the next morning.

Sunday morning was the big day. We headed over to the clinic. There were four other couples having their retrievals as well. Beloved and I just cracked jokes while we waited for my turn in the OR. That is who we are - big jokers. He dared me to cluck like a chicken - ready to drop her egg - which of course I did. ER was really fast and easy. I received the sedative and poof it was over. I woke up in recovery thinking I missed the appointment. It took a minute for it to register that it was already over. Darling husband then had to get aspirated again because the embryologist did not like how is sperm was thawing. They were moving but not well, so they told us they needed a fresh sample. The urologist was called in and got an even better sample than the first one. He was really excited and could not understand why this one was so much better (Olympic swimmer sperm as he called them) than the first one because he took them from the same spot. I think the embryologist stated it perfectly pointing up towards heaven, "Someone is looking out for you today and it is in His hands now."

I love my embryologist - he is the nicest man and I gave him a big hug before he went to work creating our precious embryos. I am so grateful that he is so thorough in his work that he wants the best and I am so grateful that he is such a warm caring individual because as I wait the agonizing couple of days before they can be put back in my body, I feel good knowing that they are in his care.

I have already mentioned my embryos - I have four. They retrieved seven eggs from me, five of which were mature, and four of the five fertilized. The doctor seemed very happy when he called this morning (I was still half asleep) and said, you did great. I think he would still sound as optimistic if the news wasn't great, so it is hard for me to really tell.

But going into this weekend, I said: "I would be happy with 5-8 mature eggs" and I had 5. "I would be happy if we had at least 3-4 embryos" and we got 4. "Ideally, I would love for all four to continue to grow and divide and to be able to transfer two and freeze two" - we will see what happens with that. I know that is not very realistic - so realistically, "I will be happy if I can get one embryo to make it"

We will see. But for right now - this very moment. I know I am SO BLESSED! I have a WONDERFUL husband and I love him so much. If we are not blessed with a pregnancy with this IVF, I will be okay because as I have said before "I love my family." This whole experience has brought me even closer to God and for that I am so grateful. I am grateful for my infertility, I am grateful for having to go through this IVF process, I am grateful for all the difficulties associated with it because for the first time I truly handed my life over to God and it is wonderful. I have never felt such peace before.

Embryo transfer is scheduled for Wednesday (God willing of course that they survive). But today, they are alive, and I am a mother.

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