These last few months have flown by. I meant to do a post all about the Race to Parenthood, but I looked up and it's mid-July! So, I'll have to sum up all that we've done these last few months.
The Race to Parenthood was such a wonderful success! It was so much fun and Trey and I were so touched that so many of our friends and family showed up for us. We ended up getting a $4500 grant towards our IVF!
In May we spent the month TRYING to relax in preparation for our upcoming treatments. We spent a week with my family in Ocean City, MD. It was nice to be away for a bit and see some places we normally don't get to see.
I had hoped to start our IVF medications a lot earlier in June but we had a minor setback. At the time, I was devastated. It wasn't the first time I've wanted to cry in my doctor's office, and I'm sure it won't be the last. It felt so huge at the moment, but looking back, yes it was disappointing news, but it wasn't the worst thing that could have happened.
We were finally able to start our IVF medications at the end of June. Having already experienced giving myself shots last year when we were doing injectables I thought that I wouldn't be nervous the first night.
Well. First of all I had been warned by my nurse that one medication burns. So there was that anxiety. Then, I felt just really jittery and anxious and excited because we were FINALLY starting.
Last year I never would have thought that we would need IVF. Signing up for the Race to Parenthood grant was really just something to do, since I was positive that we would be pregnant way before the actual race. Even when we were chosen I still had a teeny tiny bit of hope that we wouldn't actually need it. Fast forward six months and I am excited about starting IVF, something I never, ever thought we would need. When I first started going to support group meetings I remember hearing these women talking about going through two, three, four IVF cycles and using all this terminology (that now seems like a fluent language to me) and thinking how brave and amazing they were, but also feeling thankful because *I* would never need it. HA. Oh sweet, naive Lara.
Anyway, back to the injections. We were finally starting! And I was nervous. I prepped my needles and held them in my hand and had to cheer for myself while I stuck them into my stomach. And yes, it burned. AND IT KEPT BURNING. People told me that ice packs would be my friend-and I wish I had understood what they meant that first night.
It eventually got easier and easier. Take everything out of the box, mix the one med, insert cartridge for the other med, stick needles on, pinch skin, stick it in, and throw away said needle. Simple.
Something else I was warned about was a feeling of "fullness." Fullness, my patootie. It became hella uncomfortable in there. It felt like I was carrying around a whole bunch of golf balls. I couldn't sleep because I am a stomach sleeper. When I tried sleeping on my side gravity tugged all the golf balls down causing extreme discomfort. The only way I could sleep was on my back, but I HATE sleeping on my back so in short-I didn't sleep very well.
The following is an in-depth account of my egg retrieval (it's mostly for my recollection but y'all feel free to read it, too!):
I wish I had a picture of my last ultrasound y'all. There's a term called "hyperstimulation." It can become dangerous, but the doctors are pretty good about managing those of us who develop it. At my last ultrasound, 3 days before my retrieval, I saw the coolest thing. Usually when I get these done, the doctor has to move the wand from one side to another to capture each of my ovaries. This time, my ovaries were so enlarged and swollen that they were literally smooshed together and he didn't have to move the wand at all to go from one ovary to another.
At egg retrieval I was super uncomfortable. I was grumpy because I was tired because I couldn't sleep well and I was grumpy because I was uncomfortable. I had to pee all the time. I was so tired. And I was so ready to get those eggs out of there!
We arrived at the clinic really early in the morning, signed some papers, changed into a gown, and got an IV situated. One of the nurses found a vein in my wrist and she made it pop up so that I could feel it. That bad boy was rolling all around-it felt really, really weird. Once the IV was in (in my hand, not my wrist) I started to feel off. My BP had been elevated when they initially took it so I'm pretty sure they gave me some meds to calm me down. And then I started to feel really overwhelmed. I don't even remember what I was thinking about, if I was thinking about anything at all, but I started to cry. I tried to hold it in because I didn't want to worry Trey (I mean, I was about to go into a room and have things cut open so that eggs could be sucked out, should I really worry him more??!) but he was sweet and so comforting. He let me feel what I needed to and was strong enough that I was ok just letting go.
Then it was time to go in; Trey had to go do his thing so I went in alone. Once I got in there things went very fast. People were scurrying around doing this and that. The anesthesiologist put an oxygen mask over my face and then stuck a tube in it that had a weird smelling gas coming out of it. After several days of thinking about it I now know that was the thing that knocked me out initially.
When I woke up, groggy groggy groggy, the nurses were trying to get me into the chair to wheel me back into the room. Um, hello?? Literally JUST woke up. Turns out they were hurrying because there was another retrieval behind me and we had been there in awhile.
I was really uncomfortable. Actually kind of in pain. They offered me a ginger ale for any nausea I had and I drank some. Then they made me stand up and walk to the bathroom. Apparently I had to go pee before they'd let me go. It seemed like each step the nurse was telling me to open my eyes. Keep your eyes open. Why won't you let me go back to sleep???? Keep your eyes open. Aaaarrrgghh. Sitting was not fun. Going to the bathroom was not fun. In fact, going to the bathroom became my least fun activity for a whole week.
I finally made it back to my room and at some point indicated I was hurting. They gave me a teeny tiny bit of fentanyl which I will NEVER ask for again. My BP dropped and I felt so lightheaded and nauseas. They immediately gave me some zofran which helped immensely. Apparently I had lost quite a bit of color in my face as everyone was remarking how nice it was that I was getting some color back. When I was finally starting to feel somewhat better and they liked where my BP was I was able to get dressed and go home.
Riding in the car-not fun. Every bump and jostle and small movement of wind felt like a knife tearing through my abdomen. That was probably one of the longest car rides home. And the clinic is only about 20 minutes away.
When I got home I parked myself on the couch, in a semi-reclining position, took some pain medicine and went to sleep. Over the next several days I remained on the couch, if I wasn't in the bed. I took my pain medicine. I slept through television and movies. The few times that I really had to pee I prayed for the strength to walk and sit through the pain and stumbled the five feet to the bathroom. I don't know how these women are who go to work the next day but I was not one of them. We retrieved on a Wednesday and that following Monday I went to work, but I really don't think I was ready to.
One of the funniest things that happened at the retrieval was how adamant the nurses were that I not make any legal decisions for 24 hours. I had to sign a piece of paper stating that I would not make any legal decisions. Trey and I could not get over how weird that was!
All in all, we retrieved 32 eggs, 26 of which were mature and could be fertilized, 22 of which were successfully fertilized.
And then we waited for the call to find out how many embryos we had frozen.
I'm so thankful that we had the means and support to be able to do IVF. There's a part of me that's still angry we had to do it at all, but if this is what it takes to get us a baby, we'll do it over and over again.
More later on some other stuff. Remembering all of this, even though it was just a few days ago, has left me feeling overwhelmed again.