CCRM · ivf · life changes

Houses, Jobs, IVF, Oh My!

Things are starting to happen – which is good, but now the stress of it all is really starting to sink in. Here are some things that have been going on the past several days.

1. I have a job! Last week was our Spring Break and so I went to Jackson for several days. During that time I talked to the director of the preschool at St. James (where I went to church growing up). Other job opportunities had fallen through due to budget cuts, etc so I was in a place of complete desperation. I never thought I would have such a hard time finding a job in Jackson, MS. I mean I’ve already taught there and I know people – isn’t that what it takes? Sadly though there just weren’t any positions to be had. So I went and talked with this woman, not trying to get my hopes up. She basically offered me a job on the spot, and after talking it over with R I snatched it up. It’s going to be weird working in a preschool. Younger kids, less structure, no papers to grade or lesson plans to write – NO PAPERS TO GRADE OR LESSON PLANS TO WRITE! What?!?! That part is going to be awesome. Plus, it’s a half day program so I can spend the other part of my day tutoring to make extra money and taking care of everything else going on (hopefully my pregnancy).

2. Our house is on the market! We still have some things to get done on it – painting, replacing cabinet hardware, cutting limbs in trees, etc. But it is on the market and that’s a step in the right direction. We have an open house next week so now the pressure is on to get all of those things completed. I spent my night last night (after being away from the house for 11 hours that day) painting bathroom cabinets. Oh the fun!

3. We may have a house in Jackson! We met this couple (through my mom) who are moving to VA in June. Their house is on the market, but they are taking it off the market April 30. If it doesn’t sell, they are going to rent it to us. So hopefully it won’t sell in the next 2 days because the house is amazing! It’s huge and in a great area. We are very excited!

4. We’re getting geared up for Denver! With everything else going on it’s easy to forget that oh yeah – we have an IVF coming up! I booked my plane tickets yesterday. I have entered all travel information to the right for anyone who may be going to CCRM and may want the info. Below is the schedule of when I’m going and who will be with me during each part of the trip. I think my family is using this whole process as an opportunity to visit Denver. But hey, can you blame them? If anyone else wants to come out, you’re more than welcome!

May 31 – I will travel to Denver. My sister in law, Jordan, and my nephew, Miles, will fly to Denver from NYC.
June 3 – My brother, Jim, will fly from NYC to spend the weekend with us.
June 7 – R will fly out to be there for egg retrieval and Jim, Jordan, and Miles will leave.
June 16 – R and I will fly home

Of course all of this could change. If my next period doesn’t start when it’s supposed to, it will change everything. If egg retrieval ends up being later, then we’ll obviously come home later. Hopefully everything will happen the way it’s supposed to so I don’t have to go back and rebook anything.

CCRM · ivf

My Calendar is In!

Well, my period started and I called my IVF nurse at CCRM and she sent me my calendar for IVF. All of these dates are dependent on my next cycle starting when it’s supposed to – which with my body is always a guessing game. So here are the projected dates for everything…

May 8: Start my period (we hope!)
May 10: Begin birth control pills. R will start to take an antibiotic for 10 days
May 23: Take the last BCP
May 24: Ultra sound and labs to make sure I am a “go” for the IVF
May 26: start my lupron shots (20 units every 12 hrs) and my Saizen shots (this is a growth hormone – it’s what is given to children who aren’t growing. I’ve never taken this during a cycle before and I hope it will be my magic drug!
May 28: start my stim shots in addition to the lupron and saizen: 2 vials menopur in AM and 300 units of Gonal-F in the PM

I will continue all shots and go in for an ultra sound on June 1. At that point they will start to call me when dosage changes. I can have the ultra sound with my local dr, but my plan is to be in Denver by then and just have all ultra sounds out there.

Tentative Egg Retrieval Date is June 8. My transfer date is 3-5 days after that.

It’s all beginning to happen! Now it’s time to book flights and hotel rooms!

Acupuncture · ivf

Acupuncture

A few weeks ago I decided to finally bite the bullet and start going to see an acupuncturist. I have always been curious about it and there are some people (especially in the infertility world) who swear it makes a HUGE difference, so I’ve always wondered about it. But there were two things that scared me away from it: 1. the amount of time that it would take out of my already busy schedule and 2. the money. (Acupuncture, like most medically related things for me these days, is not covered by insurance – or at least mine – surprise surprise.) The needles didn’t so much worry me because HELLO! I have stuck myself with hundreds of needles over the past year..that fear just does not exist for me anymore. Anyway, I finally decided to give it a shot because CCRM recommends it and also because I figure I’m already paying a butt load for all this IVF stuff, what’s a couple more hundred dollars a month, right?

Well, I went to my first appointment a couple of weeks ago. First of all, I really like the acupuncturist. When I told her what my diagnosis was and how I have the eggs supply of a 40 year old, plus I have the crazy tube thing going on, she looked at me and just said “well that sucks!” Ha! Most people give me a look of pity, or of misunderstanding, or they try to give me advice (see prior post). This was the first time that someone, especially a doctor, looked me in the eye and said “that sucks!” I just laughed and said “yep, sure does!”

Acupuncture is not like I expected it to be. I mean, don’t get me wrong, the whole ambiance that I expected was there – the low lights, the creepy hippie music that’s supposed to be relaxing but just makes me nervous – all of that was there. But, I was not expecting how uncomfortable the whole thing is. Anyone who tells you that the needles don’t hurt is lying through their teeth. It’s not terrible or anything, but it’s definitely not painless! However, I was ready for that part – to an extent – what I wasn’t ready for was the whole electrode thing. I need to pause right now and explain that this is the one part of this whole trying to conceive journey that I just didn’t look into. All procedures or appointments that I’ve had, I have researched about what to expect, but for some reason I didn’t with Acupuncture. I just kind of made the appointment on a whim one day and then didn’t think much more of it until I got there. So, as I was saying, she put these clips on the needles to connect them with wires and then turned them on so that there was a pulse going between the needles. It was such a weird feeling! I know those of you who have always done acupuncture are probably reading this and thinking “uh yeah, what did you think they did?” but like I said, I just didn’t have any idea what was involved! So it wasn’t terribly painful, but it certainly wasn’t comfortable. It’s hard to relax lying flat on your back and scared to move because of the needles sticking out of your wrists, ankles, stomach, and ears! I guess it will get better though!

All in all it was interesting and I must say that I did leave that appointment leaving very rejuvenated! I went to my second appointment last week and I was more prepared for the whole thing. She wants me to go every other week until May and then I’ll start going every week to prepare for the IVF. It does take a lot of time out of my day, but I’m going to try to look at it as a way to make myself take an hour to just lay still and clear my mind. God knows I could use a little chill time!

infertility · ivf

What NOT to Say

I’ve been wanting to post about this encounter for a while, but things have been very busy for this little blogger and I haven’t had much time to sit down and type it out. “Why have you been so busy?” you ask? Well, for starters, R and I are trying to sell our house so every spare moment has been taken with renovating our kitchen and bathroom. We have a realtor coming tomorrow to look at the house so this weekend was spent finishing everything – and it’s still not finished! Secondly, I am the director of an after school dance program at my school and our recital is this Wednesday – and I am nowhere close to being ready to putting on a recital! Plus, I am still looking for a place to live, still looking for a job, and trying to keep my sanity with a bunch of whining first graders (that GOD spring break is next week!)

ANYWAY – back to my original reason for this post –

Several weeks ago, when I returned to work after my surgery, a colleague came up to me and asked how the surgery went. I replied with my usual “it went fine — nothing has changed about my prognosis but we learned a lot, etc etc.” Keep in mind, I did not have this surgery with the hopes of changing my prognosis – it was more of a precautionary thing. Well, this woman replied with “well okay, there’s always surrogacy or adoption!” As if I should hug her and thank her for the wonderful solution to my problem.

There are so many problems with what she said. If you don’t instantly understand what’s wrong with it, please don’t feel too bad…unfortunately these kind of comments happen often. So this is why I’m writing about it today. On behalf of anyone who suffers from infertility, here are the reasons for why I was offended by that statement.

1. “Surrogacy” is a solution for women who are unable to carry a fetus in her uterus. There has never been a reason to believe that I would not be able to carry a child. My uterus has never been the problem. Surrogacy is for women who have had repeated miscarriages, or have something physically wrong that prevents their uterus from sustaining a healthy pregnancy for nine months.
2.There are millions more steps to go through before I get to the point of choosing either of these options. If this IVF fails, then I will try with donor eggs. That simply means that someone else (either someone I know or an anonymous donor) will go through the first steps of the IVF process – shots to grow follicles and Egg retrieval. Once her eggs are retrieved, R’s sperm will inseminate her eggs in the lab. Meanwhile, I do hormone treatments to prepare my body for the transfer of embryos into my uterus. So you see, this is much different from surrogacy. I would still carry the baby, give birth to the baby, etc. Surrogacy isn’t even an option for me because my problem is with my eggs – therefore if I am unable to grow eggs for my own body, I wouldn’t be able to grow them to be transferred into someone else’s uterus.
3. Now on to the adoption suggestion. If, let’s say, I had gone through the millions of other steps that I would need to go through to reach the point of choosing adoption, I would still have a painfully long and expensive journey ahead of me. It is not something that someone just decides to do for the heck of it (unless you’re someone who has no desire of having a biological child – which there’s nothing wrong with that, but obviously I am not one of those people!) The adoption process can take years and it is extremely expensive. It can be just as heartbreaking, especially if your are trying to adopt an infant. I have heard so many stories where birth mothers change their minds, etc…yes, these things really do happen! So to all of you people out there who know someone suffering from infertility – do NOT, under any circumstances, suggest adoption. Consider this a fair warning. I swear to you that I have come very close to slapping someone across the face for suggesting that adoption is a solution.

Now I realize that this woman did not mean any harm. She just doesn’t understand. She doesn’t understand the emotions involved (she doesn’t have children, nor does she want them), she doesn’t understand the terminology or the biology behind it, and she’s just trying to find a way to show her support. I get that – I really do – I just wish that she could take a moment to think about what her words really mean to someone like me. She’s also said things to me like “well why don’t you just take a break for a while – like wait a couple of years.” Even after I have explained to her that the longer I wait, the worse my prognosis gets…not to mention how I would go CRAZY waiting that long. We have been trying to have a baby for almost 3 years now – that’s how long I’ve wanted this.

So, this made me realize that this is another good reason to write this blog. Other than a log for my personal benefit, or a way to let those close to me know what’s happening, or a way for other “infertiles” to find information about IVF or CCRM – it’s a way for people who don’t know about these things to educate themselves. I know it’s too much to ask for everyone to go and search around on the Internet to figure out exactly what Diminished Ovarian Reserve means, or what fallopian tubes actually are…I mean I wouldn’t know any of these things if it wasn’t happening to me. I had no idea how the reproductive system worked before a year ago. Sometimes it’s hard for me to remember that time – when I didn’t know anything. It’s hard to remember that people just don’t know the process. It’s so normal to me now that I forget to explain things better.

So please, ask questions. I would MUCH rather people ask me questions then suggest what I should do. I don’t care if you ask me something that you think is ridiculous, because chances are I didn’t know the answer until 12 months ago. I forget what people don’t know.

I would be happy to draw you pictures or explain things in more detail – as long as you can handle the discomfort that it may bring. If you don’t want to hear words like semen or cervix, then don’t ask – but please please please refrain from making suggestions.