Those closest to me know that the last two weeks or so have been among the hardest yet during this process. As someone with chronic illness, living under significant levels of stress for an extended amount of time is one of the worst things for my health, and I am really struggling to deal with the negative physical effects. Being in even more pain than what is normal for me, with even greater fatigue and even less sleep, is taking its toll. Throughout these weeks as we’ve waited for our cycle to begin, it has been all I can do to try to prepare myself both physically and emotionally to give my body up to IVF medications. In the meantime, Kyle is single-handedly keeping our lives together. It has been worrisome and painful to watch as he stretches himself dangerously thin in order to cover so many areas, but what choice do we have? Life does not stop for treatment.
At the time of my last post, I didn’t think I could stand waiting one more day for our cycle to start. So, in the spirit of distraction, Kyle took me to see Paddington in the theater. We had the place to ourselves– just us and the little Paddington bear we brought home from London (first explained here). I honestly don’t even remember the last time we did something just for fun and it was a nice break from this process which has consumed every shred of our lives.
And finally, after an excruciatingly long wait, I took my final “pre-IVF” birth control pill yesterday and headed out the door early this morning for my last round of testing before our cycle starts. Getting my blood drawn is almost always difficult because I have very small veins, but the nurse was able to stick one on the first try and fill about 10 vials. Many of them will be sent to the FDA as a requirement and the rest were used to check my hormone levels. I also had an internal ultrasound to check the egg follicles in each ovary as well as confirm that there were no ovarian cysts present (which would be dangerous while on the IVF medications). Then, before we left, we handed over another large check (this time to cover the total cost of our full IVF cycle) and sat down with someone to sign several consent forms and legally bind ourselves to the dates chosen for this cycle.
Between the stress of the appointment and the earlier loss of blood, I was exhausted by the time we got home. After trudging upstairs, I rifled through Kyle’s dresser for the softest t-shirt I could find and collapsed into bed to catch up on the sleep I was too agitated to get the night before. The call with my results came in during the early afternoon: the nurse explained that all of my hormone levels were in an acceptable range (estrogen at 28, progesterone at 0.3) and that the mandatory pregnancy test came back negative (gee, thanks for the reminder). There were also several egg follicles present in both ovaries, which confirmed the results of the blood work I had taken in late January when my anti-mullerian hormone level of 3.2 indicated I still have a good reserve of eggs available. It’s not time to celebrate yet– the quality of those eggs is way more important than the quantity– but it’s a starting point. Lastly, I was given the green light to start my IVF medications on Friday.
And so it begins.