IVF Cycle #1: The Early Days

At the time of my last update on Friday, I had yet to give myself any injections. Since that night I have given myself TEN. The first night was definitely the hardest. For a moment, as I held the syringe in my hand, I didn’t think I could do it. Kyle stayed completely calm beside me the whole time (though he did admit later that he was freaking out a little), gently reminding me of what I had to do: pinch my stomach skin, stick the needle in, let go of my skin, push the medication in, count to five, pull the needle out.

It was too much to focus on, and all the while my brain screamed out, “NO! DON’T DO THIS!!” Somehow I found the strength to override my good sense and did it anyway. Even more shocking than that was the realization afterward that I barely felt a thing. The second needle was a different story. We debated over whether or not I was supposed to stick such a large needle into my stomach (I think I said to Kyle, “That’s going to go right through me!”), but the instructions we had were unclear at best. So eventually I did what we believed (hoped!) was right– and I pushed the needle in as far as it would go before administering the medication. It was traumatizing. Not necessarily because it hurt but because I was hyper aware of the feeling of the needle sliding in and out of my skin. Being forced to watch myself do it made it truly unbearable. As soon as I finished, I immediately collapsed into Kyle and began sobbing while he disposed of the needle for me.

Once I was able to recover, I actually felt pretty proud of myself for going through with it, but that didn’t change the way I felt about doing it all over again the next day. Thankfully, Elle* (our gestational carrier) questioned the needle size, and after doing a little digging she was able to confirm her suspicion and assure me that it would be much easier with the right needle. (What would we do without her??)

Just to give you an idea of the difference in needles, here they are side by side:

The left needle is the one I used the first night; the right needle is the one I should have been using from the start.
The left needle is the one I used the first night; the right needle is the one I should have been using from the start. Our fertility nurse freaked out when she heard I put the first one into my stomach and told me to NEVER do that again. (Trust me, I won’t!)

The second night of injections (three of them this time) went much more smoothly. Unfortunately, a few hours later I woke up in the middle of the night with the flu, which threatened to derail all of our carefully made (and very expensive) plans. I suffered through the rest of the weekend in unimaginable pain, terrified that I wouldn’t be able to finish out the cycle. Once we had confirmation from a nurse at our fertility clinic that it really was “just” the flu and not dangerous side effects from the medication, we felt more comfortable moving forward. Sunday night I took all three injections as planned and we decided to fight thought the rest of it despite not being at my best.

Yesterday morning I woke up feeling a bit better than the day before and was able to make it to my first monitoring appointment. These appointments will become a regular occurrence throughout the IVF cycle so that my body’s response to the medication can be closely observed. My blood work showed that my estrogen level is at 50, up from 28 but still considered low. Starting tonight my dosage was changed to 300iu of Follistim (up from 225) and 150iu of Menopur (up from 75). My internal ultrasound also showed that the follicles are still fairly small on both sides, although they aren’t too worried yet because it was only Day 4.

Too bad Paddington can't take my ultrasound for me.
Too bad Paddington can’t take my ultrasound for me.

My ninth and tenth injections last night were the easiest by far. Over the last few days we have fallen into a comfortable routine while preparing and administering my medication– handing off needles, syringes, and alcohol swabs to each other almost without thinking about it. My stomach has become very tender and swollen since starting the injections, and I already feel like I am running out of space. There are now several tiny red dots covering the area just below and beside my belly button, some of which are surrounded by small bruises. I’d post a picture, but it’s not a pretty sight.

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Today I have off from appointments even though I will continue to give myself daily injections up until the egg retrieval, which will probably be sometime next week. My next monitoring appointment will be tomorrow morning, and we are hoping that it will show an improved response to the medication.

Lastly I wanted to say how much we appreciate all the prayers, comments, well wishes, texts, calls, and more as we are going through this process. I read each and every one of them out loud to Kyle as they come in, and many times I have burst into tears from your lovely words and actions. I am so glad that we made the decision to be open about our journey because I could not imagine going through all of this without your wonderful support. ❤

*Name has been changed for privacy reasons.

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8 thoughts on “IVF Cycle #1: The Early Days

  1. My goodness! There’s a huge difference between those two needles. You poor thing! So what was the big needle for? Glad you got it sorted out, I cannot imagine sticking that thing in my stomach. Sending you lots of love and light!

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    1. It’s actually a mixing needle. They include it as another option for mixing the Menopur vials in case you don’t like using the Q-cap (which just snaps onto the syringe and punctures the top of the vial without requiring a needle). So, it is pretty much worthless to me! Hopefully now you won’t make the same mistake when it’s your turn 🙂 Good luck!

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  2. So happy you do not need that large needle ever again. You and Kyle are a strong team; Thinking of you many times throughout the day & sending prayers as you continue on.

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