IVF Cycle #1: Waiting to Pull the Trigger

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As rough as this part of the IVF/Surrogacy process has been, I find it much easier to inject myself with medication every day than to survive the long periods of waiting. Having something to focus on and feeling productive for the first time in a long time has made these weeks go by fairly quickly despite being sick and dealing with side effects. Now we are just days from the egg retrieval and waiting for the doctor tell me when to administer my final injection: the trigger shot. Once we “trigger,” we will have about 36 hours until the egg retrieval. It has to be timed perfectly or we will lose everything we’ve been working toward, which is why having daily appointments is so important by the end of the cycle.

You're looking at more than $1,000 in fertility drugs right there. And they won't last long.
You’re looking at more than $1,000 in fertility drugs right there. And they won’t last long.

Sunday (Day 10) kicked off my daily appointments, but this time we had to drive to a different city over an hour away to get to a branch of our fertility clinic that operated on the weekends. Thinking that we would be there for the normal 15-20 minutes, we thought we’d make it back in time for Kyle to get to church so, of course, it was the longest appointment I’ve ever had. There were a lot of people in the room for my ultrasound because the nurse was in training, but I didn’t mind because I was so thrilled to have a separate little screen angled toward the table so I could see everything clearly (it’s the little things). A random doctor happened to burst into the room during my test and I took advantage of it by asking him all of my questions. He believed I was about 2-4 days away from my egg retrieval, which was welcome news. Unfortunately, by the time we left the appointment, snow was already laying thick on the ground and there was no way to make it back in time. We decided to stop at a local bagel shop for a quick breakfast before starting the long drive home. It sounds rather ordinary, but it was one of the only fun, lighthearted moments we’ve had together since we started the cycle.

Monday morning we were back at our normal office very, very early for my Day 11 appointment. The doctor there did my ultrasound and again confirmed that we were just a few days from a retrieval. Kyle can now pick out my egg follicles on the screen and is able to read all of the different measurements. He has been heavily involved throughout this whole process, which I am really appreciative of because I know a lot of husbands feel uncomfortable in this kind of situation. We’ve had a lot of medical experience together before this, but I think we’ve become an even better team in the last few months.

Three empty bottles and Paddington? This can only mean one thing: I'm having a blood draw.
Three empty bottles and Paddington? This can only mean one thing: I’m having a blood draw.
This is what infertility looks like. The daily blood draws are getting tougher and I'm running out of veins. Both my hands, my left wrist, and both elbows are incredibly bruised and many of the veins have collapsed recently.
The daily blood draws are getting tougher and I’m running out of veins. Both of my hands, my left wrist, and inside both elbows are bruised and many of the veins have collapsed. I can’t wait to be done with this part!

Waking up at 5 or 6 am every day just to start chugging enough water to get through the blood draw has started to get old, but each morning I’m excited to see what my egg follicles have been up to in the previous 24 hours. Today’s appointment (Day 12) showed that a few of them have just about reached the right maturity and that my estrogen is still under 4,000. The appointments are getting much longer now that there are so many to check out. Kyle thinks there were about 20 follicles on the right and 17 on the left, although not all of them will be mature. We still don’t know much about the eggs inside, though. Some follicles may not have any eggs in them at all, and we have no idea if they will be good quality yet.

I’ve been trying to be very careful not to get ahead of myself. For the time being I am not thinking about this cycle leading to a baby. It gives me anxiety to write or even see that word, and I have the strangest urge to delete it from this post entirely. I am so afraid of failure that my stomach drops if anyone even alludes to that possibility. My only concern is about my follicles right now; they are my sole focus. When we get to the egg retrieval, I can start to worry about the eggs, but just one thing at a time.

My next monitoring appointment (Wednesday morning, Day 13) is the most important one so far. Every afternoon I wait by the phone to hear from our fertility nurse about my latest results, and tomorrow we hope to get the call saying it’s finally time to “pull” the trigger. I update the “Surrogacy Timeline” page on the blog more frequently than I post, so you can check back and follow along that way.

For those who are waiting on their own IVF cycles and want to know what to expect for the injections or for those who are just curious, here is a video showing me mixing and administering my medications. I’m still not feeling well so it’s not the best video, but at least you can get an idea of what we do each night. (You’ll hear Orion partway through– he was unhappy that he wasn’t invited to be on camera).

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8 thoughts on “IVF Cycle #1: Waiting to Pull the Trigger

    1. I’m glad it helped! The first day of injections is definitely the worst, mostly because of the anticipation and that initial “I can’t do this!” reaction. But, within 2 or 3 days you have a routine and it’s much easier. Our carrier has a horrible fear of needles and the first day was really hard for her, but she didn’t even feel the needle go in! You’ll be on different meds than I am, but I came across videos on youtube that show you how to do everything, so I’m sure you can find some for the carrier meds. 🙂 You’ll do great!

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      1. Thanks for the vote of confidence! Just seeing how matter of fact you are about doing the injections gave me a great sense of calm! It sounds like such a frightening thing, sticking yourself, but you made it look totally easy! Like a pro!

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  1. Dear Ashley and Kyle, We watched this together and were struck by how much you have come through to get to this place. We look forward to when this stage is behind you – please know that our love and prayers are with you always! Love, Mom and Grandma

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