It took more than 6 weeks (and, eventually, daily calls to the insurance), but in late March we were finally given a total cost and the go-ahead to move forward with IVF. We now have a small window of opportunity in which to fit a treatment cycle– and the timing isn’t exactly great. Next week Kyle will finish classes for his grad degree, followed by the stress of finals, and then, somehow, graduation. To add even more pressure, by mid-June we will no longer have a place to live, which means we’ve also been completely consumed by the job search and interview process since he was approved to send out his resume in February.
Several months ago I began taking a CoQ10 supplement in hopes of boosting my egg quality after having heard of several infertility-blogger friends doing the same a few years ago. Following a little more research, I worked to alter my diet, and for good measure, limited the use of my normal heat therapy for coping with abdominal pain. Although I know that these changes are unlikely to be the miracle cure we need for viable embryos, I’m willing to try. While being three years older this time around will be an added disadvantage, I was floored last month to hear that my AMH level (an indicator of ovarian reserve) came back with a whopping 2 point improvement from my 2015 results. It was so shocking I listened to the voicemail twice, convinced myself that the results were meant for another patient, and called my nurse back to confirm. But it was true, and misguided or not, I felt a burst of hope.
On Tuesday morning, my big box of meds for this cycle was dropped off at our door. Ross carefully “helped” me carry it into the kitchen and jumped around with the excitement of receiving a package. As I opened the box, he quickly knelt down beside it with an enthusiastic, “Let’s do this thing!” — a phrase that has recently entered his vocabulary from unknown origins and one I’ve taken to repeating.
Our doctor formulated a different protocol which will use my natural cycle for stimulation, so instead of taking birth control pills first (which also helped sync my cycle with Elle’s in preparation for the fresh transfer), I’ll be doing daily lupron injections for the rest of my luteal phase (basically post-ovulation). The general idea behind this is to keep all of my egg follicles growing and ready for retrieval at the same time. We made the trek out to the clinic first thing yesterday morning to sign our final consent forms for treatment and to confirm ovulation through blood work. A few hours later my nurse called me with instructions: 10 units of Lupron injected into my belly each morning.
As Ross would say, let’s do this thing:
My stomach did a little flip when I first unpacked my needles the other day, but overall I haven’t felt nervous about beginning injections again. I know now that it gets much harder than this. But, to be extra careful, I read and re-read the instructions before beginning, following each step slowly and giving myself time to get used to it again. Then, just like that, it was done– quick and painless, not like the time I accidentally injected myself with a mixing needle:
After finishing I tossed the syringe in my sharps container, threw out the wrapping and alcohol swabs, and walked back into the kitchen– where I was immediately overcome by extreme nausea and a loud ringing in my ears. A few moments later, I was on the ground blacking out. I called out for help, but since Kyle was in the midst of changing a diaper, Pippa (our Chihuahua) was the first to attend to me. I don’t know what happened really– whether it was a reaction to the medication (has anyone else dealt with this before?), or simply a psychological response, but it was enough to shake me. At first I was going to wait to report it, but Elle encouraged me to tell my nurse. She was pretty concerned, so I’ve since been instructed to call their emergency line if it happens again tomorrow, which is not the way I wanted to start things.
Of course, it’s not the only thing we’re dealing with right now: Kyle left this morning for the weekend for a second interview and to check out the location. I was supposed to go with him but woke up with pain in my back from a pinched nerve, which ruled out sitting in the car for several hours. Ross and I are alone for a bit– which is made a lot harder by my inability to lift, carry, or chase him down to push pajamas over his head due to the pain and diminished mobility. But, the best part of living in the same apartment complex as all of our friends is that we’re never truly on our own: one sweet friend brought me dinner tonight, another took Ross for the afternoon and will be back in the morning to stay with me for the injection– even in the midst of their own life stress and post-grad job searches.
For once I would like to be the easy patient and have the rest of this medical part go smoothly. I’m terrified that another bad reaction to the medication will sideline me for this cycle, and we simply don’t have the time (or emotional energy) for that. The best case scenario is that our plans continue uninterrupted so that, in about a week and a half, I am able to go in for a baseline ultrasound and blood work before getting started with my stim injections and monitoring. It still hasn’t quite felt real yet, but I suppose there is time for that.