Sunday morning’s appointment was tiring but went well. I watched the screen with bated breath as Dr. K checked my follicles and took a few measurements, but it only took a minute for him to announce that I should be able to begin my stims (i.e. ovarian stimulation injections) that night. The only issue he had was some concern over the state of my left ovary (aka the “problem child”). In 2010 when I was 22, it had started to twist, cutting off blood supply and causing significant pain. It’s been eight years, but there was always the possibility that this could happen again, and it seems as though it is now being affected by the scar tissue and endometriosis in that area.
At this point the doctor believes we should proceed with treatment and see what we can get, but when my ovaries inevitably swell later on in my stim cycle, I will be at a greater risk of it twisting. Throughout treatment and the weeks following my egg retrieval, I will need to be mindful of my physical activity and unable to lift Ross. In the last few years I had come to the decision that I was not going to have surgery again (aside from retrievals) unless I am having my hysterectomy. They simply take too high of a toll on me, with too little to gain, to continue at this point. Should something need to be done regarding the ovary, I believe it would be time to remove everything. I have always known that my time to pursue treatment is growing short, which is why we are pushing so hard to do this even when the rest of our lives are unstable. I don’t want to look back and have regrets or watch my last chance go by while I’m waiting for the “right time.” The time is now. I don’t have emotional energy to spare to dwell on “what ifs” so, in the meantime, we are simply relieved to be moving forward.
Sunday ended up being a very long day. We drove home from the appointment and had time for a quick lunch before spending the afternoon downtown at the local arts festival. Once we got home I quickly changed and left for dinner and a baby shower with friends, not coming back home until 11pm. I was exhausted and overwhelmed by the task of relearning how to mix my medication, but together, Kyle and I fumbled through the instructions for a bit before muscle memory seemed to take over for both of us.
I put together a chart to compare my cycles and noticed that my starting dosages are much higher than they were in 2015. The dosages for my first three days of stims are the same as they were for days 7-9, though I know my actual protocol is different (down regulation vs antagonist) and my ovaries took a while to get moving last time. Tomorrow morning I’ll go back for my first monitoring appointment, and I’m interested to see the difference it makes.
When we started the surrogacy process in 2014, I bought a small Paddington Bear while we were in England to carry with me to all the upcoming appointments. It was my hope that someday I would be able to pass it along to a child, and when Ross was born, Paddington became his. It also became a symbol of hope for us, and we have bought and been given many Paddington-themed items over the last few years; we even used him as inspiration when decorating his nursery.
I’ve always known that when it came to the second surrogacy journey, I wanted to have something to carry with me again. I considered getting another Paddington but ultimately felt like that was something special to Ross. It took a while for me to find something that felt right, but several months ago Ross helped me pick out a little polar bear to represent the frozen embryos we are hoping for. This polar bear has stayed on my nightstand ever since (in the same spot Paddington used to sit before he moved to Ross’ bookshelf), and he’s been keeping me company at my appointments:
When I last began IVF treatment, I wasn’t aware of anyone in my life who had been through it. To make things worse, surrogacy was a foreign concept to virtually everyone we knew, and there was a lot to explain. I felt overwhelmed and isolated by our reality. Now, more than three years later, I know dozens of women who have been through the IVF process– there are even several toddlers on my Facebook feed that I’ve followed since their transfer days as microscopic embryos. In many ways, it feels so very different this time around.
Going into this part of treatment has felt a lot like preparing for a battle. We’ve talked about this cycle and how we’ve wanted to approach it for more than 2 years now, and so much has had to come together for us to get this far. It has been difficult and painful, just like before, but I feel incredibly grateful for the opportunity just to try again. There was a time when I did not know if this chance would ever come, and I am ready to reach out and grab it.