Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Double Shot

Tuesday, 9-29-09 (Day 14)

Dexamethasone (.75mg, oral pill): Fall has officially come to Northern California, and I couldn't be more blissful. This morning, after taking my little steroid pill, I opened up all the windows and let the crisp Autumn breeze fill the house for the first time in months.

Ravenous appetite or not, today will be a good day.

Lupron (5units, subQ injection): I barely even noticed as I pricked myself for the fifty-millionth time this morning, because I too was busy contemplating which candle scent I should purchase to celebrate Fall.

Pumpkin Spice seems the most fitting.

Follistim (300units, subQ injection): Tonight the double shots begin, and my husband resumed his duties by officially administering the medicine that will be growing the organic pumpkin patch in my insides to contain beautiful, strong, mature squashes for our retrieval sometime late next week.

Wednesday, 9-30-09 (Day 15)

Dexamethasone (.75mg, oral pill): I haven't had much of an appetite today, and my stomach has been a little upset.

This could be a very good thing.

Lupron (5units, subQ injection): After two full weeks of Lupron shots, my belly button has a permanent black, blue, green and yellow upside down rainbow below it.

Follistim (300units, subQ injection): Instead of finding someone to babysit our toddler and me fighting the fatigue of what would have by now been my second pregnancy, my husband and I spent our third anniversary rushing through a quick dinner to be back home by 6:30 for my time sensitive Follistim shot.

Because after three years of trying, two IUI's, a late MFI diagnosis, one failed IVF and another shot at one currently in progress, we're still not pregnant.

This isn't what I had in mind.

As I sat across from my husband at dinner, I couldn't help but feel blessed, barren womb and all. I may not have the two children I expected to have by now; I'm standing instead right in the middle of our last shot, bruised and battered by needles and infertility. But as I sat in that booth, staring at the other half of my family of two, I realized just how much I have to be thankful for.

And tonight, I can't think of one single reason to complain.

"Be content with what you have, rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you."
-Lao Tzu

Monday, September 28, 2009

Sharp Shooter

Saturday, 9-26-09 (Day 11)

Dexamethasone (.75mg, oral pill): Today was a celebratory birthday lake bash for my sister-in-law where I was confined to a bathing suit all day long, extra five pounds, Dexamethasone love handle lard, bruised pooch and all.

I wasn't as self conscious as I was expecting to be, and I was really proud of myself for letting go and just having a good time. So proud, in fact, that I decided to treat myself to a cream soda. As I ignored the sugar content and began to drink in the creamy vanilla goodness, I looked down to see the bad words written on the side of the golden can:

Contains Caffeine.

And I had to drop it like it's hot, dang it.

Root beer is caffeine free, so I just assumed that cream soda would be too, but I was wrong. And as soon as I realized what had happened, I yelled over to my unsuspecting husband that he'd better ditch that cream soda before he kills any chance of good sperm that we have left, paying no mind to anyone else within earshot of my frantic warning.

I know. So dramatic.

Lupron (5units, subQ injection): Despite the intense caffeine laden cream soda incident, my only other lake issue was the fact that I was still on my period and had to sport a tampon, against my better judgement. And since I'm experiencing a light flow and not used to wearing one anyway, it wasn't until 5pm when we were back safely on the dock that I just had to change it.

I hated that there was no privacy of a bathroom around for at least 45 minutes, but I hated the possibility of toxic shock syndrome-after more than ten hours of use-even more. So for fear of contaminating my pumpkin patch of organic follicles, I did what only I would do and squatted behind a large white pickup truck and made the exchange as quickly as possible.

Then I buried the evidence.

Sunday, 9-27-09 (Day 12)

Dexamethasone (.75mg, oral pill): Our friends took us out to Mexican this afternoon to celebrate our upcoming anniversary. The restaurant we went to is one of my favorites, mostly because they serve a small plate of delicious re-fried beans and feta cheese with your salsa and chips.

And they just keep refilling it.

I was enjoying it so much, that it took me about three refills to realize I was hogging the tiny plate and no one else was getting any. But even after several more refills, they still weren't saying anything.

They were probably too scared.

Lupron (5units, subQ injection): The hot flashes, slightly throbbing headaches, and episodes of waking up several times a night are finally in full force, but it's nothing I can't handle.

Monday, 9-28-09 (Day 13)

Dexamethasone (.75mg, oral pill): Since I took this pill a little later than normal yesterday morning, I finally experienced a little of the insomnia the bottle warns you about. And since I don't always function the best in the am anyway, I was so out of it that I accidental chewed my Dexamethasone thinking it was my baby aspirin.

It wasn't good.

And then-while still in a daze and on my way to work-I tried to use my duplex's garage door opener to open the front door of my office building.

It didn't work.

Lupron (5units, subQ injection): This is the end of the road for just one shot a day; because starting tomorrow I'll be doubling up and adding Follistim into the mix, and then just a couple days after that we'll be doing triple shots with the addition of Luveris.

I can't believe how close we are; in exactly one week I'll be lying in the doctors office finding out how many follicles are growing in my very own pumpkin patch, kicking off the beginning of what's beginning to feel like the story of my life.

Or the start of a new one.

"If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story."
-Orson Welles

Friday, September 25, 2009

Blood Shot

Thursday, 9-24-09 (Day 9)

Dexamethasone (.75mg, oral pill): I did a little more research today and found out this tiny pill isn't the only culprit responsible for my cravings; apparently Lupron causes ravenous hunger as well.

Lupron (5units, subQ injection): Other than the disappointment surrounding the realization that this drug has joined forces with Dexamethasone on operation Make Tab Fat, I'm really impressed with how well everything is going. The shots are smooth, the bruising is at a minimum, the headaches are few and far between, and the need to take naps are nonexistent. And check out these crazy good statistics:

Tab-9, Sharps Container-0.

E2 blood draw: Despite last cycle's hardships with this simple little blood test, today's blood draw was fairly easy. The scene was set a little differently since the phlebotomist wasn't the usual family member of mine, but she was nice enough and she removed my blood just as well.

I did sort of miss the special treatment though.

Especially when the white coated guy behind the counter with a five-o-clock shadow and a fuzzy faux-hawk lazily scanned my lab slip and reminded me that this city doesn't have a hospital or lab that will run this test STAT, because it's just "not that important" of a blood test.

I don't think he necessarily meant it to be rude, but since I was already slightly distressed at the somewhat snarky attitude he gave the old lady in front of me, I was less than impressed by his dismissal of the importance of my blood test results.

Or his hair.

I wanted to to tell him it incredibly foolish to be even remotely rude to a girl that's spent the last nine days being pumped full of hormones, but instead I settled for letting him know that it was indeed important to me, but we'll let it slide this time since he'd be able to get me the results by tomorrow afternoon.

Or else I'll shave his head.

Oh, and just in case it hasn't been made obvious yet, my period arrived right on time today, just like my med calendar's red letters said it would.

That poor guy never had a chance.

Friday, 9-25-09 (Day 10)

Dexamethasone (.75mg, oral pill): In a rush to leave for work on time today, my elephant memory shut down and I forgot-for the first time ever-to take this pill.

I wonder if that was a subconscious action brought on by my love handles.

Lupron (5units, subQ injection): Also caused by my rushing around this morning was some severe pain that was brought on by my not-so-smart injection tactics.

It's really not a good idea to brush your teeth with one hand and shoot yourself with the other.

E2: My favorite lab coat wearing, five-o-clock shadow sporting, fuzzy faux-hawk phlebotomist delivered on his promise today and I was given an E2 level of 33 on day 9 of meds, an excellent, low number landing at less than half of last cycles 67 on day 10 of meds.

So, no worries. God is good, I've received an amazing number that surpassed my expectations, the sarcastic phlebotomist will keep his hair, and I have learned not to judge people based on their appearance and slightly snarky attitude.

He just may have been anxiously waiting for something too.

"Events will take their course, it is no good of being angry at them; he is happiest who wisely turns them to the best account."

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Just Shoot Me

Monday, 9-21-09 (Day 6)

Dexamethasone (.75mg, oral pill): I think it's time to break out the Spanx.

Lupron (5units, subQ injection): My dose was officially cut in half today, dropped down to a mere 5 units. I don't feel as sleepy as I did during the last cycle, but my head has been aching since this morning and I refuse to put anything-even Tylenol-into my body unless I absolutely have to because I am that stubborn and determined to stay chemical free.

It's really too bad that my husband doesn't have the same mindset.

Ironically, as I ran outback to give him the vitamins he forgot to take this morning that are supposed to improve his sperm, I was shocked to find him lighting up a cigarette that was killing his sperm.

We are right smack in the middle of the IVF process, presumably necessary due to male factor issues, and my husband was found guilty of voluntarily harming his precious and necessary contribution by way of a nasty, disgusting, sperm murdering cancer stick.

I don't remember what I said to him; the situation is a bit of a blur caught up in smoke by my white hot anger and that ridiculous cigarette, but I can guarantee it wasn't very nice and he looked kind of scared.

I'm pretty sure I put the fear of God-or me-into him.

In his defense, my husband is not a "smoker", and I'm by no means concerned that he's been smoking behind my back for the last few months. I have the nose of a hound dog, and his knowledge of this sixth sense of mine keeps him in check for the most part. But back in his carefree younger days before me, he did carry on the male family tradition of casually smoking a few times a year because it just wasn't a big deal.

But that changed when he met me and my freakishly sensitive nose, and since then I've only caught him serving his nicotine fix a handful of times during our three years of wedded bliss, and usually only in the wake of a very stressful event for him. But today, disregarding our healthy living style and compromising the fertilization results of our possible pumpkin patch was just not acceptable, stress or no stress.

I'm going to need a large batch of God's grace to deal with this in a decent fashion that does not involve not speaking to my husband from now until the day I need his sperm extracted in order to make our children.

And possibly a burrito from Taco Bell.

Tuesday 9-22-09 (Day 7)

Dexamethasone (.75mg, oral pill): *Sigh*

Lupron (5units, subQ injection): I'm pretty much over yesterdays smoking extravaganza. The reality is that my husband is a good man. He puts up with so much from me and that's enough to drive anyone to nicotine I suppose. And after yesterday's ranting post, He immediately and sincerely apologized, showing immense apathy and regret for his actions, along with a what may have been a possible fear for his life.

I'll take it.

He may not be perfect, but he's perfect for me. Besides, everyone messes up, and I'm pretty sure that Taco Bell is just as toxic to my body as that puff of smokey goodness was to his anyway.

Wednesday, 9-23-09 (Day 8)

Dexamethasone (.75mg, oral pill): I broke down and stepped on the scale today, pleasantly surprised to find that I'm not doing too bad.

And then I remembered it's only been a week.

Lupron (5units, subQ injection): I wonder what it is about Wednesdays that brings me bruises. Just as my battle wound from that very first shot last week started to fade from black and blue to green and yellow, I've gained a new purple and gray one.

It's OK though, they're kind of pretty.

"We come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly."
-Sam Keen

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Nice Shot

Friday, 9-18-09 (Day 3)

Dexamethasone (.75mg, oral pill): I had no idea it would be so hard to keep myself off the scale. Breaking this obsession has proved harder than my attempt at eating right.

I obviously have issues.

Lupron (10units, subQ injection): Right side injection went well. I had a little bit of trouble getting the needle through the tough skin of my fatty pooch today, but it helps to take a deep breath and push through the pain, slow and steady.

Saturday, 9-19-09 (Day 4)

Dexamethasone (.75mg, oral pill): So far I'm doing well controlling my appetite, but I'm constantly craving Costco's beef hot dogs and their Kirkland signature organic low fat chocolate milk. And at only $1.50 for a hot dog and drink, I'm starting to find reasons to stop at Costco every day.

In fact, it's lunch time and we're almost out of stamps.

Lupron (10units, subQ injection): These injections are much less stressful this time, probably because I've already been through this and it's almost like riding a bike. Unlike last cycle, I'm fearless when it comes to drawing up the wrong amount, and sticking myself is as convenient as getting dressed in the morning.


And my zen attitude must be contagious because tonight, my husband-without any prompting at all on my part-asked if he could draw up the Lupron for me. He even knew the appropriate amount to units to draw without asking or consulting the calender, which means he must have been seriously paying attention these last few nights. He meticulously filled the syringe with a steady hand and a new found confidence that mirrored my own.

Just the fact that he volunteered so eagerly to contribute without me asking is enough to make me tear up with pride.

Or maybe it's just the Lupron.

Sunday, 9-20-09 (Day 5)

Dexamethasone (.75mg, oral pill): And so it begins.

All day long I've craved-and ate-anything salty that I could get my hands on. Top Roman, Cheddar Goldfish, Bacon, English Muffin with tons of butter, Salad with olives, cheese, peppers and ranch, corn chips with Tostito's Salsa Con Queso cheese dip, and French Onion Sun Chips.

There's more, but I'm just too embarrassed to share.

Lupron (10units, subQ injection): Other than the tiny lingering bruise I received from the very first injection, you'd never know I'm getting shot. This is getting more and more simple every day.

I love it.

And tonight, after almost seven weeks on birth control pills, I consumed the last one. No more cell phone alarm screaming at 10pm and reminding me of my nightly estrogen fix, and no more tiny pink pills. Now we just wait for my Uterus to do it's thing and get to shedding that lining, so we can start growing some good looking follicles to be harvested in October.

I'm hoping for an entire pumpkin patch this time.

"If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn't lead anywhere."
-Frank A. Clark

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Let The Shots Begin

Daily Documentation of All Things IVF, Part II.

Wednesday, 9-16-09 (Day 1)

Dexamethasone (.75mg, oral pill): It's time for round two, and I have some new self-inflicted guidelines to follow. Rule number one; there will be no scale stalking this cycle.

I have come to terms with the fact that I am at a perfectly healthy weight for my height and build, right where I should be. Of course I'd love to change certain aspects of my body, but now is not the appropriate time to obsess over it.

Instead, I will focus my energy on overcoming this tiny steroid pill by making healthy food choices and not beating myself up when I slip.

Because most likely I will slip.

And it will be often.

Lupron (10units, subQ injection): I've decided the best method for delivering this bee sting-ish injection is to draw up the meds the night before. No more fumbling at 6:15am with a tiny glass vial and a dangerously sharp needle while only partially awake.

Simply remove the cap, and administer the burn.

And to add to my list of new methods this cycle, I have ditched the ice; it takes up too much time that I don't have in the mornings. Besides, I've been pricked so many times that I'm officially over the shock of stabbing, stinging, bruising and bleeding that accompany the injections anyway.

Oh, and that sharps container that just about drove me bananas last time?

Piece of cake.

For now.

Thursday, 9-17-09 (Day 2)

Dexamethasone (.75mg, oral pill): No ravenous hunger binges yet; but we're just getting started. Let's let the drugs fully penetrate my system before we jump to any conclusions.

Lupron (10units, subQ injection): Today's left side injection went well. I did notice a small bruise from yesterdays injection that I welcomed, embracing the possibility of what it may bring in ten more months.

And then I got scared of what it may not bring.

Because this time around things feel a little different, and unfortunately my bi-polar attitude is my constant companion. I'm still excited but apprehensive, hopeful but leery, prepared but distant, and my defense mechanisms are in full gear.

But luckily, so is Operation Green.

Although I haven't been eating as organic as I planned, I'm more green than ever before thanks to organic hand, body, and face wash, shampoo, conditioner, laundry and dish washing detergents, and homemade cleaning products.

That's right, homemade. Move over, Martha Stewart.

I've also been nail polish, hair dye and caffeine free for about two months now, and even after IVF and pregnancy, I don't think I'll ever go back to my old unearthly ways.

Well, I probably should go back to getting highlights.

And I do miss toe nail polish.

In the mean time, I'll remember that my God is bigger than my worries and I've done everything possible to prepare myself this time around without giving in to what I'm starting to really think is an honest to goodness obsessive compulsive disorder. I've also lightened up on myself and decided I'm OK with being a little distant this time around, because it's normal to be scared after experiencing failure.

As long as you pick yourself up and give it another shot.

"You have to go through the falling down in order to learn to walk. It helps to know that you can survive it. That's an education in itself."
-Carol Burnett

Thursday, September 3, 2009

As The World Turns

So continues the soap opera that is my life.

The countdown is on, with less than two weeks left before I begin daily documenting for all things IVF part II. This time around I have full intentions of enjoying every minute of the process, loving my long and strong lupron nails and proving I can be more powerful than my ridiculous dexamethasone cravings.

Always the optimist, I'm excited to try again, hopeful for a better turnout this time and so very sure this will work. But there's also another darker, more bitter side of me that is terrified of history repeating itself and with a lack of desire to adopt in our hearts (no matter how much we pray for God to give it to us) this very well may be our last chance.

The future is a terrifying place, but I know who holds tomorrow, and as long as I continue to trust that my life is ultimately in God's hands, fearing what may be is really a waste of my time. I'm focusing instead on the present and all I have to be thankful for, and I'm learning that fear is not only pointless, but can cause you to miss out on the best things in life, paralyzing you and holding you back from experiencing the joy that's right in front of you.

I've spent the last three years watching the people I love most dancing around me, cradling their babies and growing precious little ones in their super fertile wombs. I've made the choice to dance with them, holding their children's hands and admiring their growing bellies instead of despising them. I've happily conversed with them about bath times, lack of sleep, teething, and the latest baby products. I've shared their first words, attended birthday parties, hosted showers, smothered them with kisses and joyfully watched them grow, all the while knowing deep down that someday, someway, this will be my life.

But until then, this is my life.

As the world turns, I find myself grateful that my friends and family love me enough not to hold their tongues when I'm in the room, eliminating any awkward silences when a conversation turns to babies, because they know their children are the next best thing to my own. It makes me feel more normal and less infertile when they comfortably share their lives with me, even when it consists of something I want but can't have. It's refreshing to know they love and care deeply about me, but they don't pity me, because I'm still a lucky girl.

I'll probably never be able to avoid the sting of failure when I hear them speak about their plans to expand their family, and I'll always feel like someone punched me in the ovaries as I anticipate their upcoming pregnancy announcements. But thankfully those feelings are pleasantly overpowered by the harsh reality-and my infertility motto-that the world can't stop procreating just because I'm not pregnant.

Babies are a way of life, even if it's not my life.

There's just too much I could have missed through the years if I'd chosen to be so wrapped up in despair that I didn't enjoy today. No matter where it takes us life will go on, and I don't want to spend so much time in envy that I forget to look at what's right in front of me; even if all I can see are children and loved ones pregnant bellies staring back at me.

I'd much rather dance.

"I'd rather spend my time amongst the birds than to waste it, wishing I could fly."
-Author Unknown