Wednesday, August 4, 2010

{Day 22} Overflowing

Dexamethasone (.75mg, oral pill) & Ciprofloxacin (500mg, oral pill): Still holding steady-surprisingly-at the weight I started at; though it does fluctuate a bit given the fact that I'm growing multiple follicles and am already building up fluid. So that, plus the introduction of another antibiotic today and two pints of Ben and Jerry's over the last six days will no doubt lead to a shift in the scale sooner or later.

Lupron (5units, subQ injection): Today was my last Lupron shot, Monday was my last Follistim and Luveris Shots, and I'm still amazed that I have yet to experience even one bruise.

It's a miracle.

So is that fact that it's already time to trigger and retrieve.

At our first monitoring appointment on Monday, I was thrilled to discover that Dr. Sher himself-the guru of all things IVF-was visiting the Sacramento clinic from their previous annual protocol meeting and had chosen to stay behind for a while longer, specifically to oversee our more difficult case. And after my permission was granted, Dr. Sher was ushered into the small room and joined our large group as we stared at the fuzzy black screen, counting and measuring little black holes.

He was impressed with my lining, thrilled with my stimulation results, and bursting with compliments on my various follicular sizes and the amount of them present.

And because he was thrilled, I was thrilled.

As I finished dressing and met them out in the hallway, I was sent into the nurses office and given the instructions to continue with my stimming meds for one more night, and to come back in the next day for what would most likely be my final monitoring ultrasound. Everything was growing beautifully and right on track, so the prediction was that my trigger shot would be given Tuesday night and Thursday would be the retrieval.

Then my nurse turned the follicular monitoring paper towards me so I could take a look. Having worked with me in the past, she knew I'd be anxious to write down the amount of follicles, including which sides they were on and how large they were for my own personal records. But I surprised both her and myself when I simply glanced over to see that my largest follicle was at 18, turned the sheet back to her and let her know that I wouldn't be needing a copy this time.

She just sort of stared at me like I was nuts.

And I probably was.

But who in the world needs any more assurance than two of the most prestigious doctors specifically studying her case telling her that everything is going wonderfully? I knew the last thing I needed to do at that moment was take home a copy of my follicular count and obsessively compare it to my last three cycles, assuredly creating a recipe for disaster.

Or at least a mental breakdown.

Neither one of which I was interested in achieving at the time.

So instead, I told myself over and over again that God was in control. He's shown us several times already that He has His hands in this cycle, never failing to amaze us with little miracles and blessings along the way. And if Dr. Sher and Dr. Greene thought everything was fine, then it was, and I needed to leave it alone.

But by the time I had dropped my husband off at his parents and made the drive back home to attend another acupuncture session and yoga class, I had already decided that taking a quick peek at my past cycles follicular monitoring sheets wouldn't be such a bad idea after all.

You know, just in case Dr. Sher and Dr. Greene had missed something.

And sure enough, after flipping through my old files, I found that on my first day of monitoring in the past, I have always had at least three follicles ranging from 18 to 21. More specifically, my very first cycle I had four of them above 18mm, and we triggered the next night.

That cycle was cancelled due to a lack of mature embryos.

So as I made the drive back to Sacramento the next morning-with my mother this time-I shared my concerns and practiced the argument I would hold with the doctors if they insisted on triggering me that night; ready and rearing to go for a debate if necessary.

But as we all crammed into the tiny monitoring room for the second time, my heart softened as both Dr. Greene and Dr. Sher delighted over my progress on the grainy black screen once again. I was calmed by their genuine excitement over the vast array of gorgeous follicles, and soothed by Dr. Greene's assurance that Dr. Sher had been around the block a time or two and was never one to pass out compliments often, so I truly was an impressive responder with a rockstar lining.

If I wasn't already lacking modesty for being half naked with my legs up in stirrups in a tiny room with a large group of people staring at my lady parts on a small computer screen, it may have been enough to make me blush.

Until I was told to get dressed and meet back in the office for the final verdict.

Because as I pulled my panties back on and collected my things, I caught a glimpse of my blue folder containing my last three cycles worth of monitoring sheets, and I was reminded that I came here today on a mission. It was my responsibility to make sure that everyone in that building remembered that I had been triggered too early a year ago, and it cost me everything.

Including my passive aggressive attitude.

I was ready to break out the big guns as the nurse sat me down and told me that I wouldn't be needing to inject any more Follistim or Luveris. And I was about to pull out my sheets and let her have it, but Dr. Greene showed up instead, smile on his face and excitement in his voice. He told me that we wouldn't be triggering quite yet, but that it would be best to stop feeding my follicles and let them have one more day to just grow a little bit on their own, instead.

And knowing I had at least one more day, even if it was without injections, was enough to settle the crazy person in me down.

Dr. Greene assured me that they have definitely been looking back at my past cycles, but the fact is that what we've done so far just hasn't worked. I very well may be one of the small handfuls of rare women that are extremely high responders, similar to patients with PCOS, but without actually having PCOS, because my hormone receptors are super sensitive. And in the past we've pushed harder and longer, retrieving slightly more mature eggs in the process, but the quality of our embryos just hasn't improved by doing so.

So there is a very real possibility that by pushing me longer, we were actually retrieving some overly mature eggs instead of healthy ones.

But that's all in theory, of course.

Part of me was thrilled to hear the Doctor's exude excitement and optimism about the subtle changes in protocol, and the results of those changes that were apparent in our follicular monitoring. In all reality, these Doctors have seen it all, and if they say that this is the best way to go about getting me pregnant, then I have no reason to argue with them, their walls full of diplomas, or their years of expertise.

But there is still another part of me-though it is a smaller part-that is scared to death of the past repeating itself. Worried that the Doctors aren't looking at the bigger picture and doing all they can to make this work. Terrified that Friday's retrieval will produce a low number of mature eggs and our chances of having a biological child will be over.

So long story short, I'm no longer numb.

I'm definitely feeling the tug of war inside of me, and I'm torn between amazement at how God has worked everything out perfectly so far, and paralyzing fear that something will go wrong at any second; feeling extremely grateful yet overcome with anxiety, and my emotions are overflowing; running over and spilling out all over the place.

But the most important thing for me to remember right now is that I am,without a doubt, blessed. And if I could simply calm my head and heart long enough to stop living in the past and really look at how lovely the view is from where I'm sitting right now, I would be able to appreciate and accept that more often.

God's timing is perfect. People are praying. Extra doctors are consulting. Follicles are growing. Lining is plumping. Patience is being learned. Emotions are overflowing.

And God knows what He's doing.

When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee.
Isaiah 43:2 (KJV)

Dear Heavenly Father,

As this cycle draws to an end, give me the grace I need to bring my fears to You instead of wallowing in the past and looking back instead of forward. Help me to trust the doctors and know that You are always in control, constantly leading and guiding them to make the right decisions on our behalf.

Remind me that no matter how crazy our circumstances get, You won't let the waters overflow me; I'm safe in Your arms,


"Don't be afraid of showing your feelings; be afraid of regretting it when you didn't."
-Laura Springer


Hillary said...

Oh, Tab, I am feeling that tug-of-war with you. Praying that God would guide the doctors and that you WOULD have a beautiful baby result from this.

BTW, how awesome that you have the head dr. working on your cycle :)

A.E. said...

Tab, Where to begin? No doubt God got a big grin on his face when you turned that paper around and didn't request a copy of your numbers. And I just KNOW He said, "That's my girl." And the fact that you saw Dr. Sher makes my heart LEAP. You've been given such a big story, such enormous faith, and we're still praying specifically for a baby THIS cycle.

Robin said...

Well, we've been waiting for the numbness to end, haven't we? But really, its not a bad thing at all. Because you want to live in the moment. God provided you with the best care possible! Dr. Sher had no choice, God ordained that he would be with you through this process. Our Savior is in charge and He's got the process in His hands.

You are such a blessing. He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it. Can't wait to see what His plan is for your life!!!

Life Happens said...

It sounds like you are in good hands with those doctors. I remember how much I prayed that God would be with my doctors and guide them through my cycle. And it sounds like He is doing the same with your doctors.

They are merely tools in His hands.

Hillary said...

Praying for you, Tab! It's almost 10:30 and almost time for your ER :)

Lisa said...

Best of luck tab- by now you've prob. had your ER, hoping you got the results you were looking for and you'll be growing some healthy embryos!!!!! PRAYING FOR YOU!!!

Hoping for our own Peanut said...

Coming by to cheer you on and I see the update on the sidebar. 14 growing..WOW! You are in good hands..this IS IT!

Mrs. Hammer said...

I am so excited to hear that your RE is treating you more like a PCOS patient. After following you along on your IVF cycles I've started to wonder the same thing. Glad to hear they are changing things up. And it never hurts to have two RE's working together :) Prayers that this is the one!!!!