Champs.

My beautiful, strong, amazing wife made it through her retrieval today with flying colors. They pulled a really solid number of eggs, and we are waiting on a call tomorrow morning from the embryologist to find out how many of them were fertilized. I don’t know why, but I thought we’d leave knowing more – like how good the eggs looked, but we’ll know so soon that it’s not too bad.

We arrived at the clinic at 7:30 for her 8am appt, and we knew I’d be taken back at 8:30 for bloodwork and ultrasound. She signed in when we got there, and I set up my laptop to get work done – assuming we’d be waiting a bit, and my wife walked away to use the bathroom and a nurse came out and started calling my name. Since I hadn’t yet signed in myself, I didn’t respond and someone else then came out to ask if I knew my name was being called. They later explained that the doctor had a few moments before going back to start the two retrieval procedures he had lined up, so they wanted to take advantage of our earliness to squeeze in my ultrasound before he was tied up. I was so confused at that moment, though, and I didn’t know if I’d see my wife before her procedure. I just wanted to kiss her goodbye and tell her I loved her and was being escorted through one door for my ultrasound as she was being escorted into another across the room to wait for her procedure, and we were being separated while waving to one another like a scene in a sappy love movie.

After I composed myself, the doctor (not our usual guy, unfortunately) came in for my ultrasound. He popped in the wand with record speed and told me immediately that my uterus looked beautiful and that the fluid that had shown up on my last ultrasound was gone and my lining was at 10mm (which he was very pleased with). After he wrapped up, I met with a nurse who drew a blood sample and discussed my new medication calendar (which included the introduction of an oral steriod to prevent my body from rejecting the embryo) and progesterone in oil (a viscous liquid that is injected intramuscular-ly with a very long needle) in addition to my estrogen pill, prenatal vitamin, and baby asprin (a regimen I’ve been on for a few weeks, now).

I ended up back in the surgical waiting area with enough time to see my wife before her procedure (which was AMAZING) and after about 45 minutes of waiting (only about 20 of which were for the actual procedure) the doctor came out to tell me the results, followed by a nurse who brought me back to see her.

She was groggy for the first few minutes, but otherwise great. No major pain (just some abdominal cramping, which we expected) and she’s been chugging water and gatorade all day to try to keep herself hydrated and prevent the OHSS. She also has to monitor her weight as a key indicator of OHSS is rapid weight gain due to water retention, so I am keeping a close eye on her (not that she needs me as she’s tough as nails).

Tonight, I had my first progesterone shot (which I described above). We watched several videos on administering the shot, and followed tips that we found from fellow bloggers and online forums:

  • Iced the area for 5-10 minutes prior to injection
  • Warmed the bottle of the medication in a cup of warm water (it is an oil-based shot, and typically oils are more viscous at colder temperatures and become more thin and pourable at higher temperatures). That being said, we used warm water – not hot – as I wasn’t trying to cook my muscle tissue with hot sesame oil.
  • Laid down on the bed with some relaxing music (which was Rhianna for me tonight, haha)
  • Rubbed the area for a few moments afterward

I wanted to take a picture from my perspective of the shot, but my wife yelled at me because she was nervous so – no photo. Then I got nervous and began to dread the shot in the seconds leading up to it piercing my skin – though I’d been feeling fairly nonchalant about it all day. Turns out – the seconds of worry were for naught, as I literally could not feel the shot. Like – I kind of felt it pierce skin, and then I asked her what she was waiting for because I was starting to get nervous and she said, “I’m done!”

I totally thought she was kidding, but it was so easy and painless (and I am a HUGE baby when it comes to pain). I honestly think the ice helped a lot and where she injected the shot as well. They say you can inject the shot into any muscle, but the upper, outer quadrant of your buttcheek is the best place. Sooo…that’s my story. Hope the details help someone else to have a painless shot, too.

(Though I told my wife I’m partially nervous that she injected it into the wrong place and I’m going to end up with an issue from the oil in the wrong part of my body…but she swears it’s right).

So….5 day holding pattern. Monday is the big transfer and I don’t expect that much will happen between now and then.

We still have our eyes on that house, but are sitting tight to see how this all pans out, first. Still thinking of everyone else out there and hoping for good news for you all.

embryosinfavor

Tomorrow’s the day!

It feels like we just started this journey – literally – February feels like YESTERDAY, but here we are – on the eve of our retrieval, trying to calm our nerves and keep our fears at bay, and fill our hearts with the hope of a bunch of healthy, thriving little embryos.

I thought that it might be nice to honor my rockstar of a wife (whose experience I haven’t blogged very much about as she’s generally more private and less eager to write than I, but who is also the one going through this egg retrieval process, so that her eggs with our donor sperm can help to create our future baby) with a little co-authored entry in Q&A fashion. I’d seen this done in another blog a while back and thought it was a great idea, so I’ll ask her a few questions about this process and transcribe her response into text for you all (whoever “you all” are) as well as for us and posterity 🙂

How do you feel heading into the retrieval tomorrow? 

Excited and nervous: I’m excited to see how many eggs we get, but really nervous that I’m going to develop OHSS [Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome – a condition that can happen more frequently to women with PCOS and with which symptoms include:

  • Mild to moderate abdominal pain
  • Abdominal bloating or increased waist size
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Tenderness in the area of your ovaries
  • Sudden weight increase of more than 6.6 pounds (3 kilograms) (borrowed from the Mayo Clinic website: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/ovarian-hyperstimulation-syndrome-ohss/symptoms-causes/dxc-20263586]

How have you felt – in general – throughout this process? 

Other than being pretty bloated, not bad. And uncontrollably emotional these past few days. 

Okay, so that’s the physical part: how do you feel emotionally about all of this? 

I just don’t want to let you down if something goes wrong. I also don’t know if I could do this again. I just hope we have a ton of embryos in the freezer [when this is all done] so we don’t have to worry about that. And I’m pretty sick of being fat [she isn’t – she gained a few pounds – probably partially water weight – and looks amazing, but I’m telling it like she’s saying it…] 

What do you want to tell people who might be getting ready to go through this? 

Be super patient with [your spouse] and start saving money. And don’t watch too many IVF blogs or watch too many vlogs, because you’re going to freak yourself out. You just gotta do it. 

What was your favorite part of this entire process so far? 

I actually like the ultrasounds daily at this point and seeing how big my follicles got. I like to see progress. 

What do you wish I knew about how this process has been for you? 

You can be more emotionally supportive. 

What else do you want the blogging world or families to know about any of this? 

I feel very lucky to have a wife who would give up everything to carry my baby, and I don’t know anyone else who would do that for me. (We’ve discussed this a lot. I literally cannot wait to do this – it doesn’t feel like a chore, or a burden AT ALL.)

I’m not going to lie, the one about me being more supportive hurt my heart a little, but it didn’t come as a surprise as we’ve talked about that pretty extensively over the last few days. This last week has been tough – I’ve been low on emotion and she’s been high and its usually the COMPLETE opposite, so we’re both struggling to figure out how to manage these feelings and how to tease out what is related to the medication and what’s related to the overall process and how overwhelming this all can be.

Overall, I think we balance one another out well, and I think I mentioned previously – I cannot imagine another human being by my side – this woman keeps me calm when I’m going crazy, pulls me in when I’m floating away, and makes me feel safe when I’m terrified. Tomorrow is really scary. We’re hopeful because the doctor told us at her appointment yesterday that our case seems to mirror another co-ivf case that he did a few weeks ago that yielded GREAT results for the couple, but we really do read and watch so much online and can’t help but get sucked in by the horror stories. All we want is one perfect embryo to transfer (at this point, it is looking like Monday) and a few solid embryos to freeze for the future or in the event that this first attempt doesn’t work as planned. Prayers, positive thoughts, good juju – whatever you believe in, please! And as always – back at you ladies. I have so much respect for ANYONE going through this retrieval process: you’re all rockstars and your partners are so, so fortunate to have you. What is it that the TTC community says so often? Baby dust….baby dust for all!

See you on the other side of this retrieval process, tomorrow.

The week is here!!

We each had checkups yesterday (ultrasound and bloodwork…the new usual) and got calls from our nurse in the afternoon about next steps.

My wife currently has follicles averaging between 9 and 15 (millimeters? I don’t know what the unit of measure was, but 9 and 14 were the numbers they gave us) and they said that the necessary size for retrieval is between 18-23. (Side note: after reading as many blogs as I have, I really thought by this point that I’d have the IVF lingo down pat, but I still feel like I’m struggling to remember the terms every day!!)

They anticipate her going to retrieval on Tuesday at the earliest, and Thursday at the latest. As long as the embryos develop as they are supposed to, my transfer would be about five days after: so sometime between Saturday and Monday of next week.

My ultrasound and bloodwork went well – I thought my estrogen level of somewhere around 260 was high, until my wife told me that hers were over 800. We’ve made a competitive joke out of who has bigger follicles, higher estrogen levels, and more shots – but I told her that if this goes the way it is supposed to, I’m totally okay with her levels being higher right now.

Our doctor was on vacation during our last appointment, but the nurse who did our ultrasounds and bloodwork noticed a small pocket of fluid in my uterus – she asked if I was still bleeding (I wasn’t – it stopped over a week ago) and she said that perhaps it was mucous (gross!) and when our nurse called me later with my results, she said that she isn’t too concerned but that they’d evaluate me the same day as my wife’s retrieval and if the pocket is still there, they’ll watch it closely but continue on with our plan and have me start the progesterone that evening.

Last week, my wife and one of the only friends we have clued into this process (the one who is also part of the IVF club) went to pick up our sperm and drop it off at the clinic. This woman is a saint: she’s struggling on her own IVF journey, and she willingly took off half a day from work with my wife (since I don’t have the ability to do so right now) and accompanied her around town with what is essentially a gigantic icicle capsule that is the current home to our tiny vial of sperm, and she was greeted by messages of “congratulations” and “hello Mrs. ____” (they thought that she was me at the clinic and the sperm bank since it wasn’t the office we normally go to for our clinic, and I’d never been to the sperm bank).

We were hoping to save $200+ by picking up the sperm ourselves, but my wife ended up getting a $70 parking ticket outside of the cryobank’s office, so I suppose that $130 and a bunch of hilarious stories will have to suffice.

Next up is a 10am appointment tomorrow, during or shortly after which we will be advised on which day my wife’s retrieval will be. Either way, SO CLOSE!

Keep sending us your positive vibes, prayers, or whatever you use to send love out into the world – because we can use them and will be so grateful (and of course – back at you all as well!)