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Egg retrieval…less than two hours from now. It kind of weirds me out that I’m just sitting in my living room and there’s less than 2 hours to go. Shouldn’t there be some long preparation? I guess not. I’ve been through this before. I know better.
I’m anxious but I’m calm. Weird state to be in. I am really hoping for a good number of eggs. This is our last insurance-covered round of IVF. I need there to be plenty of everything to choose from.
All I can concentrate on now is the new and unfamiliar smell of a new brand of shampoo and conditioner from my drying hair. Everything else comes and goes in flashes. I’m trying not to think about how I’d like a big breakfast or a tall glass of water. Whoops…I just did.
Think of me today at 11:30 if you can…I can use all the help I can get. Hopefully I’ll be drifting off into a quick slumber as these eggs of destiny are pulled from me.
Sounds exciting, no?
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…egg retrieval. Friday. 11:30 am.
Trigger tonight (2 shots of ovidrel) at 11:30 pm.
Blood work tomorrow morning at 8 am. Final instructions at the same time.
Let’s get this thing started. Word.
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I was looking around Twitter last night and realized that most of the infertility/TTC people I follow have either gotten pregnant, had a baby or moved on to a childfree existence or adoption. While I’m thrilled for all of them, it makes me remember how long we’ve been on this road…how long these scars have marked my emotions.
IVF is totally different the second time around. I don’t feel as militant as I was the first time. If that makes sense. I’m not hopeless, but I just don’t feel the same fire in me. Maybe it’s because this IVF has not gone according to plan. Maybe it’s because the last one resulted in loss followed by loss and failure with the FETs. Either way, it’s different.
Maybe these emotions are all real, but they’re certainly made more heightened by the meds I’m on. I was cranky as all heck last night. And that crankiness turned into melancholy. Then I fell asleep.
Today is a new day.
Do you guys ever feel this way?
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So after my estradiol jumped last week, I was instructed to try and do three more nights of Lupron and retest. Knowing what happened last month, I wasn’t overly hopeful. Yet, when I got a headache that screamed “ESTROGEN HEADACHE” on Saturday, I started to get my hopes up…maybe it just needed an extra push.
Turns out my estradiol went up. The RE now thinks this may be a function of my body’s normal system and not a failure to downregulate. They also tested my progesterone and that was normal, indicating that I had not ovulated and did not have a producing cyst. There’s no real explanation for why this is happening.
Which is, as you may have guessed, the story of my freaking life.
So the RE (through my nurse) offered an option: start the stims and see how I react. We can always not go through with the retrieval if I don’t react properly. So that’s what I did last night.
For my own sake and record, I’m on 300 units of Follistim and 150 mg of Menapour. My Lupron was dropped from 10 units to 5 units.
I could combine some of these shots, but I chose not to. I am so worried that I’d screw something up. I’d rather just give myself three shots and at least have the peace of mind knowing that I didn’t mess it up in the mixing.
Onwards and upwards I guess…with a caveat like always. Nothing can be simple. There is no such thing as a green light with me. Everything is always stuck on yellow.
P.S. There’s a new post up at Dispatches from the (In)Fertility Wars…it’s One Woman’s Story about infertility and success.
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We finally met with the new doctor and got all the tests done. Everything was as expected on both of our parts. All of my hormones were in check but my insulin was high. The Mister’s numbers were better than I expected and provide plenty of room for success.
And, during the sonohystogram I was told that my right tube was not blocked like previously thought. Go figure.
So we had our “Game Plan” appointment on Wednesday with the doctor and we’re going ahead with IVF in April. Unlike RE1, RE2’s clinic has scheduled IVF times. This means that they work with your cycle, but they also try to fit more people into doing IVF at one time instead of all spread apart. At first glance this doesn’t make much sense for the patient, but on the other hand in a small clinic with one doctor it makes a ton of sense. It also allows the clinic to be less schizophrenic in terms of functioning at any given point in time.
We made our nurse consultation/orientation appointment for the 19th. But I knew I’d get my period before then. Sure enough, it showed up late last night/today. I’m going in on Monday for a baseline ultrasound and blood work.
And then the fun begins.
I’m excited to be getting to this point again. I feel that breeze of spring in the air and the possibility of life changing days ahead.
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This letter is to the people of Mississippi, urging them to reject Proposition 26. Proposition 26 would give any fertilized embryo the status of “person” under the law. While anti-choice advocates promote this type of legal definition to prevent abortions, it is clear from recent history as well as science that personhood is not something that can be so easily defined without unintended consequences…namely the criminalization of almost every woman, especially (and ironically) those of us trying to become mothers.
Dear Citizens of Mississippi:
I am writing to you today about the upcoming choice you have at the ballot box in Proposition 26. With one vote, you could be changing the lives of women and children everywhere for the worse. I know that’s not what you intend, so please hear me out.
Please, for the love of everything, do not approve Proposition 26, the “personhood” amendment. This would give all fertilized eggs–regardless of viability–the status of person under the law. That means anything that harms a fertilized egg, or has the potential to harm a fertilized egg, will be illegal in Mississippi. Even many pro-life proponents do not agree with this bill. Sure, it has the intended consequence of outlawing abortion (though, as you should know by now, I think is an illegal and futile effort). But think of all the consequences:
And there is so much more. This amendment is unconstitutional in most people’s eyes, but it is unworkable to almost everyone. If you want a medical provider’s feedback on it, I suggest you read Smedette’s post from the other day. As a nurse, she is required to help women in need and this bill would prevent her from doing that.
If something akin to Proposition 26 was law in Michigan, I would have been charged with murder at least 8 times and charged with manslaughter or attempted murder possibly 6 more. Why? Because I wanted to start a family and had to use IVF due to my medical conditions to do so. In doing that, I lost eight embryos after the initial fertilization process. These embryos were not viable, but they were fertilized. With language like that in Proposition 26, I would be a murderer…for trying to be a mother.
Further, I have miscarried four embryos. After that, I found out that I have a genetic abnormality that may be contributing to these miscarriages. Would that be reckless endangerment? Or manslaughter?
And what about the two that are still frozen that I hope to have thawed and transferred into my womb in the next couple of months? The freezing and thawing process alone is risky. What if they don’t make it? Is that second degree murder?
Do you understand that under Proposition 26 these above scenarios are not just theoretical discussions, they are actual possiblities? And because of that, fertility clinics around the state will close and many of the infertile people of Mississippi who cannot afford to travel out of state for fertility treatments will be denied the right to be a parent. Is that really what you want?
I know what many of you want. You want to end abortion. You know what? I’m pro-choice and I’d love it if no one needed an abortion as well…but not only is it really not a good end goal, it doesn’t work when society is the way it is and medicine has not advanced far enough to eliminate the medical need for abortions. In other words, we cannot attempt to enforce rules created for a perfect world when the world is far from perfect.
Proposition 26 will not solve any problems. It will only make them worse. You’re smarter than that, Mississippi. It’s time to show it.
A Mother of Fourteen Embryos From IVF and a Criminal Under Proposition 26
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Last week’s news that I had a MTHFR mutation was apparently exactly what I needed to hear. Don’t get me wrong, it sucks to have yet another thing to contend with in this infertility journey, but I feel vindicated in some way. It’s like a curtain has lifted and I’m able to focus on the future instead of dwelling on the past.
IVF is one of those things that nothing can truly prepare you for no matter how much you read or research or anything. Not that it’s bad to do those things, but the stress that you go through physically and mentally is indescribable. When you succeed at IVF, it feels like all of that was worthwhile and that you’ve finally done something right. Having a miscarriage after IVF is like a snap back to reality where you are convinced that nothing can go right ever again.
I had so much hope going into IVF in February and March. I was done with hoping and onto believing. It was GOING to happen. And by hard work and chance and luck it did. It was hard to convince myself that it was actually a success at first. I kept waiting for the other shoe to fall. Every single time we went for an ultrasound or a blood draw, I was just waiting for them to tell me something was wrong.
Until that last time. Somehow, I finally managed to convince myself that this was going to happen for me after all.
And then it didn’t.
That kind of weirdly reassuring disappointment is hard to bounce back from. And although I knew there had to be some reason for it, all I could think was “that just figures.” I was so blinded by my disappointment and grief that I couldn’t even get to the part where I was asking the right questions. And when the karotyping came back as perfectly normal, I started placing a lot of the burden on myself for any little thing I may have done wrong. It wasn’t intentional and some of it wasn’t even done consciously. It certainly wasn’t right, but there was no way I could stop.
We went into June/July’s FET with some hope, but to be honest I was just going through the motions. It was as if treatment was a job and I was just coming in, punching my time card and going home. There were a few glimmers of commitment here and there, but I never had the will power that I had the first time around. I was still blaming myself for everything that had happened.
I wasn’t ready.
When the FET turned into another (albeit much earlier) loss, I was not only grieving again, but I was angry and frustrated and unable to ask anything other than WHY. And apparently the WHY is what I needed to be pushing for all along.
Last week, the MTHFR mutation revelation wasn’t great in that I was happy I had some other potential infertility cause. It was great in that I finally had the answer I was looking for. Now maybe my losses were more complicated than just that, but maybe they weren’t. And now I have things to do and a plan in place.
And more than that, I have some distance between me and that place of grief and despair that I occupied for so long this year. About a month ago, a co-worker had a baby and I was forced to look at this newborn’s picture and hear about how the mother and baby were doing. All I could think about at that point was how much I missed my babies that never were.
I wasn’t ready to move on because I hadn’t yet found any answers as to why they weren’t still with me.
I wasn’t ready to move on because I hadn’t come to terms with what had happened.
I wasn’t ready to move on because I wasn’t ready to let myself believe again.
It seemed to me that believing again was somehow betraying their memories. It’s silly and makes no sense, but that’s the distinct feeling I had every time I tried to muster up some strength. I just wasn’t able to identify it until now…until the spot in the rearview mirror became smaller and smaller in the distance.
I will never fully lose sight of those losses. They were too jarring to the soul for me to forget. But in the past couple of weeks, and the past week in particular, I’ve been able to start putting together a plan for the future and actually be excited about it again. I still have a few more steps to take emotionally, but I don’t feel like I’m being rushed to take them.
And while I still miss my babies, my embryos, more than I can even explain, I can now differentiate that pain from the pain of infertility in general. A month ago I could care less about being a mother, I just wanted to be a mother to my twins. I wasn’t ready to move forward because all I wanted was to have them back. Now, though I’d love to have them back, I feel like my soul is comforted by the fact that I have found my way back to wanting to be a mother in general again…that there’s room in my heart once again to risk it all at another chance at this dream.
It doesn’t mean I still don’t have tears. It just means that I’m able to see through them a bit more clearly now and start to believe again.
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Those of us that go through IVF have a hard enough time explaining our choices without Nadya “Octomom” Suleman being dragged into the conversation. But there’s new reason for her to be talked about now. Turns out, she now claims that she was “under the influence of “valium and a cocktail of drugs” given to her by her former fertility doctor, Michael Kamrava,”
Now, I’m not saying that Dr. Kamrava wasn’t shady. He’s about as shady as a 100 year old willow tree. But after years of defending him, when her paycheck was running out, she now claims her consent was not valid.
I’m sorry, Nadya, but you’re a liar.
First of all, valium (unless you’re taking a ton of it) relaxes you, it does not make you decide to have TWELVE embryos implanted. And what is this mysterious “cocktail of drugs”? Because I’m on a “cocktail of drugs” every single day and I’m not incapable of giving informed consent.
Second, do you honestly mean to tell me you didn’t get a fertilization report saying you had twelve embryos and then decide to throw them all back in? Because from all that I’ve heard and read, that’s exactly what happened. In fact, you WANTED all of those children (even though now you sickeningly refer to them as problems).
Third, and more importantly, thank you, yet again, for bringing a bad name to IVF. Even well intentioned friends and family have made Octomom jokes to me before. And they sicken me not because you aren’t a joke (I’m sorry, you are), but because you’ve made a joke of my last chance at conceiving and carrying an embryo that turns into a fetus that is then born to be a baby. And now you’re making a joke out of the consent process that goes along with it.
Thanks a giant pantload, Nadya. You really are a pioneer of stupidity.
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