And…Now I’m Scared

So, I sit here in my bed, tears running down my face, sniffling from just having had a good cry. I’m getting to the beginning of the end of this cycle and I had my water sonogram, in which my doctor saw I had a small polyp and I just filled the prescription I needed for the procedure to remove it.

I gotta tell you, I’m terrified of this medication. It is called Misoprostol and I am supposed to take three pills, vaginally at 6pm the night before my procedure. I asked in the office if it was going to be like labor pain, and they said ‘oh no, just cramping’. Well, guess what? I know labor is just severe cramping…been there done that doc, but thanks for telling me yet another lie. So I mention to the pharmacist my fears and she says it does cause severe cramping, bleeding, etc. Okay, not really helping, but a little more honest. She also said the drug is commonly used for abortion and I thought it was odd.

I called my doctor to ask if it was correct and why they are using that. They told me it was correct and that it is used for a number of reasons. She also told me some people experience pain and others aren’t bothered by it. So, I took to the internet, like any normal Gen-X-er and read more and more stories about how absolutely horrifying this medication is. How many women passed out from pain, called 911, went to the ER for fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and were doubled over in so much pain they cried out screaming. THIS. DOES. NOT. MAKE. ME. FEEL. ANY. BETTER. In fact, I found myself sobbing incoherently to my husband because I am so scared.

First of all, I’ve gone into natural labor before, I know it sucks, I know it is massive amounts of pain. I also know I begged/screamed for an epidural before I was even that far into labor. You can’t fool me. Been there, done that. I know cramping and my body, don’t mix. I suffer from IBS anyways, and I know anything else triggering an IBS issue will not be good for me.

Second of all, they list on the prep sheet, to alternate between Tylenol and Motrin until midnight. All that I read said the pain progressively got worse through the night, then what? I can’t take any more pain management meds because of my surgery. I asked the nurse and she said I could take a pill with a sip of water. Okay, I feel a little better…but only because I’ve been given a possible solution. I’m still over here freaking out about how much pain I will be doubled over in throughout the night.

I realize reading the internet can be a cardinal sin and get me into loads of mental turmoil, but really, wouldn’t you rather know worst case scenarios before they happen, not while they happen and you are freaking out something is terribly wrong? I know what has happened in the past too, the nurses are not straight with me and tell me things are going to be ‘not painful’, maybe some ‘discomfort’ but not ‘painful’. And I will be the first to say they lied. I don’t like that. I don’t like that at all. It’s hard to find trust in doctors and nurses who won’t be straight with you. Although, on the flip side, to be fair, the Web MD blurp about that medication said the exact same thing as the nurses. However, real peoples accounts matter when it comes to things of this nature and they aren’t to be discounted.

I think I will take a Xanax tonight, to relieve some of this anxiety. Maybe help me calm down a bit, at least I got some tears out.

Everything I Do Is New and Scary

Yesterday was the first day of taking this antibiotic they prescribed me in preparation for my water sonogram. It said on the sheet to take it with food, and I took it when I woke up, knowing by the time I got to work, within the 30 minute mark, I would be eating something. Well, I barely made it to that point, because I felt very weird, sort of out of it, nauseous, sick, everything. I forced myself to eat a Fiber One bar and that was it. I dry heaved for close to an hour and then when the food set in, I felt better. I didn’t even know what the medicine was called or really what it was for. When I got home I looked it up and was shocked to read that it can be used to prevent anthrax poisoning and malaria. CRAZY! No wonder I felt so crappy after I took it. I made sure to take it with food in the evening. I was also instructed to take an Ibuprofen 600 tablet before bed and two hours before procedure. I didn’t feel like it would do much…

I was expecting pain, and I got pain. I also wasn’t sure what to expect, pretty much at all. I read about it on the internet and I thought I would be able to feel the water going in. That, I couldn’t. But where the pain came in was the “mock transfer’ where my doctor put the catheter into my cervix. He had some trouble getting it in and it was painful and uncomfortable. Not enough to make me cry, but my husband was there and I was squeezing his hand. He told me he couldn’t have that happen the day of my transfer, but honestly, I’m not sure what will be different then, maybe just that he knows it’s a challenge. My doctor did find a polyp inside my uterus and he told me that because it is posterior and that is where he attempts to place the embryo for implantation, it needs to be clear of that type of thing. So, now I need to have surgery to remove it.

Having the nurse explain this surgery to me has me slightly freaked out again. Yes, I will be sedated, and yes, it’s outpatient, but when I asked how they will be going in to get it, they told me they will dilate the cervix and go in that way. I said, as if I’m in labor? and they said, yes, but not so bad. I’m thinking, when I had my second baby and I went into labor naturally, I was demanding drugs at 4 cm because I was in so much pain. Now, I have to endure this pain on purpose again? Ummmm, I don’t think so. Ugh. So, another day off of work and I am not looking forward to the unknown again. It just seems like every step is scary. But every time I complete something, it’s one more thing crossed off the list.

Today was also the day they administered my Depot Lupron shot. This is the shot the nurse told me cost $1000 out of pocket, but thank God my insurance covered it. They told me because it’s so expensive, they like to give it at the office, so nothing goes wrong. I had talked to a friend who went through it and she said it was the worst shot ever. It was big and long and scary. Well, I chose not to look at it and I asked the nurse if she could get me a frozen ice pack for my wimpy self. They got me one that was not cold enough and I requested a more solid frozen one, and they obliged. If nothing else, they sure know how to humor me. So I put it on my backside and let it sit for a few minutes. I took my husbands hand and when she gave it to me, I barely felt a thing. That solid ice pack works wonders. Now, to sit back and wait for the side effects, the hot flashes, and night sweats. I hope I bypass all that stuff.

On my way out of the office, my husband had to use the bathroom, and I was waiting by the elevators. This woman came out of the office and made the same mistake I do a million times with opening their new glass door. It needs a little sign that says either Push/Pull, because you always do the opposite and then you feel silly. Well, I made a comment to her, laughing that I do the same thing all the time and she laughed and asked me a question about if it was my first appointment. I told her it wasn’t, then her and I got chatting about all that’s gotten me up to this point in the process. She told me that she just went to her consult appointment and how much information it was to take in. I agreed and we talked for what seemed like forever. She and I seem to be a lot alike and I thought it was cool that she was wanting to go through IVF for the same reason as us. I don’t know anyone who would be willing to go through it like me, so to meet someone else who is thinking about it was pretty refreshing. We talked so long, I said, we should exchange numbers because it was nice chatting. It’s funny because we were talking about signs and she told me she believes in them, when I got in the car, I told my husband that I hope she sees us meeting as a sign, because I know I would have. When I got home I got a text that said she is looking at our meeting as a sign. I smiled. I know all about signs.

So, now I have to wait to have this minor surgery and hope that’s not too painful. Just one more step until my baby girl is growing inside my belly.

Is It Over Yet?

I’m 13 days deep in this process and 38 pokes down. It’s starting to get rough now. Emotionally, I’m trying to keep it together, but it’s rough. I have begun to feel like a pincushion, especially on ultrasound/lab work days. I go in, after having my husband just given me a shot, and since I have such poor veins, they poke and poke and my arms are all beaten and bruised. I look like a drug user, and I know its going to get worse. Today is my last day on the calendar they gave me, but I don’t know what to expect for the rest of the week. They are telling me my egg retrieval will more than likely be Thursday, and today is Monday, so I don’t really know how many more pokes to expect. I guess I’ll find out today at my appointment.

So, the pain from what these drugs are doing to my body is real. It started as a dull cramping and fullness, and now I full on feel like I’m in the beginning stages of labor. My uterus is cramping, I feel pain in my abdomen and my lower back is killing me. I’ve read a few things saying not to take Ibuprofen, so I’m trying to steer clear of it. I spent my entire Sunday laying on my back in bed. I honestly don’t know how I’m going to work and make it to Thursday for the retrieval. From what I’ve read, those symptoms are normal, and I just need to work through them. My injection sites are bruised and my middle child yesterday asked, ‘mama, what are those yellowy spots on your tummy?’ and when I told him he asked ‘but why are they yellow?’, and I had to explain the process of a shot going in my skin and causing pain and why a bruise would form. Hard to explain to a 4 year old. My tummy is in rough shape as I’m losing valuable square footage to poke it. Each shot feels different based on where it goes in and if it hits any of those pain receptors or not. Some shots I don’t feel at all, not even a poke, others make me jump. It’s weird.

Emotionally, I’ve had my moments. Sometimes I feel weepy, and down on myself, thinking about all the people who have had a boy, and a girl and how lucky they are. I get mad that I feel that I need to do this in order to get a girl, and other people didn’t even try and that’s what they got. I was in line the other day at the deli counter and a young woman (probably early 20’s) was in line in front of me. She had a baby girl in a car carrier in the shopping basket of the cart and she was sleeping away peacefully. I asked the mom how old the baby was and she said 3 months, we exchanged silly banter and I told her I had 3 boys, she said she wished her baby was a boy, but she got her instead. For some reason, that made me cry when I got home. Probably because of the pain I am going through for my dreams, and others just get it naturally.

They warned me of the Centritide injection making me emotional and angry, and I’ve only really experienced the emotional part, acting a little more down than normal. Until yesterday, where things got a bit, oh, how do you put it…screamy…lol. It all started normal, until I began doing laundry and I decided to change the baby’s changing pad cover and throw it in the wash, well, I’m in pain and can’t walk down the stairs all that easy, so I call down to my husband to throw it in the already started washing machine…no answer…he was just there, I’m calling and calling and nothing. I’m getting aggravated now. I make my oldest put it in the washer and there is hubby, I screamed at him that I had been calling to him and I needed him. He asked what for and when I told him, he clearly thought I was insane. But I was mad! I realize my level 10 blow up was unnecessary, but I felt angry in the moment and it is what it is. This basically happened all day, with him and the kids, then I asked him to run out and get me food from Ruby Tuesday and he didn’t want to go. I begged him to and he went, at 9pm on a Sunday night, when he was already exhausted from the kids all day. He pretty much is a saint, I’ll tell you that right now.

So, here we are, me in writhing pain, waiting for word on when these eggs can be removed and hoping to God I can work this week, because my vacation time is running a bit thin these days.

Halfway Point

Well, I’m currently on day seven of my stims. It’s been going pretty good so far. The first night, I took a Xanax to calm myself down because I was so scared of the first shot. When I couldn’t sleep, I just got up and got everything prepared and ready. My morning medicine is Gonal F. It comes in a predetermined pen-like shot. I just click the end to the correct dose and put the needle on the end. I checked the dose, to make sure it read 225, and set it down. I pulled an ice cube out of the mini fridge we bought to keep my meds cold. I placed the ice cube on my stomach, two finger widths from my belly button, just as the nurse instructed. I called my husband upstairs and after talking about it, I pinched my skin where he was to deliver the meds and I seriously didn’t feel it at all. It is a 29 gauge needle and is only 1/2 inch long, it’s really so small. I was impressed. I high-fived him and proclaimed ‘I got this!’

I expected the medicine in the evening to go the same. I got everything all ready, this time the shot is a bit different. I had to mix the solution with the powder and there are so many different pieces, I got flustered and frustrated and wasn’t sure if I was doing it right. I had my husband double check what I did and he thought it looked right, so we did the same thing I had done earlier, with the ice cube, but on the other side of my stomach, as the nurse instructed so as to give each side ample time to heal before another poke. We cleaned the area with the rubbing alcohol pad and he stuck me. It stung. I was a bit disappointed, but thought maybe I did something wrong. I called the nurse to ask if I did something wrong and she suggested I use more solution next time, it might have been too concentrated. I thought that would make all the difference. But when I did it the following night, I added .7 ml solution instead of .5 ml, and it hurt again, and the needle was in too long, so we settled on .6 ml as the perfect amount, because it turns into .5 ml after mixing with the powder. However, it hasn’t stopped hurting, in fact, the third night, when my husband went to poke me, I jumped backwards and he just went in and stabbed me again, and I was so mad. It hurt and I was sore the rest of the night. We established he totally did it outside of the ice cube zone and I felt it, also we determined I can’t just be standing, I need to be standing with my back against the sink counter, so I can’t instinctively move backwards when poked. It’s taken some kinks to get everything worked out. I also think the Menopur, which is the pm shot, just hurts more because the needle is a 27 gauge, so it is thicker. I almost always have blood drip from that poke. I also have very minor bruising from that shot. But I showed the nurse my belly yesterday and she said it looked great, that some women have major bruising. I just have a bunch of poke marks and a couple faded bruises.

They take my blood at my ultrasounds and yesterday they poked me three times before getting a working vein. I had three different nurses try and that sucked, but nothing I’m not used to. My veins are very difficult to find and I often have to have blood drawn from my wrist or hand. In fact, when I was in labor with my first born, the nurses couldn’t get my IV in, I was poked over 35 times, between two anesthesiologists and the nursing staff.  The last anesthesiologist told me on the last try if he couldn’t get it, the IV was going in my neck. He finally got it, on my outer elbow. Talk about crazy.

This ultrasound was with my doctor this time, not a nurse, like last time. I was nervous because I read that they can tell how many follicles you will have at this time. He asked me how I was doing, and I told him I was nervous, he said, ‘what? about this?’. I replied, ‘Yes, you can tell how many follicles I will have this time right?’ and he said ‘Yes, but I wouldn’t be worried if I were you’. I laid back on the exam table and he began, and was talking to the med student he had with him. He was telling her how ‘beautiful’ my follicles were, and asked if I could see (even though the monitor was not facing me). I told him no, and he looked over his shoulder, saw there was no monitor yet (they just remodeled the office) and said ‘oh’ and turned the monitor so I could see it. He showed me all the follicles and said they look great. He estimated I have around 8 on one side and 12 on the other. I asked if that number will grow and he said no, that will be it. The pressure of the ultrasound and him pressing on my belly was uncomfortable. I was a bit crampy from it, and I took some Advil Menstrual Pain an hour before my appt. He said the number was good and told me not to worry, that he expected that for my age. He told me to wait on the third daily shot, until he sees me again tomorrow. He also told me not to continue the Xanax, which is a slight problem, because I didn’t take it last night and slept horrible. So, hopefully tonight is better.

Now my fingers are crossed and I am hopeful there will be a viable girl in the mix of those 20 follicles. Fingers crossed. Seven more days (possibly more) before my egg retrieval. I literally am taking this one day at a time. I cross off each shot as I go and keep my eyes on the prize, I got this, I am a warrior woman.

 

Lets Get This Party Started

So…after the past week of freaking out about what I was going to have to pay for both the IVF itself and all the medications, not to mention, also trying to figure out where I am going to get all my meds from, I now can relax, as everything seems to be coming together.

I heard back from my doctor that the pre-determination letter came back from my insurance saying they were covering my IVF procedure, less the cryogenics (freezing of eggs) and the PGD testing (the genetic/gender testing). We already knew they weren’t going to cover the PGD testing, as most insurances don’t cover any genetic testing, so we have been saving our pennies (unfortunately a lot more than pennies, ugh) and we knew we had enough to cover that portion. The cryo/freezing part isn’t that expensive, so we will add that to the multiplying tab. What a relief though, to know that the IVF will be almost completely covered! Whew!

What we were told at the doctor was that most often times insurances don’t cover the cost of the meds, which can exceed $9000! I knew that from most blogs I read online prior to beginning this. Although, I thought it was more like $4000, not $9000! We were told that if our insurance doesn’t cover the meds, we have the option to order from overseas in England because it is much cheaper. I waited nearly a week, going back and forth with different pharmacists about all of my information and the many drugs needed to begin the process. Bless this woman at the one pharmacy, because she stayed on the phone with me, reading every single medication and spelling each and every one out with doses and amounts needed for me to write it all down. We were on the phone close to 1 hour! I wanted to calculate how much it was going to cost me to order from the online England website.

After I input all the drugs I could on the website from England, my shopping cart totaled $4000! And not all the drugs were able to be added! The worst case total (if insurance for sure didn’t cover anything was going to be $7850, so I knew that was worst case). I frantically called the doctor and asked what I do about the other drugs and she told me I needed to pay the US prices and get them here, because the England company didn’t have supplies of everything. More freaking out was happening on my end! I am filled with stress, and I’ve begun stress eating, which is not good for me to do…ugh, but then, the call came through, it’s the pharmacy calling, my heart is beating out of my chest and I’m totally sullen figuring out how we are going to manage to pay for this, when she informs me all the meds are COVERED!!!!! Yes, you read that right, they were all covered! I could not believe it! I actually teared up a bit and told her what amazing news that was, when she replied how good it felt to deliver good news for a change, which makes me forever grateful of my employer for considering this a worthwhile benefit. I had to pay my co-pays, which were hundreds, not thousands and I was able to pay using my flex-spending card, which was a complete and total relief. Especially since I got the Folic Acid from the pharmacy last week and that wasn’t covered, and I had to pay $32 for one container of pills!

Anyways, that about catches you up on the important insurance info and now, today is the first day taking the birth control pills, pre-natals, and the folic acid. And guurrrrrllllls, you know I am not going to be taking a freaking horse pill for my pre-nates, so I got some equivalent yummy gummies, only caveat, adding them into the daily calorie count. Booooo…