FET Update

So I made it through the testing gauntlet. Suppression check looked good and so did my endoscopy (though the biopsy results aren’t back yet). So, I started medications to prepare for FET  #4 last Saturday.

So, for three days I’ve been on an estrogen patch, letrozole, and am back to the daily leuprolide acetate at half the dose I was at before. Apparently the letrozole is specific to a protocol for women with endometriosis. Haven’t started crying randomly yet. (That’s what happened last time I was on estrogen patches.) I’m also in the middle of tapering off of the benzodiazepine that I was on to counteract the side effects of the lupron.

Trying to hang in there and cut myself a break every now and again, but it’s also exciting to be proactively doing something again. I calculated my chances of pregnancy over several transfers. I took a percentage on the conservative side of the range for my chance of conceiving per embryo. I put that at 20%. So each transfer of one embryo, I always have the same 20% chance. legendary item However over time, my chance of getting within that 20% increases. I actually found the formula for this on a website calculated the chance of different bosses dropping loot in WoW. LOL.

Here it is:

1 – ( ( 1 – x ) ^ y )

So, using this formula, I calculated my chances for this transfer with two embryos is approximately 36%. If I transfer all six embryos (not all at once) at my current clinic, my chances are about 74% and if I transfer all nine that I have on ice we’d be around 87%. My partner then pointed out we should include all of our previous attempts (six embryos). That would put us at a total of 15 attempts, each with the more conservative 20% chance of working out. Plug that into the formula and we get a 96% chance. Of course that doesn’t take into account the long journey we’ve had to find the possible cause of our infertility (endometriosis). The treatment of that underlying factor and any other factors that we might not know about.

Still, a girl’s got to hope. I’d say these are some pretty good odds of a legendary loot drop 🙂

By the way, here is that probability formula graphed: my chances are beautiful….
probability graph

Schrodinger’s Pregnancy

#IVFfacts

So “Week 1” of pregnancy is technically two weeks before you even ovulate. I will be 1 week Schrodinger prego on Oct. 26 if all goes as planned. I figure most couples are two weeks away from fertilization at this point and I’ve got six day old blastocysts, so I’m already more pregnant at week 1 than them. This is one way that I cope with IVF cycles. No can know whether I’m pregnant or not, so if nothing else, I get to be pregnant for four weeks, dammit!

My meds finally arrived (with ice packs completely melted). I made a big enough stink that I got not one, but four calls from managers at UPS confirming that I received my package of medication on Monday morning.

Tomorrow morning is my suppression check. (I guess to make sure that the Lupron is suppressing my hormone levels enough?) If all goes well, I’ll be one step closer to staying on schedule.

I also have to get through an endoscopy on Friday with normal results. Apparently daily nausea caused by either eating or not eating is not normal even for someone with a hiatal hernia (which is a fairly common type of stomach hernia).

Get ready for some TMI…. In addition to having a camera shoved down my throat, I also have to drop off a stool sample at the lab in the morning. I have to use this device (see pic) to scoop it into four separate vials. Mor-ti-fy-ing. Not to mention logistically tricky. Could things my relationship get any less sexy at this point? “OK, Hon, we have to drop my shit off at the lab on the way to my transvaginal ultrasound in the morning.”

Sooooo, if all of that goes well FET prep will start this Saturday, and we’ll be off and running.

IVF is a time commitment

Today, I spent over two and a half hours on the phone with UPS. I was trying to track down my refrigerated medications for my upcoming cycle that we’re supposed to arrive today. They gave me the complete runaround. First, they said my pharmacy called them and told them to hold the medication at a UPS facility an hour from my home. I called the pharmacy, who of course said they did nothing of the sort. They called UPS. By this time I’ve escalated to the first agents manager’s manager. He tells me that it’s locked in a truck and no one can access it until Monday, so they can get it to me Tuesday. Round and round we went. Finally, I outlined the cost of not receiving the medication in time, including the cost of a cancelled cycle, replacing the drugs, and missing work time to figure this out. Once they heard the amount, and I mentioned the possibility of involving attorneys, all of a sudden the morning managers are supposed to call me first thing in the morning and get the box to me by noon tomorrow.

Yes, this is an extreme example. However, I feel that an often unacknowledged toll of IVF is the time commitment. Instead of relaxing and perhaps playing Civ VI or reading a book on a Saturday night, I spent it with four different UPS customer service agents. In my time before and after work, I run around the city picking up medical records that have to be signed for in person, going to monitoring hours, and making endless calls to insurance and doctor’s offices. That and I go the therapy one evening a week and touch base with my reproductive psychiatrist twice a month.

Infertility takes a lot from you and this week, I’m really feeling the pain of replacing down time and time with friends with being my own IVF case manager. Is that something that clinics can get? IVF case managers to help coordinate care and figure all of this crap out.

Just Enough, No More

Whew! After three weeks of 10-14 hour days including weekends, I am just a puddle. And I realized that I need to work on doing just enough. When I was in grad school, my therapist counseled me to try to get B’s not A’s. This is great advice for a perfectionist. More often than not, I stressed less and still got A’s. So now I’m trying to apply the same principal to work. I can always imagine doing more, doing better. However right now, it’s important to do just enough and no more.

Lupron update: constant and intense hot flashes, brittle nails, still feeling pretty bitchy and irritable. My partner is just done with the lupron. He’s completely out of patience for the irritability, and I don’t blame him. I am too.

FET Update: I finally have a plan! The transfer is Nov. 9! That’s T – 4 weeks & 2 days. More details to come. In the meantime, I’ve got all sorts of drugs showing up in the mail….

IMG_20171010_190757 (1) I’m starting to get super excited and hopeful again. I’m still waiting on a couple other things to get started. Cycle prep officially starts October 19. Until then, my mottos are:

  • Do just enough
  • Do whatever it takes to get through the day
  • Ask for help
  • Have compassion for myself

Vaginal ultrasound?… NBD

I had my 3D ultrasound today. I was convinced that they were going to do something like squirt gel into my cervix or something. With these tests I’ve learned to always be prepared for the the worst. However, it was just a vaginal ultrasound with a different type of sensor. I was like, “that’s it? That’s easy!” The technician was a bit taken aback, but one thing that becomes routine after years of IVF is random medical professionals sticking gelled, condomed wands up your vagina. It becomes part of your daily routine, no big deal.

Later when the doctor gave the report to my RE she said I had a “beautiful uterus.” Presumably this means that everything healed properly and is ready to go for the transfer. However, it inspired me to play with some filters and create an art series that I call: “Uterus, on standby”

Lol, my partner thinks that my humor is a little too off beat. Your thoughts, reader?

 

#Microblog Mondays: Coloring Zen… or something like that

So after my last blog, things only got more intense at work. I’ve been working from 8:30 in the morning until 10 or 11 at night, plus 6-10 hours on weekends. Yesterday, I finally just stopped. I took one fucking day off and felt guilty about it the whole time. (Have I mentioned that I have issues?)

Part of this is that my career decided to take off, just when I’m planning to have a baby, part of it is an unhealthy worry about being able to support myself, and part of it is because it’s bury myself in work or sit around ruminating about my upcoming cycle. I’m seeing my doctor on Tuesday, and won’t have any new info until then.

Lupron report: hot flashes (annoying, but bearable), hightened anxiety and hyper vigilance, decreased appetite, exhaustion, short-term memory problems, over-sensitive. Here’s a weird one. I read a forum post where someone said they got brittle nails. I was like, I wouldn’t know if I had that my nails already break a lot. As I was thinking that, I banged my hand against a chair by accident (I’m super klutzy) and my nail didn’t just break it shattered above the skin. So yeah, brittle nails. The worst side effect for me, by far, is intense flair-ups of chronic pain.

So how have I been getting through? This has been keeping me sane:

Coloring + snarky = relaxing. Somebody posted this on the Matt & Doree’s Eggcellent Adventure Facebook group. I ordered it as soon as I saw it. Thanks to MeMoments Creative for granting permission to post images and also for making such a kick-ass coloring book. It’s completely theraputic.

So here’s how I spent my Saturday decompressing:

Yes, this silly coloring trend has been keeping me from bursting into tears about all sorts of silly things. Well at least making it happen less often. I highly recommend it.

Radical Acceptance

Radical acceptance rests on letting go of the illusion of control and a willingness to notice and accept things as they are right now, without judging.

– Marsha Linehan

Infertility is one long exercise in letting go of the illusion of control. Reality right now, whether I like it or not, is that work is stressful. Yes, there are lots of things I can do to reduce that: practice setting boundaries on my time, buy a tens unit for my pain flairs, play video games, go on dates with my partner, take my as needed medication. I’m doing all that, but the reality is, it might reduce some of the stress momentarily, but it’s not going to make it go away. Lately, I’ve noticed that the more effort I put into “de-stressing” the more I’m getting locked into an intensifying struggle to make the stress go away. I’m not willing to leave my job. I need the income, and I love what I do. I’m not willing to put off the cycle because I’ve waited long enough and don’t want to fuck with this new plan that seems like a good thing. Oh, and I’m on lupron. So…

It’s time to accept that I’m not going to have the perfect cycle that I’d like to have in which I’m completely zen for the three months leading up to the cycle. That ship has sailed.

Here’s what I am accepting is out of my control right now, at least to some extent:

  • the effect my hormones have on my emotions
  • chronic pain flairs ups
  • my workload and deadlines
  • my partner’s stress from work and medication changes
  • the number of doctors that I have to see
  • alternate side parking

Here is what I can control right now:

  • I can do my dishes, scoop my cat box, and get rid of the junk mail every day.

That’s what I’m focusing on. I am a total slob, but my apartment has never been cleaner because it is the on damn thing in my control right now.

All right, Reality, bring it on. I accept that I will be stressed to some extent leading up to this cycle. However, as a future parent, I have the feeling that this practice of giving up the “illusion of control” is only the beginning.