Tuesday, July 27, 2010

And so here we are...

It was originally my intention to delay blog postings about my treatments until there was a final result. Over the past few days, I have learned that many people in my life are already aware of the timing of our treatments due to word of mouth.

We have a huge network of supportive family and friends. Since the information is out there now, there is no reason to delay my posts anymore. As you can see, I have gone ahead with posting our journey up until now.

In a couple weeks, we should find out if this cycle worked. All I ask is please respect our privacy when it comes to revealing the results. Whether positive or negative, I want time to adjust, celebrate or mourn. Please do not ask me if I know the results or what they might be. Please let me share them in my own time.

I do appreciate all the support. When I first started in this journey, I felt completely alone. Although the loneliness of infertility is still there, it is eased by an incredibly supportive husband and the (sometime spoken / sometimes silent) good wishes and sincere prayers of family, friends, ward members, associates, acquaintances, blog friends and complete strangers. For that I thank you.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


Today was the day. Ryan called into work so that he could experience the whole thing with me. (He had not attended the IUIs in the past.) We did a drop off at the doctor's office and then grabbed an early lunch.

Even though I have done IUIs before, it was nearly 4 years ago, so I was still pretty nervous. It all went perfectly.

Ryan's numbers were off the charts, literally. The actual procedure went flawlessly and it was fun having Ryan there to make jokes and keep the mood light.

Even so, I know there are many, many IUIs that are flawless, but there is no pregnancy. I understand the statistics we are dealing with.

But I can't deny the thrill of hope I feel when I think that this time might be different.

FINANCE UPDATE: Follistim and Ovidrel cost $600. Two ultrasounds at $95 each. Prometrium (Progesterone supplements) cost $35. Prenatals, baby aspirin and pregnancy tests were about $55. Today's IUI totaled $335. Cycle total to date: $1215.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

All systems are a go

The second ultrasound was today. All week, I have been praying that the Follistim will do its job, without overdoing it. My prayers were answered, and we have 2 great looking eggs. The one on the right measures 20mm and the one on the left measures 14mm. They will continue to grow over the next couple days, and both should be released at ovulation. My lining looks good, measuring 8.1 and showing a clear triple layer.

I will give myself the Ovidrel injection tonight at 9pm. Or, rather, Ryan will do it. He's been begging to do one of the injections. Saturday morning, I'll have the IUI.

Here we go!

Speaking of injections, Ryan suggested I have a little fun with them. After the second day, I pointed out my injection points looked like 2 little eyes. Ryan wondered why I didn't just create an entire happy face. So, I did. :) Can you see the smiley face? (You are looking at a small section of my abdomen.)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Stim Update

This morning was Day 5 of the stims. Overall, I've been really blessed.

I do have some side effects, and for some strange reason, they seem to be the worst right around 5pm. Perhaps that is when the morning's dose makes it into the bloodstream? It's strange, but that’s when I feel most crampy and nauseous. The worse night by far was Sunday, and the rest have been a lot better.

When I read other blogs about this process, many people talked about Follistim injections causing stomach bruising. I expected this to happen to me, as I tend to bruise easily. Surprisingly, I am on day 5 and I have no bruising, just little red dots. More about those in another post. ;)

All in all, I have no complaints. I was able go to work and pretty much continue with life as usual. Besides the dull cramping, I do have lots of quick, sharp cramps and twinges in my abdomen. Tomorrow, I do injection number six. Then I have my next ultrasound immediately afterward.

I am excited to see what's going on in there. We are hoping for a couple nice, mature eggs and a good lining. What are we not hoping for? Too many mature eggs. Any more than 4, and I'm thinking we'll need to cancel the cycle. Which would be tragic, emotionally and financially. We opted for a very low dose, so hopefully we'll avoid that situation.

In the meantime, I snapped a couple pics of the Follistim. I did this for a couple reasons. First, I thought it would we interesting to look back on this process someday. And secondly, I had a hard time finding the process and pictures online when I was researching this treatment option. So, on that note, enjoy!

Most of the equiptment: The injection "pen", needles, alcohol swabs, sharps container... it's a party!

Regarding the process, it is quite easy. First, take the medicine out of the fridge and allow to come to room tempurature. Load the vial into the pen. Wipe down the end of the pen and your tummy with the alcohol swab. Attach a new needle. Spin the dial at the top of the pen to the required dose. Inject the needle into your abdoman and press down on the dial slowly. Then keep the needle in the skin for about 5 seconds. Pull the needle out, recap it and dispose in the sharps container.

And this is the tiny needle that put me into a sweat on Day 1. What a baby, huh? :) I'm pretty much used to it now.

Monday, July 19, 2010


Life is all about perception. How do we choose to look at our situation? Half-full or half-empty?

Half-empty: This new treatment I am pursuing (Follistim injectables with an IUI) has an 18% success rate. This means out of 100 couples who do this treatment, 82 of them will not be successful. I could become pregnant with this treatment, but it is much more likely that I will come out of this with no baby.

Half-full: Without treatment, Ryan and I have less than 1% chance of conceiving. With the treatment, our chances are 18%. I could interpret that to mean that we are 1700% more likely to get pregnant this month than in previous months. That is quite an increase!

The half-empty side is quite depressing. I don’t want to be one of those 82 people left disappointed at the end of the month.

However, I can’t help but feel a rush of excitement whenever I think of the half-full scenario.

So for now I am choosing to be half-full. After years of waiting, I am trying to enjoy feeling hopeful again.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Day 1 of Stims

This morning, I did my first injection of Follistim. It was a bit stressful loading the injection pen and making sure everything was put together right while keeping it all sanitary. Ryan was there with me, providing commentary along the way.

When it came time to actually do the injection, I have to say I'm a bit embarrassed about how I dealt with it. It took about 10 minutes to get myself to do it. Ever since a traumatic event giving blood as a child, I have had a fear of needles. Infertility has helped to ease that phobia. I've experienced my share of needles, and even gave blood a while back (although I nearly passed out - but I did it).

For some reason though, all those phobias came back this morning. For the life of me, I could not get myself to put that needle in my stomach! And, believe me, that needle is tiny. It is nothing to be scared of. Even so, I tried and chickened out over and over. I was sick to my stomach, light-headed and my hands were seriously sweating. Ryan tried to take over, but I wouldn't let him. It was quite a process, and I felt like a total loser.

Finally, I did it, and it was no big deal (of course).

As far as side effects, I didn't know what to expect. People told horror stories about Clomid, but I had no real symptoms. I think the Follistim is going to be different. The burning immediately afterward was very strong. As the day wore on, my stomach became increasingly sore and I began to get these radiating pains from my abdomen down into my upper thighs. It makes me a tad nervous about tomorrow's shot, as my mid-section is already feeling like one big bruise.

Not that I'm complaining. Of course, this is all SO worth it, and something I have waited to do for (literally) years. Progress is the best feeling in the world, and I am blessed to be making this next step. I am nearly giddy with excitement and full of hope.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Over the Rainbow

Somewhere over the rainbow
Way up high,
There's a land that I dreamed of
Once in a lullaby.

Somewhere over the rainbow
Skies are blue,
And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true.

Someday I'll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far
Behind me.
Where troubles melt like lemon drops
Away above the chimney tops
That's where you'll find me.

Somewhere over the rainbow
Bluebirds fly.
Birds fly over the rainbow.
Why then, oh why can't I?

If happy little bluebirds fly
Beyond the rainbow
Why, oh why can't I?

This is known as a “child’s” song, from a movie that could be considered a “child’s” movie. Having said that, I’m not sure I ever truly understood these words until recently. Someday, I hope to wake up where the clouds of infertility, loneliness and regret are far behind me. Motherhood is a land I have only dreamt of, and I can only imagine what awaits me there.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Base Ultrasound

Much as I expected, I started this cycle on Sunday the 4th, which meant I was at Girls Camp during the time I was supposed to have my first ultrasound. So, we ended up going with Plan B, and I took birth control for one week.

Today, I went into the doctor's for my base ultrasound. Hillary took care of us. There were no cysts (yay!) and everything looked great. I had so many black spots inside my ovaries on the ultrasound. Each black spot is a sort-of "pre-follicle" and I had a ton of them! At least ten on my right and more than five on my left.

Because of these fantastic results, we are going with a low dose of hormones. (We were going to use Gonal-f, but it looks like now we will be using Follistim instead. It is basically the same thing.) My dose is 75iu a day. I'll begin the injections on Saturday, July 17th in the morning, and continue them for six days. The sixth day is Thursday the 22nd.

That morning, I'll give myself the last injection and then head to my next ultrasound. At that time, we'll see if the drugs worked and if we're ready for the next step.

The best part of the day, was that Ryan came with me to the appointment. Even though he worked the night before, and even though he works tonight. Even though he was tired, and even though we waited nearly an hour in the lobby. Even though the room was cramped, and even though it was awkward so close to a 'vaginal ultrasound'. He did it all for me and I was so, so grateful!

FINANCE UPDATE: I just ordered the Follistim and Ovidrel at a cost of $600. Today's ultrasound was $95 and the Prometrium (Progesterone supplements) was $35. Of course, I had to buy some preggo tests online, at a cost of $30. Prenatals and baby aspirin were about $25. Cycle total to date: $785.

Sunday, July 11, 2010


Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other. The object of prayer is not to change the will of God, but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant, but that are made conditional on our asking for them. Blessings require some work or effort on our part before we can obtain them. Prayer is a form of work, and is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings.

This is part of the definition of prayer from the Bible Dictionary (emphasis added). A fellow church member shared this with the congregation last week and I just loved it.

I hope God is seeing us do our part of the work, and is willing to grant us our blessing sometime soon.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Thank You and a Confession

Thank you to those who have kept Ryan's job in your prayers. I have been contacted by several friends who have done so, and we have felt it. It appears his job is safe for now. There is a chance he could be in danger again in December, but we are taking it one month at a time and, generally, we feel a sense of comfort about the whole issue.

Which means we are still set for treatments sometime soon. Game on!

Now to my confession...

I have a lot of blog readers who I know personally. I have readers that I haven't met in person, but I've conversed with online. I'm sure there are other readers who "blog stalk" me (much like I do in some cases), reading along but not making contact with me. I appreciate anyone who stops by and lends support, even if it is not expressed.

As treatment time approaches, I have thought about how to record those upcoming experiences on here. I started this blog just to record my journey with infertility, in hopes of sharing it with my child someday. It grew into something more.

Now, I feel a responsibility to people who have committed to traveling this journey with me. I feel like I owe it to them to share my treatment experiences.

On the other hand, I really don't want people to know the exact day or moment I find out if a treatment cycle was successful. If I am unsuccessful, I might want some time to deal with that privately. If I become pregnant, it would be nice to share that moment with my husband before the verdict is shared with the masses.

Bottom line, I don't want people in my personal life to look at me on a particular day and know that was the day I would test. I just want some time to adjust to the outcome first on my own.

Because of all this, I have made the decision to keep my experiences during a treatment cycle private for a while. I will still record events as they happen, but I will post them on a delay. Once there is an outcome to a particular cycle, I will post the rest of that cycle's blog entries, so that you can still follow the journey. I really think this plan will work well for me.

I do feel like I am not being fair to all those ladies who put everything out there. It is only right that I do that too. And if my blog was a secret to those who see me on a regular basis, maybe I would. But I want to share everything with those awesome people I love. So I will, albeit a bit slower than in the past.

I hope this all makes sense.

UPDATE: Yeah, well that plan didn't work out after all!! See this blog posting.