320 - That's not normal

It's counterintuitive to give yourself a shot, it's just something that seems... wrong when you try to rationalize the doing of it in your head. But if all goes well I am about to have to overcome that mental block. I had my teaching lesson this afternoon. My first injection should be an interesting experience, I have never been afraid of needles, but I've also never had to give myself a shot before. I'm supposed to pinch an inch (this is where it's beneficial to have some meat on your bones), stick myself, remove the needle, and release. I asked why I had to pinch and she said it help it go deeper into the subcutaneous tissue.

I told the nurse that this was like a track and field relay, so many hurdles to overcome. Today I did another bloodtest and another ultrasound. If my FSH levels are too high, they cancel this cycle, if they are under 20 I should start taking the injections this week. I aced the ultrasound, no cysts. The other purpose behind this ultrasound was to do a baseline so they can see how the lining of my uterus changes over the course of treatment. It should begin to thicken in preparation for an embryo to implant.

The teaching lesson itself was overwhelming. So much to remember. I took a few notes. There was a lot that didn't stick, because the timing was dependent upon some predecessor that could change depending on how I respond to the treatment. So I listened, but only with half an ear, knowing my calendar would be updated as things changed. I wanted to absorb it all, but there is so much information being thrown at you all at once. I asked a lot of questions and she was very patient with me. They always seem to be upbeat, patient, willing to answer questions. I'm sure they deal with patients even more frazzled than me... I don't know how they stay so calm.

I take the first medications in the evenings, I have a window, not a set time but I plan to take them at 8 pm every night, setting alarms on my phone so I don't miss a dose. Then as the follicle development progresses they add another medication to the regimen to prevent me from ovulating. When the follicles have matured they tell me to take the HCG shot. That one has to be timed exactly. She told me there have been patients who were told to take them shot at 9:15 pm but were going out to dinner so they took it at 4 pm. When they got to the egg retrieval there were no eggs because they ovulated. And there were some who forgot to take it that night, so they took it the next morning, and there were also no eggs to retrieve because they were still stuck to the follicles. I figure if I'm going to go to all the trouble of ultrasounds and blood tests and surgeries and injections... I'm damn sure going to pay attention to the most important shot of all. Otherwise it all goes to waste.

She said that after the egg retrieval I would probably be bloated, that ovaries are normally about the size of almonds, and because they're asking mine to produce more follicles than normal, they will probably swell to the size of golf balls. Some patients look four months pregnant. So I asked her  how I would be able to tell the difference between that and Ovarian Hyper-Stimulation Syndrome. She said with OHSS, all the fluid goes to the abdomen, so I won't go to the bathroom more than once or twice a day, I will have problems breathing because the fluid would push against my diaphragm, I won't be able to keep anything down, and laying down would be painful. She says it's "rare" with maybe 1 in 25 patients experiencing it... which doesn't sound very rare... but hopefully I won't be that 'one'. Anyway, she said to expect bloating and the cramping will probably last for a couple of days. I've already talked to my boss about being flexible with my time and the possibility of working from home during some of this time. Since my pants probably won't fit and it sounds like I'll be pretty uncomfortable, I may be out for that whole week, from the retrieval to the embryo transfer and the period of bedrest too. He has to clear it with his boss and the GM of the company so it's not a sure thing, but they usually work with people on medical issues. I also told him I don't know how the medication is going to make me feel, that's a lot of hormones and drugs to be taking in a short amount of time. He's pretty understanding... hell, one day he came into the office to ask me how I was doing and I started sobbing. He sat down and talked to me for a while until I felt better... there's a lot to being a manager...

One of the medications may cause a reaction at the injection site... especially in fair-skinned people... yippee... I'm fair-skinned... Has some kind of preservative in it that irritates the skin. She said I may get a small welt like a mosquito bite that goes away in 20 minutes, or I may get a large welt that lasts for several hours, but not to be concerned, it's normal.

So I'm on my way... it all hinges on the results of my bloodtest and I should know by tomorrow afternoon. I'm am hopeful that the acupuncture and a reduced level of stress has helped my levels decrease. I've had three sessions. The last two involved electrical stimulation to four of the needles in my abdomen, and I also got acupuncture to go in the form of small needles in my ear. I managed to keep the last ones in until the day of my next appointment, I actually pulled them out or they would probably still be there. With all the vitamins and supplements, and some changes in my diet, I do feel somewhat more , energetic, which is good because I've been extra busy this last month runing all kinds of errands and going to appointments. It's made me feel good about myself too, one of my main fears about having kids is that when you need something you can't just put it off, and I used to put things off. Once I was home, I was home and that was it. But for the last couple of months I've been breaking out of the box more and more, and I know that when something needs to be done, I can motivate myself to do it. I know that sounds like a silly thing to be proud of, but... yeah...

All this really makes me miss Bob more. I could really use his help with this. Even though I have a lot of support it's a very isolating experience... People can only help me so much and I have to do the rest myself. But it would be nice to have him at the appointments, or being there when I feel like shit and need a hug, or helping me with the injections. Part of me recognizes that we don't have the time to wait for a better situation, but part of me regrets that this is my first pregnancy (hopefully), possibly only pregnancy, and I don't get to have him here with me, talking to my belly, going shopping for baby stuff, going to the ultrasounds, getting me weird food when I start to crave stuff... all the stuff that parents do together before the baby comes. As hard as it is for anyone to go through this, it's especially hard for me because I'm missing half of the team. He will be here for the delivery, he'll save his leave up for that, but after a little while he has to go back and finish up the contract. So it still sucks, but hopefully it won't be for long, he should only have another month or two to go at that point. As a friend pointed out to me, I'm determined to do this, and I am very organized, I will set my alarms, I will follow the treatment plan to the letter, I will do what needs to be done and I will be okay. I think. To be honest I'm kind of terrified right now. Terrified of what happens if all this doesn't work, and terrified of what happens if it does.

Tomorrow I'll try to post something non-IVF related... I have some ideas already but I'm tired of typing and this is long enough...

1 comment:

  1. Kristy, I don't know how you are doing it, but I'm beyond impressed! You have my number, holler if you need anything, or just want to chat. I'm always here.