Jenny & Jerry

Stim cycle – Day 4

Sherman (our dog) has been having to wear a cone the last few nights because he has a cyst by his ear that he keeps breaking open.  It bleeds everywhere and then he rubs his head all over the floor and makes it worse. He’s cute…but not so smart.

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On any given night, Sherman gets up at least 25 times.  He walks around, he gets a drink, he flops down on the ground like he weighs 500 lbs….and most nights we sleep through it.  However, strap a big cone around his head and it’s a whole different story.  He gets stuck trying to turn around between the bed and the wall…bang! bang! bang!  He goes to get a drink…bang!  He tries to fluff up his bed and face plants into the floor…bang! boom!  Annnnnd, he likes to us up at least once a night to go outside because he drinks too much water and can’t hold it through the night.  None of this lends for a particularly restful sleep.  Jerry has been an absolute saint….getting up with him, taking him out, readjusting his cone…all to let me get some much need rest.  But I still hear it and then I’m up.  So sleep the last two nights has been a little restless, for both of us.

I had a 7:30 appt this morning for an ultrasound and blood work, so when that alarm went off at 5:25…Jenny was cranky!  Fortunately, the office is 10 minutes from my house so I really have little to complain about.  They got me in & out in 20 minutes. That place is a well oiled machine!

So here are the updated results:

E2 P4 LH Follicles Follicles Follicles Endometrial 
Right Left Total Lining
Required > 1000 < 2.0 < 5.0 5
Friday 4/26 72 0.8 5 8 1 9
Monday 4/29 189 0.1 2.1 6-7 2 9 4

The lining # she gave me was new, but apparently it’s right on track.  I’m doing pretty well for only being on the stims for 3 days.  Still, Dr. S wants to up my dosage of Follistim and see if we can raise my E2 levels a bit.

New protocol (today & tomorrow):

300 iu Menopur
375 IU Follistim
1 mg Dexamethasone

And you may wonder how I’m keeping track of all of this information???  In true Nerd-fashion, I have spreadsheets for my spreadsheets!  I actually think this part is fun :).

I forgot to ask the nurse about my exercise so I’m taking tonight off and then going to walk a few miles tomorrow.  I have a list of questions for Wednesday and that is one of them.  From what I’ve been reading, I am guessing the 9 mile hike I was planning on Stim Day 9 is probably a bad idea (sorry Dad).

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Stim Cycle–Days 2 & 3

Current Protocol

300 IU Follisim
300 IU Menpur
1 mg Dexamethasone

I started Saturday and Sunday with a 4 mile walk.  Saturday was beautiful and Sunday was overcast.  It felt good to get some fresh air and really clear my head.  I hope I’m not overdoing it…the doctor said to listen to my body and my body is saying MOVE!  I’ll clear it all on Monday at my appt.  I’m being very careful to eat right (most of the time) and get lots of sleep so I’m hoping I’m doing everything I can from my end.

The shots are getting easier.  The only thing that’s a little unsettling is mixing the Menopur.  I just don’t want to screw up the dosage!  But the actual injections are really no big deal.

Physical symptoms – I really don’t have any yet.  I commented that I think I was starting to feel a little bloated and Jerry laughed and reminded me it’s only been 2 days.  But I’m still saying it!  I know my body pretty well by now.

Emotional symptoms – none!  I’m happy to report I feel great.  I’ll be the first to admit that I am pretty worried about this.  A hormonal Jenny is NO fun for anyone!!  Ask anyone that knows me…especially Jerry or my mother.  I can’t even stand to be around myself.  But I honestly haven’t had any sudden crying spells or screaming outburst so I would say we’re doing OK!

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s report when I have my first monitoring appt!  Can’t wait to see how this old body is reacting to all of this new stuff going on.

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Stim Cycle – Day 1

 

The nurse I spoke with said it should really take it easy on the exercise.  Walking is fine, light weights (3-5 lbs) are fine, gentle yoga is fine….but no hip hop, zumba, kickboxing or bodypump.  I’m taking it as a good sign that the weather was perfect on Friday.  Jerry & I took advantage of the evening by taking a walk on Carson Street and stopping at dinner at the Doublewide Grill on the way home. It was a very relaxing Friday night…just what I needed. 

When we got home from dinner, we watched the Instructional CD which Walgreens had provided with our drugs.  It took us 45 minutes of going through the details of how to mix the Menopur & dose the Follistim but then we were ready to go. 

I did the actual preparation while Jerry re-read the steps back to me and supervised.  It probably should have been the other way around, as he’s practically a doctor, but I just jumped in and started tearing open stuff. He yelled at me a couple of times for not being as careful as I should be with sterilizing everything as i went. Then I yelled at him to stop yelling at me. He & I tend to get worked up pretty easily during stressful situations so this is going to be a nightly occurrence. We make up quickly so it’s all good.

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So the deal with the Menopur is…you get these little 75 IU vials of powder and you have to mix them with a diluting solution. My dosage is 300 IUs so I was convinced I had to have 4 shots.  Panic!  But you actually just work through the solution until you have the full dosage in one syringe.  Just one shot…whew!

I got everything all mixed up and ready to shoot.  The injection is subcutaneous (under the skin) and the needle is really thin and about a half inch long.  It reminded me of a short acupuncture needle.  So I pinched up some skin on my stomach and gave the syringe to Jerry.  He looked at it, looked at me…“Maybe you should do it”.  I KNEW that was going to happen!  I really didn’t mind too much b/c I had to give myself injections when I had that stupid blood clot.  The needle is no big deal…the medicine just burns a little when you inject it. 

One down…one to go! 

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The Follistim is a lot easier to work with.  You get a pen and a cartridge.  You just drop the cartridge into the pen and dial up your dosage.  Then pop on the needle and you’re good to go!  The second shot was easier to inject as I stood up this time and watched in a mirror.  I knew exactly where I was shooting them.

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And you get this fancy little carrying case to take with you if you’re gonna be out during the injection time.  Ours is 6-9.  But I don’t know what I’d do about the Menopur, so I’m just going to make sure I’m home during that time. 

So first day…not bad. I think it’ll be easier once I have the process down. We’re just basically learning as we go!

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Aaannnnd…we’re off!

I’ve been trying very hard to put this whole IVF extravaganza out of my mind for the last month.  We had 28 days to try to do things the old fashioned way…and while we gave it the old college try, no dice.  I knew we’d find out if we were successful sometime late this week & sure enough…she showed up first thing on Wednesday.  At least she’s punctual.

So that means, Wednesday afternoon, I called and ordered my big box of goodies (to the tune of $6,000!! That’s 2.5 times more than I had anticipated).  I also called my RE and scheduled my baseline blood work and ultrasound for Friday @ 7 am.

Then I came home to THIS on Thursday:

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Seriously, all of that??  For meeeeee??  That’s a crapton of pharmaceuticals!  Good grief.  Once I laid all of the medicine out, I grabbed a pack of needles to check out what I was in for.

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Not sure if the picture does it justice…but that is one BIG ASS NEEDLE!  The needley part is an inch and a half…and I got 2 GIANT bags of them.  These are for the Progesterone in oil (the other needles are much smaller).  And Jerry has to jam that thing into my butt everyday for how long?  Hopefully 12 weeks.  Now let me be clear, I will happily play the part of Jenny PinCushion for 12 months if that’s what it takes.  But I’ll be honest, it shook me up a bit.  And let’s not even talk about my husband…”we might have to hire a nurse to come over everyday and do these injections”.  I have a feeling I’m going to have to teach myself how to do it.  Whatever…it is what it is.  We can’t return the stuff so there is no turning back now.

So for those of you following along at home, the box contained:

Follistim & Menopur – “the stimulation medication”
These medications work to directly stimulate the ovaries to produce follicles.  Normally you only use one stim med, but I’m super lucky and get to use 2.  I get these injections for 8 to 15 days.

Ganirelix – “the holiding drug”
This prevents ovulation while continuing to stimulate my ovaries with the stim meds. This typically begins on day 5 of the stimulation cycle and is dependent upon my response to the stim meds.

Ovidrel – HCG or“Trigger Shot”
This will induce ovulation.  Once I’m cleared for retrieval, I get this shot and within 36 hours, they’ll take out my eggs.

Progesterone in Oil – “the one with the big ass needle”
This is used with the treatment cycle to support the endometrial lining.  I don’t start these shots until after the egg retrieval.

Dexamethasone & Medrol  – “steroids”
These may prevent the body from rejecting the transferred embryos.

Good times.

Bright and early on Friday, I had my blood draw and ultrasound. I zipped through my appointment in about 25 minutes, including wait time, and I always appreciate an efficient doctor’s office.

Here’s a key code for reference:

E2 (Estrogen) level – Estrogen stimulates the lining of the uterus, so that it grows and can sustain pregnancy.  It is also a measure of ovarian activity, as follicles produce estrogen.  The more follicles there are, the more estrogoen will be present.

P4 (progesterone) level – Hormone responsible for thickening the lining of the uterus to prepare it to accept implantation of a fertilized egg.

LH (lutenizing hormone) – necessary for the production of estrogen

Follicles – Fluid filled sacs in the ovary, which contain the eggs released at ovulation.

E2 P4 LH Follicles Follicles Follicles
Right Left Total
Required for retrieval > 1000 < 2.0 < 5.0 5
Friday 4/26 72 0.8 5 8 1 9

Damn lazy left ovary! I’m officially Miranda Hobbs! And her story ended well 🙂

And here is our schedule for the first 3 days:

    Stim DHEA Follistim Menopur Dexamethasone
    Day 25 mg      
             
26-Apr Fri 1 3x per day 300 IU 300 IU 1 mg
27-Apr Sat 2 3x per day 300 IU 300 IU 1 mg
28-Apr Sun 3 3x per day 300 IU 300 IU 1 mg

So Jerry & I are going to spend our weekend shooting up!  Let’s get this party started.

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