Posts Tagged ‘IUI’

Keep Truckin’


Last summer I was really grateful to have been invited into a 48 hour film festival group by some friends. Hearing about the project, I was ecstatic because it was right up my alley – but I felt intimidated that I would be joining a group of people that I did not know and sharing my ideas openly. They didn’t know me – would they wonder where I came from and why I was invading their project?

It was not that way at all – these people were fantastic. I got to work on a film project with some trained professionals who opened their doors to me and allowed me to participate. And there were others like me, who just wanted to contribute. It was a memorable experience because it was open. What I mean is that it was welcoming and free. My friend introduced me as someone who acts and writes to a group of people who, for most part, actually went to film school, but they did not judge me. They gave me a place on their team immediately, and gave me a part in their film. I really got to see how it’s “all done” – the lighting, the filming, the editing and camaraderie. It was a blast – to watch people work so hard together just because they have a passion for what they are doing. For what they were collectively creating, and for all the effort and joy that was put in behind the scenes.

That was almost a year ago. I remember that I was trying to work out schedules at the time so someone would be home for my first fertility drug delivery. I was so thrilled to be moving to the “big gun” fertility treatment and was calculating when I would be due, how fun it would be to be pregnant over Christmas, how long before I needed to start shopping at maternity stores, etc. How time flies; now we have lived another year and undergone 3 IUIs and a partial IVF cycle. Not pregnant yet. So much for the best laid plans.

Back to the film project, it seems some of last year’s crew has disassembled. People have obligations and teams don’t just magically unite when you want them to. So my friends that brought me into the group last year decided we should still do it. After all, we have someone who can do the filming and editing, who actually went to school for it – we have someone who is organized and can see the big picture without forsaking the little ones, and we have someone who can write and act. We are pretty jazzed because we have decided to create something. We have decided to keep going even though it will be more difficult, and we are not even really looking at it that way. It gets me thinking, it’s the same premise with the fertility treatment. Here is where I am going to get a bit campy and cliche. Sorry. But sometimes there is a lesson to be learned in keeping your head down and forging ahead. (I know, I did not want to admit it, either.) When I was about 5, we lived in the same neighborhood as my grandmother. Walking to grandma’s house was always a joy -no doubt there would be a hot cup of cocoa in the winter and the basket full of toys she kept waiting for us grandkids. But she lived at the top of a fairly large hill – and my legs were those of an inpatient little girl. Getting up the hill, I used to dramatically drag my feet and whine to my dad, “I’m tired, I’m thirsty, I’m this that and the other…” And dad would remind me what was at the top of the hill and he would always say, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going, Sarah!” Reminds me of what my brother wrote in our guest book when we got married – “Congratulations. Keep Truckin’!”

I have had times since then when I have been really tough. Pulled through some scary situations. And other times when I just wanted to be 5 again and give up, which I did. And I know it sounds really cheesy, but your mother was dead on when she told you that if everything came easily you would not appreciate it as much. Some gifts just find their way to you, and others have layers of circumstance that you have to peel away, slowly, methodically, over time. You have no idea how the story will turn out, but it develops as you go along, regardless of what you thought you’d write.  So yes – it has been a year and I am still waiting. But I am closer – much, much closer. And while I wait, I can create in other ways. The best plots are the ones where you wait in suspense, and then you find your story revealed. And it’s better than you ever imagined.

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In Vitro Fun


So, about a week ago I wrote a post about my medicine cap telling me to “Flip Off.” I thought people would think I was being REALLY over sensitive and ask me to drop the menopur syringe and step away from the blog. BUT, you guys got it. You also thought it was odd! And guess what? I opened another fresh box yesterday morning, and what did I see peeping back at me but a bright green vial top! No gray….and to my surprise, it does not say “Flip Off” anymore! In fact, it gives no directions at all. It just has some typical fertility drug name on it like “Life Plus” or some nonsense, but no directions. 

Do you realize what this means? It’s another small triumph! Every morning that I have to take that shot I am going to look at that green cap and it will remind me that maybe the tides are turning. It’s IVF, baby! In Vitro Fun!

A few of you have asked me what this process entails. It means a lot to me that people ask how it all happens. So I wanted to explain the basics – for those of you that care about someone going through it, and also for those of you considering doing it yourself. So, here’s how it goes in a very Cliff Notes kind of way.

IVF 101

  • At this point you have probably tried everything from Clomid (spawn of the devil) to IUIs. An IUI is when you are inseminated at the doctor’s office with your partner’s sperm. It’s not too comfortable and there is no lollipop afterwards. That’s about all I am going to say about that. It’s just not as fun as the old fashioned way of making a baby.
  • Assuming nothing else worked it is time for IVF. Now they need to get your ovaries to be quiet. After spending all these months, or even years, trying to get them to just contribute and ovulate, you need them to become submissive. This is called Down Regulation, and it is done with a combination of birth control pills, a daily shot of something called Lupron, and high doses of Xanax in the event that you are totally not cool with taking birth control pills while desperately trying to procreate.
  • Once your ovaries are knocked out, it is time for Stimulation. Again, not as fun as the original meaning of the word. This  is where all the shots come into play. You will take two to three shots a day for anywhere from 8 to 12 days. During this time you will get to personally know many of the nurses at your clinic, because you will be there so often you wonder why you leave at all. This is when they will take your blood to measure your estrogen, and they will also monitor the eggs development through ultrasounds. (Not the sweet kind that they rub over your belly, either)
  • If you get a good bunch of eggs, then it will be time for the retrieval. Surprise, surprise – this involves another shot!  This one is called Ovidrel and it makes your eggs get plump and healthy. But you have to be careful to have the retrieval done before the 36 hour mark, or else this shot will make you ovulate all these eggs and there will be nothing left to show after all of your blood, sweat, and tears. (Literally, you will give all of these things.)
  • For the retrieval, they give you this killer “twilight sleep.” Yes, it is as fun as it sounds. …for about 2 minutes and then you pass out. Now you are intoxicated and on a table with your flimsy gown pushed up around your knees. Just how you always pictured this special moment of conception would be. The doctor uses a thin needle and an ultrasound wand to find the follicles and extract the eggs.
  • Once the eggs have been taken, they are placed in a petri dish with your partner’s sperm. If they do not get along swimmingly on their own (HeeHee), the sperm may actually have to be injected into the egg.  Hopefully, at least half of the eggs will fertilize.
  • Three to five days later, one to three embryos are typically placed back into the uterus while you are on some Valium. The number of embryos put back into the body will depend on their quality. Remaining embryos of high quality can be cryopreserved for future use.

There are many steps in-between, and I am not even going to go into the finances, but that is the basics. During this time you may find you are told not to exercise, eat chocolate, have orgasms, drink coffee, or BECOME ANXIOUS! What a riot! Give up those things for awhile and let me know how you feel. I’m curious. Really. For these reasons, it is advisable that you do not tell someone in an IVF program that they should relax.  Just help them to laugh. To me, it’s the best way to roll with the process.

Have a happy Monday,

Sarah

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