6

Doing this…

Ignoring the half-dozen incomplete posts glowing in my drafts folder, I am going to jump straight to the present (with the promise of catching up on the older stuff very soon!).

Cue scratchy, ‘audiotape getting fast forwarded’ type of sound.

Today is day 7 of stims and my first day in Colorado. Broadly, things have been progressing reasonably well and it looks like my retrieval will happen on either Monday or latest on Tuesday. I had two local monitoring ultrasounds back home in SF and one in the morning today at CCRM. The follies are ripening and the estrogen is climbing and I’m keeping my fingers tightly crossed.

This cycle has been very different from the last one. There is the obvious difference of a new protocol; I took estrace for almost two weeks this time (the effects are quite like teasing yourself with a gun against your temple everyday!) and along with the jazzed-up hormonal cocktail that CCRM dished out to me last time, there’s also clomid (hello nausea and headaches!) making a special, 5-day appearance! Also, unlike last time this time I did not take cetrotide in the priming phase; it was only added to the mix mid-way into stimming.

Mentally, I’m in a very different place this time around. Riding the truckload of dread accompanying the realization that this was our last cycle at CCRM (unless of course I win the HGTV sweepstakes) and quite possibly the last one with my own eggs, fear terror & sadness (with a reluctant anger trailing behind) have come sailing in, entirely uninvited. The 2 months between my two cycles were days spent working hard on my teetering state of mind (more on that in a separate post). I went round in crazy circles, sinking to fathomless depths of despair & struggling to break the surface and then riding the buoyancy of self-administered hope and squeezing the future of its ability to provide the scantest reassurance. I would wake up crying in the middle of the night as an icy panic would creep up over me. Breathe, B-R-E-A-T-H-E my mind would urge my heart to pay heed. I forced myself to remember what is true today. I am well today, my life is full of love. Older (angrily discarded) platitudes would come rushing to my head —I’m a good person, I deserve to be a mother; God does well by his children…

I have battled with a crippling doubt, the kind of doubt that rips away every shred of innocence from your soul. I look back to the person I was and I marvel at how old I feel. I am proud of who I have become yet my heart aches with sadness at my inability to remember what ‘pure, unadulterated’ everyday living felt like. The joy of untainted expectation, the beauty of just living without the feeling that all of your life, everything that you believe in, everything you hold dear is being held ransom to this one event.

So what changed? Honestly? Nothing, really. I didn’t turn zen overnight and the panic attacks did not disappear. But I did not stop trying. Trying to live in the moment, trying to strengthen my faith (and this wonderful blog constantly inspires me to do so!), trying to be there for others… trying to be a better person (my only NY resolution this time!). Because it is only in this trying that I find solace.

And this is where I am today, sitting in my room in Littleton, Colorado typing out this blog post. In the next few days life could go in strangely unexpected places. I have no idea what will happen or how I will cope with whatever happens. All I am going to concentrate on is today and this moment, right now, when things are just fine.

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0

Never a dull moment!!

The past few days have been crazy. I’ve constantly felt like updating you all out here but been busy and somewhat reluctant to take a dip in the virtual world. Which, I suppose, is a positive sign! My parents are visiting (did I mention that?) so the days are a happy blur of taking them out, cooking yummy Indian meals with my mom, catching up on school work and just generally basking in their affection!

On the IVF front, though, there’s been a fair bit of action. The meds are all here including the saizen and are chilling in the fridge. Freedom did a great job as always and Braun pharmacy (they sent the saizen) were sweet enough to send me a nice big box of alcohol swabs which I had requested for. This past Monday I started off with 2mg estrace twice daily and then three Cetrotide 0.25 injections beginning Tuesday. As always, my super husband does a great job with the needles; I have barely felt a thing and even though I’m bleeding more at the puncture sites than last time, it all goes by in a flash. I think the most painful part for me is slapping the ice pack on my tummy to numb it.

I was extremely apprehensive about the estrace since I’ve heard horror stories of side-effects while on it, especially for women who have endo. So far, though, I haven’t had much trouble barring some headache and fatigue. I decided to stop yoga until I’m done with the stims so exercise has been mostly restricted to my nightly, after-dinner walk with K which I relish and look forward to.

So where’s the action, you might ask? Well, a couple nights back as I was about to doze off it suddenly struck me that my suppression check was scheduled on a Saturday. My OB’s office had assured me they would take me in (the doc on emergency duty that day would perform the u/s) so that wasn’t an issue but what about the blood-work? I know that the Quest I go to does not do stat testing for hormone levels on Saturday and that is the only Quest around here open on a Saturday. Before long I was hyperventilating wondering how I would get the results to CCRM on time and mentally going through a list of possible places I could go for same day testing in the area. Another option, of course, was to skip the OB’s office altogether and head to a local IF center which would be okay with monitoring me locally. I spent the entire night restlessly anguishing over things and first thing next morning called my OB’s office to find out if they could help me. The staff was very nice but unable to confirm whether or not Quest would do it. I emailed my doctor in the meantime hoping he would reply soon with possible alternatives. At the same time, I called CCRM wanting to confirm that they would have someone in their office to receive the results and advise me on next steps on a Saturday. Turns out, that was the most important call I made! My nurse (who has a remarkable ability to be frightfully dense!) let it out that in case my period (scheduled to arrive a day after my last dose of cetrotide) was late and came over the weekend, the suppression check would be moved to next Wednesday and stimming would begin next Thursday! Apparently CCRM lets patients stim only in a Thursday-Sunday period. Fantastic! I wasn’t as irritated by the obvious repurcussions this would have on our travel plans (we’ve already booked the tickets) as I was by the fact that it took my calling for her to inform me of this rather critical point!!

Of course the rest of the evening was spent stressing over whether or not now period would arrive on time. I spent the day pretty much on the road driving from one place to another, completing long-due errands. By the time we finally made it back home after picking K up from work, I was beat. I was feeling feverish, achy and just massively lousy. After dinner, I just about managed to crawl into bed, grateful the day was over. Each muscle in my body was screaming in protest and sleep came as soon as my head touched the pillow. At about 3am I woke up feeling craptastic. My period had started bringing with it a fresh round of anxieties. What did this imply for my suppression check? Would things get significantly postponed or, worse still, canceled? Another night spent trying to coax sleep into my weary eyes, to no avail.

Anyhow, today after what seemed like an eternity, I managed to get through CCRM and was told to continue estrace but move up my suppression check by one day. This is actually better for us because it means we don’t have to run around town like headless chickens trying to find a lab that will process same day results for us on Saturday. So that’s where things are at. Tomorrow first thing in the morning I go to my OB’s office for the scan and blood-work, and then cross my fingers (and everything else that’s crossable) that things go well and I get the green signal to start stimming this Saturday!

2

The new tease!

CCRM wanted me to start testing for ovulation using OPKs from CD 10 onwards. No problem, I thought! I have fairly regular cycles and typically get positives on OPKs sometime between CD 12-14. The past few cycles, in fact, have been fairly consistent with positives on CD 12. Hence, I was feeling rather confident of informing CCRM about my LH surge around this day. So confident that I stupidly neglected to purchase an additional pack of clear blue OPKs reasoning with myself that the 8-10 sticks left should be enough. Stupid stupid stupid.

I did not factor in testing twice a day (my positives usually show up in the pm but CCRM wanted me to test in the am so I thought I’ll just do it twice)! CD 13 (today) rolled around and I realized I just have two sticks left. I still wasn’t worried though, smug in the knowledge that by tonight I would have the surge for sure, esp since I’ve been getting generous amounts of EWCM (sorry if TMI!!). No dice though. By afternoon I had used up both sticks as I was getting panicky about my absconding LH surge.

After dinner, I sent K off to CVS to get more supplies but for some outlandish reason, they have priced clear blue at $64 (amazon sells it for $36!!), so I asked him to get the CVS LH strips which the only other brand available. How bad could it be, I reasoned, still feeling pretty sure that I was going to get a positive. Well, for one it’s not digital like clear blue and frankly the whole process was quite icky (those in the know will get what I mean). I waited the recommended 4 minutes and the control line showed up nice and dark while the test line could barely be seen. Ergo, no surge yet!

This is annoying. I know I still have tomorrow but a CD 14 surge has not happened to me for months and months and while ovulation patterns can change depending on hormonal shifts, medical intervention and/ or stress, things have been as quiet on this front as can be. I’m simply left scratching my head and feeling a little irritated with this unnecessary little bit of tension. I need the surge to appear so I can start estrace 10 days from then. Since I have very little trust in these CVS strips and I don’t want to miss the damn thing altogether, I think I’ll try going to my OB’s office tomorrow and getting a blood test to measure the surge.

In other news, yoga continues to uplift me and getting done with the Doxy has been absolutely brilliant!