IVF process (part 1)

I wrote on my Facebook page a couple of weeks ago the following:
‎2.5 years ago my husband and I decided to try for a baby.
1.5 years ago the doctors suspected I have endometriosis.
1 year ago it was confirmed with surgery.
Now we are undergoing IVF in hopes of finally getting a baby.
It’s been a long, difficult road and we’re not there yet, but I am no longer worried about others knowing what is going on.

Having said that, here’s an account of my IVF journey so far (this too has been posted elsewhere).

Oct 11, 2010
This is going to be a long post…you might want to get a cup of tea/coffee.

I’m officially at the start of the IVF process. And I’m not feeling quite like I thought I’d feel. Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited to finally get to this point as nothing else has worked so far. Yet at the same time I am quite sad. It’s like “huh, so this is it. My body couldn’t do it on its own and now I have to fully rely on treatments to hopefully get me where I want to go.” As I drove DH home and then myself to work, I couldn’t help but get teary-eyed.

At the appointment first thing was to check how big/small the cyst on my left ovary is and if it looks like any more endo-tissue has formed. Thankfully the cyst is only about 2cm and there is only a tiny bit of blood/tissue.. I think that is how big the cyst has been for a few months now. She said it wouldn’t stop us from proceeding forward now. *big sigh of relief*

Next the doctor went through the overall IVF process and then got us started on what we need to do next. We’ll be going the “long” route with IVF since I have endo. And because I do have endometriosis (even if I have no outward symptoms at all), this can make IVF more risky than if I didn’t have it.

This cycle will play itself out on its own, except at day 21, I’ll give myself an inejction (Procren) to basically stop my body’s production of hormones for the next 4 weeks. AF should come like normal. She had better keep to her clockwork like schedule! I have my next appointment already set up for the beginning of next month. The doctor will check that the injection is doing its job. Then we’ll decide how long I’ll do injections of Puregon (stimulates folicles) and also the dosage. I’ve been using 50iu of Puregon for quite some time now, but this time the dosage will be upped to 150iu to start with. I’ll have an u/s every couple of days to see how things are progressing and to change any meds if needed. Then I’ll do a trigger injection for O (Pregnyl). Very soon after that will be my harvest date! The doctor said it looks as if week 45 (Nov 8-12) will probably be the week when it will happen. A fews days after my eggs are harvested and DH gives a sample (on the same day), the clinic will let us know when everything looks good and I can go back to have them put in me.

The doctor said that depending on the quality of the embryos, they might put 2 in me (AT MOST!). But they would prefer to only insert one. After that, it’ll just be a waiting game.

The doctor also went over the possible side effects. What fun! The first injection might make me mean/moody and possible hot flashes (esp at night) and not being able to sleep too well. The higher dosage of Puregon could give me thrombosis (clots), bloating, swelling, moodiness, among other things. And again, because I have endo and it making the risks a bit higher, there could also be a chance of bleeding from the harvesting procedure. And maybe even infection (because needles will be inserted into my body). So, I’ll be given some antibiotics via IV to hopefully prevent infection.

Oh, I can’t forget that I need to get some blood tests done before all of this starts. They have to check me for Hep C and whatever other blood born diseases and illnesses they check for before they can do IVF. DH has already had this done before his 1st SA.

So, I guess that is my appointment in a (big) nutshell.

Oct 18, 2010
I picked up my Procren* injection today. I will inject it one week from today (Oct 25th). It is supposed to stop the production of estrogen and testosterone.

*Procren isn’t sold in the USA, but I think Lupron is similar.

(In response to what someone said: I’m not so down on myself this week. Just looking forward to Monday…not necessarily the injection itself, but rather what it means. In a sort of twisted way, I can’t wait to see what sort of side effects I might get or not get. lol (Ask me that again if I can’t sleep or get hot flashes…))

Oct 26, 2010
Monday Oct 25th, I injected myself with 3.75mg of Procren.

I got home just after 9pm, talked to DH, played with the cats and then set about getting ready for the injection.

The plunger needed to be screwed into the syringe. Then I had to carefully push the plunger up part way until the liquid mixed with the powder and the stopper thing reached the blue line. Next I had to carefully and slowly roll the syring back and forth between my hands to mix the liquid and powder. No shaking because it could cause bubbles and no turning the syringe over as we don’t want anything to come out ahead of time.

Before getting the syringe ready, I cleaned the area below my bellybutton with the alcohol wipe that was included. Now that it was clean and dry, it was time to give myself the injection. This is always the most difficult part for me..sticking myself with the needle. It isn’t that it’s painful, the poking of the needle is really only a little prick. (Sometimes the liquid can sting a bit though.) It is more the idea of what I’m going to do..and how big the needle is! So, I stood there staring at the needle and making squirmy faces at it for a minute or so and then took a deep breath and got on with it.

I pinched an inch and then just slowly pressed the Procren into me. It was hard to see when the plunger made it all the way to the bottom. I then waited a few seconds before removing the needle. All done!

I’ve always given myself my own injections without anyone watching. I don’t know if DH would want to help or see what I’m doing. I’ve just always gone and done it on my own and then shown him the little wound afterward. LOL. I’ll have to ask him what he thinks.

I don’t know how fast the stuff is supposed to start working. But I do remember being told that the effects would last for about 4 weeks. I did wake up during the night feeling quite hot and sweaty a few times, but that could have just also been that I had cats on my feet and it was warm in the room. And I don’t think it effected my sleep..I’m just tired because I got to bed to late. I am a bit sore where I gave the injection, but that is quite normal for me.

Now we’re just waiting for AF to arrive and my next appointment on November 2nd (Tuesday). If AF doesn’t show by Monday, I need to call the clinic and reschedule the appt. Here’s hoping she plays nice and shows up on time (this weekend?!).

Nov 1, 2010
I was saved by my phone alarm! AF showed up just in the nick of time, seriously!
I had my phone alarm set to remind me to call the clinic today at 11:30 if AF hadn’t arrived. Alarm went off and I quickly went to the bathroom and she was there..so were her wicked stepsisters: The Cramps. Thankfully I keep pain killer at work.

On a slightly different topic, but still relating to infertility and my IVF process, I received a letter last week from Kela (Social Insurance Institution/Social Security) stating that I’d surpassed my co-pay amount for medicines this year. So, for the rest of the year any prescription meds I need, I’ll only have to pay 1.50€ per prescrip/fill.

Which is pretty cool because I’m going to be taking much higher doses of meds pretty soon and that means I’ll need more of it.

I know the prices I’m paying for treatments and meds here in Finland are not nearly as much as in the USA. And for that I am very thankful to be in Finland. But at the same time, we do pay higher taxes and what not in order to get cheaper health care. It’s just different.

I also am pretty sure that if we were in the USA, that my DH would not be willing to pay $12k plus for IVF. Or at least, it would have been much more difficult to get him to this point in treatments.

Nov 2, 2010
I had a good doctor’s appointment today. Not the exact results/timeline I was expecting, but doable.

The ultrasound showed that my right ovary is in great shape and clear/clean of any cysts. (That was the one I had the endometriomal cyst removed from a year ago this month.) The left ovary, on the other hand, has a blood filled cyst, most likely the same as what was removed a year ago, but they can’t tell for sure unless they operate. It is 2cm. So, the doctor is optimistic about the right side, but not so on the left.

The doctor asked if I would mind waiting one more week before starting the Pregnyl (ovary stimulator) in hopes that this extra time would allow the endometriosis and cyst to calm down. And since it was only a week ago that I took the Procen shot, there is time. It was totally my call whether to start now or wait the week, so I said I’d wait the week. Especially when the doctor said that in her opinion it would hopefully give better results.

So, I start taking Pregnyl next week’s Wednesday (10th). I take 200IU per day for 5 days. (That’s up from the 50IU I have been taking.) Then on the following Monday (15th), I go back for another u/s to see where things stand.

The doctor says that it looks like we’ll harvest the following week (wk 47 / week that starts on the 21st).

Nov 8, 2010
Quick update.
It’s been two weeks since my injection of Procen. I don’t think I’ve really had any specific side effects. At least not after my first night of sleeplessness, which I am sure was my own doing.
I have noticed though, that I’ve had some strange flutterings, cramps or just weirdnesses in my stomach/ovary area during the last two weeks. They haven’t been anything constant nor persistent. Although, the last few days, I’ve been getting a few stronger cramps that hurt quite badly for 30sec-1min, then go away. I’ve also had a bit of nausea or sick feelings. It’s never really any one sort of feeling that I can pinpoint other than I know it isn’t pleasant.
I am sure it is just the absence of hormones being produced, so I’m trying not to be concerned, but well, you know.

Tonight was my first injection of Puregon (200IU). I’ll be doing this until Sunday and then Monday, 15th, I go back for another u/s to see what my ovaries have produced.

Please send “pretty” and maturing egg thoughts my way.

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