Fun is a realtive term, but for us the past 2 weeks have been very busy/fun on the fertility front. We have had lots of doctor visits and tests. And have spent astonishing amounts of time and money getting us steps closer to our dream......
On Tuesday May 27th, we “officially” started our fertility treatments….well sorta…
Our Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE) wanted me to take a round of Clomid (a cheap ovary stimulating pill) to see how my ovaries would react, and to see if once they are “plump” she could locate them a little easier to plan for the method of retrieval. At my last appointment she was pleased to find out that I have been tracking my Basal Body Temperature (BBT) since January so I knew exactly where I was in my cycle, this would help speed up the process instead of having to do blood work every day to figure it out. I was eager to finally DO something, but when it came time to take the pills on the first night, I nearly broke down. The always suppressed, but just waiting to pop out, nagging "Why me??” came back with a vengeance, but I put on my big girl pants and tried to make light of it by asking Lee to snap a picture of me taking them. Thankfully I have had no bad side effects from the medicine, I heard the headaches and mood swings can be tortuous.
On Wednesday May 28th, I attended the mandatory IVF Class, taught by the amazing IVF nurses at John Hopkins. I was the first to walk in the training room that morning and in front of each chair was a thick packet of papers, and various needles, vials and other not so fun things. I was instantly gulping for air. But I had known this came with the IVF territory, and it will be sooo worth it. So once again, I put my big girl pants on and took feverish notes during the 2 hour class soaking in as much knowledge as I could.
After the class I met with our RE to discuss her specific plan for us, since like always we aren't the "norm." I brought up a few things from the class I had questions on. This is where being your own patient advocate comes into play people!! I wrote down something the nurse said during the class basicaly "if blah blah happens, it might delay your treatment," so I asked our RE about it…she said “hmm that’s a good question, since you fall into that category, we’ll go ahead and do blah blah blah to avoid that.” See if I didn’t say something, we may have had a snafu resulting in lost time and money. Glad I'm a planner, did my research, knew my own stats and wasn't afraid to speak up!
On Tuesday June 3rd, I had my first acupuncture treatment. There have been countless studies showing that acupuncture can help egg production, and pregnancy rates, with or without IVF treatments. Online message boards are rife with tips and old wive's tales claiming to help your fertility. Things like eating pinnacle core and brazil nuts and all sorts of things. One of those being a specific diet of foods—there are varying opinions on which is the best. I choose the paleo diet (white meat, fruit, veggies nuts & beans only…no dairy, gluten, alcohol, caffeine, preservatives, etc.) which I have been subjecting myself to since mid April, In addition to losing 6 pounds so far, I feel soooo much healthier, that has to be good for my eggs right? Lee has been amazing making sure I have healthy snacks, and left overs for lunch each day. I couldn't do this without him. So after reading many peoples experiences I thought I would start acupuncture as well…it couldn’t hurt to try it right?
What if all acupuncture does is makes me feel better (it’s basically an hour long nap once a week with painless needles and comforting music), thereby reducing stress? Wouldn’t that be of value? To me, it was worth the money (partially covered by insurance) to believe I am giving myself better odds. My acupuncturist is an M.D. from China that specializes in fertility so I trust she knows what she’s doing. I will be going weekly until retrieval, and specifically she wants to see me within 24 hours before the retrieval. It’s too soon to tell if my first visit had any effects…but I’m positive it will.
On Thursday June 5th, Lee & I drove to John Hopkins for an ultrasound to see how the Clomid worked. Dr. Kolp was unfortunately stuck in surgery so I saw her colleague Dr. Garcia. He measured my four follicles and said to me “You achieved with just a few pills what most women have to pay thousands and use injections to do.” That made me smile and gave me hope that maybe this WILL work! (each month most women grow 1 active follicle containing an egg it alternates sides each month, on Clomid most generally grow 2-3 follicles, some women grow more), On my right ovary there were two active follicles both measuring 14mm, on the left there was an 11mm and a 23mm follicle!!! For those not in the infertility realm just know that this is great news as it shows that my body responds to medicine and both ovaries are capable of producing follicles :-) He was easily able to see both ovaries and was confident I would do just fine with the standard IVF retrieval.
<----Those are my ovaries/follicles... It might look like garble to you especially since there is no uterus to orient yourself, but to me they're beautiful!!!!
After the exam we met with the financial counselors and paid the required deposit (gulp!). As always our situation is a bit different than most, this time it was that we had to explain about the Cade Foundation Grant and how that would be handled. We are so thankful for the Cade Foundation for making our dream that much easier to attain.
Then we met with the nursing staff and initiated the prescriptions for the various medicines (injections!) I’ll be starting in just 10 short days from now!! Eeekkkk.. I was recently told about an Online Pharmacy based in Israel that has the best prices on fertility medicine I have ever seen! JH was hesitant at first, but after researching they are allowing us to order from there saving us THOUSANDS of dollars! (update--- it saved us 56%!! almost $2,000!)
So if all goes as planned our tentative egg retrieval will be the first week in July!! Then we will freeze the embryos until we have lined up a carrier and the additional funds needed to complete our journey.
Bram's Birth Story
Ways to Save Money
Things not to say to IPs
Tips for newly diagnosed
Mothers with MRKH
Our Gender Reveal
2000- Chrissy dx w/ MRKH
2002- Chrissy & Lee meet
2007- Chrissy & Lee Marry
2009- Chrissy 'hysterectomy'
2013- Awarded Cade Grant
7/3/14- IVF egg retrieval (5)
1/18/15- Embryo Transfer (1)
9/29/15 - Bram born!