Knock Knock, who’s there? It’s IVF arrival

As it should turn out, planningiui.com will have a new blog title called ‘what to know before IUI AND (now) IVF.’ It is now August 6, 2012 and unfortunately, our test negatives have not turned positive on our own. So as decided, our cycle hiatus is over and new cycle begins. This time around, it won’t be IUI, it will be IVF. How scary just to say the letters! In any case, it is what it is and hubby and I feel ready since breaking after our last failed IUI cycle in March 2012. (sometimes you just don’t want to think about these things! Do ya know what I mean?!)

 

I did receive my box of “goodies” I call it, last week. Upon opening the box of medications, I did feel slightly overwhelmed. After having gone through IUI, I almost wished I only had to go through IUI again. That seemed less complicated. I had one injectable medication and some suppositories for 2 weeks after IUI. Those were the easier days indeed. Remember the post ‘the unexpected happens, ya know’?, well my IVF process has started not without some minor issue. My pharmacy has actually not delivered the correct size needles for me. I have spoken to the pharmacy 3 separate occasions in 2.5 weeks and still no needles. I decided to call the IVF nurse at the center to see if she could get any further to expedite the arrival of my needles!

 

So our IVF process started. I began wearing my Climara patch over the weekend and will change it every 2 days until day 2 of my next cycle begins. Baby stork, you are comin to our house very soon! Stay tuned.

Diary of My IUI Cycle #4 (Spring 2012)

My husband actually gets credit for this page. Thank you honey! He thought it would be helpful for someone who hadn’t gone through IUI yet to see what a cycle can be like. Here is the information I retrieved from my spreadsheet. I highly recommend keeping a log or diary of some sort to note the days you go in for blood work , ultrasounds, doctor’s instructions, injections sites and dosages  (if applicable), or anything worthwhile noting. You could write down how you were feeling or even insurance notes. Keep in mind, this cycle below is an IUI cycle using injectable medication for me. Not all IUI cycles use injectable medications.

Day 1         1st day of full flow, menstrual cycle

Day 2         Bloods drawn (at center), transvaginal ultrasound with Dr. W, Inject 225 units of Gonal -f ® x 3 nights, Right lat to umbilicus, return visit Monday for blood work

Day 3         inject 225 units of Gonal-f®, Left lat to umbilicus

Day 4         inject 225 units of Gonal-f®, Right lat to umbilicus

Day 5         Bloods drawn, inject 225 units of Gonal-f® x 2 nights, Left lat to umbilicus, return visit Wednesday for blood work and ultrasound

Day 6         inject 225 units of Gonal-f®, Right lat to umbilicus, new pen used (injectable medicine)

Day 7         blood work and ultrasound with Dr. P, inject 225 units of Gonal-f®, Left lat to umbilicus, return visit tomorrow

Day 8         blood work and ultrasound with Dr. R, inject 150 units of Gonal-f®, Right lat to umbilicus

Day 9         blood work and ultrasound with Dr. M, 3 follicles, Right ovary, inject Ovidrel®  to induce ovulation, Left lat to umbilicus

Day 10       IUI with Dr. H

Day 12       Start progesterone suppositories at bedtime , then twice a day x 2 weeks, then return visit for blood pregnancy test

Questions for my RE, 1st Visit

Questions I asked my Reproductive Endocrinologist, 1st visit

Before seeing my Reproductive Endocrinologist for the first time, hubby and I came up with a few questions to ask that were important to us and our concerns. Before your first visit, sit down with your partner and write down all the questions and concerns you have. I don’t know about you but I forget things when I am nervous!

  • How common is infertility among women? Among couples?
  • What are the types of infertility treatment performed here?
  • How much experience do you have working in this field?
  • What are the current success rates for each treatment for women of different ages?
  • What are the success rates for women of my age group?
  • What is your success rate for each treatment?
  • Will there be other doctors who will take care of me?
  • What are the health risks for each treatment?
  • What are the pros and cons for each treatment?
  • What tests do I/ we need prior to starting a treatment cycle?
  • What are your recommendations and why?
  • Are there any lifestyle changes I should make? Diet? Exercise?
  • When can we start?
  • On average, how long is a cycle?
  • What is the difference between oral medication vs. injectable medication?

The Infertility Cure

To date, we have been through 5 failed IUIs and IVF has been recommended by our Reproductive Endocrinologist. Needless to say, hubby and I didn’t think we would be at this point. I told my husband if I knew it would take us this long to try and conceive, I would have started trying right after we got married 4 years ago. Sometimes you just don’t think of these things.  🙁

After our 3rd failed IUI last year, hubby and I did decide to take a break from all the doctors and injections. I was pretty depressed but a close girlfriend of mine spoke to me about acupuncture and whether I had thought about it. Since then, I have been open to other alternative forms of medicine such as acupuncture. To this day, I have gone to acupuncture once a week for over a year now to help de-stress, decompress and ultimately become pregnant.

When you go through infertility treatment via western medicine, it’s filled with tests and pumping your body with hormones to stimulate whatever remaining eggs you may have left to rise to the occasion. After our 5th failed IUI, I started feeling desperate. I found myself awake late at night researching and reading any article online that would give me an answer or some hope that if I did “this”, I could get pregnant. I did this for several months. Then I went on Amazon one day and (I kid you not) found this really great book. ‘The Infertility Cure’ by Randine Lewis, PhD not only provided me with a different perspective on women’s reproductive health, it gave me a renewed sense of hope that I too can be a mom someday. Before finding this book, I had so many questions like these in my head:

  • How come I cannot get pregnant?
  • What is it I am doing wrong or Is there something I can do to change this diagnosis of infertility?
  • I have followed all the advice of the doctor, why isn’t this working?
  • Am I too old to have a baby?
  • Can I still have a baby without having to go through the western ways of infertility treatment? (they seem so invasive and unnatural)
  • Have I done all that I can?

If you have any of these questions lingering in your mind, I highly recommend reading this book. It opened my eyes to a different way of looking at my body and my own ability to conceive. In particular, I found Chapter 10, Advanced Maternal Age (If you’re over thirty- five, please read) very helpful and gave me a sense of hope that I still have a chance! I started to understand why in order for the seeds to grow and flourish, the land and soil must be balanced and healthy to support their growth. I never understood this before. Western medicine never taught me to look with this perspective before. (I have been trained in western medicine!)

The book will give you an overview of traditional Chinese medicine, give you the eastern vs. western view of your body and its needs, and give you the 411 on many herbs used in Chinese medicine to treat specific deficiencies or symptoms. This book is a must read for those who feel confused, stressed or just have a list of questions that the doctor can’t answer. I picked this up because I was feeling so frustrated that I couldn’t find the answers to the questions in my mind. I needed a new perspective on things.

I really do believe in Chinese medicine if not alone, perhaps in conjunction with western medicine, it can help to restore or enhance my fertility. I am really glad Dr. Lewis wrote this book. It is SO easy to read. Thank you Dr. Lewis!


The Infertility Cure by Randine Lewis, PhD

The Unexpected Happens, Ya Know

By the time I had completed my first IUI, I was excited up to the point I was told I had already ovulated on my own and could not go through with the next step, which was insemination. “What a bummer I thought!” Who knew things such as this could happen. I mean, wasn’t my whole cycle being orchestrated externally by the doctor anyway? Let my personal experience be a guide before your journey begins to being open minded and flexible to the unexpected when undergoing infertility treatment. Again, no one told me this could happen. During infertility treatment, the unexpected happens, ya know!

But things like this do happen and medicine is not perfect. Okay I am starting to see how this works. I must go with the flow.

My next IUI went smoothly and I was able to finish with the insemination. Alas it was not meant to be when I found out the blood pregnancy test was negative. I was so sad when I found out. Then I felt even sadder when I had to tell my husband. Little did I know such information could bring such feelings of sadness to me. After 3 back to back cycles of IUI and numerous injections, blood draws and ultrasounds, hubby and I decided to take a break from all the poking and prodding. The weeks immediately afterwards, I was feeling pretty down and still pretty sad. I found myself crying at times watching tv or just while laying in bed for no apparent reason. I knew after a few weeks of crying, I was depressed. Even hubby became worried about my increasing silence and withdrawn attitude. I am usually a very upbeat and talkative character! For me at least, I was depressed after the third IUI cycle. Again, I wasn’t prepared for depression to hit! Who knew this could happen.

I wonder in retrospect, how many women out there undergo infertility treatment and experience no depression at all? I know today that I was definitely not the only one with feelings of depression. Why else would there be a weekly support group at the center. I unfortunately only became informed of the support group after our IVF class at the center. I didn’t think before starting these treatments I would need support, so it didn’t even occur to me to ask. If you’re contemplating infertility treatment, support is something you might find you need. Even if you don’t think you will need it (like me), knowing whether it is available will only benefit you later, if and when you should need it.

In all, a few other minor things did happen, but we dealt with them as they arose. I learned to ask many questions and not to leave anything behind or unanswered. Even if I thought it was a silly or unimportant question, I forced myself to ask.

Today, hubby and I have been through a total of 5 failed IUI’s. You want to talk about unexpected? I never expected to be at this point. After 2 additional rounds of IUI with injectable medication, we are still trying to conceive. Things you don’t expect to happen, can and do happen! Remember that! Wish us luck!