All you need is love (and one follicle)

It’s a grumpier day today.  Overnight, I have become nice and bloated and developed significant lower back pain. Ugh.

Stirrup check #3 this week=not great, but I’m hanging onto my glass half-full outlook with everything I’ve got.

Of all the follicles in there, only about 7 look they will be mature at the time of my ER (about 5 in the R and only 2 in the left), and that’s assuming they can get the 2 in the left ovary.  All the others are pretty small and pitiful, though not hopeless. It also seems I have a low ovarian reserve, as expected. Dr B said that although this follicle count is pretty low, she wouldn’t recommend cancelling the cycle unless it were as low as 4. She also said that, though we may retrieve fewer eggs than we hope, we can expect that the eggs are probably of good quality because of my age.  According to Dr B, we are betting on 7 mature eggs, hoping for 10 and counting on 1-2 fertilized blasts out of the lot.  This means no FET in my future if this doesn’t work but I’m still holding onto hope that it will. It takes every ounce of willpower to refrain from obsessively worrying that none of my eggs will fertilize.  This is my biggest concern as of late and I am doing my best to ignore it.  Again, Dr B reminds me that all we need is 1 good one.  As for the back pain, Dr B says it is common as the ovaries swell and push things around.  It is also unsurprising since my left ovary is still tucked behind my uterus that it is causing discomfort at it swells.

Oh, little ovaries, I am tiring of your antics. Still, I talk to you and ply you with love and encouraging words… come out, grow, let your freak flag fly…

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Three cheers for self-care!

Morning stirrups report:

Several follicles developing at the same rate, as expected, with a few lagging behind. One follicle is way ahead of the pack which isn’t good but Dr B says it won’t be an impediment, they may just have to exclude it.  I didn’t totally understand how that works but I took a passive role today in an effort to not get too anxious about the blow-by-blow details.  It was also my day off from work today and I was committed to calm and relaxation. They considered raising my f.ollistim dose but my estradiol and progesterone levels are a tad on the high side, and they are pretty cautious about OHSS, so I am sticking with the 225.

If you sense a tad more calm detachment in today’s post (don’t you?), it’s because I spent the rest of the day pampering myself.  I treated myself to two novels at the world’s best bookstore, Powell’s, followed by a massage, an afternoon in the garden and an evening baking (and eating) chocolate chip cookies and reading my new book. Yum.  I’m hoping to hold onto this feeling through the next 4 days of work and anticipation…

Shy ovary…

Started the day in stirrups for my first stim check.  What we found was ‘half a glass’-full or empty depends on who you are:

Right Ovary: 6 follicles growing, currently all between 8-10mm (medication is working as it should be).  The small endometrioma in the ovary is not hindering their growth and Dr B says it won’t be an obstacle to extraction (half full!)

Left Ovary: 4 growing follicles between 8-10mm, plus 2 little ones that may or may not thrive.  Left ovary has been repeatedly tucked behind my uterus across ultrasounds.  Dr B says it may be ‘placed’ there or it may be stuck there, thanks to my endometriosis.  D B reports they have some ways of ‘coaxing’ out the ovary, particularly when I am under anaesthesia.  However, if the ovary is adhered in that position, they won’t be able to access the eggs safely as they don’t want to stick that giant needle through my intestines and major arteries and so on. In that case, we would only have the 6 follies on the right to work with. Ouch. (Half empty)

Half empty me fears the news that I probably only have 10 follicles at best and more than likely only 6. Half empty me doesn’t like those odds. Not one bit.

Half full me says maybe those two little follies will keep growing and we don’t know for sure that the ovary is adhered and, in theory, all we need is one really good one.  Half full me says there is no use letting half empty me go around hollering today because it sure isn’t going to change anything for the better.  So, for now, I’m sticking w/ half full me because what else have I got?  So, I am asking that all of those thoughts that you all are so wonderful about sending to be directed squarely at my left ovary. Come out little ovary!

In other good news, although I am going to need more f.ollistim than originally projected, I am not going to have to pay for it.  The clinic has extra unused f.ollistim donated by other patients and they are setting it aside for me due to financial stressors. (Half full!)

I head back on Wed for the next check. More updates to come…

Relaxation (inset: panic)

AH yes, a weekend at the coast. It was the right decision and I don’t regret it. We arrived early Friday evening and set the stage for a weekend filled with distraction and, siiiiggghhh, relaxation. We sat out on the deck and watched the sun set over the water and haystack rocks in the distance and spent some much-needed time connecting. Lovely.

Inset: We awaken Saturday morning to administer my first Menopur shot.  We mix all the vials like pros, draw back the shot and slightly depress the plunger to make a small drop come out at the tip…. aaandddd out squirts a small fraction of the dose. Lost medication=PANIC. I panicked. Too early to call the clinic, we inject it anyway and wait.  As we wait for the clinic to open, I head to the kitchen and open the refrigerator door for a glass of juice.  I realize with horror that the temperature in the fridge has malfunctioned and the juice, along with all other liquids, have a thin veil of ice beginning to form.  I grab out the thousand or so dollars worth of f.ollistim and l.upron, both stamped clearly on the front with DO NOT FREEZE. Pharmacy is not. yet. open. Now, panic turns to near-hysteria as my capacity for tempering panic with reason these days is poor.  By the time we are able to talk with both the clinic and the pharmacy (a mere 15 minutes later), I am inconsolable.  I, luckily, pull it together enough to talk with both the clinic and the pharmacy so that I can hear their reassurances with my own ears: 1) The amount the squirted out of the Menopur was not enough to require using a whole new vial and small enough to not make too much of a difference. 2)  While the other liquids in the fridge had started freezing, the medications had not.  The pharmacist assured me, more than once, that unless the medication had actually frozen, it was fine to use. This was enough to  keep the panic at bay for the rest of the day but not enough to keep me from secretly obsessively worrying that both of these professionals were, clearly, not being hypervigilant enough and that my IVF cyle is now doomed.  What if the medication had started to freeze and I just didn’t see it? Whatifwhatifwhatif. I swear, I am not a lunatic.  It’s just that the amout of details involved in this process and the weight it all holds is enough to make anyone nuts. I also, clearly, have hormonal issues.

Deep breaths…. Breathe in peace and calm…breathe out stress and anxiety…breathe in peace and… Oh, forget it.

What saved the weekend, and my sanity, was the arrival of glorious weather and good friends. The early hours of Saturday morning unfolded into bright sunshine and deep blue skies which, in turn, opened the door for walks on the beach, dinner with our friends and giggles with their year-old daughter. Today’s meds, so far, have gone without a hitch.  Relaxation makes a comeback!

And now, pictures of the beach to keep me calm:

Baby Steps

Well, today was our ‘suppression check.’  On the drive over to the clinic, I felt my pulse pick up and my anxiety spike since every appt feels progressively weightier and, at this point, I am always braced for bad news. I know, I know, that doesn’t help.  I repeated my new Alice Dolmar relaxation mantra: ‘Breathe in peace and calm, Breathe out stress and anxiety…’ and nearly rear-ended someone. So much for rush hour meditation.

Still, 20 mins and one dildocam later, we had good news! My u/s shows  12 follciles (6 on each side) that appear suppressed. While 12 is not an incredible number, it’s decent and definitely good for me.  Then, my bloodwork came back this afternoon with more good news! My estradiol levels are down at 18 which means those follicles are as they should be. I am officially suppressed, which means we have passed the first hurdle. Phew.

We start stims on Saturday and it looks like Dr B is feeling agressive because she upped my f.ollistim dose to 225 to start after wavering at 150 in the past few weeks.  She is pretty cautious and I trust her, so 225 it is.   I head back on Monday for my first stim check and then a few days after that to monitor follicle growth. In theory, we could trigger begining on 7/2 (day 8 of stims) but I was told that most of the time, the follicles aren’t big enough until at least day 10 of stims, which would mean a 4th of July trigger.  Talk about fireworks!

So, fingers crossed for happy follicle growth and no OHSS, please.

In the mean time, I ‘breathe in peace and calm…breathe out stress and anxiety…breathe in peace and calm…breathe out stress and anxiety…’

Thank you, SF Bay Guardian…

…for the following words from the stars:

SCORPIO

Oct. 23-Nov. 21

Deal with your anxieties by focusing on all the things you’re grateful for, no matter how small or big they are. You are going in the right direction, so don’t let your worries trip you up. Redirect your attention to the good stuff.