Friday morning, I once again found myself driving to Christiana Hospital for my appointment at Reproductive Associates of Delaware. Bri did not come with me as the IVF coordinator told me that the appointment would be similiar to an OB/GYN visit.
Although I’m using this blog to create a place where friends and family can go for updates, I also hope to use it as a personal journal to look back to in the future. So, feel free not to read the rest of this post- because I am choosing to include all the details!
The first part of my appointment was fairly routine: height (still 5’1), weight, heart beat, and BP (100/80). My BP is slowly creeping upwards. Then the physician assistant arrived to listen to my breathing, check my glands, and do a breast exam. No sweat! But from there, she had a do a vaginal ultrasound to look at my ovaries and uterus and help determine where I’m at in my cycle. She pointed out different sizes and shapes to me, but it was all bizarre for me and I didn’t really know what it all meant – other than the goal of the appointment which was to determine if I had ovulated or not.
After she left, I jumped up and put my clothes on and then went to meet with the nurse practitioner Sue. Sue started by explaining several genetic tests that can be done through bloodwork in this early phase to determine if I could pass on any disorders down the road (i.e. Cystic Fibrosysi, etc). Basically, if these tests determine that we could pass on the disorders, then eventually the embryos will be tested and only the embryos that do not show a presence will be used in the IVF process. It is kind of like scientifically engineering your child. These tests are normally done in pregnant women, but often times it is too late to do anything. By the way, both parents need to carry the gene in order to pass it along the children. So, for instance, if I do carry it but Bri does not then it will not be a problem. If I don’t carry it, then there is no need for Bri to get tested.
Sue also explained that after they determine whether or not I ovulated, that I would be starting daily Lupron injections for 14 days. Lupron will work to temporarily suppress my system and the ability to release the surge of LH that would trigger ovulation. I still don’t understand why this is needed or how it all works despite our discussion and everything I have read since then. Like why would that matter if its already been confirmed that I ovulated anyway. Perhaps I need to reread some material…Hmmm. Anyway, Sue proceeded to show me the correct way to administer the injection and asked if I had any questions. I paid close attention because I knew there was no way I was going to do this and I would need to pass along the instructions to Bri. Side effects? Possibly just some hot flashes. So far I haven’t had any.
Before I knew it, it was time for bloodwork -ugh. Have I mentioned the anxiety I have with needles? Maybe that’s why my BP was a little higher. I have a well rehearsed script that I give to the lucky individuals that get to stick me and/or draw blood about this anxiety. Usually, they are very nice and do their best to keep me engaged in conversations to make the process go smoother. No such luck this time. It was the most uncomfortable experience so far. And I was the one trying to start/keep a conversation going. Ugh. I remember sitting there and swinging my legs really high in the chair and at one point I hit the lady – kind of funny looking back at that.
Given my circumstances, my IVF experience is being treated as a rush job. I had one consultation back on December 1, but typically I’m supposed to undergo orientation, a medicine consultation, and a consult and consent to pay with the doctor. Hmm, we haven’t done any of that yet. Also, they did not have enough time to order me medicine so they had to give me what was available out of their supply. We will schedule all those necessary meetings in the next few weeks, but for now they were really focusing on getting the process started quickly so I can move onto chemo.
Anyway, I was back to work by 11:00 AM and by 2:00 PM, I received the call telling me to go ahead and start the Lupron injections that night.
The Lupron shot (leuprolide acetate) should be given at or around the same time each night. We took it out of the box around 6:00 PM and counted our 14 syringes and one vial of Lupron. I started freaking out because the vial looked so small and I was certain that it was not enough. Like a complete fool, I wasted no time getting on the phone with the emergency after hours service. While we waited for the return phone call from the doctor on call, we started doing some math and looking up metric conversions and info on milliliters and milligrams. So to my surprise, we definitely were given the exact quantity needed for 14 days worth of injections. When the doctor called back, I apologized for wasting his time and ended the call as quickly as possible – boy did I feel stupid.
We chose 9:00 PM to start. Reason #5,153,249 I love my husband – when he’s given a task, he really strives to do it right! I gave Bri a run down of the instructions for the injection, but I admit that I was vague and he wanted to make sure we do this right. So I came downstairs after dinner to find Bri watching YouTube videos on how to administer the injection. What a great idea! We decided to set everything up on the kitchen counter and then we got prepped. We washed down the counter, spread out paper towels, washed our hands thoroughly, cleaned the vile with an alcohol swab and then swabbed my belly underneath my belly button. Bri measured out the correct amount and stood there with the needle ready to stab me. I was hysterically laughing and literally thought I might wet my pants. I ran to the bathroom and rewashed my hands only to continue laughing at him. I’m not sure what was so funny, but even after three injections I still find myself hysterical laughing when I look at Bri holding the needle ready to inject me. Maybe by day 14, the giggles will be over.