Chocolate chip cookies + birthday cake. 4.13.17

Okay one is in reference to my ovaries and one is something I actually ate…GUESSES?!

Birthday Cake

YOU GOT IT! I am officially 28 years old as of yesterday. I’d tell you my birthday wishes, but then they wouldn’t come true…but I feel pretty confident that you can fill in the blank.

I have a confession to make: it was a hard birthday. Yesterday was an emotional one for me, but all of these wonderful things kept happening! My husband is amazing and keeps my spirits up, but yesterday, it was so hard to laugh. My Dad sent me beautiful flowers, my in-laws brought me flowers, my friends and family sent me gifts and cards….I still couldn’t shake the sadness. We went to dinner at an amazing Italian restaurant that’s in an old chapel. It was delicious and beautiful and I indulged in some prosecco…I mean, how much could alcohol hurt my lazy-not-egg-making-ovaries now? I digress.

I think part of the sadness stemmed from the butt shot (aka the “trigger shot” in the fertility world) that I was about to receive:

Butt Shot

Nothing like taking it in your butt on your birthday.

This was my first intramuscular shot. So my glorious Aunt (a nurse in her working days) did this for me at 8:30pm sharp. I DIDN’T FEEL A THING. The anticipation was killer, but the shot was easy. I laid down on my stomach, I do think that helped. I also iced my butt prior. I laid on a “pit pat” *said in true southern roots accent*, or a cherry pit-pack that you warm up in the microwave, I think that kept the tenderness and soreness away today. IT’S DONE. EGGS TRIGGERED. 10,000mls of hCG (Novarel, for TTC fertility peeps). Ovulate away left ovary…see you never right side, lazy, no-good ovary.

Once the shot was done, I ate some amazing cake and visited with my Mom and Stepdad. They brought beautiful gifts and I was finally in a genuinely good mood. Happiness is hard at this point in the process, but check in with the good things that happen every day, and those fleeting moments of a good mood will make it all better.

My birthday did symbolize one huge thing, last day of shots!

Shots Done

The final pile minus the butt shot and one lonely syringe still hanging out in my car from the fun Starbucks-parking-lot-shot I took last week!

Egg retrieval is tomorrow. To break it down, we’re hoping for two mature eggs. TWO. EGGS. My right ovary is a ghost town (literally no action, no one knows why) and my left ovary has two large follicles (21mm and 24mm) and 3-5 smaller resting follicles. For infertility newbs, follicles prime the eggs and pop them out during ovulation. These should reach at least 20mm before egg retrieval to produce a mature egg. The resting follicles will be aspirated for eggs, but those eggs will most likely not make it to fertilization.

For typical IVF patients, the goal is to have  your ovaries look like a chocolate chip cookie. It should be full of black spots, which are the follicles growing to pop many, many eggs. Most doctors want upwards of 20 eggs at retrieval, as they tend to fall away throughout the process. My ovary is like the half eaten, dud of a lonely chocolate chip cookie at the bottom of the container. I’m hoping that it’ll at least have the two best, biggest, healthiest chocolate chips!

So off I go to pace and attempt relaxation as we await this HUGE next step. The retrieval is happening tomorrow at 8:30am, about an hour away. I cannot eat or drink after midnight tonight. No makeup, perfume, or hair products tomorrow…I’ll be the walking infertile zombie.

BRING ON THE BABIES.

Xoxo,

Sara

 

 

Getting out of your “shit-town”. 4.10.17

Bear with me. This one’s all over the place.

This weekend, I made a trip back home for a best friend’s wedding shower. I spent time with some of my most favorite people. Silly, smart, sweet, kind, caring people. I have some awesome friends. And they have awesome husbands! We played games, celebrated our beautiful bride, I saw my old home from high school, we were spoiled with the husbands doing all of the cooking and cleaning…it was such a great trip.

It came at the best time. Friday, I had a doctor’s appointment to check the progress of my ovaries after a week on all of my drugs. It sucked. I left in tears, exhausted, crying so hard that I couldn’t catch my breath. My ovaries are slow and lazy and only one was showing much progress in growing follicles (the things that pop your eggs). My nurse was kind but realistic in saying “this isn’t ideal”. I heard her words slowly as she said “…this might be a time to talk about cancelling your cycle or possibly delaying”….”maybe we had a bad start…it was a bad month to start”. WHAT. I just spent all of my money and you want to cancel? I just did 7 days of 4 shots, I’ve had a headache non-stop, I’m losing all of my focus, I’m grumpy…and you want to cancel?! I was in disbelief. I think Dawson was too.

God bless my in-laws. I work for them, and I don’t think I could survive this process in any other world. My old job (retail) would’ve made this an impossible task. I came to work after the appointment and brought my mother-in-law to tears with my shock and my own tears. “I’ve never seen you cry!” she said, it was awful. A major downfall of IVF and letting those around you know what’s going on. I hate that this process means bringing sadness onto those around us when we’re sad. But the support of those closest to us is what’s helping us day to day.

I spent an hour at work then went home to meet Dawson. We cuddled up in bed and I snoozed before he went back to work. I woke up to a call from the fertility clinic…”we want to continue”. Dawson and I both agreed that this was best. “This is most likely the only way you’ll get pregnant, and with your Diminished Ovarian Reserve, the chances of having more than one or two eggs is slim…so this might be the best chance”. It only takes one.

So we were back on. I continued my shots, had my trip away, and started to feel better thinking “we just have to do it”. I’ve found that telling myself I have one day to be sad actually helps. 24 hours to feel despair and think “why us?!” then back to feeling hopeful and like I want to take on the world. Mind games can help.

I went back to the doctor today and got some decent news….but no miracles like I was hoping for. My two good follicles on one side are growing at the appropriate rate, 16mm and 17mm; they should be 20mm for retrieval day. My right ovary has a couple of follicles around 10mm, but nothing really happening. My uterus however…is a superstar! Growing well, good patterns; hopefully this means a pregnancy will stick.

But what do you do when you know that everything could change any day? It could all come to a screeching halt. How do you go day to day not knowing what emotion to feel? Here’s what I did:

Tree

I laid in the yard for two hours, soaking up the sun, trying to relax, and listening to “S-Town”, the podcast. “S-town” is what the subject of the podcast calls his hometown, aka “shit-town”. THIS WAS THE BEST IDEA. I tried to do a 30 minute meditation as well, but I literally started to fall asleep. S-Town (seriously, check out this podcast…if you haven’t already listened to “Serial”, hit that one up too. And “Anna Faris is Unqualified” is hilariously wonderful as well) pulled me into someone else’s reality. I wish I could do this every day. Find something to take your mind off of your own “shit-town” and float away.

Mountains

Staring at the mountains and the bright blue sky doesn’t hurt either.

I go back to the doctor tomorrow morning for another progress check. If my two fighting follicles are still growing, it might be time to trigger (aka the dreaded “butt shot”). A trigger tomorrow would mean a retrieval on Thursday. A trigger Wednesday would mean a retrieval on Friday. It’s getting so close. There’s a full moon tomorrow, my birthday is Wednesday, Easter is right around the corner.

This week is so pivotal. Come on follicles…come on eggs…let’s get out of shit-town!! Maybe the Easter bunny can help??

Xoxo,

Sara

 

 

Headaches + bad moods. 4.5.17

….that about sums it up!

Shots.jpg

Last night marked day 5 of this routine, also my HALFWAY mark of shots! That was an exciting hump to cross. 40 units of Lupron every day (to control premature ovulation), 30 units of low dose hCG every day (the pregnancy hormone, to help my eggs mature), and just bumped up from 400 to 450 units of Gonal-F every day (to help pop more eggs).

This torture = headaches, lots of emotions, a pinchy stomach. I say torture lightly, because it is worth it. It’s not like I would choose to not do this…ever. I would take shots every day if it meant baby Early’s would just keep poppin’ out of me.

Shot

But this is a struggle. As simple as that. I’m proud of myself and impressed with myself…but I’m tired, grumpy, struggling to focus, I’m ready for the end result. I’m guessing my super amazing, very supportive, awesome husband is too…:)

Let’s keep on keepin’ on.

Xoxo,

Sara

April, always. 4.3.17.

April has always been so significant for us.

First and foremost…I was born in April! I think 4/12 is such a happy date. I love birthdays, it’s my birthday, but it just looks good! 4 and 12…4+12…4/12…4.12…such a pretty date! April means spring weather. Showers, green grass, flowers blooming, the cherry trees and Bradford pear trees…I’m instantly happier in April.

We got married April 26, 2013. We bought our first house in April of 2015. And now, we’re making a baby in April of 2017. None of these things were initially planned that way. They just happened. Everything came together perfectly to make April a happy, happy month.House 1

This was when we first laid eyes on our soon to be first home. I said it then that April was my favorite month and that it seems to get better every year…how that’s still true!

House 2

Our sweet front porch after we moved in. Where our dogs let the whole neighborhood know that DON’T WORRY EVERYONE, WE’VE GOT THIS PLACE UNDER CONTROL!

I am so hopeful that this April brings more great news. I won’t hate April if it doesn’t happen. But April will always be significant…

Xoxo,

Sara

Just call me Lil Jon. 3.30.17

Isn’t he the one that sings the “SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS SHHHHH SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS EVERYBOOODY” part???

That was me yesterday. Trying to pump myself up. My $5,810 worth of drugs came in on Tuesday and I started two shots a day yesterday. Here’s the loot:IVF drugs

This is everything I’m supposed to need up to our actual embryo transfer. There’s one giant needle in there for the pre-retrieval “trigger” shot….BAH…I won’t pay attention to that one yet 🙂

I am doing micro dose Lupron (this drug prevents premature ovulation) twice a day for two days, and then tomorrow evening I start adding in shots of Gonal-f (this one stimulates your ovaries to produce multiple mature eggs) and hCG (this one helps my eggs to mature). I also add on an antibiotic to help reduce any chance of infection throughout this process.

But back to the night before shot day 1. I had a panic attack. I was watching the instructional videos, reading all of the paper work, stumbled upon some other blogs…I was so overwhelmed! I had yet to really cry about this whole process, so the reality of starting the drugs set in. Poor Dawson, he followed me to the shower and stayed in the bathroom the whole time, making sure I was okay. Then he sent me the sweetest words of encouragement the morning of shot #1. These shots have to be 12 hours apart, so we figured the most convenient timing was 9am and 9pm. That way, with the evening events we have going on, we won’t have to rush home.

SO, I MADE THE SHOT MY BITCH (whoops, sorry). I read a few tips about icing it, playing soothing music, yada yada. I found that music actually distracted me. I took deep, slow breaths and I feel like that helped the most. I prepared everything, took a deep breath in, and on my breath out…stuck that baby in. The pain of the needle is very little, a teeny little pinch. I actually disliked pulling the needle out way more! I instantly started itching, so I reached out to my nurse and she suggested using a bit of hydrocortisone cream after the injection. That did the trick! No more discomfort.

The icing….personally, 5 minutes of an ice pack on my stomach was more uncomfortable than 20 seconds of a pinch! Also, when I did the icing last night, I bled from the shot and was left with this war wound:

Day 1 Bruise

Ok, it looks worse in person, but that big bruise compared to the teeny size of the needle poke…woah! I’m not sure if icing and bleeding are related, but I don’t think I’ll be icing anymore. I will save that for the intramuscular shot coming along later…

All in all, I’m impressed with myself. You CAN give yourself the shots! Sit down while you do it. Breathe slowly. Keep it quiet around you. It’ll go quick 🙂 I think being in control of the shot process also helps. Waiting on someone else to prep it and shove it into me would only add to the anxiety.

Of course, ask me again tomorrow night after I’ve done three in a row….

Xoxo,

Sara

 

 

 

Check lists are the best lists. 3.27.17

I feel like we should hashtag that…should we hashtag that?! #checklistsarethebestlists

IVF orientation is done, procedure and meds have all been paid for (go visit my “Our Real Cost of IVF” to read a little more about preparations for that), and my uterus is beautiful! Those were the final ticks to our “IVF go date” checklist!

Our meds arrive tomorrow and I start my 12 days of injections on Wednesday. The good new is, no more birth controooool! The bad news is, shots. I’m thinking I’m going to go with the “hold ice to your belly for a minute before injecting” method so that I’m good and numb before the first stick. I don’t hate shots, but I have fainted a time or two, so the idea of giving them to myself is a bit overwhelming.

The first two days of shots are a morning and night injection of Lupron to stop my body from trying to ovulate. Those have to be timed 12 hours apart, which makes me a little anxious, since my schedule is inconsistent and I tend to have lots of evening events. So for 12 days…sorry guys, I’m gonna be a homebody!

Then I start with two more injections at night of Gonal-F and low dose hCG. That’s four a day total. Shew. I will also be taking an antibiotic twice a day to lower the chance of any infections during my retrieval and transfer process.

I love checklists….so here’s what I made:

Shots Calendar

I love crossing things out, ah the sense of accomplishment! So I’m posting this bad boy on my fridge to help me make it through week one of injections. Week two will include some traveling with injections, so that’s a little nerve wracking!

I have to say…we are SO ready to get this started that we feel as though time is moving so slow. But I am so nervous for the unknowns. This is it! This is IVF! I will go back to the doctor on the 4th to monitor how the meds are working. My emotions are up and down, so I just keep telling myself, “This is it. We got this. This is our story”. Ok Dawson’s the one who keeps saying that this is our story and that’s really cute so CREDIT TO HIM.

Xoxo,

Sara

 

Making sandwich bags trendy. 3.7.17

I went to visit my BFF this past weekend and her ADORABLE 10 month old. My BFF is the best. She lets me vent, she gives me real advice, she’s hilarious even when she’s not trying, and she makes a damn cute kid. It was a wonderful weekend of being spoiled by her family and holding this babe as much as I could.

Ady

She’s excited cause we’re MAKIN’ BABIES.

We made a trip to Marhsall’s, and Jess spied a cute pill box…”Hey! Sara, I’ll get you this and you don’t have to carry around that Ziploc anymore!” She was referring to my supplements I brought along for the trip. This is my new daily intake of supplements:

pills

Whadda we got here:

-75mg of DHEA (not DHA, as I asked my doc). This helps to support balanced hormone levels.

-400mg of CoQ10. CoQ10 is found is every cell of your body. So with IVF, they hope that this will kick up the energy in your cells so that your reproductive system is in high gear. Bonus: it helps protect your heart, brain, and skeletal muscles!

-4 giant, all natural, whole-food prenatals. Gotta have the best! (thanks to my wonderful sister-in-law for this one….side note, she’s been a major support system for this journey! THANK YOU PAIGE!).

-My daily biotin and allergy meds…because I’m balding and seasonal allergies.

It goes without saying, do not take any supplements unless directed by your doctor. I was taking some additional vitamins, but my doctor approved the above list, and everything else will fall by the wayside during this process. I’m pretty sure the DHEA is giving me the bubble guts, but after a few weeks, that has slowed down (just putting it all out there, ya’ll).

And if you can manage to find a super cute pill box at Marshall’s, even better! My horse pills wouldn’t fit, so making the sandwich baggy a new trend.

Xoxo,

Sara

 

 

 

The flying sperm. 3.6.17

Is that a catchy title?! Am I getting this blog thing down?! Are you interested?!

Right now, Dawson’s frozen sperm from Florida are flying back to us! They’ll be delivered to the clinic today where they will await my eggs.

The weirdest thing is they’re five years old…so cool, they’re the sperm of a 22 year old. But they’re the sperm of a 22 year old with cancer, so say all the prayers and cross all of your toes that they’re healthy!

So we’ve made it to this point of establishing a real IVF timeline. Right now, we are waiting on my March period (go figure, I’m two days late on my very-well-tracked period calendar). Once it starts, I start birth control! How backwards is that? Birth control helps the doctor control my egg production, so that they can maximize my eggs for the egg retrieval that’ll happen in a month or so. Also something about how it makes the lining of your uterus thicker, yada yada, baby making.

I’m continually amazed by this process, and am really grateful that it exists for couples like us. Did I ever expect to need to go through it?!…no. But as I tell Dawson each night how nervous I am that it’s not going to work, we’re going to waste our money, we’re going to be so upset and stressed out during the process…and “you have to give me SHOTS”…he says “it’s our story. We would regret it even more if we didn’t do it. If it doesn’t work, we go adopt an Asian kid because it’ll look like me!” (Dawson’s not actually Asian).

So I am really excited to take that first BC pill, go to “orientation” where we hand all of our money away, learn how to take shots, and set our egg retrieval date. Things are getting REAL guys…

Xoxo,

Sara

 

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