We are midst the next phase – Stimulation! It is absolutely surreal to be midst our first (and hopefully only) IVF cycle. I don’t think I ever really thought we would be here, TTC at this measure. But it’s certainly where God has led us and I joyfully embrace whatever He has planned for us!
So what’s this phase all about? Well, it started on Saturday and will last anywhere from 9- 12 days. Essentially now that we have verified things are “quiet”, we now begin quickly attempting to develop multiple follicles, which will soon result in egg maturation and retrieval. Our doctor is now beginning to monitor the growth and development of my follicles. Thus far, I have had some labs run to measure my estradoil levels and starting Wednesday, will have ultrasounds either daily or every other day. It’s really important during this phase to ensure the cycle is being carefully monitored so that my doctor can help me adjust my medication dosages if needed and so that we can time the egg retrieval carefully.
So how does the stimulation occur, you might be asking … SHOTS! (Sometimes I sing the LMFAO song in my head.) I self administer between 3-4 shots a day, ones every 12 hours. They are not bad at all! I really was worried this would be the hardest part – I mean, who wants to give themselves shots with long needles multiple times a day? But truthfully, just between you and me, they are actually kind of fun. They are all in my stomach at this point, around my belly button. They go into a different spot each time and I do have a nice variety of bruises on my tummy. But they are pretty painless. The thin needle goes into a fatty part of my stomach and rarely draws blood. I think some days getting the needles ready is far more overwhelming. Some of the meds you have to mix yourself and all the needles I have to draw up myself. There are vials to load into special pens, switching needle tips, making sure there are no air bubbles … honestly, that’s the worse part! I have had fun making some home videos of the shots and trying to figure out the new meds. While I will never show them to anyone besides Josh, it’s been fun tracking the journey and process.
So how am I feeling? Mentally and spiritually – great. I am on top of my game, embracing this. It’s truly so exciting to be a part of this cycle with a higher percentage of success, along with the simple peace that God is with us and right next to me every step (and shot). Physically – I have had better times. Honestly, with all the meds that we have done and tried in the past, no side effect is “new” or any surprise. It’s the same thing, sometime intensified or mixed with a few other symptoms. I am SO grateful that I am able to tackle however I am feeling at home and not at work. Probably the most frequent side effect so far has been headaches. I have never been a headache person and these ones make me want to bash in my eye sockets (not to be dramatic). Hot flashes are less frequent now, maybe 1-2 every other day. My body is physically exhausted in a way I haven’t felt before. I can tell it has no idea what is going on and it just wants to sleep all day. I washed the dishes tonight and it felt like an accomplishment that deserved a banner. Cramps are present and expected. But truthfully, none of the side effects aren’t ones I can handle with a smile (and a nap). I feel the extreme emotion creeping up on me. Today for example, I was sitting and watching Ellen and as soon as she said it was the “12 Days of Christmas” I started that awkward “I’m crying but I don’t know why” cry. I just kept thinking how glad I was that no one else was there and wondering if I was crying because I was happy or sad. I never figured that out, I think I was just crying. (Seriously?) But I find myself watering up at simple things, like watching my dog sleep (“She seriously, *sniff* is the cutest *sniff* dog *sniff* eevvvveerrrrrrr.” Or at receiving a Christmas card in the mail (“Theeeeyyyyy reemembeerreeedddddd ussssssss.”
Josh has been so great, of course. He carefully studies what is going on and tries to refer to it casually in conversation. “So honey, how are your ovaries feeling?”, “You do the Follistim shot tonight right? 150 cc’s?” “How are your heat sweats?” (Huh??? Ohhh, you mean hot flashes. Too cute.) I couldn’t ask for a better partner to go through this with. He even hates watching shots and diligently sits at the counter every morning and evening and cheers me on. (“Honey, you are so strong, you got this.”) Such a great support system!
Plus – all of you! Seriously, every message, every text, every card, and every prayer – they mean SO much more than you will ever know! Having people checking in and caring keeps me going through each day. Just love you all!
Keep the prayers coming! Honestly, with every appointment and day that passes, it’s so evident that I am SURROUNDED by prayers. They are being answered and I feel such comfort. I will be better about blogging over this next week when a lot will be happening. A couple of specific prayer requests if you could –
- Pray against Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS). This usually occurs as a result of all of the hormone medications I am taking. In OHSS, the ovaries become swollen and painful, overstimulating and can cause a lot of complications with the cycle, including hospitalization. We DON’T want this to happen!
- That my body continues to respond appropriately and create the amount of follicles I am capable of and that will lead to a great egg retrieval. I have had issues developing follicles in the past so I just want our next appointment on Wednesday to show development that is positive.
- Strength for a busy day on Saturday. I have a packed day: a doctor’s appointment, a baby shower and hosting/ running our company Christmas party. I am feeling anxious knowing how exhausted I have been the last week when I am busy for 2 hours, then thinking about keeping up all that energy for a whole day while likely not feeling great has me a little concerned. Prayers for discernment on that day and knowing my limits would be great.
I close with this great passage from 1 Samuel 1:
Once after a sacrificial meal at Shiloh, Hannah got up and went to pray. Eli the priest was sitting at his customary place beside the entrance of the Tabernacle. Hannah was in deep anguish, crying bitterly as she prayed to the Lord. And she made this vow: “O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, if you will look upon my sorrow and answer my prayer and give me a son, then I will give him back to you. He will be yours for his entire lifetime, and as a sign that he has been dedicated to the Lord, his hair will never be cut.” As she was praying to the Lord, Eli watched her. Seeing her lips moving but hearing no sound, he thought she had been drinking.“Must you come here drunk?” he demanded. “Throw away your wine!” “Oh no, sir!” she replied. “I haven’t been drinking wine or anything stronger. But I am very discouraged, and I was pouring out my heart to the Lord. Don’t think I am a wicked woman! For I have been praying out of great anguish and sorrow.” “In that case,” Eli said, “go in peace! May the God of Israel grant the request you have asked of him.” “Oh, thank you, sir!” she exclaimed. Then she went back and began to eat again, and she was no longer sad.
I feel like our prayers filled with anguish and sorrow have been heard. We are waiting with anticipation to see how God answers us. But we are filled with peace as we wait. And that is the biggest blessing of all.