IVF Meds – A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

A lot of people started reading my blog to understand better what the process of IVF entails.  I have now learned that is just the beginning.  Hopefully I’ll be able to elaborate on that in the next couple of weeks…  In the meantime… Today we’ll elaborate on the meds.  I have talked about the multiple shots and I tried to take a picture of all of the supplies.  My picture on my camera phone was so-so. But then one of my IVF pals on the forum that I contribute to uploaded a great, much more artsy picture.  See below:

Yes, this wide array that could be considered your own personal pharmacy are the meds (and subsequent needles for administering) required for one IVF cycle.  Makes you cringe, right?  The craziest thing is that as you progress through the cycle the needles get longer and bigger  🙂

But honestly, they’re not that bad.  Especially when you consider the possible results of taking the meds.

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Weekend of crap – no more!

This weekend I pigged out, literally.  I don’t remember eating that much ever.  And it wasn’t good food – it was pasta, meats (which I just recently started eating again), wings, fried fish, french fries, candy (chocolate specifically) and tons of salt.  In my defense we were on the road and at a wedding, watched the Sunday game at a pub, and then had a cookout.  But that is no excuse!

I am now back on a “healthy kick”.  I think I’m going to do a detox diet, not the crazy all-juice ones or anything that’s actually not good for me.  I found one that you just eat all natural foods; you cut out refined sugars, most carbs, etc. and just eat natural foods like fish, rice, veggies, and fruit for 30 days.  I think that it could be great for my health and also for me to learn what other healthy foods I like.

We are going to be in Los Cabos in 3.5 weeks and Florida in 5 weeks… both times I’ll need to wear a bathing suit.  I figured there’s no better time than now to start eating much better and treating my body the way I want it to treat me!  🙂

An Update on our Status

Hi Everyone!

I’ve gotten quite a few questions lately as to our status with our treatments since I haven’t posted much lately… that’s because not much is going on.  We’re kind of waiting to figure out what the next steps are but I’m feeling really good about everything.

I will keep you all updated, it just might be a bit delayed as we try to figure everything out.  In the meantime, you might just have to read about my life without the treatments  🙂

Who’s Life Is Interesting Enough for a Blog?

I’ve struggled as of late to come up with blog entries – I don’t want to write about meaningless things such as what I ate for breakfast and what day of the week I do laundry; that’s what twitter is for.  I started the blog to share with others what Lenny and I were going through with all of our infertility struggles, and also to keep in touch with friends that I don’t get to speak to much.  But when I’m not actively seeking treatments, or am between cycles – what do I talk about?  Who’s life is interesting enough for a blog, anyways?

Hopefully if you’re still reading it’s because you want to hear about the things we’ve been up to lately.  I do realize that our lives are about so much more than what I’ve blogged about so far, so I want to share what our day-to-days are like.  We “deal” with life’s challenges by continuing to live our lives and enjoying the many blessings we already have.

On Saturday Lenny and I had a garage sale in the morning and got rid of quite a few things.  We also made about $70, hehe.  After the garage sale we got all dressed up and headed downtown to volunteer at the Guys and Dolls Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Black Tie Fundraiser.    It was for a great cause, and we now have two friends who work for the organization that we wanted to help out.  We volunteered with our friend Andrew.  It was a lot of fun to get dressed up and attend an event for such a great cause.

Why I Recommend Living with Your Inlaws Without Your Significant Other

You think I’m joking, right?

Nope!  I have to admit I was extremely skeptical about how living with Lenny’s parents in New York during our treatments would go – especially since Lenny wouldn’t be there most of the time.  While I love all of Lenny’s family dearly, I’ve never really had a lot of time to get to know them well.  Most couples that have been together almost eight years know each others families very well.  But with Lenny’s family living states away, we estimated that I only saw his immediate family on approximately 20 different occasions before we were married.  That’s not a lot of time to get to know each other well.

So I packed up my bags and we drove out to New York.  It helped out that for the first two weeks that I was there Lenny’s parents were in Ireland.  It gave me the time to get a feel for the area, the house, and the New York life.  It also made me extremely lonely living alone for two weeks with no friends or companionship, so I was grateful when they returned and I had someone to talk to.  And the crazy thing was that Lenny’s mom very quickly became my New York friend.  We went shopping together, ate dinner together, went for walks together, and just chatted.

When I first moved in there were so many questions: did I need to label my food?  Would we eat every meal together?  Never eat together?  How much should I stay in my room to give them their personal space without being anti-social?  Would I need to tell them where I was going every time I left?  Would I need to tell them what time I’d be home each night?

But somehow, easily and naturally, everything worked itself out.  It wasn’t awkward or uncomfortable at all (for the most part).  They were so flexible and loving and helpful, as well as patient considering someone had invaded their space indefinitely.  In addition, their love and admiration of Lenny made me love and miss him more.  It was also nice to finally form a real relationship with my mother-in-law.

There are other perks as well… like Peg’s cooking.  Oh my goodness I ate better dinners while there than I could ever make for us.  She is a great cook and always makes it look so easy!  Another perk, the red wine!  In New York, somehow, the red wine just tastes better.  There were not as many responsibilities – it was kind of like going back to high school or college time which was such a great break.

Living with my in-laws indirectly strengthened my marriage while helping me to form a positive relationship with my in-laws… a win-win situation.  I also ate well, drank well, and got enough sleep – rare but awesome  🙂

Sorry for being absent…

I apologize for being absent for a few days – it has been a long few days!

On Sunday I had my last appointment of this cycle.  In a few weeks I will find out whether or not I need to go back to New York… So Sunday after my appointment I took the subway/train home, took a nap and then got on the road to head back to Indiana.  I had packed my car on Saturday so that I would be ready to go.  I drove for 1.5 hours and went 18 miles and half-way considered turning around!  But after that I was home free.  I drove until around midnight and finally stopped off in Bedford, Pennsylvania and spent the night at a Holiday Inn.  The next day I drove the whole day and finally got back to Indiana around 6:30p.m.  I’m home!

Since then I have been working on unpacking and getting caught up with “life”; it’s so hard to be gone for so long with so much still going on back home.  Especially with starting ICFI….

ICFI is the organization that Lenny and I founded.  The mission is to provide support to families struggling with infertility; raise awareness about infertility; provide a comprehensive website of local (Indiana) specific information; and provide fundraising opportunities to families struggling with infertility.  It has been such a whirlwind getting things off of the ground.   I finally was able to submit our paperwork/application to become an official 501c3 and we are now just waiting on that approval.  We have started to form the board of directors, which has already met two times, and we only need a few more members.  We have also formed a committee that will help to plan the events and the first committee meeting was this week (the day after I returned from New York).

Our website is up and running but there is so much left to be added to the site (www.MyICFI.org).  I’ve been advocating for the organization for a few months now, meeting with anyone I know to let them know what we’re trying to do.  Infertility effects between 1 out of 6 and 1 out of 10 couples (the numbers vary depending on who’s reporting).  With statistics like this, every one I talk to has personally experienced, or knows someone who has personally experienced, struggles with conceiving a child.

Overall I think everything is going really well.  There are some struggles – the main one being that most of the time I feel like I am doing this all alone and it’s a lot of work!  But it will all be worth it  🙂

My Fertility Doc

I thought it might be appropriate to talk a little bit about our doctor and our clinic.  Funny thing is, I’ve only “met” our doctor a few times, and most of those times it was right before I was put under via anesthetics.  And yet, I really do love it and have really liked most of the people we’ve worked with there.

A few things about NH: Most of the patients are Asian, I am most definitely the minority there.  They specialize in mini-IVF and so their “freezing” and “thawing” techniques, along with Frozen Embryo Transfer, are great and their success rates are very high.  Also, compared to the real estate docs in Indiana can get, the place is tiny, cramped, and old; and yet it’s the best office I’ve been to.  Many of the staff members are foreign and it appears some speak English as a second language.

Also, they don’t always have “scheduled” appointment times.  During your cycle, while monitoring, you just go to the office anytime before noon and sign in, and when they get to you they get to you.  They call you in and draw your blood.  You go back out and wait and they eventually call you in for your ultrasound.  It can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2.5 hours – you need to be flexible for sure!  Then depending on what was happening that day, you might need to go back after 2:30p.m. and wait to speak with the head nurse.  This was when they would give us our meds or further instructions and answer any questions we had.  Sometimes they would instruct me that I didn’t need to come back in the afternoon and so they will just call with the results.  It’s all a very different experience than what we were used to with our other doctors.

When you are having a procedure done, things are a little different.  Firstly, you have a set appointment time, usually first thing in the morning.  They take you upstairs where you undress and put on the gown in a room 1/8th the size of a normal dressing area.  You lock all of your belongings into a locker, take the lock, and go and wait in the communal waiting room. There’s a small tv, regular chairs, and then “recovery chairs” that recline and have armrests.  Men are not allowed on the second floor unless they’re staff (so no husbands, kids, etc.).  When it’s time for your procedure you’re taken into one of the operating rooms, quickly given anesthesia, and the procedure is done.  The next thing you know, you’re being wheeled in a wheelchair back to the communal waiting room and placed into a recovery chair.  Your vitals are monitored for about an hour, depending on the procedure and type of anesthesia you were given (all in the communal waiting area).  This was a very awkward part at first but now I love it.  You should hear some of the things women say as they’re coming out of their daze, and I’m sure I’ve said things just as funny.

New Hope must see an average of 100 patients a day, on an average day.  They probably perform 20-30 procedures (D&Cs, Hysteroscopies, Egg Retrievals, Egg Transfers, etc.) before noon.  They literally whisk you in and out.  It took probably 15 appointments before some of the nurses started to know who I was.  It’s craziness.  Half the time that I’m there the receptionist pulls extra folding chairs out of the closet so that there are more seats for everyone waiting in the waiting room!  (I uploaded a pic from one of the corners this morning of the waiting room)

I think that if we had gone to this clinic first, we never would have gone back.  But after having seen two of the best doctors at two of the most renowned clinics in Indiana and leaving with a sense of emptiness – something was missing from those experiences.  I didn’t feel like we were going to get the results we were looking for at those places.  I didn’t feel like the doctors, and even more so the nurses, cared that much about us.  I felt like a number, not a person.  Which is funny, because most of the time we were in the waiting room with only a few other people at those places.  But now, being at New Hope with tons and tons of people I feel more “at home”.  The nurses really care about us and want us to get pregnant – they tell us all the time!  And even though most know me as a number, I feel more like a person at NH than I felt at the stuffier places.  

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