The “Babysicles” Saga – Update #2:
Where did we leave off? Oh, yes. THE NEEDLES.
I have been giving myself 2-3 shots, nightly for the past 10 days now. Friends, it’s none of the fun.
I mean, at first, you kind of think you’re a bad-ass. And by “you”, I mean “I.” I suppose because I have had plenty of needles in all body parts before, (like oh, you know, my eyes, and my arms, and my cervix, and did I mention my eyes?)… I thought I was all hard and would be completely unphased by the idea of nightly abdominal injectable punishments. But, oh… I failed to take into consideration the sting. And the bruising. And, worst of all, the side effects. Oh, how quickly my self-aggrandizing concept of bad-assery flew out the window.
The day after my first round of shots, I felt… okay. I was tired. I felt as though the volume on life had been turned down a bit. Not depressed, per se, but definitely reminiscent of that sort of… distance from life that I associate with depression. But not exactly sad. Just distant. And super tired.
The second night, within an hour of the injections, I was a complete mess. I had a fever. Every muscle in my body ached, especially my hips, which made it hard to walk. I felt like I’d been hit with the flu and a truck, at the same time. My throat was sore. I went to bed at 9pm and basically slept until 3pm the next day, with brief breaks for trips to the bathroom on very unstable legs, and to take my vitamins or drink some water. I was all: “This is my old yeller moment, Paul. Time to put me down.” Apparently, these are not uncommon side effects from the 300iu of Follistim and 150iu of Menopur I am injecting into my lower belly to ripen my follicles all together. Oh, what a joy. (Side note: Paul did not, in fact, euthanize me, contrary to my wishes. Instead, he made me a protein shake and tucked me back in with a kiss. WHERE IS THE COMPASSION?)
I took it super easy for the first few days, and by Tuesday, I was thankfully feeling much more myself. The exhaustion definitely stuck around, but in a much less punishing sense – and the fever, aches, and sore throat were waning. Soon, Paul and I were settling into our nightly routine of measuring, diluting, filling, stabbing, stinging, bleeding, and swabbing. Ah, true romance.
A week later, and I’m still staying the course. My follicles have been very slowly growing, and there are fewer of them than I had hoped. Whereas a couple weeks ago, the doctor counted 14 follicles, only 8-10 are ripening together. There are another few, smaller follicles in there, which could catch up… but yesterday my doctor gave me the look. The one that says “don’t cry but…” and then he proceeded to prep me for the possibility that I’ll probably only make 8-10 eggs. Once they’re fertilized, only 4-6 might develop into embryos. Of those, maybe only 2-3 will be of freezable quality. He was right. I wanted to cry.
All of this. For only 2-3 embryos? *Sigh* Yes. I suppose so. If that gets me 1-2 babies, then yes. It’s worth it. And I’m grateful.
Most “normal” women my age go through this and turn out 15-30 eggs like bad-ass chickens. That annoying little voice inside my brain wailed “why can’t my body do anything normally?” for most of the day yesterday, in between naps. Then today, I told that voice to kindly shut the fuck up. I have time. I have strength. And I spent an hour on the acupuncture table today breathing white light into my ovaries, visualizing the follicles inside them swelling bigger with every breath. “Grow, my babies… grow!” I thought to myself as I breathed, fueled by a desperate determination to manifest as positive a result as I can. (If you listen real closely, you can hear Oprah shouting “The Secret!!!” in the distance.)
This morning, I added injections of Ganirelix to my daily cocktail, to prevent premature ovulation, until we use another drug to trigger it a few days before retrieval. Yesterday my follicles measured an average of 10mm each, with a few 6-7s hiding in the back, and my doctor is estimating retrieval on Saturday or Sunday of this week.
How do I feel? Well, I’ll tell ya: I get night sweats, day sweats, insane dreams, I’m easily tired, my memory is for shit, I’m spotting, and on the weepy side of moody. Which is a vast improvement from the uber-bitchy wrath that teenage PMS hormones used to yield upon me. My boobs have stopped growing. (damnit.) On the plus side, I get to nap whenever I want without guilt, (seriously. the writing of this post was interrupted by a nap, in fact.) and this whole process has turned me into a drooly, juicy, humpy teenager and all our co-ed naked sports activities are benefiting greatly from this. Bow-chicka-wow-wow!
Thanks to the laziness of my follicles taking their sweet-ass time to ripen, I’ve had to refill the Follistim and Menopur, saying a tearful goodbye to yet another $2,500 that we didn’t expect to spend. If we get enough embryos to warrant genetic testing (PGD), we’re looking at another ~$10k in fees, but we’ll see how things go before deciding on that.
To date, it has cost ~$20,000 for the whole shebang. Half of me wants to be incredulous about the expense. Or angry at the world, that yet another thing in my life is some expensive medical challenge. But the other half of me, the smarter half, knows that this is probably our only chance at biological children, and even if it cost $1,000,000 – it would be worth it. And I’m so very, deeply grateful to be in a position, for the first time in my life, to have a) I found the perfect fiance, who will soon be a perfect husband, and later, a perfect father, for these frozen babies, and b) that we can afford it. And that happiness, that comfort, that calm, that love… that’s worth all the money in the world.
I’m almost there. Almost.
Ha. And I can tell I’m not quite m’self, because this post is hellllllllllllllla boring. Sorry, folks! It’ll be over soon.