Friday, April 27, 2012

Emotional Rollercoaster

Today is Friday, April 27th and I am glad it is the weekend! I have had a crazy week. The NEDC had me taking birth control for a few weeks and last week the birth control coincided with me beginning Lupron. Apparently my body and mind did not think this was a good idea. With just the birth control alone I was moody, irritable, and occasionally had feelings of depression. When the Lupron was added these symptoms intensified and two new side effects, racing thoughts and anxiety, were added to the mix.
          Needless to say, for the past week I was an emotional roller coaster. God bless my husband; he was (almost) a saint through it all! The racing thoughts and anxiety were the worst. I had about 4 solid days where irrational thoughts would harass me. I felt like I was a prisoner in my own head because I could not stop the onslaught. Feeling trapped brought on anxiety, and I was crying all the time! Oh! What a crazy time. I actually told my husband I thought I was going insane!! The good news is that I stopped the birth control 4 days ago, and already the symptoms have dropped from about an 11 to a 2. I think that these medications used alone would be okay, but used together, they can brew up some ugly side effects!
          The Lupron itself does not seem to be causing much trouble. However, I am pretty much convinced that I cannot give myself a shot. The Lupron kit comes with needles about the size of insulin needles, so they are pretty small. Still; I cannot imagine plunging that into my flesh! Thankfully, I have a wonderful husband who is more than happy to assist me with this feat. The Lupron needs to be injected about 2 inches out from the navel; I am attaching a photo below to showcase the results of 8 days of Lupron shots. Most of the shots went without trouble. One time it really hurt and I ended up with a bruise and another time it drew blood, yuck! This verified that nursing is not my calling.
I circled the groups on needle marks.
          Today was pretty exciting! As I may have mentioned before, the NEDC requires me to have two visits to a local fertility clinic pre-transfer to check my uterine lining and estradiol levels. Today was my first visit! That means that I have 20 days left until transfer!!! The clinic does same day lab work so the NEDC received my results this afternoon and they have cleared me to begin taking Estrace on 4/29. I wonder what type of side effects this Lupron and Estrace cocktail will come with. Thankfully the Estrace is a pill and not another shot.
          I originally researched a bunch of local clinics in the area to perform my monitoring (which is what they call it when you are not their regular fertility patient). I found a few and then had to narrow it down further because many of them will not take on patients that only need monitoring. The bad news is that our insurance does not pay for any of this. It specifically says in our coverage “no embryo adoption fees will be covered.” (At least this means that embryo adoption is becoming known). So this left me with 2 options, one with positive reviews and one with negative reviews. Because this will be our first pregnancy and because all of this is so delicate, I of course insisted on the clinic with better reviews. When I called this clinic they informed me that they do not offer any self-pay discounts and that each visit would cost me $670 (remember, I need to 2 visits pre-transfer and 1 post-transfer pending a positive pregnancy test; that is over $2,000 out of pocket). This cost left me in shock, but I figured we wanted to best, right? The clinic with negative reviews informed me that they offered a 50% discount to self-pay patients, but I was refusing to go there.
 I decided to call our nurse at the NEDC to ask her about these costs and she made a good point about the clinic with negative reviews. She said, “The clinic will not be performing any procedures on you, so I would consider using them.” Hmmm, I thought. She was right. I would not even see the doctor at this local clinic and they are not performing anything on me, so what could be the harm?
 I am pleased to report that we chose the clinic with negative reviews and we were pleasantly surprised! The staff was jovial and polite and the nurse who did my ultrasound was kind, knowledgeable, and quick and made me feel comfortable. One of the best parts? The bill was $180! Can you believe that? The other place wanted $670 per visit…robbery!

So all in all it has been a great week. And I always forget to say this, but please feel free to comment, give advice or ask questions!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Commence Lupron

Last night, April 19th, I received my first of many shots of Lupron! I add the exclamation mark because although shots in and of themselves are not exciting, the beginning of the Lupron marks the start of my medication protocol, which means that our Embryo Transfer is less than a month away!!! As previously stated in past posts, the next step is getting off the BC pills, starting progesterone shots (with gigantic needles), taking Estrace, and some pre-transfer ultrasounds. As a woman who always loathed visits to the gynecologist, I suppose I am going to end up quite comfortable with that table by the end of this…*sigh* No matter the side effects, procedures, embarrassment, or pain of any of this…it all pales in comparison to the joy I feel knowing that we are soon to be parents!

I have been so moody and irritable lately, I can only hope that it is the hormones in the birth control and not me; my poor husband. He has been so great to me throughout all of this; very encouraging and supportive. This June will mark our 7 year wedding anniversary, and I can say with certainty that we are ready to be parents. We have both done a lot of growing in the past 7 years, together and as individuals.  I know that our children will be born into a home filled with love and joy!

Around November of 2011 I began scrapbooking because I want our children to know that they were chosen, not rejected by anyone. I am chronicling our journey of embryo adoption in this book so they can follow the process and see just how precious they are and truly, what a miracle.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Medications galore!

Wow, it really has been awhile since I posted; a lot has been going on! The biggest thing is that I graduated college! So excited about that! In my last post I shared that we finally got to choose our donor family, and we now have 12 embryos waiting for us! We recently found out that the multicell embryos (of which there are 9) and the blastocyst embryos are (of which there are 3) are frozen in many different “straws” which can affect how and the order in which they are thawed.
The embryologist explained that the goal of the NEDC is to produce one healthy pregnancy at a time; not twins, triplets, etc. This means that they will begin by thawing one straw of embryos containing say 3 embryos and based on their post-thaw quality they may have to thaw more. Once thawed, if 2 embryos are of high quality, they will not implant more than those 2 because they are not aiming for multiple births. There is so much science involved and it is so interesting and so gosh darn exciting!
Here it is April 3rd and our transfer is in May! We have been waiting almost 7 years for this; sometimes it seemed it would never come and now the date is so close! Now that we are getting closer to “D Day” the next big step is to begin the medication regimen; yay! I just received my new meds and I will post a photo of them all so you get an idea of what is going on.
So far I know that I will be taking shots of Lupron and Progesteron, Estrogen pills, birth control (for a while), and ginormous prenatal vitamins. The best part (not) was the huge needles I received. My mom did not help when she looked at the length of some of the needles and remarked “those are definitely deep muscle needles.” I see some bruises on the horizon. Although I feel some apprehension about the shots, I look forward to them because starting those meds is a mile marker for me…the down side is the main side effects listed for most of the medications is nausea and diarrhea (can’t wait!)
          Another thing I have to do is locate a fertility clinic in our area that is willing to monitor me. The hard part is finding one who will take you if they are not performing your treatment. I did find a few; the biggest downside is that my insurance does not cover any of this L  I believe I have to have 2 appointments prior to the transfer to check my endometrium lining and do lab work, and then once pregnancy is achieved I have to have 1 more appointment and then I can see my preferred OBGYN.
          So that is where we are; I start these medications sometime after April 15th and then go to our local clinic sometime in early May….and then to TN for our transfer!!