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For our last IVF attempt, I was prescribed 150 units of Follistim in the mornings and 150 units of Repronex in the evenings. I was totally psyched to do the Repronex because it came in these neat little glass vials and you had to mix the solution up with the concentrated powdered meds each time and then transfer that solution into yet another vial of the concentrated Repronex. I felt like a chemist the first time I had to mix up the solution and had so much fun doing it. The medicine itself looked like an Altoid and I imagined that it would take a while for the solution to dissolve the medicine. Boy was I wrong. The second the solution hits the little lozenge of medicine, it instantly disappears and completely dissolved. Crazy, and very cool!

Anyway, the fun of mixing up the Repronex was quickly negated by the pain of the injection itself. I had heard in advance that Repronex does tend to sting more than your average stim med, so I tried to prepare myself for that. I wasn’t too concerned with the poking part of the injection because the needle seemed very similar in size and length to the Follistim needle, which was a breeze, and I was planning to inject the meds nice and slow in an effort to minimize the sting.

All of my efforts were for naught. Injecting the meds did sting, but not so bad that it was unbearable or anything. The problem was that once the meds went in, they didn’t seem to go anywhere. It was as though I had a little pouch of liquid sitting right below my skin that I could swish around with my fingertips. It was definitely sore immediately after I injected it. I was hoping that it would feel better in the morning, but I was sorely wrong (pun intended). When I woke up in the morning, the entire left side of my stomach was tender. It hurt to cough, sneeze, sit up, or anything that remotely engaged my stomach muscles. I was miserable. I seriously thought that I had somehow managed to hit a stomach muscle of some sort when I stuck myself.

After a couple of days and some Reiki from my mom, the tenderness started to go away. I’m still not sure if I just really messed up that first injection somehow, or if my body was just starting to get used to the Repronex, but I did eventually feel better.

The point of all of this? Thankfully there will be NO Repronex included in my protocol this next time around; just Follistim. I am very thankful for that and will not miss the Repronex at all, even if it means I don’t get to play chemist anymore.

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So it occurred to me the other day that I don’t think I ever posted about our WTF phone consult with the RE a few weeks ago. The doctor said immediately that we hit a road bump, but that he doesn’t think that it is any indication of how future cycles will go. He said that I just got over-suppressed, which is what I had imagined had happened. When my nurse called after my suppression check and first E2 draw and told me that I should reduce my Lupron from 10 units to 5 units, that was my very first thought. All of the lovely ladies at Ovusoft told me that it wasn’t a big deal and that most women have their Lupron dropped when they started stims, but I hadn’t started stims yet; I was still five days away from starting stims. Anyway, it came as no surprise to me that the RE was chalking up the cancellation to over-suppression.

So the plan is to take a break cycle, which I’m currently doing, and then start again with my next cycle. This time we will do the micro dose lupron protocol instead of the long lupron in an attempt to avoide over-suppression again. Our RE seems to think that this will make all of the difference, and I certainly hope that he’s correct.

I’m very pleased with how this break cycle is going so far, because I did actually end up ovulating. I have read stories of women online who did not ovulate following a cancelled cycle and ended up waiting weeks for a new cycle, only to have to take progesterone in the end to bring on the next cycle. Fortunately, it seems that my body remembers what it is supposed to do, and in about a week and a half, we should be starting our second attempt at our first IVF.

I am definitely looking forward to getting started again. I am in no means a patient person, and having to go through so much time waiting for our first IVF cycle only to get cancelled has made me anticipate this next cycle all that much more. As crazy as it sounds, I cannot wait to start doing my injections again…I am chomping at the bit!

On Saturday I celebrated my 30th birthday. I was surprised by how not upset I was over the whole thing. Not the turning thirty part…I’m not one of those women who is consumed by those milestone birthdays. No, to me age is nothing but a number. The part I expected to be upset about was how I had 100% planned and counted on being pregnant. It’s no secret that I’ve really been into the positive thinking thing lately, and I had really convinced myself that I would definitely be celebrating the beginning of my fourth decade as a pregnant woman. Hell, I even had a sticky note on my monitor at work that said “IWBP Oct 17th,” which of course was the acronym for “I will be pregnant October 17th,” which likely would have been the day of my beta, should things have gone according to plan.

Well, I didn’t ovulate during my cancelled IVF cycle, so needless to say there was no physical way for me to be pregnant on Oct 17th, nor for my birthday on Oct 18th, for that matter. And in the week leading up to my birthday, I really thought that this was going to be a serious issue for me. I kept imaging how miserable I would be to watch yet another year go by without children as a part of my life. Thinking about how I’ve lived 30 years now and have no family to show of it. I was wondering if I would have a baby of my own or at the very least be knocked up by the time I turned 31, or if this upcoming year would also slip by without that desperately desired pregnancy.

But the truth of it is that my entire birthday weekend was one of the best weekends that I’ve had in a really long time. Yes, the rather liberal amounts of alcohol consumed may have aided in all of the fun, but I’d like to think that it was so much more than just booze induced enjoyment. In all honesty, I didn’t think much about babies, pregnancies, infertility or IVF at all this weekend. Instead, I was focused on enjoying the things that I do have, and the things that bring me the most joy in life right now. I spent hours upon hours with my friends. I enjoyed the great weather outside with my husband and dogs. I picked up a new hobby this weekend which will definitely bring me lots of fun in the future. I dined with my parents and was grateful for all of the love and support that they have given me throughout the first 30 years of my life.

No, I may not have what I originally planned for my birthday this year, but I found that what I did have was more than enough to fill me with joy and hope for the future. Here’s hoping that my 31st will be just a sweet as this one was.

When Mark and I were looking for our current home, a hot tub was most certainly not on our list of “must have” features. In fact, when we looked at our house for the first time, Mark was kind of put off by the fact that it had a hot tub. He just saw another expense and another chore. But we loved the house so much (we even had that “when you find the house you’re supposed to have, you’ll just know it” moment, which I most definitely did not have with my first house) that he was willing to put up with the additional nuisance that the hot tub would provide.

As it turned out, we LOVED the hot tub. We moved in at the end of the summer and the days quickly started cooling off, making for ideal hot tubbing weather. We would go out there in the evenings and look up at the stars and talk about anything and everything. A lot of the time we would discuss our future plans and how our lives were going to be. Sitting out there when it’s snowing or raining is an experience unlike any other. The day after Mark did the Ironman, I came home from work at lunch and we sat in the hot tub together and discussed the race while he let his muscles soak. On the whole, the hot tub was really just a great opportunity for us to have good, uninterrupted conversation together, without the distraction of the TV or computers or anything else for that matter. I have so many great memories of us sitting in the hot tub.

But now the hot tub sits unfilled and unused. We stopped using it shortly after we started to try to have a baby due to the concerns of the effects on my eggs and his sperm. It makes me sad when I look out the window and see it sitting there neglected. I long for the time when we could do whatever we wanted without concern of how it might affect our chances for a baby. Mark used to ride his bike constantly, and now he is always nervous to do so around our fertile time each month, even though the RE’s said that since his samples are great it’s not a concern. I’m afraid to drink alcohol for fear that it will somehow interfere with our attempts at baby making. Mark counts his milligrams of caffeine everyday to make sure that he’s not drinking too much. I’ve given up sugar and artificial sweeteners. The list goes on. And these aren’t huge sacrifices for us to make by any means. But it does make me so much more aware of what we’re working towards. I know that in the end, when we’re holding our healthy babies in our arms, it will all be worth it, but these lifestyle modifications are just constant reminders of what we don’t have, and that gets to be pretty painful day after day.

I know that our day will come and hopefully sooner rather than later and then life can return to a new kind of normal.

I walked in the door yesterday after work to this:

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Beautiful flowers from one of my few real life friends who knows about our IVF cycle. For a long time, she was my best friend, but lately we haven’t been as close as we once were. We are in very different places in our lives and we seem to be growing apart lately, for various reasons. Additionally, she happens to be in her second trimester with her second child, which makes things even more delicate for me. The fact that she would send flowers made me feel really good, but also made me feel really crappy as well. Crappy because I’m having a tough time with her very easily achieved pregnancy. Actually, the thought of calling her up to thank her for the flowers makes me really nervous.

Situations like this really make me realize how much our fertility struggles have affected me as a person. I have changed so much in the past year and a half that sometimes I don’t even recognize myself anymore. I used to be very outgoing and bold, now I tend to shy away from situations that I once would have thrived in. I’m constantly doubting myself and feeling like I’m not good enough.

I worry about whether I will ever regain that confidence that I once had. Will I ever regain that happiness that I used to be known for? Will it take a successful pregnancy for me to have those things again? I truly hope that I can find a way to find myself again, regardless of if I get that healthy pregnancy that I so desire.

In the meantime, I guess it’s just a matter of trying to get through things the best that I can.

Our History

Dec 2006 - Started trying to conceive
Summer 2007 - Semen analysis (great), progesterone test (normal)
Dec 2007 - SHG normal
Jan 2008 - 1st RE appointment
Feb - Mar 2008 - Diagnosed with elevated FSH levels, 2 rounds of IUI with 5mg of Femara
Apr - Jun 2008 - Seeing a new RE. 3 rounds of IUI with 12.5mg of Femara, all busts. HSG normal
July 2008 - Moving on to IVF at a new clinic
Aug/Sep 2008 - 1st IVF cycle - cancelled due to poor response
Nov/Dec 2008 - Retry IVF, transferred one blast and one morula, negative beta
Feb/Mar 2009 - 2nd IVF cycle - Antagonist protocol
May 2009 - 3rd and final attempt at IVF - Antagonist protocol
Feb 18th, 2010 - our One Small Wish comes true: Nina Adele is born.

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