Archives for category: Stimulation phase

This has been such a relaxing weekend considering we both worked and studied for parts of it. I love 3-day weekends! Since we can’t drink alcohol we switched up our usual happy hour or dinner with friends for some much-needed pampering.

Friday evenings I usually go to¬†either vinyasa or restorative yoga. This Friday J was so exhausted from her week that she decided to come with me. Her abdomen is filling up with follicles so we went to restorative where we stretched and meditated. It’s such sweet bliss to stretch deeply in a dimly-lit room to music and the sound of the teacher’s voice reminding me to nurture myself. Finally finding a studio in LA that I like and can get to on a regular basis has been a turning point in my acceptance of life here. J seemed to enjoy it. Restorative yoga uses a lot of props and while we waited for the class to start she played with the yoga blocks, stacking them into towers; such an architect. After she said it was better than having 2 glasses of wine ūüôā

Saturday was a monitoring day so we were at the clinic by 8am. It was dreary and cool (in LA, that means below 75 degrees) so in the afternoon we finally hit up the Korean spa we’ve been meaning to try. Since J is carrying our egg babies and wanted to avoid the hot tub, she opted for a¬†massage while I immersed myself in hot water. Mmmmm. I went in a steam room infused with reishi mushrooms. They smelled bad so I hope they were somehow beneficial.¬†We also laid in the warm himalayan sea salt room, which is supposed to regulate blood circulation and blood sugar. I love spas – love spending three hours rotating between the jacuzzi, cold water wash, steam room, sauna, then all over again. We left feeling like happy jelly and ate dinner in front of a movie.

Sunday was our productive day. I cleaned and J went to her office to design labs, as she often does on Sundays these days. I told her to drink water and try not to let the stress affect our little egg babies. I had to work on a continuing education course for my new job and do some house cleaning. We did reward our day with Thai food though – spring rolls, Tom Kha soup, calamari for J, then red curry and Pad Thai.

I’m inserting a medical update into this story¬†– This morning it was back to the clinic for J’s monitoring and my ultrasound. I’ve been on estrogen tablets for a week which thicken my endometrial lining. The doctor wants it to be over 7mm. Mine was 9.2! Yay! We confirmed the egg retrieval for Thursday. Tomorrow morning our IVF coordinator will mix up the trigger shot and show us how to inject it. She also reviewed my progesterone schedule – I start suppositories the night of J’s retrieval! One of the bloggers I follow (if you’re reading this you’ll know who you are!) said that after the retrieval it felt like her wife was passing the baton to her and that’s exactly how it felt!

Today we had our third relaxing outing of the weekend – hiking and beach in Malibu. We packed some sandwiches from Whole Foods and drove to Point Dume, a large cliff that juts out over the Santa Monica Bay. Our doctor has told J not to do strenuous exercise so this small preserve was perfect – just a few trails snaking through the dunes, then a steep staircase descending to a beach that’s more secluded than the public ones. The cliffs were gorgeous and the ocean greenish blue. We saw some fins swimming though the waves which may have been dolphins. Down on the beach the water was a refreshing temperature, not freezing, not warm. We did some splashing but the tide pools were too rocky to swim. We ate and fell asleep in the hot sun. If anyone saw J’s belly with its bruises and red needle marks they may have been confused.

It was exactly the kind of weekend we needed before a busy week and the retrieval in a few days! Hopefully the egg babies are relaxed and ready for their journey. We just finished the last round of stimulation shots and heading to bed so we can return to the clinic tomorrow morning.

Looking down from the hike

Looking down from the hike

J on Point Dume

J on Point Dume

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Quick medical update, then hopefully tomorrow I’ll have time to write a post about our weekend adventures.

J’s follicles are blooming. Yesterday her estrogen was almost 2,000 and she had 18 follicles on one ovary and 14 on the other. We finally saw our doctor yesterday who we hadn’t seen since starting stimulation. She told us that unfortunately J is at risk for OHSS (ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome) because she’s responding so well to the meds, but hopefully that won’t happen. For now we’re keeping the same doses – 150 Follistim (down from 225 three days ago), 1 menopur, 5 Lupron. Here’s an ultrasound of J’s follicles:

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J told me she could “feel something happening” in her abdomen. I find this fascinating. What does it feel like? Does it hurt? She said it felt like thirty cotton balls saturated in liquid had invaded her uterus, that she felt “full” but it didn’t hurt. Interesting. Her stomach is covered in blue bruises and small red needle marks. I feel awful every night when she has to inject again so I’ve been cleaning the house and making comfort food.

This week we have to be at the clinic Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, then J’s retrieval next week. I can’t work out or sleep as much because the schedule is crazy and requires me to travel 1/2 hour to the clinic downtown, then an hour back to the west side for work. Work is super busy for both of us and in the meantime I’m in the hiring process for my new job. I not complaining, it’s exciting, but I’ve had my moments of feeling overwhelmed.

The monitoring during egg retrieval keeps track of J’a follicle growth, number of follicles, and estradiol level. Last week her estradiol was 37. Her current level is 380! She has 16 follicles on one ovary today and 14 on the other. One of them was already large and is now 13 mm. Monday the US tech was concerned that with one big follicle the others would stop growing and we’d have to wait a cycle, but today she said the others are growing too, so we’re still in the game.

J had to have the clinic bloodwork, then another blood draw for some tests we had forgotten to get, and tonight is about to get three more needles in the stomach ūüė¶ The kitties and I are being very nice to her!

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Yesterday was a great day. I woke up feeling like something exciting was happening, like Christmas, but it was just J’s first day of stimulation meds! J’s work schedule lately has been insane – apparently when an architect has a deadline, self-care goes out the window, which is so different from my field as a therapist! It was a rough week. We took our Lupron early or late every night and I started to worry about stress and J’s egg production. We fixed that yesterday, spending a great day nesting together. J read some articles on stress and IVF. We’re going to try to relax a little more this week, and Friday was our last night of having a couple of drinks. Our doctor’s guidelines are four or less alcoholic drinks a week. We were going to stop drinking altogether, but with the stress last week, I thought it was possibly better to have a beer to relax Friday night than no drink at all. We have completely stopped drinking during the week and had 1-2 glasses of wine or beer a night for the past month. What does everyone out there in blogland think about having a drink or two on weekends while TTC? What did you do?

Last night we went to The Getty Center. It was amazing! Twilight overlooking Los Angeles, a sweet little picnic in the garden, then some museum time (we saw Jackson Pollock’s Mural). I started to get nervous about J’s first night of stimulation around 8pm and we headed home. We had to watch several videos on freedommedteach.com to remind ourselves how to work the Follistim pen and mix the Menopur. That stuff is complicated – powder, water, mixing needles, a “pen” that’s actually a mean little needle that clicks menacingly as you dial up the medication. We have an area of our spare bedroom set up for IVF – a surface I clean every few days with antibacterial spray, our sharps container, all our meds, and um, a teddy bear I sometimes hold while J gives me the Lupron shot. Yeah, I’m a baby but I can’t be a baby anymore after what J went through last night! We set everything up and followed the videos slowly while J injected three needles. She was so brave! I just sat there feeling really impressed and acting as nurse. She already has a few small bruises on her stomach but she’s super tolerant so I know she’ll be okay. Babe, you are amazing!

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It’s like a medical lab in here!

I had a gift ready for J that I put¬†in our medical area yesterday morning so¬†she’d have that to look forward to all day instead of needles. After stimming I gave it to her – it was heart-shaped Lavender shortbread, honey vanilla lip balm, a Harmony candle and some herbal throat drops she likes since the air here is so dry lately. I also spent hours making her an organic strawberry rhubarb pie which we ate during our picnic – see below! I hope these gifts¬†helped ease the pain a little.

I know it’s going to be hard to face three needles every night for 8-10days, but I’m also really excited. Nervous too. I’m scared that I won’t get pregnant, that I’ll waste J’s money, or that I’ll get a BFP and then miscarry. I’ve been talking to my sister about this lately as she is a tiny bit older and wiser than me, and she reminds me that you can’t prepare for such things, they just happen and there’s no way to know, but the fear is still there. Other times I let myself imagine everything will work out and then I’m like holy shit, what if I get pregnant?! Yikes what do we do then?! I guess only time will tell…

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Strawberry rhubarb pie was yummy and came out really well. Owen the Owl sent us good luck and baby dust!