Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Officially a fertility med junkie

My first shot went GREAT!!

Berilac didn't think I'd be able to self administer and said he would do it for me if I needed (pa-lease!) I had no problem.

I chose to go two fingers left and two fingers below my belly button, I iced it for like 5 mins, wiped with the alcohol swab (and let it dry), primed, aimed, injected slowly, held for 5 seconds and pulled it out. Only a couple of drops of blood. I was so proud of myself!!

My biggest fear (totally irrational, I know) was anaphalactic shock (yes, I'm a serious worry-er) ... but instead the only "odd" thing that happened was as I was injecting the drug I felt a rush of heat radiate over my body, and I got blood drops afterward ... perhaps I hit a vein or something? Berilac thinks it was anxiety ... but usually when I have anxiety symptoms I imagine them ahead of time - this totally caught me off guard.

Berilac got it on camera ... video taped! after I was done he pretend fainted w/camera in hand - too cute!

And yes, I am so glad we waited until 9PM to administer vs. 8PM given the sizable earthquake that we experienced last night!! The epicenter was only 17 miles from our home ... it was more "rolling" than "shaking" ... it felt like Berilac and I were slow dancing, swaying to the music! It was actually quite exciting and fun - but those darn doggies of ours didn't give us any warning howls or barks ... what good are these two?

... So that's it no bruises, druggie tracks, or side-effects to speak of ... we are off to the races!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Ready, set, inject!!!

So tonight we start our treatments! (I say 'we' as if Berilac is actually doing something other than cringing as I give myself a shot! Actually, he offered to "help" by giving me the shot, but I'm such a control freak - there's no way I will be someone else's pin cushion!)

So tonight I take my first shot.

We went into the doctor today for our day 3 baseline ultrasound and she found more than 12 antral follicles (in one of my older posts I lamented about my lack of antral follicles - that count of 8 pointed toward diminished ovarian reserve) Well, the RE was so encouraged this month to see an AFC of more than 10. She even stopped counting she saw so many. AND she didn't investigate deeply, hunting/scouring for these - she saw them from a distance and stopped counting! She was really optimistic & excited.

So positive about the results that she lowered my initial injects dose! Which I am grateful for. As I mentioned earlier, we are trying to be conservative in this stimulation - so I am on 150iu of Follistim each day. I go in for a follow up on Saturday morning to see how the drugs are affecting my developing follies!

Lord, we pray for good quality eggs!!

Saturday, October 27, 2007


Ok, no, not the kind that you put on your hamburgers ... it's been awhile, and many of you have emailed/called/talked-with me and asked me what the heck is going on ... for obvious reasons I've been painfully neglectful but I guess it's about time we "catch up"

The latest to happen in our saga (as you read in some of our September posts) was that we conceived while waiting to start an IVF cycle - only to lose that baby days later ... I went to the RE during the loss to do a miscarriage follow-up appointment and at that appointment our Dr indicated to us how amazing it is that we have a 100% success rate of pregnancy each month attempted, when, for our age, it should be more like 20%. She was especially amazed given our FSH values (most women with elevated FSH cannot get pregnant, much less stay pregnant). So given that my body seems to do something right (get us pregnant with an insane amount of ease) perhaps we don't need to go down the most invasive route to successful pregnancy (the route of IVF), she suggested we try one cycle of a less invasive procedure - injectibles. The hope is that we will produce more eggs on a given cycle and play the numbers game - the more eggs I release the more likely one of them will be chromosomally normal. That's what the Dr's say.

So Berilac and I talked about it and prayed about it a lot. These kinds of decisions are very stressful and require a lot of processing. And we have decided that we will try one cycle of injectibles before we move onto IVF. The thing is: we made this decision two weeks after our miscarriage, thinking it would only be two more weeks before we start the treatments - as they are coordinated around your menstral cycle ... but following this latest miscarriage my body has decided to not cooperate - and it took 6 weeks for what most ladies' bodies get done in 28 days. "God, are you really testing my patience in a time like this?" (the answer is yes for those of you who are wondering).

So here we are ... waiting for my cycle to start so that we can move forward with a medicated cycle that we were so hopeful (back in early September) to avoid. The reason I'm finally upating the blog is b/c we're about to start that cycle anyday. So I needed to introduce you to the idea of what we're doing before I update you on the progress of the procedure, in the coming weeks.

We will be doing the sub-cutaneous shots twice daily to super-ovulate me. Once the ovaries have produced mature follicles (somewhere between 2-4 follies - this translates into approx. 2-4 eggs) the Dr's give me a drug that induces ovulation and we're off to the races! Some couples opt to do an IUI to assist in this process - as they have a hard time acheiving pregnancy. We will do an IUI for diagnostic purposes. And hey, since we're spending so much money on the drugs, we might as well get the best chances out of this thing, right?

So, let me tell you why this procedure is a good thing. Then let me tell you why this is a bad thing:

  • This is a good thing b/c each month my body will put into the "egg" race any number of potential eggs, but my body on it's own will only ovulate 1 (rarely 2) of those eggs (the ones that start out in the race that I don't ovulate will end up being discarded in my body). These drugs will help to mature more than one of those eggs and will give us more "opportunities" to fall pregnant (fewer of the eggs will be discarded on this cycle). So 4 eggs give us better odds of getting a good egg than 1 egg.
  • This is a bad thing, b/c if you think about it ... this means that either the bad eggs will not fertilize and thus not become babies (that has yet to happen to us, remember we are three for three in achieving pregnancy with three abnormal embryos) OR the eggs will fertilize and I will be pregnant with multiples and will most likely end up miscarrying none, some, or all of the babies. Wow - if I don't like miscarrying one at a time, I cringe to think how this will go in an all-at-once scenario. This does not sound like fun.

My prayer is that we only develop 2-3 eggs and that only 1-2 fertilize and that those that do fertilize will become healthy, viable babies. Now, I've said it before and I'll say it again - I do not wish for multiples (like, very understandably, many infertile women do) I am a big fat chicken and I do not want to deal with the stress the risks of multiples bring to mother and babies. The thing is ... this treatment is the treatment that risks high order multiples (as in triplets, quads, etc). In IVF they can choose how many babies they put back inside the woman. So if you only put two babies back, it's rare that you'd end up delivering four. In an injectibles cycle they can monitor how many follicles/eggs you develop, but they can't limit them ... they need to dial in the drugs just right to get the appropriate number of eggs. The thing that puts me at the greatest risk is my age. The younger you are - the more likely multiples is. And given that I'm 30 and most RE's don't deal with a lot of twenty-somethings (although many infertile twenty somethings do exist) I am one of the younger patients these specialists see. Especially in this area, there are many 40+ year old women that finally want to start a family after their careers are in place. (sweeping generality, I know, but this was from a specialist's mouth, not mine).

One thing that could happen, that I didn't mention, is that my body could totally not respond to synthetic hormones and not cooperate at all. I could be 3 for 3 in natural cycles, but drugs change the playing field - so we'll see how I respond and if my body completely rejects the process or loves it.

So that's it. That's what we're doing. We start in a couple of days.

Lord we ask for your will to be done. We pray for strength and courage and above all continued faith in You.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Ideas for how to serve those who are struggling with infertility

So following this latest loss I submitted a prayer request to the prayer team at my church and I basically asked how can I serve God through all of this. I didn't realize that the request would actually be answered.

God has put it on my heart to start a new ministry at my church - a support group for those struggling with infertility. Berilac and I have prayed about it and we are ablaze with excitement and passion (ok, mostly I am ... but he hasn't got a lot of spare time having just started graduate school).

Here are some of the ideas we're building off of:
1. Meets weekly at our church (4 times per month - 3 of those times, ladies only. 1 of those times couples gather)
2. Structure the meeting similar to Celebrate Recovery.
3. Open to all who are:
a. currently struggling with infertility or
b. those who have struggled in the past
c. dealing with primary infertility
d. dealing with secondary infertility
e. those who struggle with getting pregnant
f. those who struggle with staying pregnant
4. Limit (or prohibit?) discussions about current living children.
5. Initiate invitations (via informational flyers) at local fertility clinics and perhaps OB/GYN offices.

But there are some questions that we're trying to answer:
1. What do you do when a member becomes successfully pregnant (besides celebrate of course!)
2. Is childcare provided? (for those who aren't infertile and reading this - know that babies are not allowed at fertility clinics)
3. Is it permissible to discuss the clinical aspects of our struggles? Do we encourage people to share infertility ideas/suggestions ("have you tried this test?" ... "my doctor does this protocol for someone with your issues", etc.)

We are just starting to develop this whole thing. I will definitely share more later as the details unfold ... but I wanted to ask anyone out there who is struggling with infertility or loss to leave a comment sharing about something specific that they benefitted from in a support group that they participated in or an idea that they would appreciate if they were in a support group. I'd love to hear people's opinions/suggestions on the ideas we've already started forming and questions we're already asking.

Honestly, it scares me that I'm prayerfully responding to this call. To me it SCREAMS that God has plans, that if I start something like this, I will need to be infertile for years to come (just so I could facilitate such a ministry) ... like any good infertile, "I hope to be successfully pregnant in a few short months" (*said with gritted teeth and much forced enthusiasm and optimism*) ... "I" do not plan to be struggling with an empty womb for many months, and certainly not for many years. But who knows what God has planned for me. It does make me wonder - if God is putting this on my heart - then surely I can't start it only to step down a few months later. Yikes

... But I move forward as I can't deny this tugging on my heart.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


I'm having a hard time getting up the gusto to post anything. I'm having a hard time calling people, much less calling people back. I'm having a hard time feeling hopeful ...

Psalm 68:19: Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens

... if I'm feeling this way, I can only imagine the heavy load He's carrying on our behalf.

Isaiah 40:31 says: but those who hope in the LORD, will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Will you pray for my hope to be restored? Clearly God has me on a path to renew my hope ...

Romans 5: 3-5 ... Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
So as you can see ... getting to hope is a process ... a process I'm having hard time with.