I promise, all caps were completely necessary for the title of this update. I seriously cannot tell you how excited I am that this day is finally here. This day represents years of hard work, weeks of phone calls, many, many notarized forms. Emails to and from Tim, the IVF Dept and my Repro Endo at home, MILLIONS of prayers and literally all of mine and Tim’s hopes and dreams. It’s not really what happens today that is so amazing, it’s mainly that baseline day represents the ACTUAL OFFICIAL start of our IVF cycle. We started off before the crack of dawn this morning as our appointment was at 0645 and the IVF Lab is about a 15 minute walk from the hotel. I love this picture because I took it right before we walked out of the hotel to head to this monumental day and Walter Reed is still sleepy and still in the background.
On baseline day, the doctors will draw blood to measure (you guessed it) the baseline of my hormone numbers. They will also perform an ultrasound and manually count my antral (or the beginnings) follicles. On this day at Walter Reed, I will also pick up all my medication, syringes, and learn to administer the drugs as well as go over my individual protocol for this cycle.
My antral follicle count was 19 on the right ovary and 17 on the left. That’s a pretty great number, we should all be very excited. All of my blood work looked good, though yet again, with no explanation in sight, my AMH remains quite low in the 0.2 range. While my follicle count is very good and should inspire some hope, just remember this is a numbers game and they are almost guaranteed to go down and that is ok and normal. Just remember, we only need one!
After the blood work and ultrasound, we had a brief meeting with the doc that preformed the ultrasound. She went over some of the protocol and was there to answer any of the questions I had. Most of them referred to that status of the embryos we won’t be using this cycle because… my babies, I need to know their status’s t all times, like even before they exist. She also let me know that my protocol called for the max dose of all the stimulation drug she because of my pathetic AMH number (she didn’t use that word, but its totally pathetic) HOWEVER, the antral follicle count being so contradictory warranted further discussion with the medical team about my need for such high doses.
Next, I picked up all the meds! I know this picture doesn’t really do it justice, but my jaw hit the counter when the pharmacist grabbed this GIANT shopping bag, plopped it on the counter and said “hang on, i have to get a couple more boxes”.
Y’all, this thing is ridiculous and I STILL had to go visit a compounding pharmacy for another medication AND the nurses for my syringes. I carried that bag around the rest of the visit with the respect it deserved as it contained nearly $10k worth of medication.
After I grabbed allllllll the medication, I went the to ART (Assisted Reproductive Treatment) Lab and learn how, when, and where to administer all this medication. Also how to mix it, which apparently is a thing, and how to store all this stuff. I was pretty nervous about this part. I was really concerned about giving myself shots. Tim would be so good at doing this for me. I thought that at least one of the medications would be in a multi dose pen, which really relieved me because i thought i would only have to do maximum two shot a day. BOY WAS I WRONG. Starting Friday, I will have to give myself FOUR injections A DAY.
And only one of those comes in a multi dose pen, where i don’t have to mix or draw up the medication, i just dial it in to the correct does and then stab. The other three come in multi dose VIALS. And two are medications that I have to mix saline into powder. Leave it to me to get the dramatic protocol! I am not completely freaking out, but I am definitely freaking out a little. I am sure it will be fine, but if i call you on Friday, please answer the phone unless you can;t deal with my class 5 meltdown. Just to give you a big picture look of all this egg growing panic attack:
I think i should decorate my sharps container…. Any ideas friends?
After we got that all done it was time for Gale to do some sightseeing since she has never been to DC before. We Ubered into the city and hit the mall, checked out many of the monuments and even the White House!
We grabbed some lunch and after all of that excitement and walking, I was in desperate need of a nap. We headed back to the hotel and I was able to totally unplug and remove myself from my own head for a few hours. I am still very… concerned? That’s not the right word. I am hesitant and nervous and worried about my first round of IVF now that the reality is in front of me. I am worried I won’t tolerate these max doses of drugs well. I am worried about some of the possibilities (just look up “ovarian torsion”, that was a fun word I learned today). I know a lot of people have told me how strong they think I am, and for the most part I think that, too. But strong and brave aren’t the same things and today, I do not feel brave. I am overwhelmed with reality, the reality that I have worked so hard to get to. How ridiculous is that?
Now, bright and early again tomorrow I will board a plane with my liquid gold medicine and fly back to Memphis (hopefully) one last time as just me by myself in my body alone…. as long as I can get brave. This is the part where the suffering associated with Tim being gone rears it’s ugly head. He would have no problems talking me through this. He would hold my hand and convince me that I was made to do this and I miss him more tonight that I have since he left. He has always been the brave one and he has always been my rock and the one that makes hard things easier and puts my overwhelm into perspective.
As I type this now I am a mess of emotion with so very many feelings that I haven’t put away yet. I am packed and ready to leave tomorrow and am grateful to have to default to just going through the motions of my meticulously planned itinerary.
Next up, shots.
I hope Friday never gets here and that time flies by at lighting speed to make friday get here faster at the same time.
Y’all, this journey is weird.
Till next time