Monday, July 19, 2004

My Fairy Godmother

Yesterday was the official start of the IVF process, and what a start it was! I had an 8:30 a.m. appointment for my baseline sonogram and day three bloodwork. Since the clinic is about half an hour away, I set my alarm for 7:15, figuring that would give me plenty of time to get nice and pretty for Dr. B. Eric had volunteered to cover for a coworker and was at the office from 11:00 p.m. on Saturday until 6:00 a.m. I never sleep well when he's gone. It's not that I miss him - although I do - it's just that I am such a creature of habit that when something is different it throws me off. Couple that with the fact that Walker has a cold and kept sneezing directly into my face every 5 minutes or so, and that added up to a long night with no sleep. The last time I looked at the clock it was 4:30.

The next time I looked at it, it was 8:15. What the eff?!? As it turned out, Eric had climbed into bed at 6:30, and when my alarm went off 45 minutes later he reached over and turned it off without even waking up. Knowing that if I didn't make it to my appointment we would have to postpone our IVF by an entire month, I was frantic. I threw on a t-shirt and jeans, stuffed my hair into a ponytail, ran out to my car and sped all the way to the RE's office, half-awake the entire way.

When I got there at 8:50 I dashed into the waiting room and apologized profusely to the receptionist. She gave me a quizzical smile and said, "Well hello Chelsea ... what are you doing here so early? We have you down for 11:45. Didn't the scheduling nurse call you?"

No, in fact, she had not called me. But that's OK, that's OK, the good news is I almost killed myself trying to get to an appointment for which I was three hours early!

I waited for an hour, reading National Geographic through bleary eyes. Finally they called me back to get my vein punctured by a very grumpy phlebotomist. I couldn't blame her for being grumpy; who wants to be at work on a Sunday morning? And knowing that your day is going to consist entirely of sticking bitter, barren women with needles? I couldn't blame her one bit. After taking a nice little vial of my blood she directed me back to the examination room with the oh-so-friendly ultrasound machine and told me to strip.

For those of you not familiar with the fertility sonogram process, it is not at all like the ultrasound you get once you're pregnant, with the little curved transducer and the goopy lube on your belly. That is a much cuter process than this one. When the doctor is checking out your ovaries, she uses an internal wand. Here's a photo to tickle your imagination.

The ultra-friendly ultrasound wand, AKA the "dildo cam". Posted by Hello

Thanks to my insanely bad menstrual cramps, it wasn't such a fun time having that thing probing around inside of me. I mean, I'd take it over an HSG any day, but still. I distracted myself by pretending that Dr. B was my fairy godmother, waving her wand at my ovaries and giving them magic powers.

When the probing was over, she told me everything looked great and we were good to go for IVF #1. She gave me a prescription for birth control pills, which are used to suppress egg production so that when you start the stimulation drugs, it's like "BAM! Take that, you lazy ovaries!" and they respond by churning out dozens of eggs. I'll receive the details of my protocol in the mail sometime later this week. Basically, my treatment will go something like this:

1)Birth control pills for 4 weeks for suppression
2)Lupron injections for 5 days
3)Gonal-F and Repronex injections for 8-12 days, depending on how I respond
4)Trigger shot
5)Egg retrieval
7)Blastocyst transfer
8)Heparin treatment
9)Beta test

So there it is - 9 easy steps to an IVF cycle. The one thing that makes me the most nervous (besides the fear that it won't work) is the fact that I have a slight needle phobia. Of those 9 steps, 7 involve needles. At one point in the cycle, I will be giving myself 6 injections in one day. Yikes. This is going to be interesting.

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