Friday, November 16, 2007

like surgery without the hospital stay...

I was a healthy kid. I also had parents who didn't believe the sniffles or a slight fever were reasons to stay home from school. I have always been relatively healthy, except when I am not. I know that sounds obvious but what I mean is I am usually fine, or having surgery. I have always been healthy until suddenly I am not and end up with some surgery and then I am fine again. I have had 10 (I believe) surgeries in my life. I still have my tonsils, but little else.

As a result of all these surgeries I am well acquainted with anesthesia and all it's effects. I am also well versed in prep, surgery, and recovery for a wide variety of ailments and procedures.

It is with this knowledge and background that I wrote the title to this post. Going through IVF is much like having a very very long and intense surgery and an even longer recovery all while we are to function daily without complaint and go on with our lives like all is fine. We are also to do all of this without the hospital stay.

Let's begin with the prep, the years we have spent living in two week increments, having our hopes raised and then smashed to smithereens every cycle we do not attain our goal. The countless miscarriages, blighted ovum's, chemical pregnancies, and ectopic nightmares we all endure. Then when we finally come to the next point the bar is raised, the hope climbs further still, and then we get our box of drugs in the mail.

The second phase I call the start of surgery but some may still consider it prep. The drugs. Most will start BCP a full month before the actual IVF. That is the appetizer drug, causing mild to moderate mood swings, if not worse, bloating for some, acne for some, clear skin for others, and crying, for some lucky ones such as myself, lots and lots of crying. Then you add the Lupron (if this is your protocol) which feels soooo good to start because it feels like you are finally doing something proactive. Injecting your belly each day feels like a step in the right direction. That is until the anger, rage, bitchiness from hell and short fuse to match no other begins. Then when the anger is just getting to it's peak the headaches begin. Just the thing to really help that bad mood.

Next is the stims. That, again feels like a step forward, and usually come with a decrease in the Lupron, but it has it's own fine side effects. The bloating really begins in earnest now. So does the crampiness, and overall body aches. I was on a very low dose my last two months trying before moving to IVF and I am only too thrilled to see what the doses I am about to start will bring to my table. Really, so thrilled. Not. And let's not forget to mention OHSS which besides being very painful and very possibly dangerous to one's health, it can also cancel the entire cycle.

Along with the stims you may have a host of other side dishes to take, from baby aspirin, to Dexamethasone, to estrogen, all of which can have more lovely side effects depending on your own body. Add to those the trigger shot which is actually pregnancy hormone so you may start feeling pregnant even though you haven't even had the transfer yet.

Then the ultrasound/s to determine how many eggs are growing and their sizes. Does anyone sleep the night before these?? So add sleep deprivation to list of helpful symptoms.

Then the ER, which IS a surgery with all the fun of anesthesia and queasiness and worry and out-of-it-ness that comes with surgeries. Then when you should be relaxing and recovering from the very real surgery you just had you get to freak out wondering and praying and begging everything that is real to you that the eggs they got fertilize. Then you get to do the same thing over again with hoping they grow.

It is at this time you usually get to start the PIO shots with the ten inch needle in your ass 1-100 times a day depending. Fun stuff and it starts giving you pregnancy symptoms even more so now. Swelling breasts, queasiness, increased sense of smell. All of it and you know it is all just a lovely side effect but it still plays havoc with your head and your heart.

Then, hopefully you make it this far because let's face it we all know women who do not, you get to the ET. So you try to be calm, do the acupuncture or whatever you can to be relaxed and then drink a bunch of water and have the ET on a full bladder and try to spend the rest of that day, if not the next week, calm and relaxed.

This brings us to the two week wait, or 10 day or 15 day or whatever your doc decides it to be. During this time you need to take it easy, not exert yourself or get your heart rate up. Never mind you are barely able to breathe wishing and hoping so hard for it to take. Never mind you are financially destitute from this one try and know you may well need 5 or 10 of these before it works, if it works.

And once again I remind you, all of this is without the hospital stay. All of this without nurses tending to our every need. Without cooks making our meals which we chose according to how we are feeling every day. No staff making our beds and helping us to the bathroom or shower. Of course some of us have partners who do much but many of us find our our partners may not be capable of this or we have no partners at all and do this on our own. Many more of us have a child or two already who need caring for while we go through this process.

And I would do it over and over and over again if I could just end up with my baby in my arms.

If I could just finally have my Soul.

5 om's.:

Sara said...

Hang in there - this is a very large undertaking.

bleu said...

Thanks sweety. I am truly ok, just musing about the whole process, or venting may be a better word.

Michell said...

Good luck with this huge undertaking. I think I sometimes forget just how involved IVF is. Not that I forget the expense, which is all worth it if you win the game.

lady in waiting said...

I know it well, and I sympathize. But you said it - all worth it in the end for a baby. I admire you! Especially going through this with a child already, I imagine that makes it all the more difficult, like you said. I know you are on lupron now - when are the stims starting?

bleu said...

I start stims Monday. 150 Menopur and 375 Follistim plus I start Dexamethasone on Monday as well. So tomorrow is my last day on 10 ui and then Monday I drop down to 5ui.