Introduction

It is now a well-known fact that John and I are starting the process of In-Vitro fertilization. Hand-in-hand with this process comes thousands of dollars in expenses, tests and procedures to no end, and nothing short of a shit-ton of anxieties and a roller coaster of emotions.

We have a had a lot of questions about having babies. When are we having babies? What do you have to do? Do you have to take shots? Are you going to be a giant bitch because of the hormones? Ergo, the blog.

I am not pregnant yet, but I cry at the drop of a hat these days. I’ve become one of those women I feared: the ones who see other people’s kids and tear up, or at least have that silent moment that my husband almost-always inevitably catches me on and has to whisper, “Don’t worry. We’ll have ours soon enough too.” I told myself, a blog is necessary. Let out all your evils and anxieties here. Well, maybe yoga too. The latter is still in research mode, but everything else is now swinging in full force.

For those who do not know, let me do a quick synopsis of IVF: IVF is actually one of two procedures we are going through. It goes with a procedure called Intercytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI).

An IVF cycle goes about 7-8 weeks from treatment to fertilization. Basically, after several blood tests for me and John, as well as other physical exams, I begin taking 3 weeks of birth control pills. This part is important because it regulates my ovulation. At the end of the 3 weeks, I begin taking two daily subcutaneous injections of a drug/hormone called Lupron for about 1-2 weeks. Lupron is administered to momentarily suppress the growth and maturation of follicles (a.k.a. eggs). This helps in the timing part of the process. Next I get injections of the Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH). The purpose of this is to encourage body to produce and release not just one follicle in one month (as in normal menstrual cycles) but several (up to 20, I am told!) to harvest. After two weeks of that, they will be ready to harvest the eggs. On the same day and within the same building, John and I will enter different operating rooms and will be put under local anesthesia. They will then harvest my follicles and surgically harvest John’s sperm. Immediately after, they will take our “stuff” to the lab and perform the ICSI part – they will actually physically inject the sperm into the follicle.

The waiting begins here, as we have to wait the two- to three-day incubation period for the zygotes (egg+sperm) to become embryos. From that point, the embryologists will grade the eggs and will perform a process called Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD). This process is optional (which, in our terms, means a couple thousand more $), but we want to do it because this not only checks the embryos for any chromosomal abnormalities, but more importantly for us, it will allow us to choose the gender of the baby. So after PGD is done, the embryologists will tell us what the best quality eggs are, etc. and we choose two (and only two – so NO Octomom here) of them to implant into me. We are also choosing an option to freeze any other good quality embryos just in case.

Out of those two embryos, a few options can happen: (1) Both may “stick” and we end up with twins – which is our goal; (2) One may stick and we end up with one child (which we will be thankful for either way); (3) None may stick and we will have to start the whole process again; or (4) Both may stick, and one can split, which would give us triplets.

Throughout the latter end of the cycle up until the end of my first trimester of pregnancy, I will have to be taking progesterone shots on my buttcheek everyday. Progesterone encourages the health of the lining within the uterus, thus helping the embryo(s) “stick” better.

So that’s the process. Today, I have started my first birth control pill (BCP). We have also been trying out prenatal vitamins, as both our doctors as well as books advised me we have been reading that it’s a good idea to start it before we even get pregnant. So far, it has been difficult, as I took one the other night and it caused some pretty horrible insomnia (had to call in sick because I didn’t sleep all night). Worse, it suppressed my appetite, so although I was starving, I didn’t actually eat anything for almost 20 hours – which, sorry for my poor husband, made me even crankier, crabbier, and more emotional. I took it in the evening then, so I am waiting until the weekend to try to take it in the morning with a meal, so hopefully the insomnia wouldn’t kick in as bad.

Right now we are awaiting the arrival of September 8th. On that day, I will undergo a small surgical, though outpatient, procedure called a hysteroscopy. In that process, they will put a camera “down there” to take pictures of my uterus, to ensure that there are no polyps or fibroids or other things that may hinder and downright damage the growth of a fetus. John is taking me to our fertility specialist’s office in Torrance. (We normally go to their office in Irvine).

I am nervous. I am anxious. I am scared. Crossing my fingers that everything turns out normal and ready and that the doctor finds no abnormalities next week.

What’s keeping me somewhat sane? A few things, really. One is my age. I am 26 years old, generally very healthy. My blood and hormone tests have come back normal and primed for babies. John’s physical exam went beautifully. His urologist, Dr. Rajfer, is world-renowned in the field of fertility medicine. Pacific Reproductive Center, our fertility specialist, Dr. Salem, and our “nurturer” / patient coordinator, June, have all been wonderful, approachable, and available for all the questions and concerns we have had so far. Most of all, my incredibly patient husband has been nothing short of a saint. He has not only put up with my emotionally-wrecked hormones and crabbiness, but also gone above and beyond by offering for someone to come in and give me a massage, taking me out to dinner and going shopping with me for pregnancy books for both him and me.

So that’s it for today. I am hoping that my commitment to this blog is better that the blogs from before. Wish me luck….

Thank you everyone for your prayers…

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