I am currently slouching comfortably on my couch. I have a heating pad on my abdomen, my feet are up on the coffee table, and on and off, I'm watching quietly as John plays video games. I feel completely calm, content, and rested after a four-hour long, sedative-induced sleep.
Today has been a day of this type of atmosphere. After waking up at about 5:45 a.m., we left for the hour-long drive to the Torrance office of Pacific Reproductive Center for my second diagnostic hysteroscopy. The last one, exactly a month ago, did not report as promising news as we had hoped: Dr. Salem had found a large amount of polyps and some thicker-than-normal endometrial lining within my uterus. She and her team of nurses tried to suction it out, but to no avail. Though this news was not ideal, we were instructed not to be alarmed, as we were told it may have been the result of some irregular bleeding I had had a month before and that I had only been on the birth control pill for about five days then, and it may not have had a chance to produce too much results yet. They took a biopsy of the polyps and sent us on our groggy and unsettled way home. After a week of waiting, we were informed that the pathology lab results showed no malignancies, and that I was to continue the BCPs as instructed until I ran out. After running out and not getting my period as expected, I was told to go ahead and begin my second pack of BCPs immediately and go in for a follow-up hysteroscopy.
I attribute the easiness of this particular hysteroscopy to the fact that I knew what was already coming. We checked in early, at about 7:20 a.m., and I was dressed in my hospital gown and hairnet type cap by 7:30. The very friendly nurse, Kate, ran us through the process, asked if we had any questions (we had none), and notified us that Dr. Salem, Sr. would be performing the procedure today (my regular doctor is his daughter). Same steps as last, they took me into the operating room, drugged me up, and Dr. Salem went in and laparoscopically performed the hysteroscopy. I was awake, although heavily sedated, but I could hear him talk about what an improvement it was from last time. The nurses talked to me during the procedure, and I responded somewhat lucidly and was able to follow along as Dr. Salem did his work. During this particular hysteroscopy, I could feel the pressure down there a little bit more, as Dr. Salem scraped, suctioned, and cleaned my uterus -- but there was no discomfort worth writing home about. Ten very short minutes later, they wheeled me back into recovery, where John appeared within seconds.
As I did the last time, I rushed myself through the waking process. I could feel the sedatives very strongly and I found myself snoring and waking myself with each breath. I wanted to get out of there, grab some brunch, and head home to sleep. Within minutes, they took out my IV, I was dressed, we were given last minute instructions, results, and of course, the doxycyclin for me to take for 5 days.
Nurse Kate notified us that the procedure went as smooth as they come. Though Dr. Salem still found some polyps, he was able to remove them all, thus giving me a "clean and clear" uterus, now in the most ideal condition to house an embryo within the next couple of months.
The picture above shows the "after" shots, after Dr. Salem removed the remaining polyps within my uterus. All the white stuff on the sides of the first three pictures is the thick endometrial lining that has been suctioned out and cleaned as shown in the fourth picture on the bottom right.
Immediately after leaving PRC, John called June to let her know that the procedure went successfully. June was out sick so he left a message, confident that Nurse Kate sent a message saying the same.
I felt great. I even had enough energy to get some brunch, run an errand, and then check out a nearby pumpkin patch with John on our way home. We got back at about 11:00 a.m., and it didn't take long for me to fall asleep. I napped until 3:00 p.m.
On our way to dinner, at about 5:25 p.m., we were surprised to get a call from June. Although she was out the whole day, I guess she came in for a while after hours to return phone calls. She told me that she did receive the message from Kate and that by next week, she will be sending us our planner (eeeeeeee!! so excited) and he prescription for Lupron. I am scheduled to start taking the Lupron shots starting October 25th. On October 21st, I have an appointment for the Lupron shot lesson at PRC. She ran through a rough schedule of events with me, which was not an easy task to keep up with, as we were in the car at the time. Luckily, she had called John's phone, so I was able to view the events and days on my phone as June spoke. We will probably be doing the egg retrieval sometime between November 15-17 and the embryo transfer between the 18th and 20th. After about the incubation period of about 1-2 weeks, we should find out results by December 1st.
We are excited, overwhelmed, and anxious to take the next steps to having this baby. So far, our November looks insane with appointments, and procedures, and bed rest. Everything is happening so fast, and we can barely hold in our excitement.
What has been really fun has been watching John when we see babies and toddlers around. We both just smile and tell each other that we can't wait til we have one of our own. Today at the pumpkin patch, we had a great time watching the mothers pull their babies in the wagons, feeding the animals at the petting zoo next to excited little toddlers. Needless to say, both John and I are thrilled to have gotten the green light from PRC to continue. Hopefully, by next Halloween, we will have our own wee one to take to the pumpkin patch too.
Please keep your prayers and well wishes coming.Thank you all for your support. We will keep all posted as we go along.
This has been a week of anxiety. After waiting for a week for my period to start after the first pack of birth control pills, Monday came with no signs of starting. First thing Monday morning, I emailed June to find out what I need to do next. Last week, I had emailed her asking when I would start and she told me it is normally sometime between Day 4 and Day 7 of stopping BCP, so when Day 7 arrived, I was sure to be on top of it and get in touch with Pacific Reproductive right away. June told me that she would notify Dr. Salem and that she would either call or email me later on in the day. Needless to say, my workday seemed so much longer than usual as I waited for her to contact me. Finally, at about 5:15 p.m. I received a call from her, instructing me to just go ahead and start the second pack of BCPs and to schedule my secondary hysteroscopy immediately. With John's work needing him to work longer hours lately, I worried that I wouldn't have anyone to take me to and from the appointment, so I started trying to make arrangements with friends and family. I had a couple of very generous offers from them, but was still relieved to find out that John had rearranged his schedule to be able to accommodate taking me to and from the appointment. After telling him of our friends Pat and Harold offering to take me, it was very reassuring to hear him say, "No, we have to do this ourselves." -- Made me feel not-so-alone, and that he is really here 100% of the way for this process.
On a side note, I think that pregnant women do have a tendency to feel alone during their term, there also is a considerable amount of feeling almost-loneliness and solitude for women who are trying to have a baby. While the husband / partner IS there and experiencing it as well, the ticking of the biological clock is stronger with women. The thought of carrying that little life inside you -- and the frustration of not being able to do so right away -- equates to emotions and mood swings that no amount of IVF hormones can compare to. That being said, you can imagine the amount of reassurance I felt when John was so adamant about doing these processes ourselves, about him being there for all appointments and conversations and emails with PRC.
I digress. My secondary hysteroscopy is scheduled for this Friday at 11 a.m. at PRC's Torrance office. It involves the same preparation process as the last -- no food or drink after midnight the evening before, arrive 30 minutes or more earlier, and yes, the same $900 cost. The main (though not sole) purpose of this particular hysteroscopy is to check that the excess endometrial tissue from last time has decreased to a level more ideal for carrying a baby. After this, I am hoping to only wait one week to obtain results, of course hoping that no pathology lab test(s) will be needed this time. Needless to say, I am taking the day off work on Friday, as I will be drugged up and drowsy for most of the day. I am thankful for being able to take that day off, as it is one more day to not only rest but to get a break from my nightmare co-worker M.
As far as M is concerned at work, I have done a fairly decent job in keeping her at arm's length away from me. Despite being more accommodating to her and sometimes actually listening to her talk about how much she is eating, I have remained quiet and significantly more reserved at work, which keeps her just far enough away. I have found that when I hear her start talking in the hallway, I just turn up the volume on my iPod and shut my door. Today, our other co-worker and my dear friend Amy brought in The Belly Book, which is a journal for pregnancy. It is the book that I am actually planning to purchase once I do get pregnant. Like clockwork, M came into my office right after Amy walked in, as M does not like to be left out of any conversations (read: nosy). M told us she just ordered the book from Amazon last night and recommended that I do so as well. I was very quick (but not short) in telling her that it wasn't time yet, and this response seemed to have me dismiss the issue much quicker. With each passing day, I learn and adapt more to this situation of having insensitive M pregnant around me. My self-preservation methods are becoming second nature and easier to apply. I am hoping that this keeps this way for me throughout her pregnancy, and maybe even through mine.
I am thankful for the baby steps we are taking towards having this / these baby(ies). Little as they may be, these are leading us closer to our goal. I'm not going to lie and tell you that it is easy -- because it is not. It's a slow and long and painful daily process and reality that I have to face. I am trying my best not to vent so much to John because at the same time, I do not want him to feel the pressure and to feel aggravated. My poor husband has been so patient, kind, and generous of himself throughout this process, and I feel that bombarding him with my daily head rants will just push him away from me.
There are so many things to be thankful for on top of that. Two weekends ago, our friends and second-parents Harold and Pat came and spent the weekend with us. We had a fabulous time hanging out, shopping (of course), going to dinner one night and relaxing all day then making dinner the next. Last weekend, I got to go away with one of my bridesmaids and best friends, Molly, on an overnight trip to Palm Springs. It felt good to shop, gossip, lay out by the pool, and just enjoy my time away from the reality of trying to become a mother. Last night, another one of my bridesmaids and best friends, Kristen, came over for dinner and we had one of our famous long talks late into the night. The support of friends like them as well as our family has been beyond a saving grace for us. We are blessed and thankful for all your love.