More meds, more hope

Days 7 & 8

It seems like more of the same at this point. 

I went in for my monitoring appointment yesterday and was happy to see some follicle growth in my ovaries. 

There were six follicles total, three on each side- measuring approximately 10mm each so that is a good start but nothing to write home about. 

There are still quite a bit of smaller follicles that are too small to measure that we need to grow so I’m instructed to do much of the same. 

Continue with the medications as we have and rest up. 

It’s time to order more medications and I can’t believe how quickly the numbers add up. 

Shady Grove’s Shared Risk is great to the extent that a client can go through multiple IVF rounds in order to have a successful pregnancy. The downside though is the client needs to pay an outside vendor for the medications. 

Meaning, we paid for the medications last round… and need to shell out more money for the medications this round. Since I’m on higher doses of medication, the cost is higher. And this is not refunded if we don’t have a successful pregnancy. 

Oh, the cost for hope in having a new little life in our family. 

I call the least expensive fertility pharmacy I can find that works with Shady Grove, Encompass. 

They have come to know me now (it seems) and I slide my next order in to be received in the next day. 

As I give my credit card number, I repeat, “this is all worth it”, I remind myself. 

Time to relax and let my body grow these little amazing things.

I enjoyed another acupuncture session to feel as though I am contributing to the growth effort in some important way and am mindful of how much I am exhausting my body. 

Dr. Shu reminded me that I need to be very relaxed and to stay calm through this process. He also re-emphasized no working out aside from walking and to ingest warm foods and drinks. 

I must say, relaxing with a toddler is a hard suggestion to follow and yet I am being very mindful of how much I pick her up or bend down to be with her. 

My abdomen is swollen. 

It feels bloated and when I go to give myself the nightly dose of medications, I can see where the bruises are starting to form. 

There are little red dots all over my abdomen where I have recent poked and I feel myself just wanting to rub my skin gently offering some sort of condolences for the pain I have inflicted. 

Nurse Emily called with the monitoring report and it was as expected. 

Slow growing and we will see you in a few days to see how things progress. 

She did start me on Cetrotide which will help my body restrain from ovulating too early with the larger follicles they see on the ultrasound. 

We wouldn’t want that!

This means adding one more poke in the morning in addition to the pokes at night. 

My poor abdomen. 

Thank you for embracing these pokes, dear abdomen, for the hope and sake of a new little life. 



AM: Cetrotide- .25mg

PM: Gonal F- 375 IU

PM: Menopur- 225 IU

Pins and Pressure Points

The art of acupuncture. I’m not sure if it’s a placebo or if it actually has healing components but either way, I’m doing it. 

I started acupuncture way back in college when I was suffering from chronic shin splints. And although I didn’t heal from the shin splints, I think it had more to do with me not following my doctor’s suggestions to stop running then it did the acupuncture. 

I decided to try it again when we began our fertility journey six years ago and have really found someone in Denver who I trust. Dr. Melati at Herb & Legend is wonderful with her knowledge of the body and what it needs. 

She has treated me through our successful IVF cycle back in 2018-2019. Anywhere from supporting hormone function as we prepped for the egg retrieval, to supporting my body before and after the transfer of our now wonderful baby girl, to the pregnancy sickness that I experienced for 16 weeks to now helping my body release all the extra hormones from the unsuccessful IVF round a few weeks ago. 

Now she is helping me with the hot flashes I have at night because of the higher dose of medication to the headaches that seem to be nonstop throughout the day… in addition to increasing blood flow to my uterus for healthy follicle growth. 

Dr. Li Shu at Acupuncture & Wellness Center is also wonderful. 

I felt like I was in good hands as he got to know my story and really wants to help provide a good treatment for me in the upcoming days. 

After a few questions and some chat about the Shared Risk Program at Shady Grove (which he was very impressed with), he began to place the needles into my skin. Although some of the points were different from what I was used to from Dr. Melati, I felt as though I could trust his experience. 

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He checked my pulse and shared that it felt weak and that it would be a good idea for me to relax as much as possible these upcoming days and not work out. He encouraged me to treat my body well and give it a break. 

He then placed a heat lamp over my abdomen and explained that this will help the blood flow. He also encouraged me to drink warm water, tea and eat warm soup and to stay away from ice water. I laughed- there are very few days during the summer when it’s over 90 degrees that I will drink ice water so there is no issue there. 

He read me well- my body runs cold and I need to give it as much warmth to help increase positive energy and not deplete my body when it’s needing to focus on creating these follicles. 

He turned on the music and left me to doze off. 

After 45 minutes, he returned and proceeded to massage my back and spin, pinpointing different pressure points. 

I then sat in a chair and he massaged my head and neck stopping at certain points that were particularly tender. 

This guy knows his pressure points!“Go to any lengths”… and so I am.
I’ll return tomorrow for another hour of supporting my body as much as I can while it grows as many follicles as it can, as big as they can grow!

A Glimmer of Hope

Today is day 5 of medications. 

I feel the difference this time around. My abdominal area is already feeling ‘tight’ and a bit crampy. I know there is growth already going on in there and I am hopeful that today’s appointment will reveal a positive response to the increased medication. 

Let the blood draws begin!

I look at today’s appointment as “The scary day 5 monitoring appointment”.

In the previous 2 IVF cycles, this is the day that I go in for blood work and an ultrasound and the technician remains quiet. 

A few hours later, I would get a call from my medical team sharing that the doctor is not impressed with the ultrasound results and need to up the dose of medication. For both cycles, this put me back 2+ days of follicle growth, extending the days I was on medication. 

I’m hoping for a different outcome today. 

**

The ladies at the clinic were lovely and I ended up asking for more information about what they were seeing. 

The lady performing the ultrasound shared that she is counting 22 follicles, one that is measuring a bit larger than the rest. 

Way to go little one!

I leave feeling good about the report so far and wait to hear from Nurse Emily. 

**

A headache kicks in. 

It must be the higher medications I’m on. 

I can’t nap. There must be something wrong with me- I’m known to my friends as a Champion Napper. 

The call comes in. Nurse Emily reports that everything looks good. Nothing negative and to remain at the current dose of meds. 

A glimmer of hope. 

A different report then what I’m used to. 

Maybe this round will produce a different outcome. 

I learn that day 5 of my last IVF cycle counted 17 follicles and we all know how that turned out. 

She assured me that I’m on the right track and just to continue progressing as I have. 

No increase in medication, thankfully! 

And there probably won’t be an increase since I’m on the highest dose. 

No wonder my body is already feeling out of sorts. 

I lay down, close my eyes, thank God for the follicles that are growing and pray for the strength to move through today with a positive outlook amidst the pounding tension that grips my forehead.  


Gonal F: 375 IU

Menopur: 225 IU

Walking the Tightrope

The green light has been given to start medications. This time around, Dr. Brahma has me starting on a much higher dose and although I’m excited by the change in hopes of having a major increase in egg follicles, I’m also nervous of a negative response to such a high amount of hormones entering my body.

Will I sleep well? Will my body feel like I’m carrying around bowling balls? Will I be able to be present with Little Princess while accepting these doses into my body?

Only time will tell.

That time starts tonight!

An image has come into my head as I pause to think about what’s about to occur.

I have just slipped on those little white slipper-shoes that have a soft bottom and I stand on the edge of a cliff with my right foot stretching out for the rope. I put my arms out in a straight line and with my heart pounding, I point my toes on my right foot.

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What am I to look at? I know I can’t look down or I will begin to wobble.

I know I can’t look around to the left or the right because I will teeter in that direction.

Instead, I lift my chin with intention and focus on what is directly in front of me.

What I see is a beautiful sunrise bursting through the clouds.

Confidently, I lean my weight onto my right foot.

Let the faith walk begin.


Treatment: Tonight, I will do the first shots into my abdomen and will continue with this for 4 days before I return for my second ultrasound and bloodwork check in.

MAJOR DOSE INCREASE!

Gonal F- 375 IU

Menopur- 225 IU

Amazing Grace

This past month I have been focusing on self-care and loving my body well. I have been relaxing (as much as I can with the realities of life), taking care of my body physically, my mind with emotions and my soul with my spiritual connection.

From a medical standpoint, I switched out .2mg patches every 2 days for the last 30 days added progesterone these past 10 days. It’s the same routine I have been through multiple months before. Same reactions, same sleepy eyes and weird dreams mixed with sensations of hormones racing through my veins at 2am.  

We wait for my body to release all the buildup of the past month for us to begin our next, and possibly final, round of IVF stimulation.

dance with God | The Sophia Center for Spirituality
Dancing with God

I am ready. My body is ready. I have been praying for whatever is left inside of my body to be given up to this upcoming cycle. For my body to release the perfect follicle(s) and for God to show off, once again.

It has become abundantly clear that I am not in control of this process. Medicine is not in control of this process.

There are many nights I think about those who become pregnant when they don’t want to be or when they are not trying to be and think how drastically different my experience has been. I wonder what it would feel like to become sick and take a pregnancy test and be utterly shocked that there were 2 lines starring back at me.

Yet, I find something incredibly beautiful about the IVF process and feel undeniably lucky to have the opportunity to dance so intimately with God in the step-by-step process of bringing a human into this world.

Amazing Grace is playing in the background of my room as I write this. “It is well with my soul”, how true those words feel to me today.

I pray I may carry this same peace as we begin the medications and turn my fears and ‘what if’s’ into prayers of surrender, faith, trust and gratitude.

In the vein of humor, I ordered my medications for overnight delivery because the Gonal-F has to be refrigerated and here we sit 3 days later and the shipping notification on my phone reads “delivery undetermined”. This ol’ cowgirl has been through a few rodeos by this point and am grateful that my reaction is laughter and not fear or anger. I know I will call the pharmacy tomorrow and get it all straightened out. I know there is not much to worry about when it comes to the steps that are ahead. God is bigger than anything that is brought before me and my only prayer is that I may keep him in my sight and front of mind as I experience these upcoming 14-18 days.

Thanks for the chuckle, God.