A new twist to an old “favorite” and an overview to IVF
This time around, I will not, I repeat NOT be using Decapeptyl to control my LH (The hormone that makes the ovaries release eggs). Thank GOD! (That was a sincere prayer of thanks to my Maker.) Last IVF cycle, I had 34 shots of Decapeptyl. 34. Injected into my biceps. One. Every. Day. Needless to say, It hurt like hell. My arms were sore up until about a month ago. This time, I am using not the Agnoist Decap, but the ANTAGONIST called ORGALUTRAN. It sounds like a real joy. I will probably begin one injection every other day beginning probably this time next week. In MY thigh. I like my thighs. There is basically no fat anywhere on them. They are nice firm muscle running along the top. I got a baaaad feeling about this. But I’ll take it when it comes.
A couple of people have asked me to give a brief “IVF for Dumnmies” version. So I thought I’d give a run down of the meds I’ll be on this time around and a small overview to the IVF/ICSI process for those of you that have not had the “pleasure” and don’t know what “fun” I’m in for. I AM NOT A DOCTOR. I’ve just been going through this more years than I care to think about.
I am starting out, today; May 22, 2004 on 225 IU of Gonal F. Which is recumbent FSH. (I covered this med in an earlier post a few days ago). I am also being given Dostinex for my high prolactin. I will take 1 tablet today, and another on Tuesday the 25th. Just those two tiny expensive tablets will bring my prolactin down to normal. I will get an injection of Gonal F every day, for about 13 days… could run up to 18 days depending on my ovaries response to the medication. When the follicles (eggs) reach a size around 19-21mm each, the Gonal F injection will stop, along with the Orgalutran injection and I will be given a “trigger” shot of HCG called Pregnyl. The HCG is the hormone that opens the floodgates and does the final “maturation” of the follicles and pops them out. Except that… they will be SUCKED OUT instead. 36 hours after the HCG injection (which I will have taken at around 2am-shudder) I will be admitted as an outpatient, anesthetized deeply, and….. basically they stick a big needle with a suction capability up your hoo-ha through your vaginal wall INTO the ovary and extract the eggs, with the help of ultrasound (so yes, a wand monkey will be there also). First they poke the right side. Then the left side. In my case, I always develop OHSS (Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome) to some degree. Thankfully I haven’t had to be hospitalized yet for it. But I came damn close to it twice. It is horrible, and it can kill you if you are not being watched carefully. Roughly, all the fluid in your body moves to your abdomen, heart and lungs. So, you..technically, drown. When the doctor does my Egg Collection after the HCG trigger, He always sucks as much of the fluid built up causing me horrific pain to lessen my chances of hyperstimulation.
When you wake up from the Egg Collection, to use the eloquent words of one of my fellow IVFers, “you beg for a painkiller injection OF ANYTHING to make you feel like you’re being fucked by a horse instead of an elephant.” Thank you for that. You know who you are. I could not describe it any better myself.
While we poor females are being poked and prodded and stuff… our males have to go spank the monkey….. and aim into a cup with what I have heard is WAAAAY too narrow an opening. Their “man juice” is then put into a “Spinner thingie bob” for about an hour. Why? To make the lazy useless sperm sink to the bottom of the test tube and leave all the frisky ones at the top, swimming around madly. Before the Embryologist dumps the good sperm into the petrie dish with the wonderful eggs, he takes a sample… a semen analysis and records it. (Actually, he did one before the spin and now again after) Then he dumps them with the egg (s). Hopefully they fertilize. If not, he may opt to do ICSI (where they grab a sperm at random and shove it into an egg. Forced fertilization. Kind of how they make cultured pearls)
Then….. we wait. 2 days. On day 3, I go back, assume the position, and for about 20 minutes, the doctor inserts all manner of instruments inside, including a thin catheter into which the embryologist will bring a hose like thing with the embryos in it to the doctor, he will insert hose thing (think turkey baster, only LOOOONG and thin) and squirt! He inserts the embryo(s) into the place in the uterus that looks the most welcoming to his professional eye.
Now for what is called the Two Week Wait. I like to call it torture or hell on earth. Call it what you like. If you think you are a calm rational intelligent person, I have one thing to say to you: “Hah! You’re delusional!” Our bodies have been pumped full of hormones for weeks, making us mildly violent and cranky….. imagine PMS x 50. NOW add a vaginal (or rectal) suppository/pessary named Cyclogest which I have renamed PSYCHOGEST unofficially! This is inserted every day, every 12 hours. Without fail. This stuff is PURE PROGESTERONE. When I am in the mood, I will transcribe the bullshit the pharmaceutical company has printed in the leaflet they enclose with it. Hilarious, I promise you. Ask any… ANY woman who has taken it. They will laugh themselves silly.
The 2ww drives you up the damn wall. Some women have no “phantom symptoms”. Some have them ALL!!!!!! The progesterone causes false pregnancy symptoms. You think one minute you’re pregnant. The next you’re sure it didn’t work.. It’s like temporary bi-polar disorder. Up/down/up/down. You feel you are losing your marbles.
Personally, each IVF try for me has been different. The second one was the worse, cause I had every pregnancy symptom imaginable. Some women continue to hyper-stimulate even up to the end of their 2ww.(this is usually in my case). Then, you are paranoid every time you go to the bathroom. Afraid that AF has come again. At the end of the 2ww, some doctors do a Blood Beta HCG, ie, a blood pregnancy test. Other clinics I know of just have the patient do a home pregnancy test 14 days post embryo transfer.
At any rate, I hope you will be along with me for the rollercoaster ride to come for the next few weeks. I will strive to be honest and descriptive, as usual, so that you will know what it’s all about, first hand.
I will continue to post other things too. This is not just a blog about my IVF trial, but about me. It just so happens that right now I’m going through this and I will share it in the hopes that someone else out there won’t feel like they’re the only one. The whole process fascinates me.
Cross your fingers… and here we go!!!!!!!!!!!!