This morning, I said to Dr. Tran, “I feel like I’m about to climb Mount Everest.”
He looked at me solemnly and responded, “You are.”
I’ve begun my IVF protocol, without a break, careening straight into a full calendar and a giant box of meds. It is so huge. I hope I can adequately convey to you how big this is.
It was a good time to take a break from the blog considering this monumental transition and the fact that I had no bandwidth for writing (or even thinking) while traveling and working and spending time with family and processing the neg bomb. I have not even close to sufficiently responded to all the love that poured in after my last post. I needed an escape, I took a break from everything, including you. But not including work–it’s my busiest time of year. I spent time in therapy talking through the way I channel a lot of my anxiety about fertility into my job, trying to stay on top of it, trying to control it. But while my job is a priority, it is not THE priority.
I am myopically focused on the priority. The intensity of it is awesome in the old-fashioned sense of the word.
IVF began in Indianapolis, when I emailed Olga to give the green light on this cycle. Yes, it was short notice to get all of our ducks in a row but her next email bowled me over: you need to go to IVF orientation, sign a consent form in person, attend an injection class, have a saline sonogram, do a test transfer, meet with Dr. Tran, meet with a genetic counselor, order your meds, start birth control pills, start antibiotics, have a financial consult, and clear your schedule. Next, I called the pharmacy and got bowled over again: Lupron, Gonal-F, Menopur, Methylpredisolone (I actually don’t even know what this one is), Progesterone, Estrace, more syringes than I want to count, 3 different gauges of needles, and 10mg of Valium. I could have used the Valium at the top of this paragraph.
Are you feeling overwhelmed? Because if not, you did not read carefully. This is Mount Everest.
I have mountains of compassion for all women who have gone through this and I have only just started. Having a full life and then taking on IVF is like a second full-time job. And I have only just begun–what’s going to happen to my body, my finances, my mind?? And, the biggest question of all: will it work?
I am about a week into birth control and started the antibiotics last night (coincidentally I have a cold and maybe it will help with that). I attended injection class, along with 2 straight couples, a lesbian couple, and a couple of single women freezing their eggs–very educational. I learned that triplets are rare (maybe 4x/yr at UCSF) and cause for many staff meetings where they discuss “where did we go wrong???” Not your every day occurrence. I paid attention during Gonal-F but zoned out during Follistim, then got an email from Olga that I’ll be switching to Follistim because Gonal-F isn’t covered on my insurance (my reaction: yay, medication covered on my insurance! but damn–should have paid more attention during the Follistim presentation). Had my saline sonogram and mock transfer yesterday, thankfully not at all painful (I had visions of the HSG test and hives)–Dr. Renato said the transfer will be really easy and none of my fibroids are in the cavity: cleared to go forward.
Today, I met with Dr. Tran. As I have mentioned, I love him (as in IN love with him). Today he was in a tie and white coat, his coffee from Peet’s. He is masterful at drawing upside down. I had more or less decided to go with PGS (genetic testing on Day 5) and then had second thoughts when weighing out the cost and the risks. You can either: transfer 3-4 embryos on Day 3 and freeze the rest at that point or let them go to Day 5, lose 60%, genetically test them, freeze them, and later on put back the 1-2 normal ones (for an additional $7k on top of approx $12k). There are huge pros and cons on both sides and no guarantees for any of it, so it’s very complicated and gave me visions of gambling in Reno.. At this point, and on his recommendation, I am hedging my bets–opting for Day 3 in an effort to have a fresh transfer, enough leftover to freeze, and at least a little money left in case I have to do it all again. Higher risk of miscarriage which is terrifying. But I feel like there’s safety in numbers… I’m meeting with a genetic counselor tomorrow just to be informed.
And I start Lupron on Monday night. I might be on the road and this time I know to bring a doctor’s note for airport security (wisdom of experience). I have put my schedule and life and online dating and pretty much everything on hold–everything is canceled except work and health-related appointments. I still need to walk in the fresh air with friends and talk on the phone so–don’t let me drop off the face of the earth. Just know that I am consolidating resources and hunkering down. And I’ll probably write a lot because, as you can tell, this is going to be quite an experience.
And I need you along for the ride xo