Today is Cycle Day (CD) 12, Day 2 of Lupron injections.
I've had this idea in my head that I was going to use this blog to talk about the "infertility > IVF" process. A kind of day-to-day journal to not only record my thoughts, but also the details of the process to be a source of information on the web. There is a woefully small amount of information about the Donor Ovum IVF experience.
The problem with this is that it became a "task" in my head, and it was suddenly too much to deal with. Oh, the joys of my brain!
I would like to, instead, simply promise myself to write as the mood strikes me. Too often, I let it pass in order to continue some other mundane "task". I enjoy writing, so I should do it more often!
Back to the "infertility > IVF" for a small while. To recap:
Infertility:the final "diagnosis" of infertility came in early 2010, after a laparoscopy. The true diagnosis is a trifecta that just about guarantees I will never get pregnant: endometriosis, poly-cystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), and Low Ovarian Reserve.
Endometriosis, uterine lining tissue growths outside the uterus, is largely responsible for the painful periods, as well as complicating the fertility in general.
PCOS means my ovaries are trying to produce too many eggs each month. They stimulate so many follicles to grow eggs that the ovary gets massively over-crowded, allowing no room for any single egg to grow enough to be viable.
Low Ovarian Reserve means I'm at the end of my supply of eggs that I was born with.
Donor Ovum:hearing the final pronunciation of "infertility" was a very big blow to me. My first thought was that I would "never have a child who looks like me". Eric and I went away for a few days to not think about it, and I made the decision that we would try IVF before resorting to adoption as a last resort.
Oddly, despite the Endo and all the other problems, I was given the green light to use my own uterus for pregnancy. This kept open the option of finding a donor to supply us an egg, which would then be fertilized by Eric and implant the resulting embryo in me. No, we're not talking about swinging, so cut out the cheesy 70s porn soundtrack right now! Everything happens in a lab, except for daily self-medications. Which is the really tricky part of the process actually.
I am given 1 set of medications, and the donor another set that is slightly different. My medications are largely hormones that tell my uterus to make an extra awesome lining this month while telling my ovaries that they won't be needed. At the same time, the donor takes medications to tell her ovaries to work over-time. Eventually the hormones will sync up our cycles, eggs will be retrieved, fertilized, and implanted. Add anonymity and the fact that despite the hormones the body tends to work on it's own timetable, and getting to that sync up is more like choreography than science.
IVF:this is the part of the process that I have not concerned myself with too much. I have been getting through this bizarre, House of Horror roller-coaster ride by focusing on keeping myself healthy, following instructions, and keeping a positive outlook for the big finale. Thinking too much about the harvesting > pregnancy test process/waiting game puts a little more anxiety in my brain than I care for at the moment. Don't borrow worry from tomorrow, right?
I do know that they will do a "retrieval" procedure on the donor to collect as many eggs as possible from her. Eric provides a "sample". Then they will use fancy science type stuff to introduce sperm to eggs, and wait a bit to see how many/if any embryos result. After 3-5 days (again, timing is not exact when dealing with biology!), a transfer will occur. We wait 14 days and then they do a blood draw to determine if I'm pregnant. During those 14 days, I'm still administering hormones to myself multiple times a day. With a confirmed pregnancy, I will continue this for 10 weeks to ensure that my body has the hormones necessary to maintain a pregnancy.
Bumps in the Road:the process is not perfect, and I'm personally a little less so. Normally, there are emotions to get over, side-effects to deal with, perhaps complications like waiting an extra day or change in medication. Those sound minor, but when so much is hanging in the balance, any little problem can cause huge anxiety.
Now let's remember that this is me we're talking about. Depression, anxiety, SADD, back pain, sciatic leg pain, restless leg syndrome, sleep apnea... There's not much about this that is optimal! And, crazy as it is, new diagnoses just during the past 3 months: minor hearing loss, adult-onset scoliosis, and carpal tunnel syndrome.
I should be a giant blob on the couch crying constantly from pain and worry. And some days I do... resemble that scenario. But most days, I am impressed with myself for handling it so well.
A few months ago, I had in my mind this idea of becoming kick-ass fit-girl/perfect housewife/robo-mom-to-be. Guess what? That only brought anxiety, which was not helpful at all. I've let that go now, and gone back to merely living my life day to day. The idea of simply dealing with today's problems and putting everything else out of your head is not new. What is new is the concept of actually experiencing my daily life through "mindfulness" - be aware of everything, keep track of how your thoughts and feelings change throughout the day without judgement of yourself, savor anything positive, no matter how small, as it happens. Basically: pay attention to your moods and thoughts, be productive, don't judge yourself or your body if you can't be as productive as you'd like, and stop to smell the roses.
On the days that I manage to keep to this plan of Mindfulness, I am calmer, have less anxiety, more patience and energy, and a greater hope for the future. The goal is not to be giddy every moment of every day, the goal is to remain positive enough to be un-negative as much of the time as possible.