29 February 2012

Stabbing Myself with Needles

In my last post, I talked about trying to conceive again with the new fertility specialist, who recommended fertility medicine injections and IUI. To continue ...

So August 3, 2011, we started our next fertility cycle. This would be the first after the loss of our 3rd pregnancy. At this point, we were still living in temporary housing. However, we had begun the process of purchasing a home in Carencro, LA, which would be far enough north of Lafayette that my husband wouldn't have to drive quite as far to his job every day. I was scheduling the move of our household goods, and working on getting an extension to stay in the corporate apartment until the weekend we would close on the new house. Abigail was 19 months old, very active, and really starting to understand more of what was going on around her. So we were all very busy.

So busy in fact, that I didn't have much time to focus on getting pregnant. I was very happy for the distractions, actually, because it helped me avoid dwelling on what could happen, good or bad, with  this fertility cycle.

The Medicine
The medicine with this cycle was much more extensive than just taking 5 or 10 Clomid pills over 5 days. This time I was on three medicines:

  • Femara - I had to take 10 pills at one time on day 3 of the cycle. 
    I am not really sure what this medicine was for. 
  • Follistim - This was a medicine that I had to inject once per day for 7 days, starting on day 5 of the cycle. This medicine was administered by an injection "pen" that came with a case, a set of needles that were about half an inch long, and a vial of medicine that had to be refrigerated. I had to insert the vial, screw a needle on the pen, rub down my skin with an alcohol wipe, and then stab myself in the belly and inject. Then, of course, the needle went into a newly acquired "sharps" disposal container. This medicine didn't hurt too badly. The only part that hurt was the stabbing.
    This medicine promoted the formation of follicles in my ovaries, and hopefully at least one would fill with an egg.
  • HCG - This was a medicine that I had used before in Clomid cycles with previous pregnancy.
    The purpose of this medicine is to cause the ovaries to release one or more eggs into the dominant follicle or follicles.
So on day 3, which was a Friday, I took the Femara. Then on Sunday, I started the Follistim injections. The following Friday, day 10, I went into the doctor's office for a follicle scan. This is basically a vaginal ultrasound where they look closely at your ovaries to see if any follicles have formed, and if so, to make sure there are not too many dominant follicles. When there are an abnormally large number of follicles for someone with both fallopian tubes in tact, there is a high risk of multiples. If that happens, the doctor may call off the IUI and tell you to avoid intercourse so you don't end up with high-order multiples. 

I wasn't really sure what to expect. In all of my monitored Clomid cycles in which I had a follicle scan, there were either no follicles that were big enough, or only one. So I was very surprised when the US technician said "Wow, that's a lot of follicles!" She counted 6 or 7 in the left ovary and 7 or 8 in the right ovary. Not all were large enough or the best shape, but I was worried they wouldn't let me try this month because the medicine had worked too well. So I waited on the call from the nurse to let me know if and when to inject the HCG and when to come in for the IUI.

The coolest part about the medicines this time were that the side effects were unnoticeable. With Clomid, I would get headaches, hot flashes, and nausea. So the medicines actually worked much better, with less side effects. The medicine was pretty expensive as well, and without insurance would have cost about $500. Fortunately, my husband's insurance covered all but $35 of it. (We are so blessed!)

I got the call later that Friday afternoon from the doctor's office. They told me to inject the HCG on Saturday evening around 8, and to come into the office for IUI on Monday morning. 

We were on our way to another 2 week wait to find out if this cycle would result in our 4th pregnancy.

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