Well, Ladies and Gentleman, our IVF cycle has officially begun! I’m excited and terrified at the same time. Literally. For every excited, optimistic thought I have, the very next second I’m in worst-case-scenario mode, holding back tears and trying not to hyperventilate. We have a lot riding on this.
Prior to my scan, I was scared that I had a cyst again. I haven’t had a cyst since my surgery more than a year ago, but it remains a constant concern. (Well, maybe I had one (?), but it didn’t interfere with my treatment that cycle.) Fortunately, my worry was all for naught. The ultrasound showed everything is as it should be at this point in my cycle.
At first I was worried about memorizing everything to do with mixing and injecting medications, but then I discovered the pharmacy I’m using has an app with detailed videos. Score! Plus, it turns out, it’s really not all that complicated. I didn’t need to consult any videos or instructions when it came time for my first shot, and it took only about 5 minutes from start to finish. In fact, just opening boxes and gathering all the parts took longer than the mixing and injecting. For those of you interested in the details, I’m taking 225 IU Bravelle (FSH) and 150 IU Menopur (FSH and LH) both mixed into one injection once a day. I’ll continue until they tell me to increase or decrease, or to add in the Ganirelix. Blood work on Monday will tell them how I’m responding and whether or not we need to adjust the dose. My first monitoring scan is set for Wednesday (the day before Thanksgiving).
I’m also doing acupuncture and listening to Circle+Bloom’s IVF meditation program. I tried Reiki, at the recommendation of a friend, but it was a rather underwhelming experience. She asked me if I was familiar with Reiki before we started. I said no, but all she said in response was that it’s all about energies, then she just started doing her thing, which I can’t even tell you what that was. She just laid her hands on different parts of my body for about 50 minutes. There was no other talking, other than some small talk about the weather. It was a relaxing experience, but for $60, I’d rather get a massage.
Before leaving the RE’s office, I had a chance to ask all my crazy questions:
Can I continue taking ALL of my vitamins and supplements while stimming? Yes, except I have to stop taking the DHEA when I trigger, as it’s not recommended during pregnancy.
What OTC medications can I take, if needed for pain or cold/allergy relief, etc.? Tylenol is okay, no ibuprofen. I can take Benadryl as needed. I’m encouraged to call or email to check on specific medications.
Caffeine? The male RE admitted that he’s not so strict when it comes to caffeine. The nurse said the same, and told me that one of the female REs recommends NO caffeine at all. I’ve decided to keep my morning cup, but to eliminate everything else, even though I usually only have an occasional soda or tea.
(I didn’t ask about alcohol, because I had already decided to cut it out completely.)
Will I get to a point where I will need to restrict physical activity due to the size of my ovaries? According to the nurse, no. She doesn’t recommend high intensity work outs once you start stims (think CrossFit, Couch-to-5K, stuff like that), but I can continue to exercise at my normal moderate rate until egg retrieval, unless I find it uncomfortable.
Is there a point after which we can’t have sex? The nurse said will be instructed to start abstaining a few days before the egg retrieval.
What are the chances that endo on the ovaries could limit retrieval or damage eggs? The male RE told me that the only issue could be endometriomas (cysts) on my ovaries. In that case, they will simply avoid them during the retrieval. IVF is meant to bypass all the complications that endometriosis can create when trying to get pregnant.
Based on my low AMH level, what can I reasonably expect as far as number of eggs retrieved? He didn’t give me any numbers, but he said based on my past response to Femara that I have a very good chance of getting enough for a fresh transfer, but probably not enough to freeze. I wasn’t heartbroken to hear it, because that was pretty much my conclusion before we even started down this road. It turns out, my expectations are much lower than his.
When should I expect to make the trip home after my egg retrieval? Same day, after recovering for a few hours at the clinic.
Do I really need 48 hours of bed rest after the transfer? The male RE confirmed the recommendation that I spend the night in town after the transfer. He said they don’t have any hard evidence, but it seems that most of the ectopic pregnancies they see are in women who made long car trips home the same day as the transfer. So, I don’t really have to be on bed rest, but they do recommend taking it easy and staying overnight in town. I can handle that!