Time for some self-stabbing!
And we’re off! After what has seemed like an age since Mr Nester and I decided to give IVF a go, suddenly we’re here, and we’re racing.
December consisted of meetings, decisions, planning and budgeting. January was forms, forms, and more forms. Tests, appointments, and…oh yeah. Forms. February has – as a lovely departure from the previous months – just been gung-ho all go. To start IVF you need to wait until the start of a new cycle (hello Aunt Flow/crimson wave/other terrible clichés). So of course mine was late, only by a day, but enough to get my frustration building.
Once you officially hit Day 1 of a new cycle (technical definition: full flow before midday), the first step is to call the fertility centre. This is basically to get the ball rolling – you call, bark “Day 1: the eagle has landed!” and they throw 20 syringes at you. Apart from my very minor embellishments, this is the general gist of the process. With a standard IVF cycle, you start injections on Day 3 (called “stims” in the IVF community). That means of course you need to collect the medication, in order to start taking the medication. Medication must be collected between 9am and 4:30pm. On a weekday. On the other side of the city. You also need to get home sharpish (hah! A needle pun!) as the medication needs to be refrigerated to stay useful. That was a fun afternoon. Race off from work as soon as possible, battle peak hour traffic to get into and around the city, sit panting for 15 minutes at reception while life carries on as usual, then receive a barrage of info on what’s in the bag (insert “Se7en” scream here), how to inject yourself, when to inject yourself, and when you’ll need to come back to have what is essentially a high tech dildo prod around in your lady bits (that’s actually a scan to check the development of your eggs, not an odd sex act to spice up the process…more’s the pity!). Then, you must drive home manically while trying to keep the cool bag directly in front of the air conditioner and in a shaded section of the car. Note to self: become a better driver. And WATCH THE ROAD! Oh and of course you have a prior commitment in the city later that night, so head back out AGAIN and home AGAIN before having the first shot. Phew! I should note here, that the nurses and support staff at my fertility clinic have been nothing but absolutely lovely, and it is really just the enormity of what we’re delving into that makes it seem so frantic. That, and my driving. Sorry other people on the road. Really. Sorry about that.
So, fast forward to later last night, when the first dose was administered. I’m not particularly phobic of needles, but they’re also not my favourite pastime either. So willingly relinquishing myself to Mr Nester’s needle holding hands (and rather evil gleam in his eyes…) was an interesting prospect. You receive a nice little pen that becomes the nasty needle, with a few twists here and clicks there. We’ve been started on Puregon, which is a follicle stimulant.
The Puregon pen
This little jab happens every night for about a week, and tells your body to make as many eggs as it bloody well can. A hot tip I learnt from reading the fertility forums is to ice the injection site prior to the jab, and it certainly worked for me. Although a little uncomfortable (the needle needs to stay in you for 10 seconds to make sure all the drug has gone in), it was relatively painless. A little red straight afterwards, but otherwise fine. The side effects are quite impressive, as mentioned in a previous post, but thankfully I’m yet to experience most of them (although I’m only on the second night of injections, so stay tuned!). The only reaction I’ve had was a bit of pain on my right side this morning (the side I injected), and what feels like a tension headache, but very mild. That sort of feeling you get if your sinuses are getting blocked and it reaches your temples. Very manageable so far.
In terms of mental state, I think my emotions are heightened slightly – I nearly cried about 3 times today for quite minor reasons, but managed to hold it together. The end of this week should be interesting! In general, the whole experience is pretty overwhelming. It’s something we’ve waited for for quite a while, but once it starts, the speed at which everything happens is pretty mind-blowing. We’ve gone from “in a month”, “later on”, “when it all starts”, to now, tomorrow, as soon as you can. It’s very exciting, but also completely terrifying. From starting on Saturday, I’ve begun injections 2 days later, I’ll be going in for my first scan in a week, and I’m likely to be having the egg collection procedure next Friday. So, in a week and a half. 3-5 days later, I’ll have an embryo transferred back into me (if all goes well), and I could well be pregnant from then on. Holy crap.
So. We’re off and running. I’ve already apologised to Mr Nester in advance for anything I say that I may later regret, and I’m trying very hard not to manufacture the symptoms I’ve read on the information booklet (mission: impossible). I’ll keep you updated as much as I can on this process, but it feels like as fast as I’m typing (13 words per minute, thank you very much!), I already can’t keep up.
Speak to you soon,
(the soon to be hormone-ravaged) Jane xx