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That is still the woman you love!

During the stimulation phase, it is important to keep in mind what you are doing to accomplish your goal. Your wife will love you one minute, despise you the next, and then be frustrated with your inability to read her mind. This is normal and not her fault. The drugs you are putting into her body to stimulate egg development are behind these mood swings. Don’t sweat it. Just store any weapons you have at a buddy’s house for a few days. Buy some paper plates and plastic ware at Dollar General and you will be fine. I promise.

We went to the big city today for our next ultrasound. One of the doctors did today’s and he counts completely different then how the nurse counted the follicles last time. So now I’m not sure what is going on. I just know the doctor is increasing us to 4 Bravelle and 2 Menopur. In addition we get to start the Cetrotide shot as well to stall the ovaries from releasing eggs.

That’s where we stand at the moment.

© copyright 2011-2012

The percolator

In addition to injecting my wife every evening with her cocktail shot, my other responsibility is to take Doxycycline twice a day for 10 days.  While it can be annoying answering the same question twice a day, I’m glad she does ask. The one time she doesn’t ask if I took my meds would be the time I actually forgot too. And I know if I wasn’t there administering the shot, I would be asking her about that everyday.

Today we had our first followup visit. The ultrasound found 5 follicles on the left ovary, and 4 on the right. The nurse then marked the bullseye locations again for the shots. I’ll take all the help I can get. Last night I made sure the needle was all the way in and pushed slow and steady on the plunger. The wife didn’t feel the burning sensation and none leaked back out. While I would like to think the lack of pain was my master technique at work, it may have been my wife’s thoughts were preoccupied with her current customer. Sorry the lady thinks we are conspiring to tell the government about her getting her hair dyed, but if it keeps my wife from thinking about the needle I’m poking in her back, I’ll take it.

While my wife’s body percolates egg development, mine is busy killing bacteria. So far, so good.

The office called and they are raising her medication to 3 Bravelle/2 Menopur. Our next visit is on Friday.

© copyright 2011-2012

The final countdown

We are now 2 days away from beginning the shots to tell her body to start producing eggs for harvesting. When the doctor said I get to stick her in the butt every night for 10 days, this was not what I had in mind.

But we are both excited, nervous and trying to maintain a cautioned hopeful attitude with moderate success. Our doctors are using a combination of Bravelle and Menopur. I get to be the mad scientist mixing the cocktail shot. I do hope it isn’t too painful for her, or this is going to be a long 10 days. I may ask the nurse on Friday for a practice shot on myself, that way I know what she is dealing with.

Not helping my wife’s nerves is the fact the air conditioner at her work is out and the company is being very slow about fixing it. It’s been a rough journey so far, I guess it was silly of me to think it would get easier now.

© copyright 2011-2012

Round and round

Here is the list of pharmacies I called that deal in the special fertility drugs we required.

  • Freedom Pharmacy
  • Prosperity
  • Apothecary
  • Walgreens
  • South Miami Pharmacy

I called each of them in turn, gathering prices and building a spreadsheet of costs. Make sure to ask if they have any special members program for discounts. Some forgot to mention this until I inquired about it. Make sure to ask about shipping costs, as some have free shipping and other don’t. And asks about the costs for needles and syringes. Many pharmacies include them free of charge, but some don’t.

As I went through the list I began to panic, only 1 had Ganirelix available. I kept getting, “we are out and we have no estimate when we might receive more.” Not good when you are just over a week away from starting the IVF program. Finally I called South Miami Pharmacy, they also have Ganirelix, but mentions that Cetrotide does the same thing and would save us about $300. It would have been nice if I had been given that option from the nurse so I could compare those prices. I call the nurse and she said there would be no problem if we used Cetrotide instead of Ganirelix. That leads to calling all the other pharmacies back to get a price quote on Cetrotide.

Looking over my spreadsheet I notice if I split the prescription between two pharmacies I could save an additional $100. The nurse was happy to do that for us and we will be getting a big box of drugs tomorrow.

I also contacted the financial partner our clinic uses and secured financing for the IVF procedure. Silly me thought I could include the cost of the drugs in the financing, turns out you can’t. Glad I still have that tax refund to cover this or I would be very upset. So I ended up securing a lot more than we need. The finance people said they would be coordinating with the doctor’s office to just finance the amount we need.

I told the nurse that for future patients, they need to come up with a fancy medical name for a procedure that involves handing the patient a check for $3000 to cover the drugs. Even if they charged a handling fee, it would be a big help to patients.

© copyright 2011-2012

There and back again and again and again

As luck would have it, my wife scheduled an appointment for both of us at the clinic near our house on the same day I scheduled my third appointment with my second mistress in the big city. I’m just glad we didn’t pick the same time.

Successfully I mark the time on the top of the lid. Keeping a close eye on the assassin for any sudden movements, I stand up and head over to the little door under the note, “When finished, please mark the time on the lid. Initialize it. Then place the cup in the door and ring the bell.” This is my seventh time doing this, but the first time I’ve read the note after finishing the task. I don’t recall initializing any of my other samples. Does that make them invalid? I initial the lid, place it in the door and ring the bell. Then I begin the hour-long journey to the other location.

This is the meeting to finally get the IVF process officially rolling for us. The wife has been on birth control the last few weeks to prevent ovarian cysts from forming. Plus it allows the doctors some control on when her next cycle starts. We meet with the nurse who will guide us through each stage of the process. She is very thorough, going through each stage and what we will be doing and why we are doing it. Answers all our questions and provides a list of the drugs we will need for the process. Warning us that each case is different and avoid worrying how this plan is different from the plans other people have done on the internet.

We will start off using Bravelle and Menopur. Now I’m sure these drugs do different things. I’m not a doctor, how they differ doesn’t interest me. We will be mixing them together into a cocktail shot to be given every night in my wifes backside for 10 nights. And together these drugs will tell the ovaries to begin maturing eggs.

Every few days the wife will head to the clinic for an ultrasound to check her progress. When the timing is right we will begin the Ganirelix shots. My understanding is this drug prevents the ovaries from releasing any eggs, while the Bravelle and Menopur continue to help mature more eggs. It’s all about collecting as many mature eggs as possible. You sure don’t want the ovaries releasing eggs before the doctor can go in and collect them.

Next is my old friend HCG. In females, this tells the ovaries to begin preparation for releasing the eggs. When the doctors feel there are enough mature eggs, we will stop the other shots and give her the HCG “trigger” shot. That starts the clock on the ovaries to release the eggs in 2 days. The goal is for the doctor to collect the eggs from the ovaries just before the ovaries would naturally release them.

As they are collecting the eggs, me and the folding chair will provide a fresh sample so someone in back can then join the two together.

While the fertilized eggs are doing their cell division thing, the wife will start another shot containing Progesterone. This will assist in letting her body accept the embryos.

It will then be 2 to 5 days depending on how the embryos are developing before we go back to the big city where the doctor will insert a catheter into her uterus and place 2 hopeful embryos and freeze the rest.

The nurse provides a helpful list of pharmacies so I can compare pricing and we head to another room for one more test for the wife. A few months ago she had a test to check if her fallopian tubes were open where they had to insert a catheter through her cervix. She was told there would be minor discomfort. She said it hurt like hell. Well this was a different test. I don’t recall the reason for this one, I just know it involved another catheter through her cervix. Naturally the wife was nervous about this test. Well after the test, the doctor agreed to give her something to help her relax before inserting the embryos.

The excitement is helping mask the guilt I feel for all the pain my wife must go through because of my condition.  But I must remember, this is all for the attempt. I must keep the emotions in check.

© copyright 2011-2012