Thursday, September 30, 2010

Not Looking Back

IVF patients or couples battling infertility stand in a ring of their own. Often times, this can be a lonely ring. Especially when people all around you are getting pregnant and having babies like crazy! I can relate somewhat to those woman/couples because I have been that person getting pregnant so easily- I got pregnant 3 times in 2 years from age 19-21. But now that I have to do IVF to have a baby I just feel like I DO NOT fit in with those people anymore!

When I was young it was so easy for me to get pregnant. Each time was not planned and I had no clue what a miracle it was until I had each one of my children. I was so blessed to be fertile and did not even realize it at the time. Young and dumb I suppose. I used to live in regret and the "If I could just go back and change things" syndrome. But I have totally moved on from those thoughts and stand in peace with everything. I am where I am supposed to be, with who I am meant to be with and going through the journey chosen for me.

I truly believe we all go through certain struggles or triumphs in our life for a purpose. A lot of times that purpose is so that we can share our story and maybe just maybe help someone else who might be going through the same thing. I felt this way when I survived a domestic violence and I feel the same now with my IVF Journey. I totally feel called to reach out to other women who are going through the same thing. I know there are so many women out there who were in abusive marriages and for that reason chose to have a tubal ligation. Now years down the road, after escaping domestic violence, a lot of women, find good men (like I did) and want to have children with the man they love.

Many times it feels hopeless. Not many people can afford IVF or a Tubal Reversal and the journey is tedious and can take a toll on your health- mentally and physically. But the dream of having a baby with someone you love and bringing a child into a healthy loving marriage is always at the forefront of your mind. My advice is to NEVER GIVE UP HOPE! Always always stay focused on your dreams and set goals to reach your dream! Never once did I say to myself "this is impossible, this will never happen, or I give up!". If we have to do a second round of IVF- we will do what must be done and keep moving forward...never looking back!

So for all you women out there who are dealing with infertility whether it be because of a Tubal Ligation or some other issues I just have to say to you "DO NOT GIVE UP". Pray, stay faithful and always always keep a positive attitude about your situation. If it God's will He will provide a way for your hopes, dreams and wishes.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Where HE Guides....HE Provides...again and again...

It is no secret that In Vitro Fertilization and all that it entails is a very expensive process. Our insurance does not cover fertility testing, treatments or medication so we are paying for everything completely out of pocket. NO WE ARE NOT RICH!

Hubby and I have sacrificed in many ways to get to this point in our journey. We have sold our camper (which we loved), sold our SUV (which I loved) and put family vacations on the back burner. Instead of putting money towards building our dream home we are putting that off for now and investing in a baby! I always refer back to Suze Orman's motto: "PEOPLE BEFORE THINGS" and I know that financially I am where I need to be.

I just have to say that God has been so good to us throughout this entire process. I found out yesterday that 70% of our medication would be paid for through an AWESOME program called Compassionate Care. They are sponsored by the maker of most fertility meds MDSerono. I found the information online through some of the fertility discussion boards and thought it would be a perfect for us. We met the requirements and are so overjoyed that were approved! Some of our financial burden has been lifted and I am so thankful that I called the number and filled out the app! I have God to thank for guiding me and always always taking care of us in so many ways! I am truly humbled! The Meds will be at my RE doctor's clinic tomorrow and they will overnight them to me Friday. Praise God!

If you are looking into your First round of IVF please give them a call and see if you qualify. 1-866-LETSTRY. It's worth looking into!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Can't Hurt Might Help Syndrome

So as I prepare for our IVF Cycle...40 days and counting...I am totally, completely engrossed in healthy living! This due much in part to my obsession with online research, blogs and discussion boards that preach over and over again the importance of optimal health in order to get a positive outcome for IVF! Here is what I have found and made myself adhere to:

1- I need to exercise at least 30 minutes EVERYDAY.

2- I need to STOP using cosmetics, shampoo, conditioner, lotion or anything topical that IS NOT natural and has any sort of chemicals in it!

3- I need to eat all organic foods. No junk- chips, sugar filled foods, pop, no fast food, etc.

4- I need to eat plenty of leafy greens everyday.

5- STOP storing food in anything plastic.

6- STOP using the microwave for anything food related.

7- Drink only osmosis water (Dasani Water is safe per my research).

8- Use only environmentally friendly household cleaners, soaps and detergents.

9- STOP eating cheese or anything with Caffeine.

10- INCREASE my intake of Fatty Acids and Alkaline foods.

AND I am going to add my own secret to this list:

11- PRAY and BE HAPPY!!!

In reality all of these things should be EVERYDAY living for all of us to ensure a long healthy life! But as our fast paced busy life consumes us this is not always a convenient way to live! BUT for the next 40 days I am committed to be completely and totally the most healthy person on this planet!

Monday, September 27, 2010

I Believe

I love this! SIRM's new Theme Song! So inspirational for all the couple who have, will, are battling infertility! Keep believing!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Obedience and Trust

I love Sundays! They are my favorite days of the week! Not only because this is the one day a week when we have nothing going on and can just spend time as a family but also because I get my spiritual tank filled! The sermon today was on key for me! It was about Obedience and Trust. These are defiantly two things I know I struggle with. I like to take things back that I give to God and I constantly struggle in trusting Him and being Obedient inHis will and my walk as a Christian. It's just the way of the world I suppose. But I am thankful that I have my church there to remind me what this world is all about and set me straight.

Throughout our IVF journey I find myself struggling with trust and obedience. One day I am confident and secure in trusting in God's will either way this thing goes and the next day I am worried and a mess about "WHAT IFS??"...."What if no eggs fertilize?", "What if I get sick and we can't do the transfer or retrieval", "What if the eggs don't grow", "What if they implant but the eggs don't stick?", "What if they stick but I have a miscarriage"....and my FAVORITE "What if my plane or hubby's plane crashes to or from Vegas?".

I mean really, how many WHAT IFS can one person come up with? And believe me- that was the SHORT LIST!

Thankfully, I am always reminded to trust and be obedient and stop the MADNESS! God is in control here, not me, not my hubby and not the doctors (not 100% anyway). This is God's deal and I am just thankful that the hubby and I are finally in the financial position to do this thing and embark on this journey that we have been anticipating and hoping for, for nearly 3 years.

I end my day humbled once again, full of hope, peace, promise, prayers and focused on trusting and being obedient and knowing if it is God's will for the hubby and I to have a baby then it will be...

To all my prayer warrior peeps out there- I know there are many- please start today- saying a little prayer for us throughout this process. God is in control and I will do my best absolute to stop the What Ifs and walk in His will and His promise EVERYDAY!

Love love to you all!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Needles, Injections, Hormones, Stimulation, Viagra, Vaginal Suppositories? Yikes!

Just giving a little personal humor and delight to my never ending list of my IVF Meds! I mean who can say they have taken Viagra vaginally? I will be sure to check that off my bucket jealous my friends as I embark on the hormonally roller coaster ride of hormone and stimulation meds! I will go ahead and warn all my friends and family that I cannot be held accountable for anything I say or do in this time period! If someone tries to commit me or arrest me I will be sure to give them the link to blog so they will understand...I am just overstimulated and super hormoned up!

Dexamethasone 0.75 mg Tablet or Prednisone 10 mg

A lovely STEROID tablet (Gotta love Steroids). This little pill is going to help fight off inflammation or my body's need to fight off the embryo thinking it is a foreign invader of my body!

  • Potential side effects are insomnia, increase in appetite and bloating. (these 3 together sound a little scary!)

Lupron (Leuprolide Acetate)

This is wonderful drug suppresses my "Pituitary Hormones" What are these you might ask? Stuff like the adrenal and thyroid. Even though my Ovaries are connected to the pituitary hormones my Ovaries will NOT be suppressed...Whew! Relief! This is another lovely stomach shot- yay me! We get to use "insulin syringes"

  • The most common side effect is hot flashes, this will be relieved by the start of your hormone medication (i.e., E2V or Gonal-F or Follistim (Hot Flashes sound like I'm going to get a preview into menopause- good practice I shall never forget!)

E2V = Estradiol Valerate = Delestrogen

Basically a shot in the "buttocks" that gets my Stimulators primed and ready for Stimulation. Women who have had a hysterectomy take this for hormone supplements. I am going to venture to say that this medication is ONE of the meds that will probably make me feel like hormonal crazy mess! When I Googled It the med is described a Hormone Replacement Therapy.

Folic Acid 1mg tablet

This is one medication that I actually knew the functionality and have taken before as all pregnant women or trying to conceive women should! It prevents Spina Bifida.

SDF (Viagra) Suppositories (Let's Get the Party Started)

  • Given to increase blood flow to endometrial lining
  • Take vaginally 4 times daily (Really?!?!)
  • No side effects, except possible vaginal irritation from so many suppositories. (No side effects? Irritation in the HooHaw is a big side effect in my opinion).

Terbutaline 5 mg Tablets

  • Given to relax the uterine muscle which will allow more blood flow through the uterine vessels
  • Starts with SDF suppositories. (I had to look this up- this is a suppository that goes in your HooHaw- I was hoping I was done with this part at the Viagra- guess not!)
  • One tablet three times a day
  • You will experience the side effects of nervousness, shakiness and a racing heart! If your heart rate is over 120 beats per minute, please skip a dose
  • Your body will adjust to the Terbutaline in 2-5 days and you will no longer experience the side effects
I don't think I need to anything to this med- it pretty much says it all in the outline above! Sounds like this one is going to be LOTS of FUN!

Gonal F / Follistim

From what I have read this is the BIG DADDY in the stimulation meds. This is the medication that kicks your follices into overdrive and helps your woman business produce LOTS of EGGS! Yay for Eggs- we love Eggs!


So what is exactly is a "pure Lutenizing Hormone"? Well I Googled It (imagine that). Here's what I got: A hormone used to support Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) therapy.

It is always taken with Gonal F. So basically it is a booster for stimulation! Got it!
Don't forget the Important Warning: Contact your healthcare professional immediately if you experience severe pain or bloating in the stomach or pelvic area, severe upset stomach, vomiting and / or weight gain.

Progesterone in oil

This syringe and gauge process is enough to make my head spin! Use the 1 1/2 " this or that and 3ccs of this or that...I am confused- are you?

Injections sites

Intramuscular injection sites- this looks painful...all I'm saying!

Subcutaneous Injection Site (use upper thigh or lower abdomen)- never had a shot in the abs before this should be interesting since mine are obviously covered by layers of stretched marked skin! This should be fun!

So my fellow readers- what do you think of all this, as I like to call craziness, JICK JACK? It's amazing what medications can do to our body and how doctor can manipulate my entire reproductive system to make a baby! I feel like a science experiment! But a good one!

Friday, September 24, 2010

A LOT To Take In (Not for the faint at heart or weak at stomach)

I am going to be brutally honest and just say that yesterday when my nurse emailed me with my list of meds and then the pharmacy called to confirm my list of meds- I got a little dizzy and nearly had a panic attack! Just look at the names of these things? When the pharmacy called I was jotting down notes in Microsoft Word thinking the spell check would correct them and I misspelled over half of the meds! I got a little worried when the email came and this is what it said: (Keep in mind my hubby will be the one administering these shots!!!!!)

The Sher Institutes for Reproductive Medicine

Medication Administration Guidelines



  • An ml = cc
  • Needles are STERILE, do not touch them before using them to inject and only use them ONCE
  • Rotate injection sites from one side of the abdomen to the other, and from one thigh to the other
  • With a multi-dose medication vial, swab the top of the medication vial with an alcohol swab before each use
  • When in doubt about medication dosage or injection, PLEASE call the office for clarification. DO NOT GUESS!
  • There is a nurse on call through the service after office hours. Please call 702-892-9696 before 11pm and the service will promptly page the nurse on call
  • Read all of the medication labels before taking the medication to ensure that you are taking the correct medication
  • Report all medication errors and unusual reactions to your coordinator as soon as possible

Dexamethasone 0.75 mg Tablet or Prednisone 10 mg

  • This is a steroid tablet
  • This is given to decrease inflammation and reduce the inflammatory response of your body to foreign bodies (your embryo) before embryo transfer
  • Take once a day in the morning with your breakfast to decrease GI upset and other potential side effects
  • Potential side effects are insomnia, increase in appetite and bloating.

Lupron (Leuprolide Acetate)

  • Lupron is taken to suppress your hormones at the pituitary level, it does NOT suppress your ovaries
  • Injection to be given subcutaneous in either the upper thigh (up by panty line) or in the abdomen (stay 1 inch away from belly button) in the AM (between breakfast and lunch) with a few hour flexibility between days (See diagram on page 5)
  • The medication comes in a multi-dose vial
  • Use the insulin syringes with the orange cap to draw up dose and inject
  • Refer to your calendar for dosage and measure units (U) on the syringe
  • The most common side effect is hot flashes, this will be relieved by the start of your hormone medication (i.e., E2V or Gonal-F or Follistim


  • To be taken like Lupron, subcutaneous in AM
  • Also like Lupron, it is being taken to suppress your own hormones and has a better long term effect with fewer side effects
  • Given at ½ dose (125 mcg) rather than prepackaged dose of 250 mcg (same as 0.25 mg)
  • Ganirelix:
    • To split Ganirelix (prefilled in a syringe) use a 1 cc syringe that does not have a needle and pull down plunger to 0.25 cc.
    • Then inject 0.25cc from the prefilled Ganirelix syringe into the 1 cc syringe you have just prepared.
    • Place a 27 gauge ½ inch needle on the 1 cc syringe to inject.
    • Save the remaining 0.25 cc in prefilled syringe for next morning’s shot.
    • Keep refrigerated.
  • Cetrotide:
    • To split Cetrotide fill the vial of powder with the prefilled water (1 cc) in kit.
    • Now you will have 2 doses in vial.
    • Use same orange cap syringe that you used for the Lupron and withdrawal 50 Units (½ cc) of Cetrotide for first morning’s injection.
    • Save the remaining 50 Units (½ cc) in vial for next day’s injection.
    • Keep refrigerated.
    • Second dose may only measure up to 35 or 40 Units. This is normal, do not mix up another vial just inject whatever is left for the second dose.

E2V = Estradiol Valerate = Delestrogen

  • Not all protocols involve E2V, so if this is not on your calendar then omit instructions.
  • This is given to “prime” the receptors on the ovaries to improve response the following week to the stimulation medications.
  • This is an IM (intramuscular) injection given in the PM (between dinner and bedtime) in the upper outer quadrant of the buttock (See diagram on page 5)
  • Give while lying down to relax the muscle
  • Verify that your Delestrogen concentration is 20 mg/ml
  • Use a 1 cc syringe without a needle (NOT a Lupron syringe) and attach a 18 gauge 1 ½” needle to draw out the medication to 0.2 cc or the dosage in which you have been instructed to take. Switch needle to a 22 gauge 1 ½” to then inject intramuscularly.

E2V 2 mg suppositories

  • Not all protocols use the Estradiol Valerate vaginal suppositories
  • These are given to ensure that the uterus is being supplied with enough estrogen
  • Insert vaginally at bedtime
  • These may or may not be continued after CD9.
  • Make sure you are inserting the E2V 2mg (Estradiol Valerate) suppositories NOT the suppositories used after embryo transfer which are Estradiol Valerate 1 mg/ Progesterone 50 mg suppositories (or E2V/ P4). If you use the latter in error your cycle will be immediately cancelled.
  • Keep refrigerated

Folic Acid 1mg tablet

  • Prescription strength folic acid dose (over-the-counter dose is only 400 mcg).
  • These tablets are taken to prevent Spina Bifida-type problems in fetus.
  • No side effects and can be taken anytime.
  • You may opt to take a Prenatal Vitamin instead of straight Folic Acid, this is fine as long as it is prescription strength

SDF (Viagra) Suppositories

  • Given to increase blood flow to endometrial lining
  • Take vaginally 4 times daily
  • No side effects, except possible vaginal irritation from so many suppositories.
  • Place the suppositories over the course of a day (with the last at bedtime, unless you are taking E2V suppositories as well) and that it doesn’t have to be exactly a certain amount of hours apart.
  • You may wish to wear a panty liner since not all of the wax absorbs and you may experience slight oozing.
  • You should try to at least be sitting for 15 minutes after each insertion.
  • Keep refrigerated

Terbutaline 5 mg Tablets

  • Given to relax the uterine muscle which will allow more blood flow through the uterine vessels
  • Starts with SDF suppositories.
  • One tablet three times a day
  • You will experience the side effects of nervousness, shakiness and a racing heart! If your heart rate is over 120 beats per minute, please skip a dose
  • Your body will adjust to the Terbutaline in 2-5 days and you will no longer experience the side effects

Heparin 5,000 IU / Lovenox 30 mg

  • Only use if indicated on your calendar
  • Twice a day injections, to be given in the AM with Lupron/Cetrotide and in the PM with stimulation medications/hormone injections
  • Subcutaneous injection given with a ½ cc or 1 cc insulin (Lupron) syringe
  • Verify the concentration of your Heparin. If 10,000 units/ml then your dose twice a day is 5000 units or ½ ml (which is equivalent to 50 units on the insulin syringe).
  • You may also use Lovenox 30 mg one a day subcutaneously anytime in the day in lieu of heparin.
  • You may experience some bruising at injection site, do not rub vigorously

Gonal F / Follistim

  • This is FSH (Follicle Stimulation Hormone) or stimulation medication
  • This is given subcutaneously anytime in the evening anytime between dinner time and bed time
  • Please refer to packet instructions for reconstitution as can come in multidose vial, single dose vial and Pen form
  • Your coordinator will go over instructions with you or you may contact Fertility Lifelines (1-866-538-7879) for Gonal-F product support 24 hours a day


  • This is pure Luteinizing Hormone (LH)
  • To be given as a separate injection in the PM with your stimulation medication
  • This is given subcutaneously
  • The dose is always 1/2 vial (37.5 IU) as indicated on your calendar
  • Use the 3ml syringe with 22 gauge 1 ½” needle to draw up 1 cc of diluent
  • Inject full 1 cc into vial of powder (this is now 2 doses)
  • With same syringe/needle, withdrawal only ½ cc (0.5 ml) and refrigerate remaining ½ cc for next evening’s dose
  • Change needle to the 27 gauge ½ “ to inject subcutaneously.

Progesterone in oil

  • This medication will be given in one of two dosage amounts, 50 mg (1cc) or 100 mg (2cc). See your calendar for your dosage.
  • This is an IM (intramuscular) injection given in the PM (between dinner and bedtime) in the upper outer quadrant of the buttock (See diagram on page 5)
  • Give while lying down to relax the muscle.
  • Use a 3 cc syringe with an attached 18 gauge 1 ½” needle (or 20 gauge) to draw out the medication to the dosage in which you have been instructed to take. Switch needle to a 22 gauge 1 ½” (or 25 gauge 1 ½” needle if your product is made in ethyl oleate oil) to then inject intramuscularly.

Final Comments

  • On CD9 (cycle day 9 when monitoring in our office begins) you will be given a new calendar and instructions once we have determined how you are progressing
  • There will be medications you have received that are not on your calendar at this point (i.e., Cipro, hCG 10,000 units, progesterone in oil, Clindamycin suppositories, E2V/ Progesterone suppositories). These will be used post CD9.


Injections sites

Intramuscular injection sites

Subcutaneous Injection Site (use upper thigh or lower abdomen)