Thursday, August 26, 2010

IVF Orientation

So today was the big day! Our IVF orientation...FINALLY!!! I apologize in advance for the lack of posts lately and then this giant long one but it was a lot of info in one day!

We got to drive down to the big city for it. I told DH we needed to leave early and we left the house around 7:15 which had us walking into the hospital around 8:20ish-man, morning traffic sucks! So glad I don't have to do that on a regular basis-oh wait, I will once we get further into this process...Anyways, we get to the hospital and when I called to confirm on Monday, they just told me it would be on the second floor and there would be signs in the lobby. Guess what? No signs in the lobby or on the second floor! We walked around the second floor and I could feel panic setting in, I'd been really calm despite the traffic and constant glancing at the clock, but now I was about to freak out. We went back to the second floor to talk to the lady at the front desk who had NO idea what we were talking about so I just asked what floor Dr. Val was on (remember-I've only been there once back in April). We saw another couple on the elevator as we went to Dr. Val's couple that got off on the second floor, as soon as the elevator doors closed for us to go to Dr. Val's floor, I looked at DH and he looked at me. We both starting laughing and he said, "I was going to ask them if they were looking for the orientation but I didn't think that seemed right." I was going to do the same thing!!! Okay, so we get to Dr. Val's floor and THERE'S the sign, go back to the room 208 on the second floor. Whew-found it and got a seat at the table!

As we waited for a few people to trickle in, I leaned over to DH and whispered, "I wonder what the stats how many of us in here are going to go through IVF and have it not work." I just wanted to know up front like "3 of the couples in here will not be successful." (FYI-I just made up that, just saying I wanted to know that). The orientation starts and it's all kind of basic info that had been explained. I was seriously surprised because NO ONE asked any questions. I'd wait until break then say, "Um...I have a question..." I swear I asked like 5-10 questions and no one else in the room did. I was banking on them to come up with stuff I hadn't thought of!?!

I take that back, one husband did ask a question which had the whole room in hysterics. The nurse was saying that once you start your meds, you should use a barrier because this is not a favorable time to get pregnant naturally while on all these meds. Poor DH-he might not be getting any for the whole 8 weeks since he's allergic to latex but that's a different issue, back to orientation. As the nurse was telling us this, one husband said, "For the whole time?" She nodded to which he responded, "Son-of-a-bitch!" Then he quickly followed up with, "While we're being honest, what's all these meds going to do to her? Like should I start sleeping with a shotgun under my pillow?" Insert nervous laughter by the males and dangerous glances from the females but he's right, I mean we're messing with our bodies-we're going to be borderline crazy. Remind me I admitted to this when I'm at that point, ok? The nurse basically said it'll be a lot like pre-menopausal symptoms, sweet-menopause at 27!!!

In the middle of the orientation, Dr. Man came down to talk to us. He's called Dr. Man because he's the only male doctor in the practice. He came to address us it was his week on IVF rotation. I wouldn't be too upset if Dr. Man did our procedure. Know why I liked him? Because about 10 minutes into his presentation, he started discussing reasons to cancel your IVF and although rare, "probably at least one of you couples in here will have to be cancelled." See-I like him, he tells it like it is and tells the truth! He also crushed my dream, well actually fear, of having sextuplets-whew, I think DH and I will sleep better tonight. He said that while most of us would prefer twins, their main goal was to give a couple ONE healthy baby. When it goes to having multiples, it increases many risks so they try to focus on just one baby. Based off the ratio since we are under 35, we will have the choice of transferring 1-2 embryos. I *think* we might be asked to do elective single embryo transfer because we'll meet all the criteria; however, DH and I agree that if we're paying this much and this is probably the only time we'll be doing IVF and have the options to transfer two, we want to do that but we'll cross that bridge when the time comes.

The part that totally freaked me out was when it came to the injections. UGH! I'm so overwhelmed with this. Eight weeks of shots, sometimes possibly 3-4 shots a night...some in the stomach, some in the thigh, some in the upper outer quadrant of your buttocks. Some with 20 cc some with 300, some with a needle, some with a pen, bubbles, no bubbles, mixing medicines, refrigerating some, room temp for others, some at a certain time in the evening, others at at certain time in the morning...OH! And be sure not to run out of any medicines either!?! Seriously!?! My mind was on overload!!! I tried to calm down by telling myself, just do one shot at a time, focus on that and then move on. I'll have lots of videos, directions and I'm sure I can call if I just don't get it. But wow-my biggest fear is I don't want to mess this up!!!

The one thing that I didn't realize (shame on me for not researching but I also stopped researching so I wouldn't freak myself out, I tend to do that from time to time) was that an entire cycle of IVF (well we're doing the long version) is 8 weeks. That totally threw a wrench in our game plan but during one of the breaks, DH and I discussed and decided to push back the cycle we wanted to start on. It might fall during holidays but it just works better with the flow of things and as we both discussed, if we have to miss Thanksgiving due to our ET then so be it-the end result will be worth it and we'll have many more Thanksgivings ahead of us.

After the orientation, I called the person to schedule us to pencil us in. It was like we were making a hotel reservation because during the orientation they kept reiterating "if space is available." SO...I talk to the lady and she says that they are closed in early December. Yes, I knew this because in orientation, they explained how no one except certified people can go in, they have their own air filter, all this come to keep everything as clean and sanitary as possible so they close towards the end of December to do a deep cleaning. So she was worried that we might fall into their office being closed.

I told her, well, we really wanted to start in September but I'm running a marathon like a week and a half into my cycle. During orientation, they told us once we started our meds to do light exercise as in no jogging or "jostling", contact sports or get your heart rate above 140. Um...not sure that's going to work with running a marathon so that was part of what factored into pushing it back a cycle.

The room reservation lady said, "Well, um...I've never had a woman run a marathon during her cycle of IVF so can I talk to Dr. Val and get back to you?" I told her sure, no problem. She had said I would only be on birth control pills during that part of my cycle and I wouldn't be doing any injections but she wanted to check SO basically...we're still in limbo and have no idea when we're going to do this. She's supposed to call me tomorrow so we'll go from there.

Let me just explain here about the marathon. I've talked about how 2010 has been a year of disappointments, surprises and shocks. I've done my best to make 2010 a memorable, good year by pushing myself to my limits and running. I did my first half-marathon in June and I'm attempting my first full marathon in October. My reasoning, if IVF doesn't work, I still have done an amazing accomplishment in 2010. This isn't the only reason we decided to push back to the next cycle. We have a TON of stuff family, friend, marriage related going on in October and if we had a choice to wait when things aren't so crazy and hectic, pushing it back a cycle would be best.

I'm a little worried that if we start in October, my ET will be the week of Thanksgiving and I'm supposed to work the day after Thanksgiving which is a holiday at my work. I know that it's going to be impossible to try to find someone to work for me but I'll try. If not then I guess I'll have to beg and plead and see where that gets me. Oh well, I think I'll know more tomorrow PLUS I get to go next week for my trial ET and some other tests and I think I'll actually get to talk to Dr. Val in person so we can figure it and discuss further then.

Before going into the orientation, I wondered what the dynamics of group would be like once we got there. IF affects a WIDE variety of people. I would say that DH and I were probably the youngest there, which we had figured. There was like 3 more couples close to our age or early 30s. Weird thing though-two of the couples seemed like really good friends. Like maybe one was like I'm going to do IVF and then the other was like, ok me too. It just seemed very odd to me. I would say most of the other couples were mid-30s to early-40s. At first it was really uptight and everyone kept to themselves then everyone relaxed a little throughout the day and a few chatter was heard. Once the lights turned up and everyone pulled out the needles to practice injections (no actually injections were done) then we were all good 'ole friends. Wives telling husbands we were going to practice on them, husbands telling wives they'd take care of the shots....lots of eye rolls at our husbands and a ton of nervous laughter.

The one couple across from us were an open book telling us about how they had done three IUIs already and were doing IVF next month. I just nodded and smiled and told them good luck. I don't have any IUIs stories or a long IF journey, heck-we might be starting our IVF before we've even tried for a year!

I also wore the earrings I won from Baby On Mind. They were gorgeous and matched my outfit perfectly. Definitely made me feel very glam so thank you!!!

The funny ending to our day? DH and I drove back towards home about 20 miles and stopped at Red Robin to eat. As we sat down and were waiting on our food, I looked over and said to DH, "Hey, he was in our IVF class, wasn't he?" DH looked and agreed. We had lunch and as I walked out the door, I saw the guy looking over at us as we left. I smiled and waved, although we didn't talk to each other this morning or even knew each other's names, we were a part of the silent club. I knew his secret and he knew mine. It was eerily comforting to be able to wave at that couple, those strangers, and know we weren't alone.


Angie said...

Wow how exciting and nervewracking at the same time. I'm totally praying for you guys.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad it went well!!! Lots of information I'm sure. I did shots for IUI's in the stomach and they don't hurt and after the first one you'll be a pro. (Although I know you have way more and different ones for IVF...I'm sure you'll do fine and you can def find videos on how to do them online.) As far as pushing your cycle back I think you should feel fine about that. You want to do it at the best possible time for you and if it's pushing it back a month or two that's really nothing in the grand scheme of things. I'm truely hope you get 2 (at least 1) baby! =)

kayee said...

I just had my orientation as well last week - overwhelming is an understatement. I hope you are able to get you cycle started in September, run your marathon in Oct and have some wonderful news by the end of Nov!
We are also in the talks of transferring one or two ... big decision!
Good luck and keep us posted!