Wednesday, November 23, 2011

First of many early visits...

My appoinment was at 7:00AM this morning for bloodwork and ultrasound. I had my alarm clock set for 5:40AM, which would have given me plenty of time to get ready, have breakfast, etc before I had to leave. It takes about 25 minutes to get to GBMC without traffic, and luckily given it is the day before Thanksgiving work traffic was minimal traveling through Towson this morning because I didn't wake up until 6:30! I threw clothes on and ran out the door, leaving Emoree (still asleep) with my mom. I was only 5 minutes late :)

I had bloodwork done, and during the ultrasound they measured my uterus lining, and checked my ovary, which they counted 30 (follicles? or eggs? I don't even know). The doctor (who isn't my normal doctor, but for morning diagnostics you are seen by any doctor on the team) started looking for a left ovary and I told him not to bother, there isn't one!

If you haven't had a transvaginal ultrasound before, that is a whole new experience all together. My first one was when I went to the fertility center to concieve Emoree. It is a skinny rod they cover with a condom, and then they put it inside you to measure the uterus and ovaries during fertility treatments and in very early pregnancy. Apparantly they can get a better picture from inside then through traditional abdominal ultrasound. It doesn't hurt, but it can be uncomfortable if they are digging around looking for an ovary that isn't there. So at least this time, I KNOW they only have 1 ovary to look for!

So now I wait, with my phone in my hand. I am expecting a phone call from the fertility center between 1PM-6PM, with my instructions to start taking Provera. After this point, the next time I go back to the fertility center is on Day 3 of my cycle!! This is where it all begins. I work today, so I am going to be even more paranoid to make sure I don't miss their phone call today.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Expensive little vial

I picked up my medications from the pharmacy this week. Without a blink, I pulled out my credit card and paid the $954.92 tab for 3 medications. A small price to pay for a priceless dream.
The 3 I picked up yesterday are Follistim 900IU, Ovidrel, and Prometrium. Follistim is a tiny little expensive vial ($852!) that does the magic that my whack hormones don't do. Once I start my cycle soon, I will inject it subcontaneously into my stomach every day for about 10-14 days to make the follicles grow in my ovary. Once the follicles are mature, I use the Ovidrel ($80) injection to release the eggs from the follicles. Then I will go in for the IUIs soon following. The Prometrium is capsules inserted vaginally 2x a day starting the day after the IUI through about 10 weeks of pregnancy. Prometrium is a progesterone supplement that helps prevent miscarriage for women whos progesterone levels are naturally low or non-existent.

I went to my OB-GYN today for a violation exam > . <  aka pap-smear. My favorite question is always the "what form of birth control do you use?" it throws me off guard because I am not sexually active, which I guess isn't normal for someone about to TTC! The GYN visit was the last check on my list to get started!!! I'm sooooo excited! My OB today briefly flipped over my medical history today (he was my OB and delivered Emoree) and told me he hopes to see me back by Valentine's Day growing Emoree a little brother :o) He told me that with this pregnancy the baby will most likely be breech and early as well, and that I will most likely be on bed rest at 30 weeks. Whatever I have to do to make it to 36 weeks!
Tomorrow morning at 7AM I go in for bloodwork and ultrasound for the okay to start taking Provera for 7 days. This med starts a period for women who don't have a normal cycle, which I have gone 11 months without one before. Have I mentioned how excited I am?? Time is not moving fast enough I am so anxious to start!!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Who is my Dad?

Luckily, I haven't been asked this question yet by my 3.5 year old. She isn't really old enough yet to get the concept, though she does see other kids' dads at her daycare/school. I know this question will come soon enough, and as much as I want to say I am ready and prepared to answer this inevitable question, I know it will knock me off guard the first time I hear it. It is all about age appropriateness, and I'm as prepared as I can be :o)

So what brought me here? I've always wanted a child much more than I was ever interested in dating. I've dated a guy, and I've dated a few women. The right person hasn't stumbled upon me yet, and I'm not out there looking because it simply isn't a priority of mine. My priority is being a Mom because that is what I have always wanted to be. I'm the girl at 17 that bought baby clothes and put them away in my cedar chest with hopes and dreams to one day put my baby in them, and those dreams all came true when I had Emoree.

I did a good deal of searching to find the right donor for me. I decided to go with an anonymous donor from a cryobank because a: I did not want someone else to have any legal rights to my child(ren) and b: the cryobank I chose is very selective and only uses donors with stellar medical histories. The donors are honestly screened for any disease or genetic disorder you could think of. The donor I chose was the closest match I could find to my own physical characteristics, and apparantly I made a good match since anyone and everyone tells me Emoree looks exactly like me.

So what do I have to show my child(ren) when she/they get older? I have a 13 page physical/behavioral characteristics profile of the donor, a complete medical profile, a picture from when he was 18 months old, and an audio interview clip of his voice as an adult. There is no identifying information to try and find him, not that I have an interest to. However, when my child(ren) are old enough, there is a donor/sibling registry online that makes it possible to maybe find a sibling or donor, but that decision will be my child's and I will support them in whatever decision they make.

My opinion of donors is a positive one. I know many others see them as people just trying to make a few bucks, but on the other hand that donor gave a part of them that allowed me to have a family.

If this cycle works and I do get pregnant, Emoree and baby #2 will be full-blooded siblings. I bought 4 vials when I was trying to concieve Emoree, and only used two the first time to get pregnant. The other two vials (when using frozen sperm, the fertility center I go to uses two vials per cycle in two consecutive IUIs to increase the chance of pregnancy) were kept frozen and I have been paying storage fees of $360 a year for the last 3 years. If this try doesn't work, I don't know if I will try to concieve again. The donor I am using is not in the program anymore and there are not any vials available to purchase... so here is to hoping that the first try makes it happen!

All Journeys have a Beginning

It has been awhile since I have been here, but I now have a purpose for this blog :o) Yesterday, I had my first appointment with my Reproductive Endocronologist to start the journey to concieve baby #2. I waited anxiously in the waiting room to be called back, thinking about my 3 year old daughter whom I had just dropped off at daycare/school. I had concieved Emoree with the help of this same fertility center just 4 years earlier.

Finally, my doctor appeared and welcomed me back. We went to his office and he asked me about Emoree and her birth. Emoree was born at 33 weeks & 4 days via c-section because my water broke and she was breech. Turns out, I have a unicornate uterus (a uterus is generally shaped liked a heart, of which I only have one half of, one fallopian tube, and one ovary), in addition to Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) so the mere fact that I was blessed with Emoree is a miracle in itself. So what nerve do I dare to ask for another miracle? Because I believe that I can make it happen.

Despite my medical history, my doctor says that I am his easiest and most easy going patient. I went in there, knowing exactly what I wanted, and how I wanted to do it. After all, I have been through this before. My protocol is cycle stimulation with Provera, and Ovulation Induction with Follistim Injections and Ovidrel trigger shot w/ 2 consecutive IUIs (intrauterine insemination). However, I'm getting ahead of myself now :o)

My doctor wrote me out a check off list of items I need to complete before I can start Provera in one week, on 11/23. I assured him whatever I needed to do I will get it done.
1. Social Worker consult
2. Infectious Disease bloodwork
3. Consent forms

The social worker consult would be anyone's biggest concern. It really wasn't a big deal at all in the end. After a game of voicemail phone tag yesterday, I finally was able to set up an appointment with the fertility psychologist for today at 3PM. The reason for this step is because I am using donor sperm to concieve, just as I did with Emoree but 4 years ago this consult was not required. I will address this is greater detail later. Anyway, a visit that she said would normally take an hour took only 20 minutes, and I was cleared! She asked me questions about my family support and about how to address Emoree's and baby #2's questions about the donor w/ age appropriateness. It was a very quick and easy visit.

Step 2. The infectious disease bloodwork was no big deal. As soon as I left the fertility center I walked down the hall and got my blood drawn, 4 vials. Very easy and another check off my list.

Consent forms was easy too, because I had signed all of those forms before when I went to concieve Emoree. I signed to decline genetic testing, I signed to decline CMV testing (which I later checked the donor's medical profile and his was negative, so there is no concern), I signed that I understood the risks of me NOT being immune to chicken pox (I had them when I was younger, but didn't build an immunity so I could get chicken pox again), and finally the consent form for ovulation induction and IUI. Check #3 done!

What was not listed on my "check list" that I also needed to have done was a visit to the GYN for a papsmear :-/  That appt is scheduled for 11/22.

I also talked to the financial advisor at the fertility center. The total for the cycle tests, observations, and IUI is $2200 plus the cost of medications. This was also not a suprise to me, and I already have it all in savings.

So here is the start of my journey. This blog will cover the ups & downs of my infertility experience, the two week wait, and here's hoping to the journey of my high risk pregnancy and birth. I hope you enjoy the ride! My next appointment at the fertility center is scheduled for 11/23 at 7AM for bloodwork and baseline ultrasound to start taking Provera to start my cycle!