From TTC to DE, Part 8: IUI to IVF in one fell swoop

October 19, 2009

We’re going to try IUI again, but this time the doctor has taken me off Clomid and is going to try me on Gonal-F. I am not thrilled that this is an injectable drug. Needles of any kind are anathema to me and on a daily basis — well, it sounds horrible.

I pick up the drugs at the pharmacy and cannot get over the cost! $3000 and it will probably be more. The place is madly busy and no one goes over how to do the injection. Thank god my husband is a physician; I figure he can help. The next morning, I make him give me the injection as I squish my eyes shut and look the other way. But I find it’s nerve-wracking to allow someone else to do this for me, especially in the sensitive area of one’s stomach. Plus, he freaks me out the way he pinches my flesh and gets ready to jab the needle. It becomes obvious to me that I must learn to do this myself.

The next morning I try to jab myself; unfortunately it is not a good idea to do this tentatively. One must forcefully (but not with overt force, mind you) stick the needle in. Otherwise it’s a slow, painful experience. The stinging is not too bad; icing the injection site afterwards helps.

On my next appointment (I have not had one between day 3 and day 10) there are worried looks on the nurses and fellow’s face. Uh oh. This can’t be good. They won’t say anything directly to me — infuriating! I have to wait for the 3 o’clock phone call. But then, I get a call much earlier. As I’m driving home from the hospital, as a matter of fact. The stunning news is that because I’m a super responder to drugs (didn’t we establish this already?) I have developed more than four follicles and I will either have to abandon the cycle or covert to IVF! I am flabbergasted. I can’t believe that they have given me what I surmise is a too-high dose … probably the same issue as the last time… same dose for everyone no matter their size.

Within a minute, I get another call and it’s a very good friend. I can barely say hello; the floodgates open and I am bawling into my cell phone. She wisely tells me to pull over, which I do, and stays on the phone until I calm down. I tell her my predicament and that I had never signed up for IVF; I never thought it would be something I’d have to do. I’m not ready for this radical new step. But we’ve already shelled out so much money on the drugs. I am caught in the middle and I don’t know what to do. Worse still, I have to decide before 3pm! I am so angry; I am wondering, don’t they know that they can’t just spring this on me? That this is a huge decision that can’t be made in a few hours’ time? I am adamant about not doing IVF but the guilt over the money we’ve spent on the drugs, and the idea of four or more follicles bursting inside me is not appealing. Reluctantly, I decide I’ll have to do the IVF.

At four o’clock in the afternoon, I am at the clinic in a seminar room attending an information session on what to expect during IVF. It is a wrenching experience for me and I am looking daggers at the nurse presenter the entire time. I now have to come in for monitoring every other day — gee whiz, they finally decide they should keep closer tabs on my super-responsive ovaries. Now, this seems a more proper approach, I think.

At the next appointment I lay into the fellow with my opinion on how they make decisions on drug doses and my incredible unhappiness at being in this position. He is somewhat contrite but blames it on the system. I hate when people do that: take responsibility and change the system if it’s not working well for the patient!

On top of all this, the husband does not see “what the big deal” is about IVF. I firmly tell him that he can keep his opinion to himself (sorry, husbands out there, but this is a traumatic time for me). And here is the rub: the woman must carry the baby. Oh, if only it weren’t so. I just can’t get over the fact that I am going through torture just so the husband can have a child. So you see, when things are easy, it’s “our child” and now it’s “his child”. Not semantics, just that we both have different ideas of how far we’re willing to go to have a child. I feel I’m bending over backwards for him, and I know if he were more casual about it then we would not be going down this road that I am so uncomfortable with.

On the day of the retrieval, we arrive at 6:30am. We find the right place but no one is there yet. I sink to the floor (ugh — yucky hospital floors) and wait. Thankfully the nurse — a cheerful, matronly Irish woman — is extremely competent. She finds a vein and with minimal pain sets the IV. She is so comforting I actually relax. I requested that the fertility specialist and not the fellow perform the procedure, so Dr. G- is inside the retrieval suite getting ready.

Unfortunately, I feel the punctures to my ovaries. It is not pleasant. The morphine is upped. I feel much more comfortable in a matter of seconds. After the procedure I actually feel pretty great and I inform the husband that I think I can make it to a friend’s baby shower. We get home and I pass out. So much for the rest of the day.

The next morning I wake up in unbelievable pain. My abdomen is swollen more than it was with my grapefruit sized ovaries. I’m not the type to suffer silently and besides, I want the husband to appreciate just what I’m going through. Thankfully I do not have a fever, which I’ve been warned is a bad sign. I’m somewhat better the next day. And on day 3 we are called into the clinic. Of the nine eggs retrieved, six have fertilized and they decide to implant three embryos. This is a short, painless procedure and the progesterone suppositories are not that bad and I’m on the two week wait.

I’ll just get it over with right here: I had what’s called a chemical pregnancy. After the bloods on the second day it was obvious hCG was falling below normal levels. So in the end, the procedure did not work. I am wrung out and decide I need to take a break. I am not willing to go through this harrowing process again.


One Response to “From TTC to DE, Part 8: IUI to IVF in one fell swoop”

  1. 21reena Says:

    omg – I’m so sorry you have gone through such a horrible experience. I really feel like many of the people who work at the clinics have become de-sensitized to what we patients are going through. These are life changing decisions that we have to make so quickly, and we trust them to do what’s best for us. Good luck with whatever your next steps are in your journey.

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