life, love, and maybe babies

Monday, September 22, 2014

a shot in the dark

I am a humongous wimp. 

As in, I get a paper cut and want to take the rest of the day off to cry and nurse my wound. And maybe even consider stitches. I also get a hurt a lot; a by-product of being an extremely clumsy gal. Combine my frequent injuries with my lack of pain tolerance, and Hubs just about goes nuts every time I start a sentence with, "OMG, I just (verb) my (noun) on the (noun)!" To him, it's just code for, "I'm getting ready to cry."

As a somewhat tough man, he just doesn't understand how one person can find so many minor injuries severe enough to cry about. 


  • Hitting my head on the door frame while exiting a car too quickly.
    • Minutes Crying: 6
  • Falling up the stairs, lighting bending ankle.
    • Minutes Crying: 4
  • Twisting neck while playing volleyball.
    • Minutes Crying: 4 while in public, 10 later at home
Being in a certain amount of pain or discomfort is all part of the territory when you're an infertile. You're poked, prodded, squeezed, smooshed and probed at pretty much every appointment you're unlucky enough to have to attend. Some things get easier to deal with, and others just never quite feel anything less than horrific.

For me, needles are the worst. Poke and prod and stick weird catheters all up in my vajay-jay all day long, but keep the needles far, far away in the evil land of Sharpville from whence they came. 

(And yes, I do have a tattoo. I cried the entire time.)

All of this is leading up to what happened last week. Aunt Flo arrived, which meant it was time for me to begin my Depot Lupron shots. Joy of joys. I'd been dreading the shot, and was here.

The shot arrived on Thursday morning. I instantly texted Hubs.

Me: The Lupron shot is here. I think I'm going to puke.

Hubs: You'll be fine, babe. Really.

Me: Hold on, I'm going to open the box and see how bad the syringe looks. **** Okay, it doesn't seem that bad.

Hubs: Good.

Me: I'm being sarcastic. IT'S A GIANT 3" NEEDLE. And it has to go all the way into my skin.

As I went through my day, all I could think about were all the things that could potentially go wrong with this injection. I did Internet searches with the key words "Lupron shot given incorrectly." You don't even want to know the horrors I read. You will never go near a needle again.

When Hubs got home that evening, I told him I wanted to do it quickly and get it over with. My stepdaughters were home with us (they don't know about all of this stuff) so we put them in front of a movie and said we'd be right back.

Up in our bedroom, Hubs prepared the shot. The directions were about as clear as an IKEA construction manual...if it was in German. One of the notes said very clearly, "once the powder is mixed in with the liquid in the syringe, take the injection immediately to avoid any clumping in the solution."

Of course, we didn't read that little gem until we'd already mixed the powder in with the liquid...and we still needed to determine where exactly to put the needle and how to inject it properly. My panic began. 

"HURRY, HUBS!" I shouted. "The powder is going to clump. IT'S GOING TO CLUUUUMMMP!!!"

"Babe, seriously," he replied, sweat forming on his brow. "I have to read how to inject it. There's a whole thing in these instructions saying you have to be super careful to get it intramuscularly, or it's no good."

Turns out my doc wanted me to take the injection in the bum. Or, in other words, my ass cheek. Super fun.

I lay on the bed and awaited the pain. I bit down on our comforter and waited. And waited. I imagined the long, sharp needle burrowing further and further into my skin and I started to shake. There's no way I was going to get through this. What if I jerked when the needle went in and the whole thing BROKE OFF IN MY BEHIND? Would I have to go to the hospital and explain to them what happened and get it removed? How do you even get a needle out of your -

"Babe? What are you doing?" Hubs asked.

"I'm waiting for the pain. Can you hurry it up, please?" I replied, irritated.

"I've been done for like, 10 seconds,' he said patting my backside. "You can get up. I thought you were crying into the pillow, so I didn't want to bother you."

Wait, I was done?? Like, DONE? I hadn't felt a thing! Maybe a little pinch, but nothing compared to getting blood drawn or samples removed from my uterus.

Not one tear had escaped my cheek. 

I was officially a bad ass.

Hubs high-five'd me and of course I complimented him on his amazing nursing skills. Only one more shot of this in 28 days. It was all going to be okay.

"Now just remember," Hubs said as he put the used needle in the bio-hazard container. "You're going to be at your sales meeting in Veas when it's time for this next month, so you'll have to inject yourself. But I know you can do it!!!"

Cue the dramatic soap opera music...


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

famous last words

Earlier this week I complained on Twitter that my monthly friend was taking longer than usual to get here. For once, I needed her to arrive so I could begin my lovely Depot Lupron shots for two months prior to my retrieval and transfer. I was tired of waiting and pissed off that my period would decide that this was the month we'd enjoy a 34 day cycle.

I went to the bathroom each day and hoped and wished for AF to arrive. When she didn't, I would whine to Hubs and bitch about AF's failure to just GET HERE ALREADY. Poor Hubs. It was such a departure for him to hear me complaining about AF being late. For months on end, he's heard me hope for her late or non-existent arrival, and now I'd turned everything on its head and hoped for her arrival as soon as possible.

When finally my monthly friend showed up on Sunday, I immediately got excited, ready to start my injections and get this damn show on the road. But of course, AF wasn't going to go without a fight (my injections will make her disappear for two months). This has been one of the ickiest, crampiest, American Horror Story-esque periods of my entire existence. 

Naturally, I whined to Hubs about it.

"OWW!" I screamed from the bathroom. "Why does it HURT so much this month. And why is it so heavy this month? JESUS, I HATE HAVING A PERIOD!"

"Babe," replied Hubs, incredulous. "Two days ago you were begging for this, remember? You wanted your period to show up. You said you'd be excited when it did. I don't get it. YOU ASKED FOR IT."

Those four words: you asked for it. They haunt me. Mostly because they're true. I have been asking for my period for a week. But, it doesn't mean I really WANT it. I just needed it to get here so I could move on to the next step. There's a big difference between wanting something and needing it. I want to get pregnant. I needed Flo to show up in order to get what I want.

I feel like I need to warn Hubs to tread carefully in the next few months, because I'm going to get a lot of things that I've "asked for" in the name of getting knocked up. Injections, blood work, general anesthesia, cramping, bloating, pain, misery...they're all coming.

And guess what? It won't stop there. 

If I get pregnant, the list of things I've "asked for" is just beginning. If we're successful in IVF, I'm likely going to get a sundry of new discomforts: swollen ankles, weight gain, hemorrhoids, mood swings, back pain, withdrawl from my nightly glass of wine, etc. The list will go on and on.

But here's the thing. Just because I've technically "asked" for these things doesn't mean they are any less painful or annoying or upsetting. Injections are painful whether you ask for them or not. Hot flashes are annoying whether you ask for them or not. PREGNANCY is painful and difficult, even if you beg for it.

So all of this begs the question: does "asking for it" mean I don't get to hate it a little bit? 

Does the fact that, for the last four years, I have begged on my hands and knees for a pregnancy mean that if I get one, I'm not allowed to bitch when it's miserable?

That doesn't seem fair to me.

I worry that when I finally do have my retrieval and I'm laying in my hotel room, moaning to myself about it hurting or being uncomfortable, I'm going to have to hear, "Babe, this is what you wanted. You asked for it."

And he will be right. I will have asked for it. Is it selfish of me to want him to be sympathetic just a teeny weeny bit longer? Will it be selfish of me to want him to be sympathetic for the FULL 9 months that I am (hopefully) pregnant? I don't think so.

I realize it sounds like I'm dumping on Hubs and I promise I'm not. I can't imagine what it's been like for him, sharing his home with a living, breathing one-woman circus of emotions every day. But I need him to understand that even though I've asked for all of this, at the same time, I didn't ask for it.

I didn't ask to be infertile. I didn't ask for endometriosis. I didn't ask for ovaries that don't seem to work right. I didn't ask for a huge portion of our savings to go toward medical treatment that may not even work. I never asked for any of that.

All I'm asking for is a solution to it all. And the path that we're on is, hopefully, the solution. And that solution will make me crazy and ridiculous and nutso. Together, we're going to have to get through what we've both asked matter how hard it gets.

Ultimately, we're going to get what we've asked and begged and hoped and done voo-doo dances for all along. And then, it will all be worth it.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

cause and side effect

In a few days, Aunt Flo will arrive (the dumb beeotch), and I will begin taking Lupron injections. I don't even know if I spelled that right , but basically, I'll be going through menopause for two months in the hopes that my body will then produce some protein that helps my little eggs implant into my uterine lining.


Hot flashes, weight gain, headaches, nausea. What a gas.

I was chatting about this very medication on Twitter the other day with @LoveYouPotato, and we agreed that for all we go through with infertility (that will hopefully result in us getting pregnant and miserable for 9 months), there should be a payoff on the front end.

In side effects. 

And so, without further ado, here are my list of preferred side effects for infertility drugs and procedures:

Progesterone:  WARNING: Progesterone is sometimes used with another medication (a type of estrogen) as combination hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in women after menopause. Progesterone can have a varying amount of side effects, including but not limited to:
  • stomach firming
  • gas that smells like a flower garden
  • dizziness experienced when you've drank just the right amount of alcohol, and no hangover
  • an increased IQ, sometimes by as much as 10 points in some patients
  • breast firming, swelling and lifting; call your doctor if your breasts reach your chin.
  • cough that produces rainbows
  • increased hair growth and thickness on the head
  • an increased sense of humor, allowing many patients to handle nosy friends and neighbors who don't understand what infertility actually is or why it's a legitimate medical issue.
Lupron Injection (leuprolide acetate): WARNING: Lupron Injection is used in men to treat symptoms of prostate cancer, and in women to treat symptoms of endometriosis (overgrowth of uterine lining outside of the uterus) or uterine fibroids. Common side effects include:
  • numbness and inability to feel sad; particularly when you get bad news regarding fertility
  • stunted facial, bikini area and underarm hair. Some patients experience 4-6 weeks without return trips to the salon
  • dewey skin, similar to Jennifer Lopez.
  • ass lifting, also similar to Jennifer Lopez and/or Beyonce.
  • increased sex drive, with most patients resulting in a pregnancy
  • insomnia that results in amazing advances in your personal life, such as writing the next, great American novel
  • sporadic toning of muscle groups, such as triceps and the gluteus maximus
  • shinier hair
  • accepted insurance claims that were previously rejected. Some patients experience completely covered IVF cycles, though results vary. Contact your doctor if you experience three rounds of free IVF.

Follistim: WARNING: (FSH) Follistim is used to treat certain fertility problems in women and men. In women, it helps stimulate healthy ovaries to produce eggs. This medication is usually used in combination with another hormone (hCG) to bring about the growth and release of a mature egg (ovulation). In men, it helps stimulate healthy testes to produce sperm. It is also used in combination with hCG. Potential side effects include:
  • easily achieved orgasm. Contact your doctor if you experience orgasms lasting three hours or later. Or just lay there and enjoy it.
  • unbridled happiness for no reason. 
  •  an unusual tendency to find joy in the 4,010th daily broadcast of Iggy Azalea's "Fancy."
  • deposits of random, large amounts to your checking account, not seen by the IRS.
  • many patients experience their clothes fitting looser, even after binge eating Taco Bell at 3 AM for 5 nights in a row.
  • tenderness in husbands' actions. Many patients experience flowers delivered for no reason, a random back rug or a trip to a luxury hotel without being asked.
  • unexpected promotions at work, complete with higher pay and corner offices with a view.

Ahhh, if only...

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