Thursday, August 7, 2014

Stim Like a Champ!

We had our baseline ultrasound and infectious disease blood work done yesterday.  All is well on the "estrogen front" for me.  They were looking for "quiet ovaries" (meaning no follicles trying to mature on their own) and low, low estrogen.  My ovaries on ultrasound have 24 "immature" follicles between the two of them.  That's a GREAT number to start with, and Dr. Hansen says there usually are a few "surprise follicles" that pop up during ovarian stimulation.  So we are in really good shape with this start.  Keisha (the nurse filling in for Connie while she's out of town) called me yesterday afternoon to tell me that my blood work revealed a "perfectly low estrogen level" and that I'm ready to start stimulation drugs on Saturday!  I really can't believe it's finally time to start this part of the treatment. Seems like yesterday I was announcing our IVF intentions and now we are less than 2 weeks away from having embryos in the lab!

I will be starting with 150 iu of Follistim which is a fairly low dose.  Since I've taken Clomid a few times before and my ovaries have responded REALLY well to that, Dr. Hansen doesn't want to push it with the Follistim.  It's likely I won't need any more than 150 iu throughout these 10 days of stimming, and it's possible he may even back off the dose as we get closer to retrieval.  So starting Saturday I'll be taking 3 shots in my belly.  1 of Lupron, 1 of Follistim, and 1 of Menopur (which is another stim medication).  I feel like if I've mastered the Lupron needle, the Follistim and Menopur needles will be a breeze.  Follistim especially since that needle is practically microscopic.  It's the drinking straw-like needles that the Progesterone in Oil shots have to be given with that scare me.  Yikes!  Those won't start until the day before or the day of my transfer, though, so I've got a little while before I have to take those bad boys...

So I start the stims on Saturday and then we go back into the clinic on Monday for blood work.  Then from there we have to go in every other day (possibly every day as we get closer to that 10 day mark and depending on how my body responds) to get blood work and ultrasound.  Once Dr. Hansen is happy with the number of mature follicles he sees he will set my retrieval date (my money is on August 20th, but our "window" is between the 19th and the 21st...though it's possible it could happen earlier).  Then less than 24 hours before my retrieval I will take a shot of hCG in my belly to mature my eggs and then it's go time!  I'll keep you all posted on when our retrieval will happen.

In the meantime, Jonathan takes his USMLE boards on Sunday morning.  It's an 8 hour test that starts at 8:00 AM.  He is definitely ready to take this exam and get it over with.  He's going to do amazing!  But prayers for his peace in this would be much appreciated!  We were having a conversation over dinner yesterday about the direction our lives are going right now.  The timing really couldn't be more perfect, and as these big milestones are passed, things just keep falling right into place.  We found out last week that we can do all of Jonathan's core rotations in South Florida (that's like 38 weeks of rotations), so once we move down to the Miami area in September, we'll be parking it there for the long haul probably until residency or right before.  Though it would have been cool to live in NYC for a little while, I am over the moon about the prospect of staying in once place that's actually affordable for an extended period of time.  My stuff can come out of storage...I can nest!  Ridiculously excited about that.  Of course we are hoping to need a place suitable for bambinos, so I'm pumped about potentially being able to set up a nursery.  The next few months *could* get tricky with dates and what not, but once I'm down there for good with him, South Florida will be our home for the next at least 18 months and probably longer...

There is a definite feeling of the closing of one chapter of our lives.  His taking the USMLE is definitely the end of an era on that front.  3 years of taking basic sciences have built up to this test.  And on Sunday, that part of his quest for an M.D. will officially be over.  Of course starting a family has been on our list for a long, long time now.  We can't help but feel like that's the next big thing in our lives.  I have to keep believing that God has a perfect plan in all this.  I hope and pray that His perfect plan includes a pregnancy and delivery and bringing our precious baby (or babies) home to our own sweet little house in South Florida.  But I know that if that's not in the cards, He's got bigger plans.  But I can't help but hope that the hurt we've felt in the last few years about this is about to come to an end.  I've felt His presence so very intensely in the past few months and even more so in the past few weeks.  When I pray, He's answering.  And He's answering in a very, VERY recognizable way.  He is revealing Himself to me.  As we get closer to "the moment of truth" in all this IVF stuff, I find myself asking Him often to give me a sign or a heads up if He doesn't want us to continue.  I ask Him to protect my heart and start now if this is all to end in heartbreak.  But instead of diverting us, He's giving us the GREEN light all the way.  If I told you all the ways He has answered my prayers even in the last few days, it would be a novel I tell ya.  He answered my prayer with yesterday's appointment when He so easily could have disallowed my estrogen to drop.  That would have derailed this whole thing.  Instead He has orchestrated this perfect little scenario and everything has been smooth sailing.  He's put a peace in both of our hearts about this.  No matter what, He's got this...

So be praying for us in the coming weeks.  This is what we've both been waiting and working for.  Jonathan's boards, our stim week, and our retrieval and fertilization.  In 2 weeks or less we will be PARENTS!  Even if it *is* only to our tiny little embabies.  We love you all so much and your support has been tireless.  I thank my God each time I remember each of you and how you've been such pivotal and influential parts of our journey.  What lucky, lucky people we are.  So blessed!

So in closing...I intend to "Stim Like a Champ" starting Saturday.  Here's to basketball sized ovaries! ;)

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