Note: This article originally appeared on mom.me on October 14, 2o14. Read the original article here.
It has been many weeks of waiting around for this October cycle. To recap, my husband and I are pursuing a frozen donor egg cycle across the country after three failed IVF cycles. We picked a donor and have eight frozen donor eggs waiting for us in Texas. Unfortunately, with the adventure of a clinic out of state comes the stress of waiting around and doing absolutely nothing, tapping your foot anxiously while thinking about flights to be booked, rental cars to be claimed and time that is needed to be off work. It all came down to the start of my cycle.
I had spoken with a nurse from the clinic two weeks ago about medications, and she told me to pick them up and then call with the start of my cycle. After looking at them, I realized there was a big change in what I usually have done for medications. I expected the estrogen pills and patches, but the doctor had also ordered a steroid called Prednisone, and Motrin for the day of the embryo transfer. Wait, I thought to myself, where is my Valium? What am I supposed to take to make me loopy and relaxed when I get knocked up? Why do they want me on Prednisone? And son of a bitch, is that two milliliters of progesterone in oil? I’ve always just had to do one! I can’t inject two milliliters of progesterone in my butt!
Ah, do you need a reminder of what progesterone in oil is? Never heard of it? It’s exactly how it sounds. Oil, with progesterone in it. Injected into my buttocks by my husband who thinks it’s OK to burp loudly at the dinner table. The muscle must be thoroughly rubbed after it’s injected, to spread out the oil into my muscle so it doesn’t cause painful lumps that pretty much make sitting impossible. It’s done every night for at least two and a half weeks, and if I am pregnant, it will continue through the first trimester. I am making a life-changing journey across multiple state lines to get an embryo transferred into me and all I can think about is the double dose of oil that will be injected into me by a needle-wielding boy.
I ended up emailing one of the nurses a hopefully-not-very-snotty message asking why I’m on this, why I’m not on that and, for the love of all things holy, why do I have to be on this double-dose? Then I sent a text to my friend who went through an FET (frozen embryo transfer) and asked her why they would put me on these medications. Her response?
“Well, Risa, the Prednisone can help with implantation by helping your uterus accept the baby and not fight it off as foreign. The Motrin is for cramping because they want you to be as relaxed as possible to allow for implantation. And the extra progesterone is to give you the best chance possible that your embryo will stick around. So for Heaven’s sake, stop being a whiny brat and questioning everything they do!” (I may have exaggerated the last part).
So after being reassured, feeling bad and then feeling worse when the nurse replied back and told me the same thing, I meekly went to pick up my prescriptions. Luckily, I only paid a grand total of $37.50 for everything. To put this in perspective, the medications for my last fresh IVF cycle cost over $2,000.
That was on a Friday. I just knew my period would come Monday, Tuesday at the latest, and maybe even early over the weekend (squee!!) And then Monday passed. And Tuesday. By Wednesday, I was incessantly going on bathroom breaks at work, and took a pregnancy test because that is always what would bring on my period on in the past. That evening I got in a righteous fight with Chris, hollering that knowing my luck, I would skip my period this month, and we probably just won’t ever have a baby because I won’t ever menstruate again. And then I had the urge to pee, and I went to the bathroom and promptly started my period.
The next morning I called the clinic in Texas only to be told that I had to have a baseline ultrasound and blood work first and then results had to be reviewed with the doctor before any dates would be decided. So I had to wait for orders to be sent to my local clinic, schedule an ultrasound with them, rush off after a work meeting to my clinic, complete the ultrasound, and wait for the results to get sent to the clinic in Texas.
I finally got a call at 4:00 from a nurse telling me the results look good, and we can look at a transfer date of October 29th, and need to be in Texas by the 23rd. These dates are entirely dependent on how I respond to the medications, if my uterine lining is cooperating. I’ve never had problems in the past with this, but there is always the potential. “But I have to book our flights, and how am I supposed to know for sure right now?” I croaked to her. I wanted her to understand how stressed out I was coordinating all this.
I went out on a limb, requested the days off work, and called Chris to tell him the dates. He in turn booked the flight and now we just pray everything works out and the dates don’t get pushed back. I will start the estrogen pills and patches in a few days, we have consent forms to sign and notarize, and the rest will fly by.
I can’t believe we’re this close.