Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Adventures with Needles

I debated titles for this post for a while. Other possibilities were: Stick it to Me, Pain in the @$$, and Shot to the Bum, and You're to Blame (sung to You Give Love a Bad Name tune, naturally). I decided on this title, though, because this really has been an adventure.
Like I mentioned in my last post, starting Lupron seemed to improve the wretched mood brought on by BCP. I started 10units of Lupron on Sunday, March 4. I'm using the small insulin needles to take my shot, but I've become so used to the super small, super sharp Follistim needles that even the 30gauge insulin needles took a bit more force and stung a bit more than I was expecting. And it itches! After my shot, the injection site gets all red and itchy for about 10 minutes. It goes away, but my belly button has become, and stayed itchy since I started the Lupron. :/ I have no idea if they're connected, but it seems like too much of a coincidence for them not to be connected.
Well, the Saturday after I started Lupron, we went out to celebrate one of Patrick's friends' 30th birthday. His friends live about 30 minutes from us, and we were going out close to their apartment, so we went down there early to go have dinner. I brought my meds with me, thinking I would have some time before we went out to take my Lupron. My "shot time" is 7pm every night, which is usually too early to go anywhere for Patrick's friends. Not that night. We were going to a dueling piano bar, so the guys decided we needed to go early so we could get a good seat. We got to the bar at 6:45, stood in line until they opened at 7, and went in, only to find that all the tables were reserved anyways, though we did get some seats at the railing/table. So I had to go do my shot in the bathroom... OF A BAR!!! I must have used 10 alcohol swabs on the "purse rest" or whatever that mini ledge is used for. Luckily it was early and the bathroom was empty, freshly cleaned, and unused for the night... there was still cleaner in the toilets and it still smelled like bleach. Still... ick!
The next Thursday I had my baseline appointment in Dallas, so I drove up on Wednesday to stay with my sister. I got to her apartment right at 7, took her dog out, and set up for my shot. After ten days of sticking needles in my tummy, I was running out of room to poke, and I must have stuck myself too close to my belly button, because the needle hurt going in, the medicine hurt going in, and when I pulled the needle out, a lot of blood followed it out. And... it hurt. It also left me a nice little bruise.
The Lupron has also been making me HUNGRY! I don't know what it is, but I have been a remorseless eater since about a week after starting it. I try to keep my snacks and meals healthy, but the worst part is, if I get hungry and don't eat fairly quickly, I get soooo nauseous and weak. Gatorade, nuts (gotta love those cocoa roasted almonds!), and granola bars have been life savers! Of course, by the time I got to my sister's house, I was starving, and her fridge was empty. By the time she got home from school, I was so nauseous I didn't want to eat anything (I know better than to not eat when I feel like that, so we ran to the store). I told her that we will be doing some major grocery shopping when I come to stay for the week!
My baseline appointment went great. A quick count showed 19 antral (resting) follicles, and my uterine lining was nice and thin at 3mm. Then I got to do my medications teaching class, where I was informed that my Repronex would indeed be an intramuscular injection- GOODY! I had been worried about that since I received my box-o-meds containing those nice, big, IM needles, but I had hoped that the pharmacy had just sent the wrong needles because Repronex can be taken intramuscularly or subcutaneously. The IM progesterone already had me freaking out because those needles look like they hurt- a lot- but I will do whatever is necessary for my little baby or babies, and if the doctor wants me to stick my butt, I will stick my butt.
After the teaching class, I hit the road back to Houston. The clinic called me, fairly quickly, to tell me that my blood work looked good and I was cleared to start meds on Sunday. I was so excited. It was getting to be official that I was going to do this!
Saturday was St. Patrick's day. Of course, Patrick wanted to go out. I told him that I refused to give myself another shot in a bar. He told me that he would drive me home to take my shot if I wanted, but to be on the safe side, I brought my Lupron
The first night of stims was... interesting. The Lupron and Follistim was easy peasy, but that Repronex had me riled. I was anxious as soon as I started my routine- getting the needles, swabbing down, setting up, etc. Patrick is giving me the intramuscular injections, and he kept asking me if I was ready for him to come do it. If you ask me, he was a little too excited about getting to jab me with a sharp object! I stalled for about 10-15 minutes. First, I injected the saline into the Repronex powder too fast and the mixture was all agitated and foamy, so I had to wait for the bubbles to go down. Then I had to ice my bum. Finally I couldn't stall any more and told Patrick I was ready. I stood at the kitchen island, clutching the counter, with my butt cheek hanging out, my weight on the opposite leg, and my heart pounding, as I squeezed my eyes shut and sang the ABCs in my head.
Patrick is really good at giving shots.
The stick was no worse than the Lupron needles, and the medicine didn't burn like I was anticipating. I could feel the pressure of having a bigger dose injected into my muscle, but it really wasn't that bad! He took the needle out, massaged my butt cheek for a minute, and then gave me a little kiss where he had stuck me, saying, "There you go, love. All done!" He really is a great man!
My hands were shaking from all the left over adrenaline as I cleaned up my injection station. I had gotten worked up over nothing.
After the shots, I sat on my heating pad for a while to relax my butt muscle for the medicine to absorb, but the next day my tushy was sore. Not terribly sore, but tender. That night, I wasn't as worried. I guess I should have been a bit more concerned, because I promptly stabbed myself in the thumb trying to take the inner cap off the Follistim needle. I never understood how people managed that, but now I see how easily it can happen. The rest of my injections went smoothly, and I didn't stall on the Repronex. Yesterday was day 3 of stims and it went flawlessly.
My tummy is starting to get pretty bruised since we are injecting 125iu of Follistim and 5u of Lupron. The Lupron usually doesn't bruise, but the higher dose of Follistim likes to leave a mark. My bum is a little tender on both sides, but I only really feel it when I sit down on the potty or lean up against the injection sites, and there are no bruises that I can see, yet.
I had my first blood work appointment today to check on my progress. I had a feeling my E2 would be high since I've already had some EWCM, and I was right. 529 after only three days of stims so they're lowering my Follistim to 100iu tonight, keeping the rest the same, and I have to go back tomorrow for another blood draw, then probably Friday for blood work and ultrasound. If I keep this up, I'll be getting blood taken every day for the next week! Couple that with my quickly rising bruise count, and sore bum, and I'm going to be looking and feeling very beat up by egg retrieval!
I go up to Dallas Saturday night or Sunday morning, depending on how I'm progressing, and since my sister is in school at night, its looking like I might have to start doing my Repronex shots myself! Eeeeep! I might try to convince my doctor to let me take them subcutaneously. ;)
I cannot believe how quickly this is going now! Its crazy to think that one week from tomorrow (if I stay on track) they will be taking my eggs and my husband's sperm, and making our future babies! Surreal!

Thank you, God, for all Your gifts! Give us strength and serenity as we continue with this exciting, stressful, uncertain, and amazing process.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Emotional Warfare

Well, I have taken my last birth control pill. HALLELUJAH!!
I have to take a moment and apologize to anyone and everyone who has had the misfortune of having to be around me while I was taking these evil little pills. I'm sorry. I was a monster and should have been locked away so that my mood swings, outbursts, and generally sh*tty attitude could not affect the public.
Patrick had it the worst. I was absolutely awful to him and, truth be told, I'm pretty surprised he didn't file for divorce. Thank you, honey, for sticking with me!!!
It seemed that the longer I was on BCP, the worse I got. It all came to a head the day before I started the Lupron. I left work, got in my car, and randomly thought to myself, "I miss my mom." Since she lives close, I headed over there. When I walked in, my dad informed me that she was at the store but should be back soon, so I waited about thirty minutes, but had to leave because Patrick was cooking dinner and I had to get home. As I was pulling out of their driveway I started crying because, "I wanted a hug from my mom! I miss her!"
Now, I'm very close to my mom, but I don't freak out like that if I don't see her. Not to mention, I had seen her earlier that week, and I had spoken to her the night before! I felt like a loony toon, but I couldn't stop myself from crying!
Then, once I got home, I picked a fight with Patrick within the hour, yelled at him, then ignored him for nearly two hours! And the fight was over something totally stupid that I was completely over-reacting about. After locking myself in the bedroom for two hours, I became even more irrationally enraged because he had not come in to apologize for me being batsh*t crazy, so I stormed out to the living room, told him I didn't want to have kids with him anymore (CRAZY!!!!) and informed him that I was going to my mom's. When he proceeded to just stare at me, flabbergasted, I yelled at him some more and started crying all over again. The entire time, my mind is telling me "you really need to stop, this is ridiculous, you're being crazy" but my mouth just wouldn't stop. When I ran out of reasons to yell and just stood there crying, Patrick came over, bless his heart, hugged me, and said he was sorry. I cried even harder because I knew he had nothing to be sorry for, that I was the one at fault, and I told him as much, only to follow my apology up with another insult in the same sentence. I apologized again, then went to get us a movie, hoping that the break would center me a bit, but I came back to the house and continued to throw unnecessary jabs at Patrick for the rest of the evening until he just gave up and went to bed. I owed him a big apology the next day!
Luckily, being on the Lupron seemed to mellow me a bit. I don't know if the was the "Lupron flare" putting some hormones back in my body, if it was just a placebo effect of me thinking I was putting some hormones back in my body, or if it was just excitement over starting shots (ie. starting my cycle) that was putting me in a better mood. Whatever the reason, I was grateful and I'm sure Patrick was too.
I've started my stim shots now, but I'll get into those later. First BW/US is tomorrow and I'm SUPER excited!

Thank you, God, for granting Patrick the patience to deal with me at my worst. Please give us strength through this whole process.