Saturday, March 10, 2012

Poke + Prod

I've taken to just calling my appointments at UCSF, "Poke and Prod" cause that's pretty much the scoop now that I'm actually in an IUI cycle. I go in and they take my blood (poke poke poke) and they do an ultrasound (prod prod prod). Then based on what they see, they tell me when to come in next (seems to usually be about 3 days later) for a repeat performance.

Interestingly, since I'm someone who does not mind needles, or blood, I'm starting to find the poking to be draining, whereas the prodding still doesn't really bother me. I just keep thinking that I'm basically trading in piles of my blood for free treatments, since I give so much more blood for the study than I would in a normal IUI treatment cycle. It sometimes bums me out. But I don't really know why.

Yesterday I got a bill for lab work at UCSF that I'm pretty sure should've been covered by the study. It already went through my insurance and they paid much of it - it was in the several hundreds of dollars range - and all that's left for me is like $25. Which, considering I drop c notes like they are nothing on medical bills weekly, isn't much. But I am concerned that it would repeatedly happen and also that this, of course, counts towards what our insurance will be willing to cover in all of this. Anyhow, I'm anticipating a super fun time next week trying to sort that out.

Back to the poking and prodding. So, so far it's been this: Five days of mystery drug taking (Clomid or Letrozole). Then a poke and prod on Monday (the day after I took my last pill). At that point I had 3 or 4 follicles that had a volume of 9 (.9 ml) or 10 (1 ml) and a bunch more that were much smaller. We want at least one follicle at 14 (1.4 ml). Went back yesterday morning for another poke and prod. This time I had a follicle that was 15 (you get how it works now, right? 1.5 ml) and one that was (if I recall correctly) 13 and a bunch smaller. Interestingly (to me, at least), both of the big ones are on the same side (lefty). Also, interestingly, I can totally read my ultrasound now. I can find my uterus and my ovaries and see all the follicles. I can tell about how big they are. So much prodding! Also, it was really fortuitous that Dr. Tran saw us waiting and offered to do the Ultrasound since everything was a bit behind and he didn't want us waiting needlessly. So we got to catch up with him a bit and he told us he's been keeping an eye out and overseeing everything in my case, which was nice to hear. I just really like him.

Anyhow, Dr. Tran thinks that I will have two eggs, which is awesome. That means the drug did its job! He thinks by the time I do the trigger shot, that one that is about 13 will have grown enough. So, I go back on Monday for another poke and prod, and assuming everything is copacetic, they'll give me the trigger shot paraphernalia, and I'll trigger shot myself up on Monday night. The trigger shot will trigger ovulation to happen about 36 hours later. Ian will go in on Wednesday morning for what he has put in our calender as "Spermination" and I'll go in for insemination on Wednesday a couple of hours later.

Incidentally, insemination day is also my brother Andy's birthday. Don't you think if he was a good brother (which he is), he'd wish for me to have a successfully impregnation when he blows out his candles? Make sure you tell him that!

Ian isn't 100% sure he can be there when I'm actually inseminated, but he's gonna try. I told him that it would be nice if he was at least in the same building when he gets me pregnant, but ya know.... he'll do what I can. I know he'll be there if he can. And I don't mean to be a martyr (much), but if he doesn't have to go through all of this crap that I have to go through, why should he have to suffer too? On the other hand, it would be nice to have him hold my hand, since I'm nervous. So, we'll see.

I don't know if there'll be more poking and prodding between the insemination and a pregnancy test a couple of weeks later. It'd be nice if there wasn't, but I'm not holding my breath. We should find out if this first try worked just days before we'll move into our new house. If it does work, then yay! If it doesn't, we have three more tries at IUI before we leave the study, go back to the regular UCSF Clinic, and try something else. So, yeah. Continued cautious optimism.

Otherwise, I'm feeling pretty OK. The last 2 days I've started to feel icky and bloaty in my general stomach region. Also really tired. And these things make me a little more easily frustrated and needy. But I feel like the mental side effects are really side effects of the process (all the doctor visits, the emotional strain of trying to keep it together, the crankiness at feeling fat and ick) , but not of the drug itself. I'm guessing I'm on Letrozole, based on what I've felt and not felt. But I don't know. Everyone reacts differently to different drugs, so it's hard to say. I think we get to find out at the end of everything. I hope so!

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