God, I am tired.
Our trips to the clinic this week have exhausted both BDH and I, and we have gone in for lab work, ultrasounds and to the hospital pharmacy 4 times so far. That’s 280 km a day, or 4 hours in the car each trip. We’ve gotten up at 4:30 am, napped in parking garges, and spent sleepless nights beforehand fretting. I think being so tired was one of the reasons I was resigned to the fact that if today’s ultrasound went badly, and we were done the cycle, at least we’d get some rest.
However, we are still in cycle. Today’s ultrasound found 7 (yes, SEVEN) tiny little follicles. Not a motherlode, certainly — like the woman before me who had about 15 — but better than we had expected or hoped for at the start of the week. Seven will do just fine, thank you very much.
We went in a little early after my blood test today, because they asked me if I would be part of a case study about multiples. It was a case study done by the psych team supporting the IVF program on decision-making and multiples. It was only two questionnaires, done today and on the day of embryo transfer, so I said sure. It was easy, but we had to be in about 20 minutes early. It kind of screwed up our usual routine, which is bloodwork-quick brekkie at McDonalds-nap in the parking garage-ultrasound. Our nap was abbreviated. We rushed up to the clinic early. I did the questionnaire, which was a few questions that had (for us) obvious answers. And then it was time for the ultrasound.
And that’s where things got all messed up.
Before the ultrasound, I have a pre-game pee. You’re supposed to empty your bladder beforehand so the doctor can see everything. So I trotted off to the bathroom after all the rushing around only to find… NO PEE. Nada. Zip. Zilch. I had suddenly developed a case of shy bladder. No pee, no how. But it was my time for the exam, so I hoped that my bladder was not full, and off I went to the change room.
I went in and got changed, only to find Mr. And Mrs. Loud Country Bumpkin were in before me. She of the 15 follicles was an obnoxious young woman, and I had seen her and her husband at the lab several times. The two of them talk in one volume: shriek. I am sure they are probably very nice, but they also seem to be somewhat dim. And, as I had mentioned, LOUD. God, why do people talk so loudly ALL THE DAMN TIME? Anyway, standing in the changeroom in my bedsheet toga, it dawns on me, NOW I HAVE TO PEE. Damn. But I didn’t know when Mr. And Mrs. Loud would be done. Did I have time to run to the loo? They talk so much, I thought, perhaps… And then, they were done. It was time.
So I went into the exam room to find Dr. Power, Gynecological Superhero, was doing the exam. We LOVE him. He is friendly, kind, funny, and straightforward. We adore Dr. Power, Gynecological Superhero. So right up front I told him that I had a case of shy bladder. He gave me mock-serious tone: It had BETTER NOT be FULL! But we decided to try it anyway. And sure enough, my bladder was HUGELY full. But we saw two follicles before he sent me off to pee. I raced down the hall in my bedsheet toga, covering my assets as best I could, had the pee, and raced back. We started again, somewhat painfully, because I think I am coming down with an infection.
And with the Giant Bladder out of the way, we saw them: SEVEN FOLLICLES. TA DAAAAH! Like an angel sent straight from heaven. The monitor could have been framed in a celestial light; there could have been a choir of angels singing hosanna. There were SEVEN. Now, most of the time they hope for between 10 and 15, and so Dr. Power, Gynecological Superhero was not as celebratory, likely because he thought we may be disappointed. But we were not. We had hoped for at least 7, and there they were. More than 5 means you can continue. Given my poor blood work earlier this week, and given that last time there had been 2 huge sacs of fluid, this was HUGE. We were very pleased. Seven small, equally sized follicles. At the end, Dr. Power, Gynecological Superhero also said that for us, this time, there would be no low threshold, meaning that even if only a couple of those follicles grow, we will continue, because this is likely our last shot at this. That was comforting, to know they were prepared to go the distance with us. So despite the pain and the pee, we left the exam feeling pretty pleased.
We didn’t know if we SHOULD be pleased, however. Seven is not a GREAT number, and we knew that. But it was something, and so we picked up some more of our prescriptions for the weekend, and headed home, exhausted. The drive home was quiet, because we were both so very tired, and we were fretting. Both of us were fretting about the number, and BDH was fretting about missing work so much for this process. That’s been a very real, very intimidating issue weighing on us from the beginning. But his office has been VERY understanding and accommodating. We’re into the territory where BDH now has to take days off without pay because we have had to be gone so much, and he doesn’t want to abuse their trust and understanding. So although they have been wonderful, it weighs on us. We got home, unwound in front of a couple of episodes of Sports Night, and waited for Pat to call.
The best way to get the clinic to call is to get on the phone to someone else, so BDH called his mom to tell her how things went. Now, she knows, from the very second I post this blog, how things are going — she’s becoming quite a blog junkie. (HI MOM!! 🙂 *everybody waves*) But we needed the clinic to call. And, sure enough, five minutes in, they did. We got on the phone with Pat. My blood work had jumped up to 890 — YAY! — which Pat said was right in line with the number and size of my follicles. Last time the jump was huge, and early, and there were only two follicles, so they knew right away that the cycle was a no go, but this time, everything looked as it should. As well, she said based on those numbers, we’re on about day 5 of a cycle in terms of development, which helps us determine how long the cycle will be. And it will be a long, slow cycle, she said. We told her it did not matter, so long as we kept going. So we asked her for her assessment, and she said she was Cautiously Optimistic. If all the follicles keep growing, and we find eggs in most of them, we’ll be good. She was pleased that we came up with seven as well. Seven is better than two. I asked if there will be any more showing up, because this is our first time at this, and she said no. There is a small chance that we may find one or two have been hiding, but likely not. Seven it is, then.
With that, we crashed. Hard. We slept the sleep of the dead for about three hours. If I did not have two or three needles to take this evening, I’d have slept right through until tomorrow.
So we now have the weekend off, and must continue taking all of our many drugs all weekend, and are back in for bloodwork and another ultrasound on Monday morning. We’re not out of the woods yet, obviously. We need all seven of these suckers to continue to grow at an even rate. We need most, if not all, of those follicles to contain eggs. But we are still in cycle, and for this we are grateful. Once Monday comes, we will see how they are progressing, and we may be able to move up from Cautiously Optimistic to something more hopeful. But right now, we are still waiting and wishing for the drugs to do their job. It’s out of our hands. There’s nothing we can do but wait.
I can live with seven. The Magnificent Seven. If we get half of those containing eggs — let’s say four eggs — I’ll be ecstatic. And if those four fertilize, that’s four chances at a healthy baby. More than we had ever hoped. Monday will be excruciating.
Come on, Magnificent Seven.