Stimulating Phase

I am not sure where to start. I feel overcome with emotions. Emotions two plus years in the making. Emotion amplified by all the stimulating drugs I have been injecting the last ten days. Emotions choking in my throat as I sit and write in a Starbucks. These emotions and I have been building and growing the last two plus years. I am exhausted, anxious, excited, worried, giddy. I am overcome with so many emotions.

Tonight, we pull the trigger. Tonight, we complete our last injection to stimulate our eggs to drop.

Let’s rewind. I have been sharing daily updates on our Instagram page, infertile_fix, but in case you missed it, here is what has been happening the last week and a half.

K and I started our injections on November 24th. Each night, we injected two medications – Menopur and Gonal – F. These were injected between 7-9pm each night. The Menopur burned and stung and was uncomfortable every time. The Gonal-F was just fine.

I felt incredibly anxious leading up to the first injections. I sat on the couch and crocheted quietly and tried to distract my busy, worried mind with The Simpsons, thank you Disney+. When the time came, I some how created a whole list of things K and I should do before we start. Clean our room, make the bed, brush our teeth (what?!). Then I ran out of busy tasks for us to work on. It was time. We turned on the instructional videos and followed along mixing the medications and getting the needles ready. Our medication did not come preloaded, so it was a bit of science experiment each night getting it all ready. I decided I wanted to choose a song each night to listen to during the injections. It seemed right to choose “Drops of Jupiter” by Train for the first night, since that was K and I’s first dance song and is one of my all-time favorite songs. We pushed play and then stood there. I had the needled aimed and ready, but I could not get myself to push it into my stomach. K encouraged me on saying how strong and brave I am. We stood there, with “Drops of Jupiter” on a loop for 20 minutes. I said that I was brave and strong, but I couldn’t do this myself, I needed K to push the needle in, I needed him to do the injection. He nodded his head and agreed and went to the bathroom to wash his hands. Before he did that, he grabbed both of my hands and reminded me how brave and strong I am. That’s when I noticed his hands. They were a purple color and freezing. He clearly was anxious too. Some how that was enough motivation for me to just get it over with. When K walked back into the room, I pushed the needle through and slowly pushed the medication into my stomach. Before I could scare myself again, I grabbed the next needle and injected the second medication in. Then I cried. I cried because it hurt. I cried because I was overwhelmed with what we were starting. I cried because I would have to do it all again tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day, and the next day. And I cried because I was so proud of myself. K held me and then we celebrated. We drank some nice wine and K made dinner. I felt on fire. I could do this!

The next day, we cued up “Lover” by Taylor Swift and finished the injections in 2 minutes and 9 seconds. I felt confident and so proud of myself. Then K and I listened to the song on repeat and danced in our bedroom by our little Christmas tree and medications.

Day three, K chose the song and he chose, “Absolutely (this is the story of a girl)” by Nine Days – woah WEIRD coincidence that we stimulated for 9 days! WOAH! One night at the lake, this summer, we sat around with friends listening to NOW1-NOW8 (every song) and singing along to all our favorites. K was wrapped up in a blanket, his cocoon, and said he wouldn’t come out until he heard one of his favorite songs. The song to finally make him spread his wings and sing at the top of his lungs, was “Absolutely.” This song reminds me of my silly husband, of laughing so hard my body aches, of singing at the top of my lungs, of good friends, and happy summer memories. This was a perfect day three pick-me-up song. Good choice. K.

The next day was Thanksgiving-Eve and we drove to spend the holiday with K’s family. I packed and repacked my medications several times. It was the first night not having them done in my space with my little routine. The day flew by, especially with a long drive, and when the time came to do my injections, I felt excited to show K’s mom. I had an extra boost of confidence since I had a new audience. We listened to one of K’s favorite songs, “Firework” by Katy Perry. K is a big fan of strong females. I completed the injections and K’s mom came over and gave me a big hug. I felt so supported. I cried, but that’s not surprising.

I felt pretty crummy on Thanksgiving Day. I felt crampy and a bit nauseous. Before we sat down to dinner, I again completed my injections in the kitchen with the family. K chose the song “Your Love is my Drug” by Ke$ha. When we were first dating, I told him that this song reminded me of him. It is a very fitting song for us now, too. K’s sister came and gave me a big hug after finishing the injections, and again I felt so supported. K and his sister then took a “shot” haha.

I liked doing the injections in front of others. It was a bonding experience, a time I was so vulnerable, with my stomach out and my jaw clenched as I injected burning, stinging medication. I felt strong, brave, and proud of myself.

K and I had an early doctor’s appointment Friday morning, so we drove back to Bellevue on Thursday night. It was nice to sleep in my own bed, and shower in my own shower before heading to our stimulation check-up.

When at the doctor’s office, they took some blood and did an ultra-sound to see how everything was progressing. The appointment was quick, it almost felt rushed. The nurse was hesitant to answer any of our questions, just saying we are moving along right on track and a doctor would call us later to give us more information. I don’t blame her, the day after a holiday, busy taking patients from all of the clinics that were closed for the holiday. She had a busy day. We got our minimum answer: continue what we are doing and have my phone near by for further instructions.

After the doctor, we went to meet up with friends to watch the Apple Cup. Though the Cougs lost, I had a really great day. I felt good, my mind was at ease knowing everything was going well, and I love spending time with these friends and their perfect pup. A nurse called in the afternoon with the doctor’s orders to start our third injection, Cetrotide, the next morning. This injection would be done between 7-9am. Before heading home, I completed my injections with our new audience. The song “Electric Avenue” was chosen, as that was a song we played in college before tailgating at football games. It was a fitting, fun song to listen to with friends. Again, I felt so brave and proud to show off my new skills. Three days of having an audience, my head grew three sizes. I really thought I was so cool. Actually, I am so cool. I’ve stuck enough needles into me to earn the title “cool.” Prescribed needles, Mom.

I woke up in a panic the next morning at 8:26am. “K! We need to do the Cetrotide before 9!” K jumped out of the bed, from a dead sleep, and went and got the Cetrotide out of the fridge. When he came back, we cued up “Sooner or Later” by Michael Tolcher. This is a song my sister and I used to listen to in the morning before school. It felt especially fitting for right now, “Sooner or later, we’ll be looking back on everything. We’ll laugh about it like we knew what all was happening.” I gasped when I saw the Cetrotide needle. It was the longest one by far. What a way to wake up. I felt pretty bad and spent the day laying in bed reading with the cats.

That night, there was no audience. It was K and I after a long day of feeling pretty awful. I cried when the Menopur went in. It hurt so bad and I felt so bad. I cried pushing the Gonal-F into my stomach. K held me as I cried after the injections. I felt sorry for myself and that I would have to do this again tomorrow.

During this IVF process, I have wanted to share my journey and everything happening. I have wanted to be open and vulnerable. I have not wanted anyone’s pitty, and that includes my own. After a good cry, I decided to shake it off. Tomorrow was a new day. I was determined to wake up feeling ready and up for the day.

I did just that. I woke up singing and dancing to the day’s song, “Once Upon a December” from Anastasia. It was December 1st, so it seemed the perfect song. My sister and I took a trip to New York with my mom to see Anastasia on Broadway. I have an Anastasia and NYC ornament on our little tree, so I looked at the ornaments and let myself get swept up in memories as I completed the injections. I was in a great mood. It would be a good day. We went and cheered on a friend as she completed her first marathon. We spent the morning catching up with close friends and supporting the amazing feat of running 26.2 miles – wow! That evening, I completed the injections with a smile.

The next morning, K and I had another stimulation check up appointment, this time back the clinic close to our home, reopened after the holiday. I feel so comfortable at this office. I know the people, I sit in the same chair in the waiting room – every time. I did the blood draw, then we headed for the ultra-sound. The nurses were AMAZING. T and J (nurses) explained everything they saw and measured. K took amazing notes.

We were told to continue the injections and come back the following day for another stimulation check. The follicles were growing nicely but needed to grow just a bit bigger. K asked what unit of measurement they were using (millimeters) and gasped, shocked realizing I have so many marble sized follicles on my ovaries. No wonder I have felt so crappy. There is a lot going on down there! The nurses compliment my uterus many times, saying it is beautiful and “textbook.” So, in case you were wondering, my uterus is beautiful *blush*.

We listen to the song “Looks Like a Cold, Cold Winter” by Ingrid Michaelson. I love the song so much and it has been stuck in my head for a while. Multiple lines in the song just make me feel all warm and cozy inside, “Looks like a long, long winter, baby what do we care, as long as we have this love of ours to share.”

My bother and his girlfriend, my first favorite IVF baby, came over for dinner. It was so nice to spend time catching up with them. We hadn’t seen them in a while, and it was just so nice to spend time with them. They also stayed for the night’s injections. Again, I had an audience, and I felt brave and ready to go. We hugged afterwards, and again I felt so supported. I really appreciate friends and family for showing up and supporting in the way they have. Add overwhelmingly lucky to the load of emotions I am carrying.

K and I woke up early the next morning for our stimulation check. We were lucky enough to have T as our nurse again and she celebrated our follicle growth. K took more, amazing notes and T even printed off ultra-sound pictures of my giant follicle filled ovaries! She is the best! We had such a joy filled morning. After the blood draw and ultra-sound, we met with a nurse to go over our next steps, the trigger shot! Tonight, we will “pull the trigger” as the infertile world refers to it and inject hCG to trigger the eggs to drop. We are done with all other injections; this will be our last needle!

The injections we have been doing were all subcutaneous, meaning they went into my stomach, but the trigger shot will be intramuscular, and will be injected into the gluteal muscle. I cannot do this one, K will be completing this injection. But he will not be alone. Tonight, we are having a Trigger party! My sister and best friend will join K and I for this injection; the ultimate support team at my side for this last big shot. I am excited to celebrate with pizza and prosecco, a perfect party pairing (in my opinion).

I can’t believe we are finally here. I can’t believe our last injection is tonight. One of these follicles is holding our baby. I am overwhelmed with emotion writing that. We have been waiting and hoping and trying and working so long and so hard for this moment, and it is finally here. I may be crying and laughing in a public, crowded Starbucks, but who cares?! I am so cool. I am so brave. I am so strong. Stronger, braver, cooler then I ever thought. IVF has made me feel more confident, has brought me closer to friends and family, it has strengthened K and I’s relationship, and now it is going to bring us eggs.

Tonight, we celebrate! Tonight, we pull the trigger!