It’s an injection, but not as we know it!
It’s Day 20 in this whole shebang and yesterday I had my baseline scan. This was step 2 after down regulation which is the first set of injections you take.
The idea is that you trick your lazy (in my case) body into prepping for pregnancy. So the first step, where I was injecting the Buserelin, is called down regulation and it is about regulating your cycle and making the lining of your uterus thin, before you do anything else. I’ve explained elsewhere (posts under IVF experience) that the Buserelin made me feel kind of icky. The good news is that when I told the nurse that it felt like I had PMT, she said “That’s exactly how you should be feeling!” – so that’s reassuring.
T kindly came with me to the doc’s (optional as he has no input at this stage, not until they do the egg collection) and sat with me in the waiting room. It was a TV scan, which for the more delicate minded of you means that they are basically shoving a probe up your foof and doing an ultrasound to check on the whereabouts of your insides. It was hugely comical to us, which I think the doctor found amusing. I mean, it’s hard to be all serious when someone’s wanging a lightsaber around inside your front bottom and displaying the results on screen. It’s like a kind of grainy black and white comedy. At one point they sought advice from a senior doc as I had something that looked like a big old fibroid. He said it was fine to go ahead as it wasn’t protruding into the uterus. Actually I had an op a while back and they had also identified a suspect fibroid and when they opened me up there wasn’t one, so who knows. Maybe it’s an alien.
Anyway, the good news is that the lining of my womb is how it’s meant to be. I’ve no idea how it’s meant to be, but there you go. They also did a bit of digging around to find my ovaries – my right one was hiding so needed to be pressed down on, which sent me into fits of giggles. I must be ticklish in my ovaries. The doc counted up the follicles, which may or may not have eggs in them. They have no way of knowing. I think they seemed to be suggesting I had 6 on each side, but who knows… It’s all very mysterious and I’d prefer not to know any more than I have to, as I don’t want to be consulting Dr Google and getting all het up about it.
It strikes me as sort of plucky that any potential baby has to go through so many steps to come into being. It’s similar to how it is biologically without intervention, but at each point there are astronomically fewer chances for everything to happen, for the planets to align, for life to be magicked into being…
1) You both need to want to do it. Much harder for IVF – can’t just have a drunken fumble. Bloke has to agree to some fairly embarrassing stuff like jerking off into a container. (I feel worse for him than for me as I’m not bothered by examinations or injections and am positively looking forward to the idea of sedation, haha.)
2) You have to respond to down regulation – your womb lining needs to thin out. I’ve still been having random bleeding following my last apocalyptic period but apparently it’s nothing to worry about.
3) Your follicles need to have some eggs in and they need to react nicely to the stimulation drugs. When they scan you, they have no way of telling whether your ovarian follicles have eggs in or not. They might just be showing off.
4) Egg collection needs to be timed right and a decent number of eggs harvested. That’s your chance! My probably harvesting falls within what is the busiest week all year at work. Not sure how I am going to manage that. Bridges, crossings…
5) Eggs need to be the right maturity. They swish ’em about in some magic stuff and try and make them hatch, basically. I mean there are no chickens involved but you want some nice looking eggs and not some miserable shrivelled up ones, or ones which decide to go and cark it because let’s face it, my body is generally very lazy and why would my eggs be any different.
6) T’s spunk needs to get its wriggle on. Swirled around with my eggs like some kind of fertility cocktail, his swimmers need to do their thing and race to the egg. Made slightly easier by the fact that an embryologist is cheerleading them on. We’re not having ICSI which is one step further (sperm can just lie back and wait to be injected into the egg, no effort required) so these guys need to try and fertilise.
7) Fertilised eggs need to get to the right level of embryo-ness to be implanted. Sometimes they just say, hey, we really can’t be bothered.
8) Mini embryos need to survive implantation and grab a hold inside me and hang on for dear life.
Jeez. When you look at it that way, it would be a miracle if we ever managed to have a baby.
So that’s what we’re doing. I have a brand new extra injection to take. Buserelin in the morning still, at a lower dose – apparently this will perk me up and (I estimate using my rudimentary maths techniques) halve my PMT symptoms. Then in the evening I have this fancy schmancy injection pen. It’s all rather cool – you turn a dial to your dosage, whap in a needle and it injects the right dose. Bit easier than faffing around with Buserelin bleary eyed in the morning. I only have to take the new one – Gonal F – in the evenings as well, which means I don’t have to worry about doing it before work.
I’m so used to injecting myself now that I wonder why I never tried… JK! Also: fun fact – I don’t seem to bruise much. Now and again I get a little belly bruise but I think the sheer quantity of flab is staving off the bruises. Hurrah!
The next steps are more scans next week to see if the Gonal F’s done what it was meant to do, and made my follicles all excitable. Here’s hoping to a bumper batch of eggs!