Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Progesterone Shots and Estrogen Patches...Oh My!

What a Blog Slacker I've been in May!  To be honest, May was a lot of waiting and patches and shots in the bum while preparing for our frozen transfer on May 25!  So let's recap on the exciting PIO shots and estrogen patches that filled my days in May.

My first May appointment was an ultrasound to make sure all my lady bits were "calmed down" from the egg retrieval.  Dr. Mark is very big on doing frozen transfers (FET) because he firmly believes that your lady bits need to chill after a retrieval.  We pump, pump, pump our ovaries with injections and force multiple follicles and multiple eggs and this takes a toll on our body.  Now, I'm not dissing the fresh transfer, I'm just going with the option my RE described as the best protocol for me.  If you're going fresh, do not despair!  I just don't have any experience with a fresh transfer over a frozen one.  We paid him over $25k to make a baby in the lab so I'm going on his recommendations.

First day I get to check my ovaries and I forgot the cardinal rule of fertility clinics...DO NOT PEE BEFORE YOU ASK IF THEY NEED A SAMPLE.  Guess what I did...I forgot to ask!  And they needed a sample!

Here I am...lonely in the ultrasound room, waiting to have to "go" only 15 minutes after I already went!

Y'all....I am not new to this...this ain't my first rodeo!  I read the signs posted in the bathroom every trip to the clinic...MAKE SURE YOU ASK IF WE NEED A SAMPLE BEFORE USING THE BATHROOM...

I walked on by...ignored the signs...and was left with an empty specimen cup and the orders to fill it up before I left the clinic.  As I waited I posted to my Instagram-Fam about my faux pas and sure enough I was not alone in the "walking by the posted sign and missing the sample" department.  Doesn't it make you feel better when you know you're not the only one screwing up at the fertility clinic??

I completed my task and was released to make the 1.5 hour trek back home with new instructions...ESTROGEN PATCHES!  I thought oooh this will be fun!  Patches seem easy right?  Just slap it on and go.  No mess, no painful injection, just a patch or two, or four.  Every other day I change the patch.  Now, I'm thinking this is going to be an easy task.  Start with one, then move to two, then up to four.  Just call me Patches.

Let me tell you guys about these patches.  Easy to apply, SURE...but for me that is where the "easy" part ended.  Am I complaining?  No, but I am sharing my experiences...good, bad and indifferent.  I will always remember that 1) I asked for this and 2) I paid for it.  So let's get to the nitty gritty on these patches.  After starting them, I realized they are itchy little buggers.  I would often find myself scratching and thinking WHAT IN THE WORLD IS SO ITCHY...oh it's my patches.  In addition to the itchiness and redness around the area, it seemed to attract every piece of hair, fabric, or lint around...a square around the patch of linty darkness would give the appearance that I was a a dirty girl!  I swear I was clean...it's just my clothes happened to have a lot more lint than I ever imagined!

Of the side effects lists, I felt victim to many of them...especially itchiness, fluid retention and weight gain...oh and the breast tenderness too.  I lucked out and didn't get congested or a sore throat but I did have a symptom from these patches that I didn't see mentioned and that was being TIRED!  Oh my heck these things made me sleepy.  I didn't notice until I was up to four patches.  But day one of new patch application, I would find myself trying not to crawl under my desk at work and sneaking a nap.  I also found myself spaced out which was not a listed side effect but I can honestly say that there were many times my hubby happened upon me and I was zoned out completely and the only medication I was on was these patches.

But lets' be real, in comparison to estrogen suppositories (you know where those go!) the patches were a BREEZE.  I would wear them all day, linty and all, space cadet Maul, Lady Patches, you call it I'll happily answer....whatever it takes to have a healthy baby.  Oh, did I mention these little patches are $10 each?  Yes!  I was rocking $40 in patches two days at a time!  So far we've spent over $800 in PATCHES!

So, let's get to the "hard part" of fertility medications.  That, my friends, is PIO shots.  These are progesterone in sesame oil.  This stuff is drawn out with a SUPER wide 18 gauge needle because the medicine is so thick!  Then you inject with a wide 22 gauge 1.5" needle.  These shots are intimidating y'all...I am not going to lie!  Just look at the size of that needle!  And where does it go?

The upper quadrant??  Where is that?  Well, its ya bum!

That's right, a HUGE shot, right in your bum!  There are ladies who do these shots by themselves!  BY THEMSELVES!!  Me on the other hand, Patchy McPatches over here...I have yet to be able to properly give myself a single shot on this journey without 1) sticking myself twice or 2) wasting medication.  Not trooper status...not rocking very hard.

The first day I marched over to Brandi's (my favorite nurse and one of my best friends) so she could administer the PIO shot.  Brandi says you just inject it like a dart.  Oh that is a comforting..she is going to dart me in the butt with a huge needle!  She starts to draw out the progesterone and it takes...in the words of the Sandlot...FORRRREEEEVVVVVEEERRRR!  This stuff is THICK!

So I had the camera ready...because let's be honest, I want to document the journey so someday we can show our child what we did to create them, especially on a day when they're being unappreciative of all that their parents do for them...and this pretty much captured all the feels from the shot.

First, I'm excited, I'm actually doing this.  This is happening.  Then I go through a little shock that she literally DARTED me with the needle.  Even though she said she would warn me with the old 1, 2, 3...she DID NOT!  Then a mouth drop at the length of time it took to administer the shot.  And finally, the burning pain toward the end!

Now let's go over a few NEED TO KNOW things about PIO shots.  These are things I KNEW to do.  Did I do them?  Little rebel...no I didn't!  First, heat the area with a heating pad....why not ice?  Because this is oil and it moves faster in a heated environment.  Second, massage the area after the shot because this helps disperse the medication.  Third, and last but not least, apply heat after to help with the pain.    

Do these things and the shot will be easier.  You WANT the shot to be easier...because guess what...you're going to get a shot every night, in your bum, for up to 12 weeks.  That is 84 shots people!!  Believe me, you want to make this as easy as possible.

There is not a shot I've received that is more irritating than this shot.  I don't like being darted in the bum.  I don't like how long it takes to inject the thick oily medicine...but you know what I like?  BABIES.  So if I have to do this 84 times, I will gladly stand there while someone darts me in the bum with a 1.5" 22ga needle.

Speaking of someone darting me with a needle, let's check out Daddy Bun on his first night stepping up to the needle and giving me a PIO shot.  Can we take a moment to marvel at the excitement on his face?  Has anyone ever looked more excited to administer pain to their spouse?  I think he enjoyed that shot...even though he may say otherwise.


But I have to thank him for doing what I cannot do...because I will always find someone to give me this shot, I simply cannot do it myself.  The brave Hunny Bunny falls short on this one!

Next time, I'll be sharing the embryo transfer procedure and how exciting it was to take the first family photo with our embryo!!   Thanks for reading and keeping up with our journey to Baby Bun!