Monday, June 1, 2015

IVF Cycle Numero Cinco

It sounds less sadistic to put "number 5" in Spanish.  Can you believe we have actually attempted IVF FIVE times?!

Well, I have a secret.  Back in March, I blogged about how I was seeing Dr. Nilson with the idea of possibly going down the path of IVF with Dr. Ahlering in St. Louis.  I was also secretly blogging about other appointments.  I needed to do them more silently than I have in the past.  My goal was to focus on something besides the cycle.  Now, I am ready to post those entries.  I apologize for the ones that are long.

Friday, March 13, 2015
This morning was unfamiliar territory for me.  Telling so many people about all of our IVF cycles has become natural but rather difficult.  We love being open and honest about our stories.  However, when the failure after the cycle comes, it is so hard to continue to repeat over and over that it didn’t work.  Last cycle, we tried a new game plan and decided to try “The Ignorance Plan.”  It worked great for us.  I was the most relaxed I have ever been in an IVF cycle.  Anyway, we decided that we would do cycle 5 in silence.  Therefore, we kicked off “The Silence Plan” today, Friday the 13th.  I was technically born on a Friday the 13th, so maybe that will be a new lucky number.

It was unfamiliar territory because I was going to a new doctor, and I was keeping it a secret from so many people that I loved.

Todd was out of town today.  I just set the appointment with Dr. Nilson (the monitoring physician for Dr. Ahlering in St. Louis) this week, so he couldn’t change his schedule to be here.  When I set the appointment, they said they would do a follicular ultrasound and a fluid ultrasound.  I told Todd not to worry about flying home for that because I can do ultrasounds on myself if they want.  J  It wasn’t until last night that I realized what the fluid ultrasound was.  Ugh!  I’ve done three of these, now.  Last time I did one was with Dr. McKinney, obviously.  That was the appointment where there was a spider in the vent above my head.  By the time she came in, I was hysterically crying from the fear of the spider dropping through the grates onto me and the fear of a third IVF cycle.  It was pretty fantastic.

Well, today wasn’t much different.  I stepped into Dr. Nilson’s office and headed for the check-in desk.  The lady behind it reminded me a lot of Whitney from the current season of “The Bachelor.”  Don’t judge me.  I already judge myself.  Seeing her actually put me at ease a little because TV Whitney is an infertility nurse.  What?!  Could this be???  It wasn’t, but she was as sweet as TV Whitney.  She started gathering my paperwork and told me that they had to take a picture.  As she looked back up at me, she said, “Oh, honey.  We’ll get your picture next time.”  I was characteristically in tears.  Thank goodness I had my special handkerchief.  I apologized a gazillion times for losing my mind at her check-in counter, and she informed me that she had to go through IVF, too.  It’s strange that you can be comforted by knowing that a stranger had prior pain.  She informed me she would absolutely be praying for me, and I went to complete my paperwork.

Unfortunately, Dr. Nilson is an OBGYN.  He’s the doctor that does all of the ultrasounds leading up to retrieval and transfer in St. Louis with Dr. Ahlering.  The reason I say ‘unfortunately’ is because OBGYN offices are scattered with babies and baby bumps.  Fabulous.  I buried my head into Facebook until my name was called.  After all, what better way to distract yourself from real-life babies than to scan baby announcements on Facebaby…er, Facebook?!  Nice idea, Laura.

The nurse called my name, and I felt a rush of freedom flow through me.  I headed towards the door and realized that this nurse was dressed in the most stylish set of scrubs I have ever seen.  And by scrubs, I mean street clothes.  She was a doll.  Hair all curly, some funky headband that I can’t pull off, skinny jeans, cute top – you get the picture.  At that point, I realized I was stepping into a completely different dimension of infertility.

The nurses’ station had rock music playing.  There was a pile of items in the floor where it seemed that a teenager may have unloaded his/her backpack, jacket, and a few other belongings.  I later started to wonder if that might have been Dr. Nilson’s drop point.  I felt slightly out of place but also welcomed the change.

She took me into an exam room.  Again, I began to cry when the nurse asked if I needed to empty my bladder.  For some reason, I felt the need to inform every professional in the office that this was my fifth IVF cycle.  It’s as if I thought they would have more sympathy or try a little harder for me if they knew the pain I had already felt.  Luckily, she too was sympathetic, but I’m pretty sure she’s still too young to have needed IVF.

I sat and waited for Dr. Nilson to arrive in the room.  When he did, I was relieved to find out that he wasn’t nearly as abrasive or in-your-face as I had been told.  Maybe I had exaggerated the stories in my head, or maybe I was desensitized to the awkwardness of being unclothed from the waist down and only covered by a sheet.  Regardless, I quickly realized that I liked him.  He sat with me and comforted me, since of course I was crying again.  If you’re keeping track, this was the third set of tears for the day.  Don’t worry, it won’t be the last.  He explained to me that he and his wife did 6 IVF cycles, so I’ve “almost caught up to him.”  Ha.  He asked me what was wrong with me…literally, in those words.  It didn’t bother me, though.

He was very talkative through the entire procedure, so I really didn’t feel like this one was as painful.  Unfortunately, he found what he thinks is “debris” from my miscarriage and a cyst on my left ovary.  I start birth control pills today for the cyst.  I go back next Friday for another scan to see if the “debris” has cleared itself.  If not, we will schedule a hysteroscopy for after Spring Break.  Le sigh.

After he finished, he assured me that I was in the right place and gave me a side hug.  It was comforting.  I feel like I could potentially connect with him almost as well as I connect with Dr. McKinney.  Regardless, I felt like my first appointment with him went much better than I had anticipated.

Before I left, I stopped by to see the phlebotomist.  She drew my blood and my tears.  I told you I would cry, again.  She was almost as painless as the TFC phlebotomist, and I was pretty dehydrated…no, not from all of the crying.  I was glad that she seemed to do a good job because the Lord knows that I love the phlebotomist at TFC.  That woman is the best ever.  EVER!

I set my appointment for next Friday and left.  As I walked out the doors, I cried, again.  I’m starting over.  I’m back at ground zero.  I know where I’m headed if we follow this path, and I’m just not sure I’m ready for all of it.  At this point, Todd and I have to make a decision if we want to use Dr. Ahlering or Dr. McKinney.  Do we want to go through with another cycle with my eggs or use donor eggs?  Do we want to jump right in and start soon or wait for a few months until I can make some improvements to my health?  It’s all overwhelming.  I kind of wish I could flip a coin and let someone else decide it for me.

I have to admit that I do feel like I’m cheating on Dr. McKinney, too.  I never felt that way when we left Dr. Bundren because I was sure we were finished with him.  I don’t like cheating.  J

I feel like I can close my eyes and see this monster standing there, staring back at me.  I’ve battled this monster before, but he always wins.  Sooner or later, I deserve a victory, right?!


  1. So glad you decided to share these entries with us.

    1. Thanks, Lisa. It's strange for me to have so many entries written ahead of time. :)