IVF # 5 – Stim Day 16 – The 411

ivf 5 - keep calm and stim on

Today is stim day 16 !  Wow !!! 16 whole days of injecting medications into my belly AFTER popping birth control pills for 21 days plus injecting Lupron for 7 days.  This has been the longest cycle…  37 days on this protocol thus far.

This morning, I popped the Prednisone and then injected the Lovenox, Ganirelix, and Neupogen.  I had a class to attend at Howard University School of Divinity this morning that ran until this afternoon.  On the way to my mom’s I stopped off at Target after lunch to grab another box of Claritin, that I take every morning as a part of the immune suppression in this protocol.

I pray that all this long drawn out effort brings me two of the sweetest, most intelligent and gorgeous babies this side of Jordan ! lol

Tonight, I will mix up the Menopur and inject it and also my Follistim.  It is so hard to believe that I only have a few more days.  I still do not have the swollen ovary feeling I normally have on the Gonal-F.  Maybe it is because I do not have a ton of oversized follicles yet.  I thought that I would feel something by now.   I wonder if it is attributed to the new meds?

I hope everyone is having a great weekend !  Tomorrow I am going to church very early and then going to see Blackbird at the theater in Maryland.  I have to pack my things for Albany and ship them out on Tuesday so that my clothing, sheets, meds, and gifts for the staff will arrive on Thursday.  I will be heading to Albany after the funeral on Thursday, provided I do not have substantial growth this weekend and get pushed to trigger and report earlier.  Right now the plan is set.   I so not want to haul luggage with me to a funeral, so I will pack a box and ship the things to the hotel and then just ship them back home the day I leave.

IVF # 5 Stim Day 15 – The 411

ivf 5 - meds 2

Today is my 15th day of stims !   One more week to go before retrieval !!  Woot Woot !

I got up this morning and did my morning injections of Ganirelix, Lovenox, and Neupogen, popped the Prednisone and ran out to my early am monitoring appointments.   I got my scan done and my follicles are finally starting to grow.  I have a 12mm as the largest.  I have 9 on the right and another 4 on left so far.  I am to stay on my same meds and then go back for scans and more blood work on Monday and again on Wednesday.  I will possibly trigger on Wednesday, depending on how things look and report to Albany on Friday for retrieval and then a transfer on the following Monday or Tuesday.

ivf 5 - follicular stim day 15

I had to order more meds as I was out of Ganirelix since I have been taking it for 15 days now.  I was able to get two boxes from another patient and got five more from another patient who are on the Facebook support group boards I am on. Why pay the pharmacy $250 per box when I can get them from other patients for $50?  #diapermoneyforlater

Now that I am no longer injecting the delestrogen and my estradiol levels are dropping to normal range, I am not as tired as I have been.  Then again, I have been stressed and sleeping more, so that could be why I am not as tired.

My friend, Cristal, who lost her son and grandmom this week and my best friend, Gary, who’s mom has stage four cancer, have both launched funding campaigns that I am promoting, so I have not had much time to work on my book this week with that and all the documentation I had to pull together for the network submission of my show.  I have to tape additional segments this week and get them to the editor to revise the sizzle reel plus tape an interview.

Tomorrow, I am attending a class at Howard University School of Divinity that my dear friend, Pastor Nawanna Lewis-Miller is hosting.   I am really looking forward to attending the class with my mother.  I hate that I will not have the time to do acupuncture tomorrow, but I will try to get an appointment and go on Tuesday in the middle of the morning. Parking is so horrendous in DC during the week….

Tonight, I will be injecting 175 units of Follistim and 37.5 units of the Menopur.  My tummy is starting to look black and blue and depending on which med I am injecting, since the needles are different, I am noticing that I am bleeding a lot.  The Lovenox is the culprit !  I am being very careful not to bump into things or fall since I bruise so easily on Lovenox.

Have a great weekend !!

IVF # 5 – Stim Day 14 – The 411

ivf 5 - keep calm and stim like a champ

Today is stim day 14… I am starting to wonder if we are ever going to get to the end of stims !  I do not feel the “full” feeling I get when my ovaries are about to burst with follicles.  I can not wait, actually yes I can, to get to that point.  Stimming slow and steady is the best way to get quality eggs so I am being patient.

I have been so stressed out the last few days.  One best friend losing her son and grandmom at 10pm the SAME night on Monday, My godmother and mother both undergoing cancer treatment, and my best friend, actor, Gary Anthony Sturgis, has finally gone public with his mother’s stage four cancer diagnosis.  He finally got his mom to tell her siblings and now he was talked about it publicly, so I feel heartbroken for him, but at the same time relieved that he will have additional support.  Cancer SUCKS rocks !  In the midst of all of this mortality, I am trying to create life.  It seems strange.

In better news, my agent and I are submitting the final (although it is really just the beginning phase) mock ups of my reality tv project.  I am excited about the possibility of this show about my life, my struggles and the fertility struggle so many women and men face that I get to put a face on, being on national television !  I also know what this exposure can do for my career and other projects I want to launch in the future.  I am trusting God to open the right doors to the right people at the right time !

I am so eternally grateful for the opportunity to even be able to take this journey and I would be remiss to not thank God for His faithfulness because there are so many who would not be able to even dream of doing what I have done this past year.

I did my AM injections of Ganirelix, Lovenox, and Neupogen.  Tonight, I will inject 175 units of Follistim and 37.5 units of Menopur.

ivf - menopur  IVF 5 - Follistim  ivf 5 stim day 4 neupogen  IVF 5 stim day 2             Vitamin D emulsion

Tomorrow morning, I have another blood draw and sonogram.  Prayerfully there will be a little growth in the follicles, but not too much of a leap !  I want all the little ones to grow to the same size as the larger ones so that I have plenty of quality eggs to transfer back next week !

In the mean time, I am working on little gifts for the staff at the clinic.  I bough EOS balms and made cute hand tags that say “You Are The BALM!”  Thanks !.  I also got peanut M&Ms and put hand tags that say ” Thank You For Helping Make My Little Peanut (s) !”.  I also had Banana Bakery out of Dallas Texas make medical themed cookies that say thanks on them and they are shipping the cookies to my hotel in Albany to arrive next week and they are already hand wrapped individually.

To keep my mind occupied, I have been making flour with hard white wheat berries and baking and my team and I are working on the launch of Valerie The Pajama Chef, my cooking show.  You can pull up my flour escapades on Youtube that I shot with my cellphone LOL.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8jkyWBJWp8

I am headed downstairs to my kitchen now to make mile high buttermilk biscuits !  I am craving them, so I am making them and will go get some molasses  🙂   I know I am supposed to be doing gluten free, but one little biscuit is not gonna hurt much !  With all the hell going on around me, I deserve one little biscuit right?  🙂

IVF # 5 – Stim Day 13 – The 411

IVF 5 - Keep Calm Keep Stimming

Today is exactly one year from the day I did my first IVF transfer, which resulted in the conception of my daughter.  It is such a hard time.  I remember how full of hope I was and how sure I was I was going to be successful.  I was.. it just did not last !

I got up this morning, did my morning injections of Ganirelix, Neupogen and Lovenox. I went to the imaging center and had the longest, most uncomfortable transvaginal ultrasound of my life !   The new nurse was taking forever.  I felt like I had been molested by the time she got through twirling that thing in my hoo-hah !   It can not take anyone THAT long to look at a uterus, two ovaries and a lining !

Anywhoo…  My follicles are still small. The largest being 8 cm.  It has to triple in size before I will be ready to trigger.  The nurse called saying that I have 10 small ones on the right, three measurable, and on the left there are 2-3 small ones and two measurable so far.   They have increased the Follistim to 175 units and I am to stay on the same amount of Menopur as well as the other meds.  I go back on Friday to get checked again.

ivf 5 - stim day 13 scan 1                                 ivf 5 - stim day 13 scan 1

Now that my follicles are growing slowly, I am running a slight chance of missing Jared and his grandmother’s funerals.  The homegoing services are going to be on next Thursday morning and will be in the Bronx, which is good because I can take the train in to Manhattan and get a car service to the chapel then hop back on the train from Manhattan to Albany, if it is time for me to head there.

My friend just called me saying that the expenses are getting out of hand quickly and wants me to set up a GoFundMe account to help raise funds.  I am very conflicted about this because I am always VERY irked when people start these funds to pay for expenses they should be responsible for.  Preparing for death and life are things you have to take into account and make sure you have ample insurance for.  I more often than not decline invitations to fund these because I sacrifice about $400 per month in life insurance so that should something happen to me, my family will receive close to 1.85 million dollars. They have been instructed to cremate me and not waste my money on an elaborate funeral and just do a memorial service and release my ashes over beautiful blue water then get on a plane and go to the Caribbean right away.

I have to remind myself that everyone is not me !  Everyone does not live life by the same standards I do and low and behold, SHIT HAPPENS !   No one expects a 15 year old child to get sick at school and then come home, rest a few hours and then die at 10pm in an ambulance.

I am thinking long and hard about this, but I will probably end up setting up the page for my friend, reluctantly, albeit.  At least, unlike everyone else around me, she is not asking ME to fund a transport of her son’s body from Georgia to New York.  Jared LOVED Amtrak, so his mom wants to put his body on the Amtrak from Atlanta to New York to be laid to rest.  Evidently, the cost is a lot more than what was anticipated.  Why does it cost so much to ship a body by train or by plane?  It is not like they are taking up THAT much space, Jeezzz….

Anyway, I am going to pray about this and make a final decision.   I feel so conflicted because I do not like doing campaigns for frivolous stuff.  I do campaigns like this to raise money for the homeless, to raise funds to open an arts program for underprivileged children, and to fund my film projects… not to pay for funeral expenses.  But, hey, never say never because it will be the ONE thing you end up doing !

Here is a video of Jared on stage with Stevie Wonder:    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UNZWBTHvr8E&feature=share

After much thought and prayer, I decided to create the Gofundme page !   http://www.gofundme.com/jaredsangels

IVF # 5 – Stim Day 11 – The 411

IVF 5 - Follistim         ivf - menopur   IVF 5 stim day 2      ivf 5 stim day 4 neupogen

Today is the eleventh day of stims, sixth day on Follistim and fourth day on Menopur.   In the morning, I inject Neupogen, Ganirelix, and Lovenox.   I take various supplements and vitamins, and synthroid (which I have not taken since Friday because my TSH plumented to .1) and in the evening, I inject Follistim and Menopur.

Because my Vitamin D level has been low since February, I am no longer taking the pill version.  To raise my vitamin level, I have to take an emulsion at dinner that also has Vitamin K1 and Vitamin K2 in it to help with absorption. (see previous post about Vitamin D levels).

Vitamin D emulsion

I ordered the emulsion from Amazon.com.  It tastes pretty okay.  Not nasty like I was expecting.

I had monitoring this morning and my follicles are slowly growing.  LabCorp had a problem with their machines today so my blood work was not in by the time my RE’s office closed.

ivf 5 - stim day 11 scan

I was instructed to just remain on my same meds and I will get a call tomorrow from my nurse once the blood work is in and they will make adjustments if necessary.

Hope everyone else is doing well !  More tomorrow ~

IVF #5 – Stim Day 9 – The 411

IVF 5 stim day 2IVF 5 - Follistimivf - menopur                                           ivf 5 stim day 4 neupogen

Well, today is Stim Day 9 !   I am completely wiped out !!   I did not do my am injections until around 11 am this morning because I had to drive to NC at 3 am to meet my sister to drop off her kids.  My two year old niece and my 21 year old nephew were here visiting for two weeks over Spring Break.

I got back around 10:30 – 11 am this morning and immediately did my Ganirelix, Neupogen, and Lovenox injections.  I will wait until around 8pm to inject the Menopur and Follistim.

I am hoping that the Follistim is starting to do it’s thing and that the follicles will start growing to a measurable rate and not drag on.  I am beyond exhausted on this new med protocol.  I took a four hour nap !   I am still sleepy, but decided to get up and make the organic, homemade Strawberry ice cream I cooked and refrigerated yesterday morning.  Now I have two huge tubs of Strawberry and one fresh Peach in the freezer.   Now that my niece has gone home, I MAY be able to eat a little of the ice cream LOL.  Before she got here, she would never eat anything cold… go figure !  I started making the ice cream for my mom in the Cuisinart Ice Cream- Frozen Yogurt Maker I have.  My niece was infatuated with the machine and the ingredients churning, so when I finished a batch of Vanilla Bean, I gave her some on a spoon and then she insisted she wanted more in a bowl.  That began her love of ice cream.   I sent my sister a link to a Cuisinart that was now on sale so that she could make this at home for the baby.

I missed the Earth Day Concert on the National Mall today since I had to travel, but it is okay.  I am trying to avoid crowds and people …. and pollen !  No sense in hanging around outdoors too much and risking getting a sinus infection prior to these procedures in a week.

I think the only thing I wish I could do right now is enjoy a glass of white wine.  I hear a German Eiswein calling my name, but I can not have it 😦

Have an awesome Saturday !!