IVF #5 – Stim Day 18 – The 411

ivf 5 - thou shall respect the stim

Today is the 18th day of stims.  I went in this morning for monitoring and blood work.  I have 11 follicles on the right and two on the left according to the technician who did today’s scan.  I have not logged into the patient portal as of yet to read the follicular report, so I am just regurgitating what was told to me this morning.

I did my morning injections of Ganirelix, Lovenox (which is causing to me to bleed from the little scabs on my tummy where I have been injecting the past 18 days) and the Neupogen.  I took my synthroid today, which I have been taking every 2-3 days because my TSH plummets when I take it daily and I also took the prednisone, prenatal vitamin and Claritin.

This evening, I will take my vitamin d emulsion and inject the Menopur and Follistim.  I will also take the second dosage of Prednisone.

So far, I do not have that overly full ovary feel that I am used to having.  By now, on the other protocol, I would have had a hard time sitting up straight by now.  My nurse said my largest follicle is 17 mm so I have a little ways to go.  I am scheduled to trigger on Thursday and my retrieval will be on Saturday morning.  I assume that my transfer will be on Tuesday or Wednesday.  I am not doing a five day transfer, but a three.  I want to get back and spend Mother’s Day with my mom.

ivf 5 - stim day 18 scan

I am relieved that my uncle is going to come get my grandmother the day before I leave for New York and keep her until I return.  My mom started radiation this week (tomorrow is the 1st actual radiation as today was just practice) and I was worried about how the radiation will affect her.  My grandmother is a sneaky little thing and if left unattended (while my mom is asleep) she will plunder throughout the house or do things she knows she is not supposed to do, like feed her dog my $23 pot roast complete with rice and gravy, as my mom caught her doing while I was at the theater on Sunday, lol !

It is akin to having an 83 year old child in the house.  You can not leave your mail or documents lying around unless you want them read.  Alzheimers or dementia causes the elderly to become extremely suspicious.  I am not exactly sure what it is she thinks she is going to find…. It drives me mother crazy and I find it hilarious.  Well, I found her antics funny until she fed that damned dog my pot roast !  I made the pot roast for myself and got a really good cut.  I gave my dog and her dog what was left over on my plate that I had as an early lunch, so I guess in her mind that translated to FEED THE DOGS POT ROAST !  When my mom came into the kitchen, my grandmom was preparing a plate for her dog and almost jumped out of her skin when she got “caught”.  She knew I was gone because she can see me pull out of the garage and out of the driveway from her room.  I think she assumed my mom was with me and she was at home alone lol.   We have cameras up all over the house so even when away, we can see what she is doing.

I am excited to report that tomorrow is the first day of filming for my cooking show. I got my final SAG documents today and I faxed them my taft hartley paperwork so that I can get my SAG AFTRA card.  I got a cute grey and white pj set to cook in.  I only wish my make up artist were here to beat my face, but for a cooking show, I can pretty much handle a simple make up job.   I can not wait for you guys to see my logo !   🙂

Have a great evening ~

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IVF # 5 – Stim Day 17 – The 411

ivf 5 - stimmy day

Today is stim day 17 of my fifth stim cycle !!  WOW !! That is a long time… 28 days of being on some type of hormone, developing and cultivating follicle and eggs and still three more days of injections to go at least before we can pull these bad boys out !  I just hope my babies do not come out looking like they are Benjamin Button because I have been making the eggs so long LOL.

This morning, I did my injections of Ganirelix, Lovenox, and Neupogen.  I took 20 mg of Prednisone and one prenatal vitamin.  I later took the optimized folate and a Claritin.   The vitamin d emulsion, I take with dinner and then in the evening around 6pm, I inject the Follistim and Menopur.

I decided to do a me’date day and I took me to the movies.  A friend of mine, Terrell Tilford, is starring in the new film, Blackbird, so I went to the Arclight Theater in Bethesda to see it.  Nice theater !  I love the fact that theaters have full bars in them now.  I of course indulged in a glass of Moscato and a little bucket of popcorn with butter.   I won’t be able to drink for the next year or two so, hey.. enjoying it while I can !

I just whipped up some vanilla bean butter cupcakes the other night so I finally got around to making browned butter frosting to top them.  Saturday morning at 1 am, I was restless and craving sweets, so I came down into the kitchen and whipped up cupcakes.  I ate one and went back upstairs and climbed in the bed !

I am going to spend the rest of the evening writing my book. I am finally getting somewhere with it.I will be glad when I have all the chapters outlined an underway.  Then I will work on figuring out which recipes I will put in the book at the end.  I am simultaneously working on another cookbook.  I am going to create a second edition of my first best selling cookbook and renaming it.

I have a crazy week ahead !  My mom starts radiation tomorrow a few hours after my monitoring appointment.  I have to come back in and pack and box up the clothes and things I am shipping to Albany and get Fedex to pick it up along with the frozen waffles and pancakes I put up to ship to friends in California.  I am actually glad that I am shipping my things to the hotel so that I do not have to lug a suitcase around New York City on Thursday prior to hopping on a train to Albany that afternoon.  I will not get into Albany until around 7pm on Thursday and will have to report to the clinic at 8 am, if all goes as planned.  On Tuesday, we will be filming the first episode of Valerie The Pajama Chef, my cooking show.  I have to pick out some new pjs tomorrow at the mall for the shoot…  I am nervous and excited at the same time !  Wednesday, I have monitoring and then I am leaving for New York on Thursday and will leave from the city for a week in Albany.  Busy week indeed !

Have a great night everyone !!

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 ~