IVF #6 – Stim Day 5 – The 411

Five day of injections, medications, and supplements under my belt !  I picked up my prescription for the Estradiol Valerate and the Metformin XL today.  I will using the Estradiol instead of the Estrace for the estrogen, simply because I refuse to insert blue tablets in my hoohah three times a day while on menses… not happening !  How gross ! 🙂

My RE has me starting the Metformin with dinner at 500 mg the first week, 1000 mg the second week and 1500 mg the remainder of the time I am on the meds.  I am PRAYING that these meds do not make me sick on the tummy.  I am already feeling a bit queasy midday.  I had to increase my Vitamin D to 10,000 units a day !   Hopefully, that will bring my levels up to where they need to be.

I am packing for my trip to Washington for Christmas !  I am looking forward to spending the holidays with the family.

I am almost done with my Christmas shopping.  I bought a ton of gift cards and had to get gift cards for the homeless teens I am sponsoring as “Gay Santa” for the teens at New Alternatives NYC.  The teens are LBGTQ and every year, they ask for people to sponsor a teen and accept their Gay Santa letter and purchase the requested gift that is valued at no more than $100.  My family and I normally take on 4 teens.

I went out tonight and got gifts for my godmother and my make up artist.  It was pretty simple !  I got tea related gifts for my make up artist, as he drinks hot tea ALL day long !  I got him two beautiful white and silver tea cup sets, stainless steel long handle tea spoons, and an organic tea.  He will love it !   My godmother got Burberry parfum for her birthday and I got her a European pamper gift basket with Bubblebath, Shower Gel, Hand soap, A bar of Lavender soap, a purple sponge to match the color of the lavender soaps, and I will hunt down a pair of purple loungewear tomorrow.  Her birthday was a few weeks ago so I figured I would ship everything at the same time 🙂

I am still torn over what to give my mother…  I will figure it out before Friday LOL.  I am always soooo last minute with these things because unless she mentions something, I am stumped as to what to give her.  We are planning a big family event for her birthday this summer, so I have to watch my spending.  It is her 65th birthday !

I hope you all have an amazing weekend !!

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IVF #5 – Stim Day 19 – The 411

ivf 5 - keep calm stim on bear

19 days and counting…. Just two more days of stims and then hopefully Thursday night is trigger #1 and Friday is trigger #2 and then I can get these little eggs out of me before my babies come out looking like Benjamin Button ! lol

I did my normal injections this morning of Ganirelix, Lovenox and Neupogen.  I took the 20mg of Prednisone, Claritin, and also took my prenatal vitamin.  This afternoon, I took the Folate and also the Synthroid.  I will inject Gonal-F tonight (ran out of Follistim and the two are interchangeable) and the Menopur.  I have a pm prenatal that I take along with more Prednisone and the Vitamin D emulsion.

I just packed up my clothing, shoes, notes for my book, sheets, and heating pad into a box and have it sitting waiting on FedEx to pick it up and ship it ahead to the hotel.  I am elated to not have to drag luggage with me all around New York while I am in the city for the funerals.  I will leave from the funeral and head to midtown, grab lunch in Penn Station or nearby and then hop on the train to Albany.  It will be nice to be in a quiet hotel suite, equipped with a full kitchen, and no grandmom to ask me every five minutes if there is something she can help me do !  Thank you Jesus !   🙂    She means well, but at times, it is taxing. I wish she could do some of my writing so that I can take a nap LOL.

Today, my mom had her first radiation treatment.   All went well and we met with the doctor afterwards. I took her to lunch at PF Chang’s and then home we went.  After she worked for a while, I made her go to bed to take a nap and rest.   She is probably downstairs on her Ipad or cellphone playing around on Facebook lol.

In regards to my swelling ovaries, I spoke too soon !  Those things seem to start filling up late last night about 11-12 and felt like they were being blown up a bit kinda like a balloon for several hours.  It was so noticeable that I could not sleep from the discomfort.  My tummy is now a bit distended so I am hoping that nothing is growing out of proportion or too fast and I end up having the surgery on Friday.  I was looking forward to having all day Friday to relax and maybe catch a movie at the mall up the street from the hotel, hang out in the huge Border’s Bookstore and get a juicy burger from Five Guys in the food court.   Hopefully I will be able to get that in.

More tomorrow after my scan…. I am going to take a nap before I have to go to infertility support group meeting tonight !

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 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 ~

Having A Hard Time Recovering VITAMIN D Levels? – The 411

Are you having a hard time recovering your Vitamin D levels?

It is estimated that over half the population is deficient in Vitamin D, most of them undiagnosed. A 2013 study in the International Journal of Health Sciences indicated that Vitamin D deficiency is associated with hypothyroidism. 92% of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis patients were found to have Vitamin D deficiency in a 2011 scientific study.

Even when we are fortunate to have a doctor test our vitamin D to determine we are deficient, how much should we take? What is the optimal Vitamin D range? What is the best type of supplement to take and when?

Written by Angela Pifer, Clean & Lean Revolution

I often see a vitamin D supplement listed among the current supplements on my patient’s intake forms. After reviewing their past labs and assessing their dose, I don’t often see an appreciable increase reflected on their labs over time. They may have been taking 2000IU of vitamin D3 daily for the past two years and yet their labs only show a shift from 22ng/ml to 25ng/ml.

What I find is that they are usually taking a vitamin D3 supplement in a soft capsule form, often called a ‘gem,’ and they are taking it in the morning and not in the evening.

Many of my patients are surprised to learn that even though vitamin D is called a vitamin, vitamin D is really a hormone and not actually a vitamin. In fact, it is a fat soluble hormone.

For optimal absorption, the oral supplement “Vitamin” D3 is best taken as a liquid emulsion with dinner. A liquid emulsion is simply a vitamin D3 supplement suspended in a little fat. This is a fat soluble hormone, so taking this as a liquid emulsion improves the absorption and taking this with dinner, which often has the most fat of all the meals, improves the absorption as well. You’ll only need a tiny drop or two of the liquid emulsion on your tongue, as this usually has 1500IU or 2000IU of vitamin D3 per drop (check the label).

Since this is a hormone, it is best taken at night, because hormones are best absorbed at night.

WHAT IS THE OPTIMAL VITAMIN D (25 OH) RANGE?

If you have had your vitamin D levels tests, your doctor most likely tested your 25-Hydroxy Vitamin D levels. On your lab this will be listed as “Vitamin D (25 OH)” or “25-Hydroxyvitamin D (25OHD),” or “25(OH)D,” but these are the same test. Even though the lab may report an adequate level of vitamin D as 25-30 ng/ml, the optimal vitamin D range is 45-65 ng/ml.

WHAT DOSE SHOULD YOU TAKE?

In addition to taking a vitamin D3 liquid emulsion at night, taking the right dose to raise your Vitamin D (25 OH) levels up to your goal is also important. A few small studies have shown that 2000IU vitamin D3 taken over three months, will raise Vitamin D (25 OH) levels by 20ng/ml. This may be the reason that many doctors prescribe this dose. Clinically, this doesn’t play out. Some people will need a lot more vitamin D to raise their levels over time.

If your Vitamin D (25 OH) is 25ng/ml and your goal is 45ng/ml, move to a liquid emulsion, taken with dinner and try a 2000-4000IU dose for six months and then retest. Assess how much your vitamin D level moved during that duration and then work with a licensed health care provider to reassess your dose. Once you reach your desired level, you will likely need 1000-2000IU vitamin D3 a day to maintain these levels.

You can use the chart, which offers guidelines for dosing, based on where you are starting and where you want to go. I have found these dosages to be more relevant clinically.

Vitamin D

VITAMIN K2

Vitamin D3 should never be taken alone. Always take a combination Vitamin D3/ Vitamin K2 liquid emulsion. This is because vitamin D3 improves calcium absorption across the GI tract and vitamin K2 is the cofactor needed to transfer calcium into your bones, and not your arteries.

IVF # 5 – Stim Day 2 – The 411

IVF 5 stim day 2

Today is CD 3 and Stim Day 2 !!  This morning, I injected the Ganirelix, took 20 mg of Prednisone, 175 mg Synthroid,  1 Claritin and I have to take 4000 units of Vitamin D, 2 prenatal vitamins (am and pm) and 20 mg of Prednisone later this evening.  My neupogen has been ordered and will be available for pick up on Monday.

In other news, I have my two year old niece visiting for Spring Break.   This morning, I awoke to her pelting my side with projectile watery vomit !  Is this what I have to look forward too?   She has an upper respiratory infection and chest congestion and yesterday she had a fever spike to 103.  I gave her Motrin for the fever and she is taking liquid Claritin for the allergies and has an am and pm natural cough syrup.   I hope she gets better today.  She is not acting sick, but you can tell she is not at 100%.  She is just not as wide open as she usually is.  This girl, my mini me, has energy for days !

My mom is still in a lot of pain this morning from the neuropathy in her right heel and still can not walk on it.  I really hope this passes soon !  No fun….