Two Niños

From infertility to two babes at once, this is my life…

Archive for July, 2005

It’s a little hot in here…

Posted by Mel on July 31, 2005

Well, we’ve made it through 2.5 days of shots. Things are going pretty well. Alex has pretty much taken over the shot giving – I prepare and he injects. Works pretty well – I haven’t yelled at him too much yet. I think I am starting to feel the effects of the medicine. Kind of like hot flashes and then strangely, I seem to have cold flashes as well. I’m just assuming it is the medicine – it could just be my strange internal thermometer, which has always been a little off. But I’m thinking the hot flashes are part of this stuff. But all in all, we are doing well. We are taking one day at a time and focusing on that day alone. It is overwhelming to think of everything still to come. Thanks to all for your thoughts and prayers!!

ps – wanted to mention that while Alex has been the ‘bystander’ (as he says in his post below) throughout the many tests and procedures we’ve had over the last couple of years, he has been by my side through every single one of them. Even at the smallest of visits, he always comes with me. I couldn’t ask for a better support than him and we are very much a team – I trully feel that this is happening to both of us, not me. I can’t imagine doing this with anyone but him…


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My First Shot

Posted by Mel on July 30, 2005

Well, I finally did it! I gave Melissa her shot this morning and we both lived to tell about it. It wasn’t all that complicated and fairly painless (at least for me!) This is the third shot overall and we are starting to get the hang of it. They should continue to get easier from here on out…

I finally feel like I was able to do something productive in this entire process. Up to this point, I have been mostly a bystander as Melissa has gone through numerous tests/surgeries/procedures, and for once I feel that I’m able to ‘pull my own weight’. I can’t say that I like giving injections to my wife, but I can say that I played my part in the big scheme of things.

As you all know, I’m a man of few words; so I’ll leave the majority of the writing to Melissa. I’ll check in every once in a while with any highlights.


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The first shot…

Posted by Mel on July 29, 2005

Well, we just finished giving me my first shot. It was suprisingly stressful and scary. I was totally not worried about the shots – that kind of stuff doesn’t scare me – but I guess I didn’t give it enough concern. It wasn’t bad – don’t get me wrong – but mixing the medicine (there are two vials that you have to mix with some water) and handling the needles are just so foreign to me. I even screwed up with one of the vials and wasted the first one. Oh well, surely it happens all of the time.

The needle itself didn’t hurt at all going in. It hurt some when I was injecting the medicine from the needle, but that was about it. No bleeding and no pain after. Alex got overly excited with the alcohol wipes after and started rubbing the injection spot – I got upset because the directions did not say to do that. See? Stressed and acting crazy over nothing major. Didn’t realize it would affect me this much. It’s funny because I was just thinking yesterday that so far, this whole process doesn’t seem too bad. Clearly we haven’t really begun anything yet, but my naive thoughts were that from what I understand now, it isn’t as bad as I thought. I now realize where the stress part of this comes in – like I said, the shot did not really hurt but it is just kind of scary to be giving yourself shots at home. It seems just out of place and weird. But I’m sure we will get used to it very quickly….we’ve agreed that Alex will try tomorrow morning, after one more observation of me doing it tonight. Hehe. Just call us the Doctors Beauchamp…

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Today’s doctor visit

Posted by Mel on July 27, 2005

Went to the doctor this morning for my baseline ultrasound and blood work. They were checking to make sure my ovaries were ‘sufficiently repressed’ by the birth control pills I took. The ultrasound and bloodwork were both good, so we are a go to begin the shots on Friday. Speaking of, we picked up the medicine today. The bag was overflowing. Here’s a picture of all the medicine…thought it was funny to see it all…

I don’t take ALL of this at once, but at sometime througout the process. The yellow and green ones are the ones that contain the medicines for the shots I’m starting on Friday. Will post then and tell ya how the first one goes…;-).

love to all,

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The meds are covered!

Posted by Mel on July 26, 2005

The medicines are covered! Yeah! Got word from the pharmacy yesterday that all of the medicines are covered – the highest copay for any of them is $50. So, we only have to pay $230 out of our pocket for drugs that cost probably $2000 – $3000. We are so blessed…I feel like every day there is so much to be thankful for!!

We go to the doctor tomorrow for the baseline ultrasound and I will pick up the drugs while I am out that way (our doctor’s office is on the other side of town…in morning traffic, we have to leave an hour before our appointment to get there on time! But they are highly regarded so you go where you have to!). There is literally probably 15 lines of medicine and the accompanying ‘tools’ (i.e. needles, alcohol wipes, etc) on my prescription so I am imagining a huge box waiting for me at the pharmacy. And something interesting to note – there are only special pharmacies that actually carry the drugs that we need. If you go to an Eckerd’s or CVS or something, they will have to order the drugs and who knows how long it will take. We have been going to a pharmacy near our doctor’s office that caters to this type of stuff – its funny because I know they see many people like us every day and I always imagine what they might be thinking about us…are they thinking ‘wow, they are so young to be going through this’, or ‘here’s yet another couple starting this journey’, or ‘man, their insurance is great…they are lucky!’. I’m weird, I know. But I always think this when we go there…

Anyway, I’m strangely looking forward to getting the medicines and pilfering through. I may think differently once I start giving myself the shots….;-)

love you all – will update after my doctor’s appointment on Wednesday.

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Learning how to do the shots…aaagghhhh!!

Posted by Mel on July 24, 2005

So Alex and I went to the doctor on Friday to learn how to give me the shots needed throughout this process. We weren’t sure coming in to this session if Alex was going to have to be the sole shot giver, so he was a little tense from the start. Alex is gets the heeby jeebies when it comes to doctors, medical procedures, etc. He is not too fond of it. So he’s been a bit worried about this whole shot thing.

So we enter the office of the Physician’s Assistant (Laura) who is basically our caretaker throughout this whole process. She sits us down and has what looks like a strange fake weird boob in front of her. I assume this is her practice shot receiver and I am right. She has a few papers for us that detail out our schedule, medicine, etc. It is alot of information and my first thought is that I’m glad both Alex and I are of reasonable intelligence because it is alot to absorb.

The doctors decide on a specific ‘protocol’ of medicine for each woman undergoing this procedure. Mine was spelled out on the all ecompassing info on the papers and Laura starts pulling out vial after vial to show us how to give me the medicine. The stuff I’m speaking about now is the fertility/egg stimulation medicine….you have to mix two vials of medicine with water – luckily they give you a little attachment that makes it easy to mix. They even give you one of those red ‘BioHazard Waste’ trashcans to dispose of your needles. Cool.

So the needle for these shots is surprisingly and thankfully very small…maybe half an inch in length and very thin. I can give these shots to myself as they can be given anywhere on my body, just under the skin. The resident comedian doctor at our practice just advises people to stay away from their cheeks…haha. Now we both had to practice mixing the medicine and giving the shot to the weird fake boob like thing. Alex did his fine, it really isn’t hard. Well, on my first try, I jabbed the needle like it was a harpoon and I bent the damn thing!! Laura said ‘oh no, honey – you just bent your needle. I promise you won’t do it like that to yourself’. I sure as hell hope not!! I was soon clear on the fact that there is really no need for massive amounts of strength to administer this shot….just nice and easy.

So by this point, I was feeling pretty good and Alex was visibly relieved when we found out he didn’t have to bear the sole burden of shot giving. Then we started discussing the other shot that we have to start taking after the egg retrieval. The other shots above are given twice a day….so when we began discussion on these post retrieval shots (to administer progesterone), she said only once a day and I’m thinking, great, no problem. She mentions that they have to be given in my butt and that the nurses will draw targets on each side of my butt for Alex to use, alternating each day. Still thinking cool, targets are funny. Then she starts the demonstration of this one…she pulls out this HUGE needle and starts getting the medicine from the vial. Guess she noticed our eyes getting a little bigger cause she said ‘don’t worry, this is just the mixing needle’. Well then she changes the needle to the one to use for the shot….and I swear, it isn’t any freaking smaller!!! The needle must be two inches long and not thin and cute like the one for the other shots. So then my thought is ok, the needle is big but I’m sure it just has to go in a little bit to get the medicine in. Wrong! The thing has to be inserted all the way into my poor little bottom. Laura starts giving us warnings like don’t blame Alex for your butt being sore…it’s not his technique, just the nature of these shots. So I’m thinking these are gonna hurt. And I’m still unclear how a needle that big can go all the way in…..I’m a skinny girl, you know? I don’t have that much padding back there. Oh well, its a good thing I’m not jittery about this kind of stuff. It will be an adventure..;-)

We came out of this visit excited, nervous, all of the above. Things are really getting started now. I stop taking my birth control pills on Monday, 7/25 and I go back to the doctor on Wednesday, 7/27 for a baseline ulrasound. Then I start taking my shots that Friday. Wow! Keep us in your thoughts and prayers…love you all! m

Posted in Infertility, IVF | 1 Comment »

What the hell does IVF mean??

Posted by Mel on July 24, 2005

Ok, I’m going to give you a brief overview of what IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) is and an idea of what the process is like.

The most straightforward description of IVF is this: they extract eggs from my ovaries, get some sperm from Alex (yes, he has to ‘perform’ in a cup…), and put them together in a petri dish. The sperm hopefully fertilizes some of the eggs, they cultivate them for a few days, and once they are embryos, put 2 – 3 back into my uterus. The rest happens as it would in any other pregnancy.

Those are the basics….here are a few more details:

– the process starts with taking birth control pills for 10 days to 2 weeks. This is to suppress any activity going on in my ovaries to prepare for the IVF.
– once the birth control period is over, I begin taking shots of fertility medicine for about two weeks. Alex and I just learned how to give the shots to me…see more on that in my next post. The shots will be twice a day and the medicine is pretty intense. The goal of this medicine is to stimulate my ovaries to produce ideally 15 – 20 eggs. Just fyi…in a normal, natural cycle, a woman generally produces only one egg. The reason for producing so many eggs for one cycle of IVF is that not all will fertilize, and of the ones that fertilize not all will grow and mulitply normally. So the goal is to start with 15 – 20 eggs to ultimately have at least 2 good embryos to transfer back in…and as a bonus, perhaps have some to freeze.
– from what I can gather, the fertility medicine will make my body mimic the symptoms one generally has with PMS, except magnified by about 100. Mood swings, sore boobs, bloated, all the fun stuff. So when we begin these drugs, keep Alex in your thoughts ;-).
– So during this two weeks of fertility drug shots, we will be going in to the doctor so they can monitor the progress…of my ovaries, essentially. The goal is to pinpoint the time of maturation of the eggs so that ovulation can be induced and they can extract the egss at just the right time. So there is a about a week within this timeframe where we will be at the doctor at least every day…possibly twice a day some days. They will be doing ultra sounds and bloodwork to get as accurate a picture as possible of where we are.
– once the egg maturation is pinpointed, I take the shot of all shots to induce ovulation. They have it down to such a science that they will tell me the exact time of day to take this shot…amazing!
– then I go in for them to retrieve and extract the eggs. They will put me to sleep for this process as it is a bit painful. WARNING FOR THE SCARED MALES…some slightly graphic descriptions coming up. They don’t have to make any incisions to get the eggs – it is all done vaginally. They have what is essentially a little needle with a siphon kind of thing on it…they navigate to my ovaries, put the needle into each of the follicles that hold the eggs and pull the eggs out, one by one.
– during the above procedure, Alex is doing the hard part…providing a donation of his little swimmers…;-). He has, maybe fortunately, become quite accustomed to this part as he had to do it for the 3 cycles of IUI that we went through. The funny thing is that they actually offer dirty magazines and movies at the doctor’s office. Although Alex complains that they are all out of date…;-)
– once the eggs are out, they put the eggs and sperm in a petri dish for fertilization. An embryologist is who does all the handling of the eggs and sperm and more than once at my doctor’s office they have referred to the embryologist as our first baby sitter. Cute.
– they observe the eggs for the next 3 – 5 days. The eggs should be multiplying and dividing, essentially growing just like they would if fertilized in the woman’s body. Within this timeframe, some of the eggs will reach the embryo state…and of those, they will choose the two best to transfer back into my uterus. For people our age (we are on the young end of the spectrum for those undergoing IVF), they generally will put only two embryos back in as long as there are two of good qualityl. If there are two of mediocre quality, they will sometimes put a max of 3 back in, but ultimately, the decision regarding how many to transfer back is up to me and Alex.
– the transfer of the eggs into my uterus is a relatively simple procedure. WARNING…again, it is done vaginally and no need to put me to sleep for this one. It doesn’t feel like much more than what you feel going to the gyno for your monthly visit (I know this because it is very similar to the procedure we had with the IUI cycles).
– so once the transfer is complete, I rest for a couple of days…oh, and I forgot. The day after they extract the eggs, we begin another round of shots. These are a hormone supplement to prepare my body for pregnancy and Alex will have to give these to me as they have to be given in my butt. They continue from the day after transfer for at least another 2 weeks or so.
– about a week after the transfer, I go in for blood work to check my hormone levels and then about a week later, I have my pregnancy test. This whole process I just described is about 6 weeks, from beginning to end.

Finally, just a few more interesting facts about the costs of the procedure and medicine. For the procedure itself, our doctors charge about $11,000. This is pretty typical for most doctors. The drugs that I have to take throughout the process cost between $2500 and $5000. So overall, you are looking at about $14,000 – $16,000. We are extremely fortunate because our insurance covers the IVF procedure. We only have to pay 15% of the $11,000. They are checking for us right now how much of the medicine will be covered but I’m pretty confident that much of it will be covered as well. We are soooo very blessed that we do not have to contend with the financial aspect of this process. Most people’s insurance DOES NOT cover this procedure or the drugs so not only are they having to deal with the emotional and mental impacts of this, they are having to figure out how in the world to pay for it. There are some programs that you can use to make the financial burden a bit more bearable, but still. I am so thankful that we have coverage for this…

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IVF…what is it? Well, we’re doing it…

Posted by Mel on July 24, 2005

So we’ve officially begun…IVF, that is. In Vitro Fertilization. One of the most advanced fertility treatments available. As all of you know, Alex and I have been struggling with trying to get pregnant for over two years now. We were blessed with a pregnancy last year but it ended in a miscarriage at 8 weeks. Since then, we have 1) tried for a few months on our own to get pregnant 2) tried 3 cycles of a procedure call Intrauterine Insemination (IUI – this is where they take a ‘sample’ from Alex and insert it directly into my uterus, everything else happens naturally) and now 3) we are beginning the process of IVF. Needless to say, the IUI procedures were unsuccessful for us so now we are moving on to the ‘big gun’.

IVF is an intense, very interesting process and through this website, I’d like to share our experience with my family and close friends. You have all been there and supported me and Alex so much through this whole journey – it seems only logical to share this latest step with everyone. The process, from beginning to end, lasts about 6 weeks. We have begun the initial steps, which just consist of taking some medicine for a couple of weeks to prepare. My plan is to update this website (or you may see it referred to as a ‘blog’) whenever there is anything interesting to share throughout the process (or maybe even when there isn’t anything interesting ;-).

Ok, an administrative thing or two…if you want to leave a comment about any of the posts, click on the link below any post that says ‘Comments’. Each new post will have its own link – one will be below the other, in date/time order, and a list of them all will be over on the left hand side of the page.

So enjoy…if nothing else, sharing this with my family helps us to feel not so alone in this process AND, you may learn a few interesting things you didn’t know before….love you all!


Posted in Infertility, IVF | 2 Comments »