Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Still Life

Here’s a still life of our bottle of red wine and tumble in the hay equivalent for the creation of new life. These are the different medicines I’ll be injecting or ingesting over the next 12 days or so, along with the syringes, gauze pads and alcohol wipes.

I’m safe in the knowledge that it can only go better than our last cycle in October, which started off with J the Elder accidentally piercing a blood vessel in my thigh, causing blood to spurt out in both directions, by which I mean externally and internally. The resulting large, bumpy bruise had me explaining the mishap to each and every ultrasound tech, nurse and doctor I was seen by (and there were many of them) lest they call social services and arrest my dearly beloved for domestic abuse. I did get the nagging feeling that my explanations were backfiring in the manner of “methinks the lady protesteth too much”, but whatever the case may be, mercifully J the Elder was not taken in for questioning. More traumatising still, and by a wide margin, was the unfortunate incident with the very last of our big gun evening shots. In an, as it would quickly turn out, extremely vain attempt to suck every last drop of medicine out of our very last, no-backup-whatsoever vial, we managed to pull the plunger back so far that it came out. We were then forced to watch in utter horror as half of the liquid intended to give my follicles one final boost to maturity dripped onto the floor of our hotel room and the other half dribbled up J the Elder’s arm. There were many reasons to panic about this: the two most prominent were that it was after hours and all the pharmacies were closed (and, even if we found one open, we had no prescription) and that the shot had to be administered at the same time every night. We’d spent a large proportion of our possible child’s college education to get to this point and it might now be ruined. Oh and each shot retails for the princely sum of $240. Anyway, we called the out-of-hours line at CCRM and, by some incredible fluke, the on-call nurse that night was my very own nurse, who made a U-turn from her way to dinner with her husband back to the clinic, met us there and gave me the shot herself. We learned that they have an arrangement with a local pharmacy to keep a consignment stock of medicines there that you later pay the pharmacy for. When all was said and done, I got my shot only thirty minutes after I should have and all was well. So my confidence in a comparatively more successful administration of my injections this cycle is pretty solid. Famous last words………

There are three different drugs to be injected. Lupron twice per day every 12 hours, Menopur in the mornings and Gonal-F in the evenings. Lupron goes in the thighs and the others in the stomach.

Lupron is used to switch off communication between the pituitary gland and the ovaries so that the body doesn’t pop out the eggs on its own before they can be professionally retrieved. It’s very hard not to worry that the message to hold on to the eggs won’t get through to my ovaries, they will first rejoice in all the unusual action and then burst forth, releasing a crop of carefully and lovingly nurtured eggs into the wild. I will let you know when we reach the stage that this particular concern is at an all-time high.

Menopur, a so-called stimulation drug, is a mixture between two hormones, follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinising hormone (LH). FSH has the self-explanatory role of making the follicles grow; women make it naturally but the doses I’ll be getting are super-sized. LH is the hormone that tells the body to go ahead and ovulate – so, given what I just said about the Lupron, there are some conflicting messages for the body to grapple with.

Gonal-F, also a stimulation drug, is pure FSH. Some RE’s prescribe only FSH and others, such as mine, prescribe FSH and the FSH/LH combination.

In an interesting side note, between the ’60s and late ‘90s the only products available for stimulating the ovaries were derived from the urine of menopausal women, usually nuns in convents, who peed into vats or brought huge jugs of urine to factories to be processed and purified. I kid you not.

So I started the Lupron injections yesterday and will add the stims tomorrow as we begin our drive to Denver. We’re particularly looking forward to mixing and administering the Menopur shot in the car, probably somewhere near Nashville, TN, where will be at the time it needs to be given. I wonder whether I should get CCRM to fax me a letter explaining the pressing purpose of my drug-use in broad daylight at the side of the road, in case we have an encounter with the Nashville Police Department.

Happy Holidays!


  1. Merry Christmas! So glad to have this blog to keep up with your goings on! Prayers and good thoughts coming your way as you progress through this incredible process! Love you both bunches!

  2. How fortunate that you haven't inherited your mother's tendency to crumple and fall over at the sight of a needle. You would never have been born if it hadn't happened naturally! Nasty for you, I know, but can't help grinning at the mental picture of you two shooting up at the side of the road... x K