Saturday, March 16, 2013

It's My IVF Pity Party & I'll Cry If I Want To

People are always remarking on how I inspire them to be more positive. Well, you sure wouldn't think that if you saw me today. I feel completely defeated, like I just want to curl into a ball next to a box of kleenex and shut the world I'm a complete failure of a woman. The last 24 hours dealing with logistics of IVF has made everything seem much more real and crucial to our future.

I was on the phone on and off all day yesterday with the meds coordinator from my fertility clinic, the mail order pharmacy, my home town pharmacy, and the financial counselor from my fertility clinic. With each and every phonecall the tally climbed (we are up to about $17,000 now) and I became more and more anxiety ridden and a little pissed off  if I'm being totally honest. Everyone I spoke to had the utmost professionalism and delivered amazing customer service. It wasn't that. What it boils down to is that this process simply is not fair!

While I keep reminding myself it's a privilege to even have IVF available, I still feel like it's not fair that we have to go to such great lengths to do something millions of people do all over the planet with zero physical pain, emotional pain, or financial sacrifice. It's what women are born to do, and yet I can't seem to do it on my own.

-It's not fair that drug addicts, promiscuous women and other ungrateful people can have children unexpectedly and I can't no matter how hard I try.

-It's not fair that we have to support healthcare costs of so many preventable diseases in this country that are many times the product of "lifestyle choices", yet there are no mandates for infertility insurance coverage for couples who have a medical diagnosis preventing them from having a family.

-It's not fair that I have spent the last almost two years living my life waiting...waiting for ovulation, waiting for blood test results, waiting for good news, only to be let down each and every time I think something good might happen.

-It's not fair that I've had to put my career in fitness, my physical body, the absolute love of my life (sweating it out in the gym) completely on hold for the chance to make my reproductive system tick again like it should. Meanwhile other women can just find out they are accidentally pregnant while running marathons, or even while winning an Olympic gold medal for volleyball. Thanks Kerri Walsh for reminding me how flawed I am. Seeing a pregnant lady running her heart out on the treadmill at the gym is like a slap in the face to me, because I'm "not allowed" to exercise strenuously.

-It's not fair that the entire staff at the lab where I give blood for testing know me by first name and that a 65 year old man who makes $200 for every 15 minute visit knows me by my vagina.

-It's not fair that my husband has to have a wife who's moods are up and down according to what drug is being pumped into my body, what cycle has failed yet again, and who has to sacrifice every extra cent of his hard earned paychek for something most women and couples can do with no problem. We don't have any savings. We don't have any retirement. Nope, we have infertility.

-It's not fair that we both have to endure the ignorance and selfishness of others' comments from people in public and even from people we thought were our "friends." It's not fair that we have to feel like outcasts in many situations and that most of society has no f'ing clue what it's like to go through this process.

Sorry, but that's just how I feel today. I spent a few minutes hugging my husband and crying on his shoulder this morning. All I kept saying was, "This HAS to work. This HAS to work." My meds arrived at our doorstep today as well...

In case you ever wondered, this is what $6170.85 of IVF meds looks like.

By then my husband had left for a much needed day outdoors golfing and I was glad he was gone when these arrived. I just sobbed and sobbed as I unloaded them, wishing in my heart I could just cry in the arms of my mother.  Just as soon as I stopped, I then pulled the needles out of the bags and saw how stinkin long some of them are and starting crying again...

Of course I measured, and these are 2 inches long. WTF?

I mean why must they be this long? I thought these were all supposed to be subcutaneous (under the skin) and not intramuscular (in the muscle) so why the heck are these so freaking big?! I haven't even taken the prefilled Gonal-F or Ovidrel out of the box, because I'm scared to see how long those needles are.  I guess there is just no way around it. It is what it is, and I have to accept that this has become our reality. I know one thing; If this doesn't break me of my fear of needles head on, I don't know what will.

Sunday is the last day of taking BCP's, and Monday is when the real fun all begins. We go for our appointment with the IVF nurse, where she teaches us how to properly use all of the injections. I also have my baseline ultrasound and mock transfer with Dr. Vaughn. Then Wednesday, we'll start injecting the Lupron, and Friday we start injecting the Gonal F & Menopur. All of the other meds will have their time and place as well during the next few weeks. If you can say a prayer that I can somehow endure all of these shots and blood tests, it would be appreciated.

I know I don't have another option if we want to do IVF, and that I just need to put on my big girl panties and suck it up. For this moment right here and now though, it's my IVF pity party and I'll cry if I want to. You would cry too if it happened to you!


  1. (Hugs). I'm so sorry that all those emotions decided to come to the surface at once. IF sucks and IVF can be so overwhelming. Hang in there!

    I think the giant needle that you show in the picture is just to mix up the menopur powder with the liquid. There should be a second smaller needle that then gets attached to the syringe for the actual injection. I think in your first picture the are laid out in front of the disposal box.

    I shed big emotional tears for my first injection. But it will get easier. I promise.

    Good luck!!!!

  2. One more thing, the Gonal-F needles are as tiny as it gets.

    You can do this!

  3. Oh Em. I wish I could give you a great big hug. Us infertile women are the most amazing people I know. We have been dealt this hand that is ABSOLUTELY unfair and we deal with it, graciously. And when we break down we pick ourselves back up and dust off and keep going. I don't know many fertile women who could deal with so many ups and downs and keep it all together. We are some tough chicks. We will make great mothers one day. We are fabulous role models. Even in your time of break down - you inspire me. XOXOXO.

    My favorite matter of fact quote "It'll all be OK. If its not OK it's not the end."

  4. I also have a fear of needles and I found it really helps to have your husband give the injections if you can. It takes extra stress off you, and of course it's also a nice way to keep him involved when it seems like the whole cycle is just things happening to you and he can't do anything or help. And yes, since I see Crinone in your drug pile I assume you're not doing PIO, so Lya is right and that big-ass needle is for mixing. The small ones really don't hurt at all, you will totally get used to them and it won't be a big deal. But I know how the phobia works, so it will suck at first. You can do it!

  5. I just want to give you a hug!! I cried with and for you reading this. It is so unfair! I think it is a good to acknowledge the injustice of it and let yourself feel that. Hopefully that way, you can accept it more and move on with IVF feeling more excited and hopeful. Even though I am nowhere near IVF, every one of those I just felt my heart aching in agreement with you.I'm praying for your heart today...that Jesus would be near and he would give you his peace. That he would be enough, no matter the outcome and no matter the injustice of it all. He is enough.
    I'm also praying for those little babies of yours that are about to be made :-)

  6. Ugh. I know it's already been said, but that giant-ass needle will not be poking you, so breathe a sigh of relief there. For my first IVF I was terrified of the shots. I didn't give myself a single one. During my first try at FET I was determined to try it at least once. My hubby still did most of them. For FETs 2 & 3 I took the bull by the horns and did every single injection. This from someone who used to almost pass out with any shot or blood draw. (I actually have passed out in the middle of the waiting room once. Awesome.) I guess what I'm trying to say is, yes. It totally sucks and it's WAY beyond unfair. But, this process will teach you that you are stronger than you ever realized and can overcome virtually anything. I wish you all the luck and love in the world as you begin this process. May it be worth every tear you shed!!!

  7. Amen sister! I feel your pain, and am wishing for the absolute best outcome for you!!

  8. You can do this! You are a strong woman and you will make it through this!

    The big needle is so its easier to mix and draw up the medication. It will actually be easier than you think it will be be! I set alarms on my phone for the different medications and that seemed to help. I think I get to start Lupron in a couple weeks for my frozen cycle!

  9. Oh, friend.... I've cried too about this... About ALL of this. Hang in there and know that we are all here for you cheering you on. But you are right... This is all SO unfair :(.

  10. Isn't it ironic how you can post a blog, just to read one of your blogger friends blog's and see that there are so many similarities to your posts on any given day??? You're absolutely postively right. It's so so so so unfair!!!! I'm so sorry you're feeling overwhelmed right now, but I get it. I've been there. And, I'm still there. It has to get better someday. Whether it's a take home baby or some other release of all of this... it HAS to get BETTER! Hang in there. I promise you this, you are a strong lady, and you will take those needles like a champ. And, yes, I agree with PP that those specific needles are just for mixing, thankfully.

  11. *hugs* Just so you know you will end up mixing with the big needle and use a smaller needle to inject. You'll learn it on Monday and I'll be doing my first injection right along with you. I know how much this sucks and how scary it is and you are allowed to cry and be scared and upset. *hugs*

  12. I can't imagine what you're going through. Having all those boxes in front of you, needles, medicines, bills... ugh. Yes, this had to work. I wish there were a guarantee for you. Thankfully I did not have to endure IVF, but a friend of mine did and she said it was the most grueling thing she ever did. Thankfully it worked for her. KMFX that this will work for you!

    How can we "reverse" your bullet point #2 - or make infertility coverage mandatory??

  13. xxxxx's-
    My thoughts and prayers are with you guys, as you embark on this new season. I pray it brings you your take home baby! I hate that things have to be so hard for some people, and so easy for those who don;t even deserve it...I am praying for your miracle, and cannot wait to see it happen before your/our eyes! <3

  14. THANK GOD the long needles are for mixing!!!!! Guess that is yet another example of me getting ahead of myself with worrying. Thank you ladies so much for clearing that part up. I guess I will learn it all soon enough (tomorrow).

    Thank you ladies so much also for your supportive comments. Means the world just to know I'm not alone. I'm not crazy. I'm not the only one feeling this way. You ALL are the BEST!

  15. I am so sorry, Emily. I agree with everything you said. It is totally Effing unfair. All of it! And you have every right to cry as much as you want to. I would definitely be crying as well. I've cried over less, honestly. I will be saying prayers for you during this process. I know it's got to be very scary, but I also hope that you'll find some hope (sorry to use "hope" so much..)that this could be the end of your journey to a baby. Because it absolutely could be. And it should be. I pray that it is.

  16. I'm glad to see people have already reassured you about the needles. Yup, the big one's for mixing, the others really are very small.

    You're right, this whole mess is completely unfair. It sucks any way you look at it, and as I see it we're all entitled to feel frustrated and sad sometimes (or, in my case, ALL the time). Hang in there - I bet after you do the injections for a few days, you'll feel more confident.

  17. This is the second post today (not including my own) that had me bawling. Thinking of you, friend, as you embark on this next step.

  18. So many blogs I follow are echoing my feelings today. I'm so sorry for the anxiety and sadness and anger you're feeling, but I have such high hopes for you!! I hope the needles go well, it's a means to a beautiful end and it's not fair that we have to go through this to get a baby, but we're strong and we're strong and this is GOING to happen. Major good luck vibes coming to you!!

  19. You are so right. It's not fair. Not at all. Neither is the size of that needle!

  20. Oh Em! Your post made my heart ache. I have to agree on everything you said. It get overbearing sometimes going through all this. So if you want to have your own pity party go for it. It will make you feel better after letting everything out. It certainly works for me. I'm glad to hear the big needles are just for mixing. Don't worry about the Ovidrel needle, I was scared of it as well but I didnt feel a sinch. Goodluck and I hope your injections go smoothly and you do feel a thing.

  21. It's definitely not fair. I'm so sorry that this is your road... that it is ANYONE'S road.

    Just a quick story: I was so nervous with my first injection, my hands were shaking uncontrollably, that I needed R to do it for me. But I didn't even feel it and did ALL of my own injections for six (!!) cycles. The subcutaneous shots are a walk in the park! And remember that, if you're scheduled for more than one injection at a time, you can mix it all in the Menopur vial and then just do ONE shot.

    I didn't see any Ganirelix in your picture, which is GREAT - that stuff stings for 5-10 minutes after.

    Best of luck! You can do this!!!

  22. (((A Big Virtual Hug sent you way)))...I too would be feel overwhelmed by all those meds and needles, so cry away! No one will judge you, you don't need to hold it together every second. I'm so happy your moving on to getting the process started, I can only imagine your going to learn so much. Hold your hubby's hand real tight and take a deep breath, you WILL make it through this.

  23. Oh my gosh, sweetie, I am feeling for you right now -- those beginning days of IVF are the worst, on every single level. To quickly get to your needle question, though: That super-long needle should definitely NOT be for Gonal-f or Ovidrel; in fact, your Gonal-f should come in a pre-loaded pen, with a series of TINY little needle tips to screw on, and Ovidrel is usually pre-loaded, with a normal-sized needle already screwed on. The only intramuscular shots you'd be doing are maybe progesterone, and in that case you'll be sucking the mixture into the syringe with that long-ass needle, but then switching it up for a much thinner needle for the injection.

    Re: the financial burden, having spent $20,000 in total for all of our fertility treatments, all I could think about was what that money SHOULD have been spent on (college tuition, sports, vacations, etc.), but I keep reminding myself that, even with this huge chunk of change now gone, we still are leading a life that many people would kill for and our child will have it pretty darn good. And at least we don't have some horrible illness that's life-threatening or would cost even more money to treat properly and really put us in a horrible position.

    Anyway, hang in there -- once you get going with all of this, I think you'll realize that it's not as bad as it looks, and the actual stimming process goes by VERY quickly. You'll be in that two-week wait again before you know it, and this time I think the results will be much better!

  24. Emily, you brought back so many emotions as to how I felt at the beginning of my IVF cycle! I am sitting here in tears as I recall the tremendous and sometimes debilitating fear that came with ALL of it. It suddenly becomes real when all those meds arrive, doesn't it?! I will tell you what others told me, and totally rang true. It is not as bad as it seems! The shots, although scary, are a breeze. They barely hurt and you and hubby will become pro at them. Before you know it, the shots, ultrasounds, the bloodwork will all be over and you will find yourself in the 2ww. For all the stress, anxiety, and planning that goes into the stimming part of the cycle, it really does go by so fast!

    You will be in my thoughts and prayers every single day as you embark on this new journey. My prayer is that you will get that BPF in a couple weeks, and then this...all of this will be so very worth it!!!


  25. You have to cry and work through all of the emotions that IVF brings. It's okay to be sad and pissed off. It is unfair. So unfair! I felt exactly like you do now when we first started IVF in December. But I can say looking back that the shots weren't as bad as I thought they'd be. I'll be hear cheering you on! Hugs.

  26. You can do this! Much love and prayers. It WILL work!

  27. Your post is making me weep as I have just started my own IVF pity party... except I haven't started IVF because I DON'T WANT TO!!! The more and more I read about it, the less and less I want anything to do with it. Not to put down anyone's decisions ever, I just feel like it's not for me, for a couple of rational reasons and also for one big irrational reason: ITS NOT FAIR!!
    We've only just started looking into the infertility process and I just came home from the doctor telling me that everyone looks great in my body- hormone levels, tubes, uterus, etc. So that leaves the sperm as the problem.
    So, basically I have taken incredible care of my body for the past 10 years while this mofo husband of mine (who I happen to love very dearly, I'm just in a pissed off mood) lives on ramen, sugar, beer and cigarettes... and because of HIS problems, I have to suffer through all this torture to my body and soul!?!?!? How unfair is that?? I don't want to do it. I do not want to. Everyone just assumes we'll hop right into IVF, but guess what? No one (including my Doctor!) has even asked me how I feel about it!