My AF has arrived, blessedly on time. (Taking pity, perhaps?)
And now the time has arrived for pinching, poking, pinching, poking, praying, pinching, poking, pinching, poking, praying, pinching, poking, prodding, pinching, poking, pinching, poking, prodding, final poking, inseminating, more praying, inserting, praying, inserting, hoping, fearing, inserting, praying, inserting, fearing, hoping, inserting, worrying, inserting...
You know, conception.
One of my friends asked that I explain my protocol as I go along, remembering that not all of my readers have been initiated into the World of IF. So here's the low-down, it's pretty simple.
Starting on the Saturday, I will inject myself with 75 ius (units) of Follistim once a day. Follistim is an FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) drug that works directly on the ovaries to produce more/better follicles. It mimicks the natural FSH that women's bodies produce. A follicle, by the way, is the little house that the egg grows in while awaiting ovulation. We can't see the eggs in ultrasounds, so we just have to trust that there is a good one in every follicle. Normally, a woman produces one mature follicle each month, it releases the egg at ovulation, and when the egg gets fertilized and implants in the uterus, you have a baby. On Follistim and other drugs, you often end up with more than one mature follie (and thus egg), which explains the increased risk for multiples.
After five days of injections (so that's next Thursday morning), I will go in for blood work and an ultrasound. This is to prevent me and DH from ending up with our own TLC show in which the entire world is witness to the end of our marriage and a haircut so horrendous I would be mortified in like ten years when I looked back on the show and really SAW my hair with fresh eyes. Cute kids, though. Anyway, if I have too many follicles ready to pop, we will
How is Follistim different than Clomid, which is taken orally? Clomid blocks estrogen receptors in your brain, fooling your body into thinking you aren't producing enough, so it spurs more natural FSH production. The ideal result, like Follistim then, is more/better follicles. However, Clomid works indirectly on the ovaries (through it's trickery) as opposed to directly on the ovaries like the FSH drugs. So Follistim is a heavy hitter in the ovulation-inducing category, with a greater chance of success.
When my friend Mary was going through her IVF, she kept her FSH drugs in the fridge next to a carton of eggs for good luck. (Did I mention the meds need to be refrigerated? In case you were thinking Mary was nuts or something.) Considering the intent of the medication, I thought this was very clever! And it obviously worked, as she now has two beautiful children as a result of that IVF. Unfortunately, we only have fake eggs in our fridge right now. But I'm hoping for the same bit of luck.
ETA: Dr. Downtown just let me know that my prolactin level came back at 12. The normal range for women in general is 20 or less. So it's perfect! Gee, heard that one before... Cynicism aside, he's given us the green light for this treatment cycle. Barring any scary discovery tomorrow during my baseline ultrasound and bloodwork, of course. (cue dramatic music)