Thursday, July 16, 2009

It's on like Donkey Kong

My Follistim has arrived, on time.

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 find an agent cancel the cycle. If the follies are lagging, we can up the dose. Hopefully we will find one or two that are almost ripe for the picking. In any case, the treatment from that point forward is determined by the results of the ultrasound and blood work... so stay tuned!

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)


  1. WOOO HOO! It is ON now! :) I loved putting my Follistim in the fridge- what a feeling. I had nightmares that someone would try to steal it so i hid it in the back. That is me...

    SO HAPPY your cycle is beginning and AF is cooperating. Oh, BTW, you are at my clinic- I can tell by how you described it. Email me if you want to get the DL on my fave docs and nurses. Best of luck this cycle!


  2. Your writing just cracks me up! Plus, it was a really good explanation of the whole protocol and follistim vs clomid.

    I do love the idea of storing the follistim next to eggs, but aren't you a little worried about putting it next to fake eggs? What if you end up with a fake baby? Maybe it could go next to baby bok choi or baby spinach or um baby swiss cheese (I know, none of these are eggs like the eggs are, but they have baby in the name so that has to count for something, right)? Ok I'm stopping, it's obviously time for me to go eat.

    Good luck on the baseline u/s and this cycle!

  3. YAY I am excited for you. I am sending you nothing but good thoughts and lots of baby dust!

  4. I thought Cynicism was part of the protocol. You mean it's optional!?

  5. Hi! I found your site because I googled something about infertility one day, and this blog popped up as the first link. haha :)
    I've enjoyed reading your entries though, you sound much like me and my battle with my stupid ovaries and uterus. But I'm glad I found you because your writing has inspired me to start my own infertility blog.

    Anyway, I've got a question for you - did you ovulate on Clomid?

  6. Oooh, Best Wishes for the treatment cycle, Super Duper Conception vibes being sent. Follistim and Ovaries start your Engines!!

  7. Thanks for the IF class. I also had little idea about what drugs do what.

    Best of luck for this cycle.

  8. The photo of the Follistim next to the Egg Beaters cracked me up. Best of luck!

  9. Yay! Excited for this cycle to start for you. But yes, Mary is a little crazy, lol ;-) heehee! Thanks for the updates and looking forward to reading about the journey!

  10. Thank you for humoring me! I'm pretty clueless about all of this stuff, and admire all of you women who are going through IF. You are so strong! Let's see...what other food is "supposed" to increase fertility? Maybe put the meds next to that. :)

  11. Great post! Very informative and I love the Egg Beaters pic. Good luck starting your meds on Saturday. Wishing you smooth sailing for the next few weeks.

  12. Oh, I so hear you on pricky-poky business...Several years from now, I wonder what I would think, when I look at all this medicine/ultrasound/obsessing fest!

  13. .....Goodeus Luckeus foreus theus Cycleus!

  14. P.S. I ovulated with everything! And here I am, minus any!

  15. Good luck and thanks for the primer! I'll be hoping that those Egg Beaters do their part ;)


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