When I first opened up about my infertility last April, I said that I wanted to spread awareness and end the stigma that surrounds this disease. What I knew then is that talking about infertility is difficult for a number of reasons, and that has continued to prove true as I have waded deeper into figuring out what is going on and starting to take action. It seems that at every turn, something happens that makes me feel like a failure as a woman and wife, and to say it's unpleasant would be a tremendous understatement. My best friends and family members found out about IVF over text messages and Facebook messages because for several weeks, I couldn't talk about it without crying.
With that said, I am also touched and encouraged by the outpouring of support (from praying hands and heart emojis to offers of support to tales of personal experiences and so much more), and I still want to spread awareness and end the stigma. A few weeks ago, I did a bible study called "Longing for Motherhood" with a group of childless Christian women, and one of our devotions said, "Suffering is hard. Suffering alone is unbearable." I have kept that in mind as I have thought about the people I talk to and how much I want to share. For as long as I am comfortable, I am going to post blogs about various aspects of my experience. I imagine that I'll drop off around the time of our egg retrieval and show back up at some point in the distant future when I know the outcome. However, I am finding that writing about IVF is easier than I expected, so that could change.
For the first time on record, I was excited to start my period because that meant we could get started with IVF. As we are approaching three years of trying to conceive, any sort of actionable step was welcome. My instructions were to call on the first day of my cycle (Cycle Day 1, CD 1, or the day the period shows up) and set up an appointment to come in on CD 2 or 3 for an ultrasound and baseline bloodwork. I waited all last week through CD 27, 28, 29, and even 30 thinking "any day now..." Of course this would be tied for my longest cycle since we started trying and my longest unmedicated cycle in a year and a half. I even entertained naive thoughts such as, "Wow, maybe all it took for me to conceive was to say we'd do IVF!" but CD 1 showed up on Saturday, when my RE's office is closed. So, I set an alarm to call as soon as they opened today at 7:30 am.
I scheduled an appointment for 10:00 am, and it was as easy as possible considering pandemic-related security measures at the hospital, being in a pandemic in general, being stuck with a needle, and having an ultrasound. These things are not particularly painful, just a part of life and the process for me; I imagine they'll become even more routine over the next few weeks and months.
After the procedural part, I met with a staff member and got the nifty calendar pictured below with instructions of what to do next. This week, it's five days with a Nuvaring. Birth control seems a bit counterintuitive for this process, but the hope is that it will offer a little more control in the cycle. (Read more at this website.) I'll go back next Monday for more labs and ultrasound. They'll also give me a new calendar!
I also sent in the credit card authorization for my prescriptions tonight. They are coming from a pharmacy in California; later this week, we will be receiving a shipment of medications. At Monday's appointment, our calendar will be more involved than this week, as we will be learning about what to do with medications each day. For those especially unfamiliar with IVF, this part involves injections. Richard is enthusiastic about his role (giving me the injections), but this delightful process isn't exactly what we had in mind when we thought about making a baby together. He remains dreamy through it all.
Something that made today great: I scheduled my dissertation proposal meeting!
Time I woke up: 7:20 am