I’m not a morning person. If the sun isn’t up, I’m not up, but today I’m a morning person. It’s 6:00 a.m. and I need to be there by 7:00 a.m. It’s the earliest slot they had. I’ve already had my shot of Follistim. Someone will take my class, again. I’ll return to chaos and questions about why I was gone and when lunch is, again. I have long sleeves on even though it’s an abnormally warm day for November, even in Texas. No one needs to see the bruised veins on my arm. The last thing I need is for a student or co-worker to notice and wonder what exactly I’ve been up to. Should I take a half day? No, that means no days left if I get sick. What if I over stimulate? Oh, please don’t let that happen. Please let there be follicles. Let there be lots of big, fat, not-too-big follicles today.
More Setbacks, More Appointments
I’m 15 minutes early. Just enough time to finish listening to Love Letters to Kelly. “He’s just not that into you! He would text back if he was. Move on!” I shout at the radio as if I’m having a conversation with the helpless caller. The distraction is nice. I’m not into thinking about what could go wrong right now. I’m done running every worst-case scenario through my head. I’m keeping what little hope I’ve got left. After 2-1/2 failed cycles and endless setbacks. You have to be either a little crazy or an eternal optimist to keep putting your body through this process. Maybe I’m a little of both.
“Deck the Halls” hums in the background as I wait on a plush couch in the almost empty waiting room. I can’t help making up my own version. “Deck the halls with boughs of needles. Fa lala lala la la la la. ‘Tis the season to be bloated. Fa lala lala la la la. Now we don our stretchy apparel.” A newbie sits with her mom across from me filling out the mound of initial paperwork. Oh, the memories. I remember the new hope and excitement of finally having a chance at having a baby. Her mom heads toward the rarely used Keurig. Come on! It’s been three months at least since I’ve had fully caffeinated, bold, life-saving coffee. I inhale the aroma as if it’s the only oxygen I will breathe all day. A necessary but evil sacrifice.
It’s my turn. I roll up my sleeves and sit down for a blood draw. I pretend not to see the needle. The nurse asks which arm. I look down at both arms. One vein is so swollen and bruised there is no way another needle is going anywhere near it. I hold up the other arm. It’s not great, but looks more promising than the other one. The nurse nods. I count to three and take a deep breath. There’s the familiar prick, which either doesn’t hurt anymore or is so familiar I have forgotten how much it stings. I help the nurse apply the neon pink Band-Aid. She asks about my Thanksgiving plans. I tell her we’re hosting this year. She looks at my cycle calendar again. Good news! My procedures and the last few days of monitoring will fall on holiday weeks this time. Thank goodness. Planning for a sub just may be the worst part of teaching. How do you effectively communicate all the little things each of them needs? How do you convey a typical day to someone who has never been around 22 eight-year-olds at one time?
Another Painful Procedure
Time to check those follicles. The nurse gives the usual spiel “Undress from the waist down. Room 3. The doctor will see you soon.” She laughs as she realizes I already know what to do. I could work here I know it so well. Some days are quick. The doctor or nurse who checks follicles enters quickly, completes the check, I’m on my way. On other days, I sit in the oddly comfortable chair waiting patiently, alone with thoughts of fear and hope. Today I’m waiting. The room looks like the one I had my HSG test in. They inject dye into the uterus to detect any possible problems with implantation. I’ve had this procedure twice. Does it hurt? My husband almost fainted when he saw the look of pain on my face, but I gladly endure it all.
I decide to think about turkey and the need for extra tables instead of how nervous I am. I say a quick prayer: “Dear God, you are in the business of miracles. I need one today. I’m asking for a miracle this time.” Finally, my favorite nurse enters. She’s optimistic and hopeful for us at times when we’ve lost the ability to hope. “Let’s see those follicles. Your blood work from last time looks good.” There is an awkward silence as I have another rendezvous with Mr. Ultrasound Wand. I can’t wait for the tummy ultrasounds. I can’t wait to have normal sized ovaries again. She jabs the wand in different directions. She’s struggling to see more than a few follicles. Great. I pray and pray for those stubborn follicles to show themselves. The other ovary looks much more promising, thankfully. During my first cycle, I ovulated through the meds. I went in for a routine check and left with a canceled cycle. All the bruises, crazy hormones, and busting out of my jeans for nothing. I’m praying today is not one of those days. Please, no more setbacks. No more dream crushing.
I grab a decaf peppermint mocha on the way back to my classroom. I can at least pretend it will help me through the afternoon. I return to 22 seven- and eight-year-olds lamenting my absence. “You should have been here this morning!” one of my boys declares. Oh, no. This can’t be good. “Why is that?” I hesitate to ask. “Because we missed you!” I sigh in relief. I try to let lunch duty distract me from waiting for today’s blood work results. Everything must be just right. It’s been 11 days. I’m ready to tell the doctor to get these eggs out of me and make some embryos already. Walking is becoming uncomfortable. What if people mistakenly think I’m pregnant? How do I politely tell them my muffin top is actually the result of my baseball sized ovaries?
Will I Finally Hear Good News?
After lunch duty I notice a voicemail from my favorite nurse. This is it. She could say the cycle is canceled. She could say I need more blood work or another ultrasound. She could say everything looks great. “Hi, Melissa. Doctor G says you are ready. Everything looks good. I’ll call back later with instructions for your trigger shot. Looks like you’re good to go for retrieval!” Music to my ears, for once.
Latest posts by Melissa Titus (see all)
- Still Waiting… (Part 3 of 3 in the “A Day in the Life of an IVF Patient’ series) - May 19, 2017
- A Day in the Life of an IVF Patient Part 2: Transfer Day and the TWW - December 31, 2016
- A Day in the Life of an IVF Patient - November 17, 2016