(5 points to anyone who can name the title's reference!)
The countdown to IVF continues- last night I officially completed phase one of my drug protocol and took what I hope will be my last ever birth control pill. I remember from my earlier birth control days that AF usually comes a few days after I take my last pill so now I just need to wait for her to arrive and then call the RE to let them know. It is so wonderfully stress-free to know for a fact that AF is coming and not have to wonder or worry. This past month has been a such great mental vacation. I wouldn't have even realized where I was in this cycle if not for that last pill in the pack.
I am also almost a week into phase two of my drug protocol and have been receiving nightly injections of Lupron along with a dex tablet. The Lupron is used to turn off my pituitary gland, preventing early ovulation and induces menopause, while the dex is a steroid and anti-inflammatory that has been known to improve egg quality. The injections really haven't been too bad. The needle is pretty tiny and Chad has done a (mostly) good job of playing nurse (he did have one unfortunate incident when the needle "bounced" out and that did hurt a bit). My biggest complaint at this point is with the menopausal side effects of the Lupron. I have known various women of mature age throughout my life who seemed to start their days at obscenely early hours and now thanks to the Lupron I know why- I can't sleep in to save my life! After 6 hours that's it, my body wants to be awake and lately it's been getting it's way. I am not a fan of waking up at 5am on a Saturday morning. I have also enjoyed lovely hot flashes each night as I try to fall asleep, so sleep deprivation is definitely the biggest trouble I have dealt with these drugs, but other than that the side effects have been pretty minimal and I have been in very good spirits.
I am just so amazed that these first 21 days have gone by so quickly and I am getting closer and closer to "the real deal". With each new landmark in this process I feel more and more at peace with it and more and more excited by the possibilities but I am also nervous about each step as it comes. Right now my stomach gets into knots when I think about what's to come with the stimulation phase. I have been hearing so much chatter around the blog world and twitterverse lately about the insane effects of "balloon stomach" caused by the stim meds and I am not thrilled with the idea of not being able to fit into my clothes without there being a baby in my belly. I will be on Bravelle and Menopur to stimulate multiple eggs instead of the typical one or two and I am hoping that my good spirits can survive their notoriously mood altering side effects.
I still can't get over the insane amount of drugs I will be on throughout this process. I have my very own Sharps container in my bathroom! The whole thing is very surreal but also strangely normal feeling. Each time Chad kisses me before sticking that teeny needle into my thigh, I think of our future child and how worth it all of this is, maybe that's the real reason it doesn't hurt so bad.