“Wow,” I remarked to Arthur on Wednesday evening seeing the enormous box parked in the center of the living room when I got home from work. “The drugs are here. I think this cycle’s about to feel pretty real.”
Except that it didn’t.
The first fresh IVF cycle, I counted down the days to the cycle start with equal amounts of anticipation and nerves. I had my protocol memorized by the time I stepped into the clinic for my start-cycle ultrasound, and remained at a high emotional pitch throughout the whole thing. I was, in short, obsessed and anxious the entire cycle.
This time, even though I’ve done so much more preparation work for the cycle, it still doesn’t feel entirely real to me. I’ve lost 22 pounds, which Dr. E thought might help the PCOS and I’m at a weight I haven’t seen since high school. I’ve been taking metformin and co-q10 since June. I gave up soda before my FET, and have recently given up a pretty decent amount of refined sugar and flour. This last has been particularly painful since I have a wicked sweet tooth and love bread. Fruits, vegetables, and lean protein have become my new normal.
I went Friday for my start-cycle visit. My ovaries actually look about as good as I’ve ever seen them look on an ultrasound with a lot fewer of the characteristic PCOS cysts than what I’d consider my normal. The ultrasound tech also noted that I have a lot less fluid in my abdomen than I’ve ever had. The nurse drew blood to check my estrogen levels, which were low indicating my ovaries were suppressed sufficiently.
Okay, I thought. Now, it gets real. Especially after that check I just wrote.
Except that work got busy, and by the time I got home later, I almost forgot to start the medications. I scrambled to get the injections in at the time I wanted to set for the injections.
Saturday, we spent a pleasant afternoon watching Bones, and then went to help a friend move. It was busy, and even though we needed to get home for me to take my medication, I barely thought about the cycle. Sunday, I worked on cleaning. I cleaned out my closet and did the photos and listings for the items I figured could be sold. Cleaned out the bookshelf and prepared to take the three bags over to the local used bookstore.
Didn’t think much about the IVF.
Monday was my next check, so we had to head over to the city to the RE’s office first thing in the morning. I was bummed about that at first, since Monday was our only day to sleep in, but it turned out really well.
After I got done with the requisite ultrasound and blood work, we headed out to the walking trails along one of the rivers. “Do you have your phone, in case the RE’s office calls?” asked Arthur.
“Nope,” I said. “I just want to go hang out with you. We set my Wednesday appointment already, they can leave a message if there’s anything of note.”
It was a perfect morning for a walk: warm enough, but slightly overcast so that the sun wouldn’t beat down on us. We walked along the river, through the greenery and parks, just meandering and talking for a few miles. It was relaxing and wonderful. As we walked, we could smell fresh bread baking somewhere.
The scent finally had us walking back to the car to go get some breakfast. I knew a great local breakfast place in town, so we drove over and got in line. Despite how busy the restaurant was, we were seated within ten minutes. And oh my goodness, the food was good. Fresh orange juice with eggs and biscuits for Arthur and a heavenly dish of angel food cake French toast with strawberries for me. I’d never had anything like that before, and it was perfect: crisp on the outside, fluffy and delicate on the inside. It was a real treat.
After we left the restaurant, the RE’s office called, telling me to up my doses of stimulation meds slightly and that yes, they’d need to see me on Wednesday. And that was it. I turned my cell phone off, slipped my arm around my husband’s waist, and we went to a movie with a couple of free passes I had for a matinee. Did a little bit of shopping. Had an early dinner. It was lovely, and for most of the afternoon, the IVF cycle seemed to barely exist.
Tuesday night, I almost forgot to take my medications again. Arthur came home to find me on the couch, frantically reconstituting Menopur and dialing up the Follistim pen trying to get my shots in on time.
Wednesday morning I had another check-up, which went fairly well. I’ve got 23 follicles ranging from 5-9 mm, the majority between 6-8mm. The good news was that they’re fairly similar sized and hopefully will continue to grow at the same rate to produce mature eggs at the same time. My estrogen level is rising steadily, so we’ll see how this goes.
I have to admit I’m perhaps a bit glad of the less heightened sense of reality this time around. It means I’m mostly going about my daily life with less worry and less constant obsessing about the IVF cycle. I’m starting, I think, to accept that there’s very little I can control about this process other than choosing to undergo it in the first place. So I’m just trying to keep living and keeping my fingers crossed that it goes well.
Next check-up is on Friday.