Tuesday, January 14, 2014

2 shots down, lots more to go

I am officially cycling now. My period started on 1/9, as expected, so I went on 1/10 for my labs to measure my Estradiol (E2) and Progesterone (P4) levels. Both numbers were good and indicated that ovulation had been suppressed. I was a little worried because after I got back from Texas, I got sick with sinus and respiratory crap (thank you pollen) and had to take antibiotics towards the end of the BCP-taking. Anyways, my lab results were fine so I did my first self-injection that night (the 10th): .1 cc (aka 2 mg) of  Delestrogen (a brand name of estradiol valerate). The reason I say .1 cc is because I have  a 1 cc syringe and when I draw my meds, I pull the plunger to the .1 line.

I've now done two shots of the Delestrogen. I take it every 3rd night. I go back to the lab tomorrow (1/15) to get bloodwork done to recheck my E2 levels and see if my dose needs to change. On 1/22, I have an appointment at an IVF clinic here in town to repeat my E2 and P4 labs and (most important) to do an ultrasound to check my lining. We want to see that lining be nice and fluffy!

The Delestrogen injection hasn't hurt too bad so far. Actually, it hasn't really hurt at all beyond the initial pinch when the needle pierces my skin. I feel this weird combination of relief that it doesn't hurt and worrying about "What if that means I'm doing it wrong?". LOL! Silly Esther.

For those of you who are interested in the specifics and fascinated at the thought of me stabbing a needle in my own butt (hi Kelli!), I'll ramble on about that for a few minutes.

Earlier in the afternoon on 1/10, I started crowd sourcing the surrogacy groups I'm in on Facebook, asking for the videos that they watched and found the most helpful in learning how to give themselves shots. There were a couple that, while detailed, I didn't find too helpful because they were videos of a nurse giving someone else an IM injection. It was helpful to hear the description and specifics, but not so much on how to do it while watching the needle for blood, finding the right spot on yourself, etc. (For anyone who's interested, the links to the videos of the nurse demonstrating IM injections are here and here). The video that I personally found most helpful is this video by a surrogate.

I think I follow Becca's instructions pretty much exactly, with one exception. She recommends using a rice heating pad to warm the meds in the syringe after you draw them. I didn't have any kind of heating pad so I came up with my own method: to warm the meds in the syringe, I just tuck them under my breast and keep it there for a minute while I have an ice pack on my butt. I like that my method requires no extra supplies and prep. And after nursing 3 babies, my boobs are floppy enough for that to work. So, that's a little trick you can try.

Here's a picture of my supplies:

I made the mistake of not unwrapping the syringe and needles before I got started. I only made that mistake the first time, it made the process so much more clumsy. For shot #2, I unwrapped everything before I got started and it all went much faster.

The syringe is a 1 cc syringe. It comes without a needle so I have to attach the 18 gauge needle (pink top) first. That's the needle I use to draw the medication from the vial. Since the Delestrogen is a medication in oil, it's thick and comes out super slow so you want the larger needle for that. After drawing the Delestrogen, I switch to a 22 gauge needle (gray top) which is smaller, to do the actual injection.

For switching the needles, the Nurse Coordinator gave me a hint that I had either missed or nobody else had told me: draw a big air bubble BEFORE taking the 18 off and putting on the 22. I'm super glad she included that in her voicemail telling me the labs were good and to start injections.

That's about all I can think of to say about sticking myself in the butt, aside from reiterating that if you're doing these injections, MAKE SURE you switch the 18 gauge needle for a smaller one between drawing the meds and doing the shot. That thing is HUGE and would hurt like the dickens if you forgot and tried to use it to inject. Dear sweet 8 b. 5 oz. Baby Jesus wrapped in a swaddling cloth and lying in a manger, pleeeeeeeeeease don't ever let me forget to swap my needles.

I'll close with a little joke I came up with, all on my own. Ahem. *taps mic* Ready?

Some ladies do shots of tequila. I do shots of hormones.

HA! I crack myself up.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Legally cleared and on the calendar

Sorry I'm behind in updating, December was a crazy month, between Final Exams and the holidays (and, of course, surrogacy stuff). I hope y'all had a great holiday! I went back home with my husband and kids to spend Christmas with my family. It was really nice to be back with everyone for about a week. I'm now on break from school for the month of January until the Spring Semester starts at the beginning of February.

On to what you're really interested in, surrogacy updates! The contract portion of the process went really fast. After my attorney sent my requests back to my IP's attorney, they responded with another draft with some of my requests accepted, some changed, and some turned down. Compromise FTW. :D I was happy with how it all read so we were able to get the contract signed at both ends and had legal clearance before Christmas.

It was just in time, since I started my period on December 21. My Nurse Coordinator called in a prescription of birth control pills to a pharmacy near my parents house and I got started on those. I've learned pretty fast that unless I want to spend the morning nauseated, I have to take the BCP with a full meal, and eat my meals at regular intervals, as well as snacks.

My last BCP will be on January 5th. When my period starts (projected to be ~1/9), I'll go early morning the next day (CD - aka Cycle Day - 2) to a lab here in town to get my Progesterone and Estradiol levels checked, and that's also the day that I'll start doing Delestrogen injections.

Speaking of Delestrogen and injections, I got my box of meds today!!! It came via FedEx and was SO exciting.

The contents of the box:
-1 Sharps shuttle
-Vials of Delestrogen and PIO (Progesterone In Oil), I'll take these via Intramuscular injection
-Boxes of Endometrin (Progesterone supplements that will be administered vaginally)
-Prenatal vitamins
-Various syringes and needles for the Delestrogen and PIO injections
-Valium to take prior to the transfer
-Doxycyclene and Methylprednisolone, both to be taken orally (there are 5 each of both, I think one is to prevent infection from the transfer and one is to reduce the risk of my body rejecting the embryo).

-Various supplies for the injections, like a LOT of wipes for the site and the top of the Delestrogen and PIO bottles

If we were doing a fresh transfer, I'd also have to do Lupron injections. Some doctors still do Lupron for frozen transfers, mine does not. I'm cool with that. I'm not scared of needles but I'm also cool with not having to do any more meds and injections than necessary. :D

Like I said, I'll start Delestrogen injections on CD 2. That's projected to be 1/10. As long as my mid-cycle monitoring appointment on the 22 goes well (they have to check my hormone levels again and do an ultrasound to verify that my uterine lining is at the thickness they need it to be at that point), transfer is scheduled for January 30. I'm so excited!!!!!!!!!!!!