All By Myself

Yesterday, I went in for ultrasounds and blood tests for day 4 of stims. On one hand, I’m extremely grateful that Dr. Petrel’s office has early morning appointments. On the other hand (the hand attached to this non-morning person,) I’m thoroughly displeased I had to be anywhere at 8:15 in the morning.

The appointment went smoothly. I got in, got my blood drawn, was unceremoniously probed. Just a typical Thursday morning of the IF crowd.

The ultrasound tech told me that I have 7 ripening follicles in one ovary, none in the other. I will admit now that I was slightly disappointed. I really wanted a bumper crop of those suckers. Specifically 30. I came upon this number through a very thorough process of picking it out of thin air.  Totally at random. I have no idea why, but my weirdo pea brain was fixated on the number 30.

Of course, I have no idea what is “normal” or “good.” Even if I did, I know better than to compare my body to any sort of standard. It does whatever the hell it wants. So I spent the morning reminding myself that ultimately, I just need one. Just one that works and sticks.

Regardless of my lingering disappointment, Dr. Petrel is pleased with my ovarian progress. The stimming cocktail continues, now with the addition of Menopur at night and Ganirelix in the morning.

I have been stimming now for 5 days. Outside of a persistent, low-grade headache, I’ve felt fine. No other side effects to report. The injections themselves are no fun. Not terrible, but not something I’ll be signing up for again under any circumstances. (There goes my long-held dream of becoming a heroin addict. Shucks.)

Gonal-f is a non-event. I hardly notice it.

Menopur stings a bit going in- kinda like a flu shot.

Ganirelix didn’t hurt going in, but the inject spot was sore and a little red for about 45 minutes afterwards.

I’m making Mr. Ostrich do the shots. Between you and me, I’m okay giving myself the shots, but I really want him to be involved. Up until now, I’ve been muscling through the appointments and infuriating phone calls with my insurance on my own. It isn’t because he won’t help– I’ve just never asked him. Which is why I think he is a bit removed from the whole process.

For example, Mr. O came with me to the baseline ultrasound and blood test. He sat in the room with the Tech while the ultrasound was performed. This wasn’t such a big deal to me– I’ve been poked in every way imaginable at this point. But Mr. O was completely floored. He just didn’t realize what all this meant until he saw me go through it first hand.

That’s when I decided to ask him to administer the injections. This isn’t because I want recognition for what I’m going through- I really want him to feel invested in this in a concrete way. It seems harder for men to grasp what IVF means because… they aren’t physically experiencing it? They are biologically programed to not notice? I have no idea.

I wonder if the same is true regardless of gender- If you’re part of a lady-lady duo, does the partner who isn’t undergoing treatment “get it?” Or is this just something you have to physically go through to understand?

To be clear, I don’t intend to downplay the role of anyone’s partner plays in this process. Even if they aren’t getting probed by ultrasound wands or pumped with hormones, they offer so much love and support. They are obviously just as invested in the outcome. I imagine it’s difficult to be in the role of witness too. For Mr. O at least, he has said several times that he wishes he could do some of this for me. But you know… pesky biology gets in the way.

Mr. O and I share so much. We’re disgustingly egalitarian in our relationship. It feels odd that he isn’t experiencing this in tandem, the way we do so many things. For the first time since we started this journey, I feel strangely separate.

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15 comments

  1. AndiePants · November 14, 2014

    I got a shitton (that’s the technical term -specifically, 50) eggs but only 20 of those were mature AND fertilized – and I have PCOS. Generally, you want to aim for quality overt quantity. I hear 5-10 good eggs in a non pcos woman is a good number to aim for. So no worrying! My female partner was as involved as she could be but was still pretty disconnected, so it’s not just a gender divide for sure.

    • thecommonostrich · November 14, 2014

      I wasn’t sure if this was just a “boys are weird” thing. (Girls too are weird, just in a way I understand.)

      This is absolutely a quality over quantity issue. And yet…

  2. Elizabeth · November 14, 2014

    I don’t think it’s men, I think it’s more not being the person who has to go through it. Michele (my other half) definitely doesn’t get the magnitude of IVF. She definitely gets it logically but as far as what an emotional wrecking ball it is she is clueless. For example, a day or so after the egg retrieval she thought the cycle was over. I guess technically it is but she was amazed that I was so upset to see the embryos die off from 16 on Day 3 to 3 on Day 5. To her we just do it again. Hello? It’s IVF not an eyebrow wax! So, yeah, it’s women too. 🙂

    • thecommonostrich · November 14, 2014

      Definitely NOT an eye brow wax. Or a facial.

      I think that’s why I was hoping for more. I know there is going to be some that don’t make it, and I reeaaallly don’t want do this again. For so many reasons.

      I’m so happy that this is equal opportunity oblivion. It strangely validates my world view.

  3. carolinep9 · November 14, 2014

    I go in (alone) for my day 4 ultrasound/blood work tomorrow morning. I assumed I’d be doing all shots but my husband did want to be involved, so he mixes the Menopur, preps the syringe. I do all injections, maybe it’s the control thing I prefer. He has also done a lot of the calling regarding payments but I lined up all the meds and made that order. I have felt alone through most of this; maybe it’s another reason why I started blogging.

    • thecommonostrich · November 14, 2014

      It’s awesome that he stepped in. There is something valuable about this. Maybe I’m getting overly poetic about it, but I like the idea that we’re still “making a baby” together (albeit with a ton of needles.)

      I absolutely hear you on the blogging part. There is something so valuable in sharing what you’re going through, and getting support from people who KNOW what this is all about. So keep it up!

  4. My Perfect Breakdown · November 14, 2014

    Not that I can speak to IVF, but my husband has sat with me through 98% of our appointments – visits with our RE and through 5 miscarriages. Just the other day in fact, he remarked at the fact that he has never spent so much time at doctors offices! That said, I do all the phone calls and all the research. But, it has meant so much to me that he has been with me every step of the way. I am so happy to hear that Mr. O is becoming more involved, I think it’s great for our partners to see what we are going through. 🙂

    • thecommonostrich · November 14, 2014

      It is really wonderful to have someone who goes through this with you, isn’t it? Of course, if they weren’t so wonderful, we wouldn’t have married them in the first place. 😉

      Admittedly, I was the one who didn’t bring him in more. I just didn’t see the point. IVF just feels like a much bigger deal, one I know I can’t carry on my own. I am genuinely grateful that Mr. O has been more involved.

      • My Perfect Breakdown · November 14, 2014

        Not only would we probably not be married to them, but we also probably would not be trying everything imaginable to have a family with them. 🙂
        I can appreciate that IVF just feels like such a bigger deal and something that you need to share to manage the enormity of all of it. And I guess for us, Mr. MPB really had to be there at all the miscarriage stuff as I was so hoped up on various medications that I could not do it safely on my own. Thankfully he was there with me. 🙂

  5. labmonkeyftw · November 14, 2014

    I like this post (and your 7 eggs! Go eggs go!) I need to find a way to get Pea involved: he is invested, sure, but I go to all appointments on my own, and do my own trigger shots (he is very squeamish and nervous around needles… so I think your solution might not be a good one for us). I will have to ponder another way.

    • thecommonostrich · November 14, 2014

      I will say that it has helped me deal with all this better. Though a lot of the actual procedures are happening to me, I don’t feel like I’m carrying it all.

      I don’t think it has to be the shots, either. For Mr. O, the big realization was actually when he saw the ultrasound. I think staring at my uterus must have mesmerized him… (Kidding. Of course.)

  6. julieann081 · November 14, 2014

    Yay for 7 eggs! My husband goes to every single appointment with me. He had to have a lot of blood taken once and he said he felt like a science experiment. I just laughed and asked him how he thought I felt. 🙂 I think it’s always different for partners, but being by one another’s side is awesome. I’m glad you have help with your shots!

    • thecommonostrich · November 14, 2014

      Thank you! I’m secretly hoping I’ll grow more of them. But you know… that isn’t from the land of rational thought.

      It didn’t occur to me until recently that I was doing most of this on my own. It wasn’t because he didn’t want to be there. I just “took care of it.” I’m genuinely grateful that he is helping more. I don’t feel like I’m carrying as much.

  7. bionicbrooklynite · November 15, 2014

    Not gender. Just not getting poked and prodded. I think Sugar even wrote a post somewhere about how being the person stabbing me with needles was good because it made her feel like she was DOING something. I would imagine it’s even harder for a male partner to feel so…superfluous. Hugs to Mr. O. And to you, because boy do I know what you mean. Sugar couldn’t come with me to most of the appointments. It was lonely.

    Ganerelix did the same to me, btw, like a bee sting. The headache tapered off after a the first week, I think? You don’t want 30 follicles, trust me. I know what you mean, but you want just enough good ones. 32 eggs was awful and meant I was really sick. You are sitting pretty.

    • thecommonostrich · November 17, 2014

      I figured at some point in the process that sense of “otherness” would have popped up. I just thought it would be once I was… you know, actually pregnant. I also imagined it would be the source of some unnamed joy- like bonding with my fetus or something. This feels decidedly unjoyous.

      32? I’m now officially carrying 9 follicles and I feel like a stuffed sausage. I have no idea how you managed, dear.

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