Edited to add: Ticker. I am a total ticker whore.
Now that I’m done illicitly shooting up leftover meds, I thought I would go back and address/reply/comment on some of the mail and questions and stuff I got in regards to my DIY cycle. First off, thanks for writing them. Second, I invited this so I’m not the least bit angry about anything that was said and mean these replies in the best possible way.
Instead of replying to each of you individually, I’m going to kind of lump the gist of the questions together. Some of the things I say are kind of caustic, so I’d prefer not to associate them with a specific person.
Accumulated sentiment #1: How can you be this stupid! Ive had five IVF cycles. The first few were fine, but during the last one, I developed severe OHSS after less than four days on stims doing doses that are identical to those you are planning to do. If I would have done the trigger shot at the end of them, I would have a) died, b) had dodecatuplets or c) done permanent damage to my ovaries.
My thoughts: At the risk of opening this up to a lot more e-mail, I don’t believe you. Sorry. There. I said it.
I really doubt that if (like me, though only one cycle) you’ve had three or more cycles where it took you more than 12 days to reach any measurable level of ovarian stimulation (meaning there were follies to count, not anywhere near OHSS) that by decreasing your dosages to 66% of their prior prescription that you would have severe OHSS within five days. I think you are exaggerating a bit here folks. Trying to scare me out of doing what I was doing.
I understand why people tried to talk me out of what I was doing, but I don’t believe that this story is true. Prove me wrong.
Accumulated sentiment #2: Hey! I think it’s okay to do what you’re doing. A while back, I (removed stitches/lanced an absessed tooth/performed minor surgery/cut off an infected toenail/tweaked my own IVF protocol/self-medicated) by myself and it all worked out okay. Just be careful!
My thoughts: At the risk of sounding like a hypocrite, you people are crazy. 🙂 Get thee to a doctor! All of you!
Accumulated sentiment #3: You don’t know what you’re doing and are just wasting medication and you should just donate your meds to other people who are cycling. That’s what other women do. Why don’t you just save your meds for a later date?
My thoughts: Potentially, yes. Then again, how do we decide if a cycle is a waste of meds, money, etc.? You don’t get pregnant. By the same argument, my last cycle was a complete waste of time, money and medicine because it was canceled. That certainly wouldn’t prevent me from trying again.
So will this cycle be a waste of meds if I don’t get pregnant? I don’t feel that way.
And while I would have gladly donated my extra meds, syringes, etc. if I had gotten pregnant, I didn’t get pregnant. With all due respect, until I do, these are getting saved for me even if you think that’s a waste.
And I didn’t save them for a later date because a) fragile hormone meds probably wouldn’t have made it through several weeks in a shipping container in the summer, b) I am so not taking up space in my carry on or trying to get these through El Al, c) I don’t know if this is what I will be taking next time since I will be in Israel.
So it was kind of a use them or lose them sort of situation. I used them.
That said: I have two bottles of PIO and several IM syringes and needles, plus an extra sharps container, that I would gladly send to a good home. Pregnant or not after this, there is no way in hell I’m giving myself those. E-mail me and I’ll send them to the first person to reply.
I also have four (five?) packs of Luveris 75 units left that will go to the first person to e-mail me.
Accumulated sentiment #4: How will you know a) when to start the injections and how much stims to give yourself b) how many follicles you have c) when it is time to trigger and d) whether or not you are getting OHSS?
I started injections two days after I got my period. 10 units of Lupron. That worked last time to hold off ovulation for a goodly amount of time, so I didn’t change anything.
I worked backward from there: I was part of a study at the University of New Mexico that helped to build the new FRER. I won’t get into the gory details, but suffice it to say that after nine months in the study I a) know when I ovulate within a 24 hour window and b) know that I ovulate quite well on my own.
So I set it up that when I ovulated (Day 16) the trigger shot would have been in for 37 hours. Triggered on Friday morning (v convenient, no shots on shabbat). Backed that out five days, since that was how much Gonal F I had left (I know, not very scientific), which meant I started stims on Sunday night.
I did 150 units for the first two nights and didn’t feel any reaction. I bumped it to 225 units for the third and fourth days and took 300 units on the last day (that’s what was left — again, not very scientific). And I decreased the Lupron to 5 at first, then back to 7, cause I didn’t feel so good about 5.
I had the exact same symptoms this go around. Couldn’t use an OPK cause I was taking LH in the Luveris, but I charted EWCM and temp and everything was as it should be to the best of my knowledge.
I’ll let you know the results in a couple weeks.
Accumulated sentiment #5: You’re not a doctor. What if you get pregnant with 12 babies? Why are you doing this? Are you just doing this to make a point?
My thoughts: Umm. Duh. I’m doing this for the same reason anyone does a cycle. I want to have a baby.
No, I’m not a doctor. But it was my very educated and talented doctor that allowed me to ovulate on my IVF cycle, releasing more than 15 mature eggs (by their guess) and possibly landing me with an insane multiple pregnancy when I stated again and again that I thought I was about to ovulate.
With all due respect to the medical professionals of the world, there is a reason they say doctors are just practicing medicine.
I knew I was about to ovulate. I knew something was wrong. I knew I was in pain and no one cared. And I know that the ER I went to was woefully unable to help.
Why did we want to go right to IVF? So that we could control how many fertilized eggs we would have in my uterus. Unfortunately, we ended up with what could have been the worst possible scenario. And yes, I blame my doctor 100% for that, because it was entirely preventable.
So forgive me, but IVF #1 shattered my faith in medicine. I know my doc had blood tests and ultrasounds, but I had me and in the end … wait for it … I WAS RIGHT. And she was really, really wrong. And unwilling to listen.
No, I am not doing this to make a point. No, although I am bitter, I just think that cycle was a learning experience and I learned a lot.
And while I would hate to minimize the potential pitfalls of a high-order multiple pregnancy (and no, that is certainly not what we are going for), please explain to me how having sex is more likely to result in that than shooting the best sperm directly into my uterus? Do the math. This is actually safer than an IUI. More likely to be a waste of meds, I guess, but common sensically also much less likely to result in dodecatuplets.
If I end up with a high-order multiple pregnancy, we’ll deal with it. And if it something ideal (one or twins) we’ll be thrilled. If it is something in between (trips or quads), we’ll set up an eBay store.
Thanks again for all your letters and stories. No, I never went away, but I was reluctant to blog when I was doing this. I didn’t want to draw more attention to myself since this is not something I think other people should do. Or, chas v’shalom, something they should do if it works for us.
And yes, I am already pessimistic. I don’t think it will work. 🙂