Drugs


Follitropin Alfa (“Gonal F”)

A human follicle-stimulating hormone preparation of recombinant DNA origin.  Stimulates the growth and recruitment (ten-hut!) of immature ovarian follicles.

Human Menopausal Gonadotropin (“Menopur”)

Luteinizing hormone, human chorionic gonadotropin, and follicle-stimulating hormone recombinant extracted from the urine of postmenopausal women (yup). Used to stimulate the development of multiple eggs.

Side Effects
a.k.a Everything I Arbitrarily Blame on Fertility
 Meds

— Headache
— Fatigue
— Loss of appetite
— Surprise vomiting
— Days-long bouts of hiccups
— Extreme desire for wine
— Camel-like ability to store water
— Feelings of empathy towards pufferfish
— Irrational and all-consuming desire to procreate
— Weight gain that follows no predictable rhyme, reason, or pattern
— Being forced to downgrade to girl pushups
— Watching Gone with the Wind and crying
— Watching Fight Club and crying
— Getting majorly pissed off at minor obstacles (e.g. any line containing more than two persons, objects heavier than 15 pounds, temperature shifts of more than 2 degrees)

You can see why I’ve been trying to sequester myself away as much as possible.  No one wants to hang out with me when I’m in a constant state of Alan Rickman.

The price of being virile

The price of being virile

(Bidding pool for HALF BABY-MAKE VACUUM UP GAME 4.0 opens tomorrow morning.)

On October 2nd, 2011, I woke up to a notification from my phone.  It was an email telling me that one of my egg recipients had just given birth to a baby girl.

I’d never received this much information about the outcome of any egg cycle I’d ever done.  Sometimes they would let me know if an egg had implanted successfully, but that was generally the last I would hear of it.  This news bowled me over.  Sure, I’ve done this 6 times.  In the abstract, I have complete mental absorption and acceptance of the fact that I’m helping someone produce a baby.  But here was definitive, undeniable proof that I’d had a hand in putting another human being on this earth.  I’ve made my genetic mark.

It was a pretty moving moment.

Or maybe it was just really early in the morning, and my limited brain was easily impressed with such notions.

Over a year later, I am now embarking on my very last egg donor cycle.   I’m donating once again to this same couple.  They’ll be freezing my eggs, implanting them at a later date in the hopes of producing a biological sibling for their daughter.  Words cannot express how honored I am to help this family grow.

Phew…okay, that’s done.  Let’s get back to the regular, ol’ sarcastic Eggbot that you all know and love!

Family decal

I’m gonna plaster the rear window of my car with 200 zygote stickers.

That’s right, folks.  It’s lucky cycle number 7!  Normally the cut-off for donors is 6 cycles, but the doctors made an exception for me since I’m donating to the same family.  I thought that the 6 cycle limit would be due to health concerns and hormone overload, but actually the primary reason they give is a concern that your genes would flood the market.  Apparently, they are savvy to my plan of very slow, subtle world domination and via genetic saturation.

My retrieval is tentatively scheduled for December 3rd, starting stimulation medication on Thanksgiving. (This year, I’m thankful for gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogs.)

In the meantime, I’m back to my usual regimen of nightly injections of Lupron to regulate my ovarian function and hormone levels.  It was a little weird getting back into the swing of things…having to needle myself in the stomach every night.  But it’s okay, because this time, I have the “Ultra Comfort” needles!

I’d hate to experience the “Regular Comfort” ones.

I recently did a little research on Lupron (officially known as leuprolide acetate) and found some surprising facts.  It is not, as I believed, used primarily for fertility and IVF.  It’s actually more commonly prescribed for men, though from what I gather, you’re probably not a happy camper if your doctor puts you on it.  Today, I am going to leave you with the ever-popular series…..

Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Lupron (But Never Previously Had Access To A Fertility-Themed Blog To Read About It):

— It is most commonly used to treat hormone-responsive cancers, such as prostate cancer
— Can be used to treat precocious puberty (I was under the impression that was just called “puberty”.)
— Effectively lowers sexual urges in pedophiles and those with other paraphilias.  High doses can cause chemical castration.
— Leuprolide-based prostate cancer therapy in conjunction with radiation has been shown to result in a statistically significant shortening of the penis.  The average result? A 2.2-inch decrease in length.  Guys, if that doesn’t convince you to start screening for prostate cancer, I don’t know what will.

Alright kids, it’s that time again!

HALF BABY-MAKE VACUUM UP GAME 3.0!!

Unofficially endorsed by Lady Gaga. Bad photoshop not attributable to me.

Our winner last time was Paige E., who still hasn’t told me what kind of knit and possibly reproduction-related product she wants to put on her body.  Hit me up, Paige!

You guys know what to do.  Here comes a list!

–Price is Right rules apply.
–Eggs produced per cycle: #1: 18 eggs; #2: 17 eggs; #3: 49 eggs, #4: 53 eggs, #5 43 eggs
–I’m on approximately the same dosage levels as my last cycle
–I’m rockin’ about 20-30 follicles.
–Two nights ago, I belly danced to fast songs for 22 minutes straight, completely against doctor’s orders.  While I feel the same as I did before dancing, a few little scoundrels mighta gotten knocked loose.

You’ve got the knowledge, and knowledge is power.  Use that power for good.  And for eggs.  And knit goods.

Steve E: 48 (insists that this is the winning number exactly)
Lee P: 27
Erik N: 42
April CH: 39
Tamra M: 32
Ben D: 40
Jason W: 37
Joe K: 54
Ben B: 45
Trevor P: 20
Paul S: 23

5:09 Alarm goes off.  Hit the snooze button.
5:18 Alarm goes off again.  Pull myself up and out of bed.
5:19 Wash face, brush teeth, brush hair.
5:25 Pack up purse.  Make sure Ty is waking up too.
5:28 Change from slept-in PJs to not-slept-in PJs.
5:31 Check weather, email, facebook.
5:35 Sort and pack up unused medication.
5:40 Pop on my glasses and my WoW beanie and head out the door.
5:43 Depart for clinic.
6:11 Arrive at clinic.
6:14 Whisked away to surgery prep.  Put on the gown and stuff my hair into the stupid hat.
6:20 Get tucked into a nice warm bed.  The nurse goes over consent forms and more details of the procedure.
6:35 The nurse puts my IV in and takes off.
6:40 I start playing some Picross 3D (it kind of rules my world these days).
6:50 A nurse with a southern twang comes in and introduces herself as “Dusty.”  I explain the backstory to my right ovary sharing the same name.  She’s only mildly intrigued.
7:07 The anesthesiologist comes in to ask a few questions.  He pats my knee (yesssss).  He looks exactly like Ira Glass. I want to snuggle up to him so he can tell me quaint, slice-of-life bedtime stories in his youthful timbre.
7:15 They start rolling me into the OR.  Ira Glass administers some sort of relaxing medication.  He asks me if I feel it yet, and I say I don’t.
7:17 I’m transferred onto the operating table.  And I am feeling those drugs.
7:20 Each of my limbs has a nurse attached to it, going about some sort of important prep.  Ira Glass asks me where I’m from and a few other questions, but I’m too busy trying to keep my eyes in focus.
??:?? I’ve been contacted by the parents of a jr. high student that I used to tutor.  They want to hire me again.  She’s now 16 and slowly turning into a zombie.  She and her parents live in an underwater palace.  I’m swimming around trying to find her.
??:?? I’m visiting my sister.  She explains to me that a PE teacher we shared in high school recently passed away.  I’m holding my niece, Lily, and I ask her what her opinion is.  She giggles.
??:?? I’m having awesome sex.  Mind-blowing.  Earth-shattering.
??:?? The nurse is trying to wake me up.  I don’t want to stop dream sexing.
??:?? The nurse finally succeeds.  I immediately forget what was even actually happening in the sex dream.  But I don’t care, because I have enough happy drugs in me to satisfy Keith Richards.
??:?? Nurses check in on me.  I tell everyone that I am doing just GREAT.  I tell Ira that I’m feeling a little goofy, but still GREAT.
??:?? I eat about 7 packages of saltine crackers and chug gatorade like it’s going out of style.
8:?? The drugs are starting to wear off.   The nurse puts a fresh hot pack on my abdomen, checks to make sure that I’m not bleeding to death, then administers some Darvocet.
8:?? The Darvocet kicks in, and I’m high as a kite again.  She tells me that they retrieved 49 eggs.  A new record for me!  Like everything that’s been said to me in the past half hour or so, it makes me incredibly gleeful.
8:?? I wake up after a short nap.  Still feeling goofy, but much more awake and alert.
8:50: The nurse gets me up and escorts me and my IV to the bathroom.
8:52: I stand patiently while she pulls off all the tape keeping my IV in.  Once it’s extracted, she tells me I can get dressed.  “Are you sure you’re feeling okay?  No dizziness or anything?”
I say, “Oh yeah, I’m feeling totally fi–” and promptly pass out.
9:00 I wake up moments later.  The nurse is half-dragging me back to the bed.
9:02 I’m tucked back into bed and hooked up to a bunch of monitors again.
9:05 At the nurse’s request, I babble at her for a while to show I’m doing okay.
9:15 I get up again, and this time I can successfully dress myself without taking a header.
9:20 I’m wheeled out to the lobby, where Tyler is dead asleep.  My escort wakes him up, and we make our way down to the car.
9:35 We chow down on some delicious sandwiches.
10:00 We depart for home.

The rest is too boring to extrapolate.  I’ve pretty much just been sleeping since then.  I’ve been feeling way better than I did after Cycle #2, which is awesome.  My actual instructions for the next few days are to wear comfortable clothing and be a couch potato.  I think I can handle that.

So what’s next?  There are two different couples interested in maybe booking me for a next cycle.  One pair is located here and one is located in New York City.  Obviously, I’m crossing my fingers that the NYC couple will take the plunge, because I wanna go!  I’ll be sure to post as soon as any details come my way.  Until then, Happy Egg Harvest Day!

I would so be on the "Infertility" episode of This American Life.

I’ve been at the clinic for ultrasounds and blood work for the past three mornings in a row.  My estrogen levels apparently spiked higher than they ever have in any of my previous cycles, so the clinic is keeping a close eye on me.  My estrogen and estrodial levels are being closely monitored, and they’re slowly reducing my dosage of Follistim to prevent me from going into hyperstimulation.

Believe me, I am feeling those higher estrogen levels.  I’m cranky, bloated, nauseated, and tired of carrying around these two distended, alien creatures the doctors are calling my ovaries.  Seriously.  When I went in for my last ultrasound, the doctor actually gave an audible “Whoa!” as soon as they came up on the screen.

I’ve put on my requisite 5 fertility pounds, but I feel much, much larger than that.  Ty says I still look good, but I snapped a photo of the two of us, so you guys can be the judge:

His decision to grow out a sweet 'stache hasn't helped matters.

I actually had a runway gig last night.  Considering the way I felt (see above picture), I wasn’t all that psyched about doing it.  I showed up early and started changing into my first and, thankfully, only outfit.

The skirt wouldn’t zip up.

I cursed as I realized that I had been fitted for this far before I’d ever gone on the drugs.  It wasn’t exactly roomy back then either. When it came to this skirt, apparently 5 extra pounds made quite the difference.  I was about ready to shoot myself in the face when one of the designers came around the corner and saw me struggling.

“Oh no,” he said. “You are NOT telling me it’s too small now.”

I was preparing to vomit out a healthy pile of excuses and explanations, but he simply reached around, fixed the tangled fabric, zipped it up with no trouble, and ran off to fix some disasters elsewhere.

The show ended up going down with only minor hitches, and I was allowed to take off as soon as my set was over.  Unfortunately the end of my set coincided with when I had to do my injections.  I retreated to the changing room, which was like Grand Central Station at that moment, but it was the only place I had.  I laid out all of my many syringes and vials and tried to ignore all the odd looks I was getting.  One girl finally came up to me and peered over my shoulder.

“So, is this for like…? Are you like diabetic or….?”

I was about to tell her that I was an egg donor, but I knew that I was in no mood to answer the 500 questions that would follow.

“Oh, no.  This is just a part of my weight-loss plan.  I’ve already lost 17 pounds in two days!” I stabbed the Lupron syringe into my stomach for emphasis.

I was met with a look of both disgust and genuine, perhaps even jealous curiosity.  Thankfully, she just slowly nodded and walked away without asking any questions, as I hadn’t really planned the charade that far.

Aside from being cranky and pulling the legs of total strangers, I am pleased to announce that my retrieval is all on schedule for Tuesday morning.  I’ll be taking my trigger shot tonight at 8:30, and it’ll all be downhill from there!  Until Tuesday!

PS — Operation Jack Off Room Investigation was a success.  The drawers were stacked with messy piles of smut mags.  I was expecting and maybe even hoping for a neatly cataloged and extensive library of naughty DVDs, but I only saw one unmarked DVD tucked under some Hustlers.  Whatever. Porn is porn.

In typical Los Angeles fashion, it took me an HOUR to drive the 10 miles to my ultrasound appointment this morning.  I’ve been on Lupron for quite a while, but only on the hormonal stimulation meds for about five days now.  The whole way I experienced the now familiar stirrings and foreboding twinges in my ovaries that, if I didn’t know better, I might mistake for some sort of Lovecraftian STD.  Other than that, my side effects have mainly consisted of laughably intense mood swings and smelling really, really good to myself and others.

The doctor gave me a good ultrasounding and determined that I was progressing nicely.  My right ovary is producing more follicles than my left, as per usual.  I think Dusty (my right ovary) is the overachiever of the family, while Lefty is perhaps just more free-spirited.  It takes all types to run a village.  Of organs.

Anyway, the only really interesting thing that happened was when I went to the lab to get my blood work done.  As I was being sucked dry, I took a glance around.  Directly across from me in the hallway was a slightly cracked door.  The lights were off, but I thought I could spy maybe a sink?  The sign outside the door simply said “Specimen Collection.”  I realized that that’s probably just the bathroom where they send you for collecting urine samples.

When the phlebotomist was done with me, I gathered my things and went into the hall.  Just a few feet down were two bathrooms.  Now that’s kind of silly, I thought.  Why have a separate bathroom for “specimen collection” when you could just send people to the regular bathroom?

But then I woke up from what must have been my 9 a.m. stupor and put 2 and 2 together.

“Specimen Collection” = “Jack Off Room”

There was no one in the hall, so I eagerly peeked inside. It was just like in the movies! Small, cozy, almost intimate…There wasn’t a sink at all, actually–just a little shelf with a box of tissues on it.  And there was a very comfy-looking chair, facing directly towards a small television about two feet away.  The TV was sitting on top of some big drawers.

I stared at these drawers.  If this jack off room was really like how they portray them in movies and TV shows, I knew those drawers must have been filled with porn.  I mean, what the hell else are you gonna watch on that TV?

My mind was teeming with questions. What kind of porn would a fertility clinic provide?  Would they stick to mainstream, vanilla stuff?  Or would they try to cater to a variety of tastes and kinks?  Whose job is it to make this kind of decision?

I had to find out.  I had to know what was in those drawers.  The instant that I put my foot down inside the room, three lab techs came into the hall.  I quickly aborted the mission and left the clinic.

My next appointment is on Friday.  I’m planning on using the ol, “Oh!  Silly me!  I thought this was the bathroom!” should my stealth be compromised.  For the good of us all, I am determined to lay these questions to rest.  Until next time.

PS — For more information about Lovecraftian STDs, do yourself a favor and read this.

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