Needles


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.

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It’s been months, my friends!  Much has happened both in my personal life and my reproduction-for-profit life!

I’ve had a nice, long break since my last cycle.  I’ve been doing photo shoots, auditioning, and I even got to take a trip to Maui, where I consumed more mai tais than you can shake a stick at.  Yesterday, I celebrated one whole year living in L.A.!  All in all, my body, mind, and spirit have had a good few months to recharge before getting down to business with my next cycles.

My next cycle, which will be my fourth, is with the same clinic that I worked with last time.  I think the couple is from Europe and will be flying to LA for the procedure.  I really wish that they would fork up the money to fly me over there instead, but oh well.  Currently I’m bogged down in getting legal all cleared so that I can start drugs within the next two weeks or so.

Today, I got confirmation on a match for a fifth cycle.  I’ll be getting to travel for this one…to Arizona!  I’m excited for a paid mini-vacation to Arizona, which Google Image Search tells me is the land of….cacti!

1000 Needles Attack!

Scorpions!

I like to pinch.

Racial profiling!

Wheemp whomp.

…woman…tours…?!

Hope you packed your red tent.

I can’t wait!

The ball is finally rolling on Cycle #3, so here’s a quick update.

The last few weeks have been spent primarily trying to get legal matters out of the way.  I had to leave my signature and initials all over this 20 page contract.  I ended up printing out said contract a whole 3 times because I messed it up the first two times.  That’s 40 sheets of wasted paper.  My condolences to the trees.

Anyway, I received a letter in the mail a few days ago saying that I was legally cleared, which means we could move on to setting up a med calendar and getting a prospective retrieval date.  Yesterday, the nurse called me and said I could expect a retrieval around the 18th of May, meaning I’d probably start injections sometime around the 4th or 5th of May.

This morning, I received an email from the nurse informing me that while I’d be on the regular Follistim/Menopur protocol starting around then, I’d actually be starting Lupron injections this weekend!  The clinic that I’m doing this cycle with highly prefers using what’s called a leuprolide-based analog protocol for egg donors.  It involves using Lupron to bring the ovaries and the ovulation cycle to a sort of neutral state before punching them in the face with stimulation drugs.

Now this is all fine and good, but this is what it actually translates to: I have to give myself a Lupron injection every night until the 5th, at which time I’ll be adding Follistim and Menopur.  So for that last week and a half it will be three injections a night.

Don’t get me wrong–I’ve long since grown accustomed to puncturing my abdomen, but I don’t exactly get off on it.  And it was awkward enough belly dancing with all these bruises across my lower abdomen; now there’s going to be even more/bigger ones.  Someone’s going to think that I resorted to a Chris Brown-styled abortion.

And unfortunately, just like the regular stimulation meds, there’s no sex, smoke, painkillers, or alcohol while on Lupron.  I’m not a nympho, a smoker, or an alcoholic, but when someone restricts you from these things for 10 days, I’ve found they become the only things you want.  I can only imagine what’s going to happen having to live like a saint for several weeks.

There is an up side, though.  I can still go to the gym and exercise while on Lupron, unlike the other meds.  Perhaps therein lies the answer to my immanent frustrations.  Need a drink after a long day?  Go to the gym.  Invited to a hookah bar with friends?  Politely decline and go to the gym.  Watched back-to-back Ewan McGregor films and feeling randy? …..go to the gym?  Hey, it works for some people.  Check it out, ladies.

P.S. — The hamstring curl, not hanging leg raises, worked for me.

This is a poor approximation of my body, but a near-perfect approximation of my O-face.

Yesterday I had an appointment scheduled at 8:30 a.m. to do my hormone/Estradiol blood tests as well as re-screening me for any infectious diseases (they’re apparently easy to pick up in this town.) They were also going to give me all of my meds.

Now, I had to go to bed very early Sunday night because of the situation that would be facing me when I left for my appointment Monday morning. I’d be traveling at between the hours of 7 and 8 (the peak of rush hour), heading toward downtown (where everyone else is trying to go), on the 101 freeway (usually functions as a parking lot most weekdays), in the rain (oh boy). The drive is only 15-20 minutes, but I wanted to give myself plenty of leeway. Tyler posited: “If you were heading to a set, what time would you leave here?” I said 5 a.m.

I had a feeling, however, that fertility clinics were a little more lenient than film sets about people being late, so I gave myself just an hour. Having forgotten that Monday was MLK day and thus the freeways would be practically deserted, I arrived at my appointment much, much earlier than expected.

Fortunately I was able to get my tests done right away and just had to wait around for my examination and to pick up my meds. The nurse was relieved that she didn’t have to teach me how to do the injections, so after a quick review of my calendar (and a horrific anecdote that I’ll mention later) I was unceremoniously handed a bulging shopping bag and sent to checkout. Later that night my first injection went down without a hitch. This time around I only need to poke myself once per night, as I learned that the Follistim and Menopur can be mixed and injected simultaneously.

Now for the story. Before she handed over the meds, the nurse told me to make doubly sure that I switched to the smaller needles after using the mixing needle to reconstitute the Menopur. This was old news to me, so I sort of just nodded and brushed it off, but she was persistent. She told me that one patient was constantly complaining that the injections were extremely painful and was there any  way she could take the drugs in some other form? It took a while before they figured out that she was using the mixing needle instead of the proper injection needle. Just to clarify, this is the needle that you inject with:

27 gauge 1/2" needle: tiny but terrific!

And this is the mixing needle, the one this woman was using:

22 gauge 1.5" needle: gaaaaaaahhh!

Straight into the stomach too!! No wonder the injections were hurting.  Yeesh.