Things that are Starting IVF: Bring on the Injections

Tuesday, January 26

So it got down to injection business on January 6th (Wednesday). I started 20IU of Lupron (which stops the signal from the brain to the ovaries to trigger ovulation) first, and one of the side effects is menopausal like symptoms - hello hot flashes. It stung really bad the first couple of times I injected it to the point of tears (and it wasn't from sticking myself). I figured out where the best place for the shot on my belly was, and it seemed to help take away the sting of the injection going in. I had to give my evening dose (on the 6th) of Lupron in the Steak 'n Shake bathroom. I really liked that the majority of the handicapped bathrooms in Orlando had a sink and a mirror. I was able to use the sink to hold my case of injections.

Thursday was the same dosage (making sure it was around 12 hours in between each injection) but this time I had the help of my friend Celise to hold up my costume so I could give myself the injection before the race. I remember her saying that she was shocked that I stuck myself without hesitation. That night we were in Hollywood Studios and gave myself an injection in a Disney World bathroom.
Friday was a little bit intense to say the least because I was running the Minnie 10k at Disney World and had to get my injections past bag security at the race. I needed to find a spot to give myself the injections, and then run the race. I had gotten the hang of giving myself 1 injection, but then adding on another 2 was bound to get stressful. I added Follistim in the morning and night as well as Menopur at night, to my injection ritual. Follistim, which uses FSH and Menopur which uses FSH and LH to help stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple follicles (eggs).

I ended up giving myself 3 shots instead of 2 that morning, because I forgot to dial out the dosage in the Follistim pen. Thankfully it didn't ever happen again. I had my running friends help hold the injections and alcohol wipes so I could get my shots ready, and give myself the shots, and it was quite helpful. They joke and say they were helping me make babies.

That night I gave myself 3 shots in the bathroom of Texas Roadhouse (carb loading with those yummy rolls - you know how good they are!), and it took me 20 minutes. Chase texted to make sure I was okay. I freaked out a little because I was having issues with the Menopur injection and couldn't get the big bubbles out of the syringe (you don't want those big bubbles to go into your body and potentially reaching your heart). Once I was finally able to get it all ready, the Menopur ended up stinging going in. Thankfully I didn't have a problem with the other 2 injections.

About a half hour later, I felt sick to my stomach. I was worried that the injections were making me sick and it was going to interfere with the next 2 hardest race days. I messaged a friend asking if she had gotten sick with her fertility injections and she inevitably said yes. It was nice to know that I wasn't alone, but still didn't make me feel any better. I prayed that I could at least make it through the next 2 days without being sick to my stomach.

For half marathon morning (January 9, my birthday) Chase had gone to the store for ginger ale which helped me not feel as nauseous. I also ate a lot more; having oatmeal, a bagel, as well as ginger ale, all before my morning injections. I ended up having a good race, and an awesome birthday.

 Birthday selfie

Once I figured out the shots and how to do draw them out as well as deliver them, it took maybe 2-5 minutes, twice a day, making sure they were around 12 hours in between each injection. I continued on that schedule (twice daily) for 10 days total. My last fertility drug shot was Sunday Morning (January 17), and that night I gave myself an Ovidrel shot (which triggers ovulation) which happened to be the last shot I had to give myself for our IVF cycle.

When we got back from Orlando on January 11, the following morning I had a fertility appointment where they checked my blood to see how my estrogen levels were doing. They check the estrogen to see how the follicles are maturing. If the number were to increase too rapidly, then I would decrease my dosage per the RE. Same goes if my estrogen levels weren't increasing fast enough, then I would increase me dosage per RE's orders.

My tummy was so bruised from the injections

The following day (January 13) I had an ultrasound appointment along with another blood test. They found 3 follicles on the left and 4 on the right. My estrogen level (E2, estradiol) was at an 838, where it needed to be.

Two days later (January 15) I went back in and they found 4 follicles on the left and 4 on the right. One follicle was measuring 17mm and another at an 8mm, the rest were between 12-16mm. My estrogen was at a 1301.

January 16 we had an early morning appointment on a Saturday. The clinic will be open on Saturday and Sunday's, because IUI and IVF are time sensitive based on our bodies. The RE's have a lot more control based on the medications we are taking. I had 6 follicles on the right and 4 on the left, because I still had that cyst on my left side, I knew I wouldn't get very many follicles from that side. My estrogen was at 1605.

January 17, we had 4 on the left and 4 on the right that the ultrasound technicians were able to see, and that were big enough. One measured 21mm on one side and 10mm on the other side. They called with my estrogen results, 1882, and to tell me to trigger ovulation that night at 10pm, and to stop my fertility injections.

 At this point I was done with fertility injections, and the next step with IVF was egg retrieval.
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Things that are Starting In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

Friday, January 22

Our IVF Journey started when Chase and I went in for our IVF consult after the appointment with our RE who said the next best option would be IVF. At that appointment my coordinator gave me a calendar of when to start and stop all fertility medications. So once I start a medication, I take it until my stop date or until they tell me to stop. I also signed up for a "shot class" (#awholenewmeaningtobodyshots) to help me understand how to use and mix my injections.

My RE wanted me to start by taking his super pills, which are supposed to help with egg quality. Once Aunt Flo (AF) came in December I was put on birth control (BC) to help suppress my ovaries. They don't want them producing eggs, and it's to give the RE and the clinic more control over my cycle. I do not like the side effects of BC; cramping, bloating, weight gain, as well as horrible mood swings (sorry Chase), but I knew the pills are necessary. So I kept taking them (with knowing when the stop date is to help me cope with the side effects) and knew that there would be a day where I would not be on them anymore = Happy Tedi.

My baseline appointment was scheduled for January 4th - they always start with an ultrasound (aka: the wand, the probe, transvaginal ultrasound, whatever you want to call it). While they were checking my lining they found a cyst on my left ovary, they drew my blood to see if the cyst was estrogen producing (which would be a bad thing if it was). I got a call from the clinic later that day and they told me my lining was great and my estrogen level was where it needed to be. Yay! For no estrogen producing cyst! The clinic said that it is common for women to get cysts each cycle and they do go away on their own once your period starts. They told me to proceed with my calendar schedule for injections. They had also mentioned that I may not start my period. I was hopeful that AF wouldn't come seeing as I would be on vacation and running a lot (hello 48.6 miles). Well sure enough AF came to visit, and stayed until marathon morning (why is it that AF always likes to come with big races?!). Seriously - she couldn't have just not showed up!? Grr

While at the baseline appointment Chase and I payed the deposit for our IVF cycle. If you are paying cash, then you would have to pay the full amount at that time. They break everything down and you just pay one lump sum, so you aren't having to pay at each visit. It was nice to only have to pay once, but it was a fairly large bill.
All you need in order to start the IVF process is have cash or insurance that will pay for the big bill. You know the price of IVF is about that of a newer used car ($10,000-18,000). So Chase and I should, at this point have a gently used car (maybe another one with all the IUI's we did last year?). It just shows that fertility costs are super expensive, and more insurances, and employers should add infertility coverage for their employees, since it wouldn't increase the premium by much.
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Things that are Dopey Challenge Day 4: Mickey Marathon

Monday, January 18

Okay, Okay, Okay - you are going to get picture overload today for this recap (I think 71 total) and #idontevencare

Like all the other days we got up at the same time, and were out the door by like 3:30-3:45ish. Dan and his wife weren't going to come to the parks with us after the race. So it was just mine and Celise's spouses that woke up with us and came with us. Dan came too, obviously since he was racing with us. :)
Group photo! Before we start glistening because of the humidity. 

I did want to point out that I had the EASIEST time running at sea level (or close to sea level). I joked with my chiropractor earlier this week that I felt like I was doping (though I would never EVER consider EVER cheating) but I said that because I could run and not feel like I was going to die because I couldn't breath. I also think being able to breath helped the recovery process.

We weren't halfway through Dopey Challenge until mile 3 of the marathon! If you can believe that! 

Mickey was at the start on this morning (instead of Donald from yesterday)

Instead of waiting in line to use the port-a-potty before we walked a half mile to the corral, there were ones that were closer to our corral, so we used those. Every runner needs to know where the nearest bathroom is.
Marathon start (thanks to a fellow runner for this good clear picture)

Pre-race picture

And we're at mile 1! 

Jack Skellington and Sally - we had to stop because Shelly adores them!

Sally wanted us all to hold our heart (I think heart at least)

The next stop was the Ticket and Transportation Center (TTC) where we met the guys - oh btw I had my phone this time!

 Its always nice to have support along the way even if it was at around mile 3. 

 We ran under the same bridge we ran the previous day - which also had a lit sign that said "runDisney" on our way to the Magic Kingdom

 Wall to wall people running down Main Street

 We were supposed to meet Shelly's hubby, but he wasn't able to get to the Magic Kingdom on time

Selfie minus Dan

Not sure what happened, and we wished after the race (I'm blaming it on lack of sleep) for not coming up with a plan for if one of us gets lost. But we lost Dan at this point during the race. All 3 of us stopped for pictures in front of the castle again, but then turned around and Dan was gone. We then realized (after like 20 minutes)that he must have just run on ahead of us. There were so many people, so we just kept on running. So that's why the following pictures don't have Dan in them! We all feel horrible (and it didn't help that he didn't have a phone with him).

 Made sure we stopped with Alice and the White Rabbit

Then we stopped with Ariel and Celise ran ahead looking for Dan. We were still worried and talked about it for miles and miles.

 I wanted a picture with as many Disney Princesses that I could, that was my one request

 Another great picture of the castle (and Anna and Elsa once again)

We saw the train the day before, and said if it was still there for the marathon we wanted to stop and take photos- thankfully I was feeling just great and didn't feel like I wanted to get hit by a train!

We were hoping that Peter Pan would be in the same spot again, but it wasn't and was Maleficent as a dragon and her crow and some other minions were there.  

There were great signs volunteers were holding along the way:

 This one made me laugh

This one says: "If this is your idea of FUN I don't want to know what a BAD day looks like :)"

 Then we saw Goofy - we sort of did the Goofy Challenge along with Dopey, so we'll count it!

I love our faces in this one

Hello Hades

Hello Evil Queen - no I didn't eat any of her rotten apples

 Jack Sparrow and Captain Barbosa

 Too bad the whole ship wasn't there - I guess in years past it was the whole ship

 "Run faster he farted ---> she's lying"

 We made it to Animal Kingdom shortly after it opened (which was our plan with taking pictures with characters). Our plan was to ride Expedition Everest:

 I didn't have a place to put my phone so I had to hold it. Are you scared yet?!

The guys met us in Animal Kingdom and gave us some sandwiches which really hit the spot, halfway and Hungry. They couldn't get in to Animal Kingdom as spectators until the park opened, so thankfully it worked out.

 Pounding out the miles

I was having a really hard time staying focused, and if Shelly wasn't a freaking machine and pounding out the miles I probably would have walked a LOT more than I did, because Celise and I were trying to keep up with her. Throughout the race since the beginning the mantra "Just run the mile you're in" helped a lot (thanks Eat Pray Run DC). So I focused on running that mile, rather than dreading I was only at mile 14. I was surprised that it actually helped a lot!

 Grave Diggers anyone?!

 Hopefully they aren't digging our graves! ;)

 Mile 16 - It was shortly after this we saw Dan. He was running out of ESPN Wide World of Sports and we were running in. It's too bad he didn't want to wait 30-40 minutes for us to run those few miles. HA!

 Soccer Mickey

 Running around the track

 Ran into Football Goofy

 30k woo woo!

 Baseball Donald!

 We got to run around the whole baseball field! I remember seeing this field on one of Run Eat Repeat when she did Disney's Wine and Dine a few years ago.

 We loved this little Tower of Terror every time we drove past it, so when we ran past it we had to get a pic!

Next we were on our way to Hollywood Studios. We went the back way (where all the cast members go), and got to run behind all the cool rides. We could have stopped to ride a few rides while there, but when we came out of ESPN we noticed that there weren't anymore runners on the other side of the road (where we saw Dan) so we knew that the Balloon Ladies were just a few miles behind us. We didn't want to take any chances, so we kept running.

Backside of Tower of Terror

It was around this time that they were giving out chocolates. Dove Chocolates. Yum! I was all for that, because Gu makes me sick after a while.

Better picture with Tower of Terror with the actual sign

We saw a plane

And ran into Boo!

Which made me a little happy!

Then I saw this Disney Cast Member who had BB8 - which was cooler than the cups that I had seen around Hollywood Studios.

Osborne Lights (though they aren't doing them anymore - thank you Star Wars Land...)
Outside Hollywood Studios

Then into Epcot! Yay Almost done!

With each Character we saw we got first dibs because we were runners. I wanted a picture with every Disney Princess, that includes Belle!

A little walk break - But not for long because Shelly kept us on pace!

Thumbs up because we all felt great - even though our watches all died. 

Snow White

The guys told us they were in Epcot waiting for us. It made the last little bit of the run a whole lot quicker

Beautiful Spaceship Earth

At this point we lost Shelly - I think she was just done, and ready to be reunited with her other half

This part never gets old!

Disney's Choir

And a photo bomb! :)

I'm a finisher! 

We finished the 26.2 miles in 6:46:59 - my watch died around mile 24, but it was already putting me way ahead of what my actual pace was. So I'll just stick with the 26.2 at 6:46:59. My longest run to date. 

We finally met up with Dan after we got our Marathon Medals, then he walked with us to get the last few pictures. Unfortunately they wouldn't let us take our own because the lines were too long. But at least they let us get a few group ones. 

All 4 of us completed the challenge in 1 piece! We were so happy (and tired)

From Right to Left in which the races were run. 

I had the most amazing experience, and am SO glad I spent $550 to run the Dopey Challenge. Disney races are not cheap, but they are worth it. The organization was great, if they didn't get something working one day, they had it fixed the next day. The weather turned out to be perfect on the 2 hardest days, which we all were so thankful for too! I ended up being a little sore the same day of the marathon and the day after. But after a week I'm feeling great and no pains, and no injuries.

Would I run this race again? In a heartbeat! Why? Humidity and being able to actually breath while I was running was great!
Pros: TONS of water stations (too many for me to remember), Plus there were 2 Gu stations (sadly they didn't have the best choices for me - who likes mocha?! :S) and they also had chocolates, They had aid stations with biofreeze (like icy hot) which helped my poor achy calves throughout the run, We got to run around Epcot and Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios, It was a great organized start and finish and seemed to flow better than the 5k and 10k, They handed out full water bottles and powerade at the finish and a little box full of food (had a protein bar, chips and nacho cheese, some fruit snacks, and a mini pack of Oreo's), They handed out these nice wet cooling towels at the finish and sponges running in ESPN, We got a medal for completing the marathon and then got a medal for completing the goofy challenge and dopey challenge, It was perfect weather for the marathon, It took us a half hour for us to get to the starting line based on where we were in the corral. 

Cons: Wall to wall people - not even joking! There were a lot more walkers than the 5k and 10k and that meant there was a lot of bottle necking, The photo pass photographers needed to be switched with the water/powerade bottles that were handed out so we didn't have to set our stuff down to get a good finish picture as a group, it was packed and hard for our spectators to get to all the places we wanted them to get to. Since there were TONS of people that meant there weren't enough port-a-potty's and sometimes they didn't have toilet paper in them either - I tried to use a working flushing toilet instead of a port-a-potty.  


I forgot to mention that Celise, Shelly and I ran into Lee Hoedl who does a lot of marathon videos. Well he got his video done of the Mickey Marathon, and you should go watch it! It's pretty cool, he follows the course, and you get to see a lot of the characters that we didn't see or stop at. We are in it at around minute 11, if you want to see us.

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