Injections and follicles
It was a big week in our household last week; I started my IVF injections.
I thought I’d explain in *very* simple terms what we’re actually doing and how it all works. Everyone’s IVF is different, and even if you’re not going through it I think the whole process is really fascinating, so hopefully you will too.
Here’s a quick outline of the whole process.
Day 2-10: Take injections Day 10-13: Egg collection one of these days Day 14-15: Embryo transfer (which might be earlier if egg collection is earlier)
I’ll just go through the medication side of things because that’s as far as we’ve got. I’m desperately trying not to think too far ahead with all of this, so it’s very much a day by day approach over here.
So, the meds.
Injections start on Day 2 of your period. I’m taking Bemfola, which is designed to stimulate follicles. Follicles are the safe little spaces which house your baby eggs while they’re growing. Typically, during ovulation, the most mature follicle will release its egg into the wild of your fallopian tubes, where it floats off on its merry way to try and find their sperm soulmate. I’m taking one injection a day to stimulate the growth of several follicles in preparation for my eggs to be collected (or ‘harvested’ but I really don’t like that word’. This means when I go in for egg collection we will have several to collect, rather than just the one egg that’s usually released that month.
With me so far? Ok good. So this is where it starts to get a bit complicated. On day 6 a new injection joins the party - Cetrotide. This bad boy stops me from ovulating, because we don’t want to naturally release an egg this month. I take this AND my Bemfola injection on day 6, 7, 8 and 9. So we’re still stimulating those follicles real nice, and we’re also stopping any eggs escaping.
This morning (Day 5) I had my first ’stims scan’. This is the first scan since starting the injections, and is used to assess how you’re responding to the stimulation medication by checking how big your follicles are. It’s an internal scan, which I’m more than used to by now (if that doesn’t wake you up first thing in the morning I don’t know what will), and today it showed that I have 14 follicles growing away nicely. The follicles in my left ovary are quite a bit smaller than the ones in my right, so the likelihood is a lot of those won’t make it through to the next stage. I think the ideal measurement is between 15-24mm, but don’t quote me on that because I’m not sure. Most of the follicles in my left ovary are less than 10mm at the moment. One of the follicles in the right is actually quite big (14mm) and a few of the others aren’t far behind, which means I need to start the Certrotide a day early (today).
So, the next few days will consist of two injections, and another scan on Friday to check the growth. If things are looking good and most of the follicles are big enough, we can go ahead with egg collection early next week.
It feels like this process is flying by in one way, and in others it’s really dragging. The injections make me feel incredibly tired, to the point where I feel quite sick most days. I’ve had a headache since Saturday, and my first shot of Cetrotide from this morning has left me with a red rash and an enormous bloated belly. But I am hopeful that these are just all good signs something positive is happening in there.
My wonderful husband administers my injections because needles are not my friend. We have a daily routine of a 7pm jab, even if that means taking it with us to Waitrose car park to keep within schedule.
As we were paying for our shopping a woman who worked in Waitrose gave me these sunflowers as a gift (they were heavily reduced and no one seemed to want them), but the lovely gesture made me cry and I thought maybe this is a good sign of things to come.