Tuesday, March 27, 2007

On exactly the 7th day, in the final hours of the business day, I got my check. It was a sigh of relief. So the drama came and went and now I am on my merry way again.

The agencies started calling me starting on the day of the retrieval. Some of them were too pushy, calling every couple of hours, demanding that I give them an answer immediately on whether or not I would donate for them. What they failed to remember is that I 1) was in pain and taking painkillers so I couldn't be reached; 2) HAD JUST COMPLETED A DONATION, so why would already be thinking about the next when the current one is still the current one? and 3) That unlike how it might seem, I did indeed have a life outside of donating.

I understand where they are coming from, they have IPs interested and possibly pestering them for an answer every few hours too. And I know that its not everyday that an IP decides that "this girl is it!" I like feeling that I can help people but I need a rest sometimes too. I guess that's part of the donation progress. It's just annoying sometimes, but, nothing is perfect so I am taking it with a grain of salt :).

Currently, I have 3 agencies that have people that would like to use me as their donor. I think that I will donate this third time and possibly stop after that. I don't think that I would do it a fourth time. It's a bit of strain on my body and I miss having complete and utter authority over my own body. It's hard to know that I can't go to the gym or drink a cup of coffee, and if I do, I wonder what effects it might have on the ovum. It's a bit too much stress, especially when I am traveling and have to make sure injections are on time and that I have proper storage while working long hours at my day job. It sucks that that possibly means that there will be people I won't be able to help. I guess sometimes you just walk away when you can and hope for the best.

Monday, March 19, 2007

This whole donation process is never easy. It's one bump after another. Some are bigger than others.

On Tuesday, I had my retrieval. Once again, I had 16 healthy and matured ovum for the IPs. This time was a bit strange since the IF was at the hospital during part of the time that I was there. They had to hide me and I believe they hid him from my boyfriend (who was waiting for me). I did pretty good, got to leave at noon. Went home and just slept. That night, I thought I was feeling pretty good so I tried to go out to a movie, big mistake. I ended up throwing up and having to turn the car around and go home before we go to the theater. Wednesday I laid in the bed most of the day but since I had company coming over, I had to clean. I tried to rest as much as possible in between cleaning. Thursday came and I thought I was supergirl, a momentary lapse of judgement that left me crying on some stairs at a bar. Yes. I refused to take my vicodin and that's where it landed me, crying from the pain in front of my friends. Learned that lesson. Always take the pain meds.

All week I watched my stomach progressively get bigger. At one point, I looked like I was three/four months pregnant. Today, it's still a bit swollen, it'll stay that way until after my period. It's ok, it's not as bad as the first time. At least I can wear jeans/pants. Yay for pants! I felt exhausted and just overall, spent. I didn't get much rest either. Between friends and my boss calling all the time, I was pretty much running on empty. The only thing keeping me going was knowing that I did something good for someone and also helped myself at the same time. Little did I know, I was wrong about the latter.

Today is the 6th day after the retrieval. In my contract it states that I am to receive payment within seven days from the retrieval. I called to see what the hold up was and was given multiple stories about where the check was for my final payment. First off, if you are sending large sums of money wouldn't you send it with a way of tracking it? Um, apparently not. Also, wouldn't you send it to an address that the donor provided you instead of one that they told you was not secure? Um, no again. So here I am freaking out, trying to get someone to care and I basically get the run around. I was told it will probably show up sometime and when it does, it does. And that they send large sums all the time through regular mail and that even if someone else got it, they couldn't cash it. What? Really? Last time I checked a contract was signed and it's legally binding, which states I GET IT IN & DAYS!

I hate to say this but the way that the agencies treat their donors is abmissal. Is it so hard for them to see the value of the person and not just throw them away as soon as the donation is over? Do we have to remind them that without people like me, they wouldn't even have an agency or business for that matter? Why is it so hard for them to treat us with some respect? I am not a bill collecter calling to get money that is not mine. It is MY compensation that they lost and no one cares. I am so mad right now. I do not think I will work with this agency again in the future. People that are so dismissive of their donors really turn me off on wanting to do it again. Every agency has been hard to work with in some aspect or other. Granted, the first one that I worked with was actually really great. The only thing was the travel agency they used were pains. I really think that these agencies really need to wise up and realize that if they do not keep their end of the bargain, reprecussions will result. I called my lawyer. If I don't get the check tomorrow, there is hell to pay. I know it sounds mean, but I had a really hard time with this donation, it's not all that easy, and they are reaping the benefits yet they do not seem to feel the need to show us (donors) any appreciation. I am not one to take this lying down. Mondays really do suck.

Monday, March 12, 2007

I found out on Saturday that tomorrow will be the day. I gave myself an injection of the Ovidrel last night at the time that the clinic told me to. It's funny, as I looked at the glass syringe and it's thicker more gel-like liquid, I felt the flitterings of butterflies. I even went so far as hestitating and had to reattempt to inject my stomach with it. Right next to the big black and blue bruise that I gave myself on my first day of Menupor. One that that surprises me is how easily Ovidrel goes in, no pain, no burning, nothing. Next to the Menupor which always hurts, this was a cake walk. Have I mentioned how much I hate Menupor injections? Could that needle be any larger? On the other hand, the easiest to inject, next to the Ovidrel is the Lupron. Lupron, with its small insulin needle is my friend, that's for sure.

My stomach is speckled with tiny little pin pricks, and a few bruises. I am going to be glad when this cycle ends and I take a little break. I don't know if I am up for doing this all over again, but who knows? In a few more months, all the pain and restrictions and feelings of lack of control will probably fade and I will be up for it again. My boyfriend had the look of concern last night as I headed off to the restroom to inject myself. He came in and squatted on the floor next to me and winced as I gave myself the injection. He told me that he really worried about me and that even though it's a minor proceedure and that the meds are common that he still thinks that it's scary. He said that he lost his sister due to a "routine and minor procedure" and that minor procedures do not exist for him.

I can see his point. Afterall, no one knows the long term effects of the meds. No one can guarantee that after this donation (and any others if there are others), when the day comes that I want to have my own children that I will still have viable eggs. No one can predict the future. Everything is uncertain. What happens if all my cycles take a toll on me and I end up paying for it by not having my own children? Will it be worth it then? What happens if I have a bad reaction to the drugs from the retrieval like the last time, but this time, it's worse? So far, this cycle has been ok, it could have been better. But when you play with hormones, you can never tell if you are going to get it right on or be off just enough for it to matter. Case in point, they have my on all the same meds and dosages with a slight variation from the last time. But this time, I have less eggs, higher estrogen, and more abdomenal discomfort than last time. You just never know. You can only take the proper precautions to make it the best you can. Right?

Tomorrow, I am hoping for a healthy and safe retrieval with everything going just the way it was planned. My boyfriend will be taking me to the hospital and taking me home, unfortunately, he has somewhere to be at a certain time so if we run late, there might be a problem getting myself home. I hope that is not case. I am pretty sure that I am going to be pretty out of it and will need his help. I am trying to get a hold of the coordinator to see if she can bump me up a bit so that I can make sure to leave by 12 so that he is not late. We will see. Otherwise, I might be stranded there until well into the afternoon.

Wish me luck!

Friday, March 09, 2007

This morning was another grueling early one. I hate early appointments but that's the only time I can really do them and not disturb or arouse suspicion at my day job. Juggling donations and my real life job is sometimes quite a hassle and really hard on the body. I work alot during the night because I deal with a bunch of overseas suppliers. I often stay up late to make phone calls because of the time difference. I pay for it when I have to get up at 5:30 to make it to my appointment. I keep telling myself that this will be over soon and my body will be mine once again. I can't wait. It's hard giving up control of your body, your schedule/plans, and your life, in general to do something like this. It is also hard to see how your body changes during the process. If I was ever curious about what I would look like as a pregnant lady, I now know because of how much I swelled up after my first retrieval. My tummy is starting to puff out now that my ovaries are on overdrive and my follies are getting big. Not the most attractive, but I can live with it.

The appointment went pretty well. Most of my follies grew another 5mm in the last two days. I think that's some pretty good growth, but I am no expert, of course. The tech only measured 13 of them but said that there were a bunch of smaller ones in there. Hopefully this means that they have a chance to catch up, I don't really know what smaller ones mean. I may have to go in for another appointment tomorrow. It's Saturday and that's the last thing I want to do, but I guess if I have to do it, I will. Afterall, the way I see it, I am not the captain of this ship right now. It's on loan :).

This morning as I was walking out of the clinic, I was kind of surprised to see three Asian women walking in, all in a row. Not that seeing so many Asian women surprise me but just the fact that all three of them turned and looked at me. They didn't just look at me so much as study me. It was weird. I couldn't help but wonder if any of those ladies were my receipiant....granted, they take pains to keep us from ever running into each other. However, this clinic has not really been that organized in the whole time that I have been using them. My mind still couldn't help but wonder if this was the case.

I still think it's odd that they went from wanting to sit down and get a cup of coffee to not wanting me at all. It really is one sided, this whole donation process. The IPs get to know what I look like but I do not have a clue what they look like. I only say this because I could potentially walk right by them on the street with them knowing who I am without me ever knowing who they are. It doesn't seem all that logical to me, but what can you do?

Last night, I was thinking that the other couple would be almost 4 months pregnant. My boyfriend asked me what would I do if in twenty years the child comes to find me. I really haven't thought about it at all. I believe that "parents" are those that actually raised you, cared for you, loved you. They are the ones that tuck you in at night and walk you down the aisle on your wedding day. They are not someone that gave away some of their genetic material to help someone else. I told him that, and I also told him that I would be ok with talking to them and getting to know them because we would have the common thread of being biologically linked. But I would never see them as mine and if anything, I would just be a like a distant aunt that they see every so often.

I don't think that makes me cold. I think it make me a realist. I am doing this to help someone else have their dream of a family, not to achieve my own dream of such. If the results are that a child is born from this, that child is not mine, nor are we anything more than genetic relatives. I couldn't fathom taking away someone's years of love and hope and dreams and proclaiming them mine because we may share some of the same features. I think that is one of the biggest fears of those that use donor eggs. That one day their children will want to meet the donor and maybe somehow seeing more of themselves in that donor than in the people that raised them. All the contracts I have ever signed have been centered around never trying to proclaim any children mine. I wonder if those that use donor eggs would tell their children how they came to be? How do you explain it if they look nothing like you and they want to know where they got their nose? That's the perk of a donor egg, no one ever has to know unless you tell them. So would you?

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Ah, back at home again. These last few weeks with my day job responsibilities have been grueling. I was so tired and all the germs around me finally caught up to me. I have been sick for a few days now, feeling better but still not 100%.

Had another monitoring visit today, this time was much better. People actually knew what I was there for, had my orders, had my paperwork, etc. I was in and out in 25 minutes. Early enough for breakfast, which is a first. I talked to the third party coordinator and she told me that it looks like I have about 16 follies. Is it possible to produce more? I just started the stimulation shots this weekend. I am hoping to up the number closer to 20, like last time, so the couple has more chances in one "pop". I feel like 16 isn't enough. If they only get 80% of the eggs, that would put me at 12.8 eggs. I prefer being an overachiever and from what I gather, 12 is average. And I am all about the "more bang for your buck" thing. Somehow, 16 just sounds low. But then again, they might have miscounted. Last time, they told me that I only had 16 and I ended up with 20.

Hum....distrubing, they just called and said that my estrogen levels are slightly high and they are reducing my Follistim. They just want to make sure that it is not high for the actual retrieval. Hang in there ovaries, do your best and make me proud! I would hate to have anything happen and disappoint the couple. They are counting on this more than I am, I am pretty sure of that. Blah, three appointments this weekend, great. Well, I guess I am just happy that it'll be before my friends get into town. Hopefully, by then, I will be able to wear pants like a normal person, otherwise, I will be going out with the girls in sweatpants. The worst part about retrievals is the swelling from all the IV fluids.