Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Good news, there are quite a few eggs! Its in the late teens. So, me going off the bcp was worth it. It really does make a difference in my case. Another bit of good news, the trigger shot is not in my butt! YAY! Its supposed to be in the stomach like the others. Which is music to my ears. I dread that shot more than the Menopur. I have developed a few new big bruises on my stomach. It's been a bit tender too. Some of the shots have been going pretty badly--as I mentioned before. It's hard to shoot up when its so painful. At least the end is near.

I am still rethinking the donation for Couple E. I just don't know if I have that kind of time right now to devote to do something like this again. My life is just now speeding back up. Not only do I have to have full day off for the initial screening, I will also need quite a few mornings off for the monitoring. I need to think about it, hard. If only I hadn't signed up for another one so soon. I realized that when I am finishing up with one donation, that's when I second guess the next one the most. So let's see where I stand after I get off this cycle and have my life back for alittle while. Then I will know if I am ready to do this again--so soon anyways. The retrieval is upon us, I hope Couple D gets some good eggs for their cycle!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

ETA: I am currently on my cycle for Couple D, not Couple C. And therefore the future one would be for Couple E. Just wanted to correct it.

So it's about that time of the night when I shoot up like a drug addict--well, sort of. The good 5 to 7 minutes I spend a night disinfecting and mixing my potions and concoctions only to jab it into my achy tummy. Yeah, the bruises have started. Hell, the bruises on my arms have started. I am never squeamish about needles but when a newbie lab tech is wiggling the needle back and forth, back and forth, up and down, and even at one point, pulling the needle out of my arm, I had sweaty palms up the wazoo. I literally thought I was either going to 1) punch her in the face as hard as possible for causing me excruciating and unnecessary pain; 2) pull out needle and run for my life ; 3) pass out because it hurt so much. Yeah, and the "veteran" lab tech was useless, he too decided to get in on the game of wiggling the needle that was attached to my arm. What is this? Amature hour? Or did I miss the memo about punishing donors for no reason other than to see them sweat and squirm?

My nightly shots have been giving me a bit of anxiety. Why? Well, I haven't been able to find the "sweet spot" lately. I have been giving myself hesitation pricks and everywhere I shoot up, hurt like there's no tomorrow. It's all been every nerve wracking and painful. The Menopur is also kicking my butt. My Menopur dose is kind of large, granted, and I do put it all in one syringe, but geez...its like acid under my skin. Not to mention the little bubble of fluid that pop up wherever I inject. Yes, bubbles. They are about pencil eraser sized bubbles that pop up and last for about an hour. It's right under my skin and is tender to the touch. Its almost like too much liquid was put in that spot so it is just sitting and waiting to be soaked in. I think that may actually be the case, but how many times and how many spots do I want to have Menopur injected in? Have I mentioned that it burns? Not to mention, the other injection sites, of Follistim and Lupron have also been bubbling too. Urgh. The other night I noticed that where I injected the Follistim looked like it was elastic and rubbery when I pulled the needle out. It kind of freaked me out a little bit. Never noticed it before and it really freaked me out.

On another note, everything is going well. Looks like we have upper teens worth of eggies growing in there. They are on track to be ready sometime next week. I hope we get lots of good, mature, and viable eggs for Couple D. Only time will tell. I really contemplated a drink tonight (alcoholic) but decided that I couldn't chance it. It's been a rough few days, I probably would have liked it, but hey, I can have a drink later. Now, if only my stomach looked presentable enough for the beach. Unfortunately, it's pretty speckled with needle pricks and bruises, I don't think that's going to happen. I look like I lost a battle with homeless drug addicts that didn't have a knife so they decided to "needle" me. Oh well, this too shall pass. I am starting to feel full and bloated. Today I had a slight twinge in my left ovary. Fun.

I was thinking today that I may back out of my donation for Couple E. I am starting to feel like I am doing too much. Too many donations crammed into my daily life. Too many appointments mixed with my own errands. Too many don'ts that outweigh the dos that I can do. I feel like I don't have much control of my life. Yes, in the grand scheme of things my donations only take up a small part of my life. But, I have basically been doing donation after donation since September. It is now almost August. Each donation takes a month of prep, at least, for initial screening, contacts, match agreements, day 3 and 10 blood work and ultrasounds. I have to start pills almost a month before. I start Lupron weeks before. I start stims 10 days before the official donation. When all is said and done, its at least 3 months of my life per donation. I haven't had a drink without thinking about how this is going to affect the next donation. I haven't had caffeine without worrying. I went off the pill for better results. I am worried about the job situation and getting enough time off for the next one. I worry what will happen if the donation for Couple E is pushed back a few days, how do I explain why I am not back to work? Then what? How do I explain that away? You can't be at a destination wedding for 8 days when you were only planning on being there for 6. I am trying to start a new life, with a new job. I just don't know if I will be able to do that and Couple E's donation--at least not right away. It's just too much too soon. I am also struggling with knowing I will disappoint them if I back out. I would hate doing that. But I would hate even more if I go back on my word. I am nothing if I am not honest. I would feel like I lied. So now, it's me, stuck, between a rock and a hard place...ugh...I have no answers.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Full speed ahead!

I have been taking nightly Lupron shots and things are going well. Lupron and Follistim never give me much trouble. It's Menopur that burns and hurts. I did have a hesitation shot the other night, where I punctured my skin but just couldn't push the needle any further. It's like pricking yourself for fun-but not. No bruising or swelling, but there never is until I start the Menopur. Can I just say one more time how much I HATE Menopur injections.

So far everythings going along swimmingly. I haven't had but maybe two cups of tea during this cycle. I stopped drinking coffee for when I signed on for Couple C, so I just kept that going for Couple D. I also have not been drinking alcohol, as usual. I did break down and had a sangria the other night. I am still taking my Women's One A Day Vitamin and an extra dose of Folic Acid.

The "Bob Barker mic" tells the doctor that everything is going as planned. So I am just waiting to start the stim meds. I hope this one goes well and we get lots of matured eggies!

Friday, July 04, 2008

It didn't take.... I feel overwhelmingly sad for the IPs. But there isn't much more I can do, I know this. It's logic. But still. I feel horrible, almost like hearing a family member lost a baby.

I can't really dwell much on the lack of success of the third cycle--I am moving on to the fourth. Things are just starting so nothing too exciting has happened. So far just the same old stuff of vitamins and bcp. One ultrasound down and bloodwork. All is quiet in the neighborhood. I am second guessing if I should post any future self-inflicted/injection-related photos. I was actually really caught off guard the first time I saw that belly shot up on someone else's site. I am sure there are still PLENTY of bruises and swelling that I can photograph and post, but I am not really sure where I stand on seeing them on others' sites, not in a selfish way, but more in the invasion of privacy kind of way. Which is silly since I am posting my business on the world wide web...kind of says it all, doesn't it? I just think that sometimes, photos speak louder than any words that I could type here. I guess that's just something to review on a case by case basis. For those that really come onto this site to see what it's like for a donor, well, do you think I would be cheating you out of the full experience if I don't post photos? I guess in the back of my mind, I have to wonder if anyone can figure out it's me? Crazy right?

So, Couple D and I have just started the journey--I really hope they have a successful IVF round and get pregnant. I don't know how they can take it when they end up not getting pregnant. Actually, the other day when I was in for my ultrasound and blood, another patient was in the adjoining room. She must have gotten bad news cause she wailed and sobbed for a good 10 minutes...so loudly that my heart broke for her. I think that's the sound a mother makes when she loses a child. I hope whoever she is, she is able to pick up the pieces and move on to try again. My heart goes out to her. For those that come to my blog to find out if it's the money that drives us--no. If you had been there that morning...you would know it couldn't be about the money. It's about stopping that cry. It's about tears of joy instead of sadness and loss. I know it sounds silly, but I felt a loss when I was informed that Couple C did not get pregnant. A large part of me blamed myself. I wondered if I had done something wrong? Did I do everything I could? I guess in this thing that we do, it cannot always be win-win. But I really wish it could be.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The dreaded two week wait...still haven't heard anything from the agency about the couple and if they did get pregnant. I almost feel like I am waiting to find out if I am pregnant... I know it's silly, but in a way, our lives kind of running parallel to each other, at least until the results are announced--then I feel like I can keep on truckin' along to my next cycle.

I was reading Michelle's blog about infertility and egg donors. I am flattered that you think my blog should be a mandatory read for ladies thinking about donating. To be honest, when I first decided to start this journey, I tried to do the research. I scoured the internet. If I was lucky, I would get a few mentions about DEs in IP's blogs. But that was it. I found two blogs from two retired donors that were informative, but I didn't feel like it gave enough information. I really debated on putting my blog out there at first. In the end, I came to the conclusion that there is not nothing here that I will ever be embarrassed about. I have had friends that have let the fact that I am donor slip and each and every time, I have been open and honest about it with friends. I know it's hard to admit to others that you are a donor, it's a controversial subject after all, but I would say that 100% of my friends have been supportive, those that don't know, I choose to believe they would also be supportive. So, I am surprised (but in a good way)that people seem to be reading and suggesting my blogs to others. I hope you can all take away something from this and I know one day, years from now, I will visit this blog again and see the things that I did when I was younger and feel rewarded -- cheesy, right?

As for me being a "serial donor"...well, there is some truth in that, I suppose. I am a multiple time donor. Yes. I do take it seriously, i.e. no caffeine, no alcohol, eating healthy, taking prenatal vitamins/multivitamins. Check. I feel it's only fair to the IPs...they are paying for hope (as clique as that may be) and hope comes with a bit of sacrifice. Am I glad when I get my body back after a cycle? HELL YEAH I am. But realistically, I rather know that the IPs eggs in my basket did not go to waste. Maybe I just am hard on myself because I don't want to hurt them. Though I know nothing about besides their first name...which could be an alias, I feel like they are a part of my life...no matter how small. I would like to believe that I a slight part of theirs. We each travel our own paths until we meet at the fork in the road and for a time, we manage to walk side by side. Idealist? Yes, I am. Perfectionist? Can't you tell by now ;)? Do I get paid well for what I do? Yes. Is being a donor a cake walk? Cake? Where? (Honestly, no. I can live without the pain, the swelling, the brusing, the exhaustion.)

Anyways, as I also wait to find out the good news about Couple C (C as in 3rd donation), I am optimistic about the next one for Couple D. I have not gone on bcp...it messes with me too much, I am taking vitamins and baby aspirin to get ready for the next one. Someday...after all is said and done, I will be me again. With eggs just for me. No more hormones, no more pills, no shots, no blood draws, no doctors, no bruises or swelling. When that day comes, I know I will miss being able to help, being able to walk beside someone struggling down the road of infertility. But I will be happy to be the only person relying on me. Selfish? Maybe. For the people that have never experienced infertility, or have ever donated, keep an open mind. It isn't easy to give up your life for someone else, even if it's just a few months. It is not easy to shoot yourself up with hormones that you don't know which no one can tell you with certainty if it will effect you later on. It isn't easy to hardly be able to pee because of the retrieval. We, the donors, chose to help beyond the compensation, you have to, because money is just money. The amount of things I have had to endure from the donations is more than money can buy. Would I do this without compensation? Yes, but it would have to be for someone that really needed it.

I could be anyone. I could be your sister. Your mother. Your friend. I am also a Serial Donor, does that sound negative? Well, I guess I will just have to claim that phrase and make it positive. Maybe a "serial donor" can be someone that really believes in what they are doing. Someone that does everything in her power to make sure the IPs have the best chance they can get. Yeah...I am a serial donor :D

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Ahhhh....that's the sigh of relief as my life gets underway---caffeine and a few celebratory drinks to follow.

Yes, the retrieval came and went. This time, I will not be sharing how many were retrieved and how many were fertilized....the reason being that I find if someone reads closely, it might be possible to figure out who I am. Granted, I am not all that afraid to be outted however, anonymity is kind of nice. Of course, I do not want to put either the IPs or myself out there for the world to see--so for now, I am going to keep the numbers to myself. If I find out we are pregnant, I will update that news, but no more facts and figures for the IPs privacy and for my own.

The IM trigger shot came and went. I figured out if I numbed the area with ice, I could take the shot without feeling it. Unfortunately, after the numbness wore off, well, that's a whole another story. My normal protocol calls for a trigger in the stomach, not an IM in the stomach, I don't want to confuse everyone. But just so you know. I just prefer shot in the stomach. Some people prefer a shot in the bum/hips, its just a personal preference. Either way, glad it came and went. Even happier to know that I won't be faced with another trigger shot for a while.

Before I end this post for the day, I just wanted to say that even though I did not receive a letter from the IPs, I know that what I donated to them was more than an egg or two, I helped them have a family (hopefully) and its bigger than me. A letter would have just made it a bit more personal--its something I think we, as donors, do really appreciate. And maybe, regardless if the agency/clinic encourages it, IPs should consider that the donors may just be curious about their perspective and a letter helps to tell their side. Its a way to put a bit of feeling, personality, and thought behind what can be a process riddled with facts and figures and lack a human touch. I am not sad that I didn't hear from the parents, I hope them the best. I just wanted to address why I think its great to write to the donors. I often think that I should write a card to the IPs for the transfer. But I don't know if they would appreciate it as much as I would, so it always holds me back.

The next few days are sure to tense for the IPs, they are also a bit tense for me as I find myself waiting on baited breath, waiting to find out if the eggs developed, if the transfer was successful, if they got pregnant. It never truly stops when the retrieval is over...that's a common misconception. The IPs, with their first names and limited information, are never far from my mind. I guess that is how our lives are forever intertwine. It's easy to say my part is done. But its not everyday that you give someone a piece of you and hope that it grows into their hopes and dreams. I believe its human nature to seek an underlying connection with the people that pass through our lives. The IPs are such people to me and they probably always will be, especially if a pregnancy results. I wish them the best, my thoughts and prayers will be with them.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Today, I got good news and bad news.

First, lets get to the good news. I have a set date for the retrieval! Yay! So the end is finally near. I have been really eager to get this one done so I can have my own life and body for a little bit until the next one. Even though we are all compensated for our time, it still doesn't match how much you have give up of you to do this. It will be a much appreciated break.

Second, the bad news.....well it's not bad so much as scary. I found out today that I need to inject the trigger shot into my butt. Um...come again? Yeah, double take time at the doctor's office. Not only is that my vice but I have been picturing myself seriously injuring my bum in the process. I can stick needs into my stomach all day. But holy geebus, you want me to shoot myself up in the butt cheek....um...no. I know, it shouldn't be any different but I got the clammy hands just thinking about it. Geez. So as the doomsday hour approaches, I have a pounding headache. I know it's not any different than my stomach but the last butt shot I had, well, lets just say that cheek was out of commission for a few days. Not fun. Ugh...the fears we must face.

I am looking forward to getting everything done and lets just hope it all goes well. I only have one more blood work scheduled, the trigger shot, and then the retrieval. I can't wait, as I am currently holed up in a hotel. But there are worse things in life ;).

Monday, May 05, 2008

Summer--Yup, it seems to be a normal thing. In the pass donations, I have also bruised. Have I bruised or swelled to this extent? I can't remember, honestly. I am thinking the answer would be yes. Not to worry, I am going to doctor's appointments everyday so far, no one has said anything about it being a bad thing. It's just not exactly an "attractive" thing ;). But you win some and you lose some. No big deal. I sent that picture to my boyfriend and he was very surprised. I told him he gets to hang around that bloated bruised mess this weekend....let's just say he was very --- excited.

Katy-- Feel free to link me, I have this blog to help others through the donation process as well as those that are on the receiving end. And if anyone else out there has linked me to their page, please let me know, I will link you on my page. Granted, my perspective may be different than yours but I do hope that whatever you take away from this blog is useful :) Nice to meet you and thanks for the comment.

I spent last night visiting donor egg chat boards. Some for the donors and some for the IPs. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to use one of the boards because it hates all of my email addresses. I guess you have to have an AOL account to post. It's a conspiracy because I just wanted to reply to a girl's questions about being a first time donor. If anyone knows of any other boards that I can participate in, let me know.

Looks like the retrieval might be towards the end of the week. I can't wait to lose the bloat and the overall feeling of fullness. I DO NOT look forward to the period that is sure to fall---it's always like a massacre (TMI, I know, but very true). I spent most of today shopping for retrieval-day pants. Yes, pants made for the day of. For those that have never gone though a donation, if you take away three points from this blog, it is this:

1. Once you decide you are going to donation, go off the pill for awhile, like I previously posted, the longer I am off the pill prior to getting back on to synchronize with the IP, the better my response. (DISCLAIMER: this is mainly for me, you may be different, you know your body best).

2. On the day of the retrieval and the next day, you want pants that give and stretch. You always want them to be as soft and comfortable as possible. Your stomach/abdomen will swell upon retrieval and usually, you will not be able to fit into your normal pants right away. I spent all day today, looking for such a pair of pants...FYI, Victoria's Secret lounge pants are the best!

3. ALWAYS, and I do mean, ALWAYS, take the pain killers. No matter what you think, the first 48 hours is painful when the painkillers wear off. Don't end up like me, crying on the stairs while out with friends (see March 2007).

I have spent all day shopping for pants and ended up buying some jeans and other stuff while I was out. I've lost almost 20lbs in the last few months so it was about time...the "poopy diaper" look is not in, no matter what anyone tells you. Surprising enough, I was able to get into the jeans even with the swelling.

I am very very tempted to buy an expensive pair of sunglasses as a present to myself for the donation. But I have yet to break down and do it. It's just alot of money. But I am still considering it, after all, it's alot of pain to go through and overall discomfort, I feel like I should get something nice for myself. Which brings me to this: for those IPs that write letters to your donor, I think that is the sweetest thing ever. In the past two completed donations I have participated in, I have never received said letter--not that I expect it. However, I have heard of people doing it and I think it's wonderful. I do wonder about the IPs and the possible children that resulted. It would have been nice to have that touch of warmth in what could really be a very cold and sterile procedure and process. In a way, it makes it worthwhile. For those of us that don't get the letter, its not like we hold a grudge, its just that we never truly feel your side...you know what I mean? I have said before that I do this to help them and to help myself, I am not delusional about that. However, it's just nice to know that you are more than a follie count to someone else.

Well, that is it for now. Talk to you all tomorrow.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Ummmm....the bruise is getting bigger and the swelling is getting bigger as well. It is no longer pea sized but is about 3 inches long, running along under the bruise you see in the picture. If you look at it closely, you can see where its protruding. Yes, I am zexy! :P

Actually, it hurts quite a bit. I am contemplating another ice pack on the spot. Also, if you can tell, my stomach is more swollen now than a few hours ago. Crazy. Its weird to feel the ridge from the swelling of the injection. Hopefully it will go away soon.

It's been really hard keeping the blog updated with the computer in the shop for a month. So, while I am on, I will recap what's been going on...

I stopped the bcp and started Menopur and Follistim a few weeks ago. Recently, I have been injecting Ganirelix which is one of the easiest of the three to inject--no pain, no burning, no bruising, no swelling. I was a bit concerned because I wasn't off the pill as long as my previous two donations. Regardless what anyone tells you, I do think that makes a difference in how many follies I have for the donations. I had three ultrasounds, repeated blood work, and FDA required testing (second time). My inner elbows are bruised, I look like I am a heroine addict with the track marks to prove it. Acutally, I have the same marks on either side of my belly button--which makes for fun by the pool with puzzled looks from fellow pool dwellers. (Yes, that is a picture of my horribly swollen and bruised stomach for your viewing pleasure. The picture is a bit dark, but I have bruises speckling both sides of my bellybutton.) For those that have never shot up fertility meds or any kind of meds before, you too can look like a liposuction victim when you shoot up ;).

I have also been feeling extremely bloated and full (see exhibit A, photo of stomach where you see nothing but bloat), so walking around isn't the most comfortable thing, (I feel like a beached whale when I am by the pool) actually, just getting up to walk around the room is a bit uncomfortable. I feel like my vagina and everything in the vicinity is sore. TMI, probably, but hey, that's why you are reading this, so you know what its like for a donor. So there you have it, sore va-jay-jay = no fun but means the eggies are growing.

Unfortunately, my one of my fears came true. I am not producing as many eggs as my previous (successfully completed) donations. I feel like a disappointment to myself and to the IPs. It might have to do with the bcp or it could be because of the three times I drank prior to the meds, either way, I feel horrible. Granted, it's still a good number, between 10-15, but that's still less than what I would like to see for them. This whole giving up caffeine and drinking and taking care of myself is hard, but I really was trying. I just feel a bit down and like a failure. Ugh. I guess I will do the best I can until the retrieval and hope that the ones that I produce will be good enough. This is the downfall of an overachiever--I am just hard on myself. But I really wanted to see the IPs get the best possible chance they could have.

In the last few days I have traveled to the destination of the retrieval. I have been entertaining myself with friends from the area and movies from the dollar rental box at the grocery store. I tried to find the mall today, but had no luck, guess I will try again tomorrow. Must kill time somehow. I am eagerly awaiting the next few days until the retrieval. I just gave myself my Ganirelix, Follistim, and Menopur. Unfortunately, the Menopur gave me a little hard bump at the injection site. I think it might be an air bubble or just too much meds all at once. This is the first time I've gotten one of these, at least one this big... It's just below the skin--my friend who did a donation had this happen to her when she did her injections. I have an ice back on my stomach as I type this, hoping to minimize the bruising and swelling.

I heard from the doctor that there is a chance that the donation may be pushed back a few days if the follies aren't ready. Unfortunately, this means that I am going to have to explain to work why I am not back and also I would need someone to cover my job. I am hoping to find out as soon as possible and I am hoping for the earlier date. I really do need to get back to my own life, regardless of how much I want to help, selfish as that sounds. I am just starting to get antsy about this being done. I also don't know what to do about work if I need to request a few more days off. I am not sure the boss would appreciate this. So let's cross our fingers that I get this done sooner than later so that I don't have to deal with work or finding someone to cover for me. I can only imagine the nightmare that will be.

I find myself wondering where the IPs are and if we ever end up going to the same places, but just different times. I think maybe they think about that too since they know I am here. I assume they live the area, which they may not, I'll never know. I find myself thinking that maybe I've even walked by them on the streets or pulled up at a light right next to them. Is that crazy? I do hope they are excited and looking forward to the new possibilities that this donation could bring, since I know I am. I hope wherever they are, they are just as eager to get this donation underway.Wish me and the IPs luck! I think I may need it. Let's hope that a few more follies get big enough to measure and that we get the follie count up!

ETA: Just an FYI, I did get my period in the middle of the meds, but I guess it was ok. Now I am on Ganirelix, which is supposed to stop me from ovulating, just like Lupron but slightly different.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

My tummy is starting to feel full. I haven't had a period since March so I think my ovaries are just filling up with eggs. I am starting to get really nervous and excited about the start of injections. But with juggling work and appointments I am glad its all going by so fast and soon, it will be over. I am nervous about quantity of ovum, but I am nervous about that every donation. I just hate to disappoint anyone. Especially myself. Its odd admiting that but it is true. I set myself up and get so hyped up on each and every donation that when it gets canceled or the couple disappears, I really feel disappointed.

I have also been wondering how the meds are going to work this time. I have a new med that I am only vaguely familiar with actually, I was prescribed this before. It's called Ganirelix. I found myself wondering if my period is going to start while in the middle of injections. Since I don't know how this new medication works. And since it is administered differently than anything else in my other donations. Of course the usual suspects are there, Menupor and Folistim, and a trigger shot. Oddly, I am eager to get on with the injections. I guess my tummy is just going to get fuller ;).

Nothing new to report. Once things start rolling I will update the blog. Until then, take care.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The last week or so have pretty much just flown by. I am eagerly awaiting progress in this donation, so far, we have started some meds. I am doing pretty well, staying with my diet, eating right, not drinking, and avoiding caffeine. Unfortunately, I did have two or three days of weakness and drank alittle...alright, one day it was more than "alittle" but I am crossing my fingers that it's ok. I am human....it's not an excuse but it is honest. I am flawed.

I have been diligent about not consuming caffeine, so I hope that helps. I have been working quite a bit so I have lost about 13 lbs. Which, is a good thing, trust me. I was starting to think that I was getting too heavy. Now, I am about 7 pounds away from my ideal weight. Granted, no one I knew thought I was overweight and no one can really tell that I've lost weight except when they study my face (seems to always be the first place I lose weight). I realized only last week that I had lost weight because I weighed myself, up until that point, I only had a sneaky suspicion based on the fact my pants were all loose. All around things are good.

Unfortunately, I have had to take my computer in for repairs so it might be a while before I post again. I promise to report back when the injections and appointment start. I hope everyone is doing well.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Hi Lynnette! Thanks for posting!

There are two parts to today's post. One is that the donation is a GO! Yay for me and for the IPs. I received the official contracts a while ago, signed them and sent it on its way. I also got a call regarding my meds which should be arriving in the not so distant future. My monitoring appointments won't be for awhile yet so I won't have much to report on that front. I don't start my injectable for some time too, so posts about the previously mentioned "sweet spots" and burning and whatnot won't be happening for a few weeks (yeah, something for you, dear readers, to look forward to, I am sure.) But I did want to update and let you all know that I am moving forward for this third donation! I am pretty excited and happy about it all. I haven't drank but maybe 3 times in these couple of months leading up to the donation (speculation of a match and the official match to present) which is hard to explain to peers when they all want to go for cocktail hour and I have to decline. Speculation that I was pregnant was starting to spread since I have not had any caffeine since the end of January in anticipation of growing some nice and healthy eggies. I have been religiously taking vitamins and folic acid as well. All and all, I have been doing very well on the regimen that I have set for myself. Not that I can say that I am not looking forward to that glass of celebratory wine when this is all said and done ;).

Now the second part is that I have been thinking about what Summer had said about posting about my experiences. I am sure when the day comes and I out myself, anonymously, I am sure, there will be some raised eyebrows. As a few of the agencies that I have worked with these last two years have all been very reputable. However, they all have their quirks some are just severely worse than others. And as a donor I think they just treat us differently, possibly believing that our side will never be shared. However, my belief is that what goes around, comes around. And if you treat one person poorly, they will tell ten people about their experience. I hope that the agencies and agency's employees that are reading this, which I know there are a few, realize that this is the reality in this day and age. We all have a common goal, no one should be treated any differently than any one else. Let's not forget you cannot have an Donor agency without the donors OR the IPs. I know this is lucrative industry but lets not forget that we are all people trying to accomplish at least one common goal, one among a few, I am sure. That goal is help someone bring joy into their lives. I am not holier than thou, but I do believe that the policies in this industry do need to be regulated and changed. There is one agency that I should have never left and thus far, they have been the best of all the ones I have worked with. Sure, they had their problems too but at least they were small and just pesky not anything major. If the rest of the agencies I have worked with after them have been like them, I feel like this whole process would be easier and less of a PITA. If only everyone was in the same league...

But enough with that. Looking ahead, I just want to be optimistic and hopeful, if not for myself than for the IPs, someone else is counting on me! That's it for me. Write soon!

Monday, March 17, 2008

To address Summer's comment, yes, 2 months is a really long time. My last cycle's reimbursement check for my expenses took over 60 days to get to me. I even had to send via email, fax, and snail mail and call multiple times before I finally got any kind of acknowledgment that they had even received my receipts. It's the biggest pain in the butt in my opinion. It would be alot easier if there was just a set expense amount that was sent prior to travel to the donor and they just use that. I know that the agencies are basically just doing this so they don't over pay. But at the same time, the IPs already put up a trust, why does it take so long? I don't know the answer to that question but now, I am out $250 until whenever my contract is signed so then I can file a form to wait another few weeks to get my money back. Yup, super efficient. I do wonder why, if the money is there the agencies sit on it and don't pay us.

I still have yet to get any kind of phone call or anything from the agency or the clinic regarding the progress of the cycle. It would be helpful if someone kept me in the loop. So far, I am disappointed by this agency. Emails and phone calls are definitely not returned promptly unless its something they need. I have had to call and email multiple times before a question is answered. It's really frustrating. But nothing I can do about it at this point. I just hate how bureaucratic this donation seems to be, so much red tape and hoops to jump through.

Let's just hope I get word that we are moving forward soon. Then that would mean there is an end to dealing with the lack of communication that I find so prevalent from the agencies to the donors. It's things like delayed reimbursement checks and lack of communication that really take a toll on me as a donor. I don't mind the early appointments or having to travel to meet the doctors. I don't mind getting poked and prodded and having surgery to retrieve the eggs. I do mind being treated as a item of convenience that is an inconvenience to the agencies unless they have something they need/want from me. It's weird to be a second class citizen when you are the core of the agencies business and their business depends on the donors. To quote Jerry McGuire, "Help me, help you." Agencies should really try and live by this motto. But what do I know?

I am extremely agitated today, sorry for the cranky post.

Friday, March 14, 2008

I have had a long day today. I almost forgot to blog about the initial appointment to meet the IP's doctor and get my initial screening done. Things have been crazy the last few days. Anyways, everything looked good. Ultrasound looked good, sound ovaries and sound uterus. No cysts, deformity or anything to note, actually. Looks just like what it always does, some black and white shadowing here and there. The people at the clinic were very warm and friendly. I liked them instantly. Now, as for the doctor, I am not sure but I get a really arrogant air about him. He seemed to not know that I had donated before so I had to tell him about all that. Odd, I thought they requested the records?

Anyways, he seemed really surprised that I had done two previous donations with much success. I was told to that I should be taking prenatal vitamins and baby aspirin. As mentioned before, I was taking Women's One-A-Day multivitamins and an extra dose of folic acid, seems like this was almost equal to prenatal vitamins I saw at the drugstore in terms of Vitamin content. But as soon as I get closer to the actual donation, I will probably just switch over. The Dr. mentioned that the baby aspirin was to help increase blood flow to my ovaries and uterus. Never knew that. So I guess I will be stopping in at the drugstore in the next few days to pick up these two items. I don't think they were going to send them in my meds package... I believe I can expense it though, so if they are not in the package with the rest of the meds, I will just have to get them on my own. One thing I will say is that this Dr. seemed to be really "no-nonsense" and after the ultrasound and blood draw he told me that the only hold up was to make sure the tests come back clear and then we will proceed--as long as we get the blessing from the agency. He poked around and just told me that he was on board, as long as everyone else was and he was here to make sure it went as smoothly and quickly as possible. Sounds good to me!

One thing is that he is changing up my meds, so besides the prenatal vitamins and the baby aspirin, he was going to change my usual Lupron dosage. Apparently, now I am going to get something completely different in the middle of my stim meds, not before. Right now, I am just waiting for the go ahead from the agency as well as the all clear on the blood work that was done at the appointment. I am thinking the blood work is going to come back normal, at least normal for me. Meaning that my FSH maybe elevated a bit. Which I warned them about and they are aware. Seems like once the Dr. knew about my previous donations and the outcome, he is really comfortable with an elevated FSH, I am hoping that he is more about results than stats, like my second donation doctor. Lastly, I haven't gotten the official contract yet, seems like they want the all clear from the clinic before we sign. Which is fine. However, I was told that my expenses from the initial appointment would have to be "filed" but seems like that only happens after I get a contract...so that's...interesting. I don't know what it is about agencies and reimbursement checks...seems like it always takes 2 months. It's really not fair to ask that the donor foot the bill for that long with no repayment. But that is my $0.02.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Before I start my post, let me just say a big "hi" to Summer! I am so happy you found your donor! And good luck to you and Mr. W.

I actually got some news the other day that I forgot to post about. But seeing how I know a few IPs visit on here, I thought it would be helpful, since what I know to be true is not necessary what they know to be true (for example the profiles, we have no access, some IPs may think we do, etc.) My last donation, the one that canceled days before the retrieval, well, it shouldn't have been--this I know now as a FACT. Apparently the monitoring information that was given to the clinic clearly showed 13-17 eggs in the desired size range. With a few additional ones that would have been ready on the day of the retrieval. So it would have been around the same performance I had previously. However, the doctor decided to cancel. Now, the only reason I know I had the quality and quantity of eggs was because apparently the IPs went to the agency and complained that I under performed and wanted compensation or a refund of some sort. Which cause the coordinator to request my records and see for themselves that I did not "under-perform" as speculated by the doctor. Unfortunately, my initial assumption of the doctor may have been right---she kept refusing donors and canceling donations, probably to make more money on this poor couple.

I hate to put this negative underbelly side of the process out there. However, Donors and IPs should be aware that just because your doctor recommends that you cancel you need to use your best judgment on whether its right for you or not. Had they gone through with it, they probably would be pregnant now, as were my first two IPs. Even if it was on the smaller quantity side, say there were only 13 that fertilized, they still would have gotten something. Instead of spending all that money to walk away empty handed. I do believe that medical advice should be heeded, however, if you see the stats and know the previous results you should have a little bit of faith for your donor as well. Just my opinion. It is not going to be true for 100% of the cases, however, in just this one instance, it was. Unfortunately, the couple wanted to know if they changed clinics if I would be willing to work with them again. At this time, I have already promised my 3rd with a 4th in the works. So that's not even a possibility. I do feel they got cheated. My heart goes out to them. I do hope that they move on and find another donor and actually go through a retrieval and hopefully get the results they were looking for.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

I added a counter at the bottom of the page, which I may try to move up towards the top and I am amazed at how many hits I had since I put it on there...which I think was yesterday. If any of the readers would like to just post a "hi" or a link to their own page, feel free! I would love to get to know the people my blog reaches.

As for this week, I am just trying to prepare for the consultation and hoping for the best. I am still taking the multivitamin (Women's One-A-Day) and the extra folic acid pills. I figured prenatal vitamins were recommended and the only difference between that and my multivitamin was the amount of folic acid. So I am using the supplement to boost my folic acid. Hopefully that will help with the eggies and my response. I didn't do this the first two times, and I figured it couldn't hurt. I did take the multivitamins while on the meds because of the doctor's recommendations. I am just ahead of the game this time. Not to mention, from all that I've read about the benefits for folic acid, it can't be bad. In fact, it is recommended for all women of child bearing age, especially one year prior to pregnancy. Granted, I am not planning on getting pregnant next year, but I like to be prepared ;). Some day, I will have my own children and I want to try and guarantee them the best quality of life I can.

On a side note, I am also thinking about buying one of those mini-fridges for my room for my meds. I have a roommate and it's inconvenient for me to keep the meds in the communal fridge. Not to mention, he's just plain nosy so I could just do without the added questions. With my luck he will try to drink the Follistim...let's just say he's a few sandwiches short of a picnic. Love him. But it's true. Besides, how do I explain a bunch of little vials in the fridge? Yeah, you can't really say that I just needed some vitamin shots. No one would buy that! So I have been thinking about those small personal fridges, not the kind you get for a college dorm but one even smaller. I wonder how much those cost? Besides, if I get one that can be plugged into the car, I could use it in the car for long trips.

As for the fourth and last donation looks like things are underway. I hadn't heard anything for a few weeks so I was a bit nervous that this couple had up and disappeared on me. Come to find out, they were getting the clinic set up for their consults, setting up the trust and getting ready to pay the agency fees. So, it looks like this one might actually work out and become official. I am still waiting for match paperwork, once that happens, I will notify my agencies that I may not be doing another one. But I probably won't pull my profiles just yet because I am still a bit jolted by the previous cancellation and the disappearing acts.

Well, that's all for me now. Updates to come!

Monday, March 03, 2008

I am getting ready for my initial consult. I fly out soon, getting a bit nervous about it too. I am hoping that everything goes well. From previous experience, I have a slightly elevated FSH level, always have and probably always will. I hope this doctor looks past the numbers and see what I have done before. I don't really want someone to advise the IPs to not use me when I have performed before just because a number is slightly off. Apparently that number has never affected me, at least in the number of eggies retrieved. I am ready and excited but super nervous. I want to do well for the IPs and for myself. It's important that I don't disappoint them because they are counting on me.

I don't want to put all my eggs in one basket (no pun intended), but I feel like I am because if this all goes through, I could really use the money. The bills are catching up with me....I am working as much as I can but it still a slippery slope. I know most donors don't talk about the compensation. But in reality, most of us could put the money to good use. Be it paying off student loans, car loans, housing, whatever. I know that we do it to help the IPs. I know, at least, that I do it for that reason but I can't deny that it helps me too.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Oddly enough, another agency that called last week has now called me again to tell me that they also have a match for me. The other couple would allow for me to do my monitorig and retreival in my home state. When it rains, it pours ;). For those that keep up with my blogs, I have always said that I would do 3 or 4 donations and then I would most likely stop. For some reason that number 3 and number 4 has been elusive. Cancelations and couples just disappearing after a match agreement has been signed.

I may just take both of these matches and then retire. In my life, I have done things that I have been proud of. But donating for these couples has been the most fulfilling of all those things. And as I get older and find myself in a different state in my life, I realize that I too would like kids someday. These donations have showed me how much the IPs struggle, their worries, their risks, and their hopes that they place on someone else. It's alot of pressure for us, the donors. But I feel like we all take it in stride. We do the best we can to make sure we don't disappoint.

My biggest worry is that I don't respond well enough to the meds and the IPs don't get the shot they need. But I guess that is out of my hands. All I can do is follow the diet and the meds to a T. The agencies that I am working this this time are new to me (been registered with them but no matches), my previous two donations were through two other agencies. I have been taking vitamins and folic acid in preparation. I hope the donation(s) go 100% as planned and that I respond well!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Some interesting new developments this morning. One of the agencies contacted me and confirmed a match! They originally contacted me about a donation in a few months but I guess that couple must have changed their minds. So here we are with a new match :)! I don't know any of the specifics until later this week. Wish me and my IPs luck!
I was just reading a few blogs and came across an interesting comment from an IP saying that she noticed a discrepancy between two agencies' listings for the same donor. (***Not trying to call anyone out, just wanted to throw my opinion out there)I can see where an IP would be wary and wonder why the differences. They might feel like she has something to hide or whatever. Totally understandable. I would be cautious too. As someone that has been listed on a few different sites/agencies, I, too have noticed discrepancies on my profiles too. Unfortunately, I only become aware of them when the agencies are trying to tidy up house and contact me. Otherwise, I have no access to my online profile or whatever profile IPs see. In the past I have noticed differences in what I wrote on paper (I usually fax so I have the paper copies) and what they actually have. Anything from the compensation (I have seen a few list my compensation way higher for reasons unbeknownst to me), to my height, to my ACT score, GPA, my siblings age(s), and etc. Very odd. But people make mistakes. It happens. I am not saying that this particular donor wasn't trying to misrepresent herself, just that I have experienced the human error side of this myself so I find it totally possible that it was just a mistake. But it could also be an indicator of the organization of the agency or the morals of the donor. It could be so many things.

Sorry for the long ramble....just wanted to throw out the two cents. Oh, and to those that emailed me, sorry I haven't checked the emails lately. But I am back on that and if you have questions, please feel free to ask. Good luck to all!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I took a bit of time off from donating and blogging. Things in my own life have been chaotic (at best) and borderline depressing. But, what doesn't kill you will make you stronger. So on to the post!

Since the last failed donation, I have received 5 calls about 5 different couples. Unfortunately, nothing has been set in stone. Just alot of people asking if I am available and when my blackout dates are, if any. I am starting to think that I may not get to do another donation because after the canceled one, I signed match agreements for two separate donations, only to hear nothing back from those couples. It's been a really frustrating road, these last few months. I know IPs often times worry that EDs will back out on them mid-cycle. But from my own experiences, it seems more common for the IPs to back out. I understand, they have more on the line, but what happens the to ED?

In my case, I have been bouncing around, waiting for another match. I worry that the next couple will also cancel or drop off the face of the Earth. Makes it really hard for me to put myself out there --- when I feel like I am getting jerked around. I worry that the IPs will end up with another RE that jerks them around and misinforms them. I worry that the meds will be wrong the next time too. I worry that the ultrasound tech won't see all the follies and count the wrong ones. At the end of the day, I still want to help. Maybe that's why I am still out there, just waiting. I have also been visiting many of the message boards and looking up prenatal vitamins and folic acid to take before and during my donation to better the quality of the ovums for my IPs. From this ED's perspective, having couples back out and disappear into the thin air, (4 couples thus far in the journey), it just makes me tired, worried, and frustrated. But I continue on. When the right match comes along again...it will be right from the beginning. So I have to have faith.

On a completely different side note--I wonder if anyone is still reading this blog? I don't post as often on here when I am not currently in a cycle. I think I may have lost a few readers. Sorry dear readers. I hope to have something to post about soon.