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 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 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 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 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.