Starting Cycle Medications

Julie S’ Journey – Vol. 4

Now that legal clearance has been issued by the attorneys and letters of clearance have been sent to Abundant Beginnings and the fertility clinic, it is time to get ready to start taking the “cycle” medication.  The IVF medication is not carried by all pharmacies, so they are shipped directly to me (from the specialty pharmacy), which makes it super convenient. The only part I had to play in this was to speak to the pharmacy directly when they called to confirm my shipping address.  My Abundant Beginnings case manager helped the Intended Parents coordinate with the clinic and pharmacy to make sure the medication was ordered in time for me to begin at my next menstrual cycle.

This is the part of my journey where I start to feel a little nervous because the entire transfer depends on how my body reacts to the medication! I want to be sure to do my part correctly!  I received my medication on March 16th, about a week before I was scheduled to start my next period.  The nurse from the clinic sent me an e-mail with my “calendar” listing the timing and amounts of medication.

It is important that you print the calendar, highlight it, set alerts on your phone, whatever you need to do so that you are able to follow the instructions as closely as possible!!  You do not want to stray from this direction, so do what you need to do to stay on track.  (Note: if for some reason you miss a medication, remember to call your case manager and/or the clinic for directions!)

***As a reminder, every clinic and every journey is different.  You may or may not recieve the same type of medication or timing that I do.***

My period started on March 24th so I called the clinic to let them know and we scheduled my baseline ultrasound for Cycle Day, or “CD”, 3.  It is called a “baseline” ultrasound for the very specific purpose of getting a baseline of what your uterus looks like for this part of the cycle.  Most clinics want these done between CD3-5 but it can definitely vary.

Everything looked good on the ultrasound. I had some blood drawn to check my estrogen levels and again for any sort of STD (an FDA guideline for IVF).  I had been taking estrogen for just a couple of days but I knew they wanted my level to be >100.  If it wasn’t, no problem, they would just increase how much estrogen I would take each day.  I got a call that afternoon saying that my estrogen was at 101. Whew!

On April 6th (CD14) I had my lining check ultrasound!  This is the most important scan I would have prior to the transfer.  On this day, they wanted my uterine lining (how thick my uterus was) to be at least 8mm.  If all looked good that day, they would schedule the transfer for a week or so following and I would begin the rest of my medication to prepare for the big day.  My lining was 9.5 and clear of any fluid (which could cancel an embryo transfer).

Since everything looked great on the ultrasound, we received our final med calendar!  My husband got his blood drawn again for any STDs (again, the FDA guideline for an IVF), and I watched as my nurse highlighted my calendar!  We scheduled my the embryo transfer for exactly 6 days later.

I know all of this information can seem overwhelming.  It’s really easy to understand with the calendar, and the nurse walked me through each medication.  If I ever felt confused, the case manager assigned to me by my agency would be just a phone call a way, and I knew I could always call the nurses at the clinic to discuss.  When it comes to taking the Progesterone In Oil (PIO) injections, it can be extremely intimidating at first (why? because the needle is a bit large?)  Luckily, Abundant Beginnings has an awesome surrogate sisterhood and there are dozens of girls I could call upon for some motivation or tips!

My 7 year old son really enjoys helping me to fill my pill case. He has seen his momma be a surrogate twice before, so surrogacy is nothing new for him.  I am thankful for his understanding in what we are doing for another family, and having him assist in this way helps him to feel a part of the process!  Here he is filling my pill case with my meds for the big week!

My husband is a huge part of the process, as well, and not only does he provide loving support, he helps me by doing all of my injections. (When he is out of town, a friend of mine helps out, so thank you, Hannah!). Here’s my husband at our first PIO injection on April 7th.