IVF · Shots · Trigger · Whoops

“Mistakes are Part of the Journey”

So much has happened since my last blog, I don’t even know where to begin.

When I last wrote, we were scheduled to trigger on Thursday night for a Saturday retrieval.  We went in for morning monitoring and it was pushed back “one more day” for the next two days (which felt like an eternity).  My life as a human pincushion had me shook (as my students say) and not in a good way.  IMG_6070Each night that our trigger was postponed meant ANOTHER night of MENOPUREEEEE!!!!!  Each night that we pushed the trigger back also meant an early morning trip for monitoring.  On weekends this takes us about a half hour away because the Freehold office isn’t open…which means up at or before 5 every day for about 6 days straight to be poked and prodded.  On these mornings I was especially thankful for the warm and caring staff AND doctors.  Dr. Molinaro seemed to be in charge of the monitoring hours every day, and every day he came in with such excitement.  It made US excited.  I’ll never forget when he said “You are going to do great” the night before the retrieval.  It was the approval and positive reinforcement that I needed in that moment.  I wanted to jump up and hug him…but quickly remembered I was naked from the waist down aside from a verrrryyyyyy thin sheet of paper.

Fast forward to “Trigger Night”, which should be named the most confusing concoction of medicine and time requirements known to man.  After blood work/ultrasound I always get  call from my nurse (or a nurse on call if she is out) to give me next steps.  On this day, the next steps were to trigger.  I thought, OK!  We’ve got this…we have triggered twice before during IUI’s.  Nope.  This was NOTHING like the triggers of the past.  We had to trigger once at 7:50 (yes, that’s right…to the minute) the night before and then again at 7:50am the next morning.  This added another complication because that meant we needed to be at morning monitoring extra early so we would be able to administer the second trigger at EXACTLY 7:50am. There was more.  Two shots, but not the kind that you can just pick up and jab right in… WE HAD TO MIX!


Ok, not a big deal (again)…but when you are pumped full of hormones and juggling several vials of medicine (while a kind lady named Maria whips through directions) you just might panic.  Maria assured me that she would email me everything that we talked about.  Relieved, I put my pad and pen down and focused on looking at/understanding the medicine in front of me.  If time travel was possible, that pad and pen would never, ever, EVER leave my hand (insert monkey covering eyes emoji).  One giant piece of advice for anyone about to embark on this crazy fertility journey is WRITE DOWN EVERYTHING.  It doesn’t matter how repetitive it seems, or how annoyed the person on the other end of the phone or table might be at having to repeat themselves…this is YOUR body, and the more confirmation you have about the VERY confusing and many steps you will need to take the more confident you will be.  I will regret this moment for a long time, and here is why…

After an extremely early morning of blood work and ultrasound, Bryan and I arrived home for the last trigger.  This was supposed to be our last shot for at least a month.  We were PUMPED (see above).  I was so sure Maria said to take the HCG (Estrogen) again in the morning and not the Lupron.  Bryan thought we were supposed to take both, but I assured him “I am 100% sure it’s the HCG, I would remember!” I was fucking wrong.  Boy was I wrong.  We re-read one of the several pages of directions that were emailed to us (the very, very confusing directions) and realized it was supposed to be the Lupron and NOT the HCG.  We had just taken the HCG.  Fuck.  In a panic, Bryan jabbed me with the Lupron well and we called the doctor’s office to page a nurse on call.  Then I googled…

What did I find?  Of course, an article that said extra Estrogen could compromise the quality of eggs during the retrieval process.  It was ONE article, but it was the first that I looked at…and then I lost my mind.  My world came crashing down.  Had I ruined everything?  Did I just negate EVERYTHING we had been through…all the shots, all the blood work, all the tears?!?  I haven’t cried that hard, and that deeply, since the last miscarriage.  Here I was pumped full of hormones, trying to wrap my head around the fact that my fuckup could have cost us a successful retrieval.  Then, I went eeeeven deeper.  If I couldn’t keep this straight, how could possibly take care of a baby?  I couldn’t keep the three babies we were supposed to have alive, no wonder I fucked this up too.

Poor Bryan.

All he could do was try to squeeze me.  I let him, then I pushed him away, then I let him.  He is a saint, and his support of me that day was unwavering.  He even texted me that he was proud of me (while picking up meds that I will explain later).  Can you imagine? Proud of me?  Why?!?!

For the next three hours we spoke to nurses and waited.  The first nurse said “It’s probably no big deal”…the next “it shouldn’t impact your cycle”…and then the last “it’s probably ok, I mean we can’t go back and change it now anyway”.  Thanks.

I was in a haze.  My mommy was on her way to spend the day with me and all I could do was mindlessly watch “The Ranch” hoping for some of that comfort I used to feel on shot nights.  Then, magic!  It was my doctor.  Dr. Eden Rauch, the best damn doctor I have ever had.  I could hear her children in the background, she was not on call that day and had no duty to call me… I had spoken to the nurses already and could have spoken to a doctor on call.  She said, and I quote “Sara, I was worried about you and wondered if you knew that  everything was fine.  I need you to understand that your eggs will not be impacted by the extra HCG…” HappyEgg

Holy shit.

Music to my ears.

Thank you forever, Eden Rauch.  I think I love you.

She went on to explain that the only side effect would be extra discomfort and pain for me following the procedure.  That’s it?  I will take it!  It also meant more shots (Ganirellix) and more pills (Letrozole) to prevent me from going into overstimulation.  Again, I. Will. Take. It.  My eggs were fine, and the black cloud that was once looming over the transfer disappeared.   I made a mistake, one that I thought was devastatingly huge…but everything was OK.  It’s like the feeling you get when you think you lost your wallet, but find it shoved between the couch cushions (times one million).  Pure euphoria. A joy that wouldn’t have been possible without the preceding turmoil.  We were going to be OK.  It’s hard to see that when you spend so much time diligently following all of the rules, and all of the processes that come with with fertility treatments.

As a wise IVF sister told me, “Mistakes are part of the Journey”.

Nobody is perfect, and IVF is really, really hard…and that is OK.

Up next, the retrieval and recovery.

#IVF Strong








IVF · Reality · Shots · Uncategorized

Human Pincushion


Since my last post we started taking 3 shots a night, adding Ganirelix (to make sure I don’t ovulate prematurely).  I. Feel. Like. A. Human. Pincushion.  Between the shots, the bloodwork, and the flu shot I threw in for good measure….there seems to always be a needle being shoved into my skin.

Last night was a rough one for a few reasons.  I decided to start watching the series “Call the Midwife”, which chronicles the life of a young midwife in 1950’s east London.  You would think watching all the babies being born would be what upset me, but no.  There was a man that reminded me of my dad who ended up dying from gangrene after having his legs amputated (because his tenement was torn down and NOBODY TOOK CARE OF HIS ABSSESSES IN THE NURSING HOME!!!!) which sent me into an emotional tailspin.  I spent a large part of the rest of the night hysterically crying because at some point in the far future my dad will eventually die, and my mom will eventually die, and my brother will eventually die, and Chase will eventually die and Bryan “BETER NOT DIE BEFORE ME”…irrational with a capital I.  Hormones.

My hyper-emotional state made the shots sting a little bit more.  After the menopure I definitely cried again.  It BURNS so much, I am pretty sure yesterday I screamed “GET IT OUT OF ME!” like one second after Bryan jabbed me.

Sad Chimmy After Midwife Show

On the bright side, the extreme suck that comes along with the menopure makes the third shot seem like a vacation.  I actually can’t wait for the third shot (Ganirelix) because it doesn’t hurt as much, that means the menopure is over, and it’s all easy peasy lemon squeezy from there.

There is another bright side that has emerged from all of this, and that is the gratitude I have for what has become our family routine in this journey.  Bryan jabs me every night at 9:45.  Around 9:30 he starts prepping alllll of the needles while I light a candle and sanitize my buzzy (still a little machine sent from the heavens).Captain Chase Chase takes his seat at the head of the table, and watches over pretty much everything that goes on. We start with the gonal, I grit my teeth through the meopure, and I begin to feel a little bit of excitement as Bryan jabs me with Ganirelix.  Bryan hands me a gauze pad if I am bleeding while he tells me how proud he is of me, my buzzy ices the injection sites, and we clean up.

After the shots, the whole family climbs into bed and we watch “The Ranch”…a kinda sorta OK show starring Ashton Kutcher.  We started watching “The Ranch” by accident, and it has now somehow become my comfort show-nudging out Big Bang theory (which I thought would neeeeeverrrrrr happen).  I love these moments with Bryan…they feel like victory.  We survived another night of shots, we are one day closer to Baby Shanahan, and we did it together.

I look forward to these moments every night…they have become such an important and meaningful time for us…and without all of this, without the struggle and the shots-I would probably still take this time together for granted.

It’s not ALL bad.  Tonight was a good night (despite a quick Valentine’s Day fiasco which involved me sitting on a broken chair at dinner and a three hour meal).  The shots still sucked, but there were no tears…in fact, I was smiling  and dancing the entire time.  Side note, it is NOT a good idea to dance when getting jabbed in the belly.  Bryan bought me a bangin box of handmade chocolate with the intention of giving me one piece after each shot as a reward (#IVFValentinesDay), and as I type we are all watching “The Ranch”.  I am so lucky.

We go for bloodwork and an ultrasound tomorrow.  If things look good we could trigger tomorrow night and the retrieval will be Saturday.  It’s all happening so fast!

#IVF Strong





IVF · Reality · Shots


Tonight was our third day of stims, or “Jab Time” as we like to call it in the Shanahan household.

I asked Bryan to administer the Gonal first because the Menopure burns and I would rather save the pain for last.  For whatever reason, the Gonal shot was super painful tonight.  Painful on the way in, during, and on the way out.  I am wondering if it was because we chose to administer it on the right side, the side that typically takes the Menopure? Whatever the reason, ouch…

Sad Chimmy and Lady Bug

This is another time I am beyond grateful to have the support of the IVF community.  You will see my new best friend pictured here, my lady buzzer.  This life saver came from a recommendation by my IVF sister Nicole (two mentions!). Buzzy 2 She has ice pack wings, and vibrates when activated (not for that, get your mind out of the gutter).  This little lady took so much of the discomfort away from the Menopure shot tonight.  Tomorrow I will use her for BOTH…lesson learned!

In the interest of full disclosure, I did shed a few tears during Jab Time this evening.  I wasn’t expecting the discomfort with BOTH shots…that really threw me off.  My tears were especially hard for Bryan.  He doesn’t like to see me in pain, and blames himself because he is the one holding the needle.  The truth is, he is doing an amazing job and I am eternally grateful for his constant support and needle sticking.  I would NOT be able to do this to myself.  Actually, yes I would because I a strong woman…but I sure am glad I don’t have to.

Tomorrow we head to the doctor BRIGHT and early for morning monitoring.  This happens every 2-3 days, and you can walk in the office any time between 6-8 am.  Typically I like to get there before 6:30 so that I can get to work on time, but tomorrow is Sunday so we might stretch it to 7-scandalous, I know!  During monitoring I get blood drawn and have an ultrasound to see how everything is going/how my body is reacting to the medicine.  My nurse will call me sometime tomorrow to either adjust the medicine or tell us to keep going as is.  Fingers crossed these follies are growing!

#IVF Strong (even when I cry)


IVF · Reality · Shots

Rough start, but here we go!

Today marked our first day of shots, and we are off to a rough start.

After the seemingly never-ending saga with our medication company, everything FINALLY arrived yesterday.  Much to my chagrin, when I got home from work I found the box on the porch open…and soaking wet.


Now, I should add that I had just finished a pretty taxing day at work where a child threatened me, and told me I was “wasting her lunch hour”.  Finding this package made me see red.  I am pretty sure I texted more than one person saying I was going to “cut a bitch”.  That said, I have to give Freedom some customer service credit here because they immediately sent out a new package of meds which arrived early this morning.

With all of our medication ducks” in a row, here’s how day 1 of IVF went for us…

Up at 5am for blood work and an ultrasound, I happened to have the same doctor who gave the ovaries the all clear on Friday.  Bryan was by my side, as he has been every moment of this fertility journey.  Husbands don’t need to be at every monitoring appointment because it is in and out.  I am always secretly so proud that I have Bryan with me at nearly every monitoring session.  Coffee in hand, he is religiously right outside of the room where they take my blood, and then carries my purse and coat to the room where they perform the ultrasound.  Bryan’s presence makes me feel safe and protected, and we somehow always manage to have a laugh (despite the early morning poking and prodding).  Added bonus: all the ladies at the office love him.


At work I got the call that everything looked good, and we were set to begin our shots tonight.  MAJOR EEEEKKKKKKK.  I knew this was coming, and I am excited…don’t get me wrong…but EEEEKKKK.  The shots were STARTING.

Here is where things didn’t go as planned.

We found a bedbug in my classroom, and I am now walking around itchy and convinced that every dark speck is a bedbug I have carried home what will infest the house.  This was unwanted and unneeded chaos in my already nervous and cluttered brain.

I didn’t feel ready because I wanted to be super healthy, and today at work I stress ate more than a few gummy candies (that were supposed to be used for STEM projects).

I haven’t been feeling well and because of this fell asleep and didn’t properly prepare our milestone card for the first stim shots.  I also didn’t run/lift/complete my core exercises so I feel doubly unready in the health department.  (you can’t do any of this after you start stim shots)

Bryan arrived home a little later than expected, and the videos took a little longer to watch in order to prepare (mix this, tap this on a hard surface…what?!?) for our first round of shots causing us to fall juuuuust outside of the 7-10pm window we were supposed to inject within.

End of the world?  No.  Stress and anxiety inducing for me?  YOU BETCHA!  It’s a scary process, and I am going to let myself over-think for now.  For now.

As always, I had a vision in my mind of how this first night of shots would carry out.  That vision wasn’t met, because it was unrealistic.  This is REAL LIFE.  So, instead of the picture I had envisioned, where we both had perfectly coiffed hair and rosy red happy “here is our beautiful journey” cheeks we have this…

I kinda love it.

How were the shots?


The first (Gonal) was fine, I felt nothing.  The second (Menopur) was pretty uncomfortable.  Not sure why or if this is common.  The injection was painless, but the medicine burned quite a bit and for almost 10 minutes.  By the way, the needles pictured are not what we are using right now…I wanted to include this picture for dramatic effect.

Day one in the books.  Now it’s time to sleep.

#IVF Strong