The Day That Changed Me…Forever

A warning to my Mom and Dad (who read this blog)…this might be hard for you to see.  I have so much to be happy about and look forward to in this IVF journey, but there is a part of me that I feel compelled to share first.

I remember every detail of that day as if it has been etched into my mind, and my soul, for the rest of my life…

We already knew that we lost the baby.  That we found out on the day before my birthday.  For some reason my OBGYN didn’t schedule the DNC until 3-4 days later.  At the time I didn’t think twice, I was so numb.

You would think learning we lost the baby would have been the the day that changed me, but it wasn’t.  We had already lost 2.  I knew something was wrong because the severe pain in my chest vanished.  Then…spotting.  When I went to the doctor the heartbeat that was so strong at our last visit vanished as well.  I cried, and hid in the changing room.  After that it was business as usual.  We had been through this already…the pain wasn’t anything new for us.

Then came the day…that day.  I had plans with my friend Alyssa to have some summer fun.  You see, we were both teachers at a charter school notorious for working teachers to the bone.  This summer we were going to live up the days we had earned with our blood, sweat, and tears during the school year.

We had plans…we were going to Six Flags.  I dragged myself out of bed and took one of my husband’s prescription strength ibuprofen pills.  The cramps were killing me.  I was unfamiliar with this sensation because the last time I lost a baby this far along the DNC happened immediately.  The surgery for this loss wasn’t scheduled for another day.  You can imagine how dark it feels to walk around with the baby you love so much still inside of you, no longer “viable”.

I remember driving to Six Flags and buying Coke because for the small price of the worst thing you can put in your body, you get discounted park tickets.

We drove in Alyssa’s new car.  This new car was something Alyssa was really proud of, and she deserved it.  It kind of reminded me of a space ship because it was so shiny and new.  I remember the sugar rush of the Coke, and loving that the sugar seemed to make me feel happy.   For that small amount of time I didn’t have to pretend to be happy.  Thank you, sugar.

At the park we went on a water ride, the one that has you get into a giant octagonal floaty and you spin around the rapids.  We got soaked, and I remember the maxi pad I had on (because I was bleeding) felt like a wet diaper.  We found a bathroom and I changed that wet diaper.  Then, we decided to get in line for the gondola ride to the other side of the park. That’s when the worst day of my life began.

The cramps were debilitating.  I remember struggling to stand up, and struggling to leave the park.  On the way home Alyssa was trying to make me feel better but there was nothing she could have done.  The pain, both physical and emotional, was unbearable.  Looking back I think my body was preparing to “give birth” to what was once our baby.  The ride home seemed to take forever.

When we finally got to my house Alyssa wouldn’t leave my side, and when I went into the bathroom it was incredibly comforting to know that she was there.  I was so, so scared.  The blood and matter coming out of me was fast and furious.  I had to change my pad every 2 minutes, and even then it was everywhere.  EVERYWHERE.  So….I decided to take a shower.  You would have thought I was being murdered in that shower, and it just…kept…coming.  I didn’t know what to do.  I needed to go to the ER.  Alyssa came back that night and cleaned the bathroom so I wouldn’t have to see the blood when I came home.  She will forever have the biggest part of my heart.

I strapped on the biggest pad I had and put on a pair of Bryan’s underwear.  They were the kind that resemble spandex and I don’t know why, but they felt like armor at the time.  Like, if I put on his underwear the bleeding would stop…or at least it wouldn’t bleed through anymore.  I remember worrying that I would bleed on Alyssa’s seats on the way to the ER so I brought a towel to sit on.  Her new car…she worked so hard for that car, I was so worried I would ruin the seat.

When we got to the emergency room there was younger woman at the front desk.  She asked for my information and told me to sit down in the waiting room.  As I stood there bleeding out what was my child I begged her not to make me sit there and wait.  There was so much coming out of me, I didn’t want to have to continue to miscarry in front of all those people.  All those people.  She refused, and so I left.  I would rather be at home than have this happen in the waiting room.

I was back and forth with my OBGYN the entire time.  By the time I left the ER they were calling me wondering where I was.  You see, one of the gynecologists of the practice was on call and in the ER waiting for me because he knew….he knew what was happening to me.  He knew.  After reliving the story of the woman who turned me away the nurse at my OBGYN’s office instructed me to head back to the ER.  She assured me that they would be calling the front desk, and that I would be brought back immediately.  At this point I was broken,  I was angry, and I was scared.

By the time we got back Bryan was there.  Alyssa, thank God, had been in contact with him as we bounced back and forth from the ER to my house.

I was put in a wheel chair, and said goodbye to Alyssa.  She told me I was the strongest woman she knew and that gave me courage. I didn’t feel strong, I felt like I was crumbling.  I looked down, and the blood already soaked the wheelchair.

When they brought us back there wasn’t a room immediately ready so we had to wait outside while they cleaned after a previous patient.  We might have been waiting ten minutes, and in that time the blood had risen over my thighs.  My new tank top, the one I bought to make me feel pretty during my summer pregnancy, was soaked around the bottom.

There was an elderly couple across from us as we waited in the hallway.  The woman was the patient, and her husband was tenderly holding her hand.  I remember feeling so embarrassed.  The blood was everywhere.  At this point it had gotten all over my forearms and hands.  I kept apologizing, and shaking…I was so cold.

When they brought me into the room they cut off Bryan’s underwear and I took off my new tank top.  I was put into a hospital  gown, and I remember that my legs and stomach were covered in blood.  I laid down and the nurses set me up with an IV.

For the next hour, in waves, my body got rid of what it had created to keep our baby alive.  I will never forget Bryan’s face.  He looked terrified.  My husband is the strongest man I know, a true thrill seeker…and his face was white.  I learned, after the fact, that he thought I was bleeding out.  He didn’t realize that what he was seeing was mostly placenta and separate from the blood system that keeps me alive.

The entire ordeal was so uncomfortable, and I remember at some point resigning myself to what was happening.  I was going to be covered in blood until this was over, things were going to keep falling out of me and being collected.  So, I went numb.


I don’t remember much else leading up to the surgery.  So much blood.  I vaguely remember being put onto the operating table and shaking uncontrollably.  I remember hearing my surgeon (the same doctor from my OBGYN that fought for me earlier) yelling for the nurse to get me a warm blanket.  I felt protected, and then I fell asleep.

When I woke up in post-op I met the most amazing nurse.  She had curly red hair, and her smile made me feel warm.  She asked how I was doing and, for a moment, I was happy.  Then I remembered….I remembered why I was there and my soul ached.  The nurse hugged me.  I will never forget that hug.  She smelled like love.

She asked if I was in pain, and I said I was.  I’m not sure if the pain was from the surgery or my broken heart, but I hurt…so deeply.  The nurse gave me morphine and I fell asleep.  I remember being in and out of sleep for the next few hours.  At some point I was in a hospital room with Bryan by my side.  It was late.  I would wake up and remember, and struggle to keep my eyes open.  Bryan would squeeze my hand, tell me everything was going to be ok, and I would fall asleep again.

When I was discharged we went to Wendy’s and got cheese fries and a lemonade.  I didn’t even know Wendy’s had cheese fries until that night.

I have not been the same since this experience.  It felt like a little bit of the light inside of me dimmed.  For a long time I wondered if I would be able to come back from what happened, and for a long time I didn’t think I would…but I did.  I am a more anxious and skeptical version of my previous self, but I am once again relishing in the magic that comes from the little moments that happen every day.

I will never forget that day.  I will never be able to thank my dear friend Alyssa enough.

#IVF Strong




IVF · Retrieval · Side Effects

The Great Shanahan Harvest of 2018

It’s been a while since we actually had our egg retrieval.  In fact, as I am looking back it has almost been a full month…wow.  I have to be honest, the retrieval was so much more physically and emotionally draining than I ever could have imagined.

When the black cloud of the Estrogen snafu had been lifted the retrieval day had, once again, become something very exciting for us.  It was another early morning, I was not allowed to eat or drink anything…no makeup (no big deal) and no lotion.


When we arrived at the Basking Ridge office there were already so many people.  This place is like a well-oiled machine.  You go upstairs to check -in, and the lobby is AMAZING.  So many beautifully upholstered chairs.  If you know me, you know I love a mix of patterns and fabrics on my chairs and this did not disappoint.  Bryan and I were separated after check-in…I was sent downstairs to the surgical center and he was sent into the “specimen collection” area.  I wish he would share his point of view on these situations because it is HILARIOUS.  All I can recap is that he made sure not to touch any of the walls or furniture.

When I arrived in the surgical waiting area there were beautiful flowers everywhere.  I, of course, took pictures…


When you enter the waiting room there are instructions to pick up a black phone, which I did.  The person on the other end already knew who I was.  It felt for a second like I was in some kind of a spy movie, and although I know I was NOT it definitely made things a little extra exciting that morning.  Bryan soon met me in the waiting room, and then we were brought back by the nurse who was going to be with me both pre and post-op.  The nurse loved my T-shirt, and I love positive reinforcement so this was already going well for me.

When we got back to our “bay” as they called them, I got down to my birthday suit and wrapped the oh-so-comfortable hospital gown around my body.  My nurse put in my IV, and I acted like it didn’t hurt like holy hell (which was a lie).  I couldn’t help but notice that she looked so much like our friend Shala…it could have been her sister!  For this reason, and so many more, I was instantly comfortable.

As we waited for surgery many more people came in until the area was full.  There was so much to take in.  There were people crying because the stimulation shots had made them so incredibly uncomfortable, people groggily coming out of anesthesia, and there was the surgeon bopping from bay to bay giving the EXACT SAME speech to each person that was about to go in for their retrieval “God gave you bandaids, they are called platelets….”  By the time it was my turn Bryan and I were pretty much able to recite his entire speech.

Fast forward to being on the table…

The anesthesiologist started the sleepy meds, and this is what I remember:

  1. It burned and I made sure to tell him.
  2. I met my embryologist and let her know she was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen (sleepy meds clearly kicking in).
  3. I began to belt out whatever song was playing in the OR which knocked out the oxygen….and then I woke up.


Apparently I was a hit in post-op.  I told my nurse about 100 times that she looked like Shala, and I made her write down the names of two shows I was currently watching on Netflix.  I was also trying to pump up the women in the bays around me by shouting “You’ve got this my IVF sister”.  I remember being very happy, and having no pain.

Shortly after waking up our nurse came in with our egg count and we were blown away.  We had 23 eggs that were retrieved.  IMG_6327Even our nurse thought that was pretty amazing.   We chose to hide our excitement, however, because we could hear the sadness of the woman in the bay to our left who hadn’t had as much success.  I will never forget her words, over and over…”what happened?!”  I can’t imagine how she felt.  After all of those weeks of shots and hoping.  I still think about her.

We left that day feeling on top of the world.  23 eggs….TWENTY THREE EGGS!  This was amazing.  Surely this would mean that we would have a solid amount of eggs after everything was said and done.

False fucking happiness.

Here is how it works:  On the day of your retrieval you find out how many eggs were harvested.  The next day you find out how many eggs were fertilized, and then 5 days later you are given your final count.  What they don’t tell you…the number you get on the day of retrieval gives you false hope.  The VERY NEXT DAY we learned that out of those 23 eggs only 14 were mature…and out of those 14 mature eggs only 8 fertilized. In a matter of one day we lost 15 eggs. Everyone kept telling me that “8 was still a good number” but I knew what it really meant.  8 Would be a great number if that was our final count, but we had a long way to go.  It would take 5 more days to see if those 8 eggs made it to the blasto phase (if they grew they way they should).  Even after that, they still had to survive the genetic testing.

So much about the fertility process revolves around waiting, and hope. Our embryos were in the hands of the experts, and there was quite literally nothing we could do.  Those 5 days were harder than I thought they would be.  We got a call from Dr. Rauch on Saturday the 25th.  Our doctor is the best.  She knew that we would be waiting, and although she hadn’t gotten the official report she dug through the paperwork to find that they had frozen three eggs.  We both shared a huge sense of relief, and she confirmed what I had known all along.  14 mature eggs was a low number for me, and she too was nervous that we would end up with only one egg after the 5 day wait.

For us, at this point, 3 was a solid number.

The waiting was not over.  Our three little embryos had been biopsied before they were frozen.  The biopsy was being sent off for genetic testing, something that was VERY expensive (think $8K) but very necessary given our history of miscarriage.  Dr. Rauch was honest, she let us know that there was a 30% loss attached to genetic testing, which meant we would likely lose one of our three eggs. This was OK, because we would still have two.

Such a whirlwind…and although we had 3 (and that was good considering what we started with) I was sad.  I cried for the loss of every egg during every phase.  We started on such a high, and yet were now in crunch time hoping and praying we at least end up with two healthy embryos.  How did this happen?

Mixed deeply into this emotional rollercoaster was the physical recovery.  Here is how that panned out.

Monday/Surgery: No pain, super sleepy.  Watched a ton of Grace and Frankie and slept. By the evening I felt well enough to get up and do laundry….I thought this would be easy peasy.  I was drinking a ton of pedialyte and water because dehydration is common after egg retrievals, that routine continued for the next two weeks.

Tuesday/1 Day Post-Op: Feeling OK in the morning I went to work.  BIG MISTAKE.  By 9:00 am I was in so much pain I had to go home.  It felt like someone was stabbing my female organs.  I looked 4 months pregnant from swelling, it hurt to stand up straight and it hurt to pee.  I learned that day that constipation is common after this surgery, and boy did that hit me hard.  Bryan got me a heating pad, prune juice, stool softeners, and raisin bran and I watched even more Grace and Frankie in between sleeping with my two caretakers by my side.


Wednesday/2 Days Post-Op:  The supplies Bryan bought me worked and I was feeling “lighter”, although I was still very VERY swollen.  The janitor at work smiled at me and said “eating for two!”.  I said “Not yet, but soon if science does its job!”  It still hurt to pee and stand up straight…but it was manageable.

Thursday/2 Days Post-Op: Finally cleared out (if you know what I mean) and feeling better.  Still swollen, but looking 1 month preggo instead of 4.  At this point I was used to this level of discomfort because it was a lot like how I felt on stim shots, and we had been through 3 rounds of those.  What was even better was that I no longer had the symptoms of hyper -stimulation which meant I was in the clear.

By Saturday I was feeling more like myself, but it would take a few weeks to feel “normal” again.

#IVF Strong






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





Emotionssssss · IVF · Reality · Side Effects

Side Effect Tsunami


Sooooo Bryan has only been jabbing me since last Thursday, but the side effects of all these crazy hormones hit me pretty much immediately.  It wasn’t until today, however, that I allowed myself to believe that everything I am feeling is a side effect…like I had to pretend this wasn’t going on because admitting the impact somehow made me weak.  Going into this I always pictured Bryan talking to friends and saying “Chimmy has been such a champ, I’ve barely noticed a difference.”  I am a rugby girl, I am tough…shouldn’t I be able to handle this better?

Get over yourself girl.

I am injecting hormones into myself nightly, and this is how it makes me feel…I feel sad.  Not all the time, but there are moments where I feel like I am going to break down into hysterical tears for no reason at all.  It’s almost like perpetual PMS, that day RIGHT before your period when you drop the butter knife in the sink before you are done with it and it turns you into an emotional jellyfish.

I also feel tired.  Extremely tired, and there is a haze within which I currently just exist.  I see people in front of me, and I know they are there…but I end up staring for a little too long before I actually begin to speak.  This happened today at the doctor during morning monitoring.  There was a nurse in the hallway, and as I was entering the exam room I stopped and just stared at her.  Wide-open fly catching mouth, tilted head, and what I assume was the most blank stare she has ever seen.  The moment seemed to last FOREVER until Bryan snapped me out of it.  I promptly apologized, and we laughed about my awkwardness for like 15 straight minutes.

Another amazing side effect…I am forgetful, but only about personal things.  For example, the other day I went to ShopRite to buy my Perrier (don’t judge me I can’t drink and I like the feel of the fancy glass bottle…k?) and some yogurt, and left my purse in the shopping cart.  I got home and realized that my purse was in the front of the cart…in the parking lot…at ShopRite.  I also lost my keys recently.  Went to the car to grab something in the morning and POOF, they were gone.  This, of course, sent me into an emotional tailspin as I was trying to run out of the door to work.  Poor, poor patient Bryan.  Luckily this hasn’t bled into my teaching duties yet.  Maybe I am using up all the brain space I have to keep myself organized and on-point in my classroom?  I do love those little buggers.

Finally, I am having hot flashes.  This is a particularly lovely side effect because, as you know, we are in the middle of one of the worst flu seasons ever.  I love teaching children about ordered pairs and being overtaken by a hot flash that has me CONVINCED they have given me the flu, and I will soon be a headline in the Asbury Park Press because I have died from the flu.  Have I mentioned the medicine makes me feel emotional/irrational?

I could sit here and feel like a crazy person-but I won’t.  I HAVE to remind myself that I am injecting myself with HORMONES EVERY NIGHT.  I am not weak, and I am not crazy.  If I need to cry, I will.  When I am tired, I will take a nap (at home, of course…well definitely not when teaching or driving for sure…) If I forget something, I will go back and get it.  If I have a hot flash, I will drink ice cold water and remember that it doesn’t mean I am DYINGGGGGG.

This is already such an incredibly wild ride, but I am strapped in and ready for whatever natural disaster of side effects that may come my way as we start with THREE SHOTS A NIGHT TONIGHT (errrr merrrr gerrrrrrrrrd)  Lucky for me, I have a husband that is both strong and 100% in my corner.

#IVF Strong

P.S.-Chase already at my buzzy…lucky for him it still works…


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