Adventures in making and raising our test-tube babies

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Boobie Pain and Needing Needles Gotten from Get

Long ago I used to call them "breasts." Now that I am married and have succumbed to the influence of my husband, I call them "boobies."

Now that I'm on my second IVF, and with a different doctor, I've started a regimen of two weeks of birth control pills before we bring out the injectibles. I'm on Day 5, and this morning I woke up to some boobie pain. It felt like someone had taken a broom handle and jabbed me in the outside of my left breast. I mean boobie. Not a sharp pain, just like a bruise an inch in. I gave myself a quick lump check in the shower, just in case, and everything seemed fine.

Just to be sure, I first consulted my girls on the Daily Strength online support group (the ultimate authority), and then I called my nurse. Both said the same thing: birth control pills can cause pain in breasts. I mentioned to my nurse how my husband had changed my way of referring to and thinking about "boobies," and she said that it was doctor's orders that he not be too aggressive with them. Hands off the boobies until they feel better! I told this to James just now, and he sounded a little sad. So we just agreed "gentle" would be okay.

What a crazy life.

I don't think I described to you my experience this weekend at the pharmacy. My clinic faxed my prescriptions to my local drugstore, whose experience with this stuff seems, well, minimal. On Saturday I picked up my doxicycline and estradiol, both of which were paid for by insurance. I talked to the pharmacist, whose first name is "Get," and whose last name I don't remember. He seems to hail from Southeast Asia, perhaps the Indian Subcontinent. He is extremely sweet, even if his English is not that great. He pulled out the fax with my prescriptions, where he had highlighted several things and made notes. He was waiting for insurance pre-authorization for the big meds, and in the meantime had started looking for the right needles. He could find everything except for one: the fresh needle we screw onto the syringe after we have mixed the dry menopur with the sterile solution and sucked it into the chamber using the first (dull?) needle, and which we then jab me with.

I told Get about the left-over medicine I have from last time, which he can subtract from the order. I wondered how it would all work out, since he wrote "need 600" by the Follistim, and "need" by the faxed specifications for the last needle -- meaning that in that case we only needed the needle, not the syringe part too. If he was spelling need and needle the same in his super-complicated notes, well, I just hope he remembers what he meant.

After I picked up my estradiol and doxicycline, I realized that the reason I hadn't gotten my birth control pills (Ortho Nova or Novum?) was that I had forgotten to give him that prescription. I handed it over with an apology, and waited for him to fill it. I was sitting in a chair by the pharmacy counter when he called me back up to talk to him. "Can I ask you a question?" he said. "Why do you need the birth control pills?" I explained that it regulated my hormones and got my body stable and ready for the next phase of treatment. I thought it was pretty funny for me to be the one explaining it to the trained and licensed health professional. But you have to admit that it's a really good question; the answer is not as obvious.

Because we never really came to a resolution about the pesky fourth kind of needle, I agreed to come back the next day with my box of left-over IVF gadgetry. I had a clear plastic shoe box that I opened up on the pharmacy counter and which we dug through like it was a treasure chest. As he wrote down the number on the needle packaging, a man who was behind me in line, and whose first language was also not English, asked, "Are you diabetic?" "No," I smiled: "infertile." He looked puzzled. "I can't have a baby. I want to have a baby." Ah, he perked up. "It's very complicated!" I explained. He agreed. Very sweet.

When Get and I were finished with our daily pow-wow, I told him that I'd certainly be back. "I want to see you come back with a baby!" he said. Fortunately, James and I have decided that we're never ever moving from our house, which we just bought last year around the corner. As long as Rite-Aid can stick around, I have confidence that Get will see me pregnant.

I am not so confident that I will actually get the meds from Get. Get doesn't seem to be Getting the Getting-job done. I am aware of this. My ace in the hole is the Portland mail-order pharmacy that has actually heard of this stuff, and which can overnight medicine. I may be having a conversation with them later this week. But it won't be as fun.


Jeremy said...

Hey Kay! Great blog....thanks for the invitation. Give me a call when you aren't in boobie pain.

Heather said...

Ah yes. The overnight pharmacies are amazing although you do lose the personal touch. I must say that I never got as close to my local pharmacist - I didn't even know his name - so I can't relate to feeling like I was letting someone down by ordering something over the phone.

Anyway - I love the idea of blogging about this journey. When I was going through this, it all felt so personal that I couldn't bring myself to talk about it to others I knew, let alone others I didn't know. I'm so proud of you and James for trying this out, and for helping others as you go through the ups and downs of the IVF process. Again. I do feel like the diagnosis of infertility for unexplained reasons seems like a cop out for the doctors, but I understand that there have been such medical advances since the time of our grandparents and beyond. I think I trust the science of the whole thing much better because we can know so much about reproduction works.

Please know that our thoughts are with you as you work hard and inject yourself often with the hopes of getting lucky. If any couple I know has the strength to get through this, it is you two. Being so open about it has to help, at least some of the time. We love you!

-Heather and Brian

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