Chris: Candace and I have the unfortunate opportunity of being in the fertility issue category of "Doctors Scratching Their Heads and Saying They Don't Know Why it Hasn't Worked Yet." The DSTHSTDKY category, or the WTF category for short. At this point, we are willing to try anything that has even the most minute possibility of working and will consider the things that have no evidence of actually working. Thus, we arrived at another medication, intralipid infusions. We covered this medication in our "Hot off the Press" section a while back - Honesty Disclosure: when we wrote that section it was right before Candace had received her first infusion. Please don't hate us for waiting to talk about it here, Candace will describe the adventure involved in that first infusion - So, I will summarize what is is and why it is used for fertility patients. Intralipids are a great way for a completely healthy person to do absolutely nothing and gain weight. They are a potent intravenously delivered concoction of nutrients typically given to patients on intense chemotherapy or otherwise unable to feed themselves as a way to feed their bodies. Needless to say, this is no ordinary milkshake, although that is exactly what it looks like! It is an IV bag filled with a milky white liquid that is used for fertility patients to fight back against overactive immune systems. The idea is that the nutrients somehow suppress the immune system enough to allow the embryo to implant without being rejected. If successful, it may be administered as long as the entire first trimester with some people staying on intralipids through their entire pregnancy. For information on intralipid treatments ad pros and cons, check our our "Hot off the Press" page. For a colorful description of our experiences with intralipid infusions, read Candace's commentary below.
Pause for dramatic effect ...
It is safe to say I am "ok" with needles, IVs, and things medically probing. However, my first encounter with my intralipid IV was comically (now I can laugh about it) traumatizing. I say this because of the experience, but for those considering this treatment, that part is easy. It was more about how everything went down. First, you have to order the medication from your friendly fertility pharmacy. I am almost on a first name basis with these folks. "Hey Betty, it's Candace. Yeah I need more XYZ, yes, you can put it on our credit card nearing maxed out status, Heck, throw some extra estrogen suppositories in while you're at it." Anyway, this bag of white milky stuff arrived in a Fed-Ex box (eyebrow raise) and then you call an in-home nursing company to come to your home to administer it. Now, none of this so far is traumatic, annoying yes but not traumatic. Here is where things start to take a downward spiral.
Two very friendly nurses arrived with one being massively pregnant. So of course all I could do was stare at her bump. They fumble through the box of IV equipment and joke about how ancient my pump is. Stage one of worry sets in. They then show concern as to how to transfer the medication to the saline bag. In the process of "trouble shooting" they spill some of the medication on my couch. stage 2 of worry hits. Chris's favorite quote from this evening was when we were asked if we had syringes and Chris said yes, wait for it ... Says the nurse, "Is it still sterile?" WTH? No, all we have are used heroine needles, but we have great lighters to clean them with. (That is a joke, FYI, just clearing the air on that) Anyway they finally get the medication into the saline solution. Upon hanging it up and connecting it to the pump more medication squirts out across my living room onto the carpet. I sure hope it is dog-friendly because I noticed the other day our furbaby licking the spot where it spilled. Then came actual IV time. I am now panicking, like having serious inner turmoil about whether I can go through with this or not. They blew out my first vein because they did not remove the tourniquet at the right time. They got it on the second try, good thing, I only have 2 arms. So, I am now in freak the F out mode. Normally, I am overly opinionated. This time, SILENT, not a peep! Chris too. I think we were in shock. The good news is the meds were administered and I didn't die, pass out, or have a complete meltdown.
The second IV, a new company by the way, went smooth as silk. It was a 6 hour drip this time and Chris had to remove my IV at midnight, but it was nowhere near as traumatizing. If this is not committing to have a baby, I don't know what is.