House Beautiful

Aftermath: The Eggs are in the Nest!

We’re all done!  Coming to you from a white cushy hotel bed surrounded by a gaggle of fluids, heating pads & ice packs, a fatty stack of magazines and 2 empty Annie’s easy macs (thanks Linds!!)

Let’s rewind to last week and pick back up at the end of the last post. As you know, I’m freezing my eggs with the global leader in fertility care, CCRM, and I’m excited to share the latest:

WERE THE SHOTS TOUGH?

For me, the shots just weren’t that bad.  The scariest part wasn’t sticking myself, but when everything came in the mail (they overnight it on cold packs from a pharmacy), and I opened it, then stared at it all and like:

It was just a *little* intimidating at first. BUT, you just gotta pull up your big girl britches and get your arms around it:

  1. Double check everything is there (I cross-checked my list of dosages from CCRM), and if not, call your nurse immediately.  You should order so that you get your meds in the mail about a week before stim meds are supposed to start. AND have everything arrive when you’re home so you can promptly pop them in the fridge, if needed.
  2. Watch the videos on CCRM’s website so you’re prepared (these teach you how to do the shots and handle the needles), and
  3. Plan accordingly… because we all know life – for most of us – doesn’t stop for 10-12 straight days.  If ever I was away from home, I carried my Arctic cooler of (shots that have to be refrigerated) around so I’d have them on hand when I needed them. And no, I’m not a rep for Arctic, but it IS one of those brands – like a Yeti – that keeps things super cool for far longer than your traditional Igloo.  Since I was traveling with thousands of dollars worth of meds, I needed to make sure they never got warm.  Anyhow – typically, you take 1 shot in the morning (I had Menopur), and 1 shot 12 hours later in the evening (I had Gonal-F).  I did 8:45am and 8:45pm, but would set my alarm for about 10 minutes prior to each time so that I gave myself time to wash my hands, prep and get all my stuff laid out, then ice for a few minutes before injecting. So, you know – if you’re camping – leave the s’mores, take the Menopur.

And if you’re going to a Red Rocks concert?  Don’t forget to pack your Gonal-F in an icy baggie in your fiancé’s sock (way to take one for the team, babe!) until it’s time to take your shot. We went to see My Morning Jacket last Saturday (and had the SICKEST seats, because my buddy’s cousin Bo is in the band)…

They were about to go on **right** at evening shot time, and I didn’t wanna miss it, so I just sat right there in the roped-off section and gave myself a shot of Gonal-F – right in front of Howie & Chris Long.  Done and done.  I should write a Green Eggs & Ham-esque poem about all the places I gave myself shots… but Starbucks parking lot doesn’t really rhyme with Red Rocks, so ye know. The point is – don’t let it intimidate you.  Just set your alarm and pack your cooler and go on about your business.

DOES IT HURT?

I shared this last time and I’ll share it again: icing the injection spot beforehand made it painless, which – your shots are only a prick to begin with – but not feeling an actual thing changed things mentally and made the shots a non-factor.  2-3 min of ice, prick, done. The only thing that stings a little is Menopur – not the injection but when the medication goes in.

GOING IN EVERY DAY THE WEEK PRIOR TO RETRIEVAL?

Yep!  For about the last week prior to retrieval, I’ve gone in to CCRM every morning for an ultrasound: a tech checks your follicles on both sides and measures their growth and quantity, day by day. I didn’t mind this because it was kind of fascinating to watch them grow from one day to the next, and I got all competitive and excited about my growth numbers. It also made me feel better to know they were progressing, because (on some level, with the shots) you’re like: “AM I DOING THIS RIGHT???” But this was reassurance that I was.

After Ultrasound (ode to how I will miss the oven mitts!), you go get a quick blood draw.  This entire process took about 30 min every day.  Then, CCRM would call me in the afternoon after the doc had a chance to review my results, and they would give me a little state-of-the-uterus update and let me know if the doctor needed to alter my doses/shots at all, based on how my body was responding.  They did end up adding Centrotide to my nightly routine to make sure my ovaries didn’t drop too early. I found comfort in knowing the CCRM team would follow up with me immediately to identify the best next steps.

BLOATING?  INSANITY?  BOTH?

During the stim meds (about 10 days leading up to the retrieval), you can’t have any alcohol or caffeine, so I kicked my (probably 2) glasses of wine I normally have at night, and I swapped my Peet’s Coffee for decaf.  I don’t know if it was the absence of those things from my diet – or if my body just liked the hormones (I was on Menopur, Gonal-F, Centratide), or if I just felt great because I knew I was checking this long-awaited proactive box – but whatever the case, I felt GREAT. Plenty of energy, no Jabba the Hutt bloating, no psycho-hose-beast episodes. I just kept waiting for insanity to ensue, and it never did.  I also just felt very empowered and in control – and that’s never a bad thing.

I heard a lot of my girlfriends who’ve done it say they were hyper emotional in the days before the retrieval – basically like this:

…and that they felt super swollen and tender and bloated – but I didn’t really get that.  I have another close friend who didn’t have any of those symptoms either.  The worst thing I had was a little tenderness and mild bloating on the morning I went in for the retrieval, but that was it.  Everyone’s body is different, but it was almost like mine was so happy I was finally doing the freeze that it decided to make it easy on me.

HOW WAS THE PROCEDURE?

Um, a damn breeze.  I got into pre-op at 6:30am CCRM Colorado on Wednesday (yesterday), during which time I climbed into a (warm, fresh out of the dryer) robe + blanket, answered a few questions from my very sweet nurse (Paula!), met with the anesthesiologist and the doc, had my IV put in my hand (didn’t even feel it) and then got wheeled into the OR at 7:30am.  After a few minutes, they put some happy juice in my IV drip, and before I knew it, I woke up an hour later in recovery.

I do tend to get motion sickness, so I told the anesthesiologist that beforehand and he gave me the (little patch behind my ear) that stays on for 72 hours and keeps nausea at bay.

My nurse also gave me a little Zofran in post-op when I was feeling a little woozy, which kicked my nausea almost immediately.  I was literally home (well, to my hotel) an hour later at 9:30am. And came back to this sweet care package from our good friends here in Denver.  (Look at the eggs! BAAHAHAHAHAHAH). I also told a few of my clients what I was doing – just because it takes something off of your shoulders to set the right expectations and let people know you’ll be out of commission for a few days. I got an email from one of my clients yesterday that only said: “HAPPY EASTER!!!” Bahahaha – #snort.

My post-op pain wasn’t awful – at worst, it just feels like bad cramps.  I bought a heating pad to help with that, but ended up putting that on my lower back and an ice pack on my lower abdomen.  Then took some Extra Strength Tylenol and slept for 4 hours, after which I felt MUCH better. I’ve been told that the cramping doesn’t last much past 24 hours after, so it’s really just this one day of (laid-up) recovery – which I’m not even mad about. Got my friends Annie’s mac, Netflix and PJ jazzy fuzzy pants to hang with.

HOW MANY DID THEY GET?

Here’s a hint:

…DEUCE DEUCE!  They got 22 (my college jersey #).  That has to be a good sign, right?  Actually, they got 16 mature ones and 6 that weren’t quite mature yet, so those were in the incubator overnight to see how many came up to speed… just got a call that 1 of the 6 in incubation made it (that bunch was about 2 stages behind the rest) – so I have 17 eggs total that are now on ice, just hangin’ out with their bad selves until we’re ready for em.  THAT’S NOT BAD!!!!  Not bad at all.  They expected 15 so I feel good about 17 chickens on ice.

{photo by Nick Knight, via Time to Chill? Egg-freezing Technology Offers Women a Chance to Extend Their Fertility on Vogue.com}

HOW DO I FEEL NOW?

I feel awesome. Not like, wanna-run-hurdles-right-now awesome (I am a little sore) – but I am so happy I was able to get this done. It’s AMAZING that CCRM got so many (!) though I do have to bear in mind that quantity doesn’t necessarily mean quality, and that I won’t know until they go to fertilize them. But for now, I feel content knowing that I’ve literally done all I can do and everything in my power to plan for and protect our future. Chris just told me that he was super proud of me, and thanked me for looking out for our family – and that made me feel really, really good.

And I wouldn’t have wanted to entrust my future and my fertility to anyone else but CCRM. There’s JUST something that takes an extra mental toll (off of you) during the process when you know you’re in the best and most capable hands, and I think that played into why this was relatively easy for me.  CCRM has some of the best IVF success rates in the industry: at CCRM, it generally takes women 1.2 cycles to get pregnant – vs. the national average of 1.6 cycles.

WHY, AGAIN, DIDN’T I DO THIS BEFORE?

I’ve had a lot of time to think about why that is… why I waited so long. I think it’s a combination of things: not having been educated about fertility in general – especially not my own.  Ignorance really is bliss, and it’s easy to have the “maybe I should think about that!” in the back of your mind but also just kind of leave it buried back there. Case & Point: this is one of the comments I got from someone who read the blog post, and is precisely why I wrote it in the first place:

Not being as educated as I should have been made the idea of freezing seem so much more daunting and extreme than it actually is in real life.  I also don’t think I was in a financial position to consider it before.  And I probably also thought – wellllll, we’ll get engaged and settle down soon anyway so I’m ALMOST there. But unfortunately your body isn’t always on the same timeline as (your social self is), and it’s so, SO important to know what’s happening with your body so you can make positive decisions for yourself to plan for the future you want.

I hope all of this serves to help some of you who are thinking about doing it but haven’t known what to expect. If you’re considering fertility options, I would strongly encourage you to just schedule a consultation at a CCRM nearest you, so that you’re armed and educated with the knowledge you need to make the best possible decision for yourself.  Their website is http://ccrmivf.com – or you can call any one of their locations in the US:

xoxo!

Karrie’s House in HGTV Mag!

UM – you GUYS! Look what just hit the streets! …well, the official newsstand date is Tuesday, August 6th… but Karrie & I both picked ours up at the grocery store checkout, and we’ve been getting all kinds of fun messages from friends who have gotten theirs in the mail. The fun, day-long shoot HGTV did of Karrie’s kitchen is finally splashed across the glossy pages of HGTV Magazine’s September 2019 Issue.

 

Hollar!

AND the adjacent breakfast nook is on the table of contents page!

We got to work with photographer Lisa Romerein who was THE most amazing photographer, and bad a$$ stylist extraordinaire Liz Strong – the acronym “BFD” scarcely does her talent justice.

Basically **any** spread in any magazine you see – Coastal Living, Better Homes & Gardens, etc – read the credits and Liz is usually the one who styled the photo shoot. Interior Design is one thing, but styling is a really unique niche – and takes serious talent. Building materials are one thing, then finishes, then furnishings and accessories… but styling is like the cherry on top – the final layer that really makes everything come to life.

I met Liz haphazardly when I replied to a Craigslist ad she had posted for a Lee Industries settee that I was about to shamefully low ball for my dining room. We got to chatting over email, and I quickly discovered that she’s a stylist and works with tons of national magazines (what are the chances?)  She asked if I had any work I thought was magazine-worthy and I promptly sent her Karrie & Tim’s freshly finished digs (we had JUST completed their renovation)… and you know the rest. Liz is one of the most laid-back and coolest chicks you’ll ever meet and so fun to work with. Karrie and I both have girl crushes on her… I even ran into her on the street in Harbour Island last year (Bahamas) – we passed in golf carts when I was on the way to a rehearsal dinner, and she was on the way to – you guessed it – a Coastal Living shoot. Anyway – Liz brought her own amazing gaggle of photo shoot props to the house that day, but also sent me on a Crate & Barrel run for… you know… just a few things:

If you’ve watched any of my Insta stories prepping for photo shoots – or any other designers’ – you know they are WERK… in the form of weeks of prep, car loads of accessories, usually hundreds of dolla dolla bills at the florist, and then lots of agonizing over things like scooching this vase 3 centimeters to the right, etc etc. We spent a super fun day with Liz & Lisa shooting JUST Karrie’s kitchen and nook (still totally need to shoot the rest of the house) – here are some behind the scenes snaps:

And here she blows in glossy print!! Run out to the groc and getcherself one!

Um… the most hilarious part of the article is this quote from Karrie.  BAAHAHHAHAHAHA – they don’t even know how right they got it:

She’s not kidding.

Special thanks to my home skillet Nick Gonzalez and San Diego Custom Cabinets, who built ALL of the cabinetry in the house! At the time of this reno, I had just gone solo with my own Interior Design biz but was also working for Nick, designing custom kitchens, baths, closets – all things cabinetry. He was the best, and I learned an ENCYCLOPEDIA’S WORTH of cabinet knowledge from him – which is, to this day, a pimp tool to have in my arsenal as a designer. Nick isn’t only a great friend and trusted mentor, but his WHOLE TEAM is amazing. They also made the gorgeous built-ins in my current office in Crested Butte and are the ones I trust to do all my SoCal projects. Best in the biz!

If you weren’t a Covet Living reader back in 2015-2016, we blogged through the entire renovation – here are the throwback links to the project!! And the hashtag on insta is #casacovetliving if you want to peruse more pics there!

1 – Casa Covet Living: Karrie & Tim’s Gut Rehab – December 17, 2015

2 – Casa Covet Living: Brainstorming a New Layout – December 30, 2015

3 – Casa Covet Living: Kitchen Finishes – January 23, 2016

4 – Casa Covet Living: The Close Overtime Thriller of the Kitchen Island – January 27, 2016

5 – Casa Covet Living: People, We Have Liftoff – January 31, 2016

6 – Casa Covet Living: Plumbing & Lighting & Tile, Oh My! – February 24, 2016

7 – Casa Covet Living: Wanna Help Us Choose Lighting? – February 25, 2016

8 – Casa Covet Living: World War III of the Master Bath – April 17, 2016

9 – Casa Covet Living: She’s All Done, Folks! – June 20, 2016

10 – Casa Covet Living: Guest Room Plan – June 26, 2016

xoxo!!!

Steph & Karrie