5 days a week.

As previously mentioned, we are on a a pause; the length of which is still yet to be determined. During this time, I have decided I need to bring some normalcy (and sanity) back into my life.

Over the course of my adult years, I have regularly had an on-again off-again relationship with the gym. I started to remain more regular with my gym attendance over the two years leading up to our first (DE)IVF cycle and it became a lifestyle for me; one which I really enjoyed. I felt stronger and healthier than I had in years. That being said, my weight still fluctuated as it would be an understatement to say that I. LOVE. FOOD. But I was healthy and was not overweight in any sense of the word.

After our first failed cycle, I began doing some reading and found that maybe I shouldn’t be pushing myself so hard at the gym. I spoke to my RE about it and was informed that I could do more body weight style exercises but I should slow down on my cardio and weights. Unfortunately, I struggle when it comes to balance and I started to get it in my head that if I couldn’t do what I wanted at the gym, there was no use in going at all. I spent nearly 8 months being extremely sedentary and eating all of my emotions. Very quickly I started to notice changes in my body; I was no longer balancing my love for food with keeping active. It got to the point that walking up a set of stairs was making my heart rate increase quite a bit – something I hadn’t experienced since my high school/college years.

I have been ashamed of how sedentary I’ve been, how much weight I’ve gained (I would need to lose 20lbs to get back to where I was when I used to think I needed to lose weight!!!), and honestly, where I’ve let my mental health get to. You see, I began really taking the gym seriously after struggling with migraines and headaches for a spell of FOUR MONTHS STRAIGHT(!) – every hour of every day without relief. After seeing my family doctor every other day for weeks, and then a CT scan and referral to a neurologist, it was discovered that I was actually just suffering from tension headaches. Awful, horrible tension headaches caused by stress. Rather than choosing to medicate constantly (which would barely even touch the pain), I worked out and the tension began to ease. So even when I started to wane in my interest with the gym, within a week I would get a headache that would send me back to work out.

Undeniably, physical fitness does such amazing things for my mental health. Silly me, let this coping mechanism go by the wayside during THE most stressful time of my life; and my mental health suffered considerably. My anxiety has increased, I have struggled with feelings of mild to moderate depression, and, as previously mentioned, my relationships have suffered as well; compounding the aforementioned issues. I have tried a couple of times to get back to the gym between our December and March cycles, as well as following the most recent failed March cycle; however, nothing seemed to work for me.

I was struggling with some significant anxiety related to the gym because, as it was later pointed out to me, it felt like just another area of life in which I had failed. Prior to (DE)IVF, I had always been a leader at the gym amongst my girlfriends; creating workouts and pushing them to keep going. While I had relegated myself the my couch for eight months, my girlfriends had actually kept going together and were well beyond my current fitness level. This has been rather difficult for me to accept.

So nearly a month ago, I made the decision to switch gyms and it has made a WORLD of difference. I feel like my girlfriends struggled with this decision but they have come to accept that it was what I needed to make the change in my life. The new environment has been motivating and I am 100% happy with my decision. Since starting, I have been attending the gym 5 days per week and have already noticed a significant change in my mental health and physical fitness level. Now, in saying this, I still haven’t lost one pound on the scale – in nearly four weeks – which at times is extremely frustrating; however, I am stronger and happier. I know the rest will come in time.

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FET Cycle #1

So I started this post nearly two weeks ago, as a significant amount of time has passed, it will be a long one that will cover the entire period of time…

So I’m just over a week past CD1 of our first ever FET. I called the clinic last Thursday to call in my CD1 and to let them know I had gotten my period on the previous evening. I was scheduled for a baseline ultrasound and bloods the following morning – thankfully, my day off. At the clinic, the nurse informed me that my lining was currently at 5mm! I see this as being good as last time it was only three. Once I got home; however, I started thinking that since I was still bleeding heavily, it’s most likely that the measurement will go down before my lining starts to build up again.

The nurse called me that afternoon to instruct me to start my medication the next morning. I am to take Viagra 4x/day (vaginally) to help with blood flow to the uterus. I am also wearing an Estrogen patch, 100mg that I replace every 2 days. I am also taking the low dose Aspirin 81mg daily, along with the pre-natal vitamins, Vitamin E and Vitamin B Complex.

I started attending acupuncture appointments again and my acupuncturist has been extremely supportive and caring. She has me going in every 3 days or so and is doing what she can to help blood flow to my uterus in hopes that it will be more responsive this time. She has also been trying to reduce some of the side effects I have been having from the Viagra. Oh my – the nausea has been pretty consistent, along with the headaches and random bouts of becoming very flush.

I had a nine days before my next lining check and it measured at 6.6mm. Again, they called me a few hours after the ultrasound to tell me to continue taking all of the same meds as my Doctor wants my lining to be thicker. I was still struggling with the Viagra side effects pretty badly so I was frustrated that they were extending that one longer than expected. I was asked to return two days later for my next lining check.

I drove the 50 minutes to my monitoring clinic at 6am so that I could return back to work for 8. While I was getting the trans-vaginal ultrasound, the nurse told me that she had two measurements coming in over 7mm, and one measurement even thicker than that. I shed a few tears as I had prepared myself for bad news but hadn’t expected to hear something positive! Unfortunately, she had the other ultrasound tech come in to double check and I could tell something was amiss. She left the room and after I changed, I walked out and found three of them conferring with one another. The first nurse came to me and told me that it seems my lining was only measuring closer to 6mm. I left stunned and headed to work. They then directed me to add Estrace tablets 3x/day and stop taking the Viagra.

Another four days pass before my next check but the nurse had that morning told me my lining was again measuring above 7. I explained what had happened at my previous appointment but she assured me that all of her measurements were coming in thick enough. Afterwards, the called to tell me to start taking my Progesterone in Oil shots (25mg/day) for three days. I was then to increase the POI dose to 50mg and begin taking Endometrine vaginal suppositories 2x/day.

So that was last Saturday. I have been taking all of my meds & vitamins, eating healthy, going to acupuncture, using a heating pad and getting light exercise. I am now sitting here the night before transfer, hoping that tomorrow morning – after driving two hours to the clinic in the city – my lining will actually be thick enough and of good enough quality to follow through with our scheduled transfer. I hope that tomorrow night, I start my two week wait and can be considered PUPO (pregnant until proven otherwise). Fingers crossed….. I’ll let you know.

Wish me luck xo

I’ve become a lot more quiet… 

Sometimes,  when my anxiety is sitting a little more in the forefront and my thoughts often flit to all things infertility, I find it so much more difficult to have the energy I need to give to other areas of my life. It can feel all consuming.  I believe I have previously mentioned that I work in a youth detention/custody – a place that requires a lot of emotional energy and personal effort to make a shift run smoothly – and some days I struggle to find that in me. I wish this wasn’t the case but there are days, more so than not lately,  that I just don’t want to go into work because I don’t have the energy I know it requires. 

Sometimes,  it presents itself in my struggle to tolerate other people’s negative dispositions,  moods or attitudes. I want to scream at some people that I really care for because I try my damnedest to have a good attitude despite everything on my mind and in my heart – yet they’re sitting there complaining about everything and having such a negative attitude about life and it’s absolutely draining. 

Yesterday I had a number of people approach me (who know me well and are aware of our situation)  to see if everything was ok as I was being particularly quiet (I withdraw when overwhelmed/upset/anxious/etc.) but I found that I didn’t feel like sharing that I was just having a rough day because of infertility. Period. Nothing particular had gone wrong,  we’re not currently in a cycle or anything but people just don’t get how emotionally draining infertility is and sometimes I find it pointless and exhausting trying to explain something to them that they’ll never understand. I don’t share all of my infertility/ivf thoughts with my husband,  family or friends because I hate the thought of that being the only thing they think I can focus on, or dominating all conversations. I choose the things to share with my husband because I want our relationship to be about so much more than infertility and IVF – plus,  I don’t want to force him to think about it nearly as much as it dominates my thoughts. It’s like getting into an argument in a relationship that you cherish – you choose your battles wisely; therefore, I carefully decide which discussions/thoughts are more important. Also, if anyone who isn’t struggling with infertility even had an idea of the thoughts and how all consuming they are, I’m pretty sure they would think I’ve gone off the deep end. 

When it comes down to it though, it’s exhausting. These feelings and thoughts are exhausting; especially for someone who withdraws when overwhelmed with thoughts and feelings.  Having the support of my husband, friends and family is wonderful but some days I wish we hadn’t told anyone because it would be less exhausting to fake my way through a smile when I’m struggling. It’s a win/lose situation really and there’s really no way around it.  

I certainly don’t want to make everyone think that I am unable to think of anything else – that’s not the case. When I’m participating in am activity, out with friends or involved in something particular, I’m usually all there. I can get away mentally from it all for certain periods of time, it’s the quiet times or the triggers that send my thoughts back to all things infertility…

My infuriating body

I wrote the following last Wednesday, Aug 3. I wasn’t sure if I would share it until last night when the saga continued ….

Some days I hate my body. There are times when I don’t want to get out of bed in the morning because of how I feel about my body. There are days when I could cry myself to sleep because of this body of mine…. And I feel helpless to change sometimes.

It might not be what most people are assuming right now. Yes, physically, I could stand to lose 5 pounds… or 20. Yes, I wish clothes fit me differently or that I was a few inches shorter or my hair was a little less flat…but that’s not at all what has such a profound effect on me. I’m talking about my body’s inability to do what it was designed to do. I resigned myself to need donor eggs because I was born with bum ovaries; however, I was told that with everything else going for me, we might be looking at a 70+%success rate with ivf and donor eggs. Now it’s been discovered I have an unresponsive lining. It stays real thin and they’re not entirely sure what to do for me.

In addition to all of this, I don’t get a natural period – only bleeding when I take a break from birth control hormones… Or that’s how it’s supposed to be. Today I started spotting for the second time in a week.

This might not seem like anything big but when I can’t seem to rely on my body to act normal even with meds coursing through my system, how the hell am I ever going to be able to trust my body when it counts.

Unfortunately it’s hitting me that I can’t. I have no trust in my body to do what it is supposed to do, to react how it’s supposed to react.

We all know that person who “if something could go wrong – it will” for them… Well, unfortunately that’s me. I’m that person that everyone knows. I’m tired of it and sometimes it just hits me at a low point and it’s hard to deal with. Today is one of those days.

Once I’m done my next cycle, I am cleared to go forward with an FET. For most people, that would mean a 4-5ish week wait…. Who knows what my body will surprise me with this time or how long I’ll actually end up waiting.

 

Written today Thursday, Aug. 11…

Well I ended up stopping my birth control and getting my period. It lasted from Wednesday to Tuesday which is NOT normal for me. Then, last night I started bleeding yet again; yet nothing so far this morning. WTF body?! Staaaaaaahp itttt!

What Polyp?!

I went in for my polyp removal procedure just less than two weeks ago. I took my meds as prescribed leading up to the procedure, didn’t drink fluids or eat for 12.5 hours leading up to my appointment. (The direction was to not eat for 8 hours and not drink for 6; however, due to the timing of my appointment, it ended up being longer as it was already past those timeframes when I woke up in the morning.) My wonderful father drove me into the city for the procedure as my husband was working and I was not allowed to drive after it was completed. I arrived a half hour early as requested and they got me all set up.

The nurse completed all of the pre-removal prep and had me undress my lower half, then sat me in the stirrups. Then I waited – for what felt like an eternity. What a classy way to sit around waiting for someone, lol. I tried to distract myself by listening to the monotonous beeping of the heart rate machine.

Finally, the nurse returned with the Doctor and they started my IV; pumping me full of conscious sedation. I was quite loopy. The procedure itself actually wasn’t too bad, just a little uncomfortable and a few painful twinges. Once he was done, the Doctor informed me that there was no polyp. WHAT?! I had been afraid of this. I sat there in stunned silence, trying to focus my thoughts; however, the meds were making that task rather difficult.

Afterwards, I was brought into recovery for an hour and a half while they replenished my fluids and my loopiness started to subside. When the doctor returned to release me, I asked him about the results. He reiterated that there was no polyp in my uterus and was unable to tell me what two separate Ultrasound Technicians had been seeing. To reassure me, the Doctor brought up the photos of the inside of my uterus and told me to take pictures of the screen to bring to my RE during my follow up.

I was given a prescription for antibiotics and released. The two hour drive home was torture…. I became nauseous about 15 minutes into the drive – right around the time that we were getting onto a major highway that we continued to travel for the next hour and fifteen minutes. Within minutes of getting off the highway, we were able to pull over so I could throw up….Then the pain started. I hadn’t been given the usual pain killer that they prescribe as I am allergic; initially, I had thought that it really hadn’t hurt that bad and I’d be fine. For a few hours I had some pretty severe pain in my uterus. Once I got home, I laid on the couch and used a heating pad to ease the pain until it subsided. I continued to throw up ever half hour until the evening and my husband brought me some deliciously awful fast food to help calm my stomach as it hadn’t been given any food for nearly 19 hours. The next day I felt much better with only some mild cramping.

I waited until the following Monday to follow up with my clinic but work got crazy for a few days and I wasn’t able to call until the Wednesday of last week. I left a message on the answering machine, which informed me that I would receive a return call within 24-48 hours…unfortunately, they are closed Fridays and today is a holiday Monday here. I am hoping to get a call back tomorrow to see if we can proceed with an FET.

I had a bit of. a scare this weekend though – I am still taking BC for the hormone replacement (due to having ovaries that don’t function properly) and for some reason started to bleed. I panicked as I have not yet been given the green light for our FET cycle and couldn’t call the clinic to ask what to do. The last thing I wanted to do was miss this cycle and have to wait another month, since we just waited a month to complete the polyp removal for no polyp. I called in my day 1 just in case – leaving another message on another answering machine. It turns out though that I believe I was just spotting and everything seems to be ok. I did get a call back today from the Day 1 coordinator and she instructed me to follow up with my RE tomorrow when the holiday is over and if it turns out to be more than spotting, we can still move forward on Day 4…so for now I am calmed.

…for now.ed4ae491673209f958560e59083e92fc

IVF Cycle #1 Comes to a screeching halt

Well, after my last post I received a call that afternoon from my Doctor to let me know about my 6mm lining. He offered two options – I could continue as planned, start the progesterone and attend the clinic on Monday (transfer day) and either go through with the transfer at that time or be sent home if my lining was still too thin; OR, I could start the progesterone and go in the next morning (Friday) to the city and have my lining checked at their clinic, rather than the monitoring clinic, and see how things are going. I chose to take the day off work and go into the city to have them complete the lining check.

So Thursday evening I took my first progesterone in oil injection all by myself, went to yoga and then put myself to bed early. My mom came with me to the city the next morning, leaving at 5am so we could be there for my 7:30 appointment. I had the trans-vaginal ultrasound done by a lovely technician and then met with the nurses; who dropped the bomb that my lining was actually only 4mm thick – someone, somewhere had been measuring wrong. I waited a little longer to meet with our Doctor at this point as I knew this meant our plans were about to change.

Sitting down with him, he explained that the measurement could be different due to the angle of the wand or the machine being used; however, what it did tell us was that my lining was still in a range that was too thin for transfer. He offered to either complete the transfer as planned on Monday but flat out told me his gut was telling him that the transfer would be unsuccessful. I trust my Doctor so I took this and we chose to end the cycle right then and there. Our embryos will be frozen once they reach day 5 Blastocysts.

He immediately set out to try making me feel better by starting a new IVF plan for us to move forward; until he began to realize how stumped he was on how we could proceed. You see, I do not have a natural cycle – I never have due to being born with seemingly bum ovaries. As I do not have functioning ovaries, my body does not create it’s own hormones; therefore, I am not contributing any estrogen to the medicated estrogen being added to my body. I am not responding to medication well and I cannot do a natural cycle Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) without a natural cycle.

So back to the drawing board for us as our Doctor consults with other professionals in the IVF world to figure out how to take this f*cked up body of mine and make it do something that it should have been born to do.

I was numb driving home and spent most of my weekend feeling fairly numb with a few breakthrough tears here and there. I feel as though if I let myself breakdown, I might not be able to pull myself back together. I’m angry and ashamed at my body for letting me down yet again, for creating yet another obstacle in this journey where we have already had so many to overcome. I naively thought that our biggest obstacle would be  finding a donor, having our dear friend and donor go through this process so selflessly for us, or possibly a negative pregnancy test or a chemical pregnancy. I did not think my body would have us stalled right in the middle – what if our donor went through all of this just to have my body never respond enough to make it through the rest of this journey?!

I had never let my thoughts journey into the territory of “what if this doesn’t ever work?” I had always stayed strong in my thoughts with the deep rooted believe that one day we would have at least one child in this mini family of ours. I have always joked with my husband that if this doesn’t work I get to adopt countless animals into our home (so far on the list: a pig, a sloth, a monkey, a cow, a few otters, etc.) but I had never contemplated that this might not actually work – and that thought is f*cking terrifying and currently has me chilled to the bone.

IVF Cycle #1 Update

On June 11th, I was placed on low dose Aspirin and Estrace 2 mg in the morning and 2 mg in the evening; inserted vaginally. This was accompanied with instructions to double my morning and evening Estrace starting June 16th. On the same day, our egg donor started all of her medications/injections.

I attended the clinic on June 20th for a trans vaginal ultrasound and found that my lining was only at 5mm. A call later that afternoon confirmed that the lining was growing too slowly and they added 100 mg Estrogen patches that I have to switch out daily. They also informed me that day that our retrieval day was being moved up a day and was scheduled for June 22; first thing in the morning.

We drove into the city, leaving at 5:30am to be there for 8:15 so that my husband could provide his sperm. Our donor had arrived approx 45 minutes before that and was already prepped for the procedure. It felt quite odd sitting in the waiting room, doing absolutely nothing, while the retrieval and fertilization were occurring. Once we received the all clear for my husband’s sperm, we headed back home and waited to hear from our donor.

While we were driving back home, we received a text from our donor’s husband to inform us that they got 11 eggs! Fingers crossed we get a good fertilization rate as we are using ICSI.

Once we made it home, I foolishly let my husband leave with our dog on a 5 day trip that he goes on annually. I felt it would do us both some good to have him returned as relaxed as possible so that he can continue to support me like a champ through the next phase of this process. I may be regretting that now… I returned to our monitoring clinic this morning to have my lining checked and surprise surprise – my body seems to be failing me again. My lining has only grown 1 mm in the last 3 days! It’s currently sitting at 6 mm and we are waiting to hear if we will be moving to a freeze-all cycle.

I’m at work right now so I am trying to hold myself together but man I am furious at my body for letting me down again. I’m trying to hold onto some hope that I’ll get a call telling me we will be moving forward still but even if we do, I know we are on the thin side for lining and that in itself reduces my hope that this cycle will be successful at all.

I hate to say it but I saw this coming. I have no faith left in my body at this point and it sucks. Today sucks.

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