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

Advertisements

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.

Normalizing IVF & Egg Donation

As we have navigated rather blindly through this IVF with Egg Donor process, we have had many conversations about telling our hopefully future child about how they came to be in this world. My husband was always under the impression that he wanted to tell him/her when they are older and mature enough to understand; whereas, I had always considered telling him/her when they were still a child. After speaking with our donor and her husband, our counsellor and others along the way, we have decided that we are going to work hard at normalizing this egg donation process; with our future child, as well as those around us.

Our future child will know from the very beginning that it takes three things to make a baby – sperm, and egg, and a uterus; and unlike some other families – I was not able to provide both the egg and the uterus. We will be open with our friends in our endeavour to normalize our situation as it is our hope that by the time they are 12+ years old – they will be at peace with how they came into this world. Although I do not have a genetic tie to our children, I am hopeful that I will be able to carry our child to term and that will be the bond that will make us inseparable. Genetics only play a small role in the big picture and although I will never be able to look at our future child(ren) and pick out which features are from me, I will be able to pick out which facial expressions he/she has learned from me, or how we laugh, or how caring and loving he/she will be. It will come down to nurturing our child(ren) and watching how he/she develops emotionally and mentally. I hope I will see myself in how caring she/he is for others, how they are inclusive of the other kids when they play, and have a huge heart that they want to share with the world; because with that, it won’t matter one bit that my freckles, or my family’s height (I’m 6’3″), or my blue eyes weren’t passed on. Not one bit.

MOTHER

One in SIX couples struggle with infertility these days and before we know it, our children’s classrooms will be filled with little boys and girls that were created with the assistance of one form of fertility treatment or another. We need to take the shame out of infertility so that the shame is not passed down for our children to carry. If we work at normalizing IVF and donor required reproduction we take the advantage away from future bullies and from people who just don’t understand.

So for us, we will normalize our journey from the very beginning and our future child(ren) will have nothing to be ashamed of. They will have full knowledge of their beginning and it can be a part of their self identity; which we will teach them to foster and love for all that it is. #noshame #infertilityawareness #eggdonor

The talk.

I have read over and over that the journey in TTC can be very isolating and I never realized how utterly true those words are until recently when I began to self reflect on my relationship with one of my closest girlfriends. I have been lying to myself for quite some time now, telling myself that we haven’t been drifting apart….that I haven’t been pulling away. It has been just that though, a lie.

Things have recently come to a head – not in terms of a fight or argument – but in terms of both of us recognizing and vocalizing that something needs to change and that we need to talk. So here we are with plans to sit down for a heart to heart. It couldn’t be more needed but I am also dreading it. I hate conflict and I hate hurting others… not that I plan to say anything hurtful but I find that being honest about my feelings may cause some self reflection of her own that she may not be expecting. I’m scared I won’t be able to sort out my thoughts and feelings into the right words when the time comes and I may do more damage than good so I’m going to try to list things here in semi-point-form….

  • I admit that I have been pulling away in our relationship but sometimes it can be so hard when she is so involved in her role as a mother…I LOVE her children and am godmother to one; however, our time is no longer ours – it is always theirs and I feel as though I am encroaching on that. It is not that I blame her or them, it is how things should be between a mother and her children but I, as a priority, am lower on the list. At times when it is just the two of us – we are running errands or doing crafts or other things that she is making time for.
  • When we hang out in a group setting or with any other mother, I can participate in approx. 15% of the conversations; the rest being about parenthood and children. I always eventually find myself in the proverbial corner sitting silently. However, who the hell am I to say that they shouldn’t be talking about the most important things in their lives?!
  • Things have been said to me that I have held onto – hoping that time will pass and I will get over it; seeing as how I hate conflict and making others feel bad. Unfortunately, this has not been the case and the words have stuck with me and eat away at me and I have let them build into bitterness. “Why don’t you just adopt?” “Oh, just wait until you have kids and you’ll understand!” and in moments of her own frustration toward her wonderful son “Oh, I bed you just can’t WAIT to have a toddler….” FYI – I really really can’t. These are just some of the things that have stuck with me over the past few years but there have been a number of them; including, many many instances of her complaining about: lack of sleep due to her kids, messy house due to kids, general behavioural frustrations regarding her kids, etc. It is beyond hard to hear these things when wallowing in my own self pity of not having any children of my own.
  • She has absolutely no understanding of the fact that everything to do with my journey is always running through my head. I may be able to distract myself at times but at some point throughout the day, if not the majority of my day, I will be thinking about having kids, wanting kids, and this TTC journey in general. She has no idea how much yearning, jealousy and bitterness I feel as I scroll through the endless FB announcements, walk past the children at the gym or around town, go to baby showers, or meeting friends’ new babies. Has no notion of how it feels to have your stomach drop to your feet, to feel that all to familiar lump in your throat and tears well up in your eyes. Again, by no means am I stating that I am not happy for my friends – I am over the moon for them – but my feelings need to be accounted for as well. And it’s crushing. When you don’t know how that feels – how can anyone possibly understand?
  • So yes, I am feeling isolated. Yes, I am withdrawing for self-preservation. Yes, I am having a hard time accepting where our friendship lies because I’m going through one of the hardest journeys of my life to date….and I need my best friend.

 

If ANYONE out there has any advice on how to have such a heart to heart with someone whom you dearly love but just doesn’t understand – I am all ears.

Image result for infertility meme

A little panicked, a little overwhelmed, and a lot jealous.

After speaking with our Donor coordinator, we have finally set up our appointment with the Doctor who will complete the egg transfer process for us. She sent me an email with all of the initial information outlining the IVF process…oh, and the cost list. Talk about scary. We knew this would be a very expensive process but man oh man is it ever feeling real now.

I’ve written letters to government officials in hopes of getting some answers regarding IVF coverage in Ontario, Canada. Although they have all responded and my letter has been forwarded to the Minister of Health and Long Term Care, I am no closer to finding out more information or having the concrete answer that I was hoping for. This leaves me with searching for a part time job, to supplement my full time employment. I never thought I would say it but I really hope to be working around 60 hours a week soon. We need it. My husband already works a part time job (approx 35 hours per week) and another contract position which fills up most of his time but it’s just not enough. We’re really trying to avoid this process putting us into debt but at this point, I’m not sure if that’s possible.

Anyway, back to the email we received from the Donor coordinator. In addition to the letter outlining the process and costs, it also included two questionnaires for our donor to complete and return ASAP. I forwarded the email to our donor and fingers crossed she will return it soon. We have an appointment set up for Friday Sept 25 to meet the Doctor and discuss everything with him. We were also asked to research the list of counselors and pick one as we will have to sit down with one of them as a part of the overall process requirements. So, we chose one and now we just wait for an appointment.

Sometimes it feels as though the ball is rolling but it’s really, truly not. We are STILL waiting for our donor to be done breast feeding. It’s terrifying though because I don’t want to be pushy – she should be able to do what she wants for her own children – but on the other hand, we just found out that the donor age range is usually between the ages of 22-32. Our donor is already 33 and if we wait too much longer, I don’t know if she’ll make it through the screening. If that’s the case, we’re officially out of luck, back to the beginning and facing twice the cost of this process.

Yesterday, I received another email from the Doctor’s office with an attachment that included another questionnaire; this one for me and my husband to complete regarding all of the nitty gritty details about our sex life, sexual and medical history, as well as family health history. TWENTY ONE pages. After calling my mom multiple times to answer various family medical history questions and filling out the remaining questions on my own; two hours later, I was finally done everything and sat down to relax. I picked up my phone and noticed I had a new email from my mother-in-law…”EXCITING NEWS! Your cousin and his new wife are expecting!! YAY!”

kidding me

…please excuse me while I ignore this email and take some selfish time to myself before I share in this exciting news. Sometimes your timing sucks mom-in-law. Just saying.

Careful! Don’t sneeze – you might get pregnant!

Oooooooh how some days are easier than others. If you are, or have ever struggled with infertility you know what I am talking about. Some days you can give yourself so much credit for being level headed and patient with the process and with what life has laid out for you. AND then there are the days that make you want to pull out your hair in frustration, cry yourself to the bottom of a container of ice cream and get mad at anyone who crosses your path; and those who are pregnant: BEWARE…I’m a ticking time bomb.

I love sharing in the joy of my friends pregnancies and subsequent children. My godson is one of the biggest joys in my life and I wouldn’t trade his sticky kisses for anything but there are days when one more pregnancy announcement might just send me over the edge. I have a girlfriend who was married in March and literally was pregnant the first night of their honeymoon (AKA the next day!). Another just confided in me that, despite her strict and dedicated efforts to prevent pregnancy, is 5 weeks pregnant – completely unplanned and possible unwelcome. I have to say, I’m not sure I can console another friend through termination. All debate aside on the right and wrong of abortion; I struggle with the fact that I have been the one people turn to in such a time of need, especially when they are aware of my situation!

[NOTE: I work in a field where I see unwanted and uncared for children on a daily basis. Whether or not you agree with abortion is a very touchy subject and one that I don’t fully know my own stance on. What I do know, is that I support people who need support through a difficult time; whatever the circumstances. Please do not use the comment section as a platform for your opinion of abortion, there are many other places on the internet that will be more welcoming for that topic.]

I have sat through friends discussing fears on whether they struggle with fertility because it has taken them two months to conceive….give me a break. I know that most people don’t understand the real struggle of infertility and that they are allowed to have their own fears and concerns; but to me I feel they are positively clueless. I do not hide my infertility from my friends and I refused to be ashamed of the hand I have been dealt; therefore, I share my situation with my friends. Yet, it seems as though I might need to start laying down some rules. Let’s see…

1. Don’t complain to me when you are not pregnant after your first month of trying. Medical advice suggests trying for at least a year before being concerned or seeking advice from a Doctor. I have wanted to be a mother since before I can remember, I have been with my husband for over 6 years and still get to play the waiting game before I can even START TRYING to have a child, in a Doctor’s office. Think twice about who you are complaining to please.

2. Caution yourself on how much you complain about your pregnancy symptoms to me. I can tolerate a lot, but please have consideration. I understand you are going through a lot of changes and uncomfortable things. I would trade you in a heartbeat. Not to mention, I know all about those hot flashes you are experiencing, the bloating, the weight gain and many other symptoms; however, mine don’t result in a child – just more agony.

3. Once you have your beautiful little rascals, please don’t spend all of your time complaining about the difficult challenges of being a parent. I, again, understand that you are exhausted, frazzled, overwhelmed, stressed out and exhausted…again, I would trade you in a heartbeat. I daydream about having to wake up in the middle of the night to a child crying, to falling asleep with their warmth on my chest, to changing diapers, hearing their first giggle, and all of the other difficult and wonderful moments that having a child brings. Appreciate the life and love that you were able to create and enjoy all of the challenging moments that the amazing ones bring you.

4. Please don’t tell me that it will happen when it happens, that when I get my own experience I will be overjoyed, etc. I know I need to be patient and I know that I will be so appreciative of everything if things turn out one day. BUT I still don’t know that egg donation will work for me, that I will be able to successfully conceive and carry a child to term….and unless you’re my doctor, you don’t know either.

5. Please don’t ask me to attend your friend, sister or second cousin’s baby shower with you just because you don’t want to go alone. No matter how happy I am for those who I love dearly in my life, it takes A LOT of strength for me to attend their baby showers, let alone someone I’ve met twice.

6. When having a tough day…don’t under whatever circumstances  sarcastically utter the words “oh, I bet you just can’t wait to have a toddler of your own one day after seeing this!” Just an FYI, I really can’t wait. It sucks waiting.

Please don’t think that I’m oblivious to how hard parenting is, how difficult it is to be sleep deprived and dealing with an infant screaming the top of their lungs but unable to verbalize the reason. I understand this just as much as I understand that I don’t fully know the difficulties parents face on a daily basis because I am not a parent. I just hope that one day I will have the opportunity to better understand.

Some good news!

So after the anticipated six week wait to get our results from the Geneticist….we heard nothing. We continued to wait nearly 10 weeks before finding out the good news that my husband is NOT! a carrier of the Cystic Fibrosis gene; thankfully, that is one more thing we do not need to worry about.

Although it feels to me like this process is taking forever, things are processing a little bit at a time; and who am I to complain about forward momentum, regardless of the speed. So for now we must patiently waif for our donor and her youngest son to stop breast feeding before we can proceed any further. I wouldn’t dare try to pressure that situation for my own benefit but a part of me hopes that he will self-wean by the time he is two years old…I am constantly learning new levels of patience that I didn’t know I was capable of. At least in the meantime, I continue to grow and become a better person for this experience; if nothing else.

Yours Truly,

The Queen of Patience