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.

FET #3 – My journey through the 2WW.

(Written March 28th, 2017)

My last two weeks have been long – to say the least. We had our transfer on March 14th – hubby’s birthday. I had taken the rest of the week off to relax as my RE had recommended being on bed rest from Tuesday after transfer to Thursday anyway. The first day and a half I felt no different than usual; however, after that I started feeling the cramping and twinges. I had all sorts of symptoms as the two week wait progressed; including: cramping, twinges, nausea, headaches, bloating, tender and enlarged breasts, sensitive teeth, dizziness, heart palpitations, crazy vivid dreams, tiredness, and I was constantly aware of something going on in my uterus/lower abdomen area.

(Written April 11, 2017 – I started writing this post fourteen days ago and have been struggling to keep with it and finish putting my thoughts down in writing; however, I will try to get everything out of this brain of mine today.)

Regardless of all of the symptoms that I listed above, I had convinced myself that this cycle had not worked. This was our third frozen embryo transfer, with some degree of implantation occurring in the first two transfers, I struggled with the odds of a third cycle having implantation – just based on IVF statistics alone. My hubby on the other hand, was staying positive for the both of us; he couldn’t even begin to believe that the cycle hadn’t worked considering all of the symptoms I had been experiencing.


On 5dp5dt and 6dp5dt I had been tempted to test at home but I was able to hold off. I have always tested before going to the clinic for my official blood test day; often testing 4+ times before beta. This time; however, I was so convinced that it had not worked that I didn’t want the fantasy to be shattered any earlier than it had to be so I held off – not one single at home test was taken. I waited the whole FOURTEEN days (not 8, not 10, not 12….FOURTEEN). Luckily test day fell on a day that I was off so I knew I would be able to take time after getting the news which is usually not the case for me.

I drove to the clinic bright and early that morning and had my blood taken and was on my way back home within 3 minutes. I was the only person in the waiting area that morning which seemed really odd. I had asked a friend to lunch that day so that I would have some sort of distraction while my husband was sleeping from his midnight shift as I expected the call to come in the late afternoon as it usually does. By 9:45 my phone was ringing and it was the clinic. The fantasy of the two week wait had come to a dead halt – it was negative. No matter how much you prepare yourself, it doesn’t make it any easier. And oddly enough, even with my previous chemical pregnancies there had always been a smidgen of hope after receiving that first call, even if the numbers didn’t look good, at least they were there.

This brings me to the past two weeks. My hormones took a few days to balance out, the bleeding came hard and fast after stopping the meds and lasted for only three days. I usually start birth control right after each cycle as I don’t have a natural cycle and the pills have always supplemented my hormones; however, this time still have not yet started them. I’m not sure if I’m just feeling rebellious or want to see what my body will do without them…but I should probably consult my RE eventually. My clinic does not reach out to me after a failed cycle. My beta phone calls are the last I hear from anyone – and those are done at a monitoring clinic. I’ll need to get in touch with them soon but I feel like we’re going to be taking a little bit of a break for now as our house is in need of new shingles on the roof and that doesn’t come cheap. Unfortunately, like many others in this world of infertility, we’re going to have to pick between a roof and a cycle at this point and if we don’t get a roof soon, water could cause more damage and make things even more expensive in the future. Life choices suck and being an adult is hard. I’m done for today.

I’m not sure about you… But I feel like this pic of duct tape represents me a lot throughout this whole process 😂. 

FET#3 – Cycle Day 30 (?)

I’ve lost track but I think it’s day 30?! It feels as though a lot has happened since I last made time for this keyboard and posted an update on Cycle Day 8; I think I’m overdue, so I’ll start right where I left off.

On CD 10 I returned to the clinic for another scan and bloods. My lining stuck true to it’s nature and had only grown to 4.3mm. The clinic called that afternoon and instructed me to stay on the same dose of Menopur as planned and return on CD 14 for another check. Well a lot of good that seemed to do, when I returned for a lining check, my measurement was 3.6mm!!!!!! WTF?! I resigned myself to having this cycle cancelled like our fresh cycle had been. I had actually convinced myself two appointments ago that they would call to cancel so this was the deciding factor, I figured. How could it not be?! We had given Menopur a try but let’s face it, my lining was not responding to it and it was time to cut our losses.

When they called that afternoon and the nurse gave me instructions to stop the Menopur, as expected; however, I was a little shocked when she told me to start taking 8mg Estogen (vaginally) per day and start with 100mg Estradot patches every day. Wait, what?! They were continuing my cycle but I just convinced myself it was a last ditch effort before they cancel and waste the whole thing. I did as instructed and was asked to return on CD 21 for another scan and bloods. Let me tell you, my last post talked about the side effects of being a constant blubbery mess; well, that was absolutely caused by the Menopur. The day I stopped taking it, I stopped crying but as the Estrogen entered my body – the bitchiness started – something my husband would agree with lol.

 

Anyway, as I drove to the clinic at 5:50am on CD21, I resigned myself one more time for them cancelling the cycle later that day and went into the scan with ZERO expectations.

Can you imagine my damn surprise when the nurse informed me that my lining was over 7mm! Let me just say this, I DO NOT UNDERSTAND THIS THING WE CALL THE HUMAN BODY. I don’t get how it works but for once mine decided to show up to the fucking party!!! A few tears slipped out as I laid there having the scan done – and at one point the nurse had to tell me to lay my head back down and relax as she couldn’t get a clear picture – ha!

They called me later that day to tell me to continue on the same meds and then the next day I was to take a trigger shot (10,000mg of HCG) “just in case” my bum ovaries had decided to do something while I had been taking the Menopur. Two days after the trigger shot, I started PIO 50mg each evening. Three days after that, I was scheduled for another Matris Scan to check the quality of my lining and I began taking Medrol (a type of prednisone) that I am to be on for 5 days total. The scan results came back the next day and my result was 7 out of 10! Anything over 7 is considered good. Our last cycle, my RE transferred even though my results came back at 6 out of 10 because with my shitty lining, he figured it was the best we were ever going to achieve, so needless to say, I was pretty pumped.

Finally, on CD 29 (?) we went in for our FET #3! They were calling for a huge winter storm in our area throughout the day of our transfer yesterday so we only drove halfway and took the train for the second half of our trip as the highway can get quite messy in bad weather. By some miracle though, the storm didn’t really start until we got back home. Our transfer went off without a hitch this time and for now I am officially PUPO again.

Fingers crossed yet again.

FET #3 – Cycle Day 8…

On Friday I had the Endometrial Scratch….OW. I wouldn’t put it at a 10/10 on the pain scale but for the brief 15 seconds that everything was happening, it was pretty damn close! I just bit down on my hand to stifle my scream and took some deep breaths to get through it. As my RE told me before hand, “there are going to be two people in the room and neither of us will want to be there.”  I think he was pretty spot on. The cramping and spotting lasted the rest of the day but was fine by Saturday.

I had a brutal cold that lasted all weekend so I had trouble trying to figure out if the headache I was having was from all of the nasal congestion or if it was due to the medication. Luckily, I’ve figured it out now – it’s definitely from the medication as it has stuck around. Two nights ago I went to bed at 8:30pm; I was a sobbing mess. I stood in front of my husband crying and asking him to make me feel better. I had had enough and it was SO painful. I’m a migraine sufferer and have gone through phases where I have a tension headache for, literally, months; however, there are few headaches that have brought me to full on tears as this one did.

Though, now that I think back, it might have something to do with the fact that since I have begun taking Menopur, I have turned into a blubbering mess. Quite seriously, I cry at the drop of a hat these days. On Saturday, while laid up on the couch all day with the cold – I cried FIVE TIMES before noon!!! Whether it was a sappy commercial or movie, or just my puppy being super sweet; it did not matter, it brought me to tears. 

Now, I have had heightened emotions during previous cycles as well, but this has brought it to a whole new level. Thankfully, I seem to be able to avoid such breakdowns at work so far and hope very much to keep it that way due to my chosen field.

Yesterday, I went for my second set of scans and blood work. My husband had to come with me this time as we needed to sign all of our consent forms by Monday (yesterday) in order to continue with our cycle. I’d like to point out that we were given our consent forms on Thursday and had been asked to complete them by my Endometrial Scratch on Friday (again, we were told that we would not be able to continue with the cycle if we didn’t have them completed by that day); however, they require the signatures to be witnessed by someone at the clinic OR by a Notary! My husband was not able to accompany me to the Endometrial scratch as they had given us less than 24 hours notice for that appointment and I was already having to take time off work to go and we were working opposite shifts on Thursday – so how the heck does one manage to get the consent forms signed and witnessed within that short time frame?! The answer – we didn’t have them done by Friday. I had him sign the forms anyway and I brought them in but informed them of the circumstance. My RE was able to smooth everything over for my Endometrial Scratch to go ahead as planned but told me I would need to have the forms completed properly and submitted by Monday at the latest. This means either travelling back to the city (2 hour drive in each direction just to sign some documents in front of someone at the clinic), find a Notary that was open over the long weekend (yes, Monday was a holiday here so nothing was open then either), or my husband could accompany me bright and early for my scan appointment on Monday to our monitoring clinic.

My lining measurement has always been a source of apprehension for me as I’ve always had trouble. As my RE says “kid, no doubt you are talented in a lot of different areas – but growing a lining isn’t one of them!” (Don’t worry, I love my RE and in no way do I find this hurtful or offensive, he actually manages to make me laugh EVERY time I see him.) I had a bit of an internal panic moment when I looked at my file and my measurement was noted to be 0.4!!! I had a bit of a heart attack while thinking to myself that it might be a little earlier than I am used to having scans, but usually am scanned around CD10 and have at least 4mm(ish). For nearly three hours (even after getting to work and trying to distract myself with other tasks…) I was under the impression that I had the thinnest lining on the face of the earth. …And then I realized that my clinic has always recorded my lining measurements this way and that in fact my lining IS measuring at 4mm as they record their results in centimeters! I couldn’t believe that I had forgotten this from previous cycles and had spent so much time freaking out; oh, I think my brain is broken!

So I have calmed down significantly, I’m actually feeling a little hopeful as this scan was about three days earlier in the cycle than usual so my lining *might* actually be behaving better this time?! I don’t want to set myself up for failure but I’m letting a little bit of the hope shine through. I go back for another scan and blood work on  Thursday so we’ll see then how it’s going. I haven’t been for any acupuncture yet as it hasn’t fit into my schedule/budget for the past two weeks and now I don’t know if I should hold off to see if everything is going fine without it and save a little bit of money if it is OR risk having my lining not respond as well without it….BAH!

On a more positive note,  since the day it arrived in the mail,  I have been wearing a bracelet that I received this Christmas which has meant so much to me. Through this blogging world,  I have found someone that really gets it. We have such similar stories and experiences that it’s actually kind of crazy when we compare similarities. She sent me this bracelet and it’s a constant reminder of strength this  cycle and it’s helping me to believe that our wish will one day come true. I am beyond greatful for the many people the blog has brought into my life! 

XO ❤️

  

FET #3 – Cycle Day 3…

Things have started up again. My husband and I chose to wait a couple of extra weeks before starting this FET cycle in order to make sure our heads were on straight before jumping back into the craziness of it all. We chose to do two extra weeks of birth control which wasn’t an issue with my Doctor.

Two days ago, I got my ‘withdrawal bleed’ (the only ever type of period I have experienced as I do not, nor have I ever, cycled naturally). The bleeding has been slightly irregular for me, in the sense that it has been very light flow, and brown in nature after the first night (which actually started around 10pm on Monday). That is until today when things started right up and the flow became heavier and more red. I’m not normally one to have such a slow start to things – and just my luck – on the day of my baseline scan.

As I previously wrote up in a recent post, today I am to start Menopur; which is another first for me. As our protocol for this FET has significantly changed from our last three (two FETs that resulted in chemical pregnancies, one fresh transfer that was cancelled at the very last minute), there are going to be a lot of firsts coming up. The next one being an endometrial scratch. I got the call a few minutes ago that I will be having the scratch done TOMORROW at 11am. I must say, they are great with the advance notice! I will be travelling to the clinic in the big city (where we have our transfers done) for this so I now need to book off from work as it will take most of the day and I was scheduled to work from 8-4. Thankfully, my boss has been great thus far is working my schedule around any appointments that arise.

I am currently waiting for another call, from our other clinic (where our monitoring is done) to let me know all of the instructions surrounding the scratch procedure. I’m not going to lie, I’m a little nervous as a friend has informed me (as has my RE) that it’s going to hurt like bloody murder. Great. My husband has plans out of town; which he’s ready to drop at a moment’s notice to take me if I want – the trouble with that is, I have a very strong resolve to try to keep our lives as normal as possible during all of this as the stress and enormity of it all is always extremely overwhelming. I don’t want this to be our lives. I want there to be more for the both of us through this. His plans out of town are for something that he looks forward to on a yearly basis, all of his friends from near and far are coming for it and I don’t want to take that away from him. He’s offered, and made it very clear that this FET is his main priority right now (have I ever mentioned how damn amazing this man is?! He really is…). Now I just need to let him know if I’ll take him up on his offer; something I’m not even sure of yet.

So I guess I’ll get back to work for now as I’ve been distracted long enough and now my week is going to be shorter than expected already. Hope my instruction phone call comes in soon so I can start making decisions….what to do, what to do?….

The new plan.

First off, an update since my last post.

My last cycle came to an official end on Dec 31. I took this as a symbol of a fresh start with the new year – see you never fucking again 2016!! Hello 2017!

 I could feel the hormones wear off as the days passed and I got back to the gym a little bit which has helped incredibly with my mental health. That last cycle was a real bitch. I was most affected by side effects from the medication; from feeling the mood swings from hormones to having the skin on my neck blister and peel from the Viagra. It was awful but it’s what we do when we want something oh so much!

So finally, two weeks after starting birth control I made the call to our RE to find out the next step for us to take. As much as I had wanted to know our plan earlier, I needed time. Time to get my hormones levelled out, to get my head straight and to just chill the fuck out. I hadn’t even cried since finding out that our pregnancy was a chemical pregnancy and that it was ending again, I had shoved it all so deep down that although the emotions always seemed to feel right at the surface, they seemed to stay buried.

That changed the day I called the clinic. I had left a message for the receptionist to let her know that we had an early loss (my monitoring is completed at a different clinic in an entirely different city) and I was calling with regards to getting a plan in place for moving forward. She called back the next day looking for clarification and informed me that the last beta she had on my file was only 9 so it wasn’t a chemical nor was it an early miscarriage as 9 is technically a negative result. She went on to say that for it to be a chemical pregnancy, my beta would have needed to have at least gotten into the double digits. I quickly explained to her that my earlier betas HAD gotten into the double digits and that my beta of 9 was the final bloodwork I had completed before stopping meds.

You want to know how she replied? (you really don’t as I know anyone reading this blog is going to find this as awful of a response as I did)

“…Bummer.”

No joke.

She proceeded to ask if I wanted an appointment with the RE or if I just wanted him to write up another protocol and send it over. I quickly tried to ask for an appointment and say goodbye before hanging up as I could barely keep it together. I bawled – a big, heaving, ugly, sobbing cry. My phone immediately starting ringing again and I saw that she was calling back but there was no way I could answer so I let it go to voicemail. Then she called again, right after. I thought maybe she had realized what she had done and was calling to apologize. I listened to the voicemail and it said that she had just gotten a call after we hung up (it must have been her very next call because she was calling me back within 2 minutes) with a cancellation for 930am the next day and was wondering if I could make it as it is in the city 2 hours away. I immediately contacted my boss to take the day off and called her back to take the appointment.

I worked until midnight that night and was rather tired from my big sobfest but was up at 5am the next day to catch the bus, which took me to the train, which got me to the subway system that took me two blocks from the clinic. I made it a half hour early and waited in the waiting room with a number of other patients. I usually have no problem driving to the clinic; however, we had a solid 24+ hours of freezing rain and didn’t want to get my car into an accident on the busy highways.

My RE came out to the waiting room to get me himself and sat with me for over half an hour as we discussed our next plan. He’s amazing and every time I see him, I’m reminded of that. My RE cares about me and that alone means the world to me. He even told me that he wants to get me pregnant because he wants me to get him out of my life as soon as possible. He also told me that I’m a tough project for him – which is par for any kind of medical issues that I’ve had and I always hear this from Doctors; I kind of find it entertaining now, especially since I know he’s working super hard to finish this project. Between the afternoon that I got the last minute cancellation to the next morning at 0930am, my RE had met with the head Embryologist and his team to come up with a new plan for me and get new ideas.

He is still trying to avoid using Neupogen in my cycles so the plan we have moving forward is this:

  • They will be trying to mimic a natural cycle (which I have never had)
  • As I am on BC now, I will continue to take it for the usual 21 days and stop and have a bleed
  • I will call in my CD1
  • On CD3 I will start Menopur 75 units for 11 days (dose may be adjusted based on FSH levels)
  • Somewhere between CD3 – CD6 I will have an Endometrial Scratch done
  • After 11 days on Menopur, he will jack up the dose to 300 units for 3 days
  • I will then take 10,000 units of HCG
  • Three days later I will start on 50mg (1cc) of PIO shots
  • On day four of PIO, I will have another Matris Ultrasound to check the receptivity of my endometrial lining
  • On day four, I will also start 5 days of Medrol (corticosteroid)
  • If my Matris score is between 6-10, on day six of the PIO shots I will have the transfer

I have been fully warned that this may not work as there is no way to know how my endometrial lining will respond to these medications. He was worried that perhaps the Viagra is only creating a cosmetic effect for my lining; therefore, although it is getting thick enough the quality might be suffering. I had suggested the scratch, which he was supportive of, as well as Prednisolone but he was hesitant to us it. He has prescribed a different corticosteroid, Medrol, for the days surrounding the transfer.

Fingers crossed for this upcoming cycle. Let’s hope we’ve found the right steps to make it a successful one!

I hate what infertility has done to me.

I HATE infertility for what it has done to me.

I broke down this morning, alone and in the shower, because everything just got a little too hard; a little too heavy.

I am a happy and outgoing person; I refuse to use past tense because I will not admit defeat. I WILL NOT give infertility the power of defeat over me. Not yet. I am a happy person, an outgoing individual who has always believed that there’s a reason behind everything. I am not religious, so personally I do not believe that reason is any form of God controlling my destiny. That being said, I always lead my life with the belief that life handed me lessons and it was my job to learn from those lessons and move forward; thus, everything happens for a reason.

I am losing sight of those reasons lately. I am losing sight of myself.

I have been finding social gatherings more and more difficult as there are SO MANY triggers. How do I make this stop? I’ve been turning down more offers to hang out with people because it is so FUCKING hard. Nearly all of my friends either have kids or want to party like they’re in college. Going through DEIVF, I have significantly reduced any drinking that I do, or if in a current cycle, I don’t drink at all. It’s just not my scene any more (not that it was ever really my scene but I’d imbibe once in a while at social events). So that leaves the other half of my friends, the parents. Unfortunately, children are a trigger for me, even the ones that are nearest and dearest to my heart. HA. What a joke that is.

I have been fortunate to be surrounded by Ah-mazing friends and family, who I know just want me to be successful in this journey. Unfortunately, none of them will ever understand. There’s always a huge elephant in the room when I get together with them and so I have unintentionally been pushing them away. As time passes and we do get together for a social event, the growing distance between us becomes even more evident and I start to feel left out; though, I know I’m the reason that is happening. I know they are here for me but how long are they really going to wait to get their friend back? For me to go back to normal? Let’s face it, will that ever really happen? Even if I ever do come out successful at the end of this infertility journey, I’ll never be the same again will I? Infertility changes you.

The deeper we get into this DEIVF journey, the more fearful I become that I won’t be able to pick up all of the pieces of my former self. I’m scared that I won’t recognize who I have become, because really it’s already starting to happen.

Who is this woman who gets home from a day at work and doesn’t have enough physical or emotional energy to do anything else?

Who is this woman that holds it all in until one day the walls break and tears are shed in the shower; only to then pull herself back together for a little bit longer to prove to the outside world that everything is fine.

Who is this woman who feels so alone, yet is surrounded by so many loving and amazing people?

Who is she? I’m afraid I don’t know anymore.