Monday, 31 August 2015

I'm so ready for my miracle! Can you help me?

It's been a while and I apologise. Apparently miscarriages are still a process for me. In my head I'd write again once I was over the miscarriage. I figured that would be immediately upon coming home from our trip (which was the best!, by the way). Well I've been home three weeks now and I'm still not ready to write. I'm forcing myself to. Which means... I'm still not over the miscarriage. Truthfully, is one ever over a miscarriage? Like any loss, aren't they eventually incorporated in to one's life and carried within forever. Like all my other losses, and there have been so many, eventually the sadness I feel right now will dull and become part of the weave that is my life. What I've recently realised though is, this whole journey has become a loss for me. I've considered stopping, for this reason. But, truth is, I'm not able to stop because I'm not ready to stop. I still want another child. And I feel I haven't done everything I can do before I quit. If I stopped now, I'd always wonder... There are still things left to do.

My plan, upon returning, was to try differently. I haven't lost that desire. I just can't quite figure out how to do things differently yet. But I'll figure it out. I have been told, and agree, that I'm spreading myself too thin, trying too many things and not focusing my time, money and energy on one thing. My plan upon returning was to continue sperm donation while looking for more embryos. My thinking is that I'm not getting any younger and every cycle that passes is an opportunity for another child so I can't let any cycle pass where I don't try. I realise that way of thinking sees trying as, essentially, attempting to conceive. Truthfully, every moment I'm not attempting to conceive I'm anxious and sad. But what if there's more to trying than conception? What if every moment of every day that I live in health and happiness is preparation for eventual conception, a healthy and successful conception? Can I put as much time and energy (not money, more on why later) on preconception as I have been on conception? Would that alleviate some of my anxiety and sadness? I'm just so used to, if I want something, I work and work and work until it's mine. But this, this is different. I'm working with cycles and donors and clinics and money here. No matter how hard I work, I can't attempt to conceive every single day. And a day without trying to get what I want is like torture for me. But what if eating well, and exercising, and being joyful IS trying to get what I want? All of it, not just attempting to conceive, is trying for another child. 

What if I choose one thing - sperm donation or embryo donation - and put all my time, energy and money in to that? I've always been the sort to spread myself thin, to cover all bases, just in case... It makes for more work and less decision making. It's worked for me in the past. But this time, it's resulted in the "only conception is trying" mentality. I'm not sure what I'll decide here, but perhaps it's a mute point. I still haven't ovulated or menstruated since the miscarriage. I know this can be some women's normal after a miscarriage, but except for the further along miscarriage, this is not my normal. You know how you just know, how you just feel... I have a sense my fertility is either limited now, or over. Time will tell, I guess. If it is, the decision is made for me - sperm donation will be over, and embryo donation receives all my time, energy and money. 

On that note, I've researched all the clinics in Canada that list embryo donation on their website. Some clinics don't have embryos. One has never had embryos. All but one only provide the service to existing clients who've already tried (ie. spent a crap load of money on) IVF and they have a minimum two year wait list. And one offered to work with me, but it costs almost $7000. WTF?! My recent transfer was half that. So I can't imagine spending more than what I previously did unless there's some built in bonus like travel or genetic testing or, you know, a 100% guarantee. When I read $7000 I see TWO transfers, TWO tries. Please Canada. You're pathetic in the area of embryo donation. Makes me want to educate Canadians, and Canadian fertility clinics, around embryo donation. You know, because I don't have enough on my plate already. 

In the spirit of trying differently (but also because it actually is the better deal), I've decided to combine travel and conception. There's California, with three tries and a guarantee program for those who qualify, but with the Canadian dollar the price becomes a pretty high one time pay out so I wouldn't be able to try to conceive for, like, a year. There's Barbados, who hasn't gotten back to me but the lure of a tropical place is so enticing it's still on my list even if they are ignoring me. And there's Czech Republic, who responded immediately, has genetically tested embryos, and a reasonable price. But here's the thing, by the time I save the money again, like six months will have passed and that's six months of not trying to conceive which still seems anxiety producing for me. Unless I can wrap my brain around preconception health as trying, I'll lose my mind. 

I've also been blessed by adoption to be an Auntie again. So, wonder of all wonders, this has surprisingly opened up my tattered and torn heart to adoption again. But that's a whole other can of worms. My ideal would be a private legal adoption, which I know isn't fool proof. But I feel the alternatives are just too risky and, with my experience, can't be trusted at all. 

So there you have it. A few options, a few choices, and unless my fertility returns, the best few choices I have. What will I choose? Should I choose just one? Should I continue sperm donation (if my fertility returns) while saving for embryo donation and adoption (and which do I spend my money on first)? Does anyone think that's just spreading myself to thin? Anyone have any ideas for fundraising? Ideas for how to enjoy my preconception time, for how to see that as still trying? Please comment! I need all the advice and support I can get here. Do you have a line on a private adoption, on embryos? I'm open. Can you help me?! My miracle could come from anywhere and anyone. And I'm so ready! 

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Now is Right on Time

I figure I should write before I leave for Ontario. By the time I come back, it'll be all over. And I don't know where I'll go from there.

My Betas kept increasing. Until. They didn't. Until. They decreased. And that's what's happening now. Decreasing Betas. But apparently not fast enough. Just like they didn't increase fast enough. It's like my body can't even miscarry properly. Strange, because with all the practice it's had over the last few years you'd think it'd have miscarriage down pat. 

This one does feel different though. I know it's not entirely a sound theory because these embryos only had a ten percent chance of resulting in pregnancy, and many recipients miscarry embryos with even better chances than that, but I felt fairly certain that if at least one of these embryos made me pregnant that there'd be a baby in the end. Guaranteed. I had fully bought in to the idea I had miscarried all these years due to old eggs making shitty embryos and, since these weren't my genetic material, if I got pregnant there'd be no reason I'd lose the pregnancy as they simply weren't made from my old eggs. 

Well imagine my surprise when there was blood when I wiped a few days ago, when the next Beta was lower than the last one, when my pregnancy symptoms went away... I grasped at straws, like I usually do. Googled 'vanishing twin' and 'miracle' and 'misdiagnosed miscarriage'. Read message boards where recipients' Betas went down once then rose again - a vanishing twin miracle misdiagnosed as a miscarriage. It's happened. 

So why does it never happen to me? There's nothing like loss and grief over years to retrain your brain in to thinking life sucks and you don't deserve goodness. Thank gosh there's still a rational piece of my brain left untouched by grief that still sees beauty and knows I deserve only the best. Which, I admit, leaves me somewhat confused - the discrepancy between the two bits of my brain. I'm unable to reconcile the two brain bits. And so I largely flip flop between the two, depending upon the day, how much I'm bleeding, whether I feel crampy, if it's rainy or sunny, or various other external triggers. 

I stopped progesterone last night, giving my body permission to bleed, to expel the embryos that have passed. But my body would have bled anyways. Eventually. When I was getting close to my next dose of progesterone, there was blood when I wiped, my body taking that bit of opportunity to signal me to not stop what it needs to do. Then I'd stick two more little balls of progesterone in there, still hoping for my vanishing twin miracle misdiagnosed as a miscarriage. And my body would comply, the bleeding would stop. 

When can I try again? Crazy right?! I'm barely bleeding. My Betas are still over a hundred. And I've already contacted my sperm donor and put myself back out there to find another embryo donor. We TTC'ers are nothing if not adept at multi-tasking. I'd feel weird about it if it wasn't for the fact I'm not unusual. When you've been doing this for years, you become skilled at living a pretty normal life while also grieving losses and, at the same time, planning for future successes. 

I've changed, though. Inside. I'm not sure how my changes will translate in to living differently. But I hope they do, because living the way I have no longer works for me. I miss life. I miss joyfulness. I miss happiness. I miss my son. I miss all of these things as the backbone of my life. I never completely lost any of them. But they've been 'the ribs', so to speak. They're there, but what's been holding life up, the backbone, has been TTC. This means trying, not getting pregnant, getting pregnant, miscarrying, and trying again has been holding my life up. It makes for not a stable life, as every loss brings the backbone crashing down, and the ribs inevitably come crashing down with it. I'm not sure how to make joyfulness, happiness, my son, living life the backbone of my life because it's been so very long since it's been that way. But this loss, losing these gorgeous embryos, this grief, this pain, this suffering, has made it clear to me that I've got to try. Or, I can stop TTC'ing. That's the other option. And don't think I haven't considered it. But I suppose I'm not ready, not quite there, but aware I'm creeping closer with every loss and as every year goes by. 

I'm saddened by the fact I feel repulsed by the work I've loved for so long. I've been a Doula for 16 years. I've worked with mothers and their children for over 25 years. I love the work! It's what I planned to do until I retire. But since this loss, I can't imagine ever doing this work again. My friends tell me to give it time, to not close doors or make decisions while I'm grieving, because I might feel differently later. I can't imagine right now that they're right, but I've also had enough experience with grief and advice from people who love me to trust that they probably are right. It's just scary. With every loss, I continued to love my prenatal visits with clients, attending births, providing postpartum support, babysitting, doing infant massage, and generally surrounding myself with pregnant women, and babies/children. In fact, with every miscarriage except for one, I continued to work through the bleeding and I actually continued to enjoy my job. But this time, this miscarriage, this loss... the last thing I feel like doing is working, let alone with pregnant/birthing women and their children. Fuck that nonsense! I almost completely shut down my website yesterday. I checked out Craigslist job ads, searching for any job that wasn't related to what my entire education and experience is based on and that pays me enough to meet my basic needs. The sad realisation is that, there is nothing. If it isn't what I'm trained to do and have been doing for over 25 years, it doesn't pay me enough to meet my family's basic needs, let alone provide enough for us to do some of the things we love to do like eat out or travel or, you know, try to get pregnant. It's a weird place to be. I thought about retraining. And when I imagined what I love to do, what would make me happy, it all pointed in the same direction - working with pregnant/birthing/breastfeeding women and their children. Fuck. That. Nonsense! I'm already in deep on my way to becoming a Board Certified Lactation Consultant. I've already invested so much time and money in to that goal that it only seems reasonable to continue with that if I take a break from attending births and providing postpartum support. Yet actually doing the work means witnessing women living MY dream! It's fucked. It's torture. I meet my family's basic needs by torturing myself. And I can't find another way. 

I leave for Ontario tomorrow. I'll stick a maternity pad between my legs and board a plane with my son and head off for two weeks. And I'm looking forward to it. Well, yesterday I decided I wasn't going to go. But that was moment of weakness, where grief consumed me and made me think life sucks and I don't deserve goodness. We love to travel, my son and I. I've always been more of a camping/hostel/backpacking sort of gal while he's been more of a 5 star hotel all inclusive sort of a guy. It's made for interesting trips. But we start this trip by staying in a 4 star hotel in downtown Toronto to celebrate my son receiving a university scholarship and I can't think of a happier thing right now - even if it's having a baby. The baby I do have, my son, has accomplished something I'm pretty proud of, and I don't intend on letting a maternity pad burst my proud Mama happiness bubble. I admit I am a little scared to then go on to travel around Ontario and Quebec and visit family and friends we haven't seen in years and pretend like I'm not wearing a maternity pad (those things are fucking huge and hard to conceal). Will my grief show on my face? Will I lose my shit at some point and start crying or, worse, ranting (some people are sad when they grieve... I've been known to get angry). I'm pretty sure this is what my son is afraid of. He's seen it multiple times over many years - my grief. That's what happens when it's the backbone. Maybe this trip will be good practice for living differently, for reinventing my life's backbone. Maybe this is as good a time as any to make changes. Maybe this is exactly when I'd better start living differently. I'm not sure if it's possible to TTC differently than I have been. But starting tomorrow, as we board the plane, I'm going to try. Today... well, it's my last day to binge watch Gossip Girl on Netflix, hang out in my ED online group and get grief support from women who truly know, eat chocolate, drink coffee, rage, and essentially feel like utter shit. And I'm going to enjoy every minute of it. Because tomorrow's a new day.


Thursday, 16 July 2015

FWW

I went for blood work early. I'm sure that comes as no surprise, seeing as I'm also an early and avid POAS'er. I figured a 16 pos hpt's all lined up on my dresser makes me clearly pregnant so why wait? I got my first Beta at 9dp5dt, the day of my 'missed' period. I'm on progesterone, which keeps menstruation away, but that's the day I would've gotten it if I wasn't on progesterone... and pregnant! While I waited for the results I researched the normal range for 3 weeks and 4 days pregnant and found out I was hoping my number fell within 40 and 300. It was 36. Not within normal (when have I ever been?). But not really that far outside of normal either. I alternated between being ok with it and panicking that the pregnancy wasn't progressing. In one of my panicked moments I made the mistake of calling the clinic. I don't exactly know why, but I expected they'd congratulate me on my pregnancy. I mean, these are the embryos the clinic told me had a 50% chance of surviving the thaw and a 10% chance of resulting in pregnancy and here I was, with a 16 positive hpt's and a Beta over 5. I was pregnant! Instead I got a "how are you" to which I exploded in to a tirade about how I'm 4 numbers below a 'normal' Beta for my dates and what did they think of that. Apparently they think nothing of early Beta's, except to keep reminding me I "went early".

My next Beta should've been the clinic's prescribed Monday, but screw that nonsense. I knew if I was to relax at all I needed to get myself another Beta and confirm it was, indeed, increasing. So 6 am Saturday I found myself on a bus (my neighborhood clinic is closed weekends) to wait in line on the street for the lab to open at 7 so I could relax. I was 10dp5dt, 3 weeks and 5 days pregnant, and the number was 48. It didn't double, as I've heard Betas are supposed to do (they aren't, actually, and more on that later) but I figured an increase was enough to allow me to chill the fuck out. And I did. I felt better.

Then came Monday, the day my clinic suggested should have been my first Beta. I was 12dp5dt, exactly 4 weeks pregnant, and the normal Beta range is 100-1000 but my clinic "likes to see at least 100". I figured I'd be happy with 72, because that would mean it doubled in 72 hours, which by the way, is still within the normal range for increasing Betas. It's normal for them to increase every 24 TO 72 hours. And they still don't need to double, only increase by 60%. And then that's no guarantee or omen either. I lost my last pregnancy with a Beta of 65,000, on the high side of normal for my dates. And my donor's frozen cycle embryo churned out a Beta at 12p5dt lower than mine at 9dp5dt and her's is now a real live little human being.

Which brings me to this... I don't think it's a coincidence an embryo from the same batch as mine, had low Betas like mine and didn't double within 24 hours like mine. People! They're from the same batch, created and frozen at the same time. Rumour has it frozen embryos are slow anyways, but apparently these particular embryos take even more time. And I'm ok with that. It's a wonderful balance to my fast paced nature (although I've spent years now practicing living more slowly). 

My clinic disagrees. In the harrowing call I received day before yesterday, we covered the fact my Betas are not 100 when they "should be", they are not doubling within 24 hours, and the fact this could be a 'chemical pregnancy' (or ectopic... I didn't realise when you put embryos in a uterus they could migrate up the fallopian tubes. I'll have to research that once I'm over being freaked the fuck out). I mean, I can forgive not congratulating me on a pregnancy that may or may not result in a baby (although, don't we do that all the time whenever any woman announces she's pregnant?) but I'm mighty pissed at having to discuss the end to my pregnancy while my Betas are still increasing and, in fact, doubling within 72 hours. My Monday's Beta was 72. In case you aren't in to doing the math, that's double the 36 Beta I had on Friday, 72 hours prior.

After sobbing in to the phone with my donor who, bless her heart, listens patiently and says all the right things to bring me back from the ledge, her and I decided I wouldn't take the clinic's call after my next Beta result. I can access the results online and confirm whether they're increasing. And I surely don't need another discussion on how they're not high enough or on the ending of my pregnancy. I predicted yesterday's Beta to be around 121, based on how they've been increasing thus far. It was 128! That, by the way, is within the normal range of 100 to 1000 for my weeks. It seems to be increasing predictively, by the normal 60% in 48 hours and doubling within the normal 72 hours. We'll see if that's the pattern when I have my next Beta tomorrow, but based on my pattern so far, I predict tomorrow's Beta to be around 204. Sound like a chemical pregnancy to you? I don't think so. At least... I hope not. See what a negative conversation can do to a pregnant woman who's been trying for years and has had many losses?

In fact, if it continues to increase by 60% every 48 hours and double every 72 hours, I'm on track to reach the magic number of 1000 the day before I leave for Ontario. This number means I can get an ultrasound and (hopefully) cross measuring the fetal pole off my checklist. (The clinic likes to to see 1500 before an ultrasound, but turns out I'm not listening to them anymore.)

I need more Progesterone before I leave for Ontario, so I'll need to talk to the clinic at some point in the next week. I'm also surprised and somewhat disturbed I haven't been offered another script for it already. I mean, I get we're playing an extended TWW here, but I can't miss one does of this stuff or I'll risk losing the pregnancy that I clearly have got going on here. I run out in a week, and I'm jonesing already. My world literally revolves around the stuff. And, I know the clinic doesn't acknowledge my other 'signs' during my cycles, but let me just say administering the progesterone gives me an opportunity to notice a 'perfect' pregnant cervix - all super high up, tightly closed, and engorged with the increased blood a pregnancy creates. My cervix wasn't even that beautiful on progesterone and not pregnant, so it's not the progesterone. The changes in my cervix were my first predictors of some of my previous miscarriages. Cervixes are informative little things. I'd encourage fertility clinics to get on board with paying attention to them. 

Everything I learned about FET and somehow I missed the lesson on the extended TWW. Waiting for that BFP on the hpt was nothing (NOTHING!) compared to waiting to find out if this pregnancy is "viable" (yucky word). I'm still forgoing my steaming hot baths for lukewarm showers, not lifting anything heavier than my tiny cat (and I won't even lift her, which is resulting in a bit an angry cat), not walking to quickly or too far, being vigilant about what my brain is thinking and redirecting it to positivity, and finally this...

I didn't go back to work Monday. And, remember, I love my job and I love my client. Well. She isn't my client anymore. She replaced me. She's someone else's client now. It's the right thing. But had I realised the TWW for FET looks more like a FWW (four week wait), I'd have saved more money in my mat leave fund. Sadly, I'm dipping in. And I've resolved myself to being ok with dipping in to get me to 13 weeks (past my latest miscarriage) if I have to, if that's what makes me feel like it won't be my fault if I lose this pregnancy. My donor says, "No regrets." And I mean to have NO regrets. I can get another client when I'm ready and save more money. Money is like that... It comes and goes. Pregnancies, for me, seem to be like that too. But it affects me way more. Come to think of it, I couldn't care less if some money has to go so this pregnancy will stay. It's definitely the right thing!


Thursday, 9 July 2015

BFP!


Can you see it? If you get really close and squint? It's actually darker than it was on Tuesday (6dp5dt), the day I had my first second line after I tested the Trigger out. Tuesday was, like, 11 dpo. That's the earliest I've ever gotten my bfp! I SO wanted to blog then. But I wanted to be sure. Ya I know. A positive is a positive. A line, however faint, means pregnant. But when you've had as many chemical pregnancies (icky inconsiderate name) as I have, you wait until your typical Luteal Phase ends before you call yourself pregnant. And today, my friends, is that day for me. I'm 8dp5dt, the end of my Luteal Phase. I made it past this current cycle... pregnant! Holy shit peeps. I'm pregnant! :) 

I want to celebrate! I want to lose my fucking mind! I want to scream it from my roof top! I'm. PREGNANT!!!!! But there's so much, you know. I've lost babies at various stages up to 12 weeks. If I make it to my Betas tomorrow and it's a good number, I'll feel a little better. If I make it to 5-6 weeks and an ultrasound shows an appropriate sized fetal pole, I'll feel a little more better. If I make it to 7 weeks and an ultrasound shows a good heartbeat, I'll feel a lot better. If I make it to 13 weeks, past my latest miscarriage, I'll feel a lot more better. If I make it holding a term baby(ies) in my arms, I'll celebrate. I'll lose my fucking mind. I'll get my son to scream it from the roof top. Because, you know, I'll be laying in with my baby(ies), cozy in my bed, making milk, eating good food, having a cup of coffee (oh yeah!), and staring at my dream come true. I never got to really do that last time. After I birthed my son, I was up pretty soon working again on the farm where we lived and I birthed him. This time, I promised myself a real 'baby moon', complete with house cleaner and grocery delivery. Just me, my son, and my baby(ies). 

I counted ahead because, you know, after three years TTC I'm skilled at shit like that, and I realised I'll be on my Ontario trip with my son exactly when I'll want to be finding out if there's a heart beat. So I'll have to wait an extra week to know. Unless I can figure out a way to get an ultrasound in Ontario. I'm working on it. ;) 

Ugh, how can a second line cause so much joy, so much hope, and so much anxiety all at one time? 

I booked my first Beta for tomorrow. The clinic sent me home after transfer with a sheet that said I should go for blood work on Monday. But I booked it for Friday because I'm clearly pregnant and I just want to know if my Betas are increasing. I booked Monday as well, to see the increase. Fingers crossed. 

I'm having what may or may not be symptoms that are different than any of my other pregnancies over the last three years. Of course, after three years of this, any or all of these could be in my head. Or not. I've also become skilled at noticing everything in my body and mind and associating that with pregnancy. And, most of the time, I've been wrong. Because I haven't been pregnant. When I was pregnant before the only real symptom was fuller breasts. But this time, there's more. I'll just list the top ones because they're most affecting my life. 

1. Insomnia. 
I haven't been able to sleep for maybe three nights now. I lay awake, not even feeling tired, tossing and turning and basically losing my mind. 

2. Nausea. 
But not the kind you'd expect. With my son, I'd periodically feel nauseous, eat a few crackers, and get back to my manual labour job, or mountaineering, or caving, or climbing, or whatever action packed activity I happened to be doing at that moment. This time, all day and all night, I feel flu like. I'm hungry but even the thought of food makes me think I'll puke. Even walking the dog makes me climb in to bed after, I'm so tired. 

3. Sore and tingly boobs.
In past pregnancies, the girls would be tingly in the beginning, but by the time I'd get my BFP, they'd become just full. But this time, they're periodically tingly day and night, and sore like they're bruised. 

4. Crampy. 
If I didn't read all over Google this is normal, especially for women who have done FET, I'd be headed to the hospital (not that they can do anything, as I learned over multiple miscarriages over years but never stops me from trying). I feel premenstrual. You know, that full, sort of crampy sensation you get that makes you know your period is just around the corner. That. I have that. And it scares me. 

Everything scares me. Mainly, losing this pregnancy scares me. I want so badly to celebrate. I want so badly to be nothing but happy. This is my dream come true. Instead I have this check list of things I need to accomplish first - beta, fetal pole, heartbeat, past my latest miscarriage, holding my term baby(ies). I promised myself I would enjoy my pregnancy. That's something else I didn't entirely get to do with my son. I mean, I enjoyed it. I was blissfully happy I was pregnant. But we moved lots, and I went to school and worked. Will this fear ever go away so I can enjoy my pregnancy? Successful FET peeps out there? Did you ever relax and feel safe? Did you ever fully celebrate while you were pregnant? I feel sort of desperate. I need all my, like, four readers out there to please hold me and my baby(ies) in your thoughts. Please let us make it to my milestones so I can celebrate and feel the joy and pure bliss I so desperately deserve after years that contained moments and sometimes months of pure heartache and grief. Send me your white light and love! 

Monday, 6 July 2015

PUPO

It's official. I'm Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise. Wednesday, I had my embryos put in. Wait! Let me back up...

My 'kick ass amazing rearrange her life to accommodate me' donor and her kids picked me up super early on Wednesday morning and we all drove to the ferry. I totally missed my daily coffee. Apparently caffeine isn't recommended when one is putting embryos in. Sucks. Anyhow, as we were driving on to the boat I got a call from the embryologist. My donor had just finished asking me whether they'd called yet to tell me whether the embryos survived. And I'd just finished telling her they hadn't called. But, they were, calling, just as we were past the point of no return, on the ferry. I said "hello" and the embryologist said, "I have some good news for you!" I'll never ever forget that. I. Have. Some. Good. News. For. You. "They both survived." I cried then. And I'm crying as I'm typing this now. They each had fifty percent chance of even surviving the thaw and those little buggers did it! They survived! Both of them! Before that moment, all I could do was imagine getting to that moment, to finding out I was going over there to at least one waiting embryo. I couldn't imagine anything past that. Please let at least one survive, I thought. Best. Ferry. Ride. Ever. Well, except for the fact I had to have a full bladder for the procedure and I was so full my bladder started spasming half way across. I sat in the kids' area while my donor's kiddos played and the boat rocked and I tried not to pee my pants. Or puke. Honestly, it was that bad. But I'd have done anything (ANYTHING!) for this procedure to go ahead. So I kept running to the bathroom to 'take a little off the top' and I kept drinking more water. 

The rest is a beautiful blur. But I remember every moment. Every detail. As we approached the clinic I could feel myself going more and more within myself. It felt like I was underwater. In a good way. I could see the rest of the world was going about it's way. And I knew I was in it. But I felt slower. Everyone's voices felt muffled. Ya, like I was underwater. But not drowning. Relaxing. Like that. My donor, her kids, and I wandered down the hall to the procedure room in a little caravan. Cause, you know, making babies is a family affair. ;) One kiddo was intent on being in there with me. So, you know, I let her. I mean, can you imagine if this works. She was there when her genetic sibling was put in. I dig cool shit like that. Truthfully I never really noticed she was there. For one, she's awesome. And, I couldn't stop looking at my embryos! Wait! Let me back up...

We had to wait what seemed like forever. But, you know, after seven years of trying, it wasn't that long really. I got naked from the waist down and assumed the position, the doctor came in, then the embryologist popped her head in to tell me she "helped them hatch", which means she poked a little hole in each of them to help them come out and implant in to my uterus easier. I mean, I've been a Doula for, like, sixteen years and who knew embryos hatch? She told me they were "plumping up nicely". When they freeze embryos, they take out all the water and replace it with a special fluid because, you know, freezing water cracks and you don't want to damage your embryos. Then, when they thaw them they take out all the special fluid and replace the water? I mean, holy shit! They can do that?! She said my embryos were doing exactly what they want to see them doing. Then, BAM!, they projected them on to a screen. Well holy shit, peeps, this is when I lost my mind. I looked at my embryos, then at my donor, and we both started sobbing, you know, which isn't preferable when someone's busy with your 'bits'. I tried so hard not to move so the doctor could do his thing and get the embryos in there. I couldn't look away from my embryos, except for brief moments when I tried to catch a glimpse of the ultrasound screen to see if I could see my embryos going in, which of course I can't because they're microscopic. 

Aren't they the most gorgeous little embryos you've EVER seen? Don't they just make your heart melt? Can you see now why I couldn't look away? Oh my gosh, I still can't stop crying. Honestly, it was the most amazing experience, the embryo transfer. I went from a girl who couldn't imagine 'conceiving' in a doctor's office to a girl who just had one of the most amazing experiences in my life, feet in stirrups, with a man doctor knocking me up. I'm PUPO peeps! Fucking PUPO!!!!! Buuuut, let me back up...

It's now been 5dp5dt and I'm learning a whole new set of infertility acronyms. Five days past a five day embryo transfer. Five long boring do nothing but lay around and pray they've hatched and implanted days. And I'm a POAS addict (that's a Pee On A Stick addict, for those not in this special infertility club, and I hope you're not 'cause I wouldn't wish it on anyone) so I've already tested. I know, I know. "Too early." But the girls on Google all say they had their BFP (Big Fat Positive) 4dp5dt. So, I tested yesterday, at 4dp5dt and it was positive! Now.... before you get too excited, there's this thing called the Trigger Shot. Remember that? That's the shot of hcg they gave me to force me to ovulate, six days before the transfer. Well hcg is the same hormone that is secreted when pregnant that makes the HPT (Home Pregnancy Test) positive. Ten days before I tested, I injected into my belly a hormone that yesterday turned my pregnancy test positive. Fucker. I was so pissed! I mean, I hoped. But I guess I knew it was the Trigger Shot. My best friend Google tells me it can take 10-14 days to leave your system so... you know, chances were good it was that and not pregnancy. But, I reconciled myself to the fact I was 'testing out the trigger'. So, when it finally turned negative today (still made me cry, that stupid negative test, even though I knew I was never pregnant to begin with) I knew the trigger is out of my system and any positive from here on in means I'm pregnant! So, you know, I'm testing tonight. And in the morning. And tomorrow night. And the next morning. Until I get my BFP (Big Fat Positive!!!!!!)

Those ridiculous girls on Google all have symptoms - sore breasts, headaches, tiredness, nausea, bitchiness, you name it, they've all got it. I have a couple friends here that might attest to the fact I have at least one of those symptoms (hint: it's bitchiness). But I don't know if my other symptoms are just me 'symptom spotting' or whether they're real. I was 'full' and crampy until yesterday. Now I'm only like that if I'm up for too long. I don't want to piss off my embryos and make them think it's inhospitable in there, so I try to lay back down if I get to crampy. I had a headache every day from transfer until day before yesterday. Who knows why. I KNOW it's not because I didn't drink enough water! By the night of the first day without Medrol, holy shit, I was SO sick! Nausea, hot like I'll combust, excruciating pain in my joints and bones, and sore back. I thought, what the fuck?! I want my steroid back! It's an autoimmune girl's dream, even if it does make you eat constantly and put on weight. Ya, I was hungry all the time too, but now I know that was the Medrol because that symptom is gone. Nausea has replaced it, especially after I've just eaten so my consumption has gone down. I can't even eat my normal amount of chocolate, which has to be a sure sign something's 'off'. But, you know, I might be reading in to things. Just like I'm sure my boobs are fuller and sore on the sides. But I might have read somewhere on Google that's a symptom of pregnancy so I think I'm feeling it. Ugh. I woke up this morning ready to tear someone's head off. I was pissed! Raging! So fucking angry at who knows what?! That very quickly morphed in to sadness and copious amounts of tears. And that's where I remain - a sobbing mess of tears and sadness. My good friend in Edmonton thinks that's a good pregnancy sign and I sure hope she's right, but I'm just so upset and crying to even wrap my brain around the possibility. But somewhere deep inside I know I'm hopeful. Staying positive. 

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Please let this fun bit never end. Please let this work.

Two days in to Medrol and double the Progesterone I've ever taken, and I'm still psyched. Emotional, sweating buckets, and with a pounding headache... but psyched. Sooooo psyched. This is the fun bit, am I right? This is the bit where it could work. I don't know yet that it didn't work, so it could work. I can imagine it worked. I can imagine POAS twelve days after transfer and watching that second line appearing. I can imagine my hcg doubling every two days. Belly growing. Maternity clothes. Going to work pregnant. Grocery shopping pregnant. Walking the dog pregnant. Cooking pregnant. Pregnant. Pregnant. Pregnant. Giving birth. Oh my gosh, giving birth. I did it. After all these years. I'm holding my precious, longed for baby in my arms. I fucking did it! This is the bit where I can believe it'll work and there's nothing yet to indicate it hasn't. 

Then there's the transfer. In three days. Wednesday. At 11 am they're thawing out my little embies. And that's when things change. That's when they'll survive the thaw. Or... They won't. Or. They. Won't. And it's over. But right now, I can imagine they survive. And I'm holding my precious, longed for baby in my arms. But, if they do survive they thaw. Oh, if they do... Then this fun bit... It drags out a little while longer. Because they'll put them in my uterus and, for twelve days, I'm technically pregnant. PUPO (Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise - we infertiles, we love out acronyms.) It could work. I don't know yet that it didn't work, so it could work. I can imagine it worked. I can imagine I'm holding my precious, longed for baby in my arms. If they survive the thaw and get put in, I get twelve more days where I can believe it'll work and there's nothing yet to indicate it hasn't. 

But after twelve days... Well that's when I'll know for sure. I'll know whether it worked. Or. It didn't. Whether there's a growing baby in there. Or. There isn't. I'll either be proven pregnant. Or. Not. And I either get a life time extension on the fun time. Or. I don't. But, for now, despite the Medrol and Progesterone induced altered state (I'm sure our crazy summer heat is also a contributing factor. It's hot right? Or is it just me?), I'm doing my very best to just 'be' in this fun bit. The bit where it could work. The bit where I don't know yet that it didn't work, so it could work. And every moment of every day right now, I'm imagining holding my precious, longed for baby in my arms. And, dear friends, it's sooooo amazing, so beautiful, so special. Please let this not end. Please let this work. Please. Let. This. Work. 

In between imagining it working, I'm doing what ever a good Taurus, earth Mama, type-A, conscientious worrier does. I'm cooking food and putting it in the freezer, cleaning, paying off the last of my debts, working extra hours, getting the dog groomed, and otherwise making sure everything's done before Wednesday. It's like... "Nesting". After all. I will be PUPO in three days (hopefully). And I promised myself I'll get to properly 'nest' during my next pregnancy. My pregnancy with my son was amazing and special and perfect, really. But I didn't have much time, between university and working and moving (four times!) to properly just 'be' pregnant - nothing but pregnant. If I'm gifted another pregnancy to term, I swear I'm going to just be pregnant and nest my ass off! After seven years of trying, I really deserve to do nothing but enjoy what I've worked so long for, don't you think? 

Injecting the trigger shot was totally not as bad as I thought. In fact, it was nothing. That needle slid in so smoothly, without even so much as a prick. I've never been so grateful for my gorgeous belly fat as when I needed to pinch a bunch of it and stick a needle in. Plunging the needle... Now that was way way worse than I thought. Actually, I hadn't given that part any thought. I'd never been able to get past the sticking the needle in part. I could feel the liquid go in and spread out and the whole experience made me lightheaded. Fast. Now, likely it was because my mind was having an affect on my body. I mean, I'm pretty sure a little liquid in belly fat doesn't make one pass out. But I nearly did. I had to lay down and breathe deep and talk myself down. Way down. But it didn't last too long. And pretty soon I was impressed with the fact I stuck a needle in me even though it's one of the things I'm most scared of. That and rats. And clowns. And sometimes crickets, even though I do like the way they sound. Never mind I did it because I was too lazy to get on a bus and train to go to my friend's house so she could do it. I did it. I rock. 

I'm not sure if the clinic was as impressed with me. Because my blood work hadn't come in yet, they told me to wait till the morning and they'd interpret the blood work and tell me what to do. But I had a positive OPK that evening. And I checked my blood work online and the numbers showed I surged. LH was 59.7! And Estradiol went down from 1376 to 1303. Last time that happened, we'd missed ovulation and my cycle was canceled. No way in hell, especially after taking Letrozole, I was going to chance this cycle being canceled. So I texted my 'give me my needle' friend and asked her whether she thought I should take the trigger shot, despite what the clinic said. "Do it!", she said. So I did. Even though it meant I'd miss Blue Rodeo playing for free on Canada Day. I haven't seen them in too long. I need to see them. I need to see them with my 'needle' friend. And I knew, counting ahead, if I took the trigger that night, I'd miss seeing Blue Rodeo with my friend. And I did it anyway. What I didn't think about, was that also meant I was making the clinic peeps work on a Stat Holiday - Canada Day. The lady at the clinic called in the morning and told me what I already knew. I surged. Then she told me what I already did. Take the trigger shot. I told her I already did and she took it in stride with only a minor reprimand. ;) And so I transfer on Canada Day! Sweeeeet. But I'm still bummed I miss Blue Rodeo with my friend. I still need that. 

I'm playing Blue Rodeo at the transfer. I sort of wish my friend could be at the transfer. But I'm really hoping she'll go to Blue Rodeo and tell me about it on Thursday when I come home. My donor's going to be at the transfer with me. It just feels right. We're going over on the ferry together Wednesday morning and staying over together Wednesday night. She's 'been there done that', you know. It just feels right. 

I'm in the fun bit and it just feels right. Please. Please let this work. 

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

I'm all in. And it's a 'go'!

Well, here I am, sitting in an awesome little cafe on Granville, as the Letrozole finally leaves my system and the sadness dissipates. And I find myself feeling a little 'blog-ish'. So, I'm going for it. On my phone. And we're talking one finger typing here. My thumbs are too fat and I'm too old to two thumb type like I see all the young folks do these days. ;)

Yup, you read that correctly. I've crossed over to medical cycle and had my first experience with Letrozole. The clinic wasn't as confident as I was regarding the early ovulation being a one off so we chose Letrozole over the more widely known 'fertility drug' Clomid. Unlike Clomid, Letrozole doesn't thin out your lining. Remember, I'm not taking Estrogen because my blood is already on the thick side and I'm not willing to risk the clotting that can be an increased risk with Estrogen. Letrozole is strange. It actually blocks the stuff that produces the Estrogen. I was wracking my brain for the whole five days wondering how, without my estrogen, I'd naturally grow my beautiful lining. I obsessed over it, actually. A side effect of the Letrozole - an obsessive preoccupation with my concern of the moment. Anyhow, that's the apparent beauty of Letrozole. No, not the obsessive stuff. That sucked. It's that you can still pump out a rocking lining while delaying O. And the bonus is it makes these gorgeous large follicles. Like I mean gorgeous. I saw them on ultrasound two days ago. I swooned in awe of their beauty. I also bawled my eyes out. Because Letrozole makes you sad. Really really sad. Like really sad. I mean, I was sad before I realised I was sad then that realisation made me sad. I was so sad it took everything in me to get out of bed and to work every day. And I love my job! And I love my current client! I was that sad. And that made me sad. But I still had the where-with-all to know, somewhere deep inside, that I was only sad because of the med and so it's not 'real' so to speak. That thought got me through. And here I am on the other side and, friends, let me tell you... It was worth it. Especially if it results in my baby. In fact, gawking at those large follicles on Monday I couldn't help but think Letrozole would be a worth while drug for an older lady doing at home donor insem. ;) Rumour has it on Google Letrozole helps with egg quality. Now that's an older lady's TTC good friend am I right?

I had another bus, train, bus fiasco at 4:30 am on Monday to make it to the clinic for my ultrasound and blood work. But it seems far away and hazy now that my drug induced sadness is wearing off. The important take away from that day is it's impossible for me to make it to the clinic by 11:15 am. And my thick enough lining and the fact I haven't ovulated yet means it's still a go for transfer this cycle. And I have maybe four days tops to savour the good news before my next med - the trigger shot - followed closely by progesterone (cause all the pregnancy symptoms during the two week wait is oh so fun), and a steroid (which for me is sorta good because I'm all 'autoimmuney'). I eagerly await my next drug induced state as I 'enjoy' daily blood work and peeing on an OPK morning, noon and night. I've never been so psyched to ovulate. I admit I'm petrified of the trigger shot. More experienced TTC'ers are rolling their eyes, I'm sure. But folks, even daily blood work makes me want to pass out, I'm so utterly needle phobic. You know what this process has taught me? Well, lots... But my newest realisation is that I'm brave. Because I'll do things I'm afraid of to have my baby. It's taught me I want my baby. For sure. Without a doubt. Committed. All in. Someone asked me recently if I've thought this through. Like, really thought this through. Like you'll retire around the time your child is moving out thought this through. Perfect timing, I thought. Folks, trust me. With the bravery I've had to muster and the deliberate intention every step of this process demands, I can assure every one of you no child has been more "thought through" than this one. ;)

Well, I'm pretty stoked I pumped out a post with my pointer finger over breakfast, before my next drug induced emotional ride. No sense blogging while in that madness. Too unpredictable. And, despite feeling quite comfortable half naked, in stirrups chatting about the weather with my fertility doc, I'm still uncomfortable with my inner workings on fertility meds. Cheers, friends. And a call-out to my fellow embryo donation peeps from Facebook. While my life has dramatically improved since getting the heck outta FB hell, that group I really do miss. And I wonder how you're all doing. Please let me know in the comments. Or email me at Suzanne.Whittaker.Doula@gmail.com if you're also unsure about sharing your inner workings publicly.