Memory Lane

I caught myself watching one of my own memories today as if it were a movie.  The memory was so clear, I could feel it, touch it and smell it. It was a memory of a time shortly before everything went wrong.

I was almost two months pregnant.  It was my first pregnancy.  My husband and I were both glowing with excitement.  My husband was on board with starting a family but it wasn’t until I was actually pregnant that we both realized how much it really meant to him.

We were at a barbecue at a friend’s rooftop pool.  It was a beautiful warm day. The sunlight was bouncing off the water. I didn’t swim, but I put my toes in the water.  The view was amazing.  Everything felt perfect.  When our friends were all swimming, my husband and I had some time alone poolside.  We sat on a beach towel on the deck.  He looked so happy.  He was actually tearing up.  He put his hand on my belly.

“I was thinking”, he said, “that after we have this little chicken, we could adopt a sibling for that chicken”.

For him to say that meant so much to both of us.  It meant that we could have more than one child. It meant that we hadn’t abandoned the idea of adoption even though I was pregnant.  It meant  that his ideal family was based on the model of his own family.  Our life was really beginning.  We had so much to look forward to.  Both of our dreams were coming true.

It was hard for me to “watch” this memory.  This is the part of my life that I now have to file under “before”.  It seems so long ago.  I feel like we were different people. I have since lost three babies.  I have cut friends out of my lives who have had babies since.  I have watched the world move on as my world seems to stand still.  I have been living in pain. My life has revolved around fertility treatments.  Adoption has evolved from a way to grow our family to quite possibly the only way we’ll be able to grow our family.  Our sex life has been scheduled to the minute and full of the fear of a miss-timed broken pregnancies.  I miss my life.  I wish I could go back to the pool and dip my toes in the water and not worry about anything but a sunburn.

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IVF: The Famous Two Week Wait/ A Spot of Bother

I knew the TWW would be hard.  Even without IVF, the waiting period is always hard.  With IVF it’s even harder.  There is so much money at stake and there’s the fact that I know that my embryos are inside of me.  Instead of waiting to see if I GET pregnant, I’m waiting to see if I STAY pregnant.

It started off ok.  I was told to rest for the first four days.  I took these two weeks off of work because I knew I’d be nervous and I knew it would be best for me to take it easy.

Everything was going well.  I even managed to stay off of google. When my husband was home, he brought me everything I needed.

On Tuesday, my mom came over to bring me to my acupuncture appointment so that I wouldn’t have to take the bus.

On Tuesday morning, before my appointment, I noticed some spotting.  My Twitter network, my friends and even Dr. Google told me that this was likely implantation.  My past traumas with spotting just made me feel scared.

My naturopath confirmed that it was likely implantation bleeding.  She said that “most women are so excited about this”.  I just sobbed. It was just a reminder that everyone else’s positive pregnancy experiences don’t belong to me.  I’ve had lots of “great signs” during my pregnancies, I just don’t have a baby.

It’s now Monday.  Almost a week later and I’m still spotting.  It’s not a lot of blood.  It’s really just a couple of spots per day,  but it’s enough to terrify me.  It’s enough to have kept me on the sofa for the past week.

I’ve taken two home pregnancy tests.  They both came up negative.  I know that my official test isn’t until Thursday and that there is “always that chance” but quite frankly, I’m not feeling it right now.

I’m crushed.  I’ve lost hope.  I feel ripped off.  I feel like I didn’t even get to enjoy my two week weight by hoping.  I spent my two week wait trying not to bleed.

This is it.  We agreed to one cycle of IVF and now it’s over.  I know – I could be surprised by my official test on Thursday and then I’ll look back at this and roll my eyes, but for now, I’m feeling it’s over.  Even if I am lucky enough to get a positive test on Thursday, I’ll be terrified because of all of the spotting.

I still don’t understand why this is happening.  I don’t understand how I got pregnant so easily with broken babies and now I can’t get pregnant at all – even when they put a fertilized embryo right inside of me.  In the next couple of weeks I’ll have some decisions to make.  Do I go on birth control? Do we risk another miscarriage?

I also have to figure out a way to get through going back to work, and worse, get through another childless Christmas.

I have to get back to focusing on the adoption but also mourn the loss of the biological children that I won’t have.  A rough time ahead.  I’ll report my official results on Thursday.

(I wanted to post a picture, the doctor gave us a print out of the transfer ultrasound.  It’s a picture of those embryos inside of me.  My husband took the photo. I know he’s trying to protect me.)

Warm and fuzzy

Being a teacher, preparing for retrieval (and hopefully a transfer and a tww) has kept me very busy. I had to leave enough plans to potentially be home until the Christmas holiday- or maybe just for a week. I had to find a replacement teacher who was willing to replace me for either one week or 2 or maybe even 4…
I also had to consider explaining my absence. I have no obligation to explain my absence. If I’m gone more than a week, a standard note goes home with the students explaining that “due to medical circumstances the teacher will be absent for an undetermined amount of time”. The only problem with this note is that parents and students always jump to the conclusion that the teacher is dying!
I decided to speak to a couple of the parents, ones I know well and have taught their other children in previous years – parents who knew me and were supportive when I had to take time off for miscarriages and D&Cs.
One of these parents, who had gone through fertility treatments herself, saw me off on Thursday with a care package.
She gave me a warm pair of socks with owls on them and a magazine. This really warmed my heart. I got my socks! After convincing myself that it was silly to buy lucky IVF socks, here they were. It was an amazing gesture and a concrete example that people care and understand. I hope they work!!!!

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This is it!

then there were two

then there were two

The time is now.  My eggs have been retrieved and now I’m waiting.

The whole process so far has been exciting, exhausting and time consuming.  As soon as we decided to do IVF, I decided to do everything in my power to make it work.  That way, I’d know that I’d tried everything.

I’ve been exercising a lot.  I’ve been going to bootcamp twice a week and jogging or swimming on the other days.  I’ve changed my diet.  I’ve cut down on wheat, dairy, soy and sugar and I’ve cut out alcohol and caffeine all together.  I’ve been going to acupuncture/Cranial Sacral therapy and reflexology.   I feel good, I’ve lost weight and if nothing else, it’s given me a sense of control over this whole crazy situation.

The weeks building up to the retrieval were stressful.  They found a cyst and almost cancelled the cycle.  They decided after all to go ahead with it.  My estrogen was sky-rocketing but my follicles were growing slowly.  We were really going day by day and altering the doses of my meds.  The only way for me to get through it was step by step.  I was far from thinking about embryos and tests and transfers, I just had to focus on follicles and getting to the retrieval.

We got there! The retrieval was on Saturday (a day later than originally scheduled). It was SO painful.  They had to move around my ovaries to get to the eggs.  Ouch. The team in the OR were great though and hubby was really supportive. We were able to retrieve 14 eggs.

The numbers game has been the hardest part.  We started with 14 eggs.   From the 14 eggs, 9 were fertilized.  I thought this number was pretty good and I started to relax.  The next day I got the call that 6 embryos had survived, 3 were thriving and three were a little behind.

Today the doctor called me directly (never a good sign).  Only two embryos have survived and now I had decisions to make.

1. We send the two embryos for genetic testing (sending the embryos for testing was the original plan).  Sending only two is very risky because they don’t all survive the process.  It’s also very expensive for just two embryos.

2. We wait until day 5 to see if the other embryos grow, freeze them all and transfer at  a later date.

3. We transfer the two survivors on day 5 and skip the genetic testing.

After a good cry, I called my husband and we made our decision.  We’re going with option 3.  There are risks involved with all the options!  I’m feeling ok about skipping the testing.  The fact that so many embryos didn’t survive is maybe the answer we needed.  Maybe we just needed some good strong embryos.

I have another check up/blood and ultrasound tomorrow and if those little guys survive, we’ll be doing the transfer on Thursday.

One step at a time…

Pumpkin Smackdown 2013 – the Results Show!!!

Immotileturtle's Blog

It’s the moment that you’ve all been waiting for, the highlight of the year, the reason you got out of bed this morning. I am about to announce the winners of the #IFPumpkinSmackdown 2013!

If you don’t know what I’m talking about (Who are you? Where have you been?!) you can read all about it here and you can read about some of the awesome prizes on offer here and here.

This totally awesome competition was the brain child of Barren Betty and Fertility Doll and I am honoured to have been named “Grand High Judge and Priestess”.

There were 36 entries in total… yep, you read that right, thirty six. Each and every single entry was absolutely brilliant. I hope that you all had as much fun carving them as I did judging. If you haven’t seen Betty’s post from last night, which showcased all 36 entries…

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Here goes….Time to buy some socks?

After about 8 gallons of ginger tea my cycle started which means they can fit in IVF before the clinic shuts down for the holidays.

This is it!

I’m on the birth control pill now until Thursday.  I have an endo-biopsy scheduled for tomorrow…apparently this is to beef up the lining? I’m pretty sure they’re just looking for more excuses to poke me.  Our egg retrieval is scheduled for November 15.  (I guess I need to buy some socks? I’m finally starting to understand everyone else’s posts. What’s the story with pineapple?)

My husband wanted to have a big talk the other night.  The “We need to be prepared for this not to work and prepare for the idea of not having children” talk.

I shut it down.  I’m not ready for this talk.  I’ve been working so hard to be calm and positive.  I’m on a fertility cleanse, I’m exercising, I’m going to acupuncture, reflexology, Cranial Sacral therapy, losing weight and going to counselling.  All of this, although sparked by the fertility treatment, is contributing to me being a calmer and happier person.  I’m not ready to let go of the peace that I have just found.

Here are my worries and “what ifs” and potential road blocks – just to get them out of my system:

– no good eggs

– no good sperm

– no fertilized eggs

– genetic testing proves that embryos are all abnormal

– embryos don’t survive

– I get pregnant and lose another baby

 

There – it’s out and now I can let go of my worries.  I’ll just take it one step at a time  (and I’ll take those steps in my new socks).

 

 

 

Pumpkins, infertiles and cackles

I’m glad we’re finding ways to have fun with the tough holidays. Still probably going to turn off the lights and close my curtains though!

Fertility Doll

You NEED to read this! Pumpkins + Infertiles  (pregnant ones included) + Barren Betty with a drill= A WHOLE LOT OF FUN! This could go horribly well for some of us and tragically wrong for others. Either way we’re all going cackle happily and we want you to join in!  Barren Betty explains it all on her blog including how on earth we came up with this– so head on over there!! Whatchu waiting for?

If you’re worried about your pumpkin carving skills (or lack of), rest assured there are many categories and this is one of them:

 we are all fighting for the Lamest in Show award… #gameon  – Barren Betty 

Current pumpkin contenders (this is sounding like Gladiators)

1. Barren Betty

Betty’s in it to win it. The fact she’s being let loose with knives and a drill scares me a bit. I hope Mr Betty…

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