Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Warm Wishes

Just wanted to wish you all a very Merry Christmas, or whatever you celebrate.

I hope your holidays are filled with peace and joy.

See you all in the new year. :)

Friday, 20 December 2013

A little hope and gratefulness

I actually let myself look at a list of baby names last night. There's a teeny tiny little bit of hope is seeping in to my heart.  I'm scared to let it in, but it feels good.

Thank you for all of your words of support.  Your words fill the emptiness that that my friends and family leave behind.  I am so truly grateful for you, and your words.

This article really struck a cord with me recently on the topic of friendship and childlessness.  It's worth the read.


Wishing you all a good weekend during this busy time.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

News and First Support Group Meeting

Straight away to our news! We selected another donor!  This time we chose a donor with 15 vitrified eggs from CCRM.

I feel good about the fact that she already has been through the stimulation process and we know what we've got in terms of the number of eggs.  We have eliminated the emotional and financial risks of being side-swiped with news that our donor didn't pass her work up (again) or worse, that she passed and then didn't produce a good number of eggs.

The donor's childhood pictures are really cute.  I like her medical history and the information she's written about herself.   She's 21 which is fan-freaking-tastic.  She's identity released donor too, which is important to me.  This means that when our child (please, please, please let this work this time!) is 18 years old, they may seek out the identity of the donor.   They will be given at minimum a name and social security number if the donor continues to be willing to do so.

This is different from what I was hoping for in terms of openness but I'm trying to come to grips with it.   I'm feeling desperate to end this IF misery.  I'm also feeling like I need to accept that things might not always be how I'd imagined them to be, and that can still be good too.  I'm hoping that if we were so lucky to have a child from these eggs that our child(ren) (please, please, please! One or gasp - more than one is such a dream) won't hate me for this decision, because they desire a more open relationship with their donor.

In a way,  no contact until 18 years old takes a big weight off us.  There's no pressure for us to maintain a relationship.  We've been in an open embryo adoption arrangement and it takes a lot of work and thought to do it well.  This time around, I was only hoping for a minimum level of contact from the donor, to express our thanks, to obtain relevant medical information, and to keep in contact with them so they may be available to answer the questions that the child may have one day.

I'm still trying to make peace with this decision.  In a way it feels like the first time that I've let my kid down.   I think that I would be the person who would want this kind of information if my parents used a donor for conception.  I hope my kid doesn't care, but want to be prepared if they do.  I don't know if I've done enough by choosing this limited level of openness.   I hope I'm not making a mistake and rushing into things.  If we waited we could have likely found another agency donor who was willing to be more open.  Gosh, I just don't know.  I think how I'm going to feel will depend on the how the child reacts to the information that they are donor conceived.  There's so much to process.

I'm so pumped that there are 15 eggs.  Sure, some of the donors we looked at had 20+ eggs, but I think this is perfect for us.

We've been given some odds from Dr. Schoolcraft and we've done the math.

With 15 eggs:

Updated April 2014 with actual results.  

How many will thaw?  14 actually did. 

93% are expected to fertilize with ICSI and PICSI (even with D's wonky sperm)
= 13.95 embryos.  We had 13 fertilize.

80% of those are expected to get to blast
= 11.16 embryos.  We ended up with 10 embryos in the freezer. 

60% of those are expected to make it to freeze or transfer
= 6.7 embryos.  We don't know yet how many will survive thaw.  So far we used our fresh 5AA. 

The doctor expects a 78-80% chance of pregnancy with a viable embryo. 

So for our purposes, I'm saying that we might have a shot with 6 embryos total.  If all 6 were transferred that would mean the doctor expects that 5 of those would result in a pregnancy.  Nope - this is incorrect.  My calculations were missing how many of the surviving embryos would be normal.  This brings our chances down even further.   I now estimate we may have a shot with 3 or 4 embryos. 

I'm not sure what the miscarriage rate would be after a positive pregnancy test with donor egg? Do any of you know?  Updated: 20% chance of miscarriage with a 20 year old donor according to Dr. S. 

Gosh, these seem like really great numbers.  We could actually have more than one child! Oh my, I really, really hope so.   I especially think it would be great for a donor conceived person to have a genetic sibling.

Oh, and something else.  In the big scheme of things is not important.  But, it's bugging me so I'm going to write it.  The donor has different coloured eyes than me.  Hers are hazel/brown.   D has green eyes and I have blue/green eyes.  I didn't need to have many physical criteria that are to be similar to me (height, weight, bust, face shape, etc) except I wanted her to be Caucasian (I didn't want strange people wondering/ questioning if I cheated on D when a non-Caucasian baby came out of my body, because we both are).  I really was hoping for a blue or green eyes because my family is known for their blue/green eye colour.  It's something that people comment on and often even say that they can tell we're related because of the shape and colour of our eyes.

When we adopted embryos we knew that they would likely have brown eyes based on their family tree.  For some reason, it didn't bug me as much then.  I don't know why it's bugging me know.

Overall, I know in my heart that when I look at my child it's not going to matter.  I just wish the feeling would stop nagging me though.   I suppose it's because I'm still mourning the loss of my genetics.

When I think of the adoption journey it helps me put this in perspective.  Things in the adoption world are so much more scary in my mind because of the exposures that many of the children have had while in utero.  Our social worker's words to us were, it's not IF the baby has been exposed to alcohol, but how much.  That freaks me out.  I've never been a parent, and sometimes I don't know how good I'm going to be at it.  Could parent a special needs child in a way that they deserve?  I don't know if that makes any sense at all, but it helps me calm my feelings on something so silly as eye colour.


We also recently went to our first support group meeting.  It was a bit of a bust.  We traveled 1.5 hours (it should take under an hour to get there usually) in poor weather and fighting busy traffic to arrive just in time for the 7pm meeting.

Except there was no one there!

We had RSVPed to attend, and received a confirmation that others would be there too, so it caught us a bit by surprise.   We decided to wait awhile due to the weather, and hoped someone else would show up.   A few minutes later, the coordinator showed up apologizing for her tardiness.

She was very kind and we ended up talking with her for a couple of hours!  I kept trying to find a way to end the conversation and leave because it felt awkward to be the only ones there.  We learned about her experience with egg donation and her infertility history.   We shared ours.

I didn't feel any relief from attending.  But surprisingly, I think D did.  I forget that he doesn't talk about this stuff with anyone.  He said it was good to talk about it.  The next time we go, I hope he'll do most of the talking for this reason.

We will give it another shot in the new year.   We know that we won't be able to attend the next meeting,  but I haven't given up hope yet.

I'm not sure if the support group is going to touch on the things that are top of mind to me these days.  Which are:

1. Managing my depression associated with infertility
2.  Having some type of emotional plan for handling a negative pregnancy test after transfer (God - I hope I don't need one! But it scares the shit out of me to think of not having a plan.  D wants to live in the positive and feel the hope right now.  I'm too scared to make that jump.
3.  Making peace with our decision for a less open donor relationship.

Thursday, 5 December 2013


It's gone from really wanting this to be infertility journey to be over to NEEDING it to be over.  My tolerance for dealing with loss and grief gotten thinner and thinner.  I think because the wounds keep piling on top of each other that there hasn't been time to heal from one thing before the next thing happens.  The grief of infertility (for me anyways) just seems to compound.  

I need to get out of this spiral and move on to more positive things.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013


Oh man.

Last night we got a call from the donor agency and they told us that our donor tested positive for an FDA regulated test, and would not be allowed to proceed with a cycle.   CCRM helped fill in the blanks today, and told us more specifically that she tested positive for syphilis.

We didn't see this coming.  She has already donated two times.

The donor agency will not charge us a fee for this, however we've burned the cost of the one day work up for the donor.  I don't know the exact cost of this, but I think it was around $4000.

I really loved everything about the donor we selected.  She was smart, musical, beautiful, had a resemblance to me and I loved what she wrote in the profile.  And, she was eager and willing to have contact with us in the future.

I'm feeling so thankful for the testing done, protecting me and our child from this.  I'm also feeling bad for the donor.  I bet that wasn't the news she was hoping for either.   But more so, I'm feeling bad for us.  More months wasted, more money down the drain.   Seriously.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Support Group

I rsvped... I'm going this week.  Thanks for your comments.  I guess I've got nothing to lose.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Support Group

Have any of you been to a support group? I'm thinking of trying one out but I don't know what to expect.

On one hand I think it won't hurt to meet some other people with IF.  On the other hand, I think it could be weird and awkward, and not very helpful.

I contacted two groups.  One responded and said that they are in a lull right now with their attendance because people have graduated.  So that's kind of got me feeling not overly optimistic about it too.

What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

This is getting a little too real... money for eggs and babies

Things have been moving along with our egg donor and adoption plans. I can tell by our bank account. 

Our homestudy is well on it's way to be completed.  The social worker is taking off for a month, but says she'll have our report completed in early January, which is fine with me.  On the egg donor front we've got the paperwork almost completed, and the donor is scheduled to do her one day work up soon. 

I'm hoping for the donor to start taking stims within 2 months.  We'll have 1 month for the CCS testing to come back (If we decide to do that again), and then the next month (maybe February) we'll be all set to go with a transfer. 

I'm gagging at the amount of money this is going to cost.

In case any of you were wondering:  

To the donor agency:

Set 1: Administrative Fees:
$5750.00 – Administrative Fees for coordination of cycle
$ 400.00 – Donor legal consultation
$ 300.00 – Supplemental Donor insurance

..................... Total: $6,450
Set 2: Donor Fees:
$6000.00 – donor fee
$  400.00 – estimated donor expenses (local mileage, prenatal vitamins, birth control etc.  These fees are due in check form and any portion not used would be refunded to you at the end of the cycle.) 

.................. Total: $6,400
$23,955.00 + $3690 (ICSI, IMSI, PICSI) + $6,800 CCS testing

.............. Total: $34,445
Meds:  $5-7000
................ Total: Let's say $6,000

Grand total: A gagging $53,295 or $46,495 without the CCS.  We might need to forgo the CCS. 

F*ck.  And that doesn't include our travel to CCRM or lost work time for my self employed hubby. 

Or, what we've already flushed on 5 years worth of embryo adoption and our other fertility treatments.  

On the adoption front, they tell us that we can expect the pleasure of paying around $20,000 after homestudy expenses.  The agency also informs us that the birth mother can back out and leave us stuck paying the majority of that fee.  Whaaaaat?  that better not happen because I don't think I could handle it.  I can't even think about being in that boat, especially after paying for all of this egg donor stuff (not to mention the emotional problems associated).  

Don't get me wrong,  I'm very thankful that hubby has a job that has even allowed us to consider egg donation as an option.  I realize the fortune that we have being able to try to do this, no matter how hard it's going to be.  But, I still can't bring myself to feel happy about draining what's left of our savings.  I also can't help but dwell on wishing baby making for us was just a roll in the hay. 

...And I wonder why I'm feeling depressed all of the time. 

Friday, 8 November 2013

This is vulnerable me

I'm realizing that I don't reach out for help (in real life), other than to D.

It's a very uncomfortable feeling for me, as I would imagine it is for a lot of people.

I recently watched this TED Talk of Brene Brown.   I would really highly recommend it, as well as a second talk that she did on shame.   It's about having courage and being vulnerable.  It's been changing my thinking lately.

I'm feeling right now, that a relationship that can't withstand a little heat, or that you can't be vulnerable in it, it isn't worth very much.  I think that meaning that comes (for me) in a relationship is the ability to share the good, fun times, but also when someone is able to be there in the mud with you too.

I decided a few days ago to be more vulnerable and reach out to my sister.  I wanted to let her know that I was hurting from infertility.  I also wanted to let her know that I felt let down by her.  It's a pattern in her life to disappear and distance herself from people, especially when things get rough or directed at her.   She's a social worker, and she's been though a year of personal counselling and I think this must have been one of the topics that was discussed there.  It's really nothing new, but it's something that I want to be changed for me and for her in her other relationships.

Back story of my relationship with her - When we are in person things are great and we get along fantastic! When we are apart (we live 9 hours from each other), we hardly communicate.  I asked her to come with me to Colorado with me for my last treatment. She said yes, and I was so happy and grateful for the sister time.  After Colorado,  I didn't hear from her.  After the month wait to get our CCS results, I reached out to her to tell her that we only had one abnormal embryo.  I got one text that said "I'm sorry.  This is me sending you my love <3"  and then there was mostly silence and couple of polite in person conversations over a recent family holiday.    I didn't reach out to her more because I was pissed.

I also have not forgiven this sister from a time in the spring of 2012 when my last miscarriage happened.  D reached out only to her (with my permission) and told her what had happened, that I was really upset and that I could use some support.  She did not contact us, and I know she got the text from D.  When you have a hard time reaching out to begin with and the one person you choose to do it with doesn't respond it is devastating.

I decided it was time to have a discussion with my sister.  Here's what I wrote a couple of days ago:

Me: I'm writing you because I am feeling very hurt and unsupported as it relates to my infertility stuff.  I know you probably have no idea that I am feeling this way, which is why I am telling you. 

First let me say that I really appreciate that you chose to spend your vacation time and hard earned money accompanying me to Colorado.  It was a tremendously generous gesture that I will never forget.  

Since we have been back, I have beendealing with some major issues related to our infertility. 

They have been:
1.  The extremely poor and devastating result of our IVF in Colorado.  This represented the end of my chances to have a genetic child, and a huge amount of money and time wasted. 
2.  Transitioning into donor egg and traditional adoption.  It's complex and emotionally exhausting. 

I appreciate that you are busy and that you have your own things going on, and that you may not realize that this trouble is happening in my life. 

The outcome that I am hoping for is for us to open the lines of communication.  I would like a relationship with you where we can both share the important and sometimes difficult things that happen in our lives.  I feel that to get there, I needed to share this with you. 

With love. 

Sister: (within minutes - wow!)

I am very sorry that I haven't been more supportive.  I have been a poor long distance communicator for quite a while.  Not an excuse, just me acknowledging that unfortunately this is nothing new.  I cannot begin to understant the infertility stuff has been for you gusy.  I'm honestly generally at a loss of whether it is better to ask and rehash or not.  Maybe it's wrong but sometimes I feel like it might be intrustive to ask too many questions, although even then, I now realize I should have been at least asking how you were.  All that can be said now is, I am very sorry and I will try to do better. 

Me:  Thank you for writing back so quickly.  I don't find it intrusive when people I know well ask me, quite the opposite.  I would let you know if there was something I did not want to discuss. 

Sister: Noted.  I'm glad you brought it up.  I would never do anything intentionally that would hurt you, or anyone for that matter.  But neglect can be worse. 

I thought this conversation couldn't have went better.  I was happy that I did (with the help of D) it even though I didn't want to push send.  The problem though reared it's head again days later when I didn't get a phone call from her.   I felt like I was reaching out asking for help and I didn't get anything but an apology.

Yes, I could have called her too, and I do initiate contact with her more than she does with me in general, but this time I was being stubborn and sticking it out.  I was testing her.

Finally, last night (3 days later) she called.

I asked her why did she take 3 evenings to call?  She said she didn't want it to seem like she was only calling because I asked her to.  (Huh? I was reaching out).  We talked, hashed a few things out calmly and honestly.

Afterwards, I told her what had been happening in my life lately.  I shared about the wine tasting weekend where one of the girls instantly announced her pregnancy after a hidden 2 year battle with infertility.  And how the conversation was all about "exciting" pregnancy things after that.  About how I carpooled with my friend and two other ladies to a concert, and one of the other two girls talked about  cuddling and cute stories about her kiddos, and she's just so wiped out.  Yes, she knew that both me and my friend have been struggling with infertility.  And how the list goes on....I told her about how our adoption worker was counselling us on not if babies up for adoption have been exposed to alcohol, but how much, and how devastating that was to hear.   I think she started to get an idea of what the emotional life of a long time infertile is like.   And you know what, even though it was hard for me to do (I cried through most of it and couldn't get words out), and hard for her to hear, I'm glad to do it.  I feel a little better today. (Also because of your words of support too - THANK YOU!)

I learned a few things about myself in this conversation.  She told me that I am very factual when describing our infertility stuff.  That people see me as the rock and not very emotional.  That I'm not the one that usually has issues, so people don't ask.

Interesting that people's perceptions couldn't be farther from the truth.

Thursday, 7 November 2013


I'm as low as I've felt in a long time.  I don't know what to do about it.   I think about talking to my family doctor again about it but I don't want to take any pills, if I'm going to be possibly attempting an egg donor pregnancy soon.  And, from my knowledge most drugs take 6 weeks to kick in anyways.

D is depressed too.

We're having a hard time picking each other up now that we are both down.

I need to talk about all of the heaviness going on in our lives but there seems to be no one.  I reached out to one of my sisters asking for more support, and I got a nice "I'm sorry I haven't been better but you know me" type of response.  She genuinely sounded sorry, but two days later, I haven't got a call.

My Mother has the emotional capacity of a pea.   She doesn't get it.  Mom has no clue we've been thinking of adopting.  So I bring it up, "Hey so I'm working on an adoption profile" and she barely asks a follow up question.

My Dad asks a few questions here and there, but I can hardly call what he offers as emotional support.

On a weekend away with my girl friends some ask small questions but I feel like I'm putting a damper on one of their few weekends away without their children so I hold back.  One friend asks for a little more detail in private and I really appreciate it.  Every time I'm away from the group all I think about is my infertility and I'm fighting tears that are waiting for an speck of permission to break loose.

My best friend is turned inward right now.  I had concert tickets to a major pop artist and asked her to go.  She said sorry she couldn't.  It was a week night and I understood.  Then, the night of the concert she asked me if I wanted to try out a yoga class with her.  Ummmm, no.  Don't you remember that you turned down my free concert tickets and tonight is the concert?  She did the most kid-centric talking at the friends get away.  She has no idea how much it hurts me.   I ask her what she would like to do for her birthday?  She thinks maybe we should go for that pedicure that we never got to (since last year around her birthday, because she's busy with work and kids), but then asks me instead if I would consider helping her organize her photos and make a photo-book.   I say yes, because it's her birthday and it's what she wants to do.   When I add it to the calendar, D says he has a feeling of dread after.  Looking at all of those pictures of her children might not be the healthiest thing to do.

The list of my friends and family who have let me down goes on and on.  It's embarrassing to admit in more ways than one.  I'm embarrassed that I don't have a "truer" group of friends.  I feel like I'm in the moment in a crisis where people say you find out who your real friends and I'm finding out  I don't have (m)any.

And why should I? To my friends, I haven't offered them support as they balance full time work being a mother.  I'm sure there are lots of kid related issues that I don't give an A+ effort to support them in.  In those moments I am only thinking about stifling my jealousy.

I'm getting so jaded.  I'm so lonely.  This experience is so isolating.  I'm now resentful of all of the people who have not offered us any support through this fight.   It's probably because we've bit our lips and put on a strong front for so many years.

The trouble now is that I don't have any more left in me.  I'm feeling so broken, so beaten down by all of this.  I don't want to resent every friend or family member that I have, but I really feel let down.

I thought this would all be over by now.  5+ years in haven't I paid all of my dues? Checked all of the right boxes? Saw the right doctors and had the right procedures?  Spent enough f*cking money and time?

I'm so done with all of this.

For a split second I sometimes entertain the idea of giving it all up.  Stopping the egg donation process.  Stopping the adoption process.  However, the misery I see waiting for me on the other side of that (i.e.. deciding to live child-free) seems like a worse living hell for me.

I guess I've stumbled upon another negative side effect of infertility.  The one where you really start feeling sad and mad about all of your once cherished friends and family.   The one where you and your hubby are so broken that you are just existing.  The part of infertility where even a trip somewhere or a special concert doesn't help you forget for moment.  The part where you go to sleep thinking about infertility, you think about it hundreds of times throughout the day (even when you are telling yourself to stop), then you fall asleep thinking of it.    The next day, rinse and repeat.

If I ever make it to the other side

If I ever make it to the other side and I’m talking with a friend who is infertile, I want to remember to…
  • Talk about my children only when necessary.  No stories about what they did that was cute the other day or how we cuddled last night at bedtime and they whispered I love you.  Because it hurts even if they don’t show it.
  •  I will ask regularly how they are doing with all of this? And ask what this experience has been like for them? 
  • I won’t be scared of hearing the hard stuff, the sad stuff, and the depressing stuff. 
  • I will find adult only time for them because I remember how isolating infertility can be.
  • I will try to say ‘yes’ to their requests for activities, knowing that it’s a sign and opportunity to offer support.
  • I will listen more and talk less. 

Friday, 25 October 2013

One month and so many things

The past month has been a fertility whirl wind.

We got all of our requirements for the donor program met and are now eligible to accept a donor.

We also made a huge decision to pursue traditional adoption concurrently.  We found a social worker who was on side with this idea (phew!).  We've completed most of the homestudy update requirements and have an appointment early next week with an agency.

It's all moving so slow, yet it feels fast at the same time.  The CCRM donor database for caucasian donors has been very slim.  The first week I checked there was no one.  The second week there was one acceptable person (for me), but she got scooped before I could blink.  The third week there was only one person who had a partner who had herpes (no thanks). This week there was another herpes person (wtf, CCRM!) and another lady who had  22 vitrified eggs.  So we accepted the other lady.

This part of the process feels nothing like what I had hoped for. I was hoping for TIME to review profiles and I as sad as it sounds, I  took a little comfort  in feeling like I was upgrading in the beauty, IQ and medical history department.  It is my little consolation prize that keeps me (semi) sane about all of this.

After barking at D the entire way through the donor selection process (time lines were tight and we were not adequately prepared, password problems etc at the end - gah!) I felt like crap.  I don't know why it had to be like that.  I don't know why I had to be like that.

It certainly wasn't the moment that I had played out in my head.

To top it off we do not know if she is an identity released donor (because apparently CCRM doesn't think that's important enough to even disclose when selecting a donor.  Instead they just ask you to hit accept on a donor and ask questions later, as the donor can be declined later and put back into the pool.

When we reviewed the donor we selected last night I didn't feel good about the decision. There were some things in her medical and family history that made me uncomfortable.  And as small as it is, she didn't have blue eyes (like I do), which is really the only 1 physical thing I actually wanted.  D has hazel eyes and a donor with brown eyes, I feel opens us up to a whole bunch of conversations with strangers that I really don't want to have.

So today, we are declining the donor and I'm going to start searching for an agency donor.  I'm ready for the easy part now universe.  Do you hear me?  I'm done with this shit.

On the adoption front, I had a tremendously emotional week writing and re-writing our adoption profile.   Trying to balance a way to will some person to give their newborn child to me, without begging.  Which is basically what I want to do at this point.  

The adoption workers advise you to write "your child" in the profile instead of our child.  They also ask you to consider jointly naming the child and what degree of openness you are comfortable with.  As I wrote the profile I vacillated between feelings of gratefulness for this person who is going through this stressful time and might be willing to make our dreams come true.  And feeling f*cking mad.  Why the f*ck do other people just get to have sex to make a baby?

It seems so absolutely ABSURD to me now that  pleasurable activity could actually make a baby.
Because you know what?  My baby "making" activities (I'm referring outside of the bedroom of course, sitting by my computer, in my doctor's office and in the recovery room of a hospital) have resulted in nothing but heartache and disaster.

To top off my little rant, I have a story about my brother and his fiancé.  In August, I babysat their 7 month old nephew for a week while the Mom went back to work.  (Remember their surprise pregnancy?) She was in a pinch for childcare, and I was happy to spend the time with my nephew.  It was honestly a great week, and I didn't even get that big of a baby hangover from it.  They gave me a large gift card to a fancy restaurant to say thank you.  In my mind it was a very gracious gesture but totally not needed. Especially because my brother's and electrician and he had been doing some work at our house for free.

Anyways,  I thought it would be a nice thing if we shared the gift card together.  They told me they had never been to the restaurant.  So I suggested we go (at that time) in a month on a Saturday that happened to be her birthday and our anniversary.  I said we could celebrate our annibirthary! It would be fun.  They had lots of time to get a babysitter arranged and I suggested we could go later in the evening so she could put my nephew to bed (he goes to bed at 6:30pm).   Sounds perfect!

A week before, I text both my brother and his fiancé to see if we're still on and what time would be good for a reservation.   She says it sounds like fun and then says they have to get a babysitter and will get back to me.  I was like - huh? Isn't that why we discussed it a month ago, but I let it go.  Then two days later she texts me back and says "thanks for the invitation, we can't go but have a great time".   What the f*ck.

There are so many things that I wanted to write back but I didn't.  So I just wrote, "Oh.  That sucks. Sorry to hear that".  It was the best I could muster.  I make a little mental note that I will talk to my brother in person the next time I see him and ask him what happened?

I do bump into him and get my chance.  He first tells me they couldn't find a babysitter.  Umm- that's bullshit.  They didn't try and they live in a town filled with relatives and friends that I'm sure would be happy to come over AFTER HE'S ALREADY SLEEPING nonetheless and watch him.  Seriously.   Then I say, but I gave you a month's notice.  He admits they didn't make any arrangements.

Here's the kicker - I know for a fact that there are several people that could watch him.  The dinner was going to be paid for with the gift card (my brother knew that).  It was to a restaurant we both want to go to.    It's not that we are on bad terms either, we get along just fine.

I feel like many of my friends act like lame-os now that they've had kids.  Now let's add my family to the list.  F*ck. I'm so angry.

If you are reading this, I'm sorry you are because I feel like I'm just spewing venom right now.  I hope your day is going better than mine is.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Are we doing the right thing?

The risks seem higher this time.

We've already dumped an disgusting amount of money into the IF money pit.  Worse yet, we've spent 5 1/2 years of our lives.

I keep wondering if we are doing the right thing.

This decision to move to donor egg isn't sitting perfectly with me yet.  I'm scared that we're going to look back at this decision and see more money and more time wasted.  It still doesn't seem real that this  could actually work.

It's such a strange thing, especially since we've never faced such promising odds for a baby, ever.  Not even close.  An 80% chance of bringing home a live baby seems amazing.  Almost impossible to believe.

My fears:

  • I'm scared that we're not going to have the emotional strength to navigate through more of these waters if this doesn't work. 
  • I'm scared that we should be pouring our energy into traditional adoption. 

Pursuing both traditional adoption and egg donation concurrently does not seem doable, but I wonder if we should push ourselves to do it anyways.

I'm also scared that I'm selling myself short on this "openness" thing.  My post yesterday really made me reflect.  I think that it is a best case scenario that we were lucky to have.  Our next experience might not be that positive.  But I can't help but think that we have an obligation to provide the most information possible to our children.   I think I would want it if I was born from an egg donor.  D still doesn't seem to care either way.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Genetic Family

D and I adopted embryos a couple of years ago.  We did this twice.  The first time, we adopted two embryos.  One survived the thaw and was transferred, but did not result in a pregnancy.  The second time, we adopted six.  That time, we navigated a much more open relationship at the request of the donors.

As we got to know them, we learned that their fertility journey was far from easy.  After several years of surgeries, miscarriages and IVFs, they managed to build their family through adoption and surrogacy. Afterwards, they surprisingly found themselves in the position of having embryos that needed a loving home.  

They were much more comfortable with the idea of openness, after having experiences with an open adoption with one of their children.  We weren't as comfortable, so we navigated and negotiated cautiously. 

We spent time working out what our relationship was going to be.  We talked about parenting, and contact, and relationships with siblings.   We found ourselves moving from referring to them as the genetic donors of our embryos to their genetic family.   We opened our hearts, and our lives and hoped that we were doing the right thing. 

When I became pregnant with twins as a result of the last embryo transfer, they shared our excitement and joy.   When I found out I was miscarrying, they wept with us.   Afterwards, we stayed in touch.   We even visited them a couple of months after our miscarriage while on vacation near their home.  

When I think of the special and unique relationships in my life, theirs is definitely one of my most cherished.   Not only did they give us the greatest gift that anyone could have given us with their six beautiful embryos, but they gently offered us a hand and a hug to help us through the rest of our journey. 

They are the ones that made me really realize that taking the risk for openness is worth it.  That support along this journey is vitally important.   She has called me after hearing our bad news and cried with me, when I'm sure everyone else was scared to call, fearing they didn't know what to say. 

I'm crying right now as write this and I think of them.  They are some of the most beautiful, strong, generous, kind hearted people I've ever met.  I'm so tremendously glad that our paths have crossed. 

Recently, they did something else that really warmed my heart.  It was so beautifully sweet.  So thoughtful.  So kind. 

They participated in Resolve's Walk of Hope.  They did so to remember their own infertility journey and to support others in their journey.  They wore custom made t-shirts outlining key parts of their journey.  Her shirt said, "I'm infertile", and his saying "I'm a loving and supportive husband".   In a picture I saw, she was wearing it with her head held high with her children by her side.  I can't imagine how emotional it must have been for them to have participated in that walk after having been through so much and now be on the other side. 

With our permission, they each also wore a pin in our honour.  It was a picture of me and D from when we visited them last spring.   

I guess sometimes there are blessings in all of this infertile mess.   

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Advanced maternal age

Well folks, today is the day.   I'm another year older.

I'm starting to get used to each birthday arriving with more wrinkles on my face and more grey hairs to dye.

The this one means that unless by some miracle I become pregnant within the next three months (which there is a slim chance because the donor egg preparation takes 3-4 months),  I will get the pleasure of now being in the advanced maternal age category.

Oh and yes, I know with donor egg, a lot of things are different and age is less significant.   But it's a little it's a little fertility milestone I wish I didn't know about.

Today, my gift to myself is that I'm going to be extra nice to myself.  Yummy eats, and little treats is what it will be about!

Monday, 16 September 2013

Talking with the elephant and tree therapy

Source :insureblog.blogspot.com

I'm trying to shake my feeling of annoyance at my sister for her lack of support.  I'm trying to be grateful for what I have and not upset about what I do not.

Easier said than done. For some reason these feelings are proving to be sticky.  "Is this a real problem, or is it just me being silly?" is what I've been asking myself.

I've been trying to think of reasons why this is still bothering me.  It could be D has been stressed and grumpy, and it's rubbing off on me.  It could also be because I am now on cycle day 30 and PMSing.  I dunno.   Those are definitely contributing factors.

I feel like it annoys me because it's not like she doesn't know about it.  It's a big huge part of my life.  She knows it's tough.  She knows that talking helps (she's a social worker for crying out loud!), and still there is silence.  No reaching out.  No, "how are you doing with all of this?".   There's no talking about this huge IF elephant in the room.  I don't always want to go into a big conversation about it, but every couple of months, or after something big happens (like ending our OE journey), I feel like it warrants some love.

I suppose, I'm also comparing this silence in contrast to some other more generous experiences. I know it's not a good thing to do...

This summer, we had friends that visited us from out of town.  They aren't our closest friends, but are people that we keep in touch with and see a couple of times a year.  They are fertile-mertles, and have  two children born within a year and a half of each other.  She also had a miscarriage in between, which was very difficult for them emotionally.

When they came to visit this summer, she asked about how our fertility stuff was going and I told her.  I shared our excitement leading up to our last cycle, and then a few weeks later, our heavy disappointment. After hearing about this news, the next time they visited, they brought us a beautiful flowering tree and a home made card with a lovely verse in it about friendship and their support for us.

It was truly one of the most thoughtful things anyone has ever done for us in this journey.

I've learned it takes a really special person to see another person's pain and not get scared away by it.  Empathy and understanding are special gifts.  I think that most people refine this skill with practice in watching and experiencing things in their own lives.

This doesn't come naturally for me. I think because it wasn't something that was practiced in our home growing up much.  I know that I've gotten better.  Partly because I've learned from D.  Being empathetic is one of his greatest personality traits.  I've also learned first hand what it's like to go through something painful. Grief and I have gotten to know each other up close and personal.   I know what it's like to crave understanding and a listening ear.  It's exactly what I'm craving right now from my sister.

I no longer believe everything happens for a reason.  But, I do continue to believe that good can come from bad.  The good is that IF has shed light on friendships that can be distanced, and those that are to be nurtured and cherished.  It's help me be more present in someone else's pain with them, and to know that by 'going into it' with them that I don't need to be scared.  Just being there, asking about the elephant in the room, and carefully listening is all that needs to be done.

The red tree in the background is also something I'm thankful for.  Our friends gave us money to purchase a special tree in memory of my late Grandfather in lieu of flowers.   I'm hoping to get a plaque that says "In memory of a life well lived".     Both trees will remind me of two important chapters in our life and some of the beautiful thoughtful people that have been there along the way.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Craptastic eggs

D is in the financial industry and he came across a company that did not meet financial expectations regarding a new process/drug that helps women with wretchedly bad eggs.   He sent me the link, and said he wasn't trying to sway me back but he thought I would be interested in it. 

Normally, when finding something like this I would be excited to read it.  I would chew every last bit of it up.  I would do more research, searching the internet for hints of if this could be our magic bullet. Then, I would spit it out at D a few hours later.   

This time?  Nothin'.  I didn't even read past a few paragraphs on the main page.  I didn't have an emotional reaction of any sort to it.  

This is so not like me.  

And, it's a huge relief.  To me it's a huge sign that I'm really done with my craptastic eggs.   

(Here's the link in case you would like more information besides my amazing description of it: http://www.ovascience.com/technology/)

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Working through another checklist and sisters

We're working our way through another checklist in an effort to get cleared by CCRM to choose a donor.

Part of me is annoyed that a lot of the testing we've had once, twice or eight million times before.  Oh, and paid the bills that many times too.   I'm hoping some of the things they've asked us to do is because our new donor nurse has overlooked some of the tests in our file.  But really, I feel like I'm done with having tests in general.  I'm sure all of you IFers feel the same way.

One of the things we checked off our list yesterday was our psych consult.  I think we passed it with flying colours, having gone through the embryo adoption process before.  I'm glad that is over with.  The psychologist was very nice.

The one lingering decision for us is around openness/contact with the donor.  D doesn't care if we have contact.  He things that we've been through enough and we just need to move on and not make every step we take perfect.   I feel the same way too, but potentially, I think this is too important to overlook.

I want this door to remain open for our (hopefully) one day child.  I personally don't have a desire to maintain a relationship with the donor, but I do want the option there for our child to reach out to her one day.  For whatever reason, to ask medical questions, or to help sort out some identity questions.  I think it's important.  I recognize that we may have a kid that doesn't care.  But we might also have one that does. Which is why I want the door left open for contact from us.

This part of CCRM's database I find underwhelming.  The nurses have access to whether donors have chosen to be "identity disclosed" as they put it.  But you have to specifically ask for that information with each donor.  To complicate things, right now their database of caucasian donors is surprisingly slim.  (While I would be open to parenting a non-caucasion child through adoption, I think it creates too many questions to be give birth to a child that is not caucasian when both D and I are.)

So I'm left pondering if an agency donor is a smarter choice for us, because there would be more options for openness.  As an added bonus, you can sometimes see a picture of the donor as an adult, which would be nice (but not necessary).   On the other hand, CCRM does have this really nice egg vitrification donor program, where you can get eggs that are already frozen.  That would takes a lot of stress out of things knowing that the eggs are already there, and we wouldn't find a donor that isn't fertile.  We don't want to push our luck with this anymore than we already are.  We see 'egg vit' donors as one less thing to worry about.   Decisions, decisions, decisions.

On a different note, I want to say that I really, genuinely appreciate your support here.  The support in my real world life has been not what I have needed lately.

This is a time where I really feel I need extra support.  These feel like a huge decisions.  And if I'm being real, I'm mourning.  The loss of my genetics is a big loss for me.  It's a loss that I didn't anticipate having to mourn twice in my life.  And you know what? I'm not sure it got much easier the second time around.  I just know what to expect this time.

My sisters in particular have let me down with their support.  I had a talk with D about it.  The one sister is busy starting a new job.  So I get it, she's busy.  But the other sister knows how this process has been so far.  She came to CO with me (which I appreciate tremendously), but afterwards it's been silence from her.  I texted her to let her know the outcome of our embryo testing and IVF.  She sent me a heart and said "that's me sending you my love".  She's a social worker/addictions councillor.  I feel really let down by this.  I move between feeling like I should just be grateful for what she's able to give, and pissed.   This is a huge deal for us.

I also know that if I reach out to her and/or tell her about how I feel about this, that any support she gives me afterwards will feel hollow.  So I keep my mouth shut.  But I find myself feeling resentful and I don't like that either.  What should I do?

So, I come to you, friends.  And for that I truly am grateful.  You are here listening patiently and lovingly. And offering your support and words of advice.  Thank you.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Don't know where to begin

I've thought about this space every single day since my last post.

So much has happened.  I'm going to try to condense it...  

We went to CCRM for IVF.  They were following 7-8 follicles for the egg retrieval.   I stimmed for 14 days.  I thought that I was going to stim for longer, but my estrogen basically flat lined for 2 days and Dr. Schoolcraft decided to do the trigger.  The largest follicle was 18mm.  The rest were in the mid teens.  

We were still hopeful to have a similar number of eggs as we had at our previous clinic (Recap: It was 14 months ago.  They were following 7-8 follicles then, and we ended up being surprised with 11, 6 x  day 5 embryos resulted.  We did not do CCS).    

This time we only ended up with 4 eggs at retrieval.  We had big heavy lumps in our throats that we tried to swallow.  

We crossed our fingers and toes and hoped that they would fertilize and our embabies would be ok. We reminded ourselves of what Dr. Schoolcraft said in the consult.  In our minds, we were only going for 1 normal embryo.  

2 eggs harvested were immature and they tried to mature them in the lab.  We were thankful for this as they would not have been able to do this at our previous clinic.  

After fertilization and maturation of the eggs, we ended up with 1 embryo (from a mature egg) and 1 embryo from an egg that they matured.   Sadly, the embryo from the immature egg arrested on day 5. 

We debated on what do do with the CCS testing.   The doctor had suggested previously that we consider embryo banking if we got less than 4 embryos to test. 

We felt that the result of the IVF was so poor that we didn't know if we wanted to even do it again.   We wanted to talk to Dr. S again but he was unavailable.   We didn't even know what to ask but felt really lost. 

We decided to test the embryo ($6800 - big ouchie).  We did so because we thought that if the embryo was normal it would change our thinking.   Dr. S ordered the arrested embryo to be tested as well.   However, there was not enough material to test. 

The embryo came back with results 2 weeks later.  It was abnormal.  The irregularity was on the 7th chromosome.  The nurse said that chromosomal errors are almost always (95%) due to the egg because of the way that an embryo forms.  (Coles notes: because the eggs are in the woman's body since birth, and the man's sperm is only been formed approximately 90 days prior to ejaculation they are different.  When an egg is fertilized one pair of the chromosomes are shed by the fertilized egg each from the sperm and egg.  The "glue" that holds the two pairs of chromosomes becomes stuck more easily in the egg and is prone to more irregularities.  This is because it has been in the woman's body since birth.  We didn't know this until the CCS class that week at CCRM.  Admittedly, I'm probably butchering their neat and tidy explanation.).  

We were/are very upset that we only got 1 because we feel that the sample size doesn't allow us to know if it indeed would be possible for us to make normal embryos.   

We were preparing for something bad to come as a result from this IVF.  We were imagining creating 6 or more embryos and getting them tested only to be told that they were all abnormal.    We were told by Dr. Schoolie that we'd have a baby or an answer.   Now we have neither.  Kind of. 

Cue a huge emotional response from me and D.  Exhausted.  Exasperated.  Frustrated.  Pissed off.   In shock.  Mad. 

We had a post consult with Dr. Schoolcraft.  We wanted to know what went wrong?  Was it a fluke?  Why was I triggered when I was?  Would a different protocol help?  Does he think we should even attempt IVF again?  Was it because I didn't take the DHEA or testosterone priming this time?  Should we have waited for a higher pre-antrical follicle count?

D reminds me of what we just did.  We just flew across the country,  spent a year doing the work up and waiting for my body to cooperate, and spent $40,000+.  What do we have to show for it?  A substantially poorer result than our local clinic.  And minimal new information. 

We were rational in the regroup, despite feeling otherwise.  Dr. Schoolcraft told us patiently that he doesn't know why this happened.  That it could have just been a bad month.   That my fertility could have declined that much since my last IVF 14 months ago, that my FSH was that bad.   That we could try another protocol but it was the difference between basically switching from "tylenol to aspirin".  He told me I was on the strongest protocol.   He said if we were to do one more IVF he would give us a 20% of taking home a live baby.  If we did donor egg it would be 80%. 

We have been on this portion of our journey since November 2012.  Now, almost a year later after all of the testing and setbacks of the past year, I just feel like I had a bad month.  That I should have taken the DHEA.   I feel ripped off.   

But somehow amidst this turmoil we have made the decision to move on.  To close this door.   It's not a door that's been wide open for us ever anyways.  Maybe there is enough information now to make a decision.    We're tired of chasing the small odds.  We want to be parents. 

We want to have more than one child (in our wildest dreams).  If we spend so long trying to get baby number 1, will that mean that we won't have the chance to have number 2? 

So, on to egg donor we go.   For me, excitedly, but also anxiously. 

It's a weird feeling.   We are now back into thinking about openness and clinics and whether this will work.  

For D it's different.  He doesn't think it will work.  He's tremendously negative about the chance of success.  He wants to move on to traditional adoption but is doing this for me.  I hate it when he says it  won't work.  It feels like a punch in my gut.  No, a punch in my uterus.   

This has to work, doesn't it?  I understand why he thinks this way.   We haven't been on the positive side of many (any?) fertility odds in the past five years.   But I'm not ready to give up seeing his face in my child, or having the experience of pregnancy.  

So, onwards we go.  

Thursday, 25 July 2013

The wedding and baseline check.

I'm noticing a connection to my life and this blog.  And while I hate to admit it, I only really seem to have the desire to post when something heavy is laying on my heart.   When I'm feeling good it's when things are busy.  The two are not unrelated I'm sure.  But today is different folks.

The wedding has come and gone.  D & I secretly had an over/under bet going on how many major dramatic events might happen between members of the wedding party in the few days leading up to the wedding and on the wedding day  there would be.   A dramatic event would be something along the lines of a fight, tears, fiasco, things like that.  The number we settled on for the over/under was 10.  (Now, what does that number say about them? Haha)

We both made our bets.  And over won! Afterwards, D says he took over.  But I thought I did too.  I think we had a miscommunication, but don't care because to me it's still funny. 

Some of the dramatic events were things like when the mother of the bride brought the wedding cake for the bride to see the night before the wedding.  The bride got upset and locked herself in her room for an hour, after which the groom and the maid of honour had to come over to straighten things out.   She ordered the cake a week before from a lady known to the family who was not in the business of making wedding cakes.   What she got kind of looked like what you might expect from that type of scenario.  A nice looking homemade cake, but nothing spectacular. 

When the dramatic events unfolded I did my best to help smooth things over, or I just kept my mouth shut depending on the situation.  I told my self "not my wedding" to avoid getting annoyed and all was well.  It was a lot more fun that way.

I decided to forget about all of the drama, and the infertility treatment and just enjoy the process of getting all dolled up.  I pretended that I was going to prom for 30 year olds.  I got my hair and make up done, toes and fingers.  Ooh, and I even some fake eyelashes for the wedding which was fun too.  

The party part of the wedding was lots of fun, and I really had a nice time.  Best of all I knew that all of our commitments for this wedding were over - yay! 

Now, a couple of weeks later, time has flown by and I have already started my next cycle.  I went for baseline supression check and to my amazement the cyst was gone!!! Yay!!! Happy dance.   My blood work came in where they wanted it which means that I AM GOING TO COLORADO FOLKS!!! 

I'm super pumped about this and I'm trying not to let myself think any negative thoughts about if this doesn't work.  I'm sure there will be plenty of time to feel bad about things later if it doesn't go well. 

My aunt was going to travel with me but unfortunately had an unexpected medical problem to help my Grandmother with.   After having a nice long chat with my other grandmother (the one who lost her husband this spring), I thought that it might be a nice thing for the two of us to do together.  So I asked her to come with me.  I was a little hesitant about what it might be like, but decided to just ask her and hope for the best.   She couldn't go, but my Mom tells me that she was tickled by it and it made her day to be asked. 

I asked a friend to come, but she was busy.  Then I asked my sister.  I knew she had some plans, but thought "ah, what the heck".  And she said yes!!!  We decided that we should also include my other sister.  While I thought for sure she wouldn't be able to go because she is taking a course, it turns out that she is free to and is going to go! 

It has all worked out fantastically, and I'm super excited about it now.  My sisters are coming for the first 6 days.  D will stay home and work.  Then my sisters will fly out and D will fly in all on the same day.  

We'll get to do a few day trips that are close by to the clinic in our rental car.  For any of you who have been there, I'd love to hear what you enjoyed doing near the Denver/Lonetree area?  I know for sure I would like to go see the Garden of the Gods. 

I won't be able to update easily while I'm gone but will fill you all in when I get back! 


PS) There is a small chance that this cycle could still get canceled on Friday when I have my last u/s and blood before I go to CO - please think positive thoughts for me on this! Although at this point with all of the flights booked for my sisters I think I'm going either way! 

Wednesday, 26 June 2013


Yay! We got our calendar from CCRM.

It has a tentative retrieval date of around July 6th or 7th.  Which seemed perfectly workable with the July 13th wedding  that we are both standing in, the one where D is the best man.  Upon closer examination, we learned that our retrieval date would likely be a bit later because the calendar only included stims for 10 days. 

I checked with the nurse to see if she thought I would stim for longer than average (because of my diminished ovarian reserve).  She said yes.  She said DOR people tend to stim for  15-17 days.   I asked her the longest she's ever seen anyone go for and she said 21 days. 

Counting out the days, that would make the retrieval/required sperm donation either the day of the wedding or the day before.  Not to mention that I am required to hang around for 24 hours because of the anesthesia.  


We thought about what would happen if I missed the wedding.  Sounds bad, yes, but there are 8 bridesmaids and only 5 groomsmen.  And the bride and I are not even remotely close.  The groom and I are friends, but I never expected to be asked to stand up for him.   That is a long story that I talked about here.    

They've been very demanding throughout the year long wedding process and let's just say it hasn't drawn any of us closer together.  Bridezilla is an accurate term to use.  We've just been going with the flow, gritting our teeth spending money on all of their parties etc,  doing what is asked of us, and mostly hoping for it to be over.   

D too has seen a different side of the groom throughout this year of wedding planning that he doesn't like.  I think overall this year has made us realize that after this, we don't have the desire to be close friends with them.   We've come out of this year just feeling used financially and emotionally by them.   We are in very different mental places and have very different priorities.  They are really immature about a lot of things. 

We really wanted to make this cycle work.  We've been in limbo basically since January, with cancelled cycles because of the cysts, and my grandfather's illness and death, and last month with the memorial day fiasco.  In so many ways we feel like we've been in limbo for the past five years with all of this crap.  And with these cysts, we honestly don't know if next month we'll be allowed to start a cycle. 

We thought about using frozen sperm instead of fresh, allowing him to fly out for the wedding, if he had to.   I didn't want to do that.  I feel like we are spending big money on this and I don't want to feel like we didn't do the best we could in all aspects.   Especially because this is probably our last chance.  There isn't an unlimited pool of money that we can throw at this.  I'm cranky, emotionally drained and I'm tired of feeling guilty if I have a glass of coffee or wine! 

Ultimately, we decided that regardless of how we are feeling about them right now, that it would be a really, really brutal thing if the best man didn't show up.  (I should mention that if this was a close friend we wouldn't even consider doing this to them, it's just that we are feeling very used by them, and this almost feels like one more way that we are taking a hit because of them).   I realize that this must sound like I'm a spoiled brat, but I'm just being honest.   And my friends, I need this little corner of the internet to do so so I don't make an impromptu speech at the wedding about how they are two of the most rude, selfish people that I know (jk - would never).   

And, in the end, we won't even tell them that we have made this choice for them.  

Hoping August is a good month for us.  At least one good thing will happen - this dreaded wedding will be over!  


Some random gossipy bits about the wedding:

1. This is groom's second wedding and they bride and ex-wife have the exact same first and second names!!! Seriously? What are the chances!

2. They have kicked out the maid of honour AND best man already.  D was the second choice, despite having known the groom for 17 years and the other best man having only been friend for less than a year!).