Wednesday, 30 January 2013

The Nephew is Here

I could think of a thousand reasons to be upset about my infertility since nephew arrived. But I'm not letting myself today.

He is so.darn.cute! and everyone in our family is so excited.  It's a happy time.  My brother and Dad are so happy and it's nice to see.  I'm not sure about how his girlfriend is feeling about all of this yet.  This was an unplanned pregnancy and I can't get a feel for how she's doing emotionally with all of this.  She just looks so tired that it is hard to tell.  I definitely don't get a warm fuzzy feeling from her.  I'm hoping she's going to be ok.

We are mostly trying to be helpful and stay out of the way.  I've been here since Sunday but only seen the baby twice.  We went to their house and prepared for their arrival by removing the snow in their driveway, and making a family of snowmen and a snow-dog!. It was very spur of the moment and super cute.  We've been sending them meals.   On Thursday I'm going to take pictures of the baby. 

I was hesitant to offer this but I decided to do it anyways.  I think I will regret it later if I don't do it.  It gives me a chance to be around them.  I know they aren't able to pay for a professional photographer.  I'm an amateur who has taken a few classes and has a decent camera. I want them to have some pics of him when he is so little and fresh. 

I'm going to round out this week by spending it with a couple friends.  They are on my drive home.  We are going to shop and have dinner.  I'm looking forward to it.  It is with two of my favourite girl friends. 

I'm thinking there could be huge-ass baby hangover headed my way next week.  But for now I am enjoying him the excitement that's in the air.  It feels good.   

I think being "at home" with my family has helped keep my spirits higher.  It's in the place I want to live.  I like being here  Seeing my family on a regular basis is a special treat for me. I like reading names in the newspaper that I recognize.  I like having dinner with my aunt and uncle on a week night just because.  I like being able to see my grandparents.  I like hanging out with my Dad and seeing my Mom.  I like the beautiful natural surroundings.  I could definitely get used to this.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Why Today Turned Out Better

This post was written Saturday...

We are still waiting on my nephew to be born.  Last night I went to a party that we didn't think we could go to because we expected to be out of town, visiting the newborn.   There was a 2 month old baby there which almost every woman there doted on and swooned over.  I say almost because I didn't.  I guess more accurately should say I couldn't.  I survived five hours of that.

When I woke up this morning, I read a really fantastic blog article.  It really spoke to me.  It was about getting over infertility.  I've lost the link but I am going to try to find it again.  It got me thinking about a lot of things. 

Yesterday I went to my local fertility clinic.  The ladies there greeted me warmly and gathered around to see me.  They are very kind, and I like them a lot.  They let me know they were rooting for me.  I really appreciate them. 

There were a couple of awkward moments, like when the Plebotomist came into the discussion late and thought I was coming in to say I was pregnant (I wish) and when someone else told me a story about two couples she knew that had infertility for five years and just got pregnant.  I think she was trying to inspire me but all it did was make me feel sad.   I had a big parking lot cry as I left the building.   That parking lot has seen a lot of my darkest moments.  Just driving back there after being away from it since the fall brought a lot of memories flooding back.  

I also paid our bill to CCRM for the IVF.  We are now officially another $22,000 poorer.  Shit.

Combine all of that with an increasing feeling that I want to move five hours away from this city and I had a bit of a melt down today.

I'm so sick of meltdowns. 

The day turned around though! D and I talked about a lot of things.  We spent some time talking about where we live.  It felt good to get it off my chest a bit.  I've been waiting for a good time to talk to him about everything.  There's never a good time to say "I'd like to move you away from your parents and all of your closest friends".  He took it well though.   We're still working this out, we don't have a plan as of yet.

We spent the afternoon relaxing in bed.  First with me crying.  Then it turned into talking, reading napping, cuddling, lovin', and more talking.  Add in some plans to go out to dinner, and it really fixed me up!  

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Not a Lot

I've got to admit, there's not much on my mind today.  And it's great.  :) Over and out.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Ordered My Meds

I just placed my meds order.  It cost a gagging $5,365.19.  I will get some coupons for a rebate which will bring the cost down around $5,000.

I was a little nervous about how much to order because the last time I stimmed for a long time.  And it will be more difficult for me to arrange to get more meds because I will be away from home.  The nurse helped me figure out how much to order.  And she said that I can ship to my hotel room, if I need more.

Some of the relatively minor, but trickier things: A) I will need to have a fridge in my hotel room and B) I don't like cutting it close with my meds, given that they might take a few days to come in. C) The drugs are too expensive to order a lot of extra.  D) We many not need any of our extra meds again.  If we don't get any normal embryos this will be it.

I told the nurse I stimmed for a long time the last time.  I asked her if this is likely going to be indicative of this time, given that it's a much different protocol?  She said that people usually stim for 12-13 days in her experience.

Here's my cocktail.

Cetrotide - new
Clomid - new
Dexo-something-or-other - new
Novarelle (HCG)

Another step closer, to "an answer or a baby" as Dr. Schoolie said.  We're banking on it.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Good Times, Noodle Salad

I don't tend to watch the same movie over and over, but this one I have.   There's a part of the movie that D and I talk about from time to time.  

Carol: "OK, we all have these terrible stories to get over, and you---"
Melvin: "It's not true. Some have great stories, pretty stories that take place at lakes with boats and friends and noodle salad. Just no one in this car. But, a lot of people, that's their story. Good times, noodle salad. What makes it so hard is not that you had it bad, but that you're that pissed that so many others had it good."

The clip if you're interested: 

Because of this movie, D and I refer to a few people in our life as our noodle salad friends.  I'm sure you have some too.  

We especially notice our fertile noodle salad friends.  One couple in particular are teachers.  Everything major thing in their life seems good.  They worried about her fertility because she only has one ovary after a ruptured cyst.  However, when it was just the perfect time, she went off birth control and poof! She was pregnant right away with perfect timing for the school calendar.  Twice. 

It got D and I talking a while back about who the happiest people we know are.  I wonder, what makes them so happy?  Are they really happy or do they just seem happy? Who is content with exactly what they have but still is motivated?  

I feel a lot of discontentment in my life and I wonder is there something that I could learn from them?  I worry that even with children I might not feel contentment.  It's not because nothing is good in my life.  There are a lot of good things, but I am not the best at noticing them sometimes.  

The funny thing is that we both had a hard time picking people.   It seems like almost everyone has something to deal with.  I suppose when I really think of it, even my noodle salad teacher friends have a few things. 

The other people that come to mind are:

1.  My aunt.  She lives a very full life.  It's not extravagant or fancy.   She spends her summers with her hubby at her trailer with her boat on the waterfront.  She's surrounded by friends there.  She's really good at reaching out to people, especially when they are in need.  She has three grown children who are all starting out in their careers.  She volunteers with her church with the food bank.  She spends time with her elderly mother on a regular basis.  She does really generous and neat things with her time, such as catering and hosting a wedding reception at her (average) sized home for a family friend, just because she could.   She's a great cook who is not afraid of having company over, even on short notice.    

2.  A friend from my church.  She's happy-go-lucky.  She gives the best hugs, and she offers them even to people she doesn't know really well.  The laughs a lot and is very down to earth.  She posted one of those e-cards her Facebook wall the other day that said Eat. Fart. Laugh.  It made me chuckle.  She's relaxed and she is very comfortable with herself.  She doesn't judge people.  She lives in a small community and I'm sure she knows every single person there.  She volunteers a lot, but also really enjoys her career.   I think she's very in tune with her faith.  She's close with her two teenage daughters.  She's got a great husband.  I don't get the feeling they have a ton of money, but they do manage to live comfortably and travel. She loves great food.  

3.  D chose his friend.  He's a chiropractor with his own budding practice and does motivational speaking.  He's very confident.  He loves to travel with his wife.  He doesn't think they will ever have children and he's good with that.   They live in a nice home where he gardens.  

Who do you know that's really happy?  What do you think makes them that way?

Monday, 21 January 2013

Feeling Semi-human

The big cloud over my head from last week has lifted.  Yes!!!  I'm starting to feel semi-human again.   I'm grocery shopping, cooking good meals and looking for a little project to do around the house.  Oh, and I've stopped bawling.  That's been a huge bonus.

The big news around my little corner of the earth is that I'm waiting for my brother's baby to be born.   Today is the due date.

We got a list of instructions by email the other day about what they would like in the days surrounding the birth.  The email was signed and sent by my brother, however he clearly did not write it.  His girlfriend, the mother-to-be is a lawyer.   I'm pretty sure my brother stopped doing his English homework after he met her (because she was much better at writing essays) which is when he was 16.  The email definitely has a legal feel to it.  It's pretty detailed and definitely not warm & fuzzy. There are a lot of requests and no part that says anything that resembles a thank you or a "looking forward to sharing this with you".   My Dad made me laugh when I talked to him last night about it.  He said "At least you get to be the photographer, I'm just the dog walker".

I'm actually pretty happy that my little emotional meltdown mostly happened last week.  Maybe I got most of the yucky emotions out of the way, so when this baby comes, I'll be able to be a little more functional and friendly.   If the baby comes shortly, we'll be traveling to see it (5 hours by car) next weekend.

PS) It's cycle day 11 today.  I'm starting Endometrin on cycle day 16 for nine days and then waiting for my period.   Then it's full steam ahead on the stims for IVF #2 (our 8th fertility procedure... that's a long story!). 

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Dear Newly Diagnosed Self,

There's another little post floating around Facebook that I keep seeing.  It's a post about a childless pregnant person, and what she would tell her pregnant self in hindsight after the baby was born.

It got me thinking.  What would my 5 year veteran IF self tell my newly diagnosed self?  I wouldn't want to scare her with the gory details, but I would want to share a few things. 

Dear Newly Diagnosed Self, 

You won't know how long you'll be at this for, and this will be very hard for you to accept.  I want you to know a few important things about this journey.  

1. This isn't your fault.  

2. You will need to learn how to be extra kind and forgiving to yourself if you can.  You will fall down in this journey.  You are stronger than you know and you will get back up.   

3.  Nurses and receptionists are tremendously important gate keepers of information.  Don't be afraid to communicate with them.  You need them on your team.  Show them some love.  

4.  Connecting online is a wonderful thing.  It's freeing and informative.  When dealing about important stuff, try to find a reliable research based source for your information.  If you can, read a few journal articles.  Even just reading the summaries is better than nothing. 

5.  Don't be scared to share about your IF with your closest friends and family.  While they all won't be supportive in the way that you hope, some of them will.   If you can, tell them what you need.  Because they have no idea.  This is new territory for most of them too. 

6. Get organized.  Keep a copy of your medical file.  Request copies from your practitioner, even if it costs money.  What you learn from reading those reports will be invaluable.  

7.  Don't settle on a doctor because of geography.   Interview doctorS prior to trusting them with your care.  

8.  Research and ask questions.  Make notes of those questions before your appointments.   Why? is a great question to ask your doctor. 

9.  Bring your cell phone to doctor's appointments.  With discretion, record your conversations with your doctors so you can listen to them again at home.  This will reduce your anxiety during the appointment (for fearing that you will forget something they said).  It will allow you to be in the moment and ask better questions.   

10.  Listen to that little voice inside of you.  She knows a thing or two about you. 

11.  Nurture relationships with other IFers, online and in real life.   The people you will meet are the real deal.  Their stories will inspire you and break your heart. 

12.  Be flexible. You might need a plan E, F and G.  Remember your goal is to be a parent.   Don't beat yourself up when you change plans and directions.  Change is a big part of progress. 

13.  Try to be kind and forgiving of your fertile friends.  Think back to what you might be like if you weren't an IFer.   Educate them if you can. 

14. This doesn't mean you should let your fertile friends walk all over you.  Self protection is real and important.  

15. There is a spiritual side of this.  It's confusing as hell. 

16.  This journey will change you, D, and your relationship.   Remember that blessings can come from bad situations. 

17. Therapy is a wonderful luxury.  Use it. 

18.  Remember that there are things you like about being child free and savour them.  Sleeping in on weekends is amazing.    One day you will miss those things. 

What would you tell your newly diagnosed self?

Friday, 18 January 2013

My Little Space

I'm thankful for my tiny little corner in cyber space.  Today is my 50th post.  Writing is helping me process a back log of emotions.  Your comments help give me perspective and something nice to read in my inbox.  Thank you for the love.  <3.

I stayed in my funk all day yesterday, barely making it to my evening commitment.  I felt funny even going out because my eyes were puffy from the tears and my head was still very cloudy. 

Yesterday, D and I spent some time just sitting.  It took me a while to realize it, but I told him that I was feeling really lame.  Lame because I don't have anything more going on in my life.  Lame because I'm feeling lonely.   He told me that I'm not lame, I'm just broken from all of this, and there's a big difference.  This is something that is still resonating with me today, so I must have needed to hear it. God, I love this man. 

After yesterday, I'm realizing that where we are living is increasingly problematic for me.  I am craving having my little space in the world where I know I will be for a long time.  A place where I fix my house without thinking about resale.  A place where plan to be a part of the community around me.   D and I haven't had a recent discussion on this.  I'm not looking forward to it. 

In the back of my head I know I want to leave.  I'm also terrified wondering if it would be the right choice for us.  The indecision is frustrating.  On days that I want to leave, I don't feel like putting the energy into putting anymore roots down here.  Like I don't want to start something new. I know that some of that thinking comes from feeling depressed.   But part of it is real too.   

The guilt that I feel for even thinking about moving away from D's parents is stifling.   They've been good to us.  The exact reason why I would want to go, would be D's reason to want to stay.  It's a hard thing to balance. Moving feels like putting my needs above his.   I wonder if this is all just some weird IF side effect.  That if we had children right now if we would be so happily distracted that I wouldn't even think twice about it. 


I'm writing this to keep track of some of my favourite moments and phrases from other bloggers.

These are words that have stopped me in my tracks and made me think.   I want to remember them.

I hope to add to this list from time to time.

Perfection comes at a price of real authenticity ... this author is talking about blogging, slick vs. authentic... love it. 

Thursday, 17 January 2013


Kimberly from No Good Eggs nominated me for a Liebster.  What a nice way of connecting with other bloggers. :)
Here's what it is all about: 
This award is given to new or up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers…the award is then passed along to other bloggers in the same category to help spread the word and support one another.
If you receive the award, there are a few rules to follow…
1) Each blogger nominated must post 11 things about themselves
2) Then answer the 11 questions the tagger has asked
3)Blogger must then create 11 questions of their own to ask the bloggers they decide to nominate
4) They must choose 11 bloggers with less than 200 followers to nominate and link them on their blog post
5)Bloggers must be notified of their award!
6) No tag backs!

My responses….
1. If you were going to be on the cover of a magazine, what magazine would it be? I wish I could say it was for something academic or wonderfully philanthropic... but I would love to be on the cover of a home decorating magazine with a picture of my kids.    
2. What would be the headline? Living a balanced life.  However, a more realistic cover might be my crazy looking head on the cover of a Psychology magazine.  The title could be Infertility: Trying to make it through.
3. What is the best decision you almost didn’t make? Tagging along as a third-wheel with my best friend and her boyfriend to a party.  It's where I met my favourite man ever. 
4. What is the most dreamy date you have ever been on? Hubby surprised me with a trip to Chicago. It was a weekend long date.  An amazing downtown hotel, great food and lots of time for photography (my favourite!). 
5. What one quality can you just not stand in other people? People who brag about having money.  There's just no good reason for that.  It's beyond tacky no matter how you slice it. 
6. What is your favorite room in your home? My living room.  It has two oversized comfy couches and a fireplace.  It's a great place to curl up and read or snuggle with my hubby.  
7. What did you sleep with as a comfort item when you were little? I sucked my thumb well into elementary school.  
8. What is the best meal you have ever had?  That's very hard to say.  We like to eat out! What comes to mind is homemade italian dish in Carmel, CA.  
9. Pick one for the rest of your life: movies or TV shows?  TV shows all the way.  I usually only watch a movie once or twice. 
10. If you start a book and don’t like it, do you finish it or ditch it?  Ditch it.  There's way better things to do than waste time on a book that stinks. 
11. How did your parents choose your name?  From a TV show.  If I was a boy I was going to be named Luke. 

My questions to you... 
1.  What has been the most memorable thing you have blogged about?
2 . Do you share your blog with people you know in real life?
3.  Do you remember your dreams? If so, what was the last one you remember having?
4.   What is your favourite meal that you make at home?
5.  If money was no object, where would you travel to next?
6.  What is your best childhood memory?
7.  Do you/How did you know what you wanted to be when you grew up?  
8.  Favourite hot beverage?
9.  Favourite cold beverage?
10. Best gift that was ever given to you? 
11.  What do you like most about blogging?

Now the hard part.   I've mostly been randomly dropping on random blogs, getting to know everyone. Here's what I do have: 

  1. Aramis @  
  2. Roccie @
  3. Rochelle @
  4. Michaela @
  5. May @
  7. KHarini @
  8. Jen S @

A Hot Mess

That's what I've been the past day or so.  Yesterday I could feel something coming on, a mood that wouldn't lift.  It's been threatening to come for a few weeks now, but I kept trying to send it packing.

A few small things happened and, bam.  I'm crying at the dinner table again.  Preceded and followed by a hefty dose of the why-me's. 

I'm trying to process what this funk is all about, and I think I have a few reasons.  Some are new.  Some aren't. 

I'm sick of rehashing old crap.  Over and over again without any different resolution. It's exhausting. And unproductive.   Obviously it isn't resolved for me though or else I wouldn't have anything to rehash?

My new reasons ...

-  I spent an evening and morning watching my friend's kids last week while she and her husband went to an out of town funeral.  Her children are lovely and sweet.  They had problems sleeping and by morning they were both cuddled up with me in bed.  My friend warned me in advance that this is what they do with them.  The little boy spent the early morning curled up next to me.  I've watched them many times before, but this experience was a new one for me.  It made me realize so much more of what we are missing.  I could write a whole post on this, but I don't want to relive it any more right now.  

- My brother's girlfriend is due to have her baby any second.   This makes me excited to be an aunt for the first time.  However also tremendously sad.  Watching my family's excitement is like a thousand little papercuts. I know they mostly hide their excitement from us to protect us, and that hurts too.  F*ck,  I wish it was us. I wish it was our turn.

- The reality that we will likely not be able to transfer any embryos (if we make any normals) until June is a real piss off.   This wasn't supposed to take this long.   This means I bought the stupid bridesmaid dress way too big.  If this doesn't work, we will have invested way more time than I ever thought we would in this.   Days are dragging on for years and whooshing by all at the same time.

- There have been a rash of Facebook baby announcements.  Why do I look at that thing?

- I have no projects and limited activities on the go.  In the past, I was working on a degree, on home reno projects, on various things.  I've graduated and the home reno budget is drying up.

- I'm really missing my friends and feeling lonely these days.  Oh, wait.  That's not new.

- I'm feeling very disconnected spiritually.  As in, I like the church, and still want to go but something is missing.

My old reasons...

- I'm tired of complaining to D.   I hate bringing him down.  He just wants me to be happy and I just can't.

- I'm sick just thinking of the money we are about to spend on these upcoming procedures.  If this doesn't work and it all is flushed down the toilet...

- Side note: D says I have a guilt-problem.  He says that I feel guilty for too much stuff and I should just let it go.  We've been dealt a bad hand with this IF and we shouldn't feel bad about spending the money or not being as productive as we would like.   I asked him, "aren't we supposed to rise up when faced with adversity?" he said, "that's something that mostly just happens in books".  Hmm.  Not so sure about that.  Something in the middle sounds good.

- I don't think I want to live where I do anymore.  I feel disconnected to the town we live in.  I want to live closer to my family.  I don't want to leave my best friend, and I feel guilty (there it is again) about separating D from his parents.  Some days I would leave in a second.  I day dream about moving away, living in a community that I feel connected to, in a home that we built.  With kids in our house... Before we were married I told him that I didn't know if I could live here forever.  That was nine years ago.  He said he would move and still does.  However his employment situation and future plans may not lend itself to that very well.  During really confusing days (like today) I wonder if the grass isn't really any greener over there anyways.

- I need to find some purpose with my life.  This could mean going back to work but I have no idea what I would do.  

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

A Plan, Stan

I'm happy that our IVF calendar has started.  Yeah for progress!!!

I'm on cycle day 5 right now.  The plan is that I'm going to continue to take DHEA, CoQ10 and estrogen until cycle day 16, at which time I'll add in Endometrin.  On my next cycle, I will start my stim meds.  I'm glad things are progressing!

We have also made tentative plans to go to CCRM for the laparoscopy (and possible tubal ligation) in April.  I was really hoping that it was going to be in March.  However, Dr. Schoolie says that they can't do it right after stimming because my ovaries will be too enlarged.

I thought about having the surgery this month, however I don't want to waste the time I've spent taking DHEA and CoQ10.  A couple doctors have told me that the effectiveness of DHEA is when it is taken for 2-3 months, but not longer.  My naturopath cautioned not to take it for too long.  And, I don't want to piss off my body with a surgery right before I try to make some eggs.

Apparently, 2-4 weeks after the laparoscopy I can do a FET.  I've asked them for clarification on this, I mean which is it? And how do they know? It will mean the difference of one cycle.

Typing this makes me realize that this may not be the step to rush through.  I want  my body to heal and for the best possible circumstances.  If this means patiently waiting for my body to heal for a few more weeks then so be it.

It's disturbing to me that we likely won't be doing a FET until JUNE!?!  Another six months slipping away ?!?! Gah.

In March we will have our CCS report back.  If it isn't good then I will spend the time finalizing an egg donor.  I guess I better start looking into that more soon.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Uggggh... FB

This stupid article is hanging around my Facebook feed like a bad breakout.  Kind of like what I'm getting from the DHEA supplements.  It keeps popping up, rearing its ugly head.  :(  Thankfully none of my close friends have had the urge to share this.

I don't enjoy either writer's approach to this column.  It lacks understanding and compassion on both sides of things.  However, it still strikes a chord with me - I miss my friends dearly.  I miss being able to call them just to chat.  I miss hanging out with them.  I miss not having to plan something weeks (or months) in advance just so a babysitter can be arranged.  I miss time with them free from their child's interruptions.

I don't call a lot of them anymore because I know I would be interrupting nap time, lunch time, bed time or the five minutes they got that day to themselves.  There never seems to be a good time to stay in touch.  I often wait for them to reach out to me instead.

I can appreciate that being a parent must be exhausting, and overwhelming.  I get that it's the most important job they are doing.  I really do.  That's why I cut my friends some slack.  I don't blame them.  I know they are doing the best they can, balancing parenting with the needs of  their spouses, other friends, and work.

I guess this article bugs me so much because it's a reminder of all of the friends that I've lost to parenthood.   Most of the special ones I still keep in touch with, but it's no where near the same.

If I wrote a letter to an advice columnist (and it wouldn't be this one) it might go like this:

Dear Advice Giver,

My long time friends all have children.  I do not, because I have infertility.

My problem is that I really miss my friends.  They have been very busy having children for several years now (most of them are in their early thirties).    I'm not getting used to it, I'm just getting more lonely.

I've joined classes and met new child-free friends.  But that doesn't take away the hurt of missing my old friends.

I appreciate that they have a lot of other more important demands on their time.   I wish I could participate with them on a lot of the things they do with their kids, but it's just too painful for me.  It reminds me of everything I am missing all in one moment.  I miss not having a child myself.  I miss them, and being able to relate with them about what is going on in each other's lives.


- Lost and lonely in IF

Saturday, 12 January 2013


I was a bit distracted this week from exercising because I babysat my friend's children so she could attend a funeral.

I've told myself that the bare minimum number of times that I should go is three times per week.  After all, I've paid for it, it's good for me and maybe it will help get more blood flow around my uterus.  I should go.   I only went twice this week.  Uggggh.

There are two Saturday morning classes.  I woke up early enough to attend the first class at 9:00 a.m. D and  I like to sleep in on Saturdays because it's our only day to do so.  I figure it's one of the few bonuses associated with infertility, so I embrace it guilt free.  I love waking up without an alarm.

I got up, and leisurely made our smoothies, and brought D his in bed.

I decided I was cold.  So I told myself I would just get in the warm bed for a few minutes. We cuddled, and I decided that I really didn't want to go to the class.  I'll go to the next one at 10:00 a.m., I told myself.   That way, I'll have time for my breakfast to digest.  And besides, I'd rather try the cardio class than do the kickboxing one that was offered earlier.

Several wonderful minutes of procrastination later, I thought about actually getting ready to leave for the class. Brush my teeth, do something with my mop, put on my work out clothes, get my water and leave.

Instead, I laid around some more, and convinced myself that I really didn't need to go.  I didn't want to go, so why should I?  I got my period yesterday and I don't feel the best.  Maybe I should stay home.   We could go for a walk later instead.  Maybe I'll stay home.  I'll finish putting away those last Christmas decorations instead.  Maybe I should stay home.   There's that cabinet I've been thinking of refinishing for the past year.  Maybe I should stay home.

D tried to say some encouraging words, however I rejected them completely.

The clock raced by.  Eventually, it got to the point where if I rushed to get ready, I might still make it on time.

Still, I sat there and debated.  And then I decided to give up.   Who cares, I'll try harder next week.  Exercise-smexercise.  I'm staying home.

Then, I thought about how I would feel mad and annoyed at myself all day for not going.  Unfortunately, after years of not exercising, it's a feeling that I am all too familiar with.

I thought about how much I hate push ups.  And burpees.  And how the floor there doesn't get mopped there as much as it needs to be.

I realized that the self-hate that I would get from not attending would be worse than going.  So, I decided to go. And now, I was definitely going to be late.  Great.

I rushed around and jumped in the car.

I ran in quickly, and arrived just in time to watch the end of the warm up stretches.   What is wrong with me I wonder? I woke up over two hours ago.

Then I looked down at my things and realized I left my water bottle in the car.  I didn't go get it, and decided that it was my punishment for not getting my act together sooner.

I finished the class.  Instead of feeling happy about attending, I feel annoyed at myself.

I need to get a better handle on this.

Friday, 11 January 2013

My IF Breakfast

I've been trying to make a number of lifestyle changes to give this IVF our very best shot.  Mostly this means exercising, removing caffeine, being religious about taking my vitamins and eating balanced meals.

I have amped up my morning smoothie, with the super foods.  I now think it's very close to creamy frozen perfection.

I mix it up a lot of days to keep from getting bored and to provide variety the nutrients that I'm getting.  But the basic recipe goes like this:

(This makes enough for 2 smoothies)

1 banana

1 1/4 cups of frozen berries (raspberries and blueberries are my favourite).  Sometimes I use frozen pineapple or other fruit. 

A big handful of frozen kale  or a frozen "puck" of spinach. (I freeze this myself, it's really easy to do.  Just rinse, dry and freeze a large plastic container.  It will break apart easily after it's frozen.)

A few big scoops of 0% fat vanilla greek yogurt.  (3/4 of a cup has 13g of protein!)

Add enough low sugar veggie-fruit juice to make the blender go around and voila! 

I find the ice-chopping mode on my blender to be the best one to use.

I find the kale and spinach disappear in the smoothie.  The kale doesn't add any flavour that I can pick out.  The spinach adds a slightly minty taste, and I like it.

I don't add a protein powder because after a bunch of research, I am somewhat leery of them.  D is pretty much an expert on them because he was a gym rat for a lot of years.  That's a whole other story.

What are your IF-champion meals?

Thursday, 10 January 2013


I only talk about fertility stuff with my closest friends and family.  Oh, and sometimes with my hairdresser and dental hygienist. :) The hygienist had twins via egg donor and talking about it makes my appointments go by in the blink of an eye!

In the last month or so,  I've been updating people on our plans with Dr. Schoolie in Colorado.  However, I've been doing something different lately.  I'm telling them, "We don't have many tries left at this.  We are nearing the end of this road.  If this doesn't work, we are moving on to something else.  This might be it".  I leave out the part about what the something else is.  But we are thinking it is going to be egg donation, or traditional adoption.

I'm telling people this because I feel like people think we are crazy for pursing more treatment.  This is our 4th RE, and 5th year at all of this.  And more importantly, because I'm really scared of the emotional fall out from this one.   Seven procedures in,  I now know all too well what the day after a failed procedure (or worse, miscarriage) looks like.  The trend doesn't seem to be my friend.  Our grief is increasing with every cycle.  This is how I know we are nearing the end in all of this.   I can't see us being able to handle much more than we already have.

I think they need to know we are all-in.  That we are approaching new levels with all of this IF stuff.  We aren't wading knee deep in all of this anymore.  We are up to our necks.  Holy shit, this is it.

I've never been good at receiving support from people other than D, and through my online friends.   I hate to blame my parents, but I truly think I was raised not knowing how.   My parents showed zero affection and support to each other and surprise, surprise, ended up divorced.

I never cry in front of other people. It usually takes a lot for me to even cry in front of D.  My sob-fests tend to sneak up on me while driving my car (not the safest, I know) or when I'm home alone.

I find discussing all of our IF stuff to be difficult.  I can tell the facts about what is happening, but I rarely go into how I feel.  People don't ask, and I don't want to be a downer.

I think this is unhealthy.  A therapist once pointed out to me that I don't need to protect them.  And that I don't need to put on a strong front all of the time.    I know she is right.  I've had more than one friend tell me I'm "so strong" in how I deal with all of this IF.   I'm done with this approach.  While I don't want to be a blubbering puddle all of the time,  I want to be able to do it sometimes.   I guess I'm getting to the point where I need to do it.

I don't know how this works.  How do you get and accept support?

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Sister Risk

Australia's Three Sisters

Point one: I have two sisters.  One is 28, the other one (whom I wrote about in my last post) is 31.

Point two:  My first FSH test was at age 28, and it was a detestable 24.

Point three:  Doctors have told me that there is a 1/3 chance that my sisters will have this life sucking hog that is known as diminished ovarian reserve.

Point four: I shared points two and three with them with them several years ago.

Point five: My mother had five children before she was 31.  A few of us were conceived due to the failure of various birth control methods.   My mother confided in me that she was on the pill for the first two months of her pregnancy with me.  She didn't know she was pregnant.   She questions whether the hormones affected my reproductive development.  I  hope this is actually what happened, because it means that my sisters would not share the risk of premature ovarian failure.

Point six:  My mother went on to experience full menopause at relatively early, at age 47.  I have read there is a link to mother's menopause and her daughter's infertility.  It was one of the questions on the CCRM intake package.

Point seven: My sisters menstrual cycles are eerily familiar to my own.  They are irregular with several days of spotting before and after their period.

Point eight:  I'm pretty sure I that their biological clocks tick louder in my ears than theirs.

This is very annoying for me on many levels.   First, I'm annoyed that I am butting my nose into their business.  Second, I'm annoyed that my 28 year old sister doesn't seem to be worried about it.  I completely understand why my 31 year old sister is not looking to start a family.  She's still getting her life back in order after her stroke.

My youngest sister has lived with her boyfriend for three years.  They both have stable jobs and know that they "one day" want to have kids.   I don't ask her questions about when she is going to have babies or get married.   I know better than that.  I know how that insensitivity feels first hand.

At Christmas however, she brought up the topic!  I ferociously bit my tongue and tried my best not to cut her off and blurt out a bunch of loud shrieks and grunts that would somewhat resemble "FSH-AMH-TICK-TOCK-IVF-POAS-AHHHH!! MUST MAKE BABIES NOW!!".

She told me that they have things to work on in their relationship before they make the commitment of marriage and kids.  I totally get that.  It's the responsible, level headed thing to do.

This sister does everything in her own time.  She never rushes through much.  Things that would stress out other people don't stress her out.  Her job is dealing with other people's stressful life situations.   She has been known to come into town to visit our family from hours away and not make arrangements about whose house she is staying at.  Things just roll off her back.  It's one of her best qualities.  But it's also kind of annoying.

I don't think though that she understands how devastating our diagnosis of IF has been.  I don't think she has a clue about how much things can cost.  I think maybe I have bit my tongue too much - I don't think she understands the risk.  Emotionally, financially.  How could she?  She hasn't lived it and she only knows the high-level details of our treatments.  If she really knew what IF was like, she'd run from it as fast as she can.

I feel frustrated with myself.  I don't want her clock ticking in my ear too.  I have enough fertility problems to worry about, I don't need to invent(?) some for her too.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

What Does God Have To Do With This IF Hell? Pt 2

One day, my Pastor said something that caught my attention.   During his message he referenced the book When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Harold Kushner.   Kushner was a rabbi who had a child with a long-term terminal disease.  He knows grief, pain and suffering well from his personal and professional life.  The pastor had mentioned this book before, but the title turned me off.  I thought it sounded kind of presumptuous.

I decided to read it anyways.  There are not many books that I can say have changed my life.   This one did.

It validated my grief in a way that I had never allowed myself to experience  before.   It pointed out many of the hurtful things people had said to me in an effort to comfort me, some of which I had in turn said to myself.  I made a private vow to erase the phrase "everything happens for a reason" from my vocabulary.   It showed me the hollowness in these words.

(Warning, semi-spoiler alert... ) 

The book goes through principles that many people who believe in God would like to believe.

1.  God is all-powerful and causes everything that happens in the world.  
Nothing happens without His willing it. 
2.  God is just and fair, and stands for people getting what they deserve, 
so that the good prosper and the wicked are punished.  

Based on the author's explanation, he suggests that these two things can not exist together.   He argues that there is randomness in the universe, and that it is the cause of the bad things that happen to people.  He says that some people would rather convince themselves that God is cruel, or that they are sinners rather than accept randomness.

Reading this book freed me.  It allowed me to find middle ground.   It took the pressure off.  It allowed me to throw away the "everything" shoe for good.   God didn't push reset on my sister's life.   He didn't deal her that hand.  He didn't deal us this infertility.  We didn't do anything to deserve it.

This book has been marinating on my heart now for several months.  And it's kind of funny.  I'm yet again back to pondering the same question "Where's God in all of this?", but now in a much different way.  I've taken Him out of the beginning and the end of the equation.  He didn't do this to us, and He can't fix it either.  Instead, I'm trying to see how He can help get me through.

I'm certainly not there yet.  I struggle to pray and find myself wondering what there is to pray for if God can't change this anyways?   Kushner offers a chapter on what God can do? and what good is religion?    He offers partial answers to me, the explanations are not nearly as concise and coherently written as the first part of the book.

What I am left with however, is his thought that we can "turn to God, not to be judged or forgiven, not to be rewarded or punished, but to be strengthened and comforted."  My pastor says that God is the great recycler.  He can work in situations in your life that he didn't create.


Other snippets from the book: 

- "I would find it easier to believe that I experience tragedy and suffering in order to "repair" that which is faulty in my personality if there were some clear connection between the fault and the punishment.  A parent who disciplines a child for doing something wrong, but never tells them what he is being punished for is hardly a model of responsible parenthood". 

- "Can we accept the interpretation of tragedy as a test?...If God is testing us, he must know by know that many of us fail the test.  If He is only giving us the burdens we can bear, I have seen him miscalculate far too often."

-"We fasten our hopes on the idea that life in this world is not the only reality.  Somewhere beyond this life is another world where "the last shall be first".  

-"Blaming the victim is a way of reassuring ourselves that the world is not as bad a place as it may seem, and that there are good reasons for people's suffering.  It helps fortunate people believe that their good fortune is deserved, rather than being a matter of luck". 

- "If we are not free to choose evil, then we are not free to choose good either"

- "The God I believe in does not send us the problem; he gives us the strength to cope with the problem. 


Monday, 7 January 2013

What Does God Have to Do With This IF Hell? Pt 1

There's a "God" question keeps haunting me. A pesky, annoying little thought that circles my brain in my quietest moments.  Kind of like a song that gets stuck in your head, but it's been hanging around for a years now in a few different variations.

A lot of times it shows up as "Why me?" or on my more hormonal days "What the F*$%, universe?", one way or another though, it somehow boils down to "What does God have to do with this IF hell we are experiencing?"

Thinking about this is kind of tiresome.  And sometimes boring. I wish I could just forget it and move on with things.    The easy answers in my mind are "everything" or "nothing".   And, for the biggest portion of my life, I tried on the "nothing" shoe.   I wore it around, trying to live a good and productive life, but it never quite fit me right.

Four years ago,  I was granted a year long leave of absence from my career.  One of the things I wanted to do was to with my time, was to try on the other shoe.  I wanted to learn a little more about religion and spirituality, if nothing more than as a neat social experiment where I got to understand some of my fellow humans a bit better.   I felt like this "God thing" is a big deal, possibly having implications beyond this life.  I wanted to figure out what I believed, one way or another.   A big part of me wanted to read a few things, decide it was all bunk and continue  on living my life, happily wearing my "nothing" shoe.

My plan was to visit different churches and if they were interesting, research their over-arching values.  I didn't want to find something that felt like a fit, only to find that I couldn't stomach their values on a particular topic.  This is what happened to me in my childhood and adolescence.

The first church we went to I surprisingly liked.  It was vastly different than any other church experience that I had ever had.  First, there were people that didn't have just white or grey hair.  It was uplifting, thoughtful, had good music and dare I say... almost fun.    We started getting to know people, and their values.    I would describe the congregation and leadership as current, grounded and open minded.  We really liked it and decided to stay a while.

Early on in our experiences with the church and becoming more spiritual in general, some major things happened.  On the day that we were scheduled to have our first IVF, my sister had a massive stroke.  I just started to feel a bit of peace with some of my "God stuff".  The stroke and a few other oddly coincidental occurrences in my life, started to feel almost .... planned.   I had just left my professional career that I once devoted most of my life to (where I was a borderline workaholic), and boom, 6 months later, I was thrust into caring for my sister full time.

I started putting the "everything" shoe on more and more and toying with the idea that everything happens for a reason.  Admittedly, it wasn't a perfect fit.  I couldn't wrap my brain around to factor in free will, something mentioned in the bible quite a few times from what I've learned.  I tried to talk myself through God handing out punishments, like a parent does for a child.  In a loving, purposeful way.

I didn't share it, but I found comfort in these thoughts for quite some time.  I felt like maybe the reason why we had experienced IF was because I was meant to care for my sister?  There was no one else in our family that was able to devote themselves to her recovery in the way that I was.  Her care was in a large city and was several hours from where everyone lived.   Everyone else had work and other conflicting commitments, except for me.

Maybe her life was headed down some terrible path that was completely unforeseeable?  Maybe this stroke was a way of God pushing "reset" on her life (and mine?)

Caring for her gave me a sense of purpose like I had not experienced before.  Our mother had a hard time dealing with her recent divorce from our Dad and she wasn't able to be there for us emotionally.   And so, for a couple of years my relationship with my sister morphed into to more of a parent-child relationship.   I secretly wondered if this new found sense of purpose was a little bit of how parenting might feel?

Her stroke was one of the most challenging things I have ever been through.  It stands there along side the long lasting grief surrounding our infertility and miscarriages.    Immediately after her stroke she had no mobility in her arm and reduced mobility in her leg.  She lost one quarter of her vision and had had cognitive impairments that she was unable to recognize.  Watching therapists delicately point them out to her was gut wrenching.   The depression that she experienced before the stroke penetrated much deeper, and got to frightening levels.

It still chokes me up to think about the "hand she was dealt" and it's been three and a half years.  I watched as almost every part of her life was stripped away; her independence as her livelihood and driver's license was revoked, her appearance (including having half of her skull temporarily removed to stop life threatening swelling in her brain), having a lifeless arm hanging off of her body.  Her social life mostly disappeared  as as her "friends" quietly faded away and her extra curricular activities turned into time spent in therapy.   In her once budding career as a teacher, she now would face huge challenges to perform tasks that were once ordinary for her.

I watched her fight tooth and nail.  At the beginning, by staring at her fingers for hours.  Her therapists suggested using visualization techniques to assist her brain to build a detour around the dead spot in her brain.  Weeks into her recovery, her thumb twitched for the first time.    Every.single.part of her recovery seemed to be equally hard won.   Watching her do it was one of the most difficult things (I hope) I'll ever witness, but also one of the most amazing.

The doctors say that she won a good lottery and a bad one.  Bad that this awful thing happened to her, and there was no cure, because that they could find the cause.  It was just a "random event" they said.  Good in that she was able to recover better than any of her doctors would have predicted.    Today she has her drivers licence, can move her arm and hand with almost a full range of motion.  She has been supply teaching, and has a new supportive and wonderful boyfriend.

Thinking that this happened for a reason helped me to help her.  It helped me patient with her, and support her when I thought I had nothing left to give.

The crisis faded, and we both moved back into our own realities.   We resumed our fertility treatments after a year long hiatus.  Two subsequent miscarriages on top of the grief we had already experienced rocked us.   I began thinking of things like why little babies, who could have not possibly done anything wrong could be born into horrible circumstances.  What could that baby have possibly done wrong?  What kind of God would do that?   Not a God that I wanted anything to do with.  My "everything" shoe began to come loose.


(I never intended this post to be so long... or about this... It's funny how for me blogging has a way of lifting something off my heart that I didn't know was sitting so close to the surface.  I've run out of time today.  To be continued...

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Got my calendar

CCRM calls your schedule of medicines and procedures your calendar.  Dr. Schoolie answered our request for this from his vacation and I got mine the other day.   The nurse took some time to explain to me various components.  I told her that in our last consult, the doctor had previously told us that I would be on the most aggressive protocol that they have.  She agreed and said he was "throwing the book at me".

Hearing this freaks me right the f**k out.  I don't think anyone ever wants to hear that they are on the most aggressive treatment.  That means there's nothing left.  It's another reminder that we're all-in.  I mean don't get me wrong, cognitively this is absolutely no surprise to us.   We've been to 4 RE's, and none of them have been very positive about our chances of bringing home a real live baby.  The only thing that has kept us in the game is has been my age.  I'm 33.   

I take the nurse's comments as a warning.  My body is going to be taxed more than it ever has been before in this IF journey.  I'm scared.  I've been abusing it without much regard for the past year and a half.

Under my bathroom sink I have six filled sharps containers to prove it. There is another super-sized model in the closest, that is also half full.   For whatever reason, I can't bring myself to throw them out.  It's like a little fertility grave yard under my sink.  Each needle represents some weird badge of pain from our IF war.

My naturopathic doctor told me that my kidneys were likely very stressed from all of the drugs I have been taking.  She said in Eastern medicine it is believed that when you are pregnant you give half of your energy to the baby.  She said that this was the case even for a miscarriage.  The fact that I had two in 2012 she said would have really depleted my energy levels.   That moment that she said that made my eyes water.  It was validating in a way that I never thought of before.   A reminder of the pain that I still carry from losing those three tiny babies.

I told her also about the heavy doses of antibiotics for infections for possible (and likely non-existent) infections, steroids supplements and injectable blood thinners.   My body has been kind to tolerate all of them with only mild discomfort.   I secretly just hope it's not storing up the toxins to feed some super disease for down the road. 

In some ways I feel like I know in a small way what it would be like to be addicted to drugs.   I am kind of am right now.  It's just that my substances of choice are Follistim,  Menopur, estrogen and progesterone.   I'm using a substance to attempt to solve and hide an emotional problem.  I wish I could think of it more as taking medicine to cure my disease, but I'm not there. 

Dr. Schoolie, my IF pimp said it was "reasonable" to give this one or two more tries if we had the financial and emotional strength to do one or two more cycles.   Now that things are getting started, I'm realizing that I might have exaggerated when I said we said we did.  

2nd Consult and a guilty conscience

Over the Christmas break we had a consult with Dr. Schoolie.  I was very nervous about it, because it was initiated by the doctor.  I found this to be unsettling considering we had been happily corresponding through the nurses, and I thought everything we had discussed was resolved.

The key issue we were debating was whether or not to a) pursue the laproscopy and tubal ligation b) if it could be done in the country in which I live (because we have socialized medicine) and c) if the opinions of the doctors would be similar enough and therefore yield the same result.

I was worried that there was a new issue that the doctor had found.  Something so bad that the nurse didn't feel comfortable telling me herself.   Thankfully, this wasn't the case.  He just wanted to regroup.  I guess we had asked so many questions that he wanted to speak to us directly.  D thinks he was just tired of the back and forth.

I'm slightly peeved about this because it's not cheap to talk to the doctor each time.  And we felt we had all of our questions answered.  Not to mention the emotional stress of thinking that he had something life altering to tell us.

We didn't waste the opportunity to speak with him though.  We were able to add clarity to the surgical choice we had made to have the procedure.   We also decided where we would have the procedure.  

The doctor we chose at home did not seem overly familiar with requesting the surgery based on the testing we had in our ODWU.   It's kind of ironic now that he was asking us at the time if we trusted him.  Because now I don't really, and that is what this decision has come down to.  We're deep in expenses on this cycle however,  D doesn't think this is the place to try to save money.  There's too much at stake. The tubal ligation will basically depend on a judgement call from the doctor.  I really don't want it if I don't need it.  And the laproscopy could yield important information, that I would rather be viewed by my treating physician.   And a the big one he pointed out, that if things didn't work out and we didn't go with Dr. Schoolie, that we might wonder what-if, effectively ruining our regret management strategy.

It's $4,000 just for the surgery, not including travel.  Boy, I could spend that money in much more fun places.  A trip somewhere warm, a bathroom renovation.  Or, what would be more likely, keep it in the bank for more fertility stuff down the road.

Thinking about the costs of IF treatments have always been uncomfortable.  But now it is really stressing me out. We've slowly flushed the cost of a few vehicles down the drain, and we're about to flush one more.  Instead of flushing used cars we've moved on to flushing the cost of a new SUV.  It's gagging.  Especially as my current vehicle is starting to show it's age with new rattles and noises.

I feel bummed and guilty even complaining about this.  On I've heartbreakingly read about people who can't afford any medical treatment, or much less have the IF testing.  I'm grateful that we are able pursue treatment but it still doesn't take the sting away from paying the bills.  And the absolutely disgusting feeling of knowing the money we are about to flush would provide food to a small orphanage for months.

There's so much guilt tied up in this whole process for me...  Guilt for punishing my body with all of the meds.  Guilt for dragging our families through this.  Guilt for dragging D through this when he was ready to move to adoption a year ago.  Guilt for spending so much money on this.  Guilt for still pursuing a genetic link.  Guilt for wasting so many otherwise good moments on IF.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Pleasant Blur

The last week and a half is what I would describe as a pleasant blur.   Celebrations for us consisted of Christmas with D's family at our house and then theirs, at my Mom's, at my Dads, with my Dad's side, my Dad's girlfriend's birthday, a consult with Dr. Schoolie, my sister's birthday party that I organized, then a New Year's party at our place that ended at noon the next day.  Phew!  It was great, and I'm very grateful for it, but it's also great to be back to reality.

I'm alone in my house with my cat and this computer, sore muscles from my exercise class this morning and (a cheat) decaf coffee.  All I can hear is my washing machine.  It's nothing short of amazing.  And nothing on the schedule for the next foreseeable future.  Ahhh.

Well I guess that's not entirely true.  We'll be travelling in a few weeks to see my brother's baby after it is born.   He will be my first nephew.  I'm excited to meet him.  And nervous at the same time.   I hope I don't get a huge baby hangover from it.  I think I'll need to start putting on my armour for it now.

Oh! And I will be getting our calendar soon from CCRM.

Right now though, I'm looking forward to catching up on all of "my" blogs.