Monday, 31 March 2014

Suggestions please... reading blogs

I was wondering if any of you have a suggestion for me.  How do you easily keep track of the blogs that you read?

Currently, I'm using the Blogger Dashboard Reading List to notify me of new posts.  But I want something better.  The Blogger app doesn't play well with my iPhone and I have some other frustrations with the Reading List.

What do you use?

Thursday, 27 March 2014

6 weeks 3 days

Today is 6 weeks and 3 days.

My symptoms are:

  • Extreme tiredness/laziness.  As in, I massively don't care if I get anything done, and I would have two naps a day if I could. 
  • Slightly rounder, heavier feeling and slightly tender boobs.  
  • The twinges/cramps in my uterus stopped a week or so ago.  They freaked me out when they were here, now they are freaking me out that they are not. 
  • I have a very specific opinion about what I want to eat, and what I do not.  My appetite is down and I am craving bland, unhealthy carbs like saltine crackers, white bread and junk food.  I'm feeling guilty about not scarfing down heaps of dark green veggies and other healthy foods right now.

Our ultrasound is scheduled for April the 3rd with Dr. Highrisk.  CCRM says they don't need my progesterone & estrogen levels checked again until that day (gasp!).   Hubby and I decided not to go to our satellite clinic for an earlier appointment (it would have been March 31st at the earliest because of D's travel).  We've decided that we don't want to know the bad news (if there is some) any sooner.

I keep reminding myself that the doctor said that with donor egg there was only a 5% miscarriage rate.  Even with my history of miscarriages, they are still sticking with this number because of the supposedly poor embryo quality we transferred in the past.   Deep down though,  I feel like this number is too low.  I mean, don't get me wrong.  Who wouldn't want to hear 5%?!! It's fantastic! But in my messed up head, that number feels like it should be 40-50%.  At least.

I'd like to sit back and relax.  But I can't.  Anxiety's my middle name these days.   I am driving myself nuts.

Do any of you have tips on how to chill out my overactive infertile brain?

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Decision on the sister problem

Thank you for your comments.  I've listened to Hubs,  a couple friends, and your comments and I've decided not to say anything to my sister.

If the conversation comes up, the only thing I'm allowing myself is to discuss the possibility of becoming one type of nurse over another.  The kind that requires less training and involves less risk in the job.  Basically, I'm hoping that maybe being that type of nurse could maybe work out?  I still am afraid for her, but I have to trust that this will all work out.  I don't really see another alternative.  

I don't have the kind of relationship with her that I could bring anything up else in a good way.  Really, I don't think anyone else in her life could either.  It would hurt her.  I'm hoping that along the way, she may discover a perhaps slightly different, but still meaningful path.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Sister's choice

Do you have someone in your life that you worry about a little too much?  That you want to grab by the shoulders and steer them in one direction when they are going in another?

That person in my life is my sister.

Last night she updated me on some major life changes.

The first thing was that she and her boyfriend of 2.5 years (whom she lives with) are breaking up.

She says they don't love each other anymore.   She's struggled with thinking this few times in the past.  She's always fallen for  bad boys, who don't treat her well, and this one didn't fit that mould.  It took her time to get used to all of his kind actions and thoughtfulness, so she stuck it out.

Sadly though, she says it's just not going to work.  I really liked him, and them together, but I believe her, and I support her.

What stuck me as odd, was when she told me, her affect was completely flat.  She said she's been down this road before.  That's she's disappointed, but that's it.   They are still going to live together for the foreseeable further.  That she's going to move into the spare bedroom, and because they work opposite shifts, they think they can live together and maintain their friendship.   She says things are friendly between them.  That neither of them can afford to move anywhere else for the time being.

She also told me that she was finally giving up on her career as a teacher.  She's been thinking of leaving teaching for a long time.  She's been trying for 10 years to get into a full time position without success, and is burnt out.  In the area we live, it is not uncommon for teachers to do years of supply work and/or short-term/long-term placements before finding their permanent spot.  There is an a saturation of teachers in the market,  and unfortunately, not much demand for them.

For her, this journey has been especially long, because in the middle of it, she had a massive stroke and spent three (+) years rehabilitating.

She told me that she's met with a college guidance counsellor and wants to go back to school for nursing instead.   She says she considered this as a career path out of high school, but chose teaching instead.  She likes the money prospects, and that there is demand for the job.  She says the job is a job, and that there are probably parts of every job that suck.   She knows it will be stressful, but so was teaching.

I am supportive of her leaving the teaching profession because she's lost her passion for it.   The prospects are not strong for her to get employment anytime soon.  She only wants to do the job the way she always did it (pre-stroke) and does not make accommodations to how she works to compensate for some of the disabilities she has because of her stroke.  She insisted on going back to teaching very soon after her stroke, and got in over her head,  leading to some difficulties.  I think her reputation in teaching has been tarnished because of this.

I am very supportive of her choice to change careers and I truly admire her tenacity.  Life has not handed her an easy path.   Doctors never thought she would use her arm again after her stroke, or probably drive a car, or do many of the things that she has accomplished.  She has defied them all.  She is one of the most determined people I've ever met.

I think a fresh start will be good for her.  I want her to have a work environment where her many gifts can shine.  Where she can be successful, and can earn a stable living.   She is one of the most caring and giving people that I have ever met.  She would truly give you the shirt off her back, even if she didn't have another one for herself.  She has a way of putting people at ease.  She has a great sense of humour and is really good at reading people.  Her stroke has given her insights into living with disabilities, and recovering from them.

However, I am very worried about her choosing nursing.  I feel mean saying this, but I honestly know that she would majorly struggle as a nurse.  I am scared that she could really hurt someone accidentally.

Her stroke affected a major part of her frontal lobe.  It has left her with impairments to her working memory and multitasking is very difficult for her.   Her visual processing is delayed.  She needs more sleep and regular sleep than the average person because of her brain injury.   She doesn't pay attention to details. Most people do not know about the impairments she has from her stroke.  They are not things that people would notice right away.

It worries me immensely to think about her going down this path.

Last night my MIL called, and we told her about all that had happened with my sister.  She said that we just have to support her.  That hopefully the education system will weed her out and she will not be successful.   Deep down, I know we should support her.  Which is why I didn't say anything negative to her, but just asked questions when she told me her news.   But I can't bring myself to be excited for her about this change - it feels like lying.

Watching her spend her life savings on another education, and face another failure gives me gut rot.   Seeing her in a nursing position would give me even more.  (Unless, maybe she was able to get a position in a public health setting or something of the sort.   Maybe that could work out, but as I've heard from my cousin in the field, those jobs are very hard to come by.  And... knowing my sister, she would go for the job with the highest pay, and not the one that necessarily matched her skills).

As we ended our phone call, she told me, "I just want to go back to school and do this the hard way.  I want to prove to everyone that I'm still the same person.  That I can do this".

It all breaks my heart.

What do you think I should do? Be supportive and shut up? Or find another way?

PS) In the past when she was discussing nursing as a profession, I shared some of what my nursing friends shared with me as the downfalls.   We've also discussed other professional options.  She just doesn't seem interested in them.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Support for bloggy friends

There are two people especially on my mind tonight.

My heart is just breaking for Good Egg Hatched.  If you don't already follow her, please drop by her blog and offer her some support.  She's just lost her baby after a long fight with infertility, at 18 weeks.

I'm also thinking of Suzanne at Our Journey To A Baby Bump as she tries to figure out what her next steps will be, and if that includes a gestational carrier after a disappointing mock cycle.

F*** you, infertility.

Friday, 21 March 2014


4573 was today's beta, drawn at 9:00am.

My last beta, drawn two days ago at 11:00am was 2915.

The doubling rate is 71 hours.  Here's what the count down to pregnancy calculator says (Thanks Just T for the calculator).

Between 1200 to 6000 mIU/ml72-96 hours
1-2 Months5,000 - 200,000 mIU/ml

So, it's good news (I'm ignoring that 5000 thing)! 

I think that it's only this doctor's preference to see his patients when their HCG is above 5000. I don't think that it is a standard for care, just how his office operates.  

Even though I didn't meet his standard, Dr. Highrisk booked me to see him for an ultrasound on April 3rd.  It's a week after CCRM suggests that I can to go (March 27th).  D's away for a business trip on the 26th to 28th and then it's the weekend so I wouldn't be able to have an ultrasound until March 31st.  

So, I very well may make a trip to my satellite clinic and get it done on the 31st.  While I'm trying to wean myself off of my satellite clinic and get things done closer to home, I'm not sure if I'll be able to do it.  We'll see how my mental health is by then.   

Although I do like the idea of the results of the ultrasound being more concrete by waiting later.  None of that wait and see if something develops in those empty sacs, like we did with the twins, by having a really early ultrasound.  

My aunt (the one with the great reaction) and cousin are coming to visit this weekend.  It was a last minute adventure.  I'm glad they are coming.  It will be a nice distraction and nice to catch up with them. 

Have a good weekend. 

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Doctor hunting

CCRM asked for me to find an OB, and have my first ultrasound with them after March 27th.

Some people, fertiles and infertles  have everything mapped out about their pregnancies and babies before they arrive.  We could never bring ourselves to do this.  It wasn't something that brought us hope, but rather highlighted our infertility.

So, even when CCRM suggested I look for an OBGYN when we started our last cycle, I didn't.  I figured worst case scenario, that I could go to my last OBGYN, even though I haven't been there since I was 28 years old.

I remember my last visit to that doctor vividly.  He told me that my FSH test was normal (later I learned it was meaningless because I wasn't instructed to have it on day 3).  He explained D's sperm analysis, and in a low, hushed tone, mentioned the word "STERILE" and wrote it down on the page in caps.  I don't feel like revisiting those memories any more than the million times I've already have.   However, I did daydream about telling him that after 6 years, since I last saw him, guess what? This is a DE baby with D's sperm!

I asked my friend, a local maternity ward nurse, who she would recommend?  She told me that she wouldn't choose my last OB.   She instead suggested two others.  One was female, the other was male.  Recommendations being equal, I decided to go for the female.

I needed a referral from my family doctor to see the new OB.  His secretary told me that I'd need to come in for an appointment to get a referral.  I suggested that he might make an exception for me, explained a little bit of the situation and she said he'd call me back after reviewing.   Later that day, he called to offer his congratulations and we had a discussion about why I was looking to go to that doctor in particular.

He suggested that I go to the local high risk OB instead.  This surprised me.  I think the blood thinners I'm on and my family history of stroke make him nervous.  It felt a little like over-kill to me, but I figured I would go with it.  I thought, a more highly trained doctor isn't be a bad thing, right?   I figured if Dr. Highrisk didn't want me as a patient, that I could get him to refer me to the other less specialized female doctor that I wanted.

Dr. Highrisk is the only one of his kind in the city I live in.  He's a busy guy.  His receptionist is a busy gal.  And from what I can gather, they don't answer the phone very often.  When you get voicemail, it instructs you to not leave more than one message a day.  Every day that was ticking by, waiting for my call back, was stressing me out more, knowing that my ultrasound appointment time was getting farther and farther out in the future.

Wondering if there is a heartbeat, or anything going on in that ute of mine is driving me crazy.   Over and over I can't help but having flashes of when we had the twins, all of the excitement and then things crashing down,  when we realized we were staring at two very empty sacs.   This week, D called that that experience "the worst horror of his life".  In part because of the situation I'm sure, and in part because of how badly I crumbled after.

I wondering how this ultrasound is going to be? What kind of day are we going to have that day?  With only one embie in there, I'm reminded that there's one shot, once chance at a heart beat.  Knowing that when we get our ultrasound that we'll be 7 weeks along and it will not be too early to see the heart beat if there is one.

I tell myself, as some others in my life do "You got what you wanted, a BFP! This is real! Now be happy! Be excited!  Enjoy the moment!" But that's just not how I'm feeling.  I can't decide if it is infertility that has done this to me, or is it my now my personality after being in the trenches for so long? I never used to be a negative Nelly.  But I didn't know just how ugly the world could get then either.  It frustrates me and saddens me deeply.

Anyways, back to the doctor stuff.  Yesterday, after talking it over with D, I decided to physically go to Dr. Highrisk's office at the hospital.  I was going to say that I was in the area, and that I just wanted to check in...blah, blah, blah.   If I needed to encourage the secretary to give me an earlier ultrasound appointment than what she first offered, I planned what I would say.  Trying to find the right words for a likely desensitized secretary to feel empathy towards us could be difficult.  I settled on something simple.  "We've had six years of infertility and early losses, is there any way he could squeeze us in sooner?".  I hoped it would do the trick.

When I got there, the front desk of the hospital didn't want to let me in without an appointment.  This was probably heightened because the hospital is under an influenza advisory.   I told the receptionist that it was complicated, that I had a referral to be there, but I couldn't get in touch with them.  They let me in.

When I made it to the doctor's office, I breathed a huge sigh of relief.  The receptionist was as sweet as can be.  Her name is Joy.  She was one of those people whose name matched her personality so well.  She was tremendously helpful.  She said she remembered my name, but couldn't find my referral in her big stack of papers.  After searching for a few minutes while apologizing, she found it.  It was missing information, so she had set it aside.  It turned out to be information that would not have been known by my family doctor, and would have taken some time for them to complete.  I was able to provide the information, and fill in some of the blanks.  Phew! for this reason alone, I was glad I went in.

After consulting with the doctor briefly, Joy said he wanted to draw a beta and he could meet with me that day, if I could wait.

So, I had my beta drawn.   I later learned that Joy wanted me to see the doctor so he could prescribe some progesterone support, because of my early losses.  I told her that I was on hormones, that I was being monitored.  We decided that it would be best for the doctor to see the results of the beta (she told me they wanted it over 5000), and then go from there.   She would call me with the next steps.

Once at home, D and I did some figuring on the beta.  I've been trying not to stress about the beta. CCRM has only checked my beta twice.  When I asked my nurse why, and she said that unless it's being done every 48 hours, that it doesn't show anything meaningful.  That it doesn't show the health of a pregnancy.  My local clinic checked betas much more often.  I liked that better.

It didn't seem like 5000 would be possible with the numbers that I've had, even with some generous math.   I wondered if 5000 was some important threshold to be at when you're 5 weeks along.  Was it some deal breaker kind of number?  I've never researched these things very much.  With the embryo donor twins, my betas were sky high.  When I miscarried the embryo from our genetic material, the numbers were strikingly low.

Joy called me later that day, and asked me to come in again on Friday for blood work?  She said my beta was around 2900, and the doctor wouldn't schedule an ultrasound until it reached 5000.

We had a little sigh of relief that something is still going on in there.

Friday's beta will be another piece of the puzzle.  Maybe it will put us at ease, just a little more?

I wish I could just pack up my anxiety away for a little while....okay, forever! Scram, Anxiety! Don't come back! And take your stupid friend Depression with you!

I dream of the day where we see a little heart beat flickering on the monitor.   To see what we've never seen before, and maybe to feel a way that we haven't felt in a long way too.

Friday, 14 March 2014

Ping pong and reactions of people closest to us

In a quiet game of ping pong.   That's where I am.  On one side of the table, daydreaming of all things baby, and on the other, in the blink of an eye, having flashbacks of our first and second pregnancies.  Wanting so badly for the ball to rest on the baby side, and for this to be the beginning of a happier chapter in our lives.

Excitement.  Trepidation.  Repeat.

This time around, there were many more people who knew what we were up to.  I made a conscious effort to tell more people because a) significant travel makes it difficult for us to keep a secret and b) I was scared of what another bad result might do to us.  I resigned that I'd need to give up some privacy to let in some support.

Now that we've been home a couple of weeks, people were asking us how things were going.   In those moments especially, like in many others,  I am reminded that the news we got could have gotten could be so much different.  We could be trying to pick ourselves up off the floor one more time.  Thinking about mustering the energy to answer the text or phone call.   I could be easily writing about our excruciating heartache and anger right now.

I decided that I didn't want to leave people hanging after we received our results.  I didn't want them to wonder and worry more than was necessary.  If they were in it for the bad, I wanted to share with them the good.  So, those who knew what was going on in Colorado, and called in to check in on us, got our honest answer.

I told them a version of, "It worked.  It's very early.  We're happy, anxious and scared.  Please keep this to yourself."

My aunt gave the best reaction, screaming for joy on the phone.   Her reaction was so much better  than even ours, which was just a quiet hug and a kiss, and a look between us knowing we've (kind of) been here before.

My mother,  in stark contrast, didn't say anything.  Zippo.  Just changed the subject to talk about something relatively unimportant.  It reminded of why we aren't close.  Her inability to connect and communicate has been very damaging to our relationship my entire life.

However, I know that if we were announcing a further along pregnancy, there would have been some excitement. Surely, there would have been something, coming to the surface for her when she thought of becoming a Grandmother for only a second time?   I wasn't looking for jump up and down and scream, but surely some expression of emotion would have been nice.  I find myself shaking my head in disappointment and sadness as I write this.

My father (my parents are divorced), also said nothing.  Almost to the point where I didn't know if he even understood what I told him.  He's usually a little bit more emotional than my mother.   But he too, had not much of a reaction.  Towards the end of the call, I asked him to tell only his fiancé.  He told me he'd keep us in his prayers, and that he was rooting for us.  I know his heart was with us.

My sister and two close friends, shared their joy and excitement with us when we told them.  I shared some of our insecurities and anxieties and they listened.   I felt like they understood.

That's what makes your reactions here extra special to me.  You get it.

I hesitated to even write this. I feel like I shouldn't have permission to complain or be scared.  We got what we wanted.  And for that, we are so, tremendously grateful.   For everyone still in the trenches, I know how badly you want the news we just got.

I'm left wondering when there might be a shift in all of this, if and when we might reach "normal" pregnancy territory, whatever that is?  Maybe our first ultrasound will change things?  Hearing a heart beat would be a milestone we've never reached.  Maybe that will be our turning point?

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Beta #2

I hit publish, and then the clinic called.

It's going to be a celebration cake!! 383!!! That's just over doubling.

She said that for some reason my satellite clinic also tested my estrogen and progesterone, when they didn't ask for it.

My estrogen is 790 and my progesterone is 14.7.  Two days ago, my estrogen was 884 and my progesterone was 18.8.  I'm on PIO (progesterone in oil) every other day, and 3 Endometrin daily.

She said they want my progesterone over 15, but she thought maybe it was lower because of my PIO shot is due tonight.   But my PIO was on the same timeline two days ago when I had my first beta.  So, that, on top of the cramping I've been getting (even though I'm told it's normal) makes me nervous.

I asked her if I could take more progesterone? She agreed, it wouldn't hurt.  The only risk is discomfort, she said.  So, my butt can thank me that I'm increasing my PIO shots to 1cc every day  (and continuing my 3 Endometrin morning, mid afternoon and at bedtime).  

The nurse wanted to know when I could go in for more blood work next week?  I asked for Monday because I want to have the soonest appointment in case there is something wrong with my progesterone levels.  However, on second thought,  I'm wondering if I should have asked to go back in Friday instead?  I'm not sure if that's overkill, or if I even care if it's overkill.

For once, I'm really glad the local clinic messed up.  Phew!

On Monday, they won't check my HCG again, just my estrogen and progesterone.  She said all that matters is that they see a rising pattern once with the HCG.

Then, sometime after March 27th, I will have an ultrasound for a heartbeat, embryo location, number size etc.


Anxiously waiting for beta #2

(image from Pioneer Woman)

I drove through some wretched weather to make it to my clinic this morning for my second beta.  After I part of the way, I wanted to turn around because it was so bad.  It was the worst I've seen all year.  I kept telling myself it was going to get better, but it didn't.  It was so silly of me to attempt the drive, but when I left, I honestly didn't think it was that bad out.  Thankfully,  I made it home safely.  

The whole experience this morning seems to have accentuated my already heightened anxiety for today's call.  Today feels like my real beta.  It's almost like the first POAS and beta didn't count (for me) for some reason.  This feels a lot more real.  I'm nervous.  

I decided the best thing to do, was to fix myself some cakey goodness. 

I thought about making myself a homemade cake, but I didn't feel like it.  So, I made this semi-homemade one from the Pioneer Woman.  I've made it a few times and it is a favourite.  I prefer mine with homemade plain cream cheese icing instead though.   It's baking in the oven right now.  

It's either going to be to drown our sorrows cake or our celebration cake.   A short time will tell. 

Monday, 10 March 2014


It was 182.  Holy sh*t.  

I go back on Wednesday to check my HCG again.  They want to see it go up by a factor of 0.53 (they said it used to be that they wanted to see it double).

I thought I would be jumping up and down with excitement.  But we're (still) in shock here.  And scared sh*tless.

It's not far from my mind that we've been here twice, and one time with a number similar to this.    My head knows that that this has a significantly improved possibility to end so much better because of the (hoped for) improvement in embryo quality.  But my heart knows this is scary as hell.

Thank you so much for sharing your well wishes and excitement.  Your comments are so nice to read, and mean a lot to me.

Hang on, little embie.  Hang on.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

HPT at 7dp5dt

Couldn't stand it anymore and did an HPT this morning (7dp5dt).....there are no words.....

My beta is on Monday. 

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Embryo ratings

Here are the ratings of our remaining embryos: (we had to ask the embryologist for a copy)


They continue fo grow 2 more for another day. Yesterday, they rated those "2/3".  I don't know what that means.  Today, they froze them and they are rated:


So, 8 embryos total are in the freezer! 

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Transfer day

Things went well today!

Here's a picture of the beautiful, hatching 5AA embaby that we transferred. 

I'm feeling very grateful for the wonderful woman who donated to us and allowed this all to happen. Wherever she is, I'm sending her a tremendous amount of love and appreciation.