Thursday 27 February 2014

Holly's hope

Holly and her husband are navigating the unimaginable loss of their triplets to miscarriage and stillbirth.  

Her words often strike me deeply, but this post on hope especially hits home for me.  

Decision & Update: Day 3

Just wanted to say thank you so much for all of your input on the 1 or 2 decision.  It means a lot to hear from people who have been in the situation. 

My heart wants to do two.  But my head (and the doctor) says to do one.  So, we are only going transfer only one.  If there was anything wrong with the embryo quality or my lining we would choose to transfer two.  Fortunately, (gratefully!, amazingly!) this hasn't become an issue.

We made this decision because we are scared of the risks, more than we are scared of having twins.   We have been the low/negative odds it seems with all of our infertility stuff and we don't want to risk it... this time.  Also, because this is our first attempt with donor egg, and the donor was 21 years old, we feel we should see what happens with one first. There's so much more that went into this decision, but that's the short version.

If this transfer doesn't work, next time we might try two.  But we'll see.  Hoping we don't need to make this decision.

It's 9:30am right now in Colorado.  We have 30 more minutes to wait to hear if we will be having a day 3 transfer.  If  we don't get a call, we're off to take a little trip for a couple of days.  

I look forward to commenting on all of your blogs soon - so much as been going on!  I've been mostly using my iphone and the blogger app for updates, and there is some kind of browser glitch between the two.  It makes me miss my computer!


* We are doing a day 5 transfer. 
* We have eleven (!)  6-10 cell "very good" looking embryos.  They discarded one that stopped growing and two others are growing but not as well.
* Feeling happy and grateful! Off to Vail!

Tuesday 25 February 2014

1 or 2

So today we met with Dr. Gustofson instead of Dr. Schoolcraft.

I am happy we met with him. He was so  personable. He even smiled-more than once!  Dr. S is just really laid back and kind of nonchalant. I've heard him described by another blogger as a cool cucumber, and I agree. Dr. G was laid back, but in a different, more warm way.  

Some key information from our visit:
- He says we have an 85% chance of a positive pregnancy test if we transfer two high quality embryos. 
- Transferring 2 has a 40-50% chance of twins.
- Twin pregancies have a 10-15% chance of complications, including lifelong problems or death for babies, due to the risk of prematurity. 
- Transferring 1 has a 65-75% chance of  success. 
- He recommends 1, however 1 or 2 is our choice. They only need to know 5 minutes before transfer. 
- 70% of couples choose to transfer 2. 
- The cost of a FET including our travel and meds would be between $6-8k.  
- Chance of a miscarriage is less than 5% with donor eggs. This doesn't change much with the intended mother's age. They don't see an increased risk of miscarriage because of my history with miscarriage (CCRM attributes them to embryo quality). 
- He said the risks of pregnancy complications don't increase dramatically each year. At my age (34), he said risks of pregnancy start really increasing in 7-8 years. 
- We asked about transferring 1 higher quality and 1 lower. He said they won't do that. This is because the research is showing if you lose 1 of the 2 babies then the remaining one doesn't do as well.  

We went in there thinking we'd transfer 2.   Now we're both on the fence.  The chance of twins and complications are much higher than expected. 

Looks like we've got some thinking to do over the next couple of days. 


Fertilization report

It's great news! 

Out 15 eggs, 14 survived the thaw. 
And then, with ICSI and IMSI, all 14 fertilized. 

We spoke directly with the embryologist which was nice. At our last clinic (and currently our satelite clinic) speaking with the embryologist was only by special request.  He said the likelihood of a day 3 transfer at this time is small, however we still need to be prepared for it. 

We are breathing a big sigh of relief to have jumped one more hurdle. 

Today, we meet with Dr. Schoolcraft to discuss the fertilization report and how many to transfer. We've always transferred two, with the exception of one time because that's all we had. 

Even though the embryo quality is (hopefully) much higher than the donor embryos and our own embryos we've used in the past, I think we will transfer two again. That is, unless we hear a very  compelling argument and recommendation from the doctor to do just one. Even then, I think we may still do two. 

Our next update on our embabies is Thursday. 

Monday 24 February 2014

Update from Colorado

My lining is a 9.8mm.  The doppler showed normal blood flow to my uterus! Before it was recorded to be below what they wanted and had some backflow.

The acupuncture protocol and eliminating caffiene was supposed to improve this and it looks like it did. Or, maybe it was a fluke. Who knows.  (Updated to add: Or maybe it is the Lovenox and baby Asprin?)

Now we wait for the early fertilization report tomorrow.  

Something interesting that I learned from the nurse today was about day 3 transfers. I always thought that day 3 transfers were done if the embryos weren't growing well. The nurse said that in donor cycles that isn't the case (usually). She said that sometimes they grow too quickly so they need to be transferred sooner. This happens only 5% of the time. She said that their success rates in donor cycles with day 3 vs. 5 embryos were the same. 

We celebrated our good news (or rather lack of bad news I suppose) with some refined white carbs, at Ihop.  Not the healthiest, but it tasted good! 

Sunday 23 February 2014

On our way today!

I thought the nesting phase was supposed to start much, much later.

I've really been gearing up for this transfer.  I want to really take it easy when I get home.  And I want to enjoy a clean and organized house while I'm taking it easy.   Everything is in it's place.  I even finished painting and organizing a few small spaces.  I am impressed with myself!

I've planned for a friend to come visit for a couple of days after I get home, just before our beta.   I know it will be a good distraction.  And she'll be a very good guest from an emotional/infertility point of view.  She's a nurse who just had a minor surgery and is off work.  She's always taking care of everyone else.  I think while she's here I'll enjoy pampering her a little bit.

I spent the morning watching bits and pieces of the Olympics.  I loved watching montage they did of the athletes after their events.  One Olympian said to remember that when you want something and put your whole life into it, whether it be sport or something else, that it will pay off.  He said just keep trying.  You'll get there.  I'm going to take his motivational words personally today.  In many ways,  I   feel like an Olympian of infertility.

I am ready.  Hubby is ready.  Please, please, please let this be it for us.


PS) There are no more adhesive remnants on my body! Yay! Thanks for the tips! They couldn't have come at a better time.  I'm up to 4 patches every other day now.

Friday 21 February 2014

Sticky situation

Any tips out there for how to get the remaining ring of sticky stuff off your skin from the estrogen patches?

My skin is raw from my previous attempts over the past few weeks.  I've tried a bunch of things.  Nothing works well.  My most successful attempts so far have involved vaseline and scraping with my fingernail.

There has to be a better way!

Thursday 20 February 2014

Randomness: cycle update, a friendship story, and not-so-sexy time

Yesterday's results:

Lining - 9.6mm (they wanted over 7.5mm).
Estrogen - 767 (they wanted over 300).
Progesterone - 0.2 (they wanted low so this is good).

I am so happy about these numbers! I'm breathing a sigh of relief.   Sort of.

In my very next breath I also realize I'm feeling more anxiety starting to creep in.  What if this all doesn't work out?  I'm trying not to let my mind go there.  Yet - I know it will be hard to stop it, especially during my 2WW.


A couple of days ago, I had a conversation with my best friend that left me feeling a little flat.  On one hand, I feel like it was nothing.  On the other hand, I'm feeling slightly annoyed and misunderstood, and surprised that I'm feeling this way.

The conversation we had was about our home study.

At the last minute, our social worker (SW) was debating if she needed to add something to our report that I feel is unnecessary.  It would require at least two days of her time and a lot of mileage and other expenses.  It would result in a delay in finishing our update.  This update has been dragging out since the end of October, a much longer timeframe than was originally promised.  We're ready for it to be completed.

The SW wants to go visit our cottage to do a safety check.

At first, when she announced this,  I thought she was joking about needing a vacation.  So I said, "Sure! Come anytime, you're always welcome!".  Then, she told me she would call the Ministry to see what their requirements are.  She told me to hope that she got a particular person on the phone instead of her more strict coworker, who would definitely say a visit was required.  Ummm.  Okay? Not joking.

That was a week ago and I haven't heard anything more on the topic.  I don't even feel like bringing it up again, secretly hoping she'll forget.

If she decided to complete the visit, (and I don't figure out a way to get out of it), we would ask her to stay with us overnight.  This would be due to the distance, and location.  And to be nice.  I think she would accept the offer.  The silver lining of doing this might be that she may get to know us better and think of us more readily for any suitable adoption matches that cross her desk.

When I write that out it sounds like bribery.  Not trying to bribe.  Just trying see the silver lining.

After telling my friend (a different kind of SW) the story, she stood up for her.  She said that maybe she needed to do it to cover all of her bases in case things had to go before the court.  She didn't find it unreasonable.

Ok.  Valid point, on the courts, I suppose. Maybe I'm just being sensitive.

Then I realized, what I was looking for was to commiserate a little bit about the whole process with my friend.  To be understood.

I feel like this is one more thing to add on top of an already very expensive and lengthy process.  It will be stressful for me to host her, even though she's a very nice lady.  I feel disgruntled that I have to prove myself over and over to get the same privilege that other fertile couples jump in the sack to get.

I feel like it is another invasion of our privacy.  I've already had enough.  I've answered questions like "How often are you intimate?" I'm tired of being judged.  That day, I gave an honest answer of "once or twice a week".  That number is embarrassing for me.  Hearing her ask D, "is that enough for you?" was down right humiliating.  (BTW, D said "yes", what a smart boy).

We're always answering questions but never feeling understood.  I could have elaborated more.  Yes, I'd love to have more sex. I'd love it to be like when we first were together.  However, we've been struggling with a reduced sex drive for a while.  5 years of coping with depression, grief, miscarriages, surgeries, scheduled abstinence for D to "produce a sample", and jamming hormone suppositories into my vagina yielding white or blue goo, has surprisingly, not been the recipe for more sexy time for us.   Go figure.

What I wanted from my friend was for to feel she understands.  I wanted a listening ear.  I wanted the conversation to include a question like "how are you two doing emotionally?"  It's the question I've been waiting to hear, and wanting to answer to almost everyone in my life.

So, instead, I ask myself and give my answer to you kind folks.  Today, I'm frustrated and grateful. Grateful for our test results this far.  And even more grateful for you.  Thank you for being there and listening to me.  This is one of the few places I turn when I'm feeling my most vulnerable.  Thank you so very much.  

Sending love to you.

Friday 14 February 2014

Thursday 13 February 2014

Baby steps

I had my ultrasound and blood work this morning.

I won't know the blood results until much later today.  The doctor had a CBC drawn to check on how my body's doing with the Lovenox, and those results won't be in until tomorrow.  

But the ultrasound was good... I think?

Last week, the CCRM nurse said they wanted to see my lining over 6mm today & my estrogen levels at 50 or greater.  They said a lining on the 19th of over 7.5mm would be "beautiful".  

Today my lining was 7.6mm!  Phew! Yay! I'm happy about this.  I've never had a problem with too much lining (as I've heard can be a problem for some people), so I'm not worried about that. 

The one weird part (to me) is that the nurse said my lining was triple lined (trilaminar).   Here's a picture.  You can decide for yourself. 

Looks triple lined too me. 

I wasn't expecting to hear this.  Especially with my transfer not until March 1st.   Is it too soon for this? Is there such thing as too soon? I hoped it would be this way at my next lining check on the 19th.  

I don't remember paying attention to this when I was having my other FET procedures.  I don't know if this is normal.  Am I making something out of nothing? I'll be googling.  But I'm curious if you have any thoughts?  

Update:  The nurse got back to me very quickly.  She said that a triple pattern should be seen as the lining is developing.  That my labs and ultrasound are perfect at this stage and I am right on track.  (*)Breathes a sigh of relief (*)


Also, I've been doing the acupuncture that was recommended by CCRM twice per week.   

The naturopath hooks up the acupuncture needles to an electrostimulator.  She asks me when I can feel certain intensity of sensations, with the goal of making the points in calves higher than those in my lower back.  The needles are in the right and left sides of my body.  

Something minor but nonetheless interesting has been happened.  When I started out two weeks ago, the stimulator had to be turned up much higher on my left side than my right to provide an equal sensation.   This week, when I went, she told me that the stimulator was set almost identically on both sides.

I'm not sure what I think of the acupuncture.  It costs $60 every time I go.  That part I don't like and neither does my dear hardworking bill paying hubby. What I do like is that it makes me feel like I'm doing everything I can.  And feel relaxed afterwards.  

It it increasing my uterine blood flow like it's supposed to?  That may never be known.   But the ultrasound images look good, so I suppose it's not hurting anything. 

 PS) I'm still abstaining from caffeine including chocolate.  I miss chocolate.  The end.   

Tuesday 11 February 2014

A strange feeling

What is that? I turn my face slightly toward the ceiling and squint my eyes a little bit.

Is that a little hope I'm feeling?

Oh man, it's been a while...

I almost didn't recognize it.  

At the mall today, I turned and looked through the window of a maternity clothing store.  Can you imagine such a crazy thing?!?

I have caught myself reading about baby names on more than one occasion.  Even thinking about twin names, bahahaha! I was scared that it might induce a baby hangover, but I didn't care.

I've been thinking about my minor home reno projects that involve painting or other chemicals, and wondering if those will ever get done.  Because, you know I might be pregnant soon and all.

I'm livin' on the wild side here, folks.

A huge part of me doesn't want my hopes up in fear of the crash.  And oh, it will be a big one if this doesn't work.... but I don't want to think about that now.  I cannot help it.  I'm actually starting to get a teeny tiny bit excited for our upcoming transfer which is tentatively scheduled for the first of March.  

Oooh.  The first of March, that means a November due date.  See what I mean? My mind is wandering these days to places it hasn't been in a long, long time.

The hope of today feels to me like the first few times we tried donor embryos.   Except this time it comes with a side of 'a lot more pressure' and 'scared shitless of failure'.

This is first time we're doing this with odds significantly in our favour (Dr. Schoolcraft said 80%).  My uterus is good.  I think.  The embryos will be good.  I hope.  Holy crap, this just might be it.

Wednesday 5 February 2014


On the adoption front, I have a confession.

D is totally ready.  I am not.  We are pursuing it anyways.   We have gone through our interviews to update our home study.  We will soon be a 'family in waiting' with one agency.

I can tell I'm not totally ready because I don't have any desire to read the adoption books that are sitting on my nightstand or on my tablet.   I don't daydream about it, or read the internet searching for ways to bring our plans into reality.  Instead, I look up and read stuff on egg donation, and think about the emotional implications of a child being born from a donor egg.  I think about managing the grief of infertility.   Looking up adoption stuff rarely, if ever crosses my mind.

Adoption is the back up plan that I don't want to think about.  Because when we move on full steam ahead to this plan, it means that our last one failed.

I view our adoption plans, kind of like fishing.  If we don't start fishing there definitely won't be any bites.  Even if a perfect match were available for us, we'd never get it if we are not participating.  So right now, we're not casting our nets wide at this point.  We're just trolling, and if there was a bite, we'd be cautiously optimistic and hopeful.

What scares the shit out of me, is that we've now entered a world of negotiating social and medical histories.  Is two drinks per week acceptable to us, or 10? The social worker told us it's not a matter of if the birth mother drank, but usually how much, and for how long.  I'm scared of getting talked into a situation that I don't want to or can't handle.  And I'm scared of feeling guilty about not being able to give a baby with higher needs a home, despite wanting a child so badly.  It's a kind of grief that non-adoptive parents don't have to ever think about.

In our adoption meetings they talked about openness and how we would expect to manage a birth family relationship?  That part was easy, as we are open to a variety of contact and have had some similar experience with that in our embryo adoption plans (although I'd imagine that it would very different dynamics in a birth parent relationship).

The social worker asked, "Have you processed our feelings on lack of a genetic connection?" Yes.  Been there, done that.  Twice.

"How do you anticipate processing grief associated with the failure of our egg donation plans and/or not being pregnant or experiencing child birth?" Those my friends, are the questions the social worker didn't ask and are where things get very dicey for me.

I want this egg donor 'thing' to work out so badly.   Not being pregnant, controlling the gestational environment and giving birth would be a huge blow to me.

In our interviews with the social worker, I skipped the part about how I'm terrified to put another infertility failure under my belt.  I don't want to process any more grief because I feel like I'm at my limit.  Nope, not even a little bit more.  I'm angry and worn out.

We would get through it if this didn't work.  Right?  However it is terrifying to think about that possibility, as it seems like the Mount Everest of grief.

It would definitely would not be the smooth process of moving on from one kind of family building to another as I portrayed it to be.

So, I keep quietly hiking along with on our adoption plans.  Slow and steady.  Because who knows what is in store for us.

Tuesday 4 February 2014


The nurse took a long time to call me back on Saturday (8 hours!), but she finally did.

We decided to continue my lupron dose and start my vivelle patches yesterday.  I'm glad.  It's what I wanted to do.  No more messing around.  Let's get this show on the road.

On Monday, my new nurse called.  My first impression is that I liked her and thought she was thorough, which is just about my most favourite quality for a nurse to have.   She was also kind and asked if I had any questions (twice!) which was nice.  I think we're off to a decent start.

They also gave me a tentative timeline for when we'll be in Colorado.   We'll be there about 12 days for testing, to make and grow embies, to transfer them and have some bed rest.   I hope it all goes as quickly and worry free and as I just described it there.

This will be my 4th time to Colorado to visit CCRM.  I'm wondering what D and I will do to keep busy?  We'll need some serious distractions for this trip.   He will be working a good chunk of the time.  We've seen some of the sights already and shopping like crazy wouldn't be that smart for the bank account.  Not to mention the weather's going to be cold, so that kind of limits some outdoor fun.    Any suggestions?

Saturday 1 February 2014

Who woulda thunk it?

At 5:30am I woke up to cramps.   And, drumroll please... MY PERIOD!!! CD 1 on Feb 1.

I am breathing a big sigh of relief.

I've never been so happy to have cramps and a heavy period in all of my life. 

Go figure after yesterday's back and forth with the nurse and doctor.   And the ultrasound revealing a triple-line lining yesterday.  Hmm.  

And about my rant about what would happen if I didn't call CCRM.  For this time would have made life a bit easier if I had just left things.  But, you know what though? I don't regret because it caused the doctor to pay more attention to my file. 

First thing on today's list was a call to the on-call nurses to see what I should do about my lupron dose.    Yesterday my nurse said even if my period showed up to stop taking it.  I'm not so sure if that's a good idea.  I could continue on the old calendar without missing a beat.

I asked for something to be sent to me (a mini calendar of sorts) yesterday, but never got one.  So there is probably not much for the on-call nurse to go on to direct me.  

Oh, and I'm also wondering if this changes the need for the $1000 Lovenox order I just placed yesterday night.  Doubt that one, but I'm going to ask. 

So much fertility stuff happening lately!