Friday, December 4, 2015

The First Trimester

My last post left off when I was 4 weeks, 2 days along. We had just found out that my HcG had doubled as we were hoping. That same day, we began telling our immediate families. A couple of days earlier, we had prepared a short video to share the news with them. We made it up on the spot, did only one take, and we were ready to share!

Diwali 2015
Our parents and siblings shed tears of joy. It was so nice to have good news to share this time after a treatment cycle. For the following week, we were floating! At the back of our minds, we knew we still had a few weeks til the first ultrasound where we would find out if baby was still hanging on and had a heartbeat. But until then, we made the most of being pregnant. We enjoyed looking at baby products and started using pregnancy apps. We planned and talked about baby and enjoyed every minute of it!

A week later, at 5 weeks, 2 days, I started feeling queasy. A couple days later, I was definitely nauseated, and then morning sickness was in full swing! My clinic prescribed Diclectin to try to manage/reduce the symptoms, and it did help, but once morning sickness began, I was sick pretty much every waking moment. I then added in Ranitidine (Zantac) twice a day at the maximum dose to reduce acidity and help cut down the nausea. It helped a fair bit for a few weeks, but I was still pretty sick. My all day sickness made it hard to enjoy pregnancy, and some days I felt sick and miserable enough to literally cry, but I was glad to see it disappear around 12 and a half weeks. I was back to feeling blissful and stopped taking anti-nauseants. Unfortunately, it came back two weeks later, and now I'm back on my meds. What really kept me going through those two really challenging months was the ultrasounds.

At our first ultrasound, we saw the baby for the first time. A tiny little blob, but we could see the heartbeat on the screen. That made us feel more confident about the pregnancy and made everything more real.

Two weeks later, we had our second ultrasound. By now, baby was bigger and looking more like a peanut! This time, we got to hear the heartbeat for the first time. Of course, we cried! It was the most beautiful, precious sound. The same day, I was released from my fertility clinic, PCRM. I had graduated to my family doctor and OBGYN. I was a bit sad to leave behind the amazing staff at PCRM, but I was also happy that baby was healthy and were ready to move on.
Our Little One

Our third ultrasound was done through my OBGYN's office. By now, baby had grown quite a bit and actually looked like a baby. The doctor pointed out arms, legs, facial features, and more! We were relieved to see that baby looked healthy once again. And it was exciting to see baby literally jumping around in my uterus and waving arms.

This past Tuesday, I happened to have my next OGBYN appointment on my birthday. My hubby told the doctor it was my special day, so as a present, the doctor wheeled in a portable ultrasound machine and let me see baby and hear the heartbeat. What an incredible birthday gift!

Everything feels a little more special now that I know we have our little one on the way. Diwali was a little brighter, and the Christmas season feels a little more merry. I'm happy that I survived the first trimester which is supposed to be the hardest one. Now I'm 15 weeks and 2 days and hoping the second trimester will be an enjoyable one... I know for sure that it will be a memorable one!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

I'm back! And backtracking...

It's been about 5 weeks since I went silent on the blog. A lot has happened since then. I'll backtrack to September 14th, which was my first day back to classes for the fall semester.

I'd had my frozen embryo transfer 6 days earlier, and instead of patiently waiting for the blood test, I was impatiently testing early at home with home pregnancy tests. I woke up went to catch my FMU (first morning urine) in a cup so that I could use it for testing. I dipped it in and waited, and the place where the second pink line should show up looked pretty white to me. Or was it? I squinted and stared. Yup, white. Or is there a bit of a second pink line? I took a picture with my phone. Zoomed in. Stared at it. Looked at it in different light. Okay, definitely no second line. Negative test again. And off to work I went.

I came home from work and went straight upstairs to test again. Which really makes no sense because FMU is strongest and that's what you're supposed to use for testing. Instead I was now testing again with dilute evening urine. Same thing. Peed in a cup, dipped the strip. Waited 5 minutes. This time, I thought I saw a faint second line showed up. I stared at it in shock. In over 5 years of trying, I'd never seen that desired second pink line. I squinted. It was still there. I took a picture of it. It was there. My mind was racing. So I did what anyone would do in my situation - I sent the picture  of my test stick to two of my IVF friends and asked if it looked positive to them too. And they both assured me that it was. And then I cried.

Hubby was downstairs making dinner this whole time (and probably wondering why I was taking so long upstairs). I came down holding my peed-on test stick behind my back. Then I showed it to him in tears. He was shocked and excited and in disbelief. It was pretty early to be testing and getting a positive result. But there it was, our second pink line. He picked me up and spun me around. He couldn't believe it. I couldn't believe it. He cried, and so I cried some more.

I looked over to see what he was cooking for dinner, and noticed an open jar of sauce on the counter. It was Prego sauce. A couple months earlier when we'd bought it, I'd jokingly said that maybe it would be lucky for us and we'd end up prego. But this day was the first time we'd ever used that brand of sauce. So, of course, it was the perfect opportunity to take some pictures.

The following few days, we were excited and nervous and jumpy and really really wanted to have that blood test which was the official test. I re-tested at home each day just to make sure that the second line was still there. It was. On Thursday, I went in for the beta-HcG blood draw. We were hoping for a number over 50 which would indicate not only a pregnancy, but one that was doing well so far. It's very common for early testers to see a positive and get a low beta number, and then the pregnancy disappears a day or two later.

My dear hubby was obsessing over the My E-Health website, and I'm surprised he didn't crash their servers. I was keeping busy at work, so I couldn't check online for the results. Finally, he called me to tell me that he saw the result: 295. We were thrilled that it was official - we could now say it: We Are Pregnant!

I was so pleased to see that number. I felt like things were good and we'd be fine going ahead. It was really nice to hear the nurse from the fertility clinic call and say "Congratulations" instead of "I'm sorry" this time! But the tricky part about getting your first beta number is that if it doesn't double in about 48 hours, that means the pregnancy isn't viable. So while I was feeling blissful and fairly confident that the next blood test would be fine too, hubby was stressing out big time. He couldn't eat and sleep. He just really wanted to fast forward to the next result. Finally on Saturday I went for the second blood test. Our result was 636 - more than double! And then it was really really official.

And so, dear readers, I am happy to share with you the news that after over 5 years of trying, 7 attempts with fertility treatments, and countless pills, invasive tests, injections, prayers and tears... we are pregnant!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

A Note to my Readers

Dear readers,

I'm taking a short break from posting on the blog. I decided that I need some time to just spend with hubby. I promise I'll be back with updates when I'm good n ready! 

Write soon,
A Tough Cupcake <3

Sunday, September 13, 2015


Lucky Tinkerbell Socks!
 On Tuesday we went to the clinic for our second IVF embryo transfer. Our previous IVF was a fresh transfer, and this one was our first time using a frozen embryo. I wore lucky Tinkerbell socks this time! Excited, hopeful, and with way too much water in my bladder, we changed and met with the embryologist. She gave us the good news that our first embryo thawed perfectly, so they didn't need to use any of the others. We still have 7 frozen ones left.

Placement in my Uterus
The embryo they were putting back inside me was graded 4AA, the highest grade. It was frozen when it was 5 days old, so its age continued at day 5 when it was thawed (even though it's been sleeping in the freezer for a few months). During the transfer, my main focus was not peeing on the doctor. Same as last time! It doesn't help when the nurse pushes down on your bladder with the ultrasound probe during the entire procedure. The doctor showed us where in my uterus the embryo was placed and printed out a picture for us. Then we were good to go!

Normally, a woman is assumed to not be pregnant until, of course, she finds out she is pregnant. When you go through IVF, it's the opposite. After your transfer, you are said to be PUPO - pregnant until proven otherwise. Being PUPO is an exciting time because "until proven otherwise", you can live in the world of being "maybe pregnant"... which is a whole lot more hopeful than not being pregnant. 

Completing embryo transfer also means you're in the two week wait, often abbreviated tww or 2ww. The two weeks is the time between transfer and the beta-HcG blood test that tells you whether the treatment was successful or not. During that time, you hope that you are pregnant. You get scared that you're not pregnant. Time goes by slowly. You feel something and wonder, is that a sign of pregnancy? And you feel something else and wonder, is that a PMS symptom? You act like you're pregnant. You watch what you eat, get lots of rest, walk to keep good circulation, avoid pushing or pulling or lifting anything heavy. You do anything and everything you can to make yourself feel like you've done your best to make that embryo stick!

Ready for Transfer #2
I've been mostly happy and hopeful during this two week wait. I'm lucky that I was able to take time off to take it easy as the doctor recommended. I'll be heading back to work tomorrow - the first day of classes - so that will help the 2ww go by much faster. I'm finished with antibiotics, so that has helped my digestive system. It's still moving in slow motion because the progesterone makes everything sluggish. I'm not as terrified about heartburn either. Last week I was napping almost daily, exhausted from the hypothyroidism and also the progesterone. I'm trying to wean myself off of naps for the last couple of days just to get ready for work. 

I'm currently 5dp5dfet, five days past a five-day frozen embryo transfer. Today, implantation should be complete, and the cells that will eventually become the placenta and fetus have begun to develop. 

Monday, September 7, 2015

The Schedule

As of a few days ago, my medications/vitamins routine has become more complicated. I had to make a schedule to keep track of what to take, when to take it, and under what conditions. I spaced out the ones that will interact with or affect the absorption of others. And I tried to time them so that I could take the majority of them at home instead of at work. It doesn't help that in my work week, I have three different sets of start/end times. This is what I came up with.

7:00 am - Synthroid (thyroid medication):  need to take it on an empty stomach. No antacids or dairy or iron or multivitamins for 4 hours before or after (3:00 am - 11:00 am). No food for one hour after. I miss eating cereal for breakfast!

Get it? hehe
8:00 am - Doxycycline #1 (antibiotics): need to take on a full stomach which is hard to do since I can't eat the hour before because of the Synthroid. This leads to a big rush to eat something filling within a few minutes. Having toast with peanut butter n a glass of juice most mornings. These pills make my liver unhappy (and last time around helped to land me in the ER with severe heartburn). As of today, these make me nauseated if my stomach doesn't stay full.

8:00 am - Estrace #1 (estradiol). Same as I've been taking the past several weeks. Better on a full stomach.

8:00 am - Crinone #1 (progesterone gel suppository) - this one always ends up being late because of needing to fill my stomach to take the previous meds. It also requires me to lie flat on my back for several minutes after using it to prevent it from coming back out.

11:00 am - Pre-natal multivitamin #1: Yay for gummies!

11:00 am - Folic acid. Nothing much to say here.

8:00 pm - Doxycycline #2

8:00 pm - Estrace #2

8:00 pm - Pre-natal multivitamin #2

8:00 pm - Crinone suppository #2. I haven't figured out yet how I'm going to manage this one when I'm back at work as it conflicts with my Thursday shifts. I'm picturing myself lying on the floor in the staff bathroom at work.

My Daily Cocktail

So that makes 10 items on my daily "to take" list. I've been staying home a lot because it's just easier to deal with the meds and the timings and the side effects. But I did have a few girls over last night and had a fantastic time chatting and eating and watching Frozen together!

The hypothyroidism is still keeping me pretty tired. But I'm keeping my eye on the prize. And tomorrow is the BIG DAY! Our sweet little embryo will be back in my uterus where he or she belongs.. and will hopefully stay and grow there for nine months!

Thursday, September 3, 2015


Yesterday morning I headed to the lab with my two requisitions - one for LH and progesterone as part of my FET protocol, and one for TSH and CBC as part of the routine updating of my bloodwork for my fertility clinic's records. A 40-minute wait and three vials of blood later, I was good to go.

I was hoping my blood would show low numbers for LH and progesterone indicating that I hadn't ovulated and wasn't about to. Ovulation would mean that my estradiol pills haven't been doing their job and also that my body is prepping to shed the lining.. that would be bad because then there wouldn't be a nice cushion for my embryo to stick to. I wasn't particulary concerned about the routine TSH and CBC check.

I had a relaxing morning and then headed out to meet hubby for lunch. It's kinda nice to have a lunch date on a weekday because that's not something we can normally do. While we were eating, I checked my blood results online on My E-Health. First up was progesterone - 1.7 meaning there was no way I ovulated - YAY! Next was LH - 12.9 indicating that I'm not likely to be currently ovulating - another YAY!

The CBC was good too. It showed that my red and white blood cells were in the normal range. This was a bit of a relief because last time I had them checked, my white blood cells were out of range. This was due to the IVF meds, but it still scared me.

The results for TSH took a while longer. When they showed up, I saw a level of 3.88 which is well within the normal range, but not within the desired range to do fertility treatments. Most clinics want your TSH to be under 2.5. This also explains why I've wanted to sleep so much and take naps after a full night of sleep. I thought it was the estradiol pills, but now I realize the fatigue is from hypothyroidism. All the meds I've been taking increase TSH too, so when unmedicated, it's possible my natural TSH isn't as high.

When I went in for my initial consulation in the summer of 2014, my doctor said that my level was higher than he wanted to see, and he'd re-test me in a few months. By November 2014, my level was significantly lower, showing that it was moving in the right direction, so I was never sent to have it tested again... until now!

So if it's within the normal range, what's the big deal? Well, even though under 5.5 is considered normal according to the lab reference range (although recently, endocrinologists say under 3 is the "new" normal), levels over 2.5 in the first trimester are highly linked to miscarriages. So unless you're pregnant, 3.88 isn't a big deal. And since I'm intending to be pregnant in a week, I got pretty jumpy. 

After lunch I headed to my parents' place for a while. I was waiting for the clinic to call me even though I knew I might not get the call til the following day. I worried that they would cancel my FET and that I'd have to sit around and wait for months to try again. I felt sad and mad. I wish they had tested it routinely to make sure my TSH kept going down, so we could have prevented this. Then I realized that maybe I wanted them to cancel it, so that I wouldn't waste my embryo. I'd rather not get pregnant then get pregnant and miscarry. Dr. Google confirmed what I already knew: going ahead with this level of TSH was pretty much asking for a miscarriage.

Eventually, I thought I'd drive myself crazy, so I called the clinic myself to talk to a nurse even though I was supposed to wait for them to call me. As usual, I got the voicemail. I explained that I was concerned about my TSH level and that I wasn't sure if my cycle was cancelled and that even if it wasn't, I didn't want to go ahead with it unless they could treat my TSH simultaneously. And then I went back to waiting for a phone call. I thought about how I'd taken 60 of those little blue Estrace pills, how I'd paid a good chunk of money, and how I'd woken up in the wee hours to take trips to the clinic... and now it might all be for nothing.

I was relieved to get a quick response - the doctor reviewed my results and said I'd start Synthroid right away to deal with my hypothyroidism and get my TSH down and that we'd continue with the transfer as planned. If I get pregnant, they'll test the TSH again to make sure it's gone down. Umm.. well that was simple. And unexpected. And made me feel silly for letting my thoughts take over without even knowing what would happen.

Fertility treatments make your mind funny like that. You try to be positive, you try to be optimistic, you hang onto hope even when the odds are against you, but one tiny thing really can ruin everything. This time I was lucky, but I've already had two cancelled treatments, so I know it's a very real possibility. I'm glad it didn't happen for the third time, though. I feel relieved and happy and blessed and excited that things are moving forward.

Our transfer date is Tuesday, September 8th, the first day of the fall semester! With two days of bedrest following the transfer day, that means I'll need Wednesday and Thursday off of work too. And since I don't normally Fridays, that means I'm missing the entire first week. Not ideal, but I'm still lucky because:

A) it's registration week, not classes;
B) I have a colleague who can cover for me; and
C) I have another colleague who's helping me get set up for when I begin teaching the following week. 

So now there's five more days. FIVE. MORE. DAYS!!! My entire life might change in 5 days and that is just oh-so-exciting. Meanwhile, I'll be busy trying to keep track of all the stuff I need to pump into my body to get ready for our little snowflake to be thawed and brought home to my uterus. I'll save that for my next post though.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

FET cycle update

Yesterday, I went back to PCRM after 16 days away from the clinic. They checked my endometrium to see if it's thick enough for transfer, and I was pleased to learn that it's good to go! 

The next step is to have my LH and Progesterone checked by blood tomorrow. They also want to update their records on my TSH (thyroid) and CBC (complete blood count). 

For now, I continue with my 3 Estrace pills a day. They're making me want to sleep. A lot. I feel like napping every day even after a full night's sleep, and I'm not normally a napper. Kinda nice that I'm off of work and can sleep as much as I want. That will all change next week though! 

After tomorrow's blood draws, I wait for a nurse to call me back with instructions on what's happening with our frozen embryo transfer. She will also let me know when to add in antibiotics and progesterone suppositories. I have no reason to think there will be anything wrong with my bloodwork, but I still feel a little nervous. There are just so many little steps along the way, and so many places where something small could cause a problem. So I've got my fingers crossed (and I hope you do, too!) that everything goes well tomorrow and I get a transfer date soon. 

Friday, August 21, 2015

FET Humour

I'm proud to say I've now reached over 2000 page views! This week's page views include folks from the US, Canada, Australia, India, Germany, France, Mexico, Romania, and China. Thanks to my readers - as always, I love having you along for the journey. :)

Wednesday, August 19, 2015


So I last updated on cd29 when I was (impatiently) waiting for my next cycle to start. By cd37 I was getting concerned that I wasn't feeling any symptoms yet, so I emailed my fertility doctor to ask if I should be put on Provera. That's what I was put on before my first IVF in order to induce a period. Before he even had a chance to reply, I was spotting that evening and my cycle really started the next day. I called into the clinic, and they set me up for a baseline ultrasound for the next morning (cd2) which was this past Saturday. I began taking Estrace (Estradiol) three times per day. I'm so relieved that the tablets are super tiny, so swallowing them hasn't been stressful. And I'm even more relieved that I'm not sticking needles full of hormones into my stomach this time!

I was quite concerned that I'd have cysts from the previous IVF and also because I had given up my daily walks for several weeks while teaching summer classes. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that my scan came out clear and the doctor said I was good to go! So since last Friday, I've officially been in my 2nd IVF treatment cycle and my first Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) cycle. So exciting!! Now I'm waiting for my next trip to the clinic for a scan on August 31st. That's when I'll start a couple more meds in addition to the Estrace. Cannot wait to bring one of my little frostie babies back home!

I am happy to be distracted by friends and family since I've been off of work. It makes the time go by faster. Hubby bought me 2 colouring books for grownups, and I love them! It will be YEARS until I get through them both. I've met up with a few girlfriends for lunch dates, and we'll be having a girls' colouring night this Friday. Hubby and I have "moved" into my mom and dad's place since Sunday, and it's been fun and fantastic being here with my sister and nephew too! I've been making a jigsaw puzzle since yesterday... kinda nice to have leisure time to participate in relaxing activities. Hubby is still working while I'm off for a month, but he took a few days off next week for a mini vacay to Skagit Valley. And today we had a fantastic lunch with the family at Moxies. I'm really enjoying the little things. Being in a treatment cycle always makes me happy and hopeful, and it's a nice change from being worried or sad.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Looking Ahead

Super short update:

I'm on cycle day 29 now. This means I'm waiting for the witch to arrive (my next cycle to start). The time out was good for me, but now I'm looking forward to trying another round of IVF. It's a nice feeling to look ahead with positive thoughts rather than focusing on the loss of our first embryo. I'm now excited, not scared! I'm also a bit impatient.. my summer shifts are ending this week, and soon I'll have a lot more time to think too much. Yay for a month off, though! :)

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Time out

It's been 15 days since we got the official news that our IVF failed. When the nurse called to tell me the results, I saved her the awkward part of the job and told her I had already seen the results online a few hours earlier.

The nurse went on to say that my fertility specialist had okayed me to go ahead and try again right away. I was sad and felt empty inside, so I quickly agreed. After all, the sooner I start my next treatment, the sooner I could get pregnant and hold my baby in my arms. My prescription was faxed straight to the pharmacy, and I was to start meds the next morning. New consent forms were in my email within minutes. Fees were discussed. We were good go go! Or were we...?

That evening my husband and I were chatting in the family room. I was glad we wouldn't have to wait to try again. But something was nagging at me.. Maybe our first IVF failed because my body had just gone through so much. It needed time to heal. My ovaries were still swollen. I was having heartburn from overstimulation. I had just been through a rough procedure, the egg retrieval. But that wasn't all. We were going from heartbreak to hope too quickly. We needed time to heal our hearts, too. So we took a time out.

I emailed the nurse and doctor saying that I'd made an emotional decision and I wanted to wait out a cycle before trying again. I want to be sure that when our next embryo enters my body, there's a healthy home for it. After all, he or she is hopefully going to spend nine months in there.

I'm keeping busy with summer classes. I usually don't have the mental energy to think about the failed transfer and get sad over it. Weekends have been busy and fun. Life feels good. At least when I don't have a mountain of marking! :)  Our spirits are stronger, and so is my body. Well, except for the fact that I'm home from work today with a pinched nerve and crazy lower back pain.. but that's a
different issue.

With previous treatments, I never wanted to wait between cycles. A cycle without a fertility treatment meant a cycle without hope. But I'm happy I took the time out this cycle. Hopefully in a few weeks I'll be into my next treatment cycle.. my second IVF with my first frozen embryo transfer.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Result

Last night I told hubby that I didn't think I was pregnant. I'd been feeling it for a few days. I was also naughty and had been testing early with home pregnancy tests, and my urine simply refused to give even the faintest second line. An hour later, I started bleeding. And then I knew it was over.

I cried it out. Like not the tears silently streaming down your face kind of crying, but the big, loud, ugly crying. I felt like my heart was in pieces. I felt betrayed and broken. I had pleaded and prayed for this pregnancy. With a 65% success rate, I was counting on this to work for me. But it didn't, and it wasn't fair. And so I cried some more. My hubby was endlessly patient with me. Held me and let me get it all out. And I really did feel better to get it out.

I phoned the on-call clinic doctor, and he told me to keep taking my progesterone and to go for the beta blood test the next day because it's common to bleed during IVF pregnancies. He gave me a bit of hope. But at the same time, I just knew I wasn't pregnant.

I had lots of intense dreams last night. I was up at 5:10 am, so I could get to the lab near my school to do the blood test before starting work. I was sad in the morning, but only cried a little, and only a couple of times. When I saw the result online in the afternoon, I wasn't surprised. I knew it would be negative, and it was. So, our first IVF officially failed. A BFN. In infertility circles, that's a common acronym that means Big Fat Negative.

I think I will miss the feeling of maybe being pregnant. It was nice to think our baby might be in there. But the blood test showed I was never pregnant. I'd had this nagging feeling for a couple of days that this hadn't worked, and it's hard to try n grasp hope when you're feeling pretty hopeless. It was good to get some closure with the official test results. I feel relatively calm and at peace right now as I write this. I imagine the crying and grieving isn't over.

I'm lucky to have people in my life who are supporting me through this. My hubby and I are so much stronger together than each of us are individually. He has been taking over a whole lot more housework than usual, preparing separate meals for me at times, and letting me spend a lot of time resting. It's definitely helped while my body is trying to return to normal after what I just put it through.
Care Package from my sis

My family and friends (including some fantastic colleagues) also add to my strength. Unpregnant Chicken has been my go to person with her practical advice and answers to my many questions. And I forgot to write this in my earlier post, but my sister took my transfer day as the perfect opportunity to spoil me with pretty flowers and a care package (and she even added a treat for hubby). I guess as horrible as this failed IVF is, I have to remember that I have much to be thankful for in life. And I really am thankful. But this still sucks.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Days 3-6 Post 5-day Embryo Transfer

Been feeling a whole lot better the last few days.

After the crazy heartburn incident, I checked my blood reports online from the blood draw at the hospital. My liver function, white blood cells, and sodium were all high enough to be out of range. The sodium was expected because I'm on a high salt diet to help draw water out of my ovaries. The liver function made a light bulb go on - no wonder I was having trouble with heartburn! I couldn't break down fat with my liver not working properly.

My family doctor put me on Ranitidine 150 (Zantac) twice a day, and that has been helping. I've been eating way healthier, eating less, and trying to have only limited amounts of fat. It's kinda annoying, but sooo worth it!

Both my family doctor and my fertility doctor have said the heartburn and liver issues are both due to ovarian hyperstimulation. If I do am pregnant, the issues will continue for several more weeks.

I've been cramping, mostly at night in bed, pretty much daily. It's a common effect of taking progesterone daily, but I'm kinda hoping it's a sign of implantation. I'm currently 6dp5dt (6 days past 5-day embryo transfer), so our little embaby is 11 days old now. By now, implantation should be complete and cells that will become the placenta and fetus are developing.

Tomorrow I begin my five weeks of summer classes. I'll be much busier than I have been lately, so it'll help the days go by faster until the blood test.

That's all for now. I'm thankful to have you, my readers, following along on my journey.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Day 1 and Day 2 Post Embryo Transfer

I took the day after transfer off to rest my body and allow our little embaby to settle in. That didn't end up happening. I got heartburn in the afternoon, and I tried my usual remedy of walking it off. Normally when I get heartburn, it doesn't feel like anything is burning. It feels like somebody punched me in the chest and I get severe pain that gets me leaping out of my bed or chair. I start breathing more heavily and it feels unbearable. Once I walk a fair bit, the acid usually goes back down and I get some relief. 

After the first walk, I thought I was better. I was wrong. I was eating really small portions, so I was getting hungry repeatedly. A short while later, my heartburn was back. And then I went for another walk. And it returned again. This continued off and on all afternoon and evening. I was alternating between being hungry, eating small meals, getting heartburn, and going for walks.

I had already taken a Zantac and 5 Tums by then. At night, I took another Zantac. That seemed to set my stomach off, and the next thing I knew, I was running to the bathroom. I was exhausted from my five walks, but every time I stopped and sat down, I'd be in too much pain. I don't know if it was the exhaustion or if I made myself sick from all the meds, but I was getting nauseated and light headed. And I still couldn't stop walking for fear of the intense chest pain returning. My hubby wanted to take me to the hospital, but I knew I wouldn't be able to sit long enough to get there before needing to get up and move to prevent the pain.

Finally, close to 1:00 am, my husband called an ambulance. We spent most of the miserable night in the hospital. They did an ECG, urine test, and blood test. My heart rate was 144 at first and stayed elevated for quite some time. It did return to normal as the hours passed by. I was feeling dehydrated, extremely hungry, and shaky. Even ice chips made me gag. My remedy was to rub ice on my lips and then slurp in the tiny bit of liquid. That kept my throat from being too dry. A few hours in, I was given a half dose of Ativan which made me feel relaxed. I had a few short, light sleeps. Eventually we were told my blood results, given another half Ativan and a prescription for stronger antacids and The blood results weren't too scary, I think, but I'll need to follow up with my doctor as some tests had out of range results. 

We got home around 6:30 am this morning. Had a sip of orange juice and half a cup of Breakfast Essentials meal replacement. Took my progesterone and went to bed. Slept til around 11:30 am, and woke up feeling ok. I was physically doing ok, but just so anxious that if I ate anything, I'd get heartburn and be suffering again like yesterday. I've been keeping the meals super light - half of a fruit/veggie/milk smoothie and a salad. So far no heartburn, but I still feel a bit wiped out from being up all night and running on 5 hours of sleep. 

Hubby made me an appointment with my family doctor for Friday morning. Then we headed out to get the prescription antacids. The pharmacist said they were probably okay during pregnancy because they're considered low risk, but not enough studies have been doing to say they're completely safe. He said it's better to check with my fertility specialist, so for now, I'm holding off. 

After all that crappiness, the good news is that our blastocyst should have hatched out of its shell by now and should be beginning to attach itself to my uterus. How awesome is that?!

Transfer Day

Monday was The Big Day! I actually managed to get some sleep the night before which was a pleasant surprise. Hubby and I headed to the fertility clinic to bring our embaby home. I was supposed to keep a full bladder which is always a challenge for me. I have a small bladder, and when I'm nervous, I always have to pee! We got called in a little late too, so that didn't help.

First, we met with an embroyologist who talked to us about our little ones. She said that they had done very well over night, and even the two that hadn't been doing so well the previous day were moving along nicely. We had initially decided to transfer two embryos, but over the past several days, I was thinking of following what my fertility specialist recommended - transfer one for now. The embryologist continued on to explain the updated grading system now that embryos had graduated from morula to blastocyst. She said that we would be transferring an AA blastocyst, the highest possible grade! I signed the papers, and we were good to go.

We headed to the operating room, and they got me set up. I had very little on my mind aside from trying to control my bladder! I was a little scared that I might pee on the doctor while he was doing the procedure. The nurse told me that it's not common, but it has happened before.

Finally, the nurse used an ultrasound to guide the doctor who was using a speculum and catheter to get ready to place the blastocyst. The doctor found the best place and asked the embryologist to bring out the embryo. Hubby and I were watching the screen with wonder. As the embryo was transferred in, we saw a little flash on the ultrasound which showed where it was placed. The embryo itself was too small to see, but the flash showed the air bubbles that were in the catheter on each side of the embryo. To the right is a picture with hubby pointing at the place in my uterus where our embaby was placed. We were free to go and just so happy. To be honest, and least half of my happiness at that point was because I was allowed to go empty my bladder! ;-)  But after that, it was all about our little embaby. 

On the way home, we both cried. It was such a tremendous sense of relief for me to be done with our first IVF. After all the injections and hormones and pills and blood tests and anxiety-filled early mornings at the clinic waiting for follicle scans and bruises and discomfort... it was just all done! Now we had an embryo in my uterus which will hopefully become our baby. We were happy happy happy!

I spent most of the day resting. In the afternoon, we got a call from the clinic. They had continued to grow our other embryos, and now 8 of them were considered good quality for cryopreservation. We were expecting 6, so this was a really nice surprise. In the freezer, we now have 2AA, 3BA, 1 AB, and 2 BB graded blastocysts. It's comforting to know they are there, just in case.

Now we have a couple of weeks to wait before we will know the results of our IVF. Prayers and finger crossing will be greatly appreciated!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Embryologist's Reports: Days 3 + 4

So as of our report on Day 2, we had 9 of our embryos doing well and one doing poorly.

Yesterday, Day 3, the embryologist reported that 7 are doing well, one was still doing poorly, and the two remaining ones were at the right stage of development, but low quality.

Today, Day 4, we still had 7 doing well. I asked for the grading on them this time. We have no grade 1 (excellent), four grade 2's (good), three grade 3's (average), and three grade 4's (below average).

We're excited that 7 are still doing fine. Now we wait til tomorrow to find out how many of them make the big leap from morula to blastocyst.

For the last couple days, the discomfort has continued. I've spent most of my time on the sofa with minimal physical activity except for short daily walks for circulation. I'm glad that I've been doing better since yesterday evening. Also pleased to be done with taking antibiotics.

Big news: our embryo transfer is scheduled for tomorrow at 11:00 am. That means one of our sweet little embryos is coming home to me! We could use lots of finger crossing and prayers, please and thank you!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Embryologist's Report

Now we're in the next stage of IVF which is really quite exciting - daily phone updates from the embryologist!

On Day 0, egg retrieval day, we were told that we had 19 eggs collected.

Yesterday, Day 1, we learned that 16 of our 19 eggs were mature. Out of those 16, ten of them fertilized. It was sooo cool to learn that we had ten itty bitty little embryos sitting in a petri dish that are half me, half hubby. And hopefully at least one of them will soon become our very own baby! 

Today, Day 2, the embryologist said that nine of our embryos are growing as they should, and one is doing poorly. So now we still have nine little embabies! Most of them are 4 cells now, but one is 6 cells, and one is 8 cells. Hoping they hang on til they either get put inside me or the freezer! 

Yesterday, I was uncomfortable, but not in a lot of pain. Today was a rough morning. I woke up early to do my daily progesterone suppository (which really hasn't been too awful so far) and then eat so I could have my antibiotics. Suddenly, I was having intense pain. Like the kind of pain where you're doubled over and wonder if you'll vomit or faint from the pain. Only Tylenol is allowed, as the stronger pain killers will thin out the endometrium which we're trying to thicken to prepare for implantation. I took two extra strength Tylenol, and for over an hour, I was still having intense cramping. 

I talked with a friend who has been through IVF, and then I realized that pain made sense. She pointed out that my ovaries had been poked 19 times with a needle to get those eggs out. And they're also stretched out from holding all those follicles, and now they're bloated with fluid. And then of course there were the two vaginal punctures. After poking needles in my stomach during stims, it got bruised and painful.. So of course my internal parts would be causing me pain, too. 

I'm glad the pain has faded, and I'll need to keep on top of the Tylenol so it doesn't get as intense as this morning. I've spent the majority of the last 48 hours on the sofa and in bed, but I go for a short walk each day. Gotta keep my eye on the prize - the pain is temporary, but there's a chance of a pretty sweet reward! 

So excited for tomorrow's update from the embryologist!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Stims, Trigger, and Retrieval

Here's the update:

Sunday, June 21

Our clinic visit on Sunday was a nice surprise! It's always nice to have my hubby there with me when he's available on weekends. My estrogen increased as it should have, and the scan showed 20 follicles! This was up from the 15 we saw on Friday, so we were pretty excited. Some of them were tiny, 9ish mm in size, so they are new and likely won't mature by the time the rest do. It was also nice to see some familiar faces of the ladies cycling with me. Chatting with them is so much better than sitting in the waiting area thinking too much! I continued another night of stims. We purchased three more batches of medication this week.

Monday, June 22

I returned to PCRM for monitoring on Monday. I've been super tired, but I was in good spirits. My scan showed some follicle growth, and the doctor said I was ready to trigger! Trigger means to take an HcG (pregnancy hormone) injection which gets the follicles ready to release the eggs and also primes the uterus lining to thicken in preparation for implantation.

I got a brief injection training and then received my HcG supplies, antibiotics, and instructions for egg retrieval. And that's when I kinda freaked out. Turns out that my antibiotics were capsules which I couldn't swallow. After a fair bit of panic and some weeping in the staff room at work, I managed to get a tablet version of the same pills, and I was good to go. The HcG injection bled more than the other injections, but it wasn't too bad. Pain was expected as my stomach is more sore each day. It was a nice to relief to know that it was my last self-injection in my belly - #28!

Tuesday, June 23

I was trying not to be super nervous about egg retrieval. Work is an awesome distraction, but the procedure was on my mind a whole lot. I also had a really sore belly and needed to ice it repeatedly. I'm blessed to have caring and supportive colleagues while I go through all of this. It seemed like a long day with too much time to think. Finally, I went to bed early and was really quite pleased when I remembered that I didn't need to poke myself!

Wednesday, June 24

I actually managed to get some sleep! Hubby and I were up early for the clinic. I was on an empty stomach and getting quite thirsty and hungry. When we got to the clinic, it was nice to see a cycle buddy before retrieval.

When it was my turn, they checked my HcG absorption and blood pressure, gave me a warmed up blankie, then hooked me up to an IV and got me started on sedatives and pain killers. I was happy to have a familiar nurse and my main doctor involved in the process. And it was nice to meet the embryologist beforehand too.

Once I got into the operating room, the nurses hooked up blood pressure and heart rate monitors. They put these sticky things with metal buttons (no idea what they're called!) on my chest and stomach which were a bit of a pain (literally) to get off later. I had a bunch of wires all over the place! Next, they put an oxygen line on my nose and added more meds into my IV line. The meds were going to make me feel relaxed and dizzy. I don't really remember anything about the procedure after that. I was conscious, but I just remember them saying it was done and they were going to wheel me to the recovery room. I'm glad I have no memories of pain or discomfort! My hubby joined me in the recovery room, and they kept monitoring vitals for 45 minutes. I was pretty happy to get juice and cookies. The embryologist came by to tell us 19 eggs were retrieved!! We were very excited to hear that number! We needed to wait a day to find out how many were mature and how many mature ones fertilized.

I was relieved to not be in pain. It wasn't until I got up that I realized how woozy I was. Walking made me dizzy and nauseated. I was glad I had my hubby around to dress me and get me to the car. The nausea continued for a few hours. I came home and began with my high salt diet - it's intended to prevent and relieve OHSS - ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. Basically, if you take in a lot of salt, it draws water out of your ovaries which are enlarged and fluid filled. So I was mostly just having chicken noodle soup and sugar free Gatorade. A 2-hour nap helped a lot with the nausea and dizziness. I spent almost the entire day in bed and on the sofa. Towards the evening, I could feel that the IV drugs were wearing off. I started getting crampy and a bit uncomfortable. Before things got worse, I went to sleep.

Now we have daily reports from the embryologist to look forward to!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Day 9 of Stims

I've been stimming for 9 days during which I've made 23 injection holes in my belly. My belly is sore, and it's been getting worse over the last couple of days. I'm having to ice it longer. It feels all bruised though only a tiny bit of bruising shows on the skin. It's mostly all inside. I was pretty stressed yesterday when I opened my new Gonal-F and it was completely different.. no pen! Instead a syringe with two needles and a vial of powder. Thanks to YouTube we learned how to mix n inject it.

On a more positive note, I had another follicle scan yesterday. I was really hoping that all 14 of my follicles were healthy and none had deteriorated. I was pleasantly surprised to learn the this doctor found 15 follicles! So wasn't expecting my number of follicles to go up! Also, she said my lining looked healthy with the triple layer look that is wanted. The follicles also grew a bit bigger than the previous scan and stayed close together in size. All very good news!

Since yesterday, a new side effect is picking up. I'm glad the headaches are gone, but now I just feel exhausted despite plenty of rest. I was in bed about 12 hours last night and had a decent sleep. This afternoon I was lying in bed for another two hours. And now, less than three hours later, I could totally go for a nap. I do remember feeling this way when I took Gonal-F a few months ago. Fatigue is really not as bad of a side effect compared to some of the other possibilities.

I have bloodwork and another follicle scan tomorrow morning, so up at 5:00 am again! Monitoring is now supposed to be daily. I'm excited to see how my follicles are doing! :)

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Stims and Scans

A week has gone by since my baseline scan. On Friday, I began my injectable ovary stimulating drugs (stims). Here's the update!

Day 1 (Friday)

Began my stims with two injections each night, 50 units of Gonal-F and 75 units of Menopur. I've previously used Gonal-F, so that wasn't too scary. Menopur was totally new for me.

Gonal-F comes in a pre-filled pen. You clean the area, screw on the needle, dial your dosage, grab a bunch of stomach fat, inject and wait 10 seconds, remove, dispose of the sharp part. Really not too awful.

Menopur isn't not quite as straightforward. It doesn't come pre-mixed, so you get to pretend you're a chemist and prep your own medication in addition to doing most of what you do for Gonal-F. I was pretty stressed that first time on Friday night. I don't always get the exact amount of saline into the syringe (apparently this is not a big deal anyways), and I have a heck of a time getting the air bubbles out. Supposedly, tapping the side of the needle removes the bubbles. That's what the teaching video shows. But in reality, tapping lightly does nothing, and tapping harder makes more bubbles! The hardest thing about using menopur is removing the cap from the needle. Yes, I'm serious. The cap is sooo tight. And so I tried to screw it off. That doesn't work. So I tried to pull it off. And it didn't move. So I tried pulling it harder. And again. And eventually I pulled with all my strength, the cap flew off, my hand lost control of the needle, and I stabbed it into my middle finger. OWW! So then I was bleeding and shaky and I still needed to inject myself while a bruise was rapidly forming in my finger. Day 1 of stims did not go as smoothly as I'd hoped. Ice helped a bit!

Day 2 (Saturday)

Same meds, same doses. Very very shaky hands! I was super nervous after accidentally stabbing my finger the previous day. Lucky for me, I had a cycle buddy who gave me some tips and a picture to help me get the cap off of the Menopur syringe off in a better way. This time I didn't stab myself. But it was still a pain (pun intended). Icing is gonna be a daily thing.

Day 3 (Sunday)

Cap and bubbles still annoying. But everything worked out fine. Got holes and mini bruises in my belly from the three days of injections.

Day 4 (Monday)

Bloodwork at PCRM. Up at 5:00 am to get to the clinic, got poked for blood, and then back to work after 16 days off! My estrogen was supposed to be between 500 and 1000, and it was 558... within the normal range, but on the low end. My Gonal-F dose was increased to 75 IU. Menopur still at 75 IU. Injections were still a bit stressful, but not as scary. This is the day when the bad headaches started. Only way to get rid of them is to sleep them off. More holes and bruises.

Day 5 (Tuesday)

Continued with the same dose. Felt weepy in the morning, and had a headache again in the evening. Getting hard to find new places to inject cuz already so many holes n tiny bruises on my belly.

Day 6 (Wednesday)

Bloodwork and first IVF follicle scan at PCRM. I don't know what the estrogen level was this time. Hopefully it doubled (or more) as it was supposed to. The most exciting part was finding out how many follicles we have - 6 in one ovary and 8 in the other - a grand total of 14 wee little follicles! The good news is that they are all close in size. The number will be going down as we get closer to retrieval. The doc is hoping for maybe eight embryos. For now, though, they're about 8-10ish millimeters each.

After the clinic, I had a great day at work... it was our Recognition Day and Graduation. Reminded me again how much I love my job. :)

Menopur and Gonal-F stayed at 75 units each, and I began a new, third injection of Orgalutran. I was pretty scared of this one because the needle is thicker and less sharp. That means harder to get in and likely more painful. The hardest parts was (again) the cap! Removing it took a long time because I was trying so hard not to stab myself with it. The injection itself wasn't too bad. It's supposed to keep me from ovulating - don't wanna lose our eggs before retrieval!

Day 7 (Thursday)

All 3 injections again tonight. This time they left me with more pain that usual. Iced it for longer, too, but still got a little bruise.

Tomorrow morning is bloodwork and follicle scan at PCRM again. Hoping all of them grew and none of them fizzled out! Going to the clinic every 48 hours while back at work is pretty exhausting. Not much of a headache today though, so that's a bonus. I'll find out tomorrow if my doses are changing, too. I'm pretty excited to get the update on our follicles though!!

That's all for now, but I'll have more news to share soon.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

A small victory

If you read yesterday's post Baseline Scan, I'm pleased to report that my ultrasound this morning showed result #1 - no cysts! According to the doctor, my ovaries look happy, and my lining (endometrium) looks normal. I won't be hearing about the results from my blood draw unless there is something wrong. But since there aren't any cysts, my estrogen should be under 80. I was so worried that something could come up at the baseline that would prevent me from moving forward with IVF. How nice to make it past this hurdle!

After my scan, I picked up my first batch of fertility medications. Ovarian stimulation starts tomorrow evening. Wanna see what $1154 worth of IVF drugs look like?

This represents a whole lot of poking, and like they say on infomercials, "And that's not all! If you open up those boxes up right now, you'll get another dozen needles to poke yourself with!" Good thing I pick them up in person so I don't pay shipping and handing. :)  Would be pretty sweet if they came with the classic infomercial money back guarantee though!

Even though IVF isn't covered by health insurance (boo hoo!), I do get help when it comes to the drugs (yay!). I end today's post with a happy sigh. I'm relieved and excited to move forward.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Baseline Scan

Tomorrow is my baseline scan to make sure everything is okay before I go ahead and stimulate my ovaries! I'm expecting one of the following results in terms of the cyst that was previously found in my ovary:

  1. No more cyst  = buy my meds and begin stims on Friday - Yay!!
  2. Cyst present but not producing estrogen = the same as above - Also yay!!
  3. Cyst present and elevating my estrogen  = no stims and more waiting for cyst to go away - Definitely not yay!!

#1 is ideal, but I'd settle for #2 since it would still give me the go ahead to move forward. 

In addition to the cystuation I described above (hehe, I amuse myself!), I also need my uterus lining to look nice n healthy.

Wish me luck, readers! I'll keep you posted.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Infertility Before Treatments

In the fall of 2008, when my hubby and I were planning to get married, I was asked by someone if we were going to start a family soon after the wedding. I remember saying, "We're not even married yet - ask me in 10 years!" After the wedding, some more people asked. Indian families are big on procreating and love to ask people when they're gonna get moving on starting a family. After the wedding, my answer changed to, "We just got married - ask me in 5 years!" Half a year later, I remember thinking, 'I'm already 28! Maybe we should start trying next year.' My timeline for wanting babies was shrinking rapidly.

In June of 2010, a year a half into our marriage, I stopped taking the pill and waited to get pregnant. And I waited. And waited. They say that if you don't get pregnant within a year and you're under 35, you should seek help. That's also when you get the label of infertile. I noticed that I had put on weight, my acne had returned with a vengeance, and my cycles were way too long and irregular. After way too much googling, I was convinced that I had PCOS - polycystic ovarian syndrome, and that's why I wasn't getting pregnant. So in May 2011, after 11 months of unsuccessful trying, I went to the doctor.

The doctor said that some people just take a little longer to get pregnant. He checked my hormones, and he said I was perfectly healthy. I wasn't convinced. I told him that I'd noticed certain things about my body, and I wanted him to check my ovaries for cysts. He reluctantly agreed, but it turned out that my ovaries were clear. I was told there was nothing wrong and to keep trying, and that was the end of that.

Another year went by. Still no pregnancy. By then, I was so terrified that if I went back to the doctor, I'd be told that I could never have kids. So I didn't go. Eventually though, I knew I needed to get more testing to find out what was going on. In the fall of 2012, I tried another doctor. This time, I got the diagnosis. PCOS with a string of cysts lining each of my ovaries. Three months of Day 21 Progesterone bloodwork verified that I wasn't even ovulating.

I was referred to an OBGYN. It took me a few months for my first appointment, and then three more cycles to do further testing. He confirmed that I still wasn't ovulating. That summer, he had me start on Metformin pills for insulin resistance. The meds did their job - they balanced out my hormones and they got me ovulating. I even lost half the weight I'd gained. But I was sick all the time. Constantly running to the bathroom only works when you stay at home during the holidays. But going back to work meant that I had to stop taking the meds. I was sure that there was no way I'd even be able to get pregnant on those pills because I was so sick and dehydrated all the time I took them.

The following year was rough. Everybody around me seemed to have babies or be pregnant. It was hard to see. I felt jealous, and then I felt guilty about being jealous. I was sad for myself. I prayed, I pleaded. I was mostly happy on a day to day basis. But my longing for a baby was in the back of my head... so about once a month, I needed to break down and cry it out. And then I'd be okay. And go about my normal daily life in a healthy way. I exercised and ate healthy food. I spent way too much time googling ways to treat infertility without actually going for fertility treatments. I was scared to go that route. All the testing and money and physical and emotional pain of treatments was something I wanted to avoid. I kept hoping that I would miraculously get pregnant on my own. I didn't.

Finally, in the spring of 2014, my family doctor said I should go ahead with fertility treatments. He wanted to refer me to a fertility clinic, the Pacific Centre for Reproducive Medicine (PCRM). I agreed.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Moving along

Things are moving along in so many aspects!

First, my job situation with finding a position for next school year is solved. (Yippeeeeeee!) With the help of a dear colleague and my union president, I was lucky to get support from my principal and HR during a meeting on Wednesday. After holding my breath for a day and a half, on Thursday evening, I got the phone call. I was given a full time continuing position in the same school where I've been for 8 years. This exceeded what I'd even thought was possible. I get to stay in Adult Ed, and I get to stay at my own school. I was in disbelief for the first couple of days, but now I'm just plain happy. The last 8 weeks of uncertainty really took a toll on my my mind which ended up affecting me physically. Feeling normal is so underrated.

Second, I had my trip to PCRM on Thursday. Paying another $6500 was a little nerve wracking. And that's not even the entire cost yet. Paid $500 last week, and more payments to come over the next few weeks. I described it to to my friend like this: "It's like buying a car. But after you pay, you might or might not actually get one."

After payment, I had my sonohysterogram. I was happy to see my own main doctor would be doing the procedure. At the clinic, you never know who will be doing what for you - one doctor manages my case, but anyone of the docs can do the monitoring and procedures. Turns out that my uterus looks fine with no abnormal growths inside!! Speculums are always uncomfortable, but this time it wasn't painful. When he pumped the saline solution into my uterus, I felt cramping and discomfort, but again, not a lot of pain. Another good thing is that the catheter was easily able to get to where it needed to in my uterus, which means the shape of my uterus shouldn't be an issue when it comes time to transfer an embryo or two back in there.

Next, I had my medication appointment. It was a bit overwhelming. I'll be on Marvelon for 19 days instead of 21 (yay!). I'm relieved because I've had a few days of really bad headaches that started midday and wouldn't go away til I went to bed for the night. Not much nausea anymore is a relief.

 A few days later, I'll have baseline bloodwork and ultrasound and then start stimulating my ovaries. I'll be on an antagonistic protocol for my IVF to make sure my ovaries don't let those eggs go before they're ready for retrieval. During the following weeks, I'll be using Gonal-F and Marvelon to stimulate follicle growth, Orgalutran to prevent ovulation, Pregnyl to trigger ovulation at the right time and to prime the endometrium. Then I'll use Crinone suppositories for progesterone support. I'll write more about the meds once I move onto that step.

I'm excited to start stims and get closer to making our embryos, but also a bit apprehensive to be poking myself a ridiculous amount of times, also getting pokes from nurses during monitoring, and having a whole lot more of those internal ultrasounds. I've heard the suppositories are pretty gross. And then there's the side effects of all those meds. EEEEEEK!! I'm keeping my eye on the goal, though. :)

I'm off of work for two weeks now which is really nice! Also means more time for more posts! Catch ya soon!

Monday, May 25, 2015

An eventful week

I'm on day 6 of my 21 days of Marvelon. So far I've been having slight nausea and feeling more tired that usual. Both of them are common side effects. Also feeling random dull aches in my head, but none of the symptoms are too strong or horrible yet! I've kept up with eating well and walking regularly, so overall I think I'm doing pretty good.

This week should be interesting. Three important things are going on:

1) On Wednesday afternoon, I'll be meeting with HR and my principal and our union president to discuss my job for next year. Really hoping something good comes from this. The uncertainty about next year's position has been weighing heavily on me the last while, and I'd like to put it behind me.

2) On Thursday, I'll be having a sonohysterogram (also called a saline infusion sonogram) at my fertility clinic, PCRM. They'll be using a speculum and inserting a catheter to put saline into my uterus. Then they'll put in an ultrasound probe to see how everything looks inside. Finding nothing interesting inside there would be great news.

3) After the procedure on Thursday, I have an IVF medication appointment with a PCRM nurse. She'll explain the injectable meds I'll be needing when I move onto stimulating my ovaries. I'll learn what to take and how to take it and how to mix my own meds. Kinda thrilling because these hormone injections will help create and plump up the egg that will be the start of our baby!

That's all for now. Except that it's Geek Pride Day which is kinda sorta amusing. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

CIAW 2015

Today marks the first day of Candian Infertility Awareness Week. And I have good news - the witch has arrived! Yesterday I began a new cycle, with the previous one ending on cd50!!

This morning the clinic charged us a $500 IVF deposit, so we're OFFICIALLY doing IVF now! My sister told me on the phone today that she could hear the excitement in my voice. I'm not even trying to be cautious about my feelings, in case... I'm just plain super duper excited! Tomorrow I'll begin taking Marvelon. I don't know if it's because we just watched the new Avengers movie the other day, but taking pills called Marvelon kinda makes me feel like a super hero. Basically, it's birth control pills that I'll be taking for three weeks. That way my ovaries can have a nice slumber before I make them run a marathon.

The sunny weather and a nice walk around the neighbourhood and my yummy homemade brekkie smoothie (banana + mango + cabbage + spinach + carrot + milk) gave me a great start to the day. Today I'm working through some Pre-Calculus Math 12 for my self-directed Pro-D, and I'm actually finding it quite fun. It's like I can feel my brain growing! (I can almost hear some of you muttering the words "yuck" and "nerd")  hehe :P

Thanks for reading. Time to get back to Permutation and Combinations. I'll leave you with my first picture on this blog. I really should add pics more often!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Provera and more

So now I'm on cd48! *groan* A week ago, I emailed my doctor wondering if I should keep waiting or if something needed to be done. He had me start a prescription of Provera to help kick start my next cycle. Two good things about Provera are that it's cheap ($2-something was my cost) and that the pills are tiny (easy to swallow). One crappy thing about Provera is that I'm getting side effects that are similar to PMS - cramping, lower back pain, and acne. I've used up 7 of my 10 pills, and still no sign of the witch (my term for my period, or "Aunt Flow" or AF). Let's hope the last 3 do the the job!

Despite waiting so long for the witch to arrive so I can get a move on with IVF, I'm actually pretty darn happy today. It's Friday! I had a nice day at work. I went for a walk in the sunshine. And it's a long weekend! We'll be celebrating my nephew's 14th birthday this weekend too.. family time is always nice. 

You may have noticed my silence on Mother's Day. The reason is, I don't have a lot to say this year. In the past, Mother's Day has been difficult. It's hard to hold back tears when you're absolutely bombarded (particularly on social media) with how much of a blessing it is to be a mom, and you've been struggling for years and haven't been able to experience that joy and don't know if you ever will. This year, though, I didn't feel any sadness. I enjoyed celebrating my mom and sister's special day. I suppose I'm so filled with hope right now that it's drowned out the sorrow of not already being a mom. I also read several articles dedicated to women who are mothers without kids - those mothers who have angel babies in heaven, those who are mothers who just haven't been able to have a child yet (this is kinda how I view myself), those who mother other people's children as their own. It was nice to know that people remembered, thought of us, prayed for us, and acknowledged us through their writing. The yummy barbecue and coconut cream pie and chocolate cake helped make the day a little sweeter, too! :)

Please cross your fingers for me that there's a witch sighting soon! 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Good things

My last two posts showcased the rough time I was having with work issues (which still aren't solved), but now that I'm feeling a bit more balanced, I'll go back to writing about IVF treatment.

I'm almost ready to get going with my IVF protocol. I'm on cycle day 39 (CD39), and my cycle is usually closer to 35 days. I'm later than usual (no, not pregnant!) by a few days... but that could just be from stress. So any day now, my next cycle will begin. Why is that so fantastic? Because on CD3 I get to begin the oral contraceptive pill (OCP) Marvelon as my first part of IVF treatment. I'll be taking it for 21 days to give my ovaries a rest before I send them into overdrive in the following cycle. Hopefully that will also allow enough time for my cyst in my ovary to completely disappear. They'll check for the cyst after my three weeks of Marvelon. I was happy to learn from my doctor that even if it's still there, they will still go ahead with treatment as long as my estrogen isn't too high. *fingers crossed* 

So while nothing has happened quite yet... being so close is super exciting! I'm having a hard time waiting, but I keep telling myself things like "Patience is a virtue" and "Good things come to those who wait". And by good things, I'm sure you can guess that I'm thinking of babies! Meanwhile, I'm trying to stay healthy to help my chances of success. The beautiful sunshiney weather and the late work shift meant that I was able to make myself a healthy smoothie for brekkie and to go for a walk around the neighbourhood. Gotta try n stay positive and make the best of each day. My time WILL come!

Sunday, May 3, 2015


My last post was full of anxiety. Sadly, things got a lot worse before they got better. I got more and more anxious throughout the night, and eventually I ended up in a panic, nauseated and feeling so hot that I felt like I was fainting. I dumped cold water on myself, and that seemed to make me feel more alive. I was still exhausted, shaky, and a complete mess. A trip to the ER around 3:00 am took care of it.

I paced in the parking lot of the hospital for almost an hour. I was shaking badly from the cold, but I couldn't handle the temperature indoors - it made me feel like I wouldn't be able to stay conscious. When it was my turn, I was given an Ativan, and that knocked me out. Got home at 6:00 am and went straight to bed, and slept til almost 2:00 pm. I woke up feeling a hundred times better. And I thought that was the end of it. But I'm still not back to normal.

Since Friday, my anxiety is coming and going. Sometimes it's mild. Sometimes I fear that I'm going to get physically sick again. Distracting myself works. Talking about it helps, too. When I have to explain my work situation to someone, it sounds like it's not so bad. Like I'll make it through just fine. But when I'm sitting quietly and not interacting with anyone, I start thinking. Way too much. And it brings on waves of anxiety and makes me feel shaky inside. I don't know how long this will last, but I need to move past this as soon as possible. Thinking about the anxiety gives me more anxiety because I'm scared of what happened to me the other night.

I just want this work stuff over with so I can focus my mind, my body, my entire being on IVF. The good news is that I get two more weeks at my own school. That means two less weeks of working on call. I 'm not certain whether I'm more nervous about being away from my own school and getting a permanent job elsewhere or about working on call for less than two months. I'm looking forward to the time when these waves of anxiety won't wash over me in between the times when I'm distracted. I miss feeling mentally healthy and well-adjusted. Hopefully soon.

I need to remember that this isn't just something that's happening to me. Sure, the events are happening to me. But what my mind is doing... I can and need to control it. I can't let me fears run my life. I have to be strong. And if there's one change my infertility has caused, it's definitely made me stronger than I thought that I could ever be. Looking forward to waves of relief and happiness soon. 

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Brain Explosion Pending

My head is a mess today. I'm days away from beginning IVF. But what's really making things rough is work. I'm having trouble accepting and dealing with the idea of having to work elsewhere. No change in pay or benefits. Huge change in job description. 

When I got my first contract teaching Adult Ed in my school, I was in a different place than where I am today. I hadn't even met my husband face to face at that point - our relationship was limited to online and phone interactions. I had previously worked on call at this school and absolutely loved it. And when I got my first contract position there, I quickly learned that I wanted to stay there as long as I could. My contracts there ended several times, I got laid off, was reassigned, and was transferred, yet somehow, I managed to stay there. 

In the last eight years, so much has changed. Our toughest battle has been infertility. The shame, the fear, the pain. The longing. The wondering and waiting. The hope followed by disappointment, month after month after month. So much instability. But through it all, one of the things that has remained constant is that I've been teaching at the most amazing school. The staff, the students, the culture.. it's my home. 

And now as I get ready to face IVF, perhaps the most overwhelming thing I'll ever have to deal with.. and perhaps the one thing that might make up for four years and ten months of longing for parenthood... I can't even give any mental energy to IVF. My brain feels like it might explode from all the pressure from this job situation. I'm queasy and my head feels heavy and my neck feels stiff and I'm exhausted. And I'm still kinda hoping this is all a dream, and when I wake up, I'll remember this nightmare about losing my position and be very thankful to still have my place in Adult Ed.

Sunday, April 26, 2015


I began this blog three weeks ago, but my first post didn't get published until today. That day, I found out that I might need to leave behind my home away from home - the amazing school where I've been teaching for almost eight years. Before I read that email that evening, I had spent the day poring over our IVF consent forms.

The decisions seemed overwhelming... what should we do with our embryos if one of us were to die? Or if both of us died? Or if we divorced? Or if we finished using up as many as we wanted and still had leftovers? Mostly morbid questions that we didn't think we'd ever have to think about. Or talk about. Or make decisions about. And the most important question of all, one embryo or two? Assuming that we will get more than one egg at retrieval and many millions of sperm coming together to produce what we're hoping are multiple embryos, we needed to decide whether we want to transfer back one embryo or two back into my uterus.

There are pros and cons for both options. Putting back two embryos increases the chance of pregnancy by ten percent. TEN PERCENT! This number is HUGE considering the odds of getting pregnant with our previous treatments ranged from 15-20 percent. On the other hand, getting pregnant with multiples means a more risky pregnancy. Transferring one embryo will make it more likely we will have a single healthy child. Then again, another point to consider is do we want to have to go through treatment all over again when we want to try for a second child? But isn't it better to get two parental leaves instead of one? And it's definitely easier to raise one baby at a time than two at a time. Harder financially and physically with two. It would be pretty awesome and special to have twins though. And even if we put back two embryos, we could still ending up having a singleton.. or none. My head was a mess.

These were the questions that were flying around in circles in my poor achy head that day. And then I got the news about my position at work. It's not a matter of finances. I'm lucky to have enough seniority to be guaranteed work and full pay. But the thought of leaving Adult Education and my dear colleagues and students was simply too much handle on the same day as my whirlwind of IVF options had taken over my brain. And so I slept. 

A Tough Cupcake is Born

This morning, I told my husband that I'm terrifed of IVF. He said, "But you're a tough cupcake, so you will make it." And thus, the blog "A Tough Cupcake" is born. I'm new to blogging, but I'm hoping to share my journey from fertility treatments to parenthood. Thanks for joining me on the ride!

(Originally written Monday, April 6th, 2015)