My family is perfectly imperfect and not a day goes by without humour, tears or tantrums. Blogging is the modern version of keeping a diary so feel free to read along while I share the good the bad and the ugly aspects of being me!

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Grow Baby Grow

Last week I had my "WTF" appointment with the fertility doctor. This is the appointment where you pull up a chair close to the desk, look your doctor right in the eye and ask what the f*ck happened and why am I not pregnant???
My doctor is as baffled as I am but after going over all of my test results we discovered something.... the lab didn't run the test for lupus which is something that my doctor highly suspects.
I immediately asked the lab what happened as I never would have moved forward with the cycle had I not thought that the test was negative.
Turns out that there was a fee for the test that the tech didn't tell me about so they simply didn't do it.
Nothing I can do about it at this point but I am getting the test done this week (along with some tests for proteins C and S).
We also have some additional health issues where Nick is concerned.
While checking the mail I got what I assumed was the dates for his next scans but it was actually a letter with an appointment date and time with an endocrinologist that oncology referred him to.
I connected with his nurse who was quite surprised that the doctor didn't talk to us during our last appointment as it was noted in his file to discuss this current problem. Over the last year it appears as though Nick has only grown 0.7cm which is not normal for a teenage boy. When plotted on the growth chart Nick sits in the 5% for weight and the 7% for height which is a bit concerning.
The likelihood is that there may be an endocrine growth disorder caused by the chemo and radiation , unfortunately this is another long term effect of cancer and its treatments. The treatment for this growth disorder is frequent injections of a human growth hormone. These treatments may allow him to be a more average height but it also comes with increased risk of developing cancers.
Are those few inches worth the risks and the pain of the injections... only Nick can decide that. We will be meeting with the Endocrinologist in September and will know more at that point.
Until then we will be measuring not only weight but height - repeat after me

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Broken Eggs

The results are in from my blood work and sadly it wasn't what I'd hopped for. Despite having a few days of faint double lines by the time I went for blood work the lines were gone and so was the majority of the hcg in my system - another failed attempt.
I am honestly baffled by why I have so many failures, there is no real "reason" for this to be happening.
In total I have done four fresh cycles of IVF and twelve cycles using frozen embryos. Out of thirty-two embryos that Dom and I have created we have only Maxwell as success.
We have always assumed that my ectopic pregnancy is what started my infertility journey but now looking back I wonder if it was there long before.
When I was pregnant with Nick my initial beta levels were very high and the doctor highly suspected that it was a multiple pregnancy. Before I could have my first ultrasound I had episodes of bleeding and so the assumption was that I had miscarried one. My next pregnancy years later was ectopic which was only detected after multiple bouts of bleeding. Then again years later I finally had another pregnancy (with Maxwell) I once again experienced bleeding which was thought to be caused from a subchoronic hematoma in the uterus - thankfully around the middle of my second trimester I stopped having the bleeding and the rest of the pregnancy was uneventful.
You see, looking back I wonder if there was always "something" threatening my ability to conceive and I am now rather convinced that my two boys are the result of sheer luck... or miracles (depending on your faith)
We still have nine embryos frozen and we will likely be trying again in June but before that I think that the doctor and I need to put on our thinking caps.
Over the last decade I have undergone lots of tests to try and find the root cause.... I have done multiple laparoscopic surgeries, biopies, D&C's, HSG's, hydrosonograms, immune testing and we have added many things to my IVF/FET cycles to try and sway the outcome, I take metformin in case my sugar levels are the problem, I take progesterone shots instead of suppositories, I take added estrogen, I take heparin to thin my blood, we do assisted hatching in case the shell around the embryo is too thick...... and the list goes on and on.
On paper things look ideal, I respond well to medication and Dom provides "superior" quality samples (he actually had the doctor put it in writing lol), our embryos look good and my uterus looks supportive but once in there the embryos just don't want to stick or occasionally don't remain stuck.... It's as if I'm internally toxic and kill my babies upon their return to my womb. Something inside tells me that the root cause is something common and simple and that once we find the problem it will be easily managed but for the life of me I cant figure out what the issue is.
I go for my appointment with the doctor next week and we will discuss things then, over the next few weeks I will be focused on shedding some pounds and trying to improve my health as that can never hurt.

On a positive note, yesterday I went for a meeting with the school board about Riddick. After five years of begging, pleading, threatening and finally letting them "hang themselves" they now fully support Riddick being moved to a specialized classroom so that he can hopefully acquire some life skills to help him navigate in the world.
I may destroy my children in utero but once they are here I do my best to provide the best life for them - ya hear that tiny embryos.... you're missing out!

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Somebody Is Sixteen!

Yesterday was Nick's sixteenth birthday!
I can hardly believe that I am now the mother of a son who is old enough to drive, work and have consensual sex *my head is spinning*
Nick is a really low key kinda guy, he isnt one for elaborate parties or celebrations where all eyes are on him, even as a toddler birthday parties were never his thing.
We celebrated the way that Nick enjoys - with food!
Our dinner menu consisted of BBQ Steak, Grilled Herb Shrimp, Zesty Cheese Tortellini Salad, Corn on the cob and for dessert some Deep Fried Cheesecake with Vanilla Strawberry Sauce (holy cow was it good!).
Dinner was incredibly delicious and we were all very full.
Aside from our closest family (with the exception of Aunt Bonnie who couldnt join us) Nick invited his best friend.
Last year for his birthday he had planned to get some new shoes but after his diagnosis decided that the gift would be impractical since he would have "no where to wear them" but this year he's all about the "Jordans" and so we will soon be headed to the Nike Outlet so he can pick out some new kicks.
For some reason yesterday I was in a bit of a funk, my children's birthdays generally do that to me but yesterday Nick's did especially.
I found myself reverting back to the sadness of last year and the worry that I felt over the notion that he may not have another birthday - Thank the Lord he has!
Last year was also the last meal that we all had as family unit that included Grandpa and so recalling that dinner out was bitter sweet.
Today brings some renewed hope and happiness.
Unlike most holidays the date that we celebrate Easter changes with each year, Nick was born on April 7th which happened that year to be Easter Sunday - he was also the only boy born in that hospital on that day.
Today my Grandpa celebrates his birthday in Heaven, his death was fast and tragic and left more questions than answers. He didnt seem to cope with Nicks diagnosis very well and I have often wondered over the last year if he was sending Nick some of his stubborn pigheaded fighting spirit since he no longer needs it.
Despite Nick being born on the 7th I always associate his birth with Easter Sunday and so this morning as my thoughts drifted between that rainy day 16 years ago and my Grandfathers birthday I was greeted with a gift.... two tiny pink lines.
The fact that the test showed (very faintly) positive today seemed a bit serendipitous to me and I thought that perhaps my heart was telling my mind and eyes to see something invisible so I called Dom to verify, the lines indeed exist and my heart swells. 
Jesus has risen, Nick remains cancer free, after years apart Grandpa celebrates his birthday with Grandma and it appears that for the moment a miracle grows. 

Its still VERY early and anything can happen, there is a term that is used in the infertility community when one gets a positive test - cautiously optimistic.... that is what I am, with a hint of some heavenly hugs.

Mini Cheesecake recipe:

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

A 2 WW Science Experiment

Waiting is something that I am not skilled at, I generally like to know what is going on right at this very moment.
This lack of patience makes the two week wait especially hard as I would love nothing more then to have a pregnancy test read positive immediately but sadly that just isn't how it works.
I have bought what claims to be extra sensitive pregnancy tests and so for a purely scientific experiment I started testing today at 3dp3dt (3 days past a 3 day transfer) it obviously was negative as the embryo hasn't even implanted yet but I would like to know just how early these tests will register.
Here is a day by day timeline of what *should* be happening with my wee little embryos....

dpt = days past transfer

1dpt ..embryo is growing and developing
2dpt... Embryo is now a blastocyst
3dpt....Blastocyst hatches out of shell on this day
4dpt.. Blastocyst attaches to a site on the uterine lining
5dpt.. Implantation begins,as the blastocyst begins to bury in the lining
6dpt.. Implantation process continues and morula buries deeper in the lining
7dpt.. Morula is completely implanted in the lining and has placenta cells & fetal cells
8dpt...Placenta cells begin to secret HCG in the blood
9dpt...More HCG is produced as fetus develops
10dpt...More HCG is produced as fetus develops
11dpt...HCG levels are now high enough to be immediately detected on a home pregnancy test

12dpt... Blood Test at doctors

Sunday, 1 April 2012

And Now We Wait...

The last couple of weeks have flown by and I just realised that I hadn't blogged in a bit.
Nick is doing well but had a fainting spell last week and hit his head on the door frame, the nurse suspects that his blood pressure took a bit of a dip and so she would like to continue coming for her bi weekly visits a little while longer.
Kurt and Maxwell are coasting along nicely and I finally got the IPRC date for Riddick. We are all in agreement that a special classroom would be best for him so now all we need to do is convince the powers that be.
I also started our IVF cycle and many needles later transferred two embryos and froze nine. Now is when the time will drag, this period is what is known as the dreaded 2WW (two week wait), its the time until we find out if the cycle was successful. I lack patience so I test at home before my date for blood work, its also a better way for me to cope with the outcome because I pretty much know the answer before needing to be told.
Most home pregnancy tests will show + once the hcg level is above 50 but I bought ultra sensitive ones which supposedly will detect above 10 hcg (but the ratings are inconclusive about whether its as sensitive as it claims).
I will likely begin testing on Wednesday or Thursday but if it detects a pregnancy before next Tuesday I will be surprised. With Maxwell I tested nine days after the transfer and it was negative, it was only faintly positive on day 10.
I'm a glutton for punishment so I know that I am setting myself up to see negatives by testing so early but I cant help myself.
My legs are already getting sore from the nightly progesterone shots that I must take but that progesterone is what nourishes a pregnancy and I will continue to take it until the 13th week. Because I also must take heparin, after a short while I will end up the color of a smurf from all the bruising.
I'm hopeful and I feel a certain sense of ease, We have a plan and are working towards it. I'm an old hat at this IVF game and I know that sometimes things seem perfect and yet they just don't work out or that things seem disastrous and yet it all works out in the end.
Its not a game of skill or master, it really is a numbers game combined with a little bit of luck - there is no rhyme or reason to the outcome, it simply is what it is..... which is why I am thankful that I still have five more attempts cyrogenically nestled in the lab - but hopefully I wont need to use them.