Monday, 11 May 2015
Today my husband and I are celebrating our 13th wedding anniversary!
In a world of what seems to be disposable marriages we are proud of how far we have come.
Its not because there haven't been struggles - oh boy have there been struggles but its because we refocus and remember why we started. We remember that we wanted forever, that we wanted a different ending than both our parents had. Over the years there have been many stumbling blocks, we face challenges daily that statistics show frequently end marriages. We have had miscarriages, infertility, adoptions, a child with cancer, a child requiring multiple surgeries and needing daily accommodations, three children on the autism spectrum, we have each at times struggled with insecurities and bouts of depression and we have not always treated each other with as much respect as we should, we've said hurtful things and even done hurtful things, we are human and flawed but through all of this we have learned things too. We have learned that we are different individuals and we have different expectations and love languages. Its taken a long time to learn the secret codes of each other, to realize that we aren't mind readers and that we both must speak up to be heard. Its like a dance that requires a lifetime to perfect. If we'd walked away before we would have missed learning the moves that make the dance our own. We're a work in progress, we are two good forgivers, two people that strive for improvement, two people working towards the same goal, two people who have learned that appreciation goes a long way and two people who want to create a life together that makes our children want to follow in our footsteps. Most importantly we are two people who know that despite the old saying marriage is not 50/50 its 100/100 and both people have to give their all if its going to last a lifetime. Every year is a milestone and we are excited to see where the next year takes us.
Monday, 4 May 2015
Last week I went for my WTF (what the f*ck) appointment with my RE. His jaw almost hit the floor when I told him that we are going to move forward with IVF #5.
I'm sure he thinks I am nuts, he pretty much said so... "you have done so much, why not be finished" he then also brought up using a surrogate and he thinks I am crazy for declining. Its just not the right choice for me, I want the whole package, I want the pregnancy and the baby. I know myself well enough to know that I am going to be sad and resentful the entire time a surrogate is carrying our baby, wishing that it was me instead. Truthfully I don't even think that I would need a surrogate, I think that with the introlipids and better quality embryos I will be able to avoid another chemical pregnancy and have it be the real deal. The plan was to save for the next little while and do the cycle in the spring but the doctor let me know that if the IVF OHIP funding starts on schedule in November that I will be able to use the funding and so we can cycle sooner than expected - it was a great surprise since I didn't think that I would be able to benefit from OHIP since I'd had so many previous failures.
Now I am back to getting my body into the best shape that I can by the fall. I've started taking CoQ10 for egg quality and my metformin to maintain my blood sugar. I am also back to eating paleo/keto and working out. Its insane what all the medications and the stress of cycling can do to your body.
I think that the next few months are going to go by quickly, summer will be here before we know it and we have big plans for some relaxing in the sunshine not to mention a whole bunch of birthdays, once September comes its back to school and then Halloween is here. I'll just be keeping my fingers crossed that the funding actually happens and nothing delays it. There are a LOT of families that are crossing their fingers for the same thing.
Monday, 20 April 2015
Another cycle has wrapped up and I have to admit that this has been my roughest one yet.
I was scheduled to go into my clinic 10 days after my transfer for my beta but by day 9 I was out of medication and truthfully I was just over it. I had been testing negative on the First Response tests and I was sure that it was over so I popped into the clinic a day early, while I was there I had them run my AMH which is the test to determine your egg supply. This would be good information to have moving forward since at 33 I am now much older than 18 when I started this journey.
Later that day I got a phone call from the nurse, my beta had come back at 3 - technically negative because it was under 5 but because I have never had a beta over 0 (with the exception of my pregnancy with Maxwell) they wanted me to continue on the medication and return for another beta on Monday (day 13 past transfer). It was a long shot, it would be a true miracle if something came from that beta number but I decided to follow their instructions. Imagine my surprise when the following day I started to get a faint positive on the tests at home. By Saturday night I was getting a second line that was visible to even a non-POAS experts eyes.
Then it happened, I let myself believe it, I let myself believe that I was newly pregnant, I calculated my due date - December 27th, I debated about whether I wanted to find out the gender, I bought into the possibility that this could be our miracle.
Sunday morning my test looked lighter, I didn't panic, I thought that maybe I'd drank too much before bed but by Sunday night the second line was almost gone and I broke.
I sat in a bubble bath and cried until my body ached, this was new.... I never cry with failures anymore. I dried off and went to bed.... cried myself to sleep.
I woke up and tested again to prepare for the beta, stark white no sign of a line.
Puffy faced and red eyed I went to the clinic and got my blood drawn, talked to the nurse about the positive lines and that while I was sad I was also hopeful because it clearly showed that this new treatment had indeed worked. While I wouldn't be taking home a baby I perhaps now have the key for the next cycle and now I didn't think that PGD testing would be needed. My only hope now is that the blood work was elevated enough to confirm the "success" to the doctor since he was pretty reluctant to do it in the first place. I would save my pennies and plan for IVF #5 that's when the nurse gave me the news, my AMH results had come in and I now have low ovarian reserve, basically I am running out of eggs. When this is the case time isn't a friend and the clock seems to be running on fast forward. Do I even have a year to save without costing myself the loss of the eggs that I still have?
Hours later I get "the" call from the clinic, my beta came back at 3, it had dropped back to where it had started and all we now have to show the doctor is the pictures of the positive test. Will he agree to do the therapy again? Will he refuse and cause me to switch clinics? Will I decide that enough is enough and walk away? I don't know.... what I do know is that failure hurts less than almost success but there is no sense in wallowing in the pain. Time to dust myself off and move forward.
Thursday, 9 April 2015
This week has been a busy one so far, my body decided to somehow skip a week in my cycle and I ended up having my embryo transfer done on day 9 which is the earliest that I have ever been ready for transfer. The day was hopefully filled with good luck because it was also my oldest son's 19th birthday - HOLY COW he is now NINETEEN!!!!
That blows my mind, blink and they grow and I am not at all prepared for it.
I am now 2dp3dt (2 days past a 3 day transfer) I have done everything that I can to improve my odds. This cycle I have done a uterine biopsy, steroids, blood thinners, intralipid infusion, neupogen injection, metformin and assisted hatching. My RE said the only thing left to add is prayer. I am trying to focus on the fact that I have given these little balls of cells the best possible environment that I can for them to nestle in and happily grow. There really is nothing more that I could have done. I wont lie the negative thoughts do creep in, I do find myself thinking about the fact that I don't have anymore embryos frozen and if this fails it will be another year of saving and waiting only to go through it all again with possibly the same results. When those thoughts sneak in I remind myself that its only 365 days, it will give me time to return to a more stable fitness/health routine, to maybe take a weekend away, to do some fireside socializing and catch my breath from a year that has been wonderful but certainly with unplanned aspects (like becoming the parent of a 7 year old on the severe end of the autism spectrum).
I am a realistic thinker but I do always seek out the silver lining. Just to be on the safe side though I think that I will pray that I wont need a silver lining this time.
Wednesday, 1 April 2015
Last month I started prepping for the transfer of my last two frozen embryos.
I again cut out caffeine and have tried to get more rest, since I had recently done a D&C my doctor and I decided to do a biopsy instead as its less invasive.
This time around I also did something called intralipid infusion. Intralipid infusion therapy is a treatment, which is administered through an IV drip made from soya bean oil, egg yolk, glycerin and water. Intralipid Infusion therapy provides the body with essential fatty acids that help to lower the activity of Natural Killer (NK) cells. Natural Killer (NK) cells in women can cause the body to react abnormally to an implanting embryo, treating it as an invading cell and signaling for the body to attack it.
I had brought this up to my doctor before however he is an old school type of guy who likes to stay nicely within his tried and true comfort zone and therefore he wasn't very open to the concept.
Recently he began having another doctor working with him on Mondays and I just happened to end up in the clinic with her. We chatted about my history and with her fresh eyes on my file she suggested Intralipids. My old school doc reluctantly agreed and gave me the go ahead. I will be the first patient of his to have this treatment. While my hope obviously is that it works and I get pregnant I am also a little bit hopeful that if he sees it being successful for me after so many failures then he will be more open to the possibilities of treatments that sit outside his comfort zone and other patients who have repeat implantation failure may benefit.
Today was my infusion and it was long but a piece of cake, I brought my IV bag of intralipid to the larger clinic where my embryos are stored and paid them $300 to fill my veins with what looked like bright white milk.
Seated in a recliner with a hot pack, blanket and can of ginger ale I got comfy and watched Netflix on my Ipad for four hours until my infusion was complete. I felt a bit nauseous but I think that was from skipping breakfast.
I'll be back to my clinic in two days for blood work and lining check. The party has officially started.
Thursday, 26 February 2015
After four negative tests to double check the weird maybe positive ones that I had gotten I went to the fertility clinic for an early beta which came back not surprisingly at 0 - failure again, I wish that I could say that I was surprised.
While there we sat down and had a WTF conversation that pretty much everyone has after a failed cycle... What The Fuck happened and what should we do next.
We still have two frozen embryos that we are going to use right away and then we have decided that if that cycle also fails we will do another fresh IVF cycle with PGS.
I am conflicted about my thoughts on this but I have given it a lot of consideration.
In the end there are 3 possible outcomes
1. We transfer genetically sound embryos and become pregnant
2. We discover that all of our embryos are genetically compromised and I have an answer for all of my failures which I think is a huge part of my issue with moving on from treatments.
3. We transfer genetically sound embryos and I still don't get pregnant at which point I must walk away knowing that I did everything within my power to become pregnant and it just wasn't meant to be.
In my opinion any of those three possibilities are worth the $15,000 that this will cost. Of course its my hope that my last two embryos work and we don't need to move on to another fresh cycle but I feel much more relaxed and at peace simply having a back up plan.
Now I am just waiting to call in "day 1" so that I can start the process for the next frozen transfer.
I literally have all my eggs in one basket.... no pressure ;)
What is pre-implantation genetic screening (PGS)?PGS (also known as aneuploidy screening) involves checking the chromosomes of embryos conceived by IVF or ICSI for common abnormalities. Chromosomal abnormalities are a major cause of the failure of embryos to implant, and of miscarriages.
Tuesday, 24 February 2015
Its 6am and I stumble to the bathroom half asleep, collect my FMU for today's test and decide that since my FRER supply is running low I will just test with a cheapie that I ordered in bulk from the internet. Wait the allotted time and take a look.... blink and look again.... is that a faint second line???? Better test again to be sure...... again there's what looks like a second line - a "squinter" as its known in the TTC community.
Well this must be confirmed before I get excited and so I rip open a FRER and get to testing.... only one single line - WTF
Thinking that the cheapie tests must be dreaded evaporation lines I dig yesterdays tests out of the garbage only to find that there is no sign of any evap lines on them. Now I am even more confused. While technically the cheapie tests claim to detect a smaller level of HCG (10miu) and the FRER claims to detect 25miu everyone knows that the FRER actually detects around 7miu so in reality it should have become positive before the cheapie test.
Now today I have two options..... linger in the confusion and have a serious discussion with my uterus about tomorrows test or try and hold my pee for 8 hours to collect a similar sample from this morning. Having just finished this mornings coffee something tells me that my bladder will make the final decision.
Monday, 23 February 2015
Its inevitable, there's always that one day during the cycle where the emotions get the best of you and the hopeful sparkle starts to dull. That day hit me full steam this morning. I fully expected to wake up and be met with two beautiful lines on a pregnancy test and it didn't happen.
While I am not totally out of the game yet, at 8dp3dt I would expect to see something faint on the gold standard of tests. To be honest right now I am just in the mindset of making it through the day so that I am one day closer to this being over.... so that we can start all over next month with our last two embryos.
Sunday, 22 February 2015
Yep you read that right the POAS (pee on a stick) party has started so join me as the insanity grows daily.
This is the time of cycling when the mind becomes a monster and the hormones and hopes/fears take over all rational thoughts.
This cycle I have decided to use FRER tests (first response early result).... you know the ones, they claim that they can detect a pregnancy 5-6 days before a missed period. While there are claims of women getting positive results very early many (I'd even dare to say the majority) do not.
My initial intention wasn't to test until I was 8dp3dt (8 days past my 3 day transfer) which would be the equivalent of 11 days past ovulation however as I've said before I lack all willpower and I started testing yesterday at day 6.
Both yesterdays day 6 and today's day 7 tests looked negative to me which was slightly disappointing but not unexpected. I am still hopeful and am keeping my fingers crossed that tomorrows test shows that much sought after second line.
Wednesday, 18 February 2015
Most valentines we celebrate the same way, with a quickly wished happy valentines and maybe a card, nothing to fancy to celebrate an extremely commercialized holiday. This year we had the opportunity to do something different and decided that it would be fun. We went to a legion hall in a neighbouring small town and had dinner and participated in a version of "the newlywed game". You know the game, husbands and wives are asked questions and try to match their answers. After 15 years together I thought that it would be fun to see how much we really knew about each other, especially since it frequently has felt over the years like we are just two ships passing in the night.
Dinner was great.... roast, veggies, salad and dessert then it was time for the game to begin. Seated along with three other couples we discovered during the introductions that we are the "old couple" the couple with the longest marriage and the only couple with kids (although two contestants were pregnant).
Armed with a pad of paper and a sharpie marker we did our best. By the end of round one we were losing.... 6 measly points. Clearly we need to spend more time discussing our secret wishes of super powers and which animals we would like to become if given the option. For the record never have I wanted to be a tiger.... ever. We were doomed. Then something happened, the questions turned more serious what would your spouse say is your favourite memory, where was your first kiss, then the questions got MORE personal oddest place you've had sex, how do you know when your spouse is in the mood. Holy crap, they were getting embarrassing to answer with my parents in the audience.
At the end of the game we were tied for first place.... after the tie breaker we came in second but now should the question which of your friends would your husband have sex with ever get asked I'll be ready LOL
The night was great, I realized that we really did know each other much better than we thought and we won a gift certificate for dinner out - win win.
The following morning we dropped the kids off at Nanna's house and headed to the clinic for our embryo transfer (closest thing to getting knocked up on Valentines Day that I'll ever get). I had brought all of the good luck things that Dom had found leading up to our appointment and I just felt like I was in a good head space, cautiously optimistic and maybe even a wee bit hopeful. With legs in stirrups the lab tech came in to verify our info and let us know that our embryos were compacting morulas consistent with day four embryos which is awesome because we were only technically day 3. Never in all of our cycles have I had a compacting morula, my slow to grow "duds" were actually champs in disguise. Doctor described the cycle as couldn't ask for better. Home I went to take it easy and was happy to discover Cheaper By The Dozen on TV.... if you've read my blog then you'd know that this is a movie that has shaped the type of family that I wanted to create. The following day I went to bed and was met with The Blind Side which was the correct answer that Dom gave when asked Whats your wife's favourite movie.
Today I am 3dp4dt (3 days past a 4 day transfer OR 7 days past ovulation) - the time is going by both fast and slow. I am fluctuating between hopeful and pessimistic but I think that's pretty realistic and to be expected. Next week I'll start testing in hopes of seeing two lines.... fingers crossed.