WE DID IT!!!!
Monday, March 30, 2009
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Is it possible that I have been lucky enough to become a mom again? OMG!
Monday is the day....a simple bloodtest and phone call will determine if Tim and I have managed to find what has been missing for the past 3 years.....
The thought of Cole being an only child has been weighing on us for a few years now. Tim and I both have 2 siblings. Tim and his sister are close in age, and my brother and I are close in age. The youngest of the families were not too far behind. Growing up we had a built in playmates (whether we liked it or not!!).
Cole on the other hand, has become very good at playing solo. While Tim and I love to get in there and play a mean round of hide and seek, or run through the sprinkler in the summer….housework, cooking and errands also require some attention. I often hear Cole talking in 2 voices, playing both roles in a transformer battle, or making both moves in a game of trouble. This has always left me with a feeling of guilt. Why on earth can I not give him a sibling!
We have always tried to expose him to other kids - play dates every few weeks, story time at the library, even daycare on Fridays for some socializing….but it is later in life that I worry about. There is something to be said about having a sibling……getting into trouble together, sharing in each others successes and supporting each other in times of hardship. As we grow older, the phone calls become more frequent, the concern for aging parents is shared, and the get-togethers, while fewer, are spent truly enjoying one another.
If Tim and I were only children -Cole would not have any aunts or uncles. This would mean Cole’s kids would not have aunts and uncles. Geez, that only adds to my guilt. Aunts and uncles are important to us. While Tim and I both have some “cooky” aunts and some less involved uncles, we also have some that are wonderful, interesting and funny!.
Cole is lucky to have awesome aunties and uncles. He is loved, spoiled and treated with respect. They WANT to be involved in his life. His energy and endless list of questions never seem to tire them.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Am I pregnant?
Do I think I am?
I sure hope so!
Do I have signs of pregnancy?
Are they similar signs to PMS?
Can you sense my frustration?
I spent 3 years thinking every month was potentially “the month”. Tenderness, cramping, back pain, headaches, bloating… all of these were my typical “monthly” signs.
You can imagine why I am having a hard time going there in my mind again. While I feel “different” it could be my uterus and overall body readjusting to the effects of IVF. The meds, the procedures, and the stress have really taken a toll on me.
Secretly, do I hope this time is different? That maybe these really are pregnancy symptoms? ABSOLUTELY.
So here I sit, waiting, working, walking, wondering, but most of all
I know I am not wishing alone……and for that , I think you are all truly....…..
Thursday, March 19, 2009
I was so excited to have 5 extra embryos the other day. That would mean I would not have to do the injections again, I would also not have to pay $6,400 again for the retrieval process. It seemed like I had a security blanket, just in case this round was not successful.
The thought that all 5 embryos would not be good enough for freezing did not really cross my mind. I was blinded by the fact that for a brief few days ...
I WAS FERTILE!
I had lots of eggs and we would freeze some and if this round did not take, we would thaw out some eggs and do it again. Simple, and stress free, just what I need right now.
While I do, and will always tell Cole to dream big, I, as an adult should have been a bit more cautious. I am fragile at this stage; I should have taken better care of my expectations.
This entire process has taught me that NOTHING is for sure. A call to the lab this morning to see how my extra embryos were doing proved to be a disappointment.
None were viable for freezing. Not a single one. Nil.
The embryologist told me on the day of implantation that the remaining embryos were not “great” quality. Supposedly this is common, and the lab will continue to culture the embryos for another 3 days. The goal is to have those embryos become blastocysts. A blastocyst is a highly developed embryo that has divided many times to a point where it is nearly ready to implant on the walls of the uterus. Blastocysts have a very good survival rate after cryopreservation (freezing). Without great quality, there would be no point in freezing any.
So here we are. 100% dependent on the 2 embryos within me. That does mean that I have double the chances here, which provides me with some much needed comfort.
I am trying to focus on what we do have, not what we have lost out on. Trust me, my optimism is forced right now, but I feel as though I have no other choice. Dwelling on what could have been will not help my ever increasing anxiety level. I refuse to underestimate how far we’ve come and how many hurdles we have crossed to get to this stage.
Therefore, while my "ideal situation" did not pan out as planned, I can honestly say..
My reality just ain't so bad....
Monday, March 16, 2009
You looked perfect….
Dr. “McCutey” was in full force today, gentle as always, he took great care of you as you slid down the tube and into the uterus. I was even able to watch as you popped out of the tube, just like 2 little air bubbles.
My request now is simple - try to hang out and get comfortable in there would ya?
You’ll be floating around for 2-3 days, and while my immune system may try and get rid of you, I need you to be strong and fight to stay in there! My best advice is to just attach yourself early and hide out, do not let go!!
If both of you want to make yourselves at home, go right ahead, there is plenty of room and Tim, Cole and I are more than prepared for the 2 of you! I will provide you with a safe place to grow, I promise.
If you decide it’s not the right time, we will understand. I promise.
For now, we have hope and confidence that you will choose to stay with us. You will not regret it, I promise.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
The nurse called this morning to confirm that of the nine eggs retrieved on Friday, 7 have grown into beautiful 7-10 cell embryos.
Embryos with higher cell numbers and regular appearing cells (blastomeres) and little or no fragmentation have a higher overall chance of implanting than those with less cells, more irregularity and significant fragmentation.
For those who are visual like me, let me show you the difference (keep in mind these are NOT my cells)
The embryo transfer catheter is loaded with the embryos. My doctor passes it through the cervical opening up to the middle of the uterine cavity. An abdominal ultrasound is used simultaneously to watch the catheter tip advance to the proper location. When the catheter tip reaches the ideal location (middle of the uterus is best), the embryos are then pushed out of the catheter to the lining of the uterine
My “McCutey” doctor is scheduled to do the procedure, Whoot!!!
I trust him 100%, he is gentle by nature. I will not have to remind him that this entire IVF cycle depends on his delicate placement of the embryos at the proper location!!
I will laid up for a few days, relaxing, letting those embryos attach…lots of time on my hands to ponder….and blog! It will be nice to switch gears and maybe post about something other than needles and pain!
Friday, March 13, 2009
I'm a bit of a superstitious person. I think I was simply raised that way by a mom who is very superstitious. Growing up it was very common in our house to hear things like:
- Use the same door to leave as you did to enter
- Do NOT walk under a ladder
- If you have a bad dream about someone you must tell them….then it will not happen. (good or bad dream included!)
- Be extra careful on unlucky Friday the 13th. We may have even stayed home on this day growing up (us and 21 million other people in the US according to Wiki)
And the list goes on…..
Well it happens that today, EGG RETRIEVAL DAY falls on Friday the 13th……….the 7am phone call I received from my parents home was most likely my mom wanting to remind of this.. I can imagine it would be followed by some crazy request to try and move the retrieval to a “better” day.
I am only “assuming” this of course, but just in case, I did not answer the phone. There was no time of superstitious nonsense.
This morning I was struggling with extreme nausea and pain…….100 times worse than a menstrual cycle…my ovaries were ready to pop! I was anxious to get Cole to the daycare and get that IV going.
8:15 - I settled into the comfy PJ’s the clinic provided, a recliner, a pillow and a blanket. Weight, heartrate and blood pressure checked in ok, Tim was off doing his “thang” in the “PRIVATE” room. I think the male’s job in this process may not be as involved, but it is way more uncomfortable from a personal standpoint. As women, we get regular pap smears done from teenage years on. Most men do not have to “perform” on the spot, in a small room, with minimal “aides”. I think we were both praying this would be a one shot deal.
An IV was placed in my arm and a saline drip of antibiotics started. A pill was given under my tongue to “relax” me.
9am - we entered the retrieval room and I assumed the pose - most females know this pose. What makes it most uncomfortable is when you must be waiting in this pose for 10 minutes! Where was my doctor?
As soon as he popped his smiley face into the room I relaxed; it was my cutey, wonderful doctor that would be performing this procedure! Friday the 13th was starting off pretty strong!
My nurse administered the “happy drugs” I was instantly stoned, fighting sleep and in a very pain free place. I wanted to see my follicles! I wanted to hear them say there were eggs in them! But the soft music and oxygen streaming in my nose made it impossible to focus. I chose to rely on Tim to give me the update later.
For those interested. The retrieval is performed by passing a hollow needle through the wall of the vagina into the ovary (hence the drugs!!) The needle can be guided into the follicle where the egg resides. The fluid is aspirated from the follicle and deposited into a test tube. The test tube is inspected under the microscope to find the egg. Although every follicle should contain one egg, it is not always possible to remove the egg. Older patients, those with poor ovarian reserve and those with smaller follicles, may see a lower percentage of eggs recovered.
As I sat in recovery 30 minutes later, higher than high, they could have told me anything really.... but the results were in.
My Type A personality had shone through again
9 follicles = 9 eggs!
The nurses called me an “overachiever”….I had the slowest reaction to the meds, but the most eggs of all the patients this round. I can handle that! Tomorrow (Saturday) the nurse will call me to let me know how many eggs of the 9 retrieved will be perfect enough for implantation and freezing.
On our way home in the car, the radio was talking about Friday the 13th. The DJ mentioned that this day tends to only fall once a year. Today though was the 3rd time this year that Friday the 13th had fallen on a Friday. This has not happened in 11 years……
I’m thinking Friday the 13th is a pretty lucky day in my world.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
My pincushion was therefore able to retire last night…after a grueling 24 day stint. Job well done belly! You made it!
Tomorrow is a HUGE day!
My egg retrieval is scheduled for 9am tomorrow AM (Friday). TOMORROW!!! Can you sense my excitement at the thought of having some viable eggs. Is it wrong to hope for many eggs, which Tim and I can freeze? - (in a nice liquid nitrogen bath of course!)
Today was spent at the drugstore grabbing some meds (pill form, yippee!) needed for this weekend and buying a little treat for Cole…he has been so sweet and patient these past few weeks, I needed to surprise him……with something more than praise, hugs and kisses. Something that speaks to the core of every 4 year old boy….
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Fun wife and mommy have not been around much……and while Tim fully understands, I often wonder how Cole is managing? He knows mommy is trying to have a baby and a “no jumping on mommy” rule has been implemented. He’s also been told that mommy cannot lift him up, but that hugs and kisses are more than acceptable! He seems fine…so why do I not feel fine?
The sense of ease I felt a week ago has passed, lately I have been edgy and preoccupied, likely because I am not in control. The drugs have ripped that away from me. They have immobilized me; emotionally, physically and financially. Being in control is part of who I am. My days are now planned around appointments and trips to the drugstore to pick up just “one more day” of medications. The credit card balance is growing by hundreds of dollars a day, I feel like I don’t even have control over my spending……
Tim is beyond amazing…he is 100% committed to this process and is willing to help wherever and whenever he can. Not a single complaint. Yet I can see him getting tired, worrying about the line of credit growing, wanting to have a few more moments to himself; to have more than an hour of study time in one sitting.
I know these feelings will pass, if the outcome is a pregnancy then all of this will have been worth it. I just hope I can regain my stiff upper lip as I head into the most important week of my life.
My egg retrieval was scheduled for this Friday.
My face may not show it, but my heart is truly smiling. Tomorrow is a new day… and hopefully a renewed sense of fighting on my part. I want this so badly for myself, for Cole, for Tim and for our families.
Monday, March 9, 2009
My ovaries must have heard your well wishes loud and clear as they woke up and starting dancing this morning!
Finally, I was an ultrasound patient! It was so exciting that I arranged for Tim to come with me, a nice 8am date, who needs dinner and a movie!
Again my doctor was not present, Mr. “no bedside manner” was back. I was prepared for the pain this time…I had Tim’s hand available for squeezing. Of course the doctor was having none of that loving, comforting, stand-by-my-side behaviour. Instead he handed Tim a pen and paper and ordered” write down what I call out”.
At first I did not want to look at the screen, what if nothing showed up, what if my ovaries were still sleeping, or barely awake? The stress was building until I heard him say.
Ah ha, looking good!
What?? Really? And then in slow motion I turned my head, only to see the most beautiful site ….
(Note: These are NOT mine, but it gives an idea of what I saw!! )
Look at those big black pockets! To some they may seem like dark sacs of empty air but to me they represent my future munchkins!!
Each black circle is a follicle in a stimulated ovary. The red cursors outline one mature follicle, which is 17 mm diameter. Most of the mature sized follicles (about 15-20 mm diameter) will usually yield mature eggs at the egg retrieval procedure.
My stats: 9……you heard right……9 follicles, 4 of which were already 15-16mm and the remaining were 13-14. I am a follicle making machine! This explains my discomfort and bloating over the past 3 days…
Time to real it in here…. While I have lots of follicles, who knows what will happen tomorrow. I can let the excitement of the day take over but the truth is nothing is certain. The body is unpredictable. They expect the injections I gave to myself tonight will provide those follicles with the energy needed to sprint to the finish line.
The prize being a scheduled egg retrieval
8AM Tuesday morning…..will I get my prize?
Saturday, March 7, 2009
Give me an N……..E……….R………D..!!
Yes, loud and proud, I am. I did a Science Degree majoring in Math. Days were filled with a cup of Calculus, a tablespoon of Linear Algebra and to sweeten it all up… a pinch of my very favorite….. Modern Geometry! For added spice I did it all in French at the local French university….I could have done without the spice…..but that is a post in itself.
As you can imagine, when the nurses said my estrogen levels were “low” last Wednesday, I wanted a number….how low?? Where do they need to be…give me a number I growled….
170. Yuck, something about that number 1, so primitive, so singular. Interestingly enough, 170 is part of the math term “non-totient” meaning it is never part of a solution (in simple terms, I will not get technical). How ironic, 170 was definitely not part of a solution in my fertility world either!
So yesterday (Friday) was more 8am bloodwork. Every time I go, I must sign in at the front desk. As I signed in, I noticed that I was the ONLY one getting bloodwork done. All of the other girls had progressed to the ultrasound. A pit in my stomach was evident as the nurse stroked my hand and kept me in the bloodwork room a bit longer than usual.
An ultrasound means the estrogen is high enough to produce follicles which will become eggs. The clinic wants to monitor them (they say over-stimulation is not good) and estimate when a potential egg retrieval will take place. THIS IS WHAT I WANT!
Instead, my nurse dropped the words “Abandoning the process” to me. If they did not see my estrogen level come up today, I may have to start over in a few months, at a higher dosage. They could not predict that my body would be so slow to react.
Back to work I went, in a real dumpy mood. They could have thrown a pity party, that is how discouraged I felt. Lucky for me I am part of a great office where Partners chit chat at the coffee machine with you, and stop by for no reason other than to say hello. It took my mind off the inevitable 1pm phone call.
1PM: MY LEVELS WERE UP!!!!
Give me a number….I growled again.
Nice looking number…..round and even, almost pretty looking? Don’t you agree?
436 would not look as nice.
A quick search on my lovely number provided some ironic tidbits….
There is a CD of music out there based on the number 440. It’s called:
“The 440 Project - Experimental album meditating on the number 440”
And guess who the music label is??
I kid you not….this journey is so bizarre
Looks like my stars and numbers have aligned and I will be one of those ultrasound gals Monday morning…send some “eggy” thoughts my way this weekend would ya?
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Almost a week ago I went from one injection a day to 2…you can imagine the bruising I am experiencing…..and to make matters worse the needle for the 2nd injection is slightly thicker than the other needle. The tediousness of doing the injections is starting to wear on me…I MUST be honest.
Oddly, the left side of my stomach does NOT like the thick needle. The right side seems to have higher tolerance for a sharp object being jammed into it, in such an amateurish (is that a word?) way… anyways, I digress..
8AM was bloodwork.
9AM was office time….with a quick coffee pitstop!
12PM was me wondering why the clinic had not called me with my results!
1PM: Clinic called (I forgot they actually DO take a lunch hour break! Do they not understand there are many people sitting by the phone waiting for some good news!)
My news was not so great…but not so bad….this is where my hubby comes in handy…he knows how to broaden my focus, bring me down from the ledge of "overanalyzing"
Tim kept reminding me..."Big Picture, Big Picture, You are only on day 6, most people go at least 8-13 days” He is truly great.
Before an ultrasound can be done to see how the follicles are developing and to determine an egg retrieval day, the estrogen levels in my body must be elevated. Mine were only “slightly” elevated.
“We want to see them much higher Cheryl” was the nurse’s instruction. My fear is that the dosage I am on is not enough, I am on the minimum dosage given there is NOTHING wrong with me, and I am still “young” in invitro terms.
So it looks like there is going to be at least 2 more days of this…
Ummm yeah, check out the size of THAT beastly needle....
Friday I will have more information on my levels…and hopefully this pincushion can retire!
Monday, March 2, 2009
Knowing my passion for fitness, my doctor gave me an exact date on which I was no longer allowed to workout…. at least until my invitro was complete. Not even a walk on the treadmill I asked?
NO! Final answer…..
So I began to think…..a free ticket to relax, sit around reading, watching movies, chatting on the phone???
NOT FOR ME!!! I am known to not sit still. I will create projects for myself if I have to. This will be the toughest thing for me to do!!
7 hour adventure race Sept 08.
How about a half marathon?
Monkey Bars at the playground anyone?
The list is endless…..trust me.
As the marriage therapist suggested, I prepared myself for this lull in my daily exercise. My husband is currently at home, being a great Mr. Mom. Since I can’t lift Cole, vacuum, lug groceries …(I know…..what CAN I do was my question too!) I decided after 4 years it may be time to……..
Get back into the office!!!! Where else am I guaranteed to sit all day??
The thought of changing out of my lululemon’s and getting up before 7am made me a bit uneasy. I love my flexible teaching gig on-line from home. Then again, uninterrupted coffee and adult conversations were very appealing! Plus, the firm only needed me for 2 -3 months, busy season at an accounting firm! Never mind the regular, lucrative pay cheque that would come into my bank account. A new roof this summer was a possibility now!
So a week ago I put on my best dress pants and dress shirt and had a fantastic day at the office.
This is exactly what I needed. This is exactly what my body needed....