Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Boy...I have been missing in action, haven't I? Terrible. December has been the most hectic month ever, with various winter concerts at school, Christmas functions to attend, and Christmas shopping to pack in. Add to that the fact that we are hosting Christmas dinner for thirteen people, and that my in-laws are in town and staying with us for ten days...and I am bushed!! I feel as though I haven't had a minute to myself...but I do have some respite this morning, as my in-laws have gone shopping. So here I am.

It's hard to believe that a year ago this week we were praying for our little Nemo. We were so devastated on Boxing Day...I remember it like it was yesterday. But here we are, a year later, with our little Dim Sum kicking up a storm inside of me. Sometimes it takes patience, but we know that God answers prayers.

I was chatting with a mother of one of our students at school last week, and she gave me the sweetest suggestion, ever - she told me that when she was pregnant with her first child, she spent Christmas Eve reading "Twas the Night Before Christmas" to her unborn child. She said to me, "Next year, when the baby's here, he'll belong to everybody. But this Christmas, that baby is only yours. This is your special time with him - it'll just be the two of you, so enjoy it." This made me cry. I never thought of it that way. But she is so right. This little lovebug, snuggling inside of me- rolling, kicking, turning - it's our special time together. We are in our own little world right now, and I should cherish every minute of it. Because all too soon, it'll be over.

Sigh. What could I possibly ask for this Christmas that I don't already have? My every wish has come true. There is not one thing that I wanted more than the chance to be a mother - and here I am. In all of the Christmases that I have had, I cannot recall one more special than this one.

Merry Christmas to all of my wonderful IF friends. For those of you that have won the IF fight - I hope that enjoy every second of this special Christmas, as I will. For those of you that continue the battle - my Christmas wish for you is that you never give up hope; I know that one day, in some form, you will become the loving mothers that you were born to be.

May your holidays be filled with joy, laughter, and love.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Running the Half Marathon...

My sister ran a half-marathon today. While that may sound like an amazing feat to you or me, for her, it's par for course. She's a runner. She's run 10Ks, half-marathons and full marathons. She's participated in triathlons and run marathons in both Canadian and American cities. Her ultimate goal is to run a qualifying time for the Boston Marathon. I have always admired her focus and dedication - even when her body feels beat up and bruised. She has been my hero.

Today, I feel as though I have run my own half-marathon. You see, we are at 20 weeks today. Half-way there. And I guess you could say that I have shown the same sense of dedication and fortitude that my sister has - because I have also stayed the course. Ten years ago, I would never have thought that I would have it in me. Turns out I was wrong.

Our little baby boy is now very active - I feel him moving around in there everyday (is it a sign? He's going to be a little monkey, isn't he?) I am incredibly eager for my husband to feel him, too. It's such an amazing sensation and I am comforted by the tiny ripples that I feel inside my abdomen each day. I'm trying to learn what things will get him going - so far, sugar seems to be a big hit. I have my first appointment on Tuesday with my obstretician - the same lady who removed my polyp a year and a half ago. Great gal. Looking forward to getting some specs on how things are going with me - although my family physician is a great lady, she hasn't really done much these past two months other than weigh me, check my urine, and check my blood pressure. I am hoping that the OB will measure my tummy, check my cervix and do all of the other things that I deem to be "reassuring". I'm looking forward to the visit.

In other news, DH managed to snap up a diaper bag that I have coveted for quite some time - what a sweetie. Funny how the dumb little things can make a difference! I had purchased another one in Vegas on the weekend, but quite frankly it was a "settle purchase" and my husband knew that it was (I couldn't find the one that I really wanted to save my life!) So the other evening, he located and purchased the one that I wanted off of good old Ebay. What a guy!! Think I'll keep him.

I want to say hi to all of my cyber-friends that have hung in there with me and continue to read...know that I think about you all and thank God that you have been there to support me.


Friday, November 6, 2009

Boy, oh Boy!

It has been so long since I have posted, and I feel terrible for that. Some women are so good about posting their progress on a daily basis - but right now, I seem to be much more interested in reading other blogs and about others' experiences! I just can't be bothered to think about my own. However, I have decided to write more regularly, because I just know that one day I will look back on this time in my life and regret that I didn't record all of the little things that have made this pregnancy so special...

For starters, we didn't end up going to see a genetic counsellor and DH and I opted out of doing an amnio. With the result from our NT scan so positive, we just felt that we were comfortable enough. We know what the risks associated with IVF and ICSI are, as well as the risks associated with our ages at conception. With this knowledge, and with the testing results that we already had, we felt fine not tempting fate by going through with the amnio. I spoke on the telephone with one of the genetic counsellors (whose job it was to run through everything with me), thanked her for the information, and then hung up. Easy as that.

I did have a diabetes scare a few weeks back - a result of excess glucose found in my urine during the old routine dipstick tests. So my doctor sent me early for the gestational diabetes test - and let me tell you, it was the most boring 1.5 hours I have spent in my life. First of all, I had to drink that horrible orange fizzy stuff - then sit and wait and wait and wait. Keeping in mind that the day I was at the lab it seemed like everyone and their dog had the flu, and you can imagine how pleasant it was for me to be sitting in that waiting room for an hour! Everywhere I turned, people were hacking and sneezing and blowing. Ugh. Thankfully, it was all worth it as they discovered that I do not have gestational diabetes, and that the glucose spillover was nothing to be concerned about. Phew.

We had our 18 week anatomy scan today - and it was so amazing to see our little Dim Sum again. The baby was less active than the last scan, but it was wonderful to see the tiny heart beating away. There was still some wiggling around, but no fancy acrobatics as in the last appointment. The radiologist on duty said that we have a very "pretty baby" - everything was just fine and dandy. Measuring right on time, with all organs and body parts. What a blessing. And the best part?
We are elated - of course, we would have been thrilled if it turned out to be a little girl, but I really, really wanted a boy for my husband. We're not sure if this is going to be our only child, given our tremendous difficulties in conceiving. So I'm very happy that my husband will have a son to play with and teach and coach and love - and to carry on the family name.

I'm headed off to Vegas tonight with my Mum and Dad - a quick getaway to go shopping for the baby. I am so excited, because now the planning can begin in earnest. It'll be so much fun to shop for our son.

Wow. Our son. Two small but amazing little words.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I Still Believe...

It's been a wonderfully uneventful couple of weeks, but sadly, this causes me to have nothing to blog about. Today, I am 15 weeks, 2 days pregnant and I am just beginning to feel our little Dim Sum's kicks in my belly....like the fluttering of butterfly wings, they come every so often to remind me of how blessed I am. This past weekend, we celebrated Thanksgiving with my family at my sister's house, and as my brother-in-law said grace, my eyes teared up as I thanked God (again) for this amazing gift that He has given us. I still - and always will - believe in miracles.

My new online obsession (now that I am no longer perseverating over infertility) has become stroller and car seat safety. Which model? What is safest? Which is lightest? Which one has the bells and whistles? Travel system or not? Where do I find the best deal? It's all incredibly overwhelming. Thankfully, I have a great deal of baby items from my sister, so I don't have to go through this with each item that we need (I think I'd go crazy if I did!) I think that I have narrowed it down to the Chicco Cortina Travel System -

Apparently, Consumer Reports ranked the car seat #1 for safety in 2008, and the stroller itself is a touch more lightweight than its competitors (an important point, since I am small and unbelievably wimpy). The seat back lowers all the way down to sleep position on this little number, and has a "memory" capability so that it can recall the last position you set the seat at. The car seat comes with a cushy head-support for newborns, and the base is supposed to be very easy to install. There are cup holders for both child and parent, and even a snack tray for the baby that is removable and dishwasher safe!! Man - it seems like the caddy of travel systems! I am pretty excited about it.

My sister tells me to avoid travel systems at all costs and to invest in a separate car seat and car seat frame, but I'm not too impressed with how low the car seat sits in a frame, and besides - I'd have to have a stroller eventually anyway! My husband laughs at this latest obsession. This past weekend, I was in a frenzy about the stroller, as it was on sale at Sears ("Baby Days") and when I called around, I discovered that most stores in our city had run out of stock. This drove me crazy, and when DH came home from the gym, I told him that he had to get showered right away because we had to go to Sears because we had to get the stroller before they ran out!! He shook his head and chuckled, "We have 5 more months! You don't think they'll get more stock in 5 months?!? You don't think they'll be another sale in the next 5 months?! Baby - you need to relax!!" Um...okay. Point taken.

If any of my cyber-friends can give me advice on strollers, I'd love to hear from ya! What worked for you? What didn't? If you had to buy a new one today, what would be different? Stroller-obsessed mommy-to-be would love to know!!


Wednesday, September 30, 2009


When Monday afternoon finally rolled around, I was so nervous I thought I would burst. Half a litre of water in my system? Check. Requisition forms? Check. Directions to the Maternal/Fetal Health Centre? Check. Husband on the way? Check. I was ready to go.

We sat waiting for the loooongest time in the waiting area, and as I looked around at all of the other couples, my nervousness grew. We were first called in to speak with a nurse, who asked us questions about our IVF - apparently, they do factor that in when they calculate a woman's risk of having a child with chromosomal abnormalities. Of course, one of the reasons I was so nervous was due to the reason for our infertility - my bad eggs. Which, of course, can lead to chromosomal issues!! But in any case, following the mini-interview, we were sent back out to the waiting area once more, and waited another 20 minutes or so before they called me in to get my blood drawn. Shortly thereafter, DH and I got to go into the ultrasound room.

Wendy, our ultrasound tech, was chipper, which actually put me more at ease. But as I lay there with tummy exposed and gel slicked on, I held my breath as I concentrated on the screen. What would the scan show?

It showed a squirmy, active baby! I started to cry. All of this worrying about my baby, and here he/she was - rolling around, kicking and punching. Wendy kept calling the baby a "little turkey" and she giggled a few times as our baby continued his/her shenanigans. But her feedback was so positive - heartbeat of 153 bpm, measuring right on time. She said she could already see all four chambers of the heart, which was "...amazing..." (her word) at this stage. The stomach looked clean, the skull appeared normal and you could see its arms and legs. The best part was watching this baby move...and finally believing that maybe, just maybe, we were going to get our happy ending!

Our nuchal results were terrific - came back with a negative screen, and my risk is apparently lower than for a 20 year old woman!

I followed up with an appointment to see my GP today, who was obligated to remind us that we could have an amniocentisis, if we wanted to. She has also recommended that we go to see a genetic counsellor to discuss our risks, considering we had ICSI performed during the IVF (ICSI patients have a 1-2% increased risk of chromosomal disorders over natural conceptions). I am more than happy to sit down and learn all of the facts and risks - but I doubt we will proceed with the amnio. DH and I talked about it already - but I guess it doesn't hurt to discuss it again.

The best part about my appointment today was that my GP whipped out a doppler - and I got to hear the baby's heartbeat for the first time. Oh - music to my ears. The gentle but rapid swish, swish, swish was just amazing...I am so happy that I don't think words can describe it!

Upward and onward - will post again to let you know what the genetic counsellor has to say!


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Happy Thirteen Weeks!

Well, here we are at thirteen weeks!

DH and I will be going for our nuchal translucency scan tomorrow afternoon and I am very nervous about it. In addition to not knowing what to expect, I have been haunted by stories of "missed miscarriages" - women who have miscarried, but due to a complete lack of any symptoms (and as a matter of fact, they go through the opposite, where they continue to experience pregnancy symptoms!) they are not aware that their fetuses are no longer viable. I just hope and pray that we get good news tomorrow...to start off with, I just want to know that our little Dim Sum is still growing, with a strong, healthy heartbeat. As well, we will be getting bloodwork done and an ultrasound to determine what the likelihood is that this child has Down's Syndrome or chromosomal abnormalities. I have been praying every night that God is keeping this child safe and healthy.

I finally made the announcement last week that I am expecting - and I was really, really quite pleased with the response. I told my teachers at our weekly faculty meeting, to which there was immediate applause and cheers - and then a line up at the end of the meeting to give me hugs. I also let the cat out of the bag with some of our parent population, and they have been very kind as well. For those who know me well, they will know that I am not a fan of being in any kind of spotlight, and as a matter of fact get a little uncomfortable with how to respond in those situations. So this will take some getting used to. But I am happy that so many people are happy for us - it would appear that our struggle to conceive hasn't been the big secret that I thought it was! A few people commented that they were thrilled for me because they know how much I wanted it and how long it took. Infertility isn't as silent as we think, I guess.

Now, for the more unpleasant comments that I have already heard...and you knew there would be some!

One mother commented (after looking at my tummy), "Are you sure you're not having twins?" (Nice.)

Another said, "Well, it's not like you could hide it anymore!" (Really? I tried so hard!!!)

And finally, a comment from one of my teachers - "We all KNEW you were pregnant, you know. We were just waiting for you to say something!!!" (Wow, talk about taking the wind out of my sails!)

I will post an update from our nuchal after tomorrow's appointment - please say a prayer for us!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Eleven Weeks Today!

I was undecided as to whether or not I should continue this blog, since its main focus was on our struggle with infertility. Speaking from personal experience, I know that it really helped to read the IF blogs of other women and know that I wasn't alone. I learned so much, shed so many tears, and smiled so many times just reading about what these brave women had gone through. I can only hope that my blog has touched others who are struggling as much. But would it be insensitive to now carry on, blogging about my pregnancy? I'm torn - the jury's out on that one. All I know is that without this blog as a medium for all of my thoughts, and without the support of the people who have read it, the battle would have been much, much more difficult.

I can't believe that I am only a week away from being done with the first trimester of pregnancy! It has been such an amazing time so far - but only because I have been blessed not to have any morning sickness at all. I almost feel guilty saying that out loud. At first, I was desperate to have it - in my heart, I thought that that was the only way I could know for sure that this pregnancy was going to be a healthy one. But as time passed, I got used to not feeling sick - and instead, took it as a sign that my energies were better spent enjoying the pregnancy everyday, not worrying about my lack of symptoms.

It was my intention, earlier on, to write about what I feel made the difference this past cycle...what was it that got us to this place? So many things played a positive factor - and I wanted to share some of them in hopes that it may help others. So...here it goes...apologies in advance for the long post...

The Fertility Clinic - DH and I had the good fortune of working with one of the top fertility clinics in the country. According to the 2007 Canadian ART registry, Regional Fertility Program in Calgary boasted a 51% success rate, as compared to an average of 35% success rate from all other Canadian IVF centres. The best part of it was that we got to work with Foothills by default - they are the only clinic in Calgary, and as such the first clinic that we got referred to by my family physician. Call it geographical luck.
Now, don't get me wrong - this clinic wasn't perfect and we definitely had our trials and tribulations with them. From unanswered telephones to rude nurses to missed ovulations to missing files to a skeptical RE, the clinic tested our patience many, many times. But at the end of the day - they got us pregnant. And for that, we shall be forever grateful.

Modern Medical Advances - the process of IVF aside (which, as far as I am concerned, is one of the most important, incredible medical advances of the 20th century), we also benefitted from ICSI and assisted hatching. With DH's inconsistent morphology and my age and egg quality working against us, we had the opportunity to increase our chances through the use of these two techniques. Though each came with their risks, at least we were able to do them! I truly think that I may not have gotten pregnant without them.

The Protocol - part of this is tied into our Clinic and our RE. We are so grateful that they were willing to try a completely "unconventional" (word used by our RE), relatively new, off-the-beaten-path protocol with me. The Agonist/Antagonist Conversion Protocol with Estrogen Priming, created by Dr. Geoffrey Sher, was a Godsend for us. It allowed us to have 5 perfectly healthy eggs to fertilize, and even though not all of them fertilized successfully, to a woman who was told that her eggs were crap, that number was music to the ears. It was an intense protocol, with an insanely high amount of drugs, but in the end it did the trick. I am so glad that my RE looked into this protocol at my urging, and I hope that my success buoys the clinic to try it with others.

My Insatiable Need to Research - okay, this one seems a little silly to mention. But seriously, I really do think that my thirst for knowledge in my own situation helped out tremendously. It was exhausting, disheartening, frustrating, and encouraging to read all of the research papers, case studies, forum posts and websites that contained information on poor egg quality. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is for any woman going through infertility to research, research, research. Knowledge is Power.

Alternative Treatments - We spent over a thousand dollars on traditional Chinese medicinal treatments, as well as acupuncture. But DH and I figured - heck, we had already spent over $15,000.00 on our IUIs and IVF cycles, what was another grand? And even though DH was skeptical, I always believed that they would be of help, and now DH is a believer, too. I worked with a very good acupuncturist and Doctor of Chinese Medicine in the months leading up to my cycle, but then decided to switch to another professional whose specialty was in treating infertility and who was reknowned for her work here in Calgary. She was amazing. Gentle, supportive and encouraging. She came to the clinic on transfer day to give me treatments pre- and post-transfer. Her positive energy was infectious. Her skill and knowledge were beyond compare. I really, really do feel that acupuncture as an adjunct to IVF is something that all women struggling with IVF should consider.
For what it's worth, I should also mention that I believe taking Royal Jelly supplements and Coenzyme Q10 helped. For those who have followed my blog, they will know I took both to improve my egg quality. I had DH taking CoEQ10 as well, to improve his sperm motility - resulting in a gigantic improvement in his sperm morphology, according to the lab results of his last sperm analysis prior to our last cycle!! He was pleased as punch!!

Hope and a Positive Attitude - where would we be without them? Even at the darkest times, I don't think that I ever lost hope that one day, this would work out for us. I prayed every night that God would allow me to be a mother - and even though I didn't know exactly what form that would take, I never lost hope that He would answer my prayers.
And speaking of prayers...

Belief in God and the Power of Prayer - our little Dim Sum is proof that God listens and God loves. I was fortunate enough to have an incredibly strong prayer network going for us - from one of the nurses at the Clinic to our parents, to our friends. Even one of the moms at school, who is struggling with a health concern of her own right now, told me last week that she was praying for me all summer! We are lucky to have so many people love us - and to have God's love with us every day.

Luck - okay, I was saying to DH the other day that when it comes down to it, luck played a huge role in our pregnancy. Sometimes, people can do the very best that they can and have the very best of intentions, and yet things don't work out for them. DH and I know how lucky we are - and we aren't taking a single moment for granted.

Phew. I think that's it. Time to step off the soapbox. But I do hope that it helps someone who may stumble upon my humble little blog, seeking answers. Know that I wish every woman out there, struggling the way that I did, the very, very best.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?


I was saddened this morning to hear the news of Mollygirl, a special lady who discovered at her 13 week ultrasound that her baby had stopped developing shortly after her 8 week ultrasound. She has suffered what is called a "missed miscarriage" and now must head to the Early Loss clinic to have a D&C.

Why do bad things happen to good people?

I can't imagine what she is going through right now. She and her husband had been trying to conceive for two years, and this baby was conceived through her second IVF. How does one go from floating on cloud nine to crashing down to earth? How does one handle the dashing of all her hopes and dreams in an instant? It just doesn't seem fair.

Reading about situations like this, of course, puts a chill through my system and reminds me just how unpredictable things can be in this world of infertility. It reminds me that I can't take one minute for granted...and that is why I continue to be so thankful to God for each and every day that we have with our little Dim Sum. I just hope that he/she is growing safe and healthy inside of me...and that my dreams won't be shattered, too.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Back to School!

Well, it was the first day of school today. So much whining, grumbling and crying - and that was from me!! All kidding aside, I do love the first day! All of the kids are excited to see their friends and meet their new teachers. There are new books to read and fresh crayons to colour with. Such a great time.

I have been literally run off my feet in this last week trying to prepare for the first day. My staff was in on Tuesday, and it seems I have been in meeting after meeting after meeting. But when the dust settled, and the dismissal bell had rung, it turned out to be a fantastic day! (Let's hope it turns out to be a great year!)

Unfortunately, despite my very best efforts to wear loose tops to disguise my burgeoning belly, I had more than one nosy parent and just a couple of nosy teachers asking me if I was hiding a bump. Quite frankly, I find this question unbelievably rude. Although I know that it is well-intentioned, the "asker" has absolutely no idea what is happening in the life of the "askee". What if the "askee" had been suffering through years of infertility (as in my situation) and they had just simply gained weight? What then? How would they feel if, in their quest for a juicy tidbit to gossip about, they caused great pain to someone else? The ease with which some people don't think twice about asking intrusive questions really makes me shake my head.

In any case - an update on my little "bump"...

We have nicknamed our baby Dim Sum. We went for an 8 week ultrasound yesterday, and there our little one was, tiny heart beating away at 168 bpm. We are so in love.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Most Beautiful Picture in the World...

Boy, were we excited yesterday!

DH and I got up and got ourselves ready quickly for our 9:30 a.m. ultrasound. We arrived at EFW Radiology at about 9:20 or so, and spent some time waiting (rather impatiently) before we were called in. I wasn't certain whether the first ultrasound was trans-vaginal or abdominal, so I had gone with a full bladder, which made the wait slightly more torturous. But when we got called in, I got myself changed quickly into the paper gown (stunning and stylish, those things...) and settled onto the table while the ultrasound tech went to fetch my husband.

My darling husband entered the room, the tech explained the procedures, and the screen got turned on.

Then - we saw the most beautiful picture in the world....

One gestational sac, with a little fetus inside, and a tiny flashing light which we learned was the heart beating. We have one little baby growing in my tummy, measuring exactly on schedule, with a heartbeat of 113 bpm. The tech said that anything above 100 was good, so we were happy. She took different measurements, checked my ovaries and fallopian tubes to ensure that none of the other embryos had accidentally implanted there, and then told us that everything looked great. We let out a sigh of relief and then left.

I would be lying if I said that I wasn't a little sad that the other two musketeers hadn't made it...although we certainly didn't expect to be carrying triplets, it would have been great to see one of the other embies surviving the transfer too. But this certainly does not mean that we aren't thrilled with our little egg roll, and that we aren't grateful that we have been blessed like this.

Each morning that I wake up, I thank God for another day with our baby. I will continue to hope and pray that this little one hangs in there...and that we get to see him/her grow and develop as these next nine months pass.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Worrying Doesn't End...

I've always known that the worrying wouldn't end.

We have spent almost three years worrying about the fact that we couldn't get pregnant. And now that we are, I spend countless hours worrying that the pregnancy isn't a strong one. In fact, since our first home pregnancy test and beta, I have taken 5 more home pregnancy tests just so that I can see that strong "+" sign. Sigh. Could I possibly be anymore neurotic?!

As my fertility clinic only does one beta test (which strikes me as odd, considering pregnancies resulting from IVFs really should be monitored more closely at the onset...), I was going crazy trying to figure out whether or not my hcg was doubling (not knowing this was adding to my worries exponentially!!) So on Friday, I rang up my family physician's office and the nurse very kindly faxed a beta recquisition over to the local lab. I managed to see the doctor this morning - and was told that my beta was at 3992 (taken 21dp3dt). Phew. That definitely made me feel a lot better!

As for symptoms - thankfully, I've not experienced much nausea yet. I have definitely had moments when strong odours make me whoozy, and there have been times when the thought of certain foods turns me off, but I have been just fine for the most part (knock on wood!) The bloating is still there, as are the sore boobies. I'll take it all if it means that my little Musketeers are growing healthy and strong inside me!

Next on the agenda is our first ultrasound - scheduled for the day after tomorrow. DH and I can't wait to find out how many Musketeers are snuggling in there!! Whatever the number - the most important thing will be to actually see a sac, with a tiny fetus inside. And if we're lucky - maybe we'll see the flutter of a heartbeat!!!

We can't wait...

Sunday, August 2, 2009


What a beautiful number.

This is what my beta levels were at when I went for the official test yesterday (15dp3dt). I worried much of the night that I would get a low beta result...which in my mind could reflect a weak pregnancy. But nope - my beta was 463, and the nurse said that it was a good, strong number.

How many times could I possibly express my gratitude - to God, to my family, and to all of my cyberfriends? This has been such a long ride, and now I am finally beginning to feel as though I get to be happy!

Our first ultrasound is booked for August 12, 2009 - that's when we'll find out how many babies there are in there! Right now, I'm just grateful to be pregnant - one, two or three is irrelevant to me.


Friday, July 31, 2009

Our Prayers Have Been Answered!


DH woke up before me this morning, and gently kissed me awake. I lay in bed, crying and telling him that I didn't want to go and test because I was scared of the outcome, but my amazing DH held me and told me how much he loved me and how whatever the outcome, we would deal with it together. So off I went, stick in hand.

After peeing on the stick, I brought it up to cap and noticed that the "+" sign had immediately appeared. I exclaimed, "HONEY!! WE'RE PREGNANT!!" The hilarious part of it was - I wasn't even finished peeing yet!!

I never, ever thought that I would get the chance to see a positive pregnancy test. I feel so blessed - and am still having a hard time believing that this day has come.

Thank you to all of my "cyber-friends" for their love and support - we will be walking on eggshells for the next couple of weeks until our first u/s at the clinic, but right now I am so thrilled to announce -

Sunday, July 26, 2009


"And we are confident that He hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases Him. And since we know He hears us when we make our requests, we also know that He will give us what we ask for" 1 John 5:14-15

I found this scripture on a thread where women were posting their IVF successes (see thread here ). Yes - I have been googling like mad (someone, quick, smash my computer!!!) and trying to read up on the successes of other women who were around my age, had a similar Rx, got a similar amount of eggs fertilized, and who transferred embryos that were about the same as my three Musketeers. Maniacal? Yes. Ridiculous? Absolutely. They definitely need a different name for this stage fo the IVF process - something more dramatic than "The Two Week Wait".

Then I found this scripture, written at the bottom of one girl's post - and you know what? It calmed me.

I have done so much praying this week - and I know that God has been listening. I can only hope that it is His will that we are blessed with children.

9dp3dt. Can this week possibly get any longer?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Okay, despite my best efforts to lay low, I can't help but pop on here to write about how these past few days have been for me...

DH has been in Montreal on business, so my wonderful, amazing, fantastical parents came to stay with me so that they could help take care of me! They have been so sweet - my Dad has cooked for me and my Mom has helped me in different ways, whether it's been doing my laundry or helping to empty to the dishwasher. They've also been chauffering me around, because my Mom firmly believes that the stress of driving in Calgary (...yes, for all of you Calgarians out there, you know how terrible our traffic and infrastructure is!!) is not good for the embies. So I've been pampered and spoiled beyond belief. The best thing so far? The fried egg sandwiches that my dad has made me for breakfast. Healthy? Nope. But good? Absolutely!!

I've been feeling great, aside from some slight constipation issues. I attended the wedding on Saturday of one of DH's best friends (DH was in the bridal party), but only the reception in the evening (so that I could rest during the day). I even snuck in one slow dance with my incredibly handsome husband (don't tell my Mom!!) and left early enough to still feel well rested. The rest of the days have passed by without much to comment on - couple of naps here and there, some trips to the grocery store (with my Dad to hold the basket) and lots of time spent on the computer just surfing and reading about what I should be doing post-transfer.

One thing that has been different is the cramping - I have had cramps on and off since the transfer. The cerebral side of me knows that it's simple the side effects of the progesterone and estrogen that I am pumping myself full of right now. The emotional side of me hopes that it's because our little Musketeers are snuggling in and getting ready to put a down payment on this womb-for-rent.

Ah, the Musketeers. I talk to them every day, encouraging them to stick around. If I am not mistaken, it's implantation time right about now. I am wishing with all of my might that there is magic happening right this very minute - and that God has blessed us with one or two little ones.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Welcome Home

Well, the three musketeers have a new home now.

We had our transfer today at noon, and were thrilled to be shown a picture of three (what I consider perfect!) embryos (though I'm sure the RE and embryologist may disagree slightly...) We have welcomed home a robust 9-cell embryo, a beautiful 8-cell embryo, and a dainty little 4-cell embryo.

They did comment that our little guy at 4 cells is still slightly behind, but that it may catch up. They were described as good embryos, and our RE told us that if we were looking for perfect embryos we would be disappointed because they appear far and few between. And then the embryologist reminded us that sometimes perfect embryos don't become babies later on. So the mood was definitely one of optimism - especially encouraging since our RE tends to be such a pessimist!! DH and I are over the moon...

My bladder was full today, but not painfully full as it was the last time I did a transfer. Our RE did an amazing job of talking us through each step and pointing to the ultrasound screen to show us where my uterus was located and where the catheter was, and he pointed out the exact moment that our embies entered their new home - it showed up as a little bright glow on the screen. Magic.

My amazing acupuncturist showed up to give me a session before the transfer, then stayed to give me a session post-transfer. She is such an incredible person and we are so grateful that she made herself available to us like that! Her enthusiasm and positive energy really added to the overall optimistic mood and DH and I left on such a high.

So now it's a waiting game. DH has already kissed his "babies" a dozen times and I have had a great day of rest. I continue to thank God for this - and will continue to pray that these little babies snuggle in for the long haul.

Dearest friends - thank you for your support. Given that we haven't told many of our "real time" friends, your words of encouragement mean so much.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Dear Embies...

To My Three Little Musketeers -

I received a phone call this morning from your temporary guardians and they have told me of your adventures. It seems that you have been busy bees overnight - one of you is at 6 cells, one of you is at 4 cells, and one of you is a tiny little 2 celled sprite.

I love you already.

Please keep working hard to grow. I know that it's a lot of work, but you will be in mummy's tummy very soon. I promise that when you are, I will take very good care of you and nurture you so that you grow healthy and strong.

Know that your mummy and daddy have been thinking about you every waking minute, and we can't wait to see you tomorrow afternoon.

All for one, one for all -

Lots of love,

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Update - and it' a Good One!!

Retrieval went just fine yesterday - the most painful part was the application of the needle for my IV drip. The RE who conducted the retrieval is partial to inserting the needle into the side of the wrist - and seeing as I have small wrists (zero flesh on them!!) it hurt like a bitch!! I actually dropped the F-bomb when she was done - then immediately apologized. Terribly embarassing. Oh well - I hope she understood!

Anyway, she had given me some Gravol along with the painkillers, so I was terribly drowsy during the procedure (this didn't happen during my last retrieval - I was so much more alert. Which may or may not have been a good thing, since the last retrieval yielded such bad results!) Before I knew it, they were done (all I can remember is feeling the RE gently poking around my right ovary, doing what I can only assume was a double-check...) and I was being wheeled into the recovery area. I was completely out of it.

The good news: Six eggs recovered, five mature enough for ICSI. I made a specific point about asking the embryologists who came out to see me what condition those five eggs were in, and they said that the eggs were good - one of them even piped up that he was a "hard marker". I immediately thanked God for His blessing and went home much happier than with our last retrieval.

DH and I have been on pins and needles, waiting for the call from the lab on fertilization. Again, the news was good -

Of the five ICSI'd, three have fertilized!!! One of the five fertilized abnormally, and another did not survive the night. The three remaining do not show any immediate signs of being poor in quality, but it is still early (the embryologist reminded me!) so tomorrow will be quite telling. I was so happy that I almost started to cry - we have three embabies, and I continue to pray that they make it to Friday, when we have our transfer.

The embryologist has recommended that all three go back in - to which I wholeheartedly agreed. Friday cannot come soon enough - please keep those prayers coming.

Thank you to all of you wonderful girls who have posted your support...more updates soon!!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Just Pull the Trigger...

Well, I took my trigger shot last night at 10:00 p.m.

Yesterday morning, I went for one last ultrasound to measure the follicles once again. I'm not sure why I asked for that ultrasound; even if we had discovered that the larger follicles had grown far too big overnight, there really wouldn't have been anything that we could have done about it. I guess the Control Freak in me just wanted to know what I was dealing with.

Turns out that there was just slight growth with my last dose of stims -

Right ovary - 1.8 mm and 1.9 mm (and my little mystery sausage in the middle. The RE said no matter what she did, she just could not get that little squished follicle to reveal itself long enough for measurement...)

Left ovary - 1.5 mm and 1.7 mm (which is okay, I guess. The RE doesn't know if the 1.5 will contain a viable egg, but the 1.7 might...)

Lining was nice and thick - and the verdict was that I was ready to pull the trigger.

So shortly before 10 p.m., I got myself all ready - filled my syringes carefully and got myself all primed up to go. Unfortunately, however, I noticed a stubborn bubble in one of the syringes, and flick as I might I couldn't get it to go away. I enlisted my DH's help - and what a mistake that was!! His idea of getting rid of the bubble was to push it out - along with some of the meds! When I noticed this, I freaked out on him!!! Needless to say, despite my best attempts to have a smooth as silk trigger, it was a little stressful for both of us.

So our little egg collection begins tomorrow morning at 9:00...wish us luck!!

P.S. Tania and Raeanne - thanks for the luv!! XOXO

Saturday, July 11, 2009

"Stim"-ulating Conversation...

Well, here's another update, recorded for posterity!!

I went for another ultrasound this morning to see how my wee follies were faring...

Right ovary - 1.75 mm and 1.8 mm (no, I haven't lost the third one...it's sausage-shaped, squished between the other two...so since we had a measure of it yesterday already, the RE figured she wouldn't measure it today. She says they'll drain the other two, and the one in the middle will likely spring back into shape and they will proceed with draining it...)

Left ovary - 1.4 mm and 1.7 mm (yes - can you believe the growth in that little one? Good news indeed!)

So the big decision of the day was whether or not to trigger me tonight. Given the issues presented with my last cycle, I was really worried that my bigger follicles (and subsequent eggs)would be rendered useless at retrieval time and didn't want to sacrifice those for the sake of nudging along my littlest follicle. The RE met with the embryologist before making the call, and together they have decided that I will stim for one more day and trigger tomorrow night. They are worried that my 1.7's won't be mature enough and they will not be able to fertilize. They think that this is the best decision to make in order to maximize the number of eggs they can work with.

Obviously, I trust the RE's expertise, but cannot help but worry about my two bigger follies. I am hoping and praying that they hang in there and that all will be well on Tuesday when we suck those little guys out.

In other news...

A good girlfriend and I went for a massage yesterday afternoon - and let me tell you, it was heavenly. I so enjoyed it, and so needed it!! I was completely tight and tense in my upper back, shoulders and neck and was scolded by the therapist for not getting massages more regularly. Perhaps it's what my little follie needed in order to shoot up! This girlfriend is getting ready to give birth to twins this weekend - yes, this weekend!! She is pregnant with girl/boy IVF twins and is anxiously awaiting their arrival. Perhaps yesterday's massage also got things moving with her!

Please say a prayer for me and my little follies tonight...


Friday, July 10, 2009

Follicle Follow-Up

Well, just got home from my date with the old vagi-cam and it looks like we lost one in the left ovary. Not surprising since it hadn't grown at all between the first and second ultrasound appointments! I'm not too concerned, as we got relatively positive news about the others -

Right ovary - 1.5, 1.75 and 1.2 mm, respectively
Left ovary - 1.35 and 1.1 mm, respectively

The RE believes that we will have our retrieval either on Monday or Tuesday, with the transfer on either Thursday or Friday. I just want them to make the best decision possible that will allow for maximum growth of those little eggies...

To my beautiful friends who have left me messages on this blog - thank you, thank you, thank you. Your support means so much to me. Please keep your prayers coming - we are still hoping for that little miracle!


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Growing Pains

Well, I thought I should post an update - if for nothing more than to have a record of this cycle and how I have progressed through it.

Since my last entry, I've had two ultrasounds to check the growth of my little follicular friends... and unfortunately, the news hasn't been that fantastic.

My first ultrasound was this past Saturday, July 4th - Day 5, after four nights of stims. Six follicles - 0.5, 0.5, 0.4 (right), 0.5, 0.3, 0.3 (left). I was told by the attending RE that the follicles were a bit on the small side, but to remain optimistic. He was lovely - empathic, but also realistic with me. And to be honest, I really wasn't overly upset. I'm not sure why - perhaps it had to do with the fact that I was experiencing an eery deja vu - I distinctly recall another occasion when I sat in that very u/s room and was told I was only working with six follicles. Back then I was devastated - this time, I was resigned. Sigh.

Following that appointment, I was determined to do what I could to help those six little follicles grow - so I had a couple of acupuncture sessions, did some femoral massage at home (what a trippy sensation that was!!) and did my best to stay on schedule with my meds.

Fast forward to this morning...good growth for most - but not all - of my follicles. Still six - 1.1, 1.1, 0.85 (right), 1.1, 0.6, 0.3 (left). The good news is - I am seeing more even growth amongst all of the follicles (whereas last cycle, there was a bigger spread). The bad news is - we're probably only working with four viable eggs, unless the little guy at 0.6 goes through a growth spurt and he shows up to play on retrieval day. That poor little guy at 0.3 will likely not catch up, according to the nurses. Sigh. The runt of the litter.

My lining is great - 0.86. Not surprising, considering all of the estrogen that I am on right now. This is also another positive. I am looking for all of the positives that I can get.

So I will continue with my acupuncture and femoral massage in hopes of helping those little guys out. Praying for the best. Keeping fingers crossed. Looking for a miracle.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Third Time's A Charm...

Has it really been over a month?

Yes, I have been a neglectful blogger. Things at work have been stressful, crazy, anxiety-inducing, and every other negative adjective imaginable...I'm just glad that the school year is over! Seriously, it really wasn't a great year, so given the fact that we had originally been offered the chance to do another IVF cycle in early June, I am so glad that we made the decision to defer...doing it while the craziness was happening would have been such a waste of finances and emotion.

So here we are. Third cycle. Three days into stimming. And I'm feeling optimistic.

Although I must admit, I had myself a little meltdown on Tuesday evening - my first day with all of my little pills and injections. Because they have me on such a complex protocol this time around, there is a distinct increase not only in the dosages I am on, but also in the types of drugs I have to manage. I am on estrogen patches, vaginal estrogen tablets, antibiotics, gonal f, cetrotide, and low dose aspirin. Throw in a little royal jelly and coenzyme q-10 for egg quality, pre-natal vitamins for baby's health, and I am a walking pharmacy. I was so overwhelmed by it all - keeping track of it, making sure I take it all on time, etc. - that I crawled into bed and cried on Tuesday night. But that's the only cry I am allowing myself for now - right this minute, I am optimistic.

My goal is to create healthy eggs. I don't even necessarily need a ton of eggs (though last night while I was lying in bed trying to coax myself to sleep, I was thinking that 8 would be a nice round number - it even looks like two eggs, one on top of the other!!) I just want to make some healthy eggs that will fertilize beautifully and make nice little embryos that have the strength to burrow in for the long haul...or for at least nine months. I am so much better prepared for this cycle - months and months of acupuncture, Chinese herbs, royal jelly, and coenzyme q10 have got to count for something!

I go for my Day 5 ultrasound and bloodwork on Saturday morning - our first peek into what's going on in those ovaries of mine.

Did I mention that I'm feeling optimistic?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Big Fat Negative Doctor!

I have a very pessimistic RE.

It's rather unfortunate, though I believe that it is inherent in his personality and may not necessarily be indicative of our potential for success with assisted reproductive technology.

Case in point -

I had an appointment today with him to further discuss my upcoming cycle (did I mention that we received the coveted "Call" off of the clinic's waiting list last week and we are poised to begin another IVF in early June?) Things weren't sitting well with me about what we were about to do - based upon the nurse's description of how my cycle was to evolve, it didn't sound like I was doing an Antagonist with Estrogen Priming cycle, the way I had originally thought. A few clicks of the old mouse and some posting to Dr. Hannam in Toronto helped me to learn that what was planned for me was far from the Antagonist/Estrogen Priming plan. Hence, the visit to my own RE to find out what the f*ck was going on...

It turns out that he has something even more special planned for us - we are being put on the Agonist/Antagonist Conversion Protocol with Estrogen Priming. This got me excited, as I had read about this at length and knew that it has proven to be quite effective with women who were poor responders. Pioneered by Dr. Geoffery Sher at the Sher Institute for Reproductive Medicine, the focus behind this protocol is in improving the environment that the egg grows in through promoting estrogen dominance in the ovary (read more here). Sounds great, right? So where does the pessimism come in?

Despite the fact that my RE is placing me on this protocol, he made it very clear that he doesn't necessarily believe that it will improve our chances - but that he was doing it because I had asked for it. Wait a minute, now - who's the doctor here?? If I had known that I could call my own shots like this, things would have been waaaay different waaaay earlier on!

In any case, my perception is that he is being negative because this protocol is relatively new to him (I don't believe he's done this with anyone else before). He said that there are some things about the protocol that seem unconventional to him. Clearly he is not a risk taker. Despite his penchant for repeatedly saying "This is what you've asked for..." I wanted to have a clear understanding that I wasn't totally off the beaten track (his unwillingness to assume accountability for making the decision to try this protocol was fine with me, as long as I was assured that it was the right direction to go in...) so I flat out asked him to tell me if this protocol was the wrong thing to try. He indicated that it wasn't - that it wouldn't hurt to go in this direction, that it did incorporate the antagonist protocol (which he originally recommended) and that it would allow us to say that we had tried everything. That was all that I needed.

I have written to Dr. Sher at SIRM to ask for his input into my situation - here's hoping that he writes back to me. Poor guy must have thousands of women writing him each day! I just wanted to hear some optimistic news about the journey that I am about to embark on. Everyone could use a little good news now and then, right?

Friday, May 1, 2009

"Priming" Up for Another Cycle...

I can't believe that it's been an entire month since I last posted! The days seem to fly by, which has been fine and dandy for me since each day brings me closer to my next IVF cycle. The funny thing is, the clinic called me this month to offer me a cycle - but I declined, knowing that the retrieval and transfer were far too close to the end of the school year for my liking. Considering everything that I have gone through, the last thing that I wanted was for the success of this next cycle to be affected by the stresses of closing out a school year. DH and I decided we would defer until the following month, which brings us to a retrieval/transfer during the second week of July. Summer holidays will allow me to really put my feet up and relax during that dreaded two week wait!

Despite the fact that we turned down the cycle this month, the nurse very patiently walked me through the entire protocol that I'll be on - Estrogen Priming with Antagonist Protocol. Geez - talk about complicated. Twenty-one days of birth control pills, coupled with Suprefact. Then, good old Auntie Flo should arrive and I start stims with estrogen patches on Day 2 or 3. After approximately 12 days of stims, they go egg hunting, make babies in the lab, put them back inside and boom - I'm pregnant! Ha! If only it were that easy!

If I understand things correctly (and I'm still not sure that I do, even after reading a gazillion different things on EPP...) the estrogen will ensure that my FSH levels are not too high, which in turn will help the quality of the eggs. I must admit, I have high hopes for this protocol - I requested that my RE put me on it, as it is known to be very effective for poor responders. He's never done it before (and I'm a little nervous) but I'm channeling all of my positive thoughts toward this being a great success!

Just this week, I figured out that the bill for my last IVF cycle totaled approximately $17,000.00! Thankfully, my insurance plan covered 80% of the drug costs and DH's plan covered the rest - so really, we were only out of pocket about $7500.00. But this, added on to the $1550.00 we have spent on IUIs makes this one expensive adventure!! I would have preferred a trip around the world...

Sending a special "hello" and cyberhug to all of my cyberfriends - hope you are well and feeling peace in your hearts.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Two Days and Counting...

...until we jet off to the sunny Carribean. DH and I are leaving on Friday for a much needed holiday to the Dominican Republic and I am a little embarassed to say that we have chosen an adults only resort.

Why does this embarass me, you may ask? Because I'm an elementary school principal - aren't I supposed to LOVE being around children? When I was starting out my career in teaching, there were times when I would be highly amused by certain adults that I was at social gatherings with. Whenever there were children afoot, they would automatically assume that I would entertain their children whilst they enjoyed their glasses of wine and more "adult" conversation - after all, I was a teacher, wasn't I? They would invariably introduce me to their children by saying "This is Springroll, she's a Grade Three teacher!" They would smile, nudge their children towards me, then leave me in the dust while the kids dragged me toward their drawings or toys. It drove me crazy.

More recently, since the onset of my "condition", I find myself melancholy, at times, just being around children (especially our youngest students, who are typically 3.5 to 4 years of age). For example, at last year's Mother's Day Tea, our Kindergarten children sang "You are My Sunshine" to a room full of beaming mothers - and a bawling principal. Most moms thought that I was touched by the moment - little did they know that I was crying because I was faced with the possibility that I would never hear a child of my own singing this very same song to me. Rather pathetic. And last year's spring break holiday, while amazing, also had its tear-filled moments. Like the day that I watched a man carry his little baby boy around the pool on his shoulders. The little boy shrieked in delight each time he got splashed. The man beamed. And I cried - wondering if my own husband would ever get the chance to do that. Good lord.

Given the fact that I am around children all of the time, and given my somewhat fragile mental state (ha-ha!), I jumped at the chance to go to a beautiful, five-star, child-free resort. I can't wait to lie on my lounger, listening to nothing but the sound of the ocean lapping against the shore. Yay me.

In other news - my sonohysterogram went smoothly and was so much less painful than an HSG!! Though it's not my first choice of ways to spend my spring break, I'd do it again if I had to. And the best part is - I got a clean bill of health! No polyps, no issues. And even better than that - they gave me another antral follicle count and it's at 10!!! That's TWO more than last month's!! Wooohoooo!! Now if we can only see the same number of follies when we cycle, we'll be laughing all the way to the clinic...

P.S. Congrats to my special cyber-friend, CJDR, who gave birth to a beautiful little boy a couple of weeks ago. She is proof that miracles can happen - you just have to believe...

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I am not pregnant.


I honestly don't know why I expected to be. I guess it was the addition of the royal jelly and the coenzyme q-10 and all of that acupuncture. I was expecting all of those things to be working their magic on my ovaries - thinking that maybe, just maybe, I would shoot out one perfect egg this month that would joyously unite with a sperm to create our special child.


So - textbook example of self-flagellation...

I was sick last week and stayed home from work one morning. What did I do? Watch episode after episode of A Baby Story on TLC. There I was - head completely clogged, entirely unable breathe properly, and I was bawling because of all of the births that I was witnessing. Thinking to myself, my God - I'll never have that moment in my life. It will never happen for me. I will never have the chance to feel my baby kicking or see my baby's ultrasound or yell at my husband for telling me to push harder!! I was a blubbering mess.

Why does it have to be this way? I have asked this question time and time again, but I will ask it one more time - Why does it have to be so hard?

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Results Are In...

The days seem to pass like a whirling dervish - and I am grateful, since it means that we are that much closer to our next IVF cycle. I was reading different posts on different forums the other day (what's new?) and I read the post of a women who has done 15 IVF cycles!! Good God - I was shocked. Then I prayed really, really hard that this won't happen for us...

In any case, I have the results of some of my testing back - some good, some so-so. My Day 3 FSH level is 6 - which, according to the Advanced Fertility website, is a "reassuring level - expect a good response to stimulation..." Yeah, okay. Next, my Day 3 Estradiol count is 41, which again according to this website would suggest normal ovarian functioning (I am well within the normal range). But my antral follicle count (taken on Day 9 of my cycle) was at 8. Four on each side. The nurse tried to cheer me up by saying, "It's not that bad! It's not that many away from what we would consider good/normal!" Um, okay. She also reminded me that antral follicle counts vary from cycle to cycle and that things could improve. Bless her heart.

So now I await the start of my next cycle so that I can go for my sonohysterogram. I talked my RE into letting me have this test done instead of the HSG, since the HSG is more painful and since we don't really need to worry about blocked tubes. But here's hoping that there is no next cycle - DH and I tried really hard this month (as prescribed by our acupunturist), so we'll see if we get lucky.

Since the addition of the royal jelly and coenzyme q10 to my diet, I have had headaches, early ovulation, and now, a head cold. I hope that it's all just coincidental - I really want to make sure that I continue to take everything that I need to in order to have healthy eggs for the spring.

Ahhhh, spring - time to go for that egg hunt! I can't wait.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Something New to "Bee-lieve" In

Yes, I am currently consumed with researching ways to improve my egg quality. I have recently spent hours combing the internet, seeking the wisdom of Dr. Google to take me to websites that will somehow share the ultimate secret to how I can get pregnant. I have read medical studies and gone through fertility clinic sites, visited forums and browsed through what feels like a million and one posts. And in all of this research, I think have actually found something that I am really beginning to get excited about:

Lemon jellybeans? Nope. Werther's Originals? Wrong again. Those, folks, are Royal Jelly capsules. What the heck, you may be asking, is Royal Jelly? Royal Jelly is an extremely nutrient-rich product that is said to improve fertility. It is a milky substance, generated by bees - the pollen that is fed by the worker bees only to the queen bee, whose job it is to produce lots and lots of infant bees. It's rich in amino acids, vitamins and enzymes, and can be considered nature's fertility drug. Royal Jelly helps the queen bee lay millions of eggs and live a much longer life than the poor old worker bee. Dr. Randine Lewis, a reknowned Traditional Chinese Medicine practicioner who specialized in infertility, recommends supplementing one's diet with Royal Jelly to improve fertility (read article here), and several other write-ups on the Net could be found, expounding its virtues. I even found my way onto a forum where several women posted stories of their success with Royal Jelly - several of them having tried to conceive for 2+ years, and many of them having conceived after taking Royal Jelly (one of them naturally!)

So I popped into my neighbourhood health food store to pick some up. Being rather ignorant to what exactly I was looking for, I asked the elderly store owner for help. He directed me to a bottle that contained 45 gelcaps, and I asked him how I go about taking them. He looked at me like I was on crack!

"Why, with water of course!" he replied with a smile, "Or if you want, you can even take it with food!"

I felt rather stupid at that point, and explained to him that I had read that Royal Jelly was like a honey that people eat by the spoonful (...damn internet...). He told me that that was how Royal Jelly was sold in the UK, but in Canada, he has only seen it sold as capsules. Good enough for me, as I had also read how foul-tasting the creamed version was.

I took my little bottle home, opened her up - and was shocked to see how HUGE the capsules are! I swear they are about 2 cm in length. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to get it down my gullet - but with enough water, that little baby washes down like nothing!

And so begins my relationship with yet another fertility treatment. On top of the acupuncture and Chinese herbs, I will be taking Royal Jelly for the next couple of months, from Day 1 until Ovulation. I also intend to add Coenzyme Q10 to my diet - and DH's diet as well - as I have read that this mineral is also tremendously useful in improving sperm and egg quality. Thankfully, we are taking these supplements in good time - apparently, you need to give it at least three months before benefits may be seen. I can't wait - I just know that my next IVF cycle will yield much better results. I have to "bee-lieve" that.

P.S. A special "hello!" to the ladies who wished me a happy blogoversary! Thanks for reading and for your support! :)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Happy Anniversary!


I missed my one-year anniversary. I began this blog one year ago yesterday - crazy how time flies. I just went through some of my entries and I have such mixed emotions...sadness at all of the things that have happened...pride at our ability to weather the storm...disbelief at our lack of progress...hope that there are better things to come.

And here I am, one year later, without much to report. I am currently on CD26, waiting for my little friend to arrive. I am well into the "acupuncture groove", with my weekly appointments and my evening elixirs (Chinese herbal teas). My acupuncturist is sincerely trying hard to help us conceive naturally - she figures that we need to "try really hard" (her words) in March, because we will have had a couple of months of treatment and we should be seeing the effects. It's also the last month that I will be drinking the teas, since she feels that I should have all of the herbs out of my system before we start our next IVF cycle (so if we cycle in May, I need to stop the herbs in March so that I have April to "recover").

I am trying to read anything and everything that there is to read about the antagonist protocol and estrogen priming (which my RE doesn't know much about but promises he will learn more about to see if he can apply it to my situation). I swear I can be licensed to practice as a fertility specialist, with all of the reading that I have done. Do you think there's a market for "infertility consultants" anywhere?

Sadly, my RE has requested another HSG. For those of you familiar - do you feel my pain? I can't believe that I have to have another one done. I made the executive decision, however, not to have it done in March, since we are going to "try really hard" to conceive naturally. I don't want anything to interfere.

I have an ultrasound for an antral follicle count on March 10th. I was a little suspicious of this - I had read that antral follicle counts should be done at the beginning of a cycle (cycle days 1-4), but the radiologist's office was booking appointments six weeks in advance! How the hell was I going to time my appointment to coincide with my period?!? I called the fertility clinic (left FOUR messages before hearing back...but that's another rant...) and they have told me that antral follicle counts can be conducted at any time (um, okay...) if the technician is a good one. Then I was told that in my case, it's not going to matter much anyway (gee, thanks).

And finally, because I haven't had enough testing conducted, I have to go for another series of blood tests for HIV, Hep B and Day 3 FSH. Wow. Looking forward to it.

Well, that's the update. A pretty lame one, I know - but whaddya do? It is what it is.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Lost and Found

Not sure if you recall, but one of my earliest posts was about how the harsh reality of infertility can sneak up on you at the darnedest of times. This happened yesterday, whilst I was on the elliptical trainer at my gym. There I was - happily pumping away (and meeting my target heart-rate!), when one very pregnant woman entered my visual field. There she was, looking all perky as hell, giggling with a girlfriend who she happened to run into (and who happened to be two ellipticals down from me...)

"What are you doing here?!?" gasps Disbelieving Girlfriend.

"Trying to make it come out!" laughs Perky Preggo, as she hops up and down.

Following a few minutes of lighthearted banter, she starts walking the track that surrounds the cardio equipment. This meant that every five minutes or so, I saw here walk past me, all big tummy and protruding belly button. And each time she passed, it hurt. A deep, raw, searing pain.

This threw me into a bit of a melancholy state, and I started thinking last night about all of the things that I have lost due to our infertility.

I have lost my innocence and naivete - my belief that we'd just "get pregnant when we wanted to" is actually an embarassing joke to me now. When I was first married, I very proudly proclaimed to anyone that asked that we would be starting a family right away. Fast forward two and half years and those babies have yet to materialize...how naive could I have been?

I have lost the element of surprise. I'll never get the chance to surprise my husband with a positive HPT, wrapped up in a pretty box. I'll never get to see the look on my parents' faces as I surprise them with the news that they will be grandparents. Instead, my husband and my family wait with me at the end of each and every cycle - with baited breath - to see if maybe this time things have worked out...

I have lost my capacity to share in other's good news. Not all good news, of course. But good news about babies and pregnancies. Even though on a cerebral level, I know that I don't have all the info about what that person went through to get pregnant, on the self-pitying, self-indulgent level, I somehow always conclude that it was easy for them - so why does it have to be so hard for me?

I have lost my sense of "real time". See, my days pass by according to my cycles. I don't really think in terms of conventional time anymore - weeks? Months? Years? Pffft. Now I think in terms of "DPO" or "CD 12". And more recently, with being on the waiting list for IVF, I think in terms of the number of periods I call in to the "Period Hotline". Actually, time flies much quicker on the Infertility Calendar...

I have lost my ability to plan. My time isn't mine anymore. A vacation during Spring Break? But what if we are called to cycle? Have a glass of wine with my girlfriends this Friday? Nope - I think I may be ovulating. A trip through Asia this summer? What if I'm in the early stages of pregnancy? DH and I have put our lives on hold waiting for what has thus far been incredibly elusive...

Sigh. Yes - I know. Quite the one-woman pity party, isn't it? But all was not lost - though I was terribly sad (no tears, however!), I did attempt to cheer myself up by reminding myself of all the things that I have found through the infertility journey.

I have found an inner strength that I did not know I could possess. In all of my darkest moments, I have surprised myself by being able to bounce back and stay the course. I cannot lose sight of our goal - and can never lose hope that we will achieve it.

I have found out just how much I love my husband. Of course, I always knew that I did. But the support he has given me throughout these past two years erases every petty argument we have and irritating habit that he possesses. He is the reason that I have been able to make it through all of these disappointments. He is loving. He is optimistic. He is encouraging. He is incredible.

I have found the courage to undergo some of the most invasive medical testing and procedures I have ever endured in my life - more than what I had ever anticipated. With every needle and every ultrasound, although it has felt as though I lost some of my dignity in the process, I have found myself surprisingly adaptable and most definitely brave. Yay, me!

This infertility thing. It taketh and it giveth. But I guess in the end, it will make me a better person.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I'm Feeling Antagonistic...

Today was day that I couldn't wait for...and also the day that I was (mildly) dreading...

We had our follow-up appointment with our RE today to talk about what went wrong and where we were headed next. DH and I had so many questions to ask - but mostly, we wanted an assurance that we could try IVF again and continue to try until we got pregnant.

Our RE is an interesting fellow. Not the warmest, but friendly enough. Knows his stuff. Answers our questions. I never really thought that he was pessimistic - until today. Unfortunately, we didn't receive the best news.

It was confirmed that I have serious egg quality issues - not premature ovarian failure, as I had originally self-diagnosed. That would have meant that I wasn't ovulating at all and my menstrual cycles would have stopped altogether. I am still producing eggs - but they are rotten. It would appear that I have used up all of my good eggs. All that's left are the crappy ones that no spermie wants - how sad for them.

Anyway, the RE started talking about success rates - turns out that a couple like us only has a less than 5% chance of conceiving naturally with this condition. And - get this - with our last cycle, we only had a slightly higher than 5% chance of conceiving with our little Nemo, given his quality (which today we learned, wasn't that great...contrary to what we were told on transfer day...) So things don't look good. But (to quote the doc) we should try everything we can so that we can say we tried everything...so this next cycle, we are going to be on the Antagonist Protocol.

What on earth, you may ask, is that?!

Based upon his explanation and what I have learned from Dr. Google, the Antagonist Protocol is short, eliminating the initial suppression stage. Instead of going on suppression drugs at the start of a cycle, I start stimming almost immediately. This precludes my ovaries from "going to sleep". Then, once my follies are big, I take a suppression drug called antagonists in order to prevent premature ovulation. This protocol involves close monitoring, since I fire up the ovaries right from the get-go and there is a risk of missing ovulation. Truth be told, I am concerned about using this protocol, since I have read that it results in few follicles. However, the plus side is that it improves egg quality. I can only hope.

Sigh. In the meantime, we continue to try au naturel. My trusty Clearblue Fertility Monitor showed a peak reading today - yippee! Time to make a baby.

Yeah, right.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Miracles of Modern Science?

Okay, wow.

Talk about an eye-catching headline - "60-year old Calgary woman gives birth to twins"!

This news, coupled with the recent story of a California woman (already a mother of six!) who had given birth to octuplets, makes me shake my head. Can these events be considered miracles of modern science, or examples of extremely poor judgment and unethical behaviour?

Infertile women all over the world are likely reeling from these stories - I myself have very mixed emotions. From what I understand, the 60 year old fellow Calgarian has been attempting to conceive for 43 years - I just can't imagine the heartache. But as hard as it is to give up the dream, at what point does the realization sink in that as a 60 year old, the capacity to provide for children is quickly diminishing? What will happen to those boys when their parents are too old to be active with them, or (God forbid) do not live a long enough life to see them through to high school graduation? What impact will this have on the boys' social development, as the reality of having elderly parents begins to weigh on them? At what point does one say "Enough is enough"?

As an individual who has been fiercely private about my battles with infertility and infertility treatments, I have to admit that one reason for this privacy has been the stigma that still surrounds it all. It is my perception that the general population lacks any real understanding of the intricacies of fertility drugs and treatment - I know that I was certainly ignorant to it all before I began my battles. And situations like this do not enhance awareness one bit - if anything, it creates false understandings and can perpetuate grossly negative judgments about people who need and undergo fertility treatments and the medical professionals that provide them. What a shame.

Sigh. It's too bad that these are the reasons that IVF is making headlines. Wouldn't it be infinitely better to read "Provincial IVF funding implemented across Canada" in your local newspaper? Now that's what would be newsworthy.

Okay - stepping gently off soapbox now...

On the personal front, I am currently on Day 12 of my second cycle "AFIVF" ("After Failed IVF"). My acupuncture sessions have been going rather well - I am with a new doctor, and this cycle, she has introduced Chinese herbs into the mix. I am going on a wing and a prayer that these sessions will improve my egg quality and ovarian functioning - she assures me that they will. She is also encouraging us to try and conceive naturally whilst waiting for our next IVF cycle...and DH is certainly having fun with that little sidebar!

By the by, hello to all of my friends. Sorry I haven't posted much - but there hasn't been much to say. Still praying that our little Miracle of Modern Science will show up soon.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Divine Support

Well, it seems that I am doing okay. Some might even say, I'm doing well. In these past weeks, I have laughed at silly jokes and caressed a baby's cheek. I have made accomplishments at work, and made meals to fill our bellies. I have lunched with girlfriends and dined with my sister. Yes - I am doing okay.

I strongly believe that I have made it through what I consider to be the darkest hours of my life because of my faith in God. Funny - growing up, my family attended church on and off, but I would never have considered myself a very religious person. However, I have always believed that there is a divine Plan for me - a path that God has set me upon. And I have always believed that everything happens for a reason, even if it doesn't make sense. At many points in my life, God answered my prayers. And I have to believe that God was listening when I prayed for my little embryo - because I prayed for a healthy baby. Obviously, it just wasn't meant to be.

A colleague of mine sent me a chain e-mail today. Normally, I never perpetuate those things - I usually click "delete" with immediate disgust. But this time, I read it. I wept a little. And then I passed it on. Because the e-mail contained a prayer that is so meaningful to me right now, that I needed to send it back out there, in hopes that it would touch others the way that it touched me. St. Theresa's Prayer reads as follows -

"May today there be peace within. May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others. May you use the gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content with yourself just the way you are. Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us."

Reading this prayer filled me with warmth and I realized - if I am to have the strength to continue my fight and the courage to hope again, then I need to find peace in my heart and in my mind. So instead of asking "Why me?", I am going to ask "Why not me?" This will shape who I am, and it will ultimately make me a better person and a better mother.

The instructions on the e-mail were to make a wish, read the prayer, then send it along to 12 other women. Simple instructions to follow, so I did it. Can anybody guess what my wish was?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A New Look for a New Year

Happy New Year.

In the process of regrouping, I thought I would freshen things up and change the look of my little blog. I hope you all like it.

This past week has certainly had its ups and downs - mostly downs, I have to say. Even though on a cerebral basis I knew that our chances for success were only about 50%, having to deal with the reality of a failed cycle is a completely different thing. Compounding things was the fact that the clinic called to tell me that my lab test results were inconclusive (apparently, my urine was too dilute) , so I had to get a beta done. This was on Tuesday. I had a very, very brief fleeting bit of hope that perhaps my hpt was wrong, but then yesterday morning I took another hpt and it was still negative. I tell ya - there's nothing like having to hear over and over again, "You're not pregnant."

So now I wait the "official" word from the clinic once again, so that I can stop taking the prometrium and estrace. This was another source of grief for me - why on earth was I forced to continue taking these pregnancy-supporting hormones when I wasn't even pregnant? Irritating, to say the least. However, the clinic has been closed for the holiday season, so I have to wait until I receive instructions from them before I can stop.

So what lies ahead for me this year?

Well, we are going to go for IVF cycle #3 (...never thought I would get to this point...) and in the time that it takes to be called off the waiting list, I am going to go back to acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine. This is in an attempt to improve my egg quality.

I'm going to take the time to concentrate on some of my old friendships and build some new ones. I have pushed so many of them away that I have realized I have no one to turn to when I need a good laugh, or a girlfriend to catch a chick flick with.

I would like to get back to working out regularly again. Get my body and mind healthy for our next cycle.

I am committed to try and enjoy my life more. I have put so many things on hold because of our infertility challenges, I feel as though I am losing sight of who I am. 2009 will be the Year of Springroll.

And, of course, I will continue to hope and pray and remain positive. I will be a Mother one day.