Thursday, March 27, 2008

Help Me Pass the Time in Limbo

So it's just a waiting game now for DH and I. So I'm wondering how I can pass the time and keep my blog active. Feel free to help me if you like. Why don't you post questions/topics/comments for me to blog about. Maybe no one's reading this....who knows. But if you are and you have something you'd like to share or ask...feel free!!! 

Dear Vagina,

I'm sorry for all of the pain and suffering you have endured over the past 15 years. First, there was the trauma of squeezing out a 7 lbs. 14oz newborn through your loins at a tender young age. But you were such a trooper. You did amazing and only required 2 stitches!! Of course, after this delivery you required yearly Pap tests which I'm sure are no picnic for you. Then there was that incident with abnormal cells where you required a couple of colposcopies and biopsies. I'm sure having part of you snipped off wasn't exactly pleasant. The HSG in 2004 was not exactly pleasant but we endured that one too and our tubes looked great. Then you got sick again and needed another few colposcopies and biopses which lead to that unfortunate LEEP thing. You didn't recover from that so well so there were a number of times when once again you were violated. You had no sooner recovered from the LEEP and we were doing IUIs....5 of them to be exact. Those weren't always easy either and were coupled with all those ultrasounds. Dr. Greene wasn't very nice to you at our IVF consultation either and now today having to go through ANOTHER horrible HSG. I'm so sorry. The good news is the HSG looks good so Dr. C will send the results to Dr. Greene in Calgary and we will be all systems go for the IVF. So there will be some more uncomfortable procedures that you will need to endure before I leave you alone for a bit (well except for the Paps we have to do those to ensure you stay healthy). There will be the Egg Retrieval but they're going to give you some drugs for that. And then of course the Egg Transfer which is relatively easy and then 9 months later you may be required to squeeze another 7 lb baby through your loins and possibly 2 babies but we may spare you this agony with a C-section but we're not sure. 
Anyway, thank you for being such a trooper. I'm sorry I've put you through this but one day it will all be worth it.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Everybody's Got a Pooper

It kills me that friends are afraid to tell me they are pregnant. Well, I know they're not afraid, they just don't want to hurt my feelings because they love me. But I hate that my situation makes it hard on them. I am absolutely thrilled when my friends get pregnant!!! But, I admit, it hurts a little bit too. I know the time will come when I will be able to announce that we're pregnant too though. 
We were at a birthday party last night for two of my "surrogate nieces". My friends let me be their kids' auntie too which brings me more joy than any of them could ever know. There were 5 other couples there with all of their children and all of a sudden I was just in absolute amazement that these children were conceived with such ease. It is impossible for me to fathom actually setting out to have children and it actually happening in a month or two. It made me sad but it also made me realize what it is I feel I've lost and have been mourning. It's not the baby because I know we will have our babies. It was the dream. I've lost the fairy tale dream that all girls have where they marry their husband and they plan to have 2 children and their first baby is born and then two years later their second baby is born and they are blessed. I'm mourning the fairy tale that I will never have. Mind you, looking back, my life story doesn't really have me cast as Cinderella now does it. You would think that by now I'd have given up on the fairy tale but I guess not. 
Oh well, I guess DH and I are writing our own more contemporary version of a fairy tale. More of a science fiction genre which DH would prefer anyway.
I left the party lasting night wondering how something could cause one person's heart to be so full of love and be broken at the same time.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Celebrity Couples and Infertility

*Jennifer Lopez and Marc Antony give birth to fraternal twins after years of trying (IVF??)
*Brad and Angelina pregnant with twins after allegedly undergoing fertility treatments
*Marcia Cross-IVF
*Courtney Cox and David Arquette-IVF
*Christie Brinkley conceived her 3rd child, Sailor through IVF at the age of 44
*Julia Roberts reportedly used IVF to conceive twins Phinn and Hazel although her publicist denies it.
*Nicole Kidman is pregnant with Keith Urban after 8 months of fertility treatments
*Brook Shields conceived daughter Rowan after several attempts at IVF
*Celine Dion-IVF
*Emily and Martie of the Dixie Chicks both underwent IVF to conceive their children
And these are just the celebrities who were able to conceive and carry babies. There are tons who have used surrogates as well.

The recent news of J Lo giving birth to twins and Brangelina pregnant with twins got me thinking about whether these couples really know the hardship and despair that goes along with IF or if because their pockets are so deep or their wallets are so thick they were able to skip the drawn out, agonizing process of TTC and go straight to IVF? And what about the people who are faced with IF and can't afford medical assistance? We are lucky in that we'll be able to afford IVF. Don't get me wrong, if ever we were under financial stress in our marriage it is right now. My poor DH is working his ass off to make the money it will cost us to undergo the treatment not to mention the cost of building a new house and furnishing it. Our marriage is definitely being put to the test right now. But we have a strong relationship and the type of marriage that others would envy. I know there may be people who have judged us because we ride each other's asses or bicker at times but I've got news for you people:  we are not perfect and we do not pretend to be. You are not perfect and should quit trying to be.  If we have problems it's likely everyone knows about it. We have nothing to hide. We are real people and sometimes life is hard and things aren't going to work out the way they're supposed to but we've learned to get over the small stuff and be thankful for what we have. And my husband is a gem at finding the humour in everything. Me, not so much but I'm working on it. We'll get through this. 
Want to help other couples in Western Canada make their dream come true? Go here: Generations of Hope

Friday, March 21, 2008

Calgary Here We Come!

We got the call from the Regional Fertility Clinic in Calgary on February 12/08. We only waited 4 months which was a relief considering some had said it could take 6 to 8 months. We were booked in for an Information Session on March 6th and tests and appointments on March 7th (only a few weeks away!!). We received a package in the mail outlining the blood work we needed to have done (again) before we arrived in Calgary as well as pages and pages of information regarding the process of IVF, costs, time lines various procedures: Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI), Assisted Embryo Hatching as well as cyropreservation (freezing embryos). We had to decide how many embryos we agreed to transfer as well as decide what we would do in the event that DH and I were separated or one of us died. It was difficult going through all of these documents. As a young girl I never dreamed that one day I'd get married and then have to go through IVF in order to have babies. While it was an exciting time it was also disappointing. It just seemed so unfair that we had to go through this. Anyway, we filled out the forms and prepared for our trip.
We chose to drive the 8 hours to Calgary just to save a few bucks but won't do that again. And I booked us into a flea bag hotel so I'll spring on nicer accommodations next time too. Thank goodness the weather was so nice. We went out for dinner at Boston Pizza when we got there and I cried and cried. I just couldn't control it. I just wanted a baby so bad and I felt cheated that we had to go through this. The poor waitress probably thought we were breaking up or something. Anyway, then we were off to the information session at the Foothills Hospital. There must have been 100 people there...I was amazed. There was a doctor who spoke about the process of IVF and then a counsellor and then a pharmacist (wow the drugs are going to be expensive) and then the nurse. We learned a lot about IVF especially about hormone levels and such  which got me a bit nervous because I new that my FSH level was higher than 10 on the blood work I had done prior to getting to Calgary and the Dr. said it should be below 10. I tried not to worry about it. 
The next day DH had to go for a S/A and then I had an u/s. We managed to get a couple of hours of shopping in between appointments as well. Then it was time for our appointment. I tell you sometimes I think my poor vajayjay could not possibly bare one more test!! We met our new doc, Dr. Greene and he is an amazing guy. In fact, I was so relieved to find that ALL of the staff at the clinic are exceptional kind and compassionate. What a welcome relief after years of dealing with arrogant and rude health care workers back at home. We learned that my FSH is indeed elevated which means that my my body is working too hard to produce follicles. The ultra sound also revealed that I have low ovarian reserve. Basically Dr. Greene explained that my ovaries are behaving like a 45 y/o woman's instead of a 32 y/o woman's. Our unexplained was now explained. I had always wished that we would have an explanation for our IF but when we learned what was wrong I was so sad and angry. I couldn't understand why this hadn't been discovered before??? Why hadn't Dr. C realized this before? Or Dr. A or Dr B for that matter?? DH is right though...there's no sense dwelling in the past or being angry over the fact that we wasted time and money on IUIs which likely never would have worked. Dr. Greene says we have a less than  1% change of conceiving naturally. How's that for odds? A girl on birth control pills has a better chance at getting pg than me. Oh well. We were beginning the IVF journey. Dr. Greene said if I was 40 y/o he would be having a very different conversation with me but because I'm young and healthy he thinks I may still have a shot. He thought our odds would be about 40% rather than the average 60% success rate for a girl my age. I am beginning treatment on what is called a "Flare Treatment" where I will take 450 mg of stimulating hormones instead of the 150 that most women start out on. This will entail 4 injections per day for about 12 days. The hope is that my body will produce enough eggs that 2 good grade eggs will fertilize and be transfered back. If there are any left to freeze that would be a bonus. The good news is I'm young and my body could surprise us so I will remain optimistic. So we signed on the dotted line and our "seniority date" is March 7th/08. It can take 2 to 4 months for us to be offered treatment. 
We also got to talk to one of the IF counsellors and I think this was really good for DH and I. She helped us put a lot of things into perspective and she also validated our feeling of a sense of loss and grief even though we haven't ever actually had something to lose. She was able to describe EXACTLY how I have been feeling over the past 5 years and made me realize I'm not totally nuts. It was also the first time ever that someone suggested "child free" living to us. We do have Riley so we wouldn't exactly be child-free and there is the hope that one day we'd have grandchildren at least, but for now I like to think we will have more children. 
So that is where we sit. Every CD 1 I need to call the Period Hotline, no joke that's what it's called!! and then wait for them to call back and offer us treatment. So we have a couple of months to save up the cash. We figure considering we're likely going to need ICSI and Assisted Embryo hatching and the hard core drugs, we're looking at about $12,000 plus accommodations and travel expenses. We will have to be in Calgary for 2 weeks for u/s and then the egg retrieval and transfer. I really hope this works. 

2 Tickets for the Infertility Roller Coaster, Please

After 3 IUI attempts using Clomid, we finally got Dr. C to agree to switching to Femera. Thank goodness for that!! But we waited until the fall to start our next treatment so we could take a break over the summer. In the midst of us TTC, we also decided to tear down our house and build a brand new one on the lot. The demolition was to begin over this summer (the summer of 2007) so we decided to cool it on the turkey basting. We also discussed having a referral made to the Calgary Infertility Clinic for IVF because we had heard the waiting list was quite long. We thought we would get a head start on this just in case our final 3 IUIs didn't work. Dr. C said if we weren't successful after 6 IUIs we likely weren't going to be and we would move on to IVF. So DH and I got all of our blood work done and sent it in to Dr. C to have it sent to Calgary. It was so surreal and exciting. It was a very relaxing and enjoyable summer also! 
In September I went back to work where I was now the Vice Principal and Grade 3 teacher. I was running my buns off!! I asked DH if we could put off the next IUI until October because I was so busy at work. 
We started treatment again in October. I took Femera instead of Clomid and it was a DREAM as far as side effects go. When I went in for my first follicle scan the technician even commented on how nice my endo lining looked which usually thins out on Clomid. I had two follies on the right measuring at 21mm & 17mm so I got the trigger shot.
A bit of a piss off though...we were informed at this appointment that Dr. C had neglected to send our referral into Calgary!! I was devastated!! Here I thought that after almost 4 months of waiting our name would be near the top of the waiting list only to find out it wasn't on it at all!! I was so angry I cried right there in the office. The nurse wasn't even all that apologetic. Man, I was so sick and tired of dealing with people with no compassion. It's like people don't have a clue about what if feels like to have Infertility. So the nurse told us he would be sending it in that day. GAH!! 
We had our 4th IUI on October 18/07. It was a BFN. We had our 5th IUI on November 14/07 and it was BFN too. I was through with the IUIs. Christmas was around the corner which is a hectic time for everyone and I did not want to do a treatment over the holidays. We had a cruise coming up in January. I was DONE. We were on a break until we got the IVF call. 

Sunday, March 16, 2008

"So Are You Going To Have More Children?"

Replies (some fun, some rude, some stolen from others)
These are supposed to be fun! Add your snappy replies if you like! :-)

1. We're trying but my eggs are old and rotten.
2. We thought about it but then we met yours and changed our minds.
3. We used to have children but the cats were allergic to them so we gave them away.
4. We'd like to have kids but sex kind of grosses us out.
5. We've been meaning to ask parents where they're going to get their children. We haven't figured out where everyone is getting their babies from yet.
6. What is your favourite sexual position? Oh I'm sorry, I thought we were asking inappropriate questions.
7. We're infertile actually are you offering yours?
8. Actually, we're waiting for next year's model to come out. 
9. We're enjoying being DINKS right now. (Double Income No Kids).
10. Once the turkey basting works. 

Easy For You to Say!

What NOT to say to someone with IF:
1. Are you pregnant!?!? Just because I've chosen to not consume an alcoholic beverage tonight doesn't mean I'm pregnant. Besides, if I were, I would let you know when I want you to know.
2. That baby looks good on you. Ya', thanks I'd prefer if it were my own but apparently God has a different plan for me. 
3. Just relax and it will happen. Right...I hadn't thought of that. 
4. I just don't understand how you cannot be pregnant yet! Good grief all my DH has to do is look at me......SHUT UP!
5. You're thinking about it too much. It's kind of hard not to think about it when the first thing I have to do in the morning is take my temperature, or take a pill or give myself an injection!!
6. Have you tried standing on your head? Honey, I've hung upside down from the shower curtain rod. 
7. You're young. And your point is?
8. Enjoy not having a baby while you can. How can I enjoy not having a baby when it's the only thing I want in the world?
9. Having a baby is so hard. Stop have the greatest gift there is to receive. Enjoy it. They grow up so fast. 
10. Get drunk and have sex all night. Nope...didn't work but it was fun!
11. Why don't you just adopt? You did NOT just say that!

Sorry if I sound like a bag. And I mean no personal offense to anyone. 

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Tricks of the Trade

I was chuckling to myself the other day when I thought about all of the "tricks" I have tried to get pregnant over the past 5 years. 
*green tea (good for cervical mucous)
*Evening Primrose Oil (also good for cervical mucous-CM)
*Preseed (Dh and I called it "baby juice" but it's really sperm friendly KY)-I still have about $40 worth of this stuff stuck at the American border which I've paid for and never received...grr.
*I have laid in bed for 30 minutes after sex, stood on my head, held my legs in the air and even done the upside down bicycle for 15 minutes. I swear that's why I have neck and back problems.
 *One cycle we had sex EVERY SINGLE DAY after Aunt Flo left. As fun as this may sound, it wasn't.
*Basal Body Thermometer and Charting-I swear to god if I never put another thermometer in my mouth for the rest of my life it will be too soon. And DH just LOVED the "beep, beep, beep" every morning for a year. Blah! 
*Fertility Friend-easy way to chart but those damn dotted lines and saying I O'd one day and then taking my line away the next. Whatever. 
*I have logged THOUSANDS of hours on the internet reading about making babies. I have also made a lot of cyber friends on Parenting forums. Two of my favourites are:
*Ovulation Predictor Kits (OPKs)-is the line darker than the control line??? I'm not sure..hmm. Well let's try a more expensive one then....yay a happy face, oh whoops, no happy face. GAHHH!!! Another $100 down the drain.
*Yes, I have even analyzed my CM to look for the Egg White stuff. How's this for foreplay: honey I have EWCM!!!
*avoiding any jinxing
*We have tried vacations, spas, quiet weekends alone at home (In case you haven't heard, apparently if you 'just relax' you will get pregnant)
*not talking about it/trying to forget about the fact that we STILL DON'T HAVE A BABY (oh ya', cuz if you think about it too much it won't happen). I think I've just thought of the topic of my next entry. 

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Other 'C' Word for Clomid

Ugh..Clomid is BY FAR the devil. It's this little pill that's supposed to stimulate your ovaries and produce nice big fat juicy eggies. But the side effects were unbearable. I was the dragon lady on these drugs. I could go from laughing to crying to screaming in less than 5 minutes. I spent months trying to keep the dragon inside of me tamed because if it let loose watch out!!! My poor DH. Oh my god and the night sweats!! Hello! One night I was so hot I actually got out of bed and laid naked on the hardwood floor to cool off. I know you can only imagine when the moodiness and the night sweats collided...whoa mama! I would become Lucifer himself!!! I even went out and bought one of those night gowns that menopausal women was HOT! There was no chance for nooky in that thing though which was kinda defeating the purpose.
The O cramps were a real picnic too. They were about as fun as period cramps. Yipee!! 
Yep, this will all be worth it in the end. But if I stayed on Clomid I was going to die. Correction: I would likely have killed someone. DH really pushed Dr. C to change! 

Let the Turkey Basting Begin!

DH always called the IUI (intrauterine insemination) the turkey baster. Our first IUI took place on March 29/07 with 1 follicle measuring at 19mm and 1 at 16mm (they like them to be between 18 and 21mm to trigger ovulation). This was a GREAT sign. DH couldn't be there for the actual insemination part because he had a gig in another city so he basically dropped of his "boys" at the hospital and left town. We joked that we could one day tell our child that he/she was conceived while mommy and daddy were in different cities. LOL! But unfortunately after the most excruciating 2 week wait (2ww) of my life, our first IUI resulted in a BFN. 
Our second IUI was cancelled because we supposedly missed my ovulation. Blah! That was the end of April. IUI #2b was a bit of a gong show also. My CD (cycle day)10 u/s showed that I had nice follicles growing on the right but 2 days later I had another u/s (at another lab) and she told me I ovulated from the left!?!? I was so devastated. I cried all the way home and had a bit of a temper tantrum with my husband when we got home. Why did this have to be so difficult? Why were my ovaries being so difficult or what the hell was up with all the people whose care I was under. It was all so frustrating. I begged DH to let us skip this step all together and move on to Invitro Fertilization (IVF) but he insisted we should cross all of the bridges first. After all, the Dr. C explained that couples with unexplained infertility have a high success rate with IUI. We just needed to be patient and see it through. During my temper tantrum the doctor's office called to say that they wanted to do the IUI anyway because the doctor felt if I had O'd (ovulated) it was recently. So, in we went for IUI #2....BFN. :-(
IUI #3-June 15th. BFN. :-(
We decided to take a break for the summer. We had vacation plans and the stress was taking its toll once again. I had been appointed Vice Principal for the fall (oh ya', by the way, I'm a teacher) so DH and I decided I needed to relax before moving to a new school and a new position. We met Dr. C to discuss a change in protocol (mainly meds) because Clomid was kicking my ass. He agreed to try Femera (Letrozol) when we returned to treatments. The side effects are less severe...thank goodness.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

About This Emotional Roller Coaster Ride Called Infertility

Well, after the HSG and S/A had come back normal we were sure that things would happen for us soon. We just needed to have faith and keep trying. That didn't work for us and a year later we were still babyless. I expressed my concern with my family doctor (Dr. A) during my yearly physical in 2006 and he agreed that it was time to seek medical assistance for our infertility.  I was referred to an OB/GYN because there are no reproductive endocrinologists (REs) in my city. We were told we would likely get in to see him in September (8months away!!). We continued to try for the ensuing months. In that time I had a MAJOR meltdown. It was terrible. It seemed like everyone I knew was getting pregnant (pg) so easily and I wasn't. I was stressed at work, not sleeping, had chronic back pain and basically I wanted to get into my car and drive away. I couldn't bear to hear about one more pregnancy or make an appearance at another baby shower with a smile on my face. I went to see my doc and was suddenly on stress/sick leave....blah! I was off work for 5 weeks and TTC was put on hold until we got in to see the new doc (Dr. B). 
In June of 2006 I got a call from the Dr. B indicating that they had a cancellation and could I be there in an hour? YES!!! I met with Dr. B whom I LOVED. He actually specializes in Multiple Births but he agreed to take on my case. We did all of the required blood work and then he put me on Clomid.  The first round of clomid was not successful. The second round of clomid coupled with a follicle scan and hCG injection but still a BFN (big fat negative). Dr. B indicated that he was concerned about my FSH hormone level and that he felt like I needed to be referred to someone who was the Fertility "guru" in our city...Enter Dr. C. 
We finally got in to see Dr. C in February of 2007. We were going to start IUI!!! We were on our way to our BFP. I wept when I left the doctor that day. I was so relieved and excited to be having IUI. I just knew it was going to work for us. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Wow! Look at me go. It only took me 2 days and 3 different accounts but I think I may be up and running now. I have been encouraged to journal about mine and DH's (dear husband's) journey through infertility (IF) and since I type quicker than I write I thought blogging would be the way to go. I'm totally open to you reading what I write too. I think it's sad that some couples face IF alone. It is such a devastating, painful and stressful time in a couple's life. I can't imagine not having my friends and family here for me.
Anyway, a bit about us..well me, DH doesn't know I'm doing this yet. I am 32 years old and my husband is 39. I have a 14 year old son from a previous relationship. Yes, I was 17 when I had him.
I went on my first date with DH in the fall of 2000. We didn't like each other so we were "just friends" for about 8 months after that initial date and then in the summer of 2001 we fell in love. I moved into his condo and then forced him out of that bachelor pad a few months later. We bought a house in our dream neighbourhood and started talking about adding to our family in 2003. A year went by and still no baby. In August of 2004 we decided to get hitched which was a bit of a distraction from the baby making although it was always in the back of our minds. Shortly after our engagement I had an HSG done to ensure there were no blockages in my tubes and everything came back perfect. DH had a sperm analysis done at the same time and it was perfect too. 
We were married in August of 2005. Immediately following our wedding I bought the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility (TCOYF), a good basal body thermometer bbt) and we went to town!! Five months later I was in my doctor's office for my yearly physical and it was made official....we were experiencing what 1 in 6 Canadian couples faces: Infertility.