Fragmin is a type of low molecular weight heparin- a blood thinner. I am on a 5000IU daily dose of it, which I inject at bedtime. While I don’t enjoy needles, I have come to accept that they are a necessary part of our baby-making plans, so I have gotten over it.
Two nights ago however, a disaster occurred, involving my hip, a syringe, and DW’s thumb. Oh, and a whole lot of blood.
So at around 10:30pm, I’m in bed, finishing up my bedtime routine of late, with my last task being my Fragmin injection. I find some fat on my hip, wipe down the area with an alcohol swab, pull off the cap over the Fragmin needle, and ease the needle into my flesh. Some people prefer to do a quick jab, but I just can’t bring myself to do that and fare better with the slow constant pressure approach.
I get the needle all the way in, and slowly inject the Fragmin because if I push too fast, it burns. When I’m done, I push on the plunger a little harder, as there is a spring mechanism that quickly withdraws the needle from the site and then encases it in some protective wall. It is very fancy for an injectable medication.
But the spring mechanism doesn’t engage, which is no big deal, but means that I need to manually pull out the needle, which is of a thick gauge, and seems to be stuck in my flesh. Actually, I have been finding this recently with the Fragmin- that the thick needle is difficult to penetrate my skin, and also difficult to pull out of my flesh.
With the needle feeling stuck, I take a deep breath, brace myself, and pull a little harder.
Finally, it comes out. I am relieved, until I notice a continuous parabolic stream of bright red blood spraying out of my hip, onto our bedsheet 4 inches away. I am frantic and call out to DW, who is conveniently laying about 3 inches from the spray. Calm and unphased, and totally nonchalantly, she plugs the spraying hole in my hip with her thumb, her other hand still holding her phone, reading the news.
For about 15 minutes, her thumb kept constant pressure on the spot until it finally stopped leaking.
Then she found some cotton pads and medical tape, and patched me up real nice:
Ooppps! My bad. I must have hit a vein.
Day 22: Juno’s new “found” ball
On our walk this day, we found a ball floating in the creek. “Found” balls are Juno’s favourite. She prefers them to new store bought balls, and the bigger, the better. She especially likes puncturing them with her huge husky teeth and deflating them. Then, well, you can see what happens after….
Day 23: Back at the Conservation Park
Embryo transfer was yesterday, but I’ve been struggling to post about it because I feel like I am in shambles.
The day started off perfectly. I woke up early, saw that DW was still asleep, so we cuddled a bit and I fell back asleep for a bit too (sleeping in is such a guilty pleasure for me). When I woke up again, DW surprised me with a vanilla coconut milk decaf coffee in bed, and a curious little box (seriously, so many gifts lately!).
It was a jewellery box.
And in it were the most stunning diamond earrings.
My jaw dropped.
While I am not immune to liking expensive things, DW and I have been somewhat frugal with our money because of “project baby”. Several years ago, I had mentioned that I loved diamond earrings, but that they were too expensive, and well, maybe on our 10 year anniversary, we could look at some for me. Each year, at Christmas time, DW asks me what I want, and I say diamond earrings. It’s almost a joke now because I knew that I didn’t want puny little ones that you get for your niece, but sizeable ones you buy for your WIFE, which are way too expensive for two gals working in the public education system.
But she did it. She went and bought them.
And I love them. But I do feel a bit guilty because of the extravagance, as the weight of them is heavier than the big-ass diamond on my engagement ring. I’m also not a materialistic person, so well, yeah. But I love them. And I am so touched by what DW had to overcome to purchase them (she is even more minimalist than me. She asked for a set of saw attachments for her reciprocating saw for Christmas).
Anyway, after the shock of my pre-transfer sparkling diamonds, we showered and got dressed to leave for our transfer.
All was good, I wore a very lesbian outfit to meet Little Spark: long-sleeved thermal shirt and tights, a sleeveless cotton dress on top, Christmas socks, and Blundstone boots. It didn’t look pretty, but my goal was to stay warm, as it was below freezing temperature.
We got to the clinic, settled in and changed, and waited.
One lady went in before me, but then was soon escorted out and told that they would rearrange the schedule and see her later (I think her bladder wasn’t full enough for the ultrasound?). I went in next, hopped on the table, and was ultrasounded. My bladder was too full, so they asked me to go let out a full cup and come back. Just as I was climbing off the table, the embryologist came to the door and said she needed to talk to the nurse. The nurse walked out of the room with me, and I could overhear some of the conversation she was having with the embryologist. There was a problem with an embryo. (I didn’t think this was that significant until later).
After peeing, we waited for the RE for 50 minutes. In that time, I had to pee two more times. The ultrasound technologist kept imaging my uterus, I think because she was bored. There was a poop in my descending colon that was creating shadows over my uterus, so we had fun making fart jokes. The poop looked like glitter on the screen, which pleased me.
Sparkly diamonds, glittery poop, Little Spark is coming home.
When the RE finally arrived, he looked at our stats, made some random small talk, and then transferred Little Spark back to his/her rightful place: my womb.
Because I hadn’t heard back from him about the Cipralex, I decided that between my legs was right time to ask him about it since we had his attention. He laughed, asked what it was for, I said “It’s an SSRI, I am having some anxiety and trouble sleeping”. He laughed again, looked at DW, and said, “She doesn’t look stressed! Just drink some wine!”, totally dismissing my mental health struggles, and the months of work that it has taken to be able to even talk about it with my family doctor.
I felt humiliated, and DW was PISSED. “Wine? I hope not!”, gesturing at my PUPO (pregnant until proven otherwise) belly, legs still in stirrups, exposed ass facing the RE.
He then stood up, shook our hands, and left. In every single previous FET, he would rant and rave about how excellent the quality of our embryos were, and how we’d end up with twins. This time, no such optimism. In fact, when I asked about what he thought of the embryo’s grade, he just pursed his lips, and bobbed his head side to side, “It’s o-kay”.
All was good, I was giddy even despite the stupid Cipralex exchange, until I found out the grading of our embryo post-thaw.
Last FET, the embryologist explained that we had two good/excellent 5AA and one fair 5BC blastocysts, and that he only recommended transferring one if we were planning on using the 5AAs. So when they were transferred, they selected one of the excellent blasts and the fair blast, leaving an excellent remaining in freeze.
Well, that excellent grade blastocyst did not thaw very well. When re-graded post-thaw, it was graded as a 4BC. My heart just sank when I heard this, and all day yesterday, I tried to resist googling what this meant for our chances of success.
I was already bummed out about only having one blastocyst to transfer. Now I find out that it’s of fair quality. Fair = bad. It went from being a 5AA –> 4BC. What. The. Fuck. All of our other embryos have improved grading after thaw. Most of them were graded as 5BB or 5AB, and then ended up re-graded after thaw as 5AA.
My willpower for avoiding seeking advice from Dr. Google is weak. So I started frantically searching things like “4BC embryo success”, as I just really needed to hear some positive stories. Instead, I find shit like this, which tells me that my prognosis is poor:
And the general consensus in frantic IVF forumland is that usually C-graded anything isn’t generally worth freezing because of how poor of a prognosis it has for implantation and pregnancy.
Let’s break it down: 4BC
4: means that the blastocyst has fully expanded, but has not yet started hatching
B: refers to the inner cell mass that becomes the baby- this is a good rating
C: refers to the trophoectoderm, which are the cells that become the placenta- this is a bad rating, and basically means that there are not enough cells and that they are not organized as they should be
Obviously, I want to believe that this will work, but I find it so hard to establish a balance between informed pessimism and false hope. On one hand, I think of the stats and how the chances of a BFP with an excellent single blastocyst transfer is only about 30%. Then I think about how we’re working with a “poor quality” blastocyst, and the stats in my mind plummet to “I should just crack open that bottle of wine now” level. On the other hand, frantic IVF forumland has many anecdotal stories of people who have had live births from 4CC and day three embryos, so it could happen. Plus, during my research of morphology grading and incidence of chromosomal issues, there was less correlation than people believed. So a poor grade blastocyst could still be normal and grow to be a bouncy baby.
These are the thought bubbles over my head, and I have been very upset during the past 24 hours, but haven’t been able to really even express this to DW, because I know she worries about my anxiety spinning out of control, and I don’t want to upset her with what the reality might be for this FET.
I will also admit, that it has also been very difficult for me to post about this because I feel like I’ve put out more negativity this quarter than I would like. But the truth is, that life really does suck right now, and I need your support more than ever. Normally, the TWW is full of (tentative) hope and excitement, symptom spotting, PSOAS addictions, but it is really awful going through a TWW feeling like the odds are stacked against you. Like, the rhetorical question, what is the point.
But I’m still taking it easy, doing stuff around the house, trying to keep myself busy and to think positively.
I am talking to my belly, to Little Spark. Little Spark I love you, and I would love if you stayed. You have a maman whose love is the greatest that I have ever felt, and furry sisters who can’t wait to help you walk, and clean food off your face. You have grandparents who will spoil you, and have been waiting for you for a very long time. Your mama has friends in the Blogosphere, who have been sending you love and kind wishes before you were even conceived.
You can do this Little Spark. You are so strong because you come from me, and together we have overcome my past, which is a great accomplishment. I believe that our strength is greater than my fear, and I will cherish whatever time we have together. You inside me, and my hope inside you.
I’ve been thinking lately about savouring life. Taking it on your tongue and identifying each and every flavour, on its own, but also in its pairing with others. One common piece of advice that I keep receiving is be kind to yourself. I struggle so much with this, as I was raised to believe that putting yourself first was selfish. At the dinner table, you serve yourself last, and if there is nothing left for you, you are a virtuous daughter. (Funny how they never say this to sons, but that’s a rant for another day.) However, someone said something this week that changed this a bit for me. They said that if I won’t treat myself better for me, then I should do it for our future baby. This idea has been in the back of my mind all week.
There is no lack of kindness in my life.
I have been busy the past two days, going to appointments and running errands, in preparation for our FET tomorrow.
– chiropractic adjustments to reduce any nerve interference to my uterus, and to reduce my stress response
– massage therapy to get rid of some chronic muscle tension and stress that I’m still holding in my body, and for relaxation
– acupuncture and herbs to warm my uterus, strengthen kidney and spleen meridians, and charge up my yin reserves
– one last heavy workout (squats, deadlifts, shoulders) and yoga class before I commit to at least three weeks of no lifting, no sprinting, and no yoga twisting
I have been a lot more open with people around me about this FET, and have been met with so much support.
I battled through rush hour traffic on the way home from downtown, which took me only 20 minutes on the way in, but an hour and 45 minutes on the way out.
When I got home, there was a mysterious package on my doorstep. I love getting mail, but wasn’t expecting anything other than a long-overdue book from Amazon, which was suppose to arrive two weeks ago. But this package was bigger.
I settled into the house, fed the dogs, and then opened the box:
A care package from the amazing and thoughtful Mrs. MPB, who has been a wonderful support for me ever since I found her blog. These books will be part of my two-week-wait (really 10 day) survival kit.
I can almost taste tomorrow, it’s so close. Little Spark, your mamas are waiting for you, and there is an entourage of people cheering for your arrival, all of whom can’t wait for you to come home.
Today has been unseasonably warm (10 degrees Celsius), so we spent the majority of the day outside cleaning up our yard and putting up our exterior Christmas lights. By “cleaning up” I mean bringing things in for the winter, taking down trellises, pulling up dead summer vegetable plants, sucking up leaves, draining our four rain barrels, and my favourite, harvesting some fall veggies.
Right now, our lacinato and curly green kale, brussel sprouts, Jerusalem artichoke, and leeks are still doing great. Everything else is dead or wilted, and needs to be pulled out of the ground.
I had fun harvesting some baby brussel sprouts which we just had with our dinner. I sauté them with some butter, garlic, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and broth.
I also dug up some Jerusalem artichoke (or sun choke) tubers, kind of archaeological dig style. They were washed, peeled, and chopped up, then roasted with some bacon crumbs, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Speaking of potatoes, I also harvested a bunch of our giant leeks to make bacon potato leek soup.
Today has been a high carb day for me, as we started off our day with some gluten-free pancakes. Tomorrow, I’m back to my regular diet, but for now, I’m enjoying the sugar high.
3 more days until embryo transfer!
There are a lot of meds involved in our FET this round, and I thought that I’d like to document it, both for myself, but also to help anyone else who is also going through this. The days refer to cycle day, and non-medical supplementation is in brackets (Chinese Medicine herbs).
Days 3-16: Estrace 6mg daily
Days 3+: ASA 81mg daily
Day 13: Intralipids
7:30am: Prednisone 10mg, Estrace 2mg, Pink PregVit, 100mg Endometrin, (1000IU Vitamin D, Yuan Support Formula- 4 tablets)
3:30pm: Endometrin 100mg, (Yuan Support Formula)
Dinner time: ASA 81mg, Blue PregVit Folic 5
11:30pm: 5000IU Fragmin, 2mg Estrace, 300mg Prometrium, 100mg Endometrin, levothyroxine 25mcg, (omega 3 fish oils, Yuan Support Formula)
Day 21: Frozen Embryo Transfer
Day 31: HCG beta test
Day 33: Repeat HCG beta test
Sometime after Day 33: Intralipids
– Set time alarms on your phone so that you take your meds at the proper times.
– But a pill schedule case like this to organize yourself:
– inject the Fragmin super slowly
– protect your underpants from leaky Endometrin using long and wide, but super thin panty liners. Better yet- make your own cloth ones, they are so much more comfortable
– clean your lady parts after Endometrin messes, or else it seems to burn down there
I just started the huge combo of meds today, and let me tell you, the Fragmin burns like a B$&@H! I was perfectly fine with the Lupron, Follistim, and Ovidrel injects during my stimulation phase, but this needle would not break the skin without significant force, and while I plunged very very slowly, the medication itself causes a strong burning sensation. I had DW hold my fat roll for me because I needed two hands to steadily depress the plunger, and it felt like she was pinching me as tightly as she could with fingernails (she wasn’t- that’s just what the Fragmin felt like going in). Anyway, I will find a way to make it work, as it needs to be done daily, but right now it is a not-so-distant unpleasant memory. Some advice: have someone else inject it for you, inject the drug very slowly, stop and catch your breath after the burning feeling, inject some more, and so on.
We also keep a stash of homemade organic tea tree and witch hazel wet naps by the toilet to help me “wipe up” any nasty Endometrin leakage (vaginal suppository). I am back to wearing large Cadillac-sized panty liners again too (so as to not ruin my underwear), so the wipes help to prevent some of the chaffing I experienced last pregnancy.