How to remember Eva

I just wanted to pop in here quickly and say thank you. Since my last post, and Eva’s death, I have received a huge amount of support from old readers and new. I have seen tributes to Eva pop up all over the place and each of them fills me with pride that Eva touched so many lives.

Some other friends have done some fairly amazing things in Eva’s memory and I just wanted to share these too, in case anyone was interested in taking part.

I had asked for people to consider donating to the CHARGE Foundation in lieu of sending flowers, and an online friend set this up through the CHARGE Foundation website. This allows you to donate to the CHARGE Foundation in Eva’s name. The page has already raised over $1000 and it makes me so happy that Eva’s life could help other little babies and…

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5 Weeks and Still Bleeding

I apologize if you’re getting tired of this, but after one blood-free day yesterday, I’m bleeding again. Full-on bright red.

I’m also super tired, and have really achy low back pain. I am averaging one nap a day, and took two naps yesterday. 

I called the clinic, because the bleeding started up again, and my low back pain is kind of unusual, and they had me come in for another beta HCG. 

To recap on my HCG levels:

4w1d (10dp5dt): 229

4w3d: 643

4w4d: 897

5w (today): 3363

So my HCG levels are steadily climbing, which is very reassuring. But what do you make of all of this bleeding?!?

Well they’re a little concerned now, with the addition of low back pain to the mix, and want me to come in on Monday for an ultrasound (5w3d) to rule out an ectopic. I know a couple of ladies following my blog have had ectopic pregnancies, and I would love if you weighed in on this.

I am comforted by my high HCG levels, as I know ectopic pregnancies usually have lower levels. I also haven’t had any cramps or abdominal pain. I don’t have a fever. Mostly it’s just the bleeding and my achy back. My back pain feels the same as when I’m waiting for my period- sore, dull, and achy. 

Today I also found out that one of the receptionists at my fertility clinic is 16 weeks pregnant, and that my endocrinologist is 17 weeks pregnant. It was kind of a hard blow to see how easy it is for other people to get pregnant, and also awkward to take all of that information in, especially as they both seemed so apologetic in their announcements to me. I don’t blame them, I’m genuinely happy for them, with a touch of jealousy. 

Other than that, I’m doing okay. Next week I have a clear and open schedule, so I will definitely need some distractions. Any ideas? 

Goodnight Eva

Please send some love to Tessa, who just lost her little girl Eva last night.

What a difference a day makes.

Yesterday I was excited about Eva’s new high chair and today there is no Eva to sit in it.

Last night at around 9pm Eva woke crying. Both I and my amazing and brave housemate Ess went into comfort her. Ess passed her to me and we could tell something wasn’t right. Eva was taking great gasping breaths. Then suddenly she stopped.

She started to turn purple around the lips and it was at that point that Ess took over, putting Eva back down and starting chest compressions. We kept going until the ambulance and fire trucks arrived and then they took over. By 9.30pm they gave up and let my little girl relax.

A simple cold one day, and gone the next.

I don’t have clever metaphors today. I don’t have creative flow or inspired words. I have all encompassing grief that abates…

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4w5d: Still Bleeding

I think I’ve exhausted all of the forums online that come up when you google “red bleeding but high HCG”. 

Thank you everyone for your support during all of this. I am grateful for each and every one of your comments. 

I’m still bleeding, but it has slowed down a bit. Instead of changing pads every hour, I’m changing pads 4 times a day. The colour changes- it goes from red, to red/orange, to brown, and then back to red and cycles through again.

From everything I’ve read, the bleeding could either be from:

– a subchorionic bleed (too early for that though- the gestational sac hasn’t really even formed yet)

– cervical irritation (probably not, as I’ve been on Endometrin twice before, with no symptoms like this. Plus, I’m only putting the tablet in half way to avoid injury to my cervix.)

– a polyp or some cervical abnormality (I’ve had enough people in my vagina [for fertility reasons, ahem] to know that I do not have any polyps)

– implantation bleeding (too late for that to be red right now)

And the most likely scenario:

– miscarriage of one embryo (as my HCG continued to increase yesterday from 643 on Monday to 897 on Tuesday, but the doubling rate has decreased by exactly half)

It’s interesting to read the gamut of information on bleeding during pregnancy- most official pregnancy websites claim that 20% of normal pregnancies experience bleeding, yet a lot of advice websites say if you have bleeding not spotting, to see your doctor ASAP or go to the emergency room. 

I’m also thinking that the bleeding might be worse because I’m on the blood thinners- 81mg ASA, 5000IU Fragmin, and about 1500mg omega 3’s. 

My approach to all of this is that I’ll just keep monitoring my bleeding, and if I get super freaked out, I’ll ask for another beta. Then the big reveal in 12 days at my 6w3d ultrasound, where we get to see what’s going on.

In terms of symptoms, I still have none besides being tired enough in the afternoons for a nap. Even the hot flashes have stopped. Those of you who got nausea- when did that start?

4 Weeks 4 Days: Bleeding *Updated*

So I’m hooked up to an IV of intralipids right now, typing on my iPhone with my left hand. The cannula is in my right hand and the expensive mayonnaise is cold as in enters my veins.

Last night my spotting turned into a gush of blood, then stopped overnight. In the morning, I saw some red/brown spotting again, took the dog for a hike in the woods, and then noticed that I had soaked a pad with bright red blood when I got home. I changed my pad, drove to the clinic for my intralipid infusion, and noticed that in the 30 minutes it took to drive there, I soaked a second pad with bright red blood.

I told them about my bleeding, and they took some blood to check my HCG levels again. We should find out the results either later today or tomorrow.

I’m totally freaked out now, as I’m having full on bleeding now, but I’m trying to take things in stride.

Why can’t I just have a drama-free pregnancy??? Universe, why can’t you just cut me a fucking break???

*Update*

So my beta HCG came back at 897. Yesterday it was 643. That’s a doubling time of 60 hours. The doubling time just ONE DAY ago was 32 hours.

My guess is that I may have miscarried a twin, hence the doubled doubling time. We’ll see what happens in the next couple of days. My file has been flagged for the RE to review, but I doubt that there’s anything he can do right now.

I don’t know what to think… I feel like I will be walking on eggshells until we see what’s going on in there (13 days).

This sucks.

Day 12 and 12DP5DT Second Beta Result – the Good News and the Bad News

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My favourite weather involves sunshine and warm dry temperatures. I do not enjoy the ridiculously humid summers we have here in Toronto, as it usually necessitates the use of air conditioning on those really hot high 30’s “feels like 40-something” days (Celsius). My summers growing up in Vancouver were nearly perfect, though I would’ve liked it a touch warmer than it was, as you always needed to have a cardigan or sweater ready for the evenings. Perfect weather: easy breezy Maui.

So today is 12DP5DT, and I think I shall start counting by pregnancy weeks. I am now 4 weeks and 3 days. I did my second beta this morning, and my results phone call woke me from a great nap I was having this afternoon.

So @10DP5DT my beta was 229.
A good double is every 48 or so hours, so we would be hoping for something around 458…

Today’s beta is…..

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I am really happy with this number!

My doubling time according to one of the online calculators is 31.55 hours.

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Now, the plan is for me to have my intralipids IV infusion again tomorrow, and then my 6 week ultrasound in two weeks on my birthday! Fingers crossed so hard that we see a strong heart beat, as in all of our previous pregnancies, we had not yet reached this milestone.

Now, the bad news is that I just went to the washroom and have red bleeding. I had one day of brown tinged toilet paper last week, but that stopped. Today it’s red, not a lot of blood, but enough to see the colour on toilet paper. I’m not freaking out yet, because it’s just a little, but I might start freaking out if it continues….

Anyways, I’ll end with a couple of pictures of our hotpot dinner for DW’s birthday a couple of days ago.

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Days 10 and 11

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Day 10: You Win a Trip- Where Do You Go?

If I won a free trip, I would either go to China and South East Asia, or Hawaii. I’ve never been to China, despite being Chinese by heritage, and would love to visit the rural village that my grandparents are all from. Sadly, I don’t even know where these villages are, or what their names are, because I’m second generation Canadian, and anyone who would’ve known has already passed away.

If I were already in Asia, I would also tack on a trip to Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. These places are the cultural beginnings of my favourite foods, and I would have so much fun just checking out street eats. There’s a travel food vlogger on YouTube (Mark Weins) that I follow, and he mostly travels through Thailand and its surrounding countries, trying out different street vendors.

I would also love to go back to Hawaii, which is my super happy place. The sun, the surf, the warm clear blue ocean, and the easy breezy way of life all call to me. My mother is an island girl, and I think living close to the ocean is in my blood as well.

Day 11: The Last Time I Danced
I am guilty of dancing by myself in the kitchen or living room almost everyday. I also break out some choice dance moves in the car. I’ve danced every single day since our embryo transfer. I just needed to keep this IVF light, happy, and carefree. I love music, so I try to have a Songza playlist going while I am doing household chores, or cooking. I love fun and upbeat playlists, especially when doing any cleaning. At night, I tend to go for something more mellow.

IVF#2: 10DP5DT: Beta HCG

Just a quickie right now to fill y’all in. We drove to the clinic in a near snowstorm this morning, but we had the awesomeness of each other’s company, and good tunes. I fell asleep in the car on the way home, and have been on the edge of a nap ever since.

Finally, a few minutes ago, we got the call. I know that in this process there are many permutations of “the call”- “the call” to let you know you’ve been cleared to start a cycle, to tell you it’s time to trigger, to tell you when you will be egg collecting or embryo transferring, to tell you how many embryos survived to day ____. But today’s call is the one that has had me glued to my phone. Good thing we don’t live in the 80’s or at a time without call waiting.

So here we are, 10 days post embryo transfer, and my beta HCG level is….

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Thank you for your continued support, especially those of you who are also waiting for “the call” that brings good news- at whatever stage you are at. I know how hard it can be. These are exciting yet scary times for us, as you can probably imagine. But right now, in this moment, I am PREGNANT.

Day 9 and Happy Birthday to DW!

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I don’t eat gelato or ice cream often, as sadly, I’m lactose intolerant. However, when I do indulge, my favourite gelato flavour is pistachio. Now, not all pistachio gelato is made equal, and my preference is for the type that has actual pistachio meat incorporated. In fact, I’m usually very disappointed when I try a new gelato place and the pistachio is mostly just extract.

If you’re ever in Toronto, there’s a chocolatier that makes the best truffles and also makes amazing gelato and real hot chocolate. It’s called Soma Chocolate. There are two locations: one in the Distillery District (where we had our wedding reception), and one on King St. near Spadina Ave.

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Now yesterday was a super special day. It was DW’s 39th birthday! Unfortunately, it was a weekday, so she had to spend most of the day at work, but when she got home, we got to spend some time together. Yesterday was also the Lunar New Year (also known as Chinese New Year), and I wanted to combine the two into one celebration by having Chinese hotpot at home. Hotpot is basically a savoury fondue, where you communally cook meat and veggies in a common broth. Our hotpot has two compartments for different broths. DW loves hotpot, and I had plans to do one side miso and the other side homemade Tom yum soup from scratch.

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(A hotpot night from a couple of years ago.)

So I started with getting the Tom Yum soup broth started…

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But about 3/4 of the way through (45 minutes into food prep), I just felt exhausted from my day of running errands. The thought of chopping more veggies, dealing with setting up the hotpot, washing dishes, and etc. made me overwhelmed. So I asked DW if it was okay if we just had the Tom Yum soup for dinner, with no additional hotpot. Of course she said it was fine. The soup itself had prawns and scallops, and was packed with veggies.

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Instead of birthday cake, DW prefers Dairy Queen’s ice cream cake. However, since it was just us two, and I can’t eat ice cream cake, I decided to get her something new:

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DQ Blizzard Cupcakes!

She loved them!

We spent the rest of the evening on the couch, watching TV because we were so tired (she hasn’t been sleeping well either), and put ourselves to bed early. Last night, we both got a great sleep, and woke up this morning refreshed.

I guess this is what birthdays look like when you’re almost 40! (Obviously, I’m kidding. She is a very introverted and low key person in general, so this was perfect for her.)

Here are some of my favourite pictures of my favourite girl.

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Days 7 and 8: Maple Soy Salmon and Favourite Subject in School

Oy, I have been so busy lately that I didn’t get around to posting yesterday’s 14 Day Challenge Question, so I’m playing catch up today.

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This is a recipe that we use all the time. We’ve used this marinade for salmon, chicken, and tofu. It’s super easy, and makes your protein so tasty.

Mamaetmaman’s Maple Soy Marinade:

2 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
1/4 cup maple syrup
Freshly ground black pepper (however much you want)
1 clove of pressed garlic (optional)

Combine all of your marinate ingredients in a large closable container. Add your protein of choice and marinate accordingly. For salmon, we usually marinate for up to an hour. For chicken and cubed tofu we often marinate overnight.

After marinating, cover a baking dish with aluminum foil (makes for easy clean up) and place your protein on the foil. Bake accordingly. For salmon, we bake at 375F for 18 minutes. For chicken and tofu, we bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, depending on the size of the pieces.

Serve on a bed of jasmine rice, and garnish with some cilantro. Enjoy!

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Favourite Subject in School

As a kid living in an abusive home, I loved school. School was a place where I was safe. It was where there were adults who treated me with respect and warmth. It was where I had control over what was happening to me. To this day, I wonder if any of my teachers or guidance counsellors knew what I was dealing with at home. As a teacher myself, I wonder if being a survivor would make me more in tune with the subtle clues that a child is being abused at home? I hope so.

Anyways, I enjoyed all of the courses I took in high school, except ONE. I hated Social Studies. For some reason, remembering tedious details about events and dates in history didn’t interest me. Colouring maps and learning about Canada’s young history also bored me. To this day, I get my news filtered for me through DW, who basically reads the news from every single major Canadian newspaper everyday. I got A+’s in everything, except grade 9 Social Studies, in which I got a B+. A “B+” is also known as an “Asian Fail” (that’s a joke by the way). It’s also the type of thing that ruins an entire report card for an obsessive compulsive perfectionist like myself.

My favourite subjects in high school were Chemistry, Physics, Math, and English. Chemistry, Physics, and Math just made sense to me. I loved English because I had a passion for reading and writing, and loved analyzing pieces of literature for symbolism and hidden meanings.

When I got to university, my best subjects were math and physics, because at some point, I started to spend a little too much time chasing girls and being a little riot dyke to study or do my homework.

Oh university. Those were the days.