IVF#2: 7DP5DT We Couldn’t Wait

So last night DW and I were grocery shopping and bought a box of First Response Early Result tests.

IMG_6323

Luckily, I’ve been busy all day today, so I wasn’t home for the little FRERs to call to me like My Precious and Gollum from Lord of the Rings.

But this evening, they called to me. Their cries got louder and louder.

So we caved.

And I peed.

IMG_6342

Today is 7DP5DT, and it is POSITIVE!

We’re going to test again on Friday, to see that it gets darker (for peace of mind).

Beta is on Saturday, and I’ve got my fingers and toes crossed that we get a good HCG level.

But for now, we are pregnant!

Day 6: My Partner’s Best Quality

IMG_6249

I’m laying next to her in bed right now, her asleep, and me struck by some of the worst insomnia yet. I feel like my neurons are buzzing. I’m trying not to disturb her with the light from my phone, as she has had a really long day today.

You see, I had a panic attack early this morning. A full-on gasping for air panic attack. It was less dramatic than Kelsey on the Bachelor’s two weeks ago, but way more real. Ever since the panic attack, I’ve been wired and super anxious. I needed to see my family doctor, and the only appointment that was available was for this evening.

I didn’t feel like I could go on my own, so my wonderful wife dropped her after school commitments and drove me two cities away to see my doctor. By the time we got home, it was an hour before bedtime, and she was wiped.

I could tell because she basically had no energy for dinner, and sufficed with peanut butter on toast. I felt terrible, but when I really needed her, she came to the rescue.

My wife is super thoughtful and supportive. She is like this at work too, which is what made her an amazing department head. Through the super shitty TTC challenges during the past couple of years, we’ve actually formed a stronger relationship. I believe it’s because we have supported each other so much through the bad news and the losses. I say we, but more recently it’s been she that has been picking me up off the floor, reminding me to breathe, assuring me that in the end, we will be okay.

My wife is strong enough for the two of us, and is the most thoughtful person I have ever met. I am so grateful for her. Sometimes I think that I used up all of my luck finding her.

IMG_6320

IVF#2: Halfway Through the Ten Day Wait (5DP5DT)

Well, it’s been 5 days since our blastocyst transfer, and really, I don’t have much to report symptom-wise.

I haven’t had any cramps or dizziness like last BFP. I’m not out of breath, or overly tired. I’m peeing my usual 1-2x per night. I am eating like normal again, and there are no signs of OHSS.

All I have noticed is that I’m having trouble regulating my temperature. I’m either freezing cold, or hot like a furnace. Sometimes, my torso feels a couple of degrees hotter than my feet, which can’t seem to get and stay warm.

That’s it.

Being 5DP5DT, I am getting worried. By 7DP5DT, countdowntopregnancy.com says that you are more likely than not to get a true positive if you POAS.

After my retrieval, I only suffered mild OHSS (or not at all). I felt back to normal pretty much the day before my transfer, and better each day since then. I am really grateful that I did not get OHSS despite my high estrogen levels and 30-something growing follicles. In fact, I am shocked. Part of it I’m sure is thanks to the Dostinex that they put me on, and I also believe that my high sodium and high protein diet for a few days before and after retrieval helped too. I have been secretly hoping for some OHSS to reappear, as a way of tipping me off that we may be getting a BFP, but so far, I feel fine.

This TWW started off really low stress, and I’ve been lucky enough to have my wife at home this weekend for three days (Family Day Holiday in Ontario, Canada). I finally got back to hiking in the snow with her and the dogs on Saturday (Valentine’s Day), and have been trying to keep fun music on in the background at home because it keeps my mood light. I am happy to report that I have busted into fabulously fun, but totally embarrassing dance parties daily in our living room. Juno the dog watches me and barks when my dance moves get a little too funky. I also devoured Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects, which I have found to be her most twisted book of her three best sellers. I really enjoyed it though, and am on some female author murder mystery kick right now.

My anxiety has stayed relatively low since the transfer, until today. Somehow, being at this halfway point, an obsession with POAS has set in. I have been googling and Instagram searching days by #DP5DT, and I’m driving myself mad. I didn’t mention this last month, but in January, my anxiety seemed to peak again, and I decided that I couldn’t cope without some pharmaceutical intervention. I was super close to starting the Cipralex that had been calling my name since I filled the prescription, but wanted to wait until I felt safe and pregnant. A work friend reached out to me last month, complaining about how terrible of a time she is having at our school (she was also transferred there at the same time as me), and how she basically feels bullied by everyone except one or two other teachers. Hearing her share her unhappy experiences triggered some of my PTSD from September, where I had visions of crying in the staff washroom between teaching classes, wiping blood off the toilet seat as I was miscarrying, inserting my Endometrin suppositories so deep that my cervix ached because I was so desperate for the bleeding to stop. I remember talking to my vice principal about how a student physically threatened me, only to have him wave it off as “his bark is bigger than his bite”. I felt unsafe in that school, and unfortunately, I don’t feel any better about returning right now than I did when I miscarried. My leave is up at the end of this month, and I’m terrified to go back there. As of today, I’m back to having daytime anxiety fixations about it, and because I don’t want to start the Cipralex yet, I have really no way to cope. I have an appointment with my therapist this Wednesday, and plan to see my family doctor either this week or next week, because I can feel the anxiety ramping up again. When it comes, I feel debilitated. I do illogical things, like peel the skin and cuticles off of my fingers, layer by layer, until they bleed. I become absentminded, and unable to multitask. My fixations start during the day, as daydreams, and as they get worse, they consume more and more of my day until they start to prevent me from sleeping. Once I stop sleeping, I stop eating. I dwell deeper and deeper until I am unable to even maintain a conversation with my wife because I’m consumed by my anxiety. I’m not there yet, but my anxiety at the stage where it is starting to take up more real estate, and I am scared.

So yeah. Anyways…

I have decided to POAS on Thursday, which will be 8DP5DT, and happens to be DW’s birthday. This could be the best birthday present ever, or send us both off on a shitty tone for the rest of the day.

Anyways, please send me some hope and positivity. I can tell that I’m on the verge of sliding into an anxiety pit soon, with work and the uncertainty of whether I am pregnant or not. Thank you all for your support. I’m sorry to have to bring my anxiety back into the mix, but it’s a big part of my struggle right now.

Day 5- Ideal Birthday

IMG_6249

It’s a weird thing you know, the word “ideal” seems like such a grand concept to me, something so much bigger than I can even conceive of. Yet, when I think about what my ideal birthday would be, it seems so limiting. I’m not sure why. Maybe because it’s difficult to satisfy all of the different aspects of who I am. So for this post, I will keep it simple.

As a kid growing up in a really messed up broken home, I can only remember having been thrown one birthday party where my friends were invited. There was a piƱata, and cake.

IMG_6275

My friends all had lavish birthday parties, with themes, lots of games, and awesome goodie bags. I was always super jealous that they seemed to be so well loved.

In my twenties, I made sure to plan birthday parties for myself. Often they were themed ones- retro sports, mustache, drag, etc. Kind of like a Halloween party in March (my birthday month). They were tons of fun, and the focus wasn’t so much on me as it was just to get together and have fun. You see, I’m actually kind of introverted. Having people sing me “Happy Birthday” actually makes me feel super uncomfortable. I can feel the stares of anticipation, piercing through me. It makes me want to hide under a table until it’s over. It’s weird though, because while I’m an introvert, I still love socializing and going to parties. I just don’t like a lot of attention on me. I LOVE throwing parties and planning surprises for other people though.

When I met DW, who is a super duper introvert, birthdays changed again. Her birthday is two and a half weeks before mine, so it makes it difficult to do our birthdays separately. Sometimes I think we should just find the midpoint between our birthdays and just celebrate then. Last year, her family came up to visit the week after her birthday, and made it a birthday visit. They brought gifts and we had cake. I thought that it would’ve been a joint birthday thing, but I think they forgot that my birthday was the next week, so it never got celebrated. I didn’t say anything, but I was really sad about it. Coming from a family where I never got celebrated for my birthday, and never got birthday or Christmas gifts, I think I’ll always be a little sensitive about those things.

For the past couple of years, my birthday has fallen on March break, so DW and I have treated ourselves to all-inclusive trips to sun destinations. I have been super happy with this. Last year, we booked at a resort that we love and upgraded to their suite with a private pool. That was THE BEST! I think that going away to a sunny destination is my idea of a perfect birthday. However, if it turns out that I am pregnant (best birthday present ever), I don’t think we will be travelling for March break. The risk of food and water borne illness is too great, and the amount of insecticide and pesticides that are used to keep those places clear of bugs is scary.

IMG_6298

IMG_6297

IMG_6296

So, we may have to dream up other birthday plans.

Maybe a lesbian games night at our house?

Maybe a nice dinner out with friends?

What has been your favourite birthday to date?

Day 4 – Animals

IMG_6249

I thought long and hard on this one, trying to think of exotic animals, non-terrestrial animals, but my answer is that I am most like the domesticated pet dog. In fact, I think that both me and my wife are most like dogs.

But let me get a little more specific….

I would say that I am probably most like our chihuahua pug, Clementine.
– I am super picky about some things
– I have lots of acquaintances, but only a few really close friends, to whom I’m fiercely loyal
– I really like to sleep
– I do like to play, but I don’t enjoy physical labour
– I don’t need your approval
– I am slower to trust people’s intentions
– I am happy with doing things independently

My wife, however, is most like some kind of working dog, maybe a farm dog.
– She is constantly working- at school, at home. She is currently setting up all of our seeds and pods in preparation for gardening season. She does 70% of the work in our house, and it pleases her to get jobs done.
– She likes to do physical labour. A lot.
– Her work and the pride she takes in it forms a good portion of her identity.
– She is very trusting of people overall

What animal are you most like, and why?

Day 3: Attributes

IMG_6249

Physically, my best attribute is my height. I’m 5 foot 7, which isn’t that tall, but seems to be the perfect height for most sports and clothes. I have always wanted to be taller though, as I come from a super tall family (I’m the shortest), and competed in “tall people” sports as a teen- basketball, high jump, long jump. It wasn’t until I started playing field hockey and ice hockey that I realized that being too tall was a strain on my back (field hockey sticks are so short!). DW is average height at 5 foot 3, and talks about how much she wishes she were taller. It has given me a lot of perspective hearing her gripe about it. At home, I do all the “tall girl jobs”, like reaching for things or putting away dishes on the top shelve. I am happy not to have to hem my pants, or have my view blocked by a taller people at a concert. I can also gain a lot of weight and have it spread along my length and barely noticed. I have gained almost 20lbs during this TTC journey and while most of my clothes don’t fit anymore, I generally still look the same.

My best non-physical attribute is my ability to empathize with people. It has led me to my careers in caring professions, and has helped me to feel really fulfilled in my interactions with others. I am very accepting, open-minded, and non-judgemental because I understand that people are generally doing their best.

I asked DW what she thought my best attributes were, and her answers were: my face and my intelligence.

Way to flatter a girl on Valentine’s Day!

What are your best attributes?

Posted in TWW

Day 2: Dinner

IMG_6249

DW and I love good food, but dining out can be kind of tricky with my Celiac issues. Generally, we stick to asian restaurants (less gluten dishes), vegetarian/vegan/raw restaurants (because they tend to be more gluten-conscious), or dedicated gluten-free places. Mostly though, we cook at home. We keep it fun and fresh by making special trips to farmers markets or organic butchers with a meal in mind. I also bake a lot, as trying new gluten-free recipes is a hobby of mine, and I must say, my homemade baked goods are better than anything that I’ve tried in a store. Recently, I’ve been on a cornbread kick.

We both like all types of cultural food too, which I’m grateful for. We have friends who are strictly into “North American” food, and it is difficult to coordinate dinners out anywhere other than at a pub or chain restaurant. There’s this awesome Caribbean restaurant in a super shady part of town and I’m craving their chicken curry with rice and beans right now. We love Indian food, but have to watch out for gluten contamination. I have yet to find an Indian place in Toronto that I can trust to have gluten-free dishes. Damn, I’m craving Chana masala right now.

The last time we went out for dinner was our date night. It was about 12 days ago, and we’re due for another dinner out soon- maybe Valentine’s Day? We don’t really celebrate Valentine’s Day with gifts and special whooing, but it’s kind of fun going out for dinner and seeing all sorts of awkwardness as people in various stages of relationships try to romance each other.

IMG_6106

Day 1: Caramel Apple Spice

IMG_6249-0

One of my greatest daily cravings is a hot drink. I used to have an americano (espresso + hot water) every morning on the way to work, then another after lunch, and then one more in the evening after dinner. Writing this out makes me realize that my caffeine habit seems much like a smoker’s smoke breaks.

For some reason, caffeine didn’t affect me as much 5 years ago, but I started noticing a couple of years ago, that I was a jittery mess if I had caffeine after noon. So while I kept up my 3x a day coffee habit, I switched to decaf in the PM hours. (Note: espresso usually only contains about 75mg of caffeine).

Of course, I didn’t purchase all of my drinks at Starbucks. In fact, I rarely do. DW and I have a professional espresso machine that gets a lot of action in our house. We also purchase the syrups used in Starbucks drinks and make our own espresso-based lattes, tea-based lattes, and caramel apple ciders.

During all of my IUI’s and IVF#1, I allowed myself my daily morning americano or latte, until the TWW when I didn’t consume any caffeine at all. This was rough, as you can imagine. After my miscarriage, I didn’t allow myself to get back to having an espresso habit, so I started replacing my coffees with teas or tea lattes, which only partially satisfied me. The rare time I would have coffee, I would limit myself to the decaf freeze dried stuff, hoping that I’d forget how marvellous espresso was. It didn’t work, so now I just torture myself by taking big whiffs of DW’s glass jar of freshly ground espresso beans. Ahhhhhhhhh……

A couple of years ago, DW and I discovered Starbuck’s Caramel Apple Spice drink, and tried to “figure out” a similar recipe to make at home. The drink tastes like a caramel apple crumble in your mouth! It’s dessert in a drink. DW and I used to have Caramel Apple Spice dessert dates at Starbucks before we figured out our own recipe.

Mama et Maman’s Hot Caramel Apple Spice:

You’ll need:
20 oz unsweetened apple juice
Starbucks Cinnamon Dolce Syrup
Whip Cream
Caramel Sauce (the topping kind, not the drink flavouring kind)

1. Steam 20 ounces of unsweetened apple juice.
2. Add 4 pumps of Starbucks Cinnamon Dolce syrup to the hot apple juice
3. Pour mixture into two pre-warmed mugs.
4. Generously add whipped cream to each mug, creating a thick top layer.
5. Generously drizzle thick caramel sauce in a crisscross or swirled pattern over the whipped cream
6. Enjoy a lovely sweet desserty drink with your valentine!

SBX-5366 Recipe Cards_85x11 Individual.indd
(Images from: the Starbucks website and http://www.cheeriosandlattes.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/caramel_apple_spice_full.jpg)

IMG_6254

What is your favourite hot drink?

My 14 Day Blog Challenge!

Well I’m officially PUPO (pregnant until proven otherwise), which is wonderful but also a bit like purgatory. Our beta isn’t for another 10 days, so I thought that now would be a great opportunity to create a blogging challenge!

I invite anyone who is interested to join. I made it 14 days, mostly to give people in their two-week-waits something to keep their minds occupied. I think writing is a great way to be creative and connect with other bloggers. I have always loved reading these kinds of posts.

How it works:

There are 14 questions to be answered, one each day, in the form of a blog post- it can be as short or as long as you would like.

It can include words, a video, or photos.

1. Copy and paste the “How it works” and rules provided.
2. Post the photo of the questions.
3. Tag me in your posts so I can follow you.
4. Answer a question each day.
5. Nominate one blogger friend each day to join in the fun (optional, but encouraged).

Have fun!

IMG_6249

IVF#2: Embryo Transfer

The sun was shining this morning as I woke up to my beautiful wife. Lazy mornings with her are my favourite. She is an early riser, but stays in bed and reads the news until I wake up.

The pace of the morning was very relaxed. It was a nice contrast to the stress and anxiety that I felt all day yesterday. DW came home last night after a long day at school, as she volunteers to open the workout gym for the kids for a couple of hours. She hadn’t even changed out of her work clothes before I was sitting on the carpet, bawling my eyes out.

The stress of two plus years of actively TTC, four failed IUIs, four failed embryo transfers, three miscarriages, and one last IVF which was proving to be less fruitful than the first IVF finally broke me. DW shared how she feels lost in all of it too. Together, sitting in the middle of the floor, dogs licking the tears off of our faces, we both admitted that we’ve reached our limits. Infertility has sucked too much happiness and enjoyment out of our lives.

After that session with my wife, I felt tremendously better. We decided that whatever happens to our embryos on day 5, happens, and that we will be okay. We will roll with it. DW also said though, that she has a good feeling about our transfer tomorrow.

Fast forward to today.

I started the morning with awesome dog cuddles.

IMG_6236

IMG_6229

IMG_6228

I wore a lavender dress with black tights and my Tretorn boots.

IMG_6241-0

IMG_6230

I was way more relaxed for embryo transfer today than any other transfer, which was ironic because today’s was a fresh transfer and all of my other ones have been frozen ones. What I mean is, I just had my vagina stabbed multiple times just five days ago, laying on the same table! Whether it was the awesome songs playing on our drive to the clinic (Uptown Funk, Riptide), the sun shining outside, or the fact that we’ve been through so many transfers now that it has become like a routine, I felt super chill. I was chatty and joking around all the nurses, I didn’t cry when the phlebotomy nurse spent several minutes rooting around in my arms trying to find a vein, and I wasn’t rushing around or impatient.

The transfer itself went great too- I practiced some deep breathing during the insertion of the catheter, and took a moment to welcome the embryos into my body before they were transferred. There was no pain or cramping, unlike all of my other transfers.

We transferred these two beauties:

IMG_6244

Here they are in my uterus:

IMG_6242-0

Our beta isn’t until Feb 21st. I hope we get some good news. Now to keep my mind occupied until then…..

Thank you all for your continued support. Each and every single one of your likes and comments means a lot to us. I feel so much gratitude right now.