Happiness Cycle Day 13: Intralipids

I’ve got two hours to kill while hooked up to an IV bag of intralipids, so I thought I’d type up a post with my left hand. It’s harder than it seems!

I had a crappy sleep last night, as something’s up with my digestive system. I had the worst bloating and gas, which continued overnight and into the morning (poor DW). My diet is so clean right now, that I have no idea what could be causing it. My colon felt like a balloon that was inflating and reaching its maximum stretching ability. As I lay here hooked up to a bag of mayonnaise, all I wanna do is fart. But because they’re checking my vitals frequently, and I’m in a closed room, I’m trying to hold it in. Unpleasant!

Anyways, I’m happy to be doing the intralipids. It gives me some hope for this FET. While I wish we had two embryos to transfer, that’s nothing I can change. All I can do is give all of my love and hopeful energy into this embryo. The RE finally reviewed all of my immune results and wants to put me on prednisone, fragmen, and baby aspirin, in addition to the estrogen and progesterone that I will be starting someday soon. I’m happy that it seems like we’re finally being taken seriously now. Fingers crossed that our embryo is a good one, and that he/she thrives inside me.

As for the intralipids, today I’m having 100mLs injected into a bag of saline, to create a 20% mixture. Then the mixture is introduced to my bloodstream via IV cannula. I’m glad that I brought a blanket, because I feel so cold not being able to move. I also brought my iPad, a decaf vanilla Earl Grey Tea almond milk latte, and two slices of the paleo banana bread that I made last night. I haven’t been able to do much other than type on my iPhone.

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Once I get a positive beta, there’s another infusion (approx four weeks), and then one more after the six week ultrasound. Each treatment is $750, and out of pocket.

The cannula hurt going into my arm, but is fine now that it’s in. I can’t feel the intralipids at all, though I feel colder than usual overall.

The nurse comes by every 30 minutes to check my temperature, blood pressure, and heart rate,

It’s been about an hour and a half, and I’m almost done:

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Tomorrow I have to go in for monitoring blood work and ultrasound again. Hopefully we will find out when our transfer will be. We also meet with our family doctor, who will hopefully agree that it’s in my best interest to continue being off work until I’m in the right state of mind to deal with those additional stresses. DW has taken the day off tomorrow to support me.

More updates tomorrow!

Happiness Cycle Day 9- Soup

*Warning: lots of ranting in this post today*

To be honest, today didn’t start off very well. I had really bad insomnia last night, and just cuddled with the little dog on the couch watching the Christmas tree lights twinkle, trying to talk myself down.

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The big dog fast asleep in the chair.

I had a couple of nice calm days this week, I’d even say that they were happy days, but then this new natural killer cell information has sent me down the rabbit hole. I feel anxious, angry, and more angry. Mostly with the way in which the Canadian public health care system works, but also with the way that things have worked out for us this year. Hands down, this has been the worst year of my adult life. I used to love teaching, and this year, I have hated it enough to consider going back to being a chiropractor. My wife has been ridiculously busy and stressed, and I feel like we’ve both been doing the minimum to get through each week. I miss my friends back home. I hate living in the suburbs, and wish we could move back downtown, as the only times I’ve felt restored recently is when I’ve had a chance to wander around downtown. I like to do things, see things, experience things, and other than working out at the gym or hiking with my dogs on the beautiful conservation lands, there’s nothing to do here. It’s hard to justify driving in too often, as traffic and parking are terrible, but I think I need to just suck it up and make more trips in. I miss working too, but the thought of going back to my school makes my anxiety worse. If only I could go back to any of my previous schools. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. Bottom line, I’m super unhappy right now, and that doesn’t even include how I feel about all of this TTC stuff.

Yesterday, I felt really hopeful about this upcoming FET. I saw my TCM doctor, and while I was resting with acupuncture needles in, I had daydreams of sitting on a dock on an Indian Summer evening with our child. He was about 4 years old, and we were fishing. I felt so good, like I knew this cycle was going to work.

Today, I woke up and laid in bed for a couple of hours, unmotivated, full of sadness. I am frustrated with our fertility clinic for not responding to my email sent earlier this week about pairing the intralipid treatment with some steroids, which is the typical treatment for high NK cells. Their reluctance to answer my questions, or give me any access to the specialist boils my blood. I have to communicate through the nurses, who generally don’t get back to me, and if they do, it’s usually after a week or two (ie. untimely). This brought up a whole bunch of old resentment that I have against this clinic. I wish they had tested us for all of the immune issues earlier, so that we wouldn’t have blown through six embryos. It makes me sick to think that we’ve only got one left, and that if we want to continue, it’s going to be a whole new round of IVF, which will be so physically, emotionally, and financially taxing. And while I want to think positively about this FET, the fact is that each of our three attempts at double embryo transfers only ever yielded single implantations. I know many people have had success with single embryo transfers, but having a 50% implantation rate with a single embryo means that we are going into this FET with a smaller likelihood of success than any of our other attempts. And what if the intralipids don’t make a difference? It’s apparently experimental, and many RE’s don’t believe in them. The top RE’s in the States recommend that intralipids are always paired with a corticosteroid to be effective, but my RE won’t respond to my request for them. And knowing how strict they are about things being “medically necessary”, I doubt that he will prescribe them for me. I am beyond frustrated here. I am feeling hopeless.

Oh, and after several months of super stable TSH levels, my endocrinologist called today to say that my levels went up a bit, though is still under 1. That could explain why I have been feeling a bit lethargic and under the weather lately.

I spent most of the day today stressfully running errands. I completed an assignment for an online course that I’m doing to get my guidance counsellor qualifications, I went grocery store hopping to get items for DW’s principals class tomorrow (she is providing breakfast for her entire class), and I took the dogs out. I also tried out a Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup recipe that I saw on YouTube. It turned out really well.

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But my favourite part of the day was my workout this evening. I did 20 minutes of rope climbing treadmill tabatas, which have become my favourite warm-up recently. Then I did 15 minutes of high intensity interval sprints on the treadmill. It felt soooo good to run and push myself. Later, I bumped into a friend of DW’s from her university days. He is this huge, jacked guy that she used to do powerlifting with, and he eggs me on, trying to get me to lift heavy weights. He invited me to lift with him today, which was super nice, but terrified me because I’m not my wife. You see, my wife is a meathead (I say this with great fondness for meatheads, as I am a lanky ectomorph who has always worked so hard for muscle), and weight lifting is seriously a talent of hers. She barely works out nowadays (maybe once every two weeks if she is lucky), and can do endless amounts of unassisted chin-ups. She does a couple of push-ups and her muscles engorge. Seriously talented. Anyways, my muscles, not so much. They are long and sinewy. I work hard on them, but my real strength is in general low-med intensity endurance. I can run forever at a moderate pace, and feel good doing it, but it’s boring. I love lifting weights, but suck at it, and so I was nervous that they would see how weak I am despite how hard and how frequently I work out. Today, we did squats and deadlifts, and because I was frustrated and anxious today, I went heavier than I usually do, and didn’t count reps, just went to failure. When I compared my weights to what DW usually lifts, I was pleased with myself. I did well today. That was my happy moment- lifting heavier than my wife does. Then I went home and feasted on my awesome Taiwanese Beef Noodle soup.

Finally- Some Answers

I need to take a breath before I post this. I am an intense ball of “need to google everything” right now, but I also wanted to put this out there for all you super smart fertility people.

So, I got a phone call today from our RE’s head nurse. We got my natural killer Th1/Th2 results, and they are abnormally high. I am very TH1 dominant. In a normal person, TH1 and TH2 should be balanced, as each is responsible for protecting the body against different pathogens. I will write a more informative post about this another day. Right now, I’m just trying to process this new important piece of information.

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They want me to start intralipids next week on cycle day 13. I’m supposed to bring a pillow and a blanket because it involves having me hooked up to an IV for 2 hours. It will cost us $750, but I am willing to do just about anything for this to work.

I am worried about my prognosis for a successful live birth, even with the intralipids. Since I know so little about this, I’m going to spend the evening researching the fuck out of it. My plans were to set up the Christmas tree, but that can wait.

I know a couple of you are also on intralipids. Can you tell me what it feels like, what success you’ve been told will happen with it, and also anything else you think can help me wrap my head around it.

So far, all I know is that being TH1 dominant is related to a slew of autoimmune issues, and explains the Celiac Disease that I have. I also know that stress shifts the dominance even more so in favour of TH1. While stress as a cause of miscarriage is kind of a weak claim, I think that my extreme stress at work during the beginning of the school year certainly could have worsened my TH1 dominance. Next week, I will meet with my family doctor, and get an extension on my medical leave. There is no way that I’m going back to work when I’ve got an embryo transfer happening in two weeks.

Anyways, I’m gonna go google like it’s going out of style, and will post again sometime tomorrow.

Happy Humpday!

Gonna Look Like A Kardashian By The End Of The Month

Today is cycle day 7, and I have been on 6mg of Estrace daily for 5 days now, in preparation for our upcoming FET. I have already noticed some physical changes, which I’m not super happy with:

– my eyesight has changed again. Particularly my right eye, my cornea has changed shape, and my previously perfect fitting contact lens is not fitting my eyeball well anymore. It’s causing my eyelid to do a weird double fold thing. I am also noticing that street signs are blurry again through my right eye. I was JUST at the optometrist last week!

– my boobs are ginormous again. I have been wearing the same style of sports bra for at least a year now, with very little fluctuation, except for when I was pregnant. And when I was pregnant, my boobs basically inflated to the point where my sports bras (which are normally fitted, but with room to inhale comfortably) became like chest tourniquets. I literally worried about blood flow to my arms. Yesterday, I decided to get rid of all of my bras that don’t fit (8 of them, and sadly half being expensive Lululemon ones), and went out to buy two of the style and size that are still comfortable- stupidly, without trying them on. In my defense, I had just worn this size and style last week, so I figured it would be fine. WRONG! I was excited to put on one of the new bras today, and it is tight. Wearable, but tight. I’m an average chested girl to begin with- probably about a big B, but things are well on their way to full C-land. And since I don’t have pendulous boobs, the mass just seems to swell over my pecs, like a well endowed chicken you’d buy at the grocery store. I feel like my boobs are growing towards my face, terrified that they are going to choke out my thyroid, then suffocate me in my sleep. Yes, friends, this is what nightmares are made of.

– my pants are fitting a bit snug in the thighs. Fuck you estrogen! I’m consistently on a lower carb, paleo diet, with very few cheat meals just so this doesn’t happen! I weigh my food, track all my calories on myfitnesspal, and work out hard five days a week. What. The. Hell. Again, Fuck you estrogen!

– I’ve put on 4 pounds in the past 5 days (and I had previously been consistently at the same weight since last pregnancy ended). There is no way that this is from overeating. 4 pounds is a lot, people. In 5 days too! Again, Fuck you estrogen!

In all seriousness, I know that this is part of the process, and if taking the Estrace helps to make a really nice fluffy uterine lining for our embryo to implant, then so be it. But the side effects suck. Embryos/Fetuses have no use for huge mammaries. Curvy Venus butt and thighs are only useful if you’re auditioning for a Nicki Minaj video (think Anaconda). My eyesight is necessary for survival!

I’m worried friends, that I will look like Kim Kardashian (NSFW) by the end of the month- and I don’t mean her gorgeous face or lavish riches either. Though, it would be handy to have a shelf to place things, wherever you go, right?

Will the Real AF, Please Stand Up!

Yeah, she’s arrived. Funny enough, I was at the fertility clinic, handing in my consents, reviewing my immune blood work, and paying for the upcoming FET when I felt it. I had just had them cancel my (incorrect) day three monitoring, then went to the washroom before leaving (we live in a different city from the main clinic), and saw blood when I wiped (nothing is TMI when you follow my blog).

As mentioned a few posts ago, all of my immune blood work came back normal. But, we’re still waiting for the Th1/Th2 natural killer one from California. The clinic has been calling them all morning, so hopefully once Pacific time catches up with working hours, we shall have some more info.

Anyways, here we are. CD1 of what I hope is the cycle that brings us our baby.

Interesting tidbit: when I put today’s date into those online due date calculators, it lands exactly on DW and my 5 year wedding anniversary. How’s that for a hopeful omen? Please please please work!

Oh Scratch That- False Alarm

So what I thought was my period, isn’t. I haven’t bled at all since this morning’s fresh blood spot.

And judging from my BBT, I should actually be truly bleeding tomorrow or Friday.

Sorry for the false alarm. I’m just an eager beaver over here!

Gonna take my mind off it by baking a grain-free cheesecake.

Happy Humpday everyone!

FET#4 CD1

I was expecting my period at the end of the week, but was pleased to see it arrive this morning. Darn you short luteal phase (this cycle 10 days), but thank you for appealing to my impatience.

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Today, I start my Chinese herbals again, which dispels blood stasis from my womb, flushing it out with the natural shedding that is happening.

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Previous to TTC-ing, I rarely had painful periods. Even during my IUIs, I had only minimal cramps. When our RE started us on Marvelon (oral contraceptive) back in September of 2013 to sync our cycles in preparation for our reciprocal IVF, I have had painful periods ever since. Like screaming in agony painful. However, last cycle, I took this Chinese herb mixture, and had absolutely no pain during menstruation again. It was wonderful, and a good sign of uterine health.

This herb mixture is actually in concentrated granule form that has been extracted from the cooked raw herbs. I just add 5 scoops and two ounces of boiling water into a mug, stir it up, and voila! An earthy tasting tea! I do this 3 times a day, on an empty stomach, or before food.

Today, my first blood was a bright red blood, which is also really good. Old brown clots are a sign of stasis. It means that there may be some congestion in the uterus, which can be inhibiting good circulation.

So far, we’re off to a good start!

I’m in a bit of a mad rush, trying to get some appointments in before the embryo takes up residence. I need to replace a root canal filling that is cracking with a crown, and my insurance is being picky with my dentist, requiring more x-Rays etc. The whole process could take weeks, and since they will have to use local anaesthetic on me, I’d rather have it done before the transfer. Fingers crossed that it works out. I also need to get my eyes checked again, since my vision changed significantly from the pregnancy. They use medicated eye drops to dilate your pupils, which is also contraindicated during pregnancy, so I’m getting it done today, with a dear friend of mine who is the world’s most thorough optometrist. DW and I love him so much that we always comment (to each other) about how it’s too bad that he has so much cancer in his family (two siblings and his father), because we would’ve loved him as a donor. He has the kindest spirit, is very thoughtful and intelligent, and has amazing dimples!

Anyway, yesterday was a beautiful sunny and warm day, feeling like 20 degrees Celsius, and today is dark, windy, and super cold (feels like 0 degrees Celsius). It’s supposed to be like this for the rest of the winter. DW and I are planning on “winter camping” at our cottage this weekend. By “winter camping” I mean, staying in the cottage, which is not winterized, so the well has been turned off. This means no running water (we’ll bring some), and using the outhouse (which kind of terrifies me, as a non-camping city girl). It’s a very underused outhouse, and is super clean and odourless. I am always just so scared of falling in. I also hate how cold the seat is- can’t we just plug in a seat warmer? Or does that defeat the point of the great outdoors?