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.

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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.