IVF#2: After 5 Days of Stims

Just a quickie today, but I wanted to update y’all after today’s monitoring appointment.

Yesterday, I went in for my intralipid infusion, which took about two hours, and involved me being hooked up via IV to a bag of what DW calls the “special mayonnaise”. At $750 a pop, out of pocket, it is also an expensive mayonnaise. I have very few superficial veins, and it took the nurses four tries to tap a live one. They eventually had to go for one in my hand, which hurt a lot, and with the Aspirin that I’m taking, bled a lot afterwards.

IMG_6052

Yesterday, I also noticed globs of egg white cervical mucus, which tells me my estrogen levels are high. Each of the little follicles in my ovaries release estrogen as they mature, contributing to the clusterglobs in my underpants. I anticipate that it is bound to get messier by the day. Lucky for you, I did not take pictures of this, as I might have been tempted to post them.

Today, I ran from appointment to appointment. I had really bad insomnia last night (probably due to high estrogen levels, which messes up my sleep every cycle), and took 50mg of diphenhydramine hydrochloride (Benedryl) at 11pm. Benedryl makes me super groggy and I was laying in bed like a zombie this morning, almost missing my monitoring appointment at the fertility clinic. Over the course of 15 minutes, I managed to shower and dress, set up the crockpot for pulled pork, fry some eggs (sunny side up), butter some gluten-free toast, and make myself a protein shake. I also made it to my appointment only 4 minutes late. Phew!

At the clinic, I had blood work and ultrasound done, which revealed 10 follicles on each side (20 in total!), 4 of which are 10mm or larger. They still have a ways to grow, so I go back in on Friday for my next monitoring.

IMG_6056

I’m happy with this number, and now just want them to grow into big fat juicy follicles. Last IVF, I ended up with 36 follicles, with only 19 being mature. This time, since we are doing a fresh transfer back into me, I hope I am not overstimulated, but still have a good number of mature eggs to make good quality embryos. *Fingers and toes crossed*

After monitoring, I rushed downtown to my acupuncture appointment. I’ve got a whole bunch of herbs that I need to take to increase my kidney yang, as my pulse was a bit slow and weak. I also had an acupuncture treatment, which was nice. My TCM doc is a bit of an odd duck, so it’s always an interesting treatment.

Next update on Friday!

Advertisements

Happiness Cycle Days 19 & 20: Kindness

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.

IMG_5576.JPG

IMG_5575.JPG

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:

IMG_5581.JPG

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.

Limbo

Wow, I haven’t posted in a while. I’ve been cooking up a storm, adapting new recipes, and washing lots of dishes. Yesterday I made my first gluten-free (GF) turkey meatloaf, and today I made GF turkey meatballs, and tomato sauce with produce from our garden. I plan to serve it for dinner on shredded spaghetti squash (also from our garden). Props go to DW for growing me all of these amazingly gorgeous organic vegetables and herbs!

Time seems to be moving at a very strange pace for me. Being home every day means that my sense of time is dictated by my daily chores, appointments, and the return of DW from work. I have been running errands, hiking on the conservation lands with the dogs, preparing elaborate dinners, and probably not cleaning as much as I should be. We have been relaxing at the cottage on weekends, so my routine is kind of messed up in this way too.

Obviously, in many ways I’m glad that I’m not at work. I suffered from an alarming level of anxiety from being dealt a ridiculously unfair schedule, a lack of support from the people that are supposed to be supporting me, as well as doing my best (and failing) at trying to provide meaningful learning moments for kids that are the most challenging in the district. I was not eating. I was not sleeping. I had fleeting thoughts of self-harm. My family doctor insisted that I take a break from all of it to regroup and grieve our loss. I am currently about one third through my leave of absence, and I am terrified of going back.

I feel like I’m just beginning to heal physically. I’m still spotting daily, and I definitely notice my athletic limitations compared to pre-pregnancy: lower cardiovascular endurance, core strength is gone, and my strength has severely decreased. I have been lifting weights again every other day for the past week and a half, and my energy and motivation has been lacking. Pre-pregnancy, working out has always been a treat and a stress-reliever, but now I feel like I’m dragging my heels and my body just won’t do what I want it to do.

Interestingly, my eyesight has significantly changed as well. I had an eye exam two days ago, and my vision, which has been stable since 2007, has gotten worse by almost 2 diopters in both eyes! I suspect that all of the pregnancy hormones have messed up my body in many ways that I am unaware of.

Emotionally, I am really struggling. Part of me wishes that I was back at work (I really enjoy my career- just not at this particular school and schedule), as I miss the kids, routine, and socializing with my colleagues. In particular, I miss the first two schools that I was at. The kids were amazing, and the staff made me feel like family. Even the administration were very personable and supportive. However, my past two schools have been really difficult- due to the administration (lack of support and disciplining of students), and the particular classes that I have been assigned (the classes that nobody wants because it involves teaching the most difficult content to the most poorly behaved students). Unfortunately, being in a union (don’t get me wrong, I am so appreciative of unions) so much of where you teach and what you teach is dependent on seniority, and being a relatively new teacher in a school board that is shrinking, I am at the bottom of the food chain. So the most experienced teachers can choose to teach the easiest students and their first choice of subject, and the new teachers with the least experience get what nobody else wants. Not to mention that I get paid half what they get paid, and end up working extra hours at home prepping every night.Makes sense right? Ugh.

Look at me. Three weeks off from work and I’m still bitching about it. Now and again I have to remind myself that I am so lucky to have job security and benefits, and an (unpaid) summer off.

In happier news, I came home to a gift today:

IMG_5112.JPG

A friend of mine sent it with their condolences on our loss, and for a moment I was so touched but also so frustrated that miscarriages are often such a hush-hush secret. I know they are common, but given the lengths that we have gone to make a baby, our repeated losses seem even more tragic. For example, we can’t just have sex a ton more times and get pregnant (though- this should not dissuade anyone from trying this strategy ;)). We apparently can’t even get an IUI to work. Very frustrating.

In the meantime, I will wait for DW to get home before diving into these:

IMG_5115.JPG

IMG_5117.JPG

I saw a new Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine this week. He lectures annually for the acupuncture program that I used to teach for. He is a fertility specialist, and until now, I haven’t been able to see him because he only treats on weekdays (teacher schedule). The appointment went well. He is very thorough and has a three-phase plan for me. The first phase is getting my natural period to come and flush out all of the stagnation in my uterus (and what energetically remains of the pregnancy). Then, we work on building my yin, which is quite depleted in me, and what likely causes my long follicular phases (eggs need more time to mature because my yin is too weak). Lastly, we will work on lengthening my luteal phase, which is super short. He says that even if I were getting pregnant naturally, my luteal phase is so short that proper implantation can’t even occur. Sometimes, regulating the follicular phase also fixes the luteal phase as well. He’s got me on some herbs right now, which are in the form of high potency granules. While I’m very proficient at acupuncture and general TCM principles, I was not trained in the healing properties of herbs, which can have incredible synergy with the acupuncture treatments. I am glad he is healing me through the use of both. He suggests that I sit this next cycle out, and try again the following cycle. So essentially, I’m in limbo for another 9 or so weeks.

5 More Days… And Gluten-Free Crepes!

Today’s Uterine Lining: 9.5mm

BIG update: Our FET is scheduled for Sunday, August 3rd at 6:50 am! One day ahead of what I had anticipated. So instead of being 6 days until the transfer, we’ve got 5 days….

It’s with another doctor, which I’m neither thrilled nor disappointed about.

I reduce my Estrace to 2mg twice a day (down from three times a day), and start taking vaginal Endometrin three times a day, and oral Prometrium three capsules at bedtime. This is when the Calvin Kleins get really sloppy.

I have a massage booked for tonight, and tomorrow I’ve got an acupuncture appointment with a colleague that I used to teach with at the chiropractic college. I also have my last ball hockey game tomorrow night. At least I’m hoping it’s my last 🙂

DW and I made gluten-free crepes for dinner last night (we love having breakfast for dinner), and they were amazing!

The recipe for the crepes themselves are from Gluten Free on a Shoestring

They were so good that they made DW remember her Oma, Wilhelmina, who used to make crepes with butter and brown sugar.

So last night, we made gluten-free crepes à la Wilhelmina.

Steps:
1. Make crepes
2. While crepes are still hot, butter on one side
3. Sprinkle brown sugar over the buttered surface
4. Roll up
5. Enjoy!

20140728-220315-79395827.jpg

Preparing For Embryo Transfer

20140125-122322.jpg
(Photo from: http://m.inviafertility.com/uncategorized/drvkarande/top-10-interesting-facts-about-ultrasound-guided-embryo-transfer)

Tomorrow is our embryo transfer! So far, DW has been taking estrace everyday (beginning on day 3 of her cycle- dose decreased from 3 pills a day to 2 pills a day on the day of our retrieval). She has also started her prometrium (3 capsules orally per day) and endometrin (3 vaginal suppositories per day). She’s not particularly enjoying the vaginal suppositories, and is making her way through our stock of maxi pads and panty liners. She is being a good sport though, and in addition to the busyness of work and this drug schedule, she is still taking care of my OHSS ass.

Oh yes, still bloated and in pain. If my stats have not improved by tomorrow, I’m going to insist on having an ultrasound to see how bad my ascites is. Two days ago, a chiro friend of mine and I were playing with my belly, doing the fluid wave test for ascites, which we had learned in clinical diagnosis class back in the day. On day 4 today, my weight continues to climb by just under a pound (now a bit over 3 lbs more than on retrieval day) and my circumference remains the same as yesterday. The nurse called yesterday and implied that perhaps I wasn’t resting enough. All of this resting is driving me insane!

But exciting times are upon us my blogosphere friends. We went for sushi yesterday as one last hurrah for DW (who loves sashimi by the way). We called it the Last Supper.She is also shovelling the driveway right now too because a) I’m in too much pain right now, and b) she is on doctor ordered bed rest for two days after tomorrow.

In preparation for our transfer, I did a nice acupuncture treatment on her this morning (she played an iPhone Settlers of Catan game while her Qi did its thang), and I made her this pineapple-rich smoothy:

20140125-123808.jpg

Mamaetmaman’s Pineapple Smoothy (for good implantation)

1/5 of a pineapple, rind trimmed and chopped but core not removed
2 tbsp coconut cream
1.5 cup coconut milk (the thin beverage kind, not the cooking kind)
1 ripe banana

Throw all ingredients into your blender and blend on high until smoothy no longer has fruit chunks in it. If it jams, add more liquid.

For a refreshing change- pre-freeze your pineapple and banana for an icy consistency .

Pour into a large glass and serve with an umbrella!

For even more fun times, double the recipe and make two drinks- add Malibu Black into the NGP’s glass!