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.

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Ugh.. Where Can I Buy Some Sleep?

It’s 4:44am right now, and I have been trying to fall back asleep since 2. We went to bed at 11:30 tonight last night, and I think I may have finally fallen asleep at midnight.

I have been having problems sleeping on and off ever since July, and it has progressively gotten worse since then. I think that all of these treatments have my hormone balance all out of whack and it is affecting my sleep cycles… Oh and my anxiety levels! I’ve talked about my recent struggles with anxiety here, and how my family doctor encouraged me to take Cipralex (Lexapro), an SSRI. I wavered in my decision several times, got desperate after 13 days without a good sleep and filled the prescription, and then our last FET failed, and the potential of doing another full IVF had me reconsidering starting the Cipralex.

Here’s why:
Cipralex is an SSRI, a serotonin re uptake inhibitor. Normally, when serotonin is released between your neutrons (nerve cells), there is a sort of pump-like mechanism that gobbles it all up (re uptake). The Cipralex turns off this re uptake mechanism (inhibits it) and allows the serotonin to linger a little longer for your body to benefit from it. This happens in many places in your body- of interest to those with mental health issues, there are receptors in the brain. But there are also receptors in the ovaries, which is why I’m hesitant to start it right before an IVF cycle. The IVF stim cycle is such a crapshoot on a good day, and seeing as how my first IVF went so well, I kinda don’t want to add any new factors to the mix.

Last IVF:
On lupron (20IU–>10IU)
On Gonal-F (200IU)

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Part of me feels like once I get pregnant, and I mean safe zone pregnant, the anxiety and sleeplessness will go away. But following some of your journeys, I have come to realize that the worrying doesn’t really stop, and the sleep issues might get worse. Another part of me feels like if things are still super shitty, it wouldn’t be a big deal if I waited out the minor heart defect risk of the first trimester, and started the Cipralex during the second. I am willing to deal with the temporary risk of infant withdrawal symptoms.

So yeah, this is the shit that I am worrying about at what’s now 5:17am! Totally getting ahead of myself, over planning, trying to control shit that is unreasonable for me to control, feeding my anxiety with more anxiety… I suppose this is what my life has become. Sadly, seeing my therapist on a weekly to biweekly basis hasn’t helped much beyond that first visit. I know that therapy is so patient/therapist specific, but I feel like my anxiety is beyond the mending capabilities of talk therapy. I also feel like the only thing other than being pharmaceutically altered that will help me feel better is finally getting pregnant and staying pregnant. I know this is a tall order, and I am still working on not getting super upset that everyone on my Facebook is pregnant or has children already.

Anyway, it is amazing that I have lived 32 sweet years not knowing what anxiety feels like. I have empathy for those who suffer from mental illness. It is a struggle wrought with a lack of understanding or compassion. For many people, there isn’t a “solution” that helps them cope with life or even affords them the simple enjoyment of a day. And while there is a lot of encouragement to “talk about it”, the stigma remains, and people are forced to stay in the closet about it. Being a gay woman, I’ve already spent too much time in the closet.

Now, where does a gal go to buy some sleep at this time of night? (It’s now 5:40am. Faaack!)

Happiness Cycle Day 14: Downtown

DW took the day off work today, as we had a day of medical appointments, in town and out of town. She has also been so busy and overworked so far this semester that she really needed a “mental health” day as well.

I must mention that I finally had a good sleep last night, after almost a week of terrible anxiety-induced insomnia.

This morning DW made me a decaf coffee (such a nice treat to be served coffee in the morning), we gave the dogs got some consolation pats on the head, and we were on our way.

Our first stop was the fertility clinic’s satellite clinic, which is in our city. I needed to have my blood work and ultrasound monitoring again. Things are on track, with my uterine lining measuring 9.4 today, up from 8.7 of two days ago. I also got a “present” from one of the receptionists, who wasn’t working today, but had mentioned last time I was in that “she’d give me a troll to put down my pants”. I wasn’t sure what she meant by that, but she meant Treasure Trolls, those dolls from the 80’s, for good luck. We joked about for a bit- especially the part about putting one down my pants. Anyway, today, the phlebotomist nurse gave me this on behalf of the receptionist:

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So thoughtful and sweet!

After that, we headed downtown, to see my family doctor. I was really nervous and stressed about this appointment, not knowing how to describe and explain the overwhelming emotions and feelings that I have been experiencing since the miscarriage. When we got there, my family doctor was super attentive, gave me room to talk, listened patiently and compassionately, and gave some good advice. I shared with her how depressed and anxious I have been feeling, how it has continued to affect my sleep and made me weary of socializing with friends who aren’t aware of our situation. She had me complete some forms: a depression questionnaire, an anxiety questionnaire, and a survey on the impact of my feelings on my activities of daily living. It was the first time that I had taken inventory of various aspects of my depression and anxiety, and how it has been affecting me beyond just my feelings and sense of hope for the future. This whole time I’ve been so consumed and obsessed with our miscarriage(s) and getting back to making babies that I completely lost sight of how I have been doing as a person. I mean, I knew that I was depressed, and I knew that I had an anxiety problem, but I had always placed them under the context of the miscarriage, and not really that they themselves are focal points that need to be addressed.

I have battled depression before, and had reached a nice homeostasis with Wellbutrin for years. When I first met DW, I had already been on it for many years, but like most people with mental health issues, because I felt better, I thought “why not, let’s try life anti-depressant free!”. That was a couple of years ago, and for the entire time, I have been fine. However, with the fertility challenges and heartbreak of three miscarriages, I think my dear friend depression has snuck back into my life, and has brought his asshole friend anxiety along as back-up.

I have mentioned my emotional struggles on my blog many times, but didn’t realize how bad it has gotten until I answered those questionnaires, and saw and felt the true concern in DW’s and my family doctor’s feedback on how I seem, and have been behaving. I guess this is sort of what an intervention feels like. I’ve been so caught up in my own head, and needed to hear what other people are observing. My depression and anxiety are a big concern right now, and my family doctor is concerned enough about it to suggest that I start some medications right away. She suggested Cipralex, which is an SSRI, and is effective for both depression and anxiety. I would love feedback from anyone who has taken it before. She says that it is safe before, during, and after pregnancy, even though Dr. Google claims otherwise. But I am convinced that you can search anything and find support for it in the form of a online support forum. This I have learned from the all-consuming world of TTC.

She wants me to double check with the RE that he Cipralex won’t interfere/interact with all of the other stuff that I will be on: estrace, prometrium/endometrin, aspirin, fragmin, prednisone, intralipids. I’ve emailed the RE’s nurse, so hopefully I will hear back soon.

I have mixed feelings about taking the Cipralex. On one hand I think that it would be better for me to just tough it out, that it’s normal to have feelings of sadness and despair, or constant worry, given what I’ve been through. On the other hand, it is becoming more and more apparent to me that my depression and anxiety levels are abnormally high, and the culmination of evidence is that that can negatively impact our potential pregnancy even more than the small risk of cardiovascular defects and autism that have been reported but not confirmed. I look at DW, and some of you who seem “recovered” from your miscarriages, and wonder why I’m still stuck in this destructive loop of depression and anxiety. I realize now that it’s because I am struggling with an extra layer of mental illness.

Work has been harassing me again as well. In the past seven days, the person in charge of leaves has called me three times and emailed me once. This is after talking to her already the first time. She didn’t have anything new to discuss the subsequent times, but rather has been very negative and pushy in her tone. DW says that if she calls me again, that we should complain to the union. The last thing you want to do when you have an employee suffering from a mental health challenge is harass them.

Anyway, after my doctor’s appointment we went out for lunch at our favourite Vietnamese place.

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Then grabbed some baked treats down the street at this great little bakery we found by accident one day the last time we were here. I got a gluten-free chèvre cheesecake, and DW got “the best butter tart ever”, as well as a pear almond tort-like thing that has a fancy French name that I don’t remember.

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We then went shopping at our favourite outdoor store: Mountain Equipment Co-op, where we caught up on some much needed shopping, and bought a couple of early Christmas presents (me mostly).

We also got a call from our primary nurse today. I am supposed to start my long list of meds on Saturday, in preparation for our embryo transfer on Wednesday morning!

I hope that time moves fast, as I’m anxious for our last embryo to come home, but I also feel like I need some time to process everything that has happened today. The good, and the bad new.

In Crisis

I have not slept for two nights. I have lost 3 lbs in 3 days. I can’t eat more than two half-portioned meals per day. I am 7 weeks pregnant.

This isn’t healthy.

So far, I’ve kept my spotting and bleeding of clots quiet from our RE. But today, I just felt sick about it all and emailed my primary nurse and told her what has been going on. Hopefully, I hear back from her tomorrow and maybe I can get an ultrasound to find out what’s going on.

Previously, I had been against taking a day off work (they highly discourage teachers taking sick days in my board- even though they are part of our compensation), because I’m a relatively new teacher (third year permanent), and it looks bad when you use them (even though we encounter hundreds of dirty teenager’s germs daily). Right now, my seat mate is sick with the flu, and I’m secretly angry at her for touching my stuff and coming to work at all!

Anyways, my new role is very physical. I have to travel two floors and across the length of the school to get from my first period class to my office and other two classes. Often, I am carrying 40lbs of textbooks and student binders, as well as other supplemental equipment from floor to floor. Today, I was carrying a stack of 40 magazines from the basement, up to the second floor, and felt a cramp in my abdomen. I stopped and waited until I saw two kids on washroom breaks and had them carry the rest to my classroom. I then had to go back an grab a class set of scissors, glue sticks, stack of cardboard poster boards, and a bin of markers. I had to make two more trips for that. In my classes, I am working with kids with significant developmental and intellectual challenges. Our kids are high school aged, but function at the reading and cognitive level of grades 1-6. They also have significant behavioural and maturity issues- so I am never sitting down at all in my classrooms. I am on my feet all day, dealing with students who are difficult to reason with and can often become violent in the classroom. Today, a student swore at me because I tried to help him brainstorm “other words” that he could use to express how he felt (rather than “fuck”).

It is physically, and emotionally taxing. I have been bleeding, and haven’t eaten or slept in two/three days. I am taking tomorrow off to re-group, but all I feel is the dread of having to go back there and managing my stress from my less-than-perfect pregnancy symptoms.

I am in crisis, and can’t seem to find a way out.

A Very Stressful Long Weekend

Ever since the afternoon of our 6-week transvaginal ultrasound, I’ve had spotting.

Thursday- faint brown spotting
Friday- more brown spotting
Saturday- some red spotting and more brown spotting
Sunday morning and afternoon- lots of brown clots
Sunday evening- faint brown spotting (much lighter)

It was torture not having internet access during these stressful times. I really have no idea what is going on, and have been freaking out.

I haven’t had any cramps though, and haven’t been filling pads or anything- just streaks on a panty liner. I think that’s a good sign.

I’m not in a great headspace right now, and am also really stressed about starting at a new school on Tuesday. It’s a vocational school, where 90% of the students have significant learning disabilities and developmental delays. I enjoy teaching and am really good with these kids, but I’ll be in a totally new role, teaching subjects that I’ve never taught before, and have no resources to go off of. I’m sure it will be fine in a few weeks when I’ve got a good grasp of the building and supports, have gotten to know the kids, and have an idea of what these courses look like.

The night before the first day of school is always sleepless though- even for very experienced teachers like DW. The last thing I need is to worry about school and the possibility of a miscarriage.

I’m really hoping that this spotting is benign, and that our little spark is still in there, thriving.