Infertility as a Prison

Okay, so I’m back. I spent some time the entire time sulking about our last blastocyst not sticking around, about our grand IVF failing, about being two years older, 3 miscarriages wiser, and thirty plus grand poorer.

Infertility as a Prison
The only way I can describe how I feel is by comparing it to being in prison (which, is quite a silly analogy because I’ve never been to prison, and I’m sure that my assumptions will piss a whole whack of people off). I feel like we are stuck in IF (infertility) prison- friends and family visit once in a while, sharing details of their normal daily lives, which feels foreign to me because my life has been all about IF prison and getting out of it. Visitors try to express their sympathies for me, but it just comes off as pity, which makes me sort of angry, but I’ll take anything because I feel so alone. They tell me stories of how so-and-so’s SIL got out of IF prison once she stopped stressing about it, and how IF prison can’t be that bad- you’re off work and get to work out and go to yoga classes in the slammer. Friends are either scared to tell you that they were granted Furlough, because no one gets Furlough, and really, they will be super stressed the entire time that they are out of IF prison, scared that they will be sent back there early, a miscarriage. You develop friendships with other IF prisoners, a real sisterhood, sharing your dreams of getting out, oooohing and awwing at sistahs-who-got-out’s baby bumps, which you are genuinely happy about, but it still stings a bit because you’re still stuck in IF prison, without any chance at parol in the near future. That is, until you start a new IUI or IVF, and you start planning your appeal/speech at your parol hearing, when new hope is restored that you will finally get out of this shithole, especially with your good behaviour. And you believe it. You believe that the cocktail of drugs, infusions, herbs, acupuncture, energy healing, and exorbitantly expensive amounts of CoQ10 will do the trick. You try and try, getting more desperate each time, and if you’re like us, and have been at it for a long time, all of the IF rookies you started with have gotten out and are enjoying their lives with their babies, and you feel particularly slighted by fate. When will it be your turn? Rest assured, will get out of IF prison, with or without a baby, if it doesn’t break your spirit first. In the meantime, we watch longingly from the sad side of the fence.

Don’t worry, I managed to pick myself up off the floor, and there is a plan in place, which I will share with y’all after the massive leg day I do in the IF prison yard today.

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Liebster Award!

Thank you to TwoMommasInTheWorks for the nomination! Pops and Oli, you have been a pleasure to follow! This is my first nomination, and it sure feels good.

So here is how it works:

1. Link back to the blogger who gave you the award.

2. Answer the questions designated by the blogger who nominated you.

3. List 11 random facts about yourself.

4. Nominate 3-5 other bloggers with less than 200 followers.

5. Make up a set of questions for the nominated bloggers to answer.

The Questions:

1. What state do you live in?

I live in Ontario, Canada.

2. If you weren’t pregnant or in the TTC process, what would be number one on your bucket list?

I don’t really have a bucket list. I kind of treat it as a “To Do List”. If I wasn’t trying to be host to a parasite, I would have enjoyed spending my summer either: chasing turtles in the blue ocean around Maui, walking the public markets in Thailand, or getting diarrhea in China.

3. Is your family supportive of your plan into parenthood?

My mother and sister know, but father doesn’t yet. My wife’s immediate family all know. Everyone has been very supportive so far.

4. What are three things that make you want to follow someone else’s’ blog?

Humour, relevance, and regular posts.

5. How many kids do you ideally want and what genders? Twins?

Oh gosh, I want a whole litter. Other than my parents only having two, everyone else in my extended family all had 4 kids. My grandparents on both sides had 5 and 6. It feels a bit lonely right now because I live so far away from my family, and I’m so used to having tons of cousins around.

Gender is not important to me. Children of both genders have annoyed me. lol.

Twins would be awesome (but my nipples would hurt like hell).

6. Are you planning ahead to have the same donor for other kids or one step at a time?

It was slim pickin’s for us when we were buying sperm. And I approached the situation much like one does when organic chicken broth goes on sale at Costco- I bought it alll…… But really, all meant that we ended up buying 4 viles of Cherokee (our nickname for one donor), and 2 viles of Braun (the nickname for our other donor). So far, we’ve used up 3 Cherokee and 1 Braun for IUI’s and 1 Cherokee for the IVF. 1 vile of Braun remains. If we don’t two babies out of our last two potential FETs, then we will probably use up the last Braun. Sorry for making this into a math problem.

7. Does your partner read your blog?

Yes, she does. But since she doesn’t have WordPress on her iPhone, she just kind of checks it out whenever. Sometimes this means that she misses many posts in a row, and then finally finds out that I wrote a post about her masturbating me. lol. Ooopps!

10. What made you fall in love with your partner?

It was love at first sight… in a nasty musky hockey change room. She was running her mouth about something that I wasn’t listening to because I was staring at her abs…. and biceps…. and deltoids

Not only that, she has a sharp wit, is extremely handy (I’m a bit of a princess at times), and super thoughtful.

11. What do you typically do Sunday mornings?

Sleep in, sip an americano in bed (care of my lovely wife), make a kick-ass brunch, and go on a romantic hike with my wife and our dogs.

 

Random Facts:

1. Our little dog, Clementine (chihuahua-pug mix) aggressively humps a microfleece blanket at least 7 times after every meal. Right in our front bay window. For everyone to see. Especially the preschool group that walks daily along the sidewalk in front of our house.

2. Our big dog, Juno (husky-lab-retriever mix) has killed over 40 animals, ranging from birds, to medium sized mammals, to baby deer. She is extremely protective, and unstoppable.

3. My wife is more Chinese than I am (not literally). She is 4 inches shorter than me, has pin straight black hair (mine is wavy/curly), is proficient using chopsticks with both hands, and has actually been to China. She tops this off by sporting a rice-picker hat every year at Pride.

4. My wife used to be a competitive powerlifter.

5. We both used to play varsity field hockey for our undergraduate universities.

6. We have 6 university degrees between the two of us, and just finished paying off the student loans that they incurred in 2012.

7. I grew up playing in a family band (like the Partridge Family). We performed on a cruise ship once.

8. DW was part of the Young Astronauts Club, and witnessed the Challenger tragedy in grade 3 (1986). She remembers pointing at the TV screen, yelling “They’re all DEAD! They’re all DEAD!!!”, and was subsequently ushered out of the room by the teacher.

9. I have abnormally long limbs. I stand at 5’7”, but my wingspan measures 5’11 (they’re supposed to be the same). In medical school clinicians used me as an example of “Marfan Syndrome”. I don’t actually have Marfan Syndrome. Marfan Syndrome is actually really sad.

10. I’m really bad at foreplay. I kind of like to just get it on. DW has to remind me of these four five syllables: “fore-play-cuddle-after”. It’s so bad that it’s kind of a joke now.

11. I have dreadlocks. They are self-maintaining, clean, and beautiful. They also smell amazing- like scalp and Aveda.

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(The little dog demonstrating the proper “cuddle after” technique)

 

Nominations:

1. The Gayby Project http://lyonsferocious.wordpress.com/

Hilarious, honest, and super awesome. These girls are doing their first FET today!

2. Not Sisters http://notsisters.wordpress.com/2014/07/17/6249/

Also hilarious, very entertaining, and apparently look alike. They recently miscarried, and are navigating these waters with a wee little one already.

3. Religion: Optional https://wordpress.com/read/blog/id/47035424/

Their little girl Punky, should have her own Tumblr. She is friggin’ adorable. Rachael, Kim, and Punky are a sweet family that I really enjoy following. Rachel’s posts are so honest and heartfelt. Sometimes, they are a little ray of sunshine in my day.

Questions for Them:

1. Describe your most embarrassing moment.

2. Team Jacob or Team Edward? Explain.

3. What is a recurring inside joke between you and your partner?

4. What is a baby name that you absolutely cannot stand?

5. What would you do if you won $20,000 dollars (that cannot be put towards baby-making or paying off debts).

6. What are 3 qualities that you love about your partner?

7. Teenage celebrity crush?

8. What is a guaranteed way to get you out of a bad mood?

9. What is your favourite comfort food?

10. Team or individual sports?

11. Describe yourself.

Year in Review 2013

Thank you to The Mamas Rapscallion for the questions!

1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before? Peed on, and in things: LH sticks, HCG sticks, cortisol-testing urine collection jugs, and etc.

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I don’t usually make New Year resolutions. I just kind of wake up every morning and vow to do what’s right for the moment, and try not to frown too much when people say or do offensive things. This year however, I will resolve to try to relax more. I don’t mean put my feet up when the wife is slaving over dinner, but rather, to worry less.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? People around me gave birth- lots of them. However, no one super close. A few ex-teammates and some acquaintances only. 

4. Did anyone close to you die? Yes, a friend from university did. At the young age of 34, he died of unknown causes. 

5. What places did you visit? We kicked off 2013 with a family trip to Disney World, then headed to an amazing resort in Punta Cana, DR for March Break, and then Vancouver, Honolulu, and Maui in August.

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013? A baby, or babies. 

7. What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? The first insemination that we did at home on our own-  DW wearing a headlamp, snapping the plastic speculum like a quacking duck, us giggling like little girls the entire time.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Slowing overcoming my fear of having my blood drawn, and utilizing self-restraint when all I really wanted to do was kick the stupid IUI nurse in the head when she so inappropriately muscled her way through my cervix rather than try to thread in the catheter properly.

9. What was your biggest failure? Being a workaholic to the point where I have already burnt out and am hating my job on a 3 times a week kind of basis. 

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Nothing memorable.

11. What was the best thing you bought? Well technically, the IVF was paid for in 2013, so I’ll say that.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? Nobody’s. We could have all behaved a little better.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? The behaviour of the RE clinic. They have been absolutely unprofessional, unreliable, and suspiciously untruthful at the best of times. If we didn’t need them to help us create a baby, we would be complaining about them to some governing body.

14. Where did most of your money go? In order of decreasing expense: IVF, bathroom renovation, re-roofing, IUI’s and related costs, and my sports (gym membership, Muay Thai, ball and ice hockey fees). 

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Putting my buns in my wife’s oven in January 2014!

16. What song will always remind you of 2013? Anything by Lorde or Lykke Li.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? Happier

b) thinner or fatter? Definitely fatter. Since May, I’ve been on fertility drugs of some variety, and despite all of the exercise that I do on a regular basis, I am up 15lbs from my normal 30-something-year-old weight.

c) richer or poorer? The same. We anticipated all of these expenses, and started saving up for them last year.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Nothing.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Working.
20. How did you spend Christmas in 2013? Packing to go to Disney World.
21. Did you fall in love in 2013? Stayed in love. 
22. What was your favorite TV program? Homeland.
23. What did you do for your birthday in 2013? Went to the Dominican Republic!
24. What was the best book you read? The Night Circus.
25. What did you want and get? Many things- a ukulele, mortar and pestle, icers (ice tracks for my hiking shoes), many chances to make a baby.
26. What did you want and not get? A baby, and a sun-destination Christmas trip.
27. What was your favorite film of this year? Blue is the Warmest Color.
28. Did you make some new friends this year? Oui, mostly from work.
29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? An invention to manipulate time- to slow it down when I’m feeling overwhelmed, and to speed it up during those two-week-waits.
30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012? Outdoor smart. Think Eddie Bauer and Patagonia in the classroom.
31. What kept you sane? Sports and working out.
32. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? I’m not really into celebrities.
33. What political issue stirred you the most? Russia’s homophobia.
34. Who did you miss? My grandparents.
35. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013. Anything is possible….

 

IUI#4: Twelve Days Post Ovulation

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BFN today, and still spotting some brown discharge….

Managed to get some good beach time in though. We went paddle boarding on Waikiki beach. It was amazing! Oh how I’ve missed the ocean!

Won’t be testing until Tuesday morning… Which also happens to be DW and my 3rd wedding anniversary! Fingers crossed for the best gift ever.

IUI#4: Eleven Days Post Ovulation

Two more flights later, we are in Honolulu! This is my first time here, and it is absolutely stunning. We were picked up by a friend of mine at the airport, who graciously and thoughtfully presented us with beautiful fresh leis.

We headed to a tiki bar (a real one), and enjoyed some Hawaiian cuisine. I had the Tako poke, an octopus dish, which I believe is raw. I love poke and ceviche and the like, and made the decision to eat it despite common recommendations to pregnant women. This of course caused a bit of discussion at our table, where I basically had to let my friend in on our recent baby making adventure, and my potentially pregnant status.

Later on in the day, we went to the beach where DW and I swam, and DW towed me along through the crashing waves (so fun!).

We headed to a Japanese BBQ restaurant, which was delicious. At the end of our meal, I went for a quick tinkle, and had dark brown streaks when I wiped. I was spotting. Pair that with the constant cramping I’ve had for the past two days and perhaps it’s implantation bleeding?

I’m trying to think positively, that maybe a little blastocyst decided to take up residence in my womb.

Now the question is, when shall we test?

I anxiously tested the next morning (12DPO), and this is what I saw:

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IUI#4: Nine and Ten Days Post Ovulation

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So I’m home for a quick visit before we head to Hawaii. My father recently had a heart attack, and was originally supposed to come with us on the vacation. He is contemplating his own mortality, and has been making his wishes known to us, in terms of his estate. It freaks me out a bit.

I’m not good with deep emotional sentiments, even though I come from a family of really emotional and emotionally expressive people. At any given family dinner, it is the norm for there to be tears shed- tears of sadness, tears of happiness, tears due to uncontainable laughter. I often worry about some family members’ emotional stability, but that’s a topic for another blog post, or a novel pehaps.

Last night we arrived in Vancouver, a place I was born, raised, and educated. I left here in 2004 for professional school in Ontario, always intending to return and practice. Things don’t always go as planned. Now I visit every other year, and am amazed by how much has changed, how much I’ve forgotten about it (like simple street names- it’s Jervis, not Jarvis), and how much I miss.

Today DW started having cramps. She also complained of what we call “cat poops”, a sure fire indication of impending menstruation. Sure enough, when she went to the washroom after lunch, some spotting. We’ve been hoping that our cycles would sync up, but they haven’t, even after four years! Stubborn ovaries!

I have been having some cramps as well today. I’m 10DPO, so I am not expecting AF.

Last night I didn’t sleep. I should clarify, I couldn’t sleep. I have been so anxious lately, partly due to family issues, but also significantly due to TTC-ing. I am close to snapping on a dildo-cam technician, I mean, ultrasound technologist. I told DW yesterday that if this IUI doesn’t work, I’m done. I’m done with the countless blood draws, I’m done with leaving the RE clinic feeling violated and like there’s something wrong with me. I hate not having control of my body, my schedule, and the increasing amount of anxiety that plagues me during each TWW. This entire cycle, I have not slept properly. I do not function well when under slept.

I have also gained almost 10 lbs from all of the fertility drugs. This makes me feel miserable, as I already have some body dismorphia. Good thing I’m heading to Hawaii tomorrow, where it feels like 40 degrees Celsius, and where I have to wear a bikini. Great.