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.

photoS46X1333

(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.

Updated Plans

So I’ve got a bunch to update you on. We had a review appointment on Wednesday with the RE, to discuss DW’s two recent miscarriages.

The RE really didn’t have much to say. I brought all of my questions, typed into notepad on my iPhone, and we went through them all. He has no answers for why DW didn’t stay pregnant. He did say that it was unusual given our excellent conditions.

The embryos or the uterus, who is the culprit?

He looked at the embryologist’s notes on our 5-day-blasts, and they are excellent quality, and all survived the thaw, which is also an indication of quality. He said that genetic or chromosomal issues are weeded out very quickly in these early phases, and that since I’m young, the quality of the eggs is unlikely to be the problem. But of course, not all eggs were meant to become live births.

He suggested two possible next steps:

1. Aggressively investigating into DW’s immune system and uterine health through more blood tests (one of which costs $600, and can only be analysed in the States), and a hysteroscopy to visualize uterine abnormalities. If her immune system is found to be overactive (essentially attacking the embryo like it is a parasite), then a combination of immunosuppressant therapy (intralipids) might happen so that she could still carry. A colleague of mine has gone through this treatment (with the same clinic), 3 times I believe, and it didn’t work. If it’s polyps/fibroids or some scar tissue, we could probably have them surgically removed (my guess).

2. I carry.

Obviously, option 2 makes more logical sense at this point, given the circumstances. However, there is also the factor of DW’s feeling physically connected to these future babies, which is the whole reason for us going down the path of IVF in the first place.

So, we decided on both paths, concurrently. We will do the investigations and see if DW maybe has some polyps/fibroids/scar tissue/uterine abnormalities or too many natural killer cells or other immune issue, and we will get me ready for an FET at the same time.

Some of the ducks are already in a row, and some of them the clinic has taken out of the rotation so that we have to put them back. It is really frustrating because I’m sure that it’s just a money grab on their part.

For example, my endocrinologist called yesterday to tell me that my thyroid levels are right on target (so no adjustment needed). Yay! She basically gave me the green light to giv’r this cycle. Also, my period just started on Thursday, so I could’ve started on the estrace today.

But instead, the clinic wanted to repeat their big ass blood screening panel to test for everything under the sun (that they had done in May 2013 and January 2014), as well as another sonohysterogram.

Yes, I bolded that. Another SONOHYSTEROGRAM. I think it’s completely unnecessary because I had one done last year, and nothing has changed. I also think it’s unnecessary because he was just up in there in January during my egg retrieval, and the main reason for it is to check the patency of the Fallopian tubes, which isn’t even involved in an FET. Plus, it’s another hundred dollar cost out of pocket for us.

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll remember that the sonohysterogram was extremely painful for me. I bled substantially on the paper sheet that covers the medical table, as well as in my underpants on the drive home. They said that it shouldn’t hurt and that I could return to work that day, but despite taking Tylenol before the procedure, I ended up sitting in the car crying from my angry cervix pain and uterine cramps, wishing that DW could drive me home.

I still get nightmares about that sono.

From now on, I shall refer to it as the sononightmarogram.

Anyway, since they insist on repeating this damn sono (booked for the 20th), we can’t do the FET this cycle.

So I guess I’ll continue to play ball hockey twice a week and party like a rockstar during World Pride, at the end of the month.

Meh. I’d rather be trying to have a baby….

Day Three Embryo Report

I think I have OHSS. In fact, I’m certain I have it. In the past twenty-four hours, I’ve gained nearly three pounds, and my abdomen has increased in circumference by at least 3 centimetres. My belly is taut and hard to the touch, and it hurts changing positions, going pee (and poo), and coughing. I imagine this is how it feels to be extremely pregnant.

In other news, I received an update from the embryologist!

Of our 14 fertilized embryos:
8 of the 10 ICSI-fertilized embryos are at the 6-8 cell stage
3 of the 4 IVF-fertilized embryos are beyond the 8 cell stage and are growing fast!

In total, we have 11 embryos still in the race, on their way to becoming morulas in the next 24 hours!

embryos

Egg Development Thus Far

I am going to keep a running account of my egg developments as they occur. This is mostly for myself, but if others can be comforted in having an example of what my body’s journey is, that is fantastic.

CD 3 baseline (on 20 units Lupron, no Gonal-F yet): 7 follicles on the L, 6 follicles on the R

[start 200 units Gonal-F on night of CD 3, continue 20 units Lupron]

CD 6 (after 3 days of 200 units Gonal-F): 8 follicles on the L, 6 follicles on the R, all itty bitty

[CD 6 (stim day 4) doses adjusted to 250 units Gonal-F, and 10 units Lupron]

CD 8 (stim day 6): 12 follicles on the L, 6 follicles on the R, all still small (2-8 mm)- things are starting to feel really swollen in there.

CD 10 (stim day 8): 12 follicles on the L, 8 follicles on the R, all still small (4-10mm)

CD 12 (stim day 10): 25 total follicles, 6 about 12mm.

CD 14 (stim day 12): 30 total follicles, 20 of which are over 10mm. Lead follicle is 17mm

CD 15 (stim day 13): 38 total follicles, 15 follicles on the R, 23 follicles on the L. About 21 are 12mm or bigger.

[Gonal-F dosage reduced to 200 units]

CD 16 (stim day 14): same as previous day, with follicles in the middle range growing by about 1 or 2mm .

[evening at 6:45- HCG trigger]

Welcome to Plan B, Where B is for Baby

Aloha Blogsphere! It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything meaty, and I think it’s time to update you on how things are going.

Well, I’ve seem to come out of my subfertility depression, and entered into a whole different sort of emotional disorder- anxiety. September finds both the wife and I back in the classroom, stressed as fuck, as transitioning from relaxing on a beach in Maui to dealing with rebellious teenagers is a shock to the system. We both also worked part of the summer teaching summer school, and doing some renovations on our home, so it really didn’t feel like we had much time off.

I’m at a new school this year, and am teaching what is arguably the worst grade and courses this semester. The blood work from my most recent draw (last week) came back and apparently my cortisol level is alarmingly high. High enough that they want to retest me tomorrow and do a full blood panel to investigate further. I blame it on the stress of TTC-ing concurrent to the start of a new school year. I know I am stressed because I’ve been biting my cuticles again, craving sugary comfort foods, and can’t sleep unless I’ve gotten out all of my aggression at the gym or a muay thai class. I am finding that I’m having mini anxiety attacks daily now, and the only thing helping me is the exercise and leaving my work at school.

Darling Wife is super stressed as well, which has exacerbated my anxiety levels. She’s taken on a position of responsibility at school and it is like working 2 jobs.

But despite all of this, these are exciting times.

We both started our periods within 24 hours of each other, and went in for day 3 blood work and ultrasounds. We’ve been put on Marvelon for ease of IVF timing, since we will be doing reciprocal IVF- my buns, her oven.

So far, this is how it’s gonna work:

Pre-treatment Cycle:

CD1: Sept 15/16- we got our periods- called to make day 2/3 blood work and ultrasound appointments

CD2/3: BW and U/S- my cortisol was high

CD3: We both start Marvelon

CD7: Wife has a sonohysterogram, which revealed possible blockage of her left fallopian tube (doesn’t matter because she’s the oven); Review appointment with RE

CD9: I have my blood redrawn to check cortisol levels again, and do a full blood work-up

CD18: October 2- Start Lupron, 20 units, daily in the morning- continue until told to stop

CD 24: October 8- take last BCP

CD 27- 31: October 11 to 15- sometime within this time-frame we should get a period. Call to book CD3 appointment for BW and U/S

Treatment Cycle: Me

CD3- go in for BW and U/S, start Gonal-F daily for 8-12 days (in addition to Lupron); Regular monitoring of hormone levels and follicles until they are mature enough

CD unknown- HCG shot

CD unknown- Egg retrieval

Treatment Cycle: Wife

CD3- go in for BW and U/S, start Estrace for unknown number of days

CD unknown- 5 days after egg retrieval, embryo transfer

We’re pretty excited, and when we work out the timing of it all, Darling Wife may be going in for the embryo transfer close to Halloween. We’ve got awesome costumes all set for this year, and I think she should go to the appointment dressed as a fairy princess (DW is pretty butch, which is why her costume is so hilarious to both of us).

I’ve been reading a lot about egg retrievals, which, to be honest freaks the shit out of me. I too, am considering going to the appointment with fake blood on my face, wearing super long incisors- dressed as a ovary-bloated Dracula.