Saturday, 28 December 2013

Start your engines

A belated Merry Christmas to you, blog friends!  I hope you all had wonderful holidays with turkey and eggnog and presents and awesomeness.  Sorry to leave you hanging with the drama of my last post.  Our power stayed out for just over two days after the ice storm last Saturday.  We kept popping into the house on our way to and from work to make sure things were still OK, and to deal with minor issues like water seeping out of our freezer as things defrosted.  Full power was restored Christmas Eve morning, just in time for us to pack everything up and head to the in-laws' place for the holidays.  We ate a lot, lounged around in pyjamas, and in general had a wonderful relaxing time.  Unlike many of you, there are no other kids in M's immediate family so we didn't have to deal with constant reminders of our infertility, although Skyping with my sister and niece on Christmas morning was a little hard.  Seeing some of the pictures of her little face while opening her presents...well, let's just say that it made me wish more than ever that we had our own child to spoil.

It seems like it's been a while since I've updated on actual ladyparts stuff.  Well, after a full two months of absolutely nothing happening down below, I think I would have had to have been in a coma not to notice the engines revving again.  First the hot flashes started dissipating, and somewhere around the second week of December I finally stopped having any hot flashes or night sweats at all.  Then, much to my amazement, I started getting cervical mucous.  And oh, the cervical mucous!  This shizz was beautiful.  Calling it "EWCM" doesn't do it justice, my friends.  Copious in amount, slick and slippery in texture...it was like gold.  Snotty, slimy, mutantly stretchy gold!  Never one to look a gift horse in the cervix, M and I humped like rabbits every second day until it went away.

Something else that happened this cycle that normally doesn't was ovulation pain.  In the past I might have gotten a twinge or two, but this month I was downright uncomfortable.  At one point on the day that I think I ovulated, I was walking the dog and my ovaries felt like two bowling balls jostling around in my abdomen.  It was almost like how I felt post-egg retrieval.  I have no idea if this is a good thing or a bad thing, or if it means nothing and it was just more noticeable because my system was restarting itself after two months of inertia.  Either way, I am as confident as I can be without charting or using OPKs (because I gave up on those a long time ago) that I ovulated on December 18th.

So now I'm in a two week wait.  It's something that I haven't experienced for a while, and I'd kind of forgotten how much I hate it.  I mean, let's face it, I'm not pregnant.  It would take a bloody Christmas miracle.  Not even Dr. Google can find me a single story of someone getting pregnant their first cycle off Lupron Depot.  And before you start asking, the answer is no, I'm not having any symptoms.  At least, none that aren't totally imaginary and/or explainable by a million other things.  You know, the usual.

The real concern that I have is how long my luteal phase is going to last.  This is important because my clinic is currently closed for the holidays.  It reopens on January 2nd, so if I get a period any time before New Years' Eve I can't go in for Day 3 monitoring...meaning that a January FET is not going to happen.  I'll have to wait a whole extra month to get some closure on this whole "own eggs" thing.  My normal luteal phase is long, at 17 days, which would put me safely into the new year with a period on January 4th.  Even a standard 14-day LP has my period arriving on January 1st, which is in the clear.  But as we all know, my uterus is an asshole so for the first time in the history of ever I'll probably have a 12 day LP, putting me just outside the Day 3 monitoring window.  The suspense, it never ends around here.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Shelter from the storm

As I write this, we are refugees.  We're currently at M's folks' place, where they have amazing luxuries like heat and electricity that are sadly lacking in our neck of the woods.  Last night Toronto got hit by a nasty freezing rain storm that coated everything in a thick layer of ice, ultimately causing severe power outages as ice-heavy tree limbs gave up the ghost and took out power lines as they came crashing down. 

We initially thought that we weren't getting hit as badly as meteorologists predicted, but as we were watching Saturday Night Live last night we started hearing crazy noises outside.  At first we thought it was just our garbage and recycling bins blowing around, but then we figured out that it was a combination of the BOOM of power transformers exploding and the C-C-R-A-A-C-K of tree branches tumbling into our yard.  The power flickered on and off all night, making sleep all but impossible (why oh why must smoke detectors make that shrieking beep every time they lose/gain electricity?) and we eventually lost it completely around 5am.  M and I took turns getting out of bed to see what had made the latest noise, hoping that our car wasn't being destroyed by branches falling from the large birch in our front yard.  Fortunately most of the damage seems to have been confined to the yard-side of the tree rather than the part that overhangs the driveway (as well as the power line connecting our house to the main electrical line).
 The view from our bedroom window this morning.  Poor birchy.

About 4am we both happened to be out of bed looking into our backyard when a gigantic limb fell off our neighbour's tree, which overhangs our yard.  It ended up crashing onto our shed, taking out a wire of some kind that runs from the back of the house to a main line above our back fence.  Strangely, this didn't end up resulting in a loss of power, so I have no idea if it's an electrical line or something else.  We've been avoiding it just to make sure, and wouldn't let Buddy out into the backyard on his own.  Unfortunately the Toronto Hydro phone line that you can call to report downed wires is totally out of commission due to call volume, so we still haven't been able to report it some 14 hours later.

Backyard view.  Cleanup's gonna be fun!

We hunkered down at home for the morning, hoping that we'd be one of the lucky ones to get our power restored relatively quickly.  Right now Toronto Hydro is saying that it could be up to 72 hours before full service is restored.  We wimped out somewhere around 3pm, when the temperature in the house hit 18 degrees (65 F) and we started fantasizing about hot food and coffee.  Although I was initially hesitant to head out on the roads for the 1.5 hour drive to M's parents' house, my cold feet eventually won out and we abandoned ship.  We had to re-route around a couple of huge tree limbs blocking the roads in our neighbourhood, but the main thoroughfares were actually pretty good travel-wise.  And of course, as much as this storm has made a hell of a mess, it's ironically very pretty as well.

View from the car as we got the hell out of Dodge.

Despite being displaced from our house, we're actually quite lucky in that we were planning on spending Christmas with M's parents at their place anyway so it's not like we have to reorganize some gigantic family get-together as I'm sure many Torontonians are doing right now.  And our municipal representatives are pretty on the ball, so I'm sure that things will be back up and running efficiently in no time.

 
Ladies and gentlemen, Mayor Rob Ford!

Scratch that.  We're fucked.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Open letter to idiots at the supermarket

Happy weekend, fellow infertility goddesses!  It's a snowy Saturday here in Toronto, which means that people are driving like numbskulls and heading to grocery stores in droves since who knows when we'll see fresh food delivery again.  I mean, this could be it.  Society as we know it could very well be on the verge of breaking down.  I kind of almost hope it is, because that's about all I can think of that would explain the behaviour of people at the supermarket this morning.  Warning:  rant ahead.

One of the things that sucks about having a regular 9-to-5, Monday-to-Friday job (apart from the fact that I have to, you know, go to it) is that it means that a lot of my chores and errands, like grocery shopping, get done on the weekends.  I'd love to have the luxury of doing it on a Thursday morning like my mom used to, but it's just not going to happen.  My preferred time for groceries is Saturday morning.  There's lots of selection since the shelves are freshly stocked, and I get it done and out of the way so I can go on about the rest of my weekend.  Apparently a lot of people think like this, since the store always seems to be super busy around this time.  Which means it's even more important that people observe the basic etiquette rules of grocery shopping, as I shall enumerate below:

1.  Dear old people:  I understand that grocery shopping has changed a lot since your day.  Milk is no longer delivered to your doorstep in glass bottles by nice men in white coats, and you're not on a first name basis with your butcher.  I understand that some of these changes might be confusing to you.  Why are there so many kinds of mustard?  Does yogurt only come in tubes now?  Where did they put the foot ointment?  What exactly is INSIDE a Hot Pocket?  (Answer: No one knows.  Don't eat it.)  I understand that it might be difficult for you to read all the tiny print on the wall of soup cans, and that it might take you a while to choose which one of the 65 kinds of soup you actually want.  No one blames you for this.  You're old and it's loud in here.  But while you're spending an hour studying the wall of Campbell's, do me a favour and pull your cart over to the side and please get out of my way.

2.  Dear grocery store employees:  I'm sure it's no fun being paid 11 bucks an hour to put up with idiots who can't figure out that you put the coconut milk in the baking section instead of the Asian section (side note: why do you do this?).  And yeah, fuck that guy who decided he didn't want those chicken breasts and put them on the shelf with the cake mix.  Last night.  That guy's a jerk.  You're just trying to do your job.  You have to stock shelves.  The peanut butter isn't going to walk itself onto the display (and if it does, we have larger problems).  But please, instead of parking your stocking cart on a 45-degree angle in the middle of the aisle as you work, be considerate and pull it over to the side and get out of my way.

3.  Dear men:  I know, you never come here.  Your wife always does this.  But for some reason she couldn't make it here today so she gave you a list and quite possibly a small child to lug around while getting the items on said list.  But just so you know, the list is not a test.  Perhaps it's not as specific as you like (she wrote milk!  Did she mean 2%?  Skim?  Almond?  What size?  OhgodI'mgoingtofail!) but chances are she's relying on you to actually be able to remember what you haul out of the fridge and put on your cereal every day.  If you can't, just do your best.  If you bring home 2% instead of skim she's probably not going to divorce you.  And if she is, your marriage is in worse shape than you thought.  But while you're panicking and having your existential crisis about milk/your marriage, be a dear and move your goddamn cart over to the side and get the hell out of my way.

4.  Dear moms:  I'm sorry that your husband is a complete idiot and brought home 2% milk last time when you always buy skim.  I have no idea what got into him.  He should know better.  I'm sure it's no fun to have to come here week after week, screeching toddler in tow, while your husband sits on the couch playing Xbox.  You're just trying to do your best and buy healthy food for your family while simultaneously preventing your child from spilling the box of goldfish crackers you just gave him/her to stop them from crying/running away/climbing the shelves/eating dog treats.  Oh, now they want to push the cart!  How cute, they want to push the cart just like mom!  DO NOT LET THEM PUSH THE CART.  They're like tiny drunks on a power trip.  Great, now they're crying because you won't let them push the cart.  As you try to console them and/or threaten them into silence by telling them that Santa is watching, for the love of all that is good and holy move your cart to the side and get out of my motherfucking way.

As you can see, the rules of supermarket etiquette basically boil down to one thing.  Can't figure out what you're doing?  Pull over to the side so others can get by while you figure it out.  Is that really so hard?  Is it?  Really?

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Hot mess

I'm here, friends!  Don't send out the search party just yet!

I've been a bit of an absent blogger/commenter lately.  I'm blaming it on the fact that I've just gotten over my third cold in the last month.  You'd swear I was out licking subway poles or something, rather than enjoying the otherwise healthiest year of my life.  I had a smallish head cold at the start of November that went away pretty quickly, then another one two weeks later that was a bit worse but still survivable.  No time off work required, and I even managed to keep up with my workout schedule.

Then my body said FUCK YOU.  It started last Wednesday when I just could not clear my throat.  I felt that annoying post-nasal drip tickle where you can feel mucous in your throat, but no matter how much I coughed it wouldn't go away.  By Wednesday evening I had a headache, and Thursday I woke up with a fever.  Great, I thought, my colds have morphed into pneumonia.  I ended up going in to work regardless because Thursday and Friday were training days on a new piece of software that is going to be very important for my job and I didn't want to miss it.  Plus my doctor is near my office so I managed to squeeze in an appointment.  I'm not normally one to go to the doctor for a little sneeze and cough, but a whole month of it plus a fever had me a little worried and a lot annoyed.

The good news is that it was just another cold.  The bad news is that it was a lot worse than the other ones, and I ended up flat on my back on the couch until Sunday.  I may have missed my second day of training at work, but I still managed to learn a few things.

a.  When people say animals know when you are feeling bad, they are lying.  Buddy didn't give a royal crap that I felt like shit.  Instead of cuddling on the couch with me he stayed upstairs most of the time on his giant new dog bed that we got at a beagle rescue fundraiser a few weeks ago.  Giant dog bed > sniffling feverish lady.  Dog math.

b.  I am a terrible housekeeper.  It's easy to convince myself otherwise when I get home after dark every weekday (gotta love those short winter days), but when lying on the couch in full daylight my slacking in the area of dusting/sweeping was patently obvious.  I don't know how normal people keep their houses clean.  I would have to dust and sweep every day.  Are there people out there who actually do this? 


c.  Daytime TV sucks.  Hard.  Seriously, is Dr. Oz a quack?  He seems like a quack.  QUACK!!

Anyway, you'll all be pleased to know that I'm now recovered and seriously hoping my husband doesn't come down with it, because we all know what giant babies men are when they're sick.

In ladyparts news, this week marks 7 weeks since my last Lupron shot.  I had been starting to despair that my cycles would return on their own, since up until I got sick I was still having the occasional hot flash/night sweat.  After I got sick my fever made me feel like I was in a constant state of hot flash, so that both sucked and made it hard to know what was going on.  But this week I've now gone three days with no heat waves.  AND this morning I had...gasp!...actual cervical mucous!!  It's been drier than the Sahara down there since Lupron, so I really hoped that once my estrogen levels started rising I'd notice something that would let me know what was going on.  Soooo...I'm thinking this means the engines are revving again.  Of course this still means a period is a couple of weeks away, but at least things may be happening.  The biggest issue now is that M is going to be gone on a business trip for the middle two weeks of January, which could be exactly when my FET is scheduled depending on what happens with my period.  Figures, right?  I haven't decided what I'll do at that point, whether we'll wait another month so he can be here or just do it and get it over with.  But it'll be hard to get my bed rest with a dog to walk and no one home to feed me, so that may dictate.  Typical AF, right?  That bitch has the worst timing.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

1st Blogiversary / 100th post

Yeah, I may have tweaked my posting schedule a little bit when I realized I was close to having my 100th post fall on my one-year blog anniversary.  So sue me.  I like the symmetry of it.

When I started my blog, we were gearing up for IVF #2 after our first was cancelled due to poor response.  I was beginning to realize that we were probably going to be in this for the long haul, and that getting through it was going to take a lot more support than I'd anticipated.  My endless infertility-related Googling had already led me to a couple of blogs where I'd been lurking, and I started to think that maybe I should just drop the pretense and admit that, since I was apparently already a member of this crappy club anyway, I wanted to be friends with the cool kids.  To do that, I'd need a blog of my own.  So on a chilly Saturday morning I hunkered down with my laptop, found a pretty background, and wrote my first post.

I also think I had a bit of a ridiculous notion that if I started my own blog, I'd get pregnant.  After all, it certainly seemed to me like I came across an awful lot of older blogs that had gone defunct after the blogger had a baby.  Perhaps it worked a bit like reverse psychology?  Start a blog to connect with other infertiles, and that would be the exact time that my body would decide to cooperate by making a baby.  If only it worked that way.

And yet, as I was flipping through my blog reader the other day, I realized that fully 40% of the infertility blogs that I subscribe to are either now pregnant or parenting (yeah, I did math!).  It's something I hadn't thought about when I started making blog-friends and getting so invested in others' stories.  That eventually they would move on, and I might not.  Some days, when I read about yet another BFP, I feel like a kid who's been left behind in school, with all of my classmates graduating to bigger and better things while I sit here, doomed to repeat the year all over again.

Please don't get me wrong.  I'm definitely happy for those of you who have had your babies or are on your way to that, and I hope nothing but good things for your pregnancies.  But it's an odd irony of infertility blogging that you eventually end up reading/hearing/knowing more pregnant people than you ever would in real life!  And yes, it's different...except when it's not.  Some days I'm feeling good and it's easy for me to chime in and comment on a pregnancy-related post.  Then there's the others, when I'm feeling low or I'm reading a post that's asking for advice on diaper genies or cracked nipples, and I find that I just have nothing to say.  That's not my world.  My world is still follicles and stims, blastocysts and CD1s.  I know no one blames me when I don't have it in me to comment on pregnancy stuff...but I at least wanted you all to know that I wish I could.

When I look back at my first blog post, what I'm struck by the most is my first comment.  The lovely Tutti, who no longer blogs, wrote the following:

I am *so* glad you are here! We've all lurked. All wondered if we should join the club. All been afraid to make the plunge. I don't make promises often (like you said, no crystal ball) but I PROMISE you that you will never regret having this blog. The support and love you will receive and give is something that you cannot get anywhere else. Welcome m'dear.

How right she was.  Thank you all.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Limbo

When I first started reading infertility blogs, I remember looking at bloggers' TTC timelines and wondering what the hell was going on with all the down time.  There seemed to be such huge gaps between various tests and treatment cycles, on top of the unfathomable intentional breaks that people seemed to be taking.  WTF? I wondered.  If you wanna get pregnant, just get on with it already!

Oh, how naive I was!  I didn't realize just how much waiting is involved in this whole process.  Doing the math, I've calculated that we've only been actively trying to get pregnant for three months out of this whole year.  An IVF cycle in January, an FET in March, and another IVF in September.  That's it.  That's all we've been able to do.  The rest of the time has been waiting for cycles to start (February), having an endometrial function test done (April), giving DHEA supplements time to work (May to August), and now doing Lupron treatment to fix my lining (October - present).  That's a whole helluva lot of waiting.

 
You look like I feel, baby.

This week marked 5 weeks since my last Lupron shot.  My RE said my period should return within 6 to 8 weeks.  Soooo...AF could be here next week.  Or it might be three more weeks.  Or my body could be totally whacked and need a boost to re-start.  I have no idea.  All I can do is sit here and be impatient, because I really really just want to get this over with.  I want to know if I'm going to have my own baby, or if I'm going to be trying to have someone else's.  

Then there's the dread.  I've come to learn that it's typical when you've had a few IVF failures.  Lately it's taken the form of me being unable to sleep while I worry about having a disabled child.  My thought process goes like this: I have crappy eggs.  Older women have a higher percentage of chromosomally abnormal eggs.  If you're over 40, close to 90% of your eggs could be abnormal.  I'm closing in on 38, but my ovarian reserve was assessed to be that of a 43-year old.  So where do I fall on the abnormal egg scale?  We've only ever had one embryo, so we haven't ever bothered to do pre-implantation genetic screening (PGS) since it's not like we have options of which one to transfer.  I suppose if we were made of money we'd do the testing anyway and wouldn't transfer anything if our one embryo came back abnormal.  Since we're not, we're going to put it in and take the chance.  But I really don't want to bulk up my infertility resume by adding a miscarriage.  And the prospect of a disabled child is daunting.

Both M and I have one cousin each with rare chromosomal disabilities.  Neither one of them is hereditary (that we know of) so our RE wasn't worried about it being an issue for us.  I bring it up only because both of us have watched our extended families dealing with the many challenges that come with having a child who will essentially never grow up, and who will need some form of care for the rest of their lives.  While our cousins have enriched our families' lives in wonderful ways, I can't help but wonder whether they would ever have existed if they had been IVF embryos with abnormal PGS results.  Or if the technologies had been available at the time, would our aunts have chosen to terminate their pregnancies knowing the many health problems their children would have to endure?  It's a fraught question and I quite honestly don't know how I would answer it myself.  What I do know is that I would have a very difficult time even thinking about terminating such a hard-won pregnancy, but depending on the severity of the disability it might be a very sad necessity.  In the case of a milder disability, what would we do?  How would we manage?  We don't have family living close by, so we'd largely be dealing with things ourselves.  And since this would likely be our only child, there'd be no sibling left to take over for us when we're gone.  Is it fair to place this burden on my extended family?  Or worse yet, have our child end up in the care of the state?

This is what goes through my head while I'm tossing and turning at 3am.  And yeah, I know I'm getting way ahead of myself.  Our embryo might not even survive the thaw.  Which would be equally shitty in a different way.  Or, if we wanna go waaaaaay out there, it could implant and be perfectly healthy and I could go on to have a totally uneventful pregnancy and delivery.  I guess it's just that, after so much disappointment, it's really hard to imagine that we'd be lucky enough to finally have such a positive outcome.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Does not compute

You guys are not gonna freaking believe this.

Remember when I blogged about my high school friend Calla, whom I'd suspected had been struggling to conceive and yet announced her pregnancy via posting an ultrasound pic on Facebook just a few weeks ago?  

In the comments, most of you advised me to drop her from Facebook.  I didn't, only because I knew that if I did, my two best remaining friends from high school (one of whom is pregnant herself) would have to deal with the fallout drama.  I didn't want to do that to them.  So I just resolved to ignore the whole issue and go on my merry way.

Then today, I received a message from her.  Just a "hi, how are things?", but it was so out of the blue I couldn't ignore it.  I guess I'm just a glutton for punishment.  I replied.  We exchanged pleasantries.  She asked for my mailing address.  A Christmas card I'll never receive, I thought.  Then, since I couldn't avoid the obvious, I wished her congratulations on her pregnancy.  Her reply (verbatim):

It's still hard to comprehend.  I honestly didn't think it could and would never happen.  I was beginning to accept that it wouldn't.


Obviously there was no closing this can of worms.  What ensued was an hour-long texting session during which she told me that it had taken them four years to conceive.  She and her husband had never done any treatments, I suspect for financial reasons.  But her cycles were totally wonky when she came off the pill, and she said she could never figure out when she was ovulating.  She said the depression got so bad at one point that she could barely stand to be around her nieces and nephews.  But she hardly told anyone.

Of course I told her about our troubles as well.  She knew (through our remaining mutual friends) that M and I were having difficulties, but didn't know the specifics.   I gave her the Cliff's notes version, and she gave me something I totally did not expect: a sympathetic ear.  No platitudes, no "it'll happen when you least expect it", no "just relax".  Just an offer to listen whenever I needed to talk, and a heartfelt expression of hope that things would work out for us.

I still don't think I've picked my jaw up off the floor.  So much of this just does not compute with me.  Why now, after so much silence?  Why bother at all?  And having been through something similar herself, why make a pregnancy announcement like that?  One that she must have experienced herself when she was still on the other side, and known how hurtful it could be?

 

I still haven't quite decided how I feel about it all.  It's a totally weird mish-mash of emotions.  It's nice that she reached out.  I doubt I'll end up talking to her much further about it, but the gesture is appreciated.  And then there's the inevitable pity party.  Of course she can reach out now.  She's all but past this.  She got lucky.  I haven't.  And I don't know if I ever will.  As much as it felt good to talk to someone I know about this stuff, I ended up crying as I texted her and relived all the disappointment.  The loneliness and isolation.  The fear that I'll never see the end of it.  

I guess more than anything, I'm just confused by it all.  Seems par for the course for our relationship, really.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Canadian ART law: Saving us from pig-babies since 2004

A few months ago I alluded to the fact that M and I had settled on a plan for moving forward if our upcoming FET fails.  It's probably obvious to most of you that this plan involves donor eggs.  What may not be so obvious is that for a long time, we didn't think that donor eggs were an option for us at all.  That's because Canada has what are probably the most absurd laws ever to be crafted regarding assisted reproductive technology (ART), apparently written after someone watched Gattaca or Species one too many times and decided they absolutely had to protect the Canadian people from the horrible future that awaited them if ART practitioners were allowed to run amok.  Since I'm a former lawyer with too much time on my hands, I decided to do a little dissecting and illustrate the sheer bullshittery that us poor northern infertiles are dealing with up here.

I'll start by saying that the principles behind the Assisted Human Reproduction Act are actually pretty reasonable.  They're mentioned right up front, and include wonderful goals like ensuring the health of children born through ART, preventing discrimination in the provision of ART services, and protecting the health and well-being of women whom the law acknowledges are "more directly and significantly affected" by ART than men.  Sounds good so far, right?  We can all get on board with that!  Let's set up a framework to make sure that all those great things happen!

Or...not.  Instead we could just write a list of all the things that you're not allowed to do.   Let's look at a selection of prohibitions from Section 5, which states that no one shall:
  • create a human clone by using any technique - That's cool.  People aren't sheep.  And heaven knows the last thing we need is another Kim Kardashian. 
  • create an in vitro embryo for any purpose other than creating a human being or improving or providing instruction in assisted reproduction procedures - Also fair.  No making embryos for shits and giggles.  But embryologists gotta learn somewhere, so they get a pass.
  • maintain an embryo outside the body of a female person after the fourteenth day of its development following fertilization or creation, excluding any time during which its development has been suspended - Wait, what??  Embryos can make it to Day 14 in the lab???  Well then how come none of mine can make it to bloody Day 5??? 
  • perform any procedure or provide, prescribe or administer any thing that would ensure or increase the probability that an embryo will be of a particular sex, or that would identify the sex of an in vitro embryo - So gender selection is out?  I don't personally care as I think most infertiles will take what we can get, but there are some cultures out there that have an unfortunate tendency to abort/kill female fetuses/children.  This raises an interesting debate about whether allowing gender selection caters to that discriminatory mindset, or prevents a bigger tragedy down the road.  I don't have the answer to this one.
  • alter the genome of a cell of a human being or in vitro embryo such that the alteration is capable of being transmitted to descendants - Ah yes, the Gattaca scenario.  Humans aren't to be bred like dogs.  Pathetic that this has to be legislated, but it's a slippery slope.  It starts with someone wanting a blond kid, and doesn't end until there's a race of super-intelligent white supremacists ruling the natural-borns with an iron fist.  Because movies. 
  • transplant a sperm, ovum, embryo or foetus of a non-human life form into a human being - OK wait, this just got weird.  Who would do this?  What female is volunteering to give birth to a gorilla baby?  Good God, there are people who would actually do that for money.  I hate people.
  • for the purpose of creating a human being, make use of any human reproductive material or an in vitro embryo that is or was transplanted into a non-human life form - So gorillas aren't allowed to birth human babies either.  At least that's fair.  It's a two-way street, gorillas. 
  • create a hybrid for the purpose of reproduction, or transplant a hybrid into either a human being or a non-human life form - A hybrid?  Like a pig-baby?  So you're telling me that pig-babies are out, then?
 
Poor pig-baby.  You'll never exist.  At least not in Canada.

All joking aside, once you get past the prohibitions on pig-babies and birthing gorilla babies (or having a gorilla birth your baby, I don't care, you can't do it so stop asking), you get to the really stupid stuff.  As in, this:

(1) No person shall purchase, offer to purchase or advertise for the purchase of sperm or ova from a donor or a person acting on behalf of a donor.

Soooo....yeah.  There's that.  Basically, what the Canadian government is trying to do here is create legislation in support of another one of their main principles, which states that "trade in the reproductive capabilities of women and men and the exploitation of children, women and men for commercial ends raise health and ethical concerns that justify their prohibition".  Which, yeah, OK.  No one wants anyone to be exploited.  But I think we can all agree that there's a huge difference between having a warehouse full of illegal immigrants undergoing egg retrieval after egg retrieval for the financial gain of their underground egg-lord, and being able to pay a willing donor a couple thousand dollars for the pain and suffering of undergoing an egg donation cycle.  As it currently stands, an infertile couple can only compensate a donor for her out-of-pocket expenses.

Sure, yeah, I'll spend several weeks injecting myself with mood-altering hormones, waking up early to have my vag probed, and undergoing a surgical procedure involving a giant needle poking into my lady-bits.  That'll be $62.00 for subway fare.  Thanks!  Clearly, no one involved in drafting the legislation has ever undergone an IVF treatment.  Lucky them.

What probably bugs me the most about this is that, when writing the Assisted Human Reproduction Act in 2004, the Canadian government had the chance to do things right.  They could have instituted a set of controls on egg donation designed to ensure that no one is exploited while still making egg donation a viable option for couples struggling with infertility.  They could have placed a monetary limit on donor compensation, making it less likely that desperate donors would put themselves in harm's way out of financial need or that recipient couples would offer ridiculous sums of money to encourage donors in financial straits.  They could have put a system in place to ensure egg donor health, so that donors can't donate more than a specified number of times per year, or clinics can't put donor health at risk by attempting to retrieve more than a certain number of eggs per cycle.

But no.  Instead, we have the current system which basically outlaws donor egg completely, unless you're able to find a completely altruistic donor.  In my case that would have been my sister, up until she started having her own fertility problems about a year ago.  The other alternative is to go online to the underground marketplace of donors offering their services on fertility message boards or Craigslist.  And yes, both things exist.  I wasn't even searching for them and I found them while researching donor egg options.  Which means that the Canadian government has essentially created the very problem that the legislation was attempting to prevent in the first place.  Way to go, guys.  Stellar job.

As a result, if we want to do donor egg we won't be doing it in this country.  I don't have anyone who can give me eggs for free, and I'm not willing to wade into the black market to buy some.  We had initially ruled out donor egg entirely, based on the exorbitant prices that I was finding for clinics in the US.  But then a co-worker told me about another colleague who did donor egg in Europe, and I started researching.  And donor egg became an option again.  We haven't settled on a clinic yet and we're still in the very preliminary stages of figuring it all out, but at least we have the comfort of knowing that our journey won't necessarily end if this FET fails.  Which is enough to keep me going for now.

Monday, 11 November 2013

The Flaming Infertile

My metamorphosis as an infertile superhero continues.  First, I discovered that my vagina had super-strength.  (Incidentally, "super vagina" is one of the most commonly searched terms that brings people to my page.  That, and some variation of a pet eating DHEA.  I had no idea it was that common a problem!)

Anyway, about three weeks ago I received my second Lupron Depot shot.  Up until then I'd been lucky and hadn't really had any of the side effects that everyone warns you about, like headaches and moodiness and joint pain.  But that changed after the second shot.  Like Dr. Bruce Banner getting dosed by gamma rays and turning into The Incredible Hulk, my Lupron shot has turned me into...

The Flaming Infertile!
This is what my super alter-ego looks like in my imagination.  What a nice rack I've got!

That's right, I've been gifted with the superpower of bursting into flame.  That is, hot flashes.  Although, like The Hulk, I can't really control my powers so well at the moment.  I know because I tried.  I was a bit chilly while I was waiting for my morning train last week, so I actually willed myself to have a hot flash.  It didn't work.  But when they do come, boy howdy!  Roasty toasty bizness up in here!

In all honesty, I actually think I've been pretty lucky in that my hot flashes are fairly mild and they go away fast.  I feel an initial flush in my face, kind of like I just got embarrassed and am blushing (although I've had M watch me when I feel one coming on and he tells me I don't actually get red, I just feel like I do).  Then the heat drops from my face into my upper torso, and I feel like there's a little furnace burning inside my chest and back area.  If I'm home I can pop a few buttons and fan myself, but at work I can't do much but lean forward, since sitting against the cushioned back of my office chair feels like I'm leaning against a black car on a summer day.  Leaning forward at least gets the air to circulate a little.  Within a minute or so, a fine sheen of sweat pops out (again, I'm lucky in that it's not really noticeable) and then...it's all over.  The air cools me, I give my damp nose and upper lip a little wipe and it's done. 

What my hot flashes lack in intensity, they make up for in frequency.  It's nothing for me to have a few of these episodes per hour.  Which is particularly annoying at night, as I tend to wake when it's coming on, throw off the blankets, then cover up again as the sweat dries and I get cold.  I asked my mom what her hot flashes were like during menopause, since I really didn't feel like mine are that bad and I wondered if maybe it had something to do with the fact that mine are medically induced rather than natural.  But Mom said that hers were much the same as mine, so maybe I've actually won the genetic lottery for a change and won't have a crazy menopause to deal with.  

So now it's just a waiting game until my cycle starts back up.  My RE estimated 6 to 8 weeks after the second shot, which gives me a period just before Christmas, but given my past history (my period didn't come back on its own for a year after I stopped the pill) I'm a little worried I might need medical intervention to bring my cycles back again.  Just have to wait and see, I guess.  

In the meantime, I'm continuing to work on developing my superhero costume and figuring out how to explain to my boss why I'm wearing a cape and a mask in the office...

Saturday, 9 November 2013

The definition of lucky

A couple of weeks ago I played in a charity Texas Hold 'Em poker tournament hosted by a guy in my office.  I like poker and play every once in a while, but I'm certainly no pro and don't know the odds in my head like most of the guys I play against seem to.  I've played in similar tournaments before and usually hold my own for a while, but generally end up getting taken out by one of the more experienced players well before the final table.  I just look at it as spending the $30 buy-in to support a good cause and have a couple of hours of fun.

Except this time, I had CARDS.  I mean, I had really reaaaaally good cards.  It seemed like every hand was begging to be played and before I knew it, I had knocked out a bunch of people and had a huge stack of chips in front of me.  I made it to the final table (the only woman against 8 or 9 guys, I might add) and in a final two showdown against the second most senior guy at work...I won!  I got lots of congrats on my playing, and yet I knew that a big part of the reason I won was due to the fact that I had been getting such awesome cards the whole time.  It was partially skill, but also a whole lotta luck.

And then it occurred to me that I didn't really consider myself lucky.  I mean sure, I now had $400 that I didn't have a few hours prior and that was a good thing.  But I would much rather have had a positive pee stick in my hand.  Even though they lost, pretty much every guy at that final table was going home to a fertile wife and a couple of kids.  I guess my definition of luck has changed.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Tequila and a Bullet: Our Love Story

No, I'm not talking about some weird Quentin Tarantino rom-com.  As promised last time, it's the story of how M and I met and eventually got married.  Obligatory censor's warning included for sexual content and graphic violence.  Everyone under 18 gone now?  Ok, good.  Let's get started.

Picture it.  Ottawa, 2005.

 
I learned everything I know about storytelling from Sophia Petrillo. 

A beautiful young girl leaves her family and moves halfway across the country to take a new job.  She meets the man who will be her future husband at a mutual friend's housewarming party.

OK, so the story of how we actually met is pretty lame.  Bear with me, it gets better.

M and I hit it off and spent all night chatting, and I had a feeling he might ask me out.  But as I would later learn, my husband is nothing if not a procrastinator, so he took his sweet goddamn time doing it.  So long, in fact, that I had started dating someone else and had to regretfully turn him down.  By the time I was single again about a month later, M was himself taken and would remain so for two whole years.  I moved on, but always kind of thought of him as the one that got away.  When he and his long-term girlfriend finally broke up, I circled the carcass of their relationship like a vulture hoping to pick up the spoils.  But strangely (to me, anyway), M didn't seem interested and ended up in yet another relationship with someone else.  I took my bruised ego and sulked off, vowing never to give him another thought.  Which would be easy, because I had just found out that I would be transferring my organization's office in Toronto in a few months.

In January 2009 I was going on vacation to Mexico with a group of friends, and found out at the last minute that M had split from his most recent girlfriend and had been encouraged to tag along to lift his spirits.  Instead of being excited, I was actually kind of aggravated.  I'd given up on this guy, but I knew that with alcohol comes sluttiness (for me, anyway!) and I really, really didn't want to waste my week trying to get his attention.  Well, that lasted until about the third shot of tequila, and we ended up (finally!) hooking up on the beach on the first night of the trip.  We stumbled back to his hotel room...where I promptly passed out on the bed and he spent the night praying to the porcelain god.


When I awoke the next morning, I felt a) terribly hungover and b) mortified.  I had no idea how M was going to act about all this, or if we would spend the whole next week being completely awkward around each other and ruin the vacation for everyone.  We ended up being cool about it, and then the unexpected happened: after dinner on the second night (a totally sober one since most of us couldn't handle the thought of more booze yet) M asked me if I wanted to come back to his room again.  We fooled around some more, and with consensual faculties intact we ended up having sex.  We had a brief conversation where we agreed that, since I was headed to Toronto in six months, this would be a no-strings-attached situation and we'd just have fun for the next little while without worrying about the future.

Now ladies.  We ALL know how well most women are able to compartmentalize our feelings, and remain completely emotionally detached from a guy that we've been pining over for the better part of four years.  I was pretty sure I couldn't do it, and yet threw myself into the situation anyway knowing that heartbreak was coming in six short months.  M and I went on some dates, watched a lot of Battlestar Galactica, and did the naked tango on the regular for a few months, but never discussed the inevitable.  It was destined to be a bad situation.

And then M got shot.

 
I'm totally resisting my urge to leave you with a cliffhanger right now.

One day in March, after we'd been "dating" for about three months, M went to a shooting range with a couple of buddies who are in the army.  He's a bit of a military enthusiast and though he doesn't own a gun, he'd gone shooting before and is apparently a pretty good shot, so I had no reason to worry.  No reason, that is, until two of his friends showed up at my office to tell me that M had had a small accident at the range and was in the hospital.  One of those fuckers actually said to me, "He's fine, he just needs a few stitches.  You should call him now."  So I, a bit freaked out but reassured that he was OK, called his phone.

A clearly drug-enhanced M answered and when I asked what happened, he slurred: "Don't worry, baby.  The bullet went right through."

I halted, then glanced at "it's just stitches" guy (who looked sheepish).  "The bullet went right through what, M?"

"My leg."

I resisted the urge to punch "it's just stitches" guy and told M I was on my way to meet him at the hospital.  The full story, as I would later learn, was this: after firing a bunch of rounds, M had gone to put the gun back in the holster he was wearing on his hip.  As it was a chilly day, he was also wearing a big fleecy sweatshirt, the kind that has elastic loops at the bottom to cinch it tighter.  One of the loops caught around the trigger as he was pushing the gun down into the holster, and BAM!  The gun fired.  The bullet entered the top outside of his calf, travelled between his tibia and fibula (I'll just give you a second to absorb how absolutely miniscule the chance of that happening was, as opposed to shattering one of his leg bones) and exited on the inside of his leg, just above his ankle.  (Note: for those of you shouting "why wasn't the safety on??" I'll explain as best I can, since I know nothing about firearms, that this type of gun doesn't have a safety as such.  Rather, the pull load on the trigger is so heavy that it by itself is deemed impossible to fire accidentally.  To which I say a big fat HAH!)

The result of having your casual sex partner who you secretly have genuine feelings for get shot is going to be one of two things: either you're going to cut and run because hospitals and surgeries = scary, or it's going to bring you closer together, and damn fast.  In our case, it was obviously the latter.  I quickly leaped into "serious girlfriend" mode, spending days at the hospital while M went through numerous surgeries to release the pressure that was building inside his calf and then do a skin graft to sew it all back up again.  (Warning: graphic content but if you are curious this is the surgery he had and yes, his leg looked almost exactly like those pictures.  It's still a pretty heinous scar.)  It was only after meeting his mom and dad for the first time in a hospital room (fun times!) that it occurred to me that maybe I should ask M for his thoughts on having me around so much and whether or not it was something he actually wanted.  Lucky for both of us, he did.  (Although I did have a laugh later when he told me that, immediately after the gunshot while he was still on the ground being attended to by the range safety officer, he had been asked if he had a wife or girlfriend or anyone who should be notified.  He says that he was verging on answering "it's complicated..." but then just went with "yeah, call my girlfriend".)

M and I were pretty much inseparable during his recuperation, which took several months.  Although his mom had come to town to stay with him and help him out, I headed over to his place after work pretty much every day.  My move to Toronto was looming, but with everything that was going on we still hadn't talked about what was going to happen.  We'd been through so much together that I couldn't imagine splitting up.  I wondered if our planned breakup still stood.  Finally one day I got the courage to ask him what he wanted to do about it, and we agreed to give long distance a try.  Shortly thereafter he proposed, and found himself a position in Toronto and moved to join me.

And that, my friends, is the story of our relationship.  The way I figure it, the moral of the story kind of depends on your frame of mind.  If you're a hopeless romantic, it's this: that true love will eventually win out, no matter how bad your timing and how many obstacles you face.  And if you're a cynic, it's this: don't play with guns.  You might end up shot.  Or worse...married.



Saturday, 26 October 2013

Finding my sunshine

OK, I promised and I'm sticking to it.  Happy post!  Or at least, a slightly less depressing post.  But just so you know how hard I'm working at this, the rest of my week did not improve.  I found out about no fewer than four pregnancies this week.  First my frenemy Calla, who I already mentioned.  Then M's friend, who was the MC at our wedding, and two girls from work.  The kicker: one of them goes to my fertility clinic.  We bumped into her there one morning while waiting for bloodwork.  She ended up asking me to go for coffee a few weeks later and asked my advice; she wasn't actually a patient of the clinic but was there for testing at her gyno's recommendation.  She apparently wasn't ovulating and her gyno was attempting to fix it by throwing all sorts of crap at it (clomid, injectables) that honestly made no sense to me.  My response: get thee to a proper RE, girlfriend!  She ended up seeing the same RE that I had been with during the Formerly Pregnant RE's maternity leave, and obviously they figured things out.  I seriously feel like I should get baby karma points for that one, if such things exist.

Anyway, onwards and upwards.  I honestly couldn't believe it when I got nominated for the Sunshine Award.  As I said to Amber, I'm usually such a little rain cloud!  But apparently some of you are suckers for my particular brand of snark-tastic ranting, so here goes:


There are apparently rules here.  I've had a bad week and I'm feeling rebellious, so eff your rules.  I don't need no stinkin' rules!  I will however answer your questions.  Five from each nominator to make up the requisite ten.

Questions from Daryl:

1.  What crazy celebrity baby name do you secretly love?
I don't really follow celebrities so I had to Google this one.  I think that Moxie CrimeFighter (daughter of magician Penn Jillette) is pretty bad ass.  Unfortunately we'll never be able to name a girl Moxie as it is also the name of M's brother's cat.

2.  What’s the best thing on TV right now?
If you don't already know the answer to this one, then you haven't been paying attention.  

I'm a sucker for eye candy, what can I say.  Hubba hubba.

Games of Thrones is also up there, but we don't have HBO so I have to wait for DVDs or a visit to my folks.  Same thing for Breaking Bad on Netflix.  I have no idea how it ended yet.  Don't spoil it for me or I swear I will hunt you down and hurt you.  

3.  What’s your favorite family recipe?  
This is super easy but for some reason my mom only does it on big turkey days (Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter).  Instead of regular mashed potatoes, she mashes them up and then forms them into little logs and rolls them in egg wash, then in crushed up Corn Flakes (bonus: gluten free for my celiac sister!).  Then they get baked for a few minutes, so when you eat them the outside is nice and crispy while the inside stays soft and fluffy.  Dee-lish!

4.  What’s your hidden talent? 
I'm a really really good speller.  If I ever use spell-check (rarely) it's just to find typos. 
 
5.  How long does it take you to get ready in the morning?
It's usually an hour from getting out of bed to getting out the door.  That's at a leisurely pace, though.  I could do it in 20 minutes if I rushed and skipped the hair straightener and breakfast.

Questions from Amber:

6.  Most embarrassing moment?
Gawd, it's been over 20 years and I still cringe at this one.  But here goes.  I was always a big reader as a kid and when I was about 13 or 14 I started reading more adult books.  You know, the kind with actual sex scenes in them.  Nothing 50 Shades of Grey-ish, just your normal romance novels or whatever that had more explicit sexytimes than I'd been used to in my Sweet Valley High books.  For whatever reason, a friend and I decided to take a stab at writing our own sex scenes, even though we knew absolutely nothing about sex at all.  I wrote what is probably some of the world's worst erotic fiction (scratch that, we have Twilight now) in the back of my diary, and promptly forgot about it.  A while later, after a day during which I'd been a particularly heinous teenage bitch to my mom, my mother dug out my diary and read it to see what was going on with me.  Of course, she found the sex scene and freaked out, thinking that it was maybe real or based on a true experience.  What followed was probably the most embarrassing, awkward conversation with my parents that I've ever had, wherein they asked me about it and I tried to explain that I had no idea what I was talking about and I'd just made it up because I wanted to try my hand at writing it.  I guess I must have eventually convinced them, but to be honest I've blocked a lot of the actual conversation out because it still makes my face red to think about it. 

7.  How did you and your spouse meet? 
This is actually a really awesome story that should be the subject of its own post.  Not so much how we met (the most boring part), but how we ended up dating and eventually getting married is pretty good.  Spoiler: it involves someone getting shot.  I'm not even a little bit kidding on this one.  Someone was shot with an honest-to-jeebus gun in the story of our relationship.  Don't worry, the person is fine.  And now I know the subject of my next post!

8.  What is your most prized possession/keepsake? 
Tough one.  Probably my engagement and wedding rings.  Not that they're super fancy or expensive or anything, but because of what they symbolize.  I was never a ring-wearer before I got engaged, and now I feel weird if I forget them for some reason. 

9.  Exercise - Love it or Hate it? 
Both.  I hate doing it, but love how it makes me look and feel.  It's the very definition of a love/hate relationship.

10.  If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I used to whine about my stubby legs or my belly pooch, but now I would fix my shitty ovaries, obviously.  I'd also love to be able to have a more optimistic outlook on things, as opposed to seeing the glass half empty all the time.

Thanks for the nomination, ladies!

Monday, 21 October 2013

Babies, babies everywhere!

I swear to God, I had intended to come here today and post something more positive than my last couple of posts have been.  I was going to answer some questions from the Sunshine Award nominations that I got from the lovely Daryl and Amber.  I was gonna be funny and witty and prove that I actually deserve the Sunshine Award instead of just being a sad, depressed grump.

But that will have to wait for another day.  Because it's one of those days when I just can't handle the babies.

It was a tough weekend around here.  I have no idea if it's the Lupron talking, but the number of tears that I shed for that damn little birdie was unreal.  I still haven't quite snapped out of the shock and horribleness of it all, and the feeling stuck with me today as I headed in to the office.  So I was in a bad mood to start with.

Today also marked the return of my co-worker Liam, whose wife gave birth a few weeks ago.  We'd all gotten a text from our boss saying that she'd delivered and that everyone was fine, but that was apparently glossing over a lot.  Turns out that there had actually been quite a bit of drama, beginning with Liam's wife waking to blood everywhere just shy of 38 weeks.  A frantic drive to the hospital revealed that she was having a placental abruption (a dangerous complication where the placenta separates from the uterus) and needed an emergency C-section.  They didn't even have time to give her an epidural, they just gassed her and delivered the baby.  All while Liam was standing outside in the hallway in his scrubs, waiting to be brought in as dozens of blood-spattered medical personnel ran in and out of the operating room past him.  At one point he thought he might lose both his baby and his wife, since she was losing a lot of blood and the baby had to be rushed off to the NICU.  Fortunately for all involved, things ended well and mom and little Jude are doing just fine.  But I could see Liam's eyes well up as he told the story, and see the immense love that he already had for his new little boy.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm in no way trying to minimize what he and his wife went through and I'd never ask for a pregnancy that turned out that way.  But knowing that everyone was fine, I couldn't help thinking as he told us the tale that it all worked out for you in the end.  You got your baby.  Lots of us don't.  How screwed up is that?

So after a long gloomy day, I headed home.  Only to be greeted by every infertile's favourite social media kick in the ass: a pregnancy announcement via ultrasound photo on Facebook.  And this wasn't just any Facebook friend.  It was my old high school friend Calla.

Now, about Calla.  We'd been friends since grade school, and were part of a small group of girls that remained tight even after graduating university and moving on to our grown-up lives.  She was fun but flighty; you could never count on her to be on time and if she had a problem with you she'd complain behind your back but never just come out and talk to you about it.  We started drifting when I went away to law school and never really reconnected once I came home.  She'd started dating the guy who she'd later marry and though we hung out once in a while, she spent most of her time with a new group of friends she'd met through work.

Then I moved to Ontario to take my current job.  We said we'd stay in touch, but of course we didn't.  So when I got an invitation to her wedding (scheduled to take place only about 6 months after I'd spent a ton of money moving halfway across the country) I figured she'd understand when I told her that I couldn't make it for financial reasons.  I sent a card and a gift, but apparently that wasn't enough.  She was incredibly offended that I didn't come, but of course she's never said any of this to my face.  I've just heard about it from our mutual friends that she bitched to about me.  And she's never really forgiven me.  Any time I go home for a visit I try to schedule time to see her, but she's always incredibly busy and instead of cancelling existing plans with people who she sees all the time, she invites me to come to parties with people I don't know instead.  Then, when I invited her to my wedding, she didn't even bother to send back the reply card until a few weeks after the RSVP date.  My mom invited her to a wedding shower that I made a special trip home for, but Calla couldn't be fussed to tell us she wasn't coming until 20 minutes beforehand via a Facebook message.  And to top it all off, no card and no wedding gift (note: it's the thought here, not the stuff, that bothers me).  At one point I got another half-hearted Facebook message from her saying that she hadn't forgotten and she had a card for me but couldn't send it due to the Canada Post strike.  Which was taking place a good two months after the wedding and was resolved within a few weeks.  But the card never came.  I found out afterwards that she was somehow not only angry with me for not going to her wedding 7 DAMN YEARS AGO, but she was also upset that I'd chosen blue for my bridesmaids' dresses, which was the same colour another (closer) friend had also chosen for her bridesmaids.  The group of girls we hung around with all had a giant WTF for that one.  It was at that point I gave up caring.

So now when I go home, I no longer call Calla.  It isn't worth my energy.  I still have her on Facebook, though.  And today, I fucking regretted it.  Because of course, of course she would be the type of person to announce a pregnancy with a goddamn ultrasound photo.  My iPhone has never come so close to being hurled across the room. 

The funny thing is, I actually wondered for a long time if Calla was infertile.  She's 37, like me, and therefore no spring chicken.  And she comes from a huge family, with a bunch of brothers and sisters who've all had a ton of kids.  I started to wonder if there was another reason she hadn't.  But of course, as we all know, no infertile would ever make a pregnancy announcement the way she did today.  Not in a million years.

OK, that's it.  I'm done.  No more bitching.  Next post will be entertaining and/or funny and/or witty.  I promise.  In the meantime, here's a bunny that kind of feels like I do right now.

Disapproving bunny disapproves.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Fatal mistake

I screwed up.  Big time.

This morning we said goodbye to Leon, our cockatiel.  Last night I opened up his cage after dinner to give him a bit of freedom.  Instead of flying over to join us in the living room as he usually does, he stayed over on top of his cage and hence, when we went to go to bed, I forgot that he was out and I didn't put him back inside.  It's happened before.  He usually just goes back into the cage on his own and goes to sleep.

For some reason, around 6am this morning while we were still in bed he flew into the living room.  Buddy must have heard something, and roused himself from his dog bed in our room to go downstairs to investigate.  You can see where this is heading.  We heard flapping, some bird squawks, and Buddy's claws scrabbling on the hardwood.  By the time I woke up, realized what was going on and ran downstairs it was too late.

I'm not mad at Buddy.  He's never gone after the bird before and I know what happened was a combination of it being dark and there being something moving around on the floor that he didn't expect.  He was just being a dog, and I can't blame him.  But I can blame myself, which is what I've been doing all morning.  I feel horrible.  It's all my fault.  I've spent the last three hours crying.  I know when I posted about Leon back in March I made him sound pretty heinous.  But there was good stuff too.  And no matter what, he didn't deserve this.  He was our pet and he deserved a lot better.

M says he doesn't blame me, that he could have put Leon back in the cage too, and he didn't.  True.  But I'm the one who let him out to start with.  It's somehow easier to take it all on myself than chalk it up to a series of stupid little events that led to an accident.

If only he'd stayed in / on top of his cage this morning.
If only Buddy had stayed upstairs in his dog bed.

If only I'd put him back in the damn cage in the first place.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

One more reason

This past weekend was Canadian Thanksgiving.  We packed Buddy into the car (no explosive diarrhea this time!) and drove to M's parents' place on Sunday for turkey dinner, and then spent the night so we wouldn't have to deal with holiday traffic until the next day.

Over pancakes on Monday morning, M's mom told us that she had been diagnosed with early stage breast cancer and would be having a lumpectomy later on this week, followed by a course of radiation treatment.  She seems to be of the same school of thought as my own mother when it comes to health information, which is basically that unless someone is going under the knife, you don't need to worry about it and I won't tell you.

I always feel bad for people who don't get along with their parents-in-law.  I've certainly had boyfriends in the past whose parents weren't people I wanted to spend a great deal of time with, but when it came to picking a husband I got lucky.  His family is so similar to mine and his parents are such great people that I felt instantly comfortable with them, and it's only gotten better as time goes on.  Also, even though they live in different provinces, my mom and M's mom have become really chummy during their few visits together.  It's to the point now that they call and email each other regularly without M or I as intermediaries, and I'll sometimes find out about something going on in my family from M's mom, who has talked to my mom before I had a chance to.  It's really cute.

I sometimes feel guilty about spending more time with M's mom than I do my own.  But my mother-in-law is only a two hour drive away, while my family is halfway across the country, so it's kind of natural that I've gravitated to her as a surrogate mom.  When we were planning our wedding, I ended up going to her for second opinions and advice on a bunch of stuff from venues to decor to wedding dress shopping, which M later told me had meant a lot to her.  As the mother of two boys, she had kind of given up on ever being able to do things like that with a daughter and so to be able to help me out with that stuff had apparently been a bigger deal than I'd known at the time.

Something else that clearly means a lot to her is having grandchildren.  Right now we're pretty much her only shot at that, since M's brother is in the process of divorcing his wife (to whom he was only married six months before separating a year ago) so he isn't going to be having kids anytime soon unless he accidentally knocks up one of his internet dates.  Of course there's never been any pressure, and she's been a pillar of strength and positivity throughout our infertility struggle.  She even gave us money to help us fund our most recent IVF.  But it's obvious that she really wants to be a grandmother, and it's got to be hard for her watching all of her friends talk about their grandkids and not be able to join in.  

Right now, her prognosis is supposedly good due to the small size of the cancer and the fact that they've caught it relatively early.  She had her surgery this afternoon and we'll know more once they have a chance to analyze what they took out as well as a few lymph nodes that they're testing.  In the meantime, I can't help thinking about how badly I want to make her happy by being able to tell her that we're pregnant.  That she's finally going to be a grandma.  And how badly I want our child to be able to know her and be loved and spoiled by her.

It's just one more reason I want need this FET to work.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Replacing fertility with fitness

Lots of IF bloggers complain about weight gain at some point.  It's hard to avoid, between the cocktail of hormones you're ingesting/injecting/wedging up your hoo-ha and the sheer depression caused by dealing with infertility.  The last thing you feel like doing after crying your eyes out over your latest BFN is subjecting yourself to the agony of a workout session.  Chocolate feels better.  It's tasty and it doesn't make you sweat.  Did I mention it's tasty?

Against all logic, this year I've found two things that have helped to keep me sane through all our struggles.  Number one is blogging, and you guys.  Number two is fitness.  Here's a bunch of reasons why I think it's been working:

1.  It's something I couldn't do if I was pregnant
At least not to the extent that I can do it now, anyway.  Right now I can do a high intensity interval training workout that leaves me gasping for breath and dripping sweat.  I can do abs until they burn and scream and beg me to stop.  I can push my body and make my muscles and heart and lungs stronger.  I might not be able to make a baby, but I can do this.

2.  It fills the void
Scheduling workouts for the week, finding new exercise routines to mix things up, and searching for new healthy recipes online has replaced a lot of the time that I used to spend Googling infertility-related shit like antral follicle counts and AMH test results.  Don't get me wrong, I still spend plenty of time with Dr. Google.  But not nearly as much as I used to.  Blogging helps a lot with that too.

3.  It gives me non-fertility related goals to work towards
Earlier this year I decided I wanted to try a Spartan Race.   Obviously, if I had become pregnant at some point I wouldn't have done it, and that would have been awesome.  But I didn't, and that was OK too because I had something else to look forward to.  Also, while losing weight hasn't really been a specific goal (keeping a healthy body fat percentage is essential to ovulate and get pregnant!), toning up and having my arms lose some of that flippity-flappity underneath has been a nice bonus.

4.  Endorphins
I've never really gone in for the whole "exercise high" thing.  In the immediate aftermath of a workout, and for a good while afterwards, I feel like shit.  Sweaty, shaking, achy shit.  I don't feel like I've ever experienced the high that some people talk about after exercising and yet...somehow this year didn't suck as bad as last year.  When I exercise regularly, things seem less likely to get me down.  And when I am down, the lows seem to be not quite so low and to not last so long.  If that's what endorphins do, then I'm all about them and want to keep my supply flowing!

5.  Self loathing is a great motivator
I'm kind of only half joking about this.  You know when you're putting on weight, but you can't be bothered to do anything about it until your pants no longer fit and you hate yourself?  Well, I've found infertility to work kind of like that.  As in, "Fuck you, body.  You don't want to work properly?  Don't want to reproduce?  Well then 10 more pushups!!  What's that?  It hurts?  You want to stop?  You can stop when you get pregnant or have some embryos in you, that's when you can stop!!"  Sadly, my body has clearly decided that it prefers burpees to labour.  My body is dumb.

6.  It's good for you
Duh.  

I'll end this with a little disclaimer: obviously, everything in moderation.  I certainly haven't become some kind of orthorexic fitness-obsessed psycho in lieu of having a baby.  I've dialled things back before egg retrievals and have taken breaks entirely after transfers.  Nor am I any kind of athlete.  You want that, go read Jane's blog.  That woman eats half marathons for breakfast.  Seriously, she doesn't even train!  But I have found that shifting my focus to fitness during my waiting cycles (of which there have been many) has definitely helped me to deal with things a lot better than I think I would have otherwise.

As for right now, I'm into my third week on Lupron Depot.  No headaches or mood swings, but holy hell have I been feeling warm.  I haven't exactly been having hot flashes, I don't think, but I just generally feel a little toasty at all times, which is strange as the weather has been getting a lot cooler around here.  I've also been waking up at night overheated and damp, though I haven't been soaking the sheets so I'm not sure if that counts as night sweats.  It's early days yet, though.  I'm sure the best is yet to come!

Monday, 30 September 2013

What I've become

The great ute reboot is underway.  Last Wednesday I received my first Lupron depot injection.  Right in the butt.  And here I thought that since my RE uses Crinone instead PIO injections that I'd escaped the dreaded butt-shot monster.  Alas, no such luck.  Oh infertility.  You always find a way, don't you?  So far so good, but I'm not even a week in yet.  I think the worst of the side effects (hot flashes, headaches, moodiness, etc) don't kick in for a week or two.  M is currently enjoying the calm before the storm.

(Side note:  If you Google "butt injection" looking for funny pictures of people getting shots in the ass with which to illustrate your point, you will instead find horrific plastic-surgery-gone-wrong photos.  I won't inflict them on you.  No need to thank me.)

October marks the two-year point in our attempt to have children.  After getting married in April 2011, we (foolishly, it now seems) decided to wait six months to start trying.  I had just turned 35, but we wanted a short while to enjoy being newlyweds before we threw kids into the mix.  We also had a friend's wedding in Jamaica in January 2012, so we figured if we waited until September to start trying, I'd only be three or four months along if it happened right away (OH HO HO HA HA HA) so we could still travel.  So in September we ditched the condoms and in October 2011, for the first time ever in my life, I hoped that I wouldn't get a period.

 It seems like a lifetime ago.  

When I started reading infertility blogs, I marveled at how long some of these women had been trying to conceive.  How many cycles they'd been through.  How many tests.  All the diagnoses.  The losses and the heartaches.  And it scared me.  I didn't want to go on this journey.  I didn't know how I'd get through what these other women had experienced.  I wanted to be the person who got unexpectedly pregnant while waiting for her first RE appointment.  Or at the very least, who had a success on her first IVF cycle.  But I was neither of those people.

I know that in the grand scheme of things, I haven't really had too bad a go of it.  Every time I read about another miscarriage, I thank my lucky stars that it hasn't happened to me.  Yet.  I know it's still a possibility, but I've begun to feel more and more like I'm someone who just won't ever know what it's like to be pregnant.  Which is its own kind of torture, really.  To never know that joy of seeing a second line.  To never have that moment, however brief, of imagining your future play out like you planned it.  But never having that means that it never gets taken away, so I guess that's something.

I never thought I'd be here.  I never wanted to be here.  Two years later, two egg retrievals under my belt.  One failed embryo transfer, and an uncertain future.  A TTC timeline growing longer by the day.  I've become one of those women I whose blogs I was reading two years ago.  One of those women that I didn't want to become.