Sunday, 31 March 2013


Yesterday, I managed a consecutive five hours without crying.  The tears were on and off the rest of the time.  Mostly on.  But we had friends (not close ones, so they don't know about our infertility) scheduled to come over for a game night.  M suggested cancelling, but I'm glad we went ahead with it.  I popped my Dungeons & Dragons cherry and actually laughed quite a bit.  I had fun.  Then, when they left, I went to bed and cried again.

I tested again this morning.  No change.  I told my mom and sister that it was over.  My mom is disappointed but accepting.  Unfortunately, the fact that my clinic won't do a beta until 14dp5dt has my sister convinced that I might be wrong.  She claims to have gotten BFNs until well into her pregnancy with my niece, at least a week or two after she missed her period.  She says she was nauseated for no reason and did several negative tests before finally going to her doctor for a checkup, and the bloodwork revealed she was pregnant.  I told her that while I appreciated what she was trying to do, it wasn't helpful for me right now.  I thought these stories only existed on old web forum threads.  Turns out I'm related to one.

There's a lot of silence around here, punctuated by my sniffles.  M is quiet.  When asked, he'll tell me that he's feeling disappointed and helpless.  Then he distracts himself by thinking about his latest electronic gadget or home theatre project.  He openly admits he's probably not processing it.  That's OK.  I'm probably processing enough for the two of us. 


Today I went six consecutive hours without crying.  We went to M's parents' for Easter dinner.  He called ahead while I was in the shower and gave his mom the news as an advance warning.  He said it was better not to talk about it with me unless I brought it up, which of course I didn't so as to avoid bawling like a baby.  It was the elephant in the room.  Unfortunately for me, M's mom is subscribing to the same school of thought as my sister and I didn't get an offer of wine with dinner.  Good thing she doesn't know that I'd already damaged my non-existent fetus by taking two extra-strength ibuprofen to deal with my I've-been-crying-for-6-hours-straight migraine.  Tylenol doesn't do shit for me and I'm miserable enough without having a headache all day.

I can't think of anything to say to M other than "I'm sorry".  I'm sorry that this didn't work.  I'm sorry that I can't bear your child.  I'm sorry for crying.  I'm sorry for bringing you down when you seem to be doing OK.  I'm sorry I'm terrible to be around right now.  I'm sorry sorry sorry.  He just holds me and tells me not to apologize.  It makes me cry harder.


I just read this post by Daryl.  The last two paragraphs feel like she crawled inside my head.  So...what she said.  I'm sorry if I'm out of it for a while.  There I go, apologizing again.

I know I'll come out the other side of this.  I always do.  This is really no different than the dozen or more failed natural cycles we've had in the past year and a half.  It was just a lot more expensive.  I only wish I didn't have to trudge through the hurt to get there.  Is there a way to skip this part?  I want to skip this part.  This part sucks.

Saturday, 30 March 2013

All over but the crying

I couldn't hold out.  I tested today.  BFN at 8dp5dt.  Not even the faintest hint of a second line.

I know there's the slightest of slight chances that this is a false negative.  But I really don't need to hear that right now.  I'll keep taking my Estrace and Crinone until beta on Friday, but it's just a technicality at this point.  I've been feeling it for a while.  We failed.

Pity party, table for one.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

The impossible dream

I hope my last post wasn't misleading.  Reading the comments, I got the sense that you guys thought that I was currently having some or all of the symptoms that I talked about.  I'm not.  I was just going through all of the ways that I've deceived myself in the past.  Right now I'm 6dp5dt, and I'm feeling absolutely nothing. 

I know logically that there's lots of women who have no symptoms until well after a BFP.  And I could very well be one of those women.  But it just seems like what could potentially be happening inside me is so momentous, so earth-shatteringly life-changing, that I should be feeling something.  Anything!  Especially when I'm spending the vast majority of my day thinking about it.  But no.

So at this point I've basically convinced myself that we're headed for a negative.  I keep trying to visualize otherwise, but it's incredibly hard to imagine.  I mean, conceptually speaking, I can do it.  I know what it feels like to pee on a stick.  I know that my heart pounds and my stomach flip-flops for those three interminable minutes.  I can imagine picking the test up off the edge of the sink, looking at it, and seeing those two pink lines.  But it feels the same as if I'm imagining myself flying.  I can picture myself flapping my arms and lifting off the ground.  I can even imagine the feel of the wind rushing past my face as I propel myself through the air.  And yet, there's no reality to it.  It's whimsical.  I can imagine it while at the same time knowing that it will never, ever happen.  And that's what it feels like when I imagine a positive pregnancy test.  It's beautiful, but it feels totally and completely out of the bounds of possibility.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Symptom check

I'm 4dp5dt.  I am doing my damndest not to obsessively symptom-spot.  We all know that it's extremely unlikely that I'd be feeling anything at this point anyway.  Besides, when I think back over the past year and a half of TTC, I realized that I've had just about every symptom in the book at some point while in a 2WW, and I've never once been pregnant.  So as a reminder to myself of how ridiculous this is, I thought I'd outline how I've fooled myself in the past.  Here goes!

Nausea?  Check! 
This one really had me.  I was eating breakfast one weekend and stopped mid-waffle, hit with an overwhelming urge to puke.  My stomach started churning, and I even broke out into a bit of a pre-vomit sweat.  Morning sickness!  I must be pregnant!  Right?  Wrong.  Apparently taking my prenatal vitamin too soon before food makes me nauseated.  It happened a few more times until I learned my lesson.

Cramps and twinges?  Check!
Obviously, every little ache and pull gets magnified a thousand times in my brain.  But one night I didn't even need to do that.  I was out for dinner with friends about 9 or 10dpo, and my abdomen started twisting itself into knots.  Knots, I tell you!  As someone who doesn't really get premenstrual cramping (yeah yeah, I suck, I get it), I was sure that this was it.  Nope.  I just went home and farted all night.  Both disappointing AND disgusting.

Sore boobs?  Check!
This one really kind of had me.  Again, you guys will hate me, but I don't get sore boobs before my period.  In fact, my boobs are remarkably non-sensitive.  During foreplay, M might as well be playing with YOUR boobs for all the reaction he gets out of me.  And yet one night when I came home from work, I popped my bra off and felt a distinct achiness in the girls.  Huzzah!!  I was so amazed by this new sensation that I kept feeling myself up all night.  Still sore?  *squeeze*  Yep!  And yet in the morning, it was gone.  The cause?  The old bra I had worn that day which was now slightly too small due to my infertility weight gain.  I don't wear that bra anymore.  It lies.

Vivid dreams?  Check!
If you read my Liebster responses a few months ago, then you know that weird dreams are par for the course for me.  So far during this 2WW alone I have dreamed that:
- M and I got into a huge fight because we saw David Tennant (one of the actors who played Dr. Who) and M wanted me to take a picture but my camera wasn't charged.  It turned into a yelling, screaming fight and we decided to get divorced.
- There was a Sons of Anarchy episode where the guys decided to kill one of the other club members (who in reality is already dead on the show) because he was annoying them about not being considerate and sharing food.  He brought croissants and they ate them all and didn't leave any for him.  If you've ever seen this show you know how ridiculous this is.
- I was playing Princess Leia in a Star Wars LARP (live action role play).  I had a wooden gun and I was being chased by Boba Fett through a mall food court.  I hid in one of those jokey t-shirt and mug stores.

(Side note:  I have no idea where this shit comes from.  While I have a healthy dose of nerd in me, I have never watched Dr. Who in my life and I've definitely never LARPed.  Not that there's anything wrong with you if you do. *cough*geek*cough*)

And then there's all of the "in my head" ones that I've convinced myself I've had at some point.  Increased sense of smell?  Check.  Metallic taste in mouth?  Check.  Unusual hunger?  Fatigue?  Increased urination?  Check, check, and check.

Sick and tired of this whole thing?  Check and mate.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Three Birthdays and a Transfer

Well, I'm officially Pregnant Until Proven Completely Stupid For Ever Thinking This Would Work (PUPCSFETTWW)!

Hmm.  Now I see why people go with PUPO.  That's easier.  We'll go with that.

I woke up nervous this morning.  I took the full day off work even though my transfer wasn't scheduled until noon, so that I could do some final cleaning before my mom arrives tonight as well as squeeze in my last workout for the next two weeks.  M headed to work as usual and was going to meet me at the clinic.

Unfortunately, that didn't quite work out as planned.  About half an hour before the transfer, I texted him to say that I had arrived early and would be in the clinic waiting room.  He responded that he was just leaving work.  I immediately knew that he wouldn't make it in time, but in the interest of maintaining a calm and stress-free uterine environment I decided not to make a big deal out of it.  As it turned out, the clinic was running behind and my transfer was about a half hour late, so I actually thought he might make it.  And as it turned out, he did.  He told the reception staff that I was already back there and they told him they'd tell the nurses.  But something apparently got lost in communication and he ended up sitting in the waiting area while the transfer took place.  It's kind of ridiculous that they couldn't get their shit together enough to bring him back there, especially when all I was doing was waiting around anyway, but it's kind of par for the course for this cycle.  And also his fault for not leaving work in time to meet me as planned.  But again, all of this is stuff I don't want to get worked up over for the sake of our little embyro.

Which is inside me!  Right now!  The transfer itself went well.  My RE said that our blastocyst survived the thaw with 100% of its cells intact.  I didn't question her, but those with more scientific knowledge can possibly answer this because I didn't even think that was physically possible.  I thought that any frozen blast would lose some percentage of its cells during the thawing process?  Perhaps she just meant that it had replenished itself to 100% of what it was before freeze?  Either way, I guess it's a good sign.  She also said that it had started re-growing and was "moving around in the dish" before the transfer.  Antsy to latch on to some fluffy endometrium, perhaps?  A bit weird to picture, but I'll take it!

In the interim, I have my mom's visit to distract me for a bit.  She gets here tonight and stays until Wednesday.  We'll do a little sitting around, a little shopping and we'll also be heading out of town to visit with M's family, who live a bit less than 2 hours away.  We're going to see them this weekend for our annual combo-birthday dinner.  M and his dad oddly share the same birthday, which was earlier this week, and mine is on Sunday, so for the past three years we've all gotten together to celebrate.  Our little embryo will be getting a ton of love and good family vibes from being surrounded by three of its four future grandparents.  If that doesn't convince it to stick around, then I don't know what will!

Now we just have to wait and hope that our blast decides to take up residence in my ute for the next 9 months.  My beta is scheduled for April 5th.  I'm pretty sure I'll be peeing on something before then, but we'll see.  I'm not a huge pee-er on sticks.  I'm too cheap for that.  In the meantime, nothing to do but:

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

The face of evil

Here it is, my friends.

Don't let the sunshiny yellow head with the rosy red cheeks fool you.  This is Leon the cockatiel and he is a bastard.

I've decided that it's been far too gloomy on this blog of late, so I thought I'd share something a little more upbeat and entertaining.  By way of background, neither M nor I are "bird people".  If anything, I was well on the road to crazy cat lady status before M and I started dating.  For his part, M was pet-less until a woman at his office came in one day looking for someone to take a bird off her hands.  She apparently already had one, and had bought a second hoping that they'd be great companions.  Unfortunately it had worked out quite the opposite, and one bird had terrorized the other so badly that she needed to separate them.  M, being the kind soul that he is, decided he'd help her out by taking Leon (already so named, pronounced "Lay-on", the french way) off her hands.

My encounters with Leon were pretty limited while M and I were dating.  We lived in separate cities for a while, and the bird was usually in his cage when I was over so he'd basically just sing and chatter a little bit.  I may even have thought he was cute at one point.  That was before M and I got married and I lived with the bird full-time.  It was then that his inner demon came out.

If you Google cockatiels, you'll find plenty of sites talking about what great pets they are.  How they love to sit on your hand and have their heads scratched, or how they're really smart and can learn certain songs or phrases and repeat them back to you.  Not this guy.  Nope.  Simply put, he is an asshole.  Put a hand anywhere near him and he'll hiss at you and try to bite it.  He sings sometimes, but more often than not he's just shrieking like a maniac.  Some weekends it starts at daybreak and doesn't let up until one of us goes downstairs to let him out of his cage.  We call it the avian alarm clock and there's no goddamn snooze button.

Once freed, he's even worse.  His cage is full of toys, and yet there's nothing more interesting to him than chewing cables.  Earphones, laptops, you name it, he's destroyed it.  Last night in the ten minutes it took me to put fish in the oven and make a salad, he chewed the P and Enter keys off of my work Blackberry.  He also shreds any kind of paper we might leave lying around (grocery list?  Yummy!  Tax documents?  Even yummier!), leaving little piles of confetti that he then walks through and scatters everywhere.  And what he doesn't chew, he shits on.  Like clockwork, every 30 minutes he drops a little bomb somewhere and if you aren't right there to see where it is and clean it up, guaranteed you will either sit in it later or he will walk in it and track his shitty little bird feet everywhere.

Sure, he sings a little bit.  Nothing recognizable, mind you, just some tuneless whistling like you might hear from your drunk uncle.  He also "talks" a bit, although it's pretty garbled and we have no idea what he's saying.  We've tried to teach him songs and words to no avail, but the one sound he did manage to pick up and copy?  Us having sex.  Yeah, he pulls that one out when there's company over.

His latest trick is masturbating on things.  Apparently, it's not possible to "fix" a cockatiel.  He's pretty tiny, so I understand that finding his balls would be sure to be a challenge.  But the result is that every now and again (and I assume now because it's springtime), he goes through a bit of a period where he gets himself riled up and tries to rub one out on any fuzzy object you might leave lying around.  We had to hide one fleece blanket that was really feeling the love.  As I began typing this earlier, he was romancing the furry top of one of my boots.  I won't even try to describe what a cockatiel looks like when he whacks off, but suffice it to say that there's a lot of tailfeather waggling and weird bitey beak shit going on.  It's not pretty.  And don't you dare try to interrupt him.  He flew at my head after that one. 

The only weapon we have in our arsenal is...the TV remote.  For some reason that I will never understand, this bird loves the TV remote like it's his long lost best friend.  Need to get him to stop shrieking or calm down?  Show him the remote and he'll talk to it like he hasn't seen it in years.  Need to get him in his cage?  He'll be so transfixed by it you can get him to climb on your hand and put him in there.  It's ridiculous, but if we hadn't discovered this little bit of cockatiel kryptonite we'd still be chasing him.  

So there you have it.  Our secret shame.  My husband and I are slaves to a 4-ounce dictator. And the best part?  His reign of terror has barely begun.  These mini-dinosaurs routinely live well into their 20s, and this guy is barely 8.  Let the good times roll.

Monday, 18 March 2013

All over the map

I've been on a total roller coaster for the past couple of weeks while getting ready for this FET.  When we got back from Mexico, I was down.  I was convinced that the cycle would fail and I almost didn't even want to start it.  Then, miraculously, I began feeling more positive.  I started doing some visualization exercises.  Nothing structured, but just more like letting my imagination run away with me.  I would picture M and I in the hospital after delivering our baby, receiving visitors.  I'd imagine taking cute pictures of the baby napping on M's chest, or flash forward to our excitement as our child takes his or her first steps.  Just to make it realistic, I'd even put some of the crappy stuff in there too, like hauling ourselves out of bed for late night feedings or freaking out over the baby's first high fever. 

Then, somewhere in the last week or two, the roller coaster started rocketing back down again.  Today, it seems to have hit a new low.  Not only am I thinking negatively about this FET, but I'm starting to wonder if I should even be doing IVF in the first place. 

As someone with Diminshed Ovarian Reserve (DOR), I tend to gravitate towards blogs of women with a similar diagnosis.  Some of these have found success through IVF, and some of them are still slugging it out with me in the trenches.  As a general rule, we tend to realize that our chances of IVF success are lower than normal.  And yet we soldier on, hoping that we'll be the success story.

Except when we don't.  In the last little while, I've come across a couple of bloggers who have been newly diagnosed with DOR or low AMH.  For whatever reason, their doctors have sat them down and told them that there's nothing to be done.  They're out of the game.  Do not stop, do not pass go, do not collect $200.  Go directly to donor egg.

Obviously, I know there's no single answer here.  Every patient is different.  But in almost every case, my AMH is lower than theirs.  By way of reminder, my AMH is 1.2 pmol/L, or 0.17 ng/ml.  That's "very low/undetectable" for anyone who's counting.  It's about as shitty as it gets.  And yet, when I asked my RE whether she thought we should even bother with IVF and try donor eggs instead based on those numbers, she seemed surprised.  She estimated that our chances of IVF success wouldn't be much lower than anyone else in my general age group, and that there was absolutely no reason to be thinking about donor egg at this point.

Today, I'm questioning that decision big time.  Out of 8 mature eggs, only 4 were good enough to fertilize.  Only one made it to day 5.  At best, I feel like my RE was overly optimistic.  At worst, she's delusional and trying to bilk us out of a lot of money.  Today, I feel like we've probably just wasted a lot of time and money on something that is virtually certain to fail.  Everyone else's doctor seems to think so, given numbers similar to mine.  I kind of feel like we're idiots for thinking otherwise.

I know I need to try to turn this around before the transfer on Friday.  It would be great to go into this FET with a positive (or at the very least neutral) attitude.  But for now, here's me: - It's never too late to give up.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Happy to be wrong

Thanks to everyone for all the comments after my last freakout.  I didn't end up speaking to my RE because I knew they'd just tell me to wait until Saturday.  Happily, as of this morning all my eggs are still tucked in tight and I'm still a go for this FET cycle.  I start Crinone tomorrow (which we have already dubbed "my cooch hooch" since I am shoving it up in me like some sort of weird body-packing smuggler) and my transfer is scheduled for Friday.

My mom is also scheduled to arrive Friday, so she'll be here to take care of me and keep me entertained (and pass judgment my lack of cleaning skills around the house) while I'm on bedrest for a few days.  The only thing that will really suck will be if our lone little embryo doesn't survive the thaw.  Then I'll be a crying snotty mess, but then again I guess who better to be a crying snotty mess around than your mom, even if she has to take a three-hour flight to witness it?

In other news, one totally non-pregnancy related reason that I'm looking forward to my FET is to get a break from my workout schedule.  I've talked a couple of times on here about setting myself a New Year's resolution to focus on a healthier (non-diet) lifestyle, and I was miraculously able to stick to it during our Mexico vacation.  I'm happy to report that I'm still sticking with it.  I've been working out a solid five days a week whenever my schedule allows, and at the start of March I decided to step things up a notch and switch from my $5 Kijiji-purchased Turbo Jam videos (which are a lot of fun and great cardio) to something a bit more focused on muscle building.  I decided to try Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred, which is available for free on YouTube.  I always thought she looked pretty bad-ass on The Biggest Loser so I figured it'd be an intense workout.

You guys.  I hate this workout.  I hate it with the burning fire of a thousand suns.

Of course I hate it for all the right reasons.  It's hard.  It hurts.  I make horrible, terrible noises while doing it.  I look like shit afterwards.  My muscles jiggle like Jell-O and I kind of feel like I want to puke.  And I'm only ten days in.  After ten days at Level 1, you move to Level 2.  That's Monday.  I am so not ready for Monday.  Plus my right hip hurts.  As in, legit hurts.  I think I've kind of tweaked my hip flexor from too many lunges and stretching it out doesn't really help.

Obviously, I'm a whiny bitch.  And I know how Jillian would react.

But at least being PUPO will give me a non-whiny bitch excuse for taking a little break mid-Level 2.  Should I not get knocked up, I am totally planning on finishing it.  But if I do get pregnant, it would be all the sweeter because I wouldn't have to spend 30 minutes with this psycho every day anymore.  Just sayin', embryo.  Hint, hint.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Trying not to worry...

...but I'm starting to have a minor freakout that I might have ovulated.  Today is CD9, which is around when my crap-ass old eggs would normally be ovulating (way early!) in a standard cycle.  Yesterday I had EWCM.  Not a ton, but as much as I normally have.  This morning I thought I felt distinct ovary pain.  By this afternoon, it was gone and I was noticing that my CM had turned somewhat creamy, which always happens after ovulation.

I've been taking my Estrace like clockwork, which is supposed to suppress ovulation in all but the rarest of cases.  Especially with the high dosage I'm on (two 2mg tablets three times a day, or 12mg total), I'd really have to be a medical freakshow to ovulate through that.  But it's theoretically possible, and I'm worried that it might have happened.  Which is bad, since then they'd have to cancel my FET cycle and likely put me on BCP and Lupron for a new cycle.

I've Googled the shit out of this and can't find much except the rare anecdotal forum comment.  I don't go in for my next monitoring appointment until Saturday, at which point I was probably going to start progesterone, but now I don't know what to think.

Overthinking?  Yes.  Overreacting?  Possibly.  Anyone with experience with FETs is encouraged to help talk me down. 

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Truth in blogvertising

It's been a supremely lazy Sunday.  It is apparently 10 whole degrees outside, however I wouldn't know since I haven't opened the front door.  For that matter, I haven't taken off my cozy morning lounge wear or gotten a shower either.  This is probably partially in rebellion for the cleaning binge that I went on yesterday in preparation for my mom's impending visit.  But it's also due to the fact that I fell down a bit of a rabbit-hole while surfing the net after breakfast and have spent an inordinate amount of time reading snarky forum chats and having my eyes opened to artificiality of the world of professional blogging.

Let's backtrack.  Probably about a year or so ago (yeah, I'm slow) I discovered the world of personal style/lifestyle blogging.  I think I was looking for fashion tips (I am also spectacularly un-trendy) and happened across a couple of websites where women with very cool senses of personal style were posting pictures of themselves in their daily outfits.  I was smitten!  As someone who has absolutely no individual creativity when it comes to dressing myself, I was always put off by fashion magazines because I couldn't see any way to translate what I saw in their pages to workable outfits for my everyday life.  While my wardrobe wasn't bad per se, it was certainly pretty bland and unoriginal.  Put it this way: I only discovered the structured jacket (that isn't part of a suit and doesn't have to match your pants) about five years ago thanks to Stacy and Clinton and What Not To Wear

Personal style blogs helped me to elevate my closet to another level.  I immediately bookmarked a bunch of them and even though the authors were mostly about 10 years younger than me and hence could pull off much shorter skirts than either my age or 9 to 5 office job would allow.  I got some great tips on accessorizing and how to convert high-fashion trends into an everyday look.  But I didn't stop there.  A lot of these bloggers also featured lifestyle tips like recipes and design ideas that I loved to browse or try myself.  I also discovered whole blogs devoted to living healthy lifestyles, where normal women with normal lives (not professional trainers or celebrities whose job it is to be skinny) posted about their daily workouts and healthy food tips.  As someone who has struggled to maintain a balanced perspective when it comes to food and exercise, I was hooked.

As time passed, I started to find myself noticing little things about these blogs that aggravated me.  Like the personal style blogger who seemed to not own a single pair of flats, but instead looked to be out running errands in her high-end designer pumps on a regular basis.  Obviously I knew that posting photos of herself in her sneakers and sweats was unlikely to generate high page views, but I still wondered how someone whose wardrobe consisted primarily of JCrew or H&M clothing was even able to afford Prada heels?  I also started to find myself becoming bothered by some of my favourite healthy lifestyle bloggers.  They never seemed to feel lazy or unmotivated, or to skip a day at the gym out of pure sloth.  They would routinely post pictures of huge treat-laden tables at family meals, and then a subsequent photo of their tiny plate with a pile of fruit and one tiny cookie perched delicately on the side.  Who has this kind of self control?  I wondered.  Why can't I be like that?

I started to develop a bit of a love/hate relationship with the lifestyle blogs.  I started finding them less and less helpful or relatable, and more and more irritating.  Part of me figured that I must be just jealous that these women could afford clothes and shoes that I couldn't, or that they never seemed to struggle with diet and exercise like I did.  But as I watched fashion bloggers get invites and free swag from events like New York Fashion Week (NYFW), and healthy living bloggers get wined and dined (ok,  coconut-watered and apple-sliced) by fitness brands like Reebok, I started to realize that for most of these bloggers, what had started out as a hobby had become a profession.  A lot of them had quit their previous jobs to blog full-time.  As a result, what had begun as their lives had turned into a brand.  And like any brand, there was marketing involved.

Of course, marketing involves making your product (in this case, the bloggers themselves) as attractive as possible to customers.  But in this case, the customers aren't the blog readers.  We don't pay the bills or dole out the free stuff.  Instead, the bloggers are marketing themselves to the companies that generate income, whether it's by sending them on conferences or publicity trips, donating baskets of free makeup or fitness gear to give away on their blogs, or just plain old paying them for advertising.  I don't particularly have an issue with this from the point of view of disclosure, since most bloggers are pretty open about when they're wearing something gifted or have been given free products in exchange for a review or publicity.  What bothers me is how this affects the bloggers themselves.  They become less real and more varnished.  More practiced and perfect.  Sure, they'll still post pictures of their weddings or their dogs or their sweaty post-workout faces.  They'll try to make you feel like you're getting a glimpse at their real lives.  But you're not.  What you're seeing is a carefully crafted persona that never curses or swears, never gets sick (or if she does, certainly doesn't post pictures of it or talk about it until after she's recovered), never fights with her spouse, never second-guesses herself and certainly never fails at anything she does.  Which in the end, makes her incredibly uninteresting.

I'm certainly not saying that any of these women are obliged to share the nitty gritty details of their lives with their readers.  That's their choice.  But it helps me to understand why, over time, my own readership of blogs has shifted away from picture-perfect lifestyle and fashion bloggers.  Part of it is of course due to the fact that infertility is now a huge part of my life, and as a result it's something I read and think about a lot more than I did a year ago.  But I like to think that another part of it is because infertility blogs are fundamentally different than all those other blogs.  

Infertility blogs are real.  They're dirty and messy and sloppy.  We talk about vaginas and semen and sex; we talk about hope and grief and despair.  We bitch about drugs, money and partners.  We get depressed.  We curse.  We cry.  We write posts while crying.  Then we haul ourselves out of it.  Instead, imagine how insufferable an infertility blogger would be if she was making money from a clinic.  Imagine if all she talked about was how great her clinic was, and never expressed doubt that her treatment might work.  Never talked about the fact that she and her husband weren't on the same page, or that her fertile friends were behaving insufferably.  Wouldn't happen.  Not here.  Not in this world.

None of this is to say that I don't still visit lifestyle and fitness blogs from time to time.  Everyone likes to look at pretty things once in a while.  But I think there's a lot to be said for honesty in blogging, and not painting a picture of yourself that is unrealistically perfect.  Imperfection is what makes us real, and vulnerability is what makes us likeable.

That said, if anyone wants to send me a pair of Prada heels, I take size 8.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

And the verdict is...

It's on like Donkey Kong!  I started Estrace this afternoon.  Yay little blue pills!

That's not to say that today's visit to the clinic wasn't totally and completely frustrating in a bunch of other ways, all of which likely stem from the initial clusterfuck yesterday.  Let's go through the various screw ups and annoyances, shall we?

- My bloods requisition was wrong.  It only asked for HCG, not any of the normal CD3 bloods.  Lab tech: "We need to get a nurse to fix it."  Me (inside voice):  Really?  You can't figure out what they want on CD3?  Even though you do CD3 bloodwork about a hundred times per day?  Allow me to fill you in.  It's estrogen, FSH, LH and progesterone.  Now take my damn blood.  Me (outside voice):  "Sure, I'll wait."

- When checking my health card (which is done once at the start of each cycle), the lab tech looks accusingly at me and states "Your health card expires at the end of the month".  Me (inside voice):  Is it valid right now?  Yes?  Awesome.  I fail to see the issue here.  Me (outside voice):  "I know.  I'll be renewing it this month."

- Upon entering the ultrasound room, the u/s tech asks me to confirm that my bladder is empty.  Me (inside voice):  No, it's not, because I was told yesterday I would be having a full bladder ultrasound so I guzzled a litre of water at 6am this morning like a good patient.  Don't worry, I'm glad I did it anyway.  Look how hydrated I am!!  Me (outside voice): "No, there must have been a miscommunication in my instructions yesterday.  I'll go pee and be right back.  Sorry about that." (Yes, apologizing when you haven't done anything wrong is very Canadian of me.)

- Upon going to get my Estrace, I inform the pharmacist that my clinic has called in a prescription for me yesterday.  It is not ready.  The pharmacist looks in her computer and seems to find something, but then asks me how much of it I am supposed to take.  Me (inside voice):  Wow, I get to prescribe my own drugs now?  Cool!  I'll take a whole bunch of something with high street value, please.  I have to fund these infertility treatments somehow!  Me (outside voice):  "They told me 2 tablets, 3 times per day.  Yes, I can wait ten minutes."  Me (inside voice):  Bet I can count pills faster than you!

(Yeah, my internal voice is a total bitch.  And yes, I get that these people are all just doing their jobs and none of this is their fault, which is why I use the external voice instead.) 

Apparently my uterus decided that the world was giving me enough shit for one day and it was going to cooperate for a change.  To go ahead with the Estrace I needed no cysts (check!), a thin lining (check!) and estrogen below 200 (about 50 US).  That last part is what I was worried about, as my estrogen is normally around 400 by CD3.  I really, really figured I was in for some BCP and Lupron.  But my estrogen came back at a stunningly svelte 140, so I am good to go!

So friends, what do you think?  Do I take all these preliminary screwups as a sign from the universe that this cycle is going to be a bust and I should never have started it at all?  Or do I view it as a sign that no matter what the odds, this FET was destined to be?  Ah, who am I kidding, I don't believe in signs.  Or destiny.  I'm just happy to be moving forward and have decided to keep my stress levels down by holding off on chewing out my RE until the cycle is over.  Thanks to everyone for the support and righteous indignation yesterday, it really helped!

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

How to piss off an infertile

Yesterday I called my clinic to report Day 1 of my cycle.  Based on not one but two previous discussions with my RE, I was under the impression I'd be coming in for Day 3 bloodwork and ultrasound, and then starting Estrace for a transfer in a few weeks.

The first sign that something was amiss was when I got a message from the clinic saying, "Hi, we got your message about Day 1, but we don't have a protocol on file for you.  We're going to check with the doctor's office and call you back."

Fast forward about 6 hours.  It's now 3:15pm, and the clinic closes at 3:30.  Still no instructions about Day 3 or a prescription for Estrace.  I call them back.  The nurse puts me on hold and then tells me they've just gotten the protocol from my RE, and they'll call me in a few minutes.  15 minutes later I finally get the message on my clinic's call line.

"So you're doing an FET this cycle.  You'll be starting BCP on Day 5 and we'll figure out the rest of your schedule after that."

Hold the fucking phone.  BCP?  Where is this coming from?

I hang up and call the clinic again.  It's past 3:30.  They're closed.  I call my RE's office direct.  I get her receptionist, who takes a message and says my RE will call me back.  Finally the receptionist calls me back and says that my RE is going to change my protocol back to the one we originally discussed.  I ask why there was a change in the first place.  She doesn't seem to know, and suggests that it's really up to me which one I want to do.

Seriously?  I'm the fucking patient!  I want to do whichever one is going to work!!

I can hear my RE in the background so finally the receptionist just puts her on the phone instead.  She indicates to me that there are several FET protocols and we could either do the long one with BCP and Lupron suppression or the shorter one which just starts with Estrace.  She prefers the shorter one, but it depends on the results of my Day 3 workup.  I tell her (even though I shouldn't have to, because it's in my goddamn file) that I am an early follicle recruiter/ovulator and tend to have high Day 3 estrogen levels.  She says if that's the case then we may end up switching to the BCP and Lupron protocol, but we'll figure that out after my results tomorrow.  She never does end up answering my question about why my protocol was mysteriously changed in the first place.  Did she just rush it through since the nurses were bugging her, and didn't really think about it?

Either way, right now I am facing the very real possibility that I won't be doing an FET this month after all.  I might be on BCP and Lupron instead.  And this is making me very, very angry.  Why is this the first time that this issue is coming up?  I had a fleeting thought a week or two ago about my high Day 3 estrogen levels, but Dr. Google gave me no cases where an FET was cancelled for that reason so I figured it didn't matter.  They're only going to be pumping me full of estrogen anyway, so what's a little head start?  And if it is a problem (and one which I am well known to have) then why was an unsuppressed cycle ever under consideration at all?  Why did I not start BCP in February?  It is starting to look like we just completely wasted last month and put me through a totally unnecessary endo biopsy only to put me on suppression meds and possibly make me do YET ANOTHER ENDO BIOPSY after a BCP withdrawal bleed this month.  What the fuck is going on??

The worst part is that this means that this whole IVF #2 mindfuck will probably get to continue for yet another month.  I was ready to be PUPO in two or three weeks.  Now it's looking like six.  I started this IVF cycle in fucking January and won't have had anything put in my uterus until April???  Something is seriously fucked up with that.  My biological clock is ticking away and my RE is just frittering away months like they're nothing.  Bang up job there.  Fuckers.  


Sunday, 3 March 2013

The calm before the storm

It's been a quiet week, followed by a quiet weekend.  Normally I'd be somewhat stressed about not accomplishing very much, but I'm taking it in stride.  Things are about to get crazy, so I'm appreciating the silence for now.

I've been spotting for three days, which means that my period is right around the corner.  Have I mentioned how much I hate spotting?  'Cause I really hate spotting.  I never had it before starting birth control; it only started when I went off the pill and it was my first indicator that something was potentially not right downstairs when we started TTC.  It's never really been explained, either.  Sometimes it lasts one day, sometimes it lasts six.  Once it really fucked with my head and never happened at all.  I've found one explanation online that because of my poor egg quality, I make a poor corpus luteum which doesn't secrete enough progesterone, resulting in a short luteal phase or premenstrual spotting.  Which would make sense, except that I've had my progesterone levels checked.  They're more than fine, and my luteal phase is typically 17 days (which, incidentally, means my 2WW is more like a 2.5WW).  If anyone has any experience with pre-AF spotting that has nothing to do with a luteal phase defect, I'd be happy to hear about it.

Anyway, the spotting is here and it's gross.  It's so brown it's almost black.  It's also pasty and has little clots and stringy bits.  I have no idea if this means there's something wrong with my lining, but from a purely aesthetic perspective it's nasty.  M tried to make with the sexytime yesterday and I had to say no.  He's normally not shy about the nether regions and sex while on my period is just fine by him, but I felt gross and dirty and knew I wouldn't able to get into it.

So once AF arrives, I'll have to start dealing with the reality that is our upcoming FET.  Up to now I've been doing a pretty good job ignoring it, minus a brief freakout after coming back from vacation.  I'm continuing to ignore it now.  There'll be plenty of time to obsess over it in the coming weeks.

Apart from what's going on in my ute, things are about to get a lot busier at work.  Starting this week my supervisor is transferring to a different section.  We're getting a new supervisor, but he has other projects to finish first so he's not actually going to be my boss until later this summer.  In the meantime, as the person in my section with the most seniority, I'll be taking on temporary supervisory duties.  It's good for me in the sense that when I eventually do go seeking a promotion, I'll have that experience.  But it's a lot of putting out fires and dealing with higher level management, while at the same time continuing to manage my own work.  At least I'll have lots to occupy my mind over the next few months.

Finally, my mom called yesterday and told me that she wants to come up for a visit for my birthday at the end of March.  I haven't been home in over a year, and it will be great to see her.  But I had to warn her that depending on my cycle, part of her visit might be spent sitting on the couch with me watching TV during my three days of mandated post-FET bedrest.  She actually seemed quite fine with that and liked the idea of getting to take care of me.  I'm really looking forward to it and it will be yet another thing to keep my mind occupied during my 2.5WW.  I just hope we'll be able to do some fun stuff and shopping as opposed to watching hours of Netflix!

(Netflix side note:  If you thought that House of Cards was safe to watch from an infertility perspective because, oh I don't know, it's about politics and stars a couple in their late forties/early fifties, you would be mistaken.  No spoilers here but we just finished the series and after the last episode, M and I looked at each other and just shook our heads in a kind of "Is nowhere safe?" kind of way.)

Let the March madness begin!