Sunday, 22 June 2014

Plumbing updates (of all kinds)

On Thursday, I took a shower in my own home for the first time in over a week and a half.  Who knew we had been sitting on one of the most perplexing sewage problems ever encountered by the city of Toronto.

By way of quick update, two Sundays ago (June 8th) the sewer backed up in our basement while M was taking a shower.  A plumber quickly determined that there was a blockage on the city end, out past where we connected to the sewage line, resulting in an inability for water to drain from our house.  City workers had a look and agreed that yes, there was a problem on their side.  After days of assessments and measuring and figuring out how not to blow us all up by accidentally cutting into a gas line, they started digging up the street and our lawn.  Long story short, the main sewer line on our street is exceptionally shallow.  Because our house sits at the lowest point on our street, flow was actually running back from the main sewer line into our home connection.  After days of work to flush out the blockages in the main line and try to alter the angle of our home connection to achieve downward flow, the city proclaimed itself finished and began filling up the giant hole they'd dug on our lawn.

The only problem was, we still had no drainage from our house.  After calling our plumber back, we were presented with the unpalatable news that if there was still a blockage on our side of the sewer connection, we would be responsible for digging it up and clearing it.  He could do the work the next day...for the paltry sum of $13,000.  It made us sick to think of having to spend this much money (especially so close to our DEIVF cycle), but when you have no ability to use your home facilities for over a week you get desperate.  We told him to go ahead.  We would be cleaning out our "rainy day fund" and seriously impacting our ability to do future ART, but a girl's gotta be able to do a number 2 in her own house.

Except the next day, the city contractors were back on our doorstep.  After consulting with Toronto Water, they'd determined that because whatever blockage we were experiencing had been caused by backflow from the city line, it was their responsibility to clear it out.  On their dime.  At which point, despite all the stress and aggravation that we'd been through for over a week, we felt like the luckiest people alive.  

Believe it or not, this is progress.

I ended up staying home that day to allow the city access to our house if needed.  After yet more digging, the city located our line where it branched off from the sewer main.  They decided to break into the pipe to find the blockage, and when they did they found it chock full of stuff that didn't even look like sewage.  It just looked like regular dirt and silt.  They started clearing it out by shoving a hose up there, at which point I ran back inside and down to the basement to make sure they weren't sending yet more sewage gushing back into our house.  I watched as the water level in our basement drain (which had been hovering at about 2 to 3 inches below the floor) started burbling, and then all of a sudden dropped about 2 feet.  I ran upstairs and outside to tell them that whatever they had done had worked...and found about 4 city workers standing at the top of the hole, pointing down inside it and howling with laughter.  

Inside the hole, the poor guy who had been doing the work with the hose (the youngest guy on the crew, so presumably the newbie), was puking his guts up.  I don't know what the fuck came out of that pipe when he finally unblocked it, but you know it can't be good when the guy who deals with sewage on a daily basis is vomiting.  But at that point I honestly didn't much care.  If I'd been allowed to I probably would have jumped down into the cesspool and hugged him, since for the first time in ten days it looked like we were finally nearing the end of this thing.  And we still had our $13,000.  


Now for my internal plumbing update!  In the midst of all the sewage insanity, my Czech clinic had given me instructions to stop my magic European birth control pills on Monday.  Thursday ended up being CD1, so I started my drug protocol the next day.  For anyone who's interested, it looks like this:
- 2 mg estrogen (Estrofem, similar to Estrace) orally three times a day (no smurf cooch!!)
- 5 mg predisone once per day (for immunosuppression)
- 100 mg anopyrin once per day (similar to baby aspirin, which I could have substituted if I had to)

I had kind of hoped that all of the anxiety and stress that I was feeling last week would have completely dissipated once the city figured out the sewage issue, but unfortunately that hasn't been the case.  While my stress level has dropped considerably, I'm still finding myself uncomfortably anxious a lot of the time.  All of my worries about donor egg are probably worthy of their own separate post, but suffice it to say that I'm far from certain that DE is going to work for us.  I'm worried we're going to discover a problem beyond poor egg quality, like that M's sperm is worse than we thought and more than partially responsible for our poor fertilization rates.  Or that I have more serious issues with my lining.  Or that it just won't work, and we won't know why.  I'm terrified of failure, because I honestly don't know if I can go through the stress and aggravation of coordinating a foreign cycle again.

As it stands, we're waiting for our donor to start her period and her stimulation protocol, which I'm hoping may have been sometime over the weekend.  We've held off booking flights and hotels because of expensive change fees if we have to shift our dates, but obviously the longer we wait the more costly flights are going to get.  I'm just really looking forward to the point where we can feel like we are headed off to a vacation in Prague.  In the meantime I've tried to take my mind off things this weekend by spending some time outdoors hiking and having a picnic with M and Buddy.  Oh yes, and by drinking copious amounts of wine.


  1. Steroids probably aren't helping the stress/anxiety either. Good luck, sending all my positive vibes your way.

  2. So glad to hear the sewer is working better! hope the DEIVF cycle proceeds with no mishaps....I don't imagine it could ever be enjoyable, but wishing you as little stress as possible. And Prague is beautiful I've heard...

  3. Well I'm glad the city fixed one of the sewage problems, and especially that this doesn't affect your fertility funding. The waiting for updates from across the ocean and flight booking would make me nervous, too - I hope the dates get fixed soon, so that at least the organizational aspects are out of the way!

  4. Sewage backup is one of the most anxiety provoking things coz you just don't know how much things would cost. We have had a couple of those happened to us. And when we remodeled, we were told that we needed to replace the sewage pipe in our part of the property. That cost quite a fortune plus getting the permit and digging up the hole and patching things up. I am so so glad that your story has a happy ending... and I was seriously laughing really hard about the guy vomiting. Poor guy! I hear you about the anxiety going into a DE cycle. I was told for the first time by a clinical professional that egg donation is my next step. It's definitely a stress to have to think about that... it sounds daunting and I applaud you for doing that. Good luck with everything!

  5. It must feel so much better to be able to shower and poop in your own house again. Especially knowing you don't have to foot the bill. And how surreal to be starting your medications while your egg donor is thousands of miles and an ocean away! I hope the scheduling all comes together soon so you have one less thing to stress about.

  6. Oh my god, after all that sewage madness, hearing the city would be responsible must have been like a breath of fresh air!! Thank god you don't have to fork over $13k...

    My only real words of wisdom, as someone slightly farther along the donor egg path, is: everything your worried about is normal. I had the same / similar fears. The closer you get, the more you doubt it's going to work. Because Shit Got Real. There is a woman out there injecting herself to help you have a baby. Can you say head#uck?!?!

    Thinking of you and cheering you on xo

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  8. Oh my god the stress!! I am so sorry girlfriend! We just had sewer back up too. What a pain in the ass!I hope you can buy your flights soon, its always feels more real when you actually have your tickets. Its normal to worry about donor conceived children, I know I did, but once you get pregnant the worries lessen and you know that all families are weird nowadays! :) best of luck with everything!

  9. That's disgusting, but exhilarating to finally have all that shit cleared from your house. And it's totally awesome that the city ended up paying for it, because yeah, what had to be done had to be done, but you have too much else on your plate. I think the one thing that has kept my stress level and a normal level for the past year is that I've always had DEs in my back pocket. But after DE there is nothing left and that scares the shit out of me, too. It will likely work out, but it's a terrifying wait.

  10. I'm so glad you got your sewer issues resolved. We had some major flooding in MN last week, including in our basement. Our egress windows filled up and then started leaking. So we frantically tried to move our christmas decorations, storage stuff, and all the excess from our kitchen remodel out of the path of the water to the drain. There were definitely moments where I was standing in ankle-deep, freezing cold rain water, trying to squeegee it into the drain, and just thinking, "Is this seriously happening right now? On top of everything else we're doing this month?"

    I really hope your DEIVF works out in one shot, and that you are able to enjoy your vacation in Prague. Enjoy the wine - you deserve it!

  11. Oh man that sewer problem sounded bad enough- thank goodness you didn't have to pay for the work as well!!

    Thinking good thoughts for your upcoming DEIVF!!!

  12. I can imagine how difficult it is to try and feel any positivity toward your cycle... I remember that feeling all too well! Know that I'm thinking positively FOR YOU right now. I'm truly holding out hope that THIS is your cycle!

  13. Finally some good news!

  14. Holy crap! I can't believe the city walked up to your door and said they would pay to fix the problem. That would never happen in the US. My landlord can't even get the city to cut down the trees along our street that have roots growing into the foundation of our building. Also, this story sort of makes me glad I am still renting.
    I have everything crossed that this DE cycle is what works for you. I hope you can relax (ha!) and enjoy your time in Prague, too!

  15. Sorry I'm late commenting, so glad to hear that you're back enjoying the modern convenience of working plumbing -on the city's dime too! I can appreciate the reservations about the DE/IVF, despite my report of euploid embryos, I still need to remind myself that it's still not a guarnatee. It does make me more resentful of fertiles.

  16. I wonder what caused him to have that sort of reaction. But then again, it might be best not to know. Haha! Either way, it's great that the city took care of the mess, you saved $13,000, and your (external) plumbing issues are over with. Good luck with the other stuff!

    Levi Eslinger @ Capital Plumbing & Heating

  17. At least there is progress. Fixing all that plumbing trouble is always process, which has sweeping consequences all the time. It can also be far more integrated than we wanted it, seeing how they can cut into our daily routines, such as with what you said, showers. Hope everything's patched up by now. All the best!

    Lovella Cushman @ Perfection Plumbing

  18. Oh crap! (Literally) I'm glad the city stepped up to pay for that. That's no small amount of change. One we'd never ever be able to afford, but how could you NOT fix it? Ugh.

    FYI my husband has very poor sperm quality, quantity and all that jazz. The good thing about IVF with ICSI is that they pick out the best and help it do it's job. We were fortunate that he had at least a few good sperm in there! I'm sure your buss and does too :)

  19. Glad the plumbing moved along fine. It's the least one can ask for, with a situation like that. It's also good that you've gotten a plumbing service right on time. Some things take more than just a bit of effort and a few hands. All the best!

    Evon Brow @ Athens Plumbing & Well Service

  20. Ouch, that picture looks crazy! At least you didn’t have to shell out the expense to have it done yourself. I’ve had some issues with Toronto city workers and my plumbing as well, but nothing that severe. Glad it all worked out in the end though, you guys ended up getting pretty lucky!

    Traci Romero @ Harris Plumbing

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