Biding time

I’m getting so nervous. And I feel so uncomfortable. I’ve been waking up at 5 AM for the past few days, because every position that I lie in just feels twisted, like my stomach is a balloon being warped by some children’s party clown. Usually animals make me happy, but not at 5 am. Not today.

I am watching Grey’s Anatomy, which is probably a bad idea. But I keep reading over my notes about what I’m supposed to do, and not do.

I went in to the clinic for my 9:45 blood test. They should know by noon (by now anyways) if all is well. I was told not to do anything to disrupt my pelvis; no lifting, no running, no sex, no Zumba. How specific. Let it rest.

I took my two shots of Decapeptyl last night. The amount (volume) in the shots felt like a lot. It was pretty smooth sailing, now that I’m an expert self-injector.

Started reading all the ‘what to expect during your procedure’ stuff. I’m glad I have it. I worry and have mild but real anxiety. The Ativan should help with that, they said. Not going to lie though, I’m antsy about having them administer Fentanyl during my procedure tomorrow. People are literally dying from it. I had an actual conversation with Allia that if I start ‘crashing,’ don’t wait for the lab techs to call  911, do it. Look like a fool. Don’t let me die. I was half serious. Thanks, Grey’s Anatomy.

Talked to my bestie who has been through all this before. She is due in two weeks and had a terrible, 7 year slog towards FINALLY keeping a pregnancy. She had lots of calming, soothing words and tidbits of advice. Namely, she said she did everything ‘right’ and had terrible results, but now with her little one on the way, she thinks the best thing she did was realize there isn’t one right way; whatever gets you through the stress of it. She went out for lunch and laughed all through the meal with a friend right after her implantation procedure. So, when I asked her if I should try to stay home Tuesday, following Monday’s visit she said:

‘But you LOVE Hallowe’en! Won’t you be sad to be at home thinking about your uterus and ovaries, when you could be with your students, talking about cultural appropriation, wearing a costume, learning Thriller (*don’t worry, I have two students teaching it, since I’m on ‘no Zumba’ doctor’s orders) and spending time doing something you like?’

So, I’m keeping it low-key today. Marking away. 18 of 31 essays done. 12 of 23 dance tests done. And Allia is doing all kinds of stuff around the house, including baking me buckwheat banana muffins. She turned to me and said:

Think about this; how many more days like this will there be? Me baking quietly in the kitchen, you on the couch with the marking, the cat asleep on the chair? Soon, hopefully, this kind of tranquil Sunday will be a distant memory.

Here is what they tell you before the IVF Egg Retrieval. I will update this blog as soon as I’m not woozy and can make sense again. Wish us luck!

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Saturday: Game On!

I woke up this morning after a night of sex dreams. My body, even subconsciously, is trying to get these eggs outta here. My ovaries are yelling, “get somebody in here to make a baby! Things are getting really out of control and very crowded.”  (I said something way more vulgar, but it doesn’t bear repeating)
Weird. Now I’m sitting on the on the couch with ovaries that, according to the very nice nurse in Burlington, are usually walnut sized but are currently comparable to oranges. Fruit metaphors. How queer. My co-worker said stimulated follicles are the size of grapes.

But, good news, they are ready to be juiced. Picked? whatever the metaphor. Also, the nurse said my ovaries are nice and accessible, which should make retrieval pretty easy and expedient.

We did the ultrasound and it’s even better than yesterday, but they want to get bloodwork back to decide if I’ll take the Decapeptyl double shot tonight to trigger me, or tomorrow. If I take D it will have to be a frozen cycle, as there is a medication (Ovidrel) that is different if they are going to do a fresh transfer. So much I didn’t know before.

I got the call two hours later. Game time!

TO DO:

  1. Take the Gonal F (150) now. No Luveris. Tonight at 9 pm precisely, take two of the Decapeptyl shots.
  2. Go to the grocery store/pharmacy: get an enormous pizza with prosciutto, brie, arugula and figs. Pick up my presciption for Atavan (one for Sunday night, one for the morning of the procedure to help with anxiety). I am so relieved. Allia will be with me because I won’t be able to drive. And we were advised to bring an Ipod with nice music for us to listen to.
  3. Call in to book off work and make lesson plans for Monday, probably Tuesday, too.
  4. Go to the clinic Sunday morning for bloodwork only (make sure the trigger worked)
  5. Don’t eat anything Sunday night. Take an Atavan.
  6. Go in at 6:45 am for my appointment on Monday. At 6:30, take the other Atavan. 
  7. Wear socks. lol. 
  8. Win that game and get as many of my team off the bench and onto the court as I can. No benchwarmers needed. 

 

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Go Team!

 

Weekend Update

I’ve been playing phone tag with the Clinic. Come in today, come in tomorrow, no come in Sunday, OK come in both.

Here is a recap of the past few days.

Thursday: Went into the clinic today. The follicles are developing really wonderfully; I have 10 that look really good. Nurse called and said that I need to go into the Burlington clinic on Saturday, and Dr. C looked at my chart and wants me to drop the Gonal F to 100. She is predicting it’s going to be a freeze-all cycle, because they’re worried about hyperstimulation. So, I might have to do a natural cycle after this one, so wait out November and try for December. Either way, I will come back in and sign consents for frozen transfers. They are going to drop the dose of Gonal, then I’ll go in on Saturday to keep monitoring. (So, started Gonal at 200, dropped to 150, then to 100 last minute on Friday).

Because with a freeze all we will have to skip November, we run into potential scheduling problems. They are closed Dec. 22 to Jan. 5 in Mississauga, while Burlington will be closed Dec. 25 and 26. A natural cycle is unpredictable, so we might miss December altogether.

Transfer Options – Natural or On Medication: If I do end up doing a natural cycle there will be an option to come into the clinic a few times for monitoring, but then we wait for me to ovulate. The risk is that the meds this month might make my cycle unpredictable and it will be hit or miss with the timing of my ovulation (harder to plan and harder to catch). However, if I do a medicated cycle I will have to keep taking the medication for 13 weeks, if I use it during the pregnancy. And bonus deet: the meds make your vagina bright blue. Smurf style.

Friday: In to the clinic again. Last night the dose of Gonal F dropped to 100. Luveris still at 75. Took Cetrotide this morning. Three needles a day makes Alison a dull girl. Good thing it’s just me and not the needles. I need to remember to get a needle disposal unit!! We returned a full one and forgot to get another. We have an ever-growing brown paper bag of medical biohazard waste on the table.

Meds: We have 150 left of Gonal F and 1 Luveris at home. The tally for meds costs is on the agenda for this weekend. It’s in the thousands of $$$.

It was a Long appointment today, because there is a lot to look at.

Lots of follicles!

26 follicles, 16 over 14 mm. My lining is 18.2. They are almost sure that we will do a freeze-all. This makes me nervous, but I keep telling myself it’s for my own good.

I need to come back Sunday to give my body a chance to let the smaller ones catch up. I’m booked at Burlington on Saturday,  but need to change it to Sunday.

What happens next? The trigger shot will happen, then we skip one day. What are we looking forward to? Right now: best results would be 18 (at most) frozen eggs, but often after losses in the post-fertilization stage, it drops off – so maybe 3-7.

Either way, more meds!!!

My running tally is going to be more than I spent on a semester at University. 

Then I got the update: called during Period 5 class, to reschedule. I have to come in Saturday and Sunday. Take Cetrotide, but stop everything else after Friday night.

The doctor looked at my chart and wants to bring me in sooner. My estrogen is at 10,500 and it’s pushing the safe zone if all these follicles keep growing.

Cross your fingers for a weekend of good news!

Sitting in the waiting room

Does anyone else find it weird that at the clinic you sit in a waiting room and everyone is … completely silent. I just made eye contact with a woman sitting across from me and smiled. No reaction… she looked back down and registered no emotion. So yes, I realize that

1) it's early and maybe people are actually still asleep.
2) it's taking a particularly long time today.
3) maybe people are stressed. Maybe they are nervous. Maybe they are frustrated. This process can be all of those things.
4) maybe it's awkward to talk to strangers, even if these people might be going through all the same things you are. Or worse … what if they're not?
5) is it about shame? Is it all of this, or perhaps none of this…

As for me: Today's result? Good. One big follicle on each side. 11 on one. 13 on the other.

Multiples Choice

What do you do when your only choices all feel like total crap? Or when the choice is out of your hands entirely? Helplessness isn’t a feeling that sits well with me. Ever. I always want to know what my next option is, the alternative, the next step…

Got the call back from the clinic (the one telling me whether the Burlington Clinic would go ahead with my procedure, having found that I have 3 follicles big enough to implant). Given the high risk of multiples they won’t do the procedure. Guts drop to the floor. I feel so defeated. On one hand, my body is raring to go; but they are worried for the slim chance that it could be a higher risk pregnancy. No discussion allowed. So no pleading or persuasion possible.

How risky? Well, I called my uncle just to see what he thought of the numbers – to see if he thought they were being reasonable. He said he is in agreement. The risk with twins is considerably higher than with one; the risk with triplets is significantly higher still. They are making a call that is “disappointing in the long run, but safer” in terms of avoiding a bad outcome.

15% chance of getting pregnant with IUI per cycle. Of that 15%, 40% that I will release 3 eggs and end up with three babies. Even less that these would all be viable. I’m not a math person, but these numbers seem insanely low. Know what isn’t low? My age. Or the days that keep creeping by.

When I hear “you’ll just have to wait,” what I’m hearing is “just give up.”  And my mind starts racing against this lack of control by coming up with all the options – no matter how impossible – because crazy and outlandish is better than no choice at all.

How crazy? For example, in my car today, I’m eyeballing the handsome Croatian (I assume) guy driving the Croatian Electric truck beside me, as I come home from the city. Thinking ‘I’m so fertile right now, what if…’  How easy would it be to casually roll down my window and flirt? “Hey, you’re gonna have to stop driving beside me, because I’m finding it very distracting,” some eyelash batting, “… although admittedly I like the view.” Do guys really fall for that stuff? His beaming smile seems to suggest, yes, and I didn’t even open my mouth.

And then I get flashbacks to Bette and Tina in The L word, trying to seduce a variety of men and dupe them into becoming a baby daddy.

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Do I sound crazy?

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Am I that desperate?

It’s a game of multiples with no choice. The nurse even said, “if you were doing this procedure at home, not the clinic, you look like you’re ready to go, so this would be a good time.” Except they have our sperm!

My creativity surges, along with my body, so I come up with questions with no right answer.

Question One: what do you do when your follicles are screaming ‘Open for Business’ and there is no available sperm in sight?

A) Accept that this month the meds, trips to the clinic, the stress, the needles in the arms, the hope and the feelings are all just a write off.

B) Put on your straightest looking dress and hit the club tonight hoping for a catch and assist.

C) Put a call out on BUNZ trading zone (if you don’t know about Bunz yet, look it up, it’s awesome. Like Kijiji without any money ever changing hands. People post what they are in search of, and are met with offers and replies. Sometimes it’s for help, sometimes it’s a service, sometimes it’s a trade for a good. Example: help my grandmother in a wheelchair get lifted down her front step so she can sit in the park/I need someone to practice a bob haircut on/I drank way too much this weekend and need someone to take away the rest of this two-four… will trade for subway tokens. I’ve included a little video link below to Bunz founder, Emily, speaking about the community. Bonus: My wife produced the video). I digress: My ad would read: ISO sperm belonging to a creative, smart and relatively good looking dude- no sex required. Name your trade. Ps. We are lesbians if that helps seal the deal.

D) none of the above.

E) Feel like you are a bundle of raw nerves and try to avoid taking it out on all the people you interact with today; like when work decides to switch the class/course and periods of the day that you are teaching TWO DAYS before school starts, after I’ve already gone in to school (on my vacation) to set up classes, photocopy, made all my websites, plans, etc. Did I mention that the new class got put into period 1 (which I requested as my lunch before the end of last year, so I could avoid this whole issue of having to get supplies in on short notice for one period, constantly disrupting the learning of one class of kids)? Per. 1 starts at 8 am, and the clinic doesn’t open until 7 am? That’s gonna be a blast.

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I know I should be grateful that my body seems fecund, but overly so. It’s the opposite problem some of you are dealing with, but we are left in the same boat at the moment: unable to proceed.  I just can’t win.

But you can trade, and live and try again.

Here’s that video about Bunz.

dims.jpeg Watch it here. Thanks for all the support. I will try to be normal again tomorrow.

 

 

Okay, Crazy

This is what I looked like outwardly: 


But that was two days ago. You know that scene in The Exorcist, where the girl’s head spins around? That was me for one hot second (okay, 45 minutes) last night before I realized my insane mood swing was one of the listed side effects of chlomid. 


I feel like I was watching myself feel fully empowered to self-destruct, all the while trying to back pedal with the slim margin of my brain that was witnessing the scene in horror.  Once we finally realized what was going on, we made an action plan, I cried a bit and we figured out a SafeWord. Hopefully we can nip those little outbursts in the bud… We’ll be OK.

We went into the clinic Friday, good. On track. Saturday again, for bloodwork. My estrogen has spiked to a thousand. Good news. And today, Sunday, back for the works. In the post-exam meeting, the doctor said: 

“You’re the lucky one.” 

 (I’m not even sure where to put the italics in that sentence, but there was definite emphasis) delivered after she realized I was a Mississauga patient. It seems I’m the patient still getting monitored, but neither of us is quite sure how exactly it happened.   

 “Let’s not question the universe,” said the doctor. But I Am being monitored and it’s a very good thing. ‘Cause today is the day. It almost makes me forget the rest of this gong show, up and down, catastrophe, wild ride of emotions. 

Based on today’s results (19 and 21mm) they gave me an injection to ensure that my eggs release.  I still have two follicles, possible twin-set in the works, and I have an IUI booked for tomorrow morning!

Allia, now understandably, is cautiously optimistic and wants me to put some emotions on hold – to curb my expectations and excitement so I’m not devastated. I know the risks and stats (15% chance of success). But also given  my recent demonic possession, she doesn’t want me to be swinging out of control. I just really want to buy a crib. I’ve been waiting three years. It will feel so satisfying to put that sucker together. 

Really it’s just that I’m excited the day we’ve been waiting for is here. We step into the active ‘trying’ phase… 

“It’s the first time I will ever have sperm inside of me!!” 

Seriously. I’m not a gold star, but I’ve always insisted on scrupulous protective measures. 

Bring it on! 

Thinking of the numbers and likelihood of success, one has to ask: why not me? It could happen. 

It All Falls into Place

When everything aligns, there is magic. Or at least the appearance of it. These photos are all symbolic of how the magic happens, sometimes due to luck, sometimes intense planning, other magic moments are the result of chemistry and temperature, or hard work and saving. Try pushing the button that says, ‘yes, we will pay $750 to buy your single-use shot of sperm’… making yourself feel confident in that click is a feat of magic in itself.

I am ready to head into the clinic tomorrow to start monitoring for a REAL DEAL cycle (a miracle after the past five days of uncertainty). I captured the moon.

I pressed send on that order button and bought our sperm.

I am crossing many things off my To Do List.


I am going to eat some pizza and key lime pie. Both pies, totally different, equally delicious. I am all the good, tasty things that I want, and working out to keep it all in balance.


I am being upstaged by a tiny chihuahua named Daisy. I sometimes look at small creatures and wonder 1) how they can exist and be so mini. 2) why a common reaction to small adorable things is to want to squish them and make high pitched sounds.

Sometimes the simplest moments are the most surprising when they happen, they can be challenging to capture, while other seemingly simple tasks represent the biggest leaps of all. Like the click of a button. The cycles of the moon. The science of cells dividing successfully over and over again to create a tiny human. Or dog.