my Self

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Fort St John, BC, Canada
My husband, David, and I had been trying to have a baby since November of 2007. After 'letting things happen', we got the amazing news that we were pregnant in June of 2008. Sadly, that pregnancy ended at 9 weeks with a natural miscarriage. After two more chemical pregnancies, we turned to fertility treatments in 2009. That decision was a disaster, with lousy medical care and poor monitoring. In December of 2009, we made the huge decision to move onto IVF. Things fell into place like magic and we began treatment on January 15, 2010. After a blighted ovum in March, we did a successful FET in June, only to endure another blighted ovum in July. We kept up and underwent another IVF in September/October of 2010 with the arrival of our son, Brogan in July of 2011! After our lovely success (finally) we decided to undertake yet another IVF treatment and hope for a sibling for our little red headed boy. Well... so far it's worked. Our story continues below!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Torn Between Two Men

So after things settled down and the tears were spilled and wiped up, David and I talked.  I was surprised and relieved that he wanted to try again without any pushing on my part.  However, he wants to wait until January, to give ourselves a chance to lead a normal life for a few months, for my body to cleanse itself of all the hormones and to give me a break from the rigors of ivf-life. 

some days i just want to forget everything that's happened.

I spoke to my doctor today.  He said there was no known reason for what was happening to us, but that our miscarriages were not 'clinical miscarriages', and didn't seem to think they would put us at a higher risk for losing more pregnancies.  Bad fucking luck all the way around.  And I am generally known as a woman who has horseshoes up her butt.  Maybe that's the problem.  Maybe it's the horseshoes up my butt that's causing the baby to not grab on... too uncomfortable.


The RE wants us to try again - no promises, but he thinks we still have a great chance.  However, he said that our chances might lower (would lower) by up to 10% if we waited until January.  Doctor H wants us to try again in late September, because at my age, he said, every month counts and we should try earlier than later. 

If everything were equal, I'd rather wait until January.  David feels the doctor is simply putting us into categories and piling statistics onto us to rush us, but David knows that he can't totally say that Doctor H is wrong.  Do we take that chance?  David feels that the break will do us good ... that it will improve our chances for conception and a healthy pregnancy. 

As far as my feelings...  well... I will have to go through everything no matter what month it is.  It won't matter to me emotionally, I don't think.  I've done pretty well so far.  Pretty well.  I am kind of confused and anxious about what to do.  There have been so many big decisions, so much of our life dedicated to this journey, some hours I just want to let it all go.  Just go back to being newly married and deliriously happy and renovating our home and working to lose the extra weight and not have this miscarriage trying to get pregnant persona attached to everything that I am.

On the other hand, I've got my entire life ahead of me to do that.  I only have a couple of years available to make a baby.  A couple of years that might be just as painful as the last couple of years, but the payoff, if there is one... will make every moment worth it.

So which way do I go... do I put my trust in my husband's instincts or my doctor's educated guess?  I want to do whatever will bring me a baby.... that's all.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


A hand on my stomach when I woke
Like so many mornings before
My own, there... by habit
Feeling for a change, a rise,
Sending messages
Quickly gone, shamed to admit
Maybe I'd forgotten
The scarlet truth.
Hot bleach water
Burning that hand
Rags swirling across dirt
Scrubbing away stains
And memories
Over and over
And over.
On my knees, reddened,
Some ignored tears,
A sob from someone
In the room,
I'm surprised that
I'm alone.
Jerking myself back
To the task at hand
Erasing everything I can
From the mess I made
It's not so much this time
About what we lost
More so about
What we may
Never have at all.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Just Me In My Skin.

When I went for my ultrasound on Friday, I had high hopes.  I really did think there was a chance for all this to happen, and after getting positioned and giving the ultrasound tech a few moments, I asked her point blank, "is there anything there?  Should I even hope?"

She said she didn't see anything yet, and decided to do a transvaginal u/s.  I pretty much knew at that point what the news was going to be.  My thoughts jumped to my husband sitting outside the room, and how excited and hopeful he was to be called in to see the heartbeat of his first child.  I lay there, quietly staring off into space, my thoughts with David and how he would take this, while the tech tried in vain to see something, anything she could contribute to an embryo.  It felt like the world was dropping out from beneath me and I was nothing.  Not even tears could express my sadness. 

The tech apologized to me, and showed me the screen where I numbly confirmed that she was right, there was not even a speck of anything in the black, silent sac.  Nothing at all.  Like me. 

Leaving the room and facing David was one of the most difficult experiences I've had to go through during all of this.  He had a bewildered look on his face when I appeared instead of the tech, and asked what had happened.  I couldn't talk until we left the hospital.  We sat in the parking lot of the hospital for over an hour, not sure where to go, not wanting to be anywhere, just grieving and consoling each other.  We called our parents and consoled them through their own loss, then cried again after hanging up, trying to be strong for them, so they wouldn't hurt for us anymore than they already did.

We asked each other what we needed, and surprisingly, he wanted to go to the driving range with my oldest son, who is 22.  I encouraged him to go, to do what he needed to get through the initial sting.  Me, I went to the grocery store and bought two huge t-bone steaks, a pound of crab legs, baked potatoes and everything needed for gingered vegetables.  I updated my facebook - hating it but needing the support of my friends and family who were all anxiously awaiting good news. I called my clinic and spoke to my doctor - you can do that when you pay stupid amounts of money for private medical care - and he confirmed to stop my meds and he would call on Monday.

I went home and headed straight for the liquor cabinet.  Two shots of high quality vodka in an extra spicy caesar (for my American friends that's a clam/tomato juice, vodka, salt, spice and Tabasco sauce) seemed appropriate.  Then I began cooking.  Ninety minutes and another drink later, David walked in to find an entire steak and seafood dinner just hitting the dining room table.  A good friend from out of town (one of my best friends from my hometown, actually) showed up soon after and we sat on the deck in the warmth of a lovely sunset, just talking about anything but babies and pregnancy. 

I had a few tears when I went to bed.  I curled up in my husband's arms and wept, feeling empty and stupid and useless... and he held me and listened and we fell asleep wrapped around each other.  There was a hole in our world that was just too big to comprehend....

I had nightmares, and woke at 4 a.m., and lay in bed, miserable and unwilling to start my day.  David had gone to work and I called him three times just to hear his voice.  "This is me," I said on the third call, "being clingy," and he laughed, which made me laugh.

He came home from work early.. and we talked.  We talked about how much it hurt, but each hour made the pain more blunt and more manageable.  I told him that we'd endured this before, and gotten through it.  I said that if it never worked, we had our entire life to heal, but only a short time to keep trying... and if we were successful, if it worked, then all the pain we went through would be forgotten.  It would be worth it.  He agreed, and suggested we do another cycle in January.  At first... I wanted to push for a sooner date, but I know this is his journey as well, and so I agreed without argument.  I am kind of excited to have a few months to just try naturally, and to lift things and run and take really hot baths and not inject something into my body every day.

I'll be talking to the doctor on Monday, to try and figure out what might be causing this or if it's really just bad luck.  I'll post that then... meanwhile.. did I mention that even though I am on horrid hormones and fertility drugs that I have managed to LOSE 10.5 lbs of the 26 that I gained?  That feels freaking good.  Oh, and tonight, after a long walk with my husband and the dog, and some running and laughing and relaxing, that I got my period?  Or my miscarriage started, however you want to think about it.  For this I am happy..... I want my body to cleanse itself of everything and just be me for a while.  No pregnancy hormone, no maybe-baby, nothing but me inside my skin.

Over Again

There's not much to say.... I was actually hoping for the best and even expecting good news, but it wasn't.  The tech said there was nothing there, except a gestational sac measuring 5.5 weeks.  I looked myself as well and there wasn't even a speck of anything.  So, I stopped the meds and will wait for the miscarriage.

We've got to do some serious thinking and figure out what to do.  As soon as we can think past the sadness.  It was another blighted ovum, meaning all the hormones were still being released and that's why I had all the signs and symptoms (along with the hormones I am taking).  Plus, I was such a downer last time this happened, so sure it was bad news, that I was really trying to have a happier outlook... I did have a happier outlook.  But the ending was still the same.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Last Night

Ignorance is bliss.  That means if you don't know what's going on, you're happier.  Or, if you don't know there's a bug in your salad and think it was just a crunchy nut, it's most likely a good thing.  Or... well.. you get the picture.  Not knowing can be pretty freaking comfortable.  Especially on this journey.

I have never been one to stick my head in the sand.  In fact, I can say I am pretty disliked among a few family and peers for my unique and horrid habit of pulling everyone elses' head out of the sand as well.  I don't mind bad news, or gross crap, or facing stupid issues head on.... and can't seem to wrap my head around those who do.  I mean, is facing the truth going to make it less true?  Is hearing the news going to change the news? 
well?  is it?

No, of course not, but prolonging it can be pretty comfortable when you just can't take on anymore truth or news for a while. 

I've purposely not gotten any more betas.  The only thing I've done is test a few times a week just to see the super dark line rise in super fast time.  Oh my gawd, that feels good.  Like confirmation that at least I'm not a freaky nutball for all the symptoms I have.  At least I'll be justified for falling asleep on the deck last night, and a neighbor having to wake me up.  Or throwing up a time or two at work (made it to the toilet!).  Or peeing seven times a day. 

It's senseless to get betas anyhow.  Blighted ovums don't care about the little matter of a live embryo.. they just keep pumping hormones out into your body and growing a gestational sac like nobody's business.  Betas are fuck-all helpful when you might just have an ugly old sac of gawd knows what in there - minus baby. 

Okay.  It's Thursday night.  Honestly, I am excited about tomorrow.  I know it may not be good, but chances are that it is.  Tomorrow my post will be different.  I will either be pretty sad and pissed or I'll be in shock and disbelief.  I wonder what the next step will be.  Will we decide to try another IVF?  Will we give up and just start to spend insane amounts of money on home renos and travel?  Will I get my tummy tuck and start working out to lose 30 lbs?  Or will I be planning the nursery and loving every ache and twinge that my body will experience?

Last night for things being the way they are without any more information than what we have.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tick Tock...

It's Tuesday evening.  Time is crawling.  I'm finding things to do throughout the day to occupy my mind and pass the minutes.  It's kind of hard because I can't seem to concentrate for very long on anything.  I know that my life is going to be different on Friday, after the ultrasound. 

I'm not sure how I feel about this at this time.  I went through dreading it and looking forward to it, and now I'm kind of ambivalent.  Whatever happens, happens, and I'll deal with it.

I had one moment where I really felt completely at ease.  I am still taking hpts every few days or so (sometimes a week apart).  Unless I have a blighted ovum again, which I would seriously be pissed if I got two in a row (does that even happen??), then the lines will keep getting darker and appear faster. 

I am usually at work when I have the compulsion and the Wal Mart is just across the street from my shop.  So yesterday I went and bought a two pack, hoping for a different pharmacy cashier, and since I had to pee so badly, I was forced to confirm my impending motherhood in the store bathroom.  As I sat there, watching an impossibly dark line appear much faster than even the control line came into focus, I was hit by nausea, which was part of my morning for the past few hours. 

I thought, just for a few moments, that I am totally completely pregnant and everything will be fine.  What more proof could I want?  I felt a sense of overwhelming peace and that hint of 'glowing motherhood' that I remember from happier, more successful pregnancies when my boys were under gestation.  I envisioned the ultrasound, seeing the measuring of the fetal pole, the gestational sac, the crown to rump measurements and that wondrous flicker of a heartbeat. 
It didn't last long...  I do feel very different than before, when I had the blighted ovum and miscarriage in February.  I went back and read my blogs from that time.  By this  point in the non-pregnancy pregnancy, I was having a hard time even saying I might be pregnant.  I had told the u/s tech to expect nothing, or at least nothing with a heartbeat.  I don't feel that way this time - I am, in all honesty, cautiously optimistic. 

Oddly enough, I am more worried that if I am not pregnant, that I will feel like such a fool for all these symptoms.  As I said before, I've spent more time trying to convince myself that these bouts of nausea, the exhaustion, the cravings, the sore breasts are not real, and simply made up in my mind through a deep subconscious desire to feel pregnant. 

If you think I am over-thinking this, you are right.  Of course I am.  I know it, I'm aware of it, and a few times in the day, I seriously overindulge in it.  Mostly when I write my blog or to one of the amazing women whom grace my inbox with their own stories or encouragement or words of sincere understanding. 

It's Tuesday evening.  Wednesday's next.  A long day at work, perhaps go and play pool at the pub and enjoy dinner out with family.  One day at a time, right?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

life just got sweeter

Today I got a call from my mom. She needed me to drive her to the hospital. She was too emotional to drive herself. Sounds kind of scary... but... it was a good thing. A 3lb 10oz good thing who was 17.5 inches tall but filled the entire room with his presence. My nephew and his fiance welcomed their new son into the world, born at 10:48 this morning, seven weeks early, but seemingly healthy and eager to get on with life and all it's adventures. Baby doesn't have a name yet, but that didn't matter.... mom and dad were too much in shock to really think about it, since he came a heck of a lot earlier than he was scheduled for!

Everyone was very emotional and happy, and thankful that this little miracle was delivered easily and quickly and without fuss... well unless you consider delivering a baby at 33 weeks in a small hospital with no neonatal unit something that happens without fuss. The little guy was surrounded by doctors and nurses... but judging from their smiles and willingness to let family hover around, he's going to be just fine. He was transported to Prince George where they can do a more thorough check and monitor him for a few days.

It was really surreal for me in some ways. It made me remember my own children's births, and it made me realize that I very well may be going through those emotions, those feelings, in a few short months. I was overjoyed for the young couple... which... realizing now... is a pretty good reality check on my own emotional health.

I am slowly inching towards my ultrasound. I sometimes look forward to it, I sometimes dread it... mostly I just avoid thinking about it altogether and concentrate on anything else. That's difficult at times. I have moments and even hours of feeling like... well... pregnant. During those times, I feel a constant roll of nausea - not enough to actually wreck my day, but enough to make me consider the possibility. Often my breasts will ache and feel heavy and irritated. My emotions are mixed up and crawl under my skin, daring me to react towards my amazing staff, my unsuspecting customers, those closest to me. I withhold decisions and spiked reactions, even when I shouldn't. Sometimes I am hit by such a wall of exhaustion that I suffer hidden yawns and eyelids that are weighted down with iron. Real nausea hits out of the blue, leaving me gagging and sometimes throwing up into toilets. I really do need to clean my bathrooms more often.

When I am faced with these symptoms, I am desperately convincing myself that it's all psychosomatic. When I am not dealing with a teary, gagging, sleeping, anger-driven episode, I am desperately convincing myself that because I am feeling somewhat normal, that something is wrong.

Remember, I did just go through 8 weeks of being pregnant without actually being pregnant. Can you blame me? Really? Dare you to try this. In fact, I'd love to talk to you while you do. Nah. I wouldn't wish this on anyone. It's like I lost my pregnancy virginity or something. The innocence, you know... the innocence is lost, I've been forced to the floor and been made to stare my own worst fears dead in the face, and you can't ever forget that.

I would say though, on the whole, I am actually dealing quite well, despite the theatrical tone to my writing. I am keeping myself distracted through work (not hard there), and started small projects that are new to me. Like relaxing. Going home in the afternoons and reading on the deck, in the sun, alone. Like designing a baby quilt and actually following through on it. Like visiting friends and going to movies. It's working. Just a moment ago it was 18 days until the ultrasound. Now it's 8. That's freaky. In just another moment I will be naked under a worn, massive cotton gown, submitting all my hopes and fears to the mercy of a piece of technology that will be inserted up my wazoo.

Ah, the drama. I mean, if it's bad news, I'll have to face that dead on, with my war paint and black jokes that are getting old and a resolve to keep on trying. If it's good news, I'll have to come to terms that we really will be having a baby. One kind of like the perfect infant I witnessed this morning, only I am sure that mine will be roughly two and a half times bigger, be two weeks overdue and I will not look anything like the lovely creature who walked casually out of the labour room, sweetly asking "where's my baby?". I will be sweat drenched, hair matted, diaper wearing, makeup smeared, red faced and exhausted. Ah. But that's another story. One that I dearly hope to tell.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


Every Thursday marks off another week.  As if it takes me seven whole days to raise my foot to the level of the next tiny step on the ladder.  I find my fingers seeking out facts and numbers on the keyboard as if somehow these statitics can prove that a baby is growing within me.  David said it was strange.  Strange because I am the 'feeling' person, the instinctive, touchy, sensitive, artsy person and he is the numbers, charts and stats person in the relationship.  He said that he 'feels' that everything will turn out perfect, and I search for numbers to confirm it.  This is, indeed, strange.... Except....

My experience with conception has gone from passionate nights of emotional and physical intimacy with the man of my dreams to simply viewing my reproductive system as a labratory test tube.  It belongs to doctors who poke, prod, measure and calculate me constantly.  My days are measured by what doctor needs to examine me, which pills I will be inserting into which part of my body, or what dose of stinging medication I will be plunging into my abused belly fat.  My chances of motherhood do not lie in the dreams of a night of lovemaking, they are measured by dark burgundy blood that is drawn by sterilized needles in sterilized labs, by bruises and band-aids and phone calls. 

Passion is gently stowed away for weeks, months at a time so that my uterus is undisturbed and whatever is growing in there has complete territorial rights.  We fearfully respect those boundaries and settle for gentle kisses, cuddling and sinking deep into novels at night instead of each other. 

It's not so strange, after all, that I measure my pregnancy with numbers, considering how much emotion I have had to remove from it. 

I wonder what's happening deep inside me, in the most protected place possible.  Proof of life is aching, throbbing breasts and the constant bubble of nausea sitting somewhere between my stomach and my lips.  I allow myself brief moments of delicious imagination, when I have a moment to do so.  I picture myself with a growing belly, David witnessing his child coming to life a moment at a time for months and months, right before his eyes.  I imagine myself swollen with the weight and happiness of it all, finally able to browse possibilities of cribs, tiny boots, and life.  I avoid thoughts of the other possibilities... except to think... surely... the odds are with me, the numbers are in my favor at last.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Crazy Woman Doctor Appointment

So I got nervous.  It happens.  It's happened before.  It'll happen again.  Get it?  I want everyone to get it.  understand that I am, in my own mind, at least, a pretty level headed woman when it comes to this pregnancy thing.  It has been nearly three years of no real happy endings.  No squirming, breathing baby at the end of it, making me wonder what the hell I was thinking.  Just me, 25 lbs more of me, and close to $20K less of our money to show for it.  Yeah, I get nervous.

I get nervous when my betas are doubling at an embarrassingly low rate.  I get nervous when I have ridiculous conversations with people that leave me stressed out.  I get nervous when pregnancy signs come and go, and I get nervous when I think that this might be the one time that our dreams really might come true.

So when I had my last beta done at 9 o'clock in the morning on Wednesday, because I was nervous, I had anticipated that I might have the results within, I don't know... six hours?  Considering the lab had faxed the results over to my doctor's office (not the clinic - that's 500 miles away) within 90 minutes (that's before 11 a.m., folks...) I thought I might have a chance to ease my stress. 

Nah.  I called four times only to be told that the nurses hadn't had a chance to enter the information into the system.  They can't read it from a piece of paper from the fax, it has to be read from a screen, I guess.  So the entire day goes by and I get no relief from my nerves.  So then, as imaginations will do, my imagination took over and I was sure that my doctor wanted to wait until my Thursday (today) appointment to break the bad news to me.  Yeah, that eased my fear. 

This morning I was such a wreck, so sure that the doctor was going to have those deep, sorrowful eyes that means your entire world is going to be sucked away again, I was so worried... that I am sure my young doctor thinks I am a proverbial crazy pregnant lady, and is dreading an actual term of gestation with me as a patient.

David came with me.  I was thankful for him being there, happy for the solidness of his presence.  Happier that he got to witness some good news for a change.  The beta was 300... more than doubled.  Well, of course.  How could I ever have doubted anything but?   *crazy laugh*

Here are my numbers with a 5dt FET

12dpo  hcg 30 (none)

14dpo   hcg 66       42.20 hrs

17dpo   hcg 146     62.86 hrs

19dpo   hcg 300     46.20 hrs

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Monday's beta wasn't quite as good as I had hoped.  145.5, with a doubling time of just under 60 hours.  Not great, but Dr. H seemed to be pleased and didn't order any more betas, just scheduled my ultrasound for July 23rd.  Oddly enough, I am not nervous. 

A fellow IVF pal and blogger wrote that she didn't know if her lack of nervousness was due to confidence about the pregnancy or acceptance of sadness that might come to be. 

I thought it was a brilliant expression of honesty, and made me wonder about my own lack of concern about this pregnancy.  Am I relaxed because even though my numbers are low and slow, I feel that this baby is just a slow starter and that betas are all over the place for each pregnancy?

Or have I progressed to the point of sad acceptance of anything that might be thrown at me?

Don't get me wrong - I'm still pretty pumped about this pregnancy.  I feel pregnant, and I am exhausted with sore boobs and emotions leaking out of my face every time I turn around.  Oh, and I took another hpt today ....  the last time I took one was at 14dpo and I was troubled that it didn't show up right away, and that it wasn't darkening very much from the day before.  Today's line came up before the control line, and was thick, much darker than the control, and a really nice boost to any doubts or fears I am carrying around with me. 

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Details

Okay, I haven't really said alot, or enough about the FET.  It's nothing compared to a fresh IVF cycle, but it is still a long, drawn out event that is surprisingly anti-climatic when it actually happens.

First we went on a month of bcp, and then a month of nightly injections and a pill regime.  I had to travel with Lupron.   What's the big deal?  Lupron has to be kept refrigerated.  How the hell do you take a week long trip to Vegas and a week long adventure learning to sail with a tiny vial of meds that needs to be kept cold?  I found a small insulated lunchbox, and for those two weeks, carried it around with me, finding various spots along the way to refill big freezer bags of ice to keep things the right temperature.  It was a hassle, but worth it in the long run.  The most surprising thing is how many airport security scans never noticed that I had a huge bag of ice/water and a dozen needles in my little black lunchbox.  Totally got through Homeland Security... only the Canadian boarder agents caught the liquids and needles and did a thorough search and question session!

Then there was the whole Estridol thing.  Estridol is estrogen.  I have to take all these hormones because my body was not allowed to cycle naturally (ovulate).  So the ovaries were suppressed while we artificially tricked the uterus into a nice thick lining, and then into thinking I was pregnant.  Okay.  Back to the Estridol.  I've been on various meds, oral, injects and wazoo pills for nearly a year and a half.  I get tired of checking charts and calendars and dull needles.  And to boot, I was having a reaction to the Estridol.  My face was itching like crazy - especially the eyebrows and jawline.  I couldn't figure it out - did I contact eyebrow lice on the sailboat?  I mean, I was really scratching at my face about an hour after every dose.  My clinic was clueless - they'd never heard of a reaction and just suggested some Benedryl. 

Turns out I was od'ing on the stuff.  My pill container said '2mg twice a day'.  Most of my pill containers say '2 pills twice a day'.  Turns out each pill was 2 mg.  When I realized what I was doing I felt so stupid!  I never hurt anything according to the clinic, but I did cause myself a lot of discomfort and I did waste a lot of meds. 

On to the actual transfer.  I took my husband.  Remember, we have to travel 500 miles south for anything to do with my clinic.  One ultrasound I had at cd17 meant I got on a plane for just over an hour, then rented a car, drove 40 minutes to spend less than 30 minutes at the clinic from start to finish, then drove 40 minutes back to the airport, waited two hours and then flew home.  Over $500 for a 5 minute visit with my doctor... and I'm pretty sure our ultrasound techs here could have measured the lining pretty accurately.  But, I digress. 

So David and I went together for the transfer.  I set aside four days so I could be away from work and family and just relax and focus on gestation.  The actual transfer was uneventful, and as I said before, anti-climatic.  I arrived with a full bladder, got prepared (put on hospital gown), and got onto the table.  I was surprised that David was allowed in the room with me - and so was he.  We put in the three embies, while there was scottish music playing in the background (the embryologist is a wonderful, red headed scottish woman in her late 40's), and liked to play music for the embryos!  The staff were warm and gentle, my nurse actually touched me in comfort and took a lot of time to talk to us on a personal level. 

Then we were done.... spent the rest of the time relaxing and on my butt or back as much as possible.  We had rented a Mustang convertable and cruising around the city with our music and sunshine was one of my favorite memories with David.   I was really able to relax mentally, not just physically!

Friday, July 2, 2010

14DPO Beta

65 with a doubling time of 40.34.  :)