Wednesday, March 31, 2010

We are That Couple

Last night A. was in the kitchen making his lunch for work when he uttered the words, "we are not that couple, we are the childless couple". Oh. My. God. I thought we were passed all of this. He was joking. I know he was joking, but it stings none the less. I think it is his optimism, that is at fault here. He truly believes that we will be parents and therefore, doesn't see how these comments can hit home.

He is right about one thing. We are closer than we have ever been to being parents.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Should be Day

Today should be my Beta day. If all went according to plan (and I know that it rarely does) I should be waiting for the call from the nurse about my HCG levels. I know I have to move on, but it is days like today where I just can't. These anniversaries are so difficult for me. I am so focused on what it would have felt like to receive a hopefully good news phone call for once, that it just makes me sad, frustrated and angry.

Last night, the desserts were a hit. Everyone enjoyed the lemon pie, however it still never really thickened up. Usually, when you slice into the cake you see very defined sections of crust, ice cream and lemon, but yesterday it was just one pile of mush. At least it tasted delicious!

A.'s father loves videotaping. He tapes many family get togethers and then edits to the footage to make mini-movies. He made a movie of last year's Seder for us to watch. I was late to the Seder last year by one and half hours. I had to go to my parents house so my father could give me a Gonal-F injection. We were so rushed because we both had [laces to be that we both completely forgot about the Cetrotide injection. I remember thinking that next year at the Seder I will be a parent. It will no longer be A. and I surrounded by the sea of children. This was the cycle of my chemical pregnancy. I was able to live that dream for two days. They were the best two days of my life. And then, like many, the dream was ripped from me so fast, I still can't believe it at times.

I have been seeing a social worker on a regularly for a while now. I started going before my second IVF on an infrequent basis, but after the continual bad news, I am now going once a week. It is so helpful to have someone to talk to, especially someone who gets it (she is an infertility counsellor). One of the things that keeps me going is that she says that the chemical pregnancy should that my body knows how to implant. Yes, it was a bad quality embryo which is why it didn't take, but it tried to. I have to remember this when going in for my transfer. I have to remember that my body should be able to do this.


Monday, March 29, 2010

Nothing Like a Good Bake

I am trying to keep busy and distract myself. I have so many thoughts running through my head that I can't keep track of everything. I am trying to process my feelings, but its still to raw and difficult for me so instead, I thought I would bake.

The first Seder is tonight and so I thought I would make some desserts. The first one is this. I have made the recipe a few times before and it is always a big hit. Of course, today, it is not truning out the way I need it to. The lemon is not getting thick and it is throwing me off of my game. I can't even make a pie that I have made before! AH! For those of you foodies, the recipe is easy, and it is sure to be a hit at any dinner party, the only thing is that it takes a long time (hours) from start to finish. Here is how it turned out:

I also decided to make mandel bread, Jewish biscotti. It was much easier and hopefully will taste good.

To those who celebrate Passover, I wish you a Chag Sameach.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Why Donor Eggs?

This post is me working through some of my feelings around donor eggs and the choices that I have made.

It has been on my mind a lot, the reasons why I chose donor eggs instead of adoption or stopping to try altogether. It was not a decision that I made easily, nor wanted to make at all. No one should be put in this situation. I hate that my young body failed me and I have to go a less than traditional route to be a parent. I am not embarrassed nor ashamed of using ART and donor eggs, but I am sad and angry about it.

I often think back to when I first went off the pill before we were actually trying. Many friends (fertile ones) told me to be careful because you are more likely to get pregnant in those first few months. Obviously they were wrong. I think back to how naive I was about this process. I had feelings like everyone else, that it would happen naturally and quickly. Well, no actually, I didn't. I always had it somewhere in the back of my mind that it would be difficult, but I never dreamed of this. I guess it didn't help matters much that for my IUIs and two of my IVFs, we were all sure it was going to work. With each failure we were all devastated and left with the question of what went wrong. It was only then, my eggs started becoming the topic of conversation. It was not a conversation I was ready or interested in having. I will however admit that once the idea was put in my head, it really never went away, it was always in the back of my mind as a sort of insurance package or nagging feeling. I still can't believe that my Plan B is my reality.

A. was not completely on board at first. He desperately wanted us both to be genetically connected to our children. Of course, I did as well, but not to the same degree. It turns out he just needed some time to process and grieve the loss. I am not sure if I have 100% done that yet. I do not know if it has completely sunk in that if I get pregnant with these embryos, I will not be genetically related to them. I try not dwell on that part, because it still saddens me, but I know it isn't healthy either to pretend it doesn't exist. In my head I understand, but I am not sure my heart is completely there yet.

Last night A. and I watched the movie, The Blind Side. It was beyond fantastic. It is about a white family that takes in a teenage black boy and raises him as their own and how he ends up becoming a professional football player. WOW! Watching the movie, I kept thinking to myself that genes don't matter. They love this boy as if he was their own and he was seventeen when they met him. Why can't I adopt? It would be more of a sure thing, and it would probably cost less, why am I not ready to think of this as an option?

I guess I am selfish. I want to experience pregnancy (labour, not so much!). I want a child more than anything, but I want to feel like I had a role in bringing them into the world. It is not completely about genetics, although it is a bonus that they will have A.'s, it is about me. I need to be a part of the process. I am scared to death about what happens when the baby will arrive. I think about how I will feel when people say, "he has your eyes" or "she has your smile". I can only imagine at this point, that I will feel upset by this, even though I am told by many DE parents that once the baby arrives, it doesn't matter. I also worry about jealousy. Will I be jealous of A. if they look like him or have his mannerisms? I hope not. In my head I believe that, but in my heart, I am still unsure. I guess I feel the need to bond with the fetus because I am worried that my connection will not be instant. Maybe genetics do play a role? Maybe the baby will not bond with me instantly because it will know that I am somehow a fake. I haven't really worked out these feelings yet and they are sounding a bit like ramblings, but they are there. When I think about the early bonding between mother and child, I am worried that if I don't have at least some role to play (like carrying the fetus) then I will disconnected completely.

Thinking back to the movie, maybe it was easy for them to accept this child as their own because they already had two children. They were not looking to fill a void in their lives, just do the right thing. I can't express in words the respect I feel for this family, but I wonder if I could do it. I would like to think I could. I wish I could. I am just not there yet. If our DE cycle fails and none of the embryos turn into a live baby, I will have to think about out next steps, but I am not ready for that yet. For today, I am hopeful that with these embryos, A. and I will be parents.


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Feeling Low

It is that time of year...Passover cleaning. It is the one time of the year, that I initiate the cleaning of the house. For those unfamiliar with the holiday of Passover, the custom is to not eat chametz (breads, grains and leavened products) for eight days as Jews remember their exit from slavery in Egypt. Many Jewish people, also clean their homes in preparation of the holiday. This is not your regular clean, this is where we empty out the kitchen, scrub it up and down and do a spring clean of the house from top to bottom. I'll admit, it is hard work and I don't enjoy doing it, but I do enjoy the benefits when it is finished. I always look forward to this time of year, but not today. This was a hard clean for me today. I was not supposed to be cleaning. I was supposed to be sitting on the couch during the 2WW, while A. cleaned and I told him what to do (A. cleans all the time and Passover is really my thing, so he would have needed some direction for what needed to be done).

I have moments where I think that it was for the best that I did not get to the fresh transfer. I try to tell myself about the reasons why it will work out better this way, but in the end I am fooling myself. The only difference between March and May is that May is two months farther along. I am so tired of waiting. I am sick of feeling let down by my body. I am scared that I will never experience a pregnancy. I am sad and angry by this.

I have good days and bad days. On a good day, I can get out of bed, go to work and even reach out to my fertile friends. On my bad days, I want to crawl into my bed, under the covers and not come out for days. Of course, I can't actually hide from the world, so I put on a brave front and then let it all out when I am home alone. Probably not the best medicine.

My head continues to spin with thoughts about how my body has let me down...again. I find that I am stuck in this situation, and I am not sure how/if I will be able to move forward. I hate that I now cry at the drop of a hat (or watching Dancing with the Starts). I am trying desperately to think positively for the upcoming cycle. I am listening to my hypnosis CD before bed every night, and I hope it is helping. I am also reminding myself of the fact that we have fifteen good looking embryos. All of this is well and good, but if my body doesn't respond, it won't really matter. I hate that I am still infertile. I hate that I am entering another Passover holiday without a pregnancy let alone a baby. Today was a not so great day as it just served to remind me of the loss that I continue to have.


Friday, March 26, 2010

Nothing to Write

Tonight, I find myself tired and blank. I can't think of anything to write. I am sick of bitching about my failed lining and nothing else is really going on. So I think for today, I will just shut up and go to sleep.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Trying to Pass the Time

I am literally teaching right now. I am in class and my students are working in groups, preparing for their final performance of the year (drama). As a teacher, this is the time where I reflect on the work that I have done to prepare them as they set off to mount their first production. I can hardly believe the school is almost over. I remember them as young, innocent high school students, struggling to transition from middle school to high school. I almost laughed when I think how far they have come. As an IFer, this is the time, where I am obsessively reading blogs, writing my blog and of course, checking IVFC. I feel a connection to the women I have "met" through this process and I find myself wanting to read the next installment of each of their stories. Each woman has a had a journey of their own and is continues to struggle to make it to the other side. Eventually, I am hopeful that we all we all, even if we take different paths to get there.

These women have helped me realize that my thoughts, fears, feelings and dreams are normal and part of this journey. Normal. Is. Not. How. I. Feel. I know in my head that many people in my situation would feel similar, but I can't help but remembering what my life was like before this IF roller coaster. I think, I used to be fun. I think, I used to like going out for fancy dinners and drinking great wine. I think, I used to look forward to trying. These things have been taken away from me. Sometimes I feel like my enjoyment for life has been taken away from me.

I think it is really important for me to regain control of my life. This will not be easy as for the past three years, my life has been out of my control, but I will try. I will be off work for the next ten days for Passover vacation and I hoping in this time, to find myself. I am not really sure where to start looking though, any ideas? This will be how I will pass the time waiting until we transfer beautiful embryos.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Reflections on House Hunting

My baby brother (24 years old) bought a house with his girlfriend. They got possession today and I couldn't wait to go and see it. It is fantastic, and I am so happy for them. It has character, a lot of nice upgrades and is in a pretty great location. It's perfect for them. I am reminded of when A. and I bought our house. We were recently engaged and wanted to buy right away. We knew the area we wanted, but at first our eyes were bigger than our wallets. We looked at houses WAY out of our price range, not really knowing what our range was. We thought we needed a lot of space, like five bedrooms. Looking back, why did we think we needed such a large house? At the time, my father told us that we should consider a condo in the city, but I was against the idea. I wanted a house in the burbs. I am so regretting this decision right now.

I grew up in the suburbs and so I always dreamed about living there and raising my family. I pictured walking the streets with my stroller, going to the park and having street parties with the other families. Maybe, my fantasies aren't the most realistic, however they do seem to happen in my neighbourhood, only I am always watching from the inside of my house. I used to love walking in the summer, but now it is too painful. I am surrounded by Bugaboo strollers, new mother walking groups and toddlers on swings; I ache to be a part of this exclusive community.

The house we bought is amazing. We live in a quiet suburb in an area filled with young families. We have three bedrooms upstairs and we recently finished the basement and added another bedroom. We did this in anticipation of our last IVF cycle with my eggs working and needing the extra space. I am always convinced that with each IVF, I will become pregnant with twins. Not. even. close. But I keep hoping. Not necessarily for the twins, but for the pregnancy.

We finally have a chance of achieving this dream with our frozen embryos and I am just hoping and praying that it will work out.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Saying Goodbye to Ms. Perfect

For the past few months, I have thought about, talked about and obsessed about Ms. Perfect. Now that her part of the cycle is finished, and we have our fifteen beautiful embryos, I need to put Ms. Perfect behind me and focus on the future. This is not easy for me, but I know it has to be done. It can't be healthy for me to think about her all the time. I need to start thinking of these embryos as mine.

I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to benefit from donated eggs to help me achieve my dream of becoming a mother. I will never forget the generosity and the gift of life that Ms. Perfect has given to me.


Monday, March 22, 2010

Day 5 Fertilization Report

I am over the moon excited right now. I was waiting for the call from the lab all day. It took forever. I finally caved and called them at 3:00pm (Mountain time). They called me back at 4:00pm. Here are our results:

Day 5:
2- 4AA
4- 3AA
2- 4BB

Day 6:
6- 4AA
1- 4BB

I know very little about the grading process (because I have never made it to day 5), but this is what the nurse told me:

- The number range is 1-6 and this is for the expansion. Apparently they don't see many 6s and she told me 4s were good (I'm hoping this is the case).
- The first letter range is A-C and this for the inner cell mass (the development of the baby).
- The second letter range is A-C and this for the trophectoderm (the development of the placenta).

I think I am going to consult with Dr. Google on blastocycst ratings. I am so thankful for Ms. Perfect and A. right now, I am smiling from cheek to cheek.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Protecting Myself

I think getting my period made all the difference in my mood. I am over all the bullshit with A. and we put it behind us. It was not like me to react in such harsh ways. It was a bad few days and I am glad that that is finally over with. We are now focusing all of our energy on gearing up for our (hopefully last) transfer in May. I have been obsessively counitng the days on my blackberry as if that would make them come sooner, but it is still fun.


Today was the bridal shower for my cousin. It was really difficult for me to be there. On the one hand, I was glad that I was able to be a part of the festivities and support her (originally I was going to be "sick"), but on the other hand, I just kept thinking that I should be on the table having my beautiful embryos transferred into my body. I am trying to move forward, but I am still so devasted about this. I can't stop thinking about it. In fact, I think of little else. On top of that, the pregant cousin would also be at the shower only now, she has announced so the entire world knows her news.

I had a plan to protect myself at the shower. I avoided her all day. I wasn't rude, I just couldn't deal with all the congradulations and baby bump talk. I am also feeling so raw right now, that I was worried about what I might say if to anyone who brought up the word baby around me. I managed to keep my distance from her, but I couldn't help starring at her belly (she isn't even showing). I am so envious it hurts. It should be me announcing my news. But instead, I am here at home, with no transfer and no pregnancy...agian.


I feel like the last two weeks I have been such a downer. My posts are all depressing and I hate that. This is how I am feeling now so it is difficult for me to write about anything else. I am working through the sadness, so please bare with me.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Cycle Day 1

I can't believe that my period came before expected. I was told it would arrive between eight to ten after the PIO (progesterone in oil) shot, but it came after six days. I feel relieved. I need my hormones to rebalance themselves as I am certain this is what has been causing my depression and severe mood swings (among the news of my massive failure as well). A. is trying to be supportive, but he has limits. My bitchiness is out of control and I think I am taking out all my frustration on him. I feel bad about that.

I started taking Estrace today to prime my lining. It is part of my new protocol. We are going to use Estrace and Prometrium for a month to prepare and then gear up for the FET. I am SO hoping this is the magic protocol I have been waiting for. I really just cope with any more disappointment or bumps in the road.


Friday, March 19, 2010

Day 3 Fertilization Report

It took a long time for John, the embryologist, to call. I wasn't nervous all day, in fact, I barely thought about. Well, until about 4:00 pm and there was still no news. Of course, panic started to settle over me, even though I felt like I had nothing to worry about, I still did. Anyway, I am so relieved and happy that we are still good to go. Here's what we have in the lab:

- 8 embryos at 8 cells
- 3 embryos at 9 cells
- 1 embryo at 6 cells
- 2 embryos at 7 cells
All with graded either 3+, 4-. 4 (according to John all excellent)

- 3 embryos at 5 cells (2 of which are graded 3--not so good)

Needless to say, I am very pleased with the results.


I have been having a really difficult time lately. Maybe it is the fact that body failed me..yet again, or maybe it the drastic hormone change, or maybe its my lack of control, but something is wrong. Very wrong. I don't feel like myself. I am sad all the time, and even this amazing news of the embryos, hasn't brought me out of my funk completely.

Something has been weighing so heavily on my mind for the past five days, and I think I am ready to acknowledge it. When I told A. about my lining and how it didn't cooperate he said among other things, "we can take a year off and try naturally". This has completely devastated me. I know he was trying to be sensitive and sincere, but it felt like rubbing salt in an open wound. I mean, after everything that I have been through to get to this point, a) the last thing I am going to do is give up and b) if trying naturally would work, then I wouldn't need Ms. Perfect.

I am heartbroken and I feel like shit. I have been holding this in while A. was in Denver, but last night when I picked him up from the airport, I just couldn't keep quiet anymore. I let him have it. It got ugly. Even today we were still talking about it. It took hours and hours of my crying and yelling and trying to explain why those words were so hurtful, and even now that he says he understands, but I am not convinced he does. A. is the most generous, loving person, but he just couldn't understand where I was coming from. To him, he thought he was being supportive. He thought he was telling me what I wanted to hear. Obviously it backfired...with a vengeance.

All A. ever wanted was to parent our baby. The baby we made together and that dream is gone. Yes, we are both ecstatic about the embryos we have and are completely comfortable and on board with our decision to move forward, but I think I forget sometimes that we both have given up on a dream. I am sure I overreacted to these words. In fact, I know I did, but I just can't help it. I am just so broken from all my failures and I am sick and tired of picking myself up off the floor that I just took out all my frustration, anger and anxiety on A.

Eventually we both understood where the other was coming from and we have put this behind us; but I can't help feeling sad still. I am scared about the way I am feeling. I know that it is normal for anyone in my shoes, but it is not so normal for me. I need to find my strength to move forward, but it is hiding. Come out, come out wherever you are!


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Dream Deferred

One of my students was reading the poem, Dream Deferred by Langston Hughes in class today. She was using it as a starting off point for her public speech assingmnent on "what I know for sure". As I was reading over her work, I was stopped in my place reading the poem. It is talking about me and what I am feeling right now.

Dream Deferred

What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?

Langston Hughes

I emailed the nurse to ask for clarification as to the reasons for waiting the extra month. I explained that I am so fragile right now, and I think I will go crazy and obsessive (even more than I already am) if I get postponed yet again. I didn't win her over to my side. She again confirmed that the best thing for me to do was wait. Unfortunately, I don't have a choice. I need to wait, and I hate it.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Day 1 Fertilization Report

I was oddly calm today. Usually waiting for the fertilization report, I am anxious, on edge and feel sick to my stomach, but today I was ok. Yes, I thought about it, of course I did, but it didn't consume me like in the past. I guess I am feeling that relief that this one part has nothing to do with me. It won't be a bad report as we have taken out the part of the equation that has always been a problem for us, my eggs. Ms. Perfect has a proven track record, I have keep reminding myself of this. It is still difficult for me to fully let go and just believe, but I am trying.

Once again I found myself glued to my blackberry waiting for "the call", but I was expecting good news. I got some. Out of the 25 eggs retrieved, 19 were mature and 17 fertilized with ICSI! I almost can't believe it. I say almost because I was expecting this. I depended on this to reassure me once again that I made the right decision moving forward with donor eggs. I did. I have never produced 17 eggs at a time let alone fertilized that many. I needed this. I needed some good news today.


I think about how I got to this place. It wasn't supposed to be like this. A. and I would start trying when we were ready, and that would be it, we would be pregnant. Not. Even. Close. At twenty seven I was already seeing a specialist and at twenty eight I had already started my IVF journey with my first retrieval on my birthday! No one thought I would be here. A massive failure at the early age of thirty. But here I am. Today I was cleaning the house to get it ready for when A. comes home from Denver when I stumbled upon my bag. It is the leftover, unused needles from each failed cycle. Not only the IVFs, but the timed intercourse, and IUIs as well. It was overwhelming to say the least.

I then looked at my sharps envelope. It contained my Lupron needles (well most of them) from this cycle. Again, I am overwhelmed.

I think about what I have put my body through over the past three years, and I am scared. I can't keep doing this, it can't be healthy. I need a sure thing already. There isn't one. If I have learned anything from this infertility disaster, it is that we have no control and nothing is a guarantee.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Highs and Lows

My high is simple. 25. Yes, you read correctly, Ms. Perfect got me twenty five eggs. I think this is more than my four retrievals put together. I know that they won't all fertilize, but at this point, I am thrilled. I was so nervous all day, I think I checked my blackberry about one thousand times looking to see if I had an email or missed call. Finally, I broke down and asked the nurse what time to expect to the call. Her reply was that the embryologist will call me tomorrow with the fertilization report. I DON"T THINK SO. I need something positive to focus on right now. I was not going to take that for an answer, so I made the nurse call the IVF lab to find the results. I think they are being extra nice to me because of all the screw ups there have been. Twenty-five, I can't believe it.

I'm sure you can guess my low. I am still feeling beaten right now. I can't stop crying. I know this isn't the end of the world and that getting a negative would be worse, but right now I feel pretty awful. It is the hardest thing in the world for me to have to continusously tell A. that my body failed me yet again. Not only tell A., but my principal and co-workers as well. No, they don't know about my infertility, but they did know that I was going to be away for a "medical procedure" and that now it is cancelled. Just like that, gone. I can't stop thinking about this and what happened. I can't even try and begin preparing for my May transfer as I am so scared of getting burned a third time (don't they say bad things happen in 3s?). I hope I will be able to heal soon and focus on the future. On the bright side, I did eat a chocolate chip cookie today. Yum!


Monday, March 15, 2010

Lining Check...Failed

It didn't even move an inch. It is still only 5mm. What the fuck?! My body continues to let me down and once I again, I feel battered, broken and completely devastated. Donor egg was supposed to be easy. I have not had an easy time lately. Why does this continue to happen to me? I was so hopeful in the car on the way to the RE's office. I even began chanting affirmations to myself to get me pumped for a great start to the day:

My lining is now 8mm. I did this with Viagra, acupuncture, massage, hypnonsis, sitz baths, red raspberry leaf tea, essential oil and heat. I am proud of myself.

What a load of bullshit. NONE of it worked. Not even a little. I am so fed up with this stupid infertility, I need it to go away. Getting pregnant is so easy for so many, why is that? Are they more giving than me? More deserving? Why won't my body cooperate and do what it is told for once?

I am such a mess right now, I don't even know what to think (or type). I hope I get some answers from the nurse soon.


Edited to add: I finally spoke with the nurse and we both agreed that my lining is not cooperating. We are scrapping this cycle and going to try for a May transfer. It totally sucks and I am devastated. This is all I can muster up right now.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

"Don't Stress"

These were the words uttered to me by the massage therapist today. Let me back up a little. Me and a friend thought it would be a great idea to spend the afternoon getting massages. Yay! I desperately need a massage and I thought I could get him/her to work on circulating my blood. I also thought I would bring my new essential oil for the massage.

When the massage therapist asked what I would like her to focus on, my reply was "circulating blood to the uterus". "Huh", was her first response followed by, "are you trying to get pregnant?" And the conversation stemmed from there with her asking many questions about the length I had been trying along with what I have tried. Of course, she then offered her opinion (her non-asked for opinion) about how I should see an osteopath and a vascular specialist who deals in herbs. Um NO WAY! I just tried to smile and nod my head. She then decided that to focus on the blood issue she would do some cranial-sacral therapy. Ok. I don't know much about it, but it couldn't hurt. I'll admit she gave a good massage, but I can count on both hands the amount of times she told me to relax, it will happen, or don't stress, or when its time. Holy fuck, really?! I am so mad/annoyed right now that I actually paid money to receive this. I went for a massage to relax and I am more worked up then when I got there.

Figures. Fertiles.


How to Say Thank You

A. is at the airport waiting to check in as I type. There are so many emotions running through me right now, that I don't even know what to think or how to feel. I realized late last night, that there was so much to do before A. left. We had to read and sign all the consent forms, make sure A. had all his travel documents and confirmations and I had to write a card to Ms. Perfect. I went a search to find the perfect card, but it was not easy. I went to bookstores and card stores and searched and searched, until I found the one.

I have had the card for over a week without writing it. How does do I even find the words to say thank you for what is the most generous gift I will ever receive? I have struggled with finding these words for a while. I have thought of little else but this woman, this cycle and this potential baby for months and now it is so close. After a lot of thinking I finally wrote these words:

There are no adequate words for me to express my sincere thanks, appreciation and admiration for you and your generous gift. I hope that all your hopes and dreams will be fulfilled as you have made mine come true today. I hope that this gift brings you happiness and when you wear it you think of me and how you have helped make me feel whole again. Thank you from the bottom of my hear.

I hope Ms. Perfect loves the gift and remembers that it takes a special person to give a piece of themselves to someone. I will never forget this.


Saturday, March 13, 2010

Hypnosis Session 2

Today was my second hypno-fertility session with Shawn. I'll admit, I felt a little more relaxed going this time as I new what to expect. I knew where to park, and that it was okay to let myself in and most of all, what the session would be like. This was a more enjoyable session for me. It was easier somehow.

Once I got there, she immediately asked how I was doing. I then explained to her that for about 10 days after our last session, I was feeling calmer. Unfortunately, once I got the news about my thin lining, all that calm up and went into the garbage and now I am maybe worse off than I was originally. I hate that. I also hate that I am sitting on a sitz bath while I type this. Anyway, again she asked me some leading questions about where my belief system falls according to the different stages of the cycle. We decided it would be a good idea to record our session so that I could have a hypnosis CD to listen to when I feel like it.

Shawn was amazing. The CD she created for me touched on all the aspects of the cycle from choosing Ms. Perfect to being pregnant. It talks about all my fears and how to change my negative thoughts into more positive ones. She again hypnotized me and I was under for a good least. I remember hearing part of what she was saying, but nothing specific sticks out in my mind from that time. Apparently, that is a good thing.

I left feeling better than I arrived and that is all I could have hoped for. I plan to listen to the CD before bed each night in the hopes of changing those nagging negative thoughts into more positive ones.


Friday, March 12, 2010

Pre-embryo Phone Consult

I am scared shitless. Of what, I am not sure. The unkown, I guess. The upcoming conversation with the doctor today about my lining, the donor and of course, my chances for success. What if my lining doesn't cooperate, or the donor doesn't produce any good quality eggs or worse still, everything is perfect and it still doesn't take? What will I do then? I know it is not healthy to think worst case scenarios, but when that is what you've always been, it is pretty difficut to reprogram your thinking. I think this the main reason that I am so fixated on the other elements: my diet, the acupuncture, massage, and hypnosis. These are the elements that I can control.

Dr. Schoolcraft called and immediately I wanted to dive right into talking about my lining, but he had other plans. He wanted to discuss Ms. Perfect and her cycle first. Okay. It turns out the name Ms. Perfect is very fitting for her. She is progressing quite well with "many" follicles and the leads are between 16-18 so we are right on track. He thinks the retrieval will probably be moved up a couple of days and she may even trigger (given the HCG shot to ovulate) on the weekend. I can't believe it. I can't believe it. I can't believe it, we are actually cycling. We then discussed my lining. He reassured me that I have never had a lining problem before and he is hopeful that I will pass the next check. He also told me that Viagra works fairly quickly and he has seen lining double in a day with this medication. I asked him if there are any other things I can do, like drink Red Raspberry Leaf Tea, and he wasn't sure if it would work, but it won't hurt...I took that to mean drink up!

Monday is my next suppression check and it is when we now if it will be a fresh or frozen transfer. I am really hoping for a fresh, however Dr. Schoolcraft assured me that with the new vitrification process for freezing embryos, there is a 95% thaw rate and so our chance for success should not decrease. I am feeling a bit better about this, although I am still praying for a fresh.

When I finished work, I went and bought a box of Red Raspberry Leaf Tea and have already had two cups. It doesn't have a taste really, so it is pretty easy to drink. I just hope all my extreme measures pay off and thicken this lining.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Home Remedies Part 2

My obsession with thickening my lining is continuing. Today I bought aromatherapy essential oil to add to the sitz bath. I didn't know what to buy so I consulted with an expert. At first she recommended Rose for me, but on second thought changed her mind. Rose is a strong oil and can irritate. Aside from not wanting to hurt down there, I also have bad skin from all the hormones and she thought this would not work for me. She then introduced me to Neroli.

Neroli Bigarade or Orange Blossom is an essential oil from water distilled from the flowers of the Bitter Orange tree. To add to the bath you dilute 3 drops of Neroli into 1 tablespoon of oil. This can be worn as perfume, used for massages or added to bath water. It is said that aside from being a relaxer (which will move the blood flow to the uterus), it is also used to release emotional stress and anxiety. Now we are talking. This is what I like to hear, kill two birds with one stone.


Tomorrow is my phone call with the doctor, I am so nervous.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Home Remedies

I am determined to get my lining back on track. I believe that when you have a goal (an attainable goal) and you work very hard, usually you will find success. I am praying that will be the case for me and my thin lining.

I was up most of the night worrying and researching on Dr. Google for ways to naturally increase your uterine lining. Here are some of the ideas I found:

1. Place a hot water bottle on your lower abdomen at night. That sounds easy enough. Check.

2. Take sitz baths daily for 20-30 min a day. *this is where you either buy a sitz bath (drugstore), use a bathtub or use a bucket filled with warm water (almost too hot) and soak your bottom, all the time refilling the water as it cools done. I'm going to the store today to pick up a bath. Check.

3.Eat red meat-especially organ meat. No way! I have not eaten red meat in over twenty years. I would do ANYTHING to improve my lining, but I can't do this. One time I tried to reintroduce turkey after a few years and was extremely ill for days. My body just could not handle the protein. This is my concern with the meat eating. I WOULD eat it, but I am so scared of becoming so violently ill that I either end up in the hospital or damage the cycle even more.

4. Acupuncture. I am already seeing a practitioner twice a week where she uses electrodes to stimulate the blood flow, but I have decided to sneak in more sessions. These extra sessions will include the electrodes as well as points that target blood flow as well. Check.

5. Herbs. No way! I asked the nurse about this and she told me to steer clear, so that herbs are out of the question.

6. Medication. My nurse has instructed me to take Viagra suppositories four times a day and to remain on the four estrogen patches, baby aspirin, Lupron and estrace suppositories twice a day.

So, I have formulated a plan to help thicken my lining naturally before my next check on Monday. I just hope there are enough hours in the day to carry out this plan.


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Suppression Check #2

I woke up this morning feeling pretty good. I am still spinning from last night's success and so it doesn't bother me at all that I am awake two hours earlier to go for my suppression check. My local RE's clinic is busy, but small at the same time. When I walk into the clinic I feel a little like royalty. Everyone knows me and I get the special treatment. You know the kind, the more than just because we are polite small talk and the genuine concern for our progress. It is nice. Also at this clinic, people tend to have their spot for waiting. There is only one small waiting room and it doesn't matter if it is for blood work, ultrasound or the doctor. It took me awhile to settle in, learn the ropes and choose my spot, but I did choose. My preferred spot is on the side but right at the front. It is situated so perfectly beside the nurses station and in front of the reception desk. There is always something going on in that corner so it keeps me distracted. I am not interested in the gossip, I just like being included in the discussions about our weekends and shopping and so on. This has been my relationship for the past three years. I feel at home here, which is probably why it took me so long to explore my other options.

Everything went smoothly at this visit. Usually when I go, I present my CCRM order form and have to explain why I need the ultrasound techs to just do what is on the page instead of their procedure. That takes around ten minutes...each visit. Today, they just let me right in. No questioning, no problem. I went to the room and had my date with the dildocam. It wasn't pleasant, but it was quick and painless. Then I went on to get my blood drawn. I have no veins. It usually takes about five minutes of me squeezing fists before the tiniest one pops up...not today. The vein was ready and waiting and the needle prick was just that, a prick (have I mentioned lately how I LOATHE needles?). The last visit I needed to make was to the nurse for the conversion of my prescriptions from US to Canadian. Aside from a debate from the nurse and a doctor on the use of Endometriun (just became available in Canada last week), that too was quick. Overall it was a good visit.

Around 12pm I received an email from my nurse with my next steps. Let me start off by saying that I'm not feeling so zen at the moment. In fact, I'm sort of having a panic attack. My suppression check results were in and they were not looking so good. My lining is quite thin at 5mm (they want it over 8). You have got to be kidding me! Why now? I have never had this problem before, so why now? This cycle is killing me. I am trying to remain calm and positive, but it is getting increasingly difficult as the days go by. In her email, she suggested I add Viagra suppositories 4x a day to my daily medication regimen. Okay, I have no problem with that, however I suggested this a while back and she told me it was unnecessary. Really? Then why am I needing it now?!

I spoke with the nurse by phone and she explained me to the possible outcomes:

1. The sonographer read the results incorrectly or wrote the results incorrectly. This is the best case scenario and apparently it is common, however in my three years as their patient, there has never been this problem.

2. Adding the Viagra will improve the lining and all should be status quo.

3. The lining does not improve in time for the transfer and so we do a freeze all cycle and transfer a few days later.

4. The lining does not improve over time and so we start fresh preparing for a new transfer at a later date. This is my worst case scenario and of course, I am freaking out over it.

I asked the nurse what else I could do to improve my lining and she said nothing really. I am going for a third acupuncture session tomorrow and will target this area. I asked about home remedies, but she told me not to take any herbs, so I wont. I am just so scared and frustrated and upset.

I am so hoping things will work out.


Monday, March 8, 2010

International Women's Day

March 8th is International Women's Day. A day dedicated to celebrating women all over the world. Na'amat is a Jewish women's organizing that provides aid and funding to women and children both in Israel and abroad. I have had the privilege of volunteering for this organization for the past five years and have recently taken on the role of Programming Chair for Toronto. For the past two years I have chaired a charity event dedicated to women in honour of International Women's Day.

Tonight was so magical. The night's theme was the journey of women. How appropriate. We had three amazing women speak about their personal life journeys. The only word to describe their stories is WOW. The attendees were engaged and hanging on to each speaker. Looking around the room and seeing so many women from different backgrounds and age groups coming together was beautiful. The event was short. Three speakers and a small dessert reception. Everything went smoothly from the decor to the overall program itself. It was an evening not to be missed.

I was praised for my hard work, which was unnecessary in my opinion, but so humbling. I feel truly blessed to be surrounded by so many wonderful women. Tonight was a night that I will not soon forget.


Sunday, March 7, 2010


I would not classify myself as sensitive. In fact, I have been known to be hard at times, however I am overly sensitive towards fertiles. This comes out of anger, sadness and jealousy and it can flare up at the drop of a hat or the mention of the word pregnancy or baby. It has gotten very bad lately to the point where I try to isolate myself as much as I can.

All of our close friends have children. Our entire social circle revolves around at home get together so that the parents do not need to get sitters. The conversation almost always revolves around breast feeding, pumping, strollers, movies for mommies and the list goes on and on and on and on. Am I painting a good picture? What really bothers me is that when we do these couple get together it always seems like the males are off in one corner drinking while the females are discussing motherhood. I tend to get extremely quiet (which for me is uncommon) during these moments. This issue is something that I am trying to work through with therapy, but it is not easy for me. My heart breaks when I see a pregnant woman or a newborn baby. It is just so painful.

A. doesn't really understand this. He gets annoyed that infertility has affected our friendships. It has plagued me and turned me into a person that I don't recognize. Yes, it is upsetting for him as well, but not to the same degree. He is starting to get it. Many of our friends are trying to be sensitive towards me, or so they say. I do not see it that way. They make comments like, "we hope you will be here soon" or "one day you will understand how tiring parenting can be"; in my opinion, keep those comments to yourself.

The newest way that people are looking out for me is by becoming movie critics. Previewing the movies and giving me recommendations as to what I should and shouldn't watch. The latest movie being Couples Retreat. I was warned by a number of fertiles not to watch this movie as it would be too painful for me they said. Every now and then I like a good brainless movie and this one did peak my interest because of the cast. I wanted to watch it. I understood that it might be painful and appreciated the warnings, but watched it anyway. Big deal. So a couple has been trying to get pregnant for 12 months? Who the fuck cares. There was no pregnancy, no infants and no IVF clinics. It was a silly, brainless movie. The truth is, is that it made the fertiles uncomfortable because this particular couple was fighting and on the verge of divorce, which is why they didn't want me to see it. To protect themselves. Not the other way around. If infertility has done anything positive for me, it has brought A. and I closer together. Our marriage is strong. This movie did not make me think about my life in terms of infertility, it make me wish for a vacation. Anyone who has a walked a day in an infertile shoes knows that this movie is nothing compared to the real thing.


Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Cleaning Lady Saga

When A. and I first decided it was time to start our family 3 years ago, we wanted to save some money. The first change we made was deciding not to have a cleaning lady. For many, this is insignificant, but to me A.K.A. the messiest woman alive, this was horrible. A. and I do not fight often, but when we do, it is almost always because I am a slob and he is not.

I miss having a cleaning lady. Besides which, our cleaning lady was not just that, she was family. It was the same woman who was our live in nanny when I was a small girl, who know has made enough money to bring her family to Canada. It is quite amazing actually because she put both her daughters through university and one is now a lawyer and the other is finishing up school in the medical profession.

So when we decided that we needed to clean for ourselves, it was my job to tell her. This was very difficult for me as I have never fired anyone before and she is like family. I thought the best strategy was to be honest. I told her that we were no longer going to have her clean because we were trying to start a family and we needed to save money. She not only understood, but was so excited for us. It was a great feeling.

Skip forward to today. I am at my parent's house, going to spend the day with my grandmother (who stays here on weekends)when I see her, the cleaning lady. I have run into her here a couple of times, but none recently. We had a quick catch up moment where she filled me in on the comings and goings of her daughters and then proceeded to ask me why my belly wasn't big. It made me sad. I didn't know what to say or how to react. I am so doped on estrogen these days that I can cry at the drop of a hat (and do) that I made a joke out of it. I lifted my shirt and said, "its still empty". Even through the joke, I think she understood what I was trying to say. She gave me that look. You know the one. The I feel so sorry for you look, which from certain people is meant to be helpful, but I just felt even more broken.

On a positive note, Ms. Perfect is starting her hormone injections today!


Friday, March 5, 2010

Passing Hurdles

I was up most of the night. The anxiety was trying to eat me alive. I just kept picturing today in my head and the words, "we need to talk about your donor". It was exactly at this point in the cycle, where I last heard those dreadful words and I just can't stop worrying I will hear them again. Logically, I know that this time is different. We have a proven, highly recommended donor who has assured me that she will fulfill her commitment, and I believe this is theory, but I until I know its a go, I just can't relax.

I was dreading today. Anniversaries of failures of almost failures in this case are very painful and difficult for me. I analyze them, replay moments in my head and have been known to get fairly worked up emotionally. I'm not surprised that today was no different. I keep telling myself, I just need to get passed this hurdle, but it isn't true. I have many hurdles to get passed. I have never been told that I am having a perfect cycle. I've never had beautiful embryos. I've never had a true blastocycst. I have never had two positive Beta tests in a row. Yes, I have many hurdles to pass.

I emailed my nurse today asking for reassurance that the cycle was indeed going to happen. She responded that Ms. Perfect had an ultrasound and blood work done today and if all is OK with the results she will start her stimulation drugs tomorrow. Whew. I let out one sigh. I am relived that she showed up for the appointment, but not fully clam yet. I didn't realize there was a possibility she would fail the check. Again, I worried, stressed and analyzed. Luckily, they did not make me wait to long as the results are in and we are set to go! WHEW. Big sigh of relief.

I am so emotional right now thinking that we are finally on the right track. We have passed one hurdle and I am so hoping the others pass smoothly as well.


Thursday, March 4, 2010


I used to hear people talk about the meetings they have and thought what do people do in a meeting? As a teacher, I have very few meetings and the ones I do are pretty informal. Now, as an executive of a large volunteer organization in Toronto, I go to a lot of meetings.

My role is Programming Chair and my main project right now is organizing an event in honour of International Women's Day which is March 8th. As the event is approaching, we had our final face to face meeting tonight where we tried to iron out many of the last minute details. Talk talk talk. I am talked out, which is strange for me.

It does feel awfully good to have something other than fertility to focus on...especially today. Tomorrow is the dreaded day where I will find out if this cycle is actually going to happen. I know it is, but until I hear from the nurse herself, I won't truly believe it.


Wednesday, March 3, 2010


In continuing with my quest to leave no stone unturned to solve my infertility, I have also turned to religion. Being Jewish, I have always felt a strong connection to God, even though I am not Orthodox. I have asked the advice of a Rabbi and have discussed the different stages of our journey as each has presented itself, and have always been amazed by his understanding, compassion and faith that things will work out for us. This Rabbi is the same man who married A. and I five years ago and we have grown to confide in him and trust his advice.

He suggested I go to the Mikve, a ritual bath designed for Jewish women to achieve ritual purity after menstruation or childbirth. At first, I was a bit hesitant around this idea. It is not as easy as taking a bath, there are many stages involved in using the Mikve. First, a woman is said to be unclean once her menstrual cycle begins. She must then wait seven clean days after before immersing in the Mikve. For fertile women, it works out that the weeks that the man and wife are together, are the most fertile weeks of her cycle so this ritual is centered around fertility. This is said to be a spiritual time for a woman where she can openly talk to God and ask for what her heart desires. I decided to give it a try. My first immersion was fourteen months ago.

The preparation surround the Mikve is both intense and spiritual. I must bathe myself for thirty minutes making sure to remove all polish and makeup. This is a time for me to reflect on life and focus on the cycle ahead. I then go into the Mikve and dunk three times. Each time I am thinking about the reasons why I am doing this. After the three dunks, I am left alone in the bath to reflect. This is my favourite part. This is the part, where I bare all and put it out to God and the universe what my fears and dreams are. When I am finished, I get dressed and go home and reunite with A. (also a favourite part).

Tonight is my Mikve night and as much as I enjoy this ritual, I am hoping that this will be my final time...for a while.


Tuesday, March 2, 2010


In my desperate attempts to control elements of my fertility I have become a bit of a gemologist. When I reflect on how far I have come in terms of accepting other forms of help aside from Western medicine, I do a double take. I do not know where the skeptical, science based person has gone. I almost do not recognize myself. This is one of the things infertility has done to me.

There is a beautiful atelier in the front house of where I get acupuncture. The designer is fantastic and her work with gemstones is incredible. She has a book on display about the different stones and their properties. I find myself flipping through the pages on a regular basis while I am waiting for an appointment.

Here are the stones that I have read about:

1. Moonstone-"Moonstone has also been used for centuries as a fertility stone. It is still considered a fertility stone in Arabia, Yemen, the Maghreb and Sicily. It is sewn into the hem of women's garments to promote fertility. It has a strong regulating influence on the feminine cycle and has been used to relieve PMS and menopausal symptoms. Its strong hormonal balancing properties also make it an attractive stone for fertility and it has been used to ensure an easy pregnancy and delivery".

2. Smoky Quartz-"Smoky Quartz is said to alleviate stress and transform fear, anger and other negative emotions into positive energies, thus having a comforting and calming effect. It is also said to provide clarity of thought, improve intuition and enhance survival instincts, and to stimulate higher awareness in meditative states. Smoky quartz is said to increase fertility, to help remove toxins from the body, and to aid the proper functioning of the kidneys, adrenals, pancreas and sex organs."

3. Rose Quartz-"Rose quartz is said to balance the emotions, thus giving inner peace and harmony, and to enhance one's sensitivity to beauty, art and music. It is also said to calm aggression and resentment while increasing self-esteem and self-confidence, and to enhance one's compassion, patience and forgiveness. It is said to enhance your capacity to love others and yourself."

Rose quartz is said to help treat depression and to assist in weight loss. It is said to give a clear soft complexion and to prevent wrinkles. Rose quartz is also said to aid the proper functioning of the kidneys, adrenals, genitals, liver, lungs and heart, and to increase fertility and protect against radiation.

My reading about moonstone is what triggered this love of stones. I immediately needed to have something to wear. I worked with the designer and we created a special necklace. It encompasses many of the elements of our journey to become a family from the 2 large independent stones (A. and myself) and the dream catcher (nest of our children) to the clasp (man and woman) it really is quite perfect. Not only do I love the necklace, but I love the compliments I get wearing it as well as the feeling it gives me knowing the hidden meaning behind the piece.

When I purchased the necklace, she gave me five small loose moonstones to keep with me at all times. I decided to string them on a simple wire and wear them as a bracelet. This is where her, “New Beginnings” line of bracelets came from. I have worn my bracelet consistently every day for 8 months, until I noticed that one of the stones cracked. I showed her the stone and she told me that if a stone cracks, it means you do not need it anymore; it has fulfilled its purpose. I so hope that is true. Me, being an extremely superstitious person, wanted to continue wearing the bracelet. We decided to change the properties and create a new karma so instead of five moonstones; we did three moonstones with two rose quartz on the ends.

I continued to wear both the bracelet and necklace, but wanted to find other stones that would have similar properties as well. This is how our third piece was created. Again, we sat and read about the different stones and created another beautiful necklace this time incorporating both smoky and rose quartz.

As I wear each necklace I am grateful for not only the beautiful pieces that I have, but also the wonderful women I have met along my journey. Without them cheering me on every step of the way, I am not sure if I would still be standing. Every time I wear one of my special pieces, I remember what they represent and can’t wait to one day share their story with my children.


Monday, March 1, 2010

Keeping Distracted

I am trying desperately not to think about the next three weeks. I am trying so hard to distract myself, that I am actually tired from the distractions. I do not allow myself to have a free minute to let my mind wander and for the most part, this has been a really effective strategy for me.

Tonight was no exception. I recently just purchased a new cookbook, Friday Night Dinners, by Bonnie Stern (a local Toronto chef). I love reading cookbooks and watching cooking shows on television. It is sort of an addiction actually. I could spend countless hours in front of the TV watching Rachael Ray, Giada, Boby Flay or even Barefoot Contessa. I feel like I know them personally from the amount of time I spend watching them on TV. I remember when Rachael Ray got engaged and I found out because one day she was ringless and the next day, it was there. I know...I need a life. As much as I love watching and reading about cooking, I also enjoy trying out new recipes (what I don't like is making mundane dinner).

What I really like about this cookbook in particular is the way it is organized. It's by complete meals instead of type of food. Each dinner starts with a cocktail (oh how I wish I could drink), appetizer, entree, sides and dessert. All I have to say is Yum-O! Tonight I decided to make A. a special dinner. I thought I would find the most challenging, time consuming dish in the book and success, I found it...pierogies. The menu was grilled lemon and rosemary chicken breasts, brussels sprouts and potato and onion perogies. Delious...yes, but now I am exhausted.

The pieriogies were surprisingly easy to make, just labour intensive. First you have to saute the onions and boil the potatoes as if you were making mashed potatoes. Then you combine the potatoes with the onions, egg, salt, pepper and butter or oil. Scoop the mixture in small amounts onto a wonton wrapper and push the sides together with water. Boil for five minutes and voila...pieroigies. I think it took me an hour and half to make them. I was definitely distracted.

Now, I think I am going to sit in front of the TV and dive into the world of Jack Bauer on 24. Oh what a night!