how quickly a year can pass

When we started out 2017 we had so many goals and expectations. Goals we for sure thought we were going to crush. From hiccups in starting our first IUI to finally getting the ball rolling in March, we assumed it was the “one last thing” we needed to finally conceive. Were we ever wrong. Honestly, I thought I had done a pretty good job preparing myself both mentally and physically for anything 2017 threw my way but in fact, there was no way to prepare for half of what was thrown at us.

After we found out our first IUI failed, I was devastated. But we quickly picked ourselves back up and moved right in to our second IUI cycle. After that one failed, we decided to take a break. What we hadn’t really prepared for is how much of a toll the hormones and everything else would take on my body. I was exhausted all the time (like a permanent walking zombie) no matter how much sleep I was getting. My moods were debatable on any given day. I was irritable and sad and just generally not in a great head space. That’s when we decided to run away at the last-minute for a week in Portugal. We took time to recharge and enjoy and just focus on ourselves. It was much-needed. We returned in June for our final IUI which also failed and decided that would be our last. Luckily in the same month we received a call that our funding had been approved and we could move forward with IVF in July. We had so many emotions around all of it but were happy we were moving forward with a new plan. It was a plan with higher success rates and better statistics as well as a fresh start. If I thought I couldn’t have prepared my body for and IUI stim cycle, I certainly could not have imagined what an IVF stim cycle would do to it. I bloated to a point that I left a meeting at work one afternoon to run to the mall and buy maternity pants. Nothing fit. I was at risk for ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome and just an overall mess. After a successful retrieval and fresh day 5 transfer of our little Poppy seed, we saw our first positive pregnancy test in 5 years of trying. We were cautiously optimistic. I had lots of things going wrong with that cycle and so I had a gut feeling the pregnancy wasn’t going to last. It didn’t. A few short days after we saw our positive test(s), beta numbers confirmed that I was indeed pregnant but that it wouldn’t last. We were heartbroken but also more hopeful since it was the closest to actually being pregnant we had ever been. We had our one last shot with our frozen embryo, Sesame, and we transferred that embaby in the fall. Sadly, Sesame did not result in a pregnancy either. It was after our final negative we decided we would give IVF another shot, but, with a new clinic and doctor. Things are progressing well with our new clinic and we look forward to starting a new retrieval cycle in February.

What I will take away from 2017? An even stronger bond with Shawn than when we started all of this. We are far from perfect, and have had our fair share of challenges over our 7 years of marriage, but if infertility hasn’t torn us apart, and it has had its chances, I know we can make it through just about anything. He has been nothing short of incredible throughout this entire process. He recognizes constantly how much my body is going through and always puts me first. He deals with uncontrollable bursts of tears on my saddest days and is truly the only person who can snap me out of my worst moods. I know he hurts too but he would never show it in order to protect me. I can’t wait for the day he is a father to our sweet child.

Moving forward 2018 also means we will be moving in to our new home where we will start our adoption home study. We are both very excited for the opportunity to be able to expand our family by way of adoption whether our IVF cycle works or not.

While we are ending 2017 without a baby in our arms (or my womb), I thought I’d be a lot more sad. Don’t get me wrong, the holidays have stirred up some buried emotions but I think it’s all a part of grieving. Grieving a year that did not end in a way we had thought it would but truthfully, we have made major moves in the last 2 months and 2018 promises to bring us closer to our goal of being parents. We will be parents.

I know I have said it a million times (and I will continue to do so), but we would not have made it this far in our journey without the love and support of our family and friends. Every one of you who continues to stand by us in good times and bad are so very important to us and our one day babe. I am also beyond grateful for the community of women I have surrounded myself with who are also fighting the good fight. What I would have done without some of you this year is beyond me!

Merry Christmas and happy new year to all!

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our adoption consult

If you’re reading this it’s because I finally had time to sit down and blog about Monday’s adoption consultation (thanks to 5 hours on a plane last night uninterrupted). It’s been a crazy week to say the least but by the time this post is published I will have landed in Bogota, Colombia. I will spend one day at our head office and then I have 3 days to roam the city and relax. A much welcomed break.

Monday evening we met with our adoption practitioner in our home. I was so nervous leading up to it although I’m not sure why. Shawn spent all day cleaning the house so that everything was perfect and I puttered around making final touches when I got home from work. I should note that we decided to meet with a private practitioner for our consult because I wanted 100% of the attention to be on us and our questions and in the end, we were very satisfied with that decision. I had my list of questions ready for her and we talked in great detail about each adoption avenue. I figured I’d summarize our consult by each avenue.

First, we spoke about private Ontario adoption. I’m talking adopting a newborn baby from a couple that is placing that newborn baby up for adoption. This avenue is not common and in fact, only 22 private Ontario adoptions took place in 2017 and of those 22 a majority of the adoptive parents were somehow associated with the parents who were placing their child for adoption. We can move forward with private Ontario if we choose but the timeline is not guaranteed of when a newborn would be placed with you. There is also a cost associated with private Ontario adoption in the range of $15,000-$20,000.

Secondly, we spoke about public CAS adoption. For those of you don’t know, CAS stands for Children’s Aid Society. The children in CAS’s care range in age from newborn to 18. Timing is not guaranteed on this route either but the more open you are to children outside of the newborn to 3 years of age range, the shorter the wait period may be. If you are willing to take siblings, your chances also increase. Some of the children is CAS’s care come from a wide variety of backgrounds and may have medical, physical and/or mental health issues. From what we have been told so far, this is discussed and disclosed throughout the adoption process. There are no adoption fees associated with CAS adoptions unless you opt to do your home study and PRIDE training privately (which I will discuss later in this post).

Lastly, we discussed international adoption. While the wait times are much more predictable, the costs are a lot higher. Once we broke down some of those costs though, it started to make sense. I often wondered why international adoption was so expensive but just like anything else every time a document has to go to the prospective country or be registered overseas, there are fees associated. Along with that, there are also fees included for visiting the country which, depending on the country, may be once or twice before you even bring your child home. The fees for the home study and PRIDE training are also included in the international fee amount. We still have more research to do on the international adoption route and what countries we may or may not be interested in but in any case the fees are around $30,000+

I have mentioned the home study and PRIDE training more than once now. Basically it is mandatory to complete 27 hours of PRIDE training (which stands for Parent Resources for Information, Development and Education) before you are adopt ready. You must also complete a home study which covers a whole bunch of things like background checks, criminal checks, finances, 5 references, employment letters, etc. This can be completed through the CAS if you are going the public route free of charge but you can also have your home study done by a private practitioner which we have decided we will do instead. So far we love our practitioner and felt a really great connection with her. This is someone who could be working with us for a few years and who has also been doing this for over 20 years. The thing is if you do your home study privately you must also complete your PRIDE training privately too. We are also fine with this as if we do opt to go the international route, it will already all be done.

It was a lot to take in (and I probably missed a lot in this post) plus we still have a lot more research to do but we will likely start PRIDE training in the spring. We will need to wait to do our home study until our home in Aurora is done and we have moved next summer as the home study is linked to an address and we won’t be in our current home by the time we have a child.

We are still proceeding with our final IVF cycle (and any subsequent transfers) in late January but figured we would get the ball rolling on this sooner than later because if our final IVF is not successful, we would like to be adopt ready by the end of next year. Even if our IVF is successful it is very likely we will still adopt one day down the road.

I’ll keep everyone posted on the process as we move through it and as always, we appreciate all of your love and support.

XO

infertility costs how much?!?

We’ve had to sit down recently to work out some of the finances around our next IVF cycle. I figured while I was at it, I’d do a rough calculation of how much treatments have cost so far.

For each of our IUI cycles it cost approximately $1,650 for 14 days of meds, $750 for the sperm washes and about $100 for the progesterone. Luckily, in Ontario, the actual procedure of the insemination as well as all ultrasounds and blood work for monitoring is covered. We also spent about $450 to have Shawn’s sperm frozen in advance of our Thailand trip so that we wouldn’t have to wait 6 months when we returned. In total, three IUI cycles were approximately $7,650.

Moving on to our IVF cycle we were also fortunate to receive a government-funded cycle from the government of Ontario. Even still, I will break down the approximate cost of an IVF cycle as the cycle we will be starting in January will be fully out-of-pocket. I will also note that the government funded cycle does not cover the cost of medication. 12 days of stimulation meds in advance of my egg retrieval was approximately $5,000 with an additional $350 in progesterone suppositories after my retrieval and another $380 for the meds in connection with my FET cycle. The egg retrieval itself costs approximately $7,500 and ICSI (which we did on our first cycle and will do again) is approximately $1,500. Embryo cryopreservation is around $975 and each frozen embryo transfer is about $2,000. Our first round of IVF including one frozen embryo transfer was approximately $18,000. Thankfully, we were covered for almost all of it between my medical benefits and government funding.

In total, our treatments thus far total over $25,000 and that doesn’t even include things acupuncture which was costing approximately $340 per round of IUI and IVF, counselling (which averages $150-$180 per hour) and the cost of all of the supplements.

The only difference between our first IVF cycle and our cycle in the new year is we will be opting to PGS test (preimplantation genetic screening) our embryos which is approximately $4,000. We are also paying for additional blood work we haven’t had done before which will be between $700-$1500 which means we will be closer to $22,000-$25,000 fully out of our own pockets for this next round depending on how many frozen transfers we have to do.

I’m not saying any of this for sympathy, we are fortunate to have had some time to save up and prepare ourselves (and our credit line) for this part of the journey. I truly just wanted to paint a bigger picture for those of you who aren’t going through this and who have asked us about the costs that are associated.

#aLongRoadToBaby

fresh new beginnings

First of all, HOW IS IT MID-NOVEMBER ALREADY?! I honestly can’t believe how quickly 2017 is flying by! I believe when I last left off I had mentioned we were exploring the possibility of seeing a new IVF doctor/trying out a new clinic. After some research on clinics, and more specifically doctors, we decided on CReATe Fertility in Toronto. There were a number of factors that went in to our decision but I felt based on reputation, location and real life testimonies from people I know (or are friends and family of people I know), that we would be referred and decide from there. The problem with these big downtown clinics – there are really long wait times. I was told to expect to wait 2-4 weeks before they even call for a consult and expect another 6-8 week wait for the appointment once they did call. Last Friday the admin from the doctor’s office finally called to book a consult (just shy of a 4 week wait) and let me know that they would be booking in to late January. I was expecting this but what I didn’t expect was she would figure out that they had an opening just 5 days later at lunch time. I didn’t even think, I took the appointment because it was SO SOON.

That appointment was yesterday. There is still so much going through my brain but overall our experience was extremely positive. I arrived at the clinic just before my appointment time at 12:30 p.m. with a full bladder for my ultrasound. The place is HUGE like an entire floor but what I like is that everything is done in-house (ultrasounds, bloodwork, follow-ups, procedures, PGS testing, you name it and it’s there!). I got in for my pelvic and internal ultrasounds almost instantly and then waited to meet my new doctor. I was nervous because we had been with the same clinic for so long (and two different doctors in a four-year span) so I had NO idea what to expect. The doctor came out right on time (shocking, right?) and we went to his office for the consult. The one-on-one consult time with the doctor was one FULL hour. I had my list of questions and also my file from our previous clinic so I could just hand it all over. He asked me for a brief run down on what brought me to his office and I explained the last 5 years to him. From there, he listed out all of the issues he could think of in terms of our infertility and went through each scenario one by one with me.

I won’t break them all down but will summarize the main things that stuck out to me. Firstly, based on his preliminary review, he is actually questioning my DOR diagnosis. You see, I told him about being at risk for OHSS with my first egg retrieval/stim cycle in July. The two, apparently, don’t go together. He said it’s very rare for someone with diminished ovarian reserve to overstimulate. We decided that checking my AMH levels again would be a good idea as it’s been 15 months since the last check and I’ve made many lifestyle / supplement changes since then. I guess we will have to wait and see. The next thing we looked at were the anatomic reasons I may not be getting pregnant (abnormal paps, chemical pregnancy, etc.) and decided that I should undergo a hsyteroscopy. I had not heard of this before. A hysteroscopy is when the doctor will go in to my uterus with a little telescope to check out if there are any polyps, fibroids, etc. that maybe need to be removed and he can also take a biopsy at the same time. I will be sedated for this procedure (the same way I was for my egg retrieval) and will be able to leave that day. He doesn’t necessarily think he will find anything but it’s one of those things I’d rather just have ruled it. He then went on to tell me that I have “beautiful ovaries” I laughed out loud because my old ultrasound tech used to always say “wow your ovaries are beautiful” and I never really understood what that meant. Hearing a doctor say it (more than once and even told me I could be an ovary model) made me wonder what bad ovaries look like? I decided NOT to google that. Lastly, we looked at male factor and what role that’s playing. I explained the testicular microlialithis (I don’t even know if I spelled that right) to him and he didn’t seem bothered by it at all. He does want to do another semen analysis as well as a sperm DNA fragmentation test which will measure any DNA damage to the sperm.

After we finished up talking about the issues, he made a plan. Shawn’s supplement regimen won’t change all that much but mine will. I will be adding two new supplements to aid with fertility which are DHEA and PQQ. I will also keep taking my prenatal vitamins, CoQ10 and Vitamin D. So then what’s next? He gave us many options but I think the path I am on right now is another IVF cycle. I will likely wait until my January cycle to start stims again and will do a retrieval in early February. Depending on the results, we may do a second retrieval to bank embryos and, essentially, save costs on PGS testing. Oh yes! PGS testing. This is something we did not opt for previously as it is rather expensive but as this is our last shot we are YOLO’ing the eff out of this final cycle. Basically PGS testing is pre-implantation genetic screening which tests specific chromosomal abnormalities before the embryo is transferred back into my uterus.

So after my FULL hour-long convo (along with a few laughs and a corny joke) with my new doctor I left his feeling SO GOOD. I can tell this doctor is results driven and that is exactly what we are looking for. He also seems to have a great personality which is an added bonus. Just when I thought I could be on my way they suggested I start to get some of the blood work out-of-the-way. What does “some of” entail? Well 28 vials of blood, on an empty stomach, to begin with. Luckily I was saved by a large bottle of apple juice and an immediate visit to the closest Thai restaurant after for some delicious pad thai.

CD1 should be next week and while we won’t be moving forward with a stim cycle quite yet, we have plenty of tests to keep us both busy until that point. I should add that as we already received our governement funded cycle (which we are extremely grateful for), everything going forward will be fully out-of-pocket.

It’s SO refreshing and SO nice to feel excited again even if it means starting all over.

XO

life will carry on

As some of you may know, we moved on to our FET (frozen embryo transfer) cycle in October. It started on CD2 with a baseline ultrasound and then Estrace (estrogen) twice a day.  Nothing needed to happen again until CD12 which was a dream compared to my egg retrieval cycle. On CD12 I went back for another scan and my lining was a perfect 10! What did this mean? It meant I would transfer on CD16! On Wednesday October 11th, we transferred our final embaby. Everything went perfectly. I was 100 times more relaxed than during our first cycle and even made a playlist to listen to during the transfer. “Sesame” was successfully transferred and then began the dreaded two-week wait.

The weekend after transfer was filled with farmer’s market visits and friends and brunch. A very easy way to pass the early stages of the two-week wait. I went hiking with my dog and even enjoyed a light BodyFlow yoga class. By 7 days after my transfer, things started becoming not as easy. I had an urge to test. I had already had a couple of tests leftover from our fresh transfer back in the summer so I figured I’d give it a try. Negative. I was a little concerned but then remembered that I didn’t see my first positive test during our fresh cycle until about 8 days after our transfer so I waited. I tested again the next day and the result was the same. Negative. Of course when this happens you turn to Google and every support group you belong too. I read a lot of things about late implantation of day 6 blastocysts but based on my readings and in speaking with other women by 9 to 10 days past frozen embryo transfer (and even with a late implanter) an early response pregnancy test should be able to detect enough HCG to confirm a pregnancy. I was holding, loosely, on to hope but also was starting to accept what I knew was the truth: I was not pregnant. Our final attempt at this round of IVF was over and it meant we were back to square one. I continued to test the next two days and saw the same stark white negative I had seen all week. It just so happened that I had some yoga teacher training to complete over the last few days of the two-week wait and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Not only was it a great distraction, it totally kept my mind at ease. I did make a decision to drop out of my prenatal training as I would have had to wear a pillow to mimic pregnancy and as I knew I was not pregnant, my heart wouldn’t have been able to handle it. Instead I spent that day running errands and just practicing some general self-care.

On the Monday morning I went in to my beta with a smile on my face already knowing what my email would say later that day. I even sent Shawn to work that morning as I felt like I was already prepared for what was coming. It’s like I’ve seen the emails so many times now that they don’t even phase me anymore. Except they do. Reading the words always get an automatic reaction and this time was no different but then, just moments later, I carried on with my work and my day. I went back to the office the next day, because sitting around and feeling sorry for myself gets old real quick, and surprisingly I was okay. People checked in throughout the day and offered to bring us food or take me out. It was all very nice. The surprising thing was that as the days passed, I continued to feel okay. It was like I had no emotion towards what had just happened. We decided the day of our confirmed negative that we would give IVF one more shot. Keep in mind this now means we are fully out-of-pocket (to the tune of about $20,000) and there is still no guarantee. At the same time we also solidified our decision to move forward with adoption. Adoption is something that Shawn and I have talked about since all of this started. We have both acknowledged that no matter how a child comes in to our lives, that it will be our child. So with that, we were referred to a private adoption consultant that friend’s of ours had used for both of their adoptions and we have an appointment with her in a couple of weeks. We also decided on a new IVF doctor and are waiting on that consultation too.

Earlier this week, my emotions took a complete turn. It’s almost as if everything I was trying to bury deep down and not feel came out to play. I currently feel empty and really scared. I cry (a lot) and I wonder if the day will come where I have a child of my own. I know these feelings will come and go but right now they’re just all so raw and very real. To think at the beginning of this year, when we finally started treatment, my biggest fear was having a baby too close to Christmas as he or she may grow up having their birthday overshadowed by the holidays. These feelings then moved on to wondering if our baby would share a birthday with me to then hoping so badly I could be on maternity leave with a few of my closest friends. None of this is currently a reality and as of right now we are at a complete standstill. I was almost asleep the other night and I shot awake sobbing yelling that I wanted our sweet Sesame back. It’s all too much some days and yet others, not at all. We will get through this as we always do because what other choice do we have? This just happens to be our current reality. Our daily, shitty, all-consuming reality. But with any luck, this will not be our reality forever. Life will carry on.

XO

 

 

aLongerRoadToBaby

With Thanksgiving coming up here in Canada this weekend, I definitely have a lot to be thankful for: my husband, family, friends, job and ridiculously adorable dogs are just a few of the things I am continuously grateful for. October, in general, is a month of mixed emotions for me. Our wedding anniversary is on the 1st (which is a reminder of the amazing partner I continue to build a life with), Shawn was also born on the 5th (so it’s another reason to celebrate his awesomeness) but then there’s a certain sadness I’m reminded of at the same time.

In October of 2012 Shawn and I, with two other couples, decided to take a trip to Jamaica. I had been off birth control for an entire year before this trip and we discussed that on this particular trip we would officially start “trying”. I remember the first night sitting with my legs in the air while watching an episode of Jersey Shore thinking “this could be the time”. It was not. I chalked it up to not accurately monitoring my cycle that month plus too much food and booze on our trip. Then the next month came and nothing, then a year came and nothing, and now we are at year 5. Every October that goes by where we do not have a baby is a reminder of just how long we have been on this journey. This year marks 5 years and normally I’m not as affected by it but I think a lot has changed over the last year. I used to think, when I thought I had any control over my reproductive schedule, that I would have two kids by the time I was 35 and now I’m not even sure I’ll have one.

There will always be good days and bad when it comes to this battle and I never could have imagined it would take this long. 5 years ago we were one of the first couples in our core group of friends that were going to start trying and it now feels like everyone else but us has a child (or two). I’m not saying we are losing hope, because we are not, I am just saying it’s getting a lot harder. To put it in to perspective, we have had 60 cycles including 4 assisted cycles. 59 negatives and only 1 positive which we lost too soon. It’s been 1,825 days (which is a Long a$$ time).

Infertility has taken away a lot from us but it has also allowed us to grow in other ways. As we continue to strive to achieve our dream of becoming parents, there is a lot more we have to look at now as a couple. We are grateful to still have one frozen embaby left that we are hoping little Sesame is the one but if not, we will circle back and make a new game plan. I’m not going to lie, when I changed the front page of the blog to reflect “Our 5+ Year Journey to Parenthood” from 4+ I had a good cry. Never did I think I would ever be writing blog , never mind an infertility blog, but here I am sharing my story to hopefully helps others in realizing that they are not alone.

Something that made me smile today was looking back on all the trips we have taken together in the last 5 years: Barbados, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Mexico, Thailand, Taiwan, Ireland, England, Portugal, Calgary and British Columbia to name a few. I have also travelled on my own to Panama and Colombia for work, multiple New York and Montreal weekends plus Scotland on my first solo UK adventure in 2015. Overall I am thankful and, more often than not, the good outweighs the bad but sometimes you just have to take in the bad for all it is and feel all the feels.

As I’ve always said: I will be a Mom. We will be parents. It will happen. We just have no control over the “when” right now.

To my friends and family and Canadian followers, Happy Thanksgiving. May your hearts and bellies be full on this long weekend.

Much love.

XO

 

 

 

when the hurt doesn’t go away

It has been just over 7 weeks since we lost our little Poppy and there have been a lot of emotions especially with our FET cycle approaching next month. I am definitely hopeful for what’s to come but also very nervous and scared. To be honest, the last 7 weeks free of appointments, injections, ultrasounds, bloating and hormonal breakdowns has been nice but the hurt hasn’t gone away. I keep wondering when “I’ll get over it” and maybe I just never will. For a short moment in time I was pregnant and then, I wasn’t.

I remember a time where I used to think that even though I was devastated that I had never been pregnant, I was somewhat grateful that I had also never experienced a loss. When we first found out that Poppy was no longer, I didn’t really know how to feel as I went from being pregnant to not being pregnant in a few short days. Basically less than 72 hours after our positive FRER’s were confirmed by a positive blood test, my pregnancy was gone. Leading up to our blood test I had pee’d on a total of about 11 pregnancy tests starting around 7dp5dt (7 days past 5 day transfer) and all were positive. When I initially found out that we had a positive blood result, although far too low, I would sit and stare at all of the positive tests and wonder why it was all happening. Even after our loss was confirmed, I would still sneak in to that drawer in the bathroom and take a peak in disbelief that they all were positive yet I was no longer pregnant. Eventually, for my sanity and to start moving forward, I had to throw them all out. I didn’t want to be reminded. I wanted to forget it even happened. I told myself I would have been happier with a negative test and beta than having to go through that loss. Since then I have had good days and bad days, days where the simple task of getting out of bed is unimaginable, days when the feeling of my heart breaking over and over again are too hard to control. But then I have awesome days where I take life by the horns and power through. I remind myself that I was pregnant and that was a huge milestone for us. Even if our FET next month IS successful, I don’t think the hurt will go away. I’ve said before that while I will be ecstatic the day I get to hold our babe in my arms for the first time, it will not wipe out what we had to go through to get to that point and I think the same feelings now apply to loss.

By now we would have been around the 12 week mark. I often think about how we would have told our families and friends (as everyone has been so involved and supportive through our journey). I think about the friends I would have been on mat leave with and how we could form our own Mom group because there would be so many of us. My days are not always this hard, but the hurt doesn’t go away.

I also take lots of time to reflect on everything we have been lucky to do over the past couple of months. We went to visit friends and family in western Canada earlier this month and I am happy that we continue to choose to maximize our time while it’s still just the two of us.  I have been actively practising Moksha again (which is something that will need to come to and end when our next cycle starts) and I’ve enjoyed nights out and glasses of wine and laughter with great friends.

The hurt may never go away but I hope over time its presence will fade.

 

FET protocol

I haven’t had much to report since we lost our pregnancy earlier this month. I have really just been trying to take everything one day at a time. On Tuesday we had our FET protocol appointment (FET stands for frozen embryo transfer). The nice thing about our next cycle is there are NO injections. I will start taking Estrace (estrogen) around day 3 for 12 days and I’ll have an ultrasound / blood work done here and there and when we are close I’ll go back on the Endometrin (progesterone) too and then we will transfer our little frozen (but thawed) sesame seed back in. For now, we are just enjoying life. I leave for Montreal tomorrow to complete 20 more hours of yoga teacher training and then next Thursday Shawn and I will head out west to Alberta and BC for a few days. I am glad we still manage to find some comfort in travelling when things go wrong.  Stay tuned for more FET details later next month!

i was pregnant

Was pregnant? Am pregnant? I’m sort of in this strange kind-of pregnant / kind-of not pregnant limbo at the moment. I recently posted about our first cycle of IVF and at that point, I knew I was pregnant but what I did not know was that we were losing our pregnancy at the same time.

I started spotting about a week ago (5dp5dt). I was concerned of course as I thought the worst. After speaking with my nurse and doing a little bit of googling I the concluded that it may actually be a good sign. You see, implantation occurs anywhere from 1-6 days after an embryo transfer so I just assumed little Poppy implanted late and I carried on with my week. By 8dp5dt the spotting had not stopped so I decided to take a cheap dollar store test and to my surprise, there was a faint second line. I couldn’t believe it.. I stared at this faint little line for what felt like hours. I decided to go to Shoppers later that day and by a FRER (first response early response) as they tend to pick up the HCG levels sooner too. I then took that test on Thursday night, tucked it in my night stand and went about my evening. I wasn’t going to tell Shawn about it because it was too soon. Even if I saw the faint line on the FRER, it was too soon but then there it was, a noticeable line. I had to tell him. I was so excited. I had never been pregnant before. WE had never been pregnant before. I told him on the couch and showed him the test. He was cautiously excited as he is with everything on this journey and I understood his position. It was early days. Not 24 hours later my excitement started to turn in to more worry. I started bleeding heavier on Friday night. By Saturday I had a full flow consistent with my period. I didn’t know what to think, was I still pregnant? Were we losing our little Poppy seed? I had no idea what to do. I went to Shoppers again and purchased a Clearblue digital test. Never in my life had I ever made it to a point where I needed to confirm my pregnancy (mostly because we had never been pregnant). I purchased the digital test and immediately headed to the closest mall bathroom and pee’d on it. I put it back in the box, in the bag and in to my purse and left the mall. I sat in my car for what felt like an eternity before I went back in to my purse, pulled out the bag, the box and eventually the test. I saw a big bright word on the screen that I had never seen in my life: Pregnant. I FREAKED out and then immediately noticed something off with the test. This particular digital test not only tells you that you’re pregnant, it dates it as well. While I know these things aren’t 100% accurate, it showed I was 1-2 weeks when in all reality by that Saturday I would have technically been 4 weeks and 1 day. The test should have read 3+. At that moment I pretty much knew that Poppy was leaving us. I carried on with my weekend filled with family and friends and stopped testing at that point. I decided I would just hold on to the last few days I had of being pregnant while fearing the worst but hoping for the best.

Yesterday we had my beta test to confirm if I was pregnant or not. Turns out, I am.. or, was? The beta measures the levels of HCG in your blood and anything over a 5 is considered a pregnancy. They like to see your numbers over 50 on your first beta and sadly, mine was only at a 7.5. After the doctors review (and based on the fact that I had a full flow bleed since Saturday), I was advised to stop my progesterone and to come for monitoring until my levels go back to zero.

So here I am, waiting for my levels to go back to zero. Waiting to lose the rest of this pregnancy. I would be lying if I said my heart wasn’t breaking every time I thought about it but I am also trying so very hard to look at the bright side of this all. That for the first time in our lives, we were pregnant. It might have only been for a few days but I will hold on to that until I am given the chance to be pregnant again. We need to take another break again to let my body get back to normal but we will carry our with our one last frosty and prepare for our frozen embryo transfer in the fall. Things may be quiet between now and our FET but I want to thank you all again for your love and support through what is yet another bump on our LongRoadToBaby.

XO

ivf cycle one reflection

As I sit here 9dp5dt (or, 9 days past 5 day transfer) I have a lot to reflect on from the past 4 weeks. 

For those of you who have been following, this was our very first IVF cycle after 3 failed attempts at IUI. Early in my cycle I felt really good. It was a lot more meds to handle but it seemed my body was adjusting well. I had my first scan on CD7 (cycle day 7) and of the 27 follicles we saw at my CD3 scan, 9 were maturing nicely. What does that mean? Well, typically they like to see follicles over 1.0 cm as a starting point but around the time of egg retrieval they want the follicles to be around 1.8-2.0 cm. It was around this time I started noticing some slight bloating and the Menopur headaches had fully kicked back in. You see, the average woman only has one follicle per month and I already had 9. By CD10 we had 3 more follicles maturing (to make an even 12) and the nurses let me know that it looked like we would be having our egg retrieval by the end of the week. We continued with the meds and I went back for another scan on CD11. Progress was still good but later that day I started becoming increasingly more uncomfortable. I noticed quite a bit of bloating on the right side and shortly after lunch I owned my first pair of maternity dress pants. I am not joking. I was in a meeting and could barely breathe in my pants (that I had just worn the week before perfectly fine). It was then I knew I was getting close and that I would continue to be uncountable for the next 2-4 days when they got the darn eggs out of me. On CD12, I officially started working from home as the discomfort was starting to be too much. That morning I also had another scan where we discovered 9 new follicles over 1.0 cm in my right ovary! That explained a lot. We knew at that point that those follicles likely wouldn’t mature in time for retrieval but they were there. It was also at that time that my trigger protocol was changed (the trigger shot is the last shot you take in advance of your egg retrieval). Originally I was to take a HCG trigger but with these late invaders I was now at risk for something called OHSS (Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome). I went on a strict Gatorade and salt diet to try to prevent full-blown OHSS. They also decided to give me a trigger shot called Lupron. While Lupron is effective at preventing OHSS, my nurse also informed me that there was the potential that we would not be able to have our fresh transfer. Unfortunately, we wouldn’t know until after my egg retrieval if we would be doing a fresh or frozen transfer. I obviously did not want to put off our transfer for another cycle or two but I also wanted my body to be in the best place it could be to receive our little embaby. 

Fast forward to egg retrieval day. I was now feeling like the size of a house and moving around very uncomfortably. We left the house at 5:10 a.m. for our 5:45 a.m. pre-op appointment. I was exhausted but also ready for these eggs to get out. Shawn was there right up until the wheeled me away for my retrieval. They don’t allow partners in the operating room for egg retrieval, only for the embryo transfer later in the cycle. I was given a couple of doses of the good stuff in my IV and the next 20 minutes I went in and out of remembering things. I was consciously sedated meaning I wasn’t fully out but I couldn’t feel anything. I do recall feeling exactly two pokes though. Not bad considering the doctor must have gone in to at least 12 follicles. I also remember hearing numbers.. 1-2-3-4. It was the embryologist counting how many eggs she was getting from the tubes. It was a fairly short procedure (about 20 minutes) and after I was taken back to recovery where I had a very nice nap. We still didn’t know if we would. Be able to have a fresh transfer or not but I did know that if the nurse administered my HCG trigger, that likely meant we were good to go. We were also told at that time that we had 8 mature eggs retrieved and they were off to get fertilized. Oh ya, while I was having my follicles drained, Shawn was dropping off his sample in another room so our eggs could be ICSI’d right away. We got home where I immediately went back to sleep. Shawn then spent most of the day bringing me Gatorade and anything else I could stomach (mostly plain potato chips). I went in and out of sleep for the rest of the day and was fully recovered 2 days later. On the Saturday afternoon we found out that out of our 8 mature eggs, 4 fertilized and that we would find our more on Monday. I went back to work that Monday and was able to wear proper pants once again. That afternoon we found out that our 4 embryos were still dividing nicely and we would have our final report on Wednesday morning – the day of our fresh transfer. 

Transfer day was much easier than retrieval day. It was basically like an IUI but with a full bladder. Ok, I will admit the full bladder was super uncomfortable especially since I over drank the water that day. Our embryologist met with us before my transfer to give us a breakdown of where our embryos were at. The good news, of the 4 we had on day 3, we had one fresh 4AA blast to transfer that day. The bad news, one of our embryos arrested (meaning it didn’t make it to day 5) and the other two were questionable. I was quite upset. Not that I wasn’t thankful for the perfect little embaby that was being transferred back inside me that day, but because at that exact moment I had no backup plan if our little seed didn’t grow. I knew we still had one day to see if our other two embryos would make it to blast so I decided to stay calm and wait. I think the scariest thought for me was if our little embaby didn’t stick, I’d have to go through the stim + retrieval stage all over again which was particularly difficult for me. 

Shawn and I were able to watch the whole transfer together which was pretty neat. He named our embaby Poppy as it’s basically the size of poppy seed. Now we are just in a period of waiting. The day after our transfer we also found out that one of the two remaining embryos made it to freeze so we have one additional embaby in case this one doesn’t work (or for Poppy’s future sibling). 

Overall this process has been the most physically, mentally and emotionally draining thing I think I have ever been though but with a strong husband and an excellent support system, we have made it through and we are hopefully one step closer on our Long road to baby. 

XO