Thursday, September 30, 2010


I owe Reagan's Mommy some answers, so here goes:

1. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be?
India - my husband and I had a whole two-month trip planned when we finished graduate school. Unfortunately (or fortunately) we both got jobs that we really wanted and decided we should take them. We were also swimming in student debt at the time, so it might have been an irresponsible decision on our part if we hadn’t accepted these jobs. We still hope to go one day.
2. What is your happiest childhood memory?
This is a tough one. I had a pretty good childhood, but nothing is really jumping out at me at the moment. I do remember coming in to school one morning after a parent-teacher night during which parents were asked to leave a note for us kids to read in the morning. Both my mom and dad left me the sweetest note and I still have it until this day.
3. Do you have any nicknames? How did you get them?
No nicknames, just variations on my first and last name.
4. What do you think is the single best decision you've made in your life so far?
I know it says single, but I have two. The first was to go back to school in a different city. I needed to get away from my life in Toronto, to get out of a relationship that wasn't going anywhere, and to get out on my own. This is also where I met my husband, making it a very good decision indeed. My second was our decision to adopt our sweet little doggie. I never had pets growing up, but I always wanted a dog - even though I was allergic. When my husband and I got settled back in Toronto, one of our first decisions was to look for a dog. Our pup is 6 years old now and I can't imagine our life without him. He makes me smile when I wake up, when I come home after a long day, and when I go to sleep.

Back in the Stirrups

Well ICLW is over for September - I was not as "attentive" as I had hoped to be, but I read some interesting blogs, and gained a few followers – thanks ladies! My time off is quickly approaching, which will leave me with lots of time to catch up on all of your blogs and contribute to mine.

I’ve already posted to October ICLW in the spirit of being organized. I had to think about my 3 key words – this month they are “first IVF, 2 week wait, and infertility”. My two week wait will be at the end of October, coinciding with ICLW.

As a short update – today was my Day 0; I got my blood and ultrasounds and met with the IVF nurse. It looks like I have about 15 follicles total – I have no idea if that’s average, or a lot, or a few. Once they confirm everything is OK later today, I will start Menopur tomorrow – yeah! My husband is such a pro now with the needles, I hardly even feel them anymore.

I also paid my fees in full - $7,700 for the IVF, ICSI and assisted hatching, and $1,000 for the meds for the first 5 days. All together this little endeavor will cost about $10,000 from my estimate. I paid for it all on my credit card – air miles here I come – and will pay it off using my savings from the last several months. I have been putting money aside from every paycheque to cover this, so at least I won’t be paying interest on this major purchase.

It is all starting to feel very real now. When I was getting my ultrasound this morning, I started thinking about the diagram of the “wand” with the long needle that retrieves the follicles – and then I started to panic a little. I have been getting needles pretty frequently since I was a kid (weekly allergy shots for years), but I still get pretty nervous and anxious about these things. It’s funny, after all this time talking to people in support groups, online, etc. I never thought to ask about the actual “procedure”.

For those of you that have done IVF, how did you find the retrieval? I’m interested to hear people’s experiences, but no horror stories please!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Boosting my Spirits!

Unfortunately it has been, and will continue to be, a crazy week for me between work and appointments (acupuncture, chiropractic, naturopath, endo-biopsy, etc.). I was hoping to post a long blog this week, but it just isn't going to happen. So I thought I would at least put up a short note about how much I have been enjoying ICLW so far (I know it's only the 2nd day).

This is my first ICLW, and it's encouraged me to check out many different blogs, but the common thread I have found is just how supportive this little community of ours is.
Reading all the different posts on my site and others has really boosted my mood this week - so thanks to all the ICLW bloggers out there!

On another note - I have started my Lupron injections, and am scheduled to start stims next Friday. So far, I've only had a few headaches from the Lupron, but nothing like the migraines I got from Clomid thankfully. I also wake up feeling nauseous – has anyone else out there experienced that? I see the humour in experiencing something similar to morning sickness - I remember at the beginning of my TTC journey that any little feeling of nausea got me excited about the potential of being pregnant - how naive I was!

Happy ICLW!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Stress (Out)

I have decided to take some significant time off from work to go through my IVF cycle. I found out a few months ago that I have been accumulating holiday time over the last 5 years – who knew – and now I have 19 days of additional vacation time!!! I started thinking about all the things I could change about this cycle versus my previous IUI cycles – and the reduction of stress from work has always been the thing that kept creeping back into my head when I asked – what did I do wrong? I don’t believe that stress has kept me from getting pregnant all these years, but it sure couldn’t hurt to eliminate some of it.

I have two bosses, one of whom knows what I am going through - she caught me crying at the office and I finally just gave in and told her and hoped she’d be sympathetic. She was very sympathetic, which I am totally grateful for, but I don’t think either of them are too thrilled with me taking a full 4 weeks off. To be honest – I had already decided when I “asked” for the time off that it wasn’t really up for discussion; I was just going to take it.

A friend asked me if my doctor told me to take that time off, and I realized that it might seem like a lot to take that much time off for an IVF, maybe even selfish? I am sure many women just call in sick for a few days. However, I really can’t fathom the idea of coming into work a) when I am (hopefully) so bloated from follicle stimulating drugs, or b) totally crazed during the 2ww. During my past IUI cycles I was practically useless anyway, since all I did was search web for pregnancy symptoms (has anyone ever really had implantation bleeding???) or success stories to keep me going.

I took a few days to figure out how to tell my clients they wouldn’t be able to get a hold of me for a month (I’m going to try to avoid my blackberry too). I didn’t want to say I was taking vacation because I recently took a two week vacation, and I thought that might seem flaky of me to take off again so soon.

I decided I would tell people I was taking a “medical leave”. So far, I have told three clients, all of whom have gone silent and then sounded worried with an “I hope everything is OK”. I think “medical leave” is cryptic enough that people don’t ask anymore questions, and I haven’t volunteered any further information – I like to keep people on their toes! By the sounds of their reactions they may think I am dying or have some sort of terminal illness. I certainly don’t want to compare infertility or going through an IVF with any of these things, but I just didn’t know how else to handle it. Hopefully no one is tact-less enough to ask any prying questions.

As for my time off, I have made myself a few promises. I figure if I am going to make the most of this time, I need to do certain things that will make me feel like I did everything I could to increase my chances of success. This means:
- I will eat only healthy food (I am back on my "clean diet" as of last Friday)
- I will only get together with people that make me happy
- I will meditate and practice deep breathing
- I will practice certain yoga poses everyday
- I will watch only movies/TV that make me feel good (no scary or depressing movies)
- I will read only books that are uplifting or funny
(There are probably others, but I can’t seem to remember them all)

My naturopath said something very poignant to me – she said to make sure that I don’t feel guilty if I don’t do these things because it can become a vicious cycle - feeling stressed – trying to do things that reduce stress – then feeling guilty for feeling stressed in the first place and not doing de-stressing things, thereby increasing the stress. So I also promise not to feel guilt about stress or not keeping all my promises to myself.

I hope that the cycle goes according to plan, and that I don’t have to come back to the office early because of a cancelled cycle, but I will deal with that if the time comes. For now, I just have to assume it will go according to “plan” and count down the days until I have a little break from work.

I have three questions for you ladies out there:
- Has anyone out there made a similar decision to take time off around an IVF (more than a few days)?
- What did you tell people you were going to be doing during your time off?
- What did you do with your time off?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

My New Obsession

I wouldn’t say that I have an addictive personality, I have no real vices to speak of, but when there’s something that I want to do or accomplish, it weighs on my mind constantly and I go for it with all I’ve got.

Now that I have decided to start a blog I can feel that obsession creeping in. I posted my blog on “Stirrup Queens” ICLW and waited for the followers to come! I had no idea that starting a blog would fuel my obsessive nature like this. I checked my stats and comments before I went to bed last night and as soon as I woke up this morning (thanks to the three ladies who posted comments already!). I am trying to understand why I feel so excited to have followers/people reading my posts. I think it just has something to do with the feeling of being part of a community, even if it’s a community most of us wish we weren’t part of.

On the ICLW site, I had to list three main themes for my blog – first IVF and infertility were obvious ones, but I struggled a bit with the third. Finally I decided to write “loneliness”. Its not that I want to dwell on my feelings of loneliness, but that has been one of the most difficult aspects of infertility for me and I hope that writing about it will let others know that many of us feel that way.

In the time that my husband and I have been trying to conceive, all of our friends have gotten pregnant with no difficulty whatsoever. This includes friends from high school, university, work, family members, etc. You might think I am exaggerating when I say “all” of my friends – but I’m really not. Several of them got pregnant within a couple of months of each other (some mere days apart). I remember thinking to myself – I have to be pregnant before so and so, or, I have to be pregnant before so and so gives birth, or, I have to be pregnant before so and so’s baby turns one. But these “dates” have come and gone, and I am still the lone childless one in my social circle.

These feelings come and go, and I don’t want to give the impression that I mope around all the time feeling sorry for myself (just some of the time). One of the best things I did for myself during this last 2.5 years was to participate in a support group that focused on meditation, yoga, diet and other techniques to deal with these feelings and to help reduce the stress of dealing with infertility. My husband definitely noticed the difference in my ability to cope with the tests, drugs, doctor’s visits, etc. and I made some good friends that understand this shared struggle. (If you live in the Toronto area I would be happy to pass along the information for this group – it is a paid course, but well worth it.)

I’m really looking forward to keeping up with this blog, so thanks again for checking it out and for being such a supportive group!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

My first post

Welcome to my blog.

On a whim (and suffering extreme boredom and indifference at work) I decided to start a blog. I guess it wasn’t really a whim, more like inspiration. I have been inspired by all of the amazing women (and one man) who have started blogs that reveal their feelings and experiences about infertility. Like most of the women out there dealing with infertility, I spend a lot of time on Google looking for diagnoses, ideas, or some shred of hope, that we might one day be one of the lucky people who “beat” infertility. A friend of mine, who I met through a support group for infertility, told me about this page called “999 Reasons to Laugh at Infertility”. I am sure any of you who have found my blog must also be familiar with this one. After reading all of the postings on that site (maybe 150 – 200??? I lost count), I followed up on various posters with blogs of their own. These blogs are humorous, filled with information and hope, and most of all have helped me feel a little less alone. It opened up my eyes to this community of women and now that I am about to embark on my first IVF I decided to join the gang!

A brief bit of history about my TTC journey: We have been with two different Res, one terrible and one so-so (but who seems to have loyal patients), I have done two IUIs on Clomid, and two IUIs on Menopur injectables, with good follicle response but no success and no explanations. I had a laparoscopy before the last two IUIs, and one Yale Endometrial Function test (endometrial biopsy) before starting IVF. The laparoscopy showed mild endometriosis, and the Yale test showed an infection and dis-syncrony (???) of my lining. Following that test I was put on Lupron Depot for three months back in May (I will save that story for another posting) and antibiotics for one month. I used that time while on the Lupron Depot (while there was no chance I would get pregnant) to eat all the fat, gluten, sugar, etc., I am not “supposed” to be eating, and to drink all the alcohol and caffeine I am not “supposed” to be drinking. I like to blame my recent weight gain on the hormones, but I suspect it was also partly these indulgences. I also went on roller coasters, and spent time in saunas and hot tubs – just some of things I have been avoiding doing for the last 2.5 years. Now that the Lupron Depot is out of my system, I am one week and two days into the birth control pill part of my IVF cycle.

I decided to call my blog “First and Only?” because to-date I have been very adamant, and my husband has (after lots of discussion) agreed, that we would only do one IVF, and if doesn’t work we would move on to adoption. I am the kind of person that generally sticks to a decision, sometimes bordering on stubborn. I hope in this case this won’t be a decision we have to make.