WTF?

Seriously, I have no idea what the infertility/fertility abbreviations mean.  I know “TTC”, and that was pretty much the extent.  And even then, “TTC” is what we call our transit system here in Toronto.

If you’re like me and you have no friggen clue what people are trying to say with “BFN”, “2WW”, or “DH”, you might want to check out THIS list.  In fact, you might want to bookmark it, keep it open, or even print it.

beanie

Advertisements

Moving Forward With No Answers

How is it possible that everything can be perfect and imperfect all at the same time?

We met with Dr. C yesterday and everything looked FINE.  All of my tests:  perfect.  No hormone imbalances, no classic signs to point to Polycycstic Ovary Syndrome.  Ultrasounds looked good, even appears that I ovulated last month.  For Cody:  all of his blood work came back great and his sperm results:  WONDERFUL.  He has 72 million runners and 70% of them are running steady and towards the goal line.  Why so different from the last results?  Well, no one really knows, but apparently it was an off day the last time.  Hey, we’ll take it.  The doctor looked at us and said it was really rare to see a couple who are so healthy.

So what’s the problem?

I’m happy – don’t get me wrong.  I don’t want anything to be wrong with either of us – but I’d like some kind of explanation as to why we haven’t conceived in over 3 years.

Dr. C now had me on Femara for 5 days.  Next Wednesday – my BIRTHDAY, no less – I’ll head back to the office, have more blood taken, another transvaginal ultrasound (it really is as bad as it sounds – to me anyway.  Sorry to burst any bubbles.), and we’ll see how the medication is working.  What lies beyond that day, I have no clue.

Cody was over the moon yesterday!  First, awesome sperm test results and then his first A+… sort of.  We found out that my blood type is O-negative and Cody is A+positive.  There is a slight issue with this, called the Rh factor.  I’ll give the cliff notes version, but you can read more about it HERE.    Basically, it is possible that I will have a baby who has a positive blood type and after giving birth, some of the baby’s blood could mix with mine and it could cause anti-bodies.  This wouldn’t really effect Baby #1, but Baby #2 could have complications… my body could essentially treat him/her like something they need to fight.  In the end, it really means that I just need more tests and screening during the pregnancy and some vaccinations.

Essentially… we’re just waiting some more.  And I’m disappointed, but I’m not.  Kind of… I don’t know.  Indifferent?  I feel like there’s not really anything new.  Slowly but surely, I guess.  And I sort of feel like the issue(s) are with me, again – not that I ever blamed Cody – but I mean… if I need the pills it’s because I’M not ovulating.  I’m not doing the most natural thing a woman can do.  Apparently.

We’re moving forward.  So I am happy about that!

To Be Continued…

 

beanie

“D” Day

“D” is for “Doctor”!

First, I want to tell everyone some good news!  Cody and I sold our condo over the weekend!  Next step will be to get out of here by February 28… we need to find an apartment to rent for 6 months while our house is finished up.  Related to that:  a family member of Cody’s had the audacity to PUBLICLY post on my Facebook wall that it’ll be nice when we get in the house because we can start filling the rooms with babies.  From my last post before this, you know how annoyed that gets me.

Anyway, tomorrow morning Cody and I have our review with Dr. C.  She’ll have the results from our blood work and my many, many ultrasounds.  Cody and I both hope we’ll have a next step!  After the review, Cody will be getting his ultrasounds completed – which he’s so nervous about.  I keep telling him it’ll be no big deal and that at least it only has to happen once.

After, I have an appointment with Dr. Poon, who’s going to be vital in helping me to lose A LOT of weight.  If you’re interested in that part of my journey, I elaborate on that issue in a separate blog called “Dumping My Diabetes”.  Then we get to run around to lawyers, banks, and the eye doctor.

So.. I’m on my way to buy some sleeping pills.  I’ll never get to turn my brain off tonight!

 

beanie

Confessions, Secrets, Rants.

I don’t know exactly why I do it – but I kind of treat this infertility stuff like it’s a government secret.

When Cody and I were referred to the fertility clinic, I called my stepmum right away and told her what was happening.  I received love, support and confidence from her.  It didn’t take away all of my upset feelings and so when my cousin called the next day, I used her as a sounding board for my frustrations.  I am very close with my cousin – she is one of my best friends and more like a sister to me than anything else – which is why I vented, anticipating something – ANYTHING – that would help.  Like everything else in this journey, it didn’t really go as expected.  Jenna seemed irritated with it all – even telling me not to listen to the doctors and that I didn’t need a fertility specialist.  More happened, but it doesn’t really matter.  At the end of the call, I was even more upset and irritated with her on top of it.  I told Cody what happened and then finished up with a vow not to tell anyone what was happening.

Over the next few days I did just that – but with the full range of emotions coming and going, I realized it wasn’t fair to burden Cody and only Cody with it all.  After very careful consideration (and Cody’s approval), I decided to talk with a friend of mine, Samantha.  It was a good choice:  we don’t have any mutual friends, she also wants a baby and has her own issues with that, and she’s always been supportive and understanding regardless of the issue.  We talked for a long time and at the end of it all, one things sticks out to me still, over a month later…  Samantha gave my feelings validation.  Though Samantha wants to have children, she is not struggling with fertility.  She’s a professional, career-driven woman who isn’t married or with a partner at the moment, which is the only reason she doesn’t have a perfect, gorgeous baby right this second.  The only thing we have in common, with regards to fertility, is that we both want a baby.  That being said, Sam was supportive and understanding, and sympathetic.  On top of it all, she told me that she did not know how I felt, and that no one except someone going through the same issues, could fully understand.  It might seem weird, but her telling me that made me feel so much better.  My stepmum was optimistic, but told me to buck up.  Samantha told me that I am going to feel whatever I was going to feel – and regardless of the emotion, it was perfectly acceptable.

After my conversation with my cousin, I’ve avoided telling her anything more about our fertility struggles.  She doesn’t know I’ve been to a couple of appointments, or that I’ve had testing done.  And I really have no intention of telling her anything more.  And it’s not just her!  I haven’t told my best friends.  I haven’t told other members of my family.  Cody and I haven’t said anything yet to his family either.  Cody says that we don’t need to tell anyone (on his side) yet because we don’t really know what the problem is or what we need to do.  But if I’m honest (and why be anything BUT honest when I have all of this anonymity) I don’t want to tell his family at all… I don’t want the judgements.  I don’t want the suggestions.  I don’t want the looks of pity.  I don’t want it spread around his very talkative family.  The only reason I’d want to tell them is so that they can stop asking us when we’re going to have babies!  Which, by the way, is something that annoys me to no end.  What makes anyone think they have the right to ask a couple when they are going to have kids, or to suggest that it’s should be happening soon.  First of all, it’s no one’s business – do you really want my ovulation schedule (ha!  As if I could provide that anyway.) and our calendar so you could help us pencil in sex?  Clearly we aren’t doing it right!  Please – let us know how YOU did it!  Ugh.  Secondly, does anyone EVER stop to think that maybe we’ve been trying and there could be some kind of issue?  What the hell ever happened to sensitivity?  Or tact, for that matter.  End rant.

So I guess for now I’m happy with my very select, small group of confidants.  And YOU!  🙂

Samantha also suggested that Cody and I (or just me, whatever) might want to attend a support group since there would be others facing similar situations.  I am not sure how I feel about this.  I’m a nervous person as it is, and I always feel so awkward when meeting new people.  It might be worth a shot though… and I’d be interested to hear from those who’ve gone to a support group, thought about attending one, or who’ve had this suggested to them too.

I think this post was all over the place today.  Confessions, secrets, and rants.

Thanks for lending your ear… er, eyes?

beanie

Privacy: A Thing of My Past

In talking with my cousin last week, I was told a story that I’d like to share with you:

  “A few people at my work were talking to *Mary, who’s pregnant.  She was saying that she does not want anyone in the birthing room because she would like to keep the process private.  *Anne, who’s a mother of 3 boys already, looked at Mary and said ‘Giving birth is the least private thing you’ll ever do in your life.’.  It was funny until we all realized how true that is.”

Well, I am not sure if it is like this for every woman who’s ever been pregnant or was trying to get pregnant, but my experience so far confirms that I am about to embark on a journey where everyone involved is going to get to know me a little better than most people.  Where privacy used to be a right, it’s now a luxury.  A luxury that is not a part of fertility testing and treatments.

The ultrasounds, like everything so far, was clinical and scientific.  I didn’t expect much else (nor would I want it any other way!).  What I’d like to be able to do is turn off the embarrassment and humiliation for a minute and look at it like the doctors, technicians, and nurses do:  a procedure and process.

I was lead into a room and told to remove everything from the waist up and to cover with a very thin, pretty much see through paper “towel” (and I use the noun “towel” very loosely).  For the next 40 minutes, I am literally half-naked having cold gel applied to my stomach, sides, lower back, throat, and breasts all the while having different commands given to me. “Take a deep breath and hold.”; “Turn to your left side.”; “Place your arms above your head”; and my personal favorite: “Lean your head back and expose your throat.”

I am still not even entirely sure what the point of having these ultrasounds was.  It’s fine – I won’t complain (too much).  And my husband isn’t home yet – but I can’t wait to tell him about it.  Especially since he’s in for the same thing in about 2 weeks…except he won’t have the luxury of being able to be half-dressed.

This is just one more test.  It’s just another necessary step to obtain the information needed in order to start the process of trying to get pregnant.  This is what I will tell myself to stay optimistic:  The end result is what matters, and all of this testing and discomfort will be washed away if I’m lucky enough to hold my baby in my arms, watch my husband teach our son to play lacrosse or spy on him having a tea party with our curly-haired Princess.

(It is still the least fun way to get pregnant though.)

 

beanie

 

I have a side story to add.  And it’s going to be snarky – so I’m apologizing in advance.  While waiting for my ultrasounds, there was a patient who decided to talk about how horrible and impossible it was to deal with the morning sickness she was experiencing.  Here she is, in an office full of people so desperate to have a baby, and she’s got the nerve to complain.  How many of us in there would give anything to be pregnant – morning sickness included, if need be?  You’d think that as a woman who’s just gone through the fertility treatment process and been SUCCESSFUL that she’d have the common sense to keep it to herself (or at least talk quietly to the receptionist).

 

*  Names were changed… mostly because I don’t even know their real names.

First of Many

I panicked for nothing.

My appointment wasn’t fantastic – but it was completely different than what I imagined.  When Cody and I walked in, we weren’t sure what to expect.  And that optimistic husband of mine even seemed nervous, which didn’t help me at all.  We filled in 4 sheets worth of personal, embarrassing  intimate fill-in-the-blank questions.  When that was done, we were led to the back where blood was taken from each of us.  I swear, about 15 vials were taken from me and only 6 from Cody.  After that, we met the doctor who’d be working with us through this journey.

Dr. C was phenomenal.  So personable, great bedside manner, completely understanding.  And best of all, optimistic.

Our information was reviewed.  First she looked through Cody’s information and confirmed that his sperm results were a little lower than what they’d like, but they wanted to test again to see if they were accurate.  Good news:  a lot of the time, a “Vitamin Cocktail” could make significant improvements in his results.  Then she dealt with me.

I’m about to give you the honest truth here about my very worst quality…. I’m THE WORST type of pessimistic person (which a dash of hypochondria).  I told my stepmother (and half-believed it) that I thought I was a barren woman.

Anyway, we looked over my cycles for the last 2 years.  Not fantastic, as I knew.  She said she thought there was a possibility that I have PCOS (Poly-cystic Ovary Syndrome), but there are many options, depending on severity and such.  We’d also need to do more testing, of course, before we’d be able to discuss our fertility plan.

…. And the next thing I knew, Cody was being led off to another room to give his sample (poor man – he was mortified at having to produce this sample on location!) and I was being brought down another hall towards a room for an ultrasound.  Oh, simple abdominal ultrasound?  Not a chance.  Let’s go straight for the invasive ultrasound right off the bat!  While being very physically uncomfortable during this ultrasound, not to mentioned embarrassed, it was discovered that I had an egg being formed and I was getting a lining in my womb!  There were some additional follicles on my ovary as well, but we’d have to do more testing.  Let me tell you – just knowing I could produce at least one egg on my own made all the difference – emotionally.

Not much more came of this first of many meetings, but I actually feel optimistic (a big accomplishment for a person like me).  I’m scheduled to go in for more ultrasounds tomorrow – which means I should be getting to bed.  We’ve also got to go in for another meeting at the end of the month to discuss our blood and ultrasound results and make a plan for getting pregnant.

I guess I found a silver lining after all!

 

 

beanie

 

The Call

I work from home.  Lucky, in a way – the commute is fantastic, I pick my own hours, and I get to work in my pj’s if I’m so inclined.  Downfalls:  the pay isn’t that wonderful and I’m becoming a hermit.

Anyway, none of that really has to do with much.  A couple of days ago, I was working and my other phone rang (I do customer service, so I have two separate lines).  I was talking with a customer, so I was not able to answer the call.  I should have though – cause I don’t know if I even completed the call correctly… I’d seen it was my OB GYN calling and so of course, my stomach dropped and all I wanted to do was listen to her voicemail.

January 8th at 11:45AM – bring your husband – Dr. C.

I’d called my OB GYN’s office and told them we wanted to proceed with going to the fertility clinic.  I said I wanted them to try and get us in for the end of February.  This would give me enough time to actually get on the elliptical or into the pool so that I could say I’d been giving exercise a good go.  It would also give us time for Cody to get his second sperm test done and those results sent over to the fertility clinic.

Sooner than later should be a good thing, right?  So why do I feel… not-happy?  I think I’m afraid of starting all of this.  I don’t want to have to take MORE medication.  I don’t want to give myself shots (I don’t even know if I can – I have an allergy to preservatives found in some injectable serums).  I most definitely do not want to feel the way that I’ve felt every single time I’ve taken a pregnancy test and it come back negative.  I especially do not want to be so happy about the treatment working and then possibly miscarrying weeks later.

Of course, I’m going to the appointment. And I know exactly what my stepmother is going to say:  You can’t focus on what might go wrong.  You need to focus on what can go great.

Why the hell can’t I ever see that silver lining everyone else sees??

beanie

Shrink Your Stomach In Hopes of Making it Bigger

While at the office, we talked about me being diabetic.  I had worked SO HARD for months to get the sugar levels all of the doctors wanted to see.  I managed to keep them good and not have to start insulin.  I should have been exercising, but for too many reasons (and none of them good enough), I hadn’t been exercising.  But again, this wasn’t a problem since my blood results were PERFECT.  If I started exercising (which I plan on starting the “next day” every night before bed…), it would only improve my numbers.  But this OB GYN who was so positive during the rest of this meeting didn’t seem so positive about it now.  She said it would be fine to go ahead and start the fertility stuff now, but maybe I’d like to wait while trying to lose more weight or try and research some gastric bypass options.

Wait.  What?

OK, yeah, I need to lose weight.  Seriously, who is perfect weight these days?!  Everyone is either too skinny (not often) or too big (more often).  But let me tell you, it is NOT like I’m 400lbs and/or in need of losing over 100 pounds. I need to lose a significant amount of weight – but this does not necessitate me going under a knife (or laser..whatever) to have a band placed around the top of my stomach!  This was never, ever suggested to me by any of my doctors.  And I have A LOT of doctors, some dedicated just to dealing with my diabetes.  I’d been told to walk for 30 minutes a day, eat less carbs, see a nutritionist  you know – the standard script.  My OB GYN told me that she didn’t think it was a necessary option, but something I might like to think about.  She explained that it would help me lose a lot of weight very fast and that it might help for when I did become pregnant.  She’d suggested this to other patients with fertility issues, and though it was not a guarantee they would be able to get pregnant with just two people instead of a team, it couldn’t hurt.

So here I am, embarrassed and insulted that this would be suggested to me like “Hey, did you ever think about getting highlights in your hair?”.  And not even because it’s necessary.  Not because I’m even a really good candidate.  Not even because there is any kind of possibility that this would aid in my husband and I conceive.

Cody understand why I’m annoyed by this one.  Though he sees the rest of the results from our appointment with a rose-colored tint, he agrees that this suggestion didn’t make any sense.  It is one thing to strongly suggest to someone that they should lose weight for reason A, B, and C.  It’s a whole other thing to have them consider a major surgery to do this same thing.

Last year, I’d decided to take my diabetes into my own hands.  I started eating better and lost 25 pounds.  I got a personal trainer and lost 16 inches over my entire body.  Admittedly, I fell off the wagon for a while, and there are still a lot of improvements I should have made at the time, and still more I need to make now.  But I can do it.  I have the motivation again – I just need those standing behind me (and my soon to be pregnancy team) to have some confidence that I can do it.

 

beanie

Speed Bump Instead of Baby Bump

The first thing the OB GYN did was give my husband his sperm test results.  Where they like to see a number over 20 million, he has 10 million.  And where they want to see motility over 50%, he has 30%.  But this was not bad news, per se.  This was something they could work with!  No need to worry.  These numbers might also be inaccurate since if Cody was sick within the last 74 days, it would affect his results.  He’d been really sick over Thanksgiving, so this could be the reason for the lower number.  Another test in February, and we’d re-evaluate.

Then she looked at me.

I confirmed that my periods are irregular.  Sometimes 28 days, sometimes 40.  She told me that this is a good sign that I am not ovulating every month, which WAS a problem and I would need to go to a fertility clinic.  Once I am there, I would be tested for a full cycle, every day.  I would need to get up early and go in for an appointment daily where my blood would be taken and an ultrasound, to monitor my egg production and/or release.  If I do ovulate, they would call me and tell me to light some candles, put on some sexy music and have at it.  If I did not ovulate, then I’d need to start medication.

Let’s hit “pause” for a second:

My OB GYN is fantastic.  I waited for over a year to get my first appointment with her.  She has an amazing reputation, is a member of different associations, and has too many fancy diplomas.  When you call the office, you have a very good chance of speaking directly to the doctor, if needed.  When you have a test done, she often calls you directly with the results.  With all of this you would think she’d be an egotistical, stuck up doctor – but she’s just so nice.  All of the time.

So even when she’s telling me to expect a very invasive ultrasound every day and blood tests each morning, it didn’t sound so bad.  And then when she told me that I might have to go on medications that have a high probability of making you have twins, it never sounded horrible.  She told me that I was “lucky” – all of my tests would be covered by OHIP.  I’d, of course, have to pay for any medications needed, but if we have insurance (and we do), then those could be covered too!  It didn’t sound completely awful.  The next step after making sure that I was ovulating (with or without crazy expensive, multiple-baby-causing medications) was a sperm wash, which would likely be needed if the second test for my husband came back with similar results.  This – not covered.  But hey – very, very good chance in resulting in pregnancy!  Can you put a price on that?  So they take his boys and literally wash away all of the chemicals and lazy fellas and insert them into me when I’m ovulating.  I never realized there was a legitimate comparison when people made the turkey baster reference.  I said it sounds painful, the doc said it was about as uncomfortable as a pelvic exam…. not so fun, in my eyes.  But worth it, if I could get pregnant.

Cody and I went home.  And I feel ridiculous writing this, but when we got home, I just got into my bed, held my favourite cat (yes, I kinda like one of the cats more than the other.  I’m horrid.) and I cried.  I mean REALLY cried.  I was (and still have been since the news) feeling sorry for myself.  I feel like we can do something with Cody’s results – and I’m happy for that!  But for me, I have to go through even more and there’s no real promise of me getting pregnant… or even staying pregnant.  Yup – the risk of miscarriage is much higher, and yes – because I’m diabetic, it’s notched up even more.

Cody keeps telling me that it’s not really bad news.  Bless his big, beautiful heart, he’s an eternal optimist.  Me, not so much.  When he says these things to me and seems to be perfectly fine with this report on our reproductive systems, it makes me feel ridiculous.  Like I’m making a bigger deal of all of this than it should be.  But shouldn’t I be upset to know that I may need to have medications and blood work and ultrasounds just to see if that one little egg is even there?  Sure, we have some options, and we’ll exhaust all of them – but what if they don’t work?  It’s not the end of the road yet… but I still feel like I’m missing something that every other woman has.

And it’s juvenile, but I just feel like it’s not fair.  I am fully aware of how hard other people have it.  There are people living on the streets, babies with no food, natural disasters all over the world.  I get it – I really do.  I am sympathetic to all of that.  And all of the things that people are dealing with all over the world makes me feel even worse about feeling the way that I do about all of this.  And still… I can’t help the way I feel.

In my last post, I talk about how I came to realize I wanted babies.  Over the 10-ish years that I’ve decided I wanted babies (and lots of them) it’s the one thing I know will make me complete.  I have a great husband, an amazing home and a new home on the way, great family and awesome friends.  And with all of that, I am so blessed, but I know being a wife and Mum is what I’m supposed to do with my life.  How can I have a backup for that plan??

 

 

beanie