Differences

We are rapidly approaching the baseline ultrasound for this IVF cycle.  Which means I have been thinking a lot about the things that I plan to do differently this time around.

The first one is to be more forthright with my doctor.  I have a meeting with him on Thursday to discuss ICSI (I have my reservations on it), the anti-depressants I am taking, my mental health (I want a doctor’s note for bed rest after the transfer), I want to discuss transferring more than two embryos (assuming we even get more than 2 that are good to go!), and I want confirmation that if the IVF is successful they will monitor me at the clinic as a high risk pregnancy (meaning frequent beta tests until 7 weeks, ultrasounds at 7, 9 & 11 weeks and the Harmony Test).  I know it is a lot of “I want” in that paragraph. I think for $10,000, I am entitled to a few demands.

After the baseline, I am going to stop drinking until the first beta. Which means this upcoming weekend is going to be fun.  I will do the same with caffeine but I am already at a one tall Americano a week anyway so that’s not a huge change.

I am going to drink half the amount of water I did last time before the retrieval (and the transfer).  Both times, my bladder was “too full” but the doc carried on anyway and I was in incredible pain before, during and after both procedures.

I am going to bring the “prayer blanket” my mom’s friends made for me to the transfer for the recovery period.

I am not going to let the embryologist intimidate me.  I will be writing down the daily results, asking questions and we will be waiting until Day 5.  Even our doctor supports us on that one.

I am going to schedule an event for every day of the two week wait.  I am not even going to bother with lists, I am just going to schedule the heck out of my life.

I am going to mediate everyday once the injections start.

I am going to believe that not only will this work, that I will carry this baby to term.  untitled

With Grace

“You have been through so much and you have handled it with grace”. That’s what our Fertility Doctor said to us on December 15 and it was probably one of the nicest things he could have said – given the circumstances.

You see, we were accepted for our frozen embryo transfer in mid-November and it started with my old friend Suprefact five times a day. Very inconvenient if you have a professional job that requires meetings.

We decided not to tell anyone because everything would happen to close to Christmas and there are already so many emotions around this time of year, why add to the pile?! We are also tired of being the pity case. Tired of “helpful” advice and tired of having to share our never-ending bad news. We wanted this to be just us for a while.

After my period it was more Suprefact, low dose aspirin and some estrogen until my lining ultrasound the second week of December. Everything looked great and the estrogen was increased steadily over the next few days and they threw in some progesterone too. My purse was already a pharmacy, what’s a bit more? Nevermind the fact it’s vaginal progesterone 3 times a day. Sigh.

The transfer was scheduled for December 15 and we both took a vacation day. To say that we were cautiously optimistic would be an understatement. My acupuncturist was scheduled to come for the post transfer treatment. Everything was lining up perfectly.

And then the embryologist called.

He was exceptionally sorry to inform us that neither embryo survived the thawing process and there would not be a transfer today. Instead, we needed to come in and see our doctor.

Shock.

That’s really the only word for it.

We went to see our Fertility Doctor who was at a loss for words.  90% of all embryos survive the thawing process…but neither of ours did. Statistically speaking that’s rather incredible. For all the wrong reasons.

He spent a lot of time with us. He actually left, saw another patient, and then came back. He went through everything in our file. Every test, every result and every procedure. Everything is fine. Nothing is stellar but everything is where it should be or “pretty good”.

He told us he doesn’t know what to suggest anymore. We could do a chromosome testing IVF but he wouldn’t recommend that because it involves freezing and thawing again. We could do another IVF but there isn’t anything that can be done to increase our chances because our results last time were “pretty good” (not great but good). He would not recommend donors (sperm or egg) because ours are fine.  He wouldn’t recommend surrogacy because I do not fit the criteria (and it’s not really a thing here anyways). After all, I can get pregnant and I have been three times. There is nothing to suggest someone else could carry them further. Our antibodies are fine, our chromosomes are fine and my uterus is textbook.

He told us to go home and think about what we want to do and so that’s what we are doing.

As we move from one year to another New Year around the corner, it is already a time for reflection anyway.

Supporting a Friend through IVF

It is Canadian Infertility Awareness Week and so there might be a few more posts than normal (consider yourself warned). 

How to Support Your Friend Going Through IVF

1. Understand your friend no longer has control of their schedule. The clinic now runs the show. Some things they take appointments for and others you line up like cattle in the stairwell at 6:30 in the morning. Your friend doesn’t know from day-to-day what the next day will look like. It’s hard enough managing this with employers, let alone with friends. But that’s not all of it – the pills, sprays and needles are all on a schedule too. Your friend is carrying a lot of medication and is tied to their Iphone alarms

2. Think before you speak. If I told a 12 week pregnant woman about my friend who miscarried at 6 months, I would be a total jerk. The same goes for your stories about all the people you know where “IVF didn’t work the first time”. Not helpful. Everyone has an opinion, consider whether or not yours is actually something a supportive friend would say.

3. Everyone has something to say about fertility treatments – but whether or not you would “put all those chemicals in your body” or whether or not it is “God’s will” – that’s your opinion. If yours isn’t supportive, gossip about it behind my back but please don’t think I am interested in hearing your thoughts on choices you have never had to make

4. Know there is a financial impact and don’t belittle it. The costs are significant – if you want to know what they paying you can look it up yourself. Saying “oh but it will be worth it” or “it’s a small price to pay” is pretty easy when you aren’t the one paying thousands of dollars – at once (no payment plans here!). And well, if it all doesn’t work, they are going to have empty arms and an empty bank account.

5. Your friend is probably tired of telling people her “bad news” to the point where it just feels like “old news”. If you want to know, ask. If you don’t ask, we will just assume you don’t want to know. Your friend has enough going on without having to manage your feelings too!

6. Be there. Your friend is alone and scared. A scary pile of drugs dictates her life. It is lonely waiting for morning appointments and injecting yourself in bathroom stalls. There is so much unknown and so much waiting. Your life is still plugging along but hers slows down to day-by-day. Weeks seem to take years as she hopes to make it to the next step – yes, that’s right, at any given moment something could happen to her IVF journey and now she is back to square one. Thinking about what happens “if this doesn’t work” is eating her alive. It’s a dark place to be in. Distractions are welcome.