Egg retrieval #6

Because of the merger, my egg retrieval was at a different facility this morning at 8:30. It wasn’t a terrible experience. Same story. Just new faces to get used to. The walls were also paper thin. I heard all the full pre-op conversations and a phone call with an RE and her patient about how only one of her 5 eggs fertilized and they recommended to do a day 3 transfer and opt to not do pgs testing even though she suffers from RPL.

It was a long 2hr wait for retrieval and I thought about the patient on the other end of that call the whole time. I sent out positive thoughts for her and her embryo. I hope her transfer works.

The operating room was a little different. A lot more strapping down (arm and waist) which was unsettling and the stirrups weren’t attached to the bed like at the OB office they were harnesses on poles. Creepy. The anesthesiologist was a very lovely soft spoken young lady. I really liked her. And she and the nurses made me feel very comfortable. I was fine all the way until I walked into the operating room when I felt tears sting my eyes and my breathing become shallow. Maybe nerves. Maybe memories. But I calmed right down the minute I heard Africa by Toto playing in the background. I wanted to tell everyone I’m south african and this is the whole country’s jaaaam. But I just squeaked out that I liked this song. But everyone was too busy strapping and fussing to get excited with me.

After I read my name and dob back to everyone with clipboards I laid back to enjoy the best part of this damn journey and woke up to one of the worst parts. Anesthesia grog. Was served the usual ginger ale and animal crackers when the surgeon walked in with the pretty nurse who was shadowing her. 5 eggs. Thank goodness the grogginess masked the internal groan. I think the doctor sensed my disappointment because she laid her hand on mine and said lets see how it goes.

And that was that. N came back and seemed a little disappointed at the news too but sucked it up and went to get the car after I got dressed.

We distracted ourselves with talk of Game of thrones and Lunch. He dropped me off at home and went back to work. I had an almost 2hr nap and then waited impatiently for my saint of a nanny to drop of little Lucky. I was drowsy for most of the day but very grateful that he kept my mind off the obsessive fertilization math. It’s only now that I’m writing this that I’ve given it a thought.

And now I’m thinking of the phone call this morning. What if only one fertilizes. What if what if what if.

Here’s hoping I can fall asleep. I’ve been up since 4 so maybe that helps. Just trying to remember that if I have to do this again that it’s not that bad the 6th time around.

Thanks everyone for following along and sending positive thoughts. I will keep you posted. Xxx

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Silver Linings

IVF ROUND 6

DAY 8
(Tuesday April 30)

Meds: 300iu Gonal-f , 150iu Menopur, 25iu Cetrotide
Notes: estrogen=467.9; LH=4.39; progesterone=n/a; lining=8.8mm; Left Ovary=13.1, 13.6, 9.4; Right Ovary=14.4

I finally did it. After years of umm-ing and ahh-ing, I finally did it. After months of trying to convince my husband and after weeks finding the right time. I did it!

I hired someone to clean our house every other week. And today was her first day!

I could barely contain myself on the drive home and when I walked in it was like a dream come true! All my expectations were far exceeded. Why did I wait so long?

I’m so happy.

All that business about 4 follicles is a distant buzz right now. My house is spotless and I no longer feel anxious and claustrophobic in my own space. Yay!

Okay, that’s all. Monitoring appointment in the early early morning. Fingers crossed for some good news!

Emotional: That clean house feeling but with more energy
Physical: Tired. Headaches not as bad. Also my bloated feeling has gone down. Hmm
Food: Turkey sandwich for lunch. Some sort of beef and rice casserole foe dinner. I need to go grocery shopping.

Snap Crackle Pop

IVF ROUND 6

DAY 4
(Friday April 26)

Meds: 300iu Gonal-f , 150iu Menopur

Notes: estrogen=13.30; LH=9.30; progesterone=0.228; lining=3.7mm; antral follicles=16

Phew, finally caught up and writing in real time. This feels better.

I’m starting to feel a little rumblings down there and a little bit of bloat. It seems soon but I’ll take it. I told N it feels like Rice Crispies in my belly.

The tiredness is destroying me though. I’m so useless. Tomorrow is my first monitoring day. Fingers crossed for some good numbers.

Emotional: Normalish

Physical: Dizzy and tired

Food: Mac n cheese for lunch and garlic shrimp for dinner.

My Anxiety and Me: A Winter Milkshake

Hi! Me again. Another attempt at firing up this blog with a new series I hope to continue. My therapy sessions deal with a lot of trying to understand why I am the way I am instead of being resistant to being the way I am because it doesn’t fit into “the norm”. Yesterday I think I took a tiny step in the direction of acceptance. A tiny baby step.

This glimpse into my mind is me being very vulnerable. I’ll ask that you please be kind. Or at least pretend :).

Something that gives me the most anxiety is caring what other people think. Even strangers who I’ll never see again and particularly my neighbours who I don’t know. Most days I feel like they’re peeping out of their windows watching my every move and judging me. I have no evidence of this but I feel their non existent eyes on me whenever I venture outside.

When Lucky was born one of my biggest stressors was what would I do with him when I get home from grocery shopping and Dad isn’t home? Do I leave him in the car while I take everything in? What will the neighbours think? Do I take him in and then get everything? Will they think I’m irresponsible?

If anyone cares, I bring him in first and leave him strapped in the car seat so that he’s not getting into anything while I’m busy. But boy do I run and boy do I carry everything at once!

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N is out of town this week and we had a snow storm over the weekend which meant I had to shovel by myself. Queue instant panic about what to do with the kiddo. I would obviously have to take him outside with me. This proved to be nerve wracking at first because the only receptacle I had for him was a plastic laundry basket.

Side note about the laundry basket. I bought it to put him in at the ice castles in NH because I couldn’t find any sleds the day before we were set to leave and I leave everything to the last minute. I didn’t want to carry him all over and I didn’t think a stroller would work. I ended up not using it because I felt silly using a laundry basket when everyone else would surely have legitimate awesome sleds for their kids. I definitely regretted it because even though everyone did have awesome sleds, Lucky is very heavy and it was cold and unpleasant. But I digress.

I should have tested the laundry basket idea out at home first because it was a joy. Lucky loved being pulled around in it. Yes he did almost topple out a few times when I went over a bump but he loved that as well. After about 20 minutes of shoveling I started to feel relaxed and confident and after I was done I dragged him around the (teeny tiny) yard a few times and enjoyed his giggles and his big smile. It was definitely worth it.

So yesterday when I got home I had to park in the street because the beginning of the driveway had massive chunks of ice that were blocking my way. I realized that I couldn’t do my laundry basket trick because there wasn’t snow in the driveway and it would just look silly having him sit in the laundry basket while I shoveled a bit more.

(Please know that I realize that all my anxiety about everything is unfounded and ridiculous. I know that I sound like a crazy person. I’m working on it.)

But I decided that he could stand near me and it was literally 3 big chunks of snow that needed to be moved. So I zipped him up in his snow suit and took him out and made him stand in the driveway and I sang to him while I moved the snow. He ended up sitting down and clapping along.

As I gathered him up to go inside and celebrate another win against the judgey non existent neighbour eyes I got a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. I had to move the car back into the driveway. What am I going to do with Lucky?

I couldn’t leave him in the house unattended. I couldn’t strap in the car seat and leave him in the house because he hates getting into the car seat nowadays so it would be cruel to do it for a few minutes then take him out again. I also couldn’t leave him alone and get into the car and drive. They know I’m home alone with him. What would they think?

I could strap him in the car seat and take him with me to back into the driveway. I could do that but they would think I was being silly for taking him out for a 2 minute excursion and again, is it worth the screaming to get into the car seat?

I could wait until he goes to bed at 8 and then move the car and make a public showing of me holding with the monitor so they would know I wasn’t a terrible mother for leaving him unattended. But going out at night in the cold was really something I didn’t want to do.

There was only one solution. We had to go for a drive. At least around the block. If they see us leave for a while they’ll think I’ll have something to do and they’ll go back to their lives until I park the car when I get back.

I let this ruminate for a while. I let the complete absurdity of it all consume me and I allowed myself to be very angry. Why am I like this? How can I stop being like this? And then I remembered what my therapist asked me. What if it’s okay to be like this?

I took a deep breath and said to myself, “It’s okay to take your kid for a drive because you don’t want to deal with this anxious situation that you’ve created in your mind… Doing it this way means less anxiety.”

And with that I popped Lucky into the car seat and off we went. I had no plan or destination but I felt calm and I know after a hard session of therapy, she always tells me to treat myself. So with that, I drove down to our local Sonic and got a small milkshake to celebrate.

We drove home and I reversed into the driveway and no one was the wiser. I lived to face self-made judgement another day!

The moral of the story is that sometimes you have have to face a problem head on and get right to the point. And sometimes it’s okay or take the long way around. Just remember to treat yourself at the end :).

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One Year

My baby turned one yesterday!

I left for work when he was asleep so I didn’t see his beautiful face until the evening. Then it was hustle and bustle until his bedtime as usual. I sang “happy birthday” to him while I was changing his diaper but that was about it. We’re having a party for him on Sunday but yesterday  we didn’t really do much. It was just a regular day. In hindsight I think we should have gone out to dinner to at least celebrate the fact that we made it through this year.

Upon reflection, I obviously count myself lucky in that we managed to beat tremendous odds to even have a child. Someone PM’d me on Instagram once and said “You did FIVE rounds of IVF?!!”. I was taken aback at her surprise because when you’re in the thick of treatments you tend to bounce back from disappointment as quick as you can and just power on. I still don’t think I’ve appreciated the gravity of doing 5 rounds of IVF. Perhaps the fact that I have my miracle it seems like it wasn’t so bad. But I know. I know it was bad. I remember the tears and the anger and the jealousy. I remember. But I think maybe I’ve healed a bit… A bit.

This morning I had to drive to work an hour early because I’m leaving an hour early for Lucky’s 1 year well visit at the doctor’s. I was immediately transported to the time when I had to wake up 2hrs early and drive over an hour in the pitch black dark to my monitoring appointments. I remember at the time feeling hopeful and excited to get numbers and nervous if it was a beta draw. This morning as I was doing the drive I thought, with some annoyance, that I’d have to do this again, multiple times, if I ever hoped to have another child. The unfairness of it all hit me really hard.

It sucks. It sucks that it’s not a sure thing. It sucks driving 2+hrs every other day for 2 weeks for something that is not a sure thing. It sucks that I only have one cycle left on insurance so it’s even less of a sure thing. It sucks it sucks it sucks.

But yes, I would 100% do it again in a heart beat. I’d get up in 20 degree weather and drive my cold ass up to where ever to get my blood drawn for the umpteenth time. Hell yeah, I’ll stick myself with a gazillion needles with medication that gives me searing headaches. Sign me up.

Because, and here comes the cliche… It’s so worth it. He’s was so worth it.

In the greater scheme of things he’s been such and easy going little guy. His sleep has finally, for the most part, adjusted and he sleeps through the night. He does have some nights when he’s up every hour so we can’t rest on our laurels but we’re not nearly as sleep deprived as we once were.

He also, up until recently, ate everything you gave him, which is amazing. But the past week or so he’s starting to spit things out so maybe that honeymoon is over. He’s been eating peas all week this week and I don’t know what else to give him.

He has a bit of stranger danger going on. His Christmas pics with Santa were a wash and the other night he cried so bitterly when our friend picked him up. We think it’s beards that he doesn’t like because he just loves the ladies.

He’s not walking yet but I think he’ll surprise us soon. He’s doing everything except taking that one step.

He understands a good amount of words and says “hi” allll the tiiiime and it never gets old, it’s just so cute. He knows a few animal sounds if ask him and he knows a few body parts too. He copies the intonation in our voices when we speak which is just the funniest but I’m definitely going to have a son who drops eff bombs because I can’t watch my mouth.

He is quite dramatic though. I’m sure they all are at this age but he’s in a smacking and growling phase which we don’t know what to do about. We’re trying to ignore it now in hopes that he’ll realize he won’t get a reaction if he does it but it’s tough because it hurts and we don’t know where he picked it up. If he gets frustrated he growls and claws at our faces. He does it to everything though. Toys and teddies. I hope it doesn’t last long. It’s my least favourite of the phases right now. Especially when mixed with my most favourite phase, the kisses. So he’ll kiss me then growl and smack me then throw his head back and cry for no reason!!! So dramatic.

I think that’s it for the one year update. All in all, this part of the journey has been very smoothe. He’s not been sick (knock on wood because he’s been sniffly). He’s generally even tempered (when not frustrated). He’s an absolute champion when we’re out in public. I really think we lucked out with this one. He’s great.

Hopefully it won’t be another year until the next update. But just between you and I, we (N and I) are in talks over a sibling for little Lucky. Perhaps when the craziness of this year is over we can iron out the details in earnest but it’s nice for us to be on the same page but I do have to work through this fear of failure before we proceed. I really just wish it could be a sure thing.

My brother and sister-in-law and niece and nephew are coming to stay with us for Christmas. The land tomorrow evening and I am beside myself with excitement. Tomorrow is also my last day of work for 2018 so I’m really beside myself. I want to wish all of you a very awesome Christmas and an even awesomer New Year. If this holiday season is a struggle for you, I hope that you’re able to find joy in something and cling to it with all your might. This is season is a mixed bag for me. I love it but I hate it because I’m the most homesick. I’m looking forward to being surrounded by N’s family (and a small portion of mine EEEK!) but I am also dreading when my brother leaves because I know I will be inconsolable. I’ve actually booked a therapy appointment for the day after they leave, just for added support.

Anyway, I’ve rambled on for long enough. I think of all of you often and I hope everyone is taking care of themselves.

xx

 

U.S.A.

That was quite a break huh? A gazillion things have happened in my life since I last checked in and promised that I wouldn’t check out.

First and most importantly, I became a US citizen! I really should have blogged about this while it was happening. I actually spend most nights thinking, I should blog about this, about everything.

I put my application in for citizenship mid April and really didn’t expect to go through the process that quickly. My interview was the day after my 37th birthday in August. It wasn’t a requirement but I brought N and Lucky with to the interview for brownie points.

The interviewer was a tiny young lady who was really sweet. The interview itself was an absolute breeze. I answered all of the questions correctly but don’t remember which were asked (I really should have blogged about this). She literally only asked me to confirm what was on my application. I then signed a few things and that was that.

The ceremony was the day that school started. One of the most important days for me at my job so I was happy but stressed that I couldn’t be there. The ceremony invitation clearly stated that I could only bring one guest which was such a bummer because my friends and US family wanted to be there and I wanted them to be there. And it was even more of a bummer when N and I got to the venue and all the other new citizens brought loads of guests and so many babies. I was so sad. Anyway, the ceremony was long. No, the actual ceremony was 15 minutes. Waiting for the judge?… TWO HOURS!!!

They funneled all of us into the huge hall while our guests sat upstairs in the gallery. It took about an hour to get everyone settled in. They kept coming up to make announcements and tell us to chat to each other. I sat next to a Russian (I think) couple who were chatting to themselves and a younger lady who was not at all interested in making friends. So I just sat on my phone and listened to conversations around me. One man from Israel who had been here for years but thought it was time, chatting to his new friend who couldn’t get a word in edgewise. And another lady yelling on the phone to her colleague that she didn’t know they would be taking her green card so she would likely not be able to take that business trip to Australia.

Almost 2 hours later right before the judge came in the couple next to me peaced out. I have no idea why, I assumed to go the bathroom but they never came back. So they didn’t do the pledge and I never saw them again so I don’t know if they got their certificate. I wonder about them sometimes.

After I got the official documents we grabbed lunch at a chinese buffet then rushed home. N had to get back to work and Lucky and I just spent the rest of the day hanging out. Sort of anti-climactic. No fireworks or parades. Just me and my boy watching reality tv. You know, living the American dream.

But truth be told this journey to become a citizen is something else. I’m fortunate, in that I get to retain my SA citizenship which I absolutely did and even then I found it very difficult to surrender that part of my identity. A part of me felt like I was turning my back on my country and with that came a lot of other emotions so I was dragging my feet for a very long time. But with this current administration’s view on immigration, legal and illegal, my parents finally put their foot down and decided to pay for my application and they all but stood over me with their hands of their hips while I filled out the application.

Now that it’s over and done with I am glad that they did. It still feels weird. But good weird. I was very excited to vote this past Tuesday. I loved the process of registering. I loved stressing for weeks that my registration didn’t appear until a few days before voting day. I loved filling out the ballot and feeding it into the machine. I love the old volunteers gushing over Lucky and saying “congratulations, you voted”.

I love that I get to experience these things for the first time. And then this morning I got word that I get to experience something else as a new citizen and I am beside myself. N laughed at me but I can’t wait.

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Adult Brace Yourself

I had my braces off yesterday!!

It was a glorious day. I’m not at the end of my normal human smile journey but this was a big hurdle. Something I’ve wanted since after high school.

My teeth have always been a huge issue for me. I’ve always hated my smile. I have two giant front teeth with a massive gap and I never grew a right lateral incisor and my left one was just a pointy tiny one. I think this is genetic? And I believe it’s called a peg lateral incisor.

So when I was in high school my lovely parents paid for me to get braces. Unfortunately, my family dentist at the time did them and not an orthodontist. He removed the peg and I wore the braces for around 2 years to close the gap and make space for the incisors and at the end was fitted with a partial denture with the 2 teeth attached. A denture… at around 16 years old… prime boy kissing age!

And the denture wasn’t perfect either. One of the teeth was really small. It would later be dubbed “tiny tooth” by my nearest and dearest and it became a part of me. Something I would try to hide from cute boys but something we all openly laughed about in trusted circles.

Sadly, because I was too busy living life, dental care was the least of my worries my teeth eventually moved and my giant gap came back.

At this point I was well into University and too old for my parents to pay for braces again so I suffered through my 20’s with these shitty teeth and I vowed to get them fixed once and for all one day when I had a grown up job with grown up money.

Grown up jobs came and grown up jobs went. Every time I started a new job I would visit a dentist and get a quote for a dental overhaul and every time it was just too expensive.

And then I met my husband and one of the ways I knew he was the one was that I told him I had a denture AND I even removed it in front of him and he never ran for the hills. (I don’t tell many people about the denture. You guys are in my inner circle now as well) But I just hated everything about my smile. I felt like it was holding me back somehow. I didn’t like taking pictures. My dreams of Instagram fame were dashed because my selfie game was non-existent :).

At my previous job before this one I did my “new job dentist check” and the dentist had promised a quick fix that he would do himself and since he wasn’t a dental surgeon I decided to hold off until I found a new job yet again. So when I found this job I was so excited to start the ball rolling. I met with my dentist and a surgeon and an orthodontist and we put together a plan and two years ago around my birthday I was fitted with braces and was on my way to find true happiness.

One of my favourite things to watch on tv is makeover shows (see Queer Eye and Botched). I relate to these people so much and to love see the joy on their faces at the end result. I wanted to feel that joy. I needed it. And yesterday I got to experience it. And it was amazing.

Granted I’m not done yet. I have to go back to the surgeon to get dental implants that will take 3 months to heal and then after that back to my dentist for crowns and right now I have a retainer with two temporary incisors.

But yesterday was the first time I saw my smile with all my teeth being the correct size in the correct spot. Yesterday was just another dream come true for me. It was a great day. I still can’t stop smiling.

It was so worth the wait, I’m so happy. And my orthodontist office deserves special mention here. It’s run by all women and they’re just the best. They’re very caring and thorough. I’m glad they fell into my lap (dentist recommendation). I couldn’t be happier with the care I received there.

If you’re thinking about fixing something cosmetic on your body but you’re not sure and feel a bit trepidatious, take this post as your nudge to DO IT! DO IT! DO IT!

You won’t regret it. You deserve it. It will be worth it!

 

Before:

 

During:

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After: