Dandelion

The 5 seconds between putting the cam in and “There’s the heartbeat, Mom” are by far the longest 5 seconds known to man.

I saw the familiar black circle and an funky animal cracker shaped blob in the top right corner of the circle. My mind went blank and my body went numb. Why wasn’t she saying anything. I turned to look away as she said “There’s the heartbeat, Mom. Congratulations.” I said flatly that I couldn’t see it. She was definitely lying. She moved it around a little more and zoomed in and by golly there it was! A flickering white line. I melted. I literally melted, you guys. Everything unclenched and I felt a lightness I haven’t felt in weeks.

I blew hot air into the mask they made me wear (more on that below) and looked up to the ceiling and thanked whoever is out there looking out for me. I couldn’t believe it. This is really happening.

I had told my boss that I’d need 2hrs for a midday appointment. I feel like 3hrs would have been a safer bet but I hate asking for time off as it is. When N and I got to the clinic there were signs everywhere about COVID-19. The new policy was to ask 3 questions (paraphrased).

  1. Have you traveled anywhere internationally?
  2. Have you come into contact with anyone who has?
  3. Do you have a fever and/or cough

After I paid the copay they asked me the 3 questions and I said Yes to coughing because I’m coming off a bad cold. She didn’t say anything but before they brought us back the ultrasound tech asked again and when I said Yes to the cough her eyes went wide and she said she’d be right back.

She came out a few seconds later and told us that because of their new protocol we would have to leave and wait in the car until a nurse calls and clears us. WTH!!

I was panicking. Would they cancel the appointment? I told N I should have just lied but he said that’s how these things spread, so I guess he had a point. I feared that we’d be stuck out there for ages so I called my boss to say I’d be late. I left a message for him to call back. 5 minutes later the clinic called. Asked the 3 questions again and we were allowed to come back in after a few apologies. They did give me a mask to wear though. The scene when we walked back in was extremely funny.

The couple ahead of us were signing in on the sheet and the wife said “Honey I don’t think you have to use your sleeve to use the pen. Wouldn’t it be easier to just use the pen normally and then sanitize your hand after?” He mumbled “I guess” but I don’t think he was convinced.

There was a lady who looked rather panicky standing around looking nervously for a place to sit. She had blue sterile gloves on. I felt bad that I was out here coughing around these people. When I went to the front desk they handed me a mask to put on and I swear I heard sterile glove lady’s ass cheeks clam shut. We went to sit close to her (not on purpose!!) and she immediately removed herself and went to sit as far away as she could. it was pretty packed in there. I felt bad for her.

Luckily we weren’t in there for too long. I’m sure everyone was relieved to have Coughy McCougherson gone.

Once we got into the room and I was undressing my boss called again and I had to quickly explain that I would be late because I was being quarantined. Big mistake to use those words. He immediately began blustering but the tech had walked in and was beginning so I had to cut him off and I said, it’s no biggie, I’d call him back. I can just imagine his panic. Since we’re at a school we’re having our own COVID-19 issues so I don’t think I helped much.

After the ultrasound was done and I floated back down to earth we had to go back into gen. pop. where there was all new people looking nervously at my masked face. We plopped ourselves as far away from them as possible. Again we weren’t kept too long.

L who released us last time with Lucky was helping us out again. I could have sworn, last time they gave us mountains of paperwork in a giant envelope. Not this time. This time the envelope only contained the ultrasound pictures and the post-it with the sex written on it.

She went over everything from before. Dandelion measuring 8 weeks. I’ll be 8 weeks tomorrow. 16mm long. Good looking yolk sack. Due date 23 October. Heart rate at 181. Then she said they needed to do another blood test to check my blood type. So we followed her out and she asked one of the nurses to do it. Then she looked at both of us, congratulated us again and left. That was it. I did my last ever (hopefully) blood draw at my beloved clinic and then we just left. There really should be more fan fair when one graduates from an ivf clinic.

Anyway, I’ve told my boss and a few colleagues. My excitement and relief are through the effing roof. I had tap after work but still don’t have the balls to tell them yet for some reason. I think it’ll be too much attention. I like telling one person at a time.

I got home at 9:30 and its way past my bedtime so I’ll wrap it up for now. I think I’m going to have the best sleep I’ve had in weeks. Here’s to a very boring next couple of months.

Three Weeks Down

We did it!! Less than 3 hours until I leave for the appointment. I can’t tell in the cramps in my tummy are nerves or poop or baby.

This week was decidedly better. Thank goodness for therapy. I think I just need a good long one hour cry.

I am still petrified but I am at least functioning better and sleeping a little better.

It’ll all be over in a little while. I’ll write again this evening with good or bad news. Thank you for again, as always, for the support and caring words.

Here goes nothing.

xx

 

 

Two Weeks Down

8 more days. Finally into single digits.

I don’t want this to be another “woe is me” post but do rest assured the woe continues to be me.

I guess I am feeling more symptoms one could say. So I’m clinging to that with all my might. The motion sickness is more frequent and water has suddenly started to taste funny. My poor butt is screaming for sweet sweet relief. I’ve done 32 injections now. Whooo! N has hit nerves (I think) twice and that’s a whole new level of pain. But every so often he finds a new sweet spot and I feel like I could go on forever. Those are good days.

Last week someone who transferred around the same time as me had a missed miscarriage. As you can imagine this ruined me completely. I cried at the salon and blamed it on an errant hair that got in my eye. I remember when she got her positive she immediately started doing 4 week and 5 week bump pics holding her belly with signs and everything. I remembered being in awe of her bravery and how I wanted to be brave like that. I couldn’t even change my period tracker to a “P” tracker. So when her bad news came, I was absolutely crushed for her. I can’t imagine opening my heart so widely and then having it ripped out. No thank you.

But there’s no right way to navigate this part of the journey, is there? Bad things happen all the time. And you can’t live your life behind closed doors hoping that if you just sit still you’ll be okay.

I’ve had my heart broken a gazillion times and my motto has always been to “sing like no one is listening, dance like no one is watching and love like you’ll never be hurt”. All through my “heartbreak” 20’s that was always my goal. Give everything, that way you never doubt that you tried your best.

I feel now that having a boy break your heart doesn’t hurt nearly as much as a failed IVF cycle but that’s because I’m closer to the IVF stuff now. I remember spending an entire day crying in bed over one chap. I thought I would never recover.

And I remember failed IVF cycle #4 and how I thought I would never recover from that.

But now I never even think of that chap. And there’s been so much IVF happiness that the fails are distant memories.

So I’m trying to do a massive shift in my mindset here. Since I can’t seem to cling to hope and positivity for longer than a few minutes (and I really and truly appreciate that all of you are being hopeful and positive for me), I can at least cling to the fact that, in the end, everything will be okay.

As they say… This too shall pass. It may pass like a kidney stone but it’ll pass.

One Week Down

The prenatal appointment is set for March 12th. So we have 2 more weeks to go. I forgot how torturous this wait is.

The worst part is actually the progesterone injections. I’m on day 26 of injections and I think I have 15 more to go. Hopefully they’ll let my stop but I think they make you go until 10 weeks. Which will mean another 10 on top of the 15. I don’t know if my maths is correct here but either way it’s a lot. But I’ve done it before and I will do it as long as I need to but boy does it suck. I can barely sit down. I am doing the ice before and heat after but my butt is worn out. I’m think of going into my thigh but I’m a little afraid of that.

The other thing is that I’m not feeling any notable symptoms. My nips tingle for a few minutes when I wake up and throughout the day I have about 5 waves of nausea and One or two tugs in the uterus area. I also feel like I’m bleeding every few minutes uggh. But nothing that can’t be attributed to the medication. My mind is completely fucked.

I am testing everyday like a crazy person and that’s really the only assurance I have and in all honesty, it’s not really that assuring.

I cried in therapy last week. I can’t even say the word that starts with P. Like I have a mental block when it comes to that word. I told my therapist that I had told a friend that I want to enjoy this time as much as possible, almost to the point of being obnoxious because I didn’t have that experience with Lucky, and as soon as I said it I took it back. It wasn’t the time to be excited. It’s too soon.

I cried when I explained that I can’t utter the words and when people asked for more information (due dates and whether I wanted a boy or girl) that my guts go cold and my hands get sweaty.

The day when we found out the second beta, I was at B’s house while we were sitting outside and our sons played in the sand box. After the excitement died down she said I should tell her son. I immediately forgot how to speak English. I blustered and stuttered and eventually spat out that Hey O! Guess what, Lucky might be getting a baby sister or brother. I wanted to throw up. The news wasn’t really received well anyway. Little O wants a sibling too but his mom isn’t about that life right now. I guess I should have reworded it but I was trying not to throw up all over him and deck.

I had also started to write thank you cards to the three nurses at work who administered shots for me. I stood for 30 minutes at Target choosing the right cards and chocolates. I started writing one card and quickly tore it up because I didn’t want to jinx anything. When I told my therapist this I broke down. It’s just a card. Jinxes aren’t real.

I ended up wording the cards very carefully. Using coded language like “so far so good” and “For now, it worked”. All I really wanted was to convey my thanks and it became a whole thing. One of the cards, I wrote and re-wrote and cut up 3 times before settling on something that sounds grateful yet guarded.

This morning one of the nurses came down to my cube and whisper screamed and waved her hands in the air and danced in a circle and hugged me (shhh lady, my boss is literally 5ft away). She asked for the due dates and again my stomach clenched up and I wanted to run away. But after she left I had a massive smile on my face and for a quick second I felt I’d done the right thing. I felt excited and I guess what one would consider normal in these circumstances.

That second has passed now and I’m back to feeling dread and impending doom. It would suck to have to give her bad news after she practically lifted me out of my chair.

Sigh

I guess all I’m trying to say is that I would like to get off this part of the ride. I’d like to be on the part of the ride where it’s still scary as hell but I have a proof of life and maybe some morning sickness.

15 days to go.

 

 

 

Still Good News

I totally forgot that the 2nd beta is the more stressful one.

After the first beta, I shared the news with everyone, blissfully ignorant. N brought me down to earth real quick with his skepticism. So much so that I barely ate anything all day because I was so stressed out.

Thankfully, the beta more than doubled and I don’t have to go back for another test which is a relief. I have to call them tomorrow  to set up an appointment for an ultrasound.

So it looks like this is really happening again. Wow. N has steadfastly said that he won’t be getting excited until he sees a heartbeat. I think we’re both a little in denial. I had hope, but I certainly didn’t expect it to work this quickly.

I’m relieved but still waiting for the other shoe to drop. You know how it goes.

Infertility will forever be the thief of joy.

IVF Round 7 Results

It worked!!!

It worked it worked it worked!!!

I’m equal parts relieved and stressed out because the Beta is over 100 but significantly lower than with Lucky’s (341). But the nurse was very excited so that’s good then.

Once we’re over the Beta hurdles and have made it though the ultrasound (please let it get there) I’ll probably be confident enough to write the betas and talk about my TWW symptoms. I will say that I was so confident that this would work based on the symptoms but this morning, I swore I was getting my period (it was due yesterday) so I lost all hope.

The drive up to the clinic was terrible. I was near to tears, thinking over and over, I don’t want to do this again. I don’t want to do this again. I’m exhausted. Please please please.

I took the same route I take everyday. Pleading and bargaining with the universe. I came to a stop street and I looked left and right and as I moved on my eyes flitted to the second floor of a house on the corner. The window was covered by a black sheet. And written on the sheet in massive white letters, H.O.P.E. It was written backwards obviously for the room’s occupant to take heed. But I feel like the universe had given me a little wink and smile.

Usually they call at 2pm ish but the call came at 11. We had barely just finished breakfast and were settling in for a little cartoon time. I picked up this time and immediately put her on speaker. Her excited “Hi” was all I needed for my butt cheeks to finally unclench for the first time in 10 days.

So here we are. We’ve made it. I won’t count my chickens just yet. I go back on Monday, so that will be the real test but for now, for now I can go out and celebrate with a virgin daiquiri.

Thank you guys so much for all your support this time around. I’m so relieved.

We did it!

xx

 

Loop De Loop

It is done. Everything went according to plan and I’m comfy on the couch relaxing.

Well everything didn’t go swimmingly but it ended well lol.

We always give ourselves 2hrs to get there. So we left at 6 for my 8am acupuncture appointment. Unfortunately it was raining and everyone got into a car accident so we had to take a million back roads and we pulled into the parking lot at 8am!

I ran in an dived onto the table just as she was about start sticking the needles in (haha). I struggled to relax of course but I kind of think it’s difficult to lay still and relax for 30 minutes if it’s just you and your thoughts and plinky plonky music. Am I wrong?

After acupuncture I went back to the waiting room and started chugging water. At our last transfer they were running late so I wasn’t too worried but after glass of water #2 they came to get us and I wasn’t nearly ready to pee yet. Yikes.

They didn’t even take us to another room first to fill out forms, the took us straight to the transfer room. It was all happening so quickly. By the time I came out with of the bathroom the doctor was already in the room introducing himself. Dr T. What a joy he was. The personification of awesome bedside manner. The sonographer was the same one from our last transfer. She was lovely as well. The room just fell warm and fuzzy and I loved it.

But my bladder wasn’t full at all so it took some doing. She was pushing so so hard on my tummy. That plus the speculum pain. I was holding N’s hand in a death grip. I was watching the screen and usually you can make out the catheter at the very least but I couldn’t even make that out. I was starting to get nervous because they seemed to be struggling to find the catheter in my uterus. The embryologist came in and he put the tube in and they still couldn’t find it on the screen. It was a tense few seconds. Then it appeared. Dr T said “Oh there it is. It seems to have done a loop de loop to get into the uterus”. He’s delightful. Who said loop de loop anymore?

Then we saw the flash of the embryo being popped out.  The embryologist took the tube to see if there was anything it while Dr T took everything out of me and the sonographer wiped my belly. “That was a perfect transfer Dr T!” shouted the embryologist. He stood up and proceeded to applaud. Just delightful.

Afterwards, they gave us the room to do the progesterone shot then I went to do another round of acupuncture. Then N and I went to a nice lunch and then we had dentist appointments and finally made it home to relax clean Lucky’s car seat because he’s sleeping at grandma’s tonight. Car seats are gross.

At the dentist N and I took a bet to see who could get to the car first because we disagreed on which was the quickest route. Once we got out, I took off and ran to the car. I won (of course) but when he got there he asked if I should be running. I completely forgot I had an embryo on board. I totally had an internal panic attack for the drive home but my goal for this cycle was to try to forget. I don’t want to do crazy symptom spotting like last time. I want to try and fill these next ten days with happy distractions. Last time I was too obsessed. So I’m a little relieved that I ran to the car. In that brief moment I was happy. It was a fun day with N all in all. I’m going to try to keep that trend going. With a bit less running maybe :).

It’s going to be a very long week next week. Just work work work bleh. I’m going to see if I can do daily random posts to get my mind off things.

Okay my friends. It’s bed time over here. I’ve been up since 4 and I’m ready to crash. Thank you for being there for me again and again.

❤ ❤ ❤

Science

We’re about a week an a bit away from transfer. I’ve started taking 2mg of estrogen 3 times a day. I’m still on Lupron but I think that will end on Thursday. My next and possibly final monitoring appointment for this cycle is Thursday morning. Things are running smoothly as usual. And I expect we’ll transfer on the 6th.

One thing we did differently during this retrieval was we joined a study that would tell us whether our embryo(s) had N’s translocation or not. At the time I just signed up for the study because I want to help the science evolve on this. I actually forgot about it. We would have to test the baby once it’s born to confirm any results so I think I just imagined that we would just get results closer to birth or whatever. I don’t know. I just forgot about it.

On Friday our RE called with the results. The embryo has the translocation. We took the phone call in our bedroom. Me standing next to the bed getting dressed for a night out and Lucky and N on the bed watching cartoons on mute. I don’t know how to feel about the news. We’re still going through with the transfer. But my feelings are complicated. My thoughts are muddled.

The only part of the conversation that didn’t sit right with me, that I keep coming back to is he said that since we only have one embryo, these results are just informational. If we’d had more and one or more of them didn’t have the translocation we could opt to use the normal embryos first.

Normal.

I didn’t like that. I immediately felt protective of my little Dandelion. If it had been in a batch with other embryos who didn’t have a translocation it wouldn’t get picked first. Fuck you Dr P! I mean, I love you and you’re the best doctor but geez man. Our embryo is normal. What is normal anyway?

I just didn’t like when he said that.

But here we are with this information. It’s not going to make us love our child any less. It just is what it is.

Again, I’m still coming to terms with it and my thoughts are too muddled to write coherently. But the bottom line is that Dandelion, for all intents and purposes, is perfect. And genetic testing is a fickle scientific gift.

That is all.

Dandelion

Yikes! I thought I’d posted something since egg retrieval. Oops. Anyway, it’s good news :).

Of the 8 they retrieved, 7 were mature and 4 fertilised normally.

This time I was prepared for no news for at least 5 days. Day 5 was two Sundays ago on the 10th Nov. Of course I heard nothing. I was a mess because I was set to write the GRE test on the 11th and I couldn’t really concentrate on studying. Truth be told I only started looking at the test on the 9th. I was certain I was going to do terribly.

Well the 11th came. I was sure I would have the email in my inbox after the test. I finished the test and there was no email. I didn’t do too badly in the test at least, so I’m glad that that stress is over.

By 5pm on the 11th I was deflated. I realised that we either had at least one day 7 embryo, or nothing. I was sad.

By the time I got to work on the 12th I think I was okay with everything. I figured that the wait would be over soon and we could relax and enjoy the holidays and regroup. I just wanted it to be over. The email came at 9am.

“…we want to let you know that we have been able to freeze 2 embryos…”

I was relieved. But I was also sad that we now had two day 7 embryos. I felt like it would just be the same like last cycle. I swore that if, by some miracle, both were okay, I would ask dr P to transfer both.

I spent the next 7 days as we all do. Filled with hope one day and drowning in despair the next.

He called this past Wednesday (Nov 20) but I MISSED THE DAMNED CALL!! Gah! I’m still mad about this. I’m not going to lie, before I listened to the voice note, I knew that we had one good one. And I was right! One happy normal little embryo.

He said to call him back so we could start the process of the transfer. It took a bit of doing to get a hold of him but we eventually spoke yesterday. And I got a bit of surprise news. The embryo is a beautiful, DAY SIX embryo!! The other little guy was a day 7 and had extra chromosomes 16 and 22. I’m so happy and relieved and excited and hopeful!

So we’ll start again with my next period. We’ll be going home for Christmas (YAY!) so I’ll have to start birth control while we’re there. And then if all goes well, we’ll transfer the first week of February, I’d say.

I’m so glad it’s over. I’m so incredibly grateful that we could do this again. I’m grateful for my doctor and the clinic and all my friends and family for going through this with us and I’m grateful to all of you for you unending support. But man I’m glad this part is over.

Now I can focus all my stress on cooking my first turkey next week!! Gah!

Oh and we named this one Dandelion after a character in a book series we’re both listening to. It’s a good unisex name because Dandelion is a male character.

Cheers to Dandelion!

xxx

Egg retrieval #7

I’m on the couch catching up on trash tv. Feeling a little crampy and dizzy. I’m glad I took tomorrow off.

So everything went well. They got 8 eggs. Pretty much what I expected but didn’t want to say out loud. Dr P was actually there doing retrievals in another OR and after I’d gotten dressed he popped in to ask how it went. He’s usually devoid of emotion anyway so I couldn’t get a read on whether he thought that was good or not. I mean, it is what it is. All we can do is hope there’s at least one super hero in the batch.

The procedure wasn’t much different. We had the same intake nurse from last time and a younger pretty surgeon. She was very serious. I wish these surgeons would crack a joke or laugh at a joke. They make me nervous with the seriousness. The anesthesiologist was a lot more jovial. They usually are in my experience. Probably because they make so much money.

My retrieval was set for 8:30 and they only took my back at 8:40 and around 8:20 I started cramping really badly and I kept thinking I was ovulating and they were going to miss it because of all this incessant form signing! But I guess we made it in time.

I got 2 bags of snacks this time and a hot chocolate that burned my tongue twice. I recovered from the grogginess a lot quicker which was great. This time I tried so hard to remember falling asleep. But all I remember is the dr telling me he was doing a painkiller first that would taste chalky. That’s interesting right? An intravenous drug causing a taste in the back of your throat. After he put the drug in the room literally started spinning. I had to close my eyes. Someone asked me if I was allergic to progesterone in oil. I remember saying no then she said but she has it noted in my chart that I lam. I was thinking so why ask then? Then I remember trying to explain but the spinning room was making it hard to say anything. And then I woke up.

The nurses after were so amazing. I didn’t feel rushed to get dressed and kept checking in and offering more snacks. The last one walked me right to the car and closed the door for me. I felt really taken care of it. I had a really good experience this time. Not to say the other times were awful, I just felt good when I left.

Sorry this post seems a bit all over the place. I’m just glad everything went well. I’m feeling okay about the 8 but I’m having the same worries. What if none fertilise, etc. etc. I am afraid of the call tomorrow. I want to wake up in two weeks with the final results. I don’t want to go through this torturous part again.

Thank you all very much for the continued support. I will keep you all posted.

xx