Friday, December 10, 2010

They call it labour for a reason

Labour \ˈlā-bər\ :  expenditure of physical or mental effort especially when difficult or compulsory

My labour started on the night of Tuesday October 12th. Maybe it was Monday's  metal claw from hell procedure that sent me over the edge. I guess I'll never know. Personally I think babies come out when they are ready.

Since we still did not have a full kitchen in place, my husband and I decided to go out for dinner. We opted to go to St. Hubert and then to costco for some supplies. Had I known this would be my last night out alone with him for some time, I might have reconsidered the evening's choices of chicken, coleslaw and bulk sized toilet paper shopping.

I was having light cramps at dinner which is why we decided to go to Costco in the first place. We thought the walking might do me some good in the event that this was the early stages of labour. While at costco, I started to notice that my cramps were coming with some frequency (approximately every 15 minutes or so). I didn't mention this to my husband yet as it seemed too premature and they were still cramps at this point. When we returned home we watched one of our favourite shows that we had taped and the cramps were increasing in intensity and coming every 10 minutes.

As we headed upstairs to bed, my husband brought our laptop loaded with another television show but at this point the pain was too great to concentrate on anything..nevermind a crappy episode of Grey's Anatomy.  Holy shit. Here we go.

Remembering my  tips and tricks from pre-natal class, I hopped in the bathtub hoping to soothe some of the discomfort from the contractions. It was at this point that I noticed some light blood in the tub..aka known as the "bloody show" (seriously what a stupid name). I was most definitely in labour. I would call out to my husband every time a contraction started and ended so he could start recording. After only 30 minutes we noticed a definite pattern. 30 seconds each and 4 minutes apart. I was certain princess bean would be here by morning.

At 2 in the morning we made the trek to the hospital. Nervous. Excited. Overtired. It was at this point that I met the world's most unfriendly nurse. I had to lie down for what felt like an eternity while they monitored my contractions, checked my cervix and listened to the baby's heartbeat. After an hour of torture they told me that I'd have to go to the waiting lounge and ride it out. Apparently I was indeed contracting every 4 minutes but I was not dilated at all. That's right. ZERO cm. ZERO. I pleaded for them to let me go home since we lived 5 minutes away from the hospital but they insisted I stay because of the frequency and duration of my contractions.

I was to report back at 5am to the triage front desk. It might have been the longest 3 hours of my life. I paced the empty hall while my husband napped in the lounge. At various times, I attempted to take a nap.
Now I don't want to sound like one of those arrogant people who know everything after doing it once. But seriously. There is no F*&@ing way you can "nap" while in labour. It's just not going to happen sister.

Fast forward to 5am and I had "made progress" according to the old battleaxe of a nurse. I was 1cm. OMG. Princess Bean is never going to come out! I was not keen on getting any painkillers at this point but after she  informed me this could go one for another day or 2 (what a cruel thing to say), I readily accepted a shot of nubain in my bum. It basically just made me groggy enough to take a catnap. I still felt the contractions but they were not as painful. She told me to come back when my contractions were 2 minutes apart and lasting 60 seconds each. Once again, remembering my notes from pre-natal class, I was certain this was called transitional labour (AKA the 30 minutes before you push). I cried at this point. There was just no way I could sustain this amount of pain for another day or 2. Was she insane?

In any case, I was happy to be at home again waiting for the contractions to increase in intensity. At around 11am, it happened. They started coming fast and furious. A rather interesting fact about this precise time is that our electricians were in that day working on the kitchen when they urgently needed my husband to run to Home Depot and pick up a light fixture. This entire hour is really a blur to me but I do remember him coming home and asking me if I had been writing the exact time on my little sheet of paper. I am pretty sure I had some choice words for him at that moment. I can laugh at it now and will probably recount this story to Charlotte when she is older. Yes Charlotte that's right. Your daddy went to Home Depot while I was in full on labour.

We arrived at the hospital by 1pm and by 3:30 pm I was  at 6 cm and the epidural was in.  While I knew I wanted an epidural,  I wanted to hold off for a while in order for my labour to progress. After 17 hours I was completely exhausted and happy to be able to relax.

The rest of my labour was a piece of cake, relatively speaking. I was fully dilated by  6:45pm but had to hold off on pushing because her head had not dropped low enough. They allow you to remain at 10 cm for a maximum of  2 hours before pushing. At the end of my 2 hours, her head had still not dropped and the nurse informed me that we were going to have to push anyway. It might just take a bit longer.

She smiled and said " Ok dear. I am going to go finish my cup of tea and when I get back, we're going to have that baby".

Just like that. The culmination of my infertility and IVF treatment and pregnancy all come down to her finishing her cup of tea.

As I pushed, my mother and husband both watched (there really is no modesty ..everything is just out there on display and you don't give a damn by this point). I could see their faces light up exclaiming in unison "There she is!"

Yes there she was. Only 4 contractions later. A grand total of 11 minutes.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

How time flies

It's cliche but true. The time goes by too quickly. My sweet Charlotte will be 7 weeks old tomorrow and I have so many things I want to share. I promised myself I would write about my labour as well as breastfeeding ups and downs and also share some stories from month 1.

Here is my personal short list of "Ways it has finally sunk in that I am a new mom"

1. After getting a roundful of projectile vomit on my face, in my hair and down my chest, I decided that I'd rather sleep than shower. Yup, a quick wipe would have to do.
2. Norms change. An "amazing night" is one in which I slept for 3 straight hours in a row!
3. It's true what they say. Moms discuss poop. Green poop, frothy poop, the number of poops. Who knew there was so much to say on one subject.
4. Although It takes me a couple of hours to plan my afternoon outing (shower time, feeding, diaper bag packed), I can be out the door in under 15 seconds once she is in her car seat. For some reason babies feel the need to scream blue murder when strapped in only to then fall asleep within 2 minutes of driving. Was the meltdown really that necessary?
5. When she smiled at me for the first time, I thought my heart was going to burst. It was like magic.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

To my beautiful daughter Charlotte

I can hardly believe that it has been 2 and half weeks since you were born. I have been meaning to post. Honestly I have. Perhaps it has taken this long because you have kept me quite busy these 17 days but mostly I think it's because I didn't even know how to begin this letter to you. I'm still not quite sure that I do.

What I do know is that I fell in love with you the second I saw you. It's true that many books I read repeatedly told me that it was ok to not fall immediately in love with your newborn. It may take days to develop a bond they said, perhaps even weeks. This was simply not the case for us. When the doctors placed you on my chest, I started to cry. Even with your red puffy vernix coated face, you were the most beautiful person I have ever seen.

In the past 2 weeks, you have been such a wonderful baby. You hardly cry except when you are cold or very upset. You are a good eater and even at 2 days old you showed me your little independant streak by wanting to latch on all by yourself without mommy's help. I have to hold your little hands back at most feedings and remind you that you are only 2 weeks old.

You love to be swaddled in your blanket but soon enough you will squirm until your left arms is free and then you fall asleep with one arm raised above your head.

You make the funniest noises that keep daddy and I entertained for hours. Grunts and groans and snorts and sighs. Never one to complain on maximum volume, you let us know that you need something without the screams.

You love music and especially when we sing to you. You must be a sweetheart as you even enjoy mommy's off key lullabies.

These are the small things I know about you Charlotte. The day to day little person that you are.

The day after you were born, I was in the bathroom at the hospital and your daddy was holding you in my room. I came out to see him looking at you with tears streaming down his face. I asked what was wrong and he quietly whimpered, "She's perfect. I can't believe that she is ours."

Some days I can hardly believe it either. I cannot believe how lucky I am to be your mom. All of the months spent crying and hoping and wishing are a distant memory now that you are here.

In the past 2 weeks we have had floods of visitors-your family and mommy and daddy's friends who are all eager to meet you. Everyone who holds you tells us how beautiful you are. You have so many people who love you.

The nicest comment I have received to date is from your Nanny. She told me that every day since you were born she wakes up with a smile on her face because she immediately thinks of you. Her whole life is so much better because you are in the world now.

My beautiful Charlotte, I feel the exact same way.

I love you. I love you. I love you.

Monday, October 11, 2010

False Alarm

I was woken up to a gush of fluid at 3:30am this morning thinking 1 of 2 things.

1. My water just broke
2. I just peed myself.

Hoping it was not the latter I got out of bed to examine my pajamas in the bathroom. It was clear and odorless but not a ton of liquid. After a few minutes of chatting with my husband, we decided to wait a few hours (easier said than done) and tried to get some rest. If labour was going to start within 12 hours, I figured I would take all the sleep I could get. I called the hospital at 8am and they told me to come in because they need to confirm whether I was in fact leaking amniotic fluid.

I arrived at around 9am and was hooked up to a fetal monitor. At this point, I was not having any contractions  so I knew it couldn't be the real deal but still needed to investigate the water breaking possibility.

After a few hours, the nurse informed me that she could not tell if I was leaking fluid and the doctor would have to perform a sterile speculum exam. She explained that it's like getting a pap test except due to the risk of infection, the speculum could not have any gel/lubricant and that it would hurt like hell.

She wasn't lying. It literally felt like the doctor was trying to rip out my cervix using metal claws. Of course being Thanksgiving Day, they were short staffed and I had to wait 2.5 hours  before they did this metal test from hell. I also had a resident doctor who was not a professional at this exam. As soon as he clamped down he explained that he had to take the speculum out and reposition. Are you f@&*&ing kidding me?!

All this to say- I was not leaking amniotic fluid. I am pretty certain that I didn't pee myself either so maybe it was just very watery cervical fluid. Ok I know that's not nice to think about but some things in pregnancy are just plain hemroids.. but more on that subject another day ;)

Meanwhile I was hooked up to the fetal monitor and could hear bean's little heatbeat thumping away for 3 hours. That was definitely awesome. Every so often it would get really loud like someone was hitting the top of a microphone. The nurse explained that was the baby bumping around in my belly.

I also was having Braxton Hicks every 2-5 minutes. Not a true contraction but interesting to see how often they are actually happening. The nurse even came in at one point to ask if I was feeling all these cramps. She was monitoring my "contractions" on her computer.

3.5 hours later we were sent home, dashing any hopes that we would meet princess bean on Thanksgiving Day.

So maybe our monday morning was a preview to the main event. We were not nervous in any way. In fact, I was amazed at how calm we both felt. I know now that we are truly ready (kitchen or no kitchen).

It's crazy to think back to the crap we were going through only a year ago. We hadn't even signed our IVF consent papers yet. What a difference a year makes.

So today, I am thankful for science. The science of IVF that gives a fighting chance to so many disheartened couples. Maybe it's not romantic but it sure is miraculous.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Reno Hell

So back in the spring, my husband and I decided we were going to renovate our kitchen. When looking for contractors, we clearly specified that the room MUST be done by the end of September. A couple of people said the timing was too tight or seemed flaky with their answers. This was one of the utmost important criteria in picking a company so we went with someone who guaranteed our work would be done on time. I repeat the word -GUARANTEED.

Well it is now 2 weeks from my due date and our kitchen is not done. Our contractor has been fabulous but the delay comes from our cabinet maker. First there was a 2 week delay and now another week.

I am officially Pregzilla.

On a bright note, things are clearly  progressing (no thanks to our cabinet maker). This is what our kitchen looked like 2.5 weeks ago during demolition

and this is what our kitchen looks like now

People like to assure me that  I won't be cooking during the first few days/weeks of the baby coming home. Ok I'll buy that but I am certain that most people can make a cup of coffee in their kitchen or perhaps even wash their hands in the sink. You see that black pipe in the lower right hand corner of the picture. Uh ya. That's where my sink is NOT.

The other thing that most people forget is that we used to have a kitchen. I have kitchen things. And where are all these kitchen things being stored you might ask? In every crevice of my house! The entire basement carpet has not seen the light of day because it is covered in boxes. The dining room table is in the living room, the new appliances are stacked in the dining room. Basically our house is one giant mess. This does not bode well with my newly acquired nesting instinct (it's not an old wives tale). I want to clean all day, every day.

So my days are spent doing things I can still do, like running errands and doing laundry. I am trying to stay sane by keeping the upstairs portion of our house clean.

At some point during the day I inevitably think about how lucky I am to be having a baby so soon. In fact, just the other day I was driving and Shawn Desman's "a night like this" came on the radio and I had tears in my eyes thinking about how miraculous my daughter's birth is going to be. Yup. Shawn freakin Desman (AKA one hit one wonder Rockin in the T-dot) made me cry. Clearly my hormones are completely screwed up.

The next hour I was swearing like a trooper as we received another vague, non-committal email from our cabinet maker.

So that sums me up these days. I do laundry, get sentimental about Princess Bean's impending birth and bitch about my cabinet maker.

I am 38 weeks today and the race is on. Will baby or new kitchen arrive first?

Stay tuned to find out.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Hasn’t hit me yet (nothing to do with Blue Rodeo’s song but who doesn’t like to dream about Jim Cuddy’s sexy voice from time to time)

Tomorrow is my last day of work before maternity leave starts. Well technically before my sick leave starts and then maternity leave but I’m not getting wrapped up in details. Tomorrow is my last day of work-FOR AN ENTIRE YEAR!

Ok. So it’s not like I have been working for 40 years and am taking my retirement tomorrow. Still, it feels friggin amazing. I have been working full time for over 6 years now and prior to that, I was working part time and/or in school for pretty much my entire life.

I am by no means disillusioned though. I realise that I am essentially trading in one job for a completely different one. For one entire year, my sole job will be to take care of princess bean. Some people say that being a mom is the hardest job in the world. I guess I will soon find out. For years we study, take tests and pass interviews to advance ourselves in the corporate world and yet here I am, about to start the hardest job in the world and there is not a single test required. Nobody has taken even a glance at my C.V nor called any of my references. There is no training before the start of this new employment. I guess it's sink or swim.

So ready or not, my last day of work (as I know it) is tomorrow. At this point, I don’t want to hear from the naysayers. I only want to hear the good things about my new job. I understand that with any job, there are tough moments. There are moments where you think you are not right for this job and want to quit, moments where you want to pull your hair out and heck, even moments where you do pull your hair out.

Right now though, I am in that bubble like state of a person who just landed a promotion. In a couple of months, watching the snow fall on a cold December night (sing it Jim!), as I cuddle my baby girl by the fireplace, I will not miss the daily grind of my former job. This new job of mine sounds pretty sweet.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

She's HOW big?

So last week a friend of mine delivered her baby at 35.5 weeks. She had a very rare condition known as vasa previa in which some of the umbilical cord vessels are unsupported and lie at the base of the birth canal. Essentially, there is a very high infant mortaltity rate if this condition goes unidentified until labour. If a woman goes into labour with this condition, these blood vessels with rupture, causing the baby to lose blood extremely quickly. Thankfully, she was diagnosed early enough and her beautiful girl arrived safe and sound via C-section....just a little bit earlier than planned.

When my husband and I went to visit  them at the hospital ,we of course took the opportunity to hold the baby. My husband remarked how tiny her features were (probably because most babies in his family are 10 pounders but that's another story!). He was also looking back and forth between my belly and our friend's baby. As it is, I am now 35.5 weeks along and my little bean is the same size if not a bit bigger than the baby. It was a cute moment. He could actually visualise just how big princess bean is.

A real live baby...truly a much better indication than what some websites provide as an example. Apparently at 35 weeks our daughter is as heavy as a honeydew melon..approx. 5.25 lbs and 18 inches in length.

By next week she will be the size of a Crenshaw Melon

Whatever the hell that is!...

Monday, September 13, 2010

The E word

Lately, I’ve been getting asked about how I envision my labour to go. I talk about labour in our pre-natal class and of course among my many friends who are also expecting. The truth is, everyone’s labour experience is so different. It seems that no matter how much you plan, you can never be truly prepared. Perhaps the motto should be-Be prepared for the unexpected! Most people ask if I am planning to have an epidural. I feel like this is a trick question at times. Like no matter what answer I give, I risk being judged. If I say no, then I’m labelled as some crazy hippie lady who has clearly never been through labour and is trying to prove something. If I say yes (GIVE ME THE DRUGS!!!) then I am labelled as someone who is not tough and is going to willingly prolong my labour and not have a ''natural'' birth.

In fact, this subject comes up in nearly every single pre-natal class in spite of the fact that we are already on class 5 discussing post-partum and breastfeeding. The one thing that amuses me (read: I want to smack the smug look of their faces) is that it’s mainly the MEN who are opposed to medicated births. There are 7 couples in the class (including me and my husband and a couple who are very good friends of ours). Of the 7 men, there are 3 of them who adamantly shake their head from side to side whenever we talk about the big bad word EPIDURAL. When our instructor told us that our hospital has an 85% epidural rate, they stared in disgust stating things like:

'' How is that safe? Getting an epidural seems like overkill!’’

'' Why would you risk your health? Can’t you become paralysed?’’

''It’s not natural.’’

It’s not to say that men cannot have opinions on the subject but I find it inappropriate for them to judge women in the class who want to get as much information as possible on their labour options. Using medication during birth is a personal choice. Women have different coping mechanisms and certainly different pain thresholds.

So my answer is this. I plan on using many coping skills I have learned until the pain becomes too great. At that point, I am quite open to an epidural if it will give my body and mind a chance to rest in preparation for pushing and the after birth.

So to buddy with the bad comb-over in my Wednesday night class-I resent the fact that you tell us women that having an epidural is not natural. I respect the fact that you want an un-medicated birth so please respect others. Heaven forbid your wife should realise she’s in excruciating pain and ask for some drugs. Will you flash her an arrogant smirk saying ‘’NO. That is not natural’’?

I guess I didn't realise that you are in charge of her body.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Time Machine

I used to always say things like ''I can’t wait until next month. I wish we could just skip through September’’. It would drive my mother nuts. She’d tell me that I should appreciate the moment and to stop wishing my life away. She made an excellent point of course but there are times in your life when you are sitting at work, completely unmotivated (yes like right now) wishing it was Friday at 5pm.

I am currently 34 weeks and 2 days into my pregnancy and anxiously counting down the days (40 to go) until our little princess bean is due. That being said, she may choose to come early or even a few days late. P bean-if you are listening..please don’t try to come late ok? Early is fine but not too early since daddy and I are renovating the kitchen. I’ll keep you posted.

People love to tell a pregnant lady to relax and that the baby will come when she/he is good and ready. I am by no means wishing for a preemie baby but let me just say that with 5 ½ weeks left to go, I feel ready. It’s not so much that I am completely fed up of being pregnant but rather that I cannot wait to meet my daughter. That being said, pregnancy does drag on. I feel more exhausted by the day and sometimes wish for a forklift to flip me from side to side in bed.

Whenever you are eagerly awaiting something, the days tend to drag on. I guess that’s the way life is. So on occasion, I give myself a boost and enter the time machine A.K.A. the dollar store. The dollar store is a great place to shop if you too find yourself wishing away September or heck, even an entire season. In July, there were harvest decorations out. By August, cheap plastic Halloween masks and battery operated spooky sound machines filled the shelves. While I haven’t been to the dollar store in the last few weeks, I have noticed Christmas paraphernalia popping up at craft stores. These aisles of cheaply mass manufactured crap bring a little smile to my face, reminding me of just how close I really am and just how far we’ve come.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

It’s hard to believe that I am now 27.5 weeks along. My belly has been expanding at an alarming rate. No seriously. My doctor told me I gained 8 lbs in the last 4 weeks. Talk about an OMG moment on the scale. She then politely joked that the scale might be wrong. HA! Nice attempt to question my guilt about eating all those desserts while on vacation.

At the end of the day, I am healthy and so is the baby and that’s all that matters.

I have actually really been enjoying pregnancy so far. There are always a few uncomfortable moments but overall I must be lucky because I feel pretty good. Over the past few weeks/months I have definitely learned some things I did not know about being pregnant and some which I suspected but have come as a nice surprise anyways.

1. People LOVE to help a pregnant lady.

This is a fact I am slowly getting used to. Strangers hold doors often; colleagues carry things for you; people on the street smile at the belly. Just the other month, we had a small but significant earthquake in the area. I think 10 people must have asked me how I was feeling. Is the baby ok? Do you need to sit down? Can I get you some water? I don’t like feeling dependent on the kindness of strangers or even friends but some days I think ‘’Meh the hell with this. You’re right. I am growing a human in my belly so can lift my 7 lb grocery bag since you insist.’’

2. People bring you food.

This could be grouped in with number one but I think it deserves special mention. After all, this is probably why my scale tells me I have been gaining 2 lbs per week! People also love to use the line that I am eating for 2. Well technically I’m not but it depends on what you’re offering. White chocolate cheesecake with raspberry syrup? Did I tell you I am having triplets? Better make that a thick slice please.

3. Darkening of the areolas.

Back when we were just trying, I read this as a symptom of pregnancy. I am sure there are countless women out there (myself included) who stared at their breasts in the bathroom mirror after showering wondering if their period might come late because suddenly their nipples got darker. Let me just say that when this happens, the symptom is not so subtle. It makes sense physiologically-baby needs to have a visual target of its food source. In that case, perhaps my little bean is going to be visually impaired.

4. Pregnancy slows you down considerably.

I was by no means super fit before getting pregnant but I went to the gym, ate sensibly and was well within my normal BMI. Just the other day after going for an hour long walk on vacation, I felt exhausted. My lower back ached and I needed to sit down. It’s incredible to think of all the changes taking place inside my body. I think my stomach is somewhere jacked up against my ribs by this point. As much as I want to accomplish a million tasks my body is telling me to slow down.

5. Extra hair and other non-sexy things.

Maybe I had read about the darkening of the areolas but nobody ever mentioned any other skin discolorations. I am learning that women with darker or an olive skin tone like me may notice these changes more. Suddenly my armpits look like they have not been washed in a month. What’s up with that? How does the darkening of my armpits contribute to the health of my baby? The answer is that it serves no purpose other than to make me sweat off the summer in T-shirts instead of evil tanks tops.

Also, a few weeks ago, a pregnant friend of mine told me that her belly was getting covered in tiny dark hairs. She read that as the baby was growing hair, our bodies were overcompensating with the responsible hormone. GROSS. I was proud to say that MY belly was still void of dark hairs and the ever dreaded stretch marks. The only thing  my belly has to bare is the other lovely skin discoloration known as the linea nigra. No sooner than I was thanking my lucky stars, I noticed a ton of blonde peach fuzz growing on my jaw. My husband was actually the one to point out my ''new beard''. Thanks hun. Love you too!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Just in time for the world cup!

It is with great certainty that I felt (not just gas) princess bean kick today. Her movements since have been sporadic at best but usually at the end of the day when I lie down and press on my belly I can feel her. I have also felt what I think were baby hiccups. It is such an amazing feeling to feel our little girl move.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Sugar, Spice and Everything Nice

When we started the ultrasound I could clearly see that the baby had its legs crossed. The sonographer confirmed that indeed our baby was not going to give away any secrets at the moment. At our last ultrasound, our bean slept the entire time so on the advice of other moms, I ate chocolate at 8am in the hopes baby would do a happy dance from trace amounts of caffeine and sugar.

While waiting for the baby to uncross its legs, the sonographer examined in great detail the entire anatomy. She pointed out the 4 chambers of the heart, the spine, 10 tiny fingers, 10 little toes and the 2 hemispheres of the brain. She giggled when the baby moved its legs or flailed its arms saying our bean was very cute.

Perhaps there was a note in our file but while examining me, she stated that she too had undergone IVF several times with no success. My heart broke for her. This poor lady has a job that requires her to see beaming pregnant ladies all day long and stare at their precious babies on screen. We both offered our sympathies to her. As luck and life would have it though, she did have a miracle baby of her own...6 years after giving up fertility treatments. After sharing my ultrasound experience with friends who are expecting, I truly feel that I have had amazing technicians who took time to explain everything in great detail. Today was no exception and I sense that our technician knew just how anxious we were because she too, had been in our shoes.

As she approached the baby’s bottom she asked again if we wanted to know the sex of our baby.


I can tell you with confidence because the baby has shown me its gender several times during the examination.

My immediate reaction was that we were having a little boy. Surely the great gender reveal was a penis during her examination!

‘’It’s a beautiful baby girl’’, she exclaimed.

And just like that, we became the proud parents-to- be of a girl.

I know that I don’t have another experience to compare with but I don’t feel for 1 second that the magic of finding out the sex of our baby was any less significant than it would be at birth. I was in a dreamlike bubble the entire day. The following night we went out for dinner to celebrate our daughter otherwise lovingly known now as Princess Bean.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Case for Cloth

My husband and I have known for some time now that we are going to be using cloth diapers when our little bean comes into this world. Much to my surprise, whenever I mention this fact to friends and family I am not greeted with encouraging words but rather with cynicism. The comments I hear most frequently include:

1) You're crazy to do that. Do you know how many times a day a baby needs to be changed? Those cloth diapers are expensive.
2) I'm not convinced. Think about how much water you're wasting by having to wash those diapers. that's not better for the environment.
3) Cloth diapers are so messy. You are going to have to scrape poop and have wet pails that smell up your entire house.
4) You don't know what it's like to have a newborn. They are so much work. Why would you give yourself additional work?

I didn't want to take this decision lightly because in some respects they are right. Cloth Diapers are more work. Just like having to wash my dishes or load my dishwasher is more work. If I could just use plastic plates every night and throw them in the garbage then my evenings would be significantly easier!

So in response to some points raised. Here are my counter arguments:

1) Yes. A newborn baby needs to be changed approximately 12 times per day and then as they get older, maybe 8 times per day. From birth to 3 years of age one child will use 5000-7000 diapers or more! The average cost of disposable diapers is $2000-$3000 per child ranging from $0.30 to $0.45 per diaper. Cloth diapers can cost you as low as $300 to approximately $1000 depending on what style you choose, how many you buy and whether you use a diaper service versus home laundering. Cloth diapers usually pay for themselves within a six month period. And of course they can be used for a second or third child

2) Disposable diapers are the largest non-recyclable component of household garbage. One child from birth to 3 years of age will create approximately 3 tons of garbage if using disposable diapers. In Canada, over 4 million disposable diapers are discarded per day (1.6 billion per year)! Disposable diapers make up the third largest source of solid waste in landfills (after paper products and food containers) and may take up to 500 years to decompose. Also, the human waste is going into our landfills (which is actually prohibited by law). Instructions on disposable diaper packaging recommend shaking fecal matters into the toilet before disposing the diaper. This is rarely done.

Washing a load of diapers once or twice a week is roughly equivalent to flushing a toilet five times a day for a week.  I will also be choosing biodegradable detergents that do not contain phosphates. Waste water from laundering your own cloth diapers is far less harmful to the environment compared to the waste water from manufacturing disposable diapers (plastic, pulp and bleached paper).
3) With today's new cloth diapers, no need to scrape poopy diapers and use wet pails. While a baby is breastfeeding, the diapers go directly into the washer. As they get older and eat solids, you can also choose to use biodegradable liners avoiding any rinsing of poopy diapers. Just take the liner, flush it down the toilet and throw your diaper in your pail liner. Several decades ago, wet pails (pails filled with water) were used to store diapers waiting for laundry day but now it is recommended to keep the dirty diapers in a dry bag. On laundry day just take your pail liner to the washer, turn it inside out and dump the diapers and the bag in the wash. Today's diapers also have easy velcro or more big pins and bulky material.
4) Yes babies are a lot of work but the only difference is doing a an extra load of laundry every 2-3 days. What is the difference when you are already doing so much laundry? Studies concluded that cloth diapers encourage babies to potty train faster than disposables, because with disposable diapers, the babies seldom feel any wetness or discomfort.The materials are breathable and do not contain superabsorbent gels (sodium polyacrylate) or toxic chemicals such as dioxin that can be found in disposable diapers. Dioxin, a by-product of the paper-bleaching process, has been linked to cancers, birth defects, liver damage and skin diseases. Babies in cloth diapers are usually changed more often because it's easier to tell when they are wet. This usually results in less diaper rashes due to bacteria and ammonia coming in contact with the baby's skin.
I understand that cloth diapering is not for everyone and I certainly don't claim to commit to using cloth diapers 100% of the time. I am sure there are instances (like on a 7 hour plane ride to Europe) where we may use a dispoable. The point is that I am going to try my best.

I am shocked that in 2010, my environmental choice is greeted with comments that I am crazy instead of kudos for trying to do a bit extra to help our planet.
Information quoted from:

Environment canada
Ottawa Cloth Diapers

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

So Relieved

After some humming and hawing, I decided that the pains I felt on the weekend were too strong for me to ignore so on Monday I called my OB's nurse with my concerns. Much to my surprise she said she completely understood by worries and that she would see me within a couple of hours to check my baby's heartbeat.

Thank you Canada for the amazing gift of public healthcare

Within 2 seconds of placing the probe on my belly, I heard the heartbeat. ''There it is'', she said smiling.
That was all I needed to hear to make everything right in my world again.

she also gave me the great news that our IPS results (integrated prenatal screening) for down syndrome, Trisomy 18 and neural tube defects came back normal.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The mysterious case of the disappearing baby bump

IfI have to be honest - I really don't *feel* pregnant these days. I think that seems weird to say especially given that today, of all days, is Mother's day. Some of my other non-ivf pregnant friends are just "channeling their inner peace of motherhood"' as one referred to of their pregnancy.

In my head, I know that I am pregnant and that as of 2 weeks ago, my baby's heartbeat could be found on the doppler. So why is it that every time I have a period of 2 weeks or more that goes by without confirmation, I get worried? Can I realistically chalk it up to having struggled with infertility and the constant worrying that goes hand in hand with ivf?

I really felt like I was growing a little baby belly last week. Even some of my colleaues (granted they know I am expecting) commented on how I was really showing now.

Then suddenly I woke up yesterday to literally have a flat stomach. Ok..perhaps a flat stomach that could use a pilates course but definitely not  a defined belly bump that was visible all week. Did I imagine it? Am I mistaking my growing baby for gas? For one too many Dairy Queen blizzards?

I have finally decided that all this worrying is not doing me any good and so I took the plunge and rented a doppler to hear the baby's heartbeat. There are mixed opinions on them since some women claim it gave them the exact reassurance they needed and others get a bit worried when they cannot detect the heartbeat immediately.

I feel this is exactly what I need until I too,can "channel my inner earth mother".

I am also going to make an effort to stop comparing my body to others. I feel hurt every time someone says to me "you're so small. I have REALLY popped by now". "OMG, I totally felt little flutters at like 14 weeks".
ps: I am calling your bullshit on that if it's your first child.

Maybe I am worried about my disappearing belly for no reason. I certainly hope so.

Friday, April 30, 2010

15 1/2 weeks and counting

It is crazy to think that I am already 15 weeks along. Some days it doesn't even feel real to me. I must admit that seeing the baby on the 13 week ultrasound was incredible. As it turns out, both my husband and I came down with a wicked case of the stomach flu on the day before our ultrasound was scheduled. I was up all night praying to the porcelain god. By 8am I knew that I had to try and consume and entire litre of water and keep it down.

As I lay on the table any thoughts of sickness vanished as soon as I saw our precious little bean. The poor little baby was not being very cooperative for our sonographer that day as s/he was fast asleep. I guess mommy kept him/her up all night with trips to the bathroom. The sonographer apologised but in order to get a specific picture she was going to have to press down hard on my belly with the ultrasound wand. At this point I could feel the litre of water gurgling around in my stomach looking for an escape..and in a non-traditional route.

After a few minutes of her prodding and me trying my best not to vomit, the baby repositioned him/herself and extended his/her arm in front of the mouth  almost as if to block a yawn ''are we done yet so I can get back to sleep?'' At this point in the pregnancy, the baby was measuring right on target at around 3inches. it is amazing to think that something so small can already be making such a huge impact in my life. I wish I could see my little bean every single day.

Monday, March 29, 2010

The best things in life are not things

Dear Bean,

It's official. Your mom has entered a new decade of her life today. So many friends of mine have been worried about turning 30 but I cannot help but feel that 30 is going to be my best year yet. This is the year that I am going to become a mom.

Every day, the reality that I am actually pregnant is sinking it. I want to believe you are there but so often, worry clouds my happiness. Today however was different. You gave me the best birthday gift in the world. I heard your little heart beating for the very first time. It was everything I had imagined and more.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

It is actually real!

I feel like a bad blogger for not posting news on Monday after the ultrasound but both of my parents were away on vacation. As my mom reads the blog, I wanted to wait for her return so I could tell her over the phone.

We were overjoyed on Monday so see our baby's heartbeat (yes that is singular baby not plural!).
In my earlier post I wrote that I'd be able to hear the heartbeat which was inaccurate. Most doppler radars cannot detect the heartbeat until another few weeks. When the sonographer placed the wand on my tummy, I think we were both expecting to see 2 babies growing. The twin factor had been built up from a combination of friends fascination with twins and my higher HCG levels from my first Beta.

As it turns out, we were partly right. There was in fact only one little bean growing with a visible and strong heartbeat (thank you , thank you, thank you). A second smaller gestational sac was clearly visible which meant at one point we did have a twin but the pregnancy was just not viable. I know it may seem silly ,but we felt a sense of loss. Had there been no second sac, we would have simply thought that only 1 embryo implanted. The reality is that the second embyro did implant but stopped early form of miscarriage. In terms of pregnancy, a singleton is lower risk and of course there were concerns about multiple delivery (born early) and getting used to life as a first time mom with not 1 but 2 babies.

I do not want to come across as ungrateful because seeing that little heartbeat was the most beautiful thing in the world. It's just to say that people's reactions tend to be that we should not feel sad over the loss of the second bean because we have the one. We are happy. We are extremely happy. But that day, we allowed ourselves to feel a bit sad about our little bean that tried to make it and just couldn't.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Is it Monday yet?

Never in my life have I been excited for a weekend to pass by quickly so Monday can arrive. This Monday,  unlike every other mundane Monday is going to be different. This Monday, I will hopefully get to hear my baby's heartbeat for the very first time.

I keep worrying that something is going to go wrong. I have had cramps on and off but one night this week they were bad enough that it woke me up. I was lying in bed literally thinking ''This is it. It's all over.''

I contacted the nurse and she reassured me that cramping is completely normal as long as they are not very painful which could be indicative of an ectopic pregnancy.  Also I have not had any spotting/bleeding which is a good sign.

3 more days...grow beans grow!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Goodbye Spicy food?

Well if there has been one noticable change or symptom in this early stage of pregnancy I would have to say heartburn reigns supreme. I am a huge fan of spicy food and I particularly enjoy our take-out Indian we get every second week.

Last thursday we ventured off the beaten path and ordered a new type of curry. Every item in the menu sounds the same. Chicken/beef/lamb in a rich thick sauce. So instead of ordering chicken dansak in a rich thick sauce we ordered some rendition of chicken a rich thick sauce. Yowsa! I have eaten this dish before and absolutely loved it even digging in for seconds while my friends filled up their water glasses for a 4th time. This experience was different though. I felt like I had flames burning up my espohagus before you could say Chicken Vindaloo.

The heartburn also makes a wicked appearance whenever I eat dishes with lots of garlic (another favourite). I have since learned that the cause for this fiery fun are  the hormones progesterone and relaxin that  occur at elevated levels in the body. They cause a pegnant woman's gastrointestinal linings smooth muscle to relax. When this happens your digestive system works more slowly and food is digested at a slower rate. This results in heartburn.  Luckily, I have also since learned that a calcium antacid is perfectly safe to take in moderation while pregnant. Thank goodness because this girl is not ready to trade in her spicy meatball-a just yet.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Misleading and insulting

I truly hate to return to the blog with negativity but after reading a column written by Margaret Wente in the Globe and Mail today, I feel that I don't have a choice. Her comments were not only misleading but also insulting to the many couples who struggle with infertility. I have written an email in response to her article and I encourage you to do the same. She can be reached at

The right to bear children and, of course, we'll pay

Is having a family a human right?
Margaret Wente

Consider the predicament of the modern educated woman. She goes to school until she's in her 20s. She spends the next 10 years establishing a career. She settles on a guy, and they save up to buy a house. They are responsible and prudent. At last, it's time to have a family!

Unfortunately, she's now 38, or maybe 40. To her shock, she discovers her eggs are past their sell-by date. Time to go the high-tech route. Now she discovers that, at $10,000 for a single round of in-vitro treatment, plus assorted drugs and extras, high-tech babies don't come cheap.

Who pays for her effort to get pregnant? If the infertility lobby has its way, we do. It's putting heavy pressure on Ontario's government to fund in-vitro fertilization for women up to 42. It has a battery of arguments for why this is in the public interest: Having children is a basic human right. Infertility is a disease, and treating it is so expensive that people shouldn't have to pay for it themselves (even though many do). Finally, public funding of fertility treatments will save the system money.

“ This task force, which included people from every conceivable interest group, lacked only someone to speak for the silent, suffering, taxpaying public.”

The infertility industry is doing its best to expand our concept of both human rights and medical necessity. “Everybody should have the right to a family,” says Marjorie Dixon, a fertility specialist at the First Steps fertility clinic in Toronto. She says women feel “cheated” because, even though they pay taxes, the government won't help them. The Infertility Awareness Association of Canada defines infertility as “a reproductive health disease.” Infertility is to blame for our falling birth rates and shrinking population (who knew?), as well as for “terrible emotional anguish.”

The causes of infertility are complex, of course, and people's choices to postpone reproduction until middle age are just one part of the story. But among the chief customers for fertility treatment are educated women who've been deluded into thinking that technology can help them whenever they want a child.

Bowing to the pressure, Quebec has now agreed to fund as much as three rounds of in-vitro treatment for infertile women. (Quebec is obsessed with its low birth rate.) Britain and Australia fund in-vitro, too, and, last summer, a high-profile task force urged Ontario to follow suit. This task force, which included people from every conceivable interest group, lacked only someone to speak for the silent, suffering, taxpaying public.

Is having a family a human right? Well, sure, of course. But I don't think that having a family under any circumstances, or expecting the public to pay for your in-vitro treatments, is a human right. Life's unfair, and health care is a bottomless pit, and some of these procedures have wretched outcomes. After 40, a women's chance of taking home a baby after IVF sinks to one in 10 or less (to say nothing of the risks). What other elective treatment would we cover that had a failure rate that high?

With health-care budgets under acute stress, the infertility lobby is strongly pushing the cost-benefit argument. It argues that, because of the high costs of treatment, women opt for two, three or four embryo implants at a time to save money. The result is a high rate of multiple births, with expensive medical complications. Public funding would more than pay for itself by encouraging more conservative procedures and fewer multiple pregnancies.

But public funding is an open-ended commitment. And if multiple pregnancies are so undesirable, then why not regulate the industry more tightly on medical grounds alone?

If we really want to reduce the anguish of infertility, here are a couple of cheap ideas. Stop peddling phony hopes to desperate couples almost certainly doomed to fail (no matter whose money they're spending). And post the basic statistics about fertility and pregnancy in big red letters in every doctor's waiting room. I can't tell you how many women would have acted differently if they'd only known.

My oh my, her inbox must be flooded with complaint letters today. Perhaps Margaret would anticipate this if she only knew that 1 in 6 Ontarian couples struggle with infertility.
Her argument that clinics peddle phony hope to infertile couples who are doomed to failure is discredited. If she had read the Expert Panel on Infertility and Adoption's report she would realise that "For women under age 42, there is a very good chance – as high as 71% for women under 35 years – that they will have at least one live birth after three cycles of IVF.
Alleviating multiple births by regulating the industry on medical grounds alone is a simplistic view of this undesirable outcome. The average couple will pay approximately $10,000 per IVF cycle. As there exists no Government funding with the exception of the rare blockage of both tubes, nearly all couples choose to transfer 2 embryos in order to increase their odds of success. This is a private service which is precisely why regulations do not exist. Who is Ms. Wente to tell ME how to spend MY money?
She misinforms the public by leading them to believe that the use of assisted reproductive technology (ART)  is a lifestyle choice. In fact couples resort to ART due to a medical conditions such as endometriosis, sperm abnormalities, PCOS or cancer.
Lastly as my fellow IVFer pointed out- the human right to have a family may be a matter of opinion but Margaret Wente should note that us infertile couples continue to pay taxes for her kids to go to school.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


After a very anguishing morning, the phone finally rang at 2pm in the middle of my french class. The nurse calmly asked me if I had a quiet place to talk. My heart sunk. This was it.

''I have great news. Congratulations!''


Despite having taken a positive home pregnancy test on Sunday, I could not truly believe it until I had official confirmation from the doctor.
The testing all went down at my in-laws house this past Sunday morning. I had to pee from 5am onwards but managed to hold it in until I could see the faintest light peeking through the windows. I crept downstairs to check the time. 6:30 a.m. I couldn't hold it in any longer. I went to the bathroom and fumbled with the packaging. I was sure my husband would wake up. The test said the results would come back within 3 minutes. When I saw the test was positive I began to cry. How was I supposed to hold this information in? I flicked on the lights, shook my husband, tears streaming down my face and got to say the words we have both wanted to hear for so long. I'm pregnant!

The official confirmation was a huge relief. My beta came back at 1493! The nurse even chuckled and told me that I was VERY pregnant. Perhaps it's possible that both of my little beans have decided to snuggle in until October?  Only time will tell but in the meantime, I am going to thoroughly enjoy this bliss.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Waiting for Beta

1. Wake up, remember it is THE DAY. Freak out. Shower, make breakfast, pack lunch, walk dog. FREAK OUT some more.

2. Go to work, check email, check IVF forum, turn on television to have Olympics in background, realise that it is only 6am inVancouver, look at clock to be sure.

3. Freak out thinking that cell phone is not on ring. Check ring options, confirm ringer. Don't believe it so use landline to call cell phone to confirm. bring cell phone to bathroom, to make tea, to make photocopies.

4. 1 hour later check ivf forums again, facebook, call cell phone again to make sure. Breathe in, Breathe out.

Is it really only 11am?

Friday, February 12, 2010

No one can give you better advice than yourself- Cicero.

Life would be much easier if I could only just take my own advice. I read and post often on a forum with other IVFers from across Canada and the United States.  I cannot express how helpful this forum has been to me during the last 6 months.  It's a place where you can say whatever you want and have readers who truly understand what you're going through. They are a group of incredibly resilient women.  Some have been struggling with infertility for 10 years and some are brand new to the process. We offer one another support and a non judgemental ear.

If you want to complain about your aunt Nelly who told you to just adopt an oprhan from Haiti, go ahead, we are here to tell you how insensitive Nelly is.

If you want to cry because your ultrasound appointment showed only 5 follicles at less than 8mm and a low E2 level, go ahead, because we understand the acronyms and share your frustration.

Most importantly if you want to share your joy of finally conceiving, go ahead, because from the bottom of our hearts we are truly happy for you even if we are still broken hearted ourselves.

I have given plenty of advice to members of our January IVF club and in turn, have received much appreciated advice.

As the days turn into weeks and now into a new month, some people have dropped off the board to deal with the pain of having a negative cycle. There are only a handful of us left who are still waiting or who have confirmed pregnancy.

I want to urge my fellow IVFers to keep the faith. I just wish I could take my own advice some days.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


or in other words: I have lost my marbles. Well we are are half way there (actually more than half way since I will have my bloodwork in 6 days-Monday). I have resisted the urge to test again. In fact, the very idea of it terrifies me now. That's because by now, my little beans should be making enough HCG to be detected in a home pregnancy test. I just cannot deal with the let down. Why on earth the clinic makes you suffer for an entire 2 weeks is beyond me.

So here I am just sitting, waiting wishing (thank you Jack Johnson).

Saturday, February 6, 2010


or in other words, 4 days past a 5 day transfer. I hardly slept last night. My mind was racing, I had a killer headache and was bloated with dull cramps. I literally kept thinking my period was going to rear it's ugly head in the night. Also, my husband was out with friends and didn't get in until the wee hours of the morning so I never rest well until he is home. I also felt ridiculously nauseous. I know I know, you are thinking nausea! Pregnancy! What a perfect pair they make. I chalk it up to having gone out for a huge dinner and then falling asleep way to early on the couch to properly digest my food. Tiredness! Pregnancy! Seriously though I routinely fall asleep by 10pm so that is no indication for me. I simply love to sleep.

This morning I woke up and dug out the last remaining home pregnancy test I had. It was a good quality one too, a Clearblue early pregnancy test that claims it can detect a pregnancy up to 4 days before a missed period. The goal this morning was not to test for pregnancy though, it was to check that my HCG level (the same hormone that is produced in pregnancy) was gone from my system. You see, the trigger shot I took 11 days ago contained this hormone and in an evil little trick to infertile couples everywhere, this shot can give you a false positive. I want to make sure I have a negative so when I do get a positive, I'll know it's the real deal.

It was negative. I put it in the trash, took the dog in the yard and then promptly came back inside and dug it out from the trash. It felt good. It's been a whole 9 months or so since I did that. It's every infertile woman's dirty little secret. We have done it countless times even if the box tells us not to.

So from experience digging out tests from the trash, I can confidently say that the Clearblue tests have always been stark white for me. Even if one pulls the test out of the trash an entire 24 hours later, no cheap evaporation line has ever appeared for me. I was aways a big fat negative (BFN). So much to my surprise the test from this morning had the faintest of faintest lines. Now what am I supposed to do with this information? It is WAYYYYYYY too early for me to have a positive but too late for me to have remaining HCG from the trigger shot. Or maybe I have it wrong all together. I did feel like chucking up my breakfast no sooner than I had finished it. Hmmm.

Until then, it leaves me more confused and with a desperate urge to go buy a bulk size box of pregnancy tests at Costco (yes they are much cheaper there). I won't though. I need to preserve whatever sanity I have left.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Dear Beans

This is what I lovingly call you. I hope you don't mind. You see, when we started trying to have a baby the good old fashioned way, we would ask one another at the end of each month if we had any baby beans growing.  I am so happy to say that after 19 months of trying, we finally do!

If you do get a chance to meet me (and I hope from the bottom of my heart that you do), you will come to learn that I love to spend time on the internet. So this morning with my cup of herbal tea in hand, I was reading about what you're up to down there. My sources tell me that over the next 24 hours you are going to hatch out of your zona and attach to my uterine lining where you will hopefully stay for the next 8 and a half months.

If you are strong enough to stick around, I promise you this:

I will be grateful for every day that you are in my belly because this means you are safe and are growing.  During this time, I will care for you to the best of my ability. If you do decide to stick around, you should know that you will be welcomed into this world by a wonderful family and amazing friends who cannot wait to meet you in October. My baby beans, you will be loved.

You have a big day ahead of you. I'll be here-cheering you on.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

You must have been a beautiful embryo

I haven't even written with details of the weekend because I was scared that actually writing about a 5 day transfer would somehow jinx it. After not getting a call on Saturday to notify us of a change, I was still in disbelief that we were going to actually make it to Day 5. In fact, it was only once I was on the table with my acupuncturist this morning pre-transfer that I felt relief. Surely they wouldn't allow me to get acupuncture treatment if we have nothing to transfer?

As it turns out, 4 of our 5 fertilised embryos were alive. We were shocked.  This is 80% embryo retention..much higher that the norm.  Unfortunately 2 of them were rated as poor quality-at least by Ottawa Fertility Clinic standards. I understand they are very strict about only freezing the best ones. The 2 others we had were great. One was perfect. The nurse, the doctor and the embryologist said it was a beautiful blastocyst.

Imagine that. This kid is already good looking.

Becuase there was only a slim chance we'd have something to freeze, we opted to transfer the 2 high quality ones. This of course presents us with the possibility of twins but it was a gamble we were willing to take. This risk is especially true with transfers on day 5.  On the top is a picture of what a 3 day embryo looks like (8 cell high quality) and  on the bottom  is what a blastocyst looks like by day 5. Transferring a blastocyst in the uterus at day 5  mimics what happens in a natural pregnancy since implantation does not actually occcur until 5 or 6 days past ovulation


The transfer itself was quick and exciting. The nurse made sure I was comfortable and talked me though everything I was seeing on the sceen. The sonographer held the ultrasound probe on my belly so I could see my uterus clearly. The embryologist who had made the magic happen with our egg and sperm explained the blastocysts in detail. The doctor  inserted the speculum and the catheter and dropped off our 2 little blasts into my uterus. My husband stared at the monitor with me while holding my hand. Of course this is not the way anyone imagines conception to happen. We were supposed to go to a party, get a bit tipsy, make love only to discover we were pregnant 2 weeks later. If there is one thing I have learned by now, it is that it doesn't matter how we get there, just that we know we will. As for me, I cried during the transfer. I cried when I saw the 2 tiny air bubbles on the screen which they explained were my 2 blasts entering my uterus. It was the happiest moment. I am Pregnant until Prove Otherwise.

Here is a picture of my little blasts being dropped off. You cannot actually see them but the sonographer put an arrow to show where they are. What a beautiful picture.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Fun times in infertility

Fun time #1:

Excusing yourself from the 3pm meeting so you can go stick prometrium suppositories up your vagina in the work bathroom stall.

Friday, January 29, 2010

And 7 became 5

Day after ER and I am feeling just fine. Most of the bloating and gas is gone. I'm still taking it easy as I don't have tons of energy.

The clinic called this morning with our fertilisation report aka THE SCARIEST PHONE CALL OFALL TIME.

Out of my 7 eggs, all 7 were mature and 5 of them were successfuly fertilised through ICSI.

I am so happy that all of them were mature. I hope this signals my eggs are good quality.Because we have 5 embryos, this means we are on the cusp and it is still not a done deal that we will transfer on day 5. Can anything be easy just for once??!  So now we wait until tomorrow's scary phone call to let us know if all 5 are still alive and kicking. If we have less than 5, we will proceed with a 3 day transfer (on Sunday). 5 day transfers often enjoy higher pregnancy rates but at the same time, I am so scared that we will lose them by day 5.

Overall this is a good news day considering the number of eggs we had to work with. I want my embabies back home. It feels weird to think about the fact that they are spending the weekend without me. I love them already!

Memories of an egg retrieval

Well yesterday was the big day. Note: I have many big days in this cycle but I count ER day as Big Day #1.  Everything went swimmingly well. We arrived an hour early and were escorted into the back room to change into our scrubs (husband looked hot, I was wearing 2 frumpy gowns but hey it's not a fashion show).

The nurse let me relax in a big recliner until it was time to give me a big injection of sedative in my bum. Within a few minutes Ii was feeling pretty reeelllaaaxxed. They then started me on an IV drip with some kind of other painkiller. It's funny because at the time I felt aware of everything that was happening but looking back on the event yesterday I don't remember most parts in the OR.

I remember watching my follicles drain on the screen. The dark craters were being coloured in with a pencil least that's what it looked like to me in my drug induced state.

I do remember hearing the embryologist in the room shout out 1! 2! 3! Phew we have lift off. We have eggs.
After 15 or 20 minutes I was wheeled back to the comfortable recliner to eat cookies and sip on apple juice until I became lucid.

The final count was 7 eggs. Sadly, I was quite disappointed with the count because the doctors told me they like to get 8-15 for someone my age. They were careful not to overstimulate me and they certainly met their goal. I was sent home to sleep and be taken care of by my nurse husband (who did an excellent job).

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Pulling the trigger.

YES! Today Is Trigger Day. I have enough follicles at the right size, an  endometrial lining that is thick enough and my estrogen levels have been steadily rising.

This is the final injection before my eggs are retrieved in 36 hours time.

No more needles at 7am and 7pm in my belly. No more ultrasounds until THE ultrasound when I can see our beautiful little embryo happily growing inside of me. Positive thoughts, positive thoughts.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Another day, another ultrasound. Day 11 (or day 10 on stims)

Back from yet another ultrasound and bloodtest. I don't even think I am aware of how many follicles I had today. I never got the final count. When the sonographer was ''taking pictures'' of my ovaries I was amazed to see how much they have changed.  I could actually see the distinction between the big craters as I lovingly like to call them. My follicles are growing! Sadly they have not grown quite enough yet.  I have a lead follicle which has grown to 20mm and will be out of the race soon. If we triggered now, I could potentially use him but by the time they do the retreival, he will be too big, or overripe if you will. The trade off, if that I have a bunch of other guys just waiting to grow some more which is why they are keeping me on the stims at least for 1 more day. I guess that is fair. I'll lose one to potentially gain 5 or 6.

back again tomorrow. fingers crossed that I can trigger tomorrow night!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Day 10 Stims

I haven't posted for a few days as I was too annoyed to write on Thursday (Day 7 but only 6 days of stims). It was just one of those days I guess. I had to wait over 2 hours at the clinic, had a loopy ultrasound technician, a nurse who jammed the needle so hard into my vein that I bled for 10 minutes after they drew blood and then I had a jerk on -call doctor.  None of this was helped by the fact that I was freaking out over an interview I had scheduled for the following morning.

So on day 7, the mean doctor told me that I had 3 follicles at 11mm. Much to my annoyance and shock considering I had 23 follicles on day 5. Yes I knew they wouldn't all grow but 3? He even happily pointed  out the small dots on my chart to confirm. 1, 2, 3.

He said that yes, hopefully more would grow. Ideally in an IVF cycle with someone my age they hope to get 8-15 mature follicles. My 3 are nowhere near to being mature so I am to continue on my regular dose of stims for a while.

Fast forward to Saturday (Day 9 or 8 days of stims) and I now have 8 follicles at 11mm. I was feeling much better but still worried about growth. In order to qualify for a 5 day transfer, I need a minimum of 5 fertilised embryos which means that I need more than 5 eggs because inevitably, some eggs will not fertilise properly. They keep saying quality over quantity and are playing it safe.

I am back at the clinic on Day 11 (aka Day 10 of stims) for another check up. Now I have to hope that my 8 eggs have grown much larger than 11mm. In order to trigger me for retrieval I need to have them at 17mm.

Confused yet? So am I!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The first numbers are in

I had my very first ultrasound check up today since starting the stimulation. The purpose was to check on the number of follicles growing in each ovary and to check my blood levels for estrogen.

I am still waiting to get my bloodwork back however the ultrasound result came back with a total of 23 follicles at 9mm (tiny ones). The goal is to stimulate them to 18 mm. Apparently they grow at a rate of 2 mm per day so another 5 days is the estimate for trigger. I feel like 23 is a lot!  I was concerned about too much of a good thing. Overstimulation is dangerous and can be the cause for a clinic to cancel a cycle entirely. I breathed a sigh of relief when  the doctor who reviewed the my results said they were great looking follicles. To me, they looked like miniature dark craters  on the screen but who am I to argue with the professional.

I can hardly wait to go back in on Thursday and see my follicles again.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Top 10 stupid things people say to the infertile couple

Alright, I need to write this post because let's face it, people have said some really stupid things to me over the last 18 months. Sometimes I wonder if people even think before they speak. My husband likes to remind me that I can't hold it against them. They don't understand infertility. They don't know what to say. I know. How about not saying anything at all! In all fairness, he is probably right but it doesn't stop me from remembering their comments and then posting them on here to have a good laugh. And yes these are all things I have been told. I'm sure many women have heard the same.

10. Just relax and you will get pregnant. Mmm.. true.  Stressing out does not improve anything but all the tequila and vacations in the world will not change my husband's sperm count.

9. I know someone who tried and tried for years and couldn't get pregnant, adopted and then BAM all of a sudden she had a natural pregnancy. Of course you know someone. So does my hairdresser and my cleaning lady's ex-husband's cousin. And no she didn't just BAM get pregnant all of a sudden because you just told me she tried and tried for years. Maybe she was cool with conceiving at 39 for the first time, but I'm not.

8. Ugh it sucked we got pregnant the first month. We didn't even get to practice. Giggle.Giggle. You didn't even get to practice? What happened? Did your husband's penis fall off after your conceived? You can't DO IT when you are preggo? Maybe you should have used a condom if you didn't want to conceive.

7. OMG I am getting fat. Yup that's what happens when you get pregnant. Oh I'm sorry you want pity..from me?

6. Being pregnant sucks. You're so lucky. I would kill for a glass of wine. You want to know what sucks? Spending 11 thousand to inject myself daily, harvest my eggs  and then hope to God that one takes when I put it back in because that it the only way I can become a mom. Man am I lucky I can get drunk though!

5. I know he has a low count but you only need one sperm! Actually no, we need millions to get the job done the old fashioned way. We even need millions for insemination.

4. Did you try charting your ovulation? My neighbour's sister tried for 12months and then used ovulation test sticks and conceived the first month. 1) Your neighbour's sister is obviously dumb. 2) Do you really think I am about to blow 11k on the most complicated fertility procedure that exists and not even know if I ovulate?

3.Just wait until you have kids and you'll see. It's not as fun as it seems. They're so much work. Hold the phone! Cancel the cycle! I had no idea kids required patience and hard work. Yuck! What was I thinking?

2. I don't know about all those fertility treatments. Are you sure? You're going to end up with like 6 kids. Yes I am going to be JUST like octomom. Fucking.Idiot.

1. Oh well just think, if it doesn't work, you can just do it again. You bet. Next time we will use your visa ok?

Human Pin Cushion Part 2

I am actually beginning to really enjoy acunpuncture. I have been undergoing treatment for a few months now (minus the time I spent away on my trip). The scary machine that is supposed to make light tapping sensations does just that. The needles that caused a jello like movement in my abdomen no longer hurt. In fact, some treatments have been so relaxing that I have fallen asleep. The room is kept warm with space heaters and at times, individual heaters are placed over my needle pierced stomach. In this January cold, it has become a time I look forward to. I have no responsibilties but to relax. I have used this time to focus on a postive outcome of our IVF cycle and sometimes even allow myself to daydream where I can actaully visualise our baby. I can see the nursery, my beautiful pregnant belly, the joyful moment when we share the news with our family.

I think about IVF all day long but during my acupuncture I get time to think about it without any distractions or negative thoughts. It's just me, a warm room, relaxing music and a whole world of hope.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Grow Eggies Grow!

Woo-hoo I got the green light to start the stimulation phase of my cycle today. I will be taking 150 units of puregon daily for around 10 days. Puregon is a Follicle Stimulating Hormone that will help my ovaries create many follicles with many ripe eggs instead of just one mature egg like I would have in a normal cycle.

I guess this is the exciting (and very scary) part of the treatment. I just have to hope I stimulate well but not too well otherwise my cycle could be cancelled.

I have included a picture of the little puregon pen that could.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

I thought I was over this

After so many months of trying to conceive I thought I would be done with the jealousy of hearing yet ANOTHER pregnancy announcement. They come in all shapes and forms but the one that makes me most annoyed (read: neurotic) are the ones on facebook. It is ridiculous. I actually find myself noticing wall posts or stalking tagged photos of people I went to high school with and haven't seen in years. Does she look fat? Definitely pregnant because she was always so skinny. There is just no way she can be that big and not preggo! Hmm all these people are writing congratulatory messages. Is she pregnant?

I can't even stop myself and I wish I could because it's self torture. This, by the way, is being written as I have just discovered yet another person announcing their pregnancy by means of their 3 month ultrasound as their latest profile picture. So I ask myself, ok maybe they didn't just get pregnant right away either. Not that is matters but it makes me feel better. Nope wrong again. Since facebook contains such trivial information as "Jessie is watching Dancing with the Stars, yippee", you can be sure that the important stuff like wedding photos are also posted. So.. said pregnant person got married in September and is already 3 months pregnant. Let's do the math. Something tells me this person does not even have the word infertile in their vocabulary.

Alright my rant is done for now. I want to be done with jealousy but dammit facebook you make it so hard!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

If I had a million dollars

I'd buy a nice chesterfield or an ottoman? The Bare Naked Ladies may have, but these days it seems all it might get me are a few IVF treatments. That is one of the funniest comments people make (more to come on that subject in another post). They say ''If this one doesn't work, you can always just do another one''.

It's that simple. Do another one. Perhaps I should suggest that they offer me their bank account for payment of the next round.

So far we have spent:

Detailed Semen analysis $220
Karyotype Test for semen $400
IVF consent signing  $200
Antibiotics for baseline ultrasound  $20
Birth Control Pill (weird i know)  $15
IVF cycle $6000
ICSI (the process whereby they inject a single sperm into the egg) $1500
Freezing $300
Suprefact medication $160
Puregon $1200

for a grand total of $ 10015. And not a single penny covered by OHIP.

According to the Ontario Government, only women who have both tubes blocked (a rare event) are covered for up to a maximum of 3 IVF cycles. Under any other circumstance, such as when the male does not produce sperm, no coverage is offered. Despite the fact that 1 in 6 Ontarian couples will struggle with some form of infertility, the Government cannot seem to dig deep into their pockets to change this unfair law.

Currently the Government is reviewing a report released  by the Expert panel on Infertility and Adoption. The panel strongly urges the Government to fund up to 3 IVF cycles for all couples if needed. I have written to my MPP on this issue and I encourage anyone living in Ontario reading this to do the same.

A link to the report can be found here:   Expert Panel on Infertility and Adoption

Until the panel's recommendations are passed, my husband and I will continue to drain our bank accounts as we try so desperately to start a family. I can just imagine future family conversations. Sorry honey you don't get to go to hockey camp. Mommy and Daddy blew $30000 trying to have you and another $20 grand on your sister. Maybe you can grab a stick and peel around the driveway.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Injection fun

Day 2 of my suprefact injection and things are going well. At least I think they are. I haven't grown a 3rd arm or anything yet. I am waiting for these nasty side effects to kick in. The headaches and hot flashes the nurses told me about as they throw my 29 year old ovaries into a menopausal state. The nurse also said some people will not have any side effects. Maybe that will be me!

I am starting to freak out about the process more. Once again not at the process itself but the end result. There is a good chance this will not work. During the daytime I manage to rid my brain of these negative thoughts but before I go to bed, I lie awake thinking that this could be an epic failure.

I guess my rollercoaster continues into 2010.