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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in _journey's LiveJournal:

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Thursday, April 15th, 2010
6:02 pm
U/S #2
Today was our second u/s, at 8w3d. The twins have grown an unbelievable amount! They're both measuring about the same, at around 8w0d. The first twin's heartrate was 168, and the second was 182. Apparently, both are within the acceptable range, and Dr. Barwin was thrilled with the results. As were we!!

I've been referred to a high-risk OBGYN with privileges at the hospital closest to us - I'll be meeting him on April 27th, and the 29th is our 10w u/s. I know I'm still going to be terrified, but seeing the twins today looking so promising took a huuuge weight off my shoulders.

On Saturday, my mother and I are going to a local maternity store so I can buy a dress (I have a Ball to attend that evening), some new bras and at least one pair of pants. I'm tiny and short-waisted with twins, so I'm already showing a little and feeling pretty darn uncomfortable in my work clothes. Shopping for myself at a maternity store is one of those things I never allowed myself to dream was a possibility. I can hardly wait :D

E and I are still in a state of shock over all of this, but I truly cherish the boost of confidence I received at this morning's u/s. We are so very, very blessed to have made it this far... I can honestly say that I do not take one single moment for granted.
Thursday, April 1st, 2010
9:37 am
Friday, March 19th, 2010
8:44 am
Good News... and Not-So-Good News
I went for my second beta and first ultrasound yesterday morning. We saw two sacs of equal size, however my beta (which I had to wait 24 hours for, again!! WTF???) did not double in 48 hours. It went from 612, to 948. I think. I had to call Dr. B's office back because he had left a message on the answering machine, and like a fool I deleted it. I've called them back so I can get the exact number, but regardless, it didn't double.

Dr. B isn't totally displeased, because the numbers did go up (and my progesterone is in the 230's range!), but he'd like to do another beta on Monday. E and I are unsure... we have our viability scan on April 1st. I don't know if I can take another 24 hour wait of anticipating bad results. We may just want to wait until the following week for the scan.

There are a few possibilities: 1) it would have doubled within 72 hours, which, according to some doctors, is acceptable *. 2) one of the twins might not be doing well 3) I might be one of the 15% of women whose beta does not double 4) this pregnancy is doomed. (* on ivf.ca, where I hang out when cycling, one doctor said they want a beta to increase by at least 55% in 48 hours, and mine did)

E and I are choosing to be as optimistic as we can, but man...we've been here before and it SUCKS. It's a terrible place to be, knowing that your pg is not developing textbook perfectly. At least my symptoms have come back with a vengeance (yesterday), although it could be the sky-high prog causing those.

We have to think long and hard about a follow-up beta. Sometimes, ignorance IS bliss.
Wednesday, March 17th, 2010
11:41 am
Thursday, March 4th, 2010
8:07 pm
I ended having the 3 day transfer this morning, without E. That was tough. It was made tougher because I had to wait half an HOUR strapped to the operating table, legs splayed, before the doctor finally showed up. My bladder was already full to bursting an hour and a half before that, when my transfer was originally scheduled. It was also made tougher by the fact that our 9 promising embryos kinda evaporated into thin air (this seems to be a trend), and they ended up with four average and five below average. They were so poor in quality, they actually put 4 back... that was pretty darned depressing. No one was too smiley, and no one had too many encouraging words.

So, I missed Grampy's funeral for a cycle that looks like it's going to be a bust. To quote my mother, being that I have nothing nice to say about this situation, I'm not going to say anything at all :/ I have, however, resolved that until these little ones fade away, I'll try my best to be positive.
Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010
11:26 am
Fert Report #1.. and sad news
We went ahead with a 9:30 am retrieval yesterday morning, and again, I opted for the General Anesthetic. When I awoke in the recovery room, I was told that of the 20 follicles they had consistently seen on the scans (I had 3 last week), they only collected 11 eggs. I was so upset by this, as the last time they collected 25 eggs; and, of course, I was recovering from the GA, which tends to make me emotional in the best of times.

In any case, everyone (myself included) reminded me that the important factor is quality, not quantity. And our first fert report may lend credence to that belief: of the 11 collected, 9 were mature and 9 fertilized. This is the first time we've had 100% fertilization, and so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this is a good sign, and that our embryos will turn out to be of good quality as well. We'll have to see - I've cautioned everyone that these are early days yet, and we'll see how many make it to the transfer stage. Although, for the first time in 4 cycles, the embryologist did suggest we might have a 5 day transfer as opposed to a 3 day. I have no clue if McGill has changed their policy on transfer dates, or if they also suspect the embryos might be of better quality. I'll know more tomorrow.

In very sad news, E's grandfather passed away Saturday morning. He had been in failing health for quite some time, but was still being lovingly tended to at home by a crew of very dedicated nurses and his wife of 63 years. On Friday he was admitted to hospital, on Saturday he appeared to rally, but then he passed away peacefully that afternoon. It's been pretty tough trying to manage all of this... E flew to the East Coast this morning, and will miss the transfer if it is 3 days, on Thursday. I'm devastated by not being able to attend the funeral, and I also have to find someone to give me my progesterone injections until E is back. For so many reasons, I'm hoping that transfer will be 5 days, on Saturday! E should be home Thursday night... Such a sorrowful time for everyone... Grampy was a true gentleman, and the first to (literally) open his arms to me, and make me feel so welcome. He lived an excellent life, and was dedicated to his family, who adored him. He will be deeply missed :(

I'm slowly recovering from the GA. I feel like someone took a sledgehammer to my chest, lower back and neck, so I'm wondering what they did to me on the table. My throat is very sore from the tube, and my mouth was dry to the point that I couldn't swallow any food yesterday without an accompanying gulp of water. My tummy is very distended and sore, as I expected, but I'm actually mobile today.

I'll keep you posted.
Wednesday, February 24th, 2010
11:25 am
Mining the tiny smidgen of hope
After posts about our wedding (hee!) and our new puppy addition (he's really making strides!), comes a fertility post. I'm so ambivalent about this, so tired at even contemplating the process, but still really geared towards doing another cycle - if that makes any sense.

This time, there's no excitement, few smiles, no daydreaming. Just a lot of comfy reassurance from E, puppy snuggles and well wishes from friends and family. This support means a tremendous amount to me, but I only wish there was still a "spark" left in me - I feel like I've been robbed of a lot. I feel like a veteran of a bloody war I was drafted to fight and lose. Many times over. So now it's one day at a time. My expectations are SO low, that my only goal is to make it to collection. To get our chance to conceive. That's where it stops.

I'm on day 7. I was at McGill yesterday, and will be there tomorrow for another scan. 20 follicles; the largest is 11mm. Once it hits 14mm, I start the Orgalutran. My lining is 9.7, and I'm crediting the acupuncture for that. This time I'm going all out: 6 weeks medical leave from my incredibly stressful job. Acupuncture every two days and massage. I want to know that I've done everything I can to make this work. Collection (my 4th....sigh) will be sometime early next week and I've opted for the anesthetic again. Next week might as well be next year, in that apart from deciding that tiny detail, the retrieval process has not even entered my conscious thought. I'm too terrified to contemplate that next step. Too afraid that even that will be taken from me. This is what infertility has done to me...

We haven't received the results from our chromosomal blood tests (we didn't want to wait 6-8 months for the results before we try again), so this could all be in vain if we indeed have chromosomal abnormalities. We originally opted for PGD to complement this cycle, but then decided to take our chances with a "normal" IVF cycle anyways; if this one doesn't work, perhaps we will have received the results before we attempt our 5th cycle.

In any case, I'm hanging in. Feeling overwhelmed and a tad bitter about all of this. But here nonetheless.
Saturday, August 22nd, 2009
8:13 am
I had my first viability scan yesterday morning, at 8w2d. I was so absolutely terrified, that I was shaking in the waiting room, and started to bawl the moment I got on the table. The nurse (rather unfriendly, I would say) asked me why I was crying, and Dr. Barwin told her that I'd been here before, and it "brings back very bad memories". God bless that man. Anyways, they inserted the dildo cam and found.... nothing. No sac, nothing. A completely empty uterus. Of all the results I stressed about, that one was one I most easily dismissed. How could they find nothing? I had pulling, twinging, dizziness and sore breasts. I was pretty confident there would be *something* to see.

But again, I was wrong. I have lost complete faith in myself, in my body and in our future with children. It is not going to happen. Ever. No one can dissuade me of this - it is the only thing I have any confidence in any more: it is not going to happen.

After shedding my tears getting onto the table, I have shed no more. We will see Dr. Holzer soon to get his feedback on this cycle, and then who knows. Our package is finished, we have a $22,000 upcoming bill to have the house insulated and re-sided, and we need a new car in January. That neatly ties up our cash flow until the spring.

However, I am grateful that I will have nothing to miscarry. That, to me, will always be the worst case scenario. If I was crying now, that would have been the root of it. We can put this latest installment of our nightmare behind us.

And yes, 8w2d is a curse.
Saturday, August 1st, 2009
2:37 pm
I haven't had much of a chance to put word to pixel over the past week; that, and I've been trying to keep myself distracted so I don't have time to obsess over every little thing. Every thought that I let rove in that direction tends to get scary pretty fast. I've had moderate success, especially when I'm run off my feet at work - occasionally, hours will pass before I remember that I'm pregnant. I *love* those days...

We also had a scary spotting episode earlier this week. I started to get a really nasty back ache, which always heralds spotting in my normal cycles. Sure enough, it started as a very light beige stain. I completely freaked out, much to E's annoyance. I cried at our favourite restaurant, and basically worked myself into a totally ridiculous state. I called McGill the next morning, and they told me that 50% of women who undergo IVF spot in their first trimester, and that although I *could* be having a miscarriage, my body wouldn't start bleeding until I stopped the progesterone. That was very reassuring. At the same time as the backache, I was experiencing tons of sharp, jabby pains, stretching and pulling, but no cramping. It was like some sort of pitched artillery battle was going on in my uterus. Things have calmed down considerably since then, and the moment my back ache disappeared, so did the spotting.

Otherwise, I find my symptoms take turns. My breasts are always sore, and (oddly), my joints pop and incessantly. Those are the constants. The nausea, dizziness and fatigue come and go, and don't seem to intensify all that much. Once every couple days I'll have a spell where I feel just awful, but I come around pretty fast. I wish these things were a little more consistent - it's all very reassuring, and I am grateful when they're around. However, I also remember my first cycle: after the embryos were officially arrested, my beta shot up from the 400s to the 3,000s. I never felt more pg than when I wasn't any more... so I try to remember that symptoms can be very misleading, and are basically meaningless without a definitive ultrasound. I don't know how I'll sleep the week leading up to The Big Day on August 21st...

Happily, E and I are heading to New Brunswick for 11 days on Wednesday. He's from there, and we have a wedding to go to on the 8th in beautiful Saint Andrew's. Afterwards, we're heading to Grand Manan (our secret spot), to Saint John to visit his family, and then on to their cottage near Shediac. Lots of ocean, sleeping in, and hanging out. I can hardly wait!!!

I'll probably update again when I return :) I'm on baby watch for Laura and Gil... I'll be thinking about you both while I'm gone, and wishing you easy and safe deliveries. I can hardly wait to see pictures of Crouton and Petit!!! I'm crossing every appendage, and I'll be sure to raise a glass of non-alcoholic spritzer to you, from a sunny boardwalk overlooking the rugged Atlantic swells *hugs*
Monday, July 13th, 2009
8:32 pm
Fert Report #4 and Transfer
I was putting this post off for a few days, because I was very much hoping McGill would call me back to let me know that at least SOME of the remaining embies made it to blast and would be frozen... but, alas, no call.

I don't know if it's that (as you know, the "enough to freeze" was a huuuuge part of why we did IVF), or the cold, rainy weather, but I feel very pessimistic about all this. I'm not excited about this at all, I just dread it...

E and I went down on Saturday morning - and for the first time, we were almost late. They put back our only two "winners": 2 above average 8 celled embies. They were quite pleased with them, but informed me that the remaining 4-7 celled ones were of average or below average quality. How is it possible to have 25 eggs collected, and end up with only TWO good ones?!!? Seriously, it's depressing.

You know, everyone has their moments in this process. I gamely dealt with all the injections, worked hard to be cheerful and optimistic... but, I'm having my moment now. Apart from being super bloated from all of this, I really feel like we have nothing to show for our suffering. I'm absolutely miserable. In many ways, I wish I was at work this week as a distraction. The past two cycles, I was scared but also rather euphoric basking in the possibilities. Now, I'm just scared. I'm not taking a pg test at home this time. I can't bear it. I'll go in to work on the 24th, and then head home in the afternoon so that I can handle the news in private.

Thursday, July 9th, 2009
10:55 am
Retrieval and First Fert Report
I ended up going down to Montreal on Monday morning for what was my actual final ultrasound. There was 19 follicles on the screen, and while there was some debate in having me do stims for one more night, they decided to have me trigger on Monday evening for collection on Wednesday.

We went down for 8:30 yesterday morning and arrived a few minutes early. They then tried to put in the IV. That was a bit of a disaster... first they tried my right inner elbow, where my "good vein" usually resides. But the area was bruised from my Friday morning blood test, so it was hard to see the vein. That was pretty painful, as they wiggled the needle around trying to get the catheter in. No go. So next, they tried my left inner wrist. Again, they couldn't get the catheter in. But she pushed it around looking for the vein for what felt like five minutes before giving up. She called the other nurse over (who worked in a NICU for years), and she got it in my left inner elbow within seconds. I put on a pretty brave face for the 20 minutes it took to get the line established, but the moment they left I shed a few tears. I had a bit more of a cry when E came back from providing his "specimen" - he was a little alarmed to see me in tears, but I cheered up pretty quickly. They walked me into the OR at about 9:45.

I had the GA again (having my lesson at my first retrieval), and awoke to hear something about 22 follicles. That was quite a surprise - I was anticipating that of the 19 they saw at each scan, they might only collect half that number. This morning, the embryologist informed me that they had, in fact, collected 25. However, only 16 were mature and of those, only 9 fertilized with ICSI.

To be honest, I'm a little disappointed with the numbers. I got 10 fertilized with IVM each time, and of those, only 3-4 proved good enough to transfer. The whole point of doing IVF was to get a few to freeze, and I'm really worried that with 9, only a fraction of those will be good enough quality to transfer/freeze. That being said, I do know that IVF embryos tend to be of better quality than IVM embryos (Doctor Holzer said that depending on the rating, they'll likely put 2 back this time), so 4 excellent embies could still give us something to freeze. Tomorrow's fert report will be more telling, I'm sure. Transfer will be on Saturday.

This was by far the most painful retrieval to date, in terms of lingering pain. I'm still very tender and crampy. I'm watching out for OHSS (which usually develops 4-5 days after trigger), and so far so good. I'm drinking Gatorade, staying away from caffeine and trying to get some rest (I'm very sleepy). We went for a slooow walk last night, which helped considerably. I'm going to do the same again tonight, although E will be at Bluesfest, so I'll be tottering along on my own. I live in quite a, um, "transitional" neighbourhood, so I'm sure there will be no shortage of strange looking people staggering along with me ;)
Monday, June 29th, 2009
8:59 pm
Holy Crap
E and I feel like complete, total IDIOTS at the moment... I can't believe we're alone in our idiocy, but others probably have the common sense not to broadcast their stupidity.

Right, so last post I mentioned that we wasted 2 of the Gonal F doses while we figured out that "the pen" is NOT like an Epipen. Last night, when we were supposed to be finishing off a pen (3 x 150 units = 400 unit pen), we noticed to our absolute dismay that we had quite a bit of serum left. We then realized that we had read the tiny red markings on the plunger dial incorrectly, and although we both saw 150 on the dial, we were actually reading the line before 150 - so, 122.5. We also believe that E gave me two 75 unit doses by mistake. All this to mean that of the 5 doses I've taken, only ONE of them (today's) was actually the correct dose!!!

I called McGill first thing this morning, and they told me that they really "weren't pleased" with the situation, but there isn't anything we can do. I have an ultrasound tomorrow morning anyways, and they'll see how things look. Poor E has had a hideous headache all day, not to mention a night spent tossing and turning, because he's so afraid that we've messed up past the point of no return. The nurse commented that although the dose isn't that far off (ie. at least I was taking something), it's supposed to be balanced in ratio with the Luveris. That's where we may have a problem...

Honestly? This is no real surprise. The kinda funny part (I'm trying to see the humour here), is that I was/am a little worried about OHSS... it would seem that subconsciously, E and I have conspired to try and prevent it. Hopefully, we didn't also prevent our chances at moving forward with this, now that my tummy looks like someone has hit it repeatedly with a gnome-sized hammer. That, and I barely fit into my pants.

The thing is, when I told the Pharmacist our tale of woe and asked if they had Gonal F in regular vials for syringe injection, she was silent for a moment before announcing that in all her years, she has never a) met anyone who misread the dial AND the instructions and/or, b) preferred the old fashioned syringe to the new-fangled pen. Well, I guess E and I beat the stats on both counts. The thing is, the lowest dose on the pen is 75, then 122.5 then 150. So there really is only one tiny line between the marked doses. It wasn't until we "dialed" in a dose of 250 that we saw the rest of the little red lines and realized that we were reading the wrong one... that's our excuse, and I'm sticking with it. The Pharmacist also mentioned that one of her other patients is taking 800 units a day, so I'm grateful we have such a small dose - in fact, even smaller than anticipated...

I guess it's better to have under-dosed that over-dosed... right?! We'll see what tomorrow brings.
Thursday, June 25th, 2009
9:20 pm
First Ultrasound
This morning E and I went to see Dr. Barwin for our "supression" ultrasound. I've been on Buserelin since June 12th, and from what I remember being told, I was expecting no follicular growth because, well, I'm supposed to be in premature menopause.

It was lovely to see Dr. Barwin again, and he was very surprised to count 19 follicles, growing at pretty much a normal rate! The biggest was 7.6mm, so he was a little concerned they'd delay me while they tried to wrangle that one under control.

I got the call early this afternoon that we're going ahead with the lower Buserelin dose, and starting 150 units of the Gonal F, and 75 of the Luveris. This could change based on what they see on Tuesday at my next ultrasound. Dr. Barwin said that once I start the stims, I could jump well past 19 follicles, which might leave me open for OHSS. That's actually one of my biggest fears with IVF, because I know I'm a good producer without meds... the nurse told me they'd monitor me very carefully, and if I needed to go ahead earlier than the week of July 6th for collection, I would. I'm still very nervous about the meds - more so now, because E (who is the meds/shot expert, having mastered the prog shots!) wasted TWO of the Gonal F doses in the pen because (gulp...) we could figure out how to expose the needle. He thought it was like an Epipen, where the needle pushes out when it comes in contact with the skin... ya. It isn't.

The only bright side is that the pharmacist we chose has a special deal with McGill, so we essentially got the Luveris and Ovidrel for free with the purchase of the Gonal F. She saved us $1,100.00. We'll have to sheepishly return to ask for another pen (we have 3 more in the fridge). It's even more ridiculous because E is a scientist and very comfortable around doses, complex instructions and other brain teasers... But when it comes to taking the cap off a needle.... Yikes. We both agree that we prefer the regular old syringe injections!

The nurse at McGill told me to get ready to become very uncomfortable. Luckily, I only have three more days of work before I'm off on medical leave for two weeks. I've told myself that success in this cycle is getting good embryos to freeze. It might sounds strange, but the goal I've set for myself isn't pregnancy at the moment. I'm trying very hard to stay focussed on the short term, because the rest is just so overwhelming. I'm now working towards Tuesday's ultrasound. After that, Friday's in Montreal...

Then, we'll see.
Monday, June 15th, 2009
8:21 pm
A Few Questions...
To those of you who've done IVF - a few q's that have been weighing on my mind:

1) I'm on Suprefact/Buserelin until the collection. We've been sticking the needles in my abdomen, although I was told that inner upper arms and thighs are also okay. Thing is, we didn't get the info sheet from McGill (oversight on our part). Are those roughly the right areas? I would prefer just confining it to my tummy, but we'll run out of room once we get into the Luveris and Gonal F injections.

2) Gil, when did you start taking baby aspirin? I'm going to take it this time, should we make it to transfer, but I'm a little confused about when I should start.

3) As it was when I was on bcp for 12 years, I'm spotting quite a bit (black & dark red) each day. Tonight is the last dose of bcp, but last week the McGill nurse told me that TOO much spotting could cause my lining get too thin and they'd have to cancel the cycle. Now, I know I might bleed when I stop taking the pill. If I do (and they seem to prefer that you do), won't my body produce a new lining anyways? The "side effect" sheet listed spotting as a potential side effect, so it shouldn't be that much of a big deal...?

Merci :)
Saturday, May 2nd, 2009
12:46 pm
Sent to the Back of the Line...Again
This is getting so very, very old.

At out last meeting with Dr. Holzer at the end of March, we realized that we were missing several blood tests. Of those, Dr. Holzer informed us that we needed the Factor V Leiden test. I called Dynacare Labs to see what had happened the results, and they informed me that they didn't test my blood for Factor V because my Protein S counts were too high to qualify for the test. I immediately sent Dr. Holzer an e-mail asking him for advice - did he want us to get the test done anyways, and if so, how would we request this if I didn't meet the testing threshold?

That was the end of March. He replied on MONDAY of THIS week, telling us he'd like us to have the test done. However, he still hasn't replied to my e-mail in which I asked him whether waiting for the results would mean we couldn't proceed with the cycle this month. Kinda important to know, don't you think?

In the meantime, E and I had gone ahead with plans to start this cycle. I'd called McGill to let them know of our intentions, and they told me to call on Day 1 and they'd set up our calendar over the phone. I'd bought the BCP and was set to start them today or Monday. We'd arranged our summer holidays around this cycle too, and although I know better, when you need to coordinate vacation time with 7 coworkers (not to mention you're their supervisor, and need to arrange for someone to act in your place), you have to put something on paper.

I happened to be in Montreal on business yesterday, and decided to head down as early as possible to have that blood test done before my noon meeting. I caught the 6:45am train, and was at McGill by 9. Stephanie (Dr. Holzer's secretary) gave me the Factor V req and I headed down to the blood lab in the basement. Because it's the lab for the Women's Pavillion, I sat there with, oh, about 30 pg women. Always fun. I got my test done, and then went back upstairs to see whether they could fit me in for a calendar appointment before I had to leave for my meeting. I'm SO GLAD I did that. It was my favourite nurse, and she got everything ready and reviewed our file. She came into the room with a very worried expression...

"It says here we're missing test results"

God almighty, here we go again. I explained that they should now have the Prothrombin results that were missing at our last trip to Montreal (I got them sent by the lab), and that I just had my Factor V test done that morning.

"Oh... what about Factor II, Factor VIII, MTHFR and Factor IIIa?"

Dead silence.

"No one mentioned I had to have those tests done."

"Uh Oh. Well, it says here that Dr. Holzer needs to have the results of these tests before he'll allow you to proceed."

"No one told us that"

"I know Dr. Holzer. He's pretty laid back, so if he says he needs these results, I doubt he'll change his mind. But you can e-mail him and ask. The results could take 4-6 weeks, too, so I think you'll have to consider trying again next month. You'd have to hear back from him before Tuesday, though, or else we'll have to cancel the cycle anyways. I'm really sorry. Also, looking at your file, both you and E's HIV and Hep blood tests are more than 18 months old, so you need to have those redone before they'll even let us think of writing up a calendar. How quickly can you get those done?"

"No one told us these tests were expired"

"Well, it happens sometimes when you're referred from elsewhere and you sign up for a 3 cycle package".

Even if we HAD all our clotting factor blood tests in order, we still would have been up the creek - and we wouldn't have known until it was probably too late to go ahead anyways. Holy CRAP.

So, I had to go back downstairs, wait for an hour and get 6 more vials of blood taken. I made it to my meeting with no time to spare, sat in stoney silence on the train ride home, and then burst into tears in E's arms the moment I got through the door. He's furious. But we're also reasonable people, so we know we need to wait until all our results are in order before we start. We KNOW that, but this is still very, very upsetting. I told the nurse that if we jump through all these hoops and get told at the last minute that we can't go forward because we're missing something else, I'll absolutely lose it. I also don't even know if the Ontario medical system covers the tests I had in Quebec, so that could be our next hurdle.

I can't even describe how this makes me feel. I now have had 17 vials of blood drawn, and it feels as though we are no closer to figuring anything out. We just want to have a baby, like everyone else. We just want to put all of this behind us. I want my sleepless nights to be spent soothing our baby, not spent agonizing over whether we'll ever get that chance. Sometimes it's darkest before dawn.
Tuesday, March 24th, 2009
8:19 pm
On January 26th, I finally had the thrombophilia (ie. recurrent loss) panel done. I had to fax the McGill requisition to Dr. Barwin, who transcribed it into a form acceptable in Ontario. I went in, they took a whopping ten vials of blood and I waited. And waited. And waited.

Finally, after trying in vain to get a hold of Dr. Holzer's secretary twice, I spoke to her in late February. I asked for a results appointment with Dr. Holzer and she scheduled one for today. She stated that a "few" of the results were missing, but she was sure this would resolve in the month before my appointment.

In the meantime, I booked a D&C for the polyp surgery. I had to do that through my regular family doctor, and she got me an appointment on May 14th. When I last went to McGill in January, I asked for my ultrasounds pics showing the polyps, as I'd need those prior to my surgery. They wouldn't give them to me. Then, when I begged, they went through my entire file right in front of me and couldn't even find the scans. Thus, I had to ask my family doctor for an ultrasound ASAP so I'd know if the May 14th surgery is still necessary. I had that done last Tuesday, and it came back polyp-free.

Addtionally, two Fridays ago I got a receipt in the mail from the lab where I'd done all my bloodwork in January. They noted the amount I paid, but also claimed that I owed them $9.00 for the "Russell Viper Venom test". I knew I would have remembered if that one was on the original list... when I called to pay the amount, I asked why they hadn't charged the $9.00 at the outset. She advised it was because one of my tests came back positive for a clotting disorder, and that was why they did the secondary viper venom test. I was flooded with conflicting emotions - on the one hand, I was relieved that I might have an explanation for the two m/cs. On the other hand, no one wants to be told they have a clotting disorder.

So, although I told myself to have ZERO expecations for today's appointment at McGill, I still expected to get some sort of result.


It turns out that McGill *still* hadn't received two very important results (Factor II Leiden and Factor V Leiden). One, I paid for back in January. The second, although it was on the original req from McGill, I wasn't tested for. Who knows why not. Also, based on what Dr. Holzer saw of the results they did obtain, everything is normal and nothing would explain why they'd need to do the viper venom test. I have to get back on the phone tomorrow morning with the lab and try to figure out a) where is the missing result for the test I already paid for; b) do they have any of my plasma left to do the Factor V Leiden. If so, I guess I have to arrange for yet another req through Dr. Barwin.

If that wasn't irritating to the extreme, they told me my vaginal ultrasound wasn't enough to confirm the polyps were gone. Rather, I need a hysteroscopy or a saline ultrasound. No one told me that. Of course, I somehow have to get all the results in to Dr. Holzer before I can go ahead with our last cycle (this time, full IVF) that we were hoping to start in May. It took me months to get the regular ultrasound booked. Thankfully, I hadn't yet had time to cancel my May 14 D&C, which I may end up needing after all.

This burns me up like I can't even BEGIN to describe. We drove for almost 5 hours this afternoon to hear that we were missing the most important pieces of the puzzle. Again, we have NO resolution. Again, I have to get back in the fucking line and wait my turn. I'm absolutely sick of this - 2 m/cs, I have to beg for follow-up tests. Those tests are done incorrectly, and we're back at square one.

I am so very very close to quitting. I've had it.
Wednesday, January 28th, 2009
9:31 pm
I Did Good
On Monday I went for my full thrombophilia blood work - or, as McGill calls it, the "recurrent loss" test. I drove to Dr. Barwin's office to pick up the requsition and toodled down to the blood clinic in the basement where I go for all my IF blood tests. After taking a quick glance at the form, she receptionist said rather apologetically that they don't do any of those tests at that location - I'd have to go to the Head Office. Moreover, I'd have to pay for each test as they aren't covered by Provincial health care. Right.

So I drove across the entire city, paid $336 (with a potential for $130 more if they get a positive for one test) and then tried to sit as still as possible while a very morose nurse drew TEN VIALS of blood. Needless to say, I wasn't feeling so hot afterwards. The results should be available in the next few weeks.

On Tuesday, I had my much anticipated interview with a communications firm hired by the Province of Ontario to solicit public opinion from those undergoing IF treatments, or pursuing adoption and/or foster parenting. At present, the Province does not cover IVF unless you have bilaterally-blocked tubes. There's been an intense campaign by numerous special interest groups to have that policy reviewed and extended to include couples with severe sperm quality issues. Apparently, the Province listened and called for a survey, which I filled out a few months ago. I also agreed to an interview. Well, much to my surprise they contacted me. I spend an hour yesterday morning telling a lovely lady all about the financial, emotional and physical costs of IF treatments. Her questions were pretty straightforward, but it felt amazingly cathartic to tell someone with indirect authority that the system is unfair and cruel to those not lucky enough to be inflicted with tubal problems... I mean, how crazy is that?! I felt that I had the chance to speak for the thousands of couples in our position - they only chose 100 people in total to interview, and probably only a portion of those were speaking to IF. I really feel that change will come to the system, although I might be well out of childbearing age by the time it happens. Nevertheless, in that moment I felt like I was part of a larger solution. It's what I needed at a time like this...
Friday, January 16th, 2009
8:56 pm
I've been taking a much needed internet hiatus for the past few weeks. I've been insanely busy at work and I was starting to get a tad obsessive with my on-line blog reading, particularly on the home-renovation front. I was very tempted to start my own old home reno blog to chronicle all the insane stuff we've dealt with over the past few years in regards to our 105 year old home: ZERO insulation, despite living in frigid Ottawa - the contractors have never seen anything like it - paper towel stuffed behind walls, exploding water heaters, rodent invasions, completely ineffective ductwork, crazy-but-entertaining neighbours, floods, intermittant power... the list goes on. I'd call it Home Is Where The Heartburn Is :P And the sleepless nights. And the money pit. But I just wouldn't have the time to update, so I live vicariously through other masochists who blog about their love-hate relationships with their petulant old homes.

I'm currently visiting my nephew, sister and brother-in-law in Edmonton. Last time I saw Liam, he was 2 weeks old. Now he's an amazing, chatty and engaging 5 month old. The change is utterly mind boggling. E suggested the trip when I was losing the second pregnancy, knowing how much being around Liam helped me deal with the first. E's back in Ottawa, keeping the homefires burning, but it is wonderful to have a change of scenery. Liam is just starting to laugh out loud and a well-timed "Monkey" from his Auntie is enough to earn an ear-to-ear grin and a chuckle. He's inherited my sister's insane metabolism, so he's still nursing every HOUR even through the night. It's tough. She's started him on solids mixed with his rice cereal in an attempt to stave off some of the hunger, but it seems to have little effect. When he hasn't fed for an hour he is absolutely ravenous. He also has pretty bad cradle cap and what we think are allergies. He's had quite a few challenges along the way - including a trip to the ER in an ambulance after he stopped breathing due to severe congestion. It's been a wild ride thus far, but my sister is carrying through with grace and good humour that are impressive to behold. Her husband came back unscathed from Afghanistan, but he's off on a 5 week course next week so she'll be on her own again.

I also received a promotion at work just before I started my second cycle. My first day was January 5th and it's been unbelievably busy ever since. I now have 5 employees and worked 17 hours of (unpaid) overtime my first week. Of course, I've been off the second week so I had to prepare as much as I could for my absence. Next week is going to be HELL :s I missed Thursday afternoon last week because we went to McGill for another consultation with Dr. Holzer, and I returned to work the following day with 250 actionable e-mails. I certainly much prefer being busy at a time like this, but while I get an adrenaline surge out of being kept on my toes all day, there's a happy medium that I'm just not achieving...

As for McGill, the meeting with Dr. Holzer was good but anti-climactic. I really did not enjoy driving 5 hours (2.5 each way), battling traffic on both ends and poor weather for what literally amounted to a 15 MINUTE appointment. Seriously, that pisses me off. I told E that we would not leave the office until Dr. Holzer agreed to a thrombophilia panel, and he actually recommended it. I told his receptionist that Ontario does not honour Quebec blood requisitions and she chose to argue the point. I'm going to have to call Dr. B and see if his office will transpose the requisition onto the right form. I'm also in a bit of a quandry about my polyp surgery. I got my own gp to give me a referral, but I'm waiting for the doctor to call with an appointment. Apparently, it will be several months until I get in - longer, if I need to have an ultrasound beforehand. I stated that I would simply have McGill provide copies of the ultrasounds they took when they diagnosed the polyps back in November. However, McGill won't give out their images (??!!!) and when they searched my chart for them (in front of me) the images were nowhere to be seen. So, now I need both. Realistically, I won't have all elements completed until the summer - and the validity of the 3 package deal with McGill expires in June. I could have the polyp removal procedure at McGill, but I would have to go down twice (once for consultation and once for surgery), and I'd have to pay out of pocket and wait for the Ontario Health Insurance Plan to reimburse me. I'd still be looking at a several month wait. This makes me SO angry that I can't really think about it.

We've also decided to go for the full IVF this time. We have to pay the difference, and I need to call their accountant to discuss the costs. However, we really want embryos to freeze - the retrievals are challenging and not entirely pleasant. Before we learned of the polyp situation, we were looking at doing the cycle in March. However, we're now aiming for May at the earliest. It's very depressing to think that we are on our 3rd cycle. When we took the 3 package deal, we were very optimistic that we wouldn't need it. I know that we're lucky to have a third try, that we're lucky that we're both under 35 etc. There's a million reasons to feel "lucky" and grateful. But with the 2nd miscarriage behind us, it's VERY VERY hard to dredge them up and feel positive about anything.
Wednesday, December 24th, 2008
3:10 pm
There is no doubt about it, Christmas is meant for children. I'm reminded of this every year when my workplace holds its family party the morning of the 24th. I soldier through the best I can, and no one sees my eyes tear up when the little ones toddle by in their best clothes on their way to see Santa.

But this year, it was too much. I didn't go downstairs to revel in the chaos, I stayed holed up in my office. My coworker brought his beautiful little 3 year old girl up to see me, and she plonked herself in my lap while we read Christmas cards out loud. Her fearlessness took me aback, and a lump formed in my throat as we counted smiling snowmen and dancing reindeers.

When I dream of our child, even in the middle of summer, I always picture us at Christmas. My favourite carol when I was small was Away in a Manger. These past years, with infertility looming ever-present in the backgound, I can't even make it though the first verse without crying. This year, the pain is so acute that my heart actually aches. I would have been due at the end of March, and then again at the beginning of August. Instead, I will spend yet another magical season with empty arms. In my dream, we sit together and sing about lowing cattle and a baby asleep on the hay.

My mother asked me if I wanted to go to the family service at church. I wavered. She said "it's still a little tender, isn't it?" There are days where I feel okay, and there are others that simply slay me. Today was one of those days. It all seems so unfair. Before my miscarriages, the sorrow was balanced with hope and naivety. Now, even hope rings hollow. After years of patiently waiting, we were given the greatest gift - only to have it ripped from our arms. Twice. We never thought we'd have a problem staying pregnant. We figured the world wouldn't be so cruel as to compound our struggle to get pregnant. I'm so very tired - tired of putting on my happy face, tired of fighting the bitterness at every turn.

E usually keeps his thoughts to himself. However, about two weeks ago, he told me he was exhausted. As I leaned against his shoulder, I commented that his work was so crazy, it's no wonder he was beat. He paused, held me a bit tighter and said, "yes, it's work too. But we've had a really tough year."

At least we have each other.
Wednesday, November 26th, 2008
10:15 pm
Not Meant To Be
I went for my BETA this morning. Armed with 2 positive hpts, I was cautiously optimistic that we'd get favourable results - so much so, that I went in to work this afternoon to wait for the call.

At 3:45, they told me that my BETA was 2.

I told them that I had 2 positive hpts, and the nurse was immediately concerned that there had been a mix up in the lab. She told me that another woman had also gone for a BETA today at Dr. Barwin's with a result of 900 (!), so she wondered if I could take another hpt and call them in the morning. I did, and it was glaringly negative.

I have no idea what happened - to say we were blindsided is an understatement. We both came home and stared at our hpts, completely dumbfounded. I was very unsure of every aspect of this situation, but the one thing I KNEW was that I WAS pregnant. And now I'm not. The strange thing is, after we got our last +hpt Sunday, I awoke the next morning in excrutiating pain. It wasn't the same pain as the one that precipitated the last disaster, but it made me uneasy. We thought it was indigestion, and indeed once I took a few Tums it went away. I was getting increasingly nauseous, so I figured everything was on track. I should have taken a hpt this morning... I hope to God this isn't a sign that there's a problem with me.

I went to my dance class tonight because I needed to get out and be around people who have no idea - there's a certain freedom in that. I'm going to call McGill tomorrow morning. They want us to see Dr. Holzer, and I want to know if I should save any tissue from my upcoming period for testing. This *is* technically an early m/c, so I'm hoping it will count as my second - I then may be in line for some more exploratory bloodwork.

I'm still in shock. I waver between feeling okay-but-sad and feeling absolutely gutted. You can't help but dream, and although I tried hard NOT to anticipate anything favourable, I was secretly bandying about names in my head, and Edward beamed the one time I had enough courage - with +hpt in hand - to call him Daddy. This was supposed to be different. This was supposed to be MY TURN.

However, the one thing for which I am very VERY grateful is that we were spared the horror we lived through last cycle. We won't try again until the Spring, as we don't want to drive in the crappy weather - it's stressful enough without dealing with slippery, treacherous roads. Plus, we need time to heal from all of this...

We need a break.
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