Just one person's tale to tell....

I am a 35-year-old journalist who has decided there is no better way to overcome difficult times than to write--feel free to post, comment or just read along. This is my blog about the struggles I endured of trying to conceive. For all those out there who are experiencing the same difficulties--sometimes it is nice to hear that you are not alone.
"I have not failed 10000 times; I have successfully found 10000 ways that do not work." ~ Thomas Edison

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Guilty smiles

I recently spent a weekend away with two of my closet friends. One of them is 14 weeks pregnant and the other is 11..both of them expecting bouncing bundles in the spring--the exact time our frosties would've been due--- IF they would've stuck.
This is when mother nature really tests me and my strength because for most of the summer I've been walking around with a guilty smile. I can't help but grieve my loss for much longer that I anticipated and when I heard those two lil words "I'm pregnant!" escape my friends' mouth-- my heart sank. I was happy that they would get to experience lil bambinos coming into the world but my heart ached for the ones I wouldn't be bringing into the world.
Its selfish. I know. My DH constantly reminds me that what we have is enough and that anything beyond E is more than we ever hoped for and he's right. But the eternal mother in me yearns for my child to have a sibling, a playmate for life, someone to lean on, fight over toys and the front seat of the car, experience vacations, Christmas mornings and weekends at the cottage. I want him to have someone he knows he can rely on every step of the way. It's what I have with my own siblings and even more so in my adult years, my sisters are my best friends for life.
This is so much harder than all the months of unsuccessful attempts before we started IVF. We had much more invested emotionally (and financially) and I think the expectation that it would work first time round (just like E) made the loss even deeper. All of a sudden I feel like i'm up against a fertility clock and everywhere I turn there are age groups and timelines for people doing treatment. I just have to keep my faith that our remaining frosties will be the ones or that I will miracuoulsy win the lottery ;)

Friday, August 17, 2012

BFN and embies lost :(

It took me a while to sit down to write that our first FET attempt came back negative. I think I knew before we even did our Beta that it just wasn't meant to be. It's hard to explain but I just didn't feel it. Throughout the cycle I was unmedicated --meaning the clinic was pretty much making me come in on a  daily basis for bloodwork.
For this cycle I didn't tell any of our friends or family so I was driving from Barrie to London for 7:30am and then back to Toronto for 10am work! I was doing about 5.5 hours of driving before my work day even started and when I look back I don't think this could've been great for my body.
The day before our FET, my DH and I decided to head down to London by ourselves. We left our precious babes with nana and papa and we were actually excited for a meal out. We checked into the super luxurious 'Super 7' motel (oh yeah not the Super 8....Super 7!!) lol and made our way to a steak house.
15 minutes into our meal I started feeling nauseous and thinking it was from the endometrin pills (for uterine lining) that I had started a few days before, we decided to take our meals back to the motel.
Turns out both my DH and I got hit with a violent case of the flu and spent the whole night on the bathroom floor. When I tried to see if we could postpone the transfer our lil embies were already defrosted. So I dragged myself to the hospital and waited outside so that I didn't get anyone else sick. My DH couldn't even leave the motel he was so sick...so I was pretty much alone when I found out that our first FOUR embryos had not survived the thaw process. So out of our nine embryos--six had been used to get our two embies ready to implant.
I was SHOCKED...I never thought that we would be down to only three left if this cycle didn't work and now that I was feeling ill-- my heart just sank.
15 days past our transfer we got the news that it was negative. And after a $700 transfer fee and $300 in endrometrin costs we are tapped out for the summer.
It was not the news we were hoping for..and I was so looking forward to Ethan having a sibling two years apart, but it just wasn't meant to be.
I know I should be sooo soo grateful for the miracle that he is to begin with and I am. I was so glad to come home to my lil bean running towards me for a snuggle. He really is my entire world and the best thing I've ever accomplished.
We are back in savings mode and hoping that those three lil frosties can hang on for a spring thaw!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Off to London with a bestie

Some things just all fall into place. Yesterday I found out that I only had to work a half day and was excited that I would get to spend the afternoon with my lil man. One of my best friends who lives overseas had just gotten into town and we had plans for her to come back to Innisfil tonight for a ladies night....she's originally from London and when I told her that I would have to leave on Saturday morning at 4am she suggested we just take a lil roadtrip and stay with her parents.
So off we go in a couple hours--one of my besties, my lil man (who she has taken out for some morning shopping while I work---saving me the hour drive home to pick him up from daycare) and myself will make the trek down to London and have a relaxing night with good company...and the best best part of it is that her parents live FIVE minutes from our clinic..so no 4am wake up to drive 3 hours for blood and u/s---wooohooo!!

Ethan and Aunt Mandi last summer at the cottage :)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Cycle Day 8

So  just a quick update---made the morning trek to London for my 7:30am bloodwork as the nurse wants to start monitroing me on day 8 in case I have an early ovulation. Results show:
Estradiol is at 326 and LH 4.2.
Luckily I get a one day break and don't have to go back for Blood and u/s until saturday morning!! So far I've lucked out staying in Georgetown and making the drive from there in about an hour and a half...but it will probably be double that on Saturday--thank God its not a weekday with rush hour!! PHEW!!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Here we go again....

So about a week ago I started looking at the calendar and realized that at the end of this month a window of opportunity was going to open with me having some vacation time, the Canada day holiday and my AF all co-operating. When my clinic told me to call when I was on Day 1 (the day AF arrives) I thought what the heck I’ll call. Then they told me to come in for Day 3 bloodwork and u/s….again I thought..why not see what’s going on in there.
So on Sunday morning I woke up with the early birds and made the long trek to London. Thankfully our clinic has just moved and is now doing blood and u/s at Fertility Ontario, which just happens to be RIGHT off the highway. I arrived at 730am and was out by 8am—amazing! It was sooo much quicker than the process before. I had an attending who did my u/s and she noticed right away all the scar tissue around my right ovary (a result from my burst appendix). She was also surprised about how high up it sat—literally on top of my uterus and asked if I had issues during my egg retrieval.  (which besides being a terrible painful experience-- I didn’t!) It seems like its even higher than normal though and if I had to do a second retrieval may not be as easy as before. It got me thinking that this window of opportunity may be more a blessing in disguise.
We have 9 precious embryos to use first before considering a second IVF attempt—but I already know that if I have to do another fresh cycle—time is not my friend!!  So when she called back with my results….all indicating that I’m in perfect hormonal balance for a FET…DH and I decided to just go for it!
This time round we aren’t being as public about our attempt because let’s face it—we all know FET have lower success rates then Fresh Cycles…so we’ll take it one month at a time for now. So back to London this Thurs for more blood work and we’ll take it from there!!
Blood work results:
Prolactin 17.91
Progesterone: normal
Estrogen 95

Good Luck to Khloe!

Khloe Kardashian joins the celebrity IVF club

Sara McGinnis

posted: 06/14/2012, 9:09 am

Khloe Kardashian has reportedly begun IVF treatments, putting her in great company with many fellow celebrity IVF-ers. Word breaks this week that the Khloe & Lamar reality star, long known to be hoping for a pregnancy of her own, has begun the in vitro fertility process — and this time it’s actually believable.
While it was previously rumored Khloe Kardashian was pregnant with twins, the gossip thus far all seems to have proven to be nothing but rumors. What’s so different about the Khloe Kardashian IVF reports this time around? Well, multiple news outlets are reporting they’ve confirmed the treatments with inside sources, as well as the timing it just plain right.
“She’s finally doing this because she has the time now that she’s in L.A. full-time again,” an insider told Us Weekly Wednesday. Not only has the Kardashian sister, seen above with a very pregnant Kourtney Kardashian, and husband Lamar Odom settled back into Los Angeles after relocating to Dallas for his basketball career, but they’ve chosen to seek privacy by not renewing their Khloe & Lamar reality spin-off show.
TMZ also stated this week they’ve confirmed Khloe Kardashian’s IVF treatments have begun. They reported:
With Kim Kardashian by her side for moral support, Khloe gave up some blood so the docs could evaluate her hormone levels.  She’s waiting for the results, and will then get a stylized treatment program.
Still no word directly from the star who hopes to be pregnant very shortly, however Khloe Kardashian can take heart knowing she’s one of many celebrities who have turned to IVF for help conceiving.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Back at Work

I've officially been back at work for a month as of today ---and life is full of wonderful chaos. I work about an hour and a half from home so the commute is something I definitely don't love but sacrifice so we can live outside of the city with lots of space within a small knit community.
Obviously being back at work starts to get the baby brain working on when we should consider having Baby #2 (or #3--ivfers always have to think of that possibility!)
Since having Ethan I've always envied the moms I've met who have had back-to-back babies--14 or 18 months apart, meaning when they returned to work they already had precious cargo tucked warmly in their womb. When I complained about having to return to work I got a lot of "just get pregnant" "get on that second mat leave" "Don't wait!" ---but it just wasn't that simple.
First our fertility clinic is 3 hours away and while it requires me traveling multiple times for blood work and u/s I wouldn't trade our doctor for the world. We went for a consult to see what is required for a FET--and since I am still under 35 (for another year anyways) and had no complications with our first IVF protocol-DR recommended doing an unmedicated cycle. Cost wise this is good news--as meds can be $$$ but it is still over $700 for an FET and the biggest problem is me getting work off since I just got back.
The downside to an unmedicated is they have to monitor your cycle a lot closer with daily blood and u/s so they can implant at exact ovulation time...so I could NOT do any blood work from afar :(
Meaning I would have to do blood work on Day3 and then blood work and u/s on Day 10-14 followed by a transfer Day 15 or 16 (and of course doing it all without my work figuring that out =  vacation time.)
I even had a close friend "suggest" to me why don't I just try the old fashioned way since a lot of people get pregnant after IVF spontaneously. Hmmm why didn't I think of that!!!!....sorry for the sarcasm but DH and I aren't exactly being careful or concerned after all we've been through. On top of it all I don't think I can return to the crazy world of counting days, ovulation sticks and temperature taking...and since my issues are tubal it really is a 1 in a million chance that my tubes would function to pick up an egg.
So for now I just plug away at my job and get used to my daily routine of 5:30 a.m. wake ups,  teary eyed goodbyes with my lil guy at 630 a.m. and fantastic snuggles when I pick him up at 6 p.m.
Throughout the day I'm lucky enough to get some great photos of what he's up to from his daycare provider which always puts a smile on my face!
                                                             Eating breakfast..YUM!

When to tell your child about ivf...

I've never really thought about how i would tell my son he was conceived through IVF--I just know that one day I will tell him about our amazing journey that was filled with love to have him. I recently read a blog post from a dad who used this video to tell his 11 year old daughter how she came into the world. I thought I would share it for anyone out there who is currently going through the same thing.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Good news in Britain

INFERTILITY: UK moves to extend free IVF to women up to 42, same-sex couples, cancer patients

May 22, 2012
Isabel Teotonio
Embryologist Ric Ross pulls out vials of human embryos from a liquid Nitrogen storage container at the La Jolla IVF Clinic February 28, 2007 in La Jolla, California.
Sandy Huffaker/GETTY IMAGES
Advocates for infertility patients say Ontario should follow the lead of Britain, where a powerful health advisory agency recommended on Tuesday that the U.K. extend free fertility treatments to women up until the age of 42 and to same-sex couples.
In Ontario couples struggling with infertility continue to pay for costly treatments and there is no indication that the provincial government is moving toward funding in vitro fertilization (IVF).
“I think it’s fantastic what’s happening in Britain,” says Jan Silverman, a Women’s College Hospital infertility counselor who’s also a member ofConceivable Dreams, a grassroots organization representing infertile couples across Ontario.
“What makes me frustrated is that these models have come up in other areas, such as Quebec and now Britain, and yet we cannot budge the Ontario government right now.
“It is shameful that Ontario has let the needs of the infertile population go unrecognized and undealt with, causing unbelievable expense to people for wanting to have a child.”
The British health system usually pays for up to three cycles of IVF for couples who have been trying to get pregnant for at least three years. Previously, women had to be under the age of 40 to qualify. Many government-funded clinics already treat gay and lesbian couples, but the recommendations now make that explicit, though they are not binding. (The recommendations will likely be followed by many of the U.K.’s medical centres.)
The guidelines are likely to affect only a minority of patients, and it will be up to hospitals to decide whether to pay for IVF treatments. Britain’s health service is being forced to trim $31 billion USD from its budget by 2015 and many hospitals often ration who gets IVF and deny the treatment to eligible patients. One IVF cycle typically costs about $4,730 USD.
Adam Balen, chairman of the British Fertility Society, said the new draft guidelines recognized the importance of treating infertility, citing the psychological harm it can cause. “No one who stands a reasonable chance at conception should be denied the opportunity,” he said in a statement. “These (new) guidelines outline how that can be achieved.”
The draft guidelines issued Tuesday also say the government should pay for IVF in people with diseases such as HIV, or patients facing cancer treatment who want to preserve their fertility. About one in four IVF cycles results in a baby; that drops to about one in 10 for women over 40.
Elsewhere in Europe, many countries including France, Germany, Italy and Switzerland ban gay and lesbian couples from receiving IVF and often impose similar age limits for eligible women, cutting off treatment to women over 40.
In all Canadian provinces, except Quebec, IVF treatment is not covered. According to the Canadian Assisted Reproductive Technologies Registry, in 2008 – the last year for which statistics are available – 9,904 live births in Canada were the result of IVF.
The Royal Commission for New Reproductive Technology found that a quarter of a million couples in Canada are affected by infertility, which is defined an inability to conceive after 12 months.
In Ontario, because treatment is not covered by OHIP, most couples transfer multiple embryos rather than a single embryo. But multiples are 17 times more likely to be born pre-term, to require a caesarean delivery and to need expensive care at birth and throughout their lives, according to Conceivable Dreams.
In 2009, Ontario’s Expert Panel on Infertility and Adoption recommended that the province fund up to three cycles of IVF for women up to age 42, not discriminate against same-sex couples and adopt policies that reduce the number of multiple pregnancies through IVF.
The panel estimated that the savings to the healthcare system through a reduction in the number of multiple births through IVF would be between $400 million and $550 million.
“I understand that it’s a time of fiscal restraint,” says Silverman, who was part of the panel. “However, the arguments we have put forward are about cost-saving methodology not about further spending.”
During the last provincial election, advocates sought a commitment from all three political parties to provide OHIP coverage of IVF and encouraged Ontario to follow the lead of Quebec.
In August 2010, the Quebec government began funding up to three rounds of IVF treatment for couples, on the condition that only one embryo be transferred at a time. The aim is to reduce the number of multiple births, which are riskier than births of singletons.
Early results show a decrease in twins from 27 per cent to 5 per cent in the first 6 months of government funding, according to the Registry.
With files from the Associated Press

Thursday, May 17, 2012

One year later....

On April 24 our little miracle turned ONE!
I can't believe a whole year has gone by and now I'm already back to work and missing every moment at home. But he is thriving at his great home daycare that is just around the corner from our house and meeting new friends. He comes home with messy hands and paint covered clothes--a great indication of a day well spent! His precious artwork gets hung up on the fridge and when I got my first "Ethan-made" mothers day card I felt a small tug of joy in my heart that I would be getting one of these every year. At the end of the day after tucking E in, I put my card up on the mantle and it made me realize just how lucky I am to be this lil man's mom. 

And then I got another small tug in my heart..full of sadness for all the ladies I've met online and through these blogs, those amazing ladies who have yet to fulfill their journey to mommyhood. I can't forget how sad the holiday of Mothers Day can be when you are still counting out cycles, measuring out meds, taking temperatures and bloodwork and peeing on sticks that never produce that silly second line you pray for. 

I keep all you ladies in my heart and still log on to follow your journeys while I can--I'm excited when I hear someone's BFP (Big Fat Postive) and heartbroken when those embies just don't stick. I can only hope that one day your miracle will come your way as well.

It is the simple things in my day--like a painted handprint card-- that make me ever so grateful for becoming a mom. Of course, like many women who struggle with infertility, I never forget our journey and already have many people asking us when we are going to have another. It's a difficult question, especially when the person asking doesn't know that Ethan was conceived through IVF. We are extremely lucky that we have nine top grade embryos sitting in the freezer so our next cycle won't be as invasive (or expensive) as our first--but I also know the success rates of frozen embryo transfers as well as the fact that while it is significantly cheaper it is still $700 a cycle (not including meds which can be up to $3000). 

For now my hands are full with my rambunctious one-year old who  everyday makes me smile.

The following pics are of a recent trip we took to our fertility clinic in London (a three hour trek from where we now live) for Ethan to meet the man behind it all. Dr. Power will forever hold a special place in my heart and not only for helping me become a mom. He is the same doctor that saved my life in 2001 and I can truly say I wouldn't be here today without him.  

It was a great moment for mommy. 

                             Ethan meeting our fertility doctor with lots of smiles and giggles.

When we started our fertility journey I snapped a picture of myself in this exact spot to document our clinic...what a great feeling to snap another pic with my lil munchkin in it!