Sunday, December 29, 2013


This morning the roof of our tent garage broke because of the weight of the snow.  And I don't mean the tent material, I mean the metal beams that held it up bent and broke like greensticks.  The garage is apparently guaranteed to withstand hurricane weather.  Hahahaha.  MrH had to shovel snow all day long to unearth my car that was parked inside.  Luckily it was just the windshield that got scratched from the broken metal beams, but otherwise it seems ok.

Following this learning experience, I see that the neighbours across the street are cleaning their garage roofs.

I have never seen so much snow in my life, and I have not been living in Mexico so far either.

Saturday, December 28, 2013


Four years ago, on Dec 27, I went into the hospital with amniotic fluid leak and was found to be dilated.  Five days later I lost Adrian.  It was at the exact same gestational age that I am now, and at the same time of the year, and even in similar circumstances (I had also just gotten off a flight from Vancouver, where I had spent Christmas with my parents).  I even had a similar pedicure.  Everything is so similar, that it is bizarre.

I had a dream today that I was fully effaced and one fingertip dilated.  I am obviously worried, at least subconsciously. Hopefully this pregnancy will go well.  It is just so weird to be experiencing sensations of deja-vu.

Friday, December 27, 2013

update 19w5d

Here is a quick update after my ultrasound and my OB appointment.  The cervix is holding well, but I do have a low lying placenta, which should not be a big deal given that I am having a scheduled C section.  So far, it is 1 cm from the internal os, but I think it will move upwards as the uterus is growing.  The length of the cervix is 3.6 cm, not much changed from the 16 week ultrasound.  The baby looks good as well, no problems with the anatomy, and he is growing according to the number of weeks (he was 4 days bigger than the actual date).

However, the OB asked me to simmer down with the lifting and activity level.  I have been carrying on so far as if I were not pregnant, not resting, and picking up Emma all the time, carrying groceries, and even shovelling snow.  Apparently all of that needs to stop, since I am putting too much pressure on the cerclage and he is worried it could tear.  I did have a tear into the uterine wall with the last pregnancy, so really, who am I to argue, hence we all decided that it is time for me to quit work and get benched for the duration of the pregnancy.  My work is very active, constantly sit/stand every 2-3 minutes, and in addition to that, getting to work means carrying Emma to the car as she hates walking in one foot of snow and tends to just sit down at -30C and start screaming that it is "too cold" (duh!).  So, I am retiring for the year.

It was quite a mental adjustment again.  My work is important to me, and I enjoy the social interactions, and the brain usage that comes with it.  I am very good at keeping busy though, and I have decided that this pregnancy I am learning German.  I have wanted to learn German before, but just never really applied myself, but my goal is to learn enough to perhaps understand some of the youtube videos in German, and then to maybe take a few classes with a live teacher while I am in Vancouver.  My other goal is to have enough time to teach Emma more Romanian.  I tend to speak English with her, as I can see how fast her vocabulary is advancing and I love teaching her new words, while as in Romanian I have to start from the basics again, but with more time on my hands spent with her I can switch more to Romanian without worrying that she is missing out on developing her English vocabulary.

I can only count my blessings and particularly be happy about not being on strict bed rest, because that is the hardest part of pregnancy for an active young (?) woman who likes to go go go.

If anybody with an abdominal cerclage could tell me how you handled work and lifting your toddler, that would be great!

Monday, December 23, 2013

my little collector

I have noticed that, for the past few months, Emma likes to collect things, and she does not let go of them.  In fact, if she wakes up from sleep, she asks about those things, and if she cannot find them, she starts bawling and I cannot put her back to sleep until I look for them.  I guess she decided that safest is to go to bed with whatever the object of interest du jour is.  In the past week, she has gone to bed with the following: two rolling pins from the kitchen (night one), a sieve and a funnel (night two), a stuffed ladybug and a stuffed horse (night three), a baloon (night four), my makeup brushes, etc.  She prefers to have two of whatever in general, one on each side.  The rolling pins were especially memorable because they stuck into my ribs all night long, as we still sleep together, and every time I tried to remove them, she woke up and held on tight.  Cannot interfere with her treasure, that's for sure.

Anyway, tomorrow is ultrasound day.  Update afterwards.  Merry Christmas in anticipation! I have a mixture of feelings of hope that this pregnancy does not end shortly after Christmas, like Adrian's did, and wanting to believe differently and to relax about the holidays so that I can enjoy them.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

18 weeks tomorrow

Whoa, it has been a whole month since I have last posted!  Where did life run away with me?  Emma is keeping me very busy for sure, but I think the main culprit is the low temperature in winter, and the snow with its worries.  It takes an inordinate amount of time and effort just to keep the stairs and alley in front of the house clean, and we have had so much snow that we don't know where to put it anymore.  The very cold weather (-22C all the time) makes it difficult even to just get out for a bit: one cannot just put on shoes and go.  It takes a whole snowsuit into which I must coerce my daughter, running after her, pinning her down, etc.  You get the idea.  Then, just as I think I got it all done, she takes off her hat and throws it somewhere, preferably somewhere hard to find and/or reach.  Like behind the bed, where only she can fit!  She can be very naughty-sweet.

She is getting over her third or fourth ear infection of the year.  On top of that, we have decided to stop the night milk bottles, because she was getting up four times a night in the last month, and I was getting very tired and cranky.  She is still throwing a tamper tantrum every night at 3:30 am on the dot, but things are getting better.  Even though she is awake for about 20 min, and us with her, it sure beats waking up four times a night!

Baby-in-the-belly looks good on the ultrasound, and the cervix at 16.5 weeks was 3 cm long.  Not stellar, but also not worrisome.  The placenta was awfully close to the internal os, about 9 mm away from it, but I think that it will move as the pregnancy progresses.  I have another ultrasound scheduled on December 24, and then I am to see the OB on Dec 25 (he is on call so I guess it does not matter to him).  I am getting a little more nervous as we approach the date where I lost Adrian.  I noticed the amniotic leakage on Dec 27, and lost him on Jan 2.  So, as long as I get past these dates, (preferably by two months or more) I will feel better.  I am nervous again because this is a new cerclage, so it was not "tried and tested" with Emma.  But it was well placed, so I don't see why it would not work.

Emma is very cute and bright.  She sings a lot of songs, and likes to dance, and play on the piano (just pressing the keys, but I swear it sounds like music!) and to finger paint.  We are doing a lot of brush painting, but it always ends up with her putting her fingers in it, so I switch to the finger paint because it has been known to end up in her mouth a couple of times.

She is still very picky about food, but is not skinny, rather muscular and well built.  She likes stuffed cabbage leaves so I had to make some today, because I ran out of the frozen stash that I brought over from my mother.  These are not the easiest food to master, because although making them is not hard, making them well is an art form that took my mom many decades to tweak.  I am getting most of her tips, but I still feel like mine today turned out an 8/10.  I would have liked more tanginess, so next time I am putting lemon juice in the water that I am boiling them in.  Anyway, I digress.  Emma liked them a lot, and she will be eating them for lunch for the next week, so we are all happy.

So far I have gained 10 lb.  It is not too bad, but I fear the HOLIDAY WEIGHT MONSTER.  I am very bad at restraining myself in social situations, and most of the Romanian meals are very full of goodies.  Proof of my weakness is that yesterday, when we had our Christmas office party, I gained one pound for sure. Maybe more.  I really have to remember how hard it was to take off 30 lb that I have gained with Emma, and to never never never have to go back to that again.  I am just not ready for that kind of effort again, not with a toddler and a newborn in tow...

Anyway, I will try to post more regularly.  I write posts in my head, usually at 3 am when Emma wakes me up, sometimes chuckle to myself at something funny, and then forget about it when I wake up in the morning.  That is life.

PS.  Emma loves the Christmas tree.  Every morning she points to it and says:" look, mama maked it!"  I pointed out that papa is the one that went through the effort of bringing the tree in and installing it, I just decorated it, and then she says "look, papa maked it!" Such a cute little girl, love love love her.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

it's a ...

So, earliest gender reveal on the internet ever, at 13w3d, courtesy of non invasive prenatal genetic testing. The baby is healthy.  Has the right number of chromosomes.  And the last two chromosomes are my X and mrH's Y.

A boy, due on the same day as Adrian... How many more coincidences?  I am a bit stunned to be honest.  I am excited about it, but really have no idea what to do with a little boy.  How often do I need to wash his penis?  Did I just say penis?  Can I still have a bath with him naked when he is two years old, like I do now with Emma?  Can we be as comfortable with each other's bodies as Emma and I are? I want that intimacy again, and fear that it will be different with a boy, that he won't come as close, or let me as close to him.

And then there's the clothes...I want to cry thinking that no baby of mine will wear the little pink socks that Emma will outgrow.  All of the little girly outfits that I have loved so much...I know that this is superficial, and I am deeply aware of the gift of being able to raise a baby boy, that will turn into a man one day, which is worth so much more than pink ruffles...but still, pink ruffles...

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


I am very anxious because tomorrow or so I should be getting the results of the NIPT, the non invasive chromosomal testing.  Most importantly I worry about chromosomal abnormalities, but also I get to find out the sex of the baby, which makes me nervous and excited.  I did not think that I should be so nervous, because the chances of a problem are quite low, but man, I am anxious and I have not slept very well last night.  (Well, waking up because of puking is also interfering with my sleep, what can I say...).

Friday, November 8, 2013

not much new

I am becoming one of those annoying women who forget that they are pregnant and just go on with their lives without worrying all that much about, you know, losing their baby every three seconds.  I guess the fact that the nausea has improved is also conducive to feeling good and optimistic.  I have finally managed to send in the NIPT test for chromosomes and am waiting for the results, which I should have by next week.  I am a little unsettled when I have to wait for results, but frankly 1:500 chances are not my big worry here (I am talking about the odds of Down's syndrome for the age of egg retrieval, which was when I was a youthful 32).

On the plus side, next week I get to find out the sex of the baby, which is so exciting!  If it is a boy, I think he will be wearing pink cloth diapers, unless I can think of a way to dye them safely.

I am gaining weight at a rate of 1 lb per day if I eat more than 1600 calories per day.  If you read any of the recommended diets for pregnant women, they range from 2400 to 3100 calories a day.  Really?  Who eats that much?  If I eat 2400 calories a day, I expand so much that it is scary.  Since I have stopped being so nauseated and am eating better, I have put on three pounds, and it has all happened in the one week when I was eating around 2000 calories 'cause I was hungry, I mean I hadn't eaten in like three months, so I was like a possessed woman.

This is my very boring diet:  one banana, one cup of yogourt, berries, green leaves mixed with soy milk in the blender (we call it "green milk" in my house, and it is a way to get Emma to have her leafy greens), one or two eggs, a few slices of turkey breast, a slice of bread or some crackers at lunch, a handful or two of mixed nuts, and chicken or beans or fish with more veggies for dinner.  About 1500 calories or so.  I also drink about two cups of tea with one teaspoon of honey each, so another 100 or so from beverages.

I really would like to stick with the 30 lb recommended for this pregnancy.  Ideally 25 lb, as I started in the overweight range, but since I was only "overweight" by one lb, I won't worry too much about that designantion.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

update 12w4d

Ain't this weird?  They have discovered a new ligament in the knee.  How is that even possible?  It's a bit like looking at your hands for a lifetime and discovering that you actually have a sixth finger that you never noticed on the right hand.  We do MRI's and arthroscopies and open up knees and dissect them all the time, and hey, look at that, a new ligament that nobody had seen before... I wonder what they thought it was before?  a piece of chicken fat?

Anyway, I was amused a bit reading this today.  I am feeling better recently, and have started taking Emma to the pool, playing with her, and teaching her numbers and letters.  She is very stubborn and does not like being shown anything, so I have to be very sneaky about teaching her.  The moment it looks like I am trying to teach her something, she completely loses interest and wants to do something else.  If however it looks like I am playing, then she joins in.  For the letters, I have filled a plate with cornmeal and we are drawing them with our finger in the cornmeal.  Messy, but reasonably effective.

Emma is also very much in love with the ipad/iphone apps and she learns from those as well.  There are apps that teach shapes, and numbers, and letters.  The problem is that she only wants to play the app with the shapes, because she knows all her shapes and she always wins the "stickers".  Again, if something is difficult or she is not very good at it already, she wants nothing to do with it.  How is this child ever going to learn anything?  I hope it is just a two year old phase that will pass by the time she has to go to school.

That's about it for the update.  I will post again on the long weekend, since I will have more time.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Halloween memories

I thought I was on the ball getting Emma her Halloween costume one month before, in September.  She was into lions at that time, and I asked my mom to bring a lion costume from Vancouver when she came to visit.

Well, we tried to get her into it but she was simply terrified of it...she would not go near it, and if we tried to put it on ourselves she would start crying hysterically.  And it was NOT a scary costume, it was just a body and a mane.  In the end, I borrowed an elephant costume from someone and tried to get her into it.  She did not want to put the hat on, which made the entire costume look weird (like a grey body suit), and most importantly refused to walk in it, which meant that I had to carry her to the neighbours' houses for trick-or-treating.

Did we get much candy?  Not really...and I had to give it all away again because despite having bought six kilos of candy bars for that night, we had so many kids come to the door that we were out of sweets in about one hour.  We had to open the door and embarrassingly tell kids that we had no more candy.  That was quite the moment!

It was a pretty tiring Halloween.  Emma did not like the kids coming to the house dressed up in scary costumes, she got a bit freaked out.  Not to mention that the whole concept of having to give away candy was not in her list of favourite ways to spend Thursday nights either.

What she did like though was carving the pumpkin with her dad.  We did a good job, I think, for an uninitiated bunch.  And she got to say "jack-o-lantern" which sounds dementedly sweet coming from her mouth (dzak-o-lenten).

Hopefully next year she will be more independent, and will walk to the neighbours houses, carrying a big bag that she brings back full of candy, because I am sitting here looking for a fix and have nothing in the house to satisfy my sweet tooth with...

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Life is Sacred

You probably all already know about this case that I have entirely missed until last week.  I has been haunting me all along since I read it.  This woman shows up at 17 weeks of pregnancy with back pain and fully dilated.  She does not progress on to delivery, but instead stays that way for days, with the uterus exposed to vaginal bacteria, and nobody does ANYTHING about it despite her ASKING them to.  The baby is doomed to certain death but they are continuing to monitor the baby's heart beat and wait, and wait, until she dies of sepsis.

That's kind of the picture I have in my head.  I have a suspicion that cervical incompetence was actually her problem, I mean it sounds so much like it from where I am sitting.  And I know one can die from incompetent cervix, because were I left without any medical intervention, I probably would have died as well.

Contrast this with my situation:  as soon as the cervix was noted to be dilated, the OB tried a cerclage, but told me it probably won't work, and that the biggest risk is that of infection.  I was on two IV antibiotics in doses high enough to kill a horse, and monitored for fever or white cell count increase.  The moment I decided that it was not worth it anymore (because I was in labour), the cerclage was removed, despite the baby being alive at that time.  That is because, guess what, it was not going to work anyway, and I was in danger of shredding my cervix with labour+cerclage.  And we were all (me, MrH, my OB, my GP) very, very worried about infection.  Labour = infection, often, often, often.
Then, at 9 cm, I started bleeding very heavily, and the baby had to be manually removed.  Then I had a retained placenta that needed oxytocin and manual removal in the OR.  I needed so many things because a uterus at 20 weeks (or 17 weeks) does not behave very smartly and cannot contract always effectively, which is why the retained fetus or placenta can happen.

I got so much care that I would not have survived without!  And I am so thankful to have been in the right place, at the right time (haha, in a small Northern town in Canada, with one old OB a GP anesthetist.  Better care than University Hospitals in Ireland).  Women who are pregnant need a lot of medical attention when things don't go according to the usual nature's ways.  Or wait, dying is one of nature's ways too... Anyway, if the doctors at the University Hospital in Ireland did not feel able to deal with this case because of ethical issues involved, why did they not simply transfer her to England?  That happens all the time, we from Canada transfer to the US if there is greater expertise or if all the NICU beds in the province are full, etc.  Why would this not be possible elsewhere?  I am so baffled at this case, and so sad and angry about it, probably because I identify with it too much.

Wanna know what we would have done in my hospital?  Have a talk with the mom about the zero survival chances of the baby.  Given the parents a moment to make up their mind.  And then, when they are ready, break the waters, and help the delivery along with some misoprostol or oxytocin, including operative extraction if needed.  Is this not kind?  Is this not right?  How would the outcome been any different?  Mom walks out of hospital alone anyway.  But at least she walks out...  Because we all know that LIFE IS SACRED.

Monday, October 21, 2013

dragging on

What's new over here? Well, I thought I had it bad when I was just sick from the pregnancy, but now, to improve things, I also got a cold and a sinus infection.  My right maxillary sinus feels like it wants to explode through my teeth.  I have decided to hold of on antibiotics for a few days and see if I beat it without, since in pregnancy one can only take crappy antibiotics anyway, which are unlikely to work and will give me a yeast infection.

Emma is doing very well but watching way too much Dora and Caillou.  I just cannot entertain her anymore in the evenings, and so I let her loose on my ipod.  Guilty as charged...

Two days ago, feeling like I should do something for this poor child, I decided that I am going to the swimming pool, sinus exploding or not.  I was pretty sick, but dragged my butt over there, and was a good sport mostly sitting on the side of the hot tub, while she was playing with plastic boats in the warm water (our hot tub is actually a warm tub).  When I got up to hopefully go home, thinking that I deserved a medal for showing up, the lifeguard lady came to me and said "I hope you don't mind my saying this, but your butt is showing through the bathing suit".  Apparently the fibers had stretched more than I noticed and the suit had become transparent.  I threw it in the garbage right away, but...

Was that ever an embarrassing moment, in particular in this small town where everybody by now probably knows that my ass was on show.  I have decided, in mature fashion, to realize with my adult mind that having a stretched out bathing suit is not a character flaw, and that given how sick I am lately, this is the least of my worries, along with other appearance-related issues.  But in this society, appearance is more important than being a good, moral person, and so it does matter.  

Emma wants to go "wimming" all the time, so I will have to show my face there again.  Not looking forward to it...even though I have another bathing suit that is hopefully in a bit better shape.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

vomit comfortably?

I am vomiting a lot more often now, and it is soooo painful, especially when I don't have any food in my stomach and all that comes up is pure acid.  I am still taking the zofran, but it is not working as well anymore.  At 9 weeks, I guess the nausea and vomiting are hitting their peak, hopefully before they start to subside...

One of my colleagues did some acupuncture on me, but the pain from the needles created more nausea, and I ended up puking just as I was taking Emma out of the car when I got home.  She started crying and saying "mommy hickup".  She gets freaked out by my being sick all the time...

Here are some websites that I am researching lately...haha.  In case someone else is struggling with it.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Prenatal diagnostics

I went for two appointments this week, as I was in Vancouver.  First, I saw my OB, who advised me to get myself down here from 20 weeks onwards and to stay in the city until at least one month after delivery.  The second appointment, I got an ultrasound at the IVF clinic, and the baby measures 9 weeks (should be 8w5d) and there was a very small subchorionic hemorrhage that had caused the bleeding, nothing worrisome.  In fact, the bleeding has stopped about one week ago, and I am ecstatic about that.

The thing that we discussed at this appointment was the prenatal diagnostics options.  With Emma I did blood work and a NT scan.  With this one, I have the option of NIPT testing, namely one called VERIFY, which takes fetal blood cells from my own blood and looks for chromosomal abnormalities in terms of trisomy 13, 18 and 21. It works just like an amnio, but it is much safer, since there is no belly poke, it is done by taking my blood. (As an aside, I am hoping that they will tell me the sex of the baby too...).  The test is done at 10 weeks, and the results come at 12 weeks, which for me is very beneficial, because terminating a pregnancy later than 12 weeks with a cerclage in place is almost impossible.  I think even 12 weeks is a bit late to be done through a regular d/c procedure, rather than a hysterotomy.

(Cause guess what, I will be 35 when I have this baby.  I have reached Advanced Maternal Age).

In any case, I am not going to worry about it, all I want to know now is that the baby is healthy and whether I am having to buy a pink or a blue pair of shoes.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

8w1d heard the heartbeat

It is possible to hear the heartbeat this early!  I heard it, and MrH has too.  It just takes a very long time of playing with the doppler, and the sound is very...tiny.

Tomorrow I am flying to Vancouver, which will involve two separate flights.  I have the feeling I should take a couple of puke bags with me on the plane.  This take off and landing business is not the best for me right now.

I don't have any other updates.  I am still spotting.  This is taking so long to stop... perhaps at least in Vancouver they will be able to see where I am bleeding from.  At least it is nice to know that I can now hear the baby, so I don't have to sneak into the ultrasound room every time I bleed.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

almost 8 weeks

I am going to be 8 weeks in two more days.  I am very nauseous today and, despite using ondansetron (which I am rationing a bit, taking only 4 mg at a time, and only if I am working or very sick) I have started vomiting.

For some reason, I am not as gracious this time with the nausea and vomiting as I was with Emma's pregnancy.  I had so much more patience back then!  I felt like my body was hers to use, and that was that.  This time, I am waiting impatiently for the nausea weeks to subside, so that I can be a good mother to Emma again.  As it is, being in bed makes for a cuddly momma, but hardly for any learning or outdoors activities, and in my head, that is what makes me a good mother, giving her opportunities to learn and live a healthy life.  Is being next to me in bed while I am two shades of green healthy? Is listening to me puke scarring for her?

I think essentially that is what is at the root of the impatience and lack of acceptance for this pregnancy's  nausea.  I am just starting to figure out how I can be a good mother to two babies.  I guess the road is long and complex ahead of me.

PS.  I deleted the prior post with the picture of food, as it was making me sick. Don't ask.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

little smurf

I saw the little smurf today on the ultrasound.  As of Monday morning, I woke up with almost no nausea at all, I mean I get the barfys if I smell stuff or drink too fast, but gone was the ever present nausea that was making me lay on my side constantly.  I am up and about, and cooked some elk steak and green beans today, and am even going to BAKE something, a sweet bread with yeast and honey/walnuts on the surface.  I will post pictures...mmm...

Relief aside, I was very worried that babyB has died and that is why I am feeling so much better.  To be honest, there is not an hour that goes by in the day where I do not worry about the baby having died,  but over the past two days I started worrying about how I am going to miscarry with the cerclage in place and with my colourful history of bleeding to near death twice before, and no OB on a radius of 500 km, no operating room, etc.  You know, the usual stuff that remote rural crazy pregnant people should worry about.  Oh, that and the fact that there are only four units of blood here in town.  Total.  If I start to bleed, that is NOT going to cut it, man!

So, after playing my exsanguination fantasies in my head for a while, I went to use the ultrasound machine in the hospital.  I was not able to see anything on it last week, so I did not have much hope,  but this week the little smurf was a lot bigger, and there was an obvious heartbeat, and that is all I cared to see.  In my limited non existent ultrasound experience, I could not see a subchorionic hemorrhage this week either, so what the heck, I have no explanation for my weird bleeding.  I guess it is just one of those things...

Even at 7 weeks I have a belly!

Monday, September 30, 2013

are you still pregnant?

Someone asked me today if I am still pregnant.  I guess that is a fair question, given my history of bleeding, and also the general cloud of obstetrical gloom that is floating somewhere above my head, like an aura.  I felt like saying I am either pregnant, or dying of some sort of cancer that makes me get very sick and fat at the same time.

The other day, my grandmother (who has been living with me for the past three weeks, and hence has witnessed first hand all of my days of nausea and retching), said something like "when you are going to be pregnant, what will you do about..."(can't remember details).  I guess this thing that makes me sick is not pregnancy, it must be something else... because I, being the obstetrical pariah, cannot possibly be pregnant or stay pregnant, as the case might be.

Of course, I am probably interpreting all this through my own lens...this is the way I see myself, as unstably pregnant, and hence the people around me reflect my own thoughts back, like a mirror.

In any case, here I am, still nauseous, and not bleeding today.  And, despite hardly eating at all, barely able to zip up my skirts and pants.  Is it too early to bring out the maternity wear, at 7 weeks?  Should I buy one skirt or a pair of pants one size up, just to delay the bringing out of the comfy, flattering, elastic waist maternity wear?

Sunday, September 29, 2013

so sick...7 weeks

I had a big gush of blood yesterday evening, then nothing again since.  By big, I mean a couple of tablespoons, about three or four.  This was the worst of the bleeding in this pregnancy.  Hopefully this is it and it has stopped.  I am still extremely nauseated, and feel just as pregnant as before, so I don't think BabyB is in any danger.

I am feeling so ill that the pattern on Emma's socks makes me want to vomit.  There are so many things that bother me, like any smells at all, not just perfumes, but even smells of benign things, like candy.  Candy smells chemical to me.  And gelatin, who knew that gelatin stinks?

Saturday, September 28, 2013


My husband came home yesterday with a bag containing three dead birds, a gift from someone.  They were small and grey, and so soft that I was afraid to touch them.  I had never done a "bird prep" before, from start to finish, so this was a good opportunity for me to learn, nausea be damned.

So we sat at the kitchen table, my grandmother, my mother and myself, and plucked the feathers, cleaned the innards, burned the leftover down over the barbecue flame, and cooked the three birds today.  One of them I made into a small soup, the best, gentlest soup that I had made in a long long time.  I simmered it with an onion, one parsnip, two carrots and one potato, for about an hour and a half, then I strained it and boiled some fusili pasta in the water.  It was delicious.  We each had a bowl, even Emma, who does not care much for food lately unless it is broiled chicken.

The whole experience was strange but it felt very honest to me.  To eat a chicken that was killed and plucked and cut up into pieces by someone else does not allow for the awareness of the fact that one is eating an animal that died.  To clean the birds and find sand in their feathers, and small red fruit in their mouths, and seeds in the gizzards, it is to see that these birds were interrupted from their lives and that their bodies were not meant just for my supper, but rather for themselves to live and enjoy their days.  Something that my supper has interfered with.

I think it is one of life's painful truths that for me to exist, something else must die.  It is a very uncomfortable truth because it makes me face the question:  what did I do with my life to deserve this?  How do I justify my place in this world?

Finally, for me, I decided that I don't need to deserve or to justify, I just am.  However, it helps to tread lightly and with respect on this Earth.  In my case today, treading lightly means cooking the birds really well and eating every last bit of them with gratitude.

Friday, September 27, 2013


Tomorrow it is 6w5d.  I have only spotted a little last night.  I have noticed that I spot after events when my bladder is overly full, like after ultrasound, after work when I had no time to go use the bathroom, and at night when I sleep too deeply and wake up badly needing to pee.  I don't know what the link is, but I see it is much less, and I am dearly hoping to be done with this spotting madness once and for all.

I am dreadfully nauseated all day long, and being vertical makes me feel worse.  Lying down on my right side seems to be the best position.  My blood pressure is low when I sit up, and standing makes me dizzy and sick.  Today I nearly puked at work (yeah, I went back, after three days off), but managed to contain the disaster by eating half a pack of crackers.  I wonder if Giselle had morning sickness, with her 30 lb of weight gain total, I am guessing that eating crackers had no room in that.

For all of you who have toddlers, let them watch Caillou, that way when you ask your child to go to bed you will hear a pretty "No thanks, mommy" instead of the usual "no". It is too cute for words.  "Emma, we have to change your diaper".  "No thanks!".  (I am happy on that note that my daughter is now reliably using the potty in daytime, but for some reason occasionally she will still do it on the carpet, and I cannot stand the smell at this point in my pregnancy, so I am regressing to diapers, not her...)

Thursday, September 26, 2013

bedrest for bleeding

I have been on a bit of a rest period because of the bleeding.  I know that research shows that subchorionic hemorrhage has a better outcome if one is resting versus working, and even though I don't see a subchorionic hemorrhage on the ultrasound, I am still doing the safest thing and staying at home.  I have now skipped three days of work, and the bleeding is much less, only in the mornings when I wake up.  Before, when I was at work, at the end of the day I would get some serious gushing.  Hopefully tomorrow I will stop bleeding so that I can go back to my job though, before it inconveniences too many people.

I am more and more thinking of this baby as an actual baby, as opposed to an IVF trial, which was what I had thought up to now.  Somewhere in this period of time, perhaps when the heart starts to flicker, in my head the "products of conception" become an actual baby.  Which is why I have accepted the stay at home plan, which was not initially my idea, but MrH's and my mom's.  I am definitely a workaholic, and am very hard to stop for any reason that has to do with myself or my health.  However, when it comes to my babies, I will easily take off and look after them.  So, at this point, this is what I am doing, taking care of BabyB.  (Don't know where that name came from, but that's it for now until he/she gets a name when we find out the sex).

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

bad mother?

I feel like this pregnancy is turning me into a less than ideal mother for Emma.  I am very sick and tired all the time.  The nausea is making me miserable, and the bleeding is causing depression and worry.  Emma, on the other hand, is full of energy and demanding, she is not letting me get her clothes on, runs around naked with me trying to chase after her with a diaper, and generally behaves like a 2 year old.  I have little energy for 2 year old antics, I swear.  Sometimes I wonder if I am not doing her a disservice by having another baby, because apart from a brief period of time in which I might feel good around 25-32 weeks (if I make it that far) the rest of the pregnancy will be one huge nausea cloud.

From my experience, having a newborn was tough, and Emma was not easy, but the pregnancy is by far the worst part of the experience.  I am just not used to never ending sickness.  And it is certainly taking its toll on all of us.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Weird: due date may 19

I was just given my due date: may 19. Same as Adrian's due date.

How odd is that?

Monday, September 23, 2013


There was a tiny flickering heartbeat today on the ultrasound, and no cause for the bleeding was seen, i.e. no subchorionic hemorrhage.  However, I am still bleeding, and today it is worse than before, with bright red blood that scares me.  I hope that it will turn out well.  I don't want to lose this tiny baby too.  I have no idea what I can do about it, but I will take some time off work, in the hopes that lying down and being still helps.  I have noticed that I am bleeding a lot more after work, probably because I am constantly on my feet and tense.

The ultrasound made this baby even more real.  And it was cute alright, but I just could not allow myself to bond with it the way that I would have otherwise, were it not for all this bleeding that sucks the joy out of my day.  That is the story of my life: some good, and some bad, all together on the same soup plate.  This time at least I am more hopeful for a good outcome, and I am not mourning a baby that is not yet lost, which is what I would have done did with Adrian, and a bit with Emma.  By now I feel like the champion of the wait-and-see.

I don't fit in my bra anymore.  Or in my skirt.  I have grown some bacon.  I hope this bleeding stops sometime so that I can commit enough to buy another bra one size up.  I am not thinking that I will lose the baby, but I also cannot let myself buy a bigger bra, figure that.  I guess that is what they call living in the moment.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

ultrasound tomorrow, still spotting

I am 6 weeks today and tomorrow we are having our first ultrasound to see if there is a heartbeat.  I know it is a bit early, but there will be no ultrasound tech in our town until a month or so from now, and I am not that patient.  Hopefully we will see something that looks like a baby, and maybe something that looks like a little beating heart...

I have been spotting on and off every second day or so.  Spotting takes away some of the joy of pregnancy, for sure, but by now I think it is just a weird thing that I do at this stage of pregnancy.  I know that statistically I am 50% likely to miscarry, but I just don't buy it.  I have been through too much to believe statistics.  I think in my case it is something related to the IVF hormones and the decidual lining getting too thin or too thick, I don't know, just something tells me that it is not related to miscarrying, but rather to the uterine environment.

That something might be the nasty nausea.  I am, as usual, ill with nausea and retching, but I have discovered a wonderful new drug: ondansetron.  Love it.  For the first time in one week, I am feeling NORMAL and have actually eaten stuff like vegetable soup and salad, things that would have never crossed my lips in prior pregnancies.  In my first two pregnancies, all I have lived on was pedialyte, and   arrowroot cookies.  Absolutely nothing green.  Even water made me gag, but green or fresh stuff like fruit and vegetables was unthinkable.  I had a long list of puke-inducing foods: cabbage, apples, oranges, broccoli, salad, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, garlic, bell peppers, bananas, bread, meat, fish, eggs, milk, cheese, yogourt... You name it, it was on it.  Other than bland cookies.  Not even crackers suited me for some reason, because I could not stand salt.

In this pregnancy, by contrast, I can stand eggs and tomatoes, and some chicken.  Again salt is a problem, and sugar, I don't tolerate anything with salt in it, and even foods that I make have to be barely salted or else I get sick.  I do love lemon juice and have moments when I crave vinegary foods, alternating with repulsion to any vinegary smell.  But, since I have discovered ondansetron, you would not believe what I am eating: peaches, soups, smoothies with kale and cashew milk and blueberries, and even a Caesar salad with one slice of pizza tonight.  My life is as close to normal as I have ever had it.  More importantly than the food though, the ondansetron is allowing me to live, instead of just lying in bed trying not to vomit.  I am able to engage with people, to take Emma out, to go to the park, to dance and to play with her, to cook and buy food.  All these things that I used to take for granted, now make me so happy.

Anyway, will post more after the ultrasound tomorrow.
Wish me luck!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

weight gain

I am getting rid of the scale.
I had started off really happily along the path of intuitive eating, and initially I have eaten all the cookies and cake that I wanted, leading to later on not wanting much in the way of sweets, and choosing more eggs, fish, chicken, vegetables, grains (like actual boiled wheat and rye), etc.  "Healthy"stuff, as much as I dislike classifying food that way.

I weighed myself and gained a total of 6 lb since starting this IVF.  It seems that when I am on hormones, if I don't hold back on eating and feel hungry most of the time, I gain weight.

I am ditching the scale.

I want to be at peace with my intuition.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


5 weeks and 2 days today

I started spotting a little.  It is very faint, and if I had no prior experience with spotting in its various degrees, I might have even missed it.  As it is though, I am an expert in studying underwear colours with the magnifying glass, and of course I am a pathologic toilet paper checker.  All of us with bad experiences in the reproductive department are.

MrH's reply to this piece of news was "it's to be expected".  True enough.  I bled around 5-6 weeks with both my previous pregnancies.  It is probably the way that I do implantation, who knows.  I am a bit uneasy, but nowhere near the panic that I had with the first pregnancy, or the worry that I had with the second.  And I am starting to get quite nauseated and tired, which is always a good sign.

Friday, September 13, 2013

beta results

I had my beta HCG done yesterday, at 12dp5dt, and it was 1241 or something like that.  I am quite happy with the result, and so was the clinic.  I have officially stopped taking home pregnancy tests to see if the line is getting darker, it won't get much darker than it is right now.

I have booked my ultrasound for 6w1d to see if there is a heartbeat, and to check that it is only one (sometimes the embryo can split-gasp!).

I am starting to get nausea, but it is really not bad yet.  It hits me all of a sudden with an urge to puke in the middle of a conversation with someone, which I bet makes me look a bit spacy and weird.  I am counting on it getting a lot worse next week, especially one week from now, at 5w4d, when it has begun its savage ways with both my previous pregnancies.  I have to confess, as much as I hate feeling sick, I would be quite worried if I felt normal.  At least a bit of nausea is needed to make me feel happy and relaxed.

Will I really have another baby?

Will I survive?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Monday, September 9, 2013


I am 4 weeks today.  The lines are getting somewhat darker, I don't know if the beta is rising fast enough as I only have the lab paper dated for Sept 12.  That would be 13 days post 5d transfer.  What a weird number of days I say.  Usually it is ten days.  I wonder if I did not possibly lose one of the two papers that they give you when you get your embryo transfer, because I sure as heck did not think that I would actually DO the labs since I would for sure not be pregnant, and who cares if I do them on the requested date or not.  (Yep, I am a good patient, can you tell?).

Anyway, I don't know when my beta is supposed to be, and I have phoned the lab at the fertility centre, but they did not get back to me after two days of waiting.  I will try again, but I am truthfully happier not knowing.

I don't want to go in for a lab and get a low or non doubling beta, then have to live in fear for weeks until my ultrasound.

On the flip side, I started having this salty taste in my mouth since yesterday.  This awful taste that I have only had twice before, both times when pregnant.  It seems a bit early to me, so I am chalking it up to a viral infection.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Oh yeah

Thursday, September 5, 2013

submitting the evidence

here is the one from yesterday. 

guess what...a second line!!!

I just spoiled the plot with the title, didn't I?

We did another FET with the last embryo left on the planet that has my good looks and MrH's kind heart.  The embryo, alas, was a poorish quality (4BC), so I did not give it much thought and assumed it would not work.  I told everyone that this time it is not worth worrying about it, since it is so obviously not going to work...

I had the transfer on August 30th, and it was a five day blastocyst.  It was the most difficult transfer I have ever had.  I don't know if I am getting more fibrosis happening, but each transfer is more crampy and makes me nauseated.  This time I almost passed out, they had to put me head down as my blood pressure dropped and I was looking green and pasty.  In fact, the only thing that I recall during the whole procedure is asking for a vomiting basin... enough said.

I then went home (2000 km away up North to my home town), and promptly forgot that I had had IVF.  I even had a glass of wine two days after transfer.  Ooops.  Remembered only the next day that hey, I should be treading lightly on my tiptoes and licking the folic acid pills, not sipping chardonnay.

Whatever.  I was not pregnant, right?  Was not gonna happen...


Exactly one day later, I started getting itchy fingers and wanted to test.  If you have followed this blog, you know that I am a COMPULSIVE EARLY TESTER, and hence have to pee on sticks as soon as 3dp5dt comes around (three days post transfer of a five day embryo, that's what the blurb on the left means).

I got the faintest-pretty much invisible to anybody else-line.  However, I have done this enough to know what I was looking at.

It got darker the next day.

And darker the next.

So I am now almost 7dp5dt and have been testing consistently darker every day for the past four days.  I don't think I am looking at a bad thing here.  However, I have lived through four chemical pregnancies so far, so I don't know how excited I should get.

Yeah, right.  Like I have a choice.  I am HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY and am going to clap my hands...

Thursday, July 25, 2013

What to do when your baby dies

I seem to be wanting to go back in time to the days after I lost Adrian.  It was January 2, 2009.  I have saved my therapy sessions on tape and was listening to them today.  I don't know what has triggered this wanting to go back in time, but I suspect it was related to a recent EMDR session. The session was not even related to my pregnancy or baby loss history, it was about something totally unrelated, but every time my psychologist let me travel in my head to some time in the past, I ended up thinking about Adrian, and what was, and what could have been, and particularly what was not to be.

If I were to go back in time and talk to myself as I was in January 2009, this is what I would be saying, more or less:

You have just lost your baby, whom you loved so much.  It is very, very hard.   You are suffering not just from the physical loss, but also from a huge, raw, dark grief, on top of the trauma of the delivery, and it is all excruciatingly painful.  Take your time, don't rush the process.  The first week is very hard. You will want to isolate yourself, to keep apart from society, and that is ok.  You will have a lot of periods of numbness, and then raw grief.  The numbness is normal, and it is an adaptive response, don't worry about it.  It will help you get up in the morning and maybe brush your teeth.  The grief is what is lying underneath that numbness, and it will bubble up to the surface sometimes.  Let it all happen.  Just take very good care of yourself, as best as you can, by keeping warm, trying to eat something, connecting with someone you trust who was with you through this whole thing (for me, my husband).  Notice when you feel more still and peaceful, and try to do more of whatever brought that feeling on (for me, it was looking at pictures of birds on Flickr, knitting hats, and going for a walk in the snow).

Don't take personally the things that your loved ones say out of grief, it is their grief speaking and not their wisest self.

Two weeks later, perhaps things will be a bit better.  Perhaps you will be better able to think about what you will do next, about trying again, about going back to work, about life after death.  For now, however, and in particular today, at this very moment, you don't have to think about it.  Just focus on healing and being kind to yourself.

I deliberately wrote this in the second person because I am thinking that it might come in handy to someone going through this difficult trial now or in the future.  It might even come in handy to me sometime in the future, when another grief-ladden moment awaits, as they do for all of us.

I feel a bit better able to look through the past up to now, and appreciate how much time heals.  I am, however, still amazed by how much grief I am still carrying and am not aware of, almost ever.  Therapy or suppression, what is the answer to this one?

Sunday, July 21, 2013

3 great iPhotos







Wednesday, July 17, 2013

going forward

I have phoned the new IVF clinic yesteday, and spoke to my old fertility doctor, the one that got me pregnant with Adrian and with Emma.  He said that there was better data to support the synarel/estrogen/progesterone protocol rather than the natural cycle for the frozen embryo transfers.  That is not what the doctor who just did my recent FET said.  She said the data is better for the natural cycles. 

Crazy, I know.  I am trusting my old doctor through hell and high water though, so I decided to move my one remaining embryo in his hands at the new clinic that just opened.  This is somewhat exciting, in particular because he said that the one remaining embryo is "not that bad".  I am also having an antral follicle count and bloodwork to prepare for a pending fresh cycle if the one remaining embryo does not stick.

I am moving forward.  We have decided to have another baby, and honestly, that is what I think will happen.  I am optimistic overall, but just drained to the bone by the process. 

I have gained a total of 6 lb in this frozen cycle, and did not end up taking any drugs.  It is all probably due to stress and emotional eating.  Eating mindlessly.  Not paying attention when I am full because I am thinking of pregnancies.  Whenever I eat this way, I gain weight very quickly.  I am starting to (hopefully) reverse the trend.

I went back to exercising, both running and swimming.  Before this FET, I could run 5 km daily (3miles), now I need to stop somewhere after 3.5 km (2 miles) and take a short break, then go on to complete the 5 km (and then collapse :).  My speed is not as good either, and I cannot fathom running 8 km like I did the day before the transfer.  I am tired and frankly not as motivated, but I am making myself go on as I don't want to lose the fitness that I fought tooth and nail to gain, in between surgeries, IVF treatments, pregnancies, etc.

As far as the swimming, somewhat bad results as well:  I am about 10 -15 sec slower for each 200 m sprint, which in swimming is a fair bit of time.  However, from my previous experience, I tend to improve quite quickly if I swim three times a week or so.  To make things worse, I have developped an otitis externa as well, and am reluctant to go back to the pool until it heals.

In summary, I have a plan, but I am very anxious about everything related to IVF.  As for my fittness, I have lost some, but will likely gain it back quickly if I keep up with the running and the swimming.  At this point in time, I have a feeling that it is the most important thing in keeping me sane.  The exercise, and my beautiful family.

Monday, July 15, 2013

post IVF depression

I was not expecting that I feel so depressed after this cycle.  I went into the FET transfers thinking that they probably won't work, and so was not prepared for this dissapointment.  I think that the brief positive was a huge surge of happiness and then losing it was a big blow.

I don't know if it is the rollercoaster of emotions or if it is the fact that doing IVF again I feel taken back in time to the pre-Emma days, but I am envelopped by the same darkness that I was in back then.  The only difference is that now it does not last long, and that I can easily still get out of it and enjoy my days.  However, if there is nothing to do and I am bored, I revert to my worried, anxious, hypercalculating and hyperruminating mind. 

I don't know what my subconscious is plotting and scheming, but I am amazed by how easily I can be thrown off into depression again.  I knew that my mind was not the sturdy elephant that I was hoping it would be, but I was not expecting that I be so down, disoriented and worried again about life, the future, what to do, my next move, etc.

I am going to have the next transfer of the 4BC embryo (i.e. pretty crap) during this cycle coming up.  I am now CD 3.  Because my prior cycle was only 25 days long, I have requested some luteal support with progesterone this time.  I feel that I should have requested it with the prior cycle as well, but now it is too late to dwell on this. 

I miss my old fertility doctor, the one that got me pregnant so many times.  He has moved to a new fertility centre, and I am going to be moving there as well.  I just wanted to finish off the frozen transfers at the old centre where the embryos were, because to move the embryos is a bit of a logistic nightmare and costs 500$. 

During my visit to Vancouver for this upcoming transfer, I have booked an appointment for an antral follicle count.  I have just done the bloodwork for CD 3 that is required to see my FSH.  My hysteroscopy is pretty up to date.  If the frozen cycle in August does not work, I should be good to start a fresh cycle in September.  I am worried about that as well, but I am happy about a fresh cycle, as they did give me the best results so far.  Not to mention that the frozen embryos from nowadays are much better preserved than they were three years ago when I last had a fresh cycle.

Anyway, that's where I am at.  Caught between two clinics, a frozen cycle going on and a fresh cycle pending, anxious and worried, but still infinitely better and stronger than I have ever been going through fertility treatments before.  Secondary infertility is nowhere near the heart wrenching pain of primary infertility, for me and for now anyway.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Line is gone

So sad :(

I don't know if it is because I have eaten too much watermelon yesterday, or if it is that the implantation did not happen properly, but the line is gone today.  I am living on pins and needles.
The only thing that helps me stay in a good mood (relatively speaking) is my work, my husband and particularly my baby, who is so beautiful and so sweet.

Even if I never have another baby again, I am still so happy and fullfilled.  And that is what I am going to focus on.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

IVF recommendations

Did you guys see this study?

I am one of those women.  I drink coffee once a day, IVF or not.  I gave it up for the first seven transfers or so, then decided I had enough and started drinking it again, and guess what, I had Emma.   And I drank coffee up to my delivery day.  I also exercise within reason with all of my IVF cycles, but avoid running during the stim cycles.  For this cycle I ran up to the day before embryo transfer, when I did an 8 km run, the longest of the week.  I was told not to swim for two weeks, but the truth is I believe in my heart of hearts that this is bogus and that I should be allowed to swim already, I mean it's not like I get a vagina full of water every time I get into the pool.  The doctor said to me she also thought it was overkill, and we both agreed that 2 days is likely enough, but as she told me, in IVF, the tradition is to ask patients to abstain from swimming and baths for two weeks, so there we go.

I never did any bed rest with the transfers, although I did take it easy on those days.  I don't believe in bed rest. 

It seems harmless enough to ask women to refrain from x, y and z during IVF cycles, thinking that it cannot harm and it might help, but without research to back it up, or even without sound scientific thinking behind these requirements, I get a bit skeptical.  I mean, did they research this swimming topic?  Why don't we tell women no baths for two weeks after insertion of an IUD, a much more invasive procedure than an embryo transfer?  None of my friends who had IUDs inserted were given any kind of restrictions for more than two days after the procedure.

And no, it is not just-for-one-month-so-suck-it-up kind of thing either.  For me, who has had nine transfers so far, we are talking about nine months, i.e. almost one year, of limitations.  Plus the months of IUI related madness (12 of those), in which no running was allowed either.  That is almost two years of my life in which I was to behave as an old lady with a broken hip.

There was one study about exercise in the five years prior to IVF leading to decreased success, but how exactly does that translate into decreased success if I exercise the days before a FET cycle?  A blanket statement such as "take it easy, just to be sure" is a bit irritating.  Why not state the facts, which include the "we have no idea" element?

Need the macro lens


A second line.  4dp5dt. 

May the games begin. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

waiting, waiting, 3dp5dt

I am not very normal and am continuing to pee on expensive sticks every day.  Today, I have actually wasted two of them.  The one in the morning really had nothing.  The one in the afternoon also had nothing but I was starting to imagine a pink line that came and went as the sun's light got stronger, however when I looked at it a few hours later there was nothing, so I am calling it a negative.

For some reason I am so certain that this embryo will stick that I am looking at the tests expecting to see a line, not waiting to see if one appears.  I am wondering why the line is not there already, although with my mind I know that 3dp5dt is too early, I have convinced myself that I am pregnant so I am looking for the second line as if it should be there.

I don't believe that optimism or pessimism bring on a certain result when it comes to getting pregnant.  I also don't believe in the law of attraction in this case either (or in any other case).  I am a realist at heart, and hence tend to see things in a mostly worried and negative light.  So for me to be so positive this time is a funny thing.

Monday, July 8, 2013

did I just do that?

Did I just pee on a stick two days after transfer?  Yes, it looks like it.  Was it me or someone else taking over my brain again?  I don't think the embryo has even had time to hatch out of its shell by now, but I just have a hard time not doing the thing that I am most compulsive about during the two week wait:  peeing on very expensive little sticks. (It does look like I was able to hold off a bit longer than last time though...

Don't even ask what the result was.  Even after looking at the window for a FULL HOUR afterwards and studying every little imperfection, imagining lines all over the place, turning it 180 degrees and then 90 more degrees, varying the amount and intensity and colour of light, trying one eye, then the other eye, then my grandmother's glasses, then opening the test and taking out the window strip and scratching it with my nail vertically I cannot say that I saw anything worthy of notice.

Who thinks I am going to make it through tomorrow without peeing on another one?

Transfer day July 6

On Saturday I woke up for the transfer and decided that I should try to get some acupuncture done to help things along.  The transfer was scheduled for 9:15 am.  I woke up at 8 and drank some water for the full bladder requirement, then called the acupuncture place listed on the website for my clinic, and got the on call person that agreed to have a session before and after.  It was very tight timing, but it went well, and I enjoyed the before session, but especially the after session, which helped a lot with my uterine cramping.

The clinic had me change and the embryologist showed me a picture of the embryo to be transferred, a 4AA expanding blastocyst that had been frozen, and had shrunk a little bit as a result, but looked amazing.  Emma's transfer was a 4AB and a 4CC.  I am guessing that Emma was the 4AB.  So, aside from the fact that this cycle was a "natural cycle", hence counting on my own hormones entirely to do their job, this cycle is remarkably similar to my previous one.  Aside from the fact that the transfer was very worried me how much cramping I had.  I don't know if it is because of the cerclage being different in feel from the previous cerclage, or if it has to do with the doctor's skill.  Anyway, I am hoping that it will go well.  I drove to the acupuncturist right afterwards and he did some laser treatment of a point just below my right knee, and the cramping stopped right away.  It was quite amazing.  I am probably going to have acupuncture in the future if I ever need to have another IVF, and will probably chose the same place, as they seemed professional and specialized in IVF related acupuncture.

In the meantime, I have (and still do) worried a lot whether I made the right choices all along: having this embryo transfer at the old clinic, when my old doctor had transferred to another clinic (but their lab is not open yet, and I was in a hurry), and having this cycle go "natural" instead of medicated.  Can I trust my body not to screw up this luteal phase?  (Because the truth is, although my body and I, we coped well through a lot of crap and are best buddies now, we still have our moments of mistrust).

This morning I woke up to a bit of cramping and worried that I would start bleeding any moment now. I did not.  It was probably my irritable bowel giving me mixed messages.  Throughout the day today I have been having the feeling of a "busy pelvis" as alittlepregnant calls it.  Let's hope for the best.

I won't be testing until the weekend.  This time I am much more at peace with the outcome.  I am more at peace because my little strawberry baby girl is sleeping right next to me as I type this, and being her mommy is enough reason for me to live a full life.  I would love another baby just as much, and I am so excited when I allow myself to think of a pregnancy, and a delivery, and a name for...

Better get a grip on it before it gets out of hand.

Monday, July 1, 2013

LH surge, finally

This morning I woke up bright and early and went to have my ultrasound.  The lining is 9.3 mm thick and no longer trilaminar, which usually indicates that the LH surge has happened.  There was no corpus luteum visible, and the doctor thought that it probably collapsed.  I used one of the OPK kits on the second morning urine and it was an unmistakable positive.  Hence, my transfer is scheduled for this Saturday morning.

There was, however, some scar tissue on the ultrasound, visible along the lower third of the uterine body.  I don't think that it will be a problem, at least that is what the OB said when he did my last hysteroscopy in March.  I was nervous that the transfer would be difficult, so I asked for a mock transfer, and I got one done today with no problems.  I am such a control freak!

Let us hope for the best.  I am continuing to swim and will probably run a bit tomorrow, up to the time of embryo transfer, then I might only swim and not run until the pregnancy test.  Or I might do nothing.  The doctor does not think that the exercise that I do currently (3 mile run three or so times a week, and 1 km swim three times a week) is too much, or that it will interfere with anything.  However, just to play it safe, I am probably going to give up the running, which is a bit of a bummer, since I am training for a 10 km run in mid September.  Hehe, I guess if I get pregnant then I can skip it and not feel bad...

ovulation frustration kits

I think this is a good moment to express just how I feel about the ovulation predictor kits out there in the pharmacy.  I am doing a natural cycle, ie. I get to track the LH surge with ovulation kits, and then have one ultrasound to check the lining (tomorrow morning) followed by transfer six days after the LH surge.

Sounds simple, on paper.

I went to buy an OPK at the pharmacy, and got a digital Clear Blue.  I am not a big fan of digital anything, but they did not have the analog ones, so digital it was.  I used the first one on cycle day 10, and I will spare you the details of how exactly I have urinated on it for five seconds, but for some reason, instead of a smiley face or a blank circle, I got an error message.  Having wasted my preciously held urine (did you know you have to hold your bladder for four hours prior to peeing on one, and no fluids for the last 2 hours allowed either, in the middle of freakin' summer), I was back to square one.

I held it again for three more hours (the waterworks, that is) and, feeling smarter by the minute, decided to collect the urine in a cup and use the second method of "dip it in for 15 seconds" as outlined in the pamphlet.  Ditto.  Got another error message.  Dumped the urine and did it again, four hours later.  By now it was night, I got a negative (finally) and practically collapsed in exhaustion after not drinking and holding my urine for so long.

The next day, I got a smiley face (positive) on the first morning urine.  Deciding that, although the test pamphlet does not forbid using the first morning urine, it was probably a bad idea to use, I thought I should double check it by using another test kit from some other place.  Hopefully not a digital one.

I went to the first pharmacy available in Salt Spring Island, where I was at the moment.  It is a hippy type of island, and the first pharmacy was an integrative healing pharmacy.  They had all sorts of herbal and "natural" remedies, but alas no OPK's.  The second pharmacy did, and they were the old style First Response where you get to look at two lines and decide whether yours was darker than the control line.  Love those.  Peed on one at first sight, in the pharmacy's washroom, and got a big fat negative.  Huh?  Am I or am I not ovulating?  that is the question.  Not to mention that now I was comparing two different brands, introducing another element of instability in the madness.

Two out of three tests seems always best, so I did another test three hours later, from the First Response batch as well.  (Have I mentioned that they cost 16$ each?).  The last one DID NOT WORK!  I got no control line, no test line, nothing.  It was blank like a piece of cardboard.  So I had to do a fourth one ($$$$) and got another negative.

My conclusions at the end of cycle day 11 are as follows:
1.  Out of six opk sticks, three gave me an error. Two of the ClearBlue, one of the First Response.
2.  Out of the three that did give me a result, one said yes, two said no.  On the same day, within four hours of each other.  Which one is wrong? Who knows...

Tomorrow I am going for my ultrasound for lining thickness, and I am going to ask for a blood test to detect the LH surge.  Blood is thicker than urine.  And that concludes cycle day 11.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

the wasp and I

I went out on a long bike ride with Emma on the handlebar seat.  We got out of town, and by the fifth kilometre or so, we were surrounded by about four wasps, that started making threatening circles and nose dives right by my face, arms and legs.  I was terrified.  I biked really fast (or whatever one can call really fast on a retro 3 speed bike) and tried to get rid of the unwanted intruders, but they followed me into town.  For the entire five kilometres, they did their intimidating circling around my head.  I was already imagining Emma in full anaphylactic attack, so far away from the hospital and help…as we really live in the middle of nowhere, and when you get out of town, you are alone, just you and the wasps/bears/moose/etc. 

We made it home unharmed.  When I got into the kitchen, I found a wasp on the netting by the kitchen window.  It was buzzing about quietly, and although I briefly entertained some murderous thoughts, mainly consisting of entrapment between my double windows and death by starvation, I decided to let the insect live.  

Later on, as I went to get a snack, the wasp was eating the sugar off my countertop where I had cut up some melon.  I put my African violets in a water bath in the sink, and went back to the living room.  

An hour later, the wasp had drowned in the water bath.  And, inexplicably, I felt sad.  I let it go down the drain and watched as its little wings fluttered in the water current, and wished that it hadn't died.  As if, by allowing it to live, I had somehow bonded to it.  

And I am not on any hormonal treatment either. 

Life is weird. 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

parallel life

I sometimes come across blogs of women who resolved the infertility battle by not having children, not adopting children, and focusing their energy on other aspects of life.  Despite having Emma, I often think about this parallel universe me that, in another world, not quite so very far away, in fact a lot closer than I would have liked, would have had to take this other path in life, the path of childlessness (wow, that was a long sentence).  What would I have done?  What would I have become?  What would my days be like, my marriage, my hobbies, my work, my goals, my life's meaning?

I am sure that the reason these thoughts creep up on me is that I have spent a lot of time creating, in my mind's eye, this alternate future, so that I can survive the uncertainty of the infertility.  In this other life, the other me has a close, cuddly marriage.  We are close anyway, but having only each other to focus on in the past has brought the relationship to higher levels of closeness, so I am guessing it would have continued in this fashion, once the stress of not succeeding with the IVF's would have been left behind.  Also, I am thinking that I would have had a lot of time for myself.  I probably would have played a lot of piano, perhaps progressed to grade 8 Royal conservatory, and would have exercised a lot more.

The exercise bit is in particular something that I can see myself doing.  Today I took part in a triathlon organized here in New Town.  I am not an athlete, and am not very competitive either, but was invited to be part of a team that had another four people.  I did about three quarters of a 1 km swim, and another partner did the rest of the swim, and half of the 10 km run, then another partner did half the run, and lastly the 40 km bike was split between two people.   It was not very strenuous, because there were so many of us, and it gave me a chance to train for something for the past few months.  What I have especially enjoyed (aside from cutting my 1 km time from 28 min to 23 min in the past few weeks of training) was to be surrounded by these ladies that did the entire triathlon by themselves, and to see how fit they were.  Mostly, they were around 40-45 and had no children.  One of them had two grown up children, but the really competitive ones did not.  It was inspiring to see how they put their time into creating this admirable level of fitness.  And who knows what their story is, perhaps they too have battled infertility, or did not have a partner to have a baby with, etc.

I am so psyched up after this triathlon that I want to do the whole thing by myself next year.  Of course,  if the IVF's work, that won't be in the plan, benched as I will be for the whole pregnancy, and then probably struggling to take off 60 lb again.  But eventually I won't have to worry about this aspect of life and will be able to complete a triathlon.  Or a half marathon. Or something athletic.  In this universe, not in the parallel one.  Who knows, maybe a girl can have it all?

Friday, June 21, 2013

getting ready for a FET

I am ready for a frozen embryo transfer.  My prolactin is finally down to 4 after one month of no breastfeeding.  Today I have squeezed one nipple to see if anything comes out, and nothing did.  That is when I finally got sad.  The breastfeeding days with my little girl are gone, definitely gone.

I am doing a frozen cycle in July.  I was expecting my period to come in one week, but it came early, and threw out my plans for a nice July long weekend, as I now need to be present for an ultrasound at 8 am instead of camping with my family.  I am so used to this though, missing out on many experiences in life because I have to be there for IVF.  When it works, it is worth every missed moment.  When it does not, it feels as if it was a waste of time, but I don't believe that any moment in which we fight for our hopes is a wasted moment.  In fact, these are the moments that count the most towards making a meaningful life.

I am very anxious today.  I don't know if it is because I just got my cycle, or because the IVF battles are starting again, or because I might not get pregnant, or because I might get pregnant.  I am not sure yet which one I should be most afraid of...

And so the story goes.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

learning activities

It has been a long time again since I have blogged, despite my stern resolution to keep up with it regularly.  I guess life is just taking me over.  I am busy and happy and things are going really well for us at the moment.

I have weaned Emma successfully, and it was much easier than I thought it would be.  All I had to do is wear turtlenecks constantly for about one week.  She could not undress me and other than the minor inconvenience of boiling from excessive heat at night, it was pretty tolerable.  Long live the turtleneck, world’s best weaning adjunct.

Work is good, the new town is easy to get around in, and it is summer, which makes everything lovely and pleasant.  We have a short season up north but in this short season things manage to grow, so I have planted kale, tomatoes, yellow peppers, zucchini, onions, potatoes, rhubarb and herbs – parsley, basil, thyme, oregano, lovage.  I enjoy the garden immensely.  The City has sent us as a gift a whole crew of ladies that replenished the top soil, and cleaned out the old weeds, repositioned a whole bunch of plants, and added to my meager gardening skills immensely.  The garden is gorgeous at the moment.  I am really impressed by how hospitable and appreciative of our work the City of New Town has been.  We do provide a much needed service but still, they did not have to do all this…it is so nice to be treated like a Queen, haha.

Also, I have started doing a lot of Montessori activities with Emma.  I wanted her badly in a Montessori type of school from the age of 2.5 years old, she is not yet there, but I know that it won’t happen.  We are very isolated and no such establishment is available here in our little town.  I am therefore doing it at home.  I am reading blogs of moms that are doing Montessori at home, and following books on the subject.  Every night I prepare five activities for her to do the next day if she is interested (she always is), they are on a separate tray each, and prettily presented.  They usually include pouring (water, rice, etc), transferring (with spoon, tongs, fork), fine motor skills, arts (drawing, colouring, watercolour, etc), grouping and sorting (by colour or shape) and also language (cards, books, etc).  I will be teaching her at home every morning from 7 to 9:30 or so whatever she seems interested in at that moment.  She sometimes shows interest in the piano (other than just banging on it, which she does constantly) so I will be including some music in as well.  At the moment she is more into drums, imagine that.  Noise and rhythm class, I guess…

She is doing very well in her swimming class.  She progressed from where I dreaded going (because mine was the only child screaming for the entire half an hour) to floating by herself with the belt, and lying on her back without any protest, swimming with the belt through a tunnel, and sliding off a really tall slide.  I have also registered her in a soccer class, and have no idea how that is going because MrH is taking her, but she is enjoying herself and that is what matters. 

I am quite keen on education, starting as early as possible.  I know that there  are people who say to leave the kid be a kid, but I don’t think that learning new things every day and getting better and better at something in any way subtracts from life.  Quite the opposite:  she used to be a lot more bored before I started with the teaching.  She enjoys the small accomplishments of every day, and likes to practice her skills.  I am not pushing her, but encouraging her to concentrate and to pay attention.  Her mood has improved a lot and she is more cooperative since the Montessori activities.  She is also more manageable in public, with fewer, less intense tantrums. 

The nice thing about parenting is that it is a topic of such intense interest for everyone, that one can easily find written material on all aspects of it, and wonderful ideas.  I am not very crafty though, and the schooling style that I went to included mostly abstract thinking and very little hands on.  This is why for me the Montessori approach, with beautiful tangible demonstrations of everything, from a cube or a sphere to a hundred units or the sandpaper letters and numbers is so different and a bit difficult…especially when I look at the felt or paper origami that other mothers publish on pintrest… I feel very non-crafty.   I get around it by buying a lot of the materials already made, which makes it fairly expensive.  I would say that so far, for the infant and toddler materials, I have spent about 500 $, including printing fees for printing out free cards that I am getting off the internet, and dollar store materials that are for home made activities.  It is not too bad, considering that it is spread over two years.  It also includes the books that she gets.  There are really no other toys other than a play kitchen in the basement which does not get used much yet, but I expect will be popular in the next year, in particular in winter when we cannot bike.

How much do you guys spend on toys and educational materials?  I am quite curious.  Is there a limit? Are they getting used?  And also, if your kids have outgrown them, do you keep them for the next kid, and if so how many bins of stuff can one keep?  I have decided to keep just the learning materials, and not many other toys. 

I am however going to do a cleanup this week and perhaps bring some of the older toys to the office.  We have too much.