Sunday, December 27, 2009

A New Post (Finally)

I've been absent for a while and I know it and I have no excuse other than I've been tired and caught up in the whole Christmas rush. Things have been fine with us but I'm running out of steam really fast these days (not complaining) and not able to do as much as I did before. I would rather spend what little coherent time I do have offering support and keeping up with what's going on with some of the other blogs I have been following. Rushing around to do the normal Christmas things and shopping and trying to get ready for Righty and Lefty (my DH's nicknames for the two girls) has kept me very busy this year. I was so far behind that I didn't have time to put up the tree or decorate like I normally do (gasp) and I definitely didn't get any baking done except for a few batches of biscotti.

I will be glad when work winds down for me - only 4 more working days to go! It has gotten really difficult for me to sit down all day and by the early afternoon I am just squirming around in my chair and standing or squatting to continue working. I have definitely popped but people still say I look small for carrying twins. Since I have been very lax in posting belly pics, here are the latest ones, the first one at 24 weeks and the second one taken just this past weekend at 28 weeks.

24 Weeks:

28 Weeks:

The girls have definitely been making their presence known which is a comfort. Righty tends to sit high on my right side and likes to wedge her butt and her two little legs right on top of my ribs which can be very uncomfortable at times. We confirmed this during my last ultrasound done on Christmas eve and she even turned her head to look right at the u/s wand as if to say "What? I'm comfy here!" I can always tell when she's trying to creep back into that little pocket of space because the area gets rock hard and I get sharp pains that radiate sometimes as far as my back. Ouch! She usually moves after a little while though and if it's really painful I try to encourage her to move down a little by gently massaging her in a downward motion. Lefty is sitting much lower down and we were told that she would be the first one born if I did give birth vaginally. My left side bulges more than my right side so it makes sense that she is sitting down there. Right now, Lefty is quieter than Righty but I do feel them both moving about and kicking and it changes from week to week which one is the more active one of the two. Both girls continue to be head down which I am very grateful for because that is the best possible position for me to attempt a vaginal birth.

I just found out that my doctor will not let me go past 38 weeks and if I haven't gone into labour on my own, he will induce me. He believes that the increased risk of going to 40 weeks is not worth the incremental growth they will have in the last 2 weeks of gestation so I will be holding my two little girls in my arms by the end of the first week of March! Very exciting but kind of terrifying. I've been spending a lot of time thinking about the kind of parent I want to be and hoping that I won't mess them up with all of my good intentions. I've had a lot of family stuff swirling around me lately but that is a topic for another post some other time.

I also just found out that I am a tad bit hypothyroid (or hyperthyroid?). My last two blood tests revealed slightly lower than normal TSH and T4 values. My TSH was 0.32 and the acceptable range is 0.4 - 3.8. My T4 was 11 and the acceptable range is 12 - 21. The only record I have of this being tested was back in 2007 and at that time, my TSH was 1.2 and while normal, this is still on the low side. I wonder if this contributed to our IF? I am booked to see a specialist on Jan 13th so I will find out if this is anything I should be concerned with but the nurse at my OB's office told me that she's seen results like this many times before and they always choose not to treat it. Something to file in the back of my mind for the future I guess.

We haven't yet set up the nursery and that is causing me some concern because we are down to the final 10 weeks. A few rooms have to rotate in my house to achieve this. The study needs to move into the guest bedroom, the guest bedroom needs to be moved into the room that is currently holding all of the baby stuff (too small for a nursery) and then we can set up the nursery. We still have grandiose plans to paint and decorate but we'll see how far we get. We've started picking up some clothing, diapers and we bought our infant car seats as well so at least we can bring them home from the hospital if they arrive earlier than planned.

Right now, I feel pretty good other than being extremely tired. I'm hoping to hang on for the full 38 weeks but we'll see. I started seeing a chiropractor to help me with my back pain and that seems help but I am sore after the deep tissue manipulations he did. One weird pregnancy symptom that I have is that the area right at the top of my abdomen is numb. The doctor tells me that this is normal and is due to the nerves being so stretched but it's a strange sensation, almost like someone gave me a shot of freezing there like when you get a tooth pulled. It's all good and normal (or so I've been told). One more weird pregnancy related thing and probably TMI but my nipples are really big. They're so big that if I don't wear a heavily padded bra or if I don't add a nursing pad to some of my other bras, it looks like I'm high beaming everyone. The funny things you learn about your body while pregnant!

I'm off to take a nap - will blog again soon (I swear!).

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Rough Weekend

Mrs. Last Chance IVF needs your hugs and support right now. I truly hope that she has a late implanter there or that her beta doubles like it should and continues an upward trend...but you don't know at this stage. She's been through a lot and I know you will send her some love. This journey is so hard with tons of pot holes to make you fall down and not want to get please, help me to pick up a friend and to hold her up when she needs it the most.

Monday, November 9, 2009

It's Confirmed - We're Having Two Girls!

Last week we saw our OB who was able to confirm for us from the u/s results that the microarray was correct in the genders and we are having two little girls! It really didn't matter what we have and at the risk of sounding trite, we just want them to be healthy. Without further ado - here are the u/s photos that were taken, one of each girl:

They each have two arms, 10 fingers, two legs, 10 toes...their hearts and all major organs were working. We are very thankful.

One of them is 13.6cm and the other is a little bigger at 15.4cm. I actually pulled out a ruler to see how big that was and I can't believe they're both that big already! Although, that's still pretty tiny for a whole person.

I have started feeling more kicking from both sides. Now that I know what it feels like I pay closer attention to those sensations. My DH has taken to calling them "Lefty" and "Righty" and just this past weekend, Righty was kicking the hardest yet (which still only feels like a little tapping from the inside) and my DH was able to feel that when he put his hands on my belly. That was such a wonderful experience for us - my face just split into the biggest grin, which was mirrored on my DH's face when he felt her kicking.

I've started to loosen my death grip on my nausea medication and have weaned down one pill a day so I'm now taking 3 pills instead of 4. I've noticed the difference in that I find my gag reflex is getting more sensitive and things are starting to bother me again. However, I'm still doing okay and will hopefully be able to wean off another pill next week.

We've really started to tell our friends now and that has been such a thrill for us to share the news and receive the congratulations. Many of our friends no longer live in the same city as we do so we never see them outside of the occasional visit so they wouldn't know until we told them. It is truly wonderful to hear the excitement and joy in their voices when we tell them and allows us to lose a little of our fear and celebrate as well.

Other than that, we're starting to compile a list of all the stuff we need to get before the babies arrive. I'm 21 weeks now and really, we only have about 4 months to go and we have to be prepared if they arrive early. We've been very fortunate not to have any pre-term labour or contractions and I seem to be doing well except for the occasional ache in my hips so I'm very hopeful that I will make it to the 40 week least at this point I am!

I haven't been a very frequent blogger of late but I wanted to make sure that I asked all of you who could, to send special wishes and warm thoughts to someone I'm going to call Mrs. LastChanceIVF. Her transfer is coming up this Wednesday, which is Remembrance Day here in Canada. Remembrance Day honours war veterans and although we have not fought personally in any of the World Wars or the Gulf War or the war in Afghanistan or any othre war for that matter, we have fought our own very personal wars these past few years. As you can probably tell from her moniker, this is her last IVF and I want to send her as much positivity and good wishes that I can. If you have a few minutes, think of her and wish her well.

Friday, October 30, 2009

No results yet!

For those of you who are keeping track, yes, we did have our 20 week u/s Wednesday but here in Canada, there are signs up everywhere that clearly state that "The ultrasonographer is NOT allowed to release the results of the ultrasound and that INCLUDES the sex of the baby". I was asking very nonchalant questions, prodding gently to see how much my ultrasonographer would reveal and she was pretty tight lipped. So, we have to wait to confirm that we are having two little girls until the doctor's visit this coming Tuesday.

The ultrasonographer did take a few minutes at the end of the scan to show both my DH and some shots of the kids. It was such a relief to see them both there...moving arond, each with her own head, arms, legs, heart, feet...they looked beautiful. One of them cracked me up - she stretched her jaws into this wide yawn right as we were looking at her as if to say "Mommy! Stop keeping us up! We want to sleep! Tell her to stop jiggling us around!" It really made me realize that there are two little people inside me with their own individual personalities. Wow.

All I was told that one twin had a HB of 157 and the other HB was 145, both totally normal heart rates and looking good. I don't know if they were measuring on target in terms of size and growth as she didn't share that info with me. I think I caught glimpses of their hearts pumping away and they looked pretty normal to me, the untrained eye. Both babies are head down which is good news for me since I want to try to avoid a c-section given my issues with keloid scars. If the babies were sideways, that would mean a definite c-section unless they somehow shifted between now and then. In any case, both head down is good news for us!

I'll scan in the two u/s pictures later this weekend as we are away visiting relatives in another city. I did get two really nice side profile shots that actually look like babies...even I can identify the heads! Have a great weekend everyone and thanks for following along.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Ultrasounds Make Me Nervous & First Belly Shots

This coming Wednesday is our big 20 week anatomical scan and I am already starting to freak out a little. In hindsight, I haven't slept well the night before our other planned u/s and I seem to recall that I start feeling more nauseated right before as well.

See, I can logically explain what is going on...controlling it is another matter entirely. What I think is happening is that I worry about what we are/are not going to see. My oh so powerful subconcious mind is clinging to the nausea, making it stronger than the medication, just so I have some sort of "proof" that I am still pregnant. I haven't thrown up again yet but I am struggling again with meat and some meals just aren't going down as well anymore. My mild gagging has also come back but overall, I am still doing better than I was off medication but I am completely convinced that it's the worry about the upcoming u/s that has me nauseated again.

Some of the crazy questions I think are:
  1. Are both of them still in there?

  2. Did one of them disappear?

  3. Do they both have heartbeats?

  4. Are they still growing okay?

  5. Is one growing faster than the other and making the other one starve?

  6. Is that just discharge or am I leaking amniontic fluid?
Two nights ago I had a little mini freak out on the phone with my BFF (who is used to my craziness and talked me down quite calmly and rationally). I read in that What to Expect book (terrible, awful book) about people already starting to feel movement at the 18 week mark and since I am 19 weeks and haven't felt a thing, that got me concerned that I wasn't really carrying around babies but just two little figments of my imagination. I am not that big yet (still) and another pregnant coworker who is just 1 week ahead of me and expecting a singleton is *bigger* than I am. I know - it's not a competition but I can't help but compare and use it as a guideline as to how I'm doing. After all, I'm pretty sure she got pregnant the "normal way" whereas I didn't so I need to constantly reassure myself that my pregnancy is "normal" in its own way.

I also still have the amazing disapearing/reappearing belly. In the morning, there isn't much to look at. Some days I even convince myself that it's almost flat! At night however, after my 6 meals, my belly does seem to pop out more. You be the judge of that:

This shot was taken this morning...(19w1d)

...and this one was taken this evening after dinner...

My DH laughed...he doesn't think there is much of a difference but I think there is. Sigh - must remember not to blog while having a surge of pregnancy hormones.

Thank you to everyone who commented about the "leakiness"...makes me feel a little more like everyone else. No one else ever mentioned anything about this issue so I was really feeling like it was just me! I didn't see it referenced anywhere in the aforementioned awful resource book either and I started to think that if it's not there, than it must not be that common at all but you all proved me wrong! Yay fellow bloggers!

This Tuesday night we also start our prenatal classes at the hospital. We were wait listed for a special prenatal class for people expecting multiples and then finally got in so it will be really interesting to hear what they have to say and to meet some other people. I am going to be hard pressed not to compare tummy sizes with others around the same gestational age so I keep reminding myself that this is not a competition!

I have also bravely made my first foray into Babies R Us to start the research on the kind of stroller that we want to get and all the gear that you need to transport babies around these days. Man this stuff is expensive!! We also belong to a buyer's club and will be able to take advantage of the ability to buy without a retail markup so we are going to make good use of our membership this year. I was quite surprised how heavy some of the strollers were and I ran into another woman with twins who said that most infant strollers can't be taken with you when flying as most airlines will not allow them since they're too big/bulky/heavy. All good stuff to know but there is definitely more research to do before we buy. Besides, it still feels too early.

Anyway, that's about it for me now. Three days to go until the u/s...

Friday, October 23, 2009

Embarassing Question

So I've talked about many, very personal things on this blog - uteruses, sperm, therapy, etc. but I'm kind of embarassed about this next thing. However, curiousity has gotten the better of me and I'm going throw this question out there and see what comes back.

So here it is.

Has anyone ever lost a little bladder control when sneezing/coughing/throwing up? I never had this problem pre-pregnancy but it seems to be something I have to watch out for these days. In the split second before I sneeze/cough/throw up I have to remember to clench my muscles down there or else I just lose it...a tiny bit. I thought this was supposed to happen *after* the babies are born, not before! Either that or I guess I just have very weak Keigel muscles.

I seem to be carrying very low too so I don't know if it's just the way that everything is positioned...maybe the babies are sitting directly on top of my bladder and the weight is making me leakier than normal???

Anyone else?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Preparing My Furbaby

As many of you know, I am a dog lover and my furbaby Daisy has been a light in my life during these very long and trying 7 years it took to get to this point. She never judged me for not wanting to be social and was always willing to curl up for a good snuggle. On days where I had personal pity parties and would just lie on the floor crying, she would let me go for a few minutes and then start barking at me to get up and not feel so sorry for myself - after all, I had my wonderful DH and her right?

My DH and I have been talking a lot about how we are going to help her to adjust to the new situation. I know she will come to love our two little girls but there will be an adjustment period and we want to help her through that as much as we can. Once she discovers that they will share food with her, she will be their devoted slave forever.

Actually, we started getting her ready as soon as we got her as a puppy. We constantly touched her paws, grabbed her fur and pulled her tail, all gently of course but we did it just the same to make sure that we desensitized her to the sensation just in case a small child did it to her one day. She's very tolerant of us and she just looks at us like we're crazy and she's doing us a favour by "letting" us have our way. Have I mentioned that she is the best dog ever?

We are also looking into buying a 2nd family car, most likely an SUV and we want to do it in advance of the birth so that we can get her used to sitting in the back - the very know, the hatch back part of the SUV. Right now, she sits behind us and stretches out across the bench - she's never had to share the space so why would she start now? We don't want her to associate being demoted to the back area with the kids so we need to do this far in advance and reward her so she associates good things with sitting so far back there. She was pretty funny the first time we put her in the back of my parents' SUV - she kept on poking her head over the back seats, a little confused, looking at us as if to say "Mommy - why am I so far away? How on earth are you going to feed me cookies from all the way up there?"

We also found this great website which sells a 12 minute soundtrack of all the sounds a baby makes from laughing to screaming. Check it out:

The news article:

The website where you can get the soundtrack:

My DH was pretty funny and remarked that Daisy wasn't going to be the only one who needed to listen to this recording to become used to the sounds a baby would make!! It will do our family a world of good!

Many people have offered to take Daisy off our hands since they assume that we will be too busy with the girls but there is no way that we would give her up. She is a part of our family just like I am, my DH is and our two little girls.

We will all have to adjust but we are doing everything we can to make that adjustment easier. In my eyes, it is no different than asking a first born child to adjust to the idea of siblings. At first, they will be wary and maybe a little jealous of one another but they will soon become friends. We will still get her outside for her daily walks, run around with her and spend time being silly with her just like we are now. We need to make sure that we praise her when the babies are around (again, positive association with the two new screaming bundles) and make sure that we don't ignore her needs. We have an awesome dog walker who loves Daisy as much as we do and she has already volunteered to help us when the babies arrive so that will also ease the transition.

If anyone else has any good tips on how to make the adjustment, I would love to hear them!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Feelings of Disbelief Still Invade My Thoughts

I can't help it. I am still in disbelief that this actually happening for us. I am over 17 weeks along now and every day I still wonder if I will see blood on my underwear or have a late term loss. I've read the stories and so have many of you - people have lost their twins in the 2nd trimester so it's not exactly improbable. Things are just more complicated when there are two floating around inside. Do these thoughts and feelings ever go away?

I still try hard to support my IVF buddies who are still fighting in the trenches and I keep up with their stories because I want to know how they're doing and how they're holding up. My heart aches with every valley they hit and it lifts when they reach the peaks. Keeping up with their stories and reading the boards at IVFC reminds me how lucky we are to have these kids are and how deeply and truly grateful I am for them...but I also can't help but reflect how fragile our situation can be.

Everyone keeps asking whether or not we've started shopping and I keep saying seems too early to start yet really, we only have about 4.5 months to go so we really should start picking things up. I have also told my family and friends that I do not want a baby shower. There's that disbelief again. Chinese tradition is that we wait until the baby is 1 month old and then we have a big party to introduce the baby to society. Now I'm not usually that traditional, but in this case, it doesn't seem to be a bad thing to wait until they're actually here. Again, it's that feeling of not wanting to count chickens (or babies) until they're hatched (born).

When I'm shopping for maternity clothes, I catch myself asking about return policies and thinking about if I could still wear certain items even if I weren't pregnant - what is wrong with me?? IVF robs us of so many things and I can't help but think about the "what if". It sure would be nice to float along on a sea of pregnancy hormones, blissfully ignorant of the things that could go wrong, secure in the knowledge that you could get pregnant "just like that" again if you had to.

Part of me wonders if this is somehow connected to my early childhood learnings, that life is just darn hard. Maybe I'm making this pregnancy out to be hard for no reason...I've often wondered if my need to make this hard is tied to my inability to give up the nausea. I seem to cling to the nausea, not wanting to give it up as it provides constant reassurance that there is something going on down there. Maybe I'll be able to give it up when I really start showing.

Anyhoo...enough heavy stuff.

In terms of how I'm feeling, the medication has virtually eliminated my nausea. I still stuggle to eat meat (to which everyone keeps reminding me how vegetarians give birth to healthy children all the time) and I do get occasional twinges of nausea here and there but I am doing a lot better than I was. My lower abdomen is really firm too - I tenderly press a little here and there and wonder when I will feel an aswering push from the other side. It's still a little early to feel movement but I am waiting for that day when I can feel what is going on inside.

I may not be putting on too much weight but I am certainly retaining water and I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing. How do I know about the retaining water thing? Simple - I've had to grease my ring finger every day to get my engagement/wedding rings on and off. My hands feel kind of swollen in the mornings too and my shoes have begun to get a little tight. I figure I will eventually have to stop wearing my rings but I just love them and not wearing them is really strange for me. A small sacrifice to make though.

Feeling full is a completely different sensation too. My stomach has migrated north and when I feel full now, it's a feeling of being stretched tight across the lower ribcage area rather than deep in the abdomen.

I've been negotiating to extend my contract by a month or two just to make sure I have enough hours to qualify for maternity leave benefits. I think they may have some work for me but I haven't gotten the details nor have I gotten the official word. It's hopeful though that I will be able to get the mat leave benefits so that's good. I break into a sweat thinking about how our expenses will be changing with the coming of the twins so any money is a good thing.

Finally, I leave you with a photo of the sweetest things. My friend, L, stopped over on her way to London, UK and gave the babies their first gift. I'm okay that it's before they're actually here and she specifically asked me if it would be okay (and yes, I did squash the feeling of disbelief that accompanied the question) . I don't see her that often and it is so sweet of her to want to give us something so I thought "why not?" Maybe this will make it a little more real for us. It was just too sweet and yes, they're handmade and soft as buttercream frosting:

The pink one (and yes, that's a teeny tiny bow on top of the hat!):

The purple one (the hat is laid flat so you can check out the bow!):

Thanks L - this is what my babies will be wearing for the 1 month party!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Sue - This Post is For YOU!

I wanted to make sure I answered your question about the weight gain and I have to clarify that I am referencing a book written by Dr. Barbara Luke and her research pertains to twins, triplets & quad pregnancies. I should have been more clear when I wrote my prior post so I apologize for any confusion or worry I may have caused you - not my intention at all.

Anyway, here goes with what she says pertaining to multiple gestations. She says that the pattern of weight gain matters and that weight gain up to 28 weeks has the greatest influence on growth rate. I guess her research on twin pregnancies has shown her that weight gain before 28 weeks is correlated to weight gain after 28 weeks - the more you put on prior to 28 weeks the more you can put on after 28 weeks, or so I understand it. She also makes the point that the babies takes up more and more room as the pregnancy progresses so your stomach is squished leaving less room for food. Also, she thinks that the increased appetite at the beginning is to facilitate fat stores that will also help to provide nutrition to the babies later on when you can't eat as much.

Reference: "When You're Expecting Twins, Triplets or Quads" by Dr. Lu.k.e & Ta.mar.a, copyright 2004, HarperCollins, pg 59-60.

That being said though, I have to take what she says with a grain of salt. I was so sick in the 1st trimester and unable to eat...her weight gain goal for someone like me (first pregnancy, from IVF, twins) at the 16 week point is something like 30 lbs!!! BTW, I just noticed another chart on page 60 where she says that the optimal weight gain for a singleton pregnancy by the 20 week mark is 12 lbs - you've gained 10 so you're really close!

Anyway, that's what I was talking about in my other post. Sorry again for any worry!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Coming up on 16 Weeks!!

This Saturday I will be 16 weeks along and I still have a hard time believing that I am actually pregnant. I don't look that different and I am constantly turning sideways in front of a mirror to check my profile and then flattening my shirt against my stomach area to see how big the bump is. My DH keeps reassuring me that there is definitely a bump but really, if you didn't know, there isn't much to see at this point. I think I'm just looking a little chunky around the middle but that's it.

I'm still taking the Diclectin. I asked my OB how I would know when to stop and was told that I should continue taking it for a few weeks and be symptom free before I even think about starting to wean off of it. It's interesting - a lot of the people that I've told that I have terrible nausea are pretty judgemental about the medication. I get asked really silly questions like "Are you sure it's safe?" or "Is it really necessary to take that?". Duh - no, I'm not sure it's safe and I got it in a back alley somewhere rather than through a doctor's prescription. Of course, ideally I would not be taking any medication at all but there comes a point where you have to decide what's best. There I was, 3 1/2 months pregnant, getting more nauseated with each passing day and getting to the point where even liquids were coming back up and I was -5lbs from my pre-pregnancy weight...I have to get some nutrition to the kids somehow.

A lot of people assume that a twin pregnancy is exactly the same as a singleton pregnancy except you end up with 2 babies instead of 1 - not true. I was given a stern talking to by my OB when I met him - we are at increased risk for pre-term labour, gestational diabetes, hypertension and a whole host of other pregnancy issues. I am even more concerned about putting on weight and eating properly because I am likely not going to see the full 40 week gestation period so time is very precious. Studies have shown that putting on weight in the first 1/2 of your pregnancy influences how much you put on in the 2nd half of your pregnancy and it also affects the final birth weight of your babies. I will ideally carry until 37 weeks but who knows if I'll even make it to that point and how I'll be feeling. Hope for the best and a nice long gestation period but I have to be realistic too. So, I'm trying to eat healthy, eat constantly and drink tons of water too in the hope that it will help.

I'm pretty excited to be winding down work in another 4 weeks. I was off this week but will go back next week for the remainder of October. I was looking at our Employment Insurance ("EI") benefits (this is a government program in Canada that, among other things, provides for maternity leave benefits. We are all required to pay into this and the deductions are taken off each pay) and whether I would qualify or not and I am so close to getting benefits. Basically, I have to have worked 600 insurable hours in the 52 weeks prior to the start of my leave in order for me to qualify for benefits. I am estimating that I will have worked about 500 hours at the end of my contract so I would only need another 15 days of work. So close yet so far! Either I try to find another contract or see if they'll extend my contract at the company I'm with right now. We'll have to see what happens. It would just stink if I didn't qualify after having paid into this fund for over 15 years!

I finally finished a course I've been taking over the last year which was a huge weight off my shoulders. It's a self-study course, one that I chose to take because to maintain my accounting designation, I have to do a certain number of professional development hours every year. I wrote the exam on Tuesday (open book, multiple choice) and failed the first time (boo!) but then wrote it again right away and passed the second time! Yay! No more studying!

Other than that, I'm feeling much better these days and eating normally. The medication has really helped me to function more normally. I have an appointment tomorrow with my OB's dietician and I've been faithfully writing down everything that I've been eating since Monday. My OB refers everyone expecting twins to see the dietician since I apparently have "very specific dietary needs" in his words. It will be interesting to hear what the dietician has to say about my eating habits. Two weeks ago she would have had a LOT to say about what I was eating (essentially, nothing!).

To Sherry, who posted a while back with a question about why I went gluten's why I did it. I do not have any symptoms of having celiac disease...I've always eaten bread and flour and have had no adverse effects that I knew of. At the time, I was about 5 years into this whole IF journey, frustrated with conventional medicine and decided to try to deal with it "naturally" in addition to cycling. I attended a mind-body fertility course and part of the program included some guest speakers. One speaker was a naturopath and one of the things she suggested was to go gluten free because even though you may not have any signs or symptoms of suffering from celiac disease, you may still have it. How frustrating is that?? I thought to myself, "well, I've tried everything else...what would it hurt to do this as well??" so I did go gluten free just to see. I don't know if it made a difference or not but I was not only gluten free but dairy free and sugar free as much as possible. The whole approach was to try to maintain a balanced sugar level in your blood stream, or so the thought process went. I have to say though that I started eating gluten again after getting pregnant because the nausea was so bad all I wanted were soda crackers. I hope that answers your question.

That's it for me for now...I'll let you all know what the dietician said about my eating habits after tomorrow!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Update Slacking

Yes, I have been slacking lately. Put it down to nausea, tiredness and work. Not complaining - those are just the facts. To post a very quick update, I'm going to post in bullet points to make it faster. Here goes.

  • we came out of the closet to our family and some friends! The reaction of my MIL was absolutely fantastic and made up for my disappointment over the reaction from my own parents. She said that no matter what, she would be here to help us and that if she had to, she would hire someone to help at her restaurant while she took care of us. Nothing is going to stop her from coming!! She's the best. My own sister started screaming in excitement when I told her that we were expecting - I wasn't quite sure how she was going to react as I know she is quietly struggling with secondary IF herself and I know how hard "announcements" can be.
  • worked like crazy last week - I normally work in an office 15 minutes from my home as I am not crazy about commuting but last week I had to drive out to a smaller city which meant a 3 hour round trip each day for 3 days in a row.
  • commuting 3 hours/day for 3 days triggered an extreme nausea attack on my birthday (boo!) so I spent it leaned over a toilet
  • broke down and started taking the anti-nausea drug called Diclectin. This drug is only available in Canada and is made up of a combination of vitamin B6 and something else which is essentially an antihistamine. I threw up my first dose but have been able to keep subsequent doses down so I am slowly beginning to feel better. Side effects are dizziness and tiredness.
  • I wanted so much to control my nausea through more natural means but I am not putting on weight still and am at -5lbs to my pre-pregnancy weight which is starting to worry me. So, I started taking the medication. The thing too about Diclectin is that you have to take it continuously in order for it to be effective so it's not as if you can just pop a pill here and there as required.
  • shopped for the very first time in a maternity store - yikes!! What an experience that was!! We have substantially less selection here in Canada, the main store being Thyme Maternity and their stuff, while nice, is pretty pricey considering you're going to wear it for a few months. Still, I enjoyed the experience although I don't look yet like I belong. They had a specially shaped pillow you could put into your maternity pants so you could see how they would fit when you're bigger and WOW was it ever strange to see what I will look like in a few months!! However, it helped me to have a visual picture of what I will look like as I have never been able to picture that before in my mind.
  • started planning purchases for the babies - we're looking into strollers, rocking chairs and car seats and my DH is looking into getting a snow blower. We have to start car shopping too and will likely get out test driving this weekend
  • still worry about telling people although I am not over 14 weeks along. Still scared about m/c
  • had some weird spotting - a dark yellow, light caramel colour, definitely not red. Not sure if this is from the bleed we had during weeks 5-7 but will mention to the doctor tomorrow
  • had what I think are round ligament pains - these are like menstrual cramps and are caused by the stretching of your uterus and the ligaments that hold it in place. Mine were dull and achy in nature and lasted for several hours at a time accompanied by low back pain. Did it worry me - you betcha it did! They're gone today but it was bothering me Friday and Saturday for most of each day off and on.

That's it for now - a quickie!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Post About My Parents

Last weekend, we went over to my parents' house for dinner and to finally tell them our big news. They were pretty surprised to say the least but happy over the news. What has been bothering me is this - my parents have booked a trip and will be away from Feb 28th to March 21st. My singleton due date is March 21st but with twins, I could very easily deliver anytime in the month leading up to my due date. My parents will be away for the last three weeks before my due date which means that there is a very strong possibility that they will not be here for their birth.

Early on in our IF journey, we chose not to tell any of our parents about our decisions concerning our treatment. They all knew that we were having trouble - we were among the first to get married and years later, no children even though we have always said that we wanted kids. I also didn't want to suffer judgement from my Mom about the treatment choices we were making - she never would have agreed with the drugs that I ended up taking, the injections and definitely not the amount of money we've spent. She is of the mind set that fertility drugs = cancer but I have always said that she was never faced with the situation that I have been faced with. They know we've been to see doctors and every kind of practitioner under the sun but they don't know all of the gory details. They don't know we've done 6 IUIs. They don't know we've done 6 IVFs and they definitely don't know the real reason why we've made 4 trips to Denver in the last 12 months.

What they do know is that we have always wanted kids. I for one have always said waaaay back when I was young and naive and thought that you could simply choose to have the number of children you wanted, that I wanted to have 5 children. Yep - 5. Everyone else was saying things like 2 or 3 but I wanted 5. My parents also know that we have been trying for 7 years and last year we miscarried. They know this has been a very bumpy road for us and something not easily achieved. They know that this is something I have dreamed about since I was a little girl and that this means the world to me. I have never wanted a high powered career...but I have always wanted kids. They know this.

What upsets me is that knowing what they know, they are still choosing to go on this trip. To me, this is kind of one of those once in a lifetime events that you assume your parents are going to be at. Kind of like your wedding y'know? I thought that when I finally gave birth, they would be there, at the hospital with us to celebrate this event...but instead, they're going to be thousands of miles away. This trip on the other hand is one that runs many times every year and they would have the opportunity to go another time if they cancelled this time. We don't have a big family, just my sister and I and our two kids will be grandchildren #2 and #3 for them so it's not as if they have lots of grandchildren being born all the time. I just can't get rid of this feeling of being let down.

I've contemplated saying something to my parents but the thing is that I think my Mom would want to cancel the trip but my Dad would still want to go and this would cause a big rift between them. They both seem to have accepted that they can't get the $ back for the airfare so they've no choice but to go. I understand that this is not an insignificant amount of money to lose and I don't mean to sound flippant about it but I was still hoping that somehow they would rearrange things so that they would be here.

I should also mention that my sister, when she had her son, she specifically requested that no family visit her in the first month. They live 4 hours drive away from me and my parents so it's not like we could just drop in so we all respected her wishes and stayed away. My Mom just assumed that I would want the same thing but the difference is that my parents and I live just 5 minutes apart from one another and with two kids, I want all the help I can get!!

I am trying to accept that I cannot make choices for other people and I cannot control other peoples' actions and I need to keep focussed on what is important to us. My DH and I will celebrate this event ourselves and my BFF has already told me that nothing is going to stop her from coming to see me in the hospital. My in laws will probably come down ASAP so it will probably be okay that my parents are not there so we stagger the grandparents visits. It just makes me sad that my parents are not going to be there.

The other thing that happened when we told my parents is that my Mom keeps on trying to reassure herself that we didn't take fertility drugs. A little background information here. My Mom is a strong believer in natural remedies. About 15-20 years ago, my Dad was diagnosed with a very bad heart murmur caused by a leaky valve. His cardiologist told him that the murmur was so loud it was listening to the engine of a locomotive train. My Dad was told that eventually, he would have to have open heart surgery to repair the damage and this completely freaked out my Mom. She spent a lot of time researching and talking to people, trying to find another way to deal with this rather than having to resort to surgery. Through supplementation with something called Barley Green and an assortment of other herbal remedies, two years after his diagnosis, my Dad's cardiologist said that he could barely hear the murmur. No more leaky valve if you can believe it. Since then, my Mom believes very firmly that anything can be fixed with the right diet, exercise and supplements.

As soon as we told my parents that we were having twins, the first question out of her mouth was "Did you take fertility drugs? Because you know that always results in more than one". This really seems to matter to her. She has asked us a few times if we did or not and I always reply the same way, that yes, we had help but it's hard to say what the magic combination was in the end because we have tried everything. I am not ashamed that we did IVF but I do not want others to judge our choices. I have asked my Mom in the past to keep things to herself but she still talks about my issues with her friends under the guise that she is asking for a daughter of a "friend" of hers. Yeah, right - like her friends can't figure out that she's asking for her own daughter who has been married for 9 years and still has no kids. This is nobody else's business but ours. Is it too much to ask that the focus be put onto what is important here? We're having two babies! My parents are going to have two more beautiful grandchildren! Isn't that enough?

So, that is what has been weighing on my mind of late. I know that my DH and I are so excited about the kids and we are really looking forward to their birth in 2010. If they're born before Feb 14th, they'll be born in the Year of the Ox just like me! If they're born after Feb 14th, they'll be born in the year of the Tiger. We will celebrate and we are enjoy everying single second. Focus on what's important right?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Graduation Day & The Big Reveal

I've been slacking I admit. I owe a few big updates so here goes.

Last Friday, I officially graduated from CCRM. I had my blood drawn for the very last time at my local clinic (the very first IF clinic I ever went to 6 long years ago), gave out Thank You cards and gifts to the nurses who had helped me along the way and then waited for the last phone call from my nurse at CCRM. My Estrogen was still off the charts and my progesterone was still way higher than it needed to be. My nurse and I spoke, she congratulated us and I said some very heartfelt "thank yous" to her. Last few times I was in Denver, I had written her a few cards and given her a few gifts since I knew I would not have the opportunity to pass something along to her in person at a later date.

I think in today's world, there are so many instances where people hear about the bad rather than the good and I wanted to make sure that I took the time to thank all the people who helped us along the way. The nurses at CCRM, the nurses at MFC, my TCM doctor and acupuncturist, the drugstore that offers a program for IVF patients that sells the meds without a markup, my family doctor who wrote out all of my scripts from CCRM without a word, my hypnotherapist, my therapist, the TCM doctor in Denver who did my acupuncture while I was cycling...there are so many people who helped us along the way and made Graduation Day possible. There are many who have refused to help us along the way but there were enough people who agreed to help us that made today possible.

And of course, there are all of you, my tangible yet intangible support system of fellow bloggers, fellow IVFers, fellow IFs, fellow CCRMers. There has been so much that I have learned from all of you and your combined insights have prompted me to ask better questions and to demand better treatment. I am so grateful to have found you all and all of your comments, support and words of encouragement have picked me up on some of my darkest days and spoke to my heart when it felt like most people around me couldn't hear me. If I haven't said this before, I am so thankful for all of you and I would hug you all and shower you with the gratitutde in my heart if I could. I only hope that I offer the same support to others that you all have given to me. YOU made a difference to me and for that I say a very sincere and heart felt "THANKS!!".

This coming Saturday, I will be 12 weeks. We are three days away from making it past the scary first trimester. I have to admit that everytime I go to the washroom, I check my underwear to make sure that I am still pregnant. Of course, there is the constant presence of the morning sickness to serve as a reminder that hormones are still high so logically speaking, something must still be going on down there to be generating all of those hormones right?

This past week, we finally started telling people the news. We started with my parents as they are leaving on Friday on a trip for 3 weeks and I just couldn't wait until they got back to tell them. I hope that I will be showing by that point and putting on some decent weight so it would have been a real shock to them to come home to a pregnant me. My parents were pretty surprised when we told them - after all, we have been married the longest and are the only ones without children. I think they had given up on us ever making "the announcement". More to talk about here with this reveal (there's a strong chance they will not be here for the birth and a lot of prying questions about how we got pregnant) but I'll save that for another post.

My second reveal was to my boss and her boss at work. We have a busy time coming up and there was a request for me to be out at an offsite location over an hour away for 8:30am which was not going to happen given my intense morning sickness. It was so strange to tell people - in a good way of course - but kind of scary since I am not yet technically out of the first trimester. I had to tell them so we could make other arrangements. I guess this gets easier and easier and it will once I begin to really show. Right now I'm just a little chubby :).

Symptom wise, I'm hoping that the nausea will disappear on Saturday right at the 12 week mark but just in case it doesn't, I am going to the doctor's tomorrow to get a prescription for the Zofran. I've had some pretty rough days but then I've had some okay days as well. I have a little paunch going on that is pretty small in the morning and then grows to a decent size by the end of the day but nothing too noticeable yet. I think because my uterus is tipped backwards, when I eat during the day, it pushes the uterus out. I have a disappearing/reappearing belly! I'm still at a net loss of 4 pounds and I really need to start putting on the weight. I am nauseated every morning, my sense of smell is really acute (poor DH has had to eat dinner by himself many nights) and by dinnertime, I am nauseated again or have no appetite. Meat still needs to be hidden so I can eat it. However, all these symptoms are good things because it confirms that something is still going on.

Three more days and counting!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Week in Review

I am 10w1 day today and this is the furthest I've ever made it. Every week is another milestone...well, every day is another milestone really.

The nausea has continued to come with a fierceness some days but then it's not so bad other days. It's hard to know what kind of day it's going to be - I can wake up feeling just fine and by the time I make it downstairs to eat breakfast, I will have a full on nausea attack making every single bite very hard. Did you know how big an apple can grow to when your stomach is rolling?! Of course, I have my trusty side kick with me (Daisy) who is more than willing to eat the scraps! Meat is still a no-go for the most part unless it is hidden very well under piles of breading or a bun. Gluten free is right out the window. I've also been having talks with the two little ones, asking them to please tell me what they want to eat because I'm just trying to feed the two of them. Last night, they got me out of bed at 10pm because my stomach started to rumble since I skipped my 9pm snack in favour of going to bed early. It was a clear message - eat a snack now or we're going to wake you up at 4am to go eat!!!

We had an ultrasound on Friday and we got to see the babies again which was a relief. We haven't seen them since our last u/s at 7 weeks and I do wonder if they're both still there and doing okay, especially since my nutrition isn't that great some days. One baby measured exactly 10 weeks with a hb of 164 and the other one was at 9w6d with a hb of 175. Both normal. Both there. Both doing okay. The u/s tech had a hard time getting a good look at one of the babies because they were moving around and "playing" according to her - how cool is that? They're already moving around and playing with each other! I hope that this means they're going to be the best of friends. I felt very much like Rachael on Friends when she was looking at an u/s picture of Emma and couldn't see the baby...I was pointing at the picture, asking if I was looking at the head and the u/s tech said "No, that's the bum. This is the head"! Same thing with the other baby lol. So without further ado, here are our babies' first picture:

I cut my hair too for donation to Pantene Beautiful Lengths, the charitable program that makes wigs for women who suffer from cancer. This is the second time I've done it and I've been growing my hair for a year and finally just barely had the 8" required, so I chopped it all off. I haven't felt like a contributing member of society for the last 7 years to be honest with you admist all this IF business and by doing this, I feel like I am contributing back to society in a small way. Anyone can do it - no special skills required. You just have to be willing to care for your hair while it grows. My hair is now so short (she cut the ponytails and my first thought was "OMG I look like a boy") but my DH was so sweet and told me that my hair now looks like Rihanna's. Mine is definitely not as cool as her hair but it was totally sweet of DH to tell me that.

And speaking of DH, can I just say how awesome he has been since I have gotten pregnant? He is the best, most awesome guy and he has treated me like nothing short of a queen. Some examples of why he is such a great guy and why he is going to make such a great Dad:
  1. I have not picked up dog poop for 5 weeks
  2. He has completely taken over cooking and making meals
  3. He will often make me two or three things at meal times to try and tempt my palate and won't cringe when I turn down option after option
  4. He packs my lunch every day when I go to work
  5. He's taken over cleaning the house and anything chemical related so I don't get exposed - this even translated to him removing the nail polish on my toes because he didn't want me to be touching the nail polish remover :)
  6. He carries anything heavy for me...well, really, he will carry anything for me, even my purse
  7. He's always there to give me a hug, rub my back and tell me that everything is going to be okay, especially when I'm not feeling that great
  8. He drives me everywhere I need to go to make sure I am not getting too tired

I could go on, but he is just the most wonderful man and we are so very lucky to have him in our lives. Thanks honey - you're the BEST!!

Speaking of how wonderful my DH is, I am going to leave you all with a funny story of something that happened this past week. I was watching re-runs of one of my favourite shows, How I Met Your Mother, and the last 5 minutes of the episode I was watching reduced me to tears. Not just tears mind you...the sobbing, hands on my face kind of crying that my DH hear from upstairs. He came flying down the stairs, pulled up a chair right next to mine and asked me what was wrong and why I was crying so hard. I just pointed to the TV screen and managed to choke out "Lilly....and Marshall....." He took one look at the TV and burst out laughing - I laughed too because I knew how ridiculous it was that I was crying over the episode but then I started crying again. Hormones eh? [For those of you HIMYM fans, it is the episode where Marshall isn't going to meet Lilly at the airport but then decides to in the end and brings along a marching band that plays "Auld Lang Syne" so they can re-do New Year's even properly - once the first few notes of the song started playing I was blubbering away!]

I have my first u/s with my new OB on Sept 8th so we'll be looking forward to seeing the babies then.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Morning Sickness - 1; Me - 0

**Warning: this post talks alot about nausea, morning sickness and vomiting so if you have a strong gag reflex or are not feeling so great yourself, you may want to skip it!**

Wednesday this week I lost my battle with morning sickness and I threw up for the first time. I've been saying all along that I've felt fine and that I just have a strong gag reflex but this week, that gagging has turned into full on nausea. I haven't been able to eat dinner for the past few days as my nausea seems to be the worst at night. I've also found that my stomach seems to have shrunk to the size of an orange and I can eat only about half as much as I could in the past. Frequent small meals has turned into a continual stream of food all day, eaten one tiny bite at a time as that is all I can manage without getting even more naseated.

I absolutely cannot stomach meat - I had some beautiful roasted pork tenderloin and as soon as I put the bite into my mouth, I felt my stomach clench and all the contents in my stomach started to rise up from the very bottom and go all the way up to the base of my throat. Needless to say, I did not swallow that bite or anything for a while thereafter!

I am finding that the strangest foods are sitting well with me and my favourite foods are not. I am a total meat eater and this meat aversion is weird to say the least. I don't particularly like fish (all those tiny bones) but that seems to sit well with me so this is one of the only proteins I can get down aside from lactose free dairy and soy.

I have weaned further of my meds so I am actually feeling a bit better today so I'm hoping that my hormones are staying high but not crazy high like they were last week. It will be interesting to see what the levels come back at today. I am still grateful for the nausea though and I am by no means complaining - it's confirmation that there is something going on down there.

I've lost a few pounds from my inability to eat and not eating any meat so I'm down about 4lbs from my pre-pregnancy weight. I'm reading Dr. Luke's book and by this point, she's saying that I should have gained about 9lbs - HA! Fat chance of that happening when I can't even keep down my breakfast! It's such a shift in mind set too - we're so conditioned into thinking about eating low calorie, low fat, low carb foods and now all of a sudden it's the exact opposite. It's okay to drink the higher fat milk and eat the full fat cheese!

At the height of my nausea 2 nights ago after the AM barfing incident, I was so hungry but extremely nauseated that I was getting sooo frustrated. This was also the night of the pork tenderloin that I spit out. I literally put my hands over my face and cried from sheer frustration. [Can someone say HORMONES?] My DH and I talked about it what to eat again and we decided to go with a gluten light kind of diet and I would get to chew on a few soda crackers on nights like that. Perhaps even a few dry pieces of bread to help with the nausea. I have long suspected that I do not have celiac nor a sensitivity to wheat but after avoiding it for so long, I was really hesitant to out and out eat gluten. Our goal was to hang on until at least the end of the 1st trimester but I just couldn't do it.

No spotting or bleeding this week - yay!

Our continued quest to find an OB has finally resulted in a referral. I'm just waiting to hear back about when our first appointment is going to be. I couldn't get into the high risk practice at the hospital in Toronto and was referred to their low-risk practice instead. I'm okay with that because if anything happens, at least we are at a hospital that has neo-natal intensive care facilities and they do have an entire team of specialists that we can be referred to if required. A funny aside - my first RE here has been super nice to me and I couldn't figure out why...until her receptionist called and asked if I had chosen an OB yet and if we were going to use her!! all makes sense now, why she has continued to let me use her clinic for b/w and u/s and has agreed to fax the results to CCRM. Luckily, we have valid reasons for wanting to go downtown but it was very enlightening to realize why she was being so nice!

I think we're still in a bit of disbelief about what is going on. We haven't had an u/s in 2 weeks so I have started to wonder what's going on down there. We're going to rent a doppler but will likely wait a little while longer. Only 3 more weeks to go until we're out of the 1st trimester and hopefully we can begin to breathe a little easier. Until then, no rash, no spotting...everything is good!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Bleeding has stopped!

The spotting/bleeding finally stopped on Wednesday this week. Phew! However, that doesn't stop me from checking every time I go to the bathroom. I have been so careful not to twist or lift anything heavy. I still had some spotting last weekend and on Tuesday, I went into my old clinic to get some b/w done and begged and pleaded for a second u/s. We saw the babies again and they were measuring right where they should have been - 7w3d so everything is looking good so far. I still have not gotten an u/s picture but I figured that they made a special accomodation to get me in for an u/s and I'm not even a patient there anymore so I'll take the u/s and get the picture later.

Did you know that you're not supposed to do acupuncture in the 1st trimester? I told my nurse I was continuing to do acupuncture and she asked me to stop b/c it could exacerbate the bleeding! I didn't know that - I figured it was good pre so it must be good post too so that the kiddos are getting enough nutrients and everything else they need from me. My issue is blood stagnation as well so I figure it can't be a bad thing to keep everything moving. My TCM is very careful in that she doesn't do any abdominal points and she is not stimulating me at all...just keeping the channels open and everything moving. I'm still going to go, but maybe every 2 weeks instead of once a week.

In terms of how I'm feeling, I am 8w1d today and my body is still figuring things out. I'm not nauseated but I have an extremely sensitive gag reflex. Food is sitting a bit high with me. Smells are bothering me a lot. I guess there's not a lot of room down there where my stomach used to be and my uterus is pushing everything around. I feel like my food sits around lung level, between the bottom of my lungs and the base of my throat. Week 6 saw me completely unable to eat meat. Even the thought of putting meat into my mouth was enough to make me gag. That is so strange for me because I am a complete meat eater but it completely turns me off right now.

Week 7 saw the gagging abate a tiny bit but it's still there. We were walking through the grocery store yesterday and I swung a little too close to the fresh meat counter and promptly gagged so I had to scuttled away quickly to hide in the pharmaceutical section. I know it's important to eat protein but I've had to look to other non-meat sources. I actually was able to get a little meat down yesterday but I had to hide it under a layer of vegetables and condiments. I actually broke out into a Joey Tribbiani "meat sweat" and my face was covered in fine prespiration when I was done but I got it down and I feel better for having had the protein. I dislike the whey protein shakes because they always upset my stomach (I think whey is a form of dairy and I'm lactose intolerant) so I've been drinking my lactose free milk, eating my lactose free yogurt and chowing down on the tofu.

My DH is so cute when I have one of my little gagging spells. He says that it's the twins' way of saying hello and has even gone as far as to say in a very high falsetto "Hi Mommy!" when I start gagging, coughing and turning green. I have to laugh when he does it! I don't mind the gagging, honestly - it confirms that there is still something going on down there so every gag is a little reassurance in my books!

I'm still searching for an OB/GYN who specializes in high risk pregnancies. The first one my family doctor referred me to was highly recommended but she wouldn't see me until 20 weeks which I think is way too far into the pregnancy, especially since there is more than one involved here. She is also not affiliated with a hospital that has a neo-natal intensive care unit since the hospital is not downtown Toronto, so we ended up rejecting that referral. The second doctor we were recommended to actually got more lousy reviews than good reviews so we nixed her as well. The third doctor we tried was full and not accepting any more patients. So, we are now trying to get in with the guru of all high risk pregnancies here in Toronto but I haven't heard yet if he will take us or not. We shall see but I need to find someone soon so we can do the 10-11 week check. Who knew that finding an OB would be this hard?

I've been sleeping A LOT lately too. I'm a 7 hours a night kind of girl and even if I napped in the past, I would feel terrible for the rest of the day and then only sleep a little at night. In comparison, for the past few days, I've been napping for about 3 hours in the afternoon and then heading to bed by 8pm to sleep until 7am the next morning. Crazy! I know they say that the exertion your body is going through is akin to climbing a very, very tall mountain but I have never slept so much in my life! I also get tired very easily so a quick trip to the grocery store is all I can more running multiple errands in one shot.

It's so interesting to watch all of these changes and to be aware of them as we progress along. My body is definitely changing. We've also started to wean off the meds (yay!) and my E2 is still >2000 and my P4 is >50 so things are looking good. No bleeding, weaning off the meds, hungry and tired most of the's all good!

Friday, July 31, 2009

A Little More Scary Bleeding

**Warning - this is definitely a TMI kind of post with lots of bodily functions discussed in detail**

Wednesday night I had a very scary episode of bleeding. If I thought the little spotting was bad enough on the weekend to send us to the emergency, this was out and out bleeding. Frightening.

I went to go pick up my DH at work Wednesday night and went to pee right before I left. Nothing on the pantyliner. When I got back 45 minutes later, my pantyliner was about 50% soaked with bright red blood. I even noticed a drop or two in the toilet water. We called CCRM right away and they put me on bed rest for the rest of the day plus the next day and prescribed me an antibiotic (eurythromicin?). The nurse told me that if there is a tear (which they did see on Saturday's u/s pictures), there is now risk of infection so they want to make sure that they've covered off that possibility. I also made the nurse tell me and then repeat twice that the bleeding is normal, especially with twins. It's still so freaky though - one moment you're fine and the next moment you've got blood all over your underwear. I don't even get menstrual flow that heavy on a good cycle!

The one good thing is that I haven't noticed any cramping at all which is the only thing that I find reassuring. The bleeding started and stopped pretty quickly but I've continued to spot in varying shades of pink/bright red/brown. I've also had a lot of vaginal discharge from the high levels of E2 so every time I feel that there is moisture, I rush to the bathroom to look since I can't tell anymore what it is - blood or discharge? I'm back to obsessively checking the toilet paper every time I pee.

Well...I wished for a little morning sickness and I got my wish. Meal times have become very challenging for me. It's not that I feel queasy most of the time - I actually feel pretty hungry a lot but once I raise that fork to my lips, I feel my throat closing and I gag alot. My poor DH has been running around, heating up food for me that I don't end up eating. My problem is that I'm trying to remain as gluten free as possible througout the first trimester but man, what I would give for some dry toast or soda crackers! I know these are not gluten free, but I've been eating a lot of dry cereal of late - Corn Flakes & Rice Crispies. It's all that I can get past my lips these days. I have also noticed that if I let myself get too hungry, the gagging gets even worse so I am trying to keep a steady stream of food to my mouth but that has been challenging. So far, dry cereal, fruit, smoothies, clear soups & rice noodles have been all that I can get down. I've found some gluten free waffles that are pretty good so I've been eating those too. I've been chewing on the ginger a lot but that doesn't seem to do much. Anyone have any suggestions on what calms their stomachs and what they've been eating?

Well, back to lying down. I promised my DH that I wouldn't sit at the computer too long and we don't have a laptop or wireless internet. Thank you for all of your sweet comments everyone and for coming back and checking in on me. You're all so sweet!

Monday, July 27, 2009

A Day Spent in Emergency

Saturday morning I woke up and found some bright red spotting on my underwear, more than I had ever seen before. I had been spotting for a few days before that but I was reassured because it was always dark brown in colour and really can't be described as anything else except a light staining. I wasn't having any cramps but the fact that the colour changed from dark brown to bright red and that there was more of it than I had ever seen before, we decided to be cautious and headed to emergency at 8:45am on Saturday morning. My local clinic had already finished cycle monitoring and there wasn't an ultrasonographer in sight so we didn't really have a choice but to head to emergency.

It took *hours* to get the bloodwork done and to get in for an emergency ultrasound but we did get everything done that we needed. The ER doctor was actually really good and I know I wasn't high priority since I wasn't gushing blood but she kept on checking in with us and tried to hurry the process along as best she could. Six hours later, we finally got some answers. We got our HCG levels rechecked and by my calculations, we should have been in the 30,000 range and it actually came back at 75,000+.

We were also squeezed in for an emergency ultrasound. This was our first ultrasound and was right at the six week mark so it's iffy whether or not you'd see a heartbeat at this point. I couldn't help but remember all of the ladies I had read about who posted on IVFC who didn't see heartbeats until 7w and beyond but then suffered the stress of going to their first u/s and not seeing a heart beat. I was worrying about everything while the hours ticked away and we waited to get in for an ultrasound. I was worrying about seeing an empty sac, the baby having no hearbeat...all the paranoid kind of stuff that can go through your mind as you wait and clock watch. Tick tock, tick tock...

When the time finally came for my ultrasound, they made my DH wait outside. Then, the technician didn't or wouldn't say a thing during the exam - there were signs everywhere that said that the ultrasonographer needed to do the exam uninterrupted and the way they had me propped up, I couldn't see the screen at all. The scan went on for a good 20 minutes and during the whole thing, she said not one word. I was trying to face-read any expressions and I was hoping to catch a glimpse of something in the reflection on her glasses but alas, nothing was revealed until she was done.

We're having twins!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My little 4CB and 2/3 both took! We are stunned and so incredibly, totally and completely grateful. And to think that we were going to give up on them, cycle again in hopes of getting a few more to transfer. I'm going to say it again - we are stunned. Both looked really good according to the radiologist and measured at 6w2d and they were able to find both heartbeats!! Way to go my little overachievers!!!

The spotting that sent us to emergency on Saturday morning was a subchorionic hematoma which is essentially a blood clot between the yolk sac and the uterine wall. I sent off the ultrasonographer's report to CCRM and got a call from them the next day and the nurse explained "subchorionic hematoma" to me in layman's terms. Apparently, the spotting is caused by the placenta tearing away from the uterine wall a little. Scary eh? She said to be really cognizant of my body motions, emphasizing that I was really not to lift anything heavy and no twisting body motions either. If it happens again, she said to put myself on bedrest, put my feet up and rest until the bleeding goes away.

Since the ultrasound was done in a hospital emergency, we weren't given the option of taking a photo home but my DH did get to come in after she was done and saw the pictures on the screen. When she finally told me, I burst into tears and then proceeded to cry all over my DH when he saw the pictures. It was such a relief to see both of them and to know that everything is going well. It was a very long and tiring day but it was worth those 6 hours in emergency to find out that information. A bad start to the weekend but it has gone up to a high for sure.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Protocol Details

As promised, here is the protocol that I was on for the embryo retrieval portion of my cycle. Please keep in mind that I was also doing acupuncture 2x/week with a TCM that specialized in IF and I was also taking Chinese herbs. I continued to take the herbs without my clinic knowing and against their advice - they have a very clear policy of no herbs, even in the form of herbal tea.

I think this protocol is commonly referred to as the Estrogen Priming Protocol (EPP) and went like this:

1/28 - AF arrives; DH and I both start Doxycycline 2x/day for 10 days

2/6 - start testing for LH surge using OPK

2/8 - LH surge detected

2/18 - start estrace 2mg 2x/day (10 days after LH surge)

2/19 to 2/21 - Cetrotide injections 1x/day

2/23 - AF arrives; stop Estrace

2/24 - pre-stimulation check meaning u/s to check for cysts, E2 & P4 check
2/25 - start stims - 2 amps of Menopur in the AM; 300 Gonal F in the PM; start Dexamethasone 1x/day in the evenings; repeated daily

3/2 - continued stims as above & began Cetrotide 1x/day

3/7 - last day of stims; only did 2 amps of Menopur in the AM; no Gonal F in the PM; HCG shot at specified time

3/9 - embryo retrieval

I discussed my Day 3 fertilization report in a previous post but this was definitely the best cycle for us in terms of total retrieved, mature & fertilized. We have never made blast before either so there were some significant improvements over our previous cycles.

As we chose to do genetic testing, this was a freeze all cycle for us and we returned in July to do a FET & pick up the kid(s). I hope this helps!

As for the awful rash, it's still there and my hives have hives but it is slowly going down. I have been slathering Calamine lotion all of my torso to help with the itchiness and it makes it go away temporarily but all it takes is for a soft touch of fabric against the rash for me to get the urge to SCRATCH!!!!! I've never used Calamine lotion before and am quite surprised how watery it is but whatever works. I switched to oral Estrace on Friday thank goodness so it is just a matter of time until my rash goes away.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Rash & Memory Issues

I have completely broken out into this awful rash...exactly the size and shape of 4 Estradot (Vivelle) patches. I have 4 welts on my lower abdomen and about 8 welts on my buttocks. I want to scratch SO BADLY and every time I go to the bathroom (which is many, many times a day), the simple sensation of pulling down my pants to pee drives me to distraction and it is all I can do not to scratch. Sometimes I give in and scratch for a few seconds but you know how it is - once you start, you have a hard time stopping.

This is not a complaint - I welcome this experience and everything that goes along with it and I do mean everything, even the itchy, uncomfortable rash. I haven't heard of any of you other ladies out there mentioning a rash so I was curious to know if anyone was able to get rid of one once they got it?? It has been days now since I peeled off the ones from my abdomen and I can still count all 4 patches. My buttocks feel like they're on fire and the warmth from the rash you can feel right through my pants. I'm going to try some calamine lotion on it tonight and hopefully that will help it go down or go away. I read the instructions that came in the box of Estradot and I chose a different site today (upper abdomen, waist area) which is okay as per their helpful diagram so hopefully the skin in the new area will not flare up.

I have also been extremely absent minded of late. I am forgetful on a good day and it has just gotten worse in the last week. Here's my list of absent minded things I've done recently:
  1. Opened up my drawer in the bathroom to find my brush, hair bands...and my watch! I always put my watch on my night stand so I have no idea why I would suddenly change that and put it in the bathroom drawer.
  2. Put my plastic cards in the wrong slots in my wallet and then freak out because I can't find my credit was just in the wrong slot.
  3. Lost my denim jacket...I can't even remember WHEN I lost it so it could have been lost for the past week and I can't remember where I last had it!
  4. Forgot a very important PIN #...finally figured it out but and I had all the right digits, just completely in the wrong order! (Do you know how many combinations 4 digits can make??)

I've been feeling okay for the most part. Today I didn't really have any symptoms which is a little worrisome but I have to remind myself that these will come and go. I just would like some verification every day that there is still something going on down there. Just a teeny, tiny little bit of MS would be good but from what some of you ladies are reporting, there never is just a teeny bit is there? You're all going to remind me that I wished for MS if I do get some down the road aren't ya?!

Still enjoying the ride though, every single second of it!!

P.S. for the two ladies who delurked and dropped in to say congrats ("Anonymous" and "triumph") - thanks! I know you want protocol details and I will post them this weekend but I think what made the difference for me was the CGH microarray testing and transferring only the embryos that came back normal.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Beta #2 - 11dp5dt was 551!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I got the call at 11:15am today from the local clinic. The nurse there, the very first IVF nurse I ever came into contact with, agreed to call me because she knew how nervous we were. I promptly burst into tears, made her repeat the number, we cried together and then I hung up the phone to run to the bathroom to have a really good "I'm so happy" cry your eyes out in private.

The number was supposed to be above 310 and it more than doubled. In fact, it almost quadrupled since Friday!!! Way to go my little over achiever(s)!!! I am reassured...for the moment. Once a worry wart, always a worry wart. I've already got my next thing to obssess about but I won't spoil this moment. I just want to ride this high. The feeling of *finally* taking a few steps down a different pathway, one we've been trying to get to for the past 7 years.

DH has been so wonderfully sweet, lifting anything for me, making me all my meals every day, telling me to put my feet up while he runs around, taking care of the house hold chores. He's going to make a great Dad.

I know there is a lot of speculation that there may be more than one in there but we won't know until the ultrasound. I've booked that for Wednesday July 29th in the late morning so I will find out then. Until then, I'm just trying to enjoy the fact that today, as of right now, I am pregnant.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Beta Day Thoughts

Our morning started out with a trip to our local clinic. This is the clinic where it all started for us 6 years ago and in comparison, let's just say that it is not the place that CCRM is. However, they have continued to agree to help us which has made cycling in the US doable.

The plebotamist doesn't have the best beside manner and can be extremely gruff and she kind of freaked me out a little yesterday morning. In Canada, they make you wait at least 2 weeks post transfer to do a pregnancy test. Many times, I would get my period first before getting the beta done. In response to her question about how many days it was post transfer, I told her eight days had passed since my day 5 transfer and she started to complain that this was way too early to test and that the test results wouldn't be conclusive. Ack - are you serious?! Then I told her that I had already been testing postive on multiple HPT for a few days and she told me that "it doesn't matter what the HPT say because you need a blood test to determine the beta conclusively and it's too early to test". OMG. I did start to wonder whether the number would be really low, like in the 20's, but then I decided to put my faith in CCRM and NOT that clinic and trust that if we were testing this early, it was okay. I think that a lot of times people you run into doing all this IVF stuff just don't realize what the impact of their words are on people.

I then proceeded to go to work and then clock watch until I got the call at noon. I have call display at work and when the phone rang, I knew immediately it was CCRM calling since the area code was 303 . I was nervous, my heart was beating rapidly and I was almost afraid to answer the phone. What if the number was really low? I was so relieved when my nurse told me that the number was good (140) and that this was really really good because we tested a day earlier than normal. They were only looking for it to be >50 so we passed that first hurdle.

I was surprised to hear that CCRM only looks for a 66% increase over a 48 hour period. I know everyone else talks about wanting to see it double and all my research has said that it should double but again, if CCRM thinks that a 66% increase is good, that's what we're going with. I needed a number to know what we were aiming for on Monday's test and it rounds to about 310:
  • Friday's beta of 140 x 1.66 = 232.4 <---what Sunday's beta should be at least

  • since we're testing on Monday, we have to take half of the 66% increase between Sunday and what would have been Tuesday's beta

  • 232.4 x 66% x 50% = 76.69 expected rise in beta from Sunday to Monday

  • So, Sunday's expected beta should be at least 232.4 + the expected rise in the beta to Monday of 76.69 = 309.09

My husband came over to my office for lunch (he works right across the road) so we sat outside in the warm sunshine and I told him the details from my call. We're keeping ourselves cautiously optimistic until Monday's beta and will celebrate when we get the news that it has increased at least 66% or higher.

We've been talking to the baby/babies every day, telling them to snuggle in and find a good place to hang out for the next 9 months. I find myself talking to them when I can and I don't know if it's more to reassure myself that I'm actually pregnant or to help me to believe that we are no longer the three of us (DH, Daisy our dog and I) but the four or maybe the five of us now. Fingers, toes and everything else crossed until Monday.


Jill M. - this part of the post is for you girl.

My hypnotherapy sessions were $150 each. I did two in total. The first one was on the phone entirely and we talked for an hour during which she collected a lot of background information, IF history, status of my relationship with my DH, childhood memories and really, anything that concerned me and my thoughts on the whole IF journey we've been on.

She then took that info away and made a personalized self-hypnosis recording for me that I have downloaded into my iPod and have listened to over and over again since then.

My second session with her was the week before transfer and I actually met her at her office in Westminster in Denver (about a 1/2 hour drive from CCRM). This time she did a hypnosis session live with me (vs. sending me a recording) and we spoke a lot about anything that was bothering me or that I was particularly concerned about at that time. This time she took about 2.5 hours with me and it was still only $150.

Lynsi was great and I would highly recommend her. I found her to be very insightful and she was able to draw connections for me that no one else has been able to do before. Those really were revelations for me, real epiphanies and if you ask me, so worth the $300 I spent with her.

The other thing that I like is that I never felt pressured to see her x number of did as many sessions as you needed to in order to deal with what it is that you were feeling. She recommends 2-6 sessions but at no point did I ever feel pressured to do more than I felt that I needed.

Would I recommend her? Definitely - yes. You can at least try her out and if you don't connect with her, than you don't have to continue but at least you will get a personalized hypnosis to download out of the first session that you can keep.

Good luck and let me know if you do get in touch with her. She'll probably remember me since she is also Canadian :).

Friday, July 10, 2009

Beta #1 at 8dp5dt


It's so surreal.

It's early to be testing too and we got a great first number! We are keeping ourselves cautiously happy because of what happened the last time...we got a great first number which then did not proceed to double and then we went right into beta hell.

However, this time, things are different. We transferred NORMALS so if it took, it took right? We're repeating the test on Monday since the local clinic doesn't run pregnancy tests over the weekend. CCRM wants to see it above 310 as they are only looking for a 66% increase in a 48 hour period so I made my nurse sit down and do the math with me and 310 is the magic number for Monday's test.

Dare I say it?


More later - I'm supposed to be lying down per DH's instructions but I just had to post a little update for y'all since you've been so supportive and wonderful and kept me going for such a long time.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Evil. Pee. Sticks. Need I say more?

My friend A. reminded me how quickly your emotions can turn on the lightness or darkness of a pee stick line, hence the "evil pee sticks" title of this post. I started the day out optimistically thinking that first morning urine will have a high concentration of HCG so my ghost line should get darker right? Seems logical. [insert heavy sarcasm here] Now what about the journey so far would make me think that things happen LOGICALLY???

I proceeded to POAS and got this:

Snow white. After an agonizing 10 minutes (after which they say you're not supposed to read the results), a very faint second line showed up. Of course, you can imagine the freaking out that started. So I pulled out my very last, expensive Cl.ea.r.blu.e. test, took a deep breath and then followed the instructions exactly and got this:

It reassured me somewhat but then I started to wonder why the first test showed nothing? Same pee. Did that mean it wasn't doubling properly? I have been caught in non-doubling beta hell before and to say we're nervous and anxious is an understatement.

I left all my HPT at home, swore I would not test during the day and lasted all the way until I got home at 7pm and broke down and tested again. I've been trying to stay hydrated throughout the day and drank lots of water so I wasn't sure what I would get but there is definitely a second line now...faint but still there:

Pee sticks are evil. How am I ever going to last until Friday's beta?

I'm scared...this is where we got to last time, the high of a BFP and then the crashing desolation of a non-doubling beta. I keep reminding myself that we transferred two normals so our chances are so much better this time but still, there is that nagging fear.

I made an appointment with my family doctor tomorrow because I need a prescription for more meds to get me through the weekend but I don't know what to ask for. My nurse never e-mailed me back. Do I need 2 weeks of Estradot (Vivelle), Progesterone & Estrace? Four weeks? When do they start weaning you off if your b/w comes back okay?

How do you ladies stay sane???

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Ghost Line?

Did you lean forward and squint? I sure did. I've been carrying around these tests for the last 2 hours so I can look at them in all different kinds of light - natural light, strong lamp light, bathroom get the picture!

I got home late last night and immediately POAS and that one was for sure a ghost line - only could see it faintly in strong light, tipped at a certain angle. I then proceeded to have a few POAS dreams. In my dream, the POAS was 3 lines not just two and when I went to read the results, a huge spot obliterated the lines so I couldn't tell. Ha!

I then got up this morning and did another one. I went back to the test strip seller's website to check to ensure that I had followed testing instructions properly and then proceeded to do a second test about 15 minutes after the first one just in case and I think, I think I see a faint second line. The top one is the one from last night. the two at the bottom are from this morning. What do you think????

Thank goodness I bought these tests in bulk - I have at least 30 more sticks to play with between now and Friday (beta day). It's still really early and today is just 5dp5dt (5 days post day 5 transfer) but a girl can hope can't she?

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Transfer Day Details

I'm back but only for a quick 10 minutes as that is all my DH will allow me to sit at the computer for. Good thing I type pretty quickly!

First of all, THANK YOU to everyone who took the time to stop by and wish us well. I really felt all of your good wishes and positive energy and took that with us into the transfer room. I am so very lucky to have such support and from so many of you who have been in the trenches for as long as we have been. July 2009 marks the 7 year anniversary of the start of our IF journey and I am so grateful for the many of you that I have met along the way. Your support has been invaluable and has meant so much to me.

Transfer day was awesome - both embies thawed with a 100% survival rate (i.e. no cellular damage to either) and both re-expanded fully. I asked the embryologist if they regraded the embies and she said that they didn't but the two things they look at post thaw are the % of cells that survived and the re-expansion so both looked pretty good to them. So I got my wish - two microarray normal embies to transfer! YAY!

We tried to take a photo of the little computer screen but we had some technical difficulties and combined with nerves, we didn't actually get a shot of them. I'll try to describe them as best I can. The 4CB embie was almost fully hatched. It kind of looked like the number "8" in that it had the original outline of the egg and then there was a round mass right on top of it that was attached. The other one, the 2/3 was starting to hatch and had a little bump on the one side where you could see that it was starting to come out of the shell. So another YAY! Two hatching blasts!!!!! We are thrilled beyond words. We got our wish to have two normals to transfer that were hatching. We are so grateful.

Bed rest was awful. I watched so much TV yesterday that I made myself sick. Now let me tell you all that I am prone to motion sickness and that I have given myself "TV head" before by watching too much television so this is not something unusual. I was also getting pretty restless so I was watching from strange positions - slightly propped up, on my left side, curled up on my right side, get the picture. Of course, it doesn't help that my antenna is tuned to high so I'm wondering "is this pregnancy nausea?". This happened twice the afternoon and again at night. I also crashed really early the day of the transfer at 8pm (probably the Valium?) and again the next night at 9pm.

I so wish I had brought some HPT with me so I could start testing but I thought that Monday when I arrived home would be the earliest I would test as that would be 4dp5dt (4 days post 5 day transfer). So I have to wait although I am bouyed by the fact that many of you have gotten positive results on day 4 or day 5. No twinges to speak of.

Right now I'm so very thankful for everything as it has gone so well thus far. Oops! There is the 10 minute timer and I have to sign off now. More when I get home.


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Happy Canada Day, The Most Annoying Pregnant Woman Ever and Pre-Transfer Jitters

Happy Canada Day to all my fellow Canadians! We will be celebrating here in Denver and wishing you all back at home a restful day and some fun fireworks.

We arrived in Denver yesterday after a pretty uneventful flight except for the most annoying pregnant woman sitting one row in front of us. I'm going to vent for a second and by no means am I painting all pregnant women with the same brush (and I mean no offense to anyone who is pregnant) but MAN! This woman was a nightmare. Basically, she was exploiting her unborn child trying to get free upgrades and inconveniencing everyone around here. She first just sat in the seat she wanted, not her assigned seat and made the other person take her old seat which didn't have in-seat entertainment (Air Canada has little screens infront of every seat and you can choose your own movie or tv show to watch...none of that little screen 10 rows up playing only 1 choice of movie!). Every "issue" that came up during the flight had her proclaiming loudly that she needed something or the other because she was PREGNANT (shouted loudly with a wide look around and a wink wink and giggle giggle to all looking) oh and did we want to feel her belly??? OMG. I felt sorry for the flight attendants that had to deal with her. She also ended almost *every* sentence with "Are there any empty seats in executive class?". If you wanted the extra space and comfort of a larger seat, you should have paid for it!! Grrrrr....May I never be that annoying or take advantage of my children that way.

Transfer is tomorrow at 2pm in the afternoon. I am doing pre and post acupuncture at CCRM. I've been trying to stay positive but a little bit of me is scared that nothing will survive the thaw and we won't have anything hatching out of the shell. I've been watching all of you ladies who have had hatching blasts and you all seem to get BFPs...not sure if it's the CGH or the CGH + hatching blast that makes the difference but I hope and pray that our little 2/3 embryo makes it to that stage by tomorrow. I also hope that our 4CB survives the thaw and maybe improves a grade or two??? They're thawing both of them today so everyone cross your fingers!!!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Denver Ho!

It's official - we got the official green light and we are off to Denver on Tuesday. Transfer is going to be Thursday July 2nd and I am excited with a lot of nervous anticipation.

Let me back up a bit for a second. Last Friday, I flew into Denver for the day (thank goodness for direct flights and executive class!!) and went to CCRM for my doppler u/s and b/w to check E2. Now remember last October when my local clinic screwed up my u/s and I ended up having to cancel my cycle after travelling to Denver? Well, that is why I didn't want to monkey around with the clinic up here. I wanted it done once and done right. Believe it or not, it was about the same cost for me to fly down to CCRM and have the work done as it was for me to stay here and have the monitoring done locally. Given the choice, I would rather go to Denver so I did!

My lining needed to be 8-10mm and it was a nice 11mm!! My estrogen was also high enough that I simply continue with my 4 patches every other day. Way to go electro-acupuncture and herbs! Yes, I have decided to stay on the herbs right up until ET but then I am stopping them. Shhh...don't tell CCRM (as I sit here sipping my lemon-ginger herbal tea!)!

I'm packing tonight and I'm going to be bringing along a stack of old episodes from Friends and the first 3 seasons of How I Met Your Mother. They say that laughter is the best medicine so I intend to keep the TV light and airy so no heavy crime scene dramas for me. Anyone have any good comedy movies they would recommend?

Other than that, I am relieved to be done work for now. Things were really hectic the last 2 weeks leading up to this time off and I found myself working several 10-12 hour days to try and get through as much as possible before my time off. Glad that's done and I don't have to worry about that for the time being.

While I was in Denver for the whole day, I went to see Lynsi Eastburn again for a 2nd hypnotherapy session and it was really good. I left the appointment feeling very refreshed and the phrase that resonated in my mind over and over again as I drove away was "I feel great!". I honestly haven't felt this optimistic going into an ET ever and I feel that the work I've done with the acupuncture, herbs and the hypnotherapy really made a difference. I'm always looking to do something different and I think that I've really approached this cycle differently so let's hope that I will finally get the outcome that I've been looking for. Fingers crossed!