Friday, January 30, 2009

TCM and my IF

TCM. Traditional Chinese Medicine.

So as many of you know, I went to see a TCM doctor here that is affiliated with Dr. Randine Lewis' Fertile Soul program. I wasn't sure what to expect...maybe just a new set of eyes and a fresh perspective on my situation. I also want to try to prepare for my upcoming cycle as best as I can and again, maximize my chances and perhaps better my results.

Right now, she thinks that my issue is blood stagnation. Everything that I have ever been diagnosed with & other factors point to this:

- endometriosis
- fibroids
- poor responder to the IVF meds
- keloid scars
- blood clots in my menstrual fluid (I know...TMI)
- bruises that take a long time to heal

She said that the blood can be nourished and rich and perfect but if it doesn't circulate well enough and reach the places where it needs to go, than it can't do any good. She thinks that there is a blockage somewhere (in my blood energy flow, not literally a blockage in my blood circulation) and it has manifested itself in my body as reduced blood flow to the reproductive organs. With acupuncture and herbs, she is trying to get things moving again.

I'm sure there are a lot of things not exactly accurate with what I said above, but this is how I understood the information she was telling me. She said that what she is trying to do is bring my body back into balance long enough for me to get pregnant. Sometimes, she's seen cases where she thinks that someone needs a lot of treatment to become balanced again and then she tweaks something just a little bit and that's all they needed. Sometimes, she works with someone for a long time before they are successful. It all depends.

I've also managed to catch a slight cough this past week so she is trying to clear that up for me in addition to moving my blood around. Maybe if I can get this blood moving again and reach my reproductive organs better I'll have a better cycle??

Am I grasping at straws again??

As a side note, my DH and I are *still* debating the Saizen. He is still against...I waver and go back and forth between trying it and leaving it. My nurse told me that she has seen some patients cycle with Saizen and she has not seen any noticeable difference in egg quality/quantity. This is again, based only on anecdotal evidence but I don't have anything else to go on right now. I asked her if she has ever heard of whether it has hurt the results yet and she said that it hasn't to her knowledge. I don't I'm sitting more on the side of "just leave it". Anyhoo....

Monday, January 26, 2009

Happy Chinese New Year!

It's the year of the Ox and I was born in the Year of the Ox. So was Barak Obama. Happy Chinese New Year! I hope that this year is our year and that through our persistance and hardwork with luck making up any of the differential, we'll have our baby this year. I wish the same for all of you.

P.S. I made an appointment with the new TCM doctor that is affiliated with the Fertile Soul Retreat on Wednesday this week. I am seeing my family doctor today to get a new script for meds. I start the doxycycline on with my AF which will be in two days (she'd better show up on time!).


Fun Chinese New Year Traditions & Superstitions

1. No house cleaning today - you will be sweeping and cleaning your good luck out the door so keep all the dirt inside today and get rid of it another day (as if we need an excuse NOT to clean - here's your excuse for today!)

2. Wear new clothes (I'm wearing new socks in light of our budgetary constraints this year but the rest of ya - GO SHOPPING!)

3. Don't shower or you'll be washing away good luck

4. Eat only vegetables today as you shouldn't be killing any animals on the first day of the new year.

5. Light firecrackers to scare off evil spirits and bad luck

6. Open all your windows and doors to allow the good luck of the new year to come into your home.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

When Do You Know When Enough Is Enough?

I'm trying to figure out how to make sure that this last IVF cycle we're doing is our best cycle. There are so many options out there about alternative therapies, new therapies & new age therapies. I feel paralyzed, unable to rationally make a decision for fear that it is not the "right" decision and therefore will not give me the baby that we so desperately want.

One of the things I've been trying to decide whether to add Saizen to my protocol this time. Although he has recommended this for other patients, Dr. Sch did not recommend it for me but is willing to add it to my protocol if we want (yeah - thanks for expressing your $30,000 opinion!). There is no rhyme or reason why it is recommended to some patients and why it is not to others (I asked my nurse to find out what criteria he uses to include it in someone's protocol and that is what she told me after discussing it with him). He keeps saying that drugs like Saizen have not yet been proven on a scientific basis to positively impact IVF outcomes and that it may or may not help...he doesn't know. So, the decision rests with me and now I get to play doctor and decide whether I will have regrets or not if we do/do not add it to our protocol. If it can help, great but the fear that I have is that it may not help but hurt our outcome. That fear isn't based on anything - just my irrational thinking rolling around in my head. How many times have I gotten to the end of something without achieving the expected response to have someone tell me "well, it wasn't supposed to happen like that - you're definitely the exception". I don't want to be a Saizen exception with our last try.

My DH is tired of grasping at straws and has voted in favour of not including it. Me? I'm still on the fence. I have no hard, scientific evidence to base any decision on so I'm just reading anecdotal evidence from others who have been put on Saizen. People have been reporting that egg quality has been improved which results in a greater number of higher quality embryos but again, this is based on anecdotal evidence of just a small few.

Another thing I've stumbled across late yesterday night was a fertility retreat called "The Fertile Soul Retreat" run by the author of The Infertility Cure, Dr. Randine Lewis. I was stunned when I went to their website and lo and behold, wasn't there a quote there by MY OWN DOCTOR...

"I have treated patients for years who have also utilized Randine's alternative medicine approach to infertility in parallel with our IVF or other fertility technologies. It continues to amaze me how many of these women are successful at achieving a pregnancy despite having very difficult problems. Many have test results that suggest their prognosis is nil, yet with Randine's help they keep beating the odds and realizing their dream of having a baby. I would encourage any patient who is pursuing pregnancy to take a comprehensive approach to their care. The Fertile Soul's advice and treatment is an important part of such a plan."
~Dr. William Schoolcraft, Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine~

Should I go? I can squeeze their next session in (Feb 9th to Feb 12th) before my next IVF but it's $3000 for the 5 day session but at this point, money is really tight. Besides, who's to say that this is going to work for me? I've already taken a mind/body fertility program and even though the success rate of graduates going on to get pregnant and have babies was boasted to be a whopping 85%, I still ended up on the wrong side of that percentage. Do you know how much it sucks being one of two people out of a group of 11 that did NOT have a baby?

The seductive part of Dr. Randine's approach is that she believes that for most, IF is caused by imbalances of the body and that by putting your body back into balance, it can naturally conceive. For people like me who have been "diagnosed" with unexplained, do you know how appealing that sounds to me? And it's done through diet, exercise and herbal supplements, not drug therapy. It's more natural, holistic and addresses not the symptom (infertility) but the root cause.

I don't know what to do...even if I did end up going, is it something that can have an impact on the cycle we're planning on doing next month? Or would it be beneficial since the important part would be in preparation for ET, which is at least 3 months out? You see, I've done Chinese herbs before and acupuncture and I did NOT notice any difference. Granted, it all depends on the practitioner that you have and how good they are in diagnosing and treating the problem. So far, I've seen two Chinese herbalists/acupuncturists. The first one had terrible communication - she didn't tell me what was going on or my diagnosis, wrote all of her notes in Chinese, stuck a needle so far into my back that I freaked out and could still feel that point days later and she really gave me a phobia about acupuncture. The second herbalist/acupuncturist I saw I really liked and she was warm and friendly...but I don't think she knew what she was doing regarding IF and I didn't notice any change in anything during treatment.

I'm not convinced that going to this $3000 retreat is the answer. However, I did notice on the Fertile Soul website that there is a TCM doctor here in my city that trained with Dr. Lewis and is affiliated with her program...maybe I'll go in to see her. Fees for an initial consultation with her of $120 is a heck of a lot cheaper than $3000.

I always wonder though (and I am really bad at making decisions) how you don't think about the path not taken. For example, we chose not to pursue our immune diagnosis, partly because it is extremely controversial and we couldn't afford to do the treatment for it in addition to IVF. How do you not wonder at the end of it all if you made the right choice when the one you chose still did not get you to baby? When do you know when enough is enough?

People often tell you that you are ready to move on when the alternative no longer looks so scary. I feel that way about adoption - it no longer is so scary and I am at least willing to entertain the idea whereas before, I would completely plug my ears while singing "la la la la la" so I would hear nothing about it. How do you stop yourself from wondering what would have happened had you chosen differently?

Sorry about all the rambling...I guess I have to be a grown up and make a decision about what we're going to do. My DH is against the Saizen so it makes it hard for me to go against the opinions of both him and my doctor. As for the retreat, that's also a no go from a purely financial point of view. I think I will, however, make an appointment to see that local TCM doctor and maybe that will be my stepping stone to an entirely new path.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Adoption, thy name is 2YW

For quite some time now, I've been turning over in my mind the idea of adopting a child since we are nearing the end of our ART journey. Most of the time, I like to know what's coming next and I found that I needed to know that we had options if we walked away from IVF. I am the consummate planner although in this case, I have shied away from thinking about adoption for a long time because the thought terrified me. It was always my Plan B, you know, the one we would never have to seriously think about executing because Plan A was always going to work. I also felt that by considering adoption, I was jinxing any current cycle because I was not thinking positive enough thoughts and assuming failure.
Even if we finally have a child through IVF, I think a lot of the time now that I would still like to adopt a second child. I doubt I will have any totsicles left over, I will be older if we try IVF again and I'm sure I'll have an even dimmer prognosis than ever. Besides, the altrustic nature of adoption has always appealed to both my DH and I.

My DH was watching a program about adoption and the older children that are still in the system and he said that his heart was touched by what these kids were saying. They always tried really, really hard to be "cute" or "lovable" but couples always chose the younger children. These kids suffered disappointment after disappointment, much like how we have suffered disappointment after disappointment doing IVF. Wouldn't it be so wonderful to end that cycle of disappointment for one another? I wonder if I have the courage.

I also think to myself about how much I LOVE my fur-baby Daisy. She has provided me with so much comfort over the last few years as we have struggled along this road and I couldn't imagine our lives without her. I know that I can't give birth to a dog so I accept that the only way that we can have one is if we adopt one. I wish that I could just as easily accept, if this really the case, that I can't give birth to a child as well and embrace the idea of adopting. Of course, the big difference here is that humans do not give birth to dogs but history has proven, time and time again, that the human race can and does give birth to our own babies...just not us...yet. This idea of procreation is so deeply entrenched in every pore of my being and this makes it hard for me to accept any other truth.

Today, I summoned up the courage to investigate on the internet about adoption. The idea no longer terrifies me as much and I can think about it and consider it rationally. What I found was so disappointing and very disheartening, it almost makes me want to keep doing IVF! I always knew that the wait times were very long and getting longer by the minute and a "quick" adoption would be a minimum of 18 months. Again, like with IVF, the waiting never ends. So, after we finish with IVF #5 in June of 2009 and get the ball rolling immediately with an international adoption, we are looking at least as far out as the very end of 2010 or early in 2011. How depressing is that? And meanwhile, there are endless news reports about starving and abandoned children in the world who need homes...

I don't have a lot of details yet but my understanding is that, in Canada, you can only pursue international adoption with one country at a time. If you get on the waiting list for Thailand for example, and midway through your waiting period they change the rules and close their borders, you have to get in line for another country and your wait time begins AGAIN. No credit for time already spent waiting.

Anyway, this is what I read this morning that utterly depressed me:

China: "...will no longer accept files for the mainstream China program..."

Korea: "This program is only available to Ontario residents. This program now full for 2009. The Call Back is full for 2010."

Vietnam: "Please Note: Due to the backlog of files currently in this program...[we] will, regrettably, be unable to accept any new applications for this program until further notice."

Thailand: "Please Note: This program is now full for 2008, 2009 and 2010."

I'm discouraged. I feel beaten. Right now, it feels like we're going to be old and grey before we have our family. Before this, I couldn't imagine anything worse than the 2ww but now, there is something called the 2yw.

And here I thought things couldn't get worse...

Monday, January 19, 2009

Superbowl and IF

Why is it that I always feel guilty for saying "no" to events that are guaranteed to make me miserable, even when my DH and I already have plans? Let me clarify...when I say "DH and I already have plans", I really mean that just him and I have plans alone, together. I feel guilty for choosing to spend time with alone with my DH over some other event and some invitations often feel like a summons.

Take for example, my nephew's upcoming birthday party, which just so happens to be on Superbowl Sunday. A little background here - my sister and her family live in a city about 5 hours drive away from us. My nephew is turning 3 and for the past two birthdays, we have always made the trek to their house. Keep in mind that we are also talking about wintertime in Canada and where I live, that should conjure up visions of lots of snow, slippery driving conditions and frigid temperatures. Also, last year at this time, we had just found out that we got a BFP with IVF #3 but our exhilaration was short lived because as soon as we got back, Monday's b/w revealed that there was a problem because my betas did not double over the weekend as they should have while we were at my sister's. I'll always wonder if I had done something wrong that weekend - ran around too much with my nephew stooped over? Sat still in the car for too long without moving around? Anyway, his birthday reminds me of one of the hardest times of my life b/c of the m/c that happened later but I digress...

My sister calls me this past weekend and extends a rather lukewarm invitation to his party - she phrased it as "I don't know if you're interested" (come on - he's my nephew!) and also advises us that they don't have any beds for us to sleep on. This birthday party is also a Gymboree party (i.e. kids in a gym like setting with toys) and all of her friends that I know and have met at various times over the years and their little ones are going to be there.

Mentally, I recoil at the thought of spending 2 hours, locked in a gymnasium type of structure with screaming children while having to field questions from her friends, all of whom are bouncing newborns on their hips, regarding why my DH and I do not have any kids of our own yet. As soon as she issued the invitation, lukewarm as it was, I felt obligated to go, like I would be shirking my Auntly duty if I said no. I knew that I wanted to spend some time with my nephew and celebrate his birthday but not under such miserable circumstances.

Now here's the kicker (no football pun intended) - my DH and I had been planning since before Christmas to have a BBQ on Superbowl Sunday. We enjoy watching the big game together and remember, BBQing in mid February where I live is nothing short of miraculous. I did not put two and two together when my sister called and failed to realize that my nephew's birthday party was that same Sunday. What frustrates me as well is that we are also talking about something a mere 2 weeks away which does not give us much time to get things organized. We were beginning to think that there may be no birthday party at all this year since we hadn't heard anything about it. In addition, let's just say that we don't just "drop in" on my sister...formal invitations need to be received before you even consider going for a visit as there have been situations in the past where I have been turned away.

I stressed about having to call my sister back and explain that we already had plans because she, as a fertile, does not understand how anything could be more important than her son's birthday party. When I finally did call, I was irritated when she insinuated that I should have known to keep that weekend open since my nephew's birthday is in early February. I was beginning to think no invitation = no party = no trip. I also used to keep weekends open for my SIL around the birthdays of her two kids but then we would keep so many weekends open just in case and then the party would end up being sometime much later and in the meantime, we would not make plans to do anything, just in case. Yeah, we stopped doing that after a few years.

I felt guilty for already having plans with my DH, which I know is absolutely ridiculous. I am frustrated with myself that I did not have the courage to tell her about our conflicting plans, almost as if my DH and I as a childless couple do not merit any consideration. Why do I feel that the invitations of people with children immediately supercede any plans that people without children may have? If we don't go, why is there such a perception that since it is "just the two of us" so we should always readily give up our own plans in favour of events for others?

In the end, what I ended up doing was calling her back and I told her that we already had plans for Sunday dinner (true) and would not be able to make the Gymboree party. We thought about it and it's not as if we would 1) enjoy the Gymboree party; or 2) my nephew would even notice that we were or were not there; or 3) play with my nephew at the Gymboree party since he'll be busy running around with kids his own age. I did tell my sister that we would still come up that weekend and celebrate the night before in combination with the Chinese New Year celebration that my parents wanted to have. I only omitted the fact that our Sunday dinner plans involved only the two of us. Does this make us the most selfish people on earth?

Friday, January 16, 2009

Bad Dreams of the IF Kind

I had one of those awful dreams about being IF last night. I hate having those because at least in my dreams, it is the world of make believe and anything and everything can happen. When IF invades my sleeping world, it is horrible because I usually wake up upset and sad with a huge ache in my chest. I guess when something affects you so much you can't help but dream about it. I should be grateful I don't dream IF dreams every night because then I would really be dealing with this 24/7.

In my dream last night, I was back at school and someone I know that also suffered from IF came to visit. IRL, this person and I had been what I call a "Friend in IF," meaning that we knew of each other's problems and supported each other, right up until she got pregnant and then I never heard from her again. Anyway, in my dream, she was visiting my school and had brought her newly born infant daughter with her. I wanted to find her so I could offer my congratulations and see her new daughter but I just couldn't seem to locate her. I was always in the wrong place at the wrong time. I think I was equating finding her with baby with finding myself with baby. That would explain why I felt so upset when I woke up with a huge ache in my chest.

The part of my dream that stayed with me most was when I was searching for her and everyone else seemed to know where she was. It was like a secret that everyone else knew that I was not privy to. I felt left out, totally excluded from the group of those who knew where she was and how to find her. I felt that my sense of belonging had been taken away from me. All of my insecurities came flooding back, just like I was back in high school and trying to fit in all over again, except this time I'm older and babies are involved. It's still the same desire, the desire to belong.

Will I ever feel like I belong again in any part of life? I am in such limbo right now with no clear direction. With everything that happens, I find myself further and further away from being done. I feel paralyzed, unable to make even the simplest decision about what comes next. I realized today that since we have been delayed due to the cancelled cycle, I now won't be done this CGH cycle + FET until about June of this year. Man oh man...I was supposed to be done in March 2009 at the latest yet here I am, still waiting, still not belonging anywhere.

I have no living children so I don't belong with all of the Mommies I see out and about all the time during the day. I'm not working so I don't belong with the professional working women out there that I know. I don't belong with the students because I can't decide whether I should apply this semester, next semester or even next year for Culinary school. I just don't belong anywhere...

...except that I have all of you. I know that none of us want to belong to this group we find ourselves in so reluctantly but I guess I find a great sense of safety here. Everyone's story is different, yet we're all the same. If nothing else, we all belong together as we stumble along this road. I'm not a freakish, baby crazy, hormonal female. I am simply a woman, searching for the rest of my family and there are many like me who struggle to find the same thing. Like many things in life, IF does not descriminate and I often wonder when I'm reading all of your blogs why it strikes people who are so warm, loving, giving, beautiful, generous and kind of spirit. And that my friends, isn't so bad a group to belong to now is it?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

How Much Did That Cost??

I'm an Accountant...well, at least for now, that is the hat that I am wearing. I've really made a point last year of keeping track of our medical expenses because I knew that there would be a lot of receipts and come tax time, the summarization would be a horrendous task to complete. Yes, even us accountants can find sorting through a large pile of receipts a little daunting, especially when they're old and not organized.

I knew that we spent a lot of money on treatment and medication in 2008 but the sum total was staggering, even to me. I told my DH the morning after I had completed my initial summary and he almost literally fell out of bed. If you had told me that we would have spent so much on treatment 6 years ago when we started all of this, I never would have believed you. Not in a million years.

Curious how much we've spent? Our total medical expenses, all IF related for 2008 was (drum roll please)....


Yep, that total was the amount we spent from January 1st to December 31, 2008. One year.

We are not rich but we are comfortable, don't live an extravagant lifestyle and we've had the benefit of 2 incomes up until 2007 when I quit my job to focus on treatment full time. We had savings, which have since been completely depleted. Our final act of desperation was to draw against the equity in our home to fund one last treatment in the US. Granted, we haven't completed the US cycle yet so there is a huge chunk of money in the total above for an IVF cycle we will do in early 2009. But wow...$64K in ONE YEAR?

I know that we are extremely fortunate to have the funds to pay for treatment but this is it...there will be no more treatment after this one because we are, quite simply, out of money. I will not spend $64K again in 2009 chasing this dream. I can't keep asking my DH to continue to support me while I sit at home with no children, knowing that I can help our family's finances if I returned to work.

For those of you who like details, the total above breaks down as follows:

$800 - Counselling
$6,580 - medication not covered by health plans
$14,445 - Canadian IVF fees
$41,904 - US IVF fees (including travel expenses)
$457 - Acupuncture fees

Since I am Canadian, fees for doctors' visits, b/w and u/s are covered by provincial health care plans and my DH's private health insurance had some IVF drug coverage that we used up at the beginning of 2008. This is what is over and above that. Also, we have spent so much $$ on treatment, all of it charged to our credit card with reward points for travel, that we have enough to fly to CCRM for free every time we need to go. Can you imagine how high the total would have been if I had to include these things in addition to the above?!

I don't mean this blog to come across as a whine because I am truly grateful that we have been able to do as much treatment as we have done. My realization from this exercise is that we have gone further than we ever thought we would have gone down this road and spent more money than we could have ever imagined. I laugh when I remember how it was when we started - I wanted to do this all naturally, didn't want to take any drugs, was a complete ninny about needles, blushed during doctors' examinations, moaned about the inconvenience of having to get up early to go for b/w and u/s...I was so naive. I realize how much this experience has made me grow up. What an expensive lesson this has been.

Do I regret the money spent? BFP says no I won't. BFN says I will. And that is the hard part - not knowing which side of the equation you're going to end up on. However, I know that I am grateful to have had the chance at all because I know that there are many out there that want the same thing that I do but can't afford treatment.

So what will $64K buy you? A few more shots, another kick at the bucket and the opportunity to chase the dream, one more time. I would be really sad if all the money we had couldn't give us this chance.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Eating & Lifestyle Habits - Take 2

I changed my blog template...wish that some things in life were as easy to change as just choosing another option. I thought that with the new year and new beginnings it would be nice to have a new "look". Like it?

A few posts ago, I started blathering on about how stringently I was going to be adhering to my new and revised eating and lifestyle habits. Oh how sanctimonious I sounded! I completely gave up trying in December and baked my heart out and sampled everything along the way. Butter - check! Flour - check! White, granulated, processed sugar - check! Whipping cream - check! All of it...yummy...but now it's January and time to get back on track towards cycling again. So far, I don't think I've had one single day where I've been successful in eating no dairy, no gluten & no sugar. I've been much better at reducing it in my diet but I still slip up and eat it.

Today for example, I was eating lunch out and ordered a vegetarian stir-fry on rice. Sounds pretty safe right? Well, as soon as I saw the vegetables, guaranteed there was soya sauce in it which contains wheat (gluten - check!). I tasted the sauce over the vegetables and it tasted sweet so guess what - sugar...check! Finally, I thought the rice would have been safe but when I put that in my mouth, I tasted the unmistakenable richness that only butter can add...dairy - check! So that makes me zero for 3. I guess I'll have to try again tomorrow to be better.

It's so hard to give all of that stuff up, especially if you are eating out because you can't control what it is that you're eating. There are so many things that I can make at home that are sugar/dairy/gluten free that are typically made with any or all three of those ingredients listed when out in a restaurant that sometimes I'm fooled into thinking that they're safe to eat anywhere. Not so.

Rather than give up when I slip up, I'm going to try very hard to get back on the wagon right away. You see, in the past when I've slipped up and ate something I wasn't supposed to eat, I would then use it as an excuse to binge eat whatever it was that I wasn't supposed to be eating for the rest of the day. I had every intention of starting again "tomorrow" but I would get really lax with the rest of that day since it had already been screwed up. Oh glorious day when I slipped up in the morning! This time around the sugar/gluten/dairy-free tree, I'm not going to give up so easily. If I slip up, that is just at that point in time and I have decided to continue to try for the rest of the day. Granted, this is a small change but one that will make it easier to keep on this dietary pathway.

So for dinner, I'm going to try very hard not to eat anything gluten/sugar/dairy related and keep going from this point. I have to start schooling my brain into monitoring for these things again. But I can't give up so time to prepare is getting short and I need to make the most of what time I have left. I'm 99% sure I'm going to apply for a Baking & Pastry Arts program that starts this fall and I can pretty much guarantee you that I will be the first Pastry chef that doesn't eat gluten, dairy & sugar! I hope they don't laugh me out of the class!!

P.S. The funny ache in my side is now gone so I hope that means that any related cysts have also disappeared. It must have finally listened to my "cyst be gone" chant!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Here's the Scoop

The blood PT came back negative. I also saw my acupuncturist yesterday and she believes that it is a cyst because my kidney pulses (the kidney system in Chinese medicine govern reproduction) were off. She said that if it was appendicitis, she would have expected my digestive pulses to be off and they were fine. Looks like there is one huge cyst there as it is still bothering me.

Hopefully, the acupucture I had done yesterday and the other things she recommended I do to help my body resolve this cyst (dandelion tea and castor oil packs on top of the tender site plus heat) will get rid of this ASAP. I scheduled an u/s to check and see what was going on and that is booked for Jan 21st right now. Hopefully it will be gone by then.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

No Idea What is Going On - Part II

My doctor doesn't think that this pain is due to an ectopic pregnancy as symptoms do not usually manifest themselves this early and I should have seen a positive HPT by now. However, we are still doing a blood PT and I am 100% sure that it will come back negative with a value of zero.

She was also pretty sure that it wasn't appedicitis because the symptoms should have increased in magnitude and severity by now. That leaves option three - ovarian cyst. I went back and checked my records from the last IVF cycle, wondering if it was the SAME cyst but it can't be because the one they measured was on the left. This pain is in my right. I guess this will resolve itself in a few days but for now, it continues to give me a little twinge here and there. My doctor gave me a request to get an abdominal and pelvic u/s so I went off to book my appointment - first available one is Jan 21st (can you believe it?). My pain will probably be gone by then but I think it would still be a good idea to have one done then to see if there are any cysts that I can't feel.

Warning - here's where my day went downhill...

I made the decision a long time ago that we were not going to tell my parents what was going on with respect to the choices we were making regarding IF treatment. All they know is that we have seen a specialist and that all tests have come back normal. I haven't said anything to them about having done IUIs, IVFs and definitely not about travelling to the US for treatment. My Mom is highly opinionated about drugs and medicine and strongly believes that everything can be fixed through diet and exercise and at the extreme end, there are Chinese herbs that are the magic cure all. I think she would be horrified if she knew how far we had gone and how much we've spent. Rather than have to bear maternal judgement each and every time I spoke with her, we chose to keep this private. I have no doubt that my Mother loves me and wants what is best for me but I truly believe that she would not be able to comprehend what it is like to be faced with the choices that we are faced with and to have to make decisions as we have had to. So, she has been trying to help in her own way and has become increasingly nosy and asking more and more invasive questions that I side step as best I can.

Today, I saw my Mom this afternoon and we were chatting about IF unrelated things and she comes out with a comment to me was about how I shouldn't eat potatoes so much. I of course, ask "why" and she said "well, because, you know, because of infertility". I was crushed. Since we don't talk about this topic at all I was horrified that a) she brought it up and b) she has now openly labelled me as being IF. I don't know why that was so upsetting. I guess it's one thing to begin to admit your inadequacies to yourself in private and another when someone else starts using those words to describe you as well. I know I like to pretend that they don't really know, but it was hard for me to hear that she too now thinks that we are infertile (what a horrible word). Then she proceeded to tell me that I should especially avoid eating potatoes that have sprouted since they will cause you to "abort" immediately. So, basically she is telling me that she thinks that my problems all stem from the fact that I eat potatoes and when I have become unknowingly pregnant, I have eaten sprouted potatoes and have spontaneously aborted any babies in my ignorance. It's so absurd I want to laugh hysterically as I type that but it just makes me want to cry.

All I could think when I got home was that I am so tired of having reactions like this. I am so tired of being super sensitive to what others say and seemingly innocuous remarks can have me crying at the drop of a hat. If being parents isn't what was meant to be for me than please, please let me give this dream up and move on with my life. I am tired, so very tired of all of this. I want to enjoy things again and not feel sad and sorry for myself. I want to attend baby showers with joy, not hiding intense envy for the mother-to-be. I want to stop looking at weddings with such a jaded eye, wondering if this couple will be one of the "lucky ones" or if they will end up like us. I want to stop glaring at the pregnant woman who attends my yoga class. I feel that the closer I get to the end of this part of our journey, I feel the edges of my fingers seem to want to grasp even harder at the dream. I just can't seem to let it go despite my emotional fatigue.

I went home, cried my eyes out and then made a choice to get on with my day as best I could. She only wants what is best for me and I keep reminding myself over and over again.

No Idea What is Going On

I've been having some tenderness in my lower right side for the past few days and it is really starting to worry me. The possibilities are threefold:

1. Ectopic Pregnancy
2. Appendicitis
3. Ovarian Cyst

I've taken two pregnancy tests, the latest one being yesterday, that have both come back negative. That doesn't mean that I can rule out ectopic yet though because these tests are only sensitive to HCG levels (pregnancy hormone) at 25 mIU or higher. It is possible to have levels <25 mIU (my first chemical pregnancy was at a level of 16 mIU). They list other symptoms as dizziness or vomiting, neither of which I am experiencing.

As for appendicitis, I am not experiencing any excruciating pain, just some tenderness when I press down on the area. Symptoms of appendicitis are also vomiting, fever and loss of appetite and I have none of those. This has been going on for a few days so I think that if this is what it actually was, it would have progressed to being more severe than it is.

So, that leaves me with an ovarian cyst. I had a huge one a long time ago when I was in University and they thought it was the same thing - appendicitis or cyst. I remember being tired (which I am - haven't been able to get out of bed easily these last few days and I've been napping, which is very unusual for me) and then having a lot of pain on my right side that went away on its own a few days later. I was wondering if this was the same cyst that was there from the cancelled cycle and it's not - the cyst from the cycle was on the left hand side and this is definite tenderness around the right ovary. The right ovary was the one with more follies so maybe one of those turned into a cyst.

I made an appointment with my family doctor today just to have it checked out...didn't bother calling CCRM yet b/c they would have just told me to go see my doctor or to go to emergency. I suspect that I will be sent to have an ovarian u/s and maybe some bloodwork. We'll see what they say. All I'm thinking though is that I hope this doesn't delay my cycle even further.

Wish me luck!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Resolutions, Dreams and Wishes

Welcome to 2009...a year that just has to be better than the last year.

I normally spend some time thinking about some resolutions that I want to make for the coming year but who am I kidding - I never write them down nor do I look back on them come Dec 31st to see whether I did achieve those resolutions or not. I don't remember what last year's resolutions were although if I had to guess, they probably had something to do with staying steadfast and strong and doing everything in my power to increase my chances of having a baby.

This year I don't have any resolutions. However, I do still have wishes and dreams, as amazing as that may seem. They have not all been dashed and crushed by reality. I am still dreaming of having a baby, one that is made up of all of my wonderful parts plus all of my DH's wonderful parts, a baby that is half of me and half of him. If that is not to be, than I have dreams of attending culinary college, opening up my own little bakery/cafe and maybe even moving to a new city. I dream about escaping to an exotic locale for a decadent vacation with my DH so we can forget for one small moment about our troubles and the difference between our dreams and reality. I wish that we are brave this year, brave enough to perhaps take a few steps down a completely unknown pathway that we never thought we would have to walk down. I wish that we are open to life's experiences.

My wishes could very easily be prayers but I am going to leave them as wishes and put them out there to Mother Earth or the Universe or really, who ever is up there that may want to listen for a minute. On the IF front, today is Day 1 (read: AF arrived today) so I see this as the final end to December's botched cycle and with it, all of the meds, the cyst and everything all gets washed out so we can begin again.

For 2009, my wish for all of us is that we get to experience the joy and happiness through the realization of some of our dreams this year. Here's to starting over, a clean slate, a fresh new year.