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!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Hypnofertility Session

Last night, I had my first Hypnofertility session with Lynsi Eastburn. This is my second attempt to do some hypnotherapy in relation to IF and I wasn't sure what to expect given my first experience with hypnosis with another practitioner wasn't all that great. I have discovered through this whole journey that you need to keep trying different practitioners with all aspects of your treatment until you find the one that you are most comfortable with because often, it is the connection that makes all the difference in treatment. I have found as well that it is the most beneficial to get someone who specializes in IF rather than a general practitioner (i.e. acupuncturist, herbalist, etc.). I'm glad that I didn't dismiss hypnosis as a possible form of treatment because I found the session to be very revealing. More on that in a minute.

The theory behind hypnosis and IF is that you're trying to get your subconscious mind to be on the same page as your conscious mind so that both are working together. The subconscious is the more powerful of the two and I have always wondered about how to access it and whether there were any unresolved issues that were lurking around in there that was preventing me from getting pregnant. We have unexplained IF - all the parts are there and nothing seems to be wrong with any of them but somehow, they don't seem to be working. It was interesting to hear about Lynsi's approach since she believes that when you get a diagnosis of "unexplained" IF, that the issues that need to be dealt with are psycological in nature not physiological.

Lynsi further explained to me that the subconscious mind is the more powerful one to engage in terms of achieving goals. It is the more creative side of your brain - the right brain so to speak. The conscious mind is the more logical side of your brain - the left side. So, while powerful, the subconscious is not very "smart" about achieving the goal. Let me explain - if your goal is that you want to run a marathon, your subconscious mind will just tell you that you need to run and run some more and keep running. Your conscious mind is the one that goes about formulating a training plan, makes decisions about diet, nutrition, length and intensity of training, everything in support of achieving the goal of running the marathon. Both need to work together in order to achieve the goal of running a marathon. Lynsi believes that in my case, my conscious mind is fully engaged and committed to the goal of getting pregnant and having kids; it's the subconscious mind that isn't on the same page and through hypnosis, the conscious and subconscious minds will be brought together. They will work together rather than against each other.

For this first session, it was done entirely over the phone. I called her at the appointed hour and we just talked. We talked about everything - our whole IF journey, treatments we have done and tried, how long we've been trying, the state of our relationship and the relationships with my friends & family, my family background and my childhood just to name a few topics. I found her to be very perceptive and she drew parallels and connections between things that I had never seen before. In terms of hypnotherapy, we didn't do an actual hypnosis session on the phone. What she did was when we finished our call, she recorded my very own personalized hypnotherapy session that she then sent to me. It was great because it was personalized to me, my life, my issues and dealt with the very things that concern me right here and right now (i.e. the thickness of my lining!!!).

I downloaded the hypnotherapy session Lynsi recorded for me a few hours later and it's on my iPod now so I can listen to it whenever I want. Here's the great thing about hypnosis - you don't really have to pay attention to it because your subconscious mind is picking it up even if your conscious mind is not. I had an acupuncture appointment this morning so I took along my iPod and did the hypnotherapy while the needles were in.

On the recording, Lynsi started off guiding me into relaxation and focussing in on the breath, much like you do in meditation. She called me by my name, used the words I had used while talking to her and she touched upon many of the topics we had discussed. One of the things that I wanted to get out of this was to feel more open to the idea of being pregnant, to embrace that idea more fully and not be so afraid of it. I guess I feel a lot of fear when I think about it because of my miscarriage and then for other reasons that I was about to discover.

The most powerful part of the hypnotherapy was when she asked me to visualize a photo of my DH and I holding our baby - the pregnancy went well, we had a good birth and now we were THERE, the place we've been trying to get to for SO LONG and we were SO HAPPY. That in itself was stunning to me because that was the first time I had that picture in my mind and I just couldn't visualize it before (and I'm a pretty visual person). I felt so much joy that it had finally happened for us that tears immediately sprung into my eyes. So there I am, face down on the table, needles sticking out everywhere, hooked up to electrodes, blubbering away. Then, Lynsi asked me to visualize that the picture was growing larger and larger, until it became life sized and then she asked me to step into that photo and BAM - I became a Mother, I became that which I so desperately wanted to be. A Mom.

The other thing that I realized during the session was that my childhood was characterized by struggle and sacrifice. Nothing was easy. My parents emigrated to Canada when I was just under a year old and things were not easy while they established themselves. My parents worked so hard to provide for us and I remember that while they did a really good job of providing everything we needed, it was always a struggle. We always had to sacrifice and then sacrifice some more. Also, since things were so hard when I was a kid, my parents were very left brained in thinking - everything governed by rules and discipline, lots of planning in order to get everything that needed to be done, done. I was a pretty right brained kid, very creative and always involved in arts & crafts and I think I was slowly disciplined over time into being a very left brained person. It is no small wonder that I ended up in Accounting - lots of rules and discipline to govern myself by (have you seen the size of the Income Tax Act? Talk about rules and more rules!). Lynsi suggested that this caused a disconnect to happen between my conscious mind and my subconsciuos mind.

Lynsi is the first person that connected the struggles I remember from my childhood to the struggles that we have been having now with IF. Could it be that my childhood has conditioned me into believing that everything must be a struggle? My aha moment, my moment of realization was when the thought came to me that everything does not have to be a struggle. My conscious mind is telling me that it is okay to be pregnant, everything has been done to get pregnant, there is nothing wrong with me physically and there is no reason why I can't get pregnant. Meanwhile, my subconscious mind has been programmed from a long time ago that everything must be a struggle and so therefore, pregnancy and getting pregnant must also be a struggle. My conscious and subconscious are not working together.

Life does not have to be a constant struggle.


I think I gave myself permission this morning not to have to struggle anymore. I feel that for the very first time, I am fully open to being pregnant, to accepting that kind of happiness and to letting myself be who I really am, without struggling, without sacrifice.

I feel freer than I have in a long time and I am feeling more excitement and optimism than I have ever felt going into a cycle.

I am ready to not struggle anymore.

I am ready to take my baby home.

Friday, June 19, 2009


On Sunday, late afternoon, I finally got my period. Late in the day but it still counted as Day 1. I know - it's Friday and I am finally updating y'all so I apologize for holding out on you but it has been a busy week.

First thing Monday morning I was in "negotiations" with my nurse, begging and pleading to get squeezed in on July 2nd. After doing a lot of going back and forth, it was determined that she was going to rush my lead up by a few days to get me in on the one spot they had left for July 2nd. Here's the kicker though - my lining has to be at least 8-10mm by next Friday, June 26th. If it's not, I'm going to be pushed back an entire week to at least July 14th because they're booked solid the week of July 6th. I started the estrogen patches Monday and she's upped the date that I start doubling then tripling the dose so hopefully that will do it. I'm also working with my normal menstrual cycle since Sunday was Day 28 so I'm ramping up my lining with my body's natural rhythm. Yep - BCP and Lupron do nothing to me apparently! I've never had a problem with my lining but now of course, everything hinges on its thickness so I can't help but worry a little. I'm flying down to Denver to do the lining check Friday June 26th and will be leaving first thing in the AM, going straight to CCRM for the check and then flying back out at 7pm at night. I'll get home at midnight but it will all be done in one day and then I don't have to monkey around with the clinic here and I know that it is being done right.

My nurse spoke with Dr. Sch and asked if rushing the FET schedule was an issue and he said that he wasn't concerned. I wouldn't have pushed so hard if it was going to cause issues in terms of the quality of the lining, receptivity etc. but as long as my lining is of the right thickness, they're okay to proceed. I normally ovulate around Day 13 so transfer on July 2nd will be right at 6 days post ovulation with is exactly the day that my blasts were frozen. Things seem to be lining up!

Work has been crazy and I have been putting in a very solid day, often working through lunch. I've also been visiting the other locations which are about an hour away from my home so there have been a few longer days. By the time I get home and then get on the phone to make travel arrangements, I've been going to be on average at around 11:30pm at night. Not good but hopefully it will get better now that most of them have been made.

On another note, I'm having a hypnofertility appointment today with Lynsi Eastburn on the phone. She's based out of Denver coincidentally but she has written a book about the benefits of doing hypnosis for fertility. I have done hypnosis once before but didn't really feel comfortable with the practicitioner that I went to. Anyway, I've always wondered if it was something psychological that was holding me back from getting pregnant so I want to make sure that I've done everything that I can. With my wonderful diagnosis of "unexplained", it has been frustrating to try to "fix" what I don't know to be broken. I'm also hoping that she can stop me from worrying too much about the lining. I will let you guys know what I thought and how I felt after the appointment.

It kind of feels surreal to be cycling again and I've been struggling to maintain a sugar/dairy/gluten free diet as much as I can but I'm suffering from diet fatigue. I keep telling myself to hang on for just a little while longer but it has been hard. It doesn't feel real for me because this is the first FET I've done and what's a cycle without painful shots & dildo cams? It seems so odd to just peel a sticker and slap it on my abdomen every other day. I am using a product called Estradot since I can't get Vivelle up here in Canada and I know you ladies have been comiserating about how hard they are to pull off but my patch wasn't too bad to get off. Again, not as bad as I thought and makes this FET protocol feel so...lax. Funny - I never thought I would miss the dildo cam and the IM shots but I kinda do because they make me feel like I'm doing something!! Now don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining, just commenting on their absence from this cycle!

So, moving onwards at last. Lining check on June 26th at CCRM (in and out same day) and then we both fly back down on June 30th. Transfer is July 2nd and we will be flying back home July 6th. I'm coming to get you kids! And to top it all off, we get to celebrate our first 4th of July with our American children :)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Still Waiting and Irritated

Irritated. Frustrated.

That's how I feel right now.

AF has not graced me with her presence and it is day 26 of my normal cycle. At this rate, if it comes tomorrow, it will be on it's regular monthly schedule so I ask why, oh why, did I just spend the last 4 weeks taking drugs that obviously did not have *any* impact on me at all?

Then, I found out today that CCRM is not doing FETs from July 3rd to July 5th. I know that July 4th is a big deal and celebrated with much fanfare and I am not begrudging anyone that. Don't get me wrong - I know that all the nurses and doctors at the clinic work very, very hard and they all have lives outside of IVF and my personal cycle. I am frustrated because my original FET date was June 26th and I was very clear with my nurse when I told her that I would likely not be on time with AF given my past experience on this protocol. I went as far as to tell her I would be at least 7 days late. Hmmm...7 days after June 26th would put me at, oh, July 3rd...and no one bothered to do the math or think about the shut down for July 4th.

Grouchy...that's me right now.

I also feel the forces of nature working against us somehow. It seems that every time I need to have something done, CCRM is closed. After my botched cycle in November (cancelled b/c of a cyst), I couldn't cycle again right away because of the December shut down. Fine. Cycled in March. Couldn't do the FET earlier because the original timing of that would have fallen right on the first day of the June shut down. Delay again. Finally start the process to do the FET, advised my nurse that I would be late and would not get my period within the 3 day timeline she gave me after stopping BCP only to find out they're closed for the July 4th weekend.

I am frustrated. Is this Nature's way of telling me it's not going to work?

I have a request in for my nurse to call me because I have asked if there is anyway to speed up the FET protocol. I know she wants to push it back to July 6th but I want to move it up to July 2nd. Does anyone know if we can speed up a FET by a day or two?

I'm going to go sit on the toilet now with tissue in my hand so I can keep doing the wipe and check. Did I mention I am wearing white pants today? Maybe the key is to remove my pantiliner.


Monday, June 8, 2009

Garden Photos

I was waiting to take some photos of my garden until my lilac tree burst into bloom which was yesterday and today so here they are:

We have a nice mix of perennials and annuals in our garden so it looks pretty good no matter what time of year it is.

The Lilac tree that greets all of our visitors.

All my herbs in the backyard, close to the kitchen door so I can just pop out and snip what I need and run back inside!

We hung a bird feeder for the first time this year and have had a lot of fun looking at the many little visitors we've had!

Backyard tomato plants! They still look a little anemic but I hope they'll toughen up and start to grow since they've been put in a much larger growing space.

Endless Summer Hydrangeas. These three bushes are one of my favourite plants - comes back every year with huge flowers. The trick is to see what colour they are since that varies based on soil acidity. I always want the blue flowers so I fertilize with the aluminum sulfate to get them to change colours but more often than not, I will have some pink, some indigo blue and others that are blue! Makes for a good variety and the blooms are always big!

Our front garden. The little spirea in the middle was really damaged by the winter and I had to cut it down to about 1/3 of its size. It seems to be coming back though so I didn't end up having to pull it out.

A Clematis vine - it has a lot of screening to cover so we're glad it's a fast grower!

I've been off BCP now for 6 days and still no sign of AF. I am not surprised though since last time I did this protocol, AF was 7 days late so I'm still expecting to get it sometime on Friday this week. I'm twitchy with anticipation because once AF arrives, it locks down the schedule and I can finally make travel plans. I will finally be able to book time off work and I will be able to look forward to the next step.
Next up on the FET protocol for me? Estrogen patches!! I've never used them before and I know that everyone talks about how sticky they are and how hard they are to remove without taking a pound of flesh off but I am looking forward to it. Why? Because it means that I am moving forward and we are getting closer to going to Denver to pick up our American children.
On an interesting note, I was talking to my TCM doctor and I mentioned that I had a lot of dental surgery done to put in dental implants since I'm missing so many adult teeth. In total, I am missing 13 adult teeth...never had them, never will. Apparently adult teeth is something you're born with or without and if you have them, they're little tiny seeds that sit in your gums until it's time for them to turn into real teeth. Missing teeth is also hereditary in nature. Seemingly unrelated to IF right? Apparently not! My TCM got all excited when I told her because the kidney essences govern bones and bone structure in addition to governing fertility and she remarked that it was interesting that I was also missing teeth because it indicates that I didn't have enough kidney yin at that time either. Huh.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Week two, taxes & cravings

Second week of work done! 21 more weeks to go! But again, who's counting? This week I started making a shopping list of the things I want to buy while I'm down on Denver. You Americans really know how to have a SALE. At most up here in Canada, we get 50% off the original price max, but when I go outlet shopping in the US, there is 50% off the last ticketed price which is about 50% off the original price and then, somehow, you magically get another 25% off at the register just for showing up! I paid $6.50 for these awesome Ann Taylor silk crop pants that I just LOVE. Never in a million years would I have been able to find that kind of a deal here. So, my working has enabled my shopping...although the list is very practical at this point and full of necessities that I was putting off buying like underwear and bras. Still fun to get to go out and buy it though!

In other news, I just about dropped from shock when I check the bank balance this morning and discovered that Revenue Canada deposited our entire refund plus a few whole dollars in interest!! We were thrilled to finally get that money back. I haven't seen that much money in our bank account for a while and it was nice to have a little cushion in the cash flow again.

Finally, I've started having horrible cravings and for really strange things too. I'm Chinese so our seasoning of choice when growing up was soya sauce. My Mom used to make me soft boiled eggs, crack a little opening off the top and then I would eat it, spoonful by spoonful with a little soya sauce dropped into the egg for each mouthful. Mmmmmmm yummy. Don't knock it until you've tried it! Trust me - soya sauce & soft boiled eggs are amazing. Now in my adult years, I've discovered that eggs really upset my stomach (gas, bloating, diarrhea) so I don't eat them anymore but boy oh boy was I craving one a few days ago. Anyone else get any crazy Lupron cravings?

I feel much better today too and I've been off the BCP for 2 days. I don't know if that has anything to do with it but I'm not as paranoid or insecure as I was a few days ago. I went back into work the next day and all of a sudden my problems and issues were not so insurmountable. I had a productive week too so I feel like I actually earned the money instead of mooching it off the company for work not really done. In one instance I was worrying on how to answer a question and fill out a chart because the issue was that in my mind, the question wasn't applicable and I just couldn't figure out how to complete the chart and answer the question properly. Next day, I had a blinding flash of insight (haha) and simply inserted "N/A" as the answer. Sheesh. Lupron sure does strange things to your brain.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Performance Anxiety of the Lupron Kind

I thought I was doing okay with getting used to the new job and all the meds but today, I burst into tears (at home after work) for no apparent reason that I can think of other than the Lupron. Ah yes, our good friend the menopause inducing drug. The one that can reduce a grown woman to tears with no warning. And here I was, wondering whether or not it was working! Yep - emotional instability? Check!

I think that I'm really worried about making a good impression and doing a good job and my normal anxiety about job performance has been magnified a thousand fold by the Lupron. Today was the first day I actually did some real work rather than just reviewing what has been done to date and I kept reviewing over and over again in my head what I did and then extrapolating the day into various permutations of what I could have/should have/would have done differently. Note to self: GET A GRIP!

I took my last BCP this morning and I am continuing with the daily Lupron shots of 10 units at night. Now the waiting begins. I wonder when AF will show up? Supposed to be three days after stopping bcp but last time on this protocol, AF was 7 days late. When, oh when, will she show?

Let's take a poll and see what y'all think.

Twenty two more weeks of work to go but who's counting?

Funny story - the other night, my DH offered to go get my "loopy stuff" from the fridge. Get it? Lupron? Loopy stuff? Lupron probably fried my sense of humour too but I sure found that funny!