Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Details, Details

Yesterday's IVF Orientation was a whirlwind. The first thing they did was a baseline ultrasound on my uterus and ovaries. My uterus lining was thin, but my doctor (another Dr. T, not Dr. T the acupuncurist) said that was to be expected at this time in my cycle. She also said they look at the surface of the uterus at this time for polyps or uneven texture; my uterus showed a smooth surface. Noteably, yesterday was CD11 and I noticed some breakthrough spotting. Apparently this can happen on your first cycle of birth control pills.

Then, she looked at my ovaries. She said they looked good and saw approximately 13 antral follicles on my right ovary and 11 antral follicles on my left ovary. Apparently the average for my age is 10-15 on each side so I am right on track. I actually expected more follicles, due to the PCOS, but I'm not complaining.

Afterwards, I was escorted by Nurse D (who by the way is the best nurse ever) into a small meeting room where she would go over the procedure and answer my billions of questions. Turns out that Nurse D and I share the same birthday! I liked her right off. First she walked me through what would happen in the IVF, step by step. Then, we went over an estimated calendar of dates. We talked about the medications, and what might be covered by my private insurance. She showed me how to notify the nursing staff of my daily status while doing the stims, and lastly we went over the consent forms and other legal stuff.

One issue that came up was that Dr. T believes our chances of success are good enough that we should only transfer back one embryo, and she noted this in our chart. D and I want to transfer back two, because not only does that give us a better success rate, but also, we'd love twins. Dr. T wasn't available to discuss this in detail so I sent her an email. I'll let you know how she responds.

Then, it came time for the "practice" injection. I knew it was coming and I wasn't scared (much). I was even a little excited if you can believe it. Nurse D showed me how to draw up the medication, mix it in the syringe, put on the needle, etc. I pinched a bit of belly skin and braced myself. And then I just started laughing uncontrollably. You know how you have a mental barrier against inflicting pain on yourself? You know how you can't really hit or slap yourself with any kind of serious force? Well that feeling made it really hard for me to put that needle in. It was quite funny to me (hence the laughing), how mentally I wanted to do it but physically there was a such a strong, almost magnetic force stopping me. I must have had that skin pinched for close to 10 minutes and when I finally got the needle in I think I was so numb from the pinching that I didn't even feel it! It was easy. The needle was so small (not much bigger than an acupuncture needle) that I barely felt it. I can definitely do this!

I asked Nurse D to level with me. I said I wanted her to tell me what kind of chances she thought we have of success, knowing what she knows about our case. She said "I don't sugar-coat things. I would never tell someone that they have a great chance of success when they don't - I think it's mean. You have a great chance. Of course there are no guarantees in anything, but we feel that you and D have the odds well in your favour and Dr. T and I are really cheering for you guys." That made me feel great. I really believed that she was telling the truth. She also said, "I think you have to go into this process with optimism and confidence." And that, my friends, is just what I'm going to try to do.

OK so my calendar looks something like this:
-Last birth control pill and start nasal spray on November 11
[Update: Nasal spray will start on November 4]
-Expect period sometime around November 11-18
-The fun begins shortly thereafter

The timing of everything depends entirely on 1) how fast my period begins after the birth control pills are stopped and 2) how long it takes my ovaries to stimulate to the desired amount/size.

We figured out that the earliest possible date for egg retrieval would be November 25, and the latest possible date would be December 4. So basically, it will happen sometime in this window; and the transfer would be either 3 or 5 days after the egg retrieval (fingers crossed for 5!!).

I'm still reeling from the experience. I have so much to do to get ready and it really is coming up fast. I learned so much yesterday, but probably the biggest thing I took away from the experience was that it's REAL and it's HAPPENING.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

IVF Orientation

I just got home from the big IVF Orientation today - lasted almost 4 hours! I am dying to write a giant post about it but everything that happened is still swimming around in my head and I don't know where to start. So, I'm going to stew on it until tomorrow morning and then write a detailed post when I'm thinking a little more clearly. Plus, I have to run to my acupuncture appointment in a few minutes so I gotta run for now...

But I will leave you with this (until tomorrow):

-Looks like I have a total of approximately 24 follicles!
-I gave myself a "practice" injection today - and it didn't hurt at all!
-They practically gave me a binder's worth of information - lots to read and do!
-It's all good!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Kitty Update

THANK YOU to everyone who sent those lovely prayers our way. They meant the world to us.

Buddha came home last night and seems to be OK, albeit a little worse for wear from the ordeal.

We think that he chewed part of a plastic bag and that my have "upset" his insides somehow. The vet suspected that maybe it caused a small blockage. The vet did some x-rays and gave him some medicine and that seems to have calmed things down.

I am so grateful to have my little Bear back. He is such a good boy, it was awful to see him so miserable.

I was so focused on the other stuff going on in my life, it's funny how a little cat can [temporarily] make that all go out the window.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Please Send A Prayer For My Cat

We woke up this morning to discover that one of our cats was very sick. We rushed him to the emergency vet and they're holding him there at the moment. They can't figure out what is wrong with him and they're running a billion tests.

He is scared. I am scared. My husband is scared. We love that little guy so very much.

His name is "Buddha", but we call him "Buddha-Bear" or just plain "Bear".

Please send prayers, good energy, thoughts his way.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Me? Anxious?

Um, I passed anxious about three weeks ago. People have noticed. Namely, my husband and my acupuncturist. My acupuncurist (Dr. T) seems to think that I could do with some unwinding. He seems to think that I will improve my IVF odds if I can try to relax a bit. Fair enough.

Only one teeny weeny problem: I have absolutely no idea how to go about doing that. I'm not, shall we say, the easygoing type. I asked Dr. T for some suggestions. He said I should pick up a guided imagery relaxation CD and listen to it a few times a week, maybe even every day. He also said I would probably benefit from some gentle yoga and breathing exercises. I will definitely try both of these things in hopes that they will help my unwind a bit.

I know exactly why I'm like this: I am a super-duper-high-strung-control-freak. Anyone who's met me know this. I don't like it when I have no influence on things that are important to me. And that pretty much sums up this IVF process in a nutshell. So, in order to compensate, I've gone overboard with obsessing about the the things I can actually control - like my health, my diet, my planning. Of course, this is only a tiny fraction of what goes into a successful IVF so, intellectually, I really don't know why I'm trying so hard.

My acupuncturist said that while we can do our best to put the odds in our favour, pregnancy achievement is still a miracle and there's a lot to it that we don't understand. This really spoke to me. I know I've talked about letting go of control in previous posts, but I've discovered it's not something that one can just release all in one go. It's a daily struggle for me to truly believe I just have to let things happen the way they will. I find it excruciatingly hard to accept that!

So I'll do what I can to wrap my mind around relaxing. It's not going to be easy but if I can put the same mental fortitude towards chilling out as I do to obsessing and controlling, I think I'll have a decent chance of getting to a place where I can just enjoy this ride.

Of all the things I thought would pose a challenge in this IVF cycle, it never occurred to me that letting go would be the biggest one.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Detox Baby, Detox

On my acupuncturist's recommendation, I went out and bought a 12-day detox kit. Specifically, I bought the Wild Rose Herbal D-Tox which is comprised of three different herbal formulations and one tincture, to be taken along with breakfast and dinner for 12 straight days. There is also a fairly strict diet to follow during the 12-day detox. While it is very doable, one must avoid dairy, all flours, all sugars, all tropical fruit, peanuts, mushrooms and a whole holy host of other delectable foodies that usually comprise the bulk of my meals and snacks.

I've used this detox kit in the past, and I've had good results with it, although admittedly, I've never lasted for the whole 12 days. But this time will be different. My acupuncturist (backed up by some articles I've read recently) felt fairly confident that doing a system detox prior to the IVF can only help things; and of course, I want to give myself every possible advantage. I still have four weeks before I will likely start the stims, and six weeks before the actual IVF. You had better believe I am going to be getting myself into the best possible healthy shape during this time, starting with this detox.

To be fair, I am usually fairly health conscious. I always try to eat organically, and I have very strictly limited caffeine, sugars and processed foods as long as I've been TTCing. I have exercised at least 3 days a week for as long as I can remember. Having said that though, I do believe I could do with a good detox. I live in the middle of downtown in a busy city and it's impossible not to come into contact with at least a few nasty free-radical causing chemicals, and yes, I do *very occasionally* indulge in some fantastically tasty junk food.

So the detox starts this weekend. I'm going to do a big ol' organic shop on Saturday and get all my "allowed" foods in stock so I can be as prepared as possible. This should be an interesting 12 days and you just know, my dear readers, that I'll be keeping you posted with all the gory details every step of the way.

Sparkling clean I come!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

I Survived The Baby Fair

...and lived to tell the tale.

It was a dark, cold and rainy morning at the Vancouver Convention Centre. Strollers were approaching the Exhibit Hall by the masses. The sound of crying and fussing babies was clearly audible amidst the kiddy music playing at the end of the large, crowded room. I was pushed and shoved toward the booths by the giant sea of pregnant bellies surrounding me, like cattle to the slaughter...

Actually it wasn't too bad. I only got a bit choked up twice; once when a woman asked me if I was pregnant. I recoiled and blurted out a very bitter "No!". She was a bit taken aback by this brazen answer, I could tell. The second time was when I was getting a complimentary facial (which was awesome, by the way) and the women giving the facial said, "When are you going to catch up to your friend here [pregnant L] and have a baby too?". That was too much. I answered boldly by saying, "Um actually I WAS pregnant and I recently miscarried". That shut her up for about 3 seconds. Then she went on to tell me about how her sister was pregnant and today is officially 12 weeks for her so she can start telling everyone blah blah blah.

All in all, I handled things better than I could have dreamed. And I walked away with a bunch of free samples of lotions and potions and all kinds of goodies. It was a pretty good morning.

But it did make me feel even more anxious to have a baby, if that's even possible. I really hope my turn is coming up soon. I am so ready.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

What Have I Agreed To?

Good Lord, what did I do.

My pregnant friend L has asked me to be her date for the Baby & Family Fair tomorrow. I was in such a good headspace when she asked last week, I gleefully agreed to go.

But now the fair is in, like, 12 short hours and I'm starting to panic. Am I really ready for this?

A month ago, HELL no. No friggin' way I could go to something like that; I likely would have been reduced to tears at the very thought of being surrounded by babies babies everywhere.

Now, full of vim and hope for the upcoming IVF, I'm in a much better place and I think, THINK, I can handle it. I think. But I'm not sure.

Hmmm...a morning spent surrounded by babies, toddlers, toys, bottles, breastfeeding, strollers, play pens, diaper rash, formula, huge pregnant bellies and God knows what else? This should be interesting.

Seriously, wish me luck.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Nine Months Just Isn't Enough Time

D and I had our friend L and her husband over for dinner last night. As you may (or may not) recall, L got pregnant on the exact same day that I did; and while I miscarried at 7 weeks, L has gone on to have a healthy pregnancy - she is now about 6 months along, and getting bigger every day.

L and her husband were about 30 minutes late to show up at our house. I was a bit worried, as it was a rainy night and I wondered if maybe they had been in a wreck or something. When they eventually arrived, L's eyes were all red and puffy and I could clearly see that she had been crying.

Once they got settled at our place, D started playing video games with L's husband (ah, men) while I pulled L aside to ask her what was wrong. She said that she had a midwife appointment earlier that day, which included a painful pap and some subsequent spotting. She also had a bunch of tests done, which she didn't yet know the outcome of, as well as a requisition for several more tests to come. They went over the upcoming birth and the process that it will entail. Apparently there was a student midwife there as well who had a hard time finding the baby's heartbeat on the doppler. Even though it was eventually found and everything seemed to be fine, it left L feeling scared, nervous and unsettled.

I still couldn't understand what was wrong or what was so troubling about the appointment. She wasn't given any bad news per se; it seemed like the appointment went well enough, if not for it including a lot of information and a bit of confusion. Then L said something that made me get it. "Nine months just isn't enough time to get prepared for all this", she said with exasperation. Ah. I realized that L was completely overwhelmed.

A couple of months ago, I would have interpreted a comment like that to mean that L was essentially stating that she was ungrateful for this amazing gift that she's been given (the same gift that was so cruelly taken away from me). I would have felt slighted by her remark and thought 'how dare she take for granted the fact that she is pregnant, especially when I am desperatly trying to recover from my miscarriage and conceive again?'.

But much to my surprise, I was not bothered this time. I didn't feel that familiar pang of jealousy and bitterness that usually rears it's head whenever I get the inclination that a pregnant women is complaining about pregnancy. I could see that L was truly overwhelmed by the process. My heart went out to her. She is starting to panic.

And understandably so. L said something that hadn't occured to me until just that moment. She said "The first three months of pregnancy, you're just getting used to the idea and praying you make it to twelve weeks. The next three months, you start getting excited. The last trimester is when the panic sets in".

In all my idyllic conceptions of pregnancy and childbirth, all I've been imagining until now is bliss, happiness, nappies, bonnets, and bottles. It had not occured to me that I am in for a very overwhelming and scary experience, aside from the simple fear of miscarriage. I have no doubt that I'm ready to be mum and I honestly can't wait for that day; but I realized that arriving there really will take some getting used to. L was, in a sense, the canary in the coalmine. She opened my eyes to parts of the process that I hadn't truly considered. Certainly, nothing has dissuaded me from wanting a baby more than anything in the world, but L made me realize that as much as there is to be thrilled and excited about, there's also plenty to be scared and nervous about. I am glad for the reality check.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


THANK YOU to everyone who commented and left valuable advice on my previous post. I really appreciate it.

I feel optimistic that I'm heading in the right direction and confident that I am a good candidate for IVF. I think if I could get a grip on my anxieties in general, I'd be an even better candidate. Such anxieties have driven me to perform countless Google searches over the last few days using such key words as "IVF success", "PCOS IVF", "acupuncture IVF success", "excellent chance of IVF working", "twins IVF", "celebrity IVF", "success first try IVF", just to name a few. Yes, I've been crazy and obsessed. Yes, I need to calm down.

The silly thing as that in my quest to become smarter about this process, I've actually created more confusion than enlightenment. The internet is a dangerous thing. Google has definitely got my number. I have come across information about as many successful IVFs as unsuccessful IVFs. I have found information that claims that acupuncture increases IVF success rates, as well as articles that state that acupuncture is a hindrance. I have discovered every wonderful, touching, inspiring IVF story out there, as well as all the tragic, depressing and hopeless ones. Did you know that IVF success rates can vary from 10% to 90%??? My point is that there is a lot of conflicting information out there, and that is a dangerous thing for a knowledge-crazy obsessive sort, like myself.

However, what I have discovered with some certainty is that everyone is different, and every person's experience with IVF (and fertility in general) is unique. Internet searches, statistics, articles and success rates really mean nothing to the individual. It is, in some small way, comforting to come to the realization that my upcoming IVF will only go one of two ways: It will be successful or it won't. And the odds are in my favour.

So, dear readers, I solomnly vow to you right now that the crazy internet-searching obsession ends now. It just isn't helping, and I'm already as educated on this process as I can (and should) be. I really should be focusing my attention on things that may actually improve my chances of success - like good nutrition, meditation, gentle exercise, relaxation, breathing, and finding joy in life.

I'll never be in the driver's seat in this process; that's just the way it goes. For the first time ever, I accept that; I can't believe it took me so long. I just fastened my seatbelt and I'm ready to ride.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Need Your Advice

It occurred to me yesterday that if this cycle of IVF isn't successful, I will be absolutely devestated. Seriously, I think I will just shut down. Now, this is a very dangerous thing because while the success rates are indeed very good, we are in no way guaranteed to get pregnant and have a healthy baby.

So how do I emotionally approach this upcoming IVF? On the one hand, I don't want to get crushed, but on the other hand, I do want to be excited and think positively as I do believe that helps things along. I talked to my mom and D about how they suggest I view it. The way we see it, there are essentially 3 options:

1. I can go into it expecting the worst but hoping for the best.
2. I can go into it expecting the best and worry about how I'll deal with emotional fallout if and when it becomes an issue.
3. I can try not to think about the outcome either way (yeah right!) and just try to be present for the ride.

I can think of pros and cons to all the strategies above. I'm leaning toward #2 because, well, I don't even want to consider the possibility that this IVF won't work, despite the fact that I could be playing with emotional fire.

I need your advice. What do you think I should do? If you were in my position, how you would set your emotional compass? How would you manage your expectations? Is there a 4th option I haven't considered?

I would be grateful for advice from anyone who cares to put in their two cents. Thanks in advance.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Hi Mom

I told my parents about my blog last night and they are very interested in reading it. I'm a bit nervous about them reading some of my darker posts, but hopefully I sufficiently braced them for the worst bits. I don't mind who reads this thing; honestly, I have nothing to hide.

I also had a long discussion with my parents last night about the whole IVF procedure. They had some questions, and I tried my best to answer them. My mom said at one point, "Hilary, I can't believe how smart you are!". I had to laugh at that one because it's not a matter of being smart per se; my knowledge on the subject of (in)fertility is simply due to the fact that I've been trying at this for so long now, one can't help but be a dimestore expert eventually. Every single one of my fellow bloggers out there probably knows more about their reproductive system then they ever dreamed they could or even wanted to. And I had to add that sure, I might know a lot about getting pregnant, but once I actually get pregnant I'll have to do some serious reading because I don't know a damn thing about pregnancy!

I am extremely lucky. I have the best parents in the world (and NO, I'm not just saying that because they're probably reading this!). They have been unconditionally supportive throughout my struggle to have a baby, and now that we are moving on to IVF, they couldn't be happier for us. Not once have they ever been judgemental, insensitive, or uncaring. They have even generously offered to help us pay for the procedure.

I am well aware that there are so many women out there who are not only struggling with their fertility, but also battling with an unsupportive family. That is a sadness I can't even imagine. I am so grateful for this support-system I've been blessed with, it certainly does make the process that much easier. Here's to you, Mom and Dad.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Kicked My Thermometer To The Curb

I had the most vivid dreams last night. Actually, I kept waking up through the night having to pee, and each time I'd fall back asleep I'd have a different dream. I don't remember all of them, but I know I dreamed of my old dollhouse and my teeth breaking in my mouth (recurring dream). The last dream I can remember was about me, 8 months pregnant and huge, sitting on the side of a pool talking about how I was due to give birth the next month. It was a nice dream.

When I woke up, I told D about my dreams and he told me that the pregnancy dream was a good sign (of course, I dream about being pregnant practically every night). He is extremely confident in our decision to do IVF. I'm very lucky to have such a supportive husband. We sat in bed and discussed how many embryos we want to transfer back. Suprisingly, we were in total agreement: Two.

I took my temperature this morning for the last time. I figure there's no point to it anymore. I almost never ovulate on my own, and I don't see the sense of temping in the context of IVF. The whole point of temping is to confirm when you ovulated, and that's no longer a concern for me since the process is so different now.

But wow, I gotta say, I've become so used to temping every morning, it's going to be weird not to do it. I'm sure I'll feel like my baby-making responsibilities are somehow being shirked. When I made the decision to stop temping, I honestly felt a surge of panic, like "oh my god, what if I don't know what my body is doing". The silly thing is that I pretty much never know what my body is doing; the only thing for sure is that I almost never ovulate.

I've read a few very encouraging books/articles lately (me? obsessive?) that state that women with PCOS generally have an "excellent" response to COH (controlled ovarian hyperstimulation) and IVF. I guess the idea is that PCOS patients have such a large ovarian reserve, there are usually many eggs to choose from. My last ultrasound showed that I have over 40 cysts on each ovary (each cyst being an undeveloped follicle), so with that in mind, I should have a decent chance of a fruitful harvest. My only concern is egg quality...hopefully at least a few of those eggies will show some promise!

Status update: I started progesterone to induce my period a few days ago. I will take it for the next 7 days and once my period starts, I will begin the birth control for three weeks. Shortly after that, the real fun begins....

[UPDATE] Check out this study!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

7 Weeks & Counting...

I feel great having made the decision to go ahead with IVF. It probably seems a bit drastic to skip over IUI altogether, but when we compared the costs and success rates, it seemed like such an easy decision. Especially since, well, I wanna be pregnant...yesterday.

I'm a lot less anxious and stressed out now that we know what our next step will be. I called my parents today and talked it over with them, and they are extremely supportive. My mom has even offered to come and stay with me during and after the whole IVF process, so that I can stay off my feet as much as possible. I love my mom and I really appreciate the offer. I'm lucky to have such encouraging parents. All I have to do is utter the word "grandchild" under my breath and they'll come running from two states over!

So...approximately 7 weeks to go. 7 weeks filled to the brim with meds, shots, blood tests, appointments, ultrasounds, waiting and blogging. My dear readers, I vow to you that I will document everything in this blog. Every milestone, every emotion, every squeamish detail. I hope by doing that, it will serve as a resource for anyone else out there in cyberspace who is thinking about IVF, or who is planning to go through it. I know I find a tremendous amount of amazing information from the other blogs out there; I only hope I can give back some knowledge through this process.

Blog it out, baby!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Sharp Right Turn In A Totally New Direction

Our appointment with the fertility clinic could not have gone better.

D and I met with Dr. T, who is very nice and seems really good at what she does. I loved that one of the first things she said to me was, "Let's get you pregnant, shall we?" Music to my ears.

First Dr. T went over all our lab results and blood tests. Everything was totally normal, except for D's sperm counts, which were even better than normal! The doctor commented that D's results were extremely high, thus ruling out any question of male-factor. His counts were so high that if it weren't for my ovulation issues, D's spawn would likely be taking over the city by now. All good news, and whew! What a relief.

Then Dr. T laid out our options. She said we could 1) do another Clomid cycle with IUI, 2) try a superovulation cycle with IUI or 3) go straight for IVF. We talked about the pros, cons, advantages, disadvantages, success rates and costs associated with all the options. I definitely did not want to do another Clomid cycle, considering my record of not always ovulating on it. So between Superovulation/IUI and IVF, WE DECIDED TO DO IVF!!!

Dr. T gave us fabulous success rates for IVF. Their "take-home baby" rate is 51% per cycle at the clinic. However, considering my age (30), D's crazy high sperm count, and the fact that I've been pregnant before, she said it could be even higher for us. When I asked her about our chances of success, she actually said they're "better than a coin toss!" I loved hearing that.

I left the clinic grinning ear to ear. I am so happy with this decision and it feels so right. I haven't felt this hopeful since...probably ever. I really feel like it could actually finally happen for us.

So the next step is an "orientation" which I've got scheduled for October 30th. That's when we'll pin down dates for everything going forward. If all goes well, we estimated that I'll do the transfer early-mid December. Here's hoping that I get a really awesome Christmas present this year!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Bring It On, I'm Ready

I'm enjoying the last day of a 3-day weekend (yay for Canadian Thanksgiving!) and all I can think about is my upcoming appointment with our soon-to-be fertility doctor (Dr. T). I'm nervous, excited, anxious, excited, excited, optimistic and excited. I have looked at the website for the fertility clinic so many times now that I've practically got it memorized. Being the nerd that I am, I've actually prepared a list of questions for the doctor, because I know the second I walk in there I will forget everything I wanted to ask about. Here is my list, in case anyone feels like commenting:

1) Single IUI vs. double (or triple) - your thoughts?

2) What stims/meds do you suggest (noting that I have a spotty response to Clomid at best)?

3) As OPKs are almost always positive for me, can I request to be monitored by ultrasound?

4) Does your clinic do genetic selection during sperm-washing? Does this decrease our odds of conception? (I'm not totally sure if I'm going to ask this one...)

5) Should I be on Progesterone supplements after IUI?

6) Given our work up and history, what are OUR chances of success per cycle?

7) Do I need to be concerned with OHSS (ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome), considering my history of PCOS? What about poor egg quality?

8) How long should I lie down after the IUI? Is there anything I can do to increase my chances of success?

Am I crazy to be as excited about this as a kid before Christmas? I'm excited for the injections, I'm excited to see my follicles on ultrasound, I'm excited for the whole process. This must sound absolutely naive and ridiculous to those out there who are veterans in this process.

D is worried about taking the time off work to go to this consultation appointment. D has a fairly high-stress job and it's hard for him to get away. Little does he know, this is just the beginning when it comes to needing time off, poor guy.

I talked to D again last night about moving straight to IVF, rather than try IUI first. My theory is that the success rates are so much better, we may as well do IVF once or twice, rather than IUI three or four times. I just want to get pregnant right now! But D is convinced that IUI will work and he wants to try it at least once before we move on to the next step. He said "I'd bet a lot on 20% odds." He is a great husband, very encouraging. I think I get a lot of my optimism from him. Also, the doctor I'm seeing is supposedly one of the Canadian pioneers in the field of IUI, so I guess I should have some faith in that.

With that in mind, I'm going to post a poll because, well, I'm just that crazy - (take a look at the top/right of this blog and please vote!). [EDIT: POLL DELETED]

I am so ready to be a mum.

God I love 3-day weekends. I have absolutely nothing to do today and that, my friends, is just fantastic.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Lucky Me

I went out to lunch with my dear friend N today. She went through a miscarriage two months before mine, and she’s also obsessed with getting pregnant again. It was so great to talk to her. What a fantastic treat to chat with someone who totally understands. I just love N.

I told her about my upcoming IUI and she told me about how she’s been feverishly trying lately as well. N has perfectly regular 28-day cycles and she always gets predictable EWCM. I told her how I wished I had a regular cycle and ovulated on my own, and she told me she would love to have an IUI as she considers that a leg-up on baby-making. It’s funny, I realized that when it comes to TTCing, women with normal cycles worry and stress just as much as those of us who struggle with our fertility. It was so interesting to hear her stress out about her timing and frequency of intercourse this cycle. She actually said something to the effect of, “Oh you’re so LUCKY you're going to have an IUI, you’ve got such an advantage!”

This notion really struck me. Dear lord, is it possible that I have a fertile advantage over a woman who has regular, ovulatory cycles? Is it possible that I actually have a better chance of conceiving due to the medical intervention I am about to undergo? All research I’ve seen indicates that yes, a medicated IUI (especially two per cycle) gives you slightly (a few percentage points) better odds per cycle of success than natural, timed intercourse. Imagine that, ME with a fertile advantage. I must be dreaming.

So it's Medicated Me versus Natural N in the baby-making showdown...who will take the championship?

(Honestly, I’m confident that we’ll both be winners. It’s really just a matter of time.)

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Reminder Of Who I Am Aside From All The Trying

My favourite colours are red and orange.

I think that Stockard Channing is the greatest actress of our time.

I am one of the few people on earth that love black licorice.

I've never had a cavity, nor have I ever broken a bone.

My favourite kind of food is Indian food, even though it usually makes me sick about an hour after I eat it.

My dad calls me Hill-Bill; my brother calls me Hee-Ree.

Nothing bothers me more than cruelty to animals; I can't even watch cartoon animals get injured or killed.

I make really, really good rice pudding.

I've never missed a single episode of any season of America's Next Top Model.

I used to have my nose and belly-button pierced. Not anymore.

During high school, I spent a semester in Japan and a semester in Israel.

I love the smell of lemon verbena, and amaretto.

I believe in karma.

I have a serious purse/handbag fetish.

My favourite part of my body is my ears - they're little and well-shaped.

The first record album I ever bought was "Naughty Girls Need Love Too" by Samantha Foxx; the first tape I ever bought was Lisa Lisa and the Cult Jam.

I am generous, funny and loyal; I am also petty, sometimes tell lies, and can hold a grudge for a very long time.

Every once in a while I have a recurring dream that my teeth fall out and/or I break my teeth in my mouth.

I'm certainly insecure.

I have more than a touch of OCD.

My favourite number is 23.

I have two moles in my right armpit (which makes it hard to shave!).

I rarely try anything at which I suspect I will fail.

My biggest pet-peeves are useage of the non-word "irregardless" and when people have B.O.

I once cheated on a boyfriend; and I once had a boyfriend who cheated on me.

I'm not nearly as well-read or informed about the world as I should be.

I used to be a bartender.

I was born in Philadelphia.

Even after all these years, I still really want a Barbie Dream House.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

All Clear

I had my HSG today. I had to take the train two cities away so I could get in at the only hospital that could do the procedure on the ninth day of my cycle, as the local hospitals were all booked up for today.

After I arrived and checked in at reception, I hadn't been sitting in the lobby for more than 30 seconds before they called me in. I changed into a gown and went into a room that had all kinds of x-ray equipment and a very tall exam table for me to sit on. While I waited for the doctor to arrive, I made small talk with the two young assistants who were helping out. They brought me a heated blanket, answered some of my questions, and told me a little bit about the procedure.

The doctor finally came in about 15 minutes later. He was an older fellow, short in stature with white hair and very thick glasses. He was with a younger student doctor who was in training. He was very nice and when I confessed that I was kinda nervous, he said, "don't worry, that's perfectly natural". I liked him right off.

The procedure was very uncomfortable. Obviously, the speculum (like the one they use for paps) is no picnic. But the doctor put it in and then fussed around with something and it felt like I was sitting there forever with that awful speculum prying me open. Finally, he put the catheter into my cervix and although the tube itself didn't hurt much, once he inflated the dye-filled balloon in my uterus, it really hurt. It felt like horrible period cramps with terrible pressure. I had to squeeze the hand of one of the young assistants.

All in all, from start to finish, it probably took less than 20 minutes. Of course, when it was happening, I thought it was never going to end.

Sometimes you get a doctor who won't tell you anything. Even if you ask questions, they keep what they know to themselves, and only dismissively suggest that you speak with your regular doctor. I've had this happen even when there's nothing wrong to speak of. Thankfully, the doctor I saw today was very informative, told me everything he saw, and even showed me the pictures of my dye-laden uterus and fallopian tubes on x-ray.

The good news: Everything is totally normal and perfectly clear!

Thanks again to Mrs. Mel Z for advising me to take the painkillers before the HSG. I can't imagine the agony it would have been without them.

We dropped off D's sperm analysis at the lab this morning as well. Now if we find out that looks good as well, I'll be thrilled!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Side Note - D Just Cracked Me Up

Earlier this evening, D and I were re-watching a movie that we had seen before a few years ago. The movie featured a little toddler, which I hadn't paid much attention to the first time we watched it. But this time, I couldn't get my eyes off the kid, I was squeeling and "awwww"-ing at all her sweet little antics. I finally exclaimed to D, "That little girl is so darn cute. Why don't I remember her being this cute the first time we saw this movie??"

He responded flatly, "That's 'cause you're all jacked up on baby juice, Hil". The way he said it was so matter of fact, and I almost fell on the floor laughing at the idea of being "jacked up" on "baby juice".

Yup, he pretty much hit the nail on the head!

I love you D.

I'm Not Infertile...And Other Recent Revelations

Revelation One:
I've been thinking about it. I'm not infertile, despite my struggle with infertility. In fact, I think I'm very fertile once I get past the obstacle of ovulation. I CAN get pregnant, and I have been pregnant in the past. And even though I miscarried that pregnancy, there is no reason to believe that I will miscarry again in the future. All tests showed that it was just "bad luck".

I've been putting myself in the category of "infertile" for so long; which isn't necessarily true. It makes me feel much better to take myself out of that category, as it puts me in a more mentally/emotionally optimisitic place. PCOS can be a hinderance to fertility, but it does not necessarily make one infertile, per se. Lots of women with PCOS go on to have perfect babies. So here I am, declaring myself to be fertile, despite my ovulation challenges.

Revelation Two:
I am old. Now I realize, by stating this, I am insulting everyone who is older than me and for that I am sorry; it is not my intent to offend. What I'm trying to say is that my feeling old has only a little to do with my age - I mean I AM only 30 for goodness sake - I guess I am feeling like now, more than ever, I am an adult. Really and truly.

Until very recently, I thought of myself as young, childish, like a kid. When you're in your 20s, you can get away with it, but a 30 year old "kid" is just sad. I am the oldest of my peers at my work, and one of the oldest in my circle of friends. And I guess I'm really feeling "my age" lately, especially in the context of everything I'm going through to try to get pregnant. Fertility is an "adult" issue to have to deal with and I can honestly say that I feel I've grown up so much through this process. I'm just not the kid I used to be.

Revelation Three:
It's OK to get excited. I have spent so many months and years holding myself back from getting my hopes up about getting pregnant. I don't know why, I guess I didn't want to "jinx" myself, as silly as that sounds. And I guess I thought that if I let myself get excited, then I would be that much more disappointed when things didn't work out. I have spent so much time protecting myself from being sad, but when I look back at the last year, all I did was feel sad. I can only conclude that whatever I was doing didn't work. I think back to those months where I would really try not to get excited, and I didn't dare let myself get carried away in the beautiful notion that I might be pregnant. But seeing that negative pregnancy test didn't make me feel any less sad than those months where I felt sure I was pregnant.

It comes down to this: I am not going to deny myself the excitment, hopefulness and fun of creating a new life any longer. Damn the ups and downs - I'm just living. Life is too short, and while this process has not worked out the way I planned it, it WILL still work out eventually, and just as it should be. How can I expect to make a baby without embracing it, mind, body, and soul? I AM EXCITED to hold my baby. I AM LOOKING FORWARD to raising a child with D. I AM OPTIMISTIC about the future. I EXPECT that I will get pregnant sooner or later, and I'm SURE it will happen. I'm done being scared and cautious. I'm through with protecting myself. It's about damn time.

I think I just discovered something grand.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Random Ramblings Will Put You To Sleep

My boss went to a lunch event at a local university over the weekend, and because the theme of the luncheon was all about saving the environment, the parting gift for all the attendees was a little Douglas Fir tree sprout, packed in a little bit of soil. My boss made a point of giving the little treeling to me this morning, and told me to plant it somewhere. I was touched by this nice gesture, probably more than the situation merited; my boss most likely just didn't know what else to do with it but hand it off to his assistant. But I'm happy about the gift and I'm going to put it in my flower box as soon as I get home. I can't help but think of it as a symbol of things to come, my little Douglas Fir.

Also, D and I finally, finally agreed on baby names that we both like. This is after quite literally years of disagreement. That's a good thing. Now here's hoping we get to use them!

I confessed to D last night that I really want twins. I used to joke about it all the time but I never told him that in my heart of hearts it would be my dream to have twins. D definitely does not want twins, one baby is more than enough for him. But we'll both be happy with whatever we get. Of course, due to the higher risks that go along with carrying twins, I want a healthy pregnancy above all else.

I also told him that I'm not sure I'm comfortable about asking the fertility clinic about choosing the sex of our baby when we go in for our pre-IUI consultation next week. Truth be told, I don't even know if the clinic we're going to even does genetic selection. D really wants a boy and he wants to ask about it, but I think I'd rather put it in the hands of fate. I go back and forth on the issue. I guess we have at least another week to think about it.

So these are my rambling thoughts for the moment. Nothing too exciting going on in the ol' noggin today. Apologies for the boring post.