Monday, 20 January 2014

Visit to the Fertility Centre

Well, not too much of an update, but I went to the Fertility Centre today, and had my bloodwork redone so we can start the process of trying for a sibling for Joseph.  They took 14 vials of blood.  However, the reason it is not much of an update is that obviously I don't have the results of any of that yet.  Hubby also has to redo his bloodwork (just 3 vials, though) and do a semen analysis again.  (He will go in and do that next week.  Fun!)  In about a month we will return to the clinic and get the results.  Hoping for the best!  One thing I did find out, from the u/s that I had done today, is that I had a good Antral Follicle Count of 28.  The Dr. said that was better than my AFC on the cycle when we had Joseph, and the cycle before that!  So that is good news.  At least my ovaries haven't shriveled up with no eggs left.  Yeah!  At age 41 now, I have good reason to be concerned.  She said that the AFC was good probably in part from the DHEA I'm taking, and also that after pregnancy the body "resets" itself and can be different hormonally, and things are better.  So there, maybe that annoying friend of mine was right about being "more fertile" after having a baby (though I'm still pissed at her that things worked out so easily!!)  I am continuing with the DHEA, supplements, Chinese herbs, acupuncture, exercise (occasionally!) and my so-called healthy diet.  I was so nervous going in to the clinic today, I could hardly sleep last night.  I don't know what is up with that.  Just the idea of going back there has got me very agitated.  There are a lot of memories, both good and bad, associated with that space.  Like I look over and think, that was the chair I sat and cried my eyes out in when I found out there was something wrong with Lily.  But in the same chair I remember sitting happily holding my u/s pictures of Joseph, waiting to talk to the doctor.  I also feel guilty bringing my baby to the waiting room, because seeing him may be painful for some of the infertile patients that have not had success yet.  Maybe they are angrily thinking "why are you here?  You already have a baby?"  But outwardly, everyone is happy to see Joseph.  Today one of the nurses who had given my first injections and taught me how to do them myself came over and was so thrilled to see him.  The technician taking my blood was too, which is strange because I don't even know her name, but she remembers me well and was very excited to see my baby.  And our doctor was telling her student intern that he was one of her "success stories" and she was happily playing with him and joking around, sticking a suction cup to her forehead and having Joseph pull it off.  Also, the embryologist was there for some reason, a Russian man named Valery, and he came over to play with Joseph a few minutes.  He was the one who does the biopsies for PGS, so it is amazing to think he was there when Joseph was an embryo in a petri dish, and he somehow very skillfully scraped a few cells off the outer layer of the embryo, without damaging what would become our precious Joseph, and sent those cells off to be tested at another lab.  Anyway, there was a lot of fuss with Joseph there, so I felt bad, because I know that not everyone there is having a good day and wants to overhear people crooning over a baby. But maybe others don't mind or don't care.  Maybe they think "this will be me next year, when I'm back to visit with my baby".  For some people it may bring hope. 
Part of me is excited about going back.  I want to go in there, have a successful cycle, and be done!  But I am scared, because I know I am forgetting about all the pain and heartbreak, all the darkness and the horrible things that can go wrong in the process.  I have been struck by lightning before, have I forgotten about that?  I should know better than to feel excited and optimistic, the higher those feelings soar the bigger the crash when the treatments fail or the pregnancy is lost.  The greater the disbelief.  After several failures in a row, I was fearful to even get a little bit excited, I tried to really keep my cool and not care.  But it still hurt anyway, so despite myself, even though I told myself I would not get my hopes up, I still did hope.  So basically I know that I am really setting myself up for a lot of pain by feeling this way, so optimistic and hopeful...  but for now, since I have not started any cycling yet, there is no risk, and my hopes are for further down the road.  Surely it can't hurt to have a general kind of hopefulness, can it? 
Now I wait another month before going back.  Back when I was childless, this would be like torture, because I wanted more than anything to just get pregnant already, NOW!, but now that I have Joseph I don't mind.  I'm glad I don't have to bother going in there or worrying about it for a little while, and I know in the meantime I will be very occupied with my little guy. 

Saturday, 18 January 2014

AF returns

Well, surprise... AF finally showed up.  Yeah!  Today is cycle Day 1!  It has been a full 6 weeks since I stopped breastfeeding, so it's about time!  And about 9 weeks since I completely stopped that wicked Domperidone, that sent my prolactin levels soaring.  Aside from the off and on post partum bleeding, which at one point I thought was AF (still not sure), I have not had a real period since April 2012!  (That's over 500 days of no AF for me!!)
So we will go to the clinic either tomorrow or Monday, and hopefully get all our bloodwork started.  Then it will probably be a month or so until we get the results of all the testing.  Creeping forward, ever so slowly.  Getting my cycle back is a great first step, though.  Certainly necessary for our plans to have a sibling for Joseph...  I went to have acupuncture today, and the acupuncturist was very happy about my cycle starting.  He said "see, the herbs really work!"  So who knows, but they certainly did no harm, and I will continue with the strange brew until we start an IVF in earnest.  For now it is all about doing everything I can to get myself ready for the IVF (or TTC in general).  I finally ventured back into the gym, a few times, and that was interesting.  I had to put Joseph in the little gym daycare, so I felt bad about that.  When I picked him up afterwards, he had tears in his eyes...  Good thing it is only for an hour, and not all day.  He is really not used to being in daycare.  Hopefully he will get more comfortable with it. 

So, my mind has been going into overdrive thinking about this plan to have a sibling.  To sum it up, I am scared of failing, but also scared of succeeding.  Of course, trying and getting a negative will suck, trying and having a loss will be horrible, but also if I do succeed on my first or even second try, (and I only really plan to do 2 IVFs before calling it quits with my eggs)  then I will not have enough work hours to go back on EI (Employment Insurance). (For example, if I get pregnant in Feb/March, then the baby will be due in Nov/Dec.  I go back to work in Sept but will need 5 months of work to collect EI again, thus I will get nothing.  That kind of stinks!  Also, I would love it if everything worked out, but on the other hand if it did work then that would mean going back to work visibly pregnant, which would be weird.)  Is this a well thought-out plan to try now?  Well, I have to remember that a NORMAL person would have a different plan than mine, probably not requiring an IVF or time off work to do so.  And I need to remember that my age is a huge factor, so delaying my IVF so that I will get EI benefits could make my chances worse.  My window of time for trying with my own eggs is closing with each day that passes.  (Heck, it may already be closed for all I know.  I hope not!)  So I will just not worry about how the timing may affect my job or my finances, or the fact that I have committed to taking time off until September and now I can't very well just drop back in early so I can get hours for EI!  The truth is, we can survive without EI (for now, anyway), but it sucks after having paid into it for 15 years working full time, then not being able to draw on it when I need it.  Anyway, it is not lost on me that this would be a wonderful problem to face, and we will find a solution to manage with less.  If I can just manage to get pregnant, and stay pregnant, period, then I will be VERY happy!!!!  (with a HEALTHY baby, of course, that goes without saying...)  The alternative is returning to work not pregnant, and that would be so depressing.  Especially after all the money, time, and effort.  So I guess my conclusions are that financially it doesn't really make sense to get pregnant until June or later, but I just don't want to wait that long, given my infertility issues. 

Monday, 6 January 2014

One year old!!

Joseph is one year old today!  I can't believe it!  The year seemed to fly by.  It has been an amazing time.  Joseph has healed me in so many ways!  I feel like I'm living a different life now, I was some other person before Joseph and I have to say I like who I am better now.  We had a party for him yesterday.  We wanted to make it informal and have an "open house" with people dropping in.  There was a pretty strong turnout, and the house was crammed with nearly 40 people!  (That is a LOT for this space)  A few hours before the party, Joseph was walking across the room then fell on his face into the couch.  It was pretty bad-  when I say he fell into the couch it sounds like it would be all cushiony, but no, he fell against the hard structure at the base of the couch, and got a welt across his face.  Poor Joseph!  Right before all the guests and the pictures! 
He was ok, though.  Now, the next day, there is actually a little scab on his cheek.  I hope he doesn't get a scar!  I assume that babies heal up really well, but I put some polysporin on it to soften the scab. 
He had his first taste of cake.  The chocolate did a bit of a number on him, though.  Of course, he is not used to sugar, so it made him hyper, then cranky, then tired...  I don't think we'll be giving him any more chocolate any time soon!  I had wanted to make him a banana cake,  with cream cheese frosting, but DH poo-pooed that idea. 

He is walking now!  He started letting go of the furniture and walking on his own on Christmas Eve day.  Since then he is able to walk on his own, but he walks very slowly and stiffly, like an old man.  Just today he started walking faster, and he is even more prone to falling this way.  He really loves walking, he is laughing to himself with glee as he goes across the room. 

As for our sibling journey, we went in to the clinic and talked to the doctor.  I started taking DHEA (75 mg/day) and this is supposed to improve my terrible egg quality over the next few months.  It also lowers FSH, though I don't really know what my FSH is right now.  I can only imagine it is bad.  I will have all my bloodwork redone next month when I come in to get a refill on the DHEA (they only gave me a 1 month supply, but I need to take it for 3 months).  It will be interesting to see what my bloodwork will reveal.  I am hoping for the best, but I really don't know what we are dealing with.  The worst case scenario is that I will be in too bad shape to do an IVF and I will have to decide to do donor egg.  Like if my AMH is low (no eggs left) and FSH is high (peri-menopausal).  Last time I had those tested they were not bad, but of course that is about 2 years ago now!  I was 39, and now I am 41, so things could have taken a nosedive in the mean time.  I feel normal and Ok, though.  As in, I don't feel like I'm menopausal and having hot flashes or anything.  BUT...I still don't have a cycle yet.  I haven't seen AF since spring 2012!  Well, that is not quite true... I had a lot of post partum bleeding, and then it stopped, then several weeks later I had another bleed which may have been AF... but then I started taking Domperidone to increase my milk supply, and that put a stop to my cycle.  Although I stopped taking Domperidone in November, I still think it is to blame for my missing AF.  However, I went to my acupuncturist to start back with the weekly fertility acupuncture, he said that it was totally normal to not have a cycle even a month after stopping BFing.  He said if it has been 3 months, then he would start to be concerned.  So I guess I won't worry about it yet.  The RE was also dismissive of my missing AF.  She said I would probably be getting it any time now. 
So my current plan is:  taking DHEA (75 mg), CoQ10 (600 mg/day), also Wheatgrass & Royal jelly (I don't bother with this every day, but we put it into smoothies a few times a week), acupuncture once a week, eating healthy (low glycemic index), exercising a few times a week - I just reactivated my gym membership and they have childcare at some of the locations, which I hope will work out ok), Vitamin D (1000mg).  Also, my acupuncturist said I could take some herbs as long as I am not on fertility meds (but isn't DHEA a fertility med?), so I said, sure, why not just throw that in the mix too.  So I just received those in the mail today.  I have taken them before on other cycles between my IVFs and the herbs come as a ground up brown powder in little packets.  You mix one packet in a mug with boiling water and it makes a kind of yucky tea.  It actually doesn't taste too bad, as long as you don't have high expectations.  So I have a month's supply of that (taking it 2 times a day), and it is supposed to "tonify" my blood and replenish my depleted systems.  I can't say I am even sure what "tonify" means, but it is apparently one of the main goals of acupuncture and Chinese herbs.  So after a few months of this regimen, I will try an IVF in about February or March.  We'll see if it does any good.  Actually, I'm interested in seeing my bloodwork next month, to see if there is any hope at all! 

So when I first wrote this post (yesterday), the end got mysteriously erased... I'm going to rewrite it now, as far as I can remember... however I was writing that I was going to visit my friend, and I was worried because I didn't know how I would feel since she is pregnant with her second after NO EFFORT WHATSOEVER, and I am pretty pissed that I have to go through all this body prepping to get started on TTC, and she somehow got to skip all that, since she is super fertile, despite being 44 YEARS OLD!  Anyway, I am now back from that visit, and surprisingly it actually went pretty well.  Our sons are the same age (born 9 days apart), and we focused mainly on them, and did not talk about her pregnancy much.  She is not really showing yet, anyway.  She is at the stage where she just looks a bit fat, but not clearly pregnant.  So it wasn't that hard to see her (emotionally, I mean) because she didn't really look pregnant, and so I didn't think about it that much.  And we had plenty of other things to talk about, so it wasn't that awkward.  I think it would be very different if we didn't have our 2 boys.  So anyway, I am pleased that it wasn't as awkward or painful as I thought it might be.  Plus, there was a third mom there too, with her son (also close in age to our boys), and she wasn't pregnant, so somehow that made me feel better. 

So getting back to Joseph, I can't believe that it was one year ago today that I was holding a tiny newborn in my arms.  We had no idea what to do with you, but we have figured it out, day by day!  We love you so much! 


Joseph one day old:

Joseph now: