Fertility, Vulnerability & embryo transfer

Listen to Husband talking about his thoughts about the Embryo Transfer

Vulnerability and fear

From the moment the date for the embryo transfer was set ten days ago, I have attempted on more than on occasion to post to social media that this is what we were about to do. I’ve written and deleted various phrases and sentences that would allow me to click and post. It’s interesting to me, that even I, who is so incredibly open about this, in an effort to educate, balked at the idea of really letting that much vulnerability out. There are three embryos have been frozen since December of 2016. We had chosen the strongest one to be unfrozen and thawed to be transferred first. Yet, the idea of publicly either celebrating or grieving, so in the moment, made me pause and face the fear of vulnerability like never before. Perhaps this is what someone else goes through who doesn’t talk about their fertility journey to their closest people because they are afraid of showing their vulnerability and that can be very scary.

My Why

Why do I bear all and bear witness to what happens behind the closed doors of a fertility clinic so publicly? It’s because there are others who don’t and won’t for whatever personal reason talk about this topic. Whether it being, shame, guilt, self-blame, or other reasons, they need to know there are others. Today as we said goodbye to the support group , we all said how powerful and empowering it was to be in a group where we could share similar stories. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, IVF, the whole process is a whole body-mind process. Read that again, it’s a process. It’s not just someone, a friend of a friend “doing IVF”, it’s me, sharing. You may know me, or are getting to know me; here I am and thank you for coming for the ride along with me as I ride the journey.

The IVF infertility secret desire

I kept hoping that bottle of wine and one romantic sexy night (while relaxing) will do the trick, but this has not happened despite my best-laid plans and intentions. I would love to have just one person in the bedroom with me, and that is my Husband, but instead, I have a goddam orgy. From the moment this started, I’ve had to re-do me and learn some lessons about myself in the true preparation of parenthood, which may God have mercy, is also a crapshoot.

I’m having sex with 7 people at once

orgy

With the rawness of these procedures the sexiness of it all the simple act of sex or love making is stripped to a needle, an ultrasound wand, an ultrasound technician, the doctor, at least three nurses, the embryologist (plus his assistants) and the acupuncturist. This is the modern day baby. I’m making a baby with all these people. We are all in the orgy together. They are all in the bedroom with me. I don’t even mention the security guard in the lobby of the building, maintenance folks and so on. Every time we try again to have a child, all of us people get together and do it together. No less than 7 people have been intimate with the vag, sometimes three at the same time. I would say I have so many people looking at my reproductive parts that I don’t even blink when I’m told I have to take my pants down.

I was talking to someone on the phone and they said, “maybe you will get pregnant on your own”, my mind couldn’t even process that could happen. Someone needs to teach me how that actually happens. You mean it just happens?

As we head into the first ever embryo transfer I’ve been told my organs look fantastic, the shape of my uterus is ethereal, there are no cysts and I have been told by quite a few people that I look different (perhaps there is a glow to me?) or maybe that’s just the relaxed not stressed look? I’m taking this to mean that now is my time. 

What does an embryo transfer mean?

It means there already is a growing baby in a lab that is 5 days old and is about 300 divided cells, from the two cells, the egg, and the sperm. This baby has already survived and is alive and thriving. The only thing science doesn’t understand is why an embryo will attach and thrive or why it won’t.

 5 day year old embryo

Meet Elmo above

What I needed to do to prepare:

I’m taking been taking estrogen hormones twice a day, sticking them up my, um, my, right that thing. After 10 days, an ultrasound and blood work to check if the uterine lining is looking good and if it looks good I get crionone progesterone suppositories to stick up in um, ya, that thing. God, how many things must I stick up there?! This continued for 7 days till transfer day (in between I’m going to go for acupuncture) 

The day of the transfer

I had to have a full bladder for the procedure. Like an almost bursting bladder. The kind of bladder that you need to go pee but can wait. I had Patricia and Husband with me on the day of the transfer. I also had Seya there (remember her from IVF retrieval?) to do the acupuncture and to take care of us. She knows where everything is in the clinic and she was there earlier to prepare the room. I had asked her to choose a room that was different from the IVF retrieval as the retrieval was dramatic. Seya was amazing. She needs to be part of the process for every patient. We all need to be taken care of, just like Doula. She allows us to be in the moment and not think about the details. This needs to be part of all clinics everywhere. She brought me a nice warm blanket and put in the acupuncture needles. At one point she asked me where do you feel a blockage in your body. I scanned and felt a blockage in my throat and around the diaphragm. Seya went to the top of my forehead, touched a point and I felt like I was floating. I felt like I had sunk into my skin three layers down. Amazing. I put on my Tara Brach and got everyone to leave.

Soon after Seya came back, Husband and Patrica all suited up to go the operation room.

I was met by the embryologist, the doctor, the ultrasound tech, Husband and Patricia – we all there to have one big massive love making, baby-making session. A full out love orgy. I had to confirm my name and sign away. Dr. B, then put in a tube-like thing again up the vag, and then down the tube came the embryo with a flash of white on the ultrasound. All done in about 10 minutes. Lol, just as long as quickie 🙂 All professionals satisfied, they all left and Patrica plus husband and I, in full stirrups waited in the room for 15 minutes taking my mind off that I desperately needed to go pee. One nice thing they did in that room, was when I look up at the ceiling, there is a picture of the sky and clouds. So relaxing.

Finally, 15 minutes was up and ran with butt exposed to the washroom to relieve the pressure from the bladder. Ahhhhh……

Back to the hands of Seya for more acupuncture, lunch for some gnocchi and home. Far less drama than the retrieval. Now let the two week wait Hotel California begin.

That’s the medical process. That is the first 50%.

Now the actual mental emotions and mental spiritual prep. 

Don’t want to get attached to the outcome which is so hard. It’s like you can hope but not hope too much. I am feeling good. There is a fine line between craving, aversion and just letting go. I think right now I’m in the middle of these two.

I’ve been listening to Tara Brach meditations and as well some hypnosis.

Someone, please tell me if you prepared this much if you go pregnant naturally?

The likelihood of a transfer actually working is 40% up to 70% with the embryo glue.

In my support group, I know two women who did transfers, one did 2 and the other did 4 and none of them worked. We just found out that another did another transfer and it also didn’t work. 

There is nothing more I can do to increase my chances, maybe eat less dairy and refined sugar.

Medical interventions for the embryo transfer:

What the medical clinic is doing on their side is “assistive hatching” which means assisting the egg to hatch by applying a small laser to the shell so it literally hatches. They are also using this new thing called “Embryo Glue”. This helps with the embryo to stick to the uterine wall and actually implant.

Once they transfer, it’s up to God and the embryo glue to make things work, oh yes and the embryo deciding it wants to push through and grow further.

We then do two-week wait, meaning we wait two weeks to see the results.

And then it’s another 6 weeks of taking more progesterone and hoping for no miscarriage.

There is nothing more to do. 

To book an appointment with Seya please click here:
647.808.9156 www.channelhealth.ca


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InFertility and self-care. Sometimes I just need to stop and enjoy my coffee.

I realize that we all just need to sometimes just stop, go for coffee and laugh at the insanity of it all.  I mean, life is insanity. Honestly, don’t we all just need to stop, have a coffee, indulge in the most gluten, dairy, sugar filled pastry ever and go see people who know you better than you know yourself? I have two people like that outside of my usual support network. They happen all do acupuncture. 

Yesterday, I messaged Saviour Stephanie and asked her if she could see me. She has known me for over 8 years from the time I couldn’t walk because my sciatic nerve caused me to stop walking. I don’t think she would like the name I gave her but this is how I feel walking into her room. It’s a sanctuary on the 7th floor in the middle of downtown Toronto. A crazy, taxi, car and pedestrian-filled space. Stephanie used to be on the other side of the street, but then they started to build a condo and blast through the ground. She packed up her bags and moved across the street to an office building, but you wouldn’t know it once you enter her door. A simple massage table, her bookshelf, some relaxing music in the background and Stephanie’s welcoming smile offering the tea of the day. She is the one that saved me when I was down with such bad sciatica that I couldn’t get up and walk. She knows me. She knows more about me than I know about myself.

I wrote her that I would like to see her because I would like to come back home where I don’t associate acupuncture with it being a procedure. She, her room and the massage table bed are my home.

I deliberately kept Stephanie out of the fertility acupuncture rounds because she is my sanctuary. I go there and she just listens. She is just so in tune and knows me so well I don’t need to explain.

She sees my spirit and my soul. When she is working I can feel her sinking deeper between all the layers of my skin and connecting with my being. Can you just feel her magical presence with you right now? She advertises her herself as shiatsu and acupuncture, but that’s just the outside sign. Don’t be fooled by the cover. It took me a while to understand that she is so much more than that but when I got it, wow, was I ever grateful.

What I would really like is for the clinic to take care of me and not just my body, but the other parts of me as well. The SELF. The mental health piece. The part of me that you can’t see. That such an unrealistic expectation but I can dream, right? I need to go find my balance outside of The Clinic. I’m happy when Husband comes with me to the clinic because I think my brain sometimes goes into fight or flight mode at times, especially when I see the nurses who just follows follow directions and don’t think. Can people think for themselves?!

Saviour Stephanie put me on the table and put the needles in.

She calms my nervous system down from the fight/flight response. She just knows what to use and my body just sinks into her table. I repeat my mantra in my head. I’m safe. I’m safe. I can release and be at ease. I’m safe. On cue, my body and mind sink deeply and safely into her hands. Stephanie works diligently away, with movements so small that for someone who would be watching her, wouldn’t know she is doing work. Her Cranial Sacral work and her hands are liquid gold. A gentle soul who knows exactly what to do with every slight muscle movement she knows and understands the psycho-somatic memory my body has stored.

After Stephanie, I head to my favourite coffee shop and have a Cortada with a brownie and a view of Toronto. Today I stopped and sat in my favourite coffee shop and are grateful I have this medical leave so I can take time out as well as see Stephanie last-minute and be writing this out. How I love this view from Rooster Cafe and how much I just love these kinds of memories.

I think of all the people who I have talked to about this journey and that are reading this blog. From China, Saudi Arabia, Poland, South Africa, Kenya, Australia. A subject that crosses all international boarders. With all of this, I hope I have changed some views on IVF and fertility and redefining what a “mother” and a “woman” is. It is not just me bearing a child.

I think of my team of people who I assembled who are helping me on this journey and all of sudden everything is OK.

My personal trainer Calum Shaw says,”There is so much more to us than personal training because there is so much more to you than being out of shape”. He does more than just personal training. He knows there is more to training than working the muscles. He works on the whole being, just like Stephanie.

I put my hands on my heart and thank it for the life it gives me. I feel my breathe and thank it for the gift of life. Oh my gosh, it’s so important to stop.

Today I just needed to breathe and enjoy my coffee.

Today I’m just grateful.

All my love to anyone reading this.

xoxo

 

 

No more needles! No more ultra sounds! No more 8am clinic visits! No more of this! Please make this STOP.

I know its hard to understand but I experience the full emotions of grief every 6 weeks of so. I experience the complete sense of loss of hope and need to grieve. I grieve my hope. I get angry at myself for allowing myself to hope. I declare, I am infertile. Then I say, no, there is nothing wrong with me. Its a see-saw, up and down. I don’t want to get attached to an outcome, but how I not be excited and be hopeful?

Crap. I think I’m finally feeling it today. The baby pictures are getting to me. I swore I wouldn’t be one of those people but today I feel like I’m crumbling. I’m sorry. I don’t want to take away anyone’s joy and happiness in this moment, but this push of pushing through everything just got to me today. I don’t want to push, I really want to take your advice of “just relax”…..why can’t I just relax? No, really, I love your baby photos I just want one of my own. I know you are tired and have not slept in days, but honestly, I would like to be part of your club. Please don’t tell me how lucky I am to not have kids. You know how hard that is to hear? It breaks me. It shatters me. Then I get mad at you that you are not appreciating what you have.

Shit, today I’ve become one of the ladies from the support group. A complete victim.

I can do this. I can do this. I can do this…..I can get myself out of this hole.

Every baby announcement. Every baby shower. Every baby that cries. Every baby that smiles. Every baby… reminds of what we are doing. I really don’t want it, but today, it does. Today I feel the struggle.

ecards-fertility

I’m at such a loss of what else I could be doing.

  • I’ve seen the specialized naturopath
  • I’ve taken the thousand pills as prescribed by the naturopath
  • I’m going to acupuncture
  • I’m creating a bedroom of fertility and love with symbols of creation as sent by a friend of mine as a suggestion
  • I’m doing functional medicine
  • Every night now we are talking to the ovaries and said reproductive organs to just aim and fire

I’m at my wits end….what have you done that I have not? Why can people who don’t want to get pregnant get pregant. 

There are millions of sperm, for heavens sakes it only takes one. Lets go fellas! We just need one of you. Just one!!!! Keep on swimming!!

Today has been a day of feeling low and all my fears coming up. Am I ready to do this. Am I supposed to do this. This is the day of darkness. What else am I NOT doing? Is my soul aligned? Am I breathing right? Maybe should be going to those yoga classes. Maybe I should be doing more acupuncture. WHAT THE HELL!!!

Now I’m getting the comments of:

  • “just relax”, you’ll be fine.
  • Just feel optimistic and have a positive mind-set.
  • Just meditate, this will help
  • Just surrender to the journey it’s not yours to decide
  • Just be patient
  • You want kids, are you sure about that, take mine.
  • You are not using the right positions

At least I have not got the “Maybe you should think about adopting”, thanks, do you have another $35,000 dollars?

I’m puking out positive mind-set and relaxing. Today is feel like shit day.

My ego is saying to me, “what if this doesn’t work”, “you need a back up plan”, “what if you run out of time on your leave”, what if….what if…..what if……Just shut up in there.

I’ve gone through the hardest treatments I never imagined having to go through. Things that I don’t wish upon ANYONE. Through hundreds of tests, procedures, surgeries, needles, shots and prayers.

The voice of doubt is terrible.

Last minute I text Saviour Stephanie for acupuncture. For a spiritual connection that I’m missing from the clinic. In the hour session which I’m usually able to sink into and just relax, it took 45 minutes for my mind to let go of all the monkey thoughts.

But I feel like I’ve now done everything I could possibly could do and I’m tired.

Its been over three years on this full journey and now an intense 7 months of full-out commitment to The Clinic. We are talking YEARS  if you count the first time I went to The Clinic. It has taken a lot from to surrender to The Clinic and be OK with all of this poking and prodding. I’m so done now. Can something be easy, just a little bit? I know you are teaching me patience. I know it will be hard with kids and this will seem easy once I’m over this hump.

Please Universe. I beg you. Show some mercy and let something be easy. Please just work with me here. Lets aim and work together for Spring 2017.

I know, it’s not up to me, but I’m setting up the intention. I’m doing what I was taught. So fucking frustrating.

Why do I have to be a statistic?!

Universe, Power of all dimensions, all beings that we see and not see, please help. Work with me. I think I’m balanced about all this and I don’t wake with “children” being my first thought. I’m so sorry for putting all those women down. Please just embrace me in your love.

I know, EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON: Even if you don’t see the reason for a long…long… long time.

But today I just fall to my knees with tears in my eyes, please let this come naturally and easily. Please…..

No more needles. No more ultra sounds. No more 8am clinic visits. No more of this.

Just good news.

 

IVF Part two – day of procedure

There are a few dates in during this fertility process I wont forget. I connect time with these dates, as everything else feels like a blur. 
  1. December 2014
    First monitored cycle by the clinic that was without any drugs
  2. August 2015
    The British Colombia canoe trip that changed my life and my job
  3. September 2015
    The new job and me falling apart and crying for three days
  4. Spring 2016
    Declaring and surrending to the fact that I want to ask for help from the clinic
  5. Aug. 2016
    First IUI that got cancelled and a full committment to the clinic
  6. October 25 2016
    I get granted a medical leave from work and I’m free from the constraints of asking for time off. I feel elated and so eternally grateful to Mrs. M for seeing that I needed this leave to just focus completely on my health
  7. December 19, 2016
    The day of the IVF
  8. January 9th, the day of the follow up after IVF

This date I won’t forget, December 19.

It’s a Monday and right before Christmas. I wake up and I’m in pain because the amount of fluid and large follicles in my ovaries is immense. This morning I have 25 follicles. That means TWENTY-FIVE eggs when usually women have just one mature egg. The majority of these eggs are mature.

Husband gets up before me and is buzzing around making coffee and tea. I’m feeling nervous but fully centred as well as I can’t believe this day has come. The morning in the house seems like a blur. I pet and hug the dog leaving her snuggled in the wraps of the duvet. I ask her soul to send her unconditional love towards her expanding family.

At 6am we I get into the car. I have hard time getting and walking.

As we drive towards the clinic…..

Every.

Single.

Bump.

Hurts. 

Agonizing pain

Husband is in full take care mode.

As we walk into the building, I see one of the ladies from the clinic in the foyer. She looks at me and I excitedly tell her its time for IVF. She was one of the ones that saw me when I cracked and was sobbing uncontrollably in the clinic in November after the failed IUI.

Instead of turning left as we get out of the elevator, we turn right, to the state of the art IVF centre. One of the only clinics in Toronto to have the IVF operating rooms and embryology lab in the same building.

I am feeling just fine and see Mama Doula  Acupuncture-ist *Saya. I’m so happy to see her because she knows her way around the operating room and space. I had met with her a few days before as I wanted to get acupuncture before the procedure, because its said to have a good outcome and relaxes the person. I get changed into the infamous blue gown and sit/lie down on my chair. Saya puts in the acupuncture needles in and I’m feeling relaxed.

Warning a bit graphic….
The nurses buzz in and out. One of them tries to put in the IV into one arm. Nothing. She tries again. Nothing. Still can’t get it in. At this point I can feel a bit of panic coming up as she tries to manoeuver the needle and find the vein. She walks over to the other arm, and I’m starting to get dizzy and feel like I’m about to black out. The nurse calls another nurse in and they both try. By this point, I’m like, please stop, this isn’t working. I have stars in front of my eyes and I feel a wash of coldness run through my body and I descend to panic attack mode.

Seeing me like this the nurses stop and Saya buzzes around me trying to comfort me. I’m shaking like a leaf from the experience. Digging into your vein with a needle is a disconcerting experience.

Finally I see my saviour. One of the vampire ladies. The Blood ladies. The one that take my blood every time I come to the clinic and do an ultrasound. She looks at me and the nurses explain what she is supposed to do. Finally with some pushing and prodding she finds the vein. My blood vessels collapsed after so much blood had been taken out of them over the last few weeks.

I was clearly shaken up and was so grateful again to have someone who is like a Doula be the in between person for us, the nurses and doctor. Mama Doula Saya not only takes care of me but Husband too who I can sense is a little lost as this too is all new for him.

I’m given  pain medication and sedatives into the IV.

I was then walked to the washroom and then the operating room where Dr. B. was waiting with the nurses. I lied down on the table, feet up in the stools and got ready. There was a monitor and Husband said he watched everything with fascination. I was supposed to be awake for the procedure but because of my trauma I just couldn’t do it and I was in a lot of pain with the over stuffed ovaries. Dr. B decided it was better to give me more medication and I no recollection of the procedure.

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Post IVF procedure.

That is not a bloody "PROCEDURE" its an OPERATION. Who ever called it a 
procedure lied!

When I woke up one hour later, I felt like a truck had run over me. I have no other way of describing it. I felt like I had been in some kind of car crash and hurt all over. I was also shaking. Mama Doula quickly found more blankets for me and gave me more acupunture needles.

I felt like I was in some kind of shock and quickly told Husband to take a picture because I need to remember this moment and show everyone what IVF actually looks like.

In the past, when I had heard someone say that they are doing IVF, I would turn to them and say, “good luck with that”. Fuck no. Its more than good luck. Its more holy moly you are brave. I may not have felt brave that morning, but after it was all done I was feeling damn brave. All of THIS for a child. The sacrificing starts now.

This is why it took me so long to have gotten to that space be able to do this. My soul knew I had to be ready to take this on as this procedure to so invasive.

After we went home, I just slept and then put castor oil on my stomach which had inflated and bloated. I was bloated for the next three days but had booked an acupuncture with my saviour Stephanie for two days after the procedure. Again, she saved me. What also saved me was the day after the IVF I went in to a friends retail store to do a work. This caused me to walk the whole day and be on my feet. At first I had thought this was crazy, but it actually turned out to be better to be moving than lying and sleeping.

The nurses orders were to eat lots of salt which included salty chips to take down the bloating which is why I sent Husband to the grocery store to get some chips and Cheetos.

That same day we got a phone call from The Clinic that said out of the 13 eggs removed, 7 had fertalized.

Funny moment

I don’t eat chips, my preference is chocolate. 

I sent Husband to the grocery store and ask him to get me Kettle chips, the regular ones. Husband calls from the store and says, “there are no regular chips in Kettle chips and proceeds to read all of the type they have.
At one point he says “Sea Salt”.
I say, “those are the regular ones”.
Husband says, “but it doesn’t say regular on the package!”. 


Sources:
*Saya is not her real name
1. http://www.advancedfertility.com/aspiration.htm

Lead up to IVF part 1

MY FACE BOOK POST ON DEC. 19, 2016. 

img_1709-2
My husband giving me an injection in a washroom of a restaurant
img_1702
A few minutes post retrieval and me waking up

“One of the reasons I have  chosen to be open about IVF and the whole fertility process is because we don’t know…..We just don’t know what someone has gone through to start their family. Whether you are on the side that kids are not for everyone or that’s what you’ve always wanted. For me, it’s something that I’ve grown up into. The beautiful pics of bouncing kiddos – there is more to it than just the picture. I OWN this process. I know that for whatever reason I’m supposed to be going through all of this. One in six couples have trouble conceiving and that’s troubling. I question, why is that number so high?

I’ve seen really young early twenties to the mid thirties to older. It’s not just case of women just delaying their career. Don’t blame women. There can be no judgement how or why someone has decided to go through the fertility process. I’ve seen comments made that couples who do IVF are vain and just can’t accept their reality. Quite obvisouly this is such a ridiculous thing. This is not a “get a kid” quick scheme. Right now I’ve FULLY committed to this for the last 7 months and still nothing. 

Let me not lie. It’s not a walk in the park. Holy moly far from it. Once you go past the beginning stages of the fertility clinic, still invasive but nothing pales to IVF. It’s needles, ultrasounds (that a vaginal ultra sound every three days or less), more needles to take more blood almost everyday – Let me repeat, it’s a complete commitment.

The day of egg retrieval, the nurses couldn’t get an IV in me because my veins had collapsed because I’ve had blood taken out of me so many times. Anyone who is doing this isn’t vain or narsassistic they are brave and committed. Saying to someone like me “why don’t you adopt” or “maybe you were not supposed to have kids” isn’t the answer. You could be the one in six. I choose this or the process could have also chosen me.

If you meet that couple who has gone through all of this (and you will) empathy is required and an acknowledgement of their commitment. Tell them they are brave.


Continue reading “Lead up to IVF part 1”