A state of creation and contraction

I have been in a state of contraction. In this state, there is no room for creativity, creation or flow, not just for me but for everyone. I know have in this state for three months now because everything was painful, everything was hard and in a state of reaction. My inner-critic who I know was just trying to protect me hounded me saying, “You should know better”. I have finally turned to that critic, held her hand and said, “I’m ok, thank you for looking after me, I can take it from here”.

State of creation

I know I’m in flow when synchronicities start happening and popping up. When I think of something, <> and it just happens shortly after I’ve had the thought. I’ve been trying to find something in between a particular timeframe to “get away” and fly somewhere. It couldn’t have Zika and it needed to be a place where I have not been before without breaking the bank. West Jet posted a 24-hour sale for flights to Halifax for half price. I found out about it with “Next Departure”. (which anyone who is Canada should sign up for. Amazing deals to be had.) After the last month,  I was needing and itching to press the button “buy” and just go somewhere.

 

If there is anything you need to know about me, is that I’m a travel bargain shopper hound. I found out that I could fly out of Hamilton Airport (one hour outside of Toronto) for half the price instead of Toronto Airport. We are going away to the east cost. A place of amazing gentle people. I’ve heard the people in the east coast of Canada just so kind, amazing and with beautiful hearts. I’m just happy like a clown and my brain happily obliged in now searching for all things Nova Scotia. It is a quick trip, just enough to plan but also enough that I get to hit up some things I’ve wanted to see, like Peggy’s Cove and Lunenburg. There is nothing like a trip to get me more in the state of flow. 

Magical Trips

I think there is always something magical about removing myself from a permanent physical space. Something mysterious happens when my brain is in the state of “explore and wonder”.

Like changing one habit a day. Instead of brushing my teeth with my right hand, I’ll brush with my left, to get my brain to think different.

We recently reflected that after being married almost 11 years, the trips we have done are a bookmark in time. I’ll say something and ponder, was that before or after Florida, or how my life went upside down after a two week trip to BC. The most life changing things have happened to me were over a plane ticket. When I think of it, it was shortly after a trip that I met my husband.

Its all a crap shoot.

crap-shoot-cartoon

It got me thinking about how much of a crapshoot this whole fertility thing is and the fact that I got attached to an outcome, a timeframe, how it was all going to look.

A neighbour, who also went through fertility treatments told me that all the tests I am doing she did too. She did the whole IVF three time, and did a transfer of the embryo five times, getting pregnant each time, but they all resulted in a miscarriage. After taking a break, she ended up getting pregnant on her own. Crapshoot!

It could be just a small variable that doesn’t let the embryo stick that it’s like throwing spaghetti at a wall and seeing what sticks. Her daughter that she just had (without fertility treatments) was her sixth pregnancy and no one could explain why her previously genetically perfect tested juicy embryos were miscarried.

All this is just crazy making and anxiety producing especially around the transfer of the embryo. This is where the state of contraction starts and where I try to control the outcome. More tests don’t always mean more control, just a control of some variables, but even then THAT is still an illusion because the variables are constantly changing.

Because everything is still up to the Universe.

This takes me to the main fears:

Fears-are-stories

  1. Having the first embryo transfer not working.
  2. My reaction if the first transfer doesn’t work, how will my mental health be?
  3. I will get pregnant but a miscarriage will happen….and then I’ll have a breakdown….because I’ve never actually had a positive test. Can you imagine how that would be?

What are my fears based on?

I realize now that those fears are based on my own expectations. I never wanted to do IVF and because I’ve done THIS MUCH……I….DESERVE…..IT….for all of this to work. But really we deserve nothing. We shouldn’t expect anything and appreciate everything.

In psychology they call this “Catosprophic idealization”. Its amazing to me that as soon as it was “named” what I had created in my head, the thoughts became less powerful and slowly started to disapate. I’m facinated how much our thoughts, really its just our constant thoughts that create our reality.

Isn’t that facinating?

Expect nothing

In the state of creation, I’m open, and things just happen.  There is no resistance in “Flow”, its simple, fluid, oh, and it feels so damn good, but as soon as I hit a bottom and contract, nothing works. Suffering happens.

I know that have Light there needs to be Darkness. There is a yin to a yang. The trouble with positive psychology is that it doesn’t want to acknowledge the negative side. While the darkness sucks horribly and I know because I did hit a wall twice in the past month, I can feel the regrouping and opening towards a new way of thinking.

The system of positive psychology does not appreciate how, through unconscious conflict in our psyche, we compulsively replay and recreate unresolved negative emotions. 

When we try to dodge or repress our psyche’s inner dynamics, we encounter inner rebellion that produces a wide variety of suffering and self-defeat. To become smarter, wiser, and more conscious, we have to understand the inner mechanisms and drives in our psyche that induce us to chase after old hurts, cling to painful regrets, and indulge in a variety of other unresolved emotions.
http://www.whywesuffer.com/the-problem-with-positive-psychology/

Being able to identify the fears and thoughts that keep me in this state of contraction helped me grow and boy I’ve grown even in the last month with so much more to let go.

When I said to The Clinic when I was overwhelmed and bleeding out it gave me room and time for reflection and to find joy and balance, as I was totally off kilter. We just completed the last round of biopsies and will be taking a month break from the clinic.

Psychology.
You’ve built a great team we just need to you join it

A few weeks back I sent an email to “my team” that included the Dr. B, all my acupuncture folks, the naturopath and person for my mental health check in to introduce all of them to each other through email. At an appointment with Dr. Julia PhD, she made a comment that made me think, she says:

“you are incredibly resourceful and have assembled a great team, but where are you on this team? You’ve intorudced everyone else but you didn’t introduce yourself, have you joined this team yet?”.

Man what a comment to get you centred. It’s like that whole taking responsibly part. I’ve assembled the team and I’m expecting them to put me together and achieve my goal, but where am I in that?

Creating a *phantom intention

*A subconscious mindset that is rooted in events that have occured or expereinces from the past that colour how we percieve current occurent events. It usually looks like an ME vs something.

What if in my head I’m creating a phantom intention?

US vs. The Clinic.

Us vs them

Us vs. the clinic

Us vs. the medical health care system

Us vs. everyone else.

Over thinking!

For now we are off to Halifax to scratch the surface to the East Coast. Can’t wait to be immursed into nature and the Atlantic Ocean.

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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

 

 

I’m bleeding out. InFertility & Mental Health

Fertility and mental health: Female Hormones Can Make a Bloody Mess of Your Mental Health

“*Women with infertility felt as anxious or depressed as those diagnosed with cancer, hypertension, or recovering from a heart attack”. (Harvard Review). 

I’ve realized that I’ve been writing a bit about mental health. I think it’s a topic that is close to my heart, professionally and personally. No one is immune. There are two times in this process where I had a mental breakdown, first time at The Clinic in November of 2016,  and the second time just recently. The first time, I walked out of the waiting room and cried like a wild animal in the middle of the hallway heaving in pain. The second time was for a full week right before we found the results after the two week wait which the last two posts have been about. The first time was only a day, the humpty-dumptysecond time I couldn’t pull myself together for over a full week. The unravelling started here. I still feel like Humpty Dumpty (and so does husband) who fell off the wall and now all the kings horses and all kings men, are trying to put Humpty Dumpty together again.

Mental Health Check-up

At the The Clinic, no one checks in on your mental health even though its well-known how much this process will take a toll on you mentally. Just the hormones should come with a <<beware of side effects>> label. Even if we think about a woman who is going through regular PMS, how those hormones affect her, imagine being pumped with MORE hormones than usual would affect a woman. Being a mental health professional, even I didn’t recognize the early signs of things unravelling. Yet, it was so evident that my mental health was bleeding out onto every aspect of my life. Bleeding out is a term that is used when a person’s ability to perform daily functions are affected and there is no separation between the physical and mental. Just think of your brain spilling out and having a hard time distinguishing and separating what is actually real and what is perceived to be real.  When you are in so deep, fertility takes over every part of your life. Think of blood bleeding out and splattering. It gets into the cracks and leaves a stain.

No none of this is healthy, far from it, but what I’m trying to say, this happens so slowly, I didn’t notice it and I’m freaking trained. I’m my worst doctor.

Intuitively I knew something was wrong.

I knew I needed help.

On the second week of the “Two week wait”, I fell apart and crashed mentally and hit a wall. I liken it to a car accident. I’m driving along to my destination and all of a sudden I’m driving through a winter storm. I’m so focused on making it safely to my destination that I don’t notice the truck swerving to the right of me and that threw me through my windshield. That is how it felt. My mental health was out of control. I was anxious, crying at any moment, didn’t want to get out of bed and my energy was so low, I had to take naps during the day. In Chinese medicine they would say, my Qi was off-balance. I was scared to eat anything because I thought I was doing something wrong. I felt so drained, I was getting up, eating and sleeping because of anxiety and stress of waiting if THIS TIME the treatment would work. That week, I went to see a mental health professional and I realized: every aspect of my everyday was now consumed by fertility. Needless to say not exactly the right mindset to have, right?!

I knew there was a problem, when I picked up a pastry in my favourite coffee shop, and my thought process was this:

“Should eat it this because it had gluten in it. Gluten could be a cause of infertility. Maybe I have gluten intolerance and I don’t know it. That is why I am infertile. Why else would a healthy person like me have issues? Maybe I was harming myself by having this pastry. Since I also have PCSO the sugar could be harming me . Ugh, why am I eating this pastry when I should just go Gluten free! Dairy free! Sugar free! 

I had fought this so hard to not have it happen, but it seeped in through the cracks so quietly and so slowly, like water seeping through the cracks.”The Judge”, the voice in my head,  screaming at me, “you of all people should know better”. Before I knew what had happened, my everyday was fertility. Before I knew what had happened, my mental health was affected and I had trouble finding joy in anything. How did this happen?

While the causes of infertility are overwhelmingly physiological, the resulting heartache — often exacerbated by the physical and emotional rigors of infertility treatment — may exact a huge psychological toll. One study of 200 couples seen consecutively at a fertility clinic, for example, found that half of the women and 15% of the men said that infertility was the most upsetting experience of their lives. Another study of 488 American women who filled out a standard psychological questionnaire before undergoing a stress reduction program concluded that *women with infertility felt as anxious or depressed as those diagnosed with cancer, hypertension, or recovering from a heart attack.

http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/The-psychological-impact-of-infertility-and-its-treatment

I had read about this on different blogs and read about it in different the books.  I heard about this happening, but I swore I was going to be different. I swore I won’t have this problem, until it was there…and from what I have seen anyone who has done treatments at one point hits a wall and falls hard.

Asking for help

I went to see someone. She showed me how my thoughts were chaotic and one thought bleed over and over rode all the other thoughts. I walked away after an hour with three practical things.

ONE: Compartmentalize 

I have compartmentalized and really watched my thoughts.

After I walked away from Dr. Julia, I was shocked to realize how much my whole body was and is in flight/fight mode. I did a ten minutes of meditation and my body just slumped into hibernation. So many thoughts circled back to fertility. I’m really not great at this yet, but at least there is an awareness. Right after the appointment, husband and went for lunch and listening about my appointment he discovered that he has unconsciously sought out coping mechanisms too. His was playing the online game  of World of Warcraft, something he had not done years! 

Prescription

I was to assign one hour a day, just like I did with an appointment to obsess over fertility. I was to watch my thoughts and if any thought or something that had to do with fertility I was to tell my mind, not now, that will be doing that at the assigned appointment time.

The work

Its funny, in many ways while this blog was helpful, it also required me to designate a time in the day for it. I would poke and write something at all hours of the day. I realized how our conversations with friends and my husband were all about this freak’n subject. How freak’n annoying not just to me but to those around me.

Spiritual work

The attachment to an outcome.  I had thought I had let go of this attachment, I had not, because it was attached to the fear of letting go of control over the situation.

I had fear that my plan would not work. I had a timeline. I had 6 months for the medical leave and it had to work in the 6 months otherwise I would need to go back.

The plan has not worked out. I was so attached to an outcome. I still am, but working through it. There is no surrender in that. I think it’s also the idea that this family thing is supposed to look a particular way and what if it doesn’t turn out looking that way and I actually don’t get a chance was nature has said to me is so natural? What if I’m still punishing myself for all those years of looking down at moms and pregnant women and my views on family 10 years ago.

If I don’t have my head straight and if I don’t have a sense of peace and serenity, then I can still be misaligned with the opportunity to create.

When I change my mind about my experiences, then my experiences change. It doesn’t mean that the outcome I was expecting will happen, it means how I experience the outcome will change. It’s the attachment piece and an expectation of the outcome.

Gabrielle Bernstein.

This is really hard to process, as how hard it is to not be attached and hoping for an outcome during the two week wait? 

What is my intuition telling me? Its been saying since last year that I should switch clinics, and maybe I should finally listen to that but then there is fear around this switch.

         Fear is such a bitch. It messes with your mind so much.

TWO: Watching cat videos

Prescription:

After my one hour appointment with myself and once I was done obsessing over fertility during the day, I was to watch cat videos or anything funny. This engages a totally different part of your brain that has nothing to do with logical thinking brain. Its like dancing or singing or anything creative.Squirrel

Result….Squirrel!

Have you ever watched that movie, “Up”, where the dog is talking and all of sudden his attention is distracted for a second because there is a squirrel. That is what I’m doing now. Anytime my mind trails off to this topic (you can see it in my eyes) people around me know to simply tell me, “squirrel”. Its funny and it works.

Three: Permission to feel

The work:

I think because I had so much judgement going on in my head and because I was punishing myself for NOT “knowing better”, I didn’t allow myself to feel the true extent of my feelings. Having done lots of personal development there is also a personal development judge that comes up and was punishing me because I wasn’t using the tools that I had learned to use in such situations. In many ways, my training took a knife and decided to hurt me.

Prescription:

In Chinese medicine, “we have an infinate amount of energy and the more we are consumed with negative thoughts and judments then there is less energy to go towards the spark of life.

I don’t think my brain would have accepted permission to relax if it were not a mental health professonal telling to relax and that its totally normal to feel this way. My prescription was to really allow myself to feel the full extent of my feelings where ever they may be in my body.

Final thoughts: so what about all this?

I’ve been writing this post for almost two weeks now, weaving my way in and out of this hitting the wall. I’ve learned how elusive this topic is. Its one thing to talk about infertility which is not as much of a taboo subject anymore, but the mental health piece is. I can truely say, I had a mental breakdown. There really is no way of describing it.

What I’ve learned yet again is that I need to learn to ask for help, allow myself to really feel my feelings and use my voice. This seems to be a theme for me.

As I pick myself up from hitting the wall. I know that this time around it took me almost two weeks to get past this, it just doesn’t go away. I know the next time it could hit me even harder. I just need the tools and compassion for myself to not critise myself so much as I did this time.

The anticipation and anxiety around if our transfer will work, already has my body in tight knots. Before I walk into that process, I need to prepare my mind and body.

In preparation, I decided to do a Mindfulness course on myself again and be more gentle with myself. To really actually do the mediation that I know work but I have not done. To recognize my judge and see him as a protector and someone who wants me to not get hurt. This is the path forward of again holding my heart and saying in the mirror: I love you.

In the book, “Pathways to Pregnancy“, Mary says, “its not that pregancy won’t work, your body is just telling you not now, and most certainly not now when your head and heart are not aligned. You need to sow the soil before you plant the seed. Take care of youself first, before you take care of another being”.

Wisdom of Irene:
“You try, then no expect, then you no sad.”


Continue reading “I’m bleeding out. InFertility & Mental Health”

Jackie the movie: The meaning of life

Jackie: What is your criteria for a magnificent life?

Priest: Take control of your mind. We are the only creature on the planet that we can make ourselves miserable or make ourselves euphoric simply by the state of our thoughts.

PRIEST

There comes a time in man’s search for meaning, when one realizes — there are no answers. (beat) When you come to that horrible, unavoidable realization — you accept it. Or you kill yourself. Or you simply stop searching.

I have lived a blessed life. And yet every night when I climb into bed, turn off the lights, and stare into the dark, I wonder…is this all there is? Every soul on this planet does.

And then, when morning comes, we all wake up and make a pot of coffee.

JACKIE (O.S.) Why do we bother?

Jackie catches up to John Jr and picks him up. Twirls him.

PRIEST (O.S.) Because we do. You did this morning, and you will again tomorrow.

Jackie stops to watch her laughing children.

PRIEST (O.S.) God, in his infinite wisdom, has made sure…it is just enough for us.

Quote taken from “Jackie the movie”, script and link located below. 

Jackie Movie


I posted this script quote from the script, as its right in line what I’ve been writing about with mental health and fertility. I love the subtle little things (about kids) that are written into the script. I know that we are on the only ones that can change our reality by choosing how we look at situation. There are many angles that can be taken. Its choosing which angle I look at it. Having moved through a “mini” breakdown in past two weeks, (more in next post) I can see how hard it also it can be to move and change my point of view. Its taken great effort and following my intuition.

Some More Inspiration that helped me move forward:

Tony Robbins and Oprah

http://www.oprah.com/video_embed.html?article_id=64700

 

 

The two week wait is our Hotel California

The whole thing about infertility that is crazy making boils down to uncertainty and lack of predictability. Every two-week wait (exactly as described in this link) is riding high on what your life will or will not look like after these two weeks. Since I am so overly aware of what is going on, its hard not to have multiple moments in the day where my thoughts trail off into LaLa land of what could be and have rose coloured glasses of parenting. A lot rides on these two weeks, but the part that is crazy making is that the medications they give me mimic signs of pregnancy. Did a man invent these drugs?

What is the two-week wait, you ask? It’s that seemingly interminable time period after you ovulate and before you can take a pregnancy test. Its exactly two weeks where you have zero control and its up to God. Yes, it’s an insane time because you are also wondering what else you can do or not do to have a positive outcome….its *crazy making. I googled, “Crazy making” and google told me it’s a form of emotional abuse involving things such as mind games, intended to make you question yourself. OMG. I’m rolling over in laugher, that’s exactly what I’m experiencing, except I’m doing it to myself. ROLFLOL….and then all of sudden I got a flash of clarity in my head after I read that definition. It’s like Hotel California, once you are in, you may never leave. Seriously, check out the lyrics I put together…..

Welcome to our Hotel California, its such a lovely place. There is plenty of room at the Hotel California (because of the constant flow of patients)…..We are all just prisoners patients here of our own device….Last thing I remember, I was running for the door to find the passage back to where I was before, relax said the man doctor, you can check out anytime you like, but you may never leave…..

This is not the first time  I’ve done the two-week wait. When you search google “two-week wait”, the resources are endless. I find that the first week is a week of hope, the second week so far usually been a week of sadness and why you’ve seen posts like, “No more needles! No more ultra sounds! No more 8am clinic visits! No more of this! Please make this STOP. and “Five lessons : Finding your voice and speaking up for yourself.

Because when you are going through the process of infertility, you are hyper aware of all your body functions all…..the…..time…… I’m going to assume, that most fertiles simply go on with their life after you’ve had, um, sex, and don’t think much about a ‘two week wait’. I actually don’t really know how that feels likes. But I don’t think you are sitting counting down days till you go in for a pregnancy test. Are you?

Usually, the first week is filled with tons of stuff I do and I actually don’t think about it. The second week draaaaaaags on. This is where the anxiety, the mental health and all of this crash together like a water hitting rocks. Physically, my body starts to shut down and I need to sleep it off. Mentally, the drag of one more day till the test, wears me down. As well, the knowledge that my body feels like it felt like the other ten times during the two-week wait where the results came back negative. But you sit there, hoping and waiting.

The actual results are a simple blood test (that I’m sure some of you have done) and then God Calls,  with a yes or no answer and says, “come at the start of your period” and do the whole thing all over again, for shits and giggles.

team_crazy_train

My fantasy has been to book a trip in the two-week wait to totally get away. Didn’t manage that this time around. It’s amazing how even now booking a trip, I take into account the Zika Virus. That limits travel to the USA and Europe. What do you think, should we go to Portugal? Uruguay, the backpackers heaven? Tell me which one I should go to in the comments.

This two-week wait period ends without me being able to bring myself to go and test, because I know its negative. My body has starting to shed and menstruate. This time around, the natural cycle we tried, with some additional hormonal help, it didn’t work.

I think what Husband identified, is that there is no stopping this wheel once it’s started. NO one told me that once you step in this crazy train you can’t get off. It keeps spinning because as soon as we find out that the test is negative, its the start of a new cycle because its period time. On day three of the period, I need to go in with a full bladder, do my full blood work and declare what of treatment I am doing this time around all within a matter of a day of finding out you’re not pregnant….all while grieving the loss of what just happened.

Crazying making

This is why people in fertility clinics go bat shit crazy. It’s like Hotel California. Once you enter you may never leave, because even if you leave, it’s still on your mind.

Because God keeps calling, leaving a message, saying, “We’re, sorry, please dail the number and try again”.

IVF, a game of numbers

IVF is a game numbers. The goal is to have the highest amount of eggs as possible because the statistics are against you. You never know if and how many eggs will survive and be fertilized.

  • 23 follicles were grown at the time of the IVF retrieval
  • 13 eggs removed
  • 60% (9 eggs) were fertilized through the method of ICSI
  • 40% (4 eggs) were fertilized through the petr-idish
  • Once the eggs are retrieved and fertilized they grown for five days before they are cryo-frozen
  • 7 fertilized on the first day
  • 7 made it to day 3 and were still fertilized and growing
  • 5 days of waiting till we found how many embryos survived and made it to day 5 to be cryogenically frozen.
  • 4 fertilized eggs out of the original seven made it to day five (out of the 23 collected)
  • 4 eggs were tested through the method of PGS to test for genetic abnormalities

Out of the 4 eggs that were fertilized that made it to day 5 and were frozen…..

2 had genetic abnormalities

Out of the two with genetic abnormalities….

one of them had trisomy 22, which causes still births and miscarriages

one of them had multiple chromosomal anomalies


The FINAL TALLY…..

We have TWO eggs left out of the 23 follicles grown and 13 eggs retrieved.

The strongest fertilized egg was the one from IVF . See picture below:

 

The second was fertilized from ICSI. See picture below to see how its done

icsi
This is ICSI. A embryologist selects a sperm and injects it into an egg to cause fertilization

 

Final number

It only takes one egg to make a baby.

I keep reminding myself it only takes one.

It only take one embryo to create life and make a baby. This doesn’t take into account of any miscarriages or the fact that an IVF transfer might not take at all.

In the second part of IVF there is science but there is the space ____________ between, and then your (my body).

As Husband said, IVF is an enhancer of the probability and increases your chances of getting pregnant, but there is the magical space __________ between science and the human.

In fertility we try to play God, but only He can decide if its time yet.

 

Five lessons : Finding your voice and speaking up for yourself, part one

Its been three months after the IVF retrieval. I’ve been in Lionness mode over the last three months where I decided to take the whole process in my hands and take control of the uncertainty and lack of predictability. This is where its crazy making, as the process of fertility is a stop….start….stop….start….and wait…..and then go…..It is the constant unknowns that I’ve found to be the hardest part. Here I try to attempt to take back some of the unknown for my sanity and mental health.  

Sometimes you need to take LIFE by the balls and into your own hands

LESSON ONE: Have confidence

Don't take the first test results as fact, test and then test again.

Incident One:

Post IVF and when we got the results from the genetic testing  we were all set to do the transfer cycle but….

In January, when I went to the post IVF follow-up appointment with Dr. B. To discuss next steps, we mapped out when the transfer would happen and it looked like mid-February. The same day, I went and got blood work done. In the afternoon, I got a message from ‘The Clinic’ that my thyroid was high. I was asked to come back after two weeks and re-test.

This test result of a high thyroid set me into a tail spin. This was actually the first time I actually got upset about a result and decided to take this result into my own hands as I didn’t agree with it. I have been told all my life that with the thyroid you don’t mess around. It sounded like, The Clinic just wanted me to take pills. I was not about to take pills to mask a thyroid issue especially since reading the book and going to White Lotus Naturopaths I realized that a high thyroid is actually part of the PCOS diagnosis.

Dr. B referred me to another doctor within the clinic (Dr. S.) to treat me for thyroid the clinic’s answer was: medicate.

LESSON TWO: Stop viewing yourself as a victim

Investigate all possible avenues. You are your own best friend and advocate

I book an appointment with White Lotus Naturopaths to get more information about thyroid and figure out a natural way of treating a thyroid problem, still convinced at the time that there is a problem.

White Lotus spends almost three hours with me going over everything part of my health. Turns out, if I wasn’t trying to get pregnant, nobody would have blinked about a thyroid level of 5. A women trying to get pregnant should have a thyroid of 2.5-3, but a thyroid of 5 is actually normal. Cause of increase of thyroid could be stress and illness.

LESSON THREE: Be assertive

Find your voice. Speak up for yourself.

A month and half later (mid February). The thyroid problem was resolved and it showed that I actually don’t have a thyroid issue. I insisted that I’m shown 100% proof that there is a problem. If in doubt, test and then test again.

The problem revolved around The Clinic and the other doctor, Dr. S, who when I went to see didn’t look at my results from my  blood work because if she had, then it would have shown that there was no problem. Read that again, she didn’t look at my results and continued to tell me I have a thyroid issue. I spoke up for my body and said that I’m not taking any medication for my thyroid unless proven otherwise. I also said they need to test all possible avenues and take into account that when the thyroid was tested a) I had just finished taking a shit load of hormones b) I was sick when my blood was drawn and c) perhaps it was just a blip in my body and it was trying to self regulate.

I needed to advocate for myself and FIND MY VOICE letting them know what I wanted and what I need. I needed to get off the hamster wheel and have someone think outside of the protocol box.

The negative result of this delay was we lost the funding from the government for the transfer because The Clinic had used up all the funds on other patients (due to delays). The next time the funds were going to available were going to be in two months, and there was uncertainty about if we were going to get it. I also lost trust in the system of The Clinic.

The positive result was my medical leave got extended.

LESSON FOUR: bring in positive people into your life

Create meaningful relationships with people who can help your cause

Instead of waiting around for the funds we decide to do a natural cycle without any drugs or interventions during the monitoring part where they draw your blood and do an ultra sound telling you your hormone levels and how your eggs are growing. The problem was that I was taking myself outside of the “natural cycle” protocol box which dictates that when someone is doing a natural cycle, the get no medications. I wanted to get drugs (a trigger shot) to make sure I ovulate and as well use internal progesterone supplementation.

Once you are on spinning on the wheel and protocol box of “Natural Cycle”, then its expected that you keep in that box. There are numerous implications because of this, including how differently The Clinic needs to bill the health care system for an Ultra Sound and a blood test.

After being monitored for three weeks, on Feb. 24 while at The Clinic it was looking like we had *ONE follicle that was mature enough and I may ovulate. Nobody knows for sure if I ovulate on my own.

Head Nurse T calls us into the room for next steps. I only really want to see her at The Clinic because from all the nurses she is the only one that has some pull and can actually make decisions on her own without simply following doctors orders.

Husband is with me. Nurse T asks us what we want to do. I asked if we could do an IUI, (wash the sperm and insert) she says no, because “the ultrasound and blood tests would have had to been billed differently to the government”. I say, “I want to do the trigger shot”, but Nurse T. shakes her head and says that the doctor doesn’t agree BECAUSE we are doing a natural cycle and its doesn’t follow protocol.

WHAT?

Exasberated, we look at Nurse T. and I say to her, “can we think about what is best for us? Can we think outside of the protocol box? Can we increase the chances of this working this time around. Honestly would like to graduate from this process”.

Nurse T nods, looks at me and says, “OK, let’s do the trigger shot, but I’m going to get into trouble”. Come back in three days from now and over the next four days have “lots of sex”. She walks out of the room and gets me the trigger shot.

She is a beautiful positive person. She has been at this for years. She has seen so many people and I’m so grateful that she was willing to stick her neck out and do what was best for us.

Thanks to her, we are now waiting the two-week waiting period to see if I am pregnant.

LESSON FIVE: Be grateful

Instead of getting stuck in your story, find out the other perspective

At one point, I was angry at another nurse for just following instructions and not thinking about what is best for me. What one nurse told me…..

I have to follow what the doctor says otherwise I get in trouble. I am glad that you stood up and said exactly what you wanted the day you didn’t take those pills.  

I’m grateful that the nurses really do try their best. That all that they can really do. They really are the ones that run the whole process. They are the ones that make the biggest impact and make the biggest connections with patients.

They are also the ones with the least say.

Written Feb. 26, 2017.


*My follicle size was 2.1 – if its >2.6 its considered too big and then the cycle is over. A follicle (egg) grows about 0.2 size in a day.

 

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”

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