Tuesday, December 16, 2008

12 Week Update

This post is going to be a bit happy of an update. If you're in a bad place, you may want to skip this one. I'll understand.

I had my nuchal scan yesterday. The neck folds were 1.0mm and 1.6mm, both very far under the 3mm risk level. Both are measuring on schedule, a day or 2 ahead as they were at the first scan. Baby A is 5.77cm and Baby B is 6cm. For those not into metric, these translate to just over 2 1/4 inches.

It was so wonderful to watch them wiggle and kick and wave. Baby A cooperated perfectly. Baby B must have felt put out or something for not being scanned first, since when the tech finished with A and moved onto B, B rolled over and presented the butt side out. The tech tried to jiggle to get the babe to roll over. No luck. Then the Dr came in and tried the same thing. Still refusing to turn. So I got to go to the bathroom (again) and was told to jump up and down a bit and jiggle my belly while standing up. That must have done the trick. The Dr was able to measure B right away when I got back.

Sorry about the size of the picture. I scanned it in with higher rez but can seem to edit that one, so you get this one.

I rented a Doppler last week. Its been hard to find the heartbeats. I can sometimes find one, but don't seem to be able to find both and can't even find the one regularly. The U/S yesterday reassured me. Hopefully I can get the wav file loaded. It sounds alot like a train. 174 beats per minute.


There is not much difference between my 8 wk and 12 wk belly shot. I haven't gained weight, but the babes are growing on schedule so all is good. The lower belly has gotten a bit harder and pushed the fat to the upper belly. Ah well. I always carried my weight in my stomach and have been mistaken as pregnant when I wasn't (get offered seats on buses etc). I didn't like looking pregnant when I wasn't, I don't mind it now.

I cut my progesterone in half today. Same for tomorrow. Half again for the next two days then off it completely. The plancentas should have started to produce progesterone starting a couple of weeks ago. I really hope so.

That's it for now. One more week and I'm done my first trimester.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Not about me

This post is not about me. It's a bittersweet posting.

One of my first transfer buddies just had a m/c. The hurt I'm feeling over this is nothing compared to what I know her and her husband are feeling. This was so close, the furthest she's gotten I think and to have it ripped away like that is very hard.

That is the bitter part.

The sweet part is that my other first transfer buddy is doing okay with her pregnancy so far. I can only hope that it continues for her. She's been in the battle for a great many years, with more IVF and DE processes than can be counted on two hands.

My emotions are torn now. But my thoughts are with both of these ladies who in a short two week period became part of my family.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy

I'll give my update in a bit. First I want to say how overly happy I am that two friends just had + beta tests!!!!
When I went for my first try, M and her DH were one of the first ones I met when I walked into my pension. They made me feel welcome from the start. As arranged in advance, I also hooked up with P and her DH who were staying at another hotel. The three of us had the same transfer date and many of the same lead up appointment dates. When M and DH went for a quick European tour, I spent my days with P and DH. We had a blast. We went to all the neighboring towns, shopped, ate together, toured the zoo for hours. It was wonderful. While I met many more people during my stay (my pension was full of those for IVF or DE) my transfer buddies remained the closest.
Unfortunately, that cycle was not the one for any of us. I had a big fat 0 for my beta. M was about the same. P had an initial positive beta, but it didn't double and unfortunately didn't make it very far.
These were my transfer buddies and I am happier than you can imagine that all of us are now pregnant. I cried when I read P's email and it wasn't just the hormones.

Weehee. There is hope after all. I see a European reunion when our kids are old enough to appreciate it.

The Dr appointment last week was very uneventful. I got to pick my hospital for delivery. The one I picked has a good reputation and has the added bonus of being within a few blocks of home and two blocks from work. She will be referring me to an OB group at that hospital, likely in the early new year. I'm not quite high risk, but I am 42 pregnant for the first time with twins. I was also sent off for a whole whack of blood tests. Then an appointment was made for this week.

Fast forward to this week. My blood work is back. TSH is good. I apparently have amazing immunity to measles and chickpocks. My uterus is up above the pelvic bone, where it should be for twins and why I had to buy new clothes. Despite the donor being so young, because of my age, I qualify for the covered Nuchal Screening. This is the only screening I'd consider because it's non-invasive and carries no risk. You can read more about it here The biggest issue I may have with this is getting the appointment in time. It has to be between weeks 11 and 14. So between next week and the end of the year, including all the holiday closures. I'm waiting to hear back on when/if I get the appointment. Then it will be tricky to get the code that determines the overall risk to use the donors age, not mine. But I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.

Since my uterus was up, we tried to hear the heartbeats but all we could hear was the very loud whooshing of blood through the placenta. There might have been one small point where we heard something, but the blood pumping drowned it out so they are likely hiding behind their placentas. My uterus is up, but not out very far. My next appointment will be the first week of Jan and the heartbeats should be very clear then!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Welcome to the Fetuses

I'm officially 9 weeks now. This means the embryos have finally reached the status of fetus, where they will (hopefully) remain until they are officially babies after birth.

Most web sites tell me they are about 1.5 inches in length now. They have legs and arms and are constantly moving, although it will be months before I can feel them (I swear I felt a 'twitter' once though).

If you want to see some great pics and watch some movies of a fetus at 9 weeks, check out http://www.ehd.org/prenatal-images.php?thum_id=153 Some really neat shots in there.

While I can put all my old pants on, some no longer do up. Of those that do up, sitting is not very comfortable. I've only gained 3 pounds so far (not very much for twins) So I've invested in a few pairs of maternity pants. Right now, they are a bit lose and I'm constantly hauling them up, but they are much more comfortable than my old pants. I'll likely have to buy more clothes before the babes come but I'll be hitting consignment and second hand stores for that. And if none of that works, I'll go for the long shirts and leggings.

Oh, as for tops. I'm a shorter person (under 5 2) and I've made it a point to buy petite sizes so I wouldn't have to role up so sleeves, or tuck things into my knees, trip over hems etc. This was great, but now those ones are not going to be long enough to cover my belly once it starts to pop. They keep telling me I'm going to start to feel like an oven, but right now, it's getting colder each day (high today of 8 Celsius) and I want sweaters. I'm avoiding buying much though, unless its on sale. I'm so in between.

The "world" is starting to know I'm pregnant. So far so good. The best reaction was my team at work. There was silence for a bit; I think they were waiting for the punch line. All are happy, many are still stunned (they didn't expect the older, single manager to get pregnant at all, let alone before the younger recently married men (their wives getting pregnant that is).

Oh and the previous post on support showed really well with my friends. We were at a large dinner gathering the other day. Totally out of the blue, one of my friends suddenly said "Hey, you may be single, but you are not alone, you have all of us. That's more than most people have". They are all offering to babysit already (in pairs) and the babes are included in the plans to watch my BFF complete her first Ironman in the summer (that will take coordination, but I'm sure we can work it out).

I have my Dr appointment this afternoon. Basic check up I think. Its likely too early to pick up a heartbeat on a Doppler yet so I will try not to get my hopes up if we try but cant find one or both.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


I was asked about support I'd have while doing this as a single parent. Here goes.

My family doesn't live close but that's okay. I'm sure they will come to visit sometime after the kids are born. Since I'm having twins, the due date is also very fluid and I don't think they can plan in advance when to travel. So I'm recommending they wait until after the birth. Honestly, with twins, I also want to get them onto their own cycles/schedules before people start to come visit. I'm going to look to a local twin expert for help. It's not that I don't love my family, it's just not practical.

I do have a great group of friends locally, some of the best that a person could ask for. Most are childless (by choice), although there are some parents of grown children and even some with grandchildren. I also have two friends with young infants who have already offered anything and everything that can be offered, including calls at any time of the day or night. Follow that with some amazing coworkers and round it out with a fabulous community building. I live in a condo complex that is a bit unlike many others. We are friends. We hang out. We won an award for the building that best exemplifies community. I am the 4th woman to get pregnant in the building this year. Some of my neighbors who know have already committed to walking my dogs should I be too stressed or if I have to go on bed rest.

I know from others 'who've been there, done that' that the nature of some my friendships will change. I wont be able to just drop everything and go hang out or come to the rescue or go out of town. I cant go drinking and dancing without advance planning for childcare. My life will change focus on the babies. Most of my friends wont care or change towards me but some will stop calling.

I know I'll also make new friends. There are many parent groups around. The local libraries all have baby days (and there are two within walking distance to me). There are theatres that do the mom and me screenings during the day. The community centers all have drop in and regular groups. I wont be alone.

Because I have such great and loving people around me all the time, emotional support is not my concern. Financial is a bit of a worry.

In Canada, we get maternity and paternity benefits up to a maximum of 50 weeks, plus a 2 week waiting period for a total of 12 months. I will do everything possible to take this full 12 months off to spend with the babies. This sounds great until you get into the amount that they will pay you and how much a person actually needs to live. The amount went up a tiny bit, has a small formula that says you can earn up to 55% of you income up to a MAXIMUM of $435 a week. Yup, that adds up to 1740 a month or 21,750 for the 50 weeks you get paid (and 2 unpaid). Uh yeah. Oh, and this is taxable income and if they decide, they can tax me at my regular salary rate which at the highest tax bracket and would give me less than nothing to live on.

The city I live in is not cheap. My salary is normally good enough to make up for it. This benefit is not enough. My mortgage, property taxes, condo fees, insurance and hydro come to just under 1,900 a month. So with this, I'm already in the hole. I'm going to assume that I'll want food now and again, the animals might want to eat, along with maybe a phone and oh, lets say the occasional other expense thrown in too. This means, to be able to stay home for the full 12 months, I'm going to need to have a minimum of 12,000 in savings first, or 1000 a month more than they are giving me. Plus I'm going to need to have enough left over at the end to prepay my first month of daycare/childcare/nanny etc. Okay, so maybe 12,000 is not enough. Crap. I am committed to spending the full 12 months at home. If I have to, I'll dig into my retirement savings (hopefully mutual funds will be in better shape by then). I would have more savings now but I've paid for 2 DE attempts this year, sucking my savings dry.

Oh, after the mat leave period, for the later part of my leave, the 35 week parental part, I am allowed to earn up to $50/week (woohoo). Of course, I'd have to be able to earn that while still caring for the babies myself since babysitting costs for twins would easily suck up that $50 or more.

So as you can see, emotional support I have aplenty. Financial support will be significantly harder. Maybe I can win the lottery. Of course to do that, I have to buy a ticket first.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

8 Weeks

8 weeks down, 31 or so more to go.

I thought I'd post an 8 week belly picture. Most of what you see is fat, not baby, but there is definitely baby under the fat. 8 weeks ago, I could easily compress the bulge into any of my pants. Now, I can't, not even close anymore. The twinkies together are just over an inch, add the sacs and extra thick lining and there is probably 2-3 inches I can attribute to them.

Hopefully they will continue to grow well. If they do, my belly should 'pop' in the next 2-3 weeks making it look less like fat and more like baby.
I'm debating renting a Doppler to hear the heartbeats (should be able to by week 10 or so). It's unlikely I'll have another ultrasound until around week 20 and I think I'll go insane with worry if I don't get some reassurance that they are okay.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

We are ALL well

So after that horrible scare this morning I was a bit apprehensive about the U/S. I was expecting just about anything.

I'll cover the basics off the bat to keep you from jumping ahead. It's officially twins.

Back to the day. I still drank less than they recommend but even with that, I was able to take the cup and fill it 3 times before going in. Then, I got on the table and she congratulated me on filling my bladder so well. Its so tiny. Sigh.
The U/S tech has a great poker face or a perma-frown, so I wasn't sure what was going on. But then she turned the screen to me to show me both the babies. I think it was stunned relief at that time. She took lots of pictures and measurements, but then to be sure said we'd go with the dildo-cam for a closer look. My bladder thanked her, profusely.
So after checking my kidneys (I think I might have a stone) we moved onto the magic wand. She took lots of pictures, still with that frown-like expression. But then she gave me the heartbeats and I was relieved.
My friend S was able to come in and watch while she showed us everything. Baby A is measuring 2 days ahead with a heartbeat of 150. Baby B is measuring 3 days ahead with a heartbeat of 158.

And some great news, there was no blood on the wand. So whatever happened this morning was short lived. I have heard from other twin moms that this can happen. I don't think it makes it less scary though.

My Dr will get the full report on Monday and I'll hear from her about any next steps.

I had ordered the Dr Luke Twins, Triplets etc book from the library last week (just in case) so now I can start to read it. Now I just have to get to mid-June with no melt-downs.

8 hours of agony

My U/S is in just over 8 hours. 8 long hours. To make it that much worse, I had an 'issue' this morning.
I got up around 4 for my second nightly pee break. Nothing unusual about that. I peed, the normal amount. So far so good. I wiped - blood. I grabbed some more tp and wiped again, more blood. Lots and lots and lots of pink blood. Needless to say, going back to sleep wasn't an option.
I've spent the last couple of hours surfing, finding success stories and stories of doom and gloom. I don't know what is going on.
I've since been hitting the bathroom every half hour or so, just to check. The first followup was mostly darker leftover looking stuff. But since 5 there has been nothing.
Of course I'm concerned. As planned, in anticipation of a good u/s, I told my C level and HR VP yesterday. Was I being too optimistic. I don't really believe in jinxing, but was I wrong to be happy for a while?
Anyway, time will tell. My scan is in just over 8 hours. It could be bad news, it could be good news or it could be one of those horrible "we're not sure" trips. Sigh.
I'll post an update after my scan or if I start to bleed again.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Grumble, Grumble, Grumble

3 more days to wait.
Well, I really don't have much to grumble about. At least not compared to some of those out in blog land, still struggling to get to where I am, or getting past where I am to have it ripped away from them. There are many happy stories too. More than I normally see. I cling to these. I've started to add the blogs I follow on my site. Its by no means a complete list, I have so many RSS feeds it takes a long time to get through them, but it's a start.
The un-cravings have actually gotten a bit worse. Now I really just don't want to eat. I will, if my stomach demands it loudly, but I've found that just shoveling anything in doesn't work anymore either. It has to be something I really like or I cant even force myself to take a second bite/mouthful. I had my favorite lunch at my favorite lunch place today and even that I stopped eating after less than 1/3. It tasted fine. I just didn't want to keep eating. I'm sure I'm going to hear about it from the cook the next time I go back, worried that there was something wrong with it (there wasn't, it's me).
I seem to do okay with pre-made soups (open, heat, eat without much chewing). So I'll find out who has some sales on (preferable those with low sodium) and stock up. Of course the mostly liquid diet is making the trips to the bathroom far more frequent. I'll count it as exercise.
So, assuming the best from the U/S on Saturday (best being at least one heartbeat with normal growth and nothing else scary) I'm likely to start telling people on Sunday. I know this early for some people, but in reality, if the worse happens and the embryo(s) stop developing, I think I need people to know and understand what I would be going through. I would not be in a good place. And of course if things continue to progress well, I want to stand on the highest building and scream it out to the world. I'm going to be telling my C-level boss this week. My immediate boss knows, has known all along during the tries, but the higher levels don't. I want to tell my C directly and if I start to tell people on Sunday it will spread to friends via facebook in the matter of seconds and I have many co-workers on there so I'd expect the office to know (whether they believe it or not) before I get in on Monday.
Along with the upcoming U/S, my thoughts are very much on the two friends I made in CZ during DE#1. We all had the same transfer day, the same hopes. But of course, like mine, it was not the best of outcomes. For one of them though, she got pregnant, for the first time ever after countless tries over many years. Although it ended badly, it provided the hope and knowledge that she could get pg. I really hope the both of them have the same results from this try as I did. ER for them is today and due to a CZ holiday are having a 6 day transfer. I've only read great things about 6dt so I'm sure it will be a huge success. I wish we could have all gone back at the same time.
Oh yeah, I'm officially 7w1d. For those who watch it, the little bouncing embryo in the widget will have changed when I hit week 7 yesterday. Its a major growth spurt, up to about the size of blueberry with some more distinct features.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Holding Pattern

No new symptoms. Nothing changed. Just going insane waiting until the 15th.

October seemed like a good month. Most of the women I've heard from who went to Zlin have BFPs. And the DE October group I joined is batting 100 so far. It was at least the second try for each of us in the group, so it's extra nice for the successes.

Giving a call out to a couple of friends I met in Zlin the first time around who are heading back for another try. M & P I really hope this time works for you both! Keep me posted, I will be thinking of you.

Monday, November 3, 2008


Still no morning sickness. Some people feel its tied to hcg levels, which normally hit 10,000 around or after week 6. Mine's well over that, so maybe not. One of the possible 'remedies' is an increase in B6. Well, because of fertility issues, I've been taking a b-complex along along with a fair amount of B6. Maybe its that. Then again, maybe in a day or so, I'll get hit bad.
But that's not what this post is about. And it's not about what foods I'm craving, but rather that I'm not craving anything, at all. Maybe craving is too strong of a word, but nothing is appealing to me. And no, no nausea or food aversion, just no desire for anything in particular. Don't get me wrong, I am hungry, probably a little more than normal, but instead of knowing what I want, I don't really care what I eat.
Take today for example. I have a favorite place for lunch. With cutting my spending, I can only go once a week at most now, while I used to go 2-3 times week at least. So today, stomach making growling and roaring sounds, I headed over. But I realized on the way that I didn't want my usual, or at least I wasn't having my normal pre-meal sigh (drool) of anticipation. So I let the waitress pick. The food was very good, but I don't think it mattered what it was.
Tonite, on my way home, I stopped in at the Safeway to get my prometrium refilled. While waiting, I went up and down every aisle, looking for inspiration. Not for dinner tonite, since I had leftovers, but for groceries. Nothing. I left with nothing. Not even junk food.
Oh and on the subject of junk food. That desire is totally gone. I have left over Halloween candy, including some amazing Lindt chocolates a neighbor gave me. But I just don't feel like having them. A week ago, having that at home, all would be gone in under an hour and I would have considered going to the store for more.
So un-cravings, non-cravings or whatever. Things I eat, I enjoy, but nothing makes me want to eat except my stomach making complaints and poking at me. This is probably a good thing in the end, because I can eat totally properly. In theory. But with no motivation to eat, I have no motivation to cook. So for now, it's leftovers from the freezer or sandwiches, usually with a nice helping of frozen veggies.
I don't know how long this will last, I guess I'm just happy to have something change, some symptom that I'm pregnant. It's still many days to my U/S.
I also cut my prednisone dosage in half today. They like us to go off it after the 2ww. Its not something you just stop though. Withdrawal, even on a low dose can be harsh. So for a week, I'll take a half does, then a week with half that, then likely stop. I know its the right thing to do at the right time, and I while I really believe it was the fixing of my TSH that helped this cycle work vs DE#1, there is a slight possibility it was starting prednisone 3 weeks earlier that did it. Sigh.
5w6d - time is moving slowly, but at least its moving. Tomorrow I'm officially in week 6.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

A different 2ww

It's exactly 2 weeks before my first U/S at 7w4d. I really have no idea how it will go. I'm still waffling as to how things are, deep down there in my uterus. Sometimes I'm sure I'm pg, other times, I'm less sure.
And as to the question of how many, well, I really have no idea. One, more than one. I would honestly be very happy with one healthy growing fetus.
Today I went to the baby fair. I wasn't planning to, in fact, had no idea it was on. I was going to the women's fair with a few friends and the baby fair was in the same convention center. I stayed with them until they were checking out the shoe sale, I said goodbye, saying I was going home. Then I snuck out and paid and went to the baby fair. (my BFF knew what I was doing, but she was the only one there who knows I'm hopefully expecting). The fair was great. And what was also great was being in a huge room with pregnant women, babies and kids and not wanting to bawl my eyes out. I entered lots of draws but bought very little. I was so afraid to tempt fate. I did get some belly cream. I also collected information on 3D U/S places and cord blood banking along with discount cards for them. The bravest thing I bought was a hooded shirt that I'll use when (if) I tell the world I'm pregnant. I really have no idea when that will be. I'll unveil the shirt on the web at the same time, so you'll have to wait to know what it says.
For those wondering, my last beta was right on track (number in my profile) and my progesterone had gone up quite a bit. They want me to test again next week to see the hormone levels and may now switch and lower my progesterone.
Still no symptoms - 5w4d.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

5w2d - holding pattern

I'm in a hurry up and wait pattern I think. Frustrated and trying to remain optimistic.
First off. I have no symptoms at all. No m/s or enhanced sense of smell etc. And at last test, my hcg is high enough that if its going to happen it should. I know most women would be grateful to have a symptom free pregnancy, but for those of us who are fertility challenged, symptoms are the only ways we can tell we're still pregnant.
Okay, so I have one slight 'advantage'. Because my progesterone levels don't seem to be high enough and we're playing with meds, I get extra blood tests and since they are sucking my blood, I'm asking for more hcg tests at the same time. Mondays hcg was 3804. A little slower rise than between tests 1 and 2 but still more than doubling in 48 hours. Most recent blood draw was this morning. Now I just need to wait (not so patiently) for my Dr to get the results.
Oh, I saw the Dr on Tuesday. Nothing exciting. We chatted, wrote up some more prescriptions and booked the ultrasound. No weight, no bp, no check-up, no nothing else. Just a regular appointment with my Dr. She did say she hoped I was on major sedatives when they were yanking the adhesions from my cervix and cringed when I said that I had nothing at all, and yes it did hurt.
The U/S is not going to be until Nov 15. The 11th would have been the earliest to see the heartbeat. The 15th is the first appointment after that. I hear that many women with fertility issues are scared that they'll see nothing in the u/s. I'm one of them. Terrified even.
Why does having babies come so easy to some and so hard to others? Why can the heroin addict down the street give birth to a drug addicted baby every year and I can't even have one? How can so many teenagers get pregnant the 'only time' they've ever had sex? Why do people who don't want children, those who abuse children, get to have them, no tests, no questions asked, but we have to go through psych evals, invasive tests and home assessments? Certainly not fair when you look at it.
Anyway, sorry to go off on a rant. I'm just trying to pass time until my next results come in.

Friday, October 24, 2008


So far so good. My second beta came in at 712. This is almost 3x the first value, which only needed to double so I’m feeling better now.

My progesterone is just on the border of being low, so I have to up that one. I test it again on Monday to see if it’s improved. Since they are sucking my blood out anyway, I’m getting another hcg done, just for fun.

I see the Dr on Tuesday for my first ever prenatal exam. Any suggestions of questions to ask? I’m going to bring a list because I know I’ll forget some in the excitement.

The picture is of the embryos before being sucked into the catheter, then let lose in me. Cute aren’t they? Click on the image to see all three.

Does anyone want to play the guess how many babies are growing? Consensus seems to be “at least 2”. I won’t know for a few more weeks and the ultrasound, but it’s pointing towards twins so I’ll be wrapping my head around that.

I think, in many ways, twins with DE & DS is not a bad thing. It means that they would each have a full blood relative. Sometimes that helps with the questions that could come up. Ideally, if twins, I’d love to have a girl and a boy. In reality, I just want healthy babies, no matter the gender or count.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


A picture is worth a thousand words, or in this case a picture is worth 265 hcg. Taken this morning, a couple of hours before going in for my blood hcg that came back this afternoon at 265.

So yes, dear blog readers it looks like I might have done it this time. I’m sorry for being a bit vague a couple of days ago when I posted about testing early. The test actually showed a faint line. I nearly fainted. Since I had never seen a line before I was stunned. I have never seen a line in either a hpt or opk. I’ve held them to light and looked at them under microscopes but no line. Until this time. And while it was faint, it was there. The camera did not capture it well, but trust me, there is a line. (Follow the links to see the older pee sticks) http://members.shaw.ca/homedoll/5dp5dt.jpg

Because I was still in disbelief, but wanting to save my other FR test for the next morning, I went to the Tesco and bought a cheap-o test (under $3), hoping I could figure out enough of the Czech to know what to do (what’s there to do, pee on a stick and check for lines). It was another faint line, but it was also mid-afternoon 5dp5dt.

The next day, the line was still faint, but definitely darker. I felt a bit elated heading home on the plane. But of course, worried and concerned. http://members.shaw.ca/homedoll/6dp5dt.jpg

So then, 1 week after the transfer, I got a line dark enough to start to feel a bit confident. Actually, I did two. In part because I wanted to try a different brand, and in part because I originally woke up at 1:30 (jet lag and pee need) and then another at a normal wake-up time of 6am

After some board encouragement, I decided not to wait until the 14 days after transfer for my beta, besides I was getting very nervous and wanted confirmation. So, I took another test around dinner time (I told you I was addicted) and the line was as dark as a dark line can be. No need for a picture. It looked a lot like the one in the morning.

This morning, before going to the lab for blood work, I pulled out the CB Digital. I had been saving this one, hoping to have used it last cycle, hoping to be able to use it before it expired in 2009. I peed. It said results normally within 3 minutes. Less than 60 seconds later, it said “pregnant”/”Enceinte”. (hmmm too bad I couldn't find one with the Czech word for pregnant)

So then I spent the rest of the day, waiting for the doctor to call. Trying to focus on work. Eventually, I moved into a meeting room so I could call the Dr in private. They couldn’t find the results, so I had to wait while they called the lab. But it was so worth the wait.

So what next? Beta 2 is going to be on Thursday. For the few out there not immersed in TTC terminology, a beta value should double in 48-72 hours. So for me this means that on Thursday, my number should be no less than 425, hopefully more than 530. My progesterone and estrogen levels will also be checked. Since this was a donor cycle, my hormones were blocked and are now be artificially maintained.

Then I’ll see my Dr early next week for my first prenatal exam. We’ll probably do another beta after that, just to see (more on why in a bit).

Then likely nothing until week 7 (after Nov 11) when I can go for an U/S that would show the heartbeat and count the number of growing fetus’. Yes, count the number. While there could be only one, the beta value I have now is quite high for a singleton. From a beta database, the average hcg for a singleton where I am, which is the equivalent of 13dpo is 68. Mine is just a teeny-tiny bit higher. For twins the average is 120 and for…gulp….triplets+ it’s 184. I have 265. Now that is just an average and there are upper end values near mine in singletons (not many, but some).

I’m happy, stunned and shocked. No matter how many little ones are growing in me, I want a safe pregnancy and I want them to be born healthy. That’s a long way away. Right now, I’m 4w0d. If there is just one, the estimated due date is July 1st/June 30th. If there are multiples, then it would be earlier (probably by June 10). I read somewhere once that more twins were born under the sign of Gemini, than any other astrological sign. I’m a Gemini – we are very compatible with other Gemini.

Twins. Oh God. So I’m on a serious budget now. I was going to have to some major budgeting with one, but with the chance of more than one, I’m looking at possible bed rest and an early delivery, not to mention a few more expenses early on and double the day care when I go back to work and eventually moving to a bigger place. So, no discretionary income anymore. I have a few things I’ve committed to in the next couple of months that I’ll follow through, but that is it. Nothing more. And I have to downsize the clutter. Big time down sizing.

For those who know me IRL, this information is still totally confidential. I don’t know when I’ll tell ‘people’. The rate of MC right now is very high. It goes down a bit after seeing the heartbeats, but most people put a marker in after the first trimester, after week 13. Depending on which calculator I use, this is Dec 13 or Dec 26 or Jan 4. I think I’d like to tell people at Christmas. Then again, I may just blurt it out before that.

Okay, enough verbiage. Time to go home and walk dogs.

Another reminder to those IRL, if you call me during the day, I am at work. Other people can hear what I say. I am not going to talk about this over the phone if I’m at work. Enough said.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

fly-by post 5dp5dt

It's my last night in Prague and I have a few more things to see before I leave tomorrow morning. I've had a great time and while I wish I had more time, I will be glad to be home. I will admit that this was has been a great way to pass one of the weeks in the two week wait.
I promise I'll do a full travel blog one day when I'm back. It should get me through another night of the 2WW.
Yes it is early, it's is very early to be testing or even thinking about it. The tests are notoriously unreliable this early. But what can I say, I'm an addict. I think there should be a 12 step support group. "Hi, my name is Selmada and I pee on sticks" So, knowing it was too early, I POAS today. Oh well. There is always tomorrow.
Thanks for the great words of support.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Settling in (2dp5dt)

I will post more about the vacation side of this when I am back home. For now, the DE side (oh and excuse the lack of proper punctuation, I still havent figured out this keyboard and the spell checker wont fix it for me)...
The transfer was Monday. They transfered 2 grade 1 hatching blastocysts and 1 grade 1 blastocyst (that from what i could see on the screen was also starting to hatch by transfer time). They were perfect, lets hope one or two decide to stick around. My lining was just over 19mm, triple striped, about as perfect as it gets.
It was a very busy time that day, with 8 donor egg transfers and quite a few other surgeries. But we were all treated well, although there were long waits.
Since then, Ive felt the odd twinge and pull, but dont know if they mean anything. Since at least 2 were hatching, Im not sure if they could have already started to implant or not. I hope so. I dont have the strong progesterone cramps that I did the last cycle. I dont know if that is good or not.
I waver between sure it was all good and sure it wasnt that somehow they fell out or something. sigh. I am supposed to wait and test on the 27th. I dont know if i can wait that long.

I had another problem transfer, but not quite the same as last time. If you are at all squeemish about womens bodies or pain, stop reading now......okay here goes
Unlike last time, he was able to find my cervix without switching to the gyn bed. But when he found it, it seems that the endo had taken over and mostly blocked the entire cervix with adhesions. He had to cut and pull to forcably remove the adhesions. I wont lie, that hurt, lots. But the embryos went in and the catether came out clean, so my lining was fine. He said there would be blood from where the adhesions were removed and there was along with some other liquidy stuff. By the next morning it was fine. I think I have the start of a UTI now though, which happens when people poke around down below with me.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Good so far

This will be a short one. I am at an internet cafe and want to go to the zoo later.

8 eggs were fertilized. This is one more than last time, but we will see how many make it to transfer. I wont transfer less than I did last time, which was 3. My lining was a whopping 18mm and the progesterone will make it even thicker. Speaking of the progesterone, the new doctor changed the protocol slightly to just using utrogaston, but more of it. Progesterone puts me to sleep. I am taking a couple of extra naps each day. I cant help it. I only hope I dont fall asleep at the zoo.

The pension is still great. I got a room with a kitchen this time, so along with a fridge and kettle, I have a microwave and hotplate. So unlike last time, its not all fried cheese for food. Also, there are now 2 english movie channels and a couple of music video channels. There is only one other couple there though and I really miss the commeraderie of the group from the summer.

Oh well. I am off for now. Transfer is Monday. I am not sure if I will post again before that. We will see.

Weather is great. I will go enjoz it.

Monday, October 6, 2008

I'm leaving, on a jet plane

Tickets - check
Meds - check
Passport - check
Book - check
Phrase book - Czech
Sanity - not so sure

In a couple of hours I leave for the Czech Republic, via Amsterdam. To say I have reached panic state would be an understatement. To most people, I look calm, sane and collected, but inside I'm a total mess. I know I'll calm down a bit once I have the first appointment on Wednesday and get the fert report. But now, not so calm.
The service I go through for translation, clinic bookings etc, somehow mixed up the dates for when I need to get picked up in Prague. They were waiting for me at the airport today. Yikes. I checked and I had written confirmation for the 7th. Then, when checking last night for my flight status, the same flight I'm taking today, was delayed 3 hours yesterday! I don't have 3 hours between flights. Please be on time today. Please, please be on time.
The bus to the airport used to come to a couple of hotels nearby (2-3 blocks). But that route got cancelled. Now I have to take the city buys downtown so I can catch the airport bus. Or pay a small mint and take a cab. I could do city bus the whole way, but it involves 3 buses and I have transferring and I have luggage to lug.
I worked out a 'schedule' of how to concert my meds over while travelling and still keeping the 'take in the morning', 'take on an empty stomach','take with food','take 4 hours before any vitamins' rules without doubling up too soon or missing a dose of something. I'll have to do the reverse on the way back.
Dogs have figured out something is up. I cant even shift my position while sitting without them coming running (well, they are sleeping next to me, so they don't have far to run). They are the other reason for stress. I have a great friend K, who will be staying to take care of them and the cat while I'm gone. I know they will get great care, but that doesn't stop me from stressing about it. The fur kids are the only kids I have right now.
Okay, must go finish the few last minute things and keep busy so I don't stress.
Watch this spot for updates. I'm not taking my laptop to save on weight of luggage on the way back. Puts me dependent on Internet cafes so not sure how frequent the updates will be.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Thick, thick

Today was my lining check before I head to CZ.

For those who don't know me IRL, I have a teeny, tiny bladder. I also seem to process fluids very quickly. I usually cant make it through a movie and definitely not through the night.

I don't know how it works elsewhere, but even though I only needed the lining check, the clinic has to do a full check. I've learnt (the hard way) that even thought the U/S clinic wants me to drink 2 litres of water 2 hours before my appointment, that is not going to work for me. So today, I made a last minute trip to the bathroom an hour before my appointment. I had a modest 1 litre of water in the cab on the way over. I was so full, I really hoped they weren't running behind. I was in luck and they actually took me in earlier.

I was already overfull on my bladder so she gave me the cup and let me practice that joy of only letting a 'little' out. Grr. I made it through the abdominal check and had to empty out for my date with the dildo-cam. Ever so joyful. She had to hurry that part up too, because, surprise, surprise, my bladder was already filling up again and making it hard to read. Luckily I made it through and while I wiped the goop off and out of me, she passed the scans onto the doctor..

The Doctor dictated the results and faxed them to my Dr (they cant give them to me directly). She was off today, but her receptionist called me because she figured I'd know which part of the report was needed. I'm happy to say I outdid myself. My lining, with 10 days until transfer is 12mm and the report said 'very nicely triple striped'. 12!!! Last time, at this point it was 9.5, also a good figure, up to almost 14 at transfer. I'm a bit concerned that it's going to be too thick, but I've heard back from CZ and its fine.

So, I think its safe to say at this point that growing a lining is not one of my issues. Now I just hope the embryos enjoy the comfy home.

I have 3 more sleeps before my flight (if I sleep). On Monday, its a 12.5 hour trip (including one short transfer) to Prague (where it will be Tuesday aft). This is followed by a 3-4 hour drive to Zlin. I'll see the Dr on Wed, get another lining check and find out how many eggs were retrieved. I also start progesterone. Then I get to play tourist until a 5 day transfer on Monday. I'll get 1-2 reports on how the embies are growing in between so I should have a good idea of what to expect on the 13th.

I requested the 13th for the transfer in part because its a holiday and it required one less vacation day, but also because its Thanksgiving (Canadian) and I really want something to give thanks for. For those in Canada, celebrating Turkeyday this year, before dinner, give a little thought my way please.

I made it to the early polls today to vote, so that is one more thing off my list.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Stillbirth Awareness and Research Act

The following post was copied from Antigone's blog. If you'd like to help raise awareness please copy this from here or there and post on your site, too.

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day: Take Action

October 15th is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day in the United States. More than 25,000 children are stillborn in the United States every year leaving mothers, entire families and communities devastated. Estimates of the rate of occurrence of stillbirth make it at least as common as autism.

Stillbirth is not an intractable problem. Greater research would likely significantly reduce its incidence, but good research requires good data. H.R. 5979: Stillbirth Awareness and Research Act is under consideration by Congress. This proposed bill would standardize stillbirth investigation and diagnosis, thus providing more data for the needed research. Better research means fewer children born still.

On October 15th, remember the thousands of unfinished children lost and the families who remain to grieve them. Honor them by taking action. Let's help pass H.R. 5979.

Action Steps:

Step 1. Use Your Blog to Enlist Others-Copy the contents of this entire post and publish it on your blog immediately.

GOAL: Enlist 10 of your readers to spread the word

Step 2. Use Your E-mail to Enlist Others-E-mail 5 bloggers and ask them (nicely and in an unspammy way) to publish these action steps on their blog. Consider contacting celebrity bloggers, political bloggers, medical bloggers, or bloggers who are not part of your reading community.

GOAL: Enlist 3 bloggers outside of your normal blog sphere to spread the word in other online communities.

Step 3. Help Pass the Stillbirth Awareness and Research Act-By October 15th, publish a post on your blog supporting H.R. 5979 Stillbirth Awareness and Research Act. For maximum impact, title your post: "Stillbirth Awareness and Research Act."

GOAL: 1,000,000 Google results on October 15th when that term is searched for. Currently, Google only returns 20,400 pages - most of which have nothing to do with the bill.

This bill is an American Innitiative, but losses affect women all over the world, including in Canada. Its not been lost on me that I'll be entering my 2ww when on Oct 15th.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I hab a code [snuffle, snuffle]

Around noon yesterday, I had a slightly sore throat (on one side) and minor stuffiness. I was torn. Part of me was hoping it was just an allergy (I get fall ones). Part of me was scared silly that this was a PMS symptom I sometimes get the day before AF shows herself (I would had freaked - getting AF less than a week before my U/S lining check would bench me this cycle). And part of me was a bit happy that it means my immunity has dropped a bit.

What you say? Huh? Reread it all you want, but it still says the same thing. I have a fairly strong immune system and an even stronger autoimmune system. My body is good at finding and killing anything it considers a thread (including developing embryos). One of the goals behind prednisone is to slightly lower my immune system and maybe keep the embryos safe. I'd say the lower immune system part is working. But now I'm at a quandary. I have a cold. Do I take immune boosters like echinecea or co.ld fx or extra vitamin c? Do I really want to boost the system I'm trying to compromise? And if so, how much? Will it be long enough for the prednisone to still have an effect? I really don't want a cold (ear or throat related) when I fly next week. Sigh.

The cold is really bad timing. It means I need to stay away from all my friends running half and full marathons this week or next (good luck all!) I really don't want to be the one who passed the virus onto them (of course, I'm quite sure I caught it from one of them as they are who I spent most of my weekend time socializing with). I also have the list of things to do before travel and all I want to do is sit in a hot tub, inhaling eucalyptus. I can't really take time off or work now either since I'm planning 2 weeks away. But if it's any worse tomorrow, I'll seriously consider working from home.

Time to go, have to find some more tissues.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Organized (or not)

I'm starting to get a tiny bit organized. I've bought most of what I wanted and now just need to sort the clothes out that I want to pack and make sure they are all clean.
Today I picked up the one thing I really wanted to bring - socks with those little grippy things on the bottom. At the CZ clinic, they like you to spend at least an hour after transfer with NO movement. So the transfer takes place in the recovery bed. They angle the foot of it into an inverted V, then have you scoot your butt to the end, with your feet perched there. No stirrups. After the transfer, they move you back a bit and wheel the bed into recovery for an hour.
Last time, my leg started to shake and I had to grab my socks to hold on. I dont think it would be a 'good' tranfer if I kicked the doctor in the head. Of course, last time, he had a hard time finding my cervix and I had to move to the big gyno bed-thingy. It seemed awkward, but it kept my legs still. But then I had to move beds after. I'm hoping not to move this time and of course, I'm hoping not to boot the doctor.
I also got some more of those bags that you roll your stuff up in to take up less space in the luggage. Oh, and while I was in the sock area, I picked up some of those socks that help when travelling.
One week, I leave in one week.
I'm trying to stay very positive. I wouldnt be doing this if I didnt think I could get pregnant. At the same time I need to not build it up so much because if I get another BFN, it will be even harder. How do I balance 'positive thinking' with realistic expectations??

Thursday, September 25, 2008

To Do Lists

I'm -19db 5dt or in English - I'm 19 days before my 5 day transfer.

It's also 12 days until my flight to CZ. I'm not packed. This isn't too bad since lots of things can't be packed yet because I still need them before the trip. But I haven't even finished my packing list! Truth be told, I didn't fully unpack after my last attempt. At first it was because I couldn't lift much in the 2ww, then it was more the depression of the BFN and facing the suitcase meant facing that. I'm not even sure what is in my suitcase and carry on right now. I had a small panic moment a couple of weeks ago and verified that I did know where my passport (and I was right, it expires next year).

I have some shopping to do before I go. Nothing big but a couple of things here and there. I did manage to pick up some gloves today. I'm sure I have some packed away at home somewhere, but it will be a while before I need them here and it's one less thing to worry about now.

K, my dog and cat sitter, will need to put up with the more-than-usual-clutter. I had high hopes of going through clothes, papers, books and even organizing my kitchen cupboards before I went. Didn't happen. Won't happen. My normally boring social calendar was blocked full this month (I'm actually hoping for rain this weekend to get one or two things postponed).

One thing that I can't forget to do before I go or put off until I come back is to vote. Yes, dear readers, we in Canada are also having an election this fall. The official poll day is Oct 14, the day after my transfer. I plan to vote in one of the early polls before I leave. But I still have no idea who I'll be voting for.

For me, personally, who I vote for has always been a combination of how I feel about the specific candidate's ability to represent me (and my neighbors) and how I feel about the party s/he represents. In many things, the candidate will vote as s/he feels appropriate, for controversial things, they are required to vote along party lines, so both need to be taken into account. It's because of this that I don't think any candidate, after being elected can chose to change parties without a by-election. Party changing like that is not part of democracy as it doesn't represent the voters.

Not voting isn't an option. I'm appalled at the low voter turnout. I think the last federal election over 30% of eligible voters didn't vote. What the heck?!? I suspect that many of that 30% were the first to complain when Parliament did something they didn't like. I think if you don't vote, you can't complain. I also don't agree with people who don't vote for the person they want because they feel 'it will be throwing their vote away'. No vote, when made honestly is a throw away. Anyone who wins in a riding had better be aware that if they don't win more than 50% of the vote that they had better pay attention to why if they want to stay around. Plus, I think outcomes of elections could be very different if every single eligible voter voted honestly.

And speaking of honesty. Can I send a message out the leaders???? Please stop negative campaigning. Please stop fear mongering. Don't tell me how terrible life will be under the leadership of someone else. Explain to me how you will make it good. If you cannot stand on your own as a good leader without slamming someone else then why would anyone want to follow you???

All this to say I have one more thing to do before leaving for my DE trip. I need to learn more about the candidates (I know the party platforms) and I need to vote. I also urge all of you out there in reader land to vote.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Popping Pills

Tomorrow I add the next round of medications to my protocol. It's a milestone kind of thing in the cycle for many reasons. Most notable, it counts as the first of the cycle and if, scratch that, when, I get pregnant, it will be the official first day of the pregnancy.

I'm only adding 3 new things to what I'm doing now. Most of the existing are vitamin supplements with a couple of prescriptions. Here's a picture of what I take as of tomorrow and when and why. (new stuff in italics)

Synthroid 0.1mg -Hashimotos - need to get/keep my TSH between 1-2 - I might not have had enough time to do it this cycle - this is 4x the dose my last cycle
Adalat 20mg - borderline high BP
low dose aspirin 81mg - stops clotting issues that can sometimes come with endo
Estradiol Valerate 2mg - builds lining
Prednisone 5mg - relates to a couple of autoimmune issues and endo - last cycle this was started on day of transfer

Estradiol Valerate 2mg
Prenatal Vitamin (any vitamins have to be taken a least 4 hours after synthroid)
Cranberry - passed a kidneys stone recently - avoiding a UTI
Folic 3mg - this is in addition to the 1mg in the prenatal - recent studies show this is a better value for TTC with 'issues'
B complex (no b12)- reasons as per above
B12 1200mcg - I've been short on B12 back when I still ate meat- had a Shillings test, absorption not an issues, I just need higher doses and from non-animal sources
Tumeric - anti-inflammatory - i need to verify its okay when pregnant
Garlic - anti-inflammatory and good for heart health - also need to check on this one for pregnancy

Estradiol Valerate 2mg

I need to pick up some more calcium. I don't know how it slipped my mind that prednisone drains calcium.

So that's my mix for the next couple of weeks. In 2 weeks on ER day, I add progesterone. It will all be worth it to hold a baby in 9 months.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The path least travelled

I've been reading a great book lately called "knock yourself up" (check out reviews on Amazon and Chapters sites). Those who know me and live nearby are welcome to borrow it once I'm done.

Anyway, onto the book and why it’s relevant here. I'm more than halfway through now and its a very interesting read. The author interviewed many different women of all different ages, races, sexual orientations and backgrounds who are or are trying to become "Single Mothers by Choice" (SMbC). She drew out comments, thoughts, feelings and facts on many different subjects about the decision and the process. While reading what I have so far, its had me thinking about where I was/am in the process and how I got to where I am now. I've discussed parts of this with friends and family, but I'm not sure anyone has the complete picture.

So how did I decide to become a SMbC? It wasn't an overnight decision, it was definitely a journey. I've always known that I've wanted to have children. I've always wanted to be a mother, to give birth. When I was a teenager, I know that on more than one occasion, I considered taking the "easy path" to do this and have unprotected sex and hope for the best. I might have even done this if I hadn’t considered the ummmm, method so, ummm, unappealing. So that didn’t happen. That’s mostly a good thing.

Fast forward a bit until after University. I kept up the eternal quest to meet the right person, settle down and start a family. But how do you bring up the subject of children on the first date without the other person running screaming? How long do you date before you start to try to have children? I had dry spells in dating. I dated some people who expressed a desire to have kids ‘someday’ and some who never wanted children but those relationships didn’t work out (not for the kid reason, but it was always there in the background). For a while, I dated someone with a young child from an earlier marriage. It wasn’t the right relationship. I wanted to be a mom, not a step or third parent. But the little girl already had two parents and I was not even given status as a baby sitter. In the end, I was wanted only for my ability to provide financially and we parted ways. I will admit to a couple of one night (week) stands where getting pregnant wasn’t the goal at all, but that when it came time for my next period, I found myself hoping it was late.

Like many other women in my situation. I also looked to co-parenting. The first approach in this area ended when we discovered that both of us wanted to be the custodial parent. He and his partner found what they wanted in a surrogate and their daughter is now 10.

The next approach was with another very good friend. He didn’t want to be a custodial parent but he was adamant about being present and active in the child’s life. He wanted to be able to see him/her during the week, be the default ‘babysitter’, watch school plays etc. This suited both of us perfectly. I was also planning my move out west at this time. He was all over that and wanted to come this way too. I moved first. Then a close family member of his got sick and instead of moving west, he had to move further east. He is close to his family, I respect that. But of course that meant that he couldn’t be a present ‘dad’ and he couldn’t wrap himself around that. Plus, he’s African American (or Canadian) and we were both aware of the challenges of raising someone of a mix race without direct support of a parent of each race. I still think we’d have made very beautiful babies together.

For a while I was with a partner who wasn’t scared of the idea of having a child together. In fact, it went as far as an offer to be a stay at home and raise the child when mat leave was over and I went back to work (my income was about 4*s higher). But this was another person with close family ties who ended up moving back east to take care of a sibling having a hard time.

The rest of this tale is the part of the story of how I ended up going out of the country using anonymous donor egg and donor sperm. But that’s a tale for another time.

So, bottom line, I have no regrets at all about trying to become a single mother. My only regret is not taking more direct steps sooner. There are some things I can no longer control and many of the paths to motherhood are either more difficult or totally impossible for me now. My desire to have a child never wavered from the time I was 2, but I am a bit older and while some would say wiser, I would also say jaded.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Would I want to know?

Some part of me wishes I could look into a crystal ball or some other way into the future to know if this cycle will work or not. But another part of me doesn't want to. If the crystal ball said I would have a BFN with this cycle, would I still go through with it? Is having the possibility of hope worth it? Would it be more or less painful to know now that failure is immenent than wait for it to happen?
Around 20 years ago, I went to a palm reader. She did a 'scientific' method and took one hand as your destiny at birth and the other as how it has changed. According to her, I was originally supposed to have 2 children but now I'm going to have none. A psychic about 10 years ago (I seem to only do this kind of thing every decade) told me that I would never have 'my own' children. She mentioned that there would be a child or children in my life but mentioned concepts like adoption or step-children. I wonder if DE would qualify? Since to me an adopted child would be 'my own' its clear I don't think within the same limited boundries of 'own children' as her. And still, how much credit should I put to a psychic or palm reader? Do I really beleive they are gifted or guessers? Is it really just for entertainment purposes?

Thoughts? Ideas? Anyone else been to psychic? Should I go again for an update (its been just over 10 years)?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

First Blog

Welcome to my blog. I think this is a better/easier way for me to communicate updates on my TTC journey, DE#2. Plus, I've become an avid blog reader and want to add something back to the blogging community.

Not much to report. Nothing much will happen now until I start assorted medications on the 24th. That is the day when I'm officially starting to build my lining, making a safe and comfy home for the embryos to settle into. As of that day, I'll have cut any major source of caffeine out of my diet. Also gone will be anything else that is counter-indicated during pregnancy. So no more zip treking, rapelling off buildings, beer, etc. Oh well. It is well worth it if it helps me get pregnant and carry to term.