Fluffy and Ready to Go

Last week brought the lining check, to ensure that my uterus was ready for the transfer. They like to see the lining at anything over 9 mm, I believe. Mine has been 12 mm each time I’ve had one of these procedures, and this time was no exception.

As we call it in the surro support group “nice and fluffy”.

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And it means I am ready for transfer … and boy, am I ready.

I don’t say anything like “Finally!!” to the IPs. I’m well aware that my waiting has in no way compared to theirs! However, I think it was one of the many things I was very naive about when I signed up for this. I thought that the initial 3 months I needed to be off my methotrexate prior to transferring was ages! But then I would transfer, be pregnant, and the whole thing would be wrapped neatly up with a bow in like 12 months, right? Start to finish. Ha! (Did I mention … hahaha!)

Back in reality-land, though — my flight is booked for next Tuesday! Hip hip hooray!! My IM is booked for her egg retrieval tomorrow, and I start my progesterone. I’m hopeful.

Transfer is booked for Wednesday, April 1st. And if I don’t post before then, please send any and all positive thoughts you can spare that we get some good quality eggs, and “sticky thoughts” for the embryo(s) to stick!

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Transfer & the Two Week Wait

And so it begins. The two week wait (insert appropriate mood music here).

The transfer went well, as much as that ever tells anyone about the outcome. We transferred one 5-day embryo, it thawed out nicely apparently, so that’s always a good thing. I can’t imagine being hormoned up, prepped and waiting … and then to hear that the embryo didn’t survive the thaw.

Intended Father (IF) remained in the waiting room, and Intended Mother (IM) and I went to get gowned, capped, paper-shoed, and the like. Then we waited. And waited. For an hour longer than anticipated. It was one of those moments in life where it stretches out to an eternity – and you don’t know if you are actually waiting longer than you anticipated, or if the feeling is being created and moulded by the circumstances. If the nerves stretched taut, tears welling close to the surface, sheer emotion of the moment is distorting time.

IM and I spoke, in our little curtained room. About family, food (we both love to cook), learning English, about nothing too serious … just the general feeling out of new acquaintances. She speaks English well, better than she thinks. But gets frustrated at herself when she can’t come up with the word she wants.

We kept it pretty light, no “what ifs”, no planning of how the next visit will be. If this transfer takes, they will come to my hometown for the 20 week ultrasound. If not, I don’t know if they will make it for the next transfer.

When they moved us to the transfer room, she was overcome with emotion and said “no serious talk!!” The first thing I thought to ask was “What is your favourite colour?”, and so we discussed all the things that were blue in her house. And then in mine.

The transfer itself is over and done with in about 10 minutes. We held hands, held breath.

And now, we wait. IM doesn’t want any home pregnancy tests done before the two week blood test. IF says if I decide to do one, I could email him the results, and he promises not to tell her. And I, well I waffle between the two stances. Time will tell.

Don’t Travel with a Bullet in Your Purse.

I finished out my time in Ontario – not too much else noteworthy, except either they have traffic issues, or I am bad juju for their streets! Every time we went to go somewhere, it seemed that all hell broke loose the moment my butt settled in the car. It was much like that period in my life that every time I spoke on the phone with someone on a computer, their system would freeze up. But that’s a story for another day!

I did get a chance to see a very dear friend who lives out that way, so that was a total highlight to my trip!

On Wednesday, the IP’s and I said our goodbyes and off I went, with all their hopes nestled in my … well, my uterus.

One thing I hadn’t thought through, or maybe just couldn’t have seen from outside the process, was what it felt like to have all of someone’s hopes pinned on you. In reality, there’s very little you can or can’t do to make a transfer a success. But I still felt like I was responsible in a way. And it was weighing on me more than I had anticipated.

But moving on to the trip home. I don’t want to throw my hometown’s airport security under the bus… but I passed through security there without a second glance from anyone. Bigger cities were obviously more tuned in to my criminal potential!

Naturally, they send me off to the “super security” lineup in the Toronto airport. Where they do the extra thorough checks or something? I’m not entirely sure what the implication is, however everyone in front of me is taking of their shoes, first of all. So I ask the guy in front of me “Do we have to take off our shoes?” my mind going to the dubious fashion choice of tall, pink, cupcake festooned socks that I was wearing under my boots. “No”, he replies “but if they set off the scanner, that’s the only chance you get.” Looks down at my feet “You’re wearing boots.” Me “Yes…?” Him “Well I wouldn’t risk it …”. And so off came the boots.

I tend to be a people watcher, so I saw the quick glance between the two security guys. It’s not the look you want to see, and I knew something was up. And then my purse got sucked back into the scanner, and I got that same feeling I get whenever I see a police car while driving. That sinking, clutching feeling in the pit of my stomach. The same one that makes me slow down while driving, even when I am already driving the speed limit (which, if you’re reading this Dad, I totally always am…).

So I’m standing there, on my own, in a strange airport… wracking my brain to figure out what I could have in my purse that was causing these people concern. I heard one of them say “There’s only one…” and still, I was drawing a blank.

The second security officer brings my purse to the end and says “I’m sorry ma’am, but I have to search your purse”. At least he was polite, and apologized numerous times for making a mess of my stuff … there’s something to be said for them not choosing to be rude about it.

He was pulling things out, one by one, into a bin … making me shamefully aware of the sheer amount of crap I haul around on a daily basis. I mean, how much Chapstick do I plan to use in a day? Hair barrettes for my daughter, gum, small toys, receipts, medication, and on and on it went.

And then, the look. He had found what he was looking for. He slowly pulled it out, held it up … and there it was. A bullet. Comprehension dawned in me. He levelled his gaze at me “Is there a reason you are carrying this?”

And I blurted “Because I’m a Mom!” He looked confused.

“I have three kids!!” He didn’t look enlightened.

“Okay, let me explain!!” He gave me a look, one that said “Yes… that would be good.”

“So, I have three kids! And we were out somewhere a couple months ago (I don’t even remember where), and my oldest came up to me with that (point to bullet) in his hand. He had found it lying on the ground and brought it to me. I thanked him and looked around for a garbage can, but didn’t see one, so I threw it into my purse and (it fell to the bottom of the abyss where I promptly) forgot about it!” and in case he doubted my sincerity “I’m really sorry! Please just throw it away! I don’t need it!!”

But of course, there is protocol to be followed in such situations. One of them went off to consult with a manager, while the one that had torn my purse apart actually offered to put it back together. He was explaining to me that he had seen a similar situation previously … which (I gather) hadn’t ended well … but that they took the person into account. All of this was said very soothingly, which I took to mean “It’s OK! You are by all appearances a suburban housewife/ soccer Mom– it’ll be alright.”

And so it was. With an attempt at a stern lecture about cleaning out my purse prior to travelling (I swear he was trying not to laugh), I was sent on my way. Sans bullet, natch.

I figured that I had hit my fill of airport shenanigans for the trip, but of course there was my layover in Calgary to consider.

High point of the layover was that my brother and sister-in-law came to the airport to see me, and brought my darlings to see me — aka my nephew and niece! We got to squeeze in a quick visit, a bite to eat, and hugs! Happy me.

Then back through security, where I was randomly selected for a full body scan! Yay!! They ask you to choose between the scanner thingy you step into, and a pat down. Now, not being much of a traveller these days, I have no idea what the pros and cons are to each of these choices! (Please feel free to clue me in). But as I was unwilling to take off my sweater, I got the pat down.

The upside to all of this – aside from not actually being criminally inclined, and therefore giving them no real reason to detain me – was that it sure cut down on all my waiting time! By the time I was through security in both cities, I was able to walk right into the check in lines.

And the last hour and a bit home from Calgary was totally uneventful.

Now Hurry Up!

After waiting around for so long, all of a sudden the process went into hyper-speed. We pulled the contract together in a matter of days. The clinic put me on birth control to manage my cycle, so we could transfer the day we wanted to.

Once they stopped the birth control pills, they started me on Estrace- an estrogen pill. I should take this time to explain just how well I don’t fare on these types of medications! I gave up birth control pills years ago, due to just how charming my personality became while on them. So the one-two punch of birth control pills and estrogen pills had my whole household in duck-and-cover mode!

One day I said to my husband “What is your problem?! Why won’t you talk to me??” And he very gently said “I’m just trying to give you space. You’re a little … volatile these days”. Oh, right … whoops!! (Insert sheepish grin). The other noticeable side effect for me was actually being warm. I tend to be cold most of the time, and suddenly I was like my own personal heater.

Once you’ve been on estrogen for 10 days, they send you to the clinic for a uterine lining check. If it’s within certain parameters, then you are good to ahead with the transfer. If it hasn’t achieved a certain thickness yet, then they keep checking you every few days until you’re ready. I went in on the 10th day, and my lining was 12mm, which the doctor was very happy about. According to him, my uterus is a superstar … just sayin.

This was done on a Thursday morning. By Thursday afternoon, I had two more medications to take and a plane ticket booked for that Saturday to Ontario for the transfer, which would take place on Monday.

They started me on an antibiotic and progesterone. I managed to avoid the progesterone injections, for which my already psoriasis ravaged skin was very grateful.

So, I was all drugged up, with a “fluffy” lining, ready to get this show on the road.

Limbo-Land

I know it’s only been slightly over a week since the BFN. I know patience is a virtue. It just doesn’t happen to be a virtue I possess / practice.

The voice of reason in my head tells me that this isn’t about what I want, and I’m not the one who just suffered a huge disappointment. That this process needs to be more about them and their needs, and I need to just let things unfold.

Having said that, as much as I try to listen to that voice of reason- equally loud are the voices telling me: You’ve been waiting around for 10 months. You’re 36, sliding into 37. You’ve been symptomatic with your arthritis and psoriasis for all this time you’ve been waiting, because you can’t be on meds, but nothing else seems to be working. I just want to know where I stand, already!!

Awfully selfish and whiny, those voices.

I’ll happily wait a while longer if I know we are going to proceed with another transfer. And even if we aren’t – this is still something I want to do, and if my current IP’s choose to end their journey here- I will find another couple and carry on.

Really, either way- I’ll still be waiting. Waiting for the next transfer (and the procurement of new eggs, as we used the last of the embryos), waiting to match again and go through all the testing.

I suppose I just want to know what it is I’m waiting for … and where I stand in the process. I never realized just how much waiting around this process entailed!

One thing I’ve learned is that the Universe has no intention of following the timelines I lay out in my head. And that is as true in this situation as any other. I just need to keep reminding myself of that!

Can you keep a secret?

Shhh … don’t tell anyone.  I can trust you, right?  Okay, here it goes…

I’m a little scared of labour.  And a little nauseous when I think about it.  And maybe just a little touch more scared on top of that.

It’s so silly!  I’ve done it three times!!  It never even occurred to me when I signed on for this whole deal.  It seemed manageable, doable.  Not a big deal.

And then, it happened.  The big mistake!  Someone posted a video of a home birth, and commented that it was so peaceful and wonderful, etc etc.  And do you know what I did?  I clicked on it.

I mean, what in the blue blazes was I thinking?!  

And there it was, in full colour.  This lovely young woman, mid contraction.  The swaying, the breathing, all of it … it brought back the memory of what labour actually feels like.  Apparently, I had tucked that little memory far into one of those dusty corners of my mind.

Now, I keep … remembering.  I didn’t like labour.  It sucked!  It sucked big time.  The first (and only, I think) time I ever swore at my Dad was mid-labour with my first child when he made a joke about men having the easy part in the whole process.  I dropped an F-bomb.  To my Dad!  

I didn’t think I was going to make it through the second labour.  I remember wanting to just give up.  I’m pretty sure at the time, dying seemed preferable.  And the third labour?  Well, I actually had the gas mask with her, and clung to it like a life raft in the ocean.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I am still fully committed.  But now I remember how much this is going to suck, and that in itself – well, it sucks. 

From the relative safety of the computer screen, I will admit that my labours were 4 hours & 45 minutes, 3 hours & 15 minutes, and 5 & a half hours long (stubborn girl!).  Before you roll your eyes and call me a wimp, in my defense – I went from zero to contractions 2 – 3 minutes apart that never let up.  So while I never suffered for 17 or 24 hours, I also didn’t have 20 minutes between contractions.  Also, I didn’t have time for any kind of pain relief with the first two, and kept it pretty minimal with the third.  I’m hoping that I get a little credit for those two things.

Now, once again, I am on the hunt for my BGPs (Big Girl Panties) to put on.  And as ever, remembering to be grateful that even though labour sucks, I have been so blessed to be able to do it.  Fingers crossed that luck holds out and I can do it again.  Please pass the gas mask!

Sonohysterogram

It is a good thing this is written and not oral.  I can type “sonohysterogram” with no problems, but still can’t seem to say it!  It’s an internal ultrasound where they fill your uterus with saline solution to check things out.  

Have I mentioned the staff at my local fertility clinic, who are doing my testing and satellite monitoring?  They are just hands-down wonderful.  I’ve sometimes found that specialists do not have the best — or any — bedside manner, but this is not true of this doctor!  He is wonderful, as are the nurses.

The actual procedure was probably around 10 minutes long.  It wasn’t nearly as unpleasant as the description makes it out to be – they warn you about discomfort and cramping, etc., but I didn’t have any issue with any of those.  It’s just another “woman’s appointment” where you stare at the ceiling tiles and try to just breathe, or if you are lucky, you have a nice nurse who asks you questions and distracts you!

The conclusion was my favorite, when this lovely doctor (older man, English accent, soft voice – just so you can get the idea!) says to me:  “You have a beautiful uterus!  A Rolls Royce!  A Silver Shadow!”  Which is apparently a kind of Rolls Royce 🙂

Although I wasn’t really worried that there would be anything wrong, in light of how easy it was to have my own babies, I still had that niggling fear at the back of my head.  What if things in there had changed in the last 4 years?  How could we get this far along in the process, and have to call it all to a halt?  It’s a big weight, knowing their hopes rest on my shoulders uterus.  But it is one that I want to be equal to!  I’m so excited to make this happen for them.

My IM was asking me what I was eating (out of curiosity, not in a micro-managing fashion) the other day, and I was going through what my typical day looks like these days.  She said “If this doesn’t happen, it won’t be for lack of trying”.  Exactly.  

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