Forcing My Hand

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On Tuesday my boss called me from one of our other offices and asked if I would be ok to go on a business trip in late May. She caught me off guard, and I said yes, even though I knew I should be saying no. It’s not that it would be a problem travelling because I was pregnant but I know the company wouldn’t spend the money to send me if they knew I was going to be going on mat. leave. Plus the trip would entail a cruise and cruise lines do not accept passengers after their 24th week of pregnancy. If all goes well, at the time of the trip I will be 26 weeks.

I talked to J about it Tuesday night, and told him I thought I might have to tell my boss what was going on, because otherwise I didn’t really have a good way out of the trip. I could have made something up, but in the end my boss would find out that it was really because I was pregnant and I didn’t really want to have to lie, even for good reason. He agreed that I should just go ahead and tell her, so, I resolved to speak to her Wednesday morning.

Of course she was on a conference call when I got into work yesterday so I couldn’t sneak into her office first thing before all of my coworkers were milling around. I caught her after the call, but just before she was about to go into another one (and she had one more after that). I closed the door to her office (which is in plain view of the rest of the staff) but she has a window looking into her office from the main work area so coworkers could see I was in there if they walked past.

I didn’t love that I was feeling rushed as my bosses next meeting was in 5 minutes. I sat down and told her that she caught me a bit off guard with the work trip she was suggesting and that I actually wouldn’t be able to go. She just said, “Oh, ok.” and didn’t seem like she was going to question it but I wasn’t just going to tell her I wasn’t going and not tell her why. I told her that she was inadvertently forcing my hand a bit, but that I was pregnant and that’s why I couldn’t go. I was really nervous so I don’t remember her exact reaction but I think it was something like “Oh!”. I kind of started blathering on that I hadn’t wanted to tell yet, but the situation kind of put me in a tricky situation. She gave me a hug, and asked how far along I was. I told her I was 9 weeks and somewhere in there I managed to tell her that it was a long time coming, that we had tried for 2 1/2 years and finally had to do IVF.

I don’t know that it fit into the conversation, I kind of just blurted it out. She then responded with, “Oh so there could be more than one in there!”. I told her that we knew it was just one, as we had only transferred one embryo and that we had already had an ultrasound to confirm just one heartbeat. I told her we had done IVF back in July, but hadn’t transferred until December. It then clicked for her some of the time I had taken off around my egg retrieval for a “medical procedure”. I told her I was still really nervous and wasn’t planning on telling anyone else for a little while yet and she said that was fine, and that I could tell whenever I was ready. We chatted briefly about how I was feeling, and she told me a woman from one of our other offices had done IVF and though she had a miscarriage she did end up getting her baby (mind you she was in her 40’s). I appreciated that she knew someone else who had done IVF, and I know her story was to make me feel at ease.

I never thought I’d be telling someone outside of my family so early (besides my best friend), let alone my boss but life gets in the way of plans sometimes.


In a totally different direction, my best friend came over last week to visit, and see me for the first time since I told her we were pregnant. I’m happy she’s here for me, but there still feels like a distinct difference in our relationship. Infertility has definitely driven a wedge between us, particularly because while I was trying to get pregnant she was successfully procreating. I don’t think she’s ever really “got” what I’ve gone through (of course she doesn’t because she hasn’t been through it). And now, though I know she is truly happy for me, I feel like in a small way she is happy for herself as well. It seems to me that now that I am pregnant, she expects everything I went through to fall away, and that we can finally be in the mom club together. I think she wants her friend back, and for things to be how they were before infertility turned my world upside down, but I just don’t think that’s going to happen. It’s unfortunate, but people change and grow in times of grief and suffering. Though I’m no longer currently living in infertility, it still follows me like a shadow.

So far, both my boss and my best friend have sort of dismissed my fears and worry of something going wrong by telling me that everyone is paranoid during pregnancy. I get that, clearly it’s not just pregnant infertiles that worry, but what they don’t seem to get is the amplification of my worry due to the back story of how I got here. I’m hardwired to think something, anything and everything is going to go wrong. I don’t know how to handle a successful pregnancy, I’m only familiar with handling failed fertility treatments. I’m sure this will be a recurring theme throughout pregnancy, and it’s going to be tiresome. But when I told my boss that we did IVF it felt good. And I hope to keep doing it, because I am one of millions representing the face of infertility.

Reappearing Through the Fog

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First off let me apologize for becoming one of those bloggers who gets pregnant and disappears off the face of the earth, so not my intent. Quite the opposite in fact, I have so much on my mind I’ve been waiting for a good time to get it all out, instead of just posting a rushed update (which in hindsight, I probably should have thrown something out there for those who remembered my first ultrasound was this past Friday). We finished our vacation in Hawaii and flew home last Tuesday, J had caught a cold early on in the trip but I managed not to catch it from him…until about 4 days before we came home. So by the time we did fly home, I was a snotty, congested mess. I called off sick for what would have been my first two days back at work, but by Friday I knew I would have to get up for my ultrasound appointment and just suck it up and go to work after.

The morning of our ultrasound, I still wasn’t feeling great but the extreme pressure in my ears had finally popped. I got in the shower but started to feel a bit off, turns out Poppet (this is our baby’s nickname, I’ll explain later) decided the day of the ultrasound was as good as any for me to start experiencing morning sickness. I was trying to drink water to fill my bladder for the ultrasound, but couldn’t keep it down, so I desperately drank piping hot mint tea on the way to the appointment in hopes of quelling my nausea and that my tiny bladder would fill quickly.

The waiting room was empty, (as opposed to the first time I was there, making the appointment, when it was full of pregnant women) on account of our very early appointment. We didn’t wait long and we were called back by the ultrasound tech. She had me hop up on the table, and there was a seat for J behind me. She asked me my LMP, and I told her I thought it was Nov. 27, but that it didn’t really matter because I am an IVF pregnancy (which she then noted on my info up on the screen). So she asked my due date instead, which my clinic gave me as Sept. 2. She got down to business straight away and squeezed the jelly onto my stomach. It felt strange to have an abdominal ultrasound, rather than vaginal. The only other time I’ve had an external (as opposed to internal) ultrasound was when they did my embryo transfer so it was an interesting deja vu.

As soon as she placed the ultrasound tool on my stomach she noted that my bladder was not full at all. I apologized and told her I’d been sick that morning and had a hard time drinking the recommended amount of water. She told me she would have to do a vaginal ultrasound, and asked me if I was familiar with them. I had to laugh, and told her I was extremely familiar, which she noted, of course I would be. She left the room to get the “probe” and let me get into a state of undress. When she came back in, she prepped the wand and then handed it to me under the sheet and asked me to insert it…This was very odd and I even gave her a startled, “Me?”. She told me, I would know best what was comfortable better than her. Well ok, fair enough. She was also very tactful and kept the sheet covering me the entire time. A lot different from my experiences with probings of an infertility nature.

As she moved the wand around, I could immediately see my uterus (a fair bit bigger than before!) and in it a little blob, and before she could even point it out, I could see a little flashing in the centre of the blob. There was the heartbeat I’d been desperate for. After wanding around a little bit longer, she focused on the heartbeat for a moment, pointed it out, and for a few short seconds a sound filled the room. The most amazing thing I had ever heard, our baby’s heartbeat, strong and fast at 163 BPM. The tears flowed freely and slid into my hairline, since I was laying on my back.

After taking several pictures, and measurements, pointing out the head and the rump (which was all sort of indistinguishable as it was curled up into a tiny ball) the tech left the room to let me redressed. When she came back she put some pictures on our USB (that we were told to bring) and printed us a single photo. J and I hugged, and kissed, basking in the surreal-ness of the whole experience. There was actually something in there, something with a heartbeat.

The whole time since our positive and rising betas, and especially since my episode of bleeding in Hawaii, I’ve had a hard time really believing or wrapping my head around the fact that there truly was a living thing in my uterus. None of it was tangible enough for me, I need visual proof to allow me to believe. Plus I was terrified of something going wrong, and finding out at the ultrasound like, feeling like some sort of fool for believing things were actually progressing how they should. I’d been behaving like a pregnant person, but I still felt like a fraud until that little flashing blip came into view on the screen.

Since then, I’ve had one person ask me if I was planning on having kids (an acquaintances mother, whom I hadn’t seen in a while), and I gave the same answer I always do, “eventually”. I had to cancel the appointment I had to get my wisdom teeth removed. I made it knowing full well (and hoping) that I may be pregnant, but I didn’t want to put off making the appointment just in case I jinxed myself by counting on getting pregnant. When I called they asked if I’d like to reschedule, which I declined, and told the receptionist that I was pregnant so wouldn’t be able to reschedule for a while. A girl I went to high school with had a baby recently (unplanned pregnancy with someone she ended the relationship with before she even knew she was pregnant), and it still rubbed me the wrong way. I see pregnancy announcements on Facebook, and pregnant people in real life and I still cringe. It’s a built-in reflex that will probably take a while to fade out.

As terrible as it may sound, I waited to start filling out my pregnancy journal until the day we had our ultrasound. I didn’t want to have that ripped from my hands before we had really any gotten anywhere concrete. I am still cautious about what’s around every corner, but the ultrasound did good things to my scarred soul.

The symptoms that I so desperately wished for while in Hawaii, still wondering about the contents of my uterus have made themselves known. I’ve had a few episodes of vomiting, and I don’t feel the greatest in the morning. I am tired a lot, and breast tenderness shows up with a vengeance around bed time. I have a few food aversions, but mostly I just crave fresh things, lots of fruits, and vegetables. Apples are my favourite. My cravings lend to a healthy diet, though sometimes at lunch when I don’t know what I want I come back to work with a random bag of groceries because I just couldn’t decide. My forehead is as angry as ever, flaring up in full on acne, the one consistent since about a week after the transfer. But I am happy, elated, scared and hesitant. One step at a time, and 8 weeks tomorrow. Thank you all for the love and support. I’m here, I’m back, and I’m not planning on disappearing anytime soon.

Sand Shifting Underfoot

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So much changes, seemingly rather quickly, over the course of time and treatment with infertility. At first it was just “taking a little longer” for us when we were trying naturally. Then we were onto IUIs and then ultimately IVF with ICSI. As we moved through the paths of treatment I formed different bonds with different people and felt connected with a certain tribe along each step. Obviously the overarching connection is infertility in general, but there were the sub categories too, of what stage of treatment I was in at the time.

Through this blog I’ve connected with some awesome women, one of which lives in my same city and became my IVF buddy, if you will. Her and I ended up going through IVF near simultaneously, with me doing the stimming and retrieval before her, and her doing the FET before me (though my FET protocol differed slightly). It was so nice having someone who not only understood what I was going through, on a general level but literally went to the same clinic at the same time as me. It was great, we closed down many a coffee shop chatting about infertility, and life.

Unfortunately our IVF cycles had pretty drastic differences in their success and her FET did not work, so when mine did I know it was a punch to the gut (for her, and for me because I wanted this for her as much as I wanted it for me). I emailed to let her know my transfer had worked, and how shitty it was that we were now seemingly on opposite sides of the fence. IVF may not be the solution for her, so it’s not just a matter of trying again. It was a bit like Sliding Doors, my cycle went one way, and took me down a path, and hers went the other, leading her on a different journey.

In response to my email, confirming my positive beta, I received a heartbreaking response from a woman clearly in the throes of agony. In light of the different directions we have ended up in, it seems our friendship may be discontinued for her own self preservation. And it sucks, but I get it. I don’t know how I would have handled it had the situation been the other way around. I have always been happy for other IF ladies when they finally succeed, but previous to my own positive beta, admittedly, I would unfollow a lot of people. It was too hard to see their happiness and read their updates without my green eyed monster making snarky comments in my ear.

So I’m heartbroken for my friend, and really sad that I won’t be able to walk beside her and help her through what is most likely going to be a continuation of a difficult journey, possibly about to get worse. I’ll send her all my love from a distance, and hope that there is something great on the horizon for her.

And just in the way that every turn around a corner in infertility holds so much unknown, so too does pregnancy hold those dark forbidding areas, lurking just out of sight. On Tuesday morning we were packing up at our hotel in Oahu, getting ready to head to Maui. I was in the shower when I saw red going down the drain. It startled me but upon further investigation it seemed to be just a little spurt. Concerning, but didn’t seem to be continuing. After I turned off the shower and started to dry myself I notice my red on the pristine white hotel towel (sorry to the Hyatt). I wiped and there was more blood, a lot more. I came out of the bathroom and said to J, “Don’t freak out, but I’m bleeding”.

I think I was trying to get myself not to freak out more than anything. I remained eerily calm, yet shaky as I kept checking, and more blood kept coming. I asked J to go down to the store in the lobby of our hotel and buy my some tampons (I know, in hindsight, bad choice but I wasn’t thinking). I called my clinic because I didn’t know what else to do, and left them a message to please call me back. When J came back upstairs and gave me the tampons, he hugged me and I burst into tears. I was convinced I was having a miscarriage and for all of the ambivalence I have tried to force on myself in regards to our little embryo, it clearly hadn’t worked.

We went to the airport and caught our flight over to Maui. Not long after leaving the airport in our rental car, I received a call from my clinic. I told the nurse I was bleeding, and that I was in Hawaii. She told me there wasn’t really much they could do (obviously, but who else was I going to call??). She asked how much bleeding there was and I told her more than spotting, and bright red. I hadn’t had a chance to go to the bathroom since we left Oahu so I hadn’t checked the status of the blood so I didn’t have many answers for her in that regard. She told me to take it easy and if I soaked through a pad in a couple of hours to seek medical attention.

By the time we got checked into our hotel here in Maui, I went to the bathroom to see what was happening. Some more red blood, but had turned to brown at some point. There was more red than brown but it wasn’t super heavy flow, and seemed to be tapering off. J had googled bleeding in early pregnancy and tried to ease my mind showing me how common it could be, and especially with IVF-ers but in my heart I just felt it was bad. Over the course of the next few days I mostly just had a brown discharge along with the progesterone suppositories. It has pretty much gone back to normal now, just the white of the suppositories.

I have zero symptoms at the moment, there are a few things that could potentially be attributed to pregnancy, but overall I feel no different, and rather un-pregnant. I have this awful feeling that there is nothing going on in my uterus and that the progesterone is just holding off the inevitable. I have a mentality to expect the worst and hope for the best. I think infertility has taught me that, because with so much going wrong, I’d rather just believe something isn’t going to happen, or work, than get my hopes up and be crushed every time. To be fair it’s all rather crushing but when I get used to the idea in advance it’s an easier pill to swallow.

But at this point there’s no way to know if there is a little pea sized thing growing, growing, growing until we can physically see it. So for now it is pretty hard to believe it is there. I just have to hold on until Friday… We’re almost there, but the wait is excruciating.

#Microblog Mondays: Vacation/Distraction

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Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

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I didn’t want to miss out on Microblog Mondays despite the fact that I’m on holidays. I have some interesting thoughts rolling around but I’ll save them for a post when I have more time to sit and write. For now I am trying not to worry about the fact that I have zero pregnancy symptoms, and allowing my surroundings to distract me from counting the days until my first scan. I hope the first Monday of the year was a kind one to everyone. Here’s how we spent our day;

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Ushering in a New Year and a New Era

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New Years is never really a big deal to me, I find there is too much lead up, anticipation and time spent on trying to find the perfect thing to be doing. I also don’t do resolutions because I probably wouldn’t follow them and, I’d rather just make a change when I’m good and ready. But this time it seemed a bit more significant; this could be the year we bring a child into the world.

The past couple weeks have been crazy, with busyness at Christmas, being out of town with J’s family (and avoiding drinking, which I did, hopefully unnoticed). I managed to get a bunch of prenatal bloodwork done, as well as another beta. I had a bit of a scare when the walk in clinic called and told me the Dr wanted to discuss my results with me. They won’t give the results over the phone so it was very cryptic and ominous. They called at 8:45pm and as soon as I hung up the phone I got in my car and headed over there.

Being that it’s a walk in clinic, I saw a different Dr this time, so when he came into the exam room he asked what he could do for me. I gave him a brief explanation of my situation and that I had just done a bunch of bloodwork for early pregnancy. He looked over my results, ticked everything off, said it all looks normal and that I am indeed pregnant. He also gave me my beta, it was over 2000 and my fertility clinic told me it should have been over 1000 by that point so that was a relief. My best guess is that the walk in clinic didn’t realize I had already done a blood test for pregnancy and that’s why I got called back in. But I was glad to go, and find out my beta. It gave me some reassurance.

When I first got the positive test, and then beta confirmation I was elated, walking with my head in the clouds. I was trying to not get overly excited, and know that it is still early days. But I couldn’t help but let my mind skip forward. After letting things sink in for a while the excitement is definitely still there but it is more guarded and cautious. We’re not telling family until around the 12 week mark (as pretty much none of them know we went through IVF anyways). I did break down and buy a pregnancy journal. I’ve had my eye on it for ages. It has a page for the circumstances in which conception happened, and it has boxes for IF treatments. Won me over right away. I haven’t written anything in it yet. Probably won’t until our first ultrasound. Which speaking of that, we have a 7 week ultrasound booked for Jan. 16, and it can’t come soon enough.

It’s such a tricky place, this after IF limbo. Will I have a baby to show for at the end of this or will I get kicked back too soon, thrown back into the land of IF? I’m certainly not just a regular pregnant lady now. We went to a hockey game this past weekend with one of J’s longtime friends, and his friend’s wife. J failed to inform me that his friend’s wife was pregnant until a few days beforehand (and this outing had been in the works for at least a month). I was taken aback and at first thought didn’t want to go anymore. Then I remembered I’m pregnant too, not that we would be sharing that information with them. She is showing quite a bit already and due in April. Luckily she was very gracious and our visit did not revolve around her burgeoning belly. She was telling us how when her and her husband went to NYC when she was newly pregnant it was the worst. She felt so crappy and she cautioned us not to go on vacation during the early days of pregnancy as it was just awful. Yet here we are, sitting in an airport lounge, waiting for our connecting flight to Hawaii.

This trip was planned well in advance of our FET and though we hoped we may be pregnant by the time it rolled around, that was often the thought with many of our past trips. So we booked it, and decided we would just roll with it no matter the position we found ourselves in. Physically, I feel fine. No sickness (yet), a bit tired, my face has broken out terribly (I have problem skin to start with) and I had to manage my progesterone suppositories in an airplane bathroom. My mind is still reeling, and I hesitate from getting too far ahead of myself. I am grateful and elated, apprehensive and worried but mostly I am just trying to take it a day at a time.

I think of all you ladies still stuck in the land of IF and it sucks. I am so thankful for all of the love and support I’ve received. I hurt for you, and I wish nothing but the best for everyone this year, no matter what your circumstance. Wishing you all peace and strength to get through, the trials as well as the clarity and wisdom to know what’s best, for you and your situation.

Happy 2015.