Sunday, 31 March 2013

Not flesh of my flesh

Not flesh of my flesh
Not Bone of my bone
but still, miraculously, my own.
Never forget,
for even a minute
You didn't grow under my heart, but in it.
I love this poem.  It is the adoption creed.  It is beautiful.  I captures everything i feel about the special little boys and girls in my life: my nieces and nephews, the children of my friends, and cousins.  And yet, i know that I will love my own child even more than i love each one of these special children i have had the honour of watching grow up.
I need to say that we have not ruled out adoption.  In fact, in many ways, adoption appeals to me much more than the idea of pumping my body with hormones and having the conception of my child occur in a sterile dish in a lab.  I say this as a reformed scientist.  It isn't a fear of technology in any way.  But it is an awareness of the very clinical and impersonal start of a miraculous journey.  The idea that my husband and i could be at work while our gametes are being mixed is... depressing.  Baby making is supposed to be so much more fun.
Plus, there's the astronomical cost.  Paying someone to shove something up my hoo-ha which cost $5000 to $12,000 to produce and then having to wait two weeks to find out if it stuck or not is more pressure than i think i can stand.  And the likelihood of success is 1 in 3.  I mean I wish the actual lottery had such good odds, but for baby making i wish it were better. 
Adoption actual has a lot of pluses as far as I am concerned.  First of all, we're a bit older than most parents of an infant.  Imagine if we adopt a 2 or 3 or 7 year old.  I feel like we might actually  comfortably into the PTA for our children's classes.
Second, I think that my husband and I are uniquely equipped to deal with a child who needs extra love and assurance that comes from being adopted.  I don't know much about it,  I am willing to learn. My husband has gone through growing up without a parent as his mom moved away when he was three.  He was left with a lot of scars that we worked to heal.
My husband is not quite as convinced as I am.  He has this manly idea of passing his genes on to the next generation.  I love to quip when he says this that his genes aren't that good.  "They are! My jeans are Tommy Hilfiger"... sigh... 
My husband does have a lot of reservations.  What can we handle? What about special needs?  What age?  What sort of psychological scars will an adopted child bring?  We've had some very serious discussions.  He agrees with me that giving birth to a child is certainly no guarantee that our child won't have special needs of one sort or another.  And going over the list there are many special needs we are well equipped to deal with.  It makes him feel more confident about his ability to love this imaginary adoptive child.  He even flushed one day as we drove by a Toys-R-Us.  "I just imagined buying our child toys after we've adopted him" he confides. I grin with pleasure.  He is becoming more comfortable with all of the ways we can use to expand our family.
So, the question then is why we are rushing head long into IVF instead of starting to adopt?  In part because we don't yet qualify as adoptive parents.  In order to ensure that a child is brought into a stable home it looks like in our jurisdiction we must have been in a stable relationship for 2 years before we can apply.  My interpretation of this would be two years of living together, a date that is still more than a year away.
But there is certainly something else, something more that you get by going through the experience of pregnancy and childbirth.  

Adoption is not the last chance after we have exhausted IVF...  But we don't want to wait for another year before we try something else.  We have to strike while the ovarian reserve is hot!

Hope everyone has a happy Easter with their families.

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Dear BBT, WTF?

BBT:36.79 yesterdays BBT: 36.54 Thursdays BBT 36.71
So, I had a low BBT for two days following my expected ovulation, and so i mourned slightly the lost chance for getting pregnant, my bank account mourned a LOT and my bank rejoiced knowing they were going to be able to post record breaking profits as we pay a team of doctors to stare at my cervix.

Now, it seems my BBT likes to play mind games with me.  For the last 3 days my temperature has been up.  Why??  What does my body gain from torturing me.

Now of course things like alcohol can raise my BBT.... and I may have had a glass of wine last night... but just one!  But that doesn't account for the torture of the last three days.

Has anyone else ever experienced this?  Can it be a delay in ovulation?  If so I'm not sure we timed the baby dance right.  So did we waste our last precious month??!!

Friday, 29 March 2013

Why some two week waits are shorter than others

Years ago I was moving back to Canada from the United States and I contracted a storage facility over the phone to rent a 5 x 10 storage locker.  On moving day I pulled my U-haul truck up to the front door with all of my possessions inside and i started unloading.  I took one look at the storage room and I knew there was a problem.  There was no way this space was a 5 x 10.  My stuff wasn't going to fit.  We paced it out and the room ended up being a 4 x 8.  "Listen lady", the manager told me "Some 5 x 10's are bigger than others".  I refrained from asking him if he was using his penis as the measuring device.... but just barely.
This is when I first learned that standard measurements are not always that standard.  My period has also learned this lesson.
When I first went to see my doctor about going to a fertility clinic she asked me if we were "trying" for a baby.  I told her yes, we weren't using birth control.  That is the day that I learned that trying was something completely different.  And we introduced things like the basal body temperature (BBT) and the ovulation prediction kits (OPK) into our marriage and instructions from my doctor that it should be "military style"... which isn't a new position, it was her code for timed, on demand sex.  She suggested this for 3 months.... if nothing stuck she would refer me to the fertility clinic.
I've since told my doctor that I've had worse prescriptions.  And we try to make sure it is fun and flirty and not any of the "just shut up, i don't even want to talk to you right now, but we need to have sex because it's ovulation time" sort of sex that I've heard of from other people I know.
Military style though has made one thing very clear to me.  My two week wait is shorter than others.  It seems to go from 9 - 10 days.  Which is on the very cusp of having a luteal phase defect according the The Google.  See the Luteal Phase is the time in your cycle where you have progesterone coursing through your body and it allows the fertilized egg to implant in your lining.  It is normally 10 - 14 days, though most common is 14 days.  Anything shorter than 10 days is considered to be a defect which can prevent the implantation of the egg.  This was a bit of a revelation for me, and something I never would have found out without all of the joys of sticking a thermometer in my mouth before kissing my husband in the mornings.
The Google of course had suggestions.  Apparently "some people" report a lengthening of the luteal phase with vitamin B6.  I'm always somewhat suspicious of anything that says "some people", but since there doesn't seem to be any toxicity i can find associated with vitamin B6 I am trying it for the first time on this cycle.  We will see if it makes a difference. 
I am of course hoping that this apparent Luteal phase defect is the cause of our infertility.  The cure seems to be straight forward... throw a little progesterone on and you can fix anything.  Of course the testing required to make that diagnosis official is probably awful.  It seems to involve biopsies and needles stuck through places I don't want needles to go. 
I don't know how I feel about herbal medicines.  I am trained as a scientist.  I want to see results and studies done with proper controls... but I also can't help but think... "well, what if it is that
easy, just take a few vitamins..."

Especially since I don't think there is any chance of being pregnant this month. 

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Procreation versus Recreation

I told my husband over breakfast today that we never need to have sex again.  He made me explain myself.  I pointed out that any further actions my husband and I take in procreating will be facilitated by doctors and speculums and needles... oh my!  Therefore we didn't NEED to have sex ever again.

My husband looked at me with an arched brow "Really?" 

Well, of course not.  My husband knows me well enough to know better than that.  But as I point out, after nearly a year of focusing on the procreation from here on out we can just consider everything to be recreation.  

"It's good right?  You'll know that I'm not using you for sperm anymore... I'm just using you for sex." 

The idea of having a baby has definitely had an impact on how we view sex.  For a few days every month there isn't the option of if.  Or which position.  Or what time of day.  Everything has to be planned.  And there needs to be enough time afterwards for me to practice my hanging upside down yoga.  (I actually have no idea if there actually is any improvement in pregnancy rates for women who contort their bodies after sex.  But it sure decreases cuddling.)

Now, we can go back to the way things were before right?  I mean just because we don't have to be in the same place when we conceive our child... but we can sure make sure that we are together when we practice. 

We celebrated by being a bit late for work this morning.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

I guess the chicken comes first...

Basal Body Temperature:  36.27

In the old riddle "which comes first the chicken or the egg" you know if your BBT doesn't rise there is no egg.  Therefore, the chicken comes first.

I had harboured these secret unrealistic hopes and wishes that somehow we would squeak one in.  That I would go meet our reproductive endocrinologist and she would order blood work that would reveal their services were not necessary because we were already pregnant.  That will not happen.

So, in a bid for silver linings I am happy that we will not have a baby born too close to Christmas, because that always sucks.. plus we were sort of thinking of doing Christmas in Florida this year and waking up to sunshine instead of snow.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Did I or didn't I...

Temperature:  36.22 or 36.77
Last night was a late night.  Very late. 
I woke up this morning in time for work... took my temperature and fell asleep while doing it.  The beeping of the thermometer woke up me... it said 36.22.  But... was it actually in the right place, under my tongue, or was it off to the side as my tongue lolled out of my mouth.
Then... when I woke up again and the reading on the temperature was 36.77.  This is higher than normal for my BBT post ovulation.  But I don't know if i was asleep long enough after getting out of bed for it to be my BBT.  Actually it is higher than normal for my non-basal body temperature.  So, i am left in doubt.. .did i?  or didn't i?
I know that you can have an LH surge from the ovulation kits and not actually produce an egg.  So, I don't know yet if have a chance to get pregnant this month or not.  I will have to wait until tomorrow.  I don't want to wait until tomorrow.
UPDATE:  when I got home from work I noticed that you can get almost a 1 C temperature drop if you take your temperature with your mouth open. So I am keeping my fingers crossed for tomorrow.

Monday, 25 March 2013

The Big O...

Do you remember the time when if you got a text message asking if you'd O'd this morning it was from an insecure lover wondering if it was good for you?  Not anymore.  Now all of the O's have to do with Ovulation.  The biggest most important O in my life right now. 

I have learned a lot about ovulation through charting my temperature.  But although this seems like a really easy task it can become ridiculously complicated.  Your basal body temperature (BBT) is supposed to be taken as soon as you wake up.... errr... following at least 3 hours of uninterrupted sleep that is... which is where it becomes complicated for me.  I will often wake up during the night, and now as soon as I do I become obsessed with the fact that I have to take my temperature.  Since my thermometer is not lit (which is a really stupid for a digital thermometer that you are supposed to check before you are allowed to even get up and pee) this is something i have to manage in the semi-darkness and something i try to do without waking my husband.  So, if I wake up in the middle of the night then I will take the temperature, and try to read it in the bathroom.  If i just wake up because I am tossing and turning then i will try to take the temperature and try to see the numbers by the glow of my cell phone.

The problem is that this often leads to 2 or 3 different temperatures being taken in the course of the night.  So which one is right.  Normally I take the lowest temperature.  This is an especially important rule during the two week wait because that plummet of temperature the last 2 days before my period are the early wake up to the fact that I am not pregnant.  But today is (possibly) ovulation day.  My first temp was 36.12C, then I woke up sometime in the middle of the night with a temp of 36.25C and finally when I woke up this morning it was 36.42 C.  So... the question is... is my temperature up because I ovulated?  Or is it up because i wasn't asleep again between the second and the third time.  My "coverline"  the imaginary boundary that my temperature crosses when I ovulate is around 36.55.  Are we almost there?  is there an egg lose in my fallopian tube looking for a partner?

Cross your fingers, hold your breath... the two week wait has begun. 

Sunday, 24 March 2013


For some reason my netflix viewing has become corrupted by my constant thoughts about making babies, infertility and ivf.  So far this week I have watched Jennifer Lopez and her transvaginal wand appointment in "The Backup Plan", Heather Graham deliver a board presentation through her labour in "Baby on Board" (ok, technically this was an accidental pregnancy and that like... never happens, at least not for me) and Tina Fey and her hilarious T-shaped uterus in "Baby Mama".
I am not sure if these movies are making me feel better about the appointment or worse. But every single movie has a happy ending.  Jennifer Lopez gets impregnated on her very first IUI, and Amy Pohler ends up carrying her own baby and Tina Fey's T-shaped uterus somehow manages to support life. 
I also am not sure that it is the best source for my ivf advice - at least not where the statistics are concerned.
What's even worse is since I get these suggestions like "based on your viewing of violent TV (Dexter and Walking Dead) shows we recommend..." or based on your viewing of quirky TV (Bones and Early Edition) shows we recommend...."  Now I am getting messages that say "Based on your complete obsession with shows portraying IVF and pregnancy we recommend that you watch"... or words to that effect.
There are the documentaries "Babies", "Pregnant in America" and "The Business of being Born" which I might have to watch next.  Then again, that might be looking too far ahead.  I have a tendency to day dream about crossing the finish line and I don't even have my shoes on yet.
There's a made for TV movie on the Dionne Quintuplets... for any non-Canadians this is a family that had 5 babies in the 1930's.  A heartbreaking story of what being the world's first reality show family was really like.  
It does have suggestions for me that includes "The Babymakers", which i had never heard of but with a plot like "Distressed by his failure to impregnate his wife, a devoted married man hires an oddball group of thieves to steal his long-ago sperm bank donations" how could i lose?

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Ovulation Station

Ok, so that magical mystical day is here again.  I got a smiley face on my pee stick. My husband told me that until we started trying for a baby he had no idea there was a test that would determine if he was going to get lucky on a given day.  My temperature will go up on Tuesday, signaling the release of progesterone that accompanies the mystical egg.  It also signals our very last chance for a "natural" pregnancy.
I can't help it, I am sure that by the end of the two-week wait I will be doing the surreptitious boob check to see if they are sore, i will be glancing at my nipples to see they are any darker.  I will be doing the toilet paper check, to see if by any chance there is any mystical and mythical implantation bleeding.  I will be getting my hopes up... and i don't want to because I've done this dance.  It always ends in tears.
The good news is we shouldn't have long to wait after our fertility clinic appointment until our first day one.  Then we can finally start the next long journey

Friday, 22 March 2013

Yay!! Pee-on-a-stick day is here already

My husband and I had a conversation the other day in which i told him that peeing on a stick seems like something little boys should be doing, not grown women.  He swears he NEVER went through a pee on the stick phase though.

It's about that time of the month, when the juices start flowing and i have to start worrying about timing the baby dance in such a way that a baby might actually dance.  I have to say though that i have actually given up hope that this will happen, but, for the sake of the scientist in me, i feel it is important to collect as much data as possible before we meet our RE in 13 days.

I happen to be very fortunate and I live withing a 15 minute drive of my workplace... but, this tends to lead me to do very stupid things, like last night when i was convinced that I could "hold it" until i got home so i could pee on a stick.  I forgot, as i made this decision, that the road between my office and my home also includes a walk into the parking lot of at least 10 minutes, and then the road itself is very bumpy... and it is freaking cold in Canada this time of year... so this all leads to me doing the pee-pee dance like a toddler.

I learned a lovely word: micturation.  I love it.  It's the point where you are going to pee your pants.  Isn't science great that there is even a word for this??!!  See:

[From Latin micturre, to want to urinate, desiderative of meiere, to urinate; see meigh- in Indo-European roots.]

So, i was there, trying to a test, and trying to find a cup... i didn't think I was going to make it!

Does anyone else have trouble with the actual peeing on the stick part?  I find that i get so concerned about trying to do it right that i pee really hard, and sometimes miss the stick... my body isn't built to aim.  That's why i think boys should be the ones peeing on sticks, not me.

The test was negative.  Guess tonight is pee on a stick night too... i just have to try to time it better so i don't have to do the pee pee dance.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

A two week wait I never expected!

OMG!  I have a sneaking suspicion that we are the luckiest couple ever to have to go to a fertility clinic.  I had expected that it was going to take us months to get in.  I had even anticipated that it would be at least June because I try not to set myself up for disappointment. I have already calculated exactly when we would have a monitoring cycle, and when we would have our first treatment and when we could either get our first BFN or the BFP that we want to bad.  It was like August.

 But no we have an appointment in only two weeks!  Crazy. 

I am overwhelmed and shocked.  That's so soon!

You would think that any woman who has tried to get pregnant would find the two week wait to be a breeze.  I find after a year of trying I have a routine for the tww.  I know which days to start feeling my boobs to see if they are swelling, i know which days to expect the cramps... i know exactly which days I can stop feeling hopeful...

This is a two week wait i have no idea how to handle. 

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Semen Analysis day has arrived!

I don't think people who need fertility clinics are supposed to live in the suburbs.  See, suburbs are where you go when your family has outgrown your chic city flat and you want a back garden for your wee ones to run around in while mummy sips ceasars on the back deck.

We live in the suburbs.  This was especially irritating today when my husband had to present himself at the fertility clinic for his 7:30... errr... test.  And because it was his first visit he had to be at the hospital front desk by 7:00 to be registered and get a hospital card.  That's an hour from our house.  We are not morning people.

We were talking about his test last night.  I didn't know what to say... do I wish him luck?  Tell him to have fun?  It all seems a bit odd when he's about to make love to a plastic cup.

I can't help but be curious about the set up.  In my mind it should be red brocade like some den of inequity from Victorian England.  I expect stripper poles and video tapes (yup... i don't expect a dvd player for some reason), and probably even some curtain you can pull back for a peep show.   I basically think the man's side of the fertility clinic should share a wall with a strip club.  It might help to keep them interested.

Instead, it is reportedly a basic hospital exam room with some magazines spread on the doctor's desk.  My husband elected to bring his own visual aids... he downloaded a movie into his smart phone last night so that he wouldn't have to flip through the dog eared copies... although i find myself curious as to how old the magazines are.  Do they buy new ones every month?  Or have the same copies been there for decades.  And  why did he have to be there so early?  Is it really just a regular doctor's office from 9-5 and whichever doctor emptied the coffee pot without making fresh coffee yesterday is punished by having his or her office assigned to the early morning fertility men? 

I find myself sort of hoping that they will find our fertility issues are just because of my husband's previously too tight underpants.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Missed periods and opportunities

I never know what to say.

We've only been married for 9 months, but we're old... I am 39, my husband 44 and this fact is not lost on any of our friends.  And so the comments come up, a lot.

And the funniest part is no one ever questions the if... they question the when.

Let me start with Saturday... we were at a party with some old and cherished friends of my husband's.  They all have kids... some one, some three, some through adoption or ivf or some through what comes naturally.  But they all have them.  And they all can apparently hear my biological clock.

I am drawn to kids.  I love the things they say, or how the brother and sister gang up to keep me trapped in our modified version of Mouse Trap.  I love how they will hop into my husbands lap and confess that her parents met each other before they met her, and when would we meet our kids?  And i actually love the one little boy who argues with me and tells me that I am a mom. Because i completely feel like I am.

The kids are too precious to me, each one of them funny and charming, and sometimes spoiled and difficult, but they are perfect.  You can see why their parents love them so much.  And this natural inclination in me, to listen to children as they talk, and play with them sitting on the floor in the midst of a pot luck where i was required to read name tags before addressing the veritable strangers who greet me as a best friend merely as an extension of the man I married, this is what leads them all to say "when we have kids".

"You are so natural, so maternal" says our host as she admonishes us to hurry up and get on with it.  See, the thing is... i'm a bit shy.  I can be dirty and raunchy and funny.  But this journey is so incredibly personal and so incredibly painful that I can't talk about it yet with my family, or friends, so far it is my husband and any hapless wanderers to this blog page.

I am fairly certain that this is why i have the blog.  Because i feel like i am able to confess my secrets, the way you might confess to a stranger on a plane who you will never see again that you cheated on your high school boyfriend.  It is cathartic and it prepares me for the question of "when" from the people in my life.

The problem is that for us it isn't a when.

On my 39th birthday i had my period start about a week early.  And then after 24 hours of a very minor period it stopped.  And I knew that we had finally got the best birthday present ever.  Our baby.  A pregnancy test on cycle day 27 revealed i was pregnant.

Two weeks later I wasn't.

It was devastating.  There's no other words.  The pain was unbearable, not just physically but my heart was wrenched from my body with the loss of that pregnancy.  And i knew then why you wait until you are 13 weeks to share the news.  Because the pain is so great that you carry that secret with you deeply inside what is left of your heart.

Our baby should have been born in May.  Which always leads me to think about where i should be right now in our pregnancy.  We should be fighting over names and picking out furniture for the nursery.  Instead I am peeing on ovulation prediction sticks again.

And the hardest thing is I never know how to answer the questions.  Do people want to know about my phantom baby that still lives in my memories?  Do they want to know the pain of each month realizing that the two week wait was for nothing.  Do I smile and laugh and pretend it doesn't matter and then collapse in tears in my husbands arms as soon as we get to our car?  Do people want to really know that we are "trying" and all the inherent unromantic it-doesn't-matter-if-you-are-tired-tonight-you-have-to precision of it all?

Or do people still think that the stork brings babies... and we just haven't bothered to call and order ours yet?

Monday, 18 March 2013

Man Testing and New Clothing Trends.

My god that was fast.  It feels fast.  Really fast.  My husband called and left a message on Friday as we ate breakfast for his testing appointment.  By lunch time we knew that he was going to be visiting the clinic for his first test on Wednesday.  Yup this wednesday.  It seems super fast given how long i thought everything was going to take. 

I mean this isn't the BIG appointment.  Although we should know sometime this week when the BIG appointment is going to be.  They called last week to get my husbands health information and said they would be calling back this week with the BIG appointment.

But this Wednesday my husband goes for his solo appointment... which means that as of 7:30 this morning we are under a no contact ordinance.  I feel like I'm back in high school or something, or early dating days... which of course sort of makes you want something more, the forbidden fruit.  But, nope... not allowed. 

My husband has also been wearing his fancy new underpants all weekend.. and I have to say that he is not loving the experience.  Right now he is trying to get used to the fact that they ride up so much... And if they ride up aren't they defeating the purpose?

He loves me though that man.. he loves me and the idea of starting a family with me so much that is willing to keep trying out the fancy new underpants.  But I can promise you that he is hoping to hear back really soon from the fertility clinic that his boys are such fast swimmers that they really should be encased in his old style of underpants just to slow them down enough that they don't hurt me in the process of trying to conceive. 

My husband does fit all of the hallmarks of men who are going to have motility issues... he sits all day, he wears the tight-whites, he is not the greatest of exercisers... am i wrong to make him switch preemptively?  Should i be more patient and just wait to find out? 

Sunday, 17 March 2013

The Career-First Myth

I have a small addiction.  I don't really know where it came from, but one day, out of the blue, i developed an addiction for the British Tabloids.  There is something so inherently snarky and British about them I am drawn in.  The tales of the American reality stars seem somehow more lurid and engrossing and yet, because they are read in the fake British accent in my head, somehow more proper and palatable too.  I've always been an anglophile.  From the Enid Blyton Books to the British comedies ("the picture of the fallen madona with the big boobies!") these were my people.

But the one thing that I keep seeing over and over again as I sift through my news feeds are contributing to the Career-First myth.  This seems to be coming up a lot because the National Health System (lovingly called the NHS) has recently changed the conditions for fertility treatments.  A woman, who used to be cut off at 40 is now allowed to receive a single free round of fertility treatments until the age of 42.  Many people are appalled, why should tax payers foot the bill for people who were selfish and put their careers first!  Women who preferred nights on the town with the bad boy instead of settling down.

Even worse there are the articles written by women who have undergone fertility treatments successfully at an older age and how now admonish the rest of us not to make their mistakes.  There was the woman who told me that she was too selfish to have a child at the age of 43.  (Read the story here) The idea is that once we hit a certain age we are no longer able to make the sacrifices necessary for motherhood.  But my reading of this story is that THIS woman was so selfish at the age of 20, and 30 and remains so at 43.  Does that mean that we all are?

I never felt like I put my career first.  In fact, much to my husbands chagrin I would be more than happy to hang up my hat and spend the days cooing to our infant in her crib.  I hate the idea of spending 40 hours a week trapped in an office and paying someone to look after my child with less love and care than I could.

Women are in this incredibly tough place.  If we get pregnant as teenagers we are condemned to a life where we may not finish high school, or university.  If we get pregnant in our 20's then we often find it hard to make use of our degrees as they come fresh off the press, plus in this economy it is no longer feasible for many graduates to stop at an undergraduate degree.  So we move on to graduate school.

Older mothers are better in a lot of ways.  We have fewer accidents with our children, they end up in the ER less often.  They have better language skills.  They have a better start.  All kinds of good stuff.  That's not to take anything away from younger moms... It is just that in the defense of my breed against the British Tabloids i need to point out that we aren't all bad.

I am what they call "well-educated" because i have completed several degrees.  I have received bullshit and more shit and then piled it higher and deeper.  I will use my skills to help my child develop.    But believe me:  I NEVER put my career first.

I just met the right man late in life.  This shouldn't be a condemnation. He is the right one for me.  I am the right one for him.  We both want children.

People shouldn't mistake the fact that we are oddly shaped puzzle pieces that didn't fit with anyone else as a sign that our lives were ruled by the need to become CEO's and own third home.


Brand new fancy underpants!

I think I did a bad thing.  My poor darling husband received a gift yesterday.  On my way home from work I made a bit of a detour and purchased him some fancy new underpants.  See, my husband... well... I am about to out him as a tighty-whitey man.  At least, he was until yesterday.

This morning he is wearing his brand new fancy underpants - boxers.  For anyone familiar with the whole process of assisted fertility they know that one reason for problems in achieving conception can be sperm motility.  There.  I said it.  And sperm motility can be reduced by the dreaded tighty-whitey.  This is because the underpants keep the scrotum closer to the body and increases the temperature.  A higher temperature means lower motility. 

As I mentioned my poor darling husband hasn't had his testing done yet.  But, I'm aware that if he does have a problem with mobility then it will take about 3 months of wearing the much looser fitting garments to get his swimmers back up to par with the cooler nether-region.  Now, let me do the math.  We are told it will be about 2 months until we get our fertility clinic referral.  Imagine if there is a problem with his swimmers.... then we have to wait 3 months after that to increase the motility.   that means 5 months from now at least which puts me past 40 which makes me feel even twitchier.

This is where my being crafty makes my husband suffer.  I reasoned with him that if we switch now, by the time we find out he has a problem he will be pretty much ready to make another donation and see if the problem has resolved itself.  Then I kissed him... a lot.

I'm hoping the kisses will make it better for him as he tries to keep his new vestments pulled down.  I have promised that if the tests show that if there isn't a motility problem then he can switch back.  We'll even bring a pair of his beloved underwear to the doctor's appointment so he can change in the bathroom before we go home.

"Not to worry" he said as he kissed me gently.  "I might find I like it better."

Friday, 15 March 2013

The requisition form is here... and it is funny.

See, it's things like last night that make me feel like I am only about 25.  It certainly isn't the look at the mirror, it is the far more frequent fits of giggles that occur inside my head at ridiculous juvenile things.  I am pretty sure other 39 year old's aren't supposed to act like this.  The requisition form came for my husbands tests, and instead of being mature and being able to act like an adult the 13 year old inside of me poked at the form and laughed.

First of all,  my husband will not be allowed to take an afternoon off work.  Nope.  The clinic is open from 7:15 until 8:30 am.  So not only will he have to go to work after, in what every woman knows is a ridiculous drowsy time for a man, but he will have to get up extra early to make it to the clinic.  Something he is not going to be happy about. 

And he certainly can't do the deed at home and bring the sample in.  We live too far away.  You have to get the sample in to the lab within 30 minutes.  With the traffic in this city that isn't going to happen.  But the clinic does offer standard advice to men who are close enough.  I am sure there are many who feel awkward about sitting in a waiting room, knowing what is going on behind those cubicle doors.  And it can't help a guy to know that when they are called to go into the cubicle that every man in the waiting room will know what they are going to do.

See, motility of sperm is lost at 4C.  And in fertility testing the motility is one of the three things they look at: motility, viability and morphology.  So, in the winter time if you feel uncomfortable uh... not being the master of your domain in public you can't just go around carrying your sperm at arm's length when you bring it in.  Nope.  You gotta stick it in your arm pit.  This is what made me fall to the floor laughing.  Imagine getting stopped by cops and frisked and them discovering a vial strapped to your arm pit.  I think it is a good thing we live too far away from the clinic to make this viable... I would never be able to face my coworkers knowing my husband was fighting his way through downtown traffic with sperm in his pit. 

(Ok, it isn't just your arm pit that is suggested... you can also put it in a pocket... but the armpit thing... hilarious right??)

The clinic also does not answer the phone.  The instructions are very clear.  Leave one message.  We will call you back.  And they aren't open Fridays.  At least not for specimen collection.  Only Mondays through Thursdays.  I asked my husband to remember to call.  I tried to do it nicely so as not to nag.  And then suggested he might actually just do it from home so he doesn't have to leave a message while at his workplace saying he is requiring sperm motility testing. 

I confess this last part was not so much for his benefit as for my own assurance that he would actually do it.  So he has called.... now we wait for the call back, which might not happen until next week. 

Not to worry... totally not obsessed with moving this thing forward.. nope...

Thursday, 14 March 2013

The first phone call.

Yay!  Something happened!  We got the "First Phone Call".  I feel like finally it is a step forward...

It isn't the call from our fertility clinic.  That phone call I am led to believe will be at least 2 months away.  (No problem... i am known for being patient... by those who have never met me anyway.)  Nope, this is the phone call for my husband.  He has to go in for some "testing".  Anyone else on that journey knows what that means.

I know that this can't be an easy step for a guy.  He must be filled with the same anxiety that I am... that he is the reason that we aren't "up the duff" yet.  Can his boys (and girls) swim?  Time will tell.  He will have to take time off work to do the sort of thing that is generally frowned on in a public building.  Of course i think he might be looking forward to that a little too much.

He tells me that he thinks it is too clinical, that he doesn't feel anxious about it and he doesn't think i should go to the office for the test. I mean may be that's a weird thing to suggest?  Does a guy want his wife outside the door while he's leafing through magazines?  It might make him think about living with his mom as a teenager.  And that might stop anyone from... errr... producing a sample.

Even this teeny-tiny step isn't straight forward.  My doctor's office needs him to get a hospital card from the hospital they are affiliated with before they can send out the requisition so that he can make a call to book an appointment to have his sperm tested.  Easy.

I have decided that the hurdles they make you jump through in the process of getting pregnant are designed to test your patients and see if you are indeed capable of parenting a teenager.

Fortunately,  we are 1/2 way there.  He has the card, or at least he once did, so he is in the system.  The paperwork is in the mail.  Yay.

Hurdle 1 down.... 1,857,983 more to go. 

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

What do you want first... the Good news or the Bad news?

So the first batch of tests are back on me.  And there is good news and bad news.  Actually, from a fertility point most of it is good news.  I have the ovarian reserve of a 31 - 35 year old.  Woot!!  Joyous happiness!!  I don't think i could ask for much better.  My FSH is 6, my AMH is 3.53.  I barely know what those letters mean let alone the numbers attached to them, but I was told first things first that's good.

FSH is follicle stimulating hormone.  So what does that tell me... well the follicle I know is where the egg comes out.  And if FSH is too high then it means that your body is trying overcome the fact that you aren't ovulating by really, really, really trying to ovulate.  In fact if you aren't ovulating regularly then it is early menopause.  So, for me, it's a good sign.

Then there's the AMH.  AMH = Anti Mulleriam Hormone.  Can I digress for a minute to tell you how absolutely impossible this test was to have done?  It needs to be done on a specific day of the cycle.  Day three as it turns out.  Which, on the cycle where we had the blood work done fell on a Saturday.  Ok, no problem.  As soon as I knew it was going to fall on a weekend i scoped out the closest blood clinic that was open on the weekend.  There was one LifeLabs near us that was going to be open until 5pm.  Perfect.  Hoping to avoid the early morning "i have to have this lab done fasting" rush we took our time... enjoying a lovely day without work.  We pull up to the clinic at about 11:40.  5 hours and 20 minutes to spare.... except that the AMH test is an unusual test, no every lab does it.... in fact lifelabs doesn't do it at all.  Armed with my smartphone i start trying to find a lab that does do it and one that is open weekends.  Gamma Labs, 15 minutes away... closes at noon.  We don't make it.  So now what....

My mother suggests we try the emergency room at our local hospital.... so we go, sit amongst the ill and wait our turn to ask the question... and nope, they don't do the AMH either.  Our last chance.  A hospital in the next city over, downtown does the test.  We grab some lunch and head over.  It took three hours of waiting.  Our nice leisurely Saturday turned into a visit through 4 cities and towns, 2 emergency rooms and finally a blood draw.  So may I say, with great pleasure i received the news that I have the ovarian reserve of a 31 - 35 year old.  It makes it all worth while. 

But, of course, the bad news.  First, in case they ever see this, let me start by saying that i love my in-laws.  They are kind and nice and funny and smart... but they do this one really dumb thing.  They are conscientious objectors of the MMR vaccine - well all vaccines, but the bad news includes the MMR vaccine.  We've always known this and planned that when we welcomed our sweet bundle of joy into our life we would be forced to stay away from our family until our sweet bundle of joy could be vaccinated.  But my blood tests revealed that despite having a booster shot only 5 years ago I am still not immune to any of the measles, the mumps or rubella.  Which means i can't offer my baby protection while living inside my body.... And all three viruses do really bad things to babies in utero
Oh yeah, and to make things even worse people vacationing have brought measles back, and public health is issuing a warning this week for doctor's to be on the look out for people with measles.

so... how soon do we start staying away from our in-laws?  Before we even start the IVF process, just to keep me safe?  Or do we wait until our $5000 egg cycle is underway, which could be months. 

And how do we navigate the holidays without destroying the family love....  it all makes the great ovarian reserve seem a little less great.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

My Gawd... How did i get here?

So, that's it then.  The biological clock is doing the thing that biological clocks start to do when you hit 39.  It is reminding me, in a low, desperate growl that there is not much time left.  What??!!  How did that happen.  I'm pretty sure that despite the information listed on my driver's license I am still a young thing of oh, about 25.  I'm pretty sure that I still have lots of time to figure out thing like what I am going to be when i grow up. But, apparently my driver's license is right and the voices in my head are wrong.  I don't have all that much time left.

I got married last year.... it was the first marriage for both my husband and I.  This seems to put us in a rather rare and special category amongst our friends where we don't have any ex-spouses or shared custody agreements.  We can make plans for vacations around only what our bosses say and not when the school boards think we should travel and we don't have to ask a judge about moving to another city.  We are living the good life.  We knew each other for 2 years as friends and 5 months as lovers before we got engaged.  And then, 365 days after he kissed me for the first time he put a ring on it.  We made it official on a beautiful summer day.

We were both committed to having children.  And so, carefully figuring out how pregnant i could be in my wedding dress and still have it fit we took the plunge, we pulled the B.C. plug and held our breaths.

It's been a year and we still haven't breathed.  It's time to bring in the experts.