Friday, 27 September 2013

Adoption Creed

Not flesh of my flesh,
Not bone of my bone,
But still miraculously
My own.
Never forget
For a single minute,
You didn't grow under my heart,
But in it.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Early Morning

This morning was an early morning for me. Up and out of bed and straight out the door to the fertility clinic. I had blood work taken and an ultrasound. During the ultrasound, the doctor asked about the fluid in my fallopian tubes (it's been there for quite a while now...long before we started fertility treatments). He seemed concerned about it and told me they may want to do something about that before we continue with our plans for a transfer.

Why are they just concerned now? If the fluid in my tubes is a problem, why did they let us do an IVF cycle and a transfer already? Why would they not fix the problem first before continuing? Now I feel like we may have lost a baby because they didn't do anything about the fluid before. I'm just waiting on a phone call now to see what the plan is.

Monday, 23 September 2013

And So It Begins Again

Today marks day 1 of my cycle. It started late last night and once again, my hopes of being pregnant were crushed.

I have mixed feelings about starting the process for a frozen blastocyst transfer. Late at night seems to be the worst time ever to mind runs wild when it's given the chance. I just don't know how I feel about being picked and prodded for all the blood tests and how I feel about all of the ultrasounds. Trying to conceive a miracle is a very personal thing, but when IVF is involved, it seems the whole world is involved in your business...there's no privacy at all...NONE. That's starting to get to me a bit.

And the fact that we have 2 blastocysts frozen is starting to bother me a bit. I believe that as soon as an egg has been fertilized, life has been created. So now I'm left with the feeling that my poor babies are frozen in some laboratory. It's a strange feeling and it just hit me last night.

All of these feelings could just be a result of my hormones from my cycle starting. I pray this transfer works. I pray the blastocyst will thaw without any problems and latch on to my uterus and grow into a healthy bundle of joy. I pray the second blastocyst will do the same.

I don't know what I would do if this IVF cycle wasn't successful and I pray I never have to find out.

Friday, 20 September 2013

The Past

They say the past is the past, but what if your past is affecting your present? That's my problem.

My infertility problems are a result of an illness. When I was 14, I was diagnosed with a moderate to severe case of Ulcerative Colitis. I was on many medications and eventually when the medications stopped working and UC was controlling my life, I had surgery. I was 17 when I had my first operation. I was given an ileostomy. My second surgery came a few months later when I had an operation to build a j-pouch. The next one came a few months later when I had a reversal to remove the ileostomy. I had a few minor surgeries after that. About a year and a half later, I had another surgery to get an ileostomy back. My UC had been so bad that they had to remove my entire large intestine and part of my rectum, so when I was reversed and living without an ileostomy, I had a lot of complications. A few months after this surgery, I went to emerge with what I thought was a blockage. I was told that I had a twisted bowel and needed emergency surgery to save my life. That was by far my worst surgery because I was cut open from my belly button to below my bikini line. Finally, May of 2012 is when I had what I hope to be my final surgery. I had surgery to make my ileostomy permanent...there's no going back now.

Through all of these surgeries, I developed quite a bit of scar tissue. So much so that my right ovary does not sit on my right side anymore. It hovers around my midsection and close to my left ovary. There's just no room for my Fallopian tubes to squeeze through an egg. Blocked tubes are something I have to live with. I can't say I've fully come to terms with the hand I've been dealt with infertility, but I'm learning how to cope. One day at a time.


Remember how far you've come, not just how far you have to go. 
You are not where you want to be, 
but neither are you where you used to be 
- Rick Warren

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

That Time of the Month

So it's that time of the month again...the time of the month when I can't help but get my hopes up in the possibility that I may be pregnant. Mother Nature is due for a visit any day now. My heart can't help but hope that she doesn't come...and that she doesn't come for the next 9 months. My brain knows better and tries to tell my heart to smarten up, but it's never that easy.

I think what makes it even harder is not having a regular period. If Mother Nature would show up at the right time each month, there would be no problem...but when she delays her visits for a week or two, it seems like an even bigger let down.

I just have to think positive...that once my period does start this month, we can attempt another IVF transfer and this could be the one that creates our miracle baby.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Rules for Mom's of Boys


Above all...Share the Bible with your son. Show him GOD's love daily and be a Christian example to him. 

1. Teach him the words for how he feels. Your son will scream out of frustration and hide out of embarrassment. He'll cry from fear and bite out of excitement. Let his body move by the emotion, but also explain to him what the emotion is and the appropriate response to that emotion for future reference. Point out other people who are feeling the same thing and compare how they are showing that emotion. Talk him through your emotions so that someday when he is grown, he will know the difference between angry and embarrassed; between disappointment and grief. 

2. Be a cheerleader for his life There is no doubt that you are the loudest person in the stands at his t-ball games. There is no doubt that he will tell you to "stop, mom" when you sing along to his garage band's lyrics. There is no doubt that he will get red-faced when you show his prom date his pictures from boy scouts. There is no doubt that he is not telling his prom date about your blog where you've been bragging about his life from his first time on the potty to the citizenship award he won in ninth grade. He will tell you to stop. He will say he's embarrassed. But he will know that there is at least one person that is always rooting for him. 

3. Teach him how to do laundry ..and load the dishwasher, and iron a shirt and cut the grass and hang a picture and change a tire and fix the chair. He may not always choose to do it. He may not ever have to do it. But someday his wife will thank you. 

4. Read to him and read with him. Emilie Buchwald said, "Children become readers on the laps of their parents." Offer your son the opportunity to learn new things, believe in pretend places, and imagine bigger possibilities through books. Let him see you reading...reading the Bible, the paper, reading novels, reading magazine articles. Help him understand that writing words down is a way to be present forever. Writers are the transcribers of history and memories. They keep a record of how we lived at that time; what we thought was interesting; how we spoke to each other; what was important. And Readers help preserve and pass along those memories. 

5. Encourage him to dance. Dance, rhythm, and music are cultural universals. No matter where you go, no matter who you meet - they have some form of the three. It doesn't have to be good. Just encourage your son that when he feels it, it's perfectly fine to go ahead and bust a move. 

6. Make sure he has examples of Godly men who are powerful because of their brains, their determination, and their integrity. The examples of men with big muscles and a uniform (like Batman and Tim Tebow) will surround your son from birth. But make sure he also knows about men who kick butt because of their brains (Steve Jobs), and their pen (Moses, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), and their words (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.), and their determination (John the Baptist), and their ideas (The Wright Brothers), and their integrity (Officer Frank Shankwitz), and fearlessness (Neil Armstrong), and their ability to keep their mouths closed when everyone else is screaming (Jackie Robinson) and their driving skill (Jeff Gordon). 

7. Make sure he has examples of women who are beautiful because of their brains, their determination, their integrity and their Christian example. The examples of traditionally beautiful women (like Cinderella and Princess Jasmine) will surround your son from birth. But make sure he knows about women who are beautiful from the inside out because of their love of GOD (Mary, Ruth, Mother Teresa), brains (Madame Marie Curie), and their pen (Louisa May Alcott), and their words (Eleanor Roosevelt), and their determination (Anne Sullivan), and their ideas (Lottie Moon) and their integrity (Annie Armstrong), and fearlessness (Ameila Earhart), and their ability to open their mouths and take a stand when everyone else is silent (Corrie Ten Boom). 

8. Be an example of a beautiful woman with brains, determination, and integrity. You already are all of those things. If you ever fear that you are somehow incapable of doing anything - remember this: If you have done any of the following: a) grew life b) impossibly and inconceivably got it out of your body c) taken care of a newborn d) made a pain go away with a kiss e) taught someone to read f) taught a toddler to eat with a utensil g) cleaned up diarrhea without gagging h) loved a child enough to be willing to give your life for them (regardless if they are your own) or i) found a way to be strong when that child is are a superhero. do not doubt yourself for one second. Seriously. 

9. Teach him to have manners because its nice. and it will make the world a little better of a place. 

10. Give him something to believe in--GOD--- Because someday he will be afraid, or nervous, or heartbroken, or lost, or just need you, and you won't be able to be there. Give him something to turn to when it feels like he is alone---JESUS CHRIST--- so that he knows that he will never be alone; never, never, never. 

11. Teach him that there are times when you need to be gentle like with babies, and flowers, and animals, and other people's feelings. 

12. Let him ruin his clothes. Resolve to be cool about dirty and ruined clothes. You'll be fighting a losing battle if you get upset every time he ruins another piece of clothing. Don't waste your energy being angry about something inevitable. Boys tend to learn by destroying, jumping, spilling, falling, and making impossible messes. Dirty, ruined clothes are just par for the course. 

13. Learn how to throw a football or how to use a hockey stick, or read music, or draw giraffes, or the names of different train engines, or learn to speak Elvish, or recognize the difference between Gryffindor and Slytherin, or the lyrics to his favorite song. Be in his life, not as an observer but as an active participant. 

14. Go outside with him, turn off the television, unplug the video games, put your cellphone on the charger, even put your camera away. Just go outside and follow him around. Watch his face, explore his world, and let him ask questions. It's like magic. Teach him to appreciate God's earthly wonders...the sunrise, the stars, and the dandelion. 

15. Let him lose. Losing sucks. Everybody isn't always a winner. Even if you want to say, "You're a winner because you tried," don't. He doesn't feel like a winner, he feels sad and crappy and disappointed. And that's a good thing, because sometimes life also sucks, no matter how hard (as moms) we try to make it not suck for our kids. This practice will do him good later when he loses again (and again, and again, and again, and again.....) Instead make sure he understands that - sometimes you win - sometimes you lose. But that doesn't mean you ever give up. 

16. Give him opportunities to help others. There is a big difference in giving someone the opportunity to help and forcing someone to help. Giving the opportunity lights a flame in the heart and once the help is done the flame shines brighter and asks for more opportunities. Be an example of helping others in your own actions and the way your family helps each other and helps others together. 

17. Remind him that practice makes perfect. This doesn't just apply to performance-based activities (like sports and music) but also applies to everything in life. You become a better writer by writing. You become a better listener by listening. You become a better speaker by speaking. Show your son this when he is just young enough to understand (that means from birth, folks - they are making sense of the world as soon as they arrive), practice trick-or-treating at your own front door before the real thing. Practice how you will walk through airport security before a trip. Practice how you order your own food from the fast food cashier. Practice, practice, practice. 

18. Answer him when he asks, "Why?" Answer him, or search for the answer together. Show him the places to look for the answers (like his dad, or grandparents, or his aunts/uncles, or his books, or valid internet searches). Pose the question to him so he can begin thinking about answers himself. Someday, when he needs to ask questions he's too embarrassed to ask you - he'll know where to go to find the right answers. 

19. Always carry band-aids and wipes on you. especially the wipes. 

20. Let his dad teach him how to do things ...without interrupting about how to do it the 'right way.' If you let his dad show and teach and discover with your son while he is growing up, some day down the road (after a short period of your son believing his dad knows nothing), he will come to the realization that his dad knows everything. You will always be his mother, but in his grown-up man heart and mind, his dad will know the answers. And this will be how, when your son is too busy with life to call and chat with his mom, you will stay connected to what is happening in his life. Because he will call his dad for answers, and his dad will secretly come and ask you. 

21. Give him something to release his energy: drums, a pen, a punching bag, wide open space, water, a dog. Give him something to go crazy with - or he will use your stuff - and then you'll sorry.

22. Build forts with him. Forts have the ability to make everyday normal stuff into magic. Throw the couch cushions, a couple blankets, and some clothespins and you can transform your living room into the cave of wonders. Dig a trench, cover it with straw, have him use his imagination. For the rest of his life, he'll be grateful to know that everyday normal stuff has the potential to be magical. 

23. Take him to new places. Because it will make his brain and his heart open up wider, and the ideas and questions and memories will rush in. 

24. Kiss him. Any mother of sons will tell you that little boys are so loving and sweet. They can be harsh and wild and destructive during most of the day. But there are these moments when they are so kind and sensitive and tender. So much so that it can cause you to look around at the inward, reserved grown men in your life and think, 'what happens in between that made you lose that?' Let's try to stop the cycle by kissing them when they're loving and kissing them even more when they're wild. Kissing them when they're 2 months and kissing them when they're 16 years old. You're the mom - you can go ahead and kiss him no matter how big he gets - and make sure he knows it. p.s. (this one is just as important for dad's too). 

24. Teach him that family is of major importance. At the end of the day, that is what you come home to---that is who will love you (even when they don't like what you did or said) and always be there in spirit---if not person---to support him along his way. Extended family provides a living history to your son....always show respect for your family in front of your son. Teach him that family is love. 

26. Teach him it's okay to wear pink, to know the difference between blue and periwinkle, and to appreciate the fine arts. Museums, art galleries, and paint chips are all ways to explore a little more 'refinement' and things your future daughter-in-law will thank you for as well. 

27. Be home base. You are home to him. When he learns to walk, he will wobble a few feet away from you and then come back, then wobble away a little farther and then come back. When he tries something new, he will look for your proud smile. When he learns to read, he will repeat the same book to you twenty times in a row, because you're the only one who will listen that many times. When he plays his sport, he will search for your face in the stands. When he is sick, he will call you. When he really messes up, he will call you. When he is grown and strong and tough and big and he feels like crying, he will come to you; because a man can cry in front of his mother without feeling self-conscious. Even when he grows up and has a new woman in his life and gets a new home, you are still his mother; home base, the ever constant, like the sun. Know that in your heart and everything else will fall into place.

Adapted from Pinterest, courtesy of many wise contributors

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Infertility Etiquette

Infertility etiquette...who knew there was such a thing? Well, there is and anyone who is going through or has gone through infertility would agree with me (or at least I think they would) when I say that everyone should know it.

Shortly after my hubby and I had undergone our first transfer, during our two week wait, I was completely dumbfounded by something a family member announced. Our entire family knows about our struggle with infertility so when we have gatherings, I assume I won't have to try and dodge anything that would be upsetting to me. Well, I was completely shocked when I was told that someone I don't even know is pregnant. The look on my face probably said it all. All I could manage to spit out was "that's nice" when what I really wanted to say was "do you just realize what you said to me?!?! How do you expect me to be happy for someone I don't even know? Woo hoo, yippee, hooray for them...not really."

Later on when this issue was addressed, I was the bad guy because I was being selfish and I should always be happy for everyone. Yes, I should be happy for everyone but these things need to be addressed in a delicate manner when it comes to me. I'm not saying I don't want to hear about it, because I do. I want to share in the happy news if it's a family member or friend who is blessed with the miracle of pregnancy, but in all honesty, I don't want to hear about a complete stranger's pregnancy. If you are so elated that they are pregnant, please share this news with someone who knows the happy couple or someone who is not me. And if it is a friend or family member, please be delicate when you tell me. Please understand that yes I will be over the moon happy for you, but I will also be sad for myself and will need to have a pity party on my own.

Another thing I am sick of hearing is "God has a plan for you" or "You need to be patient and wait for God's perfect timing" or "Maybe God didn't want you to have kids" (am I really that horrible of a person that God would make me infertile because He thought that I would make a horrible mom?). When people mention God, I wish there was a door beside me so I could slam it in their face and get on with my day. Don't get me wrong, I am a strong believer in God. God is my Savior. I know God has a perfect timing for everything and that God has a plan for me. I know that the reason why we are infertile was to be blessed with the adoption of our son. If we were fertile, we would have never adopted. And the reason why the first baby we were hoping to adopt did not end up going through is because God had planned right from the beginning for us to be J's mommy and daddy. I understand all of this and this is why I don't need someone to remind me of this.

On a daily, weekly, monthly (especially monthly), and yearly basis I mourn the loss of a child who would have a combination of my features and my husband's features. Each month when my cycle starts up again, it's heartbreaking for me because I always hold on to the hope that maybe, just maybe, we are pregnant. All I can do is sit there and cry, have my pity party, and move on with my day and grieve the loss of a child we may never know.

I think the one thing that upsets me the most is when a pregnant woman complains about her pregnancy. Are you really going to complain about how you are feeling while your body is growing a miracle inside of you? Be grateful that you are able to know what this experience is like because let me tell you, I would do anything to have morning sickness for 9 months straight, swollen feet that have doubled in size, aches and pains. Anything pregnancy related, I would love to have because it would mean I was actually pregnant.

Finally, if I don't talk to you about, don't bring it up to me. I know everyone is just trying to be supportive and let me know they care. The best way to do that is to just be there when I need you. In the meantime, pray for us. You don't even need to know what to pray for...God knows everything and He will know exactly what to do with your prayers.

Monday, 9 September 2013

My Year in a Summary

Growing up I never even imagined that I would need IVF to become pregnant. I always thought getting pregnant would be easy. As many women and families know, IT IS NOT. And it is something that should never be taken for granted. And please, please do not ever complain about being pregnant because you never know if the person you are complaining to is experiencing the pain of infertility and would do anything to be experiencing the beautiful gift of pregnancy.

I literally want to scream when anyone complains about being pregnant. AT LEAST YOU ARE PREGNANT...this is how I just spent my last 2 months:

20 self injections 
8 blood tests
4 ultrasounds
1 egg retrieval
1.5 weeks of intense pain
1 blastocyst transfer
2 blastocysts frozen
LOTS of hope, excitement, and inticipation
1 miscarriage (failed IVF attempt)
Heartbreak, defeat
FEAR that the frozen blastocysts will not thaw
FEAR that after all of this, we may not get pregnant

Friday, 6 September 2013

The hCG Rollercoaster

Before IVF, I never thought twice about hCG and before I had my embryo transfer, I was never worried about it. It's funny how the mind can fixate on one thing and become almost obsessed with it.

For the first week of my two week waiting period, I didn't think much about the transfer and if I was pregnant, but as soon as day 8 rolled around, I was anxious. I wanted to know and I did something I probably shouldn't have done. I took a pregnancy test and to my disappointment, it was negative. Two days later I tortured myself again and took another one only to have the same results.

When I went for my bloodwork after the two week wait, I was expecting to receive a call to tell me I wasn't pregnant. I wasn't prepared for the nurse to tell me that I was technically pregnant since my hCG level was 11. I was informed it was extremely low and I was more than likely having a chemical pregnancy. 2 days later I went for more bloodwork and my hCG went up to 18. I couldn't help but be a little excited and that's when I turned to other bloggers and fertility groups for support. I had never heard of the hCG roller coaster before and it's a tough ride to be on. Reading about other women's roller coaster ride was heartbreaking, but it helped put things into perspective for me. A week later I went for a third blood test and again, my hCG level had gone up again to 28. I knew what the end result would be so at this point I was praying that my body would do what it had to do with this chemical pregnancy so I would not have to take any pills to make the miscarriage happen (which I have thought long and hard about and don't think I would...I would always hold on to the smaller hope that the doctor is wrong). The following week I went for more blood work and this time the level had dropped to 15.

My hCG roller coaster ride was coming to a halt and I was relieved. Relieved my body was doing what it had to do. Relieved that I wouldn't be getting my hopes up anymore for disappointment. Relieved that this wouldn't delay my next transfer any longer.

So now I'm anxiously patiently waiting for my next transfer. I have to wait two menstrual cycles...I've already had one and I'm looking forward to day 1 of my next one (I really thought I would NEVER say something like that in my life, but it could mean the start of a pregnancy).

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

IVF - Very Intimidating


In Vitro Fertilization 

Simply put, those words scare me. For me, there is so much pressure and so much hope involved and the very big chance of disappointment. 

My husband and I have had many discussions about IVF. It was the first thing we talked about before adoption. Now that we have adopted, before we go that route again, we have decided to try IVF. 

I started the IVF process with so much enthusiasm. I couldn't help but be excited and hopeful that this would work for us. I was certain this would be an easy process. A few injections, an egg retrieval, an embryo transfer, and boom, a baby. That's not how it works at all. 

I thought when we went for our orientation appointment that we would just be dipping our toes in the water and getting a feel for what was to come. Well, little did I know that my next menstrual cycle we could start IVF. So day one of my cycle, I phoned the clinic and started my injections. I was so optimistic. 2 injections a day to start, bloodwork and ultrasound every 3 days to monitor. This was going to be easy, or so I thought.

Then came the egg retrieval. They were able to retrieve 25 ovaries are power houses! I was warned the egg retrieval would be uncomfortable, but I was not warned about what was to come. After the retrieval, the ovaries can stay enlarged for 6-8 weeks because the follicles fill with blood and fluid. I was in so much pain (this has a lot to do with previous abdominal surgeries and scar tissue). I could barely walk, I had a hard time going to the washroom, I couldn't do anything. Not to mention I had horrible nausea.  

3 days later when the lab called to say we would be doing a day 5 transfer, I was still in excruciating pain. I was given a stronger pain medication to help make me comfortable. On day 5, waiting in the waiting room, I sat uncomfortably looking at the other women wondering how they aren't in any pain. They looked fine, like nothing had happened, and here I am, barely even able to sit  (the nurse actually came and got me and let me lie down in a room while I waited). I had to remind myself that my circumstances were different. 

Once our embryo had been transferred, the waiting game began. 

Side note: Out of those 25 eggs retrieved, 20 were fertilized. From those 20 fertilized eggs, we ended with 1 embryo (which was transferred) and 2 blastocysts which we froze. It seems like so much to have gone through for 3 embryos, but I have been reminding myself, that we are very blessed to have gotten 3. Some people go through the whole process and don't have any.