CHP - arms with Myer

CHP - arms with Myer

29 October 2012

Acupuncture and lining check

~ by Kim

It's no secret that I've had trouble building a thick uterine lining. Our first transfer had to be cancelled due to the lining being too thin, and even with the increased doses of estrogen we never made it beyond 4.7 mm. In our second cycle, my baseline ultrasound started off at 4 mm, and then after the 10 or so days on Estrace, it was still only measuring at 4 mm. We eventually managed to get the lining up to 6 mm, which was where it was at when we did the embryo transfer. Ideally, they usually like to see the lining measuring at least 8 mm before doing a transfer, but because the appearance of the uterus was otherwise so good, we went ahead and did the transfer anyway. The staff at the clinic said that even though this was not your typically ideal lining, it was still worth going ahead and that they had still seen lots of babies that started in a 6 mm lining. We crossed our fingers, and transferred one 3-day embryo, which unfortunately did not result in a pregnancy.

We're now trying again, and this morning I had another appointment at the clinic where I had another ultrasound to measure the thickness of the lining as well as check my hormone levels again. This will be my third time starting the Estrace and working on trying to build up a nice fluffy lining for a little embryo to nestle into. For this cycle, we decided to try some acupuncture as well. The acupuncture is supposed to work in conjunction with the medications and my own body, to increase chances of achieving and maintaining a healthy pregnancy. Apparently they've done studies showing great success with acupuncture and IVF and found the two work really well together. Today was my first appointment since starting the acupuncture, and my lining measured at a whoppin' 6.8 mm! This was huge for me, and the thickest that my uterine lining has ever been. For comparison, at this same appointment in the last cycle I was only measuring at 4 mm at this stage, so I'm feeling pretty excited about where we're at right now - as it should only get thicker from here. Whether or not this is from the acupuncture or not, I'm not sure, but I'll happily take it!

The other big thing that will be happening later on today, is that Janelle and Joel have an appointment with the doctor where they will decide on how many embryos we will be transferring. There are 3 frozen, and they will be deciding whether we will be transferring one or two? Transferring two does have a higher chance of pregnancy, but then there is the added risk of multiples. The doctor and I talked about it briefly this morning, so now we'll just wait and see what the verdict is later today. It's pretty exciting, and I'm fine with whatever they decide to do.

On a totally different note; this past weekend we decided to take advantage of being in between cycles (not pregnant), and we shipped both the kids out with the grandparents for a night out and enjoyed some Halloween festivities.

Here's us all done up.
I'm dressed as "Jem," but only us kids from the 80's really know who she is. You can't see the earrings I had, for "Showtime Synergy," but they're there. 
Truly outrageous. 

26 October 2012

October Snowfall

~ by Janelle (IM)

It feels like we went from it being officially Fall to BAM! - Winter in a matter of minutes. Of course this is Calgary so you never know what you're in for. For the past week it's been snowing and averaging -9C while next week it's suppose to be high of 12C on Halloween. I'm happy about that for all the kids and parents who walk around the neighborhoods in tow :)

So Kim and I have lost our transfer virginity and now we're looking ahead to the next attempt. I have to say that I was in awe of it all; the procedure was simple (no need for pain killers, stitches, etc.) and seeing an extremely magnified image of the embryo was the best part - so amazing!

Now we're gearing up for attempt #2 in about a week. I won't be making it out to Victoria this time around. That stuff they call jet fuel isn't cheap ;) I was saying to Kim that we'll coordinate watching movies on our respective couches. Hopefully I can convince my husband that this is a good idea and he'll be up for entertaining Asher solo.

Speaking of snow...

21 October 2012

Back on the juice

- by Kim

It's been 3 days since my last fix of Estrogen. Went cold turkey. Has been a tough few days. Withdrawal was starting up and I was starting to get the jitters. I'm sure there was some extra hair starting to grow just above my lip, maybe even on my chin too. I almost became a rational thinking person, but thankfully one of the contestants on "Survivor" got sick and left the show, so I cried with her as she left. Phewf...there was still hope - I wasn't all gone yet and maybe there was still some residual effects left from my last fix.

It's only been 3 days, and I've fallen off the wagon again. I'm back to my pill popping once more. Feeling better already. I have a feeling I might be on these for awhile. Thankfully, I have a great support system, filled with some pretty wonderful people who help support my habit.

18 October 2012

Try, try again

 ~ by Kim

I've been meaning to write sooner, but the past couple days have been so busy for me, and it's been hard to find the time to be able to write more than just a "yes/no". Yesterday we had several things on the go, which made for a hectic day, and I had to work an overnight shift, so the free time that I did have was spent trying to get some sleep before going to work. 

As you can tell by the title of this post, we didn’t get the result we were hoping for. We are “officially” not pregnant.

This wasn’t a big surprise for us, as I had done a few tests and each time it was negative. I hoped like crazy, but I never really “felt” pregnant. So many people say that when they’re pregnant, they just “know”, and I never had that feeling; though not for lack of wanting. By Sunday, I called Janelle and told her that I was pretty certain that it hadn’t stuck, and told her about the tests I had done and the results. In a way, it was nice because it gave both of a chance to process the information so it wasn’t such a shock to get negative test results yesterday; and if we were wrong it would be a really amazing surprise. Even though I was expecting the negative results, there was still a part of me that was hopeful, thinking that home pregnancy tests are not always accurate and that there must be a reason why we had to wait till that specific day for the test. That maybe Sunday (3 days earlier than our scheduled bloodwork and when I was pretty sure of the results) was still too early for detection. Sort of wishful thinking on my part, but it’s easy to hold on to what you want to believe.

The feelings since finding out have been varied. Of course we are all disappointed, and initially I felt a little bummed out.  Since having some time to let it all sink in, I’m now feeling optimistic and ready to jump in again for round two. I still have moments where I feel a little sad, but I try to keep those to a minimum and look forward instead. There's so much in this journey that you just can't prepare for, so it has definitely been a great lesson in patience and perseverance. I've read other blogs where it didn't happen on the first try and found a lot of comfort and reassurance from those, especially seeing the amazing positive outcomes that have resulted. It reminds me that it's not always us who get to call the shots. 

Janelle and I had a good talk yesterday, and we’re both looking forward to moving ahead. We’re down, but definitely not out! We still have 3 embryos frozen, and maybe it was just one of those little ones that was meant to be. 

I spoke with the co-ordinator of the clinic yesterday, and our new plan is:
  1. Stop all meds.                      - Hooray!
  2. Wait for period                    - meh....
  3. Restart the process              - Here we go again...ready to bring it on! :)
The good news is, she said that my period should be starting within a few days rather than a full 4 or more weeks, so the waiting time won't be as long. We were definitely excited about that!

After all the news and events yesterday I felt a little preoccupied, thinking of everything we've done and the road still ahead. Unfortunately sleep did not come easy as I tried to get ready for my night. Sometimes it's hard to quiet your mind and I only managed about a 20 minute nap before work, (mid-day) and then just lied there the rest of the time awake. My shift is from 7 pm till 7 am and by 9 pm I felt ready for bed. I took advantage of not being pregnant, and guzzled copious amounts of coffee and then finished off my shift off with a flu shot. 

And now it's time for round 2...

Let's get knocked up!

13 October 2012

Confessions from the 2 week wait

- by Kim

It's been 8 days since we did the embryo transfer.

Most of the time I feel pretty good, both emotionally and physically, but I do have my moments where my thoughts run amuck and I feel like I'm all over the place. One moment, I'm cool as a cuke, and the next I feel disappointed thinking that it may not have worked. I think I overanalyze each little thing as I try to compare how I'm feeling to what I remember from my previous pregnancies. Were my breasts more tender, did I have cramping, was there more fatigue... I'm my own worst enemy, and even though I know it's completely different circumstances, I find it hard not to do it. I try to remind myself that it's still really so early, and not to jump the gun and get too ahead of myself. My mind jumps all over the place, from one minute thinking that the embryo was perfect (will stick) and then the next feeling insecure and wondering about my uterine lining only measuring 6mm (may not stick). 

Ever since we did the transfer, I've tried to think of it as a 50/50 chance of it taking. I think it's because if I think of the stats as being any higher than that, I might get too excited or confident that it will take. (i.e. 60/40....majority rules, right?!?) I'm afraid to let myself think like that, and that the disappointment if it doesn't stick would then be that much harder. 

I remember when we were still in the early stages of this whole process, reading other blogs and seeing so many things on the internet where surrogates would write about how much they wanted it to work and how disappointed they felt after a failed transfer or when things didn't quite go as planned. At the time, I didn't understand it and found it surprising that they would take it so hard. I remember thinking, it's not like it's their baby, why are they so worked up? (I'm sure anyone who's been through the surrogacy process is scoffing right now reading that.) But now I get it. Now I'm in that boat, and I'm just like them. It's a new understanding and it's funny because you don't really know what it's like until you're here. 

There are times that I feel more anxious in this waiting period than I did with my own kids. When we were trying for ours, it was more like: try, cross our fingers and hope; but if it didn't happen on the first try, it wasn't the end of the world as we could just try again next month. It would be a little disappointing if it didn't happen, but not really a biggie. (We were really fortunate that both our girls were conceived within the first two months of trying.) There's so much we've all gone through in this journey just to get to this point. I think of all the energy, effort and cost, as well as the emotional ups and downs to do all of this, and how it's so much more than just counting days on the calendar. It gives me a whole new appreciation for babies conceived with IVF and surrogacy.

And now the big question everyone has been asking me....

Have I peed on a stick?

09 October 2012

Lucky Charms

- by Janelle (IM)

For some reason waiting at this stage in the game has so far seemed easier than when we were working on getting my ovaries producing and Kim's uterus plumping. Maybe it's because I'm still in awe of the transfer, seeing the close-up of the embryo and being amazed by the simplicity and complexity of the whole process at once. It may also have something to do with the lucky charms Kim gave me (she has a matching set):

We will see what the days bring with one week and a few hours to go. Maybe I'll be singing a new tune by this weekend. Speaking of tunes, I listen to "I Will Wait" at least once a day. That and thinking sticky thoughts keeps me smiling and more excited than anxious. I know October 17th will be at our doorstep soon :)

08 October 2012


 ~ by Kim

It seems fitting that we transferred on Thanksgiving weekend.  I feel like we have so much to be grateful this year, and hope to be writing the same next year...with one more seat added to the dinner table. :)

05 October 2012

Transfer complete!

- by Kim

It's done! One little embryo has been transferred into my uterus!

For the detailed oriented: it was a 3-day, 8 cell embryo. And beautiful, I might add.

Janelle flew in last night, which was great. We got to stay up late, catch up and have a couple glasses of wine as we contemplated the future and what the following day might bring.

We got to the clinic for 10:00 the next morning and got ready to go. The clinic was really busy, so we had to wait close to an hour before they were ready for us. I was glad that we were both there, as the time went by quickly, and it stopped me from getting overly anxious. The worse part was my excessively full bladder, and it was getting increasingly difficult to maintain, with them running late. After a couple of ultrasounds to check the fullness of my bladder, I was able to 'let a little out' a few times, which is harder than it sounds. Over the course of that hour, I was able to let out five cups before we started the procedure and still have the full bladder required for the ultrasound. Apparently my bladder is an over achiever.

The procedure itself was quite easy, with only minor discomfort and was comparable to a pap smear, just a little longer in duration. The whole thing was pretty amazing. We got to see the embryo on the screen, which the embryologist described as "beautiful." We got to watch it all happen on the ultrasound screen, from the catheter being inserted, to the embryo being released.

When it was all done, we headed off to the recovery room with instructions to relax, and no talking while the doctor did some acupuncture. Very nice.

Here's some pics from our day:

      Chugging water on the way to the clinic.

    Our view on the way, with hula girl dancing all the way there.

    Looking good in the blue booties.

    Excited and nervous at the same time.

   Almost time...

   Their perfect little embryo.

    Me with Embie on the screen in the background. 

    The bright white strip at the bottom is the catheter going in, and dropping off the embryo.

    First pic! 

    Janelle and first pic of their embryo in utero! 

    Hopeful future mama! 

    Acupuncture afterwards, with a heat lamp over my feet. 
    Wish I had one of these at home! :)

We came back home and had a pretty lazy day, which was heaven. Even got a much overdue nap in! I'm on doctor's orders not to do anything today or tomorrow, and then back to regular life on Sunday. Our official pregnancy test is on October 17th, so now comes the waiting. Not too sure yet if I might accidentally pee on a "stick" before that time. We'll see. 

Thanks everyone for the well wishes and prayers! We're hopeful, and want to stay cautiously optimistic while taking nothing for granted. 

Everything that can be crossed is. Fingers, toes, and sometimes even eyes.  :)

02 October 2012

Transfer booked!

- by Kim

Well, it has been a busy few days!

This past weekend, I worked at the Vancouver Island Baby Fair, which was really amazing. I've been there many times as a patron, but this was the first time that I got to go as an "exhibitor". My cousin Jen has a company that makes organic baby linens and toys, and thanks to a last minute sick call from one of her staff, I got to help her run her booth at the fair. Check out her site, they have some really beautiful things!

Dress Me Up Organic

Talk about full submersion into the world of babies! I think just about every woman there was either pregnant or with a baby. My cousin and I joked that our uterus' were thumping! How could it not when you're jacked up on estrogen!? They had so many cool exhibits to look at, with literally everything you could possibly need for this stage of life. It was really fun to be a part of, and I even found some interesting exhibits for what we're going through.

This weekend, it was also the 2nd birthday of Janelle and Joel's son. Hard to believe how the time has passed. It's been 2 years since the miracle of his birth, and the loss with her hysterectomy. It makes me feel so grateful of where we are today.

Lily also had her first day of soccer, which she loved, so we were pretty happy about that. Her U5 team is called the "L'il Kickers" and they're pretty cute out there on the field. 

And then the big news:

I had another appointment at the fertility clinic on Saturday for another lining check. According to the doctor, my uterus looked "a hell of a lot better!" The ultrasound picture was even better than last time, and he even printed off a copy that I could put on my fridge. My uterine lining was now at 6mm, which was not yet where we'd like it to be, but making good progress. They usually like to see it at 8 mm before transferring. It was enough to keep us in the running to potentially transfer this cycle, and we're now able to see the 'triple stripe' that we need to have before transferring any embryos. It was pretty exciting, and I left feeling hopeful that we might be able to move forward this time. My hormone levels were good, so my estrogen was increased again to see if it would help my lining to get even thicker. We left it with the plan that I would continue on the increased dose, and that if didn't get my lining to where we wanted it to be, and thought it could be even better still, we would wait and try again next cycle. In that regard, it's nice not to have the pressure of time restraints. Now I just had to wait until Tuesday for my next lining check.

Here's the ultrasound picture from the weekend. Even though it's "looking good,"'s still not all that exciting to look at. It's not like there's a baby in there or anything....YET!  :)

This morning I went to the clinic again for another monitoring appointment, and our transfer date has been set!!! 

                                                               PARTY TIME!
                                               When:    October 5, 2012 - 10:15 a.m
                                               Where:   My Uterus
                                               Who:      By invitation only; for a select embryo or two

My uterine lining is still measuring at 6 mm, but the appearance of it was so good that they want to move forward anyway. They told me that the number itself is not everything, and appearance is a big factor as well. Being that I've never had any problems with fertility, and was lucky enough to get pregnant quite easily with both my girls, they said that this measurement might just be my norm, and not to get too hung up on the number. It would be a different story if I had struggled with infertility myself, then they might attribute it to a thin lining, but that it's obviously not the case for us. They said that for all they know, this may very well have been where I was at when our own girls were conceived. The technician told me afterwards, that they've had a lot of 6 mm babies, and we wouldn't be moving forward if they didn't think it was worth it. That the doctor would not risk their embryos if they didn't have a good shot at sticking.

So, now I'm pretty excited and nervous too at the same time. Janelle and I have been on the phone, trying to organize things and make plans for the weekend, and I need to sort out some scheduling with work. I'm booked to work all weekend so that's one thing I need to change. 

My head is still spinning as I process it all. I can't believe it's so close! 

This is my new medication protocol until Friday now. Hard to keep track of them all. 

- Estrace (estrogen) 4mg orally twice a day
- Estrace 2 mg intravaginally at bedtime
- Prometrium (progesterone) 200 mg (2 tabs) intravaginally three times a day
- Prometrium 100 mg orally twice a day
- Doxycycline 100 mg orally twice a day
- Aspirin 81 mg every day
- Prenatal vitamin, along with Vitamin D, E and C once a day

It's amazing at how far we've come, despite how far we still have to go, and it really seems so surreal. 

I think tonight will be a "wine night," as those days are now numbered. 
And I couldn't be happier about it.