Sunday, March 11, 2007

finding it harder and harder

In the past, long has it been now? 4 years? 5, 6?...there have been ups and downs (well, mostly downs) There have been days and weeks when I thought "I cannot do this anymore". But I did always manage to recover, to move on and to take the next step that would hopefully get me towards an increasingly impossible goal.

This time it feels like the grey clouds overhead are lingering. I've yet to make it through a day without some tears. Maybe I would be less bitter/depressed/cynical/pessimistic if even a small part of the past few years had been bearable. It hasn't been. It's pretty much all been crap.
It seems that at every point if there something that could have gone wrong, it did. If there was a way that things could have gotten worse, they did.

We didn't just do IVF cycles, we did long-distance out of town cycles.
8 times.
With not a single penny of insurance coverage.
I didn't just need FSH. I needed massive doses of hormones for 17+ days.
Which still resulted in 2 cancelled cycles.
With not a single penny of insurance.
I didn't just have endometriosis. I lost an ovary and a tube.
On opposite sides, just to make sure that what remains will be completely useless to me.
We didn't get a single moment of even transient happiness (the possibility of a + beta, the hope that maybe this cycle wasn't also a complete bust). (Is it redundant to say 'moment of transient happiness'. Aren't all moments transient by definition?).
And we didn't go through this while everything else was running smoothly.
We went through this while helping my mom deal with cancer and subsequent surgery/chemo/radiation (cycle 2-3), my brother in-law's suicide (cycle 3), job loss (cycle 4-5).
And while my husband was able to provide a shoulder to cry on for a while he can't really handle it anymore. Any weakness/sadness on my part frightens him. He spirals towards depression or looks for an escape. I end up consoling and comforting him telling him "I'm fine. Everything will be okay". But really I'm thinking "I am not fine. Oh my god, when will things get better? I can't take care of you, I need someone to take care of me. Help. Help."

And all the while, nephews and neices (even a grand-nephew) are born.
Co-workers, neighbours and former friends are effortlessly increasing their broods. They are buying sailboats and taking holidays because they have not injected all their savings into their abdomen or ass. They talk about new volvos, and summer camps, and renting cottages for their families. They show me pictures of newborns and birthday parties. I could show them my overflowing sharps container and pictures of 17 now dead embryos. But that's hardly a conversation starter.

Even among bloggers, I have turned out to be a complete loser in this IVF game.
Some of you (newcomers! upstarts!) were fortunate enough to have a short journey.
Others who started this journey along with me are now mothers to 2 or 3 ('we only transferred one embryo and I gave birth to healthy twins!').
I'm a super infertile among pregnant infertiles.
And before you take me for a complete bitch, YES I am happy that you are not dealing with this shit anymore.
I just want to be you, and not me. Okay?
I would trade places with just about anyone right now.

All this is to say, I don't know what to say or do any more.
I am still out there checking on some of you. But I won't be giving anymore tedious, pathetic updates on my life. Not for the next little while. I am tired.

Lynnette, RobberBarren and MannaBanana- wow!
Drew- you've been through so much. I'm really excited for you and the apeman.
Krista- I'm glad things are progressing well.
Thalia, Mare, Lut C, Sparkle- I know you're not exactly in the home stretch, but I am thinking good thoughts for all of you.
Liana, Millie and Pamplemousse- I wish I had half the strength and resilience you do.
Zanity and Zarqa- where are you? I miss you both.
JennaM- I think of you often and I hope everything is well. I love reading your new blog.
Kay- I'm glad you're out there and appreciate the emails.

And to everyone else (julianna, shazz, aurelia etc.) who has offered advice or a kind word: Thank You.
Really, truly.
It has helped. I do appreciate it.

Thursday, January 04, 2007


When you are wounded and bleeding it's always nice when someone comes along and rubs in some salt. No?

F*ck f*cking coworkers.
I have 3 counterparts in other offices. One is on mat leave. She gave birth on my husbands birthday. The second, let's call him Wally, is expecting any day now and feels compelled to send me emails everyday to remind me of this fact.
And, who gets to takeover the extra workload while these two are off on leave?

Here are excerpts from the 4 emails I received from ass-shat Wally in the past 2 days.

Hi everyone,
As you know I am going to become a Dad in January, so I will be taking a couple of weeks off to celebrate. Nina has agreed to field all questions related to project X which come up during that month....

Hi Mark,
Nina has graciously offered to take over the X Project
while I am off this January with my new family. Please copy her on all correspondence with regards to this project.....

Hi folks,
As you know, Nina is going to be handling the management of Project X for most of January while I’m off being sleep-deprived with my new son. Should this project not be completed prior to my running-away......

Happy New Year J!
I don’t have that information handy. I have copied this email on to Nina. My wife is due to give birth within the next few days so Nina has graciously offered to cover this project. I am confident that she can get you the information you need.

For the record Wally, you insensitive moron, I did NOT 'offer graciously' to do your f@cking work while you are away with your 'new family'. I had no choice.
In the coming weeks don't you dare flood my Inbox with pictures of your newborn.

Not 1 but 6 photos have just arrived by email!
My director called asking i) would I like to coordinate a gift purchase? (I declined) ii) could I put $50 towards the gift? (of course, I would be happy to) and iii) shouldn't we also buy a gift for J who had given birth just 2 weeks ago. It's her second, but we wouldn't want anyone to feel left out. Yeah...right. Then we had a lovely conversation about what the gifts could be, debated the merits of giftcards vs. clothes vs. toys.
How does that stapler in jelly trick work?

Monday, January 01, 2007

hanging on

I am hurt, but I am n0t slain;
I’ll lay me d0wn and bleed a while,
And then 1’ll rise and fight again.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Rhymes with home

On the good days being away from home is a nice distraction.
On the bad days, there seem to be too many women stroking swollen bellies, too many strollers being pushed, too many dark haired, brown eyed tots who look just the way I'd pictured my babies would look.

But I should be grateful, right? To be here in the land of gellato and pizza. To be enjoying sunshine and 18 degree weather instead of shivering in freezing rain and freezing temperatures like my family back home.

And ironically, I have been tagged by Aurelia.

Do you really need to know 5 things about me? Probably not, but here goes.

1. Thanks to my brother, since age 3 I have been missing a piece of one of my appendages. I won't say which one.

2. For the first few years of my life I went to very strict convent schools run and taught by nuns. I am not catholic (not even close) but somehow my parents thought this was a good idea.

3. I can't swim. Well, I can dog paddle very well and I can do a reasonable backstroke. But open water terrifies me. If I was on a boat that capsized 200m from an island I would probably drown.

4. Luckily, my husband is a qualified lifeguard.

5. Without my glasses/contact lenses I probably couldn't find my way from one side of a room to another. I fantasize about having perfect eyesight but I am way too chicken to do something like laser surgery. For sure I would be that 1 in 100,000 person they tell you about who suffered permanent pain/damage as a result of the surgery. I think we're pretty clear on the fact that the probability gods are not on my side (see failed cycles 1 through 8).

caio for now.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

problem solver me

I keep thinking there's something I've missed.
There's some little trick, a little twist and if I could just figure it out I would have a better cycle/better embryos/that elusive second line.

So despite the fact that I've been to 5 clinics and seen god knows how many doctors, I keep thinking that if I read enough journals, scan all the abstracts from scientific meetings, consult with all the specialists (ahem...that's you folks) I will figure IT out.

Because surely there's a reason for everything, right?
And it's just a matter of finding the problem and fixing it. Right? recap.
7 cycles on my own, 2 of which were cancelled.
2 + 3 + 2 + 4 + 3 = 14 embryos altogether.
Not a single one has stuck.
Some have been 'perfect' (beautiful 7 or 8 cells with no fragmentation); others have been grade II but they are never 'bad'.
Lining is always 8mm or more.
HSG shows no uterine abnormalities.
Blocked tube may have been affecting implantation but the tube was been clipped almost a year ago.
2 Laps to remove endometriosis.

1 DE cycle
3 8-cell, grade I embryos.

Every fricken cycle has been negative. The highest beta reading I ever had was 8.

Sparkle mentioned the Miscarriage Management Program. When I searched around for info I found this great website which got me thinking of the possible issues.

Blood Clotting disorders
They have run a thomophilia panel on me (between cycles 6 and 7).
Everything came back normal.
So it's not a clotting thing.

Chromasomal abnormalities
Well..this is tricky.
There are never enough embryos to do PGD on so that's out of the question.
My husband had been checked for a couple of genetic markers and they came back negative.
There's nothing else to go on (ie. family history) so what else would they test for?
How could all 17 embryos to date have been genetically abnormal?
Shouldn't the more recent ones (from younger healthier eggs) have been normal?
My first IVF cycle was at age 34. Could my eggs have been crap (genetically) even then? But how that does explain the DE failure?

the Uterus
2 HSGs, 2 surgeries and a gazillion ultrasounds.
The uterus appears to be fine.
But what about the beta3-integrins?
I've been thinking about this. I'm not convinced...and I"m not even sure how to go about investigating this since the people who test/diagnose this are in the US and I am not.
From what I can gather, the fix is to take Depot Lupron for 3 months. This can resynchronize the expression of the integrins.
Well...I was on Depot Lupron.
Okay it was 2 shots (2 months) not 3. But that should have helped, no?
Does it have to be 3 shots?
Should I ask for 3 in the future anyway, even if I'm not tested for beta-3 integrins. Can't hurt, right?
And, it's supposed to help quiet the endometriosis. Which is why I took it for 2 months in the first place.
Are the hypercoaguability panels checking for uterine function? Is this a standard thing I can ask an RE for?

The Endometriosis
See above.
The Depot Lupron was supposed to help.
Lots of people with endometriosis get pregnant. I've met them and their babies.
So that's not the only issue.

Immune Disorders
I don't know. I really don't know.
If this was the answer wouldn't they be checking immune issues for all women?
Why is the research so equivocal?
Where the hell is the research to back this up anyway?
I don't know if I can deal with the expense of dealing with one of the US groups that does the immune testing.
And it's begining to feel like I'm grasping at straws.
What exactly is the deal with immune testing ?

Other things....
Corticosteroids (prednisone, medrol etc)
Are supposed to help with implantation by suppressing the immune system.
I did take medrol with cycle #7.
Anyone know more about this?

Asprin, vitamins, acupunture, yoga, relaxation etc.
Yes. Did that.
No. Didn't help.

Liana suggested the possibilty of a gestational surrogate.
To that I say aaaaaiiieeeeee
I just can't contemplate that right now.
In Canada is even more impossible than the DE route (shockingly there are not many women out there willing to gestate a baby for 9 months without any compensation). But it's not just that.
I want to be pregnant.
I want to carry a baby and give birth and have stretch marks and gain 50 pounds and complain about my swollen ankles.
I want that.

I am asking for any and all assvice.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Stupid girl

For hoping when I should have known better.
Good news is for others.
Why did I dare to think otherwise?

I hadn't written about it because this time I was trying to do everything differently. Because this time it was different. Different eggs, different clinic, different process....and maybe, just maybe, different results.

Well my secret cycle is over.
My sister was a trooper. I'll never adequately be able to express my feelings of gratitude towards her. She endured the injections, the ultrasounds, the blood draws the retrieval without a single complaint. Her abdomen is bruised. Her arms resemble those of an addict. Her tiny veins are hard to find and required multiple painful jabs. On retrieval day it took 6 tries to hook up the IV.
The eggs were great.
The sperm was great.

They didn't count on my blackhole/toxic tarpit of a uterus to kill these embryos too.
But it did. It has. We confirmed that today.

So...advice on repeat implantation failure anyone?
Cause I am a complete loss.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Does this happen in your office?

People occasionally bring treats to the office to share. Someone has baked cookies or brought Hallowe'en candy and they leave it on a common table for everyone to help themselves. In our office all the women do this, but there's one guy working in our office who has NEVER ever brought anything to share. It doesn't stop him however from helping himself to whatever treats are being offered.
Does he realize that he's always taking but never contributing?
Do he feel piggy or guilty for doing this?
Do he feel entitled?
Do he not think at all?
Why does he think this is acceptable behaviour?
Am I over-reacting?

This is a perfectly nice, considerate guy. Yet it doesn't seem to have occured to him that he is accepting everyone else's hospitality without ever reciprocating.
It's starting to bug me.

Godamnit. He's just taken the last peanut butter cup.
Now I'm really mad.