And the result of this IVF is…..

We’re not pregnant.

To say we are upset is an understatement. We are in mourning, grieving for the life and parenthood that we have now lost.

We have spent the last 2 days crying. I literally couldn’t get out of bed on Saturday after the first BFN.

That’s it folks! Our family is forever two. We hurt. We hurt so much.

We will never see a baby’s first smile, a baby’s first steps…we will never be called ‘mom’ or ‘mummy’.

We are infertile, not due to biology at this stage, but by virtue of our homosexuality,( lack of readily available sperm), and the fact that we are not wealthy enough to afford the 3.7 attempts it takes on average to secure a live birth from IVF. We feel cheated by the fertility treatment and healthcare system of Ontario. A place were if I was depressed and obese, the government will pay for the expensive surgery to help me get healthy and slim again. A place were if I wanted gender reassignment surgery, the government will fund that too. A place where if I abused my body with heroin or meth, there’s a good chance that I will get government funded treatment too.  But if you’re about to jump off a bridge because you need help conceiving and can’t afford private fertility treatment? Yeah, that’s a “luxury” to our government and you can keep dreaming. No funding or children for you! Can’t afford the $36,000 it would take for 3 attempts? Well clearly that means you were not meant to be a parent then. Hard luck.

Want to adopt internationally? No, you’re gay and international adoption for gay couples has ground to a halt since China, South Korea and Russia all banned same-sex and single applicants. Currently, only Brazil is gay-friendly. And there are waiting lists as tall as the CN tower. You are likely to age out before ever getting matched. Oh, and even if you WERE straight and able to go that route …better make sure you have $35 – $50,000 in that bulging bank account for international adoption fees, too!

Public adoption in Ontario? Sure, if you want to wait on average of 4 years, and accept that you won’t be taking home a baby, but a child aged over 7 years who almost certainly has some kind of traumatic life experience and/or physical or mental disability and acute special needs from a lifetime of abuse/trauma. A child that is old enough to know that despite everything, their heart will probably always be with their birth parents, and not this stranger who walks into their lives 7 years into it.

We feel cheated, angry and alone. The world is very dark and hopeless right now. If I hear of one more straight family member/ friend getting pregnant, my heart may just be irreparable.

Thank you for reading my blog. We hope that your own stories are more happier than ours. Take care, everyone. x

Calm after the storm…or how a wonderful wife can make everything (almost) be ok again.

Guys, I just want to apologize for my rather public breakdown yesterday. I must admit, I felt beyond hopeless.

But today is a brighter, new day. No, the results have not changed. I am still unlikely to be pregnant. I still don’t have any ‘spare’ embryo’s to give this another shot. But I do have a wonderful family already…and having children or not isn’t going to change that.

We have a lovely marriage. If anything, this nasty IVF journey has only served to reiterate that fact. We have been together 13 years this year, married for 9 of them. We haven’t had children up to this point. And we’ve been HAPPY! I know that life without kids maybe hard (especially in the immediate aftermath of a failed all-or-nothing IVF attempt),  but I DO believe that either way, this is a great start to a new life together.

I’ve been thinking of going back to school. Acting is great, but it’s all the downtime in between jobs that leaves you with too much time to dwell on things. I want to start writing again. I want to sculpt and paint again. And we want to get out of this city!

Don’t get me wrong…I do love this city. But now, we both feel we are at a crossroads in life. Lets be bold and take a new path.

So today is 7dp3dt, (or 10 days past ovulation in old money). Still no real symptoms to speak off..although the constipation is still here (starting to get a little worried now…it’s been many days since I’ve had a ‘satisfying’ poop..tmi, sorry). I do have a ‘full’ feeling and a few twinges in my left ovary, but really, I had all that with my failed IUI’s, so can’t attribute that to anything.

I DID have a cracking Progesterone dream last night though! So, in my dream, my wife and I concluded that IVF wasn’t for us anymore, and we should instead put up an ‘advert’ for a man to have an affair with me, just so I could ‘steal’ his sperm! I told my wife of this crazy dream, and she laughed and told me that was a plot in the L Word (apparently Bett and Tina tried the same thing?) It’s been about 7 years since I last saw the L Word, so that gave me a giggle…to think I was rehashing old plotlines in my sleep! But seriously though….it’s not a bad idea, eh??…….

Mind you, I also dreamed last night that I had sex with Billy Idol at a rampant drug-induced orgy…so maybe I should just leave my dreams well alone…and stop watching ‘Intervention’.

We have decided not to POAS until Saturday, which will be 9dp3dt (12 days past ovulation).

Baby-dust and calm hearts to you all. You guys are the best, and I wish I could wave that magic wand and make us all pregnant and happy! x

Bad news…and the longest night with the darkest thoughts…5dp3dt / 6dp3dt

Yesterday, I got the ‘official’ news that none of my remaining 4 embryo’s made it to freezing. The delay in telling me was down to the Family Day weekend break…lovely.  No second, third, fourth or fifth chances for us then. I feel like it’s game over, in every sense.

I already ‘knew’ in my heart that none would survive (considering they were all 4-celled at day 3, where as they should have been 8). No polite positivity from the nurse and Dr could disguise the fact that none of the embryo’s were where they were supposed to be.

I didn’t expect the news to hurt so much….but it did. It hurt like any real loss. Not only a loss of 4 potential lives, but a loss of hope. For another chance. A loss of future dreams.  And I think that only people who have ever done IVF or ICSI will really ever appreciate that.

Not only did the news of the remaining embryo’s demise fill me with sadness ( I think I had a period of around 3 hours  yesterday where I WASN’T balling my eyes out), but it filled me with the awful realization that honestly, my eggs are just fried. As the transfer was of two ‘slower’ growers (6 and 7 cells), it just doesn’t bode well for those transferred either.

In fact, I’ll go as far to say this……..I just KNOW I’m not pregnant.  I just know my body, I know my heart, and unfortunately now, I feel I know my eggs. I am not going to be a birth mother. And I feel so broken. I feel like a failure.

In addition to the hard confirmation that my eggs are crap, I have had no symptoms to suggest a good implantation took place. I felt a few cramps on Day 6 and 7, but reading back on my failed IUI cycles, I had cramps then too. BFN. I have no sore breasts (did have sore bb’s up until the trigger drug left my body, around 3dp3dt. Since then, nothing. I had nightsweats the other night, and leg cramps…but again, I had that in my IUI cycles, which as we know, were BFN.  Bloating gone, no OHSS, nothing. I know if I was to stop the Progesterone now, I would get my period in about 3 to 4 days.

My clinic hasn’t scheduled my beta until 17 days past fertilization! (26th Feb), which I think is pretty absurd. There is no way I’m waiting that long to hear the bad news, so I will start testing from tomorrow (7dp3dt , or the equivalent to 10 days past ovulation in the old fashioned way).  Once I test negative to day 14, I will DEMAND to come in for a blood beta test, just so this horrible, nasty chapter of my life is over for good. And then I’m getting drunk. I’m getting so, damn drunk.

I’m angry! Angry at my body, angry at being so secretly hopeful, angry at being in debt with nothing but heartache to show for it..angry that I have had to be silent about our sadness on Facebook, watching female relatives and friends pop out 8 babies in the last 6 months. Oh, all those beautiful baby photo’s! And the complaints of sleepless nights! How awful for them.  Angry that despite knowing that in all honesty, I probably COULD get pregnant with IVF eventually, but it would take 2 or 3 goes at it (apparently the average is 3 attempts before a birth)..and I’m so fucking angry that because of stupid money, we can’t do it. Money. I hate it with a passion.

And do you know what made me REALLY angry? Yesterday, after I heard about the embryo’s, the ‘Patient Co-ordinator’ (read, the one who tries to drum up business for the clinic) emailed me to say:

“We would like to book your cycle follow-up appointment with Dr. D….for March 5th”

I politely replied that there would be no point, seeing as we can’t afford another cycle so we are not going to benefit from a deconstruction of this failed cycle. And do you know what she replied back?

“Ok, sorry to hear that. I’ll pass your remarks to Dr. D.”

And that was it. No aftercare, no tact…nothing. It was TOTALLY  a business call to try and secure another $14,000 out of us for another cycle. Fuck them. This isn’t about patient care…it’s about making as much freakin’ money out of desperate women as possible. She dropped me like a red-hot potato once I said the money-well had run dry. Is that the norm? Do us cash-cows get abandoned like that all over North America? Are women EVER offered any psychological counseling or therapy to deal with the devastation of a final negative? Because if you haven’t gathered by now, I feel like I’ve now got some major new mental baggage to deal with, once the IVF drugs have all left my body for good.

I’m sorry for being so negative. Actually…no. Fuck that. I’m not sorry. I feel SORRY for myself and my wonderful wife, who so deserves to be a mother, but now, thanks to me leaving this TTC thing too late, will never be. Silly me for wanting to wait until we were settled, stable with 9 years of a great marriage behind us and with resources to look after a child! I should have done it like my younger sister, and got pregnant at 17 whilst still living at home with mum and dad.

Last night, I had what I can only think was an anxiety attack in bed. My chest tightened up so much, I physically couldn’t breathe. I had a pain in the ‘heart’ itself. I just had to take slow, full breaths to ease the tightness. I finally got to sleep after listening to a maternity meditation mp3, silently willing my embies to still be alive… but was woken up by something again at 2.30am, and that was it. I didn’t get back to sleep at all. I just lay in bed, silently weeping and entertaining the darkest, hopeless thoughts. It’s 8.26am now as I write this, and again, I can’t stop crying for what might have been. I know some of you will say, “But you haven’t tested yet!”…I can’t explain it. But I just know, and I want this pain to end.

The only good in my world right now is my wife. I love you, babygirl. Without you, the world and all it’s injustice can just fuck right off. I know…I’m just not a nice person today.  Just had to get it out.

TMI alert…Feeling the bloat…Constipation or the dreaded OHSS ? (4 days past 3 day transfer)

Ladies in the know….Need to seek your knowledge and experience on this one..

So, it’s Day 4 past 3 Day Transfer…and 2 nights ago (2dp3dt), I experienced the most uncomfortable stomach bloat so far. It got to the point where I looked 5 months preggers, and I felt so uncomfortably ‘full’ that I couldn’t eat at all..(and I LOVE my food, so something was deffinately up!).  My sides felt like they were ‘tight’, and standing up was the only way I could get some temporary relief.

Now, I’ve mentioned my constipation issues before in this cycle…I’ve ‘gone’ a few times in the last 3 days, but no-where near enough, I feel (there’s the TMI for you). I’m taking fiber supplements and drinking prune juice to try and get things moving more freely.

Although the next day I felt marginally better in the morning, this belly bloating came back last night, around 5pm..with a vengeance. Again I couldn’t eat, and again I looked 5 months (or more) pregnant. The discomfort was enough that I started Googling Ovarian Hyper Stimulation Syndrome, and all the symptoms seemed to match what I was experiencing. So my lovely wife went out and bought the Gatorade, and I’ve been drinking it as much as possible, and just waiting for the bloat to return tonight.

What do you think? Is this just constipation related due to the Progesterone? Or could it be mild/moderate OHSS? My clinic is closed today for Family Day (how ironic) so I can’t ask them, and I have a work interview tomorrow that I am freaking out about…I honestly don’t think I can fit into ANY of my smart clothes!

Also, I read that OHSS usually starts at egg retrival…well, that didn’t happen. It didn’t start until 2 days past the 3 day transfer. I hear that late onset OHSS COULD be a positve sign of pregancy, but that doesn’t start until the embryo is implanted and releasing HCG, so I sadly don’t think that’s related either. I would gladly take the bloat/constipation/trip to hosptial to have fluids drained if it was pregnancy related!  I weighed myself, and I seem to have put on about 12 pounds over this cycle, but unknown if that has all been in the last week or not. I will weigh myself again tonight.

So ladies, any thoughts on this subject? Poop…or OHSS?!?!

Regarding other symptoms…no sore boobies, minimal cramping/aching, and just a sore ass from the Progesterone shots. So nothing to get excited about. Although I did have a cracking Progresterone dream last night (my first of this cycle), where I went to watch Amy Winehouse perform….in a massive building, in a GRAVE YARD! Please tell me this is just a f#@ked up interpretation of my fear of an unsuccessful cycle, coupled with the fact that I’m stabbing myself with needles every day! (like good ol’ Amy did before her demise…I used to joke that I could never be a heroin addict as I was so deathly afraid of needles..well, not so much now!)

On that happy note, I’m off to have a Gatorade..no narcotics included.

Two on board…for now? (Day 1 after Fresh 3 day embryo transfer)…

Ladies (and gents?)…sorry for being a bit quiet over the last few days…So much has gone on, and I really needed a bit of time to get my head around some of it. Not sure if I HAVE got my head around it, judging by the way I keep bursting into tears today, but I thought writing a blog entry might clear some of this fuzziness.

So…As you will recall, my day 2 embryo report showed that six embryo’s had fertilized, and all six were in the 2-4 cell range (normal). Yesterday was our 3 Day Transfer date. We arrived at the clinic nice and early (silly really, as I had to have a full bladder and I was pretty much in agony by the time we got into the operating room), and eagerly awaited our Day 3 embryo report before the transfer.

This is how the final report went: (Note: Our clinic grades embryos based on cell number and fragmentation. Grade 1 is the ever-elusive ‘perfect’ embryo with nothing at all wrong with it. Grade 4 is the worst case, with little chance of implantation due to fragmentation/slow/stalled growth).

” All embryo’s are still technically alive…although 4 of the 6 appear to have stalled growth at 4 cells, and are graded 3’s. The other two embryo’s are a 6-celled grade 2 (little to no fragmentation), and a 7-celled grade 2 (little to no fragmentation). The 4-celled are unlikely to survive freezing. The other two are suitable for day three transfer.”

So there you have it. From 6, to 2. And those 2 are still slightly below average, if you go by Dr. Google (a 3 day embryo should ideally be at the 8-celled stage). Now, the nurses and Dr. D were all still professionally positive, but I just felt like it was another kick in the stomach. To have NO frosties (frozen embryos) available to us after this fresh attempt is just totally underscoring the finality of this whole process. God/The Universe is shouting loud and clear..

The actual transfer was relatively painless, although as I write this, I do feel some discomfort and mild, period style cramping/tummy ache. We were able to watch the transfer on the TV screen in the OR, and I must admit, when I saw that little ‘flash’ as the embryo’s left the catheter and arrived in my womb, I burst into tears. I looked over to see my beautiful wife also had tears streaming down her face. Tears of happiness that they, our ‘babies’ were ‘home’…tears of fear that these two potential boys or girls may not be strong enough to survive our desperate last chance attempt at parenthood.

Now here’s something that I don’t know if I liked, or not….When the transfer was over, without asking, the Sonographer gave me a little photograph of my embroyo’s in my womb..just at the ‘flash’ of transfer moment. Here it is….OurEmbiesOf course, if our embryo’s are odds-beating survivors (they now have around a 30-35% chance of success), then this photo will be wonderful…our first ever child photograph! BUT…if this doesn’t work out, then I have this constant reminder of what could have been. You see, even at this stage of development, they are already assigned a gender. I could be looking at my potential daughter, or son…or twin boys/twin girls/both! Having this photo if we fail on this journey may be heartbreaking. As it is, with the two week wait just starting, all I can do is stare at this photo and wish with all my heart and soul that this becomes a happy momento, and not a memorial piece. Because we just don’t have any more credit/loan resources to do another round of IVF, and we certainly don’t have parents that can help us out either. So, this is it. Really, all or nothing.

Of course, there ARE those who beat the odds…and many of them are running around nursery school playgrounds as we speak. But I’m just not feeling that lucky. Maybe it’s the progesterone speaking/tormenting me with it’s usual emotional crap? Maybe it’s my A-type personality that just can’t bloody leave Google alone? Maybe it’s because I’m an evidential realist.

Speaking of progesterone…those injections are starting to really hurt! I’m bruised/tender all over, and every time I ‘accidently’ roll into either side in the night, I’m woken up with the pain. I’m also constipated as hell, and still bloated to the point where I can’t put any jeans on. I have been living in the same two pairs of running pants for what feels like weeks.

I haven’t left the house since returning from the transfer yesterday. I know bed-rest isn’t proscribed by all doctors, but right now, I just want to bury my head in my pillow, cry and sleep for 2 weeks anyway.

In other news…my sister gave birth this morning, after a very long but natural labor. Baby Michael came into this word weighing an eye-watering 9 pounds 7 ounces! My sister and her partner both carry the Cystic Fibrosis gene…so now they have the agonizing wait to see if he contracted the genetic, life-shortening condition.

I stopped my pity party long enough to say a little prayer for the wee man…CF is an awful, evil thing. I hate being so self-centred sometimes, and perhaps need reminding how lucky I really am.

Day 2 Fertilization Report……A Quickie

“You still have 6 embryos as of writing. All six are within the 2-4 cell stage, which is where they are meant to be!”.

That was my message from the clinic, left around 2 hours ago.

I’m CAUTIOUSLY happy! (Can’t help but remember that SO much can happen in 24 hours). Just hold on, embies… You should be coming home tomorrow!

In other news….my pregnant (and ready to pop Sister) is actually having her labor induced tomorrow! So both of us will be in clinics…her to have her baby born, me to have my ‘babies’ returned to me! (And, here’s the weird thing…I was born on a Thursday, and ALL 3 of my sister’s children have been born on Thursdays!) So let’s hope tomorrow (Thursday) is a lucky one for all of us.

Day 1 Fertilization Report…From 8 to….

Six.

Here’s the actual first day report that I got (by e.mail, no less…not impressed by that! I would rather had a phone-call..)

“From the eight eggs retrieved yesterday, all eight were mature. As of today, six have fertilized.”

So…slightly sad that we have already lost 25% of our retrieved eggs, but I have read that that is actually quite normal. I’m mentally trying to prepare myself for losing one or two more…I just PRAY that we have at least 4 survivors out of all this. Please hang on in there, little embies. Your mummies really want to take you home as babies!

As for egg retrieval recovery…I know it’s only 36 hours since surgery, but I was hoping I’d feel a lot better today. But I’m still very sore upon moving/sneezing etc. I’m slightly worried about doing a transfer in 36 hours time…what if my body is still feeling the trauma of EC? Will that hamper the transfer success? I am peeing fine, though, which is apparently a good sign. I spent most of today in bed as well. I’m supposed to return to work tomorrow in the night job, but it involves a lot of stair climbing and being on my feet for six hours, and right now, I don’t feel like that would be a good idea. But I hate calling in sick to work! (especially as they don’t know about this whole IVF thing). I hate lying/making up excuses…

Ah, the uncertainty of the next few days is not nice at all! I just hope those embies divide and grow and are ‘keepers’.

On a last night…thinking of MamaetMaman as she heads into her transfer tomorrow..fingers and toes crossed for you!