First Trimester Screening

Yesterday was a pretty busy day as we’d scheduled three major pregnancy-related things in one day. We both took the day off work and settled in for the gauntlet. First up was my pregnancy physical with my family doctor. I like her so much, she’s caring but not in an overly soppy way, she always takes the time to answer all of our questions and never seems annoyed when we have a lot. She’s also always right on time which makes her the perfect doctor as far as I’m concerned.

I asked her for a prescription for my nausea, but I’m not sure if I’ll fill it. I’m just worried because we are flying next Friday and nausea plus a flight seems like the worst combination. She said it’s okay for me to take regular Gravol for the flight if I need it, but if I want to take something regularly for the nausea it’s safer to take the Diclectin Rx. I’m not sure whether I will take it regularly, I’m really hoping that the constant nausea will go away. According to the doctor’s scales my weight stayed the same, but that’s with clothes and after breakfast etc. On my own scales at home at the same time and before eating, I’ve actually lost about 2.6 lbs, I guess just because I can’t eat that much and a lot of things make me nauseous. This is okay – because of my starting weight I’m not supposed to gain too much if I can avoid it, anyway, and I was worried that I would.

From the moment you get pregnant it seems like there’s The Forces That Be (doctors, mostly) that want you to feel awful about any choice you make. I didn’t even read the super judgemental books but it’s like tl;dr: you were fat before you got pregnant and therefore you have fucked over your future child, way to go. It makes me mad. I also think BMI is a lot of bullshit. Anyway. So the visit with the doctor was fine, just like a regular physical with pap smear and all that. After it was over we had some time to kill and I was feeling nauseous/hungry (if I get too hungry it leads to nausea so I have to eat small things often) so we went to a coffee shop and hung out for awhile. At around 9:50 I drank two glasses of water like they had told me to do an hour before my ultrasound. Remember this, it becomes important later.

We left the coffee shop and headed to the hospital. The maternal fetal medicine centre is there in a building I hadn’t been in before. We didn’t have any trouble finding it and parked pretty easily. We were there early because they’d told me my appointment was at 11:00 and to come 15 minutes early to do paperwork, etc. I filled out the paperwork, including a separate sheet indicating that I was eligible for a study about pre-eclampsia diagnosis. I was getting a bit uncomfortable with needing to pee at this point so I was glad for the distraction when the study coordinator came out and explained what the study was, what it would entail for me if I chose to take part. The biggest thing was a blood sample, I told her that my veins are notoriously awful and I’d be okay with doing the study if she was good at taking blood. She said “I think I can do it!” so we went back with her to a small room where she weighed and measured me, took my blood (from a vein near the side of my wrist, which is a new one for me and I don’t really like it mostly because it was quite sore after. The poke itself was fine and worked on the first try). Then they had to take my blood pressure three times while I sat at rest and ask me some questions. After this was all done we went back to the waiting room where I sat trying not to fidget because I REALLY needed to pee.

There was a family with a kid sitting behind us, maybe six or seven, and he had a drink that was empty that he kept sucking on the straw from. SLURP. SLURP. Then his mom would take him to the water cooler and he’d refill it. GLUG GLUG GLUG. And one of the toys in the play area was sort of a bunch of wooden beads I guess (I didn’t look) or maybe a RAIN STICK because it was making this constant sound like rain and V was trying not to laugh because my face was all MURDER and having to pee badly is the worst. I finally went up to the receptionist and told her I overdid it with the water and she said I could to the bathroom with one of the dixie cups, no problem.

So here’s where this story gets wacky. The ladies’ room is over by the elevators, outside the clinic itself. I go there. It’s completely silent, there’s nobody in there. I pull at one of the stall doors and it won’t open. I pull harder, say “Hello?” (Maybe there really is someone in there??) Nobody answers. It’s empty. But it’s been LOCKED FROM THE INSIDE. I try the stall next to it and it’s the same fucking thing. So here I am, nearly peeing myself and clutching my dixie cup while hulking out on this bathroom door like “IS THIS SOME KIND OF SICK JOKE?!” I considered crawling under the floor but by gosh I still have some dignity left. After a moment’s consideration I dash out into the hallway and across the way to the men’s room. If there’s a man in there, well – that will suck, but there probably isn’t. If one comes in, I will apologize and tell him there was a problem with the ladies’ room. Or hide in the stall until he leaves, whichever.

Fortunately there are no men there and none come in and the crisis is averted. I go back to the waiting room somewhat more comfortable and I’m telling V what happened and he’s shaking with laughter because why do these things always happen to me? and he says I should probably tell the reception desk about the problem with the washroom. I go up to tell them and the lady hops up right away as if to help me and I realize she thinks I was unable to go to the bathroom and I tell them both “Oh no, I went to the men’s room, I am pregnant and I needed to pee NOW,” haha. They both laugh and one goes to figure out what’s going on. I think probably a mischievous child crawled under both stalls and just locked them from the inside before crawling out again which is NOT a good practical joke from my perspective.

Finally, mercifully they call my name to go back for the actual ultrasound portion of the day. It’s weird, I feel like I should have been more emotional (or that some people maybe cry?) at this point but I didn’t. I was so relieved when she zeroed in and we could see the baby shape in there. She immediately measured its heartbeat as well and that was another good moment. It was a healthy 168 bpm. She took some other images of P3 rolling around in there (I think at one point he/she may have HICCUPED because it bounced around in there, which was so weird/cool). She was having a hard time seeing everything properly though because my bladder was too full (gawd) so she had me go and pee some more. There was ultrasound goo everywhere. After this she could see a bit better. She showed us the brain, bladder, little arms/legs and took a side-shot for crown to rump measurements. Then the important NT portion of the scan where she actually measured the fluid at the back of the baby’s neck. It was 1.4 mm which is right in the normal range for this stage of development. V says at this point he started to relax a lot because the results seemed very good. I thought it seemed good too but I don’t know if relax is in my vocabulary anymore, haha.

At this point, our original tech left and another one came in to do the ultrasound measurements they needed for the pre-eclampsia study. She needed to zero in on my uterine arteries, which was weird. She explained that we’d hear the sound of a heartbeat but it wasn’t the baby’s heartbeat, it’s mine. She had trouble getting a good result from the right artery so it involved a lot of re-tries and pushing. About halfway through this I started to regret signing up for the study because it was hurting, but I’m okay with it now. It was just a bit of discomfort and hopefully the results will help bring a good diagnostic tool here to help other women in the future. Fortunately the left artery was a lot easier and we were finished.

Here’s where things go wonky again. A different tech came to take us to a small room. We knew this was going to happen, everyone had warned us “don’t freak out, it’s just what they do, they’ll come talk to you about your results.” The room was freezing, the thermostat on the wall said 22 degrees C but that is a damn lie, it was at least 17 in there or colder. I huddled under my winter jacket like a blanket for warmth. We were talking and just trying to stay casual and calm but we were waiting a really long time. I’m embarrassed now that we didn’t go out to find someone, I just thought that’s how long it took while they figured out the results! We waited probably over a half hour when finally a nurse came into the room. She goes “You’re not supposed to be here!” and I asked her did she mean, we were in the wrong room? “No, due to technical problems we’re having today you’re not going to be able to get your results.” My heart sank. The results were the WHOLE POINT of doing all of this, this was supposed to be the day we found out everything is probably fine. We’d be able to tell more people and finally maybe also relax. She apologized profusely, said we should never have been put in the room because the techs should know they don’t have results for anyone that day, and encouraged us to fill out a comment card to complain. I did as she suggested, and she was very nice and apologetic, but still it was hugely disappointing.

We left our small meat locker room and went out the waiting room again to pick up a print of our ultrasound photo. I’d told them I wanted to the CD of images too (for an extra $10) but they didn’t have it ready. As the receptionist worked on it, she called me up again to tell me that she didn’t think it was worth it because the images were all so blurry. Even the one they printed for me is really blurry – it was another letdown. Maybe I should have insisted. (Secretly I think they should’ve given it to me for free regardless considering how they’d messed up and wasted our time, but…) Anyway, we didn’t get the CD. I know there’ll be other (hopefully better) images later on but it’s a bit sad that none of them are any good.

We left and went out for lunch, which wasn’t great for poor V because I spilled a completely full glass of water (I’m not usually clumsy?!) and it went ALL over him. Not a drop touched me, it all sluiced onto his side of the table and spilled into his lap and even in his shoes, haha. We went to go look at cribs because my dad insists he’s buying one for us this week when he visits, and then we went home. I had a much-needed nap, and woke up in time to make myself presentable to meet our doula that was coming over for an interview. I told you we did EVERYTHING in one day!

I really liked the doula and V did, too. We’re thinking we will hire her. By some bizarre coincidence, she lives IN our suburb a few streets away from us. This is very convenient for two reasons, because we’ll hire her as both a birth and post partum doula. She’ll come over for a certain number of hours after the baby is born to help with things like breastfeeding support, laundry, some tidying or even meal prep and all of these things sound amazing to me.

So that was a good end to the day. We’re now waiting for our first trimester screening results to arrive by mail. I hope they come by tomorrow, the nurse said that they should. It’d be nice if I could relax a bit by the weekend. Saturday is our eleventh anniversary! We’re…not sure what we’re doing, since I can never seem to tell whether a meal will make me sick or not, we’d like to go out for supper but it’s a risky venture.

FET #2

I haven’t written here much because the long wait between FET #1 and #2 left me with not much to say! After our FET finished with a negative result in February, we weren’t offered treatment again until sometime in May. Well, technically we were offered it sooner but by the time they called it was too late to start birth control pills that month and so we had to wait another month. I was really frustrated, but adopted a “grit your teeth and deal with what you can’t change” attitude.

So I started taking Suprefact again on June 3rd. The actual FET itself was a rollercoaster. Again, there were concerns about my lining. We ended up having to supplement my Estrace dosage (8 mg/day) with additional estrogen in the form of estrogen patches. The clinic wanted me to do estrogen pessaries and I refused after my last experience. The pharmacist explained to me that because estrogen is absorbed differently this way, some people don’t tolerate it well because it causes major spikes. That’s exactly what happened with the last FET. I took it and then when I woke up the next morning (it had been absorbed) I was so dizzy that I ended up losing my breakfast. No, thank you!

The estrogen patches are much better. You change them every three days and can otherwise mostly forget about them. Tip: baby oil works really well to remove the adhesive residue when you change the patches! I should also mention here that overall I felt much better throughout this cycle physically. Prior to the start of the FET, I had been working out 4-5 days a week and had swapped my normal breakfast out for a green smoothie every morning. Regardless of any impact on the outcome of the FET itself, the working out gave me a place to channel my emotions and kept me on an even keel. V even said that I seemed emotionally much tougher and less volatile this time around. The smoothies helped keep up my energy. Let me know if you want some green smoothie recipes, I’ve made dozens of them over the past few months!

Anyway, the date of our embryo transfer kept being pushed back because they wanted my lining to be thicker. At the first ultrasound, it was 0.7 which is the bare minimum, they prefer it to be at least 0.8. The next time we went back, it was 0.76 which was really frustrating. I thought for sure it’d be 0.8 by then, but it still wasn’t. We talked it over with the RE doing the ultrasound. I asked him if it was a bad idea to do the transfer, and if we’d be wasting precious embryos doing it. He has this gentle Irish accent and he assured me, “No, you know what they say about spreading seed on rocky soil – the soil isn’t rocky.” I had to laugh later, I know he meant to be reassuring but it was so funny. Sir, you are talking about my uterus. He said I did have the option to stop the cycle and try again, but there was no guarantee that I’d respond any differently to the medications in a subsequent cycle.

I’d already been snorting Suprefact for a full month at this point. The lining still had the “trilaminar” appearance that is very important. We decided to proceed as planned. The thaw date was still pushed back some because of dates and holidays (Canada Day, I think) so I’d still have some more time to respond to the medication. They’d thaw the remaining five zygotes in about a week or so and then they’d see how they grew.

Thaw day came and I was actually pretty calm. I knew the clinic would report back to me each day to tell us how the embryos were doing. All five of them survived the thaw, which was better than last time, when 1/6 didn’t make it. Unfortunately, they were growing “slowly,” or at least more slowly than they’d wanted them to. I thought it’d probably be okay. We had a very good day 5 blastocyst last time, and three more embryos from that batch of six had gone on to become blastocysts on day 6 (and one lone day 7). This time, all 5 were growing but just slower than you’d expect.

The day before the scheduled transfer day, I was a wreck. The embryologist called again to say that the embryos were still behind. I was so afraid that none would be worth transferring and that we’d lose them all and have nothing. I wondered if we should’ve transferred on day 3 so at least we’d have had a chance. It was a pretty rough day.

The next day was the actual transfer. V took the call about the embryos. The embryologists had one “early blastocyst” that hadn’t expanded quite as much as they might have liked and another that was a little behind that one. They were recommending that we transfer two instead of one. This really ran counter to everything they’d said up until that point about single embryo transfer, risk of multiples, etc. It was really hard to be optimistic. I thought how dismal it was that this cycle seemed to have less chance of success than the previous cycle with a great day 5 blastocyst. It was really demoralizing.


We showed up early again along with my acupuncturist. I let V choose my “lucky socks” that morning, because I chose them for the last FET and obviously they weren’t very lucky. I made some rookie mistakes – the first one was drinking too much water. The clinic tells you to drink 2-3 glasses of water about an hour prior to the procedure. Well – we’re past TMI here, right? I don’t have a big bladder. I drank the water I was supposed to drink and within twenty minutes I was hopping and trying not to writhe in my chair. They still hadn’t called us back into the procedure area. At V’s urging I finally went back on my own and told the nurse at the desk that I had kiiiiind of overdone it with the water. She gave me a cup to pee in and told me how much I could pee. This happened two more times before the embryo transfer, haha. Right before we went in for the transfer the nurse asked if I was doing okay and did I have to pee very badly, asked to feel my bladder and said yes, you can go again. I could have hugged her.

When we were actually in the OR, she showed V my bladder on the screen and said “It’s still so full! It’s like a black hole!” Yep, that’s me. The embryologist brought out the photo of our two little embryos, and contrary to what I was expecting given their “slowness” she said “Actually they look really nice!” It’s always good to get compliments. They showed us the embryos in the petri dish along with our last name to confirm that they were ours, and even zoomed in so that we could see them – two teeny specks. They made me think of Horton Hears A Who.

We had a different doctor for this transfer, and she was really nice. I’d met her before during my IVF cycle but only briefly. She got everything ready and then when they were about to do the transfer the nurse said “Okay now, try not to move.” I was SO COMPLETELY still. After a little while I piped up, “Can I breathe now?” and the nurse and doctor both laughed. I was dead serious about not jostling the catheter or interfering with the transfer in any way! The nurse said “Yes, breathe! We don’t want you to die!” Haha. Some things are worth holding your breath for, I guess.

After the transfer was done the doctor wished us luck and left. The nurse got me positioned comfortably on the bed and left us alone for 10-15 minutes to rest quietly. It’s a weird feeling post-transfer – there are no drugs involved but both times I have felt really dopey and relaxed. I think it’s a post-adrenaline reaction. As much as you try to stay calm and channel your inner zen, after the procedure you can really relax because it’s over and everything is out of your hands.


We went out to the changing rooms and had some more acupuncture done, and then went out for lunch and back home. My post transfer instructions were a mix from my acupuncturist and the clinic. From the clinic: No sex, no sunbathing/hot tubs, no lifting anything heavier than 10 lbs, no swimming, no strenuous activity including vacuuming. From the acupuncturist it was: keep your feet warm, have fresh pineapple core until five days after the transfer, watch funny movies/try to laugh a lot, and go for gentle walks to keep blood flowing.

I’ll admit to you, truthfully, the following two weeks were the hardest part of this whole process. Being unable to do much including the working out I had been doing really affected my mental state. I couldn’t even walk the dog because he’s a 90 lb Labrador Retriever and he has a tendency to pull, sometimes suddenly. I could only go for walks by myself (which breaks his heart) or with V there to hold the leash. I chafed at the restrictions. We’d planned it out really carefully so that V had three days off at the beginning of the week when we’d get our results. We even asked the nurses to change the bloodwork requisition to allow for it to be drawn on July 31st instead of August 1st because the labs were closed for the holiday. They told us they’d call on August 2nd because of our clinic being closed as well. So we’d get the news on Tuesday, V would answer the phone, and have Wednesday to mourn together if it was negative. We’d both decided after the last FET fiasco that we did not want to do a home pregnancy test. No early testing, no false positives or negatives, we would wait for the verdict from the bloodwork.

Well, Monday rolls around and we’re just puttering around. We’d been for my bloodwork the day before. I was really down in the dumps, if I’m being honest. This felt like slow torture, and I hadn’t had any symptoms besides some intermittent cramping. I was so sure it had failed, just like the FET before. I was talking with V about other tests we could have done, possibly considering a different clinic, anything that might change things. We talked like that for awhile and then V decided he wanted to fix some things around the house, and he’d gone upstairs with a pair of dimmer switches to install in the bathrooms. I was downstairs at my computer because I had to help him by turning off the appropriate electrical breaker. The phone rang. We have call display so I saw that it was the clinic and my heart sank. Although we’d planned for V to take this call, I knew he was in the bathroom with no phone. I had to answer it.

I picked up the phone and answered tentatively, my voice shaky. The nurse asked how I was, I said fine, asked how she was automatically. She said she was fine. Then she said, “So, your numbers are slightly low but that’s probably because we had you test a day early…” My brain stuttered to a halt. WHAT? I cut her off. “I’m sorry. Are you saying that my numbers are anything at all?

“Oh,” she says with a little laugh. “Yes, you’re pregnant. Your beta is 206, which is slightly lower than we like to see usually – we like it to be 270, but since it was a day early it’s probably just that. Anyway, we’d like you to go for more bloodwork tomorrow just to make sure it’s high enough.” By this point I was crying but I managed to hold it together on autopilot mostly through the rest of the call, making sure that the requisition would be faxed to our preferred lab. I thanked the nurse and hung up the phone and stared at it, still crying, before my brain slowly remembered that V was upstairs and he still had no idea that any of this had happened. This was the only thought I had – “He doesn’t know. I have to tell him!” I ran up the basement stairs, sobbing and panting, then the upstairs. I came around the corner of our bedroom (still sobbing, haha) and V looked at me from the bathroom, alarmed.

“What’s wrong?!” he said, coming towards me. “They called,” I choked out. “It was positive. I’M PREGNANT.” I wish I could bottle the look of stark disbelief on his face followed by elation. “YOU ARE?” he said. “COME HERE!” and we were hugging and I was crying and I still couldn’t believe this was happening. A minute or so later we heard our neighbours (who are also our good friends) coming home and I went to the window and yelled “HI I JUST FOUND OUT I AM PREGNANT,” because I’m the queen of chill and am super good at secrets. They came over to hug and congratulate us and we talked awhile and it was perfect.

I’ve told more people since then, my small Twitter account and also my parents. After the bloodwork came back good on Wednesday, I felt okay sharing it. The beta was 365, which is in their range between 270 and 1100, apparently. I’d have liked it to be higher but it’s going up enough that I’m trying not to worry. I know it’s early to be telling people but it’s a choice we’ve made that we would like the support and happiness of this moment, whatever the next moments might bring. I am holding out hope that this really is our time and that the baby will be okay and everything will go smoothly. I am only 5 weeks pregnant today. We have an early ultrasound on August 19th and that will be the most important part in these early days. So whatever you believe in – good thoughts, various deities, crossing your fingers, please do it and hope with me. It’s so surreal. After five years of this I didn’t even think this was possible.


Believe it!


What’s funny is that some odd/coincidental/superstitious stuff happened beforehand, let me tell you about it. As the FET was beginning, I found $75 on the ground while walking the dog. It was a conundrum for me, ethically. There was nobody nearby who could have dropped it, and it was too small an amount for the police to take. I didn’t feel right keeping it because it wasn’t mine. We decided to donate the money, so I donated it (along with another $25 to make it an even $100) to the Generations of Hope fund. They help couples who can’t afford IVF treatment.

Next, the day before the transfer we went out for Chinese food and we both got fortunes that seemed prophetic. Mine said “Tomorrow is a good day for trying something new.” I can’t remember what his said and he can’t find it, but it was in a similar vein. V chose these retro gamer socks to wear on the FET transfer day, saying that being a gamer has been the luckiest thing for us both after all (we met playing Ultima Online about a billion years ago). Come to think of it, gaming socks are also relevant to our WoW guild, Business Time. “When I’m down to just my socks, you know what time it is!” Haha.

We went out Pokemon hunting during the long two week wait, which I thought was appropriate. My gentle walking was also video gaming! At one point we went to a new park we’d never been to before, and I said “I want to go down this path, here.” We rounded the corner and there was a big sign – “BP Birthplace Forest,” established in 2007 to celebrate the city’s newborns. We exchanged a look – I didn’t even know that we HAD a “birthplace forest.” It turns out there are a number of them for different years around the city, but still…It was weird that we ended up there.

Finally, the due date is April 7th. This is V’s late father’s birthday, so it’s a day of particular significance for him and it seems awfully coincidental to me that it would be the due day. Just some funny stuff, is all. Anyway, one footnote – since we put two embryos in, we don’t actually know how many stuck around. I thought surely there could only be one based on my beta numbers (assuming twins would make them a lot higher) but my friend who had twins pointed out that she thought she’d only have one, too. Gulp. So we’ll find that out at the ultrasound for sure. Of course I’ll be happy with whatever I can get, whatever ensures we have any healthy baby at the end of this is what I most want, and what we’ve been struggling for all these years. I’m so happy! Nauseous, anxious, but still happy.



FET #1 – Results

Today I feel like I can write about these things and I’m stalwart enough to do it. Anyway, let’s rip off the band-aid from the outset: the embryo transfer was a bust. I am not pregnant. It’s time for me to woman up and admit that and start moving on, which I am in the process of doing. Writing it out again makes it real and I was really hoping it wasn’t real.

As for the rest of it, people have been very good. My initial response was very strongly one of isolation. I just wanted to be left alone, I stayed away from social media because I knew there would be many good people telling me they were sorry but at that moment contemplating a flood of sympathy felt like too much. I felt broken wide open and vulnerable. We retreated together, V and I. We took the dog for a nice long walk in a park we don’t usually go to on Saturday. We cried (okay, I cried) we yelled, we hugged, we tried to make sense of this in the face of how hopeful we’d felt.

On Friday, I sobbed until my eyes hurt. Saturday, I cried intermittently throughout the day with a few major sobfests. Sunday, I had some trickling tears, and on Monday I didn’t cry at all. Yesterday I had a relapse and cried a bit and I’ve cried today, but I guess that’s all part of this stupid process of hope, dashed hope, grief, hope again. I will say this, I haven’t given up. On the first day I felt hopeless, I felt like “how could I possibly deal with this pain again?” I’ve asked myself that many times over the past four years. Yet somehow today my answer is “Come at me, I’m not finished yet.”

If there’s one thing I believe that infertility has brought me it’s my indefatigable strength in the face of this, honestly a strength I didn’t know I had before. It’s not that I don’t cry or have weakness, but at the end of the day I pick myself up and dust myself off and keep going. I’m proud of that. (I want to make it clear though that it can take just as much or more strength to realize that it’s time to change course or even stop going, so that’s not a knock on anybody’s personal decisions. Just for me, right now, I need to keep moving forward and I’ve been proud of my coping).

Dr. M called us on Friday after the huge mixup with the clinic – I don’t even want to write about it at length because it’ll make me angry again, but suffice to say they didn’t call us with the beta test results. We finally got ahold of them by calling them repeatedly and they claimed to have been trying to call us and left messages, but we didn’t receive the messages and we were waiting by the phone all day, obviously. Dr. M called us to say how sorry he was, but we missed the call because we’d gone out. HE had no problem leaving a message… He tried to call us back again yesterday and we missed those calls, too – it’s been frustrating for that. But finally he was able to reach V today and they talked.

One of the most important things he wanted to say was: Please tell Stacey that she didn’t do anything wrong. He really wanted me to know that it wasn’t my fault. Even if I hadn’t followed their aftercare rules regarding heavy lifting, etc. (I did). He said that even a good looking day 5 blastocyst like this one only has a 50% chance to implant and it’s entirely up to the embryo, not up to the person or anybody else. He’d mostly wanted to talk about what our plan going forward was, and had intended to have an embryologist call us. V asked him about the chances of the day 6 and day 7 embryos that are frozen. He said that day 6 embryos have a lesser chance of implanting – like 30%, maybe. The day 7 embryo is an unknown quantity. Some people get pregnant from them. But there are no statistics about it. V asked if that meant they’d put two (day 6) instead of one and he said yes, exactly. Not more than two. But then V said but wouldn’t it be better to thaw the remaining 5 day 1s and grow them out? And he said yes, that would be his recommendation, and since we are all on the same page there’s no need for the embryologist to call us and he would just give the order that this is what we’ll be doing.

I think he doesn’t know that when I talked to the embryologist he’d said to consider the day 6-7 embryos as “insurance” but know that the next transfer the best course of action would still be to thaw and grow the little ones. So we’ve been on board for that all along, really. Since I called the hotline thing when I got my period we’re on the record for that, but the FET waiting list is a few months long I suppose so I don’t expect we’ll be offered treatment this time. We’re looking at probably starting the process again in April/May depending on how things shake out.

Now that I can write this dry-eyed I’m feeling okay today. I’m still going to take the next few months to try and focus on other things because obsessing about this isn’t healthy and for now all I can do is wait. My current thing is tracking my food and walking again because I’d really like to lose some weight. Four years of hormones and emotional eating combined with disappointment have really taken their toll and I feel it’s something important and good that I can do for myself. V and I are planning a vacation in the summer now that we know what’s going on – our planned trip to Montreal may be delayed until the fall, we’re not sure about that one for right now, but we want to make sure we have some time to ourselves. Now that I know how the whole process goes I think I can approach the next transfer cycle with open eyes. If we can get another good day five blastocyst from the bunch, it’s got a 50% chance just like this one had. Maybe next time we will get lucky. I’m not really a big gambler, though!

FET progress – Day 3

I haven’t written an entry in awhile because this entire process honestly, while taxing and fairly involved (although less so than IVF) is also pretty boring. I can lay it out for you, though!

I took Suprefact (gross nasal spray) every four hours since December 30th. This made me cranky because I had to wake up at 6:30 AM every day to spray this nasty medicine into my nose, even when we were on holidays and also on weekends. I didn’t have very good sleep for most of the month. It’s not 6:30 AM itself, 6:30 AM could be fine, but the last sniff of the previous night had to be at 10:30 PM. I don’t always fall asleep that quickly, so doing the medicine and then immediately sleeping seldom was happening. It was in a weird way more annoying than the stimulation phase of IVF for me, because I was always worrying about alarms and making sure I had medication with me, etc. Suprefact suppresses your own natural hormones in a kind of faux menopause, and it made me bananas. I was really emotional and just not myself.

Mid-month, on the 13th, I started taking Estrace. This helps build up your endometrial lining where you are hopefully going to have an embryo go. I stayed on the Suprefact and the Estrace for about two weeks. I’ll keep taking Estrace now until either pregnancy or a pregnancy test, depending.

This week on Tuesday was my ultrasound to see how my lining was doing, and it was a bit of a bummer because they want 8 mm (I think this may actually be 0.8 but I don’t honestly know, let’s just go with it) and I was at 7.6 mm. The elderly doctor who did the ultrasound (I had a run-in with him before and I’m not a huge fan) said I should come back for another ultrasound on Saturday. He also increased my dose of Estrace but wanted me to do an additional 4 mg as a vaginal suppository to help ensure my lining would be what they wanted. I did that twice on Tuesday, then on Wednesday morning I woke up and was really not okay.

You know when you have that sort of “I’m in bed and feeling drowsy and don’t need to go anywhere I might sleep some more” feeling? I thought I was having that, so I rolled over, except the room kept going when I rolled over. I broke out into a cold sweat and sort of crab-walked my way to the washroom because the dizziness seemed worse when I was lying down. Standing up helped a little, but not much. I managed to make it downstairs and was sitting in my chair in the living room sort of panting, still sweating and groaning because everything wouldn’t stop spinning. I gave it five minutes and then called the clinic pharmacy. This was partly because I reasoned that the side effects might be due to the increased estrogen dosage/different delivery (I’d been taking all my estrogen orally) and also, unlike the nurse line, the pharmacy answers their phone. This turned out to be a good strategy because the pharmacist couldn’t help me but she told nursing I wasn’t okay right away and they called me back in about 5 minutes.

The end result of that conversation was that they didn’t think my estrogen dose increase was really necessary – that a different doctor, on a different day, wouldn’t have prescribed additional medication at all. So to just stop taking it and see if it helped. After I hung up the phone, I dragged my sorry carcass to the washroom and threw up. Although I HATE throwing up with a violent, fiery passion, I felt better after I did and just sort of sat limply in my chair. All I can say is thank goodness for audio books that day, because looking at screens hurt my head, video games were out because of dizziness, reading – same thing.

Anyway, so I was sick. Then the next day I was okay again, at my “normal” Estrace dosage. We went in for the ultrasound on Saturday. Doctor M was there that day doing retrievals and ultrasounds. They were running an hour late (the usual) and when they finally took me into the room he came in and before even saying hi he just says “You were soooo close!” haha. V said that his face and mannerism seemed a bit exasperated, not with us, but he said “I don’t think he would’ve prescribed any extra estrogen.” It was the fastest ultrasound in history. He just goes, “Great, 8.2! You’re good to go!” He wished us good luck and gave us thumbs up and squeezed V’s shoulder on his way out. We were left feeling good and optimistic, and for that alone I’m glad we had to go for another ultrasound so that we could see our own doctor again before we do the actual transfer.

I had to start another medication on Sunday night but it was my last day of Suprefact! The new medication reduces your immune system response and they use it whenever an embryo has been frozen and they’re going to do assisted hatching. That’s the part with the laser. I’m not sure why it’s needed because of the assisted hatching but I just do what they tell me. They apparently don’t thaw embryos on weekends, so even though I was “ready” it wouldn’t be until Monday that they’d actually take our (six) embryos out and start the process of getting them growing again. Cue the process of my quietly freaking out, running through a million scenarios/outcomes in my head and worrying. The nurse on Saturday had told us that “no news is good news” and so they wouldn’t call us about the embryo’s progress.

I’m not going to lie, this bugged me, because a friend also doing IVF at the same clinic had been getting daily updates on her embryos. If it’s something you do with a fresh IVF, why wouldn’t you do it for a frozen transfer when the embryos were frozen at such an early stage? Obviously it’s different if you freeze a day 5 blastocyst – it’s not going to grow any more. You don’t need updates. But I didn’t have a fresh transfer, these weren’t grown. I am anxious about them.

V ended up calling the clinic and spoke to an IVF nurse (she answered the phone, which is a first!) She reassured him that if anything was going wrong with the embryos that they’d definitely call us asap, but she still didn’t promise daily updates. I felt somewhat reassured, in any case, and tried to relax somewhat. I didn’t get any work done at all. Today I had a dentist appointment at 1:00 pm and I was all set to take the train downtown to meet friends for lunch before the appointment. As I was pulling on my gloves, I see that my cell phone screen is lit up (apparently the sound was off). I see the clinic’s number and answer it right away.

It’s Debbie, the embryologist! My heart drops about to my feet – is something wrong with the embryos? They had said they wouldn’t call. She introduces herself and tells me that they thawed our chosen six embryos yesterday. Of the six, five survived and are looking good. They have two cells now – they’ve divided! I felt like I could finally breathe again and had a big smile on my face as I thanked Debbie for calling. She got a bit defensive and said they’ve just been really busy in the lab, and I clarified that no – the nurses had said she WOULDN’T call so I was surprised but so happy to hear from her. She said she likes to call and keep people up to date. She asked if I was taking all my medications and I told her I’d started the Medrol, she said “Good, because we’re going to do the assisted hatching,” and promised she’ll call me tomorrow morning. If anything about the embryos changes and we need to do a day 3 transfer, it’ll be tomorrow afternoon. But she said “the goal is still Friday” and there’s not currently any indication that this should change.

I’m not even sure what else to say, frankly. I am an anxious mess but I’m trying to hold it together. There’s so much hope and money riding on these few microscopic cells. I just want them to do well and make it until Friday. So if you have any good thoughts, positive energy, prayers or anything that fits within your personal beliefs I could sure use them over the next few days. I just need these to be good eggs (har). THEN I’ll ask you to do the same to hope that the transferred one sticks. Please let this be our time, we’ve waited so long for this. I don’t want to pass my 33rd birthday in a month knowing it’ll be the fifth birthday I’ve had when I STILL wasn’t pregnant. I was 28 when we started this long ordeal. I’m just tired of everything. Quietly hopeful, but pretty worn out. I’m starting to wonder if one child might not be plenty, but that’s probably a topic for another entry. I’ll take what I can get, at this point!

(All of the above was written yesterday. Below is today’s update!)

All five of the embryos are still growing today! Three of them look better than the other two. V took the call so he says that Luke, Leia and Rey are doing the best and Finn and Poe are lagging a little behind. The transfer will definitely not be today, and will be Friday on day 5!

Debbie the embryologist called at 7 AM so I was really glad I’d passed my cell phone off to V. He worked from home this morning just in case the transfer was going to be today, but he’s gone to work now. Friday he has the whole day off so that we can just focus on this. I also heard from a nurse later in the morning and confirmed with her that they’ll accommodate my desire to have my acupuncture done at the clinic. This is great news, it will simplify things a lot for all of us. We’ll have to go in earlier, at 8:15 AM (originally she said we could be there for 9:30). They’ll get us a room where we can do the pre-transfer acupuncture. Then I’ll have the transfer, and we can do the post transfer acupuncture while I’m resting. I’m sure my acupuncturist will be interested to see the behind the scenes at the clinic. I might ask if they mind if she watches the screen for the transfer, too. The more the merrier? V said that’s fine by him, but that only he gets to hold my hand, haha.

AHH this is really happening! Keep those good thoughts coming!

Sniffing in the new year

I’m a little behind with my blogging, mostly because nothing really exciting to read about has happened. We had a pretty quiet holiday season. I was due to start my Suprefact medication on December 30th. I’d been taking birth control pills all month as the “first” part of the FET cycle but it was the Suprefact that, in my mind, would really mark the beginning of things.

Suprefact is a nasal spray, and I didn’t know how that was going to be. There are two things about it that are annoying. One, you have to take it five times a day, which works out to every four hours plus an 8 hour stretch for sleeping. We decided on a schedule of 6:30 AM, 10:30 AM, 2:30 PM, 6:30 PM, and 10:30 PM. What this unfortunately meant was that we were having to wake up at 6:30 AM on our vacation. The first couple of nights I hardly slept, waking up every hour because I was afraid I’d miss the alarm we had set. Especially the first night, this was true! Now if I don’t have to get up right away, I can pretty much wake up, spray this stuff into my nose and then go back to sleep. Most of the time.

That’s because the second thing that’s annoying about the Suprefact is that has an awful taste. Just – ugh. Super bitter and putrid. If you inhale too strongly, it goes down your throat immediately. I’ve found that keeping some Mentos nearby helps with this (the fruit ones) but I don’t really want to have candy right before bed! But currently, I’ve got no choice.

These are minor things in the grand scheme – it’s mildly annoying to be on this strict schedule, ducking into the bathroom at a restaurant to snort drugs (haha but it’s TRUE) but hey, at least it’s not injections! As far as side effects, the Suprefact is intended to shut down your body’s own production of hormones. So it’s a sort of false menopause, with all the side effects you’d expect. Hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings/depression, all that fun stuff. I’ve definitely been feeling it, my temper is shorter than usual and I have less patience. I’m grateful that we’re doing this while it’s still winter so that I can go stand at the back door if I have a hot flash, though!

The next step, now that I’ve finished my birth control pills, is waiting for a period. When I get it, I let the clinic know. Then they’ll tell me when to start Estrace (estrogen). The point of this is to build up a healthy, welcoming endometrial lining for an embryo. After awhile of taking that, I’ll go in for a single ultrasound to make sure the lining is greater than 7 mm. If it is, then we do the transfer and I’ll start taking progesterone to support (hopefully) a pregnancy that might result.

Now, as far as the embryos go, we had to decide how many to thaw. This is a little different for us because we had a freeze all cycle, when the embryos were frozen at such a young development stage. There’s no way to know which of those embryos has the potential to develop into a day 5 blastocyst, which is the ideal. The nurse, when she called, asked if I wanted to just let the embryologists decide how many to thaw and I said I’d prefer to talk about it with them.

It was funny; this whole process is such a hurry up and wait thing. For weeks I was just doing my thing, taking the birth control pill, etc. but then the day that they called me to say I was approved for the FET I spoke to a nurse, and then later a pharmacist, and then later the embryologist, all in one day. Needless to say I wasn’t getting much work done!

So the embryologist explained that usually what they like to do for the number of embryos that we have is to thaw about half of them. We have 11, so we had to choose whether to thaw 5 or 6. We decided to thaw six because of some math reason that V was confident about, I don’t really care. We want to maximize our chances as much as possible with this first FET which is really our first true chance with IVF at all. The embryologist said that if a bunch of the six are able to develop into blastocysts, they can refreeze them but they don’t have good statistics regarding success rates using refrozen blastocysts. All embryos will suffer a certain amount of cell loss when they are frozen/thawed and it’s ideal to minimize the number of times that happens, if possible. She said the only thing that they can really guarantee is that I won’t have 11 embryos at the end, which is fair, and I knew that. I’m going to go ahead and say right now that I’ll be really thrilled if three of the six embryos are able to make it to 5 days. If more than that can, I’ll be over the moon, but if 50% are able to that’ll be fantastic as far as I’m concerned.

Both V and I will have to take another round of antibiotics starting at the time I start Estrace (I think). I’ve been on low-dose aspirin and will continue that. If the embryos need assisted embryo hatching, I’ll need to take another drug called Medrol, just for a day or two. I guess it has to do with my immune system. Most embryos that are frozen need assisted hatching because the freezing process hardens the shell. They shoot them with a laser(!) to make a hole and help them hatch better, which let’s be honest, is pretty cool.

If everything goes according to plan, we’ll be transferring in the first week of February. I’m not sure what I’m going to do about handling the results. One downside of being so public and open about this process is, I mean…you guys are going to KNOW when we did the transfer. And you know that I will know whether it worked two weeks later. Many people often wait until after the first trimester to “announce” anything but it’s going to be hard to keep it a secret because of the infertility stuff.

I’ve been having some ambiguous feelings. This is all such a mindfuck. A month from now, I could possibly be pregnant, with the highest chance I’ve ever had. A part of me is so hopeful, and another part is afraid of feeling hopeful and then having those hopes stomped on (again). What if the embryos don’t grow well? (What if NONE of them grow well?) I’m trying to just take it easy instead of driving myself in doubt spirals. I bought this frozen embryo transfer guided meditation/visualization program and I’ve been doing it not daily but every few days. I figure at the very least it can’t hurt. I should also schedule some acupuncture for soon. There’s nothing I can do about how this will play out so I may as well just do my best to relax and even hope, a little. I was looking at some baby clothes but I feel silly admitting that, and I didn’t buy any. It seems like too much of a jinx at this point, and also what would I do with them if I never ended up needing them? It’s better to wait.

Right now it feels like January is going to be a long month, though!

Planning ahead for a FET


I just want to write this all down before I forget! I don’t want to take notes during our meetings with the RE because I’d rather focus on what he’s saying. So forgive me if this is a little jumbly and all over the place, my brain isn’t always really linear. p.s. – I have included a photo of our Christmas tree not because it’s relevant but it makes me happy. You don’t want to see a photo of the clinic, it’s boring!

We were meeting with our RE today as a kind of “post IVF” consult, to discuss the results of the IVF and what is going to happen next. The first thing he did was pull up my file on the computer to take a look at the sheet that he said is “how we look at a patient’s IVF overview.” It’s basically where they wrote down how many follicles, the size of the follicles, and my estrogen levels each day. He said that the 150 Gonal F I had been on is “quite a conservative dose,” but that dosing me higher would’ve been risky, and went on to show us where they’d lowered my dosage, which I know about. I was there! Hah. He said basically that my results overall – the super high estrogen levels (it capped out at 24,000, by the way) and even the way I felt after retrieval are all in keeping with someone that has PCOS like me.

Next we got to the part where we looked at the embryo report in greater detail. I told him that the embryologist had been pretty vague about the quality of the embryos and he admitted that it’s because at this stage they don’t know THAT much about the quality of them. But he showed us an itemized list of each embryo and explained how they can really only guess at the maturity of the eggs at retrieval because the egg itself is inside the egg mass. He said that’s the part that the sperm go through in order to get to the egg and then once fertilization has happened they know a bit more. So of the nineteen eggs that we had, eight of them were actually immature. It’s just that of the eight, some of those were even more immature than the others. Those were all of the ones that did not fertilize. They had some grading/designation for the two types of immature eggs, but I don’t remember it. Of the eggs that were mature, 100% of them fertilized, that’s all eleven. I asked him whether that was a good sign and he said that it should be, and that our main fertility problem is that the eggs and sperm haven’t had a chance to meet yet. But that V’s sperm had done their job and there was no problem with them (good work, sperm).

He admitted that the number of eggs we have does mean we may need to be more conservative about our thawing strategy, and that much of that deciding is done in contact with the embryologists. He said many clinics don’t have their embryologists interact with patients at all, but theirs asked to be in contact with patients so that they could devise the most optimal strategies because they are the ones who see the embryos every day. I’m fine with that, the embryologists seem nice! So one option would be to just thaw ALL the embryos and then culture them out and see how they grow. He said this would be a more automatic choice to do, if we had say – 20 eggs. But we don’t, so the more conservative option might be to only thaw some as-needed. We’re not sure on this point what will be best to do – we’ll obviously have to talk to the embryologists and see what they recommend. If they were to thaw and culture all the eggs, they’d see how many could become day 5 blastocysts, transfer the best one and then just re-freeze the rest. To me, the risk here is what if some of the blastocysts then die when they are thawed later? He said that the reason they freeze day one embryos is because that stage has the best survival rate and the least amount of cell loss. (All eggs frozen/thawed will have some amount of cell loss, but can usually keep growing regardless. Ones that don’t, it’s because they lost too many cells, apparently).

Anyway, I was left with a feeling of wishing I’d managed to have more mature eggs that could be fertilized. I KNOW we could have had more eggs, and he admitted we could’ve had as many as 30(!) but that it would have been too risky for my health in all likelihood. He explained that even the fact that I’m feeling okay now, one month later – was not a guarantee. Even in cycles where an antagonist protocol and antagonist trigger are used, women can still go on to develop severe OHSS and be hospitalized, etc. I told him I am truthfully glad we weren’t going to do a fresh transfer because of how I’d felt after. He said, “Imagine if you had gotten pregnant and then you would’ve felt MUCH worse, honestly!

We asked him to talk about how many embryos they would put back in and I was happy with the explanation. Basically, it breaks down like this. If we had a really good looking blastocyst at day 5, they will put one. At that point, he said, the chances of a successful pregnancy for me are really high – 55% or possibly even higher, depending on the quality of the embryo. Putting in two blastocysts in that scenario does not increase the pregnancy rate, only the twin rate. He said “We want you to have as many babies as you want, but ideally one at a time.” I told him we are not looking to have twins if we have a choice but obviously if we did we would be okay with and deal with it! I said I am not actively seeking twins and he said that many of their patients are. Which I get, honestly. Especially with these treatments being out of pocket, maybe having twins is their only chance to have the kids they want and more power to them. I definitely don’t judge. But the risks of having twins are higher to both the mom and the babies and he told us he’s also had patients who have lost twins that he knew would’ve probably been fine if they’d only had one, and that shit is scary. Nobody should have to deal with that at this point, after having gone through everything else already.

The second situation is if the embryos are not looking as good, if they may not make it to day 5 and need to be transferred earlier, on day 3. In that circumstance, transferring two embryos significantly increases the chances of pregnancy, even if it’s just with a single one of the two embryos. The odds of having twins are still 30% though and obviously pretty high when you’re putting two in, but you take that chance since you have increased chances of a pregnancy which is the ULTIMATE GOAL. (My caps, sorry, I got excited). I was picturing it in big ass Star Wars lettering.

One other thing that’s relevant, we asked him about the success rate of frozen embryo transfers vs fresh because the documentation they sent suggests that frozen is automatically worse than fresh. He explained that this is partly based on availability of the best quality embryos. Basically, a person getting a fresh embryo transfer gets the best embryo(s) from the entire cohort of developed and fertilized embryos. Then, if they do not get pregnant, subsequent FETs use embryos that are not as high quality as that first transfer, so naturally the success rates do go down. But in cases like ours, where all of the embryos have just been frozen, our success chance is as high as a fresh embryo transfer because we still have access to the entirety of the fertilized eggs, including whichever ones will turn out to be the best of those. Subsequent FETs might have lower odds if our best embryos are used, I suppose, about equal with anyone else’s subsequent FETs.

I am going to start birth control pills tomorrow in order to start regulating stuff there. Then I’ll take Suprefact starting on January 2nd, although he didn’t write the Rx for that and I’ll have to wait I suppose until the nurse calls me to confirm starting my FET cycle. Based on the math I have done, I’m looking at a transfer in very early February and I guess I’ll know by the end of February whether I’ll be pregnant before I’m 33 or not. I wish he’d sounded happier about the number of eggs. I mean, it’s a good number but I got the feeling it could be better. Now I’m just generally anxious thinking about all of this. Being back at the clinic doesn’t help, I think. Seeing people being called in who are going to their retrievals – even the way the cautious, slow way that the lady got up from her chair reminded me of how I felt before and after. I know that feeling intimately. Some other people brought their super cute kid and were right up in my face with her and I almost cried. I’ve been doing a lot better lately but just feeling sensitive today, I guess.

I was telling V that honestly that place is just…it brings me down. I hope that everyone who is going there will be able to have the babies that they want. I hope that we will be able to have them, too. There’s just so much anxiety and stress wrapped up in that room. The people having retrievals, getting medications, there for other procedures like IUIs, the invasive exams, the nail biting results as you’re trying to grow your embryos and all. Overall, the interminable waiting. It’s just a roller coaster of stress from start to finish and I’m happy that at this point I mostly feel I’ve come out okay but I’m also aware of the toll it takes. It’s just a slow erosion of your tolerance and emotional and physical health and well-being.

I did feel that our RE was especially sensitive this time about asking how I had been doing and expressing concern for my health and recovery. He said it was understandable that recovery had taken me longer because “You had two cantaloupes in there!” I can laugh at that now but yes, that is basically what I had and also how I felt. All I can do is keep quietly hoping for the future. I said “I just really hope that these eleven embryos have all the potential we need, because I’m not sure I could do all of that again,” and he said “I don’t blame you, and I really hope so, too.”

Looking back on 2015

I was reading back through this blog chronologically last night. It didn’t take very long, because it’s not a very long blog. There were large gaps during which I didn’t write because nothing was happening on the treatment front. It’s a little sad to read my optimism at the start of each new phase of treatment. I know reading my own words that I was so hopeful that acupuncture would be the answer to solving this problem. Then I had really high hopes for a successful IUI cycle.

It’s easy to look back with hindsight and think, “Why did you waste an entire year doing acupuncture?” but the honest truth is, I don’t think that it was a waste. I have a different perspective on many things. I remember when I first started going to therapy for all of this, three years ago, I described how I felt like I was in a race and people were streaming by all around me while I just stood still. I was very focused on the feeling of being left behind.

I can honestly say now that this simile is no longer true for me. I do mark the passage of time, of course – I can’t help that. People who had babies while we struggled with infertility have gone on to have second, and in some cases even third babies. Some of those babies are having birthdays. Three years ago me would have considered each of those reminders a thorn in my side, just another jab to remind me how nothing has changed and we were still standing in one place. But current me doesn’t feel that way.

I notice the births, pregnancies, and birthdays with a sense of rueful amusement, but I’m not in a race with anyone. I’m trying to deliberately cultivate a conviction that we will be parents however that happens – that we will have our children precisely when we’re meant to, because it can’t happen any other way. Please note this is different, to me, than believing that any higher power will provide children IF we are meant to have them. I don’t believe that and I don’t find comfort in it. If I had to find another comparison, if life is a stream, we’re moving along with it just like everyone else, and everyone’s life is different. It’s not a race to the finish line. Honestly, if the finish line is the end of life, I’m not in a hurry to get there, anyway!

The shape of our life together is completely unique to us, just like everyone else’s. I’m going to be ridiculously happy if/when we’re able to get pregnant and have a kiddo. That’s what all this has been about, after all. But I know that it isn’t going to magically solve all of our problems. Infertility is a big part of what we are dealing with, but its far from the entirety of who we are. When we can have a baby we’ll have to learn how to be parents and face all the new challenges that come with that.

I suppose you could say that this whole experience has made me into a much more patient person in some ways. I wouldn’t say I am fundamentally a PATIENT person, but I’m more patient. This year in particular has been pretty intense on the infertility front, but I also feel like we made some significant steps forward. We realized that IUI wasn’t going to work for us and that I am not a great candidate for injectable IUI. We made the decision to have IVF and take that leap of faith, although we won’t know the results of that until 2016. But as V keeps pointing out to me, it’s progress. Even if the end result of all of this is that we decide to stop all fertility treatments and are never successful there, it’s still progress towards whatever the eventual outcome will be, whatever path we will choose.

My infertility has changed me. At one point, I was worried because I felt that infertility had hardened me. Not just in the sense of being tougher, but also less sympathetic to people, even less considerate of others, maybe very focused on myself or very “poor me.” At the end of 2015, I can look back and say that I am proud of everything we’ve accomplished this year.

One of those things was a deliberate and conscious attempt to connect with people rather than disconnect. I’m not saying I’ve been perfect, far from it. But I’ve tried to be kinder. If I find myself thinking something mean or unnecessary, I often won’t say it, or I’ll try to reframe it to be empathic to someone else’s situation. I know that infertility can feel very isolating, and it’s easy to feel that you’re completely alone with this huge thing that you’re carrying. But everyone is carrying things, some are bigger and heavier, some are smaller, but no one has a perfect life free of any struggle.

I guess you could say this has been my year of reaching out, and I’m mostly glad that I did. I want to be the best version of myself, the one who is a good friend, partner, who cares about people and shows it. Infertility had made me lose sight of that person. I was becoming very pessimistic and negative. I think I’ve managed to turn it around, or at least I am on the right track, and while I may not finish this year with a pregnancy or a baby, I’ve still created something really important for myself.