A to Z of me

Courtesy Misconceptions About Conception, I thought it was about time I shared a bit more about myself.

A. Age: 30. It is my scary age, I know, weird right? I can’t explain it.

B. Bed size: King. I am so spoilt with all that space, sharing a Queen bed when we are travelling becomes a bit uncomfortable! Shameful, I know.

C. Chore you dislike: Isn’t the very definition of a chore something that is disliked? But if I had to choose it would be cleaning the bathrooms. Ugh!

D. Dogs: No thanks! We are cat people. 1 Tabby called Mogo. If I were to pick a dog, I think huskys are beautiful.

E. Essential start to your day: My morning workout, and then breakfast!

F. Favorite color: I am rather fickle with my colour choices. At the moment neutral grey is my fav.

G. Gold or silver: Silver, or white gold.

H. Height: 5’0″.  Actually 5’1/4″, when you are this short you make every inch count!

I. Instruments you play(ed): Not very musically gifted unfortunately, does the recorder in grade school count? I still remember how to play Hot Cross Buns…

J. Job title: Law.yer

K. Kids: Nope. Unless you count my furr-baby Mogo.

L. Live: in a house with AG (husband) and Mogo.

M. Mom’s name: Id rather not say, but her nickname is Baby 🙂

N. Nicknames: Rue.

O. Overnight hospital stays: About 1 month for my bone marrow transplant when I was 12.

P. Pet peeves: The list would be too long…but lets start with hypocrites.

Q. Quote from a movie: Can’t think of one off hand, but my favourite line from TV is: “Bob Loblaw’s Law Blog” from Arrested Development, a sadly underrated, but excellent show.

R. Righty or lefty: Righty.

S. Siblings: I have a younger sister, I, and a younger brother A.

T. Time you wake up: 6:00am for my morning workout.

U. Underwear: I recently discovered the Victoria’s Secret ‘cheeky’ underwear which are soooo comfy and cute! Win win!

V. Vegetables you don’t like: When I was little it would be anything green. Not sure where I got that aversion from, but now I like almost all veggies. Brussel Sprouts are not at the top of my list though. They tend to smell ‘green’…

W. What makes you run late: Other people. Or just sheer stupidity on my part.

X. X-rays you’ve had: I’m pretty sure I am radioactive by now. I have had radiation therapy, x-rays for my back, teeth, hand, oh and also a bone scan which basically involves injecting radio active dye into my blood…

Y. Yummy food you make: I love cooking, but most recently AG and I really enjoy my chicken pot pie. I shall provide the recipe at some point if anyone is interested.

Z. Zoo animal favourites: I always enjoyed dolphins, anything in the water really. I am a water person.

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Egg Factor

eggs

One of the good things about being a bit type-A (oh did I not mention that I am an organization freak?) is that I like to be well informed about things. IF is no exception. So as I undergo my IF self study program I shall attempt to pass on these nuggets of wisdom in the hopes that other type-A’s (and type-B’s) can learn.
Before I discuss today’s topic I must provide this disclaimer: I am not in any way a medical specialist, nor do I work in the medical field. My information comes from Dr. Google and as such, please defer to your own medical expert before relying on the information I link to.

Today’s lesson: Eggs
A rather dated article from 1998, provides a good summary of why IVF can be such a crap shoot for some of us reproductively challenged, and explains what all those test results actually mean. Or you can read my short and dirty version:

We (women) are born with a limited number of eggs. We are born with millions of eggs, but by the time we get our first period, the numbers are in the hundred thousands. Then it is all down hill with each subsequent period. Much of the research Ive done says ovarian reserves are significantly depleted after age 35. But age is only one factor, two women of similar age can have very different eggs.

The total number of female eggs in women's ovaries decreases with advanced reproductive age.

So how do we go about determining egg quality? This is where we start speaking in IF-speak:

FSH – Follicle Stimulating Hormone is the chemical that the brain releases when it wants the ovaries to mature. Once the egg has matured, the ovaries send a message back to the brain, and the FSH level drops. According to the article, this communication between the brain and the ovaries is somehow linked to the cells surrounding the eggs. So if there is miscommunication it boils down to the quality of the egg. So what is the ‘normal’ FSH level? Apparently this differs from clinic to clinic, the point is that at the beginning of a woman’s cycle (days 2,3 & 4) FSH should be low, around 2 – 7 units seems to be normal, anything above 25 is high. Anything in-between is the question mark. Also FSH will change from month to month. Abnormal FSH levels may indicate sub-par quality eggs, which means that IVF may not be so successful, because these eggs will be more fragile, and may not stand up to the rigors of IVF.

Estradiol (Estrogen) – Also known as the E2 level, goes hand in hand with FSH. An abnormally high E2 level (something over 100) will cause FSH to be lowered, so you need to determine both FSH and E2 levels to get a better understanding of egg quality.

LH – Luteinizing Hormone, this is tied to pituitary function. Sometimes the test for LH is used in conjunction with GnRH (Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone), the hormone produced by the hypothalamus, which stimulates the pituitary to release LH and FSH. High levels of both LH and FSH indicate primary ovarian failure. Lower levels indicate secondary ovarian failure, which is a problem with the pituitary or hypothalamus.

Progesterone – This should be elevated right around ovulation time, progesterone is the hormone which assists in developing the uterine lining. A test for progesterone is normally done within 7 days of ovulation.

Overall, if a woman is diagnosed with low ovarian reserve, poor ovarian function, or worse yet ovarian failure, the best course of action may be oocyte donation, or egg donation. Which brings us back to me. I guess I am lucky enough to know, without all that testing, that I do indeed have ovarian failure. I predict that my initial blood work-up shall result in a text book case of ovarian failure.

This saves me months, maybe even years, of wondering and stressing about IF, not to mention the money saved on unsuccessful IUI or IVF cycles. I am skipping the line right to egg donation!

Sorry

Damn this emotional roller coaster. And Im not even on any drugs yet…yikes!

So I realize I was pretty mean earlier.  I don’t hate my cousins for starting their families now. I know they will be the best parents they can be, and the right time is when they are ready. It is just hard to watch.  Actually, I am pretty happy with the way my life is now. Wonderful husband, great job, beautiful house. There is little I have to complain about. So I am happy and thankful for all that I have. The next year will be tough, but Im up for a challenge, I mean life would be boring if there weren’t any challenges at all right?

And so it begins…

Booked our ‘first’ appointment with my RE, Dr. G. May 4, 2011. I was referred to him by my family physician last year at which point we had a brief chat with Dr. G to see what our options were. At the time he was very optimistic (but I take that with a grain of salt since he is running a business after all), stating that “as long as you have a uterus,  you can get pregnant.” I guess it is good that he is so confident. I wish I could be that optimistic too…

At the time we saw Dr. G, we were only exploring our options and were not ready for kids. Now I think we are ready, or at the very least I am ready to know the exact mechanics of what I would have to go through in order to conceive and carry a child to term. I guess we shall find out soon enough.

fe·cund/ˈfekənd/ Adjective: Producing or capable of producing an abundance of offspring or new growth; fertile.

I always thought I was different. I have known that having a baby would not come naturally to me. Up until a few years ago I didn’t even think it was possible for me to carry a child. So the whole IVF possibility is quite exciting. My entire life is a tribute the miracle of modern medicine and for these advanced I am thankful. It has never bothered me, this inability to conceive. I never really missed having a real period (I do get pill induced periods), cramps or the mood swings. It was awkward when my girlfriends spoke about their battles and all I could do was smile and nod. Luckily most of my friends know my history. I have always been pretty open about it, although it is rather hard to bring up in a conversation: “Oh and by the way, I have had a bone marrow transplant…”. But I guess what I never really was mentally prepared for is how I would feel when others around me started to do things I couldn’t do.

Being of south asian decent, my parents started to worry about my marriage prospects quite early. Who would marry a barron woman? Enter AG. My white knight, who decided that the ability to have children was not a deal breaker. And so we got married. As contagious as wedding season is, several other friends and family members also tied the knot in the span of a few years, before and after us.

I guess to the casual observer it would be obvious what would come next. Baby season. As prepared as I was not to have babies any time soon, or possibly ever, I dont think I ever mentally prepared for seeing those that got married after me start to have babies so soon. I mean getting pregnant before your first anniversary?! really?! I dont get people that have babies so fast. And I am not sure that these people know what they are getting themselves into either. I know I shouldn’t judge. To each his own. But there are some people who should not be procreating. And that person is my cousin and his wife (MTS and SS).

They are barely 25, celebrated their first anniversary yesterday and simultaneously announced her pregnancy. Once again, happy for them, its a wonderful time for a couple to produce the miracle of life. But the reality is, that they have no clue what is to come. For one, neither of them have health coverage. So the cost alone will possibly prevent her from even going for regular checkups, which scares me to no end, because, god forbid, the baby does not develop normally. What about the delivery? How will they manage that, and the expense of taking care of a newborn. Isn’t it something like $10,000.00 in the first year?! Secondly, they are only in their first trimester. (I think she only found out last week). I almost hesitated to congratulate them because I know how many things can go wrong between now and 9-ish months from now. I really hope they are one of those lucky fertiles who go through life never having any issues with conception and childbirth. But this whole subject is turning me in to such a pessimist. Ugh.

And then there is the other cousin (PS) who go married (to AR) a few months before me in 2009, she is also expecting some time towards the end of the summer I believe. Happy for her, in her case I think they have a solid couple of heads on their shoulders but still I started to feel the pangs of why cant that be me… I never thought I would be that person. I never thought I would be jealous of others in this way. But I definitely feel something and it isnt very nice.

Anyways, life goes on I suppose. The fecund that surround me shall build their families, while I may or may not go down that same road. I will have to start learning how to cope with these things as they come, I guess. I do wish I had been more prepared for this.