#MicroblogMonday: S-Town

Last week I finished listening to S-Town, the new podcast by the same people that made Serial. After finishing, it just made me miss listening to the first season of Serial (I did not find the second season quite as engaging).Microblog_Mondays

S-Town is great. It has all the elements that get you hooked and wanting to know more. Great story telling with just the right amount of suspense and plot twists to keep you hooked. I don’t want to reveal too much about the story, but suffice to say it is well worth a listen.

The problem with Serial and S-Town though is that when you reach the end of the season, it doesn’t feel finished. It is not the story telling. That was great, and they do a great job of telling the story they uncover in a way that keeps you interested. It is the material. Real life. There really isn’t a clear beginning- middle-end to life, like there is in a fictional movie or a book. Sure you could argue birth and death are the two end points. But they are not really. Before birth, there is all the preparation and anticipation, in some cases medical intervention (I’m looking at you IVF). After death there is all stuff that gets left behind, physically and emotionally. It is never really over, even when it is over.

That is why podcasts like S-Town and Serial have me hooked. They are full of complex issues, nothing is every clear cut, and in the end, you are always left wanting more. Like a perpetual cliffhanger. I love it. But it also drives me nuts!

For now I am filling the S-Town/Serial hole in my daily commute with binge watching episodes of Better Call Saul on Netflix (thank you downloadable Netflix!).  And after that maybe I will switch to reading a book. But deep down all I really want is for Serial Season 3 to come into my life.

Check out some more #MicroblogMonday posts over at Stirrup Queens

Finding the other 1 in 8

As I have mentioned before. I have slowly been telling my close friends that we are starting IVF this May. This past weekend I told some good friends who live in England.

One couple we are close to actually started dating around the same time as AG and I. The four of us were all in the same graduate school program together and became good friends back then when we started dating our respective spouses. After a few years they moved away to England, and we continue to keep in touch. Even though we don’t talk often, they still are one of our close couple friends. They attended our wedding many moons ago (he was one of AG’s best men- he had a few). A couple of years ago we flew to London to attend their wedding, where they revealed to everyone’s surprise (including their own parents) that they had eloped a year earlier! It was a wonderful trip and we really enjoyed seeing them again. Suffice to say they are a really fun couple whom we are lucky enough to be friends with. I miss hanging out with them and cannot wait till we see them again.

Apparently, even though we now live with an ocean separating us, our shared experiences have not ended.

As it turns out they too are going through IVF this year. This May/June she (I will call her EV) will be going through her second round of IVF. Once I told EV about our own journey, she too wanted to talk about her experiences.

After our facetime conversation, we spent a good deal of time texting back and forth about our own journeys so far. Her particular brand of IF is PCOS, so she has trouble ovulating, plus she is around 35 so the clock is ticking. The standard drugs (clomid etc.) to promote ovulation did not work for her. This year they graduated to IVF. Her first round of IVF produced a few good eggs. Three that made it to day 5 embryos. The first transfer of two embies failed, and she is going trough an FET this month with the last embryo of this batch. It is not of great quality, so she doesn’t have much hope for it. And then around May/June they expect to start their second round of IVF. So we will essentially be cycling together this spring/summer.

In a strange way, I am actually happy that I have someone to share the day to day struggles with. Someone who actually appreciates and knows what I am going through. Rather than all my fertile friends who, although supportive, don’t always know what to say or do when I talk about my own experience (understandable, it is hard to talk about something you have little experience with and most people have their own issues, so really why would they care about mine when they can’t relate?). That is why the whole IF blogging community and forums work, and why I love being able to pour my heart out here. But there is something different about having an old friend that actually gets it, to be going through this at the same time.

So in a strange way I feel fortunate that I get to share this experience this with EV and that she wants to share her experience with me. But at the same time, I am sad for them. It totally sucks that they also have to struggle. We both feel the same bitter/sweet way about it. Regardless, it makes me feel more positive about my own decision to tell people about my journey. I believe that more people I tell, the more others will want to share their own experiences with me as well. And at the very least, talking about it is great therapy for all involved.

But then there is the whole, what if it works for her and not for me, or vice versa situation. How will we feel? I guess it is good that we live a whole ocean apart so we can, in a way, control how much we choose to share with each other. That being said, I don’t think I would be bothered if she did get pregnant this summer. In my mind I think she has a very good chance of success, its just a matter of time (and the right protocol). So I fully expect this to work for her. I have less optimism for myself, so I am prepared for this not to work for me.

That being said, EV did a great job of getting me more optimistic about my own chances. She has been doing a lot of her own research this past year so it was nice to hear her own perspective. Even though our particular IF issues are very different, we get each other. It is a strange sense of feeling fortunate to have an ‘IVF cycle buddy’ that I know on a personal level, but also feeling sad for us to have to go through this.


Playing the Odds

As I start to tell more and more people about our upcoming IVF journey, the most common question I get is: ‘What are your chances?’*

And honestly, I am always stumped.

I mean DE IVF has great success rates, much higher than own egg IVF. Something like 60-80% success depending on what studies you read and which clinic you go to.

But I have thin lining issues, and with a lining under 7mm the reviews are mixed. Some say the odds go down, others say there is no impact. For example, this article that shows the implantation and clinical pregnancy rate was the same between two groups of women using DE IVF – lining between 5.9 to 7.9mm and  lining between 8.0mm to 23.0mm – around 60-75%.

But then I am also at a higher risk for miscarriage, I think one study I read said that those with radiation damage to the uterus saw an increased risk of miscarriage of about 30% (compared to the average of around 20%). And that risk goes for as long as 22 weeks. Leaving aside the increased risk of low birth weight and premature labour.

So what are my odds of success?

I know there is no easy answer. That is why I have never asked my RE that question. The answer will be some version of ‘I don’t know’. But the last time we spoke the RE said he was hopeful. I’m going to translate that into: over 50% chance of success. Seems reasonable right? I mean, its not like anyone can prove me wrong, or right for that matter.

So yeh. That’s what I am telling people. The odds are 50-50. It is also a fun way to weed out the optimists from the pessimists.

*By ‘more and more people’ I mean two more friends. The grand total of people that know can still be counted on my fingers.

#MicroblogMonday: “the best”

That line seems to be thrown around a lot these days and I am not entirely sure it signifies much of anything anymore.

The besMicroblog_Mondayst t-shirt. The best car. The best time to workout. The best time to eat ice cream. The best time to call DOA on your diet (probably after eating that ice cream).

Like this weekend when I was pinterest-ing (a real word) for my dinner inspiration for the week, I came across  ‘the best steak fajitas’. Well if they are ‘the best’ then I must make them. I mean who wouldn’t want to eat the best (assuming meat eating is something you do)?

So I have a bunch of steak marinating in my fridge right now. And if it truly is ‘the best’ I might perpetuate that by sharing on my own social media about how ‘best’ it is. But if it isn’t, I am stuck eating sub-par steak fajitas for the rest of the week.

Pretty damn exciting Monday if you ask me. You might even say it’s the best.

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When is the right time to start planning?

Here is the problem with being a Type A person who like to plan ahead. It is going against every fibre of my being to not plan for having a baby. I mean I am doing what I can to ensure that we get a BFP and that it sticks. But beyond that I have not even started to prepare myself for what will come if it works.

I know life changes drastically when you have a baby. There will be no time for anything let alone time to plan. But if I start now, when I have nothing but time on my hands, I feel like I will just jinx myself. And probably will be even more disappointed if the IVF fails. I catch myself thinking about the future, and then another part of my brain says ‘don’t jump so far ahead. Lets focus on a BFP first’. But when will it be the right time to plan?

I guess most normal couples have the standard 9 months to prepare, maybe a bit less if they don’t find out till month 2 or 3.  For me, even if I get a BFP, I still have a much higher risk of miscarriage. And some of the studies have shown a loss up to 20 weeks for those with a radiation damaged uterus. So do I hold off on any any sort of planning until we are past 20 weeks? That leaves us with about 4 months to prepare, if we are lucky. And that is if I don’t have any other complications, or go into premature labour, limiting the time available for planning.


So do I start reorganizing our second bedroom now to make room for baby related furniture?  Do I clear out the master bedroom to make space for a possible bassinet and other baby related paraphernalia? Should I start keeping an eye on baby related products coming on sale so I can buy them and stock up? Do I start researching the big stuff like car seats and strollers so I know what I want when the time comes? Where will I store any of this stuff if I buy it? In that second bedroom I just cleared out? Will it all just become too much of a reminder of what isn’t actually there?

If I start to prepare now that means that if this doesn’t work I will have to go through the depressing task of getting rid of all the baby related stuff. That seems like it would be much harder to do than the opposite situation of being unprepared for baby on ‘short notice’. But being unprepared will probably end up costing us more since we will be desperate for things at the last minute and won’t have the luxury of time to shop around and make informed decisions.

Part of it is allowing myself to believe this is even possible for me. But even if I get over that hurdle, is being too excited is just asking for trouble?

For now I have made peace with the fact that this is one thing that is completely out of my control.  If we are lucky enough to have our lives changed in the next year then I will have to rely on the help of my friends and family to get me through it and will make it all happen last minute. Thankfully I am surrounded by lots of experienced new mommies. And I have no issues with receiving hand me downs.

But I keep having to fight myself on wanting to do some preparing. So maybe we will rearrange the second bedroom this summer. At least switch from a queen bed to a single daybed so it is still a ‘guest room’, but will have the room for a baby crib etc. As for baby shopping. I doubt I will be able to buy even one baby related item for myself until well after the 20 week mark. But I might start looking up some brands to see what I like. At least if we are scrambling at the last minute we will know what to look for.




Another Hitch

Apparently when AG completed his blood work back in January they forgot to run the standard STD panel of tests (Hepatitis, Syphillis, etc. – the fun ones). So he needs to go back in to do these tests. Of course he is out of the country till mid April so there is a delay in getting those tests done.

So I guess it is a good thing we are not starting till May. The coordinator did email over the requisitions for blood work so he can get the tests done as soon as he gets back.

I called AG and told him he would have to cancel the prostitutes for the weekend. He seemed disappointed. I kid. I kid. He may be a ladies man, but he only has eyes for one!  🙂 He was totally fine with it. Just as annoyed as I am that he has to go back in for something that should have already been taken care of.

The coordinator also scheduled us to come in and sign the required paperwork in April once he is back, so now we are finally getting everything in order for May. It is finally starting to feel real. Although, with all the hiccups along the way I am wondering if something may come up that delays us even more…

#MicroblogMonday: Expecting to be expecting 2018

Is there a cute way to announce IVF?Microblog_Mondays

I was thinking about this the other day. Each time my sister has been pregnant she has announced it in a cute way to the family. The first time was a cookie with icing that said ‘baby on board’. The second was a picture of the pee stick positive sign to the family whatsapp group (it was funny because my mother had no idea what she was looking at) obviously its been a while for her. It may not be much, but it is cute and it is something to celebrate.

So is there a cute way to announce to our family we are starting IVF? We have already told all immediate family members, so this might be too little to late. But I still wish there was a cuter way to do it.

Kinda like the ‘we’re expecting’ pictures all over pinterest. I feel like we should have done that. Like a ‘we’re pre-heating the oven for our little bun’ or ‘expecting to be expecting in 2018’. It would be nice to celebrate instead of worry for a change.

Actually, I kinda like the expecting to be expecting idea. I need to remember that for the PUPO stage.

Check out more #MicroblogMondays over at Stirrup Queens