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


Telling work: the aftermath

So…starting to feel the repercussions of telling people at work.

The HR Manager keeps saying things the allude to the fact that I might be pregnant really soon. I’m considering buying a dress online and debating sizes,  ‘It’s probably better to get the loose one since you might need that in a few months’. There’s lots of hypotheticals like: ‘if you get pregnant will you do XYZ…’ or ‘We have [some] tradition when a new baby is born, do you guys do the same thing?’. Woman has some serious baby fever (and she’s well over 50!).

Yesterday we were at a dinner and drinks with some other colleagues, just talking about random stuff, and the conversation got a bit weird.  One of them (a new transfer from head office who invited us all out for dinner, I will call him LP) said ‘you should have kids! they will be cute!’ HR Manager responds with ‘from your lips to gods ears’. Another person says, ‘but who will handle all of our contracts if shes off taking care of a baby?’ (I like that person). HR Manager: ‘it’s OK by that time all our major contracts will be done for this project’.

Sooooo many things wrong with that interaction, but it just made me laugh.

First of all no one else at dinner was aware I am even trying to get pregnant, and HR Manager totally made it sound like I am already expecting. So much for keeping it on the DL. Also there is plenty of work, if I leave for a year they will definitely need a better succession plan. There are several projects in the pipeline so I doubt the work will stop ore even slow down if and when I am away.

And then there is LP. The comically inappropriate coworker. He moved to Canada for the first time about 2 months ago as a transferee. Obviously he does not have any clue about our social norms and what you can and cannot talk about with work collegues. We were out at another work event a few weeks ago, and he got a bit drunk and told me how beautiful he thought I was. Mildly inappropriate for a work event, no? I just laughed it off. And then the comment about having kids. It is all following the same vein really. He clearly thinks I am not too bad to look at.

I do cut him a lot of slack. He is new to Canada and his English is not amazing. It is obvious he is not trying to be flirtatious. It is just his way of trying to compliment me. He is just trying to build a good working relationship with his collegues, but his methods are a bit unorthodox.

This man obviously has no filter when he’s been drinking, so it all comes out wrong and could very easily be taken the wrong way. Thankfully I just found it all very funny last night. I will enjoy the compliment and leave it at that.

But I did learn that apparently both LP and HR Manager are dying to see me have a baby. Yet neither are aware of how difficult it will actually be for me, and that any child will not have any of my genetic features. I think that would be a little over their heads to be honest.

I don’t regret telling work. I am just amused at the reactions I am getting.

So for now, I am enjoying it for what it is. This is that blissful stage full of possibilities that has so much hope. I imagine it is almost like when a couple decides to toss out the birth control and try for a baby for the first time. That exciting, will we or wont we get pregnant feeling. Except without all of the planning, cycle monitoring, drugs, doctors and risks. It is nice to see how excited I should be through other peoples eyes. Watching how hopeful others are for me is sweet and does remind me to keep the hope alive.

Telling the In-Laws

The in-laws will be back from their winter in India in few weeks.

A few weeks ago DH did try to tell them over the phone about our decision to start DE IVF this year. Unfortunately it went something like:

DH: Mom we are going to start IVF in April to try for a baby.

MIL: What? I didn’t understand what you said. What are you doing?

DH: IVF to try for a baby.

MIL: Oh ok. Hows the weather there?

(She is a bit hard of hearing and the shody VOIP phone connection probably did not help matters.)

But even after he explained what he could, it seems they didn’t quite understand what was going on. (Probably not a conversation DH should have started on the phone. But I was not there for any of this so had little to do with how DH handled it).

Last night I had a chat with the MIL and she said: ‘AG mentioned you will be doing some procedure in April. I didn’t really understand what it is so can we talk about it when we come to visit when we are back?’

I sometimes forget that they do not have a medical background. I grew up surrounded by doctors. Both my parents are doctors. Growing up all my friends parents were doctors, and now both DH and my brother are following the same path. Add to that my long medical history and as a family our ‘basic’ understanding of modern medicine is probably a bit more advanced than most families. In comparison, telling my parents about IVF was simple, in that they understand the basics already.

So the whole IVF thing might be a little bit much to explain over the phone for the In-laws. In my opinion AG should probably have waited till we saw them in person next. But with both them and AG being away, we all might not see each other in person until the IVF cycle is well underway. So I understand why he told them when he did.

I am glad they want to talk about it. I still feel a bit awkward about it. Not so much the IVF part. But more so the DE part. I am afraid they may have a strong opinion about their son’s sperm and another woman’t egg. Maybe they will want to know who the donor is in more detail. Or they might not like our choice of donor. All of these are of course not going to change our decision, but it will make things harder for us. Again, just my overactive imagination thinking of worst case scenarios. But I need to be prepared so I know how to handle it if it happens. For now only DH and I know the details about our donor. And I think I want to keep it that way. That information will probably be shared with any future child when the time comes. But that is it. I don’t see any benefit in sharing the information with others.

So there will need to be a more detailed conversation to be had with them. It might be worth having both sets of parents together for the talk so that they all know what is happening. I would like for DH to be there too, but he is not back until mid-April, so lets see if it can wait that long.


#MicroblogMonday: The DE IVF Game

Game Title: DE IVF: The Quest for ParenthoodMicroblog_Mondays

Number of Players: 3 players

Level of Difficulty: Unknown

Synopsis: In this arcade style game, each player will participate in a series of challenges in the quest to achieve the ultimate goal: parenthood. It starts with Player One, who must provide one or more oocytes to the other two players. Player One’s turn may occur well before Player Two and Three enter the game. The more oocytes delivered the more chances the players have to achieve the ultimate goal.

Player Two’s role is short lived, but critical. It is all about the timing. He must create and deliver a perfect sperm sample exactly 5 days before Transfer Day. Should the timing of delivery fail, all players must start over. Should the sample fail to be adequate, all players must start over. Should he choke up and fail to perform in the moment, you guessed it, start over. After Transfer Day his role is to assist with Player Three in navigating the rest of the game but will have little control over the outcome.

Player Three must start by preparing a habitable environment to grow an embryo. The challenge is to also overcome the life obstacles that will get in the way of reaching the end. Work or family commitments will interfere with strict drug schedules. Fibroids may prevent implantation. Thin uterine lining may threaten to cancel a cycle or cause a miscarriage. If a hurdle gets in the way,  Player Three must start over. Player Three must also be careful to balance the hormonal imbalances against obstacles such as pregnant bellies and new born babies which will appear at the most inopportune moments throughout the game.

Nothing is guaranteed. All players may perform perfectly and yet a cycle may fail to produce a viable pregnancy. A pregnancy may result, but may not lead to a live birth. Any time a cycle fails, all players must start over.

This game keeps you guessing as it will end in a different result each and every time you play. Never boring. Not for the faint of heart. But all for the ultimate reward!

Do you have what it takes to win the DE IVF game?

*Must be over 18 to play, contains some nudity.

(DH is a gamer. Can you tell video games feature prominently in our lives?)

Check out more #MicroblogMonday posts at StirrupQueens

Back to those studies

I did another quick google search to see if anything new has popped up on dealing with thin uterine lining especially after chemo and total body radiation.

Nothing new. But I did revisit this article published by Biomed Research International in 2014.

The paper mentions one study that had success with a mix of pentoxifylline (PTX) and tocopherol (Vitamin E) in increasing blood flow to the uterus that had been damaged due to radiation.

One study only looked at 6 women who took hormone replacement but also supplemented with 400mg PTX and 500IU of Vitamin E twice a day for 9 months. “Improvements in endometrial thickness, ( 6.2 v 3.2 mm), myometrial dimensions (44 [±5] x30 [±3] x20 [±2] versus 30 [±7]x  22 [±3] x16 [±2] mm), and diastolic uterine artery flow were observed”.

In another case 18 patients who had endometrial thickness of < 6mm took the same combo of PTX and Vitamin E for 6 months. Of these women five became pregnant during the study, two of those women had previously experience total body irradiation. For all of them, endometrial thickness increased from 4.9 to 6.2 on average.

Even though these sample sizes are really small, I feel that given the evidence it can’t hurt for me to try taking the combo of PTX and Vitamin E now to start boosting blood flow. I have emailed the clinic coordinator to see if she can get in touch with Dr. Go to see if he will agree to write me a Rx for PTX.

The paper also confirmed that I am at higher risk for pregnancy complications.  “Analysis of singleton pregnancies has shown that these women (who previously had total body irradiation) had significantly higher rates of caesarean section (42% versus 16%), preterm delivery (20% versus 6%), and low birth weight singleton offspring (23% versus 6%) compared to the general population”. Hence the recommendation that I be monitored as a high risk pregnancy when the time comes. In that case, at least we will know what to look for and can hopefully address it before it becomes an issue.

In my highly unscientific and totally non-expert opinion, most of these complications can be linked to the damage to the normal blood flow to the uterus.

Without adequate blood flow, the uterine lining will not thicken, any growing baby will not get sufficient nutrients through the blood to be able to grow sufficiently and to term. So it all boils down to boosting blood flow to boost lining and create a more hospitable environment for the embryo.

In previous cycles I have tried increasing my estrace dosage (using both pills and patches) alone but this was minimally helpful. The last round of mock cycles I also added in acupuncture, 400IU Vitamin E, as well as used Sildenafil, and my lining improved. So maybe adding the PTX and upping my Vitamin E dosage will be the last little boost I need to get up to 7mm.

I have already started supplementing with Vitamin E 400IU a day in anticipation. I am now considering increasing my dosage to 1000IU a day and starting PTX. So long as I am given the go ahead by Dr. Go.

Conducting my own little study of 1.