Friday, February 27, 2009

Totally Random

Alright- I am officially a geek.

After ignoring tags on FB, emails etc., I now find myself excited to be tagged by Fashionista and Kayjay!?? Actually excited.

I guess it's a little like getting picked for the team in grade school.

So, here goes, 10 totally random, totally useless, totally-amped-up-on coffee things about me:

  1. Before meeting G., I never dreamed about babies, or being a mom. Since G., it has been all I truly desire on the planet.

2. Once, when a couple of other gals and I went to a Greek island after a job in Italy, we rented a scooter for the week. Because it was Greece, they barely asked us for our name at the rental place. At the end of the week, I had damaged it pretty badly, (running into things will do that) so instead of returning it, we drove it off a cliff and never looked back. I will never go to Santorini again.

3. Sometimes my lunch of choice is a box- yes the entire box ladies, of Wheat Thins.

4. I detest folding and ironing laundry. To do it, is like pulling teeth.

5. My friend Nancy and I used to skip high school and hitch-hike to see my punk rock boyfriend who lived half an hour away. We would load a knap-sack with a box (so fancy) of wine and proceed to jump in the various vehicles of total strangers. We thought we were cool-now I think we were stupid and lucky.

6. Since my BFN last month I have rebelled: reckless amounts of caffeine; wildly quitting the prescription prenatal vitamins that I have taken religiously for years; at first I not only gave up prayer/meditation but actually cursed god for his cruelty (this only lasted a couple of days) and have stayed up till all hours of the night, only to feel like crap the next day. Sometimes, when you feel as though trying hard has gotten you nowhere, a little revolt feels good.

7. The smell of olives and blue cheese makes me gag and therefore I have never tried either.

8. I have been tremendously helped in my life by people sharing their struggles and triumphs. I am a sober alcoholic who entered into recovery 14 years ago and spend a lot of my time trying to pass along what I have learned and giving talks about my life, in the hopes that I will help others do the same. I want to start such a support group for people struggling with infertility.

9. I sometimes look at girls in their twenties and think, "I bet she'd get pregnant in a heartbeat", followed by a wave of jealousy and self loathing.

10. I believe that this will all be behind me someday. That I will be dropping our child(ren) off at school and that the longing that is constantly with me today will be a distant memory although, will have changed me forever.

Alright, now I tag:

  1. Gestational Surrogate to Be (R.)

  2. Ducks Big Ol Blog (Duck)

  3. Someday, Someway (Krissy)

  4. What to Expect When You're Not Expecting (Emily)

  5. Our Surrogacy Adventure (Jaymee)

  6. Which way To Baby (Rebecca)

  7. Our TTC Journey (Angie)

I look forward to knowing random things about you all!!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Good Different.

Oh the things they are a changin...

I tell you, I don't know why, but I feel as though things are well, different. Good different.

Here are a few reasons I can attribute to this new found energy, this teeny-tiny-wee mustard seed of expectancy:

First, connecting with you lot. I just spent hours going back in your blogs, reading your journeys and marvelling at the feeling I am reading words/thoughts/ feelings that could have been written by me (if I could write as poetically as you all can, that is). Weather you are talking about the dreaded social event where you fear the inevitable-kick-you-in your gut-announcement of someone else's good news; the loss of our basic instinct to know what to eat/not eat, do acupuncture/don't do acupuncture, take this drug/go to a naturopath; or the testing of your faith in God after our prayers seem to go unanswered; the feeling like the rest of the world is growing and moving forward while we are still waiting; the mental teeter-totter of trying to keep hope alive and not let the past rob our promise during, yet another, 2ww.

Or what it feels like to make a decision to have a final round and live with whatever comes no regrets.

Your strength amazes me.

Next, there are the amazing women willing to go through this with us-I'm talking about the surrogates like our R.-women willing to put their bodies, hearts and lives through this process with us that they might help make our dreams come true. That is awesome.

That brings me to the third component to this change in outlook: our appointment Friday with, what we are now calling 'Team Baby': me, G (dh), R (gc) and Dr. L (aka Dr. Garfield- I am serious this guy makes me smile just thinking about him-Garfield in a lab coat! I hope our ET doesn't fall on a Monday-Garfield hated Mondays.) It was wild.

This appointment lasted four 1/2hours?!! On a Friday night, Dr. L and his staff stayed for us from 330 until 8pm??!!! I have never had a doctor take that much time, or even care to be as thorough as they were. It kinda blew our minds. I am sure it blew the staffs minds as well, who I am sure had better things to do on a Friday night, although they never made us feel that way.

And despite my inner pessimest (who has turned into a real downer during this procees) that tells me this is big business, it seemed as though they actually cared.

R,G and I had to first meet with the dreaded psychologist, which for R & I seemed pretty daunting. The thought that some doc meeting us for an hour could hold the power to grant us permission to go ahead with what we felt was meant to be? Yowser, that one would do a number on anyone. Turns out G. was right (this is Canada after all, the most liberal laws in the world) this appointment was much more about their liability than weather or not we were all 'sane' enough to be IM and GC's. She was great, gave us good advise and an hour later, her blessing.

Next there was the physical stuff for R and a sit down for us with Dr. L. He was incredibly thorough and confirmed what I already knew to be true. There should have been no doubt that my tubes needed to be clipped or removed after the second hetrotopic and the fact that they did discover a large hydro meant that all of our previous chances had very little chance of success(and the crowd went mild!!! not an easy realization after 3 fresh and two fets).

He also saw many indicators for further immunology/dna testing (which my previous RE's did not 'believe' in) There was the history of thyroid issues on my mothers side (her,aunt,cousin, grandma) which, although my thyroid tests were always in normal range, should lead an RE to do autoimmune tests. I had asked my former re about this very thing, only to get the answer I always got which was "the evidence regarding this is inconclusive- everything with your cycle looks great- it's just been bad luck, lets keep going." Just like there was no 'evidence' of a hydro right?

Dr. L ordered a bunch of testing for both of us and then went over our history with a fine tooth comb, visibly frustrated by some of the decisions his medical colleagues had made along the way.

Then my physical followed ( I apparently have a beautiful uterus) , bloods for all, another sit down with G & I going over our options; then Dr. L & R sit down alone to discuss things and then we all go in for a pow-wow and he goes over it all, actually seeming moved by R and her selfless gift to us.

And, four and a half hours later, "Team Baby" had formed.

We have decided to do a frozen embryo transfer with R. next month.

In the meantime, I have phoned the former clinic to arrange the shipping of our three precious 8,8 & 7 cell 3day embabies , only to find out that they ship them, get this, with FED EX.

OK, have you seen guys loading fed ex trucks? Imagine them tossing my little ones around like they are, oh i dunno, someones pricewater house cds for a penny???? Crap, I have wayyyyy too much information. This stuff just gets more wacky. I mean, think of the old fashioned way (first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in a baby carriage, and not always in that order) and then us: hundreds of shots in the belly & butt; Embryo Retrieval, ICSI, freeze, ship with the men-in-brown; thaw and then insert into my dear friends uterus. Can you hear the belly laughter? Aaahhhh, just like I dreamed as a little girl.

And yet, I am curious. I am curious to see if the different feeling I have these days is the feeling that I haven't had in a while. That I am right were I am supposed to be. That all we have gone through has lead us to this place. That everything is going to work out.

Thank you fellow women: some of you fighting hard for the family you believe in, some showing us what true strength is as they learn to accept, some sharing their miracles and happy endings.

Thank you R. for listening to your small quiet voice and having the courage to tell me about it that day in the coffee shop.

Thank you Dr. L for not worrying about yourself and asking us to book anther appointment at a more convenient time for you, but actually taking the time to listen and explain things that no one else had.

Thank you DH for staying on this path with me: lifting my snot-filled chin up after the other people's children's birthday party at Balls Of Fun; allowing me to lift your spirits after another person complains about their wife being knocked up again. But always knowing that when we look back at this time we will know that we gave it allll we had.

Oh and P.S: Bunny and Tiff, tried to post, but the word verification was kaput. I'll check back soon. And also a request to all, but esp. surro-people to go to R's blog (Gestational Surrogate To Be link on my sidebar) to lend support/give advise, you know...thnx.

Monday, February 23, 2009

"Team Baby's" Teaser

Just sat down for the first time to get caught up on you guys and let you know the progress here with "Team Baby" on "Operation Happiness", when DH called to say he left his wallet, so this will have to be a teaser...
I will say this though, Friday's appiontment with the new RE was amazing.
Dr L. (think of Garfield in a lab coat) was amazing.
R. is amazing,
and despite everything, I have a renewed sense of hope.

Details to follow...Peace y'all

Monday, February 16, 2009

Operation Happiness

Well, first of all- let's hear it for reading and getting support from you fellow bloggers...I gotta say, it takes it from the purely-obsessive-scouring-of-cyber-information to actually feeling not so alone in my seemingly impossible efforts to start our family...There is something strangely comforting in focusing my thoughts on your 2ww and hoping for your happy ending rather than solely on us. Thanks!

G & I had a great Valentines Day this year...I think (like many of you have expressed) it really is a day where we can focus on what we do have and that is each other. This whole process makes me aware of my sensitivity to other people's struggle. I do not want to be the hypocrite who complains about the shocking insensitivity of people to our infertility(oooohhh how clueless they can be) without regard for how, say the single person I am around might feel that I have found such a great man while their dream have yet to be realized.

The other reason Vday didn't blow this year is because G & I have declared 2009 'Operation Happiness'. While ushering in the New Year (and heading into the 5th year of fertility hell, almost our entire relationship) we woke up to the fact that much of our lives have been 'on hold'. We have been waiting for the stork to drop off 'happiness' in a little bundle while forfeiting the things that we love to do-trips, spontaneity, FUN...So, we decided- NO MORE- we are going to start living and actually try to enjoy living again. What a concept.

I think John Lennon said "life is what happens when your busy making other plans".

So, we have started looking for a new house back in Toronto. This place has not had the happiest of memories and the move to the burbs was mainly with the idea that it would be better to raise kids. The search, holding new possibilities, has given us a fresh focus.

We also had private dance lessons Saturday-what a blast! Salsa, rumba even the tango before a beautiful Japanese dinner at a restaurant we hadn't been to. Felt like a real date. We didn't talk about babies, or doctors or disappointments- we focused on each other. I highly recommend it.

Sunday we had to drop by a gift for our nephew (who we adore) who was having his 4th bday party today. Part of 'Operation Happiness' is that G & I have also started to not buy into the fact that we have to do or be anywhere where people are insensitive or who don't give a single thought to our life. Fuck it. We have swallowed hurt and put our feelings aside for too long and suffered the consequences for that. But with family it can be tough!!

There has been a bit of a divide with S&BIL because they initially had difficulty but got pregnant with first IVF, then a natural pregnancy and then decided to do an FET the same week as us (they of course got the BFP of their third child while we got the thrill of a chemical pregnancy!!!)

Our issue is not the fact that they have three children now and we are still looking for our first, it is really about the utter lack of caring about our feelings. When their FET baby was born (on our 4th wedding anniversary) they actually had us babysit all day and insisted we put t-shirts on that said "Big Brother Again" and "Big Sister"for our trip to the maternity ward for the birth, without even so much as a "is this ok for you guys??" And there is much more. The complaints to me about morning sickness and difficult deliveries. The endless discussions at family get togethers of baby names, potty training and how hard it is to juggle all these children.

I would give my left arm for that problem.

MIL refuses to acknowledge what we are going through because she wants to enjoy her grandchildren guilt-free. I don't blame her, so we just pretend everything is fine.

S&BIL also lay on the whole "God opened my womb" thing, implying (not-so-subtly) that somehow my infertility is Gods will. What, so God says "I'll Bless this one and leave this one out in the cold." Nope, not buying what your selling. I have always intuitively known (even though in frustrated moments may doubt) that my problem is on the scientific plain. That, of course God plays a role in what happens in my life (and I will never proclaim to be enlightened enough to figure that all out) but that He is not some puppeteer that withholds blessings for some to "teach them a lesson". Infertility is challenging enough without all this added confusion, thanks!

Anyway, a whole blog could be written about the dynamics that our infertility creates in our relationships, but the bottom line is we are going to , from now on, take care of ourselves. We will only do what we are able to emotionally. Fuck it. If they love us, they will understand.

That is why we said nothing at our families yesterday that when we left there we were going to have lunch with R. , our hopeful surrogate! Ha! To think of the field day they would have with that one!

Anyway, it was the first time G, R & I really talked details about this 'team' we were forming to hopefully usher in our baby. We, over the Indian Buffet, discussed the ins and outs- laughing over our things and misting up over the overwhelming possibilities at hand.

After G & I dropped of R we marveled at her honesty and surety of the inevitability of what we were embarking on. While we were interested in the emotional ramifications (ie. how she might feel at the end of the nine months etc.) her concerns where very practical (I'll need new bras) It was comforting. It made us realize that we should over-analyze less and go with the flow more.

As we fell asleep last night, we cuddled and thanked each other for the great Valentines weekend. Its not every weekend you learn the Rumba and take a person who may have your baby out for Indian.

So just before closing our eyes G. looked at me and said, "well, it's never dull!"
Ain't that the truth.

Friday R, G& I have our first appointment at the new clinic with the doc and the psychologist.

This, of course, has brought up some fears: "Wait-Are we actually sane??"
What qualifies sane in their eyes??!!

I welcome any insights/experiences that you guys may have with this part of the process...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

How Our Surrogate Found Us

More of the story...

How our Surrogate Found Us

First of all-after reading a heartbreaking post on another gals journey can I just say: "INFERTILITY SUCKS." I know I am preaching to the choir, but man, when I hear about someone else's disappointment it breaks my heart because I know the pain and isolation they are experiencing.

It's like belonging to a secret fraternity that I wouldn't wish on anyone, but am so grateful to know that others are getting through this and usually to a happy ending...

I think that one of the most- and there are many-frustrating things about infertility is the deafeningly quiet response to the many times I have cried out "why??" to the universe as another treatment fails, or another friend or family member gets knocked up.

Every time someone else announces a pregnancy (many of our friends and family members are on #2 and 3) or every time the strength we have mustered to believe that this cycle will be our time turns into yet another disappointing phone call, a little of my faith gets chipped away.

In my life I have always had a sense of a path or something directing me and yet with the path we are on to start a family, there have been times I have had a sense of getting more and more lost.

That being said, the story of meeting our possible surrogate was definitely not of my own doing and really quite amazing. Although we are still very early in the process (we need to go for bloods and psychological evaluation) I believe that our paths even crossing the way they did was quite miraculous.

We'll call our hopeful gestational carrier R.

I met R. after a talk I gave in a city about an hour away from where I live. She came up to me afterwards and thanked me for my talk, asked for my number and wondered if we could have a coffee sometime. I said yes and we started talking on the phone and meeting once a week for a coffee and I knew from the beginning that there was something special about her.

A few months after our friendship had begun R. and I were planning to meet for a coffee after my follow-up apt. at the clinic following another failed fet. That appointment left more questions for me than answers and I left there looking forward to meeting a friend and getting my mind off of baby-making.

When I sat down R. asked if she could ask me about something personal. She had NO idea at this point about any of our fertility issues, I had not mentioned a thing to her. All she knew is that I had had a Dr.'s apt. before our get together.

I said "sure" and she proceeded to ask me if the Dr.'s apt. I had was a fertility doctor. I (jaw on table) said casually, " did you know?" and she told me that on her way over she had a strong sense that I was dealing with fertility struggles and that she wanted me to know that she had always thought that she would be a surrogate for someone who was unable to conceive, if that was something my husband and I ever were considering.

My reaction was of utter shock and, in stark contrast to my previous reactions when people would offer their two cents on our situation. Like when SIL would say things like, "maybe you are meant to adopt" and I would want to reach across the table and shut her first-ivf-worked-and-then-had-natural-pg-and-then-had-fet-baby's mouth! (do you detect the resentment?? yeah, I know, I am working on it...)

No, R's words melted my heart and made me think a higher power was at work here, because there was no possible way for her to know our situation.

Since then we have grown more and more open to the idea of R carrying our child. I never would have expected to actually be excited by the prospect of this and yet when I imagine someone else going through the 2ww instead of me, I actually feel relief! When I imagine the possibility of a bfp at the end of it (we know she is fertile, she got pregnant with one of her two children while on the bcp!!!!) I am flooded with happiness.

So, we now have a surrogacy lawyer, and have switched to the best clinic in Toronto which is surro-friendly.

That too fell into our lap.

Frustrated by my clinic I picked up the phone and thought "what do I have to lose?". I called the new clinics manager and left a message. She called back a few hours later, and after I explained our situation put me on hold and came back saying that Dr. L would not only take us on, but that they could start the process on Feb. 20th??!! This doctor normally has a four month waiting list?
She was hopeful, and kind and I was actually excited when I hung up the phone.

So, even though my faith is challenged and many times it feels like the reply to my questions is the sound of crickets, when I really look at these two events closely, maybe the answer is right in front of me...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Babies Wanted: Our journey through infertility

Wednesday, February 10Th, 2009

Our Story

Well, after sneaking around other women's fertility blogs and drawing so much strength, comfort, and the much needed laugh, I have decided to take this story- our story- and put it out there in the hopes that I may do the same for someone else...

Buckle in, it's a long one.

Here goes: boy (we'll call him G.) meets girl (I'll be H.) in dog park.
Boy and girl and dogs fall madly in love instantly and soon shack up.
Out of the blue, six months later I can't drink my usual gallon of coffee in the morning and the sight of meat turns my stomach.

To appease my mother, we buy (my first ever) pee stick and, to our utter shock and amazement, it says we are: "pregnant".

"Pregnant" was a foreign concept to us. I had never been pregnant before and even though I was 33 years of age, I had never even really contemplated the usual life route: marriage, house children.

As an ex-model-turned-actress i guess my career was always my "baby".

Until G. Until now. Until two lines on a pee stick.

We were thrilled!!!! Our families were shocked, and thrilled.

A few weeks in I went to the doctor to let her know I wasn't feeling "right" and she said, matter-of-factly: "well, if you are still pregnant in 3 weeks we will do an ultrasound.
This was my intro into the comforting world of doctors with the bedside manner of robots.

Two weeks later G. came home from work at 12 o'clock at night to find an ambulance at our door, the paramedics trying to break down our door and me passed out inside.

I woke up after a life saving surgery to learn a new phrase: Ruptured Ectopic Pregnancy.
I spent two weeks (and my 34th bday) in the hospital (on the maternity ward to top things off) and this started our journey into the world of fertility.

We did the usual: lap and dye tests to check one remaining tube;
chlomid and charting: nothing.

On to fertility specialist and iui. 2nd iui: bingo! bfp, 2nd beta rises, early ultrasound shows embryo in uterus and then: at 5 weeks 4th beta does not double, in to find out that they did not check the remaining tube which would have told them it was twins and one was in the tube.

After a d&c I get to learn a new phrase: Hetrotopic pregnancy.

Break Please!!!! We switch clinics and move straight to ivf. After 3 fresh, 2 FET's and only one chemical pregnancy I insist (after a year of asking politely) that they do a lap to check my tube, and, sure enough, last september (my 38th bday) they discover that the tube I have is a large hydrosalpinx (another phrase for the vocabulary) and the tube we thought was removed was half there and also infected.

This meant that the last 3.5 years, and all the $ and tears were probably for nothing.

Moral of the story: listen to your body and find a doctor who will listen to you.

So here we are now.
G. & I have decided that want to give this our all, but that we want to turn the page on this chapter as soon as we can, and that is why we have switched clinics and are beginning to bring another womb into the picture.

Surrogacy: I had heard of this word before, but just never expected it would apply to my life.

I will log our journey here.

I hope you come along for the ride and share your strength and wisdom as we go