Friday, February 26, 2010

I Believe

I Believe performed by Nikki Yanovski is the theme for the Vancouver 2010 Olympics for the TV station CTV that is carrying the games in Canada.

This song spoke to me from the first time I heard it and is the theme song for H & my journey to create our family. I may be slightly losing my grip, but I still believe that we are doing the right thing to build our family.

Check out the video:

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Cautiously Feeling Better

I haven't had a full blown panic attack since my last post (knock wood). The act of going to the doctor on Tuesday and actually getting a diagnosis - knowing that the pain is real, yet not a heart attack - has really helped. Now when I feel the pain I'm able to say to myself "you've felt this before, you know you're ok etc" and no anxiety attack. I made my stress test appointment - it's for March 8th and I have also made an appointment with a psychologist. I found her on the and she specializes in infertility and donor conception. I am going to see her on March 3rd.

It's weird now that I'm feeling better I don't really want to go, but I know that I need to. There is something deeper triggering all of this anxiety. I am at my stress breaking point. It takes nothing to have me upset and frustrated. I guess, I'm just unsure of how the whole thing goes. Do I just start talking about my history? Where do I even begin? I hope that she'll be able to pull stuff out of me because I think I've been pretty good about burying everything.

The other thing that I'm doing is cutting down on my caffeine. Not that I drank a lot of coffee to begin with (1 large cup per day) but now I'm doing half decaf half regular. Apparently, avoiding caffeine will also help with my anxiety and panic attacks.

I'm a strong person. I have been through a hell of a lot emotionally and have come out of most of it smiling. I just never thought I'd be someone to lose my shit like this. It makes me feel weak and even more of a failure. Look at the big loser - she can't control her weight, she can't get pregnant, she's stagnating in her job and now she's losing her mind. I don't always feel this way about myself, but right now 'big fat failure' seems to describe me best. And, if I'm honest it's a fear of failure in April that is really affecting me.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

It's still Not a Heart Attack

I have been seriously losing my shit and it's not fun. I have still been having pains in my chest and side and I have still been having a sense of impending doom. I have been having serious panic attacks - the ones that make you feel like you're about to pass out, difficult to breathe, hot, thirsty and scared out of your mind. I really felt like I was losing my mind and was not in control of my emotions. I don't like to not be in control, even when I was younger and I'd go out drinking I never let it get past the point of being in control.

So, I went to my doctor today ready to fight to make sure that I was taken care of to my satisfaction. I wanted to know for sure whether I'm at risk for a heart attack, if I am in fact having a heart attack and what can be done for me. I also wanted to ask her about my BCPs, ever since I started taking them I have felt like I'm coming undone. I think it's the estrogen in them which is weird because when I was on the estrogen patches for my estrogen priming protocol, I felt amazing.

While in the waiting room, I was practising my deep breathing exercises trying to fend off another attack. (they feel like waves crashing in against my body with no let up - just wave after wave). When I saw her, I told her what I'd been experiencing. She listned to me and then started reassuring me. My blood tests were done in April 2009 (less than a year ago), my good cholesterol looked great and my bad cholesterol was low, I wasn't diabetic etc. I'm really low risk for having a heart attack. She listened to my heart and also took my blood pressure - 120 over 80 - and that was after having that panic attack. But, I insisted that I want a stress test, just to make sure once and for all. So, I have a referral.

Apparently, I have a Costochondritis - an inflammation of the cartilage that joins the ribs to the chest bone. And, my bras are too tight. It will clear up on its own, but I'm to take Advil daily for the pain and my doctor gave me a prescription for a stomach protector thingy - it's supposed to protect my stomach from the extra acid from the advil so I don't get an ulcer.

So, the good news is that I'm physically ok. The bad news is that there are underlying issues - psychological issues - that I need to deal with. These are the issues that are being exacerbated by the bcp.

So, I have two tasks: 1. Book my stress test, 2. book a psych consult.

Sorry I haven't been posting much lately and I haven't really been commenting. I have had to stay away from blogs, and message boards because just reading the stories was a little too much for me to handle.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Not Much Going On

I finished my first pack of BCP and then waited for AF to arrive. She started on Sunday and I'm just finishing now. So weird, I haven't been on BCP for so long I couldn't remember how long it would take me to get AF after my last pill. For those keeping track it took about 3 and a half days. I start the 2nd pack tonight which means I'll take the last pill from that pack on March 10th. By that time I should have my protocol and my meds for the cycle in April. I got an email this morning that the meds have been shipped to me, so sometime this week I'll be getting all of the goods. I just feel like I'm in such a holding pattern right now. And, I'm scared of something going wrong and not being able to go. Or, going and she doesn't have any eggs. It's so much money with very little guarantee of it working. I just know we have to take this leap of faith.

I still go through periods of being sad that I'm not going to have a genetic child. It is a bitter pill to swallow. I am so incredibly grateful to have any chance at all of getting to experience being pregnant and having a child that I feel guilty about being bitter. It's all one big vicious cycle of sadness, bitterness, guilty and anxiety. I don't particularly like this part of the ride.

Generally, though things are good. I have started walking in the PATH in the afternoon. It takes me about half an hour to complete my circuit. They say for every 10 minutes of brisk walking you travel 1km, so I'm probably doing about 3km every day. Not bad. Also, I take all of the stairs and avoid the escalators. Oh, I guess I should explain what the PATH is; it's a labyrinth of pathes under the downtown core of Toronto that links a lot of the big business buildings together. There's all kinds of stores and food courts etc down there. It's like the business people are a bunch of rats in a maze. It's nice to be a little active again.

Oh, and for my final comment, I love the winter Olympics. Don't believe the negative press - yes there have been problems and one horrific, regrettable death - but people are still winning medals, competing in the sport they've trained all of their life for, nations are being brought together to support their competitors. One of our news channels did a random survey of about 100 people in Vancouver about their experience at the games. 99 of them gave positive responses with 1 person stating that the street signs were confusing. (I think those were the numbers - it may have been more than 100 but I know it was just 1 negative response). All of the games have had their own problems - does anyone remember the bomber at the games in Atlanta? or the hostages that were taken and killed in the 70's.

All that to say GO CANADA GO!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Hmph, another one.

I'm not sure how to feel about this... was at my naturopath's office today getting my weekly acupuncture treatment (fell asleep on the table today) and began talking ot her about my favourite cousin that's pregnant and how for the first time in a long time I felt excitement and hope for the future. We talked a bit about it for a while and then she said, "Well, I better tell you this now before you are able to notice it..." And of course I'm standing there with this dumb smile on my face trying to reason out what is going to come next. "I'm pregnant". Of course I was excited and said all of the right things.

And, in the moment, there wasn't even a small part of me that was sad. I think I was in shock. She is 16 weeks along.

I am extremely happy for her and I love going to her, but there's this small part of me that thinks I won't be able to continue to see her. She now embodies what I want.

Is it weird that I'm not sure about continuing to see her?

Perpetuating Myths

Did you happen to catch The New Adventures of Old Christine yesterday? I didn’t see the whole show, but caught enough to get the gist of the premise. Apparently, Old Christine wants to have another baby and is going to use her ex-husband’s sperm to get pregnant. Cut to the scene of her and all of her friends at the doctor’s office for her assessment of if she can still get pregnant. The doctor did an external ultrasound pronouncing her lining thick, her uterus in great shape, her tubes open and her ovaries functioning. Diagnosis: She can still get pregnant, but she’ll have to move quickly. How old is this woman – my guess is that she’s at least 45 (in the show).

I was watching tv with H. and we both sat watching this scene incredulously. H. shook his head and said something to the effect of the show being stupid. He’s been through enough of my appointments to know that most of that stuff is done through an internal ultrasound.

Now, I know the show is a comedy and it’s on in prime time and it would probably make people all squeamish if they mimed a transvaginal ultrasound. But, I can’t help but get ticked off at these shows. 45 year old women do get pregnant spontaneously; however most 45 year old women do not. Even 45 year old women who have fertility treatments have significantly reduced odds of getting pregnant with their own eggs.

It’s just one more example of “Hollywood” spreading this garbage of women in their 40’s getting pregnant easily. The fact is that we have a biological clock and while some will beat the odds, most will not unless they go with donor eggs.

When I had my IVF, my family was so expectant of a successful outcome that they were in shock that it didn’t happen. One of my aunts cancelled a party because she thought she had shingles and that I would be pregnant so she didn’t want to get me sick. I think this is due to tv and false information. For the most part, unless you have a vested interest to go look into fertility stats or read infertility blogs, society only hears about people’s successes. So, it gives this false sense that IVF = Baby.

I don’t know what the point of this post is… the only reason I know what I know is because I was forced to learn. I certainly don’t wish for anyone to have to walk in my shoes. Is it too much to hope for entertainment to be accurate as well as funny?

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows la la la...

Today I caught myself thinking about our trip to CR and found myself smiling. Smiling?! Then, when thinking about my cousin, I thought about having little ones close to the same age... you know if things work in April. And, I felt this little ripple of excitement, it was just a little buzz of electricity that ran up my belly. Uh oh, and now that good old emotion of hope has just popped in to say hello. Yikes, usually I'm good at fending off these positive emotions. You know some how protecting myself from some inevitable disappointment,it's a bizarre form of self-preservation. It's so much easier to be the grizzled, cynical, infertile than the bright-eyed, optimistic, hopeful one.

Or at least I thought it was easier, but you know what... I don't like living like that. That's not who I am. I want to be hopeful and optimistic and expectant of good things. I've gotten so used to things not going right that I've forgotten what it feels like to have that ripple of excitement roll through my body.

Logicaly, I know it's better to hope for the best and prepare for the worst. I just don't want to be logical. Logic be damned! Today I'm going to be hopeful and optimistic, there are good things in my future.

Monday, February 08, 2010

I'm not an Ogre

My brother's birthday party was a big hit! The masks were awesome and he had a great time. On top of that, the food was tasty and affordable. A job well done overall. On Sunday I got a phonecall from my Mom. I knew it wasn't going to go very well because of her tone of voice. You know how you just *know* when it's going to be bad news? Well, I was wrong it was extremely good news, but delivered as follows:

Me: Hello
Mom: Hi SweetG, how are you?
Me: (thinking uh oh, what's up)Fine, did you have a good time last night...blah blah blah.
Mom: Blah blah, just got off the phone with Aunt M. Your cousin L is pregnant.
Me: That's amazing news!
Mom: Aunt M was afraid to tell you. (crying)
Me: (sigh) I'm so happy for L&D.

The conversation went on from there...but the "she was afraid to tell you" line gets me. I'm not an ogre. I can feel happiness and joy for the people I love when good things happen in their lives... even when it's about a pregnancy. Of course, I feel sad for myself. And of course I hung up the phone and swore at the world and sobbed "It's just not fucking fair!". But, along side of that pain and sorrow is pure joy for my cousin. This is my favouritest cousin. She is like my little sister and she & her fiancé are going to make incredible parents.

It was an oops. Neither of them have steady jobs or health benefits. She is significantly overweight and has thyroid issues (she's starting synthroid today), she's in early menopause. And she's pregnant. See there's a little teensy bit of bitterness there for me. We are essentially the same but I'm 5 years older. This makes H. kick himself and blame himself and start with the old "if only I hadn't made us wait" game of self-blame. To which I say... neither of us was ready, we made that decision together and there are no guarantees that anything would be different now. Then H. said the best thing he could have said in the situation; he said "Just think 2 years from now we'll have our child(ren) and they'll have theirs and we won't be in this place any more." While there are no guarantees that things will work. I had lost that hope and I needed to be reminded that while I'm (we're) strugggling through things right now they won't always be this way. This too shall pass.

So, I choose to believe that we will be successful.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010


Lately, at night when I have the dogs outside for the pre-bed bathroom break I have been taking a moment to look up at the sky and just breathing it in. I love the winter sky on a clear night. The stars look like I could reach up and touch them. I love being able to spot Orion’s belt and just letting the moment seep into me. In our family folklore we tell the kids that when someone dies they become a star looking down on us. So, if you need a visit, you just have to look up into the sky. I tell myself that the first star I see at night is my Grandpa looking down on me. I get to say a quick hello and then, even though I am not religious, I thank God for the night.

Even last night, with the sky covered in clouds and the snow coming down, I was able to remember back to earlier nights just like that. Where it’s not really that cold, and you can feel the snowflakes melting on your cheeks and eyelashes only on those nights I would have been a kid tobogganing or skating. Instead, I was chasing the pups around in the snow.

These are moments that fill me up and give me a simple joy. But, they are also moments that make me sad. I want to be able to point to the sky and say to my child, “see that star up there, that’s your Great Grandpa. Look quick because when he twinkles he’s saying hello.” I want to make new memories of playing in the snow with my children and hearing their laughter echo through the snowfall.

Edited to answer a couple questions:

Val asked if my dogs like snow... the quick answer is Yes, the pups love the snow. They dig their noses in it and roll around in it and generally act like pigs in sh*t.

And, Lost in Space asked if we see the stars like she did in Death Valley. I guess what we'd see is somewhere in between. I'm in Toronto - which has about 2.5 million people in the city, it is part of the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) which is the city and its surrounding area which has a population of 5.5 million. Lots of highrises and lights here too. I live about a 20 minute drive from downtown and I guess far enough that I can see some stars, but I have never seen the milky way unless I've been up in cottage country far away from the city lights.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Just breathe

The party on Friday was excellent. We drank a lot of bubbly, listened to 80s music, watched 80s movies (Footloose and Dirty Dancing) and laughed a lot. The room we got was excellent and accomodated everyone. And, I loved getting my mani done. Oh and the cupcakes were divine. I think T had a mini breakdown - she's not handling this birthday very well, but overall I'm pretty sure she had a good time.

Next thing to get ready for is P's 30th birthday. I cut his picture out over and over again and now just have to get sticks to paste the masks on. I think he's going to love them.

I've been feeling pretty good since I went to my naturopath on Thursday. But, on Sunday I had that heavy feeling creeping back in. So I took some of the valeriacalm that she suggested. At first it made me feel a little loopy, but after a while I just felt calm again and the heaviness fell away. I think part of what has been weighing on me is some bad news that has occurred over the past week on the boards that I visit. 3 women all pregnant after IF had losses last week. One, a natural surprise bfp, lost her little monkey after having seen the heartbeat. One, pregant with twins via IVF, lost both after having seen the heartbeats. And, one also pregnant with twins via IVF, lost one of her little guys after having seen the heartbeats. You would think that women who have to go through infertility to finally have success would be given a free pass once they are pregnant. It truly shows just how unfair things can be and the complete randomness of everything.

There is no easy part of this battle. We fight and fight to get pregnant. Then magically one day it happens. Then we fight and fight to stay pregnant. Will the fear follow us through every step of our children's lives? When does it stop and we can just breathe?