Friday, December 30, 2011

Last Time at the Cabin, Sans Babies

Tidy and I just got back from a little winter getaway to my P's cabin up north.

The first day we were there, we took a 6 mile hike through the woods with the pog. She was EXHAUSTED! I think she went up to her bed by 7p at night (it's usually around 9 or so). It was a beautiful winter hike (although it would have been better if there was snow) through pine forests, meadows and along the lake and sand dunes. We talked about how we love these hikes and hope that we can bring our babies on these through their lives.

The next day we splurged on a spa day. Steam room, massages and pedicures, tea (well, hot coco for Tidy) in a peaceful setting wearing the most comfortable of robes. I could do that once a week if I had the $$. It was bliss and utterly relaxing.

That night, as we laid on the couch by the fireplace, a bittersweet mood came over us. We realized that this is going to be the last time we are at the cabin, alone, without kids. And in that realization, we both had a little sadness, an acknowledge of an ending of the togetherness,  quietness and spontaneity that we currently have in our life without kids. We've love this life. It's been great to us, even with 5 years of infertility, we still found a great groove of Tippy, Tidy and the Pog. And while we are so very excited about our life to be with our babies, there is just a slight bit of sadness of what we are letting go of.

Does that make sense? Anyone else have this realization? It was actually a very sweet and tender moment, knowing how much we both very much treasure the relationship that we currently have. I think, hopefully, this will just make us stronger as we enter life with twins.

Last year, we were also at the cabin around this time and said good bye to 2010.  We started a little ritual of writing down the things we wanted to let go of onto paper and tossed it into the fire. Well this year, we didn't get around to that because 1) it's not new year's eve yet and 2) we felt somewhat nostalgic for this year.

2011 is going to go down in history as the year we finally got pregnant, as the year we conceived our babies. I definitely don't want to let go of those things.

And now...the stats:

Status: 14w1d

Weight Gain: Not sure yet. Won't have another weigh in until my next OB appointment in January. 

Symptoms: Still feeling like a normal non pregnant human except that I am hungry here and there. Nasal congestion is still there, but a little less. Headaches continue, even after some chiropractic care and a massage... 

Cravings: This week it has been green pepper pizza!!! So strange! I definitely don't normally like green peppers.

Aversions: Same as last time, no real aversions, just not craving things I really used to love.

Exercise: Bad week due to the holidays. Sunday - 3 mile run outside.  Tuesday - 1 hr spinning class. Wednesday - 6 mile hike.

Best Moment of the Week: Laying with Tidy on the couch at the cabin in front of the fire holding onto the good that we do have in our lives, somewhat scared of the change, but knowing that we are strong and are going to face our new lives head on, hand in hand.

What I Look Forward to: Finally coming out at work, hopefully this week. I've been waiting on a decision on a job by my Vice President. Long story, but I'm still in the running and I don't want him to know that I'm pregnant until he makes his decision. Hopefully we will find out this week and then I can let me stomach out. Pictures to come soon, I promise.

Friday, December 23, 2011

NT Scan and Body Honesty

Yesterday we had our NT scan. This is the first trimester screening that checks the width of the Nuchal fold on the back of the babies' necks. If the fold is over a certain width, it CAN indicated that the chances the babies have either Trisomy 13, 18 or 21 is higher than the average chances. If the chances are higher, because the fold is larger than "normal" then it can help you decide if you want to proceed further with testing, like having a CVS or an Amnio.

Our twins measurements were all within the normal range and so we won't be going further with any testing. Yay!

The biggest highlight of yesterday though, was just spending time watching them both on the screen, moving around, jumping, jerking, opening their mouths, moving their hands and feet. It was simply and purely awesome.

Here's a few pictures of Baby A's head, Baby B's head and torso and then a 3D picture of them both, hanging out in my uterus. FREAKY!!!  Don't they look so cute all snuggled in there?

I still don't connect, though that those little amazing creatures are actually inside of me. Maybe I'll feel that more when I can start to feel them move, but right now, I just feel a bit fat and hungry.

Which brings me to another thought... Body changes...

I have been thinking about this infertility thing and how it affects you once you are pregnant. One thing I think it does is put a lot of pressure on you to feel ecstatic and amazed at everything your body is going through. And to be quite honest, I simply don't. I don't like my bigger boobs. They get in the way when I blow my nose, when I roll over in bed, when I take a shower, when I do anything... and I surely don't like not fitting into my pants. I feel self conscious. I've lived for so long working hard to stay fit and in shape, so as my body is changing, I'm not really a huge fan... yet.

It's not to say that I'm not amazingly grateful or extremely happy that we ARE experiencing this journey, but I just think that it's a false expectation to put on yourself that you are going to enjoy every aspect of it. Some women do, some don't. There's no right or wrong way to go about it. I wouldn't trade my babies for a thin belly again for any reason, but I'm just being honest here and acknowledging that some of us may not really feel 100% awesome in our pregnant bodies and that's O.K.

Now, maybe down the road as this potbelly turns into an actual pregnant belly and I can feel them move more, I will be more excited about my body changes, but I don't think I'm going to get used to these boobs. Ha!

And now...the stats:

Status: 13w1d

Weight Gain: Not sure yet. Won't have another weigh in until my next OB appointment in January. Even though I like to feel a certain way in my body, I don't use weight as a measurement of that fitness.

Symptoms: Many of the mild symptoms that I did have in the first trimester have all but gone away. I basically feel like a normal non pregnant human except that I am still hungry here and there. I'm also having some fun nasal stuff oh, and now my friends are trying to freak me out about using the neti pot with tap water because of THIS fun article on people dying from a flesh eating amoeba... gross, huh? I figure it's really only surfaced in the deep south, so I'm not gonna get my panties in a bundle over it. (I love that saying). Oh, I've also recently had a few more headaches, but I can't tell if they are hormonal or muscle tension.

Cravings: Yesterday I wanted lots and lots of orange juice. I didn't have any, but I had a ton of those little clementines, so I squeezed juice out of about 10 of them... and got like 1/2 cup of juice. It got me through... But today, I'm definitely going hunting for more OJ. I've been reading up about this and I think cravings are so fascinating. I know they are your body telling you that you need certain things. In pregnancy, one of the things you need more of but is hard to get, especially for vegetarians is iron. And that might be the reason why I am craving OJ, since Vitamin C helps you bind the iron that is found in non-meat sources better. I love the human body. It's amazing, no?

Aversions: Same as last time, no real aversions, just not craving things I really used to love.

Exercise: Friday - 1 hr warm power flow yoga, Sunday - 1 hr spinning class, Tuesday - 3 mile run on the treadmill, 45 min non-warm power flow yoga, Wednesday - does 3 games of bowling count? I was actually a little sore in my bum...

Best Moment of the Week: Peeking inside again with the twins and watching Twin A jump and jerk around in there like it had the hiccups. It was AMAZING!

What I Look Forward to: Telling some of our extended family and friends tonight and tomorrow night.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

What a Difference a Year Makes

I'm still an "Infertile", even though we are finally pregnant. I still have feelings of jealousy of people who get pregnant easily and those who talk about expanding their families to their hearts content. I get slightly angry at people who stay stupid things, like "just adopt" or "just relax". This will always be part of me. I don't want to forget it and I won't. It's made me the person I am today and I like who I am.... well, not really the jealous monster part, but the part that tries to be compassionate towards ever person's struggle, and the part that has learned patience and living in the moment... appreciating what you have... right now.

But I will say, one thing that has changed from last year, is my desire to celebrate the holidays. Last year at this time, I wanted to throw away all of the family cards that we got in the mail, especially the handful that announced pregnancies. I didn't want to put up a tree because... meh... who cares. I was in a funk.

But this year there is definitely a different feel. It's not a complete 180, because I've never been a HUGE holiday person, but I definitely feel more festive, more hopeful, more willing to celebrate other's joys. I even went out and did a little shopping yesterday to decorate.

You will notice a few things in our picture: A tree, some holiday colored pillows for the couch, and a wall hanging of our holiday cards from friends.... with their kids! Yup, they are on my wall instead of in my recycling bin. Oh what a difference a year makes, huh?

P.S.... We think Tidy is pregnant too. His appetite has increased, he's not sleeping well, especially on his back, and he has been a bit more irritable. I can't wait to see HIS bump start to form... LOL!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

1 T down, 2 to Go! 12 Weeks!

Whoopee!!! We made it through the first trimester. Officially today our chances of miscarriage drop to 1%! (Although, I wonder if it's still a bit higher for twins or multiples... but... no need to over-analyze this, right?)

Thanks everyone for responding to my thoughts on my OB in the last post. So much great advice out there. We are going to have our NT scan next Thursday with the Peri that would be ours if we had one so I will definitely ask her some questions. I just adore this community for its wealth of knowledge.

So, this is going to be the first official 'tracking' post of my pregnancy. I've been searching through other blogs and have found different things that I want to keep note through this amazing experience that we are lucky enough to be on.

 But first.. the belly pics:

6 weeks and 4 days. I hope I can get back there some day.

12 weeks and 0 days. There's definitely a little bit of a bump there. I still feel like it's mostly a food belly and bloat right now because of everything that I've been eating, but I think it's somewhat of a baby bump too. Can you see it? I think, if you have a discerning eye, you can see that the girls have gotten bigger too. (Tidy's happy about that! Ha!)

And now...the stats:

Status: 12w0d

Weight Gain: +4 lbs at my OB appointment last week (11w1d)

Symptoms: Up until now, I really haven't had that many symptoms other than extreme hunger, and if I don't have something in my belly, I either feel a bit icky or a bit faintish. My boobs surely have gotten a lot bigger, but they haven't really hurt. Just the last few days, they are more sensitive, but not painful. I also have not had much fatigue or back pain or heartburn or anything. OH! But I am having some nasal stuff. Always have to blow my nose and have some blood in there too. Sorry, I know... TMI. My neti pot has definitely become a good friend.

Cravings: Recently, not that many, other than just food, food and more food. But in the beginning, I was craving turkey. I dreamed of a whole roasted turkey one night that I found under my kitchen sink, and I just sat there in my dream and devoured it. I've also been really into bubbly water lately and juice. My morning routine is to make an egg and toast and have a glass of 1/3 juice and 2/3 Pelligrino. YUM!  That only lasts me for about an hour before I need to eat more though. Finally, fruit always sounds good: strawberries, pineapple, raspberries, apples. Double YUM!
Aversions: I don't yet have any strong aversions either, but I am definitely not craving the things I usually do: Coffee, red wine, vegetarian type dishes. They don't sound bad, but they don't sound awesome!

Exercise: Sunday - 3 mile run, Tuesday - 1 hr spinning class, Tonight - I WAS going to go to yoga, but a nap on the couch sounded better.

Gender: We've decided not to find out!!! So I won't be tracking this.

Best Moment of the Week: Telling a friend of mine at work who has been so supportive of me these past few years. She was having a bad week and she said, "Tell me some good news" and I told her we were pregnant, with twins... and she cried... It was beautiful!

What I Look Forward to: Buying my first maternity clothes.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Tippy meets OB

I waked into my OB's office yesterday and one of the first few sentences out of my mouth was, "I've spent almost 5 years and 6 figures on getting to this point. These twins mean the world to me. Are you going to be able to handle me as a patient?"

Wait, did I just say that? MY OB??? OH MY GOSH!!!! I HAVE AN OB!!!

Ha! I wish I was even harsher. Like, "Listen hear buddy. I'm going to co-manage this pregnancy with you, so you'd better be ok with that, otherwise I'm heading somewhere else". But I'm bad at being stern.

Ok, back to the story...So I met with my OB for the first time yesterday and it went really well. I first saw his nurse, who used to work in an infertility clinic before this job, so she definitely has a sense for our background, which makes me very happy. She took a lot of my health history and then shared some materials with me.

Then I met with my OB. I of course was hoping for a scan, or a listen for the heartbeats, but I didn't get so lucky. Instead, we just went into his office, me toting my notepad with questions, and he with a comforting smile. After I shared with him my "opening speech" he just looked at me and said,"Go".  Meaning, ok, girl, it's your show, ask your questions away.

So here's what we discussed (Answers in italic)

  1. Do you deem me high risk just because this is a twin pregnancy? If so, should we be consulting with a Peri as well? No, I don't think that you are high risk, just because you are having twins. You will get more monitoring after 20 weeks to make sure the babies are growing well and around the same rate, but no, you don't start out high risk. If you want to see a peri, that's your choice, and you can certainly consult with her if you like, but I don't think it's necessary.
  2. Do we need to do preventative monitoring of my cervix? What are my chances of cervical failure? Do you do preventative cerclage? The data does not support preventative cerclage, without prior failure, nor does it show that measuring cervical length prevents cervical incompetence. This is something that I'm worried about because I've known 3 moms that lost twins in the 20 week mark due to cervical incompetence. He then said that he would be able to better predict anything going wrong just based on symptoms that I'm having. And he will take care of me. He promises.
  3. These are all of the meds that I am currently on: Estrogen, Progesterone, Baby Asprin, Metformin, Lovenox, Prednisone, Pre natal, Extra folic acid. I'm supposed to stop most of them today, but am a bit nervous about it. Do we need to do any other monitoring of blood levels of progesterone to make sure it stays high enough after I go off? No need to monitor any levels. Your progesterone should be high enough because the placenta has taken over the production of progesterone and estrogen at this point.  Clearly stay on the pre-natals and extra folic acid. (See below for Lovenox and Baby Aspirin)
  4. I was tested and found to be MTHFR hetero C, which can sometimes be linked to blood clotting disorders. Should I stay on the Lovenox thru the pregnancy? MTHFR alone is not an indication to stay on Lovenox. If your RE wants you to stay on it, I will support that, but I'd prefer you be off it. If you want to stay on the baby aspirin, that's fine with me. I was worried about being off them both, just in case. I'm glad I can stay on the baby aspirin.
  5. What extra vitamins and supplements should I be taking? I have not seen any research that indicates taking other supplements are beneficial. Take what you want to take, but don't get a stomach ache. lol! 
  6. What are my chances of having a vaginal birth? Of being put on bed rest? We'll talk about that in March. I will probably push you towards a C-section, but if everything is perfect... well, we'll talk. But let's not worry about that until March. As for bed rest, I don't like to put people on it unless absolutely necessary. I like to avoid it and am not a believer that it does much good. I havent' had any twin pregnancies go to bed rest since I've been practicing, and I've had a lot of twin pregnancies.
  7. What are your guidelines on weight gain? 35-45 pounds ish?You started on the thinner side, so you could gain a bit more. Listen to your body. Eat when you are hungry. Go get a burger when you are craving it, but don't get it for every meal.
  8. Are there any books you recommend following? No, I think they do more harm than good. Especially the twin and multiple pregnancy ones. I don't want you to freak yourself out. Come to me with all of your questions and I will get you through his. I want you to trust me and know that we will have 2 healthy babies in the end of this. 
  9. I'm still exercising: running, body pump, spinning, swimming, warm (not hot) yoga. Any recommendations? Your body will tell you when to stop certain things. Do what you want to do as long as you feel good doing it.
  10. Is there any other precautions that I should be aware of being 37 and never been pregnant before? No
  11. When is my due date? June 28th 2012, but you won't go past 38 weeks, so that puts you at June 14th, 2012.

With that, we talked a bit more about him being the right OB for me and he wanting me to feel comfortable with that, so call him any time, email him, whatever I need to make sure this is right, otherwise, I'm welcome to look for someone different who might approach this differently.

What do you guys think? I do feel comfortable with him, and I know he's got a lot of experience with twins, but I do know some of you twin moms out there would subscribe to a more monitored pregnancy and say I should definitely be seeing a peri, right? I'd be happy to hear all of your thoughts. 

One of my main concerns is that I don't want to go down too many worm holes of worry, so I feel like if I'm with this OB who is not going to be overly anxious about every little thing and just let me navigate this with how I am feeling in my body and mind, (which is the route I prefer in life...) well, then he just might be the best choice for me.

We do have a scan coming up with a Peri in a few weeks and I will definitely be asking her questions about the OB I've chosen and if she subscribes to his theories. 

On another note...I've seen some of you pregnant ladies out there on your blogs answer questions every week about cravings and weight gain and such... but I don't know if there is a standard list of things you document every week? If so, can you email me or in a comment below send me a list of those things you document? I want to start seeing how things change over the weeks and that seems like a great way to do it.

Ok, that's all for now. Heading to bed to dream of these babies...

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Symptoms - A Lack Thereof

Sorry it's been so long since I've posted. Life has been busy...

There's been a few things sucking up my time.

1) I seem to have come down with a kleenex-box-a-day-worth-of-kleenex type cold... and it won't go away. I think this has something to do with pregnancy, because, as we all know, our immune systems are a bit compromised in this lovely state, but boy, do I wish it would go away. My poor nose is so raw and sore that I rub Vaseline on it every night before I go to bed in hopes of making it feel a little better. Oh, and the chest throbbing coughs... those are fun... SO FUN! But my neti pot has been my new best friend.

2) I spent the last two days in Vegas... whooping it up!!!! oh... I mean, grading papers for one of the board exams for my profession. I volunteered for this committee and while I was going through it, I cursed my stupid nice-ness for accepting this "job". And when I did accept it, oh 6 months ago or so, I thought, hey, grade a few papers and get a free trip to Vegas! SO worth it, right? But I guess I didn't figure that I'd actually be pregnant in Vegas....

It was a good experience though, but I've spent much of my weekend after Thanksgiving going through the 1000 papers and making sure that I was being consistent in grading. Then in Vegas, we meet with our grading partner, who graded the same papers, and we have to reconcile our grades and then re-grade any of those papers that were close to the pass-mark so that we could verify that those who passed deserved to pass and those that didn't it was clear that they didn't master the material. I definitely have a new appreciation for the process.

3) And finally, last weekend, I was in Philly for my brother's wedding! My little brother got married!!!!!! It was a beautiful long weekend with family and his friends. And now he's off on his honeymoon, baking in the sunshine of Hawaii... and I'm freezing my little butt off in the cold. Jealous, me?.... Yes, just a bit.

So here I am, just a few hours shy of 11 weeks of pregnant and I am going to now start talking about this pregnancy... ready.... go....

11 weeks.

11 weeks.

That's pretty nuts! I can't believe sometimes that we really are here. I think one of the reasons why is that I've had little to no symptoms. Here's a few of the common early pregnancy symptoms, per the American Pregnancy Association... and how I've experienced them:

  • implantation bleeding - NONE
  • swollen/tender breasts - definitely no tenderness, although around 6-7 weeks, they did start to get fuller and they continue to be. some days they felt less so and other days they felt bigger. right around when I was to have missed my period, I had some nipple sensitivity, but other than that, nothing much to speak of. I still don't need a bigger bra yet, but I definitely fill them out more. My one sister said, "What are you now, a FULL B cup?" Yes... I'd say that I now fill out my "B-cup" bra :-) YAY!
  • fatigue/tiredness - NONE! I still have energy to run and go to the gym and say up to my normal hours. I didn't sleep all that well the first few weeks after we found out, so maybe from weeks 4-7. I would wake up a bit with a racy mind around 3am and couldn't get back to sleep. But fatigue, none.
  • nausea/morning sickness - Little to None. There are times that when I don't have any food in my belly, I feel a bit uncomfortable and know that if I put food in there, it will feel a lot better, but no urge to puke and no major nausea. Feeling VERY luck on this one.
  • backaches - NONE
  • headaches - I've had one migraine, and just recently a few days ago, I've started to get a few headaches in the back of my head. Hopefully these won't last too long and they may also be associated with weening off my prednisone. 
  • frequency of urination - Somewhat, but only because I'm drinking a LOT more water/liquids because my mouth is dry and I feel very thirsty
  • darkening of areolas - Not yet, but they do look a little bigger... probably because I can wear a big-girl bra now. LOL!
  • food cravings/aversions - This is the only real true symptom that I can put a finger on. In "pre-pregnancy" life, I was pretty much a vegetarian and somewhat vegan... I like to call it vegan-ish. But ever since about 5 weeks, when my monster stomach, Snackzilla as we call her, has taken over, I've been craving protein, in the form of eggs and turkey dairy, and sugar, in the form of fruit and juices and jelly.  I've also added back in some wheat as it's just too hard to get lots of food into that endless pit of a belly without it. Peanut butter filled pretzels (thanks Running Mama!) have been my life saver when I'm in need of a quick food fix. 
So there you have it. just about 11 weeks and little to no symptoms. Just the need to eat... lots...  Oh, and this morning was the first time that I put on a pair of work pants and they just weren't comfortable anymore... I think a shopping trip for some new pants is in order soon...

Sorry again that it has been so long. I think I'm going to start trying to update weekly so that I can have a record of my changes. And soon, as I have a difference to show,  I will start some belly pics too... 

Hope you all are well... Know that I'm thinking of each and everyone of you every day, weather you are still in the trenches, in my shoes, or new to the parenting world... 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Warning: I'm Going to Start Talking about this Pregnancy

I love this community and I don't want to leave it. And I'm not going to. And knowing what I know, and fearing what I fear, I need you all, very much.

But now is that time, the time where this blog becomes a little more about my pregnancy and a little less about a struggle, not completely without struggle, but definitely less.

So you will see some changes...

1) I've added a ticker at the top tracking the growth of my twins (eek!! MY TWINS!!!). I saw this on a few of my other post infertility pregnant friend's blogs and just loved it and have dreamed of seeing it on my blog.

2) I'd also like to start talking more about my pregnancy here, and while this may deter some of you from reading, or maybe even make me lose some followers,  in the end, this is my space to document this whole journey, or "tumultuous trip", and get some support from those of you who have made it to this other side.  So expect a few symptom discussions, some ultrasound pictures and some belly shots.

3) I intend also to talk about things related to pregnancy after infertility, i.e., how much the fear and depression and expectation of bad things affects the way I go through this.

4) Finally, I really want to talk about donor eggs and how this choice we have made has affected our thoughts around this pregnancy. I want to be honest and true here to this amazing gift we have received. I want to let others know what this choice has meant to us and how it is impacting us, or families and our babies.

I do hope you decide to stay. I truly enjoy having each of you read and journey along with me on this. My blog is one of my favorite spaces to work through my thoughts, get support and connect with this amazing community.

Monday, November 21, 2011

New Skin

This new skin I am living in, this pregnancy thing, is so.... different, and yet so right, like I've known how to do this all along...

I should say however, that every now and again, infertility's hold on my fear and my negative expectations gets the best of me.

Today, we went into our health care clinic to get a "dating" ultrasound at 8 weeks are 4 days. It was our second peak inside. I had no reason to worry, really. My symptoms have been pretty consistent (which I'll get to in another post) and we did already see the heartbeats once, so we shouldn't have reason to worry, but that expectation of bad news is SOOO strong. Infertility has done a number on my psyche and sometimes I can't seem to shake it.

I was waiting for Tidy to get there, but he was running late, so the tech called me back and I looked at her and simply burst into tears. I blurted out that it was only our second look inside, and we've been trying for these babies for about 5 years and I'm so scared that we aren't going to see what we need to see today and so I really really wanted to wait for my husband. She was sweet and showed me back to the ultrasound room and to the box of kleenex and let the women at the front desk know to get Tidy back there ASAP, when he showed up.

I was so crippled for a few minutes by true terror that those babies inside me had stopped growing and I didn't want to face this without Tidy. Crippled with a quickened heart rate, streaming hot tears, and panic of bad news.

But I pulled up my big girl pants, and dried my tears and got on that table. And sure enough, we weren't disappointed.  Both babies showed their beautiful heartbeats to the tech and she then turned on the overhead monitor so I could see. I saw them both flickering away, super fast, at 167 beats per minute. Both Baby A and Baby B are also measuring around 2cm, just about 8w4d.

Big... Sigh... of Relief

Big... Jumps... of Joy

A few minutes later, Tidy walked in and I cried even more, sharing with him the good news and just reveling in another moment of this amazing journey we are on and the new skin that I am living in...

... a pregnant woman, with twins.

Grateful can not even begin to describe what I am feeling right now.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Telling My Dad (Part 2)

And now for the conclusion of this story from yesterday's post...

After giving thought to my dad's email, I took some time over lunch that day to craft a response back. I thought it would be hard, but the words just flowed. Here was my response:

Well, Dad, we were hoping to have this discussion with you in a different form and at a different time  (ie in person, not via email) but since you asked, no, they are not my eggs. 

We found a very giving young woman, who is anonymous to us (except for some early childhood pictures and characteristics and health history), and we are anonymous to her, to donate her eggs to help us have our dream of building our family. It's a very gracious gift and one we can not thank her enough for helping us get to this point.   

L, C & J are all aware of this. They have been "in the loop" since earlier this spring when Tidy and I had made the decision to go down this path. In fact, they helped me one weekend when they came to our house. I explained all of our options to them and the potential costs and success rates and graphed it out on a white board. We sat and discussed with wine and cheese and laughed and cried and it was great. They were very supportive of this route and it really helped me feel supported in our next steps.   

Tidy and I then decided to keep it quiet between L, C & J until we had any news to share because we thought there was no need to get "too many cooks in the kitchen" and ultimately, this is Tidy and my decision to make. And why make a whole bunch of people start to develop their own opinions, worries and thoughts on something that might not work. 

Thankfully, this worked ... and we now have to determine the best way forward in sharing our news. We do know that we want to raise our kids so that they understand their story and how they came into this world and how much we went through to get them and how much we  wanted them and why we felt this was the right option for all of us. I don't believe in hiding this information from them, so we did intended to let everyone in on the news so that it just becomes a non-issue at some yet undetermined point in time...   

It's possible this all might be a bit overwhelming, so I'd love to talk with you more about it. And I do ask that right now, you keep it to yourself. I'd like to share this with Mom in our own way....  So I'm  very sorry to put you in this position right now. I'd be happy to hear your thoughts on what you think might be the best way to broach this subject with her.   

Honestly, I had thought to not tell anyone else (except J, C & L) about using donor eggs until after they had met our babies and fallen in love with them. And even then, more so on a 'need to know' basis, or if we were asked. There's many books on this topic and Tidy and I had decided to venture into those as we get close to meeting our babies, or at least past the 1st trimester when we have more confidence that they are going to stick around.... 

Either way, managing everyone's emotions will be hard, but something we are going to prepare ourselves for. We want to be open about this and educate everyone as much as possible. I know we can't change anyone's opinions, but we do hope that people can set aside their beliefs and focus on our babies as they would any other child that would come into our life via natural methods or adoption.   

Know this... regardless of the genetic makeup of our children, I get to carry them.. it is MY blood coursing through their bodies right now, it  is MY immune system protecting them, it is MY food and exercise choices nourishing them and sustaining them to grow, and ultimately, some of their genetic expression of traits is unique because they are inside me (google the term "epigenetics") and not someone else... Yes I grieved my genetic loss and I will always be curious about what that combination with Tidy would look like, but I don't believe they are any less MY/OUR children or any less YOUR grandchildren.  

I hope that you can feel this way... maybe not right away, but at some point.   

And we are OH so very excited to meet our unique, individual babies...   

(Clearly this is a very deep and emotional issue and I could go on and on and on...)   

We also have not told anyone from Tidy's family yet either, so as of right now, only You, J, C & L are in the know... Please keep it that way until we determine our next steps.   

Should we talk more on the phone? Maybe you have lots of questions? I have tons of answers :-) What else do you want to know? 

Love, Tippy

And after I hit send, I realized that email might NOT be a bad way to share this topic with certain people. It is giving my dad some time to process this on his own and then be able to ask me questions on he is ready.

And that is basically the response I got from him:

Yes, I will keep it to myself no problem, and work through my own thoughts and then we can talk; in the grand scheme of things it certainly matters not, I believe its the initial feelings I will work through and then we can talk soon. The mom issue, that's a tough one.  It's almost like I would initially say never or not for a long time, but then again that's your call.  Obviously, it's Tidy and your decision when.   

Ok, thanks for telling me and it'll be fine. Let me reread this later again and ponder the mom thing. I will have a goodly share of questions.

This response from my dad makes me happy. It may not seem very overjoyed to the reader here, but knowing the person my dad is, a very analytical, well thought out and emotional, this is exactly the response I was hoping for. I look forward to talking with him more about out babies beginnings and know that as he processes this more, this will be a non-issue and he will see the true miracle that our babies are.

The next challenge is how and when to tell my mom. Soon? Or wait until the babies are born... tbd.

Stay tuned!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Telling My Dad (Part 1)

This past weekend was pretty amazing. And we got it all on video (which I may post a snippet or two of..). There were a lot of "Oh my gosh!!!" and "Shut up!!"s, a few tears, hugs and some great facial expressions.

We told my family about the two heart beats we saw just over a week ago, growing inside me on Saturday, November 5th, my 37th birthday. The faces of my mom and dad were the most precious and I will treasure those looks forever.

We did not, however discuss the donor egg topic with them, at that point. My 3 sisters do know, as they were part of helping me make the decision. I thought I wrote a blog post on this, back in May, but apparently not. Regardless, I'm very glad that they sat with me oh so many months ago to help me sort out my thoughts and support me and Tidy in our big decision to use donor eggs. It really made it feel more like a family decision and that is important to me for something this big. Thank you J, L & C. I love you guys and can't wait to see you holding our babies.

I had mentioned that donor eggs was an option way way back in late 2010 to my dad when I told him we were thinking of doing one final IVF cycle  (IVF #4) with my body and if this didn't work, I was considering looking into donor eggs. It was a quite and quick conversation at my P's kitchen table over the holidays and he made a face and said a few words that made it apparent he wasn't a big fan.  That, along with my mom's disapproval of IVF, period, was one of the reasons that Tidy and I decided, besides my 3 sisters, and a few of our close friends who have known the day to day details of this journey, we would keep the 'donor egg' part of this journey to ourselves, until later on down the road, when we figure out the best way to share with our friends and family and more importantly to our babies.  (That was one HUGE run-on sentence).

So, this past Monday, I got an email from my dad, with the subject line of "WOW"

Dad: Just tearing up occasionally thinking about how the two of you have handled this reasonably long journey with such strength, confidence and faith. I can't imagine the past levels of disappointment, and now the great hope and joy that has taken over. Love, Pops.

Me:  Thanks Dad! Each day I wake up I still feel like I'm in a dream. I definitely have some low levels of fear that this will all be taken away from me at a moment's notice, but I am trying really hard to tell my fear to go to hell and just enjoy this time. 

Dad: I am with you, of course, on all of this. Yes, go to hell! (re: fear). I have one nagging question I need to resolve, if I can... your eggs, right? heart dropped into my stomach and my pulse quickened. I wasn't ready to tell him, especially not over email. He's my dad, the one I want approval from on most things, and of course want to make him proud! I was also a bit angry at him for asking about this in a email, but I got over it. He has every right to ask whatever he wants, how he wants it. So I forwarded it to Tidy and we decided that I would respond and go from there...

Stay tuned to tomorrow for the remainder of this story.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Fear can SUCK IT!

I went to a spinning class last night!  Me, a 6w3d pregnant woman... spinning. (I'm pregnant!!! HOLY CRAP!!!!!!!!!!!! )
And it felt amazing, cathartic...revolutionary...

I spent an hour in this class, staring at myself in the mirror and biked just like when I was not pregnant (well maybe not as hard... ). I wanted to scream from the rooftops with joy and victory over fear.  I watched myself pedal to the music with the energy of the class, I felt free, invigorated, like I had hunted down my fear, and made it cower in the corner, yelled at it, shamed it, and said... "FUCK YOU fear !! I WILL NO LONGER LET YOU DICTATE HOW I LIVE MY LIFE! I will RUN and I will SWIM and I will BIKE WHILE I am pregnant and it will feel GOOD and be healthy for my babies! I am done with you, fear, YOU WILL NOT RULE ME!!!!"

Before infertility, when I foolishly thought getting pregnant would be "easy", I had always said that I would want to continue doing what I love to do while I am pregnant (taking the necessary precautions of course, like getting a heart rate monitor so I don't over do it and make sure I don't get over heated).
But as it took us longer and longer to get pregnant, I cut out more and more activities that I had thrived on and fear took over a place in my mind, tainting my actions.

It would tell me that if I do something wrong or did too much activity, I will not be able to get pregnant, AND, if I was lucky enough to become pregnant, I would have to sit in a little bubble for 9 months and not move for fear of my babies not wanting to stick around. This fear dictated that I shouldn't exercise or even think of going to the gym... But exercise is such a huge part of my life and it keeps me sane and defines who I am.

So last night, after I made the decision to get myself out the door and to the gym, fighting the little life that the fear had left in me, I was finally able to hunt fear down for the last time and put it out of it's misery.  It hit me and I thought... I can do this! I CAN bike, I CAN swim and I CAN run!!!  And I WILL!!!  (as long as my babies are safe and healthy and my doctor thinks it's ok.)

It's an amazing feeling to be free... simply amazing.

So, suck it, fear... You no longer rule me!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Best Birthday Ever!

(This is a long one today, sorry but I just have a lot to say...)

Today is my 37th birthday. I am up because I couldn't sleep. "Snackzilla", as we are calling my ravenous stomach of hunger, woke me up and needed quieting. I fed her, because after all, she's very demanding, and then well, I couldn't get back to bed.

So here I am at 5:30am on a Saturday, when I should be getting much needed rest, but am instead going to recount to you yesterday's events.

It started out by waking up and driving Tidy to his work and then on to mine. We normally don't commute together since we work in opposite directions, but his car got vandalized last weekend and so it is un-drivable. Long story, nothing taken, just punk-ass kids being jerks. It's an old car. It's my first car that I bought out of college, in fact, and we tend to drive our cars into the ground... so it really is time for a new car for Tidy, and this ended up being a good motivator.

Then, at work, I was nervous for 2 reasons, 1) the impending ultrasound later in the afternoon and 2) a first interview for a job that I really want and that would make life more comfortable for us when we have our children if Tidy stays home. I hadn't prepared all that much because this week has just been insane, so I spent the first 2 hours of the day writing down examples and things in my head that I could use in those lovely behavioral based interview questions, blech. Anyways, the interview went really well, I think. And hopefully I will hear back next week if I survived to the next round. Fingers crossed.

With that one big event out of the way for the day, I then started to get very anxious about the ultrasound. So much nervous energy!!! But I still had about 4 hours to go until the appointment, so I dove into getting my desk and "to do" list organized at work... tick. tock. tick. tock.

Finally, as 2:15 turned over on the clock, I quickly shut down my computer, gathered my belongings,  drove back to Tidy's work to pick him up and then on to the clinic. Our u/s was scheduled for 3p and we were there right on the dot. Of course the RE was running a bit behind, so Tidy and I sat in the ultrasound room and chatted, nervously. I felt so anxious and jittery, shaky even. You know that energy that just needs to get out, that you can't help but tap your feet, really really fast...

At about 3:20, our wonderful and talented RE came in and said hello. I asked her what we were hoping to see today and she said, "The gestational sac and the fetal pole. You are 6w1d so I don't need to see a heartbeat. No need yet".  (Secretly I was hoping we would see one, of course). She got the dildo-cam out and turned on the monitor and I laid back and closed my eyes. I didn't want to see her facial expression if we didn't see what we wanted to see. But as soon as she peeked in there, I could hear it in her gasp.... She was happy... tearing up. And so I got brave enough to look...

And we saw our babies, thriving, hearts fluttering away. And yes, I said BABIES!!!!!!!!!!! Yesterday, for the first time in 5 years, we can finally, confidently say we are pregnant, and with TWINS!!!!!! It was the most amazing thing that I have ever seen. And I hope it's just going to get better from here.

Baby A, is measuring at about 5w5d and we could see a flutter, flicker of a heart beat, but my RE couldn't get a signal to count it. Baby B is measuring at 6w0d and the heartbeat was at 108bmp. Both she said were fantastic for this early and the simple fact that we are seeing both heartbeats is just icing on the cake! We'll go back in next week for one more u/s from my RE...

Tidy was so sweet, SO happy. I haven't seen his face that bright in a while. And it warmed my heart. I wish I could remember what he said, but his happy smiling face will be in my memory for a long time. I cried and my RE cried as well. We hugged and talked about a few things, but just mostly looked at each other in utter joy. She has been an amazing partner in this journey with us and I am going to miss her terribly when I have to go on to my OB. We really bonded.

And if those two events weren't enough for one day... we then 1) went to Best Buy, where Tidy bought me an iPad for my birthday... (That little sneak! He got all of my family and his to go in on it together for me) and the 2) We bought Tidy a new car!!!

Phew! What a day before my 37th birthday. On our way home, we picked up a pizza, sat on the couch, ate it, and proceeded to get VERY tired from our emotionally charged day.

So now you are caught up. And here I am, on the morning of my 37th birthday, simply reveling in the fact that we are pregnant, with twins.

Everyone said that they suspected twins with my betas, so maybe this was meant to be all along. I'ts quite appropriate given the name of my blog... Think I should change the name???
Tippy and Tidy's Tumultuous Trip To TWIN Toddlers...  LOL!!!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Don't Wake Me, Please!

I keep going back to my last two blog posts and re-reading them, thinking I am in some sort of dream. If I am, please please, don't wake me. I beg of you.

I am still in utter disbelief that this is possibly happening to Tidy and me. My brain is full of many things, hormone riddled I'm assuming, but sometimes I find myself dreaming of all of the things I want to do and start, now that we have entered into a new phase of our fertility journey. But the years of disappointments and road blocks have my brain trained to say, "NO, TIPPY, don't get ahead of yourself. You know about ALL the bad that can happen."(Slap on the wrist)

So, while I am cautiously optimistic and I do feel grateful to be in a place where we have had two very strong betas to keep our hopes up, I am still trying desperately hard to live in the moment, the present moment, and take each day at a time.

After Monday's beta, some of the symptoms that I had started to fade. And once again, my disappointment-trained brain started to go down the path of doom. Tuesday, less hunger... Wednesday, boobs seemed smaller....Fail, yet another cruel joke.

My mind started to swirl at work and when I came home on Wednesday, Tidy and I were supposed to go up north to my parent's cabin in the woods for some fun fall frolicking,  (I love alliteration.. could you guess?). But I was kind of a mess so I clued him in to how I was feeling. He suggested we just stay home, and go to the clinic on Thursday for another beta. I cried, curled up in his lap and just sat there for a bit, waiting for my brain to tell me the right thing to do.

And eventually it did. It said, NO! You will NOT succumb to this fear. YOU WILL NOT! We are packing our bags and heading straight up to the cabin to do what we set out to do, fear and all.  (Sometimes I can't decide if I'm supposed to kick my fear to the curb or if I am supposed to acknowledge it and let it be my companion, one that does not rule me... but that's another post for another time).

And so what we set out to do what we set out to do.

We hiked in the woods, we ate soup, we drank cider, we napped, we read books, I discovered pumpkin butter, and we listened to the last game of the world series on the radio (TV reception up in those parts sucks), while playing scrabble (Can you say 80 years old?) But it was beautiful, as you can see. And it gave me back some of that peace I am always striving to find along the way.

And sure enough, as all of the google searching, and chat board friends have told me, symptoms come and go... and they went... and now some are back (Yay!),  so I am feeling a bit reassured that something is still happening in there. What, I have no clue, as I'm too nervous to start looking at pregnancy websites and embracing that whole other world of people who are pregnant... cuz certainly that's not me, right?... But for now, I am somewhat calm and hopeful that we are still in business, at least enough to get me to our ultrasound this coming Friday with some sanity in tact.

Oh, and MOVE OVER blackberry jam. I've found a new love... PUMPKIN BUTTER!!!

And P.S. - Thank you every so kindly to all of the happiness you have commented on my blog lately. I am soaking it in, and reveling in this moment, as I may never get to do this again. Thank you dearly.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Almond Butter & Blackberry Jam

I woke up this morning at 3:30 am, ravenous, you know, like that empty pit of hunger at the bottom of your belly, feeling like if I don't stick something in there, and fast, my body will implode. I laid there for a bit thinking it might go away, but it didn't.

So I quietly got up, and snuck out of the bedroom to the kitchen to put a piece of toast in the toaster. I was hoping Pog wasn't going to start whining and wake Tidy up because she's a total toast-slut! (Not my fault... Tidy's). Anyways, I put some butter and almond butter on my toast and then the blackberry jam in the fridge caught my eye. For some strange reason, it sounded amazing. (I HATE jelly! Anything of the cooked fruit form and I usually dont' get along)

Almond butter & jellie'd toast in hand, I got back into bed and proceeded to munch as quietly as I could. I could feel the Pog, sitting next to my side of the bed, giving me that stare of "GIVE ME TOAST, GIVE ME TOAST", even in the pitch dark. Apparently it wasn't quite enough since Tidy startled awake and said, "What the hell are you doing?" (I'm normally the one to be dead asleep all night long and he's the one who gets up in the middle of the night to pee or toss and turn.)

So I looked at him and said, while laughing and crying at the same time, "I'm HUNGRY!!!"

He just kind of stared at me in awe and said, "Oooooh boy"

We laughed this morning about it, joyfully.

And I should have let that clue me in to what our second beta would be. I was pretty worried these past few days, shed a few tears on and off about hoping that this is FINALLY our time. But last night's episode gave me some reassurance that it might be going up. And it did. From 203.5 at 15dpo, to a whopping 965.7 at 18dpo


And yes, for those of you who are avid users,  I do know that that number is more in line with the twins data than the singleton. But it's anyone's guess at this point.

Next hoop will be our 6 week ultrasound on Nov 4th.

I can NOT believe that I'm writing these words right now... simply can not.

Friday, October 21, 2011

I Wasn't Going to Answer the Phone...

...but they called so soon after I gave my blood and I was caught off guard.

So I answered.

I answered the phone and blurted out before the person on the line could say anything, "I'm not sure why I am answering this, so you'd better have some good news for me..."

And the nurse practitioner (thank GOD it was the NP and not the Dr... cuz the Dr's give bad news and the rest of the staff gives good news) said, "You are answering the phone because you are pregnant!!!!!!"

Our beta today, at 15dpo is 203.5

Today, we are still pregnant.


I'm really in utter shock and amazement. I'm at work and I have meetings all day long, so I need to stay composed. I also know that a positive beta does not equal a take home baby. But for now, we are one GIANT step closer than we've been before. I will go back in on Monday for my second beta. They weren't going to have me get one, but I, of course, need that reassurance. And then we'll go from there.

Next up, refocus on work and obsess about symptoms. It's a great day.

ICLW AND Beta Day!!!

Happy ICLW and welcome to my little corner of the web and of the ALI community!

Today is a big day for Tidy and me. It's beta day of our very first Anonymous Donor Egg IVF cycle.  We are 10dp5dt  (10 days past 5 day transfer) of 2 beautiful blasts. And, we are blessed enough to have 6 more blasts in the freezer (which takes just a little pressure off this cycle... kind of). It was truly a perfect cycle on the embryo front and I am so very very thankful for that. Dotty 2.0 (the name we have for our SECOND anonymous donor ... you can read more about that saga here) did amazing. I can't thank this woman enough (and I literally can't because she's anonymous). I hope that she feels the gratitude that we have for her taking the time out of our her life to give us this opportunity.

Before you read further, I will say that this post does NOT contain results of my beta. I will post late tonight or early tomorrow with those results... So please keep reading further and later today!!!

Here's the quick play by play: In the last almost 5 years, Tidy and I have been through 5 IUIs, 6 embryo transfers (4 fresh IVF, 2 FETs) with my own eggs, 1 laparoscopy and countless natural cycles with acupuncture, herbs, diet changes and yoga. It's been a long unexplained road...

I never imagined we would be here, not in my wildest dreams, but here we are and for the first time in quite a few years, I feel more hopeful that ever. Hopeful, but of course preparing for a negative, because, hey, that's what we've been accustomed to. Or a chemical... I've had about 3 of those.. FUN!

SO, for any new readers, please follow me and leave a comment and tell me more about you! I love new followers and I'm usually pretty good about commenting back.

Stay tuned for our beta results....

OH! and one more thing. Recently I posted about Tidy's Wisdom... and I have one more of our random evening conversations to share. This happened last night:

Tidy: "Should I have a beer or tea?"
Me: "Have a beer. We've got 6 frosties in the freezer, so ya know. I don't need your swimmers again for quite a while." (Cuz clearly I'm a total paranoid freak and would give him the evil eye for every beer that he had while we were going through this cycle).
Tidy:" Yeah, you're done with my junk. So now I'm on a slow train to toxic town!"

He's a funny one alright... a funny one indeed.

Monday, October 17, 2011

4 Days until Beta

I'm a big walking contradiction during the two week wait.

I know, logically, that even at 6dp5dt (the analogy of 11 days past ovulation in the IVF world) it's highly unlikely that I should "feel" pregnant. In fact, when supporting my friends going through this in THEIR two week waits, I always coach them into not peeing on sticks and not worrying if they don't feel anything.

But when it comes to myself, all logic goes out the window. I feel like I should just feel something by now, right? RIGHT? Because I KNOW my body and I KNOW that when I finally get pregnant I KNOW that it will tell me, right away.... right? RIGHT?

Come on body, give me a sign!!!!!!!!!

And no, I'm not going to pee on a stick.

Ah the two week wait... I know you well.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Emotional Rollercoaster Status: Back on a High.

After all of my worries yesterday, freaking out because  we only had one grade "A" egg, feeling like, here we go again, high expectations dwindling..., we are definitely in new ground, ladies and gentlemen. New ground, indeed.

We had 9 embryos yesterday, and we transferred 2, so that leaves... (one sec, let me get out my excel spreadsheet to calculate that.. .inside joke for you actuaries, cpas, general number's geeks in the crowd)... 7 (1 grade C, 6 grade B)

Today, I got a call from my nurse practitioner. Instead of letting it go to voice mail, which was my initial plan, because I didn't want to get bad news that we had no embryos to freeze, I got brave, and decided to leave my meeting to answer it.

And I'm so frigging glad that I did. She said, "Are you sitting down for this?...We were able to freeze SIX embryos today... Six, grade A, expanded blasts..."

There was more to the conversation, but I don't quite remember other than my heart was beating fast and I was shaking and almost crying that we had such good news.  SIX FROSTIES!!!!!! HOLY SHIT!!!!! This could really work? This may finally be our end game. One of these 8 have got to work, right???

So, needless to say, I'm back up on a pretty high high today. Hopefully I can find some mellow over the next few days and just stay sane as we go through the coming week till beta day. 

Thank you dear Dotty 2.0 for making such a beautiful crop of eggs, and also, thank you dear Tidy for getting some beautiful healthy sperms to make these embryos. Now, it's my turn to do the work. Come on embryos... let's make a take-home baby!!!!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Re-entry into the 2 week (actually 10 day) wait.

These last few days have seemed like a year. We have been so busy and so emotionally on high that maybe this could finally work, I feel like I have been walking on air. Right now, I'm trying to regain that walking on air feeling, but the entry into the 2ww brings back a TON of negative feelings and fear that I haven't had to deal with since the last time we were in the 2ww, back in ... APRIL!! It's been a while, for sure.

Let me recap.

Last Thursday, Dotty 2.0 had her retrieval. You can read about my thoughts here. (day 0)

Friday, we found out about our great fertilization report: 18 mature, 16 fertilized. (day1)

Then, this weekend, we were out of town while Tidy ran a marathon. It was such a fun time to put away the worries of what was happening to our embryos. And, I must say, he kicked some major ass! It was a bit hot for the marathon and he still made the time he wanted, under 4 hours. Can you stay, STUD?!?  I was impressed, for sure. My sister and I actually put on our running clothes and ran between some of the mile on the course to get to certain points to see him. The course was all over the place, so the spectators could get from, say, mile 17 to mile 20 by walking a mile. It was fun to get a little work out in while all of those incredibly awesome people were running. I always feel a bit jealous of people doing those things when I'm not. I've put that part of myself aside these past few years in order to work on getting pregnant, and while I don't regret it, I hope some day I can really get back into triathlons and such.

Anyways, the rest of the embryo updates go something like this: 
day 2 - 18 growing (?!), 13 grade A
day 3 - 20 growing (?!?!?), 12 grade A (see our excitement???)
day 4 - 11 growing, 8 grade A
day 5 (today) - 9 growing, 1 grade A.... ONE. GRADE. A.... ugh.

How do things change so fast? I don't understand. I do know that many clinics grade the embryos differently. And our clinic graded the one at A because it was an "expanded" blastocyst, vs the other B's which were still just "full" blastocysts. I also know that they don't mention anything about fragmentation within their grading... so I'm really not sure what to make of this.

Mostly, after the last few blissful days, of feeling like this truly could be our chance, I am not back to feeling skeptical and worried, a bit.

This whole time I've been saying I would be happy with having  2 to transfer and a few to freeze, preferably about 4. But after that high of so many great embryos, I feel let down.

Tidy surely did too. I felt so bad to see his reaction to our doctor's news that we only had 1 grade A embryo today. She said she was disappointed that it wasn't clear to her if we should transfer 2 or 3. Ie, she was hoping for at least 2 big fat A's.

The next big test will be tomorrow's update. Hoping that some of the 7 that we have left growing will make it to the freezer. Please, please send good strong thoughts to those 7 still in their little petri dish home in hopes that they want to continue to grow and become part of our family.

Well, and of course that goes without saying for the two that are in my body now.

We are officially "pregnant" today with 2 beautiful embryos... and I hope they decide to say.

Also, thank you dearly to my followers and friends who have been so excited for us these past few days and given us support. It means so much to know that so many of you are pulling for us out there. Big big hugs.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Fertilization Report

Just a quick update today: Of the 24 eggs retrieved, 18 were mature and of those 18, 16 fertilized.

So, today, Tidy and I have 16 embryos... OUR embryos... No longer Dotty 2.0's eggs.

Thank you dear Dotty 2.0. I hope you are recovering well and know that we are so grateful to you for taking time out of your daily life to help our cause.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Bittersweet Eggs and Wise Friends

Life, and the way I navigate through it, certainly takes me by surprise sometimes.

Today should be a happy and hopeful day for me. Dotty 2.0, our "rock star" egg donor, underwent her egg retrieval. And before I get into all of my thoughts on this, I will tell you the end of the story first...

...She did great. Fantastic actually. They retrieved 24 eggs...2 dozen...2 of those grey-ish cardboard cartons full of fabulous eggs. Pretty amazing, huh?

While I know this is a big hoop that we jumped through today, I'm sad too. The reminder that they are not "my" eggs creeps back in and I grieve a little bit again. A friend from one of my chat boards did warn me that I might feel this way, however, so I was prepared at least. She has been through this before and shared with me on the day of her donor's egg retrieval, she too felt sad. It was supposed to feel great, right? But because she literally had no part in that day, it was another reminder of the loss of her own eggs.

And that's exactly how I feel today. Bittersweet.

I definitely can find some of the sweet in here. 24 eggs is fantastic. This should give us a good shot, pending our fertilization report tomorrow. But the bitter lingers too. My husband's dna is mixing with some other woman's dna as we speak! (Cheater!!!) Oh, and I think my competitive nature is also getting to me. I couldn't produce 24 eggs myself. My ovaries feel defeated. My goal, however is to not let this linger too long. I want to wake up tomorrow and start to focus on "our" embryos, rather than "her" eggs.

I am lucky to have very wise friends, however. They are giving me the strength and cushion I need. One friend said she wished I lived closer to her. She would make a flower lei for me and we would take a walk out to the ocean and put my sadness and loss into the lei and let it float out to the sea... I love this visual.

Another friend commented on how truly amazing the human experience is. She said: The beauty of the human heart is that it can hold so many emotions at once. So hold, in your mind's eye, the baby picture of your donor and see it as a projection of your own baby to smother with kisses....and fill your life with memories.
And finally, another friend sent me a quote from her calendar for this months which said, "Open your arms to beautiful moments, and they will come to you"

Like I said, they are wise friends.
So with that, I will honor my sadness today because it is a valid and honest, but I'm also heading out the door to spend 3 hours at my yoga studio to clear my mood and focus on the beautiful moments that are here and yet to come.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Trigger Time

I am struggling lately to come up with words to share with you all while Dotty 2.0 is stimming. I don't have a lot to say because a) I'm not going through the stims myself (and so therefore I don't really feel  LIKE I'm doing an IVF cycle at all, save for the little pricks in my belly each day from Lupron), and b) my RE is not giving me detailed updates, and I'm not asking for them. I suppose she would if I asked, but I honestly haven't wanted to know. I don't see the point. And in fact, it kind of makes me feel like I wish I would have let all the details go, oh so long ago.

But that's not my way. When I'm new into something, I usually feel the need to gather tons of info to understand it before I feel comfortable enough to then let the details go. I'm not sure this makes sense, or that this is an efficient way to operate my life, but...

The only update I have right now is that Dotty 2.0's ovaries are ready to go. She will trigger tonight for a retrieval on Thursday.

Tidy will go into the clinic on Thursday morning for his "donation" and then I'm assuming we will get a call on Thursday later in the day with the number of eggs retrieved. We'll also get a call on on Friday with the number of fertilized eggs and then on Saturday with the number of embryos still growing... so on and so forth....

And assuming there are enough healthy ones growing, we will do a day-5 transfer a week from today.

Yes, I am, somewhere, internally, excited to be here, at this point...finally. But I definitely don't have the same zest I did oh so many years ago (almost 3) when I did my first very first IVF cycle, that same excitement, that same giddy hope. That's not to say that I'm not hopeful, not happy to be at this point, but it's just coming through me in a different, more calm, more zen like way...

So... without further ado, cheers to you, Dotty 2.0. I'm very thankful that you took the egg growing burden off of my plate for this cycle. Best wishes in your retrieval on Thursday. Your job is nearly done. I know the doctors will take care of you well and I hope you have a peaceful rest in propofol-land while they take your hard grown eggs out and give them to our family building cause. Sending you a big hug, or a hand to hold on Thursday.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Male Point of View

For all of your husbands/partners/boyfriends out there who have gone through IVF, or heck, IUIs even, with you, here's a fantastic essay by a husband/partner/boyfriend about his perspective of a day in the life of their IVF cycle. I love how it makes me see it from their perspective. I think one day, I'll ask Tidy to write something here, to share his thoughts on this journey too. We need more of that, don't we? The partner's perspective (for those of you who have a partner in this)? We are so focused on how it affects us, but we don't always get to peak into the other side of this and see what it's like for them.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Getting Just a Wee Bit Excited

I'm craving being pregnant lately. (to all my pregnant friends, don't spoil my fun and tell me how much it sucks... lol!) I see pictures of women on TV or at the office and I just look at them with longing, imagining what it is going to be like for me when I'm big and pregnant.

Its hard to focus on this longing all the time and sometimes you need to put it away, so you don't drive yourself crazy. I've put it away for quite a while... I'd say at least since March or so. But as I get closer to my cycle, I have started looking at pregnant people again and fantasizing about being in that state. It may not be a glamorous state, but oh, am I so hoping that I get to be there.

Today I was texting with a friend of mine about getting some routine work-outs on the books, so we can keep each other going to the gym and I had the guts to say about one comment or another, ".... cuz I'll be pregnant in a few weeks, right? (thinking positively)"

I suppose this means I'm letting myself get just a little bit excited. I can't be all stone faced right now, right? Hoping our first update from Dotty 2.0's ovaries is a good one.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Boxing Match

Imagine a dark, smoky boxing arena with a bright light at the center of the ring. All you see are two boxers, each in their respective corners, prepping for the fight. They shift from side to side on their feet, pounding their gloves together, taking their last sips of water and getting their last pep talks from their managers. Off to the side, a rich, low pitched voice comes over the P.A system...

"Introducing first, fighting out of this corner, standing 4.5 years long, weighing heavy on the shoulders, this fighter is as dirty as they come. With 5 prior IUIs and 4 IVF's under her belt, she affects nearly 1 in 8 couples trying to conceive. She is the current title holder.... INFERTILITY"

(Boos, Hisses!!!!! from the crowd)

"And introducing next, fighting out of this corner, standing 5-feet-6-inches tall, weighing 120 pounds with 2 beautiful young ovaries, this woman is an up and comer. A proven donor with three prior cycles under her belt, fantastic egg quality, and plenty of frozens to boot, she is the current donor for Tippy & Tidy...DOTTY TWO POINT OH!!!!"

(Cheers, Claps, YAY!!!!! crowd goes wild)

"Round one, BEGIN!"

And the bell goes, "Ding!"

Dotty 2.0 is starting her stims today. Hip hip, hooray!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Quotes that Spoke to Me Today

"To lead a life that goes beyond pettiness and prejudice and always wanting to make sure that everything turns out on our own terms, to lead a more passionate, full, and delightful life than that, we must realize we can endure a lot of pain and pleasure for the sake of finding out who we are and what this world is."  ~Pema Chodron

"Let us cultivate love and compassion, both of which give life true meaning. This is the religion I preach. It is simple. Its temple is the heart. Its teaching is love and compassion. Its moral values are loving and respecting others, whoever they may be. Whether one is a lay person or a monastic, we have no other option if we wish to survive in this world" ~ Dalai Lama

P.S - IF you are new to my blog today because of ICLW, I welcome you! You can learn about me on my "TTC Timeline" tab at the top. Oh, and my previous post about Tidy's Wisdom seems to be a pretty funny one, so you can learn a bit more about us on that too :-) Please follow me! I love to have new followers. And know that I will come visit you this week as well.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Tidy's Wisdom

I came home from work today after an acupuncture appointment where I had about 40 minutes to think and decided that I needed to tell Tidy my fears of having a baby with him. Maybe that's what has been keeping this from working so long?!?!? (Ha! If only). I should have been resting but my mind was wondering and I realized that I needed to let these fears out to him and have the world hear us in our conversation.

What if he doesn't know how to take care of a baby?
What if he can't handle being a stay at home dad when I go back to work?
What if he doesn't know how to wipe the baby's butt and he/she gets a diaper rash?
What if he gets frustrated and shakes the baby in a snap moment? (Disclaimer. He is NOT an aggressive or mean person! I  have never once been fearful of him. There's no way I would even imagine this as a possibility, but he's never been in this situation before and so how would we even know how he would react to a crying screaming inconsolable baby, because that happens, right? Yes, this is an irrational fear, but a crazy minded infertile who is trying to have a baby any way possible fears a lot)

He's a wise man, and I know one of the reasons we are married is because he understands the meaning behind my crazy monkey brain and is able to bring me back to a place of peace, most often with laughter.

SO here are some of the snippets of our conversation tonight.

Me:"What if you don't know how to clean a baby's butt and it gets butt rash? You've never done that before" (And I have, like 27 years ago, when my youngest sister was in diapers)
Tidy: "Tip, I'll learn how to clean a baby's butt. I think I've been mostly successful cleaning mine."

Tidy: "Have I ever NOT taken care of the Pog?"
Me: "No, in fact, she love you more than she loves me. Shit." (So, now, I'm convinced our baby is going to love Tidy more than me...)

After discussing how excited he is to take care of a child, Tidy says:
"...And, when it becomes slightly less baby-ish, that's when I'll REALLY start to dominate. You can handle the baby stuff and I'll basically take it from there"

Me: "Why do I like to control things so much?"
Tidy: "Because that's part of your personality. That's why you are in management. That's why we get along, because you like to control things and I TOTALLY don't."

After I look at him and just smile and feel better and we do a little dance to the music playing in our kitchen as I cook dinner (yet another area of my control), Tidy says: "Is life just finally starting to come together for you now? I think it is! And I trace it all back to the refurbishing of your flute"

(He took my flute from 8th grade and got it refurbished for me so I could re-teach myself the flute and get some creative-ness back in my life... What a guy, huh?)

SO, now you see, that's why I like Tidy so much... he and his wise, witty way of keeping me sane.

P.S. - Dotty 2.0 has her baseline this coming Thursday. Fingers crossed she can start her meds that night.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

It's Time

I'm still here, waiting patiently for my cycle to start... waiting patiently for my new donor to start stims... waiting for her to to make it to retrieval... on and on. And yes, as we've heard before, this whole journey is about hurrying up and waiting.

I have tried very hard over these last few months to live in the present moment, waiting for things to just happen, and ride the wave of this cycle. But recently, I've been panicking a lot. Worrying about the what ifs.

With this donor's history, I am hopeful she will give us some good eggs to work with, but what our embryos are still not so good? And what if none of the transfers succeed?

How am I going to handle yet another BFN, especially with so many of my dear friends pregnant. If this cycle goes the way that I expect it to, after so many years of negatives... I don't know how to move forward with more hope.

But as I write this out, I feel like a broken record. What more can I say about the waiting, and hoping that hasn't already been said. It sucks. It's heavy. And I try often to put it away, and focus on the moment by cooking, working, scheduling time with my friends and Tidy... but it's still there... weighing heavily on my shoulders. 

I really don't want this journey to continue any longer. (Ha! Who does, right?) I want to start a new blog, a blog about my baby and share the joys and worries of pregnancy with my friends and family members. I love this community, but I, as you all do, I'm sure, long to not need this community in the way we currently do.  Its time for me to move on. It's time for Tidy and I to get our lives back, to rid ourselves of the anxiety and sadness and anger that lingers.... constantly.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


When it rains, it pours. And it's pouring, big time, right now.

I know so many of you out there feel like this, don't you? Why does life work that way? I don't have an answer. And I'm not sure that if I did have an answer if it would make me feel any better. Do most of you feel like when you find out one person is pregnant, another 10 or so come out of the woodwork to announce the same thing too?

Within the last 48 hours, I've found out 3 of my close friends are pregnant, and 1 is going to give birth any minute.

After 4.5 years of dealing with pregnancy announcements while being labeled 'infertile', it never gets easier. I watch myself each time go through all of the same emotions, and each time I hope that the next time a bunch of people announce their pregnancies to me that either a) I will be pregnant too or b) I will deal with it better.

But each time, I am still a) not pregnant and b) processing through the same emotions (jealousy, envy, unfairness, feeling left out, wondering why me, fearing I will never join them...), even though, I am truly happy for all of them. In fact, all 3 of them have struggled to get pregnant.

There's a new group of women in my life forming who are expecting and I will have a chance to be one of them in the next few weeks, assuming everything goes well with Dotty 2.0. I'm so very scared that one again, I won't be able to join this group, and we will see yet another crop of my friends pregnant, and their babies born, before we hold our baby in our arms.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Hope vs. Certainty

"I've been living in hope for so long, that certainty has become a much more desirable way to live" ~ some guy who was talking on NPR this morning as I was half listening and half driving to work (well, I mean, really I WAS paying attention to my driving, but... I do it every day that I COULD do it in my sleep, right?)

That's just another way to say how I've been feeling lately. I have no control over how many of these next steps are met and hoops are jumped through. I have no control over when my new donor will start stims, or if she will get many eggs, or how many embryos will grow by day 5 or if we get to transfer any and if a baby sticks around... And so I've focused on what is certain in my life right now and tried to enjoy and appreciate that.

Living in hope is important, yes, because a hopeless world is just plain sad, but carrying that hope for so long (long relative to me and this journey, not relative to many other people who have struggled with much worse for much longer)... carrying that hope for so long is tiring and burdensome. It's hard to keep hoping so outwardly and in front of your focus each and every day when you get setbacks and knocked down. So focusing on certainty has helped lighten that load.

What is certain right now? Work is incredibly busy. The fall weather is amazing and I am absolutely loving it. I have a lot of fun things planned in these next few weekends. Tidy is a fantastic hubby and friend... and Pog is just plain cute.

Thank you NPR for yet another snippet that really puts in a nutshell how I've been feeling lately. Sometimes you just, SO get me!

On the cycling front, I stopped my estrogen at the end of last week and waited for my period to begin.  I'm going in for my NEW baseline appointment tomorrow and hopefully I will get the go-ahead tomorrow to start estrogen again to rebuild my lining.  (These hot flashes from Lupron and no Estrogen are RIDICULOUS!!!) And then based on my timeline and Dotty 2.0's timeline, we should finally be starting stims soon... "hopefully"

Thursday, September 1, 2011

I Should Be A Surfer

I have learned quite well, how to ride the waves of this journey, even though I'm ready to get out of the water... Sometimes I may fall of my board, sometimes I get pummeled by the wave and am smashed into the sand, but sometimes I actually catch my balance and carve pretty well...

I think right now, I've found a good stance on my board, found my balance, and am able to ride this current wave of a donor cycle, a cycle which I figured would just finally be smooth...I guess not.

Dotty 2.0's ultrasound today showed her ovaries are still a little swollen from her previous cycle and they want to keep her on birth control for just a bit longer. So I'm going to stop my estrogen, stay on lupron, get a period (which shouldn't take too long, but just in time to be up north at my parent's cabin for the weekend.. yay), and then start estrogen again and a week from then, we'll re-check my lining and see if her ovaries have chilled out and ready for a new cycle...

Speaking of chilling out, it's my "Friday" night as I'm off work for the next 4 days. I just got back from a pedicure with my sweet friend J, poured myself a glass of wine and am ready to forget that I am still surfing the waves of infertility for a few days.

Enjoy the long weekend everyone, the end of summer, and hopefully a beginning of a beautiful fall... waves and all.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Quick Update

Dotty 2.0 went in this past Tuesday for a quick 'look see' at her ovaries. All looks pretty good, but she's got some stuff still resolving on one of her ovaries, likely from her recent cycle. She's going back in tomorrow to see if it's resolving and if so, stims start on Friday after a lining check for me...

Ya know, I'm really really really calm right now about all of this. For some reason, after my big freak out a few weeks back about the length of time I'm going to be in a 'holding pattern' on estrogen and lupron, I've just let it all go...

I don't know if it's because work is just so insanely busy right now and I literally have no time to focus on this? Or if it's because I'm just learning how to let things go?

Regardless, it feels good today to not be anxious about the timing of all of this and about what the answer tomorrow will be.... I've found my Zen :-)

(Remind me of this when we finally get to the 2ww, k?)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Donation Update

Just a quick update and a HUGE thank you to those of you out there in bloggy world that have donated to the fund raising we are doing for my friend who had some extra long and big bumps in the journey to her child.  Here's a link to their story.

We have raised over $500!!! I can't believe it!

It's been so fun to coordinate this and see all the money come it. It so warms my heart. I just want to gush all over and cry at how nice people have been. So from the depths of my heart, thank you so much.

I will take the donation button down in a few days, so this is your last chance to donate if you would like to.

Oh, and their story ends on a fantastic note. I got a text from my friend mid-last week... The judge signed their final adoption papers, and termination of parental rights (birth parental rights). Their baby boy, who has been living with my friends for all 10 weeks of his life, is officially theirs...  A happy ending.

We are going to give them the $$ via mail (in a safe and secure way, of course) and hope that it can help put a dent in those extra legal bills.

Again, thank you ALI community, from the very bottom of my heart. It's a beautiful thing you have done :-)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Dotty 2.0

Tidy and I went to our RE yesterday afternoon to look at donor profiles and we found a bigger and better (ovarian reserve, speaking) version of Dotty. We signed the intent papers and officially have been matched with our new donor. Yet another new beginning in this long journey to our child.

Henceforth, she will be called Dotty 2.0.

We are so very lucky that the timing worked out with her. She's one of our clinic's "rock star" donors. She's young, has a child of her own, has done a few cycles and has always had frozen embryos as well as some pregnancy outcomes in the intended parent.

Now I know this doesn't necessarily mean that we will have the same results, but we have a much more "proven" and vetted donor this time.

She's not as 'familiar' looking as I felt when I saw Dotty (the original donor) for the first time, but I think right now, we are willing to take someone who has a bit less of a physical resemblance for quick availability and "rock star" status.

I must say that this process hasn't been easy, emotionally. I really am excited to move forward with her, but as I suspected, going back to look at these profiles made me feel a sense of longing for my own genetics. It re-opened that wound. Dotty 2.0 doesn't have the exact features I was looking for, but she's cute, as much as you can tell from a less than one year old picture. I think I just have a lot of fear that if we get pregnant, I will react negatively to the look of our baby that comes out of me 9 months later. I'm honestly terrified that she or he will look a certain way that I don't find attractive in my child... Is that crazy? I'm sure that sounds awfully superficial. And I'm somewhat embarrassed to write it. But it's a real fear that I felt when I started this process and I feel now. I wonder if this is a true fear of people in my situation? I don't know. Is this nuts?

It doesn't seem to bother Tidy at all. He's very excited about this donor based on her stats. He's so ready for this to work and for this to be over with, and oh my gosh, so.  am.  I! But...

...fears surface and I wonder.

We will find out this coming Tuesday how soon we can cycle with her. She could start her meds as early as this coming Thursday. Our bump in the road could equate to only about a 2 week delay.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Dumping Dotty

I got the phone call from my RE's office while I was in the middle of a meeting yesterday at work, and while I didn't get any details (ya me! I didn't ask for any either... can you believe it? I let go of some of the control!!!) ... they recommended that we cancel her cycle.

So, with that, we are dumping our donor.

Sorry Dotty, it's not you.... it's your ovaries. They aren't kicking it the way we need them to. This just isn't working out...

Ya know what, though? I'm actually ok emotionally and very glad this was a clear decision, per the doctor's recommendation. I am kind of sad to lose her, but... not really. I thought I was more attached to her than I am, but I'm not. I guess I was really just attached to the idea of her rockin' ovaries. But now that I know they aren't optimal and there are other women out there with way better ovaries... I want THOSE ovaries instead!

There is some sadness resurfacing because I now have to go back into the clinic and choose a donor...again... and I know that process brings up feelings of loss of my own genetics. I'm already feeling a bit sad once again that I don't get to pass on my own genetics... my hair, my legs, my height, my eye color, my quirks, my face shape...

With Dotty, I was feeling like I wanted so badly to make an emotional connection with my donor, at some strange anonymous level that we were allowed to. But really right now, what I want are just some healthy eggs. I'm not buying a relationship here, I'm just buying some genetic material that may or may not be close to my own. In the end, my child will be their own unique individual, no matter where their genetic material comes from. And I will love him/her/them as fully as I would love any child because they are an individual, they are themselves, not because they did or did not come from an egg that I grew in my own body.

So, while this break up was done via a third party (ie, my clinic), I do hope that Dotty doesn't feel too badly about herself. I'm sure it's a disappointment from her point of view that her body didn't do something that it was supposed to do, and she doesn't get that nice healthy sum of money after the retrieval...

There's VERY small suspicious part of my mind that wonders if maybe she got cold feet and just didn't take the meds... (yes, I know, that's a bit crazy to think.. but... ya never know, right?)

In any event, these are things I will never know, so the only option I have is to keep moving forward, one foot in front of the other, marching, every so diligently, towards our baby...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Things I am Grateful For

I must admit that yesterday's news was pretty deflating. I can't say I was super puffed up with hope, but it just seems that there's always something that happens in my cycles that I don't expect. I'm sure many of you feel that way. Potentially, yet another delay.

So, instead of telling you about how I skipped golf after work, came home and wallowed on the couch for a few hours before peeling myself up... I will tell you about some things I am grateful for today that helped me re-focus and hopefully get me over this bump in the road.

  1. Watching Pog get her "cone of shame" off her head and do a happy dance. She's had this thing on for about a week after we had a few cysts removed from her eyelid.
  2. The Wailin Jennys, one of my favorite chicky-folky bands. The perfect song for day is called "Begin" (see below). It's a song about letting go, a lesson we could all use, right?
  3. My good friends, especially those who know how this feels and really truly understand. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for all of your support and comments yesterday. They mean the WORLD to me.
  4. Being called a Warrior by a few of my friends. We are all warriors... fertility warriors. And to battle we go, each and every day, until we have won, with our baby in arms. It makes me think of that awesome Pat Benatar song... I'll have to post that one another time.
  5. Cooking a yummy meal of zucchini risotto. It turned out so well! (Thanks KV, for making this for me last weekend. I had to try my hand at it. I think I like the shallots better than onions)
  6. A big hug from Tidy.
  7. Getting some good feedback from my boss at work today.
Now, sit back, relax, and enjoy this beautiful song (I should listen to my own advice)