Category Archives: E.- the third year

His favourite things (31/32 months)

What he’s doing:

Bossing us around. Negotiating on everything he possibly can. Talking a mile a minute  non-stop. Asking us to tell him a story and then telling us exactly how he wants the story to go. Then memorizing the story the first time and freaking out if we change anything (because we can’t remember it) when he inevitably wants to hear it again. Demanding to play hide-and-seek- he’s mastered 80% of the game but hasn’t yet realized that a) you shouldn’t hide in plain sight (like lying on the carpet in the middle of the hallway) and b) you shouldn’t yell out where you are when someone asks, “Where’s E.?” (“You behind the door!”). Wanting to join in “family cuddles” where we all lie on the couch together. This used to be restful before he was born. Now it resembles being on a couch with a small octopus as he wriggles and jumps and climbs and asks over and over again for “Daddy to tickle you with his feet!” Hiding under the blanket with me in the late afternoons- we lie on the couch together and I pull the big afghan my grandmother made for me over us both. Dressing himself- he’s fine with pants provided they don’t have buttons or zippers, and he can manage a shirt if I help him figure out which way is the front (with pants he tells himself “the tag goes at the back”). He gets worried with shirts because a lot of them are tight over his (larger than average) head, even the polos and others with a more open neck than t-shirts.

Also? NOT napping. He was really really sick in early December and right after that I realized he was starting to skip naps on days where he wasn’t at nursery school (he’s only ever napped once at nursery school, but we’d been in a good pattern all fall of him napping the other four days when he was at home). Then he started going five, six, eight days in a row before he’d nap. And although he was tired and harder to deal with at the end of the day, he wasn’t a wreck. We were away for a week between Christmas and New Year’s, and he napped twice. I think he’s only napped once since we’ve returned home- it took him over two hours to fall asleep, he fell asleep with toys and books in his crib and with the overhead light on, and taking that nap completely ruined his mood for the whole rest of the afternoon. Luckily he seems to be happy to play in his crib quietly for ninety minutes or two hours and accepts this as “quiet time” so my work schedule hasn’t been completely scuttled. But I’m not going to lie- on days where he didn’t quite get enough sleep the previous night, he is BRUTAL to deal with by about 4:30 p.m. or so.

What he’s playing with:

If I had to sum up E.’s thirty-first month in one word it would be: PUZZLES. Right at the start of the month I bought him (on a whim) a twelve piece puzzle only to discover that he could do it without help the second time through.  I then went out and bought him more (hurrah for Winners and their outrageously discounted pricing). It was a real eye opener as to just how badly I had been underestimating his ability. We went from twelve pieces, to twenty-four, to forty-eight within a couple of weeks. I ended up having to return two puzzles I’d bought him for Christmas because they would have been too easy by the time we gave them to him! The puzzle mania eased off a little bit in the thirty-second month, mainly because he mastered every puzzle we owned. He was given a bunch of new ones for Christmas, so that will keep him busy for a while (and allow me to rotate them around a bit more).

On his shelves this month:

3 January. New things on his shelves post- Christmas.

The top left space has three big floor puzzles: an alphabet train from M&D, a farm, and a dump truck, as well as eeboo’s Life on Earth matching game. He’s a bit young for the matching game right now, but he’ll grow into it. The middle space is his basket of small cars and trucks. The top right is the bunny house my mother made for him:

31 December. E's Bunny House, made by his Grannie.

31 December.

The bottom left has his alphabet blocks (Uncle Goose) which have become very popular at the moment. Bottom middle is his Plan Toys pirate ship, and bottom right is his Duplo. The shelves have pretty much stayed the same since we got back home from visiting after Christmas. In his cubby under the stairs his Bruder garbage truck and his wooden double decker bus have been joined by the Bruder dump truck/digger combo Santa brought at Christmas. I’d say he spends 60% of his time right now playing “construction” of some sort, 20% playing some version of “house”, 10% puzzles, and 10% other things.

What he’s reading:

Thirty-one months was all about Lost and Found and The Water Hole. We found them both at the library and I ended up buying him The Water Hole for Christmas because he loved it so much, and I loved it too (I adored Animalia as a child). He also really got into our Christmas books, especially The Poky Little Puppy’s First Christmas and A Porcupine in a Pine Tree (A Canadian Twelve Days of Christmas), although that one caused a huge emotional crisis. Then he made this huge leap and suddenly only wanted to read the longest books we had in the house (like Blueberries for Sal). We came back from visiting at Christmas with a bunch of Robert Munsch and some Berenstain Bears (all left over from when I was a kid) and he is obsessed with the Berenstain Bears. I read those books all day every day right now, and he keeps telling us how he’s going to move to a treehouse just like they do, and how he’ll go on a picnic and they’ll be there and they’ll all have lemonade together.

What he’s saying:

Mid- November:
E.: “You want to decorate the Christmas tree.”
Me: “No, E., we’re not going to do that. Christmas is too far away still. We’ll decorate when it’s December.”
E. continues asking, becoming progressively more and more agitated. Tantrum approaching, it’s late on a Saturday afternoon and Q. and I just want a bit of peace and quiet.
Me: “E., we’re not going to decorate the Christmas tree. Do you want to watch a garbage truck video instead?”
E.: “Yeah!”
The next day
E.: “Want to decorate the Christmas tree!”
Me: “We’re not doing that today, little love. I’m sorry.”
E.: “Watch a garbage truck video instead? Maybe just one teeny tiny video?”
Parents stunned into silence, realizing their toddler makes connections faster than they do.

Me: “Be careful, E. I think the grilled cheese could still be hot.”
E.: “NO! It not hot! Not hot!”
Me: “Well, E., it just came out of the oven, so it could be. Just check and blow on it if you need to.”
E.: “IT NOT HOT!”
Me: “Ok, E., fine. It’s not hot. I’m not going to argue with you.”
E.: “You want Mummy to argue with you. You want to keep arguing.”
My life has turned into a Monty Python sketch.

After buying a red potty like he asked for:
E.: *carrying the red potty around the room* “It’s an airplane!”
Me: “Do you want to sit on the airplane, E.?”
E.: *looking at me with deep suspicion. “When you older. Right now you want to wear diapers.”

Watching one of the cats investigating his snack:
E.: “Yiyi eating your snack! She should be eating her own snack!”

In the bath:
E.: “Want to tell Mummy a story. Once upon there were two bunnies. They were in the garden eating grass. They were eating flowers too. Outside Bunny was eating flowers and Biccie Bunny was eating grass. And they were eating waffles on plates with peanut butter for a special treat.”

At breakfast, perfectly cheerful:
E.: “I’m planning on having a horrible day at nursery school.”

Discussing travel arrangements for Boxing Day:
E.: “You want Mummy to sit next to you in the car… You a little bit worried about being alone.”
We agree that we should bring Caramel the cougar and she can sit next to him the whole time.
E.: “We can’t forget Canamel. We’d have to drive back home and then drive back to get her!”
More discussion about who would be in the car.
E.: “When I get a bit bigger I can drive. Then Mummy and Daddy can sit in the backseat!”

Opening a present from his Granny on Skype on Christmas Eve:
Me: “What do you think it is, E.?”
E.: “Duplo. Because of the sound it made.”
He was right.

Christmas Eve:
E.: “Have to have a really good sleep because Santa is coming!”
Then slept through until 8 a.m.!

Christmas Day, after playing with Santa present for about five minutes:
E.: “Want to see if there is something for Mummy and Daddy too.”
Cue hearts melting.

Christmas Day, post (very short) nap:
Q.: “Should we go for a walk?”
E.: “NO! Don’t want to go outside because it is very snowy.”
Pause.
E.: “Don’t like the forecast.”

On being asked if he’d like to go out to dinner:
E.: *runs to window* “Are we sure I can go outside? It’s very dark out.”

While watching me get dressed:
E.: “Mummy wearing underwear? It hides Mummy’s bum!”

While helping me cut loose threads off the couches:
E.: “Mummy tells the cats to stop scratching. Mummy says, ‘Hey you, stop doing that!’ But the cats really don’t.”

When my sister had been looking after him so I could go to the clinic:
Me: “E., do you want to draw a nice picture to say thank you to Auntie C.?”
E.: “Yeah!” *runs and gets a piece of paper, chooses a peach marker, uncaps it, and makes one small vertical line in the centre of the (very large) sheet. Takes it to his auntie.* “There you go.”
C.: “Thank you, E.! What is it?”
Given he’s been into minimalist art lately we were both expecting him to tell us it was a truck or a boat or something similar.
E.: “It’s a piece of paper.”

When playing with his Plan Toys pirate ship:
E.: “This one is wearing an eye patch.”
Me: “That’s right. He’s lost an eye.”
E.: *thoughtful* “Maybe he’s playing hide and seek with it.”

What I’ve noticed:

Two and a half is exhilarating and exhausting in equal measures. The hard physical exhaustion of child rearing is behind us and we’re all getting enough sleep, but he is just so intense, almost all the time. He NEVER stops talking. He catches on to things far faster than we expect. He is an emotional whirlwind after being even tempered for so long. I’m not going to say we’re in the terrible twos, because when he’s on an even keel he is so much fun, but the meltdowns are much more frequent and much more intense than they used to be. He gets on recurrent feedback loops (about stories, about food, about the games we play) and it’s harder and harder to distract him and break the loop.

He’s becoming ever more introverted. He had a really hard time with extended family while we were away visiting over the holidays. The grandparents were all fine, as was my sister, but any extra family caused him to clam right up and seek solace in another (quieter) room. He tells me all the time that something is “too yowd” and he doesn’t “yike” it. The other day he tried to convince Q. he was sick so he couldn’t go to nursery school, then had the biggest meltdown Q.’s ever had to deal with. Q. asked him at one point why he didn’t want to go, and E. thought for a while before saying that nursery school was “too yowd” (I spend a morning there every week- it’s really not an overly loud environment). E. has even refused to allow me to read a particular book because the front cover shows a house with lots of people in it and he feels it will be “too yowd” as well.

He is SO sensitive and self-aware. He’s also really anxious. Q. had the bright idea of turning his crib around so we could lower the drop side during the IVF tww- if E. stood on a chair he could then step into the crib. We managed to get him to do it (and now he loves it and won’t let either of us lift him in or out), but the first time he was literally shaking with terror and crying, “I’m scared!”.

The other interesting thing is he’s stopped sucking his thumb. He was never very reliant on it except for when he was going to sleep. Q. and I realized that when he got up in the morning and was still sleepy and fuzzy, although he’d still rub his bunny around his face, he was no longer putting his thumb in his mouth. While away over the holidays he was sleeping at my Dad’s house on a mattress on the floor, so one of us would lie down with him, and we both noticed he wasn’t using his thumb at all. So we checked his hand, and the callus is gone. Both Q. and I needed parental intervention (at a much older age) to stop finger/thumb sucking, so we’re thrilled he’s done it all on his own.

His imaginative play is fantastic. He self-narrates, and we love listening to him talk to himself while we’re finishing dinner. The other day he got out one of the laundry baskets, told us it was a pirate ship, and then sat on Q.’s backpack, told us it was a rowboat, and then “rowed” himself out to the pirate ship.

He is a LOT of work right now, but it is so worth it. His language use and speech just blow my mind. We have lengthy, thoughtful conversations now. I love it, and the exciting part is I know it’s just going to keep getting better.

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Filed under E.- the third year, Letters to E.

2.0 IVF- And now for something completely different

There’s never anything to report on the fourth day.

My clinic called to tell me that I have to be there tomorrow at 11:45 a.m. because my transfer is scheduled for noon. I felt like saying, “Can I just come at 1 p.m. instead so I don’t have to wait as long for my doctor?”

So, as a means of breaking the tedium and the tension (because I do still spend almost every waking moment wondering what the embryos are doing), I offer E’s recent interpretation of a classic nursery rhyme:

“Hickory, dickory, plop.
The mouse pooed on the clock.
The mouse got a cloth and took it to the sink and got it wet
And the mouse cleaned the clock up!”

Potty humour. At 31 months.

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Filed under 2.0 IVF, Anxiety Overload, E.- the third year, Second Thoughts

2.0 IVF- Relief

The clinic called this morning at 8:45 a.m. as I walking E. to nursery school. It had been a stressful start to the morning. I woke up too early and couldn’t get back to sleep because I was so nervous, and E. woke up on the wrong side of the bed, so hangry he couldn’t even calm down enough to eat anything, and telling anyone who would listen that he was “planning to have a horrible day” at nursery school.

The nurse on the other end of the phone was calm, reassuring. They always sound so calm, no matter what the news is they’re delivering.

“I’m just calling because your doctor has already looked over your chart,” she said. “He’s looked at the report from the embryologist and has decided to go with a five day transfer.  We’ll call you tomorrow to confirm the time for Friday, but it will probably be noon.”

Thank FUCK.

I was so relieved I cried as soon as I had hung up the phone.

One more box checked.
One more hurdle cleared.
One step closer.

What was tormenting me, in the wee hours last night when I couldn’t sleep for fretting, was the realization that if we’d had to do a day three transfer I wasn’t going to get what I most desperately needed from this cycle.

Not a baby. A baby still strikes me as this amorphous wisp of a dream, that can’t even be given voice lest it vanish on the wind.

No, I’m talking about closure.

When our second FET failed and we made the decision to do one more fresh IVF cycle, a significant part of our reasoning was that if it failed we wanted to be able to say that we had done everything we could to make E. a big brother.  We wanted to give 2.0 his/her own chance, not just rely on the embryos that were left from E’s own cycle.

I realized last night that if our doctor had told us we had to go to a day three transfer, and it didn’t work, and anything that was frozen also didn’t work, I’d never get that closure.

E. was the product of a blastocyst transfer.

If we’d never got to blastocysts again, I would have always wondered what could have been. I would have remained unsatisfied with this cycle. I would have always believed something could have been different.

I would have come right up against the fact that money had become the deciding factor. If we’d done a three day transfer, and everything had come back negative, if we’d had insurance coverage for procedures, I’m sure we could have rationalized trying one more cycle in the summer. But paying out of pocket? Not a chance. We’ve blown through all the money we saved all last year for our shot at a 2.0, and then some. Fronting up for another fresh cycle would have been out of the question.

Now we’re one step closer to lining up all the variables to make sure that, no matter what the eventual result is, we can walk away from this cycle confident that we gave it our very best shot.

The next step?

Achieving an attrition rate better than the 77% nonsense that happened with E’s cycle where 17 day three embryos produced only four blasts.

If I could wish and make it so, I’d ask for four. Two to transfer. Two to freeze. Just like with E.’s cycle. Enough for a couple more second chances.

And now, we wait. Again.

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Filed under (Pre)School Days, 2.0 IVF, A matter of faith, Anxiety Overload, E.- the third year, Money Matters, Second Thoughts

2.0 IVF- Retrieval Recap

I figured I should post a recap of my retrieval experience, partly in case anyone stumbles across the blog looking for that sort of information, but mostly as a record for myself.

On Sunday we weren’t asked to be at the clinic until 11 a.m., but Q. and I went down there quite early so we could stop at a grocery store (as E. had eaten the last of his Che.erios and the WORLD.WOULD.STOP. if there were none for breakfast on Monday) and so we could pop into a store near the clinic so I could do the penultimate look for a particular Bruder dump truck and excavator combination. I have been looking for this for months now. I did find it once before in another branch of the same store (when I had E. in tow), but someone had stolen the excavator.

Anyway, given this store is a block away from the clinic, I’ve been going in every time I’ve had to do cycle monitoring to look. They’ve had Bruder logging trucks, and cement mixers, and cranes, and, on Friday, even a fire truck and a tow truck carrying a jeep, but not this set. E. already has the Bruder garbage truck. He loves it. He’s played with it every day for months now.

The thing with the Bruder trucks is their size. I don’t want more than two in our house. So even though I knew E. would like the crane, or the fire truck, or the tow truck, I kept refusing to buy them. I was holding out hope that this branch would come through.

Sunday I dragged Q. inside. “We just need ten minutes to see if we can find the truck for E.,” I told him.

I scanned all the shelves. I’ve learned that stock turns over incredibly quickly in this store (largely because they sell things far more cheaply than anyone else). I pulled out boxes to look behind them. Logging truck. Crane. Fire truck. Cement mixer. Tow truck with jeep. Garbage truck. Giant excavator.

“They have a lot of them,” commented Q., looking a bit overwhelmed.

I sighed. “There’s one more spot to check,” I told him. I circled back to where, on Friday, I’d found two enormous flatbed trucks with backhoes. They would have been perfect except they were SO big I really didn’t want to bring them into the house. Plus they were a lot more expensive.

The two flatbed trucks were still there. But so was one more box- a box with a dump truck and a mini excavator priced at the (ridiculously inexpensive) sum of $35.

I may have cheered.

I didn’t even hesitate for a second. I grabbed it, showed it to Q., and said, “E. is going to lose his mind on Christmas morning.”

That was pretty much the highlight of my day.

After that we wandered over to the clinic, where all the nurses in the IVF suite commented on our giant truck. Q. went off to do his thing, one of the nurses came in to take my blood pressure and get my IV hooked up (she wasn’t at all pleased at what the IV for the intralipid infusion had done to my right arm), and then we just chilled out for an hour or so.

I think it was around 12:30/12:45 when my f/s turned up (the retrieval was scheduled for noon but he is always, always late), and they called my name first. I went to the ‘loo (massively awkward with an IV attached) and then we headed into the OR. The nurse walked me through what would happen, and then she started up the drugs. I remember that my legs suddenly got really heavy and that I was feeling a bit dizzy. Then my f/s came in, started getting ready, realized I was still feeling more than he would like, and ordered more drugs.

That’s the last thing I remember until I was back in my cubicle. Q. says I actually fell asleep during the retrieval, which is a new one for me, and not really something they wanted to have happen, so he and the nurses kept having to remind me to “take deep breaths, Turia!”. Q. was sent off to buy the Dostinex to guard against OHSS. Apparently I had a lengthy conversation with one of the head nurses about taking this pre-emptive measure. I don’t remember this at all.

We stayed in the cubicle until 2:30 or so, when the nurse came to take out the IV, and I told Q. I felt well enough to go home. We went downstairs and hailed a cab. Arriving home we learned that E. had refused to take a nap, but he seemed to be in good spirits and had absolutely loved spending the day with his Auntie C. He’d made a snow globe, and a bunch of vehicles out of bits and pieces from the recycling, and had read stories, and had a blast. Q. snuck the giant truck upstairs, and I crawled onto the couch and stayed there for the rest of the afternoon/evening.

I am so so so glad Auntie C. is staying with us for this week, as it was a life saver to have her able to entertain E. That meant Q. could keep an eye on me, and make dinner, without E. getting riotous or stroppy. At one point Q. and Auntie C. forcibly bundled E. (who was protesting mightily) into his snow gear so he could go play in the 20-odd centimetres of snow that had fallen over the last day. Once he was outside, as predicted, they all had a marvellous time.

Once I got onto the couch, I felt well enough to eat, so I ate some white bread, and then a whole wheat roll. Then, when I still felt ok, I ate some pretzels and some rice crackers. When they seemed to settle well enough (I was still completely starving by this point, having eaten nothing since 9 p.m. the night before), I ate some of my sister’s granola. I think that was the straw that broke the camel’s back, as shortly thereafter I realized I had better go hang out in the ‘loo for a while, and sure enough I puked my guts out.

For supper I drank around a third of a mug of miso soup and then ate some french fries. That stayed down, and by the late evening I was feeling much much better, although I was still very sore and uncomfortable. I went to bed early, around 9 p.m. Poor Q. had to come up to give me the first PIO injection and he had a terrible time with it. I realized this morning that we were using a 25 gauge needle, which is what they tell you to use on the instructions, but if you’re using castor oil, which is even thicker, you have to use a 22 gauge needle. No wonder he was struggling so much to get it in!

Monday I felt much more human. Still sore and still massively bloated, but no longer nauseous. I felt well enough to go do my duty day at E’s nursery school, and then went and got (another) poutine for lunch. It is perhaps the one good thing from this whole mess- being under doctor’s orders to eat terribly.

Now it’s a waiting game. I don’t know what their cut off for blastocysts is.

I hope we make it.

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Filed under 2.0 IVF, Anxiety Overload, Cycle Madness, E.- the third year, Medical issues, Medications, PCOS, Second Thoughts

2.0 IVF Day Seven- Whoa there, eggies!

Hit the clinic super early this morning to make sure I could get my bloodwork and ultrasound finished before my intralipids infusion, which was scheduled for 8 a.m. The nurse in the IVF suite was just about to start my IV when I had a phone call from Q., who had an incredibly angry toddler on the other end who needed to speak to me, since apparently all the conversations we had the day before about me going in to see the doctor very early didn’t sink in. They’d just spent thirty minutes searching the house, with E. absolutely certain that Mummy was still in bed sleeping, even when Q. pulled all the covers off.

The intralipids infusion was finished by about 9:45. I ended up feeling like I was going to fall asleep again, just like last time. Maybe it has something to do with all that fat going in to my body- the nurse wondered if it was the equivalent to eating a big Thanksgiving dinner. There were a couple of other ladies in there at the same time- they were both pregnant. Nice to get reminders that things do work there.

Went back over to the main part of the clinic and managed to see my doctor really quickly. My follicles are zooming- the lead follicle was measuring 16 on one ovary and 15.5 on the other. This seemed a bit too fast to me, and I think my doctor thought the same, as he changed my meds to 150 iu Gonal-F and 225 iu Repronex for today and tomorrow. I’ll go back in on Friday and Saturday for sure. The retrieval is likely to be Monday or Tuesday of next week, so that is definitely faster than the August 2010 cycle, but I don’t think it’s too fast if we make that timeline, as my cycle in August 2010 was longer than expected. Obviously since it worked I would have been happy to repeat that pattern again here, but we can at least say with confidence that we’re not going to be dealing with an embryo transfer on Christmas Day.

Dr. L. repeated his advice to eat lots of salt and drink lots of Gatorade- minimum one litre per day to be exact.

I am feeling pretty miserable now. Really sore through the abdomen and just generally lacking any emotional fortitude. We had a terrible night last night where E. freaked out so much at Q. trying to put him to bed that Q. had to come downstairs and get me to take over because he was getting too angry, and then he was so angry he didn’t want to say goodnight to E., which upset me so much that after I had put E. to bed I ended up sitting in the bathroom crying. Then E. woke up at 9 p.m. vomiting all over his crib, at which point I deeply regretted letting him eat the entire punnet of raspberries that had been all he was interested in eating all day (along with rice crackers). Q. is so stressed about work- he is supposed to be writing a chapter for an edited volume this month, but E. being too sick to go to nursery school has completely blown a hole in his plans, so now he’ll have to take work with us when we travel after Christmas to see my family. Definitely a night where I found myself wondering why we’re putting ourselves through all of this to try to expand our family, given some days it seems we can’t even cope with one.

Deep breaths. One day at a time.

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Filed under (Pre)School Days, 2.0 IVF, Anxiety Overload, Butter scraped over too much bread (a.k.a. modern motherhood), Cycle Madness, E.- the third year, Emotions, Second Thoughts, The Sick, ttc

2.0 IVF Day 6

The advantage to having a projectile vomiting toddler?

It takes your mind off of your ovaries.

Yep, it’s hard to stay focused on the fact that your entire mid-section feels miserable when you’re scrubbing puke out of the carpet (and the couch, and the table, etc. etc.).

I’m drinking three 12 oz. glasses of Gatorade a day. I went with the fruit punch flavour this cycle (in 2010 it was the lemon-lime). Thus far I’m underwhelmed. And I’m eating pretzels (lots of pretzels) every day as they had the highest percentage of salt of the snack foods I looked at. I should eat prepackaged processed meals (or fast food) too, but I can’t bring myself to stoop that low. I’m also back on the All Bran, but I don’t think my digestive system is the problem at this stage.

I keep telling my co-dependent cat that she can’t sit on my lap anymore if I’ve got the laptop out. She is not pleased.

On the bright side: signs that you’re really learning something in this parenting gig: You don’t start the second load of vomit-encrusted laundry because you suspect if you just wait a bit longer there will be more.

Sigh. Sometimes I really hate being right.

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Filed under 2.0 IVF, E.- the third year, Food, Medical issues, Medications, Second Thoughts, The Sick, ttc

2.0 IVF Day 4: Ah yes, the IVF grind

Today is officially Day 4 of my IVF cycle, since my clinic restarts the clock on the day you start stims. I had to go back into the clinic this morning to see how things were progressing.

Far out. I forgot what happens on the weekend at that place and just how LONG it takes to get through cycle monitoring. I was in there for three hours and twenty-five minutes, and got home just in time to watch E. finish lunch, get down from his chair, and promptly vomit the contents of his lunch all over the carpet, just like he’d done at breakfast. Poor Q. didn’t have the greatest of mornings. E. was sick on Friday morning as well, but seemed to be fine yesterday, so we thought he’d be ok to go to nursery school tomorrow. Clearly not. He’s napping now and hopefully will be able to keep something down this afternoon, poor little thing.

The weirdest thing at the clinic this morning was the woman strolling around the waiting room, hooked up to an IV that obviously had an intralipids bag strapped to it, telling people, “I’ve got no idea what this is. Maybe Lupron?”, at which point the other woman would look very obviously confused since she was probably also on Lupron and knew that it was a medication that was kept in the fridge that you injected yourself with every morning and that was most certainly NOT a medication that required an IV stand. I just shook my head. I can’t imagine being that ignorant of what was going on. Maybe that’s what works for her, maybe she just really trusts her doctors, but I just wouldn’t be able to cede control to that extent. Especially not at my clinic where I’ve caught them making mistakes because they’re so busy. I feel so strongly that I have to be my own advocate.

My f/s was happy with how things are going. I’ve got 11 or 12 follicles on each ovary, all measuring somewhere between 9 and 4. This is definitely a better response rate than how I started out in August 2010, when on Day 7, they were measuring between 10 and 6. He kept the dose exactly the same (225 iu Gonal-F, 75 iu Repronex) and told me to come back in on Wednesday.

My TSH was too high (at 2.97) when they checked it last week, so he raised my dose (and I’m continuing to self-medicate by adding an extra 1/2 pill every second day). He said today it was too early to check it. As long as it’s down around 1 by the time of the transfer, I’ll be happy. I know he feels 2.5 is ok, but that’s too high according to my endocrinologist, and while the man has the bedside manner of a sea slug, he does know his stuff.

A few minutes ago I had a call from the clinic- Dr L. wants to move my intralipid infusion from the 16th to the 11th. This definitely means I’m responding faster than he was expecting. Looks like I won’t have any problems with the transfer spilling over too close to Christmas, but we might end up hitting beta day while we’re still out of town. We’ll sort that out with my f/s once we know for sure what is happening.

In that same post from that IVF cycle in August 2010, I wrote:

This morning I realized I was feeling just a touch out of sorts. A bit bloated, a bit tight through the middle, some heaviness in my abdomen. And I figured that maybe my digestion was getting out of balance, and I should start paying more attention to how much fibre I’m eating.

Bingo. I’m right there again. It’s as if I can feel my ovaries growing those eggs since the nurse gave me today’s dose. I was so much more uncomfortable on the way home than I was going in to the clinic.

So we’re definitely in business. Time to go buy some Gatorade.

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Filed under 2.0 IVF, E.- the third year, Medical issues, Medications, Second Thoughts, Symptoms, The Sick, Thyroid

Twice as nice?

I have spent a LOT of time mulling over the big issue with this IVF.

One embryo or two?

I realize that this may look like I’m getting ahead of myself. We haven’t even started stimming yet, let alone hit retrieval or transfer. We don’t know how many embryos we’ll have, or what quality they’ll be, or even if we’re going to make it to blastocysts.

Rationally I know that, and I understand that, in some ways, investing all this time and emotional energy in this issue  now is putting the cart before the horse.

But at the same time, it’s an important decision, and if I leave it until the moment where we HAVE to make the decision, I won’t be able to give it the thought it deserves.

E. is the product of a two embryo fresh transfer.

To me, that is the biggest reason for doing this again. This is what worked. We’ve had quite a few cycles now of things not working- eight other embryos in five other transfers have not worked, to be exact.

So there is the temptation to do the same thing again.

It’s also more than likely that a two embryo transfer would produce a singleton, just like with E. My sister did some research for me and discovered that, in my age group, a two embryo transfer that produced a successful (i.e., live birth) pregnancy resulted in a singleton 80% of the time.

And, of course, the odds of achieving any pregnancy are better with a two embryo transfer than with just one, although I’m getting the sense that just how much better is now quite heavily debated.

If we had insurance coverage for procedures, if cost was no issue, I would gladly do an elective single embryo transfer.

But we don’t, and it is, and we’re running out of options.

Plus, my body hasn’t exactly proved itself to be all that welcoming to those little balls of cells. E. is, let’s remember, my only pregnancy. We’ve transferred ten embryos (six Day 3s and four blastocysts) and only one of them stuck (that chemical pregnancy from the FET in October 2009 really doesn’t count given my initial beta was so low it was practically zero).

Every time I start to try to wrap my head around a twin pregnancy, however, I start to freak out.

In June a pair of articles on Babble garnered a lot of attention. They were written (anonymously) by a couple expecting twins. They used IVF to try to give their son a sibling. They hemmed and hawed and finally decided to transfer two embryos. They weren’t expecting, nor did they want twins, but that’s what they got.

Their articles were brutally honest. The reactions from the public were just plain brutal.

Admittedly, they didn’t always express themselves in a way that would encourage readers to empathize with their situation. But when I read the articles, especially the one written by the mum, I understood where they were coming from. I could see the anxiety, the fear, the sense of having lost control over the life that they thought they were going to have. I found another article written just this week, whose author also gave voice to some of the fears that I harbour, especially those concerning having to ignore the needs of one child to meet the needs of the other, something that I would face the moment I had two children, but something that would be even more heightened with the arrival of two babies simultaneously.

It’s easy for people to judge when they haven’t had to resort to IVF to get pregnant. Most people don’t even have to consider the issue of twins. Even mothers who end up with twins in a natural pregnancy haven’t had to weigh the decision whether to transfer one, or take the risk with two.

I know there are women out there who could go into a first ultrasound, see two heartbeats, take a moment to be overwhelmed, and then just be filled with gratitude for the two lives they were growing.

I’m not one of those women.

Everything about twins scares me. The high-risk pregnancy, when my pregnancy with E. and my experiences with my midwives had helped so much to heal the wounds of infertility. The fourth trimester, when I escaped PPD by the skin of my teeth when dealing only with one baby and with a husband who largely worked from home so he could be there for mental health checks much of the time. The whole first year, which, now that it is long behind us, has really driven home to me how much I prefer toddlers. Someone on my birth club the other day was commenting about how she longs for another baby, and I just found myself shaking my head. I want another child. Another baby? I’ll deal with that, because I’ll have to, but honestly, if I could outsource child rearing for the first fifteen/sixteen months or so, and get them back when they’re walking, sleeping through the night, down to one nap, and starting to really communicate, I’d be seriously tempted. I make no apologies for this either- the birth club has taught me that some people are just best suited to some phases of children’s lives. There are some mums on there who adore the teeny tiny baby phase and then there are a few of us who have really come into our own with toddlerhood.

Plus there are the associated financial costs of three kids rather than two. I don’t think the couple should have phrased it in terms of wanting to take their kids to Disneyland, but three university funds rather than two is not a small difference. We’d have to buy a car. It would be another ticket to see Q.’s family every couple of years. Maybe this sounds shallow, to worry about having to buy a car or about airline tickets, but it’s the sort of thing I think about. It’s the reality of how our life would change. I think it would be naive not to think about these sorts of implications.

Plus there would be the impact on my career. Twins would basically ensure that my career would be over before it started, as we would never be able to afford to have them in any sort of full-time care that would allow me to do anything in the academic world beyond very occasional contract teaching. (Daycare in my city, especially for the under 2s, costs significantly more than our mortgage payment.) You don’t recover from that sort of career path, and the first few years after your PhD is finished are your one chance to land a permanent position (assuming one even exists). I’m sure eventually, once they were in school, I’d be able to scrape together some contract teaching, but the reality is we’d be a single income family for a lot longer than expected.

Plus there is the added strain on a marriage. I’ve written before that Q. and I, while not struggling, have had to work harder at our marriage since having E. I know having a second child would add another whole layer of pressure, but I have to think that adding twins would be a giant atom bomb. I worry about how Q. would react to the financial pressure of being the sole provider, while at the same time becoming a father of three. I worry about how we would both cope with the sleep deprivation- that was one of our biggest sources of tension when E. was little and he could have been so much worse. I worry about how I would find the support that I would need, when we have almost no family in the city.

Plus there is the impact on E. He is such a sweet, gentle, sensitive soul. I worry endlessly about disrupting his ordered little existence with the arrival of one baby, let alone two.

Etc. etc. etc.

I don’t think thinking these things makes me a bad or a selfish person. I have the right to feel anxiety about the possibility of such an unexpected (and enormous) change in our lives. I’d be worried about some of the same things even if there was only one baby on the way.

I kept reaching a stalemate: the fact that E., the only transfer that worked, was a two embryo transfer, vs. my abject terror at the thought of a twin pregnancy.

And then my birth club had a post one morning from a mum who was ready to try for a second, but her partner wasn’t on board, and she was asking the other mums how they knew if they wanted another. At first the conversation just pissed me off, because I’m pretty sensitive to pregnancy/baby talk on there right now, given some days it feels like EVERYONE else is either pregnant, has already had a baby since our May 2011 littlies, or their May 2011 baby was their last one. But then a couple of posts really hit home. One mum, when describing how her husband felt, really highlighted how I felt about the prospect of twins- the chaos of infancy, the extra financial costs- but then described how she viewed it: more love, more cuddles, more of life to share. And then two mums said they visualized what they wanted their dining room table to look like in twenty years.

THAT got me.

In the short term- pregnancy and birth and the first year- I cannot face the idea of twins. Even in the medium term the idea freaks me out. I’ve basically decided that the first four years would largely be an exercise in survival and if we made it out the other side with our marriage still intact and all three children healthy with no one suffering pyschological damage, I’ll call it a win.

But when push comes to shove, when I picture us sitting at our table two decades hence, and it’s a choice between dear sweet E. sitting there by himself, or the happy chaos that comes with three, it’s a no brainer.

I don’t want E. to be solely responsible for us when we hit our dotage.

I don’t want E. to be by himself if we don’t make it to our dotage.

I don’t want E. to miss out on having nieces or nephews of his own.

He will spend the rest of his life only seeing half of his family every two years (if that). I have no idea if he will ever have cousins who live close enough for him to count them as real friends.

I still have to talk to Q., but I know now how I feel about the situation.

Fuck it.

If we’re lucky enough to be given the choice, I’m voting for two.

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Filed under 2.0 IVF, Anxiety Overload, Butter scraped over too much bread (a.k.a. modern motherhood), Down Under, E.- the third year, Emotions, Midwives, Second Thoughts, Siblings

This is what it’s all about

I wrote a couple of years ago about the complicated relationship I have with Christmas. I was excited, that first year, for E.’s first Christmas. I was looking forward to starting new traditions with him, staying at home in our house, just our little family, to celebrate Christmas Day. Last year, after decorating the house with E., I noted that I couldn’t have anticipated how it was just going to keep getting better. Last year he helped me put ornaments on the tree, and helped me decorate cookies. Last year, on Christmas morning, he really ‘got’ the idea of opening presents, and I thought his heart would explode with joy when he saw the giant ride-on dump truck/fire truck his Australian Granny had sent him.

This year? We’re only at the 3rd of December, and already I know that this year is what I’ve been waiting for.

E. started asking to decorate the house for Christmas two weeks ago after we saw a Christmas tree in a shop window. We put everything up on Sunday (I won’t decorate before the 1st of December). He loved putting ornaments on the tree. He loved decorating his own felt tree that my Mum made for him last year (I tape it to the fridge). He loved the lights we strung up around the living room. He’s managed to delay bedtime and naptime admirably in the last few days by asking in his sweet little voice to “just look at the Christmas tree a little bit longer”. I had a brief moment of madness where I thought I should try to keep him from taking the ornaments off the tree before I came to my senses and realized that a) there was no way he would be able to self-regulate to that extent for the next month, b) I didn’t want to fight with him about it over and over again, and c) why shouldn’t he be allowed to touch the ornaments, to take them off the tree, to admire them and compare them and play with them? 90% were made by my grandmother out of felt, so they’re hardly likely to be damaged. Even if he (or the cats) pulled over the entire tree (which is only four feet tall), there are maybe two ornaments on the entire thing that could break. So we’ve agreed that he can take whatever ornaments he’d like off the tree as long as he’s gentle with them and puts them back before he goes to bed.

He’s been asking to watch the videos from last Christmas over and over again. He wants Santa to bring him Lara bars, as that’s what was in his stocking in the video. He doesn’t want anything else (I wish every year could be this easy!). Every time we watch the videos I’m struck by how little he says, but how much he understands and manages to communicate. It is so easy to forget that this child only had a handful of words until late January this year.

I still don’t really think he has any true idea what Christmas actually is, but he’s beside himself with excitement over it.

He is having a wee bit of trouble processing it all- we had the strangest experience on Sunday night where he wanted me to read A Porcupine in a Pine Tree over and over again, which is a book of twelve days of a Canadian Christmas, but after the third time singing it I realized with horror that his lower lip was quivering and his eyes were filling with tears.

“E., are you sad?” I asked him.

“Yes!” he managed to get out, before bursting into tears, and hurling himself into my arms.

After a very long cuddle, during which he was sobbing so hard he couldn’t catch his breath and his whole body was shaking, we talked about it and it turned out that on the twelfth day the porcupine wasn’t in the tree anymore, and E. was worried that he had fallen out. So then we looked very carefully at the last few pages and talked about how the porcupine hadn’t fallen out, but that he had climbed down to go and get a watering can to water the pine tree to make it bigger so all of his friends (the ten Leafs a-leaping, eight Mounties munching, six squirrels curling, and the like- it’s a great book) could fit.

I *thought* we had sorted this out, but he was still awake at 11 p.m. that night, bursting into tears, and insisting on sleeping with the book in his crib, even though he kept worrying about what the porcupine was doing. He’s still sleeping with it (at naps as well) three days later, and wants it read multiple times a day, and he still gets tears in his eyes at the end. He also pats the porcupine gently on all the other pages every time we read it, as though he’s confirming for himself that he’s still there. I’m now wondering if maybe he’s worried that our tree is going to suddenly get big, as he also tends to regard it with suspicion after reading the book. Or maybe the decorating on Sunday was just a bit too much change for him to properly process. Or maybe he really is just worried about the welfare of the porcupine, dear, sweet, gentle little soul that he is.

Anyway, emotional crises caused by disappearing porcupines aside, this start to the holiday season has really driven home to me that THIS is what I was waiting for, during all those barren Christmases. THIS is what we’re hoping for again, with this IVF cycle, back in the trenches for a 2.0.

It’s going to just keep getting better. I can’t wait.

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Filed under E.- the third year, Family, Joy, Second Thoughts

Groundhog Day

I’ve been on Lupron for six days now.

For eight days this has been the pattern:

  • The “breakthrough bleeding” stops overnight
  • Everything is normal for the morning
  • The bleeding starts up again after lunch
  • By the mid-late afternoon it’s heavy enough that I’ve got cramps and feel very uncomfortable
  • It slows down again by the late evening

Between roughly 1 and 9 p.m. every day, it’s basically AF by any other name.

I’ve never experienced this before. I’d be freaking out except Dr. Google tells me that breakthrough bleeding is a common side effect of the birth control pills (and this is a FAQ on the website of many a fertility clinic, so I trust my web research). It’s just weird, because it’s never happened to me.

And it sucks. I feel disgusting.

The only positive is provided it keeps doing this until Sunday I’ll be good to go into the clinic early next week, which should give us plenty of time to get the retrieval and transfer done before Christmas.

Seriously, I’m getting excited to start stims if it means this nonsense will stop.

E. was watching me do my Lupron the other day.

“Mummy is a little bit sick,” he commented.

And what do you say to that?

“I’m not sick, little love,” I told him. “This needle is to help keep Mummy healthy and strong.”

E. pulled up his shirt. “I want a needle in my tummy too. Just yike Mummy!”

So I put the cap on the needle, and gave him a pretend jab in the stomach, and distracted him when he wanted another shot “wif the cap off!”, and then I hid my sharps container in an even more inaccessible place than it had been previously.

I’m going to have to play this carefully. I don’t want to talk to him about getting my body ready to grow a baby because he’s never shown even the slightest interest in a sibling and I don’t want to plant that idea if this cycle doesn’t work. But at the same time I don’t want him wondering and processing and worrying in his own head about what this all means, especially when I start going in to see the doctor ALL the freakin’ time in a couple of weeks.

I had a dentist appointment today. My usual hygienist was away, so I saw one I haven’t seen in years. I haven’t seen her, in fact, since she got pregnant and went on maternity leave back in late 2010. I have a post on here somewhere where I mention that she read my list of medications once and commented that she was having trouble conceiving herself, and we got to chatting. She had a thyroid issue too and had had multiple miscarriages. Anyway, turns out she had a healthy baby boy six months before I had E., and has since had a second with no complications who just turned one. That was great news. It’s so nice to hear about someone who struggled so much for one child but was then able to have a second easily.

The other interesting piece of news was that the reason my hygienist was away today was she was undergoing an IVF transfer. She’s never said anything about this to me, but the other hygienist assumed it would have come up because of my past history, which is why she said something (and then felt awful when it was clear I hadn’t known). Interestingly, though, I’d suspected something was going on because I remembered my usual hygienist telling me once when E. was really little that she was hoping to have an announcement along those lines fairly soon. And then there was nothing. We talked about her nephew, who is a month older than E., and her house, and her dog, but no babies.

And I wondered. Of course I did. I think we become attuned to these sorts of things- the wishes unfulfilled, the timelines that don’t quite add up.

I can’t remember if I’ve ever said to her that E. was an IVF baby. I think she has asked me about a second before, and I gave my usual line of, “We were really lucky to get E. and we’re not sure things will work out a second time”.

Here’s hoping we both have good news to give each other when I go back in March.

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Filed under 2.0 IVF, Anxiety Overload, E.- the third year, Medical issues, Second Thoughts