Saturday, 28 March 2015

Buying things out of boredom

Whole lot of nothing is happening around here. Trying to track my temperature, but unable to discern any sort of pattern as of yet, probably doing something wrong, but it doesn't really matter so I don't really care. Fertility monitor and new pee sticks are sitting on the bathroom counter mocking me. I should probably put it away but I don't really have a place to put it and I don't want to create a special place "away" for it when I'm hoping I'm going to need it daily soon. Maybe that's silly.

Today I was at a thrift store that was having a sale on books, so I picked up "Your Pregnancy Week by Week" and "What to Expect - Eating Well When You're Expecting". They were dirt cheap so that is my justification - add $2 to my total conception costs! And I should eat well now in addition to when I'm expecting...

So I just looked and Your Pregnancy is now in the 7th edition, though mine is the 5th. Hm. At least there isn't a newer What to Expect...nothing newer than the 2005 copy I now own.

I'm also thinking of getting myself a fitness tracker and upping my physical activity, because even if I never conceive, being healthier is of course a good thing. And even though I've only been blogging for a month, you've probably figured out that I like electronic gadgets. It's a bit of a problem. But if I'm tracking my goddamn temperature by hundredths of a degree, why not track my sleep patterns and my heartrate and my physical activity and good grief.

I leave you with this, which is the first thing I saw when I opened to a random page in "Your Pregnancy" - a good tip for everyone, I think, but perhaps a clue as to why the book needed updating:

Saturday, 21 March 2015

I said I wouldn't...

I wasn't going to chart. Nope, not for me to keep voluminous records of every time my body did something or other. I'm just not interested in trying to decide if my cervical mucus is sticky or not. My clinic told me to pee on sticks, so I thought I'd just pee on sticks. I bought that fancy monitor thing. I bought extra sticks from Costco (which arrived yesterday in a gigantic box with bubblewrap...gotta protect those sticks!)

Of course I'm not peeing on anything unusual right now, because of the whole HSG fiasco. I'm in limbo, waiting. And it felt really unproductive. So I went to the store and bought this thing.

I actually went to two stores. The first had only regular temperature thermometers. So did the second...until I found the 'women's health' section, where they keep the basal thermometers. Why can't all the thermometers be in one place? Silly store.

Why did I do this? I didn't want to chart temperatures. I still don't. I think it's silly given that I still have to pee on the damn sticks. I guess I wanted to feel like I was doing something productive. Even though recording my temperature isn't all that productive. But I went to a group meeting thingie and everyone was going on about (I'll post about that later...I'm pretty impressed actually) and I wanted to feel included or something. So. Thermometer.

May as well review the thing, since I've now used it three whole times. It's a thermometer. It works just like the one I used as a kid. I think it might BE the one I used as a kid only with a pink top cap part that tells you it's really for women (gag). The beep is really quiet and doesn't wake Aion. But I can't read it in the dark so it forces me to actually get up in the morning...probably a good thing as I'm a chronic snooze-button abuser. And there's this feature that it is supposed to tell you the previous temperature reading if you turn it on again, but when I tried that this morning it did not give me the same reading as before. So that's not good. But given that I'm using the darn thing mostly for a lark / because I want to feel like I'm doing something and the results really don't matter all that much, I'm going to stick with it. For now. Until I get too sleep-deprived based on my lack of snooze-button.

Don't talk to me about sleep and babies. I don't want to know.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Hellish Stupid Gram

OK, so that's a lame post title, but it's hard to come up with words for how I feel about today's news for I have to have another HSG. My doctor thinks he the radiologist just doesn’t do enough of them and so suggested I try again next month at Laurel. She seemed to think whatever went wrong was really unusual. Comforting.

If I'm like this before I've even done anything with sperm I can't imagine what the 2ww will be like. Maybe better because I'd at least be trying something instead of being in limbo.

Doctor says if this second HSG doesn’t work she wants to do a laproscopy before trying IUI. And there's about a 6 month wait for that. I'm so disheartened. I'm not getting younger or more fertile
 And I have some personal work-related reasons for wanting to be pregnant sooner rather than later.

I've never been good with patience.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Incurring expenses

So I've gone and spent actual money towards this goal of mine. It's the first cash outlay - thus far everything else has been covered by Medicare. But I needed to be able to monitor my cycle whenever the clinic says go, so I dove in and bought one of these:

But I did not pay $250 for it, because that's ridiculous. I got it on Craigslist for $70 and bought extra pee sticks from (ON SALE! $10 OFF!).

I'm not sure why I bought the monitor thing rather than just the sticks that tell you when you're ovulating. Partly fear of not being able to interpret the blue lines, I guess. But I'm now regretting my decision slightly, because I don't really want to have to carry this damn electronic thing around with me to work and back.

There's a whole process for recalibrating the thing because it keeps the previous owner's cycle data stored in it otherwise, but I found a nice tutorial about how to do that.

The instruction book is full of doom and gloom and DO NOT SHARE! nonsense directed at forcing the populace to buy more brand new monitors instead of making use of monitors of those who have finished their families. It says there is PEE!!!! in the monitor and there are DISEASES!!!! in pee and the monitor CANNOT!!!!! be sterilized.
"once your monitor has been used, it is contaminated with your urine, which may contain an infectious disease. There are no reliable methods for you to clean or remove infectious diseases from the monitor. It is for these reasons that we do not recommend that anyone use your monitor but you."
 Good grief, I guarantee there's more pee on a public toiletseat than on this monitor I bought from the nice (but slightly frazzled) pregnant mother of one. And what DISEASED PEE!!!! is on this monitor is at least 6 months old, I'd say. And you put the pee sticks in the monitor and then in the garbage. And then you WASH YOUR HANDS. So I'm not so sure where this horror comes from. But it is quite comical.

Sorry about all the CAPS in this post. But seriously. Diseased pee? Really? Good grief.

Monday, 16 March 2015

(A)Gendering my kid

I like thinking about what it will be like to have a baby, because all this scheduled appointment bs is unpleasant and frustrating and can be a bit all consuming. So when a friend who is busy raising her own toddler posted this link (Tomboys & Tiaras: Why I Don’t Want My Daughter To Hate Pink), it really got me thinking.

If I do manage to get pregnant, Aion and I are pretty committed to not learning our baby's sex prior to birth. We don't want everything pink or blue. We want a surprise. I've heard it makes labour easier (I think that's a crock, but hey...worth a try?) But most importantly we want to give our child the ability to be a person first.

But that certainly doesn't mean that we will avoid all references to the kid's sex, because, well, that's impossible. I'm not interested in conducting social experiments like these folks. And I'm super femme-y and like shoes and tutus and would totally put my kid in them, and I also find baby suits just KILLER and would put my kid in them too. So I don't know.

It's complicated, but isn't it just great that we live in a complicated world where these conversations are happening and we are not fleeing from the very shocking idea! that our child's private parts will define its future?

But let's be realistic. The kid's first outfit is probably going to be something like this:

Sunday, 15 March 2015

An irregular cervix: my attempted HSG

My clinic gave me an HSG requisition for the Laurel centre, so on day 1 of my cycle I dutifully called them. They informed me that there was no doctor available to do the procedure on the appropriate days and asked me to "try again next month". The receptionist was really rude about it, too. I was not impressed. 

At the bottom of the form in small print the requisition said I could have my procedure at several other locations as well, so I called the clinic and asked them to fax a new requisition to Langley Hospital. 

The next day I called Langley to schedule my procedure. The (very nice!) receptionist told me they just were having a new machine installed and that an HSG was 'probably not the best procedure for testing out the machine' because, among other things, they would need to have a representative from the machine there to help with problems; it may take longer, etc. I appreciated the honesty, but really didn't want to call the clinic AGAIN to get ANOTHER requisition for ANOTHER facility and asked them to just book me for the darn thing.

While waiting for my appointment, I did what everyone does and googled the hell out of an HSG. So by the time of my appointment I really wasn't looking forward to it - so many women say it is quite painful.

The clinic prescribed me doxy as a prophylactic to guard against infection (4 pills, starting the night prior). I also took a couple advils about an hour before as recommended.

There was a short checklist to fill out when I arrived at the hospital. The tech asked me about why I was having an HSG given that I put "n/a" as for how long I'd been trying to get pregnant. I don't know, just doing what the doctor told me to do!

I got to wear two hospital gowns and my socks. I was glad for the socks. Being barefoot in public places is kinda squicky. Well, so is the lack of underpants, but ya know...

The teck explained everything to me in excruciating detail. Then she and the machine representative played around with the buttons and moving the table and xray machine around. I must say that the table was amazingly comfy. It was that awesome squishy memory-foam stuff. Nice. Then the radiologist came in, explained everything to me so quickly and without detail that it took a whole 2 seconds. Then speculum (ugh ow as always), sponge-cleaning the cervix twice (cold, oddly uncomfortable but not horrid). The catheter was pinchy but ok. I mean, I would rather NOT have it done, but livable. And then the doc started to inject the contrast fluid. Ok, crampy, yes, just like the requisition said it would be. But not terrible. But I thought it was supposed to be fast, and I'm watching the monitor and it doesn't look like the pictures online, not at all. So the doc asked for more contrast stuff, and more cramping, but then nothing. So the doc brings the catheter out and the fluid dribbles out of me. 

He announced he needed a different type of catheter with a balloon on the end. This one I barely felt on the way in. He got it in place, tries to inject more dye, and I felt nothing. The doc announced he could not complete the procedure, muttered something about my having an irregularly shaped cervix that could not 'seal' around the catheter so the dye was leaking out rather than going into my uterus and tubes, took everything out of me and left. 

The tech kindly showed me the xray screen which showed the balloon properly in place and a nice outline of my vagina rather than my uterus. So that was that. It was devastating. I mean...getting worked up about how it would feel, what it would reveal, how it would all be worth it because afterwards I would know where I stood...and now nothing. No answers, no understanding about what the next steps would be.

The pad they gave me on the way out was comical. It was as long as my whole underpants, waistband to waistband, and about 3/4 inch thick. But useful, because I was spotting and oozing contrast fluid. Super sexy.

Of course when I got home I googled the hell out of irregular cervixes. There's no information, though. Lots from women who can't have an HSG because the doctor couldn't place the catheter, but that wasn't my problem. So now I feel like a freak and I'm worried that my cervix is broken and that IUI won't work because all the sperm will leak out rather than going where it belongs. If my tubes are even open, which we don't know.

I called my nurse who tried to reassure me and said that she will call me again on Monday when they get the radiology report. I may have to have the procedure that uses a camera rather than dye. Man, that sounds so pleasant also.Ugh. But I suppose better to know than to spend money on an IUI that definitely won't work, right?

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Spilling our guts

Ok, not really.

We went to our required Health Canada counselling appointment.

I'm not sure why this is required. I can't seem to find the law that says it is...and now that I'm thinking about it, I cannot see how this could actually be mandated by law. I'll keep looking. But it certainly is a requirement of my clinic, and thankfully my group benefits plan provides for coverage for a registered social worker, so that is who we saw. (This process is expensive enough...$130 from my group plan? I'll take it!)

The session is ostensibly to prepare future parents for the challenges and process of using donor products. Obviously we've thought this through and this is the only way we can get I think the questions are a bit silly. For example: we have no questions about whether to tell our child his or her genetic origins. Obviously he or she did not come from the two of us.

I suppose every appointment will be different, but for us it was just general topics of conversation that, I assume, were directed at finding out whether we'd thought about some aspects of this process. Simple stuff, like what was your childhood like? Cultural background and its importance. Whether we'd decided on an open donor or not. And some advice - be prepared for this to be a process. Take care of each other. Access resources if and when necessary.

Really, for us it just was another checkbox, a thing we needed to get done along the way. And now it's done and we can move onward!

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Let me keep my own blood dammit I need it.

Earlier this week was day 3, so I dutifully went for 'day 3' testing, along with an infectious disease panel, and time to find out about my CMV status. There was a really long line at the lab and I started getting antsy - I intended to be a few minutes late for work but it was shaping up to be over an hour late. I asked the staff if day 3 really meant exactly-day-3 or if I could come back the next day. "Not sure", the tech said. "You could ask your doctor."

Well, that wasn't much help. I went back to my seat, thinking that I was better safe than sorry. And waited. And waited some more.

Finally it was my turn. I went up to the counter and presented my requisition, which was met by a puzzled expression. the tech didn't know what all the tests listed were. She stared, first, at the term "DI Screen". I figured that out and explained to her what that was for. But to be sure, she wanted to fax my form to the lab's resource people so she could get the proper code for the tests I needed. She cheerfully told me, "Better safe than sorry!" I went and sat back down. And waited some more, while the people who arrived long after me came and went.

Finally I get called up again. I'm now super grumpy from not eating (again, not sure if fasting was required for my blood tests, I didn't eat breakfast that morning) and wanting to get on with it. The tech examines my veins, grabs the tiny needle and announces that she needs to wait for a second tech to help her switch vials. Only another few minutes, she says. I sigh and wait.

Oh my goodness they wanted a lot more blood. I'm sure some of these tests were duplicates of the ones I had last time, because goodness there cannot be that many more. And I needed to pee into yet another cup. God I hate peeing in cups. Seriously shy bladder any time a cup is involved. Even after I had my juice because blood tests make me feel faint. Free juice = the sole benefit of going to the lab.

I've always been a pretty healthy kid. Not too much going on medically aside from a small issue in my childhood. So I'm not used to all these tests and nonsense. I suppose I'll get used to it pretty quickly...

Glad that's out of the way. One more step closer...Looking forward to the results of the CMV...once I know that we can settle on our donor!

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Book Review: What to Expect Before You're Expecting

After I wrote yesterday, I decided to check out the library's e-book offerings for topical books. Nothing specific to same-sex couples or assisted reproduction (but there are a couple available in hard copy). I really wanted to stay home and read on my Kobo, so I downloaded "What to Expect Before You're Expecting" by Heidi Murkoff.

The book has four parts.

Part 1 is about getting yourself healthy and physically ready for baby-making: eat well, maintain a healthy weight, get enough vitamins, stop smoking/drug use, and other (pretty common-sense) tips. The most I got from this section was a list of foods to avoid (certain ingredients found in herbal tisanes, for example, can reduce fertility or increase the risk of miscarriage - there's an overwhelming list of herbal teas to avoid while pregnant here). I will need to go through the cupboard. I also learned that allergy medications can reduce cervical mucus levels along with sinus mucus levels. Not a good thing. As I am already starting to suffer a bit of the sniffles due to our unseasonably warm and dry February, I'm a bit nervous about that one.

Part 2 is called "Making a Baby". It details the biological process, your cycle, and different methods for predicting or detecting ovulation. Reading about basal body temperature etc. was interesting but my clinic says to use the pee sticks (and that sounds so much easier) so pee sticks it is for me. I skimmed over the section about sex - not applicable! and also skipped, for now, the "Are You Pregnant?" section which just seemed a bit silly. There's a stick for that.

Part 3 is about "Bumps In the Road". This section talks about different types of fertility difficulties and infertility and also includes brief descriptions about the various types of assisted reproduction. I found this to be a decent overview, but because I've already done a fair bit of reading on the subject I didn't learn very much. I did appreciate the diagrams of the various processes. This section also discussed some of the emotional challenges of infertility, miscarriage etc. but did not offer anything particularly meaningful beyond "go see a counsellor".

Part 4 is mainly missing in the e-book version - it is a cycle tracker. E-book users (or anyone - there's no DRM or passowrd or anything) can download the tracker from the publisher's website. Since I'm using the P Tracker app, I don't need this paper version, but for someone who isn't addicted to their smartphone I suppose this could be useful.

Overall I found this book vaguely interesting to flip through as I was trying to fall asleep but I didn't learn a whole lot that was new to me and/or wasn't common sense. Maybe if I had done no research this book would be a good place to start...but at that point I was just exploring, and certainly didn't think of getting a book already. It is kind of sad, but it seems like these kind of fact-based books are becoming obsolete in this era of everything-available-online-for-free. The only other benefit I can see of this book is that it is factual information, whereas online one needs to be careful what sources to trust. But I think I'm pretty good at discerning the fact (or can't possibly hurt) from fiction.