Thursday, December 17, 2009

A New Road

This blog has been about my journey to a BFP. I am happy to announce that on Thanksgiving Day, I found out that I was pregnant. I've now successfully made it through my first trimester. I'm 13 weeks, 4 days, and ready to tell the world! The second half of my news is that we are expecting twins!! After over 2 years of trying, we've been blessed with 2, and I couldn't be happier!

The last few months I haven't felt up to blogging, but hope to get back at it as I'm in a new phase now. I still plan to keep my journey with infertility, private, but this is also a great place to continue to share my thoughts with those of you in the loop... if I still have any readers after almost 2 months off!

This is all still very hard to believe, but I am incredibly thankful that I finally got my BFP!!!!

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Something you get good at, or at least have to face when trying to get pregnant, is waiting. Waiting to ovulate, waiting for your period to arrive, waiting to get referred to a specialist, waiting for appointments, waiting for results of tests, waiting for surgery, waiting to recovery, waiting for follicles to grow and ultimately waiting for the day when you finally get your BFP. It's hard to be patient, but one thing I've learned and think I've done well at, is to continue to live my life in the waiting. We've been at this for 2 years and I don't want to look back and feel like I wasted those years waiting for something that wasn't happening. So we've tried to live life as normally as possible. Although we were hoping to have a child by now, I like to think of it as bonus time alone with my husband. We happen to like hanging out with each other!

Waiting is hard and can get frustrating. I currently have a bunch of cysts I'm waiting to go away. But luckily I've gotten good at this. I think I'm a pretty patient person. Hopefully that transfers over to parenthood someday!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

I'm sitting here in tears. I've just learned that today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, a day to remember the loss of little ones, whether they were born or not. To learn more about it, click here. These lives are honoured by lighting a candle at 7pm for an hour. I just lit mine now. I have know several friends who have lost babies through miscarriage, sometimes multiple times. This is not something I've been through but can only imagine how devestating it would be. When I finally get my BFP I don't know what I would do if that happened. But one in five pregnancies ends in miscarriage, and often families grieve in silence. For every one of my friends' stories I know about, I'm sure I there are many more that I don't know about. I went on Youtube to try out more about it, and ended up finding tribute videos people had made for their babies, many who passed away shortly after birth. How devestating. I found myself crying for people I have never met. Tonight I light a candle in honour of the babies who have been lost to several friends. I admire your strength and courage to deal with such a difficult loss.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I'm Tired

I've been doing really well at staying positive and holding myself together the past several weeks. Then last night, I crumbled. My poor husband thought he was about to go to bed, but instead he got a wife who needed to vent and let a few (or many!) tears out. I'm tired of this. I'm tired of waiting. I'm tired of watching everyone else around me get what I've wanted for years. I'm tired of trying to be strong and positive. I'm tired of blood tests, injections and ultrasounds. I'm tired of month after month of disappointment. I'm tired of crying. There, I've said it. This sucks. I'm ready for something else.

One of the hardest parts of infertility is that I don't get a break from it. My closest friend at work is 7 months pregnant and pregnancies of friends seemed to be announced weekly. When it's not someone else, it's either 2 weeks of treatment and monitoring where my body could change at a moment's notice, or 2 weeks of waiting where I'm analyzing every twinge and possible symptom. I think, "Just don't think about it and it will happen" is definitely the worst advice. It really is impossible. This does not define me, but it's huge part of my life that I can't escape.

There are no guarantees that at the end of this, I will be pregnant and carry a baby to term. No one has promised me that. If someone could tell me that in 3 months, or 6 months or even another year that this would work it would be a lot easier to persevere. But I don't know that and sometimes I feel like I really can't do this for much longer. There will be better days...I've had many lately. But mixed up in between are some pretty crappy ones. It's just part of the journey I'm on I guess.

Monday, September 28, 2009

A Day At The Clinic

For many of you experiencing infertility, this is old news. I thought I'd share what a typical visit to my fertility clinic is like during cycle monitoring...

- The clinic opens at 7am and I like to be there by 6:50am to make sure I'm the first there
- The first step is to get blood taken... pretty standard stuff.
- Then it's off to ultrasound. There is a wonderful receptionist at my clinic who often lets me sneak in first even if my appointment time is later. Getting to work on time is a huge potential stress for me and this really helps. The ultrasound is the not-so-fun internal kind and can take anywhere from 2 to 20 minutes depending on what's happening inside. The goal of fertility drugs is to produce more follicles (eggs) to increase chances, so the ultrasound is to measure the quantity and size of follicles as well as how thick the lining of your uterus is. It always amazes me that they can track these things so closely.
- After that you wait for a nurse who will review your progress and then wait for a doctor who essentially does the same. They also make decisions based on bloodwork. I'll often get a phone call later in the day when my results are in with doctors orders to change my dose of drugs for the night.

I have a love/hate relationship with my clinic. It is large and many women are herded through each day. There is a different doctor on call each day so various people are making decisions on your protocol. I only ever see my specialist at specific appointments. Each doctor is different with a slightly different philosophy and of course, they make mistakes. I have to remember they are human. The good thing in my specialist often calls in to check in on her patients and ultimately makes the decisions when she can. It is comforting to see so many other women struggling to get pregnant and sometimes I see someone who makes me feel young... it's amazing who's trying to have a baby out there. My naturopath told me she just helped a 48 year-old woman conceive.

It's very draining to have to go in day after day. Some days are discouraging... too many follicles, too few follicles, follicles that aren't growing, follicles that have turned into cysts, cancelled treatment because things aren't going well. You can go in expecting one thing and find out that in only 24 hours, your body has done something completely different. It's hard to wake up early only to start your day with needles and wands that feel quite invasive. But overall, I am very thankful for a great clinic with doctors who know what they're doing. It's not perfect but I know without the treatment I'd be at a dead end.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Here We Go Again!

It's been over two months since I've stepped in my fertility clinic. Unfortunately, that ended today. I was hoping for a 'natural' miracle during our break but it didn't happen. I have to say the break was good. I'm thankful for the time off and my body is ready to go again. But every month that doesn't work, including ones where I'm not on treatment, is still sad and difficult to deal with. I've been working hard at staying positive and hopeful but today I wasn't feeling that way. As I was in the car, approaching the clinic, I started to feel emotional. I am incredibly grateful for an excellent specialist and clinic, but I'd still prefer to be done with it. When I got home, I called my husband in tears. While I've been doing well the past few months, today was a reminder that we probably won't conceive without help. I'm thankful that help is there and I'm ready to take it again, but it's always hard accepting that.

So we're back. Tomorrow I start my injections and we'll see how it goes. My plan is to try the same treatment for 3 more cycles, which could take up to 6 months if I end up with cysts at the end of each month like I have in the past. Overall, I do feel quite hopeful that my time is coming. My goal is to stay as stress-free as possible and continue to have faith that it will happen. Now that the tears are out, I'm ready. Let's do this!

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Right Decision

In my last post I wrote about the decision to skip another treatment cycle to go on a vacation we had planned for awhile. I can say one hundred percent that we made the right decision. Besides tracking my temperature and talking to a few friends about our journey, I really didn't think much about this whole process we've been going through. It was a nice break. I had a wonderful time reconnecting with some friends I hadn't seen in awhile, saw a beautiful part of the country and enjoyed a ton of quality time with my husband. I couldn't have asked for a better vacation or a better summer.

I really struggled at the beginning of the summer with not being able to do treatment, but looking back, I think I made the most of it. I had so many great experiences that I couldn't have had if I was forced to be at home for appointments at the clinic. I also really think that acupuncture is helping my body get back to normal... whatever normal is for me. I'm not exactly sure when I'll be going back on the treatment train, but I'm ready when it happens. I know I can look back on the summer of 2009 as one with a ton of great memories that I'm thankful for. Would I rather have had a baby or been pregnant this summer? The honest answer is yes. But that's not the way life turned out. I think I'm starting to get the hang of this whole "making the most of where you're at" thing... a lesson I'm sure I'll be learning for the rest of my life. Someone just needs to remind me of that when I'm back to being poked and prodded soon! :)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Break Continues

I finally finished my first waiting cycle and am now on to the last before I can start treatment again. Because of vacation plans, I'm skipping this next month as well. We've been talking about this vacation for over a year and finally planned it. When you're in treatment it's hard to make plans as you have to be at the clinic on certain days that are hard to predict in advance. Once I knew this vacation would prevent another cycle I went back and forth about whether or not I still wanted to go. Getting pregnant is a big priority in life, but at the same time I don't want to miss out on life while I'm waiting. I knew I would regret it if I didn't go, so here I am. Hopefully another month drug-free will be good for my body and I'll be more than ready when it's time to start again.

In the last few weeks I've been going to a chiropractor and also getting acupuncture to help my body be in optimal condition for when I start treatment again. My luteal phase was a lot longer this month which I was happy about. I'm not sure if I can credit that to acupuncture or not, but I'm happy that I'm doing it. It's weird to think that tiny needles stuck all over my body can help my fertility, but it's seemed to have helped others. I've been feeling more positive lately and hopeful for the fall. But in the mean time while I continue to play the waiting game, I plan to enjoy my vacation, reconnecting with friends, seeing a beautiful part of the country, quality time with my husband and thinking about this whole process as little as possible.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

My friend J...

One of the people I'm thankful for on this journey has been my friend J. We met in an online community almost a year ago and ended up at the same fertility clinic with the same specialist. When we realized we'd be there on the same day we decided to meet. It was nice to put a face to one of the people I'd been chatting with.

J and I were on a very similar path. We both had laparoscopic surgery within a few months of each other, tried Clomid and then moved onto injections and IUI. For several months our cycles actually lined up almost to the day meaning we were at the clinic at the same time and could chat in the waiting room. On my first month of injections J was doing the same and we both ended up being unsuccessful with nothing but a bunch of cysts to show for it. We both took a month off of treatment, both had long cycles while we waited and then were a day apart when we could try again. J and I waited together for our last procedures and she saw me in tears after mine was cancelled. Even though we don't actually see each other often, I feel like we've been through a lot together!

Well, yesterday J had an ultrasound and saw her baby's heartbeat for the first time!!! I came home from vacation in early July to find out that J was pregnant. Although we were hoping we'd get our BFPs together I was thrilled for her! She'd been on this journey for over 2 years and it was her time. It is encouraging to know that someone on such a similar road with identical treatment was finally successful. This DOES work!

So J, thanks for being such a great friend through the last several months. Thanks for continuing to put up with my lengthy emails as I keep working towards my BFP. Few people, if anyone, understands as much as you what this process is like and your support has been invaluable. You already know this but I am SO happy for you! Your success has given me hope that someday, hopefully sooner than later, I will get to hear my baby's heartbeat too! :)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Going Natural

This summer has been about waiting. In terms of treatment there is nothing I will likely be able to do until sometime in September. That has been a huge frustration for me this summer... all this time and energy and I'm forced to wait. On a bad day it feels like it's all very unfair. On a good day I can see how waiting might be a good thing. Especially during my last cycle, my body was put through a lot and could probably use a break.

I've had the book, "The Infertility Cure" on my shelf for almost a year. It was lent to me by a friend but at the time I didn't feel like reading anything else related to infertility, especially about Chinese medicine which I had no interest in. But recently I've read through a few chapters which has led me to look into some natural therapies. I figured I have time, I might as well investigate. So last week I met with a naturopath who focuses on fertility and she suggested acupuncture. I've heard good things about how it can really increase success rates so I've decided to try it. My first session is on Saturday. The best part was when she took my history and told me I would have lots of babies. Depending on her definition of lots, I hope she's right. It gave me hope and at this stage you grab onto anything that will help you keep going.

So while I wait I've decided the only thing I can do is make sure my body is as healthy as it can be when I'm able to start treatment again. Who knows if will make make a difference, but I know it can't hurt and gives me something to focus on in the mean time.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Reflections 2 years in...

It's hard to believe that it's now been 2 years since we started this journey to parenthood. Never in a million years would I have guessed that it would have taken this long. If I had predicted then what life would be like now, it would probably involve running after a one-year old and thinking about #2. But instead I've yet to even get a positive pregnancy test! I was hoping I'd get pregnant right away and be able to tell my family at Thanksgiving ('07). Then Thanksgiving turned into Christmas, Christmas became Easter, Easter became Mother's Day, Father's Day and the cycle continued. I guess I was pretty naive.

The past two years have definitely been the most challenging of my life. Like I've told a few friends, I don't mind having challenges in my life, I'm just ready for a new one. I know people deal with illness, pain, hurt and other issues for a lot longer than that, but this is what I've been given for now and it's been difficult. There's been a lot of tears, a lot of frustration, a lot of disappointment and a lot of waiting. My body and emotions have been through the wringer.

I am a different person then I was 2 years ago. I know a TON more about anything related to getting pregnant. I have met some wonderful people who have struggled with me, many who have been successful and others who have not. I've also, in some ways, become more withdrawn, guarded and self-absorbed... that part I don't like and want to work on. Overall I have a wonderful life... amazing family and friends, a job I love, a supportive and loving husband, to name a few.

As I enter year number 3, I will no longer say with confidence that I think I'll be a mom this time next year... I've learned that my timing is pretty off with this stuff. But I can say that I remain confident that I will be a mom someday. I'm not sure when or how, but I believe it will happen. I know that this next year will bring its share of bad days and disappointments. This whole process gets harder, not easier. I'm curious where I'll be at in a year and I'm not shy in hoping that it involves a baby. But today I choose to be thankful for all that I am blessed with, to do my best to live in the present and enjoy today. A new year brings new possibilities and renewed hope, and today I'm hanging onto that hope.

Monday, July 20, 2009

A Bad Day

In this process I have good days, bad days, and lots of in-between days. Yesterday was a bad day. I don't know what triggers a bad day. Was it meeting a newborn for the first time yesterday? Being surrounded by pregnant women? I'm not sure. But yesterday I felt frustrated.... frustrated that I have so much time on my hands right now and I'm not able to continue with treatment. And because of vacation plans we made in August, I might have to skip another cycle. What's another month or two in this process when you're two years in? The difference is now I don't have the added stress of getting to work on time after my morning appointments. I have more energy to deal with being poked and prodded multiple times a day.

Yesterday was one of those days where the tears came and I wished that for one day, I could have a break from dealing with infertility. It was a day where I questioned why this is taking so long and how I'm supposed to live my life while I wait. It was a day when I wanted to crawl into bed and stay there forever, in hopes that this would all go away. I can't avoid bad days. I don't even want to anymore. I've learned that if I let myself be sad, frustrated and let the tears come, I actually can move faster into a positive place again. Infertility sucks and I don't need to be happy that it's in my life. The key is not letting it take over and ruin it. I'm still learning how to do that, but part of it is embracing the fact that there will be bad days.

Today is a good day. Nothing has really changed from yesterday, but I know that if I tried to fight the sadness and negative emtotions yesterday, I probably wouldn't be feeling as good today.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Comments & Poll

Feel free to leave comments on my blog. I always love reading them. If you know me personally please comment anonymously (Click on Comment as... "anonymous") and leave your initials if you want. Also, please don't use my real name. You can also let me know how you know me by simply clicking on the poll to the left.

My Journey So Far

We've been trying to conceive for about 2 years now. When I meet other people dealing with infertility, I always find it helpful to know what they've gone through (this is probably most helpful for people in that boat). I've gone into quite a bit of detail so read as much as you feel comfortable. I've always included links if you want to know more. Here's a summary of our journey so far for those who are interested...

August 2007 - We started trying to get pregnant
September 2007 - Started tracking my basal body temperature (BBT) every morning
October 2007 - Bled for 30+ days straight. Ultrasound showed nothing wrong. Was put on birth control for 2 months to stop the bleeding
December 2007 - Started trying again
February 2008 - Started taking an herb called Vitex to help me ovulate and shorten my cycles. The first month I took it I had a 27 day cycle where I ovulated, whereas the previous one was 50 days without ovulation. Long, anovulatory cycles are an issue for me if I'm not on medication.
Mar - June 2008 - Continued with Vitex. Some anovulatory cycles. Realized my luteal phase was often too short. Starting taking vitamin B6 to increase it.
July 2008 - Saw my family doctor after trying for a year. Got a referral for a fertility specialist,
but after reading about him and talking to others who had been to him, decided he wasn't a good fit.
August 2008 - Asked for a referral to a new clinic and doctor I chose on my own.
Sept 2008 - First appointment with my fertility specialist, Dr. E. Decided to start Clomid in
October while I did initial tests.
October 2008 - Started Clomid, did the glucose tolerance test to test for Polycsystic Ovarian
Syndrome (PCOS). Tests confirmed I have PCOS.
- Went for a Hysterosalpingography (HSG) test but Dr. E was unable to complete it... my first huge disappointment in this process.
November 2008 - Follow-up appointment with Dr. E. Decided the only way she could
determine if I was healthy inside was to do minor surgery
December 2008 - Had laparoscopic surgery. Dr. E fixed a minor problem and everything else
was healthy and in working order.
Jan - Mar 2009 - Tried 3 months of Clomid. Although I produced 1 to 2 follicles, we weren't
successful. In 2 of the 3 months I was given an HCG shot to trigger ovulation.
April 2009 - Decided to step up treatment. Started taking Puregon, a drug I give myself
through injections each night to produce more follicles. Also started a procedure called IUI.
May 2009 - Developed 4 cysts so forced to take a month off while they go away.
June 2009 - Tried a higher dose of Puregon. IUI was cancelled due to a high number of follicles.
Monitored for OHSS
July 2009 - Developed 12 cysts. Taking another month off to wait for them to go away.

And that brings us to now where we're currently playing the waiting game.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Why "Big Fat Positive"?

For anyone who is trying to conceive and is part of an online community, a lot of communication is done through acronyms. By far the best one is BFP, which stands for big fat positive, meaning a positive pregnancy test. There are two simple reasons why I chose this name for my blog. The first is simply that I remain hopeful that one day I will get my BFP. The second is that through this journey I have struggled but am learning how to stay positive and hopeful through the pain and disappointment. Not that I won't have my bad days (they are inevitable and part of the process) but I don't want to stop enjoying life while we wait to become parents.

So there you go... if you didn't know it before, you now know that any woman trying to get pregnant is waiting for that one big thing... her BFP! Who knew this blog would already be so informative! :)

Why I am writing this blog

Welcome to my blog. I have decided to write for three main reasons.

The first is to share our road to becoming parents with friends and family who are interested. Several people in our lives know the challenges we are going through, and this is a place to come get updates on where we're at, hear what's going on in my head, and learn about the issues we are facing.

The second reason is to bring awareness to the issues of infertility. Although it's a very private struggle and I'm not ready to reveal it to everyone I know, I have been challenged to share my story. This is my way of doing it with some level of anonymity. Approximately 1 in 6 couples experience difficulty conceiving and yet it's not something that's widely talked about. Chances are there are several people in your lives dealing with this, and you probably don't know it. I've learned a lot in the last 2 years, and although I'm no expert, I would love to share what I have learned to help people they know who are dealing with this. I know I was pretty clueless before this became a reality in my life.

The last and probably most important reason for this blog is that this is a way I can be there for others who are dealing with the same issues. The greatest encouragment in this journey has been meeting other women or couples who have gone through or are currently dealing with infertility. To know that I'm not alone, and that there are others who understand has been a huge factor in getting through the hard times. Sharing our stories is powerful and although each one is different I want this to be a place where someone can come and realize they are not struggling alone. If you know someone dealing with infertility, feel free to direct them here. If you know who I am, please respect my desire to remain anonymous for now and not share my name. I'm happy to connect with someone personally via email etc., so if you know someone, just contact me and we can work it out.

This blog is not about sympathy. That's the last thing I want. It's about those who want to follow my journey, who want to learn more about infertility or help someone they know going through it, and it's about sharing my story with others who feel alone. I have no idea how much longer I'll be on this road... if I'll be pregnant in a month or if we'll add to our family through adoption in several years. Whatever happens, you are welcome for the ride!