Where we are now

In case you missed it: check this out first. 

Where are we now?

Well, we’re feeling relieved, and angry, and sad, and frustrated…in that order. But still, I don’t think there is an ounce of us that thinks we should dive into IVF.

To rewind – for some time (like, I’m talking 7 years or 2555 days or 364 weeks or 84 months or approx. 70 cycles) we have tried our best to conceive without too much medical/surgical intervention. Medical and surgical intervention is a beautiful, miraculous thing and I am so happy it exists – but for us, we have always known we would not do much in the way of medical/surgical interventions (for plenty of reasons: health, prognosis, side effects, anxiety/fear, finances, the fact that I have only one ovary/ fallopian and stakes are high if I have an ectopic or another cyst, etc.). This is the one thing we have consistently stuck by, and believed in, though out these rocky years.

We have tried pretty much every vitamin/ mineral/ miracle substance/ essential oil/ acupuncture/ massage/ work out routine / diet you can think of to help boost our fertility. We have tried BBT, CM charting and fert.ility fri.end. Mr. Big has not been in a hot tub or worn anything tighter than boxers in 5 years. We have tried prayer, meditation, Reiki and even human sacrifice (just kidding on that last one). We have tried “relaxing, and letting it happen” and we have tried “Sex three times/day, every day”. I have peed on every kind of stick there is to pee on and I have had enough of the fun and glamorous fertility testing (I’m looking at you, dildo cam wearing a little condom hat) to last me a life time. I have taken the ovulation inducing meds, the hormone replacements, the meds they give you to combat the side effects of the aforementioned meds, and – of course – the prenatals that are so huge they should be inserted, rather than swallowed.

And then, four weeks ago, we approached the point in our infertility journey where we need to move forward with IVF, or stop.

We spent countless hours and days thinking, wondering and worrying about those two options. Lots of things went through my mind: “if I REALLY wanted a child, I wouldn’t even consider stopping”, “I’m letting down my parents, my in-laws, my sisters, my nephews”, “Mr.Big should leave me and marry someone fertile”, “What kind of a woman am I when I can’t even do the ONE thing women’s bodies were *made* for?” , “If I were stronger, I would be fighting to the death for this”, “Maybe the reason I can’t have kids, is because I shouldn’t”, etc. etc….

Then, we finally decided to listen to our guts: it is time to stop.

The decision was not, and continues to not be, easy. Every day I go back and forth and wonder if I made a mistake, if we just try one more cycle… but I know if I don’t stop myself, everything that we DO have will fall apart. I love children more than anything in the entire world – but we know, inherently, that this is not the path we are meant to be on. We can feel it in our hearts, our minds, and our souls. The damage that is being done to ourselves is immense already (as you all know) and this is not the way we want to become parents.

We have battle scars. We’re both heavier, with more unhealthy habits than we had pre-infertility and our levels of self esteem are so low, they’re in a heap on the bathroom floor most days. Social settings – once fun and relaxing – are now awkward and uncomfortable because everyone in our life is a raging, fertile parent or parent-to-be. The questions and comments at these social events still bring me to my knees. I have one less one ovary and fallopian due to a “twisted cyster”, believed to be brought on by the med. cocktail I was on. I can’t remember the last time we went on a vacation (actually, have we ever??) because we were always afraid to book one in case I got pregnant and we didn’t want to worry about cancelling if I was sick/ high risk/ if the area had dangerous virus (like Zika)…so we just didn’t book anything. Our entire life was on hold, waiting for the day when our HPT would come up positive… for 2555 days our lives have been on hold.

I don’t know what the future has in store for us. I sure hope it involves raising and parenting children – but if it doesn’t, I can accept that too (that makes my throat burn just to type that…so maybe rather than “I can accept that too”, I should say “I will work to accept that too, should that be our path”). I am so blessed in that my sisters allow us to have an active role in our nephews’ lives, allowing us to be a part of so many of the things we would otherwise miss. Our lives are not void of the blessings of parenting, they’re just structured in a slightly different way.

Mr. Big and I are still in recovery mode, trying to piece our selves and our lives back together. I think we want to take a vacation (one that we’ve been putting off in case I got pregnant), and then we will sit down and enroll in some adoption and fostering classes and get thinking about this next phase of our lives.

 

Fertility Update

It’s been quite a while since I gave a little fertility update…so it’s overdue.

Here is a little background:

  • Started TTC 6 years ago, with zero success
  • After 1 year, diagnosed with “probably PCOS” – no blood markers, no insulin resistant, no visible cysts on the ovaries but a family history and horrendous periods and sent to the top PCOS specialist in the country
  • Determined to be annovulatory and tried 3 cycles Clomid, break, 3 cycles Femara, break. No BFP – just a myriad of awful side effects and an emergency surgery to remove a ballooned cyst that contorted and killed one ovary and fallopian tube. Post surgery – advised that IVF is the only option and referred to the regional fertility program.
  • Got almost to the actual retrieval, and panicked and cancelled it all. I was having horrific side effects from the meds, I was struggling emotionally and we were across the country from all of our family and support systems. Mr. Big agreed I needed a break, and in that time we packed up and moved back home to be closer to family.
  • Over the next year we worked on getting healthy, losing weight (60lbs, woot woot) and settling into our new house and new life – so glad we made this move! It was absolutely the right thing for us.
  • Around September of 2016 I started to get the itch again. We had been just “letting it happen” for almost two years without success…so I approached my family Doctor who was super supportive and we came up with a game plan. Since we have known fertility issues, we opted to try naturally for 6 months and then move on to an RE. Because so much has changed in my health, we will need to start again from scratch – but I’m OK with that. I had just turned 30 and felt like we have time to work from the bottom up…and I really hate any kind of fertility meds because I seem to get every side effect, so I wanted to avoid that if at all possible.
  • I had a bunch of blood work and tests, and they all came up great.
  • In March, we began our 6 months of TTC prior to RE referral. So far, no natural pregnancy…and despite that we’re not using any hormones, I am feeling like crap all around (as though I am using Clomid). Due to that, my Doctor orders some extra blood work which ends up showing I have Hypothyroidism (which is new, as I had my thyroid tested last year and it was all normal). So yay – Hypothyroidism (not). The good news is that it can sometimes cause a lot of the issues I’ve been struggling with, so getting this under control is good for my fertility. The bad news is it may make no difference at all… but that’s OK. It’s still worth a shot!

And otherwise, we are just waiting and seeing! 3 months of TTC down, 3 more to go before we get out the big guns.

People-y-ness

I am an introvert. I was born an introvert, and I will die an introvert.

For a long time I was ashamed of that. I was taught that being closed up / quiet and liking your own company was a weakness and a sign of being abnormal. It was something to overcome…so I tried, and I tried, and I tried to conquer it – at the very grave cost of my mental health – but I never succeeded. Finally (thankfully) I reached a point in my adulthood where I realized there is nothing wrong with being an introvert. Like extroverts, it is just a type of personality.

I like my own company. I find socializing draining and exhausting. Nothing rejuvenates me more than a quiet afternoon alone, doing my thing. All good things, right? Self acceptance for the win!

But then…I married an extrovert….

Now our social life is a constant balance between my needs and his. He fills his cup by being out around people, I fill my cup by being alone (or with him). He can spend DAYS visiting with family or friends, while I can barely tolerate 3-4 hours. He loves to invite people to things, I like to do things just the two of us. He gets bored if a week goes by without a socialization event – I would be OK with just one a month. His idea of a vacation is spending it at a crowded resort in Mexico laying on the beach. My idea of a vacation is a hostel in Scotland, touring the castles and eating local pub fair.

We are SO different. I often wonder how we could possibly be happy together…but we yet we are. His people-y-ness encourages me to be a bit more peoply, while my non-peopley-ness encourages him to be a little more content with his own company…I see it as a win both ways.

I can’t wait to see what we end up with for children…will they be extroverts, introverts or something in between?

I think Mr. Big and I are proof that opposites do attract – we complement each other while still being individuals. But I also know couples who are very similar and perfectly matched together – I think it really depends on the person and the dynamics of the marriage.

What about you? Are you introverted or extroverted? What about your spouse?

 

On Being Single

I am not single. This is a reflection after seeing a particular movie this week that I thought would be slap stick comedy but actually had an intellectual aspect to it.

Have you seen it? How.to.be.single?

I went with my sister and we have two VERY different love stories. It was interesting to talk about it after.

She met her husband in junior high and never dated anyone else. She lived at home until she got a surprise pregnancy at 19 and dropped out of college and took a retail job. Her husband worked (and still does) in construction. Then they moved in with her (now) husband’s mother. They got married at 22 and bought their own house. They had another baby at 24 and are currently hoping to have a third.

I didn’t date much in high school, but went on some dates in University. I went to school 1800 kms from home, so I lived on my own in a dorm for the first two years and then an apartment for the third. I made some great friendships. From there I moved to across the country and started my adult life in a city where I knew no one…I loved the experience. I got a corporate job that paid me well, so I got to have some wonderful experiences. While there I met a guy who I dated seriously, but it didn’t last. Then I met another guy, dated him semi-seriously, but again it didn’t last. 3 years post University graduation I met Mr. Big. We dated for 7 months, were engaged for 2 years and finally married outdoors at a small ceremony in the mountains. It was beautiful. We struggled with infertility for a while there, before packing up and moving home to be closer to my family and sisters. Still struggling with infertility.

The movie (SPOILER ALERT) talks about how to be single…and how part of the purpose is to figure out who you are while you’re single so that when you do find someone, you don’t get lost. They coin the experience of “finding a guy and rushing into something serious without ever knowing yourself” as “dicksand” (sorry, that’s what they call it). It’s like meeting someone you like and getting stuck in their quicksand and becoming who they want you to be rather than who you are.

As soon as the movie ended, my sister looked at me and said “I got caught in (her husbands name)’s dicksand.”

The more I thought about it, the more I realized how lucky I am to have had all the wonderful experiences I did have while I was single – and to have the opportunity to not only figure out who I am, but to develop that. While I miss, immensely, that I don’t have children yet – there is a perk to it too. Mr. Big and I have been able to develop strong sense of who we each are individually, and who we are as a couple. We’ve been able to do things, and see things, and have experiences that not everyone gets to experience. That’s not such a bad thing. (Don’t get me wrong, I am ready to stop any time and trade it in for bibs and diapers…but I also want to realize and acknowledge that good things come from this too).

My sister and her husband are happily married, have a nice home and two beautiful children. They work hard and they enjoy their life. Getting caught into his “dicksand” (I know, cringeworthy tem!) worked for her and she’s happy. But I am very thankful that I had a chance to become who I am as a single person and to learn to need only myself – before finding the person to share my life with. I just hope that the little versions come along before I’m too old and grey to enjoy them.

It was definitely a surprising food for thought movie! Did you see it? What did you think?

Winter/Spring Project – The BEFORE

I love, love, LOVE projects…there’s something so fun and magical about taking something and making it new again.

Mr. Big and I have been planning on getting a camper this year for some time. We camped almost every weekend last spring/summer – and in a tent…so we figured that was commitment enough to warrant a camper purchase.

I am the cheapest person alive…so naturally, I wanted to find the most inexpensive yet functional camper possible – so, knowing that would take a while, I have been browsing Kiji.ji for the last month in hopes of finding someone really inexpensive that we could fix up.

And I found it!

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It’s a 12.5 ft by 7ft by 6.5 ft camper with four beds – a king and a queen slide out, and two table areas that fold down into a queen and a twin bed. There is no plumbing in it, but that’s fine with us – we’re coming from a tent so that’s an improvement.

The King slideout is missing because the canvas ripped…so just the queen slideout is there. The rest of the canvas is in good condition, but needs a good clean. The frame is solid and the tires are brand new – really, we got it for a steal all because the bed we wouldn’t use anyway is broken.

Our Plans:

  • Tear out the small table area and cabinet (see last pic).
  • Remove Queen slide out and sew canvas up on both slideout ends so there are just four walls – no slideouts.
  • Clean and repair canvas
  • Build Queen frame where small table area and cabinet used to be – include storage underneath for three long rubbermaid bins (1 for clothes, 1 for food and supplies, 1 for kitchenware)
  • Lay down wood flooring (it will be inexpensive because its hardly any area to cover)
  • Paint all the wood a light colour
  • Reupholster cushions on U shaped seating area
  • Add colourful curtains
  • Build small foldable shelving system in the space between bed and seating area on far wall – include space for a small bar fridge
  • Repaint the outside of the camper
  • Add an awning with screened in room

We will only have to buy some fabric, flooring, paint, lumber and a bar fridge – everything else we already have. We will do the labour ourselves (although, I’ve never repaired/replaced canvas so this should be interesting!!) so we will save costs there too. And, if all goes well, we will be ready for the May Long weekend!

I know it sounds crazy to remove the slideouts and cut a 4 bed camper down to 2 beds – and we did hum and haw about that – but, in the end, we wanted to make it work for our family. We’re not interested in reselling it one day but we didn’t pay much for it anyway so even if we do, we will still get back more than we paid.

For us that meant removing the slide outs so the bed is a permanent fixture, adding additional storage (at the cost of floor space, but we’re OK with that) and making a mosquito free outdoor space that is connected to the camper.

We’re very excited about this camper – a purchase we have wanted to make for so long and we got it for a price better than even we expected.

Keep your eyes open for the after posts as we go along!

#Microblog Mondays #2 – Chicken Cordon Bleu…but not

Mr. Big decided he wanted to spice things up by cooking (gasp) a surprise meal for me. I LOVE that he came up with this, especially since he never cooks (if he does it’s part of a meal or it’s something frozen or from a box/can/takeout place).

I had visions of pad thai or fried rice or burritos or some new casserole… knowing I am lactose intolerant limits our options, so you can imagine my surprise when he told me it was Chicken Cordon Bleu.

I was worried … there is only one thing in the whole world that I cannot eat without throwing up: ham. I am also lactose intolerant. Traditional Chicken Cordon Bleu has ham and cheese in it. The last thing I wanted to do was hurt his feelings or be unable to eat it.

He promised me he made adjustments – and what he ended up bringing out was essentially a breaded chicken breast stuffed with lunch meat roast beef and lactose free swiss cheese.

I love, love LOVE that he wanted to do this. I love that he was creative and thoughtful in his compromise knowing my intolerance/dislike for ham. I LOVE that he wanted to spice things up a bit by doing something so kind and thoughtful. But I’ll be OK if I never have to eat that again!! LOL!

I told him it was good anyway because I know how lucky I am that he wanted to do this for me – and I didn’t want to hurt his feelings. Which my Mom pointed out will only lead to it becoming a regular on our family meal planning…. I may have to tell him the truth.

Next time, maybe we will pick a recipe together, and cook it together! It’s a lot more fun that way, and then we can ensure it is something we will both enjoy! 🙂