Wednesday, 27 April 2016

#StartAsking about your Reproductive Health

As National Infertility Awareness Week continues, I reflect on my experiences to date and wonder what I would have liked to have known when I started. Well, first off, I'd have liked to have known that 1 in 8 couples will struggle with infertility. I would have liked to have known that a perfectly healthy couple has a 20% chance of conceiving each month (assuming timing is perfect), and I would have liked to have known that I'm not alone... that so many others are experiencing this struggle, repeated disappointment, and heartbreak too... That's why the #StartAsking initiative by Resolve.org has been so important to me this year. I don't want any of my friends or acquaintances to ever feel alone or unprepared like I did. I don't want any stranger to feel that way either, frankly. So I ask all those in the Infertility Community, and all those tied to it by a loved one or friend or family member, to #StartAsking too!

I can't really accurately describe the moment I first sensed I might have fertility struggles. My husband (boyfriend at the time, though we owned a house together) came home to me crying on the floor blabbering on about how I had a weird gut feeling I was going to struggle with getting pregnant and how we should start trying right away.


He dismissed my anxieties as something like a weird emotional breakdown, founded in no reality... and really I don't blame him. Unfortunately, I've had very strong gut instincts and intuitions in the past, and those who know me, know that those intuitions often proved to be (or become) reality.

First lesson - trust your gut! If you feel like something's up GO TALK TO SOMEONE. You know your body better than anyone else, but at the same time, try to avoid consulting Dr. Google... he's like Chicken Little or the Boy who cried Wolf. 


Looking back there were a lot of red flags related to my health growing up. I learned very early on that I was quite severely lactose-intolerant, though it took me many years (and a little growing up) to accept it fully and make the necessary changes. It took even longer though to discover that I was celiac. You'd have thought my yo-yo eating habits (tied to appetite and feeling sick), severe bloat, and severe fatigue among other indicators (random rashes and the like) would have been indicators that something was up, but no one was really talking about celiac at the time. It took even longer still to fully diagnose... dun dun dunnn..... Endometriosis. It was suspected at one point, but as I changed my diet to eliminate wheat and dairy fully (among other foods after allergy panel) my pain diminished substantially. And we weren't trying to conceive at the time, so we weren't really aware of the implications.

Second lesson - if you have symptoms of endometriosis, allergic reactions etc, see a doctor, trust their guidance and expertise, but push for testing... don't wait and let the disease spread and worsen. Take action early on and you could substantially improve your fertility.


When we finally did start trying for a family, shortly after getting married, we were SHOCKED to discover we weren't pregnant after month one. Hilariously naiive, I know, but I really did feel after all the years of being told how important contraception use was, I swore he would sneeze and I'd somehow end up knocked up. As the first few months rolled by I started researching and the statistics were staggering. Wow... I have a 20% chance each month IF we time everything perfectly??? What?!??!? All those years of being told to be so careful now seemed so necessarily filled with unwarranted fear. I'd be a few hours late taking the pill and worry I was going to be pregnant as a result. Gosh... if only. 

Third lesson - learn about fertility. Learn about your reproductive cycle. If you have questions about your fertility, #startasking your doctor and #startasking for testing. You can check so many things like ovarian reserve with a simple blood test that there's really no excuse to remain uneducated. You need to advocate for your own fertility, just like your own health. 


I had a fantastic family doctor who did all this for us no questions asked. Unfortunately, most of my testing came back (and continues to) as perfectly normal. This is where perseverance is key... I knew something was up. I knew "Unexplained" was merely them saying they didn't know why I couldn't get pregnant or what was preventing conception. I know in my gut that it's immune related and that my body attacks the embryos. It's like I can feel it. So I refuse to take their answers of everything's fine and it's a matter of time and trying again. I refuse to accept there's nothing more to be done. So I continue to #ask for more testing... more insight, and I continue to be my own biggest advocate, because no one else will do it for me. 

Have strength. You can do this. 
#StartAsking

Monday, 25 April 2016

#StartAsking for Support In All Its Forms


Well folks... it's that time once again where National Infertility Awareness Week coincides with my birthday. Yay? Mixed feelings there... I am an infertile so in a way it only seems fitting I guess, but what do I want for my birthday this year? Well I want people to start talking! I've seen 5 birthdays pass whilst Homme InFertile and I have worked towards getting pregnant with no luck. I've grown 5 years older without a child to do the same. And as NIAW rolls around again, I can't help but reflect on this chapter of my life and wonder what it all means? Who have I become in the process? What have I learned?

When I met my husband, Homme InFertile as I so call him here, it was lust at first sight. I say lust because I don't believe you can truly fall in love with a person you've never spoken to... but the attraction and chemistry was instant and undeniable... and in the 10+ years we've been together I have fallen more and more in love with him with each passing day. I am one of the lucky ones in that respect. Unfortunately, we have been less than fortunate in the reproductive department.

We got married young, and started trying for a family very quickly. I had ALWAYS (and I really truly mean that) wanted to be a mother. It was a very tightly woven fabric of my being, and it was undeniable. My maternal clock seemed to click in much earlier than my friends, but I honored it, wanting to finish having kids by the time I was 30 in order to enjoy a long full life with them in it. With tomorrow's passing birthday and me turning 31, we know that is a certainly not happening. We were forced to let go of that dream, and many others along the way.

We let go of the dream to ENJOY the trying to conceive journey.
We let go of the dream to NATURALLY conceive our child.
We let go of our ideal TIMELINES surrounding parenthood.
and slowly... month by month... we started to let go of hope. 

Let it go might as well be our theme song... and I'll admit, I've used it as a pick me up... disney ain't just for children folks!

But hope is a fickle thing. One minute it is lost completely, and then seemingly out of nowhere, a new factor emerges and hope is re-born. A new treatment. A new doctor. A new year. A new city. A new drug. A new protocol. A new diet. A new anything and we begin to believe once more that our story may have a happy ever after, afterall. But that isn't always the case.

We are forced, as infertiles, to watch those around us move forward with their lives while we sit stuck in the mud... or cement as it feels some days. Friends that didn't even have a significant other when we started trying, now have two beautiful children. Our social media feeds are constantly filled with baby-spam and gripes with parenthood, while we long for just a taste of what their world has to offer. We're outsiders with no way in... And it hurts. It hurts because no one is talking about it. And if we do, we make others uncomfortable. So for me... I want to #StartAsking for people to share their struggles, not just their successes. I want to #StartAsking for people to not get uncomfortable when I talk about infertility. I want to #StartAsking for better insurance coverage for infertility, as it is a disease. I want to #StartAsking for people to have empathy and compassion, and put themselves in other peoples shoes... because I would trade anything for your morning sickness... telling me how horrible it is, isn't helping. I want to #StartAsking for the world to get educated on infertility, and acknowledge that it isn't just a women-centric issue. Infertility affects men too! And men need just as much support!

We move through life with a smile on our face, and heads held high, because there is no other option. You don't stop living your life because of struggle... you work through it. "Be brave." I remind myself constantly. "Be patient." I work on daily. "Be happy." I choose every moment I can. The choice to be happy is one I don't take lightly. There are a lot of ways to be happy on this earth, and although I know parenthood will bring me much joy, there are other things in my life that do the same, and I am unwilling to ignore them. The pain is real, but so is the joy in fully living the life I've been blessed with.

I wasn't always this way. In fact I remember at 6 months freaking out, bawling my eyes out on the bathroom floor in a panic that I was never going to be a mother. The pain I felt then was a different pain. A panicked pain. A young pain. But as the years roll by, the pain has evolved. It's still there... and I still cry... but it's seasoned. It's hard to describe... but when you repeat something so frequently, and continue to get the same result, you become more immune. This isn't to say I'm not saddened by my experience, or that when I get my period it's no big deal... but somehow it isn't AS big of a let down as it once was. And I find that sad. I'm more sad about the fact that I'm not more sad, than just being sad about my circumstances. But the more I opened up, the more support I began to get. The more I talked about infertility, the more aware my friends and family became. Do I still from time to time get ignorant advice, comments or suggestions? Sure. Does it bother me? Sometimes... but what would bother me more, is for them to continue to be unaware of the journey Infertiles face daily. The realities of this horrible disease. I wrote an original poem inspired by this struggle.

EVERYDAY

You say to me; enjoy this time,
but this time of mine, I don't need, I'm fine

You say to enjoy the freedom I have,
but freedom I lack, I do not laugh

You say be brave, be patient and trust,
but trust is lost, and question I must

You say you believe, and feel you know,
but promise, you can't, and faith is slow

You say you miss the life I lead,
but what when life I lose and bleed

You say you care, you understand,
but each time I fall I find no hand

So what you need to see, I say,
is I hurt, I hope, I blame, I pray

Every Day


-written by Femme InFertile



So if someone you know or love opens up and is honest with you about their struggles, don't go for the quick fix, don't offer up your suggestions, but instead open up your hearts, minds, and arms and support them. Give them a hug. Tell them your there for them. Educate yourself so you understand what they're going through. Ask them if and how you can help. You never know what someone else is going through. Don't assume you do.

Resolve has some amazing resources if you want to learn more. Their goal is to raise awareness of the following:

  • Infertility is a disease that affects 1 in 8 couples of reproductive age 
  • There are many ways to build a family
  • Help reduce the stigma by bringing attention to the details/issues/costs surrounding all ways people diagnosed with infertility can build a family. 
  • Understand when to seek the help of a specialist 
  • Inspire others 

And to finish us off... I want to share one of my favourite resources. I'm sure I've shared it before, but if you know someone going through infertility, they need your love and support. But unless you've been through it, it can be hard to know what to do, and what not to do. Here is a great little cheat list to get you started.
http://www.resolve.org/national-infertility-awareness-week/25-things-to-say-and-not-to-say.html



Monday, 18 April 2016

Follow Up Questions

These are the questions I asked our doc...

1) We'd love to know your personal gut reaction, thoughts, musings or otherwise. As the professional, we defer mostly to you to tell us in your opinion, why you think we've had 3 failed IVFs as a healthy young couple. What would your plan be moving forward. 

2) Endometriosis... given the fact that we have never gotten pregnant successfully, I am beginning to feel that perhaps it is time to pursue laparoscopy/surgery to discover how extensive the disease is. 
- Do you support this/think this is a good idea?
- Do you think it may aid with implantation?
- Do you think that the endo is a significant factor in our implantation failure?
- What are your opinions on other treatments in terms of FET protocol (lupron, prednisone, bcp prep, or otherwise)?

3) Immune Response
I've sort of felt from the get-go that my body rejects the embryos. I know we did Intralipid, but I'm just curious on your thoughts since they recommend blood thinners in a lot of these cases. I had asked about baby aspirin, but that was not recommended. Most of the immune related treatments would also likely be linked to the above endometriosis topic, but I am curious about the chance of a clotting disorder or what could be done to stop this immune response. 
- I believe I might have celiac (given my severe response to wheat along with confirmed lactose intolerance which often go hand in hand). Do you recommend I have a scope? What would this tell us in terms of treatment (I'm already GF/Dairy Free)?
- Is more testing needed?
- What tests/information is out there for immune related infertility?

4) Assisted Hatching - this is something I sort of had asked about prior to our transfer but was not recommended. 
- How did the zona pellucida on each embryo look before transfer? 
Is this something that may be a factor in our implantation failure? 
- Did any of our embryos begin to hatch before the freezing stage?
If not, could this be indicative of blastocyst arrest (I think that's the term at least)?

5) Male Factor
- How did the sperm sample look on retrieval day?
- Given my clear results (minus MTHFR), could there still be a reason to have Homme InFertile genetically screened (ie. if my eggs are not "strong enough" to compensate for poor dna (or repair it?)?
- Could this be a factor in why we are not getting pregnant?
- How were our PICSI results? Did a large number appear to be normal whilst using PICSI for sperm selection?
- Would you recommend we pursue the DNA fragmentation test at this point to get further insight to any or the extent of the fragmentation? 
- If so, and if Homme Infertile's results are highly fragmented, what would this mean in terms of our likelihood to conceive with his sperm? Would any course of treatment differ?

5) PGS - we had contemplated doing this, however financially were not fully in a position to do so, and in addition, were not certain at our age how necessary it would be. 
- Do you think there is a high likelihood genetic abnormality is the primary reason for our lack of success?
- How were our embryos frozen? 
- If they were vitrified, have you ever done a thaw, test, and re-freeze? What are the outcomes like? 
...I have also heard of thaw, 24 hr test turnaround and day 7 transfer, but not common - thoughts?
- Do you have any recommendations on this factor for us, given the position we are in?

6) Progesterone 
Because I spot during my luteal phase for many days every cycle, progesterone has always been a concern for me... I did NOT spot at all during use of suppositories this cycle which is encouraging.
- Have my progesterone levels been checked and HOW normal were they? (I know there is a normal range, but was I on the low end of normal? etc)
- Many women speak of PIO shots, would this be a stronger course of action for me in the future for FET?
- My progesterone was not monitored throughout my cycle, is this something you would consider moving forward?

7) Lining
I know we briefly touched on this this a.m...
- How was my lining on transfer day? (ie. thickness, evenness etc)
- Receptivity, I know we're both concerned about this, but what would be different in terms of protocol or prepping for transfer? 
- Uterine Scrape (I know this is mostly new, and more common in UK), what are your thoughts?
- Would this mostly be addressed through laparoscopy/hysteroscopy?

8) Further testing
- Thrombophilia ... especially with endo I was surpised you didn't recommend at least aspirin, but is there a chance I have a clotting disorder? Am I crazy to think there is a link?
- male or female karotyping defects (not even really sure what this is)?
- confirm my NK cells or elevated inflammatory cytokines levels? (relates to immune above)
- anti-sperm antibodies in Homme InFertile? I'm probably making tests up ;)
- anything else I'm missing/not thinking of?

9) Surrogacy 
- Given my endometriosis and repeated failure, is surrogacy a strong option for us if lap/surgery come up with no explanation?
- Do eggs/blastocysts conceived by a person with endometriosis have good results with surrogacy pregnancy and live birth rates?
- What are your general opinions/thoughts on this for our case? 
- Obviously this is really expensive, if I had a friend (doubtful but just covering bases) willing to do it for me, what is the testing process like?

Beta Day, Zero Expectations

I so don't want to go in to do my beta. This time around I swore I'd stay on progesterone until I had my beta, and I did... so AF still hasn't come (which is surprising actually) but good indication that I have good absorption of the progesterone suppositories at least. Part of me is curious to see if any level of implantation happened, sure, but I'm just so emotionally sensitive, I don't want to deal with it all right now. I want to just forget about it temporarily.

I'll update later on how that all goes. Hoping to get to chat to the doc today about it, but not holding out a huge hope or anything. We are going away for the week tomorrow and that'll be an excellent distraction.

When we come back it's straight into NIAW (National Infertility Awareness Week). I'll be blogging and entering the "Bloggers Unite Challenge" hosted by Resolve. I strongly encourage you to do the same! It's time to increase awareness, break down stigmas, and #StartAsking !!!


Direct link to details: http://www.resolve.org/national-infertility-awareness-week/bloggers-unite.html


Saturday, 16 April 2016

Where to go from here...

Another negative this morning and I know it's really over. I'm technically 13dpo (or 8dp5dt) ... today was our initial test day plan for a reliable result and it's stark white (as expected).

So picking up the broken piece of another failed cycle and trying to move on. Or forward at least. Beta is still scheduled for Monday (though we know what the result will be), and our WTF appointment to follow directly.



I've made the decision to have surgery for my endometriosis before pursuing any further steps. I've found a great doc down in Houston, where we're moving next month or so. I'll have a consult, see what she has to say, do a laparoscopy or hysteroscopy depending on what she suggests and then see what she discovers. We're also considering PGS testing on our frozen embryos but we know that's not ideal/easy/or in some cases even possible since they're already frozen. Hindsight is always 20/20. It just felt so different this time, I guess we were just hopelessly optimistic.

I might be M.I.A for a while as we grieve, move cities (oh goodness), and get settled in our new life. Though doubtful I'll be able to stay away truly since this is such an outlet for me.

I hope to come back and finally finish my story with a happily ever after. One can dream.

Friday, 15 April 2016

CD Who The F*ck Cares

Glaring Stark White Big Fat In Yo Face NEGATIVE.

Ugh. Lots of processing going on right now. I am only 8dp5dt "ONLY" but let's be honest, that's equivalent of 13dpo and hence AF is due for me tomorrow based on my 13 day luteal phase.

Contrary to previous cycles, I'm not going off meds, and I AM planning to still go to Beta on Monday. Doc agreed to meet with us for our WTF appointment same day.

I refuse to break down and cry. I've been here too many times before. I don't want to be sad anymore. Chin up and moving forward.

F*CK


Thursday, 14 April 2016

Symptom Spotting by DPT

Okay, up until now I've already shared, but in the interest of having it all in place, here we go with a full up to date list...

0dp5dt
constipation
fatigue
(acupuncture)

1dp5dt
twinges/pulls
acid reflux (almost threw up when burped)
constipation
fatigue

2dp5dt
increased appetite
very emotional (crying)
sore throat
fatigue
frequent urination (but also drinking lots of water to stay hydrated)
gassy
back pain, unbearable then slowly went away

3dp5dt
bloated
constipation
cramps - started in a.m. then went away, came back worse later in day towards evening (bad overnight)
dizziness
very emotional (crying a lot again - super sensitive)

overnight - crazy frickin dreams. And very vivid - as if I was really there. Nothing baby related :(

4dp5dt
low energy (no nap but busy day... feeling almost ready for bed though and its only 630pm)
medium to bad cramps all day
average to low appetite (common for me with bad cramps)
mild nausea (common for me with bad cramps)
very emotional (crying continues)
breakout

overnight night sweats

5dp5dt
really bad lower back pain
tired easily and feeling lazy
very emotional (cried 3 times in the movie No Escape. Not exactly a tear jerker)
cramping is much milder
constipation
gas

overnight night sweats again, more vivid dream(s)... not pregnant related, but babies there... could be because I'm baby crazy!

6dp5dt (bfn)
bad lower back pain continues
feel very low energy, lazy and unmotivated
wet feeling I kind of get before AF... "know" she's getting ready to rear her ugly head
skin clearing up
constipation
mild bloat with dull AF "pain" (not cramps exactly)

Day 25 - 6dp5dt

Ugh! ugh ugh UGH! Why did I do it... well I know why, I am a recovering POAS addict who fell off the wagon, THAT'S WHY!!! What did I do? Well if the acronym didn't clue you in, I peed on a stick. A FRER at that. And it was a big fat glaring negative.

Okay, so I'm not as totally as crushed as I might have made myself out to  be. Disappointed that my TWW wasn't cut short by overwhelmingly exciting news? Yes. But devastated? No. I mean, I'm only 6dp5dt and my pee also did appear to be quite diluted when I went this morning. Also... I've been convincing myself that I do indeed see just a hint of a whisper of a line. Doeth mine eyes playeth a trickery of hope? Ya... probably... but its a romantic thought to hope my little second line is coming for me as I wait in the shadows of doubt for its arrival.

How/why do I believe there is "a hint of a whisper of a line" you ask? Well as a recovering, ahem, newly fallen off the wagon, POAS addict, I have seen my fair share of negative tests. Now let me preface this with saying I have believed in the past I saw just such "whispers" but they were of course actual BFNs. So I am fully aware of my delusions, but in this instance I will let them be since I need to stay hopeful.

Okay so looking at the test I'm sure any sane person would say there is no chance there is a line there. Fine, hurumph, be that way! So I decided (again, not for the first time) to try "tweaking" my pregnancy test. So I took a photo, edited on my phone, and here it is. I recommend clicking on it, and opening it to see it clearer. Even tweaked its a squinter....  and its upside down...



Now although this isn't the first time I've tweaked a photo, it is the first time I believed I actually had proof of what I was seeing. If you don't see it, shame on you for crushing a poor hopeful infertile's dreams ;) But ya, I get it, it's a pretty big long shot. It could be an evap line, it could be any old sort of anomaly, but for now, I'll take it and use it to remain hopeful for another day. Homme InFertile agreed to buy me more tests so yay for that!

On symptom spotting notes, more early night sweating last night... so unpleasant! One or two pretty weird vivid dream (not sure if they were part of the same that blended or two distinct dreams) but again not pregnancy related. I did, however, decide that my friend was being an awful parent leaving a bunch of newborns downstairs unattended. We could hear one crying, and she was like "meh, they're fine"... but I refused, so I went down and picked a little boy up and cheered him up. It felt very natural, but I've also been around a lot of other peoples' babies so it does in real life too I guess.

Other than that, most of the cramping has gone, other than a few little twinges/pinches now and again. My back still hurts but not nearly as bad as yesterday either. Very mild bloat/constipation that accompanies that dull period pain too. Generally I feel pretty normal today. Normal as in just like a normal cycle where AF is around the corner. Ohhh well. I guess I have practice at this if it is indeed a fail... yet again.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Why did I read this?

What I'm fearing to feel once again this cycle but hoping is not the case...
Cue the waterworks.
http://www.scarymommy.com/ivf-embryos/

Day 24 - 5dp5dt

Finally up to the amount of days post transfer equal to amount of days pre transfer... the equivalent of 10 dpo. In the past I would have already tested by now and believe me, I've certainly been tempted. I think we might have one frer hiding in our closet somewhere, but I would rather make use of it when it is more likely to give an accurate result. Although many people get positives this early, many also don't, and I really don't need to get more discouraged than I already am. It's taking everything in me to stay positive...



Overnight I started off with some early night sweats. I woke up drenched. I immediately got scared and sad. I get night sweats usually the night before AF shows. Usually I wake up to her gracing me with her presence in full force (she hasn't...yet at least). Was I too hot? Too cold? I couldn't tell, but accompanied by the intense cramping I had the night before I was pretty certain it was not good news. Somehow I managed to push this out of my thoughts enough to fall back asleep after half-hazardly wiping the sweat off my chest.

Then, middle of the night I woke up. I felt wide awake yet it was still basically pitch dark out, I finally caved and checked my phone, the bright light of the screen making me squint. 4am! Ugh. I tossed and turned hoping that maybe I just had a bad dream I wasn't remembering that woke me up and I would fall right back asleep, but I was awake and alert...insomnia! I wondered if maybe I woke up to go pee (I had been doing that the last few mornings, though that was more like 630am, not 4!!!), but then all that thinking of peeing finally made me have to get up to pee. Lame. Once I get up and do that I have a really hard time falling back asleep. I came back in and Homme InFertile very groggily asked me if everything was alright. I told him what was going on and he got grumpy, as if his empathy was only worthy if I had a reason for disturbing him in the night, and apparently my insomnia and pee-needs were not fitting the bill.

I watched some "Friends" on the laptop which always lulls me to sleep. I've seen all 10 seasons a gazillion times over so know it so well it's like a lullaby. That eventually worked, but I continued to toss and turn throughout the early morning due to lower back pain. When I finally woke up to our "alarm clock", aka the jackhammer that starts up every morning at 730am, my back pain was even worse and I feel absolutely exhausted from all the lack of sleep last night.

Today we're planning to go to a mets game. Having Homme InFertile home and around during this wait has been incredible! I'm not left to stew on my own while I can't work (living in the states as a dependent without visa privileges sucks). I just hope my back feels better before then, as sitting in those hard seats for a full 9 innings isn't going to be the most pleasant for me in this state. But I love baseball, and it would be such a great distraction for me today... so I'll try and tough it out, see how it goes at least.

Anyways. I guess that's all for now. Still many a days before I'll know if all these symptoms are period or baby related. Could go either way.... might as well be a coin toss. 

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Day 23 - 4dp5dt

Another day full of cramping. Wow.... really REALLY feels like I'm building up for AF up in here. And I'm none-too-pleased about it all, for obvious reasons.

I'm really trying to keep myself as calm and level-headed as possible but it's just so dang hard. I am freaking the frack out. I am so nervous and scared that this cycle is going to be another failure, and yet just hoping and praying so hard that the opposite is true.

It's been a long road to get here, and starting this cycle I've been so hopeful that intralipids were the ticket to success. Now I'm just not so sure. I'm questioning everything. Every decision, every meal, every activity. I'm driving myself bonkers and that's certainly not helping.

I want nothing more than to have faith that it'll all work out, but sometimes it's just hard. I keep my trusty stone with me always, and I rub it to calm myself... that helps a little.

If we wanna play the symptom spotting game for a minute here's what's been going on up until now:

0dp5dt
constipation
fatigue
(acupuncture)

1dp5dt
twinges/pulls
acid reflux (almost threw up when burped)
constipation
fatigue

2dp5dt
increased appetite
very emotional (crying)
sore throat
fatigue
frequent urination (but also drinking lots of water to stay hydrated)
gassy
back pain, unbearable then slowly went away

3dp5dt
bloated
constipation
cramps - started in a.m. then went away, came back worse later in day towards evening (bad overnight)
dizziness
very emotional (crying a lot again - super sensitive)

overnight - crazy frickin dreams. And very vivid - as if I was really there. Nothing baby related :(

4dp5dt
low energy (no nap but busy day... feeling almost ready for bed though and its only 630pm)
medium to bad cramps all day
average to low appetite (common for me with bad cramps)
mild nausea (common for me with bad cramps)
very emotional (crying continues)

... we'll see what tomorrow brings.

Day 22 - 3dp5dt

Woke up this morning with AF like cramps. They've been coming and going, but laying there in bed I really felt the same way I do when waiting for the monthly witch to pay her visit.

My LP (luteal phase) is generally 12-13 days. I say generally because it used to be 11, and then increased to 12, and lately seems to be even better at 13... for the most part at least. Anyway, that means that 14dpo=cd1 of new cycle. Today is the equivalent to 8dpo and I therefore have 5 days left of my existing cycle (on a normal month at least) before AF is expected to rear her ugly head. To me this seems a bit early for this severity of cramping, just knowing my own body and such. But at the same time, if we look on the low end of one of my cycles, I'm just 3 days away from AF, and that's a little less far fetched. Ugh.

Kinda crappy to be feeling so crappy too. When I say I feel like my period is coming, I really do mean it. I just want a heating pad on my lower back/pelvic region to make me feel better but obviously that is a huge no go since if I am pregnant it could hurt/hinder implantation etc.

Boo. BOO BOO BOO!

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Day 21 - 2dp5dt

Oh ye 2ww.... how I loathe thee... let me count the ways.

  1. Symptom Spotting 
  2. Emotional Turmoil
  3. Ups & Downs
  4. Urges to POAS
  5. Time Warp

1. Symptom Spotting
This aint my first rodeo. I've been here before, too many times to count. Yet every so often I find something "new" something "I've never experienced before" that sends me into a tailspin believing this could possibly indicate a bfp is on its way. But month after month. Cycle after cycle, I'm disappointed to find out it was all in my mind, and the supposed symptom? Well just because of this or that. BOO. 

So what's going on with me today:
  • I've been eating NON-stop today. Constantly hungry and onto the next thing. It's insatiable. I was however finally able to go to the bathroom and have normal bm's so I attribute that to the increased hunger... I'm rationalizing over here...
  • I have had numerous weird twinges, pulls and cramps. Now this could be attributed to my ovaries shrinking back to size, it has been years since my last egg retrieval procedure and I had a lot less eggs at that, so maybe I've just forgotten or don't know fully what it feels like.
  • Sudden onset of lower back pain (sort of near tailbone level). Came of out of nowhere and made sitting/laying/moving very uncomfortable. It seems to be diminishing slightly only a mere hour after it came on. Could be I slept funny or radiated out from my hip (I have a former hip injury and it has been bothering me as of late).
  • Sooooo tired. All day every day. I think I've had 3 naps today. Now I have been run down with a cold, granted, so again, this can be explained away. Maybe its the stress too, just making me feel lazier/more tired than usual, who knows.

2. Emotional Turmoil
I think I've cried 3 times today, no word of a lie. It can be over something legit, or something completely ridiculous, and even knowing its silly at the time, I can't stop it. I just feel so bloody sensitive. Homme InFertile is certainly walking on pins and needles around me. 
See, when you've been ttc as long as an infertile, you want nothing more than the pain, blood, sweat and tears you've endured to turn into a beautiful bundle of joy. But yet at the same time you fear it will never happen. It's a sensitive time, and thus the stress can overwhelm and make you an oversensitive delicate flower (or at least is the case with me). 


3. Ups & Downs
Okay, so many today its more of just downs, but during the 2ww you go from optimistic blissful hopefulness, to depressed self-loathing pessimistic hatefulness. And it can happen in the blink of an eye too. Well today I've been feeling like no matter what we do we'll never be successful. I go from looking at stories of twin pregnancies, to research on reasons for recurrent IVF implantation failure. No matter what, I can't tell you with any level of certainty how I'll feel 10 minutes from now. Ahhh the infertile rollercoaster... quite the ride my friends, quite the ride.


4. Urges to POAS
So I swore up and down, sideways and backwards that I would not, under any circumstances, in no way shape or form, test before my beta. this was decided because I have seen way too many negatives for an entire lifetime. I have never once in TTC journey (or life for that matter) gotten a positive. Not once. Not even a hint of a line. Nadda. But yet I wish and pray so deeply that maybe this time I will. Maybe this month I'll for the first time in my life get to experience that feeling of seeing two pink lines side by side. And then starts the googling. "How many dpt (or days past transfer) did you get your bfp?" And the of course varied results. We're all different afterall. So when would the magic day be for us? I'm nowhere near the POAS time, but I'm already looking into the not too distant future and planning...


5. Time Warp
Seriously time moves at a snails pace in the 2ww. Ask any woman who's tried, even just for a month or two. That wait? Nothing worse. I would take another week of injecting myself over this torture hands down, and I know plenty of ladies who would say the same. I think of the fact that I'm somehow only 2 days past 5 day transfer and feel utterly defeated. Anyone got one of them handy dandy remotes like Adam Sandler in Click? Ya, could really use it about now...

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Day 20 - 1dp5dt

Homme InFertile has fallen victim to my cold, poor guy. No one to blame but me. Looks like its going to be a lazy house this weekend. He's still being amazing about helping me out as much as possible... he doesn't seem to have gotten it quite as bad, perhaps because he didn't have a procedure to puncture his tenders we'll call them, and remove their contents at the same time.
Anyhoo... I'm continuing to improve, cough is persistent but overall definitely feeling quite a bit better "cold wise".

Now on to the whole lower portion...
Been a bit achy today in the ovaries. I know that they're shrinking back down to size and recovering, but the achy/crampy feeling isn't overly pleasant. I had some weird moments as well today where I have pulling... its like a pulled muscle between my ovaries and center line/belly button area (but lower), but the pulling is up/down (not side/side)... clearly hard to explain what I'm trying to say. Only have it on the left side mainly (a small little episode on the right when I stood up once, but nothing since). I'm wondering if it's implantation, or radiating pain from the ovary... 

I'm also very VERY tired today. I have been laying around all day and then went and took an epic, full on asleep rem nap mid afternoon. Was out for a good while. And yet, feel like I could go for another one. Or like bedtime can't come soon enough. I also have been feeling sort of light-headed/foggy with weird little dizzy moments when I turn my head too fast (even while laying down). So that's a bit odd too. And finally, I'm peeing a ton, but that I have an explanation for since I'm making sure to take in as much fluids as possible to stay hydrated, healthy, and attractive to my embabies. 

On a tmi note, straining a bit still to go to the washroom. I'm sure many going through IVF can relate that you worry that the straining could somehow, in some way prevent implantation. I know that's not the case, but it still crosses the mind. That's the horrid thing about the 2ww. You think you have control over the outcome by every little thing you do - what you're eating (warming foods, bromeline rich pineapple etc), how warm your keeping yourself, as if one small misstep will lead to a bfn. Unfortunately, its in the universe's hands. 

One thing I heard that really helped me snap out of that funk, and a mantra I remind myself each day is:
"If doing or not doing any of these things would prevent pregnancy, then women who were avoiding pregnancy would be doing them! But that's just not the case. A woman who doesn't want to be pregnant can't un-pregnate herself no matter how hard she tries, so quit being so darn hard on yourself!"
I really thought though that going through this 2ww I wouldn't be going crazy, yet here I am, a day in, and nuts already! I feel pretty hopeful, but I know that'll ebb and flow as the days go by. 

Friday, 8 April 2016

Day 19 - Transfer Day!!!

So I woke up bright and early at 630am this morning in anticipation of my transfer. The crap thing about that, is that I couldn't eat or drink anything until after my appointment because I was going on anesthetic. Well my transfer wasn't until 1030am so I had a good 4 hours to suffer without food or drink. Small price to pay.

Okay so lets start with the adventure to get there...
Homme InFertile and I went to take the subway but there was a medical incident and the trains were skipping our station due to running on the express track. Greaaaaat. So we went about ground because after watching 3 express trains go by, we now didn't have time to do the whole 'ride uptown, transfer to express downtown' song and dance. But of course it's late rush hour (all hours are rush hour in NYC) and half the subway commuters had the same idea, and everyone was now looking for a taxi. One guy was waving people away as he didn't have his light on and clearly was off for the day or something. Well I ignore that and walk up to him while he's stopped at the light because there's no chance we're getting another taxi for a while, and times a ticking. He points across the park. I nod. He relunctantly unlocks the door and we clamber in. He was headed up to Harlem and we're headed to midtown hell... but we tried to tell him to just drop us on other side away from the park (we could catch a different cab there or subway, at least we'd be away from the crowd). Well he was mad at us, and refused to do that, and ended up taking us all the way where we needed to go, albeit begrudgingly. Anyways, fastest, craziest cabby I've been in in a while, but we literally arrived just on time. Phew. Homme InFertile tipped him well since he helped us out so big.

Now that we were there...
I feel like a regular at the fertility clinic. I'm sure everyone does... we live there through our cycles. But regardless it was like ya ya, I got this people...
Step 1 - change out of my clothes (watch out for the al-fresco situation)
Step 2 - paperwork and routine questions
Step 3 - get my IV administered (we used a new smaller vein since I've been poked/proded so much recently, but she was really gentle)


Step 4 - cry... not because I'm in pain, but because I felt such overwhelming anxiety, fear, hope etc. for this cycle. This was the moment I really felt like I was relinquishing control up to the universe and was having to just have faith.
Step 5 - Homme InFertile comes to join me/console me (he was looking something up for us, not ignoring me I promise)


Step 6 - Doctor comes in to make a plan 1 vs. 2* we'll come back to this
Step 7 - Anesthesiologist comes in, checks nothing has changed height/weight, tells me it won't be as involved med-wise as last times as I won't need pain meds.
Step 8 - Say by to DH, move to procedure room
Step 9 - Confirm my name, date of birth, and why I'm there
okay so this was different, but because it was a smaller vein, I could actually feel the cold/stingy sensation of the anesthesia. I remember telling them it really hurt and just as quick hand a hand on my arm soothing me saying I know then..
Step 10 - become really sle...e...p......y

Back to Step 6...
So this morning I was leaning towards just putting back in 1. Homme InFertile and I had had a discussion yesterday about if there was a really good looking naturally fertilized, maybe we'd try that since it'd be different (all our other transfers were with ICSI). Well that wasn't exactly the case.
Of our 7 ICSI embryos, 6 made it to blast. Of our 10 Natural embryos, only 2 made it to blast.
Well that threw a wrench in my plan. I now don't have as much faith in our naturally fertilized embryos. Crap. And we've done the ICSI route before. Crap. The easiest decision for me to make in that moment was to put back 1 ICSI and 1 Natural and just see what happens.

Of course I was then warned about the risks of multiples, but the doc understood given our history how this would make me feel the most secure in my decision. He also said something about my tall frame being capable of carrying twins and how he won't be quite as worried about me in that case, which made me feel slightly better. I really would prefer a singleton pregnancy, but this has been a long hard 5 years of infertility treatments, and I'm nearing my breaking point.

So 2 it is! We know that we are risking becoming pregnant with twins, and although I worry about pre-term labour and complications, if I had two bundles of joy to take home at the end of it all, well I'd count myself blessed.

Waking up in the procedure room...
So this was different. In the past, I've always woken up in the recovery rooms. Maybe they chose to let me lay there to help with implantation, who knows, but I actually really appreciated it. Of course, Homme InFertile was there to try and videotape me, but apparently I'm not as funny on this non-pain version of anesthesia. I was pretty much right away with it, just a little groggy.




that little window is the passthrough to embryologist

I continued to lay there, had some apple juice and we were given our picture of our little embryos. Hopefully our babies' first picture. We wanted to know which was which (#5 and #9) and the naturally fertilized one is the smaller one. The I got dressed and we headed out.

Lunch and Acupuncture time...
Now since I was beyond famished, we elected to stop for a nice little healthy lunch before my post-transfer acupuncture appointment. There's a Pain Quotidien right across the street from the acu clinic, and have great gluten-free and dairy free options for me, so seemed perfect. They messed up our order... twice. But once the food arrived, it was de-li-cious and we inhaled it in no time.


Then I crossed the street for my acupuncture. Listened to "Acclimating to your baby's signature" by Alaya and Oshira of Vibrational Child which ended up being the perfect selection. At first I wondered if I should have stuck to the Circle+Bloom IVF program that I've been doing, but I find Alaya's work much stronger. I dunno, it seems to have more impact for me and my mediation time during the session was just plain beautiful, no other word to describe it.

Home and resting...
Then we came home and it's just been chill time since. I had another small nap, but my mind was racing a bit with all the wonderful optimistic possibilities, that it didn't last long. Unfortunately Homme InFertile is finally falling victim to the cold I've had (which I still haven't kicked... you kidding!?!), so looks like it'll be a super lazy weekend.
Side note: On my personal blog, I wrote a little shpeel to family/friends about respecting our privacy about our cycle from here on out, and to not ask questions or ask for updates given they can't know when the good/bad news is coming and they could reach out at a very inopportune time. This is what I wrote in case you're struggling with a similar situation, having been open up to this point:

One thing that I'll ask at this point, since we're getting close to transfer. Please do not text or call for updates on how it turned out. At this point it will just be a waiting game for us, and a very painful stressful one at that. We won't know the outcome until the end of the month unfortunately, and once we find out the result (good or bad) we may need some time to process it. We know you are/will be excited to find out and waiting in anticipation, but know that if it is a negative outcome, we'll need some time to grieve, and untimely messages etc. may make that more difficult. If you don't hear from us early May, assume no news is bad news. If we have good news, we will be thrilled to share that with those closest to us one by one, and that may also take some time. So be patient with us. :)  Thank you though for all your support, positive vibes and kind words of encouragement up to this point. We love you all and are so grateful for how wonderful you've been in this process. 

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Day 18

Improvements abound! So I've been sick with a rotten cold all week (which is teetering on bronchitis which I used to get every time I came down with a cold no matter what) but seem to be on the upswing... FINALLY. My nose is no longer a leaky faucet, and my throat no longer on fire. I have, however, developed a nasty cough and am kind full of mucus. Yuk. But... still... improvement nonetheless. 

So I woke up and was definitely feeling improved from yesterday even. Not great. Not better. But improved. Going from sitting to standing was no longer as involved, and walking didn't feel like agony... I was able to pick up my pace. Also, I finally went #2 today. Yay! This was literally cause for celebration I kid you not. If you hadn't done your business in roughly 5 days... you'd understand. That helped alleviate a good amount of discomfort as well obviously.

We had to go deal with tax stuff today, so I was really happy I felt in good enough shape to do so. Then I went home and promptly took a long nap. I woke up only in time to go to acupuncture, which also felt like a big adventure (2 in 1 day!! look at me go!) and make my way home to the couch where I haven't moved from... and it's 8pm and I want to go to bed. So I'm certainly not 100% but feeling happy that the worst seems to be over with.

That being said, tomorrow is transfer day.
I'm so friggin nervous.

So for one, I have to get yet another IV because I'm going under anesthesia. This will be my 4th IV in a very very short time frame. Everyone's been really gentle so I don't have bruising which is nice... so shouldn't be the end of the world, just over it obviously.

Also, I still haven't made a final decision 1 vs. 2. I think I'll wait to see what they're graded as. If we have one stellar one that is off the charts, maybe we just transfer that one. But if we have a lot that are great, but not excellent/stellar/off the charts.... I dunno... maybe 2. It'll be a game time decision and I just dont' like that pressure.

Finally, Once my transfer happens I'm officially in the 2ww. I know technically some might consider me already being in it... but for me, until the embryo is in my body... I don't feel that way. And once I'm in the 2ww, the fear of a negative outcome sets in. I'm so fearful of finding out the result of this cycle. I almost just want to avoid it altogether somehow, but obviously that's impossible. It's like that movie click - can I just fast-forward to the good part? :(

Anyways... expecting a pretty restless sleep this evening, and can't eat/drink after midnight against. Must not forget. Wish me luck, and send me all the positive sticky bean vibes you can muster. 

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Day 17

Fertilization update call came through today. Nurse Leslie informed us that all 16 embryos were still developing, and the 10th egg put to be naturally fertilized decided to catch up! So we now have 17 total! Crazy!

Of the 7 that were fertilized with ICSI:
4 are 10 cell embryos
3 are 8 cell embryos

Of the 10 that were fertilized naturally:
7 are 10 cell embryos
1 is 9 cell
1 is 8 cell
1 is 7 cell

Today I've made very slight progress. I showered and we went for a walk in Central Park with the dog. It was really cold out, but overall a nice day. Funny to think that when we move to Houston in September I won't have to deal with the chilly bone cutting wind of the NE Coast anymore. Instead, I'll just be sweating I guess...
I tried having a coffee today to help the whole bathroom situation move along. Not so helpful, but keeping the faith. In terms of my cold/flu... I'm definitely on the upswing, but just barely. So I'm still feeling quite under the weather, and now developing a cough (instead of the leaky faucet nose) but hoping I can heal up quicker now that my body actually seems to be recovering from the procedure. My body is working overtime that's for sure.

We got the call about our transfer for Friday as well. Initially the nurse had no idea we planned for me to be put under for the procedure. She had to hang up and talk to my doc. Kind of annoys me that if I weren't so on top of it and knowledgeable about the pre-anesthesia "shpeel" then I wouldn't have picked up on that fact and we would have been hooped. Anyways, I did notice, and she called back to confirm that's the plan and changed our time. So we go in at 930am Friday for a 1030am transfer.

All I need to figure out now is are we transferring 1 or 2 embryos... I literally cannot decide. I flip flop every five seconds. I know the doc would prefer to put only 1, and my DH would prefer to put only 1, but both support me putting 2. I'm trying really hard to listen to my gut but unfortunately it's like radio silence. Hoping to have clarity on this before Friday. 

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Day 16

Still sick and sore... and totally over it. Why can't I just feel better already!?


I do seem to be on the mend cold/flu wise... at least seems that way this morning. My nose isn't quite as runny, and I don't feel as foggy. In terms of my post-procedure pain, not sure. Just took some tylenol so perhaps that's helping, but little by little it seems to be getting better. But I'm talking minuscule sloth-like progress. I keep hoping that one day I'll wake up and magically feel like myself again, but morning after morning am disappointed.

My volleyball team has first round of playoffs tonight and of course I can't go. If we progress to Thursday semi-finals (and hopefully finals), I would love to be able to play, but I also really don't want to push/risk it before transfer day Friday. Lame, as I could really use a little activity, but that seems like a pipe dream at this point.

I had really forgotten how bad and long the recovery from egg-retrieval can be. Maybe it's because this time I had double the amount of eggs, but seriously, not fun, and I was whole-fully unprepared. So here you go...

Things to expect in recovery after IVF ER (egg-retrieval):

  • pain - if you experience ovulation pain, its quite similar but worse obviousy.
  • bloating - expect to look and feel pregnant already... it may be sensitive to the touch.
  • gas - probably a root cause of the above, but embarrassing and uncomfortable.
  • constipation - I'd really love to use the washroom. I read someone compare it to birthing a final egg that just didn't get retrieved and refuses to make its way into this world, and that's exactly how I feel. Also probably a cause of the three above.
  • fluctuating appetite - moments of nausea, followed by a ravenous need to eat protein.
  • anxiety - wondering if you're one of the ladies who is experiencing OHSS... you hypochondriac you...
  • anticipation - seriously the embryo update calls get you all in a funk... tomorrow update #2 can't come soon enough.
I'm sure there are plenty more. If you have anything to add... feel free to comment and I'll update!

I do have to say though. Homme InFertile has been taking good care of me. I don't know what I would have done if I had of needed to go back to work, or if he was working. He's been taking such good care of me that I've basically been on bed rest. I could get used to that part ;)

Monday, 4 April 2016

Fertilization

So... time for the fertilization update. I got the call this morning from Nurse Leslie (who's the bomb by the way) and she started by reminding me that we retrieved 20 eggs... probably because some women are so loopy afterwards that they don't remember haha.


So they split the eggs evenly - 10 to do ICSI with and 10 to fertilize naturally.
Of the 10 they did ICSI with, once washed, 7 were mature, and all 7 fertilized.
Of the 10 they naturally fertilized, ALL 10 were mature, and 9 fertilized.

So we have 16 embryos!!!
HuuWHAT!?!?!!?

To put this in perspective, in the past we had 7 mature eggs, and 4 fertilized. I'm over the moon at the difference. Not sure if its my health, the supplements, or acupuncture that is to thank, but my guess it's a combination of all of the above.

Transfer has been scheduled for Friday and we are expecting an update about our 16 embryos on Wednesday. So now Homme InFertile and I need to decide in the meantime if we transfer 1 or 2... and this won't be an easy decision to say the least. I swear I'd be better off flipping a coin.

Basically in the past we've transferred 2 fresh day 3 embryos (bfn) and then 2 frozen day 5 embryos (bfn) so I'm scared to revert down to only transferring 1. That being said, this cycle has been so different than the past, and we'd like to believe it will work out, so do we really want any additional risks associated with carrying and delivering twins? We'd love to have twins, sure, but I worry so much about losing one or both, or them being pre-term and living in the nicu, or having massive delivery complications... just seems scary. But, at the same time women have twins without any issues, and some women carrying only one child end up with all the complications so it really feels like a crap-shoot.

I know I must sound like I'm spinning my wheels... I AM! I have no friggin' clue what to do. For now our plan is to wait and see how the embryos develop and if we have one embryo that is out of this world on Friday, maybe just transfer that one. But on the flip side, I'm tempted to transfer one natural and one icsi and just see what happens. Ugh. Wish there was a crystal ball to tell me what to do!!!


Day 14

Retrieval day!!!

SOooo I woke up with my head cold which had gotten worse overnight. I give thanks to little to no rest due to lightning/thunder followed by sirens, followed by wind, followed by cramps and nerves keeping me awake. I literally had nightmares of ovulating all my eggs out and going in for retrieval and there being nothing to retrieve. (spoiler alert... this was not the case). So its no surprise I was a little overtired and feeling pretty crummy when I woke up.

Anyways, we headed in to the clinic bright and early. We had to be there for 830, and our retrieval was scheduled for 930. We sat in the waiting room for a while as woman after woman was taken back. Seeing them come back out assured me they were just here for check-ups. Anyways, we were finally brought back shortly after 9am, and I changed in to my sexy gown and rubber soled socks.

First the embryologist came in to discuss my "fertilization plan" which she said, although good in theory, simply wasn't practical. She explained to me that when they natural fertilization they do not clean the eggs and minerals or whatever around them, so they can't know how many are "mature" at that point. With ICSI the eggs are washed before they are fertilized so they do. So unfortunately we had to throw my entire plan out the window. I was kind of annoyed since I emailed the doc (on holiday) in advance to see if this plan was feasible, and he assured me it was, and even the nurses confirmed it, so I thought it was all good to go. I was just too overwhelmed to make a decision so made her and Homme InFertile make the new plan for me. So we settled on doing a direct split of whatever we got and going 1/2 and 1/2. Simple enough.

Today I had yet another new doc. Again, this has been annoying for me since I was so excited to be at a clinic where each and every time (almost... ) I'd get my actual doctor. Well this ended up being far from the case, but the good news is the doctor doing my retrieval was a huge teddy bear and absolute sweetheart. So in the end, whatever. I just keep reminding myself to have FAITH that it will all work out, and this is exactly how its supposed to be going. It's kept me a bit calmer I think.

The anesthesiologist was different from last time as well. Very sweet. I was out very quickly in the room again. So strange to know its coming. So here's the funny part, and still a grand mystery. I BELIEVE I woke up in the operating room just as we were finishing up, and INSISTED that I lift myself off the table onto the trolly bed. If you watch the video you'll hear me talking about it, but I'm pretty sure I probably went to throw myself off the table and they all rushed to lift me. Ahhhh good times.
And next thing I was waking up in my room with Homme InFertile by my side. He video taped me and I can honestly say I don't remember anything up until "Rock Star" ... I was calling my anesthesiologist a rock star for her timing of when I woke up on the table. I get very weird on sleepy meds. For your viewing pleasure...

video
video

In terms of the procedure, found out I had 20 eggs retrieved. I was thrilled of course, as I really wasn't sure what to expect since one day they found 17 follicles, and the next 22... so 20 sounded perfect.

In terms of recovery I was in a lot of pain and requested some extra pain meds. That helped and was able to get some fluids and snap out of my fog brain. When we got home I had lots of cramps and bloating. My appetite fluctuated from non-existent to famished. I made sure to get lots of rest and fluid and was basically a couch potato the entire day. My cold continued on as well which sucked, but I napped and am hoping to feel better soon.

Before bed I stared my progesterone suppositories (read someone who used their unused pre-seed applicators so gave that a try.... I recommend just using your finger personally), as well as my estrace. Really feels like I'm in the 2ww even though I haven't had the transfer. I guess technically ER day is like O day so technically, TECHNICALLY, I am.