Friday, June 28

Welcome to Week 5

I'm not quite sure I have the dates right because my period started on a Wednesday not a Friday, but my 6 week ultrasound should be next Friday so I think that makes today week 5. 

I am feeling much better, both mentally and physically.  I haven't had cramps since Sunday, just a few twinges.  I still have discharge but every day is less, I barely need a panty liner now.  And every day it's less dark red blood and more brown discharge.  What also helps my mental perspective is seeing other good signs.  My breasts are continuing to change for the "better".  Just to clarify since Kay asked me a question, it's my areola that is expanding.  When the nipple is relaxed it is much larger than my regular non-pregnant areola.  The past couple of days they have started getting a little more sensitive too, not horribly so but it's been a factor in waking me up when I roll over in the morning. 

My first miscarriage I didn't find out anything was wrong until the first ultrasound.  I didn't have any bleeding or cramping, although my nipples did start to deflate the day or two before.  When they did the ultrasound, they couldn't find anything.  They should see a fetal pole, see a heart beat.  It was scary and upsetting and I didn't understand.  I still don't entirely since it's all a bit of a blur now and that was only my second pregnancy, I wasn't quite in recurrent miscarriage territory yet and not as well educated as I am now.  This is why I'm happy to see things like my breasts change, twinges of discomfort that might be my uterus changing shape (or gas I suppose) but not "oh no, everything wants out" cramps, the feeling of being a furnace with some internal fire keeping me warm.  It is comforting to feel that something is happening.

Tonight we are leaving for Manitoba to see my in laws.  We'll be in Winnipeg tomorrow, then off to "the lake" if I understand the plan right (map from last year).  My in laws know the timing of the FET.  Mr. Lina passed the phone to me when I was still high on gravol from the first intralipids (it was not a good phone call, it kind of freaked my MIL out).  We haven't updated them since then.  We phoned the other night wanting to give them the heads up of how things were going but they had company.  It didn't feel like the right time.  So I guess we'll be letting them know at the airport.  Normally, they always want us to be out and doing stuff, I suspect this trip they are going to try and tuck me into bed before the sun sets (which admittedly is pretty late, twilight extends until about 10pm) and keep me away from the jet ski.  This is going to be awesome.  Exactly what I need (and generally want pregnant or not).  Well, maybe not the 10pm bed time.  I have to take prometrium every 8 hours, I have to time when I sleep around that.

At the lake, there is no cell service never mind internet.  It's placed just between two towers so you have to drive 10-15 min to pick up a signal.  I love it.  Grandma also do not have internet, so I will be essentially off the grid until July 8th.  I'll be returning to a crazy day of my ultrasound, meetings in the afternoon, and taking Mr. Lina to get his car which is being fixed while we're away.  So we'll see how soon I can find a moment to update you all.

It looks like there is going to be a Toronto meet up in August.  Funnygrrl from Falling Through Your Clothes is going to be in town, what a great reason to get together.  I'm free on the 10th, hopefully we can get a sizable group together again.

Have a great week!

Tuesday, June 25

Mixed Bag of Improvement

Between naps and dizziness and work, I haven't had a chance to really collect my thoughts and update what's going on.  I'm feeling a tad drunk at the moment so forgive me if my grammar is not entirely perfect.  Thank you sooooooo much for all the encouraging comments from my last post.  Some have been really well timed when I'm starting to let negative thoughts roll in, it's made a difference for my mental outlook.

So what is going on?
  • I continue to have about 45 minutes to an hour of feeling drunk in the morning.  I'm not sure if it's the prometrium or the mix of prometrium and Fragmin.  This morning I took prometrium at 7am, went back to sleep until 8:15 and felt okay.  Fragmin injection at 8:45.  Right now I can't really feel my fingers and I'm not able to focus my eyes properly - like when you are drunk and moments away from passing out..  I think I've shown up for work on time once in the past 10 days. 
  • I know I don't love all the aspects of my work, I am a bit bored/overwhelmed at times, but they have been incredibly flexible and supportive.  It makes all of this possible.
  • My nipples are freaking huge - larger than my palm when relaxed, starting to have a ridge at the areola, this is a VERY good sign.  Very consistent with positive pregnancy tests.
  • Cramping was less on Saturday than Thursday, less on Sunday than Saturday and only a few twinges (I wouldn't even call it full cramping) yesterday.
  • I am still bleeding.  Mostly dark red blood but sometimes it switches to dark brown.  Dark brown discharge is good, that blood is not helping my embryos and needs to leave.
  • The discharge isn't stressing me out like it was.  I seem to have just accepted it.
  • I am not soaking through pads like my past miscarriages but it's constant.
  • With all this discharge, I have no interest in sex.  Cuddling, sure, but anything more than that, not so much and I don't see it coming out in my behaviour either.  That's truly a first for me.
  • Fragmin hasn't bruised in a couple of days which is freeing up some abdominal real estate for more injections.  You can't inject into a bruise so it gets tricky to stay within the ideal area for injection when it's covered with bruising.
  • Bruising is also limiting the pants/underwear that I want to wear.  I cannot have any pressure lines along the bruising, it hurts and causes weird bruising shapes but cutting off the spread of the blood.  I also can't wear pretty lace panties or thongs because I can't wear my pads with those panties and I constantly need a pad.
  • Intralipids IV is this afternoon so Mr. Lina and I are home for the afternoon.  This bleeding hasn't been enough to call the clinic (particularly with the cramping easing) but I'm looking forward to talking to the nurse about it today.
  • Two new coworkers, that means more training and answering questions.  That's fun.
  • And another coworker quit on Friday.  She specialises in another product on our team, but I wish I could pitch in and help when she's gone.  Sadly with 5 days being allocated to clients, I won't have the time until August.
  • Oh and I got recognition at work for the good training I did for two people on other teams.  Not only from my manager, but his manager and the fellow responsible for North America.  It feels very, very good.  Particularly while I know I'm not their best employee lately.  I haven't read many blogs because when I am awake and feeling good, I really have to focus on getting things done.  I'll catch up soon.
  • I am sooo not out of the woods, but every day of huge nipples feels like a gift.  I can't looking much past tomorrow.  Ordering more medication so we can go to Manitoba on Friday feels like I'm getting ahead of the game, but it will be easier to pick it up this afternoon while I'm in the neighbourhood for intralipids.
I think I'm going to nap now.

Friday, June 21

YOU ROCK!

Keep those good thoughts coming, folks.  It's working.

I doubled.  MORE than doubled.

I had the nurse (one of my favourites) repeat the number twice.  I repeated it 3 times, and I still can't be sure I'm remembering the thrid digit right.  I'm just in shock.

147

Even if I''ve got the 7 wrong, 140 is more than doubling.  MORE than doubling. (EDIT - the clinic called again to check in with me - I tell you they love me - and I was remembering correctly.)

The nurse said all the progesterone supplements can make me cramp, the blood, while red, has always been dark - not fresh pink blood.  I can kind of mentally dismiss the blood, but the cramping is a whole lot harder to deal with.

So, next steps?
  • All medications continue
  • When I get home I'll take a 4th Humira injection
  • Tuesday I go for intralipids again
  • Next hurdle is my 6 week ultrasound - July 8th.
Technically my 6th week is on the 5th, but we'll be in Manitoba.  They are fine with pushing that test back by 3 days.  Mind you, it's a lot of days between now and then, so I don't want to get too far ahead of myself.

I'm still stunned.

Thursday, June 20

Need your good thoughts

I have cramps. This doesn't mean it's done but it sure sucks and it is hard to stay positive. So I need you all to stay positive for me. We will see what tomorrow brings.

Wednesday, June 19

Chair Dance!

My breasts continue to be good predictors.

I am pregnant.

Now don't go too crazy here.  This is undoubtedly good news, but we are just entering the murky woods of pregnancy for me. 

Pregnancy tests measure the levels of the hormone HCG in your blood.  A home pregnancy test is sensitive to 25.  I have had positive results ranging from 111 to 8.  Today, it's 68.  Not as high as last year, but according to this chart, puts me at a very low chance of chemical pregnancy (that would be failing the test on Friday), about a 5% chance of multiples, a little over 30% chance of miscarriage and roughly 58% of a live singleton.


I'm pretty pleased (in a tempered optimism way). 

Next steps?  Medications stay the same, we test again on Friday.  In early pregnancy, HCG levels should double every 48-72 hours.  If it's not growing in that range of normal, this is not likely to be a viable pregnancy.  That number means more to me than today's results.  I really want to see my HCG above 120.  If it is a good result on Friday, we'll do the intralipids and Humira again on Tuesday.

7 out of 8 IVF/FET cycles, that's an awesome batting average.  Now to focus on staying pregnant!

Tuesday, June 18

And this would be the crazy part

Tomorrow is my pregnancy test, we're now into the nervous/crazy part of the process.  The rather drunk/disorienting feelings from prometrium are starting to wane so I think I can put a few thoughts together.  Maybe.
  • Nipples look promising.
  • Some brown discharge yesterday.  This terrifies me, but I know old blood isn't what an embryo wants anyhow, it's not a bad thing.
  • Still makes me a little bat shit crazy.
  • Prometrium is killing me, the second day of going to work past 10am because I can't drive like this.
  • Got home from work yesterday and fell into a very deep sleep from 6-7.  If my bowling friend didn't come by to walk at 7, I'm not sure when I would have woken up.
  • We didn't go for a walk, I wasn't up to it.
  • All of the prescriptions are designed for the last dose to be today, but the pregnancy test is tomorrow and I take the vast majority (9 pills, one injection) in the morning.  So I got some refills yesterday.
  • I think I am going to pass tomorrow but I'm totally getting nervous about the sticking factor.
  • Just a reminder, the test tomorrow is important, I have to pass for this to go on, but seeing the HCG levels double on Friday means more to me.
  • My uterus feels heavy.
  • I slept for 7.5 hours last night, it's only 2.5 hours since I woke up and I could sleep again.
  • I might have to go back to the itchy skin with Endometrin.  This dizzy/sleepy/drunk feeling is harder to work around than it was in the past. 
  • My parents went by my SIL's parents house yesterday.  Two houses have been demolished (the gap towards the photographer), this is what is left of their house.
  • I'm still processing it.  It is surreal. 
  • Workmen were coming and going, so what is left must be structurally sound. 
All right.  I think I'm up for going to work.  Thank you all for being a good outlet, right about now I just need a place to put all the scary thoughts so I can focus on other things.  Just do me a favour and check your smoke detectors.

Monday, June 17

Quick Post

I have thought of posting a couple of times and yet so little is happening, I don't have much to say.

We've switched my progesterone.  The endometrin and my skin were not getting a long.  Now I'm taking prometrium, 2 pills 3 times a day.  The down side is that I feel awful for about an hour in the morning.  It's like I get all the crappy parts of being drunk - dizzy, heavy limbs, uncoordinated, tired, etc etc.  The first time I wasn't quite sure I was going to make it to the couch upright.  After 3 days of this, I can feel it starting and lie down.  This is going to make driving to and from work rather challenging. 

Speaking of work, yet another coworker has quit.  So I'm back to having 2 clients and being at client offices 5 days a week at least until the end of July.  It has been made clear to the new client this is temporary, I'm not staying.  So, Thursday I start a new adventure of meeting yet another set of people.

Father's Day was a simple dinner.  Just my parents, my brother and us.  My mom had a wisdom tooth pulled and it hasn't healed well, she's still a little fuzzy on medications, we're a good pair.  Sadly dinner ended with my other brother phoning with bad news.  His wife's parents house caught on fire on Saturday night.  2:30 am, their dog woke them up as the flames from their neighbours spread to their house taking out the whole second story.  Everyone is fine, but the fire spread across 3 houses (the house that started the blaze was abandoned because of a fire 3 months ago, bit suspicious, no?).  Those of you in Toronto might have seen it on the news.  So, my thoughts are aimed at my brothers in laws.  Again, they are fine and have family to stay with, we can be thankful for the big things, but so many pictures, mementos and my SIL's wedding dress are gone.  Things like that you can't replace.

Monday, June 10

All aboard!

My two rather adorable (in a microscopic sense) embryos are settling in my uterus.  The transfer went well, it's not a painful or even uncomfortable (well, beyond everyone in the room looking at your lady parts but I'm SOOOO far beyond caring about that).  The clinic was not busy and called to ask if we could come in early, they were going to be ready.  Very strange.  Most transfer cycles I'm left waiting because other time sensitive procedures get pushed ahead of me.  My embryos were continuing to expand after thawing so all looked well in that respect.

Only down side was my own doing.  I decided we didn't need the alarm going off quite as early as usual, a bit past 7 was early enough.  I woke up before the alarm went off (dreaming of my niece, it was a nice way to wake up), showered, got dressed, walked past a clock and saw....  6:35.  Went to another clock, it also said 6.  My alarm clock said 7.  I guess in changing the alarm time I changed the clock time too.  Oops.  Better too early than too late.

Next steps are just to sit tight today and tomorrow and let Mr. Lina pamper me.  I return to work on Wednesday.  Thursday I go in to get my progesterone levels checked.  The 19th we get to find out if things stuck.  Which, of course, they will.

Seriously this is the best part.  I know I have two well developed embryos in me.  Ain't nothin' wrong with that.

Saturday, June 8

Do you like patterns?

I don't often post on a Saturday and I'm just waking up, let's go for a list...
  • I am hosting a Pattern Pyramid give away and your odds are looking VERY good of winning if you enter before midnight tomorrow. 
  • Very, very good.
  • You really should enter. 
  • Who doesn't like patterns?
  • Fragmin bruises much less with ice applied afterwards.  WIN!
  • Mr. Lina (and TPL cast) is being interviewed on a horror blog, Charred Remains, tonight.
  • I don't have to work for 4 days.  Yay!
  • Embryo transfer happens tomorrow morning.
  • If they actually keep to their schedule, less than 24 hours now.
  • Endometrin is presently my least favourite medication I'm taking.
  • It's as icky as I thought it was going to be.
  • For 72 hours I'll be sitting on my ass.  I would appreciate you all posting lots so I'm entertained.  :)
And that's about it.  I should get my day started if I'm going to get the main floor cleaned up for the cast coming over tonight (the interview is by phone as Char lives in the US) and maybe buy some plants for my pots and one spot in my garden.  I won't be doing that kind of work in the next little while. 

Wednesday, June 5

Let the fun times begin!

As mentioned yesterday, I'm all set for the frozen embryo transfer on Sunday morning.  Now to get my body all prepped and ready to accept (and keep) an embryo or two, I will be taking....
  • Metformin (3 per day), vitamin E, prenatal vitamin, and ASA stay the same
  • Estrace (estrogen) reduces from 3 pills a day to 2 (totalling to 4mg each day)
  • Fragmin (blood thinner) - one injection per day
  • Prednisone - 10mg per day
  • Endometrin (progesterone) - this is an "effervescent tablet" 3 times a day
  • Prometrium (progesterone) - 3 pills at bed time
The bulk of these I'm taking in the morning.  I damn near needed a check list to be sure I got it all, but I'll be okay when it becomes routine. 

The Fragmin needle is quite fine and thus not overly annoying or painful.  But being a blood thinner, it will make me even more likely to bruise.  Injection sites usually become bruises and you can't inject into bruises so belly real estate will become an issue in another week or so.  I can inject into the fat in my thighs but that makes me a little nervous.  Not that I don't have fat there, but there is a whole lot of muscle to avoid too.  We'll cross that bridge when we get there.  At least this is the only injectable medication so I'm not trying to find injection sites for any other drugs at the same time.

I thought Endometrin was a cream, but it clearly says on the box it's an "effervescent tablet".  If you've ever taken yeast infection treatments that were the tablets, it's like that.  We'll see how it goes with a full day, but I can't feel any bubbly action going on with the effervescent tablet and I don't have icky discharge so we'll call it a win for now.  I'm still not thrilled about having to do this at work every day but it's better than some of the places I've done injections I suppose.

And as much as the pharmacy label says I have to insert the prometrium vaginally, the nurse said I can take it orally (which is how I have always taken it before).  Three cheers for that.  The worst part about infertility treatments (more so for women going through IUI or just monitoring for ovulation) is that it takes all the fun out of sex.  We are all sexual creatures and it's an important part of my life.  And not to say that all "happy fun time" is about my vagina, but it's hard to feel sexy when you know that part of your body is icky with medications.

So the one drug I'm feeling less sure about now is Prednisone.  Lots of people have been on it and had some pretty crazy side effects.  Googling indicates 10mg isn't a very high dose so I might be fine.  If I get the insomnia, it might be offset by the Prometrium at bed time because that makes me crazy sleepy.  I can put water weight gain into perspective and try to focus on making good choices rather than what the scale is telling me.  Good choices are that much easier when I've got an embryo hanging out in my uterus.  I'm already on metformin so blood sugar spikes might be offset by that. 

Did you know I have a pattern give away going on?  Really, it's true. 

And I seem to get about 20 minutes to work on Alma and get distracted by Mythbuster kittens.  I think I've got the back darts in the right spot and then I scooped out too much and took a step backwards.  I'll be tackling it again tonight while Mr. Lina has someone over to review the music video footage.  At least he won't call me to see what cute things the kittens are doing.

Tuesday, June 4

Alma V2

That's V2 as in version, not view.

A few weeks ago, I met up with K-Line and she kindly pinned out all the extra fabric on my first Alma.  While I think that shirt could end up being a wearable muslin of sorts (think camping), I didn't want to take her pins out and futz around too much and lose all the changes that needed to be made to the flat pattern.

I broke out my Ikea paper and traced new front and back pieces by looking at the pinned pieces and the original pattern.  I then cut out a new front and sewed up the darts.  It looked better just holding it up to my body, but I haven't had the time to get back to it.

Last night, I cut out a new back, sewed the front and back and then got playing with the darts.  I think the bust darts are okay, but some interesting things are going on with the lower darts. 
Let's look at the line drawing, View B is clearest because the belt isn't in the way.  The lower darts end before the hem, opening more fabric for your hips.  I had to take a lot of fabric in under my bust, my darts don't want to open back up.  They keep folding as if the stitching continued from the widest part.  So I'm going to sew them down to the hem.  I still have ease at my hips so I don't really need the extra ease space.

I took a whack of pictures last night and it was helpful to see what was going on.  It is so hard to see in a mirror since you have to twist to see things.  Or I pull the fabric straight so it looks okay, but really it's not when I stand for a picture.  I am not quite finished tweaking yet (and the camera is not with me) so I'm not sharing in progress shots today.  Writing this out is helping me take a step back and look at where I could adjust again.  Thinking time is sewing time.

Yesterday I was reading Lazy Stitchings blog, she posted her finished Mathilde blouse, a pattern by Tilly and the Buttons.  I've seen a couple of versions of the blouse, but I wasn't sure how it would suit my frame.  Would it fall from my bust line and look like a tent?  I'm all for hiding my tummy but not sacrificing my waist.  It was lovely to see a version that would more closely mimic my frame.  And while I was commenting, it clicked that it's similar to a top I want to replace in my closet.


Okay, so the Mathilde has buttons in the back and the sleeves are looser, but it's not those details I'm looking to replace, it's the place in my wardrobe.  Made in a cotton, it could be my go-to "it's too hot out to have anything touching my skin but I want my arms covered" top.  I like how Lazy Stitching thinned the sleeves a little, I'd copy that.  In a sheer fabric, it could replace this top:


It was like an epiphany in the middle of writing a comment.  So I bought the pattern, it's printed out at home, but Alma needs to be finished first.

Don't forget I have a Pattern Pyramid giveaway running.  There are some lovely dresses, the halter jumpsuit, a multi-cup Vogue blouse, Kwik Sew bra, Burda blouse...  it's a pretty good assortment to pick from.

And in non-sewing news...

Mr. Lina's film, The Post-Lifers, has won another "best short" award.  Saturday night we went to a horror festival in Hamilton, ON, not too far away.  The organizer went to the Blood in the Snow festival in Toronto in January (The Post Lifers also won best short) and thought maybe he could do the same in his community, focusing on short films.  Being the first year of the festival, it was small but successful.  All of the films were quite good, not all were to my taste, but well done for what they were.  Awards were decided on by the audience by paper ballots.  And what a great audience.  The theatre held 67 people according to the fire code and it was sold out.  All were real horror fans and clearly enjoyed the line up of films.  I hope he can run it again next year and expand the offerings. 

The next cool thing going on for Mr. Lina is the cast of TPL is being interviewed on Charred Remains, a horror blog run by Char Hardin.  Char named TPL her top independent short film for 2012.  It will be aired live on Saturday June 8th at 7pm EST, they will be taking phone calls and questions by chat.  After the broadcast it will be available as a podcast.  After that, I think the film is going to air in Calgary in August and a touring show in BC - 10 cities in 10 days. 

And in fertility news...  Today is Day 14.  In a 28 day cycle, this would be when ovulation occurs and hormones change from having high estrogen levels to rising progesterone levels.  For a Frozen Embryo Transfer, we're looking for the endometrium to be thick (it was 10.3mm this morning) and my blood work to check out.  I don't need to ovulate because we've already got the embryos on ice.  And I just got the call that we're a GO!!!!   Sunday morning (June 9th - deadline day for the Pattern Pyramid) we'll be transfering my embryos that are presently in a Manitoban winter.  This post is long enough, I'll let you know of next steps tomorrow.

Woo hoo!

Monday, June 3

Stop Press! Pattern Pyramid!

As the lucky winner of the Pattern Pyramid at Country Girl Couture, it means I get to have a give away myself.

What's the Pattern Pyramid you say?  It's a great idea from Karen at Did You Make That?.  She hosted a give away for multiple patterns to multiple winners.  As the winner, you got to keep one pattern of the 5 or 6 you were sent and pass the rest along.  What a great way to shake up our pattern stashes and share the love.  I went back to her original post to get the link and you know it's been almost a full year since the pyramid started?  Karen's post was June 22nd, 2012.  I tracked this pyramid back and the lineage is quite impressive.  I'm not the first Canadian stop for these patterns (I even had the pleasure of meeting Gjeometry at the Toronto Meet Up) and it's actually the spin off pyramid from Pretty Grievances.  As far as I can track the blogs back, these are previous winners...
  1. Me
  2. CG Couture
  3. Dresses & Me
  4. Sew Biased
  5. Tropical Threads
  6. So I Sewed This
  7. G Marie
  8. Kathy Sews
  9. Hugs & Kisses
  10. Curious Kiwi
  11. Gjeometry
  12. Symon Sez
  13. Tulle & Tweed
  14. Mrs Mole
  15. The Material Lady
  16. Velosewer
  17. And Anne herself.

So here are the patterns for my giveaway (it's hard to make 7 patterns look like a pyramid, but my backyard stairs helped).


6 are from CG Couture (the Vogue pattern has cup sizes), but I've replaced the one I took with this one.


Kwik Sew 2101 is a bra I have made.  It is not a bad pattern, but it's not the right pattern for my breasts.  If you have wanted to try making a bra but lack a pattern, here is one for you to check out.  The size range is 32A to 38DD.

And what did I take?

I was sorely tempted by the halter jumpsuit in this pattern:


But it would have required grading from a 34" bust which is well beyond my skills (and attention span) at the moment.  So I went for a fun sundress instead that will not require grading.
 
 
 
THE RULES
  • Anyone, anywhere can enter the giveaway by posting a comment below by midnight EST Sunday June 9th BUT you must have an active blog.
  • I will randomly select one winner.
  • I will mail the above 7 patterns to the winner.
  • The winner will pick a pattern to keep for themselves (although some people have picked more than one and replaced them with others, that is in the spirit of the pyramid), then host their own giveaway.
  • Although I've added a pattern, you are not required to add to the pyramid for your giveaway.
  • If you are a winner, Karen would love it if you could make a small contribution to The Brooke. This is a charity close to the heart of Catherine, who so generously provided the original patterns.