Friday, January 28, 2011

IVF #2 on deck! Ten Hut!

Montréal. *sighs* Oh Montréal, I do not enjoy you. Not at all.

Especially not when there's a mountain of construction on Sherbrooke and we're stuck taking a detour and stupid taxi drivers are cutting you off, and pedestrians believe they can cross the road willy-nilly, and the cars are double parked (often in a no-parking zone!) and you have to 'slalom-weave' around vehicles to get anywhere, and... and... and...

I could go on. But you get the point.

Neverthless, we had an appointment in Montréal yesterday. We took Petite with us, because as I mentioned, I didn't want to take advantage of her daycare provider and have us delayed for our arrival, if perchance our appointment finished late.

The construction mess meant that we showed up about 20 minutes late for our 1:45 appointment, but we were quickly registered at the desk to see Dr. Tan. We had to pay the consultation fee up front. What was $60 last month was $100 this month; nice huh? The explanation for that jump is because of the whole "Quebec now funds IVF so our prices have changed." Lovely. I made a mental note to ask Dr. Tan about the other costs associated with the IVF; what else has changed?!

Anyway, in the waiting room, Petite wasn't the only child there; a few other infants and young children were there as well and Petite obligingly walked up and down the hallways waving 'hello' to one and all. ** She's such a social butterfly.

Anyway, we were soon ushered in to see Dr. Tan and he went over our file, tests, etc. As he indicated, all is normal. And there's no reason why we can't get started. He did ask why I wanted a general anaesthetic (GA) though and I replied that for safety's sake, because sedation uses an IV, and IVs are a bit of a sticking point with me, that it's better for all concerned if we use GA in my case.

And apparently that poses a problem.

You see, now that Quebec funds IVF for residents, that funding doesn't provide for GA, only for sedation when you have the retrieval. If GA were to be used, the fees would only amount to $80 and no anaesthesiologist is willing to work for that, so there are no anaesthesiologists available at McGill anymore. However, there is a solution.

Montréal Reproductive Centre.

Yup. You read that right. Montréal Reproductive Centre.

Brand, spankin' new.

Back in November 2010, Dr. Tan started up a new fertility centre in Montréal. Given that he's started a few centres in Canada, and there is a current need in Montréal to fill the gap that Quebec's funding doesn't cover (e.g., out of town patients, like us), he procured space, hired staff and has started Montréal Reproductive Centre, located on Decarie Boulevard, near Autoroute Decarie. Much closer for us in fact, as we don't have to wind our way through downtown Montréal! WOOT! For those curious, the clinic's website is but many pages are still blank; information is forthcoming.

Dr. Tan immediately referred us over there. But not before I asked some pertinent questions:
  • Is the cost the same? Answer: Yes. All costs are the same as the costs at McGill and he went over the costs with us again.
  • Who will do the work? Answer: The same doctors who work at McGill also liaise with Montréal Reproductive. We will still have Dr. Chan for Hubby's PESA (sperm aspiration); we will still have the same embryologist as is at McGill; and Dr. Tan can oversee the whole procedure more personally than at McGill.
  • What protocols are used? Answer: The same as at McGill because Dr. Tan is still my doctor and will still use the same process and protocol for our cycle. This was crucial to me; I didn't want to try my hand at the Ottawa Fertility Centre only to find that they're more conservative (as is rumoured on and to learn that they don't use the same drugs or type of protocol, that obviously worked so well for us the first time around.
  • What about our files? Answer: We have to sign a release form so that Montréal Reproductive staff can access our files. The electronic files are shared via the same filing system. Hard copy files, notes and tests will be copied and within three weeks, will be available to the staff at the new office.
  • Bonus... parking! There's no cost for parking at the new clinic, while McGill has a nightmare of a parking lot and it costs $18 if you are there for anything more than 90 mins. As of course, we always are. There's lots of on-street parking at Montréal Reproductive and it's very close to the highway on which we come into the city.
So without further ado, Hubby, Petite and I bundled up again and went to Montréal Reproductive. Dr. Tan had already e-mailed the doctor who was there at the time (Dr. Alper Mumcu... quite nice... he himself has twin boys from IVF). I hopped on the table for a baseline scan.

Keep in mind that I was on CD 23 of my cycle.

Well, they had a helluva time finding the left ovary; it's always hiding and lots of folks have trouble with it.

The right was easier to locate, and so were the NINE follicles visible.

And so was the cyst... *sigh*

And *screams* bloody hell, my endometrium is only 4.0 on CD23? What gives?! Very weird. I attribute that to the whole "bleeding like a stuck pig, needing Provera to thin the lining" incident back in the fall of last year. Obviously, the Provera did its job and thinned the lining but wow, time for it to recover methinks! Yikes!

Anyway, the scan was done, reports printed for the file, and I got dressed again.

Dr. Mumcu believes, as does Dr. Tan, that they can once again aspirate the cyst prior to the retrieval. Which, by the way is tentatively scheduled for early in the week of March 13 and transfer on or before March 18.

Did you see that my dear readers?


I am terrified.

Ladies and gentlemen, I have an IVF calendar in my hand. As long as I start my next cycle before February 12, I am to start taking BCP in preparation for IVF #2.

And I am so scared that it's not going to work as well as IVF #1 did. It's paralysing. It really is.

In the meantime, I'm trying to figure out getting all these medications. The list is as follows:

For me
BCPs (Marvelon; suppression)
Buserelin (Suprefact)
Follitropin-alpha (Gonal F)
Lutropin-alpha (Luveris)
Choriogonadotropin -alpha (Ovidrel; trigger)
Estradiol (Estrace)
Progesterone (Endometrin)
Doxycycline (antibiotic)
Methylprednisolone (Medrol)
Pregvit folic acid
Fertil Pro

For Hubby
Doxycycline (antibiotic)
Fertil Pro

Oh yeah, and to throw even more fun into the mix:
March 18, the tentative transfer date, is also the date that our church choir has been asked to sing the anthem at an Ottawa 67s game to be nationally televised. Nice huh? I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

Hold on. I'm back on the rollercoaster. Dear Lord... am I insane?

**Note: I do realize how hard it is for us IFers when someone brings a child into a clinic. I wish I had another choice. However, I also recognize that most will understand she is the product of infertility and ART and hopefully, they can see past the fact that there is a child right in front of them. Until the clinics all offer separate waiting areas (for those IFers without children, and those who have children with them), there's not a lot I can do. I wish there was.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Western Caribbean Cruise Details

Better late than never right? Here are the details of our recent trip to Florida (for New Year's) and then our 7-day Western Caribbean cruise.

First stop: St. Pete's Beach where we spent three days and enjoyed the sights and sounds of our favourite haunts. We went to Cody's Steak House (always a staple for any trip to Florida!), the ladies enjoyed pedicures, courtesy of my sister, who as of today is 24 weeks pregnant, and we soaked up a little sun. If I had my time back, I would have chosen to stay in Florida for about a week rather than just three days. It's never enough time!

Petite's first time on a sandy beach; she LOVED it!

My dad with Petite as she gets the hang of her Elmo harness. It didn't take her long to figure out that by putting this thing on, she could have some freedom, and when she figured THAT out, my dad had quite a job to keep up with her! Here she is, running, along the walkways at the Ellenton outlet stores.

NOTE: I'm generally not a fan of harness or leashes, but not knowing what the ship was like (i.e., whether there was a space at the bottom of the railing), it was better to be safe than sorry. So we picked up this harness for Petite just in case and got her used to it.

On January 2, we headed over to the port of Tampa and boarded the Carnival Legend for our 7-day cruise. This photo was taken at Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, as we were returning to the ship from wandering at the stores and shops along the quay.

Sunrise on board, for our first day at sea, January 3, 2011.

Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands was our first port of call on Jan. 4, 2011. Hubby, Petite, my mom, dad and I all went ashore together --via tender boat; as you saw above, our ship was anchored offshore -- to roam about and poke into a few stores. It was very picturesque and as you can see, still decorated for the holidays.

Our second port of call was Isla Roatan, Honduras on Jan. 5, 2011. A BEAUTIFUL island! OMG, it's gorgeous. We elected to do a beach break excursion. We walked straight off the ship, along the walkway pictured below, through the shopping area and over to Mahogany Bay beach to spend a few hours.

Initially, Petite came with us. She was excited to get in the water and play on the sand!

But Petite had caught a little bit of a sniffly nose, so we brought her back to the ship after awhile. Hubby stayed with her for a few hours, and then my sister and mom relieved him of baby guard duty, and he returned to the beach to spend time with me. I think this is one of the two or three pics we had taken together while we were on the cruise!

Here are the beach chairs and the area that everyone gathered in for the day at the beach. Music was coming from the nearby bar on the beach, you could rent snorkel or scuba gear (I went snorkelling for the first time in my life! VERY cool!) and the clamshell cabanas were comfortable enough to relax in. A fairly good day; I just wish Petite had been able to enjoy more of it.

January 6 saw us dock outside of Belize City, Belize. There were a few cruise ships docked for the day but in Belize, apparently it's very shallow and they haven't excavated to allow the ships to dock alongside the quay as they did in Isla Roatan. Thus, we boarded a tender boat for a 20 minute ride between our ship and the dock. This is the quay in Belize and some of the shops. Plenty of passengers, aren't there? There are a lot of excursions to chose from, but with a toddler who is too young to do any of them or who doesn't have the attention span for them, we elected mostly to just roam around the quay. In Belize, I really wanted to do the cave tubing excursion, but it just wasn't possible. Hopefully in a few years, I'll get to return and do those sorts of things.

Leaving Belize, we spotted this gem of a view. We couldn't let it pass by without taking a photo. Hubby took this one; I think it's spectacular.

And lastly, on January 7, our port of call was Cozumel, Mexico. I knew that Hubby wanted to hit the beach again, but Petite wasn't up for the length of time it took for that excursion. So I told Hubby to go with my sis and her friend so they could enjoy the beach, while I stayed with Petite. Because we split up, Hubby took our camera and went off to see the Mayan Ruins/beach in Cozumel. Petite, my dad, and I went ashore early. And later in the day, my mom, my sis and I went again. We hit the shops along the quay and I picked up a couple of souvenirs for Hubby's kids and our friends K&K.

Anyway, all that to say: Hubby took our camera so I used my mom's camera to take photos of the quay. Mom's pics haven't been downloaded yet, so I'll have to show you Hubby's pics of the ruins and the beach.

And lastly, aboard the Carnival Legend again, here are a few pics of the local flavour. The photo here is one of the piano bars on board, very near the restaurant.

Our steward, Sri, made sure our towel animals gave us a grin! Here's the monkey that greeted us one evening!

And this is a pic of our stateroom as we first saw it on our embarkation day. It can accommodate a family of up to 4 people, with a pull-out and a pull-down bed. But in our case, they had it made up for two adults and an infant. And this was a crib Petite couldn't climb out of! (For reference, we had cabin 7176, an unobstructed view on the port side of the ship.)

While on board, we celebrated my mom's birthday in Cozumel, Mexico. We couldn't do a whole lot for her, but my sis did a great job decorating her stateroom (her room and my parents' were adjoining) and we gave her cards, and sang Happy Birthday at dinner and all that. She was adamant that we not tell the staff for fear they would embarrass her!

IVF Update

On Thursday, January 27, we go to Montreal again for a follow-up appointment with our doctor. I'm not entirely sure of the purpose of this one; the test results are normal as far as I know so in my view, the next step is figuring out the calendar. But we'll see what they want us for and what they have to say. I think we'll be taking Petite with us for this jaunt, although her caregiver says that we can leave her there until we return. I just have no idea when that will be, and that uncertainty isn't what I would like to impose on Petite's caregiver. She's so good to us, I need to reciprocate. But it means taking Petite to the hospital with us, trying to entertain her and then hope to heavens she sleeps during the return two-hour drive. Wish us luck. We may need it!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Another Kid in Our House?

I promise... the cruise and our vacation details will be in the NEXT post. I'm working on it. We still haven't downloaded the photos for heavens' sake!

However, yesterday brought a development that I need to share with you, my virtual family.

The long and the short of it is:

Hubby's 16-year old daughter has elected to live at our house for half of each month.

This has been brewing for a number of years actually. It's not a surprise to me, nor to Hubby really. However, the final vocalization of her desires comes as a devastating blow to Hubby's ex and her family, with whom my stepdaughter has been living.

Hubby's ex and his two kids live with the ex's parents. The ex's father is retired, while her mother runs a before-and-after-school daycare in the home. It's a three-bedroom townhouse. The daycare is in the basement. The main floor is living area, kitchen, dining, etc. Upstairs, there are three bedrooms and the bathroom. My stepson is in one bedroom (formerly an office, now converted so he can sleep there). Hubby's ex's parents have the master bedroom of course; after all, it is their home. And Hubby's ex has a room... that she shares with Hubby's daughter.

I believe a great deal of the current angst and frustration that my stepdaughter feels stems from the fact that she doesn't have a room, a space to call her own. She can't go anywhere and shut the door and have any private time at all. And any 16-year old NEEDS that in my opinion. She gets that here in our house and she likes it. She wants more. She likes being with us and spending time with us. She wants more of that too. She wants more of us. She likes what she has in our home, I think.

In fact, she wants to move in with us full-time. But legally and logistically, that might be difficult. I need to look into some of the other factors that may come into play in the future. Technically, Hubby's ex has full custody, but at 16, I know my stepdaughter can choose where she wants to live. Of course, she also knows it's easier to do things with everyone's approval rather than fight her way along and have it result in tears, anger and a lot of money spent in the courts to resolve things. She's not stupid... not by a long shot.

As well, I need to find out if she can be covered under my insurance. I believe she can be, but I need to check it out for sure. And if perchance she came to live with us on a more full-time or permanent basis, how would that affect her student loans and the like? Would our income be factored into the equation? I'm not sure; I need to look into these details before we can do anything more than offer her two weeks per month at our house.

However, I do believe that even two weeks per month will help alleviate the tension in their home at the moment. And right now, that is the first goal. And of course to keep her off the streets and in the home of family who loves her and wants to see her do her best. So right now, this is the solution and we'll see where we go from here.

Wish us all lots of luck! And if you have advice, by all means, let me know! I'm all ears. I'm being thrown into the "parenting a teenager pool" smack dab in the middle of the deep end! Yikes!

And how to refer to these players in this blog?
Hubby's daughter?
My stepdaughter?
Petite's big sis?
Oooh, maybe la grande for my stepdaughter and le grand for my stepson? After all, they're the big kids, right?
I've got to come up with something that works, for all of us!

On another note...

Go over to The Road Less Travelled and wish Happy Birthday to Loribeth! It's a milestone year for her and she deserves lots of love and good wishes for her special day! Wishing you a spectacular day and a wonderful year Loribeth!

And congratulations to Kakunaa and her DH (Spermination Station) who got a settlement they've been waiting for quite some time to receive! How wonderful to be able to do so many things with some extra money; good for you girl!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Happy New Year! And OMG, what have I missed?!

Well now, 2011 has been ushered in and we're off and running again, aren't we? I don't know what sort of break you had over the holidays, but my ten-day vacation away seems like it was a lifetime ago, and I've only been back for a little over 30 hours! Yikes. Anyway, I'll touch on the holiday stuff in the next post, I promise.

So at the moment, here are some of the topics that I'm mulling over or that have affected me in some way:

Going through my mail yesterday, I received a lovely Christmas card from Vee and her little Boo. Opening it, a sweet wooden-bead bracelet fell out and Vee had written a note about how she had been wanting to send me one (we had talked about it quite some time ago). It's from the Rainbows for Kate foundation, which promotes awareness of sarcoma cancers. I immediately put the bracelet on and as I did, I shed tears for Vee's husband and Boo's daddy, Max, who passed away in 2010. I smiled through the tears and touched each of the beads of the bracelet. Max will never be forgotten and I know Vee strives to keep Max in their lives... most recently by sharing Max's love of the beach with their little Boo. (How I love the photos Vee posts!) Anyway, the card was sweet and the bracelet, very touching. I think of them often. Thank you Vee for sending that! You're such a sweetheart!

I missed the annual blog delurking week. Aw poop. That sorta sucks, as there are some blogs I've been reading fairly frequently and hope to comment on, but I just rarely get the time. I never get online in the evening after Petite goes to bed (I haven't even logged into my online game in more than six weeks!) so some of you don't even know that I'm reading! I must try to do better. I have to. That said, if perchance you're reading my blog, feel free to delurk and say hello; it's nice to know that someone's still out there.

I got the test results back from my HbA1C test; the number was 0.056 which is perfectly normal, aka not diabetic... not a surprise to me really, but it always seems to be to my doctors. They look at me and see that I am overweight and immediately assume: "Ha, Type 2 diabetes!" Guess what folks? I've been this way all my life! My weight never suddenly crept up on me. It never just "appeared" after a time of stress in my life. It never manifested quickly for any reason. IT'S ALWAYS BEEN THERE. This is me folks. This is the way I've always been. Yes, I'm overweight, and always have been. And my bloodwork is totally NORMAL. SO STOP ASKING. Ugh.

More good news: about the endometrial biopsy... totally normal. No sign of anything that might cause issues or cancer in the future. I'm still taking the provera from CD12 to 25 (as directed), but this month, AF is disturbingly absent. Very odd. Obviously I can't be p/g, so I'm thinking it's just a long cycle, and prolonged by the provera usage. I had some spotting last week on the cruise, but it was super light. I didn't even count it as a cycle... I'm still counting days. Today is CD 35. That ain't normal for me at all. I'll see how it goes.

Anyway, with those two tests back, and both results are normal, our next step is to call the doctor in Montreal again and we'll see where we go from here. With luck, we can get in on a calendar before mid-year. I'll give him a call when we finish unpacking from the trip and get our Christmas decorations down and packed away for another year.

Petite has learned to give kisses. Open-mouthed kisses, but it is so lovely! The other day, Hubby was going out and I was getting Petite down for her nap. Hubby kissed Petite, and then me. She was lying in my arms and watched Hubby and I kiss. She immediately parroted the gesture. She leaned up to my face, touched her lips to mine and lay back down in my arms. I smiled at her sweetness, and she did it again. Repeatedly. About 10 or 12 times in succession, she gave me kisses and each one was cherished and precious. Last night, she was playing and stopped, looked up at me, got up and came over to where I was sitting and leaned up for kisses. And we repeated that process a few more times before she was satisfied. She's so sweet.

It was marvelously wonderful to see my sister and her husband. As of today, my sis is 22 weeks along and showing rather nicely. I brought her my two bella bands so that she can comfortably wear some of her own clothing a little longer, though she has some lovely maternity pieces in her wardrobe now. And she bought a few spring/summer ones while we were away; I expect she'll need them in West Virginia in the months of April and May, before she delivers.

I came back from our vacation to a few messages on our machine, one from Petite's caregiver who wanted to let me know that Fifth Disease (aka Slapped-Cheek Syndrome) is in her house. I did a little research, as I'd never really heard much about it before moving to Ontario from the east coast. From what I've read, it's nothing really serious for a child, so after keeping Petite home yesterday (I waited until the caregiver had a diagnosis from her kids' physician) I brought Petite back to daycare today. She was happy to be back there and playing contentedly with her friends when I left. With a bit of luck, she won't be exposed to it; apparently after the rash appears, the contagious stage is past. Depending on if anyone else is in the incubation stage, she may come down with it, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
For those wondering, here are some resources for you:
Medic 8 (
Wikipedia (
Web MD (

Mel has worked wonders yet again. My God, that woman is tireless isn't she?! God love her for that. The Crème de la crème is up and running for a 5th year in a row. There are some fantastic pieces in there that deserve a second (or perhaps a first?) read. I hope to read a couple of posts a day and eventually get through the entire list. This is the first year I've participated but I hope that it won't be the last. With luck, I'll find a few new blogs to enjoy and maybe someone finds a connection to my blog and joins along. We have such an amazing community and I'm honoured to be just one little tiny part of it.

And a shout out to my neighbor, Marc, for being so kind and good and taking care of our two cats and one guinea pig while we were away. I am always grateful and humbled that I have such wonderful neighbors. Thank you Marc, for doing this. Your help has been immense and we are thankful.

Welcome 2011! I hope the year holds joy, love, peace, prosperity, fun and friendship for one and all. Love to all my blogging buddies!