Peeling Back a (Small) Layer of Anonymity

I am back from my pregnancy blood test, and may or may not get results today. That said, the results are just a formality, as I already know what they will say. I took my last pregnancy test today just to confirm the earlier negative results. I am 11 days post a 5 day transfer, so even with late implantation, etc. if I had a viable pregnancy, my First Response Early Response pregnancy test would show a positive.

So I am expecting a flat out negative, but based on my previous chemical pregnancy where my beta hcg was only 11 (or too low to be picked up by a home pregnancy test) I realize there is also the possibility that my bloodwork could show a low positive.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not holding out “hope”. When I had my chemical pregnancy, I did a ton of reading about starting out with really low hcg levels, and saw there was virtually no chance that starting out that low would result in a viable pregnancy. While I came across enough stories about “low” betas resulting in healthy, bouncing babies 9 months later, they were betas in the 20’s or 30’s, which of course my home pregnancy test would have picked up this morning.

The only reason I mention the possibility of a low positive scenario, is to provide context for why I am anxious to have the pregnancy results today; so I can officially get closure on this cycle, and know how it ends – whether it’s the likely BFN (Big Fat Negative), or the less likely, but still possible chemical pregnancy scenario. I want to know what my “stats” are, as I start to plan next steps and make a list of questions I will ask the Dr. at my follow up consult next week.

Assuming I still have the emotional energy, I am planning on writing my next post about the complete nightmare that the simple act of getting my blood drawn this morning ended up being. But in order to do that, I need to provide some additional context, which will be very difficult to provide if I continue with cloaked references to my “old city” and “new city”.

When I started this blog, I was very careful to leave out any details that would reveal my identity if someone who knew me happened to stumble across it. It was (and still is) very important to me that I could write what I want about who I want on here, and be comfortable sharing things I wouldn’t share in person with people I know, without worrying about someone I know reading it and connecting the dots.

So aside from the obvious things like not including my real name on this blog, or posting pictures of myself, I have taken the less obvious steps of connecting this blog with its own email address, instead of the one I normally use, and not even revealing where in Canada I lived. 

I really don’t get enough internet traffic to warrant this level of paranoia, but  it made me feel good knowing I had multiple layers of security in place to keep me safe from prying eyes. That said, having recently moved from a smaller city, to a bigger city, I had already been considering at least sharing where it is I now live, as millions of other people live here too, so I no longer feel like sharing that information would really reveal anything personal about me, and it’s easier to just share where I am instead of constantly saying “new city” or “where I live” etc. etc.

While many would argue that the place I moved from is large enough that sharing that location would likewise not be any sort of big reveal, over the years that I lived there, I experienced too many strange connections/coincidences to give me comfort that I could remain anonymous if I shared where it was. Despite being one of Canada’s major (or at the very least semi-major) cities, over and over again I came across situations which proved to me how small and tight social circles there could be. In many ways it felt like a much smaller town than the population would suggest.

Here is just a small sample of what I mean (this post has ended up ridiculously long – feel free to read only a few of the below coincidences):

1. Shortly after moving there, I started to cultivate a friendship with one of my coworkers. When we discussed where I live, it turned out that her husband’s ex-wife lived in the same 8 unit complex as us (2 doors down, I believe).

2. Around the same time, my husband connected online with someone who was putting together a band and looking for people to jam with. Soon enough, we found out that one of the singers in the 8 person band worked at my work (not the same office as me, but the other office in town). To make it more strange, just the week before I had bid on (and won) a United Way raffle item at my work which she had submitted, for 3 personal training sessions with her.

3. After buying our house, we were telling a friend (actually one of the band members referenced above) about the place we bought and how the old owners had moved to Belize. His wife perked up, and we soon made the connection that she worked with the woman we bought the house from until she moved away.

4. On another occasion, a friend of a friend was driving me home after a party, and when she pulled up at my house, she said “I’ve been here before.” After a few minutes of discussion, we confirmed that she also knew the old owners of our house.

5. Several years later, I was now working at a new job. The office was really small, with just three of us, and me and the guy I worked for were looking for someone to replace the third person as she was going on maternity leave. We hired a keen summer student as a temporary replacement, and when he found out where I used to work when I first moved, he asked if I knew his cousin who also worked there. It turns out I knew here quite well, as his cousin was the friend mentioned in point 1 above.

6. When we went away on sabbatical two years ago, we put our house up for rent. One of the people interested was a yoga instructor. When she showed up to see the house, we immediately recognized each other as she had just subbed in that week for a class I was taking at the new yoga studio I was trying out. She and her friend ended up signing a lease, but due to a last minute change in her friend’s circumstances, had to back out.

7. We ended up renting our house to three other people. One of the roommates was our main contact, however when we met the other two roommates, we discovered that we had another yoga instructor on our hands. This girl taught at the main yoga clinic that I attended, and I’d done many classes with her, so again she recognized me right away.

8. When we sold our house in June, we had another series of coincidences. My husband was trimming the plants at the back of our yard, and chatting with our neighbour in the yard behind us, when the neighbour told us that he met the guy who’d bought our house. Turns out they were at a stag party for a mutual friend, and ended up going back to our neighbour’s place after the party, where the new owner realized he was staring into his new backyard.

9. Several weeks later, we were talking to the girl who bought our place, and she mentioned off hand that her best friend was familiar with our house. She was telling her friend about the place she’d just purchased, and her friend started finishing her sentences. Turns out her best friend is the yoga instructor who almost rented our house when we went away (see point 6 above).

10. And if you’re not sick of the yoga references yet (hmm….perhaps the issue wasn’t where I lived, perhaps it was the fact that I did yoga 🙂 ), after buying our new house, we realized that we would have nowhere to put our hutch/china cabinet, so we listed it on Craigslist. We started getting requests for more information coming in, but nobody seemed interested anymore when we followed up. And then my husband got a hit from someone who wanted to come see the hutch in person. He forwarded the email to me, and I recognized it right away as my fertility yoga instructor’s. (And in case you’re wondering, for good karma, we ended up flat out giving it to her instead of charging her anything for it).

So if you’ve stuck with this post so far, hopefully you’ll appreciate that I’m not some nut for not wanting to reveal where I used to live! However, I am comfortable with sharing that as of last week, I live in Toronto, Canada’s largest city.


I’m Back (Again)

April has been a real dud of a month for me as far as blogging goes. I thought it had been about a week since I last wrote, but I am shocked to see that it has actually been 12 days – wow! The last few weeks have been crazy (is it just me, or have I been saying that exact same thing every day for the last few months?), but I should be settling back into my “normal” routine now. I should really qualify that “normal” these days means preparing for IVF, trying to sell our house, and planning a cross country move. Still with me?

A few things of note happened last week. I snuck away to my new city for a super fast two day trip to start house hunting, and interview in person for the job I’d had two phone interviews for back in March. I am happy to report that I came back with job offer in hand!

I had hoped for a starting date of August 15th to give me some more wiggle room in trying to squeeze a second IVF in before I move in case I have to, but since they really needed someone to start yesterday in this position, I agreed to a date of August 2nd. I did tell them that depending on how things go with the sale of our current house, and purchase of our new house I may be able to start earlier, but I won’t know until June. This is code for “If I’m pregnant I’ll start a month early”.

The other thing that happened last week is I had my follow up endometrial biopsy on Monday to see if the antibiotics have worked their magic to clear up the endometritis that was diagnosed during my first biopsy at the end of March. The results take about a week, so I was really hoping to get a call this afternoon, but nothing. Until I get the results and the all clear, this IVF cycle will remain stalled.

In related news, I am now on week five of birth control pills, which is just adding to my antsiness. I am so ready to kick things off (again), especially as I am feeling some time pressure with our pending move, and the possibility of it stalling our plans to conceive further as I switch clinics, or try to juggle my schedule to come back for treatments at my current clinic. I did come up with a new plan A, B, and C over the weekend, but I’ll save all the gory details for another post.

One more thing that has been on my mind lately is my first pregnancy, as a year ago, I was just a few days from finding out that I had a new life growing inside me. I thought once the due date passed this January, the next tough anniversary would be my June miscarriage date, but I am finding it hard not to think about where I was at a year ago.

I will write more in the coming days I’m sure, but for now, it feels good to be back.

The Calm Before the Storm

Again, it’s been a few days since I’ve written anything. As always, there’s lots going on, but at the same time, nothing that’s felt momentous (or new enough) to be blog-worthy. Sometimes I feel like my posts swing from hope one day, to anger and frustration the next, then back to optimistic excitement after that. I’m normally a (very!) even keeled person, so it’s strange to not only be feeling these crazy ever-changing emotions, but then also to see the evidence of what I’ve been feeling on the screen in front of me.

I also worry that I am saying the same things over and over again – like when you boil things down, I really only write two blog posts: the happy version (yay, can’t wait to be pregnant soon!); and the sad version (why has this been so much harder than it should be, and will it ever end?). So, really depending on what I’m feeling on a given day, I should just press a button to automatically generate either the “happy” or “sad” post and be done with it. But that wouldn’t be much fun, so I’m going to keep plugging away.

The feeling meter today reads: happy, or to be more specific, hopeful. With a dash of excitement thrown in.

The IVF process is still kind of fuzzy to me. So many more steps than IUI’s, and so many variables to keep track of, that it’s hard to know when you can say you’ve started. So given that there’s some leeway, I decided that today’s the day! I officially started IVF today by taking my first pill.

I got my  protocol from my IVF nurse on Friday. I’d had a tentative protocol since the end of January, when we made the decision to go ahead with the IVF this month, but the start of the tentative protocol was a week earlier than my actual start, since my period the last two months has been a few days later than I expected. So, I was expecting everything to be shifted back a week, but the only thing that changed is that I’ll be on the pill one week less than originally planned! So, now I don’t mind so much that my period was later the last few months, since it means that there will be one less week of waiting with IVF.

I know some clinics like to get all of their IVF patients synced up, so everybody is going through each stage at more or less the same time, and I think in my case this worked in my favour. After pretty much sitting around just waiting the last three months, it’s great to see that things are going to start happening fast now! Today was the pill, tomorrow I start antibiotics (will take them for 5 days), Tuesday is my SHG (sonohysterogram) to check out my uterus, as well as our IVF orientation at the clinic, and then Wednesday I start suprefact to suppress my ovaries. Woo hoo!

On another positive note, it’s good to be back home after three weeks of work travel, and I was especially happy to be back at my weekly yoga class this afternoon. I came in a bit late, so had to grab a spot right in front of the instructor, which turned out well because she asked me if I was interested in doing another one of her fertility yoga sessions. I’ve done two rounds (6 classes each) in the past, and loved the class, but the last few times she’s had trouble signing up the minimum of 4 people she requires to run the class, so I’d pretty much given up on the class and wasn’t even going to bother looking at the next sign up date.

I read her fertility yoga brochure over after class, and was happy to see that the dates lined up great for my timing – class starts a week Thursday, and ends right around the time I’ll be finding out if I’m pregnant or not. I decided I would definitely sign up for it, and if the minimum class size wasn’t met, I would sign up for a private session or two instead to help me stay calm. I told the instructor that I was definitely in, so she could email me to let me know if she got enough people to sign up or not, and she told me that I was the fourth person to sign up, so the class is on! I am so excited to be able to have this support on what will be my most important cycle to date.

I know this next month is going to be crazy, especially once I start the stimulation drugs and the almost-daily monitoring, but right now I’m enjoying the calm before the storm.

The Good Egg Blog Award – Part 1

The Good Egg Blog Award

 I am still fairly new at blogging, and continue to learn new things almost daily. So I felt so incredibly touched, and honoured when one of my favourite bloggers, IVFJess gave me the Good Egg Blogger Award two weeks ago.

Jess started this award after getting the “I love this blog award” and the “stylish blogger award”, as a way of passing along the love to some of the blogs she reads. The last two weeks have been super busy for me, but I finally have some downtime to reflect and fulfill my duties as an award recipient!

Here is how the award works:

  1. Thank and link back to the person who gave me this award. Thanks again IVFJess!
  2. Share 7 things about yourself
  3. Award other bloggers (you determine who and how many)
  4. Contact these blogs and tell them about the award

7 things about me:

Okay, this one is hard! I think I’ve had a pretty unremarkable life so far, so it’s hard to come up with interesting things to share. Infertility is probably the most interesting thing that has happened to me, but like Jess I want to keep this list free of IF related content.

1. I met my husband through an online dating website. In 2011, online dating is fairly common, but back in 2001 (wow, has it really been almost 10 years??) this was still a fairly risqué way to meet people, and most stories you heard of people meeting online ended with one of them being dismembered and scattered in a landfill. I first joined the online dating scene in 2000, after seeing an ad for a dating site appear on my yahoo email account home page one too many times (online advertising really does work!). It was a great time to be a female in the online dating world, as at the time, the ratio of men to women  on online dating sites was something like 3:1 (I suspect that it’s much closer to 50/50 today).

Also, the internet was still new enough that the men on the online dating websites were primarily the educated, intelligent men I wanted to meet (guys who knew their way around a computer for lack of a better screening tool), rather than the pretty boys with no substance I was meeting through the bar scene (my primary way of meeting new guys at the time). My husband wasn’t the first man I met online (that honour goes to a boyfriend who showed up to our first date with a SWORD in his backseat – I kid you not), but I was the first (and only) woman who responded to his ad. And the rest, as they say, is history.

2. I am a cat person. This sounds like a pretty boring thing to be included on my list of 7 things, however it is worth mentioning as I think being a true “cat person” is actually quite rare. While there are lots of “dog people” out there, many people who have cats are really “dog people” at heart (but cats suit their lifestyle better at this particular point in time), or are general animal lovers whose home may include a cat, a dog, and a whole menagerie of other animals at any given time. For me though, the choice is clear – cats all the way! I have never met a cat I didn’t like, but I can’t say the same thing about dogs.

Then there’s the dogs that are cute and friendly enough (so it’s not fair to say I don’t like them), but that I can’t imagine being around for any period of time (e.g. barkers, jumpers, shoe eaters). My favourite dogs are small, quiet, mellow (usually means old) dogs, which when you think about it  really means that the more cat-like a dog is, the more I’ll like it 🙂

From time to time, someone (read: dog lover) will ask me if I want to get a dog. Before we had our cat, I brushed this question aside, and assumed that when they said dog, it was shorthand for “pet”, so it was easy enough to answer by saying “We’re planning to get a cat.” But now, I find it kind of insulting, because I figure if I wanted a dog I would have gotten one already, and that it implies that my cat is somehow inferior. Plus I don’t know how to answer without insulting them and their choice of animal. I imagine it must be similar to when child-free (by choice) couples get asked by breeders (or wanna be breeders) why they don’t have/want children.

3. I walked myself down the aisle when I got married. My parents had just gotten divorced a few years before I got married, and there were still some weird family dynamics going on before my wedding. Also, my husband and I had been living across the country (5 hour plane ride) from our families, where we both had jobs and owned a house together. So being “given away” seemed like an unnecessary, quaint concept (really, what was there left to give at this point?).  However, I think it still caused some shockwaves. Our wedding guests gave us feedback on all other aspects of the wedding (the venue, the dress, the service, the format), but not one of our 150 guests said anything about me walking myself down the aisle.

4. I was in the delivery room with my mom when my little sister was born. My sister is 17 years younger than me, so I was pretty much an adult when she was born. She was actually due on my birthday, but came 3 days early, so we almost share a birthday. My dad was pretty squeamish about the whole birthing thing, so it was my mom’s good friend and me in the delivery room, until the final moments when only one of us could stay and my mom chose me! It was an amazing thing to witness, but to be honest I had an ulterior motive for wanting to be there: I had heard of babies being switched at birth, and wanted to make sure that this would not happen to my sister, so I paid close attention to what she looked like when she came out. In the end I needn’t have bothered. She weighed about 10 pounds, so when we went to see her in the nursery afterwards, there was just no way that she could have been switched – she was so much bigger than all of the other babies! When she got older, I eventually told her the story, and I still tell her that I’ve “got her back”.

5.  I think dessert is the best part of the meal. I don’t think I need to explain this one any further…

6. I hate gardening. It’s just housework outdoors. And the feeling of soil on my hands grosses me out. Thankfully my husband has a green thumb, and loves to get outside and tend the yard.

7. I’m an introverted extrovert. Or something like that. Technically I think I’m an extrovert as I am energized by my outside environment. I love being surrounded by people and activity, and don’t really understand the urge to “get away from it all”. But, I’m also shy and need time to recharge if I’ve been go, go, go all week. So when I do one of those quizzes that asks “Would you rather be at a party, or at home curled up with a book?”, my answer is “It depends. What sort of week have I had?”

Since this post has become my lengthiest one to date, and I imagine I’ve lost any readers by now,  I’m going to wait until my next post to pass along the good egg blog award. To be continued….

Job Search: to be Continued…

I haven’t been posting much the last week, so I’m forcing myself to sit down and crank something out. I’ve made it through my first month blogging, and learned so much in the process that I don’t want to lose steam now!

Life continues to be busy….and complicated! On the job front, my phone interview last week apparently went well. I thought it went okay, but not great for the following reasons:

1. I didn’t feel too “in the zone” right off the bat. The first question the employer asked me was to walk him through my resume, focusing on my accomplishments. So I started talking about what I’d done, but didn’t really talk about any stellar accomplishments in the first two jobs (I guess I didn’t really accomplish much?!). Then when I got to my current work I started to get nervous because I felt I wasn’t answering his question properly, so I apologized for not talking about much in the way of accomplishments (in case he hadn’t noticed!) and said that I thought most of my career accomplishments were in my current position (which is true, and is also the position most applicable to the job I’m applying for). But I still didn’t feel like I really sold myself well.

2. He then asked me some specific questions about my current position, which I thought I answered well and to his liking, but even then I felt like we weren’t really in sync (we would both try to talk at the same time, etc.).

3. And probably the main reason I thought it didn’t go great was because once he finished asking his questions, he just said “Do you have any questions for me?”. And I thought “Really? That’s it? So if I don’t have any questions this interview would now be over, and he hasn’t said one thing to sell me on the position, or tell me more about what they do?” To me, that was a huge red flag. I’ve found that  when an interview is going well (or even when it’s going so-so), the interviewer will spend much of their time selling you on the job, or explaining in more detail what would be involved. But here, there was absolutely none of that! I actually had about 10 questions ready for him (I’d prepared extra as I had assumed that some of my questions about the company and the position would have been answered by the time I had the opportunity to ask questions), so I went through about 5 of them with him. Here, at least he did give pretty in-depth answers which made me feel better, but it still seemed like too little too late to me.

4. On a positive note, he did say that it would be a good idea for me to have an interview with one of the other people in the department, so I took that as a sign that maybe things went better than I thought.

After the interview, I called the recruiter immediately (as instructed by him) to talk about how things went. I gave him my “Okay but not great” assessment, but that the potential second interview sounded like a positive thing. We went over the questions I was asked, and I couldn’t help thinking that the recruiter wanted to know the questions so he could coach the next person he sent over for this position. I also told him the questions I asked and how the employer had answered them (again I felt like this was just more research for the recruiter).

I raised my concern about the interviewer not selling me on the job at all, but the recruiter didn’t seem too worried. He did say that the employer was being very particular about who they hired, since it was a small group, so they were really taking their time to find the right person.  He also said that phone interviews were hard because you didn’t have the body language cues that would normally tell you if you’re doing well or not. Overall, he was very encouraging, which made me feel better. In the end I felt that no matter what I hadn’t completely embarassed myself (and the recruiter) and life would go on.

I knew the recruiter was going to speak to the employer that day, but I didn’t hear anything back from him all day. This again got me worried, since up to that point he’d been very responsive and in frequent contact. I was feeling like a bit of a loser – like I’d gone from hot commodity to pariah in the course of a few hours.

The next morning I woke up to an email from the recruiter saying that the interviewer thought the interview went great and that he was very impressed with me! WTF?? I guess the interviewer is just not a warm and fuzzy guy!  So now I have an interview set up with HR and the other person in the department on Tuesday.  Curiously both will be on the call with me at the same time, which will be interesting.

So then of course,  I went back to worrying about what would happen if I got the job and I was pregnant (I’d be about 4 months by the time I start)….with twins…and had to go on bedrest….or if I wasn’t pregnant, and had to do fertility treatments at the same time as I was trying to prove myself in a new job. I’m really trying to take things one step at a time, but it’s sooo hard.