Throughout this year, as the pandemic kept going, I went through a lot of different emotions. I can’t say it affected me as much as others. As an introvert, I was secretly excited that I got to hangout at home all the time and no one would question it or make me feel bad for not doing something. I missed being able to go on vacations but I assumed that I would be able to go again soon.

I got to work from home, which at first I was worried about. Online personal training is not something new but it wasn’t my forte. I’ve tried to do it in the past but I didn’t have the time or energy and to be honest, others did it much better than me. I also didn’t know how to grow my business online.

Our fears about the future soldiered on but we adapted. Most of us are back at work even if it’s not what we were doing before. Our clients ended up really enjoying the online workouts and I enjoyed the stability of my schedule. I no longer worked long hours, I had a scheduled lunch and I worked out WITH my clients now, which is fun and engaging for both of us.

But over the last couple of weeks as summer ended and we are still in this looming pandemic that just won’t go away, I’ve been starting to lack excitement. I have nothing to look forward to, I have anxiety about being lazy, I don’t really want to do anything even though I force myself to and I’m not putting as much effort into things as I normally would.

I also never really cared about social media. I didn’t think it affected me negatively because I can compartmentalize fairly well. Whatever I read or saw, i didn’t take personally. But now I see so much hatred and negativity from people I thought were intelligent people. The comments section on any news article is filled with such disgusting behavior. Uneducated people are spewing nonsense and I assume most of them are bots, made to enrage and divide us. I have unfriended people for their beliefs and I’ve found people have unfriended me. I’m not sure why but I have a sneaking suspicion it’s because I’m very outspoken about anti-racism and harmful conspiracy theories. I can’t help but think to myself, “should I stop speaking out?” “whats the point?” Is this normal? Is this hormonal? Am I the only one who’s feeling this?

I feel dull. And I wish I could end this blog with something more positive but I’m putting it out there for those who feel the same. I hope we get past this and that we get some excitement back in our lives soon even though I’m not sure it will ever be the same life we once knew. Our most amazing attribute as human beings is our ability to adapt to our surroundings and stress. In fact, that’s how you build muscle: you stress your body until it must adapt and change. How apropos.

The number one question that makes me shudder. Not because of the insensitivity of it, but because I have NO FREAKIN’ IDEA what being pregnant feels like. It’s like my brain will fully not let me believe it. I guess one would say that I knew that I wasn’t pregnant because I didn’t ‘feel pregnant’. And maybe when I am, I will feel this elusive emotion that everyone talks about.  Your brain remembers patterns, and my pattern is disappointment, every month so I’m unsure that I will ever be able to ‘feel’ something that I’m so worried I never will get to feel. Does that make sense? I’ve heard from other woman who have had to go through the fertility treatment that they’ve taken pregnancy tests for months on end just to make sure they really were STILL pregnant. I can see myself doing that.

My Monday started off good – I was 3 days late on my period, and that was making me feel pretty positive! Even after the spotting started and I questioned every characteristic of it, I still had hope!!

  • Oh well it’s just a little bit, should be okay
  • OH well it’s brownish pink so still okay
  • it’s a lot but still only when I go to the washroom …
  • Oh now it’s a little more, might still be okay

But I woke up this morning with the full on flow looking me right in the eye. Even after seeing that they still make you do a pregnancy test, just to make sure.

The hospital called me and we discussed the possibilities of jumping right into the next round but the monetary repercussions of going back to back aren’t worth it and they suggest for your well being  to skip a month.

Part of me is relived. The emotional toll this takes on someone is just so crazy I’m not entirely sure I can put it into words. Plus, we are going on a New York City trip next Thursday and that would really impede on our travels/relaxation that is so desperately needed.

The other part of me is worried, another month of not being pregnant, another month older. As woman we are constantly chasing that youth and hanging on to those fertile years. Doing everything we can to stay looking and feeling young but time is just not on our side. Just this past week I’ve had a sprained wrists and I did something funny to my left foot. You know, that ‘something funny’ feeling we all get once in a while that may or may not go away on it’s own but will definitely be back if you wear those heels again. What were you thinking anyway??

So I am officially inseminated. Weird, right? Let me back up a bit and start from the beginning of the week. Everything went exactly as planned – just kidding, NOTHING went as planned.

When we were sitting in the first orientation back in May and they were going over what will happen, how we may have too many follicles and that would prompt the cycle to be canceled and how we may need a trigger shot of HGH if they suspect I won’t ovulate early enough, I thought to myself both times, “that won’t happen to me”. What I DID think of was the trauma I went through with the hystersonogram and how they couldn’t get my cervix to dilate and they just kept poking longer and thinner objects on my insides. If you recall, that was when they decided to do the laparoscopy surgery because it was too painful for me to endure the rest of the procedure.

I’ll get to that later.

First, let’s go back to the beginning of the week – Monday, my day 10 ultrasound. Everything goes according to plan and everything looks good.

“No concerns for overstimulation this time, just keep testing every day and call us when you detect a surge in your urine. If no surge detected on Wednesday, call us”, I was told. The week had many obstacles – the iui couldn’t happen on Wednesday as I had my friend Niki’s bachelorette and it couldn’t happen on Saturday because my partner was going to be away working on an important job site. He would be able to produce his sample, but not be there for the insemination, which I really would have preferred him to be there, like come on! Although, I had many lovely friends offering to come with me – not sure how much fun that would have been for them, though.

Of course, no surge Wednesday.

Thursday they’re optimistic about my follicles but not that I will ovulate. “Come back Friday- we’ll decide tomorrow if we have to cancel or go ahead”.

On my way to the hospital, on Friday the 13th, I run over some doves. First of all, birds USUALLY fly away when you drive towards them but not today! I cry. What a great start: omen looking grim.

Follicles look good, but I have to take a trigger shot that night to force my follicles to ovulate and release an egg. Of course, I LOVE needles!! (grrr) But that means the insemination will happen on Sunday!  The whole week I’m dreading it happening on Saturday because I didn’t want to be alone. Although I would have had a friend with me, to be honest I really want to make sure Jason sees every agonizing thing I have to go through, that’s my real motive. That’s also why I make him watch while I get the trigger shot.

“Look at all the crap I have gone through, so you better appreciate this damn baby if it ever happens!” – I’m only half joking.

Then we find out that if it’s raining on Saturday, he has to go to work on the Sunday instead. More uncertainty but it all worked out – on that front, anyway.

Now here we are, day of the insemination. On the day of his analysis, 32mil good quality sperms were produced out of 58mil. The amount they want is 7mil so we are looking GOOD in the sperm department.  But no, today, the one important day, the only one that matters, only 1.7 mil only are usable sperm. I’m unsure what the rest of the sperms do, swim in circles? Who knows but they suck and we only have 1.7 mil sperm to use.  Luckily, we only need one good one.

Next step, dilate cervix to insert the sperm (I say sperm way too many times in this blog… sperm). Now, remember back at the beginning of this blog I said I was scared about the cervical dilation since I was traumatized by the hystersonogram last time? SAME thing happens. I’m in that room with my feet up in the air for 20 mins while they try to get through my cervix. They finally did after they tell me to cough on 3. I should have filmed it so I could show my future child what his mother went through to have him/her. That’s what mothers are good for, guilt – right?

Anyway, here we are and I’m crampy, still bloated from the HGH shot and eating all the ice cream.

We’ll know august 2nd if this little sucker implanted. Wish us luck!

Last week I left you on a positive note. The IuI process was well on it’s way and I was thinking i would be getting inseminated later this week. Well, as you can tell by the headline, things didn’t turn out like I expected.

Way back when I first started writing about this process, I might have mentioned we did an orientation meeting to go over the whole process and what to expect. I didn’t even bother mentioning that they said if we had too many follicles forming, that they would skip the current round to avoid multiple pregnancies occurring because I didn’t think that that would happen to me.

Joke’s on me though because it did. I walked in Monday super excited to see what was going on with my little follicles. The doctor wasn’t my doctor that morning but that’s normal. However, she didn’t know my case personally and made me feel quite upset when I left. I had 3 maturing follicles and  instead of talking to me, she went over to the head nurse and they discussed my case in front of me without letting me know what was going on.  They talked about my age, a few times and being 36 I’m no spring chicken so I immediately thought the worse.

They told me to come back Wednesday morning to make sure no more were maturing and that my actual doctor would be able to discuss matter further at that point. Frustrating but I wasn’t fully discouraged yet. In fact, we still followed instructions and had intercourse that night.

 

Wednesday morning rolls around and I’m at the hospital 20 mins early and I still had to run up the stairs to beat some people going up the elevator haha I go in the little room after listening to AC/DC playing full blast. Way too early for that, let me tell you. I pace around the room for about 10 mins and I could hear my doctor and the nurse discussing my case but couldn’t fully understand because, well, AC freakin’ DC.

 

I finally go in, jump on the table, spread my legs as we have to do, frequently during this whole process. (Men, count yourselves lucky that all you have to do is ejaculate in a cup a few times).  Low and behold, the follicles are bigger and have doubled so they cancel this round. The good news, says my doctor, is that my reproductive age is younger than actual age so this isn’t a big deal. I asked if we should try on our own and he says, “absolutely not, that’s what happened to Octomom”.

 

Feeling discouraged, I tell some of my friends and clients about it. Some people said to try anyway, what are the odds that all 6 eggs get fertilized? Well, even if there is only 1 single percent change, i still wouldn’t take it.  The risk for carrying multiples are very high for the woman but also the babies (article here).  So now my ovaries are overstimulated causing me some serious swelling, bloating, discomfort and fatigue and I have to do this all over again next month.

 

If you’re sitting at home reading this and you’ve had a child by simply having sex at the right time? Congrats. I am absolutely confused on how that happens as you are likely equally confused on why i am unable to conceive.

Thinking back over the past few years people have made so many comments, so many thoughtless words to me that I’m not sure if they were deliberately hurtful or they were seriously that ignorant on what infertility meant. I’d like to think it was the latter and that people are genuinely not hurtful on purpose.

 

BUT just in case you know someone dealing with this, just listen, ask once in a while how they’re doing and ask questions. Here’s what NOT to say (I’ve compiled this list with what others have told me as well about things they have heard while they were going through fertility treatment)

#1 “why did you wait so long to have a baby?” – none of your goddamn business
#2 “aren’t you worried you will get a child with autism?” – well, NOW I am, thanks!

#3 “Oh that’s weird, we had NO problems conceiving” – great, thanks for letting me know

#4 “My friend was having the same problem, and then they stopped trying and it happened!” – How the hell do you stop trying to have a baby when it’s all you’ve been doing for 2 years? Stop trying to have a baby means to stop having sex.

#5 “Maybe if you just relax a bit it’ll happen” – great, tell me ovaries I’m relaxed please.

#6 “You can always adopt!” – nope. I don’t want anyone else’s kids, that’s not the point.

The Coffee Conundrum

I “quit” coffee a few weeks back to see how it would affect me and cut out an extra stressor in my life. I realized it affected me more than I thought it did but I also just LOVE coffee. Over the past few weeks I found my brain constantly trying to rationalize just having a cup of coffee. I had set rules and as long as I followed them I was happy with myself. I went a while without drinking it and then it seeped into a weekend thing. I would have it later on in the day but the past 2 weekends I had it when I woke up. Like, this morning for example. And yesterday…. and then on top of that, last week I had it 3x during the week. This is a major fail on my part, I’d say. Not to mention, twice I had horrible stomach pains. SO as of today, back on the no-coffee wagon. It’s a good time to jump back on as I officially started the IUI process yesterday.

Intrauterine Insemination Process

The First step for this process was getting my monthly bright red flow, as they call it at the fertility clinic. I woke up yesterday morning half dreading the day but also hopeful about my friends memorial and then I saw it: My period decided today was a good day to show up. Two days early. I saw it as a sign from Amy beyond the wall telling me “go on love, have that wine today – you’ll need it”. I call the hospital, even though I had already scheduled to go in on Monday morning to set up an ultra sound which, I really have no clue what they will be looking for while I’m on my period but I will update you guys on that next weekend because I will have 100 questions for the doctors.

Also, I decided to look up the success rate on the first round of IUI treatment and it’s 10% for woman over the age of 35. Great. I gotta lower my expectations quite a bit going from here.

Goodbye Friend

I wasn’t sure I wanted to use this headline for Amy’s Memorial or for the departure of fish from my diet this week. I chose the first one.

I had lunch with my friend Meagan and by lunch I mean we had gelato at 2pm on Tuesday. She looked frazzled and stressed and I just wanted to hug her. She asked me to help her with the decorations for Amy’s memorial and we wracked our brains trying to figure out what to do. We are both type A and I think we stressed more than we needed to. We borrow plants from Meagan’s mom and one of  my generous clients (that was also in a super convenient location

haha) and bought colourful decorations from the dollar store. I personally think we did fantastic with the short notice but I might be biased.

 

The day came and I met up with friends for a lovely brunch and mimosa’s at Earl’s. My partner was so generous enough to drive our little drunken butts to the memorial. I’m unsure if I would have cried more or less if I were a bit more sober. The whole experience was exhausting and I

 

was hoping it would put some closure but I’m still unsure what that closure is. I guess we just move on and remember the good times.

RIP Amy <3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finding “the One”

I’m continuing with my process of eliminating meat and doing pretty well. You see, all this is about diets and finding the right fit for you. The best diets are the ones you don’t have to think about. I’ve helped many clients find ‘the one’. The One Diet that works so easily for them that they lose weight and can eat pretty much what they want as long as it falls within that diet. For some people it’s eating clean, others it’s Whole 30, Intermittent fasting, Paleo, vegan, vegetarian. The point being, you shouldn’t have to hate what you eat.

I had a conversation the other day with a client about how her kids eat so differently and they both are thin. I commented that as adults we try to force ourselves into these diets because we think they work better than others. Her daughter eats carbs carbs carbs all day and is basically vegetarian and her other daughter is a meat and potatoes kinda girl. Both thin, both completely different eating habits.

That triggered me into remembering that for a huge part of my life, I was a vegetarian. From the age of 12 I quit eating meat. I always disliked meat and the texture and one day I saw a hanging moose in my garage and I freaked out. “That’s it!” I told my parents, “no more meat for me. I am now a vegetarian”. I can’t remember exactly how my parents reacted, but they were very accommodating to say the least. My mom would make me my own separate meals than the rest of the family so she could ensure I was still eating enough. But i ate carbs. Lots of them and I was always thin! In fact back then I only ate fish. No eggs or anything else. Today I want to keep eating fish and eggs but I wanted to try a whole week with only eating eggs sometimes.

Long story short: i lived, I feel okay, I’m not run down and it’s like my body is happy I’m not eating as much meat and fat! My mid section was growing and I blamed it on the fertility drugs, but I’ve lost the 5 extra pounds I had gained and I’m back to my happy weight of 120lbs.

That being said, I want to reiterate that just because this worked for me, doesn’t mean it will work for you. Many people gain weight on a vegan diet. Many people gain weight on a paleo diet. I have clients who eat Whole 30 and are looking amazing and I have clients I have made go vegan and are losing weight like it’s their job. Find the diet that works for you and stick with it. If you enjoy something, you will be more likely to stick to it.

Happy Sunday!

So yesterday I kept track of what I ate during a typical Sunday. Today, although not ‘typical’, is another story. It’s nice and easy when you’re home just sitting and relaxing by the pool to saunter up and make yourself a nice healthy salad but when you’re on the road all day – in and out of clients homes and running errands – it’s much, much more difficult.

My first meal of the day was a handful of almonds with an apple at around 11:30am while I was driving to get my oil change. I’ve been trying to push my first meal to a bit later in the day as I’m awake so darn early that if I woke up and ate at 5am I would be eating all day.

My second meal I call “lunch” I suppose was the same veggie burger that we had last night for dinner.

My third and last meal was a cauliflower and chickpea salad with lemon tahini dressing that I so kindly included in next weeks meal prep email and that was when i got home at 7:40pm.

To be honest, I wasn’t really that hungry for it but I ate it anyway because I go to bed so darn early I knew I wasn’t eating any later.

 

I decided to write a really long blog post about the last year of my life. Mainly because I’m procrastinating cleaning the house and I have a cat on my lap. We call this ‘pussy power’ here because if there’s a cat on your lap, you’re allowed to request anything from the other person such as but not limited to, water, a snack, your phone, the remote, your nail file and or other necessities.

But I digress, this post isn’t about cats. This post is about the roller coaster of a year this has been for me. Sometimes we struggle externally and other times we struggle mentally. Sometimes we don’t even realize we are struggling and other times, we can’t stop thinking about our struggles. I have this amazing skill of shutting off whatever is bothering me and putting extreme focus on other things. My business is a great distraction. It keeps me in check whenever I feel like just crawling into bed and not doing anything. My mind also would never allow that, my gosh if I’m not doing something, it kicks into high gear and reminds me that there’s always something that could be done. Like I’m forever trying to meet deadlines that don’t really exist. I guess a lot of this has leaked into my fertility issues.

For the past 2 years, we have tried conceiving. During the same past two years, I have decided to become a woman. What I mean by that, is that I have never really had weight issues and I never really tried to keep my weight in check. I ate okay most of the time, and I didn’t really worry about overeating or eating the right thing at the right time. Working in this industry though has started to slowly leak into my brain. Every day struggles that woman have with keeping their weight in check or losing weight started to infiltrate my own thought patterns. I all of a sudden thought I should restrict my calories, I started recording my food longer than I needed to and obsessively. I started intermittent fasting, I started keto I started paleo I started feeling guilty after eating something that I had made and it was delicious and had I did not have that annoying guilty feeling I would have stopped at one and be okay but I wasn’t okay anymore. I had turned into someone else. Someone with a weight problem. So I ate more than I should have, and then I punished myself. Although I wasn’t bulimic anymore, I was still obsessive and thought I was fat and needed to lose weight.

I found out through our fertility process that my estrogen was high, and my progesterone was low. I wasn’t ovulating. This is called estrogen dominance. When this occurs, you start gaining stubborn midsection weight, and you stress out, even more, creating cortisol. That nasty C word that I hate talking about. Cortisol is created when your stress response is high for an extended amount of time. My life is a goddamn stress response!

Things that cause stress:

–          Traffic, driving

–          Owning a business

–          Stressing about weight (freakin’ lose-lose here am I right?)

–          Exercise (good stress, but if you’re over exercising, not good)

–          Undereating (over exercise, under eating – bad combo)

So on, and so forth. AKA my life

I underwent laparoscopy because when they tried doing the hystersonogram, my stupid cervix wouldn’t dilate. Makes sense, I had a very light period which makes NO sense because if my estrogen is high, why am I not getting periods? Also, in case you don’t know what “dilating a cervix” means, it means my cervix wouldn’t allow a very sharp object to go through it. SO fun. After 40 minutes of torture and many objects and tries later, my wonderful doctor said it was too painful and they would have to look at my organs another way.

Enter surgery. I got my surgery date: February 9th. Wonderful, my birthday! Year of Murphys Law I’m calling it. I didn’t mind surgery because I was so excited to find out what was going on with me. I’m a biology nerd, I love researching everything and putting the pieces of the puzzle together. I went to my pre-op appointment and waited an hour and a half for a nurse to go through everything with me and basically lie to me. I asked if they would find anything, such as endometriosis or cancerous cells if they were going to remove it. She said ‘no. this is strictly diagnostic”. I was choked.

“Are you kidding me!? If they find anything concerning, they are going to stitch me back up and we are going to do this all over again?” I basically yelled. I remember her face looking at me like I was silly.

“well, yes. I mean what if they find cancer on your fallopian tubes or ovaries and they remove it without asking you. You would be mad” was her stupid reply.

“If they find CANCER on me anywhere, yes, please remove it.” What the heck was she talking about? I spent 4 days upset that this surgery was going to be just one more step into nothing. I was convinced I had endometriosis or polycystic ovarian syndrome because I had debilitating pain when I ovulated on my right side.

Long story short: she was wrong. Right before surgery as I was parked outside the OR, I asked my doctor and he said if they find anything, they are removing it.

Structurally, I was good. There was a paratubal cyst pulling my right fallopian tube down and that was causing the pain when I ovulated. My tubes are clear, nothing else wrong structurally speaking anyway. My hormones are still out of whack it seems. After multiple blood tests, they have determined that my brain is still not communicating fully with my reproductive system.

Next month, I will be going on a drug that will lower my estrogen, increase progesterone and make me ovulate and hopefully slowly remind my endocrine system how to function properly.

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As I had mentioned in the first post to this trip, we had 850 EU each to spend for food and that was our budget. We exceeded that budget quickly in Barcelona and even quicker when we got to Nice. I was already pretty bummed about missing out on some primo-gluten France delicassies so the […]