August 31, 2015

Single Serve Peach Crisp

Hello everyone, today I thought I would go with a light topic after my last few posts. With summer slowly crawling to a close there are some new fruits in season, namely peaches. For some reason the only time I really want peaches is in the dead of winter, so this year I decided I wanted to buy and freeze some. That way when I had a hankering for a peach dessert in January, I would have the peaches in my freezer already.

But before I was able to get the peaches in the freezer, they slowly disappeared into my stomach. It's not my fault that they were so yummy. Before I knew it I only had four left, not really worth my time to go through the freezing process. So I decided that a very small peach crisp would hit the spot. I found a recipe for a double serving at The Baker Upstairs as a starting point and adapted it to fit what I had and wanted.

August 12, 2015

It's Not Always Easy - Our Infertility Story Part Two

Hey everyone, today I am going to continue on with the story of our infertility battle. Feel free to skip if it's not your thing, I promise I won't mind (this post doesn't have many pictures, one in fact). And if you missed the first part you can find it here. I do want to finish the story for those people out there who are fighting the same battle, so they know that there is hope. It can happen, you just need to fight for it.

I left off after three procedures failed, with no samples left and no money as well. By the time we were in a place to begin again it was just after Christmas in 2012. We went to purchase more samples from our chosen donor only to find out that they were indefinitely unavailable. By law they are only allowed to sell a certain amount of donor samples in general, as well as a certain amount to each location. So our donor was oversold and would not be available again at all. This was another setback because we had to start the process of selecting a donor all over again. It's a lengthy and long process, which is not fun at all. After a few months, we finally had a new donor selected.

We ordered three samples of the new donor and waited patiently for them to arrive at our doctors office so we could start a new cycle. They arrived in early 2013 and we were able to call in our day one to start a new cycle. This time around when we went for the first round of blood work/ultrasound we were taken back by a nurse who had to show Luis how it administer the drugs. It was decided that I would be taking Puregon at it's lowest dose, as well Ovidrel (if needed) and Prometirum after the procedure. The first two drugs were to be given via needle, the third was a pill that I had to take subcutaneously. Sounds fun right? The needle for the Puregon was like an epi-pen, so Luis was shown how to load the drugs and use the needle. While the Ovidrel if needed was a real life needle, and huge.

So away we went after our first visit to wait until 7:30 that night for Luis to give me my first round of the Puregon. This was the worst thing ever for both of us. Imagine having to give your hysterical wife (who is terrified of needles) a needle in her stomach while she is shaking and crying. We had to do this every day until two days before the procedure. The only benefit to having a medicated cycle was that there were less travel days to get the blood work/ultrasounds done. I believe there were only four or five trips this time. But, there were around nine needles on top of all of the blood work. The purpose of the Puregon was to help my follicles grow larger and possibly release more of them, but at such a low dose the later was very unlikely. This was also to help guide my body into doing exactly what the doctor wanted it to do.

The Puregon had horrible side effects for me, I was sick to my stomach with abdominal pain and headaches. As per the doctor, this was normal and to be expected. I worked through all of the pain and discomfort of this cycle and I have no idea how I did it. And I will say that I am so happy that I had benefits through work at the time that paid for the fertility medication. The total cost of the Puregon for the first cycle was roughly $1200, which was 100% covered. Not everyone is as lucky as we are when it comes to benefits through work, so this was a blessing.

On the last day that I had to go for the blood work/ultrasound it was determined that I would have to take the Ovidrel shot as my follicles had reached perfect size and my hormones were exactly where they should be. So we rushed to the pharmacy to get this medication which without benefits would have cost $300. Crazy how much medication can cost sometimes (to recap we are at $1500 and one medication still to worry about). This shot was to be taken around 4pm with no Puregon that night. After which we would get a day off and then the procedure would occur. The Ovidrel was to force ovulation when the doctor wanted it to occur so the procedure would have a much better chance of success. Oh my goodness if I thought the Puregon shots were bad, this one topped all the shots combined! Poor Luis, I can't even imagine how horrible this experience was for him.

Here is a picture of what my stomach looked like a few days after these shots were finished (please ignore my pasty white skin):

After a day without needles (yay!) we headed out of town for the procedure, which given the painful track record I was very nervous for. Once we arrived and were in the room I was in a full blown panic, to which Luis dutifully held my hand and told me it would be okay. And you know what, it was. I had zero pain or discomfort and the procedure took only about 10 minutes. I could have cried I was so happy. After the last three times and all the pain I felt, it was so refreshing that the procedure was normal. And I was able to return to work the next day, so that was clearly a monetary bonus as well. Before we headed home, we stopped to pick up the Prometrium which had a price tag of $300 with three repeats.

Starting the day after the procedure I was to take 2 pills every 8 hours until it was clear that I was not pregnant, or until the 12 week mark of the pregnancy. This was not the funnest thing I have ever done, but if it would get the job done then I would power through it. The side effects of this drug were horrible as well because they mimic morning sickness. So you would have no idea if you were actually pregnant or not!

There is a 28 day wait between the procedure and the pregnancy blood test, in which they ask you not to take a home pregnancy test because the Puregon and Ovidrel can stay in your system for upwards of 14 days and would result in a false positive. We had never had this problem because my period always occurred right on time to let us know that the procedure failed. But this time the date came and went while I suffered through the "morning sickness" of either the drugs or real pregnancy. This was such a mental game because you tried to not convince yourself that you were pregnant because the symptoms could be from the drugs, but it's hard not to get excited.

The day before the blood test we decided that we were going to take a test as it had been 27 days since I had taken the drugs, so they should be out of my system. And really, what's one day? So I went into the bathroom and took the test, then ran out and told Luis I couldn't look. He had to go in after the 3 minutes to look for the both of us. I'm such a chicken, and I'm okay with that. So after forever and a day, or roughly two and a half minutes Luis went into the bathroom and asked how many lines was pregnant. I told him we wanted two. He clarified that we wanted two lines, and I just about beat the crap out of him. I think I may have even yelled at him, asking how many lines. He walked out casually and just said "Two". I just about died of joy right then, as I started crying and jumping up and down. We still went for the blood work the next day and they called to give us the good news.

We excitedly told our parents after the positive blood test because we could just not wait. Slowly told our friends and family a few weeks later, and officially announced at the 3 month mark. 6 and a half months later we had our amazing son in our arms and felt truly blessed that we had the means to be able to fight this battle. We will never regret anything we went through because how can it compare? Looking back you wonder how you did it, how you put yourself through all of that. But one look at your baby lets you know that you would do it a hundred times over just for the little one in your arms.

This cycle, if we did not have benefits, we figure would have cost roughly $4000. All in we figure this roughly cost us $12,000 (excluding the drug cost which was covered). It was five plus years worth of expensive purchases and vacations to Cuba or the Dominican. I cannot even imagine what other people are forced to go through in their battles, but hopefully you will get your happy ending (or your BFP for those who know the lingo). 

And that's the story of how we were able to conceive Braxton. It was along and painful journey with a very happy ending. Maybe I will share our next story when the next one comes along, or maybe not. It's not as long but still a little different. For now I think you guys might need more pictures and less words.


August 5, 2015

It's Not Always Easy - Our Infertility Story Part One

Hey everyone, time to get a little serious and personal today. I am going to talk about something that people usually don't talk about, or possibly don't even consider. Something that people never think will happen to them or to anyone they know. Infertility. It is the silent and heart breaking battle that 1 in 6 Canadian couples are going through right now. When you think about it that way, it's pretty scary that at least one person you know has gone through or is fighting this battle right now. And the saddest part is that you probably won't even know it.