Monday, 12 September 2016


Last week we returned to The Fertility Clinic and met with Dr. Cotter again, to review my tests and talk about next steps.

What's new in my skin:

 I started bleeding after 30 days on my last cycle. I had one positive OPK and fertile mucous, albeit not on the same days, which was sort of confusing. I suspect I might have had a second LH surge, but missed it. Still, there seemed to be some good stuff going on, and 30 days is a decent length, so I considered it a normal-ish cycle.

Dr. Cotter was on her typical form. I can add a few more zingers to my collection of quotes. As Mr. Turtle observed, "She starts every meeting with an insult so later it's hard to argue with anything she proposes." True enough. Nobody can accuse Dr. Cotter of looking at reproductive systems through rose-coloured glasses.

She started with "You're not better." No, after a year and a half of "trying", I know I'm not better. We went over the results of the tests. My CD2 bloodwork (Estradiol, FSH, LH, TSH, prolactin) was totally wrong. "You were not on CD 2 when you did that blood test." In hindsight, I guess not. I had indeed been bleeding for 2 days when I did the blood test, but then I started bleeding again after only 2 weeks. So that was not a cycle. Dr. Cotter said that my estrogen levels during that "CD 2" test put me at about mid-cycle, possibly ovulating. WTF? We couldn't explain it so shrugged and moved on.

Dr. Cotter then launched into an explanation of AMH (anti-mullerin hormone) that seemed to go on for an uncomfortably long time. A fertile woman has an AMH of between 15 and 25. Well, that was not going to be my number. Under 7, it's very hard to get pregnant. "And yours is 0.9." Which sounds slightly better than zero, but admittedly not much better.

Next were the results of the pelvic ultrasound which I did on day 3 of the next cycle (the one that was 30 days and maybe actually a cycle). I had 2 antral follicles on one ovary and 1 on the other. I don't even know anymore what the normal number is supposed to be; something in the double digits; again, that's not me. As we know.

Dr. Cotter said she saw no need to repeat the blood tests as the other tests told the story well enough. In addition, the ultrasound showed a fibroid of 3.3 cm that might be beginning to intrude into the uterine cavity, but it was not too clear. She recommended a sonohysterogram to take a better look at it.

As for fertility "if you are going to be trying anyway, we might as well do what we can to help." So the plan is to do low dose Clomid on days 2-6. Dr. Cotter said they have seen results with low stimulation on wonky ovaries.  "It tends to work best when the last cohort of follicles is being recruited." (Oh, that's a good one.) After taking the Clomid, I will have blood drawn on Day 21 to check for progesterone levels, to see if ovulation happened. If not, they will look at adjusting the dose. I have my prescription for four cycles. And the requisition for the sonohysterogram.

I'm happy with this plan; it seems reasonable enough. But I have a problem. To get the show on the road, I kinda sorta need to know when CD 1 is. Apparently, that's not so easy. Case in point, I am bleeding again on day 11 of this cycle. Is it the fibroid? Unbalanced hormones? The low dose aspirin I was taking? (Cutting that out). Is this my period? Or was the bleeding one and a half weeks ago my period? Or neither?! Cue WTF moments. I might need more guidance what to do in this situation, as it really isn't clear to me.

One good thing though. I have new menstrual products. My frequent periods/EBBs mean I spend a lot of time wearing pads and panty liners (tampons I gave up some years ago; while I don't always have a lot of pain and discomfort, they seemed to increase it when I did).  I had been getting a lot of chafing and discomfort from them. In addition to my reproductive issues, I have this cyst in the clitoral area that flares up every now and then (I had a bad abscess last year that require surgery.) So a few weeks ago I started looking into alternatives for period stuff, and finally decided to try cloth pads / liners and now some underwear that is designed to absorb flow. These options are WAY more comfortable. I feel so free knowing I don't have to buy that crap from the store anymore.

So there you go. The joys of further intervention, the limits of physical self. It's tiring and frustrating. But I still feel I have to trying whatever might make a difference, because if not, I'll wonder about it. Humans have a strong gambling instinct, and in this respect at least, I'm no different.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

AJ at 22 months

Well, I promised an AJ update and I will try to do it in my increasingly precious free time. May not be the best writing ever but I do like having AJ's milestones recorded to look back on. Plus I feel strongly that the blog needs these entries to balance the trying to conceive stuff, both past and present.  As I've said before, AJ owns the process of growing up.  I loved and marveled at her when she was teeny tiny. Now that she's a toddler, I can't imagine her without her new talents and quirks. It's like AJ's personality is a comet approaching earth. When she was a baby, it was a far away twinkling star, but every day now it appears bigger, brighter and more sparkly.

How I'd  describe AJ at 22 months: easy-going, fun, cautious but attentive in unfamiliar situations, talkative, humourous, responsive, silly, generous, loving, considerate, teachable.


AJ talks in sentences about 80% of the time, though they may be missing connecting words. She asks for what she wants; she tells us what she doesn't want. She comments on people, toys, weather, food, books, clothes, animals, cars, the stars in the sky....well anything that she can see and comment on, really. AJ remembers things about people and talks about them when they are not there. Uncle M. plays guitar and piano. A black cat lives on Baba's street. Uncle N. shipped a machine out of Baba's house in a big box (see the first few paragraphs of this entry for what that was about). Grandma read her The Foot Book by Dr. Seuss and now she wants it.

AJ has been exploring the idea that certain things belong to certain people for a while: "Mommy's shoes, Daddy's shirts, AJ's jacket, Gidi's ladder " (which we borrowed a few months ago and haven't returned). Recently she's become interested in the idea of presents: she will point out that Grandma gave her this jacket, Nana gave her this book. She also says "thank you" and "you're welcome" all the time (not always in context).

Wearing mommy's shoes

AJ is (once again) enjoying daycare and looks forward to seeing her "friends and teachers." She talks about "fun at baby school" and is most interested in the "bikes" (which are still too big for her), the balls, the blocks, and the other children, of course. She and her peers know each other's names and how to say hello and goodbye to each other (soooo sweet) and they play side by side, with maybe the beginnings of some interaction. AJ knows boy and girl, and talks a lot about boys. Boys at the playground, boys dancing, boys riding bikes. I feel obligated to mention that girls do all these things too, although I'm pretty sure she knows that.

AJ knows and is responsive to her extended family. She knows the first names of mommy, daddy, and all 5 living grandparents (I'm OK if my dad is simply "Grandpa" to her). We didn't try to teach her our names; it didn't even occur to me, to be honest. But she figured it out, and it was adorable, so we encouraged her to learn more. Sometimes she will tell us her second name and last name upon request.


Current items of fascination are kitty cats (still), dinosaurs, penguins, balloons, ice cream, blankets, , counting, the playground. We spent a lot of time at the playground this summer. In early spring AJ was still just sitting and playing with gravel. Then she learned to climb up on the toddler slide and went down on her own. A few days later, she was climbing up to the full size slide and going down. She requests to swing and lately has been climbing a sort of ladder (with paranoid parent supervision).

I'm climbing!
AJ has collections of small toys (we let her play, supervised, with smaller objects because she doesn't mouth things anymore, except sometimes her kitties).  She likes to put small items in baskets/bags. She also likes to throw things in the garbage (I had to stop letting her go through my wallet for this reason). She is trying to learn to dress herself, though it's still tricky. AJ likes bracelets, watches and necklaces that she can take on and off herself, and she like to adorn herself and say she's "pretty." She remembers where things go and will put them back when she's done playing a lot of the time, sometimes with a prompt but often without. Daycare staff are always impressed by this.

AJ reads all books; she is very interested in new books as well as old favourites. Current favourites are "If you give a Pig a Party" ("Balloon Book") and "If I ran the Zoo" ("Zoo book") and "Do you love me mama" ("bunny book").

AJ can sing a few lines from familiar songs. Current favourite song is "The Wheels on the Bus" with made up lyrics. She likes to play with her toy instruments and the piano (not a toy). I got a lovely series of photos of her playing piano the other week. I especially like these photos because they capture her being engrossed in an activity. There's no way to pose her for pictures like these: it's a matter of being in the moment with her.

As mentioned above, she loves to count things. On occasion she's counted up to ten and even eleven correctly. Mostly though, we hear some variation of "One, two, five, seeeeeeeven!" Still surprises me a little. I hardly ever read those milestone things but I didn't expect her to have number awareness before age two.

AJ also associates some words with their beginning letter. For example, she knows both "hammer" and "hockey" start with H. (how do I know....because if we are reading the book where H is for hockey, she will sometimes say "hammer" when I say "'H' is for....." It took me a while to figure this out. I was puzzled why she wasn't saying "H is for Hockey" because she memorizes her books quite quickly. Finally I realized that she was saying "hammer" which is in a different book. Same with "zebra" "zamboni" "zoom". She'll use them interchangeably when prompted "Z is for...."

AJ recognizes at least 3 dozen kinds of animals. I bought Mr. Turtle a National Geographic photography book for Father's day and she can name almost every single one, although she needs to work on the different kinds of birds. We have a running gag where she points to the albatross and says "duck." Me: "Albatross." AJ: "Duck." "Albatross." "Duck." "Albatross." "Duck." Finally AJ will say "Duck goes quack quack" at which point she wins the argument because, one that's true, and two, I don't know what an albatross says.

Neologisms I love: "Sunny dark" is evening. "Peepee towel" is toilet paper.

Fine and Gross motor:
As noted in previous entries, AJ is slightly slower on her gross motor development than some peers. Not to say she's delayed, but in this area I'm not |(yet) the parent that brags "My child can already....!" (Unlike in social/fine motor/language development, where I absolutely get to be that parent.) And you know, I think we totally lucked out in that her social and language development outpaced her motor development, because when she finally did get mobile and er, highly interactive with her environment, she could also communicate with and relate to people at what feels like a pretty advanced level. I know this can change at any time, but right now at least she's mostly calm, easy-going, and teachable. She knows how to communicate her needs, she has a lot of love and trust for the people around her, and so there's not a huge gap between her desires and abilities, and therefore (I think) not a lot of tantrums and anger and frustration.

What she can do now: "Running" - kind of. More like a fast trot, done with glee. She tries to jump, which means she springs upward and then falls dramatically to the floor. Too funny. She carries and kicks a ball but doesn't respond to a prompt to throw or kick it to someone.  Climbs on furniture and off of it. Climbs and descends stairs holding on with one hand (person or railing). Learning to climb a ladder. Goes down a full size slide on her own (I got tired of telling her it was too high). Does ballet "attitude", partial headstand, and downward dog.  Rises up and down on her toes.  Makes a "bridge" between a table and couch (head on one, feet on the other, body suspended in plank). Bops to music and twirls around.

Fine motor: Scribbles, puts down stickers, stretches elastic bands between her fingers, is very close to undoing a screw top lid, does up buckles, undoes and does up zippers, feeds herself with spoon and fork, drinks from an open cup.

These days, AJ mostly puts herself to sleep in the crib...eventually. Like 45 minutes to an hour after her "bedtime." She tries very hard now to put off her naptime and bedtime, although once she is asleep she sleeps through the night. I'm hoping this evens out a bit now that she is back in daycare full time and we will have a more regular wake up schedule (so goddamn early...sigh). She still will fall asleep in my arms sometimes but it's a rare treat now. She is still sleeping in her crib, with the setting at lowest. The day is coming when we will convert to toddler bed.

AJ eats most foods - whatever we are eating - unless they are hard to chew, like steak. She doesn't like leafy vegetables yet. AJ tried sushi this summer (cooked rolls and tempura: we don't eat the raw fish because Mr. Turtle is immuno-compromised.) AJ tried everything but only really liked the edamame beans. She still will eat anything mixed with mashed potatoes: most common is "fishtatoes" which is salmon or steelhead trout mixed with potatoes. I consider it a personal victory to have a toddler who eats salmon! There is a stupid commercial for some toddler supplement which has this as the selling line "Toddlers are often missing important nutrients because they don't eat foods like salmon....blah blah blah buy this supplement." This commercial always bugged me because, I thought, why on earth shouldn't toddlers eat salmon? This was before I had a toddler, mind you. Anyway, we introduced fish by the time AJ was one and what do you know, she eats it, albeit mixed with potatoes. No supplements needed!

Corn on the cob was a favourite this summer

AJ drinks from a straw cup and open cup, as noted above. She drinks milk, water, and apple/prune juice at home and when we are out at a restaurant she will usually ask for chocolate milk or apple juice.

We are potty training - kind of. Meaning I try to remember to put her on the potty after meals and before bed, and I'll ask the daycare to start doing the same. AJ likes to look at small books while sitting on the toilet, so I keep a stash for her (picture). She pees quite often in the potty, and poops occasionally. She's giving more and more cues that she knows when she wants to go, and she asks to have her diaper changed. I'm not very goal oriented with it, though. I'm just hoping she'll gradually get more and more used it, I think.

One of the best places to read, after all

Body awareness:
She knows all her body parts, including "vulva" (which she cheerfully points out when the diaper is off, and you better acknowledge it because if you don't, she'll say it over and over  and over again till you do....hahahaha it was funny to see Mr. Turtle learn that one by experience. I let her play with my Lammily doll and she likes to open up the blouse and air out the boobies. She also points out mommy's boobies frequently (I'm not very modest). Once she pointed to my chest and said "Mommy's boobies" and then looked down her shirt saying "AJ's boobies?" Oh the hilarity. I hope she can retain some of this easy-going pleasure in her body as she grows up and encounters the gamut of female (and male) insecurities. But seriously, I often find myself looking at my baby girl thinking: how can some people grow up to be total jerks when this human is so, so, lovely, from her toenails to her soul?

And I'll end on that note.

Mommy is cavorting with the rainbows; AJ just wants to grab the phone.
An image to look back on when I'm writing about some depressing crap.

What's new this fall:

Mom and toddler dance class starting next week! I'm so excited, especially seeing her get interested in music, movement and dance. I have registered us at a dance studio that offers classes from toddler to adult and has a dance company, so AJ gets to be part of not just a class but a whole culture. Who knows, maybe she will continue there?

Second birthday!? Bloody hell. Do we need to have a party? Birthday parties terrify me.

Halloween! We are definitely making her a costume and going out this time. I didn't celebrate Halloween as a child so it will be my first time, too.

TTC update next. Not pregnant, we'll get that out of the way right off.

Back to work with the students this week. Yay! Blog may be attended to even more sporadically, or possibly more regularly as I need it for a sanity outlet.