Wednesday, May 27, 2015

What's Growing Wednesday

It's that time of the year again! When the weather is warmer and things start to grow and I become all delighted and share pictures with you weekly. Although depending on how things grow, I might skip a few weeks at the beginning here, so as not to bore you too much.

Last week and weekend were very productive in the planting department around our household and our yard is looking so much nicer thanks to it. My mom visited last week and she lovingly bought some flowers (and a pitchfork) for us. Isn't she the best?

Of course the day after we planted all these fabulous petunias, we had a frost. But never fear, I took care of them all and brought some in and then covered the rest. I didn't lose any, thank goodness.

She also bought me some herbs so that I could get my herb garden started. I took out one of my flower gardens for this purpose and Dan helped me border it with nice stones. We also planted some seeds so while we're waiting for those to grow, it's looking a little empty.

Since we were on a roll with the planting, we planted our vegetable garden too. I can't wait for little plants to start popping up so that it looks less like a giant dirt garden and more like food.

Our hanging herb garden is doing well too, considering I brought them in and overwintered them. I'm not sure if they will last the whole summer but for now they are good.

Rhubarb is producing well and I have been picking it for a couple weeks now. I'm also pretty excited about all the blossoms on our blueberry plants.

Basically, everything is looking great and giving me so much joy. But the thing that has given me the most pleasure over the last month? My new and improved flower gardens!

I really really really wish I had been smart enough to take before pictures, since they looked like crazy wild jungles before I attacked them. You can't really appreciate how good they look now, without seeing how bad they looked before. But I know and because of that, I am totally in love with them. They make such a huge difference in the appearance of the house.

As a bit of a sample of my crazy flower gardens, here is the last remaining garden that needs dealing with. It's getting a little late in the year so I'm thinking that it will be a job for next spring.

Ya I know, it's mostly weeds with some flowers thrown into the mix. Like I said, crazy jungle flower gardens.

So there you have it, a small sample of what's growing around here and how lovely and green everything is. I love this time of year so much!

Anyone else planting anything lately? Whether it be flowers or herbs or veggies?

Friday, May 22, 2015


I had a friend of mine who has gone through IVF write up this post for you guys. I hope that this helps you understand a little more what someone going through an IVF cycle experiences and what the procedure involves.

What is IVF?

IVF stands for In Vitro (= Latin for ”in glass”) Fertilization. What that means is you take sperm from a man, and put them in a petri dish with eggs from a woman, and the sperm fertilize the eggs. The fertilized eggs are called zygotes, and then they become embryos. The embryos are usually cultured (= keeping them warm in a dish) for a few days, and evaluated by an embryologist (who is a PhD, not an MD). In a typical IVF cycle, one (sometimes more than one) embryo is transferred back into the woman’s uterus. This usually happens around day 2-3, or day 5-6. The embryos that are not transferred can be vitrified, which basically means freezing really quickly to a really cold temperature, and then transferred back at a later date.

An IVF cycle starts out by stimulating the woman’s ovaries to produce a lot of follicles (little bubbles of fluid that house an egg). Most cycles, a woman only produces one follicle, but for this, you want lots. To do that, the woman is treated with a cocktail of medicines that is very variable. Usually, though, it consists of something to stimulate follicle growth (sometimes FSH, or follicle-stimulating hormone, which is what your pituitary gland produces normally) plus something that keeps her from ovulating too soon. 

During stimulation, the woman gets frequent ultrasounds, and sometimes bloodwork, to monitor the process. It’s important that she doesn’t produce too many follicles, because that can lead to Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS), which results in fluid accumulation in the body and can be dangerous and even fatal. When the ovaries have a sufficient number of good-sized follicles (this number varies a lot, but approximately 10-20), she is given a medicine that induces ovulation. But before she ovulates, she is sedated and the eggs are removed using an ultrasound-guided needle that goes through the vaginal wall into the ovaries and retrieves the eggs from the follicles. The eggs are then put into a dish with the man’s sperm, unless the couple is doing ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection). ICSI means that the best-looking sperm are identified, and one sperm is injected into each mature egg.

In some cases, the embryos can be tested for a specific known genetic mutation, or screened for genetic abnormalities. It’s also possible to use donor eggs, donor sperm, or even donor embryos. These techniques are not legal in all countries, however.

IVF is emotionally demanding for both partners, and physically demanding for the woman. It can also be very expensive. And unfortunately, IVF does not protect against ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage. Statistics and success rates are hard to define, since every clinic is different, and there are so many techniques being used. But the success rate is somewhere around 30% after one IVF cycle. Since the first IVF baby was born in 1979, it’s been a quickly developing field that has helped countless couples have children, and it’s a great option for couples struggling with infertility.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

CIAW - Fertility Infographics

I find that most people don't actually know that much about our male and female fertility. When all you have to do is have sex and that gets you pregnant, you may not feel it necessary to do any research. If you don't know all that much, that is totally fine! Consider yourself lucky that you don't have to know all the different terms and abbreviations and such. But for those of us who are struggling with infertility, we tend to learn pretty quickly how our systems are supposed to work.

I came across these different infographics and I thought they were a nice overview and could be helpful to those who aren't as familiar with how our reproductive systems work. I have included the link as to where I found them underneath each picture, which will bring you to an American fertility clinic. I apologize but it seems like most facts out there on the internet come from the States, so bear with me!



If those are hard to read (who am I kidding, they're impossible to read!), click the "via" link underneath each one and it will open it in a bigger window.

This post is part of Canadian Infertility Awareness Week. To learn more, click here.  

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

CIAW - I am 1 in 6

Back in April I participated in National Infertility Awareness Week and going along with the theme of "You Are Not Alone", I shared stories from different women about their infertility journey. Well this week is Canadian Infertility Awareness Week and I am participating! I'm all for helping raise awareness so be prepared for some infertility related posts all week.

Did you know that 1 in 6 Canadian couples struggle with infertility and need to seek treatment in order to build their families? That is a pretty high number, if you think about it. That number means that someone you know could be struggling with infertility, whether you are aware of it or not.

I never in my wildest dreams thought that this would be our story. No one really thinks that they will struggle to get pregnant or stay pregnant. No one wants to be on this road.

It will be five years next month since we started trying and in that time frame we have suffered three early losses, have been seeing a fertility clinic for a year and half, and have gone through three treatment cycles. These have been the hardest five years of my life but I am still here and still fighting.

I am now going to copy and paste some stuff that I wrote during NIAW. I was planning on writing something new but I just couldn't put it into better words than I already have, so I apologize for those who have already read this. It's worth another read though.

Infertility and losses have affected me so deeply, I don't really know how to put it into words.

It makes you feel broken, like your body has failed you. You see everyone else getting pregnant and having babies and you begin to wonder what the heck is wrong with you. Something that seems so easy for others, seems impossible for you. You become bitter and jealous, hating all pregnant people or people with kids. Pregnancy announcements bring heartache and despair. Going out in public, where you might run into baby bumps or children, becomes a huge fear and anxiety. Facebook is no longer safe. Church is no longer safe. Grocery shopping is no longer safe. It feels like everyone is moving ahead of you, winning at the race to have children. People you know who got married after you started trying have now had multiple children. Friends move into different stages of life and you are left behind. Family get togethers are painful, watching all the kids run around and knowing that you should have your own in that mix. Holidays are hard. Birthdays are hard. 

It puts a ton of strain on your marriage. Men and women grieve differently and deal with infertility and losses differently. You fight more with your spouse. You disagree about how to move forward, how much to spend, what treatments to try. You place blame where it shouldn't be placed. You feel guilty for not being able to give your spouse a child. You become consumed by stress. Sex is no longer fun and spontaneous, but a chore that needs to be done at a certain time.   

It kills your finances. Pregnancy tests cost money. Junk food costs money. Treatments cost a lot of money. You become angry that you have to spend money to just try and get pregnant. You feel bitter that others get babies for free and you have to pay thousands of dollars and still have empty arms. You fight with your spouse about money.

Infertility changes things. It has changed me in ways I never thought imaginable. In some ways, I am a better person for going through this. I am more sensitive and caring, I have matured, I have made some amazing friendships, I appreciate the little things more, I have become a new "me". But it has also made me a more angry, bitter, jealous, jaded person. I judge others more quickly, I cut people out of my life, I have no patience for pregnant people, I avoid babies and children. Some days, I am okay with my story and what my life looks like. I am okay with who I have become and how I am now able to help others going through similar struggles. I like the new me, probably better than the old me. But other days, I find the grief and pain suffocating. The thought of having to feel this way for the rest of my life is daunting, not to mention depressing. Some days I don't want this to be my story, I don't want to face this every day, I don't want to struggle against all these feelings until I die. It just isn't fair.

So this is my story and I am sharing it with the world, to help raise awareness for infertility and to let others know that they are not alone. You hear that? You are not alone.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Belated Birthday Recap

So this post is late, a month late if we are going to be exact. I was totally meaning to write it sooner but things came up and I kept putting it off and all of a sudden it's May 7th and I've already been 26 for a month.

While I realize that a recap of my birthday isn't that exciting for everyone, I really enjoy being able to look back at previous years and see what I did that day. So this post is mostly for me. And for anyone else who wondered about my lack of birthday post.

The day obviously started with breakfast in bed, made by my loving husband. He toasted me some waffles and gave me a super sweet card. I love starting my birthday off with breakfast in bed.

He eventually had to leave for work so I just puttered around the house tidying up while taking many breaks to read Facebook messages and receive phone calls celebrating me. By 10am though, I was quite concerned that my Mom hadn't called to wish me a happy birthday so I finally broke down and called her. She hadn't forgotten, she had just had a really rough night sleep-wise and was sleeping in. She didn't mind being woken up by her favourite youngest daughter though and we chatted for an hour while looking through my baby photo album over the phone. I had the album, she just remembered all the pictures so it was like we were looking at it together.

After lunch I made myself chocolate cupcakes with seven minute frosting (recipe here) and ate a few while watching Friends and waiting for Dan to get home.

He came home early from work and brought my gift with him!

We love games in this house so it was pretty fun to receive a new one! We agreed to play it that night but first we had to go out and enjoy the beautiful sunshiny weather we were getting.

We headed out geocaching and snapped some lovely photos along the way.

Once the sun had started to set and we were too hungry to go on, we returned home where Dan made me pesto chicken pasta. We spent the evening eating cupcakes, playing crokinole and watching Friends.

It was a pretty perfect day of relaxing and spending time with my favourite guy. Nice and low key, my idea of a perfect birthday.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Simple Pleasures - May 2015

Here are some things that are making me happy lately!

Spring flowers popping up

My new Lululemon shirt from Vicky!

My very first "first to find" while geocaching

Maple syrup!

My newest colouring project

Sunlight and baby chicks

Spring weather and hanging with my love
What about you? What has been making you smile?

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

LASIK Update

I figured it was high time for an update on how my eyes are doing after having the LASIK surgery done to correct my vision. I wrote the original post back at the beginning of April, so if you would like to read that one again (or just see some pictures of me wearing glasses), click here.

A little less than a week after the surgery, my eyes were so incredibly dry and painful that I found it hard making it through a whole day. By mid-afternoon, all I wanted to do was curl up in a dark room with my eyes closed. All this pain and sorrow was caused by extremely dry eyes. No one had really warned me as to how bad dry eyes actually feel so I wasn't prepared for it when it happened. Fortunately for me, I have some friends who had this same surgery done 2 years ago and they were able to guide me towards better drops and some tips on how to manage the dryness. With the blessing of the LASIK staff, I went out and purchased Refresh Endura drops and Refresh Lacri-lube.

These two things were absolute life eye savers. Once I started using the Endura drops during the day and putting the Lacri-lube in at night, my dryness was immediately improved and I could function normally again. I still had to be faithful at putting the drops in during the day but at least they gave me temporary relief and were helping with the overall happiness of my eyes.

I am still having to put the Lacri-lube in at night but I have moved from the Endura drops to just the normal Tears drops and that seems to be keeping things good for now.

Other than the initial (and ongoing) dryness, I haven't really had any other complaints since the surgery, so that's good! I have been super enjoying my new eyesight and not having to wear glasses. It feels like second nature now and I barely notice the lack of glasses. Although I do still occasionally go to take them off at night before realizing nothing is on my face.

A little over a month in and I am happy with my decision to have LASIK done. I have 20/20 vision again and my eyes are looking good!