By: Kerrie Olejarz
It was now the end of April and we were still attending lawyer Nicole’s support group. This month, I offered up my naturopath as a guest speaker to speak about natural treatment to infertility. My naturopath is an amazingly honest and generous man. Many years ago I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called Sjogrens Syndrome. After years of conventional treatment with little symptom relief I found this naturopath who helped to get my pain and fatigue under control. Within three months of seeing him, I walked with freedom, minimal pain, increased flexibility, and a much more positive outlook on life. He was a godsend who had quickly become very important in my life. I dropped my rheumatologist and stuck with Dr. Srajelden, my naturopath. When I felt a cold coming on, I would run to his office for intravenous treatment to see the cold subside in less than 24 hours. This is a man who worked with me to fix my body and of course, I want to share him with everyone. He gave an amazing presentation at the support group and the attendees really seemed to enjoy it. I was able to catch up with Nicole about the trials with the doctors and give her an update on our situation. The night was a success and we were glowing, finally having some peace and resolution and a real start at this journey.
The initial telephone chat with the doctor had ended with some decision-making choices. We had the option to do a cycle here, freeze our embryos, and ship them to India, or, we could start the cycle here and fly to India to finish it. The doctor was flexible and wanted us to make the decisions which best suited us. There was a concern of flying on high estrogens, as I have a mild clotting disorder that presents itself typically during pregnancy, when hormones are heightened. Knowing this small risk, we decided to cycle here and ship our embryos to India. A few short days later, we went to the Toronto Centre for Advanced Reproductive Technology to meet the doctor in person. It was Day One for him in Canada, and we were his first patients there. It was wonderful to meet him in person and he spent two hours with us, detailing the entire cycle, the medication, and the suggested additional test. I relished my husband’s squirms as the doctor spoke about sperm, sperm testing, and requirements for sampling. Oh, it was a bit of a masochist feeling for me, one I had never felt! I joked with the doctor about it and he enjoyed the jokes. My husband –not so much! As women we are used to these discussions. Once a year we spread eagle, feet in stirrups, as a doctor sort of digs around inside of us taking a sample, calling it a pap test. Women call it horror, a necessary horror. Men typically do not have to deal with any of their “private area” issues until they are in their fifties.
We did a quick ultrasound and decided to do an IVF cycle next month. In the meantime we had to book an appointment for Mark to have his boys analyzed prior to starting the cycle. Some one once called this process “fun in a cup”. Everything was finally moving along in the right direction at full speed. A mere 14 days later was Mother’s Day, another day I detest for reasons not needing explaining. This Mother’s Day was different though, as it was the day I lost my IVF virginity. Cycle Day 1 was here and I was excited. I washed my hands, laid out paper towels on a clean counter, and methodically placed each bottle of Menopur powder, Bravelle powder and solution, Q-Cap , Superfact and all the needles and alcohol swabs. For a newbie, this was a bit overwhelming, first the thought of self-injecting and second, ensuring the meds were mixed and dosed correctly.
With shaky hands, I sorted out the Menopur and Bravelle, carefully extracting the correct amount of solution and mixing each bottle of powder into the solution, withdrawing it and onto the next. After four mixes I was ready. I gingerly laid the needle down and wiped my belly fat with an alcohol wipe. I had heard that you really need to let the alcohol dry so it does not sting like a bastard when you plunge the needle. Finally I felt my skin was dry enough and I checked the needle for any air bubbles, over and over in an attempt to delay the inevitable. I called Mark into the kitchen and showed him that I was ready and he quickly turned green. He apologized to me that he had to leave the room; he doesn’t like needles and this was all too much for him. As he squirmed out of the kitchen I took a deep breath and slid the needle with precision into my belly. Not too bad, no pain! I suppressed the plunger and within seconds all the meds were whirling around my system and it was done. Easy peasy! This became part of my daily routine; at precisely the same time daily, I partook in my baby-making ritual. As the days went on I started to feel like a pin cushion and my belly was starting to show signs of swelling and bruising, all very normal.
The clinic we are working with (TCART) needs all surrogacy patients to see a psychologist –standard practice here in Canada. On Day Nine of my cycle we met with our chosen psychologist who was quite fascinated with our story. She asked us a few analytical questions about the process to ensure we understood what we were embarking on, and of course, we passed with flying colors. My cycle monitoring was going well, and I was showing potential to have 20 follicles. There was a little scare on day 12 as my estrogen has stopped climbing to optimal numbers, but this was easily fixed with an increase in meds. All in all, the process was quite easy and I became known as the Chicken, or “Clucky” as my Australian friends called me. I had an abundance of follicles and egg retrieval was just a few days away.