Holidays: celiac, dairy/egg/nut free style!

Happy Thanksgiving!

turkey

My favourite holiday.

Yesterday my mom [dad had to stay home sick], her best friend + family and my best friend + financee joined us for a turkey dinner, making for 10 of us total.

Hosting holiday meals enables me to eat without having to be meticulous/ feasting on only vegetables (If another restaurant offers me salad with oil and vinegar implying that it is a real meal, I will probably loose it on them). I also find cooking cathartic.
[besides the fact that our stupid oven only has one rack]

A delicious turkey dinner really can be prepped in only one hour in the morning, and one hour pre-feast. I would suggest getting up to do all of your prep in the am, then near meal time when you are busy mashing potatoes and making gravy you have little to do.

Our menu this year and how I altered it to be suitable to my dietary needs[everything is approximate as I did not measure]:

Turkey– defrosted two days in advance, I woke around 0730 to prepare the bird for the oven to be ready at 1700. I cleared out it’s guts, and then prepared it’s massage oil: aprox. 1/2 a cup of vegan butter [Costco has a brand containing soy, or earth balance has soy free], about a tbsp of salt, about 1/2 tbsp poultry seasoning, 1 tsp dried parsley, 2 tsp garlic powder, combined.
**Please remember if you are celiac or cooking for a celiac to check the poultry seasoning’s ingredients, all are not the same. The no-name brand at Sobey’s is gluten free. Spices only.**

I threw a chopped up apple (core and all, you won’t be eating it), 4 whole cloves of garlic and a hacked up onion in the cavity of the bird, choosing to cook the stuffing separately for more even cooking [ie; no dry meat-stuffing sucks the moisture out of the meat, and also retains the core temperature low, for longer, causing the outside of the bird to over cook].

Next I sliced a tiny slit to separate the skin from the breast of the bird, and massaged aprox. half of the massage oil into it’s flesh. Then I replaced the skin, and did the same with the entire outside of the bird.

Popped her in the oven at 325 degrees F covered in tin foil, 6 hours and 30 minutes later, all areas were at a perfect 85 degree celsius {I got a fancy new meat thermometer which would beep when approaching perfection- if you don’t have one the correct cooking time for poultry is 15 minutes per pound of fresh or defrosted meat, adding up to 50% the time if frozen. My bird’s core remained slightly frozen still (0 degrees C in the centre, 1 degree near the surface), even 48 hours later taking only 1 extra hour to reach safe eating temperature}. This brought us to 1430 which was too early for dinner so I wrapped the bird in tin foil, and then covered with dish towels to retain the heat-she was still PIPPING hot by dinner time.

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I know what you are thinking “Turkeys are so much work! You have to baste, and brine and BLAH BLAH BLAH….”

Nope, I don’t baste. I’ve heard it doesn’t actually make a difference [from food TV and personal experience]. Brining scares me with a 20-something pound bird and keeping correct storage temps so I didn’t do that either. The turkey was moist, and flavourful despite all of this.

Turkey Gravy– A total flop in my opinion. No one complained, but I think they were just being polite. I used the drippings from the bird, and just combined them with a gluten free mix (clubhouse). HUGE mistake.
Traditionally I would use a bit of corn starch, the drippings, garlic, salt, and the good old fashioned bubble until thick method….but I decided not to due to the amount of people at my house and felt I would get distracted from it with visiting and it would be lumpy. Next year, back to old faithful. The mix was gross in my opinion.
** Note: all gluten free gravies will become jello as leftovers due to the corn starch. Just heat it up and it will melt just wonderfully**

Mashed Potatoes– peeling optional (I usually don’t for added vitamin content, but know your audience, I peeled them this time) boil them up until soft, drain, add a huge spoon of vegan butter- I would approximate 1 tbsp for every two potatoes, dried parsley, garlic powder, salt and pepper and throw into the kitchen aid mixer until smooth. I made such a huge batch this year I had to do many batches in the mixer-became impatient, and thus some of the taters are lumpy.
Patience. My husband always tells me I have none of that…. whatever that is….

Balsamic Shaved Brussel Sprouts– I bought a few bags of pre shaved brussel sprouts for ease on cooking day, drizzled them in honey garlic balsamic and olive oil and baked at 325F until they were slightly crispy. Meh. I’ll slice my own sprouts next time. These were too fine for baking.

Corn– frozen, boiled, bam!

Roast Carrots– local farm carrots, sliced up (left the skins on, vitamins people!), mixed with EVOO and salt and then spread thinly on an oven tray and baked at 325F for one hour (until the edges are becoming caramelized. Had I not made the turkey so early, I would have thrown these into the turkey pan in the last two hours of roasting for a better flavour.

Stuffing– 1 bag of vegan gluten free bean bread cubes from The Griffin takeaway + 1 half cubed loaf of The Northern Bakehouse bread + aprox. 1/3 cup melted vegan butter, 1 boullion chunk (not all are made equal, Knorr Homestyle Boullion is the only GF one at my grocery store)  +1 cup water, poultry seasoning and garlic to taste, 5 stalks of celery sliced thinly, one apple diced finely, one carrot diced finely and then mixed up with your hands in a big bowl, packed into a pan, covered with tin foil  and baked at 325F for 40 minutes. Next time I would add 1/2 cup more broth water as some bits of bean bread weren’t as soft as I would have liked. Otherwise I think this one was a success.

Cranberries– from a can, good ol’ Ocean’s Spray brand. I was expecting up to 14 guests, and the nostalgia from my childhood makes me prefer these to home made anyways. Maybe one day I’ll make them again… [if you want to: cook up fresh cranberries + white sugar + lemon juice + chia seeds+ only enough water to keep the bottom of the pot wet until it resembles jam. All to taste of course-thanksgiving is about cooking from your soul, not a book. Been there, done that. It tastes good…but nothing beats the gelatinous can-shaped ones. HA!]

Rolls– Gluten-full from the grocery store [which no one ate, so I will just skip next time and be 100% GF], and gluten free from The Northern Bakehouse brand.

Sparkling Juice and Cranberry Gingerale provided by our guests [most of whom don’t drink alcohol]

Vegan Pumpkin Pie and Spiced Whip Topping [ordered from The Griffin Takeaway; an amazing gluten free bakery in Saskatoon, and brought by some of our guests] + Vegan Ice-cream by So Delicious brand (and regular vanilla for non-dairy free guests)

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***Take caution, The Griffen Takeaway is NOT nut free, but they take allergies and cross contamination seriously. I have never had any reactions ordering their food. Buy at your own risk…. But also…:) Live a little. ***

Happy Thanksgiving Friends!

I am thankful for: a job which challenges me, a supportive family, my loving husband, the oodles of caring supportive wonderful friends in my life, and you sweet sweet blog readers! 

 

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Moving On From Self Doubt

Yesterday I ran the EY River Run Classic Half Marathon.

RIVER CITY 2011
This was my first ever half marathon, back in August of 2011. (above)
I had just finished nursing school, just started my dream job as an emergency RN, just got married, and was in the best shape I had ever been in up to that point. I was able to train with three friends who through running became some of my best friends.
The race kicked my butt. It was painful, it was hot, it was hard. I left feeling more accomplished than any other day in my life. Non-athletic Sarah just did something few complete. She ran a half-marathon. Running was an outlet, a way to prove to myself I was capable of anything I set my mind to.

Flash forward to July 10, 2011: it was a humid, overcast day. One of my best friends and mentors signed up, and paid the $70 just to pace me. I was full of expectations. There was no doubt in my mind I wouldn’t achieve my 6-year goal of running a half marathon in two hours and thirty minutes-just one month ago I ran a 2:34 with digestive issues.

By 8km my  mind started to collapse. I started trailing behind, loosing time. I started thinking about how stupid I was for trying to conquer such a lofty goal (4 minutes faster in less than a month). My toe went numb, and then incredible pain. I was nauseated, my hands were swollen. I started working myself up so much I couldn’t breath because I was fighting back tears.
This is pretty much how the rest of the race went. I beat myself up emotionally. “You can’t do it”, “Just quit now”, “Why did you ever think you could do this? You aren’t an athlete!”, “What a bad friend, wasting Rebecca’s time”…. and on and on it went.

I knew my goal was gone….and then a few minutes later, a PR was also gone. I basically whined, and cried on and off from 8km all the way to 20km. I was ready to pull out my debit card and call a cab. I threatened to hitch hike home. I didn’t fuel properly, because I had already given up in my head. I drank way too much water, not enough salt…and hardly any carbs. Becky wouldn’t leave me. She encouraged me. She pushed me to work harder, and she pulled back when she saw emotionally I couldn’t push harder. She tried to remind me, just ONE MONTH ago, this would be a GREAT time.

At 2:42, 3rd to last, with tears streaming down my face, I crossed the finish line.

RIVER CITY RUN 2016

Today, after almost a full 24 hours of sulking, it brings tears to my eyes. Not because I am upset with myself for the time anymore-but because I was my own enemy. My own self-though process destroyed me. The race was over in my head after it had barely just started physically.

I took my time to sulk. I am now surpassing those demons that told me I wasn’t good enough on race day. I am good enough. I am MORE than ENOUGH.

I am pulling out of the full marathon in September, not because I think I can’t do it…I know I can. I want to love running. The best part of running is the self awareness, and confidence it gives me…. I lost that somewhere in this race.

I have two more half marathons this summer, one in august and September (switched down from the full). My biggest goal being to show myself love, and the love of running again. Run for enjoyment. Run to prove to myself I am ENOUGH.

…Because I am. 🙂 On to bigger, better things. SEE YA LATER SELF DOUBT.

Saskatchewan Marathon

Sunday was the Saskatchewan Marathon in which I was running the half marathon. Having only gotten out of a boot cast for a bad sprain two months prior, I started the day with my only goal to get close to my old PR.

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My HEART was a different story. I wanted to break 2:30 for the first time. One of my best friends was pacing the group, and I knew with her encouragement I could do it.

The first 5 km of the race was through residential area. At first I was dreading this as I find residential BORING. However the first 5 km everyone was still close together, it doubled back on itself and there were tons of people cheering. By the time we got to the river trail I thought, oh wow! Its just like starting a regular run, I just have to go a shorter distance now!

Running a 7min/km pace felt hard, but do-able. Around 12km I realized I had to use the washroom and use my inhaler, but didn’t want to stop and risk loosing my pacer. I ate two gels-pretty much forcing them down on Becky’s advice knowing I would need the energy later. By 14km, I NEEDED to stop [I was majorly regretting cutting my digestion time pre-race by half an hour]. I picked up my pace to PAST comfortably hard, hard as I could go to get to the washroom for…

SOME SPECTATOR KID TO SWIPE THE ONLY BATHROOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I couldn’t wait. I knew if my pacer passed me, I would have a really hard time getting back to her.

I slowed for a mini-tantrum. HA! My eyes were watering, I had rage inside me [yes, I know, kids can’t hold their bladders…rationally, I’m not mad….irrationally in my “IM GOING TO KILL A 6 YEAR DREAM” head I was RAGING. It was all I could do not to scream at the mother as I ran by. There were literally public bathrooms 300 meters away.] Becky caught up to me and I am sure she could tell I was defeated. She pointed out the bathrooms up ahead and I went for the sprint. I knew if she got more than 30 seconds ahead of me I wouldn’t be able to catch her.

I sprinted along the course to the public bathrooms. I went faster than ever in my life, one minute.  I sprinted back out. I saw Becky in the distance. I ran as hard as I possibly could. Possibly harder than I ever had to try to get back with her and the group. I could see her in the distance for a full 2-2.5km. She was SO close, but I was burning every ounce of extra energy I had to try and catch her. TMI alert: I was running so hard, I vomited in my mouth, and swallowed again in an attempt to KEEP GOING.

I approached the south bridge which has a slow incline. She was at the end of the bridge [thanks to a bright orange tank I could find her]. I tried as hard as I have ever tried for anything. The incline started, and I just knew, I couldn’t keep this pace any longer. I would have to push myself to try my best, and PR as close to 2:30 as I could.

I slowed my pace back to my goal pace and kept going. Within another 2-3 km my pace slowed dramatically. I was 1 minute slower per KM. I downed almost an entire pack of gel dummies desperate for energy. All of that sprinting wore me out early.

I knew that if I didn’t PR at least, I would never forgive myself for giving up.
I pressed on at 90% effort. The hardest I have ever worked in a race, EVER.
In my head I kept calculating how many minutes behind I was. FINALLY I was on the final stretch. I could see the finish line.
400 meters left, I had plenty of time to PR. Becky  ran back for me. All I could say was “I tried so hard to catch you” through tears. I was so emotional I could barely breath. I had to beg her, and a few seconds later, my husband, not to talk to me so I could at least breath and finish strong. Becky took my camel back to lighten the zone and I ran the last 300 meters at a pace around 5:28 according to my watch. If you saw me dragging it in, you probably would have thought I was a robot. I wasn’t smiling. My eyes were on the prize.

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I finished in 2:34:59. 11 whole minutes off my previous personal best. Almost 5 minutes off of the dream I had been chasing for 6 years….and while I didn’t believe I could achieve until mid race, had my heart set on.

Now, I am selfishly bummed. Im trying to be so happy with my accomplishment. I PR’d by such a large amount. I ran the hardest emotional and physical race I have ever run. I all out sprinted 2.5km…..and I can’t stop thinking about 2:30.

I could have done it. I COULD HAVE DONE IT.
The fire is inside me. Now to find a race….

PS. Don’t ask me about aid stations or any of that jazz- the only ones I really remember were at 4km and 14km[with the dang kid], but I was so zoned in and focused I can’t remember. I DO know 14km only had ONE porta potty. I know they were often, I was just trying to run my hardest and zone them out. I wore a camel back with my energy and water.

Perfectly Permanent Birthday

IMG_5477Another year has come and gone, and I am once again incredibly blessed in all aspects of my life.

For my 26th birthday today, I booked the day off, and spent it EXACTLY how I wanted.

I slept in until about 8:30 when the sun was just starting to rise and my Dad called. [He is always the first person to tell me happy birthday-he always beats G because he calls first thing in the morning, I love it.] I had a nice hot shower while I listening to my new Adele CD (a birthday gift from G along with a beautiful rose gold band and my favourite perfume), and put on some simple but pretty makeup and blow-dried and straightened my hair. I got into my favourite cute-comfy clothes.

 

G and I hoped over to the mall where I had a nail appointment for a pedicure. I was pampered and Graeme had his own hair cut and then got us both a starbucks.[BTW. It ALWAYS snows on my birthday..and of course in december-fashion it was snowing a bit when I came out with my sandals on :)]

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Next we went and purchased a variety of gluten free cupcakes from my favourite Cupcake Conspiracy downtown before returning home.

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We had about an hour before our next event which was perfect time for G to shower/shave [clean face just for me!] + put on some cologne [also a big deal, he hates cologne and I love it]. While home I got my Indigo delivery from black friday! Whoooo! Total surprise to receive a package on the weekend (Im assuming long hours for christmas)- but it contained some stocking things for G…as well as 3 candles I got for amazing deals. They all smell amazing! Happy Birthday to me! I also got to chat with my mom on the phone for a bit.(Mom + Dad contributed to our refugee sponsorship for my birthday which I appreciate wayyyyy more than a gift!:))

After we were done at home, we headed over to pick up my brother and then went to Famoso-my favourite pizza place for a casual lunch with a bunch of my friends! [some had to work and what not][the BEST gluten free pizza…and  I have NEVER been contaminated accidentally which is a huge feat at such a restaurant!]

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We had about another hour and a half before we had to head to a very special appointment so we came home. I had a cupcake and tea while cuddling with G watching my favourite show of the week: Last Man Standing on netflix. I was also able to finish up my goal list for the year! Fun things coming up!

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Finally, we went for the most anticipated part of the day. MY TATTOO!!!! Shannon at Alchemy Tattoo was AMAZING,  warm, kind…and didn’t seemed bothered at all by my type-A nature. She stencilled out my design twice, the first one was a bit small, the second perfect, and then she put the stencil on my arm around FIVE times while I hummed and hawed about exactly where I wanted it (I wanted it to be relatively straight even when moving…which is tough on the area I chose). Finally once I had decided, she reassured my fears of the pain, and started. Within 5 minutes, and essentially no pain [I have had paper cuts and running chafe that hurt more], it was done!!:) I absolutely adore it! My only regret is not going sooner. (Keep in mind the photo is five seconds after it was done, so all the blue is just from the stencils, all that will remain in a couple days is the black ENOUGH..and hopefully a  lot less redness. I’ll post a good pic when it is healed up.)

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After the tattoo we came home to do exactly what I wanted- to hang out at home! We are now relaxing on the couch, watching youtube videos, reading, sipping tea.

The only plans left are to watch my favourite movie, Marley & Me, maybe wrapping my final stocking gifts for G for xmas, and bed early for work tomorrow! [I planned a lunch out for this purpose…I’m a morning person!]

I am so incredibly thankful for this beautiful life I have, with so many wonderful people. Thanks for coming along for the ride. 🙂 Here’s to 26!

 

 

Choosing Joy

It has been a week of emotional up’s and down’s, but I am happy to say I am finding peace.

While my mind changes every.single.day as to if I want to try IVF or head straight to adoption…I have a lot of time, so I am trying to not let it stress me out.

I think it may seem like I am stuffing down my feelings in an attempt to not really deal with my emotions. That is far from reality. I am very in touch with my emotions, but I am trying to let joy be the prevailing emotion. So do I break down crying at the topic of infertility mid-run on a windy, terrifying bridge…yep? Do I let it take my whole run? Nope. I laugh about the ridiculousness of where I chose to break down, I express why I am sad…and I carry on.

Many people have asked, how are you? My most hated question. I don’t really know how I am. One minute I am sad, one minute I am happy, one minute I am planning my adoptive family. Haha. A short, “I’m Fine.” seems to be the answer lately. I am happy to talk about everything we are going through….but sometimes, at the end of a long HAPPY day, I don’t want to let sad emotions seep in. I want to choose JOY instead of sadness. I AM choosing joy…so if I don’t express my sad feelings to you, I am not trying to hide anything…I am moving on and picking happiness.

..Because? We will have a beautiful life with or without children.

So what are some things I am doing to help me CHOOSE JOY?

  1. Planning. I am a planner. If you ask my husband he will tell you what a bond me and my schedule book have. HAHA!! I am allowing myself to plan for an immediate (2-5 year) future without children. We are planning a trip, and making goals…and I love it.
  2. Eating healthy. I got a little off track in all the infertility treatments, so getting back to eating whole foods, and storing up on nutrients is helping me feel my best.
  3. Exercise. It is amazing how cathartic running is. In many ways I can run away from everything….zone out…dig deep. In many other ways, running helps me to delve deep into myself and my soul and feel my feelings in a healthy way, and then push deep to let them go.
  4. Keeping busy. I find joy in a full schedule. I love being able to look at a week and know exactly what I need to do.
  5. Loving fully. I am trying to not let infertility to cause me to be hardened. I am trying to express my love to my husband and friends without holding back…because that is who I am, and I refuse to let infertility change that. 😉
  6. Simple Pleasures. I am forcing myself to take every day breath by breath. Smell the latte. Experience the flavours. Feel the wind on my face on the patio I am sipping the coffee. I am trying got be present, and ever amazed by the wonderful world we live in.
  7. Budgeting. Getting serious about our budget is helping me see that IVF/Adoption/Home ownership, etc. are not impossible and ARE in our future. It is also much less stressful to have a plan.
  8. Letting myself fall apart. In letting myself take 5 minutes in the moments I am sad to just feel bad for myself….I am able to deal with those emotions, and then consciously choose to move on. I am not dwelling in sadness, but I am acknowledging when it comes, and giving it a time limit.
  9. Giving to others. It is amazing how much joy can be found in helping and supporting others. I don’t mean financially. I mean really listening, caring, lending that helping hand when needed. I am trying to make this more of a part of my daily life.

Thanks for joining me on this crazy, but JOYFUL journey.
***If you find yourself free please join us to raise money for our refugee family. Beer night details if you follow this think…. https://www.facebook.com/events/799490583492942/***

The Big Bad I.V.F.

Today we received the news we have been dreading for 3 years and two months; we can not achieve pregnancy and our only choice to proceed to IVF or adoption.

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I won’t lie and say we aren’t devastated… but I refuse to wallow in self-pity today. We will pick ourselves up, we will carry on, we will recalculate our dream of a family and what that means to us.

Our plan as of now is to begin saving the 12-20 thousand dollars we will need for IVF- and when the time comes we will then decide if IVF indeed is where be believe our money is best fit for starting our family. We are also planning to take an epic one-month-away adventure some time in the spring to cleanse ourselves of this grief. After our appointment, we went to the batting cages and hit out our anger, IT FELT GOOD. We spent the day together, as we always do, and focused on supporting one another.

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Instead of wallowing in grief and sadness…I want to talk about how infertility has blessed us. YES, blessed. I believe that you are given a choice about everything in life-maybe you can’t control outcomes, but you control the way you handle it. You control the way you treat others, and you control the way you share your story to affect other people’s stories….

  • I know the depth of my God’s love. This has been a huge comfort to me. He is teaching me so many things through this process about my own spirituality and faith.
  • I am 100% with the perfect, most wonderful man for me. My husband has been the biggest source of love and support I could ever have imagined. Through this process, we have been forced to delve deep into growing our relationship- the statistics are real- infertile couples are THREE TIMES more likely to divorce. We refuse to become a statistic and will make every effort to keep our marriage #1 in all of this.
  • I am not alone. Ever. 1 in 6 couples struggle with infertility in Canada; 1 in 4 worldwide. The amount of people in my life who have secretly struggled, and shared their journey’s with me is astounding. Their willingness to share their most intimate emotions, heartbreaks and triumphs has been so inspiring. I have had ZERO bad feedback sharing our journey. Only an outpouring of love and support.
  • We have enough. We may not have every thing we want, but we have food, we have shelter, and we have secure jobs in which can afford us the opportunity to one day try IVF.
  • I am enough. I have learned, and am still learning… I AM ENOUGH. As I am, who I am, where I am, how I am. I AM enough. A life long journey that has peaked in this struggle.

So where do we go from here? We carry on. We find new goals, we persevere. We blast FIGHT SONG and sign LOUD in the car…because we have SO much to live for.

“This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I’m alright song
My power’s turned on
Starting right now I’ll be strong
I’ll play my fight song
And I don’t really care if nobody else believes
‘Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me”

Excuse me as I spend the night with my favourite man, my favourite wine, a bubble bath, and my favourite TV series. Thank you for all of your love, support, and kind words. I am overwhelmed by the love you have all shared.

***On a side note: I am a part of a group of people in Saskatoon making an effort to help a family of 5 come to Canada fleeing violence and poverty. If you feel so inclined, please check out our fundraising page. Any support you can give is very much appreciated.****

Not For the Faint of Heart: Fertility Treatments, IUI #1

READER BEWARE; I have spared no details regarding an entire month of fertility treatments-if you are disgusted by ‘cycles’, or medical things…or even hormonal emotions….Turn away now.

I have chronicled our first round of Intrauterine Insemination (Artificial Insemination) with injectables as a diary of sorts. Each day I checked in to show what I was going through. Here is our deeply personal, overly TMI month…. 

CD1: I have been VERY emotional, and crampy today. Part of me is so sad I didn’t naturally get pregnant last cycle [this is the first time I have ever cried-damn hope]….the other part of me is part terrified, part excited for IUI. There is SO much waiting in the journey of infertility! GAH! I called the fertility clinic to set up our IUI-which I was supposed to do today and I didn’t get anyone-FOUR TIMES! The answering machine says to call back tomorrow….*fingers crossed* it goes smoothly. I work tomorrow so I am a little irritated we couldn’t get everything planned out today.

CD2: After playing phone tag while I was trying to also work, I finally got to speak with the nurses at the clinic. They were so kind and helpful and totally eased my frustration and nerves. I start Letrozole tomorrow, one pill daily. I am feeling SO emotional this cycle which is very unlike me. Even the hubby commented on how emotional I am-I don’t usual get mood swings with my cycles. I feel like I am on the verge of tears all the time!!! Must just be the fertility jitters? I am crying over commercials! What is wrong with me! Ha!

CD3: Letrozole day one. Worried for side effects-the drug sheet warns of bald spots, mood swings, hot flashes, etc… EEk….

CD4: Went to church today….relaxed with the hubby…. Letrozole day 2. G has expressed slight panic about having to give me the HCG injection.

CD5: I have now taken the Letrozole twice-third dose tonight out of 5 total doses. Zero side effects so far. My emotions have calmed down a lot, and I am getting very excited. I wish time would pass more quickly this week! I have a follicle ultrasound on friday morning which will show if I am ovulating properly this month(if an ‘egg’ is going to be released, and aprox. when) and then hopefully will be doing our IUI next tuesday or wednesday. I find it slightly annoying that our clinic doesn’t do IUI on the weekends (it is a long weekend, and my proper cycle days line up on weekends) but oh well. Hopefully timing is on our side and it doesn’t matter!:) The plan is to go home this weekend and visit my parents-should help take our minds off the imminent IUI. Need to start planning things to keep us busy the two weeks after IUI so I am not thinking about IF we are preggo 24/7!!!!!!!! A super sweet friend agreed to help with the HCG injection so G won’t need to. He will be SO relieved.

CD6: We keep talking about baby names…pregnancy announcements. I think we are delusional. We are building this insane hope which I know is so dangerous. I wish I could stop myself and get back to my slightly cynical self which had developed over the past 3 years. Its a lot easier to deal with bad news when you aren’t hopeful.

CD7: Hope continues. Getting excited for our ultrasound on friday to date my follicles(if any). I keep thinking..man….by the end of October I will be pregnant…or know we can’t get pregnant this way. INSANE.

CD8: Worked all day.Awkward encounter: a girl was talking about infertility and blah blah blah. Essentially acting like she was the queen of knowledge, although admitting she had never struggled. She basically said that I didn’t have a right to opinion unless I was in the infertility position. I basically told her… Yah well, jokes on you because I am. Some people are so stupid-you have no idea what people are going though! SO many people feel they have to hide infertility, watch what you say! Im sure there are thousands of people who would be so aggravated by her and not say anything…thankfully I have chosen to be transparent in our journey! I don’t usually stand up for myself in those situations and I am SO glad I did. I have been craving mcdonalds french fries like CRAZY…..I don’t think that is a side effect of anything-I think I am just a french fry fiend…

CD9: I didn’t experience any side effects of the letrozole which is such a relief. I had my follicle-tracking ultrasound today. It was with a different doctor as mine was out of the office, but she was equally nice and friendly. My nurse is the wife of a doctor I work with which was also cool-we had lots to talk about, taking some of the nervousness away. My ultrasound showed two good follicles on the left- one 9mm and another 11mm. There were some follicles on the right but they were much smaller. From what I have read you need your follicles to be more than 14-16mm to release typically…but I still have 4 days for that to happen. One may release, or two. That gives us a chance of twins-which would be a blessing, but man would I prefer ONE baby at a time. haha. Of course, we will be happy for whatever we get, if we achieve pregnancy. Nervously hopeful. Sunday night will be HCG injection day and then IUI will be tuesday morning. We will be out of town so hopefully someone can do my shot since my friend won’t be able to if we are away. *Note to self* Wear a dress for future appointments. Its super awkward walking to the ultrasound in your paper sheet with nothing down below….

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CD10: Went boating/icecream with the parents and then had a camp fire in the backyard and decided to have an impromptu camp out since we had our tent, and I just needed to be under the stars.

CD11: Went fishing with my Dad and then returned right on time. HCG injection was this night. Surprisingly didn’t hurt a bit-my Dad did it for me since Graeme was too nervous.

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CD12: Woke up with morning sickness? Possibly from the shot…not sure. Lasted until mid afternoon when I ate a heavier meal and then I was just peachy. Started having some left sided cramping which is where my follicles were-so hopefully that is indicating ovulation.

CD13: Went in for IUI today. G gave his sample and then we went for breakfast while it was washed and prepared. The sample was a good count, but poor motility. This is a little disheartening as the last time we were told it had improved. I guess it just varies day-to-day. The doctor said she felt we could have success still though, so *fingers crossed*. The IUI was a little painful. They inserted the catheter through my cervix after a few minutes of not being able to get it in…then ensued major cramping. Like bad period cramps. They let my spasms calm a bit and then injected the sample. I then laid on the table for 10 minutes before going home. So glad I wore a dress! Its now almost an hour post procedure and I am still cramping/contstant need to pee…so hopefully that calms down. Taking it easy until tonight when I work-doc says working should be fine. (ps. my doc was still out of the office…so it was the other doctor) Now begins the two week wait until we get a blood pregnancy test to see if it works!

CD14: This is torture. All I can think about is if I will be pregnant or not. I just want to blurt it out to everyone. I can’t stop googling things I already know. Im so afraid I could cry. I just want this to work so badly. I feel relatively good today-a few minor twinges in my right side…nothing major. Im TRYING desperately to forget about all of this for a few days…but it is impossible, I am obsessed. Obsessed over if it will work…if I am doing anything wrong…obsessed over trying to figure out how we could afford IVF if necessary…etc.

CD18: Still going INSANE. I can’t believe it hasn’t even been a full week. Having some VERY light spotting. Makes me worried my progesterone is too low-I have read up a lot about having progesterone checks which my clinic doesn’t do…annoying. Progesterone is important to prevent you from miscarriage if you DO implant. Ive also had some occasional pangs in my low abdomen…its really sensitive. I think this is probably just a)psychosomatic or b)side effects of the injection

CD19: Oh you know. Insanity remains. Getting slightly more hopeless-more spotting today. Woke very nauseated, ate some toast and it improved. Later in the afternoon got very nauseated and exhausted all at the same time. Was planning to get back out and run finally tonight but I think I’m going to have to wait since Im feeling generally crummy today. I think I might just be getting sick! I think I may be spotting too much to have anything happen. Really wishing I was having progesterone checks. I have to keep reminding myself of the thing I told G the first day-“We will have a wonderful life whether or not we have a baby or not”
After G got home from work I started noticing a heightened sense of smell-or he is more smelly than normally. I couldn’t even tolerate it…I fell NAUSEATED from his sweaty work self and sent him straight to the shower. Meds have such a funny effect. I have also started having VERY vivid dreams of taking a positive pregnancy test. It is heart-breaking to wake up from these dreams.
CD20:  Broke down and checked a urine preg test- It was negative-which just means it is too early to check, and also that my HCG shot is out of my system. Ive been having a lot of spotting similar to before I get my period.
CD21: Ive decided Im going to test every other morning now until blood test day-I don’t want to fall apart on the phone with the stranger when it is negative-I’d like to already know…

CD22: Someone walked in on a conversation regarding fertility with a friend and with zero knowledge of our journey crassly told me I just needed to “RELAX”. I swear, if another person says that to me I might loose it. EDUCATE YOURSELF. Infertility has nothing to do with if I can relax or not after 3 years. Our specialist says that after 2 years of trying to conceive the chances of naturally conceiving are less than 10%.  1 in 6 couples in canada can’t conceive by JUST RELAXING. UGH. Got a negative preg test…but then I left it on the counter and an hour later came back to see a faint positive. Ive looked online a lot and apparently this is an ‘evaporation line’….you can’t read a negative preg test after 10 minutes. I was stupidly optimistic…

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CD25: How silly of me to have gotten my hopes up. 12 days post IUI…something should start showing by now if I was pregnant. Big Fat Negative. Time to start preparing myself for IUI #2. 😦 I feel silly to have started off so hopeful. this is our 36th month. Not looking forward to going through another cycle- I didn’t expect it to be so emotional. If I can’t have babies….why do I need to deal with this? I wish there was a way to just stop periods forever other than birth control and I also wish there was a way to know 100% if I would eventually conceive or not. This period of unknown sucks. I just want to be able to grieve and move on if I can’t have a child…

CD26: Feeling in much better spirits today. AF arrived and I just feel clear in the head. Happy to have a week break from thinking about fertility stuff before more appointments and what not. Start letrozole again on wednesday. Will be talking with the doctor at my next ultrasound to discuss possibly starting progesterone since I had spotting most days this month. My plan is to get back into running my normal amount-I hope that will help with the emotional whirlwind that is infertility. “We will have a wonderful life with or without children.” Filling up my social calendar for the next month feels great-I love knowing I will be busy. ALSO my best friend moved back home this weekend which I KNOW will help!:)

CD26 LATE EVENING: AF is gone. Now I just feel confused and emotional again. AHHHHH. I can’t wait for the HCG blood test tomorrow to confirm what I already know. I just want to move on. I really wish I didn’t have to go through this again…. But if we want to have a family we don’t have much of a choice. I have never had such an emotional journey in my life-I often find myself wishing I could be more removed from the whole situation. I am normally a relatively positive person and I just feel so negative…
People who continuously complain about their children are increasingly driving me nuts. Its so hard to hold back from saying something cruel. I just want to scream and tell them how damn lucky they are. Yet-every person who doesn’t want a pregnancy seems to be getting pregnant. Thanks world. Thanks. See what I mean-I should probably just keep my cynical hormone injection thoughts to myself so I don’t offend every good person in the world, right?

CD27: I went for blood work at 9am this morning, called the clinic at 10:30 and then again at 14:00 and still at 15:21 no one has called me back. I was so calm knowing the results……but now I have ZERO bleeding. As in..no spotting, no period…for the first time since IUI. What the heck? I NEED THESE PEOPLE TO CALL AND DEFINITIVELY TELL ME IM NOT PREGNANT BEFORE I LOOSE IT! In other news, I was very nauseated again this morning. I DID eat dairy two days in a row though, so I could be to blame.

Later on CD 27: The clinic finally called me back. HCG NEGATIVE. I am positively not pregnant. They do think it odd that we can’t figure out if my cycle is over or not yet though. Im to wait it out a couple days and see what happens. I have instant relief. Im not sad. I feel completely and utterly content finally. I have some time to just relax and not worry for a bit now until round two starts…Its incredible how emotional this journey is-I never fathomed I would be that person clinging to every little sign of hope. On to another cycle, another try.