Canyon’s Birth Story

Written May 27, 2018

Happy birthday Canyon! Today is your actual date of birth.

This time last year I was getting my blood pressure checked at Fred Meyer, which was closer than the midwife center and cheaper than purchasing a blood pressure cuff (free!). It had been slowly rising over a couple of weeks, and our midwives were concerned that if it kept rising we would fall under the pre-eclampsia category (meaning, not a suitable client for the birth center). So in the last few days we were to monitor it daily.

When I felt a slow leak of fluid over the next few hours, I let my midwife know, as I was calling to report that yes, my blood pressure was still a few digits higher than just the day before (even after three readings). She told me to not panic, to sit still and that she’d come down from the center to meet me. “Those store machines can be a bit over sensitive…”

We both knew I was also very anxious that we would be discharged as her patient and this was NOT my wife and I’s ideal plan at all! When her readings outside in the fresh air still showed similar results, she gave me an amniotic fluid test strip to use in the bathroom. Blue reaction on the strip confirmed, no color or green indicated urine or other. When I came back out nodding, we both knew the next step, as we discussed the prior day. The strip of paper she’d given me, bright blue, promoted us into action. She hustled to her car to tell Amy parking instructions for the hospital. “Wait…right now?” I asked. They both laughed a bit before saying, together: “Yes!”

Our midwife said of course we should go home and grab our bags, and my mind started reeling from all the things I would have to unpack from our birth center bag. “Guess I won’t be needing those snacks,” I wondered aloud. “No, eat! They may not let you once you check in, and if you are going to try to do a natural birth, you’ll need the energy.” All our advice from our world-renowned birth course instructor Penny Simkin rushed back. Good idea. Amy was fresh from getting a haircut on her lunch break (she’d rushed to meet us at Fred Meyer, down the street, hair trimmings on her shirt and everything). She confessed she needed a shower, as she scratched at the back of her neck.

Our midwife handed me a chux pad to sit on incase my water did break, and instantly I felt so excited and nervous that I could hardly think! We drove home in our separate cars to grab our things, and Amy took the fastest shower of her life! Our birth center team stayed with us and helped facilitate the process of checking us into our hospital and our amazing doula was due to arrive any moment – we started our transfer of care to the birth center at the hospital (no birthing tub, which is why we had originally chosen the facility next door).

Amy and I met with a nice midwife on staff who confirmed that since my water had been slowly draining for a day, compounded by the fact my blood pressure was higher still than it had been at check-in, it made us higher risk patients – the birth center at the hospital couldn’t accept us, but the doctors would be more than happy to accommodate a natural style birth as much as possible. She asked if we had a birth plan. We said we only had about two or three “ideals”, and would wing the rest. We didn’t anticipate being here, after all! We wanted skin to skin after birth, no pain meds as much as possible, and avoid surgeries unless necessary.

We were getting tired already, and fine with starting pitocin as recommended (admittedly after a brief cry when the nurse left to exchange our paperwork with the hospital doctors on staff). We knew we would do whatever we could to get our baby here safely, but I was irritated when my blood pressure spiked and I was told I could no longer move freely, and to be as still as possible. I was again offered pain medication, and through the first fee centimeters of dilation, until my doula took JuJu the nurse outside and gave her a good talking to.

I was started on blood pressure meds. I tried to lie on my side for as long as possible; When I switched to my other side and adjusted the ball between my legs, the blood pressure monitor would become angry. I was told if I wasn’t able to stop moving completely, I could potentially need a c-section if my blood pressure hit a certain level (not too far from where I was). The comfort ball at my hips was taken away. I was at 6 or 7 centimeters, and things were very uncomfortable. My doula was amazing but how much can you really do when you are confined to no movement? I wasn’t sure I could do a drug free birth without being able to move from my back at ALL, or stand or turn. I agreed to an epidural, because I preferred that over the alternative.

My doula was so supportive of my decisions, and told me how amazing I had done when I was discouraged about giving up by agreeing to the epidural. I could tell she really was proud of how far I’d come, as she kept telling me that I had already thrown up and gotten through the worst of labor on my own. She saw in me that if I could get through that I could have done the rest, but we were both in agreement that my blood pressure rise plus not moving around was a unique situation that we dealt with the best way we could.

The pressure cuff was so mad about as I sat as still as a stone for the epidural placement by a very severe, younger-looking man. At this point, whatever it took, we were okay with! Things were rolling along pretty smoothly after that, and I was able to get a little bit of sleep. The next afternoon, after a bit more work, baby Canyon was here and we were all so relieved and happy!

What a day to remember and be thankful for. I can’t wait until our guy can wake up from his nap and have his birthday pie smash (so what he already had a cake smash? A birthday isn’t a birthday in our house without a piece-a pie)! Grateful for our amazing midwife, doula, and hospital team; and for every second I get with Canyon James.


I’m Bossy | PIO shots 24, 25

Today the vlog goes up from our weekend injections. Having cramps and intermittent pink to red bleeding is dulling my normally sunny disposition, but with Amy by my side I am getting through it.

The shots are almost easier to do myself, because by now they have become a sort of evening ritual:

I wash up, set out my supplies, ask my partner to get out the supplies I forgot (okay, it’s not always easier by yourself), 1,2,3 breathe and inject, rub any additional oil on my wrists (why? no idea), and clean up the mess, sorting the used needles, trash, and recyclables into their respective receptacles. Then I sit down with my still-warm rice sock and treat myself to a hot cocoa and a television show with Amy before bed. It’s become my evening “church”.

So…on shot #25 when my wife grabbed the syringe out of my hand and uncapped the needle as I was sitting down post-injection, I got a bit upset, as you can see on the vlog. This is my reaction when I am at the end of a long day and things just still aren’t going as planned.

There is some adrenaline pumping after a self-administered injection in your bum, and this progesterone is throwing everything about me just a little “off”; my hair is extra oily, my skin is extra sweaty, and I am washing our bedding two to three times a week, to the point I have written “sheets” on next week’s shopping list. And on top of all of that, I am leaking this gross melty-aspirin-like endometrin suppository and have been wearing pads for a month so far. Every so often I will have a series of small rolling cramps similar to the beginning of a menstrual cycle. I go to the bathroom and see blood occasionally, sometimes spotting and sometimes a heavier but not quite “full” flow.

Living on the edge of your seat and wondering if your life is about to change is exhausting. We have 9 more days until our OB appointment at our clinic. If it’s looking good, we will be discharged from care; we’ll be on our own to find our doctor of choice for the remainder of our pregnancy. If it’s bad news, we remain patients of Seattle Reproductive Medicine which is the best place to be during our struggles but I will be happier to GO!

The “Bossy” vlog starts out with the previous evening’s injection; we were at a fancy dinner with Canyon’s grandparents which took longer to course out than we had anticipated. We rushed home to do our injections 45 minutes later than normal, which also put me in a foul mood. I told Amy to just leave me be and put the babe down while I did my own quick injection. I was almost shaking mad for being so late on our injection. To the point I don’t want to leave the house ever again after 4 pm until our shots are done! The feeling of fear and disappointment and anxiety and insecurity is manifesting as anger and I know that. I don’t want to be angry.

Deep down, I am. I am angry my friends cycle just failed. I am angry another dear friend is bleeding 3 weeks after losing her baby after similar strong beta numbers. I am mad that I am bleeding after a fourth IVF transfer, five embryos and 7 IUI’s. I don’t think I can handle losing this baby, but I see the strength in our TTC community and I am so grateful to these women, and inspired.

We will keep sharing our journey, even in these unflattering moments where I look like a self-confessed smelly jerk. I will also be packing a PIO kit to take next time we have an evening event, though I would honestly rather be in the comfort of my own home. (Plus, I find that not warming the oil causes me a slower injection and more bleeding, so I would rather be home with access to a warm, dry compress).

I am sure we will be doing cold PIO shots in the car by the time this is all over, but as long as I can avoid it, I am going to try!

Partners of IVF women: you da real M.V.P.’s.

“I’m Bossy” vlog, now on YouTube.

“Big Hole” After PIO Injection #21

Self-administered PIO shots are unnerving enough, and though I wasn’t sure why I was bleeding so much here, we reviewed the tapes and looked back at my technique for some answers.

The actual progesterone injection was administered fine; I likely scraped myself removing the needle by not working with the natural angle and trying to focus on pulling it ‘straight out’ when I had injected at a slight angle. I believe this caused the appearance of a larger post-injection hole (usually you can hardly see anything after bleeding stops).
Next time I will need to find the needle’s natural angle by relaxing my grip before pulling the syringe away, and from here on out I’m going to have my cotton ball ready just in case!

Living and learning and sharing it all with you.  See more on YouTube.


PIO Shots 14 and 15

This is getting progressively easier, imagine that! We still have quite a few weeks ahead of us, so I may change my tune again in the future.  Is that allowed?

I did have a air bubble that resisted being ejected out of the syringe by tapping it (it would not rise to the surface, and I was NOT about to lose three drops of oil to release it). I put the needle back into the oil, and ejected it, then redrew my solution. I actually had a nightmare about this later that night, that the air was somehow entering the needle through the plunger side, and that I noticed right before my wife injected a never ending supply of air into my blood stream. Terrifying? Yes! Possible? No!

Don’t let this post scare you. Sometimes I scare myself. This progesterone has me feeling not quite myself, and I probably shouldn’t write any more today.

Updates to come! Until then, check out our IM injections #14 and #15 on YouTube

PIO Shots 10 and 11

These are getting easier as the end of week two is now in sight. I have also managed to do a couple P-I-O shots myself. Coupled with the faint lines on our home pregnancy tests, the injections remind me of the important processes going on inside my body.

I will admit, testing early at home scared us, because I wasn’t sure I wanted to sob through a week of injections and negative HPT’s before our beta blood draw, which measures the pregnancy hormone in the bloodstream. Amy didn’t want to see me in utter despair, as we had been down this road of HPTs after pregnancy attempts (ten times) and it had only ended well once.

Luckily we got our first promising non-squinter at 5dp5dt which put us in the best position to get through these next shots. Worst case: we have to wait until the 8th, though it is early a.m. so we will get same day lab results.

I sent the email to my nurse over the weekend, asking if we might come in early; I imagine I will hear back soon. Until then, our fingers are crossed over here for beta confirmation!

Watch PIO Injections 10 and 11 on YouTube

HPT Line Progressions Starting at 3DP5DT| Dollar Tree Tests

I knew I shouldn’t have done it. I told everyone I wouldn’t, you know, for accountability. Early testing, nope, not this time. “Not me. Too stressful!”

Then I did.

Pretty much immediately after our five day transfer.

I just had to know. We had seen the embryo hatch on embryo transfer day, so it was primed and ready. It was able. Was it genetically sound? Nobody knows, but we sure hope!

Something about seeing human life being transferred into your body makes all patience go out the window. Fortunately, most IVF/FET results take less than that: 7-10 days after a transfer! Still too long to hold my breath.

I tested on day three knowing I was nuts, and embracing it. Not upset when nothing showed. The next morning I tried again. I just couldn’t help myself, ya’ll! It was still 9 hours too early to be considered a full 4 days past five day transfer (4DP5DT).

Again, I embraced my inner crazy and whipped out a fresh test. It was only $1! And it could give me peace of mind, maybe? Well, that or it could drive me one step closer to the reception desk at the nuthouse. May the odds ever be in my favor, I thought, ripping into the cardboard packaging, stopping to ask myself what the heck I was doing. Losing my mind, I confirmed, before tearing into the pink plastic packaging that held the testing cassette and dropper. Exactly three drops of pee. Okay. Three minutes. Let’s set the timer for five, just incase.

I barely looked at it before confirming another negative. Only when I looked later to show a friend who was asking that yes I had tested and no there wasn’t… wait. Wait a minute.

Do you see it, too??

This isn’t a blog to tell you all about HcG doubling rates, or the stages of embryonic development; you want to see the results. Here they are.

Transfer procedure completed at 3:19 PM on Jan 29 2018

The Tests:

Feb. 1, 3DP5DT @ 2 PM

Feb. 2, 4DP5DT @ 7 AM

Day 3 (above) and 4 with editing (because CRAZY)

See more on YouTube

Self Administering Intramuscular Injections for IVF (A Drama Queen’s Account)

My first self-administered intramuscular injection – I DID IT!!! The adrenaline is still rushing, nearly an hour later, as I think about it. I honestly was expecting something unfavorable to occur. Blood? Nope. Pain? Not at all! Terror? Okay, I guess there was some of that.

I was fearful of doing a PIO shot by myself at home but here we are on the other side, unscathed – no sissy stuff here (…okay, maybe I was a bit of a drama queen…but in my defense, poking yourself feels SO counterintuitive on so many levels).

I had been nervous ever since the day we found out PIO shots would be in our protocol: nervous about the medicines getting delivered (they did), about getting through the first injection (it was fine), nervous about it not working (TBD).

So far nothing negative has happened, besides me being absolutely rude this week (as a med side effect I imagine)…STILL the fear of this 1.5 inch long needle is ruling my thoughts more than it should.

I don’t like having to depend on someone to give nightly injections, especially when our baby is needing so much at the 7:00 hour; I like being in control of my own destiny.

We found out that Amy may be taking a road trip soon that could potentially cause her to arrive home later than our normal injection hour; she also frequently hops on a plane at a moment’s notice wherever her job takes her. Though most trips she can delegate for these next few weeks, the possibility of causing her stress trying to get home is not worth it. And I certainly don’t want to feel that tension! This is hard enough.

So what better time than today…right now…to do a PIO shot, myself. Just to know that I can. I actually made up my mind to do it before I knew it was possible. I know some folks drive to their clinic in the off chance they need a couple injections done, but I’m going on four years at our fertility clinic, if I can avoid an unnecessary trip I’ll do anything!

I decided to search the internet and watch some videos of others doing it by themselves. Did they use the hip, still? In the videos I found, yes.

If that girl can do it, I would think to myself, then surely I can, too.

You know what? If I can do it, so can you!!!

Here is footage from PIO Injection #9