Friday, 27 December 2013

The end of another year

Christmas and New Year's celebrations are a particularly tough time. This is the third Christmas I have been hoping to have a nice bump for the family to be excited about over the festive season but unfortunately that has not yet been the case. The end of the year is an acute reminder that another 12 months has passed without a pregnancy- especially with all the cute baby and pregnancy photos dominating facebook posts and Christmas cards . I remember kissing my husband after the New Year's countdown for the past few years and us both wishing that the year to follow was going to be the one when our family would start. This New Year's Eve we will have the same wish but with more experience and heartbreak the hope is tainted with fear and fatigue. 2013 was the year we started IVF: the solution to our problems. There were SO many pregnancies and births this year for friends and family  but our two fresh IVF cycles and one FET were unsuccessful. I know this post may sound dreary and self-pitying but reflecting on our journey makes me realise how far we've come and how strong we have been to get through the challenges we've had. One of the best pieces of news I received just before Christmas was the announcement by a friend that she was pregnant after her sixth IVF cycle. She has a similar history of endometriosis/unexplained infertility and went through the same clinic as I did before moving to the clinic we have already made contact with. She has given us some great advice and has made me feel much more hopeful that it will happen for us eventually. So here's to the end of 2013...please, please, please let 2014 be our year!

Monday, 9 December 2013

"Let go or be dragged"

Infertility is a heavy thing. It can be a journey marred with bitterness, heartache, loneliness, jealousy, frustration, confusion, anxiety and hopelessness. I don't think anyone could come out the other side and reflect that "it wasn't too bad". It is definitely an experience that only those who have been through could understand. I have never believed in suppressing feelings yet I also don't think that hanging onto negative feelings is a good thing. When I have been sad about my failure to get pregnant I have tried to feel the pain and then move forward. The zen proverb "let go or be dragged" was one that resonated with me a lot when I came across it about six months ago. It confirmed the importance of moving forward; of knowing that something becomes heavier the longer you carry it. It is hard to be positive sometimes (ok a lot of the time) but I know that I will be wasting opportunities to enjoy life if I keep dwelling on what I don't have instead of being grateful for what I do have. So I encourage anyone going through infertility to try and let go of the hurt wherever possible- or risk being dragged under by its heavy weight.

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Another one bites the dust...

Yep- BFN. I started spotting at 11dp2dt and my cervix felt hard and low when I put my progesterone pessary in. I tested yesterday morning (12dp2dt) and there was no trace of a second line on the urine pregnancy test. I feel tired. What next? From what I can tell with repeated implantation failure it is either an embryo quality issue or a uterine receptivity issue. I am frustrated with our clinics preference for 2 day embryos as I want to know what our embryos would do past this phase. Are they even reaching blastocyst or are they arresting at 2-3 days? Are they hatching? Why aren't they implanting? I have arranged for us to have a DQ alpha match test through the doctor we consulted with about natural killer cells. I'm torn between continuing with FET's using our remaining embryos as I worry that it won't work. My thoughts are we should change clinics and move to Monash IVF in Melbourne- where they specialise in blastocyst transfer. I want to know if it is an embryo issue or whether it is an issue with my uterine receptivity so we can look at our options. We have discussed donor embryos, donor eggs and donor sperm and even though these avenues are complicated we both know we are open to what we need to do. We have also discussed surrogacy; which is quite a challenging process in Australia. I have started looking into overseas clinics in India and Thailand and like the look of the Surragocy Centre India. I hope so much that I can carry a child that is biologically mine and my husbands but I think we have to start looking at other options.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

6dp2dt...mind games of the 2WW

Ohhhhhh the wonderful two week wait. A time of over-analysing everything you do and feel. Am I moving around too much or not enough? Am I eating enough protein or so much that it will affect my liver qi? Can I drink this cold drink or will it pull warmth away from my uterus? How much caffeine is actually in a small piece of chocolate? If I just eat half a chocolate ball will that be ok? Is my pessary just leaking the wax coating or is all the progesterone coming out too? Did my cat just jump too hard on my stomach? Did I get too hot when I went for that walk? Should I put sunscreen on when I go outside or do I need the vitamin D? If I wear sunscreen then do I still take my vitamin D supplement? Aaaaarrrgh!!!!! I'm trying to keep distracted and relaxed but it is nearly impossible. There is so much riding on an IVF cycle...and so much responsibility as the person carrying your precious embryo. Oh how I hope this is the time it works. I hope we can be pregnant for Christmas. We've decided to test next weekend at home before the beta blood test on Monday 2nd December. Please let the time go fast...

Monday, 18 November 2013

Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET)

We had our FET at about 1pm today. The embryo thawed successfully and maintained its pre-thaw rating of 8 out of 10. We had a new doctor doing the transfer today- he was really funny and made me feel much more relaxed than I was last time. After the transfer he had to insert my progesterone pessary and I panicked as we were leavings the clinic as the waxy coating melted and I felt a gush of liquid down below. I was worried that the embryo had "fallen out" but had to remind myself to be rational and resist the crazy paranoia...I needed to give myself a few days at least before all the mind games started ;)

So now I'm officially in the two week wait (2WW). My beta is on Monday 2nd December and I highly doubt that I will be unable to resist the temptation to pee on a stick before then. I know the next fortnight will be a roller coaster but I'm going to try enjoy the feeling of being pregnant until proven otherwise :)

Friday, 15 November 2013

Getting closer to our FET- intralipids, endometrial lining and a birthday

I've been in a pretty low place recently. I thought it would get easier but I have to say it's been really tough. Having a birthday this week didn't help as it was a reminder of how long we've been doing this for. I thought I would be trying for my second baby by now but what can you do? I've made a Pinterest board full of infertility inspirations and reflections that help me stay positive (if anyone is interested it is under TTC A Family). My intralipid infusion was on my birthday. Due to the fact that it was the first infusion ever done at my clinic they were writing protocols and organising the procedure right up until the day but luckily everything all went smoothly. They had a lot of difficulty getting my canular in but once that happened and some saline was flushed through I was given 300ml of the milky white liquid- which took just over 3 hours. I felt quite sleepy during the infusion but otherwise felt fine. Despite the fact I have been trying to be healthy I had McDonald's fries and a lemonade on the way home from the infusion. I suppose I figured if I was having that much fat (from the intralipids) I may as well go the whole hog and top it off with some greasy food!). I was reading up on natural killer cells over the subsequent days and started to panic when I read about DQ alpha matches and how they can influence natural killer cells and prevent the embryo from implanting. The recommended plan for partial DQ alpha matches is a single embryo transfer. While we haven't had this test I was concerned that if this was a problem for us we shouldn't proceed with a double embryo transfer. I rang the doctor that diagnosed my natural killer cells and while he said the area was controversial he suggested doing a single embryo transfer and then doing the DQ alpha testing if this cycle was also unsuccessful. It was a surprisingly difficult pill to swallow. Even though the decision to do a double embryo transfer was a difficult one I had started to look forward to the thought of having more than one embryo to 'take care of'. Despite this adjustment to our plan I was thrilled when the nurse said that my endometrial lining was 10mm during my ultrasound and that our FET was scheduled for the following Monday (18th November). As we get closer I'm starting to relax and look forward to the transfer. I know that the time after transfer will be tough- and tougher still if we get another BFN- but we just have to keep crossing those bridges as we come to them.

Monday, 11 November 2013


When we started this journey to conceive I had a clear picture in my head of being pregnant, giving birth, breast-feeding my child and watching on proudly as my husband held him or her to his chest. I could see two or three children running to meet their dad at the front door when he returned home from work and crowd around him as he leant over to kiss me. I started to buy things for our 'babies' even before we started trying-a jumpsuit here and a squeeze toy there- and then when we began to try to get pregnant I decided to purchase bigger things- a cot, a bassinet, a baby carrier and many other baby-related items. I was excited and told myself I was budgeting cleverly by spreading my purchases out while I was working so that we wouldn't have so many expenses when I was on maternity leave. I never told anyone and hid my purchases around the house. I would look through them every few weeks and feel excited by the thought that it wouldn't be long before the dream of a family became a reality. But as the months dragged on and no pregnancy arrived I stopped looking at all the baby gear. I had to start wiping the dust off the cot hidden under our bed and stopped unzipping the suitcase filled with tiny baby clothes and burp cloths to look at them. I felt embarrassed by the thought that I had a house full of baby things and no baby. That my pregnant friends had less baby items than me. With each new fertility treatment or plan I felt a renewed sense of hope that I would be able to start my longed-for nursery but each time we received the news that we had not been successful I felt the images of my future children fading. In the past few weeks I have started to see a future that doesn't have children and it scares me to death. How much longer can we go on with these treatments? Will this ever work for us? Will we be the unlucky ones who can never have children- even with IVF? We know for sure that six viable embryos have been created; one during our first IVF and five during our second. Two out of the six embryos have been transferred and four remain. I thought a lot about those embryos tonight...if they are they beginnings of a person...a potential baby...does that make me a mother? Do you only become a mother when you give birth? Maybe it's when you're officially pregnant? But when describing the relationship of the embryos to me I would like to think I am the 'mother'. The thought of that brings the image of my children back to my mind- if only for a few seconds before my heart closes itself for protection...

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Life lessons

Life is not a fairy tale. There is not only one heartache followed by happily ever after but rather an ongoing cycle of ups and downs throughout our time on earth. Sometimes these downs extend for long periods of time and you wonder if it will ever end. Infertility is the hardest thing I have ever had to go through. It is the lowest of all the lows in my life so far and I hope there will be no lower point- but there may be. Sometimes when you think life has given you more than enough gut punches it will give you another when you're pleading for mercy. I don't believe that I deserve this anymore than I believe that I don't deserve this. I don't take these hits personally as I believe that life is neither fair nor unfair- it just This is a down point in my life but I am not alone. I don't believe there is a person alive who has only experienced highs just as I don't believe there is anyone who has only experienced lows. Do I wish I was having babies when all my friends were? The answer is of course more than anything. Unfortunately I have to play the hand I have been dealt and just get on with it. I can let these negative experiences shape me for the better or worse. I can learn from them and hopefully grow as a person. I hope that one day these experiences shape me to be a better mother and that I can be grateful for the lessons I have learnt along the way...

Saturday, 5 October 2013

High natural killer cells and a change of plan

I received a call yesterday from the doctor in Melbourne who did my uterine biopsy (Dr L) and he confirmed that I had high natural killer (NK) cells. I can't remember the exact number but he said something about it being "over 20"- which was apparently quite elevated. I took the news well but became really worried when he said that if he was overseeing my planned FET he wouldn't be prescribing Clomid (as my original doctor had) and would instead do a down-regulation cycle with the birth control pill and Synarel nasal spray followed by stimulating hormones before transfer and then a mix of clexane, dexamethasone and progesterone after transfer. He also recommended Intralipid infusions 7-14 days before transfer. Due to the fact that I had been spotting for a few weeks and was due my period any day he suggested starting BCP's immediately- which would mean a delay in my planned frozen embryo transfer for another month. The fact that his plan was so vastly different from my original doctor sent me into a whirlwind of panic and doubt. I called my clinic and was told my original doctor was away. I spoke (aka sobbed like a mad woman) to the nurse and relayed my concern about the original plan. She didn't seem to think that Dr L tests and ideas were any better than what they had already been doing but said she would speak with my doctor and see if he was willing to implement Dr L's suggestions. I felt so confused about whether to continue with my original clinic as I just didn't feel they were concerned enough about my treatment. I started to think that transferring our embryos to Monash IVF and seeing Dr L exclusively would be a better idea. After speaking with one of their nurses she brought me down to earth by explaining that the process of transferring embryos and starting with their clinic wouldn't be quick and that we may be looking at next year before we proceeded with any cycle. Luckily the nurse from my original clinic called back and said they were happy to proceed with Dr L's  plan. I don't wont bore anyone with the rest of the details of yesterday but needless to say I was exhausted by the afternoon after endless phone calls, much Internet searching and a quick trip to get an ultrasound at my clinic. The felt I needed to have a proper period before I started the birth control pill so I will start it on day 5 of my cycle (next Tuesday). Sigh. What a roller coaster infertility treatment is. I hate being delayed as every week feels like a month but I suppose I should be grateful that we have a plan :)

Monday, 30 September 2013

A new doctor and a uterine biopsy

Yesterday I visited another clinic to see a doctor who specialises in the more controversial area of reproductive immunology. I had read about Natural Killer (NK) cells on different forums and noted that it tended to be a more common test in countries like the US and the UK. Here in Australia there are only two doctors that do the test- one in Sydney and one in Melbourne. I visited the doctor in Melbourne; Dr L (Monash IVF). He was straight to the point and after a few questions about my history and a flick through my thick folder of test results and procedures I was up on the examination table. I was expecting the biopsy to hurt a little but it hurt a LOT! Luckily it didn't take long and Dr L told me I did well. I bled quite a bit afterwards and felt quite crampy. I was given a pathology request form with a long list of tests that the doctor wanted me to have, which included some genetic tests that he also wanted my husband to be tested for. I went downstairs for the tests and was a little concerned when I saw the 18 vials they were going to fill with my blood. Yikes! I also had to provide two urine samples with one needing to be a mid-stream test. I'm sure I had less than 30ml in my bladder so I felt quite ridiculous handing in my jars afterwards. Luckily they said I had enough in the jars to be tested. So now I'm waiting until Friday for my results. I have to call Dr L and if my NK cells are high then I will have to have intralipid infusions as well as the prednisolone and clexane that I already take during my cycles. It is about 3 weeks until my FET and I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand I feel the hope that I always have for any month we try and on the other hand I feel apprehensive about the emotional drain that each cycle brings and the potential devastation I might feel if it doesn't work again...

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Picking up the pieces

It's two weeks since our negative beta and I'm starting to feel normal again. I was in a pretty bad place when I knew our second IVF had failed and I had many low moments where I would cry, and cry, and wail and cry some more. I had my sisters baby shower in the middle of this and got through it in one piece. I've become quite good at being very happy and chatty around others and then collapsing in a heap when I'm on my own and the pain and emptiness roll in. I feel sometimes like I have a knife permanently wedged in my heart and that sometimes it hurts so hard I can hardly breathe and sometimes I get used to its presence and it is just a dull ache. When I see pregnant people or babies I feel it's sharpness again, and hurtful comments twist the blade with an acute pain that throbs down to the pit of my empty tummy. My sister had her baby just after the shower and I was scared to visit her. I was worried I would be angry, or jealous, or sad, or that I would breakdown like a crazy women. I didn't visit with all the family but went by myself the next day and I was so relieved to find that the dominant emotion I felt was happiness. I enjoyed meeting my new little nephew and felt love for him and closeness to my sister. While I have still had my crap moments in the past week I have started to feel better in the last few days. I'm laughing at work rather than avoiding people for fear of crying. I'm enjoying exercise rather than doing it because I should. I'm being intimate with my husband because I feel like it. It's so freeing to be able to make love without worrying about whether it is the right time of the month...I had almost forgotten what it was like. We have decided for sure this week that we will go ahead with a double embryo transfer next month and I'm feel good about this decision after some initial hesitance. So here I am. Today I am positive and happy but even though I know that happiness doesn't last forever I also know that sadness doesn't either. Life is always changing and I hope that these difficult years will end eventually and we will have a family of our own one day.

Friday, 6 September 2013

BFN for IVF#2...

Sigh. I knew it was coming but it still hurts. I did a few home pregnancy tests during the week and they were stark white. I cried off and on all day today- and not just a few tears but full blown sobbing in preparation for my beta result phone call in the afternoon. I asked the nurse for the actual beta number this time and she said "less than 1...which means that it didn't even try and implant". Gut-punch. I held it together as I tried to ask her questions about doing a FET when my dad  knocked at the door. I only had a sports bra on as I had been on the treadmill and had to quickly try and out a t-shirt on while talking to the nurse and answering the door. I knew I wasn't going to be able to contain myself if my dad came in and listened to me on the phone so I just said "bad time dad" and shut the door. I felt bad seeing his expression as he was probably wondering what was going on (he didn't know about the transfer). I got through the rest of the phone call with the nurse and asked the questions I needed to. I then hopped back onto the treadmill and wailed my way through another 15 minutes. I must have looked like a crazy person! My husband was not expecting me to be so upset when he got home as he thought I was prepared for the result. I was a little angry at him for not understanding how devastated I was with the confirmed negative result but I can't complain. He has been so great through this whole process. So...what now? I've decided to get my natural killer cells tested at another clinic as ours does not do this. They have asked me to call them on the day of my period and then come in on cycle day 21 for a uterine biopsy. If I test positive I will probably have to have intralipid infusions in addition to the prednisolone I already take. Luckily both clinics are happy for me to see the other at the same time. I've also been thinking the last few days about whether we continue with single embryo transfers or do a double transfer next time? Anyway, I think we're going to need time to digest this cycle before we can think ahead but my personality naturally looks to solve the problem. I think it's just easier to distract myself with new plans rather than stop and feel the pain that is so heavy in my heart...

Friday, 30 August 2013


Today is just over a week since we transferred our little 2 day 4 cell embryo. I've felt more positive this cycle than I did last time and I'm really trying to be optimistic about the outcome. My concern with being positive is that it is "further to fall" so to speak if the result isn't a good one, but I've decided that I'll be upset no matter what so I may as well try to enjoy the feeling of being 'pregnant until proven otherwise'. I haven't really had any obvious symptoms that would indicate that the embryo has implanted. I haven't been sleeping as well and I've been quite tired coming back to work after five days off last week. It's Father's Day tomorrow and I've been thinking about how great it would be to have a positive pregnancy test to give my husband. I'm on the fence about doing a urine test before the beta next Friday but I know my patience is unlikely to hold out quite that long. I think it is so much less stressful this time around knowing that we have four frozen embryos. Knowing that it will be a much quicker and easier process if this doesn't work really helps.. So now we wait. I know that if I take a test early it will start the whole crazy mind-f*#k process and I think I'd like to enjoy my blissful ignorance at this stage...

Friday, 23 August 2013

Embryo transfer :)

I feel we're the closest we've ever been at the moment. Yesterday we were very nervous to hear about how our little embies had gone overnight and it was a huge relief to hear from the embryologist that we had five embryos that were all at 4 cell stage- which is where they should be at day 2. For those who haven't read previous posts we transferred a 3 cell embryo on day 2 for our last IVF as this was the best of the four that we had (the other three embryos had been 2 cell). We had a BFN that cycle and none to freeze so we were beyond excited to have one good one to transfer this cycle and at least 4 to freeze!!! We had to wait a while as our doctor was delayed in surgery and when he came in it was all over fairly quickly. The procedure was more painful this time as the doctor knocked my cervix and made it bleed. It was fine though and it just felt like the biggest weight off our shoulders to have our beautiful little "back up" embryos on ice. The embryologist said that the other embryos that were still a little behind (at 3 and 2 cell) may still catch up and that they would leave them until day 5 or 6 to see if they made it to blastocyst stage- in which case they would freeze them too. I had an acupuncture appointment before and after my transfer and I felt quite relaxed by the time we went home. Even though my doctor does not prescribe bed rest I decided to stay in bed for most of the evening watching movies. I have a battle going inside my head about moving too much vs not enough as my acupuncturists have always said I have "stagnant blood" and that movement helps bring blood flow to the uterus. Today I will move around a little more and might go for a gentle walk tomorrow. My husband and I decided to tell a few close friends/workmates about the transfer but tell our family that the transfer was delayed until September or October (we were pretty vague on the reasons). Our decision was based on the fact that we felt we didn't want any pressure on us during the 2WW and also that if we didn't have great news that we could deal with that ourselves without having to manage the disappointment of our family members. The other reason was that if we wre lucky enough to have good news that we could actually surprise our families in the same way that other people get to do when they're not going through fertility treatments. I still felt awful when it came time to actually lying but I tried to keep it positive and focus on how excited we were to have embryos to freeze (which was the truth at least). So now we wait. I will try and stay distracted and take it easy. I have another acupuncture appointment next week and will keep up the healthy eating and gentle exercise. I have to take clexane, prednisolone and progesterone every day and will keep up my supplements. I just know that no matter what we are one step closer :)

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Egg retrieval update

I went in for egg retrieval early this morning and was wheeled through for the procedure around 9:30am. The anaesthetist had a little trouble getting a vein again and had to whack the back of my hand to find one. The needle went in fairly easy after that and after some happy drugs I was out like a light. I came out of the anaesthetic crying and emotional. The nurses asked if I was in pain but I shook my head and took some deep breathes to try and stop myself. I did not want to have a pity party but had an overwhelming feeling of "why is this so much easier for other people?". The nurse let me know that they had retrieved 16 eggs so that made me feel better. I needed a few bags of fluid before they would let me go so I watched as other people were wheeled in and out of the ward for about an hour or so. I was allowed to get dressed about 11:45am and went thought to meet my husband in the recovery room. The embryologist arrived shortly after and let us know that they had retrieved 15 (not 16) eggs. He said that they had 'stripped' 10 for ICSI and either 7 or 8 of those would be mature enough for attempted fertilisation. We were given the option of doing normal IVF on the remaining 5 but I felt it was better to have another one ICSI'd as we had a 0% normal fertilisation rate on our last batch of IVF'd eggs. After seeing the nurse I went to my acupuncture appointment- which was very relaxing. I napped most of this afternoon and am just in bed watching TV now. I am trying not to get too anxious about the embryologist report tomorrow and just hope more than anything that we have a better result than last time. Fingers and toes are crossed x

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Triggered last night and egg retrieval tomorrow :)

I can't believe egg retrieval is tomorrow! After our first IVF cycle I thought it would feel like FOREVER before we were back in this place but I'm pleased to say that the last three months have gone relatively quickly. I went in for my stim scan (ultrasound) yesterday and was pleased that they found 17 follicles. I had been worried that nothing was growing as I wasn't feeling as bloated as I did during my first IVF cycle. My endometrial lining was 6mm (not as high as I thought) and most of my follicles were around 13mm. The lead follicle was 17mm and as I am not taking a suppressant I was told to trigger last night for egg retrieval tomorrow morning so I don't ovulate before they aspirate the follicles. I'm worried that the follicles aren't big enough and that we won't get enough mature eggs but we'll just have to wait and see. I hope they have all grown a bit more since yesterday. So now we are just hoping against hope that we will have some nice embryos and are able to transfer one back. It's a nerve-wracking time but I'm trying to stay as relaxed as possible. Will keep you posted :)

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

IVF # 2

Yep it's round 2! My husband and I saw our fertility specialist on Wednesday and we have a new protocol for our second IVF cycle. For our first IVF we had a long down regulation cycle with the oral contraceptive pill for one month followed by the nasal spray, 100-150u of Gonal-f and then prednisolone, progesterone and clexane after the embryo transfer. This time around we will be doing what our clinic calls a "Clomid/FSH cycle". As I am already over halfway into a monthly cycle I will start taking Primolut tomorrow for 7 days. I should then get my period after which I will take two tablets of Clomid per day for 5 days plus 200u of Puregon for 7 days. I will still be on Prednisolone and Clexane if and when we get to embryo transfer stage. The doctor said that he is hoping for quality rather than quantity this cycle as he was not happy with my egg quality last time.  I am hoping so much that this new protocol will produce a much more positive result. We are both on new supplements through a naturopath- I am on a high quality prenatal, fish oil, activated B-6, a probiotic and Vitamin-D drops, while my husband is on CoQ10, fish oil and a high quality paternal vitamin. My acupuncturist is away for 6 weeks but is due back the week we should be going in for egg retrieval. I feel a little nervous but mostly excited to be doing something again after 2 months off. I am in a good headspace this time around and even though I am not looking forward to the crazy hormones I am feeling...ready :)

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Feeling good :)

Time is passing. I find that being busy has made the days go quicker and even though I'm impatient to start the next IVF cycle I am trying to enjoy each day and be grateful for what I have. I have always had a tendency to concentrate on the destination and in doing so I often miss the beauty of what is happening right now. I'm enjoying the simple things in life a lot- a relaxing bath, the feeling of being stronger each day after I finish my workout, cooking a nice meal, watching a movie on the couch, having a clean house, paying a bit more of the mortgage, spending time with friends, getting a cuddle from my husband. I feel good- and even if tomorrow is not so great I'll take what I can get :)

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Life goes on...

I always try and steer myself away from writing depressing, self-pity posts (even when it gets really rough) but I'm not going to lie...infertility sucks. BFN's suck. IVF is hard. Not being pregnant is harder. The rollercoaster of emotions is a hugely unpleasant ride and I find it difficult to remember the time before all of this when life was simple. When looking forward to an event or party was the biggest thing happening in my life. I find myself wondering what I even did before we started trying to conceive? What did I like doing? What made me the happiest? I've always been a person with big goals and plans and it is so frustrating waiting, waiting, waiting.....This whole process is by far the hardest thing I've experienced yet I know that there are so many people experiencing far worse. People that would love to have my life. I hate to be ungrateful and so I make a concious effort to remind myself how lucky I am to have a job, a house, a husband, and food on the table. It would be so great to know for sure that we will definitely have children so we can get off the "what if" train and just enjoy life while we wait as the uncertainty is a killer! But life has to go on and so we are both focusing on being healthy and doing whatever we can to try and make the next IVF a success. Best of luck to any of you out there who are trying to conceive no matter how far you are into the journey.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Beta result IVF#1

It's officially a BFN. I had my BETA blood test this morning and received the results over the phone just before 5pm. I've teared up a few times reading text messages from close friends and family but otherwise I've resisted letting myself get too depressed. I'm trying to be positive and look forward to the next cycle- which should be around August/September. I've a long hot bath and eaten heaps of chocolate to make myself feel a little better and as I write this I have to say I don't feel as bad as I did earlier in the week after my negative home pregnancy test. That may change as I see pregnant women over the next few days and weeks but I'm really going to focus on being healthy and happy in preparation for IVF#2. Infertility sucks but it definitely won't beat me...

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

11dp2dt BFN :(

Today is 11 days past our 2 day embryo transfer (11dp2dt). I have had no urge to test until this morning.  I woke hot and sweaty in the middle of the night and felt I just had to do a test to stop the constant back-and-forth in my mind of whether the cycle had worked. I had not felt positive since the transfer and felt even less hopeful when none of our three remaining embryos lasted past the 4-cell stage. I didn't cry when I saw the BFN. I haven't cried all day. I have tried to understand what emotion I am actually feeling and although anger, sadness, confusion, fear, jealousy and hopelessness are all swirling around I have decided that in the end I just feel so tired....and empty. This process is so long. I hope I look back one day and it all feels like it flew by but right now I feel like time is passing at a snails pace for us while everyone else whizzes right past. I want to press pause on all the people with kids or pregnancies and yell "STOP!. WAIT FOR ME TO CATCH UP!!!!". I am worried my body rejected the embryo as I had felt quite tender in the breasts until my fever-like symptoms last night. I keep racing through the possible reasons for a failed cycle but right now I just want to curl up in a ball and go to sleep...

Monday, 27 May 2013

Embryo transfer and status of remaining embryos...

It's been a challenging few days. We arrived early for our embryo transfer on Friday morning (day 2) and after a short wait I was in stirrups ready for the doctor to arrive. The embryologist came in and explained the situation with our embryos. Basically they expected us to have 4-cell embryos at day 2 but we only had 1 x 3-cell and 3 x 2-cell embryos. They gave the 3-cell embryo a "7 out of 10" score and said that this was the one they would put back in. The procedure happened quite quickly- less than 2 minutes- and while I was lying there afterwards my husband and I spoke with the embryologist about the other embryos; including the non-ICSI ones that did not fertilise normally. The embryologist explained that the abnormally fertilised non-ICSI eggs contained one or three pro-nuclei rather than the normal two. He also said that he was unsure if the slower developing 2-cell embryos would catch up. I was told to continue with normal daily activity and that they would call me the following day to update me on the progress of the remaining embryos. I had to be in another city the next day for a pre-planned event and so got a lift with a friend for the 3 hour drive the same evening as my embyro transfer. I had terrible cramps during the drive and immediately regretted my decision. I was also worried about injecting the clexane without removing the air bubble but after much google searching I gave myself the injection. That night I woke in a frantic state at about 1:30am. I was extremely hot due to the fact that I had worn way too much to bed and could not get back to sleep after fearing that I had raised by core body temperature way too high and had consequently jeapordised the viability of our embryo. I stripped off my clothes and drank lots of water but remained awake for ages thinking that I had ruined everything. I tried to tell myself that it would be OK but felt terribly low all day Saturday. This wasn't helped by the fact that the embryologist called to say that it didn't look good for the three embryos in the lab who were still developing slowly (4 cell on day 3) and showed a lot of fragmentation. He guessed that they wouldn't make it to blastocyst stage but said he would call me back on Tuesday (day 6) to let me know how they had gone. So here I am on Monday night feeling pretty crappy. I'm trying to focus on what I have (an embryo inside) but can't help feeling dejected. My mind keeps jumping to the future and thinking that there must be something wrong with us to have 13 eggs and good looking sperm with only one semi-reasonable embryo and the rest abnormal. I thought I was prepared for bad results but I obviously wasn't and I am trying to process everything as best as I can without letting myself slip too far into 'pity party' mode. I wrote some positive affirmations down to keep me going and I am just hoping against hope that this little embie inside is ok...

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Egg retrieval and embryologist report

Well we made it to egg retrieval yesterday. We went in with 15 follicles and were hoping for more than 10 eggs. I went into day surgery early in the morning and I didn't have to wait long to go through to theatre. The nurses were lovely but unfortunately the anaesthetist could not get a good vein and made numerous attempts at my inner elbow before trying the back of my hand. He whacked it really hard for about 30 seconds or so before finally getting success. I went under fairly quickly and before I knew it I was in the recovery ward. I was groggy for a while but with some oxygen soon perked up enough to get up and get dressed. I had to wear a pad for any bleeding but only had a little. The nurse took me through to another room where they gave me something to eat and drink. I was glad to see my husband (who had done his important job while I was in surgery). We waited for the embryologist who came through to say that my husband's sperm looked really good and that 13 eggs had been collected. He said that he would use the ICSI procedure on some of eggs as a 'back-up' and the rest would be allowed to try and fertilise naturally. He estimated that 9 or 10 eggs would fertilise based on statistics. We were both feeling positive when we left and drove the hour trip home to have a relaxing day at home. I have to say I find it difficult to sit still and so while I watched a bit of TV I also got up and did a few things around the house to keep me sane. I had minimal spotting and a little cramping but otherwise felt pretty good. This morning (the day after egg retrieval) I eagerly anticipated the embryologists call to see how many embryos fertilised. My heart dropped when he said that none of the regular IVF eggs had fertilised normally but that 4 out of the 6 ICSI eggs had fertilised. He could not give an indication of why this had happened and despite my disappointment I tried to feel grateful that we had 4 embryos. In line with the clinics policy he told me that they would do a 2-day single embryo transfer tomorrow if we had a good embryo to use. I rang my husband who was also disappointed but we both agreed that we were glad that the embryologist had used the ICSI procedure otherwise we may have had no embryos to use at all. I hope in our case it is a quality rather than quantity situation and am trying to think of people who would love to be in our position. It is confusing and worrying that none of the natural IVF eggs fertilised and my husband questioned if this is why we haven't fallen pregnant yet. We are just hoping that we have an excellent 2 day embryo to put back tomorrow and it would be even better if the other three can be frozen. I started on prednisolone yesterday and will begin the progesterone vaginal gel and clexane tomorrow. I have an acupuncture appointment before and after the embryo transfer. All we can do is hope that this cycle is successful and if not at least we have more information that will hopefully bring us our baby in the future :)

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Stimming: the good and the bad

Well I am on stimulation day 7 for my IVF cycle. I have been super cranky and have started to feel a bit bloated and sore but otherwise I'm feeling pretty good. For some reason I seem to have lost all my brain cells lately and made a mistake with my gonal-f injections when I started last Wednesday.  The nurse showed me how to inject 100 units using the pre-filled pen and I had to demonstrate that I could do it during the appointment. The crucial bit I obviously missed was that I did this ONCE a day (not twice like my Synarel) and so I went home that night and gave myself another shot. I did the same the next morning and it was only when I went to inject again the second night that the gonal-f pen ran out. Knowing that I only had four pens and over ten days of stimming I worked out that I wouldn't have enough medication. I went back through my paper work and read the highlighted section which clearly showed it was 100u once a day! I was so angry with myself and was also worried that I may have jeaporidised the IVF cycle. The nurse on call did not seem overly concerned when I rang her and just told me to return to the correct dosage the next day. I was supposed to go up to 150u per day that Sunday but I was told to stay with 100u until I could be checked at an ultrasound on Monday. The scan went well (despite my full bladder making it a tad uncomfortable) and I was told that I had 9 follicles on my right ovary, 4 follicles on my left ovary and an endometrial lining of 9.6mm. The follicles ranged in size from 4 to 12mm. I was told I could increase my gonal-f dose to 150u that night (last night).  have another scan on Friday so fingers crossed for a good follicle count and size :)

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Down regulation and the long IVF protocol

Well I've finished the first part of my IVF cycle- 'down reg'. I have been taking the pill for nearly one month and am hoping for my period to start within the next few days. I'm on a long IVF protocol- where they are basically shutting down my system for one month so that they have full control when they stimulate my system for ER (egg retrieval) next month. I have been taking Synarel nasal spray for one week (morning and night) and should continue this for at least another week as far as I know. I think the Synarel keeps me from releasing any eggs and I will stop this once they are ready to do the ER. I will have an ultrasound after my period finishes to make sure my endometrial lining is good and then I should start 'stimming' using Puregon pen injections. These injections will hopefully make me produce lots of follicles (containing the eggs). I will have an ultrasound approximately 9 days after I start the injections and they will then give me a plan for egg retrieval and hopefully embyro transfer (ET) if all goes to plan. There are a lot of 'ifs' in the whole process and each step carries its own risks that I, my eggs, my husband's sperm and/or our embryo's will not respond in the right way. I'm trying to be positive but I am also guarded. I will prepare myself for worst case scenario while hoping for the best. I think it is a better frame of mind for me to go into the whole process that way and that any good news will be a happy suprise. I've had a few side effects from the pill and Synarel spray but nothing too bad. I have been quite tired, a "little" snappy (my husband might say a lot!) and have had tenders breasts and some skin breakouts. I'm relieved that I haven't experienced nausea or headaches; which can be a side effect of the nasal spray. I'm not worried about the Puregon injections but the injections closer to the ER are supposed to be a lot more painful. I have actually found this first month pretty easy and quite exciting. I know that no matter what we are one step closer every day :)

Sunday, 7 April 2013

We are starting IVF!!!!!

Yep it is actually happening! After staying by the phone all last week I finally got the news late Friday afternoon that we would be starting the IVF process this month (April 2013) with the plan for egg retrieval (ER) and embryo transfer (ET) in May if everything goes to plan. My pharmacy was faxed a script for BCP's (birth control pills) on Friday evening and I rushed down to get them before the pharmacy closed. I started my first one on Sunday morning (7th April). At the moment I am waiting for my nurse to call back and arrange an appointment to discuss my protocol. I am excited but also realistic that this could be a challenging journey.

For those of you who have read my last post I did finally speak with my parents after my husband called my Dad to explain how I was feeling. While they didn't say the best things initially (my Dad commented that "maybe it's because you're stressed that you're not falling pregnant" and my mum made an insightful remark that they actually had been supportive but I was obviously perceiving things differently) they have since made more of an effort to talk about how things are going- which I really appreciate.

So for now it's IVF cycle one in May :)

Monday, 25 March 2013

Family response to infertility and TTC

I'm really struggling with my parents response to our infertility. As I mentioned in my last post my sister announced that she was pregnant last week and not once have my parents spoken to me about this news- even though I have spoken to them three times! While I am happy for my sister and have taken her gifts to show my support for her pregnancy I am really hurt that my parents have basically been acting as if nothing has happened. Early on in this whole process my mother mentioned that she didn't know if I wanted to talk about TTC and I clearly told her that I really appreciated it when people asked me how everything was going. I know it must be hard to know what to say but I thought that if they were really unsure they could at least send a text to say "How are you going?" or "Hope you're feeling OK" etc. Am I being unreasonable thinking that they might talk to me about our infertility and my sister's pregnancy? It's not that I want to take away from my sister's wonderful news but I thought my parents would understand that this is a difficult time for me- especially considering she didn't try for long and we have been trying for nearly 2 years. I feel confused, upset and angry and I have to say this has been the most difficult week in this whole process for me. As always I don't want to be a Debbie Downer so I am trying to be positive and look forward to the next chapter- which will hopefully be IVF :)

Monday, 18 March 2013

A tough day....

You know those days where things just don't seem to go well right from the start? Well today was one of those days. I woke up exhausted from a work trip the day before. One of the kids at work (I work with special needs kids)  had a big meltdown and I had to chase him over a gate where I banged my right knee really hard (which made it extra hard to catch him before anyone else got hurt!). I then had to race off for my 13 day ultrasound and happened to mention that I was worried I may have a yeast infection as my cervical fluid had been thicker. The nurse decided to do a smear and unfortunately the speculum accidentally jammed shut on the wall if my vagina (sorry I wasn't going to sugar-coat it) which was extremely painful. Luckily she said it all looked fine and the  subsequent ultrasound showed a 26mm follicle on my right side. I was in a hurry to get back to work but just to be sure the nurse thought I should get my LH levels checked to ensure ovulation was imminent. She said if my results were not great she would call me at work by 4pm to say I should return to the clinic for a trigger shot. After a long wait at the pathology place- where the staff did not notice my "I'm in a hurry" non-verbal cues while they chatted in reception- the  pathology collector proceeded to stab away at my right arm repeatedly before finally hitting the vein and getting a sample. I jumped back into the car and in my haste to get back to work wasn't paying attention to the speed I was going and was snapped by a roadside speed camera. Dammit! I got back to work frazzled and with a sore knee, sore arm and sore you-know-what and just couldn't get back into the groove of work. The clinic had not phoned me by 4pm so I headed off home relieved to have finished my day. Half way into my hour long trip home I get a call to say my LH was low and that I needed to come back quickly for a trigger shot! Aaaaaargh. So I turned around and drove 30 minutes back to the clinic to get a nice painful needle in my left arm before finally heading home. I arrived home totally drained and feeling quite sorry for myself when my sister arrived. I was surprised to see her as she very rarely visits and after prattling on about my less than awesome day she said rather hesitantly "I'm pregnant". I immediately burst into tears while trying to reassure her I was very happy for her and that I was sorry I was crying. There was no way I could try and pretend I wasn't overwhelmed with my own sadness but I didn't want to take away from her happiness. I asked her some questions about how far along she was/ how she was feeling etc and gave her hugs while continuing to cry a bit. She was very considerate and I hated feeling like she should be apologetic. I broke down like I had never done before when she left. It hurt so much. I wanted a baby so much and even feeling her tummy pressing against mine when we hugged made me  ache with a huge sense of despair and- I hate to say it- jealousy too. I wailed and sobbed as I cooked dinner and even cried while I ate it- which scared the cat who looked very unsure of why I was acting so strangely. My husband was as supportive as ever and I loved him so much for his concern and love.

I hate the thought of having had such a massive pity party for myself today and I know that other people have so much worse to deal with but it was just a tough day. Such is life :)

Thursday, 7 March 2013

First month of Clomid

Well our first round of Clomid is finished. It wasn't successful in the sense that we didn't get pregnant but we had some promising signs during the cycle to show that my body responded well to the medication. My doctor prescribed Clomid for days 5 to 9- which was different than what I had read in books and on forums. I was unsure why he had recommended this type of treatment plan but research indicated that the later you take Clomid the better quality eggs you're likely to create and the earlier you take Clomid the more eggs you're likely to produce. I experienced a few minor side-effects including a dry mouth, reduced cervical mucous and a general feeling of being a bit 'off' for a few days. We used Pre-Seed lubrication to compensate for the reduced cervical mucous.

I had a day-10 ultrasound on a Friday rather than the typical day-12 ultrasound because I have had a corpus luteum on a previous day-12 ultrasound (which proved I had already ovulated in the cycle). My 10 day ultrasound showed a 17mm follicle on my left side with some other smaller ones on my right side. The nurse said I would probably ovulate the following day but my BBT's (temperature) dipped on the Monday morning so I felt that I had ovulated then. I also had left side pain on that day. I had a progesterone test the following Friday which showed a level of 22 and then one on Monday whihc was 55.5- which pretty much proved I had ovulated on the Monday (Day 13). Overall the cycle was positive but getting my period was particularly hard. I figured that because the odds were higher of getting pregnant the disappointment was also higher because my expectations were raised. At the moment the plan is to take Clomid again this month and then move to IUI. I'm definitely not keen on IUI because of the low success rates so I may still go straight to IVF. I discussed this with my nurse today and she seemed to think this would be possible- although they did recommend the IUI process before going through the more invasive IVF procedures. No matter what I feel like we're getting a little closer :)

Thursday, 31 January 2013

The next step: Clomid, IUI and IVF

Well the ball is officially rolling. I had my follow up appointment with our Fertility Specialist this morning and was really nervous about what he was going to say. It has been a bit over 4 months since we were told to go away and try naturally after my laparoscopy and I was worried he would just tell me to keep trying. I wasn't keen on the thought of Clomid as it had not been successful for friends of mine and while I didn't want to jump the gun straight to IVF I also dreaded the thought of a long and drawn out process of less invasive treatments that ended in IVF anyway. The appointment didn't take very long and after some quick questions about "how things have been going" and a check of my most recent 21-day progesterone test (it was 37- woohoo!) the doctor asked how I felt about IUI. I said I didn't like the success rates and he responded by saying the success rates for fertility treatment in general weren't good. I don't know how the conversation changed to cattle but he did mention that a cow that took more than 2 or 3 attempts to get pregnant it would have its head removed!!! I laughed and told him that I hoped he didn't do that to me! After some discussion we agreed that I would do 1-2 clomid cycles to boost ovulation and support my luteal phase (progesterone on the second cycle if I spotted on the first), followed by 1 or 2 IUI's (the second only if I agreed) and then move onto IVF if there was still no sign of a BFP. Everything was quickly explained by one of the nurses and I was given a script for 50g Clomid and a pathology request for my husband to check his Vitamin D levels and a few other things. All in all I left feeling positive and hopeful. I start my first round of Clomid on Day 5 of my next cycle- which is in less than 2 week. Fingers crossed :)

Monday, 14 January 2013

Another year

Well it's 2013. We started trying to conceive in mid-2011 and I feel mixed emotions now that 2012 has come and gone without a pregnancy. I feel my blog posts are indicative of where I am at emotionally and my need to come back and post today is a sign that I'm struggling a bit right at this moment. I've learnt to cope much better as each month passes but I still have moments where that nagging feeling way down inside rises to the surface and makes me feel like this is never going to happen. There I said it. I'm worried we might not be able to get pregnant. Through the smiles, the positive self-talk and the words of congratulations that I try so hard to sound genuine when someone else falls pregnant I feel alone and sad sometimes. I allow myself to feel these emotions when they come- to flop on my bed and cry into my pillow in a moment of despair- and then try and move on. It definitely doesn't help to wallow in my own self-pity so I try and brush myself off and get on with life. I have to encourage other people trying to conceive to talk to family and friends about it. It is such a relief to not have to make up excuses for not drinking and to have those around us be more careful about comments about pregnancy or babies that can be upsetting. Having said that my husband's cousin fell pregnant after literally a couple of days of trying and her mother and father went on and on about how easy it was for her during Christmas Day lunch despite the fact that they knew we had been unable to get pregnant ourselves. I know it's not intentional to make us upset but some people can be insensitive. Overall, 2013 is starting with the hope to focus on improving what I can control, letting go of what I can't and enjoying any experience and opportunity that comes my way. I also hope to be more relaxed and able to 'go with the flow'. I truly hope to get some followers to my blog this year so if you're out there please let me know :)