Friday, 21 November 2014

The first trimester (after IF)

I'm sorry I've been such a terrible blogger. It's been a very busy month or so but even when I've had moments to spare I've logged onto my blog and just not know what to write...

Where do I start? I have had a few bleeds since my initial one in the two week wait and have basically been spotting the whole month. It has been pretty stressful but luckily everything seems to be ok and we had a heartbeat confirmed at 8 weeks- nice and strong at 164 beats per minute. The baby is growing on track and we are counting down the days to the next scan where hopefully everything will be ok. I suppose I've been reluctant to blog because I'm worried my nervousness about something going wrong will come across as a lack of excitement about this pregnancy. I don't  want people to feel I'm ungrateful for being lucky enough to get a BFP but know any post will be untruthful if I do not explain how I'm feeling. The few people who know keep asking "Are you excited?" and the honest answer is: "A little...but mostly I'm petrified something will go wrong". People who have not experienced infertility and have had normal pregnancies don't know what it feels like to be in the minority. But I do. I was in the 5% of people that didn't get pregnant in the first 12 months of trying and then the smaller minority that IVF didn't work for either. I'm used to hearing bad news and hate the fact that this means I can't just relax and expect that it will all be ok. I wish I could just enjoy being pregnant but the moments when I do start to think about actually holding a baby and being a parent my brain shuts these thoughts down and reminds me to prepare for the fact that something could still go wrong.

I never thought I was a pessimist but maybe I am...maybe this process has changed me? I know it sounds silly but I can't really remember what I was like before all this IF stuff. I know over the last few years in particular I've hated it when people said "think positively". What does that mean? I can't relate to being blindly optimistic and am more comfortable doing everything in my power to make sure everything goes well and then preparing for bad news just in case. I don't know whether that makes me sad or not but I suppose I've never been one to fake feelings or kid myself either. Shit happens and I'm definitely not immune.

I apologise for being so doom and gloom and hope I didn't upset anyone still trying for a baby that would love to be in my shoes. Trust me when I say I am so, so grateful to be pregnant and if everything looks good after the 12 week scan I know I'll start to relax a little more and feel more excited as the weeks pass. I am very much looking forward to growing a bump and having the reassurance of physical changes to ease my mind.

I'll probably wait to blog again after we have the next ultrasound as I would love to come back with good news rather than my ongoing worries. Thank you to everyone who comments for your ongoing support. I really appreciate it xoxo

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Finally- our BFP!!!

Wow, wow, wow!!!

We are officially pregnant!!!!

I still can't quite believe it, and am quite scared that it will only be temporary. I'm not used to good news so it has been tricky to get my head around the fact that this could be it. We could actually have a baby in 8 months. I thought we were out of the running after experience some bleeding but after an increase in progesterone this has stopped and the lines on the home pregnancy test continued to get darker. Our beta has more than doubled in 48 hours and everything is now riding on the first ultrasound in a few weeks. I am terrified that the scan will give us bad news but I'm trying to stay positive.

Yesterday I looked through some of the baby items I've had in storage for the last few years and for the first time felt excitement rather than sadness and longing. I haven't looked at these items for quite a while and the thought that I might be able to finally use them makes my heart glow.

I know there is still a long road ahead of us but I am just so thrilled to make it this far and to know that my body can actually get pregnant.

Thank you so much for the people who pop by this blog and a special thanks to those who leave comments. It's a big support.

***I apologise for being a bit vague with specifics but as I said in an earlier post I am aware of trying to keep this blog anonymous and so am trying to keep identifying details out***

Friday, 10 October 2014

Blastocyst on board!!!

Wow, wow, wow!!! I have a 5 day embryo in my belly!!! I hope it's settling in nicely and continuing to grow and implant soon. In addition to our little embie on board we have more blasts on ice as well!!! This doesn't happen to us. This whole donor cycle has gone so positively that I'm having difficulty believing our good luck could possibly continue...I can't bring myself to believe we could have a positive beta on top of all this.

I've taken it easy since transfer and have basically been reading, watching TV and catching up with a few family and friends when I feel like a break in routine. I decided not to go to work straight away this time and have organised for five days at home :) It's been lovely and I've taken the time to try and talk with my little embryo and focus on it making a nice little home in my lining. This afternoon I wandered around our garden in the sun giving my tummy a little rub every now and then while I willed it to stay. I'm not sure whether it is because of the egg donor side of this cycle but I want to form a bond early on...knowing full well that things may not turn out so great but wanting to do whatever I can to help this precious little one stay around.

I wonder if I can do it. Does my body actually know how to be pregnant? I have given it all the ingredients and done everything to prepare it for transfer but will it actually be able to grow a little human being?

I hope so :)

Saturday, 4 October 2014

I love them already

Well I've been a little quiet in the lead up to our cycle. It's been a worrying time but I am relieved that we have successfully gone through egg retrieval and have more than 10 embryos successfully fertilise. Our egg donor was simply amazing. Anybody who has gone through a stim cycle and egg retreival knows just how uncomfortable it is, and I'm in awe of the fact that she would do this for nothing more than the opportunity to make our dreams come true. I've said it before but I know this journey has made me reassess everything and has hopefully changed me for the better as a person- especially for knowing such beautiful and selfless people like our egg donor.

We are still not out of the woods yet obviously. Hopefully our embryos continue to grow and divide and we will have some precious blastocysts to transfer/freeze. I love these embryos already and feel just as excited about the thought that our future child/ren could be in their first stages of life as I would if the embryos were from one of our own egg retrievals.

I feel different in a good way this cycle. I know that everything could change in a heart-beat but I feel more hope than I have in a long time. I'm thinking of baby things again and picturing my husband and I with a family. For a period of time there these thoughts felt like dark and blurry images that were too far for me to they seem close enough to touch.

Please, please, please let this be it...

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Wondering where the chips will fall this time...

As always my head is a bundle of thoughts and emotions as we edge closer to our egg donor pick up: "Please let this be it... I don't know what will happen if this doesn't work...I feel like I don't have much left in the tank, and I'm worried about what will happen once I'm running on empty...I don't really even feel likely living sometimes-just existing...please, please let this work...etc"

In addition to my worries I have a huge ball of suppressed hope and excitement bubbling away inside as well. It is definitely not the dominant presence as my protective shield is super-strong and likes to push aside these 'risky'' positive thoughts. My brain is definitely screwed up from infertility.

It's strange when you're not actually growing the eggs anymore. I usually feel guilty about eating chocolate, fried food and sugar because of fears that it will effect my egg quality. Now that I won't be using my own eggs I am less strict with my diet. You would think that I would be enjoying the freedom of eating what I feel like but for some reason it makes me feel sad sometimes that it doesn't matter anymore. I think it all makes me feel sad sometimes to be honest.

Now I don't want everyone to think I'm just crying in the corner each day and moping around thinking "poor me". I sometimes go to delete the things I've written on this blog for fear that it will just be seen as a heap of negative dribble, but I stop myself as I know it's cathartic to get those feelings out somewhere. I am still happy (or not sad) for the most part and the egg donor process has touched me more than any other experience in my life so far. There are so many wonderful people I have met and the selflessness of my donor and her family is just beyond heart-warming. The fact that someone feels that my husband and I are special enough to be given such a precious gift is something that brings tears to my eyes as I type this. I genuinely feel lucky to have been able to experience this process- as hard as it is at times.

In preparation for transfer I have had a couple of appointments with a naturopath/Bowen therapist. I expected some sort of massage combined with general feedback on my health but I did not expect the intensity of the experience. The treatment was excruciating and she told me that I had the worst hips she'd seen in 20 years. She said my lower abdomen lacked blood flow (all three acupuncturists I have seen said my belly was "stagnant") and worked hard over the two sessions to get everything "unlocked". I'm not going to lie- I cried...a lot. It was so, so painful as she pushed and flicked and rubbed my muscles and tendons. I had to ask her to stop at times but I didn't want to cancel the appointment in case she was the one person who could actually help me. In moments where I was able to actually open my eyes I could see the therapists dog being very amorous with a soft pillow...I could only laugh inside at how ridiculous it all was. Me crying and puffing like I was in labour, the therapist chatting away like I was lying calmly on the table and the dog humping a pillow in the corner. 

I was bruised and battered after the first session but being the sucker for punishment I am I booked in for another session. This session involved slightly less crying and puffing but I was shocked when after some pulling and manipulation of my legs a large CRACK in my hips was heard. The therapist immediately teared up and apologised for her reaction; saying that she felt it was all going to be ok for me now as everything had "opened up". She kept working on me for a while before asking if I believed in "guides". I knew she meant spiritual guides and answered "not really". She then went on to tell me that she is not psychic but had to tell me that she felt a strong presence of a baby boy. She explained that she had only had the same experience two other times in her career and the person had become pregnant shortly after. I didn't really know what to think...I wanted to believe she was right but my inner skeptic also stopped me from getting too hopeful. I have been given different predictions before and they had not eventuated so I tried to take her comments with a grain of salt and felt grateful for her desire to pass on whatever she felt.'s nearly time. As always we are hoping it goes well but know we just have to see where the chips lie..

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Ready to start our egg donor cycle :)

I've been a bit quiet on the blogging front. I feel more hesitant to voice my feelings and experiences now that we have an egg donor involved as this is no longer a personal journey but one that is shared.   I haven't told our donor about the blog as I hope the fact that I'm anonymous will hopefully mean that this just remains my online diary of sorts. I have been blown away by the generosity of her and her partner to go through the appointments and sacrifices needed to do an IVF cycle altruistically for someone they didn't even know a few months ago. They are wonderful people and we just feel so lucky. The experience has been extremely positive overall- other than some nervousness at the start- and I really had nothing to worry about.

So we are now officially cycling in a few weeks. I've been on the pill and will 'down regulate' with synarel at the same time as my donor. Then when blood tests show that we have both 'down regd' she will stim and I will prepare my body in much the same way as a FET. I will still be on my NK cell treatment of intralipids, dexamethasone, clexane and aspirin.

I have to say I was expecting something to go wrong...waiting for the doctor to tell us it couldn't happen or that we would have to jump through more hoops or wait a few more months, but surprisingly everything went relatively smoothly. I still can't quite believe it's happening and it probably won't be until egg retrieval that I will start to feel excited :)

I have a good feeling about this...I don't usually say that (or feel that) but for some reason I just see this happening. Hopefully I'm right :)

Thursday, 14 August 2014


Well time has been passing slowly but we are now hopefully just a month away from cycling with our egg donor. We have nearly finished the mandatory counselling sessions and if my doctor is happy with everything we will be able to cycle straight away. We have met our wonderful donor and her family and it was such a positive experience. Her generosity and desire to help others makes me want to be a better person. No matter what happens I know we'll be better people for having met such a selfless person and beautiful family.

I've been struggling with knowing who to tell about using an egg donor. We became so open with our IVF journey but I'm not sure if I want to tell people about our egg donor just yet. I'm definitely not ashamed- far from it- but instead I just don't think I can deal with having to tell people if it doesn't work. That is my biggest worry- that this won't work and we'll have to look at other options. For once I'm trying not to think that far ahead and I'm just focusing on hoping, hoping, hoping we take home a baby/babies in the next year or so.

It is funny how comfortable I actually feel about the whole process of having an egg donor now. The earlier gut-wrenching grief I experienced over the loss of the dream of a biological child has reduced significantly. It will probably always be with me to some degree but it definitely doesn't upset me's more of a sad feeling tucked away that I become aware of sometimes.

In a bitter-sweet way I've come to realise that genetics isn't everything. My own family has definitely not been my biggest support through this whole process and as hard as that is to process sometimes it has also made me more aware that relationships are more than blood and genes. Connection with others is not dependent on whether a person shares some of your DNA but instead about how you make that person feel and how they make you feel. I know if I'm lucky enough to be a mother that I'll do whatever I can to have a positive, loving and supportive relationship with my child in the hope that our connection is just as strong as anyone who has a child/parent that shares a genetic link.

I have to admit I'm not in a good place in regards to my relationship with my own parents and siblings. I hate to feel so bitter...but I do. I would feel awful if they knew it but I just don't really want to spend time with them any more. If we are successful at getting pregnant will I be able to forget that they have barely spoken to me about this whole process even after I have explicitly asked them for more support? Will I be able to play 'happy families' and just pretend that I don't care that they ignored me during my darkest periods only to re-emerge (as I predict) if things go well? I do feel awful for these feelings and try to tell myself that I do love my family members and I don't want to regret anything, and so I make the effort to sound cheery when I do speak to them or see them every now and then. We've become masters of extended small talk on these occasions and it makes me sad.

Sometimes I read the blogs of other people going through infertility and I feel there is so much more positivity on their pages. I want to write happy blog posts but to be honest I'm so sick of pretending in real life that I can't be bothered doing it online as well.

Having said that my ray of sunshine is always my beautiful husband and the special people (including my egg donor) who we have met along the way and whom we would never have known if not for our IF journey.

To quote a great movie: "It can't rain all the time".

So now we are just waiting for the rain to stop...

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Slowly getting closer...

Well it's nearly the end of the month. On August 1st we have our first counselling session and with any luck we will be able to start cycling 3-4 weeks later. I have already started taking the pill and luckily our last counselling session and FS appointment falls around the middle of our donors monthly cycle so we should both be able to start synarel or lucrin sholy after. I imagine I'll come off the pill just before she is due to start her period so that we can be in sync. The I just imagine it's rather like a FET cycle where I take something to boost my lining and then my regular NK cell treatment of intralipids, steroids and clexane followed by the progesterone support after transfer.

I hope we make it to transfer. I hope everything goes to plan. I'm trying to push the alternatives out of my head because I just don't have the energy. At the moment my husband and I are just trying to be reasonably healthy and save as much money as we can. Donor cycles aren't cheap and we are hoping to get a decent tax return to help provide a bit of a buffer to our already bruised and battered savings.

I feel like I'm just going through the motions; work, exercise, eat, clean, TV, sleep, repeat. I want to be doing exciting things in my head but my bank account, common sense and- if I'm honest- my desire to do anything where I have to talk to people means that I'm just existing as I count down the days to this next cycle.

It has hit home recently that friends are having their second babies. I am not as happy for them as I would like to think I should be.  I'm just not. I'm over it. One of my close friends fell pregnant straight away recently and doesn't even seem excited. Even though her and her husband had started trying she said she cried when she saw the positive pregnancy test and cried during the doctors appointnment. Of course she told this all to me like I wanted to hear it (WTF!) and I had to act interested and sympathetic when all I wanted to do was put the phone down and not talk to her again for at least 9 months.

Ok, ok enough of the whinge. I do want people to know I feel very, very grateful for our wonderful donor and I promise I'm not being all 'woe is me'. Sometimes once I start writing on this blog all my thoughts and feelings start coming out and I have to stop myself from turning my posts into an online pity party.

So how should I end is hard but I'm luckier than so many others. I know I'll reach my goal- even if I'm a different person in the end. Hopefully a better one :)

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Moving ahead with egg donation

Well it's been a crazy month or so. We have been getting to know our egg donor and her family a lot more through messages and Skype sessions, and plan to fly interstate to visit them all in a few weeks.  We also start mandatory counselling sessions next month and will hopefully be on track for a cycle in September or October!

When we started this process I thought that the ideal situation would be to have a known donor who was happy to have regular updates (e.g. emails, messages) but our donor is such a lovely person and seems keen to have a close connection that I am happy to follow her lead and get to know each other better. I know that our egg donor will not want to be over-involved in our lives and I feel lucky to have made a close connection with such a generous and selfless person.

My main concern at this stage is obviously that this won't work and we'll have to go back to the drawing board. My second concern is that we'll be successful once and then won't be able to use the same donor again. If we're lucky enough to get one embryo to transfer and then some frozen we have no idea if these frozen embryos will work when we want to transfer them down the track. There are so many possible scenarios running through my head but I suppose that is what the counselling is for. The good thing it that my husband and I seem to be on the same page about most things and are not second-guessing our decision.

I have to say it has been quite a relief to be able to do things that I would have avoided when cycling. I've had a few weekend wines, not felt as guilty about having chocolate, enjoyed long hot baths and in general feel less like infertility is dominating every decision of my life. I feel relaxed and content- although knowing my journey so far I know those feeling are likely to be temporary.

So we wait (ahh the waiting) and hope (yep I know that one too) and just see where this takes us :)

Monday, 7 July 2014

Cancer awareness and prevention

Recently a reader of my blog made a request for me to write a post raising awareness of mesothelioma (a rare and deadly cancer typically caused by exposure to asbestos). I wanted to help but it made me think of all the other cancers that had touched my life and how I could use my platform as a blogger to also draw awareness to these serious health issues as well. My father and grandfather have had skin cancer, my husband's father died of renal/liver cancer, my sister's sister-in-law is currently battling cervical cancer, and my husband's uncle is receiving treatment for bowel cancer.

So what can I do as a blogger? I believe my role can be to remind and encourage people to not put their health at the bottom of the 'to do' list. To do what they can to reduce their risk of developing these cancers in the first place, and to ensure they regularly monitor their bodies for changes and check with a medical professional when there is anything that concerns them.

My husband had a spot on his ear that I didn't like the look of but he didn't feel it was necessary to go to the doctors to have it checked out. After many, many months of nagging he had to go to the doctor for something else and I urged him to get the doctor to have a look at this spot. The doctor ended up referring him to a skin specialist who removed the spot because it was 'pre-cancerous'. I myself had to go to the doctor's last week and thought while I was there I would have a pap-smear as well. It was the knowledge of my sister's sister-in-law's cervical cancer that made me do it as I may have put it off otherwise. Obviously I would recommend that people get anything that concerns them checked out but I think it is also a good idea to use doctor's appointments for general check-ups of the whole body. Get spots on your skin checked, ask for a pap-smear, find out how to do a breast examination, enquire about a persistent cough,  and don't feel embarrassed to find out if your bowel movements are normal. Cancer is not something that happens to other people. It can happen to you and you should ask questions if you are concerned about anything.

To help reduce your risk of certain cancers avoid exposure to asbestos and other carcinogenic products, protect your skin from the sun, eat a healthy diet, exercise, stop smoking, limit alcohol intake, and have regular health checks.

Obviously I'm not a doctor but if I've made one person think about their health and the health of those around them then this post will be worthwhile.

In tribute to the lady who prompted this post. Please go to the website for more information on a lesser known but preventable cancer.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

A new path: egg donation

Well where do I start...

The past few weeks have been full of so many emotions and new experiences. I am still trying to process the grief of knowing that we will no longer try to conceive with my own eggs while starting a whole new journey towards egg donation. This is not something that we've only just decided on but that we knew we would pursue if this most recent cycle failed. I've done a lot of research over the last few months and did a lot of groundwork in preparation for the egg donor option if we needed to go down this path.

We wanted our last IVF cycle to work so much. There was so much riding on it but knew deep down it was a long shot. Surprisingly I am getting through the days OK. I am grieving but I am also focused on our underlying goal all along- to have a family. We feel that after looking at all our options that egg donation will give us about best chance of having the family we have been working so hard for. I say this simply but of course there are many, many emotions that have had to be processed when coming to this decision; and which will continue to be processed into the future.

The amazing news is that we have an egg donor. Yes I can't believe how lucky we are. I connected with this amazing woman through my research into egg donation and she has offered to be our egg donor during the past week. I couldn't be more amazed by the unbelievingly generous offer to altruistically donate her eggs so that we can have a chance if becoming a family.

I have so many thoughts in my head and want to write it all down but for now I just wanted to let everyone know about the news that has us feeling both apprehensive and excited. All we want is a family and we have decided that as hard as it is for me to give up the biological link that at the end of the day the most important thing is love and connection. We want children. We want to be parents. We want a family. We know that for sure. I hope this is the path that will take us there...

Saturday, 14 June 2014

And so this is my life...

"So this is my life.
     And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad
           and I'm trying to figure out how that could be"
                                         -The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Sunday, 8 June 2014

It's over

Well that's it. It's over. No more embryos. 

After 3 years of tests, appointments, procedures, supplements, acupuncture, needles, crazy drugs, hormones, six IVF cycles, 81 retreived eggs, 5 transferred embryos and many, many tears it is all over. We cannot have biological children.

I'm tired and I'm numb.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Deja vu

Yes this cycle is feeling awfully familiar...

Yesterday we still had 13 embryos growing on day 2. They were mostly 3 cell with a few at 4 cell and a few at the 2 cell stage. Quality ranged from B to D. Today we were down to 6 embryos; 1 x 6 cell with more than 30% fragmentation, 1 x 5 cell with less than 10% fragmentation and 4 x 4 cell with varying degrees of fragmentation. I was at work in the morning and could see my nurse ringing on my phone. I couldn't answer it but my heart sank when I saw it as I knew it meant bad news. She was ringing early to suggest we transfer today but as I couldn't call back until lunchtime and we still live a few hours away that was no longer possible. She said we also had the option of a 4 day transfer tomorrow but I just couldn't imagine the thought of getting in the car this afternoon, driving down to a hotel, staying the night and driving to the clinic in the morning just to be told the rest had stopped developing too. Also, we've transferred 5 other embryos at earlier stages (day 2) and none of them ever took so I don't believe returning them to my uterine environment earlier is necessarily any better. So after speaking with the embryologist, my nurse, my doctor through my nurse, and of course my husband we have decided to wait one more day. If any embryos are still developing we will stick with our original 'blastocyst or bust' plan and do a day 5 transfer but otherwise we will have nothing and my hopes of a biological child will be over. I think our best hope is the 5 cell embryo with less than 10% fragmentation. It's slower but it may by some miracle catch up. It has got a lot of pressure on it- poor thing. So we just wait (again) until tomorrow...

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Egg retrieval (EPU) results and fertilisation report

Well we got 27 eggs yesterday. I felt pretty sore afterwards but luckily wasn't sick like last time. I asked the nurses for some IV fluids in recovery just to try and compensate for the fluid I would have lost for the follicle aspiration. I was able to eat fairly quickly after I came out of anaesthesia and drank heaps of water and coconut water on the long drive home. The nurses wanted to give me panadeine forte but I don't respond well to codeine so the paracetamol and heat-packs were a pretty good replacement. I know protein is the best for for preventing OHSS but I just could not resist some McDonald's fries on the way home. I've been eating so well for so long and it was pure heaven to be able to eat something without feeling guilty that I was compromising egg quality. I made up for my junk food treat by having salmon and vegetables for tea ;)

I slept reasonably well but woke up in a panic that I had taken a double dose of dexamethasone the day before in my post-anaesthetic haze. So much for a sleep in. I couldn't get back to sleep so decided to lie in bed for a while, take my first pessary and then spend the rest of the day taking it fairly easy on the couch. 

My nurse rang around 10am with our fertilisation results. Out of 27 eggs, 23 were mature and 13 fertilised successful using HA-ICSI. She also mentioned that there were 5 eggs they we still waiting on to see if they would fertilise late but didn't want to get my hopes up. 

So now we wait. Again. We are 'blastocyst or bust' so if our embryos start to arrest around day 3 or 4 we'll be pretty devastated. 

Thanks to everyone who has been dropping by- I know you're out there because I can see my page visits go up - I really appreciate the support :)

Friday, 30 May 2014

33 follicles

Yikes. I'm still confused. I've had two scans this week and while I was hoping for lower follicles numbers (with the hope of higher quality eggs) my body has decided to be as oppositional as ever and has decided to grow heaps instead. I'm only on 112.5 Puregon so I can't work out why I have so many. They've been growing slower than last time and so I'm due for my 10,000 HCG trigger shot on Sunday night for egg retrieval (EPU) on Tuesday (CD 16). I'm very worried about OHSS as I came very close last time and it wasn't fun. I also found the Cabergoline (anti-OHSS drug) awful. I feel a bit unclear of how it's all going to go. The technicians who did my ultrasounds were unfamiliar with the process so I'm nervous about the accuracy of their reports. All I can do is trust that everything is going as good as it can.

Everyone keeps saying to stay positive and I just nod and smile. I don't know why I can't feel optimistic but my brain just seems to push down any glimmers of hope in an effort to protect my heart from the pain of further disappointment and overwhelming grief. I almost feel as though people are thinking "does she even want this?" as I am hardly a beacon of excitement and positivity. I hope they understand the drive and determination needed to do 6 IVF cycles in 13 months. I couldn't have gone through numerous blood tests, scans, procedures, drugs, needles and appointments on top of all the financial, emotional and social sacrifices if I didn't want this more than anything in the whole world.

So now we wait for next Tuesday. I hope it all goes well...

Friday, 23 May 2014

The last time

Yep- I am stimming for the last time. This is it. If we don't get any viable embryos from this cycle we will stop and look at other options. We have decided it's all or nothing- we will take any embryos we've got to day 5 if we can but will not transfer any earlier, even if we only have one or two. I'm on low dose stims- only 112.5u Puregon and have not had any extra Menopur, testostone or human growth human added to the mix this time. I was supposed to start 3-4 weeks ago but my cycle just wasn't playing ball and I kept spotting so my doctor put me on the BCP for 3 weeks. AF arrived on the predicted day after I came off the pill and I'm now on day 6 of my cycle. I started orgalutran yesterday and will have bloods taken, my intralipid infusion administered and an ultrasound on Tuesday. I'm hoping the 4 months on melatonin, vitamin D, fish oil and CoQ10 help with my egg quality but we'll just have to wait and see. Hopefully the 10,000Hcg trigger shot also helps with egg quality compared to the 250 Ovidrel I've had before. This was a recommendation from Dr Sher in the US who I contacted on his online forum.

So it all comes down to this. The next few weeks will determine if I will have a biological child or not. It's a massive thing to get my head around but we couldn't logically keep flogging a dead horse (me being the horse). I want to send more time with my children and less time doing IVF. I don't know how we will have a family but I know if this next cycle doesn't work we need to invest our time, energy and money into options that are likely to bring us closer to having a family.

We know what avenue we are likely to go down next if this doesn't work but I'll leave that for another post if we need.

I don't know how I feel. I don't know how I feel...

Friday, 16 May 2014

Let Her Go...

There are many songs that have resonated with me along this journey and I've been thinking about doing a post about a particular song for a while. It wasn't until I was reading through the blog of another woman on a similar journey (RunCC you're amazing) who wrote of a song that summed up how she was feeling that I thought I'd do the same. The song that stops me in my tracks and makes me cry every single time is "Let Her Go" by Passenger. I know it is a love song rather than a song about infertility but there are some lines that are just so true they take my breath away.

As a background to why this song means so much my friendship group has seen an explosion of babies in the last 6-12 months. Amazingly these have nearly all been little girls. When I here "Let Her Go" it makes me think of all my friends with their beautiful healthy daughters and makes me ache for the little girl (or boy) I have longed for but may never have. I imagine my little embryos as daughters that I love so deeply being lost and the ache being all the harder afterwards for the knowing that they were there. They were real. Even if only for a short while. I will put some lines of the song below but listening to it is much more powerful...

                                                     Staring at the bottom of your glass

Hoping one day you'll make a dream last
But dreams come slow and they go so fast

You see her when you close your eyes
Maybe one day you'll understand why
Everything you touch surely dies

But you only need the light when it's burning low
Only miss the sun when it starts to snow
Only know you love her when you let her go

Only know you've been high when you're feeling low
Only hate the road when you're missin' home
Only know you love her when you let her go

Staring at the ceiling in the dark
Same old empty feeling in your heart
'Cause love comes slow and it goes so fast

Well you see her when you fall asleep
But never to touch and never to keep
'Cause you loved her too much
And you dived too deep

Friday, 9 May 2014

Facebook and infertility

I don't know about you but the Mother's Day messages have already started flooding my Facebook news feed. Now I would never want mothers to not feel special about all the amazing things they do but it was a chance for me to reflect about how hard it is to be on social media when you are trying to conceive- especially when you are having difficulty. I feel there is not a day that goes by when I don't  have to see a pregnant belly post, an update about "Jonny rolling over at 4 months 1 week and 3 days" (seriously- 4 months is fine), or a proud statement of just how proud such-and-such is to be a mummy (mommy for USA readers). I don't know why mothers feel the need to constantly post statements along the lines of "LIKE- if you love being a mum", "SHARE- if being a mother is the most important job in the world" or "LIKE- if you're kids are the most special thing in the world" etc etc. Are they looking for validation? Is there a special feeling one receives from the acknowledgement of other mothers? Or is being a mother just so amazing that one cannot stop their fingers typing posts to let the whole world know about it? I'm sure it's not a deliberate attempt to rub their own joy in the faces of those who are not so lucky but I can't help but think do these women ever stop and think about how it makes others feel?

Now some people may say "just stop going in Facebook then!" The problem with infertility is that it is already so isolating, that face-to-face social contact can often be so hard, that if you're like me Facebook is a way to stay connected with others when all I feel like doing is staying inside on the couch for weeks at a time. I am a member of Facebook infertility and IVF groups that allow me to stay linked with other women going through similar things. The interesting thing about this is that we post all our shared joys and disappointments in a closed group. Is there a reason why mothers can't do the same? Why can't fertile friends make their own closed group where they can put all their "I love being a mum" posts and pregnancy/ baby photos posts without the risk of hurting others. I know if I had a friend whose father had passed away the last thing I would be saying either online or in her presence was comments about how much I love my dad, how I love being a daughter, or inviting others to share their stories about their father. Maybe comparing infertility to a family death is too extreme for some but I'm sure many of those who have been through infertility would relate to the significant feelings of grief, loss and isolation.

So in preparation for Mother's Day I'd like to send my love to all the women out there who know what it feels like to scroll down their Facebook page and feel the gut punch when a new ultrasound photo or mum-related comment comes into view. I know we are more considerate and caring people because of our journey and if one day we are lucky enough to become mothers I believe we will share our joy in ways that reflect our knowledge of the women who still wait...

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Good news for Australians hoping to adopt

Sunday morning is my favorite. I love reading the newspaper in bed and while I was flicking through the news stories this morning I was excited to see the headline "Abbott moves to ease overseas adoptions". Now anybody who has looked into adoption in Australia knows just how difficult it is- domestically or internationally. There are often many years of paperwork and waiting which do not guarantee an adoption. In fact the number of adoptions in Australia per year IN TOTAL only number in the hundreds. Yes, hundreds. It was an option we basically ruled out early in our infertility journey as we had heard so many horror stories where people had waited years only to find out that that country had closed adoption agreements with Australia. Now- just as we are starting to look at the option of having non-biological children through donor eggs or donor embryos- I am thrilled to see that our Prime Minister Tony Abbott has promised to reform adoption processes and slash the red-tape that prevents so many intended parents from adopting overseas. Apparently actors Hugh Jackman and his wife Deborah-Lee Furness have been very effective in their efforts to campaign for easier adoption in Australia and have contributed to Abbott's decision.They themselves adopted in the US where it is much more common.

So while we are not looking at adoption at this stage it is such a relief to know that it is an option that could be available to us (and many others) down the track. A great start to a Sunday morning I would say :)

Thursday, 24 April 2014

5000 page views- thanks for the support :)

Wow- I can't believe I've had over 5000 visits to my blog! I started this process as a way to record my feelings and procedures but have been blown away by how many visits I get each month. I hope people have found shared thoughts, feelings and experiences through my my words and have felt less alone or confused because of it. I know I have read many other blogs and forums looking for advice and connection with others and I have been very grateful for all the information and support I have received. I love when people comment here as it makes the whole process seem far less isolating. Thanks again for dropping by and being a part of my journey :)

Saturday, 19 April 2014

A fun post...first time celebrity mothers over 30

Ok. I've been a bit doom and gloom lately. It's hard to stay positive when you only get bad news so I thought I'd do something a bit different for a change. My 'plan' in my early 20's was to have my first child before the age of 30. In fact I thought I might even have two children by that age. Needless to say I have had to change the goal posts and thought I would make myself feel better by listing some celebrity mothers who had their first child and/or children in their 30's or 40's. I hope it is reassuring to others out there who have not been able to have children at the age they first hoped to :)

Jennifer Garner- 33, 36, 39
Gwen Stefani- 36, 38, 44
Jennifer Lopez- 38 (twins)
Brooke Sheilds- 37, 40
Charlize Theron- 36 (via adoption)
Juliane Moore- 37, 41
Salma Hayek- 41
Courtney Cox- 39
Mariah Carey- 41 (twins)
Halle Berry- 41, 47
Naomi Watts- 38, 40
Sandra Bullock- 45 (via adoption)
Drew Barrymore- 37, 39
Elizabeth Banks- 37, 38 (via surrogate)
Cate Blanchett- 32, 34, 39

Now some of these women went through infertility and others didn't but it did make me feel a little better to know that there are plenty of great mothers out there who had their first child after 30 :)

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Sperm DNA fragmentation (SCSA) results

We just got my husbands sperm DNA fragmentation test results back and they were very good at only less than 5% fragmentation. The average is reportedly 15%. I am very happy to have another piece of the puzzle however it was quite hard to know beyond doubt that our infertility issues are purely from me. 

We will now wait and see what my FS says when he comes back from holidays. I know he suggested trying one last cycle with my own eggs so we may still do that even though we know the odds of success are low. We went into our most recent cycle not knowing how badly it would turn out so we may do one final cycle with the knowledge that this is our last shot. I'm not sure if this makes sense or not to others when I know logically our chances are slim but sometimes you just need that closure I think...

The good news about my husbands test results is that we know that egg donation is a great option for us as we have no male factor issues. If this next cycle fails we will definitely look into egg donation formally and consider embryo adoption as well. 

For now I am going to enjoy the long weekend. Happy Easter everyone :)

Friday, 11 April 2014

The pain...

I haven't felt up to writing a post for a while. The past few weeks have been probably the worst in my life. The knowledge that we may never have biological children is a pain I can't adequetely describe. It catches my breath when I realise how enormous the reality of this is and that it is not a dream we will wake up from but a truth that feels too awful to imagine. I have been doing a lot of research into egg donation and embryo adoption and while it is an option we are grateful to have we still need to grieve the possibility that we may never have children that look a little bit like both of us; that are 100% ours. There is still the possibility of doing another cycle with our own eggs and sperm but it is a lot of money and emotional energy for a low chance of success. We are in the airport at the moment ready to fly up to Sydney for a sperm DNA test for my husband (Sperm Chromatin Structure Assay). If this is fine we can be fairly certain we have an egg quality issue. If the results are not fine we have decided to pursue embryo adoption. A sperm donor is obviously an option but I know it is something my husband is not completely comfortable with and we both said we need to be certain in order to move forward. I am more comfortable with egg donation as I feel I have the added benefit of carrying the child and forming a special bond in that way (if I can even get pregnant).

We are both tired and hurting. I don't like this real life stuff...where is the Hollywood ending??? I feel I've been duped by all the rom-coms where everything works out in the end and only wish it were that way in reality. We are grateful for each other and or health and are very much trying to focus on the things we are lucky to have but it is still tough. I know I've said it befor but can we please fast-forward to when we have a family? I know we will have one some way at some point but I just wish something could stop this pain right now...

Saturday, 22 March 2014

And then there were none...

There are no words to describe how we are feeling. Our worst fears have come true...our embryos do not grow to blast. With our other cycles we always transferred Day 2 embryos but the fact that we never had a beta result over 0 made me fear that they just stopped growing not long after they were put back. I counted how many eggs we have retrieved since our first IVF and was shocked that it was over 50. While not all of them fertilised I couldn't believe that that many eggs had resulted in nothing.  That's also in addition to the two years of trying to conceive naturally. While I think my doctor will probably want to cycle again I just don't know if I can do it. We've spent more than $50,000 on assisted reproduced (including natural medicine) and the emotional and physical toll have became almost too much. We have very little savings left and my body feels like it doesn't even belong to me anymore. Adoption in Australia is almost impossible so our options are to continue with IVF or look at third party reproduction (donor sperm, donor eggs, donor embryos). We were concerned that the fact that our embryos arrested mostly on day 3 and 4 may indicate an unidentified sperm issue but I just don't know how I feel about sperm donation in the sense that I would be genetically related to the child but my husband wouldn't. For some reason I feel more comfortable about embryo donation.  I know it eliminates the possibility that I will have biological children but I just feel that with everything my husband and I have been through I want to go through the next step together. 

I'm tired. Very tired.  I feel 100 years old.  Our friends lives seems so simple and straight-forward. I am jealous and angry and so desperately sad. I wanted 2014 to be our year...and maybe it will be...but maybe it won't be too...

Thursday, 20 March 2014

We lost 10 :(

I'm so upset. Yesterday we had 19 embryos but today I got the bad news that 10 had arrested. Only one of the remaining 9 embryos was an 8-cell with the others at 6-cell, 5-cell and 4-cell. The 8-cell isn't excellent quality with approximately 1/3 fragmentation. Sigh. Infertility is such a roller coaster. I was so happy yesterday and was actually starting to think we might end up with multiple blastocysts. Now I just hope we'll have something for transfer on Sunday. I've been nauseated all day from the Cabergoline but luckily my doctor is happy for me to stop it as I don't seem to be showing any signs of OHSS. My lower back is very sore from my progestone in oil (PIO) intramuscular injection but I think it may be more painful because I am trying to do them myself and I wiggle the needle around a bit trying to get a good hand position. So today I'm flat. My husband is missing his sporting grand final on Saturday so that we can head to Melbourne the day before transfer. If we make it down there and pay for travel, accommodation, food and acupuncture only to find out we have nothing to transfer I'll be absolutely devastated. I just hope we have some good news from the embryologist tomorrow...

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

19 eggs fertilised!

Yay! Such great news this morning to hear that 24 out of the 26 eggs retrieved yesterday were mature and of those 19 successfully fertilised! This means we are officially on track for a day 5 transfer this Sunday. We won't know until tomorrow how the fertilised embryos are looking from a quality point-of-view but I'm hoping that as many as possible will continue to multiply and we will end up with some blasts to freeze. In other good news I am pleased to note that my pain, swelling and nausea have significantly reduced since last night and I don't appear to be developing OHSS. It's so nice to have some great news to share and I'm staying positive about our little embryos. Please, please, please keep growing and dividing :)

Egg retrieval and early signs of OHSS

It's been a LONNNNNGGGG day. After negotiating the Melbourne traffic and arriving early at the clinic the morning crept by in a series of consultations, paperwork and waiting before I was led into surgery. It all started off well with the anaesthetist getting a vein almost straight away and after a short nap on the surgery table I woke to the news that we had got 26 eggs! I was groggy and sore but was expecting to feel better as time went on. Unfortunately the pain got worse and I starting feeling quite nauseated. I got my husband to retrieve a looser pair of pants from the car in the hope my tummy would feel less squished but when I was attempting to put them on I had a sudden urge to vomit. The lovely nurse quickly got me a spew bag and sat me down with a cold washer on my forehead. She put an anti-nausea drug under my tongue and it started to work almost straight away. I followed that up with a lemonade icy-pole and after speaking with another nurse about the possibility of ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome (OHSS) and a script for Cabergoline we were eventually allowed to leave about 2pm. We had to find a pharmacy to fill the script and then a lunch place that had gluten and dairy free options for me to eat. I moved very gingerly when walking around and was relieved to finally get in the car around 3:30pm to start the 3-4 hour journey home. My poor husband was criticised every time he went over a bump or slowed down too quickly and I felt like a week had past by the time we finally arrived home a bit after 7pm. So now I'm resting up in bed and hoping like crazy that I don't develop OHSS. I'm nervous about our fertilisation report tomorrow but will hopefully have some good news to share :)

Friday, 14 March 2014

Tracking ultrasound and blood work

Yay- I have follicles! 25 to be exact; 16 on my right ovary and 9 on my left ovary. I had my ultrasound done yesterday at a regular radiography clinic close to where I live rather than with my IVF clinic and unfortunately the lady doing my scan didn't really know what she was doing. She complained about her back hurting and how the receptionist didn't allow enough time for the appointment and I just lay there hoping that she would be able to work it all out. After more than 30 minutes of poking around with the vag wand and much counting and recounting to ensure she had measured everything she informed me that my endometrial lining was 12.6mm and my larger follicles were all around 18mm. I asked to have a look (pretending I was interested) but I really wanted to make sure she had measured everything correctly. She wrote down the 3-D measurements e.g.18 x 16 x 14mm of the follicles when I am used to just the one measurement but I figured the more information my doctor had the better. I was a bit sceptical about the 12.6mm endometrial lining but I tried to reassure myself that the results would at least be close even if they weren't exact. I was also surprised by her announcement that my uterus was retroverted as I was sure that in all my other scans that I had been told it was anteverted. It made me worry that my previous embryo transfers may have been effected as my first doctor had never used ultrasound guidance. Again I tried to push that stress out of my mind and focus on the fact that everything was looking pretty good. The clinic faxed my results immediately to Monash IVF and my nurse contacted me not long after to let me know that my blood work (taken the day before) and follicle results indicated I was ready to trigger this Sunday night for egg retrieval on Tuesday! I had expected another ultrasound and blood collection on Monday so was excited that it was all moving along much quicker. My nurse told me to continue with gonal-f and menopur and that I would be called with my trigger time on Saturday. I hung up without realising I didn't ask whether I needed to continue with my HGH and when I needed to stop clexane and start my antibiotics. I tried calling back without luck but did manage to get onto a different nurse after 5pm. In the middle of all of this my sister rang to say that the post-office did not inform her that my menopur had arrived so that she could put it straight in the fridge and had left it out all day. At this point I figured I could hardly stress about something I couldn't change and after double-checking with my clinic I just asked my sister to put in the fridge as soon as she could. I have to say that it has been very difficult trying to make and take so many phone calls and emails while working full-time...especially when I work with children and it is very obvious when I need to leave or check my phone for emails. Being further away from Monash IVF has meant that I need to be extra-prepared and triple-check all paperwork. I'm sure I have well and truly annoyed my doctors main nurse with all the queries and requests I've made in the last few weeks. Luckily it all appears to have paid off as there has been a number of problems that would have become bigger issues if I hadn't clarified them or followed them up. Now I just hope we have some good eggs next Tuesday after my intralipid infusion on Monday. I'm hoping the luck of the Irish helps me at egg retrieval as it just so happens to be St Patrick's Day :)

Saturday, 8 March 2014

A stressful start to the cycle

Well we are officially stimming however our doctor nearly delayed the cycle another month. I started spotting earlier in the week and was supposed to ring the clinic on cycle day 1 (i.e. when my period started). Now anyone else who spots before their cycle would know that it's not always easy to tell when your first day is and so I called my clinic on Thursday when I thought my spotting was getting heavier. They instructed me to start clexane that night and start my Gonal-f and Menopur the next day. My husband was also supposed to start his antibiotic the Friday morning. This was all well and good until Friday when my spotting basically stopped altogether rather than getting heavier. I was checking every half hour or so to see if I had started bleeding and even tried running on the treadmill in an effort to get things moving- so to speak. It is so ridiculous to want your period to start when you're trying to seems a cruel irony. Anyway I rang the clinic and was told the doctor would call me back. I waited very impatiently all afternoon and received a phone call finally around 6:30pm. Dr L was as quick as always on the phone and after telling him about my spotting he said quickly "well we'll just put you on the pill for 21 days and then start stimming afterwards". WTF! I was nearly in tears as I had specifically asked about BCP for this cycle as I've taken them for every other cycle and he said this cycle was different. I even reminded him about my spotting and he didn't seem phased. Aaaagh. It is so hard when doctors make decisions so quickly without understanding how crushing it is. The doctor explained that if they started stimming me when I was spotting then I may not recruit enough eggs. I asked if I could see if I started full flow in the next 24 hours and he agreed to this and the phone call was over. I was so upset afterwards and angry with my body for not doing what it was supposed to do. I was also angry that I wasn't put on the pill in the first place. Seriously for the money we pay for IVF you just wanted to feel like everything has been thought through properly. So anyway I went to bed that night hoping that my period would start and luckily around 11:45pm I woke to cramping and full flow. I was so stressed about whether the cycle would still go ahead that I didn't get back to sleep until close to 4am! It was a terrible night of tossing, turning and catastrophising that I woke exhausted around 7am when my cat considerately decided it was time for me to get her some breakfast. I paged the doctor around 8:30am and he rang me back about an hour later. I explained that I had definitely started full flow and he said matter-of-factly that I could start stims that night and to count it as cycle day 2. I was too happy to ask any more questions and he obviously wasn't up for a chat so that was that. So simple but so enormous. It's not that a delay of one month is a long time for a normal person but the emotional investment you make to prepare for a cycle in addition to all the scheduling changes you make means that the thought of moving that forward another few weeks feels like such a mammoth effort and disappointment. So all was well that we were going ahead until that night when I had to start all my stim meds. I was confident with the gonal-f as I had used it before but I thought the Menopur would in a similar pre-filled pen and got quite stressed when I opened the packed at saw a vial with a powder cake that obviously required some sort of mixing. I also noticed that the Omnitrope/SciTropin (human growth hormone) didn't have a dosage amount written on it and didn't say whether it was a sub-cutanous or intramuscular injection. Aaagh!! Luckily I was able to speak with the pharmacist who instructed me how to inject the HGH and even though she said she couldn't tell me the dosage initially I was sure that I had just enough for 8 injections out of the 2 vials (10mg each) and she eventually found some information that confirmed that it should be 2.5mg per injection. Phew! So after much reading, instructional DVD watching and nervous double-checking I injected my 112.5 units of gonal-f, 75 units of Menopur, 2.5mg of HGH and 40mg of clexane all sub-cutaneously in my abdomen. I know I should have looked over my med plan earlier but I was so focused on the spotting that I didn't take the extra time to see if I had all the information for my meds. So today I was feeling less stressed until I started reading about my Pregynl injections and realised I would be taking it alongside the progesterone in oil (PIO) injections I had requested as well as the crinone suppositories and I started to become concerned I had asked for too much progesterone not realising that the Pregynl injections also had a similar effect. I'm sure I've lost all readers by now with all the med talk so congrats if you're still with me ;) So now I'm waiting until after the long weekend and will contact the clinic again (I'm sure they'll be delighted) and query the need for the PIO, crinone and Pregnyl after egg collection. I would love to trust that it is all ok but the has seriously been so many times that I have identified an error with my cycle details that I feel the need to double-check everything. So now I'm going to try and relax as best as I can and enjoy what's left of the long weekend :)

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

IVF #3 (Cycle 5)

Well we're back on the horse again so to speak. We have changed clinics and will be now be receiving treatment through Monash IVF in Melbourne with the doctor I consulted with last year about natural killer cells. We have no more embryos at our other clinic and are hopefully making a fresh start with a brand new plan. It has been more stressful as the new clinic is a long way to travel but I hope that it will all be worth it. This will be our third fresh IVF cycle and fifth cycle overall as we've had two frozen embryo transfers. I am on A LOT of new drugs that are very expensive. For example my progesterone in oil (PIO) injections are $50+ a shot and my SciTropin (Human Growth Hormone) is $100+ a shot on top of the Gonal-F, Menopur, Ovidrel, Dexamethasone, Melatonin, Aspirin, Androderm patches, Orgalutran, Clexane injections, Augmentin antibiotic, Pregynl injections, Estradot patches and my intralipid infusions!!! Then I have to take Vitamin D, CoQ10, Fish oil and a multivitamin. My husband is also on antibiotics during my stimulation phase which is new. I feel exhausted just thinking about it all...

I was hoping to save my sick days as I know this new cycle is going to require a lot more time off work but unfortunately I came down with gastroenteritis yesterday. It was awful and by body was aching by the end of it from all the vomiting. I almost went to work today as I was feeling much better but decided to take another day's sick leave to recoup my energy and get some other errands done. Our saving have taken a massive hit over the past year and they are getting very low. My husband is trying to do more weekend work and we're not spending money on anything that is not essential.

There was another baby born yesterday to a close friend. I received the text in between vomiting bouts. This will be about the 10th baby born to a close friend since we started trying for ours. I feel empty and angry and sad and tired. I use the word 'joypathy' to describe my reaction to other people's pregnancy/birth announcements as I feel happy for them but not for me. It's been nearly 3 years of trying to conceive but it feels like 30. I'd love to say I'm pumped about this next cycle but I'm not. The only positive news we've had over the past few years is my husband's sperm results and when our embryos have fertilised. I'm sick of failure, disappointment and overwhelming grief. I've become very good at smiling, laughing and being social when all I want to do is sit at home and watch TV. I don't really want to speak to anyone other than my husband. I'm not depressed but have definitely changed. We have learnt so much about ourselves, and others. I have become closer with certain people and more distant from others. I know who my supports are and which people feel more comfortable avoiding me. I have learnt to be grateful for all the wonderful things in my life yet cannot release the weight of the constant desire to have a family. It is in my thoughts almost constantly. I'm sending my love and positive energy to anyone on a similar journey. Infertility is such an isolating journey but knowing you are not alone is so important.

Friday, 31 January 2014

12dp2dt and the torture of the two week wait

The 2WW is both the best and worst time for me. It is a roller-coaster of hope, fear, excitement and anxiety as your body battles the wave of drugs and emotions. For the most part I hate it but the moments of hope are over-whelming and I tend not to let myself get caught up in them for fear of the fall. I've only ever known negative results and have never had so much as a whisper of a second line or a beta result higher than zero. I've always tried to be a positive person but the process of IVF sure tends to change you as a person- particularly in the two week wait. I'm 12dp2dt and in all my other cycles I would have tested by now. For some reason I have no desire to POAS and am starting to wonder whether I can hold out for the clinic phone call. I don't think this is the best idea as the nurses are usually fairly matter of fact about the result and I've found it difficult not to get upset when I already knew it was going to be a BFN so getting the news without warning would be really hard. I may test tomorrow morning- which is a Sunday- so at least my husband will be with me. I'll keep you posted...

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Back from transfer :)

Things rarely go smoothly but I'm happy to say that we had a successful double embryo transfer today. I received a call from one of the embryologists this morning to say that our 5 cell embryo had thawed 100% but our 4 cell embryo had lost two of its cells. I was immediately concerned about the viability of the embryo but the clinic explained that as long 50% or more of the cells are retained after thaw they will proceed with transfer. I continued to worry after I got off the phone and couldn't help but feel that we were really only going to be having a single embryo transfer as I didn't feel the second embryo would have a chance. I did some googling and cried when my husband came home. I knew I was so lucky to have one good embryo but we were so excited about a double transfer after three failed single transfers that I really felt like we needed to go into this cycle with everything we had. My lining was great, I had been exercising regularly and eating well and just felt like I was in a really great place for this cycle. After some rushed discussion I rang the clinic back and asked them to thaw our final embryo. I knew they wouldn't allow a triple transfer but asked that they thaw a third embryo and then we would transfer the better out of that one and the two cell. Whichever was left we would re-freeze if this could be done. The clinic agreed but informed us that re-freezing and thawing an embryo is not usually recommended. I was still playing the decision back and forth in my head on the way to the clinic but my husband and I both agreed that we wanted to put the best embryos back. The embryologist called when we were in the car to say that the final embryo had thawed very well and retained its 4 cells and 7/10 grading. It was an easy decision to transfer that embryo instead of the 2-cell embryo although I still felt a bit like we were rejecting this little 'being'. The transfer went smoothly and we were told not to get our hopes about the 2-cell embryo. I told the clinic to call my husband with news about the final embryo as I wasn't sure if I wanted to know. On one hand I would be happy if it grew to blast as we would have this in the bank but on the other hand if it grew I would regret not putting it back in- especially if this cycle is anther fail. So now I'm at home putting my Feet up and watching a movie. I don't do strict bed-rest as I like the idea of blood moving around to nourish the uterus but I also don't like doing too much either. I'll take it easy today but get up and move around a bit more tomorrow to do some light things around the house. I don't have to go back to work until next week so will enjoy as much rest and relaxation as I can :)

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Good to go :)

Yay- I'm officially scheduled for our double embryo transfer on Monday 20th January. I went to my scan today and was so pleased to find out that my endometrial lining was nice and thick at 10.9mm!!! That's the best I've ever had. I have no idea whether the red raspberry leaf tea, pomegranate juice, yoga and exercise helped but it obviously didn't hurt. I start my progesterone pessaries tomorrow as well as my clexane injections- they're not fun but it's a minor inconvenience. There is not much else to report...I'm feeling hopeful but I'm also realistic. Whatever will be, will be.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

DQ alpha match test results

Well we have some good news...we are not a match! It took a lot of chasing up and a phone call to the USA to track down my referring doctor but I feel so relieved to hear the news that we do not have to worry about being a DQ alpha match and can proceed with a double embryo transfer. For those who don't know what a DQ alpha match means I am probably not the best person to try and explain it. Information on Dr Sher's website discusses the potential alloimmune issues that arise from a DQ alpha match but from what I understand if the male and female have certain genes that match then an incorrect immune response occurs in the woman and she can reject the embryo or embryos. If there is a complete match then donor sperm or a surrogate is often recommended. If there is a partial match then they suggest one embryo at a time as some embryos will be affected and others won't- which means if one is affected and the mother rejects it then it is likely the other embryo will also be lost in the process. The implications of a DQ alpha match are still debated and many doctors do not believe it impacts on the likelihood of a successful pregnancy but as far as I was concerned I was going to be tested for anything I could while they still hadn't found a strong reason for our infertility. A DQ alpha match can be linked with high natural killer cells (which I tested positive for) and so it was a small win to eliminate something that had us discussing surrogacy and donor sperm. So I'm staying positive about our transfer next week. I have an ultrasound tomorrow and hope that my endometrial lining is nice and thick. I know that our chances aren't great but I'm feeling positive about 2014 :)

Friday, 10 January 2014

Preparing for FET #2 (cycle 4)

Today was my second intralipid infusion- I had my first infusion before the last unsuccessful FET in November. They had trouble again with my veins today; I explained to the nurse how everyone always started with my inner elbow and then eventually moved to the back of my hand and she thankfully listened. A combination of a heat-pack, hanging my arm down low, whacking the back of my hand and using a tourniquet allowed the nurse to insert the cannula after only a few painful attempts. She seemed confident with the protocol and started the saline flush followed by the milky white intralipid solution. I felt a bit of pain at the cannula site over the next few hours and became quite tired and sleepy but otherwise I quite enjoyed reading magazines, playing games on my Ipad and generally surfing the net. It was very quiet in the day surgery as many of the surgeons were still on holidays but I did hear three women coming out of anaesthetic after their egg retrievals and one man waking up from some other sort of procedure. I chatted with the nurses a lot who were all obviously enjoying having a less hectic schedule. The infusion allowed tiny feelings of hope and excitement to creep back in. I knew it meant I was getting closer to a transfer and the thought of two embryos in my womb in a few weeks made me smile. These thoughts are of course always followed by my automatic instinct to guard my heart and reason with myself that "if this doesn't work then we'll move on to the next plan..." etc. 
Aside from the intralipid infusion I am currently taking Dexamathasone, Synarel nasal spray and Progynova.  If my scan looks good next Friday I will also start Progesterone pessaries and Clexane injections. I feel like an old-hand at this stuff now and it's funny how quickly all this IVF stuff becomes so normal. It is so strange that my husband doesn't blink an eye when I yell out "Have I had my Dex?" or let him know that I have to go and do my vaginal pessary. Typing these things makes my laugh and I'm glad to be in a good head-space in the lead up to this cycle. I know it's going to be tough but I'll take these positive feelings whenever they drop by.

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Foods for fertility

I would consider myself fairly healthy but going through infertility makes you second guess everything you do and strive to do everything "better" in the hope that it will bring you closer to a pregnancy. I have followed a gluten-free and dairy-free diet for a number of years due to persistent gastrointestinal issues. It was one of the best decisions I ever made as it not only relieved my tummy problems but also cleared my skin and significantly reduced my neck pain and headaches. When researching the best diets for infertility it was interesting for me to note that some people believe that gluten and dairy can inflame the body and may exacerbate symptoms of endometriosis- so I was glad I had already eliminated those foods. Apart from that I didn't really think too much about specific foods being good or bad for conception and just tried to eat healthier and reduce my alcohol intake. As I have moved further along the IVF journey I have started to research more and have to say that maybe ignorance is bliss. Two theories that I read a lot about were the 'low carb-high protein' diet and the 'alkaline' diet. The high protein diet recommends more meat, fish and eggs while the 'alkaline' focused diet believes these types of foods are acidic to the body and encourages people trying to conceive to eat a mostly plant-based diet with an emphasis on green foods. For the first few days of this year I nearly went crazy trying to work out which approach I should follow. I would feel guilty about every mouthful I ate as I felt it went against at least one of the two eating philosophies. It became so stressful that I decided it had to stop. I feel like no matter what you do with infertility it contradicts the recommendations of someone. This makes decisions stressful and I kick myself for all the googling I do in an effort to unlock the 'magical get pregnant' solution. So today I have decided to eat as healthy as I can without making myself miserable; to reduce sugar and processed foods and drink lots of water but have a few chips or a lemonade if I feel like it. After much angst I figure that common sense would suggest that less junk, alcohol and caffeine and more fruit and vegetables is the best approach. Rather than make another list of things I should and shouldn't do I have written some key words randomly on my bathroom mirror to motivate me to make healthy overall lifestyle choices without getting too bogged down in the specifics. For those that are interested my key words are:
"Breathe"               "Stretch"                      "Relax"                      "Laugh"               "Eat clean"                                        "Hydrate"                "Exercise"            "Stay warm"               "Stay positive" 
I hope others on this infertility journey will also cut themselves some slack and just do the best they can without agonising over every choice. There are millions of pregnancies that occur each year for women who have less than optimal diets and lifestyle choices and I think that we can all afford to relax a bit more and reduce the pressure we put on ourselves to be perfect. So I think I'll go and enjoy my yummy homemade asian chicken noodle soup and maybe even have a piece of chocolate afterwards :)