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 :)