Good / Bad

This week has been a real mixed bag for me. Some great highlights and some really crappy ones.

Good: HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO ME. 6 years of happiness, ok interspersed with some truly horrendous moments but on the whole. We Rock.

Bad: We have a thief at my work. It is so violating to think that someone could steal from you or worse steal from our owners who are two truly lovely and honourable people and would honestly give the thief money if they were in a bad situation. Very sad.

Good: Molly is amazing at the moment and really developing. Verbally she is really coming on and starting to string two words together and I can understand a lot of what she is trying to say. She has also had a super growth spurt and definitely has those daddy legs I was after.

Bad: See above. Molly is growing up way too fast. She is being moved from the nursery to the toddler room and has gone up a level in swimming. I know, I know great milestones but given there is a fair chance she will be it. I don’t like it :(

Good: The house really is coming along now. The walls have been plastered now they need to be trowelled. We started putting the floor boards down. The tiler is coming in two weeks. The renderer finishes today. it is going really well. We do need to install sky lights in the second hallway which is a bit of a bummer.

Bad: I was asked to take part in a clinical trial for IVF which I had the impression was free! I got super excited. But then it turned out only the trial drug was free and it was a 50/50 chance I would only get the placebo. Um, not cool. Why would I pay for a normal cycle when it doesn’t give me a good result and then not get the growth hormone designed to grow more eggs. Sure, let me just waste another $5,000. So. No free cycle. Was really depressing.

Good: My parents are home after 5 weeks away!

Bad: People that were our friends that got Chippie to build their house for him haven’t paid a final bill. For over 2 months we let it slide and then we chased them three weeks later they produce this list of issues. Some are relevant, some aren’t but what is annoying is they never said anything. After any job there is usually a defect list and the builder will go through it with the client. If you don’t say anything how are we supposed to know? Holding money back is childish and now a friendship is probably ruined. Communicate. Not that hard.

Good: The weather is going to be nice this week.

I think I will finish on that high note.

All up I am feeling a little strained. I am tired and burning the candle at both ends. Work is suffering as I am feeling under pressure that I can’t get everything done that people expect and little mistakes are made that usually wouldn’t bother anyone but are now being highlighted and I feel a bit stupid. Chippie is working ridiculous hours and he is tired as well. With him not around much at home because he is working so hard I feel like a single mum. I also hate where I am living and can’t say anything because Chippie is working very hard to change that. We desperately need some time off as a family to recharge but that is some time away. I also have another IVF cycle starting in May now that isn’t that far away. More financial strain. All little first world problems but it makes the bad seem bigger than it needs to be or really is.

On a brighter note to remind me to keep the faith I found out a close work friend who recently left is finally pregnant WITH TWINS on IVF #7. It can happen. For some of us it just takes time.

 

 

eggs out of time

I had our WTF appointment yesterday with Dr Cowboy. I am so relieved that Chippie came with me. Normally I just go by myself because it is just easier. It isn’t like it is 5 minutes around the corner and he runs his own business so sometimes I just think I’ll go and then report back to what we are doing. However after the last cycle failed I asked if he could come with me as I felt we were at a bit of a crossroads.

It was a long appointment. Just over 40 minutes. We had a lot to talk about and I didn’t feel rushed at all. Sometimes you feel like you are in and out and your head is spinning and you wonder what on earth did I sign up for?

The first thing I asked was Why aren’t my follicles growing consistently? I had 10 follicles but only 3 mature eggs with my last try. To recap my egg collection as been

1. 7 @ 125iu

2. 13 @ 250iu

3. 4 @ 375iu

4. 5 (but 3 mature) @450iu

Now I can understand my follicle count dropping two years on however there was only 6 months between the second and third fresh cycle. I couldn’t have dropped fertility that consistently. The one thing I did stop doing was acupuncture. More on that later.

He said that I appear to be a poor responder which I believe I am, I have never had big hauls of eggs Although the second try was the best yet. So then I asked What were my AMH levels, I was never told after I had the test done. This news was hard to hear but unsurprising. My AMH was 6.75 which puts me in the low ovarian reserve category. I am in the bottom 25%. It was hard to hear. I figured that I wasn’t great but I thought perhaps I was average. It appears that I am not average at all.

I know AMH is not the only indication of ovarian reserves. However coupled with my low response rates it is fairly indicative of where I stand at the moment.

I also asked were my embryos of good quality? I expected to hear yes but unfortunately hearing that of all embryos 50% are usually abnormal and with a crap AMH possibly more, repeated IVF failures becomes more clear.

I explained that I was unhappy with the timing of the itrallipid treatment which he accepted as I said that it was done too close to pick up and and transfer and I don’t think it was able to work effectively. I also wondered if my lining was too thick but apparently that can never be too thick. That’s one thing I have going for me at least. A great bloody lining.

What next then?

I asked if a D&C before my next cycle would be effective. He said yes and we could do an endometrial scratching as well which helps improve your chances. This will avoid me using a general for transfer and give everything a spring clean. I might as well make use of the hideously expensive private health cover I have.

He suggested we do a flare cycle which is used for poor responders. I don’t have ANY information on this so if anyone has done this before or has any thoughts on it I would love to hear about it. Another thing we have been tested for is the DQ10 alpha gene to see if we are too compatible and my body rejects because they think it isn’t a normal embryo even though it is.

We will continue with the puregon / menopur injections and when I get my period next week I will start the egg quality pack again.

I think I will go back to acupuncture as this can also help with egg quality and consistency with follicle growth.

However this is all very black and white above and isn’t really dealing with my emotions which frankly are all over the place. Chippie and I have decided on two more fresh cycles. That’s about $10k roughly. I am in a fortunate position where we can afford this (just) but I can’t keep throwing good money after bad. I have Molly to think about as well. I have our life to think about. We just don’t want to be in this limbo anymore. How is secondary infertility different to primary? Well for me, I have one blessing to be inordinately thankful for. There was a time there where she seemed to be an impossibility. I can accept, perhaps with some counselling, that she will be it. I couldn’t have accepted that the first time around.

Dr Cowboy gave me five frank outcomes.

1. We persevere

2. We stop and be thankful

3. We look at donor eggs

4. We look at donor embryos

5. We adopt

Before Molly, the option was my sister would either donate eggs or perhaps be a surrogate. After Molly, I don’t need to do that anymore. Adoption in Australia is still a hideous process and I don’t know if I am emotionally strong enough to go through it. We have considered permanent care which is still a hard one to accept. You essentially don’t have any legal rights over the baby and you could have the baby as yours for many years and then if the mother is considered to be “fixed” she can take her baby back. The heart break of that makes me feel ill.

At the moment it is option 1 or option 2.

Having a low ovarian reserve does not mean you can’t get pregnant. There are plenty of bloggers I read that have proven this theory comprehensively! However given our history of no natural pregnancies in five years of trying (give or take 12 months of pregnancy / no post partum period) that don’t look great. I will never go on birth control so who knows maybe we will be surprised.

But I need to move on so putting a time line on the number of fresh cycles we will do gives me an end game. I can’t live in this fertility limbo anymore. I did for three years and honestly the last six months has been annoying more than anything. We all deserve the family we want to have and whilst it is frustrating I do need to learn acceptance (tongue firmly in cheek!). But I do.

It’s not over. Not by a long shot. I will give it everything we have to make the best of it. In my heart of hearts I honestly do feel that there is another baby left in me. I don’t feel like it is over. I hope that my heart mixes with fate.

So, I’m still infertile

I have been a bit flat this weekend. Dammit. I really hate feeling this way. I want to recapture the moments after I had Molly, those blissful first months where I felt healed and better.  Almost arrogantly so. I needed to listen to the sisters that had been before me.

I am better, I am so much stronger than primary infertility but I just feel it within myself. It was like the dimmer switch went on and I dulled ever so slightly. I have started looking at pregnant bellies with envy again (usually if they are accompanied by a toddler) and at Molly’s childcare there are a stack of new pregnant mums. I look at them and think blah blah blah infertility sucks blah blah blah.

I have received a delivery of OPK’s and these soft cups that apparently have worked and then I laugh. Seriously, I am even thinking about natural? Why? 5 years of trying and never receiving a single natural BFP and I think now it will work? Worse my sex drive is non existent at the moment. A nice side effect of IVF, I swear the medication deadens me inside. I think getting back into exercise and losing the IVF bloat will help me (and frankly my birthday tomorrow fills me with dread THIRTY SIX just the thought of it shrivels my innards). 

Yesterday I was reading the Sunday lift out in the paper and they had a write up called “Desperate to be a Dad” it was nice (sad) to read about it from the other perspective. We read so much about women wanting it we rarely think about the men. There are reasons for that. Sometimes they are so damn clueless. I love my husband but if I hadn’t pushed and persevered with IVF make no mistake, Molly wouldn’t be here now. 

I was reading the different bio’s and articles on the different men and J.ohn L.eonards really, really hit a nerve. Like an emotional YOU NAILED IT nerve.

The thing about going through IVF is that it allows you to picture what your family might look like. Once you’ve been through the hormone injections, the treatment, the insemination, all the technical stuff, you allow your mind to wander and, just for a few days – or, if you’re lucky, weeks – imagine what a family might look like.

 

I always imagine having a daughter. For me, it’s never the big thinks like teaching them to swim or kicking a football. It’s the pleasure in those split seconds of happiness – the moment all the world shrinks around you, sharing a smile or watching the fascination on your child’s face as they learn something the new.

 

The bad thing about IVF is that it just takes one phone call, one bit of bad news, to make all of those lovely images vanish into thin air – until, you have the energy to give it another shot.

That’s where I am at the moment. Why I feel a bit numb.

During my first round of infertility I manage to steel myself against thinking what if’s because round after round of IVF, you know that hope bites you in the arse, and you think to yourself I am not going to think past this one day, this one moment because it is too hard dealing with the wash up.

This time though I went the whole hog. I thought about where I was going to put the baby in the new house. The almost perfect timing of the expected due date (yes I looked it up – beginners mistake). The baby would have been due on the exact date we started TTC.

I thought about a new car seat and how great it was that I had the foresight to get a pram that was suitable for two children.

I didn’t test and I honestly thought until 2.10pm Friday 28th November that I was pregnant. I was one of the lucky ones that wasn’t going to have to through all of this crap again.

One phone call extinguished the hope so completely that it dulled a little bit of me.

So, I soldier on. I make plans. I play with my adorable gorgeous beautiful daughter. I enjoy time with my amazing husband. Until I find the strength to do it all again.

 

IVF 4.3 = BFN

I arranged to have my blood test yesterday.  It was 11dp3dt so more than enough time to know it it had worked or not. I didn’t POAS and I went into that damn blood test with so much anticipation.

I got a call around 2pm and it was a negative.

I was really fucking surprised. I actually thought it had worked. The night of the blood test I went to bed and I was so peaceful and happy. I woke up at around 1am and my first thought was “I am pregnant”.  But I wasn’t.

I thought we had found the solution. The reason why I don’t get pregnant. The last two times it had worked with two embryos. It worked! Why didn’t it work this time.

I can’t believe TTC for 2 is going to be as much as a head fuck as number 1. All of that money, all of that time. What a waste of a month. 

I am so thankful, grateful and happy for Molly. Yesterday was made a thousand times easier by having her presence in my life. The tears didn’t go for as long. The ache was less than the past. But I don’t want to hear that we are lucky to have her. I don’t. Because we are lucky but she is lucky to have us as well.

The thing is, as I said to the girls on my AC board. I am a really awesome mum. I really am. I might not be a super creative Montessori type mum but I am kind, patient, loving, fun mum. My daughter knows how much she is loved. I don’t moan and complain about being a mum. Sure I have shit days like everyone but I never think of Molly as being a hindrance in my life rather than an asset in my life. We are building this lovely new BIG house and for what? To fill up one bedroom? What a fucking waste. What a waste of a uterus. What a waste of two great parents. Why do we not get to parent so easily like others?

I am so scared that Molly is going to be it. We can’t afford to keep doing IVF treatments this time. I just don’t have the money lying around like we did last time, or more to the point I am not working full time and I can’t keep throwing money at it. 

I don’t understand why it didn’t work. I did everything I was supposed to. I took all of the egg improvement medication, I took my progesterone, clexane needles. I did everything the same as the last cycle even down to the point of having my sister take me to the transfer. I relaxed. I should be pregnant. 

Do you many how many embryos I have lost now – NINE. Nine babies that have been taken from me. They were created, they lived for a few days and then they are transferred to my wasteland of a uterus and they die. I shouldn’t be allowed to keep doing this. My body just kills these innocent embryos. They would work on anyone else but not me. No, me I just let them die.

All that talk of positivity and how it impacts your cycle. Well that is just bullshit. I had hardly any days of anxiety. Not like in the past. I was great. I was chilled out to the point of being surprised at myself.  I have said it before and I will say it again relaxing means fuck all. It means nothing. It does not and can not change the outcome of your cycle.

I don’t have any frozen embryos. I don’t have anything left. Just the wreckages of another BFN.

Anyway I have stopped all medication and now just have to wait for my period to turn up. Which it probably will today. Then after a week or so we have to figure out what to do next. I have to start saving up money. I have to see my specialist and we have to work out our plan of action. It’s just fucked.

Another one bites the dust.

It’s Monday

It’s Monday and we are officially half way through our TWW.

Being away camping and having no phone for the whole weekend was the most amazing thing for my mental state. I couldn’t obsess, I shut myself off from social media and I had some really fantastic family time. It was great. I find Wilson’s Prom a very spiritual place. It is quite untouched and remote. In fact large quantities of it are completely inaccessible by vehicle and only partially accessible by foot. Tidal River is a camp ground I used to visit as a child and apart from the toilets / shower being upgraded the rest is exactly as I remember as a child, for me passing this experience onto Molly is priceless. The boys went “surfing” at Norman Beach (the “” is because the surf was about 20cm high ;) ) and the coastline is magnificent. All I kept thinking was we pay $1000′s of dollars to experiences beaches in Asia, Africa or Mexico and for the grand total of $60 for two nights this was my backyard. Is there anything better?

I really wanted to take lots of fabulous shots but of course I left my camera at home and my phone was out of battery so we didn’t get any! Our friends took one family shot at Squeaky Beach before her phone also died but I haven’t got that yet. It was a nice shot I will post it as an updated Molly shot when I get it.

The weather was pretty crap. Friday was blowing a gale but we still had fun. Molly thought it was hilarious to roll around on the tent while we were trying to put it up and pull out the pegs that Ryan had placed down and to be frank it made us laugh as well.  I didn’t bother bringing any toys but I did bring a few books because she is obsessed with Where is the Green Sheep and I am glad I didn’t . She would take her bucket and come back with leaves, feathers, rocks, seeds and banksia flowers. Agh, be still my heart. This is what it is all about. Making mud pies on the sand flats next to the river, chasing the seagulls! Wilson’s Prom is also one of the only places where wombats are very social. You actually have to lock your food up because they will try and get it but they are such lovely big furry animals. Chippie want’s one as a pet.

On the way home with Molly asleep in the car the sun streaming on my face I turned to Chippie and said do you ever have moments where you are just so happy, regardless of any outcome that may be coming up and he said I am happy every day with my life. Pow. Chippie might not be a romantic but sometimes he says the perfectly perfect thing.

I am ambivalent. I couldn’t tell you if it has worked or not. I am simply on too much medication to give you a symptom. I have estrogen patches on my butt, progesterone pessaries twice a day, steroid tablets making me bloated and the dreaded clexane – actually I have no idea what the cleaxane is doing apart from bruising my belly. But if it works………

I am back at work today. It’s Monday. Life progresses as normal. I am trying not to obsess as by now it has either worked or it hasn’t. I can’t change anything now but stay hopeful.

 

Miscellaneous rambling

1. The transfer went exceedingly well. We transferred the only two little embryos from our cashed up haul of three and they were looking damn good if I do say so myself. One was a 9 cell and one was an 8 cell. The actual transfer was smooth (I was asleep) and when I woke I felt a little woozy and nauseous so my sister drove me straight home. I rested up and Chippie looked after me last night. I managed to go 22 hours before I had to pick up Molly.

2. Mum then took me out for a pedicure because my mum is fabulous. I went hot pink. She also tried to hold my hand as I crossed the road. I said to mum “errr, did you just try to hold my hand” she blushed and said yes. I am 36 in just over three weeks and my blessed mum still watches me cross the road.

3.  I am currently eating an entire pineapple

4. I tried to go two days without showering but lasted only 36 hours. I tried but my hair was a grease trap. I made sure i didn’t have the water on too hot and kept it as cool as I could.

5. Hot damn but the steroid munchies kicked in last night. I have been relatively good so far but I was STARVING last night. I couldn’t stop opening the cupboard and gazing forlornly at nothing to eat.

6. My house is driving me crazy. I am so so so ready to move. We are still at least three months away. Finally at lock up and soon we start inside with plaster, flooring, tiling etc.  I haven’t participated in SRB’s clutter challenge because I was all pfft clutter, I am so neat freakily clean but the fact is the tiny sloth hole I call home at the moment is far from sparkling and it is driving me bonkers. Our furniture is too big for such a little house, the dogs keep bringing dead grass in, I miss a wardrobe, I miss a table, I miss a bath and most of all I miss having a kitchen that you want to cook in. I have no bench space so my oven cook top becomes the dirty dishes area which is fine until you want to cook. And I hate doing dishes. I am sorry for my first world problem but I would give my left arm and possibly my right finger for a dish washer.

7. I just had an earl grey tea. Yuk. I want a coffee!

8. This pineapple is burning my throat

9. With IVF3.3 Jen and I participated in a creativity challenge (FYI Jen is now blogging again under a different website, not parenting related but she is so damn talented with design and creative things that make you super jealous because your pinteresting things do not turn out the same) anyway during IVF4.3 I have started thinking about Molly’s big girl room in our new house and how I want to decorate it on a pretty serious budget. I have an old chest that I am determined to paint white and then I was thinking about padding the inside in a grey fabric. The idea looks luxe and amazing in my head. Reality? Hmmm watch this space

10. We are going away camping to Tidal River this weekend which is in Wilson’s Prom. For geography buffs it is the southern most tip of Australia’s mainland. It is also a National Park, Marine Park and generally amazing place to visit. I used to go as a child and can’t wait to take Molly this weekend. There are generally wombats roaming the sites, lots of Kangaroo’s and Rosella’s. She will love it! 

11. Lastly, we bought a soda stream and it is the most brilliant thing ever. 

Tomorrow is GO

This cycle has been good emotionally  but physically it has been a really shit cycle. I mean are my eggs fucking dead? Seriously, and to top it all off I got a bill in the mail for the AMH test – $300 – and I still don’t know my result and we have done the cycle now anyway and the $9k before rebates I have spent on that tells me pretty clearly that shit is getting empty in there. I am going to try and somehow get out of the bill or reduce it. I don’t know. It wasn’t a nice bill to receive.

However. Tomorrow with all fingers crossed I will be transferring two little embryos.

We had five eggs at pick up. Of the five only three were mature and of the three, two fertilised. I told Chippie in a perky voice that it was a 67% fertilisation rate which rocks it was just unfortunate he only had to bring his A game for three fucking eggs.

The cycle that gave us Molly if you remember was also fairly crap so I am working on the principal that yes it is quality not quantity. I haven’t heard from anyone today so there are still two little babies growing nicely in a dish ready to be transferred into my amazing uterus. Which, if I can brag is looking pretty damn good. It’s the ovaries that are letting the team down. And the immune system but given my recent bout of gastro and this killer sore throat I have at the moment I am going with the immune system is down bitches.

I know the next two weeks are going to be a bit of a killer. I will not be testing early. It isn’t my thing. The blood test will be most likely on Monday 3rd March which is 17 days past collection. It is supposed to be 16 but that is a Sunday. 

Chippie asked me last night if I was crazy for doing this again. Yes, I probably am. I have this pretty bloody great life going on at the moment and this can send me a bit over the edge but I don’t yet feel like my family is complete. I am not sure what we will do if it doesn’t work. Financially I am going to wait until our house is finished so another cycle wont be on the cards until May / June and I will need to save for it. The house is going a touch over budget, which I had allowed for in my calculations but it does mean that IVF is a bit of a stretch and one that I can’t justify until we finish.

Of the six cycles that have gone the only time I have been succesful is when I have transferred two embryos so I am praying (and I am not a praying woman) that I have two on Monday still. I guess with the NK cells it works on a divide and conquer scenario. You sacrifice one to get one. 

I will let you know how I go tomorrow. Honestly, I can’t wait for my infertility journey to be finally 100% completely done with.