three sleeps

28 people coming on Thursday.

That’s right TWENTY EIGHT.

I am pretty organised but have taken Wednesday off work to get the last few things done.

Still have to wrap Molly’s presents and Chippie has to put together the cubby house on Wednesday night.

The last few weeks have been insanely busy. Far busier than a usual December. I am starting to feel the heat. On Thursday I was so bone tired that I asked Ryan to come home early so that I could handover parental duties. That is terrible.

I think I am a bit sick I have a funny belly and unfortunately our old friend gastro is going around :(

I am so excited though to have a few days off (ok they are my normal days off!) all the family over, drinks, merriment and the inaugural table tennis championships.

So excited that I didn’t even cry when I got my period on Saturday.

I’ll ride with you

In a day when terror finally arrived in Australia I think this meme sums it up perfectly.

peace

I know I am probably naive. But I really don’t care about what religion you practice or what you believe in.

I don’t care what country you come from.

I believe in the cultural melting pot.

I have no problem whatsoever with a muslim women’s right to wear a hajib. I want them to feel safe and free of recriminations for their choices. That’s the overriding thing isn’t it? Freedom to be who you want to be. Freedom to practice your religion your political choices your sexuality your gender. You should have the right to be whomever you want to be and we should always respect that.

I don’t believe in someone coming to this country and practicing hate and fear and terror. If you don’t like the way we live then just leave. It’s that simple. No one makes you live here.

I don’t know.

Many of you in other countries deal with this all the time. I have to confess I like my sheltered life.

If you live in Australia and you love where you live and you don’t feel safe because of people that have done things in the name of your religion and distort the things you believe in then I will ride with you. I am so glad in the face of all this fear we could have been spouting hate but instead we try to show humanity.

ridewithyou

Christmas frenzy

Is anyone else here a total Christmas freak like me?

Even when I was struggling to have Molly I still loved Christmas. Don’t get me wrong. Christmas 2009 was brutal. That year I got my period on Christmas day and I had two heavily pregnant sisters (one in law, one blood related) it was so hard. I had just had a laparasocopy a few weeks earlier which was a total bitch. Even though there was nothing wrong with me.

Christmas 2010 was horrible as well. I looked back at my posts and oops I wrote a horrible piece about my in-laws which was really pretty nasty. But in my defence I had three failed IVF transfers and I was sensitive, hormonal and emotional.  Still. Anyway. That was a fucked up year as well.

Thanks god in 2011 I was finally fucking pregnant.

Despite all of the above I totally, completely and absolutely love all things Christmas.

I have the most amazing memories of Christmas day that I am able to start giving to Molly. We didn’t think she was really on-board with the whole Santa thing until she came home from care on Tuesday, flipped open a catalogue and pointed out confidently “Danta”. Boom. Game on. I know some people aren’t really into Christmas, the commercialism and the potential lying about the red man. That’s cool. However for me. LOVE IT. And it isn’t so much about the commercialism because as much as I am a total consumer I do think that you can go totally over the top with the gift giving thing. For me it has always boiled down to spending quality time with your family and just being in a really special moment. Eating. Decorations. Christmas parties. The official true start to summer holidays. Or getting totally trashed with your brother on G&T’s because your sister was pregnant again. Joke. Not really.

I have tried to go with the whole 4 things for Christmas for Molly from Santa. If you aren’t familiar with this concept it is

something you want

something you need

something to read 

something to wear

Which I pleased to say I have mainly stuck to. I have a few little stocking fillers but I have stuck to those principles and I think that will be more than enough because her aunties and uncles and grandparents spoil her like mad. Especially those two aunties that I was inadvertently shitty with for being, well pregnant ;) they blood love her so much. She is so lucky.

Her main present is a cubby house and she is going to lose her MIND over it. Thankfully Chippie being a chippie (builder / contractor) he can knock it up pretty quickly on Xmas eve. We bought a prepackaged one because it is actually cheaper than making one yourself and frankly this time of the year, Chippie is too busy and has so much to do before he shuts down so it wasn’t worth the stress! I haven’t really got the something you need because she doesn’t really need anything so that can be her stocking fillers.

This year we are hosting the day at our new house. The backyard will be completely finished however the front will not be but we will just tidy it up a bit. That’s our next job for the new year. The great thing is that both sides of the family are coming. We usually do one year a Chippie the next year a me. This year was my year but Chippie’s family are coming down from Bend.igo. Even his Nan! And my Nan!! Who just turned 89 and is a total LEGEND.  I also have my cousins and partners and kids. My aunty is so excited. She is basically my second mother (actually I have three counting my MIL) and she spends a lot of time with us kids. Mum really wanted to spend Xmas day with her as she has been her rock this year and so supportive.

That means we have 20 adults and 8 children!!

Bring it on!!!

If anyone has any great recipes or table setting ideas or any family traditions they want to pass onto me I would love to hear them!

Here is a picture of Molly in front of the Christmas tree for the first time. The last two years we haven’t had a tree up because her first Christmas we moved on Christmas Eve and her second Christmas we were in our tiny house and couldn’t put one up!! She loves it!! I have added a few more decorations and I let Molly choose one herself which I think will be a nice tradition going forward.

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The no good very bad appointment with Dr Cowboy

Crushing.

Disappointing.

Pissed off.

After my final “second” opinion with Dr Baby Lady in September I was of two minds. I was nervous because I went through five rounds with my first FS and then finally miraculously fell pregnant with Molly using Dr Cowboy’s protocol. I didn’t know if I wanted to move to a new FS because he got me pregnant. And despite it all I felt he cared. I had NK cells and the intrallipids were the best thing to work with that. He pioneered the use in Victoria. There were 100s of women that were becoming parents because he looked outside the box.

However this year has been horrendous from an IF perspective. There was the BFN – which wasn’t his fault, it just didn’t work and I stuffed up by seriously under dosing on the menopur and reducing the number of eggs at collection.

There was the news that my AMH was 6.75 and thus putting me on the low end of ovarian reserve.

There was a DnC that resulted in nothing but bad timing for a flare cycle that was subsequently cancelled because no one took the time to establish whether it was my period or left over bleeding from the DnC.

There was a cancelled cycle that didn’t even take off the ground.

Then there was the convert to IUI because I didn’t have enough follies as a result of doing a down reg cycle, which for IVF veterans is a huge no no if you are a poor responder, I clearly am a craptastic responder.

I haven’t been happy with the management of my cycle. Specifically the last two where I expressed concerns with a flare cycle (not being suppressed enough and ovulating too early due to my shorter cycles) and down reg (being suppressed too much). I was correct on both counts. I also wrote this letter that expressed my concerns, that among other things he always forgets my history which I think is paramount when making decisions to move forward.

It’s been four months since my IVF / IUI failed and I finally went back to see him. He had to be prompted to remember my history. It was patently obvious he had no idea who I was. He had to review my notes and started with February as if that was my last treatment till I reminded him I was here because of what happened in July / August. He then asked what I wanted to do. I get that the ball is in my court so to speak but mister I need advice. You tell me what to do. Don’t tell me to adopt, donor eggs or donor embryo (oh yes he did). My eggs may be old, a little crusty and grizzled but I still have them! I had 10 follies last time but 3 eggs. So. That tells me something is wrong with the protocol. I have heard of ladies with a much worse AMH than me getting more eggs.

I said to him that I heard of a drug called el.onva and he said oh we can use that. Like that. No thought or care. Just ok, lets use that. Is it just me or was I just telling him what we should do and he just agreed to it. I don’t want him to agree to it I want him to carefully considered my options and not write a treatment plan for MY LIFE in the five minutes I am in his office. I know he is incredibly smart but you didn’t even remember my past history so why so quickly agree.

He then referred back to the NK cells and the test we had done that said we had a partial DQ Alpha match 03:01. This is still a very contentious area of research with not much positive news in the way of Dr Google. In some respects I agree with the concept of DQ Alpha matches. I have always felt that for some reason Chippie and I aren’t very compatible. For whatever reason. However last time he told me that the NK cells are activated because of this DQ Alpha match (are you still with me) but after my DnC my NK cell activity had actually DECREASED. I told him I had seen that in my medical notes and he had no answer as to the decrease. I said shouldn’t the intrallipid treatment resolve this and he said I have more success with LIT. (The cost, oh a lazy $1000 plus the intrallipids, the steroids and everything else)  The research is not very compelling and there are very mixed results. Intrallipids had very good success rates and there were no side effects. When asked for more information on LIT he referred me to Dr Sher’s website. Ok then.

I wasn’t sold. In fact, I felt like a guinea pig. Let’s do this at your cost it may or may not work.

He then proceeded to write me a treatment plan using el.onva and said to me

“don’t forget you should be happy for the little miracle you have out there”

I don’t know why but that comment made me so angry. I am thankful everyday for her. Everyday. The last thing I do before I go to sleep is check on her and the first thing I do when I wake is to go and see her. I didn’t need that comment. It made me feel selfish for wanting another one. It’s not selfish it’s totally normal.

I have decided next year to give Dr Baby Lady a crack. It can’t hurt. She got my friend pregnant who had the same but worse diagnosis as me (NK, low AMH, slightly crappy sperm and she was older) she still treats NK cells but not with intrallipids which is the one thing that scares me. I was scared that I was being disloyal but how can you be disloyal to someone that clearly doesn’t give a shit.

I am so disappointed. I wanted to walk out of there feeling confident that he had given everything his best shot and even if it didn’t work it wasn’t because of the planning in the cycle. I didn’t. I felt devalued.  That I was another lady waiting to get pregnant and there was a dollar sign over my head. It was really crushing. I admired him so much. Right now it feels like it is the cycle management that is the problem not the actual IVF.

Also, after my appointment with Dr BL she wanted me to get blood tests done. I don’t know what they were all for but one has come back showing I have really low levels of iron. Like crazy low. Why wouldn’t he check some of my basics again just to be on the safe side.

I am very scared. It is a big jump to the new unknown. Last time I had nothing to lose this time I have a lot.

Life

Six weeks ago I lost a friend to suicide.

Given my cup half full mentality I have been struggling to understand why.

The fact is there are no answers.

She had battled demons her whole life and was very open about it. Frankly told me that you can’t fix these problems but you can be a friend and be there and listen. That being a friend was more important than trying to solve it, it being mental illness.

A song can trigger emotions and make me well up. Grief as we know has no time limit. I miss her. I don’t think she realised how much she would be really truly and honestly missed.  By us all. Especially her family. They just miss her so damn much. I miss her cheekiness, her humour, her outlandish ways. Her total extremes of personality. Her outfits. Her sarcastic comments. Her hugs.

There was so much pain. So much. I would hate to have known that pain. I hate that she couldn’t see how much pleasure she gave people. I wonder if she had known would it cancel out the pain?

The worst thing was you could see it coming. I didn’t think it would be that she would be gone forever but in the weeks leading up to it you could sense she was on the precipice that if the trigger was cocked the meltdown was imminent. It blurred the edges of her. The manic thoughts. The veering between sane and crazy ideas. She couldn’t seem to work through it. There was so much uncertainty. I still didn’t think it would be this big. I thought with her family and friends we could get her through it. We couldn’t. We just couldn’t.

Mental illness, for all the press and attention it is given these days is still so woefully misunderstood. After it happened so many people were angry, people that didn’t truly know her. They were angry at the way she chose to take her life.  They thought it was selfish. I know now that she thought she was being kind to people by leaving their life, it wasn’t selfishness it was desperation and sadness and fear and every single negative emotion you can feel that cancelled out anything good in her life. The black dog barked at her door and she couldn’t hear anything else.

I miss her. We all miss her. I wish we didn’t have to say goodbye so soon.

am

Dreams

The last three months in the days before my period arrives I have had vivid, real and intense dreams of being heavily pregnant and about to give birth.

I wake up and I try desperately to recapture those last moments of sleep before I wake up and feel my smooth flat stomach.

It is somewhat cruel and horrible that this happens before another month is classified as over.

I would like to see it as a sign but the reality is that the subconscious is a powerful beast.

Infertility still sucks

My mind and my heart have been better the last few weeks. Not having the medication in my system makes me clearer and definitely less hormonal and emotional. I am not as sad.

The pain however hasn’t gone away. I am still grieving.

I wish that I was reconciled on this path to a single child family. I am not though. It still breaks my heart that I can’t create a family in a normal way. I am very scared of doing IVF again. Yet I know that without it we are done.

Some days are just bad days. This is one of those.

Infertility, parenting, life

This is going to be bullet points and probably not that interesting to anyone ;)

infertility

- I had my third opinion with a different FS. She didn’t offer much more in the way of treatment except she did say my AMH wasn’t that bad – it is low and not awesome but it isn’t in the THIS IS ALMOST OVER PHASE.

- but responding seems to be an issue. She prescribed a new stimulating drug which I already knew and had researched (with a little help!) and I had predicted she would recommend this because I was seeing her based on the recommendation of a friend with a similar fertility history. This drug is called Elonva and you essentially inject just the once rather than every day and then top up after 7 days. She recommended a daily injection of the LH drug menopur in conjunction with the Elonva as well which I had already been taking with the puregon.

- definitely an antagonist cycle – BUT I did already know that after last cycles horrendous outcome.

- a day 2 hormone test as she said you can tell a lot about how you will respond (this was different)

- also wanted me to test my thyroid and something else (can’t remember)

- in regards to treating NK cells she was not against the whole idea of them but tended to do the low dose steroid treatment rather than intrallipd (little bit scared of this)

- I left the appointment feeling a little underwhelmed. My friend had been really impressed about how she was read up on her history before she went in so I dutifully copied over my medical records and wrote a summary about my treatment over the past six years and none of this was read. I basically repeated my history AGAIN. It is annoying but not unexpected. I guess I was hoping for a “don’t worry I have this shit covered, I will get you pregnant” and I didn’t which leaves me very nervous about doing this again.

- I wont be starting any treatment until after Christmas if we do decide to do this again

- I really don’t know where I stand with another IVF. My heart is not dealing with it very well these days and I don’t seem to have the sheer stubbornness that is integral to get through IVF. I am also liking not being on the drugs. They really do impact me and make me anxious and emotional and fuzzy headed. They also seriously impact my sex drive which upsets my husband.

- I am in two minds about leaving my current FS. I don’t know what to do. Do I present the other information? Do I just cut the cord? I don’t dislike my FS I like him I am just upset with the way things are gone. I am scared about the monetary aspect. I am scared about the change.

parenting

MOLLY DID HER FIRST WEE WEE ON THE TOILET.

It was up there in the top five awesome parenting moments.  I mean I was as proud as shit guys. I did the wee wee dance and I of course took the celebratory photo.

However. OH MY GOD TWO YEAR OLDS WERE PUT ON THIS EARTH TO CHALLENGE US.

yeah. On Wednesday I walked in the door and she pointed at me and said “go away”. She has picked up a nasty spitting habit (WTF?) which has been treated with a bar of soap in her mouth. Once was enough I show that bad boy and so far so good and lastly how the hell is time out supposed to work when you say threateningly 1,2 and she says 3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10. Hmmm. I don’t like using bedtime as a threat as that is already a song and dance to get her there.

Oh yeah one more.

Why?

Molly come clean your teeth – why

Come eat your dinner – why

Let’s get you dressed – why

You get the picture. My response is currently

because I am the boss.

She really is a cracker though.

life

- our house is great. I absolutely love being there. It makes the IF stuff seem not so bad. The swimming pool was all cleaned out so it is ready for summer, we are slowly getting the landscaping done and getting new furniture for the inside.

- Mum had her last chemo and is booked in for her double mastectomy on 7th October. This last round has kicked her butt but she is looking forward to hopefully (she will she will) becoming cancer free. She has done so well and I continue to be incredibly proud of her. It still feels very surreal. I am hoping it will be all over very soon.

- hens day shenanigans: we have our Great Gatsby themed hens day in just over a month. Did I tell you we have a flash dance organised and that the bridesmaids are part of it. Probably not. We had a dance lesson on the weekend and it was so much fun I nearly wet my pants. Am I great dancer – no. Will it be terrifying – yes. But I will have a few drinks and be ready and raring to go ;)

- work. Meh. I don’t know what to do at the moment. Keep on keeping on I guess and try keep my head above water.