Category Archives: IVF

Where have I been?

Huge thank you to those of you who have contacted me to see if I am okay. This is why I love you guys!!! Thank you to everybody that has stuck in there with me! 🙂

I know I have been neglecting this space and not connecting with you all as much as I should have, or as much as I would like. I don’t really have much of an excuse, life has just been insane for many months now.

 

After we froze our embies we decided to have some time off from the fertility craziness. The docs didn’t really want to transfer the embies anyway as they felt I was too big.

I spent some time really soul searching and thinking about my life journey and how far I had come and what I wanted the next year (this year) and the rest of my life to hold. You know… nothing too heavy right?! Haha

I know I mentioned in a previous post that I had spent a lot of time researching weight loss surgery and what it could do for me with in regards to my insulin resistance, PCOS and snail thyroid. I also finally found out why sometimes my outer thighs goes numb, it is a condition where nerves get pinched randomly (can be cured or greatly improved through weightloss). So I bit the bullet, after 10 years and numerous diets and lifestyle changes I agreed to have sleeve surgery in April.

What?! I hear you say, but it is already May! Yep, that’s right, already done.

I didn’t tell many people. To be honest after so many years thinking about it and researching to come to the decision that I thought was best for me (even though I was petrified and didn’t really want to do it) I really didn’t want to hear any more opinions. So my parents knew (turns out they told a few people), obviously Hubby knew (turns out he told people too) and a couple of my friends knew.

Managed to not have a huge panic attack before surgery, mainly by trying not to think about it and just going through the motions of preparing. Afterwards I initially questioned all my so called wisdom and research because damn did I hurt. Being someone who is very independent though I was determined that even though I had just had major surgery a couple of hours before I was going to the toilet. So I did.

I pretty much had a dream recovery, slight allergic reaction to the dressings after a few days and slight infection on the surface of one of the wounds. Food wise I have had no issues. Was having issues getting enough protein, but I am getting much better at that now that I have added soft foods back in. Eventually I should be able to have all the foods I have before.

I hear people label this “the easy way”, boy is that far from the truth. For me this was (and continues to be) harder than quitting smoking. You still have to do all the work in regards to healthy food and exercise. It is just a tool, a very effective tool, but it is on me to make it work.

I have been doing well so far. Since 19 March (I am including pre op diet where I lost 6.8kgs) I have lost 13.9kgs. I am not ashamed to say that I am SUPER proud of myself for that 🙂

I know that for doctors the actual weight is what they focus on, but for me I am enjoying the non-scale victories just as much. The issue with the thigh numbness is already noticeably better which is amazing as I would get this multiple times a day previously – In the last 5 days I think I have had it once!!! I also fit into 2 blouses that I LOVED that no longer fit me. In fact they fit me better now than when I bought them! I am also much more comfortable in my car, not that I was uncomfortable before, but it just fits me better now.

It is a challenge everyday. You have to be super prepared food wise so you are not caught out. My father was suddenly taken to hospital last Friday (so a week today) and I was initially caught out a lot… loving coffee and quiches and veggie fritattas from a number of cafes at the moment for dinner as I am going straight from work to the hospital at the moment. Funny part is I can only eat about half, which then means either I get to make sure Mum has a decent meal or I get lunch the next day. Today I am stoked with my leftover pumpkin, spinach and ricotta quiche – you guys SOOO GOOD!

I find I am eating a lot more vegetarian meals. Not on purpose, just because I gravitate towards these meals as I enjoy them. I am glad though as I had been trying to move towards a more plant based diet prior to the surgery because it is supposed to be beneficial for the conditions I have. It does mean that sometimes I am not hitting the protein level I need to be so I have to be careful.

So now that I have bowled you all over with my crazy last few months tell me stories! I have missed you all 🙂

 

 

 

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IVF Cycle – Freeze all

Fertility update time… update is… still having fertility issues.

We have done a freeze all cycle where I was on 300 Gonal F all the way up until trigger, with Orgalutran and then an Ovidrel and something else (Lucrin I think) trigger.

We got 11 eggs which I was stoked with. Honestly for some completely unknown reason that has always been my hope number so I was super pleased – and quite uncomfortable for a couple of days. My body had down in one month what would normally take 11 months. So YAY! But OUCH!

So 7 successfully fertilised, they said 10 were mature which is super suprising – everything must have just lined up really well this cycle. They also said they injected which was funny because we had never talked with them about doing ISCI, but it was already done so… what are you gonna do amiright?! Day 3 all 7 were still going, 6 were right on target and one was one cell behind (colour me shocked because those results are super incredible). Day 5 they rang and said only 2 could be tested and frozen, I was suprised and sad because of how well the others had been doing (and because I was still full of ALL the hormones). They said that they could take the rest to day 6 and call me then.

Day 6 they called and 2 more of them stepped up to the plate!!! So a total of 4 have been PGS tested and frozen.

Eggs

4 lil frosties 🙂

Initially they told us that because we are young and there is no history of any chromosomal issues on either side as far back as we can track that there was not really a need for PGS. We decided we wanted it anyway because we want to make sure we are only transferring embryos with the highest chance of survival, when we transferred one that was not tested and received a BFN the first thing the nurse said was, “well the embryo wasn’t tested so you just don’t know if there were abnormalities”. I wan’t to completely eliminate the chance of that so that it is one less if, but or maybe that we have to deal with 🙂

We were hoping to go straight into another cycle so we could get some banked up, but funds are seriously restricting that at the moment and I get the impression that my husband wants a break from it over Christmas.

We have a specialist appointment on the 19 December and we get the results then. Disapointed that I have to pay another $200+ in order to be told how many made it through testing. Feels like a waste! I don’t even get to see my actual specialist as she is on holidays, I get a fill in. Kind of frustrated by that.

Fingers crossed that the majority of them come back good. Hoping, hoping, hoping, hoping!!!! Come on lil frosty babes!!!


6 year anniversary of TTC is looming

So the IUI was a bust. Unfortunately as AF was 4 days late my hopes had grown super high. I didn’t POAS because I really wanted that hope to last for a little bit longer. I started bleeding the afternoon before my bloods were done. I let the nurse know and said I was confused because I was extremely regular and I it was very weird for me to be more than one day off. Only to be told that Pregnyl can make AF late. *SIGH* I really wish they would tell you this stuff when they give you the medications. So I thought I would share it with you all so you may avoid being caught unawares…

So far I have learned that Pregnyl and progesterone (anything) can/will delay AF. Obviously everyone’s body is different, we may not all react the same… yadda, yadda, yadda 🙂

As we come up to the 6 year anniversary of TTC in a couple of months I find myself questioning everything. Currently I have been TTC for 70 months, 70 failed cycles. That’s such a burden you guys. One of the most natural things my body should be doing and it won’t. I’ve never even had a BFP. I know people who have had 3 children in the time I have been trying to fall pregnant once!

Here are some of the things I am questioning:

Should I be looking at a different job which is less hours and stress so I can focus more on a health journey? Could I do a secondment at work or ask to go part time in my role for 6 months or longer? But all my pay goes towards an IVF fund which keeps us moving foward and I don’t really know if I could afford a pay cut.

I know in myself I could do amazingly well in this industry. I have been the library industry version of head hunted quite a few times and I am a hard worker who isn’t afraid of change or leaping outside the box. But any amount of success in this industry would not mean much to me if it meant foregoing the opportunity to be a Mum.

 

Recently I have asked myself a very important question…

Would I be willing to basically blow up my life if it meant we could have children?

The answer is yes.

 

Is this something I need to do? I don’t know. Maybe. I don’t know.

 

What could this look like?

  • I have had doctors talk to me before about weight reduction surgery. I have never really considered it because it just didn’t feel right and I have met quite a few people for whom this wasn’t really a long term solution and they have had to have it redone down the track. During this cycle a nurse who has had it done at the FS office chatted to me about it. I asked her about the fact that we would not be able to do IVF during this time and she said we would still be able to make embryos and bank them, but that generally they will not allow us to transfer them for a year post surgery. I am very much in two minds about this, but will raise it with my FS on Thursday when we see her.
  • Leave my job or ask for reduced hours to concentrate on a health journey. This is something I have thought about quite seriously. It makes me really sad because I really love a lot of the people I work with. I would really rather not leave, but I don’t know that my job could be done in less hours. Part of me feels that something drastic like this has to happen though. I have a very sedentary life in this job and there are not a lot of ways to fix that.
    If I get the surgery discussed above I will likely have to have quite some time off anyway so who knows.
  • Completely retrain for another industry. This is something I have also thought about quite seriously. In particular I have thought about going back to uni and becoming a nutritionist that specialises in PCOS, IR and Diabetes. I have looked and have found it very hard to find specialists anywhere near me. I have also thought about going back to uni and becoming an specialist in the area of Autism. My nephew has Autism and I know a few other children who are on the spectrum too and there is a lot of talk by specialists of all the restrictions children on the spectrum will have. I would love to be a specialist who works closely with children with Autism to help them work through their own individual difficulties and overcome obstacles as well as develop techniques to help them navigate everyday life. Every single person is different, having Autism doesn’t change that, everyone is a snowflake and you need to treat them as such.
    Both of these options would include more work, stress and sedentary behaviour whilst I become qualified and established so I don’t know how realistic these choices are.

 

Has anyone out there blown up their life for this? Would love to hear your stories. Advise is also COMPLETELY welcome! I would love some!!!

 

 


Fertility update

[Fair warning: sweary honesty may follow]

It has been awhile since I have talked about our fertility or lack there of. In fact I don’t believe I have even mentioned it since the beginning of the year.

Basically after the fail in December we were in a bad place emotionally, we were low on funds and we were both in really stressful places with our jobs. It was all crap people! So we decided to talk some time off. My anxiety has been a bit all over the place this year. I have high functioning anxiety which means people at work think I am great and then when I get home I crawl into a shell and read a book or watch TV to bring myself down from the day. It’s my process, but it was getting to the point where often I had nothing left in the tank when I got home and couldn’t even get my shit together enough to cook a decent dinner. Way too many potato gem dinners later (how good are they though!) and adding in sporadic depression related eating tendancies and an expanding waistline I felt totally out of control (not good for either condition) and wanted to take steps to rectify it.

We’ve been pretty much just trying naturally and crossing our fingers for a bit.

Step one – Fertility treatment

I got our medical records from the fertility place we were at to  pour over them looking for anything that could have been missed. We have been trying for 5.5 years and no one seems to know why we are not pregnant. When I got them we noticed that it was marked “male factor infertility” umm WTF? Turns out that the initial sperm test in 2014 recommended immediate IVF with ICSI and stated there was little chance of a natural pregnancy – we were then made to try naturally for 2 years, one cycle with Clomid. This new information combined with the fact that a counselor never called after our last failure when I was clearly in absolute sobbing pieces to the nurse on the phone, the fact that the FS suggested an ovarian drilling operation that he had done just 4 months earlier (clearly not overly interested in us to the point where he had not even read our file before we cam in for our appointment) and the fact that I felt fat shamed after almost every appointment made us realise he was not the person for us. There was also a few teary hours and sadness over the fact we wasted two years and a shitload of money on this person.

So I took to some Facebook groups and asked for recommendations. Many of them came back recommending Monash IVF, I looked into it and some of their FS’s even consulted locally (for full treatments we would have to go into a city though). From the first appointment I was happier. She re-ran many of the tests, was quite thorough, Hubby’s sperm has improved. The only thing she mentioned weight wise was to concentrate on eating habits and to ensure my activity each week included 3 x 30mins of anything that makes me sweat that I enjoy which I thought was pretty okay. When she realised where we came from she told the receptionist to book as many appointments as possible local to us as it was silly to have us come all the way in. The second meeting we had with her she made a 3 month plan for us. We are doing Ovulation Induction for one month (we have started this now), if this does not work we are doing an IUI for one month, if this does not work we are meeting again in October to then move immediately to IVF. She doesn’t want to waste time or money which is so great. Then it turns out IVF is cheaper through this company even though their reputation is as good as the other place we went through so we can afford more rounds.

Final nail in the coffin for the old FS was when she gave us the Gonal F script I said to Hubby we would have to find a way to make it in to a place 30mins away to get it that afternoon, she asked why we would go there and I said because the other FS had said it was the only pharmacy that would stock fertility medication in our area. She said that was ridiculous and incorrect and recommended we call Chemist Warehouse (1 block from my work) – she was right – they were amazing and had it for me the very next day! I was SO F*#@ING MAD at the other FS. They gave us no option as they sent our scripts directly to that pharmacy, obviously they get a kick back from using them. We had to do all sorts of running around and leaving work early (using leave time or making up hours) to get our stuff from that pharmacy. HOW RUDE! I just couldn’t even.

Anyway… Hubby and I have talked about it and how mad we are. We are both very glad that we have moved on. I know people have got their miracles from the other FS and if we had we probably wouldn’t be as upset about these things, but damn it is a hard pill to swallow. So now we are going to move beyond our madness, I like this lady FS much more. I think she actually knows what it is like to have to watch everything you eat. We have decided to shed our bad experiences and concentrate on the positive journey we believe is ahead of us with this lady. I really liked that she asked both of us where we wanted our journey to go next and then gave us her opinion of what she would like to try, but then the ultimate plan of what we would do was made all together.

For anyone out there afraid to shop around, just don’t be. If you have any doubts or just want a second opinion on whether there should be anything else you should be testing just do it. Your current FS doesn’t even have to know you have done it. Try thinking of your FS as your employee, this really worked for me and it is accurate, you are paying them to provide you with a service.

I think step one has provided plenty of information so I will leave it here and work on step two another day 🙂

How are your journeys going?

 


2016 in review

hindsight20

Well the new year is here. I had high hopes for 2016. In truth many wonderful things happened and were achieved in 2016.I feel that the good things are often overshadowed by the fact that I failed to get the thing I wanted the most, a baby. 2 failed transfers, much heartache and being filled with hormones which rival a sorority house whose cycles have synced on the day before AF hits left me a little jaded. I have decided to remind myself of some of the good things that happened in 2016 to get some perspective.

  • Hubby and I finally achieved our goal of our own home, whilst getting there was a long road (3 years since purchasing the land long and 9 years of saving long) it is totally worth it because we are both totally in LOVE with our home (I’ll post more on the house another day with pics).
  • My youngest nephew Coda was born.
  • Hubby and I have gotten even better with our communication. It’s the kind of open and honest relationship I have always dreamed of having. Whilst he is generally the suffer in silence type, he is opening up a lot more now which I love.
  • I celebrated 1 year in my role as Reference & Information Services Librarian in January (it will be 2 years tomorrow). Honestly I can’t believe I have only been here that long. It feels like forever and I have done so much in this role.
  • I was asked to act up in the Branch & Customer Services Coordinator role for the last quarter of the year. It was so challenging and I loved it. I really enjoyed all the work with the programming and promotions. If they ever develop a role for that here I will totally apply 🙂
  • I have developed a close group of friends at work. I am not someone who makes close friends easily and I decided last year to put myself out there more and got great results. The result is a group of friends I can count on, sound off ideas on, have lunch and sometimes dinner with, go for walks after work and to the gym with, go to the movies with, we even went bowling. This awesome group of people has made a huge difference to my work and home life and I have such a great time with them!
    I feel very fortunate to have met people like this in my workplace.
  • Hubby and I have learned a lot about DIY (seriously LOVE YouTube!!!). We have done basically all of our landscaping ourselves (Hubby much more than me), we have installed our own washing line and even learned how to lay bricks and built our own brick mailbox. The mailbox isn’t the most professional job, but it is the mailbox that love built and was a great bonding experience and we did much better than Homer did with that BBQ.
    bbq
  • I quit smoking! Something I have been wanting to do for the longest time. February  15, 2017 will mark one year since I have quit. Sometimes (rarely now) in times of stress or emotional upset (like 2 failed IVF transfers) I kind of want to reach for a smoke, but I have been so good. VERY proud of this accomplishment. I did put on weight after quitting because instead of smoking I would eat. To be honest I let myself do this because I truly feel that was the right choice for me. Now that I have been successful in quitting smoking I have turned my attention back to my food. I have yet to conquer emotional eating, I am SO bad for this!

 

So there is a lot of really good things that happened this year. Often it is hard to think about them when something that is so all consuming is constantly at the forefront of your mind. I could choose to give in to it, or I could combat it another way. Yes IVF transfers failed for us twice one of which was a PGS tested perfect lil man embryo, Yes I REALLY got my hopes up on the lil man transfer, Yes my FS doesn’t seem to be the most open and communicative. So Hubby and I have done a tonne of research over the past couple of months and put some things into action which I will talk about in another post coming soon 🙂


Catch up…

I know, I know, I don’t call… I don’t write… I am a bad blogger. I am very sorry for seriously dropping the ball here. I have to say though I was so touched that some of you reached out to me to make sure I was okay, it meant so much to me.

I want to assure you all that I am here and okay. I have been somewhat busy with crazy life stuff and been going through some things. I have had lots of stress at work, pressure, heavy workload and what not. Mostly it is all very stimulating stuff, but I am sometimes stuffed by the end of the day. I have also been going to the gym a lot more and pilates once a week which often means getting home very late to start with.

I have been having some issues with anxiety. Why must infertility be such a bitch? A coping mechanism I have utlised to deal with this is that I have turned down my filter quite a bit and speak my mind so much more. Weirdly this seems to be working for me as I was asked to act in a very senior position at my library for the last 3 months. Basically I was acting coordinator of 4 branch libraries. I have also recently spoken out about a couple of little things that have bugged me at work and the response has been amazing. Then I presented an idea for bay end merchandising which is VERY different for our library service and the branch supervisor loved it and we actioned it within a few days displaying new items that had not been circulating. The change in circulation within one month was HUGE! They are really pleased which is great.

I have not been being overly good with food which means no loss and no gain which I am actually okay with. I don’t know why, but I am just kinda over the weight obsessing even though I am supposed to because of the fertility stuff, but I am just so over it. It makes me do unhealthy things and have serious stress and anxiety. Where I am now I regularly work out and I eat pretty well, isn’t that healthier?

[I started writing the above some time ago…]

I have fallen behind a bit at the gym due to busy Christmas stuff.

We used our last embryo, it was a boy, it didn’t work out. I was absolutely crushed. Every aspect of the environment, him and me was perfect. There was no reason for it not to work. We were so sure it had. I like couldn’t even believe it when she told me it hadn’t worked I wanted to know the numbers. They weren’t good.

There are so many people in my life announcing they are pregnant at the moment. It is just very hard. There are a few times where I have had to stop and take a deep breath. Sometimes I immediately shut my phone or computer off when I see an announcement. SIGH. I have to just keep believing that one day will be my turn. I can’t give up.


Losing my habit

Many moons ago I was studying for my higher school certificate (HSC for the Aussies, final school exams that give you your marks to get into University for everyone else 🙂 ), I had always had issues with exam anxiety. It wasn’t that I didn’t study or didn’t try, I just got in there and somehow convinced myself things were trick questions or they wanted more than what was on there or had blanks. It was a bad time. My grandmother was also very ill and going through cancer treatments.

One day I went to visit my grandmother with my Mum and the doctor chose that day to tell us that she would not be getting better. I blocked up all my reactions and when we left the hospital I kept striding towards the car until my Mum yelled for me to stop. I sat down on a short wall and started crying. My Mum had her cigarettes sitting next to her and I just took one and lit it. That was the day I first started smoking.

I was a pretty considerate smoker I believe. I stood away from people and crowds when smoking. I held the cigarette away from myself and blew the smoke away from myself to reduce the amount the smell stuck to me. I would also eat a mint, wash my hands and give a spritz of perfume after a smoke and like any decent person I binned my butts.

Because my hubby, siblings and mother smoke I have always found it very difficult to quit or cut down. I would also use smoking as an appetite suppressant and didn’t feel I could quit and lose weight at the same time and because I was always trying to lose weight I never really quit.

I always thought I would quit when I got pregnant. For many years of trying I didn’t think of quitting. Then when we found out how much IVF was going to cost us I decided I didn’t want anything risking it not working and I just completely quit on February 15 this year. One day I smoked the next day I just stopped, that evening I was sitting at a table whilst my Mum and Hubby enjoyed a smoke and a cuppa together and it was hard, but I didn’t smoke.

I have now not smoked for 155 days.

I am so very proud of myself. It was not easy. It was in fact very hard to break a habit I had for over a decade. I feel I am healthier for it. I used to always get bronchitis in winter, I have not (touch wood) had anything awful so far this winter (although I also had the flu vaccine for the first time this year). Whilst all my colleagues have been falling around me I have marched on with sometimes mild flu symptoms. I have been an asthma sufferer for years and since quitting I have not had one attack. Not one use of my inhaler. That is incredible to me.

Between quitting smoking and the IVF meds I did put on about 8kgs (my IVF doctor was not pleased) and my eating was just out of control because I was using food to fill the smoking hole. Last week I signed up with weight watchers to help get my eating back on track. In the first week I lost 2.4kgs so I feel like this was definitely a good move.

I knew going in that quitting smoking would be a long road. I was prepared to put on weight and wait for my body to get used to being without cigarettes before attempting to lose it and now I am ready to build a new lifestyle that does not include smoking.

It was a massive part of my life. My husband who generally succeeds at everything he does lasted half a day. I am not mad at him for this because I know how difficult it is. I believe in him and know he will get there.

I have had difficulty because I used to use a smoke as a time of stress relief. Suddenly removing that from my life I believe had a bigger impact than the cravings. To deal I replaced it with watching Netflix and eating chocolate basically everyday. As a chocoholic I must admit I loved this, but my fat jeans did not. They no longer fit 😦 It also did not solve the problem because I was avoiding de-stressing by submerging myself in another world. It was all still there when I turned the TV off at night.

After our fresh transfer for IVF failed I went into a dark hole. I knew I needed to make changes to help my mental health and help me heal from this devastating result. So we took a break from IVF to allow my body to balance out all the hormones and we vowed to stop having timed intercourse for a couple of months (anyone who has had to do this knows what it does to your relationship and we have been trying to conceive for 4.5 years now) and I decided to make some changes.

So what has this loss of habit brought me?:

I no longer have asthma symptoms, I can breathe easier, I don’t get sick as often and if I do I get over it pretty quickly.

My decision to change my lifestyle began 155 days ago when I quit smoking. I knew I was in for a long journey, but so far it has totally been worth it. I have been going to Pilates for 3 weeks and love it. Yesterday I added in some treadmill work before Pilates which my body was not used to, but was very good to me. Pilates has also helped my headspace. I plan to increase the number of times I do it a week because I feel that this could provide me with the de-stress I have been craving. Long soaks in the bath have also helped with this and finding ways to spoil myself a little that has nothing to do with food or smoking has helped with the de-stress too.

The combination of quitting smoking and having a break from IVF has hubby and I connecting like newlyweds, we are coming up on 9 years together and 5 years married and I can with confidence say that our relationship is everything  have always hoped for in a marriage.

Whilst I put on weight initially I am now losing it slowly in a healthy way and filling my body with awesome nutrition to support the beautiful embryo we have frozen just waiting for transfer.

Making the decision to lose this habit has had many positive impacts in my life. It was one of the bigger challenges I have faced in life and I am proud of myself for overcoming it.

 

Response to the discover topic The Things We Leave Behind