Category Archives: PCOS

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!!!

 

 

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Ovulation Induction

What is ovulation induction (OI)? It’s a form of fertility treatment that is reasonably non-invasive where you are stimulated to produce one to two mature eggs then given a trigger to release them. You then have timed intercourse (because we all love the scheduled sex amiright?!). I would probably consider this as the next step up from a clomid cycle where you are just given some tablets then told to do it like rabbits. Clomid cycles are also considered OI treatments.

This treatment is generally considered suitable for women who like me have no real great reason for not falling pregnant naturally, those who have low hormone levels or are not ovulating on their own, but have normal tubes and a partner with a normal sperm result.

So what happens?

Well for us this has been our plan:

Day of cycle What happened
Day 1 11 Aug Call nurses to advise AF has arrived
Day 2
12 Aug
Day 3
13 Aug
Day 4
14 Aug
50 Gonal F
Day 5
15 Aug
50 Gonal F
Day 6
16 Aug
50 Gonal F
Day 7
17 Aug
50 Gonal F
Day 8
18 Aug
Blood test
Result: change to 62.5 Gonal F
Day 9
19 Aug
62.5 Gonal F
Day 10
20 Aug
62.5 Gonal F
Day 11
21 Aug
62.5 Gonal F
Day 12
22 Aug
Vaginal scan and blood tests
Result: starting to O, have sex
Day 13
23 Aug
Pregnyl trigger 8.30am
Have sex
Day 14
24 Aug
Have sex
Day 15
25 Aug
Day 16
26 Aug
Day 17
27 Aug
Pregnyl again 8.30am to support
Day 18
28 Aug
Blood test

Then we are in that waiting period that all of us fertility challenged community know and love.

I decided to share our plan because a while ago Hubby and I tried to look at what this was and there were not a lot of people putting this information out there so I figured why not help 🙂


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?

 


Raw: Infertility

Warning: this is going to be raw. I am not going to edit it and I am going to babble. I do not expect my thoughts to be flowing perfectly because that’s not what happens to my emotions when I think about this. This post is about the struggles of infertility from my perspective and I’m not gonna lie, there will be swearing and talk some people might find uncomfortable. Oh and it will probably be long. How long? Hmm… as long as I need it to be hahaha. 

I’m just going to say it, I am going to say what we are all thinking. Infertility is BULLSHIT! It is a horrible, no good, low down, nasty bugger of a thing!

contentbullshit

Source: iaintskinny.wordpress.com

One of my fears growing up was that I would be barren, I have no idea why I had this fear. There was certainly no precedence for it, but have it I did and more than once I have wondered whether my fear somehow brought on my condition/s (AKA PCOS, Insulin Resistance and a slow as all hell metabolism). You know mind over matter and all that jazz. Obviously this is probably ridiculous, but you think a lot of strange things on the IF journey.

The IF journey has a huge effect on not only the women involved, but also their partners. If they are open about their struggles it will possibly also effect their immediate family, other children they have and friends.

I often feel as though the word ‘infertility’ could be used synonymously with ‘depression’ or ‘anxiety’ because in my mind there is no doubt it causes or greatly contributes to causing both. There is no way you could go through this process, this journey and not be affected by it, if I ever meet someone who says they aren’t I am going to ask what prescriptions they are on because I need to get me some of that!

Each month is this stupid mental and physical roller-coaster. Let’s have a look shall we…

From day one of your cycle (first day of Aunt Flo (AF)) you are cramping, in pain, yet dedicated to trying for a baby so you are already basal temping first thing in the morning and recording it down like a dutiful soldier (let’s not mince words here because you are fighting the war against infertility). For those who haven’t experienced this let me be more clear, we take our temperature and write it down, then chart it to figure out when we are ovulating. We do all of this first thing when we wake up of a morning before even sitting up in bed. We do this everyday of our cycle, which means we do this every day of the year, every year until we fall pregnant (or switch methods).

Once AF has finally disappeared a new game begins. Depending on how long you have been trying to conceive (TTC) you might be just basal temping, you might be using ovulation strips (you pee on them) to identify when you ovulate and there are many other techniques and/or medications you could be trying. Pretty much the further into the game you get the more you try. At this point I am more than 4.5 years into this baby making game… tenacity people 🙂 So here is what I do. I temp every morning, once AF finishes we then start the sperm meets egg method which involves having sex every two days, from the 10th day of my cycle I continue basal temping and back it up with peeing on an ovulation stick. Once I get a positive result we ‘try’ three days in a row, then skip one day and then have sex again. After that comes the wait, you’d think this meant a holiday which I would totally deserve as all the above is pretty exhausting whilst maintaining a full time job, house and eating, pooping and now apparently exercising and whatnot.

“The two week wait” – this sentence wets the eye of even the toughest of the infertility community. The two week wait is the space between when you ovulate and the end of your cycle. It is completely torturous and the whole time you are asking yourself if there was more you could have done to ensure pregnancy and you are praying and begging whoever is in charge up there to help you out. Trust me, it doesn’t matter how non-denominational you are, at some point you will pray. Naturally stress, anxiety and angst is probably not good for a developing embryo, but hey there is only so much chocolate one can eat and we can’t have alcohol because we are trying to get knocked up. ‘Knocked Up’ I used to enjoy that movie, now it just pisses me off.

The closer you get to the end of the two week wait the more anxious you become. You pay attention to every little twinge in your body, do you feel nauseated? You cup your breasts trying to figure out if they are bigger or sensitive. You have conversations with yourself convincing yourself over and over again that there is no point in taking a pregnancy test early because the results won’t show properly. How long can you hang out? This past month I made it to day 29. I had no indications whatsoever of AF, no cramps or spotting at all. So I tested, and… nothing. Big fat negative (BFN). Naturally I was upset, an hour later I go to the toilet and there is AF. Meanwhile what is this ‘Aunt Flo’ stuff? It’s a period. I HATE getting my period, but I love when my Aunts come to visit. It is a period in every sense of the word and the words it gives you when it comes are “You period Are period Not period Pregnant period Again period!”

2ww

Source: sachablack.co.uk

Then with the beginning of your period you are back to cycle day 1 and get to start the fun all over again.

You would think this would be enough to throw anyone off balance right? Right! But just for the heck of it, let’s add on some more stuff.

Amongst all of the above you will need to be seeing probably a GP and a Fertility Specialist (because we are all made of money too) and they might put you on Clomid which turn your ovulation cycles into overdrive, imagine if a normal ovulation cycle is a Nicholas Sparks novel inspired film like the Notebook, well Clomid and it’s awesome emotional side effects are the equivalent of Arnie taking on the predator. You will be WAY emotional, in fact on day 6 of my first round of Clomid I cried in the middle of a restaurant you can read about cycle 2 of Clomid here and here.

If you have PCOS and/or Insulin Resistance you will probably be put on Metformin which can also have some amazeballs side effects. Seriously you guys they are so awesome… not. In a post called ‘The Metformin Effect’ I discussed the fortunate and not so fortunate side effects of this medication and also have some very handy hints on how you can handle them until your body is used to it and settles down.

jelly_beans_shellac

What is your fave colour?

If you have a lazy ass metabolism you will probably be put on something like Eutroxsig or Oroxine. This can be hit and miss and definitely look up the side effects in case you have a bad one. I was on Eutroxig at first and all my hair started falling out. Then I finally got changed to Oroxine and thank god the hair situation has calmed down.

Then you have the surgeries. Convinced I had endometriosis the specialist decided to do a laparoscopy complete with a uterus clean out, tubal flush and ovarian drilling (which is exactly what it sounds like). For me this was not fun. I also got an infection in one of the wounds which made me very sick and I still didn’t get a baby.

Then you can move on to IVF. This is where you spend your savings, or take out a loan/second mortgage, dip into your superannuation or just spend your future kids college fund on a variety of medications and medical procedures where they give you lots of drugs through needles to send your ovaries into crazy egg producing mode, you have a bunch of blood tests (more needles), then ultrasounds where they stick a wand up your vajayjay, then they put a massive needle up and through your vagina wall and into your follicles to extract said eggs (apparently some women are knocked out for this, but I got to experience it all in HD! Honestly one of the most traumatic experiences of my life to date), then you get to be completely angry at your partner because all they have to do is have a date with a sample cup. The sperm and eggs are put in a petri dish for 24 hours for their own date and then the angst begins again.

sperm meet egg

Sperm meets Egg

For me it went like this.

Because I had done wayyyy too much reading into statistics I decided that 11 would be a good base number… we got 9 so that was already disappointing for me. Overnight 6 fertilised which is more than 50% which is good so then I was happy. Come day 3 and 3 were looking good, come day 5 and only 2 were looking really good.

They transferred 1, more tubes and what not up my vajayjay freezing the other and sending a sample for genetic testing. Then I was sent home to start the dreaded TWW yet again (see above). My TWW did not end as hoped and there were LOTS of tears to be had.

Meanwhile your first period after egg retrieval and transfer is a painful SOB!!! Seriously it was SO BAD that the cramping disturbed my bowls and I had to leave work because the bleeding and diarrhea was sooo bad I could not be out in public!

Then there was more waiting to see if the embryo we had frozen was normal… 4.5 weeks later we found out it was THANK whoever is upstairs!

I truly hope that one day my journey ends with my husband and I having a child, but to date I can summarise my IF journey as follows: waiting, perfunctory sex, all of the NEEDLES and going broke. Not to mention the fact that I feel like my vagina should be charging admission at this point, she’s reaching studio 54 numbers now. And then there’s breaking your heart once a month when AF arrives or you don’t see that second line on the pee stick. I just want to earn my stripes!

There is still much for me to figure out like how to do those pee sticks without peeing on yourself… so hard to pee on teeny stick when you first wake up in the morning.

I have terrible days, friends, an unhealthy obsession with chocolate, fellow bloggers and a sick sense of humour seem to get me through. What gets you through?

 


What now?

Well I was right. This cycle didn’t work. It was a heartbreaking realisation. By the time we did our blood test on Saturday I was so positive that it didn’t work that I convinced Hubby to go to coffee after they had taken blood.

Meanwhile the woman who called me back to confirm the bad news probably shouldn’t be making bad news calls. It was completely awkward and if I had have been in a different place, i.e. no bad symptoms and still full of hope I don’t know how the phone call would have gone. I told them I wanted a month off for my body to recover. She even said weird things like ‘generally we find that younger women like yourself find more success with frozen cycles’ umm then why did we ever try a fresh transfer? Don’t say stupid crap like that to women hyped up on hormones who you have just told that a $10k IVF cycle resulted in nothing. Then she said some other stuff and ended with, ‘okay well we will hear from you when you want to proceed with treatment again, if you do want to contact us ever again’ err… what? What a weird ass thing to say. Sweetie, you people have my frosty babe… I am coming back for them.

If the FET transfer doesn’t work, or they come back and say that the testing showed it wasn’t a good quality embryo I think we will look at going somewhere else. I have done some research and it looks as though Primary IVF might be pretty decent, it is practically next to Genea and they bulk bill so the pricing is ridiculously cheaper. We could do more than 10 full IVF cycles on what it costs us to do one at Genea. I have talked to a few women who have gone there (IVF support group via Facebook) and they all love the place. If anyone reading this has been I would love to hear your feedback. Unfortunately they are apparently really strict on BMI so we might not be accepted by them.

The grieving process for this was really bad. It happened the first night I started bleeding. My husband had never seen me like that and had no idea what to do. I blame those freaking hormones. I literally had no control over my emotions and I completely lost the ability to rationalise anything. I was a CRAZY lady. I think it was quite therapeutic though. I am not a huge crier and don’t remember the last time I had a really good cry. Afterwards I was completely exhausted and in pieces, but I felt this wonderful calm and I slept like a baby.

It has made me realise I need to slow the hell down. Infertility is bullshit and as much as we march on with the grit and determination of an Amazon really a piece of us dies inside with every negative pregnancy test, every purchase of tampons and every pregnancy announcement from others who have seemingly blessed lives.

We are not stopping trying this month, but we are not doing a transfer. A month of no sex was torture and I am not going into another month of that straight up. No sex plus a tonne of crazy lady hormones made for a very challenging month and we just want to get back to chilling and being with each other. I have organised for two weeks off in June and Hubby is taking the whole month off. We have to/want to get our landscaping done. That will be a fantastic achievement!

There is a lot going on in my head at the moment. We are just so very busy.


All over red rover?

I am mostly over my flu/virus thing, but still tired a great amount of the time. I am also hungry a lot. I have been making an effort to cook proper dinners and have better foods at work which is always a good thing.

Over share time.

This morning I woke up to some bleeding. Not a lot. Pinkish. I haven’t had anymore since this morning. If it is AF then that bitch is early, like, a lot early… 5 days. I don’t think I have ever got AF early in my life. Now is not a good time to start.

The clinic happened to call this morning to see how I was dealing with the waiting period, it was the lovely UK nurse. I let her know about the bleeding and that the symptoms that I have been having seem to have dissipated. She said that it didn’t necessarily mean that the cycle had failed and this sort of thing did happen commonly. She then suggested I come in Saturday morning and have my beta test instead of waiting for Monday. I jumped at the chance because it means that I am not going to get the news in the middle of my work day on Monday which works SO much better for me.

Everything started so well, but I just have this feeling that this one hasn’t worked. I am waiting for this realisation to really hit home. I am guessing that will be about .25 seconds after I get home tonight.

I know that the cycle technically isn’t a complete write off yet, but sometimes you just know these things about your body right? Something doesn’t feel right about it. To be honest if it were 5 days from now I would assume I was getting AF.

Feeling a little sad panda, but positive Polly will find her way back I am sure.

sad-panda

I would love to hear about your experiences. Was your first transfer successful?


To test or not to test?

Trying not to test. Hubby really wants me to. He wants to know so much. It’s been a long time since I have seen him so excited about something.

Honestly I am somewhat scared of testing. I have never had a positive result on a preg test and I desperately want to see those stripes. It’s not like I haven’t earned them right? ☺ In saying that I don’t want the results of the blood test a week from now to be a surprise because I will get them at work and either result is probably going to end in a cry fest lol.

I did have to take a tiny amount of the ovidrel last Thursday. Honestly I have no clue how long after transfer you can test without the trigger affecting it. I would hate to test and get a positive then be gutted in a weeks time.

Over share time… let’s talk symptoms. Obviously I have been symptom spotting. I had some slight cramping Thursday and Friday, Saturday I had very weird nausea, all of a sudden I felt ill and quite sure I was going to be sick, but I didn’t have the whole saliva filling the mouth part. Then after some breathing of fresh air it passed. Saturday night I got incredibly sensitive nipples, this has gone over into today (Sunday), they almost feel bruised, very odd. I have also had some lower back pain today. I have no idea if any of this means anything. I’d love to hope it does, but who knows.

How long after transfer did you guys wait to test?