Category Archives: Pregnancy

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!!!

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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!!!

 

 


The Two Week Wait

*Warning: It’s going to be sweary people.

The two week wait (or TWW) is a bitch! It seriously messes with your head. Have you ever noticed every single little involuntary muscle movement and slight cramping or discomfort your body has? Ever been completely aware of the sensitivity of your whole body particularly your sense of smell, stability of your stomache and the feel of your breasts? This is just the start of what we women go through during the TWW.

And who the hell made pregnancy symptoms so similar to period symptoms? It’s like they spent all this time designing and developing this amazing reproductive system and then at the 11th hour it was like…

Tech one: Everyone we are officially out of time! Amazing work everyone, just put on the finishing touches and we will send it to be integrated into the body matrix.
Tech two: But… I haven’t coded the period symptom and menstrual phases yet…
Tech one: Shit bro, seriously?! Goddammit Mike, you had ONE job! Okay just copy paste the pregnancy symptoms and ramp up the cramps and nausea during the actual menstrual phase.

I mean please…

Symptom: Tender or swollen breasts = period or pregnant
Symptom: Nausea with or without vomiting = period or pregnant
Symptom: Food aversions or cravings = period or pregnant
Symptom: Headaches = period or pregnant
Symptom: Fatigue = period or pregnant
Symptom: Slight bleeding or cramping = period or pregnant
Symptom: Mood swings = period or pregnant
Symptom: Constipation = period or pregnant

That’s just the main ones… not to mention… no symptoms = period or pregnant. So frustrating.

So here we are, women who so very much want children that we put ourselves through needles (would you believe that the thought of just drawing blood used to give me serious anxiety before all this started!!) and prodding and poking and invasive procedures and crazy ass hormones just for the slight hope of peeing on a stick and being rewarded with 2 lines instead of one.

The fact that we want a child that much alone puts you in a desperate and hopeful head space, then you add on top all the hormones and pressure of daily life and age and whatnot and it’s just a fucking boiling pot of emotions and anxiety and crap.

To quote J.K. Rowling…

Theyd explode

…but we do… and so much more. I tried to explain to my husband the other day the thought process I went through in a couple of seconds to get from the topic we were talking about to the question I asked him a few seconds later which seemed completely unrelated. I explained how I got there and he was like, “How? It was like 3 seconds? How did you think all that in that time?!”

I was pretty confident initially that the ovulation induction round would not work. To me it was only a slight step above assisted natural conception (i.e. the timed sex we have been doing for 5.5 years among Clomid and IVF) and to me even though both FS’s have said there is no reason for us not to conceive naturally it’s just not happening. So I sort of felt that the new FS was mostly ticking boxes with this.

That doesn’t mean that I didn’t want it to work with every fibre of my being and soul. That with each passing day my hope didn’t grow until it was this amazing cushy marshmallow of hope and goodness. Then AF came and it was like a butane torch to my marshmallow. I watched it crisp, burn and melt away… didn’t even get a fucking smore out of it.

So now… on to IUI

Just keep swimming!

 

 

 

 


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 🙂


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.


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?