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Showing posts from 2017

up and down the hope-a-coaster

*Trigger warning - this post mentions positive pregnancy tests*

I am seriously confused about my hope levels. They are as confusing as HCG levels.
I don't know how hopeful to be. Maybe I can even be excited?

This round of IVF has been different somehow. It is kind of sweet when friends tell you that they "have a good feeling this time". But it also sets you up for a bigger fall. Something about this round of IVF brought so many of these kind of comments which I hadn't had previously. The weirdest one was a receptionist from my work, who actually had no idea I was doing IVF, came and told me that she'd had 4 vivid and repetitive dreams about me being heavily pregnant.

My partner, he turned 40 recently, and we had a big party a week ago. We were hoping with the current IVF cycle that we'd be able to freeze everything and so we could not be in IVF headspace for the party. But those plans went awry and I had to have a fresh embryo transfer a few days before the p…

Time for a rant

I am not really an angry person but this week I've been raging a bit.

After my first catheter experience I can say I was already a little on the unhappy side.

Then I got the somewhat good news - that this time we had 12 fertilised embryos. But I would not hear until day 5, Monday, what the plans were for freezing.

The cycle I did this time was supposed to be a "Freeze all" cycle. At the last minute I told the doctor I was a bit concerned to trust this since we have never had anything to freeze at all, so we changed the trigger injection to ovidrel incase we needed to do a fresh transfer.
Since egg collection,  I've been injecting myself with this horrible medication called Clexane which leaves bruises everywhere.
So we pencilled in a fresh transfer for Monday at 1:30pm, and I'm told "You will find out first thing Monday morning whether it's going ahead".
First thing Monday morning, no news.
I call the clinic.
Sorry, no one can talk to you about that…

My first catheter

Catheter. The word should lead to a shudder of dread. Be grateful if you have not needed one! Thanks to being infertile and doing ivf I got the opportunity to 'lose my catheter virginity'.It's been a while since my last post so here's a little update. I've been seeing a new doctor, new clinic, new lab, new medication regime. The clinic is interesting, they seem to pride themselves on an approach that some might say is casual, others might say is.... Rather unprofessional. It comes from the top down, the director (my Dr) is a bit of a larrican who seems to never be serious and opts for terminology like 'shagging' and 'vag' . Well I went in to do my egg pick up and this time opted to do it in the chair under local anaesthesia rather than getting general. It really wasn't so bad. Took hardly any time. The only slightly disturbing thing was the nurses were chatting away about drinking a cheap coconut liquor called 'wipe out' . I was momentar…

a little spruik for yoga

Something great that has come from being on the infertility journey has been yoga. I think I'm addicted.
I had always practiced a bit of yoga here and there, but this year, it's shot right up to nearly a daily practice.
In fact I'm writing this post from my yoga mat right now. Thanks to my fave at home practice--- yoga with Adriene, I started today with a nice practice of concentration and focus. Perfect for a Monday morning.
What is it about yoga that is pulling me through? What doesn't it offer??!
honoring my body,
loving myself,
showing up,
connecting with what matters,
awareness of where I'm at,
discipline,
serenity
and just having fun!!! Handstands are a big goal right now!
I have just fallen in to yoga and the need for it is strong while I am going through the weirdness of infertility and IVF.
And you know what, each time I've gone to get my egg-collection done, the hospital have provided a packet of these "body wash wipes". They are like super …

New ideas, fresh takes

So we went and met up with a new fertility doctor yesterday.
It was illuminating.
and *Very* different from what I've been doing.
The doctor was an interesting guy with some new ideas about what we can do with our cycles... interpersonally, he's rather different from my last doctor who was all sweet and caring... this guy was warm too, but had quite some brashness, used some rather un-technical language like "vag" and "shagging"... and he also has a tic which made the experience a bit more colourful (he hums little tunes all the time). I don't know, I think this field of medicine might attract some interesting characters.  Anyway, I guess the important thing is that he seems an honest and up front kind of guy who will tell it like it is... I think I will like him... it's just a bit of an adjustment. Plus it doesn't matter so much if I like him or not, just whether he can get the job done!
He has definitely given us some new treatment options tha…

belonging or be longing somewhere

I heard a great radio segment the other day on the importance of belonging.  Belonging is a pretty core and pretty basic human need I would say, and we certainly don't feel great, in fact we probably do things like turn to drugs and alcohol or other addictions or avoidant behaviours, when we don't have a strong sense of belonging somewhere in the world.
These notions of belonging got me thinking about the infertility/trying to conceive journey. I guess getting online and reading and writing a blog has been all about gaining a better sense of belonging in this process. But even in this lovely online world there is a sad kind of aspect to it that... some people move on to the world of having kids and it doesn't feel like I "Belong" with them in the same sense. Some move on to have no kids, but as I am still trying to have kids, in a sense, don't "belong" there either. I can perhaps feel that I belong wholeheartedly with other people in my position, bu…

...if you could feel that life is not on hold

I was recently talking to a friend of mine who has a "no kidding" life after painful infertility experiences involving many miscarriages. So the conversation started out with us chatting idly about a gym I had recommended to her and she was super excited about it. I had gone to this gym myself but pulled out of my membership because it turned out most of the classes were heated and those that weren't were hard-core cardio. I just knew that it was not going to be consistent with trying to conceive. I know that this is a very "first world" problem of me to have, but I had a bit of a whinge about how it sucks that lots of decisions you make just have to be put on hold while you're trying to conceive. The reason I recall this otherwise pretty trivial conversation was her response... she said to me...  if you could figure that out, how to "not be on hold" then you've just about solved the suffering of infertility.   Her argument was based on her ex…

weekend fullness

I arrive to this Monday morning feeling fulfilled from a fun and a joyful weekend. We saw two different groups of friends we haven't seen in a long time, indulged in delicious food and drank a bit too much wine. We also had the time to get the house nicely tidied up and feeling peaceful and in order, ready for the week ahead. At some point though, there was a nagging part of me, trying to feel guilty because we have spent so much money this year, what with the IVF and our cat's near death and surgery! But then I thought, well, it's a good use of money this having fun business. Then I properly remembered that... actually... this is life, this is living- to be with people I care about and enjoying... and I really need to keep doing this! ... the weird worries and extreme focus that come from trying to overcome infertility makes me forget sometimes. So here's to full weekends and remembering to be alive~!!

navigating in fog

I thought I was getting good with just not knowing. But then maybe I'm kidding myself to say that, because honestly, this whole infertility thing has got me feeling far less tolerant of uncertainty.  Right now I'm sort of doing nothing. I guess I'm doing something... I'm getting information and opinions, and just waiting... as always. I'm also doing a bit of just not thinking about it, which is good too. I'm also spending some time thinking about it way too much and trying to work out silly things like if I could only just get my diet exactly right maybe that will sort it out? So it's all a bit of a foggy mix and I'm confused. I'm trying to navigate around the idea of using donors. Am I ok with it? Is my partner? Is that even where are we headed? The weird thing about unexplained infertility is that on one hand I swing to the possibility that since no one knows anything about what's happening, something really simple might get us pregnant, maybe…

on the beautiful indifference of nature

I had a thought while swimming in the ocean recently. The sun was warm. The waves were gentle. The water clear. At that moment I don't think I could have been more content, even though I was at the same time sad, feeling the loss of my failed IVF round, not knowing what the future held. In that moment I thought that.. life is just a series of moments. And no matter the circumstances of my life, whether I have a child or not, a series of moments is what I will most definitely get. It's up to me to be in the moments that happen.  Some joyful. Some content. Some painful. I just get to experience them.
These thoughts were mixed in with days spent by the ocean, watching as whales came out and splashed, and onlookers awed at the fortunate fact of being right there and looking at just the right spot on the horizon to catch that fleeting moment.  The whales of course were totally  oblivious to the the above-water inhabitants taking immense joy in their movements. In all likelihood, the…

coming back from a break

We have just had a little break away from our usual life... (back into it this Monday, eek! ) This last week we gave ourselves permission to just enjoy our break, and decided not to think or talk too much about fertility struggles. I think we did well. We stayed by the beach and were able to watch whales every day just splashing about out there. One day we saw about 40 dolphins, surfing in waves and jumping out of them, just for pure fun. We ate amazingly good seafood, had gelati, and the odd afternoon beer or wine. We tried out surfing, and we didn't do too badly. We went bike riding around the bush near the beach and on the beach too, which was so much fun, and our dog came along with us for the ride, he absolutely loved it. Our little cat finally got out of hospital, and he came with us for the holiday. So in all we had our dog and two cats with us on the break, which did kind of feel like our own little family. For me, there is nothing like being with nature to reconnect to a …

...and round 5 draws to a close

The fight for baby making, round 5, has drawn to a close, with a negative result as the outcome.

My doctor just spent half an hour on the phone to me after I got the news of the blood test today. He's very sweet, but I think it was to make sure I've had the news properly sink in. He used the phrase "I don't think there's anything more I can offer" (without going down the route of donors). I'm grateful that he's saying this honestly now rather than have us waste years trying, like I know can happen.
So this occasion marks a spot I think. I don't think there is going to be any more plodding along the IVF path for me, unless there is something radically different to try. We will have to work out what direction the journey will fork off from here.




CATastrophe comes just when we need it

I woke up on Friday to unseasonal rain heavily falling, and an ominous feeling.  My 10 year old cat, who to put it simply is our little animal soulmate, had a massive turn in his health the day before. We had taken him to the vet and he was in over night. It was quite a mystery issue. He was on a drip and they thought perhaps he'd be better after 24 hours, and so we were hoping that he would come home today. Our plans were to head off on Saturday for a surfing holiday. While not ideal, we figured we could bring our cats with us on the holiday so we could keep an eye on the sick one.

Instead, we discovered later that day that he'd gotten worse. He had to go in to a specialist vet to have more investigations.

Then I was aware that I was getting cramps... suspicious period-like cramps. Checking in the bathroom... yes, blood was flowing. This was getting beyond what could pass as "spotting". So I was thinking... Ah #$@#%!  It's looking a lot like this round of IVF ha…

trials of transfer day

Well it was transfer day on Saturday! The news we had beforehand was: 12 eggs, 11 for ICSI, 8 embryos formed, and at day 3, my doctor thought that 3 of the embryos were looking good. This time we didn't use the embryoscope, so there were fewer observations being made. We didn't get a report at day 4, so we just waited till the transfer day, (day 5) to hear news of the final score.... I was feeling pretty good prior, as those numbers are pretty good for us based on previous rounds.

On transfer day, I remembered that in previous rounds I do not leave the transfer procedure feeling too positive. Reflecting to myself why that is, I think that... it's the news I get from the scientists. They tend to explain all the events they have seen and they talk about how the quality of the embryos is poor and how unfortunately there won't be anything to freeze. Maybe it's not fair to blame them, it's the results that I don't like. But sometimes, you just want less informat…

harvest time!

Monday this week was egg harvest time for me. They've pulled out 12 good ones, and I got the news today that they have created 8 little embryos. We will just have to see how these little embys grow now. While the numbers sound good so far, we are cautiously not getting too excited about it since last round we got 9 embryos at this same stage, but by day 5 there was only the one good one, and another one that was barely passable.
Well, all we can do is hope!
Do your best little guys! grow well!

IVF and the warping of time

I am up to my 5th time doing this IVF business... And yet, somehow, my head doesn't quite get used to the strange warping of time while I am in an IVF cycle.  I find that life gets divided into "before cycle", "in cycle", "after cycle"... Like the other day, I called up dad because I felt as though it had been SOOOOO long since I had spoken to him. Then I realised it was only about 2 weeks,.. less actually? I couldn't even work it out. I thought about all that had happened since then. Not much really. Just me going to work, and giving myself needles. I really didn't have anything newsworthy. So why did it seem like a lifetime ago?  ... Before cycle.
A coping strategy for me is to try to stay somewhat straightforward about day-to-day life while on a cycle, to just go through the usual motions of life. I learned this after the rollercoaster of cycle 1, that it might be better for me to remain in a state of emotional equanimity, just focus on get…

just moving through round 5

Day 11 today of my 5th round of IVF.

It seems outrageous, since so much of my headspace is distracted by IVF musings of late, but I totally forgot to give myself the morning FSH injection yesterday. Ooops! mad dash home during my lunch hour, since I finished work quite late yesterday. On to the Orgalutran from last night too. I've always found that one a bit ouch. Has anyone else out there forgotten?

I was so appreciative to see people's comments on my post about the stories that are out there. It was somehow comforting and uniting to know that there are so many people who have been and are right now are going down their own path with facing infertility.  I actually have plenty of friends who have had some infertility issues and needed some treatment to help... I was even going through IVF at the same time as one of my good friends. She's now pregnant and it feels as though we are veering down different forks in the road. She can look forward to her baby. I feel like now I…

the stories that are out there

It seems to me that the happy-ending story that is so often "out there" about infertility is this: "Here is a couple who struggled and struggled to have kids, and then, finally, they had a baby. The end"...

I think something about this story feels like a lack of honouring of the losses felt along the way for infertile couples. I know life goes on, and I know it does no one any good at all to get stuck in grief or pain. But surely there is some kind of transition for people to adjust from infertility to parenthood? Maybe there is a certain loss that is always felt? Transitioning to parenthood seems like it would be a hard process following infertility battles, and different somehow from a "normal fertility" transition to parenthood which I am sure would be hard enough (and I think is spoken about a lot). Something about the "...and then they had a baby" part of the story seems a bit dismissive about the infertility dramas, or gives a message of- …

it's ok

Today I'm ok.
My partner and I are in this together.
I have friends who understand.
I have opened up to the right people.
I have a dog who looks at me with love.
I have two cats that need a lot of time in laps.
...and yoga has always got my back.

the IVF roller coaster

(warning - some explicit language)
Round 1 of IVF. It started in 2016. It went like this.
I was excited!
I was actually really excited.
I love my fertility specialist! He is so lovely and caring and he listens!
Each day I felt like I was injecting with intent. Injecting with a cause.
My eggs were growing!
I had 17 follicles, and they were looking good.
Felt like a super star.
I was getting almost manic.
I had another friend who had just fallen pregnant using IVF. She fell pregnant round 1. I assumed it'd go the same way for me.
I had more eggs than she had! YES. Winning. I have lower doses of the medicines and still more eggs. YES. Winning. I have nice sized follicles. YES, winning.
Lalalala... Everything is all going so well! It's all going to be good!
Surgery day to take the eggs out.
Loved that sedation. BOOM. Lalalalala!!!Loved that pain relief. Yeeeeah.
Even loved the stupid sandwiches in hospital, I was starving. (I still fucking love those sandwiches)
YEs let's GO!…

it's the eggs... they're not organic!

This is my favourite piece of unsolicited advice so far!

I was in the midst of a two week wait one day a few months back, and well, I totally had my period. I had a very strong urge to rebel against my infertility. But then, I'm encouraged to persist, sticking those stupid pessaries up my endings until the official pregnancy test because ... you never know... I decided that, given the rebellious mood, I needed a couple of gin and tonics this particular evening, but then got an attack of the guilts. What if I actually AM pregnant? I probably shouldn't drink. I have spent all this money, gone to all this effort. How stupid would it be to have a couple of drinks?

So here was my solution. I went down to the local shops and bought a pregnancy test. I'm pretty sure I was looking like hell, there were probably tears galore throughout that day, and I recall just wanting to get in and out of the shop unseen.  I had picked up a couple of groceries... including the pregnancy test, an…

no need to panic

The last time I visited my fertility clinic I panicked. I was just sitting there getting a blood test, I looked at the blood coming out of my arm, then I looked at the nurse, and then I said I felt faint, and BOOM... a kind of negative epiphany just hit me right there. That I'm overwhelmed. That I don't like what is happening.

Until that point I was somehow doing ok with it. But the last visit to my specialist, just days before that blood test, was not particularly positive. He basically said that he doesn't really know what is going on. He says on the one hand, what's happening could just be random variability, and maybe we've just been unlucky. But in that visit, he seemed to think that something's up with my eggs, that they are a bit resistant to forming life, even though they score great on the AMH. Until that point I'd had in my head that there was something suboptimal about the sperm, again, they do great on the general tests but a more ingrained anal…

The start

This isn't really the start.
I'm not sure where the start point is. Maybe it was when we decided to stop using contraception and be "not trying, but not not trying". If so, that was around 8 years ago now. Maybe it was more like... when I visited a doctor about something unrelated and she said  "You've been trying to get pregnant a really long time, that must be getting really devastating"...  and I thought - no... it's not devastating... because... I'm not trying... I just not not trying...  Maybe it was after that conversation, when I realised, yes, seriously, it had been a very long time. Maybe the start point was when I officially tried to get us timing sex. Whenever that was.  You might be able to gather I wasn't keeping track too well.  Maybe it was when I saw that all my friends were falling pregnant within a few months of stopping contraception, and it dawned on me that... oh... that's normal. What was happening for us was not no…