A birthday, and a goodbye.

My baby is one year old and my heart is full. A balloon of joy swells up in my chest and bursts. Not every so often, but constantly, always. When I am with her, when I thinking of her, when I am talking about her, when I am watching her sleeping …

My life is full, too. Mr Bun and I are racing, racing – juggling and tap dancing through a weekly circus of two very demanding jobs, the insanity of this property market, our marriage, our families, ourselves. It is all going by so, so fast. We are breathless. But we are happy.

Today is my daughter’s first birthday. It’s my 100th blog post. It is time to say goodbye.

I have squeezed so much pleasure out of this blog, which is wondrous considering it was borne from a place of pain. Infertility hollowed me out. It was a physical battle, but the scars are emotional. While driving last week I happened to looked right instead of left – and out popped a memory. A curve of road, a traffic light: there I had been, wailing at the steering wheel as I left behind another negative beta. Oh, that pain. The pain of wanting something so very badly. I remember every aching minute.

I am not a closed person, and have been open about what we went through … but no-one knew, no-one knew like you did. I have relished the luxury of not having to explain anything. But equally, you listened to the detail I sometimes felt compelled to go into. This place allowed me to open up all of that.

Thank you. For your support, and your curiosity, your advice … your humour! This age that we live in is truly miraculous, allowing us to build these extraordinary communities from all around the world.

When I first discovered the world of infertility blogs, I fell upon page after page, seeking out stories that mirrored mine. Some sites I found were years old, many had stopped writing altogether. Most, though, had stuck around long enough to reveal that they had finally become mothers. This gave me hope like nothing else. I like to think that maybe I’ve done that for someone out there.

I will miss this space, particularly as a kick-up-the-bum to write – because I don’t get to do that so much any more. I dunno, I may drop back and regale you with more minutiae … or maybe create somewhere new? But for now I think it’s a good time to sign off.

Life is a matter of contrast, and I’m sure there will be dark days ahead … but there will be light ones as well.

Right now?

Now – my baby is one year old and my heart is full.

Sending you all love, and luck, and happiness so pure that it makes you float.

x

Well knock me down …

A positive beta. A teeny, tiny, barely-positive beta. A beta that the nurse doesn’t sound happy for. A beta that wouldn’t even register on a HPT. Super low. Lower than Barry White with a head cold.

Like I said, knock me down …

My blood test was a Woody Allen-style comedy of errors this morning, but I finally managed it. And when I made the call at 2pm after sitting through the world’s. longest. meeting. receptionist Uber-Bitch told me about the positive.

‘It’s very low. Where are you in your cycle?’

‘… Um … I’m not sure’ (why do I always clam up like a stuttering student on the spot when they ask me that? They must think I’m a moron). Um … (counting on my fingers) day 35?’

She told me Dr D would call me back. And that she did, confirming it was indeed ‘very low’ –  lower than my last beta that ended in an early miscarriage. She’s told me I should start taking my Progesterone pessaries and Astrix again (‘just in case’), and go for another blood test on Monday. I’ll do as I’m told, but at the same time I’ve begun my normal PMS symptoms.

So, a positive beta that will drop and and fade away and that will be that.

BUT

We were on a natural cycle. Mr Bun’s sperm and my egg actually came together and fertilised. NATURALLY. Wow. I mean. Maybe this has happened before? I’ve been a week late for my period maybe four or five times in the past three years. And clearly I’ve never had a blood test to tell me otherwise.

It doesn’t matter. Whether this is our first or our fifth natural conception – I don’t care.

We can actually do it.

IVF for us will remain a two-pronged process to a) get more embies, and b) hold onto the precious things. Clearly though, b) is starting to become the frontrunner to focus on. And, after nearly three years, that’s something.

Like I said, knock me down with a feather.

Hyster-Fail

A little while ago I mentioned that Dr D had lined me up for a hysteroscopy. And I also mentioned how I was (maybe, for some people, weirdly) looking forward to it.

This tells you two things. I,

a) work too hard – the idea of a ‘day off’ is incredibly tantalising … especially when one of those delicious anesthetics are involved (hello ladies out there who have recently been extolling the virtues of the GA). This is wrong. I am talking about a medical procedure, not a day in a spa

and

b) I am a woman battling infertility for nigh-on three years, and will embrace every ‘treatment’ I can get

So, hysteroscopy booked for this coming Friday. Yay! Bring on the paper undies!

No. NO YAY.

Because my uterus is DEMENTED and SWORN TO THWART ME AT EVERY TURN. I am overdue for my period. A week overdue. A week that has now not only mucked up this cycle, but also seriously screwed the timings of next cycle – when I’m due to do IVF round 5/3.2.

(Yes, I’ve done a pregnancy test. Of course it’s negative. I wasn’t even upset – not one bit – that’s how negative it was).

So, I called Dr D’s offices and one of her receptionists told me in her uber-bitch tone that

‘Youhavetogoforabloodtesttocheckyouarenotpregnantthenwewillcallyou andgofromthere’

They really are SO rude there.

‘Oh. OK. Um, do you mind telling me if (‘if’ … HA!) the test is negative, the procedure will still go ahead on Friday?’

(quick sigh – as i ‘please stop bothering me’) ‘Ifyouarenotpregnantthenwewillcallyouandgofromthere’

I’ve hung out with Dr Google. I know hysteroscopy’s are best performed at the beginning of the cycle. I know tomorrow when I call for my blood test results they’ll cancel my appointment. I know they’ll tell me to go away and call them when my period’s begun.

It’s the not knowing that is the pain. I don’t know when I’ll get my period, so I don’t know when I have the procedure.

Why am I stressing out? I’ve been doing this for years. You think I’d be used to waiting.

Well, my in-laws are arriving from the UK next week. I don’t want to be in hospital or recovering at home when they arrive. Hostess-with-the-mostest-ing doesn’t normally include lying on the couch in your jammies watching junk teeve and mainling chocolate biscuits.

Harrumph.

The Sad Reality

The sad reality of Infertility … it never leaves you, even when you’re having two months ‘off’.

I snuck out of work early today (erm – that would be 5.45) and went for one of those awesome cheapo Vietnamese manicures. I was sitting there, blissed into meditation by the hum of lady-chat in a language I don’t understand, and the amazing hand massages they give – then:

BAM

My eyes snapped open, my head whipped down and my heart started thumping: she was using alcohol wipes to clean the cream off my nails.

There. Right there. It was the smell of an IVF round. It was the smell of my standing in my kitchen, belly bared, wiping down ready for the needle. It was the smell of lying on the couch, clutching ice to my stomach ’til it stung. The smell of hope. The smell of failure.

And I was just getting a fucking manicure.

 

(image: thank you)

They shoot horses, don’t they? (11dp3dt)

So, I took a HPT yesterday and – GUESS WHAT READERS – t’was negative.
I know, right!? GASP etc!!
(my Grandmother always said sarcasm wasn’t very becoming. I’ll stop now).

While we knew that would be the answer, of course it still hurts. That old familiar searing pain of disappointment. After  a big cry and a bigger glass of wine, the residual feeling is ‘why have we gone backwards’? After the mountains of drugs, the nice long rest, the extra acupuncture, the time off work … we produced less embryos, of worse quality, lasting fewer days, with no positive beta at all. All of this is worse than the past year worth of IVF work.
Let me repeat that:

We are actually worse off than when we started. 
It’s a REALLY SPECIAL FEELING … (sorry Grandma).

I spoke to Nurse Awesome yesterday and asked to move my blood test to today. No sireee. They just don’t test ‘that early’. Ha!

So, I test tomorrow morning. In the meantime I’ve got to continue with the progesterone and estraderm and those goddamn Clexane needles that are starting to make my belly look like a bruised pear, all until tomorrow afternoon when she’ll call with the negative result.
I can feel my body protesting against the drugs. All it wants to do is start my period and see this giant, expensive waste of a July off.

Clearly the next step is the old WTF Appointment with Dr D. Mr Bun and I have collated a list of questions, and I’m going to ask the receptionist if they’ll let us email it through ahead of time. Maybe that way she may actually have some answers instead of trite ‘It’s a numbers game’-style phrases to toss around.

My dear friend said yesterday, ‘You’re just getting all of your failures over and done with.’ Maybe. But right now it feels that Failure is all we’re made for.

The Nothingness of Waiting (5dp3dt)

I am 5dp3dt and already the waiting is kiiiii-ling me.

My Lazy Week Off Work continues in the way it began, with a whole lot of Not Much being done. Yesterday I hung out with my only friend who’s not at work, ‘cos she’s a Mum to a gorgeous little boy. Of all my friends, she’s the one I’ve opened up to most about the expensive medical rollercoaster that is my life. She’s very wise … I was ranting on pessimistically, saying that if this round was unsuccessful it would be a ‘complete waste of time and money’ … (yeah, I was great company yesterday).

‘No, it’s not. Every step is a step forward. It changes you and it changes the process’.

Without any frozen embryos it’s been difficult to see this round as a productive one. Yet, she’s right. It helps to see this round as something, as opposed to nothing. As I’ve said before, coping with IVF is about recalibrating: shuffling your expectations around. That’s what I need to do. Not see this as an empty waste, but instead as something tangible that’s contributing in some way to eventual success. Just how it has is unknown, but I’m sure we’ll work it out.

And yes – I know I’m speaking as if failure is inevitable, but you need to work with me here. I’m a fully functioning pessimist, and after the loss of last round this is what I need to do in order to cope.

I haven’t given up. I’ve got a whole bunch of symptoms*. While rationally I know most of these are caused by the heady cocktail of Progesterone, Estraderm, Predisolone and Clexane; it still helps to keep things interesting.

What will also keep things interesting is monitoring my resolve to completely and utterly AVOID weeing on any sticks. Positive HPT’s got our hopes up so high last time, I’m sure it contributed to making the subsequent fall so painful. So, jaw clenched I slowly tick the days off. Every 24 hour period that passes without succumbing to the lure of the chemist is a success.

I’ve booked a massage today as a celebration of my second-last weekday of freedom. Work is already calling – I can smell Monday from here. It’s going to be a mental-plosion next week, which is probably a good thing. Keeping my mind off the last five days of the big wait.

*really sore boobs; very familiar-feeling (AF) cramps in my lower abdomen, lower back and upper thighs; a fair bit of CM … sorry if that’s too much info … !

(image: thank you)

Transfer with a Side of Anxiety


I feel like I’ve jinxed the whole thing. I spent so long focusing on how to be ‘calm and zen’ that I found myself last night, not 12 hours after our transfer, sitting on the couch yelling at poor old Mr Bun and generally getting into a right old tizz.

The transfer went OK. We had a different doctor, as Dr D is overseas.

I (quite helpfully, I thought) pointed out to the doctor on duty that I have a ‘retroverted uterus and last time Dr D used a different catheter and that seemed to work quite well and you might find that…’ He silenced me with a polite, but firm look. He seemed to have everything under control. Right then. I’ll shut it.

So, we transferred an 8-cell embryo and went off into the cold Saturday morning air for breakfast and a spot of wandering around the hallowed halls of Bunnings – me walking slowly and calmly, being calm, thinking calm thoughts. Then an hour of acupuncture, where I dozed off and really did feel nice ‘n relaxed. We dropped into the DVD shop on the way home, and then I vegged on the couch under the blanket watching junk teeve.

And that’s when it began. My ridiculously neurotically stupid mind started whirring …

‘What did I do after last transfer? … I certainly didn’t go to Bunnings! Or the DVD shop! Gawd, should I have gone straight home? How irresponsible of me! Last time Mr Bun and I were all lovey-dovey … we held hands and LAUGHED. This time, he’s changing lightbulbs and I don’t think we’ve EVEN SPOKEN FOR TWO HOURS. Aw jeez. It’s all over before it’s begun. I feel so edgy. So anxious. Calmcalmcalmcalm come now breathebreathebreathe shitting hell this is a disaster WHAT AM I DOING – STOP STRESSING!!!!’ …

Look, it wasn’t pretty and I’m not proud, but that’s basically how my mind went for most of yesterday. The more I told myself to relax, the more wound up I got – I felt as if every negative thought was another nail in the proverbial coffin. Obviously ridiculous, and a fair example of what pressure does to anyone – let alone a chick jumped-up on hormones and hope.

Hysterics aside, this does feel very different to last time. Post our third transfer (that was successful, then not), I really did feel this almost ethereal, hippy-like glow of everything just being ‘right’. I sorta knew that it had worked. This time, I don’t feel that way. And that’s upset me. I know it’s not rational, and stress isn’t even meant to affect IVF at all, but it still feels off. So – I’m taking my meds, eating biscuits, watching too much telly and will try and enjoy my week off work as a ‘mental break’ … rather than a ‘get pregnant break’. The latter’s just too much pressure.

We find out on Tuesday how our other two embryos fared in the petri dish wilderness. If one (or two!?) make it, that’s fantastic – we have an FET up our sleeves. If not, bring on another Stim round. I can take it.

x

Bum Bullets

I mentioned earlier that I’ve now moved into the ‘comfy womb’ phase of my drug program. A fair swag of the mini pharmacy that I’ve set up at home still falls into the ‘experimental’ category. But I am willing to try anything – including sticking meds up my wotsit three times a day ( … stayin’ classy as always).

I am currently plying my body with:

– 10mg Predisolone every day 

No side effects to this stuff, apart from the pills being bitter as hell. I’ve been taking this for a few weeks now – it’s a form of steroid that falls into the ‘NK Treatment’ category*.

– Estraderm patches every three days

Took these last FET, and again no real side effects, apart from the gross ‘lint’ marks they leave in your bum after peeling them off … ooh ahh sexytimes for Mr Bun!

– 3 x 200mg Progesterone pessaries every day

Also took these last FET, although this round Dr D has asked me to stick ’em up my bum.

I’m truly sorry. There was no other way for me to say that.

So, there they go, three times a day – apparently they absorb better that way – and I don’t need to wear knicker-liners**. Silver lining, hey ladies!

You know what, when you’re perched in the office loo in very high heels and very tight jeans, trying to negotiate a slippery bullet-shaped pellet up your backside – WELL, let’s just say this career gal has taken multi-tasking to a whole new level.

… Sigh. Needless to say I am appreciating being at home, at least for the first week.

– 40mg Clexane injections every day

There’s a lady, who will remain nameless, who has kindly posted a vid on YouTube discussing how phenomenally painful these needles are. And how impossible they can be to use. And what hideous bruises they cause. THANK YOU KIND LADY. NOW I AM FREAKING OUT.

I actually stuck my first one this evening, and it really wasn’t that bad. Which is a good thing, because if I’m blessed enough to get pregnant, I’ll be a pin cushion for many weeks to come.

 

OK friends. Tomorrow’s Transfer Day. Hope you have splendid Saturdays planned. xx

 

*Keeping in mind Dr D doesn’t even know if I have NK cells, she’s just throwing these bad boys in for good measure. I’ll take ’em. I’ll take whatever she gives me!

**I REFUSE to use the p*nty word. Urgh.

Up and Down, and Round and Round …

Ridiculously impatient, I rang Nurse Awesome this morning under the frankly pathetic excuse of asking her what time I need to start my Clexane injections*.

‘Oh, what’s that? You have some results too? Oh, well then, yes – you may as well tell me’. Yup. That’s me. I’m pretty smooth.

Guess what sportsfans? Our three little embies made it through the night, and they’re still sitting pretty at Day 2. Woo! Isn’t it funny how quickly the human mind can recalibrate … shuffling around like a brainy rubik’s cube … moving expectations so what was a ‘disaster’ one day is a ‘success’ the next? I guess that’s what ‘they’ refer to as the ‘Ups and Downs of Infertility’. Or, what I like to refer to as ‘Batshit Crazy’.

Transfer is tomorrow morning. She said she’s pretty sure we’ll get at least one emby to hold on until then. We’ll chat to the embyrologist at Transfer, but the recommendation is to leave the other embie/s to go to blasto stage. If they do – fantastic. If they don’t – we would have been ‘wasting’ time and money freezing them anyway. I think this is the right thing to do.

I’ve just booked in my pre and post acupuncture sessions, and I’ve commenced my ‘comfy womb’ drugs to start making that place so goddamn lovely that no baby in its right mind would want to check out.

I’m going to try really hard to recreate the bubble of stress-free post-transfer times that I managed to last round. I’ve got a few things planned, but nothing too intense. Mr Bun’s having some weird shit going down at work, which is freaking me out a little. But I’m going to remain FREAKIN’ ZEN BITCHES. If it kills me.

– – –

Can I also say how much warmth and support and help I am finding as I dip my toe into this extraordinary community of bloody brave women? Who knew, huh? Thank you for your comments and words …  yesterday was infinitely more survivable because of them.

 

*It doesn’t matter, apparently. It’ll still hurt like hell**.

**That second part was my medical opinion, not Nurse Awesome’s.

It’s Collection Time Kids!

And … we’re go.

Collection is booked in for tomorrow morning. My second scan yesterday  showed plenty of happy blobs, merrily bobbing away on screen.
Unlike my last (and first) stimulated round, I didn’t ask how many follicles there were. I guess this time I’m more aware of the odds, and also have more emotion invested in getting a good number of 5-day embies (last time we got three).
So – ‘cos I’m weird and superstitious – I’m trying not to put too much pressure on the Pick Up.

I’ve been a lot more brutal about taking sick leave this time. Today’s my last day at work and I won’t be returning for a week and a half. I figured that I’ll need a fair bit of time to recover from tomorrow (see below), and then I’m going to try and recreate the super-chilled-happy-quiet-time post-Transfer bubble of last round.

I’m a leetle nervous about the procedure. Last time around, I ended up back in Emergency the night of the Collection, howling like a banshee and unable to move. It was a fair crack at the worst pain I’ve ever experienced.
They admitted me, dosed me to high heaven on morphine, and I subsequently spent a week in bed on heavy duty painkillers.
The diagnosis? Unexplained. The likelihood of it happening again? Unsure.

So, yeah – clearly the first priority is a successful and productive Collection. But I’m also crossing my fingers I get through tomorrow without wailing for my mother and promising I’d do ‘anything – just make it stop’ … Yerk.

See you on the other side!

 

Image: thank you