Sunday, December 28, 2008

Post Christmas Recovery

So I overdid it leading up to Christmas. A couple of late-ish nights, a cold, then a tummy bug, and working every day in the 7 days before ..... I'm still recovering. Feeling a truckload better, thank heavens, but had to endure a SEVERE talking to by K, who stressed the importance of looking after myself, and how it was no longer just my body to abuse the way I wanted etc etc.
Ouch.

I'm still in trouble for not having spoken to my boss regarding the roster, but will do that chore this week. I've been brainstorming a few ideas to help take the load off a little. I don't even really know what I need, since I cope with a normal day fine, I guess I just don't have the luxury of being able to have late nights anymore. They really take their toll.

But I'm cutting back on the length of my days to keep K happy. Things might change when we get to the 2nd trimester, but in the meantime, especially until we get to talk to an OB, I guess its safer to be extra-cautious rather than risk anything. It is rather reassuring to have access to the work ultrasound all the time - I checked on the little prawn Christmas Eve, and its certainly getting bigger, and looking like a baby, rather than an alien creature. You could see the head, and the body all curled up, little heartbeat ticking away steadily. It helps me breathe a little easier.

Christmas was lovely and quiet. I felt pretty good Christmas morning, but awful for the rest of the day. We had roast lamb for dinner, with pavlova for dessert.....yummmm. If only I could have enjoyed it. Mum and Dad came up for 4 days, mostly ended up looking after me!

Kieran got his precious Rock Band instruments and game from Santa - I figure it will be the last year he really does get spoilt like this, so what the heck. He bought me some lovely marcasite jewellery. I used to have this beautiful marcasite flower brooch I loved, but lost it in NZ when we went for a friend's wedding. I never realised until a couple of months later :(
I also got Nigella's Christmas recipe's book - lots of new ones in there luckily! I'm still not sure if it was for me or so he could enjoy the benefits!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Just a quick one, mostly so I can wish everyone a Merry Christmas before the day!!

I hope you all have a wonderful day, and that the new year ahead is filled with joy and peace.

I suppose some of you are also wanting a pregnancy update. Are you proud of me? I used the "p" word! We're 8 weeks today, and I checked on the little prawn yesterday at work with our ultrasound....still ticking away there, the heartbeat was nice and strong. Our first ultrasound was a whole 10 days ago now, and everything was right on track.

Right now I'm still recovering from one of those charming summer colds, and long days at work. Thank heavens its just "normal" hours and no really awful days. I need to talk to my boss about spreading my hours out and working fewer hours each day, just more days each week. 10 hours is my limit, so if it happens to be a bad day, I'm not going to cope well.

I digress.

I'll be thinking of you all over the holidays, please stay safe, drive safe if you must drive, and enjoy as much festive spirit as you're able!

May 2009 be a blessed one!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Is it normal

Is it normal to feel guilty about my IF friends I'm "leaving behind" if this is a real and true pregnancy?
I feel so bad for them, remembering how I would be happy for them, but at the same time so destroyed for myself. There were only ever a handful I could feel completely and unreservedly happy for, with no "why not ME?" questions.

Is it normal to have had the initial rush of happiness and now feel surrounded by huge maybe's? Every time I find myself getting excited, or making mental plans, the "caution" sign flashes in my mind, reminding me nothing is concrete.

I feel like I'm in limbo, which is still infinitely better than BFN-despair. I don't feel confident enough to start getting attached to this pregnancy and (dare I say it) baby. If I'm not gagging and feeling ill constantly, I'm wondering if thats a bad sign, and maybe things aren't going well. I've never loved feeling ill so much.

And at the same time I'm trying not to over-think this.

I'm still trying to hold off telling anyone at work, but they're getting cluey. I think I might need to say something next week. Should I let them keep guessing and only tell them after the scan? I hate feeling like I'm deliberately keeping things from them, when they would be just so happy, but at the same time, I'm nervous about having to deal with their reactions if things don't go well.

So much for not overthinking things.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

So far, so good

Beta was in 2 days ago - 561 at 15dpo! Progesterone was 190 too! Even better - no more pessaries.

So I do have morning sickness, sore breasts, and even my masseuse noticed they are.....ummm bigger. There goes my dignity. Lucky I had none left anyway. And I'm used to it, since I hear childbirth involves very little dignity whatsoever.

Our first scan is on the 11th of Dec. 2 weeks today. Feeling pretty good, and nothing to do from here but rest, take it easy and cross fingers. I'm over the moon, but holding it in check, certainly no "unreserved excitement" like there was with the chemical pregnancy - cautiously optimistic best describes the mood at home. Neither of us are discussing the ugly what ifs, but also not making definitive plans, just kind of hopeful ones. Like - I might miss my 10 year university reunion with all my vet buddies if we get that far. I'd be due 3 weeks after the reunion, so it could be tricky getting to the venue, which is either a 16 hour drive, or 2 hour plane flight.

I've told my bosses, and they're unreservedly happy for us, so I figure everyone else will probably know very shortly. And if they're not told, I think they'll work it out in the next week when I gag every time a smoker walks in or a dog has diarrhoea. I need to learn to school my expressions better.

K has his "quit smoking" date for next saturday, he's been on champix, so we're hoping that will give him the edge, but if becoming a daddy doesn't provide enough motivation - I've no idea what will.

Now I'm off to bed - these hormones are messing with my head, and I can hardly keep my eyes open.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Ahhhhh, I caved. So shoot me. At least I have justification for getting beta out of the way tomorrow instead of when I'm at work Wednesday. Its not official until I see those rising beta's, however this confirms the symptoms of the last week. I'm going to be so nervous until there is a baby in my arms though. I'm scared to jinx this.....

Home at last

Well we arrived home from Sydney 6 days ago, I've been putting off the next post because it just seemed too daunting.
As you see, Sir Salvador Sturgeonduck had a great time!

My E2 levels rose VERY nicely - 173, 1547, 4000, 11000! At our last scan, they thought we'd still need to stim a few days, but once they got the oestradiol numbers back - Hell no, you're going to retrieval on monday and we're dropping your dose of meds right down. By the way, we're worried about OHSS, so drink 3 litres of water each day too. Basically my FSH dose got progressively lower for the final 5 days of stims, and considering it was only 10 days of stimming in total - that's pretty darned good for me!
We also had an appointment with the specialist to discuss K's pathology resuts, and he thought it was worth doing a testicular biopsy to try and find us some sperm. Wow. Obviously no guarantees on embryo quality, but considering this was potentially one of our last cycles, we figured we'd pull out all the stops. The donor sperm was there as backup in case they couldn't get sperm on the day.

We retrieved 27 eggs.

Of those, 19 were mature and suitable for ICSI, and they found 19 sperm suitable to fertilise!

10 fertilised normally, and on day 5, we had two perfect AA blasts, and one AB (the inner cell mass that becomes the baby was graded A, the trophoderm that becomes the placenta was graded B). We transferred one AA, and froze the other two.

Kieran was feeling a little better by day5 - still pretty sore, but rather proud of himself and his embies! I found ER really easy, despite having produced a veritable truckload of eggs, recovered well, no signs of OHSS.

Beta is now only 2 days away, and its 14dpo. So I'm debating testing at home early - I have symptoms just like last time, but that ended as a chemical, so I'm scared to see two lines and have that dashed in 48h. At the same time, I'll be at work all day Wednesday, so its going to be torture! If I get lines, I can justify doing the test tomorrow!

All in all, Sydney was a fruitful experience - we would never have gotten results like this with our old clinic, and never with Kieran's sperm. It was a big decision to go ahead with that rather than the donor. There were all the questions on whether a baby might have the same kind of problems as Kieran has had, and even though medicine has advanced considerably, its still a lot to go through, when it might not be necessary. But we felt we needed to tick all the boxes - the ability to give a child the certainty of where they came from was something we weighed against the possible health risks. It made for an interesting few days.

And we managed some sight seeing in Sydney. Sir Salvador had great fun visiting the Chinese Gardens at Darling Harbour, Centrepoint, the french patisserie around the corner from the hotel we stayed at, Hyde park, St Mary's. He's clocking up some frequent flyer points!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Vampires for Halloween

I had another blood draw today - E2 was 173, which is pretty good for d3 of stims. I've had cycles where it was lower on d5. My progesterone and LH are where they should be also, so looks like the low dose lucrin is doing the trick so far. At least I'm not oversuppressed.

So the plan:
Mon 3/11 - bloods and scan locally
Tue 4/11 - fly to Sydney, staying with a friend for a week, then in the city.
Wed 5/11 - bloods and scan in the city
Thurs 6/11 - appt with Dr P to discuss the TESE results and what they mean.

Then I'm just doing what I'm told. I imagine ER will be somewhere around the 11th or 12th, but its anyone's guess right now.
We'll probably just be doing donor this cycle, and make any other decisions on Kieran's "lads" later on. My research suggests some clinics don't like to do a TESE within 6 months of a previous TESE or previous perineal surgery. Which would count K out on both. I really don't know what this clinic's preference would be, but I'll be guided by what they say. I feel much more confident with them.

We had our sofa-bed ottoman delivered 2 days ago as well, so the spare room is much less cluttered, and we now have a great excuse to try and get rid of a whole heap of other stuff! I'd really like to move all the painting gear in here as well, but I don't know how that will work. We may just put the ottoman into the lounge room, but that won't happen before we get a new entertainment unit (downsizing) and sell the old one!

Meanwhile, I'm still working on my application, its a struggle getting selection criteria organised when you've never done it before. I do like a challenge.......(rolls eyes)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Glitches

Its up, and its down. K and I had a LOOOOONG discussion over the previous few days about what to do with these new TESE results. We can't get an appointment to speak to our Dr until next week either, so I don't know that we'll have enough time to organise a TESE based on that. Sigh. And then there is the problem of knowing whether we'll have a good chance based on the histopath. Need more info.
K is also worried about the chance of all this being heritable too, which is hanging there like an axe waiting to fall.

So the plan is talk to our Dr next week when we're in Sydney, and if we can get K in for a TESE we will, if we can't, or Dr P doesn't think its going to give us a good chance (not just "a" chance, it needs to be a good chance, probabilities are important here), then we stick with the original sperm donor plan.

And because I'm working on "extracurricular" projects too, I've been getting very little done at home. K has smashed the way I addressed the selection criteria, so its back to square one and pay a bit more attention. Maybe tomorrow. I'm tired from all this thinking.

Good news is I get to start FSH on Wednesday night. My bloods today were all good, and results actually came through the same day!! Shock of shocks. So far, the 1/2 dose of lucrin is doing what it should, but then my ovaries are too lazy to do anything at this point in my cycle anyway.
Need to book flights to Sydney for the 4th, so we're there for a scan on the 5th. Then estimated ER somewhere between the 10th and 12th of Nov....its all happening now.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The sun shines down....

Indeed, someone is smiling on us from above today.

Kieran got the pathology results from his TESE back today - he does not, I repeat, not, have Sertoli-cell only syndrome. There are good numbers of primary spermatocytes (baby baby sperm), progressing through to rare mature spermatids (almost grown up sperm). My, this is unexpected.

In my hasty research this evening, it looks like it could be hypospermatogenesis - so there are mature forms there, but they're rare as hen's teeth. Or, spermatogenic arrest, but that could still be managable, maybe just maybe.

So, with our donor sperm safely in Sydney, it may end up relegated to "understudy". My word, the thought of actually being able to have my husband's baby is just weird now. Perfectly, beautifully, gloriously weird. I'm excited, but still a little scared, in case IVF specialist says that our chances are still slim. Right now though, I've never been so happy another doctor was wrong.

The lotus I planted way back when seems to have introduced some lovely fertile vibes to our home. The fish are flourishing, and from 2 females, we've gone to dozens of small fry, since both were pregnant. Now I have to work out how to stop them from breeding. I'm hoping those baby vibes will rub off onto me and Kieran.

Oh, and Kieran is adjusting to his new life as a non-smoker now that "the boys" are probably going to be put to work. And the catheter came out today with no problems, but he's a little sore and sorry.

Its so nice to have something good to report.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Thankfulness

Ok, after one of the women I know via IVF chat sites just had her 15 embryos accidentally destroyed rather than frozen - I'm feeling pretty thankful right now.

How you can make such a monumental blunder is escaping me right now. I would have thought before anything is destroyed its checked, double checked and then checked again. I'm horrified for her and feel ill thinking about it.

So I'm thanking my lucky stars that's never happened to me. I'm thankful that our sperm arrived safe in Sydney.

I'm especially thankful Kieran's surgery went well. The surgeon was pleased with the immediate result - you could "drive a train through his urethra" now, something my horrified husband politely declined, saying he'd rather not. He gets the catheter removed tomorrow, so tomorrow afternoon will be the real test, when he gets to test his brand new urethra out and have his first post-op wee!

Oh, don't complain about too much information.....this is an infertility blog, I have no dignity. And manners are beginning to come a close second.

I'm looking at a job with a uni.versity - its a lectur.er position, so I don't know I'd get it, but my current boss is keen to have me stay with them, and doesn't think the uni will get the cases or the staff. For once, it would be nice to have some support. My immediate boss is more supportive, and thinks it would probably suit me better, but still wants to keep me in some role.
I'm just sick of the negativity to be honest. I feel like I can't make the right decision no matter what I do.

I've never been one of those people who can bring light and joy in the midst of anything, and I feel battered and uninspired by work at the moment. I want to be re-invigorated. I want to feel excited about coming to work again.

This time, I think I'll go with my gut. My gut is telling me the uni would be great, even though it looks like there could be fallout. My head is saying there will be fallout, and I might not be cut out for it, or it might not be enough, but I could always go back to my old job later, right?

And after hearing about what I could earn as a specialist, I'm starting to consider a residency again..... but don't worry, I won't complicate matters further.

On the IVF front - we're off to Sydney in 2 weeks. I've started lucrin - just 1/2 dose, with the aim that it should supress me but not as much as previous cycles have done. Next bloods in a week, then if all good and quiet, start FSH around the 27th/28th of November.
It feels good to be back in a cycle. I really haven't thought it through to a conclusion yet - one hurdle at a time.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Letter to Santa

I wrote this for one of the forums I'm on, and asked everyone else to sign their name


Dear Santa,

We're getting in early this year, to give you a little time to prepare. We know special requests sometimes take a bit longer to organise, so we thought we'd give you a little extra notice. We also understand if you can't quite manage it in time for this year, so if we have to wait a little while, we'll be sad this year, but we'll understand.

For longer than we care to remember, we've wanted to be mothers. To nurture a life, care for it and watch another person develop and grow. We have so much love to give, that even though most of us have found wonderful partners, we want to make our families complete with children.

We find Christmas hard. For those who are religious, its all about the birth of a baby, and for those who aren't, its still a time about children and family, of love and giving. We long to share the joy and spirit of Christmas with children of our own, to tell them all about Santa, leave carrots for reindeer (or maybe those 6 white boomers) and a door unlocked, since we don't have a chimney for you to come down. To see little faces eager and excited.
We want to share the magic of this time of year with a new generation.

We ask that those who are pregnant are granted a safe delivery. For those who are struggling with premmies, may they come home safely. We know that it will be tough journey for them, and it might be a little while before they will be safe at home, but a little stardust goes a long way.

Some of us have lost much, and need to be at peace with that loss. So for those of us who have grief in our hearts, if you could bring us peace, that would be a gift in itself.

And for those who are adding to their families in extra special ways by adopting or fostering, let the children who were born in their hearts long ago find their way to their new homes quickly.

For those of us still struggling with trying to fall pregnant, we ask you for that long awaited BFP for Christmas, and for a safe, healthy pregnancy and delivery of our precious Christmas gifts. We know they won't be in our arms this Christmas, but they will be in our hearts, just like they have been for so many Christmases before.

Thankyou Santa

Love,
Tricia

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Justly berated for leaving you hanging ;) .....I finally have good news to report. Our spermies are go - I repeat, spermies are go. Destination Sydney, ETA tuesday/wed next week. Yippededoodah!

I haven't had the heart to post until we got all that sorted. Its been a rough couple of weeks, chasing our tails and our clinics, calling the US sperm bank etc etc. If Old Clinic had just sent the info they had on file when we, and New Clinic requested it, NONE of this needed to happen. Stupidheads.

The DS was purchased through old clinic (OC), was from an o/s donor, so not depleting their stocks. Oh, did I mention they lost a vial in transit from one clinic to another? It was replaced with one they had in stock, but no-one took responsibilty - hence we travelled 1400km to our embryos to do the FET.
So we did the release paperwork at the clinic where the sperm is being held.
We signed the consent forms for the new clinic.
We were then asked to get copies of donor consent forms, blood tests etc to NC, from OC.
2 messages later, left fax # for NC, but donor co-ordinator never got back to us for me to be able to detail what NC required.

Called NC.
No, they haven't received required paperwork yet.

This is where the "he said-she said starts". OC claim they weren't told exactly what was necessary.
NC claims their scientist emailed requirements to OC.
OC called back and advised the scientists from OC and NC were sorting things out, the hold up was with NC.

THEN, the head scientist calls about 20 minutes later, to tell me that NC is the problem, they were given all the info that OC had (no, they only told NC what they didn't have), that NC were currently reviewing it (load of BS) and that NC had to make further enquiries. I explained the situation as I understood it, that NC needed actual copies of lab tests, letters and consent forms, not just profile information and assumed clearance. At this point, head scientist launches into how its taken them hours to get the information they have sent so far, that I shouldn't be involved at all, they normally ONLY deal with other clinics about this stuff, and how there is nothing in it for them. I think the last comment probably sums up their attitude the best. I explained that I appreciated that it has taken time, but we were asked by NC to get this information, and that I had the specifics and could provide them, and that no-one at NC had previously said they would make sure the correct information was sent, or that NC would handle everything. That was in fact the reason I had called last week, and to find out if they did have access to it (because we were told they'd have to look for it). Reason being, if they didn't I would have to contact the sperm bank directly.

Subject was changed by head scientist, and he didn't ONCE say, yes please, here's my email/fax, send that through so we have the details. He also told me that speaking to the nurse earlier today was a total waste of time as she had nothing to do with it. I told him it wasn't, and she had actually tried to get the donor co-ordinator for me, but was unable, but said she would track her down in person to call me back since I hadn't been called back last week. And since the donor-coord had called me back, I actually considered it quite helpful.

It was like pulling teeth every time I called him on something and wanted details, and I was NOT nasty at all. I can be, but I was very polite. And every time I asked for more details or tried explaining why we had called etc etc, he just shut down and gave blunt "thats not how we do things" answers. The answers we were getting the whole way were "thats up to them to organise". Blunt and dissinterested. But "they can't call us with every new development". I get that "there is nothing in it for them". And those are direct quotes by the way, no paraphrasing involved.
I was basically told they wanted nothing more to do with us and would no longer return our phone calls.

I get that they imported the sperm originally. I get that they might be a little put out that we've decided to switch clinics. But we've done 5 cycles with them, have had to endure screw ups, and this was not a decision we undertook lightly, we just felt the Dr at NC was better equipped to manage my cycle, and had better success rates. So now we're punished for it. I mean, the entire conversation with the head scientist could have been much more positive if he wasn't stupidly arrogant and blunt about it all and telling me to keep out.

NC disputes much of what OC claimed. Oh. joy.

I advised I would be able to get no further with OC, and that OC advised me they would only deal with NC. Was asked to try to get required documents directly from sperm bank, who I immediately emailed.

So. Still no joy and nothing recieved by NC a week later, no response by email from sperm bank. I called the satellite clinic locally, that still holds the sperm and asked who I could go to since Brisbane had shut me down and basically said they wouldn't return my phone calls. The didn't want to get involved, but about 15 minutes after the conversation called me back (I think it might have had something to do with me asking who could actually be my advocate...). They'd spoken to the head scientist, and could I fax through the requirements. Now, that indicates a number of things to me:
1. Scientist didn't listen when I told him I had the requirements in front of me the week before and was happy to provide them to the clinic. I guess thats why he's in the lab and not dealing with patients.
2. NO-ONE had ever sent any of the paperwork to NC that they had on file
3. He isn't able to rely on any of his staff to do either of the above anyway.
4. He doesn't bother to get the story straight from all of HIS people before berating me for chasing them.

I mean, if they had just sent on what they had, when initially asked, I wouldn't have continued bugging them!

So they emailed me the blood tests and donor profile, and said they had the informed consent on file (didn't forward to NC as requested). I then requested that this be specifically forwarded to NC, and Oh my God, the fact that I had to dog them every step of the way drives me insane.

There were still a couple of details on the list that OC couldn't provide information for, however. After contacting the US sperm bank to try and get additional details, I was told they'd have to check with the clinic they supply in NSW, since they have an exclusive agreement to supply sperm to only that clinic in that state. AAAAAARRGGH

I understand why, but it meant they weren't able to release further information to OUR clinic in NSW! Kieran called the other clinic, and they were no more helpful - no, they wouldn't make an exception basically. So it looked like we wouldn't be able to use our donor at the new clinic, would have to go on their waiting list and hope something came up in the next 6-12 months.

I felt sick at the thought. Waiting 12 months between cycles until another "shot" at a donor came up???

So we contacted our clinic to let them know, and see if there was a chance the paperwork had been received, and might, just might, be adequate. They're happy to organise the shipping of the spermies. The paperwork they need is in order, we don't need to organise anything else, and we're on for a november cycle!!!The ups and downs have been awful, because I already felt like we'd worked so hard to get to this point, so to feel like we couldn't use our donor was a huge blow. I know there are bigger things to worry about, but geez it was a rough day yesterday!

Top that off with euthanasing a pregnant cat and speying a pregnant dog and I only ended up in tears twice. Not bad, considering.

Oh yeah, work still really sucks.

And its only a week until Kieran has his second urethroplasty. Fingers crossed this one works without any problems. And we're getting testicular histopath done to see if there is maybe a lone sperm somewhere. Since there was only cytology done in 2005.

Dogs are good, trying to clean and purge the house - belated spring cleaning. I could go NUTS, but Kieran won't let me :(
I want the spare room cleaned out and all the painting stuff moved into the office/guest room before the IVF. Making space for a successful IVF. My mother is convinced this one will work for some reason. She actually asked me about who I'd have deliver the not-yet-conceived munchkin. I'm still trying to wrap my head around my roster and who can work saturdays for me so I can get to sydney for the treatment....but I did answer her question. *sigh* Is it wishful thinking, blind hope, positive thinking? Or just setting oneself up for a fall?

This time, I'm not even trying. If I want a glass of wine before transfer, I'll have it thankyou.....right up to the rim please. And if I'm having a bad day, I'll just wallow for a few hours and have a bad day. Stuff the positive thinking, pretty flowery, girly pleasantness. I'll do what I need to stay sane.

But I will be taking my snowdrop everywhere. Do you think I could sneak it into theatre for egg retrieval?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

To do list...

1. Send consent forms to New Clinic - tick.
2. Organise transfer paperwork from old clinic - going in to sign this tomorrow.
3. Organise NC to get the sperm down to them - reliant on #2
4. Get old clinic to fax donor consent form and relevant testing paperwork to NC
5. Get counsellor here to fax her records to NC

Probably about 4 million other details to organise as well.

The ball is rolling. I just hope my ovaries wait a few days to ovulate, to give us just a little more time.

So its busy busy busy for now. Thankfully Kieran is great at most of this stuff, and makes a lot of the phone calls too.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Dear God, its me....confused.

I just don't know what the universe is playing at this week. 2 weeks ago, I saw my ideal job advertised. Only its 1400km away, back in Brisbane, therefore involves moving. And I have no idea how responsive they would be to IVF and maternity leave. Oh, I know all employers have to give you maternity leave, but how much fun would it be going to start a new job, only to leave it for 6-8 months and go back part time when you're not really contributing the same way?
Or take this wonderful job and not be able to really dedicate the time to it to get the most out of it?

Most of all, I feel kind of cheated. I grew up part of the generation who was told they could have it all. We COULD have a career. And do you know what? We were raised to believe we could. In part by our parents, in part by our teachers, and also in part by the media. We railed against the "stay at home Mum" stereotype. We almost felt a responsibility to be part of the workforce and contribute to society. I still do.

So when it comes down to possible career advancement, when you're trying to have a baby, there are no nice little guides or maps to help you make decisions. Society is strangely quiet until you make a decision, at which point I feel like I'll be told its wrong.

We were taught as women we could do anything, our gender should not hold us back. We are equal. Only, it turns out, while you might be able to do anything, you sure can't do everything. That's a nice little clause no-one mentioned. I've come to this realisation over the last few years, but only recently has it really hit home. I dedicated the last 4 years to trying to get pregnant. And put everything to do with career advancement on hold. Because having a baby was so much more important. But 4 years later, my arms are still empty, my heart is tired and my head is finding it hard to see a way out of all this. I feel like the proverbial carrot is being dangled in front of my nose, just out of reach. Only there are 2 carrots, and I can only choose one of them, without knowing if the other one will ever be offered again.

If I knew that IVF would work, and that I could make it through the process whole - that would be ok. I could accept missed career opportunities and move on to the next phase of my life and my family. Only no-one can tell us IVF will work for sure.

If I knew that I wouldn't be content or happy in the job, or that it would place a burden on my marriage, or my mental health, then I could pass it up without regrets.

But I have no answers to the questions I so desperately want answered. Only more questions.

And do you know what? I'm ticked off that I did everything RIGHT for heavens sakes. I found a wonderful man, married him, found a stable job and bought a house. We didn't leave it too long to start trying for a family, I was 26 - that should have given us a decent head start. And yet we're still 4 years down the track, and I feel cheated. Its not fair that men don't have to make the career/family decision. They need to balance it, but rarely does anyone expect them to actually make a choice of family over career. I know its probably just because I'm frustrated right now, and its clouding my perception, because there are men out there who do quit high pressure or high workload jobs in favour of their family.

I also don't want my children raised by strangers, or brought up in daycare. Maybe a day or two a week in daycare, but I wouldn't be happy with more than that. Kieran is happy to be a stay at home Dad, but he earns more than me right now, so financially we're better with him working.

To complicate matters further, we spoke to the counsellor at the new clinic, and we'll only have a limited amount of time to actually use the imported sperm we have, due to legislation about to be enacted in that state. The legislation has passed parliament, and is just waiting for the Governer's signature basically, so it might be an issue tomorrow, might be an issue in 6 months. If its an issue tomorrow, then we'll either have to go on the donor wait list, or find our own donor. We may have a KD sourced, but they're expecting their second baby, so any big decisions are not a great idea for them right now. So thats a huge maybe.

So, right now, just very confused. There is more to the story, but details later....

Friday, September 5, 2008

Free at last!

I finally handed in my final draft of the two acupuncture case studies! WOOHHOOOO! Still have to get them ok'd for final submission, but for now, I'm just happy they're in, and I don't have to feel guilty for not spending enough time on them!

So my "to do" list now involves going home to spend time with my folks for a few days, timed well since its father's day in 2 days. I also need to buy a knife set, order in a sofa-bed, work out what to do with the old sofa bed, decide whether to get a new entertainment unit, and then spring clean the house. I'm also making some toys for the dogs (sick of spending $10-15 on each one to have them torn apart in 4 hours), and trying to locate the material I cut up to make an Easter Bunny for my Mum. Yes. Last Easter. I'm actually quite ticked off that I can't find it, since its nice and funky and all ready to sew.

I'm still taking my chinese herbal mud, and I do believe its actually helping. I guess I'll find out for sure in the next week or so - its weird to be taking my temperature again, but its the best clue whether my cycles are normal or not.

I can't wait to get going on our next IVF, I feel like we finally have some clues in the puzzle, and I can actually be hopeful again. We'll probably put it on hold a little while though, since Kieran will be having surgery around November. He's going in for another urethroplasty, trying to sort out the stricture that he has. We're hoping his renal function might improve after the surgery again. Not much, but even just a little bit is great.

So we won't do an IVF until Kieran is recovered, probably January. I should just put in for holidays now and be done with it. I've sorted all the donor stuff - our donor will meet the criteria for the new clinic. Kieran is also thinking about having the TESA done again - the urologist suggested doing it while he was under for the plasty. We could freeze some, and send some for histo to get a definitive answer. The only problem is the whole ugly issue of "what if?".
What if there is nothing? Well, we're just back where we were. I think we're both ok with that.
What if they get something? Thats a scary question. Mostly because it just raises a whole heap of other questions - will they be useable, will they fertilise, will they develop into normal embryo's, will kids from the process have similar problems to Kieran? And then, if we go through IVF again and it doesn't work......do we blame the sperm? Or is it still crappy eggs on my behalf?

It would be a lot simpler if they found nothing again. I can't even begin to hope that we might get something and might actually be able to have a baby that way. The thought is too scary, because I don't know how I'd handle all of the other questions, or the disappointment. I just want to be a mother, and I want to make Kieran a Dad. Part of me doesn't want to go back to non-donor options. Maybe its impatience, maybe its just fear. I daren't hope.

Ah - hope. I was reading a blog about hope earlier this week - it was so very true. About how the raging hope going into an IVF cycle can be so destructive when the cycle doesn't work. And how what she really hopes, in a quiet, still voice, is that she will be ok, no matter what. All paraphrased, and much less eloquent than her post, but that's the general gist.

I will survive, and I will be ok. Whatever happens, is meant to happen. One foot in front of the other.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

New month, new resolve


I really have to get better at this. I've been rather lazy in terms of keeping up with the blogging over the last month. This is why I was never any good at keeping a diary as a child.

A lot has happened over the last month. I'm pretty happy with my assigments, far from brilliant, but all I have to do is reference them, and I'm done. No mean feat in itself, but I'll have it done by tomorrow night at the latest.

My dream job just came up also. I mentioned it to Kieran and got NOTHING the first time, no questions, nothing. The conversation just continued as though I'd said nothing. Then I mentioned that I was thinking of going to Brisbane for the day to just talk to them about it, not actually apply, but test the waters so I had more details. At least that time I got an acknowledgement of the statement. Nothing further though. Maybe I'll try again tonight.


The job is an internal medicine residency. Its exactly the kind of thing I love, and it seems to be in the direction everyone expects me to go. The only problem is the timing - as we're trying for IVF etc etc. But most of my IVF buddies have all said to go for it, the rest can be worked out later. It would be a great opportunity, and a great step forward for my career etc etc. And then there is the complete lack of any guarantee with IVF anyway.

Heck, I might not even GET the job!

On the IVF front, we had a consult with a Dr at IVF Australia 10 days ago. He was encouraged by all of my blood results so far, but thinks I've been over-supressed for each of my cycles so far, which is why I've needed heroic doses of FSH. He would also monitor me much more closely. Kieran and I were both impressed - the guy knows his stuff.


So we need to organise the sperm we have up here to be sent to Sydney, and have to make sure the required testing has been done on our donor also. Then we can probably go ahead with a cycle late this year or early next year.



I also saw a Chinese medicine practitioner, and she's put me on some herbs to try and get things right with my cycles. They're not super-revolting (thank heavens), and are only twice daily.

Something has to give, right?

We had great fun taking photos around Sydney harbour while we were there, didn't have much time, so it will be nice to get in some touristy stuff like ferry trips to Manly and the like when we go back! And maybe catch up with friends near Newcastle, and family in Sydney.


Sir Salvadore had fun too!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

And the score is....

Dogs = 1, Mum = 0.

The papyrus grass is gone. Took me 3 days to even find the remnants, and that was scouring the yard daily. I'm currently trying to resurrect the dregs of it, not because I think I'll actually be sucessful, but because I'm stubborn. Mind you, I managed to ressurect the fig tree Lita dug up and destroyed twice. The graft I tried didn't strike but thank heavens there were still buds above the old graft union. Its now in a POT rather than the ground.

Fish are all still doing well. Babies look great, mummy fish do too. Gold Molly isn't much bigger though, don't really know the gestation of mollies......maybe I should google that one.

This weekend was spent in a miasma of procrastination on my assignments! I have a great excuse though - I was learning how to oil paint! I'm pretty happy with my results - still not finished, but need to give it a week to dry before I can go back and finish it with another layer. I loooove oil painting! I've wanted to learn for ages, and I have this set of oil paints my parents gave me for Christmas one year.....they're probably edging close to 20 years old now....EEK!
Still good though, at least oils don't go off!

And last week, Kieran found classical music Muppet style on you tube. Habernera and Ode to Joy by the muppets. I couldn't stop giggling for hours. Tragic I know.

So then......in my major procrastination mode, I went looking for Pachelbels canon....and found a variety of versions, some terrible, but then some completely amazing versions as well. Again, tragic, but I have no problems owning it!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Water garden progress



So these are my water gardens. Still a little cloudy while I'm waiting for the balance to come right, but I love them anyway. They don't look so nice right now, since I have shade cloth over both of them. The nice little plants right in the water.....well the dogs like to eat them. I have no more leaves on my water lily :( because they decided to munch away. They both seem fine, so I think we can assume water lilies are not a toxic plant.
I put in 2 pregnant mollies - one yellow, one black with the plants too. Had a great afternoon. The lady at the aquarium store said the females will sometimes just drop the babies and might not survive with the shock, but that the babies then do really well.
Anyway, I thought the black female was cactus, since she dropped the babies while she was still in the plastic bag acclimatising. Not a good sign. I was convinced she hadn't made it, hadn't seen her in 3 days, and then couldn't see the yellow molly. I felt so bad for them both. Luckily the little babies are doing so well.
But last night, I went out with the torch to check on them, and lo and behold, the yellow female is looking good! And who would be sitting on the bottom next to her, only to dart away as soon as I bumped the barrel - the black female.
I felt so much better, it just made my night.
Those are tough little fish. And now I have something like 8 little black baby mollies too! I'm thinking about seeing how a couple of them go in the other barrel. It doesn't have a mud bottom like the other, the water is deeper and it spends most of the time in the shade at this time of year, so I'm not sure how they'd go.

I'll keep posting progress pics as things fill out and look prettier.

I should probably post the "setback" pics too. Such as this morning when I came home to a papyrus plant lying in the middle of the pathway. I've just replanted it in the mud at
the bottom of the barrel, hoping if it doesn't poke out so much, it won't look as interesting.

The lotus flower to the left is how I'm hoping my lotus plant will end up looking. The seeds are from the local lotus pond, and all the flowers are this delicious pink. I was down at the ponds a week ago and all the leaves are dry and brown, and there are all of these seed pods.
Its kind of ugly when you first look at it, but you take a step back, and its actually quite beautiful. These dead leaves that rustle and crackle in the wind, and the form of the leaves and the seed pods is really interesting. There are still a few green leaves here and there, and the rare flower, but overall its this dormant, restful stage there. Come late spring it will be completely different. Being in the tropics, its one of the only plants around here that gives you that real winter-y, dormant feeling.

Kieran and I head to Sydney in a little under 3 weeks for another Dr's appointment, and I'm seeing a TCM practitioner to look at herbal medicine for the IVF issues too. Can't hurt, and it seems to have helped when I've done it on break cycles.

Then some time off in early September. Trying to decide if I should head down to Brisbane and spend some time at a specialist clinic or two for something different. Or maybe I'll just veg out at home.

Monday, July 28, 2008

So I'm a slacker...shoot me

I know its been a while since I posted, but its been a big fortnight. I did.....ummmm.......well....nothing, then more nothing, and a bit more nothing.

I did more painting, its coming along. I won't say its good, but its coming along.

I sealed my pots, and tomorrow - I can fill them with water! YAY! I also have a waterlily, so one pot will be waterlily, one will be lotus. Thursday I'm going to buy some FISH! and water plants, and marginal plants.

I made an appointment to see Dr P in Sydney, and the chinese herbalist too. So that is late August.

And I haven't quit my job. Yet. Still tetering on that knife edge if things don't go according to plan, I'm ready to throw in the towel. Had a couple of good responses to emails this week however, so I'm a little bouyed by that.
And I made a DVD slide show of one of our patients. He's been staying with us while his Mum and Dad are overseas - we're pretty sure he has cancer, just don't know where, so we're just managing him. He's doing brilliantly at present, and his owners adore him, so I'm hoping we can get him through until Christmas. Ambitious, but heck, you might as well aim for the stars.

Its pretty darn cold here right now - feels more like brisbane than townsville. I don't exactly have a cold-proof house either, so my feet are freezing. Doesn't help that I can't find my sheepskin slippers. I'm thinking a hot shower to help my aching muscles, a cup of tea and then bed. Bugger the stupid acupuncture assignments, they can just wait.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Around the house this week

I've been doing some painting again this week. Not walls and ceilings, but pictures. One landscape, and another that my counsellor suggested – painting my grief and frustration and longing. Its more about longing now that I’ve started it. It’s a little abstract, and rather clich├ęd, but I think its actually good for me. Maybe its just being able to channel my energy into those emotions, and put down my longing on canvas; it’s a forum to express it in a way that is hard verbally. How do you keep saying “I want this so badly” with each breath of each day? Once the words are out there and your loved ones acknowledge them, how do you keep expressing how much it hurts? Everyone still knows, but I still have to live it, and feel it.
I guess it really is a form of grief.

My lotus pots are slowly making their way to being useful…..I primed them with the sealer today, didn’t quite dry in time to get a coat of the undiluted sealant on though. That will be tomorrow. I’m hoping I can get both coats done, then I can get some water in them in 10 days! Little lotus is doing well still, but I can’t wait to get a few fish to gobble up the mosquito larvae having a party in the lotus bucket.

And I’ll make some cushions soon too. Have this lovely fabric, will brighten up the lounge a little , without being overly dramatic, so I just have to get some zippers and decide how big I want the cushions. I want nice big, squishy ones, but I’m having trouble finding inserts that are plump enough.

I’ve had a big week really – the dental seminar we organized this week went off with minimal hitches (last minute change of date) but everyone enjoyed it thoroughly. Phew.
Also told my work I was considering resigning. I’m trying to decide if I want to stay in general practice or not, and we’ve had a few issue at work that I’m just getting sick and tired of. We always have staffing issues, but I feel very unsupported by the staff in general, maybe I look too capable, maybe they’re still scared of me, maybe they just don’t give a damn. But I’m tired of trying to help them and getting nothing in return.
I did get a pay rise though.
I don’t want to make any decisions when my head is so messed up and I’m so emotional right now, but I’ve had days when I just felt like walking out. Maybe spending a week in a specialist practice or two is a good idea, might help me determine what I want to do with my career, since the baby-making is not going well.

We're trying to organise a trip to Sydney to consult with Dr P, have the appointment booked for the 21st of August. I also want to see a chinese herbalist – her clinic is supposed to be brilliant in the treatment of infertility disorders. Basically I think my Kidney Yin and Kidney Yang are very messed up. Probably a Spleen Qi deficiency with my digestive history and the whole overwork issue will probably come up too.
If we can get in to see our Brisbane IVF Dr in the same trip, that would be awesome, otherwise we’ll just organise a day trip to Brisvegas.

So, plenty to keep me busy, I have the whole weekend off this week, so might go out and about and enjoy "Saturday stuff". Its been so long since I've had more than the odd saturday off. What DO people do on saturdays?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Its cold.

Do you know how I know? The cat won't leave me alone, having made the decision that all personal space boundaries are no longer valid in the quest for the warmest place. Currently my lap. Typing with a cat on my lap is now commonplace. And I do love the feeling of a cat purring because of me. Might just be because I'm warm, but at least I can do something right for him!

Yesterday was a crap day at work. Not a huge shock, but more crap than usual. The look on my face when I walked in kept most questions at bay. Frustrating that I have to look like a homicidal maniac to get some personal space at work though. Does not help one's frame of mind.

Pulled into the driveway last night after spending half of the drive home crying and wondering how I could get through the weekend on call, and kicked myself for not stopping on the way home to get a bottle of wine. That would have improved my night, I was sure.
However - I walked in, and Kieran had done the dishes, cleaned the floors and done a general tidy up. Wow. And to top it all off, there were flowers and a bottle of wine on the table.
I asked him who had called and told him about my crap day......but it was totally spontaneous. He does get it. Man, I love my husband so much.

So we had a heart to heart last night, talked about my work, and how much it was bothering me, but then, its not the real issue, its just that I want to move on to the next stage of my life and complete our family. His words, not mine. And its true.
The hardest part, is that I have no real control over that. It will either happen or it won't. I know that, and have no choice but to accept it, but it still hurts so much.

And knowing how happy I felt for those few days we thought the FET had actually worked, it makes it hard to be happy now. I know how happy we'll be if we can get pregnant and raise a child, so how do I cope with the uncertainty of that prospect? This isn't the life I want, the one where I'm pregnant and a mother is.

So it's stick with the current job for now, and hope we get lucky I guess. And find a way to get through the days at work.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

The family


I thought it was about time to post some pictures. Besides, its more fun than just whining about my crappy week at work.
The picture is of Kieran and Lita. I was trying to upload a whole heap, but that doesn't seem to be working too well.
I'm working on another lotus pic, and a sunset pic too. Very slowly.
Looks like Sydney might be a more difficult option for the IVF, since it seems our private health insurer doesn't have an agreement with their day surgery. Will need to investigate further, see if we can arrange something with them. Not happy about that one Jan. Not happy.
On a brighter note, my Dad passed his first semester at uni with a pass and two distinctions!!! How cool is that!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Time for a change?

Dr P has suggested my chances are still good for a successful pg. Nothing is set in concrete of course, and he still thinks we have quality issues, but he seemed fairly positive. He's happy to advise Brisbane, but thinks they can probably do a better job in Sydney. At this point, a 2% improvement is better than nothing, I'll take what we can get.

Raises the dilemma of changing clinics though. I hate doing that at the best of times, and especially when we have a good rapport with the Dr in Brisbane. And chances are still pretty good for there also, so it makes justifying the move harder, but if we only have 2 or 3 more shots, I don't want to regret NOT going for gold with the best we can.

I get the impression Dr P is used to dealing with egg quality issues more aggressively also. And that the clinic is very flexible with retrieval dates, if I'm not a "textbook" responder.

I'm thinking about a new job as well. I thought I was doing ok, but I had a meeting with our practice manager, and feedback is that I'm not. I'm still mean apparently. Or "intimidating".
Well, if people stopped asking me stupid questions when I'm busy and used their own brains, I wouldn't get annoyed so much.
The worst part is that I don't really know what I want. Do I just want to work in a high end practice and do general vet work still, the variety is something I enjoy. Or do I want to take the next step and look toward a specialist practice, and maybe work at a specialty?
And more importantly, would I be any happier?

I don't like who I am anymore, but I'm trying so hard to not let it out when I get cranky. I'm trying to let those little things go, but lots of little things still get on my nerves - it builds up.
And when I have a constant hole in my heart, its just hard.

Crap. Just remembered I have to make an appt with my endocrinologist. Its been a while, so I'll need a new referral too, no doubt. I think my thyroid is messing around again - last bloods TSH was 4.4, higher than it should be. T3 and T4 still normal, but my TSH shouldn't be having to creep up to keep them within normal. So now I'm guessing I'll need supplementation rather than suppression.
Looks like thyroid meds are going to be back on the cards for me. Ah joy.
Because I need more things to obsess over.

Now let me see - good things. My lotus plants are still doing well, and Simone, if it wasn't for the damn quarrantine laws WA has, I'd ship it over quick smart! I'm sure it would do fine, they grow them in Vic, and you guys get hot enough summers, as long as the plant didn't get frosted, I think it would do great.
I bought some material today to make cushions for my couch today. Nice big cushions. Its funky pink and brown cotton, and it even met Kieran's approval. Also bought some photoboxes - reduced from $40 to $20, then with the 20% storewide sale...... = BARGAIN. They look really nice. Much better than the cardboard box the photos were previously in. Bit more cat-proof too.

Still need to get myself organised and do Nanna S's quilt. I've only had the material 2 years. I think I'll aim for Christmas. Then I have all this really nice material and a gorgeous pattern for a queen bed quilt too. Bit more complicated than what Ive done before, and have to hand cut each piece, no strip piecing (damn!), but should be well worth it once done. I'm thinking 2010 for that one ;)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

More opinions....

So I spoke to a friend of the family yesterday. Well, he's my second cousin's husband, but that's just too hard to explain.
Anywho....Mum mentioned him a while ago, just in passing, and said he was an IVF doctor. Finally looked him up after the chemical pregnancy, and he's ONLY the clinical director of one of the big Sydney clinics. Well.

So I was emailing through his wife, and spoke to him yesterday. He thinks I have egg quality issues, is a little bamboozled by my reponse to some of the medications, and thinks he can help. Won't guarantee a baby, but thinks he can do at least as good a job as anyone else in the country.
Now there's a positive!

Its a little scary facing up to the egg quality thing, but he did suggest Kieran have a serum inhibin B level done, because if its >0, there is a chance there might be sperm somewhere. Now THAT is good news. Maybe. It does however mean revisiting that whole issue again, possibly getting our hopes up etc. I think in some ways it would be a lot easier to get a final NO, because there is less of an issue then. We've worked through not having Kieran's genetic offspring.
BUT, with egg quality issues, if we have to move to donor egg and donor sperm, that is going to suck. I can deal with donor egg if its Kieran's sperm though. I'd do it tomorrow if I thought it was really going to give us a chance.

So more bloods for me. CA 125, chlamydia serology, and then FSH, LH and E2 on day 1 of my cycle. Dr P seems to think this might help us pick the "good" versus "normal crap" cycles, and he's had better success rates with egg quality problems doing it this way. Don't know whether that brings us back to "normal" ivf success rates though!

Today I started organising copies of my bloods for Dr P - thyroid testing from the last 12 months, then all my clinic monitoring stuff from QFG. That's going to be an essay and a half.
I've just asked for the basic stuff - blood results, ultrasound results, lap results and embryo score cards. Will still be a whole stack from the clinic up here, a few from brisvegas, and then a few more from my GP.

My lotus plants are doing well. I'm about to pot one up and see how it does, then find something to pot the second one up. I have a friend who has said she'll adopt it!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Moping

I'm having a moment. I worked today as one of the other vets was off sick, so that kept me busy at least. The day was dead quiet, but I found plenty to do as usual. Mostly research, clinical updates etc.

Was doing ok until I saw a friend's baby pics on facebook. I don't know why I do it to myself. I love baby photos, but seeing him and their new baby - I kept thinking how it should be me and Kieran with a baby. I never even took the liberty of assuming children would come easily. I feel cheated in so many ways. Maybe because I never demanded of God, or the Universe, that it should be easy, it was never given to us easily.

Those precious few days of being pregnant, I felt so good. So happy and at peace with the world. I knew it was too early to be confident of anything, but I wanted to enjoy every moment. So I did. Precious few of them, but enjoy I did. I really liked how that felt, and who I was in those moments. Kieran was laughing at my "trippy" state, blaming it on hormones etc. I think I was just happy. Its been a long time since I was happy like that. Carefree without this sinking lead weight in my chest. This constant question, whispered by my heart every day "Will I ever be a Mother?"
I mourn losing the chance at a pregnancy, and who I was for those few days. I can't mourn the loss of a baby that never was. I can't call it a miscarriage, because both those things imply something greater than this pregnancy was ever going to be, and it hurts too much to think that for some reason my body rejected something so precious. How can those perfect little embryo's be to blame?? It must be me.

Oh I know its not my fault really, but fearing something, and knowing it isn't so intellectually are different. And unless someone can PROVE to me that those embryos were not right, how can I truly leave those fears? So they stay, and I pretend to ignore them. They get tucked away in a box with the whispers, and the tears, and the bandaids that hold my heart together until we have our baby in our arms and the wounds begin to heal.

And my lotus continues to grow.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Hope

The lotus seed I'd all but given up on? Well today it sprouted a shoot! I had to check it wasn't the second seed being super wonderful, but no, the first one was just a bit of a slow starter.
Now I'll have to get my pot organised.
Think I'll start with a bucket first, but will need to organise the pot quick smart, it would be nice to have it sealed and ready to go.

My little nugget of hope.

I'm thinking about getting my act into gear and doing some painting again. I have a lotus picture I want to experiment with, and a few ideas for a big canvas that could either be really lame, or rather funky.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Yesterday was not a great day. Not totally horrid, just not a good one. I don't think it helped that on one of the IVF chat groups, three girls got good, strong beta hCG readings.
Its great for them, really, but it just hits home how much I wanted it too, and raises all those "why not me" questions.
I'm doing ok. Its all just a normal reaction to wanting something so badly, having it within your grasp for a few days, then having it slide away again. Something worked though, right??

This is not an easy journey some days.

Today has been better, more tidying, the dining room is under control now, we almost have the spare rooms back, but Kieran's art is still all over the place. Most of it is either too big or too loud to hang here at home. We have some other art, mostly watercolours, and it would be nice to get them framed properly and hung. I'm hoping I can get Dad to help me make some picture frames for them. Can't be that hard, right? He's got all the tools - a router, jigsaw, mitre and drop saw.

Maybe in the next few weeks. I have some time off over the next few weeks while we have a locum here, as long as we do actually get one confirmed. So I should be able to slip away to Mackay for a few days with no problems.

The lotus hasn't sprouted yet, so I started another seed off. This second one looks more promising than the first, so I'll get my lotus plant yet!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The seed

I decided to stop putting it off and just do it. I'm trying to germinate a lotus seed.

  1. Scratch off an area of the hard, outer seed coat to expose the seed inside so water can penetrate
  2. Keep scratching
  3. Realise why lotus seeds survive unscathed for over 2000 years. I've scratched the tops of my fingers, and the seed coat looks unblemished.
  4. Finally get through to the seed
  5. Place in jar of warm water
  6. Change water daily, keeping jar in a warm, sunny spot.
  7. Have the two coldest days of the year so far immediately after. Tropical Queensland only ever gets this cold for about 2 weeks. So of course its the day after I start trying to germinate the lotus that this winter snap begins.
  8. Persevere anyway.

Will keep you updated on the progress of the lotus seed. I'm hoping as a symbol of longevity and fertility, and beauty from adversity, its going to bring some seriously good cosmic karma my way.

On a slightly more positive garden note, the fig tree my dog dug up (TWICE) has actually sprouted a new bud after some serious trauma. Roots started last week after 3 weeks in a bucket of seaweed solution and my first attempt at grafting. Lita managed to amputate the growing shoot, so I salvaged it and tried grafting a bud back onto the rootstock, holding out little hope for the previous graft union. The old graft seems to have survived though, not sure about my attempt - maybe another week or two, doesn't look too healthy, so I'm not holding out a lot of hope.

Going to take a trip to my health insurance fund, try and get some money back on my FET medication scripts. Progesterone ain't cheap. And now I'm stocked up again.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Moving onward and upward

Today is a new day. I'm doing ok with everything really, we had 3 wonderful day of being pregnant, and I can't wait to do it again.

We're looking at second and third opinions, mostly to just make sure we're not missing anything and are with the best team we can be. Its not just about the doctor, the lab plays a big part. So I'm trying to suss out who the best people in Australia are. Bedside manner is nice, but results are so much more important now. Sure we have time, but how long do you keep saying that, and who's to say things won't change next year, or the year after?

Aiming for a September IVF cycle, probably still in Brisbane with Dr S, but will keep and open mind at this stage.
We came so close last time, yet about 8 months too short. Maybe it will kickstart something and my body will realise there is work to be done.

Still having moments when I'm just heartbroken, but surprisingly haven't reached the "hate the whole world" stage yet. Maybe I'll just release the hidden anger in short, random bursts. That could be interesting. But then, maybe not. Really just can't deal with pregnant women, and that's no easier right now. I suspect there will always be an element of resentment for those who haven't struggled so hard with infertility. Heck, I find myslef resenting first time IVF successfuls! How much sense does that make?? If you can get pg on your first IVF, it doesn't count as truly struggling. I guess its all just a matter of perspective.

I have some wonderful role models in the online community however - beautiful strong women, who struggle through some of the most tragic circumstances, and are still able to get up the next day to see the sun. Some have gone through very dark times, yet continue to follow their heart in this journey, others have had the strength to move on an find peace again in their lives. I think both paths require a special kind of strength.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

All bets are off

Beta is in and its not good. Only 13, it needed to double. I was trying so hard to stay hopeful, but things weren't the same yesterday and today much less so.

This totally sucks. I'm so tired. Physically and emotionally. It can't take us another 4 years to get a positive pregnancy test. It just can't.
IVF is the worst form of gambling - maybe it will work next time. There are no definites, you just make the best decision you can with the information you have. Which sucks.

Low Beta.....waiting

Tuesday's beta was only 46. Still a positive but hardly promising. Repeat in 48h was the instruction.

So I've had blood drawn again today, I've been trawling the literature because somehow that is less stressful than just stewing on it. There is still hope, and for the next few hours I'm pregnant. But my deepest, darkest fears are there under the surface. If its taken 4 years, 5 fresh IVF cycles, 3 frozen cycles where embryo's didn't even thaw, and one frozen transfer of two nice blastocysts to just get a chemical pregnancy, what will it take to get us through a full pregnancy to have a child?

I'm staying positive right now, but the reality is still very precarious. I'm praying so hard this will all turn out ok. That our beta numbers will double. Going for at least 92. I want this so badly. I want the naivity to assume a positive HPT will make us parents in 36 weeks. I want to be a mother. I want to make Kieran a Daddy.

I know I'm powerless to change the outcome, but I wish I could do something. This one is supposed to be it - everything went right. I mean, the embryo's actually survive the thaw and kept growing for heavens sake! How good is that? They're tough little buggers, hence the nicknames "chuck" and "norris". I feel like this has been our best chance yet.

I can be philosophical and stay positive about the whole experience - we were pregnant for a few days at least. And I'm grateful for that experience, it sure is a step forward from absolutely nothing. At least these embryo's turned up and showed a bit of effort!

I won't think about the alternative until I have to. Easier said than done of course. I won't even think about coping strategies, because this beta will be superb. Chuck and Norris will have had a little more time to become accustomed to their new home, and will settle in for the long ride.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

+++++

BFP!!

Need I say more? It was a weak line last night when I finally built up the courage, took a couple of minutes to show, and today it was a little darker, didn't have to squint so much to see it.

****Happy-dance**** Happy-dance****

Wow. We're having a baby!

I know its still early days, there are still so many things that can go wrong, so many milestones, but I just want my moment, and I want this to be a positive experience. I'm just going to enjoy it.
So the hunger/nausea really is morning sickness, only I'm fine in the morning. Kieran is loving this, he's been teasing me for days about being pregnant, going from zero to hungry in 3 seconds. He did a 2am Maccas run after I had a call out the other night and asked me if I wanted anything. The mere thought of greasy McDonalds was enough to turn my stomach, until he put the bag in front of me in the car and I suddenly said "I'm hungry".

Wow. This is all so surreal.

Chuck and Norris rule!!
Next hurdle - beta tomorrow

Saturday, June 7, 2008

14dpo, HPT at the ready

Well, the embies would be 14d old now. And I can make up all sorts of early pg symptoms. Sore breasts, heaviness in my uterus, even nausea (or is it hunger, I'm not sure). Problem is these could just be the progesterone/nerves combination.

I caved and bought some HPT's today. I haven't used them yet, because at 14d, they're going to be pretty accurate. Sure its possible they might not be, but who am I trying to kid, it will probably be right.

I really feel like this is a good one, and we have a real chance, but I'm so scared I'm wrong.

So I'm trying to work up to the HPT.

Maybe I'll go do some gardening.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Killing time

How I survived 4dp5dt:
- painted the door trim in the lounge
- folded the washing
- ironing
- filled script for more provera and progynova
- massage this morning
- mid afternoon nap
- played with dogs, took very amusing video of Lita attacking the water from the hose
- planted more beans in the garden to replace the plants Dobby ate.

I have no idea how I'll get through the next 9 or so days until beta. How many times a day can one really check the internet for pregnancy symptoms. Or what day to expect double lines on an HPT after a blastocyst transfer? I KNOW my sore nipples are just because of the heroic progesterone doses, but maybe, just maybe I’ll find that one little clue that tells me whether this one will work.

This is so mentally taxing. Maybe I can spend the next 9 days creating new lists of things to do during the 2ww. There are a few out there already, but I really don’t know how healthy some of them are. I mean, I could plan what school the twins will go to, but then, will I be devastated at the 7 week scan when its only one??

Note: still in positive thinking mode right now. Did you notice that?? Still assuming there will be a BFP. I figure there’s probably 3 days left of that, 12dpo is usually when I hit the wall.
I remain positive the whole time, am really strong and don’t POAS before beta, and then get a ne…….nnnn…..I can’t even bring myself to say the word. If I get one of those, will it just hurt even more, or will it hurt that much anyway?

How do you “not think about it”. How is that even possible? Stay tuned for the ride people, it could get ugly.
At least I’m working tomorrow, that will kill time quite easily. Off to finish my list of things to do for the next 9 days.

Ciao.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

"Chuck" and "Norris" safe and sound

Back home again from Brisbane and I am on cloud 9. Or maybe even 10. I had my scan 6 days ago, all was good to go, so we thawed 2 embies. They came through the thaw at 2 and 3 cells, and each gained an extra 1 and 2 cells respectively overnight! Wow. I was just stoked with that. We grew them on to day 5 as planned, got an update the next day to find the embryo that thawed at 2 cells had gone on to 5 cells, and the other one was chugging away and had become a morula.
I thought I was quite restrained really. I waited until we arrived in Brisbane to call for that update, not at 9am like I wanted to. So after getting the good news that both embryos were still going, and they weren't worried about the one lagging behind at all, we joked about how we could even be lucky enough to get 2 blastocysts, and how cool that would be.

Had our next update immediatly before transfer. It really would be better if the scientist could come and sit with you to give you the embryo report, before they load them into the catheter for transfer. The way it really works, giving you the update while your legs are in stirrups and your dignity back with your underwear in the change room is hardly the best for concentration.

So the next update was that we had two early blastocysts!

Maybe my eggs aren't that shoddy. Maybe they just needed a change of scenery. Maybe they just don't like being frozen at day4. Maybe, just maybe, we have a baby (or two!!) on board. Shhh.....don't say it too loud, I don't want to jinx it.

Kieran has already started thinking baby names. For twins. He has tendered a request for "Chuck" and "Norris", which was flatly denied. It is better than Vader (yes, as in Darth), Chickenhead, Doctor Lecter or the various other names he thinks up to amuse himself. Of course, his amusement comes exclusively from my reaction to these names.
So in my haste to include him, I agreed to call the embryo's Chuck and Norris. It has nothing to do with me being at all amused by the names. Really.
And nothing at all to do with the possibility of having little people beating me up from the inside in the next 8 months.

I feel so nervous and hopeful and positive all at the same time. It kind of makes me realise how hard all of this has been, because I don't remember feeling this good in a very very long time. I'm going to surround myself with positive thoughts, and happy rainbow kitten pictures for the next 11 days.

The two week wait madness begins. I figure I can hold off the crazies another 4 or 5 days, but after that its going to be tough. It will be even harder to keep away from HPT's because I feel so darned good about this one!

And I found out I passed my IVAS acupuncture exam too! YAY!! Now I just have those darned case reports to write up.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

FET take 2

Right, I do suck at this blogging thing. I'm getting there slowly, maybe I should set a target of one a week or something.

Just had a week off work, so you'd think there would be no excuses.....but I've been painting! We finally got our act together and started painting the inside of the house. Its a slow process. You can't make these decisions too quickly.

I love the colour in the dining room (cream) but the lounge room is waiting for me to get used to it. We might have to paint one wall lighter, I think its a bit much all together.

Lita is doing great - we got the pathology back and it wasn't cancer (HUGE relief). She's now back to normal, and it was probably some kind of infection with a weirdo immune response, and we just cross our fingers it doesn't start up again.

FET was a bust last month, neither embryo survived thaw. So I'm off to Brisbane on monday to have a scan for this cycle, try again with the Brisbane embryo's. We have a romantic weekend planned in Brisbane, so if the embies don't thaw, at least it won't be a total waste. Which reminds me, I should book the dogs into the kennels.
I don't hold high hopes for these embies, but what the heck, its worth a go! And we'll do a fresh in November, maybe with PGD if none of these survive thaw, and try and get out to a blastocyst transfer I think.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Positive opk - FET here we come

Our FET should hopefully be sometime in the next week. I got my first positive OPK on friday, was positive still yesterday, bit stonger in the morning, and again positive last night and this morning. I can feel my ovaries tingling.

Tomorrow I'll call the clinic, tee up and ultrasound and work out when transfer will be based on that. My temps have still been low, so I don't think I've actually ovulated yet, very considerate of my ovaries to hold off until a weekday I think.

I also got in touch with an old school friend recently, found out she got married a few weeks ago, so it will be great to catch up with her again.

Its been a rough couple of weeks, really busy at work, and Lita, our youngest furbaby has been sick. I had her in at work for xrays about 2 weeks ago, checking her joints and trying to decide if we should do surgery or just hold off. A week after that I had her back in with a fever that wouldn't respond to anything. Been doing every test I can think of to try and work this out, have discussed it with 2 specialists and we're up to 3 pathologists now.

We took her to surgery to biopsy some abnormal lymph nodes in her abdomen, after they seemed to be even larger than they had been on the previous ultrasound. Since the surgery, she's been great! Still not normal, but her temperature is back down and she's actually eating again. The bad news is the pathology is likely to come back as cancer. Lymphosarcoma in a 10 month old dog. How messed up is that.

Maybe we can look at a bone marrow transplant for her! And of course it has to be at the same time as a bloody IVF cycle too!

I think if she's having a good day tomorrow, we'll take Lita to the beach and get some nice pics, and just have a good day. I have a massage booked for tomorow also - thank heavens - so I should feel much better after that too!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

IVAS exam

Yesterday was a long day. Very long. I was up at 5am, for a 6am flight to Brisbane, where I hired a car, drove out to Redlands, and was only 10 minutes late for the official start of my IVAS exam. Not bad really.
The exam itself - awful. Considering the 70% pass mark required, I'm really not sure if it was enough. I really did study for it, but still felt remarkably underprepared once I had the paper in front of me.
I hate multiple choice.
We had around 4 hours to complete it, and took most of that to finish the paper. Bleh.
The practical wasn't so bad, I could find all the points, but as for the functions of them, I think I made up some new ones.

I'm trying to avoid the acupuncture books still on my table that will probably confirm just how much I got wrong.

On a more positive note, I got to speak to both of the IVF doctors we've seen over the last 12 months this week, so we have some plans for the next 12 months. YAY!
We'll start with an FET on a natural cycle this month, hopefully in the next 3 weeks. I actually ovulated on day 16 last cycle - a first! I've never ovulated before day 20 on any of the cycles I've charted in the last 3 1/2 years. Totally stoked with that little development!
Fingers crossed for early ovulation this cycle too. We really don't expect these embryo's to survive thaw, so I won't be holding my breath.
Hence plans for the next one, and embryo's in Brisbane. We'll do hormone replacement for that one, head down for a lining check prior to transfer and cross our fingers.
I also talked to our Brisbane Dr about a cycle in November - so we have some plans for that one too.
My bloodwork is all good too, FSH was 6, thyroid function still all within normal.

We also have a new cat. His name is Eclipse, and his previous owner had been trying to rehome him for a little while with no luck. I actually treated him when he was just a little kitten, when we think he ate some rat poison. He actually recieved a blood transfusion from my own cat, who died last November, so when our receptionist found out about that, she had them call and talk to me and see if I wanted to take him on.
I couldn't say no, I was trying so hard not to cry during the conversation with them. He has this link to Christian, and a little bit of her inside him.

He's a very quiet cat, still settling in. He's been her about 4 weeks now and is just getting used to the big scary dogs at the back door. They have no manners and think he's a pretty cool toy so far. So far Eclipse isn't much of a snuggler, but he's not at all nasty either. And our gecko and cockroach population has taken a HUGE hit since he arrived!

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Lotus

I was walking in one of the local parks the other day, and noticed the lotuses (is there a plural form of lotus?? Loti sounds just stupid), were still blooming. Unusual, as they usually stop blooming early February. Sure, its not like the whole Lotus pond was filled with flowers, but they're still pretty special regardless. Ross River has lots of Lotuses along the edges, and they bloom for a good 6 weeks around Christmas and New year. All of these elegant, blousey flowers towering above the quiet waters of the river. And there is something decidedly sturdy about them as well. The flowers sit a good metre above the waterline, tall and strong, among these large, robust leaves.

The Buddhists revere the Lotus as a symbol of life, something beautiful and wondrous rising out of mud. A symbol of the potential in life, and in all of us.

So I brought home some seeds from one of the dried pods. I was kind of impressed I managed to do it without getting wet to be honest. Usually I try and do something "clever" like that and end up falling into the mud. "Gracefully" of course. Especially if there are a few people watching. I always did enjoy playing in creeks as a child.

But not Sunday. "Graceful" managed to stay out of the water. And get her Lotus seeds.

Now, I just have to save up for a nice big water barrel of some description to put them in! No rush to plant them out I figure, all these articles cited Lotus seeds from various tombs surviving thousands of years, so I think a few months will be quite safe. I just have to decide whether its best to get them going now while the weather is warm, or wait until closer to the growing season at the end of the year. I don't know that the plants really go dormant up here in winter, the water really doesn't get cold.

Might wait until I get that pot sorted first, just in case they decide to really take off and grow fast.

I love the whole idea of having a lotus plant, their beauty and tenacity, and the delicate strength of the flowers. Now I get why you're supposed to meditate on them. And on that minor epiphany, I'm going to actually do some work...... its less than four weeks until my acupuncture exam now - bleh. Better get cracking.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Day 1, blogging

I decided to branch out. Maybe this will be therapeutic for me. Maybe it will just give my poor huband a break from my obsessive need to discuss things, pick them over, and do it all to death. I'm great at flogging a dead horse.
Blog day 1, infertility day 1043? You know what, its probably more than that. Its just too depressing to actually count them all, so I'll leave that until I'm really in the mood to wallow in misery.

This was supposed to be our "break" year. No fertility treatments, no IVF, heck, I even stopped the prenatal vitamins! And I was doing so well. I felt close to normal about 2 weeks ago, then found out a work colleague was pregnant and had two pregnant clients in, all on the same day. Not begrudging any of them their happiness, I hate the fact they're pregnant none the less. Its just hard to smile and ask "normal" pregnancy questions, and lets face it, at 8.5 months pregnant, at least one of them is probably heartily sick of people asking her due date!

So the plans for a 12 month break have fallen apart. I've decided that I simply can't handle another 8 months of inaction, when I still feel miserable anyway. Physically my cycles are almost normal again. When I say normal I mean....well....about as normal as they've ever been. I did ovulate this month at least.

And while I love being a vet, the job is just stressful enough to keep me from ever viewing it as a break from emotional turmoil. Heck at least we have fun most days, and have a great group of vets and nurses at the moment. The work is challenging, and dealing with worried pet owners was never a walk in the park.