6 Days post 3 Day Transfer.

It has now been 6 days since we transferred our little embryos and I have been so far feeling pretty good. I had 2 days to totally relax after the transfer which really helped me mentally to know we were doing everything we could to help these little embryos stick. I relaxed on the couch with my pup watching movies and relaxing. It was great. Over the weekend I went back to my normal every day activities like walking the dog etc but still taking it easy and not doing anything more than we have to.

I feel like we have the progesterone injections down to a fine art now and although they bruise up and tend to get itchy for a few days they are really no big deal. I am so proud of my husband who is now doing these injections for me. They need to be done in the upper buttock area and I simply can’t reach to do them properly myself. I’m still doing the bit where I stab the needle through the skin but he does the rest. For the guy who couldn’t look in the same direction of me doing the initial injections this is amazing progress. He has really come a long way with being scared of ‘medical stuff’ and I hope this bodes well for when we are hopefully in a delivery room one day.

I am still feeling positive about this cycle and just hoping like hell things are finally going to go my way. I have been a bit tired the last day or so but nothing too bad otherwise. Not enjoying the daily Crinone gel. It leaves you feeling very bloated and a bit crampy but if it helps an embryo stick then I’m all for it! My husband is at home sick with the flu which is not ideal. I’m doing everything I can to avoid him and avoid his germs! I do not need to be getting sick at the moment! I am sleeping in the spare room and spraying the house with Glen20 to hopefully kill any potential germs. Hopefully he improves quickly and we can both enjoy a quiet weekend away next weekend. It’s weird to think it’s only 8 more days until we get our results and will know the outcome. While the 2 week wait usually goes very slowly I am finding it not too bad this time. Just taking it one day at a time!

Wish me luck for avoiding the flu and that this little embryo sticks inside me!

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Transfer – Embryos on board!

So yesterday we were lucky enough to transfer 2 little embryos. One frozen one that we had from a couple of cycles back and one fresh one from this cycle. The frozen one was better quality and had 11 cells at transfer while the fresh one was a little behind at 4 cells. I was so pleased that the transfer went ahead and went smoothly. Last time it was one of the more uncomfortable experiences of my life while this time was much much better! The embryos were in and we were headed out the door all of 20mins after arriving. I felt happy, relieved and hopeful. While my lining was still not perfect thickness it was displaying the required ‘tri-laminar’ or 3 layered appearance which is better than we have had before.

So today marks my second day of chilling on the couch and doing my best to relax. It has been quite strange sitting at home watching netflix all day when I’m not sick? I don’t recall ever doing this and not being either sick, hungover or devastated after a failed cycle/bad news. It has been lovely enjoying lots of cuddles with my pup and just trying not too let my mind jump ahead to the possibilities of what the next few weeks may hold. I am still taking Progynova tablets twice a day, Progesterone injections every 3 days, changing estrogen patches every 4th day and Pregnyl injections today and next Tuesday.

I’m enjoying the quiet time and not feeling even remotely guilty for doing nothing. If it gives these little embryos an even slightly better chance of sticking then it’s all worth it! While I’m feeling very hopeful at this stage it is nice knowing we have an appointment booked for a second opinion if this cycle doesn’t work out. 13 more days to wait…

Egg pick up – when things don’t go to plan.

Yesterday was a tough day, tougher than I had thought it would be. We arrived at the hospital at 7am, checked in and everything was running smoothly. I spoke with our specialist prior to the procedure and I was feeling confident that things would go well. He seemed confident too and the main concern going into egg pick up was going to be how my lining was looking. Ideally we need it to be around 7.5-8mm for transfer and at my last scan it was only at 5.5mm. I went off to sleep and woke up about 40mins later.

My first question to the nurses was ‘how many eggs did they get?’. I remember asking a few times in my half awake state and them telling me our specialist would be in soon to tell me. I didn’t think this sounded right as he told me before hand he would have to rush off and likely wouldn’t see me post op. They wheeled me back down to the ward and still no answers. My husband arrived and I just had a feeling it wasn’t going to be good given I was still waiting. I heard the girl in the bed next to me happily telling her husband they got 23 eggs and I just felt sick. Eventually one of the nurses tracked down the report for me and told me that sadly only one little egg was collected. The same as our very first cycle nearly 12 months ago.

Somehow I managed to hold it together. I just wanted to get dressed and go home. When I got into the car a few tears slid down my cheeks but I think I felt numb more than anything. I was so disappointed that this meant another cycle would most likely be unsuccessful. Our chances of this being the last stim cycle just dropped dramatically. I made the decision in the car on the way home that it was time for a second opinion. I can’t keep pumping my body with drugs and hoping for the best if it is all really just experimentation. I wanted a fresh set of eyes to look at our case and see if there is anything we are missing. As soon as I walked in the door I made an appointment with likely Melbourne’s most highly rated fertility specialist. Everyone says if anyone can get you pregnant it’s her so I figured lets give that a try. It was a month before they had availability but that gives us time to work through what might be left of this current cycle but have our next step ready and in place.

My specialist called in the afternoon to confirm that yes my lining was still too thin and I would need to add in some more medications to help improve it before transfer. This now means daily Crinone – morning and night, daily Progynova – morning and night + estrogen patches – to be changed every 4 days and Progesterone in Oil injections – every 3rd day. I just have to hope like hell this all works and helps our little embryos implant.

I got the good news this morning that our one egg from yesterday has fertilized and turned into an embryo. We have to hope like crazy that it keeps dividing over the next few days and makes it to day 3 for a transfer. We have also organised to thaw our one frozen embryo from 2 cycles back and hopefully at least one of them will be strong enough for transfer. It’s all just a waiting game from here. As crappy as these results are I’m still feeling hopeful that it only takes one good embryo for us to achieve a pregnancy.

Trying to stay as relaxed as I can between now and transfer day and hope that not only my lining improves but also we have an embryo or 2 to transfer. Going to need all the baby dust I can get!

Day 12. Feeling the effects.

Day 12 has rolled around and I’m feeling pretty tired and bloated. Otherwise I can’t complain. Injections have all been pretty straight forward and no complications with anything. Feeling a bit nauseous at times but finding that a few slices of ginger in hot water is doing the trick to keep that at bay.

I have a few big days ahead of me in regards to work and appointments and a couple of birthdays so trying to just keep putting one foot in front of the other. I’m looking forward to Saturday night when I can relax and not have any more rushing around to do. Assuming all goes well at the scan tomorrow then Egg pick up will be booked for Monday morning. I hope this is the case just so I can move forward to the next step. I’m not frustrated, or sad, or angry, just a bit tired. Still hoping like hell this is the lucky one for us and we don’t have to do this again but still a bit scared that it will be negative again.

I was given a gift by one of my patients at work yesterday which knocked me a bit for six. She is a gorgeous elderly lady who loves knitting and crocheting who gifted me a beautiful blanket and booties for ‘when we have babies one day’. It was so kind of her and yet I felt so scared that I will have to give them away to someone else announcing a pregnancy rather than keep them for ourselves. For now I have put them in the back of the cupboard in our spare room and I hope the need for them comes sooner rather than later. Holding them and imagining our baby wrapped in the blanket was a bit much and bought a tear to my eye. I can only hope she is some kind of psychic and knows whats around the corner for us.

Hoping for good results at the scan tomorrow. Hopefully our little follicles have continued to grow and but I am a little nervous about how thick my lining will be given that has been a real problem in the past. Fingers crossed for me that its all heading in the right direction.

Day 9 – 1st Scan

So far I have been feeling really good and overall very positive. I have been a little tired here and there but otherwise no real side effects. As great as this is it had me a little nervous going into the first scan. Was I not responding to the meds? Was there nothing happening in there? When you are injecting yourself 3 times every day (I have now added in orgalutran to stop me ovulating) you expect to be feeling a little bit of something!

Scan results showed that yes something is happening and we are heading in the right direction, all be it a little slower than I would like. The scan found 4 follicles on each ovary (8 in total) which is exactly the same as what we had at the same point of the last cycle. I was secretly hoping this new drug would do miracles and suddenly we would have more follicles but that was obviously wishful thinking. 5 of the follicles were a really good size with the other 3 a little smaller but still with plenty of time to catch up.

My lining was measuring 5.5mm which is 0.5mm thicker than the same point last time which is great. We are really hoping to get it past the 7.5mm mark this time around – ideally 8mm! We just want to give our little embryos the best possible chance of implanting!

I have a quieter week ahead of me this week which is great so I can take life at a more leisurely pace. I have taken a few half days off work and plan to do as little as possible. Our next scan is booked for Friday morning and assuming all is going well then Egg Pick Up will be the following Monday. Fingers crossed for smooth sailing this week and I’ll enjoy the lack of side effects as long as possible!

 

Day 4 – So far so good.

4 days into this cycle and things are going ok. First lot of injections last night was ok but not exactly fun. I have to inject 300IU of Gonal F which is fine and 150IU of Pergoveris. The Pergoveris is a new drug for me and was a bit more complicated. It comes as 2 components, a powder and a liquid which need to be mixed before being injected. It was a little bit trickier than the Menopur I’ve had to mix before but I’m sure by the end of the week I will be an expert! The other downside to this drug is that is really stings! I may have sworn a few times in the 10 seconds or so it took me to inject it. I always apply ice for a few minutes before any injections to numb the area a bit so I hate to think how much it would sting without that! Just something I’m going to have to suck up and hope its all worth it later.

Otherwise I am feeling a little tired today which could be due to any reason (I am crazy busy at work this week), but I know I only have one more big day at work to get through this week. I have taken a couple of half days off next week to allow me some time to relax. I am usually very tired by the second week of injections so trying to be sensible and look after myself. I’m also taking what feels like a handful of vitamins every day including pre-natal vitamin, concentrated fish oil, Vitamin E, CoQ10, Iron, Zinc and a few herbal options from my Acupuncturist. I just have to keep reminding myself that the injections only last for such a short period of time and it will all be over before we know it.

 

Enjoying a wine – Day 1, Stim Cycle 4

After a couple of months rest from IVF and a lovely 2 week holiday in the sunshine we are ready to go again. I saw our specialist last Thursday and he has written a new treatment plan with new drugs to try our luck again. 3 weeks ago I had a minor procedure (Hysteroscopy and Endometrial Scratch) which will hopefully help our little embryos implant better next time around. We also had ‘Natural Killer Cells’ testing done which came back clear. It’s nice to know this is not something else we need to add into the mix.

So I got my period this morning which means tomorrow morning I call the clinic to let them know (today is a Sunday) and then it’s all systems go! I’m excited to be trying again and confident that we are doing all we can. I have now come to the realization that it’s not a matter of ‘if’ we will become parents but when. Whether that be our own biological child, a child born using an egg donor or surrogate, or through adoption. While the 1st option is currently our goal I am more than willing to consider the others if our specialists recommend them down the track. We will take each step one at a time. I am now also at peace with the fact that I am only 31 and we have many years to make our dreams come true. While I would prefer that happens sooner rather than later, there is realistically no reason why we can’t do one or two cycles each year for the next 5 years.

So here I am, sitting on the couch in front of the fire enjoying what will probably be my last glass of wine for a month or so – hopefully even longer if things go to plan! Physically I feel the best I have before any of our IVF cycles and I can only assume that’s a good thing. We can only hope my body responds the way we want it to and things progress in the right direction. While I am so hopeful that our turn might finally be just around the corner I know exactly what the heartbreak of failure feels like and I’m terrified to feel it again. I just have to remember I have survived it before, even on the days I felt so alone and hopeless. If I have to, I can survive it again. To quote a fellow IVF patient – “I know good things take time, but this is fucking ridiculous!”

So I will enjoy these last few sips of wine and hope that it’s a while before I can enjoy them again. Fingers crossed, this might be our turn.

Planning the next move.

So I finally managed to have a follow up appointment with my specialist last week and we can now start moving forward again. My husband was unable to make it to the appointment at the last minute due to a massive public transport failure, however I had him on speaker phone so we could both ask questions.

Our specialist explained that he believes that I may have some kind of underlying endocrine condition that has not been discovered which is effecting the way my body produces hormones. Essentially the link between my brain and endocrine organs is not working appropriately causing me to not ovulate, and therefore not get a period, making pregnancy very difficult. He believes our embryos are OK and that the reason why we have now had 2 chemical pregnancies is because my lining is still not ‘optimum’ and the embryos are not able to properly implant.

A new drug has just become available which will hopefully improve my endometrial lining for our next cycle. Between now and then I will also have Hysteroscopy surgery combined with a ‘dilate and currette’ procedure. This will involve putting a camera inside my uterus to remove any fibroids or scar tissue not showing up on ultrasound and also performing an ‘endometrial scratch’ which is designed to help improve implantation. While I’m not excited about the prospect of another surgery (it will be the 4th in 12 months) if it helps to improve our chances for our next cycle then I’m all for it.

The timing actually works out quite well as we have 2 weeks holidays planned in the middle of August. The surgery will be 2 days before we go so it minimizes how much time I have to take off work as well as allows me plenty of time to relax and recover in the sunshine. Assuming all goes well we will plan to do another cycle in September. I am feeling positive again and have pulled myself out of the hole I was in a weeks back. I have thrown myself into painting and decorating our new bedroom and I am so looking forward to our holiday. Hopefully we can both come back refreshed, re-charged and ready to take on cycle number 4.

Coming good.

So it has now been about 2 and a half weeks since the news our cycle had failed. I’ll be honest that it has been a really hard time and I have struggled more this time around than previous failed cycles. I think the longer this whole process goes on the tougher it is mentally and emotionally. You can cope with anything difficult for a short period of time but when the difficult stuff keeps dragging out and there is no end in sight it’s a real battle.

In the last few weeks I have really battled with my emotions. While feeling physically OK and thankful to not be taking buckets of drugs every day I have struggled more mentally than I have before. I had a period of a few days where I felt completely hopeless and like a total failure. I felt like there was nothing I could do right and that my body was letting me down. I felt so angry at the world and all the happy people going about their life complaining about simple little things when I had real issues going on. I was angry that there is no simple solution to our problem and no magic way to make me pregnant. I just wanted to go to bed and wake up when this period of our lives is over.

I was not a nice person to be around and I feel sorry for my poor husband. He has been amazing through the whole process but I resented the fact that he didn’t have to take all the horrible medications, endure the painful procedures and then feel like a failure at the end of it. I resented the fact that his body is working the way it should and yet mine isn’t. I also felt guilty and like I am letting him down. If he was married to anyone else he would already be a Dad and I feel like I’m holding him back.

I’ve learnt that a part of this process is feeling shitty sometimes. As long as the shitty feelings pass and you can be honest with those closest to you about how you are feeling then the days will get better. I am still sad and I am still disappointed. You can’t just make those feelings go away when you have invested so much energy and hope into something and then it doesn’t work. I have sat down and spent many hours talking and crying with both my Mum and my husband and I am feeling much better. I have learnt that you can’t just keep pretending you are OK and you need to let the emotions out. It’s not good to keep it all bottled up inside.

For the next few weeks I am trying to keep myself busy with re-decorating our bedroom at home and I am excited to see it coming together. We then have a 2 week holiday in the sunshine booked in 4 weeks time and I hope by the end of that I will be ready to take on another cycle. We are seeing our specialist next week to discuss the next step so we can be ready when we return from our holiday. So at this point in time I am OK. I’m not great, but I am in a much better place than I was a week ago. I have amazing support around me and I just need to open myself up to it. This blog has been my outlet at times but that’s not always enough. A good hug from your significant other as you cry into their shoulder is sometimes the best medicine. Oh, and chocolate. Chocolate is always a good idea.

A shout out to the loved ones of an infertile woman.

The last week has been hard. Really hard. Hard to stay motivated and positive. Hard to get through each day at work. Hard to pick myself back up again after another failed cycle. But it has also been very hard on those around me. I dare say I have not been easy to live with and I have struggled to keep my emotions in check around those that I care about the most.

I work in a job where I am face to face, one on one with patients all day. I am expected to be happy, helpful and on the ball to help people solve their foot problems. That is hard work having that expectation at the best of times. It becomes a whole lot harder to stay positive and happy when you are feeling terrible and like a failure. When you just want to burst into tears and yell that life is not fair. When you have to listen to people complaining about trivial little things in their life, like having to fly economy to Europe, like its the worst thing that could happen to them. When inside you are screaming ‘FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS PEOPLE!’, try battling IVF!

I have become very good a putting on my ‘happy facade’ at work and ‘soldiering on’. Pretending everything is ok and that life is great. The difficult thing about this is it takes up a huge amount of energy, which is not sustainable all the time. It means when I come home I am likely to crack and the tears start running down my face when I walk in the door. It means I snap at my husband even though he has been amazing and I am short with my parents when they are only trying to help. Yesterday I sat on a friends couch and cried my eyes out at how terrible I feel and the unfairness of our situation when my beautiful friend would so love to just have a supportive husband (she’s single) let alone be ready to have a baby.

So this short post is dedicated to those who are the unwavering support to someone going through infertility and IVF. It’s a rough road for them too. I know I have been a terrible wife, daughter and friend over the last few months and I feel bad that these people deserve the best of me, not the worst of me. I am so lucky to have them in my life and things would be so much harder if it wasn’t for them. So to those supporting someone through this process – you are loved and you are very much appreciated. We may not have the energy or the head space to show it but we still care about you so much. Hopefully when our turn comes to get off the roller coaster you will get your wife, daughter and friend back, plus a little bonus in the form of a child who will love you as unconditionally as their mum does.