There will be sunshine after the storm.

Since I last posted I feel like my world got picked up, tipped upside down and then thrown back down again. I’m slowly putting everything back into place but to be quite frank, life has been hard.

So as suspected last week brought news of another failed cycle. I was never confident given how thin my lining was but there is still that little piece of me that hopes I am wrong and that a second line will show up on a pregnancy test. Not meant to be this time. Literally on the same day I was dealing with this, my husband decided to quit his job. He has been very unhappy at work for quite some time. We had spoken about him looking for something else and potentially looking at a career change but he was going to hang in there a bit longer. Or so I thought.

As I walked back from the bathroom early in the morning – having just seen one line on yet another negative pregnancy test, he told me he was going to quit that day. I didn’t even get a chance to share my results with him. I was freaked out, angry and upset that I couldn’t talk him out of it and he was going to do it that day. I was shocked. Up until that point he had enjoyed a well paid position (even if he didn’t enjoy the work) and that had enabled us to continue on this IVF journey. My first thought was ‘how are we going to keep doing IVF now?’. While my business creates more than enough income for us to survive on, paying for IVF every few months is a whole different story. To add to our situation is the fact that my business is up for sale (has been for some months) as I am no longer enjoying my career and wanted to change too.

My first thoughts were selfish ones. a/ how can we keep doing IVF?  b/how can I change careers and get out of a position I hate if he beat me to it? One of us has to keep working to pay for our mortgage/life? Quite simply, I freaked out. I cried more over the next 24 hours than I have in a long time. I didn’t know how we could make it all work. I resigned myself to the idea that I will just have to take my business off the market and keep going for another year, until he is properly settled in a new role. I was stressed, scared and sad about how or if we would be able to try for a baby in that time but I figured we had no option.

What I failed to see initially in my own selfish, freaked out state, was how broken my husband was. He had avoided telling me how much he was struggling for fear of putting more stress on me. I failed to see that he had no option. His job was breaking him and he needed to get out. So after long discussions, many tears and some yelling we finally saw where each other was coming from. It was without a doubt one of the toughest periods in our 3 years of marriage but once again, we will make it work. He had to give 3 months notice so that’s 3 more months of pay before he is unemployed and 3 more months to find a new job. He has already spoken to a few people in his industry and at worst has 3 days a week work lined up when he finishes. We will get by.

To save my own stress levels and happiness we have also decided to employ someone else to run my business so I can get out and find something else too. I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders knowing I have a way out too. I can only imagine he feels the same. Struggling to conceive has been a huge battle for us both over the last 2 years and has taken it’s toll on us both physically, emotionally and of course financially. We both hate the feeling of not being able to control the course our lives is taking and having no control over my infertility. At least we have been able to take some of that control back in regards to our careers.

I have no doubt things aren’t about to magically get easier but once again we are tackling life as a team and we will make our dreams happen. Even if it takes a little longer.

On that note today starts a new beginning. The start of another ovulation induction cycle and anther chance to bring new life and positivity into our world. I saw Dr Lynn yesterday and she suggested one more round of ovulation induction and if we don’t have any success we can go back to IVF next year. This sounded like a great option to me. Yesterday I started Trental 400 – a drug designed to increase blood flow – which should help thicken my lining. I also began 2x Estraderm patches, to be changed every second day. Starting this evening will be Gonal F 87.5 units + 2 clicks of ovidrel every second day. I have a follow up scan with Dr Lynn next Thursday to see how we are travelling.

In this process I have learned that it’s ok to fall apart. As long as you pick yourself up and try again. While life seems to have endless bumps in the road at the moment, we can only hope each one is bringing us closer to an even better bump. A baby bump. x

 

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Just keep swimming…

So I am now 5 days post ovulation and feeling like this 2 weeks is going to last forever! We eventually managed to ‘do the deed’ last Thursday night so I am confident we have a good egg and some good sperm meeting up – just have to hope my lining was enough to support an embryo. While I’m not feeling super confident I’m not going to totally give up either.

This weekend marks the spring racing carnival in Melbourne – specifically the Melbourne Cup. This is always an event my husband and I enjoy getting involved with and this year shouldn’t be any different. Much of the advice around IVF is ‘don’t let it run your life and don’t stop having fun’. So this weekend I am going to take that advice and enjoy myself! I have decided that I will have 2 Champagnes on each of the 2 days we are going to the races. While you are told to assume you are pregnant during the ‘Two Week Wait’ I think it’s pretty safe to assume that won’t be the case. At best it might help me to relax a bit and at worst (and I am pregnant) then 2 drinks is not going to be the end of the world. I know many people who have been totally drunk in the early weeks of their pregnancies before they found out they were actually pregnant! They have gone on to have beautiful healthy babies.

Obviously as soon as I do get a BFP (Big Fat Positive) then I will abstain from all alcohol but given how long this journey has been going on and how many times I have avoided drinking for no reason, I’m going to enjoy myself this weekend! I have bought a new dress to wear to Derby Day (traditionally Black and White dress code) and I want to feel a million dollars. This last 2 years has been so tough on us both and I think we deserve to let our hair down and have some fun! It will also help to take my mind off the possibility of another negative result in a few weeks.

So for the moment I’m using Dory from ‘Finding Nemo’ for inspiration – just keep swimming, just keep swimming… x

Highs and Lows.

So it has taken me a little while to post this as I was a little bit lost and didn’t know how I felt. On Monday I went for my follicle tracking scan. I had to go to a different office to have the scan done (as Dr Lynn was away at a conference) and frankly the lady was very rude. She didn’t even acknowledge that I was a person and didn’t speak to me until I asked her questions. It was a combination on weird and rude! She scribbled my results on a piece of paper and I took them up stairs to speak to the nurses at Dr Lynn’s rooms.

The results showed that I had 4 follicles growing, the biggest measuring 17mm and 15mm. This was a good sign. However my lining was measuring a measly 3.8mm. I instantly felt deflated and assumed the cycle would be cancelled. They nurse was lovely and told me not to give up hope. She reminded me it is still early days in the cycle and that they could modify the meds a bit to hopefully help thicken the lining and improve my chances of implantation. I headed back to work feeling conflicted. I really wanted to stay positive but at the same time felt like our chances had just been slashed. I never expected our first cycle with Dr Lynn to be the one that results in our baby but I also didn’t expect to feel like we were going backwards.

I had a little cry that night and I think that helped just to relieve some of the emotion rushing around inside me. The plan was now:

Tuesday – Trigger (10000 units of Pregnyl) – BD (baby dance/intercourse)

Wednesday – BD

Thursday – Ovulate – BD

Friday – Start Crinone Gel daily

Sunday – 1500 units of Pregnyl Booster

Tuesday – 1500 units of Pregnyl Booster

Saturday – 1500 units of Pregnyl Booster

Pregnancy test 16 days post ovulation.

Now this all seems pretty simple and straight forward except for the fact my poor husband has come down with a headcold! There is nothing to get you in the mood like a snotty miserable husband! We did have a little giggle on Tuesday night when I made him wear a face mask! Last night was an epic fail as he just felt too sick and we had to abandon so hopefully tonight gives us another chance for his little guys to do their job!

I definitely ovulated this morning as planned – felt a nice sharp pang in my left side almost exactly 48hrs after the trigger so that side of things is definitely working! At least we know we have had some success this month even if nothing else comes together. I have booked again to see Dr Lynn the day after my blood test, (assuming it will be negative) so we can work out what to try next time to increase my lining.

So a tricky start to the week but I am still smiling and just seeing this as another little bump in the road. Hopefully not too much longer until we have better bump news to share! x

Another hurdle crossed.

So today marks 7 of this cycle (ovulation induction) and while I’m feeling a little tired I am otherwise very good! I got MRI results back the other day – no problems, which was a huge relief. While I was reasonably confident it wasn’t going to find anything you can’t help but be scared at the possibility of a tumor. All clear was the best news I could hear.

Yesterday I had the “tubal wash” also know as tubal patency scan. Basically they flush some fluid through your Fallopian tubes to ensure there is no blockages and make sure everything is OK. I was warned that this can be painful and took Neurofen 2 hours before hand on my doctors recommendation. I wasn’t too nervous before hand but you still hold your breath that all is going to be OK. The man who did the scan was a funny little guy who advised me he was the first Ultrasound technician involved in the original IVF cases in Melbourne. He told me all about how they used to have to make incisions in your tummy for egg retrieval because the transvaginal US probe didn’t exist yet! It was fascinating to hear how IVF has changed over his 30 year career and he spoke very highly of Dr Lynn too which made me feel comfortable.

It was all over very quickly and honestly not that uncomfortable. I think he did well to keep talking to me to distract me during the procedure too which was nice. No abnormalities found and he was able to tell me I have 3 little follicles growing between 11 and 14mm which is great. Will see how much difference we have between now and my scan on Monday but he predicted I would be triggering around Wednesday so hopefully he’s right!

Another little hurdle crossed which is good and hopefully things keep travelling smoothly. I must say I quite enjoying the Ovulation Induction compared to IVF. I don’t feel like my whole life has to be put on hold and I’m not stressed about arranging days off work for Egg Pick Up/Transfer etc. Hopefully we get to the really fun stage next week *wink wink* where we can actually try the way most people do! Rather than create embryos in a lab!

Will update again on Monday after the scan but I’m feeling good and happy with the way things are going. x

Let’s get this party started!

Just when I expect things to take a while to get happening, they start happening in a hurry! After seeing Dr Lynn last week I was told to have a blood test and depending on the results would likely need to take some medication for a couple of weeks to get my hormone levels right before we start another cycle. Turns out they were already where they needed to be and I started injections yesterday! Here I was thinking it would take a few more weeks to get to this point. Perfect example of sometimes it all just works when you don’t expect it and then it doesn’t when you do – go figure!

So part of the tests Dr Lynn wanted me to do was an MRI of my brain to rule out a Pituitary Tumor. This sounds scary but is apparently not a big deal in most cases. It could explain why my hormones have been so all over the place. I managed to fit this in yesterday and I am still feeling very proud of myself that I actually managed to go through with it. You see I am claustrophobic and the idea if laying in a small (very noisy) tunnel for about half an hour is enough to get my heart rate up just thinking about it. I have had a history of not feeling good in small spaces and was quietly ‘crapping myself’ about having an MRI. To give you an example – 2 years ago my husband and I were in Paris as part of our honeymoon. One of Paris’ tourist attractions is The Catacombs which are a series of small tunnels running under the city. We stood in line for over 2 and a half hours waiting to get in, paid our money and I lasted about 1 minute below ground before I was running back up the steps to the fresh air. I met my husband 45 minutes later at the other end and we laughed about how the poor people walking down must have felt when I turned and ran back up the stairs the wrong way.

When Dr Lynn handed me the MRI referral I didn’t quite think about what it would involve until later than night when I realized what I would have to do. I have had 2 MRI’s previously but both have been of my knee so my head was able to stay out of the machine. No chance of keeping my head out this time when that was what they needed to look at! So I turned up yesterday heart racing and dreading how it was going to go. Telling myself that I have to do this if I want to have a baby and just taking lots of deep breaths.

They lady who took me in was great and allowed me to go into the machine and see how I would feel before we actually started the scan. It was extra scary when I realized I had to go in all the way to my waist but I decided I had to just have a ‘cup on concrete’ and harden up and do this.  So I braved it and away we went. I discovered once it was all going it was not too bad if I kept my eyes closed. As soon as I opened them I could see how close it was to my face but if I kept my eyes shut I was able to focus on other things. I used some of the breathing techniques I have used at Yoga which was really helpful. Somehow, I got through 25 minutes in the machine and lived to tell the tale!! I know this is probably not a big deal for most people but I’m really proud that I was able to overcome this fear.

Next step is a “tubal wash” on Friday to flush out my Fallopian tubes and make sure there are no blockages. While I think I should be nervous about this as it can be a bit painful, if I survived the MRI I can do this too. Hopefully the MRI results come through in the next day or so as all clear and if not we will deal with that when we have to. No point worrying about something that might not be worth worrying about! So for now it is Gonal-F 75IU each night + Estradot patches, changing every 2 days and just see what happens when I go for a scan next week!

Keep your fingers crossed for me that this next week is smooth sailing! x

A new direction and new hope.

Yesterday we finally saw Fertility Queen Dr Lynn Burmeister. I was nervous yet excited going in. Excited to be seeing the best in the business, yet nervous about what she may say. I had heard she could be quite blunt and to the point and doesn’t sugar coat things. But it was time to hear an honest opinion about our real chances of conceiving.

I have to say I really liked her. She got straight down to business, asking us a million questions and looking over our history of meds and failed cycles. She gave me every bit of hope that we will one day get our child without making false promises. Over the next couple of weeks I have a few different tests to do and then hopefully we will get started on a ovulation induction cycle. We tried this once in the past but it was cancelled mid cycle as I had too many follicles and the specialist was concerned I could get pregnant with too many babies. We now know that even if I have lots of follicles growing, my egg numbers are low so this could be a good (and much cheaper) was to proceed. I like the fact that Dr Lynn is trying to progress in the most natural and non-invasive way possible with the option to revert back to IVF if we have to.

While I’m sure we still have many hurdles to jump yet I feel confident that Dr Lynn will do everything in her power to make our dreams come true. Onwards and upwards from here!

Another bitter sweet day.

Yesterday we had a phone call from my husband’s sister asking if her and her husband could drop by in the afternoon. I instantly knew they had baby news to tell us. I knew they were trying and we knew about her miscarriage about 4 months ago so I knew it would be coming sooner or later. It was wonderful news for them and they are both clearly very excited. We are excited for them and also happy to know we will become an Aunt and Uncle for the first time. I still found it difficult to swallow however that it can just happen so easily for some people. Wonderful for them but makes it so much harder when you have been fighting it for years and still no closer.

They started trying for a baby in March this year and she fell pregnant the second month of trying. Just like that. Unfortunately this pregnancy ended in miscarriage which I have no doubt was very tough. She was 5 weeks along and just got her head around being pregnant before it was gone. We learned yesterday that literally a month later she was pregnant again and is now 11 weeks along. I feel bad for not feeling totally 100% over the moon excited for her but I also can’t help but feel jealous of her fertility and easy ability to fall pregnant. We have been trying for 2 years with all the help in the world and we are still on this never ending roller coaster.

I feel bad for my husband, like I have let him down. I know being the eldest child he was excited to give his parents the first grandchild. To be able to go to them and say “You are going to be grandparents!”. But that opportunity has now passed and it will simply have to be “you are going to have another grandchild!”. One day. When our turn comes. He says he is ok and it’s not a big deal but I know he is simply trying to shield me from him disappointment. While he too is genuinely happy for his sister it was a bitter sweet moment for us both. Another reminder of what we both so desperately want but yet can’t seem to have.

I can only hope our turn is just around the corner. If we only have one child, which is a high likelihood, then it would be so lovely for that child to be close in age to a cousin. We just have to keep our heads down and keep tracking along in this process. 2018 is going to be a big year for our family. We just hope we can share in the excitement too. x

Another Big Fat Negative.

Unfortunately the story continues. Last Monday I did a home pregnancy test and being 11 days post 3 day transfer we should have been getting happy new by then if it was going to happen. Day 12 was another negative and so we knew what to expect when the blood test results came in on Thursday. Obviously I was very disappointed after investing so much into this 4th cycle. I was actually quite confident that it was finally our time so it was crushing to hear that negative result again. 4 stim cycles, 5 embryos transferred, 2 years and still no closer to being parents.

After some thinking we have decided it’s time to get a second opinion. While we have been really happy with our old specialist and feel like he is doing everything he can, but it can’t hurt to have a fresh set of eyes look over our case to see if there is anything else we can do. We have booked in with Lynn Burmeister who is known as ‘the baby whisperer’ here in Melbourne so hoping she may be able to try something different. We are seeing her next week and hoping to throw lots of questions at her. I’m hoping perhaps a different approach will bring us the happy news we so desperately desire.

While I am very disappointed and upset that we still have to continue this journey I feel positive that we are going in a different direction and trying something new. I have heard that Lynn can be quite ‘clinical’ in her approach which some people find a bit confronting but I just want to get her honest opinion so we can make the best informed decisions. There is no point in us continuing this path if she honestly believes we need to consider egg donor or surrogacy. Neither of these options I feel great about but if that is what will make us parents then that is the way we go.

I will post another update after seeing Lynn with our next plan of attack. x

 

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!

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…