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

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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…

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!