Thursday, November 8, 2012

Starting from scratch

I'm back in the fertility specialist's waiting room. It's been two years since my first appointment here and despite how hard it has been, I'm much more at ease with my fertility issues.

Two years ago I wrote my Melbourne Cup blog where I had a mini break down in the specialist's office. Today the receptionist that drove me to tears that day is now on a first name basis and we casually chat about nothings. The baby photo wall, once known to send me into a spin of distress, is now not even background noise. I still hate baby photo walls but at least I don't want to stick pins through the baby eyes anymore.

I'm waiting to find out if there is anything I can do in advance of our next full round of IVF. If we can find out what might be the cause/s of our miscarriages. I know they might not be able to find anything. If they do it might not be treatable. Want to start the next round with as much hope and information as possible - and hopefully have the success we desire.

Hideous baby photo wall

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Crashing down

By the time we went into our appointment with the obstetrician I think my hope was outweighed by my doubts. When the ob asked "how are you going?" I was very quick to reply that we weren't so great. I quickly explained the result of the ultrasound from the week before. The ob said it was probably best we get straight to having a look, rather than spend half an hour talking about pregnancy management, just to find out things aren't looking good. He also told us a story about a woman he'd seen whose first scan didn't look good, with the baby having a heartbeat of 78. He said when she came back he felt nervous about what the scan would show, but that everything was great, the baby had a heartbeat over 160 and had really grown.

A glimmer of hope just as we get on the bed for the scan. 

He starts with an external scan. By this time, 8 and a half weeks, the baby should be clearly visible from an external scan. By how hard the ultrasound thing was pushing on me I could tell it was hard for the ob to see the baby, and from what I could see on screen it didn't look good. He switched to an internal scan where he confirmed that things didn't look good. He said he was sorry, but from what he could see the baby didn't have a heartbeat and the size hadn't changed from our last scan. 

Procedure from this point is to have a high resolution/diagnostic scan. The portable scanners the obs have apparently can miss stuff, so they are reluctant to recommend the curette without the diagnostic scan. Our ob rings the women's diagnostic centre and gets us an appointment in a couple of hours. He asks if the result is as expected if we'd like to have the curette that night if they can get a theatre booking.

We head home for a couple of hours. Given we have the chance of having the operation in the evening I've got to eat something now, and then I'm on nil by mouth, just in case we can secure the evening theatre time. An hour before our appointment I drink the obligatory pre ultrasound water, knowing no matter how full my bladder is they will still need to do the internal scan. 

It's funny that it doesn't really matter that we already know that it is pretty much over, when the sonographer sympathetically tells us she can't find a heartbeat I still can't help but cry. She confirms the baby is still the same size it was a week and a half ago. She looks around to make sure the other embryo isn't tucked away somewhere it shouldn't be, but there is nothing else, just the one that is no longer a viable pregnancy. 

With our results in hand we head back over to the obstetrician's office where he quickly sees us between patients. He asks if we'd like to have the curette that night or tomorrow morning. I opt to have it done that night, so that way only one day revolves around the whole ordeal. 

We head home to pack 'a just in case' overnight bag and by 5pm we are back at the hospital being admitted. By 6.30pm I am wheeled down to pre-op and by 8pm I'm back in my room texting home. They keep me in for a few hours and then we are allowed to go home.

Despite having a body full of sleepy drugs I didn't sleep well. I couldn't get into a deep sleep. I don't cry, just toss and turn. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


Well, I've been on holidays at the beach for the past 12 days. We holiday in a small beach side town each year. It is an incredibly beautiful part of the world. I had decided to take the risk and book in our first viability scan for the day we were leaving for holidays. I thought this showed great faith in that the pregnancy would be okay. If it wasn't okay, I planned to head to the beach anyway and drink myself into oblivion.

The scan was with our fertility specialist - the first viability scan. I've actually never managed to have a viability scan with him due to bad holiday timing over the past year. As it turned out, this time he was going on holidays for the same days as us, so we managed to squeeze the scan in.

I was a little disappointed with the scan. He showed us one baby, with a heart beat, right at the top of the uterus. He was pretty happy about it. He said "I'm not hearing any oohhhs and aaahhhhs". So he tried to hear the heartbeat. I tried explaining, it wasn't that we weren't pleased, it's just that we've seen a lot of tiny babies, that don't even look like babies, with heartbeats. He printed a picture for us.

I have grown to hate ultrasound images. I hate everybody's ultrasound images, not just my own. If a see a friend post their ultrasound image to facebook, I have to delete/hide the post. To me they just look freaky. So Matt took the picture. He thought his family might like to see it, I said "really, why would they want to see that?"

Due to my specialist usually being on holidays, our first scans have generally been with ultrasound clinics. These scans give you sooooooo much information. You get the crown to rump length, the heartbeat rate, the size of the gestational sack, the gestational age. So when the fertility specialist showed us a blob with a heartbeat and said it looked about the right size, I was underwhelmed.

As we were both about to head off on holidays the fertility specialist gave us a referal to get a diagnostic scan done, just in case anything went a miss during the week of holidays.

We packed the ultrasound referal in our gear and headed off on holidays hoping we wouldn't need it, but that wasn't to be the case. The very next day I had a pretty heavy bleed, dark red with little clots in it. I lost it. I was crying and crying. I just hate it. One day everything is 'fine' the next day, it seems like we are about to have another miscarriage.

The worst part is, there is nothing to do about it. You just have to go to sleep, get up the next day and somehow try to enjoy your holiday at the beach. The bleed was on a Saturday so we couldn't even go for the scan until Monday at the earliest.

So we soldier on. Force yourself to get outside and enjoy the beautiful place you are in. Try not to think about it all the time. Try not to let your bad mood spoil it for everyone else who is there.

On Monday we get the diagnostic scan. The baby is still there, but we are told it is only measuring 5 weeks and 6 days and the heartbeat is 96 beats per minute. Basically, the baby is more than a week smaller than it should be. The sonographer also told us that the heartbeat would preferably be over than 100. In closing, he said the pregnancy was viable at this time, but given the result no doubt another ultrasound will be needed in another week or two.

So the baby is small, with a slow heartbeat. The same sonographer gave us similar news last year with our heterotopic pregnancy, and that baby miscarried soon after. We don't leave with smiles on our faces. My husband says on the way to the car "We know how this played out last time, but I guess we just need to give the little trooper a chance."

We had a little more spotting over the next day, but for a week now I've had nothing. I've had not bleeding. I've also had no morning sickness or other symptoms that wouldn't be caused by the progesterone pessaries I have to use morning and night.

Our first appointment with the ob/gyn I chose for this pregnancy is coming up, so I haven't bothered following up with our fertility specialist about getting another scan. I have some hope - hey, maybe it will be fine - I really hope that it is. I also have some doubts.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

All positives

My HCG blood test was positive, with my HCG coming in at 183. My second HCG blood test came back at 382. This is all positive. They are looking for the HCG to double at this early stage, and mine did that.

There is nothing extraordinary about these numbers, that is, they didn't say 'wow that's big, maybe it will be twins'.

Two week wait is officially over, however once you know you are pregnant it is just more weeks of waiting. I am again waiting for the first ultrasound. The ultrasound will confirm if obiwan and obitwo are both still hanging on. Waiting to find out if the pregnancy is viable at this time. Then, if the first ultrasound is good news, it is just more waiting, to find out if the pregnancy will last the next week, 2 weeks and so on.

Thankfully after our last pregnancy loss we sat down with our fertility specialist to discuss what was going on (here's my blog on that). He told us that despite having lost 5 babies in early pregnancy, that we really were just unlucky, versus there being something specific causing the problem. Four of the five pregnancy losses were completely random and could happen to anyone. The fact that they all happened to us is apparently just really bad luck.

Armed with this knowledge, I've created myself a new mantra or two during this pregnancy:

  • Short mantra - there is no reason this pregnancy shouldn't work
  • Long mantra - millions of other people find out they are pregnant and don't worry about losing it and there is no reason this pregnancy won't be like the ones all those other people have.

I wish I didn't need the mantras, but I do. I am occasionally overwhelmed with it all and not even the mantras help. I've downloaded an anxiety information sheet and read it when I'm feeling really anxious to try and help diffuse the feelings.

There is nothing more I can do about it I guess. I just have to wait it out.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Preparing to feed the test obsession

A week or so ago I decided I would prepare for my upcoming series of home pregnancy testing.

I had lunch with my sister, who happens to be studying pharmacy and enjoys any reason to visit a chemist, so I asked her if she wanted to come with me to carefully study the pregnancy tests and make a selection.

It turns out she needed a real education. She was such a novice. I had to show her to read the packets, looking for those with the earliest detection chance, lowest HCG test. Then she kept picking up packets with one test only - what was she thinking? I explained if the test doesn't come in a 2 or 3 pack, I'm not interested.

After much researching I decided on First Response in stream tests. A 3 pack of course.

Because pregnancy just can't be a straightforward thang for me, on the same day I picked up the tests I noticed a little bit of spotting started. Pinkish.

Now, every other pregnancy this early spotting filled my heart with dread, however this time it was so early, only 6 days after transfer, I felt confident if it was anything, it was implantation bleeding. To me implantation is good news, so I surprising tolerated a little spotting with very little anxiety.

When I got home I told my hubby I was sure I was pregnant, but, that I was certain because I had the little bleeding. I was armed with tests and would start testing tomorrow morning. To my surprise he said, 'why don't you do a test now?'

hmmmm.... Now, I've blogged before about my pregnancy testing rules, one of which is only test for first thing in the morning pee, but here is my husband tempting me to break one. So, within in seconds I was in the bathroom peeing on a stick. I left the stick and went to get changed out of my work gear. A few minutes later I returned to check on the test and found the faintest of faint positive results.

I'm excited by the positive result, but let's face it, it is soooooo early, not even 4 weeks. My husband isn't so excited. He almost immediate slips to worry mode.

Last month when we did transfer and got a negative result he said it was a relief it was over, and we didn't have to go through all the waiting and worrying etc. I told him that I was going to be excited and try to pretend like it was the first time and we don't know about everything going wrong. We have to get a positive to get to a 6 week ultrasound, to get to a first trimester, to get to having a baby! The positive result is the first and necessary step to getting the baby, so I'm smiling about it.

We're back on track to mission take off.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The low down and the down low

Damn you fertility treatment and your insidious infiltration of happiness and general well being!

This treatment cycle moved so quickly, I'm already on the 2-week wait roller-coaster and once again, it sucks.

Last week I went in for my first blood test on day 12 of my cycle. When I rang my fertility specialist to be told when I needed to do my next blood test I was surprised that I needed to go back the next day and go in for an ultrasound. I thought it must just suit the specialist to see me on that day for the ultrasound (which is to check that my uterus lining is looking like a nice soft cushion that little embryos would just love to snuggle into) and that he wanted the blood test result to check my hormone levels that corresponded with the ultrasound.

Once again the ultrasound is internal. To try to elevate some of the embarrassment about the whole situation my specialist starts a funny conversation about how his teenage son asked him what sort of deviate he was to decide to become a gynecologist. He assured me it wasn't because he wanted to look at girls private parts (phew).

Throughout the scan the fertility specialists say he thinks I ovulated the day before. What? Really? He needs to check the blood test result to be sure.

Once I'm re-dressed from the waist down I wander across to the doctor's consultation room. He is looking at my blood test results and confirms he thinks I've already ovulated (on day 12 of my cycle!). He confirms he is going to request my embryos are thawed that day and that transfer will be on 3 days time.

Crickey! I'm stunned by the speed of it. I usually get blood tests for a week and half, before we get to ovulation (which usually happens between day 18 and 21 of my cycle!).

I mention to the doctor I've had some spotting for the past few days. His face then looks perplexed. He explains while it can happen around ovulation, it is not ideal. He wants me to start progesterone medication immediately and to let him know if the bleed develops into a full blown period. If that happens, we will potentially have wasted the embryos that are being thawed.

Thankfully once on the progesterone the spotting disappears.

The thaw of 2 embryos for transfer results in 3 embryos being thawed, our last 3 embryos. One embryo didn't survive the thaw but the other kicked on, slowly at first, but by transfer day 1 is a blastocyst, the other still a morula. Both apparently look pretty good. I've nicked names these embryos obi wan and obi two, a tenuous link to Star Wars famous princess Leia plea - help me obi wan kenobi, you're my only hope.

I decided at the last minute to throw acupuncture in the mix again this time. I saw the acupuncturist just before transfer, that day after transfer and again 5 days post transfer.

And so, we wait. It sucks. Some days I think it has worked, other days I think it won't have worked. I really struggle at work at this time. I just don't cope well with the everyday frustrations and difficulties of the office. Everything that is crap about work is so amplified. All week I've been fighting with myself just to get to work. I get there every day and it isn't as bad as I've made it out to be in my mind.

Not long now before the home pregnancy test obsession will be let loose and we will see if obi wan and/or obi two have settled in.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Feeling futile

Before it was medically confirmed, I was pretty certain this transfer cycle hasn't worked. I did 3 home pregnancy tests and all were completely negative.

I blew off the blood test wait and went in a couple of days early to simply get the result confirmed. And it was - negative.

Did you hear the sound of the twist top wine bottle opening?

I've experienced anxiety throughout the wait and while I have definitely been frustated about a the cycle not working, I have already decided to head straight back into another cycle.

Logically I know I just have get ready to try again, but this failure has me asking questions about just how much more of it we can take. I resent the money we've spent on numerous treatments and treating lost pregnancies. Tens of thousands of dollars that is just running through our fingers like water. I also resent that my career is stalling. Spending more, earning the same, going nowhere, with nothing but pain, heartache, scars and sad feelings to show for it.

With failure after failure you have to ask, when do you stop? When do you decide to just simply get on with your life? While I don't know the answer to this question I do know, it is not yet.

Three frozen embryos are still waiting to be used, and I intend to burn through them, before ploughing straight on to make more embryos (presuming we are able to replicate another successful stimulated IVF cycle) unless by some miracle I actually manage to get pregnant, and have a baby.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Not pregnant (yet?)

As always, I cannot resist the urge of the early at home pregnancy test, and this time I'm not getting the result I want.

I tested 6 days after transfer, knowing it was really early, it was negative. I tested again the next day, 7 days after transfer, and still negative. Why test so early? Well, because we transfered 2 embryos, I think if they have both taken, it is likely I will get a positive early.

Last time we did transfer I got a positive at 7 days past my 5 day transfer of two embryos. By the time time we got to ultrasound there was only 1 baby, so I don't know if there were 2 at one point.

I am disappointed to not be getting a positive yet and beginning to think perhaps it hasn't taken this time. Not being one to give up, I'm waiting until 9 days post transfer to test again and if that one isn't positive, I will no doubt test again 11 days post transfer.

I think that what ever the result is on 9 days post transfer should be pretty accurate as 9 days post a 5 day embryo transfer is 14 days post ovulation, and when my period would be due if it weren't for the progesterone medications I'm on.

I've heard my friends still start their period, even when on the progesterone medications post transfer. Perhaps if I'm not pregnant this time, that will happen to me too?

My blood test will be 11 days past embryo transfer, and I guess if I haven't had a positive home pregnancy test by then, it will be settled once and for all with a blood test.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Cycle mania creeps in

Its official. Fertility cycles mess with me. A few things I've noticed about myself in the past day or so that I believe have started as a result of the fertility treatment:
  1. I'm a sook. Not crying sook (yet), but things upset me more easily.
  2. I whinge. Everything sucks, especially anything associated with fertility treatment, for example I have resisted starting the progesterone pessaries because they suck, and now I've started using them I've whinged about it - a lot.
  3. I don't stick to plans. Fertility takes over everything else can wait - that includes riding to work, catch ups with friends
  4. I'm lazy (well lazier). The couch holds an extra special appeal right now. 
  5. I don't manage with the regular stresses of life well. A frustrating incident at work send me into a near panic attack and a less than helpful shop assistant has me demanding to speak to a manager or sending scathing emails to head office.
I've just been reading an online forum on bubhub for all the women going through fertility treatment in July/August. I don't join or post, but reading gives me a great sense of solidarity. Also, I realise while I'm certainly driven a little crazy by treatment, so are a lot of women. One lady posted that she was losing her mind having learned the next door neighbour's cat who managed to get out just one night was now pregnant. She was pissed off that the cat gets knocked up first go. 

So crazy has kicked in, but I don't think so crazy that a pregnant cat would upset me, but I'm not sure as it hasn't come up. It just might. If you have any pregnant pets, might be best not to mention it to me.

Hope still reins supreme. 

Not long to wait before we know if it has worked this time.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Post transfer anxiety

Today I've gone into full swing post transfer anxiety.

This morning I was still really chuffed about how awesome transfer went. I think I have mentally convinced myself I'm pregnant. That could be good or bad. But the problem is stuff is making me really anxious.

Stuff like annoying work stuff, annoying people, people wanting me to have a wine with them, people asking why I'm not going to running training, the guy who asked if I rode to work yesterday.

I just decided the riding and running training wasn't worth the risk. I've reverted to strolling over from the South bank train station will have to do.

But how many ways can I wiggle out of a wine.

Ughhhhh. Some days you just need chocolate. It makes ever so many things a little bit better.

Chocolate to die for - one of my favourite local shops.

Blogged on the run courtesy of blogger app.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

New cycle in full swing

Last week I started the official part of this cycle, blood tests. I was tested on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and then finally this Monday when I got the result I was looking for, I would ovulate on Tuesday. Yay! Last week I also had an ultrasound to check my uterus lining was the right thickness, and all was good in that in department.

And with that, our frozen embryo transfer has been scheduled for Saturday!

So, yesterday our embryos were going to be thawed. We've made the decision to have two transferred if we have two survive the thaw.

I've been feeling really positive and excited about the transfer, but this time is when I start to get a little tense. Now I have to see how our embryos are going. I literally just rang the lab to get an update on my embryos. Both embryos survived the thaw fully intact, however only one has started to grow. We have a 9 cell and a 6 cell, both grade 3 embryos. This is not the result I really want. I want to ring and hear - your embryos are awesome, they are growing like wild fire, they are babies in the making. Instead, I got, we are going to ring your doctor to see if we should thaw another embryo to be sure you have two to transfer.

Oh well, there is nothing to be done for it. We can only work with what we've got, and I can only hope that by Saturday there are still embryos to work with.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Playing it cool

My first embryo transfer for 2012 is going to be upon me before I know it. I have been surprised by how excited I am about it. I literally feel giddy with the excitement. By my calculations, I expect that within approximately 3 weeks the time will be right for transfer.

I race ahead quickly in my mind... I see photos of pregnant ladies and I think about how I might look with a big pregnant belly. I look up ball park due dates. I contemplate the chances of having double trouble and how hard that might be. I wonder if I'll still be able to ride my bike to work.

Amongst all of these excited thoughts the scary then creeps in. There is every likelihood this transfer will end like all of my other pregnancies. The transfer might not work at all. Even worse - perhaps everything works and we make it past the first trimester, only to have something go wrong later.

I feel happy one moment and then anxious the next.

I tell myself - be cool about it. Go with the flow. It is all out of your hands. If it is meant to be it will be. The self talk helps for a little while and the whole cycle of thinking starts again. It seems that rational does not help when you've had several tastes of horrible.

But right now I'm excited! I wonder what I'll look like with a be pregnant belly? I wonder if I'll feel sick? I wonder if I'll enjoy being pregnant

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A wee bit over waiting to get knocked up

We had planned to have another round of embryo transfers this month. I'd started to get pretty excited about it and happy with the anticipation and hope of maybe getting pregnant and having a baby. Having taken a break for soooooo long, it occurred to me that when I rang the fertility specialist's office to book in for the cycle that I should ask if he had holidays planned. Of course, he does, right when I would due to have the embryo transfer.

Bugger! It's definitely at times like these I miss my fallopian tubes and the old fashion way of baby-making.

There is nothing to be done for it, we just have to wait another month. The first chance we have to try again I will probably be 37. That's right, another year will tick over.

I'm trying not to get to hung up on the age thing. I'm trying having a balanced view of all the impacting factors. So the good news is I've been doing really well on the weight loss front. I have lost the 10kgs I set as my birthday target. I have another few weeks before transfer (and my birthday) I am thinking I could loose another 2-4kgs, which surely can only help.

The best part of the weight loss is that I'm generally feeling a lot fitter and healthier. Thinking back to last year I felt so exhausted and run down. This year I've had a lot more energy. I don't want to jinx it, but I haven't even had so much as a sniffle this winter!

Heading into my next transfer I'll be:

  1. 1 year older
  2. 10 kilos lighter (at least)
  3. A tiny bit less crazy/obsessed 
  4. A shit tip fitter.

In the balance of things, I feel like it will be in the favour of fertility.

Monday, June 4, 2012

A side thought - how about life without children?

We are definitely still heading down the path of assisted fertility treatment for now, however since February I've started to wonder, would it be okay to not have kids.

The past few months I have been happiest I've been in a long time. It planted a seed in my thoughts. I've lived a basically happy life for nearly 37 years without children, surely I could be happy for another 37 years without children.

There are few examples in my life of women who have not have children. There is my aunty, who like me lost both her fallopian tubes to ectopic pregnancies. From my perspective she seems to have a pretty happy life. None-the-less she has for a long time, let's say since I was about 28, been encouraging me to have children. I was warned about my potential pending infertility doom if I didn't get on have kids. I often enquired how I was supposed to perform this feat, when either single or in unstable relationships? Over the years she has made a comment here and there along the lines of 'you don't want to get my age and not have children'. I know she was making these suggestions/comments out of kindness, but it doesn't paint a rosy picture of life without children.

Really, despite all the changes and 'equality' available for women these days, in my experience most women have had children and most are the primary care takers.

In the past few years I have befriended one of the older ladies at works. She is around my Mum's age, and over the past few months I've found out more and more about her. She was married, but divorced many years ago now. She and her husband decided they didn't want to have children. Eventually, to get the incessant horde who love to ask 'when are you going to start a family?' off her back, she and her former husband told people they couldn't have kids.

Recently I confessed to her that, although I was still trying through IVF to have children that I had been contemplating a life without them, and that it no longer terrified me. Her response was made me tear up. She said she was pleased I felt that way, that without children she had had a full and happy life and if that was how it had to be for us that she was certain I would too.

She is the only person who has spoken to me about having a life without children and painted a rosy picture.

Friday, May 18, 2012

The next plan - woman meets bike

With the triathlon ending, I decided I needed to put in place a new plan to help me stay on track with losing some weight in preparation for our next IVF attempt.

Actually that is altogether a bit too simple. Just before easter I started to go nutty - again - about how on earth I could possibly stay on track with trying to lose weight again. I know a lot of people have no trouble managing their weight and I'm a little embarrassed, even ashamed, that I just haven't ever been able to get a handle on it. I know it's not rocket science, eating chocolate and cakes + sitting on couch = weight gain. I understand the cause of the problem.

When I felt the dig at myself about my complete failure to get this part of life under some level of control get too strong, almost destructive, I decided it was time to talk it over with a psychologist. I simply wanted to talk about the problems I've had getting some long term thinking happening when infertility treatments drag you into week-to-week and month-to-month thinking. I want to achieve longer term thinking to help me stay focussed on the weight loss goals while doing infertility treatment.

The session with the psych was not what I expected and excellent. Firsty, apparently I'm not completely nutty and have managed to really set some good long term goals. Apparently infertility treatment is typified with the need for short term thinking and the fact that has happened is not surprising. I just need to acknowledge that is going to happen and accept that is a part of the process. Fair enough. In closing she suggested if I really want to do something about my weight I should see a specialist. Not just anyone, but someone who specialised in pregnancy weight management, perhaps someone recommended by Queensland Fertility Group (QFG).

QFG offer counselling support, but don't really have anything on the nutrition front. I hit the net, googling Brisbane dietician Pregnancy and found a few forums discussing the issue, in particular Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) boards. A name popped a few times, Desi. I tracked down and had my first appointment with Desi two weeks before the triathlon.

The best thing about seeing Desi is that she has told me that when I get pregnant I can still lose weight. She is often referred patients with PCOS to help them manage their weight during pregnancy. She said the goal would be to have my starting pregnancy weight and ending pregnancy weight be the same, which would mean I would effectively loose about 10 kilograms during the pregnancy. And once I have the baby, straight back into getting off whatever weight I have left to lose. This was like music to my ears. At last, long term weight loss thinking that included getting pregnant and having a baby. Every obstetrician I've seen has said weight gain is the goal. I even asked one (the first time I was pregnant) if I really should be aiming to gain 11-13 kilos given I had such a high starting weight - her response was, well perhaps just 8 kilos would be better.

With Desi's eating plan I've been doing really well on the weight loss front. I still find it hard to resist temptation that seems to present itself so often. I'm trying to find the right balance between saint like and sustainable when it comes to eating. It would a lot easier if I never had to leave the house, but that isn't really possible...

I've also been seeing an exercise physiologist in the same practice. I knew that keeping up my motivation to train after the triathlon ended would be difficult. My last appointment at the exercise physiologist we were talking about the result of the triathlon and he said a strange thing to me. He said given the results I'm getting I seem to have a reasonable base level of fitness, so it is surprising that I have managed to get to the size I am. Hmmmm, I'm pretty sure there is a compliment and an insult in that statement. I tried explaining to him that my natural preference was couch but that over the past few years I would do bouts of PT sessions or gym memberships, until the couch won me back again. I don't think this gave him much confidence.

The exercise physiologist got me to set a new training goal. I kept it pretty basic, 5 kilometre Bridge to Brisbane run in September, but I'm thinking of revisiting that. This week I've decided to give riding to work a go. You see, the best I've ever done at losing and keeping weight off (for longer - I still gained it all back eventually) was when I used to walk to and from work most days. The walk took me 35-40 minutes. I got to thinking, if I could get that amount of exercise built into my day again I would probably have a much better chance at success.

I did a full test run of the ride last weekend to make sure I'd be able to manage it and learned on the bike it is just under 14 kilometres from home to the office, it takes me around 55 minutes and it is pretty hard work in a number of places (requiring me to get off bike and push!). I've ridden to work Monday, Wednesday and Friday this week. It is still taking me 55 minutes, but I think it is getting easier. My new goal is to be to riding to work 5 days a week by July, and come spring (let's say October), I want to be riding to and from work most days (weather permitting - I need to see if this plan will be impacted by our hot hot hot summers).

I think my bike might be too small for me, which wasn't a problem when being ridden once or twice a week however now with regular, commute riding in mind I might need to trade it in (jeez, I just bought the damn thing!).

And by the way, my butt is killing me! It is going to have to toughen up if I'm going to be riding to and from work every day!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Triathlon triumph!

It's been along time since I've done something that wasn't work that I have been really proud of. Entering the enticer length triathlon definitely was well outside my comfort zone and having completed it I have felt exceptionally pleased with myself.

On the day I was the first in our team of 3 to do the course. I completed the 400 metre swim in 10:16 minutes, the 10 kilometre ride in 35:27 minutes and 4 kilometre run in 32:29 minutes. My following 2 team members were both faster than me, but it didn't matter. I'd done it.

Looking hot in my make shift triathlon outfit.

Today I looked at the scores. Our team came in 951st place out of 966 teams. But what surprised me was the 22 teams that didn't finish and the 79 teams - of 3 people each - that didn't even start. I am now even more pleased with myself knowing that so many people set themselves the goal/challenge of running the triathlon and many do not finish and more don't even get started on the day.

Signing up for the triathlon did for me what I needed it to. It got me motivated to get up and exercise. It gave me a challenge that made me push myself into excercise I'd never committed to before (running!). And it helped me get started on losing some of the weight I want to lose.

I'm currently down about 7 kilograms from when I started triathlon training and well on the way to being my lowest weight in the many years of the baby making mission. I feel great about that but also, for the first time since it happened, I've been a little bummed that I don't have any fallopian tubes. No chance at getting knocked up without medical assistance. However, I reminded myself that no chance at natural conception has also meant that I've completely stopped worrying about trying to get pregnant ALL OF THE TIME, making me much more mentally stable generally.

I was initially planning to have a another crack at embryo transfers this month, but we are putting it off for at least another month, giving me some more time to knock of a few more kilos and top up the bank account.

I'm planning to keep up the training with a view to running the Bridge to Brisbane 5 kilometre run in September. I still dislike running - but I've been assured by my uber fit work colleagues that it will get easier. I hope so.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I do have good days

It has occurred to me over the past few weeks that people who primarily read my blog to follow what's happening in our fertility journey get a fairly uneven perspective on how I'm coping. My objective in writing the blog was about offering a factual record of the fertility process, for readers looking for details about what happens during assisted reproductive procedures, and to record how that made me feel. This is how I think when I'm writing the blog. As a result, I don't have a great day and think 'today was great - I should write a blog about it', but I do have lots of good days.

Right now I'm doing really well. I'm loving having a break from all things fertility. I'm surprised by how much better I feel having a little break. From time to time I wonder if I'm ever going to want to get back into it. But surely that is rational. So far my experience of fertility treatment is fairly traumatic, both physically and emotionally.

So let me tell you about my weekend - that I thoroughly enjoyed - and on several occasions I thought well I wouldn't be able to do this if we had kids. After Friday night at the footy I stayed up until midnight reading a book, therefore Saturday started with a sleep in! When I finally got up and I had a leisurely breakfast, I then promptly went back to bed to read more book! In the afternoon I broke it up a bit by watching a couple of episodes of a tv series with Matty, before heading back to bed to finish off the book. Saturday night was birthday party time for my sister and her flat mate. Instead of being restrained and going home early I a had a few (too many) drinks and eventually crawled under the covers at 2.45am. Sunday was steady, but I had a lovely catch up with a friend where I didn't look at the clock once, because I didn't have a schedule I needed to stick to whatsoever!

I do have good days even weeks, I just don't write about it much.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Coping strategies: Prepare me for another roll of the dice

Yep, that's right, I signed up to do a mini triathlon.

Regular readers, and those that know me, will know I do not have the body of a triathlete. Far from it. So why am I doing this triathlon?

In February we had our catch up with the fertility specialist to go over the latest pregnancy loss and talk about our next steps. It was another tough appointment. Once again the specialist wanted to revisit all the pregnancies and subsequent losses.

The surprising news to us is that the specialist believes we have an excellent prognosis, with really shit luck. Basically, four out of the five of our pregnancy losses have been completely random events, that can happen to anyone. To have them happen to us, four times, is unlucky (and in the case of the heterotopic pregnancy rare and unlucky). These were the ectopic pregnancies and the 2 trisomy miscarriages. Our most recent miscarriage is the only loss that wasn't completely random or unrelated to anything specifically to do with us. They don't know what caused it, but it was definitely something to do with us - our genetics.

The specialist also explains that our cohort of embryos is the best he's seen in years. They were all such high quality and we were lucky enough to make so many in our full IVF round (a luxury I particularly appreciate knowing how hard many of my other infertile friends find it to get quality embryos).

So I'm sitting there crying wondering if I can go on with it, while I have five 4 cell, grade 4 (on a scale of 0-5 with 5 being the best) embryos on ice. Meanwhile my specialist is saying I'm almost a best case scenario and would be mad not to go on.

Well, it still doesn't feel that way. It feels like the impossible.

It hurt a little bit, but Matt asked about my weight and whether it is worth taking a break and losing more of it. It hurts because it is not like I haven't wondered myself if it really is just my weight that is stopping us from succeeding in this venture and to know that it is clearly playing on Matt's mind. It hurts because of the stupid Biggest Loser story line about single Brenda whose partner left her because they failed to have children. It hurts because we started to trying to have a child over three years ago and I know if I'd just had any ability to think long term in those three years I could have lost a lot more weight - my sister is tribute to that.

In the same amount of time I've been trying to have a baby my sister has lost an extraordinary 55kg and is still committed to getting the last 8kgs off. I on the other hand have lost 7kgs, gained 8kgs, lost 7kgs, gained 2kgs, lost 5kgs, gained 6kgs, lost 7kgs and so on... I can pick the pattern to it - leading up transfers I lose weight, following pregnancy loss I gain it. My emotions are playing a strong role, as they always have, in my weight management.

My specialist is a tubby fellow and appreciates that for those of us that carry the extra kilos how hard it is to shake. He confessed that he'd given up chocolate in 2012. He also again tells us that any weight off will help, not just in getting pregnant, but in general pregnancy health and baby health. Small numbers help, even just a couple of kilos. He is very clear that given my age it is not worth taking a long break to lose a large amount of weight as the advantage of the weight loss will be undone by the disadvantage of being too old. Ughhhh. He says I can get back into transfers after I have my next period, but to take a break if I need it, but not for too long. He also, for the first time, recommends I see one of the Queensland Fertility Group psychologists  given the difficulty I'm having deciding, but also because I am going be extremely anxious when I do get pregnant. This I am of course already incredibly aware of.

It is hard because it feels like my weight is the only factor the specialists can suggest could make a difference to our achieving a healthy pregnancy.

I need to stop thinking month to month, cycle to cycle and start thinking in longer units of time. I decide I need to start planning for things that are months off and stop just thinking about getting ready for the next transfer. I decide I should set a weight loss goal for the short term (4 kgs before a family wedding) and the longer term (10 kgs before my birthday in July).

With my new resolve I set my alarm to get up the next morning and go for a walk. When the alarm goes off I quickly switch it off, ignore it and roll over. A classic problem for me. Motivated the night before, zero motivation when I have to implement the plan.

I mention my lack of motivation to a work colleague who has gone triathlon mad and she suggests I sign up for the BRW corporate triathlon. It is a short triathlon, with only a 400 metre swim, 10km bike ride and 4km run. Despite having almost no running ability I decide I should do it.

As it turns out being signed up and committed to the triathlon is just the motivation I needed and I actually jump out of bed when the alarm goes off. I've been training for about 4 weeks and there are 4 more weeks to race day. I'm not going to win the race, but I certainly am improving my fitness and dropping a few kilograms to boot. I'm actually enjoying doing a the mix of training. We bought new bikes and Matt and I have been enjoying regular bike rides. We both hate running, and since Matt doesn't have a weight problem nor need to run a triathlon in a few weeks he has now given up getting up for running training sessions. I've been fitting in 1 swim a week.

The triathlon has given me a different goal to focus on. My health and fitness and running the best time I can in the event. The baby making mission is still the motivator behind it, but I'm going to wait until after the triathlon to do our next embryo transfer.

I'm also letting myself let me hair down a little over easter. I'm going to enjoy a few drinks and chocolate and then from next week I'm getting back on the wagon to make the most out of my last few weeks of training.

In May we plan to roll the dice again, and give baby making a chance.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The baby making mission break

I know, I've been skiving on the blog. I've been thinking about writing an update for ages and yesterday I read an article in the Australian Magazine that motivated me to get back to it. It was an heartbreaking story about a woman whose 3rd child was stillborn. This woman was a writer herself and had at other hard times in her life turned to books to help her, however after her terrible loss, no book was hitting the mark. In the end she went online, where she found the community of bloggers and in the rawness of their stories she found connections to real people, like herself and finally began to recover.

Her story reminded me why I started writing the blog in the first place. I'd looked for useful information online, but nothing was helping me. I wanted facts and emotion, not just medical information. Once I started writing the blog, I found other blogs, other very sad stories and stories of triumph against the odds. I have cried and laughed reading of the hardships of others and got new perspectives on my own troubles.

My blog has helped me recover from our many pregnancy losses and perhaps in some small way it is helping others, who have their own hard story and find comfort and community in reading what treatments I am doing and how I'm coping emotionally.

Currently I'm the best I've been in years. I've now returned to work full-time and am again enjoying the challenge of my role.  On the fertility front I'm taking a break. I'm looking down the barrel of my 37th birthday and trying not to let it rule me in decisions about trying to have a baby. Emotionally I've been through the wringer. In case you lost count, from February 2011 to February 2012 we lost 1 gallbladder, 2 fallopian tubes, 3 pregnancies and 4 babies. It is a lot to process.

I'm sitting comfortably with the decision to have a break. I think it will be at least 1 more full cycle before we sign up for another FET cycle. Right now I'm thinking a lot more about trying to survive my first mini-triathlon...

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Getting on with it - again

For the last couple of weeks I've just been getting on with it. Back to work. Hanging out at home on the weekend. Planning our annual beach holiday. Even with the terrible sadness of this miscarriage, in just a couple of weeks it feels like another blip and everything is again about next time.

I was so quickly getting back to normal that I almost forgot to follow up the results of the miscarriage to see  if they could identify the cause. I did eventually remember and was a little surprised to hear that this time it wasn't trisomy. My fertility specialist explained it was probably still a genetic defect, but that looking for chromosome problems is like walking down the street and looking at houses to see which one isn't quite right, where as a genetic defect is like trying to find a faulty toaster in one of the houses, only you don't know what house has it, or what appliance is faulty. Basically, it is really hard to know where to look to find the problem, unless you know what you are looking for.

I decided I don't care. There is nothing I can do about it. Apparently some people find this result terrible unsatisfying. I however find the whole failing to successfully have a baby is a lot more dissatisfying, and can't see the point in dwelling on a faulty toaster.

I've made an appointment for Matt and I to go and see the specialist together toward the end of the month to discuss our best options at this point. We still have 5 frozen embryos, so I suspect it will simply be a case of transferring those, until:
a - we actually have a baby (which in my mind feels so strangely unachievable for a couple that appear exceptionally capable of getting pregnant) or
b - run out of embryos and need to decide if we will make more embryos.

Maybe I'll try and lose some more weight... Don't know that this will make any difference given that getting pregnant doesn't appear to be our problem. [On a side note - that damn biggest loser story line with Brenda trying to get pregnant for 8 years and her partner leaving her to start a family with someone else has been absolutely horrifying to me - so much so I can't watch the show - perhaps for another a post]

Next time perhaps we will be lucky. Next time maybe the embryo/s will be perfect and will develop as they should. Next time, next time....

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Hospital days

Hospital days are never fun. They generally start with no food or drink, which for me is never a preferred way to start the day.

On Friday morning I thought a lot about the first time we were going in for a curette. I felt a lot like I did the first time, the suddenness and unexpected nature of the diagnosis were just like the first time. It was August 2009 - I remembered as I was being wheeled into theatre the anaesthetist was with me. Big tears were welling up in my eyes and began sliding down my cheeks. He looked at me and asked something along of the lines of "what's wrong? are you scared?" I told him I was sad. The anaesthetist had nothing to say to that. I also remembered when I woke up the first thing I did was start to cry. At least the nurses in recovery were a little more aware of why I might be crying.

Today I didn't want to cry so much. I'm not sure if that is healthy goal, however I knew that not being able to control my emotions in the setting of QFG day theatre was going to be very uncomfortable for a lot people, including myself. At QFG you wait for the short while before your surgery in a joint waiting room. I've waited in there before egg pick up, before 3 embryo transfers and now 2 curettes. It is a mixed bag of people, some are there for wrist surgery. A crying person would really stress everyone out.

On admission to the day theatre the nurse has to ask me all the questions again about how many times have I been pregnant - how many children - any live births - etc. Attempts to not cry fail at the first step. You see, I've already had to write all this down on the admission forms in the morning. I had to go through it with the new obstetrician yesterday. It's a horrible story and it is our life. I cover my face. Matt starts to give the answers. I pull it together and proceed with the blood pressure and pulse tests. The nurse says I'll benefit from having a good sleep, I deserve a good sleep. It takes me a while to realise she means, assisted by anaesthetic sleep.

Matt and I part ways - I'm going up to the open waiting room, he is going home to wait for the call to come and pick me up. Deep breathes. I must calm down. I am calming down. There is nothing to be done for it, it is over, I must deal with this. I can cope with this. This isn't the end of the world. Life goes on. Matt and I will go on. We will have more chances. I don't know what to do, but uncertainty is just a part of it for us. There will be other opportunities. Deep breathes. Be calm.

Before the surgery I am calm. I meet the anaesthetist, the doctor is there, I'm walking into the operating theatre. As per usual my veins are impossible to find. A jab here, a jab there, another jab and another, and finally I feel the anaesthetic taking hold. I'm breathing in the oxygen. I'm out.

I wake up in recovery. I don't feel too bad. I'm a little sore, but nothing unmanageable. It takes me about an hour from the time I realise I'm awake to being functional. They ring Matt to come in to get me. I get up and get dressed and happily chomp down my hospital sandwiches and ginger ale.

Warning - at this point I hit some fairly gross stuff - so tune out if you don't enjoy the gross bits.

When Matt gets there I've already been through the discharge process so we can head off straight away. I'm pretty slow on my feet as we make our way to the car. On the way home we decide to stop and rent some DVDs. We are in the video store for about 2 minutes when I realise I'm feeling wet around my crotch. I touch my pants and my fingers are covered in blood. I call out for Matt, I show him the fingers. He says holy crap. I've got to get out of here. Matt unlocks the car - I shuffle out and find a grocery bag to sit on in the car. Matt has quickly rented the videos we had in our hands. I tell him I'm not sure what has caused the overflow. I'm wearing a hospital issue surf board size pad. I wonder if it has had an absorbency problem.

In a flash we are home and I am shuffling inside with my grocery bag. I throw the bag in the bin and shuffle to the bathroom. I want to jump into the shower without leaking on the floor. In the end I have no choice but to get with my pants on. When I take them off a massive blood clot hits the shower floor. It is clogging the shower. The hospital issue surf board size pad had no chance of dealing with this! I'm try to pick it up. It is massive. It is the size of my hand and 1cm thick in parts. More, smaller clots are coming out. This is really disgusting and again, I need Matt's help. I ask Matt to bring me a zip lock bag for the clots - they are so big I'm wondering if they are the placenta. I ask Matt to pop them in the fridge until I can speak to the doctor. Poor Matt. This is so gross and he is fully taking it in his stride. When I ask him to put the clots in the fridge his face is a little grossed out. So I suggest they go in a non see-through bag.

It didn't take long and the heavy flow issue passed. I rang the obstetrician and she asked me to lie back down again for a half hour or so and then get up again and see if the issue repeats itself. It seems she expected these types of clots would have passed before I left the hospital, or have come out during the curette.

Matt pops back out to finish the things we were going to do on the way home and I rest up. The doctor rings me back and I tell her the bleeding has settled and there hasn't been any repeat of massive clots. When Matt gets home he takes my clothes and puts them in the wash.

All gross bits finished.

I feel a bit better after the curette. I'm still sad, but it seems manageable. Having a physical issue to deal with takes my mind off the mental side of it all. It is over.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Mission failure

Today I am recovering from a curette. This is the third time I've had this procedure, which is necessary after a partial miscarriage. I'm certainly a lot more philosophical about it today than I was on Wednesday, the day before the curette. 

Wednesday morning started like any other. I happily rolled out of bed preparing for work. After going to the loo I noticed a very small streak of pinkish, redish blood on the toilet paper. I immediately grab more paper and wiped again - nothing. I repeat this again, still nothing. 

I've had bleeding in every pregnancy. Every time doctors have told me bleeding happens in loads of pregnancies and that it is fine. This is smallest amount of bleeding, it is so tiny, I actually consider if I should even bother with telling Matt. I know the effect telling him will have.  

I have a shower and think about all the possibilities, I wonder if it is because I stopped the progesterone support on Monday, perhaps I need to start taking it again. I decide I will ring my fertility specialist's office, even though I know my doctor is on leave still. I'm hoping they will have someone on back up who can make a call on what I should do. I tell Matt about the spotting and tell him I'll ring the doctor and see if I can get a blood test or even better another ultrasound. As I'm leaving for work I tell Matt I'll call him once I've spoken to a doctor.

On the train to work I keep thinking about it. I was going to wait until I got to work to make some calls in private, but I just can't get it out of my mind. I decide to make some discreet calls on the train. My first call was to my fertility specialist and again, with my doctor on holidays it is hopeless. The receptionist suggests I ring my obstetrician. I ring the obstetrician, her receptionist initially recommends I speak with my fertility specialist - once she knows he is on leave she suggests I make an appointment with my GP to get a referral for an ultrasound. I ring my GP, she is on holidays too, however now she is in a GP super clinic so I make an appointment with another GP for 4.30pm. 

I ring Matt and tell him I'm going to make a sneaky appointment, before I have the ultrasound referral, so once I've seen the GP we can go straight to the ultrasound. 

My fertility specialist's receptionist rings me back, she has spoken to another specialist who said the bleed might be a reaction to going off the progesterone and that I can start taking them again. Personally I didn't really find this helpful. Then my obstetrician's office rings me back, the obstetrician has given me a referral for an ultrasound and has already made me a 1pm appointment with the Women's Diagnostic centre at the Mater. The receptionist is even going to take the referral up to Women's diagnostic for me, so I just go straight there. Awesome, this is super helpful.

I'm really impressed and relieved. This obstetrician is supposed to be the best. She is really hard to get in to see. I figure now that she has organised the ultrasound that she'll be on hand to review the results of the scan and will take me on, two weeks before my initial appointment, if I need any medical intervention at this point.

At 12.30 Matt comes to pick me up from work and we head to the Mater. I was genuinely thinking this is just another crazy pregnant lady scan. I'm 99% sure everything is fine. Maybe even more than that. Our last scan was only 11 days ago and it was perfect, bleeding in early pregnancy is normal - I've been told that soooooo many times.

As per usual for these scans I'm busting to pee. You need to drink 600ml of water the hour before the scan as it is easier to see the uterus with a full bladder - or something like that. The sonographer gets the scan underway with squirt of cool gel onto my tummy. This room has a screen at the end of the bed, so it is really easy for Matt and I both to see the scan. 

I can see where the baby is, the sonographer zooms in. It is different to my last two scans. I can see the baby, it looks still, completely still, no flicker, nothing. The sonographer pokes around a little bit more and then says, I don't think I can see the heartbeat. She asks when the last scan was and suggests it is best to do an internal scan to get a closer look. She sends me off to pee before the internal scan and in the toilet I start crying. I can't believe it. This was supposed to a reassuring scan, not a confirmation of the worst scan. I try to pull myself together and head back into the room. When Matt sees me he looks a little shocked, I must look bad, or maybe he still had some hope, I'm not sure.

The internal scan is no better. Definitely can't see the heartbeat. Baby measures 8 weeks, which marginally smaller than the last scan. The sonographer wants to bring the doctor in to be extra sure. The doctor is also certain. They both say they are sorry. When they leave room for me to redress I lose it. I just can't believe it. I'm growling a series of questions out loud. Why is it always that the baby stops developing almost immediately after our last scan? Why do we have almost 2 more weeks thinking everything is great? Why do we get further along than before, with an absolutely perfect, no signs of trouble pregnancy only to once again lose the baby? How many times can this happen to us? How much of this can we take? I finally say I don't even know what to do anymore.

Matt is more the quiet thoughtful type, so he says nothing. We are both gutted. 

To their credit the Women's Diagnostic unit is all kinds of awesome, unlike the ridiculous situation that occurred last time we had the same result in the Mt Gravatt Qld Xray. This time they bring all the paperwork to me in our room, so we don't have to go back out to the front counter and pay in a distressed state at reception. They recommend we head straight down to our obstetrician's office, that they will ring in advance and let them know the outcome.

When we get downstairs the obstetrician has already left for the day and the receptionist will have to reach her to find out what to do now. She doesn't think they will be able to fit me in as the obstetrician is fully booked and besides doesn't have any of my complex medical history. Again she suggests I ring my fertility specialist and find out who he has on call for him. I already know the answer is no one, that is the answer every time. She suggests Matt and I hang around the medical precinct for a while so she can try to sort something out with our fertility specialist. 

Matt and I head down to West End and have some lunch. I can't believe the obstetrician can't help me. I thought that she would, given that she'd arranged the ultrasound. I know I need a curette, I know this is a really common obstetrics procedure, but my obstetrician won't take me, my fertility specialist is holidays until Monday and I'm stuck ringing around like a beggar trying to get someone else to take me. I ask my fertility specialist if the doctor who did my last curette, because my specialist was on leave, can take me? I tell the obstetrician's receptionist that another doctor in their group did my first curette, can she take me? The receptionists start ringing around for me. 

The first offer from the fertility specialist is a Friday appointment at 4.30pm. I know I won't be able to get the curette on the same day, so it will probably be Monday before I am having the procedure. I accept it as it is the best that can be done. Great we have days of carrying around the dead baby, with the chance that it could start to fully miscarry (which is apparently very painful and has the risk of me hemorrhaging and losing lots of blood). 

Matt and I decide to head home as there is little chance we will be seeing anyone today. We are almost home when the obstetrician's receptionist rings me back having made an appointment for me with the newest obstetrician in their group. She can see me right now. We have to get over to Spring Hill. We head back to town and meet another doctor. I think she's a good fit for me because she is a part of the Queensland Fertility Group (where I get my fertility treatment) and rivercity obstetrics (where I've had my small amount of obstetrics).

The new specialist has to ask all the horrible questions about my gynecological history:
  • How many pregnancies? 4
  • How many live births? 0
  • How many miscarriages? this is number 3
  • What other problems? 2 ectopics - 0 fallopian tubes left and I had my gallbladder removed.
At this point 3 + 2 doesn't equal 4, so I explain the last pregnancy was heterotopic, so I had the pleasure of ectopic and miscarriage. Once again, the new specialist tells me how rare heterotopic pregnancy is and reflects on what a tragic year 2011 was for us. 

Thankfully she has taken the liberty of already making a surgery time for us. At noon on Thursday at the same day specialist surgery most of the QFG stuff is done. She steps me through the risks of the procedure. She is very sympathetic. I'm really grateful she would take us on. 

Matt and I head back to the car. I tell him I'm glad we got with in with someone, I have a little moan about how stupidly hard it has all been. I then say, I'm not looking forward to having to ring the family. Matt says, neither am I. 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Mini milestone - drug free pregnancy

Tomorrow I reach a mini milestone in this pregnancy. Tomorrow I can stop taking all the supporting medications that are required when doing IVF, and I can't wait.

Since a few days before my frozen embryo transfer I've been taking progesterone (provera) and oestrogen (progynova) tablets orally morning and night. In addition, I've also had the pleasure of administering progesterone pessaries morning and night. Once inserted I have lie down for at least half an hour. At bed time this is no trouble. Mornings are a different story. For the past couple of months I've had to get up a half hour before I need to and administer the pessary and then go back to bed. This sucks. Weekends aren't too bad. Work days are bad and the days when I'm flying for work have been the pits.

The other hassle about the pessary is they need to be refrigerated, therefore all travel is a pain. At Christmas time Matt and I had a pessary esky that travelled with us everywhere. Every time we got to someone's house we whipped the drugs into their fridge and the ice packs into the freezer. Overnight travel for work is again worse. Early check in is inevitably unavailable and I have to ask the reception girls if I can leave my medications in a fridge somewhere.

Basically pessaries suck and I can't wait to stop having to take them. I've been reading up and apparently the placenta has now taken over the role of production of pregnancy support hormones and can reliably be trusted to make the levels I now need. Before now the corpus luteum (which is created when ovulation occurs) is supposed to deliver the progesterone required to support the pregnancy. I'm not sure why when doing a natural cycle like I did that my corpus luteum (surely I must have made one when I ovulated) couldn't still be trusted to do this role. I do know that high levels of progesterone are associated with higher pregnancy success rates, so perhaps the progesterone support increases the chance the baby will hang in there.

Tomorrow marks 10 weeks by my original numbers and all is still looking good.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Panic sets in and passes again

Exactly 2 weeks and 1 day after our first ultrasound I started to panic that our baby was going to miscarry or was already miscarrying. I had no cramping, no bleeding, basically I had no symptoms of miscarriage. However, I also suddenly had no morning sickness, my fatigue had dropped. I felt great and I panicked.

My fertility specialist is obviously used to his patients who have struggled through infertility going crazy and thought to send me two referrals for ultrasounds, despite only really needing the one to confirm the pregnancy at 6 and half weeks. I grabbed that second referral and booked in for another ultrasound to find out what was going on.

Last Friday Matt and I were super pleased to find out our baby was still there and kicking arse with a whopping 167 beat per minute heart beat. Baby (which I think is still technically called an embryo) measured 8 weeks and 1 day. While I had our numbers at 8 weeks 4 days, the sonographer assured us that in early pregnancy the days can commonly be out by up to 5 days.

I do wonder about just how accurate the measurement in ultrasound is. Apparently those little tiny babies, ours measured just 1.8 centimentres, can be doing crunches or stretching out, making their crown to rump measurement relatively shorter or longer. Then, what about naturally different growth? I wonder if our baby is more likely to be short, like me, rather than a tall, like Matt.

Over the past week my unpleasant pregnancy symptoms have remained at bay. Queasiness has disappeared altogether giving way to previously unknown urges to eat chips or vegemite sandwiches. Peeing in the middle of the night has picked up, making an uninterrupted night's sleep a thing of the past - which I understand is good practice for when the baby is born.

I am also having vivid dreams that I remember about nothing especially important. I had a very detailed dream about one of my colleague's hair. Last night I had a lovely dream where I was holding our new baby. I don't know if it was a boy or girl, but it was only a dream...

Right now I feel really positive about the pregnancy. I'm the most pregnant I've ever been and absolutely nothing is going wrong. I want to stay this way, excited, happy, confident. It has only been 6 days since the last ultrasound and it is three weeks until my first obstetrician's appointment. It seems like a long time to wait. I hope I will remain panic free and happy until then.

Monday, January 2, 2012

A happy new year

As of today I'm eight weeks pregnant and I've seen in the new year with everything looking rosy on the baby-making front.

We had a pregnancy viability scan in Cairns while we were on holidays and it was everything I could have hoped for. Only 1 baby, measuring 0.49cm, which equates to 6 weeks and 1 day with a heartbeat of 113 beats per minute. I asked the sonographer to have a good look around to check that another gestational sack wasn't implanted somewhere it shouldn't be, but nothing else could be found. This is the first time I've left an ultrasound place happy. The result was conclusively excellent!

I felt mixed feelings of relief and disappointment that only one embryo took. Having two babies seems like a great long term outcome and takes the pressure off needing to try to get pregnant again any time soon. However, I know that one baby has a much better chance of progressing to healthy, trouble free pregnancy and birth. That's exactly what we need, fewer troubles.

In the last couple of weeks early pregnancy symptoms have truly kicked in. Fatigue is my worst symptom. I nearly always need a nap. I'm also experiencing a touch of morning sickness, which for me has been a lot more like all day sickness. I feel a little bit sick, not enough to vomit as yet, nearly all day. I'm trying to pin point what makes it better and what makes it worse, but haven't been able to nail it down. I've also become a champion burper.

At eight weeks the baby is still really small. Apparently it would now be around 1.4 - 2.0 cm and would still have remnants of a tail. Gross. If all continues to go well, the tail should be gone soon enough.  :)