Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Letter

I feel like I've been coping with the sadness and grief pretty well. I've had my tears, on and off, but mostly have just been trying to work through it all and think of our options. Until tonight that is, when I got home to find the letter. It was written by my infertility specialist to my general doctor, and a copy was sent to me. Here is the gist of it:

"We are sorry to tell you that Paula has just completed an unsuccessful private IVF cycle with us. She required large doses of FSH (412.5 IU/day) and five eggs were retrieved on 6th August. Three embryos were transferred but she did not conceive. Her follicles grew at a slower rate than expected and were all from the left ovary. Paula is hugely disappointed. She is unlikely to try IVF again, which is understandable as this recent cycle demonstrates how difficult it has been for her to produce sufficient egg numbers."

IF blogworld - I need your help.

Were you ever on Gonal F? If so, what was your daily dose and what was the result - i.e. egg numbers, fertilisation rates. If Gonal F did not work for you, was there another stim drug that you were prescribed? Did any of you self medicate and not tell your doctor? Did any of you have a non working ovary that you somehow kick started back into life? I need YOUR stories...

You see...reading that letter, I felt the whole agony over again. But if I could find a way to improve my egg count (acupuncture, more drugs, etc) then I would have to seriously look at trying again. I just can't quite give up on this dream yet. I can't let go of the desire and the yearning to be a mother.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

The birthday boy

Rupes turned 36 today - he's getting old :-)

We had a really nice day. A combined housewarming/birthday party at a friend's place last night, then Katie woke us up very early (not so great after a late night). We managed to grab a few more hours sleep after we gave in and let her come on the bed with us! Then we watched the replay of the All Blacks thrashing South Africa, then off to Allely House for lunch. We got married there nearly six years ago so it was nice to go back and have a relaxing meal. Yummy food too. Then we drove up to Kaukapakapa where I used to live, then to the airfield to watch the planes (I gave Rupes a voucher for a flight for his birthday which he can use later), then coffee at my boss' place and then home.

We are doing ok as far as the failed IVF goes - the sadness is still there for both of us, but we are toying with the idea of maybe doing another cycle early next year. We'll see - and we won't be making any decisions for a while. We need a break and a rest from all the emotional upheaval before we can really see clearly what we want.

Whatever happens, it was nice spending a day together. It was nice to know that after nearly eight years we still have that connection and bond and sense of humour that joins us.

Happy birthday Rupert!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Moving on...

We're moving through some of the grief - but very slowly. It's been a beautiful time in some ways - the caring hugs and support from so many folks, both internet buddies and real life friends and family. It's been hard too, because by being so open about this whole process it seems like EVERYONE we know, knows about it. I don't regret being open though - I think it's important on many different levels. Some folks will go away with a better understanding of infertility and those struggling with it, others will think about starting their families earlier just in case, and next time there is lobbying for more Government funding more folks might feel they want to have some input.

I've cried so much in the last few days I've made myself ill. I had to apologise to my neighbour, who's five year old boy was in our garden on Sunday and ran home upset after he heard me sobbing when the phone call came in. Luckily, she knew what was going on so was able to reassure him. I think my work colleagues are getting used to seeing me in floods of tears whenever someone else comes in to say they are sorry.

I think it's hard for Rupert - he takes care of me, and I worry that he isn't able to have a good cry (or ten) like me and let it all out. He has been so wonderful - allowing me to sob and rail and keen, and go to bed at 7pm. We both feel a little numb today - and are going through that whole "what's the point" feeling. Somehow the normal things that occupy our time, and work life, don't seem that important anymore. I've been there before, and I know it passes, but grieving does take time no matter what the loss.

Earlier in the year we used the last of Rupe's airpoints to book a trip to Perth next month. If I had fallen pregnant, we were going to cancel it - I didn't want to travel that early on, especially after being in the US in December 2004 when we lost our baby. But, we've decided to go on this trip as it's all paid for, and I think it's been a good distraction for Rupes to do the chores - booking a place at the kennel for Katie, organising travel insurance, etc. Right now I can't say I am looking forward to it, or anything else very much, but I am sure the break and the time together will do us good.

So...we keep going. We are both busy at work which helps, and then we come home to our wee cocoon and take care of each other. Katie keeps us smiling, and the cats are always ready for a cuddle. I have no idea what we will do next - which of the options that might be open to us we will pursue, but that's ok. Right now we just need to grieve and heal up from this.

Thank you all for your caring and support. Oh, and if you have a moment on Sunday, feel free to drop Rupert a line for his birthday. I'd hoped to give him a better present, but it wasn't to be.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

It's over...

It's been the day from hell. I woke up at 4.30am and did my pee on a stick test...negative. Even though I expected that, it still hurt like crazy. My lovely buddies from the US called later and I cried and talked with them for a while (thanks girls, love ya). Then we drove out to the blood test clinic at 8.30am, then back home for more crying and some weeding in the garden to try and kill some time. Half an hour ago at 12.30, the clinic rang and confirmed my beta was negative.

I don't know how to explain how gut wrenching that was. I know we'll heal, but knowing that was our last chance and any dreams of parenthood are over is agonising. Rupert has been a darling through this awful day, but he is hurting the same as I am. It's hard to comfort him when I hurt so badly.

It's a dark dark place. I know I'll see the light sometime, but right now it just hurts to be me.

No regrets though. We gambled close to $12,000 and lost...but I would do it again in a heartbeat for another chance. But, the head sometimes has to overrule the heart - and given my age, limited response to the drugs and only one ovary producing eggs, the gamble is just too big to try again.

Thanks all. Best wishes to those who are still trying - I hope your dreams come true.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Long Long Wait...

The waiting is killing me! It just seems to be taking forever to get to testing day (Sunday). My moods have been interesting - last night I was very tired, a bit down and sad, and convinced that I wasn't pregnant at all. Today, my mood was back up a little and I feel hopeful again.

I think for me the hardest part of this waiting time is not knowing! If I am not pregnant, how will I cope with the realisation that I will never be a mother? Never see my body changing, or that scan showing my baby inside me. Never see my husband's face as the baby is born and he sees his child for the first time. That I will never breastfeed, never see those first steps, hear those first words. Never see the child go to kindy, or the first day of school. All those experiences that I thought would be mine, just gone in an instant. And for my husband - as we grow old together, how will he feel? Will he resent me for not being younger, for not being ready to start trying sooner? Right now I know he doesn't, and I feel very loved and secure, but I worry about 10 or 20 years down the track. How will we adjust to the certainty of a life without a child of our own?

I do know that life will go on if the outcome is negative, and that we can still build a good and useful life together. There are other options which would be open to us which we wouldn't be able to do otherwise - live overseas, do volunteer work, study, change careers, foster or adopt, travel etc. I'd happily trade all those options for a baby of our own though.

So, for now I wait. And wait. And hope that maybe we will be blessed.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Thank You...

It's just over a week to go till the first Beta and I wanted to say some thank you's before I get to that point. Whether that result is positive or negative, whether that is the end of the road for us, or just the start of a new journey, there are so many folks who have been such a support for me over the past few months.

Firstly of course, my DH, who is the best man in the world. Nearly eight years together and it just keeps on getting better. And he has put up with the mood swings, the tears, the outright bitchiness and taking on the majority of the workload here at home while I rest. I can't actually put into words just how amazing he is. I'm a very lucky girl.

Family and friends - I've been so grateful for the text messages, emails, phone calls and hugs. At first I wondered whether having everyone in my "real" life knowing about this was a good idea - but I am so glad I shared it with you all. Mum - thanks for your support. Dad, the emails really helped. My family-in-law- thank you! Cat, if we don't make it to Perth you'll understand right? Friends both here in New Zealand and overseas (hey Kelly and Lori) who have read my blog, and then called me to talk about what was posted! Mates who have understood when I didn't feel up to going out, or was asleep at their house at 9pm.

My work colleagues have been amazing, covering for me, sending me home when I looked teary or tired, and always checking in to see how things are going. The wee gifts and the hugs really made all this so much easier. My awesome boss, who has cut me the slack I needed to get all this done. I won't mention all the names as I am sure to leave someone out! I am so lucky to work in such a great group of offices, with such a neat group of people. Rupe's workmates who have been lovely as well - thanks to you.

The new friends I have made at alt.infertility.primary - some of whom have had disappointments this month, and one of whom is pregnant right now! Seriously, if you are reading this and you need somewhere to talk about your own infertility or treatments, go hang out there. I learned so much from those wise, encouraging and supportive ladies. Special thanks and hugs to Yellowgirl, Butterflyluvr, Kams, KAC Keeping the Faith, Leighann, Christy...I know there are more but those are the main ones :-)

And the bloggers. I first came across a blog by a New Yorker named Julie called www.alittlepregnant.com and was completely blown away by her story, and her style! Since then, I have found many blogging friends and have enjoyed reading about their journeys and having their encouragement and wisdom during mine. I'm going to list some of my favourite blogs below - if I have missed you out please know it was lack of space rather than not valuing you!

Meri-ann https://impatientpatient.wordpress.com/ ooh and she's the "P-word"
Ellie http://heyellie.blogspot.com/ who never fails to leave nice comments
StellaNova http://stellanova-onastar.blogspot.com/ who is anxiously awaiting her beta too
Soralis http://soralis.blogspot.com/ who has IVF twins and wants to try again! Good for you!
Keeping the Faith http://kacastello.blogspot.com/ who has been a lovely commenter even through her own very hard times.

There are so many others...but I wanted to mention those here because they are blogs I have found most helpful.

Lastly, the cats Sandy and Dream, and puppy Katie. You may not have known why Mummy needed a cuddle right at that moment, or needed to laugh at what you were doing, or even why I needed to make you be quiet so I could nap...but I promise you, if this works, you are just gonna LOVE your new housemate. Really. I won't let him/her pull your tails I promise...

Thanks all!

Friday, August 11, 2006

The Claustrophic Puppy

Katie has a kennel. As you can see, it comes in two parts...the roof clicks on to the base. When just the base is there, Katie loves it. It's her toy box and her bed all in one. But when the roof is attached, suddenly it's a big scary dark place.

DH decided the only way to get her comfy in her kennel was to get in there himself. Note her back legs aren't inside. And right now she is curled up ON THE FLOOR because the big scary dark roof is too much for her.

She's so cute. But so neurotic. Posted by Picasa


Me spending the day throwing treats and toys into the kennel and hubby getting in there with her worked! She slept in her kennel last night with the roof on!

Incredibly Lazy...

Well, this is my third day off work since the transfer. I have been very very lazy - snoozing, reading, watching movies, doing a little folding of washing and spent a happy hour packing all of my IVF junk away and returning my dresser to a state of niceness rather than a drug dispensary!

As DH posted, the transfer went well, and apart from being a little uncomfortable it was painless. It was neat to see our embryos on the big screen, and the embryologist gave us a good rundown on what would happen - implantation will probably occur tomorrow if it does, so I shall be diagnosing every twinge!

I've felt really tired - I think partly it's finally stopping and resting after all the rush, the injections, the appointments, the stress, and the retrieval which has taken me a week to get over! Also, the progesterone is making me feel quite yucky.

For those not schooled in the ways of IVF let me explain. In a normal pregnancy the follicle the egg leaves behind then starts to make the hormone to prepare your body for pregnancy. In the case of IVF, this follicle is sucked out with the egg, so there is nothing to make the hormone. So, you get to add this hormone artificially - in my case, two suppositories three times a day. Some of my unlucky friends get to to do shots in the butt, so I consider myself blessed!

However, the side effects of progrestrone mimic exactly the feelings of early pregnancy. Tender breasts, a little nausea, some bloating. Which is why women doing this never trust their body's symptoms before they do their first pregnancy blood test. We kinda hope though!

Other than that, I am feeling fine. Katie has enjoyed snoozing with me in the afternoons on the bed, carefully separated from one or both cats by my legs. DH has been a marvel, cooking, tidying, and generally making sure I rest.

Oh and a funny thing...if you click on the photo of the embryos from Wednesday you can see sperm hanging around the outside of the big embryo. Late to the party I guess, and trying to find a way in! They probably stopped off at the bar on the way to the egg, and didn't quite make it in time :-)

Right. Snooze time. Thanks so much for all the messages...I am so heartened by both friends and complete strangers giving encouragement. I'm trying to stay very calm about all this and know that what will be, will be. That may change as the dreaded two week wait starts to do my head in!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

They're In!

Well the deed was done this morning and 3 embryos were transferred, one 7 cells, one 4 cells and 1 of just 2 cells, which while they weren't going to transfer it, it seemed to be no harm in trying - who knows it might be the one! We got to watch the four cell start to divide on the big screen.

To the left is a pic of the larger two embryos

Paula was very brave and it was quite a relief after everything over the last few weeks that we've now completed the first part of the journey.

Rupert (The DH)

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Down to Three

One of our embryos developed some abnormalities over night so we are down to three now. If they decide to use all three, that's it - everything riding on this one transfer with no back up. I feel quite sad about my little embie, but I am glad we still have the tree remaining. I woke up this morning worrying about them...felt like I should be there taking care of them (which is terribly silly but that's how I felt!)

Transfer at 8.30am tomorrow morning.

Thanks everyone for the comments, emails and texts - it really makes such a difference to know we aren't alone!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Tears and Laughter

The call from the embryologist just came. And four out of the five eggs fertilised!!! I did the happy dance around the office!!! I was hoping for two, three at most, so we are completely rapt. Well done DH!!!!

Transfer on Wednesday afternoon, then bed rest the following couple of days. Feeling still pretty sore and sick from yesterday's retrieval, but the good news this morning has completely made up for that.

Hubby is taking me out for dinner tomorrow night to celebrate getting this far. We still have a long way to go, and the numbers are still against us, but right now it feels like things are going our way.


Transfer is now first thing on Wednesday morning!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Egg Retrieval...

Well, we got to the clinic at 9 and then sat in the car reading - didn't want to be too early! I was allowed three panadol at 9am with some water, and then that was it. They took us to a room with a lazyboy armchair for me, and a wooden chair for him (glad they got their priorities right) and we read and chatted for a while while the nurse, the doctor, and the embryologist visited us at various times.

Then, just after 10am, they took me through to the wee theatre, and doc got me to run hot water over my hands to help bring up the veins so he could put the shunt thing in. That stung a bit! Then oxygen up my nose, and lovely legwarmers over my feet and calves. The doc put some sedative into my hand and I got a little bit dizzy. Then, the needle went in - up and through the side of the vaginal wall, to the ovary. The nurse stood by and applied pressure to the plastic tubing whenever he was ready, and then handed each tube over to the embryologist.

It hurt a little - sharp pains, and what felt like tugging. It was quite nice laying there though and hearing the embryologist say "one egg"..."two eggs"..."that's three" all the way up to FIVE eggs. So, for each follicle, there was an egg, and they managed to get them all. Five eggs is better than I hoped for...

Then, while I was resting, hubby went off to do his sperm donation - he said they had a couple of good magazines in there so he didn't have any problems! And an hour later, we were allowed to come home, where I am going to spend the rest of the day on the couch resting up and taking Panadol. I have a little bleeding, but nothing too bad, though apparently I may get sorer as the day goes on.

Next hurdle...fertilisation. We'll know in the morning...

Friday, August 04, 2006

Trigger tonight...(part 2 of Friday!)

Dropped by the clinic on the way home to collect my trigger shot - to be done at 10pm tonight, and retrieval is 10am on Sunday. I chose sedation rather than full anaesthetic, hopefully the recovery will be easier for me.

Today's blood test came in at 3222, and when you graph the numbers you can see it's levelling off, so that fits in with the slow growth of the follicles (see earlier post today)...

So...that's it. We are go, and no one can ever say (especially ourselves) that we didn't give it our best shot.

Will update after retrieval on Sunday, and am looking forward to NO injections tomorrow at all!

Will they...won't they???

What a day. Went for my scan only to find that two of the smaller follicles had grown 1mm each. That's pretty much unheard of given the dosage of Gonal F I have been on (412.50 per day)

So, I have a 17mm, two 15mm, a 14mm and a 12mm. The doc wasn't too happy and decided he wanted to consult with some colleagues before deciding what to do, so I drove back to work thinking/crying/worrying...

He just called and they have decided to trigger me tonight. His exact words "this is uncharted territory, you aren't responding like anyone else has, we might only get 2 eggs, and they might not fertilise". I'm glad he was honest with me, even though it hurt to hear it.

But, as he said, this is our only chance, and our last chance, so we really aren't losing anything (except $$$) by going ahead. So...we trigger tonight, retrieval on Sunday, and hopefully we will know on Monday/Tuesday whether we have any wee embryos to implant back.

I don't know what I feel. I feel heartbroken that I am resistant to the medication. Upset that despite all the stimulants I've pumped into myself we have such a poor result. Sad that only one ovary is working. Despairing when I think of the odds. But a little hopeful that maybe, just maybe, something will work for us. I am sure I'll regain some positivity soon.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Slow and steady wins the race...

That was hubby's cliche in response to today's scan. Lucky he wasn't there with me or the evil wand the doc was using may have ended up somewhere else!

So...the bad news is that we don't get to trigger today. Which means two more days of injections. Which will bring the total to around 59 injections by Friday morning. Plus 6 blood tests!

The good news...well, my follicles are evening up in size, which is nice! More of a chance of a viable egg in each, rather than one greedy follicle sucking up all the drugs and becoming a very large follicle while the poor starving tiny ones linger behind craving just a taste of Gonal F.

So, here are the stats (last measured Monday, compared with today's measurements)

Follie #1 has grown an amazing 1mm, from 16mm to 17mm
Follie #2 has put in a sterling effort of 2mm, from 13mm to 15mm
Follie #3 is my personal favourite and has grown 4mm from 10mm to 14mm
Follie #4 has done very well, up 3mm from 10mm to 13mm.
And Follie #5 who was too small to be measured on Monday, has leaped into the picture with 12mm!

More news on Friday! Hopefully we will get to trigger that night, I would really really like that! Threw up last night, and the headaches and general low grade fever is taking it's toll...but I know I can make it through another two days...

PS...I wouldn't really have used the wand on DH. Maybe just waved it at him a little!


Today's blood test result was 2681, up from 1850 on Monday. Nice numbers I think (though I have no idea really what they should be, but the doc is pleased with them and that makes it all ok with me!)

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