Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Beta #3 - 19dp3dt

This morning I felt very anxious before the blood test.

During the last IVF cycle, this day (19dp3dt) was the furthest along I'd been in days (with that pathetic beta of 23) although not in HCG levels!

So I was snappy and irritable. I do remember apologising to my husband.

We had the blood test as normal (oh, my previous beta number is 3900) and then went to have our car inspection (our new insurer requires this) and straight afterwards, we went to look at a car my DH wanted to see. I said I'll stay in our car because of the phone call.

I didn't want to miss speaking to the nurse again and not know the actual number! I hoped the assistants doing the medical coding wouldn't mess up my results.

Sure enough, about 15 seconds later, the call comes in on my cell phone. My number is 7318!!!!!


Everything's fine, blah blah blah, continue all medication (folic acid, estropause, cyclogest and ecotrin (baby aspirin) and come in for the scan on Wed 14th January. That is the 7-week scan, I think!

Intellectually I'm happy, excited, etc. but deep down I feel that I can't let myself get too excited because what if something goes wrong?

Also, no real symptoms. Then again I don't know what I'm looking for.

I would love not to have morning sickness - so far nothing. I seem to want to eat all the time (not unusual since I do have a healthy appetite). Not a lot but even just a piece of fruit feels good. And I'm loving protein (I'm a carbs girl usually).

My boobs are sore and bigger which is very good and I'm tired a lot. That could be because I worked up until 24th and am now on leave so my body's finally relaxing....

I am peeing all the time. Of course I've been told by the clinic to drink 2.5 - 3L of water daily so it could be that. I usually drink 2L anyway but I need the loo every 40 minutes it seems.

Actually now that I wrote it out, it seems I do have symptoms! And, of course, the numbers are talking loud and clear :)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Beta #2 17dp3dt

Woke up at the crack of dawn to get to the lab for the blood test. The parking lot was FULL of cars, probably all the scans and people starting their cycles.

(the lab is on the 1st floor and the clinic is on the 2nd - very useful)

I told the nurse that we'd be in church so if they got my voicemail to just leave a message and this is what it said:

"Your levels are rising beautifully just as they should. We'll see you on Tuesday again for your next blood test."

Only actually got the number later - 3900!

Thanks to Nity I can now indulge my inner nerd and play with numbers on babymed.com :)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

I can hardly believe it

I'm pregnant. At my first beta today, my count was 826. I go back again on Sunday and then again on Tuesday.

What a wonderful Christmas present.

I'm happy (intellectually) but it hasn't reached my heart yet - I still feel numb.

I think I'll start relaxing a bit when the discharge stops - now that will be a great Christmas present.

Also, last time the beta kept dropping but this one is so high that I'm cautiously optimistic. My friend is convinced it's twins because hers was 1000 at 16dp3dt and this is only 13dp3dt for me.

I've been testing every two days since day 9 but I can't find the pic of day 11. Faint line but a line nonetheless.



Day 11 - line was stronger and appeared much quicker

Today - day 13.

Yesterday after I posted about the spotting, we watched Baby Mama (EXCELLENT - have you seen it?) and then it was time for bed. When I went to the loo, RED so I flipped. I was up at 6:30 this morning too scared to do the test. Eventually I did and here's the result.


Apparently there is a lady from our infertility group who bled for the ENTIRE 3 months of her pregnancy (proper bleeding, sometimes even chunks of tissue - sorry for tmi) and she's just had her twins a few weeks ago. There is hope!

I'm praying that these numbers continue to double until Sunday, and then again until Tuesday next week.

In January it'll be 4 years since we've been trying and I'll be glad to finally be pregnant. I did my goals for next year and I put "healthy pregnancy" on there.

Time to go visit some blogs before bed!

Merry Christmas, everybody.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I've been spotting for a week

Last Wednesday evening (this was 6dp3dt) I started spotting.

I had some severe cramps and when I went to the loo, a brown discharge (sorry if TMI for you) which I'm told is better than a red/ pink discharge.

I had a bit of a freak-out and got straight into bed, did my Cyclogest and read until I fell asleep.

The discharge was almost gone the next day but I've been "spotting" just a tiny bit in the morning and in the evening since then. All brown so trying not to worry.

I left work nearly two hours ago and as is my custom, I went to the loo before leaving the building. And there is reddish-brown stuff. I'd intended to go to the library on the way home but I drove straight home and have been lazing around.

oh dear, why now??? I am So. Close. (tomorrow's my blood test).

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I'm huge!


I stopped getting on the scale oh, about a week ago, because already I'd gained about 2,5 kg (that's just over 5 pounds) by then and decided to stop torturing myself.

I remember after the first IVF, in that month of waiting, it was SO amazing to have my pants swishing around my thighs again. I gain weight around my bum and thighs first.

How's your weight been affected by IVF?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Infertility and the Christian (2)

I've posted on this subject before but I wanted to post again because I'm a lot further along the IF path than I was then.

I'm one of those Bible-believing, hand-raising Christians and I took a long time to get around to IVF (for us).

Eventually it clicked for me - if I had any other disease, I'd pursue whatever it took to get me sorted out. IF is a disease (we do not have unexplained IF) and therefore, because we can afford it right now, we are pursuing it wholely.

This whole thing was sealed in my mind when the embryologist came to talk at the support group and said "once they put that embryo back in we ALL start praying". That reassured me of what I had always known, which is ...we do what we can (faith without works is dead) and yet, we recognise that every child is a gift from God so ultimately, He is sovereign.

I don't personally understand people who just say "oh, I'm believing God" because I'm about taking some responsibility for your life. I have a 43-year-old friend who REFUSES to do ANY IF treatment, not even Clomid or IUI because she's standing in faith. I think that's crazy but that's me.

Again, I think it's each couple's decision and what makes sense for one couple will be crazy to another.

I do realise that you can never be totally certain about things. I always said I'd never do an IVF and here I am, having done 2. We are now in the 2ww.

So the lines in the sand keep shifting and that's okay :)

So how do you feel about the whole "if it's meant to be it'll happen" thing?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Tagged to share my randomness

Hey! I've been tagged by Virginia to share 7 bits of randomness.

Okay then!

  1. I have this crazy memory for details. I may meet you and have a conversation, not see you for a year but when we meet again, I'll ask you all about what we spoke about. People always think this is incredible.
  2. I am going through the worst time at work ever! My self-confidence has never been this low. A friend said that it's all related to the IF. Could be but the work still sucks.
  3. My parents divorced about 6 years ago after 28 years of marriage. My father remarried; my mother says she never will.
  4. I wonder if I'll ever find a job again where I can only use my strengths and be GREAT at what I do.
  5. I love taking pictures of good-looking food - my friends and family think I'm weird :)
  6. I'm not really a typical girl with a thing for shoes (unless you count thong flip flops) but oh boy, I do love handbags, especially red ones (I have 5!)
  7. I've never had a pedicure. However, I've booked one for mid-Jan.

I'm tagging Sarah, Mo and Cindy (whose blog I just started reading - I'm addicted)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Embryo transfer - two!

taken as a self-portrait

Arrived at the clinic this morning with the same girl from my infertility group. When we got upstairs, we found one of the other couples there and of course, started speculating about the other two couples.

After a few minutes, the one with the bad egg retrieval experience arrived.

We were called in for our ET chat with Dr V. Of those 4 embryos, 2 had stopped dividing today and were both still at 6 cells. One was at 8 cells and one at 9 cells so we're transferring those two.

Went down to the theatre and got started with drinking all the water. One of the ladies jumped the queue so when she was done it was my turn.

Dr J was there and I told him, "please be gentle with me" to which he says, "am I not always gentle?"

Yes, he actually is. His scans are the best because they are not painful in the least.

Anyway, he was BRILLIANT (no pain - last time it was sore when they tried to put the catheter into my cervix) and I pronounced him the BEST at doing this. He laughed but I think he was pleased.

During the procedure he kept saying, "relax" and I said, "I can't" so he said, "nonsense, you can do anything you put your mind to". I like that strong talking so I started relaxing.

Anyway, I am now pregnant until proven otherwise.

Came home after sorting out the payment at the clinic and slept for four hours, woke to do a teleseminar and then went to sleep again with no problems.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Cells are multiplying beautifully

Our instruction sheet says to phone the clinic between 8 and 10am to check on the embryology.

Well, I was so scared that none of our eggs would have fertilised that I waited and waited and waited...eventually my friend emails me at 9.45 and says, "so?????"

To which I replied, "I'm terrified to phone in case the news is bad" so she reminded me that Dr G would have already phoned me.

So then I plucked up the courage and got that great fertilisation report.

************************

Today, same story but not as nerve-wracking.

The nurse said, "you have 4 that are all moving along great".

So everything is set for embryo transfer tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Fertilisation

Oh my word, I can't believe it

3 eggs fertilised normally and there is 1 maybe.

WOW

Egg retrieval - were you awake?

Yesterday after all our eggs had been retrieved, we all started talking in the ward and the one lady said this was her 2nd IVF.

The first one was at another clinic where she was AWAKE during the egg retrieval. Very long story short but they punctured her uterus, bleeding, infection, etc. and they only (!) got about 25 of the eggs even though there were 37 follicles because she was in too much pain.

I listened to this with my mouth literally hanging open.

I remember when Dr G first explained the process to me and he mentioned "conscious sedation". You are numbed from pain but will hear the doctor and nurses working.

I was horrified - what if I still feel something? what if I move and something dreadful happens? What if? What if? What if?

They told me that they've never had a lady feel a thing - they make sure of that. Of course, I don't believe doctors when they say that. First of all, they're men and second, they call painful things "discomfort" so what do they know.

But then, surprisingly, my first ER was exactly that - totally painless. I don't know what they put in that needle but it totally knocked me out.

So when I read this on Clio's blog and realised that not every clinic puts you out.

How do the rest of you do it?

Also, last time I asked the doctor if the PIO injections were better than the pessaries. He said no, the pessaries are better because they're local, they go to the site quickly. The injections go through the blood first so a reduced amount gets to where they need to. So pessaries it is - I wear pads so they don't mess up my panties.

Monday, December 08, 2008

This is the part I hate

Last night I was so emotional - I even cried a bit.

I'm so scared that nothing will fertilise because we did not discuss the IVF/ ICSI thing and I was so out of it afterwards, I forgot to ask them.

I do know they didn't charge me for ICSI, only for normal IVF.

Egg retrieval

We were late because of the traffic, but not badly (only 15 minutes).

Four of us there - of course we all recognised each other from the waiting room but no-one talks except me.

One of the girls from the infertility support group was there so I started chatting to her.

Mine was scheduled for 9.30 but I was shown to the second slot (they position you as you're scheduled) because I'd been moved up in the queue.

I thought it was because those follicles were so big (maybe they were scared that they could burst - this is just my imagination running wild??? what does happen if they grow too big?) but later found out it's because of our sperm issues. Ahem!

Anyway, got my vital signs checked and I'd just managed to write out one Christmas card and a few notes in my notebook when they were ready for me. Oy!

This time they put the IV in my wrist so it was SORE. I have very, very thin wrists. There is NO fat whatsoever so it basically feels like they're stabbing a bone!

All I remember is Dr J (are you confused about all the doctors? There are 3 of them and they all work together however your doctor consults with you, especially when they have to tell you bad news) saying, "you're going to feel very relaxed; go with that feeling", I took a deep breath and the next thing I knew, I was waking up in the ward.

So the good news is this - THEY GOT FIVE EGGS out of five follicles. I was jubilant. Remember last time I had 10 follicles and 6 eggs, so being the factual person I am, I'd calculated 60% of 5 follicles is 3 eggs!

This retrieval was a bit more uncomfortable than the last time and a lot more blood. I know, gross, but hey, I have to keep a record somewhere!

Spent the rest of the day laying around at home, and on the computer, catching up with business tasks.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

You'd think I'd have a rest from the needles

but no, had to have another blood test today.

Didn't wait for the results because we had to get to church.

Had a lovely quiet day once we were home from church, relaxing and doing lots of nothing.

Strict instructions were to eat nothing after midnight. I'm a night owl so I decided to sleep early - after all, early start tomorrow. Have to be there at 7am.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

My adventures in triggering

Went for my scan and yet another blood test (estrogen 4700).

Today the follicles were at 22mm and at 21mm. Endometrium was 12mm.

Only problem with triggering was my long-awaited-for Rod Stewart concert.

They told me to do my injection at 9.30pm, 15 minutes on either side of 9.30 was okay but nothing more.

Well, Rod Stewart's show started at 8pm and he was scheduled to perform for 90 minutes.

I started getting anxious because they won't allow men to come into the female loos and of course, vice versa, not that I'd want to go in the male loos, because men are dirty!

And they usually don't allow pass-outs so no quick dash to the car and dash back.

Then my husband had a brilliant idea - we should go to the First Aid room and do it there.

The clinic gave me a letter and put all of the needles and amps in an envelope which was sealed. So no-one noticed anything when my bag was searched BUT we were early so we asked where the first aid room was and...it was ALL THE WAY on the other side of the venue.

They don’t let you walk around in sections you don’t belong in so you have to radio the medics to come collect you and since I didn’t look like I was dying...huge schlep, lots of explaining to do!

Amazingly, God was shining His favour on us because at 9:10 there was a short 10-minute break.

Of course, everybody dashes out of their seats so it's definitely going to be impossible to get all the way to where we have to be.

So I decided to shoot up right there in my seat!

I turned to the couple behind us and said, "listen, I’m not a druggie, I just need to have an injection RIGHT NOW and it's going to take me too long to get to the first aid section" He said, “go right ahead” and we did. I mixed the two vials, handed the needle to DH and he jabbed me. I think I was so geared up for the injection that it wasn’t even sore.

The concert was brilliant but more importantly, my eggs were safely triggered!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Day 8 scan - last day of injectibles

Today the "leading" follicles were 19 mm plus and the stragglers were at 16mm

Dr G said to reduce the dosage to 3 amps of Menopur and of course, have to have Cetrotide too.

No trigger today.

Also had to have a blood test - my estrogen was something like 4300?

So back tomorrow for yet another scan!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Day 7 - scan 3

Today my follicles are 17mm plus, some at 14, and my endometrium was 11,4mm. He wants me to have one more day with 4 amps of Menopur and, of course, the Cetrotide daily too. He wants to try get some of those 14mm ones ready. The goal is 18mm...and they grow about 2mm a day.

I'm finding with this cycle that I'm much more assertive. Let me just clarify - I have no problem being assertive generally but since this is all new to me, I generally haven't asked TOO many questions.

Not so this time around.

I want all the answers - yesterday I asked the nurse what my estrogen and progesterone levels were for the day 2 blood test (E 100, P 1.5). I assume that's fine since no one phoned me?

Just googled it - seems okay.

Today I said to the one nurse straight after the scan – please can I have a syringe and then where can we go to quickly do the injections? So she got it for me and showed me to an empty room. I'd planned to make a fuss today if they hassled me about a stupid syringe. All that money deserves some benefits!

So I assume tomorrow is trigger shot (if everything grows beautifully - will have to talk to the 14mm ones to GROW) and retrieval is on Sunday...so no interfering with Rod Stewart LOL

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Day 6 update - 2nd scan

There are 3 follicles on the one side and 2 on the other – I'm hoping that because there aren't many, they'll be more mature and we'll actually have eggs!

(however the switch to different medication hasn't resulted in loads of eggs as we were hoping so I'm not sure what we're going to do about the ICSI/ normal IVF thing)

BUT they are already at 14 and 15mm so they'll be monitoring me daily – have to go back tomorrow. He also reduced my dosage to 4 amps a day.

So I said to my husband while Dr V was scanning me, "I hope this doesn't interfere with Rod Stewart". So Dr V says, "when is his show?" And when I said Saturday he said, "we do the procedures in the morning anyway". I said I know, but I was totally out of it that ENTIRE day.

I was so cross earlier – we don't have alcohol swabs or syringes so I've been using the swabs from the cetrotide boxes and the syringes from the previous cycle (Gonal F ones) because you don't get the syringes with the boxes of Menopur.

The nurse says, "sorry, we can't give them to you if you're buying your own medication". I could see my hubby's face next to me but I told her, "well, can I use the cetrotide syringe afterwards to mix the menopur?" knowing full well I couldn't but I didn't quite feel like fighting.

"Oh no", she says so then she reluctantly gives me one swab and one syringe.

Started cetrotide today - first time this cycle it really hurt - that could also be because I'm actually properly awake when I'm getting these injections whereas when we do them at home, I'm half asleep :)

How are you all doing?

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

NY times article on infertility and surrogacy

I just read this NY times article on infertility because several IF blogs linked to it.

First let me start off by saying that the author had some opinions that I raised my eyebrow at, but hey, it's her baby - she can pick whoever she wants and if she wants someone with a computer, fine with me.

Also, it's her right to pursue motherhood at all costs - nobody knows a particular couple's circumstances and why they make particular choices. I don't think I would spend $100 000 but then again, I don't know. We're not in their position, we don't have their money and if we did, who knows?

One of the IVF blogs wrote that they don't know if they could do 11 IVFs as this lady did. I'll paste my comment that I wrote on her blog.

"I also don't know that I could do that...but then again, I also said I'd never do IVF and here I am on my 2nd cycle. I guess the lines in the sand keep shifting according to our circumstances.

But I'll tell you something else - I am shocked at the judgement and intolerance of people. I really don't care whether the author is out and out evil (she's not) - nobody has the right to judge their choices and post all kinds of horrible comments.

This is exactly why we often keep our infertility a secret. It's because we're assaulted by this kind of ignorance that we feel shame. And we shouldn't.

I honestly didn't even consider the views of so many of the commenters.

I have very strong opinions on most things (!) but if I don't agree with people, I do respect their rights to their own opinions and I certainly do respect their choices.

I can't believe the comments, that say, amongst others...

Why would infertile people want to have biological children? What if they pass some disease along to their offspring? (I guess fertile people don't pass those same diseases along?)

Why don't infertile people save the world and adopt? (I don't speak for others but each couple's decisions are different. For us, it's not about just being parents. We want a biological child and until they tell us it's impossible, we'll keep trying.)

Why is it selfish for infertile people to pursue treatment? Is it because the money's being spent on children?

Why is it wrong for infertile people to use THEIR money as they want?

Coming back to the adoption...yes, there are lots of kids in the world, many of them available for adoption. But that doesn't take away the desire in a woman (and man) to have a child.

Please weigh in with your opinions. Tell me if I'm going crazy or what you feel

Friday, November 28, 2008

IVF no. 2 - it starts again

I'm behind with blogging but I'll date these posts correctly so they post in the right order.

So the period started on Tuesday night, Wed was day 1 and I went in for the scan on Thursday morning.

Everything normal although I nearly started crying. The nurse said to me, "you look a bit apprehensive" and I said, "yes, the glow from the first cycle is gone". Oh dear.

Went for blood tests - I assume everything was okay since I didn't get any phone calls telling me otherwise.

My pharmacy could only get my medication delivered by Friday so I had to buy my first 5 amps from the clinic. It kills me. Let me show you - a whole box of 10 at the pharmacy costs R1600 and 5 amps at the clinic cost R1200.

I'm on 5 amps of Menopur daily for 5 days - have to go for a scan on day 6 which is when I'll start the Cetrotide.

We totally forgot to take ANY pictures our first time around so this time I had the camera handy. The blurriness is because I'm petrified and shaking. You'd think those 21 days of injections got me used to it - ummm, no!

Ouch!

On the bright side, imagine how much MORE sore it would be if I didn't have the fat roll :)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I'm clearly going mad

I've never had a cycle longer than 26 days for the last 3 years or so. I say "or so" because that's when I started noticing all these things.

Anywayyyyy, so as it approached day 26 with still no sign of sore breasts or chocolate cravings, I started getting hopeful.

What if? What if,by some weird reason, I actually got pregnant naturally?

Stranger things have happened!

There's actually someone in our infertility support group who fell pregnant after an IVF on her own. I am incredulous!

So day 26 comes and goes, 27 comes and goes and I think - this must be it. But no, day 28 comes and goes.

Well, last night on day 32 (!) there was some pink on the toilet paper, and the craziness begins again.

Today it's there in full force (literally) so I suppose I need to get my medication sorted out today.

Friday, November 14, 2008

A total waste of time

The last 15 months have been a complete and utter waste of time. I've just had my salary discussion and basically, I'll only get a normal increase this year.

Nothing's changed. I'm on the same percentile in my salary band as I was 15 months ago because I still need to "grow into the role" after 3 years, which is rubbish.

But basically, for the first time, they are being honest. Or maybe it's me who's finally reading the writing on the wall.

I'm clearly not valued here even though I love the team and work environment so in addition to the other stuff happening in my life, I will have to look for another job.

I can't wait for this increase if only because it gives me a better bargaining position from which to look for a new job.

I am crying (no surprise there!) and miserable, but so, so angry!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

It's hitting me now

I don't know what's been going on with me this week. Well, maybe I'm ovulating.

As an aside, I'm the most uneducated infertile I know. I never know which day I'm on and when I get my period, it's always a surprise to me. When I had breakfast with my friends after the terrible news, my one friend said something like, "I'm on day 13" or whatever and I remember being amazed. I still am.

Anyway...on Tuesday, driving home from work, I had my car radio on very softly (I don't like noise after work - I like to calm down) and the routine of the drive plus the quietness got me thinking about the baby thing and I just got so depressed.

This is not me. I don't get depressed.

I thought once I got home, I'd snap out of it but noooo. I literally walked in and went to sit on a chair like a zombie (handbag still over my shoulder) just staring into space.

That's how my hubby found me when he got home about 15 minutes later.

I can see he's worried about me. As I said, this is not me.

And the thing is I don't know why I feel so hopeless. After all, we have a plan.

I think I'm getting ahead of myself to a "what if it doesn't work again?". Someone from the infertility support group had a negative on her 3rd IVF. She said to me that she was SO sure this one would work.

So today, same thing happens. Driving home, soft music and it just got all too much so I started crying. The driver behind me in a big 4 X 4 (you guys call it an SUV) saw me weeping. You had to see her face! She actually widened her following distance (wise move, actually, I would have done the same) in case I lost it and couldn't control the car.

I find I don't care about the crying. The other day I'd had an awful day and I literally got into my car, started driving out of the basement and burst into tears. Of course the work thing led to the baby thing.... And I cried and cried all the way home. I'm aware that other drivers can see me but I couldn't care less what they think of me.

I hope this stops soon. It's weird getting used to this new emotional person.

So this is my cheap therapy - blogging - and actually I feel better getting it out here.

*tomorrow I have feedback about the salary issue I raised. Pray for me. I need them to fix my salary so I can afford to pay for this next IVF cycle more easily. Somehow I know nothing good will happen but where would I be without hope?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Embryo transfer


This pic was taken while I was drinking glass after glass of water, before my one little embryo was transferred.

Of course we thought this is it - the last time we have to come to this place.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

I don't take no for an answer

Look what I found on my camera!

From top
1 - 9 days post transfer
2 - 10 days post transfer
3 - 12 days post transfer
4 - 14 days post transfer (day before first blood test)

Saturday, November 01, 2008

To Christi

Christi, I've been thinking about you so much.

How are you doing? How's your cycle?

I don't think my emails are getting through to you...

I'm at leigh1010 AT gmail DOT com :)

We have a plan!

I'm realising so much about myself through this whole crazy exercise:

* that I'm a lot stronger and more resilient than I thought
* that I'm okay as long as I have a plan and therefore, something to look forward to
* that I can focus in and block out non-essentials
* that I can find money if I look hard enought and get creative enough

We had our follow-up appointment with Dr G today and got all our questions answered.

Basically, nothing "went wrong". In fact, he cited a couple of positives:

1. we know that my eggs work
2. we know that DH's sperm works
3. we know that I can get pregnant

I was curious to know why, if we did ICSI, only 1 out of 6 fertilised normally. Dr G said it may be that my eggs don't like the needles. My husband says "yes, I think so because she HATES needles so I'm sure her eggs would hate needles too" LOL

We are going to start again next period (end Nov) and change the medication slightly (shorter protocol - less needles - YAYYYY) - the aim is more eggs so we can leave some to try and fertilise naturally (what is natural, anymore?!) and still do some with ICSI.

I'm an (almost) happy girl because I have a plan! And I'm celebrating by going back to dance class after about 6 weeks of absolutely no exercise (which is very clear by the size of my butt).

How are all of you doing?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Starting to feel okay

I'm always amazed at how resilient we as human beings are.

On Friday I thought that I'd never be okay again and yesterday I found myself laughing.

Amazing.

I had a "moment" this morning but really, NOTHING as bad as Friday.

I had a lovely weekend - had breakfast with two friends from the infertility support group, and then spent the rest of the weekend with my wonderful husband.

I started my period on Sunday and it was BAD. Very bad. Horrible to look at and oh, so painful.

I went in for another scan on Monday (I don't quite know what they were looking for) but he wanted to check whatever on day 2.

On Monday I had a terrible day again. I think it was also having to be at work and I got news that a job I'd applied for internally (which I STILL think is perfect for me) went to someone else.

Very weepy, very emotional, very weird for me.

But slowly as the days pass, I find myself getting hopeful again.

Hopeful for next time.

I can't believe I'm thinking about a next time!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Numb

No real queasiness yesterday which doesn't say anything one way or the other because Tuesday's queasiness didn't do a thing to those HCG levels.

Today we both went in at the crack of dawn (7:30 pm) to get my blood tested. I am getting to be a real pro with these needles as I hardly flinched :)

Sat in the waiting room for the results and when the nurse again said that Dr G was ready to see us, I knew that it was all over.

There are two waiting rooms - the main one is full of music and is warmer, sunnier and a lot more vibey. That's where we wait most of the time.

The second waiting room is cold in atmosphere and temperature, no magazines, no music, no nothing. We had to wait there for them to take us through to the doctor's office and I was freezine, both from the cold and from the impending news.

And yes, my beta had dropped further to 23.

I've been told to stop all the meds and wait for my period. Since it's coming down so slowly, they told me to only come in next Wed or on day 2 of my period, whichever comes first.

I am numb.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Beta down

I was so sick yesterday that I felt sure my beta would have at least doubled by today but alas, it dropped further from 57 to 38.

We'd decided that I would go in to the clinic early to get my blood drawn and DH would join me in time for our appt at 10:00.

Well, at 9:20 the nurse called me and said Dr G was ready to see me.

I knew that something was wrong because they tell you good news themselves and only make you see the doctor for the bad stuff (which is right, that's why they earn the big bucks).

So I have to continue with the meds and retest again on Friday.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Today I felt pregnant

Gee whiz - today was hard - bouts of queasiness almost the entire day.

Remember I am as healthy as a horse so am NEVER sick and what alerted me is I am off most of my food (that is a BIG sign because I love eating).

I couldn't drink more than a few sips of tea or coffee, water was fine and I didn't even want lunch but I forced myself to eat one slice of toast with avocado and cucumber.

I want healthy things only - I had salad for supper, no meat, and am EXHAUSTED. Have been yawning the entire day.

So dear ones, I'm off to bed because I have to get up really early tomorrow for my blood test. I know my levels will have increased, otherwise why on earth do I feel so terrible?!

On the bright side, I'm pregnant!


P.S. My friend also said 57 is not that low. She knows someone who had 38 and was pregnant with twins.

Anyway...i'll let you know the verdict tomorrow

Monday, October 20, 2008

Finally - D-day

I went for my blood test today and… I am pregnant!!!

BUT before you get all excited... they told me my HCG levels are “lower than we’d like” so I have to go for another blood test on Wed, by which time the levels need to have doubled or more!

Today my HCG level is 57 - how low is this anyway?

Of course, if they drop further then it means bad news.

But I am positive for the first time in a week …………..and I'm telling Baby Bean to GROW!

When she said, "you're pregnant" I said, "you're joking" - really I did. I still feel like it's a dream.

It was SUCH a shock because I took not 1, not 2, not 3, but 4 pregnancy tests – all negative. Now I know why – my levels were too low to detect.

So next update on Wednesday - if you pray, pray for increasing HCG levels.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Today I was good

The discharge stopped sometime last night (which made me very happy even though I still only had one line on that stick) so this morning I decided to be good and not POAS.

Today my boobs are sore again - I don't know if that means anything - but I thought I'd throw it out there.

However, tomorrow I am peeing on that stick again. After all it will have been 48 hours and I read the inserts - they say "if you get a negative, wait 48 hours and test again".

Of course I'm not even supposed to be testing but I'm not patient and honestly, the doctors must know we're going to do it.

My favourite infertility blogger is pregnant. I'm still in shock but very hopeful for the rest of us!

Anyway, good night - I've been reading blogs too long. My head hurts.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I did it again

Yip, looks like I can't stop peeing on those sticks.

This morning I woke up bright and early again and dashed to the loo. Today only one line.

I agree with you, Blythe - it's the medication that's keeping all this at bay. The nurse said to NOT STOP the meds no matter WHAT happens. Okay, I get the picture!

I wrote this on Blythe's blog

I have told myself "if it's over it's over" but thankfully it is still just a brown discharge (TMI, sorry)

The nurse told us that because they pump us full of all these drugs to make our uterus nice and PLUMP! sometimes the ladies will shed a bit of it - it is nothing to worry about.

I will POAS (thanks Debbie for the IVF lingo translation) again tomorrow because our blood tests only get done on the 20th!

Blythe, what's your tummy looking like? Mine is huge and round like a ball - if I wasn't so vain, I'd take a pic!

P.S. I have the BEST girlfriends from the infertility support group - they've been praying and texting me to support me and that part's been great.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Work

There's something else on my mind besides babies (I'm actually quite glad about that) that I want to talk about.

I'm having a catch-up session with my boss tomorrow and one of the agenda points is a salary discussion. Of course I put that on the agenda.

He has to give me feedback on something I raised with him over a year ago. The fact that I'm underpaid according to our salary scales.

The only reason I stay is that freedom is one of my highest values and I get lots of freedom here - to do my job and to come and go as I please.

Actually, the other reason (which is fast growing old) is that I have to get this salary sorted out. Part of our recruitment processes here (is it the same where you live?) means that you have to disclose what you currently earn AND give a copy of your payslip.

I am GREAT in interviews and I stall as long as possible but then, I have to tell them and that's when everything goes south. I understand it perfectly - they're thinking "if you're such a quality candidate, then why on earth are they paying you so little?"

*sigh*

It happened because when I started here I was on a very low pay scale so even though these guys increased it by something like 36%, I never really caught up.

My thing is - why should I be penalised for them not sorting this out years ago?

what would you do in my situation?

Oh dear

Last night I went to the loo and there was a brownish discharge.

My heart stopped and I quickly told DH to turn on the lights (I'm lazy so I go straight to the loo instead of to the light switch first). I decided there and then to jump straight into bed.

This morning I woke at 6.30 (unheard of - my alarm's set for 7.15) and he told me I tossed and turned the whole night (I wasn't even aware because I slept soundly).

I peed on a stick straight away - one clear line and one very faint if you squint and look into the sun line. No discharge.

So far, so good.

But while at work, some more brown discharge. It's almost like I'm getting my periods...

This evening yet some more discharge so we just phoned the clinic (their literature says to phone if you're concerned so I made D phone!) and the nurse said it doesn't mean I'm not pregnant, but if it increases, to phone back tomorrow.

I've cried once since this little blip happened. Otherwise I feel kind of resigned. Today I was looking at the budget and thinking "HOW can we pay for another cycle?"

(I keep telling my little baby bean - you have ME as a parent and I'm a fighter so FIGHT! Shame, poor thing, the pressure!)

Tonight I spent hours reading (happy) infertility blogs - the ones who eventually got pregnant - to encourage me that it WILL happen.

Enough about me. How are you guys doing?

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Infertility support group

My monthly support group on Monday was just fabulous - I felt fertile and like a "real" part of proceedings because I'd entered the secret club of IVF.

Coincidentally my friend who's pregnant with twins was wearing the exact same colours as I was. Of course, I took it as a "sign".

We were a smaller group than usual which was lovely because we could all talk a lot more! One of my friends (who's been encouraging me with text messages) was a bit "off" though - I think she felt left out with all the IVF talk. They can only afford to do theirs next year, around Feb/ March. I tried to draw her out, but nothing. So I'll send her some text messages.

One of the new girls is in the middle of an IVF cycle so we all said next time when we come back, the two of us will be pregnant.

The clinic gave us literature explaining that "there is nothing you can do to control the outcome" and "whether you stress out or relax won't affect the outcome", both of which make me feel a little out of control. Which, of course, I am!

I don't know how I should feel now - on the one hand, I'm trying to block it out but on the other hand, I feel like I don't want to get too excited. It's crazy!

I reconciled the budget today - what I do is a separate spreadsheet called baby. I kept track of exactly what I paid and when. It's so easy to forget how much it all costs when you're paying a bit here and a bit there. These 3 weeks of going through this IVF cycle cost us R34 000 (would have been R37500 if we got the medication from the clinic, and not from the pharmacy). That is crazy!

(BTW, did I tell you guys I'm in South Africa?)

There's no point to this post; I just wanted to keep you guys updated.

Goodnight!

(debbie, can't wait to hear your news!)

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Embryo transfer done!

I can't believe it is DONE!

Surprisingly, I overslept a bit so we were about 10 minutes late. As usual though, the clinic was full of ladies there for scans.

I saw one of the ladies who also had her egg retrieval on Thursday. This was the lady who only got two eggs. It's true about quality over quantity because her two performed beautifully and came through the 3 days, and were also grade A eggs, so they were both transferred.

Now, me.

My one embryo was still beautiful but the other two exhibited some other weird signs, so even though they were behaving properly (as I'd been praying!), he said that they might look like that simply because of the ICSI. We can't be sure that they have actually fertilised normally. In fact, based on past experience (other women), they probably have something wrong with them.

So I'm like, "why don't we transfer them and if they fall off, then we'll know"

But this stopped me in my tracks.

If they transfer a dud, it will negatively affect the beautiful, perfect embryo.

And that we are all not prepared to do.

So they'll let those other two grow for another two days but for now, we have a bun in the oven!

My husband asked him what he was going to do with those two and I said, "they're going to throw our babies away" to which he said, "that's a very emotive statement".

Um, yes. Of course it is!

Anyway, I was just having fun with the doctor. He's not my usual Dr G - this one is very straight-laced and together so I can't resist :)

When we left his office to go to the theatre area, I ran into the third lady. We exchanged quick updates - she also only had 1 fertilised egg out of 5 and says to me, "now we know why we haven't been falling pregnant" which is a good way of looking at it.

I said that I'd see her downstairs but I didn't. I later found out from the nurse that they'd decided to do a day 5 transfer for her.

Now, for all you clever IVF people...why would they do that?

procedure
I drank 4 huge glasses of water before I was ready.

The nurse said, "there'll be slight discomfort" so I gave her my "look" and she laughed when she remembered. We'd had a whole debate on Thursday because in my view, all medical personnel say "discomfort" when in normal English, that means pain!

It wasn't too bad. I must say, after reading Sarah and Shelli's blogs about their transfers, I was a lot more scared.

This was my first time with my feet in stirrups! I was a bit nervous that I'd leak while they were pushing that thing down on my belly. Fortunately I didn't embarrass myself in that way BUT the first speculum flew out so I had to endure the insertion again.

I definitely felt the catheter go in and felt some pain but once they found the right spot it was okay. There was a flash as the embryo was transferred and that was that.

Good luck all around from the nurse, doctor and embryologist, and off I went to have a nice, big pee after reassurance that no, it couldn't "fall out".

So how are you guys doing?

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Progesterone

My friend had progesterone injections in the bum for about 4 - 6 weeks after her transfer.

I was NOT looking forward to that but fortunately, they've given me Cyclogest, vaginal pessaries, 1 in the morning and 1 at night.

The night one is fine because I insert it right before I go to bed, and now that it's been weekend, I do the morning one and then relax in bed with my book and a cup of tea.

It's quite disgusting because it leaks (sorry if that is TMI but this is an infertility blog, right?!) but I'd rather have this than an injection every day.

What kind of progesterone are you getting?

God is a miracle-worker

First of all, thanks so much to all of you for your lovely comments yesterday. I really appreciate it :)

I was SO scared of phoning to find out the state of affairs this morning so I made my husband do it! Of course, I was thinking about it all the time so I was up bright and early (that is NOT me!) about 2 hours before we could make the phone call.

So he phones and...there are not 1, not 2, but 3 good-looking embryos. He kept repeating what they said so I could (kind-of) participate in the conversation and the moment I heard 3, I burst out crying from happiness.

I am amazed! Truly!

My God has come through for me yet again.

When I sent text messages to my 3 friends from the infertility support group, the one messaged back and said "tears are falling down my face at how good God is".

I couldn't have said it better myself.

So tomorrow we have to be there at 7:30 to meet with the doctor and then they put them back. This clinic doesn't put back more than 2 unless the woman is very old or there are lots of other problems. Since that's not me (at all of 34), we'll probably transfer 2.

More tomorrow...

Friday, October 03, 2008

The power of one

Guess what?

Only 1 of those 6 fertilised properly even though they did ICSI on all of them.

Dr G phoned me to say, "since we only got 6, we did ICSI on all of them". So much for "it doesn't matter about the quantity, it's all about the quality of the eggs". But that's why we're with him, right? Because he's a straight shooter!

there is one that they're not sure about - tomorrow or next day will tell more. The rest are duds. Dr G says there might be a sperm quality problem.

I have been crying on and off for the last 2 hours; I am just praying for that one to develop properly and make it to Sunday, and then to implant. I have red, swollen eyes and if it wasn't for my two meetings later, I'd go home because I'm in no place to talk to people.

My DH said, "at least there's one" - oh my word, does he not know that your chances are better with more.

If you pray, please pray for my one little embryo...thanks :)

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Egg retrieval

Amazingly, I woke up easily (probably due to nerves) and we got to the clinic on time (well, 3 minutes early which is UNHEARD of for us).

Got the gowns to change into and was then shown to my bed where I had to fill in the usual forms.

This is now the 6th time I've been under anaesthetic, and only the first was regular stuff (wisdom teeth) because all the rest have been to mess around my womanly bits!

When the nurse took my blood pressure, I asked what it was (119/67) because "it's usually low" and when she told me, she said "it's probably elevated to normal range because you're a bit nervous"

YES - she got it in one!!!!

There were two other ladies there - I'd met the one on Tuesday - and I was first due to the timing of my trigger shot.

I was literally wheeled away, the doctor put in the IV and I woke up in the ward. I can't tell you how relieved I am at that because I was worried that I'd hear things and get more anxious.

They retrieved 6 eggs from my 10 follicles so I woke to find this on my hand:

I was tired so I slept for another 45 minutes and then forced myself awake. They don't let you go until you've eaten something and had a pee, so I had water, tea and some fruit.

By this time, the other ladies were also back and we started comparing notes (terrible!). I had 6 eggs, and the other two had 5 and 2.

I am in absolutely NO pain whatsoever and except for STILL feeling a bit whoozy (8 hours later), you wouldn't even know that my insides had been poked and prodded.

Pray for fertilisation and then for beautiful dividing embryos :)

I've got to phone them tomorrow at 10 to see how my "babies" are doing so I'll report back then.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Tomorrow is the big day

Well...the big day for me.

I am petrified of the "conscious sedation" and really hope I fall asleep - I don't want to hear a THING!

I had my blood test today (some more drama - they couldn't find the nurse and I sat around waiting for 50 minutes!) and tomorrow I have to be there bright and early at 7am!

Which means I have to go sleep - I'm already past the "goal" bedtime I'd set for myself (9:30pm) because like you, Debbie, I need LOTS of sleep :)

So goodnight, everybody, pray for me (and Blythe) tomorrow and for the retrieval of lots of beautiful healthy eggs.

Also paid the last bits of this cycle's money - for the retrieval, ICSI and the embryo transfer on Sunday. It is SCARY how much this is costing - as my husband says, it's only money!

P.S. Christi, I didn't get your email yet - can't wait to read it. It's leigh1010 AT gmail DOT com :)

Drama drama drama

Yesterday while at the clinic the nurse asked if I'd be getting my medication from them or from my pharmacy.

She said phone them and check if they have it first because you've got to have it tonight so nothing can go wrong. Fair enough.

So I phoned and read each of the medications out, dosage and number of boxes, and yes, they had everything.

Later when I got back to work, I faxed the prescription and then phoned and they said they had everything and it was all in order.

I got there at about 5.20 pm and they brought my medicines. Well, while she was tapping away on her computer, I checked everything and they only had ONE of the TWO boxes I needed for the trigger shot.

I pointed this out so she went to look and they had no other boxes. I started freaking out like this - "but this is PRECISELY why I phoned first before I even left the clinic". And "I need that stuff tonight" - I've spent thousands on this thing and it can't go wrong now.

Remember all the normal pharmacies are closed (this one is HUGE) and so is my clinic. So the girl starts phoning every. single. pharmacy within a 30km radius and not one has a box of this stuff (Ovidrel).

So at about 5.45 I phoned the clinic's emergency line and left a message so they could page whoever was on duty. Usually they phone back within minutes but of course, not this time.

I'd vaguely remembered the nurse saying something about Pregnyl so I asked them if they had that. They did!

After 5 minutes, I phoned Dr G himself (even though it was Jewish holidays) and he said I could have 10 000 units of Pregnyl instead. Apparently Pregnyl is better than the other one but is now discontinued so you actually can't get it anywhere.

So that's what I got.

The minute I left the pharmacy I burst into tears - I couldn't believe that it could all come down to this - lack of attention to detail from the pharmacy.

The Ovidrel was going to be mixed and administered subcutaneously but Dr G said this stuff has to be done intra muscularly (in the bum) so he suggested I go to the clinic where I had my laparotomy.

That part all went fine - the nurse jabbed me quickly and relatively painlessly. And on time (7.25) - she said we could be 15 mins early or late but absolutely no later!

Hello Christy

Christy, I've been trying to find a way to email you or comment on your blog, to no avail.

I so appreciate you reading my story and I'd love to reciprocate.

Can you send me your blog address?

Thanks XXX

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

It's hotting up!

Today my follicles were 19mm and 18mm so they are gorgeous and ready!

Tonight we have to do the trigger shot which means I have to go to the pharmacy for some MORE medication.

I'd heard things on the internet (again, bad internet!) that it is a HUGE shot in the bum so was relieved to find that this is the small needle, again in the tummy, or as they say, "administered subcutaneously" LOL

I am feeling heavy down there but then I thought about it and I'm not surprised because remember there are 10 follicles of nearly 2cm each! I'm probably a kilo heavier which is why I have not weighed myself for days (why subject myself to torture?).

So the retrieval happens on Thursday morning. We have to be there bright and early at 7am (dear Lord, how on EARTH am I going to do it?) because they have to take them at 7.30 (it is timed with military precision, apparently). No food or liquids from midnight. I'll be done and awake by 9am.

Then they'll mix it all up, do the ICSI with some and we WILL have beautiful eggs to put back on Sunday. Things are moving so fast now (as my one friend says, "you'll be puking by Halloween")

The nurse today was ABSOLUTELY wonderful. She is the first one that has been so positive..."you're doing so well and blah blah blah on 20 October we're going to do the test and it's going to be positive"

Yesssss! I like that :)

In other news, I ran into a girl from the infertility support group at the clinic which was LOVELY - we caught up before they summoned her - and I "recruited" another one, who is also on her first IVF.

Today's action plan - collect medication, have sex (they told us to do it tonight and then nothing until his "sample" on Thursday because they want fresh, healthy sperm), do the trigger shot and relax.

How are you all doing?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Day 9

Scan update:

It was so cute to see the follicles getting bigger - they are getting to look like real eggs now (at least to my untrained eye).

Today they are at 15mm + (that's what he said)

We are waiting to get them to 18mm and that's when the fun starts :)

I've realised no matter what time I get to the clinic in the mornings I am in for a 45-minute session.

Poor Dr G got to me at 8:30 and I was there at 7:48 and already he looked harried, like he'd had a full day's work :). Then there's the meeting with the nurses and today's injection.

Today I was clever - I started mixing all the goodies while waiting for the nurse to call me back so it all went quickly.

No change in the medication although after tomorrow, I am out and will have to buy some more. I'm hoping that I won't need any.

Something other than babies for a change

Debbie tagged me for the 7 random things tag.



Hmmm?

  1. My absolute favourite drink is a cold glass of water (but no ice-cubes - that's too cold) with a couple of slices of lemon. Yummmy!
  2. I make the best sandwiches EVER. Well, according to me and my husband. I think the secret is I'm adventurous with ingredients, I like trying out different textures and I don't skimp on the fillings.
  3. I'm actually enjoying the mixing of all the IVF medications. I think it's my Chemistry background :) but playing with all these syringes is kind of fun.
  4. When I like something, I buy a LOT of it. For instance, I recently discovered the MOST comfortable panties ever and since I only got two pairs, I went back to buy another 3 pairs in different colours. Which explains my 7 pairs of the exact same socks and my identical bras :)
  5. My favourite movie EVER is My best friend's wedding. No matter how foul a mood I'm in, watching that movie makes me laugh so much. My favourite laughing scene is the one where Kim meets the Rupert Everett character! Love it! And my favourite sad scene is the one right at the end where that lovely song (the way you look tonight) plays.
  6. While we're on the subject of movies, I LOVE movies with beautiful houses. I keep watching Something's Gotta Give just to see that house :)
  7. For such a productive person (me), I love nothing more than to lie around on the weekend, reading a book for HOURS on end. Everything else can wait (eating, showering, cleaning) while I'm absorbed in a good book.

Rules:

1. Link to the person who tagged you
2. Write 7 random things about yourself
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post and link to them
4. Let each person you have tagged know by leaving a comment on their blog

Over to you - Sarah, Blythe, Mindi and whoever else wants to participate :)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Day 7 scan

Just a quick update:

I had 7 follicles in the left ovary and 3 in the right. They are at 12mm (apparently they should grow at about 2mm per day) so the deed will happen this week!

It's so exciting!

Next scan - Monday for day 9 - and hopefully ovaries behaving perfectly :)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Day 4 - a bit of a wobble

Yesterday, we had a bit of a wobble because we couldn't remember how to mix the Luveris and the Gonal-F.

We messed a bit of the liquid and it was not very elegant like it has been up to now.

So I gave the nurse on duty a call and she explained how to do it differently this morning and today it all worked beautifully!

I actually studied Chemistry so all that's coming in useful with all the mixing!

Weird - the things we think of.

The next event happens on Saturday (day 7) when they check if things are happening as they're supposed to.

I'm still feeling very calm about the whole thing.

Amazingly, we're "rewarding ourselves" by going out to eat all the time - we both feel we deserve it. Me, for being a brave girl and DH for being a good Injector LOL :)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Day 2 and the start of the heavy-duty injections

The clinic does the scans between 7:00 and 7:30 in the morning and we only left our house at 7:10!

I think the pressure of driving fast through the traffic helped to keep my mind off the impending injections. That and listening to Praise and Worship CDs in my car.

When we arrived, the waiting room was FULL of people and an entire page was already full of names and I was number 6 on the second page.

That's probably because we were so late.

Anyway, got scanned and my endometrium was 3mm (that's good) and I had no cysts, so it's all systems go.

Went to have a blood test to check progesterone and oestrogen levels.

And then the nurse showed us how to mix all that stuff and administered the first injection.

Now here's where I realise I'm an idiot. The big needle that I was so scared of is only the mixing needle; we use a needle the same size as the Lucrin one for these injections. It's called a 1 mm bore needle.

So the injection was fine - it just leaves a bit of a scar/ welt on my tummy because there's such a lot of liquid to inject and it has to remain on the spot for a long time (compared to the Lucrin).

Things are absolutely fine so far!

So much for 15 days!

From the start of the injections, we calculated and it was supposed to be 15 days. And that's why I said in the last post, 1 down, 14 to go.

Well...it didn't quite work out like that.

I was still on Minulette and my last pill finished on the Monday evening. The nurse said, "your period should start immediately or after 2 days".

My stubborn period waited a WHOLE 5 days - I first saw signs on Saturday afternoon at 1:30.

I actually phoned them on the Thursday to say, "am I abnormal? Why is my period not coming?" (I do realise the craziness of that statement because all I do want is a missed period LOL)

When it arrived, I phoned their emergency paging service and asked the nurse on duty if day 2 was the Sunday or the Monday. It was the Monday, so that's when I had to go in for my scan and start the heavy-duty injections.

So, we did the Lucrin for 10 days before going for the day 2 scan.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Upping the ante and why the internet is BAD

I'm getting my medication from the pharmacy, not from the clinic because it's MUCH cheaper this way, and our medical insurance doesn't cover infertility treatment.

So I went to the pharmacy a couple of days after starting the Lucrin to get the Gonal-F and the Luveris. While he's at the back getting the one medication, I happened to open one of the boxes to see what it all looked like.

My heart started pounding and I thought I was going to pass out at the size of the needle. They were HUGE and I suddenly thought, "I seriously want to stop this treatment now because I can't do this".

Well, I was in a right state that evening and went onto the internet to check it all out.

Big mistake.

There are lots of good things about the internet (I personally would go crazy without it) but looking up medical things is not good. There is too much information and your imagination can go crazy.

Anyway, I landed on the Sperm Jesters blog, clicked through on some Youtube videos where girls were giving themselves the injections and if I wasn't scared before, that scared me like nothing else.

Even the Sperm Jester lady wrote about how she numbs the area, distracts herself with TV and then needs a hot water bottle. Oh my word; this is not good!

Would it surprise you to know that I had a nightmare that evening that a nurse was chasing me with not one, but TWO of those gigantic needles?

Woke up in a cold sweat the next day and that was the first time the Lucrin injection REALLY hurt. I think it was because I was so tense and anxious. I even ended up having a good cry.

The good thing about me is I have excellent powers of "blocking out" things. So I threw all that medication into a bag and put it in a corner of our bedroom and proceeded to block it out until I absolutely needed to deal with it again (on day 2).

Friday, September 12, 2008

I am finally there

We are finally "there". By "there" I mean doing the IVF thing.

It's taken me over a year of thinking about it and it's just over 3 and a half years of trying.

I can't believe how calm I feel.

I guess that I needed all that time to get to this point because I don't feel in the least bit anxious - somehow I know that God's with us on this, whatever the outcome, because I feel His presence.

Today's day 1 of the injection and we went in this morning so the nurse could teach us how to do it. I couldn't even look at it so my hubby did it. And he did it beautifully - much better that the nurse in the hospital.

I hardly felt the needle go in, there was a slight burn and then it was over.

One down, 14 to go!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Preparing for IVF

So my period came earlier than expected which accelerated things.

Had to have an urgent appointment with the fertility co-ordinator - got scanned and everything was fine (whatever they were looking for), and then got a whole SHEAF of forms and everything was explained to us.

The costs are exorbitant - thank goodness for my annual performance bonus which covers 86% of it all. Then someone from our infertility group told us we should get a prescription and buy the medication from the pharmacy and not from the infertility centre. I worked it all out and we can save 20% if we do it this way. Yay!

I have to go on the Pill (weird when you think you're TRYING TO FALL PREGNANT) but at least there's method in the madness.

The injections start on day 18 so have until then to gear myself up!

I do feel that this is the right timing so I'll be fine because I am emotionally prepared (or so I think).

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The quickest way

Well, we had my follow-up appointment today (my birthday, btw) and things went about as I expected.

Dr G repeated some of the information he told me after the surgery .

We got to see pictures of my insides (I had to disassociate because there is nothing more gross for a squeamish person like me than seeing things like that - ughh!) and had the entire explanation.

I had a whole list of questions ready, like...

  • when can we have sex?

  • can I go to gym? and the most important,

  • what is the quickest way to have a baby?


  • So the quickest way is to do IVF, with ICSI. Our sperm are not bad, but since we don't have money to waste, we're prepared to pay extra and do ICSI to make sure some of those eggs fertilise.

    Then the question, "when do you want to start".

    I said, "right now". So off to get scanned but my follicles had already started developing so we have to wait till the next period.

    At least there's a plan!

    Saturday, August 02, 2008

    Stitches!

    Discharge day at long last. Nothing but NOTHING would keep me from being discharged :)

    I didn't sleep well because I kept feeling anxious about the stitches coming out (more later).

    Dr G came nice and early at about 6:00 am, checked the wound and pronounced me fit to be discharged.

    He also told the nurse to remove my stitches. Now all my previous ops were with my old doctor who only removed stitches one week after surgery. At that point they were nice and dry and I hardly felt when she took them out.

    Except for last time's laparotomy. I swear I was feeling totally fine (well, it was a week later so compared to the first couple of days post-op) and then I went to have my stitches removed.

    She placed her hand over the long cut, took one end of the cotton (or whatever they call it) and pulled. OH MY WORD - I have never felt pain like that. Even now, typing, I can still feel it.

    Then I felt like I'd regressed. I was back on those pain meds for that day and about 3 days afterwards.

    Anyway, so the night nurse had too much to do before her shift ended at 7 and she told the new nurse to take them out.

    Before she did, I tried to take some pics and also asked the nurse to take some pics. If you're squeamish, close your browser now!




    Disgusting, I know.

    This nurse took SUCH a long time that I actually started wondering if the quick and painful wasn't better because this was LONG! Anyway, they were out and just to be sure, I took some pain tablets :)

    Oh, by the way, just before Dr G left, he says, "phone the office on Monday to make your follow-up appointment, and let's get you pregnant"

    YES! that put a smile on my face :)

    So the physio came to do her thing (as usual I had no problems), they brought us breakfast, I phoned D to collect me and off I went home.

    I so badly wanted to get out of there that I put on socks and shoes and my sweatshirt over my pajamas - I figured I'm getting right into bed once I get home so why waste time? :)

    Everybody warned me that it was COLD outside and ...it was. I love the cold so it felt SO GOOD to be outside with FRESH air touching my cheeks!

    Thursday, July 31, 2008

    Good times

    Thursday 10 July

    Woke up at the crack of dawn again but no problems sleeping. Didn't even need any painkillers - well, when have I ever had problems sleeping? Maybe 3 times tops in my life!

    Dr G came to see us at 6am again. This time, he said I could have mixed liquids - woohooo - which means something with a bit more substance like yoghurts, proper fruit juices with pulp, etc.

    So for breakfast I had tropical fruit juice, a yoghurt and a small glass of ensure. I am now convinced that "you are what you eat" because finally getting more substantial food inside of me made me feel 10 times better!

    The physio also came and this time I was even more mobile. Really, the only thing impeding my mobility was the stupid drip.

    D brought the laptop cord last night so after all the morning stuff was over, I plugged in my laptop and modem and checked emails at home and at work. The internet speed was SUPER FAST which was so great! I was feeling so good that I even sent out an email to my mailing list which prompted a TON of extra mail with all the well wishes and virtual cards. So nice!

    I caught up on Google Reader and generally spent a good 4 - 5 hours connecting with the outside world via the internet.

    When I got tired, I read some more books...

    My husband warned me that my MIL would be visiting. I hate having visitors when I'm sick and she knows this but of course, it's all about other people, isn't it?

    The only reason why I put up with it this time was because it gave me something to do for the endless hours that stretch on and on while you're confined to a hospital bed.

    I seriously don't know how people do the bed rest thing.

    Lunch was more ensure, another glass of juice and some more broth (which I didn't even bother with). My neighbour's kind husband bought me a lovely yoghurt drink which I had instead and that was absolutely delicious - thick, full of fruit and substantial!

    The visit actually wasn't that bad and she was quite sweet - brought me a HUGE bag of chocolates "I know you only eat Nestle" (actually, I only eat Cadbury's!) and 2 magazines. I was doing NOTHING to make them keep me any longer so I distributed all the chocolates to the nurses, my neighbour and her husband, my other visitors, etc.

    Then I had a delivery of a HUGE bunch of flowers from a friend - soooo sweet of her.

    And my friend came to visit. She confirmed that she was pregnant and later of course, we found out that she is now having twins. Lovely visit - we caught up, I introduced her to my neighbour and we chatted infertility for a while before I closed the curtain so she could rest.

    The nurse then came around to stick the needle in my belly but this time I was prepared and I negotiated beautifully if I do say so myself. No needle in exchange for me walking up and down a couple of times in the ward. Done! The point was to prevent clotting - clotting happens when you lie around and do nothing, so in my mind it was absolutely clear.

    I think I was probably one of the only people ever to have kicked up a fuss about the needles because all the nurses were like, "I heard that you refused the injection. Let me give it to you - I give nice injections". Um, no - thanks, but REALLY, no thanks!

    D popped in after work and we spent a couple of hours kissing and talking. People are always surprised at how affectionate we are after 13 years of marriage. We're actually toning it down in public!

    Supper was yet more ensure and juice, and jelly and custard!

    Read a lot again and then went to sleep.

    Overall a good day and only one sleep before I'm released from "hospital prison" :)

    Monday, July 28, 2008

    3 forms of torture

    Wed 9 July

    An amazing thing happens whenever I've been in the hospital.

    I wake up easily at 5 o'clock! This is SOOO not me as I'm more the 11:00 gal :)

    I woke, was still not allowed to have anything (not even water) until the doctor came to see me, so I just read my book.

    Dr G arrived around 6am, checked my wound and told the nurse that I was allowed to have water and clear liquids.

    So that's what I had the whole day - apple juice (I actually really hate clear juices - I like chunky juices with bits of fruit in them), black tea or coffee (I think I had about 3 sips before just giving up - there is no point to tea or coffee without milk), clear broth and in the evening, a tiny bit of jelly.

    BORING.

    And because I usually eat so well, I was listless and not myself at all. I had absolutely no energy and didn't even feel like talking (then you really know that I'm not well). My poor husband said I looked very pale to which I said, "you would too if you'd had water the whole day!"

    So that's torture 1.

    A lady came to fit us with "beautiful" orthopaedic socks so that we wouldn't have varicose veins from all the bed rest. A complete waste of time in my opinion but as I said, I was not my usual spunky self so I had no fight in me.

    Torture 2 was the physio who arrived at 8.

    The nurse came to us when he arrived and said to press the morphine pump so that it wouldn't be too bad once he started working with us.

    So we did.

    Then she removed the catheter - heaven! Hate those things. Except now we had to keep going to the loo all by ourselves.

    Anyway, the physio started with my roommate who started screaming when he was working with her.

    I'm a big baby anyway with pain so hearing those screams just terrified me.

    The nurse then removed the morphine pump and said to me, "you've hardly had any". Um, yes. Apparently that was very unusual because usually patients pump that thing non-stop.

    (I have the Secret Weapon though - God!)

    When the physio eventually got to me, we did some bed exercises (not too bad), then he made me cough while holding my tummy (more painful but still bearable) and then I had to get up and walk out the ward, down the corridor and back again.

    Again, not too bad except for me having to lug the pole with the drip along with me. They'd put the drip in on my wrist (exactly where your hand bends) and it was so sore. In fact, I'm writing this 2 weeks later and when I touch that spot, it's STILL sore.

    The walk was slow but I was doing well. The worst part was the getting up and sitting down - the actual walk was...well...a walk in the park :)

    He warned us that he would be returning at 4pm to do the same set of exercises all over again. Obviously the second time was easier.


    Then... and this was the worst and final torture.

    The nurse approaches me with a needle and says she's got to give me an injection to prevent the blood from clotting in my abdominal area.

    I'm a bit slow (again, no food will do that to you) so I asked if she was going to stick me in my bum.

    No, right in my abdomen.

    Oh my word - I think I very nearly had a panic attack. Still, I couldn't fight her off so she gave me the injection which was SO MUCH WORSE than I expected and it burned so much. When she took the needle out, I lay in my bed, crying for about 5 minutes.

    This time, my neighbour didn't even make a sound - clearly she was okay with the injection. She told me later that she'd already been through 3 rounds of IVF so she was used to the needle but did say that that nurse gave the worst injections she'd ever had.

    D had brought my laptop, clothes and toiletries before he went to work so I was able to change from that horrible hospital gown. I could also check my Google Reader until the battery ran out (I didn't have the cord with me) but then it was back to reading and sleeping.

    D visited again in the evening for about 45 mins.

    And that was the end of the first day in the hospital - only 2 sleeps before I can go home!

    Friday, July 25, 2008

    Twins!

    Oh my word - the most exciting thing EVER happened today.

    My good friend C had her first complete IVF a month ago. When I was waiting to go into surgery, she tried to phone me so I knew she had the results of her pregnancy test. I couldn't take calls in that ward of 19 ladies (!) so I sent her a quick text message to say I'd call her in the evening.

    Well, she was PREGNANT!!!! Huge excitement :)

    Today she had her first scan and sent me a text that read, "it's twins".

    I jumped on my phone immediately - I am SOOOOOO happy for her.

    So when D got home I told him and he says, "can we have one?"

    !

    Tuesday, July 22, 2008

    When I woke

    The first person I saw when I woke was Anaethetist Dr G saying, "Dr G had to do a laparotomy instead of just the laparoscopy".

    Remember I couldn't speak because they stick that tube down your throat but I do have a very expressive face so I must have started freaking out because he says, "don't worry; Dr G explained everything to your husband"

    More of a freak out because I'm thinking, "What happened? Did they find cancer? Did they remove my womb? What???"

    Then I got really sleepy again because I vaguely remember hearing a nurse say to me, "we're going to fetch your things and take you to the ward because you're staying till Friday"

    Well, they wheeled me up two floors and at least I had a lovely spot in the corner with a beautiful view of a golf course. (You've got to look on the bright side!)

    When I woke the 2nd time, D was there and I still couldn't speak AND they told me I couldn't have any water or anything but later, if Dr G approved, I could suck on some ice.

    Woohoo! (that's me being sarcastic) I mean really now, what will ice do?

    D couldn't give me all the technical details I demanded but apparently, they didn't remove anything they weren't supposed to. Something about my bowel and ovary.

    Anaethetist Dr G then walked in with his credit card machine (still a huge source of amusement for us); D paid him and I found when I read the statement that I was operated on for 100 minutes. My word - that's a long time!

    When Dr G came to check on me (and my room-mate) about an hour later, he said I could suck on some ice and he would check on me again the next day. By this time, it was early evening, about 7 or 8pm. I could only croak because my mouth was soooooo dry!

    My ovary was attached to my bowel (I've had that before with my 2nd laparoscopy in 2004) and because they wanted to be sure to not nick it (as it's so delicate a procedure), they cut me open to fix it properly. Which is fine except I now had to stay til Friday (3 nights in a hospital bed).

    The lady next to me had also had a laparotomy and was crying out continually because she was in LOTS of pain. Anaethetist Dr G gave both of us morphine drips - I was very concerned about overdosing but the good doc explained how it will only dispense a certain number of ml every 5 minutes no matter how much you press the button. Very good!

    I was quite keen on this morphine drip because the last time I had an op (Nov 2007), I was in pain during the night and couldn't even reach the nurse's panic button. So I tried once with him there, it beeped to show it was working properly and i was set.

    I sent D home shortly thereafter so I could sleep. Of course I had a catheter in (yuck) so I didn't have to bother myself with bathrooms and so on :)

    Monday, July 21, 2008

    Surgery no. 4

    The surgery happened on Tuesday 8 July and I was meant to be at the clinic at 10:15 am so they told me to eat nothing after 12.

    Of course that meant that my last meal was at 7:45 straight after gym, and I made pancakes after that which I had at 8:30. I continued drinking coffee and water until 11:55 :)

    The next morning, I got up at a leisurely pace, showered and shaved (yes, down there) and dressed in a track suit (their "loose-fitting clothes). I was sure to take a bottle of water with me because already I was parched. I easily get through 2L of water a day besides tea and coffee so it's really hard to not have anything.

    Grabbed my ID and all the doctors forms (their office faxed me 9 pages of stuff) and off we went. Got down there with about 5 minutes to spare and "checked in" very quickly, probably due to the 9 pages of stuff I'd completed and signed beforehand.

    Then the receptionist says, "come with me, I'll take you through", pushes open a door leading from reception and I'm right in the ward! Freaky and very weird. No corridors or anything!

    The nurse showed me my bed and then said to come with her so I could change into those "beautiful" hospital gowns. Of course, they're one size fits all and I'm quite small so even properly tied, the gown was falling off me and I had to hold it to protect my modesty :) since most of the ladies were accompanied by their husbands.

    You leave all your stuff (hard for me; I like my things around me) in a locker and then traipse through the ward, barefoot and clutching the huge gown (oh wait - that was only me) and the locker key. I literally was allowed my book and my glasses. No watch (crazy for me - I look at it MANY times a day).

    We'd intended for my husband to stay with me until they wheeled me away but they were taking so long (I think I remember asking the time when I was eventually fetched and it was about 1:30 - 1:40) so I told him to go to work. Of course by this time I was STARVING which in a way was good because I was no longer nervous, I just wanted this OVER so I could EAT!

    Priorities!

    In my defence, I eat ALL THE TIME (healthy, small meals) so by that time I would normally have had breakfast, a fruit, and lunch, and of course, about a litre of water and probably a cup or two of tea :)

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    an aside...

    I love people watching. It was so interesting to watch all the ladies in the ward - some by themselves, some with kids, some whose husbands were working on their laptops. I got to see some women leave after their ops - the one lady put on her jeans straight away (I tried not to be envious but I failed!), the one walked out with her hubby, some woke up starving (that will be me, I thought)

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    So the anaethetist came to see me and he says, "I'm Dr G and I'll be taking care of you while Dr G's operating" He then explained EXACTLY what he was going to do (I love that - I'm such a control freak). The weird thing is this guy was walking around with his CREDIT CARD MACHINE - freaky - getting his payment from other ladies' husbands who were awake.

    I told my husband, D, "if I die, you are NOT going to pay him a single cent" - always looking after the money :)

    Anyway, so they fetched me and took me to surgery.

    My doctor said when he saw me, "Hi. How are you feeling?"

    I remember saying, "Nervous. Thanks for asking" to which he said, "oh, you'll be fine" and then the anaethetist said something like, "you'll feel a slight burn and then in about 30 seconds, you'll be out"

    And I was!

    Sunday, July 20, 2008

    This and that

    So we checked on what our medical aid would pay for the laparoscopy and .... turns out only 32% is covered. The rest is for our own account.

    Since this one is not too bad compared to the whole IVF thing, I don't feel so bad.

    I keep telling myself it's okay to pay "expert prices" for health-related expenses.

    So I waited for my period and booked my place in the operating queue. He only operates straight after your period because he wants to make sure you're not pregnant.

    This was meant to be a laparoscopy but turned out to be a laparotomy (big Caesar cut) because of some complications.

    Anyway, because of that, I told my work that I'd be off for about 5 - 6 days and now it's turned out to be 3 - 4 weeks. Good thing I have job issues at the moment because I honestly don't care when I go back :)

    I always get really scared before an op but this time I didn't have the luxury of being scared because I had to give a talk to 50 women the day before so I was all focussed on the preparation and doing the actual talk, and couldn't stress :)

    (The talk went wonderfully, thanks for asking).

    I'll tell you what happened in the next post!

    Wednesday, July 16, 2008

    Lock up the knives

    Today my cleaning lady says to me “where’s your baby?”

    I thought my heart was going to stand still.

    She was looking at pictures of my sister's child.

    So I said, "Oh, that'’s my sister’s child".

    Then she says “Marcia, why don’t you have babies? Don’t be late” at which point I stabbed her with the nearest knife.

    No I didn’t – I just felt like it :)

    I actually just ignored her because I was speechless!

    It just starts to feel okay and then something like this happens.

    Monday, June 16, 2008

    My eyes are burning from all the crying

    I found a link to this blog on Friday night and have spent HOURS reading each and every post since Angie started her blog in January.

    This family is SOOO precious. Through all the tears, I've felt closer to my God than I have in months. Angie is a really good storyteller and you will love reading about her family.

    Go read some more about Audrey and do keep the tissues handy...seriously!

    Sunday, June 15, 2008

    cuteness

    Two weeks ago I went for my usual appointment for a face peel.

    As I was leaving, I walked along the corridor and saw a little girl of about 3/ 4 dancing in the doorway of (I think it was) the dentist's office.

    She looked so happy and alive that I smiled at her and we said "hello".

    Then she holds out a hand full of folded up paper and tells me to take one.

    So I did.

    And I thanked her.

    She then says to me, if you hold it over your head, it'll make your hair curly.

    (talking her own brand of nonsense as only little girls do :))

    That little bit of encouragement and laughter made me think, I can't wait to have my own curly-haired little one, talking nonsense to me.

    Thursday, May 29, 2008

    The verdict

    Well, the verdict's in.

    I have blocked tubes on both sides - that's probably why that HSG was so painful!

    This doctor says that the sperm morphology is not a problem "we can work with what we have here".........em, okay :)

    But the tubes have to be unblocked. Clearly they got that way since the last laparoscopy in 2004 because on my file notes then, everything is still clear.

    So he wants to do yet ANOTHER laparoscopy and I'm due to have it done this month. However, they are contracted out of the medical aids which means you pay upfront and claim back later and then the medical aid company will only pay a portion back to you. These guys charge double what my other gynae charged (just in consultation fees) so I'm sure the surgery fees are going to be just as exorbitant.

    I have delegated to my husband to check into it with the medical aid to find out how much they will actually pay before I go ahead and book anything.

    So that's the latest state of affairs.

    Sunday, March 16, 2008

    Goals

    this year we decided to take some action and go see someone else to get a proper opinion of the situation once and for all.

    after discussing with my friend, and also explaining the type of person I'm looking for (straightforward, open and to the point), my friend told me to go to her (expensive) clinic, even if just to get the initial consults.

    so that's what I did.

    I phoned around mid-Jan and only got an appointment on 20 Feb.

    In preparation, we had to complete a 9-page document (!) and get any and all copies of our files at the gynae and the other place.

    So we got there and immediately I liked the new guy, Dr G.

    He went through the file in detail, asking questions here and there to clarify things.

    Then he examined me with THE PROBE (disgusting and horrible) and a normal internal. I really HATE those things.

    Immediately afterwards, we had to both go get blood tests and then I had to go back on day 2 and 3 of my next period for more blood tests.

    DH had to get another sperm test and I had to have an HSG x-ray. I was naive in not googling it because it was SOOOO horrible and sore. On the bright side, maybe it was good I didn't google it because I probably would have been scared off.

    When I asked my friend why she didn't tell me it was so horrible, she says hers wasn't bad. So I said, well then that probably means something ELSE is wrong!!! Oy!

    Anyway, long story short means that the follow-up consult after the 4 blood tests, sperm test and HSG x-ray is this Thursday when we finally get THE VERDICT.

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