Nothing To Say

I feel like I don't have much to give in the way of blogging right now. These past few weeks have dragged on like crazy, and I am no closer to my next IVF cycle in any way, shape or form. As is usual for me, I've got no signs of ovulation whatsoever and I'm just so over this whole rubbish.

The pregnancy announcements are coming out of the woodwork right now, and I'm completely wrecked with each one. Every excited blog post, or text message, or facebook announcement, or forum post is just another dagger; it's just another reminder of everyone else so easily achieving what I can't. And when people who have been TTC for as long, or longer than me, announce their own pregnancies? I am happy... but I'm also devastated.

I am so tired of being on this side of the fence. I'm so tired of being positive and cheerful for everyone else, when I'm dying on the inside with every one. I'm sick of pretending to be okay when I see accidental pregnancies happen, when I hear people complain about their kids, when lucky ladies who only started trying in 2012 have already seen those two pink lines appear.

I feel numb.

Today is CD16 and I've got nothing to report. 9 days of Highs on the CBFM & not a positive OPK in sight. If I get no signs of ovulation by CD22 (the latest I ever O'ed on Clomid previously was CD21) I'm taking Provera and ending this whole, time-wasting cycle. Don't even get me started on the agony of doing another long down-regulation IVF, because it means that nothing is going to happen around these parts for a really long time. My womb is staying barren for a long while yet.

The only saving grace I have right now is Jase - and the fur babies. The kitties let me smother them in cuddles, and Spencer pup is a crazy happy ball of energy. They make my bad days that little bit better.

Introducing... Spencer

Our baby boy is home - and he's so handsome! Meet Spencer, our chubby little Golden Retriever puppy.

It's safe to say I am totally smitten already. There is nothing sweeter than puppy breath and I am so, so looking forward to him growing up with our little family. I'm more ridiculously happy right now than I can say.

ICLW - Welcome!

A big hello to everyone stopping by from ICLW {otherwise known as International Comment Leaving Week}

If you're new to these parts, here's our history. In short? We've been TTC for 17 months, and haven't even come close to falling pregnant. I have PCOS and anovulatory cycles & we've got some lovely male factors thrown in on top of that. Our fertility specialist gave us the option to do either IUI or IVF - but since we both have issues, we opted to head straight for IVF.

Our first round was unsuccessful & we got our BFN on Mothers Day - not a great day for it. I was on a low dose of FSH (due to my specialist being worried about hyper stimulating my cystic ovaries) and I only ended up with 10 follicles. At egg collection, only 5 were picked up. Out of those 5, only 3 were mature. 2 out of the 3 fertilised, and we had only one strong 8-cell embryo at Day 3, which we transferred.

We're current in an off-month, waiting for a few weeks to see if I have a natural period before we can try again for IVF #2. I'm praying that with a few adjustments, we might have more luck next time around.

And that's us, in a nutshell! :)

Money & Numbers

We got our Medicare Australia rebate back from our recent IVF cycle, and it has made me realise just how blessed we are to live in this country. Sure, it's got its faults - what country doesn't? But at least, for now, they give back a percentage of what we paid up front to help cover the costs of infertility treatment.

It doesn't make it okay, spending thousands of dollars per procedure (especially when it doesn't work) and it doesn't help to hear super fertiles tell you to 'just go again!' without thinking of the costs involved. I still find it ridiculously unfair that we should have to pay to make a baby, when it comes naturally to others. That part is hard to swallow, regardless of how much we're paying.

But our rebate is something - something more than what a lot of other countries provide. It breaks my heart that there are so many other infertiles out there who would love so desperately to take the step into IVF, but simply cannot afford to do it. So for today, even though I'm still hurting from the negative result and from the credit cards bills, I'll be happy about the small things & be grateful that I got the chance at all.

The Post-IVF Specialist Appointment

This morning I met with Dr. F to go and run-through our first IVF cycle. (Have I mentioned how much I love this doctor? She's awesome. I turned up about 45 minutes early for my appointment, and she squeezed me in so I wouldn't have to wait around. How nice is that?)

She gave me her comments based on the notes from our first cycle:

  • 5 eggs - she wants this to increase to 10 next time. Not huge steps, but enough to have some to play with.
  • The 3-day transfer I had was something she was hoping we could avoid.
  • I stopped responding to 125 of Puregon at a crucial moment.
  • Out of my 5 eggs, only 3 were mature & healthy. 2 were 'black' eggs, meaning that they weren't formed properly. She wants to keep an eye on egg quality next time around.
  • That means, they only selected 3 eggs to actually take their chances with fertilisation. 2 fertilised, from the 3. That's not bad odds! I was so worried (thinking we'd only had 2/5 fertilise) and she thinks that ICSI wouldn't be beneficial just yet - with more eggs to choose from, we should still have good fertilisation.
  • She was worried about the pain I was in from my egg collection - sedation didn't seem to respond. She's made a note to give me a slightly higher dose next time, but is being cautious as she doesn't want me to have breathing/regulation problems.
So where do we go from here? As soon as I get my next period, we can go ahead for another long-down reg cycle. Meaning it's the full hog, again. We do have some new protocol changes for IVF #2:
  • Continue on Metformin & if I don't ovulate this cycle, take Provera to induce a period.
  • Three weeks of birth control pills... followed by Lucrin (an injection) rather than Synarel (the evil, evil nasal spray that I took last time)
  • I'm to take 175 Puregon for 4 days, reduce to 150 for 3 days - then monitor through bloods. She thinks giving my ovaries a huge kick at the beginning should see them produce better oocyte amounts.
  • Trigger shot is going to be pushed back to 38 hours before collection. She thinks that the standard 36-hour we went with last time, didn't give my stubborn ovaries a chance to fully mature the eggs before collection. 38 hours will give them a little more time to develop, but without letting them go too far.
  • I need more progesterone. I'll be on Crinone again, but with additional progesterone pessaries too. Oh joy!
Interestingly, she told me not to get my hopes up to have frozen embryos during my cycle. Frozen cycles have a great success rate with naturally ovulating women - but Dr. F reminded me that even if we DID have frosties survive the thaw, I would need to GET there by medicating. She thinks if I'm going to be medicating to induce ovulation, it's more beneficial for me to do the full stim cycles & see how we go. I kind of agree with her; except for the cost factor. But them's the breaks, I guess.
I'm happy to have a plan. Hopefully I'll ovulate this cycle & get a natural shot, but otherwise.. looks like late June.

And Now For Some Good News!

I have to apologise for the fact that this blog has felt more than a little glum lately. It's only natural, since the failed IVF has been pretty much the only thing on my mind... but there are still good things happening around us, too.

I mentioned it a few weeks ago, but we are counting down the days until we can bring home our dog! The cats aren't going to know what's hit them, that's for sure - but I'm hoping with lots of interaction & inside visits, they'll get along well {or at least tolerate each other} in the future. Oscar is a mellow cat, but Evie is ridiculously skittish.

I've always wanted a Husky, Jase wanted a Labrador. We both agreed on a 'big dog' since it's important to us to get out and go for walks. After lots of research, and after letting our turf settle in the backyard, we decided on a Golden Retriever. I had contacted a few breeders in the past, and had asked to be on Litter Watch 2012. Wouldn't you know it, but a litter was born in early April, just local to our home.

We visited them at 4 days old, then again last week and have been waiting since then to bring a little guy home.

I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to bringing Sir Puppers home with us. It's a welcome distraction that's coming at the perfect time - I'm getting prepared for vaccinations, long nights crying, and puppy pre-school. I am ridiculously excited for puppy breath. I am so, so ready to be a mama - even to another fur-baby. My animals are so important to me... bringing home the dog will complete our little family, for now.


To My Infertile Friends on Mothers Day

Getting my official negative pregnancy test on Mother's Day has been the hardest part of this IVF process so far. If you've followed my journey, you'll know that I was trying to numb the pain by being ridiculously prepared - but for all my efforts, it still hurts. It hurts a lot. I feel like I've failed, again, let everybody down.

I was driving home late at night a few days ago when I heard a song. I hadn't cried yet, haven't officially acknowledged the fact that this cycle is over. I sang along, top of my lungs, pretending to be Adele, and realised halfway through that I had tears streaming down my face. It's time to move on.
So to all my people, to everyone who's hurting today, to my online & blogging friends who are struggling, or have gone through disappointment or heartache, to the incredible support system of incredible women who are selfless enough to lend support to others in the midst of their own sadness, to those who have graduated and are expecting great things of their own, to the wonderful ladies in my life {love you mum/nan} ...  this one is for you.
Somewhere between the end and the point where we begin,
There's a fire burning brightly, that's found it's way to dim.
When the feeling's gone, shine on, shine on and on to something new,
It's long and overdue, I will remember you.
Shine on, shine on and let the others see
You've got your victory - will you remember me?

So I'll take just one more step in front of you,
For I am with you still - and you're not alone.
Shine on, shine on and on to something new,
It's long and overdue, I will remember you.
Shine on, shine on and let the others see
You've got your victory - will you remember me?

10dp3dt

Yeah, you guessed it. Negative. But it's ok! I'm ok. It'll be ok.

I should probably clarify something here, which I've forgotten to mention. Most IVF clinics apparently book people in for beta testing, to check hCG levels and confirm a negative/positive pregnancy from the cycle. Mine does not. After our embryo transfer, we were handed a two-pack of pregnancy tests, and told to test on May 13th & May 15th.

That's that.

So, I'll consider us officially out based on what those two pregnancy tests say. I know I've considered myself 'out' for a while now, but I've felt that way for a really long time. Call it a gut instinct, or just a defence mechanism.

Hanging out for the weekend, just to relax - but also dreading Mothers Day. Can't we just hit fast forward?

9dp3dt

9dp3dt = BFN.

I made a bit of a concession; I only peed on an el cheapo stick today. Sick of the laughingly obvious single lines on the First Response sticks. At least with the internet cheapies, I can pretend it's more ambiguous. (It's not.)

I had some spotting last night after I inserted the Crinone applicator. It continued overnight, and I noticed it more this morning. All day, I had this feeling that I was bleeding, that I needed to go to the bathroom - not an easy feat when you're a teacher and are stuck with your kids for long periods at a time! Despite the feeling though, I've not had any spotting today. I feel gross, but the progesterone must be keeping it at bay for now.

It's getting harder now. A mum at work brought her two-week old newborn in for cuddles today, and he was absolutely precious - such a good baby. Another of my parents (from last year) just annouced she is 12-weeks along, with her fifth baby. And a colleague's daughter went into labour today and is expecting her little boy in the next few hours. I'm surrounded by so much beautiful news, but I'm just wanting to stay home and hide from everyone.

But, I'll be okay. I always am. I'm trying to think ahead - I'm going to do my best to will the next few months away until we're ready to get on with IVF#2, if finances allow it. And in 17 days time, I'll become a momma - to this little guy {or one of his brothers}. If that's not something positive to look forward to, I don't know what is.

{Photo taken by Kirby}

8dp3dt

8dp3dt = BFN. I had high hopes to keep on peein', but I just don't think I can do it anymore.

Unfortunately, the odds aren't in my favour. I know too many people who have cycled around similar time frames during this IVF and who have already had their two double lines appear. Statistically, it's just not going to happen - someone needs to be negative, and I'm pretty sure this is me signing out on this cycle.
You can squint as much as you like (I know I have) but there's one line. We're negative, and we're staying negative.
I have started getting phantom symptoms, which I think is completely rubbish. I've gone through this TWW feeling totally normal, especially now that the egg pickup/transfer is all in the past. Yesterday I had a raging headache, and I've not been able to shake it all of today either. I have a sharp, shooting pain in my right nipple - but only my right one. I'm tired, I'm ready to weep at the drop of a hat, and I'm a freaking hot mess.
I've made it this far, I wonder if I should keep testing? A part of me says no, wait, do the mandatory clinic pee sticks on the 13th & 15th - but the other part of me still says to do it daily, so I can be damn sure this cycle is over. Waiting until the weekend and continuing to hope just seems like it'll hurt more to be brought back down to Earth.

7dp3dt

7dp3dt = BFN. A shiny, transparent pee stick.

I just realised that my 'days past transfer' lines up with the date of the month. Ha! That is kind of awesome.

I'm worried this is the real deal now, that we're negative. So many people have noted that they've seen their first positives, albeit super faint ones, at 10dpo. I've got nothing. I've still got no symptoms, I'm feeling normal again, which makes me think I'm waiting around for AF to arrive. (Which, I've heard, is often stalled by using Crinone) so I may have a lot of waiting (with BFN's daily) until she gets here.*

The hardest part of this is going to be letting people know. Our families have been hanging out to know the outcome. My work colleagues are wonderful, and ask me how I'm going/feeling/faring regularly. And Jase. When the time comes to officially count ourselves out, I'm going to be a mess - and he's going to be sad and disappointed too, as well as have to pick me up off the bathroom floor from the weepy puddle I'll surely become.

Anyway, we still have a few more days left to hold out hope for. I've kept everything crossed for so long that I'm starting to have dodgy circulation, so if you've got any positive wishes left, we'll take 'em! :)

*And yes, I know I'm still early to be testing. Sucker for punishment, right here.

6dp3dt

6dp3dt = BFN.

I still don't regret doing this pee stick experiment. Seeing one line is never a nice thing, but it's definitely getting a little easier to bear. I realised this morning that I was being a little selfish, that I was doing this for me, so that I would be ok with the event of a failed IVF cycle.

This morning, I sat down with Jase and told him my fears, that I had this horrible feeling we wouldn't be lucky this time time around. He was okay, just gave me a hug and a kiss on the forehead and told me not to give up hope.

Yes, it's still early. I'm just... resigned. I can't describe it - I just want this to be over. I want this to be a positive so, so much. I want to be one of those amazingly lucky women who gets her BFP after the first IVF cycle. I want to beat the crappy odds we've had through this cycle, from a rubbish egg pickup, to terrible fertilisation rates, to our one miracle embryo. But, realistically? I can't get fully on board with it. I'm not that person. I don't get lucky like that.

I will keep plugging away. I won't give up hope. But I'll be ready for this massive disappointment, if it comes.

5dp3dt

5dp3dt = BFN. (Expected, but the trigger is most definitely out of my system now.)

I have no symptoms**. I spent yesterday in bed with the most horrific stomach bug I've ever had. I had no energy, felt so ill - but woke up this morning, bright and early, chipper as anything. My stomach bloat disappeared, my mood brightened, and I spent the day in a brilliant mood.

I also bought a whole stack of First Response tests. And so begins the crazy pee-stick journey.

** You know how some people have a gut feeling that they're pregnant? I have a gut feeling that I'm not. I promise I'm not being negative, I just... don't think this was our time. Please, miracle embaby, prove me wrong.

3dp3dt

This is the longest two week wait ever. That is all.

1dp3dt

After the embryo transfer yesterday, I spent the rest of the day chilling out in bed and trying to take it easy. J had gone back to work for a little while, so it was just me & the kitties. And Scully and Mulder.
I'm blessed with my two cats. Oscar has always been a big teddy bear, happy to let you pick him up and give him all kinds of love. Evie, while still very timid with strangers, is the most snuggly cat I've ever met. 
As soon as I lay down to rest, both of them jumped up on the bed with me. Oscar planted himself at my feet and proceeded to snore away the afternoon. Evie though, hopped up on my tummy and lay there for hours. She literally did not move from that one spot. From my angle, it looked a little like this:
As she lay there, she purred. Her whole teeny body was vibrating, and I felt it (in a non pervy way) reverberating all around my abdomen. It was the most calm feeling, and it was such a lovely way to relax after the stress and drama of the last weeks of IVF treatment. I kind of wish I could spend the entire TWW that way.

We were joking about it earlier, and J suggested that it might be because she knows something we don't. I think he's being crazy optimistic since we don't even know how this will turn out, but I love him all the same for thinking it.





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