The Best Birthday Gift Ever

This text message:

'Good news! 3 eggs have fertilised normally. We have booked an embryo transfer appointment for you on 4/8/12 at the fertility clinic. See you then!'
OH MY EFFING GOD.
3/3! J's second sample must have been super swimmers. Now to keep praying that we get some holding out until Saturday... we're going for our first ever five-day transfer. (That makes my tummy a little nervous.)
This makes turning 28 that little bit sweeter. Oh, thank the heavens. Please keep growing, wee embies.

3

Man, I feel like our luck just keeps going from bad to worse. Why is IVF proving so rubbish for us?

The doctor doing the egg retrieval was pretty good today! I still didn't fully relax, but it was a LOT less painful this time around. Sedation and I don't go well together. While that was good, as was his IV skills, unfortunately, they only retrieved 3 eggs.

I was feeling ok (since 3 out of the 4 follicles they'd told me about wasn't too bad) but then we had bad news from hubby. His first sample didn't have enough motile swimmers, so he was asked back for a second sample. We had to wait about an hour to see a scientist (apparently they have meetings on Monday?) and my cheerful post-op nature suddenly turned to tiredness. To top it all off, the scientist was a bit flippant with us, which led me to burst into tears in the exam room.

Basically, the sperm weren't motile, even from the second sample, that we have now been swapped from IVF to ICSI. Knowing that not every egg is mature, we're looking at 1-2 fertilising IF we're lucky.. so no frosties again, and no 5-day transfer (unless the gods deem us lucky and have 3 from 3 fertilise - not likely).

She then said something about 'oh, next time I'm sure you'll get 20 eggs!' and I just lost it. I'm so tired of this whole 'next time around' thing. It sucks. I don't WANT there to be a next time around. I want eggs to play with, not to stress out about for the next 24 hours to see if we have ANY left at all. I want to get to blast @ day 5, but the reality is looking like a 3-day again, if we get there.

Sorry for the blah news, but I'm just disappointed. Aren't the IVF rounds supposed to get BETTER as you go on, not worse? I just hope the news we get tomorrow, on my 28th birthday, isn't all bad.

Update: The fertility centre just rang, and said J's second sample was much better after it was washed, so they're reverting back to regular old IVF. Now the wait is on to see how they go tomorrow.

Pre-Retrieval Ramblings

The trigger last night was as easy as pie. After two rounds of injections, I've discovered an easy spot on my tummy.

I wonder if tomorrow will hurt as much as it did the first time around? I'm going to make sure I mention the fact that the sedation didn't work - but I don't know what else they can do.

Have my eggs grown since Friday? I don't know. I'm bloated, I'm tired, I'm tender. But I'm also being realistic. Even though there were 4 large ones, that doesn't necessarily mean all will contain eggs. I guess time will tell.

Hubby has a cold, so I'm now worried that things might not be so great with his part of the deal.

I'm going to load up my new Kindle (huzzah - an early birthday pressie!) with some books for the waiting around tomorrow pre & post-retrieval. I need more suggestions. Any ideas?

IVF #2 Grab 'n Stab: Day 9

So, I have some not-so-great updates for IVF #2. First up, some levels from the past few days.

Wednesday (Day 7 of stims) - E2: 2373 & Progesterone: 2.5
Friday (Day 9 of stims) - E2: 3557 & Progesterone 3.5

All looking good on that front, so that made me happy. :) Last time at day 9, I was only at 1898, so I'm going to hope that means the follicles are much more mature this time around? That's got to be good.

As for this morning's appointment, I was a hot mess. The lab technician dug around in my arm something fierce to find a vein, and I've got a lovely bruise to show for it. As for the ultrasound, I was desperately wanting to see higher numbers than last time around - especially since I've felt so huge and bloated.

Unfortunately, the scan showed only 4 follicles over 14mm, and 10 follicles over 10mm, though not by much.

4.

Seriously? Are you freaking kidding me?

I must have looked really disappointed this morning, because this afternoon I got a phone call from Dr. F personally - checking in on me and seeing how I'm doing. My levels are ok. She told me not to worry, gave me the quality over quantity speech, and said that if we're lucky, 1 or 2 of the smaller follicles might catch up over the weekend. I understand she's being positive, but still, it's hard to stay positive about this round (even this early on) when my options are so limited.

Egg retrieval is scheduled for Monday at 9am. I trigger tomorrow night, with a 38 hour window to hopefully let my eggs mature that little bit more. God only knows how many they'll find at retrieval, but I'm scared.

IVF #2 Grab 'n Stab: Day 7

Oy, am I feeling bloated tonight or what?

I'm feeling sore, huge, a little gross. I remember having a similar feeling from last time around - feeling like I need to pee all the time, and feeling a lot of pressure afterwards. I hope this means that my ovaries are responding well.

I had my first blood draw this morning, with a great lab technician! My left arm has never had any good veins, so we're stuck with just the right to use - and it's a deep vein. Thankfully, she nailed it in one. My clinic isn't the kind to ring constantly for chats; their motto is that no news is good news.

Since I didn't get any calls this afternoon, I'm just going on ahead as per the original schedule. We'll know more how things are looking at Friday morning's ultrasound. If you've got a few spare good thoughts, keep your fingers crossed for some big, healthy follicles for me!

IVF #2 Grab 'n Stab: Day 4

It's already time for another ICLW - wow, did that go by fast or what? Hi to everyone stopping by. To give you a brief summary, we're getting to the fun part of our second IVF cycle. Our first was back in April - I had a pretty average response, with only 5 eggs collected. Of the 3 that were mature, 2 fertilised, and only 1 developed, so I had a 3-day transfer which didn't take.

I'm on Day 4 of my Puregon injections - and I'm already feeling things happening with my dodgy ovaries. In the last cycle, I felt twinges at around day 5. This time around, my dose has gone from 125 to 175 and I'm wondering if that's why I'm feeling things a bit earlier. Tomorrow, I go down to 150 ... and I'll stay on that dose until our blood draws and ultrasounds next week.
I've got a strange feeling about this cycle. I'm hopeful that things will work out differently, and praying that I respond better this time around. I'm wondering if we'll get lucky at egg collection, if we'll maybe have a chance to get some frozen embryos this time. It's all speculation of course, but I'm keeping fingers crossed.

See how he grows!

I've had a few requests for more Spencer updates, and I am happy to oblige! :) Oh, this dog.

He is an absolute joy to have around; I've never seen my husband smile and laugh quite so much as when he's playing with his dog. It's a joy to watch. Spencer is a good boy; your typical golden retriever. He adores meeting new people, and seems to recognise regular visitors, which is awesome. He digs holes, he chews everything that moves, he's a puppy! He's growing at a really rapid rate. (All muscle... and fluff.)

We've been taking him to a puppy class, which will lead into a beginner's obedience class, which eventually turns into quite rigorous training. I think we'll keep him there until he's at least six months old, because he's learning a lot - and he's getting much better with meeting other dogs. He spent the first class with his head hidden under our legs, and was terrified by the other young puppies and their excited barking. Thankfully, we've had some more progress with him over the weeks, and he's learning how to be a social, happy little man.

In the meantime, here's a photo walk-through, showing just how fast he's growing from puppy to big dog.

8 weeks:
9 weeks:
10 weeks:
11 weeks:
12 weeks:
13 weeks:
14 weeks:
15 weeks:
He'll be 4 months old this weekend, and I'll take another updated picture. Seriously, he's getting cuter by the second.

Round 2 Is Kicking My Butt

I have to apologise for the doom and gloom around these parts lately. I'm really in a strange place right now. On the one hand, I'm really calm and mellow about this cycle. I know what to expect, I'm feeling good.

But on the other hand, this cycle feels like it has more at stake. More sadness, if it doesn't take. More waiting around if it does, waiting to see how long we wait before we try again. It's affecting me at work too; I feel preoccupied, that I'm just going through the motions. I'm doing the best I can, but it feels a little harder this time.

Tomorrow is the start of double injections. Lucrin has been going fine; now we're adding in the Puregon. Last cycle, I took 125 each day. This time, I'm taking 175 x 4 days, then dropping to 150 for several more. The goal is to get a better response than last time, but not to get TOO high, as I'm still at a higher risk for hyper stimulation thanks to my stupid bung ovaries. It's time to cross my fingers and hope my reproductive organs do their job properly.

Don't Mind Me, I'm Hormonal

Despite the calm feelings that I'm experiencing early on in IVF #2, I've been a complete basket case today.

It all started because I started researching into adoption statistics - something I'm not going to allow myself to do any more. It's not because I don't want to adopt (because I would, in a heartbeat); it's because the Australian system for adoptions is completely soul destroying, and I honestly don't know if I could endure it. I watched a few documentaries on US inter-country adoptions & got in a complete funk, seeing how 'easy' their adoptions are, seeing how many couples are able to adopt newborns (newborns!) and realising that I just can't do that here.

Then I got into a mad panic, seeing myself childless and barren and not having any of our IVF treatments work. And then, then I got mad. I got mad, because all of a sudden, I didn't want to live in Australia. I wanted to move somewhere else, anywhere else, where raising a child is attainable, whatever the costs.

I researched Canada. I researched America. And I researched moving back to London, our home away from home. I looked at apartments, I looked at jobs. I looked at patient-cost IVF programs in the city. I looked at adopting as an ex-pat. It's silly; I know. I was quite literally researching the price involved of transporting our three fur-babies back to England, before Hubby basically told me that it was too late; we're in it here for the long haul.

You guys, I felt so guilty. He's been miserable since moving back here to Australia, missing his friends, missing the London lifestyle, missing the financial/career perks he had while we lived abroad. And we moved back, largely because of me. Because I wanted to start a family in Australia, because I wanted the house with the backyard and the dog. Because he loved me. And now, here we are - stuck in your typical rut, with a mortgage, with unfulfilling careers, and not even having the children we so desperately wanted and moved back for.

It's like this whole mess is my fault, and I wonder if it was worth it. If we can't have children, if being parents is not on the cards for us, did we throw away our lives in London for nothing?

And then I slapped myself silly a few times, because I'm getting ahead of myself. We're still only at the beginning of our second IVF round, and I know families who went through many more before they were gifted their take home baby. But when will we draw the line? When will we decide that we've done enough invasive procedures, waited too long, paid enough money for no results? And when we draw that line, will I have the same feelings of regret - that we could have stayed, happy in England, as a professional, child-less couple, and saved us all the heartache of the last few years?

I don't know. I really don't. All I know is that I'm the type of person who needs to have a plan in place, and I feel so hopelessly out of control right now.

Reason #45347 why Infertility sucks

... watching the baby names you've adored for the past [insert time frame here] get snapped up, one by one.

Seriously, it sucks.

And we're off!

My credit card has had another hefty workout, but we're all set for IVF #2. There's more involved this time, so I figured I might as well lay it all out and see what's there. It's taken over the whole top shelf of my fridge!

From the top left, you've got my biohazard bag and sharps containers. Then there's the huge box, which has one teeny tiny vial of Lucrin, and lots of needles. Seriously, I have NO idea how that one bottle is meant to last me for the next few weeks, but apparently it's magical. Next to that is the Puregon (aka Follistim) and the sterile wipes. The pen is down the front, with extra needles for Lucrin - and the Ovidrel is my trigger shot, same as last time.
Let's get this party started!

Stress Savers & Dream Dresses

Life's been busy here lately. Sure, the school holidays are half over; but I've been cramming in all kinds of jobs. They're things that most people would do whenever, but I do them now - midday appointments, car servicing, dental visits. Gulp. (The dentist thing is next Friday... hold me.)

I've also been trying to get some reading in, and (at the perfect time) received a parcel from Harlequin with two fiction novels, perfect! I'm halfway through Boomerang Bride as we speak, which just proves that even though we're officially no longer newlyweds, I still love all things wedding! Best of all, if you or any of your friends are engaged and planning your big day, there's a great competition going on that you can enter... winning a wedding dress!

But, even though my wedding stress is over... life can still have its stressful moments. The kind folks from HardtoFind in Australia recently sent me a gift from their website to play with. It was going to be a random surprise, so I was very excited to see what would turn up.
The concept behind the website is simple and clever: a quick and easy online boutique for cute products, designed for gift givers on the run. My gift was the Stress Saver box for women. It came in the cutest chinese take-out box, and contained all sorts of goodies for women to use in all situations. Speaking of weddings, it would've been a perfect box to have around during our crazy wedding morning!
The only thing I was missing from my kit was a batch of pantyliners, but that's just based on the website's specifications. Oh, and the lollipop - hubby stole that just after I took this picture! Still, I love that it's small, it's compact & it's useful. It'd be a good pressie for a mum, a bride-to-be, or heck, even a teacher like me.
*I received products to trial, read & review from The Mint Partners & Harlequin Australia - all reviews are my own. If you are interested in a product review appearing on Breathe Gently, please email me.

Spencer - 4 weeks on

Those feet! I die. He's going to be such a big boy.





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