The Weekly Run-Down: 6

How Far Along: 6 weeks. We're getting close to halfway {or thereabouts} through this first trimester!

Size of baby: Nobody seems to agree on this one, but we're somewhere between a grain of rice, a pea, or a lentil.

Random & Interesting Developmental Stuff:  I'm way more interested in how the embryo is developing and what it's doing each week, than the size of fruit it corresponds to. Here's this week's run-down:

By the end of this week your baby will have tripled in size! His heart is now beating with a regular rhythm. It's still too faint to be picked up by your doctor's stethoscope, but if you have an ultrasound at some point over the next few weeks it will probably be visible as a tiny, pulsing dot in the middle of his mini body. Fun fact: From now until birth, your child's heart will beat about 150 times a minute -- twice the average adult rate. Also this week, your baby's brain hemispheres are forming -- and brain waves can now be recorded.
Total Weight Gain: I'm down 4.7kg since egg collection, which I've declared my starting weight.
Sleep: Pretty uncomfortable, even this early on in the piece. The sore throat and cold symptoms have been awful, and I've had to go to bed with a hot water bottle {only a warm one} on my back to combat the aches.

Symptoms: I'm tired, all the time. Some cramping started up in the past few days, strong enough to scare me a little, but so far all seems okay. Things are a little 'interesting' in a digestive sense, but no vomiting, only teeny amounts of queasiness, usually around midday or if I haven't eaten. My boobs still feel exactly the same.

Cravings: Flavoured milk, mostly the strawberry kind. I've had two strawberry milkshakes in the last week, and I've just purchased a tub of strawberry nesquik to tide me over at home.  

Gender: Are we allowed to guess this early on? Who knows! Jason is being really cute, already wanting to know when the earliest time is for us to find out if it's a boy or a girl. Patience, grasshopper.

Movement: Way too early yet!

Maternity Clothes: I thought my clothes were still fitting fine, until I tried a top on the other day and I could not squish my boobs into it. Maybe they're growing, even though they're not hurting? But everything else is normal.
What I'm looking forward to: Our ultrasound next week! I'm praying that everything will be okay.


You can catch up on my weekly pregnancy updates {in reverse order} by clicking here. For bump shots - go here!

5 weeks + 6 days

Before I blog anything, let me say something up front: NOT COMPLAINING. Just tired and feeling lousy.

These past few days have kicked my arse, literally. I'm coming down with the second of two colds... in a month. My throat is on fire, my head and my back have been throbbing constantly, and Panadol just isn't cutting it. I'm tired, I feel like crap, and I'm pretty sure that 99% of it is flu related, not baby related, which is kind of depressing.

The food stuff though, that's most definitely baby related. I went to dinner with a friend of mine a few days ago, and she saw me morph from a twitchy, miserable, nauseated mess into a cheerful, relaxed happy crazy-lady in a matter of minutes, just by scoffing a strawberry milkshake & getting some food in my belly.

I'm thinking of taking tomorrow {Monday} off work, going to a medical centre, and having them check me over, just to make sure this is just a cold & not something else that might need antibiotics. Plus, I just need a rest. Collapsing on classroom floors of exhaustion during a 25-minute lunchbreak is not how I want to spend my days.

On the bright side, I'm 6 weeks tomorrow. It seems much more 'official' than 3 or 4 or 5 weeks pregnant, you know? There are so many things that could still happen, but I'm starting to feel more positive that this just might be happening for us. I am so ridiculously happy, despite the sickness. So happy. FULL OF HAPPY. I'm bursting.

Also, this picture... I know. I KNOW. Couldn't help myself. I really wanted to see it hit 3+ weeks. I'm done now. :)

5 weeks + 3 days

The biggest change between last week (4 weeks+) and this week (5 weeks+) is that I'm having some more vices with foods. I'm not particularly hungry a lot, until I am. As in, I really am. I need food asap. It's bizarre. I've struggled to make good food choices, but I'm trying - I'm drinking a ton of water and I'm eating fruit, since vegetables are making my stomach turn a little bit. The tiredness is kicking my butt. Can you tell by the messy hair and droopy eyes?

I've been counting down to our ultrasound - it's the first thought when I wake up, and the last before I go to bed. I know things can be touch and go in early pregnancy right up until the second semester, but there's something about getting to that 7-week scan... I can't explain it. Maybe knowing that our wee blastocyst has turned into a fully fledged embryo? Or seeing for myself that our baby (our baby?!?!) is growing. I just want to see our little blob.
A lunchtime today, I felt my first twinge of nausea. I was sitting in the staff room with my water bottle, and suddenly came over clammy. It was an awful feeling. I ended up sitting outside in the wind, letting the fresh air do its job - which, thankfully, it did. Teaching is not a great profession for being sick - it's not as though I can just excuse myself to run to the loo, after all! We'll deal with the sticky situations if & when we need them, I suppose.
I've been reading on a lot of pregnancy update websites, where morning sickness usually hits at 5-6 weeks. Then I got nervous, reading that a lack or morning sickness can be an indication of miscarriage, and I had to back away from the computer a little bit. 
How are you going today? :)

5 weeks + 1 day

It feels like we've been in the 'ridiculously early pregnant phase' forever - in reality, it's only been a few short weeks. Each time I hit a new week, I feel relieved. Period? Nope. Cramping? Yep. Okay! Let's celebrate the small stuff.

We told the in-laws this weekend, and they were really happy for us. My parents have been great, as have my work colleagues. If you're wondering, YES, they already know - they supported us through our two IVF journeys, and it was only natural that they'd start asking questions about Round 2. Thankfully, they know it's early, and are keeping lovely and quiet about things. I work with 99% women, so they're great for advice, too.
I wish I could tell you that I'm starting to have full blown pregnancy symptoms, but things are still cruising along. Boobs are not sore in the slightest, I've not been sick yet {although the smell of steak cooking indoors was enough to make me sit out the back and breathe in fresh air until it was done}, and I only cramp every now and again. I'm peeing like a racehorse, but probably because I'm being really good about drinking my water every day.
The biggest one is the tiredness. I wish I could explain the kind of tiredness it is - it's constant. I sleep early, in bed by 9pm most nights, but I wake up feeling exhausted. I'm tired when I get to work. I'm tired when I'm at work. I'm tired when I get home from work. I'm tired, and lazy, and don't feel like cooking dinner. Tonight was the first time in weeks that I've cooked a full meal, and now that it's done? I'm ready for bed.
Our first ultrasound {at 7 weeks} is booked in for exactly a fortnight from today. I'm crossing everything that the little one is growing nicely and is exactly where it should be. I was a ball of stress this time last week; right now, I'm feeling resigned and much calmer. There's nothing I can do to change things, so I'm getting by one day at a time. I hate that infertility has made me instantly worry about every little thing that's happening, but we just have to keep on swimming. It's all we can do.
Oh! And my fertility clinic has upped my dosage of progesterone pessaries - joy! I was taking 200mg twice daily, and now I'm up to 400mg twice daily. Hold on to your hat, hubby. And remember that I love you! :)
If you're stopping by from ICLW, hi! I'm feeling like the luckiest girl in the world right now, as our 2nd IVF cycle has taken - we're in the early days yet, but trying to keep positive. It's lovely to meet you!

4 weeks + 5 days

Today was a little scary. Scary, but exhilerating at the same time.

First, I {stupidly} peed on my leftover Clearblue Digital, hoping to see a '2-3 weeks' reading. It still came up as '1-2 weeks', which led to another freak out that my hormones must be dropping, something's wrong, yada yada yada. After being told to calm the eff down by my husband, mother AND clinic, I relaxed. It's ok.

I checked the mail when I got home from work, and found a referral letter from my IVF clinic waiting for me. They've booked me in for my first ultrasound, at 7 weeks. It's in 18 days. 18 days! This is going to be the longest TWW ever. I'm so ridiculously excited to see a blob on a screen. Do you usually hear a heartbeat at 7 weeks?

Then, on the advice of some online friends, I started researching into OB's. Here in Sydney, my GP is my regular gynocologist - I don't have an OB-GYN. Apparently it can be quite hard to book into the 'good' OB's when you're a new patient, so I rang around a few places, researched a few hospitals, and looked into positive reviews on doctors. Once I'd decided on one, I rang on the spot - and the lovely receptionist told me that I'd just scraped in; I'd likely be his last new admission for April 2013. Can you believe it? She scheduled me in for my first OB visit at 10 weeks along.

It's happening so fast, but I'm ok that way. I like having plans in place, it makes me feel so much more organised. As for what's next, well, I have to visit the IVF clinic on Tuesday to pick up my progesterone, and then it's just twice-daily pessaries until that first ultrasound appointment. Squee! (About the ultrasound... not the pessaries.)

I still can't believe this is actually happening to us. The mind boggles. How did we get here?

4 weeks + 3 days

The betas are back!

14 dpo hCG level - 25 (eeep!)
17 dpo hCG level - 238 (I'm breathing a tad bit easier now.)

Total hCG Difference:213 mlU/ml (852%)
hCG Doubling Every:0 days 19.38 hours (19.38 Hours)
2-Day Increase:139 mlU/ml (456%) (normal)

Sure, it may not be on the higher scale for this time frame, but it's pregnant. I'm pregnant! Huzzah! I've got an appointment with my IVF centre on Tuesday morning (when I hit 5 weeks) to pick up another batch of progesterone. At $5/pessary, this is going to cost us a small fortune - but I'll do anything to help make this baby stick around.

And since I'm being all positive and what-not... I'm going to channel all of my hopes into this working.

Symptoms or Lack Thereof

I still can't believe we're actually here. Each day that passes {without a period in sight} is a relief. I said to Jase the other day that I was still waiting for someone to jump out of the bushes and tell me that I'm being punked.

If I wasn't seeing positives on pregnancy tests, I'd be pretty clueless about the fact that I'm currently knocked up.

This morning I had a mild panic attack when my pregnancy tests (yes, I'm still peeing on sticks) looked fainter than yesterday. I took another digital too, and I freaked out because it still says 1-2 weeks pregnant. (It said that on Sunday.. shouldn't it be further?) Thankfully, my lovely Twitter friends talked me off the ledge a little bit, and the IVF clinic has agreed to do a beta test tomorrow at 17dpo. My fingers are crossed for the results. I hope they're ok.

The only thing that's been really different for me is the extreme tiredness. I blamed a lot of that on feeling poorly from the cold I've been nursing this past week - but I've been in bed by 8.30am for the last few days. I'd get to 2pm and be counting the minutes down until I could finish work, get home, and lie down. It's been so, so exhausting.

I've had a little stomach tenderness, odd cramping and some pains. No nausea or puking, but a few other, er, tummy upsets. I also find that if I don't eat as soon as I get hungry, I start feeling pretty gross. That's new for me.

I haven't got sore boobs, though. I keep mashing them every few hours to see if they hurt, but they feel totally fine. Is it weird that I want them to get a little sore now and again, just so I feel like things are actually happening?

It's strange being so naive about all of this. I've never once gotten past seeing negative pee sticks & for all of the crazy TTC research I've done over the years, I'm a total newbie at being pregnant. And also a bit of a stress head.

Journey to a BFP

*Be warned: this blog post contains pee sticks a-plenty.

This past week has been crazy. The TWW went by like any other - but it was a lot more bearable this time around, since it was a 5-day transfer. I knew I wouldn't be able to hold out until August 15th, but I was trying to wait until at least 10dpo before testing. This was the first indication I had that something might have been going on.

The top was 5am, second was 7am on internet cheapies. I was positive that I had a serious case of 'line eye' at this stage, or that it was an evap line. Needless to say, I peed on another stick (or four) the following morning at 11dpo.

I could see something again on the internet cheapie, but only faint smudges on the other sticks. It wasn't enough to convince me. Roll on to 12dpo... and I saw something. That something that was enough to make me sit on my bathroom floor and freak out - I could see the line without squinting! What do I do now? Is this real? Oh em gee.

This is the day that I decided to tell Jase - I'd kept things quiet before then, because I was terrified to get his hopes up, only to find that the lines disappeared. He called out to see if I'd drowned in the toilet (ha, ha) and I left my little bubble to shove the pee sticks in his face. I wrapped them quickly in the onesie I'd bought the day before (just in case, you know) and watched his face change from confusion, to surprise, to happiness. It was such an awesome moment.


I kept peeing, of course. I wanted to see that line get darker and darker. This was 13dpo, getting darker...


... and darker again at 14dpo. Huzzah! This whole pee stick thing is awesome, but kind of addictive. I'm hooked.


I had blood drawn for a beta yesterday afternoon, but won't know my numbers for a few days yet. I'm praying it's exactly where it should be, this early on. This morning's sticks still looked pretty dark though, thank goodness.


Tomorrow, Wednesday, is when I was supposed to hold out until before peeing on a stick. I have to call the clinic and let them know the result, and then wait to see what they say next. It's all very new to us!

If any of our real life friends or family members are reading this, I'd ask that you please keep this information quiet for now. We've got a long way to go, and we're not quite ready to share our news with the whole world yet - the online world is enough for us right now! We appreciate your good wishes & hope you'll respect our tiny little secret. Thanks!

Mind: Blown

So, I'm just going to jump right in and show you this picture before I say anything else. Are you ready?
Can you say 'holy shizballs?' That stick is mine. And it says pregnant! Apparently, IVF #2 did the trick.

(I normally wouldn't be announcing a pregnancy this early, but I've always been open on the blog about how we've been struggling - and it would be really silly to lie/just avoid the topic for the next three months. That being said, it's early days yet - so fingers and toes are crossed that this all works out for the best. More details to come!)

If any of our real life friends or family members are reading this, I'd ask that you please keep this information quiet for now. We've got a long way to go, and we're not quite ready to share our news with the whole world yet - the online world is enough for us right now! We appreciate your good wishes & hope you'll respect our tiny little secret. Thanks!

The Siren: A review

I've been reading like crazy in this TWW, and I'm so pleased to have had something to keep me occupied. I haven't left the house much either, apart from work - I've also got this ridiculous head cold that won't quit. 
One of the books that was top of my list to read was 'The Siren' by Tiffany Reisz.
A quick blurb to start things off: 
The Siren is about infamous Erotica author (and famous dominatrix) Nora Sutherlin and her one chance at getting the book of her dreams published. There is a catch however. That catch comes in the form of uptight, heartbroken, literary fiction editor Zachary Easton, who only agrees to work with Nora if he is given complete control over the fate of her book. If Nora doesn't rewrite her entire novel to Zachary's precise requirements, it's a no deal - her novel won't get published. Much to Nora's surprise (and delight), her gruelling writing sessions with Zach are not only mentally draining but also shockingly arousing.
To further stoke the flames of desire, Nora has developed feelings for her intern, and her former lover has returned, making her ask which is more tortuous - staying away from this former flame or returning to him (and his bed). Nora thought she knew everything about being pushed to her limits. But in a world where passion is pain, nothing is ever that simple.

My thoughts on the novel:
I went into this book ready to compare it to Fifty Shades of Grey. Now I'm no expert in this field of novels, but I was intrigued all the same. (And, let's face it, FSoG was a train wreck.) I found Nora to be really likeable, but also vulnerable - a genuinely interesting character. I'm not usually a fan of novels within novels, which essentially is what you're getting with 'The Siren', but this one seemed to work. It was a much better written book, with an intriguing story.
The secondary characters, Zachary, Wes & Soren, also have their own secret quirks and back-stories, all of which bounced of Nora very well. Even the erotic parts of the book made sense. They weren't repetitive (no 'foil packets' or 'inner goddesses' in sight!) and they were a darker, different kind of scene. 
I'm always wary of writing reviews and giving away too much, which is the case with this book. I was genuinely surprised by some of the plot twists, and I think you're better off going into it with an open mind. The book isn't for everyone, and it isn't mummy-porn: it's more intense - but that's what makes it work. I had no idea it was part of a trilogy, but now I'm ready to keep on reading..

The Siren will be available from 29 August online at Harlequin and in bookstores nationally for RRP AUS $19.99. There's also an upcoming Q&A with the novel's authoress coming up, if you're so inclined!

Thanks to the folks at Harlequin Australia & Morey Media for sending me a copy of The Siren to read and review.

2dp5dt

Everything feels different this time around. I think the relief from hearing the good news on transfer day has stayed with me, because I'm feeling ... dare I say it.. chipper? What? Me? WHO AM I? I don't know this person.

I'm determined to ignore any symptoms this time around and just try to go with the flow. I'm still feeling the occasional bit of pressure/cramping leftover from the egg retrieval, but my bloating is almost gone. Huzzah for buttoning up pants! Not only that, I'm on the terrific* progesterone combo of Crinone + vaginal pessaries, so they're turning me into a crazy person without any help whatsoever. Seriously... the oily feel of leaky progesterone is enough to make anyone happy, right? 
But really though, I can't explain the relief I have. Maybe it's knowing that we got lucky, that we CAN get to blastocyst stage? Maybe it's knowing we have two frozen embabies in storage, hopefully ready for future cycles. Maybe it's just hope, hope that this time will end in a different result? I don't know, and I kind of don't care. I'm just enjoying feeling human again. The folks at work (who all know we're doing IVF) commented today that I was looking great, and in a positive mood. My teaching assistant noted just how different I am this time, compared to the first time around. If other people are noticing, I must really be showing my mood.
Since my fertility clinic doesn't do beta testing, I waddled away from the embryo transfer with my knees together and with two home pregnancy tests in my hand. They've instructed me to wait until August 15th & then August 17th to pee. Ha. Hahahahaha. Right, lady. That'll happen. Chronic pee-er, right here. That is 9 days away... next Wednesday. Can I hold out? No promises.
What I DO know is that my Ovidrel trigger shot is already out of my system - got the stark white BFN on an internet cheapie this morning. At least I know that the answer won't be compromised, when I cave.
How are you feeling today? :) 
*insert sarcasm here

Blasty on Board!

This day has been INSANE. Talk about emotions being put through the ringer.
I've spent the last four days wondering how everything was going. Were our three embryos still kicking, would they make it to 5 days? I missed a call from the fertility centre yesterday at work and nearly hyperventilated, fearing the worst. Turns out they were ringing to push back our appointment time, so all was well.
I've never been to our clinic on a Saturday - it was deserted! We went in, robed up, waited for around half an hour, then were led into the transfer room. I was so excited to get and to see the television monitor with our embryo on it. And wow, did it look different from the first time around. (It was a 3-day, 8-cell.) The doctor told us it was a perfect, almost-hatching blastocyst, ready to get implanted!
We were so happy. Hubby looked thrilled, studying the chart on the wall that showed embryo development & pointing out where ours was. It was really cute. Then, the scientist appeared (the one that made me cry the other day by telling me that 'I'll get 20 eggs next time!') and asked us this:

'So, how many do you want to freeze?'

I'm sorry... what? Turns out that we have TWO FROZEN EMBRYOS!!!! That means that all 3 of our fertilised embies made it to day 5. Can you even believe it? We quite literally high-fived each other over the speculum.

I quite literally had to hold the tears in (happy ones) as the doctor transferred our blasty, and that was that. Just like last time, I waddled my way back to the car, knees together, praying it wouldn't fall out.

I know it's silly to read into things, but this cycle feels so much different to the first one. We actually have options this time, and we're doing ok. Not only that, everyone around me appears to be pregnant right now - we walked right into a group of pregnant women doing a hospital tour just before the transfer, and even our nurse at the centre was pregnant. I wonder if it's a sign? :)

Bring on the TWW!

About to Burst

After my first IVF retrieval, I remember feeling that awkward pressure/pain in my nether regions, which lasted a few days after the procedure. By Day 3, when my one surviving embryo was transferred, the pains had vanished, and I was just left with the overwhelmingly attractive bloat that stayed with me until my cycle was over.

The procedure was much smoother this time, but I have found the recovery to be a lot harder. I took Monday off for retrieval, and Tuesday off for recovery. I was sore yesterday, but nothing too bad - mainly that familiar tender feeling before/after using the loo. This morning was painful - really painful. I could hardly roll over, the bloat was big and the pain was quite bad. 
I didn't know what to do; should I go to work, see how it goes? I decided to wait a while longer, since I had to take my Crinone and additional progesterone pessary - the one which requires you to lay down for 30 minutes until it is fully absorbed. Unfortunately, lying on my back was agonising, so I flipped to my side & texted my poor supervisor, to tell her that I just couldn't get in today. I felt awful at the time, but it was the best thing I could have done.
I've spent the day in pain - horrible, bloaty, windy pain. I researched everything I could about OHSS, sure that this was a sign of it. (How weird would it have been to get hyper-stimulated from only three eggs? While I've got the bloat and the abdominal pain, I've got no other signs at all. I'm drinking and peeing like a racehorse, I'm breathing fine. I feel like I've got really bad gas pains, like trapped air. It's painful, like whoa.
Since I've read that it can be a normal thing after egg collection, I haven't been too worried about it. I've tried nearly everything to combat it. Litres of water, Gatorade, Powerade. De-Gas, twice. Panadol for the pain. Fizzy lemonade to try and burp the gas out, metamucil to (ahem) move things along. Nothing is working! Yargh.
I haven't heard anything about our three embabies, but that's normal. I'll hopefully get an update tomorrow, and hear that they're doing well - or, worst case, I'll be brought in early for a 3-day transfer. At this rate, I'm praying for them to get to blastocysts, just so I can have some time to recover down to my normal size!
The worst part is that hubby's man-flu isn't doing real well, so we've both been feeling more than a little sorry for ourselves. We're getting by, though. Jase is taking tomorrow off from work, and I'm heading back - so fingers crossed we'll both shake our lurgies off soon.





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