2015: The Year That Was

Last year was a tough year. Losing our first pregnancy, followed by the pregnancy later in the year - it really shattered us. 

But this year? This year was even tougher. There was more loss, more disappointment, more frustration. If 2014 was hard, 2015 topped it. This year would have been the toughest one I've faced in my entire 31 years. It's humbling, really. But.. we got through it. I got through it. And that's about the most positive thing I have to say about how it has all progressed.

I'm following the same format as years gone by to keep it simple - (2006200720082009, 2010, 201120122013 & 2014)

1. What did you do in 2015 that you’d never done before? 
Lost another pregnancy. Parented a toddler. Had our first overseas family holiday. Swapped IVF clinics. Lost my faith. Sent my little one to daycare.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I said I was going to be more positive.. and I think I failed. Being knocked down over and over again makes it pretty hard to do. I'll make another one or two, but I won't promise I'll hit them!

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Yes. 

4. Did anyone close to you die? Yes. We lost my Nanna suddenly in June.

5. What countries did you visit? We visited Fiji in February for our first family holiday.

6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015? The same thing I hoped for this time last year - a healthy pregnancy with no complications. A sibling for G.

7. What dates from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? February, when we hopped on a plane and flew to Fiji. March 4, when we would have welcomed our little man into the world. A sad day. March 19, when my sweet little nephew was born. March 30, when we celebrated Georgia's 2nd birthday. October 20, when we found out out we were pregnant again. November 2, when we found out we had lost that baby too.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
 Admitting defeat and asking for help. There comes a time when things get too hard, when the struggles are becoming a daily thing, and when my usual coping strategies failed. This year, I realised my limitations & took steps to look after myself - to support myself through a really, really hard time. Keeping it together and being the best parent I can be to my daughter is one of the things I'm the most proud of.

9. What was your biggest failure? Jealousy. Infertility and loss brings out the worst in you, and turns something joyful for (seemingly) everybody else around you, into something that makes you crumble.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Not this year.

11. What was the best thing you bought? We bought a new car in October. After waiting for ages, hoping our family would expand so we could justify the expense, we decided to just do it. Best decision we've made!

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration? Jase. My husband is basically the most amazing person I know. He's the only one who has seen me at my worst and who supports me unconditionally. I love him more than he'll ever know.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed? My own.

14. Where did most of your money go? Fertility treatment.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Swapping clinics! I really hoped that after so much disappointment, we'd get lucky this year with our new clinic behind us. It didn't pan out that way, but oh well. I also got to meet my sweet little nephew man. :)

16. What song will always remind you of 2015? 
Don't Be So Hard On Yourself - Jess Glynne

I came here with a broken heart that no one else could see
I drew a smile on my face to paper over me
The wounds heal and tears dry and cracks they don't show
So don't be so hard on yourself, no 
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
(a) Happier or Sadder? Sadder. 
(b) Thinner or Fatter? Fatter.
(c) Richer or Poorer? About the same.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Travelling - but finances didn't go in our favour.
19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Hibernating - but that's been my coping mechanism of choice this year.

20. How did you spend Christmas in 2015? With our little family. It was a bittersweet one this year.

21. Did you fall in love in 2015? I stayed in love. :) 

22. How many one-night stands? I'm too old for these questions now, I fear.

23. What was your favourite TV program? Game of Thrones, again. X-Files. Melrose Place. I went back to the old school shows this year.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? Nope.

25. What was the best book you read? Furiously Happy: A Funny Book about Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson. Do yourself a favour: read it.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery? Re-discovery? Lifehouse! We saw them again this year and they were brilliant, as always.

27. What did you want and get? To celebrate every moment I have with my daughter.

28. What did you want and not get? A baby. I have three sad memories, but no new baby.

29. What was your favourite film of this year? Mockingjay.

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 31. Nothing exciting this year. In fact, a lot of folks forgot it even existed this year.

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Having a pregnancy stick around. Being able to watch G growing up with a sibling. Not feeling like the only person who's missing out on things.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015? Summer dresses.

33. What kept you sane? My family. And my fur-babies.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Meh.

35. What political issue stirred you the most? We got rid of Tony Abbott, so that's something.

36. Who did you miss? I (still) miss my Nanna. I miss old friends. I miss far away places. I miss feeling like I fit in somewhere, rather than feeling like I don't belong.

37. Who was the best new person you met? My miscarriage support peeps. They get it.

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015. You're stronger than you think.

39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. “There will come a time, you'll see, with no more tears. And love will not break your heart, but dismiss your fears. Get over your hill & see what you find there... with grace in your heart & flowers in your hair."

40. What are your resolutions for 2016? We will get pregnant in 2016. WE WILL.

Happy New Year, friends. Props to you all for sticking around through what has arguably been one of the toughest years of my life, and for accepting the hard days along with me. Being able to blog, to share my fears and my disappointments, to help people realise that they're not alone and to be heard; that's a big gift, and it's one that I'll continue to utilise as long as I can. 

Thank you for helping me feel less alone.

December By Numbers

31
days worth of anti-anxiety medication stored in my bathroom to get through the hard times this season.

27
months since we've been trying to add another baby to our family.

24
different tiny presents that have been lovingly wrapped and stuffed in a Santa sack.

19
great grandchildren that my Pop has all up, keeping him busy on his first Christmas without my Nan.

12
batteries powering up our pretty indoor signs this year.

10
days since our real tree went up, and it's still looking as lush and green now as it was then.. the perfect tree.

6
secret Santa gifters in my family... and nearly all of them know who's gifting who. Secret? Ha!


pills of Letrozole finished, to try and at least have a natural-ish cycle on this month off.

4
ornaments on our tree to remember our wee ones, even though only one of them is here with us.


hours that hubby spent assembling Miss G's Christmas gift.. and it's delightful.

2
parents who are sad, happy, tired and everything in between this holiday season.

&


incredibly excited toddler, who is loving everything about the holiday season! :)

Different Ways People Learn: Sponsored Post

Having a small human running around really opens up your eyes to the ways that they learn. Our little miss isn't at the reading or writing stage yet, but she expresses her skills in a variety of different ways already - she loves movement, she loves art, and she especially loves touchy-feely activities! I can't wait until she's older, so that I can introduce her to the beauty of books! :)

*******

People acquire different skills through different means, with experts noting there are seven styles of learning that have a differing success rates depending on the person. Most people tend to favour or react best to certain styles of learning, with visual, print and aural learners the most commonly recognised and catered for in education. But all seven ways of learning can be utilised to effectively impart information when it comes to teaching and training.

Print

These note taking, avid readers quickly grasp information in the printed form. Often described as bookworms, they are keen to get their information transcribed into words via note-taking or writing. As traditional learners, they are happy to study in a solitary environment while taking notes from a blackboard, reading study materials or succinctly compiling information in a written form.

Visual

Using diagrams, pictures or maps, visual learners memorise through images, often seeing something in their “mind's eye”. They learn by seeing and watching demonstrations, with visual arts and media their preferred delivery. Listening to purely spoken information for extensive periods tends to make the visual learner restless and characteristics also include a vivid imagination.

To cater to learners of the visual variety, ensure your printed teaching or training materials not only contain text but also include graphs or diagrams. Companies like The Print Group can assist in designing, laying out and printing materials to suit. You can find out more about their services here.

Aural

The lecture is the ideal learning situation for an aural learner, where they can quickly grasp information in a verbal form. Great at following verbal instructions and excellent listeners, they can also learn by listening to tapes and reproduce sounds and syllables with ease.

Haptic

Haptic learners are the hands-on puzzle solvers of the learning world and piece information together easily. They tend to be good at art, have a penchant for doodling and involve a sense of touch in their approach to study. They learn best by exploring the world around them.

Interactive

A good group discussion is the key to the interactive learner, who likes to use others as a sounding board for their ideas. They often enjoy question and answer sessions and group workshops and they are willing to voice their opinion and listen to others.

Kinaesthetic

It's all about the movement for kinaesthetic learners, who prefer to be on the go rather than stationary. These learners respond well to music and like to try things out and manipulate objects. They gesture when speaking and tend to be quite active.

Olfactory

Using the sense of smell and taste, olfactory learners often have strong memories associated with smell. Frequently able to identify scents, they find smell adds to their ability to learn.

Most people learn through a variety of tools, the key is to finding which ones work for you or the people you are instructing. When you tailor your teaching materials to suit the bulk of learners by including text, diagrams, and then verbal workshops with question and answer sessions, you can relay information effectively to a group.

This sponsored post is in collaboration with The Print Group - all images are my own. If you are interested in a product review or sponsored post content appearing on Breathe Gently, please email me.

Planning for Christmas

I can't believe it will be Christmas in 11 days time.

It's been a really awful year, but we have been hanging out for the holidays - Miss G is that little bit older now and has been thoroughly excited about the entire season, which brings us so much joy. She's been so excited about putting up the tree, getting ready for Santa, visiting family over the holidays. I can't wait for Christmas morning.
There's still sadness here though. This year, we would have been having our first Christmas as a family of four, with a pudgy little infant joining his big sister under the tree. Rinse and repeat with other pregnancies we lost.. and the fact that we'd hoped to have a Christmas announcement for this most recent loss.. and yep, there's sadness here. 
But we're moving forward. Taking a bit of a social media break. Trying to get our faith in in this whole process back somehow. And trying to spend all of our energy focusing on us, instead of everybody else - something that's not as easy as it sounds to do.
Speaking of us ... it's gift talk time.
For Him:
This year, hubby requested a techy present, so he has already picked out a nifty little sound bar system to go under our television. I was a little cranky at the time (as I'd already decided to get him one) but he found a bargain this past week, so grabbed it himself. He'll still have a few other little gifts under the tree, though. :) 
For Her:
There's no way that I can get the Christmas miracle that I've been dreaming about for so long, so I put my energy towards adopting a new fur member of our family... but hubby's not on board with that, so that won't work. Perfume, well, I have a truckload of it.. and the only one that I really want this year is one I'm *hoping* that my family Secret Santa will bring me. A gift card for my Kindle? A cleaner for a month? I have no idea.
For now, my gift is yet to be determined. There's nothing I really need. I'm pretty lucky in that respect. 
For the Toddler:
Miss G is going to wake up on Christmas morning and find a great new play kitchen under the Christmas tree. She's had a tiny one and loved it, so we are upgrading to a larger neutral one. We're also getting her a bunch more food items and cooking appliances, because she loves imaginative play.

Her grandparents bought her a beautiful new quilt and cover set for her big girl bedroom, which we ended up breaking out early when we upgraded her room. Her other grandparents have bought her a cute little bike with training wheels and tassels (!) which is pretty exciting. I think she'll love them all!
What are your go-to gifts this season? 

The Power of Flowers: Sponsored Post

I have a confession to make:

I really, really love receiving flowers.

There, I said it.

So why is that such a big deal? Well, for years I was a staunch 'no flowers!' girl - they didn't last long, the cats would eat them, they need to be thrown out eventually.

Well, call me crazy, but I've changed my stance over the years. The first bouquet that changed my mind was the one my late Nanna sent me when she found out we were pregnant with our daughter - this particular beautiful big bunch of pink flowers (it's a girl!) was just so special. Since then, I've received beautiful blooms from my Mum, my Husband, and some friends - and each one is more exciting than the last.

There's something to be said for coming home to find a surprise on your doorstep, or to open your front door and receive a gift that you had no idea was coming - to celebrate the good news, and to commiserate with you on the sad news. It's pretty special.

As for my next bunch of flowers? Well, maybe he'll get me something from here for Valentines - or maybe I'll be surprised a little earlier. Whatever happens, there are some brilliant florists out there, whether they're your local vendor down the road, or one of the amazing companies which can deliver them right to your door.

This sponsored post is in collaboration with Flowers for Everyone. If you are interested in a product review or sponsored post content appearing on Breathe Gently, please email me.

The Lonely Island

Infertility is like being on an island, alone.

You desperately want some company on the island, for someone else to be there alongside you... but then, you wouldn't wish being on this island on your worst enemy.

A few special folks have visited you on the island and stayed a little while... but they've since moved on, while you're still stranded.

You're happy for them when other people leave the island... but you're actually a whole lot sadder than you let on.

Sometimes those visitors can forget just how lonely the island can be... but you can't forget.

People can see you on the island, they can wave to you and offer their words of support... but at the end of the day, they go back to their lives while you stay on the island, alone.

You pretend that you're doing just fine on your island, that you're okay with being there alone... but you're not.

The island has some wonderful things on it, things that you are grateful for... but it doesn't have the one thing that you want more than anything else.

You want so badly to get off the island and move on, like seemingly everybody else can do... but you're stuck.

The island makes you bitterly sad... but there's no foreseeable end in sight, so you grin and bear it.

Not Pregnant

My levels are FINALLY less than 5.

I'm officially no longer pregnant.

I never thought I'd say this, but I'm so bloody glad to hear those words.

This miscarriage was just a total disappointment. From the late appearing pregnancy test lines, to the positive betas, to the almost-but-not-quite doubling, to the hope... and then to the devastation of another early loss.

Since then, it's been wait after wait; waiting for hcg levels to drop, waiting to see what was going on, waiting for ultrasounds to check for retained products, waiting for a bleed. From the hope that we might be able to squeeze in one last FET cycle for 2015, to the disappointment of simply running out of time.

With all that said, it's done. It's over. We start again in January.

It's like déjà vu all over again. If I think back to this time last year, all we hoped for was a fresh start. We wanted to leave the pain and sadness of the previous year behind us and move on, and hope that the new year would bring us a baby.

In 2014 I was pregnant. Then I wasn't pregnant. Then I was pregnant again. Then I wasn't. In 2015 I watched two due dates come and go, with no pregnancy in sight. There was failure after failure, and our luck stayed the same. Then I was pregnant. And now I'm not.

So now, we're leaving the sadness of TWO years behind us... and maybe, just maybe, 2016 will bring us some good news.

elektra Cloud9 Nap Mat: a review

So... doom and gloom aside, it's time for some positive news around these parts!

We transitioned Georgia into a big girl bed a few weeks ago now. I wasn't ready, but she seemed to be - she suddenly had lots of anxiety about being cooped up in the cot, and was always wanting to come into our bed; something that we've never really done before, and didn't plan on doing either.
It was a rocky start, but we got there in then end ... but that's a post for another day. I promise I'll show you her beautiful new room, and also share some things that work for us.
For now though, it ties in beautifully with an awesome new product that I was so excited to trial and test, and to now show my fellow mamas out there in blog-land. The kind folks at Elektra Bub and Tots got in touch with us this week - you might remember their name from last year, when I reviewed the Thermo Pram Organiser!) This time, they are proudly sharing their newest product on the market - the Cloud9 Nap Mat.
How cute are these! We chose the bears for miss G - but I was VERY tempted to get the dinosaurs!

So... what are they exactly? From the website:

The Elektra Cloud9 Daycare / Travel Nap Mat is an 3-in-1 sleeping unit that is perfect for kids in daycare or for sleepovers. It is quilted with a comfy mat, luxurious removable pillow and a soft blanket all in one handy pack that easily rolls into one simple, easy to carry cylinder with plastic buckles and a carry handle so one can quickly roll, clip and carry. The nap mat is designed to make a busy parent's life easier.
When ours arrived, I was impressed at how light it was, yet how thick the material felt. After un-clipping the buckles, it simply rolled out into a bed, complete with a pillow!
As you can see, it didn't take my toddler long to jump on and get comfortable! She loved snuggling up to it and quite quickly tucked herself in underneath the blanket. I love that it's all together; less chance of accidentally leaving things behind.

Key Features include:
  • Outer material is made from 120gsm polyester for easy cleaning and durability 
  • Inner blanket is made from 100% cotton for comfort against children’s skin 
  • Tested against toddlers and washing machines 
  • Soft quilted blanket and mat 
  • Removable, high quality pillow 
  • Convenient carrying handle with buckles
  • Perfect for sleepovers, day care and road trips 
  • Machine washable 
  • Stain resistant 
  • Easy to roll, clip and carry
I can't wait to send this along with her for her day nap, next time she visits her grandparents. She was so keen to jump in, I think it will be a great hit. Would be a great option for daycare, too- I know a lot of centres require you to bring your own, though ours is included. Seriously.. you'd almost think this little miss was actually sleeping, wouldn't you? (All pretend!)
You can purchase the Cloud9 Nap Mat at the Elektra Bub website for a great price - but as an extra special bonus, I have one mat of your choice (boys or girls) to giveaway here on the blog! All you have to do is enter your details via the competition widget below, and answer a simple question in the blog comments: Where would you take YOUR Cloud9 Nap Mat? 

Cloud9 Nap Mat Competition
(Please note: this competition is for Australian residents only.)

Breathe Gently was provided with a complimentary stroller organiser from Elektra Bub - all reviews are my own. If you are interested in a product review appearing on Breathe Gently, please email me.

Please Let This End

My beta levels were 9 on November 10th.
My beta levels were 22 on November 17th.
My beta levels were 25 on November 24th.
My beta levels are currently 17 on December 1st.

Still here. Still no answers. Still nobody making action plans for a d&c or using drugs, because the levels are too low to warrant them... so I have DEMANDED we start Provera and induce another bleed.

There's no time for a December cycle now. In fact, we'll be lucky to get in for a January cycle, since I'd need a baseline cycle after the clinic opens after the break - so in reality, we won't be looking at a transfer until February.


Waiting... my arch nemesis. 

I swear, I need to retrain and just do this shit myself.

A Letter to our Local Member

Dear Member,

 I am writing to you as a concerned resident of xxx., NSW.

The proposed 'Health Insurance Amendment (Safety Net) Bill 2015' has come to my attention as something which is of vast importance to the local and the national community, and I wanted to voice my worries to you, as my local member.

My name is xxx, and I have struggled with infertility for many years now. Despite being 31 years of age - which is still technically "young" in IVF land - my husband and I have been trying to expand our family since 2010. For medical reasons, we require the help of IVF to conceive, and while coming to terms with this was tough in itself, we considered ourselves extremely lucky to live in a country where we were assisted financially with our endeavours.

We are young, well, and healthy. We are well educated, tax-paying individuals who have thankfully never needed to utilise the system in any way, shape or form - until now. How crushing it is to have the ONE initiative that we actually benefit from, taken away - particularly when it comes to matters of family planning.

If you do go on to read the many articles about this proposed amendment, I encourage you to read the comments. They are so, so varied. They range from folks like myself, who are struggling to make sense of this medical journey and so desperate to start a family. Then there are those from others, who shoot us down, tell us that we don't deserve to have a family, or that we should just 'accept that we weren't meant to have children' and move on.

I find this appalling, from a mental health perspective - what a thing to say to someone who is already mid-way through a heart-wrenching journey.

I realise that as a couple, my husband & I are not important in the grand scheme of things. Parliament doesn't care about the needs of one couple, or about the overwhelming emotions that come along with infertility. But I want to be a voice, for a community that is often silent (due to shame, embarrassment, grief, or a multitude of other reasons) because if we don't speak out, we won't be heard.

The children we are trying so desperately to have, are going to be the politicians, the farmers, the tech-gurus, the lawyers of the future. They will be hard-working individuals, with strong family backgrounds pushing them to be whoever they want to be, and to provide for Australia in whatever way they deem fit. And they will be so loved.

We are the lucky ones.

We have a daughter, a fiesty, spirited 2.5 year old, who was born after several rounds of IVF back in 2012. Without the help of the Safety Net system, we could never have afforded to utilise IVF, in even the cheapest of clinics. She is here, alive, throwing a temper tantrum as we speak, because of this great country. She's the reason this scheme needs to carry on - to give every family the gift of a child.

 But we are also the unlucky ones.

The ones who have been trying desperately to add to our family since 2013. The ones who have spent thousands out-of-pocket, above the Safety Net, to continue doing cycle after cycle of IVF. The ones who have suffered multiple crushing miscarriages, and who will go on fighting until they have given it everything they've got, because having a family is so important to us. It would be devastating to have to give up that dream, simply because of finances.

Please consider making this a priority to look into.

This amendment affects real people, with real stories, and real hopes & dreams.

 Thank you so much for your time.

We. Are. Still. Pregnant. (And not in a good way)

Let me refresh your memory of the miscarriage from hell.

My beta levels were 9 on November 10th.
My beta levels were 22 on November 17th.
My beta levels were 25 on November 24th.

Still. Fucking. Pregnant.

Referral is coming for a scan to see whether/where there is retained products of conception (what a lovely term) and whether or not I'll need to do a D&C again, or if I will just be stuck in this endless monotony of waiting around.

I now officially hate everyone and everything and most especially my body, who is utterly useless.

A shitty end to a shitty year. :(

Admitting Defeat

I've always prided myself in 'being strong' throughout this whole ordeal, even on the days where I felt like I was failing at keeping it all together. For people to tell me that they thought I was strong, that I was brave, that I was getting by; it helped get me through some really, really hard times.

Secondary infertility is tough, in that you just can't fall apart - my whole focus has been trying hard to make sure that my toddler is happy and content, and doesn't know the struggle that we're going through on a daily basis.

I had gotten so used to putting on a brave face and trying to keep it all together, that it became second nature to keep on keeping on... until it got too hard. When the anxiety started echoing into everyday things, spilling out into the 'real world', when things just seemed to be too low, too often. It was time.

Throughout the last few years, I've spoken with psychologists and with therapists/counsellors when the need has arisen - especially during the tough times of infertility. I recognised the signs recently, and decided to take some action.

It's hard admitting that things aren't right with you. It's hard, because I feel like a failure... like this has beaten me, when it's so far from the truth & I am not ready to give up yet. But while I still have the fight in me, I've also got to appreciate that situations have become challenging, and I need some assistance working through it all.

Does it make me less strong? Maybe.

But I'm trying to look at it in a different way... that it makes me STRONGER, because I know myself, I know my limits, I know that this is temporary, and I know it'll help make me a better mum, wife, daughter, and infertility warrior in the long run.

The Never Ending Miscarriage

It's one thing to be impatiently waiting for your hcg levels to get back to baseline, so you can keep going. It's another thing to have them go UP again, and freak you right out.

My beta levels were 9 on November 10th.

The bleeding was tailing off at this point, so we decided to wait a full week to let the miscarriage finish, and re-test again.

My beta levels were 22 on November 17th.

WHAT?

I automatically went into panic mode, assuming the worst - this can't be a good thing? The bleeding has been completely gone for almost the full week. I have no cramps, signs, symptoms. Why would it go up?

My first thought is retained products of conception, because the numbers are too low at 22 to be an ectopic. I asked the clinic for their thoughts and they basically said I should wait it out a week and see what happens.

Of course, that doesn't sit well with me... and I will probably spend the next six days with my stomach in knots. I'm scared, you guys. And I'm so, so frustrated. We were supposed to be baseline by now, we were supposed to be moving ahead with one last IVF cycle before the Christmas clinic closures. Instead, we're stuck here, with potentially very bad news, and an extremely slim chance of being able to try again next month.

Why does this keep happening? One thing after the other... it's just ridiculous.

Australia & IVF

I've been sitting and stewing on an issue for almost a week now. It's a big one, and one that's going to be affecting Australian couples who are infertile and turning towards IVF in the near future.

If you'd like to read about it, please follow this link. In summary: The government is planning to cut funding to fertility treatment, thus increasing the out of pocket costs for IVF treatment, as well as reducing the current public health rebates.

Now, before I begin, let me be the first to say something;

I AM SO GRATEFUL FOR MY DAUGHTER. 

I've said it before, and I'll say it again every day for the rest of my life... but I feel like I need to reiterate this before I begin this tirade, because I'm sure that folks will be quick to remind me of how lucky I am to have her (I KNOW) and that I should consider myself blessed to have one child (I KNOW) or that I'm even able to access IVF at all (I KNOW) ... so there, it is.

So let's get back to the issue at hand. Do I have issues with this policy changing, as of January 1st? Absolutely. This is one which will affect us directly - and as a couple who are already using a more 'budget' clinic, it leaves our options rather limited. We can't move somewhere more affordable, or swap clinics again - there simply isn't anywhere else to go.

As it is, we've spent thousands of dollars on IVF cycles and additional medications that go along with them. The barely covered specialist appointments, the additional bloodwork and genetic testing that isn't covered by any rebates at all, the miscarriage procedures & pathology - add these in to our overall cycle costs for all of our fresh and frozen rounds of IVF, and it adds up. So much so that I don't even want to tally it all, because the figures will be terrifying.. and that's WITH the help of rebates. I have friends using the bigger clinics here, and their out of pocket costs are even more staggering.

People seem to think that with IVF being on the Medicare system, that means that we pay nothing. I don't think they realise that we are out of pocket every single time we attempt a cycle, whether it works or not. For each of my freeze all cycles, cycles we didn't even get to transfer an embryo, we still paid out of pocket... for not even a shot at a pregnancy. Yes, we're lucky enough to get partial subsidies from the public health system, but we are STILL paying... and with no guarantee!

The comments on these articles are heartbreaking.

I'm sure they are spoken flippantly by folks who either haven't dealt with infertilty themselves, or haven't known anyone personally who is going through all of this... but the ignorance astounds me.

Just adopt.
Realise that you weren't meant to have children, accept it and move on.
Stop using tax payers dollars, just pay for it yourself.
You don't deserve special financial help because you're female.
Why should you be entitled to have children that are funded by the rest of us?
Did I mention just adopt?

You can call me oversensitive, and tell me to "just deal" with my issues regarding infertility - and I won't debate you. Just ask the multitude of counsellors we've seen over the years, and are seeing now. Trust me, we're dealing with it. Just getting through each day of feeling the disappointment and overwhelming sadness that is infertility and loss, that's me dealing with it.

Infertility isn't a medical condition, you say? Children are a choice? Go ahead and talk to my very concerned GP and psychologist, who are working with me on strategies to deal with the anxiety and depression that have now taken hold, after spending countless years and dollars trying to conceive. Not having more children is a choice we can't accept just yet - not until we've given it literally everything we've got. Some folks don't even get that chance.

As for people complaining that people take advantage of the system and use IVF too many times - are you serious? Do you think we WANT to be doing this over and over again? Ask any woman, or couple, who are going through this kind of treatment - we all want this part over with. We're talking about invasive medical procedures, coupled with profound emotional disappointment and physical repercussions... we'd LOVE it if it worked the first time. Reality is, it doesn't work that way.

I'd like to invite these folks who show no sympathy for infertile couples to do some research on adoption in Australia.

We have virtually no systems in place for adoption here. Fostering, yes. Short term care, yes. International adoption? Not even a remote possibility, unless you have tens of thousands of dollars and a willingness to wait for years - with no guarantee of a successful adoption. Once again, I put it to you: do you think that the majority of infertile couples wouldn't have considered this, or done the homework? Aside from coming to terms with the emotional loss of a biological child (not something to be taken lightly for a lot of folks), it becomes very quickly obvious that adoption is not an option for most, whether they would be happy going down that path or not. It's just not that simple.

My husband & I have been infertile since our 20's. We have medical conditions that are the cause for our infertility, and we have no genetic reasons so far to explain our miscarriages, despite plenty of testing. We have not "put off" having children because we have other, more important things in life. We have been together since we were 18/19, and are very happily married as we speak - and all we ever wanted was a family to call our own. We are STILL young, fertility wise - 31/33 as of this moment. We work hard, we save hard, we limit our spending and don't do fancy things... because we are sensible, we don't get government hand-outs, and we are putting every cent we have towards expanding our family.

Am I bitter because I can't have children on my own? You're damn right. What I wouldn't give to be able to simply plan for a pregnancy, have a little lovin' and pop out a baby like seemingly everyone else on the planet.

Here's the thing; the public system and safety net funds all sorts of conditions and treatments. Do I complain, because my "tax payer dollars" pay for a lung transplant, or cancer treatment, for someone who CHOSE to smoke and developed a medical condition? Do I complain, because my "tax payer dollars" are helping someone have a knee replacement because they CHOSE to run marathons and have injured themselves? Absolutely not! Because health care is something that should be available for all of us who are living, working & contributing to Australia's future.

And really.. do they think that we're not tax payers ourselves? We have worked and paid our taxes our entire lives, just like everyone else... so when we need to utilise the system for the first time, why should we have that option taken away from us?

This policy change scares me. As if IVF and infertility treatment wasn't hard enough to deal with from an emotional perspective, the thought that we might have to stop because of finances.. well, it's a real kick in the guts. It makes me think of others who aren't so lucky, or who haven't been able to try for their dream of having a family; places where there is no coverage what-so-ever... and it makes me angry. Australia is a place that is special to me, and I've always been grateful for its public system and the way it supports its citizens - but now, it just leaves me filled with dread.

IVF is not a choice we make lightly. It's not a go-to for people who are lazy, or who leave it too late to have children, or for folks who want designer babies. I just wish people would stop being so quick to judge, and to have a little compassion for those of us who are unlucky enough to have this burden on our shoulders.

Without access to IVF, we wouldn't have our daughter. This amazingly stubborn, strong-willed, pocket rocket of a child, who brings us so much joy. I can't fathom life without her, and I can't fathom why folks wouldn't want others to experience the happiness that she has brought us.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Dragging Out

My beta levels were down to 53 on November 2nd.
They dropped to 19 on November 6th.
They're still 9 today on November 10th.

More bloods in a week. I am a human pincushion right now, and not even for a fun reason.

Bloody fucking hell, the universe must really hate us. It just needs to get < 5 for me to start a new cycle, but no, apparently I can't even miscarry a pregnancy properly!

So here we are... still stuck in this limbo. Fun times! Somebody pour me a wine.

It's Over

Levels have started dropping, so it's time to stop all meds & wait for the inevitable.

Just when I was starting to hope. Another one gone, just like that. How did we get here?

I am just so utterly sad.

17dp4dt - Limbo

Today is 17dp4dt - or 21dpo - or 5 weeks pregnant.

Obviously my numbers don't match up to ANY of those figures, but here we are. Limbo!

I've managed to wrangle my blood test forward a day, so it's tomorrow now instead of Tuesday. We'll hopefully know with a little more clarity, and it's no good dragging things out any longer than we need to.

I feel pregnant. Queasy, off foods, hot flashes, headaches, exhausted. I'm still on all the meds - oestrogen & progesterone - so yes, it's very likely that it's more to do with them than it is my super low hcg hormones.

I'm still peeing on sticks, because it feels like the one thing I can control at this point... and they are tearing my heart out, because they're telling a story that is likely going to be shattered by tomorrow's blood test results.

These results were from Friday and Saturday, and they appear to be darkening. What a tease, right?

I just keep thinking that if I was anyone else, if I didn't know anything about IVF or blood tests or progesterone levels or doubling betas, I'd be SO excited to see a line like that.. I wish I was blissfully ignorant and able to just accept that 'today I am pregnant'. I'm trying to - but it's sort of ruined by 'today I am pregnant, but tomorrow's blood results will say that it's ending/ended'. Even my nurse at the fertility clinic called this a 'grey area' -- and it's just the worst.

Ah, well. Not much else I can do but wait and continue praying for a miracle, even if the odds are slim.

14dp4dt - It Didn't Double

It's not looking good.

This morning I had bloods drawn for my 18dpo doubling hcg test. To improve upon my number from Tuesday, we were aiming for an hcg increase up to 100.

At 16dpo, it was 51. (Progesterone was 33.)
At 18dpo, it was 81. (Progesterone was 30.) 
It didn't double. But it didn't go down. We are quite literally stuck in this hell for another few days.

The nurse didn't sound hopeful & told me it looked as though our embryo implanted, but obviously isn't doing well - so by Tuesday, we'll know one way or the other. It's like a cruel joke, isn't it? More waiting, and not the good kind.

12dp4dt - Technically Pregnant

I had my 16dpo beta today. Ideally, they'd like the number to be at 100 for this point in time.

Mine was 51. (Progesterone was 33.) 
Ugh. Limbo. I'm still fairly sure we're in chemical pregnancy land, but everything has been tearing me apart - preparing for the worst, then getting a glimmer of hope. This whole thing is such a tease.
The fertility nurse today couldn't tell me much other than a beta of 50+ is "technically a pregnant result". My beta is just literally scraping the threshold.
I know I was holding out for a miracle, but I really hope that if this isn't going to work, it doesn't drag on for too long. I'll be realistic & expect the worst for Thursday's second beta draw -- but that hope is still there. I guess for today, I'm still pregnant.
Here are yesterday & today's pee sticks.
It all depends on the doubling time now. If we have a boost, we might be in with a shot. If we plateau or decline, it's all over again. It's a LONG wait til Thursday!

Losing Another One

The quick version: FET #7 seems to have resulted in a chemical pregnancy.
The long version: FET #7 has been a cruel, cruel experience & has left me feeling defeated.


After the transfer of our little morula/early blastocyst, things got busy. We went to a concert the following night, which was amazing but loud; I jokingly commented that the little embryo had probably already vibrated right on out of there!

The next day, Georgia and I hopped into the car with my folks for an impromptu beach getaway. Hubby couldn't take time off due to a new job role starting, so it was just us. A good five hour drive up the coast later, we settled in to our holiday accommodation and spent the next little while relaxing.

I packed a single pregnancy test into my luggage. I thought that would help me from obsessing during the TWW. While I have it in my head that all frozen transfers are going to fail, I was surprisingly hopeful about this embryo. It's the nicest one we have had in a while, the lab scientists were happy, and I was happy too.

I started having symptoms from around 6dp4dt. Incredibly tired, aching back, sore boobs and a WHOPPER pimple that devoured my chin. The last time I had a breakout like that was last October, when I was pregnant. My skin always goes nuts before anything else!

I caved that night and peed. It was negative. Blindingly negative. I was kicking myself for testing too early, and went to the local grocery store to top up on pee sticks. The next morning was 7dp4dt, so I peed again. Once again, blindingly negative.

I've always had a line, albeit a squinty line, by 11dpo, in all of my previous pregnancies. It's basically my cut off, so I figured that was that. I chucked the pee sticks in the bin in a rage and considered this to be yet another failure.

8dp4dt was not a great day. I was snippy and crotchety and absolutely starving. Oh, and mad at the universe. We took Georgia to the beach and kept ourselves busy the entire day. I didn't pee on any sticks that day.

Since it was 9dp4dt, or 13dpo, I figured I would stop my pessaries and throw in the towel. I'm on a fairly hefty dose of progesterone for transfers now because of my previous losses - so it can take a while for a bleed to occur after stopping the pessaries. If there's one thing I hate doing, it's needlessly waiting around. I'd rather just move on, and get going again.

I peed on the stick, and went to shower. After I was done, I looked back at the stick and prepared to throw out the negative result.

Except it wasn't negative.

It wasn't dark, but it wasn't a squinter. It was a faint but visible second line. I then proceeded to have a panic attack on the bathroom floor, wearing nothing but my towel. It says pregnant. But it's faint. Is it TOO faint for 13dpo? It has to be too late now. It's probably a chemical. What if it's actually worked? What do I do now?

I'm sure most people would get a positive result on a pee stick and take for granted that all is fine, and not spend hours examining the strength of the line. Anyone who has lost a pregnancy will understand my terror, I think. This positive was throwing me for a loop.

My IVF friends have a saying: prepare for the worst but hope for the best. I was doing this, yes, but I'll admit, I was hoping for a miracle. We all hear stories of people who had a really late positive, or a really faint pregnancy test, or a really late implanter. Maybe this time, I could be one of those folks?

Unfortunately, I was not.

This morning's was fainter. This afternoon's was even fainter. Like, really faint, almost squint-worthy. Well, shit.

I've been pregnant 3 times in two years. I've lost all 3 of those pregnancies at various times. 3 from 3. Not great odds.

I have a beta blood draw in two days time. Judging by the pee sticks, there won't be much, if anything, to see by then.

I'm so angry. I'd prefer this to have been a flat out negative - not this chemical pregnancy limbo again. Why does this keep happening? Our testing show we have no genetic issues, my recurrent pregnancy loss blood work all came back normal, but man.... I don't even know anymore. The bad luck run continues.

So I'm apparently pregnant. But I won't be for long.

This sucks.

FET #7 - A Little Bit of Hope

We are PUPO! FET #7... and a transfer that finally brought a smile to my face.

The scientist decided to thaw the best graded morula last night, so it grew a little more overnight. That meant that it managed to grow a little more into an early blastocyst! I guess that means we technically had a 4.5 day transfer.

You guys... a GOOD embryo! That looks nice! That isn't behind! This is all we've been praying for.

It's a funny feeling having an embryo transfer on October 15th, on Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. This time last year, I was mourning our pregnancy loss. Little did I know that later that month, I would lose yet another pregnancy. This year, I'm lighting two candles for the little ones we've lost - and hoping with everything that I have, that maybe this little embryo in my uterus can stay.

I've lost a lot of hope over the last few years, but I'm throwing everything we've got at this one. Meet our newest embryo that's on board. It's a far cry from the sad one we transferred last time, that's for sure. :) 
Tomorrow night, we're going to see our favourite band - Lifehouse. I wish embryos had ears!
No more running, no more hiding 
No more hurting, no more crying 
No more trouble, no more sighing 
No more falling, no more striving 
No more heartache, no more fighting 
No more fears, only flying

This Sucks

I've been quiet lately, I know. It's so hard to update when there is absolutely nothing to update about. Waiting, more waiting. I've been drowning in pregnancy announcements these past few weeks, and it hasn't been pretty.

How much longer do we have to be the ones sitting on the sidelines and smiling through blinding tears, watching someone else get to experience everything we've been dreaming about? Why are we being 'greedy' by wanting to give our kid a sibling? Why is the only news we ever seem to get always bad news?

As you can imagine, things have been pretty bumpy over here. I'm so tired, you guys. I'm tired of this whole thing. It's ironic; something that should be one of the easiest things in the world, one of the happiest times of your life, being something that leaves you terrified and so, so angry. You don't know what I'd give to be able to think about getting pregnant, and then.. ya know.. get pregnant.

I refuse to apologise for wanting to give my daughter a sibling. I refuse to apologise for fighting for this with everything I have, because we are not giving up on this dream. I refuse to apologise for feeling the way I do - because you know what? This is a shitty situation to be in, one that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy, and it SUCKS.

When you think about all the worst case scenarios we've had happen to us in the last two years, it's almost laughable. It gets to a point where you've decided to be hopeful and to ignore things that have happened in the past, because 'it can't possibly get any worse!' - and then it does. And you're left there at the end, not quite sure what to make of it all. Is this all a sign? Am I cursed? It just feels like a bad luck streak that's never ending.

Tomorrow we have a scan and blood test, and I have this terrible feeling in my gut that we're going to end up having another cancelled cycle. I can't explain it; I've had twinges that remind me of cysts I've had previously - but yeah... it just feels like a bad omen. I'm crossing everything that I have and I HOPE I'm wrong! Wouldn't it be ironic to round out the year with more crappy news?

Anyway, I'll keep on keeping on, and I'll cope in the way that works the best for me. And if it means staying in hibernation mode, and focusing on my own little family for a little while longer, so be it.

CD1

After a cycle on the pill, we're gearing up to try again. This is going to be FET #7, all going well.

Nothing too exciting here: progynova (oestrogen) 3x a day, scan and bloods next week & then we see how everything is going.

If things look okay, we'll program in a transfer of one of the 4-day embryos. I asked if they'd grow them out, and they said no, they will do a morula transfer. I don't even have the energy in me to ask why, I'm just going with the flow this time around.

All of my questions and concerns and worries from previous rounds didn't have any impact on the outcomes, so I'm sort of going into this cycle fairly numb.. and with little to no expectations. Here we go again.

When Hibernating Is Easier

I've been having a bit of a break from social media for the last week or so, and it's actually been quite nice. I'm missing it a lot less than I thought I would, and I think it's been good for my emotional state.

Miss Toddler is now 2.5 years old. Where did the time go? It's bittersweet - this age is fun, but exhausting. I love seeing her grow up, but I miss the years that have already passed. She's growing up, we're getting older, and we've still made no progress on giving her the sibling that we've dreamed about for so long.

It also brings to light another not-so-great milestone; the fact that we've now almost hit the 2-year TTC/infertility mark again. It took us two years last time - but the difference then was that we found out we were pregnant soon after that milestone. This time, we're at 2 years and have nothing to show for it - except for the two miscarriages and a whole lot of wasted $$ on failed IVF cycles and procedures. It really hurts.

I always knew that it would be hard trying for a second child, which is why we jumped back on this merry-go-round as early as we did. But in my heart, I was desperately hoping that we'd paid our dues struggling for #1, and that we'd have a better time going for #2. Or, you know, be one of those couples who is lucky enough to have a miracle, or easily achieved, pregnancy the second time around. Hope is a dangerous thing sometimes. You want to be realistic, but you still always have the hope lurking under the surface.

It's hard having to explain to people where you're at in your cycle right now.
It's hard to be in a forced wait, when all you want to do is throw everything you have at this hurdle in front of you.
It's hard to have to explain why you're not excited anymore, or why you're finding it hard to relate to people around you.
It's hard to find people on similar journeys to you, and it's hard not to compare yours with theirs.
It's hard when you feel like a terrible friend because all you want to do is to protect yourself & get away from it all for a while.

So Facebook, Twitter, Instragram, with your excited TTC-ers, miraculous pregnancy announcements & beautiful babies, I think we need to steer clear of each other for just a little while longer, until I can build up my walls again to face the rest of the world. I'm a bit broken right now, but I'll be back.

September

We're somehow already halfway through a new month.. and I don't know how it happened, to be honest. At the rate this year is going, it'll be Christmas before we can blink.

So what have we been up to?

  • In cycle news, I finally got a bleed a few days ago after the egg retrieval stim/freeze all. It took almost a whole two weeks to arrive, but it was a doozy when it eventually got here. Now I'm back on the pill for a cycle to ensure my ovaries calm the hell down. Frustrating, but what can you do?
  • We've been outdoors! The weather has gone from Winter to Spring REALLY fast, and Georgia & I have been out with Spencer loads. She loves the backyard, it's hard to get her indoors again most days.
  • Hopefully planning a few days away. We are all pretty burnt out over here with all the stuff that's been going down... so hopefully, if work allows it, we'll go away for a few days and have a bit of a break.
  • Deliberating making our front room - currently a hardly used formal lounge - into a playroom for G. It'd mean a lot less clutter in the back room, and would give her a space to play in of her own. The downside? Getting rid of our lounges, figuring out a way to block off the staircase, and an Ikea trip for some storage cupboards for toys. This might end up being a bigger project than we thought..!
  • Partners in crime!

3 Effective Fat Burning Cardio Machines: Sponsored Post

I've been beyond slack with my training lately - after pushing myself with spin classes & weight training at the gym and not seeing results (thanks, IVF meds!) I just needed a break. It's about that time for me to jump back into my workouts - so today's sponsored post was a great reminder of how simple it is to get your body moving again. I have a love/hate relationship with my treadmill, but it's just one of many options to get active.

*******

Put your hand up if you want to lose fat! Okay, now leave your hand up, because that will burn a few extra calories for you today. Are you looking for something a little more effective (and a lot less painful) than waving your hand in the air all day? Traditional cardio machines can help you get moving, burn fat and be on the way to a healthier version of yourself. Not sure where to start? Here are three popular machines to get you thinking.

1. Cross-trainer

The cross-trainer (or elliptical trainer) gives you a full-body workout every time. By working the arms and legs, as well as engaging your core, this machine will really get your heart rate up and your blood pumping. It’s super easy to do interval work by adjusting the resistance or your own speed, so you can vary your workouts. If you have any joint pain which is aggravated by the treadmill, the cross-trainer will generally be a great option as its smooth, circular motion removes the small amount of impact many people notice when walking. You don’t have to join a gym to get the benefits of this machine (or the others further down, either!) – check out sites like www.fitnessmarket.com.au to view a range of elliptical/cross-trainers that could be perfect for your home.

2. Rowing Machine

Competitive rowers are known for their incredible aerobic capacity, so why not follow in their footsteps? Rowing machines are often overlooked in traditional gym settings, but they can be hugely beneficial for fat loss and cardiovascular fitness. If you jump on to give it a go, make sure you use your legs, then your core, then your arms and finally squeeze your back in one smooth movement. Rowing is all in the technique, and jerky movements are inefficient. Keep it slow and steady for distance rowing, or push yourself and try doing 500 metres four times, as fast as you can, with a rest in between each effort. Rowing is also a great method of cross training if you play any team sport or do a lot of walking or running!

3. Treadmill

The treadmill has got to be the age-old solution for getting moving and burning fat. It lets you perform the very basic movements of walking and running at a convenient place and time – and these are movements we were built to perform! Not only is it easy to add variety to this cardio classic (you can choose pre-set workouts, vary the incline or change your speeds up), it’s also super easy to multitask if you’re just planning on doing a simple walk. You don’t have to have any fancy moves to get a good workout on a treadmill – keep it basic and you can be enjoying feeling fitter, firmer and more energetic!

Steady-state or interval cardio training can be effective methods for losing fat and feeling fit. Just don’t forget to combine your efforts with a nutrient-rich diet! Are you a fan of cardio machines? Is there one that you swear by? Share your favourite machine or workout below!
This sponsored post is in collaboration with Fitness Market - all images are my own. If you are interested in a product review or sponsored post content appearing on Breathe Gently, please email me.

An Embryo Update

Sorry for going quiet folks.. I've spent the last few days playing phone tag with my clinic to try and find out some more information about our new bunch of frosties.

So.. we had 8 embryos frozen at day 4. 4 were compacting morulas, 4 were early blastocysts.

No actual grading, they just had to make a fairly strict criteria for day 4, and all passed. There were no embryos left that they were watching - apparently there was a big divide between what was good/not good. The remaining discarded embryos were all significantly behind (2x 7-cell, 2x 6-cell, 8-cell, 9-cell, 15-cell with severe fragmentation) and wouldn't have caught up, so they were very happy with the 8 they did freeze.

The scientist I spoke to today was also the one who grew out our day 1's last time (who saw me sob hysterically through the transfer of our crappy last one left) and said compared to the embryos he had to work with last time, these looked way better. I'm trying to be positive that maybe future FET's won't have such poor results in the future as they have in the past. New clinic, new embryos, new chances.

Now I just have to wait for a period.. I'm still waiting, 10 days post egg retrieval -- and after that we can start our pill rest cycle.

8 Little Embryos

We found out today that we have eight embryos that were suitable for freezing.
Today is day 4, so I'm assuming they have frozen them as morulas. Because our clinic is closed on weekends, they unfortunately weren't able to grow and freeze them to blastocysts as we'd hoped. They've assured me that they've had good success spotting good embryos between days 4-5 to freeze and eventually thaw, but it still makes me nervous.
Let's face it.. ALL frozen cycles make me nervous!
That said... this is it for us again for a while - we're back at the waiting game again.
Waiting for a bleed, post egg pick-up & no transfer. Waiting for a pill cycle, and then another bleed. Waiting to start another HRT FET, hopefully in October if all goes well. Waiting to transfer one of those 8 embryos.
IVF stim #5, over & out.

15

It's one day past egg retrieval. I feel good.. scratch that - GREAT. This is quite possibly the best recovery I've had since starting IVF back in 2012. I went to bed sore, and woke up pumped. If I walk away with nothing from this new clinic, at least I've had a good run with healing.

I spoke to a doctor today from my new clinic, who understands my frustration with yet another freeze all - they get it, they understand, but they're standing by their decision. Their cut off is 20 follicles, and since I had 19 mature & still some left untouched during the retrieval, the risk is still too high.

So.. what now?

I wait for a period. Then go back on the pill. Then another period. And then another HRT FET cycle. More waiting! This whole thing feels never-ending sometimes. :(

On the bright side? Out of my 19 eggs, we had 15 fertilise overnight.

As most of us know, day 1 doesn't tell us much - and our history has shown we lose a lot between days 1-5. The test will be what survives to Friday to become morulas.. but hopefully we'll have some positive news and a few to freeze then.

Written as part of Microblog Mondays @ Stirrup Queens

IVF #5 - Another Freeze All

So after all the excitement and positivity, we had the shock of our lives at egg retrieval today. We were expecting 6-8 eggs, based on the scan & the blood test results from last week. In the end, we got 19. I honestly don't know how that happened, or where they were hiding, but 19. It was a pretty long egg retrieval.

The bad news? The high egg numbers combined with the size/swelling of my ovaries (and the sheer amount of fluid they retrieved) puts me at risk of OHSS. They also had several follicles that they couldn't aspirate because of the enlarged ovaries, so they had to leave them untouched. As such, they've ordered a freeze all again for this cycle.

Just when we thought we were clear sailing for a fresh transfer... nope. Once again, I spent my recovery time in tears - why do we keep doing this over & over, why do things keep going wrong? This whole thing is so frustrating.

Even through the disappointment, I'm trying to be positive - and focusing on those 19 eggs. Word this afternoon was that they looked okay - so let's hope hubby's swimmers do their part of the bargain, and we have some good fertilisation results tomorrow.

I feel pretty rotten tonight, very sore and bloated, so they may indeed have made the right call on no transfer... but I'm still sad. It means more months of waiting around, more $$ on a frozen cycle, more time spent watching seemingly everyone around me get pregnant while we're stuck in limbo yet again.

I just wish we had a crystal ball that could tell us that there was a positive end in sight.

IVF #5 grab 'n stab: day 9

You guys, we're a-go for egg retrieval!

I was so nervous for this morning's scan - but it looked okay. A nice lining of 12mm. Many small follicles, as per usual, but then some good numbers for measurements. The lady counted a 20, a few 17's & 16's - which is fairly large for only day 9 of stims. Usually I go back in for a second scan a few days later, but my numbers aren't normally this advanced. I had bloods taken afterwards and nervously waited to hear from my clinic.
I just got the call:
E2 was 6845
P4 was 1.6 - say that again, 1.6! TOTALLY UNDER CONTROL. Amazeballs!
I'm not even kidding when I tell you that I was dancing around the lounge room when I heard those numbers.
Tomorrow morning we'll do our last jab of Puregon + Lucrin, then trigger tomorrow night, and then it's all systems go for our first egg pick-up at the new clinic on Monday morning!
MONDAY! Argh! This is happening!
Of course, this is just the first of many hurdles - but after being cancelled to freeze alls after my last two scans from the stim cycles, this feels like the best news in the world. :)

IVF #5 grab 'n stab: day 8

Tomorrow we have bloods & a follicle scan to see how this cycle is going. To say I am petrified is an understatement.

IVF #3 was an antagonist cycle, which was converted to a freeze all because my progesterone hit 5.3 after 11 days of stims.
IVF #4 was also an antagonist cycle, which was converted to a freeze all because my progesterone hit 6.3 after 11 days of stims.

This cycle is NOT an antagonist cycle - it's a long down-reg cycle. I'm really hoping that it can keep my progesterone under control {please work, Lucrin} but I'm scared that my body is broken.

My first two IVF cycles (also down-reg) produced smaller egg numbers, but lower progesterone. I'm hoping this is the case again for us this cycle. I'd take quality over quantity ANY day - especially because all we're aiming for is a fresh transfer.

I'm starting to feel a bit uncomfortable already, which makes me happy/worried at the same time. Happy because the Puregon might be working, but petrified that the movement from the follicles will also trigger a progesterone surge, and that might lead to us being cancelled again. :(

To some folks, a freeze all isn't the end of the world - but we've been told by two different fertility specialists that frozen cycles aren't great for us. Add in the extra waiting around between cycles, as well as the additional costs of a frozen cycle in a few months time, and really.. it's the worst case scenario in our eyes. Surely we can't be that unlucky three times running!

Please universe, just let us have a beautiful embryo and a smooth, fresh transfer this time around.

First things first though... we'll see what tomorrow's scan shows us.

Disney Junior The Channel & The Book of Once Upon a Time: Sponsored Post

This sponsored post is brought to you by Nuffnang and Disney Junior The Channel - all images are my own, unless otherwise specified. If you are interested in a product review or sponsored post content appearing on Breathe Gently, please email me.

As a primary school teacher, reading books to/with children has always been an important part of my life - and this is something which I continue to treasure now that I have a daughter of my own. Reading comes in many different forms, especially in today's world where our kids have access to so much more than traditional story books.

The Disney Junior channel is a big favourite in this household, and we've already been watching their newest series, The Book of Once Upon a Time, for the last few weeks.

Airing in the early evening, it fits in perfectly with Georgia's schedule - we watch the story of the day, snuggle in tight, sing the 'Land of Once Upon a Time' lullaby {sha la la la laaaaa} and then it's off upstairs and into bed. It's the perfect accompaniment to a bedtime routine!

Image via Disney Junior
So what IS Disney Junior's The Book of Once Upon a Time?

It's a locally produced interactive story-telling series, hosted by Australian actor Kate Mulvany that airs every weekday evening. The program encourages children to get creative with their imagination, showing bright illustrations & animations, combined with traditional story book imagery and character re-enactments.

It's perfect for those of us with little people who have a short attention span, because it's bright & colourful, uses characters that we are already familiar with, and the narrator always keeps things interesting.

The stories feature important learning components, such as early language and math skills, moral values, creative thinking & healthy lifestyles, with an emphasis on social and emotional development. They're all cleverly disguised within fun and exciting stories, so kids won't even know they're being exposed to all those hidden educational extras!

As I mentioned earlier, The Book of Once Upon a Time ensures that storytelling is an important part of children's bedtime rituals - so it quickly and easily becomes a part of the day that your little one will remember. And best of all, if you miss a story, you can find them online at the Disney Junior Story Room.

The stories that are featured in The Book of Once Upon a Time are also available as eBooks from the Disney Story Central app, which is available to download from iTunes.

There will be all new stories premiering in Book Week which begins Monday 24th August from 7:10pm on Disney Junior The Channel. Stories from this upcoming second season include “Snow White and the Great Jewel Hunt” as well as other exciting Disney stories from “Winnie the Pooh”, “Aladdin”, "Sleeping Beauty” and “Frozen”. 

Disney Junior The Channel is where magical storytelling comes to life! It's available in all Foxtel subscribing homes on channel 709, and easily accessible online.

                                                  Here's a sneak peek of one of the newest episodes from Season 2 - enjoy!






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