Monday, 26 October 2009

Not many eggs left

It’s been a few weeks now since our first failed ICSI cycle. Still feeling a bit raw and a bit numb. There is a bitter taste in my mouth – that familiar taste of failure. It’s a distinct flavour that makes me feel ill 24/7 and I can’t wait for the taste to disappear. Maybe another bottle of wine will help?

Not only am I feeling raw and numb but also very upset. Part of my important support network has disappeared. Why? Too hard to explain. But I’ll do my best.

EPU is a very personal and private day. My husband was the only person I wanted to see on the day. He’s my best friend, the best support person and he also has the important job of providing sperm to the scientist! I also knew that Id be feeling a bit zombie like after the operation and would no doubt sleep most of the day away.

Now, a VIP in my life was hurt by my decision to not include them in my EPU day. This VIP chose to tell me about their feelings of rejection the day after my EPU, moments before my Dr called me with the devastating news of our fertilization results. Needless to say, this VIP chose THE worse moment to open up to me. I’m sure I was aggressive and witch like during our phone conversation and to be honest I don’t remember what I said. But I was hurt by the lack of post-op support and I was hurt by the comments made.

This was my moment to wallow. My pity party. And I don’t remember inviting anyone else to steal it from me.

My FS called a few days after the EPU and told me I probably suffer from LOR or low ovarian reserve. This simply means I don’t have many eggs left.

Whoa. Hold up a minute. Not many eggs left? I’m 29 years old for f@cks sake! How on earth did that happen?

FS has recommended a new drug called DHEA (sounds like a law enforcement agency). The drug is meant to improve my ovarian function and stimulate whatever eggs I do have left.

Time to sign off for a few months. Time to relax and let this DHEA do it's thing.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Our first failure

The paper work is filled in. We’ve met with the nurse and cycle coordinator. It’s all systems go. Just waiting for AF to show up. Feels strange waiting for AF to show up. I normally hate her arrivals but this time I want her to arrive on time.

Low and behold, AF arrives two days early. Woot! I was expecting my body to betray me and delay her arrival. So happy to begin the injections and get this process rolling. DH hates needles so it’s up to me each morning to jab myself in the stomach. Quick, sharp and over in seconds.

First scan reveals I have 2 follies on my left ovary and 3 on the right. Kind of low but the technician isn’t too concerned.

Three days later and the result is still the same. Two on the left and 3 on the right. Boo. The measurements are OK for collection so I’m in theatre three days later. The whole surgery experience is bloody scary. I opt for light sedation so I can watch my eggs being collected on the plasma screen. Yes, there is a plasma in the theatre! DH is sitting beside me squeezing my hand for reassurance. Half way through the surgery, I lose consciousness and black out. Yikes! Apparently I’m allergic to the sedation. The first words to pass my lips is “How many eggs did you collect?”.

FS gives me a sad look, takes my hand and tells me only 1 egg was collected.

The deepest sadness I’ve ever experienced washes over me. I begin to howl and DH tries to comfort me. One egg! One lousy egg! Hell, I can produce one egg every month without torturing my body with injections and drugs.

The following day my FS calls us with the news – the egg didn’t fertilise. Guttered. Devastated. Wasted. Inconsolable. Heartbroken.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

ICSI, here we come!

We’ve decided to do a cycle next month. Finances are in place. We’re feeling fit, healthy and happy about our decisions. Time to let the FS know we’re keen to give ICSI a shot.

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Pre-Implantation Genetic Diagnosis

Met with Geneticist and discussed PDG a little further – it ain’t for us!
Back to the drawing board.

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Male Factor Infertility

Our second FS appt went well. We saw a new FS that specialises in Male Factor Infertility and he explained our test results in detail. DH now has a name for his infertility – Y Chromosome Deletions. Feels strange the way it rolls off your tongue de⋅le⋅tions. Men with this infertility have certainly gone on to have children however our son will definitely suffer from this infertility. DH and I look at one another and back to the FS. Are you serious? Our future son will suffer from a low sperm count caused by a genetic deletion! I’m sure the shock on our faces didn’t register with the FS because he just continued to talk and talk.

The FS has asked DH to give a sperm sample once a week for the next three weeks. The sperm will be frozen and used in case of emergency if a fresh sample cannot be used on the day of our egg retrieval.

So, our next step is to see our original FS again and hear how the ICSI cycle works. Durr, I know this already. Am addicted to Dr Google! We also have to make an appt to see a fertility nurse at the clinic and run through the medication, surgery procedures and costs involved.

This time DH and I leave the clinic feeling a little deflated. The conversation did not flow easily on the way home. Our future son will be infertile.

Third FS appt went well today. Had to attend this appt by myself as DH couldn’t get out of work. FS explained the cycle from beginning to end and made no promises. However I’ve been told that we have age on our side. We’re fit, young and healthy…. And that’s a good thing!

FS also explained that we qualify for the Pre-Implantation Genetic Diagnosis aka PGD. The way I understand it, DH and I can choose the sex of our baby because our infertility is caused by genetics… genetics that can be passed onto a son. PGD involves carefully removing one or more cells from an embryo for analysis and determining the sex of the embryo. I cannot believe that this is an option. I cannot believe the FS is asking if we want to have girls only! Isn’t that playing God? Isn’t that going against Mother Nature? Surely any child is a blessing whether they suffer from infertility later in life or not. Am feeling very confused and on the verge of tears. The FS suggest a counseling session with one of the Geneticist for the following week.

Saturday, 30 May 2009

Our first IVF appt

Our FS appointment is two sleeps away. My day was spent organising and photocopying our test results, referrals and documents for the FS. I am beginning to get excited now about the future!

DH and I visited our FS yesterday. I now I should be feeling positive about the experience but to be honest I feel shit scared now. The need to invest complete faith in our FS was squashed 20 minutes into the appointment. We’re being referred to her colleague instead…. This is the moment my faith and hope disappear! Without going on and on about it too much, the bottom line is more blood tests have been ordered for the both of us. DH also has to take a cystic fibrosis test. Once the results are in, we head back to the clinic to see her colleague (who specialises in Male Factor Infertility). My gut is telling me this is gonna be a long and bumpy ride but I must try and look at this experience differently. The FS is conducting more tests so they know exactly what they are dealing with right? Yes Brooke!
DH is so great about all this. He walked out of the appointment just glowing with how great this is going to be. WTF? Where did this enthusiasm come from?

Life as I know it has been sucked out of me. I wake this morning feeling the full effects of this journey so far; devastation, confusion, afraid, isolated, guilty, ashamed, angry, sad and pathetically hopeless. I cannot possibly go into the office today. My head is pounding and I’m struggling to understand why I am feeling like this. This struggle is aggravated unfamiliar and intense feelings in me. I fear that my attitude will be misunderstood by others. Because I’m absolutely certain that those close to me are misunderstanding me. They must think I’m obsessed, moody, helpless, depressed, envious, too serious, obnoxious, aggressive, antagonistic, and cynical. Decision made…. I’m calling in sick. Best to stay indoors today and ignore the outside world.

Wow. When it rains, it really does pour. The Government has just released it’s Budget for 2010 and it’s not good. Actually it’s devastating. The Government wants to get rid of the Medicare Safety Net for IVF and OB/GYN claims. I want to cry. I want to laugh hysterically. I want to be comforted by Mr Sav Blanc. Some would argue that IVF is not for the public purse to pay for, but I get annoyed that the safety net is there for people with medical conditions to access affordable medical care yet we can’t. My husband has a medical condition. A genetic medical condition and we would like the same access as other’s to a medical rebate. IVF is one of a few medical conditions that if invested in well, will in some part give back to society in future generations. I also can't stand the hypocrisy of saying that Australia needs to increase our population and pays that in baby bonus (and maybe a paid maternity leave scheme) as an incentive and then tries to take funding from an area that is doing just that. It’s been a few weeks now and I’m beginning to feel better. DH and I have completed all of our tests. We’re just whistling away the time until our next FS appt to discover the results.

Just came back from a lunch date with my GF. My GF is also TTC and it’s so nice for us to sit down with no disruptions and talk babies. Just towards the end of our lunch date my GF announces she is nine weeks pregnant. I’m not surprised by this at all however my GF has tears in her eyes as she breaks the news to me. I’m touched that she’s so caring and sensitive towards my feelings but I’m honestly thrilled for her. As a fellow TTCer doing it tough I’m so glad she and her hubby are rewarded with another bub. Completely and utterly happy for them.

Thursday, 30 April 2009

$49 psychic

I don’t think I can take another pregnancy announcement. I am truly at breaking point and have the potential to hurt expecting women everywhere. Here is goes….. A colleague just announced her pregnancy. I can’t believe I didn’t pick it because she’s huge. I mean for a tiny Japanese woman, she is certainly showing and her belly is very cute. But I can’t seem to fight the violent urge to push her over. Due to these dangerous tendencies, I consider resigning at first. Maybe a job in a nightclub would be better. It would be extremely beneficial to pregnant women all over the city if I begin to spend all of my time in a nightclub where it is unlikely that any women would bring her baby.

Why don’t women talk about it? Better still, why won’t men talk about it? Is there a code of silence when it comes to fertility issues? In the eleven years since I became 18 and joined the work force, I have never heard of anyone talk about fertility issues – especially of the male kind! Yet, I’ve heard about every ‘oopsy daisy’ pregnancy. The human race (well, the Sydney human race) are proud as punch to talk about impending births and their children yet nobody is proud to discuss or even comment on infertility. I mean no one chooses to have fertility issues. I feel so ashamed to talk about our reproductive failings whilst others are so happy to flaunt their fertility to everyone.

Okay so I haven’t resigned yet! But I’m certainly developing my business idea in my spare time. Well, I’m actually surfing the web at work and researching as much as I can… and getting paid for it! Hoping my boss never finds out!

Another member (my favourite member) has graduated from our on-line forum into the Pregnancy forum. It’s a bittersweet feeling. Of course I’m incredibly happy for her but I wish I was joining her. I wish it was me leaving the group and moving into the pregnancy forum. It dawns on me that my world is beginning to segregate. My world as I know it is now the Fertile’s and the Infertile’s. I also noticed that my life changed forever the moment DH and I started trying to conceive. What happened to our wild Saturday night’s that would have us stumbling home at 6am the following morning? My Saturday nights are now spent on the couch reading the Twilight series. Bella and Edward can conceive a vampire baby but I can’t even conceive a human baby!! Maybe I need to consider knitting or scrap-booking? Am becoming a Grandmother already – yet have no child to create a grandchild.

Another blow. Another lemon. Another devastation. Not too sure if I can take it much longer. My GP phoned yesterday to break the bad news. DH’s sperm count hasn’t changed. It’s the same! How can that be? Surely the horrid herbs and painful acupuncture did something to DH’s swimmers! I hop on the bus and head home to DH, all the while thinking of ways to break the news gently to him. I dawdle home and put the keys in the door… there is no easy way to tell him. Here is goes…
DH takes the shitty news like a trooper. Shrugs his shoulders and says “Oh well. It was worth a shot”. I hug him immediately and bury my face into his neck. I’m so glad his reaction isn’t to cry and shout ‘Why me!”. Because that’s exactly how I feel like reacting! We discuss our next step and agree IVF is the only way forward now. Our FS appointment is in two weeks so we agree to a TTC naturally break! Yippee! No more OPK’s, no more mangy thermometers and no more CM checks.

It was my birthday yesterday and I must admit I had a great day. The day started off a little slow and little apprehensive because I truly believed I’d be holding my baby in my arms by this milestone…. BUT it wasn’t meant to be. So I dedicate the day to being positive instead. Forget important milestones and celebrate the moment my head screams at me. DH, Jessie and my mum make it a memorable birthday evening. Gotta love them for it!

I saw a psychic today and I’m feeling a little shaky. The reading was great but it’s still a frightening experience because the psychic acknowledge so many points in my life; DH’s health and current working conditions, my business idea, my immediate family and of course, our hard times dealing with fertility issues. Apparently DH and I will never conceive naturally but we will conceive with the help of a specialist. The months of May and October could be seen as positive outcomes. This is freaky because our appointment at the IVF clinic is in May and our private health insurance begins in September. Am I reading too much into this? Do I believe a $49 psychic?

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Where are you miracle?

It’s Friday. I’m CD14 and half way through SMEP. I cannot believe that I totally forget to use an OPK today. How could I be so forgettable! I get home and try an OPK anyway, it kinda looks negative. It’s Saturday. I’m CD15 and my waking temperature has sky rocketed! What the? I couldn’t have O already! My O day is still two or three days away. Very confused now. After lunch I use an OPK and register a positive. Right, so I’ve O’d. DH is at cricket all day so I must wait til he gets home before one last BD – just for good measure! Just as my cycles become clock work, my body throws a curve ball at me. An early ovulation! Sheesh!

Feeling bittersweet. I don’t know whether to jump with excitement, swallow my sadness or cry hysterically. Think I’ll pick number two option – swallow my sadness. My brother L has just called me from mum’s place to tell me he’s going to be a dad. A dad! That means I’m going to be an Aunty. I react normally (because mentally unstable women in my position needs to react excited in this situation) and tell L and his girlfriend K they’re going to be great parents. I quickly talk to my mum and ask her will she be grandma or nana. My mum is so excited about being a grandmother. I talk a little longer with my brother and ask him about their future living arrangements (L still lives at home with my dad) and if marriage is on the cards before the baby is born. I guess it’s all too soon to be answering those questions because he’s still in shock he’s gonna be a dad! It’s so sweet hearing him excited!
I say my goodbyes and begin to clean the kitchen. Half way through scrubbing the oven tray, a little tear escapes. I tell myself to stop it immediately but the tears are out before I have a chance to control them. I cry (yet again) for selfish reasons. Because I want to create my OWN people as well.

This isn’t fair! Five women from my on-line support group have just discovered their pregnant. WTF? Where was my invite to join the Due-in group? I’ve checked the mail box repeatedly and got nothing. This means my support group is down to 4 members. SMEP was successful for 5 out of 9 members. Now that’s awesome news for SMEP creators but what about me? I’ve been doing SMEP for months and months (that’s a lie but it sounds right in my head) and got nothing! Where is my miracle?
Argh, guess it’s time to recruit some more members to the on-line group.

My urge to procreate is getting stronger and stronger now. Especially when women all around me are falling pregnant and giving birth. It’s just not far. I want to make my OWN people are well. I still haven’t accepted that it may take a cast of hundreds to help DH and I do it.

Saturday, 28 February 2009

Stilettos, Fires & Grey hairs

I was in the lunch room chit chatting about my impending two year wedding anniversary, when my work colleague said
“Two years of marriage and no kids yet. Are you going to begin trying soon?”
Just as I was about to blow my stack, I took a deep breath and let out a big sigh.
“Actually, we’ve been trying for nearly 12 months”
She started to mumble an apology and left the lunch room quickly. I don’t know who felt more uncomfortable; me or her!
Finally I said it out loud! I am a married woman trying to conceive a baby. The words feel strange on your tongue but strangely easy to say out loud.

I had coffee with a girlfriend today. She asked me about out TTC efforts and I said no success as yet. My GF then said DH and I should go away for a weekend, drink some beer & wine and relax a little. Because we’re bound to fall pregnant if we learn to relax a little. My immediate reaction was to punch her in the nose, however it dawned on me that some people are just uneducated about TTC. Don’t people realise that DH and I have been alone for 6 years and drank copious amounts of alcohol – this formula doesn’t work!
My smug mug (did I mention pregnant) GF begins to complain about her wardrobe and how nothing fits anymore. So being the fabulous GF that I am, I push past my jealously and offer to go shopping with her. It occurs to me that she is actually wearing her husbands t-shirt over a long skirt. Poor thing! It must be awful not to be fashionable anymore. Suddenly a warm glow begins to fill me. Could this be the feeling of satisfaction? Yes, yes I think it is! I may have just found the secret to TTC happiness. My wardrobe! I can still wear skinny jeans, stilettos, fabulous snug dresses.

A girl in my on-line buddy group discovered she is pregnant. We’re all thrilled for her as she has been TTC for over 12 months and unfortunately had to endure a miscarriage. But after a successful month using the SMEP, she is pregnant! Maybe it’s time to revisit this one. I begin my web surfing and find an article on SMEP for couples with a low sperm count. Bingo! As I read through the article, I discover it’s best to BD every third day as apposed to every second day. The bonus of BD every third day is it gives males suffering from low sperm count a chance to replenish their reserves. Sounds interesting! I discuss SMEP with DH and we decide to give it a go next cycle if this one fails.

DH and I had a big fight. Another argument over TTC and how stupid and obsessed I’m becoming. He’s right. I am mad woman. I try and apologise for my obnoxious wild ways but DH has had enough and storms out of the room. I am too scared to follow him! He finally emerges 15 minutes later and gives me a cuddle. He tells me this is hard for him too. I cannot believe how blessed I am to having such a loving and understanding husband when I am such a bugger. You know, part of why I get so angry (and who could forget upset) is because DH is going to make such a fantastic dad one day. It upsets me it’s not happening as quickly as it should. Ah, coulda woulda shoulda!

It’s Saturday afternoon and I’m still in my PJ’s. Our modified SMEP method failed! I’m debating whether to continue crying or have a breakdown. Hmmmm. Let’s continue with crying on the couch and then I’ll see how I feel after that. I cry because this is the 12th period to arrive since we embarked on our TTC adventure; I cry because 12 months is a long time to strive for our common goal; I cry because I’ve experienced 12 bouts of horrid IPS; I cry because our BD efforts were useless; I cry because I’ve worked out my baby’s EDD 12 times. I sit on the couch and switch on the telly. I need a distraction before my tears ducts dry up. A news bulletin tells me there are fires burning out of control across Victoria. The images on the television are from a war-torn country, surely. This cannot be Victoria, Australia. I watch the television transfixed and begin to surf different channels for more news. Same story, same image, same sadness. Oh, how awful for these communities. Devastated by a fire that someone idiot has purposefully started. The authorities are now predicting certain deaths as many communities were unable to escape the fast paced movement of the fire. My own sadness is completely forgotten as I watch news reel after news reel of devastating footage. How blessed I am! I have a roof over my head, food in the fridge, a husband who adores me, a job to go to everyday. These images have put things into perspective for me. I am blessed to have what I have.

It’s nearing the end of February and it’s time for my monthly visit to my hairdresser. I casually mention my grey hair meltdown in conversation and S just laughs and says “Babe, you should see the crown of your head!”. I’m godsmacked!! I have grey hairs in another spot. Why has no one cared enough to tell me? This is wrong. This is bad. This is a disaster. I consider colouring my hair but S say’s it’s not that bad yet. Really? Could have fooled me. Greys hairs and no kids to blame it on sounds like a disaster to me!

Saturday, 31 January 2009

Loss of a friend & Silly Season Amnesia

DH and I are BD every second day whilst on our annual leave break trying desperately for a miracle. But it happens again. A visit to the toilet proves we’re unsuccessful again. Thank goodness for ice cream, pasta, chocolate and wine (in that order). At least the wine numbs the pain and pulls me into a drunken stupor! I cannot stand the disappointment yet again.

I’ve decided to leave the Tourism industry! Mainly because the pay sucks and I want to be closer to home. Maybe I’m feeling the urge to nest? I find my ancient resume and begin to update it. A friend mentioned I should list my hobbies on the resume as it shows employers you’re personality. Hobbies? Checking my temperature, Peeing on ovulation sticks, checking my cervical mucous. That should show my future employer that I am full of personality.

I just found my first grey hair!!! This isn’t happening. I’m only 28 years old. Far too young for grey hairs. I can’t go grey yet. I still need to have a family. Actually, aren’t kids the cause of grey hairs? That’s what my mother tells me.
This is wrong. This is bad. This is a disaster. I quickly pluck it out and try to forget about it. Three weeks later as I’m brushing my teeth, I notice the morning light reflect off a hair on the side of my head. As I mean in for a closer look, I find three more grey hairs in the same spot! So it’s true! You pluck a hair and three grow back in its place. I almost choke on my toothbrush. I can’t leave the grey hairs in place. So out come the tweezers and I pluck all three hairs out of my head.

What an amazing Australia Day long weekend we’ve had. I spent Saturday catching up with new friends, my buddy group friends from the on-line forum pages I frequent. The following day we drive out to dad’s place and have a wonderful lunch with dad, my brother L and his girlfriend K. DH and my dad have one too many beers and it’s time to head back to Sydney. On Monday we invite family and friends over for an Aussie Day BBQ. Is wonderful spending public holiday with close family and close friends.

My weekend euphoria has been shattered. DH and I just found out that our friend S has tried to take his own life. S has been rushed to ICU in a coma but we’ve been told it’s not looking good. Unfortunately S’s wife found him hanging in the backyard yesterday barely breathing. Again, I am numb with emotions. Or maybe I’m just confused about what to feel. I’m angry at S for wanting to end his life but so upset and sorry for his young wife.
Two days later, the life support is switched off and S passes away peaceful… just as he wanted.

I’m a mess. DH is a mess. We talk about S and try to find answers to our questions but nothing helps. Jessie suggests we disappear for the weekend; to her Grandparents house down on the south coast. Count me in! I need escape for few days and deal with feelings.

The following day I collect Jessie and head south out of Sydney. The ipod is pumping out some great travel tunes and we talk and talk and talk all the way. I’m beginning to feel better with every kilometre driven. A beach side getaway is just what I need!

Jessie and I wake up the following morning to a glistening day. We strip our clothes, put on our bikinis and race to the beach. The minute I dive into the fresh water I can feel the stress, anxiety and negative thoughts wash away. The salt water evaporates all my needs and wants. We lie on the sand for hours talking about the past and trying to predict the future. Shit! Shit! Shit! It finally dawns on me that I’d probably just ovulated on the beach with Jessie lying beside me and DH 350 kms away. Oh well….. there goes my fertile moment for the month of January. I cannot believe we’ve missed another month! Silly Season Amnesia is very serious medical condition! I’m beginning to panic now as the year is almost over and we’ve been TTC for 10 months. DH is rousing on me for irresponsible reproduction behaviour for I am ovulating whilst taking unauthorised vacation with Jessie. Oops!

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Christmas, New Year & summer sun

Christmas is just around the corner. How wonderful to be celebrating the birth of a child. DH and I say it’ll be the last Christmas celebrated as a childless couple. It’ll be the last grandchildless Christmas for our parents also. But my TTC brain kindly reminds me that had we fallen pregnant on our first attempt (like so many other couples do) we would be holding our two week old baby right now. Ouch. That kick in the guts really hurts! Must remain positive. If all goes according to my new TTC plan which begins in late February, will be holding one month old this time next year.

New Years Eve is here. We are headed to Bowral for a friends wedding. Is lovely to be out of Sydney and breathing in the fresh air of the countryside. Is also lovely to be spending such quality time with close friends. The wedding ceremony is beautiful and intimate and we all head to the vineyard restaurant for the wedding reception. Ah, Mr Blanc is ready and waiting for me. Hello old friend! As the night progresses, Mr Blanc and I have a wonderful time. We dance and dance and suddenly it hits me. Is today CD17? Is today my ovulation day. I’m positive I have just ovulated on the dance floor. I rush to the toilet and check cervical mucous but am too drunk to decipher if fertile or not. Damn. As I emerge from the toilet someone wishes me Happy New Year. What the? Oh my goodness. I just missed the New Years Eve countdown whilst checking my cervical mucous in the toilet. I look around and see DH also emerging from male toilets. We both missed the countdown! We have a little New Year kiss and giggle at our silliness.

The following day the newly married couple have a One Day Anniversary party at a nearby rented house. Is a wonderful day although Mr Hangover decided to stick around until 3pm and torture me with his nonsense. It’s now dusk and time to leave the party. There are approximately 10 close friends still lingering so we all head back to our accommodation and kick on. It is such a lovely evening and no one wants it to end. We sit around the kitchen island bench eating pizza and chit chatting. DH then begins to tell everyone his wishes for 2009. His speech is heartfelt and full of inspiration. I cannot believe DH feels comfortable enough to tell all our friends that we’ve been TTC. I am shocked at this but proud as punch! We then go around the circle and everyone voices their wishes for 2009. Am so lucky to have such amazing friends.

Back in Sydney and it’s so nice living near the ocean. Absolutely blissful. Our Christmas holidays are so far consisting of walks along the beach, a coffee from our favourite gelato shop, reading our books on the sunny balcony, fresh sandwiches and salads for lunch, maybe a snooze in my hammock & afternoon swims in the ocean. Our skin is glowing and we are fit and healthy. Must be the sea air! We are Face of Fertility!