Pregnancy 101

Today marks the 15th week of our pregnancy, perhaps I was a little naive going in mostly because I was advised to not read to many forums, blogs etc (mostly because they are full of horror stories!).  It did however mean that I was ill prepared for what I was in for, so here are a few things I have learned so far: 1) Pregnancy isn’t fun or easy (particularly in the first trimester).

2) Having a poo is something I will never take for granted ever again! Constipation during pregnancy isn’t fun, neither is trying to drink the medication they give you while feeling sick, or the awful feeling when it does all finally decide to come out.  Unfortunately for me no amount of fruit/healthy eating could help me and still it isn’t fun to this day……. I son’t know how much longer this will last but god I hope my pooper goes back to normal soon!

3) Nausea isn’t just an inconvenient feeling, it has been completely debilitating.  I tried to stay eating as healthy as possible, eat small meals through the day, snack a lot, keep up with the water etc, but I had absolutely no idea how hard that would actually be to do,  instead it became a game of eat whatever you could keep the yucky feeling at bay.  Initially I wasn’t puking very much and just felt sick most waking moments.  as we passed the 12 week mark however things got far worse, a few random pukes here and there escalated to daily or multiply daily puking sessions.  It became more violent puking too, so much so that on multiple occasions I wet myself throwing up, I giggle because poor Erin didn’t know whether to laugh or cry or rub my back or get me an extra towel during those days…. it is funny to look back at now but at the time I wasn’t a very happy camper!  The other thing that happened on a few occasions is that I burst blood vessels across my  face from throwing up.  Imagine someone having a big red allergic reaction to something across their face….. that was me.  Unfortunately one of these days I threw up at school and  the kind young men in the room tried so hard to make me feel better, they told me that my face didn’t look to bad and that things would be OK, which I nearly believed until one of my more autistic boys walked into the room and said ‘no she doesn’t, she looks like a red version of the hulk’ thanks for that buddy!  Perhaps I should be thankful for this, as these events were occurring about the same time I started throwing up some blood.  It was a little scary so I called the doctors straight away, Dr Hall reassured me that the blood was likely to be from scratching and scraping up my esophagus caused by all the throwing up.  He prescribed me  medication for my nausea and the bad reflux I was also having, citing that we needed to control both in order to allow my esophagus to heal.  I remember feeling like quite the failure that i couldn’t get through my morning sickness without medical intervention.  I felt like I wasn’t tough enough to get through it, the doc basically said ‘you puked up blood, I think you are plenty tough enough!’ thanks Dr Hall.  Now with the help of some medication I can get through the days and function relatively well and every now and again I manage a day without medication which gives me hope that maybe… just maybe we are coming to the end of the worst of it.

4) Suddenly and randomly I can no longer eat things that used to make me happy, coffee or any hot drinks are completely off the list, most sweet feeds haven’t been on the menu, I can’t seem to contemplate eating eggs and despite having a love affair with Salmon……. the thought if it at the moment just leaves me feeling not quite right.  If I could survive eating just porridge, potatoes and red meat, I would be pretty happy, they all seem to stay down pretty well and not cause me any issues but of course that isn’t a viable long term option.

5) Me being sick and tired constantly has been harder on Erin that I imagined, when she sees me sick all the time she finds it very difficult to understand that the babies could possibly survive while I am so flat, it seems to defy logic really.  Thankfully this all changed when we had our 12 week scan, it was such a relief to see two healthy bubbly little jelly beans bouncing around.  Lisa our poor radiographer was having some difficulty getting a clear image of twin A, evidently she was wedged under twin B so getting a good picture was difficult! I had to dance around, go to the toilet, lay on my tummy and do all sorts of strange things in the hope that she would pop out to get a clear view.  Now you may notice that we refer to twin A as a she, and twin B as a he.  Lets be clear, we have no clue what the sex of the babies are and we don’t intend to find out however on the day of the insemination I had a dream that we were having a boy and a girl and that the girl came out first so we always refer to A as the ‘she’ and B as the ‘he’.  We have made Lisa promise to not give into me and tell me the sex if I cave and start asking what they are, really we don’t care, but my curiosity might get the better of me!

6) Acupuncture has been a god send, when my morning sickness got really bad, I didn’t put two and two together that this started the week after I stopped my weekly acupuncture sessions, only after I went back on my three weekly rotations that I am on now did I realise the connection.  I had no understanding that the sessions I had been having with Kristy had been having such a big impact on keeping the sickness at bay and helping settle my body into a relatively happy state.  I have now been given strict instructions to contact her when and if I get stuck and sick again.

7) All is not lost, with everything that has been happening and as miserable as I have been, Erin and I are still eagerly awaiting the arrival of our two new additions! Slowly we have been collecting the supplies that we will need as well as preparing the spare room to become the new nursery, it has been very easy so far with the unwavering support of my lovely Mum.  She is so darn excited about the babies that she sends weekly packaged to us with little things for them, lots of great second hand items, clothes, bottles etc.  She has embraced our plans to use second hand and recycled items where appropriate and is loving the idea of being about to shop and hunt out good second hand items guilt free.  She loves that she can buy whatever she likes and if we don’t want it we can just take it to the swap-it shop and swap it for something more appropriate.  She is in seventh heaven!

 

Finally it seems as though our morning sickness may be coming to an end, twice in the last week I have had nausea free days (although I have also had one where I puked even with the medication) and in general I don’t feel so sick, could this mean that maybe the icky first phase is finally done? Could we be hitting the ‘glowing’ phase soon? Gosh I hope so!

 

 

So I just threw up, and it is music to my ears!  Yep, this kid is smack bang in the middle of some horrible morning sickness and I couldn’t be happier!….. well actually that is a lie….. I am miserable but I love having the constant reminder that WE ARE PREGNANT!!!! 

Being an IVF patient means that we became eligible for our first scan at 7 weeks.  Let’s be honest…. at 7 weeks you can’t see much but we saw two little jelly beans with two strong little heart beats. Yep, we are having twins!!! To be honest I kinda knew, I never really had a doubt that it was twins!  The day that we had the last embryo transfer I had an acupuncturist appointment in the afternoon, while at the appointment I had a dream that I had a baby girl and a boy.  I feel like Erin was feeling the same way, she was feeling very confused about what it would feel like to only have one survive so I think she was glad to see two too!!
Anyway as a result I currently have double the hormones pumping around in my system, twice the nausea and twice the exhaustion.  I manage to survive school ok but feel worse throughout the day.  I have lots of friends giving me all sorts of good advice about morning sickness, I have tried ginger biscuits, smelling oils, small meals throughout the day and a few other things.  Like I said I am ok to get through school usually but poor Erin gets one sad sorry sop by the time I get home, but to her credit she is so unbelievably patient, giving me back rubs if I am throwing up, letting me go and nap if I need it, carrying the bulk of the cooking and cleaning that I just can’t seem to find the energy to do.  I love her to bits but I appreciate her support even more at the moment! Thank you my love!

A work on progress

Since we last checked in I feel like things with Sally and Dexter are going well. They have had an exciting few weeks really! Between more visits to see Kristie the acupuncturist and our day to day life, Dexter and Sally have been to see Melissa play for the demons, been to an ADELE concert, been to the football, the ballet to a comedy show and quite a few other exciting adventures! A pretty good start to life! We also had our school photos, and while that is a pretty exhausting day usually, I think it will be one to remember this time!  I officially don’t have much to report other than being a work in progress!  I doubt we will have any more embryo transfers for a while though, I haven’t been feeling very good lately, it might be the end of term exhaustion…. we will just have to wait and see!

Sally and Dexter

Well, this slack lady has done a deplorable job of keeping this Blog up to date, but I will try and catch up to where we sit today! Unfortunately despite the A teams best efforts there was no positive result for us.  The disappointment is never easy to take however it was made easier this time knowing that we weren’t on our last embryo and that we still have a great chance with the remaining embryo’s we still have frozen!

 

I spoke with Dr Abe after the news and he suggested that maybe my body is seeing the embyro as a foreign object and rejecting it.  Sure it was mine when it when it came out but has been changed with foreign DNA so it kinda makes sense.  How do we fix this? Pregnistalone! if you have ever taken this drug you will know that it can have some really strange effects on your mental health so I was quite hesitant to take it considering I am being asked to take it for over a month! But lets be honest, I am on so many different drugs right now…. whats one more? This particular drug is supposed to lower my immune response, which has been fantastic for me because since I have been taking them I have not needed one drop of my usual asthma or hayfever medication (woo hoo go me!) what a lovely break that is!  So my current drug regime looks like this; Pregnistalone three times a day (to lower the immune responce), Prognova (hormone replacement therapy) three times a day (to keep my hormone levels up), asprin once a day (to keep my blood thin and luscious), MTHFR pills once a day (to counteract my body’s inability to process folate) I also have to squirt Crinone Gel up my girly bits twice a day (to be honest I actually have no clue what this does but it is progesterone and it sounds kinda important) and finally now that we have had another transer I have to inject myself with pregnol ever other day (no clue what that does either).  So I am quite the walking pharmacist.  Yet somehow with all this going on in my system, I have been feeling pretty normal! (I don’t know how)

 

Anyway like I said we have had another Embryo transfer but some interesting things happened before we got to that bit.  Firstly I went to see an Acupuncturist, Kristie Hayden out at the Logans Beach spa and retreat.  I must say that I think I am in love with this woman, she has an energy and positivity about her that is completely contagious and I instantly feel happier and calmer when around her.  During our first appointment she asked me lots of different questions about life and our IVF journey so far, about my eating and sleeping habits, a few awkward girly parts questions etc. She had me lay down on the bed, at times she performed raki type movements around my chest and pelvis area and I am not convinced that that does anything however during that first session she hooked me up to different wires and electrodes (to balance out ions maybe?) and after a while letting these do their thing she put her little pins in different points around my feet and legs, and at the back of my head.  I can’t guarantee that this will work, but I am sure it will do no harm to me or my health.  It was a completely relaxing and recharging experience to go through this and needless to say I was keen to come back for more.  Kristie suggested that I come back for a session the day before our next embryo transfer and then again the day of the transfer for best results.

 

Unfortunately our transfer was booked in for the Tuesday after the Labour day long weekend.  Kristie (the saint) agreed to take time out of her day to see me on the public holiday and then again on the Tuesday even though on the Tuesday afternoon the business was officially closed for staff training.  I felt pretty guilty about that so collected some tasty things out of the garden for her as a little Thank you. During these next two sessions I felt more and more relaxed to the point of almost reaching a medative state (to be honest I have never meditated so not exactly sure if that is what I was doing but it felt close) and Kristie told me that the pins she was placing were designed to improve my blood flow to all the baby making areas.  I hope this is the push my body needs to let this round be a success for us.

 

Anyway Tuesday the 14th was transfer day and as usual the appointment was intolerably early (8.30 in Geelong) so we were up as sparrow’s fart to get there on time.  When we got there Dr Prue Johnston was the one preforming the procedure, we got chatting and I was telling her how surprised I had been because she had come  up earlier in the week as a ‘people you may know’ on Facebook, I wondered how that was possible considering we had only ever met through the IVF, but as it turns out she knows Trish and her family, I am not sure if that made her hanging out in my girly bits easier or a bit strange but I choose to take it as a good sign that we were connected by  only a few degrees of separation.  What I can say with complete certainty however; is that she is by far the gentlest physician I have had perform this procedure, she also talked things through with me while it was happening which is a lovely distraction.  She was a little worried however that I have become all to familiar with this process, in her mind no one should ever have lots of experience in embryo transfers.  The other big news is that this time we decided to put two embryo’s back in,  this will hopefully double our chance of success and having discussed the reality of potential twins with Erin, we think we will do just fine.  Let’s be honest I suspect there would be quite a period of freaking out involved too!  I feel confident though that with the support of my parents and our great network of friends, that we would do ok.

 

I am not sure if you can see what is happening in the ultrasound but it goes a bit like this, the clear blob in the middle left of screen is my uterus, the thin straight line in the middle of the blob is a placement tube, this guides the needle/syringe carrying the embryo’s into the exact position they need to be in for the embryo’s to implant, the needle slots straight into the middle of that tube, squirts out the embryos and wallah!!! Baby making is happenine (hopefully!)
So two lovely little embryo’s have been implanted, Kristie has spoken with me at times about connecting with my uterus, and that feels a bit strange but Erin and I decided that we did need connection but maybe to the embryo’s , so I would like to introduce Dexter and Sally (my favorite names as a child) I hope they are settling in nicely to their new home and growing into some lovely little critters.

Egg collection take two

The positive feel from the last few weeks seems to have continued with our egg harvest.  Once again we arrived ready for our procedure at 8am at the Geelong private hospital, we walked in to sign the paperwork and me being my usual self tried to crack a few dad jokes……unfortunately all I got was crickets from the staff at the hospital!  Funnily enough another patient walked in when we did, she thought my jokes (and the staff responses) were as hilarious as I did and we instantly became buddies! Anyway so Andrea and went in for our egg harvests. I was quite distracted going in because as well as egg collection day it was also super bowl. When I woke up I was very pleased to find a smiley face on my paperwork! 15 eggs!!! Such an improvement on our last attempt, and the good news was that 9 fertilised, by day 3 we still had 8 and 6 made it to blastocyst!! Blastocyst it a pretty cool thing, it basically means that at 5 days old the cells begin to be allocated 

their jobs

So this is what my blastocyst embryos look like, the cells on the right that are in focus are the cells that could eventually form into a foetus,the out of focus cells on the outskirts on the left could potentially form the placenta if it takes.  

So at day 5 one little sucker was put back in. I was reassured by the team, Sam Sabari and Rebecca that they were the A team and we were definitely in for some good news soon. The bonus is that we were lucky enough to cross paths with Andrea again!

 I don’t know if I feel pregnant yet however Erin is feeling pretty positive about it all, she has been feeling pretty crappy so she thinks she is having phantom morning sickness! lol I can only hope that it truely is a sign.

A new hope

Welcome back!

After a glorious break spent traveling NZ among other adventures, we are ready to go again! When we decided to take a break from baby making, it was done on the proviso that we run some tests and I try and lose some weight, the weight loss wasn’t perhaps as successful as I had hoped, I have lost weight but not heaps.  We did have better success medically though, I was sent by Dr Abe to have numerous tests done.  I was pleased to find that out that I had one test come back with  a positive result! Why was I happy? Well, I think it would have been harder if there wasn’t anything found,  not knowing why our previous attempts hadn’t worked is far harder to take than knowing (even if only retrospectively).  I was diagnosed with MTHFR, the unfortunate thing is that every time I see it I read mother f#&ker.  So MTHFR basically means that my body cannot process folate, all the pregnancy multivitamins and folate friendly food has had absolutely no effect on me at all.  So now each day I have a mother f#&ker tablets which is an activated version of folate, hopefully this means success in the future!
Before we were able to head off on our wonderful adventure Dr Moses suggested I have a little procedure called an endometrical scraping, a procedure that must occur approximately one week before my period. Perhaps fortunately that happened to be the exact day that we were flying to NZ.  If anyone has ever had one of these… it is a highly unpleasant experience made exponentially worse by the fact that you can see it all happening on a video screen! Yuck!! Thankfully we didn’t have any side effects or pain after the procedure and our trip to NZ went off without a hitch.


Australia Day marked the beginning of our next egg harvest, it couldn’t have begun on a better day or with a better friend than Sharon at her annual Australia Day party! So once again my tummy looks like a pin cushion, puragon each afternoon (hormones) and in the last few days orgalutran each morning (this one is an ovulation blocker) and at exactly 9:30 tonight we will be taking the trigger injection! At 8am on Monday morning we will be signing into the Geelong private hospital for the egg collection.  I am quietly hopeful that we will collect more eggs than our last attempt mostly because we found over 20 folicles fattening at our last ultrasound, that’s twice the number we found after our last attempt.  I can’t possibly complete this post without sending my heartfelt thanks to Lisa our radiographer. I booked our last ultrasound on Friday at 4pm And was told unequivocally by Monash IVF (on the day) that it was way way way to late to get the results in time. I rang the radiography unit in a complete panic but that wonderful Lisa allowed me to come in on her lunch break to get the ultrasound done! I owe her big time!  Anyway we have a few exciting days coming up! I can’t wait!

More bad news

Well unfortunately for us, our latest embryo transfer didn’t work again.  While I was better prepared for how that may feel this time, in general both Erin and I are worn out, we are so tired of driving to Geelong, tired of hoping, tired of taking all these medications, tired of feeling guilty for the money we are spending treatment so we have decided to take a break for the summer.  We need a chance to rest and recuperate.  I also have a horrible feeling inside that my weight is the reason this isn’t working, so from the moment we decided to rest, I have changed how I have been eating with the aim to lose at least 5kg over the next 6-8 weeks.  I am not sure how I will go seeings losing weight over Christmas is a difficult thing to do.  I have however discovered a new plan! Erin and I used to have a tradition that each Friday we go to Pronto’s and get some cheese (obviously not a healthy choice) but if I switch the cheese for prawns it costs the same and is way healthier! So every time I need a special treat I am heading to the seafood shop not the deli!

I also think that I don’t want to keep trying something that isn’t working, so I am hoping to speak with the doctor soon to discuss some further testing we can do to count out any other issues that may be occurring inside my body preventing a successful pregnancy.

It has become such a shame that our time has become so clinical and not the romantic experience we were both hoping for. Maybe that will come when we actually fall pregnant instead of being so focused on medications and appointments all the time.

One thing we do have to look forward to is a trip to NZ, we are heading there in January for a friends wedding, this is also another reason why we have decided to take a break for a while, this is booked in and IVF schedules don’t work around holiday schedules.

So this is my prediction for then next few months! I will be relaxed, skinnier and rested ready for some new adventures in 2017.