Sometimes this journey just isn’t much fun.

When going on a journey like the one Erin and I are on, it is such a journey of hope; everyone you speak to is so excited for you to be having a child.  Everyone promises to cross their fingers and toes, they tell you that they have a feeling that this time it will definitely work, that they know it will only be a matter of time before we hear some good news.  I love hearing this, it makes me believe that ‘yeah!! We can do this’  but the unfortunate part for Erin and I is that so far it hasn’t worked.  Each negative result gets just a bit harder to swallow.  When we were doing the direct insemination instead of IVF there was a far lower expectations, so while it wasn’t good news, it also wasn’t devestating.  This month however we had our first embryo transfer, and when that didn’t work I was not expecting to feel as crushed as I did.  This wasn’t a case of squirting some sperm up there and hoping for the best….. this was a seven celled living being (all be it a minuscule one) that was being implanted and I couldn’t keep it alive…. to make matters worse I always get these phone calls while I am still at work…. all I want is to run home to Erin but mostly it just isn’t possible.  I have a very wise older brother who once told me that sometimes you just have to fake it till you make it and that was what I had to do.

I bet you are saying to yourself that I am a silly duck for getting my hopes up in the first place,  but that is the human conditions isn’t it, I told myself every day that there is a less than 50% chance that this will work so don’t get your hopes up, but hope just kept creeping in, every time I saw another baby on Facebook, in the supermarket or spent time with my nieces and nephews hope just sneaks in… that little glimmer that maybe…. just maybe that will be us soon.  

Wow, it is quite the pity party I am throwing myself today.  I don’t really want to dwell on the negative it is not how I generally operate but the last thing I will say on this matter is that the final icing on the cake here is that with some many hormones and drugs in my system we go through all of this while feeling sick and/or in pain the whole time, after the egg collection and transfer I felt short of breath, I had lots of pains in the stomach, I developed a yucky cough, I was constipated and hardly had any energy to function. So I is easy to understand how my emotional resilience had become highly compromised throughout the last month or so.

When we get bad news, I find it much easier to deal with when I know what is coming up next, for me that means having a good conversation with Dr Moses: for me this particular conversation was a huge lifeline he told me that medically there was no reason for the embryo not to take, my uterus and hormones were doing everything they were supposed to do, my blood work was all normal.  To him this meant that the issue wasn’t with my body, he thought that maybe the embryo may have had some chromosomal abnormalities, when the body senses this it will flush the embryo out which is what Dr Moses thinks has happened.  Yes!!! Maybe this means my body can do this!! He prescribed me some estrogen to take three times a day (to make my uterine lining luscious) and we will attempt to transfer our second embryo later this week.

One silver lining in this process is the amazing people we have met along the way! Most of my teacher friends will understand this when I say that sometimes you meet parents of your school students and you think to yourself ‘if we had met under different circumstances I bet we could be good  friends’ and I certainly feel this way about some of the people we have met along the way! Jenny is one such woman, she has had the sometimes unfortunate job of being the bearer of bad news for us, she was the one who had to break the news to us that we were going to miscarry and that our first IVF transfer didn’t work, but she also shares with us with 100% sincerity the hope and sometimes joy that we have also had along the way.  This job would be that much harder without her unwavering support.  The other one who stands out to me is Lisa our radiographer, I am pretty sure I am the only person on the planet who in some ways looks forward to those awkward ultrasounds.  She is relaxed and confident and makes what could be a very scary and dawnting procedure into a fun and fascinating experience!  She also has a habit of unleashing her students on me too, which I find to be a great source of pride, these students are fantastic, gentle and soooooo darn excited to have someone who will let them practice and improve their skills.  So far I have had Mohammad and Angela practice on me under Lisa’s expert tutelage and aside from them gaining valuable experience, I have also learned lots about the inside of my body! Did you know that your ovaries hang our very close to your intestines and sometimes they get hidden in behind them, making them very hard to find!  I was telling Lisa about our blog on Monday and we have made a deal, when I do fall pregnant that’s when we will do a selfie for the blog!!  I sometimes imaging bringing our baby back to all these wonderful physicians, I can’t wait for that day!

Embryo transfer day!

The embryo transfer happened three days after the harvest.  And I have to say it was really fun, once again it meant a long drive to Geelong for fifteen whole minutes in with Dr Moses! I was still feeling a bit icky from all of the  hormones but while in th  appointment two amazing things harkened, firstly we got to see what our little embryo looked like, seven cells in a little sack, HOW COOL IS THAT!!! I can’t believe a human being grows from those seven little cells, I can imagine what it will be like to show this picture to our child when they are big enough to understand what it is!  I was able to get a copy of the picture from the lovely receptionist Donna from Geelong Gynaecology so many thanks to you lovely lady!

The second fascinating thing was that unlike the IUI, they used an ultrasound machine when implanting the embryo, this meant that I could watch the needle as it entered my uterus, I couldn’t see the embryo but it was still cool to watch!  The only down side is that for this type of ultrasound I was required to have a full bladder, I took this job very seriously and drank the whole trip down! I have never been so happy to find a toilet in my life!!!
Now begins the awkward bit, morning and night I have to have a progesterone shot, now needles don’t really bother me but unfortunately this one isn’t a needle, this one is a vaginal shot!!! Twice a day I have to go through this!!! And if the pregnancy test comes back positive, I have to continue this for 7 weeks!!! There are just sooooooo many icky situations when it comes to making this baby!!!

A little ray if hope…

After yesterday’s disappointment ….. Well I shouldn’t really say disappointment… We still got two eggs, these two eggs could become our two beautiful children…so please know my disappointment isn’t at those two eggs, it is that I feel like we should have had 10… It is just a numbers game really, the more eggs we get the better chance of success!  Anyway despite being disappointed yesterday (and I gave our doctor a bit of a serve… Not sure if it was me or the hormones. 😳😳😳) we did have a little ray of hope today, both the eggs have fertilised!!!!  We have been advised that it would be better to transfer an embryo at 3 days rather than 5…I am not exactly sure why they do this however they said that this is often the case when there are only a small amount of eggs gathered…. I guess it is now just a wait and see game to see if it is a successful plan.  The transfer will happen on Thursday so unfortunately that means another day off school but it can’t be helped.  Hopefully we will have more good news then!

Egg harvest day

If I had to sum today up in three words…… Exciting, disappointing and tiring!  Firstly both Erin and I slept terribly; the combination of excitement about today and a unknown bed (at Jayden and Kahlia’s) meant that we were both exhausted before we even started our adventure!
I am fascinated by the prospect of surgery etc, I had never had any form of procedure that required me to go under anesthetic before, I was determined to stay awak as long as possible! I thought to myself ‘yeah I am just going to stay awake, the sedation will hardly work on me-zzzzzzzzzzzz’ and I woke up 45 minutes later! For someone who is borderline ADHA, it was very relaxing to slowly wake up feeling very laid back.  That was until the nurse told me that they were only able to harvest 2 eggs…..ONLY 2 EGGS…. it was pretty devastating.  I was then reunited with my lovely Erin who had picked up a lovely gift for me, preserving supplies! How lovely! It didn’t take away the devastation, but it was a lovely act regardless!

There were a few things that happened today which should have given me the idea that things were not going to go well

1) We didn’t take shampoo/conditioner/soap with us because we assumed there would be some at Jayden and Kalia’s but they only had one non-descript bottle…. I still have no idea what I washed my hair and body in…..

2) we forgot to pack our toothpaste, so the only toothpaste we could find at 6:30 was Eden’s kiddy toothpaste… Yuck!

3) I forgot some of the paperwork so when we went into surgery they said they couldn’t do anything till the doctor brought consent forms.

4) when it was all finished, I was moved into one recovery room to be watched then into another recovery room to eat a snack and then get dressed. When I was getting dressed I stood up only to discover a weird little petewety wipe was stuck…. I didn’t even realise it was there but when I was getting dressed it fell off and slid over nearly under the curtain to the next lady (an old lady of 70ish), so I scooped it up really quickly…..but no bins were around… What the heck do I do with a used petewety wipe???? In the end I wrapped it inside some other things that I knew would be thrown out and hoped for the best as I got the heck out of there!
Anyway so now we wait till we hear how our two little eggs are going, we should find out tomorrow if either of them fertilised… If one did then it will be implanted in Saturday if all goes well!

Harvesting time!

Tomorrow is A pretty exciting day!! Egg harvest day!! I am quite excited about it all, firstly because I have never been under an anesthetic but mostly because this is such a big step in the baby making process!!  Coincidently it has happened on the very first day of the term so my pool kids have to survive on their own for their first day back, but they are pretty resilient little critters so I am sure they will be fine.

I have been on hormones for a week and a half now and after the ultrasound in Thursday we  found 10 good sized folicles, this is a pretty good sign that we will have some good eggs to harvest tomorrow.  36 hours before harvest we had to take a trigger injection, it was quite scary because the medicine came in these tiny glass vials, the first one I tried to open shattered in my hand… Thankfully it was only the sterilised water solution.  The next few cracked open without worry and we were able to mix the water into the powdered solution and had the injection without further worry!  I feel pretty bad about this though…. Who needs to take medicine at 7:30pm on grand final day…. Especially when we had been invited to Kate’s house for a grand final BBQ….. Sorry we missed it kate!!! This baby making sure is inconvenient for our social schedule!
So the egg harvest will happen at exactly 8:30am tomorrow! I urge everyone to rub the ovaries at that exact time to send all your good vibes my way!  You might see in the pic some of my best articles of clothing, and while it may not be apparent from the pics I have posted so far on the blog but I wear some combination of this outfit every time we come to Geelong for any fertility treatment, it reminds me of the love and support I have from those around me, my lovely Corkers, Team Kim, my QB crew at home my friends and of course my lovely family, you guys walk this journey with us every day!
Anyway I best be off, I think I need an early night, but before I do let me share with you something Erin was considering today Erin-‘I thought I should dress up special tomorrow!’

‘Why is that?’ I ask

‘Well, we might have our first glimpse of our son or daughter tomorrow, I would want them to be impressed by us both and really want to be born into our family!’

What a funny girl she is!!! Love her!!

This is IVF

This is IVF, you would hope it is a romantic lovely experience, but that certainly isn’t the case.  It is all about drugs!!! So many drugs!!! Firstly drugs to stop my period, then ones to kickstart my hormones, then ones to stop ovulation,  ones to set my folicles on fire, specific drugs to trigger ovulation and finally progesterone shots for after the embryo is implanted!! Each drug has its own set of side effects, specific dosage rates, different applicators, specific times dates.  The good news is that so far aside from the ovulation blockers irritating the heck out of me, I haven’t reacted poorly to any of the other drugs just yet but it is still early days in this journey!

Ivf can be a little confusing so here is a simple rundown of what our next few weeks will look like.  For the next few days I only have to worry about taking an injection each morning (ovulation blocker) I already have long acting hormones from last week.  On Thursdayas well as blood tests and an ultrasound we start on two injections a day, the ovulation blockers in the morning and puragon (mega hormone) each afternoon.  On Thursday we should also find out exactly when the eggs will be harvested, lets pretend that will be Monday. We will continue on two a day injections until 36 hours before the egg harvest… Then… You guessed it! Another injection! The eggs will be harvested and inseminated, 5 days later an egg will be returned to my body and we begin progesterone!

The good news? The pharmacist did throw in a free bag of jelly beans!! I am saving them for a day when I am feeling like I REALLY need them! But the really good news is that while the next week or so probably won’t be my favourite this experience has twice the chance of success that our previous IUI attempts had so hopefully it will be worth it!

This sucks!

So it has been a really funny few weeks for us, last time I blogged we were filled with hope after our third IUI but a very strange thing happened…… It worked!  I was pregnant!!!! But as soon as we found out I suddenly realised that blogging about it might not be such a good idea, I suddenly realised that it could be quite disrespectful to post about it online before letting both our families know.  But with that said Erin wanted to wait just a little while before telling her family she wanted to wait until we were a bit closer to getting out of the ‘danger zone’ so unfortunately that meant no blogging for a while.
I was very lucky to have a really supportive workplace, I told only my team that I had fallen pregnant because I needed their support because physically I would now have to step back a bit.  And I am so completely thankfully of how they have stepped up to support me with this.  It was also lovely to share my daily experiences with such a kind and compassionate group of individuals, I am lucky to have them around.
Part of the process with IUI involves extra blood tests, I have had weekly blood tests since the first positive test one month ago.  I was really glad that this was the case because I had been spotting intermittently throughout, initially the blood tests were all fine however this past Friday we received some pretty devastating news, my hormone levels had dropped dramatically and the little embryo inside me had no chance of survival. Devastated, I have no other words, just devastated especially because the night before I had had a dream that the baby was a girl I had woken up so excited about it all.  Anyway once again I have my wonderful team at work to thank, they let me come straight home and hug my beautiful partner.  

Needless to say there were lots of tears over the next few hours but I did have a phone call from my mum, she basically said ‘I love you, this sucks, but know that it is not the end of the world’.  At the time I though she was being quite an ass, but she was right, it does suck but I read a study that said that 85% of people of people who have had a miscarriage go on to have a successful pregnancy.  So insead of dwelling on the loss I have instead been focusing and thinking about all the good things I have in life while also planning ahead for the next step in our baby making adventure.  Mum had just started knitting our first baby blanket when we found out the bad news, but we both agreed that despite the setback she definitely should not stop the knitting, it will happen, I just hope sooner rather than later!

Anyway we found out on Friday that the pregnancy wasn’t viable but we still had some unpleasantness ahead.  I decided to take a few days off work I couldn’t handle work and that together.  I didn’t know if it was going to hurt or how I was going to feel as my body let go of the embryo, but I wanted as many distractions as possible.  We didn’t cancel any of our plans and  I am so glad we didnt, being around people who didn’t know what we were going through was so refreshing, even the ones that did know didn’t dwell on it or give me too much ‘sympathy face’.  The last few days haven’t been pleasant but we got through it and I am looking forward to going back to work tomorrow and returning to life as normal.

I don’t like to dwell on the past too much and am happy to say goodbye to this yucky chapter.  Today we started planning the next step which for us is IVF, it will be a few weeks before we are ready to go but in the mean time we get to choose a new donor!!!! We will keep you updated when we choose!