Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A night of freedom

Last night was the first night in 9 months that I didn't wear a bra! Hurrah! I know that might seem a little odd and silly, but having to wear a nursing bra constantly for that long is just annoying. There were a few times I didn't wear one, and waking up wet and cold really is not nice. So I thought I would see how I go - there have been some nights where I still wake up with full and leaking boobs, but have been feeling quite soft lately. No leaking! I felt more comfortable all night too. I'm sure that I will still have some times when I leak, but I will try to go sans bra at night from now on. Of course I will still wear the nursing pads during the day, I am too paranoid about leaking if I go out in public or if people are over. But it is a step in the direction of weaning Charlotte. My plan is to continue until she is close to one years old as she can drink normal cows milk at that point. I don't feel quite ready to stop breastfeeding her right now - it is still lovely when she is quiet and feeding well. But I am definitely beginning to look forward to stopping! Especially when she is not really into the feed, and wants to crawl all over me (while she is still feeding, really uncomfortable). And I have to laugh when she becomes fascinated in my nipple, and wants to play with it. I know that it is recommended for babies to BF until they are 2, but I just don't feel able to do that. But I will enjoy these next few months, especially the freedom at night!

Saturday, September 26, 2009


I've always known that I wanted at least two children. When we first went through IVF I never really contemplated that we would stop at one. And even after all that we'd been through, when Charlotte was only little I was already thinking that one or even two more would be nice. I love the idea of Charlotte having brothers or sisters to play with. I have a close relationship with my siblings now and remember all the fun of growing up with them.
Even at the 6 week checkup with my OB, we were thinking that we would start trying again when Charlotte was around 12 months. When my OB asked whether I wanted to use "stork repellent" we pretty much decided that we wouldn't use anything, and see what happened.
This was all fine anyway as I didn't get AF back until about 7 months after the birth. But when it did, it also brought back alot of emotions I wasn't prepared for. All of a sudden I was back to thinking about ovulation, and mucous, and DTD on cue. I also found myself feeling upset at others who had recently become pregnant with apparent ease. They seemed to be everywhere! It was after AF arrived for the second time that James and I sat down and had a really big chat. We both had gotten quite upset at another month without a baby. I didn't really understand these feelings. I know that they are common, and I felt them when we went through it all the first time. But we have our precious girl. Part of me keeps thinking I should be happy with that and not expect anything more. I remember feeling very angry at seeing a woman at the clinic with her toddler when I was going through a cycle. I felt like she shouldn't be wasting others resources as she already had one child. These irrational thoughts dominate your mind as you ride the infertility roller coaster.
So James and I decided on a plan for treatment. We will try naturally for the next few months and try to eat healthily, take vitamins and whatever else we need to do. But after that we will go back to the clinic and start again either before Christmas or just after New Years. A big concern for us is finances, as they are changing the caps with the medicare safety net. This means we simply cannot afford to continue cycle after cycle... and this thought alone makes me feel depressed.
AF arrived yesterday again, which I'm trying not to feel disappointed about. It does help that I feel a little tired and run down at the moment so the thought of being pregnant again is quite off-putting. But I don't want to think about that, otherwise I think I would never want another! So bring on another month of DTD!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Ways to say no!

Charlotte has become so mobile so quickly. It is very exciting to watch. At the moment she can crawl, and pull herself up to standing. I really don't think it will be too much longer before she can walk. She is able to stand while only holding onto something with one hand, and yesterday she took a little step. She can furniture walk already.
But with her new found mobility comes a world of No's! We have done a bit of baby proofing, but I'm sure we need to do more. Her favourite things to do at the moment (well ones that I don't want her to do) are to crawl to the entertainment unit and pull herself up. She then likes to play with the DVD and VCR players. Yesterday she managed to eject a tape, then insert it again, quite advanced I thought. The poor cat has also copped a tail pulling. Thankfully she is learning to run away. Charlotte also likes to play with the battery for my laptop which sits on the floor. Unfortunately I don't have another spot for it, so unless I pack it away in the day, she is getting used to hearing No!
But I don't think I'm very good at saying it. It doesn't seem to provoke much of a reaction. So I am trying different ways of saying it - with a harsh tone, short and sharp, very loud, with her name first, with her name second, and the big one, with her full name! James heard me saying this and cracked up - he thought that that signified a big moment in our parenting.
I know that consistency is the key, so I think I will stick with a big loud NO for the moment. But at least I know that I can pull out a Charlotte Zoe McPherson!! when I need to.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Madam butterfly

Sometimes the little things they do fill you with so much love. We had our last swimming lesson of the term today. Charlotte loves being in the pool. She splashes when she's supposed to, and kicks her legs, and goes under the water like a pro. I was amazed at the very first lesson when they put the babies under the water. But most of the babies in the class don't have any problems with it at all.
So today we were doing humpty dumpty sat on the wall. At the falling part, you let them fall into the water from the side, come up, and swim back to the side. Charlotte did a big faceplant splash into the water, then came up with the biggest grin. She makes a little grunting noise when she is happy so she was doing that, then kept moving her arms like she was doing the butterfly. It was very cute, and even had the teacher laughing at her. Hopefully she will continue to like the water and might even become a champion swimmer! She got a sticker today for being such a great swimmer (all the kids get one), and I felt so proud of my little baby girl. I was even happier that she fell asleep in the car on the way home and slept for an hour and a half!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Who needs sleep...?

Enough of the flashbacks.

So Charlotte has never really been a good sleeper. She developed severe reflux when she was about 2 weeks old, and it really affected how she would settle. We even had a stay at sleep school to try and help us out - which it did. But still, I would give anything for a decent nights sleep. Or more than 4 hours at a time. What I find frustrating at the moment is that she is so variable. I don't know from one night to the next what time she will wake up, how many feeds she will want, if you can settle her again easily, whether she will need a nappy change. I just didn't expect to still be doing 4 am feeds when she was nearly 9 months old.
The last few weeks she has been waking up around midnight, sometimes needing a feed, sometimes she will just be rocked and she falls back to sleep. But then she wakes between 3 and 5 for another feed. The closer it is to 5am, the less likely she is to falling asleep, so she can be up for the day. It is so exhausting.
People say how hard sleep deprivation is, but until you experience it you just can't comprehend. Unfortunately it affects every part of your life. I just feel so cranky alot of the time, and James and I seem to fight alot. Or if I'm not cranky then I'm sad. I really notice it if I have to go out of the house, I can be a bit of a menace with the pram and just wander aimlessly around, bumping into things.
I just hope things improve soon.
On a lighter note, Charlotte was just so cute today. In the last few weeks she has begun to pull herself up to standing, but she does it as much as she can now. But today she was standing at the windowsill and got stuck, she couldn't get down. After a few minutes of her crying I realised what was wrong and came to her aid. It won't be long I think before she is walking!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Flashback - Happy New Years

My 39 week appointment was on New Years Eve. I suspected that I would be admitted to hospital again, as I felt really unwell. I had checked my bp in the morning and it was 150/100, which wasn't good, and it wasn't coming down.
My OB was running late, so we saw her about 12.30 pm. She took my bp - 160/110. She wasn't impressed to say the least. I expected to go to hospital, but she said that she wouldn't wait, and that the baby was coming today. We discussed an induction over a C/S and she said that since I wasn't dilated or effaced at all, I was still high, and given the risks of my BP and heart rate, that a C/S was the safest option, which I agreed with. I hadn't given the option of a C/S much thought, so it did freak me out.
We drove up to the hospital and waited a bit while they found us a bed, not really knowing when it would happen. My OB then turned up and said that I was scheduled to go in at 3 pm. Holy smokes that was fast! It was already 1.30 by this time. So with very little time to prepare, we went straight into surgery.
The spinal anaesthetic worked really quickly, and I couldn't feel a thing at all. My OB got the baby out, and I remember her saying that she was in a bit of distress. Apparently the cord was wrapped around her neck twice, and was also sitting over the cervix, so if my waters had broken it would have prolapsed and we might have lost the baby.
Charlotte Zoe was born at 3.37pm on 31 December, weighing 3.45 kg (about 7pds, 13 ozs).
It felt really surreal, and they brought her over to me. I remember really wanting to stroke her forehead. I suddenly started to feel sick, and the room began swimming. I asked James to take her away, and that is about all I can really remember for the next 12 hours. I had reacted badly to to anaesthetic (or it might have been due to my bp, the OB was a bit vague on that one. In the notes it did say that I had pre-eclampsia), and was in and out of consciousness, vomiting, and so on. I vaguely recall getting obs done, and James going to watch the fireworks from the hospital window at midnight, but that was it. Apparently the nurses tried to get her to feed from me, but I don't recall it at all. So instead I got milked. You have to laugh at that. And at least I could say that I had had a great New years eve - taken some hardcore drugs and passed out by 5 pm is a good effort!
About 4 am the next day I felt a bit better, and I finally held our beautiful baby girl.
It took me a few days to feel good again, and my bp was still up, but had resolved by the time we came home.
Those first few days I felt really overwhelmed, but she was beautiful and in my arms.

Flashback - 9 months and counting

I would say that my pregnancy was quite hard. After the initial euphoria, a sense of anxiety set in that I couldn't shake all pregnancy. We had several scans early on with the FS to confirm the pregnancy, and everything looked good. I started feeling nauseous at about 4.5 weeks. At first James and I thought it was funny, a real sign of pregnancy. Until it got worse. I was sick all day, every day, and would vomit several times a day. The thought of food was horrible, so I actually lost a bit of weight in those first months. I felt really bad for my colleagues who had to see it all (and hear it too). I was sick every day until the day she was born.
At 14 weeks we had some unexplained bleeding, which was terrifying. We went up to the hospital but they couldn't find any cause. But I just wasn't enjoying being pregnant. I developed pubic symphisis disorder, and had troubles walking at times. I stopped using stairs if I could help it as I nearly fell down them once. After a fall at work I was convinced to stop work early, so finished up at 32 weeks. After a casual mention to my OB (a fantastic Irish doctor with a wicked sense of humour) that my heart was racing, she ordered some tests, and found I was getting regular sinus tachycardia's where my heart rate was above 150 bpm (apparently not a good thing to have your heart rate faster than your babies) so was put on medication. I hated that as I had only just stopped taking all of the IVF drugs at 20 weeks.
My blood pressure had been an issue all along, and so at 38 weeks I was admitted to hospital due to high BP. This would have been ok if it hadn't been Christmas Eve! I was allowed to go home, but only because it was Christmas, otherwise I would have had the baby delivered then I think. I probably should have stayed in hospital as I felt really sick for days after that.

Flashback - BFP!

The day of testing dawned, and we were up early as usual to go to the clinic. It was a Saturday, and we had been out at a concert the night before as it was my birthday. We then headed into town for breakfast and some shopping. I was really anxious about this result. I had been quite restrained and hadn't done any POS, although I was convinced it was a BFN. (I had had alot of false positives from the drugs, so had given up on doing the tests at home). Usually you have the results by 9am, but that time passed. We were heading home and bought a POS from the chemist. I was getting so anxious, I couldn't wait. We thought that there had been a mix-up and that the clinic was now closed for the weekend, so we wouldn't get the result until Monday. So I went and did the test, while James rang the clinic and left a message. I did it, and saw two pink lines straight away. I couldn't' believe it and ran down to show James, just shaking. That minute the clinic nurse rang back and confirmed that we had a positive beta, and it was really high. I was stunned, I looked at James and he started to cry. I kept thanking the nurse. I got off the phone and James and I just stood there and hugged and cried. We were pregnant. It was a year to the day after being told that we couldn't have children naturally.

Flashback - Last FET

In April we went to a different FS for another FET. He was alot more full on in terms of approach, and his mannerism was so much friendlier, if not a little ocker (he kept telling James and I to "have a root" and that I was an "alright sheila").
He recommended a stimulated FET, so I went back on the FSH on a very low dose. I was also taking prednisone, cardiprin, oestrogen and progesterone tablets, and clexane injections, a blood thinner. The clexane left a bruise on my skin, so after doing it for a few weeks my abdomen was left horrendously black and blue, and they sure did sting! We had to do a trigger injection, and unfortunately James picked up the wrong needle from the chemist and it was MASSIVE. It was the only time I absolutely balked at doing an injection. Luckily my mum (a retired nurse) was stying with us so she was able to do it. You know that your dignity has forever been erased when your mum is sticking a great big needle in your arse!
At this point we had 3 frozen embryos left, but on the day of thawing, only two survived. I was a bit taken aback when I called the pathology lab and they told me this. I was happy that the two surviving were doing well, but felt really sad that one hadn't survived. It was the only one of the 11 fertilised that hadn't survived the thaw. It really hit me that that was possibly a baby gone just like that. And it also made me realise the silliness and the enormity of the whole process, that I was sitting at my office desk, staring at the wall while my baby grew in a lab on the other side of town.
At the transfer, the new FS had a different procedure. He gave me a valium before the transfer, then one after with a brandy to wash it down with. (I'd been offered brandy's in the other transfers, something the clinic does. At first I thought they were joking, but no.) It was all over by 9am. By 9.30 am we were in the car going home and I was SMASHED. James was laughing at me as I was sitting there asleep with my mouth hanging open, drooling away. Valiums and brandy prove a highly effective sleep agent.
We continued with the drugs, and the 2WW was horrendous. I felt crampy like all of the other BFN's, so I was convinced that it hadn't worked. I was already mentally planning what we would do, which involved going overseas for a while, buying a sportscar, selling the house etc.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Flashback #2 - It begins

We started our first IVF/ICSI cycle in July 2007. At first we were hopeful and excited. I had a friend who got pregnant on her first IVF cycle so we were hoping that the same would happen. I didn't find the injections too bad, and seemed to not be too irrational with all of those hormones, although I did get alot of bad headaches. At the EPU, the FS came in and told me that he had gotten 18 eggs! That was fantastic. But it also meant that I became a little hyperstimulated. I was told that the pain following the EPU would be minimal, but boy were they wrong! We nearly went into the hospital at midnight that night, but didn't and by morning I was feeling a little better, although very sore and bloated. You can contact the laboratory to check on the progress of your embryos and I was really saddened to find out that only 11 of the eggs were good quality, and that only 5 had fertilised. I know that this can be quite good compared to some people's responses, but it was the first wake-up call that things might not go so smoothly.
The day of the transfer I was really anxious that none of the embryos had survived, but when we got there they said that they were good quality, so we had two transferred. Later that day was when the enormity of what we had done sunk in, and I lost it. James and I call that the "mopping incident". I spilt something on the floor and just lost it, began crying and manically mopping the floor. Its quite funny on reflection, but not at the time. It wouldn't be the last time that I lost the plot though and said and did very irrational things.
Two weeks later, we got the result, BFN. I was upset that the result came back negative, but also a bit philosophical. I thought that we still had embryos frozen, so it would happen next time. It did however make me question my life, and the work stress that I was under. So I promptly quit my job. I was lucky that a friend put me in contact with a department that needed an OT so I started there doing casual work which was great. In between times we did our first FET. This negative hit me alot harder. I remember questioning the receptionist when she said it was negative as I couldn't believe it. We moved on to anther FET, also BFN.
I was starting to become more emotional about it now. Infertility was affecting every aspect of our life. It's amazing how much you think about it constantly, and the two week waits were the worst.
We quickly moved onto our next fresh EPU cycle. At that cycle I had 11 eggs, and only 5 fertilised. But I still had some mild OHSS and was in agony. We got the negative result on New Years Eve. By this point we had been doing back to back cycles and I had had 3 operations in 6 months. So we took a break for a few months and then did another FET, again a negative. I began seeing the counsellor at the clinic as I was getting so despondent about everything. James and I were fighting alot, and I couldn't be optimistic about anything. Which is hard with IVF, because every aspect of it breeds hope.
With the support of the counsellor, I changed FS's. I felt really guilty about this, like I was cheating on him. But I felt like he wasn't offering me enough options, and also his secretary was annoying. (she wouldn't let me book an appointment when I wanted to). It took me a while to figure out that something simple like his secretary being rude meant a big deal to me, as appointments were one of the few things I could control and she was taking that control away.

Flashback #1 - The diagnosis

So here is my the start of my story.
After several years of marriage, James and I decided that it was time to start a family. So we stopped using birth control and had some fun trying. Nothing happened for a few months, and it didn't seem to bother me, I figured it would happen sometime. Work was very stressful at that time and was more of a priority. Then a friend announced her pregnancy which had happened on the first try. I realised that not being pregnant was actually becoming distressing. But we continued on trying, and found that we had lots of reasons not to focus on it (I started a contract for a different position, we went on a holiday etc). All the while it was starting to bother me more and more.
Finally in Feb. 2007 we saw our GP after nearly 18 months of trying. It was a bit frustrating because she implied that the problem was with me. We had lots of tests and saw a fertility specialist, who ran some more tests. The day after my 30th birthday we saw him again who said that James had dodgy sperm, and we would never be able to have children naturally (he then did clarify to say that our chances were 0.05%, so it could happen but not to hold our breath). He recommended IVF straight away. We headed home in a daze, and got a call from our house broker that she had found a house. We then spent several hours negotiating to buy a new house interstate as we had decided to move back to Brisbane. Talk about timing.
It wasn't until later that night that it all hit me, and I realised that our lives may never be the same again. The feelings of shock and grief were overwhelming, and very hard to describe. We weren't sick or dying, so why did I feel so bad?
We continued with the moving plans, and also made an appointment to see another FS in Brisbane. After being in our new house for one week we saw our FS who recommended a laparoscopy for me just to confirm that there were no issues, but then to go straight to IVF. The laparoscopy showed that I had mild endometriosis that shouldn't be impacting on my fertility, but was otherwise healthy. " A good pelvis" is the exact term, still not quite sure what that meant. So a few weeks later, we began our first cycle.

Friday, September 11, 2009


So here is the first post of my blog. I decided to start writing this as a bit of therapy. I have found it helpful in the past to share my stories so here they are. I'm sure that no-one will find my ramblings and whinges interesting, which is fine.
As the header describes, this blog is about my journey through IVF, motherhood, and beyond. I will do some flashbacks of how we got to here, but briefly, our daughter was born on New Years Eve after 6 rounds of IVF. We have recently made the decision to try again for another baby, hence I feel the need to document somehow the journey that we are on. Because it sure can be a bit bumpy at times. I find that by writing this, we are officially starting on that journey again, which is good and exciting and also scary.
Anyway, here it begins.