Tuesday, March 30, 2010

15 months

Charlotte is nearly 15 months old. I can hardly believe, she is just about a toddler except I don't want to let go of my little baby. She is being so adorable at the moment, in between the temper tantrums that is. Whenever something doesn't quite go her way she gets so frustrated and screamy. I am getting used to ignoring it though as I know it is just her way of communicating with the world. Here are a few more of her current milestones:

Eating: We have started to have dinner together as a family. I am really enjoying this, and she eats alot better without spitting out as much. We let her help herself and surprisingly she doesn't make too much of a mess. Charlotte has her own fork and spoon but often gets us to load them up. James and I also tend to have a glass of wine with dinner and the other night she desperately wanted one, so we got a plastic wine tumbler and gave it to her with some water. She has a drink from it, puts it down on her coaster and goes "aah". It is so cute. She is also still wiping her mouth and blowing her nose when she is finished, then wipes the tray with the paper towel. It is amazing what she has picked up.

Mobility: My god she is mobile! All of the dining room chairs are now lying on the floor, otherwise she is up on them within a heartbeat, then she climbs on the dining room table, stands there and waves. Scary. She had been climbing up on the pram so we put a big teddy bear there. Now she climbs up on the outside instead. I think we will be spending alot of time in emergency wards over the next few years.

Language: We are starting to notice the odd word coming through. Cat has come back, and we also now have duck and dummy. There is alot of babbling, especially if she is talking on the phone. She has a few pretend phones, but if she is in the mood she will use her hand for a chat. She really has the intonation and pauses as if she is talking. As I mentioned before she is also getting frustrated at everything so there is alot of screaming. I am trying not to give in to her - for example she tries to push her cart over the step and can't, but she is able to lift it up. I encourage her to do this rather than do it for her and today she was doing it by herself.

Playing: She loves to play outside especially with her sand table. I have been a bit slack about taking her outside, largely because we have terrible mozzies and I am worried about her getting bitten (which she did badly last week). But she does love it. I did try some fingerpainting with her, which I thought was great, but she didn't. Her other favourite toys are the push cart, her blocks (she can stack up to 5 up!), her piggy bank and her puzzle pieces. She can't work out the puzzle boards, but the pieces are alot of fun to play with. And of course her books. We must read books a dozen times a day. "where is the green sheep", the numbers book, and an alphabet book from the government are among her favourites.

Sleeping: We finally have a baby that sleeps through - most nights. Now dinner is a bit later she is going to bed later too about 7.30 or so, and wakes up about 6.30 am. She still has that cough and some nights she will cough for up to half an hour. It is quite distressing for us but she often won't even wake up. The demazin didn't seem to make a difference but steam does. It is really frustrating but I don't know what else to do.

She is just SO adorable right now. From loving her new shoes, to brushing her hair, giving us big kisses or tickling my tummy. I love her more than words can say.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Things you don't want to hear

From the minute you announce you are getting married, people ask when you are having kids. Then when you have one, people ask when the next one is coming. We have had our first "when is the next one coming?" question since finding out that really, there may not be a next one. It was just a casual acquaintance, so we did the polite mumble, "oh we will wait and see" but the person then came back with some other comments about when the best time is. I really do believe that honesty is always the best policy, so we then said that we probably can't have any more. Proving to me that honesty is best, the person then admitted that they too were having difficulties trying to conceive. I think it was a relief for her to be able to admit it to someone else, as I have always found it to be.
The conversation came up again at a BBQ we were at this weekend, and the well meaning responses from people always hurt. So I thought I would write down the things that I hate to hear, just in case it helps someone else when you just don't know what to say.
  • "Just relax and it will happen". Yeah right. Firstly how am I supposed to relax when every minute of every day you think about babies, or needles, or drugs, or feel so drugged out you don't know if you are Arthur or Martha. Secondly, relaxing is NOT going to change James dodgy sperm, the damage was done long ago. Nor will it fix pcos, or endometriosis, or any other condition that can cause infertility.
  • "I had a friend who stopped IVF and got pregnant straight away". I hate this one. I personally have never met these "friends" who get pregnant. And even if I did, on one level it doesn't surprise me. I have so many drugs swirling through my body that I imagine the next few months I might ovulate more, or be more likely to sustain implantation. Depending on the cause of the infertility, some of the drugs can cure it (eg. endometriosis, the cure is the pregnancy hormone so a course of IVF can fix it). There are an awful lot more people out there who stopped IVF and DIDN'T get pregnant than do
  • "At least you have one child". Yes I do, and I can't tell you how grateful I am. She is a true miracle, I love her more than words can say. But that doesn't mean that my heart doesn't ache for another baby. I wouldn't love Charlotte less just because we were able to have another. I get so angry at this comment because I am not standing at the foot of anyone's bed saying "well you have had one now, better make sure you use birth control and be grateful".
  • "I believe that things happen for a reason". Good on you. This is a hard one, because I guess on one level I do too. But that doesn't mean that what we are dealing with isn't painful, and we shouldn't try to do everything we can to make having a baby a reality. Imagine if you had cancer; you would seek appropriate treatment rather than sitting there thinking that it was happening for a reason. I think that people might become a bit embarrassed by the topic and try to sweep it under the carpet. This seems like a nice comment to express sympathy but to me, it dismisses the real grief that we feel.
So what can you say? Sometimes nothing at all is ok. Or "I know a friend who went through that and it was hard on them, I imagine it must be hard for you too". I don't mind if you ask questions, I find that most people are taken aback by the process and really have no comprehension about what is involved. Which is fine, I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy, but perhaps if people understood it better, there would be less need for people to hide the fact that they are infertile.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Some gorgeous photos

And just because she is so beautiful:

Sitting on her new couch with her new shoes

Looking so sweet and innocent

Ha ha Mum, I'm up to mischief!

Warning: Scary Photo

So just cos I am a caring sharing person, I thought I would share a picture of what several weeks of injections looks like. It isn't pretty. And yes it does hurt, but not as much as it looks.I had one site that didn't stop bleeding so I had to put a bandaid on it. But it will go away.


The blood test today confirmed what I already knew, it's a BFN. I had a bit of a cry this morning after I called them but I am ok now. Charlotte was awake from 5.30 am this morning and she crashed about 10.30 am and slept until after 12 which was actually a godsend (mind you, that is all she slept until bedtime so she was a total whingebag all afternoon). It gave me some quiet time and I just had a rest, and I think that's what I needeed. I also think that because the last few weeks have been so hard physically and emotionally, right now it is just a relief that it is all over.
Tonight I only took the prednisone. No more drugs or injections. I have to taper off the prednisone, you can't just stop taking it or you go into adrenal shock or something like that. And knowing my luck that would happen! So now I just have to wait for AF to arrive, I'm a bit worried that I will have a really heavy one but just need to wait and see.
James and I had a big fight the other night. He said that he didn't want me to do another cycle as the physical cost is just too high. I just couldn't talk to him after that. Yes I know that we could do a whole fresh cycle and still end up with nothing, but I feel like we have to try. We talked again tonight about it and he said that he would support me if that is I want to do. I don't want to do it until at least June/July anyway, so it gives me a few months to recuperate. We are actually ok financially, after all my worrying. A few VERY frugal months means we are still at break even point, and we got back more from medicare than we thought. I haven't added it all up yet, but we will probably only be $3000 out of pocket, rather than the 4-5k I was expecting.
So I've had a few glasses of wine tonight. I am super tired and just feel really drained. We are going up north for Easter and I am really looking forward to getting away even if it is only to Mum and Dad's. Tomorrow we have our goddaughters 5th birthday party and I am looking forward to that. Life goes on.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

3 days to go

Only 3 more days to go until this hell I am going through can stop. I did a POAS today, which was stupid I know. Of course it was negative. Usually I get a false positive from them because of the drugs, but a negative is pretty clear. Then you start doing things in your head like "I tested too early, the levels might still rise". I guess I must still be holding on to that tiny hope that one of the embryo's took. I am still analysing every body sign, thinking could that twinge be implantation, or that cramp be AF coming? I have that niggly crampy pain just like AF, but is also caused by the progesterone. I had it with Charlotte until about 14 weeks, so I spent that whole time thinking I was having a miscarriage. I can't wait until BT on Friday, then I can stop taking these horrible drugs and just get on with life.
Of course that dull ache in my heart won't go away, and is there every day. I know that what I am going through is minor to some of the trials that others face, and sadly I know too many friends who have had miscarriages, ectopic's, or worse. But for me, right now, it hurts. Some of our friends have been wonderful though, and we got some lovely flowers, and a card and a book from another friend. I don't think I deserve any of that though but it did bring a smile to my face.
But I feel better about being around Charlotte now. In fact I have become very clingy in that I want to be around her alot. We have been having naps together in the afternoon which is lovely (well she naps, I lie there). She has been so cute lately. We have started to all have dinner together which has helped her fussy eating. We just let her feed herself, even though that is super messy. Last night we had pasta, and she would pick up a piece, then purse her lips like she was blowing on it to cool it down. Then she would grab a piece of paper towel we had near her, put it to her nose and "blow" or at least make a "bluuuuugh" sound, then gently put the paper towel down. It was hilarious. It does help to get through every day if I can focus on her.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

New shoes

I did some retail therapy today, and went shopping. I bought some new shoes for Charlotte, and one of those flip-out couches. It is non-branded which is so hard to find. I have some conflicting feelings about branded products. On the one hand I don't mind them, especially if Charlotte ever starts liking a particular show, it will make present buying easier.
But... I really object to the way every single product is branded now. It is nearly impossible to buy anything that isn't from the wiggles, or Dora, In the night garden, or any Disney item. And it makes these things so much more expensive. I had wanted to buy a couch for Charlotte for Christmas but the cheapest I could find was $130 and they were all branded. I just don't like the way that my child is being mass marketed to and she isn't even old enough to talk or know what these shows are. I am noticing a shift away from people wanting to buy branded products, alot of my friends have refused to buy them and I think I will follow that trend.
Anyway, she absolutely loves her new couch,but she loves her new shoes even more. They are just a plain sneaker like shoe, but she wanted to wear them all afternoon, and wouldn't settle this evening until I gave them to her in her cot. I hope this isn't the start of a fascination with shoes.
It felt good to get out of the house and do something normal. I am feeling so much better today, the bloating has eased and so has the pain. I was still vomiting a bit this morning, but it passed by mid morning. Emotionally I feel a bit on the edge still. I think I will have to make an appointment with the clinic counsellor, least of all to help sort out what I do next, and if I can accept the reality of only one child. I don't really know how much more my body can take. I guess I am coming to that point of "when do you stop". It is something that everyone doing IVF gets to at some time, and I have been told that once you do make a decision that you often find some peace with it, but right now it all hurts too much still.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

One day at a time

I am taking one day at a time at the moment. I am also trying not to count the days, I don't want to know how far into the dreaded 2WW I am. But the week has been fairly busy already. My bloating had gone down quite a bit by Saturday, so I ummed and aaahed, but decided to do the HCG injection. Sunday morning I was throwing up, although that is not that unusual for me. By Sunday evening I was having some shortness of breath, just sitting or walking would have me panting. I didn't feel like I had fluid in the lungs, it just felt like everything was being compressed. My heart was also racing. Monday morning I was still vomiting, so I rang the clinic who recommended I ring Warren. His receptionist recommended I come in to see him after his morning theater.
I felt a bit better by then, so thought I was being a hypochondriac, but we went in to see Warren. He agreed that I was hyperstimulating, and was a little bit bloated, but wasn't really severe. He said that he could admit me if I wanted, which I wasn't super keen on. He then asked to see my tongue. Apparently he could tell I was dehydrated from that (not quite sure how) and he very quickly swung into serious mode. He immediately sent me up to the day theatres for some fluid and protein and also some blood tests. He even gave us a pass to the doctors parking at the hospital, sweet!
So I got admitted to the day theatres, and they put me in a bed all nice and snuggly which was nice, at least I could get a bit of rest. Unfortunately my blood pressure was getting higher and higher - it reached 169/112 at one point. The nurses seemed quite worried at this so there were lots of phone calls back and forth to Warren. He wanted me to see my GP or to go to the emergency room at St Andrew's. Thankfully James could get me into our GP so after 3 hours there they let me home. By then my BP was back down to normal, and I was feeling alot better. I hadn't realised how crap I felt until suddenly I felt better. I saw my GP who was very reluctant to prescribe anything. After having this all checked out just a few months ago, she thought my BP was up for any number of reasons, being in hospital, being dehydrated, you name it. Putting me on medication would probably have me fainting. I was very relieved at that, the thought of more tablets is not appealing.
I feel alot better today, until later this evening when I've had some more vomiting. The bloating is up and down. Today I seem to have only put on 3kg, yesterday it was 4 so that is a big improvement.
I obviously don't want to get sicker, as that will mean a bit of time in hospital. But I am also a little bit torn. If I get pregnant, it will make the symptoms worse. If I get better in a few days then I am probably not pregnant. We asked Warren about the embryo's, and he said "yes they were crap, but if you were my mistress I would be worried". Not sure what to make of that comment. I am hoping that means that there is still a chance, but also not wanting to hope at all.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


I can hardly type this as the tears keep flowing, I haven't really been able to stop all day. When we got into the theatre today for ET we met with the scientist. She said that the one embryo that had grown too fast had slowed down, but that the 3 others had stopped. They don't like them to grow too fast or too slow. I am still a bit confused by exactly what condition they are in, but basically they are not good quality at all. I got the impression that they hadn't yet died, but were on their way. Warren walked in at that point and confirmed that they weren't good, and said that we basically have an egg quality issue. He said that we could wait until Saturday to see if they made it to day 5 blastocysts, but didn't recommend that (most of the stuff I have seen about that is not encouraging). He then went on to say that we could try putting them back, but then we would have to talk about our options which could be continuing to try and hope for a good egg or look at egg donation. So we did the transfer, with me crying all the way through, and now just wait. I am not hopeful, nor is Warren, but we have to wait and ride out the next two weeks.
I am gutted. Not only have we just wasted nearly $8k, but all the physical pain of the last few weeks has been for nothing, and we may never have another baby. I don't know how I feel about egg donation/adoption and think that would be a hard road to go down - if not prohibitively expensive.
I know that I should be so grateful for Charlotte - given all this she really is a miracle - but today I could hardly look at her. It is just a reminder of all that we will never have. And she misses out on so much too - the joy of a sibling, being part of a big family. I never wanted her to be an only child.
And I am just so angry at the unfairness of it. I don't know what I've done wrong to piss off the world, but in terms of baby making, I didn't leave it too late, I am not hideously overweight or eat that bad (ok not great, but not that bad), I haven't put my career ahead of a family. And we have worked so hard to save money to pay for all of this. I sacrifice so much and it is for nothing. I haven't had a haircut in over 6 months so I can save money, hardly ever buy new clothes for me OR for Charlotte or anything nice. It is just not fair.
I'm am sure that I will feel better tomorrow, and I will keep doing all of the drugs just in case. But right now all I can feel is heartbreak.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Still going

I rang the clinic today and we still have 4 embryos! Yay! I spoke to the scientist who said that 3 were looking really good, and one was at 7 cells. This is a bit fast and they don't like them to be growing too fast or too slow, so they will keep an eye on that one. It is a relief to hear that, but I am still so disappointed that we only have 4 (and probably 3 if that naughty one doesn't slow down). I just wonder if there was something we did wrong, or if the protocol wasn't right. But even though Warren does heaps of different things, it essentially was the same as the last two. And I need to keep reminding myself that the first EPU we only got 5 embies from 18 eggs, then we got 6 embies from 11 eggs. It really is so unpredictable.
I have been feeling a little bit better today. I am REALLY bloated and can feel all that fluid in my abdomen. It hurts a bit, but more when I try to bend or move. I am still worried that they will cancel the ET tomorrow when we turn up, and I am not sure if that would be good or not. I guess I still don't think that this cycle will work at all. And if it doesn't, I really don't know if we can go again, it really has been so hard already, and there is still weeks to go. I guess I just need to take one day at a time.

Monday, March 1, 2010


4. That's the total of embryo's we have growing in a lab on the other side of town. Only 4, I feel gutted.
But first to write about yesterday. We got there nice and early, and I was in PAIN. I could hardly walk. Throughout the pre-surgery interviews with the nurses and the anaesthetist they talked about hyper stimulation. The anaesthetist said that since they thought I had 20 eggs, and was already showing signs of being hyperstimmed that they would run a bottle of albumin post-surgery. Those few moments lying on the table while they fuss around getting ready are so nerve racking, but the nurses were very considerate and I felt very safe in their hands.
I hardly had time to blink and I was in recovery. I felt ok but had a little bit of pain, although not as much as before. I immediately asked how many eggs we got, and the nurse pointed to my hand where Warren had written 12. I was disappointed at that, where was my 20! Warren came by shortly after and said that I had 20 follicles but that some were empty or had immature eggs. I tried not to feel too disappointed, 12 is still ok and the cycle where we had Charlotte we only got 11.
I spent the next few hours lying quite comfortably while they ran the albumin in and then some more saline. It did take a while for the pain to go, but truthfully the cannula where the drip went hurt a whole lot more, I hate those things! So I didn't get up and dressed until 11.30. It was only then that I saw Warren had written the number 12 on my other hand, my arms, my feet, my calf, my thighs... I had to ask if he had even written it on my forehead! The nurse laughed and commented on Warren's idiosyncrasies - he certainly is a character.
By the time I got home I was feeling ok. A bit sore and groggy but not as bad as the last cycles. Charlotte had behaved wonderfully for Grandma and Grandad, and hadn't seemed to miss me at all although she did want to climb all over me which was not pleasant.
By later in the day I was starting to get anxious about hyperstimming. My stomach was bloated like I was pregnant, and I had some shortness of breath. But overnight this had eased, and the pain was quite manageable. I really think that they albumin has kept alot of those symptoms under control so I am really grateful for them doing that.
This morning I called Warren's rooms and got the news on the embryos. Of the 12 eggs they could only use 6, and so we now have 4 embryo's. I spoke to Warren and he said that to have this much attrition probably indicates that I have poor egg quality, and there is just nothing you can do about that. I feel quite gutted, on top of all the other issues I now have dodgy eggs too. I am now quite relieved that we started trying again so soon, even though I don't feel quite ready, and this will only get worse as I get older. Warren said that we won't know the grading until tomorrow so we may even lose more of them. We are booked in for the ET on Thursday at 7.30 am. In the meantime I start on the drug regime which now involves taking 16 tablets a day (including 4 progesterone and 4 oestrogen), 4 progesterone pessaries a day, and one injection of clexane. I only hope that I get to Thursday with at least 2 left. This waiting part is so hard. And looking at Charlotte today has made it harder. She is so beautiful and perfect, yes I am happy to have her and so very grateful, but I would like another one. Please.