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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Fertile friends and the exorcism of IVF cycle 3

So, we have picked out our donor – wow, it feels absolutely great!! I feel pretty good at the moment, though have had a few really busy days of running around so am pretty tired. I had lunch with a couple of fertile friends yesterday and I had thought that I would tell them of our plans to go to Thailand for the donor egg cycle. I thought long and hard over the decision to tell then and discussed it with Journey Man. Interestingly enough, I realised that one of the reasons that I didn’t want to tell them was that I was afraid that it would tarnish their image of me – I mean, what the!?!? Could there be any more vain and ridiculous reason for not telling my own friends something like this? I have really withdrawn from my friends over the past months so I really wanted to use this as an opportunity to ‘enter’ the circle of my friends again.

It was a lovely brunch and they were hugely supportive. I cried many times but it was wonderful to re-engage with these girls that I love very much. One of my friends was pretty flippant about moving through the steps (donor cycle and then on to surrogacy) which I have found many people to be and I think that a conversation that I had with her particularly really clarified my feelings over what is happening. My friend (let’s call her Preggo) said that ‘it doesn’t matter whether this baby has come from your genes or a surrogate or is adopted, you will love them as if they were from you’. This has never, ever been a concern for me – I have always 100% known that regardless I would love a baby with all of my heart and soul. What I really want my friends and family to understand is that sometimes even though I have moved through each step along the way, it hasn’t been without going through a process of grieving. Like thinking that the baby will not have my eyes or any part of me – it is not going to stop me from doing this donor egg cycle but it does take a bit of grieving to move past it. I grew up wanting a child of my own. Then I discovered that we wouldn’t be able to conceive a child naturally and had to move through the process to acceptance. Then I discovered that I didn’t respond to the IVF drugs well, then that my eggs were not good and would need to go to donor eggs – I am still moving to acceptance on that one. It is all part of the process that I go through to think about things, analyse, grieve and move on. The girls were so wonderful and my friend Preggo said ‘thank you SO much for explaining it that way – it has really helped me to understand’ she also apologised for being flippant, which I didn’t need her to do, I wasn’t offended, just wanted them to understand. It makes me so happy that they do.

So, it’s time to move back to IVF ghosts past with IVF cycle 3. As most of you would understand, going to egg collection and having no eggs retrieved was devastating but when we went back to our fertility specialist, he had another protocol idea up his sleeve for us to try. I honestly cannot remember very much of that appointment with the specialist, it was only a few days after the cycle was cancelled so I was still numb at the time. For this cycle the Puregon was pumped up to the highest amount legally able to be used in Australia and we tried with an antagonist injection of Orgalutran rather than the Syneral nasal spray I had had previously. That cycle, I focussed only on what was immediately in front of me. When I had my meeting with my patient coordinator, she asked how I was and I broke down sobbing in her office. Also at this time, work for me was becoming unbearable. At the first ultrasound, I was so afraid to go – I didn’t want it cancelled like the first time. I had 3 follicles, a small record for me at the time (you may laugh). The day of the egg collection was the worst though. This time they took me in first because they wouldn’t do the needle biopsy on Journey Man unless I actually had eggs at collection. When I woke up, the first thing that I did again was to check my hand to see if there was anything written on it, there was nothing. I started crying and couldn’t stop. I asked the next nurse who came around if she knew if Journey Man was taken if for his procedure because then I would have known for sure we had at least one egg but the nurse said that she didn’t know. I continued to quietly weep and had a cup of tea and a couple of bites of sandwich in recovery. After awhile, to my surprise, I saw Journey Man being wheeled in and I went over to see him. The first thing that he said to me was ‘we have an egg, we have an egg’ – I kissed and hugged him, I felt so much joy at that moment. After that, he promptly went back to sleep and started snoring.

The joy was sure lived when the doctor came to see us and gave us a big lecture on how low the odds were that this egg would fertilise and even last 2 days to be viable at embryo transfer. Happily, the next day (Saturday) I received a call from the nurse that the super egg had fertilised and the transfer was set for Monday. We actually made it to transfer and of course the two week wait was tortuous, I was obsessed. I indulged in pregnant fantasies but it all came to a screeching halt when the bitch AF came. I was upset again and howled my heart out again and once again, I beat myself up mercilessly for even having a small amount of hope. After a couple of days, I did start to see the positive in the situation. At least we got an egg, at least we got to transfer, these were all new things surely I would be successful next time? This time, I waiting a few weeks before seeing the specialist and wrote a list of questions (I think I had 22 in all) for him – poor bastard didn’t even see me coming. We decided to have a break of a few months to get ourselves together.

That is the story of IVF#3 and it is quite weird to me that it is the least memorable. I don’t know if I was still totally numb from IVF#2 or that I was becoming jaded by it all but that cycle is the one that I remember the least details of. I feel like I had very low expectations and those expectations were met.

Well, it’s late – I have exorcised another ghost – thanks for reading....

Journey Girl

P.S. The appointment with the haematologist is on Thursday – not long now!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

ICLW Rocks!!

It was has been my first ICLW – I have been overwhelmed by the support that Journey Man and I have received – what a wonderful idea!! I have absolutely loved the chance to read up on so many other blogs as well – there are so many stories out there – it is just amazing, it has been a great opportunity to get to know so many of you through your blogs. Thank you to everyone who has made a comment here, it has meant a lot to Journey Man and I, we have been very touched! Boy did ICLW come along at a great time – the last week has flown whilst I have been reading up and commenting like a demon!! Now it is only a week until we go to see the haematologist and hopefully start planning an exact time in which to head off to Thailand, choose our donor and basically get this show on the road!!

I have received the report from my Melbourne Fertility Specialist and he has advised the transfer of only one embryo back at ET because of the risks of my unicornuate uterus. I understand why he has advised this and I do agree that it would be a lot less risky to have a singleton pregnancy, though I am battling my own want to increase the odds of success as well as my want to have twins so that we could then call this whole fertility journey done! Considering the rest of the risks associated with the medical deformities of my insides, I am sure that we will end up only transferring one embryo back.

I can’t help but think of what the next step would be if this is not successful – have any excess embryo’s sent to Queensland and travel to there to have a FET (in the state in Australia that I live in, it is illegal to import embryo’s)? Try to stay in Thailand long enough to do 2 cycles (may need to win Tattslotto for this one)? Go straight to surrogacy? I mean, I am really, really hoping that we are successful first go once my dodgy eggs are out of the equation but I like to have contingency plans for everything. I am really unsure of what the next step would be, I mean going to another country to find a donor is really pushing the boundaries. I have plenty of time to think I guess.

I have received a list of donors from the clinic in Thailand. Journey Man and I are going to get Japanese food for dinner tonight and review them. I feel so grateful to these young Thai women who will help us out in this way – so, so grateful!!

Till next time!

Journey Girl

Monday, August 24, 2009

Another note from JourneyMan...

The most difficult part in the IVF journey is being an appropriate support to Journey Girl. I have always tried to be able to comfort Journey Girl and keep a positive outlook, especially since I have never felt as though the best result was beyond us. After so many attempts at IVF, I have not been as able to feel an adequate support to Journey Girl as the failed cycles occur. I have relied more, as time has gone one, on helping Journey Girl dispense as much pain and hopelessness as I can. Personally I feel this has been a better plan than trying to comfort her verbally. I am lucky that Journey Girl is such a glutton for a cuddle and she has been so receptive to talking about disappointment. I am of the opinion that the more you can talk about a problem, you decrease the pain involved in that issue for you. I have an endless positive outlook that we will have a baby come along, so my goal is to help Journey Girl keep the positive outlook as much as I can. I am also thankful for the antics of Journey Dog who provides a good break in the seriousness with his abundant cuteness and naughty pants-edness.
The first cycle we might have learnt the most about IVF. I was really looking forward to a successful first cycle so we could get on with the baby growing dream! When the cycle was cancelled, the explanation seemed to me to be understandable enough, the drugs might need to be tweaked to get the correct result. It has been disheartening as time has worn on because it would seem we can’t take a trick, experiencing the no end of reasons why it hasn’t worked for us to date. I experienced a heightened sense of pain, when the local anaesthetic ran out during a testicular biopsy. It has frustrated me to see the depth of sadness Journey Girl has felt during the IVF attempts.

During the Eddie K of LIVE show last week I felt some big shills when Eddie sang ‘Heaven’ and referenced his daughters in the song. I stirred the sadness in me at not having had a successful cycle more then anything else had to date. I am looking forward to being as proud a parent as Eddie.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

More of IVF past....

Over the past few days JourneyMan and I have been discussing surrogacy. This has come about because a 39 year old friend of a friend’s sister died when a blot clot went to her heart. There was now warning, she was healthy so it was quite a shock for them. This has brought the factor V Leiden clotting disorder to the forefront of my mind again. Especially because the risks don’t end once I get pregnant – pregnancy is a pretty big risk as well for those with mutation with 1 out of 100 having a serious clotting episode during pregnancy. I was telling JourneyMan about my previous adventure with a blood clot in my lung - I hadn’t really spoken to him about it in a whole lot of detail because it was quite a long time ago now. I remembered the month I spent in hospital crying from the pain, I remember sleeping sitting up for around 4 months afterwards because of the pain when lying flat. It was not my favourite time, I can tell you that.

I am finding it hard not to speculate about what the haematologist will say but I am now considering the risks in more and more detail. I am hoping that anticoagulants will be the answer but as I say, it is best not to speculate. I suspect that it would reduce the risks by having Clexane which is an injectible anticoagulant that I have had before when I have travelled overseas. We will see in a couple of weeks, I guess.

Okay – so on with the IVF past story. After the first cancelled cycle, I was devastated but was picked up a lot by the girls at an IVF forum that I visited, their advice was wonderful. The first cycle was really an experimentation by the doctors because they don’t know how you are going to react to the drugs and it was this advice that I hung my hat on. We had Christmas that year and went away to our beach spot like we normally did in summer and had a relaxing time. When we got back, we were ready to go with our next cycle. They increased the drugs that I was on in that protocol and put me on a boost cycle so at least it was a quicker one. I approached everything with a lot less enthusiasm this time, I was extremely cautious. We did get to the first scan and found that there were only 3 follicles of a reasonable size. We were pretty upset but our fertility specialist still allowed us to go to egg collection – he outlined the risks and gave us the choice.

As an aside, during the first cycle, I wore the same pyjamas every night to bed. They were orange because I had read an article about orange being the colour of fertility. During the second cycle, I resurrected these pyjamas (which had been kicked unceremoniously into the spare room when the cycle was cancelled) and wore them but not without a touch of dubiousness. I mocked myself mercilessly for this wearing of the orange pyjamas. Fast forward to now and the orange pyjamas were jammed into the bin long ago.

On the day of the egg collection, both JourneyMan and I were having procedures because he had to have the needle biopsy to retrieve his sperm from behind the vasectomy. The clinic was in an uproar because it was the first day after they had moved the day surgery so it took awhile to get everything sorted. We sat in the waiting room both in our robes and gowns smiling wryly at each other. He went in first and was having a local anaesthetic. After awhile, the doctor came out and said that they had to use a general anaesthetic because of the pain so I would need to find someone to take us home (JourneyMan was going to drive us home because he was only have a local). I asked the nurses to call my Mum and she agreed that she would come and pick us up and my Dad would drive our car home.

I didn’t see JourneyMan again until after my surgery. After a lot of waiting and reading trashy magazines (a guilty pleasure of mine – generally reserved for plane trips and hospital visits, they have graduated lately to being a pick me up when I am feeling like a treat) I went in to the operating room. Of course, the next thing that I knew, I was waking up in recovery. I always read every piece of literature from the clinic, the specialist and the hospital religiously so I knew that my clinic writes the number of eggs retrieved on the back of your hand. As soon as I woke up, I surreptitiously was trying to get a look at the back of my hand. After waking up a bit more, I looked at my hand and there was nothing. At the time, I wasn’t worried at all, after all – they could have changed their policy or they might have forgotten in the confused state of the clinic on that day. Looking back now, I can’t believe that I wasn’t worried at all – I wasn’t even worried when I asked the nurse how many eggs that they retrieved and she said that the doctor would come and see me soon. I mean come on there is naive and there is just plain dumb!

After a cup of tea and a sandwich, I was moved to the recovery lounges and JourneyMan joined me there – still in a bit of pain. After an interminable wait, the doctor came and told us that they did not get any eggs at all. I started crying and they pulled the curtains around us. Nurses whispered, everyone stayed away for awhile. I don’t remember much of the day after that. I know that Mum and Dad came to get us, I know I barely spoke all I remember is getting home and crying like I have never cried before in my life. I felt like I was howling like a wolf, the pain inside was so great – I just needed to get some of it out. I now know that that was the day that I lost the hopeful, cockeyed optimist in me that felt that I would absolutely, 100% have a baby of my own. A more cautious, more weary, more bitter girl has taken her place.

Don’t get me wrong, I am still fighting, I am still planning and I still believe that we will have a baby one day. The main effect has been that I have turned inwards, I don’t talk about it as much anymore with people, I am having trouble seeing my fertile friends and I have a constant pain inside that I try to replace with love for Journey Man and Journey Dog that is Woolly. Sometimes I grieve for that more happier, carefree version of myself, sometimes I despair that she will not ever come back. One thing that I have still though is hope, I hope to see her again.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Calculating hope....

So, I am still, waiting, waiting, waiting though I did hear from the Thailand clinic that they are putting their prices up in September *sigh* isn’t that just and IVF story for you – prices going up. As it happens, the prices went up just as JourneyMan and I did our first IVF cycle, though from general comments, these price rises are not as rare as one would hope, it seems that the prices seem to go up fairly regularly in the IVF world – I wish my salary went up as much!! Anyway, enough bitching about money. Not really that much happening in the world of IF for me at the moment – still working on the passports and writing list after list of things that I will need to organise but as Journey Man says “what’s different about me writing lists?” – cheeky, that is what he is!!

So, back to IVF ghosts past. Interestingly enough, I feel very much now that I am in the same position that I was in after the first cycle, AF has gone AWOL and I was in the waiting, waiting, waiting mode. Do you think that at some point you get used to waiting? I definitely haven’t gotten used to it. Anyway, the first cycle was cancelled in November and Christmas came up really quick. I remember going to this Road to Bethlehem thing that they have at a school not far from here. It has become a bit of a tradition with our family and part of our Christmas tradition. I am not religious but I enjoy this because it is really fun and it brings the family together, I love Christmas. I remember thinking to myself that Christmas, ‘next year I will be pregnant or bringing a baby along with me’. I was absolutely certain that it would be so. I looked at the pregnant ladies and mum’s with their children happily thinking that it would be me that next year.

The next year came (last year) and I didn’t really want to go that much. Journey Man didn’t come this year, I can’t remember why and I was not in the spirit of Christmas at all. Normally I have my tree up in the first week of December and love all of the Christmas shows on TV and all of the family traditions that we have. Last year, I was a whole different person. We had had 4 failed cycles, we weren’t going away after Christmas like we normally do, I felt like I had failed in my life. My mum dragged me along to the Road to Bethlehem and mostly I wanted to cry. When I saw a pregnant woman, I averted my eyes. I tried not to see the mother’s happy faces looking at the children’s delight at the play. This time, I vowed to myself that I wouldn’t go (this year) if I wasn’t pregnant or have a baby. Time is running out, days, weeks and months are slipping away to achieve my dream this year.

I am a woman that counts a lot. I like numbers and pretty much am counting things or calculating in my head at all times – yes, I know I am sad. When I am running on the treadmill, I count down the minutes, I calculate how far I have fun and how much further I will go, as I say – I am totally the female (and human) version of The Count. Each year I have found myself calculating – if I get pregnant by March, I will have a baby that year and then March rolls around and I calculate when the baby would be due if I was pregnant in April, May, June etc. I look at success percentages religiously; I calculate the change in percentages that reducing my BMI would make. I calculate when the next cycle is due, and at the moment, I am obsessed with counting when we most likely will be going to Thailand – though I am completely flummoxed at the moment with AF gone AWOL. I calculate when I would be able to tell everyone about the pregnancy. I count down the days until I see the haematologist. I try to calculate the chances of me getting a blood clot when taking the birth control pill and oestrogen (1 in 8 apparently and that goes down with a flight I believe) and then try to calculate how much this would be reduced if I take blood thinners.

Okay, so now I realise why I am a bit tired a lot of the time! I hope, I hope, I hope that soon I will be calculating how many weeks I have until the baby is born, how many weeks we will wait before telling everyone, how much money we will need to babify the house. Mostly, I just hope (and count) and hope (and count).

Thanks for reading my friends – I hope that I haven’t bored the hell out of you with this very strange post!!


Journey Girl

Monday, August 17, 2009

Bi-Cornuate Uterus - excuse me?!!?

We are still waiting. The haematologist has had no cancellations recently, booo. I am getting a bit impatient because we can’t really do anything until we get the date. I am still hoping for October / November which would be wonderful. The only thing going on at the moment is the lack of AF – gosh she is a duplicitous witch. I thought that she had come but no, just a few spots. This also happened after my last cancelled cycle so I am not worried, more annoyed than anything. I felt absolutely horrible yesterday, so much so that I was unable to go to a concert that JourneyMan had organised for us to go to – he took his brother instead. So disappointing. I also missed my long run for the week which was also disappointing because I don’t have that long for the run that I am training for. I feel a bit better today but honestly, still pretty ordinary.

Okay, so going back to the past IVF story – well there is one thing that I forgot to tell you from before the first cycle. I had a little procedure where they put dye into my tubes to check that they are all open and this was where they found that I had an odd shaped uterus and one tube was either blocked or spasming. When I went back to the Fertility Specialist, he diagnosed a bi-cornuate uterus – where there is a problem in the formation of the uterus. Basically, he said that it looked like I had two uteruses that were connected down the middle with a thin vein of tissue. He advised that the main problems for me would happen when I got pregnant if the placenta attached to the vein of tissue down the middle and it would be unlikely that I would be able to deliver naturally because of the shape of the uterus, I would most likely have to have a c-section. JourneyMan like to say that I had a ‘two roomed house’ and what child wouldn’t want two bedrooms of their own!!

I remember feeling at the time that it seemed that I couldn’t go to the Fertility Specialist without finding out about some deformity that I had inside. It was quite a shock each time for me. I had spent most of my life thinking that the main issue with me having a baby was having no man to be the father! Then the main obstacle that we had was that JourneyMan had had a vasectomy. Then I found that I had a deformed uterus and that was our main problem. Then we found after the first cycle that I didn’t respond to the drugs so that became the main problem. I felt like I was in a boxing match and after each king hit I was able to drag myself up off the floor only to be king hit again. I know that it sounds melodramatic but it is a lot of information to take in over a pretty short period of time.

I sometimes wonder if those people are right and that couples are either ‘meant’ to have a child or not. With all of our problems, how can I not ponder that maybe we just weren’t ‘meant’ to have a child of my own. Most of the time I don’t believe that crap – I mean, are heroin addicts then ‘meant’ to have the babies that they carry? No, I have to think that there is no reason for this happening, that it was just a bit of bad luck and we are just as ‘meant’ to have children as anyone else. On my dark days I think it is punishment for the wrongs of my life, after all, I am a recovering alcoholic (7 years sober) so there is plenty to punish. I hope that’s not the case because I feel like I have paid for those wrongs and then some and doesn’t someone deserve a second chance anyway? Yes, better to think that it is a cruel twist of fate!!

Till next time!



Thursday, August 13, 2009

The torture of HPT's & fertile friends

Okay, before I resume the story of IVF past, I have to talk about an incident that occurred yesterday. On my way to my car to go home from work, I realised that AF had not arrived – what?!?! I am extremely regular at 28 days each month so this was a bit of a shock, especially considering that I didn’t even feel like I was getting AF. Of course, one of the first things that jumps into my mind is that ‘I’m pregnant’ – this is quickly followed by ‘don’t be bloody ridiculous’ and a litany of reasons why I couldn’t be jumped into my head.

I ended up taking a pregnancy test but my feelings around the whole test were something to be believed – I am sure many of you can relate. I hate home pregnancy tests by now, absolutely HATE them. I know that it is not correct to say that you hate anything but let me tell you, I hate, hate, hate them. Not once have I gotten a positive result from one of those buggers, I have never seen two lines, I feel like they mock me. I know how stupid I sound, hating an inanimate object but honestly, I would so love to see a positive result – hopefully after our trip to Thailand later on this year.

Anyway, I took the test and of course it was negative but on the drive home, I spent my time wondering ‘what if’. It was a lovely trip home, thinking about seeing two lines on the test, building up our life with a new baby. Being able to get a new kitchen instead of spending our money on the donor cycle in Thailand, having a baby shower, making sure JourneyDog doesn’t feel left out – basically I built baby castles in the air and the problem with those stinking pregnancy tests are that they always smash those castles to dust.

Another thing that happened to me today was that I saw a friend at the gym who was taking her baby daughter to swimming lessons. I have pulled away from my friends of late, I know that it’s not a good thing and most of them are very supportive but sometimes it is just so hard to face them. Even today, just seeing my friend and chatting for a couple of minutes made me really sad. Sad for me because of what we have to do to realise our dream of having a family but sad for my friends too that I can’t seem to face them right now and I haven’t even been able to explain why – I hate myself alot of the time because of it. The last 2 years I have been pulling further and further away – I don’t want to end up having no friends just because they are in a different place than I am but it also hurts quite a bit to see them as well. I am really at a loss to know what to do right now and if any of you have any ideas, I would love to hear them.

I want to acknowledge all of the wonderful comments that I have received over the past week or so. My good friend Lifeslurper told me that I would be amazed by the support that I would receive from the blogging world and honestly, you all have blown me away – thank you SO much for taking the time to post your comments. I have a few messages to those who have left comments:

Aileen – thanks for reading along and wow, dog furniture – what a fabulous idea!!!

Lorza – gosh, thanks for the encouragement!! My best mate who I did the trek to Everest Base camp feel like it is unfinished business because we didn’t make it to the peak, we are planning to go back there in 2011 to complete it once and for all!! Oh and JourneyMan has been strutting around the place like a peacock that he got a comment on his post J

Parenthood for Me & Suraita – thanks for the welcome, you guys are SO lovely!

Summer – great to hear from a DE Mum – I have been reading through your blog, so insightful, I am loving it!

Miss Tori – Thank you so much for your comment – we did try some cycles without the Syneral (which I believe is the same as Lupron here in Australia), I had a couple of antagonist cycles and I did get to transfer on those cycles but they were BFN’s unfortunately.

Well, that’s it for tonight, I will be back soon with the next instalment of IVF past – I need something to pass the time – still 3 weeks until the appointment with the haematologist!



Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Birthday, a long weekend away and an update on nothing!

So, it was my 38th birthday last Thursday. 38 – hmmm, in life terms I feel very young however in IF terms, I feel 138. Birthdays always make me reflective and over the last few days have I have been considering my past year. It has been a very successful year in many ways, I have lost a considerable amount of weight, started a new business, successfully completed my life coaching certificate, changed to part-time contract work with my current employer and bought a gorgeous fluffy dog (who is the most spoilt dog on earth let me tell you!). But (isn’t there always a but!), even though I feel successful, there is an equal measure of emptiness. Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful for my life – I am SO lucky to have found JourneyMan, I have a fantastic family and wonderful group of friends but there is a corner of my heart that hurts with the want to hear a child call me ‘Mummy’ and my arms ache with the need hold them, protect them, love them, nurture them and watch them grow. Sometimes, I feel so full of maternal feelings that I think I might burst. It is at these time that our gorgeous woolly dog bears the brunt of these feelings, he gets hugged on a lot, I tell you!!

My birthday is also a time for me to think about my own Mum, whose birthday is the day after mine and my Mum’s mum (Nanna), whose birthday was the same day as my Mum’s – yep, there were almost 3 generations of us born on the one day, I was a bit quick off the mark is all. My Nanna died a couple of months before JourneyMan and I got married in 2006. I still miss her so much – we had really a special relationship. I also have a really special relationship with my own Mum, we get along really well and she is so supportive and helpful, she is just wonderful – I am really lucky to have her. Sometimes I get really frustrated with the IF journey because I know that in some way I will have children of my own, whether it is by donor eggs, surrogacy or adoption but my Mum isn’t getting any younger, I really want to be around for my children as long as possible – she is an amazing Nanna to the 5 grandchildren (and one Woolly dog) that she has and she has been so supportive of our journey, she is amazing! It has been hard on her too, I have leaned on her so many times and I know that all she wants to do is make things better but so many times she has been stuck to say something that will make me feel better – I tell her that there is nothing and her listening is enough. When I told her about the donor eggs in Thailand plan, she was fabulous – she is wonderfully supportive, I am very, very lucky.

JourneyMan and I went away for a long weekend (leaving on Wednesday after work and getting back Monday afternoon – nice!). Originally the holiday was booked to help pass the 2 week way of the last cycle but since the cycle was cancelled, it was a chance for us to rest and recuperate. The Thursday of my birthday was a lovely day, we spent most of it at the hot springs lolling around in the warm mineral spa whilst it was cold and rainy outside. We had a delicious lunch out and then a relaxing afternoon and night in front of the open fire. Most of the weekend was about reading, sitting in front of the fire and taking the dog for walks – though we did go to the chocolate factory where I had the best hot chocolate of my life, will be going back there!! The house (we call it a shack) we stayed at is an old gold miners cottage that is 110 years old and is practically falling down around our ears. My Mum and Dad are co-owners of it with my uncle and Aunty. It is in a beautiful (though very cold) part of the Victorian countryside and had the added bonus that we could take the dog with us. The dog had a wonderful time and tired himself out so much that he didn’t move off the couch when we got home yesterday afternoon!

I had an incident over the weekend that gave me pause. JourneyMan and I were discussing children and what we think that they will be good at (sporting wise) when they grow up. JourneyMan is an avid sprinter and is a member of the Victorian Athletics League which is a professional group of runners that have race meetings weekly from around October and culminates in the ‘richest foot race in Australia (the Stawell Gift) at Easter each year. JourneyMan hasn’t trained and raced for the past couple of seasons but we still go to watch the big race each Easter. I was always a pretty good sprint swimmer in my younger years and participated in a few fun triathlons in the past few years (before putting on a stack of weight after we got married and were doing IVF – thankfully most of that weight is gone again now!!) so we would always have playful arguments over whether our child would be a runner or a swimmer. I realised over the weekend that ‘my good swimmer’ genes would not be passed on to our child because of the donor egg issue. It is no big deal, I mean all I have to think is that I thankfully will not be passing on my other dodgy genes either (blood disorder & addictions are two that pop in to my mind) but I noted that I still had some grieving to do over not having my own genetic child.

So, an update on where we are at. Well, nowhere different really, just waiting for the haematologist appointment and willing a cancellation so that I can started getting organised to go to Thailand. Waiting again. Don’t we all just become waiting experts when we are on the IF journey? **Sigh** On the positive side of things, I am using that time to become as fit and healthy as possible. I have upped mine and JourneyMan’s vitamin regime and I went very well in my first week of training for the 10km (6.25 miles) run – I am building up very slowly but was surprised at how well the first week went. I am also back at Bikram Yoga this afternoon (also called hot yoga) for a 90min session before JourneyMan takes me off for a date tonight (it is one of my birthday presents, I don’t know where we are going). So, I have plenty to keep me occupied while I count down to 3 September when I see the haematologist though I do feel I need to start writing a list of things that need to be done before we go – yes, I do love a list!!

One thing that I have realised today is that my passport is not current! Gah – put that at the top of the list to get organised!!


Journey Girl

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Hurdle 2 complete!!

We visited the Melbourne fertility specialist yesterday and he is fine with our decision which was a huge relief. I had to admit, I was worried that he would strenuously object to the plan but he was very interested and even asked me to bring back literature so he could have a recommendation for other patients if they ask. We have honestly been blessed with our fertility specialist, I have heard many stories out there of specialists not being great. Our FS has always been open to looking at different ways of doing things, he is very pragmatic and is no BS in his explanations, which I really like. He is writing up a history to send to the Thai Fertility Specialist, which is great and has once again confirmed to me that though I have the unicornuate uterus, it is basically a normal size so I should be able to carry a baby – yay!

For the first time since my cancelled cycle, I have felt hope stirring within me again. I am generally a positive and hopeful person but the cycles have knocked me around a bit. It is nice to feel that bit closer to holding a baby in my arms – it is such a beautiful dream. Speaking of the cycles, we were talking previously about the journey to where we are right now.

After the first appointment with the specialist, we decided that we would go straight on to IVF rather than the vasectomy reversal, the main part of the decision was that we didn’t want to wait which we would have done after the reversal. We were in a very big hurry back then. I had to have all the usual tests first. Blood tests and then an ultrasound and then we were back at the fertility specialist again. I found out at that appointment that I had only one kidney. This was a bit of a shock because I would have thought that I would have had some knowledge of only one kidney before 35 years had passed!

The kidney issue meant more tests before we started the first cycle. After everything had been cleared and we had attended the info night, counselling (I would hardly call it counselling) and paid the exorbitant fees (though let me say that for the moment, IVF funding is pretty good in Australia – though in the last federal budget, it was revealed that much of the funding is being taken away). I started on the classic IVF long protocol minus the birth control pill because of my Factor IV Leiden. I was bursting full of hope and absolutely sure that I was going to get pregnant on the first go, after all – apart from the one kidney, I had no issues except that I was 35 right? Hmmm, well so we thought.

After the first ultrasound I received a call letting me know that the cycle was cancelled. I was absolutely shocked, I just couldn’t believe that it could even happen. I went home after work and cried for about an hour – sadly this was not the last cycle that ended in tears. Thank goodness that I had found a wonderful forum to express my shock, they were so supportive and wonderful – honestly, I would hate to think what would have happened if I didn’t have that outlet.

The disappointment doesn’t reduce even after 5 cycles, the shock does but the disappointment, no that sucker hangs around – unfortunately it is by product of hope and truly, I wouldn’t want to lose that. As I alluded to at the start of this post, the last cycle has only been over for around 10 days, cancelled as well (what do you know, 5 cycles with cancellations at the beginning and end – how zen) so the disappointment is still very fresh. I try not to wallow too much but sometimes, it gets the better of me. It is nice to have a new plan though. Still another hurdle to get over, I have to see the haematologist to make sure I can take the necessary drugs whilst flying. I was not able to get an appointment until 3 September – hopefully they will have a cancellation. I have also started training for a 10km run – I am using running as a stress release!

Till next time!

Journey Girl

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Factor IV Leiden - what the?!?!?

So, I have been to my wonderful GP (General Practitioner – she’s my family doctor) to talk about the donor eggs in Thailand situation. She has let me know that it is pretty risky considering my situation. The main part that she is concerned about is my blood disorder, the Factor IV Leiden. This means that I am more likely to get blood clots than the general population. This is by no means a rare disorder, around 5% of the Western population have it. So, how do I know that I have this disorder – well that is a story from my past.

When I left school, all of my friends and family were in long term relationships, I felt pretty much on the outside so I saw a perfect opportunity to travel. I went to the United States to be a camp counsellor at a girls scout camp, travelled across the country, worked in Vegas (on reception in a backpackers hostel for cash!) and then worked in Banff in Canada for awhile before I headed over to London, missed home too much and headed home. After a bit of time at home, I realised that I wasn’t done travelling so I went back over to the US to work on a cross country ski ranch in the Rockies, went to Mexico for a bit, travelled across the US a bit more and then headed home once again.

After that, I travelled to Europe (with some interesting escapades with my bestie working in a pub in London), Africa and to Nepal. It was the trip to Nepal that turned travelling a little bit sour for me. So why Nepal? Well, my best friend and travel partner had a life’s ambition to climb to Everest Base Camp and my life’s travelling ambition was to see the seven natural wonders of the world. In my first job as a publishing assistant in an educational publishing company, I was so bored with the job I read the text books – one of them was about the seven natural wonders of the world and that was when I decided that I wanted to see them all.

So what are they:

Great Barrier Reef – Australia
Mount Everest – Nepal
Grand Canyon – USA
Victoria Falls – Zambia / Zimbabwe
Northern Lights
Paricutin volcano – Mexico
Harbour of Rio de Janiero – Brazil

I have been to 4, Great Barrier Reef, Mount Everest, Grand Canyon, Victoria Falls – I still have 3 to go!

Anyway, I was telling you about the trip to Nepal. It was a pretty rough trip, my bestie and I have talked about it many, many times since. The walking was a lot tougher than we thought it was going to be, we weren’t fit enough and I got sick before we made it to the peak of the trip (Kala Patar). I had a cough and some sort of cold and had to pull out of the push to the peak – thank goodness for my bestie because if she wasn’t there, the guides may have pushed us onwards. Thankfully she put her foot down and we headed down.

On our return to Melbourne (after one of the most horrendous flights of all time), people kept on saying how fit and healthy I must feel – my response was generally that I felt like I had been hit by a truck. After 2 weeks, I could barely breathe and had to go to the hospital for 4 weeks to recover from a collapsed lung due to a blood clot in it. That was how they discovered I had Factor IV Leiden.

So, when Journey Man and I started on the IVF journey, I went to see a haematologist to make see what drugs I could and couldn’t use for the disorder. Saturday’s appointment with the GP was to get referral back to the haematologist to make sure that I am okay to travel, take the drugs necessary for the donor cycle, etc – basically it is to reduce the risks as much as possible.

As a side note – I still love to travel. After the Nepal trip, I spent 2 years just going to places in Australia because it made me a bit nervous but a few years ago my bestie and I headed off on a brilliant trip to Cambodia and Thailand and Journey Man and I went to Thailand for our honeymoon. Thailand holds a special place in my heart – hopefully it will become even more special to me soon!

We are back to see the fertility specialist tomorrow, hopefully he will help us to achieve our dream and will not have any objections – I hope everything will be okay!!


Journey Girl