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If you would like more information on the Thai clinic that we have used or you would like to consult privately with us (we can help coordinate your cycle with the Thai clinic), please contact us at:

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Good news, bad news and a quick update!

The bad news is that I think I have Journey Man’s cold. I am very headachy and coughing and have a runny nose and am feeling quite miserable. I spent pretty much all of the weekend on the couch because of very bad AF cramps so I am not feeling at my best at the moment. I also have to apologise sincerely for my very bad commenting form in ICLW – I was hopeless, so I am going to try and make it up over the next couple of weeks. Thank you to all of you who have made comments, it has made me feel very supported – you gals are fab!

The good news is that we are moving quickly towards Thailand and I am very excited. I am also feeling quite organised – I have my spreadsheet going great guns – so it is all action. I have the appointment with the Melbourne Fertility Specialist next week to get my prescriptions for the various drugs – birth control pill, Progynova and my great friend, Crinone. I still have adjustments to my gastric band leading up to the trip but the appointment with the specialist will be the last until I get to Thailand – wow, what a novelty!

My friend whose baby shower I went to, had a baby girl yesterday – I am very happy for her. She now has two children, a boy and a girl the lucky thing. This does make me sad for myself sometimes. I was supposed to catch up with a bunch of friends on the weekend but didn’t because I felt so crap from AF. I am expecting a rash of second pregnancies coming up soon – I hope I can handle it okay. I hope to catch up with all my friends again at some point but even though I have told a couple of them about Thailand – I don’t want everyone to know because I don’t want the questions about success when we get back – is this selfish? I don’t know, I am not really that sure.

I know that I have been promising this for a while but I will definitely get back on to the IVF history and talk about how we came to the decision to go to Thailand for the donor egg cycle.

Till next time!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

ICLW - Welcome!

Wow, it really snuck up on me this month! I wanted to make sure that I had an introductory post to welcome you aboard but hadn’t had a chance – so here I go. I noticed last month, some people did some nifty things to introduce themselves, here are the top 10 things to know about me:

1. Big things seem to happen to us in July! JourneyMan is my husband, we were married in July 2007. JourneyDog is our Shitzu cross miniature poodle (who is called The JourneyDog that is Woolly) who we got as a puppy in July 2008. July 2009 was when we had our last cancelled IVF cycle and then we decided that we would pursue donor eggs in Thailand.

2. I have just booked our flights to Thailand, we leave on 10 December and return on 24 December. We will be having one fresh donor egg cycle while we are in Thailand. We are going to stay at the same hotel in Bangkok that we stayed in for 4 days on our honeymoon.

3. This blog came about when some of the people closest to me told me that ‘I should get over it and stop letting it run my life’ and that I was ‘becoming bitter and twisted’. At the time, I felt like I didn’t have anywhere to turn to vent my feelings (apart from my bestie and honestly, I didn’t want to load the poor girl up with anymore venting, she has been fabulous!!). It has been invaluable for me to explore my feelings and I have found it an extremely cathartic experience. Also a very supporting one – I have felt a great warm hug from the blogosphere.

4. JourneyMan and I originally started IVF because he had had a vasectomy a couple of years before he met me. On the IVF journey though, we have found that I have one kidney, a unicornuate uterus and I am a low responder to the drugs. I now have an entourage of doctors that I consult with – GP, Fertility Specialist in Melbourne, Fertility Specialist in Bangkok, Haematologist, Bariatric Surgeon and Bariatric fill doctor (another story).

5. JourneyMan would like to me to mention that I am incapable of remembering band or song names, though I usually know every lyric of the song. I also have an amazing memory for spoken conversations but am crap visually so never notice what anyone is wearing or if they look different in any way. I would like to mention that JourneyMan knows ridiculous amounts of trivia, so much so that they banned the afternoon quiz at his work because he always won but cannot argue his way out of a paper bag.

6. Mostly I am a glass if half full type of person, though you wouldn’t guess that from reading my blog (lots of venting / whinging going on) but I do like to prepare myself for any eventuality. I always like to have a contingency plan for anything that I am doing and although we haven’t come up with the next step for our journey – we have options: 1. Import remaining embryos into Australia and do FET’s or 2. Surrogacy. We will decide closer to the time what we will do next.

7. I am a recovering alcoholic. I had stopped drinking 4 years before I met JourneyMan so he never saw me when I was under the influence – thank goodness. My life has changed exponentially since that time and I am proud of the changes that I have made in my llife.

8. I have travelled extensively in my life and it is one of my life goals to see the seven natural wonders of the world. I have seen four – Great Barrier Reef, the Grand Canyon, Mount Everest and Victoria Falls. JourneyMan has only been outside of Australia twice – to Thailand both times and on his first trip (with his mates) he confessed that he didn’t eat Thai food at all. On the honeymoon, he remember a Thai guy from our hotel in Koh Samui who he played soccer with on his previous trip (4 years prior!) – he has an excellent memory for faces.

9. I love reading and my favourites books are still The Lord of the Rings (yes, a bit geeky I know) and To Kill A Mockingbird but I love anything – thrillers, chic lit, biographies – I am not a snob, I will read anything. JourneyMan’s favourite author is Lee Child – I am sure that he thinks that he is Jack Reacher (main character of Lee Child novels) but he doesn’t have any military history or any of the other features of Reacher. His other favourite authors are Matthew Riley and John Grisham.

10. Our relationship is strong, we have a great bond that is mostly based in laughter – we are pretty goofy and we absolutely delight in making each other laugh.

Well that is it – will be back in the next couple of days to talk about the break between IVF #4 and #5.



Sunday, September 20, 2009

A Baby Shower Tale

I still have a lot of trouble with baby showers and such like, I had one to go to today. I tried very hard to contribute to the conversation but what do I know about morning sickness, scans, cravings and anything like that – absolutely freaking nothing – I have no idea. I feel bad because they are my friends but I find it so difficult to be in the same room as them. People close to me have said that I am becoming bitter and twisted and that I just need to get over it – honestly, if I knew how to get back the person that I was before I started walking in the forest of IF, I would. I am not comfortable in any big groups – I never was the life of the party but before at least I was able to connect and relate to people, even sometimes tell a story or two. Now, most of the time, I feel like I am a step behind myself being the puppeteer. Watching, making the right facial expressions, small talk, hand gestures but not connecting. I seem to have lost the way to socialise in a group, it has completely deserted me – one on one, I am not too bad, I still can connect with people but in a group I feel like a ghost haunting the life that I used to have and the people that I used to know.

I have looked into myself about this many times before to see why I find it so hard, after all – they are my friends and I am happy that their lives are working out well. Sometimes I think it’s because I am feeling sorry for myself – that is hard to admit because I would really rather not be a ‘poor me’ person. Sometimes, I think it is because I am miserably bitter and twisted and quite frankly, if I had a choice I would like spend some time away from myself which is why I try and spare others of my black presence. Sometimes I think it is because I am worried that I will say something really mean to someone if they say something to me about having children and I really don’t want to be mean. Sometimes I think that it’s because I don’t want to get upset and ruin the day for whoever’s day it actually is. Sometimes I think that I am being childish not being able to get over this and be myself again. Most of the time I think that it’s probably all of those things. I wonder if there will be a time that I can handle these situations better.

I left feeling that I still had indentations from the fake smile that was on my face all afternoon. I left feeling those horrible feelings of jealousy, envy and guilt for being such a terrible friend. Don’t get me wrong, I know that I am lucky. I have the wonderful JourneyMan and JourneyDog. I have had a lot of experiences in my life that have made me (mostly) able to cope with the ups and downs. I have had a lot of pain as well as joy. I am lucky.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Things are going well PLUS more of IVF past...

Gosh, I feel like all I have been doing of late is posting mega whinges when mostly I AM EXCITED!! I am really SO excited about going to Thailand and now it is really becoming a reality. I have a whole spreadsheet going, I have list upon list of all the things that need to be done between now and then. We have 12 weeks before we go to Thailand. I still haven’t booked the flights, I am going to do that tomorrow, though I have booked in to see the Melbourne fertility specialist and called for my blood test results. I called the clinic about the blood tests and I thought that the receptionist was just going to give me a message from the doctor but she just took my mobile number to call back – I hope that I am not being paranoid but I am hoping that it’s not bad news – surely not!!

Anyway, poor old JourneyMan is still sick and coughing, coughing, coughing but is now gradually getting better, thank goodness. I thought it was about time that I got back to the progressive story of our journey through IF. The last time I posted about this was about our third IVF cycle in which we had one egg retrieved and the cycle ended in a negative. I had trouble remembering that cycle moreso than any other cycle but I do know that we needed to have a break. The reasons were because I had seen an endocrinologist who had started me on DHEA (I didn’t tell my fertility specialist because he was against it) and I decided to do acupuncture to see if either of those things would help. We had three months between the third and fourth cycles and it was a pretty tough time. I had put on significant amounts of weight through all of the cycles, so my body was a complete mess.

I remember during this time I was doing a very restrictive dietary plan (no sugar, no wheat, no dairy, and regimented times and food types each day) as well as exercise plan in order to lose weight. I was on a walk with my Mum and I remember breaking down crying, just sobbing while I was walking - I felt like I couldn’t stop. My poor Mum didn’t know what to do to comfort me. I was crying and angry at the same time, very ‘poor me’. Most of the time I was swinging between this restrictive diet, breaking out and having undesirable foods and then feeling horrible about myself. I had broached the subject of adoption with JourneyMan and he wasn’t overly receptive to the idea and then the friend (who was married the month after JourneyMan and I) got pregnant and it was during this time that I felt the most beaten down. However, I am not a person that lets myself be beaten. We would have another cycle, it would be positive and I would be the one that was doing the beating, I was not going to give up on my dream that easily.

In the appointment with my fertility specialist prior to the fourth cycle, he had said to me that the only thing that would really make a difference to my outcome was to lose weight and he asked if I had thought about Lap Band surgery. At the time I was offended and horrified. I should have known though because my BMI was edging to the morbidly obese category and there was no sign of it stopping. In the month before the fourth cycle, I decided that if I was not pregnant, I would have the Lap Band surgery. My friend and I had researched it and attended some information sessions and I felt like I needed to lose weight so that I could at least feel I had done everything to have a baby so that I could move on to adoption if that was where we were going next.

It was during this time also that I had a melt down about my job and resigned. I ended up contracting back to them for 2-3 days a week continuing on with the big project that I was managing. I hoped this would reduce my stress level significantly. The other significant event of this time was that Journey Man and I went on a holiday to the beach and decided that when we got back we could get a dog and that is how the JourneyDog that is Woolly entered our lives. I am grateful for my two boys every day (Journey Man and Journey Dog), they have been my saviours! Journey Dog has a knack of knowing when I am upset and he comes and sits on my lap to comfort me – he has been an amazing edition to our lives.

The cycle was an antagonist cycle and had an extra injection from day 7 of the cycle to stop ovulation. This was a drug that was not covered by insurance or medicare and cost $80 a go so it ended up getting expensive. I started the cycle without hope – I just couldn’t get myself to hope for the positive result that I wanted so badly. I dreaded the first scan which had been the scene of so many disappointments in the past – happily though, I walked out knowing that there were 7 follies with 5 of reasonable size. This was a massively new record for me and the hope came roaring back. I felt like I would definitely have some eggs at pick up and hopefully some decent embryos. The hope took a bit of a dip after the fertilisation results came through – 2 only fertilised and a day 2 transfer was imminent. We had both embryos transferred and headed into the two week wait for the very second time. I was pretty buoyant though analysing every twinge and twitch in hopes of the positive result.

It was at this time that JourneyMan and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary (in fact it was the day that we went into hospital for the egg pick up and needle biopsy) and the following weekend we went up to the mountains to go tobogganing in the snow – JourneyMan had never seen snow in his life before. It was a lovely long weekend and after an anniversary dinner things looked even more promising when I felt so dizzy I thought I was going to faint getting out of the car – I thought I must be pregnant. The excruciating two week wait continued and the next Friday we were going out for dinner to celebrate my birthday and my Mum’s birthday which is the day after mine (my Mum’s mum’s birthday was also on the same day as my mum and if not for me coming early, there would have been 3 generations on the one day). It was on that night that AF decided to show her shitful face. I didn’t want to go out for dinner, I just didn’t want to see anyone but we ended up going. It was the night of the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics and after dinner we went around to my brother’s place to watch it. I was in a huge amount of pain from AF and my heart was hurting as well. It was all over once again.

This trip to IVF cycle 4 was not great fun (though I am finding doing this very cathartic), this was really the time that I started to realise that it just didn’t seem that my eggs were going to cut the mustard. Each time I have travelled back into the past though, I feel like I am letting go of some baggage that I have been carrying around and I am a bit lighter.

I want to thank Chelle, Jill, Andie, Summer, The Farmer’s Wife and all of you wonderful women who continue to take the time to read and comment – you are all so special. Chelle, I haven’t forgotten your comment asking why we chose to go to Thailand for the donor – I will most definitely answer this very soon as that is the next part of the story!

I just want to reiterate that I AM VERY excited about Thailand – very excited, my poor friends and family, I don’t want to talk about anything else!!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

An update....(can't think of snappy title)

Okay, I’m back to myself again now. We have decided on our trip details and we are leaving to go to Thailand on 10 December and returning on 24 December. We will stay in Bangkok for 8 nights and then go by train to a coastal town called Hua Hin for some rest and relaxation. You will be happy to know that I have started a spreadsheet – whoo hoo, I’m back!! So much to organise. I am going to book the flights tomorrow, I have already researched the best ones as well as the hotels we will be staying at. You will be pleased to know that I have counted the days until we leave (87) and to the pregnancy test (104) so all is right with the world again. Here is the timeline of main events:

29 October – Start taking birth control pill
20 November – Last birth control pill
24 November – AF due
26 November – Start Progynova 3 times daily10 December – Start Clexane, fly to Bangkok
12 December – Thai doctor appointment
13 December – Donor egg collection / sperm retrieval
18 December – Embryo transfer / train to Hua Hin
23 December – Fly to Melbourne
28 December – Pregnancy test, queue celebration!

It is nice to have it all worked out nicely – there are plenty of things that I need to get done this week, so I am going to write a list:

· Book flights to Thailand
· JourneyMan find passport (grrf, he still hasn’t found it)
· Book in to see Melbourne Fertility Specialist to get prescriptions for Progynova, Crinone
· Call for blood test results (did I tell you that I had about 7 vials of blood drawn for tests last week?!?!?)
· Book in at Post Office for Passport renewal

On a personal note, it has been a roller coaster of a weekend. JourneyMan has been sick, he has had a cold and has been coughing so much he can hardly breathe, the poor thing. He has been banned from going to work tomorrow so that he can rest and get better.

Last night I went to the football (Note: Following Australian rules football is like a religion in Melbourne, I follow a team hated by anyone else who doesn’t follow them – or ‘barrack’ for them – as we say) – it was a crazy close match but we were jubilant to have won to the Preliminary final next week. The sad part is that my Dad has hydrocephalus – ‘water on the brain’. He has been deteriorating over the past years and it has been getting harder and harder to deal with. I have always been a Daddy’s girl and since I was very young, I went to the footy with him every week, unfortunately, he now is having great difficulty in going because he cannot walk any distances. The worst part about it is that he seems to be in denial over the condition and is becoming more and more argumentative and aggressive with everyone around him. I am finding him quite hard to relate to because he is very much stuck in a victim, blaming everyone mood (a small example of this was when I asked him if he had gotten a present or even a card for my Mum for her birthday, he said ‘you were supposed to ring me and tell me what to get’). Anyway, he didn’t come to the footy last night mainly because he was supposed to be in the hospital having a knee reconstruction last Monday but it was cancelled because his temperature had gone up a couple of degrees so we didn’t get him a ticket. Anyway, to cut a very, very long story short – I realised tonight that he is now almost unrecognisable as my Dad anymore which is upsetting beyond belief. I knew it was happening, it has just been happening so gradually over time that it has snuck up on me.

So, that is what I am contemplating at the moment, the Dad that I miss, I can’t remember even the last time that I caught a glimpse of the man that I grew up with. I miss him.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Great news but a malaise has descended....

I have news. It is excellent, fantastic news. We have received the timeline from the Thai doctor, we know the dates of our cycle (ET 18 December), we are all approved and ready to go. This is brilliant and I am, of course, very excited by the prospect. Or so you would think. I have had a very strange week. I have been absolutely exhausted all week, I haven’t even been running but the most strange of all, I haven’t written any lists, I haven’t created a spreadsheet, I haven’t counted how many days it is until the ET – I have barely done anything. I am flummoxed at my reaction.

I have a couple of thoughts about the reasons why and forgive me, I think that this is going to be a long post. The first thought that I had was a conversation that I had with JourneyMan the other day. I had already started to think about what the contingency plan is (surrogacy) and I think I am out and out just plain scared. Not of going to Thailand, not of having the cycle – I am scared to fail again. I am scared that we will spend all of this money and will not get a positive result, not realise our dreams. Oh dear, how can I be so negative and we haven’t even started yet?

Well, to understand this, I need to tell you something else about my past. I am a recovering alcoholic. I haven’t had anything to drink for more than 7 years. Journey Man has never known me to have a drink and thankfully, he doesn’t really drink much at all which makes my life a lot easier I can tell you. Many times I have wondered if my inability to have a baby is related to the serious wrong doing of my earlier drinking years. The logical side of me says ‘no’ but the side of me that believes in karma cannot help but think I deserve the hurt that I have experienced on this journey.

I was watching the show, Intervention, on cable TV today as I like to make sure that I keep it fresh in my mind what would happen if I gave in to a craving and had a drink. Anyway, the woman who was on there after she had been in rehab for 65 days, said ‘I have realised that I have to let go of the past, it was horrible and I have to forgive myself’. Well, that was enough for me to start bawling. I think that the problem is that I have never forgiven myself for the sins of my past. Thinking about it since seeing it on the tele today I am finding it difficult to forgive myself, I guess I see the alcoholism as a real weakness and I don’t think I really like having such a weakness. I really and truly thought that I was well over all of these issues so I feel a bit perturbed that it has come up again for me.

Getting back to my less than enthusiastic reaction to the wonderful news that our cycle is all approved. There is another reason that I always go to the negative situation and plan the contingency and that is because it is one of the ways in which I stay sober. I know that sounds strange but a lot of the ways that I stayed sober was to look at every situation and kind of prepare myself for anything that happens so that I can prepare myself not to drink. It sounds crazy but it has worked for me quite well.

So, I am hoping that my enthusiasm and belief will come back to me soon cos at the moment I am tired and lethargic – I am amidst a malaise. I really need it to because we have got a lot to organise, flights, accommodation, gosh there are spreadsheets to make and checklists to write!!
I am sure I will be back to myself soon - sorry for the maudlin post.....

Sunday, September 6, 2009

About JourneyMan by JourneyGirl...

Life is interesting. I was discussing our situation with my auntie the other night, she is an amazing woman, she’s had a tough life but throughout has been positive and happy which I admire greatly. She has been like a second mum to me and I realised long ago that I am so, so lucky to have so many wonderful, supportive people in my life – I have really lucked in, I am thankful every day for such an amazing support network. Anyway, she reminded me about a time when JourneyMan and I were only around 6 months into our relationship. I knew that I loved him lots and at this time he made a statement (after my asking him for the hundredth time why he had the vasectomy at such a young age – poor thing, I honestly have asked him that question so many times it is just ridiculous) – that he was not fussed whether he would have children or not. This sent me in to a bit of a spin because I had always wanted kids. So at this time, I withdrew from the relationship to make the decision of whether I wanted a relationship in which I would definitely have children, in essence leaving JourneyMan to pursue someone who wanted the same things I did.

After a lot of careful consideration, I realised that my relationship with JourneyMan was more important to me. Basically, I decided that I would rather have the relationship with JourneyMan and the ‘maybe’ of children rather than someone else and the certainty of children. I have never wavered in that decision. Not in any doctor’s appointment where I have received bad news, not after any cancelled or unsuccessful cycle and not during any waiting times when it seemed that the possibility of children drew further and further away. I chose him and thankfully, it is one of the smartest things that I have done in my life. This is because I know that if it happens that after all of the cycles and we have exhausted all avenues that we could pursue for our family, we will have each other (and Journey Dog) and that is just fine. We have fun together, he makes me laugh and isn’t that one of the most important things in life? I am all about contingency plans and if it doesn’t work out for us to have a family, there is so much that we can do in life, travel, make a difference in people’s lives through business and charity and through it all I hope we will always retain what we started off with, our love for each other.

Ironically enough, when we started to pursue IVF it was because of Journey Man’s vasectomy. However, now we know that I am a poor responder with dodgy eggs and a medical experiment for a uterus. So, in essence we were extremely lucky that JourneyMan had had the vasectomy otherwise we would have wasted a year of trying before finding out that we needed to try other methods. My auntie said to me that I was lucky that Journey Man had had the vasectomy because it helped him to be so comforting on the crazy roller coaster of IVF. Whilst I agree, this doesn’t really give Journey Man enough credit. He is has an innate ability to provide comfort and thankfully is the cockeyed optimist of our partnership - there are not many like him out there that's for sure!!

Sometimes the whole craziness of the situation makes me wallow in ‘it’s not fair’ though I don’t like to indulge this too often – I would much rather see how lucky I am and hope that one day I will be able to shower my love on a child of my own. I am the determined part of this couple so I am sure that it will happen!!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

We have cleared the next hurdle people, let the planning begin

So, the haematologist appointment went very well indeed. He is one of the top guys in our city and get this – my appointment was at 3pm and I went into his office at 3 o’clock on the dot – how about that!?!? I am impressed, I tell you. Over the past 2 years, I have sat in specialist office waiting rooms for up to an hour and a half so to waltz in on time – now this is a special specialist!! He was also very considered and nice, I really liked him (I had only seen the registrars at a public hospital previously so this was much better!).

The news is this – he is fine with me doing the donor egg cycle in Thailand, he is fine with me taking the birth control pill (gosh it has been 8 years since I have had that – those were the days when I was worried about getting pregnant!!), the progynova and the crinone. He is most worried about the travel to Thailand since that was when I had the blood clot before as well as during the pregnancy. So, to mitigate the risk of travel and pregnancy I will be having injections of Clexane daily from the day of travel and right through the pregnancy if I happen to get a positive!!

I have had this Clexane before, indeed I even had to have it on our wedding day because we were going to Thailand the next day. The injections themselves don’t particularly hurt but It is pretty stingy for about 10mins afterwards. The IVF injections seemed very tame in comparison to these ones that I had when travelling – I am hoping that my mind is playing tricks on me and that after the 5 cycles of IVF these won’t be so bad!! The previous times when I had these Clexane injections – I had them for 3 days (the day before the flight, the day of and the day after) on the way there and then 3 days on the way back. The thought of having these daily injections for 9 months is quite daunting – oh well, I am sure that it will be worth it!!

I have emailed this news to the Thai doctor and was hoping for a quick response – seriously, he normally comes back to any of my questions within around half an hour however I got an email from his assistant saying that he is away in China until 7 September so I am back in the waiting zone to hear what the timetable is and what the next steps are **sigh*. We are very happy though, this was a big worry for JourneyMan and I, we were very concerned about the blood clotting so now we can really start planning everything in earnest!!

Great news, people and thanks to Summer, Chelle and Jill for your good wishes, I really appreciate it!! JourneyMan and I are really excited – it is only around 13 weeks away, so exciting!!

Chat soon.

Journey Girl

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Twas the night before the haematologist..........

Just a quick note. Tomorrow is the day – hurrah, the day I go to see the haematologist – yay!! I am really hoping that all goes well and he can give clearance to the donor eggs in Thailand plan. So, how am I feeling? Nervous, excited, dreading what will happen, hoping for a good result – gosh, will I ever get off this roller coaster?

Oh and the other thing that happened on Sunday night was that AF finally made her appearance on CD 50 – holy hell, I believe that is a new record for me. I am usually extremely regular, 28 days on the button but the two cancelled cycles are the times that the days have blown out. Worse if the fact that the cramps have been full on for 3 days and (TMI) so freaking heavy – I mean, come on, give me a break here okay!!

So, when I contacted the Thai doctor to let him know, he informed me that they are moving the clinic in mid-November so the first opportunity for a cycle would be early December. This actually works out a lot better as I am working on a huge project and I didn’t know how I was going to go timing everything – it was going to be difficult so this works out well. That is, of course, all going well with the haematologist.

Well, I am going to go now – I am off to have some pain tablets for the cramps and an early night, I am really tired at the moment.