Friday, 2 December 2011

When...?

How many times can I write reasonable, seemingly balanced blog posts when inside I am screaming about how unfair things seem to be? 


<Here is the one reasonable element in this post. I know that some bloggers in the IF sphere are having a genuine shit time - losses and bed rest and etc. In contrast I am feeling sorry for myself. On my own blog. If you don't like it, don't read it.>


Good: I have a good job I mostly enjoy. My husband and I are happy, for the most part.


Not so good: I'm not actually in the career I want to be in, but changing isn't as easy as writing up my CV. And I can't have a baby.


Many other people can have babies, including most of the people on my current blog roll. Of people who can't have babies. Like me.




Fertily challenged?


Well, the great news is, if you're going through a cycle right now, and you're on my blog list... congratulations, you will almost certainly get pregnant this time around. Never mind that you've been through IVF and it failed, you'll just get pregnant the old fashioned way. Yay! Good for you! Also, if you're really lucky, you'll be having twins. Woohoo!




Bitter? You f*cking bet. Want to hear some more?


It's been a bad week for 'announcements' In fact, one guy I know posted about his wife's pregnancy in three languages in his FB update. In case you missed it in English, it is in Spanish. And Korean for good measure.


Here's my Spanish: Estoy embarazado, pero estoy sangrado. Tengo miedo. <If you don't speak Spanish, google translate works just fine>


Sometimes I think things that I hate. I think them before I can stop myself. Jealousy sucks; thank goodness I'm not Catholic. Because of the guilt. But sometimes I pray. I am selfish and I pray not for other people, but for myself. And yet I cannot promise anything to a God I only partly believe in. I can't promise 'I will never ask for anything else' because what if my child, or my husband, or my parents are ill in the future? (Or myself for that matter.) I would ask again.


Along with prayer is the power of The S.ecret. If you focus on one thing enough it will come to you. Ask and it shall be given unto you. And etc. I ask for a baby. I think 'baby baby baby.' Then I get a twinge in my scar site (as often happens through my cycle) and I think 'ectopic.' According to the power of The S.ecret, the universe doesn't recognise the concept of negatives: 'I don't want an ectopic,' is not recognised as such. It will only hear 'ectopic' and bring me one.


I saw a colleague rubbing her bump today and I wanted to scream. Instead I put on a happy face and went and taught other people's children.


When do I get to break down and scream and cry for more than an hour? After all of my BFNs this year I have pulled it together and gone to work, even though I know that my boss would understand if I called in sick. Why won't I let myself wallow? Because I know it could always be worse?


You know what? F*ck that. I've lost 6 potential children. 5 embryos and 1 poor thing who settled in in the wrong place. I didn't know if any of them were boys or girls or what kind of person they might have become. When I let myself get invested I get my heart broken.


I still blame myself. I blame myself for being a stupid idiotic twenty-four-year-old who never believed that anything like that could happen to her. And because of this I don't let myself feel bad. I force myself to accept the situation as punishment for being a stupid, drunk idiot who then continued to be a stupid fool who was too scared to go get checked up.


By the time you've finished reading this, you'll probably be pregnant.



Sunday, 27 November 2011

November Ends

November has chugged along. I have been in turns up and down. I have been fine with my infertility; I have been upset by pregnancy announcements and birth announcements which have been coming thick and fast through the month. I have been disturbed and irritated by the media. Especially this article yesterday that brought me close to tears at the thought of someone having one of those dolls and pretending it was real, and then knowing it wasn't in turns, and the pain it would cause. We're trying really hard not to treat the cat like a baby.


I have been sewing and knitting and things at work have been capital-C-crazy. I can't explain what has been going on, as we have been told not to discuss it openly until the situation is fully resolved in March next year. Let's just say it's inconvenient, irritating and no-one is looking forward to the next few months. And we're not being compensated for the situation either.


Christmas rushes on, bringing the dread of seeing family for the first time in nearly two years and having to field the 'when are you going to have kids' questions. I think my answer will be 'you tell me' as I'm pretty sure the universe has some bizarre plans for my husband and I where it comes to offspring.


  



Saturday, 12 November 2011

Saturday

It's Saturday morning, and I slept late (until ten). I don't really like to do this because on a Sunday I have to get up at seven for work, so I don't like to oversleep the day before. I also hate wasting my day off. I already 'wasted' yesterday with a mild hangover. In fact it was wasted by knitting part of a jumper, then realising that I wasn't going to have enough wool to finish it. I then unravelled it and started a different pattern.


I actually don't really have much to do today. I have plans this afternoon for a few hours. Otherwise my day is free. It's a nice day, still sunny despite it being November, and I wasn't attacked by marauding mosquitos in the night (despite it being November, they are crazy this year).


AF spotting started on Thursday, so I guess CD1 is right around the corner, as in later today. That will make my cycle a full 35-6 days this time. 


Off the back of this I've made the decision to definitely wait until January to start again. I don't want any more drugs right now. I want to give my body a break. All I took for the FET was some HRT drugs and progesterone, but still. The thought of the combination that would be going into my body for another fresh  cycle makes me feel tired already.


I have made the decision to probably not do overtime in January (which is a lucrative option) which I suspect is because I subconsciously want to get back on the horse again with treatments.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Long Day

Today is my long day at work, but I am determined not to collapse into bed as soon as I come in the door so I thought I may as well write a blog post.


It's CD32 and AF hasn't shown yet. I have not POAS, and I'm pretty sure writing these words will hasten CD1 on its way. Ever since my ectopic my cycle has been longer anyway, though it might have been longer before that as well, I just never really kept much track of it. I just always assumed it was 28 days.


I've been working, a lot, and trying not to think about infertility. Things are more or less fine, though I hate my schedule this term and have a couple of really long days.


I'm also trying to do Nanowrimo, but it's not going so well so far. I'm pretty far behind at the moment, though I still have time to catch up. 


We had the news at work today that our office is moving, though probably not very far and not until March, so we don't have to worry too much about it until after Christmas. We're all quite pleased about it though (as our office now is really cramped and old), and are hoping that we'll move to an area with better lunch options.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Addison has four eggs... they're called follicles, dummie!

Call yourself a fertility doctor.


If you watch Private Practice, you'll know what I'm talking about.


I've suspected for a while that the creator of Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice, and the now-cancelled Off the Map might have some fertility issues. Or someone in her team must, right? Or at the very least they are trying to raise awareness of the commonness of infertility. Lets examine the evidence:

  • Grey's Anatomy: Meredith has an early miscarriage from an accidental conception, then trouble conceiving again. She and Derek go through fertility treatments, which they have to give up because of side effects. Now trying to get their adopted baby back through the courts after having her taken away.
  • Private Practice: Addison, who first made moves to have a baby with donated sperm about six years ago only to be told she 'didn't have any eggs', is doing IVF. OK, actually she was told she had high FSH, but the show repeated used the line 'I don't have any eggs.'  It's a fairly well told storyline, except for the ridiculous weeping on day one of stimms.
  • Off the Map: Spanish Lady Doctor (I can't remember her name, give me a break, it's cancelled) had endometriosis, and openly declared that she couldn't have children.  
So, unless they received some audience research that infertile women in particular watch these programs and they're playing to their audience, I would suspect there is something else going on.

I'm not finding the Private Practice storyline too irritating- except when the doctor said she had four eggs while looking at an ultrasound of her ovary- I did actually shout 'it's called a follicle!' Overall though I feel  it's being done quite respectfully and without that tone of 'aren't infertile women hysterical and hilarious when they're doing treatments' that you get in some dramas.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Bullets!

Time to update, bullet style:
  • It's November, which means National Novel Writing Month. This is my 5th year, and hopefully my 4th success (I epically failed last year). Currently on target (on day 2 - big whoop). Best aid to writing ever btw - white noise generator. Apparently Jonathan Franzen uses one. My writerly friend turned me onto it. It's awesome, plus also seems to calm the cat down a bit.
  • Knitting and stuff continues at a rate of knots (no pun intended). I have two projects 'on needles' at the moment, which I want to finish before starting a new one.
  • I've started Korean language classes, after four years of living in the country - yes, it is embarrassing but I'm trying to put it right at least.
  • The countdown to Christmas begins (at work at least) as I start to plan the Christmas parties for our centre
  • No decisions made as yet about treatments.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

New Look

I've put a new template on my blog. I've had the old design for what seems like a long time, and decided it's time for a change.


For now I'm just having a clean, white look. I may get it professionally redesigned or I might just go with a blogger template.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Snap!

Lately, I have been in a reasonable mood most of the time (not counting my Saturday morning insomnia.) I am generally cheerful, I'm engaged with my work and doing some craft projects to pass the time as well. I just got a sewing machine last week and I've been downloading patterns to make some simple clothes. I'm also knitting a lot and trying to cook more.


Things are good generally, until something annoying happens. Then... *SNAP* I'm irritable and stroppy and really annoying to be around. It happened last week at work relating to our pension contributions, and it happened today about a timetable change I hadn't been consulted about. I snap, start ranting, and then can't seem to calm down.


Today I was really stroppy with my colleague who mentioned that she had known about the possibility of my timetable change. I said that it was so nice that other people were consulted about my timetable when I hadn't been... The colleague in question is in charge of the project/class I would be working on - of course she was consulted. But I was really stroppy and childish about it.


The problem is that once I calm down I know I am overreacting, but I can't seem to stop it happening. It's really frustrating because I know it's unprofessional and it makes me look unstable.


My problem was also with another colleague who is, not to put too fine a point on it, a b*tch at the moment. She really stressed me out yesterday, and then was really cattishly pleased today that I had been put on this high work load project. I know why she was pleased about it (because she has had to take over a different high work load class from me, as I was sick of it and had done a full term) but it was so catty and childish.


I'm still angry now. I'm really snappy with my husband because I keep thinking he's reading this post over my shoulder as I write it. I was snappy because he didn't take the recycling down at exactly the time he said he would, as if it makes any difference.


I am so sick of myself right now.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Stupid O'Clock

I am awake at stupid o'clock this morning - blame a 4am mosquito - and dwelling, somewhat gloomily, on our situation.


There have been quite a few positives this week, as I predicted there would be. I am happy for everyone who got their positive over the last week, but I am also depressed about my own inability to conceive.


I don't know that I can do IVF again. Does that make me weak? I just keep dwelling on the injections and the surgery and the stress of the two week wait and the devastation when it doesn't work.


And adoption right now is not an option for several reasons. Firstly, we don't live in our home country, and at the moment, given the recent changes to the visa laws for foreign students to the UK, we'd be unlikely to get full time, permanent jobs in our field. (Thanks for destroying an industry in the name of national security UK government - forget all the teachers, support staff and host families who are losing their jobs and income, in order to keep out people who are trying to learn the language and integrate into our culture. Really, well done.) Also, given the financial situation we would be unlikely to be able to buy a home in the UK for quite a while.


Therefore, we wouldn't be able to go through the rigmarole of the adoption process. I have half thought about looking into what the rules would be for trying to adopt internally while we are here in Korea, but we don't have residency (that's another long torturous process right there) and wouldn't be able to apply for it for another four years.


I hate the way my mind works at stupid o'clock.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Why Are We Doing This?

So FET one is well and truly over. AF has come and gone and I'm back into a natural cycle.


We decided before the FET that we would wait until the new year to try again but we have been discussing whether or not to. I know it seems strange but...


Before the ectopic we had been 'not avoiding' for two years. But we weren't really worried and we didn't go and see anyone because in all honesty we didn't have enough money to have a baby. Our work and lifestyle was a little unstable (though not in our current jobs) so even though it wasn't happening we didn't worry too much.


Then the ectopic happened and everything changed. Suddenly we were told that we couldn't have children, and it was the only thing I wanted. The interesting thing about it was that I was in the middle of the application for my current job, and if you had asked me before the ectopic what was the most important thing at the time, I would have said 'the job'.


Then, when I was told I couldn't have something, I wanted it desperately. Of course, being pregnant for a couple of weeks made me realise how much I wanted it as well.


So now we're nearly a year into various fertility treatment and I'm sick to death of it. I'm sick of the stress and the hope and the seemingly inevitable failure. In contrast at work I have a situation where I concentrate on something, I work hard, and I am 'successful' at it. I do know that this is a way of avoiding the pain of infertility and failure, but I really need some positivity at the moment. I can't keep moping around knowing that I seem to be the only one that it doesn't work for (after one fresh IVF cycle and one FET, yes, drama queen here.)


So for now, we're trying the old fashioned way. Personally I really want to actually get our sex life back, and I'm sure my husband will agree. We'll revisit treatments in the new year.



Monday, 10 October 2011

Yucktastic!

Read no further if you don't feel like being grossed out.


I stopped all meds on Tuesday after the negative Beta, including the Progynova which was holding off AF. I also stopped the crinone gel.


If you have ever used crinone gel, then you know a little about it's more negative side. The build up, which has to be removed *ahem* 'manually in the shower' as my box instructions recommend. I don't think the shower part is particularly important, but whatever.


AF spotting started on Friday, and with it my body started to naturally pass some of the crinone build up, which was by then mixed in with spotting blood. So incredibly gross.


The thing is that I thought I had been fairly dedicated this cycle about trying to get rid of build up during the 2WW. I thought I was doing a pretty good job. I was really surprised at the sheer amount of the stuff still appearing. Where was it coming from? Where had it been hiding?


I did warn you this was gross, remember.


Further grossness ensued when I realised that the shower drain was draining really slowly on Saturday. I attacked it with a wire hanger and... well, in addition to all the hair and soap stuck in there...


Sorry, perhaps I could have kept that one to myself.


I seem to have passed all the crinone, and am now having one of the heaviest periods I'm had in recent years (with the exception of the one after my ectopic). I was glad when AF showed, as at least the drugs I was on hadn't f-ed up my cycle too much (about 3 days longer, so that's not too bad).

Saturday, 8 October 2011

4dpBFN

I'm OK. I'm shocked actually about how OK I am. I had a cry Tuesday morning before heading in for my beta. Then I went to work and held it together because I had to.


I got mildly drunk after work on Thursday (bearing in mind Friday is my weekend) and ended up sobbing. But that might have been because I watched that Glee episode with Neil Patrick Harris and all the thwarted dreams. The final scene with the Les Miserable song had me pretty wrecked:


'I had a dream my life would be, so different from this hell I'm living'

Then I went to bed, and woke up with an acidic stomach and a headache. I had a fight with my husband over MTV and the washing up not being done. I stormed into the bedroom and read a few pages of Gone With the Wind. I calmed down, and life went on as normal.

So now we're taking a break until the new year and then who knows? I want to shop around and see if I can find a clinic that will do 5 day transfers.

I'm going back to the gym and hoping to lose weight. I have a new project at work. I have Christmas and lots of other things. I'm going to try not to think too much about fertility (or lack thereof) for a while. I fully suspect everyone will be pregnant by the time I come back in the new year!





Tuesday, 4 October 2011

FET 1 is Another BFN

FRER shows a BFN at 10dp3dt. That's 14dpo, CD30.  I'm going in later for the beta, but won't get the results until 4 o'clock this afternoon, so I'll update then.

**Update** Beta was 2.19, so a definite no, but at least I don't have to worry about an ectopic either!

Monday, 3 October 2011

One More Day 'til Beta

I decided against testing this morning. I was planning on it, but then yesterday I decided to wait til tomorrow. If the clinic only does the blood test 10dp3dt then using an HPT before that would just be crazy making if it was negative (see my previous post). I know myself and I would still be saying 'maybe it might be different in one more day' if there was any more time to wait before the Beta test.


So what do I think...?


Honestly, I'm veering on the side of it not working. This is a self preservation technique of course. I still have hope though, but I'm going to have to wait until tomorrow to find out. Reasons to hope: I have some mild symptoms, though they could easily be explained as the drugs I'm taking. AF has not yet shown herelf, even in spotting (again, drugs) If this were a normal cycle she would be appearing until this week, so it's not that much of a miracle.


One more day to go...

Friday, 30 September 2011

Idiot

Like a fool I tested with a FRER hpt last night when I got in from work. BFN at 6and a half dp3dt.


Then, like the desperate woman I am I stared at the little screen trying to see whether there was even a ghost of a line. I thought there might be at some angles, but I suspect it was my brain playing tricks on me. When I finally held it up to the light I couldn't see anything there.


Today I'm feeling conflicted. While I know it's very early to test, the FRER tests say they have a 78% accuracy rate four days before your period is due. And I just have that feeling as well, which I've had for the last couple of days, that this hasn't worked at all.


I'm so angry with myself because I knew I would feel this way if I tested that early and it was a BFN. I would be both upset that the cycle had failed, and still hoping because it was so early to test .


The only things that are stopping me from giving up right now are some recurring twinges I'm getting in the same place on my left side. Of course, even these can't fill me with joy as they are on the same side as my ectopic. So I've got paranoia  mixed in there as well.


Not a great start to my weekend. I'm going to try to forget about the whole thing and then test again on Monday if AF hasn't shown her face. Beta on Tuesday.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Worried Wednesday

My worries are myriad and often free floating, but I'm hoping writing them down will help assuage them a little. If not, then a problem shared is a problem halved (or at least reduced a little). I have shared my worries with my husband, but he just says 'I know,' as in 'I know you're worried.' It's true that there is very little that can be done to stop me worrying, but I just want to get them out there. In no particular order:

  • In my fresh cycle back in July I started spotting today, 5and a half dp3dt. It was horrible and I don't want it to happen again. I keep repeating to myself that I'm on completely different meds (except for the progesterone) and that I didn't trigger this time around, which my doctor agrees was a factor. Logic suggests, as I'm following my natural cycle, that the earliest AF would show herself would be next Tuesday (as I ovulated last Tuesday. I know this for sure as I had a u/s on Monday and hadn't ovulated, but I had at u/s on Wednesday.) However the 2WW is anything but logical and I've been on toilet roll check since Saturday.
  • I thought that the progynova would stop AF from coming early, but an internet search suggests that that isn't the case. If AF wants to show her horrible face, she will.
  • I don't have any symptoms at all. I have a little bit of cramping but that could so easily be from the medication as well.
  • Writing my last post made me think about how much I really want this FET to work. I'm glad I wrote it because it had been kicking round my head for a few days, but it's also made me think a lot about what success of this cycle would mean. It's not just two lines on a pee-stick, or a rising beta. It's the life of a human being: my potential child.
  • I'm going to test with a FRER on Saturday (or maybe Friday). I'll be 8-9dp3dt which I know other people have seen results on. The other reason is that if it's negative I can be upset on my day off, rather than on a work day.
  • I've listed my blog on both Cyclesista and ICLW this month, but I haven't been able to face exploring/following people's cycles. I did that on my fresh cycle and it seemed everyone else got pregnant and I didn't. If this cycle is going to fail, I don't need to have everyone else's success rubbed in my face. I even had one lovely woman, who was spotting at the same time as me and very sympathetic, end up with a BFP. I can't deal with it again.
  • If this doesn't work out we're not going again until the new year. It's too stressful to start again right away and I think I need to give my body a break.
  • With that in mind, I've promised myself that if this cycle doesn't work then I'm going to try to lose some weight and get in shape before the next cycle. I'd started going to the gym before this cycle and I was a little... conflicted... about stopping for the FET. I want a baby more than I want to lose weight, of course.
That's all for now, but I definitely feel better writing it down.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Dear Embryos...

Dear Embryos,


I have learned in the past that asking pleading for you to stick is not enough to make you decide to make my uterus your home. I realise that I never really sold life with me and your father well enough. So here goes.


If you choose to settle down and implant over the next few days, you will be making the best decision of your short lives so far. You will be settling down to nine comfortable months in a cozy space. Doesn't that sound good?


But that's not all. After your sojourn in my uterus is up (all good things must come to an end after all) the real fun will start. You'll get to be a baby. A cute, chubby baby with cute little clothes, some of which I promise to try to make myself. When you cry you'll get picked up and fed and changed and coddled.


Being a toddler will be super fun. You'll have so many things to play with, all bright and colourful. You'll also have you cat-bro Patxi to play with. You'll love him so much. He's white and likes to run around. I suspect he might be your first word! You guys will have a ball together. You'll get to try all kinds of different foods, and different games. Oh the fun we will have!


Next up, childhood. Books, art supplies, iPads, school, TV. Everyone wishes they could be a kid again, don't you want to stick around long enough to get there?


When you're a teenager, things might get rough between us. You'll want to do things that your Dad and I will disagree with. Maybe we'll fight. Maybe you'll do things in secret. Just know that we'll love you and you can always come to us, no matter what happens.


Then - the world. The choices you will have. You can do whatever you want with your life, and we'll try our hardest to get you there.


If that doesn't sound enough, your family are amazing. Your grandparents will love you so much - more than you could imagine. And you'll have uncles and aunts as well. You already have four cousins! Two of them aren't much older than you'll be.


This offer has a time window of the next few days. It's all up to you. I'm doing my best to make my uterus homely enough, so please consider living your life with ours.


Love Mum and Dad.



Saturday, 24 September 2011

The Transfer and the Sandwich

1dp3dt


Dearie me, I just re-read my post from yesterday and I don't think it could have been more incoherent! It reads like a drunk person wrote it (which I guess in a way I was with the valium). After a fairly bad night's sleep I feel much better and more able to construct a coherent paragraph.


As I said yesterday the transfer went well. I was much more relaxed (except during the part where my doc put the whatever through my cervix, that always hurts a little for me) and then went to sleep for an hour or so. As I was being wheeled out Dr K gave me a high-five for 'sticky embryos.' Seriously.


As I was leaving, as last time, I was given an egg sandwich and a small box of soy milk. I drank the soy milk as we were leaving the clinic.


Onto the infamous sandwich. Here it is:



I couldn't face it after the transfer, but I did have an egg in my burger when we went out to lunch, so I don't feel too bad about not eating it.

Why the sandwich and soy milk?
I posted a week or so ago about the fact that my clinic doesn't offer intralipids. However I looked it up and intralipids are basically a mix of soy oil and egg yolks. It might be a coincidence that my clinic gives an egg sandwich and soy milk after transfer, but I doubt it. As it couldn't hurt anything I started drinking soy milk instead of cow's milk last week, and I will continue to until my test date.

I should add that my clinic does not say 'you must eat this sandwich and drink this soy milk to aid implantation' and that the whole 'soy milk' theory is one I have invented myself.

It can't hurt.



Friday, 23 September 2011

PUPO!

The FET transfer went well this morning. Of the three frosties we had, two survived the thaw. I have no idea what they are supposed to look like, but one looked round and other other sort of round but a bit blobby. Only an embryologist knows I guess.


In contrast to my last transfer, there were only two of us there, and my doc wasn't doing any retrievals either. This mean I went in around 8.20, and the transfer was done by 8.35! I then slept there for about an hour, lay around for an hour, and was allowed to go at 10.20. I also felt much more relaxed and less anxious than last time. I asked the woman at the desk how many embryos we had before going in, which relaxed me a lot.


I feel a bit spacey now (valium again) so I'm lying in bed. I don't think I need to sleep, but I'm going to just take it easy. We then went for a ten minute walk to the bus stop, and got the bus home. My husband has gone to the gym, then we're going out to lunch.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

September ICLW

Welcome to everyone from ICLW.

I am doing my frozen transfer tomorrow so I am trying to distract myself from all things fertility related. I am reassuring myself that I have been given aspirin to increase blood flow, progesterone gel to support a pregnancy, and progynova to hopefully correct a luteal phase problem I have had in previous cycles (when triggered, which I'm not being this time).

Update tomorrow after transfer (fingers crossed)

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Ready, set, FET!

We have a date - Friday 23rd, in 2 days. Lining at 0.7cm today, so hopefully it will get a bit thicker by Friday.




I also got a nice big pack of drugs as well, which I was glad to get. Astrix - which is basically aspirin, an antibiotic, Crinone gel again (beats an injection) and Progynova to keep my lining thick.


We're going ahead with thawing all three embryos - lets just hope at least one (though hopefully two) will survive the thaw. I'll probably update next after the transfer (assuming it goes ahead).

Monday, 19 September 2011

FET 2nd Scan

Nothing exciting happening. I was a bit disappointed not to set a date for the transfer today but I have to go back in on Wednesday. I guess this is the price I pay for having a relatively drug free cycle - we just have to keep on checking. I was in and out of the clinic in about 10 minutes.


I have a follicle on one side (1.5cm) and lining at 0.6-7mm. Hopefully by Wednesday we can set the date.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Feeling Worse

I've been having the usual worries over the last couple of days. Those worries that even though I know IVF success is cumulative and it will probably be successful eventually, that I will be one of those women for whom it doesn't work. Even after 2 or 3 or 4 cycles.


I know everyone has that worry as well, but sometimes it's difficult to shake the feeling.


I then read this article in the newspaper. It's sensitively done, but it freaked me out. I think it is important to point out that for some people IVF doesn't work. There seems to be a belief in modern culture that IVF is the key to all infertility problems, when in fact the success rates, no matter what an individual clinic might say, are around the 30-35% percent point per fresh cycle for someone in my age range. It's not like on TV.


Anyway, I read the article, and felt even worse.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Parenthood (TV show)

I really like the show Parenthood. I don't expect it's a trendy thing to like, but I started watching it when I found out Lauren Graham was in it (huge Gilmore Girls fan) and got hooked. Each episode never seems to be long enough for me.


Anyway, the reason I'm blogging about it is because I'm impressed with the way in which they have handled an infertility story line so far. In case you don't watch it: one of the four adult siblings, Julia, is suffering secondary infertility (due to uterine scarring I believe, but I can't quite remember - it was last season). Last season she discovered her diagnosis, then went through various reactions, including throwing herself into her older child and hoping that would make the pain go away. It didn't, and by the end of the season she and her husband (though, mostly her) had concluded that they wanted to try adoption.


Oh, also it was revealed at the end of last season that her sister-in-law, with two teenage kids already, was pregnant. Non-infertiles might see this as a plot contrivance, but as most infertiles I suspect will agree, the best way for other people to get pregnant is for you (still) not to be.


This season kicked off with the SIL being 6-7 months gone, and Julia and her husband not having had any response to adoption videos. She's getting desperate. Last night introduced the teenage, snarky, I'm-sad-to-say-Juno-rip off coffee cart girl who was - oh surprise! - pregnant. (I accept that it's a TV show and you have to have plot lines. It would be pretty boring, though realistic, if an infertility storyline stretch for years - I know I'm bored of my own, personal infertility storyline.)


After gushing over the coffee-girl's pregnancy (not sure I would have, but every one is different) being rebuffed and then discovering that coffee-girl isn't keeping the baby, we wander into some predictable territory. On to conversations with siblings and husband about 'buying' the baby.


At first I was a little uncomfortable with this language about 'buying' a baby, but then I mellowed to it. Not everyone hangs out on ALI blogs and is up to date with the correct terminology. The character was immediately pulled up on using the term 'buying' by her sister, and I expect that some people might refer to it as 'buying.' I was a bit shocked it was used a second time, but there you go.


I really hope that Parenthood doesn't go down some ridiculous road of having Julia actually attempt to 'buy' a baby. What's wrong with showing an actual adoption storyline with the stresses and worries that goes along with it?


Anyway, so far so good as far as I'm concerned (though people going through adoption may disagree).



Wednesday, 14 September 2011

FET 1: Scan 1

Went in for the first appointment for the FET. Had a quick scan. Lining at 0.5cm; no follicle to show oncoming ovulation yet. Back on Monday.


Talked to Dr K about the number of embryos. He said that because they don't know how well the embryos will survive, he recommends thawing all of them. I don't mind really, despite wanting to try just one embryo at a time. He said the maximum we could transfer would be three, which as I only have three makes no difference to me.


That's all for now. No drugs as yet.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Moving Forward

Today is September 11th and the ten year anniversary of the 911 terrorist attacks. I feel I can't write a blog post today without acknowledging that fact, even though the horrible events of that day didn't directly impact my life. At the time I was about 3 months out of university (my graduation ceremony was actually the next day) in my first proper job, and knew nothing about life. Oh, and of course thought I knew everything.


I've been reminded of my twenty-one year old self over the last week, not just because of the anniversary of 911, but because I have a student in one of my classes who is clearly in that early twenties 'I have found myself and I know everything about life' phase. It was quite amusing actually as all the other students in the class are hovering around the 30-35 mark (as am I), and clearly found his youthful know-it-all attitude both amusing and irritating in equal measure. Hopefully like me they took it as an opportunity to look back and cringe a little at their young selves.


At twenty-one I thought I knew everything. At twenty-five I thought I knew even more. Now I am at the ripe old age of thirty-one I believe quite firmly that I know very little about the world and life. If I met myself back then I know I would not like myself much.


So many things have changed in the last ten years:

  • I have changed careers and am in one that while it is not my dream job I am relatively good at it and I work for a well respected company. If I wanted I could travel to many different places in the world.
  • I am with a different man than I was ten years ago. When that relationship ended in 2004 I thought I would never get over it, and it took a while, but I did. I've now been very happily married for two and a bit years.
  • I left London in 2003 because I hated the place. It was too busy, too dirty, too big. I know live in a much bigger, more crowded city, and I love it. I realise now that I was the problem, not London.
  • Above all, I'm happy. Despite our fertility issues, I am happy. I can't say that I was in 2001.
I know some people may find it a little distasteful to be using the anniversary of terrorist attacks to talk about myself, but as I said, I don't feel I know enough about the world to comment intelligently on anything except for myself. And this is a blog, if you want an in depth analysis of world event, read The Economist website or something.

Today I am in a time-zone where I will be going to bed by the time the 911 memorials start, but my thoughts are still with everyone who lost friends and family in the attacks, and all the countless, nameless, faceless people who have died in the resulting wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

FET #1 CD4

The witch arrived on Monday, a few days earlier than expected but still at a respectable 28 days. I'm happy that I've apparently come back into a regular cycle after my f-ed up fresh cycle in June. I feel confident that most of the drugs will have left my system by now, and we're headed into a 'natural' cycle, though I suspect I might be on progesterone.


Yesterday I made my appointment to go in on CD10. I assume it will be for a follicle check and lining thickness, and to discuss the procedure. I have to talk to the doc about how our embryos are frozen, as that will affect how many we may transfer.


I'm leaning hard towards a single embryo transfer (eSET) if we can. I've been doing a lot of research and I'm pretty convinced that two embryos only marginally increases the chances of a viable pregnancy. It increases the chances of multiples, of course, but actual implantation rates are not much higher. As we only have 3 frozen embryos, it means that if we did two this time, we'd only have one left. We'd then have to head into a fresh cycle sooner. If we can do eSET, providing the embryos thaw OK, we could have 3 more cycles.


Of course, if the embryos were frozen together, then we will have no choice in this.


I realised last night how much my dh actually understands what's been going on. He's not a stupid man, but certain salient details don't always register. We were walking around the supermarket last night and he asked me about what he should do about making his swimmers better this time around... Um, well, as we already have embryos... Oh dear. I think he's still feeling burned about his swimmers being described as 'sluggish.' Personally I think it's more that they wanted to get as many embryos as quickly as possible and so did the ICSI. We'll see I guess if we have to do another fresh cycle.


On a slightly different note, my clinic doesn't offer interlipids, so I was wondering whether drinking soy milk might have a similar effect. After my fresh transfer they gave me a little box of soy milk to drink (along with a really nasty looking sandwich). I didn't realise it was soy milk, didn't make any connection to interlipids, and so didn't drink it. I have no idea whether it would make any difference, but soy milk is pretty healthy regardless and quite inexpensive (in fact it's cheaper than cow's milk here), so I'm going to introduce it into my diet.

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Hope and Fears

I'm still several weeks away from my FET transfer but I'm getting excited already. While the odds are middling I still feel that this really could be it. I hate writing those words down, as if I am jinxing something, but I also know, logically and rationally, that whether I hope or not, whether I write it down or not, the odds are pretty much the same.


Next month is Chuseok, which is often translated to Korean Thanksgiving, but is actually more like a harvest festival/family day. It's very early this year, Sept 12-13th, which is too early for my FET transfer, but during the night I woke up panicked that we would have to delay until October because of the holiday and I was unable to make the calculations in my head as to when it should be. I have put IF and treatments so far out of my head that I can't even calculate my cycle at the moment. I've been getting some mild cramping, which makes me panic that AF will come early and then the transfer will fall on the public holiday. But it all should be fine, my cycle is quite long naturally.


I've been on holiday this week and I'm working hard not to think about work. I have also thought about my priorities for the next few months.

  • Spend less time in the office when I can. I tend to go in way before I need to, so I'm going to try to be realistic about how long I really need to be there.
  • Do less overtime; my husband's new job pays a bit better, and he will have ample opportunity to do overtime himself (though he'll still be working less than his last job).
  • Eat more healthily.
  • Cook more, so we eat out less. Eating out I tend to choose less healthy choices and more often than not I will drink beer or wine (not during a 2WW of course)
  • Try to keep exercising. I still have three weeks until transfer. I'm not doing much but it's better than nothing. I need to speak to my doc about this when I see him in a few weeks but I expect that some light walking or cycling during the 2WW will be OK.
  • Try to get my cat healthier. He's chubby and needs to run around more.
Next post next week. Good luck everyone mid cycle!





Thursday, 25 August 2011

One Month to Go til FET!

More or less anyway.


Things have been ticking over pretty nicely. I've been working overtime which is making the time pass quickly. Last week I started going to the gym and I'm hoping to get in a little better shape before my FET in a months time. The trouble is working overtime I seem to always forget to take healthy snacks with me and end up eating unhealthy snacks such as donuts.


It has finally really stopped raining here and is really, really hot. I walked for nearly two hours across the city yesterday (there was no direct bus/subway and I didn't want to change) and bought some more bits and pieces for our flat. I really love this cheap Japanese store called Daiso which is all over town. It has lots of colourful ceramics, which are great because all the walls in my apartment are white.


We have one month to go before the FET. I'm getting cautiously excited.



Thursday, 18 August 2011

Various and Sundry

Updates from Seoul...

  • Been working like crazy the last week. This is officially a holiday week, but as I wasn't going away and I'm not in the middle of a cycle I took the opportunity to do some overtime. I'm teaching a lot and doing some testing as well, so I'm pretty tired right now.
  • I met up with a fellow blogger who recently moved to Seoul this afternoon for coffee. I was a little bit nervous - being IF bloggers, we obviously knew a lot about each other's quite personal business. It seemed to go well (I hope!) and it's always nice to put a face to a 'voice.'
  • I've had a bad Facebook week with lots of pregnancy announcements. Hidden a couple of people.
  • We finally had some nice weather today - the last few days it's been monsoon-style raining.
  • I'm hoping this weekend I will get around to putting up some pictures and photos about the place.
  • My husband and I had a nice game of scrabble on the balcony (we love scrabble).
That's all folks!

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

CD1 and I'm Happy

It's CD1. Yay! This puts my cycle length this time at 31 days, which is consistent with where it's been at naturally for the last year. With no new drugs in my system, and my body recovering from an IVF cycle, I've come in at a normal cycle length for me.

I knew we hadn't beaten the odds this month. I took a hpt on CD28, knowing that if I were, it would have shown up by then. I wasn't, so it didn't, so it was just a case of waiting for the witch to arrive.

By yesterday I was starting to worry a little that I was going to have a longer cycle than normal. My doctor considered this last cycle to still be part of the IVF, to see how my body recovers from the drug-controlled (or uncontrolled in my case) cycle. I was worrying about it stretching on for weeks and weeks.

Now I have to wait for one more whole cycle, before my FET next cycle. Hopefully my body will play ball and it will be around 30 days as well. While FET usually has a lower success rate than fresh (around 25% as far as I can see) it's still the best chance we've probably had so far. I know now that it was a mistake to dive head first into the IVF so quickly. My body was worn out from so much stimulation. I should have taken a break. I'm glad to be having one now.

 I'm pretty sure I will be updating weekly, as I have been doing so far.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Vases

So many things I've been blogging about recently have been related to weather. It's not that there is nothing going on, in fact I'm mega busy, just that we've been having such extremes of weather that affect our everyday lives so much, that it's often all that I can think about.

This week is no exception. It started off variable, we had some rain (though nothing compared to last week, and yesterday was about the hottest day I've experienced in a while. I also had a deathly hangover from a work event the night before. It was absolutely the day to go shopping for vases.

Oh yeah, we moved last weekend. We moved from the ground floor to the first of the same building (first to second following the AmE way of describing these things) so we traipsed up and down the stairs again and again in hot, humid weather. Luckily we didn't have too much furniture to move.

Anyway, on unpacking our stuff I noticed that nearly everything we own is functional. This is not surprising, as we move every year or so, often internationally, and so having decorative items is not always practical. However we've been here for a year, we're now here for sure for another two years (with dh's new job, the contract is for two years) possibly three. Also we make a decent living now (not massively rich, but 'comfortable') and my company has a shipping provision for moving if we decide to go to another country with them (again, not massive, but enough to take the pressure off a little).

The point of this is that yesterday I decided to go and buy some decorative items. My intention was to buy a small vase for a table on our balcony, and a colourful ceramic set of mini-drawers for the top of a book shelf in the living room which I've had my eye on in a shop nearby for a while.

About a half mile from my house is a street of 'antique' shops. They have a mix of antiques and basically just junk. So I went over there in the blistering heat (using the umbrella in my bag as a parasol - yes, it really is that hot) to find them all closed. I wasn't too annoyed, as it wasn't really that far to go, but I was disappointed.

There is a pottery shop on the way back to my house which I had never been in. It's in a basement (like a lot of shops here) and I've only ever walked past the stairs going down. It had a lot of traditional Korean ceramics, which are green and kind of bulbous, but alas, no small vase for the table. Then in the corner I spied a small number of tall, thin vases of different heights. None of which were right for my table, all of which I wanted!

I spent ages looking at them, and in the end bought a 'matched' pair which I had no idea where I was going to put in the apartment.


They are matched in that they are day and night. The day one has ducks at the bottom which represents happiness in marriage and fidelity, because a mandarin duck does not take another mate if it's mate dies. The fish on the night one represents wealth, the flowers, wisdom. They were a lot more than I had intended to spend, but they are hand painted, and I fell in love with them. I still have no idea where to put them.

I did manage to buy the decorative drawers, but ended up getting a much smaller set than I had originally thought, on account of spending so much on the vases.


Have a good week everyone. I'm not updating as frequently nor reading others blogs as much as I need a break from thinking about IF and treatments. I'm also really busy at work.


Thursday, 28 July 2011

Here Comes the Flood...

I realise I haven't updated for nearly a week. I've been super busy at work, and just haven't had the time. Also, I've felt really that I haven't had much to say.


We've had terrible weather here in Seoul. It is shocking. We've had 6 months of rain in 4 days apparently. There have been landslides and accidents and around 40 people have died. This is small, considering this is a city of 10 million people, and nothing compared to the deaths that occur yearly in other parts of the world during rainy season, but Seoul is a developed city, more technologically advanced and organised than London. If 40 people died because of flooding in London, people would be shocked. There was also a really sad incident about an hour away where a group of university students went to help clear up after flooding, and their cabin was buried in a landslide. Most of them died.


I managed to take these pictures from the bus on the way home this evening.




This is usually a park. The white triangles in the second picture are the roofs of shelters. It's crazy.

If you want to see more of the flooded river, have a look at this webcam. The bridge in it has a lower deck for buses, bikes and walkers. It's under 14 metres of water. 



These are screen captures of a webcam, so the quality is awful, but you can see how high the river is. The building is a floating conference centre that was built for the G20 last year (though they weren't finished in time, because of bad weather!)

It stopped raining for most of the afternoon today, but it's started again now and it's forecast for more over the weekend.

*Sigh*

Friday, 22 July 2011

Try, Try Again.

I had a slightly awkward conversation with husband the night before last. We're on a two month break in treatment before the FET in September, but I wasn't sure whether he wanted to 'try' for those two months. He does, or assumed that we would be, so I guess I'm on board as well.


Chances are slim, I know that, but it's still in the back of my head that it could work. I am now going to share far too much information, but it's important to understand the way I'm thinking and why I still have the tiniest smidgen of hope.


Between having my lap and dye, where I was told I couldn't conceive naturally, and the HSG a year later which showed my tubes are actually open, I was diagnosed and treated for chlamydia. This isn't a secret, and I have mentioned it before. I'm not really ashamed of it (much) as I know I wasn't (much of) a slut, just an idiot who didn't get regular check ups in her early twenties because 'it won't happen to me.' I don't know for sure when I got it, but as my husband wasn't an angel either before we got together, just another idiot who didn't get checked out, we have a non-self-blame agreement.


After I was diagnosed and treated, we still thought my tubes were closed, which is what we'd been told, and we didn't try anyway for about nine months. We used protection, because we were scared of another ectopic (despite what we'd been told) and I was in a new job and didn't want to risk any situation in which I might have to be off work.


Fast forward to March this year when I had my HSG and found out my tubes are actually open. Logic suggests to me that the active infection was causing my tubes to be blocked, and now it is gone my tubes are still scarred, and probably don't work properly, but are open.


I then had 1 month of trying naturally, 2 IUIs and one medicated cycle of timed intercourse. Then we moved on to IVF. Which means since treating the infection that was blocking my tubes until 2010, we have only tried to conceive using my fallopian tubes for four months. Sure, I had two eggs both times on the IUIs, and probably on the medicated cycle, but still...


Four months isn't that long to be trying, says the little voice in my head. There's still a chance, says the little voice in my head. I'm going to drive you crazy, says the little voice in my head.