Monday, 28 February 2011

Jealousy ramblings

I try not to compare my life to other people's. At least, not all the time. But it's really difficult when you're on this journey not to look at the people who have 'success' and think 'why not me.'

A lady in my office went on maternity leave last week. Which was fine. A colleague asked me if I could organise the collection, which I did, and then his wife went and bought the gift as they have a small child and she would know better than the rest of us what to get. All fine.

The lady in question already has a child who is five or six, so its not surprising that she is going for number two. She talked about her pregnancy a lot over the last seven weeks which was mostly OK, though I did have one or two weepy moments in the privacy of a toilet cubicle. It was nice actually because two of my friends in my office know about my situation, and would divert the conversation sometimes, which I really appreciated.

In addition to being pregnant with number two, this woman is also more successful than me professionally, in the sense that she has done the next level of qualification which you need in my organisation to move into management/get onto interesting projects etc etc. This is the qualification I might be able to get this year, but I also might have to postpone it a few years. It's very stressful and time consuming and I'm not sure I would want to do it at the same time as IVF.

All of which was still fine, but I was kind of telling myself that she was at least a few years older than me. But this morning I was on f.acebook (damn you fb!) and discovered that she is a mere 7 months older.

I'm sure you know how I feel now. I was so positive with the progress we've had this last week, and even looking forward to my test this week so that we can move forward one way or other. But now I feel terrible, and I'm annoyed with myself about it. Why do we do this to ourselves. Why does it matter how old she is? It's really frustrating for me to put myself in a position where I am comparing myself to anyone else. I hate it, it's counter-productive.

I'm going back to bed.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

It only takes one! (or) Why statistics can be misleading.

It only takes one. The phrase that we cling to, yet simultaneously hate because if it only takes one, then where on earth is my one? Sorry to people who are having trouble with male factor, but I actually have something to celebrate in all this so I'm going to blog about it. They'll be plenty on my dodgy tubes next week.

The urologist at the clinic keeps reminding my husband that 'while there have been advances, the chances of IVF working are only between 30-40%' I think even though my husband hasn't read any of the stuff I've sent in his direction, and probably only half listens when I talk, again, about IVF, he has retained that particular titbit. It's not so bad, it could be worse. Try, try again.

But looking at the semen analysis made my heart stop for a moment, especially when I looked at the morphology section. As you can see from this post things are considered normal by the clinic, but the percentages of weird things going on with his morphology terrified me. 52% of his sperm seem to have some weird morphology thing going on. I haven't googled anything yet so I don't know what's considered OK, but that's not the point of this post anyway.

The point of this post is that I was terrified. More than 50% of his sperm were weird. Oh no, we'll need ICSI, it'll be expensive I thought. But then I realized that even if we do need ICSI we have enough sperm to fertilise a few eggs. And then a surplus of millions. Because in this case it really does only take one. Or seven or eight.

I have updated the Costs so far... section also.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Corkscrews and hairpins and broken necks...oh my!

What a day. I'm typing this at 11.15 at night after working until 10, but I want to update now as I'm at work all day tomorrow and won't get a chance to do anything til Sunday at this point.

Nothing much about me happened today. I went for my Day 3 blood test, it was much more expensive than I expected (248,420 won!) and it turned out I did need to make an appointment to get it done, despite what I had been told on the phone on Wednesday. Luckily, they were able to slot me in and get it organized quite quickly.

However the big new is my husband's semen analysis: normal! We expected as such, but still it's a relief. We got a printout to try and compare with what Dr Google says. I was just reading through it now (rocking Friday night for us!) I'm not sure what information is usual to get on a Semen Analysis, but this one seems incredibly detailed. It starts quite usually:

Volume: 3.3ml
Motility: 62%
pH: 7.8

It then goes on to give information that I can't wait to google, including:

Broken Neck: 4%
Coiled tail 6%
Short tail: 2%
Hairpin tail: 2%

There's more, but I really need to go to bed.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

And so it begins...

CD1. Yay!

I called the International Clinic around lunchtime from the roof of my office building - its the best place for any kind of privacy. The nurses at the clinic speak excellent English.

I had thought, perhaps foolishly, that the clinic would have the information about what specific test the doctor wanted to schedule for me, and so would know when it should be scheduled and how long it would take. How wrong was I? After explaining that my original doctor, Dr K was at an international conference, and that I would be seeing 'his substitute, Dr H' she booked in my appointment and told me to come in and leave my patient card in the slot outside the office door.

This is the weirdest thing to me. Even though I have an appointment time, I don't check in with anyone in person when I get there. Instead I drop my card into a little box, and then the nurses take them out in turn and scan the barcodes into the computer system. As I move around the building for different tests, I drop my card in various slots and boxes and wait for them to come over and get me.

The card system is very sophisticated, but I find it really impersonal. Also, could I just turn up one day and just drop my card in because I fancied having a chat with the doctor? Of course, every procedure/treatment you have is charged to your card, so it would be a very expensive chat.

I asked how long it would take, assuming she knew what the doctor had recommended, and she said 'it depends on what Dr H recommends for your treatment.' Well, hadn't Dr K left a record of what treatment I needed? I hadn't bothered to memorise how he had referred to the HyCoSy, or equivalent, as I assumed he would have written it down.

Actually, she then reveals, they aren't allowed to access patient charts through the computer. That's very reassuring from a privacy perspective, but I had been working under the assumption that they would know what day I should schedule the test! I was pretty sure Dr K said it was a week after CD1, but that was 2 months ago! What if I remembered it wrong? What if I turn up and because the exact test hasn't be scheduled they won't do it and I have to wait another month?

I posed this last question more calmly 'So, if Dr H recommends any procedure can it be done the same day?' and the answer was yes.

So now I feel much calmer. The stressful thing is when the logistics of a situation work very differently than you are used to. In the UK, the specialist would recommend a test, you would then be booked for that specific test and you would receive an appointment time. Also, you would probably have to wait. Here, it's 'OK, you need this test, pop into the ultrasound room and have it done.' The only reason Dr K didn't do the HyCoSy two months ago was because I wasn't 'prepared' for it.

I also confirmed that I could just walk in on Friday morning and pay for my Day 3 blood tests. I just have to get out the dictionary to make sure I can confirm they do the right tests. Also, if my husband can get a few hours off work on Friday morning we can get his analysis results as well.

Progress finally.

ICWL Week

Hi if you're coming for ICWL! You can find out more about me in About Me or Timelines. I'm already behind this month so I'll keep this short so I can go and do my commenting!

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Sleepless in Seoul

I usually sleep quite well. I wake up if the cat decides to jump on me, but generally he's well behaved and doesn't do that. But last night I woke up at 1am and ended up lying there for two hours, doing everyone's least favourite thing: worrying.

The worry went through the usual: work, money and IVF. Work because we have an important couple of days this week which I am not ready for yet. Money because I am always worried about money.

IVF: I will finally be getting the Day 3 bloods done this month, and my doctor wants to do a HyCoSy as well, so he has his own data, rather than a letter in Spanish he doesn't understand. Also we have to collect my husband's analysis results. And there are still many things that we could be told are wrong or might delay treatment. I'm also worried about my cycle being a bit irregular now - what if he wants me to keep track of it for a few months and put things off further?

And so the cycle of worry went, from one topic to another, round and round for a couple of hours. So frustrating. I tried telling myself that worrying will not change any outcome to any tests and there is nothing I can do at this point, but surprisingly this made no difference.

So tired, and have to get into work early.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

CD29

Still waiting for the witch - when yesterday came without any sign of her I was ecstatic as it means that the tests I need can be done on my week off the week after next (bit of a shame to waste a vacation day on a painful test, but I don't have any other plans) but now I'm just getting annoyed with my body for still being messed up a year after the ectopic. Sigh.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

I blame the cat.

I've noticed this week I seem to be dreaming more, or at least remembering my dreams, and I think I have figured out why: The Cat.

I do love The Cat, but he has recently developed a habit of deciding that its time for us (well, only me actually) to get up. We let him sleep in the bedroom, because during the night he is quiet and sleeps nicely, and the alternative, shutting the door with him outside, leads him to scratch at the door and meow loudly for quite some time, basically until he is let back in. So the cat has decided it is time for me to wake up. He wakes me up by jumping on me heavily, which usually interrupts a dream and then I remember it, otherwise I don't think I would.

And have I been having some really specific fertility/baby related dreams over the last week. I posted about HCG test results and my apparent fear of multiples before I realised that constantly posting about my bizarre dreams was really weird. Just to keep you updated however as I progress towards CD1 next month (CD26 today) my dreams have continued in a fertility theme. On Monday night I actually dreamed I had a full on 6-month size bump, and my co-worker who is currently pushing 7 1/2 months gave birth. Last night I dreamed I was at the fertility docs, he told me I had old eggs and so he wanted to 'jumpstart' my system. He gave me light blue pills and dark blue pills, but I couldn't remember which ones to take for how long. Pregnant co-worker also in this dream as well.

Don't need to be a dream specialist to interpret these dreams.

F-ing FB

Just wanted to share this post over at Yolk as I think it echoes the frustration many of us feel at some of the people on FB.

Monday, 14 February 2011

No, no, no, no, no.

Five minutes ago I just voluntarily went to look at the Bug.aboo website. I did not stumble on it through a link. I actually typed the address in and went there of my own free will. The whole time I was screaming at myself 'what are you doing?'

I have been super strict with myself for a long time. I have not allowed myself to look at pregnancy week-by-weeks or any baby stuff for nearly a year.

Hope is a dangerous thing.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

A Mental Check-in

Last night I was talking about my writer's block with a male friend who has been a good friend to me and my husband for several years. The conversation strayed into the depression I've been suffering on and off over the last year, and how still having that IVF option is keeping me going at the moment, but if that was taken away I'm not sure how I would react.

This came around to the question 'Is it that important for you to have your own biological children?' My friend has said several times in the past that he does not really want to be a father, (but would if his hypothetical partner really wanted to) so this is a key question for him. I give him a lot of credit for not saying 'Why don't you just adopt?'

Is it important? Like everyone in my situation, I've thought this through a lot over the past year and I think that I have come to the following conclusions. Which are subject to change, as before I knew I needed IVF I may have made some remarks about it that suggested I would never do it. Like many of us in this annoying infertility boat I've learned that you never know what your thoughts might be about something until you are personally faced with it.

Also, please know that these are my thoughts about my life, and are in no way a judgement on the choices that other people make. Families are made in all kinds of ways and everyone makes the choice that are right for their own situation.

IVF and ICSI
Totally on board with this using my eggs and my husband's sperm.

Using Donor Eggs
I don't think this is for me. But then see below re: adoption. Maybe it's to do with carrying a child that's not 'mine?'

Using Donor Sperm
I'm not sure on this. I don't know why I feel differently about it than eggs. My husband might have thoughts on this.

Surrogacy
With 'our' embryo
Maybe, but the costs are really prohibitive - not sure it's for ordinary plebs like us. I'm a bit uncomfortable with the idea of someone with enough money paying someone who needs the money to 'rent space' in them.

But I know this is an opinion formed by reading reactionary news stories and in reality things are very different. A friend of my husbands who suffered from adult leukaemia has been told that this is one of her only options, and I wouldn't judge her negatively for taking it.

Perhaps it's because our infertility is caused by a mistake that I made - I feel it is self-inflicted - and because of this I don't 'deserve' extraordinary measures like surrogacy to have a child? I'm not sure. Perhaps.

With donor egg/sperm
Not for me, I don't think. It would seem a bit silly really to me, as there would be no biological connection, nor physical pregnancy in my own body. I think I would go to adoption rather than bring another life into the world at this point.

Adoption
I would be more than happy to adopt. My husband and I have discussed adoption for years, back even before we knew we had problems having our own baby. I have no problem with 'having' a child who is not biologically mine. (which is why I'm not sure what my donor egg/sperm reaction is about...) I also know that adoption is not an 'easy' route for anyone involved and would need much more serious consideration than I have given it here.

Living Childless
Perhaps, but we're still a few years off making that particular decision. I think I would probably fight tooth and nail to not live childlessly.

So, that's where I am right now. I suspect some of these thoughts might change as time goes on, but we'll see.

More dreaming

Had a dream in which I saw a computer screen with four embryos implanted. Also, blastocysts were the size of small beans.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Slowly going crazy out here...

Aggh! I really hate my subconscious right now. Like hate. Hate. And I really hate getting annoyed with myself, so all in all...

Over the last few days, I'm not sure where its come from, I've developed this nagging suspicion that I might be pregnant. I have no idea where this has come from. I have NO symptoms, and it's still about a week before my period is due so I'm not even late. I have some minor pain at my scarring from my ectopic operation, but that happens every month, so cannot be counted.

And yet I still have this nagging feeling.

This morning I woke up from a very odd dream (when the cat jumped on me) in which I had to open some hospital results which showed hcg tests. They weren't in an envelope. Instead it was almost like a lottery scratch card but I had to pull open a little tab. Some of them were reading zero, but some were showing a very low level, like 5 or 6, and there was a note suggesting a retest in a few weeks.

It's only a dream, you say! I have weird dreams all the time, you say! Yes, this is true, but my dreams are often connected to my cycle. A few days before my period, I will dream about it - buying tampons, or some such thing. And last year, when I was pregnant but didn't know it, I dreamed of unwrapping something wrapped in tissue which turned out to be... a positive pregnancy test. (So maybe it's true, you say!)

With this knowledge in mind I lay in bed waiting for the alarm (I often refuse the cat the satisfaction of getting up just because he feels it's time to) berating myself for my own stupidity for hoping this might be true. If you haven't read the rest of this blog, please be aware that the chances of me getting pregnant 'the old fashioned way' are near zero.

While berating myself, I also swore I would not give in to my craziness by taking a home pregnancy test. I would not. I cannot get pregnant. Stop being so stupid, woman.

The alarm went. I got up, went to the bathroom, and peed on a stick. (OK, in a cup, then put the stick in it, as the tests I have are internet cheapies). I could say I did it for peace of mind, but I was waiting, squinting as the dye ran up towards the control line... did it catch where the positive line would be? No? Well, let's just wait as it says to wait five minutes for a definite answer.

The definite answer: you are not pregnant. Which is what I have been screaming at myself for the last few days. And I think I now know how hysterical pregnancies occur...

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Limboland

I feel very much in limbo at the moment. When I made the decision to put things off for a month two weeks ago I was feeling really harassed and worn out at work. However things have now calmed down a bit and there is light at the end of the tunnel.

But now I have a two week wait (not the two week wait) before I can again have the tests I need. In the grand scheme of things this is really not that long, but I was in a really gloomy mood this morning, and my dh commented that I would be for two more weeks, until we can get things moving again. I'm a little frightened (though also gratified) that he knows my cycle so well!

On the positive side, my schedule at work has been changed so it fits around the clinic hours better (I have been really lucky in this, without having to tell my line manager why).

Saturday, 5 February 2011

A Perfect Greys Moment

I have had a few issues with Greys Anatomy over the last few episodes about the Derek/Meredith trying to conceive storyline. I refuse to use the word 'infertility' to describe their experience so far as it has only been 6 months. A couple of things that have bugged me:

Meredith shrugging off her miscarriage I guess she had only known for sure for less than a day and it was an accidental pregnancy, and she had her husband being shot to deal with, but I think Christina put it best when she asked Meredith 'How are you fine?'

Meredith taking a pregnancy test every ten minutes She's a doctor! If she tested early and it was negative first thing in the morning then that isn't going to change during the course of one day. I get that it's funny and it's something we've all done, but come on. You don't need to be an OBGYN to read test instructions.

Callie is accidentally pregnant I actually love this storyline (because I love Callie, I love Mark, I love Lexie, Arizona not so much, but still) but the timing is contrived as a juxtaposition to the Meredith/Derek ttc storyline. On the other hand, isn't just how it goes - you get bad news, someone else gets pregnant accidentally.

However, as part of this storyline this week's Greys had an absolutely perfect moment. When Mark went to Derek about Callie being pregnant, Derek's face was great. So completely accurate - you could see his annoyance and shock and then just disgust with Mark. Awesome. It's nice to see the elusive Male Perspective on TV. We're so used to seeing half-crazed women peeing on a stick and breaking down in public that it was cool to see a man-man moment about infertility.

**On re-reading this post that in describing Greys Anatomy I've made it sound like a really bad soap opera. If you don't watch it, it really isn't as melodramatic as it seems... not always anyway!**





Friday, 4 February 2011

Not being around family does have its advantages...

Last night we met some friends for drinks, who we have known in Korea since we were first here in 2004. We attended their wedding party in 2005, and have been friendly with them since then. We recently moved to the same neighbourhood as them. She is Korean, he is foreign.

In Korean culture, when you get married, you have a baby. It's quite simple and happens like night follows day. Get married, have a baby. Get married, have a baby. There is no period of getting used to being married, or enjoying your time together as a couple. Nope: get married, have a baby.

This sound like an exaggeration, but I assure you it is not. Three guys in my office got married in one year, and all three of them were expecting within four months of the wedding. It's incredible. Last week my husband was asked by some students 1. when he got married and 2. how many children does he have. He replied '18 months' to question 1, and 'none' to question 2. He says the woman who asked the question stared at him, with a 'does not compute' look on her face. You're married, but you don't have a baby? How does that happen?

So, imagine how our friends feel where they have been married for nearly six years, but do not yet have a baby. This week is Lunar New Year, so it is a big family occasion. We met them after they had just spent two days at her parent's house, with her mother nagging them about everything under the sun.

What was really evident to me was really how much pain they were both in about not having a baby. She had just been nagged about it for two days and obviously needed to get it off her chest. She had also just spent two days with nieces and nephews, and there were a lot of comments like 'They're cute but I'm glad we don't have to take them home.' Also, last night they said they didn't want to be one of those couples who are 'trying,' but if they conceive naturally then that would be great. My heart broke for them at that point because that was exactly what I was saying to myself when I was still in denial that there could be something really wrong.

I'm not sure how much they know about our situation, though we did mention to the guy a few weeks ago that we were having trouble, and he replied 'hey, I've been married 6 years and we don't have kids so...' which I took to mean that they were having some kind of trouble as well. I could have told them last night, but it felt to me as though they needed to vent about their situation, without me weighing in with 'hey, think you've got it bad, here's what's happening to us...'

Some part of me wonders if they would have felt better if we had owned up to it - misery loves company right? And I'm sure that I'll tell my friend about our problems and give her the chance to tell me what's really going on. But last night wasn't about us, it was about them.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Happy New Year!

Welcome to the Year of the Rabbit. Good luck to everyone expecting a Rabbit-baby. If like me the timing won't work out this year, then you can look forward to a Dragon-baby.