Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Think you're superstitious?

On the IF front, I have two more days of injectables (taking the total up to 10) and back on Thursday for another scan. I had about five follicles that they measured (4 or 5, I've forgotten.) The lead follie was at 1.4cm. Lining at 7.2mm. Hopefully it'll be trigger Thursday, IUI on Saturday.

I noticed something very interesting today at the clinic. I have long known that Koreans are really superstitious about the number 4. In Chinese, the word 'four' sounds similar to the word 'to die,' and one set of numbers that Koreans use (there are two, how's that for complicated?) is based on the Chinese. The upshot of this is that 4 is considered unlucky. I have had a student tell me that he will not board an aeroplane at 4 o'clock, and it is quite common for buildings, especially hospitals, not to have a fourth floor. It either goes 1-2-3-5, or 1-2-3-F-5. That 'F' makes all the difference - it doesn't matter that logically floor 5 or F is actually floor 4. It's displaying the number itself that makes it unlucky.

Today I was waiting for my ultrasound when I noticed that the cubicle numbers went 1-2-3-5-6. I had always just assumed that there were 6 cubicles, but today I happened to be sitting between 3 and 5. I couldn't help smiling as I realised. It makes perfect sense. Women undergoing treatment for infertility and recurrent loss are likely to be worried about things going wrong, so why tempt fate by having a number 4 ultrasound room? Women here would just refuse to use it, and probably everyone, including the doctors, would be paranoid about it. Better safe than sorry!

Monday, 30 May 2011

3 Minute Update

I don't really have much to report, but I do like to try to update fairly regulary. Tomorrow I'm back to the clinic in the morning for an ultrasound. I've been spinning various scenarios over the past few days, like I have too many follicles, and he converts to an IVF cycle, or cancels the cycle. Or I go in and I've already ovulated and the whole thing was a waste of time. Or I'll go in, find out I have to wait a few more days, and I will be triggered probably Wednesday.

I'm feeling really uncomfortable today, and am seriously contemplating going to class in half an hour with my trousers undone under my top. I'm definitely feeling it today. My last injection was this morning, so hopefully it will be better by the end of the week. Either that or I'll have to start wearing different clothes to work.

I have also been bad and been looking at Bug.aboo buggies again, but I gave myself a time limit so as not to drive myself into despair. I have chosen the one I want but can't afford (The Bee, btw) I no longer believe that I will jinx anything by looking. In fact, I am in a very optimistic place the last couple of days (I think the 'more than five' follies have done it, lets hope they stick around). Even if this IUI doesn't work, we'll be moving to IVF hopefully over the summer. The chances there are much higher.

Gah! That was more like a 5 minute update. I need to get ready for class now.

Friday, 27 May 2011

More than five...

CD7 after 4 days of follitropin injections.

Good news and annoying news at my appointment today.

The good news is that I have 'more than five' follicles at an early stage. As my doctor says it's the size not the number that is important, but considering on CD9 of my last Clomid cycle the tech had to press really hard on my belly to even find one follicle I'm pretty happy with this. I know it's early because the tech didn't measure any of them.

Lining at 6mm, which again I'm pretty happy with.

The annoying news is that I have to do four more days of injections. I hadn't really researched the injectables, and in my ignorance I thought I was done with them this cycle. Doing the injections themselves hasn't been a problem, but for some reason having four more days this cycle really annoyed me. I already feel uncomfortable and a little bloated, and I'm not looking forward to it getting worse. Also, for about five hours after each injection I feel kind of sick and have no appetite. Plus headaches. Yesterday I felt like I was hungover all day.

So while I had a lot of positive news today, I felt like crying after. Also, my husband is working really long hours at the moment, and I'm not seeing him enough. I guess I'm feeling like I'm doing this alone at the moment.

Back again on Tuesday morning.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Belated ICLW


I've finally got my internet reconnected! In the end all I had to do was call the company who have an English language helpline, they sent me a new password, but I didn't get around to it until this morning.

In IF news I did my third injection for IUI2 this morning. It was fine, easier that yesterday. I'm glad tomorrow is the last one for the time being though. Hopefully I won't get a chance to get used to injecting myself. The follitropin is making me more short tempered though. Dealing with the kids in class is really hard work.

I also finally got around to filling in and sending off my insurance forms. We have a limit on how much we can claim, and I was half thinking of 'saving' the money in case we head into IVF territory. In the end though, we decided to claim it back as it was adding up quickly, even if each individual thing didn't seem too much. Total so far.

Monday, 23 May 2011

IUI#2

We are all systems go for IUI#2 with follitropin. I'm doing four days of injectables, rather than five as I expected. The doc says it's because he thinks I'll respond well, but I suspect it might be because he had 'workshop' marked on his calender for Saturday, which here in Korea means going on retreat with the company so I guess he's not in on Saturday. Scan on Friday.

The clinic was mega-busy this morning (they don't open on Sunday, so everything happens on Monday instead.) but I went in more or less on time. The longest wait was for the injection lesson. The English speaking nurse was really nice and did not make me feel stressed about it at all.

While I was waiting for my number to come up I psyched myself up by reminding myself that I was always a scab picker as a child (tmi - sorry), and that I once removed my own stitches at home with nail scissors and iodine. (They were supposed to dissolve but didn't completely and I couldn't be bothered to go to the doctors to have them out so I did it myself.) If I could do that I could give myself a little injection.

Which I did - first time. The nurse said that no-one does it the first time but I suspect she says that to everyone. I think it helped that I'd read up on it beforehand so I knew what to expect.

What really shocked me was the difference in cost. The clomid had cost about $6 for five days, the follitropin is close to $80!

One injection down, three to go! I've had to put them in the fridge at work (in a brown paper bag) so I just have to hope I don't forget them when I go home at 10pm. I have put a post-it with 'FRIDGE!' written on it on my computer. Otherwise I will be coming in very early tomorrow to do my injection in the office bathroom.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

ICLW Apologies

Well, it's that time of the month again. However, this weekend is the weekend my internet connection has decided to stop working. I can't get it fixed til next week. I have email access on my phone but I can't blog!


Thursday, 19 May 2011

Pseudo-Friday Randomness

I work a weird schedule where my week starts on Sunday, but also means that Thursday is my Friday (yay!) So for me today is Friday and I've finished work for the week.

Not too much happening IF wise, so I thought I would do a pseudo Friday roundup of randomness.

1. Pre-AF spotting finally started today (CD31) so tomorrow I'm going to book an appointment for Monday to start our injectable IUI cycle. Part of me hopes they won't let me do the injections myself, part of me doesn't want to go to the clinic every day.

2. I walked about a third of the way home from work this evening up and down the hills of Seocho-gu (Seoul is a really hilly city in places). I walked about 2km as the crow flies, but feels further as you go up and down. It was a really nice day though and I saw some things that I had forgotten about Korea having lived here so long:

3. There are so many yellow mini-buses around at six thirty in Seoul traffic, ferrying school children from the ages of 6-18 from one after-school class to another. I was waiting at a crossing and saw 5 go past in less than a minute.

4. There was a farmers market in the car park outside the Express Bus Terminal. Those of you living in the states may not find this unusual, but it really is.

5. I saw an old car which had plastic instead of a window. Again, this might not sound unusual to anyone outside of Korea but for here that's really, really weird. Cars are the number one status symbol here and very few people have cars more than five years old.

6. I stocked up on mosquito repelling products. Mosquito season is just around the corner, so I bought body spray, room spray, a plug-in repellent device, and the little cakes that go in it. I was very pleased with myself to remember, as usually I only get around to it once I have been bitten a few times. Korean mosquitos do not agree with me. The number one brand of mosquito repellent is called 'Off!' and the room spray is called 'Off Killer!'

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Waiting for the Witch


The title says it all. I've had another BFN yesterday, so now I'm just waiting for the witch to show up so we can get started on our injectable IUI cycle.

While I may not be happy about the success rates of IUIs, I know logically that it helps the doctor get a feeling for how my body responds to certain drugs, which will all help if we head into IVF territory. I'm a bit worried about the injections (I don't hate hate them, but I'd rather not have them) but feeling OK.

Monday, 16 May 2011

The Worst Version of Myself

In the Nora Ephron move You've Got Mail there is an excellent line about becoming 'the worst possible version of yourself,' and I feel that's how I was yesterday. I know my feeling were legitimate and I'm not taking back anything I said, but I do feel bad that I made my friend Chinadoll feel guilty.

I took a moment that should have been purely joyful for her and made it about me - I feel terrible about that.

I think that yesterday was my worst day so far on this journey. What makes me feel worse is knowing that I still have a long road to go. I got another BFN this morning at dpo9-11 (I don't know), so I'll be heading into an injectable IUI cycle later this week I guess.

I may take a little break from the blogs for a while. I'm not sure yet but if you don't 'see' me around, that's why.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Dark Day

If you want something cheerful, don't read this post. Also if you don't like swearing, don't read this post.

You know, I don't want anyone to feel as though I am criticising them or the way they have announced pregnancies over the last week or so. If I didn't want to read pregnancy announcements, I wouldn't read blogs about people going through fertility treatments. Nor do I begrudge anyone their pregnancy and I certainly would never wish anyone had had negative results. And I know I would announce a BFP in the same way, so I have no leg to stand on.

But.. well.. I'm so fucking jealous right now. Like livid, green jealousy. Like I don't want to read the 15 comments saying 'congratulations' and 'what a great pee stick picture.' I make those comments myself, and mean them, but today...

The last week has been a great week for IVF BFPs. It seems everyone I have been following has been successful. Yesterday I was so excited to see Chinadoll's positive results as I consider her a friend and want the best for all of my friends.

This positive feeling lasted for about thirty minutes until I told my husband the news (as Chinadoll is moving to my city soon, I keep him up to date). He then made a comment about how we 'parent' our cat. We had always talked about that in parenting I would be the bad cop, and he the good, but with our cat it's the other way around as I spoil the cat rotten whereas he is much tougher. He said 'It's just weird how things don't go as we planned.'

Under-fucking statement of the century.

This sent me off crying, of course, and then I was sobbing.

The thing is, I'm feeling left behind. We all feel this (I know, I know) with our 'fertile' friends, but now I'm being outstripped by fellow infertiles as well (I know lots of people feel this as well).

I've been having mild cramps the past few days, and hoping against hope that it's implantation, despite hpt results to the contrary. After that final positive from the IVF ladies yesterday, I just feel like such a fucking muppet, putting my hopes into a clomid cycle of timed intercourse when I don't even know if my fallopian tubes even work.

I know everyone reading this will have felt as I do at some point, but you know what? I'm in it right now. Never have a felt my blog title is so true. I am so fucking far away from what I want I can't even see if its ever going to happen.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

2WW Frustration


This post was meant for yesterday but as blogger was down all day...

This has been a very frustrating 2WW so far for several reasons. First off, I actually have no idea when I ovulated, how many follies I had (though it wouldn't have been more than two) and etc etc. I had no idea that a non-monitored cycle would be so stressful. I could be anywhere between 6 to 8 days dpo, so symptom spotting, knowing whether to POAS is very confusing and frustrating.

Secondly, and I am aware that this is a little stupid, but there are so many ladies IVF cycling on exactly the same days that I somehow got it in my head that I was on the same calendar as them. Everyone is having their beta tests now, so I kind of thought that I should be close to a possible testing date by now, which in reality I am not. I am actually about a week behind them.

Blogger being down was very weird yesterday, as I hadn't realised how caught up I was in other people's lives until there is nothing new to read and I wasn't able to comment on people's posts. I found myself really worrying about people. For example
Princess Wahna Bea Mama had posted her great beta test results earlier in the day, before the blogger outage. Later I clicked back to see if I could comment, but the post had disappeared! Oh my god, I thought, what's happened? Has the worst happened and she's removed the post? It took me a while to realise that all of the posts from the previous days had disappeared on nearly everyone's blogs. Phew!

As I wasn't able to read blogs all day I went out and did something else. In the end, I went shopping for skirts for work. Instead I bought 2 pairs of cut off trousers and ended up in a cat cafe. In case you don't know, a cat cafe is a place where you go and drink coffee, with about 20 cats. You're allowed to feed and pet the cats, but not pick them up.
Here are some photos I took with my iPhone

It was a lot of fun, but the cats were all spoiled and only wanted to play with people who had treats for them. I also didn't hear any of them purring at all. There was one guy, called Sweet Potato (고구마) who really reminded me of the velociraptors in Jurassic Park. Whenever I tried to give a treat to another cat he would literally knock that cat's head out the way and steal the treat. My own cat at home is much cuter and playful and I'm allowed to pick him up. My cat is not a pedigree, and has a weird eye gunk problem, but he's loveable. I felt so guilty about playing with the other cats I went on to spent $35 on a toy that so far he won't play with.

In other news, I tried to get over my superstition about the pregnancy seat on the bus. On Korean public transport they have special priority seats, as they do in nearly every country in the world. On a Korean bus there are not only priority seats, but also a special pink pregnancy seat (as in the picture above). In the past I have tried not to sit in the seat, worrying about tempting fate as I wasn't pregnant. Yesterday I decided I was being an idiot, and so sat down.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Close a door, open a window (I hope)

Two posts today, though the earlier one was a bit 'nothing' so I don't feel bad about it.

I've made a a tough decision about work over the past few weeks. A while back I posted about a training opportunity that is coming up that takes a whole year, but would provide significant advancement opportunities. I was unsure whether to go for it, as while I don't want to put my life on hold for a pregnancy that may not happen, I also didn't want to take a place, and then drop out later, while someone who can finish the course might have missed out on an opportunity because of me.

I've decided, after a lot of thought, not to go for it. I really want to, but I also know that realistically if I do I would have put baby-making on hold for that year. I see the people doing the training course this year, who are all mega stressed and combine that with the stress of IVF... no thank you. I prefer to trundle along at work in my current role for another year, and be able to pursue fertility treatment without any additional stress.

I've been back and forth on this for weeks now, but ultimately I came to the decision that I wasn't willing to put IVF on hold. I was really down for most of last year, and it was only when we started pursuing ttc again that my mood lifted. I know that I can't go back to doing nothing, at least not at the moment.

I also looked at the situation logically, and reminded myself that this year is not the only opportunity I will ever have to do this training - I can do it in five or ten years even. I have at least 30 years left of my working life, I'm sure I'll have the chance somewhere in there. I have a bit of an obsession with people who are my age being 'better' than me, and I need to stop that.

It's weird because even though our lives and working lives are getting longer, our fertile years aren't (by much anyway) I've been dwelling on it a bit with making my decision, and then when I saw this story today I knew I'd made the right choice.

Nothing Much...

Unlike most of the blogosphere, yesterday wasn't Mother's Day for me - it was Parent's Day in Korea, but it doesn't affect me at all as my parents are in the UK and our Mother's Day was a month or so ago.

There's not much going on for me. I calculated that I will probably have ovulated sometime between Thursday and Sunday, based on when I hadn't ovulated last Clomid cycle (I was triggered 13 days post Clomid day 1.) I have also had some tenderness which may have indicated ovulation sometime over the weekend.

So to be on the safe side I've had my husband on a 2-day schedule since Tuesday last week, to finish this coming Tuesday, just to be on the safe side (sorry if TMI, but this is a blog about trying to conceive, and that's what we're trying to do!)

I swing wildly between hope and hopelessness.

Friday, 6 May 2011

Children's Day

Yesterday was Children's Day here in Korea. That's right, they have not just mothers and fathers day to kick you in the teeth, but also a whole day to celebrate children. When I was little, like most people in my office it seems, I said to my parents 'Why is there Mother's Day and Father's Day but no Children's Day?' to which they replied...

'Every day is children's day!'

It's not just a day on the calendar in Korea. Oh no, it's a national holiday and very few people go to work. Very few except me, as my school stayed open so as not to mess up our term schedule. (The same applies to Buddha's Birthday and National Independence Movement Declaration Day or whatever the damn day is called) So while my husband got to swan around all day*, I had to go to work and organise our Children's Day hoopla.

The irony is that in Korea, every day really is children's day. As a culture, on the surface at least, there is little that is more important than having children. Couples who are married but childless are constantly badgered by their families about it. Educated, professional women give up work to stay at home not through choice but because maternity leave is practically non-existent and it is the expected thing to do. Korean parents spend a huge portion of their income on private after school academies (I have heard around 50% but I haven't found any hard evidence of that. I do know it's high because I know what my school charges for 3 hours of tuition a week, and these kids go to 4 or 5 different academies in a week.)

Korea has a crisis in public education and parents have very little faith in the public school system. Rather than pay more taxes to attempt to improve it, parents prefer to push their children through various after school classes every day. Even if you feel your child doesn't need to go to Maths Academy, or, and whisper this very, very quietly, you can't afford it, he still must go because the other children in his class go. If he gets even one page behind them in the text book then his hopes for entering a good university are dashed and you have failed as a parent.

The double irony of this is that the cost of having children, along with crazy long-hours working culture, has pushed the birth rate waaay down. It is now below Japan, and one of the lowest in the world (some studies say the lowest). Over the next ten-twenty years Korea will need more than a million immigrants to fill the upcoming gaps in their workforce. This is perhaps why fertility treatment, including IVF, is relatively affordable (but that's a post for another day... promise.)

Sacrifice for your children is expected, and everyone does it. The basic system of Korean culture is that you sacrifice for your children, and then they will look after you when you are old. I once had a student look at me disgusted because I didn't send money to my parents. The fact that they were both still working at the time, were both department managers and making a lot more than I did was irrelevant. It was my duty to look after them, and send them money every month.

So yesterday was a day to celebrate children. The area I work in was turned into a giant street fayre, and I had to walk past dozens of strollers and babies and small children (I'm not jealous of older children, I teach them and I know what a pain they can be) just to get into the office. But you know, it wasn't so bad. Maybe it's because we're actively pursuing treatment now, maybe because I've only had one failed IUI so far so things still seem hopeful. I don't know why, I just know that it wasn't so bad.

*Actually my husband works incredibly hard and I don't begrudge him his day off, I just wish I could have spent the whole day with him.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

The Old Fashioned Way

I'm going to talk about something very personal which you don't see much of on the IF blogs (for clear reasons): my sex life.

Before we knew we had problems conceiving, we had a pretty normal sex life (so far as I know anyway!). But then I had the ectopic, and then we were told that we couldn't conceive without serious help, and everything changed.

I found I felt very sad after sex. I realised quite quickly it was because the hope of making a baby had been removed. We had been trying for over a year, and I hadn't given up the idea that it might happen for us. I would have that hope,and it was then taken away.

After that I kind of wondered what the point was. Things like intimacy and pleasure didn't seem enough any more. Sex just didn't have the joy it had had before. From the fact that my husband didn't really protest about the lack of sex he was(n't) having suggests to me he felt the same or similar. He's quite uncomfortable discussing these kinds of things directly, so I don't know for sure.

I've had to reprogram the way I think about sex, and try to return to my younger years before I was ever trying for a baby. It's been difficult and sad, and to be honest I'm not there yet.
This makes going back to trying the old fashioned way this cycle somewhat strange. I had just kind of got used to sex not being about baby making anymore, and now it is again (even though the chances are small, or possibly non existent). I feel like I'm reconnecting emotionally with my husband again in a way that we haven't for a long while.

It's really difficult to put this into words, because I'm not 100% sure what I'm actually feeling, and also while I'm happy enough talking about speculums and ultrasound wands, actually talking about sex seems far more personal!

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Genuine Question

Genuine query:

As I have a follicle on each side, but I'm not being triggered, will I ovulate at different times or the same time? It sounds really dumb, but I just realised that I don't know. Does this make my 'fertile window' longer?