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.


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.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

My Fur Baby

I have been inspired by Heather at Battlefish to write a blog post about my fur baby. I posted about him when we first adopted him, but I don't expect many of you have read about him. I have also become something of a cat photographer, so I want to show off my pictures.

Meet Patxi:

Aka: Patxito, Patxicat, Mr Mo, Mubsy

We adopted Patxi from the animal hospital near our house. We were originally going to call him Pinxto, which means 'tapas' in Basque, but when we got him and saw his markings (he's patchy!) we decided to call him Patxi, which means 'Frank' in Basque.

He's a former street cat, and we sometimes see his brothers/sisters/nephews/nieces around our neighbourhood. He, and they, are mostly white with a giant ginger streak down their backs. When we got him he had some scabs on his paws and legs, and it was in the middle of a bitterly cold winter. We think someone took him in to the vets because he'd got injured in the cold. Poor puss.

Also when we got him he had brown rings around his eyes, which we thought were part of his markings.

But he gets a lot of sleep gunk in his eyes, which is brown. The rings around his eyes in the picture are from that, as it had never been cleaned properly before we got him. If you see the first picture he doesn't have them any more. Over several weeks it gradually came off, and nowadays he lets me just remove the dried gunk with my finger (usually!)

He's not a lap cat, and never has been. He will tolerate being picked up for a short time, usually when we first get in, and we get purry cuddles, but he prefers to just come and sit next to us. He sleeps on the bed at night. If we pet him too much he's a biter, plus sometimes he'll give a nip or two affectionately.

He hates water, and shouts to wake the dead when he's washed (which I did earlier this evening). He gets washed about once every two months. He also has really thick fur. Here's a gross picture of one of our chairs after I gave him a good going over with the special de-hairing brush. Sorry, it's really gross.

I cleaned it immediately after taking this picture!

I realise from re-reading this that I've made him sound really unfriendly. He's actually super friendly, and comes running to the door when we come in. I spend a lot of time (not quite as much as googling IVF stats!) googling signs that he loves us, and all signs point to yes!

We love our Patxito!

Monday, 18 July 2011

Here Comes the Sun.

I really feeling bullet points right now, so bullets it will be:

  • It has stopped raining! Thank you universe. I know the alternative, 30 degree C weather with high humidity, is going to p*ss me off within about 2 days (if it didn't already yesterday) but it's still better than it being wet and gross all the time.
  • I had so much energy over the weekend. I have been so used to being on some kind of stimming drug month after month. It's really good not to be taking anything.
  • I'm weaning myself back onto blogs again. I actually read an interesting post the other day with the valid point that having a baby isn't a race. Just because other people are pregnant, and it is something that I want, doesn't mean that I need to be racing to join them. Things happen at different times for different people. Still can't read about beta tests and pregnancy updates though.
  • I've been mildly obsessing about my 'wasted' embryos, which in my mind basically didn't have a chance because my cycle had been shortened so much, maybe by the trigger shot. Of course, there was no way of Dr K knowing this, and IVF is a diagnostic process as well as a treatment, so this is something to learn from. If we end up doing another fresh cycle, then we'll deal with that then.
  • Of course, we don't know that the shortened cycle doomed my embryos. IVF has only a 30% success rate per cycle.
  • I've started a 4 month training course at work which will keep me busy between now and the FET (in fact the end of it will overlap, but it'll be OK) I also have 3 weeks of vacation coming up next month, but as my husband does not, I'm going to do some overtime for two weeks. I wasn't sure until recently because I didn't know about the timing of everything. Now I'm just continually calculating how much extra money I'll earn and smiling. I'm thinking about going away for the week remaining, but it will be without my husband so I'm unsure as last time I did that I missed him terribly.
  • My husband has a new job. He really hates his current job, it doesn't suit him, so he's/I'm really happy. He was going through the application during the IVF and I made the comment that if only one of them could work out, it would be much better for us in the long run if it was the job that did. Of course, once he got the offer I felt like I'd doomed the cycle with my comment, but I'm not as superstitious as that really.
  • My cat is being super lazy in the heat and spending nearly all of his time sleeping.
  • We're moving! To the apartment upstairs! Easiest move ever. I looked around the neighbourhood a little, but the places I saw were as nice as the upstairs apartment and were the same price, so it makes sense to stay in the building with the same owner.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Rain, Rain Go Away...

No IF news, except that I'm feeling super jealous of all pregnant women, so I'm avoiding a lot of blogs at the moment. I'm sorry if you're pregnant and I'm not keeping up with your news but it makes me feel sick inside right now.

It's been raining every day for three weeks. Not just little showers, but full on monsoon style rain. There have been a couple of typhoons which have missed the Korean peninsula, but we're getting the edge of them. It is tipping it down. The river has flooded the park that runs along the riverbank, and nothing ever seems to be dry.

I've been looking at flights for us to go back to the UK at Christmas. We were here last year, but as we have a little bit of money at the moment it would be nice to see our families. We might make a few day stopover on the way there. Maybe Hong Kong.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Beta Day... what's the point really?

I went into the clinic after my morning class, and mentally psyched myself up for saying the words to Dr K. Saying it out loud makes it harder to deal with. But I managed. Things stand like this:
  • We have to wait 'til September for a FET. This is good for me as it benches me. Even though I know psychologically I need a break, I would have been very tempted to go for it immediately if the option was open to me. Dr K wants to wait the rest of this cycle, then the whole of the next one to check that my body is going back to normal.
  • The embryos were/are all 'good' quality.
  • It will be a natural FET.
  • Dr K agrees that trigger shots seem to shorten my cycle. This IVF cycle from start to finish was 21 days. My natural cycle is around 30 days (from what I remember of it!) That's why I'm extra happy about a natural FET.
  • If we end up having to do another fresh cycle, we'll worry about triggering then.
  • We didn't discuss progesterone, but I'll bring it up next time.
  • Had to pay for ICSI and cryopreservation today also
I'm pretty sure that I'm going to be taking a break from blogging for a while. Maybe not 'til September, but at least for a few weeks. I'm not sure about reading and commenting. I want to as I want to be there for you all, but I'm not sure I can handle it at the moment.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

It's Over 8dp3dt

Definite AF like bleeding today plus cramping. Pretty sure it's all over. 

I seem to have issues with early onset of AF when I'm triggered (as this happened with both IUIs and now this IVF.) Will be mentioning it to Dr K.

Not much else to say.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Friday 7dp3dt

First off, thank you so much for your comments on yesterday's post. It was a really bad night, but thanks to you ladies and my work colleagues, who are funny, warm and generally just the nicest people, I got through the day without having a break down.

I'm not in the mood to compose a logically ordered post, so I'm going to bullet point the not very interesting round up.

  • TMI warning. By the end of yesterday the spotting had turned in to discharge from the progesterone gel I'm on. I looked it up and apparently it's pretty normal for the gel to build-up and then either come out on its own or need to be cleared manually (gross either way) I've basically had brown sludge coming out for the last day. It's really gross, but at least it's not still in there, right? Sorry about the visual.
  • I've had a headache all day. I ended up sleeping my afternoon away, but it's still here. I felt guilty (as today is one of my weekend days) until I remembered what my body has been through over the last few weeks, not even thinking about the IUI cycles before that. I deserve the break
  • I had one, normal sized glass of red wine with my dinner last night. I went back and forth on it but I had had such a stressful night/day before I gave in. But it was just one, I had it with food, and it helped me get to sleep easily (some times if I'm over tired I find it really difficult to sleep.) I don't think it can have had any affect on the cycle.
  • I broke and POAS this morning. Clearly it was negative otherwise this post would be very different. But it's really early still, it wasn't even FMU, and it was one of my crappy internet cheapies (which if this cycle is a failure I'm never ordering any more of.) The FR tests I ordered from the UK haven't showed yet, because I didn't dare order them until after the transfer. I'll test again when the FRs show up, though I might just use up my supplies of cheapies so I can feel I'm doing something.
  • My boobs hurt a lot less today, and I haven't had any cramping since before the bleed. I know those are symptoms of the progesterone gel, but it's not making me feel very confident about the cycle.
  • I have a big, painful lump about 2 inches across on my leg from where I fell over yesterday. Once the bruise comes out properly I'll take a picture for your viewing pleasure.
I'm feeling quite pessimistic about the cycle (which I think is my default position every cycle actually, my regular readers will probably agree.) which I know is a defence mechanism if/when it is a failure. Please don't tell me to remain positive. There is still hope there, but I need a healthy dose of pessimism to cushion the fall that might come soon.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

6dp3dt Spotting

I honestly don't think I could have had a worse start to today. I need to rewind to last night to begin this tale...

I was getting ready to go to bed when I notice I'm spotting. Kind of red/pink. Not a huge amount but enough to notice. At this point I guess I was 5 and a half dp3dt. Holy f*cking shit - it's too early for AF to have shown up, surely? I had mentally prepared myself that she might show on Saturday at the earliest, but on Wednesday night. No no no no no!

I tdl my husband, who of course says 'calm down, it could be nothing.' Cue hysterics on my part, which included the classic line 'just because you tell me to calm down doesn't mean I'm not feeling what I'm feeling' or some other slightly confused sentence.

TMI warning!

Nothing was 'flowing' particularly, nor what I would call bright red. In the back of my head I suddenly thought about implantation bleeding, it being 5dt3dt, but that only happens to like 30% of women or something. With nothing to be done, I went to bed.

A long night followed of not sleeping much, obsessively going to the bathroom to check if I was still spotting and deciding what colour said spotting was. I managed to avoid consulting Dr Internet, and just lay in bed obsessing. I woke my husband at 1am to cry hysterically. I was also going over how I could duck out of work to get to the clinic if I needed to (it was a big day today). This didn't help my mental state. To be honest with you it got lighter as the night went on, and by around 2.30am I managed to convince myself that it was likely an implantation bleed. I think I did this solely in order to finally fall asleep. I fell asleep.

And dreamed of positive hpts. It was my hpt, but for some reason it wasn't my baby, I was a surrogate or something. But I was pregnant. I woke up at 4.30, feeling warm and happy, and I did not want to move to break the spell of the dream.

But move I did because today was one of my 5.30 mornings, and was faced with more spotting. It was quite heavy, but that was partly because I had been lying down for a couple of hours. I showered and it seemed to have stopped, but when I did my progesterone gel there was brown blood on the applicator.

I went out of the bathroom with wet feet onto the wood floor, stepped over the cat, slipped and fell straight on my arse in the dark. I also hit my leg on the dining room table, and landed hard on my wrist. I screeched and started crying, again. My husband got up and gave me a hug, but all I could do then was put on my big girl hat and get ready for work. I had a 7am class I had to get to. There was no one to cover me. I then had 3 hours of training. I now have 3 more hours of teaching.

The spotting has reduced now, a lot, but I'm terrified of going to the bathrrom. I called my clinic first thing and the nurse said as it isn't a heavy bleed and also as I'm not in any pain I should just continue as normal until my beta day and keep doing my progesterone. She said it could be implanation, or it could be random spotting. There is no was to tell until the beta. They did say I could come in this morning if I wanted to, but as they probably wouldn't do anything and it had reduced a bit I didn't want to waste my time. I can always go in tomorrow or Saturday if things get worse.

I am really hating this 2WW. I knew it was going to be stressful and all consuming, but I wasn't prepared for this.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

4dp3dt 2WW

Last night I went down a dangerous path. I spent a good half an hour googling success rates, and then tracked down this website which was advertised in the UK about a year ago which apparently predicts the statistical success of a single IVF cycle based on all cycle success information gathered in the UK. It takes into account all cycles, including those which are cancelled before transfer.

I knew it was a mistake, but I did it anyway. It's a very dangerous website during the 2WW!

I feel less negative today, though the waiting is already becoming very difficult. One week to beta. Today hopefully at least one of the little dudes should be continuing to hatch and starting to attach. Please, please let this be happening.

Monday, 4 July 2011

2WW 3dp3dt

It's hit me this morning... the negativity. I was doing my usual round of ALI blogs as I do most mornings and read someone's 26 week update. Then I had a bad FB moment with a friend's newborn pics (which I hid).

I'm having trouble sleeping properly, and am getting up to pee all the time, which isn't helping my mood. Also my work schedule has suddenly changed and two mornings a week I'm going to have to get up at 5.30! For the next six weeks. I am so angry about it but there is nothing I can do. But I'm really worried that being really tired is going to affect the cycle negatively. I'm going to try to take it really easy on the days when I don't have to get up early, but then I just have too much time to obsess about things.

My dh and I have been discussing whether we want to move apartments in August, when our contract ends on our apartment now. Not sure I can handle a move to be honest.

I've also been thinking about our 3 freezies. If it come to FET, I'm thinking about doing eSET (if my doc will agree). It's very common in Europe, and doesn't actually significantly decrease the chances of implantation. Also, it would mean we would get 3 more shots instead of probably 1 (though I know it's more complicated than that as it depends on whether the embies survive the thaw etc etc).  It would also mean we wouldn't have to do another fresh cycle for a while.

I know I should be more positive, but planning for the next step is how I deal with the massive disappointments that come with IF. I also keep going back and forth on whether I think 30% means we're in with a chance on this cycle, or not. If there was a 30% chance of rain, I would take an umbrella, wouldn't I?

Hopefully the little dudes are hatching today. Please hang in there!

Saturday, 2 July 2011


If you read my incredibly rambling, valium-induced post yesterday, you'll hopefully remember that we had surprise ICSI. We hadn't been told that there was a motility issue (in fact the doctor has said previously that dh's motility is in the upper range), and we hadn't paid for it either. Honestly I think they were trying to make as many embryos as possible as quickly as possible, which I am grateful for, but still: Surprise!

Anyway, I got a call from the clinic a couple hours after I came home yesterday saying that we were going to have to pay for it when I go in for the beta.

We were joking around about how actually we don't have to pay them because we're already got the embryos transferred, so we don't need anything from them anymore*! Then my husband says something to the effect of:

'Well, they have still got some of our children.'

I cracked up. Help, they're holding our children hostage in the freezer! We have to pay the ransom for our embryos if we ever want to see them again!

I love it.

In other non-silly news, today has been okay (isn't that a song used in Grey's Anatomy when Mere was like nearly exploded or something. Or fell in the sea and nearly drowned. I can't remember. I'm sure Patrick Dempsey made his 'stricken' face though.)

I've had cramping today that was worse than yesterday. Dr Internet-Fertility-Forum informs me that this is a combination of side effects from the progesterone gel (which is fine btw and better than an injection) and just my insides settling after the battering they've taken over the last few weeks. It's more concentrated on one side, the side where I had the ectopic, but thinking about it it's often that side that I get pain after a procedure.

I also made a cake, something which I haven't done in ages. I made a classic Victoria Sandwich (slightly-vanilla flavour  sponge cake with cream and raspberry jam filling for non-Brits or non-WI obsessives) though I cheated a bit and used Delia Smith's All-In-One Sponge Recipe. (Non-Brits: Delia is the Julia Child or Martha Stewart of Britain - she also owns a football team, oddly).

I've been pretty positive today, though honestly I don't feel that different and I'm thinking more about cramping than the little dudes floating about. I did talk to them a little today about their older cousin's unique name, though when we talked about it we realised that all of the cousins have fairly unique names, and our child probably won't be any different.

I've also spent most of the last two days on the sofa watching The Rachel Zoe Project which I downloaded after catching a couple of episodes on TV. I've worked my way through most of the episodes now. I know it's trash, but I wanted something mindless to watch after the crazy week. I am now talking like a reality-TV person y'know? I have also been for a walk both days.

*I know, I know, we're on the wrong side of statistics here and a successful transfer does not a successful pregnancy make. We were joking around. I'm not counting embryos before they hatch.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Valium or The Most Boring Transfer Ever

Transfer complete!

2 little dudes transferred, and another three in the freezer. I could not be happier with that number. I was so worried that we would have none 'in the bank' and if we're unsuccessful this time I'd have to go through the whole thing again.

The most defining feature of the transfer: boredom. After waiting half an hour to go in, they then gave me 2 valium 'for [my] comfort' and then told me to sleep. Uhhh... no, that's not going to happen. Once I'm awake in the morning I'm awake. And things like valium and sleeping tablets just don't work on me. I have to be really tired to sleep in the day. So instead I just lay there for what seemed like forever waiting while they did all of the egg collection ladies. The surgical schedule is egg collection first, then transfer. And of the transfer ladies.... guess who went last. Uh-huh - me. I would have preferred they told me to turn up an hour later and just let me go more or less straight in. I guess the only positive of the valium was that instead of getting pissed off about waiting I just got more and more bored. Also, there were no clocks (I hate no clocks).

Maybe valium doesn't relax me, it just makes me really bored.

The good news was that I didn't have to have a full bladder for the transfer. When they finally wheeled me in and got me in position, I had already been to the bathroom twice. And thank goodness, because they pressed really, really hard with the ultrasound thingy. Dr K told me to look at the screen, where because I didn't have my glasses on I could just see two faint little circles. But those were our embies. Then he did the 'look at the white thing' on the screen, which again I couldn't really see, but I assume that he knows the embies went in OK.

They did use 'some' ICSI because of some 'sluggish' motility and 'to save time.' I expect it's because of only having 7 eggs - they wanted to make as many embies as possible. As I've been writing this post they just called me and said I will have to pay when I go in for my beta test.

They told me about the freezies then too, and Dr K said 'for brothers and sisters' in the future. Let's hope so.

I was then wheeled back to wait for another hour. I complained to the nurse about being bored and she gave me the classical music earphones I'd had after the retrieval. I tried to visualise the future with my baby, but instead was really distracted by the poor woman in the next bed who was crying and in a lot of pain. I'm not going to post exactly why (which I overheard) but she has to stay in the hospital for a couple of days.

Post transfer instructions: no heating pads on my stomach. Continue with the progesterone gel. That's it. So I'm going on a major vodka bender for the next two nights, and then going bungee jumping. After that I'm going to kick-boxing and running a 10K. (In case you can't tell, I'm joking - if it's not funny, blame the valium.)

Back on the 12th for a blood test.

I feel like I should feel different. I know I'm happy, especially with having some freezies, but I just feel normal (valium?) rather than ecstatic or glowing or maternal or whatever.  I am so grateful to get to this point, I really am, but as this blog is supposed to be an honest account of my journey my feeling relatively nothing is something I want to share.

But the two little dudes are in and hopefully finding a nice place to settle in. OK, I'm actually crying a little now, so maybe the valium is wearing off!