Thursday, 5 April 2012

Closing Time

We've decided that we're not going to pursue having a baby through IVF for a while, perhaps indefinitely. As the process has gone on I've felt more and more that it wasn't/isn't the right course for us, at least at this time. There are other things going on that I need to focus on, and that will take us into the next year at least.

Because of this decision, I've also decided to stop blogging, and for the most part to stop reading within the ALI community. I'm going to leave the site up, but I will disable comments soon as I don't want the blog to become a dumping ground for advertising.

My decision to step away from the ALI community has been difficult, but I've found that blogging, and reading other blogs has made me more introspective and involved in my infertility than I perhaps would have been otherwise. The same goes for me and journalling. I become far more tangled up in my feelings when I'm writing them down.

Blogging, and my continued failure to have a baby, has made me very aware of my complex feelings connected to the whole thing, and for that I'm grateful. I'm also grateful to everyone for their kind, thoughtful comments over the year or so I've been blogging on this issue.

The nature of the posts on this blog means that I don't feel comfortable reworking it to another topic. It's a shame but anonymity is important to me, especially to a lot of people in my personal life who don't know about our infertility. If I start blogging on some other topic, I will post a link on this site, but at the moment I don't know if I will.

Thanks again to everyone for their support, and I'm hoping that your journey to have a child goes more smoothly than mine has so far!


Thursday, 22 March 2012

After, therefore because of

I'm prefacing this whole blog post with saying that I do want a baby, and that I want my family to include children.

It's a couple of weeks since my third failed embryo transfer after my second fresh IVF cycle. If there was a model for a cycle that was going brilliantly, and then failed on every single level, it was my previous one. I can't blame the doctors for anything. Two lovely blastos failed to implant. The five other blastos didn't reach a point where they could be frozen.

I've been thinking a lot about the way forward from here. While I know I could go through another series of stimms and retrieval, I honestly don't think I could handle another two week wait and another BFN. Logic says that keeping going will eventually lead to success, but I'm at a point where I can't imagine that success any more.

Here's something else: Having a baby won't make me happy. It's a fairly drastic statement to make, especially on a fertility blog, but bear with me. I've been assuming that I'm unhappy with things in my life because I'm infertile. That I will write more once I can get pregnant, because infertility is causing my writer's block. That my work is tiring and difficult because I'm depressed about my infertility.

My writer's block is caused by my own procrastination and laziness. Also, I'm infertile.

My work is tiring, stressful and difficult. In addition, I'm infertile.

The easier one to consider is my work. I need to make some big decisions about my work. Do I stay in this field and invest more time and energy to move up into management or training? I'm not really satisfied just going to work day in day out. I always want to do more and feel dissatisfied if I don't. My work environment is not overtly competitive, but it is a fairly intense atmosphere that does not allow anyone to 'sit still' and just be. I like this in many ways, but it also makes you feel like you're never doing enough. But it's not just my current office that makes me feel this way. I always feel this way.

I have to make a decision, which I postponed last year, about further training which will be all consuming and will take about ten months. I would have to put fertility treatments on hold. I'm not really sure I want to do this training, ever, but I feel like I should. To move up any further in my work, I need to do it.

Getting pregnant was a way of avoiding this decision. If I have a baby, says my illogical mind, I won't feel the need to move on and up. I will feel this need, it's my nature.

I won't go into the writer's block at the moment, as I don't think it's something that can be deconstructed, except to say that my previous thinking was ridiculous, and that I have to stop being so lazy.

So that's it. I want a baby and will be very happy if I have one, but in the long term it won't solve my other problems. Those go deeper. Also, I'm infertile.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Ladies! The language! My goodness...

First off, thank you so much for your comments on yesterday's post. It makes me feel a hell of a lot better knowing that I'm not the only one pissed off about this complete failure of a cycle. Now onto my main comment:

The language! Call yourself 'ladies.' I don't think I've ever seen such swearing in the comments section of a blog. It was pretty funny to see comment after comment chock full of swear words (curse word for you people using N. Am. English). I was in the pub (wasting no time in the healing process, get back in the alcoholic saddle again as soon as the clock struck 5) doing an incredibly difficult (ergo boring) pub quiz when I checked my blog for comments. The first two had such filthy language I had to read them out to my husband. His comment was 'I'm glad I didn't tell my mother to read your blog.' It was excellent and really cheered me up. 

We didn't win the quiz. Sample question: If you drank red wine all night, what colour would your faeces be the next day? We wrote black. The answer was green. I dispute this.

After that we went to the noraebang for two hours, which is a private karaoke room. Usually it's the kind of place you go with groups of people (like for birthdays or work parties) but my husband and I both love singing so we occasionally go on our own and just sing whatever we want without having to share the microphone with other people. Last night we ended up specialising in 80s songs including Duran Duran: Hungry Like the Wolf which is such an awesome song. I love Duran Duran.

Thanks to you guys, and a night out with dh I feel better. No decisions made as yet, but I'm meeting up with a fellow IF blogger later today to talk things through a bit. I needed to talk to someone who's been through it. Plus I get to meet her new baby for which I can't wait. (Babies don't bother me, pregnancies do!)

Many thanks again you foul-mouthed ladies!

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Beta = 0

Went in this morning to get the Beta done 3 days early. There was no point waiting as my period had well and truly started. It was only one day early from my natural cycle, so at least it wasn't the same problem as my first fresh cycle.

The nurse called me back a few hours earlier than expected, but the result was as I had predicted: 0. 

Really not sure what to do with all this at the moment. Dr K has suggested doing a hydroscopy, though he said himself that there were no indications that I need one. He seems as frustrated as I am. He kept looking through my notes trying to figure out what he was missing. When the nurse called me back she said at the beginning of my next cycle we can discuss whether we want to do it.

We don't have any frozen from our seven lovely blastos. That's the risk of going to blasto stage I suppose. If we go again we go again from scratch in a few months. 

We don't know if we want to try again. Reading nearly everyone else's experiences tells me that eventually it should work, but part of me now doesn't believe IVF is ever going to work for us. I know this feeling is connected to the fact that we've just had a failed cycle, but I can't bring myself to be excited about another cycle.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Spotting 6dp5dt

The title says it all.

I always knew IVF would be difficult; I also thought it would work. 

It was of course too good to be true: nine eggs, *seven* blastos. Everything looked like it just might work out for us this time. I even felt that *this was it*. Beware hubris.

Please don't write anything about implantation bleeding or positives after early bleeding. Those kinds of miraculous things happen to other people, not me.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

No News... 5dp5dt

Still waiting my 2WW. No symptoms that couldn't be the progesterone. I'm feeling stressed today, because I didn't sleep well last night. Not sure when (if) I'm going to test.

In good news AF has held off longer than my last fresh cycle.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Transfer done

I have two blastos on board! They showed me them on the screen and they looked like blobby things made of cells.

We got seven blastos in total. I honestly can't believe that, but there it is. Dr K said that one of the other five was already looking dodgy, but they were going to see how many of the remainder get to 7 days, and if they do they will freeze them.

I didn't take the valium today, and didn't find a massive difference in term of discomfort levels. Also it means that I won't feel weird for the rest of the day today and exhausted tomorrow.

That's all for now. Beta on 10th March, which seems an age away...

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Sanity vs the Internet

Thanks everyone for your best wishes on my previous post.

I feel very stressed this evening. It's my own fault; let me walk you through it.

It started innocently enough. I've been getting some cramping still in the uterus area plus on the left side. As the left side was the big ovary that's not surprising but I don't remember having this amount of cramping with my last fresh cycle. So I googled cramping after egg retrieval and crinone side effects also as I've been having the wonderful crinone discharge today.

Then, as I was already googling, I googled success rates of 5 day blastos. The interesting thing was that on one IVF calculator I was given a success rate of 20% per cycle, and another I was given a rate of 47% per cycle. I googled some more, and some more and... you get the idea.

I did this googling in theory to make me feel more confident. A 47% chance is pretty good after all. But of course there is the nagging voice telling me that of course I will be part of the 53% who it doesn't work for. Just as I was part of the 60% or so when my last two transfers failed.

So now I'm sitting here hoping that writing this post will take away some of my stress. Generally speaking I've been feeling quietly confident about this cycle, but at the same time I can't imagine ever getting two lines on a test. I feel like I'm destined always to have failed cycles. Tonight's googling didn't help.

On the plus side we didn't get called yesterday to say come in today for a 3 day transfer. What I'm scared about now is getting the call tomorrow saying not to bother coming in on Tuesday morning as all our embryos have arrested.

Also, if we get some to transfer, I'm worried that my Doc won't give me anything more than the progesterone for the 2WW to support the pregnancy. I know I could ask, but I have to believe that he knows best, but if I take nothing I think that I would worry the whole time.

If I'm like this now, imagine what the 2WW (or 10 day wait actually) is going to be like.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

IVF2: Retrieval

The long and the short of it is that we got 9 mature eggs from this cycle which is two more than last time. I'm happy with the number, but I know that it's a long road between nine eggs and blastos ready to be transferred. Some highlights:

  • We got 9 eggs
  • The ICSI which we had pre-paid for was cancelled as dh's sperm was of 'good' quality. I hope this means that the eggs had already started to fertilize before we left the clinic. We got a $405 dollar refund.
  • They seem confident that we'll get some 5 day blastos, and we paid for the extra two lab days: $300
  • So in total we got a $105 refund.
  • Dh believes that the improved sperm quality is due to the omega-3, zinc and his regular 'maintenance' which he has embarked on every 3-4 days since we started the cycle on Feb 1st
Some not so highlights include: having to wait more than an hour between checking in and going in for retrieval. Apparently there was an emergency case the doc had to do something with, so me and three other women were all sitting there worrying about the time ticking by. In the hospital's defense they did check what time everyone had done their trigger, just in case someone was right at the limit.

After the transfer I was in a lot of pain and they told me they were worried I had suffered 'massive' bleeding. I tried to keep calm by reminding myself that it was probably a lost in translation problem. It was and after a not too comfortable check that I wasn't bleeding 'massively' I was able to go home.

We had lunch and I've just slept for a couple of hours. Dh has gone to work. I'm achey but on the sofa instead of in bed.

All has gone well so far. Please keep your fingers crossed that at least some my embryos make it to 5 days.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Here we go...!

Trigger tonight. I feel so bloated and painful that I'm scared I'll ovulate, but I've had another cetrotide shot this morning so all should be well. I start antibiotics tomorrow night, and retrieval is 8am Thursday morning. 

We have 'more than ten' follicles, but of course not all of them will have quality eggs. We also decided to go ahead with ICSI, even though dh's sperm are normal, to make as many embryos as possible. As the clinic does it anyway if sperm look 'sluggish' I'd rather know ahead of time that we're going to get as many embies as we can.

Lining at 0.9 or 1cm. I can't remember.

Dr K seems confident we'll get some 5 day blastos. I hope we have enough for this cycle and some for the freezer if this go around doesn't work out for us.

Monday, 20 February 2012

So close...

...but still not there yet!

I went in today expecting to be told that we'd be triggering tonight, but alas, not yet! Scan went quickly. My left ovary seems to resemble a garlic bulb cut in half, which I take to be a good sign. Very uncomfortable though. I feel super bloated.

Onto Dr K, who says we're not quite there. I had one more dose of Gonal-F this morning, at 225, rather than 150. None this evening (yay!) I also had the first cetrotide shot of this cycle which while it was stingy and itchy for an hour or so afterward was not as bad as last fresh cycle. In fact, the nurse did both my shots for me and I thought she had done the Gonal-F first because it didn't sting but actually it was the cetrotide. Weird, and interesting only to me, but still... Also, they did the thing again where they draw the remaining bits of Gonal-F out of the pens with a syringe and use that for the final dose. Love it, and money saving.

Oh - also money saving is the fact that when we looked through all the pens in the fridge last night (four btw - 3x900 and 1x300) it looks as though I missed a dose, as one of the pens still had loads of medicine left in it! Unless it was a random pen which had a lot more than 900 in it (unlikely), I definitely forgot to do one of the injections! We think it might have been on Thursday night, but can't remember for sure. Anyway, we weren't too worried as we'd seen Dr K since then. When we told him he just laughed and said it was one way to save money. Maybe that's one more reason why I've responded slowly.

Dr K says we're doing the retrieval Thursday morning, but we'll have to see for sure tomorrow. I guess trigger will be tomorrow night (Tuesday) and I'll have another cetrotide shot tomorrow morning. Wednesday might be injection free! But I'm not holding my breath on that one until I actually get instructions to trigger.

No idea how many follicles I have. I've got bored of trying to work it out. The biggest measurement today was 1.6 I think. Lining at 0.7mm I believe (though I can't quite remember).

Saturday, 18 February 2012

The Fertility Blanket

Last week I mentioned a knitting project I am working on, quite superstitiously, during this IVF cycle.

It is a pattern published in Stitch'n bitch Superstar Knitting, which I got for Christmas. The pattern is called 'Fertility Blanket' which of course got my attention. The pattern author is Pamela Grossman and you can visit her blog here.

The design is called a Fertility Blanket because, well, the lace pattern looks kind of like 'lady bits.' While I'm obviously not going to have a baby the old fashioned way, I like having this project to work on during this cycle.

I've taken some very bad pictures, but it's a slightly lighter green than the picture indicates. Green is a good fertility colour, so it seems appropriate.

I've still got at least 2 weeks left of this cycle, so I'm doing it slowly!

Two more days of stimms btw. Lead follicle at 1.4cm this morning.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Slowly slowly...

Repeat scan yesterday was fine. Not sure how many follicles at what sizes, as while they measure all of them, they only do three while you're actually in 'the chair.' Lead follicle on the left was at 1cm. The next two at 0.8cm. Lining 0.6cm. Repeat scan at *yuck* 7.30am Saturday morning. I imagine that will be when the cetrotide comes into the mix. Great.

I feel really bloated on the left side, and that's where most of the follicles seemed to be yesterday. It's quite uncomfortable even to lie down, and I'm up super early today (though that's partly because I have so much to do today for work.)

I ended up at the clinic for two hours yesterday. Luckily I had expected to be there for at least an hour, so I didn't get too frustrated. I knew I had to do the following: ultrasound, see Dr K, blood draw, EKG, chest x-ray, pharmacy, injection room. The last one I could have skipped and just done it myself, but I've not primed a Gonal-F pen myself before (they always do it for you) and as I was headed directly to work, rather than home, I wouldn't have really had any privacy to sit and work it out properly. By the way, doing injections in the bathroom stall is not as bad as I expected. 

Dr K commented yet again that I am responding 'slowly.' I pointed out to him that he makes this comment every cycle we do together, and that perhaps we could just consider it normal for me. He agreed. I don't blame him for not remembering my last fresh cycle as it was last June, and he must have treated literally thousands of other women since then!

I'm quite happy to be going slowly, so long as I don't prematurely ovulate or anything. Given the somewhat unscientific evidence that the luteal phase of my cycle seems to shorten depending on how many days are before the trigger, I'm happy for the stimm period to be a few days longer than 'normal.' Every day I'm doing frantic mental calculations: if the pre-trigger stage is 3 days plus 9 days of stimming = 12 days x 2 = roughly a 24 day cycle. That might give my embryos a fighting chance... Ad infinitum, ad nauseum.

I'm not a fertility specialist, but I do know that the logic in the paragraph above is probably flawed and that my mental calculations will make no difference to the outcome. However I do it to keep myself sane and to believe we might be in with a fighting chance this time. Yesterday I was oddly optimistic, and Dr K seemed to be as well.

It's strange because I never quite know where to put myself on the glass half full half empty scale. In most other elements of my life I subscribe to the 'things will work out in the way they are meant to be' theory. I think I do believe that if IVF doesn't work out for us eventually, there is some 'reason' for it.

Over the last year or so I have seen the full range of emotions from IF bloggers. I've seen wild optimism result in joy but also in misery. I've seen the gloomiest, most pessimistic bloggers rewarded with both success and failure. I've seen enough to know that mental state seems to have no bearing on success rate, despite what positive thinking advocates would have you believe.

My previous argument was that if you are realistic and don't get your hopes up too much, then it's easier to deal with it if a cycle results in failure. But is it though? If we truly believed, deep down, that a cycle is going to fail, then we wouldn't bother to go through it. Does feeling optimistic and allowing yourself to imagine a possible future make the fall any harder if it comes?

Monday, 13 February 2012

I Don't Like Mondays

I don't like Mondays because the clinic is always busy on a Monday morning, today being no exception. Waiting waiting waiting at every turn, but luckily I didn't have any freak outs today.

  • 3 more days of stimms at 150 Gonal F twice a day, back on Thursday for repeat scan
  • Only one blood vial drawn today. Yay!
  • Another $600, bring us to $1300 in under a week. Our last fresh cycle cost just over $4000, so I know we have a way to go yet! Luckily it's pay day on Thursday
Thats all for now as I need to get ready to go to work - busy day ahead.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Started stimms

The witch showed her face earlier than expected on Wednesday, so it was off to the clinic today for a Day 3 ultrasound, bloods (four vials - ouch) and starting on stimms.

I had a total meltdown in Dr K's office because while I was waiting for ultrasound (I had to wait for ages today) lots of women were coming out with pictures of their fetus' and they kept turning the sound on so that they could hear the heart beats. Which meant that everyone waiting could hear the heartbeats as well. By the time I got back to Dr K's office I was convinced that it was never going to happen for us and that it was all for nothing. I'm not wholly out of that frame of mind yet today.

I'm on 300 of Gonal F, split to 150 two times of day. This is a complete pain as it means that I have to do the evening one at work, which means carting the pen around and leaving it in the work fridge.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Things I am doing and not doing

Things I am doing so far this IVF cycle

  • taking Progynova (doctor prescribed).
  • taking Omega-3 (I was already taking it because my knees are terrible and the weather is really cold) I looked it up and it doesn't seem to hinder IVF and some studies suggest it might help a little. Also my skin is amazing right now because of it.
  • taking a multivitamin (because it has nearly everything in it including folic acid).
  • taking folic acid (I picked some up in the UK over Christmas) I don't care if it can increase the chances of multiple births. Surely that means it might help at least one embryo stick and develop well? Please.
  • making my husband take Omega-3 and the multivitamin which has zinc in it (studies suggest these are good for sperm).
  • knitting a green fertility blanket (more on this is in a later post.) I'm doing this slowly as I don't want to finish it before the cycle ends.
  • praying.

Things I am not doing (yet)
  • giving up caffeine (this happen definitely at ET, maybe before).
  • getting my hopes up.
  • telling anyone in real life except my manager and my best friend in Korea. Not even my mother this time. It hurts too much to have to say the words out loud if/when it fails. If you know me in real life and see my mother, don't say a word! My parents know we'll be trying again, but not when.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Not a great start!

Considering how much we want to have a baby, and how much we've already been through - why do I keep forgetting to take my medication?

Thursday, 2 February 2012

IVF 2 is go!


  • Yesterday's ultrasound showed I had ovulated.
  • Started on Progynova yesterday - apparently not downregging, instead working on keeping my lining in place during the 2ww. Not quite sure how this works, but then I'm not a fertility specialist.
  • Dr agreed that if embryos look dodgy on day 3 we can do a 3 day transfer instead of 5, but we're going to try for five.
  • Have to go back on day 2-3 of my next period to start stimms.
Nothing else to report at the moment.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Happy New Year

Happy Lunar New Year everyone!

I hope the year of the dragon brings you happiness and, if like me you're still stuck in limbo, a BFP and successful pregnancy.

Monday, 16 January 2012

A successful appointment

Today's appointment in bullets, as it's nearly 11pm and I just got home from work:

  • Dr K said he had expected to 'make it easily' the previous cycles, and he seemed sorry it wasn't the case.
  • I was very determined and remembered all my questions.
  • We're going to down-reg for 2 weeks (or so) before starting stimms. He says it will suppress my natural hormones and hopefully stop my period from coming so early. Also I assume I will be on aspirin and whatever the other drugs were last time.
  • The best bit: We can go for 5 day embryos! Obviously it depends on whether the embryos make it that far, but as I thought the clinic only did 3 day transfers I'm very, very pleased with this.
  • Go back on Feb 1st for an ultrasound to check for ovulation and start downregging.
I still don't feel confident that we will get pregnant, but I'm happy with how this appointment went.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Rats, Rats and Double Rats!

Well, CD1 finally arrives and I call my clinic to make an appointment. I'm supposed to make an appointment for Day 3 of the cycle, Saturday, except... my doctor isn't there on Saturday. I can see another doctor if I want...

Hmmm - no, I'd prefer to see the doctor who has done my previous cycles with me and knows how my body reacts. I'm very aware of the statistical failure rate of IVF and I don't blame the doctor when it doesn't work.

My doctor's not in til Monday. Make an appointment which will put me on cycle day 5. B*ggery rats.

This isn't the end of the world however, as next weekend and the start of next week is a national holiday called Sollal. It's Chinese New Year and it is one of two times a year when Korean actually *stops* (think Christmas). In terms of dates, that would probably mean that the point where I would need to be monitored regularly and triggered would be during this holiday. It might even mean that egg retrieval would fall on the holiday. Chances are the clinic wouldn't be operating properly at this time.

I shall go to my Monday appointment with questions in mind about what we can do differently this cycle to hopefully make it work. Question number 1: What are you going to change in the treatment plan this time around? Question number 2: Is there any possibility to try to take any embryos to Day 5?

I'm also not sure whether to ask to increase the stimms dose to try to make as many eggs as possible as we would have more frozen embryos.

Any other questions I could ask? Bearing in mind that I've already been through one frozen and one fresh and so I don't need to ask about procedural stuff.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

2012... meh.

Happy New Year Everyone!

I am in a pretty dark place ttc wise at the moment. One of the first things I saw this morning on checking Facebook were people making pregnancy announcements. Dark dark place.

We are planning to start IVF#2 in my next cycle in January. That's the plan at the moment anyway. To be honest I'm not sure how much about it I will report on this blog. I am also fairly sure I'm not in a place to be too involved in the 'community' at present. I can't deal with all the successes when all we seem to get is failure.

It seems at the moment that within the last year everyone who I was on the journey with have got their BFPs. I am the last woman standing at the beginning of 2012, and I can't take making more ttc 'friends' only to have them outstrip me as well.

If you had success in 2011 I am very happy for you, but I need to reassess the way I deal with this process, as my previous way doesn't seem to be working.