October 17, 2015

Forty in Fiji.. and other F words

Well, I turned 40 on holiday in Fiji a couple of weeks ago.

It would have been a wonderful way to reach a new milestone....

... had my period not started the night before.


September 21, 2015

Birthday blasty on board..

Apologies for not updating sooner.. I wrote three quarters of a post a few days ago before Blogger had a conniption and I lost it all! Ugh.

Anyway, to cut to the chase - we have one Blastocyst on board! And nothing in the freezer.. as usual.

My belly is still bruised (the biggest one from acupuncture!), I'm still bloated, but mostly doing ok. I caught a head cold and then developed a tummy bug right before, during and after egg collection. Reeeeeeallllly not ideal timing! Of course I couldn't take anything apart from Paracetamol. The nurse in the day surgery asked if I was feeling well and I had to whisper to her about the upset stomach. She said it was probably fine. They only managed to retrieve two eggs.. which I guess I should be happy about seeing as it was one more than last time. I only had mild sedation (fentanyl) and a local anaesthetic. This time the sedation took effect straight away - this doctor didn't muck around! The room was spinning but at least it wasn't too painful. Hubby was allowed in with me but then I was wheeled back to my cubicle to recover and he was taken away for his TESA (testicular sperm aspiration) under a general anaesthetic (his choice LOL). They said it would take 20 mins or 40 mins depending on whether they had to try both sides. I had no watch or clock but I'm sure he was away for at least an hour! And nobody came to update me! Now hubby has a heart problem and they quizzed us repeatedly about his medication and whether he should have stopped taking it beforehand. Needless to say I was freaking out! In the end I buzzed a nurse. She went away for about 10 mins to find out and then wheeled me over to his cubicle where he was just waking up. Why they couldn't have just put him straight into my cubicle in the first place I don't know! They only ended up needing to work on one side so he would have been out of surgery for at least half an hour. So frustrating!

Anyway, lesson to self - if we have to go again, TAKE THE NEXT DAY OFF WORK! I was convinced I would be fine given my past procedures. However this time I had to start work at 3pm and felt like I'd been hit by a truck! The cold and diarrhea really didn't help either. So for the next three shifts I was allowed to start at 6pm and only do a 4.5hr shift. Thank god I quit my last job.. I NEVER would have had that flexibility!

So we had our transfer on Saturday (I had to go by myself as it was 7am in the city and our darling toddler usually sleeps in until 7.30am) and I had barely slept. We went out to dinner with friends the night before and they stayed til 11.30pm! We had our toddler babysat at home and I forgot to tell her he still wears a nappy to bed. So at 3am I was awoken by a sad little soul covered in pee. By the time I got back into bed my dodgy tummy was back I had trouble getting back to sleep. That 6am alarm was the worst sound I've ever heard! I just felt like everything was conspiring against me this cycle! But thankfully the scientist greeted me in the cubicle with the good news that we had one blastocyst. The other embryo was a bit slow so they were going to "keep an eye on it" and see if it developed further and caught up. They never do. I went straight to the acupuncturist after my transfer. She fitted me in despite it being her day off. She said it was the most important one so she would have made sure she could do it for me.

So now..... we wait. This time it's a bit different. We fly to Fiji on Saturday (I'll be 7dp5dt) for my 40th birthday and I'm still not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing. Yes it will take my mind off things.. but I won't be able to go crazy and enjoy some deadly cocktails. I'm kind of kicking myself now. I should have listened to hubby but my usual impatience won out. I don't really know when my period is due as the Lucrin mucked up my cycle.. but I have a terrible feeling it's bang on my birthday. I'm stocking my suitcase up with sanitary products just in case.. and a few HPT sticks (although the Ovidrel I've been using for luteal support probably means I won't get an accurate result until a bit further on).

God this could all go horribly pear-shaped. This birthday will definitely be memorable.. but hopefully not for all the wrong reasons.

August 31, 2015

Oodles of needles

Well, thank god I don't have a needle phobia! Three jabs a night?! I am officially a pin cushion.

On the left we have Lucrin which I've already been taking for over two weeks. On the right is good Ol' Gonal-f. And in the middle is the biggest pain in the butt - Luveris. You need to be a chemist to know what you're doing with this stuff! Fingers crossed it works its magic on my tired old follicles. This already feels like the longest cycle ever!!

August 28, 2015

Third opinions

Sorry for the delay folks..
I was a bit gutted that we didn't even make it to transfer last round.
That one lonely embryo was rubbish.

So, here we are.
About to start yet ANOTHER cycle at yet ANOTHER clinic.

As I'm screaming (literally) towards 40 (which was my original self-imposed cut-off), I decided to pull out the big guns. Let's not waste anymore time or money. It's time to try Genea. Apparently they have the highest success rates & Dr Mark Bowman is well-regarded for his second (or third in our case) opinions.

After what felt like a relatively rushed but thorough consultation, I signed my life away & signed us up for another shot at hope. Dr Bowman is trying something different, & that's all that I ask. He said if it's going to happen (& he made no promises) then it will happen within the first couple of rounds.

I feel stupid for staying at IVFA for so long doing the same protocol over & over! I should have demanded a reevaluation or moved on after 3 cycles. And then Bump just copied the same protocol. I don't blame Bump. I think they're fine for a couple of tries, especially as they're so affordable, but that comes at a cost - they don't monitor you as much which means there's an element of guesswork involved with timings. It's educated guesswork, but after so many unsuccessful attempts, I needed more. And you have to pay for that.

So after going on Lucrin injections on day 20 of my cycle (CD20) to flatten out my hormone levels, I just had to wait for my period to start before adding Gonal-f and Luveris injections (for follicle growth). I originally asked the nurses how late my period could be on Lucrin as we have a holiday booked (for my 40th) at the end of September.. they said only about 4 days at the most. That would be perfect. At least we'd know about a week out from the trip whether I can drink or not and I'd have a bit of time to regather. So we waited. And waited. And waited.

I woke up today (CD34) with no sign whatsoever of AF. I usually have a 26 day cycle & it's like clockwork. The nurses insisted I come in this morning to test my Progesterone levels. I had an early shift & finished at 9.15am, then had an accupuncture appointment near home at 10.30am. I had to race from work to the train station, catch a train to the City, walk to the clinic, have the test, walk back to the train station, catch the train, and drive to the accupuncture clinic by 10.30.

I was late.
And AF arrived one hour later :-/

So I will add the other drugs into the mix on Monday.. ahhh 3 injections a night. Can't wait.

July 17, 2015

One is the loneliest number.

Hello strangers :)

Sorry for the lack of updates since my last cycle.. it just gets exhausting sharing bad news over and over. I try as much as possible to move on with my regular life after a round of IVF.. so please forgive me if I go MIA for a while. I promise I'll update you at some point.

So. Here's where we're at:


Yes, I'm a glutton for punishment. I've jumped back on that crazy arse roller coaster.
We went back to Bump for another try & I had my egg collection / retrieval / pick-up yesterday. And the result?


Yep, ONE lonely egg.

I seriously can't believe that I endured all those injections, blood test, vaginal scan, bloating, crazy hormones, expense.. & just ended up with one egg. That's what you get in a natural cycle for F's sake!!

So, they defrosted a whole straw of DH's frozen sperm for ONE good wriggler to inject my ONE and only egg. They've booked me in for my transfer on Monday but I can't bring myself to write it on my calendar. I'm also meant to be working but I'm not going to mention it to my work yet (I'm casual). We won't get another update until just beforehand (hopefully the day before but not sure if they do that on the weekend) so I could tell them I'm unable to do my shift but end up not having the transfer anyway. IF it happens, I'll ring up sick.

DH gave me the whole "be positive" pep talk again but I just can't do it. I told him I'm sick of trying to think positively & then being crushed when the inevitable happens. It makes no difference. I know, I'm a hypocrite. I am the same person who wrote a post about positive affirmations a few years back. I re-read them tonight just for shits n giggles by the way. But I don't truly believe that my mindset is solely responsible for the outcome of a cycle. If it's going to work, it will. I've also come to the conclusion that certain foods or potions aren't going to influence things either. Not to the point that the result hangs on whether I ate pineapple before transfer or took CoQ10 before retrieval or had acupuncture throughout the cycle. But I'll admit I still do some of those things out of habit.

So to summarise, you NEVER learn how to cope with IVF the longer you do it.

Quite the opposite. Yep, I'm a basket case. Who's with me?

May 7, 2015

Transfer Update

Sorry for the late update.. been trying to get "out of my head" a bit & think about other things.. Ha!

So on Friday morning, (the day our transfer was scheduled for, four days past egg collection) as predicted, I received a call from the Bump lab. Out of just two eggs which fertilised properly, one had already arrested at about 6 cells and the other had only just made it to 9 cells. The scientist gave me the option of transferring the second embryo with low hopes of success or cancelling the transfer altogether. I've just realised now that I wasn't given the option of waiting to see if that embryo went on to develop further & doing a later transfer.. but then again they only do procedures on Mondays Wednesdays and Fridays so that could be why?! But he also kind of insinuated that they weren't expecting the embryo to develop to blastocyst stage anyway. It would have been classed as a good one if we were talking about Day 3.. there was little fragmentation & the cells looked good. But there was no compaction and there should have been about 12-16 cells by that stage.

I was only given about 15 minutes to call DH and make a decision. Obviously going ahead with the transfer would have some cons - the cost, both financial and emotional. Not going ahead with it would be frustrating and we may always wonder what if? We ended up deciding that my uterus was the best and most natural place for it to be & that we may as well give it a shot, even if it's an extremely long shot.

So fast forward to the following Thursday (6dp4dt) and I am trying not to get my hopes up. But Google is not my friend. On the one hand I read all these forums where women give other women like me something to cling onto. They give their own anecdotes of how they had a "slow developing embryo" and it turned out to be their baby.. or they know someone who knows someone who had an embryo that was a day behind in the lab but they got a BFP in the end. On the other hand, however, I've also come across a few pages where doctors don't mince their words & say there's very little chance that these embryos will develop further, "catch up" and attach. Or worse, some people who say they had a miscarriage or unhealthy child as a result of slow embryo.

I try to take all of these accounts with a grain of salt. But it's hard. How do you find that right balance between not losing hope so you don't get depressed, and not hoping too much so you don't end up devastated when it turns to shit? I'm already blubbering at the slightest thing thanks to the Crinone progesterone so that's' not helping my state of mind!

I've tried to carry on with life as before.. as much as one can. I've still had a wine or two (I've NEVER done this during the 2ww before I knew the result). I'm going interstate for work tomorrow night & coming back Saturday. Of course my period is due this weekend. I'm going to stock my case with a pile of tampons & not expect anything else.

Or I might pee on a stick tomorrow...

April 28, 2015

Hope is hard (1dpEPU)

Yesterday I was on such a high..

I had my EPU and, despite a little cramping, was feeling pretty good afterwards. I was buoyed by the fact that we had 9 eggs collected this round! This was awesome news and more than we'd had collected the last few rounds. The scientist called me that afternoon to say, of the 9 eggs, 7 were mature enough to inject.

Then today happened.

DH & I had a rare day off together with our toddler and it was a beautifully sunny, albeit crisp day. We decided to use some vouchers we had to go the Powerhouse Museum and let DS check out the Wiggles exhibition. He's had a lingering cold which seemed to flare up a bit today but he still enjoyed it. He ran around looking at all the old steam trains and old planes on display and absolute loved those. We had just headed back into the Wiggles section for a last look when I had a call from the Bump lab. I had to move outside as the music was too loud to hear.

The scientist said he was going to upload the information about our embryos on the portal (online webpage) shortly, but wanted to chat to me briefly about it first. It was ominous. He didn't sound positive. I always try to get a feel for the sound of the scientists' voices straight away when they call me with updates... and I could tell this wasn't one of those "good news" days.

He went through the fact that we had 9 collected, and that 7 were subsequently injected. He went over the fact that they had a bit of trouble finding suitable sperm during DH's testicular extraction, but eventually did find some that were "twitching". Apparently the fact that the quality of the sperm wasn't great, and some of my eggs were abnormal or also just not great quality, only 2 fertilised.

Two. On day one.

He could tell I was disappointed (duh) so started babbling on about how they don't check on them for a while now and that I'm booked in for my transfer on Friday afternoon and to get there about 15 mins earlier than my allocated time blah blah blah.... unless they need to contact me before then.

Yep. There's a very real chance we won't have anything to transfer. This has never happened in 12 cycles. How did things get so crap so fast? And how did DH's & my "gametes" age so bloody quickly???!!! It's only been 3.5 years since we conceived DS. Was he really our last chance? Will I never feel those amazing cartwheels in my belly again? Will I never get the chance to use the knowledge I gained during those long and delirious nights with DS and do a better job? I thought I'd just be so grateful to have him (which I am) and be ok with only having one. But I'm not. Not yet.

This "hope" thing is hard.

April 27, 2015

Bump IVF Sydney - my review

I am currently on my first IVF / ICSI cycle with Bump IVF, a new bulk-billing clinic in Mosman, Sydney NSW, and I couldn't find any independent reviews or information about them beforehand. So here’s my experience with them so far, and how it differs to my experience at a private large-scale clinic. Although I was generally happy with my treatment at the large clinic, I felt like I was just a number in the end and it was sending me broke. I hope this helps someone out there!

* After making the initial call, they emailed me a bunch of information and some pathology forms when we said we wanted to go ahead. We had to get blood and urine tests done at any Douglass Hanly Moir pathology collection centre prior to our first appointment (we didn’t have our records from IVFA at that point, but as most initial tests were done a few years ago it was best we got them done again). They test for things like your AMH, FSH, STDs, Chicken Pox, Rubella etc. I also had to get a pelvic ultrasound done at any Sydney Ultrasound For Women clinic to check for follicle count and OPU access. These were done on day 6-12 of my menstrual cycle. DH could get his tests done any time. He didn’t have to produce a semen sample as he had a previous vasectomy and we had frozen sperm as a back-up which we had transferred from the IVFA clinic to Bump before I started my cycle. We had to pay $85 for the AMH part of my blood test (no Medicare rebate) and $320 for my ultrasound (of which I received $285 back from Medicare = $35 out of pocket). We have also reached the Medicare Safety Net threshold for this year which means more of a rebate.

* Once they received all of our test results we had a consultation at Bump’s clinic in Mosman (which cost $205 each with a rebate of $185 each). The clinic is very small. The waiting room is tiny but looks very modern and high-tech. There are just two small consultation rooms attached. There’s no reception desk – you ring a buzzer then take a seat until someone comes to see you. We were the only patients there and were seen within five minutes (as opposed to being just a sheep in the herd and having to wait well past your appointment time). We met with Dr Jamie Sharkey who went through all of our results and explained the whole process. We then went through all of the costs with one of the staff named Dan. We have to pay $7480 up front for my ICSI cycle fees, EPU day surgery fee and Embryo Transfer day surgery fee. Of that, I should get $6680 back from Medicare and my private health fund. Therefore out of pocket $800. We also have to pay $1050 up front for DH’s Surgical Sperm Retrieval and lab fees, of which we’ll get $743 back from Medicare, meaning $307 out of pocket.

* We decided to go ahead there and then, so signed a whole bunch of consent forms on the day. You can take them home and think about it if you want. Dan also gave us a login to their patient portal which is a private webpage used to communicate everything to you. I found it a bit impersonal however they stress that you can always call them if you need to discuss anything or ask questions. They usually send you an SMS to indicate if they’ve updated or added anything to your portal so you know when to look at it.

* After this consultation I followed up on getting DH’s frozen sperm transferred from our old clinic to this new one. We had to sign and return a few forms to both clinics and then the two clinics liaised from there. Bump organised pick-up of the sperm at their own cost. I also had to pay a fee (I think around $35?) to get our fertility records sent to us to forward onto Bump. It wasn’t necessary, but useful for Dr Sharkey to know how we’d been treated previously and how long I usually stim for.

* I called Bump a few days out from the expected start of my period and they organised a courier to get my medications to me. Once my period actually started (& it was dead on time!) I had to log onto the portal and “book on” for my cycle. This sends them an alert to say I’m about to start an IVF cycle. You follow the information on there and proceed with your medications from day two of bleeding.

* Bump gave me Puregon as my stimulating drug instead of the Gonal-F which I was used to. They basically do the same thing.. but some people can respond slightly differently. I was a bit thrown as I hadn’t used the Puregon pen before but I read the little booklet & it was super easy to use. I was also a bit excited to try something new, as my IVFA specialist had me on exactly the same drugs for about the last five cycles with no change in results. Bump also gave me Orgalutran to prevent ovulation, Ovidrel as my trigger (same as IVFA), and a sharps container.

* Something else which threw me was their suggested timing of injections.. I had been trying to work out the best time of night to do it as I’m a shift worker in TV production and not always able to go somewhere in private at a particular time, so this side of things is always difficult. The morning of day two, I logged onto the portal quickly before work to double check something & noticed that they say to inject between 7am and 9am everyday! IVFA always said to do it at night. At this point it was about 9.10am so I ran to the kitchen, madly skimmed through the info booklet again and then injected. It was a rocky start.. but all good in the end. As it turned out, 9.15am was a very convenient time which fitted perfectly into all my shifts for the coming week and a half. The nurse later said it wasn’t crucial to be between 7-9am, as long as it’s exactly the same time every day.

* I was instructed (via the portal) to begin Puregon on day two of my cycle, and add Orgalutran on day seven. On day 11 of my cycle I had to get a blood test done at any Douglass Hanly Moir pathology centre before 9am and a pelvic ultrasound done at any Sydney Ultrasound for Women clinic before 10am. I had to make an appointment in advance for the scan to make sure I could get in at the right time. It was all a bit tricky as the two aren’t located in the same place. I had to drop my toddler off at daycare at 8.30am then drive to a DHM centre and get the blood test done, then drive to the SUFW clinic for 9.30am. Luckily I got in straight away for the blood test and it didn’t take long, and I also found parking quickly before my scan. The blood test was bulk-billed and therefore free but the scan cost me $80 which I don't think attracts a rebate. Interestingly the portal instructions also said not to take glucosamine or high dose fish oil which IVFA had never mentioned despite me listing it on my forms every cycle. I called Bump and after consulting with a doctor, they told me high dose fish oil can increase the chances of bleeding so I should stop taking it. 

* That afternoon (a Friday) I received an SMS telling me to check the portal for theatre information and trigger instructions. The portal outlined when I was to inject the trigger (Sat night at 9.30pm), when I was to stop the other medications (no more from Sunday) and when we were booked in for our procedures (Monday 9.30am). I had to print out and complete a questionnaire asking questions about any other medications I had been taking and my recent health, and bring this with me on the Monday. On Saturday afternoon I received a text warning me how long until I had to take the trigger. I received another text about 9 minutes prior as well. This was great as a back-up in case my alarm didn’t work. I never had that at IVFA.

* On Monday we had to arrive at Bump by 9am. We caught a cab but DH could have driven home as his procedure ended up only being minor, and he only had a bit of local anaesthetic. Oh well. We had a babysitter come around to look after our toddler and he was happy to have someone new to play with.

* We waited about 5 minutes max in the waiting room before the lovely nurse Rosie came and asked a few questions and filled out a bit of paperwork. She then took us through to a change room where I had to empty my bladder & change into the fetching backless robe, hat and booties. DH also had to put a hat & booties on but stayed dressed until a while after my procedure. We were given a locker to put our belongings into. We were then led around the corridor to a small recovery room. The whole place was a lot smaller than the day hospital at IVFA in Greenwich, but it was very modern and clean. The nurse sat me down, hooked me up to a pulse and blood pressure monitor and left us to our own devices for maybe 10 minutes. My only complaint about the place is that there were no magazines or television to amuse us, nor a radio playing. It was three white walls and a curtain so extremely boring. I can see other women going through this for the first time getting very anxious just sitting there with their thoughts. I didn’t even have my handbag with me so I could check Facebook and waste some time that way.

* After answering a few questions, having a bit more monitoring and then getting the cannular placed in my arm, we were led through to the operating room. It was a medium-sized room featuring a chair with stirrups, some equipment trolleys, cupboards and a microscope. It looked fairly empty. Nothing like the theatre at IVFA with the whole operating bed and vast amounts of equipment. There were also only two doctors, two nurses and then the scientist in Bump’s room. There seemed to be so many more people in theatre at IVFA.. I guess they also had an anaesthetist and more nurses. DH laughed and pointed out that the song playing on the radio was “Big Girls Don’t Cry”.. they all thought that was hilarious. I just hoped to hell that I didn’t have to!

* I sat with my bum at the edge of the bed, laid back and put my legs in the stirrups (humiliating as always but Rosie draped a bunch of sheets over me which helped). Dr Sharkey sat on a stool at the business end whilst the other doctor (can’t remember his name but quite a bit older and apparently very experienced) administered a sedative called Fentanyl through the cannular. He then held my other hand & talked very gently to me. He asked if I felt different and I said no. He upped it a tiny bit more and then I started feeling light-headed. I closed my eyes & listed to the music. Dr Sharkey asked if I was ready to go and then inserted the old dildo-cam followed by a needle to numb the ovary. He said I might notice a prickly feeling but I hardly felt a thing. He then went about retrieving eggs from my follicles. The older Dr kept asking me how I was feeling and commented that I wasn’t sending him any messages by squeezing his hand so I must be ok. I actually just wanted everyone to stop talking to me so I could concentrate on the music, but it was also reassuring that they were checking I felt ok at each stage. Dr Sharkey then numbed and worked on the other ovary. He apparently counted them as he went along but I couldn't hear.. DH kept updating me. The whole process took maybe 15 minutes? I honestly didn’t feel any pain.. just the usual discomfort of a pelvic scan! The worst part was when he cleaned up my insides with gauze at the end! But that wasn’t that bad either. Both doctors kept commenting on how well I did and Dr Sharkey said I was his easiest patient for quite some time... He later told me his last patient asked for more drugs before they had even done anything, and then got really anxious during the procedure and almost leapt off the table! They said it really helped that I was so relaxed to start with. It honestly was no big deal but I can understand some people may find it a bit daunting.

* When they moved me back to the recliner on wheels (which older Dr kindly referred to as the “wheelbarrow”) I noticed a bit of blood on the floor. Eek. They took me back to the recovery room and Rosie prepped a heat bag for my tummy. The drugs started to wear off and I felt a bit of period-type cramping so she gave me some panadeine. This took the edge off and I felt fine after that.

* Not long after I was back in recovery, they took DH away to get changed. He popped back with my phone so I had something to play with (god love him) and then dashed off to theatre himself. He said he was in a different room and was disappointed there was no music playing. They tried extracting sperm from the epididymis but didn’t get any motile ones so then tried the teste instead, after numbing it. The scientist later found a small amount of good sperm from that. He walked back into recovery fully clothed and not in much pain. His procedure was a lot less full on than the last one he had at IVFA where another specialist insisted on doing a full biopsy (making an incision rather than using a fine needle). He says his “nutsack” still hasn’t recovered from that one!

* Once I stopped feeling dizzy we were led back to the change room where I got dressed, and then led out back to the waiting room to wait for our taxi.

* This afternoon I received a text to say they had updated our portal again. I logged on and it said out of my 9 eggs collected, 7 were mature and injected with sperm. We will receive another update tomorrow morning on their fertilisation progress, another update on Thursday and hopefully proceed to transfer on Friday (day 5).

* All in all I was very impressed with Bump. Every time I called them with a question they knew me by my first name – Rosie later told me that’s because I’m the only person on cycle there at the moment! Such a massively different experience to IVFA where I had to give both names and date of birth, and they had to look me up on the computer (even if it was the same nurse who saw me that morning). This may change as more people hear about Bump and they get busier. The staff are all very friendly and helpful. Fewer appointments means fewer interruptions to your day-to-day life. I think getting tests done at DHM and SUFW clinics near you will make it easier for a lot of people and getting the drugs couriered to you nominated place makes it more convenient too. You only have to attend the clinic for your initial consultation, EPU and ET. The portal means all information is right there in writing, and accessible anytime you want to double check. The EPU procedure was far less of a big deal as you’re not “knocked out”. It was hardly painful at all. And the doctors were awesome. On a side note, it turns out I had met Dr Sharkey about three years ago on a work trip.. I knew he looked familiar! We had a good chat about that and he was very personable, as was the older Dr who administered my sedative and performed DH’s sperm extraction.


The above amount includes all tests & scans, cycle fees and day surgery fees, as well as the cost to obtain our records from IVFA. I stopped adding up my out of pocket fees for a cycle at IVFA.. it was too depressing.. but I think it was around $4-5K.

Sorry this was such an essay but I wanted to jot everything down for anyone interested in trying this organisation. I can definitely recommend them.... and they’re cheaper!! Good luck x

EDIT: Apparently I wasn't meant to pay the $80 follicle scan during this cycle - it should have been charged to Bump. Also, in retrospect, I'm not sure I feel overly confident with the lack of scans & monitoring.. there's a fair bit of "educated" guesswork that goes into choosing your EPU date. I wonder if mine should have been pushed back a couple of days so that my eggs grow & mature a little more. Who knows?

A new clinic. A new beginning. Cycle #13

A new clinic. A new beginning.

I needed to stop simply filling the pockets of our fertility specialist and try something new. He just kept putting me on the same protocol and same dosage over and over again with the same results. OK, we got "pregnant" again.. but it was over before it started so obviously not a high quality embryo.

I started seeing a recommended fertility acupuncturist.
I never believed in all that "mumbo jumbo".. but it was time to look outside the square and be open to new approaches. She's fantastic. I don't know if she's making a difference to our outcome yet, but she has offered me new ideas and, to be honest, it's just great talking to someone so understanding and caring about me. Not just caring about my uterus, my ovaries, my follicles... but me. I find it relaxing too which I guess is a major benefit. She encouraged me to try a new FS within our clinic, put DH on some vitamins (Menevit), and scale back on work stress. A colleague, whose wife was also going through IVF, told me they were considering trying Bump. They're a new bulk-billing clinic in Mosman, Sydney NSW. They bulk bill. That's all I had to hear! They are associated with Monash so they are reputable. Funny thing is - they decided to try my FS at IVF Australia, and I decided to leave him and try Bump. A change is as good as a holiday, as they say. I also quit my job and have gone freelance. I just wasn't happy there and my boss was less than accommodating when it came to my IVF cycle commitments. Now I can call the shots & say I'm unavailable around EPU time. And I get paid way more. Bonus.

So here we are - cycle number 13! That’s our 10th cycle trying for baby number two. I never thought I would still be trying at this stage. But I said I would stop by the time I turned 40, and that’s only five months away.

I tried to do some research into the Mosman Bump clinic but couldn’t find any reviews online. They only opened in November and the nurse today told me they have probably performed around 70 egg collections there so far. I was too scared to ask what their success rate was.. ie. how many pregnancies had been achieved. Let’s just hope I can add to their tally. I'll post a more in-depth review of our experience with Bump shortly which may help others in my situation.

Basically they keep cycle appointments to a minimum as they don't deem it necessary. They also communicate with you through a patient portal (private webpage) and have all medications couriered to your home or work. Although I'm an IVF veteran, I felt a bit nervous not having that constant contact with a nurse to keep an eye on me & explain the medications... however I worked it all out fine. They put me on Puregon instead of Gonal-F but used Orgalutran which I was on before. I was excited to try something different, even though it does the same thing.

Today I had my egg pick-up. It was the first time I didn't have it done under a general anaesthetic. I was a bit nervous about it but the nurse assured me most clinics are moving towards this sedation method instead. It actually wasn't too bad. DH also had his testicular sperm retrieval just after my procedure. They retrieved 9 eggs (my best result for quite a few cycles!) and some wriggly sperm. The Bump doctor encouraged us to use fresh sperm again but keep the frozen as a back-up in case they didn't find anything suitable.. but all was good.

Out of those 9 eggs, 7 were mature and therefore injected with sperm. Tomorrow we'll be updated with their fertilisation progress and hopefully proceed to embryo transfer on Friday. For now I'm going to rest as I don't have to work for another three days. I have another acupuncture appointment on Wednesday to hopefully prepare me for the transfer.

As I said, I'll post again shortly with more details about our Bump experience.

February 16, 2015

"It's not going anywhere..."

I waited until 4.40pm before calling the clinic.. they normally call me somewhere between 12pm and 3pm so the anticipation was dragged out even longer.

When I finally got onto a nurse she said they were extremely busy & that's why they hadn't called yet (geez sorry). She abruptly told me my levels were falling so this wasn't "going anywhere", to stop using the Crinone and come back in a week for another blood test.

That was that.

So I'm left to continue bleeding, and get on with my life.


In limbo..

I had my second blood test (beta) this morning & I'm currently in limbo, waiting to hear the result.

I'm not feeling too positive about it now. First thing this morning I took another HPT and the pregnancy line was lighter than yesterday afternoon's very dark one. The clinic nurse also didn't fill me with any hope. I guess I prefer people to be realistic with me & not fill me with false expectations. I double checked & my levels at 12dp5dt were HCG = 265, P4 = 31.

Of course my bleeding has stopped today. It was still quite heavy at times yesterday but today I'm only getting these weird brown flakes / specks in my urine. I can only guess it's remnants of tissue being expelled. I had some more cramps & abdominal pain yesterday too.. that's never good.

This journey is such a damn rollercoaster! I almost wish I hadn't had the first blood test & just went on with life thinking my period had come & we were unsuccessful this round. To be given hope again is just cruel. 

I don't know whether this was a chemical pregnancy, blighted ovum, ectopic pregnancy, molar pregnancy (again), a regular miscarriage, or one of those far-fetched miracle stories you hear about but never believe.

This two week wait (2ww) is into its third week.. still waiting..

February 15, 2015

Friday the 13th... lucky for some...

Sorry I haven't blogged since this cycle started.
But there's a fair bit if news to catch you up on.... A LOT of news!

So I was going to post earlier in the week about some possible symptoms, thinking that they'll be useful even if I get a BFN.. so I don't kid myself next cycle that they're pregnancy symptoms. For instance, since around 6dp5dt or 7dp5dt I started noticing a very strong sense of smell. I was also burping a lot, particularly when rolling over in bed. My skin was breaking out and I felt a bit "off". I started thinking about POAS soon but, of course, started spotting the evening of 8dp5dt. By the time I woke up the next day I was bleeding heavily. AF had arrived two days before my scheduled BT. I was gutted.

I started talking to hubby about quitting my job. It's highly stressful & I've been pretty fed up with it for some time. This was the last straw. I needed to feel like I was doing something to help our chances. I also started looking up fertility acupuncturists in our area. I'd never tried it for IVF support before, didn't really believe in it seeing as I'd fallen pregnant twice without it. Now was the time.

On Friday the 13th I had my BT appointment at the clinic at 9am. I thought about cancelling, but knew they'd make me come in anyway. What a pain. Such a waste of time. The nurse was sympathetic about my period coming.. I chatted about how I had some "symptoms" but turns out they were the result of the Crinone.. the sense of smell was just one of those false pregnancy symptoms it can cause. She said she'd never heard of that one.. that was new to her. I asked her to check my file & confirm what cycle we were up to as I'd lost count. She said nine. Seriously? 9?? I can't believe we've been so unsuccessful this time around! I told her I saw a new GP yesterday who suggested I give up & just "smell the roses" for my own sanity. I told them both I'm just not ready to give up. I still believe we have another child waiting for us. But that belief was waning. It's hard to stay strong when so many people think you should give up.

Anyway, fast forward to Friday afternoon. I'm at work, it's crazy busy, and the phone rings. I try to move to a quiet spot so I can take the call, as I know it's a nurse delivering my solemn news. She asks my date of birth, I tell her & then prepare to console her with "it's ok, I know it didn't work. Thanks anyway". But she just says "CONGRATULATIONS!"

I go quiet. I'm thinking it must be April Fool's Day.. or I misheard.. or she rang the wrong patient. I squeak "sorry???!" She repeats "congratulations". I think I say "why??!" She laughs & exclaims "you're pregnant!"

I stumble out the door, trying to find a private space to talk. I whisper "no, no, my period started. It's heavy, it's bright red". She insists I'm pregnant, but after a couple of minutes she starts to waver & decides to double check with the lab. Turns out someone else with my surname also had a blood test there the same day, it's a common name. She comes back, insisting it's definitely me. I'm shaking.. and laughing. I tell her this is hilarious & I'm a bit confused. She tells me stories of former patients who bled every month, right on time, right through their successful pregnancies. I've heard these stories too, but to be honest I put them down to urban myths. Crap women tell tell each other to give them false hope. I'm a realist. Don't boost me up if things are probably over. It only prolongs the agony.

But she insists my levels are good. HCG 247 at 12dp5dt & progesterone was ok too (can't remember the number) but she said it wasn't low enough to explain the bleeding. I tell her I stopped using Crinone a few days ago, so we decide I should start it again. She suggests we get another BT on Monday to check my levels again & compare. Thank god. I go home & manage to squeeze the tiniest drop of pee on my last HPT.. nothing happens for a while so I think I missed the stick & have to try again tomorrow. I look again 2 mins later & there's a VERY dark pregnancy line, and a faint control line.

So this is where I'm at - pregnant, but in limbo. I've had a lot of cramps & upper abdominal pain. The bleeding is still as heavy as a period. I have clots & blood-stained clumps of Crinone falling out. I don't know if there's any chance this pregnancy will progress, but I guess I feel hopeful because I was finally able to fall pregnant again. If this doesn't work out I will try again. I'm not giving up hope, no matter how many people think I should. Not yet.

There's still a chance.

January 18, 2015

Here we go again.. cycle #7

Well, here we are again.

I just stared at those words for a while.. unsure what to say next, and in genuine disbelief that we are still aboard the IVF rollercoaster.

We have now had 4 full stim cycles & 2 frozen embryo transfers for baby number 2 over the course of 12 months. But here we are again. Embarking upon cycle number 7 (another full stim ICSI cycle using frozen sperm this time). Our beautiful son (now 2.2yrs) only took 3 cycles. I fell pregnant on cycle number 2 but we lost that one at 10weeks (molar pregnancy). I felt, and still do feel, very lucky. But somehow I also felt, I guess, cocky. I was able to fall pregnant 2 out of 3 times. Surely those odds meant we would have no trouble conceiving again?! Boy was I wrong!!!

Firstly, apologies to anyone who has been trying way longer than us, and who has experienced more hardship & pain along the way. I know there are a lot of you out there. I read a lot of your blogs & see your posts in forums. I've cried for you. So I know I am very fortunate. But I don't feel my family is complete. I desperately want to give my son a sibling, especially as we are much older parents. He shouldn't be burdened with elderly parents on his own, and he should be able to reminisce about his childhood with someone who was there. My brothers & I have this luxury. I want him to have that too.

I'm giving us 6 months to see what happens.

So, here we go again.