Hi! My name is Dani. My husband, Chris, and I started trying to conceive (TTC) since December 2013. We were diagnosed with ‘unexplained infertility‘ in January 2015. After an eventful journey, our daughter, Aviana, was born in December 2016.
I decided to blog about our journey of TTC as I quickly realised that talking to friends and family about our situation can be difficult. It can be hard for them to understand too. We discovered a number of our friends and family have experienced similar problems in the past, but had kept it undisclosed at the time. If we knew then what we know now, I’d like to think we would be able to help them through their journey too.
I’m a Brit living in Virginia, USA, so my blog discusses the observed differences in healthcare systems – the good, the bad and the ugly! I’m also an analyst by profession, so I can’t help but over analyse and critique everything 8-).
So here I am! Sharing my honest thoughts, feelings, ideas and understanding about infertility as together we hunt down the great pudding club. Please join me in my journey, share your thoughts with me because a greater understanding and knowledge will help us together make the hunt a smoother and easier ride.
If you would like to contact me leave a message below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll get back to you!
The journey so far…
– 2013 –
December: Eeek…on holiday we make the big decision to start trying to make a ‘mini me’ Dani or Chris
– 2014 –
July: Ho hum, it hasn’t happened yet, but that’s not unusual, we are just a little bit unlucky…right? Must try harder! Google becomes my best friend.
October: Things still not happening. We start to worry. Chris goes to register at the local doctors and has a wellness physical and mentions to the physician our ambitions and lack of luck so far. Physician sends Chris for some hormonal blood tests. They come back slightly below normal, so we make an appointment at a fertility clinic recommended by the physician. She says she can make a formal referral, but none is needed for this fertility clinic. Next available appointment is early December.
December: First consult with our Reproductive Endocrinologist. She is nice and suggests the usual fertility tests. She doesn’t seem concerned with Chris’s blood test results, my ovaries and uterus look good on the ultrasound, but she suspects based on my medical history with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) that I may in fact have a bit of endometriosis. So we both go for blood tests, Chris does a sperm analysis and I have a hysterosalpingogram (HSG) a bit later in the new year.
– 2015 –
January: The results of our fertility tests indicate everything is normal, but again the doctor suspects I may have mild endometriosis, but there is no point in diagnosing it with a laparoscopy because in my case this can cause more damage than good. So rather, she suggests to treat the infertility with artificial insemination (Intra-uterine insemination, also known as IUI), to help the sperm overcome some of the hostile environment mild endometriosis can cause. We are officially diagnosed with unexplained infertility. I decide to start blogging and created the great pudding club hunt as my place to vent my thoughts, capture our journey and start to help overcome some of the stigma attached to infertility.
April: 3rd IUI with letrozole, ovidrel and progesterone suppositories. 3rd time’s a charm just didn’t work. Schedule consult with our doctor to figure out the next steps.
May: Our consult with our Doctor is unsurprising, the next steps are IVF. We still remain ‘unexplained’, but I have to have hydrosonogram to check my uterus is clear of fibroids and anything else because the HSG wasn’t quite clear enough the first time (my uterus is retroverted). We have our first meeting with the nurse IVF co-ordinator who explains the whole IVF process to us. We take a month off trying to conceive for the first time in 17 months – that’s 19 chances (I have pretty short cycles) for me, 3 of them were assisted (1 miss timed due to work travel). I start to look into IVF more and gain an honorary MSc in Reproduction (well I should have one after all the research I have done!!!).
June: I begin a healthy diet cutting out sugars and simple carbohydrates, taking supplements etc, preparing my bod for IVF. Our last chance to conceive naturally.
July: Our last chance to conceive before IVF…no such luck. So IVF scheduled to start 24th.
August: IVF#1 Antagonist Protocol (Gonal-F, Menopur & Cetrotide). 9 eggs collected, 6 eggs mature, 4 fertilised, 2x 8 Cell Embryos transferred on Day 3. 1 of 2 fertilised embryos made it to Day 6 blastocyst and so 1 is cryopreserved. Big Fat Positive (BFP), hCG level at 4W0D – 49. Celebrate for a week, although cautiously. But hCG levels slowly rise – I’m told this is a non-viable pregnancy. I am closely monitored for ectopic pregnancy, no sign of the pregnancy on my ultrasounds of anything growing in my uterus.
September: 7W2Days, diagnosed suspected ectopic pregnancy – methotrexate injection given to terminate pregnancy that could have ruptured my fallopian tubes at any time. Unable to conceive for 3 months because methotrexate is toxic to embryos and can cause birth defects. Pause button is pressed 😦
October: Time to take a holiday and a break from Trying To Conceive (TTC), so we take a road trip to SW USA 🙂 Follow up appointment with our Doctor, we decide to try IVF again and leave our one frozen blastocycst for a later time.
November: Still not allowed to conceive, try some blog therapy to help me in the wait. I take a second HSG test, my fallopian tubes are all clear, I get the go ahead to start a new round of IVF in December or January.
December: Waiting….enjoying the holiday season! Waistline expands a little…
January: IVF#2 Antagonist Protocol (Gonal-F, Menopur & Cetrotide). 14 eggs collected, 11 eggs mature, 11 fertilised, 2x blastocysts transferred (5BB and 5CC) on Day 5. Zero of the remaining 9 embryos were cryopreserved – we were gutted as everything seemed so much more promising.
February: IVF#2 continues into the two week wait…but we sadly get a Big Fat Negative (BFN) result. A follow up consult with our doctor and she is very positive for us still. So we agree to do a hysteroscopy to check the lining of my uterus, then all things good, start with IVF round 3 with a new protocol (Lupron down regulation). She evaluates the quality of our embryos and they are excellent at Day 3, so we will be very careful to consider our options for our third Cycle on which day to transfer.
March: Hysteroscopy performed – all clear! Starting IVF #3 end of March/beginning of April.
April: IVF round 3 with a new protocol and a few additional supplements – raspberry leaf tea and melatonin during stimulation. This time they retrieve 17 eggs, 12 mature, 10 fertilised. I suffer from mild Ovarian Hyper Stimulation Syndrome (OHSS) but more extreme than my first IVF cycle. So. much. pain. Thought the transfer would be cancelled, but with only 3 embryos looking like they might make it, we transfer 2 reasonable Day 5s. zero embryos made it to the freezer. Gutted again. But after the 2 week wait I get a positive test! Woohoo! What a roller coaster of a month. Due date is 1 January 2017!
December: At 36 weeks pregnant I am diagnosed with Intra-Uterine Growth Restriction (IUGR – asymmetric). Our daughter was not growing as she should be and the doctor’s could not find a cause, so I was put on ‘bed rest’. I had regular non-stress tests and growth ultrasounds to be safe. I was induced at 38 weeks as the doctor believed she would be better outside of my body than inside. Aviana Ruby arrived into the world on 21st December at 21:12 (yes – 21/12 21:12!!!) weighting 5lbs 1oz. She was truly a little fighter.
Today…..we are in the wait as we decide if we want to continue to build our family!!!