IVF round 2 – December/January 2016

We met for our follow-up appointment with our doctor yesterday.  There were no surprises.  Which is a good thing!  So the plan of attack is a fresh round of IVF…get a couple more embryos frozen:

  1. Schedule a Hysterosalpingogram (HSG – if you would like a refresher what this procedure entails, check out my post from last time here) – I will do this as soon as I start my period (who knows when that will be!!!).  It is very unlikely that my fallopian tubes will be blocked, but she wants to be sure.  Fair enough.  However, I am NOT looking forward to this test.  Last time I was completely naive to the potential pain ahead for this particular procedure, now that I know exactly how much it can hurt I’m a wee bit nervous!
  2. Plan to start Birth Control Pills to regulate my cycle in December with an egg retrieval date for early January 16.  There is a period of 3 weeks that the embryology lab is closed over the Christmas period.  Seriously – how unlucky am I?? Last time my cycle was delayed because the embryology lab was being refurbished.  Oh well – I guess everyone needs a holiday.

There is a potential chance we could start Birth Control Pills in November, and do a retrieval before Christmas, but I think it will be close to my 3 month period of ‘no baby making’ because of the methotrexate shot I had affecting fetus development.  I have been researching this, and I would be willing to go ahead a week or two earlier because doctors are overly cautious with this 3 month time stamp.  As long as I keep taking my folic acid I should have no problems.  However, this is something to be discussed once we have a better idea of a) when my period is likely to be and b) assuming my HSG test is all clear!!!

There will be no change to my protocol, perhaps a slight increase in some of the medication dosages to mature more of my eggs.  As a reminder from our first round we had 9 eggs retrieved, 6 of these eggs were mature, 4 of these eggs were successfully fertilised by ICSI, 2 good 8 cell embryos were transferred on day 3, and 1 of the 2 embryos made it to Day 5 blastocyst and was frozen.  Our doctor mentioned that she would consider waiting to Day 5 for the transfer this time around, especially as our frozen one is Day 5 – she wants them to be the same.  We like this plan!

This gives me some time to concentrate on work for a little while, get my body healthy and start growing some strong eggs!  What is amazing is what the horrrorscopes says for me next week…


I was already planning on going back on my sugar free, healthy diet next week! Freaky! Sooooo….which old friend should I Skype on Sunday next week and wants to reveal a long-held secret to me??!!!?!

A small reminder that I have absolutely no control over this

It has been 6 days since I have thought deeply about our recent loss, but today I have thought about it a lot.  The past six days have been truly wonderful (we are currently on a 15 day road trip in the South West of USA); Chris and I have hardly talked about what the future holds for us as prospective parents trying to conceive.  No baby talk.  No IVF talk.  Who knew we had so much other stuff to talk about!

All was well and good in the mind of Dani, until I received a phone call when I was at the top of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, from my clinic, reminding me that I am supposed to be taking weekly beta blood tests until my hCG levels are below 5.  I was a little peeved about this call.  I was annoyed because the day after my last blood test (Monday 27th Sep about 12 days ago) no one called with my  test results, I waited until the day after, still no call.  I had every good intention to call them to check what my results were, but my week got so busy at work that I never made the call, and they never called me.  So, on Friday 2nd Oct, I flew out West, in holiday mode, thinking that I must be in the clear, otherwise the clinic would be harassing me on the phone by that point – and so I thought nothing more of it.  Until that moment in the Grand Canyon.  Now in their defence, they could have called me at any point on my holiday and I wouldn’t have received a message from them due to lack of connectivity to the ‘real world’.  Never-the-less I was still slightly annoyed.  I told the nurse that it would be a bit tricky for me to come in the next day for a beta blood test because I was currently in Arizona and wasn’t planning to be back until next week.  So I asked her if my beta level had dropped sufficiently that it wasn’t urgent for me to take a test.  She told me levels were at 49 (finally, I found out my result, until that point I had no clue).  She said she would message the doctor who was overseeing my methotrexate treatment, to let him know I was away.  She thought it wouldn’t be a problem.  I have heard nothing more from the clinic – so I assume all is good with the world, they are not seriously worried….but again….my access to signal is poor to terrible, so who knows?!

Receiving this call briefly reminded me where I was just over a week ago and I felt a bit sad again.  But that was a brief moment….and the holiday fun continued.

That was, until yesterday.

I woke up yesterday with period pains.  I thought uh oh, I’m not really prepared for my period to happen just yet!  BUT my period showed itself within an hour of me thinking, hmmm my period feels like it is coming.  That in itself is unusual, I normally get a few days advance warning of pains and twinges.  I have previously read online that a period following a miscarriage can be painful and heavier than normal (I don’t really know what normal is supposed to be anyway!!!).

Initially, I was excited because this meant that I would have one normal cycle, then the next cycle have the dreaded HSG test (again :-S), then the third cycle start the Birth Control Pills for next IVF cycle, all before Christmas! Then when I actually thought about it and counted the number of days since I stopped spotting from the miscarriage – it was 16 days since the heavier spotting, and only 13 days since zero blood.  So the question I had on my mind was – is this actually my period? – or am I still miscarrying?  Everywhere I have read, they say 20 days from end of spotting or hCG below 5, minimum.

And then…..last night I woke up from sharp pains, although they dissipated quickly, just a few hours later, I passed a clot the size of half my hand, I have never experienced this with any period before.  But like I said, I have no clue what is normal.  And because I have missed my beta test this week, I don’t really know if my hCG levels are back down to 0, so I cannot say for sure this is my period.  All day today has been very heavy and very clotty, I felt like I was miscarrying all over again.

I feel sad, all over again.  The hormones probably have a part to play, but the sadness has washed over me.  Just as I was on my way up.

I’m simply tired of being sad for us.

I have missed blogging over the last week, I have missed reading all the other lovely blogs, I need to hear the good news stories, I need to hear inspiration; I feel like I’ve missed out on some therapy of the mind and soul.  Despite my respite from the rest of the world and the wonderful distractions from Mother Nature.  But I am writing this today as we drive to Santa Fe – I just couldn’t wait.  Chris is probably cursing me right now as we head into Santa Fe getting lost because, as the chief navigator, I am distracted with writing my thoughts.

Please, please let this be an exceptionally heavy period and not a continuation of the miscarriage.

Infertility is teaching me that I have absolutely no control over any of this – my body, my mind. And so although I tell myself it is pointless trying to wish things to be right, I just can’t sweep the sadness aside for today.  Hopefully tomorrow will be another day, another day on the path to slow healing.

I said NO…am I crazy?

The on-call doctor called me first thing this morning and apologised she had not called yesterday with my results (she did have them yesterday after all and gave no reason).  She said my beta hCG levels have risen again and she wanted me to come in today to take the methotrexate shot.  I asked her if she had spoken to my doctor (- no she hadn’t) because my doctor had said she would keep monitoring me up to 7 weeks for a visible confirmation of ectopic before administering the methotrexate.  7 weeks was her cut off point.  The on-call doctor said it was ultimately my decision, but it would be against their recommendation not to take the methotrexate today.  She also checked with the other senior doctor who was there with her, and he said it was OK for me to wait – despite it being against their recommendation.  I said OK and asked when can I come in for another ultrasound, she said it was up to me.  My doctor isn’t back in the office until after the holiday weekend, Tuesday.  This is when my doctor said her cut off point was.  So I told the on-call doctor that I will wait for my doctor to come back.  I also asked what was my actual hCG level because she hadn’t told me up to then – it was 1300 (up from 1066 48 hours ago).  That was a lot less than I expected.  I have a feeling it’s tailing off.  Here is my chart:

Normal hCG levels compared to my hCG levels

Normal hCG levels compared to my hCG levels (Note this is on a Log scale)

The on-call doctor told me to call her anytime I wanted to change my mind, and please look out for any pain.  After I got off the phone, I panicked.  Chris was still asleep in bed at the time of the phone call so I woke him and basically cried at him.  He says he supports my decision, but wants me to take the methotrexate.  Ultimately I feel like crap right now.  I have had SO MANY unknowns from encounters with doctors and I am sick and tired of it:

  • When I was 18 I went to ER because I had a random massive vaginal bleed.  They couldn’t tell me why.
  • When I was 19 I spent a year in and out of doctors trying to diagnose my abdominal pains.  I was eventually diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), but there is no test to confirm this, it was their last thing in the box (I know I do have IBS, but really we don’t know why – and no one really knows what causes IBS).  I could have endometriosis too, but IBS explains the pains too.  They couldn’t tell me why.
  • When I was 20 I ended up in an ambulance being taken to ER because I passed out from abdominal pains.  I freaked out a lot of people.  They suspected that it was IBS related after eating 3 days of ration pack food in the field whilst on Army Exercise.  But really – they couldn’t tell me why.
  • We can’t have a baby without medical intervention.  We have unexplained infertility.  They can’t tell me why.
  • I’m pregnant, but they can’t see anything on the ultrasound at 6W4D and hCG level of 1300.  THEY CAN’T TELL ME WHY.

What is wrong with my body?  It’s like I have a black box body of unknown-ness.  Am I actually an alien??!

Honestly, I think I might be going crazy for not taking the methotrexate, but there is something that just doesn’t feel quite right about it.  Why don’t I want to take this drug? Because I’m very afraid of the side effects and being put through this unnecessarily if the abnormal pregnancy is in fact just growing slowly in my uterus and not one of my tubes.  Methotrexate can really mess with your gut, and my gut really is bad enough as it is.  I am not even bothered by the fact that we have to wait 3 months before trying again – I will WELCOME this after everything we have experienced the last 2 weeks.  Chris thinks I should take the shot so we can end this right now, mostly for the psychological pain, plus of course he is worried I will end up in hospital. Aghhh.  This truly sucks.

Life lessons and bloody blood. For blood’s sake.

I stopped my birth control pills as instructed by the nurse on Monday (cycle day 13).  Today, 3 days later I get my period….now come on Aunt Flow…..you just stopped bleeding only 6 days ago!!! And of course the bleeding is accompanied by the usual pains 😦

Oh well, only conciliation is that tomorrow we start our first IVF cycle.  Am I nervous? Yep! Excited? A teeny bit, because we are moving forward, hopefully!

Whatever happens over the next four weeks, good or bad, we will learn something new:

  • Chris will learn how to stab me with various needles.
  • We will learn how to mix up our own drugs.
  • I will learn how good or bad my veins are for drawing blood.
  • I will learn that my vagina is no longer my own, not even during my period.  Sorry Chris.
  • We will learn about how my eggs and Chris’s sperm work, or do not work together.
  • We will learn about hope, love and strength in our marriage.
  • We will learn whether we will become parents.

Plus loads more…I like learning new things so my glass is half full right now, despite how scary that list looks 🙂

Period Pants (The trouser variety)

I took a home pregnancy test last night just to be sure.  I had a bit of spotting so I was still holding onto hope.  But at the same time, I didn’t want to take another progesterone suppository if I didn’t have to.  No matter how much I squinted at the test this time, there was nothing but white space.  I awoke this morning to the fat lady singing.  And no she wasn’t a beautiful opera singer, rather the heavy ugly type, and a little bit out of tune too.  And so the period pants come on.  Both the knicker type and trouser type, just to be clear.

Our appointment with our doctor to discuss the next steps is scheduled for 4th May, the earliest appointment possible.  I am looking forward to it, but mostly I am looking forward to not trying to conceive this month. After 17 months, its time for a little break.  Time for some alcohol (just a bit), exercise (a lot), some dangerous sports and diet (just a bit because I’ve put on a bit of weight the last few months, time to get into that bikini!!).  No more temperature taking, no more peeing into a cup, no more hormones, sex when we want to and hopefully a little less pain.  Doesn’t sound so bad, does it really?

Ps. Oh and if anyone tells me it will happen now we are relaxed I’ll punch them in the face.  Sorry.

Time to get back to some of the more 'dangerous sports'...sorry mum!

Time to get back to some of the more ‘dangerous sports’…sorry mum!

Facebook: The sad truth of the matter #NIAW, #YouAreNotAlone

Facebook – you kept me awake this morning contemplating giving you up.

I have 423 friends on facebook.

40 of my friends liked this picture of me drinking beer….almost 10%!  That’s pretty high!

Hofbrauhaus in Munich. Mmmm Beer!

Hofbrauhaus in Munich. Mmmm Beer!

The irony being that in this picture, these were not my beers, and I was drinking non-alcoholic beers that night because I’m trying for a baby!

However, only 17 liked this photo and blurb about National Infertility Awareness Week (incidentally only 2 of the 17 were men, I salute you because this is not just about women)….

Did you know that 1 in 8 couples you know may suffer from infertility? Did you know that 1 in 100 births in the US are made possible from Assisted Reproductive Technologies such as IVF? Infertility IS a disease, it is a hidden disease. This week is National Infertility Awareness Week, so please share the message and remember friends ‪#‎YouAreNotAlone‬, ‪#‎WeAreNotAlone‬, ‪#‎NIAW‬

Did you know that 1 in 8 couples you know may suffer from infertility? Did you know that 1 in 100 births in the US are made possible from Assisted Reproductive Technologies such as IVF? Infertility IS a disease, it is a hidden disease. This week is National Infertility Awareness Week, so please share the message and remember friends ‪#‎YouAreNotAlone‬, ‪#‎WeAreNotAlone‬, ‪#‎NIAW‬

So why do I feel judged or failed by sharing this photo and message?  Why do I feel like the number of ‘likes’ is a measure of my success in sharing the message about Infertility Awareness Week?  Maybe people read it, but felt awkward to like it or share it?  Did I make people feel uncomfortable?  Was it not interesting?  Did they know these facts already?  Was it too boring?  Do people not care? Was it not controversial enough?  All these things I wonder….but they are silly.  If I hadn’t posted the picture of me with the beer last week and got so many likes, would 17 ‘likes’ have satisfied me that I had some success in sharing the message?

I have thought about ways to raise awareness.  Before we started this journey, the hunt for the great pudding club, I had no clue about infertility.  I knew it happened, I didn’t know how many people it affected, and how differently it affected people.  The pain and suffering of these people were hidden from me.  It is a personal journey so it shouldn’t have to be shared with me and the whole world, but I feel like I should have been educated in it.  When I was at school and I learnt about conception, the biology behind it, the sex education classes I was unaware of quite how truly each conception is a miracle.  The events that have to occur all in line for conception to be made possible is amazing.  I only learnt about all of this over the last year.

I want to raise awareness so I drafted a blog post as part of the National Infertility Awareness Week blog challenge under the theme of #YouAreNotAlone.  I drafted it last weekend, but I have not posted it yet because the tone of blog will be highly dependent on the outcome of IUI round 3 this week. I have written two versions of the post, the first version is aimed at inviting close friends and family to help us on our journey which is about to get more difficult or, alternatively the second version, announcing to friends and family that we are pregnant in the early stages, as a result of help and assistance from fertility treatment.  I’m still waiting to post my blog.  Here is how it has gone so far…

Sat: 10 DPIUI – I landed back in the US and made Chris drive me to the pharmacy to buy us some of the expensive early pregnancy tests.  I was feeling like I was pregnant 🙂  I took the test and there was the faintest of lines.  I even took apart the test to look closer because the reflection of the plastic made me wonder if I was imagining it.  But could this be the hormones left over from my Ovidrel shot?  I went to bed smiling either way because there was still a chance.

Sun: 11 DPIUI – I took another early pregnancy test.  Nope, nothing, nadda.  Saturday must have been from the Ovidrel.  Why did I take the test so early?  Well, I have never taken a test before my period was due, I was in experimentation mode and thought what the hell.  A sad Dani.  But it is still early and definitely not over til the fat lady sings (AKA Aunt Flow).

Mon: 12 DPIUI – Chris told me not to take a test.  I didn’t.  Chris came home from work sad, he had been thinking about it all day.  I was sad too. It was a sad evening with many hugs.

Tues: 13 DPIUI – I took a cheapy test.  I saw a very very faint line!  Well at least I really thought I did.  Chris took a look at it and told me there was absolutely nothing there.  I didn’t listen to him and went to be with a little smile.  This morning I woke up and looked at it again, he was right, there is nothing there, I was actually hallucinating.

Today Weds: 14 DPIUI…….No testing today.  I will wait for Aunt Flow to arrive.  She is rumbling.  Unless I am sorely mistaken.

Whatever happens, I will be posting my blog challenge for National Infertility Awareness Week very soon. #YouAreNotAlone, #WeAreNotAlone