The tears

I woke up like any other morning, rolled over and checked my phone to see what the time was.  I can’t help but check my notifications on my phone in case something exciting has happened whilst I’ve been sleeping (a pretty bad habit of mine)…if there is a facebook notification then I open up facebook.  This morning, bleary eyed I opened up facebook and there was a stream of lovely photos of my friends in the UK celebrating mothers’ day (it’s not mothers day here in the US)…it warmed my heart. I like mothers’ day, I’ve never found mother’s day difficult whilst trying to conceive.  Yes it kind of sucks that I’m not a mum yet, but I feel more association with the day to my mother and celebrating her. But……

This morning as I woke up, for some reason when I read a post about someone who was pregnant and celebrating being a mother, it triggered me.  I thought about how far along I would be if huckleberry had decided to implant a few inches lower in my uterus rather than where ever else he was hiding probably in my fallopian tube (we never found out exactly).  I would be 32 weeks pregnant with a nice bump.  I would be waking up, probably complaining about some pregnancy ailment.  I would be asking huckleberry how he felt like behaving today.  We would probably have the nursery almost ready…..maybe I would have bought that adorable onesie I saw last week in TJ Maxx…maybe, just maybe, I would consider my self eligible for mothers’ day today.  And so this morning, I quietly had a bit of a cry thinking about these things of what might have been.

I’m not to dwell on the ‘what ifs’…but yet it reminded me that there are many, many women out there who have mother hearts.  We might not be able to see them, but they are loved by many. So to you all…happy mothers’ day X

mother's day.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

The hysteroscopy

I am insanely missing my blog right now!  I have been so busy with work and other things that my blogging has suffered, and I am constantly thinking about things I want to write about and get out of my head, I just haven’t been able to.  There is definitely a truth in writing being a form of therapy…a therapy I’ve come to rely on and when it’s not there I start to get itchy.  Anyway, I am here!  Briefly albeit 😦

Today I woke up at 4AM and could not get back to sleep, I won’t lie, I was a little anxious about the hysteroscopy procedure today.  We got up at 5AM so I could shower before inserting the cytotec pills into my vagina!  Nice.  We arrived at the clinic at 6:30AM and the nurses were great as usual.  I was first on the surgery list, a few other ladies were there for their egg retrievals after me.  I got changed into my beautiful one size fits all, modesty covering gown and climbed into a bed with freshly warmed sheets and a couple of extra because I get so so cold in that prep/recovery room!  I signed my life away and took the obligatory pregnancy test.  It would be miraculous if I was pregnant and we all joked about how we all would be happy if I had to be sent home because it turned out to be positive.  No such luck.

The nurse prepared the back of my right hand for the IV needle.  I have wonderful veins, but the nurse managed to bust it and it started swelling up like a balloon.  I started to feel faint like I was about to pass out.  I’m not a needle fan so watching this made me feel sick.  So she tried again but on the inside of my forearm.  She got the needle in, but it felt really, really weird.  She wasn’t happy with it, so she called another nurse to come take a look and try on my other hand. I was feeling really light headed at this point, so she lay me down almost completely.  The other nurse had done my IVs both times previously, so I started to feel a little better when she attempted to insert the needle in the back of my left hand.  She also used lidocaine to numb the area first so I was instantly less nervous because I couldn’t feel the needle jabbing around inside me!  Finally, the IV was in!

hysteroscopy.jpg

Pre-sedation! The nurses wrapped me up all nice and snuggly

Chris came back to keep me company whilst we waited for my doctor to arrive.  After about 20 minutes she arrived and asked if I had any questions; I may have mentioned this before but she has a real awkward bed side manner, it is actually now growing on me!  Then the anesthesiologist gave me a cocktail of drugs through my IV, and I started to feel like I had 4 or 5 strong margaritas (apparently margaritas was what he was putting through my IV!).  I was wheeled on my bed through to the operating room, and I concentrated really hard on looking around the room to see what it was like.  But that lasted 30 seconds and I was out.  Next thing I knew, I was waking up with Chris next to me, and everyone was laughing and joking at me because I had apparently been dancing to Elton John music in the surgery. Hmmmm.  OK, if that’s what you say!  I think it might actually be credible thing I’d do!

I vaguely remember them also saying that everything looked good on the camera and they had taken a biopsy to be sure.  I had to ask Chris later if I imagined this conversation because I wasn’t sure if I had dreamed it!

I was really, really sleepy coming out of this cocktail of sedation drugs compared to my egg retrievals. I struggled to wake up and felt very woozy. I asked the nurse if the drugs were different, but she said they were the same, they may have given me a little more this time, or just being tired and stressed can make recovery time longer.  Well, both of those things are true so I guess that explained it.  After an hour of coming out of the operating room, I was ready to be driven home.  We stopped off at Panera bread to buy some breakfast treats.  I also ordered a decaf caramel latte and when I took a sip of it I was convinced it had no coffee in it at all!  It just tasted like steamed milk to me.  Chris tried it and said that it definitely had coffee in it.  I didn’t believe him, miffed,  I didn’t drink anymore of it until I got home, when this time I took a sip it definitely had coffee in it!  So something weird was going on with my taste buds!  I attempted to eat my giant cinnamon roll, but my mouth was sooooooooooo dry I could barely swallow a mouthful.  My throat is sore and my mouth dry now still!  Well at least this time I don’t have a drippy nose!  Ah well, I think I would rather have been sedated than have none, so I can’t complain in the grander scheme of things.

So once again, everything looks normal.  We still have no explanation as to what may be wrong.  I  am pleased that there is nothing obviously wrong with my uterus (well, I am still waiting for the results of the endometrieal biopsy they took whilst they were in there today!).

Tomorrow I will phone and see what the plan is for starting IVF round 3 because my period is due to start 3 days before my results appointment, so I need to see if they will start me on down regulation before the results.  I also don’t really know much about their lupron down regulation protocol and how long they do it for.

For now I have a very busy week ahead of me, but I have a quieter weekend coming, so I hope to catch up with the blogging then and get me some blog therapy in!

The Pre Hysteroscopy Surgery Appointment

The nurse called me back and directed me to the toilet.  I told her I had literally just gone to the toilet 2 minutes before she called me and that I apologised profusely that I did not know I was required to do a pregnancy pee test! Whoops!!!  But the silly thing is that almost two weeks ago we did a blood test after IVF cycle 2 and it was a big fat negative.  I am currently on Cycle Day 11 so it would actually be a miracle if I was pregnant right now!! But hey, I guess stranger things have happened.  The nurse took my blood pressure and temperature as usual, but this time we did something different!  A finger prick to test my hemoglobin levels.  I told her it’s always fun to try something new at the clinic, just to mix it up a bit!  I suggested a fertility test card bingo game, I might be on way my way to winning by now!!  Winning what exactly, I’m not sure…

The nurse explained that she was going to order in to my pharmacy a prescription of two cytotec pills that I need insert vaginally an hour before arriving for my hysteroscopy next week (basically I will need to do that at 0530 on the day of the procedure!!! :-s).  Cytotec is actually primarily used to prevent stomach ulcers when taking Non Sterodial Anti Inflammatory Drugs such as Ibuprofen or aspirin.  But cytotec does have an off label use – to ‘ripen the cervix’ (Haha I love the fact that one ‘ripens the cervix’ like an apple or banana)  Basically it helps dilate the cervix so it is easier for the camera to get into the uterus.  So this adds 4 types of drugs I’ve used during infertility treatment that is off label use – Letrozole, vivelle dot estrogen patches, methotrexate and now the cytotec. Off label use means that the FDA hasn’t approved that drug for the manner in which the doctor has prescribed it.  But all of these drugs are commonly used off label, so I am not worried about it.  But at no point have I ever been told these are drugs are being prescribed off label.  It’s an interesting practice!  I digress….

After being prodded and poked by the nurse I saw my doctor who went over the procedure with me and updated my medical history.  The procedure is relatively simple.  I arrive at 0630 AM at the surgery operating room, they get me prepped and ready in a fabulous gown.  No eating or drinking after midnight until after the procedure.  No make up, jewellery etc.  Similar to the egg retrieval.  The anesthetist will give me a cocktail of sedation drugs, probably similar to ones to the egg retrieval.  Once I am knocked out, they insert a camera through my cervix into my uterus – there are no cuts required.  Then they take a look around.  If there is anything there that shouldn’t be there, they will remove it there and then.  They will probably also take a biopsy of my uterus.  The whole procedure typically lasts 15 minutes.  Then I am back out of surgery into recovery for about an hour for the sedation to wear off, then I am driven home by my lovely, patient, husband.  So it really is a quick and simple procedure.  I might be in a bit of pain afterwards, but there is no requirement for me to rest afterwards, however, I won’t return to work until the next day because of the anesthesia drugs.

Simples!

Finally after my doctor gave me the low down and I signed my life away for all potential risks, I moved to the business admin office to pay my dues.  Here is the complicated bit.

My insurance provider is United Healthcare.  Well kind of.  My actual insurance company is Allianz.  I work for an international organisation where the majority of its employees work in Europe, but there are a small number of us here living in the US, so although Allianz provides us with worldwide coverage, it doesn’t have a primary market in the US.  So, Allianz pays United Healthcare to be the ‘front man’ for all of us employees who live in the US.  This means that Allianz gets access to all the in-network negotiated benefits and doesn’t have to worry about administration costs of billing etc in the US.  So all my healthcare providers bill to United, United then bill Allianz.

Have I lost you yet???!!

For anything dental or vision I have to pay for it upfront then claim it back from Allianz, then they re-imburse me 90%.  But I also have the choice of paying for any other healthcare service upfront and then claiming it back directly from Allianz,  I don’t have to go through United.  Most of the time this isn’t beneficial because of the in-network negotiated costs can sometimes be ridiculously discounted so it is better to go through United.  Except in the case of my hysteroscopy….

United demand that the hysteroscopy procedure is performed at a hospital and not the clinic.  If it is not performed at a hospital they won’t pay up.  If I went to the hospital, there is a longer wait time, particularly co-ordinating it so my doctor from the clinic can go to the hospital to do the procedure.  Then there is the high cost of doing it in a hospital – approximately $20 000!  Now, there would be in-network discounts on that, but still that is a lot of money when you compare it to what my clinic charges – just $1300 if you self pay.  Also, it is also far more convenient to have the procedure done at the clinic, especially as I know their surgery room well now!  So it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out what needed to be done.  Today I payed the $1300 ($400 of it in cash for the anesthetist, sounds dodgy right??!) , and then I will claim that back from Allianz directly in a couple of weeks time when I get the itemised bill.   Allianz don’t care where I have it done as long as it doesn’t cost more than the limit.  This made me think may be I could pay for all my IVF treatment upfront and claim it back – I reckon I could save about $500 if I did that.  But then I remember how many bills I got through and realised that there is no way I could easily track all of that and then track all those claims to Allianz in addition to also handle the pre-approval process.  I did that for my IUIs and it was a headache.  It’s not worth the stress.  Even if it were to give me a crap load of credit card points!!!!

Insurance in the US – what an absolute nightmare.  But I think I probably have it easy despite the unusual arrangement we have with United & Allianz.  I have it easy because I have amazing infertility coverage, and for that I am truly grateful.

Anyway, here I am, ready to go now for my hysteroscopy procedure next Tuesday!!! Who’d have thought I’d be excited for a diagnostic procedure that requires anesthesia!  This is what infertility does to a woman, it turns you into a masochist-craaaazy!

Average number of blastocysts per IVF cycle

It’s a really simple question – what is the average number of blastocysts per IVF cycle?  After our failed IVF cycle I posted a status update in my local resolve support group’s facebook page, I explained what had happened with our cycle: 14 eggs retrieved, 11 mature, 11 fertilised, 2x 5 Day blastocysts transferred (5BB & 5CC) on Day 5, 9 still alive on day 5, but 0 were of sufficient quality for cryopreservation.   Some ladies commented how they had similar results with 0 embryos making it to the freezer, and one lady posed the very good question how common is it to have 0 make it to the freezer? Perhaps it is more common than we think?  So it got me thinking…at no point has my doctor said what a typical number of eggs, embryos or blastocysts she would expect out of a cycle for us – the only stats we were ever told was all about our likelihood of a successful pregnancy from 1 cycle of IVF, and ultimately, a live birth.  And of course, that is the only statistic we only really care about, right?  This holds true, until you get a Big Fat Negative (BFN), then the other statistics start to matter and grind at you.

So I looked into it, and asked google – what is the average number of blastocysts per IVF cycle?  But I couldn’t find an easy answer, or at least one that I held great confidence in.  I’m the kind of person who needs to see the supporting evidence, and not just some seemingly arbitrary numbers some random person has posted on a website.  But although I didn’t find any national statistics per se, what I did find, made me feel a whole lot better about our last cycle.

The statistics that the Pacific Fertility Center in Canada are claiming are [1]:

11 – Average number of eggs retrieved

9 – Average number of mature eggs

7 – Average number of eggs that fertilise (approximately 80%)

7 – Average number of fertilised eggs that will form embryos (98%)

7 – Average number of embryos on Day 3 of culture

3.5 – Average number of blastocycts on Day 5/6 (50% of good quality day 3 embryos make it to blastocyst)

It was not clear if this was their clinic’s statistics or where the source of this data came from.  So my confidence is not high in it, I don’t know over how many cycles or patients this average is calculated.  But at least it gives you a flavour of what numbers to expect.  Note, it does not mention average number of blastocysts making it to cryopreservation!

Another clinic, Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago, provides a nice pretty chart of their own statistics, broken down by age for the period of 2003-2005.  First of all my first alarm bell is that is over 10 years old now!  Has anything changed in Assisted Reproductive Technologies in the last 10 years? Hmmmmm.  Anyway, here it is….

ivf-eggs-embryos-babies

Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago’s average number of eggs, mature eggs, fertilised eggs, 8 cell embryos and Day 5 blasts [2]

Their numbers are slightly lower than the Canadian clinic’s…but there could be many reasons for this because, again, there is no clue as to how many cycles/patients this average is calculated over.  This clinic does publish their statistic of how many blastocysts make it to cryopreservation.  And here is the money shot statistic people!!!!

number-embryos-frozen-age

Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago’s average number of blastocysts frozen per cycle in 2010-2011 [3]

Just look at how low these numbers are! An average of 1.7 for women younger than 35 years old.  And this statistic is a little bit more up to date than the ones above – this was for cycles from 2010-2011.

So what is the point of this post?  The point is that we didn’t have any blastocysts that made it to cryopreservation, but we did have 2 blasts that were transferred and 1 that could have been frozen, but they decided it might not survive the thaw.  For our first cycle we had one blast make it to the freezer.  The point is, we had high expectations for more to make it to the freezer, when in actual fact the reality is, we were better than average to have so many good Day 3 embryos and we were typically average with transferring 2 on Day 5. Yes, IVF cycle 2 was a failure, but we were pretty average with our second cycle!!! This doesn’t mean we are less likely to succeed with cycle 3, rather the odds ARE in our favour.

Happy dance Dani!!!

stay the path

[1] Source: http://www.pacificfertility.ca/our-resources/guide-to-ivf-lab-results/

[2] Source: http://www.advancedfertility.com/ivf.htm

[3] Source: http://www.advancedfertility.com/cryo.htm

 

 

Infertility is a disease

Infertility is a disease.  It is a disease that results in the abnormal functioning of the male or female reproductive system.  The World Health Organisation, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists recognise infertility as a disease.

So why don’t I think of infertility as a disease?  Why do people not think about infertility is a disease?  Because we don’t understand it.  We don’t learn about it at school.  We might learn about it through friends and family, but only if they choose to share their diagnosis and treatment.  Many do not because they are embarrassed that they cannot successfully procreate.

But I am finally beginning to understand infertility, and I have been suffering from it, for over a year now.  It’s taken me a while!  So how can I expect non-infertile people to understand when I live and breathe it daily?

Why is it so important that infertility is recognized as a disease?  Because generally people understand that a disease is something that is fought against.  The concept of letting a disease consume a human being is horrifying, whether it is physically or mentally consuming.  Disease is bad.  Disease should not be tolerated.  Disease should be researched and studied until we figure out how to overcome it.

I personally have been ignorant to the fact that we are fighting a disease.  I have advocated for education and learning about infertility through my blog, and yet I have only just realized that I was ignoring it.  That might seem to be an absurd statement considering the number of blog posts I have made in the past year….I think about my infertility every waking day.  May be I am obsessed by it.  But I have ignored it at large too.  Why?  Because I have been led to believe that I have a choice to procreate.  And luckily, I do have a choice.  I can choose not to procreate.  But my choice to be able to procreate has been taken away from me by this disease.

Here’s an analogy for you.

One day I wake up and notice that I have an open wound on my arm. Hmmmm. I don’t know where that came from!  Well, it doesn’t hurt, so I get up, get dressed and continue with my day.  That small bloody wound on my arm is noticed by a couple of people at work.

Someone asks me…

”Errrrr……Dani……..do you know you have an open wound on your arm?”

I reply nonchalantly,

“Oh yes, I saw that this morning, it doesn’t hurt, so I figured I’ll be OK, I’ll just let it heal on its own”

My colleague looks at me strangely and says, “OK…..if you say so! You may want to get that checked out though, it looks a little nasty”.

I think about this encounter, thinking may be my colleague is right, perhaps I should get it checked out and then wonder when I can fit in a doctor’s appointment to get it looked at.  I look through my calendar and see I have an open space in three weeks’ time after I have made a trip to Europe and back, and a major milestone is complete in my project.  After all….it doesn’t hurt so I’ll be fine.  I make the appointment to see the doctor for 3 weeks and 4 days time.

Meanwhile, I begin to learn that my arm wound offends people, so I cover it up in creative and inventive ways so as to not gross people out or distract them in meetings.  But the wound is getting bigger by the day…it is spreading and now covers my entire forearm.  But don’t cry for me, I can still type OK so, thankfully, I can still do my work.  So no more questions are asked.

3 weeks and 4 days comes and my boss asks me to complete an urgent piece of work.  I think about my arm and weigh up the pros and cons of not going to the doctor’s appointment.  After all…what is the worst that can happen?  My arm might need surgery. May be.  OK I can cope with that, they will give me anesthesia, I’m sure.  Or the absolute worst case scenario.  I lose my arm.  They have to amputate my arm.  Yeh, that would REALLY suck.  But I mean it doesn’t hurt now so that probably won’t happen.  But who needs an arm anyway? Not me….Lots of people cope without their arms. I’ll be fine!

Infertility is the flesh eating disease on our arm.  If it was visible, people will be telling us to go the doctor’s EVERYDAY to get it fixed.  And infertility is like this analogy, because for the past year I have been constantly trying to fit in my infertility treatment around my work life.  Like this anology, if I don’t do anything I could end up losing my arm – and we all know that I’m not going to die if I lose my arm.  My life would just SUCK a lot.  And people would feel sorry for me.  Similarly, if I don’t attempt to fight this infertility like this flesh eating thing, I would just end up with no child.  I’m not going to die.  But that would SUCK a lot, and people would feel sorry for me.

But today, no more, I stand to FIGHT THIS INFERTILITY AS IT IS – A DISEASE.  I will make sure to do my best to fight it, by keeping myself mentally healthy as well as physically healthy.  If this means I need to make sacrifices at work, then this is what I will do to fight this disease.  No more will it simply ‘fit in around my work life’.  If I am going to advocate for infertility awareness and education, I need to fight it like I mean it, and it starts with recognizing infertility as a disease.

At least you know you can get pregnant

I think I’m quite a tough lady when it comes to receiving mis-informed and unintentionally hurtful infertility advice from the more fertile.  I experience it frequently because I am open about our infertility journey.  I forgive them because I know they don’t understand infertility as a disease and they only mean the best for me.  And I also know they couldn’t possibly truly understand how I feel because it has never happened to them.  Similarly like to people who have suffered from other diseases such as anorexia or depression or cancer, I don’t know what it is like or how it feels…I would never offer my uninformed opinion about treatment options or ways to overcome the symptoms of these diseases.  I won’t offer consolation that attempts to make them feel better about their disease.  Rather, I will offer my ear and my hand.

So why is infertility any different to any of these other diseases in how we talk to other people about them?  Why do so many bloggers end up writing about this struggle?  Is lack of education really the cause of this? May be other disease sufferers experience similar unhelpful comments too.  I really don’t know.

Have you seen that film about depression where friends and family offer their advice about depression, but the recipient of the advice is portrayed as a cancer sufferer?  The point of the video is that you wouldn’t say these things to someone who has cancer, so why would you say these things to people who have depression?  I think it is a great educational video (it’s at the end of this blog post if you want to see it).  Ultimately, I think there needs to be a film in a similar light about infertility.  I know there has been outrage on some forums of comparing infertility to cancer.  I understand that it is outrageous because people generally won’t die from infertility.  Comparing depression to cancer may also outrage many people as well…but depression can lead to suicide, it can kill too, but it is not a well understood.  So what is my point?  My point is that there are helpful things you can say to someone with infertility, and then there are unhelpful, even hurtful, things you can say to someone with infertility.

I have written about things that hurt, what to say, what not to say to someone with infertility many times before (ignorance is bliss, a voice of the child free family, Grow some thicker skin, you are so lucky you don’t have kids, Understanding: #YouAreNotAlone, Reblog from Que Milagro: Pardon Me While I burst into flames).  Today’s post adds to this list.  Today I am writing about one particular comment I have received multiple times since our loss from IVF cycle 1 from both fertile and infertile people:

“At least you know you can get pregnant”

I’m just going to put it out there straight away.  There is nothing consoling about this.

I get that there are many women who have never seen those two pink lines, me being one of them until our fist IVF cycle.  So I understand how hard it is to get negative after negative 25 times in a row.  But being pregnant  and losing a pregnancy is not consoling, knowing that I ‘did get pregnant’. I didn’t stay pregnant.  Maybe they would say “But it’s one step in the right direction”, yes perhaps, but it was then like ten steps back after our loss.

Would you say this to someone after they lost their baby during childbirth?  No.  Would you say this to someone who lost their baby in their third trimester? I doubt it.  Would you say this to someone who has suffered from recurrent pregnancy loss and miscarried 6 times? Definitely not. Would you say it to someone with secondary infertility? For goodness sake, NO.  So why does this need to ever be said at all?  It makes absolutely no sense at all and simply reminds me that we simply FAILED.

I am due to have my first beta test on Friday and in some ways, I am afraid of a positive than a negative.  Don’t get me wrong, I WANT A POSITIVE MORE THAN ANYTHING.  But I am afraid of when the positive comes, I know that even if this is my one successful pregnancy, my journey through the first trimester is going to be a psychological challenge.  If we ended up in a similar position to last time with a slow rising beta levels, pregnancy of unknown location suspected ectopic, yes it will be easier knowing the process the second time around, but it will be bloody damn hard to go through it all again.  And that is why I cannot accept the statement  “At least you know you can get pregnant” as consoling.

exhausted

IVF Diary Vol 2: 2-8 Feb 2016

Medication(s) administered and dosage(s). Progesterone in Oil 1ml Intra-muscular injection, vivelle dot estrogen patches 0.1mg x2.  I have failed to pierce the skin myself yet, I am so close, but I have managed to do everything else, including doing the actual injecting part…I had a couple of mis-haps, including one evening as I removed the needle, blood gushed from the injection site.  The blood poured down my leg and I just managed to catch it before it landed on the nice white hotel towels.  I have no idea why it happened, I guess it’s going to happen once in a while.  The injection site was sore for a couple of days after that 😦

minions.jpg

I had to put a plaster (aka band-aid) on this one after the blood gushed from this injection site!  Minions to the rescue!

 

Medical procedures undertaken. Nil

What are my symptoms?  I have had a few sharp pains and cramps here and there.  All good signs I guess.  I have also managed to catch a cold and sore throat. WHYYYYYYYYY??!!?!!  Now the wisdom of the internet says this is an early pregnancy symptom. Well, it is the runny nose/cold part which is the symptom that can be explained by the extra estrogen caused by the pregnancy, apparently that creates a stuffy nose.  Well, I have a sore throat and that can’t really be explained by that theory.  Some argue that your immune system drops after implantation.  Well in my case, this cold was inevitable because it was going around at work.  I was the last person to catch it because it was going around mostly when I was out of office for the stimulation/egg retrieval part of the IVF.  There were some remnants of the cold hanging around the office when I returned.  It was bound to happen.  Also, this happened to me the exact same time last year during my second IUI, excitedly thinking it was an early pregnancy symptom, I was wrong.  SO I am not taking this cold as a sign of anything except for being a pain in the butt.

The night sweats.  It’s gross and I hate it.

The cats have been on my lap again (two nights in a row)…I have already written about this (Can your cat tell if you are pregnant before you do) and whether it could be an early pregnancy sign.  I think they can detect a change in something, whether it is pregnancy or just a change in your body temperature, I don’t know.  One thing I do know, they can’t tell if the pregnancy is going to stick around or not 😦

cats.jpg

Sushi sitting on my lap and tolerating Diesel laying next to her, it’s not a common sight

Having said all that, today I do feel a little nauseous and I couldn’t bare to eat my chicken sandwich.  So who knows?  May be I am pregnant!  I don’t know because I haven’t tested yet!!!  Yup, today I am 9DP5DT (9 Days Past 5 Day Transfer) and I haven’t pee-ed on a stick yet. I am impressed with myself! I’d like to thank a very lovely lady who I met at my local Resolve Support Group who is IVF cycling with me…she encouraged me not to do the test it out thing, and to wait it out with her!!  Last time around I tested 12DP3DT (i.e. what would be tomorrow, when my period would ordinarily be due).  But this time I am not testing until the evening before my Beta test (which is scheduled for Friday).

How do I feel today? You may have noticed my absence for the past week.  Well I took my ‘Must keep busy during the 2 week wait’ a little too literally!  Although I have been hampered a little bit as a result of work.  Last week I got home in the evenings with my brain frazzled – I wasn’t doing overly long hours, just lots of hard thinking and writing.  The thought of updating my blog was too much for my poor brain, so I did mindless (mindful) things such as knitting, TV watching and colouring in.  I even taught Chris how to knit 🙂

knitting project

My IVF knitting project 2/3 complete!

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Chris learning how to knit!

We also went away on a mini road trip/city break to Charlotte, North Carolina to see the Charlotte Hornets v Washington Wizards (Basketball).  My first NBA game, it was my birthday present from back in December.  I had a fantastic time, I really enjoyed the experience and appreciate the very talented athletes.  I think it might be my favourite American sport so far!  Along the road trip we visited some random places, like a Lemur conservation, the world’s biggest chest of drawers, and a mountain that was only 350ft tall (it was a slightly misleading name of a state park!!!!).  Planning a city break in this 2 week wait was perfect! (Except for the catching a cold part).

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Our first NBA game!

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The World’s Largest Chest of Drawers – It’s in a town called High Point in North Carolina!

Any results?  Not much longer to go now!

What’s next? Beta HcG test will be 4 days from now :-s

Weight. NSTR.

Waist. NSTR.

Boobs. So, so sore and sensitive!

*Notes.  I take First Response Reproductive Health multi vitamin gummies (pre-natal) and CoQ10 200mg gummies daily.  NSTR = Nothing Significant To Report.

IVF Diary Vol II: 23-24 Jan 16

Medication(s) administered and dosage(s). Stimming phase: Days 9 & 10. PM: Saturday AM: cetrotide, Sunday PM: Ovidrel (the trigger!!!).  I did the trigger injection myself and decided to record it and post the video to my personal facebook page #thisiswhatinfertilitylookslike. (the video is at bottom of my blog post :-))

Medical procedures undertaken. Monitoring appointment – ultrasound and blood test.

What are my symptoms?  Tiredness – afternoon naps have been required!!!! Nausea that comes and goes.  Sunday, I have felt a little bit better than I have done over the past few days, but the ovaries are starting to twinge with odd pains here and there :-s These eggs are ready to go!!!

How do I feel today?  Excited.  Nervous.

Any results?  My follicles are looking great.  Randomly, in my right ovary all the follicles look the same size and shape.

“My good English eggs are ready!!!”

(The Dr’s words…not mine!!! Every single time I have seen him he makes a reference to my Englishness)

What’s next? Egg retrieval Monday 0630 AM!!!! Trying to mitigate any potential mild OHSS symptoms like I got from last time.

Weight. I haven’t weighed myself, I need to do this before the surgery so I can monitor OHSS.

Waist. My waist is 6cm larger than the same time last time!!! Whoops!!!

Boobs. NSTR.

Hours of Sunshine 🙂 None.  It’s winter.  It’s cold out there.  Oh and we were like the only city in Virginia to get a pathetic amount of snow, it was mostly rain for us! I am pleased so it hasn’t messed up any of this round of IVF.  I hope other women didn’t face problems with the snow storm who may need to travel from further way.

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The snow storm wasn’t quite so apocalyptic as it was in other parts of Virginia!

Fun Activity to keep Dani from going insane. It will be time to relax and recover, so no specific fun activities.  However, I am quite excited to watch Orange is the new black – I have a lot of catching up to do!!!!

*Notes.  I take First Response Reproductive Health multi vitamin gummies (pre-natal) and CoQ10 200mg gummies daily.  NSTR = Nothing Significant To Report.

IVF Diary Vol II: 19-20 Jan 16

Medication(s) administered and dosage(s). Stimming phase: days 5 & 6. Gonal-F 300 iu & Menopur 150 iu.  I started cetrotide this morning, day 6 (20 Jan) – this is the drug that stops me from ovulating prematurely and losing all those eggs!

Medical procedures undertaken. Monitoring appointment – ultrasound and blood test. So for my last appointment there were loads of people in the waiting room – it was like chaos.  This morning, there was no one except little old me.  It made me nervous!  I don’t know why, but it just did – I wondered if I was an odd ball with my cycle.

What are my symptoms? Tiredness – I am struggling to keep my eyes open today.  I went into work after my appointment and this afternoon I taught a 2 hour lesson as part of our staff development training.  I give a highly interactive class with practical tasks, so it is incredibly draining on the brain as the ‘students’ always have lots of challenging questions for me!!!  I am amazed I survived.  At the end, one of the organisers asked me if I was OK, was I tired?  Clearly I looked pretty rough!

I also have a headache.  It is not dehydration because I have hydrated constantly all day, carrying around my water bottle with me.

The bloat…the bloat….the bloat is on fire!  Aghhh!  How many days do I still have left? I’m just over halfway hopefully!  I am currently sat in my fluffy fleecy pyjama bottoms. They feel sooooooo good!

How do I feel today?  Apart from the tiredness thing, I’m feeling not too bad.  I am excited to be on this IVF journey still and haven’t given up hope just yet 🙂

Any results?  I have 6 follicles in the right ovary and 7 in the left, with a few smaller ones hoping to catch up!!! Last time around my right ovary was the dominant one, this time it is the left.  It looks like I am responding well in terms of follicle numbers similar to last time.  Which is good because they collected 9 last time (6 were mature, 4 fertilised) so I am hoping for some more mature eggies this time around!

What’s next? The same injections then monitoring appt on Friday morning.  The Doctor says I am currently looking good for an Egg Retrieval on Monday!

Weight. NSTR

Waist.  slowly growing 😦

Boobs. Slightly bigger.

Hours of Sunshine 🙂 None.  Snow expected soon!

Fun Activity to keep Dani from going insane. Dodgeball season starts tomorrow evening, I am not sure if I will play yet!  I am doubtful.  But I will go along anyway to support the team even if I don’t play.

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Rahhhhh – Dodgeball is a great place to let off some steam – But not when you are in the middle of an IVF cycle!!!! :_-(

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13 follicles – with a few at 3-4mm left to catch up

*Notes.  I take First Response Reproductive Health multi vitamin gummies (pre-natal) and CoQ10 200mg gummies daily.  NSTR = Nothing Significant To Report.

IVF Diary Vol II: 16 Jan 16

Medication(s) administered and dosage(s). Gonal-F 300 iu & Menopur 150 iu.  We started with the Gonal-F needle – this one needs a bit more force to pierce the skin.  Chris didn’t do it hard enough and the needle bounced off my skin!!  I like to think it’s just my strong abdominal muscles rejecting the needle – haha!! As if!!!  Anyway, after that little episode Chris tried again, this time he went a little too hard and it hurt!  The camera captured the moment well.  It’s OK to laugh at me, I know it is quite a funny picture ;-p

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Chris was oblivious to the ridiculous face I was pulling!  The camera captured the moment well.  Fortunately he was concentrating hard on the task at hand.

Medical procedures undertaken. Nil.

What are my symptoms? No hot flashes…nothing to report.  I am thankful!

How do I feel today?  Feeling good!  Chris and I had a nice day together, we went to our local organic eatery and sat in the heated sun porch for lunch.  It was a sunny glorious day so it was very relaxing.  We played a game of cribbage, I have 5 games to win in the next 1.5 months to beat Chris for the whole year (ever since we got married we keep track of the number of games won in a year).  Chris has taken the ‘surprise date’ idea and decided to extend it to the whole weekend – I am not to make any decisions, it will be a surprise and there will be fun!!!  Which sounds weird, but so far it has been nice to just follow his lead.

Any results?  After worrying about the LH and FSH results yesterday, I forgot that these tests were taken one day earlier than last time. The Birth Control Pill effectively switches off the LH so my body obviously hadn’t started to produce it again but I am sure it would have been higher a day later.  Worry ye not.

What’s next? The same injections Sun, then monitoring appointment on Monday morning.

Weight. NSTR

Waist.  NSTR

Boobs. NSTR

Hours of Sunshine 🙂 It was a beautifully sunny day and so caught a few rays whist we were out for lunch.

Fun Activity to keep Dani from going insane. I am going to finish this page of colouring in!  This was a colouring book I was given as a Birthday pressie from my parents.

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Fun activity for next 24 hours…colouring in!

*Notes.  I take First Response Reproductive Health multi vitamin gummies (pre-natal) and CoQ10 200mg gummies daily.  NSTR = Nothing Significant To Report.