Category Archives: 2014 – The year of living uncomfortably
I’m back to the doctor on Wednesday, not about IVF, but now to deal with the diagnosis of adenomyosis. My doctor said it seems to be quite an advanced case, and that we need to deal with it before beginning the donor egg process.
So, of course, I have been madly googling the condition, wondering what to expect. At first I was relieved to have a reason for all of the pain, irregular and long cycles I have had over the last few years. Now, as I research the condition, I realise that this may further impact my chances of having a healthy pregnancy. I thought that the donor egg process would be the answer for me. The reality is it will still be difficult to get pregnant, and miscarraige chances are vastly increased.
Also, time is not on my side. This is a condition that keeps getting worse over time. I need to hurry up and get pregnant or it won’t happen. I really think I should just stop googling this stuff and wait for my next appointment. Thanks, Dr Google, for making it worse!
P.S. This website scared the crap out of me! http://www.alternativesurgery.com/education/adenomyosis/
At the start of our last cycle, I wrote a Facebook message directed at the universe. I’m not a religious person so that seemed like the logical thing to do. I asked the universe to start sending good things my way, after all, surely I have had more than my share of bad recently – haven’t I?
Well, on Monday it was clear what the universe’s answer was, as a new cycle began with a vengeance, thus signaling the end of this IVF journey.
I thought I’d be OK with it. Logical me knew it wouldn’t work. But the desperate, emotional me was just hoping for the universe to finally cut me some slack. Stupid.
The realisation that I’ll never carry my own biological child has hit me like a truck – and it hurts like hell.
But eventually the pity party needs to stop and I have to remember that I’m lucky. Lucky to have the support if my husband and family. Lucky that I have awesome friends around me. Lucky that I can look forward to the donor egg process.
And in the meantime, I need to learn to be me again. And for my life to be driven by something more than having a baby and IVF.
So screw you, universe. I’m going to do this without your help
Update on the embryos that the lab were still growing: they all died.
Not looking good for the two inside me!
Round 3 of IVF is essentially done and dusted. I had egg pick up 4 days ago, with 15 eggs collected and 12 fertilized. This is exactly the same as last time. Great numbers, but same crappy outlook.
We completely changed the game plan with my doctor at the last minute. It seems that we won’t actually have embryos make it far enough to do PGD testing on. If last cycle is anything to go by, we would be lucky if even one survived to day 5 blastocyst. With this in mind, it was decided that we opt for a day 3 transfer, without any testing. This is not often done at my clinic. The theory is if an embryo is not strong enough to make it to day 5 in the lab, then it’s probably not strong enough to result in a viable pregnancy. But in my case, if they won’t make it to day 5 in the lab, then we will have to take our chances with a couple surviving after being returned to my body.
Transfer day was yesterday. I had heard from the lab day two and knew at this stage none of my embryos were where they should be (surprise!). I accepted this quite easily – I think the girls in the lab are used to more tears and distress when delivering bad news. I wonder if they take my lack of emotion as apathy or indifference? This is certainly not the case; I’m just so pessimistic about the process now that I am expecting bad news. Anyway, I digress.
We went in for the day three transfer, where we would return two embryos to hopefully increase our chances. We sat down with one of the lab techs to talk about the process. She had chosen our two ‘best’ embryos to transfer. In our case, best means 4 cell instead of 8 (where they should be at this stage) with high rates of fragmentation (meaning they are already starting to show signs of dying). She wasn’t super hopeful about their chances but it’s the best we had. They will continue to grow the rest out to day 5 and hopefully freeze them, but I don’t feel it’s likely any will survive.
So the two week wait begins. And man does it drag!! I am not at all hopeful about my chances, but still have that little voice whispering ‘what if’ that I keep pushing down to the back of my mind. Even if the ‘what if’ turns into ‘yes it did’, many hurdles still stand in the way. There’s about a 70% chance any pregnancy I did achieve would be with an ‘unbalanced’ embryo due to my chromosome translocation. That would almost certainly end in first term miscarriage.
Oh the joys.
So I wait. And try to get on with life. The clinic and my doctor are very positive about the donor egg process which we will move onto if this fails. But first, a break for a while. And more waiting. I’m about the least patient person you’ll meet, which makes for interesting times ahead.
“I don’t consider myself a pessimist. I think of a pessimist as someone who is waiting for it to rain. And I feel soaked to the skin.”
Day 9 of IVF cycle #3 and I am realising I am now a total pro at this. I don’t even flinch at the needles anymore. I know all the spots for easy entry and have technique that would rival any committed junkie. I’m so used to the internal ultrasound wand that I’m practically whipping off my pants and putting my feet in the stirrups the minute I walk into the doctor’s surgery. The nurse at the pathology lab even knows me by first name (and often skips me to the front of the line – oh the perks of being a frequent flyer!).
The point of this? Well while I’m jumping back into cycle number three with gusto, when I stop to reflect on the whole thing, I realise that I don’t hold out much hope at all of achieving a viable pregnancy with this cycle. In fact I’ve pretty much resigned myself to it.
You may be asking yourself why I am bothering doing another cycle if I have this attitute. Well, for a while I felt the same way. But really, for me, I feel like I need to give it one more go. If I didn’t, I’d always be thinking ‘what if?’ This is my final roll of the dice for a pregnancy carrying my own biological child – so I feel like I have to exhaust all avenues (to a realistic point) before letting go and moving on. And that is what I am achieving with this cycle.
In one sense, the cycle is a lot easier. It can’t get any worse than last cycle, and I am approaching it with an attitude that, if nothing else, it will bring me closure.
So egg harvest will be next week some time. Crossing fingers and toes that I don’t wind up in hospital like last time. My next entry will probably be after then.
Wish me luck!
My sister gave birth to a healthy baby girl this morning.
My niece, Ida Giovanna, was born at 4.30am today.
Looking forward to meeting her in a few weeks when I have time off work and can fly to Melbourne.
An aunty by blood for the first time.
So I had my long awaited follow up with my doctor yesterday. The ‘game plan’ appointment. We had to decide whether or not to try another IVF cycle despite our complete flop of a last cycle.
He couldn’t really give us any explanation for why things had gone so terribly last time, only that the chromosonal problem is likely a major factor and the rest of it is really chance.
So we are going to give it one last go with my eggs. I’m very hopeful that third time’s a charm. This will remain to be seen. I am doing accupuncture this cycle, and also really trying to watch what I eat. The cycle will start in about a week from now.
If we don’t get embryos from this cycle, the doctor agreed with us that there’s no point continuing. We can’t afford to keep throwing money at seemingly hopeless cycles, and I can’t continue to deal with the utter disappointment and heartache each time it fails.
So this is our last roll of the dice with this process. If things don’t turn out, then we will have a significant break, before looking further into the donor egg process.
Keep your fingers crossed for us.
Just a quick update on our gentic counselling appointment today. We had to go to Brisbane to meet with a specialised genetic counsellor before continuing with the IVF process. I wasn’t really expecting to learn anything I didn’t already know, as I’ve had a month to research my condition.
I was right about this, the doctor just went over the information relating to my balanced translocation and pretty quickly realised that she wasn’t telling us anything we didn’t know. She basically went through exactly what was on the website link I posted earlier on the blog, but in less detail.
Nevertheless, it was another box we have ticked off in the process. And another opportunity to hand over the credit card. I have stopped adding up how much each of these appointments has cost us on top of the IVF costs.
We are supposed to go back to see our doctor next week but I just realised I have double booked the appointment with parent/teacher interviews. Dammit! When we go, hopefully we can formulate some sort of a plan for what we do from here.
Ok, now I change things up a bit. From now on I’m going to start writing in present tense, because, well, this is now current.
Until now this has been a process of a sort of therapy for me. Writing everything down as a way of thinking things through and hopefully gaining a feeling of control again over everything.
I have been writing retrospectively as I only started putting words to paper/blog a short time ago. I want to keep adding to this as things happen, but now in present tense.
I have put this blog out there in the web-universe for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, I would love for this to be a way of communicating what I’m going through to my friends and family. I am happy for people to know what’s happening, but its tough relaying information over and over again.
Also, for people I don’t know who are going through a similar time to me. May you stumble accross this blog the way I have stumbled accross so many others, and take comfort in knowing you are not the only person going through it, just as I did.
So – where to now?
As I write this I anxiously await our genetic counselling appointment on the 22nd of April. This happens to be the first day at school for term 2 and yet another missed day of work for me. My health and potential pregnancy has got to be a priority for me at this stage in my life, but it is very hard to juggle the demands of work and not let the kids down. But I’ll continue to try.
I don’t know how much the genetic cousellor will tell us that we don’t already know, but I’m hoping we get some information specific to my particular case.
And then what? Do we continue with IVF and PGD or go straight to donor eggs? The amount of money this process has cost us to date is mounting and its hard to see the money you worked hard to save disappear on medical bills that so far have yeilded no positive outcomes.
My obvious preference would be to carry a baby that is my own – genetically. But what if we go though another year and many IVF procedures and don’t end up getting pregnant. I’m not sure if this is a prospect I could handle emotionally, physically and financially.
THe donor egg route is also a difficult one. This is a process full of restrictions in Australia. I am so very very lucky that I am loved, and have already had my sister and several close friends offer me there eggs. I feel truly blessed with this and it does make me feel that I will be able to be pregnant myself one day – whether the baby is biologcally mine or not. To these people (who know who they are) I love you so much for this truly special offer. I appreciate it more than words can express.
My sister is also going through a tough time right now. She is 30 something weeks pregnant and awaiting blood test results to see if she is also a balanced translocation carrier. She has the added stress of her baby’s health but with pregnancy that has gone this far, the chances of her baby having problems is extremly slim. If she is a balanced translocation carrier, then I won’t be able to use her eggs anyway.
So I am in a period of wait and see, which is why I am taking the time to write everything down. Patience is not a particular strength of mine, but this infertility journey is going to necessitate me developing some.
And lastly, I am going to try not to let this process take over my life. If it takes a year, two years or more to get pregnant, I need to continue to enjoy my life in the meantime. I hope writing things down will also allow me to do this.
My next update will be after my genetic counselling appointment and hopefully I will know more.
Until then, for those of you taking the time to read all of this nonsense, I apologise for all of the spelling/grammatical/punctuation errors that no doubt plague this blog. It’s a little to raw for me to go back and read through at this stage. Please feel free to email, message me or add to comments with any corrections. Thanks in advance if you made it to this point 🙂
On my second day in hospital, I recieved my next piece of bad news via phone. It was the lab to let me know the progress of my embryos, or, as it turned out, lack there of.
Of my 12 fertilized eggs, the three day report that I had recieved over the weekend had me down to 5 which were progressing slower than usual – but usual for me. Now, on day 5 – freeze day, we only had 1 which was still alive. And it was still not to blastocyst stage. The lab tech said they would give it one more day to grow before freezing. I was absolutely devastated by this news. At this rate, it would take me a year and about $50 000 of out of pocket IVF procedures to even have enough blastocysts to warrant PGD testing. And even then, this was no guarantee that we would have an healthy one to use.
Now this is really not ideal news to get when you are sitting in a hospital bed and have been throwing your guts up for two days. I was an absolute mess. But things got even worse. The lab called again the next day to say the remaining blastocyst had died. And then there were none. Now, the slither of hope I had felt like it had been flushed down the toilet with what was left of my hospital lunch.
So I sat in my hospital bed for another night and day, researching everything I could think of, from success stories of women simialr to me, to donor eggs and even adoption. My husband hates when I do this, he thinks its pointless trying to make plans or think about the future until the doctors give you your options. He also thinks it makes me stress worse. He is probably right, but I’m a control freak, and I feel that the only thing I can do when I have no control is to at least arm myself with as much information as I can and mentally prepare myself for every possible situation.
By the morning of day four, I was so ready to go home. The attending doctor (also an obstetrician with my fertility clinic) came in to do my last exam before discharge. We talked about my epic failure of a cycle and the fact that my eggs looked as if they might be ‘bad’. He told me that they would be raising my case at the next clinic meeting. He also mentioned the donor egg option, and gave me plenty to think about before my appointment in two week’s time with the genetic counsellor.