Saturday, 30 April 2011

Wait and see..

To cut to the chase.. there's some good news and some unknown news.

The good.. we got 12 eggs! Out of 14 follicles!  That was a real surprise. I was thinking I'd be happy with maybe 5-7, so when I came round and the nurse told me in Chinese how many we got, I thought I'd misunderstood. But it was confirmed by the Doctor :)
I know that quality not quantity is the key, which leads onto...

The unknown... we have no idea of the quality or whether they have fertilised... They do things differently here (why am I not surprised?!) - we basically get no news until we go back to the clinic on Tuesday. We will then find out if there are any embryos, the quality and, if there are and my body is deemed ready, we will have the transfer immediately.  The only thing the Dr said is that, from the size of the follicles, they would hope they are mature, but I know that's no guarantee.
In some ways, maybe this is better than getting blow by blow updates. At least this way there is no rollercoaster of good news followed by bad news or vice-versa. For the next 2 days, all we can do is be happy that we got a few eggs and hope for the best :)

So, how was the procedure and the day itself? Pretty damn good, I have to say. We got to the clinic early and the other girl having collection that day was already there... she has 'adopted' me because we've ended up on the same schedule and she's the only one who'll persevere at trying to understand my bad Chinese! So, if all else fails, I just follow her around :)

My new friend and I got called through at about 9ish and she had clearly been instructed by the nurse to make sure I took my knickers off when changing into my procedure pyjamas! Luckily, after 3 IUIs, I knew what to expect!  She was called in first and I got to sit in a room next door to the procedure room and hear what was going on... her chatting with the nurse and Doctor, her heartbeat on the monitor, the quiet as she was put under. After 30 minutes or so, it was my turn and I couldn't wait by that that weird?!

The anesthetist had a little trouble getting the drip in the back of my hand and went for the forearm in the end, but that wasn't too bad. Then he said, 'there might be pain because of the medicine' and brandished a syringe full of white stuff at me. Not sure he got my sarcastic comment of 'Oh, good!'. Then my face started getting pins and needles, I got a funny taste in my mouth and that was it. Next thing I knew, I was waking up and felt absolutely fine!

After half an hour or so, I was allowed to go and get changed and didn't have any discomfort at all which I was surprised by. I found my Bloke and we saw the Doctor to confirm the number of eggs (yes, really 12!). She explained about the transfer procedure, I got my progesterone and off home we went. They don't really let people do their own IM shots, so I'll be popping back to the ER to get mine for the next couple of days.

I spent the rest of the day on the sofa. I did start feeling sore later in the day - going up and down stairs to the bathroom was a bit tiring, but I slept well and today I feel fine :)

So now the waiting begins.. or I should say continues, because this whole process is about waiting, isn't it? There's nothing I can do now, except for an acupuncture session with Dr F tomorrow and hope for good news on Tuesday...

The journey moves on.. literally!

The eagle-eyed amongst you might have noticed that the title of my blog has changed a little... That's because, soon, I will no longer be infertile in China... Don't get too excited, I'll still be infertile :)
But my Bloke and I are leaving the Middle Kingdom and moving to South Korea!

Surprised?! So were we!

I can't pretend that this only happened today.. my Bloke is not a diplomat / spy / hitman... he doesn't get a coded message telling him to board a flight to Moscow within the hour. A little while ago he was asked to apply for a senior position within the same company - a jump that he'd thought was too big for him to make. Of course he applied and a couple of weeks ago, he was offered the job. In Seoul. Did I mention that it's in Seoul? That's in Korea. I've never been to Korea. And every time my Bloke has returned from a business trip there, he has complained about how much he doesn't like Seoul. But the job is an amazing opportunity and the ridiculous grin on his face when he told me about it was enough for me to want it for him, as much as he wanted it.

So we're moving to Korea (did I mention that?). My Bloke just got his contract through which is why I now feel 'safe' posting this.

We shared a moment of laugh-out-loud hysteria recently when we realised what we were doing... not the move itself, but combining a move to a new city and country, a new, probably very stressful job for him with a potentially life-changing IVF cycle. In a list of stressful life events, where do you think this lot would rate?!

More on the move to come... but I'd like to take this chance to thank Kat at I'm Very Far Away for all her help, info and support so far - I gave her an advance heads-up seen as we'll be moving into her hood ;)

Right now I'm probably in stirrups or the recovery room after the egg collection. Hopefully there are a few good eggs (at least) getting down and dirty with a few (hundred thousand) fast little swimmers.... Now's not the time to be bashful, guys and girls... you know you want to...

PS: I chose this pic because how many couples manage to get through a house move with blissful smiles on their faces like these two?! 

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Pre-collection update...

My Zen has been well and truly tested over the last 2 days and has not always stood up to the challenge which is why I've been a little quiet with the posts and updates (yesterday's was pre-written!).

All is basically fine.. egg collection is scheduled for tomorrow, HCG trigger done (more to come on that with an explanation of today's photo!), 14 follies waiting to be suctioned and we're good to go.  So why the stress?

Wednesday was just a long, tiring day. I woke up tired and it went downhill from there. I was at the clinic by 7.15am - the blood test stung and then bruised, the dildocam was uncomfortable whereas it never normally bothers me (does that make me weird/perverse?!) and I got pushed from pillar to post whilst waiting to hear if the retrieval was going to be Friday. By the time I got out it was 4pm. Taking into account that I was home between 8.30 and 10.30am, that's still 7 hours in the hospital. I came out just exhausted. Nearly cried on the phone to my Bloke telling him the plan and spent the rest of the evening on the sofa when I should have been going out to meet a new fertility friend and then to book club. But nothing 'bad' had actually happened.. I think it was just one of those days.

Yesterday went fine at the clinic.. egg collection confirmed for Saturday, got in and out relatively quickly, then home to catch up on my blogs. Which is when the meltdown occurred...  I read Princess's post and realised that my Bloke's little swimmers had not been 'refreshed' in a while.. a long while. I did a quick search to check the recommended abstinence period and that's when the panic set in. The swimmers were definitely older than the recommendations and I freaked. I called my Bloke in tears, thinking that there was nothing we could or should do because it was only 48 hours until his sample was needed, but that at least he could calm me down before my head exploded. He was a star :)  He thought it would be better to have fewer new swimmers than lots of old, potentially dead ones. He called his driver and left the office straight away to come home and 'clean out the pipes'... wonder what he said to his boss?!  In the meantime I checked the evil that is Go.ogle (I'd avoided it whilst in my panic because it was just telling me what I didn't want to hear) and lots of posts supported my Bloke's opinion. It wasn't ideal to only have 48 hours of supply for the IVF but, particularly with his motility issue, it was better than a seriously old batch.

So that's what we did.. well, he did.. I don't think me blubbering on him would have really helped the 'atmosphere'! And I'm feeling OK with our decision. But I can't believe this passed me by! I'm pretty sure I knew the swimmers shouldn't be too old and my Bloke even mentioned it to me during the week but I just let it slip somehow. After doing everything to give this cycle the best chance of success, what a stupid omission!! But, what's done is done. My Bloke went straight to the supermarket after... well, you know, after.. last night and bought up all the foods that are recommended for male fertility. He's made a fertility 'power shake' to take to the office today and here's hoping those little guys appreciate it.  Can I just take this chance to say how much I love my Bloke?! He has been amazing throughout this whole thing and my sanity would've long gone were it not for him.

So, now the Zen has returned, what the heck is the photo on this post?!  I had to go to the hospital emergency room for my HCG trigger last night as they didn't really want me to do it myself and, seeing the 3 vials that needed mixing, I wasn't too keen either. You need to know that the Chinese are obsessed with IVs.. if you have a cold, you get stuck on a drip for a couple of hours. I've even had a university student walk into a lesson carrying her drip because she didn't want to miss class! And this photo is where it all happens. The room where I needed to go to get my shot was off this room... rows and rows of chairs with people getting their saline on. My Bloke described it rather well as 'like something out of the Matrix'. Apologies for the fuzzy picture.. I was trying to snap it on my phone whilst pretending to be texting. Think I might have given myself away when the flash went off though!

Wow, this post got rather long! Better go now... got to prepare tomorrow's post for when I'm out of action. And, please check back in tomorrow because I've got some big, non-fertility-related news to share... how's that for a teaser! :)

RESOLVE's Infertility Myth Challenge... 'Fantastic, you're doing IVF, so you're 100% to get a baby!'

Myth to be busted: People think IVF always works. Everyone who uses it is successful and has a baby.

Now I realise that this is National Infertility Awareness Week and I'm not in the correct nation, but I couldn't let this week go by without participating. This might seem a weird myth to choose to bust given that I'm in the midst of my first IVF cycle and, of course, hoping that it works for us, so we can finally start our much-wanted family. I'm also feeling pretty positive (though realistic) so there's no pessimism behind the choosing of this particular myth.

The reason I have chosen it is because I was really surprised to come up against this belief amongst some of the few friends and family members who know about our infertility struggles. Maybe it's because, by the time we embarked upon IVF, I'd done so much research that I was well aware of the odds of success. I forgot that the average woman on the street is not aware of these statistics and probably thinks IVF is a surefire way of getting pregnant. Which seems to be what my Mum, my brother and my best friend thought.

My brother's response took me by surprise but, at the time, was the positivity I needed. I told him by email and he replied saying 'Fantastic news! It's about time our family got a new addition'. Although I am the 3rd of 4 siblings, I'm the only one in a serious relationship and considered likely to produce a grandchild/niece/nephew in the near future. Maybe my brother thought long and hard about his response and opted for positivity over commiseration or sympathy.. knowing my brother, that seems unlikely! It seems more likely that he was convinced that I would soon be pregnant and the pressure to reproduce would be off his shoulders for a while! Of course, I'm still hoping this is the case... :)

My Mum and my best friend were both just really surprised when I told them the odds of success - my Mum went quiet, her typical response to something she's not happy hearing, whereas my friend was more vocal... 'Really?!' After the shock died down, they are both determined to stay upbeat and only talk about a positive outcome.. 

'So the baby will be due in Jan/Feb?.. not the best time but at least you won't be huge during summer' 
'You'll be pregnant over Christmas.. how lovely!'
'We'll start looking at flights to come and visit...'

Sometimes this approach is great.. sometimes I want to share their positivity and daydream about that BFP and a happy, healthy pregnancy and birth (can you have a happy birth?!). Sometimes I want to scream at them... 'Don't you know there's a high probability that this won't work?!!'

I reckon that to anyone reading this who is struggling with infertility, this is old news and they are well aware of the stats. So this post is more to people reading this who have friends and family on this journey... positivity is good and we need it much of the time. But remember that realism also has it's place and this journey is a marathon and not a sprint :)

Click here to learn more about infertility: 
Click here to learn more about National Infertility Awareness Week:

Monday, 25 April 2011

Stimming report #3... all clear :)

Thanks everyone for your lovely comments yesterday.  Mad Hatter - very interesting comment about the possible 'aroma'... that is something I certainly hadn't thought of!

Anyway, all is fine :)  I asked my Doc about the supposed infection and she gave it as much airtime as it deserved. She conferred with the postgrad who had also been on duty on Sunday (in Chinese) and then said 'Doesn't matter'. I took that as the end of the conversation! I'm still feeling fine in that department, so think it was definitely a mistake on the past of the Doc on Sunday for the reasons we've mentioned.

Update stats:

Estrogen: 1693
L: 1.9 x 2, 1.3 x 2, 1.0
R: 1.85, 1.7, 1.6, 1.5 x 2, 1.2 x 2

Egg collection provisionally scheduled for Friday!  I need to go back in tomorrow for another check-up but was given a shot of HMG (I think...) today. Not sure what that does.. presumably start getting the follicles mature? If all is well tomorrow, I get the HCG trigger shot ready for Friday.

Feeling good about it all... I guess my endo could be thicker but I'm not letting it worry me. My only mini-concern is that Dr F will be out of town this holiday weekend and I won't get my acupuncture sessions in. I've emailed him and will wait and see. I know plenty of people get that BFP without acupuncture, so I'm trying not to worry too much (think that could be my motto)...

Apart from that, I'm enjoying another gorgeous hot day here in Shanghai by spending what's left of my afternoon on our balcony as it becomes a little suntrap in the afternoons and I've definitely heard someone say that Vitamin D is good for eggs ;)

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Staying calm...

No new information today. I just wanted to say thank you to everyone for your supportive comments since yesterday. I am doing my best to stay calm and not worry about my possible infection. Of course, I am over-analyzing every little twinge and sensation in my abdomen, but they certainly seem to be focused on my ovary areas, rather than my v-jay-jay... and that's normal when your ovaries are swollen to a completely abnormal size, right ?!  I was also very bloated yesterday evening which had me worried for a while, until I realised it was actually gas - much to the displeasure of my bloke as I 'relieved it' ;)

Anyway, I woke up this morning feeling anxious for the first time this cycle, so lay there and asked myself, 'What would I like to do today?' as recommended by Princess Wahna Bea Mama. I realised that I just wanted to stay home by myself, watch some TV and get some sun on our balcony. I have turned down offers to see a good friend, because I don't want to discuss our cycle today (she is the only person IRL who is following along with our news day by day)... I don't want to voice my concerns about this infection any more. I just want to relax and think positive thoughts :)

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Stimming report #2... uh, what?!!

Well, my new 'Zen' attitude has been truly tested today. I'm just back from my 2nd stimming checkup and the results are:

Estrogen: 686
L: 1.3 x 2, 1.0, 0.8
R: 1.35, 1.2 x 2, 1.1 x 2 (not sure if there are small ones still to grow)
Endo: 8mm

I had hoped for another couple of follies and a slightly thicker endo this time, but I'm taking solace in Miss Mac's story that these figures could lead to good news down the line. But these numbers aren't the reason for my current deep breaths and need to rant here asap. Beware... TMI coming up..

There was a different Doc on duty today, but I know her and have found her good in the past. Picture the scene.. or perhaps that's not such a good idea in the circumstances....  I'm in the stirrups waiting for the dildocam. Dr J wheels over in her chair, looks at my lady parts and does a visible double-take.. now in some circumstances I might be happy to get that reaction, but this sure as hell wasn't one of them. She goes ahead with the scan and I'm buoyed by her reeling off the sizes of my follies - sounded like there were more.. yey!  Then, as I'm pulling on my underwear she asks if I'm feeling any discomfort in my vagina. Uh, no?!  She calmly states that I might have an infection, but they can't check today because it's Sunday and I should ask my regular Doc on Tuesday. Then she wheels away.

Okaaaay... I get dressed and sit with the Doc. I won't repeat the conversation verbatim because I don't want anyone else to experience the frustration that I did. Basically I asked in about 3 different ways why she thinks I have an infection. She didn't attempt to answer my question and just kept saying to come back on Tuesday and ask my regular Doc to check for infection. This was not terribly helpful.  I then had to wait for my blood test results during which I made a frantic web search on my phone which did not yield much of use. When I got called back in I asked if my cycle would be cancelled if I had an infection.. Doc said 'Maybe, just maybe'. Great!

So what am I thinking/wondering right now?  Random thoughts:

  • How the hell could she think I have an infection just from looking at the outside of my bits?! They feel fine and, following a hand mirror inspection on returning home, seem to look perfectly normal (though I can't actually remember the last time I had a good look at them, so can't be 100% sure).  My only thought here is that she spotted some CM.. it has been increasing over the last couple of days due to my increasing estrogen levels.. sometimes it is a bit cloudy-looking (well, I did warn you TMI!). Could she have mistaken it for a yeast infection?! Surely Chinese girls have CM too?!
  • She can't be that worried if she wants me to wait until Tuesday to go back in. 
  • I'm continuing on exactly the same meds so, again, she can't be that worried. 
  • I'm not feeling anything different down there but have got a few twinges in my belly which I put down to my ovaries expanding and, from what I've read, that is perfectly normal.
  • I'm also trying to reassure myself that it is unlikely any infection, if there is one, is serious or life-threatening. The most likely outcome would be to cancel this cycle and treat the infection. However, my friend here IRL was about to have an FET last week when she was told she had an infection which may or may not be cervical cancer. (Don't even get me started on the heartless way her Doctor gave her this news...). When I spoke to her on Friday she'd been running from hospital to hospital with a translator to get test after test. I don't yet know the outcome of these tests. In all likelihood we're both completely fine and have nothing some antibiotics won't fix, but what are the odds of this happening to us both in the space of a week?!
Sorry the melodrama took over a little bit there. My brain started running down those 'what-if' paths again. I'm reining my imagination back in and trying to work out how to stop obsessing over this for the next 48 hours until I get an answer one way or the other...

Friday, 22 April 2011

First stimming update!

I'm back from my first ultrasound and blood test on this, day 5 of stimming.... the results are in:

Estrogen: 275
L: follies at 12 and 11 plus some small
R: follies at 12, 11, 10 plus some small
Endo: 8mm

So how am I feeling? Pretty happy, I think! I was perhaps hoping for a few more follies, but that was probably unrealistic. My antral follicle count a couple of cycles ago was about 10-12 but I didn't know how reliable a measure that was/is. So for some reason, I was hoping for 15 follies which might well be physically impossible!

Now I'm just hoping that some of those small ones (Doctor said about 2-3 each side) join their big brothers and sisters and get in the game :)

Main reason for my sense of peace right now is my endometrium... I know that 8mm is the minimum recommended for transfer (at least, that's what Zi.ta says) and, in my previous IUIs, I only got to 8mm the day before the procedure with the help of estrogen tablets. You may remember that one Dr said I would need a D&C before having IVF because my endo was so thin.. or at least aspirin and viagra. But today the Dr (a different, more experienced one) was completely happy with my 8mm :)  And hopefully it will continue to grow all nice and warm and soft ready for an embie or 2!

So I'm continuing with the same meds and feeling optimistic. Maybe the acupuncture with Dr F is really having an effect, both on my endo and my mood... I've never felt this chilled out about something so incredibly important to me :)

By the way, the picture is one I sneakily took at my clinic. You can see the guys and gals gathering round the consultation room window hoping to get seen first. Inside this room there was probably a woman in stirrups and/or being given life-changing news... better than TV, eh?!

Thursday, 21 April 2011

What a Good Friday! So far...

Thanks so much to New Year Mum from A Year On... Our New Beginning (hopefully) for including me on her awards list!! These are my first awards and I was very grateful and excited to receive them!

As tradition demands, I need to do the following:

1. Link back to the person who gave you the award (above)

2. Tell 7 things about yourself....

  1. I currently live in Shanghai.. for some reason, I've never listed the city where I live, only the country. I think I was feeding off my husband's concerns that one of his colleagues will stumble across this blog and work out who we are from this extra piece of information!
  2. I'm a Coeliac... that is I have Coeliac disease which is an autoimmune disorder caused by an allergy to gluten. In theory this hasn't caused our infertility, but fertility issues and miscarriages can be a symptom if you're not eating gluten-free. I've been gluten-free (as much as is possible in China) for about 5 years and hoping it's no longer a factor in our IF journey.
  3. I love to read... a lot.. anything. I'm a member of a book club and enjoy a lively debate (if it can turn into a real argument, even better!) about the merits (or lack thereof) of any kind of literature.
  4. I'm a Gemini, but have inherited my Mum's Virgo tendencies... hence my need for extreme organisation and advance planning.
  5. I love crap TV... my guilty pleasures are American IdolThe Biggest Loser (USA and Australia, though I have to have Bob & Jillian to feel truly satisfied..) and I have recently started watching The Bachelor... I blame my IVF 'resting'...
  6. My bloke and I are both 1 of 4 children and are the only ones in a serious relationship/married out of all 8 siblings... pressure for grandchildren... uh, just a bit!
  7. I've developed a secret love for country-pop artists (bear in mind here that I'm British...).. give me some Taylor Swift, Lady Antebellum or Dixie Chicks and I'm happy :)
3. Award other bloggers 
For The Versatile Blogger awards it's 15 'recently discovered bloggers' and for the Stylish Blogger Award it's 10 - 15 blogs 'you feel deserve this award'. Now I struggle to keep up with all the fantastic blogs out there, so will go for my favourite 10 to begin with... Please choose one or both awards :)

Miss Mac from Mac and PC
Princess Wahna Bea Mama from The Princess and the Pee Stick
Marilyn from Trying to Conceive
Elphaba from Yolk

4. Contact the recently awarded bloggers and let them know they've won :))
I'm going to do this asap but wanted to publish this post before going back to the clinic for my 1st stimming ultrasound and blood test results... will definitely let everyone know in person when I get back..!
Wish me luck...

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Welcome to ICWL!

Welcome if you're stopping by from IComLeavWe April!  Thanks for coming :)

If you're new to my blog, here's a quick-ish summary of our story...

My bloke and I are from the UK but have been living in Asia for about 10 years, the last 4 in China. After TTC for over a year, we started fertility testing and found out that my bloke's motility is fairly bad. There was also some confusion over whether my tubes were clear and if my uterus was bicornuate (shaped like 2 horns/cones). So I had an MRI (still some confusion... have I also got fibroids?!) and then a lap/hyst which showed nothing major to worry about.. a slightly heart-shaped uterus, some inflammation and mild endometriosis, but that's all. :)

We did 3 IUIs, 1 unstimulated, 2 on Gonal-F... all BFN. Then I took a couple of months off to rest, wait for spring (our clinic gets the best IVF results in Spring!),  improve my diet and have acupuncture.

Today is now day 4 of stimming (225 of Gonal-F) on our first IVF long protocol cycle after downregging with Decapeptyl (0.1mg for 2 weeks, now on 0.05mg per day).  So far, so good :)

But the story above is just the facts and figures. It doesn't convey what it's been like to go through a diagnosis of infertility, infertility testing and treatment in a foreign land where, in more ways than one, I don't speak the language. There have been frustrations, disappointments, moments of desperation and despair.. but also many moments of heartfelt gratitude for support from friends, both in real life and online. There have also been comical moments where, as my Mum always says, 'if you didn't laugh, you'd cry!'.

And how am I feeling now? Hopeful, certainly... optimistic might be pushing it (being a natural pessimist, as I am) but genuinely feeling like we're doing everything we can to give this cycle the best possible chance.

Monday, 18 April 2011

The Art of Queuing...

Today was my CD5 visit to the clinic.. my first since starting downregging and my chance to see how a 'normal' IVF visit works.  I got there at 8.15am to register and knew I needed to do my blood test as early as possible but wasn't sure if the test had already been entered on my clinic 'credit' card (and if I had paid for it). I managed to grab one of the English-speaking postgrads to ask and, yes, I was all set to go.

Had my blood test and went to wait for my ultrasound with the Doctor. It seems that you have to wait for the blood test results before you can meet with the Doctor. So I waited... and waited... and waited. Waiting is not a new theme for this blog, but I have been implementing a new 'Zen' approach to the craziness of the Chinese clinic and this was my first chance to really put it to the test. So I read my book, sent a couple of emails and listened to my iPod. I didn't constantly go to the window of the consultation room to see what was happening. I didn't ask the Doctor if they had my file/test results (in other words.. 'I'm here and waiting.. please see me!'). I just waited calmly.

This gave me chance to observe how the other girls spend this time. Having the advantage of a common language, they mostly chat together (Yes, I feel left out. Yes, I know I should have made more effort to learn Chinese). Others had more productive occupations... One girl was doing Sudoku, another knitting what looked like slippers and another doing cross-stitch which I loved as a kid.. now thinking it might be time to get back into it!

At about 12.30 I got to see the Dr... quick ultrasound and all must be fine with the tests because I can start stimming! Gonal-F.. 225 IU for the next 4 days and a return visit on Friday.

Then followed the usual trek to different floors to pay and then pick up my meds - mammoth queue of about 30 girls formed to pick up meds/learn how to do injections/get injections from the nurse. Luckily I was about 8 from the front, so I was home by 2pm.

6 hours of my life I'll never get back!  Luckily I remembered to ask if I can go home whilst waiting for the blood test results and I can. At least I can wait around in the comfort of my own home next time (5 minutes walk from the clinic).

Now drinking lots of water and hoping those eggs are forming :)

PS: the pic above is a comparison of usual British vs Chinese queuing systems. Luckily, the clinic is an exception or my 'Zen' would really struggle!

Thursday, 14 April 2011

About time!

For once, I am genuinely pleased to see my period show up (well, given that I've already POAS and know I'm not pregnant!)...  My spotting started yesterday and today it got going proper (3 days late). I'd already done my 0.1mg downregging shot this morning, so I'll have to go to the clinic tomorrow for them to show me how to halve it using the prepared syringes I have.

So I guess I'll count tomorrow as CD1... or should I count today? I read somewhere that CD1 is the first day that you wake up bleeding (which sounds so dramatic, doesn't it?).  Will it make any difference? I go back on CD5 for bloods, baseline ultrasound and presumably to start my stim meds. Part of me wants to go sooner rather than later to get going with the next step... what do you think?

Monday, 11 April 2011


Well I went and did something stupid... I took an HPT. Today is CD28 and there has been no sign of AF, so I thought I might as well.  Of course, it was negative. Which is not surprising and not as depressing as other months, because at least we've started the IVF and are looking at our best possible chance this cycle.

But you'd think I'd learn wouldn't you?! I was still holding onto that tiny possibility of being one of the cliches - one of those women who actually start IVF and get pregnant naturally... :)

But I'm feeling fine.. now just impatient for AF to actually arrive so we can get going with stimming.... come on!!

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Full of Glee

Not much to report today -  day 8 of downregging and now just waiting for AF to arrive. It's due tomorrow and, so far, the usual pre-AF spotting has been absent. The Dr told me the downregging drugs shouldn't affect my cycle, but I know other women have had to wait longer than usual for their AF to arrive so I guess I'll just wait and see. Strange how I'm now keen for it to arrive so we can get on with this cycle!

Was watching Glee this week (one of my favourite guilty TV pleasures) and identified with a classic Sue Sylvester quote. This is a scene where Sue is planning to fire one of her cheerleaders out of a circus cannon:

Carnie guy: ... you’re looking at a 70 percent chance of catastrophic failure.
Sue: Which is a 30 percent chance of catastrophic success.

The odds seemed oddly familar ;)  and the line made me laugh.

Here's to catastrophic success!

Friday, 8 April 2011

What does it mean?!

I'm now on CD25 and day 6 of downregging meds. The injection drama is over.. now just a little stinging during the shot which is new, but no problem.  And I'm still pretty much symptom-free, apart from a dry throat and slightly drier skin. My natural pessimist has been popping her head up and suggesting that maybe the drugs aren't working because I'm not really feeling anything but I've been telling her to pull her  head in and shut up... because, for the first time in so long, I feel positive. Actually positive. And cheerful. Strangely high in fact.

So what does this mean? Is the Decapeptyl actually making me feel better?!  Not a side-effect I'm familiar with...  Am I just ridiculously over-excited to have started this IVF cycle after waiting what seems like such a long time (though I know, in the big scheme of things, we've got here pretty quickly). Have I kidded myself that our odds are better than they really are?!

I don't know and I don't really care. Yesterday after my acupuncture session with Dr F, we were discussing my current warm, fuzziness and he said 'This cycle is going to be awesome' (did I mention he's from California?!) 'and then you can name the little guy after me!'

And, apart from thinking that Dr F is kind of a weird name for a baby, I thought about it... a baby, with a name and a pushchair and me pushing it and it felt great. I didn't get emotional, my eyes didn't well up (my usual response to such an image) and I thought 'Why not?!... Why not me?  Why not this time?'

Of course, I still know the odds and I still know there's a better chance of it not working this time than it working. But I'm allowing myself to think positive for the first time, possibly since we began this IF journey, and it feels good :)

* Please do not hold this post against me when the drugs kick in and I'm sobbing on your virtual shoulders in the coming weeks ;)

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

The dreaded BS..

It's happened and I guess it's a miracle that it's only happening now... I got invited to my first Baby Shower (I feel capital letters are needed here...)

I'm British and we don't really go in for showers (as far as I know, having been out of the country during just about all my friends' pregnancies!). I've also only recently built a good group of girlfriends overseas so I've been able to dodge the bullet... until now.

My friend who guided me through the mysteries of the Chinese fertility clinic is pregnant - I've mentioned her before.. she went through years of IF, several IUIs and then fell naturally and I've been seething with guilty jealousy ever since :(  Of course, we're still friends and I'm finding it easier and easier to spend time with her. But the timing of this shower couldn't be potentially worse. It's at the end of May, just after my birthday and possibly around the end of our 1st IVF cycle.

Sure, if I'm pregnant, it would be great (great doesn't really sum that up,does it!). If not, whether we don't make it to embryo transfer or if we do and get that BFN, it could be horrendous.  I know my friend would understand if I explained (though she's probably struggled through several of these events after negative results herself) but I wasn't planning on telling her the dates of this cycle and possibly not about the cycle at all if I can help it - I've decided to keep as much information to myself as possible, apart from family and a couple of friends.

I guess if I accept now, then that is a hopeful gesture and/or also a commitment to be brave and know that I will just need to get through it. (I could also drop out at the last minute if necessary!).

Looks like I'm asking you all for advice again... :)

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

IVF cycle 1... here we go!

Well, my plan of getting some sun and Vitamin D on a beach in the week before starting our first IVF cycle was somewhat foiled by freak weather in Thailand! It rained... a lot... most of the time. There were a couple of hazy days with a little sun poking through, but most of the time it was miserable. I also managed to catch a cold towards the end of the week and spent a couple of days in bed ordering room service and watching TV... OK, in retrospect that doesn't sound too bad!  I guess a change is a good as a rest?!

CAUTION... if you have a fear of needles, you might want to avoid the rest of this post... and perhaps IUI/IVF, but that's another story ;)

So back to sunny China and IVF number 1. I went to the clinic on CD20 and got my downregging meds. I'm on Decapeptyl (0.1mg) which I need to inject into my upper arm once a day.  I had a choice of getting my jabs at the clinic or doing them myself. The Dr was like 'it's really easy.. you can do it yourself'. The nurse seemed to think (she speaks about as much English as I speak Chinese) that I should go there to have them.

I found out that if I do my own injections then I don't need to go back to the clinic until CD5, so I opted to do them. The nurse did the first one and showed me the procedure. The syringes come ready loaded with the correct dose (at least until CD1 when I need to halve the dose - not sure how to do that yet) so I don't need to do anything with vials which was a relief.

The only odd/confusing thing is that the nurse massaged my arm with one hand, whilst giving the injection with the other. How am I supposed to do that with only 1 hand?!

Yesterday - Option the injection without the massage.
I got the needle in on the second try (was too wimpy the first time) and it seemed to be going well except for my hand shaking a bit. It takes a long time to administer the full dose, so the hand shaking got a bit worse. I finished and noticed a big lump on my arm.. presumably where the dose had gathered around the injection site - maybe that was what the massage is for?!  Then I had a bit of a funny turn (beware TMI coming up!).. I felt really nauseous and went into a cold sweat. It was crazy! I was naked having just got out of bed and the sweat was literally dripping onto the floor. Then I had an urgent need to go to the toilet.  This all lasted just a few minutes and then I felt better, though I still went back to bed to read for a little while :)

So.. what was that about? Can't be a reaction to the drug because I was fine when the nurse did it. Maybe nerves? Maybe the sight of the lump where the drug gathered? (Which dissipated really quickly, by the way). So...

Today - Option 2... my bloke massages my arm whilst I inject.
I position his hand in the right place and demonstrate what the nurse seemed to do. I do the injection and he massages. Except, unlike when the nurse did it, the length of the needle (though not the tip) is now going in and out of my arm as the flesh moves up and down with the massage... that can't be right! This causes some discomfort which was definitely not there when the nurse did the injection. But there is no lump afterwards and I feel fine, despite my hand still shaking a bit during the jab.

So what do you think? I've looked online and it seems that most people inject in their stomach, not their arm so I haven't found any videos demonstrating how to do it 'one-handed'. All advice welcome!

On the upside.. no apparent side effects yet :)

On your marks...

Well, I'm back from my trip.. well, to be honest I've been back for a week and yet this is my first post. For some reason, I've been a little reluctant to get back online and into a routine of posting about our IVF cycle.  I've been thinking about why this could be and I reckon that the following might have something to do with it (don't you just love pop psychology!)...

I think that posting about our 1st IVF cycle makes it more real... instead of it being this 'secret' process that we are going through, that I can pretend is not very important or significant, posting about it brings the reality of this cycle to the fore. The more people whom I talk to/blog to about it, the less I can pretend that this coming couple of months are going to be anything other than life-changing - whether successful or not. Does that make sense?!  I guess what I'm saying is that I'm trying not to get my hopes too high and, for some reason, it felt like blogging about it would encourage my hopes...

But anyway, I think I'm pretty much over that for the time-being... I've really valued the support from my readers and online IF friends and I know I will need it in the coming weeks. So I'm back!

Proper update coming soon...