I never expected

I never expected that at the ripe old age of 34 I would be considering birth control options again. The future always had children in it, the possibility of not having children was always just that, just a possibility.

When you’re faced with not having kids, life changes. It’s sobering. Not only will you not have the joy that other parents have (baby showers, the birth, life’s firsts for your little one/s, the list goes on), but you realise that life ends with you. You are where the line stops. Once one of us dies, the other will be alone.

It’s not that we can’t have children. It’s the fact that my AMH levels are already low-ish, my body has just been purged of over a year’s worth of eggs, and if my egg quality improved with this second round of IVF, but none of the 5 eggs that were able to be injected even fertilised, then do we want to risk more miscarriages through continuing to try unassisted? IVF # 1 was our initial line in the sand. IVF # 2 was the new line in the sand. I wanted my life back one way or another (with or without children), and that is what I have got.

Don’t get me wrong. In amongst the sad and sobering moments of our current position, things are actually quite good. I’m feeling that such a load has been lifted from me. I’m enjoying not thinking about pregnancy. I’m enjoying not giving myself injections and having irrational moody reactions to silly little things. I’m enjoying the fact that I can go and bounce on a trampoline or do gymnastics (aka enjoying life) without the fear of doing something detrimental to an unborn child that I may not even know about. The gold star goes to me for my maternal protection levels but good grief that was exhausting. I’m looking forward to the travel we have planned and actually doing something positive for ourselves. We have been through enough. We don’t want your “prayers for a miracle”, we want your “prayers for God’s will”. And as far as we are concerned, we already know what that will is. Thank you for your hope, it’s lovely, but I don’t want it. I also don’t want your comments of “when we gave up I fell pregnant”. I’d like to exchange it for adventure.

Which brings me back to the original topic. Contraceptives. I probably shouldn’t use the NuvaRing, because well, I’m almost 35 years old. Can I be bothered taking the pill again and dealing with the side effects? Do I want to attempt a diaphragm? No way in the world am I getting any form of IUD (I am an IUD baby by the way), so what does that leave me with? Not a heck of a lot… I’m tempted to chart again and use all the “fertility awareness” methods I have learned over the years to help me avoid pregnancy rather than achieve it. Really, I should just suck it up and go see my GP. But that would mean talking to someone face to face about what we’ve just gone through and well… I’m not quite sure I want to unleash the ugly crying face and relentless snot on some poor unsuspecting health professional.

Anyway. I’d better get some work done. Have you seen Girlboss on Netflix? Feels a wee bit like my life right now… (minus the random sexual encounter in episode 1 and hernia in episode 2).

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Results

Well, IVF 1 is done and dusted.

I didn’t really need to wait for the blood test to know the official outcome, but of course being the compliant patient that I am I listened to my team and continued with the plan.

On Saturday night the spotting started. Three or four days from my due date, the changes started happening like clock work. I had read that Crinone can sometimes cause irritation and bleeding but this was just a little too familiar. If I’m going to get a period, this is when the spotting starts.

But of course – we keep an open mind. People with varying degrees of spotting or bleeding end up having successful pregnancies right? But on Sunday the cramping and “light” bleeding became more apparent, and by Monday we had basically a full blown period. Hello cramps, bloating and basically a crime scene in my pants. Sunday and Monday were definitely down days. Plenty of disappointment and teary moments.

I spoke with my nurse who agreed, it didn’t sound hopeful at all. So she recommended that I do my blood test a day early and to continue with the progesterone until we got the results. Yay… That night I did my dose, within minutes the cramping was nearly unbearable, I was on the toilet and let’s just say there wasn’t much of that dose left! I didn’t even bother with the morning dose (I was on 2 per day).

So, yesterday we did the blood test, and as expected it was zero HCG. Not one micro-ounce, so if implantation did occur, it certainly didn’t last long. Getting the result wasn’t awful, but just more of the same. That mildly angry “eff the world” feeling that you get while you’re thinking “Of course it’s negative! Why on earth would it be positive?” You feel like it’s borderline stupidity to expect any other result. This just doesn’t happen, and when it does, it doesn’t last.
So, now we wade through the disappointment, and try to figure out what to do next. This was supposed to be our line in the sand, but naturally that’s easier said than done. Of course we want to keep pursuing it, but we can’t afford the expense of another full blown round. But do we really want another possible failed round? Do we want another pregnancy that could possibly end in miscarriage? Of course it could work out perfectly fine, but with no frozen embryos, this could be a very clear definite “no” for us. We just need to know if we are reading the signs right. If we read them wrong, we risk blowing another multiple thousands of dollars that could go towards something far more positive for us and our marriage. Trying is never a waste, but how much more do we flog this quite possibly dead horse? In some ways I would much rather invest that money on travel and spending time actually enjoying our lives together – something that has been missing for a good two and a bit years now. While I still want kids, I still want my life back. I want the freedom to know that I’m not going to ruin a potential pregnancy by possibly doing the wrong thing (I know, flawed logic, but after losses one gets paranoid). How does one know when the stop?

But more importantly, how do you decide to actively prevent pregnancy? Do I go on the pill (blehh no thank you), does hubby get something permanent like a vasectomy? Because while pregnancies aren’t exactly a common thing for us, preventing a miscarriage is more important for our mental health than preventing a pregnancy. But then again, doing something so permanent is pretty heartbreaking. The whole situation is heartbreaking. We will see what.our specialist says next week at our follow up appointment.

Here’s to discussions. Many, many discussions…

Waiting

So far, the dreaded 2WW (two week wait) hasn’t been all that dreaded. One week has passed since embryo transfer and things are going well.

Last week I didn’t go to the workshop at all (well, I did, but not in a working capacity), since our IVF nurse advised us that it was crucial to not overheat. Considering the recent weather, the workshop would clearly not be an ideal place to be, since in summer the temperatures regularly get up close to 40 degrees (Celsius). So this week I have been resting, relaxing, and working from home doing my PT and Jamberry work. It has been really nice to just have a change of pace, rest whenever I feel I need to and invest all I can into making our baby work out. Obviously, I can only do so much, but despite the outcome I know I’m doing what I can.
There haven’t been a huge amount of symptoms indicating a pregnancy. I have been a little more emotional than usual (as we have expected with this whole round of IVF and medication). Aside from that sometimes I feel positive like it could really work, other times I feel like is it really working? Sure, we put an embryo in there, but who’s to say it’s even implanted. And if it implanted, we don’t even know if it will last. But those feelings aren’t exclusive to me during my 2WW. They are generally present in some form or other, all the time!

However, since Wednesday, fatigue has hit me like a truck! Wowzer, so tired! This is one thing I am remembering from my previous pregnancies. But this far before my period was due? Hmm… not sure if it’s a pregnancy thing or a progesterone thing.

I’m also noticing urgent hunger. Like, hmm, yeah I might be hungry? (5 minutes later) still… not sure. Five minutes later again – I NEED FOOD NOW. Another thing I remember from previous pregnancies.

My patience level is also rock bottom. Normally I don’t care about red lights unless I’m running late. Now? A red light is just the most awful thing to endure! Sometimes I feel like I should not be in charge of a vehicle because people just make me angry! I definitely remember this feeling from my previous pregnancies. 

But once again, I don’t want to count my eggs (or embryos) before they hatch. I know that this could very well just be the progesterone talking, I am using the stuff morning and night! 😁 Thankfully, I’m getting through this ok so far. There has been a lot of prayer about it, and I think it is working. I know that of anyone, God has this under His control and His care, and whatever happens, everything will be okay (even if it doesn’t seem like it to begin with). Even if God says no, life will be ok. The same with if God says yes. Having that trust is definitely helping and I’m glad to have God through this.

IVF Cycle 1…

The last 3 ish weeks has flown by! I know I always say that but it’s true, because life all of a sudden got very busy when I got my period a few weeks back.

As you can tell from the title and my last post, IVF was our next step, and that step has now been taken. Thankfully the daily injections went seamlessly, with a maximum of 3 bruises. I feel quite skilled in injecting myself into the small layer of my belly fat now (I’m super thankful I don’t have a very low body fat percentage!) 😊 Having been through three blood tests, two ultrasounds and one egg retrieval, spirits were quite high and confidence was good.

One thing I have thoroughly enjoyed since starting IVF is having the whole process in someone else’s hands. Previously, even though it wasn’t hugely stressful, there was always that responsibility of reading your body’s signs correctly, and then of course making sure you do the right thing at the right time. Super romantic… 😒 So this month has been a nice change of pace. All I need to do is keep up with my medications, look after myself and turn up to the clinic when the time is right.

After egg pick up, our week was very difficult. They got 8 eggs, 6 of which fertilised. YAY! Then, the number dropped to 4, which plummeted again to 2. When the number dropped to 4 I immediately burst into tears after getting off the phone, so naturally when I heard we only had 2 left that were progressing I automatically started thinking about my future life without childrenand how I was going to really enjoy getting stuck into crossfit 😂 Oh hormones… 😁 Then the next morning I woke up feeling different, almost confident and assured that we still had 2 embryos. The phone call came and that gut feeling was proven correct. Two embryos had progressed, transfer was going ahead. It was so good to get positive news, because let’s face it, we haven’t had much of that in the past few years!

This morning we had our embryo transfer. I was super nervous initially because I had the impression that the whole thing was going to take 15 minutes. Joy. I’m really not good with pap smears so the fact that it was going to (apparently) take significantly longer just thrilled my soul to bits (note: sarcasm). Last night we met up with my inlaws and had a bit of a prayer, which was nice. We prayed that the transfer would go well, that there would be minimal discomfort, and that there would be an ultrasound screen for me to watch the transfer on for a bit of a distraction. I’m happy to say that all of those things happened 😊 It was so great to have a good team helping us but to also be able to see what they were doing, and to see our little embryo in it’s squishy new home. Within 5 minutes it was done! Finally I could pee!!! We were given a microscope photo of our embryo which I enthusiastically accepted. Previously we have never had any imaging of our pregnancies and this time I’m determined to get every picture I can! I’m ot sure if it’s a 100% perfect blasyocyst, but the embryologist was happy, and from what I have read about blastocyst grading, I’m happy too (FYI if you feel the need to give your opinion on the quality of my blasyocyst’s progress, don’t bother). We have our first baby photo and it’s quite exciting 😊

I’m calling this one my Squishy. It’s nice to have it with us finally.

So, little Squishy, feel free to hatch, and snuggle in deep, because I fully intend on having a good 36-42 weeks of growing you ❤

It’s early days. Despite my excellent maternal intentions, we know that this may not work, so I’m going to enjoy it while it lasts, keep praying, keep talking to my Squishy, and just enjoy it one day at a time 😊

21st January 2017

Happy New Year folks 😊

So much has happened over the past 6-8 weeks, it’s not funny!

  • I’ve finished working at the gym (and I’m LOVING it)
  • I’ve started PT from home part time
  • I’ve become a Jamberry nails consultant for a bit of fun and to help me meet people
  • I’ve started working in our workshop with my husband part time (yes, on the tools!)

My “new life” is different and I’m still adjusting to the change in my routine, but I’m so happy to be done with the gym, and be spending more time with my husband. But there is one more change that I haven’t included. Last month we saw our fertility specialist. We decided that it would be a good idea to do a laproscopy and hysteroscopy to rule out any endometriosis, near the end of January provided I wasn’t pregnant. So we re-did all of our fertility screening tests, and had our follow up last Monday. It was a good visit, and despite the original plan of laproscopy and hysteroscopy, we decided that we would just go straight to IVF. Why not huh? 😋😉 Anyway so on Wednesday we met up with our nurse who went over our treatment plan, fees etc, and provided my period doesn’t arrive this weekend, I’ll be heading in early this coming week to get my meds and start the process. At our appointment on Monday, my fertility specialost looked at my AMH and said “ok good we can treat you reasonably aggressively then” (because my AMH was slightly low for my age). So I’m getting a 400 (whatever unit of measurement) dose of some medication instead of a 200 or 250 dose. YAY! Mood swings – here we come! Injecting myself will be a whole new scary adventure but I’m sure I’ll manage it, and maybe even get used to it. I am not looking forward to egg transfer though. I am really bad with pap smears so to have someone mucking around down there for around 15 minutes is not going to be easy. The nurse said I could have some natural valerian beforehand, which I am definitely going to look in to!

So, that’s our news. There are mixed feelings. Excitement and hope, but at the same time a lot of apprehension because if this doesn’t work, or if we have another miscarriage, I just don’t know how I will get through the grief again. Anyway. We will just go through it, and roll with whatever happens. And hopefully a happy live baby happens!

An update, now that I feel better-ish

After posting my hasty “I’m so over this” blog (if you can call it that), I decided that I would journal a bit, get my thought processes straight and chat with my husband.

You see, the worst thing about this for me, is that I feel like my life has been hijacked. I am 10,000% grateful for the presence of gymnastics in my life. Goodness knows what my mental state would be like without it! But still, even though I have the best distraction in the world, and as much as I try to push symptom spotting and hopeful feelings aside, that 2WW is still there, and it’s still difficult even though gymnastics has brought back fun into my life.

We have a local competition coming up early in 2017, and providing it’s not on a Saturday, I’d really love to participate. It’s called Australia’s Fittest Gym and is almost like a mini crossfit games. check out the promo video here. look for the boys in red – that’s the team I coached! We definitely weren’t first on the leaderboard but we had a great time and the boys pulled out some great individual scores. This year I want to enter a guy’s and a girl’s team, hopefully with me in it. What I would really love to do, is absolutely throw myself into training (for this and gymnastics), push myself hard, all without worrying about whether or not I’m pregnant. Just to get my life back and not think about babies is 100% what I want right now. If I can do that (not think about babies), while still trying for babies, that would be the BEST!! All I really need is just a mental break, because I do still want a life with my own biological kids.

So after speaking with my husband about it last night and today, I think we’ve come up with a decent plan. At least for now. For a long time now I’ve been asking myself (and my husband has asked himself that too), how much longer do we do this? How much longer am I going to live in this emotionally drained state? For our own sanity and happiness, we need to know when to call it quits. I thought to myself sometime in the last 9-24 hours, maybe let’s just do 1 round of IVF, and if it doesn’t work, we’re done. No more trying for babies, let’s just get our lives back. Then this morning, my husband said to me the exact same plan, without me mentioning anything to him about what I had been thinking. I’m not sure if this is a sign that this is what we should do, but this is what we’re going to run with. I definitely do not want to do IVF. A drawn out process of daily injections, specialists and multiple hospital visits is not how I believe babies are best made. But, if it’s a means to an end, and it means that we can just move on regardless of the outcome, then I suppose I’ll give it a go.

It does leave us with the questions of what to do with left over embryos if we are unsuccessful, and what will we even do once we decide to stop trying with regards to contraception, but for now I’m happy with this plan. We can discuss embryo stuff with the specialist, and we can think about preventing pregnancy once the IVF is over if it doesn’t work. Right now, I’m happy to stop thinking about it.

In the meantime, we get our referrals, and we start the process. Last month we tried “the stork” conception kit which did not go well, but maybe we will try using it another way this cycle just to get our money’s worth. We will chat about that… sometime before this period is over.

In the meantime, here’s part of my bars routine, and me slipping off 😂

Anyway. Here’s to having a plan. Sort of…