Monday, 31 August 2009

Letter from my specialist

I received a letter in the mail today from my fertility specialist Mike, which includes my referral to the pschologist I have seen this last few weeks. I don't know whether to cry or laugh or get angry. It has brought up all of the emotions I have tried to bury from this last cycle.


Dear Psychologist...

Thank you very much for seeing Rebecca who is only young but has had extensive IVF treatment without success and has run out of money and options for the time being.

She is a determined, intelligent and somewhat intense person who is naturally very disappointed with the result.

At the time of writing I don't have all teh details of her fertility treatment but these are available through the clinic and she will certainly know it blow by blow.

Future options are to revisit IVF in a couple of years time after lifestyle changes to improve the quality of both her eggs and his sperm, although she has tried this once before with extensive weight loss without luck.

They are considering embryo donation in the future but will clearly need a break. It has been so traumatic for her that she has needed a day or two in hospital after the recent failure of embryo development despite collecting 33 eggs (combined with the nausea and discomfort that goes with ovaries that large).

I have strongly advised her to see someone such as yourself to develop a framework to deal with the issues that have arisen so far and to cope with what lies ahead.


It's like he has given up as well. I know I was in a really bad state when he saw me last, and maybe that is why he has formed the opinions he has, but I tend to have very low periods of time (eg when I was in hospital - hello, I just want through an egg collection for nothing!) but do pick up pretty well. At the moment I still have moments where I get emotional, and I am definitely still depressed, but I am functioning fine, and really do feel okay to keep going with treatment.

Am I overreacting?

I don't know what is going to happen at our meeting in a weeks time now, I feel like they aren't going to take me as seriously because I was so hysterical after the last failure. Can they prevent you from doing another round of IVF? Oh God I hope not :(

Getting my exercise thing on

I'm thinking of doing another Triathlon in a couple of months time. It's the Tri Pink Triathlon on November 8. I did a short course triathlon earlier in the year and loved it, but I was super-fit at the time. I am signed up to do boot camp for eight weeks, starting in a weeks time, and I am also doing personal training, so I hope that by the end of all of that I would be fit enough to do the triathlon. Last time I did a mini version, but I'm considering doing either the medium or long course version!

Any other Perth girls interested in giving it a go with me?

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Nothing new

Just checking in, trying to catch up on all my bloggy friends who I have neglected during my latest crisis. It's been a pretty good weekend.

I got to speak to my Mum this afternoon which made me feel a little bit better - she was about to board a ferry taking her from Dover to France which I think is pretty cool. I also went out with some girlfriends on Saturday night and tried sushi for the first time - very cool! I even got the hang of chopsticks first go! Then my other girlfriends and I went out for breakfast this morning in East Perth which was nice.

Oh and the other exciting thing we did this weekend was buy a fish tank! I've been wanting to get a pet for a while, and I don't feel comfortable with getting a dog while we don't know if a baby could be joining the family sometime soon. So we have set up a tropical aquarium and will be looking for our first pet fish this week. I know it sounds a little nutty, but it will be nice to have something that we can take care of, and apparently it is meant to be very relaxing as well which is a nice bonus.

This is my last week in my current job which is quite exciting. Our branch was restructured and my position disappeared, with none of the other positions being suitable for me, so I start a three month acting position in HR working as the Recruitment Administrator while another girl goes on 12 weeks leave! It's really exciting, I have been in my old branch for four years and the last 18 months has been so incredibly stressful, especially in combination with doing IVF, and not necessarily seeing eye-to-eye with my boss. The work that I have been doing is very high-level and high-stress, so to get out of that is something I am looking forward to. I'm not sure where I will end up after the three months, but working in recruitment will mean I get to see all the vacant jobs as they get advertised, so at least I know what is around.

Time for sleep now, unfortunately I haven't been sleeping well so on a combination of Valium and Temazapam to get me to la-la land, eventually I will need to get myself off it but for now it does the job.

Friday, 28 August 2009

My last ditch effort

IF, we decide to try one final round of IVF, I want to make sure I throw everything at it. That means getting me into prime fertility mode. I want to put together a list of every possible thing I can do to improve my body. I'm no saint, but I want to make an effort to do anything and everything could make that 1% difference. I'd love some ideas from everyone on things that I may have missed.

Acupuncture - The Institute for Holistic Medicine is a training school for naturopaths, tcm and acupuncture. It's super cheap because the students are learning but they are supervised fully by a qualified practitioner. I can't afford to do acupuncture a lot as it is so expensive, but hopefully if I can get into this clinic, I will be able to get acupuncture all the way up to my cycle. I've never been to see a naturopath, being a natural sceptic, but I think it might be time to give it a go.

Losing weight - Yes I know this is a perennial goal of mine, but I have signed up for boot camp again, which is two sessions a week of hardcore cardio and weights, for eight weeks. It starts in September 9, so I should lose some serious weight during the eight weeks. I also plan to go back to my 'non-diet, healthy eating' plan which I have done before and gone well with. Basically it means toast for brekkie, fruit for morning/afternoon tea, salad/meat sandwich for lunch, and then a healthy dinner eg no takaway food which is our weakness. I also need to keep my water intake right up - I'm usually pretty good at this, but I might start using my Calorie King membership again to keep track of it all.

Vitamins - I obviously already take the recommended folate and iodine tablets, but I'm also going to add one of those ridiculously huge multivitamins to my diet - who knows, any little boost could make the difference.

Work - I am starting a new job in two weeks (which is a whole other post!) but I will be working from 8am to 4pm, instead of my current 9-5. This means a hell of a lot less sleep in the morning, so I need to be really vigilant about going to bed at a decent time, so I'm not struggling through the day. Our gym at work has been refurbished and has some new equipment, so I'm also planning, when I feel depressed at work, to go down to the gym at lunchtime and maybe sit on an exercise bike or treadmill to get some endorphins happening.

Depression - I need to get myself out of it. I'm on antidepressants and have been for a year now, which are now my baseline. I also have a script for Diazepam which I have been using sparingly. I don't want to be at the point where I still need the Valium come IVF time, so I need to build some positive strategies to pull myself through this time.

I have a lot of other plans about what I want to do in regards to treatment, but before I even get into that headspace, I need to get my mind and body right. Would love suggestions for other things I can do to get myself right for another cycle.

I really am getting ahead of myself. I want another cycle, but Murray doesn't. Deadlock. Oh well, I guess this can't be bad for me to do it anyway...

Thursday, 27 August 2009

I miss my Mum

The day that we found out our embryos had stopped growing, my Mum hopped on a plane for a well-earned seven week holiday in Europe. I know it's only seven weeks, and I have Murray and my friends, but damn I miss my Mum. I miss having her no-nonsense voice on the end of the phone, or being able to talk about anything. I know there are phones and we can speak to each and all that but I don't want to spoil her holiday. I wish she was here to give me a big hug and tell me everything is going to be okay. Somehow I always believe it when she says it.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Unexpected Support

Hey Bec,

I have been meaning to write to you for the longest time but felt I just didn't have the right words to say but didn't want you to think I wasn't thinking of you either.

You would have heard this all before but I have friends who are and have been in your situation and while I would never ever pretend to know how you feel I just wanted you to know that I am always thinking of you both and I am sending you every bit of strength and love I can muster.

You are both two of the most loving, decent, generous human beings I have ever met and quite frankly I think it stinks that you have to go through this.

Anyway enough of my rambling, the short version is if you ever even just need to vent or need anything whatever, whenever we will be both here.

Lots of love

K & M


I just received this email from my cousins wife, who I haven't seen for over year. To be honest I have always been a little jealous of K, I remember talking to her when she was just about to get married (a year after me), and they said they wouldn't start trying straight away - of course they fell pregnant the next month, and have since had another little baby recently. I get along great with both of them, but they live a distance away, and to be honest the friendship has fallen by the wayside. It was such a nice surprise to hear from her, and to get such strong support, just when I need it most.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Out of the blue

Click on the image to see the article (on the right-hand-side)

My blog has been written about in Notebook magazine, a national womens magazine in Australia. I had no clue about it at all until a fellow blogger saw it (I guess they don't need your permission if somethings online...) I feel very flattered and happy to share, but it certainly gave me pause for a moment to think that I am sharing my deepest and darkest fears and dreams on this webpage. I don't plan on censoring myself. To be honest, I don't think I could if I wanted to. This is my outlet, my place to let off steam, to get support, to deal with the really lows and celebrate the highs in life.

If you have come across this blog and realise you know me in real life - that is okay. You are welcome to read my blog, and even talk to me about it. If I have said things about you (hello in-laws!), please know that these feelings were how I felt at the time and if you want to know how I really feel/felt- there it is laid down for you, from my perspective. That doesn't mean I don't love you. It means I love you too much and wanted to get it all out in my head so that I don't explode.

There. That's about the best disclaimer a girl can give. If you are visiting after reading the magazine article - Welcome - and please feel free to leave a comment to let me know what you think. And apologies in advance, things are a bit dark at the moment.

Thngs that have helped

It's been a rough week. Shit who am I kidding. It's has been a freaking horrible week. Our dreams of a family are crushed. We don't know if we will ever be able to afford IVF again, or for that matter if I would even want to do IVF again. I don't think I could have gotten through this week without my friends.

My husband who I really truly deeply love. It sounds trite and cliched but he really is my rock. Without him I would have no meaning. He looked after me so well. He held me in his arms and just let me be sad which is exactly what I needed.

And then there is Megan, my gorgeous next door neighbour. Who was the first person I called in tears when I was told there were no embryos, and dropped everything to stay with me while I was in hysterics.

My beautiful friends who sent me messages of support through sms, email or my blog. Each one came through on the blackberry, and filled me with love and support, each message helping me to regain my sanity and pull through a very dark time.

A card from a faraway friend in Houston TX, and from closer to home at my church.

I know that I don't walk this path alone. I have many people here cheering me on to the highest point, and there to catch me when I fall. So thankyou. To all of you. You know who you are xx

Saturday, 22 August 2009

If only wishes came true

Thank you all for your well wishes. I am finally starting to feel better, if not emotionally, at least physically. The pain from the procedure has finally started to go away, I can breathe easy, and am back at work thanks to running out of sick leave. My head is not in a good place right now, but I guess that is to be expected considering everything that has gone on this past week. I still can't believe that it is really over. No embryos, zero chance of falling pregnant from another cycle.

Even before this past weeks drama, I haven't been writing as much in my blog lately because, to be honest, I didn't really want to face reality. In your own head you can go around in circles and convince yourself that everything will be alright. Unfortunately when you write everything down on paper, you see it for what it actually is. So here goes.

I have polycystic ovarian syndrome. My husband has virtually no sperm motility and severe dna damage to his sperm. Our nine attempts at conceiving with assisted reproductive technology have resulted in five transfers, four negative results, three bouts of depression, two hospital stays and one miscarriage. Our last cycle resulted in no blastocysts, even though my engorged ovaries pumped out 33 - yes 33 - eggs. We have spent in excess of $25000 at last count on ART treatment. I have lost 20 kilos to be able to start IVF and have put back on 8 of those through hormones, not exercising through treatment cycles, and emotional binge eating.

It doesn't look particularly good. I really don't know how much more I can take. I know people get diagnosed with cancer, and have friends or family die. I know there are worse things in the world that can happen to me. The logical part of my brain says that many people deal with much worse everyday. But that logical part can't compete with the pain in my heart. The pain that makes me hurt when I see a newborn being cradled by its parents at the shopping centre. Or thinking that I should be 22 weeks pregnant with our baby girl Vanilla, showing off ultrasound photos and preparing the nursery.

The nursery that we painted before we even started trying to fall pregnant. It's pastel lime green - you know, the colour you can add hot pink to for a funky girls room, or add some blue for a super cool little boys room. With handmade bright blue curtains, made to blockout the sun, to ensure that the bubba would sleep okay, even if the sun was up. A complete matching linen set which I fell in love with, but was discontinued, so I traipsed over the whole of Perth collecting every spare set I could find - even the bumper which I wouldn't even be able to use for fear of SIDS. The cot and change table still in boxes. They still have the sale sticker on the side from May 2006 when we purchased them.

I walk into this room every day, to do my hair, grab my clothes from the wardrobe, and get ready to go to work. Each day I catch my eye in the wardrobe mirror and think about what could have been. What should have been. Which may never be.

I might never have a biological child of my own. I need to try and get my head (and heart) around that.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009


Really short post to say I am out of hospital and home. Pain was from blood trapped under my diaphram after the egg collection - still in pain but apparently it will slowly dissipate.

Cant even begin to talk about the results. We are going to counselling this afternoon. This was meant to be our last ivf. our last bit of money. our last chance. the last egg collection id have to deal with. 33 eggs to zero embryos. Im just filled with so many emotions, I cant even explain.

will write more tonight

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

epu tomorrow

Cant's sleep. So nervous. My brain wont stop going over everything.

Egg collection is 8.30 tomorrow morning. We don't know if we will get to transfer this time - my progesterone was 7.8 on Monday (the day of my hcg trigger) which can mean that my hormones are out of wack and not suitable for transfer. My clinic said that 7 is fine but 8 is usually the cut off for doing a freeze-all cycle. Something about the higher progesterone level being an indicator that my body has already moved on to the next part of the cycle, and having lower success rates from it. But then I did some research and looked at a few journal articles on line, some say that there is a negative correlation between elevated p4 levels on the day of your trigger and pregnancy rates, but a lot of the studies show no difference, one study even said it could be a good thing in pcos patients! So I think we are going to go ahead with the transfer - even if the success rate is reduce to 20% - that is a 20% chance of being pregnant compared to a 0% chance in a freeze-all cycle.

But seriously - why couldnt this just go to plan!

Sorry my posts have been pretty shocking lately - spelling, grammar and content. My head keeps slipping back into a bad place and blogging hasnt been the highest of my priorites... I promise to get back to some sense of normality soon! Hopefully you won't have all disappeared on me!

PS - my bestie got 12 eggs at her egg collection on Monday and 10 fertilised today - yipee!!! Keep all your fingers and toes crossed for her as well!

Monday, 10 August 2009

ready to pop

Looks like egg collection will be on Wednesday - as the title suggests, I'm feeling rather full up of eggs at the moment! As of today, my end lining is 10.2mm and I have 9 follicles bigger than 10 mm on my left side, and 16 on my right. I also have 10 follicles smaller than 10mm all up - so plenty of follies! My doctor doesnt usually do Wednesday's but he will be this week, so I will at least have a doctor that I know doing my procedure.

I am a little concerned though about ending up with OHSS again though. Last time I didn't get any symptoms until after my egg collection, but I am already starting to feel a little off colour from all the drugs and how full my ovaries are feeling. I NEED to have a transfer this time, it would kill me to do a freeze-all cycle again! I really want to do a fresh transfer to give us the best chance of success, so onto the protein shakes I go...

My best friend is going in for her egg collection today, can't wait to hear how she goes with it all. To be honest I'm a little concerned that she might end up with OHSS as well, just because I know she has a lot of follies too, and I know how much it hurts! Fingers crossed everything goes super well though.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Fit freak

I am back on the fitness bandwagon - eating superhealthy and lots of exercise. I have really taken my dr's comments to heart and am going to work my butt off to lose this weight. I know I have every excuse under the sun for why I have put on weight, but in the end it doesn't make a difference because the weight is still there.

I had my scan and bloods today, there are 5 follicles bigger then 10mm, and 20 less than 10mm. Still on 225iu Gonal-F and have to go back into the clinic on Friday morning for another round of poking and prodding.

Murray has recovered really quickly from the TESA - he is just a little sore, no bruising or anything which is great news.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

black & blue

My tummy is black and blue (and purple and yellow!) from all of the gonal-f injections. They don't hurt too much but they are leaving ridiculous marks all over my stomach! But I guess I can't complain - Murray had his TESA today, which wasn't the most pleasant thing to watch! I stroked his head and kept him calm while the procedure happened - watching a 2 inch needle being injected into your husbands testes is not a good idea! But Murray was incredibly brave and we got a few straws of sperm. I should get an update tomorrow of exactly how good the sperm was. Murray got quite clammy during the procedure and felt like he wanted to throw up, but he made it through, and is only a little bit sore now - no bruising or anything!

I am day 8 today, and have another blood test and scan tomorrow morning at the clinic. At my scan on Monday nothing was happening to my follicles so I am hoping they bounce into action and have grown tomorrow. My doctor pulled me aside today after Murray's procedure to tell me that he (and the nurses) had noticed that I had put on weight and that I really need to control that and try and lose some of it. He said that he wasn't going to stop treatment or make a big deal out of it, but I really needed to make an effort to lose some. I'm actually a little upset about it all - not that he made that comment, because he is well within his rights to, and I know that I need to lose weight as well. It's just that I have been trying so damn hard! The day of my transfer, when we fell pregnant with Vanilla, I weighed 103 kg which is a good weight for me, and I feel quite healthy with it. I stacked on the weight after the transfer and early preg because I wasnt allowed to exercise at all and ate everything I wanted. But even after we lost Vanilla, I have been piling on the kilos. I have been back at the gym, at least three days a week and with a personal training additionally, yet I am still putting on weight! I just don't understand it. I am currently at 108.5kg, so I have put on 5 1/2 kilos in just over three months. IT IS RIDICULOUS!!!!!! So I am going to put a seriously crazy effort into trying to keep my weight under control before my egg collection, and hopefully lose a couple of kilos in the meantime.

Anyway, thats enough babble for one night, I am utterly exhausted so off to bed I go.