Picture day

(Thoughts written at the time):

Today I’m 12+6. Today we had another scan.

I’ve been waiting for this for such a long time. Today was the chance to find out if you are doing okay, after weeks of wondering. We got to see you and hear your wee heart.

You kicked away and waved your wee arm and the technician measured your parts and pointed out your legs (crossed at the ankle), your spine, and the two parts of your brain.

Here is a picture of you!

 

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We’ve been telling some people about you. Tonight we’ll tell your uncles and aunts, and your cousins. Tomorrow we’ll message our friends in Scotland and here, and maybe on Friday we’ll tell social media.

It has been hands down the hardest secret I’ve ever had to keep. After years of infertility, we’ve had so many people in our corner, cheering us on. I can’t wait to see how happy knowing about you will make them. I can’t wait til you make my pudgy belly round. I can’t wait til I get to feel you.

Such a wee miracle.

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Testing time

In an unprecedented move, I did not take a home pregnancy test until 8 days after my transfer (8dp5dt) which is the equivalent of 13 days past ovulation. I am usually a hardcore tester, often starting a few days earlier than this point, and getting more and more disenchanted with every line-less test.

Usually you have a very definitive idea by 9dp5dt (also known as 14 days past ovulation, when for many, periods are due) and I never wanted the call from the nurse to be a painful surprise. So testing beforehand is always my choice.

Maisie requires so much of my energy and brainpower, that I just didn’t bother this time – I honestly was too distracted. I didn’t have any symptoms either than my usual tiredness, my super sensitive nose (which happens every time due to the progesterone) and the only one I hadn’t had before: I was running a slight temperature.

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So when I came home 8dp5dt with a full bladder, hot and moody as hell, I decided to just bite the bullet and get it over with. I pulled out one of my old cheapie sticks, peed on it, and took it immediately into the bedroom while I changed into my usual comfy clothes, refusing to look at yet another stark white negative. I was used to testing without telling my husband, and throwing them away.

When I finally could bring myself to check it, I could see the faintest of second lines. I squinted at it, knowing that I’d “seen” a second line many times before (in desperation), but this time it was definitely actually there.

I ran through to my husband and by now I’d started to cry. His first thought was that someone close to us was dead, and so was very alarmed at how hysterical I was.

I made him check that there was in fact a 2nd line and that it was pink. It was definitely there. Once I’d calmed down, we let ourselves get a little bit excited.

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And then I tested the next morning with 2 sticks (cause what if one is faulty right?!) and they both came up with stronger lines.

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And then the morning of the blood test:

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(Sorry if pee sticks creep y’all out).

It’s pretty hard to believe – but lucky number 5 worked.

I am pregnant.

We didn’t celebrate just yet, we were waiting on the beta (first blood test), so I was holding my breath until we heard a good number. Then holding my breath until we heard a heartbeat, and then we decided we MAY start to relax (but I doubt it).

It has been very hard keeping this to ourselves. I immediately told my closest infertility buddies (because I had to tell someone immediately), and then when we got them face to face that weekend, we told our parents.

This was all 9 weeks ago – I hit 13 weeks on Thursday and all is going well. I’ll fill you in on the thoughts you have missed in upcoming posts very soon.

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I cannot thank you all enough for your endless support and love. Pregnancy after infertility never comes with the greatest of confidence – you are always waiting for someone to snatch it all away again. But I want to do the cute things that have always made me so jealous, and so my social media is about to become a bit excited. Please feel free to take a little distance if you need it.

For now all I can think is:

thank you

thank you

thank you.

All our dreams might just come true.

Transfer day

Transfer number 5 was set for day 22 this cycle: way later than any other transfer I’ve had. When I queried it, they explained that they just schedule you in where they could fit you, and it was a particularly busy schedule for this month! So no scan until day 17 and it felt like I was on the estradiol (estrogen) so much longer, despite it only being 4 more days.

Because of this different timing, transfer day fell in my week off. I booked it because we were hoping to have a holiday, and I also never work on my birthday. And then of course we were getting Maisie, so it was really helpful to have the time at home with her.

 

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It was super weird knowing that we would transfer an embryo, and then 2 days later, I would turn 34. We started trying when I was 30 (a few months shy of 31), and all through this process, everyone has been telling us how young we are, how much time we have. Now we’re suddenly a year away from being “less likely to succeed” in any of this, and with limited embryos/finances to fund more IVF, we are looking at a single child (if that).

However, if that’s the outcome, we embrace it. “Spoiled” single child coming right up.

 

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On transfer day, I channelled the above image: I was calm and collected. I surrendered to the process and believed that the dilatation would make it the eas(ier) transfer we hoped for. I was scheduled later in the morning so that my specialist could do the transfer himself. He wasn’t due to be doing many transfers that day but wanted me on his schedule.

And like an idiot, despite having done this 4 times already, I let myself get distracted by Maisie and didn’t drink all of the water I needed to to get a clear ultrasound for the procedure. I ended up lying on the table for 40 minutes (and drinking some more water), before they had a clear enough view. I was usually an A+ student at this and super full by our arrival at the clinic. I was so embarrassed, but luckily being the last on the schedule, I was able to lie there (albeit in the rather warm room – embryos like it toasty) until we were ready to go.

Unfortunately, it was still difficult. Different catheters and rods were used, my cervix was clamped and pulled down (always fun), and it still hurt. But way less than the others (#4 was particularly traumatic), and with no cramping, and no bleeding. I was deflated but still hopeful.

And the wait began. Oh how I am tired of waiting. But wishing and praying and hoping as hard as I can.

 

Number five

After what felt like an interminably long wait, my cycle finally started and away we went. The hysteroscopy totally confused my body, obviously, and it was frustrating to say the least.

Back on progynova, it didn’t take long for that familiar exhaustion to set in. I met with my specialist a week in to discuss my surgery, and he was happy with the results and my very quick recovery. Apart from the haze that is general anaesthesia, I had no pain or adverse side effects. Always nice to have a win.

Just under a week later, I turned up for my standard blood test and quickly learned that I was an idiot who had made stupid clothing decisions that morning, having picked a dress with sleeves that don’t roll up. It’s the first (and will now be the last) time I’ve had to undress unnecessarily in a medical office. Luckily the older nurse who was taking my blood was more bemused than anything. “It’ll just have to come off!”, she exclaimed. Well okay, thanks. Off it came.

I think I’ve met everyone at the blood clinic at least twice now. There’s only one same day clinic close to my work, and they open at 7am, so that’s when I go. Sometimes there are 10 people already waiting there (especially on a Saturday as they are the only one open) but sometimes I am the only one there. I’ve gone from a slight needle phobia to just shrugging it off. Which is also funnily enough now my reaction to transvaginal ultrasounds.

Speaking of which, my scan was less eventful. I was at 11mm lining (they like you over 7 or 8) and it had the “triple stripe” appearance, which is best for implantation. We were all set for transfer in 5 days. 5 days til transfer of number 5.

Lucky number 5?

 

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Happy new year

2017 was a hard year for us, as it was for many.

There were happy times — friends had lots of positive news to share, we renovated and moved into our lovely home, we spent a lot of time with family, but it was hard. I never expected we’d start treatment in January and finish in September at a dead end.

And now 2018 is here, and we’re set to repeat it all again – but hopefully with better results.

After being back in New Zealand a year, I definitely feel more settled, especially now we have our own home. I’ve spent the last few months trying to put the heartbreak of infertility behind us and out of mind, which is always easier said than done.

In late October we had what some of us call the “WTF” appointment that you have after failure (hate that term though) and our doctor kindly had run further tests to see if there were any genetic/chromosomal abnormalities that he could identify (i.e. are we missing any parts of our chromosomal makeup?) and also ran an antibodies test on me which would highlight some common immune issues. Everything came back clear, and despite it being “unusual” that we would be unsuccessful after 3 embryo transfers, the only real advice he had was what we were expecting: try again.

He said he’d send an enquiry about our position on the funding waiting list, too, seeing as we can’t afford to do another round privately, and he’d let us know.

A few weeks later we received a letter from the ministry funding team. We weren’t up in April or May. We weren’t March. We could start in January.

And now it’s January.

So, my friends, I’ll update when I can, but we’re starting from the top. Stims, scans, egg retrieval, transfer. Hopefully more embryos. Hopefully more luck. Hopefully a baby!

I’m not 100% sure how I feel – why would it work this time when the treatment has done nothing but fail us? But we have to try. Everything we can.

Here’s to 2018. I hope it brings you everything you’re hoping for.

Forever hopeful series

I wrote a series for the lovely folks over at The Spinoff Parents and now all of the parts are up, I wanted to also share them here:

Part 1 – Forever hopeful: ‘Let’s get you pregnant this month, shall we?’

Part 2 – Forever Hopeful: Infertility is all about waiting

Part 3 – Forever Hopeful: Our final chance

I’m really proud of being a part of The Spinoff, and this series has meant a lot to me. You can find all of my writing for them here.

Thanks as always for all of the love and support.

Hitting pause

 

What keeps me going is this constant thought at the back of my mind that we’ll look back on this one day and remember it as pre-baby.

What keeps me going is excitement and hope for all those milestones and firsts; for all those special moments as a family.

But what happens if it’s something that never comes to be? I’m always trying to reconcile that and cushion myself for that blow in case it’s our reality. But right now I can’t accept that as a possibility. I have to keep hoping.

What is life without our family when it’s been a life goal for both of us for so long? What other plans do we make? We’re not big partiers, we barely drink, we’ve done so much travel and accomplished so many things in our lives. We’re so ready and so passionate.

Adoption in New Zealand is extremely difficult, near impossible. Surrogacy is a possibility but there’s no reason why I can’t carry our babies, that I know of. We just need one to stick. But time after time it’s just out of reach.

The conditions have been right but we still don’t make progress. We follow every rule but it still won’t happen. We hope and pray and support and love our friends and family and make good choices and yet we can’t get these stars to align.

It’s out of our hands and seems to be luck more than anything. And it’s hard knowing we’ve reached $20,000 spent and are still childless.

I’ve never felt such lack of control over anything in my life. It’s tougher all the time and some days I struggle to put a positive face on. But maybe you can help. Please keep hope for us. Maybe collectively hoping will send more positivity our way.

I am so hopeful for all of you, too.

I will keep trying to write here, but for now we’re focusing on our home and getting a pup, and maybe in 2018 we’ll have better luck. Because it seems to be mostly about luck. And for now we’re all out.